Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Space Between Who We Are and Who We'd like to Become

On Tuesday, I woke up with a pain in my neck. On Wednesday, I went to my fantastic network spinal analysis chiropractor to help me with it. After asking me some questions about the pain, what came out of it is I feel like I can't keep up with my progress. I can't keep up with myself and all the things I'd like to do.

She walked me through a process of transformation, but what came out of it is she said there is a space between who I am and who I'd like to become. And in that space, I need to breathe in trust and creativity. I don't need to know how to get where I'd like to go, I just need to trust I'll get there and remember to be creative.

There is space between who we are and who we'd like to be. And in that space is trust and creativity.
There is space between who we are and who we'd like to become. And in that space is trust and creativity. 

Lordy was that ever what I needed to hear. After coming back from Denmark, I've felt listless and despondent because of the differences in our countries. People in Denmark are more chill, as far as I can tell. There isn't as much of a “go, go, go” energy. Coming back to the Bay Area, the land of start-ups and entrepreneurs, I've felt overwhelmed by the hustle in the people I've seen around me. I have zero interest right now in making an inspirational meme every day, launching a webinar, or looking for ways to put myself out there more. And because I've had no motivation to advance my career, particularly after seeing how the Danes are happy without the intense hustle and bustle, I've started to wonder whether it's OK for me to be where I am. To accept my life as it is, doing the things I'm doing. Can I be content with what I have?

My chiropractor reminded me it's important to hold on to my dreams and at the same time to let go of the how. I have a tendency to think all the answers are outside of me. That this webinar or that book has the magic formula for me to follow to end up where I'd like to be. To become who I wish. But that's not true. It's sooooo not true.

In my yoga and meditation group, we have a mantra we sing after bathing. I won't post the whole translation here, but the gist is that I am the divine, the divine is working through me, my actions are the divine, and the outcomes of my actions are the divine. In no part am I separate from that which has created everything. In no instance am I on my own.

I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to even know the questions. The important thing for me is to keep trusting, to keep surrendering, and to keep remembering that my higher power is working through me. I am an actor in this great drama of life, but only an actor. And when needed, my higher power will feed me lines and tell me where to stand.

I dream of a world where we keep trusting, surrendering, and using our creativity. A world where we remember we are never alone or helpless because there is a powerful force working through us. A world where we trust that force is helping us to move from the people we are to the people we'd like to become.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A More Just Society

Justice has been on my mind lately. Yesterday, I dressed up as a UPS delivery person in order to serve someone with a restraining order. The thing is, I don't think the restraining order will do much. I mean, it will in that this woman will no longer be able to harass my friends, but it won't in that her behavior will continue toward other people instead. There are other neighbors, other situations.

One of the problems I see with our justice system is it's punitive in nature, not corrective. What are we doing to address the root cause of criminal activity? Merely locking someone away doesn't do much. My spiritual teacher says a prison should be like a reform school, and the superintendent should be a teacher who is trained in psychology and who has genuine love for society.

Isn't this picture perfect?
Isn't this picture perfect?

I'm not naive enough to believe we can live in a world without criminals, but I do think we can change how we deal with them and also work on prevention. When I was in Denmark, I walked through the train lugging all my stuff with me on the way to the bathroom and people looked at me funny. Later, I asked my friend about it, and she said they were amazed I carried my belongings with me because theft is not as common in Denmark. It does happen, just not to the same degree as it does in the U.S. That's because people are paid better and there are more social safety nets. People aren't as inclined to steal because they don't have to. However, there are natural-born criminals, and for them, something still needs to be done.

My teacher asserts that born criminals commit their crimes due to their physical or psychic abnormalities and that capital punishment is akin to cutting off the head to get rid of a headache. He also says, “In my opinion, to take the life of a born criminal of this type is as much a crime as it would be to pass a death sentence on a patient just because we could not cure the person's illness. It is the duty of a civilized society to arrange for born criminals to be cured of their ailments. Killing them to lighten the burden caused by their lives is certainly not indicative of a developed civilization.”

A possible solution then is to isolate criminals, yes, but while they're in prison to have them work with psychologists, physicians, and sociologists to undergo deep transformation. Other options include re-education on what is right and wrong, and making prison a more pure environment so the prisoners aren't tempted to go back to their old ways. Also, considerations must be made for the families of criminals to ensure the family isn't forced to engage in crime themselves just to survive.

I know there are a lot of quotes and ideas mentioned in this post, but really what I'm getting at is our justice system needs to be more humane, more benevolent. Merely serving someone with a restraining order or throwing them behind bars doesn't accomplish much. We are all people and deserved to be treated with love and respect. We all deserve a more just society and in part, that comes from changing how justice is served.

I dream of a world where our justice system is revamped. A world where prisons become corrective centers and prisoners are patients. A world where we abolish the death penalty and instead start engaging in solutions that will result in lasting change.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Everything is More Similar than Different

This post comes to you from Denmark where I'm visiting a friend. What I've found so interesting is the landscape is similar to other places I've been. While taking the train, looking out the window, I was reminded of Middle America -- except there were more windmills. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was passing through Iowa.

Then today at the beach, I looked around and the combination of the sand's color, dunes, and water reminded me of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I'm sure there are some places in Denmark that are completely unique to this region, but today at the beach, I was reminded things are more the same than they are different, and especially in these times, it's important to keep looking at what binds us rather than what divides us.

I thought about including a windmill pic but how could I resist this photo?
I thought about including a windmill pic, but how could I resist this photo?

In our world today, there are some people who are trying to create division. People who are trying to use one group or another as a scapegoat for the world's problems. That to me is dangerous. When we start saying, "All of these people are like this," or "Those people are like that," we further enhance our separateness. It's when we start creating an "us" and "them" mindset that it becomes easier to mistreat people. It's easier to justify atrocious acts when a person becomes someone who is "not like me."

My spiritual teacher says this kind of thinking makes different groups become more violent toward each other, which is extremely dangerous for human civilization.

Haven't we had enough of that? I'm not naïve enough to think there will never be any conflicts in the world, but I think we start moving in a better direction when we realize, to paraphrase Shakespeare, that we all bleed when we are pricked. We all feel pain and joy. We all want to be happy and to realize our dreams.

My teacher also says, "The collectivity is not outside you – your future is inseparably connected with the collective fortune. You must take the entire collectivity with you and move towards the sweetest radiance of the new crimson dawn, beyond the veil of the darkest night."

I think we move towards the sweetest radiance of the new crimson dawn when we realize we are more similar than we are different. Heck, not just us as people, but also the landscape, as I've discovered while I've been in Denmark. We are not that different, you and I.

I dream of a world where we remember we are more similar than we are different. A world where we focus on what unites us rather than divides us. A world where we remember people are people everywhere. A world where we work together to move toward the new crimson dawn.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

We Are Not to Blame

For better or for worse, I take responsibility for everything in my life. Poor? That's my doing. Single? My fault. Sick? That's on me. That's the message we receive over and over in our society; that we're the master of our fate and the captain of our soul. However, I'm reminded, again, that's not entirely true.

One of my friends has been heartbroken over and over again. He mentioned it to a psychic and the psychic said my friend is repeatedly getting his heart broken because in a past life he was an abuser of women, and in this life, being on the receiving end of heartbreak is his retribution. The karma is being balanced, if you will. Furthermore, the psychic said my friend's current beau was one of those abused women in a past life, which explains so much about their relationship dynamic. The beau is very timid around my friend, walking on eggshells, and learning how to reclaim her power in the relationship. The two were thrown together in this life because they have some unfinished business.

I'm not responsible for this!
This? I'm not responsible for.

When my friend told me this story, I felt such relief because I'm reminded I am not to blame for everything in my life. That there are forces at work in my life and everyone else's life that I haven't thought about or even begun to understand. It's like dominoes -- one falling domino sets off a chain reaction, but the reaction may not manifest until down the road. Things I've done in past lives are still affecting me now. It's a law of nature that for every action there will be a reaction, and knowing that I feel relief.

Maybe I'm single not because I choose the wrong men or am too picky or a leper, or any other reason I could come up with that points the finger at me. Maybe I'm single for reasons I haven't even entertained, like things I did in a past life. Similarly, maybe I'm not a world-renowned inspirational speaker for the same reasons. Maybe all of it has absolutely nothing to do with me and instead I'm undergoing reactions for things I did in the distant past.

Instead of thinking of myself as the master of my fate, maybe it's better to think of myself as a musician. Right now I'm like the first violinist who has her sheet music but is forgetting there are other musicians in the orchestra, and furthermore that there's a conductor overseeing the whole piece. I like to think of myself as the conductor, but I'm not, I'm the violinist.

I am extremely tired so I don't know if I'm getting my point across, but what I'm trying to say here is we aren't in control of every aspect of our lives. We aren't to blame for every crappy thing that happens to us, nor are we to blame for every good thing that happens to us. There is something else present, and that presence is God or higher power or whatever term you have for it. For better or for worse, we are not alone and we are not in charge.

I dream of a world where we remember higher power is present in all things and situations. A world where we realize we are not in control of everything nor are we to blame for everything. A world where we take ourselves off the hook and remember we are not the conductor of this orchestra, but rather we are the musicians.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.