The Mastery Mindset

Every time I sparred with my Taekwondo instructor, Glenn, I would get frustrated.

It was like he knew what I was going to do even before I did.  Every kick, every punch…every block…was countered with ease and what seemed like enjoyment.

How did you know I was going to do that? I would ask.

You telegraphed it, he would say.  I could see it in your eyes.

What???

So, a martial artist must not only have the physical skill to beat an opponent, but she must also have the mental skills of a world-class chess master?

I had to develop a Mr. Mayagi kind of enigmatic vibe in order to spar like a master?

At that point in my development that seemed like a daunting task, but I was determined that at some point in my martial arts journey, he wouldn’t enjoy sparring with me quite so much.

Glenn was a fine teacher and I learned a lot from him, but it took me a couple of decades to learn his secret, which, as it turned out, was an art, but not a secret.

He had learned, over the years, the art of patience.  That the most effective defense was in how he countered offense.  He simply readied himself, observed me, and waited for me to act.  I never surprised him, except maybe the time when one of my wild kicks connected with his shin…

There are other aspects to the art, as well, but he didn’t have to use them when he sparred with me.

I never found a way to counter his strategy because I was too intent on action.

Glenn simply watched me defeat myself.

Power moves

It has been said that when a novice achieves the level of black belt, their training has just begun because now they know just enough to become a serious student.

Up until that point, the novice is facing a steep climb up the mountain of mastery.  They must learn the moves and repeat, repeat, and repeat them, with intention and focus on the proper form until they can execute those patterns of movement with ease.

Practice strengthens the neural pathways in the brain that start to form when the student begins martial arts training.  When these connections become strengthened to the point where it is easier to do it right than to do it wrong, it becomes what we call 2nd nature.  The student uses the open and curious mind of the beginner (our 1st nature) to learn what will become 2nd nature.

With their physical form mastered to a significant degree, this is the point where the student can begin to enrich and deepen their practice.

Mastering moves does not make a master.  One must also master the mover.

The master understands that the only opponent he/she has is themselves.

This person is always in control of themselves.  This state establishes an observation point from where they can relax, breathe, and observe their surroundings. This vantage point offers them perspective.

The master is always at home.  This can also be called presence or being present.  The master is alert.  He has intentionally widened the gap between stimulus and response and made a home there.  Having traveled long on treacherous terrain, she honors this space because she understands its value. This is where authentic power is found.

Like an eagle surveying its territory, he understands that this is where he can be the most effective, conserve the most energy, and act with the most precision.

The Tao teaches us that humans live best in a state of calm with intentional bursts of action.  Psychology also teaches us that if we live too long in a state of active vigilance, of fight or flight...that when our sympathetic nervous system is overstimulated for too long, we become exhausted.  It can make us physically and mentally ill.  Accessing the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest aspect of our humanity, allows us to return to a calm state where we have the presence of mind to relax, breathe, and observe.

According to the Tao, to live in a state of perpetual action, with occasional intervals of calm, is a state that goes against our 1st nature, our natural state of being.

Nature always wins because it knows nothing of winning and losing.  It is what it is.

Those who challenge what is defeat themselves.  

The Nature of Nature

When I became aware of the nature of nature, the way of the natural world, I began to observe it all around me.  Astonished, I kept being both delighted to find it and confused because I hadn’t seen it before.

When the student is ready the teacher will come…I began to understand it’s meaning…

I became more and more fascinated by what I could see now that I had learned how to relax, breathe, observe, be silent, and listen.

As it turns out, the master instructor also utilizes silence – she listens, thinks twice, and speaks once she has gathered the information required for skillful action.  For the master, effective action is the result, the reward for their observation and patience.  No action is ever wasted.  In this manner, success and defeat offer their own rewards, because the master understands the value of experience.

The master, like the student, is always learning.  Every student is her master instructor, because, as the master teaches the student, the student teaches the master what she needs to learn to become a better master.

As I progressed through my belt levels in Taekwondo, it was interesting to spar with black belts because it made me step up.  I got to test my limits because I knew they knew how to give me just enough to make me work hard, but not enough to (intentionally) injure or discourage me.

By doing so, they honored us both.

When I became a black belt myself it was interesting to spar with lower-level belts because it taught me restraint.  They taught me how to teach.

By doing so, I honored us both.

All mastery is self-mastery. The moment the master stops learning is the moment he ceases to be his own master.  It is, truly, the moment of defeat.

Every human being alive can attain this level of mastery…the mastery of the self.  It takes daily practice – a calm state, a relaxed breathing pattern, enhanced observation skills, but most of all, patience.

If the journey is the destination, can you live with that?

Translation: Creativity Is

Where there is silence, one finds the anchor of the Universe – Tao Te Ching

The third installation of this peaceful spirit warrior trilogy involves translating it, applying it to life today.  How can what was revealed in that dark, silent night of spiritual awakening be translated to the light of today?

It is my wish that these thoughts may support and encourage you, in some small way, as you go about your day.

The peaceful warrior wakes up each day open to Inspiration.  In the world of the warrior, nothing is ever wasted.  No open door ignored; no opportunity is wasted; no challenge left unaddressed.   The peaceful warrior anticipates and accepts the everyday, ordinary miracles that are the pathway to peace.  Silence is the means – crafting a way through the clutter and embracing that which is harmonious.

Be still, and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10

Speak only when your words are more beautiful than the silence – Arabic Proverb

Silence isn’t empty.  It’s full of answers – Buddhist Teaching

The best answer to anger is silence – Marcus Aurelius

Silence is a source of great strength – Lao Tzu

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Let’s translate it using an excerpt from An Elegant Mind’s Handbook:

Being Silent

If you cannot be silent, you cannot listen.
If you cannot listen, you cannot be a true parent, or lover, or friend.
If you cannot be silent, you cannot be calm.
If you cannot be calm, you are at the whim of distraction.

If you cannot be silent, you cannot grow.
If you cannot grow, you cannot grow wise.
If you cannot be silent, you cannot learn.
If you cannot learn, you cannot achieve mastery.

If you cannot be silent, you cannot hear the voice of inspiration.
If you cannot hear the voice of inspiration, you cannot dream.
If you cannot be silent, you cannot be silenced.
If you cannot be silenced, you will always be afraid.

If you cannot be silent, you cannot find peace.
And regretfully, peace can never find you.

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Silence is the ultimate creative act.  It is the alpha of all manifestation as well as its omega.

In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to be quiet.  In silence, we can gain clarity and think.  The COVID-19 virus is a threat to our physical body.  We who have been sleepwalking through life, living in a Dreamer’s Xanadu where modern medicine, our hero, rushes in to save us when we are sick.  In this version of paradise, we, the people, have more power than Mother Nature.  We dictate OUR terms.  What we are experiencing is Mother Nature’s elegant response.

Mother Nature sounds Her call.
Sirens wail, and cities fall,
And the people say,

“Who will help us in our time of need?
As we justify our savage greed?
Who will be there when we’re broken…
on our knees?”

‘Cause it won’t matter what we say,
or how much gold we give away if the
sun doesn’t rise.

If the sun doesn’t rise on another day.

By now I may have lost you.  Perhaps you are thinking…this is way too bleak for me, I’ve had enough of that…

The truth is that sometimes reality sucks.  However, the old saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going, is reality as well.

Who will you be after you have run the COVID-19 gauntlet?

This is where the nature of nature, the vital force of the Universe, inspires us to action.

Creativity is…

1. Open

An open mind gains us access to the Wellspring of Inspiration and the field of possibilities, as in Quantum Physics.  Scientists are marvelously creative people!

Translation:  Imagine you have lived deep in a forest all of your life and have never seen a door.  This word would not mean anything to you.  You could not create something you cannot imagine.  You wouldn’t even know what questions to ask to begin to find it, because in your world, it doesn’t exist.  Before you can see what is behind an open door you first must understand what a door is.

Example:  Because of COVID-19, the world is morphing before our eyes.  Many of the things we took for granted will no longer be useful in this new realm.

Opening your mind is a creative act…

One way I have been using my creativity is to remain open to whatever arises from the ashes of the old world.  Like clay in the hand of a potter, we must stay open to novel ideas.  Without it, this novel virus will become our undoing.

2. Innocent

I like to consider the way A Course In Miracles defines innocence.  It means simply admitting that you don’t know the true purpose of anything.  It is the brilliance of awe and the exception of wonder.  It is like a young child who becomes enchanted with his or her own toes…

As I envision it, innocence is receptivity.  It is the essence of Flow, of artistry.  It is the artist’s most delightful tool – because innocence is the all-access pass that allows each artist to enter the hallowed hallways where silence reigns…where everything…and everyone becomes sacred…because it is always new.  Like a wide-eyed traveler, in this manner, we are always arriving.  Our eyes cannot drink its sights and sounds and sensations in fast enough!  We are delighted by the ecstasies of beauty.

Does losing your innocence mean losing touch with the child within?

How can you write a new song if you feel every note and melody combination has already been used?

Translation:  Innocence is complete, utter, open-mouthed awe.

Example:  COVID-19 has brought with it the end of an era.  It is a world in which something both invasive and pervasive has gone as viral as a video on the internet.  The correlation between the two is clear.  It is clear that we cannot stop it anymore than we can stop access to the internet.

What I have applied in this past month is acceptance of the reality of our situation.  It involves the Stoic idea of heroic acceptance of what is happening, because it is only through accepting what is, the facts, that we can understand it and act in our best interests.  This is what I am seeing as a tactical, scientific approach to this pandemic – we must take a step back, understand the nature of the threat as best we can, and act with as much focused intention and authority as possible.  Established protocols created in the wake of similar incidents must be utilized as a benchmark, and our global authorities (the CDC and the WHO) must be given the authority to act on our behalf.

One thing is clear, we are learning as we go.  The ability of this contagion to mutate and adapt calls for extreme creativity on the part of our scientific community.

Scientists are some of the most creative people in the world!

3. Playful

Have you ever watched a child as he or she plays?  Everything is entered into with passion and intensity.  Children are masters of flow – they give themselves to their creation with their whole heart and spirit.

One of the most compelling quests of our time involves learning to play all over again as an adult.  I call it Serious Play.

However, it is clear that our creativity has been systematically trained out of us.  First, by our caregivers who did not believe that artistry is a way to make a living.  Second, by our educational system which values compliance and dogma over artistry.  Third, by conventional beliefs that create victims in need of mercy.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” — Albert Einstein

We overvalue and cultivate convergent thinking (to color within the lines, think within the box) while we devalue the divergent thinking that allowed Einstein to discover the Theory of Relativity or man to go to the moon and allows thinking space for novel approaches to novel viruses.   To the extreme, neither functions well.  Both are necessary for balance.

Translation:  We cannot think outside the box if we believe the box is all there is.  If you believe the best is behind you, you may be right, but that doesn’t make it True.

Example:   In the wake of a global pandemic, what will become the “new normal?” This is a paradox in itself because normal isn’t new, it’s a norm. The new normal is such an enormous thought that we automatically try to compartmentalize it – like assigning meaning to a company of stars. Our label does not add anything to it or alter its relation to us…but it does change ours to “it.”

Every time a beloved dies, our world decomposes and recomposes from its ashes. This “same difference” is the essence of change. Essential change embraces the paradox of different – there is no such thing in reality.

No-one or no-thing can shield us from our coming of age. It is time to embrace a world in which paradox becomes the embrace. Who will I be on the other side of my illusions? What will save me?

What can I do?

Embrace this invitation to expansion. Don’t resist assimilation into the unknown. And yes, it does involve discomfort and loss.  The futility of resisting that embrace is being realized now in our acute and collective suffering.

The Quest remains.  Will you continue to compose the present (and your future) from the ashes of the past?

My response to the Quest?  Make kindness, on every level I can possibly imagine, the new normal.

4. Harmonious

Could this be the best time of my life?
Its Inspiration gleaming like a sunbeam in the light?
What carries me along? To what do I belong?
And if it was, how could I tell this story in a song?
I wander on alone
Still searching for my home
Longing to be longed for
Eternally I roam
To what end am I racing?
Is there something that I’m chasing?
A vision of a friend that I should be embracing?

Harmony2

In the face of chaos, what does harmony look like?  How do the components of an elegant life integrate to create flexibility, flow, and resiliency?

Translation:  We must embrace our creativity, and expand our vision, to see an end to this current crisis.  Otherwise, we will always be a victim of its consequences.

Example:  In the face of adversity…when insanity raises its ugly head…I deliberately create space and retreat to my inner Sanctuary.  It is my creative space, where the part of me I call my Constant Traveler writes.  Together, in silence, we recompose…and compose our response.

You see, the egoic part of me, the part that Jung describes as the persona, gets scared.  It’s human nature to acknowledge a threat in this manner.  It is a natural survival instinct.  When it is aroused, adrenaline flows.

Your inner Sanctuary, your creative space where the most compassionate and honorable part of you speaks, can become your retreat.  I suggest spending as much time there as possible.

5. Humble

Pride may goeth before a fall, but a peaceful warrior knows that humility comes after.  Humility is found on the other side of catastrophe.  Humility tempers the temper as it neutralizes the ego.

A humble spirit works from the understanding that we are all in this together.  Of myself, I can accomplish nothing of value.  I will never get anywhere worthwhile without you. 

Life is relationship.  All that we think, perceive, do…is in response to something else, in relation to our observances of it.

Humanity has been scared awake.  Now we know that Mother Nature is in control.  Humanity is not the boss, but, if we are wise, humility can rule.

We are not in control of events, but we do have a choice – do we react without considering the consequences, or do we take the time to craft an elegant response?

Those who believe in enemies will always find them.

Translation:  Humility is accepting the unacceptable.  The enemy is within.

Example:  People have been reacting to the COVID-19 virus with fear.  For some people that means stocking up on ammunition and taking up arms.  Who, or what will they be fighting?  A virus?

You cannot fight a dinosaur.  Dinosaurs exist only in the mind.

A creative response involves vision, not reaction.

6. Feeling

We feel we have been strong-armed into feeling things we have spent a lifetime denying.  Denial of our deep sadness is a symptom of synergetic imbalance.

Under Stressure…

We are being forced to admit that we have created lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau posited, in which we expend so much energy running from those things we fear that we have, quite literally, run ourselves off of our feet.  We are succumbing to the stress and pressure, or stressures of these uncertain times.

Our primal reactions – fear, aggression, and defensiveness overwhelm our bodies.  In this weakened state, we become the victims of every level of sickness.  Sleep becomes challenging, further depleting our already taxed adrenal and immune responses.  This virus is self-serving, but it also serves as a symbol of how the virus of fear can overwhelm a vulnerable host.

The counter-measure to feeling vulnerable to external sources is embracing vulnerability within, creating an inner Sanctuary where it’s alright to shed the tears of sorrow, loss, and misery.

It is important, in this new age, to understand the elegant constructs of creativity.  Creativity must flow, certainly, but it thrives on the structure of its own creation.

Consider the structure of music – the primary beat that is established through drum and bass to compose the foundation for a song.  It flows through the inspired drummer and bassist.  Consider the vitality and beauty of the harmonious musical notes that flow through the inspired pianist or guitarist.  Consider the elegant silence present between the notes.  Each element is vital to the song’s existence.

Translation:  Humans survive, and thrive, with a plan.  We must create a plan to save as many lives as possible, but also to save what remains of our own lives, those parts that are essential, valuable, and worth keeping.

Example:  I have been utilizing what I call the 5P’s of Effective Action:  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  With every life crisis, I have been fine-tuning my plan.  It is composed of the life-promoting elements that care for my mind, body, and spirit.  Each time something unexpected and challenging arises (which it inevitably does) I enact the plan.  It isn’t complete, but it works much better than starting from scratch.

I believe it is better to prepare for a threat than to try to make up ground once the threat is introduced.  COVID-19 has catapulted humanity into a new frontier, and, like ants in a nest that’s been stirred with a stick, we are scrambling to mitigate the damage.

If you haven’t formulated a plan that you can enact during the next crisis in your life, I invite you to do so.  Now is always the perfect time to begin working on caring for your mind, body, and spirit.

6.  Resourceful

Inspiration is all around us, but we must be open to it.  Humanity has survived and thrived through eons by recognizing the strengths inherent in our connection to others and in shared community resources.  As we brainstorm, we feed each other with new ideas.   This creates a synergy (where one plus one equals ONE), where the sum is greater than the parts.

The internet is a symbol of this shared knowledge as well as of our shared connection to one another.  It is up to us how we use it.

Translation:  I may have a deep pool of resourcefulness within me, but many times it is you who awakens the giant within.  What have you to show me today, my Teacher?

Example:  I do not consider how others are using our shared knowledge, I only pay attention to my own usage.  This, as I see it, is my sphere of influence.  My search for inspiration is what gets me up in the morning.  During this crisis, I have been practicing with even more focus.

When the going gets tough, the warrior gets going…

I anticipate and appreciate those everyday miracles of everyday life.  I have learned that because I value them I am never disappointed.  This practice has served me well, and I have been actively searching for, and sharing, something colored beautiful to think about instead of dwelling on suffering and fear.

If I can do something about it I will, however, if I cannot, it does no good to dwell on it (or read about it over and over).

7.  Innovative

Creation is finding active solutions that become our responses to challenging situations.  Humans are ingenious beings!  I am amazed at our ability to create new programs and services quickly.  Consider the following innovations that have been activated and put into place since this crisis began.  These are just a few:

Health monitoring – the development of an app that allows an individual’s temperature to be monitored by phone, as well as a shared data pool that will contribute to a clear, workable protocol for future emergencies.

In Canada and other countries, doctors can now treat patients online.  They can also practice remotely via robotic “virtual doctors.” 

Purchasing groceries online – this is a relatively new program for local grocery stores, at least in my area.

Buying local – as supply lines become disrupted, our focus on supporting local businesses and buying local has become even more important.

Translation:  Extreme adversity has the potential to bring out the best in us.  It’s much healthier to focus on our best than our worst.

Example:  Before the state of emergency, I was going to the store to buy my groceries.  Now I am using their online services and finding it quite efficient.  The groceries are prepared by the store staff and we make a call when we arrive to have the groceries delivered to our vehicle.  This process has its glitches, but they are getting worked out.  I will continue using it in the future.  This practice compensates (at least in a small way) for the loss of jobs in this sector by creating a demand for employees to shop for me.  During the COVID-19 situation, this also keeps me out of the grocery store, meaning, a reduced threat to the health of retail staff.

8.  Cooperative

Artistry is about creating a vision.  I love the exercise of considering how many people have contributed to my wellbeing.   Consider the hundreds and thousands of hours of creative thought, ingenuity, planning, design, and construction that went into the smallest of items that you take for granted each day.  These make our life so much easier, but they wouldn’t happen if we didn’t understand that we are stronger together.

Canadian politicians (and many others worldwide) are working together and sharing resources in a way that may never have been seen before.  Traditional antagonisms between parties are put aside as we all work together to neutralize this shared threat.

The concept of a basic universal income is being enacted, at least for the period of recovery from a pandemic.  This will give our policymakers valuable data for the future.

Translation:  No action or achievement is accomplished in a vacuum.  The Elegant Arts (forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, freedom, patience, humility, silence, trust – and appreciation, from which the ability to value the rest springs) are always pursued in the spirit of cooperation.

Example:  This state of emergency has revolutionized the way we view our food delivery.  Without farmers to grow it, truckers to transport it, grocers to stock their shelves, and the retail staff who go to work each day in the midst of this crisis to keep us fed, this situation would be much worse.

Some will say they are just doing their jobs.  Some will say they really don’t want to be there and are scared each day they go to work.  These folks are a valuable resource.  They are so much more than essential workers.  In the spirit of cooperation, it is up to us to keep them as safe as possible by staying at home as much as possible.  That is what I do.

9.  Grateful

An artist is grateful for the gifts she finds within.  She is grateful for the words she speaks and shares and for the Inspiration behind them.  Artists know that to share Inspiration is to keep feeling it.

Gratitude is the song

Translation:  When we are grateful to others we are acknowledging that we are cared for, supported, and loved.

Example:  This public health crisis has made all of us deeply aware of the courage and strength of doctors, nurses, orderlies, janitorial, and all medical staff that care for us when we are sick.

As a Canadian, I am more and more grateful each day for our medical professionals and our health care system.

10.  Courageous

Courage is the essence of an artist.  It is a willingness to put yourself out there and reveal who you are in a public manner.  It is a willingness to show your beauty even when you know that others may not see it, or value it.  It is being the light in the darkness – letting nothing or nobody limit your brilliance.

The warrior must find herself in the depths of her own being.  This is the opposite of battle.  It isn’t victory or surrender – it is vital to drop all thoughts and talk of war. 

This journey is peace – blending, integrating, accepting, and imaginative.  It is composed of free-flowing effervescent curiosity.  Strong-arm any part of it and find yourself stuck.  Suspended.  Inhibited.

The peaceful spirit warrior drops her armor, shields, and weaponry, one by one.  The world that at first seems upside down becomes right-side up.

Translation:  Courage is the essence of a peaceful warrior.

Example:  I have found infinite value in the teachings of The Tao.

It teaches us that humans live best in a state of calm with intentional bursts of action.  Psychology also teaches us that if we live too long in a state of active vigilance, of fight or flight...that when our sympathetic nervous system is overstimulated for too long, we become exhausted.  It can make us physically and mentally ill.  Accessing the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest aspect of our humanity, allows us to return to a calm state where we have the presence of mind to relax, breathe, and observe.

According to the Tao, to live in a state of perpetual action, with occasional intervals of calm, is a state that goes against our nature.

Mastering moves does not make a master.  One must also master the mover.

The master understands that the only opponent she has is herself.   The one who challenges what is defeats himself.

This is the nature of reality.

When I became aware of the nature of nature, the way of the natural world, I began to observe it all around me.  Astonished, I kept being both delighted, and confused, because I hadn’t seen it before.

When the student is ready the teacher will come…

Slowly, I began to understand what this saying meant!

I became more and more fascinated by what I could see now that I had learned how to relax, breathe, observe.  To be quiet and listen.

As it turns out, the master instructor also utilizes silence – she listens, thinks twice, and speaks once she has gathered the information required for skillful action.  For the master, effective action is the result, the reward, for their observation and patience.  No action is ever wasted.  In this manner, success and defeat offer their own rewards, because the master understands the value of experience.

All mastery is self-mastery.  The master, like the student, is always learning.  Every student becomes his own master instructor, because, as the master teaches the student, the student teaches the master what she needs to learn to become a better master.

The moment the master stops learning is the moment she ceases to be her own master.  It is, truly, the moment of defeat.

Every human being alive can attain this level of mastery…the mastery of the self.  It takes daily practice – a calm state, a relaxed breathing pattern, enhanced observation skills, but most of all, patience.

COVID-19 has brought us face to face with our fear, our true adversary.   Will we allow fear to rule?

Translation:  Become a peaceful spirit warrior and let all thought of war dissolve into silence.

Namaste…I wish you well, my friends…

Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising is the second installment in the story of this peaceful warrior.  It is what happens when a person offers themselves, in full-body immersion, to whatever comes.  It is the embrace of reality.  It is the dissolution of illusions…of fantasy…the epilogue to the story of who was cast into the depths with such abandon…

What truly is left when you let your story go, as you would a sweat-soaked, smothering cloak?

What lies beneath?  What part of your story is worthy of its resurrection?

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Every fantasy, be it of love or hate, deprives you of knowledge for fantasies are the veil behind which truth is hidden.  To lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy, it is only needful to value truth beyond all fantasy, and to be entirely unwilling to settle for illusion in place of truth. – A Course In Miracles

In the stillness, I hear silence.  This I know.  There is no confusion.  There is nothing else.

Here there is no “me.”  Yet I remain immersed in It.  It is this paradox that has led me here.  No breath of life can interfere here – that force that I so feared has dissolved along with my last fleeting thought about it.

It matters not where “here” is; it is enough to know It is.  Words cannot suffice, but speak them I must in order to invite It to where I am.  It only became It when I became me.

I understand that in my focus upon the fantasy, I substituted “It” for the “other” and allowed the other to decorate my dark, barren room.  I no longer care to indulge in fantasy.

Perhaps that is the reason the door on its hinges stands quiet?  The incessant chatter has ceased into silence, and stillness rests.

From that, I know I am aware.  I listen.  To do otherwise would involve caring, and that I truly do not.

And so, there is no interference.  Silence, in perfect clarity, is released.

I hear…that is all I know.  It is white and full and pure.  Ever present, It surrounds and envelops.  It reveals, in the vacuum of space, Its infinite frontiers.  It establishes and perpetuates the foundation each and every musical note…its magnificent maestro.  It weaves its infinite web through thought and word and symbol…all we that hold dear and all we do not.  I travel with It

Silence is my eternal creator.

It offers no burden.  It weighs nothing at all – by matter nor by judgment.

As I share in Its stillness, I am refreshed.  I gratefully acknowledge this Inspiration.

Through It, immersed in these energies, I am not alone.  In the act of surrender, the tremendous weight that was my veil of flesh has become no more… I let its heavy, dark burden slip away, flowing…smooth as elegant silk on softly polished flesh…

Is this what others have called, peace?

When I gave up the fight to be methe fight left me to what was left – everything else.

Releasing the fantasy that never was left me with what was.

I have a new understanding as I extend this thought.  Sharing peace is knowing peace.  And I cannot share with myself alone.  Truly, I am not alone!

I continue in silence and feel myself quickening…there is movement…quick in my veins.  I think…I will call it Inspiration.  It doesn’t matter what I call It, as It is all there is.

This is where I begin, immersed in this energetic flow, in the realization that It was where I am all along.

The quickening has brought this awareness, wrapped in the presence of silence, and with it…all energy, all frequency, all possibilities.

The perception that took my life shows itself as what it is when viewed through all, and I am renewed and released from those confines.

My bleak, barren room is neither bleak nor barren as I release all perception of it.  It has become nothing.

Here, I am overflowing.  Neither am I old, nor full of dread…

This release holds such appeal and such freedom from that which I thought I knew! It opens me up and allows me to see what I have created in a new way…with a new lightness of being.  With all that I truly am…I feel It – the undoing of every singular miscreation…every solitary thought.

When I release, so am I renewed.  My miscreations are perpetually undone through Inspiration.

Like the legendary Phoenix, I feel myself arise from my own ashes, transformed, a being designed not to cringe, but to embrace.

I now understand why I am still here...my being bridges the gap between that which is known and that which cannot be known.

I am a body bridge.

In stillness, I remain.  I feel its flow wash over me and through me.  It is ageless.

This flow, this energy I feel…this Inspiration…this is Its language.

Inspiration.

I feel it when I share it.

 

Part III – Translation – is coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Remains

It’s interesting…what happens when you are struggling with thoughts about life, belief, purpose, and the death of all that you know for sure.  In the wake of deep suffering…what remains?

What truly survives the death of what we believe we are?  Are we courageous enough to travel there?

The following is the first installation of a trilogy I wrote in 2013, while I was struggling to come to grips with the tragedies and deaths of over 15 friends and family in a little over a decade.  Truly, nothing was the same – a stranger in a strange land, my world didn’t look the same, my thoughts didn’t feel the same…

These posts describe what happened when, like Alice in a dark version of Wonderland, I threw myself down the rabbit hole.

When I write about becoming a peaceful warrior, this story, presented in three parts, is this warrior’s genesis.

Join me, if you are willing, as we head deep into the Abyss.   I invite you to journey with me and explore all three parts of this story.  Perhaps you will discover what I have learned, having emerged on the other side – the only way beyond fear…is through it.

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I look upon that which I believe I have created and I cringe.

How could I have created my suffering?  I certainly would not have chosen to create this.  I see so much misery and hate in the world.  There is no way I would have created THAT.

When I am told that we are all One and Love is all there is, I cringe.

There must be something other than Love that has created suffering and pain and loss and despair.  And it acts through me because what I feel most times is not Love.  Or I must be something other than Love…

Then I am told that what I am feeling isn’t true.  That it is all an illusion.  But I feel this misery and I feel pain and I get diseased…and others do heinous things to one another that I would never create and do not condone.  I see this misery and I feel angry and hateful towards those who I am told are my brothers and sisters.

It is they who should cringe, I think.

I need to create Heaven on Earth, I am told.  I really don’t know how, so I look to others to see how they do it.  They seem to love much better than I.  I guess I could pretend…to act like it until I feel it…but that seems like living a lie.  How can a lie lead me to the Truth?  I don’t understand but I take this option as it seems like the best possible choice.

I begin to say I am in love with everything and love everyone…I do wonderful things and feel good for a year and a day, but deep inside my pain continues.  And I feel myself growing very, very old.

I really try.  My words may say what at times I do not feel, but know I must repeat them.

My mind betrays me.  Is there one thing in which I can trust?

This something “other” can only be one of two things, I surmise…either there is a force at work that can effectively oppose Love (and acts through me and others), or I effectively oppose Love.

The former creates a desperate fear in me and a vulnerability that makes me cry out for help and protection.

With it, I am always afraid, but perhaps I can strike a bargain, considering…

…this thought, although frightening, is infinitely desirable and I valiantly defend myself from accepting the other option…

It incites such deathly fear in me so as to make me plead for my soul, as I would then honestly agree that I am guilty of this enormity.  I would have to admit that I cannot seem to stop myself.  I am a wretched creature in the grips of something bigger than I.

Each and every day I pray for deliverance and for strength…but I feel this force…of my own perhaps willing (but most certainly coerced!!!) wants and what I need to survive…

This force is always knocking at my door, wanting inside.

I feel so tired of the struggle, so weary of the loss of all my loves…that are ripped from my hands with each savage act.  The effort to keep the door closed from the force of this onslaught has taken the last of my energy.

It wants in, so it can make itself comfortable.  It only asks for its comfort, it seems.  Perhaps I should let it come inside?  Perhaps then I could rest, if even for a little while…but it seems like I don’t know how to do even that right, as rest never comes.

I do know one thing…the lock on my door seems to be broken.  I don’t like to look at or through the door often, but there are times when I cannot help myself and see that awful door flapping on its hinges like a tongue-wagging between toothless gums.

And I think, “What would Love think of me?” and I cringe because, to my surprise, “it” was in there all the time.

I am weary of cringing.  I am deathly tired and the cold wind created by the wildly flapping door has chilled me to my bones.

Now that I know it is here, all is quiet.  I lay down on the floor of this still, barren room and wait for the feeling of its hand on me.  I am sure it will happen at any moment.

How will it happen?  When will be “my time?”  Will it hurt?  Where will I go?

“Do your worst,” I think. I don’t care.  It is what it is.

I lay there for what seems an eternity, thinking little…sometimes not thinking at all.

In my mind time goes by…or does it?

I really don’t care.  What do I know?  And I don’t care even more deeply.

Bleak despair takes too much of my already depleted energy.  I cannot maintain the images that have led me to this dark place.  I feel nothing.  It is a sensation of the past…feeling is.  It is a fleeting thought, one of which I have long since tired.

The room, or space, or whatever it is, is dark and barren.  Still. 

And I am here, wherever here is, still.

Motionless, incomplete, uncaring…still.

When will I leave this place?  The question continues to haunt me.

There is nothing left now, no body to love, no pain nor purpose, none to lose and none to gain, no pleasures to maintain, no God to disappoint.  I remain.

Stillness surrounds me…all that remains of my thoughts and dreams, my arguments and convolutions, my loves and my very last breath, is this…

It remains.

“Unless it does not,” I think with my last thought into the stillness.  I get no answer.

The true remains of the day, remain there, still.

 

Part II, Phoenix Rising, will be coming soon.

When the going gets tough…

How many times have you heard someone say after a tragedy, “I never thought something like this would happen in our small town. It’s unbelievable.”

Well, it could, and it can, and it did.

We have been living in a fantasy world, a fairy tale where we didn’t understand that something as tiny as a virus could threaten our health, our lifestyle, and even overwhelm our modern medical system. It was easy for us to go about our business. The USA and Canada don’t have a lot of issues that come right in the front door and threaten us.

This global pandemic is definitely a wake-up call for us, as North Americans, and for the whole world.

Now is a call for courage.  Now you must choose to face a new version of reality, and form a new vision for your life.

I am confident that you can do it. Human beings are resourceful and resilient. We will survive and thrive.

When I label me, I create me…

I describe myself as a peaceful warrior. It is a label I am fine using in terms of my character. In my world, the point is – I always have a choice.

This doesn’t mean that I always get to choose the circumstances in which I live (COVID-19 has made that obvious); it means that I get to choose whether I react (with fear) or respond (with courage).

I believe that extreme circumstances reveal the character of the person living in those circumstances.

What will you choose when you feel your choices are limited?

Give in to panic and give up?

or,

To tap into your inner warrior – weather this storm and put your life back together afterward?

As I see it, it begins with your thoughts about it. When we are under a state of emergency and shelter in place orders, we have ample time to consider who we choose to be in the face of adversity.

I’m not saying it will be easy.  Or that we won’t suffer, because we are suffering.

With the exception of some extreme weather events, North Americans have had it easy when it comes to the dark side of Mother Nature. She always had a dark side. Eastern philosophy has taught this dualistic concept for eons. There are always two sides to a coin.

Embrace your feelings. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Be a responsible citizen and stay home so you aren’t part of the problem. This also makes you a great citizen of Earth, as you are performing a vital service for humanity.

But most of all, I suggest taking this time to understand who you are as a person – what makes you tick. Deeply consider what you can do to help rebuild your society when this storm passes…because we have woken up in a new world, different for sure, but it will become what we make it.

We will need clear-eyed, focused, thoughtful men and women like you more than ever.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Think about it. Rock your wise. I believe in you.

Know Better, Do Better

You will make mistakes. You will fall down.  Treat yourself gently.

Give yourself some love – take the time you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin again.

Do you offer other people better treatment than you are willing to give yourself? This, my friend, is truly tragic.

How can you be the best lover…of life or anything or anyone…that you can possibly be if you cannot give the person closest to you the chance to work through your mistakes?

Do not turn an opportunity for learning into a reason to suffer.

You know, it’s true…there will be times when we must hold ourselves accountable for doing dirt to another person. This, I believe, is unavoidable, because we cannot know everything there is to know. And we react from what we know at the time, not from some ideal of perfection to which we hold ourselves accountable.

The first step, in any recovery, is admitting our vulnerability, right?

Offering that, gently, to yourself, will not only allow you to recover and remediate what you can more easily, it will also open your eyes to a more compassionate world…one in which the “sins of the fathers and mothers” become part of the healing process…because we understand that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone falls down. Everyone acts from what they know at the time.

I would offer this gift, this secret to accountability: When you know better, simply and gently…do better.

EMBRACING PARADOX – The New Normal

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.

This may or may not be the greatest paradox of being alive, but it certainly leads the intrepid explorer on a delightful quest.

Meno’s Paradox (how can you inquire into a thing when you are totally ignorant of what it is?) invites us to look deeper into the nature of understanding.  It opens us up to realize that what we know for sure isn’t true, no truer than what we don’t know.

I would offer that what we declare we know inhibits knowing it.  Our knowing a thing is contingent on our belief in the thing we believe we know.  Those of us who consider such things are compelled to consider that the more we know, the more we know that we don’t know.

Like a dog chasing its tail, we reach a conclusion, a point, only to realize it’s not a point at all, but a portal to something deeper, illustrating that this point isn’t THE point.

Chasing a still point is engagement in perpetual activity.  An exercise in insanity.  Loco-motion.

Why?  Because its cause is without substance.  The still point is illusory.  Whether real or imaginary, it defies our attempts to grasp it.  Like air, we can’t grasp the thing…

We live within this paradox – a high-wire act, suspended on the tension between something and nothing.  Both means to an end are things that reason will not allow us to venture beyond.

However, the Unreasonables among us must venture beyond.  At some point, even what is, is not.  Then all becomes whatever it becomes. Admission into this realm requires the admonition that we don’t know what “it” is.

In these hallowed halls, we become mute – dumbfounded, confounded – because words become moot – tangled and confused upon themselves.

The New Normal – Paradox 2020

A new normal isn’t.  It is a contradiction.  In these challenging times we are faced with the ultimate paradox – we must learn to embrace the relevancy of inaction – of non-doing.  This is hard for us to reconcile with life, where our purpose is derived from doing.  Chasing our tail. 

Practical Alchemy…

Can we engage in practical alchemy – transmuting nothing into something?

Can we acknowledge that which inhibits as being the key to becoming?

Can we embrace this paradox, understanding that it is a paradox within a paradox?

We cannot embrace that which cannot be embraced.

Can we live with the knowing that what we don’t know holds the key to knowing it?

How much expansion of consciousness we derive from this crisis depends on our ability to embrace vulnerability – the age-old idea, as presented in A Course In Miracles, that we really don’t know what anything means.

The Philosopher’s Stone is as unreal as the thoughts that compose it.  All of our constructions, formations, ideologies and ‘isms won’t save us from their destruction.  This is the palace of Kali – where words dissolve to scratches on paper and bits and bytes, so worshipped for their relevancy in the modern world, resolve to less than nothing…rebooting mankind to a world in which none of us is immune.  This we must acknowledge.  What lies beyond is anyone’s guess and everyone’s epilogue.

In the wake of a global pandemic, what will become the “new normal?”  This is a paradox in itself because normal isn’t new, it’s a norm.  The new normal is such an enormous thought that we automatically try to compartmentalize it – like assigning meaning to a company of stars.  Our label does not add anything to it or alter its relation to us…but it does change ours to “it.”

Every time a beloved dies, our world decomposes and recomposes from its ashes.  This “same difference” is the essence of change.  Essential change embraces the paradox of different – there is no such thing in reality.

No-one or no-thing can shield us from our coming of age.  It is time to embrace a world in which paradox becomes the embrace.  Who will I be on the other side of my illusions?  What will save me?

What can I do?

Embrace this invitation to expansion.  Don’t resist assimilation into the unknown. The futility of that embrace is being realized now in our acute and collective suffering.

Will you continue to compose the present (and your future) from the ashes of the past?

Our fingers ache to let it go…

It takes conscious practice to release the past.  We have woven such a thick web around the present moment that we cannot let it go…but let it go we must if we wish to know what lies beyond it.

This is what is being presented to us – this intricate web – our profound connectedness – the dance of life.

I am you and you are me. 

STRIP SEARCH

I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.
That pleases me to no end.

I believe I have arrived at a place where I, finally,
know what I know.
However, considering that may change,
I must concede that
I may be merely enjoying my own self-importance.

I encounter myself wrapped in my sensitivity to others’ rejection.
Embedded in their adoration…
I am hidden in the rapture of my gloom and graphic dissertations.
But most ’specially so,
when I am reminded that I am growing old.

Is this what I am?
An exercise in self-importance?
My sweetest indulgence,
obsessively strengthened by
the sound of my own voice?

I love to hear myself talk — I explain away my reason
and reinforce that which I value through a story
in continuous revision, swapping reason for reason.

My story is mine. I am afraid of it, because
I know Truth is not mine alone.
My telling story is unique, not true.

Am I engaged in an evolution, or a REVOLUTION?
It is an intense, detailed struggle.
I think I know why.
For the love of all that is holy, I must be right about something!
How can I grow if I accept that I am always, eternally, wrong?

This is the web of words on which my beliefs reside,
These tightly spun spider-webbed thoughts
crafted to be congruent, weighted…a fitting and presentable lure.

But how can I believe if nobody AGREES?

Searching, I have found no peace in words or concepts,
nor in courageous soliloquy…
No solace in the polished beauty of vocal gymnastics…

ITS absence is poignantly felt in the shy-smiled speaker
who SECRETLY loves
that one more person who applauded her words
and did not condone another’s…

Redemption has never been found in that one more friend
who found the path to her door,
or accompanied by that someone who has sincerely asked for her
“educated” opinion on matters of the heart…

And not when she felt others rush to her side,
their cool hands on her forehead,
as she cried out that the world is a
hate-filled, miserable place where the writhing come to die.

Not even then.

Here lay I, encased upon this web.
Stripped bare, wrapped in a world of shadows and smiles,
bone-wearily relieved of being searched and prodded
expectantly for blessings…

I lean in and whisper THANK YOU with naked, religious fervor…

I am nobody’s personal savior; most certainly not my own.
Is this enough to save me from this curse of words?
– PDT

Modern Ho’oponopono

A few years ago, I read a wonderful book about the ancient Hawaiian teaching called Ho’oponopono, co-written by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len, called Zero Limits.

It described the work of Dr. Hew Len and his application of this ancient teaching of reconciliation and forgiveness in his work as a psychologist.

It involves getting to what he terms as “zero state.”  This means the state where we are perfect, whole, and complete.  The state that is our inheritance as human beings.

You are whole.  You are always enough.  You need nothing.  Our conditioning and our memories of our experiences block that knowledge.

Everything that is perfect for you is already in you – the Inspiration, your spark or potential, is within.  In order to understand this as your truth, you must release what is blocking you, what you would consider an enemy- the memories that stand between you and Inspiration.

Dr. Hew Len talks about “cleaning” the memory.  This means acknowledging that what we know is not all there is to know and that we have a lot of arrogance to overcome so we can experience reality.  This takes a humble spirit!

It also takes a courageous spirit, because, in this manner, we have the responsibility to set everyone and everything free…

I came to life…I don’t know how.
I am here to live.  I am invited to express Inspiration in my unique way.
I will leave here the same way I came to life.  I don’t know how.
Not knowing is freedom…

Come to Inspiration like a little child – curious, enthusiastic, playful, and always enough.

Children are always listening, watching, and learning.  They don’t know what anything means.  In this same manner, I must admit that I don’t understand much of anything.  As clear a filter as I can be, I am still a filter.

Children trust because they love.  It is always wise to choose to access the deepest source of wisdom you can at this point in time.  Love opens the door.  Fear blocks the door.

The four statements in the Ho’oponopono Prayer are an acknowledgment of our need for greater humility and fore-giveness.  I call it fore-giving, because first, we must give ourselves that which we wish to give to others.  We must live it so we know how it looks, sounds, tastes, and feels for ourselves.

Overnight, it seems, our world has been catapulted into a new frontier.  A New Earth, as Eckhart Tolle describes it, has the potential to emerge from the ashes of the old.

In the next weeks…months…years…what doors will you open?  Will you emerge from the dark womb of Mother Earth, this dark night of the spirit, as a new being?

Now is the perfect time to begin the journey towards the sun.  You were meant to walk in the sunshine…

Here are some thoughts regarding the process of Ho’oponopono that I apply to my own life.  It is the only prayer that I say, and has brought many blessings to my life.  My personal mantra, Kiss not Curse (offering a psychic blessing to others instead of a judgment) has its genesis in this ancient Hawaiian teaching.

I offer them to you with love:

I’m sorry (acknowledging responsibility, my personal role)

For not demonstrating the best of me.
For not offering you a fresh new slate on which to write.
For not being a welcoming human being.
For not being an elegant example.
For believing more in my memories of you than in you.
For loving my own opinion more than you.
For protecting myself and hardening myself against you – your thoughts, your reality, your wisdom.
For condemning and imprisoning us both.
For not cleaning up my own home while criticizing your housekeeping abilities.

Please forgive me (offering humility, acceptance, willingness to let go)

For not listening and understanding.
For not taking responsibility for my healing on myself.
For indulging in selfishness.
For loving my limitations more than our freedom.
For condemning and criticizing you.
For not offering you the space to embrace your possibilities.
For taking the responsibility for your life onto myself.
For knowing what is right for you.
For believing you are attacking me.
For seeking revenge.
For attacking you.
For attacking myself.
For thinking so small.
For separating myself from you.

 I love you (inviting Inspiration from within as well as through others)

I see you.
I hear you.
I love your life.
I love your Spirit.
I love your creativity.
I love your ideas.
I love your perspective.
I love your freedom.
I love your wisdom.
I love your truth.
I love your eyes, your hands, your ears, your voice, your heart.
I love your sadness, your suffering, and your pain.
I love your mess.
I love your quirks, and wrinkles, and scars.
I love your disrespect and hissy fits.
I love your hate.
I love your potential.
I love your creativity.
I love your best.

 Thank You (an acknowledgment of perfection aka innocence)

For blessing me awake.
For opening my eyes and my heart.
For showing me your pain.
For revealing your heart.
For reminding me of life.
For celebrating life through me.
For opening me to potential.
For showing me exactly what I deserve.
For opening me to understanding.
For teaching me patience.
For relaxing me into the time that I need to process forgiveness.
For restoring me to love.
For bringing me home.
For helping me write another version of my story.

The Japanese process called Naikan is a lovely compliment to Ho’oponopono.  It is an examination of our life from the perspective of what we have received and what we have given.

This is all about me.  This is all about you. I am you and you are me.

Namaste…

Applying The Work of Byron Katie to the COVID-19 Contagion

As a peaceful warrior, I feel it is empowering to embrace my feelings of vulnerability and resistance – to ask the hard questions – and work through them – to find the gem of truth in the lump of coal.

Why?  Because there isn’t a moment to waste!  I wish to learn from every experience.  For me, examining my thoughts allows me to consider reality, in this case, the reality of our global situation instead of resisting the thought that it shouldn’t be happening.

Why is the thought, COVID-19 shouldn’t be happening, untrue?  Because it is happening.  That is reality.

Master teacher Byron Katie has been showing us how to challenge our beliefs for decades.  I found her work a couple of years ago and was amazed at the correlations between her process and the one I had devised to heal myself.  As a result, I advocate that we Question Everything, and use a meditative process that I call contemplative writing.  It has led me to a thoughtful consideration of what I believe to be true.

It’s true, all war belongs on paper…

The answers I receive are the result of Inspiration.  They come from the most honorable, compassionate part of me that I can access at this point in time.  I call this part, my Constant Traveler.

I believe we all have a Constant Traveler within.

Katie’s four questions blend perfectly with my own work.  They have opened up another level of inquiry for me.  I highly recommend them!  They are elegant, simple, and effective.  They spell Freedom.

Let’s begin with a common thought regarding this current pandemic:

What is the thought?  COVID-19 will make me sick.

      1. Is it true?  It has the potential to make me sick, most certainly, but I can’t know for sure that it will.
      2. Is it absolutely true?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I cannot know that it will make me sick.
      3. Who am I when I believe that thought, COVID-19 will make me sick? I am deeply afraid:  I feel an adrenaline rush.  It feels like the alarm bells ringing all over my body.  I feel restless…I cannot settle down – I feel I must search for reassurance or confirmation that my feelings are right.  I feel the urge to reach out…to keep talking about my fear.
      4. Who would I be without the thought, COVID-19 will make me sick?
        I would be okay.
        I would be content.
        I would sleep better – with more rest I could survey the situation with clear eyes and act with intention.
        I would be happy at home.
        I would be grateful for my blessings.
        I would be free to be helpful in whatever way I can imagine.
        I would be able to take clear, appropriate instructions and safeguard myself, my family, and my community.
        I would be able to create an oasis of peace, a peaceful retreat at home.

Let’s consider this TURN AROUND for the thought – COVID-19 will make me sick.  A turn around allows us to observe the issue from another perspective, in this case, its opposite:

COVID-19 won’t make me sickThis is also a possibility. It is always possible that I won’t be sick. However, it is always my responsibility to act in the service of others and keep my distance so I don’t make them sick.

************

Can I think of any reason to let this thought (COVID-19 will make me sick) go? Yes. It is making me suffer and ruining my precious day.

************

In order for me to be happy in this situation, what do I need to happen?

COVID-19 should go away.

As Katie says, thoughts are always of the past or the future. 

Let’s question this idea – one thought at a time. Do our conclusions come from our reality? What we are experiencing now? Look around you. Feel your environment. The floor is supporting you. The walls are sheltering you. Feel your sit bones making contact with your sofa or chair…feel your feet making solid contact with the floor. You are warm. You are fed. Breathe…be here now.  See your door. Remember it swings both ways. You can believe that it opens onto a world that is in chaos, or you can imagine your door as a portal that allows you access to safety and Sanctuary.

You can close the door. This is reality. Most of us are performing a vital service by staying home. If you have been designated as essential, or have to go out to get groceries, medication, or to take a walk, create a Sanctuary in your mind so that when you come home and close the door you are closing the door to crisis – crisis thoughts, words, and actions. Take that with you when you go.

ANOTHER TURN AROUND:

Disclaimer:  Turning this thought around is simply an exercise in speculation.  Remember that Katie teaches not all turnarounds work – just try them on for size and if they don’t fit, that’s fine.

COVID-19 shouldn’t go away.

This idea sucks.  However, in this exercise, we may discover our power as a global community.  What are some beneficial possibilities that can emerge from this chaos? What can we discover about ourselves?  Our community?  Our nation?  Our world?

How can we survive and thrive?  How can we become better on the other side of this – after we kick its ass? 

We can examine and develop:

Our personal resiliencewhen the going gets tough, the tough get going; we can use this time to reinforce our ability to survive and thrive.

Our resourcefulness – find ways to connect, to network, to work from home, to pay our bills.

Our values – to discover what truly is valuable to you – Family, lifestyle, health, creativity, service, friendship, etc.

Our gratitude – express our appreciation for the workers who are on the front lines (medical and emergency staff, retail clerks, truckers, strong leaders); health & and wellbeing, family support, financial resources.

Our ability to be of service – how can we do it? Volunteer in some manner? Spread the love on the internet? Remember staying home is a vital act of community service.

More effective communication – person to person as well as nation to nation. We can learn to listen more, and really hear what the other person is saying. Hold the thought that the world will come together and overcome ideological divisions as we care and share and create a global protocol that will benefit humanity from this moment on.

Our power to embrace change – life is change. It could mean a new world. It could mean a new job. We have no way of knowing what is in store so why not focus on the beneficial changes? Go with the flow…

Feed the “net” our positive vibes – there is so much misery floating around on social media – we can change what our newsfeed shares right now.  Your loving presence is needed more than ever!

Our understanding of human nature – realize that, as Katie teaches, if we believed that thought, we would act in that way too…everyone has a reason for believing what they believe. It is wise to question those thoughts by doing The Work on them.A deep understanding of human nature will reveal that the only person we have the power to change is ourselves.

The necessity of creating a personal Contingency Plan – an emergency fund – asap – financial advisors have recommended that we have enough money set aside to be able to weather a three month period of transition. Even if we cannot put that much aside, always pay yourself first. If we cannot create an emergency fund, research the government and community resources that will be available to you in the event of an emergency so you can weather the storm.

Begin, revitalize, or work directly with your creativityCreativity is our birthright as human beings. We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born. It has the ability to help us weather the storms of life. Write, draw, sing, paint, cook, dance, garden, carve…create something colored beautiful to decorate your world. Keep in mind that Katie teaches that, all war belongs on paper. Writing is the most cathartic and revealing exercise you can do.

Protect your health – it is a vital resource.  Boost your immunity by eating well, drinking water, exercising (Qigong, yoga, walking, cycling, and playing with your dog are wonderful ideas – check with your local health authority to ensure you are okay to leave your home during this time). Use this time to sharpen your focus on health and wellbeing.

************

Physical distancing is easy to say but difficult to do.  Many people are feeling acute stress as this wears on.  Our medical and emergency personnel, our retail and restaurant staff and truckers are getting tired…

Please join me in sending them our love…

I invite your thoughts on this subject.

Take care, my friends.

 

My Version of Ground Hog Day?

I was asked today…If you had one day to live for the rest of your life, what would it look like?  It became an interesting exercise…

Creativity. Connection. Community.

These are my prime motivators. I have no problem attending to the details of life, but I am primarily a big picture person. I apply these three essential elements in my life every day.

As a person who has given herself over to the directives of the most honorable and compassionate self that I can possibly imagine at this point in time, the part I call my Constant Traveler, every day is fresh and new, so my version will always be my version, regardless of how many people are watching. It will always be unique.

It is interesting to consider how many of us are actively trying to retreat to our version of Ground Hog Day right now, as we resist the tsunami of change that is happening in our world.

Disclaimer: As an artist, my focus on creativity allows for my own redesign of this day. What “same” means to me would be the key component of my contemplation. “Same day” for me means exploring my personal Field of Dreams, what I call the Wellspring of Inspiration. It lies beyond any glitch in the Matrix. From this perspective, each day is always full of surprises. There is always Something Colored Beautiful to explore.

On a metaphysical level, the whole world is a construct of my imagination aka illusion. Check it out – on a quantum level, we are primarily composed of space. My world is composed of concepts – even the self that is writing this was constructed of nothing, of space…the space where everything and no-thing become moot.

In the big scheme of things, when it comes time to exit this life, I will give myself over to that expansiveness. I don’t take it any more seriously than I do this Ground Hog Day exercise in speculation…it is an exercise in creativity. Serious play.

I am curious to see where it leads me…

I am a peaceful warrior. Each day that I wake up on this side of the grass, I choose my response to life. If I were to live my version of the movie Ground Hog Day, it may look like this:

Creativity:

I would wake up in the morning, happy to be here. I begin my early morning practices in a state of receptivity, anticipating and accepting everyday miracles. These are the Something Colored Beautiful moments that are hidden in everyday life.

Yes, there is always stuff to deal with. There are challenges and readjustments and disappointments…my compassion flows to those who are suffering and deeply scared today…

I focus on my heart, my influence, my good vibes…in this creative space. Quora has become one of my creative spaces. Even if I were to answer this same question over and over again…considering my perspective, I would always find something new to share.

Connection:

This includes connections made in my brain through reading and understanding; connection with my Constant Traveler and the artful Wellspring of Inspiration inside me; and connection to other people. I would always be learning. I would always be sharing. What I learned and shared on this day would strengthen and enrich this connection.

But best of all…because I enter into what I consider sacred space every day…I would always be in contact with Inspiration…perhaps my Ground Hog Day would become my version of Nirvana???

To discover what lies beyond the Matrix because I would be immersed in it by the force of the Universe, not able to draw myself, my attention, out of it through ego identification?

What a delightful thought!!

Community:

I have been preparing for this event for over a decade. I live by the 5P’s of Effective Action – Proper planning prevents poor performance. As an ambivert, I have learned how to fill my inner directive to engage in the world, as well as how to retreat and recharge. I have been actively connecting with folks, writing and sharing songs and books, joining with others in groups like Toastmasters, and offering my contemplative and meditative thoughts to others in every way I can imagine.

Inspire. Invite. Incite others to action…I do this every day, so my Ground Hog Day wouldn’t be any different. Sometimes we don’t need to open out…sometimes we need to open in…to expand our inner resources and resilience and connection to the collective through what we share energetically…to enrich our inner space, because, in ways that you may not be able to recognize, when mine is beautiful and full it spills over into yours…

My same will include compassion and sharing that which I choose to live each day…and there is nothing wrong with more of that same!

And as my day draws to a close, and I have completed my qigong and breathing exercises and released this day…died to it, essentially…regardless of whether today becomes yesterday…I am living my best life. Too cool!!

Sending you lots of love, my friends…