Thursday, August 17, 2017

Interpretive Truth

The world is a messy place. I've been absent on this blog due to topsy-turvey in my own life with a long illness and then moving, but I'm back. My heart has compelled me to speak what has been tumbling around in my mind since the weekend. It's not about plants or Nature, but the nature of humans.
The violence in Charlottesville, VA is a horror that feels all-too familiar . . . a little supremacy and entitlement mixed with primal reactions, disputes and accusations, with harm as a result and someone feeling like they were the "winner". I personally can't see any winners in a situation where people were intentionally mowed down by a car and someone died.
There's a whole lot of blaming going on. A whole lot of people pointing fingers, media filled with outcries supporting the various sides. Screams of protests against monuments that were intended to represent history but have become icons for prejudice and malice. Arguments over free speech vs. hate.
I've been pondering this since the weekend. How did we get here? How do we move forward? What's the lesson?
Before the particular violent moment that ended a young woman's life, what caught my attention were the displays of fighting against something, especially in the chants, by both sides.
Fighting is fear in action. It is inherently violent and separating. Even when we think we're fighting against something wrong or evil, we're still fighting. It carries the same intention of disconnection and feeling of superiority, born out of fear and a feeling of powerlessness. We got a glimpse of the fears that showed up in Charlottesville. Light was cast into the shadow for a brief moment, and the invitation is open for us to look at things a little deeper.
We can't fight for peace. We need to shift how we approach conflict. If all we can see is "sides", then we'll never understand perspectives. We've been taught there that is only ever the truth, when in reality, there are the truths of all those involved in a situation.
When I worked in Employee Relations, we had a saying, "There are three sides to every story". Eye-witnesses to a crime have frequently proven to be not credible, because each witness is viewing the situation from their own unique understanding of life, through the lens of their own experience and beliefs. They interpreted what they witnessed, as we all do. It's very hard to be truly objective, because our feelings compound things, often muddying our logic. And if we're in a crowd, our consciousness coalesces with those we hang with . . . we can think and behave in ways well beyond our individual norm because what's accepted in this particular crowd becomes acceptable to us. We justify our actions because we feel empowered by our interpretation of events, and can be bolstered by crowd mentality. Our interpretation may be our truth, but it's not the only truth, nor is it likely to be the pure truth of the situation as a whole.
What we can do is learn from our past, by viewing events with the intent of discovery of why they occurred, instead of judgment and asking who was wrong or who started it. Questions like, "What happened here?" and "What was everyone was afraid of?" can bring more clarity and less subjectivity. If we want to find the root cause of the conflict, we need to go to the deepest motivator . . . fear. That's where understanding comes in and things can start to change.
We can't change our skin color any more than we can change if we were born into privilege, so let us stop the blame and shame for our ancestors' behavior or our birth circumstances. We are not responsible for what our ancestors did, but we can change the course of harmful actions started by them. We are responsible for choosing our actions right here and now in our own time, with the understanding that our thoughts and actions affect everyone else around us and future generations. We will someday be the ancestors. What legacy shall we leave for our loved ones?
Let's change our minds.
Let us be present and work with what we have in front of us right now. Let us act with patience and compassion, and recognize that there are many truths to be had in any situation. Let us be kind to one another as we suss the truths and pain out. Everyone here is hurting. Let us remember that some people will be so frightened that it will come out as violence and anger and they won't be able to hear anything we say, even when we do it with kindness. Let us love those people the deepest, for they need it the most. They may not recognize genuine kindness, because they've never experienced it. Kindness only came at a cost for them.
No one wants a war of any kind. No one wins a war. There are only survivors, and the cycle of violence lives on in survivors as trauma. Let us move beyond survival . . . we are so much more.
Right here, right now, let us look one another in the eyes instead of stopping at skin color, or how we adorn our bodies, or who we love, or how we choose to call our god.
Let us look beyond our own fears and prejudices, for we all have them, and they run deep.
Let us stop assuming the worst of one group and the best of another. No one group of people is all bad or all good.
Let us see the individual or group in front of us and interrelate with them in each moment, and let love and understanding be our intention.
May we each find that our courage overrides our fear so we can be our best selves. These are hard days.
Compassion is love in action. May you find it, may you receive it, may you know it, may you be it.
In love & Light,

Friday, March 3, 2017

An Invitation

Each day as the sun warms the earth, we are graced by the gifts of our planet.
Nature provides us with all we need to not only survive,
but be well and whole on every level.
We are a part of the web of life on this planet,
and Nature teaches us how we can be fully balanced within ourselves
and in relation to every other living thing.
We're shown these gifts every day if we're paying attention.

There is no true separation between us and the natural world.
Just as our bodies are made up of billions of tiny atoms,
so too are we the building blocks of our living world.
As things are happening in Nature, so too, are we affected.
Night and day, seasons and cycles influence us
on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
Our own health affects the health of the planet.
John Muir wisely noticed:
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

We are all connected, all One, all part of something larger than ourselves.
When we've forgotten that connection, we're incomplete.
That imbalance can reveal itself in different ways:
physical illness; mental instability or unhappiness;
a feeling of something missing from our lives even when things are "good",
or a complete sense of confusion and lack of direction in our lives.

We are part of something greater, attached to all other living things,

dependent on one another for our highest and greatest good.

Feel the Connection...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Greater Than Fear

The U.S. is in a state of vast change on every level. 

Let's be honest...we're all scared and frustrated, no matter which side we're viewing things from. Every one of us has been left out of something, somewhere along the way in this country. 

We cannot change the past, but I am hopeful, because we're learning from it. The inequities and injustice that have been happening for so long are being acknowledged, and we are coming together to do something about them. All our shadows are out in the open so we can heal them.

If we don’t like how things are, we have a rare opportunity to shift our gaze to the change we want to see in the world and go be that change. There is so much unknown right now that it has become the void of creation.

It can be a dark and frightening place, as it requires us to reach deep down inside and see what we're made of. It's messy and sticky and we have to feel our way through, untangling our lies and half-truths along the way to discern what really matters when comfort and convenience are gone. In the darkness and at the bottom, we remember that we are the light. The spark of passion and ingenuity is lit, born of need in the search for truth and purpose. 

Fellow Americans, if we're upset that people are not embracing the president-elect, then we’re not being honest with ourselves. For if we can’t acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of our leaders, then we will all continue to suffer the consequences of their combined weaknesses. If we're angry that thousands of people are gathering in Washington DC to stand in solidarity for equal rights for all humans, then we have some inner work to do, because our neighbors are suffering and we have ignored it for decades. That is not okay. If we believe that any leader is going to be our nation’s savior, then we’re not accepting our responsibilities as citizens. We are better than that.

After deep consideration, I am attending the Women’s March on DC – not to protest, but to stand in support of equality and caring for everyone, no matter their gender, skin color, cultural heritage, religion, etc. I march for those who can’t. I march for my fellow humans, in whatever form their body takes and how they choose to adorn it for whatever reason; we are all inherently valuable. I march for diversity because our survival depends on it. I march for access to medicine in all its forms - orthodox and complementary, laughter, hugs, music, art, and nature. I march for justice and our communities – our right to take care of one another so no one is abused - lay citizens, citizens serving in public roles, and those who desire to be citizens. I march for transparent accountability in all levels of government. I march for clean water and open natural spaces because we need them. I march in deference to my ancestors and for the next seven generations. I stand in solidarity with All My Relations on Saturday and every other day, and will not give up until everyone is free or we are all dead. If you need an ally, I am here for you.

I confess that I am nervous to go to DC. I am frightened to be stuck in a gigantic crowd with limited access to water, bathrooms, food, etc. and to have my well-being and safety dependent upon every other person in the city that day. A part of me is panicking about sharing my thoughts here and advertising that I'm going. This is a trust walk of the biggest kind. 

I'm going because I decided that I can't bear to stand in my fear on the sidelines anymore. I'd rather stand for what I believe in, and if I get hurt in the process, then I'll bear the pain. If our ancestors did it, so can I. I stand because others stood for me. I stand for those whose future depends on me. I cannot hand my children a world devoid of clean air, water, food, healthcare, and space to live peacefully with who they love and what they need. I cannot hand them a world where conflict is the only truth. I am finally more afraid of handing them a broken world than I am of doing something about it.

We’re all in this together. We belong to one another. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Grab my hand and let’s get to work. I don’t care who you were in the past, what God you worship, how you look, or how you voted. Let us reach down into the essence of being human and be the miraculous, creative beings that we truly are. It is incredibly hard to remember how limitless we humans are, but we can endure that journey of pushing through obstacles because we always survive when we walk together. And we are so much more than survivors. We are so powerful and innovative, that when we cooperate, we create space where everyone thrives, not just survives. That is equality. That is why I march. I believe in miracles, because it’s a miracle that we humans have made it this long with how deplorably we’ve treated each other.

Let us begin again. It is a new day. We are greater than any fear we have. There is light and hope in every corner of darkness, for we are the light. 

I believe in something greater because I believe in us.

Love and Blessings,