What Do We Tell Our Children?

A far too personal introduction: I am a white French Canadian mother of seven farmer and musician.   Maybe that gives you an image in your head of someone different from you – maybe someone  who would not necessarily care about what was happening a world away in Ferguson Missouri. But I do care – very much. And I hope my personal information will be relevant only to you at the beginning of this article – and by the end it will no longer matter.

My daughter brought a really interesting blog to my attention – she had been talking about it for a while – written by a beautiful black woman who promoted cultural peace.  She had strong well expressed opinions and my daughter admired her.

AFter Ferguson, it began to change and I saw my daughter’s passions begins to rise. SHe said herself,

“Mom there’s a fire inside of me that I have never felt before”.

I admit to enjoying this.  I like seeing my kids care about something deeply. But she was clearly pissed.

The woman’s blog had apparently turned from being appealing and powerful, to angry and hateful dismissing comments from white readers, calling them “privileged” and discounting their support.  My daughter’s fiery temper rose out of her feet and exploded from her mouth in a diatribe of expletives.

“You’re doing the same thing”, I tried telling her quietly.

But she was angry – angry at being pigeonholed in the box of “all whites”.  Incensed at not having her help and support for the black people protesting in Ferguson accepted and acknowledged I suppose. Then again Maybe she was feeling a little of what black’s in America have felt their whole life?Stereotypes, invisible and unimportant. Out of control.

Which brought me to my question…

what do we tell our children when they come to realization of unfairness and inequality?  What power do they have?

When I was a young girl, my family had a condo in Daytona Beach. I remember it well – a row of fancy white buildings dotting the beach about a mile off of the Daytona main. Across the street was a shopping center with a Publix and beside that an exclusive golf course; all very private – all very white. I didn’t understand what that was – I was young and untouched by the invisible lines that separated us.  Back home my best friend was a Jamaican boy whose father was a renowned biology professor who won the Order of Canada.  My “type” of racism was reversed. I thought ALL black people drove Volvo’s and were academics.  Of course this was untrue for everyone – white or black – but that was also the age that I assumed everyone’s birthday was on the same day as mine. I suppose it’s just the way the young mind processes and groups things trying to understand the world as we are growing up.

 Only a few blocks away from the condo was a suburb of Daytona, a mainly black neighbourhood.  I remember going food shopping with my mother at the Publix the white patron’s annoyance when we were behind a black customer in line because they would take longer with counting their food stamps.  Eventually when I got a bit older, I would get in to a great deal of trouble for stealing all of my mother’s food stamps and going into that neighbourhood to put them into mail boxes anonymously – I was grounded and I didn’t apologize.

 My experiences in Florida and in other Southern states throughout the 1970’s-1990’s showed me clearly that although segregation may have been abolished by law – its roots remained strong and unyielding somehow.  That maybe the right to vote was extended, and the Jim Crow laws were repealed, but white America found other ways of subverting the black population.  Employment and educational inequity, healthcare inequity – keeping the masses at bay.  There was a quiet agreement amongst (especially) southern whites to keep the black population powerless and poor. And the bar that black populations set for themselves was comparatively lower than that which was afforded to the “privileged” white population. Somehow, the roles that people had assumed under segregation were behaviourally ingrained and were being maintained by mutual agreement of both sides.  These rules of behaviour are born of a hundreds of years of mistaken identity, brainwashing and blatant human error.  We have been inundated through every powerful means available – radio, TV, literature and art, previous generational beliefs – that we all have certain roles certain expectations to fulfill as either white or black people.  And in reality we just go about the business of doing what is necessary to become what we believe is expected of us with no conscious recognition that this is what we are doing. We are like robots – walking with blank blinking eyes not ever considering where our actions thoughts and choices are coming from.  Until incidents like Ferguson and Chicago wake us up from our dream-like state.

 In discussions I have with people about cultural differences, I often hear quick defensive statements like –

“I had a black best friend”, they would say. Or “I had a black girlfriend”

We are ALL racist, I would insist. That doesn’t mean we can’t become better. Realizing that is the first step to a more conscious moving forward. My point is that we all have limiting thoughts about beliefs about other cultures. Until you have really lived and been immersed in the way a culture functions and flows, you cannot possibly have the first idea about the motivations behind people’s choices and actions. 

When I was travelled through China the first year it opened its doors to tourists, many of the people, especially children there had never seen a Caucasian person except in a book or the rare TV if any they got to see. My father was especially attractive to the children. They would surround him in droves waiting for him to sing a song or tell a story.  A fat white man = Buddha.  Someone who was not starving and was “full” and happy.   Our perceptions of each other have everything to do with how we have been shown the world. 

I have been very lucky to have been able to travel a great portion of the world in my life, and even to live in places like Guinea, West Africa. I was young, white and clearly a minority when I arrived in Guinea. It was a jarring experience, which for someone else may have been unsettling but for me, the moment my feet hit African soil I felt at home, welcome and happy.  I was often found skipping school to go hang out in the “pig village”, the neighboring village that had the responsibility of keeping a gentle giant pig.  Beside them was the drum village where I learned the most basic and important things. In Guinea I was a minority very often.  However, as opposed to the black experience in America, of being treated as lower and lesser, in Africa I was treated with gentleness and kindness.  As a person of “non-colour”, and maybe because I was young and enthusiastic, I was treated with extraordinary open hearted kindness and welcoming.  They enjoyed my differentness I think. The different way I dressed or spoke or expressed myself with my hands. Even the things I would laugh at or ask questions about.

But in North America – we aren’t “enjoying” each other’s differences. We berate and condemn – we are afraid of differences.  Studying political science I became enthralled by leaders like Martin Luther King and Gandhi. It was starkly apparent that there was a great deal more power and lasting impact in a peaceful change rather than volatile war which only seemed to give us temporary spurts of peace always awaiting the next battle (case in point – the Middle East).The good news for all of us, is that all that it takes to get past this kind of poisonous unconscious living – is to become aware that this is what we are doing.  ASs long as we continue to publicize our opinions and thoughts in terms of “black – white” / “them- Us” we are fulfilling the role of believing that we are separate – that we are different. We are continuing the destructive illusion.

situations like Ferguson are a great opportunity to evolve. 

1-Figure out that we are humans are not separate and 2- then go on the figure out that we are connected to everything that is alive and 3- start treating the planet like we understand our connection.

 Ferguson is critically important – our tipping point.  It is vital because it is creating a necessity in shifting us closer to and understanding that is the ONLY solution to saving our world is to go deeply within our own selves and to stop looking for solutions on the outside. It is our THINKING that has gotten us here – it is only by understand what we are thinking and why we think it, that we can get out. This can only be achieved at an individual level. So, if you ask what it is YOU can do to help in Ferguson,  this is your answer:

KNOW YOURSELF DEEPLY  

This is what i would tell my daughter

– that she should never lose her passion

– always use your powers for good

 – thought is powerful – but it’s not who you are. Find out WHO you are. Don’t be addicted to your thoughts about anything

Maya Angelou – the great poet Laureate and philosopher who spoke on behalf of all people said clearly –

“Do the best you can until you know better – then when you know better DO BETTER”.

 Now that we all know better we can do better.

 

NOTE ON SUICIDE…

Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem…and ALL problems are temporary

silhouette-woman-grievingSuicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem…and ALL problems are temporary – but sometimes they feel like they will go on forever.

I have lived with severe clinical depression my entire adult life. I was raised in a family where suicide attempts were a form of communication. Over the past week, a dear friend lost his life to suicide.  “Coincidentally”, another friend of mine showed up on exactly the same day completely distressed when a member of her family also attempted suicide (thankfully unsuccessfully) the very same day. Ironically,  my daughter and I had just finished a long talk about the wave of suicides we are hearing about from all channels in our world.  We are perplexed, concerned and deeply saddened.

The most frightening thing right now is that I know I have friends and people mixed into my world who may be considering suicide as an option for their own life situations. How terrifying. So if that’s you – here’s is a letter. Please read, share and keep it – if you think suicide is an option, I’d like you to consider the alternatives. Someone loves you. Now – YOU need to love YOU.

Dear You;

We are together, you and I, on this planet, in this life at this time trudging the “happy road of destiny”. We are here for a purpose – you, me and us and them.  Every day we wake,we work, play, love, cry, sing, laugh, eat and sleep – all beside one another; house to house, country to country – we are together – there are no divisions. We make those up. Maybe we don’t talk, or maybe we haven’t even met – but at some level deep down in our cells, you are my family and you are loved. .

When I was suicidal I had thoughts like…”My family would be better without me”- I can’t do this anymore” – “Life is too hard” – “No one loves me – I am not worth loving” – THIS will never get better…and so on.

You know the thoughts -the ones that run through your mind unbidden and seemingly of their own volition.

I have had thoughts like this.  My mind has managed to trick me so many times.

And if you are feeling this way – having those thoughts – rest assured it isn’t you – it’s your mind.

We can create all sorts of science around emotions, the mind and our behaviour – but the bottom line is that if you are thinking that life isn’t worth living – you are suffering from a disconn3ection from your very basic nature – your most awesome nature – you’re divine and amazing SOUL.

I know I know – you’re depressed and you don’t want to hear about your soul.  BUT – it’s your soul that isn’t being heard by you – you are listening to your mind…and the mind is a scary place! DO NOT visit that neighbourhood without a friend – my mother used to tell me.

 Smart lady. She was suicidal too – her first suicide attempt was when she was nine years old. By the time she passed away, she was my great6est teacher on being kinder to myself and avoiding such deep despairing thinking. The most important thing she taught me, the thought that hold my head above water is this

this too shall pass

Whatever your problems are – they are changing, shifting right here and right now as you read this.  They are becoming something else. Just another living situation.  THAT’S LIFE!

You have to know how amazing you are. My sweet little friend Patrick never even got a chance to discover this.

Patrick’s Story…

When I was a high school sub for a while during one of my first years I had a grade seven science class for a whole year because their regular teacher had to take leave for chemotherapy.  That year, I had quite a rowdy bunch of kids, my6 daughter included.

In the back of the class were three boys – the non-listening party boys. But they were sweet and I enjoyed their enthusiasm.  Every day, the class would com3 in and we would do a lecture and then science experiments.

Of the three boys in the back of the class, Patrick was the “upcoming engineer” I always said.  That year for science, he created a giant catapult for the fair.  For a kid that was getting 20% when I started teaching, I was so proud of him.

But Patrick was often sad, bummed out – and angry. I would spend time with him outside the classroom talking, sitting on he floor. The year passed. Patrick missed allot of school and came in high too often – but passed his class anyways and we were all proud.

Then disaster. One day, the following year, I got a panicked phone call from my daughter – Patrick had killed himself by hanging the previous night. He was 13 years old.  My heart shattered.  He had broken up with his girlfriend, and in a frenzy of mismanaged emotions he consumned alcohol excessively and hung himself.  AT the hospital, he awake and said how he hadnt really wanted to die – but the injuries were too much and he didnt make it.  His best friends were there to see it all. Im sure we all think the same things…

Could I have done more? Why didnt he call? what the hell??

My best friend had committed suicide when I was 17 – I was so sad that my daughter had to have this sad experience.

Segue to Mike… A brilliant artist, teacher, and philosopher a friend shot himself in the head this week.  Like Robin Williams, creative, smart and capable. I have things I would have liked to tell all them – all of them – Mike, Patrick, Dale, Valerie, Robin – all the people that have touched my life and have taken their own way out.  If you are considering the worst option possible please take  a moment. I hope my words can have some effect on someone somewhere…

  1. You are unique to the universe. THE UNIVERSE is HUGE!  Nothing has ever been like YOU- AND NOTHING EVER WILL BE. Only YOU look like you, talk like you, think like you. Every single choice you make from the moment you wake in the morning – affects the world.  Think about It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey gets to see what his world would be like without him.  One person = an entire universe just inside of you. Wow. YOU are AWESOME.imagesTA3DYQAZ
  2. You are here for a reason – a purpose.  Of course your purpose isn’t always obvious to you. Sometimes your “purpose” is just learning how to manage to suffering that naturally comes with life. That purpose is NOT your job, your social standing or how much money you make. Your purpose is not what you DO – but who you are. YOU ARE your purpose. And discovering how you tick, how to deal with your emotions and how to find balance in your life is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB YUOU HAVE. Getting to know your SELF is the    ONLY reason you are alive. Every other situation in your life is only a vehicle to gain you understanding of who you are
  3. I know we all have a problem with the God word – and I am not religious, but I have come to an understanding that we are all a unique experience of God (energy, Source, Spirit, Buddha, Jesus, Yahweh, Allah) – that thing which makes us all and keeps the delicate balance) – in other words, 0 god lives inside of you – you are god – the energy of everything that is alive – is YOU. You cannot disappoint God – you don’t have to pray, worship or throw yourself down on your knees. But the easiest fastest way to really get to know that ETERNAL part of you -is by finding something that you are grateful for.  Right here right now – name me five things you have gratitude for.  If you can’t find five…keep thinking. You’re not trying hard enough.
  4. Think about the living. I realize you probably berate yourself for thinking about suicide because you know how selfish it would be to cause so much pain to the people who love you. It’s a nasty cycle – self hatred. Maybe “to the world you are one person – but to one person you are the world.” (again – thanks mom)
  5. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. LET IT GO.  Whatever it is you think is so hard that it will never pass, never change and will ultimately destroy you –let it go. Just for a minute! You can do it.  Your “problems” aren’t going anywhere.  Let it GO – and discover that when you get back to it – something will have changed.  When it does – express that gratitude to yourself!

Absolutely everything is changing every second of your life – NOTHING in life stays the same. Everything is progressing – the normal cycle – birth – life – death – birth – life – death. Not just people, animals and living creatures – but situations in your life also have a “birth – life – death” cycle.  The more adamantly you hold on to something – things, thoughts, people, situations, money etc…- The more problems it will cause you.

I’ll say that again

The more you grasp onto something – the harder it is to hold on to.

People, places and things – dn’t grasp.

I heard a woman once say “I never let go of anything without leaving deep claw marks in it”.

Yup – I can relate.

But know this – anything but the truth will weigh you down like a deadly anchor.  And I will define Truth here as Maharishi did “The Truth is that which doesn’t change”.

What is it that doesn’t change?  You have to find that for yourself.

What works for me…

Don’t be attached to your thoughts, your ideas, your money, your house, even your people.  Just let everything be for what it is today. This is true freedom. In fact – you can’t “keep” anything.

NOTHING is yours. Not even your kids – by the way. They belong to themselves.

Things will change and transition and move and flux and flow – you can go with it – or fight it. But at the end of the day the truth still stands – THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Whatever your troubles and problems your anxieties fears and insecurities – they will PASS.

If you want that to happen quickly rather than slowly – stop fighting – surrender to the uncontrollable events of life.

Surrender means – not spending energy or time trying to control what is out of your hands.

Here’s the tricky part – you have to decide what is and isn’t in your hands.

Back to the god thing – try the serenity prayer…it really works in focusing your thoughts. And remember YOU are god – so just pray and know that something inside you – the eternal thing – is listening.

 

 

ACCEPTANCE, COURAGE AND WISDOM – the ticket out of misery.

I hear you though;

“prayer…I don’t think so”.

I had said the same thing.   But, the night I went to bed, after a seven week long extreme depression and made a final decision that I would be done with life that night, a small voice I my started saying the serenity prayer. An unlikely trigger reaction from a non-religious person.

Don’t detail out your problems to everyone. Pick a couple of people you trust, and share with the INTENTION of finding YOUR ROLE in that situation.  If something is messed up for you – only you can find what can change inside yourself.  The solutiuon is NEVER on the outside.   Complaining about other people wioll only add to your misery.

Case in point…

I know a man who every time I have seen him for the last five year, he has talked to me about his anger, his absolute “hatred” of his ex wife, his concern for his daughter – legal struggles, unhappiness.  Each time I see him he looks older and older.

It’s hard to talk and to listen to someone who seems t always be in the same messes and never says anything genuinely nice about his life.  Last night we had yet another conversation, and he happened to mention “80% of men in my position commit suicide”.

Yes – probably that’s true. But you don’t have to be one of them.

PLEASE REMEMBER….!!

You are loved.

You are beautiful.

You are incredibly unique and  valuable

Please stay.

Peace.

resources for you

http://www.supportisp.org/

Suicide

http://www.findangel.org/?gclid=CjwKEAiA4rujBRDD7IG_wOPytXkSJACTMkgaptgmjP15OP9okpS6WPFN4Uo5yjuNCcDwJgA7GFPDPBoC9B_w_wcB

THE PROBLEM – A Poem

THE PROBLEM CAN WAIT

Right now there is a mass in the center

of the space inside of me

That usually hold love and light

THE PROBLEM CAN WAIT

at this moment

soft music tries to layer thick icing

on a razor blade day

and my heart stands only feet away

and yet it doesn’t touch me at all.

THE PROBLEM CAN WAIT

As I sit quiet with my heart on the outside,

restless for resolution within.

I fear it will never come

and the ground will never again

feel solid beneath my feet.

THE PROBLEM

Causes everything else to dance around it

Like frantic unchoreographed faeries,

Compelling movement in circles

Always arriving back to the place we began

THE PROBLEM

is never really THE problem!

Always dive deeper

into the endlessly shifting waters

within your bottomless self

and ride the constant fire

of the ever present new reality

THE PROBLEM CAN WAIT!

because it is changing

as everything always changes

I see the clean walls – the fresh start

this tells me everyone has the potential

for new beginnings.

And who am I to destroy such beauty?

Meanwhile…

THE PROBLEM CAN WAIT

until we figure out the problem.

Meditation

In my meditation studies I came across this quote…would like to share with you. And please feel free to also share any inspirations you come across in your daily life. We have a good group of minds and hearts here

The constantly shifting thoughts and emotions we experience are only one small part of our being. Each and every moment we have the opportunity to connect with a timeless awareness that is not affected in any way by the changing conditions of our lives.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Peace

THOSE DARNED SHENPAS…

SHENPA is the Tibetan word for things that cling to you – things you are hooked to. We all have them: addictions, behavioural patterns, thought patterns, emotions – things that take you away from presence with yourself entirely. Your distractions. Meditation helps get you back there and see what’s holding you back or down, but pain get you to the place where you know you need to understand more.  I am lately seeing so many many SHENPAS in my life. SO many, that I feel like I am drowning. I think if I can identify some of them, awareness will shine on them like shining a light on a cockroach. These SHENPAS make the behaviours I learned to protect myself from the adult world as a child come back in full force when I have worked so hard to let them go. Sigh..one step forward…sixteen back. This does reinforce my understanding that it has nothing at all to do with the destination…it’s all in the journey. Peace!

 

YOU ARE LOVE

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Go gently into this day

take each moment with careful step

eyes open in your nature

For somewhere inside of you

is Truth its very self.

You are loved –

and you are love.

Some grand and awesome future awaits you,

Take a first step,

Look around again.

After the first  one

the only step

that we know how to take,

be amazed.

The second has not yet been invented.

And it is never guaranteed.

Honour the heart that beats in your chest

Amazingly without need of your assistance,

or thought,

or any big plans your complicated mind can conjure.

Imagine having to think…

“I will live for one more beat!”

If you don’t believe in miracles,

You’re not looking in the right place.

Cherish the random acts of love that will cross your path today.

Step through time,

into the next minute.

Breathe into the next space,

Where you stand – or sit

alone – or accompanied.

You are still your own beautiful self

in all these precarious contexts.

Walk with the higher things

that beckon you to remember

that your nature is not fear

or sadness

or even aloneness.

You always have God

Or the beautiful dead that protect you

shielding you from

The dark and scary things.

Your true self lies

in the next discovery

the next choice.

What does your heart say?

It seems that the heart always says…

Carry on.

You are loved

and you are love.

Chakras of the Bible – 2

The Seven Minds

Chakra’s and The Bible
By TJ Obsidian, 2013

See Part 1

2. Sacral Chakra: The second chakra or “sacral chakra” is located between the genitals and the navel. It’s color frequency is orange. This chakra deals with creativity and how we choose to express ourselves to the world. The sacral chakra also corresponds to the union of masculine and feminine energy, our sexual desire and our emotions.

The sacral really begins to take precedence between ages 7-14. This is why teens love talking on the phone and finding interest with the opposite sex around this time. The element for this chakra is water and also has a connection to the genitals which contain the waters of creation.

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