Letters to Write

Writing a LetterWe are living in a time of amazing opportunities and great discomfort. As our pace of life slows and we wear through the distractions within our own homes, there is a great deal of our deeper life that is bubbling up to the surface. There are the places of mystery and wound which we have kept hidden away, which are now seeking to emerge into light to find love and compassion. There are interesting ideas and possibilities which we have not had time to consider. There are the life stories – ours or those of people we love, which have never been told.

One response to this upwelling is to write the letters we have always intended to write. These come in several forms.

There are letters from and to our earlier selves. This opens the flow of all that is arising from the past that needs our attention. We have been living such busy lives, rarely free to listen to our deepest desires and true needs. There may be old wounds and limiting thought habits that form barriers to finding joy in our lives. There may be wonderful energizing dreams and latent talents that want to surface and become part of our lives. Our present compassionate self can bring healing to the wounds and fears of the young ones within us lovingly listening to their words. Those youngsters, in return can give us the gift of imagination, creativity and playfulness that opens new doors for our future.

There are letters from and to our future selves. These open us to the resource of wisdom and perspective from one who has passed through this immediate crisis and emerged into a new way of living. Imagine a future self who knows everything about you and is delighted to help you find the most fulfilling path for your life. Letters from a future self can show us current strengths and skills to develop that can move us toward this future image of confidence and peace. To imagine that there is one who can look back at all of this as an important adventure that opened our life to new possibilities can lift us out of our feelings of isolation and limitation.

Then there are the letters you have always meant to write to other people in your life. These open us to share the important things that we do not want to leave unsaid in times of uncertainty. Their function is not to thrash or punish or push others ways. Instead these are letters from our highest and most compassionate being that create new connections with others. They are the admission that we have not understood one another as deeply as we want to. They ask to hear the inside story of the lives of those who we love, even as we share our inner story with them.

One of the wonderful things about letters is that they allow us time and freedom. We can let things pour out onto the page and decide what is for our eyes only and what is meant for others. As we write, things come to light that we did not know were in our heart and mind.

Those who receive our letters have the ability to digest them at their own pace. There is no immediate response needed as our words and images flow to them. They have time to consider what they are ready to share with us and then write their own letter, or decide that they need to do some writing to themselves first.

I have begun this process, writing to one of the most important people in my life, my sister. As other people come to mind, I will be writing to them. In the meantime, I am having fun listening to the exuberance of a very young self who thinks that the best response to all of this is to go outside to dance, spin and sing.

Can I Do It?

I begin the day with a spacious gratitude for all living beings. I practice connecting with the unseen and timeless realties to find wisdom and see broader possibilities. I practice Qi Gong and feel the flow of the energy of the universe pouring through my being. I am full of light and love, and allow it to just pour through me in all directions.

Then, in a flash, I am wondering if the grocery store will have rice and pasta, veggie butter and fresh produce. I go on line and read the statistics and projections about COVID-19 and feel as though someone has pulled the pug on all of my energy.

I feel as though this is the moment in history for which I was born. My whole life has been preparing me for this season of transformation. I have no control over what the human species will or will not do. It is my own evolution that is in my hands.

The question is, “Can I do it?”

MetamorphosisThe caterpillar has the innate pattern to metamorphose into a creature of bright colors, wings and flight. This does not depend on the caterpillar envisioning what it feels like to fly or to know what a butterfly looks like. Its whole life experience is of being soil-bound and all its energy is taken with finding food. The caterpillar has no choice, no control and no independent responsibility in the process. It is drawn to complete its soil-laden life and spin a shelter away from the outside world. It does not have to try to let go or to change. It will simply happen. The leap is made for it by its very nature.

What if it is the same with me? I do not need see what life will be like in a month, six months or two years. I do not need to know what my life will become as a result of this crisis. My familiar way of life is dissolving around me and my understanding of who I am in the world is metamorphosing with it. I do not need to understand the process of transformation in and around me. I am not in charge of this roller-coaster of experiences which is remaking me in the dark of my cocoon.

Instead, I can let my inner nature lead me. I will journey to touch the unseen world and find wisdom and compassion there. I will do my Qi Gong for my body and spirit. I will focus on living in a loving and purposeful Universe which is filled with creative energy and possibilities.

Then I will pull out the sewing machine and make cloth masks to wear when I go grocery shopping. I will wipe down the kitchen and bathroom surfaces with the most gentle cleaners I have. I will stroke the dead needles off one branch of the pine tree and another will brush the jangled thoughts from my mind as it brushes my hair. I will dance and sing my gratitude to the Earth.

There is a bridge to the highest expression of my being that will take form below my feet. The cross beams are practical matters. The planks are connections with nature and my own inner being of light. Many more boards and supports of friendship and laughter, compassion and creativity are being added continually. Each day is a phenomenal blend of all the gifts of the Earth. Everything of stone and water, air, fire, energy and spirit are coalescing  to lead each one of us toward the fulfillment of our lives.

As you explore your own unfolding, please share what you find arising to provide ground beneath your feet. (For you are here at this time and place for a reason.) I will do the same. We will each discover our unique ways through this uncharted territory. As you share your light it will naturally make my path more clear and less fraught with uncertainty. As I share mine, I trust that it will do the same for you.

Letter from Jean Houston

Hands and HeartDear Friends,

Like all of you, the epic scale of the Coronavirus threat has humbled me with its power and is collectively asking more of us than to just stay at home.  All of my life I have been dedicated to encouraging the potential that every person carries within them.  I’ve taught about our innate depths, our possibilities, and our purpose.  Now, however, it’s time to live out the promise that we all carry, to become noble, kind and compassionate people.

This week on television, I witnessed the best and most fearful sides of our natures.  On the one hand, I saw violent videos of shoppers fighting over toilet paper, and also experienced indiscriminate generosity while shopping at my local Costco.

Customers who knew the gravity of the challenge we all faced stepped aside for each other in the aisles.  If one item was left on the shelf, they asked the person behind them if they would like it.  The obviously overworked employees were never too busy restocking the shelves to share a smile and ask how they could help.  Strangers looked at each other — really looked at each other — and bonded in that momentary glance.  There was a pervasive energy of collective caring that will never be reported by the media.

Tonight on the news, I saw restaurant owners and chefs in New York who were transforming their empty restaurants into soup kitchens of a sort and creating food for those who might be hungry in their neighborhoods.  Families in need were brought to tears with the unexpected kindness of these people.

Yes, my belief in our potential is vindicated as neighbor cares for neighbor and plans are drawn up for feeding children who can no longer go to school.

The remarkable thing is that this isn’t the government that is rolling out a highly budgeted plan; it’s individuals. As one restaurateur said, “I’m asked how long I’ll be offering food. I guess it’s until I run out of money.”  My hope today is that we allow this crisis to evoke the best of us.

We can hunker down in fear, or look for the opportunity to care, each in our own way.  Our kindness is a light.  The more we extend it, the brighter it becomes and the more darkness we illuminate.  We can give without any expectations until goodness flows from our depths, presents new possibilities, and expands our sense of purpose.

The benefit is not only for those we touch but is also like my Costco experience, where our generosity of spirit can create positive energy that permeates the very air we all breathe.  It creates a powerful new vision of who we are and what we can accomplish together. We must hold fast to that vision until it becomes reality.

So, my dear friend, I invite you to create a new virus of caring, of a nobility of our humanity that becomes even more contagious than the one dancing in the headlines.

This is our time.  We can choose to surrender to fear or we can show the world what it means to be thoughtful, to be generous, and to be proactive in helping friends or strangers alike. Perhaps this is an initiation of sorts in which we are invited to step into a new experience of our interdependence and empathy.

Former Vice President Biden, during the most recent debate, announced his intention to create programs that would “make us whole.”  As we extend ourselves into the well-being of each other, we return to wholeness as the family of humankind. Self-serving actions and the illusion of separation can transform into a collective strength that is more encompassing than divisions of race, economic status, gender preference, or political party.

It can be as simple as a smile, an encouraging word, a “window visit” to an elder care home, or a letter to someone in prison.  Your words of encouragement are constantly influencing our perceptions and worldview.

Take all the precautions that are recommended, and at the same time be bold in your love, and constant in your faith that together we will pass through this challenging time.  On the other side of it, we will look back and realize that we were part of an epic time in history when caring triumphed over fear, and goodness prevailed!

Bless you dear one, now and always,

Jean Houston

She says it so well and so lovingly. I hold each of you in the light and glory of the highest expression of who you are. Thank you for being lights in my life.     Nancy

(You can learn about Jean Houston on the Evolving Wisdom site: Evolving Wisdom  going to faculty. Her courses (including some free presentations listed there under Life Purpose and Personal Power.)

 

DOORWAY TO NEW POSSIBILITIES

hand-opens-empty-room-door

In the days and weeks following the shock waves of sadness and fear of 9/11 there was a doorway that swung open. There was great fear and apprehension, but for a short time, there were also acts of deep compassion and solidarity. Hearts went out not only to the families who lost loved ones, but with those who were now hated for their religious beliefs and the contours of their facial features.

We looked in the wrong direction for the true wisdom and guidance that might have led us to an evolutionary leap in our self-understanding as individuals and as a nation. We had the chance to fan humility and honor to discover compassion and creative alternatives to life as usual. In the face of great fear, we drew back to “normal life,” as quickly as possible … and we went back to sleep; credit card in hand, marching forth to the shopping malls which we were told would be our salvation. It was familiar and felt safe… we slammed the door shut.

We have had nearly two decades to regret that missed opportunity. Some have become watchful, knowing that we live in a loving and purposeful Universe and that the doorway would open again. Now it has.

This time the threat is global. The flow of two planetary threats are converging to form a mighty river of momentum toward transformation. Earth’s climate is shifting in a natural progression to a return of balance throughout the web of life. Healing from the poisoning of earth, air, and water is essential for the survival of all living beings. Add to this a virus, inviting us to all work together for the sake of those we love. We have challenges which are hard to sleep through.

How do we seize the opportunity and avoid the tendency to lean our weight as far onto our haunches as possible to resist change? Much is happening to shake us loose. Schools are closing pouring children back into homes and neighborhoods. Sporting events and community gatherings are cancelled, letting us draw back into our own homes and let go of a fevered pace of getting young ones to five events a week. People are encouraged to work from home and not travel great distances, freeing hours on the roads and in the air for us to discover new uses for that time and energy. Many are being shaken loose from our ordinary routines. The secret is not to dive into our comfortable hiding places to wait it out until we can get back to “normal life.”

What if we choose to turn off the perpetual media updates; the reality TV programs and the streaming of countless movies? What if we step away from our virtual reality devices and our on-line shopping carts? What if we let go of the assumption that we can hold on for a month or so, and instead plan for the virus and other changes (along with their countless repercussions) to last for six months, a year, or more? What if we begin now to invent a new way of being outside the insane pace and complexity of mainline western culture?

I invite you to begin dialogues with three to five of the most creative, innovative, out-of-the-box thinking friends you have. Brainstorm about the outdoor activity options from community gardens to outdoor gyms. Share book titles of award winning children’s books and uplifting fantasy stories which feed the imagination with new possibilities. Swap ideas of what you can do as a family or in coordination among a few families to enrich your lives with music, art, dance, teaching and learning new skills.

Make your life a “No Kvetching Zone.” You may be part of those circles as well, but seek to spend very little time there. What you focus on and what you put your energy toward is what will grow and develop in your life. Be playful and joyful. Be grateful for what you have in your life and available to learning new things. This is the energy that will align you with the flow of transformation. The possibilities for personal and global transformation have never been as potent and vast. Let’s all head on across that threshold and see what adventures await us on the other side.

Go out there and create the world that will nurture
and delight your great, great grandchildren!

Turning Weed Thoughts into Flowers

wild-flower-meadowThere are many distressing weed thoughts permeating our lives and thoughts these days. While the specific shape and size of these energy-consuming invaders varies according to our specific situation, there is a simple practice that may help us all live more peaceful and vibrant lives.

For me, a simple checking of the WHO or CDC website for the most accurate information on the current Coronavirus can thistle up the field of my mind for hours. There seem to be far too many places for data to latch on to fear and spin me into uncertainty. This is a very old and established framework of thought for me, and this new “threat” just props up my internal reasons for maintaining the illusion that I am a separate, isolated and at risk creature in an uncontrollable world.

It therefore takes practice and discipline to let creative imagination lead me out of the tall grass and back into a fragrant garden. Let me share a bit of what I see when I tap into the broader perspectives from outside time and space.

We have a planet which is careening headlong into environmental self-destruction.  It is not possible for us to bring this impending environmental disintegration into focus, because it comes in scattered waves of evidence. We have learned too well to look only to what directly effects us and our scattered family members. Even when we acknowledge the peril to our planet’s health and balance, it is too hard to put the pieces together and to agree on how to tend to the Earth in her severe dis-ease.

Then a tiny virus occurs and we suddenly have a focal point. It enters a world without boundaries or categories, totally ignoring borders, ethnic differences, theology or any other divisive category the human mind has ever created. We discover that to care for our loved ones, we must care for all people everywhere. We are drawn together in heart and purpose to make sacrifices and rewrite our ways of life.

In my imagining, this breaks down all of the standard boundaries, even as it invites us to be more present in our lives. We stop traveling long distances and spending hours in commuter traffic. We open more time to be with family and to develop mutually supportive relationships with friends and neighbors. Creative ways of each offering our gifts and abilities in meaningful forms can replace our dependence on “jobs” which have often stolen energy and dignity with little reward.

We find that as the weather warms, we can gather in circles outdoor to hold meetings and share idea; express gratitude and envision creative possibilities. We grow community gardens and sing our songs out under the sky. We live more within our homes and take extraordinary care to keep them clean and free of chemicals so that our water and land remain healthy.

Many of the large group events which have been our distractions and taken huge amounts of financial support are released. We find more local expressions of creativity and discover that we have the resources for all people in every land to have free health care.

We use less fossil fuel on many levels and the Earth sighs with relief. We pull out the lawns and use the water for flowers and food, adding beauty and nourishment back in the land.

Perhaps we find that a few states in the middle of the country, which are free from the virus will become new homesteads. Close down the beef industry and tear out the industrial corn farms to make room for people to live at a more comfortable distance from one another as they restore the vitality of the soil. Go through a month of quarantine at the border and receive the grant of two acres of land. Relieve the press of population in the major seaboard megacities which will both ease the reinfecting cycle of illness and make it easier as severe weather events engulf these population centers.

I know that all of this is based on creative flights of fancy, but that may be the greatest healer and innovator in these times. The Chinese pictogram for “crisis” contains two elements. One is “danger,” and the other is “opportunity.” I invite all of us to take our weed thoughts of threat and fear and transform them into the living garden of new ideas. The transformation of our world and the reentry of the human family into harmony and balance within the web of life begins here.

Do you feel it? The sensation that was apprehension has become playful curiosity. There is more space in the body, heart and the mind for new possibilities. We change a thought, and then another. We entertain an outrageous idea and something amazing emerges. Wow, this is exciting!  Let’s watch the flowers grow.

Joy to the World

jump-for-joy_0Joy is one of the most sacred, healing and enlivening energies in the universe. It is at the heart of many of the celebrations of this season. It is also easily overshadowed by the cultural expectations, emotional investment and economic drive of these last days before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I want to call us back to this transformative flow of joy as the best possible gift to both give and receive this season and throughout the coming year.

Why do I cling to my barriers to Joy? I, along with many adult humans, have learned that there is something dangerous about this illusive force. There are some powerful myths that we seem to take in with our mother’s milk and never question throughout our lives. One of these is that if you allow yourself to feel joy, with every cell of your being, that the next experience in your life will be one of tragedy and loss. We have been conditioned to believe that joy is a gift that at any moment will be snatched from our hands and sent crashing to the floor, to teach us never to reach for it again.

As a defense, our mind calls joy a “soft emotion,” appropriate for small children and elderly relatives. Those of us with any common sense know that it is dangerous and not to be trusted. But that is only because it is so very powerful in transforming our perception of the world, and therefore the quality of our lives.

Joy rises from that place of mystery, between unseen energy and visible expression in the world. When joy emerges, it comes as an irresistible force, almost volcanic in power, bursting forth from deep within. Joy is what makes the sprout push upward through the soil into the sunshine. It is what drives the beat of the drum and the soaring of the music. Joy makes the flames of the fire leap and dance. It is joy that wells up within the human dancers, fueling their exuberance and movement. When it breaks out from the core of our being, it changes everything we see, hear, taste, touch, intuit.

Consider the truly joy-filled people you have encountered in your life. You have surely met at least one person whose whole being shines with light, love, and peace. These are not naive or feeble-minded individuals. They have lived life fully, experiencing both happiness and sorrow, illness and health, gains and losses. They have also learned the secret to overcoming the fear that joy will lead inevitably to grief. They have discovered the power of gratitude. Gratitude for what brings them joy, but also gratitude for everything that occurs in their lives.

I would invite you to consider this simple opening to joy:

Each morning, as my day begins, I sing my gratitude to the elements of nature and all the living beings who share the beauty of this place. I ask to live in harmony and balance. I offer my thanks for my life, this land and the man I share my life with.

As evening comes, I offer gratitude for everything that happened during the day. Everything.  Sometimes it is a new awareness of how petty and self-absorbed I am, and how I let anger and fear take too much of my day. Other times wisdom or friendship have taken me to a new place of understanding. Whatever has happened, I welcome it as a gift to help me see my unique human experience on the Earth. All that is revealed adds to my willingness to question the barriers I carry that keep me from living in freedom, simplicity and joy.

In this season, may we all follow the lead of the little ones and old folks who laugh freely and sing playfully. May we enjoy those who are openly light-hearted and shine their love into our lives. May we find joy infectious and irresistible.

In the words of the song from Three Dog Night:

Singin’ joy to the world
All the boys and girls now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

 

Each One a Living Dance – Poem

This poem emerged as I was waking up the other morning. It was born in that place between sleep and wakefulness –  words tapping themselves into being on my computer keyboard.

As I reread the words, they are exactly what I want to say to family members and dear friends; neighbors and coworkers; classmates and students; teachers and guides. They are the promise I want to make to strangers and loved ones.

They are the words I will speak, looking into my own eyes in the mirror. I invite you to do the same.

Now, in deep gratitude, I speak them to you.

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EACH ONE A LIVING DANCE

I will not hold you in a static form:
for you are a brilliant dance of energy,                                                 shifting and changing in each second,
becoming more than any imagination can hold.

I will not lock you into my “knowing:”
for that is just my limited mind
reassuring itself through the ability                                                to categorize and find familiar patterns.

I will not confine you in terms and descriptions:
for they speak of the past and of the surface,
missing the eternity of your being,
and the constant transformation in all things.

I will open to your becoming.
Only your own soul knows your road,
for it alone recognizes the dream
which invited you here in the beginning.

I will embrace the mystery of your unfolding.
No other will ever carry this dance of
emerging, expressing and releasing
for it is your unique gift.

I will listen to the song of your creation.
It alone reflects the riches of your being,
singing out in vibration: color as well as pitch,                                       to birth the dawning of a new day.

 

 

 

Dedication of My Life

I wrote and began living these vows in November. Throughout the preparations for our move and transition to Arizona they were in the foreground. Over the past few weeks they have been obscured by learning new things and building new connections. I am therefore especially grateful for the turning of the year as a time to remember and reintegrate them into my breathing, my waking, my dreaming and my living.

I ask those of you who read them now to be my witnesses – those who hold me and my intention in love and light.

DEDICATING MY LIFE IN DEVOTION TO THE WHOLENESS OF                                      THE EARTH AND ALL HER CHILDREN

I dedicate my life – devoting my body, emotions, spirit, mind and soul to the healing and nurture of the Earth and all Her children in all expressions of life.

I will seek to clear any thing, thought, habit, issue, or memory which diverts my attention from this devotion.

I will seek the guidance of the helping spiritual ancestors in their many expressions, through ritual, ceremony and honoring of the Earth. I will place my trust in the wisdom and insights they provide, resting in a perspective that is higher and broader than my own.

I will do those actions, nurture those images and follow those works of disciplined mind that enhance my ability to live my life as a being of light, sheathed in a human, Earth-walk form. In doing this I honor the sacred core within every living being and expression of divine creativity.

I will serve with my physical time and energy where and how I am led by this deepest truth, not assuming need or lack, but adding my gift to the renewal of the Web of Life and the reflection of the Sacred in All that Is.

I will seek this deep wisdom for my decisions about my travels, priorities, standard and way of living my daily life, my writing, speaking and listening.

I will honor the inner call I feel to be a hollow bone – to be one through whom the Light and Love of the Sacred flow freely and without hindrance of ego and self-interest to the best of my ability in each moment.

I will keep the questions of “How can I live and What can I give of my deepest heart for the healing of the Earth today?” as my daily companions and supports of my devotion.

I will place living this life and walking this path at the center of my life, allowing them to be the pivotal expression of my Earth Walk.

I am answering a calling I received at latest in my youth, and possibly in many earlier lifetimes of seeking to be of service to this world. I say YES to expressing myself as a blending together of the elements of this beautiful planet, enlivened by the Light of All that Is – A Daughter of the Light and a Child of the Earth.

In my living, and one day in my dying, I will honor who I am called to be within the Web of Life.