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Archive for July, 2007

In the Image and Likeness

>  Two days ago I wrote a blog entry entitled “The Women of Vrindavan” that spoke to the culturally-based ostracism of widows in India. Today, the lead story on CNN is about the horrific practice of female genital mutilation. 
   Both of these stories have a common, and tragic, thread. 
   The common thread is the world-wide demonization and marginalization of the feminine by organized religions and cultural traditions. The tragedy is the effect this view has had on the development of humankind.
   Long before there were patriarchal societies, the goddess, the divine feminine aspect of creation and spirit was revered as evidenced by mythology as well as anthropolgical findings. While I do not know for sure when and where the reversal took place (I’ll leave that to the sociologists and historians), at some point in our history male energy became dominant in both religious and political arenas. The result has been an ongoing attempt over thousands of years to consign females to certain culturally sanctioned roles, and where possible, to exclude them completely from positions of power.
   While what I have described exists globally, it does, admittedly, vary from country to country and culture to culture in the severity of its application. While in some places women can now hold positions of power in both government and organized religion, in others widows are condemned to die in poverty and shame simply for their lack of spouse and young girls have their genitalia barbarically mutilated to “tame their sexual energy.”
   Here’s the irony. 
   We are created in God’s image…male and female alike. What that means is that each of us is comprised of both male and female energies. We know this spiritually and we have proved it physiologically. Each gender has its attributes and its own unique contribution to make to the balancing of the whole. When we discount either gender we deny something essential and beautiful about ourselves, whether we are male or female.
   Because I am a woman, it would be too smug to say that it’s the absence or limitation of feminine energy that’s created all of the violence in the world. I couldn’t know that for sure, anyway. 
   What I do know is that any system out of balance is going to be excessive in manifesting some of it’s aspects and deficient in others.
   Balance is the key.
   What we can do to rectify this error is to first recognize and acknowledge that the devaluation of any of us is to the detriment of all of us. Then, through our words and actions, honor both the feminine and masculine energies that exist in the world, as well as within each of us individually.
   Harmony and balance will pave the way to a world where widows are not shunned for being widows and girls are not mutilated for being girls. 
   And just maybe, a world without violence.
   

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Thinking on Purpose

>   Have you ever noticed that most of the news is comprised of either the continuation or updating of major world problems or less global stories that fit into a few standard molds?It doesn’t seem to me all that attention and repitition has changed much. 
   Wasn’t it Einstein who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over again in the same way and expecting a different result?”   
   What if instead of spending so much energy and space writing about the problems of the world, we spent the energy and space writing about the possible solutions? Think about it. 
   Problems aren’t much different that roses. If your roses became sick and you spend your time discussing the sickness and worrying about it  instead of figuring out what to do about it, the roses are likely going to die. What we give our attention to is what, in essence, we nourish, perpetuate and grow. Or not.
   Giving so much time, energy and attention to the problems of the world simply makes them our focus. Focus on the problem and you’re guaranteed to get more of the problem. Focus on the solution and you’re guaranteed to find one. 
   Our pattern is that the media reports it, we take it in, think about it, talk about it…and by so doing..keep it all going. What if we expended little or no energy on the problems and the majority of our energy on creating solutions?  
   It’s really no different in our personal relationships. Oftentimes someone we love or care about struggles with a behavior or an issue in their lives that they clearly want to change. If we, in our effort to assist them, act as a sounding board for their unhappiness or commiserate with them over their plight, we simply nourish the problem.  Wayne Dyer has said, “You can never get sick enough to make anybody else well. You can never get sad enough to make anyone else happy.”  That’s really it, isn’t it? 
   If support and assistance are what you want to offer someone then focus on the solution to their dilemma, not the dilemma. By so doing, you are mirroring for them that which they want for themselves. And if they do not really want a solution, then that’s their decision. In the meantime, you’ve provided an opportunity for them to see their highest good.
   Yesterday I was challenged with a daunting work assignment within a very short period of time. My initial reaction was to focus on how in the world I would accomplish it in time.  My husband happened to be with me at the time I got the assignment and simply said, “You’ll get it done. I am here to support you in it.”  He didn’t mean that he was going to do the work for me. He simply meant that he saw my dilemma and he was focused on the end result I wanted for myself. 
   I can tell you it made all the difference. It got me off the negativity of concern and onto the positivity of creativity. That’s not to say that we always need someone else to allow us to see solutions. There are more times than not that we are able to get to such thinking on our own. However, the more energy directed toward the solution, the more likely and speedily it will occur. 
   Now, back to the world’s problems.
   We cannot get scared enough or angry enough to stop the terrorists. We cannot get hungry enough to stop the starvation. We cannot get bigoted enough to stop the ethnic warfare.
   What we can do is take our attention, time and energy off of the problems and place them on the solutions. That simple step paves the way for the co-creation of new patterns where new outcomes can be manifested.
   Let’s take our attention off of Einstein’s definition of insanity and place it where we can really do some good.

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The Women of Vrindavan

>In India, there are an estimated 40 million widows. Ostracized and shunned by both family and friends simply because they no longer have a husband, thousands of them actually trek to the city of Vrindavan as tradition holds that dying there will free them from the karma of returning to such a fate again. They live on the streets, prohibited from re-marriage, heads shaved, wearing no jewelery or any color other than white.
   Some widows of India have begun to reject this condemnation, a creation of someone else’s reality, and by their own thoughts, words and actions, create a new reality in which they can live based upon their intrinsic value as human beings.  
   They are starting small, as with all such movements, by breaking free of the external definitions and limitations placed upon them. They are setting up shelters, growing their hair, wearing jewelry and colors, and daring to laugh and dance.
   The women of India are a wonderful example of how we co-create new realities and bring to us that which we really want. Whether it’s a reality we ourselves have created or one crated by another individual or group, the first step in changing what you’re experiencing is changing how you think about it. The second step is replacing what you have been experiencing with the new thought of what you want to experience. The third step is giving voice and action to your new creation.
   As you embark upon the creation of a new reality, it’s important to remember two key elements: First, that you must focus on what you are creating with all of your attention. Jesus said, Seek and ye shall find.”  He didn’t say “Dabble and ye shall find.”  When you seek, there is a concentration upon that which you seek that has pinpoint determination. To seek is to eliminate from your quest all that does not support your quest.  
   Secondly, know that your emotions are the energy that fuel your seeking. Seek with joy. Heaven and hell are states of being that we create within our own minds and manifest within our own lives. Whether in the thought stage or the action stage, go in pursuit of your creation with a song in your heart and a bounce in your step. Feeling otherwise just means you are not being true to what it is you really want…or who you really are.
   There are so many examples. Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt, Rosa Parks and African Americans refusing to sit in the back of the bus, Lech Walesa and the Polish people standing for democracy. These and countless others have been way-showers lighting the way for how to create, and co-create, new realities.
   If you want to help the women of Vrindavan this day, it isn’t necessary to contribute money or join the Peace Corps. Instead take some time to create through your own thoughts, words and actions a world where ALL life forms are honored simply because of their inherent value and where joy is the prevailing emotion. 
   In my reality, this approach works.

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Quick Fixes

      Former Vice-President Al Gore is going to spend this weekend hosting a globally televised Live Earth concert to try and heighten our awareness of the catastrophic dangers of global warming.
      His son, Al Gore III, has spent the past week receiving national media attention that should raise our awareness of the catastrophic dangers of the widespread use of prescription drugs.
      Recently, I was speaking with a neighbor in her mid-30’s with two young children.  My neighbor is quite social and has many friends in her age group, all with young children. During our conversation about the challenges and pressures of trying to raise children today, she casually mentioned that “90% of my friends are on anti-depressants.”
      This epidemic of prescription drug use and mis-use, as I see it, is not restricted to the young, although Gore’s arrest for marijuana use and illegal possession of prescription drugs is playing in the press and on the Internet that way.      
      The disregard with which prescription drugs are manufactured and sold, the abandon with which they are written, and the ease with which they are consumed are all national problems that transcend the generational divide. The elderly are over-medicated, the boomers are over-medicated, the X-ers are over-medicated, and it seems our school age children are as well.
      There are probably many ways to approach solving this problem. Most require a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of political organization and power.  The fastest, least expensive and most empowering way, however, is for every one of us to take charge of our lives, our lifestyles, and our life choices.
      It’s not about locking up the pharmaceutical executives or locking up the medicine cabinet. Actions such as these just allow each of us to abdicate our part and our power.    
      Nancy Reagan was half right. “Just Say No” has to start with accepting personal responsibility and rejecting the quick fix of prescription drugs. It also means saying no to our doctors when they reach for the prescription pad.  It means not watching every third commercial on TV touting the latest cure-all for whatever ails us.  It means refusing to continue to live in ways that stress us out despite the fact that we know we’re doing it. It means adjusting our lifestyles to a more realistic pace. It means adjusting our diets to support wellness rather than expediency.      
      Be kind to yourself. Start small.
      Next time you have something as simple as a headache, reach for a yoga mat instead of an Excedrin.  If that’s too mystical and “out there” for you then just stop what you’re doing, get a pen and paper,  re-evaluate your day and identify where the headache came from. Most illness really does originate with dis-ease.  A lack of ease in your life born of choices that do not support a state of continued wellness and continued growth.
      Whichever route you choose, a yoga mat, pencil and paper, or just deep breathing…you’ll begin to change your pattern. This will be a new beginning and a good thing.
      More importantly, the children are watching.

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The Wonder Of It All

>Having just celebrated Independence Day, I got to thinking about…you guessed it…independence!  The typical way we tend to think about it is in a political or societal context. But what I’ve been thinking about is independence of thought.
      We are so quick to take on the perceptions and definitions of those who came before us even though doing so stifles our own creative thinking. From our earliest childhood all the way through adulthood, we take on the “shoulds” and “coulds” and “possibles” and “impossibles” of our parents, our friends, and our leaders.  These automatic acceptances of other people’s perceptions and values become fixed in our minds and cause us to live a reality not of our own making.
      Where is that more obvious than in our systems of education…be they public or private?  Our 14 year old daughter is a very bright child academically. More importantly, she is a remarkably creative individual. She has attended both private and public schools. She frequently “sees” issues differently than most and sometimes tends to apply the English language with what I see as a “twist” of her own. When this happens I tend to correct her.  
      But where is it written that I’m correct? After all, isn’t her vision and her use of language just as valid as mine?  And where did mine come from anyway?  It’s likely I inherited them from those who came before me since it was only in adulthood that I really gained the confidence to begin to see and express things my own unique way in my own authentic voice.
      I’m not just talking about concrete matters like writing a book report or solving a math problem.  Even when it comes to spirituality and religion…don’t we humble ourselves before the dogma we’re taught or the mystic who came before us? 
   I heard a great line the other day. It went like this. “We’re each supposed to be creators, not regurgitators!”
   Think about that.
   Each of us is “created in the image and likeness of God.” What is God’s greatest and most profound act? Creation! If we each have but a smidgen of that capability, and I believe we do, then isn’t it incumbent upon us to use it by thinking and acting creatively?  What does that mean if not to see the world with fresh eyes, hear it’s sounds with new ears, and speak it’s words in ways that uplift and bring new meaning to our existence.
   I’m not much of an advocate of “No Child Left Behind” because it’s no different than trying to get everyone universal health care in a system that’s already broken instead of changing the system…and the approach…from treating sickness to fostering wellness.  
   An educational system that perpetuates the regurgitation of someone else’s definitions and perceptions is a system lacking creativity. The absence of creativity, in my view, is the absence of all that is at the core of this life.
   But this is just my way of seeing things. 
   If you disagree and see them differently…Hooray!
   Now there’s a reason to celebrate Independence Day.    

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Willing It So

>;Ron Goldman, LLC has purchased the rights to the book (and all related rights) that O.J. Simpson wrote about how he would have done it if he had, in fact, killed the Goldman’s son Ron and Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. As most will recall, a criminal jury acquitted Simpson of the murders but he was later found guilty of wrongful death by a civil jury before whom he was compelled to testify, an act he was able to avoid during the criminal trial under the Constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
   Fred Goldman, Ron’s father, teaches us an important lesson about the outcome of where we place our focused attention. 
   Fred Goldman and his wife suffered an incomparable loss, as no one would deny. Many people never recover from devastating loss and turn their sorrow and their pain against either themselves or others. Some, however, become single-minded of purpose and set a positive goal at which to direct their energies and from which they never waiver.   
   When all the reporters and paparazzi faded into the background, Fred Goldman remained steadfast in that the jury award the Goldman family was awarded would be collected, sooner or later. And while over the past decade or so there were many setbacks toward that end, his perseverance and single-mindedness of purpose has resulted in his sole ownership of what is likely the autobiography, and public admission, of the man who killed his son. The proceeds from the sale of that book and the making of that movie should go a long way towards satisfying the languishing civil award.
   I have a more positive, personal experience in what a focused intention can do.  
   At age 33, I decided to go to law school. Since I had been out of college for several years , I was deeply concerned that I might not be able to handle the workload or muster the academic resources to prevail though that infamous, grueling, first year. 
   So, I made a decision. I would not do or participate in or allow anything that took my mind off of my goal. 
   As an evening student, I spent the next year in classes by night and studying by day.  I literally did not eat in a restaurant, see a movie, go out with friends, or involve myself in any of my friends or family’s “dramas.” I spent the year learning and studying. 
   The result was that I not only survived the first year, I excelled academically.  My accomplishment was simply and clearly the result of my focused intention to succeed and my focused attention on what it was going to take to accomplish that goal. 
   The overriding message is that when we proceed with a focused dedication toward a clearly defined end it becomes easy, seemingly effortless, to make choices that support that end while avoiding
opportunities that would seek to obstruct it.
   Try it. Start small. Think of something you really want then put all your attention on it and see what you get. 
   In 1987 I got a law degree.
   Today, Fred Goldman got justice.

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The Noble Ant

>I witnessed an amazing sight a few days ago while cleaning up my back yard. I saw an ant carrying off another ant. The second ant was dead.    
   As I watched what seemed to me a physically daunting task (afterall, the ant was carrying something it’s own size!) I was struck by the beauty of it all as I perceived it.  Here was a life form exhibiting some version of compassion for a member of it’s species. It was obviously headed back to the ant colony to provide the equivalent of a burial, or simply to return a fellow member of the group to it’s fold.
   When I shared my experience with my husband, he replied, “Oh, it was just taking it back to eat it. I’ve seen that on the Discovery Channel.”
   Talk about a punch in the solar plexus! In one fell swoop of a sentence my compassion turned to disgust. But did it need to?
   Fast forward to yesterday when I was engaged in a conversation with a bright, philosophical man who sees my perpetual positive attitude as, while noble, somewhat naive.  He believes that evil exists and simply not choosing to think about it or “give it energy” is dangerous.
   He made some good points and got me thinking. Temporarily, he even got me doubting.
   Then I took a deep breath, gathered myself back unto myself, and was able to see the lesson that mystics have known for ages and quantum physics has just recently been able to prove: The presence of the observer changes that which is being observed. Simply putting our consciousness on matter changes the behavior of matter.
   Now, back to the ant, my husband and my conversational exchange of yesterday.
   In my world, I placed my consciousness on the ant tending to it’s fallen comrade. And so, that is the effect of my consciousness on what occurs.  In my husband’s world, the ant is on his way to make a meal of his fallen comrade. And so, that is the effect of his consciousness on what occurs. In the world of the man who believes that how you think about evil will not effect or change evil…that is where he places his consciousness and so that is what he creates with it.
   I am not judging any of us or where we choose to place our consciousness. I do, however, believe that we are each living in a reality created by our thoughts.
   I prefer to think (and believe with certainty) that the ant was caring for the body of it’s comrade.
   In my reality, my thought and the ant’s action are inextricably tied to one another and in the end, both deeply matter.

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About the Blog
gold post it

It's so easy to find bad news that generates fear and anxiety that I've made it my mission to see the positive side of what goes on around us. So, whether it's global, national, local, or personal… Gold Post It is where you can come to get a higher and more inspiring perspective on life.