Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Great Lurch

I have to admit, I'm disheartened by the state of the world. I'm not feeling optimistic in the face of the bigotry, sexism, and xenophobia that seems to be crawling all over the place like beetles darting out from an overturned log. Right now the world seems bleak and due to become bleaker.

However, at times like these it's important to gain some perspective. As you know, I've been getting into astrology and raving about the book Cosmos and Psyche. One of the things I enjoy about the book is it offers a historical look at our world through the lens of astrology. A part that's pertinent is the reminder that every period of advancement is followed by conservative backlash. For instance, 1960-1972 was a period of empowerment, an eruption of the revolutionary impulse in virtually every area of human activity, and then the early 80s brought a systematic backlash of all the various movements that dominated the 60s.

I like this photo because it connotes uneven forward progress.
I like this photo because it connotes uneven, forward progress.

My spiritual teacher says something similar: “[M]ovements are systaltic. If the phase of contraction is made more stringent by the application of force, a forward galloping jump occurs in the following phase of expansion. Evolution which takes place as a result of this forward galloping jump is properly called revolution. Similarly, if the phase of expansion is prolonged by the application of force, then the following phase of contraction will undergo greater inertia.”

When I look at even our most recent history I see that to be true. We are like a great hulking Frankenstein's monster lurching toward the horizon. One foot is progressive and one foot is conservative, but each foot steps forward at one point or another. However, the monster is still always advancing. Overall, we as a society are progressing. It's hard to see that sometimes in the face of all the ick we're experiencing, but when I look back, I also know it to be true. As a woman, I still have more freedoms than my grandmother, and even my mother had. Yes, there's still a lot of sexism to be sure, but overall things are progressing.

I'm going to quote my teacher again who says, “There are some people who are pessimistic. They say that the society around us is very bleak ... Pessimists say this because they have never made any detailed study of human history, nor do they care to. Had they done so, they would certainly be optimistic, because if they had looked carefully at the symptoms of pause, they would have realized that significant preparations were being made for the subsequent phase of speed. So under no circumstances should human beings be pessimistic. That is why I am always an incorrigible optimist, because I know that optimism is life.”

Right now I'm honing in on the part about the subsequent phase of speed. Yes, right now things are not so great, but I'm reminding myself this is the cycle of life. Movements surge and then die. And right now I need to keep focusing on the progress that is being made and will continue to be made. I need to keep dreaming about the future because kind of like us, while Frankenstein's monster may be slow, he does move ahead.

I dream of a world where we remember the history of human society is one of expansion followed by contraction. A world where we remember despite how it may look at any given moment, we are advancing. A world where we realize a lurch may not be a sprint, but it's still a step forward and that's all that counts.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

You-er than You

Sometimes I get lost in my own head. I get caught up with my emotions, my problems, etc. That doesn't mean I'm not also aware of what's going on with other people – I've had lots of feelings about what happened in Orlando, for instance – but I get trapped in the emotional whirlwind.

I texted a friend this week and he said when he's in such a state, he tries to get in touch with the part of himself that is greater than all of that. Not in a detached, suppress-your-feelings kind of way, but in a recognition there's another “self,” here. There's another entity present.

We often think we are one petal, forgetting we are the whole rose.
We often think we are one petal, forgetting we are the whole rose.

In my yoga and meditation group, we talk about the existence of a witnessing entity. An all-seeing, all-knowing entity that is always present everywhere. It's detached and unperturbed like the depths of the ocean. There's a Self that sees the comings and goings but remains unaffected. There's my little “I” that worries about the mundane trials and tribulations, that gets caught up in emotional storms like a boat thrashing about in the sea, and then there's the big “I” that dwells beneath the storm, deep in the water.

When I pull back a little, when I detach a bit from my little self and connect to my big Self, I'm given some perspective. I'm reminded I've been through turbulent times before and I'll go through turbulent times again. Life is a constant flow, an unending cycle of pleasure and pain. But in the grand scheme of things, all is well and all shall be well.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying there aren't real problems in the world. There is some serious stuff going down that requires our attention and our action. I don't think if we all sit on our meditation cushions that suddenly hungry children will get fed and the air will clear. Action is required from us. But what I am saying is we are more than our problems. We are more than our sufferings. We are more than we think we are. There is an other here. A calm, quiet voice within, if you will. And when I get in touch with that higher Self, I am able to tap into an infinite source of wisdom, kindness, and perspective that will aid me in every endeavor. When I tap into that source, I tap into the part that's me-er than me, and from there, I can handle anything.

I dream of a world where we remember we are more than the sum of our parts. A world where we remember there is another Self with us; a Self that graces us with kindness, wisdom, perspective, and inspiration. A world where we remember we've been through trouble before and we'll go through trouble again, but not to worry because we are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides us too.

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

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Living in Technicolor

I'm in rough shape today as I'm recovering from a 48-hour bug, so here is a post I tweaked from July 2011.

I want all of my feelings to be in agreement. I want to be either happy or sad – not both. Particularly not both about a single event.

Until yesterday, I was in Washington, D.C. for a wedding, which I decided to turn into a long weekend trip. I love Washington, D.C. I went to school there, I became an adult there, one of my favorite places on Earth is there. Yet, I live in California and I love California. I love the weather, I love my friends, I love my apartment, my life, my community.

I felt (and feel) sad about leaving the district because not only are my favorite places there, but also some dear friends. My heart is heavy because I don’t know when I’ll see them again. Washington, D.C. is a special place for me because I don’t have one or two good friends who live there, I have about a dozen. It’s hard to leave such a large and deep pocket of love and kinship. I was sad to leave but happy to come home. A part of me wants to pick a side, to say I’m either sad to leave D.C. or happy to come back to California. But that’s not true. I honestly feel both.

Life is colorful.

What I’m learning is my feelings are complex and multifaceted so that means I can feel both. I don’t have to pick a side. I don’t have to move back to D.C. because I miss living there. I don’t have to abandon my life in the Bay Area. I don’t have to do anything really except feel what I’m feeling. Allow myself to experience both happiness and sadness, yes, even at the same time.

My life these days is no longer black and white, it’s technicolor. I am an unlimited being so I don’t have to restrict myself to feeling one way or another. Perhaps that’s what it means to be an adult, recognizing there are numerous feelings and life isn’t as simple as I thought it was. I can feel both. I can love multiple people, places, and things, and nothing has to replace anything else. I can have multiple favorites.

I wish everything was cut and dry because life would be so much simpler that way, but in truth, it’s not. So that’s what I’m encouraging: to embrace life as it is, in all its technicolor glory.

I dream of a world where contradicting feelings may coexist. A world where we allow for all possibilities and situations without trying to force ourselves to feel one way or another. A world where we accept our complexity and our depth. A world where we know one thing does not have to preclude the other.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2016

You so Special

I want to feel special, chosen, exalted. Unfortunately, I've been operating under the misconception it's other people's responsibility to do that for me. I've been relying on other people to make me feel special and guess what? It's not working.

I know it's not working because people tell me how special I am, how wonderful, etc. and I can't take the compliments in. I don't believe the person because as much as they love and care for me, it's not enough. It's never enough. I want to be the specialist special snowflake there is. I want to be the best, the favorite, the most loved. And I have some shame about that. Particularly because I've been told over and over again that everyone is special, no one is more unique than anyone else, etc. But in my mind, saying everyone is special is the same as saying no one is special, myself included. I've been operating from a scarcity mindset:“There is only so much special to go around!” but in truth, that's not the case.

This picture. I mean really.

I think about a story I heard from Marianne Williamson on beauty. She walked into her niece's bedroom one day and found the girl and her friends trash talking a supermodel, nitpicking every flaw as to evidence why the supermodel wasn't beautiful. Marianne gently told the girls, no, the supermodel is beautiful, but so are you. The supermodel's beauty doesn't detract from theirs. There is enough beauty to go around. If that can be said about beauty, why can't it also be said about uniqueness?

I also think about a few blogposts I wrote: “We are What We Seek,” and “Why We Matter.” In “We are What We Seek,” I was reminded the things I seek externally I already have internally. In this instance, no person will ever make me feel special if I don't tell that to myself, if I don't believe it already. In “Why We Matter,” I wrote about how we are unique manifestations of a Cosmic Consciousness, here to co-creatively birth something that otherwise would not have been in existence. Doesn't that also mean we're special? No person like you or me has ever existed before nor will they exist in the future.

The bottom line here is we are each divine children of the universe. None of us is more loved than another but instead of being loved equally, I think we're loved differently. Our unique talents and gifts should be praised and appreciated but they should not be placed above anyone else's because each of us is valued, important, and precious.

I dream of a world where we know we are each special because we each are different. A world where we understand we are a one-of-a-kind divine being who has never existed before and will never exist again. A world where we understand feeling special is an inside job and a gift we give to ourselves.

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