Archive for July, 2007
> Oprah is back in the news again regarding the James Frey book, “A Million Little Pieces” that was represented to be non-fiction but turned out to be a mix of a little reality and a fair amount of Mr. Frey’s imagination. Originally, Oprah was a supporter of the book (she placed it on her prized book club list)but later came to excoriate Mr. Frey on national television for his lack of integrity.
There’s enough lack of integrity to go around here…so let’s follow the trail and see what we can learn.
First, Frey. There can be little question that the author, in his attempt to write a book that would titillate, abandoned some if not all of his principles to gain recognition and financial gain.
Second, Oprah was quick to provide us with yet another quick-fix, self-help guru without doing her homework as to whether he was who he purported to be or, in fact, had done what he said he had done.
Third, Frey’s publisher is the reason Oprah and Frey are back in the news. She seems to be working the speaker’s circuit condemning Oprah for taking her client, Frey, to task. To paraphrase her recent statements, she apparently believes that when someone admits to having been a drug addict and alcoholic, one should expect a certain amount of fiction in what is represented to be truth.
Finally, there’s us. Yes, there’s us. As difficult as this one is to face, we jumped on that bandwagon and bought the whole presentation, book, hook, line and sinker.
I know not everyone reading this watched the original show, or bought Frey’s book, or may even know any of this story. I was one of those people who came to the story after the fact. But too many of us did buy in. It’s what we do when we seek the quick-fix and want someone else to do the work and show us the way. We just want to show up and reap the benefit.
It doesn’t work that way.
Frey and Oprah and the publisher were each in a hurry to get where they wanted to go and, in their haste, found themselves quite lost. They may or may not have learned a thing or two from their experiences. Regardless, I suggest we do.
There are no quick-fixes. We are all responsible for what we say and do personally as well as what we support. Not stepping up and owning our mistakes doesn’t enhance our stature, it only diminishes it.
The dangers inherent in Frey’s lies and Oprah’s haste speak for themselves.
What’s more insidious and in need of special attention is the publisher’s ongoing perspective… for which she is being paid. Her position is that your past can be an acceptable excuse for knowingly and willfully conceiving bad behavior in your present. According to her, if you were once weak willed, we should expect that you will always be so…and worse yet, if you are…that’s okay too. We expect it.
My take is somewhat different. I believe that we’re all here to grow through our weaknesses. With sincere effort, intention, determination and connection to Source, that goal is attainable no matter how challenging the weakness.
I also believe that each moment is born anew with an infinite number of new possibilities. And most importantly, I believe in seeing and mirroring the highest good a person is capable of not excusing, or justifying, the worst.
I don’t know where James Frey stands on all of this at this moment. Or Oprah, for that matter.
The publisher is still creating a world where personal responsibility is put aside for personal gain.
That’s not the world I live in.
>What a delight to open the CNN homepage yesterday and see the smiling faces of two Indonesian young men holding up a sign that read “War Cannot Stop Football.” They were attending the Asian Cup football/soccer finals yet bearing a message with much deeper and broader possibilities than appeared at first read.
Sure, it’s a welcome change to see a photo of someone or something other than a terrorist or tragedy or actor being arrested. And sure, it’s great to know that the Iraqi’s, who won the cup, were able to temporarily transcend the hell they’ve been living.
However, there are two more important points to be made here.
First, for over a year on radio, and now five days a week on this blog, I make a point of bringing you good news with the intention of uplifting your spirit and providing hope in a world that often times seems bent on destroying it. I deeply believe that what we intend, think about, talk about, look at, and participate in are the ingredients that, literally, make up our lives.
I can’t speak for you, but when I opened up that homepage and saw the smiling faces on those young men holding that banner, I felt great. It actually made me smile. I felt hopeful, too. Not just for football, but for mankind.
Secondly, we so often dismiss the young and the elderly, thinking the former have not yet much wisdom and the latter past their usefulness. But it’s youth who hold that idealism and sense of limitless possibility and whose passion and positivity are contagious. It’s the aged who have lived enough life to see glimpses of the end of that life, who can provide us the greatest perspective for what really matters.
What really matters is to combine the hopefulness and positivity of youth with the perspective and wisdom of age in order to prioritize our thoughts and actions in ways that support hope, peace and joy.
I know that it’s possible to someday open up CNN’s home page and see two children holding a banner that will say, “War Cannot Stop Peace.”
What a smile that will be. For all of us. And by the way, there’s a “Winner’s Cup” for that achievement as well.
It’s called Heaven on Earth.
>Twenty eight years ago I was in a relationship with a young man who was a rising star in the corporate world. I was in college at the time, having gone back to school after a brief detour. He was an engineer by education and liked to talk about business, money and science-based subjects. I was and still am a bit of a mystic, and while I enjoyed those conversations, I also liked to talk about spirit and consciousness and “other-worldly” matters.
I remember one day he said to me, “You should be really careful around who you talk to about those things. People may get the wrong impression.”
I knew what he meant. There were few openings back then for such discussion.
I’ve come a long way in 28 years. Haven’t we all?
I was watching “The Secret” for the first time yesterday and thinking about all the “credentialed” people who signed on to the making of that docu-drama. It was not so long ago those people would never have allowed themselves to be associated with such a project. Understand that I am not a big fan of “The Secret”….mainly because there is no secret. It’s a clever marketing attempt to water down a few genuinely helpful principles for living in order to appeal to the “quick fix” mentality so many suffer from.
However, the beauty of it all is that a project such as that was even made and so well received.
Whether we are talking about people or trees or chairs, we are all simply energy vibrating at different frequencies. How we perceive and how we use that energy determines not only our own personal world but the world at large.
Using our gifts and unique abilities to heal, exhibit kindness, show compassion, give respect to all living things, develop an awareness of our inherent connectedness to all life forms as well as one another…participating in these and other growth supporting behaviors brings meaning as well as purpose to what is otherwise just a frequency, a wave of energy in search of a point of manifestation.
If you don’t tune in your radio, you’ll never get music. Just static. Clarifying who we are and what good we can do to grow and expand the possibilities is “personal fine tuning.” Without it, we’re just so much static energy.
I hope some day to run into that man I was in relationship with back then. I’d be curious to know what he’s talking about today.
As for me, I’ve spent those past 28 years fine tuning so I could receive a clearer signal.
Don’t you just love the music?
>Two nights ago I watched the 2-hour YouTube Democrat debate presentation. Let me say, at the outset, that while a registered Democrat my entire adult life, I vote for the person best qualified for the job, regardless of party. Let me also say that as of this writing, I have no particular candidate that I am inclined to vote for, from any party. I feel the need to say all of this up front so that there’s no mistaking what I am about to say.
Having watched the debate beginning to end, I am now somewhat put off by the Clinton campaign’s two-day attempted assault on the competency of Barak Obama based upon one particular answer. Obama said that if elected, he would meet with heads of state from any and all countries within the first year of his Presidency, including states that are hostile to the U.S. He thought to do otherwise was counter-productive to world peace.
The Clinton campaign is saying Obama “got that answer wrong.” They want to play up the difference between what he said and what Hilary Clinton said, which was that she would be open to such meetings but would first 1)verify that the meeting was not being used for propaganda and 2) be certain that such a meeting would do no further harm.
While this was Mrs. Clinton’s opinion, it neither makes her right nor Mr. Obama wrong. It simply makes them different.
Which is what I really want to write about.
Allowing others to be who they are and say what they say and do what they do without having to make them right or wrong is what’s important about all of this.
We’re so quick to need to make others wrong when they see things differently than we do. But really, when we approach differences in that way, it says so much more about us than it does about anyone else. It says we are judgmental, insecure in our beliefs, threatened by opposing views and not open to change or growth.
I prefer to see differences as grist for my personal mill. They present me with the opportunity to re-examine and refine my own beliefs and perspective. After all, if it was intended that I continuously think as I think and behave as I behave without the benefit of learning from self and others, wouldn’t I have been given my own planet? Why be here with all these other perspectives intruding upon my opinions?
I always assume that Creator knew what it was doing(plus or minus an idea or two) when we were all put here together. I further assume the vast diversity and togetherness has a point.
For me the point is to learn how to develop my own ideas and beliefs, allow others to do the same, and where possible, grow through our differences rather than battle them.
If you don’t agree with any of this, that’s fine with me. I don’t need you to make me right or wrong to know what I believe. Hopefully, in the making a true leader, Barak Obama feels the same and has no need to defend his beliefs or his policy by making someone else wrong.
Mrs. Clinton, it appears, has a way to go.
> Today is the Jewish holiday known as Tish B’Av, or 9th of the month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the second Temple in ancient Israel. It also signifies the consequences of moving far afield of the consciousness and behavior set forth in Torah, the Five Books of Moses.
It is my personal approach to look behind the “stories” and “drama” of my religion (all religions, actually,) to seek out the subtle and most instructive teaching. For me, Tish B’Av is a reminder that it is our connection to Source, combined with our commitment to our highest selves, that sustains us and brings joy to our existence.
Each of us knows in our hearts and minds when we are thinking, speaking and acting in ways that elevate both our own existence as well as the existence of others, and the earth generally. When we lie or gossip or pollute or think jealous thoughts or participate in deception(of self or others) we literally feel badly.
I have heard that there are only two feelings. One feels good and one feels bad. Of course, we have many names for versions of each, depending on the event and circumstances causing it. However, fundamentally, there are only two. Together, they represent an advanced and accurate guidance system that, through feeling, reflects back to us whether or not we are thinking or behaving in a way that supports the best of what we are capable of. Our feelings are in place to reveal what our minds have a tendency to obscure.
Today, on Tish B’Av, there is collective mourning for the destruction of the Temple. But the real mourning is for how far the people strayed, through their choices, from the calling that is both our birthright and our goal. That calling is the same for each of us. It is to create through our thoughts, words and deeds, a reality that supports growth, exhibits compassion, fosters individuality, and honors the Source of All That Is.
As I reflect on this special day, my sadness is not for the lost Temple but rather for what it represented…a direct connection and clear awareness in understanding that what each of us chooses, and how we act upon those choices, literally co-creates the world in which we find ourselves.
In Judaism, joy and happiness are prohibited on this day. But not hope.
And so today, as I feel the sadness of the disconnect we create for ourselves when we make choices that feel bad, and then ignore or deny those feelings, I remain hopeful that tomorrow we can “wake up” and begin anew to trust our hearts, our internal guidance systems, to move us in the direction of our own personal calling and highest good.
> Physician and writer, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.” As good as any lead into a discussion of the seven “Harry Potter” books written by J.K.Rowling.
Filled with the the classic struggles between good and evil found throughout literature, the series clearly took the world by storm. Since 1995, “Harry Potter” has been a household name commanding unprecedented revenues in print and film royalties. J.K. Rowling, it’s author, went from financial struggle to financial independence in meteoric fashion.
It’s actually Rowling’s story that I wish had all the attention, rather than Harry’s. Her story is one of education, adversity, perseverance, creativity, responsibility and, ultimately, belief in oneself as the sure road to triumph.
In her real life story, there are no magic cloaks, wands or potions. There is only the day in and day out effort of a woman who, in spite of a failed marriage and desperate financial hardship, refused to deny her gift or give up on her passion.
J.K. Rowling’s life is filled with themes and messages that act as beacons for those of us searching for a way to move beyond our immediate circumstances. They stand as testimony to the indomitability of the human spirit when propelled by creativity.
Yes, I know Harry’s story is exciting. I have a 14-year-old daughter who has read all seven books and can regurgitate plot and character detail at warp speed and with mind-boggling detail. And while I love that she reads so much (and so regularly) it’s Oliver Wendell Holmes’ quote that causes me to stop and reflect.
While she knows the Latin(?) names for Hermione’s spells and who was really good and who was only faking at being good but was really from the dark side…I’ve not noticed once, throughout all seven books, “not the thought which it contains but the thought which it suggests.” And I think Holmes would support my pause and reflection.
“Harry Potter” is really all about magic, fantasy, escape, and violence. Yes, I know we could take both the high road and the time to unearth more worthy themes. But why bother? The life of it’s author is pure inspiration on it’s face…no time or excavation necessary.
In a world filled with so much violence, materialism, and impatience, we should pay more attention to the messages we bring to the children as we and they shape their minds and values for what lay ahead. You and I know there are no magic formulas that, once spoken, get us what we want. There are only intention, attention, and deeds that, when combined, work a kind of magic called co-creation.
J.K.Rowling is a woman who loved reading and writing so much she went on to teach them in both England and France. A woman who continued to pursue her passion after divorce, writing in restaurants so she and her child could keep warm. A woman who never stopped believing in her creativity or herself. A woman who’s unyielding belief catapulted her to international acclaim and financial reward beyond imagination…hers or ours.
Hers is the story that warrants attention and repetition.
Oh, and by the way, it’s true.
> Several stories have caught my attention in recent days and I think I see a common thread between them and a solution to all of them as well.
The streets of New York are caving in. Nearly one-half of the prisoners in Florida’s county jails awaiting trial are mentally ill. President Maliki of Iraq says the U.S. troops can now go home anytime they want. And, our government is running a contest (yes, it really is!) offering $1,000,000 to the person or company that can figure out how to lighten the backpack load that our soldiers carry in Iraq. Apparently, they need to carry 20-40 pounds of batteries on a 4-day mission to support high-tech equipment, such as night vision goggles and GPS systems.
I think if we solve the last one first we can begin to solve the other three.
When I read about the contest I told my husband, “I know how to win a million dollars. Bring the troops home. That should lighten the load.” Right away, Maliki gets what he wants.
And now to the other two problems. Deteriorating infrastructure in our cities and the mentally ill.
It’s long been human nature to try and “fix” someone else rather than “grow ourselves.” Who of us hasn’t told our spouse or children or relatives or friends “What is wrong with you is…” or “What you need to change is…” while at the same time, failing to look at the ways in which we ourselves need to evolve to more enlightened thinking or behavior?
Broaden that approach a bit and you get how one political or religious group deals with the others. Each is quick to point out the shortcomings or failings of the other while turning a blind eye to it’s own.
And, ultimately, this is what nations do when they go halfway across the globe trying to impose their political and societal views on other nations, while ignoring the more immediate challenges at home.
We’re still fighting a war on terror, incurring financial indebtedness that defies logic, to impose our will and prevent events that may never occur, even as we do nothing about those challenges that face us daily in our own backyard, posing both real and immediate danger.
The danger of rotting infrastructures (not just in New York City but most major cities) is significant death and injury, disruption to the economy, added burden to municipal emergency and support services, and huge indebtedness to repair (if the funds would exist at all).
The danger of continuing to ignore the problem of having closed mental hospitals in the 1980’s and made no alternative provisions or plan for their inhabitants is increasing financial and resource strain on our justice and penal systems, an ever-growing recidivism rate for the mentally ill, and most importantly, the harm to ourselves and our society for ignoring the suffering and need of fellow citizens.
I know the world has serious problems. I know terrorists are real. And I know one day in 2001 they made their presence tragically known on our land.
But the other challenges that we face, we face daily. These other challenges are getting worse. These other challenges are ours to repair, Now.
We have supported many governments and political positions over the history of our nation that turned out to be not who or what we should have supported. In that regard, we need to understand our own contribution to the international political situation we now find ourselves in. And by the way, the heavens did not collapse and the sky turn black when we left Vietnam.
So, let’s lighten our soldier’s load and bring them home. Then let’s take all those monies and energy and resources and re-direct them to repairing what is in our own backyard.
Maliki will be happy. The Mayors will be grateful. The mentally ill will get treatment. And the world can take care of itself. One backyard at a time.
Mr. President, you can mail the $1M to:
P.O. Box 2233
Cherry Hill, N.J.
> You know the expression “As above, so below?” It’s often used in relationship to spiritual and earthly matters. Well, this morning I had an insight on this very subject.
I suggest you open your mind and hold onto your seat.
How come the Creation story basically starts with Eve’s causing Adam to see reality in whole new way, thus putting the “fear of G-d” into him (literally!)and getting them both put out of that beautiful place of abundance and harmony?
We never question, “Where did that story come from? What preceded it? And most importantly, “What’s the real message”
Here’s my take on it.
In all of nature we see two genders. And we see the necessary combination of them both to create and perpetuate all that is. As above, so below. Therefore, “above” or “preceding” this realty was both Matter and Consciousness. Matter is represented by male energy and consciousness by female energy. Matter, whose energy is more dense, never had a sense of itself until it developed Consciousness. When it did that, it had its first awareness of Self and was jolted (frightened)by the sheer magnitude of it’s own power. In responding to the “jolt”, Matter reacted with a force equal and opposite to that which Consciousness presented and by so doing, separated itself from itself. For Matter and Consciousness are One.
Ever since that occurrence, the Universe has been one of duality, separation and the search for Unity.
Hence, the Creation Story. When G-d “punishes Adam and Eve and expels them from the Garden” we are being told that ultimate power is so overwhelming that G-d (Creator/Energy) reacted to it in a negative way…thus setting up the reality in which we now live.
Good news coming.
Today, around the world, millions of people spent an hour simultaneously reuniting those energies. Separate, they were weakened, tired, and near depleted. Reunited, they now become, each unto themselves and in relation to one another, strong, complete, enlivened and magnificent once again.
Creator experiences itself through us. We are each Consciousness and Matter. As we understand and accept this fact, about ourselves, our relationship to one another, and to the Source of All… we heal not only this reality but All Realities.
As below, so above.
A New Creation Story.
>The Israeli-Arab conflict is based upon specific ways of thinking about an event in human history. It begins with Hagar and her son, Ishmael, being sent out into the desert by Abraham under the direction of his wife, Sara. By that single act, Arabs believe they were denied something by the Hebrews that would otherwise have been rightfully theirs.
Similarly, the Jews have their own story. It’s a theme of persecution tat runs strongly throughout the history of the Jewish people as far back as their oppression under the master/slave consciousness of the Egyptians. Ever since, Jews have been trying to live in peace wherever they reside, only to find what tey see as thousands of years of unending persecution in one form or another.
If we in fact draw to us, through our thoughts, that which we think about deliberately or by default, then perhaps these two peoples have more in common than they think.
And just perhaps, what they are thinking about...and precisely how they are thinking about it, is continually co-creating and re-creating their plight.
What if Arabs would instead see that their expulsion from Abraham’s home embarked them on a path to unimaginable oil-based wealth given where they finally settled? What if they used that wealth to continuously uplift and advance their culture? What if the Jewish people could see that but for their exodus from Egypt, and subsequently imposed limitations by host cultures, they would never have developed priorities focused upon learning and education as a means of advancement. It is that very focus which has caused them to so disproportionately contributed to the scientific, artistic and literary advancement of the world.
What if these two peoples thought of one another with gratitude for the benefits and opportunities their relationship to one another has provided, instead of looking at one another with fear and animosity?
You cannot change your history. But you can change how you think about your history and thereby change the story you create around it.
I prefer to think of the Arab-Israeli relationship as a present opportunity to elevate our consciousness around how we think about their intertwined history and perhaps, by so doing, contribute to assisting them in thinking about it in a new way also.
I have said it before, but perhaps this is as good a time as any.
Shalom and Salaam.
> It’s my birthday so I think it’s a perfectly acceptable day to reflect upon myself. No, not in the 1960’s “it’s all about me, me, me” sense…but in the 21st century “importance of Self-Awareness” sense.
There’s a big difference, you know.
Self-absorption is thinking and believing that you are the center of the Universe with total disregard for the rights and considerations of others. Self-awareness is knowing your inherent beauty and unique purpose in the ongoing unfolding of this world then aligning your words and deeds with that knowing.
While we all know that right action is a good thing, I’m less certain we grasp the importance of right speech.
Take, me, for example. I have always loved words. As a child, I literally read everything I could get my hands on. Books, magazines, labels, telephone books…you name it. If I had a few moments to spare and there were words within my reach, I read them. So naturally I grew up with a great vocabulary and an ongoing love of reading.
But I also grew up in a house where the last point made in a discussion was the last one shouting. So, while I had an inherent appreciation for words, I was sorely lacking in an appreciation of the importance of tone. For it’s not just what we say but how we say it that creates the total effect. As an adult, I often found people thinking I was mad, or rude, not because of my words…they almost didn’t hear them…but rather because of my tone.
In Kabbalah, mystical Judaism, there is the belief that the world was created with the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Literally. The belief is that each letter is a channel, a frequency, of energy that in specific combinations creates worlds…creates matter. Thus, the “ineffable name of God.” Pronouncing it in correct sequence would invoke more energy than we could withstand. And the Chofetz Chaim, a Jewish Rabbi and philosopher, wrote volumes on the importance of right speech.
Reading e-mails I often cringe at “e-mail-ese.” Mangled punctuation and grammar for the sake of expediency. And don’t get me started on Instant Messaging or cell phone text messaging lingo.
The art of using words is on a downward slide.
The cure is to know what’s in your heart and express it through the use of words that say precisely what you mean in a tone that can be heard and received by the listener.
Remembering that worlds are created by the proper combination of letters plus frequency is a powerful reminder of why this is an art worth saving.
This morning, on his way to work at 5:30AM, my husband work me up to wish me a happy birthday. He said the words gently, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.
What a beautiful world.