Present Tense

On chaos…

eye-1My husband Dee just came into my office and shared a quote with me: “Life and chaos go hand in hand; that is life.”

This is indisputable isn’t it?  Life is chaos, but it’s all in how we perceive it.  Is it chaos or is it actually very orderly?

If we were were to look inside of our bodies, we would see a billion processes going on. Cells rushing here and there, manufacturing this and processing that. Digesting, making blood, building bones, moving oxygen molecules and that doesn’t even take into account the immensity of what is happening in our brains.

Under a microscope, it looks like complete and utter chaos. But, in reality, it’s not.  Everything has order and a job and a purpose.  It would appear to be a lot of rushing around, but it isn’t random, so it isn’t really ‘chaos’, is it?

Chaos is a human construct or definition.  It’s our perception of actions and events and yes, even thoughts, that we label as chaotic.  Watch a video of people in Grand Central Station in New York City or just look at kids changing classes in a school.  Bustling, confusing, busy, but they are all going someplace.  It is actually orderly.

So, if we change our perception of chaos or as we like to call the current events that are happening now, a shit storm, we may see that underneath all of this seeming random craziness, there is order; a purpose.

I’m reading a couple of interesting books about the historical cycles on earth.  In a nutshell, the premise is that we go through various cycles with each generation. Those of us born within the same rough time frame, say 15 years, experience and react quite differently from those who are older or younger than we are.  Their formative years, were not our formative years.  Events and energies were altered.

But like the stars in the sky, these cycles repeat roughly every 80 years and we can predict or at least be aware of the human ‘energy’ of these periods.

It’s really fascinating and I know there is an astrological component, but that’s not what I want to talk about. My point is that there are catalyst events within these cycles that change us and our world.  They have to happen.  Disruption must occur.  By the way, I prefer disruption over the term chaos because chaos has such a negative connotation and without disruption, life cannot evolve.

For instance, the American Revolution birthed a nation like the world had never seen before, predicated on self-determination, rather than birthright. Yes, I know, we aren’t perfect, but ‘chaos’ created something amazing.

The Civil War was another disruptive event.  Quite horrible at the time ( a true understatement, forgive me), but it resulted in the end of slavery.

We can look at many, many events and some of them didn’t have good outcomes. For instance 9/11 seems to have ushered in an era of suspicion, overreaction and a rise of government invasion of our privacy.  We can argue that, but it’s kind of inarguable if you’ve traveled by plane lately.  However, when we look back in 50 years, we may see the true effects. History needs time to unfold.

It was a cyclical catalyst. And they will ALWAYS happen.  In order to build and evolve, we have to have destruction.  We have to have disruption.  It is life.

We see it in nature, every single year.  In the fall, everything dies and goes dormant.  It lays there all winter and in the spring, rebirth.  Summer is luscious and abundant and lavish.  Then, autumn comes and we slowly wind down to begin the next cycle. This happens without fail.

Our reactions and perceptions are key in these events.  If we were to begin to understand and embrace these disruptions, we could save ourselves a lot of pain and anguish. I know that’s very hard to do.

This is the core purpose of a spiritual practice.  To be the eye of this constant storm of disruption that is life.  It’s always a swirling, spinning, living, dying, exploding, building, crazy, scary and beautiful process.

A spiritual practice grounds and centers us to be comfortable in the eye of this storm of life. To sit and allow this to spin around us, seeing the disruption for what it is: life and the development and evolution of our species.

Yes, it can be overwhelming and sad and shocking, but that is what is it is to be human.  And it has always been and will always be.

Imagine what would happen if let’s say, a billion of us just stepped out of the chaos and into the center of the storm.  We just take ourselves out of the swirling mess via meditation and putting our faith in a higher power or however you choose to practice.

What would happen?  The storm would lessen.  We could begin to see a little more clearly what is really happening.  We would hold space for the necessary disruptions to occur without adding to it in a negative way.  This does not mean ‘giving up’.  It means taking time to gain some clarity and focus.  A gathering of our strength.

So many people have asked me how I managed to navigate my mother’s recent death with a calmness and serenity and acceptance.  Truly, people have reached out and asked me this.

I didn’t do anything that people haven’t done for thousands and thousands of years. But, for me, a spiritual component was the most important aspect of embracing her birth into spirit.  I used ritual, ceremony, meditation and faith.

These practices are available to all of us; this is ancient wisdom from all cultures that will help us cope and thrive.  It’s not woo woo or airy fairy or superstitious.  This is part of our humanity. We need help dealing with the world and with being human. It’s hard.  And we don’t get that help from man made institutions, most of which are now crumbling before our eyes.

Our faith must be put back into each of us, as humans.  Not the government or the military or the police or the banks or the corporations or sadly, the church.

It’s time to awaken to the mysteries of your own soul.  To use these practices and rituals and strategies to cope with what seems to be chaos, but is really an evolution of humanity that seems confusing and frightening and unstable.

Yes, it is all of those things, but history is full of similar circumstances. The difference is that we have modern technology to shove it in our faces and into our minds and bodies, 24/7.

Find your practice.  Find your tribe.  Embrace the quiet and the ancient wisdom that is available to you. You have the world at your fingertips now.  Read, contemplate, join, support, ask for support, get quiet and remove yourself from the storm.  Step into the eye.

Embrace the chaos, for it is life.

January 19, 2017 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The End Times

lightIt feels as if we are being overtaken by chaos.  The massive, scary and often, violent events in the world seem as if they are happening in more rapid succession than ever.  Shootings, bombings, coups, Brexit, riots; a global primal scream that we can watch in real time, all over the world.

My husband mentioned Armageddon or apocalypse the other day while we were watching the news out of Nice, France and then Turkey the next day.  I started thinking about that.

Many have predicted ‘the end times’ in scripture (not necessarily Christian, but that too) and various prophesies.   They usually have a similar theme: “God” sends a flood or famine or wars or Christ, etc. to cleanse us, so that we can begin again with a kinder, gentler humanity.

So, maybe that IS what’s happening.  Maybe this IS Armageddon or some sort of ‘end times’.  It all feels very Old Testament right now.  Wars, retribution, tribalism, closing borders, shutting down, pulling inward. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!  ANGER, ANGER, ANGER!

We hear calls for ‘tougher’ leaders.  Someone who will shut us in our castle and fill the moat with alligators and land mines to keep the bad guys out.  We’ll close ourselves off because the rest of the world doesn’t have our best interests at heart.  THEY WANT TO KILL US!

Tribal.  Low energy.  Not taking responsibility for our past actions.  Not recognizing that our aggression and arrogance may have caused and fostered much of this violence.

There are many stories of these types of societies and kingdoms in the Bible and they are usually beset with horrors from God as punishment, until they are eradicated or they repent.

So, is this what’s happening?  Is this the proverbial flood that washed the earth clean for Noah?  It’s interesting that many of the most devout are not seeing their culpability in many of our current conflicts.  It’s ‘everyone else’.

The ‘end times’ are supposedly paving the way for the return of Christ.  But, many feel that he will not return as a man or a woman or a human, but instead as a consciousness.  Christ Consciousness.  We carry this consciousness and can all become Christ like.  We love, forgive, realize our connections to all that is.  We care for everyone and everything. We see the earth as a living, breathing entity, rather than something to pillage and crap on.

We truly love our neighbors, even if we don’t much like them or agree with them.  We treat them with empathy and respect.  All of the things that Jesus taught us the first time around, will flower in the consciousness and energy of man.

This is also the prophecy of ‘the new age’ that many feel is upon us.  Maybe this is the complete chaos and degradation that has to happen in order for us to rise from the ashes.  We have to get so sick of the dysfunction, lies, violence, anger, hatred, barbarism and hypocrisy that we finally surrender; we ‘see the light’, we alter our outlook and reactions and begin to see that love is our true nature.

It’s what all of the ancient texts of every religion and spiritual teachings say.  Love yourself because God loves you.  Love your fellow humans, love the earth, love nature, love your enemies.  Can you imagine what would happen if we all just followed the basic rules laid out since the beginning of time?

What if we stopped digging in our heels about our political beliefs?  What if we began to find our commonality?  What if we all just admitted that we’re scared shitless right now and that we know in our gut that in order to change the world, we have to heal ourselves, first and foremost.  What if we just admitted that we know damned well that no politician is going to fix this huge, monstrous, complex, corrupt, crazy world?

Again, I will use this word: surrender.  Surrender to your inner light that says more love is necessary.  That anger and hating makes you feel awful and is the real root of our collective pain.  We WANT to love and be loved.  We want to live peacefully and in order to do that, we have to surrender to our true nature.

Yes, I’m a dreamer.  I know that you’re saying I’m naïve and it’s ‘kill or be killed’.  But at some point, we do have to alter this path of escalation and retribution because it’s causing more and more and more trauma and trauma causes people to behave badly.

We are processing thousands of years of human history right now.  That’s what’s happening.  We’ve reached a breaking or tipping point where the vast majority of humans on this planet have collectively realized their ancestral pain and have begun expressing it.  The light bulb has gone off and they see that they are not benefiting from modern life in the ways that they were promised.

All of this chaos is necessary.  It’s shining a light on people’s pain and suffering; we can’t fix that, until we  acknowledge it.  So, here we are, all of us standing in that bright light and we can’t get away.  That’s as it should be.  Allow the light to cleanse and infuse your spirit and then go shine it on the world.

 

July 17, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Are you, you?

differenttt“We realize–often quite suddenly–that our sense of self, which has been formed and constructed out of our ideas, beliefs and images, is not really who we are. It doesn’t define us, it has no center.”
― Adyashanti

I’ve gone through a fairly thorough scrubbing and cleansing of my mind over the past few years. The result has been a profound alteration in the way I see the world; politics, religion, love, hate, humility, suffering, pain, spirituality, money, food, vanity, creativity. All of them have been under the microscope of my own introspective inner eyeballs.

When you do this and begin to alter your beliefs and more importantly your reactions, it throws other people off considerably. At least once a week, someone has said something along the lines of “I thought you and I agreed on politics/religion/values/etc”. The under-current being, of course, “you’re not who I thought you were.”

Oh, well. I’m not who I thought I was, either. So, there. We can agree on that, right?

Based on my many conversations in person, online and in various groups that I belong to, this questioning is building into what could be described as a spiritual epidemic. We are questioning conventional wisdom and our long-held personal beliefs en masse.

This has brought us to a place of great discomfort for many. To let go of what you thought was ‘true’ and ‘right’ and comfortable, is to feel the earth rumble under your feet. It’s like a case of psychic vertigo, where you can’t quite find a foothold or a handle; you feel like a kid who spent a little too much time on the playground merry-go-round. Buzzy and confused.

But, as kids, didn’t we kinda love that feeling? That out of control, dizziness where you felt as if you weren’t solidly on the planet? You sort of thought if you spun around long enough, you might levitate right up into the sky.

As adults, we tend like firm footing. We know what we think and we have strong opinions based on….um, well…something.

We are tribal. I’ve written this so many times and we like it when we find people who we think are of our tribe. That translates into people who agree with us. People who ‘share our values’, whatever that means.

When you begin to evolve and for lack of a better word, awaken and begin to question your ‘truths’, your tribe won’t like it. Not one little bit. Because suddenly, they may begin to question and that is not a comfy place to be, is it?

But, we’re all grown ups here and if we look around the U.S. and the world, we can see that challenging the status quo and the monied interests and conventional wisdom is rampant. It’s causing fear, chaos, imbalance. Those who have been in power for a very long time, certainly don’t like this uppity attitude from the ‘peasants’. They feel the ground shifting as well.

I think this is part of a much larger transformation of humanity; humans 2.0, if you like. The metaphysical world believes that this began around December of 2012, with a shift in energy. In astrological terms, we are nearing the end of a cycle where Pluto transits from Capricorn (patriarchy, authority, plutocracy, status, wealth, power) into Aquarius (divine feminine, nurturing, thinking, sharing, problem solving) over the next decade or so.

Many of you will poo poo this airy-fairy stuff, but admit it: you can feel it. You can feel a shift that is happening in our nation and you feel it in yourself. You’re questioning your life, your choices, the very essence of WHO YOU ARE.

Are you fulfilling what your soul craves? Are you where you want to be, doing what you want to do, with the people you want to be with? You’re questioning your job, what you eat, how you eat, how you treat others, how you treat the planet, what you really want out of your leaders and your government.

It’s a sea change. We are on the crest of a huge wave of transition and change and yes, possibly enlightenment.

So, the next time you find out that someone isn’t exactly who you thought they were or if someone throws that down on you, stop for a minute. Question your own truths. Do they REALLY serve you or do they serve your tribal leaders thatneed you to follow along? If you have changed, just smile and tell them that you are much more comfortable being who you really are.

Be you. Be brave. Ride the wave. You’ve no other choice, really.

January 17, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The answer is spirit

Minolta DSCI have this theory and I share it every chance that I get. My theory is this: we as humans, are not evolved enough to function effectively in the modern world. Technology and the pace of life has outstripped our ability to process and adapt.

Look around and you will see stress, chaos, anger, frustration, violence, fear, road rage, supermarket rage, Facebook rage. We are chronically offended, scared, angry, busy, fat, sick, unloved, confused, over-medicated. This is primarily in our wealthy and powerful 1st world country. The problems in the 3rd world are even more dire.

The world is exploding and we are paralyzed to react, other than with anger, fear, closing borders, blaming the ‘others’. It’s damned painful, isn’t it?

We don’t understand ourselves right now. We feel as if we’re trapped between two worlds or planes of existence. We were told that technology and progress would save the world; would lessen our burdens and infinitely enhance our ‘quality of life’. But, not so much, eh?

We aren’t ready for all of this. We aren’t ready to live in the big, wide world. It’s too much. Too much information, too much chaos, too much to do and to buy and to hoard. For many of us, too much pain.

Too much.

So, what do do? How the hell do we begin to cope and to see a way forward?

Spirit.

There are many who claim to be religious, but are you in touch with spirit? Do you embrace the sacred and the divine, meaning that you believe and realize that we are all connected. All of us and every single thing on earth and in the cosmos. We share energy and when the energy becomes so negative that we can barely stand to be in our own skin, we have to actively attempt to change it.

Here is what I and millions and millions of others, throughout time, have used to try and tap into this energy: meditation. You can call it prayer, if you’re more comfortable with that, but I believe that prayer and meditation are subtly different. However, the main objective is to quiet the mind, tap into this infinite energy that animates and surrounds and connects us to all that is.

This is a practice. Think of it as part of your personal hygiene regimen. It’s emotional, mental and spiritual hygiene. We need this as humans. The ancient wisdom all speaks of various forms of leaving our bodies, to commune with other spirits and the spirits of the universe.

You can do it alone or you can join with others. We need group energy. We need to get back to ceremony and ritual. We need that as we need food and water and air and fire.

Some of you may have watched Oprah Winfrey’s recent 7 part series called “Belief”. Although it didn’t dig very deeply into religious or spiritual tradition, the one thing that I took away from it was this: we need ceremony and ritual and actual physical gatherings to sustain us. We crave a ‘tribe’ to celebrate and reflect on rights of passage, growth, death, birth, love, belonging. We are too scattered and too divided and fragmented.

In order to begin to make sense out of this global chaos, we need to make sense of us. Make sense of our lives, our purpose, what animates us; we need to find a way to listen to our souls and then to begin to share that with others.

Be honest. You feel this, too. Maybe you can’t quite articulate it because of the unease, fear and anxiety you’re feeling. You may feel foolish, as you’ve rejected religion and spirituality for some reason. It’s not scientific or factual or concrete or ‘modern’. You might have to take a leap of faith that is airy-fairy and some of those close to you may mock your interest in something so lacking in ‘proof’.

That of course, is the beauty of faith and spirit and belief. Once you commit, you begin to see and feel proof. You begin to trust your feelings and intuition and you start to KNOW something that you dared not think about, in these times of technology and progress.

It’s ancient and it’s in your DNA, both physical and spiritual. Give in. Embrace. Know yourself and you will begin to know and love others. You will begin to see what we’re doing to each other, to the earth, to all that is around us.

I promise.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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