Our Conversation

Our Conversation

We are in the most exciting conversation of our lifetime. Women and men are talking about a new level of respect for women, what this could mean and what it might look like.

Beyond the hate bashing there are genuine deep discussions occurring. These conversations aren’t found in the headlines or screaming memes and political cartoons. They are voiced in quiet talks in line at the grocery store, or the discussions in coffee shops and also in the comment sections in online articles and posts.

Some, don’t want to entertain these possible changes. They feel we are bucking the status quo, that women’s roles are defined and should be left that way. Others, like myself, hold that centuries of inequality of women is up for change. Never before has the discussion been so open and vital.

 It’s been contentious and exhausting. There have been unkind words said on both sides. In among these thorns, petals can be found. Even when people are on opposite sides of an issue, I’ve seen a reaching out with love, in spite of their differences. 

I, for one, am part of the hopeful contingent for change. Some of our sisters and brothers don’t want to make the journey with us, and that is fine. We wish them well, but we must go on. It is in our blood, our Souls – a call to journey to the light of the new on the horizon. 

Taking Back Our Definitions

Taking Back our Definitions

I recently read an article on Facebook on why white women still support the GOP despite the controversy over Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  It talked about their firm belief in a two-gender system, male superiority, what some term chauvinism or patriarchy.

I’ve read before that the far right holds these beliefs, so this wasn’t new to me. One thing that did stand out was that these women consider themselves the “virtuous middle” of the country. I had to ask myself, “Since when do the these women get to define what virtue is?”

I would hazard a guess that their definition of virtue included patriarchal beliefs such as women should be seen and not heard, a wife is there to serve her husband, and that men know more what women need than a woman does. It is hard to argue with them and get them to see a different view – they feel secure in their superiority of virtue. 

Our language is binary in nature – the term ‘up’ includes ‘not down’ and ‘black’ indicates ‘not white.’ An unspoken, opposite is implied. Using the word virtue to define themselves, implies that everyone not “like them” are somehow un-virtuous. The women of the GOP aren’t actively saying this – they don’t need to. Our binary language says it for them.

Why should I be labeled by how they define virtue or non-virtue, as the case may be? Is their definition of virtue even true? I know their definition isn’t true for me. Left unexamined it remains the standard measure of society.

Loyalty, honor, truth, integrity, virtue, grace, and courage are just a few of the values that need to be examined for outmoded definitions. Feminine, masculine and what it means to be a man or a woman – straight, gay or transgender also need to be assessed. The old definitions contain assumptions that no longer work, and may have never even been true.

We, as a country need to take a deeper look at the fabric of the qualities, ideals, principles and values we have been living by now and into the future. We need to examine these threads for untruths, flaws and outdated definitions that hamper all of us. When these qualities go unchallenged, we are defined not only by the spoken, but also the unspoken/implied limits by default. We need to start taking our definitions back.

It’s like playing a game of baseball with broken bats, half the leather on the glove gone, chunks missing out of the ball, and crying foul on the other team. It is the equipment that isn’t working. These unexamined values keep us at each other’s throats. It may be time for a national debate. All sides may not agree on all the components that define these qualities, but hopefully there will be common ground where we can begin to build bridges.

That’s Just Story – In Addition

no-story-addition-pages

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE

A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

That’s Just Story – In Addition

I recently completed an online workshop offered by Lazaris on the topic of innovation.  It was rich with information and material to work with and follow up on. One thing they said, that stood out to me was that all true creativity was an attempt to tell a story. I thought about it, began reviewing in my mind great paintings and sculptures and I realized that this is true.

Even with my own art I was trying to capture the essence of a place (if a landscape), or the feel of something (if a still life), and communicate that, share what it meant to me.

Poetry is the same way, trying to share something from its creator to the hearts of those who read or hear it. And of course novels are stories meant to entertain us. When you think about it, it is really something that we can read the black marks on a page or screen that form words and sentences. These words and sentences have meaning to us, many forming imagery in our minds that capture our attention and stir our emotions. All from little black marks on a page or screen.

Yes, story is a big part of our lives and I, for one, hope it will remain so.

(If you would like to know more about the Lazaris material, you can click here.)

That’s Just Story – Part 2 of 2

Just Story 2

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE
A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

That’s Just Story
Part 2 of 2

We humans are complex beings. In this day and age there is so much information available that much of it is reduced to a “sound bites” as a quick way to get an overview. But, trying to live through sound bites doesn’t work. We need to honor ourselves and our complexity.

I suspect the use of “no story” had its origins in being a way for people to release memories; part of a process of working through emotions and patterns that was freeing when used in the right way and the right timing.

Most of us know of, or have known someone stuck in an issue. They have been repeating their story for a long time, with no seeming end in sight.

There are many reasons a person can be caught in their “story.” They may not know how to move past it or haven’t found the right technique to help them let go. They might be afraid – have their identity wrapped up in the events and need to find a new way to see themselves in order to be free. In the right timing they can be helped by seeing their issue as a story – after they’ve done the inner work and come to a more balanced place.

Sometimes a person doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to change. With those people I do my best to be kind and encourage them to reach for freedom in their own timing.

It’s one thing to come to a place of freedom through inner releasing, where you can say to yourself, “Wow, that whole thing was just a story I was telling myself.” That’s coming from a place of self-reflection after deep work.

It is another to use “That’s just story,” out of context in a casual situation. Even when someone has asked for help with their process it is wise to use it judiciously.

In a way, all of life is a story. Even advertisers know this. In the space of a television commercial we are shown someone who has a problem and is seeking a solution. Even if the problem is only hinted at, whatever they are selling is promoted as the perfect answer.

As a society we often pass on our values to other generations through stories. It could be children’s books, popular holiday rhymes or tales from our own past. That’s not to say that what is being passed on doesn’t bear examination.

Story sparks imagination – it is more alive than a list of rules. When a person hears a story they are engaged, they visualize the description and their senses come alive in imagination. This way of conveying information leaves a lasting impression in memory.

When we sit down for coffee or tea with someone, we talk about our lives and what is going on with us and those we love. Sometimes there are challenges, sometimes successes. We share and listen to each other.

And listening is more than just hearing the other. Listening, in and of itself, can be a force for healing. I will be I will be posting a blog dedicated to this topic soon.

I stopped hanging out with people who cut me off with “That’s just story,” line. I deserve better than that. We all do.

 

That’s Just Story – Part 1 of 2

just-story-1

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE
A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

That’s Just Story
Part 1 of 2

There’s a new thing happening in the world of the New Age, some of you may agree with it. I do not.

It is the use of “no story.” I’m talking about when someone asks how your day was and before you can get 3 words out, they chime in with, “That’s just story! I don’t want to hear any story.” Somehow, a tool used to help people gain freedom has become a response in everyday conversation.

A few years ago I successfully led a releasing group. One afternoon, as some of the members got settled, they were commenting to each other that this idea or that statement was just a story.

I asked if anyone had an issue they’d like help with and one of them raised their hand. She was a healer and told me that recently her clients had seemed unsatisfied with her sessions. I asked her to describe what she does with her clients.

“Well they come in,” she began. “I get them settled and ask what they want healing with. As soon as they start to talk I stop them and tell them I don’t want to hear any story.”

“Then, how do you know what they need help with?” I asked her.

“I just do what feels right,” she replied.

“Do they feel like they are getting help?” I inquired.

“They seem kind of upset and then leave,” she admitted.

The emphasis and energy she and the others in the group were using toward each other held the implication that story of any kind was wrong. One of them even turned it against themselves, lashing themselves for saying something they considered story. I worked with the healer and the rest of the group to come to a more neutral place around the concept of story.

A few months ago I was walking with some people and we passed a building being renovated. The plans were for it to be a restaurant and we were commenting on the progress when one person quipped, “Well that’s just story!”

It is painful to be on the receiving end of someone cutting you off with “That’s just story!” And in my releasing group it was painful to see people doing this to themselves.

Being used in this way it has the impact of dismissing another’s or one’s own experience. And using the word “just” conveys the idea that something isn’t worthy of time or attention – it is a subtle form of demeaning.

New Age Bad Behavior

Sp Bad Bhvr

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE

A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

New Age Bad Behavior

I’m calling this post New Age Bad Behavior. Yes, it sounds judgmental. And yes, I’m pointing out behavior that, in my view, is less than spiritual by people who promote themselves as progressives in the new age. I feel I shouldn’t even have to say these things, that it would be obvious – that being said this is definitely a weird one.

Purposely sitting, poking, jumping on, or slapping someone on the head when they are meditating is not spiritual. I don’t meditate in public groups anymore – with the exception of certain, supervised seminars where I know I can trust the maturity of my fellow participants.

Meditate in groups at the beach? No.

Meditate in the lovely Hindu Temple nearby? No.

Crazy things can and have happened in unsupervised group meditations. And I’m not the only one this has happened to. I’ve been poked in the ribs, bashed in the head by an Indian woman with an oversized handbag, and leapt upon by someone thinking it was a joke to land their full weight on their ‘okole (rear end), onto my lotus crossed legs. Though they landed on me for only a few moments, it was a shock and it hurt. When you are in an altered state, having your body violated is distressing.

Sometimes, in crowded situations someone moving around can jostle you, and usually they are apologetic. This jumping on me was something else, the individual knew me, but wasn’t participating in the group meditation outside in the park. They were passing by and happened to see me.

I cannot imagine what would possess a person to purposely disrupt someone meditating – it felt like it was out of spite or malice. Sure, interrupt them if the building is on fire or there is another emergency, otherwise don’t disturb them.

After the meditation, I sought them out and said that it was disruptive and hurtful. They responded saying, “Oh, you’re just too sensitive,” and flounced off. Which is another example of what I call new age bad behavior – not taking responsibility for having negative impact on others. Not only is it not taking responsibility, it is being dismissive of the other person and their experience.

Was I angry? Yes. At the time they jumped on me I was more disoriented than anything. The anger came later with their denial of impact and dismissal of my feelings. It felt like a double violation.

At the time it happened, I wished I’d had the foresight to yell and bring attention to their actions. As it was, I was seated at the edge of the group, so no one else saw what they did. We have enough impact on each other just living our lives without purposely trying to hurt each other.

I processed my anger, got clarity and saw that, though this person had professed to be my friend, this was not an action a friend would take. I’ve since stepped back from any friendship with that individual. I needed to grow and see that I required better, more respectful friends. I shifted that part in me that felt I automatically needed to be friendly back to someone who wanted to be friends with me. I developed discernment and now wait to see if someone who says they want to be friends follows through with actions that reflect respect and trustworthiness.

 

 

Let Me Bend Your Ear

Lend Ear

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE

A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

Let Me Bend Your Ear

What is it these days, that people feel the need to influence others into their way of thinking? There was a time when people were left to make their own decisions. There have always been those who want us to join them in their position, to get behind their cause. More recently, I’ve seen this kind of influencing reach beyond opinions and attitudes of world events to being used to target other people.

And what is it with those listening? Why are they allowing themselves to be so thoroughly influenced? Why aren’t they making up their own minds, or at least keeping an open mind?

We are inundated with so much information these days it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and rush to some kind of closure, to draw a conclusion, be done with it and move on. I had a mentor, growing up, who often counseled me to wait and see. He told me, that when he didn’t understand something and felt he didn’t have all of the information, he’d, “Put it on the back burner,’ and wait to see what showed up.

Years ago, when I first began my spiritual exploration, if someone tried to pressure you to agree with them, it was standard to reply, “Who died and made you God?” Or, “You think you know better than my Higher Self?”

I’m not referring to lively debate, or comparing differences in opinion, or seeking to come to some common ground. This kind of discussion has its place and it is often face-to-face in open dialogue.

Nor am I talking about those times when someone close to us has dealings with a person of questionable reputation. Which is usually handled by cautioning them to be careful, use discernment and take extra time to be sure this is someone they want to deal with.

I’m talking about those who go behind backs and actively interfere in the lives of others by trying to influence people for or against that individual. It’s usually done through imparting information (presented as privileged), which paints the person in a particular way. The information may or may not be true, may or may not be skewed.

I’ve seen people interfere in the lives of virtually complete strangers (to them) and the people are confused as to why they were passed over for an opportunity or promotion. I’ve been on the receiving end of this kind of thing myself.

Bill Harris, the creator of Holosync, said something in his book that made a lot of sense to me. I no longer have the book so I’ll have to paraphrase. He referred to the need to influence and direct the thinking and opinions of others was the sign of an immature mind.

Most often, this behavior is thought of as belonging to corporate ladder climbing, not something you’d find in the new age. I had always considered the new age to be populated with kinder, more compassionate people. Perhaps the new age is coming of age and moving into the dog-eat-dog world of unethical behavior.

 

I Did, I Did, I Did

I Did...pages

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE

A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

I Did, I Did, I Did

“I did this, then I did that, then I did the other, and now I’m gone.” This seems to be the new, New Age fashion. Announce to everyone what you are doing/have done and then walk away. Forget about interacting. Forget about, “how are you? What is new with you?” One-way communication is the name of the game.

Two weeks ago at the health food store I was approached by someone I had known about 10 years ago. They had moved away from the island a few years ago and were back for a short visit. The conversation went something like this:

Her: “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! I’m here doing a very important function at the Hilton and I’m just here for the afternoon and evening, and I’ve been travelling and teaching, and all these people think so highly of me, I have so many students now, and it’s an honor for me to be doing this event tonight – my students wanted to come, but they couldn’t, and it’s been really great to see you and reconnect, I’m in a hurry – I’ve gotta run to be on time, bye!”

I think I only responded, bye back. Not once did she ask how I was doing, or what was up with me. Even being in a hurry she could have said, “I’d love to catch up, but I’m really short on time. Let’s figure a way and time we can connect properly.”

I felt like I was being delivered an advertisement for her life. I figure if a person has to do this, they must not be too happy or confident in their own life that they are unwilling to receive anything from yours.

I could have halfway believed the short on time bit, but for the fact that I was another 20 minutes in the store and when I checked out she was sitting in the car in the parking lot.

This isn’t the only example. More and more on social media people are sharing about their lives and what they are doing. Social media lends itself to this with the format of posting, however good social media gurus encourage engagement with others.

There’s a social media narcissism occurring. I’ve been requested to follow by a number of Instagramers. When I look at the account all but a couple of the 100+ photos are selfies – photos of themselves. Of these accounts I’ve seen two that were models who where promoting themselves – and in that instance, I think it is appropriate to have so many photos of themselves.

It rolls beyond social media into everyday life. People so focused on themselves and what they are doing there’s no room for other people in the exchange. Not everyone does this, but I’m seeing an increase in this in daily interactions.

It might be time to stop, look and listen to others around you. With today’s technology life has become full of sound bites – those 3 or 4 words that are supposed to sum it all up so that the message, idea, concept is transferred with the quickest speed possible. There’s a place for that, and there is a place for the complexity of us as human beings. We are more than 3 or 4 words we are layers of meaning. We exist beyond sound bites. Sound bites aren’t here to define us they are tools that can help us. It might be time to slow down and notice the people around us and spend time being with their complexity, letting them know they are seen and heard.

Inner Guidance – Part 3 of 3

Inner Guidance 3

MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE

A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age

Inner Guidance – Part 3 of 3

When you have a success and you notice your mind going to, “this makes me better/more spiritual/more deserving than everyone else,” that is the voice of negative ego. Stop, and reach for something deeper inside yourself. Say no to that urging to fall into “better than,” and find the place that says, “Yes, I’ve achieved this and if it weren’t for the others I may not have pushed myself to be the best I can be.” Negative ego is not the voice of inner guidance.

Equality, (which is not sameness) and uniqueness are foreign to the negative ego. Its survival is based on being special and above others. Negative ego interprets what happens and makes a judgment about it.

Without negative ego you might still experience jealousy or other constricting emotions, but you recognize them as your own issues. If they are yours, you can do something about them – clear and release them.

In following your inner guidance you need to develop discernment, trust and an ear for when it is true guidance, negative ego or some other part of you such as your inner child, or inner critic. With discernment, you can tell what is true inner guidance. It wouldn’t tell you things that jeopardize your survival, and it isn’t a “do as your told and don’t questions” kind of thing. You can ask for more clarity before taking action.

Above all, your inner guidance is for your benefit. Everyone has the ability to develop a relationship with his or her inner Spirit, Soul, Higher Power or Higher Self. Your inner guidance doesn’t tell you what everyone else should be doing, it tells you what and where you need to focus and the actions that are for your highest good.

(If you are interested and would like more information on topics like inner guidance and negative ego, you can check out the many offerings at Lazaris.com )