Saturday, May 28, 2016

So When Is Fighting a Good Thing?

There is fighting and then there is fighting. The difference is fighting against or fighting for. When fighting against something you can easily lose sight of the positive change you want to create. Fighting against is short sighted. It does not move toward positive change.

Movements that come from interbeing, from love for the more beautiful world, have a vision of something bigger than those in the movement. This kind of movement resists the culture of separation and violence. They are not consumed with stopping this or that. In fact, they are focused on and committed to the vision of what's possible. They have the perspective of connectivity with that future. They are already living it.

When we see ourselves in other people and in all of creation, we will resist the destroying of nature and of indigenous cultures and of the lives of others. For that destruction ultimately destroys us as well. Do you just stand by when your life or your family are threatened? So the, how can we just stand by when it happens to others - for we are all connected.

All of life is like a spider's web. What happens to any part of the web effects the rest of the web. It is that sense of connection that we have lost.

But how do we resist that which threatens us? Doesn't that threat come from and "enemy"? Don't we need to use violence to combat it? The terms "enemy" and "combat" come tripping off our toungue so quickly, don't they?

"Broadly enough interpreted, violence - that which 'violates' another person's boundaries - is unavoidable." (1) This is not the signal for "war", however. Resistance like peaceful protests and work stoppages (strikes) may result in inconveniences when traffic is tied up or garbage isn't collected. Some people will have their boundaries violated in that way. It is the disruption of the status quo that ultimaely results in change. The persistent resistance to the destruction of nature and peoples, with the vision of a world of connectiveness, can create that more beautiful world we believe is possible.

Consider how "tree huggers" have bodily stood in the way of clearing the forests or how boycotts of animal fur have protected nature. Think of how the boycotting of "blood diamonds" has improved the lives of slave laborers in diamond pits and how arms embargoes limit countries which violate human rights. These are resistance that create the change we envision.

So, no, we don't sit idly by when there are threats to the web of life. AND we don't hate and kill We come together with love and purpose to strengthen the web. Gandhi and Martin Luther Kind, Jr., worked to strengthen the web in this way.

What would you be willing to do to create that more beautiful world? Who would you joing hands with to resist the destruction of the web of life?

 (1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein

Today's Daily Dozen to-do List:

  • Cut up plastic six-pack rings. Place them in the proper trash/recycle receptacle so small animals don't get caught in them.
  • Make nutritional treats for dogs and cats, and give them to friends. Make extra for animal shelters.
  • Notify authorities immediately about pets left in hot cars.
  • Be sure to eliminate any standing water around your home. Change water in birdbaths daily. It is mosquito season.
  • Slow down on curves on winding roads in areas frequented by deer. Each year, 500,000 deer are killed and 29,000 people are injured in deer-vehicle collisions. Deer roam at dawn, dusk, and the first few hours of darkness.
  • Plant flowers around a school, church, park or other public area.
  • Organize a clean-up project. Choose an area that needs attention and collect debris, abandoned items, and other materials that have collected in that area.
  • Make quilts, baby clothes, scarves, hats, etc. for low income people.
  • Send a letter to some former teachers, letting them know the difference they made in your life.
  • Organize a clothing drive for a shelter.
  • Organize a blood drive. Provide juice and water, cookies and snacks for the donors. Make it a party!
  • Hold a teddy bear drive and donate the bears to police or fire departments for traumatized children.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Justice through Love

This past Saturday I had the privilege to hear Dr. Lawrence Carter speak at the Christian Theological Seminary Commencement Service in Indianapolis, IN. Dr. Carter is Dean of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College and the  Honorary Doctor of Divinity, awarded Saturday, for his impact in helping train leaders for the African American Church.

His topic was "Where the Moral Arc Bends" and he spoke on justice through love. I was thrilled to hear someone at his level of influence espouse the same principles I've been reading and writing about. It is people like Dr. Carter who are making possible the more beautiful world we believe is possible.

He reminded us that "Darkness cannot be overcome by darkness. . . and Hate cannot be overcome by hate." Yes, only light can overcome darkness and only love can overcome hate. If we are to change this culture of hate and violence, we must love those who hate.

Certainly not always easy,  it is what Nelson Mandela used to prevent a blood bath in Africa with a program of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is what the family of the victims of the Charleston, S.C.,church shooting did with  Dylan  Roof, the man who murdered their loved ones. When we respond to hate and violence with more hate and violence, no healing can occur. It is what causes war and more bloodshed.

This doesn't mean that there should be no consequences to the haters, only that justice must be gentle, measured out with love. Harsh punishments create more hurt, more anger, more pain, more violence. Working in prisons all those years certainly convinced me of that. Too many of the men came out of prison with more anger and hate than before they went in.

Dr. Carter works diligently to create equality and respect for all living things. There can be no justice, no peace, when one group of people is valued less than another, when the needs of some are ignored or withheld.

And I loved it when he stated that "anyone who disrespects the earth also disrespects all women." Women are more closely connected to earth, to our Mother Earth. And people who disrespect Mother Earth are destroyers of life itself.

Yes, it was gratifying to hear someone with Dr. Carter's influence to promote peace and justice through gentleness and love.

Today's Daily Dozen To-do List:

  • Keep your neighborhood looking its best by promoting a regular neighborhood cleanup day for homeowners.
  • To reduce air polution carpool, take public transportation, bike, or walk.
  • Use a clothesline to dry your clothes instead of a dryer.
  • Make sure your car has a tune-up regularly. Unchecked cars can waste fuel and pollute the environment.
  • Use recycled paper. And recycle the paper used in your household.
  • Try not to buy foam packing materials or aerosol products.
  • Make birdhouses and feeders or other wildlife feeding stations. These could even be sold as a fundraiser.
  • Support recycling programs in your school, business, or neighborhood. Analyze the ones already in place and suggest improvementsj.
  • Help maintain park, bicycle, and recreation trails. And never litter.
  • Clean up the yard of a neighbor who is unable to do that task, who is ill, has had surgery recently, or has had a family emergency,
  • Clean up litter on a stretch of road near you. 
  • Donate to an organization that supports a healthy environment.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Nature of Evil?

Is evil just part of human nature? Obviously we all have the opportunity to do evil acts. But are we, by nature, evil beings? What is evil?

An evil act does not mean the person doing it is absolutely evil. They may very will feel they have no choice. Or they may chose that behavior believing it it is for the common good.

When a police officer abuses his power by using unnecessary force on an offender, for instance., it is an evil act. Yet the officer himself is not evil. The situation created his actions. You can imagine what may have been going through his mind at the time. And his habitual use of violence against perceived threat is trained into him, into most of us in our culture..

Our culture of separation supports the us-against-them perspective. And we are programmed to meet violence with violence. And because we live this culture, that "Story of Separation" as Eisenstein calls it, are we evil? Do we act with evil intent? Or do we respond to the situation as we have been programmed?

In this separation culture, hate and the concept of absolute evil are employed to cover our wounds of separation, that pain and fear of feeling alone in the world, Our lack of connection to others, to nature, make us greedy because we believe in scarcity rather than abundance. When everyone has plenty and we live in a sharing economy that rewards generosity, greed is senseless, fear and hate unnecessary.

How different life would be if we used connectivity for conflict resolution. Instead of struggling to overpower the other, we could recognize the goodness in each other and create an attitude of sharing and compassion.  What better resolutions we could find!

So often the fear and anger from past experiences result in a person acting with aggression and greed or violence . These old wounds must be healed before their actions can change. They may not trust you because their trust has been so broken tn the past that it is too difficult for them to trust again.

If you can manage to meet their hostility with respect and acceptance, your trust may then beget trust in them. Meet fear with compassion. Try to step into their situation, their point of view.

This doesn't mean you take a victim stance. You must remain assertive. You can only do this when you are in the position of  the strength off your connectivity, knowing you have what you need, your awareness of abundance. You are strongly connected to your "human-ness", to your inner being.

I know that sometimes it may feel good to have someone "inhuman" to hate without qualification: "They are just evil." The world appears to be simpler if you just get rid of them. However, this only widens the gap of separation and perpetrates the culture of separation, violence, hate, and war."The purpose of responding non-violently isn't to show what a good person you are. It isn't even to be a good person. It comes, rather , from a simple understanding of the truth"(1)

 The truth is that while we each experience a unique place in this life, we are also all connected to all that is. Like the blind men and the elephant, we each have a different perspective through which we experience a situation. And this influences our reaction to it. (However, the elephant is still an elephant.) But this doesn't mean we can't share our perspectives and perhaps change the situation, then change our behaviors. Perhaps our shared perspectives can help the us learn that the situation isn't threatening at all.

This hasn't been an easy post to write. It challenges so much of my own experience and old habits. Yet I want to be more compassionate more of the time. This kind of compassion is the only influence I have in creating a more beautiful world for myself and for others.

I understand I may be only one drop of water on the stone. But I don't want to waste my chance to wear it way. Won't you join me? Together we could create a waterfall.

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know  Is Possible by Charles Eisenstein

Today's daily dozen to-do list:

  • Take a double batch of cookies or a couple dozen doughnuts with a Thank You card to a fire station for the men and women who respond to emergencies.
  •  Give a Starbucks "Thank You" gift card to a police officer.
  • Verbally thank a military personnel or veteran for his or her service.
  • Do something nice for someone who really bugs you. Imagine where their irritating behavior might come from and consider how they may be like you.
  • Be extra nice to the next person that you see being rude. Maybe their rudeness reflects their woundedness.
  • Select someone you feel needs a special lift, and send them an uplifting card or give them flowers or a potted plant from your garden
  • Forgive a debt. You have what you need without it.
  • Return anything you may have borrowed with a "Thank You!"
  • Donate non-violent books or magazines to the jail for the prisoners to fill their time.
  • Support a prison ministry through a church or civic organization.
  • Volunteer to mentor or tutor teens through the YWCA/YMCA or other organization for youth.
  • Collaborate with friends to bake cookies and brownies to deliver to the night shift hospital emergency room staff.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Judgement = Separation

Self-judgement, the powerful weapon of the war against the self, is the most common habit of separation. It is impossible to be judgmental of yourself without being judgmental of others. To place yourself as less than others implies that there are then others who are less than you, because "at least there is someone" you are better than.

Judgement  implies  a moral judgement, assigning "right" or "wrong" or "good" or "bad" to a person. Listen for the "should" in your appraisal. "Should" usually implies that kind of judgement of yourself or an other.

Judgement is separation. Your set yourself apart from others, you see yourself as different. Either you or others are right or wrong, good or bad. Compassion, however, puts you in the other's shoes without the differences.You see the world through the other's eyes and experience a sameness, a connection.

Judgement toward others shows our lack of understanding, not a fundamental difference at our core. In the exact situation with the identical world view and conditions, we would most probably make the same choices.

The way to change the behavior choices is to change the situation. When we are able to understand the experience of others, forgiveness arises and it is no longer possible to hate - others or ourselves.

In a more beautiful world we create better circumstances to create more positive choices. When you can see more choices you increase your personal power to change and to help others to change.

When you recognize you are making habitual choices that result in negative outcomes, it is vital that you look for more choices. It isn't enough to just stop drinking, for instance. The alcoholic must explore other choices of how to deal with situations without using alcohol, choices that result in more positive outcomes. This is true for all addictive choices.

So what separates you from others? How do you keep the view of yourself as different, as apart from others? How often are you ignoring how alike you are with those from which you separate yourself?

It's strange - technology has made it possible to easily connect with more of the world than ever in the history of humanity. And yet, all to often it is used to foster hate, fear, and judgement, to keep us separate.

This could be called the Era of Separation. Just read the newspaper, watch TV, or go on social media and see how much fear and hate abounds. Notice how often the focus is on the"worst" or "best" of people. We can't escape it. But do we have to participate? It is all too easy to fall right into doing the same thing.  Instead, let's more often consider how we are like others, to have true compassion for them and ourselves.

It's not enough, though, to think "I'm no better than they." That only leads you to judge you both rather than looking for more choices. To stop at that point by branding yourself as "as bad as they" doesn't change the situation for either of you.

So, this more beautiful world we long for will require that we pay close attention to our thoughts and our perspectives. As we create better situations for ourselves, we change the world.

The Daily Dozen To-do List:

  • Encourage your church or community organization to participate with you in reading to, helping with, and singing with physically challenged children.
  • Talk with someone about how we are similar to those "other" people discussed in the news or on social media.
  • Help build accessible ramps for elderly or handicapped people who have no family or funds to build them.
  • Collect "Kindness Quarters" for a special act of kindness project. Encourage others to collect quarters for the project as well. One quarter may not seem significant, but many added together can have great impact.
  • Extend a hand to someone in need. Help someone carry their groceries to their car. Say hello, smile, and offer a dollar or two to someone on the street who looks like they really need it. 
  • Assemble and deliver a basket of vegetables or fruit and a few flowers for a home-bound person.
  • Volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels. Share a cheerful smile with the recipients. 
  • Share your personal books, magazines, or newspapers with a family that can't afford their own. Children that have books and magazines in their home achieve more in school. Yet many families struggling to survive cannot afford them.
  • Visit the elderly who have no family nearby. Offer to help them with minor maintenance and repairs that they may need but can no longer do themselves. Keep your tools in the car so when you visit you are prepared to help!
  • Make a list of things to do to bring more kindness into the world. Have family members and friends make lists and exchange lists. Agree to do one item a day for a month.
  • Take an acquaintance to dinner or invite them to your home. Get to know more about how they are like you. You may just create a friendship.
  • Make extra when you cook or bake for your family and share it with a shut-in or elderly person living alone.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pleasure and Desire: friends or foe?

Pleasure and desire, so often touted as our downfall, are in reality a natural guidance system toward fulfillment of our needs, and ultimately to the unfolding of our potential.

We need to relearn trusting them, trusting that we can experience pleasure and desire separate from the addictions that take us away from our true selves and destroy our potential. To do that we need to practice choices that bring joy, that feel right, that feel that they are the very best for us, rather than that which simply distracts us from some uncomfortable feeling.,

Practice experiencing the small pleasures, the simple joys of connection with nature, with loved ones, with music, with beauty. This will strengthen our trust in our pleasures and desires so that we can follow their guidance to our true joy and potential. Play, celebration, mystery, humor, all are part of the process of creating a more beautiful life and a more beautiful world.

What role does fear play in this process? Fear can limit growth. But it also creates a boundary within which growth happens. When growth is pressing against that boundary, then it is time to break through the fear. So the fear to look for is that which feels obsolete, a next step you are ready to take. That fear then should feel exhilarating rather than full of dread. It is the exhilaration of reaching a goal, of climbing higher. It is the nearness of joy.

What of destructive pleasure seeking, then? We know it abounds. It may bring pleasure but does it bring joy? No. Usually this kind of pleasure seeking is a result of pent-up desire, not as authentic desire. When we practice simple pleasures and tap into the pure joy of connection with our deepest desire, those destructive behaviors are no longer building within to erupt in harmful ways. We no longer even want to do them. They don't feel good any more.

The pain we were avoiding has dissipated. We find it easier to deal with, to heal the hurt without those avoidance behaviors we have been practicing. We can live our joy.

"The focus on pleasure, desire, aliveness, and joy offers a guideline for work on the social and political level as well. . . We are offering people not a world of less, not a world of sacrifice, not a world where you are just trying to have to enjoy less and suffer more - now, we are offering a world of more beauty, more joy, more connection, more love, more fulfillment, more exuberance, more leisure, more music, more dancing, and more celebration." (1)

When we can hold onto the vision of that life, we will communicate it as the subtext of our activism. People will respond positively to our knowledge that the things we give up are not nearly as good as the things we will discover, the things that bring us true joy.

When we do this, when we honestly "walk the walk" and practice these new beliefs, our words of activism will have power and our actions will motivate us and others to create that "more beautiful world."

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible  by Charles Eisenstein.
This post is based almost entirely on the above noted book. 

The Daily Dozen to-do list:

  • Experience great music, move with it. Let it fill you with pleasure/joy. Dance! If you can't dance with your feet and legs, dance with your arms, or your head. But move with it.
  • Draw something no one will ever see. Let it be a doodle or a free form., Play.
  • Ask yourself what would feel good right now. Explore what about that would be good for you, what need it might fulfill.
  • Do something anonymously for someone else just because it gives you pleasure to do so.
  • Identify one of your destructive pleasure-seeking behaviors and trace it back to the hurt that it distracts you from. Allow yourself to feel that pain and examine the strength that grows from your experiencing it.
  • Set aside an hour this week to do a feel-good activity for yourself - read, walk, sing, listen to your favorite  music, play a sport that brings you joy, take a bubble bath, watch a comedy that makes you laugh out loud, etc.
  • Explore a new place or idea, just for the fun of it. The only goal in this is to have fun.
  • Set aside some time each day to play with your pet or with small children.
  • Make or build something that you create with your own hands. Take pleasure in the finished product. Perhaps give it to someone or place it where you can admire your handiwork.
  • Sit in your yard or in a park without any electronic devices and just enjoy the plants, look at the sky, watch the clouds. Breathe.
  • Cook your favorite food and invite someone to share it with you.
  • Sing with the radio in the car or in the shower.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Do You Want?

What do you want? What do you really want? Do you know? Can you name five things that you really want? Think a minute. If you had enough money to get what you want, what would it be?

"The things we thin we want re often substitutes for what we really want, and the pleasures we seek are less than thejoy that they distract us from." (1)

Do you measure your needs by the intensity of your wants? Do you want that new car so much that you come to believe that you actually need it? Can you differentiate between your needs an your wants? It's not as easy as it sounds, actually. Sometimes we are like small children who go into full panic mode when they don't get what they want. I'll bet you've seen someone like that. "I want that [ --------- ] so much I'll do anything to get it. I need it. I must have it!"

Most of us aren't clearly aware of what our real needs are. The unmet needs in modern society include the need to express one's gifts, the need to do meaningful work, to love and be loved, to be truly seen and heard, to see and hear others, to be connected to nature and all of creation, to play, explore and have adventures, to have emotional intimacy, to serve something larger than self, and to sometimes do nothing and just be. (1)

Unmet needs hurt. Fulfilling a need feels good. The deeper the need the greater the pain, the stronger the desire it generates. Therefore the greater the pleasure in meeting it. Through pain and pleasure we discover what we really want and really need.

Through this process we can learn that we do not want what we thought we wanted and don't like what we thought we liked. We learn that what we thought we wanted is only a substitute for what we really need. Addictions do this, block us from knowing and fulfilling our real needs. We "need" to feel good and do things to achieve that rather than identify the real need that causes the pain we are trying to relieve. Too often we do what Western medicine often does - treat the symptoms (pain) without treating the cause of the pain.

What we really must do is to go inside ourselves to discover what it is that we really do want, what we need to meet our unmet needs. We discover what hurts when we let go of all that distracts us from uncomfortable feelings. That means we must allow ourselves to experience the uncomfortable feelings,

Yes, scary stuff. How many of us allow that deep stillness that lets the deep feelings to rise up? All to many of us stay too busy to take the time to cultivate that kind of stillness. It must be cultivated, you know. It isn't as easy as just taking  a couple of minutes to sit still and see what happens. Our busy brains need to be trained to slow down and be still. And that comes with practice.

When I suggest that you do nothing to solve the worlds problems, what I mean is to do first examine what hurts you and what need in you is unmet. Then you can choose your behavior so that it meets your unmet needs.  Only then will you change, which therefore will change the world.

Remember we must change ourselves to change the world. It is indeed a challenge. Are you willing to change in order to change the world?

Between the doing nothing to learn about yourself and doing something in the world, try something from the daily dozens that are at the end of the blogs about this world change.

Today's daily dozen to-do list:

  • Determine which of the world's problems most tugs at your heart. Consider how you might expose more people to the urgency of that problem.
  • Recycle all aluminum, plastic, newspapers, papers, etc.
  • Offer to take recycling from a shut-in's home or from a small non-profit that doesn't have regular pick-up.
  • Conserve energy: Decide what you want before you open the refrigerator; turn off lights, T.V., etc. when you aren't using them.
  • Conserve clean water: wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, water grass less often, don't let water run while brushing your teeth, take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Purchase re-cycled paper products at the grocery store. 
  • Use a mug for coffee or tea to cut down on the use of disposable cups.
  • Help a neighbor or friend who has lost a job write a resume or cover letter or fill out job applications. Volunteer at a library to help folks research careers and/or write resumes and cover letters.
  • Have a donation drive for pet food and kitty litter for your local animal shelter. Encourage them to offer dog food to homeless people with dogs and get friends to help with donations.
  • Volunteer to read children's stories at a library's story time.
  • Grow and dry catnip for friends with cats.
  • Do not talk negatives behind anyone's back or spread rumors.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Scarcity of Self

The underlying scarcity that drives us to consume and control, that drive that is the source of most of the world's problems, is the scarcity of self. This is the feeling or belief that "I am not enough" or There is not enough life."

It supports the belief that we need more of something to be o.k. We need to do more to be o.k. We are never really still because in order to be more we must do more. We become "human doings" instead of human beings.

We must be more beautiful, more muscular, more wealthy, more successful, more popular, more powerful, more kind, more generous, more compassionate, more . . You get the picture.

We need to know and experience ourselves as complete beings, just the way we are, to know that we are a part of all creation. As such, we are who we are meant to be and our resources are limitless. The reality is that it is impossible to be more than we are at the moment. And that is o.k.

However, to access the answers/solutions to a more beautiful world we seek.we will have to go into our own essence through that quiet empty space between doing and being We must return to that empty place to be free of the old beliefs and habits that have trapped us.(1)

We must let go of believing that we are not enough just as we are. We must let go of the addiction to busyness, let go of the need to control life. Ultimately, we have no power to control life itself. We must go back to the first three steps of AA. This isn't easy and it is scary to face the fact that our distractions, our addictive busyness, has not make the problems go away.

I'm not saying all "doing" is bad. Of course we must act and interact with the world. The challenge is to act from that sense of wholeness completeness, of inter-connectedness. Then our actions will be aligned with your "beingness." Our values will be aligned with all of creation and inner conflit will disappear. You will feel that you are, indeed, enough. You will find peace.And we can only create peace in the world from our own inner peace.

Whenever you feel stuck and don't know what to do, do nothing! Go to that empty place where you can be aligned with the natural movement of things that want to be. Allow your true purpose in the situation to return. Be still to know the real root of the problem and what would naturally resolve it.

"What most needs attention is the part of us that we seek to avoid feeling, When we have tended to that, we are changed, and the world changes with us." - Dan Emmonds

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possibleby Charles Eisenstein

Today's daily dozen "to-do" list:
  • Identify the things you think you must be more of to be o.k.
  • List 10 labels that "define" you. For instance, "I am a woman/man", "I am a mother/father", etc.
  • List 10 pronouns that describe you, i.e. tall, strong, lazy, smart, etc.
  • List 10 ways others describe you.
  • Set aside 5 minutes a day to shut off electronics and clatter/distractions to begin to find and get comfortable with quiet.
  • Choose a day to look for goodness in each person with whom you come into contact.
  • Spend a few minutes listening to the wind, to the rustle of leaves, to birds, or to moving water.
  • Create a picture in your mind's eye a place in nature where you could feel safe and comfortable to sit alone quietly doing nothing. Imagine each thing about it that you find to be lovely.
  • Identify at least 5 values you hold, in priority order, highest to lower. Examine how each affects your daily decisions.
  • Identify the emotions that are most uncomfortable for you to experience. Explore the roots of  these beliefs that create your discomfort.  How do these belief affect your decisions?
  • Name your most frequent distraction you use to avoid discomfort.
  • Each time you look at your own face, tell yourself "I am enough."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Scarcity and Compassion

How many problems are cause by a sense of scarcity? Think about it. So many of our conflicts come from the sense that there isn't enough of something, enough money, enough water, enough oil, enough food, enough land, enough love, enough security.The list goes on. Wars are fought to get more of something because there doesn't seem to be enough. 

We need more than someone else for us to be o.k. There is constant conflict in the effort to get more than we have. There is never enough.

But scarcity is not what it seems., The reality is that with the technology of conservation, recycling and renewable can supply with enough, with little sacrifice on our part, to live in a world of abundance. There is enough of everything to provide for all of the world if we lived with the connectedness of a loving family. It is the fear of not having enough for ourselves that we hold back from sharing whatever it is we think there isn't enough of.

In nearly every case of perceived scarcity, that which seems scarce is within our reach if we change our perspective toidentify the real need we are trying to meet, if we get to the root. We only need to release the habits and believes tht hold us in the belief of scarcity.

For instance, there is a tree native to Central America that produces the Mayan bread nut. In the tropics it produces eight times the caloric yield of corn per hectar with superior nutrition  and store-ability. It can be collected in vast quantities with minimal labor and requires no pesticides. It only needs to be planted once, is drought resistant, provides fodder for goats and cows, and can be grown along with vegetables and aquaculture underneath it.

This tree has been cut down all over Central America to make room for cor, its poor substitute that depletes the soil, requires chemical insecticides, is labor intensive and farmed with polluting gas powered machines. This is all because people hang on to old beliefs and habits that drive them to use corn. (1)

This refusal to let go of old habits and beliefs keeps us in the same cycle of destruction of our world and our culture of consumption, perception of scarcity, and violence/war.

For a more beautiful world we must change those beliefs and let go of those habits. We must let go of the habits of separation and embrace the habits of connection, the belief that we are all related with all of creation. Living from that perspective we can better address the problems we face.

"The problems we experience in our lives and in the world (whether relationship issues or world hunger) stem from energetic weakness and disconnection, from our lack of capacity to feel ourselves, each other, the earth, and how life seeks to move and evolve through us. The issue is not whether or not to act and "do somethin," but what actually prompts us to act" - Dan Emmons

This "lack of capacity to feel" evidenced in the lack of empathy. We watch the news, watch people suffering from all sorts of problems and, while we feel bad for them in that moment, we go on with our lives as usual. We fall back on old beliefs and habits that allow u to accept things as they are.
Without that ability to feel the pain of antother there is no true compassion. For compassion is not sympathy. It is the action that come from emotions deep inside us to alleviate another's pain.

What are those beliefs and habits that allow us to accept the status quo? Can you identify yours? We must if we want change for the better. Do you tell yourself the problem is too big for you to solve so you do nothing in your state of hopelessness? Do you tell yourself there will always be problems so don't concern yourself about it? Do you believe the myth of scarcity and guard what you have for fear of not having enough yourself? 

Can you identify other beliefs that are used to avoid feeling other's pain? Only when we identify what is inside of us can we change our behaviors and change the world to become that beautiful world we long for.

(1) The Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein.

Today's Daily Dozen To-Do List:

  • "Adopt" a lion, tiger, whale, or other animal. Many zoos, aquariums, and animal sea habitats have adoption programs. In exchange for financial support, you get a photo and biography of your new adoptee.
  • To conserve water, fix faucet leaks promptly, and don't leave water running, even while brushing your teeth. Take showers instead of baths. Water your lawn less frequently - grass is hardy and comes back from drought.
  • Make a birdbath from a plastic dish and put it in your yard or on the windowsill. Keep it filled with water.
  • Create art or crafts, such as quilts, afghans, or baby blankets, and donate them to be auctioned or given away by a nonprofit organization or group.
  • Write a kind note to relatives and friends, letting them know how and why thay are special.
  • Clean up trash and don't litter. Keep your neighborhood looking its best.Take along a trash bag when you go for walks and collect litter on your way.
  • Buy gift cards at fast food restaurants and give them to homeless people or to single moms struggling to make ends meet.
  • Collect personal care items, new underwear, and socks for homeless shelters and safe houses. Include toiletries, razors, and women's hygiene items.
  • Donate individual flowers for food trays delivered to the home-bound.
  • Prepare a special meal or dessert for seniors or nursing home residents.
  • Volunteer to set up, decorate, register guests, serve lunch, or sell raffle tickets at a community event for the elderly, students, or a nonprofit organization.
  • Help schoolchildren design and make Random Actso of Kindness bookmarks, stickers or buttons. Asl teachers, librarie, and merchants to distribute them.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What Would This Better World Be Like?

I've been using the book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein, as the jumping off point for much of this blog for a while. I find the book very though-provoking and inspiring.

In the third chapter he lists the principles of this new age, which he calls the "Age of Reunion, the ecological age, the world of the gift." Here are what he believes are some of the principles of that age:

  • That my being partakes of your being nd that of all beings. This goes beyond interdependency - our very existence is relational.
  • That, therefore, what we do to another, we do to ourselves.
  • That each of us has a unique and necessary gift to give the world.
  • That the purpose of life is to express our gifts.
  • That every act is significant and has an effect on the cosmos.
  • That we are fundamentally unseparate from each other, from all beings, from the universe,
  • That every person we encounter and every experience we have mirrors something in ourselves.
  • That humanity is meant to join fully the tribe of all life on Earth, offering our uniquely human gifts toward the well-being and development of the whole.
  • That purpose, consciousness, and intelligence are innate properties of mattr and the universe.
I find many parallels of this with the culture of the Indigenous People. With the "progress" of humankind we seem to have lost our way from the path to the more beautiful world. Perhaps more of us are realizing this and that motivates our interest in Native Culture. We can find our way back through their teachings.

First, we must each look inside ourselves to find that place of longing for "a more beautiful world". And with that longing we can begin to live by those principles, to be compassionate people, to live as connected to all creation.

Where are you in that transition? Are you in touch with that longing? Has compassion become a part of who you are? If so, how do you nurture that part of you until it becomes all of you?

Would you share how compassion grows in your person? Do you nurture compassion in others? How might we spread the ember of compassion to light the gift in everyone? 

Today's Daily Dozen To-Do List:

  • Give house plants to teachers, friends, or coworkers to display as air fresheners.
  • Help others to create safety kits for their pets. Supply these kits with pet food, medicine pet carriers, ID tags, leashes, and blankets. Donate kits to people who adopt pets from shelters.
  • Hold a teddy bear drive, and donate the collected bears for police or firefighters to give to traumatized children.
  • Donate arts and crafts supplies to an elementary school teacher who works in a "depressed" area. Remember that most teachers must supply their own classroom supplies.
  • Do anonymous acts of kindness for neighbors, acquaintances, or strangers.
  • Arrange with a nursing home to visit a resident who has no family nearby. Give the gift of your smile and a bit of your time.
  • Put up "Kindness Zone" signs and banners at the engrance to your house, place of work, etc., to remind people to practice kindness.
  • Bring fresh produce or flowers to nighbhors, coworkers, or homeless shelters.
  • Organize a blood drive dedicated to Random Acts of Kindness. The Red Cross is in desperate need of blood as a result of so many major extreme weather events.
  • Create bookmarks with kind saying on them for the library or school to copy and hand out.
  • Learn to repair used eyeglasses, toys, clothing, etc., donated by the community, for distribution to homeless or low income people.
  • Gather friends together and prepare sandwiches, chips, cookies, and drinks. Fill unch bags and distribute them to the homeless.