Join America’s Love Army at thedreamcorp.org

Screen Shot of Dream Crop website

Go here to join the Love Army

Join the Love Army at The Dream Corp. Van Jones is right: bringing Americans back together is not a political matter. It’s a matter of values. What is truly valuable? It’s not stuff. It’s life itself and having family and friends to share it with. It’s being willing to see what all humans have in common; and allowing for our differences. It’s making a positive difference in our communities. It’s expressing kindness and understanding; and being willing to agree to disagree, without violence. It’s looking beyond the surface into the soul, from where what is beautiful in you and me shines.

For more about Van Jones, go to Van Jones interview.

Let Us Not Despair, but Prepare Ourselves

peace-glassesTo those who try to follow God’s path of peace, to those with non-white skin, to those who are old, ill or disabled, to those who have no access to quality education and struggle to survive, and to those who are gay, or whose religion is other than Christianity: Do not despair. While God loves every soul, He edifies the work of the peacemakers, the embracers, the healers, and the visionaries.

Some Christians have voted and elected a President who embodies the opposite qualities of Christ. I do not know why, but I believe what is happening here mirrors a spiritual war occurring in the Heavens. Perhaps the work we who ‘love the whole’ must now do is a debt to be paid on the road Home. Let us never forget how powerful we are when we stand together and with Christ, who teaches us to trust in Him most when things are the toughest, and to love even those who become our enemies–because war and revenge self-perpetuate. Let us do everything we can to heal the rifts, and to shine light on the truth that we are all children of God and that God is not petty or cruel or segragating.

There is a chance we may all lose loved ones to the ignorance now rampant in our country. Let us not fear loss. Let us be willing to do the necessary inner work to prepare ourselves to go with God, for life here, while of the utmost importance, is always fleeting.

God bless us, every one.

The Powerful Desire for Revenge

grenadeI remember my powerful emotions when, many years ago, during the hazing period at a local university fraternity, the recruits were required to swim across a small lake on the campus. One young man had never learned to swim but he was told, ‘You don’t swim, you don’t join.’ He went into the water, sank to the bottom and drowned. Their defense was that everyone had been drinking.

For years, my chest tightened when I thought about what happened to that young man, but back then I thought, “If he was my son, I would make it my life’s mission to tear this university down.” I wanted revenge and the boy wasn’t my son! I wanted revenge, even though I believe, for the purpose of spiritual advancement, we choose our parents, our lives, and about how long we will live before we are born.

The rage at the seeming senselessness of so many incidents and the powerful desire for revenge is, to a large degree, why our world is not at peace. If you lived in a place where a wall separated you and your enemies, and they shot grenades over the wall at you, and you shot grenades over the wall at them, and members of their families died and members of your family died, could you become a peacemaker? Could you be the first to stop lobbing the grenades? If you stopped, but they did not, would you and your family just stand there and die? If they stopped, would you, also, giving up your war for . . . for what? The land? A principle? A belief that God loves you more than them?

No matter how holy any terrorist (or anyone standing on ‘God’s principle’) tries to make their attacks or justify their motives, war is war. War is death. War is human. War is hell. People standing on God’s foundation, like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., make peace, not war. They see the never-ending cycles of revenge. They transcend their outrage. They put the problem into God’s all-healing hands and ask to find solutions in inspiration. They understand, they compromise, they heal, they make peace, but only arm-in-arm with God. Remember, where God is, there is love, forgiveness and compassion. Where God isn’t, there is war, acrimony, and arrogance.

“You shall know them by the fruit they bear.”

If We Get Past Our Thoughts, What Do We Find?

I remember being at a motivational meeting in my mid-20s and the speaker asked anyone who could get through a locked door without the key to raise his hand. Only a couple of hands went up. Then he asked the same question but added that our child was on the other side of the door and the room was on fire. “How many of you could get into the room now?” he asked. Nearly every hand went up, including mine.

His point was about motivation and I’ve thought about his questions many times over the years. What makes a person or an activity valuable in our lives? Who would we risk our lives for? How do we find those important things, the ones that make getting out of bed every day exciting and fulfilling? This knowledge lies within us, but it is beyond the noise and clutter of thought-production.

Thinking WomanAren’t thoughts funny things? One after another after another after another, never stopping—unless we decide we are the bosses, not them. After all, these bodies are soul-carriers with specific purposes, the most important being contact between the two. Our minds can be receivers, (for me it’s often when I’m writing), but whatever it is inside us that produces thoughts doesn’t like being turned off or even turned down. Thinking can drive us crazy with confusion, opinions, fears and judgments. Isn’t the inner critic amazing? It is never at a loss for words, especially those designed to keep us stuck in the same worried/frantic place.

The thing is, it’s all a lie. We’re not meant to live in fear and confusion, separate from others. We’re made for service and community, for sharing our lives, for love of a personal kind and the kind that includes us but is more than us. Love is the answer to every question. Every question. It is the source of life, the purpose of life, and the invitation to inspiration and meaning. It can be tapped by setting aside quiet time every day, sitting with our eyes closed and a willingness to let our thoughts come and go without judgment. When our thoughts no longer get a rise out of us, it’s not as much fun for them, and the space for peace heals our minds and bodies and spirits.  Where could quiet time take you?

We Need to ‘Light More Candles’

Hot Air Balloons

There is a verse in the Bible that goes something like, “The sins of the father are visited on his children,” which I understood as, “The children pay for their father’s sins.” The first time I heard this, I thought, “That’s not fair! The father should pay for his own sins.”

I contemplated possible explanations for this philosophy, such as it’s the DNA that is passed from parent to child, as in tendencies and potential. Then I thought of children who are raised in violent homes who go on to raise their children in violent homes. In wars, soldiers fight for their side and, in retaliation, their towns are bombed and their children die. And, at least in the movies, personal crimes are committed against children as payback for something their parents did.

But then I realized, we’re all so interconnected, it’s not just my father’s sins or your father’s sins affecting me and you; it’s all of us together in one big pot. We are each responsible for our thoughts and actions because what you do affects me and everyone else, and what I do affects you and everyone else. When we think negative thoughts and project negative opinions, their energy gathers with other negative thoughts. The more there are, the more powerful and inviting the mass of dark energy becomes. It doesn’t take much, some anger or outrage and a few drinks or a drug, and we tap the dark energy field. BAM! Our negative thoughts become negative actions, ever supporting the growing darkness–and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

When we send loving, healing thoughts out to the world, they, likewise, gather with other loving thoughts; and like the sun rising over the horizon, their very nature dispels the darkness. The old saying, ‘It takes one candle to light a dark room,’ has never been more true—but there is a pretty big mass of fear-darkness hovering over our planet today. We need to light more candles: It’s a very good time to practice forgiveness. We can start small and, as we experience the value of letting go and healing, build up to the big issues. (Practice does make perfect.)

Call your parents or a sibling. Get out of the rut and check on your elderly neighbor. Drop off some groceries at the food bank or volunteer at the homeless shelter. Think, “Today, I will be kind, no matter what.’

And last, but not the least of things we can do, is to pray with all we’ve got for our angels to come to our aid. They are waiting for us to ask for their help and we need them. We are powerless against the powers of darkness without the forces of love and light.

Honoring Our Home

Blue Earth Today I can’t help but remember how Native American people give thanks to Mother Earth for providing what they need to live, and how they ask permission to harvest the plants they use, and thank the animals they kill for food. The difference between this way of living and the processes our modern farmers use is stunning. I know that most farmers, if not all, feel a connection to the land, and may even express a form of affection for their crops and their gratitude at harvest, but I doubt it’s given with the same reverence and acknowledgement of the life given for us by the fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes (not to mention the animal lives). It’s more science than spirit for us, often more about profits than providing a healthy product that is good for the human body. (We have learned the dangers of deadly pesticides and herbicides, but they’re still being used in many states. Those banned in the U.S. due to public outcry are being sold by their manufacturers in less industrialized nations. Truly, shame on us.)

This lack of respect for human beings that has thrown us so far off-kilter is a natural outcome of the lack of respect for the Great Mystery /Father /Mother /God, for our planet and all the ‘lesser’ creatures living upon her. What if Mother Earth is a spiritual, living Being? Think of all the life that comes from her. She has to be alive. (Can a dead mother give birth to live children?) Think of her beauty, in spite of all the damage we’ve done. What if the weather that’s very hard on humans is a response to us being very hard on the planet? I don’t think it’s malicious—it’s just an effect of all the blood-spilling, the poisoning of our water and air, the shoving around of the land, the displacement of the animals we share the planet with.

There are answers. They come from a desire to be of service and to live in peace and harmony with all other forms of life. A shift in consciousness happens when the answers come from the peaceful place within, as we hook up with the higher power that made us, our planet and the universe. It’s worth considering, for what are the repercussions of destroying God’s creation?

The Path of Non-Violence

Path of Non-ViolenceThe great spiritual teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda says–I’m rephrasing here–that we humans create our environments with our thoughts, literally. An aggravated mood might bring mosquitoes to us. Fear or anger overtaking a city can stir up tornadoes, or draw a hurricane. (Prayer and meditation have the opposite, calming, effect.) Large-scale acts of violence such as the events of 9/11 can lead to war. The acts themselves do not cause war—our reactions to the events, our thoughts and fervent emotions, lead to war. And, who among most of us doesn’t love payback? I find it difficult to resist the revenge-stories where a father goes after the perpetrators who killed his wife or child.

My children are familiar with the teachings of the Bible because they were raised in Catholic school. Jesus’ words, ‘If a man strikes you, turn the other cheek to him,’ were in a reading at mass one day, and that night my eldest (as a fourth-grader) asked, “Mom, do we really have to just take it if someone punches us?” At the time I said, “You have to protect yourself. You can’t stand there and let someone beat you.” I thought ‘turn the other cheek’ had no practical application in our world.

I didn’t understand then that Jesus’ words are about forgiveness, not cheek punches. I still believe we have to protect ourselves if someone attacks us, although I did once ask myself, “What would Jesus have done if punched?” I was reminded that He offered no resistance when arrested, beaten and forced to carry heavy wood on His back to His own death. “Ohhhh,” I thought. “I see.” To this day, I can’t comprehend the totality and impact of His sacrifice.

There have been others who gave their lives to the path of non-violence, such as Martin Luther King, whose great life we remember today, but it is certainly not natural to us. Think of the Protestants and the Catholics, Muslims and Christians, or the people of Israel and Palestine. You killed my daughter, my wife, my mother, my son. You will pay. Just when we believe a compromise/solution has been reached, a crazed retaliator starts everything up again, and the families of the latest victims commit to retribution until their dying breaths.

So, will our world ever be a peaceful world? Something would have to shift in our consciousness. We’d have to commit to non-violent solutions and to action. We’d have to expand our minds to realize every soul on Earth has the same hopes and dreams we do: to live in a loving family in a safe home, and to find fulfilling work within a cooperative, positive society. We’d have to plan to secure a future for our grandchildren and their grandchildren, and show great care now for Mother Earth in the choices we make. If our consciousness expanded, we’d choose the path of non-violence. We’d be the one who says, “I’m listening. Please tell me your side of the story. Let’s work this out together. I forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

Related Post: Man of Peace

What Do You Look Like Without a Body?

Sometimes my thoughts get going and I wonder things like, “If we could meet up without our bodies, what would we look like? Do our essences still have strong passions, strong opinions? If we couldn’t arm wrestle to see who’s right, would we, um . . . shoot fire from our eyes?”

Or, would we, from the perspective of our souls, see how thin our opinions are? Without skin, we couldn’t be racists. Without bodies, we’d see what it is we all have in common, what we really are, every single one of us: souls, cells on God’s body. In life, we may have super-powered our way to the ‘top,’ but without bodies, who’s at the top of the heap? God–to show us. If we find ourselves in a lifetime without the support of a loving family and the opportunity for a good education, who’s at the bottom after this life? God–to hold us.

READ MORE/WITHOUT BODY

THRIVE: The Most Important Movie I’ve Ever Seen

Picture from the website, Thrive–the Movie, http://www.thrivemovement.com

I’ve just spent the last two hours, thirteen minutes and three seconds watching a free movie streaming online. Never have I taken such a journey from inspiration to despair (caused by overarching domination) to solutions, grounded in peace and harmony, for us and our world . I tell you there is no more important act you can make than to stop, sit and watch THRIVE, The Movie, at http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie with as many others as possible. It answers so many questions we humans have they’re too numerous to list here. Forward the link to the movie to your friends. Post it on social media sites. Send it in an email. Now is the time to stand up for our lives.

Grandfather, Tell Me About the Land, Short Fiction by Pam Bickell

Grandfather“Grandfather, tell me about the land.”

“What is it you wish to know, grandson?”

“Why is the land so important to grandmother? She touches the plants and land like she touches my baby sister,” the child said, shaking his head.

“And this confuses you?”

“Yes, grandfather. How can dirt be that important?”

“I’m going to tell you a story and when I am finished, will you tell me if you’re still confused?”

“Of course, grandfather!”

“Once there was a young boy a lot like you. He had many questions, also. His grandmother had many dreams in the night of the white men coming to this land now called America. In her visions, she saw the light-skinned ones arrive and many of our people die. She often cried at night and her grandson heard her tears. The men in her dreams came across the land in swarms and killed everything they saw: the people like us, the trees, the beaver, the wolf, the elk, the buffalo. All this they did for money. She called all the families together and told them of her dreams. Her middle son, Black Elk, stood and said he had met some of the white men and that they would not do these things. He said that they prayed also to the Great Spirit and that killing was unacceptable to them. His mother only shook her head. “It is not these men, my son, but those who come after them.”

“What happened, Grandfather?”

“Black Elk left the tribe and became a scout for the white men. He took the boy, his son, with him. A kind woman, wife to one of the men Black Elk served, took the boy in and taught him English ways, how to read and write their language and how to use math. The boy, Little Bear, was quick like you and enterprising. He saw the ships the colonists built leave heavy with tobacco and rice and fish, animal pelts, and lumber—and how much money the white people made from the land. He saw their big houses and fine clothing and he knew he would never again live in a teepee.”

“So, Grandmother loves the land because of the money we can make?”

Grandfather had a hearty laugh. “Let me finish my story, grandson. Black Elk traveled a great deal and worried about the changes he saw in his son, who was now a young man and no longer using his Indian name, Little Bear. The woman gave him the name William and their surname, Smythe. He wore their fine clothes and helped the woman and her husband in their general store by keeping records of their purchases of sugar, and molasses which they made into rum, and their sales of foodstuffs, cloth and iron utensils. Little Bear excelled at business and gave them advice that helped his second parents to build their business. They were very proud of William.”

“But, what about–?”

Grandfather held up a hand and his grandson nodded.

“One day Black Elk, now with graying hair, came into the store. In halting English, he told his son that he had been wrong about the white men and the things he had seen happen to their people. The forests and wolves and buffalo were gone—all for the sake of money. He said he was going home and he wanted Little Bear to come with him. The woman stepped in front of Little Bear and said, “His name is William and he is my son now. Please take leave of our store.” Black Elk stepped toward the woman and William came to her defense. “Father,” he said with great difficulty in their native tongue, “she is my mother now. My second father is in the back of the store. This is my place now. I will not come with you.”

“I don’t understand. How could he do that, Grandfather?” the old man’s grandson asked.

“Little Bear was an Indian on the outside—but not on the inside. He was a white man on the inside. Do you understand, grandson?”

“I think so. He wanted the same things his white parents wanted.”

“That’s right, grandson. Black Elk returned to his people who had been moved by the white men to a small area of rocky land that held little value for the white men. Black Elk’s mother and father had passed on but an aunt was still alive and she took him into her home. He cried in her arms for days, telling her all the things he had done to help the white man and how Little Bear had betrayed him. Some of his people hated him, but he worked hard preparing the soil for planting and over time most of the tribe grew to accept him.”

“Did Black Elk ever see William again?” the boy asked.

“Black Elk took ill ten years later and when a cousin realized he was dying, he made the three-day ride to the town to tell Little Bear. He found him at his family’s large home and begged him to come at once, saying that Black Elk needed him. William sent his cousin away, but just when the cousin was almost off their property, William caught up to him. He apologized and said that he would like to see Black Elk one last time.”

“That was good, wasn’t it Grandfather?”

“Yes, grandson, that was very good.”

“Little Bear, or William, had always been so busy at the store and later in their ship building business that he had not traveled much. He was shocked to see the forests were completely gone—only stumps remained. Much of this wood he knew was used to build the ships his parents had sold to the Europeans and, of course, the wood was also used to build the white men’s towns. The native peoples were gone–dead or forced to move to unwanted land. But William could still remember the spirit of life that had lived in the forest before the white men came. He could remember how the growing things and the creatures all lived together in a circle of life, feeding each other and then the land when they died. The spirit of life was gone; the land was decimated. William’s heart grew heavy with sadness on the journey home.

You see, grandson, the land is the mother of all life. Everything comes from the land which has its own Spirit—remember when I showed it to you?—to feed, to shelter and to protect us. But we cannot take from the land and not give in return. Your grandmother knows how much has been taken from the land and how little has been returned, so she makes feeding the land her life’s work. That is why you see her tending the soil, planting soy beans and turning the plants back into the soil. She communicates with the spirits of the plants and the land, in addition to mothering her children and loving her grandchildren, of course,” he said with a smile. “So, tell me grandson, are you still confused about your grandmother and the land?”

The boy shook his head. “I understand. The land is like our mother.”

“The land is our mother, grandson, and your grandmother loves her mother.”

“I see now, Grandfather. What happened when William got home to Black Elk?”

“Black Elk was near death, but had held on to see his son one last time. People of the tribe stood and watched as William and his cousin rode onto the reservation. Some of the men tried to stop them and called William dark names, but the cousin insisted they let them pass. William went into the teepee, fell to his knees and took his father’s hand. Black Elk opened his eyes and said to Little Bear, “You did not betray me, son. I betrayed you when I took you at such a young age away from our people. I was young and my pride and ignorance were strong. Can you forgive me?” William sobbed and said, “Father, I did betray you and the ways of our people. I am the one who is sorry.” They embraced and Black Elk died happy, having made peace with his son.”

“Did William stay, Grandfather?”

“No, grandson. The ways of the white man were too strong in him, but when he returned, he began to write stories about the land and the native peoples, our way of life and what happened to our ancestors. Some of these were published in newspapers, which were sent to Europe and later in William’s life, a book was published with his stories. In this way, his heart was healed of the pain of what he believed was a betrayal of his people.”

“But he did betray his people, Grandfather!”

“Life unfolds in a circle, grandson, and everything on the great wheel happens for a reason. He was very young when his father took him away. It is hard for us to accept what happened to our ancestors and our way of life, but if Little Bear had not left his people and become William, the stories of what happened to our people may never have been told.”

“I think I understand, Grandfather.” The boy smiled. “That was a very good story,” he said as he stood. “Is there anything I can do for you, Grandfather?”

“Yes, grandson, there is. Check beyond those rocks. Is your grandmother in the garden?”

“I see her; yes, she is there.”

“I’d like you to go to her and ask her if she will teach you about the spirits of the plants and the land. Will you do that?”

“All right, Grandfather. I will go.” He ran a few steps and turned around. “Maybe I will like talking to the spirit of the land.”

“Learning to talk with the spirits is a very good thing for you, grandson. You have made an old man happy this day.”

“I love you, Grandfather,” the boy said as he ran off to join his Grandmother. “Thank you!”

“I love you, too, grandson,” the old man said, but the boy was already too far away to hear him. “You are a very good grandson.”

Has the Destruction of Earth Been Planned?

black stalks ingold skyWhen I was falling back asleep this morning, these thoughts came: What if Mother Earth is not in turmoil only because of the way we have treated her? What if she is cleansing the filth of man’s inhumanity to man? Imagine what her destruction, the depravity and our fears feel like to her. What if she is taking Home some of those who truly have no hope for a future on this Earth?

Of course, floods cover entire plains and tornadoes demolish complete towns and tsunamis wash away whole communities. Are those victims all inhumane or all compassionate people? All human, with all our imperfections, yes, but most of them likely decent people. So what is going on?

Life is not only about living on Earth right now. It is about our evolvement as a species and Earth’s evolvement as a planet. Bloodshed has ruled us for the past ten thousand years, if not longer. It is time for us to live in peace. Our job is to learn how, now.

It is obvious, however, that some people have blocked the light from themselves and have sucked the essence of Love from everywhere and everyone they can. Bewildered, I have often asked myself, “But why destroy the source of their profits?” That’s when I was thinking accumulation was their ultimate goal. But what if amassing fortunes is not it? They know they “can’t take it with them,” just like we all do.

What if they can take life essence, energy, they have turned to dark power, to a place of their own creation? What if, like in a sci fi movie, their purpose is to destroy the Earth and to make certain we humans never live in peace? What if we are all living in a story of love vs. evil and of light vs. darkness? It sure seems like darkness–war, genocide, slavery, out-of-control greed, the destruction of Earth’s eco-systems, hunger, homelessness, abuse of every imaginable kind, wages-slavery, intolerance, dominance, etc.–is overtaking our planet, far beyond what our personal materialistic desires or our problems at home or at work could do. They are working in shadows, building darkness–and we either add our thoughts and actions to this darkness, or we add them to the light.

A wave of light is also moving across the planet. Perhaps our lives will be taken in a natural disaster, or perhaps we are being asked to give ourselves, maybe even our lives, to the cause of peace. If we drop our ideologies and stand united for peace and for all our brothers and sisters, for all life, the angels and our dear Earth Mother will rejoice and help us create a miracle. Can you hear their song?

Getting Over Ourselves

I was thinking this morning about the art of communication. I consider myself lucky that my nature is mostly benign, because I’ve always been direct, to the point and, at times, blunt. In the past, my children would say, “Mom! That’s rude!”

“What is?” I’d ask.

“The way you just talked to that lady.”

“Really? I thought I was explaining our situation.”

I have learned some things (from my children and others) about communication. We can speak our truths “in their face,” or communicate the very same thing in a way that is not discourteous or that does not intimidate the person. My Higher Self asked me to see with compassionate eyes. What is he or she (the clerk, waiter, checker, etc.) feeling right now?

I imagined what the moment looked like from his or her point of view. Sometimes I’d turn around and see what they see: fifteen people in line and no one to help. Poor management? Did someone call in sick? Whatever the reason, as my children taught me, we don’t have to add to the stress by being angry with those on the front line who did not make the crappy lunch or cause the flight delay or decide how many clerks should open their cash registers. They’re caught up in the mess just like us—and they’re vastly underpaid, by the way.

Rude behavior causes many people’s minds to go into overload and they can’t hear what we’re saying, which is the opposite of what we really want. In some cases, the person we’re assaulting (yes, being rude is a form of mental/emotional assault) will get even. An airport employee was short-tempered with me and I was happy to return the favor. She sent my luggage to the layover city, instead of checking it through to my destination. She was happy to be the instrument of my instant karma. (And I’m sure her attitude came back to her at some point, too. Am I delighted that negativity comes back to the doer? Though ‘we reap what we sow’ is a universal law, no, I’m not. It’s a waste of precious life-energy for all parties. It’s far better to treat everyone, including ourselves, with respect.)

Going at problem-resolution with a condescending or angry attitude is ineffective. Communicating our needs is an art. To be effective, we look to see what the other person perceives, and share some compassion and a calm demeanor. This behavior is a touch of light, like a fairy godmother sprinkling kindness over the people and situation. Next time you’re tempted to be angry with someone trying to wait on you, take a deep breath, close your eyes until you sense your ‘fairy godmother,’ reopen them and give that person a great big smile. You can do it. It’s an aspect of growing up.

Where are the Fallen Angels?

dark angelThis is an interesting paragraph from the book, Edgar Cayce on Angels, Archangels and the Unseen Forces by Robert J. Grant:

“There is a tendency to believe in the fallen angels or demons only when one hears of hauntings or in cases of exorcism. These manifestations are indeed rare and do not account for a large percentage of evil influences in the earth. Evil manifests in a variety of ways, just as virtue appears in countless forms. The important point is that evil or disharmony is a choice; the fallen are only in that state of existence when the choice is made to twist creative abilities into destructive ones. Where there is manipulation, oppression, war, famine, governmental control of religious belief, there exist the fallen ones.”

Grant goes on to say that God put into place a system in which the fallen will bring onto themselves the ultimate destruction. I have come to agree that God/Love will not force anyone into Heaven. There is no Light available to a soul who consciously uses God-given energy to create destruction, deciding, in essence, to compete with the God of Light.