Present Tense

On Forgiving….

Here’s the thing about forgiveness and compassion.

The more I read about the kid who murdered 17 people in Florida last week, the more it breaks my heart.

The whole situation is so incredibly devastating, but to read about a kid…yes a kid…a human…not a ‘monster’ or a ‘madman’, but a kid who had obviously had a difficult life and long standing mental/anger/anti-social problems doesn’t make me angry.

It makes me sad. For him, for his family; obviously for his victims and the entire community who will never fully recover.

He was not getting the help that he needed, his mother died and left him and his younger brother with no guidance, no place to go.

He was broken.

Now, here is the hard part: Forgiveness and compassion.

Remember when Dylan Roof, murdered all of those people in the church in South Carolina? And several of the family members told him, within days of this horrible crime, that they forgave him; some even offered love, based on their religious beliefs.

I was amazed by that reaction. Amazed. Heartened. Inspired.

BUT, just because we forgive or have compassion or love for someone who has done something HORRIBLE, does NOT mean that they avoid the consequences.

My husband and I have this conversation a lot; the whole concept of compassion and grace, usually when I’m complaining about something horrible that a politician did:). He will say “But, we have to forgive their bad behavior because we’re all flawed”. Forgive, but hold accountable.

I actually found myself having to ‘walk the walk’ almost two years ago when a FedEx driver hit and killed my dog Ember in our driveway. He was driving too fast, he knew our dogs and we were devastated.

I looked him in the eye a week later and told him that I forgave him and was sorry for the pain that he was in. I know that both of our hearts were broken. It doesn’t go away, but it lifted just a tiny bit of the burden we were both struggling with.

Just because we feel badly or our heart is broken over the challenges or illness that drove this kid in Florida to murder 17 people, does NOT mean that we as a society, don’t require consequences for his actions.

We can do both. It’s sort of along the lines of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, which I’ve always thought was such a stupid premise. But, I’m starting to get it; that concept is sinking in.

So, here is the bottom line concept: We CAN judge and we can forgive. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

And in fact, in order for us to function, we need to tie those two together.

This is basically what all religions and spiritual ideals teach us. Love our neighbors/our fellow humans/; even those who are flawed and broken. BUT, do not let them off the hook for their actions.

This is hard….living and practicing grace is probably one of the most difficult things we will ever do….

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We are starlings…

Undercurrents…energy….

We can feel it. We are being animated by these things that we can’t quite see or describe. If we squint or remove our strong attachments to outcomes, we can begin to see it.

Have you ever watched a flock of starlings when they collect and fly off? It’s like a gray-black wave that undulates as one.

You can’t really pick out one bird; it’s a collective decision to move and that wave is thick with birds, all working in concert.

That’s what collective energy is like among humans; or the whole universe.  Collective energy affects everything. I definitely believe the Earth herself is an active participant and she has been sending out warning signals for a long time.

If we were/are able to look down on the world from space, without any concept of space or time, you would see this synchronous energy.

It’s hard to see up close, in fact, I would suspect that an individual starling sees only chaos and the other birds immediately surrounding her.

But, when we step back; when we look back at the history of the world and of our nation, we see these turning points.

These are moments of either catalysts or evolution and the true turning points are mostly a combination of both.

Very few humans are able to see this in the moment. Some are. There are a lot of people with great vision, who often sound the alarms of what is happening or what is to come.

If we choose, we can use history as our guide and mentor and in some cases, predictor. If we open up. If we take the time to educate ourselves.

We are in a time, where the collective energy is shifting. It’s like when those starlings flap their wings for the first time, pre take-off.

They have no idea where they’re going, but they know it’s time and once they are airborne, something will click and they will coalesce into that huge, black undulating wave to begin their journey.

The current situation feels like the end, or the beginning of the end, of an era.  They are often so smooshed together that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the next begins.

The truth is, we just don’t have control of the collective. We only have us. We are but one ‘starling’, moving in concert with the collective, often with no clue as to why.

It feels to us as if we’re swept up and have no control over where that flock is headed.  That’s true, we don’t, but if we trust and we fly and we feel into it, we land some place completely different than where we began.

That’s so hard for us, isn’t it? We really feel as if we can muscle things into going our way. If we argue and present facts and statistics and experts and passion, we’ll change minds and hearts.

I’m not sure it works that way; in fact, as I’ve watched the unfolding over the past 10 days…oh hell, the last 10-20 years, I’ve seen people harden into their own tribe, beliefs and bunkers.

You know what has actually softened people? What has begun our evolution on this? Empathy, feelings, compassion.

It’s like the blinders of our rock hard ‘core beliefs’ have been chipped at or ripped away.

When we can see and connect with other’s pain and passion and grief, we soften.

This is our way forward; let’s FEEL our way, let’s sense what is right, instead of spewing out facts and statistics and experts.

This is where we’ve lost our way; we live in a culture where facts are king; where we have to have scientific “proof” for anything to be real. That leaves our humanity in the dust.

That leaves us to throw facts at each other and we all know that facts and stats and all of that cold, emotionless stuff can be twisted to fit our narrative. And we don’t connect that way.

We connect on a cellular and energetic and emotional level; we can’t quantify why we all feel the pain of this community in Florida or Connecticut, or Vegas, etc.

We are humans and in this moment of collective evolution, THAT is what we tap into. Don’t THINK so much, feel into this and then act on that core love of ‘all that is’.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I was wrong. So, very wrong….

ashamedI’m embarrassed. And I was wrong. There, I said it.

Words that Mr. Donald Trump would never allow to escape his lips. Which brings me to the subject at hand: I gave Trump the benefit of the doubt. Even though I would never vote for him, I honestly thought he would moderate some of his nuttier comments and I was wrong.

The events of this past weekend show that he is, indeed a dangerous man. He is appealing to fear and anger and our basest and most destructive emotions.

At this point, it seems impossible for anyone to support him and yet, he’s drawing crowds and votes.

I keep reminding myself that I’ve seen a revolution on the horizon and that I know this kind of turmoil must happen in order to move forward and transform our country. This undercurrent of anger and hatred and fear and bigotry and aggression has been building for years. I’ve said it before: we are a violent and aggressive country and culture.

Trump has tapped into that and has emboldened some people to hate their fellow Americans. He is inciting people to actually act on this anger and hate and it’s very dangerous. For us and for the candidates. But, it’s probably a necessary evil and is part of our cultural cleanse that we need. Let this stuff see the light of day. Look at it closely, then look in the mirror and see how you may be contributing to this division.

We are in a pivotal moment where courage and integrity are of paramount importance; from all of us. We like to blame Washington, D.C., the politicians, the immigrants, the minorities, the gays, the women, the men, the rich, the poor, the aliens…they are us. We must stand up and examine our beliefs, our actions, our words. Don’t call Trump voters names, but rather, lead by example. Stay calm, focused and summon up what you know, in your belly, is right and just and good. We are all Americans. We are all humans trying to make our way on a troubled and complicated planet.

Simplicity is called for: Be kind.

March 13, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We’re depending on you

Head in HandsWhat the HELL is going on in the world? What is wrong with people? We could turn those phrases into a drinking game this week and we’d all be drunker than skunks if you took a shot every time those words were spoken.

It’s crazy right now, but the interesting thing is that even though we do have some common pains and worries, we don’t really have common solutions. Another mass shooting: one side calls for stricter gun laws, another for looser ones. Another instance of alleged police misconduct resulting in a civilian death: one side says police have a hard job and we should always respect that, while the other side says that the police are the enemy.

And the frustrating thing for me is that these issues seem to always divide along party lines. If you’re in one party, you must believe this, which will of course, be the exact opposite of those ‘idiots’ in the other party. Sound familiar? And then there are those who actually use their brains and their other emotions besides fear and anger, who reside in the Venn Diagram where our values and common sense and empathy intersect.

Unfortunately, the places where we get our news, particularly on TV, rarely enter that fairly large area of agreement. Not good for business. Much better to keep people afraid and angry and suspicious of ‘the other side’ because it’s great for ratings.

So, here we are. Stuck. Angry. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Afraid. Dug in. Barricaded in our belief system, with no intention of learning about how others came to their world view.

Now, that is scary. A bunch of humans, glaring at each other through their tiny peepholes in the giant door that protects them from people who disagree with them. What a way to live, eh?

You know how on the internet or Facebook or whatever, videos of cute baby animals and baby humans tend to spread like wildfire? That is because we all universally (okay I know there are some of you with very dark and scared souls who refuse to enjoy puppies and kittens…which is a shame) feel a swelling of good emotions while watching them. They are cute and innocent and funny and we just wanna squeeze ‘em. That is because we are connected. By universal love.  Massive, global warm and fuzzies.

There are also those stories and shares of brutality and pain and suffering that receive millions of views and hits. In these cases, we are all connected by that universal pain. We all feel it. We all suffer. We all are connected. Do you understand what this means?

It means that we have to begin to acknowledge our commonality, rather than our differences. We are connected. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one triumphs or feels joy and love, we all do. It spreads and covers us and lifts us up and knocks us down. We are all one on a soul level.

This is the basic teaching of every single major religion and spiritual path. Love your fellow beings, for they are you. But, it’s hard, isn’t it? Everyone is so flawed and complicated and imperfect and blah, blah, blah.

We are at a tipping point. I believe that this is a time to awaken to the clarity that is available to us. I would not presume to know how you will do that, as we are all on our own path to awakening…or not. But, if you feel like things are not working, begin to question your beliefs and the collective beliefs we’ve taken as hard truth.

That is step #1. Question everything. What you have carried around as a belief for years and years is probably not really based on anything but what you were taught by other flawed humans. Core beliefs can evolve, despite the conventional wisdom that says otherwise. We’ve seen a huge evolution in our lifetime on various issues.

What have we been taught as Americans? Growth, progress, technological supremacy, military superpower, USA is #1, work over family, we know best as a nation, might makes right, money and wealth is the ultimate goal, we have dominion over the earth, etc.

A lot of us are questioning those values because they don’t seem to be valid any longer. We are fat, sick, mired in massive debt, destroying our environment, working longer and harder for less, feeling as if we have to aspire to great wealth, but not having the means or training or education or connections to achieve it.

So, re-think. Re-tool your belief system. Maybe fulfillment comes from a more nurturing place. Maybe you’ll begin to feel those connections to all things on earth, including other humans that you don’t quite understand. Love yourself, find yourself, connect with your soul.

Find a way. We’re all depending on you.

For an audio version of this post, click below

July 25, 2015 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

%d bloggers like this: