Present Tense

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

Certified Organic Human

I just spent 45 minutes picking wild black-raspberries behind our house.  Not thinking, just picking.  Wild raspberries require long pants, long sleeves and patience.  The bushes are nestled into the other brush and the thorns are not helpful.  Nature doesn’t plunk our food into nice, little, easy-to-grab containers.  Nature asks for a commitment.

There are tons of berries left to be harvested over the next couple of weeks and that’s fine with me.  Picking berries is my zen task for now.  I’m up for it.  We are finally settled at our farm, learning so much so quickly about some of the new things in our life.

We have an orchard with about 40 apple trees.  In the past, they’ve been cared for with pesticides and insecticides, but we are going to grow our apples via organic means.  Seems simple and well, organic, right?  It’s not.  We’re learning that it’s quite complicated to grow decent fruit, minus the toxic pest control.  But, we only need enough for us and the friends who’d like to share our apples, so we’ll sacrifice bounty for quality.

Organic farming is a long-term commitment.  It’s an entire eco-system that must be nurtured and developed; a 5 to 10 year plan.  Something we just don’t have time for in the modern world of instant gratification, where bigger and more is better.

Pastured chickens and lambs fertilize the crops.  Flowers are planted to bring in bees and useful insects.  The animals and crops are rotated to allow the land to replenish.  It’s a lot of work and planning and for the first few years, there is very little return on this investment.  A commitment.

So, how does this apply to all of us?  It’s worth pondering what commitment you’re making to your health and happiness.  We live in a culture of quick, fast, simple, no effort and we all know in our hearts and minds that there really is no quick fix for anything that’s important.

We are organic.  We require time and effort and patience and diligence to fully flower; nurturing our health, wellness, happiness and growth is a commitment.  Every day.  Stop with the excuses.  “I’ll lose weight when…I’ll save money when…I’ll look for a new job when…I’ll stop drinking when…I’ll take care of myself when…I’ll be nicer to people when…”

You don’t really know when ‘when’ is, do you?  I’ll tell you. It’s now.  Start.  Make a commitment and take pleasure in the nuturing; in the process.  In all honesty, there is never an end.  Forget goals, think now.  Start the process and let it unfold.

Follow nature.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Generosity=Happiness

I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity.  I think that truly happy people know that their happiness comes from getting outside of themselves and swimming with the other humans in the sea of humanity.

I do not tend toward generosity.  I say that sadly and certainly not with pride.  I close myself off from people.  It’s some sort of defense mechanism that I developed as a young ‘un and the intensity waxes and wanes with the situation.  I’m working on changing that.

I think that in our culture, we equate generosity with philanthropy or financial donations or support.  If you give money, you’re generous.  That may be true…or it may not.  There are plenty of folks who hand out bills or write checks that lack true generosity. What I’m talking about, we’ll call generosity of spirit.

In a nutshell, generosity of spirit means that you greet pretty much everyone and every situation with an open heart.  You cut them some slack.  You realize that we all struggle together on this big blue marble.  Generosity of spirit means you soften when you see people’s pain, rather than judge them with a “well, you made your bed, now lay in it”.

Generosity of spirit requires empathy and the realization that underneath people’s bad or annoying (i.e. human) behavior, there is a soul that needs nurturing, just like you do.  That we all share 99.9% of our DNA and that as humans, we thrive on kindness and compassion from our compadres instead of the much easier, criticism and impatience.

There are cultures around the world (many of which as proud Americans, we make fun of as soft or poor or ‘third world’) where generosity is prized above all else.  Where you are expected to love your neighbor and see to their comfort and happiness and in turn, you bless yourself.  American values stress rugged individualism, making our own way, taking care of #1.  Which could be the reason why EVERYONE complains that nobody is very nice anymore. Are you nice?  Are you generous?  All the time?  Me, neither.

But, I’m professionally successful and financially well-off and I have two nice houses and a couple of cars and lots of stuff.  I should be ecstatic!  I’m not.

I’m working on opening up my heart to people, ideas, nature,  compassion and the love that I believe underscores life on earth.  That also means opening up to pain, grief, jealousy, envy, hate, anger and all of the things that lead to our suffering and struggling as we make our way.  Embracing the good stuff, while recognizing and allowing the bad, is the way to awaken to our short and finite time on earth.  Our culture does not help us on this path….at all.

It’s a process for me and I slip up and backslide everyday.  Some situations prompt me to old behavior where I close down,  curl up into my little protective ball of ‘me’ and ignore the needs of those around me.  I snap or bark or toss out a stinging, smart-ass remark, when I should smile and listen and encourage.  Two steps forward, one step back.  The key is not to hate myself for my shortcomings.  To practice the same generosity toward myself that I want to project to others.

I wish you well, I wish you freedom from suffering.  May you live a life of ease and peace.

May 4, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

   

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