Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ten Steps to Finding Your Artistic Voice
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"Invariably, Judy, a sudden disappointment, a bit of "bad" news, or a flock of butterflies gathering in your stomach, are all omens that a fabulous adventure is fast approaching."
Instead of resisting, blocking, hiding, or wishing away what sometimes feel like life attacks, we might instead invite them in, looking for the unlikely teacher hidden inside. When we reframe and rename difficult and unexpected life events and call them gifts, we start to look with a different lens. And we take our power back.
PS - Learn more about Unlikely Teachers on my Website.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I recently read a very helpful offering on "The Aikido of Mindful Communication" on Marguerite Manteau-Rao's Mind Deep Blog. Take a moment to see how Marguerite applies aikido's entering and blending principles to verbal interactions.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Notes From the Trail
June 3, 2010
The Oil Spill and the Blood Spill:
Same Problem, Same Solution
By Steve Bhaerman
Sometimes it's just not funny.
There is nothing funny about oil hemorrhaging in the Gulf of Mexico, or blood flowing in the Mediterranean - just the sad joke that we humans are largely the cause of our own suffering. And we are largely clueless as to how and why.
For millennia, we have been under the spell of the lowest common dominator, the notion that it's a you-or-me world, that to survive we must dominate or be dominated. Never mind that at the root of every religion and ethical system is some version of the Golden Rule. We have as a species chosen to apply this law selectively to those in our own family, tribe or nation. When we feel threatened - not necessarily ARE threatened, but feel threatened - we very easily adopt a conveniently modified version of the rule: "Doo-doo unto others before they can doo-doo unto you."
So, for tribes or nations to be manipulated by a sociopathic few, all these misleaders need to do is convince their people of an external threat, and this protective mechanism is activated. While fight-or-flight is a necessary response to an immediate danger, the blood flow to the hindbrain has to come from somewhere. It comes from the forebrain, the place of creative thinking and discernment. In other words, when we are in fear we are less intelligent.
In places like the Middle East, the us-vs.-them story is well established, and each atrocity by the other builds the story one more story high. The one thing the Palestinian terrorists set to blow themselves up and the Israeli soldiers firing on civilians have in common is the belief, "We are the good guys."
It's this belief alone that turns good guys into bad guys. It's how America justified using atomic weapons on Japan, napalm on Vietnamese, and bombs on Iraqi and Afghan citizens. It's the cost of war, paid by the other guy - the bad guy.
From the Mideast ... to the Midwest
In order to bring this notion home, literally and figuratively, we need to take what is happening in the Mideast, and apply it in the Midwest. Just as surely as the Israelis and Palestinians are at war, we the people of America have been divided into two warring tribes, the Red Tribe Republicans and the Blue Tribe Democrats. The main difference between these two tribes is that the right wing understands there is a war going on; the left wing merely feels assaulted.
Whether you believe it's an actual conspiracy, or merely the out-picturing of our divided collective consciousness, the body politic has been split into left-brain and right-brain, masculine and feminine. The political left represents the values of novelty and nurturance; the right stands for structure and protection. Each of these tendencies - progressive and conservative - represents a healthy biological impulse. However, separately they are incapable of wise rule. Why? Well, imagine living your life using only half your intelligence, or worse yet with two parts of your psyche constantly in mortal combat.
Consequently, each political party represents a toxic distortion of a valuable asset. Put bluntly, the Republicans represent the abusive male, the Democrats the enabler female. All of the muscle is on one side; all of the compassion is on the other. Instead of working together, these two opposing impulses have inflicted a deadly autoimmune dysfunction on the body politic. Who benefits? Those who have the most to lose by these two divided forces uniting as an integrated, whole "we the people."
In a healthy, integrated, whole system the forces of protection protect life. Consider the eggshell. It is absolutely necessary to protect the egg during development. However, for a chicken to be born, the shell must break. Structure must yield to life.
In our distorted, divided system the structures designed for protection all too often protect the predator. That's why back in the 1930s, Gen. Smedley Butler, at the time America's most decorated Marine, wrote a booklet called War is a Racket, where he confessed that most of the defending he did during the early part of this century was for United Fruit and U.S. Rubber. In the nearly 80 years since Butler's pamphlet, we have seen the simple desire for defense and protection rigidify into a Military Industrial Complex, a structure largely in service of itself, in partnership with the American empire.
Interestingly, the more libertarian right represented by Ron Paul know about Smedley Butler and his assessment of war, whereas he is an unfamiliar figure to most on the left. That's because each political polarity has it's own information pipeline telling them the "truth." The left is told that the Ron Paul variety of populist - as represented currently by the Tea Parties - are backward racists and isolationists. Meanwhile, the right wing impropaganda machine bangs away at the notion that "liberals hate America," making them as much of an enemy as Al Qaeda is.
Progressives are outraged by the assaults of Limbaugh, Beck and the like, but cannot respond effectively or courageously. Why? Because all the martial energy has been marshaled over on the other side. The right, meanwhile, doesn't dare empathize with the downtrodden, lest we empower welfare cheats. In having their attention focused on the lowly criminal, they are conveniently distracted from the highly criminal.
We are a political house divided, a body politic afflicted with bi-polar insanity. Somewhere in the netherworld, Machiavelli is smiling, for his lesson of divide-and-conquer has been well learned by our misleaders. We the people have learned to identify so much with what divides us that we completely ignore the common virtues and values we share as non-sociopathic humans.
It's Either an Awakening ...
Or a Wake
Which brings us to the oil spill.
The major missing piece in this web-of-life threatening tragedy is our ability to act in unison in a moment of crisis. The bi-polar political dysfunction has bred so much mutual distrust, that we've wasted valuable time and energy in obfuscation and blame. But the problem goes deeper than that, as deep as the subconscious programming of "survival of the fittest." We are so programmed with fear of not enough - Swami calls this "scare city" - that we spend our attention, intention, time and resource on protection and acquisition, at the expense of other healthy human "cellular souls."
The cost of this agreed-upon greed, goes beyond the trillions of dollars spent and the millions of lives lost. We now have a rupture in the web-of-life itself, as the fluid we value more than life gushes uselessly and harmfully into the ocean, unstoppable by the magic of technology. Like Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice, in our ignorance and innocence, we unleashed a power far too powerful for our Mickey Mouse consciousness.
And the good news is?
If we choose to use it as such, the oil spill may be the significant emotional event that bumps us out of the illusion of separation and into a healthier relationship with one another and the planet. What is called for is no less than a spontaneous spiritual evolution from children of God to adults of God, from victims and villains to aware, responsible co-creators. It's never happened before. But never before have we faced such a blatant and immediate human-caused disaster, one that calls into question our fitness as a species.
As many of us have seen in the "try this" or "try that" emails that have been circulating, there is no dearth of potential remedies or even solutions. We already have the worldwide network of communication to create an open-source approach to a situation that threatens every one of us. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention ... and intent is the father. What an opportunity for the people of this world to "gather under one big intent" to take the initiative to create a worldwide "we the people" authority to, for the first time, confront a species-wide threat as a species.
This would not be some top-down New World Order, but a bottom up, grassroots "new world ordering," where we access the heart-and-soul essence of who we are, an essence that has been lost through millennia of domination and programmed fear. It would mean gathering in intentionally diverse groups, and using existing polarities to stretch ourselves beyond the limited choices we currently perceive. It would mean calling forth the Sacred Masculine and the Sacred Feminine, to act in accord as dynamic duo dance partners. It would mean taking the obsolete political polarities of progressive and conservative, and turning them into healthy intentions by asking, "How do we wish to progress?" and "What do we choose to conserve?"
I know, I know. I am proposing a sane world. I must be crazy.
But the question to ask ourselves and one another is, how sane is the institutionalized, homicidal, suicidal insanity we have now? As the saying goes, if we keep on the same path, we will arrive at where we are going. Even if we are able to stanch the current oil flow, and we contain the damage to "just" one ocean, what will the next blow be? Will we be able to recover, or will it just be a matter of time before a human-made disaster kills us?
In our book Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I point out the phenomenon of "spontaneous remission," where an individual is told their condition is untreatable and terminal, and yet something mysterious and miraculous happens. They recover, and show no sign of the disease whatsoever. While we might imagine this some super-human miracle, when we look deeper we find that the recovery is preceded by a profound change of belief, and change of behavior.
In other words, a spontaneous remission is often the result of a "spontaneous remissioning." And so the choice is before us to collectively change our mission from "dominate or be dominated" to re-growing the Garden together.
This has been the wake up call we have been waiting for. And the snooze button is no longer working.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer and uncommontator who has written and performed comedy as Swami Beyondananda. He is also the co-author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here (Hay House: 2009). He can be found online at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/ If you like what you read, and want to get more of it, subscribe to Notes From the Trail here.
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