I was up in the hills today and the following came to me:
“The Stars may try to guide us and the mind try to find answers, but in the end we must get out of our own way, for only the love that flows between our souls can guide us – unhindered by these influences – towards us all in the fulfilment of our combined destinies.”
The pictures from Japan could hardly be more heartbreaking and the frequency of truly major disasters has everyone asking, “Could we be next?” No one would choose an earthquake or tsunami or hurricane or flooding, but they’re touching every part of the planet now. Maybe now is a good time to make peace within ourselves and with others, so that if we are struck by a disaster, we’re more prepared to make our crossing into the Light.
I was reading this morning from The Thirteen Original Clan Mothers by Jamie Sams, the chapter of Gives Praise, the Clan Mother of the twelfth moon cycle. She teaches us how important gratitude is to a joy-filled life, for the great wheel of experience turns to the next cycle only when we are thankful in the present cycle. We learn to express gratitude for the hard times because we develop inner strength through them, and for our blessings which, when shared, makes room for the great wheel to turn again to a cycle of abundance.
Waiting in the service department at a car dealer’s, I read and watched as a TV news channel reported on what was happening in Japan. I would have doubted anyone could be expressing gratitude in Japan right now, if not for the personal letter from Japan that Michael Brine forwarded to me in an email. I share it because it is quite moving, and also a template for how to act from our hearts in the wake of a disaster.
Note from Michael Brine: Received this from a friend of a friend. It’s pretty illuminating. I can’t help but wonder if this happened to us in North America if we would act with such calmness and compassion as is being demonstrated here. Hhhhmmm, I wonder. Some learning here.
Note from Michael’s friend of a friend: From my cousin, in Sendai, Japan where she has lived for the past decade teaching English. Very moving!!
Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,
First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.
Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.
Utterly amazingly–where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”
Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.
We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.
There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.
Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled.
The mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.
And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.
Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.
Thank you again for your care and Love of me. With Love in return, to you all.
More information on Earth Changes from Dana Mrkich, www.danamrkich.com
When I was young, I believed if enough of us marched for world peace, peace would happen—ha ha, right? Now I know it takes something more than marching or even thinking about peace. Peace is the natural state of our souls and between lives, we know this. We may have something like a vague recollection once reborn on Earth, but it’s very hard to give up our positions and our desires; peace pretty much always takes a back seat.
Peace begins within, the old saying goes. That means peace is so important to us, we’re willing to understand what ‘within’ means. We’re ready to know, where does peace come from? How is it implemented? We’re also willing to hear others’ needs because theirs are as important to us as our own.
In every situation, at least one person must be able to see the path to peace, to rise above finger-pointing and a desire for revenge. That’s a big one. It’s natural on Earth to want control and payback, but it’s not the natural state of our souls. Our souls love, forgive and serve.
So, I dedicate my Christmas peace collage to the beautiful man, the Prince of Peace, who was conceived through a miracle over two-thousand years ago, born to reconcile us with our Creator. How are we doing?
Life is so fascinating—here we are in these physical bodies running around town like crazy, working, shopping, trying not to drop. Then, there’s the spirit of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza (and other holidays too, I’m sure) which we hope will transport us to a quiet, inner place of joy, secure in the knowledge that we are far more than frantic minds and bodies on the go.
Years ago, in Sedona, Arizona, friends and I stopped at a shop that took pictures of human auras with a special camera. (I think of auras as the energy that imbues and surrounds living things, which can be perceived as colors by people who are psychically sensitive.) We all thought it would be fun to see what our auras looked like and shared our photos afterward. I can’t remember everyone’s colors anymore but I think my picture was mostly red and green.
My point is, we are energy that, in a healthy person, radiates several feet beyond our bodies. Our energy fields reflect the thoughts we consistently think, our moods, everything really, including our experiences of the sacred. I think we love the holy days because, for a time, they invite us to a place within that is beyond our humdrum lives. They allow us to see there is more to us than meets the eye–that we are spiritual beings who carry on after our bodies die. (I once read that our life force (our souls?) weighs three ounces, which seems so insubstantial, doesn’t it, for living beings?) When we respect others and celebrate holy days together, our energy fields mix and Love catches the winds circling the globe, just like Santa Claus.
My daughter returned Wednesday night from a four-day spiritual retreat called Kairos, with other students from her Catholic high school. (Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment to say or do the right thing.) Neither parents nor students were given much information about the trip; all were asked to trust in the experience and the care of the adults in charge. Monday night, parents were invited to a short prayer service for the success of the retreat and seven or eight students who had previously attended called the retreat a life-changing experience in one way or another. It sounds magical, I thought. I wonder what happens there and if it will happen for Katie.
What is group-consciousness? It is an awareness within each person of the other group members, and of the whole. It can be developed in well-run companies with an eye on more than the bottom line. It can be seen in churches and non-profit organizations where self-centered behavior is set aside, though this is not so easy to do. (If we observe our own thoughts for ten minutes, which is also much easier said than done, we soon realize we are each the center of our own universe.)
Why is awareness beyond our personal selves important? It is an antidote for the problems of our world. Alone, we add static to life. Together, we make peace in our world. It’s difficult enough within a marriage to set aside what we want long enough to hear what’s important to our partner—so how will we ever arrive at the understanding that people different from us are as valuable to the whole human race as we are?
It’s in the process of getting to know each other. Every person’s life, no matter his skin color, is an important story. All people, no matter their religions, hurt at times. Every person, regardless of her level of education, has dreams and hopes. Every person is loved unconditionally by our Creator.
What can we do about group-consciousness today? Banish fear and reach out and say hello and Happy Holidays. Smile. Help someone with something. Meet others and hear what they’re saying, in a class, a community center, even at a party. The more we listen, the more listening spreads, because listening affirms our value and once any of us realizes how truly valuable we are, it’s not long until we realize we’re all valuable.
My children and I debated the subject of telling lies as they grew up. I felt bad when I told lies and they thought I was too sensitive about it. “Everyone lies!” my sons said. “Not true,” I answered. “Not everyone lies.” “Yes, mom, they do, for sure on their taxes and other stuff, too. You just don’t know how much people lie.”
There are commonly accepted lies, like when someone calls us and we tell the phone-answerer to say we’re not in. I’m assuming that teens’ lying to their parents is pretty universal. Then there’s calling in sick at work or taking home office supplies. We humans hide the things we buy if a loved one would get mad about it–I definitely prefer to avoid confrontations. Or we may lie to protect another’s feelings. If we find ourselves straying from our current situations we might lie because we feel dishonorable, or because we don’t want to lose what we have. Then, as my sons’ proclaimed, there’s the IRS.
The worst lies, though, are the ones we tell ourselves. ‘I’ll only eat one cookie or one scoop of ice cream now,’ or ‘I’ll start eating better tomorrow.’ Are we desperate to be with a certain someone or will anyone do? We tell ourselves this person is perfect for us, or that he (or she) will change for us, when deep down we know—there’s an uneasiness—and our friends have told us, ‘You’re gonna be sorry.’
We all have an honesty meter within. My parents took us to the drive-in theater to see Pinocchio when I was little. I remember how I sang along when Jiminy Cricket crooned, “Let your conscience be your guide.” I believe lying has the same effect on us as not managing our financial affairs well: We can’t be trusted with more responsibility until we work through the confusion generated by our desires or slip-ups. After all, growing is our main purpose for being born on Earth.
I guess lying to ourselves is the hardest on us because we’re ignoring our own still, small voices, our consciences. The good thing is, we can’t go on forever disregarding that we are meant to link up with Love and Goodness within and without, and bottom line, we will learn our lessons easily or with great difficulty. None of us would have it any other way.
I had an ‘attachment’ incident in 2008 when my middle son was playing football at a junior college in California. It was not pretty. I listened to most of the games online on the radio station that broadcasted them, but near the end of the season I got an unbelievable surprise. The station was broadcasting a high school game—high school!—at the same time the JC game was on.
I couldn’t believe it. I closed the browser and signed on again, certain it was some kind of crossed-wires problem. “Okay,” I thought, “it must be late in the fourth quarter,” and I listened for the announcer to assure us JC listeners this was true. “I’ll bet it’s overtime,” I thought. The quarter ended and he announced the score at the end of the second quarter. “HALFTIME! HALFTIME? Are you kidding me?” I shouted at the computer. I went to the programming schedule and on that day at that time, right there in black and white, it said they would be broadcasting the junior college game.
That’s when the name-calling began. “You idiots! Buttheads! Incompetents!” I even fired off an angry email. (And, yes, I’m not proud of myself.) The worst part was that I knew from the first second that I was out-of-control—that I was throwing a fit—and I didn’t stop myself. It was hours until I could meditate and calm myself and, shamefaced, I apologized to God/my Higher Self/the Universe. I vowed I would never again lose control like that and that I would be on guard for other ‘attachment’ checks. As hard as it was to acknowledge the truth, I decided, “That was a great lesson in realizing that I, and what’s important to me, are not at the center of the universe.”
“Surrender means accepting this moment, this body, and this life with open arms. Surrender involves getting out of our own way and living in accord with a higher will, expressed as the wisdom of the heart. Far more than passive acceptance, surrender uses every challenge as a means of spiritual growth and expanded awareness. Learn to surrender by shifting your perspective, shifting your energy and attention from the desire of a smaller will to the wisdom of a Higher Will. Be like water, flowing and flexible, to blend with life’s forces, rather than struggling against them. The more you let go of attachments, the more you expand into greater freedom and peace.”
Good stuff from Dan Millman. It’s a special book.
Then last Saturday night rolled around and with it a football game between the University of Arizona, where my middle son is a linebacker, and Cal Berkeley. I added a sports channel package to our cable service for $5 a month because the game was being broadcasted on Fox College Sports/Pacific—channel 404 where I live. My son had said the game started at 7:07, but the programming guide said 7:30. I tuned in at 7:00 just in case, as did my eldest son who also attends college in another town. Another game, Michigan vs. someone, was on.
7:07 came and went. My eldest called and we agreed the game must be at 7:30 then. Meanwhile, one of the teams scored a couple of times and the game was tied. 7:30 comes and goes and play goes into overtime. My eldest calls again and he is as upset as I am. “Are you kidding me?” we shout at our TVs. “Michigan isn’t even in the PAC-10!” (You can probably figure out the rest of the story here. Except for the surprise ending.)
Then, adding insult to our injured psyches, the Michigan game went into a second overtime. “You idiots! Buttheads! Incompetents!” and by the time it was over it was after 8:00. The Arizona/CAL game had started at 7:07 and we had missed the first hour. I cried and my son used loud expletives. I knew, again, that I was throwing a fit but I was so mad, this time I didn’t care. “They are idiots!” I told myself. It took me until yesterday to find my center again.
Why am I telling you this story? Because the universe is so obliging when we choose a deeper, know-ourselves path that whatever lessons we need about being crazy-attached to someone or some plan of ours truly are gifted us, shown to us through our behaviors, our acting-out our parts in the ‘upset’ play. Hammering home the point was the fact that my brother and his family, who live across town and have that same sports-channel package I do, watched the whole game on channel 404 beginning at 7:07. Hmmmm.
I received an email this week from the 11:11 Progress Group which discusses the importance of our main purpose for existence: Growing closer to God (Creator/Her or Him/Love Within/Universe, however you view God). The writer says all humans have basic needs, which I count as adequate shelter, food, water, love, family and friends. We need no more than the basics he says, and advises it would be far better to let go of our desires for more things and focus on our spiritual lives.
I agree. Though I had to sell our home when I became ill and I was unhappy to move to an apartment, we have adjusted our outlooks. All of our basic needs are met and the tent city of homeless people in our town reminds me daily to feel grateful for what we have. I can’t imagine being homeless: The loss of a sense of safety, access to shelter (think of life without bathrooms alone), regular meals and water, plus health care and self-esteem, could be more than I could bear. And I don’t think I’d last long on concrete for a bed.
The email author goes on to say:
“The real price of these unsatisfied needs is that so many people never even consider the spiritual side of life because their physical suffering caused by their unmet needs prevents them from thinking about something else. How could a child think about spiritual progress when he is afraid for his life? How could a mother search for spiritual peace while watching her children die of hunger? And a life without spiritual growth is a wasted opportunity. It is like not ever really living.”
I have often wondered why so many people in the world go without the basics. Think of how those who have so much could offer a hand up, assisting those in need onto the path to basics, with their influence and wealth. I have also wondered why the vast majority of the wealthy don’t seem to care about people in dire straits. If they think they don’t have enough to share, imagine how it feels to care about others but work for minimum wage. Eight dollars an hour x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks comes to $16,640, before taxes. Could you do it? Would your personal survival struggles harden your heart toward others? (It took me a couple of years to get over a bad case of home-envy.) Did you know that the majority of donations to non-profit organizations are made by people with low-to-moderate incomes?
As I’ve aged, I have come to believe that our real job on Mother Earth is to know ourselves, to know God within. But stuff happens, like losing our jobs and then our homes which, with children, is about as painful as it gets. Poverty in America was defined the other night on the news as four people living on $25,000 a year. Are they kidding? That’s $6250 per person per year. I only have one child at home and we barely scrape by on $25,000 a year (with friends and family helping us when needed). With the rent, utilities, car (1998 Mazda) maintenance, gas and insurance, health insurance, co-pays for doctor appointments and medications, dental care, clothing, glasses, food and household products, dog food and vet care–add in the unexpected and it’s all gone.
I’ve learned a lot from my brush-with-poverty experiences, especially the lessons about gratitude, compassion for others, acceptance, and living in this moment, right now—not daydreaming about a better future. Our basic needs are met. I wish every person’s basic needs were met. Enough said.
I once was a master of hyper-vigilant self criticism. After years of therapy, I could see how twisted my thinking was and that I would never have a relationship with a loving God (Him/Her, Love, the Universe, the Light within) unless I learned to ‘Let It Be,’ as the Beatles so wisely sang.
Letting things be just as they are applies to our way of seeing and our behavior. It doesn’t mean (at least to me) that we stand by and watch several kids beat up another one, or an adult hurt a child. We apply ‘let it be’ to ourselves by:
- Forgiving ourselves for our past mistakes so that we can grow beyond them
- Truly forgiving those who have hurt us so we no longer carry the chains of pain
- Accepting our spouses and children just as they are (I mean day-to-day stuff, not in abusive or dangerous circumstances) because we have neither the ability nor the right to make them into who we want them to be. Through loving acceptance inspired communication begins and lives are changed–otherwise we’re only stirring the pot.
- Ditto with accepting situations that bother us—only through acceptance can inspired solutions come to us. If not, we add to the ‘bad vibes’ of the problem, thus making everything worse. I guess the most important question is: Do we gain some kind of satisfaction or importance from the ‘stirring the pot,’ or do we really want our lives to get better?
It takes commitment to apply compassion to ourselves and to others. Truly we live in a world of problems, problems that appear to be escalating. So many of us are suffering now, why not practice kindness? We become one big family when we’re kind to one another, and who among us doesn’t need to be loved? Wherever you are, spread Love and change the world.
Life is so much more, and so much more complicated than we can begin to imagine when we’re young. Whatever we’re certain of at twenty will be replaced by some surprises at thirty and downright questioning at forty. At fifty the pieces of the puzzle begin to come back together; the landscape is rich with experience and wisdom is growing.
Nearing sixty, I am aware that my old, crabby opinions are, in most cases, judgments of others. Judging means my vision is tunnel-like and me-centric. It means I’m not walking in others’ shoes, not understanding the trials of their lives, not loving them in the way all-forgiving Love asks of us.
Understanding—compassion–has something to do with effort. If we were stranded in an elevator for a few hours with any person we dislike and if we began to share our stories, we’d exit the elevator with a new awareness and a different connection.
The question is, “Do we have to get stuck in an elevator to gain this understanding?”