Jo’s SoapBox – Entry 1

I have been meeting allot of people…I mean ALLOT of people who say

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“I don’t talk politics” like its beneath them or

“I don’t watch that stuff it, just upsets me. ” Seriously? Are you more upset than the mother in the Sudan who just watched her baby die of hunger while you ate a bag of chips in front of the TV?

Another woman told me it makes her angry to talk about current events- and she doesn’t like to be angry.  Is that about what my mother said – that anger will give me wrinkles and make me ugly when I am older?

Wait a minute! Damned right you should be angry, Lady!

Every woman on the planet should be furious!

Pay attention to a few very good reason: (this is not fake news…):

There is a lunatic running the free world!

Men making choices for women’s bodies. Again.

Babies dying of preventable diseases and hunger.

Wars all over the place because of fanatical religions that suppress women.

And yet – we are hesitating to even begin the conversation about how to heal this because – we think it is all bigger than us – when in fact it CAME from us!

Nothing that exists in this world has happened outside of us.

But we don’t like to talk about it.

Why do you think this is?

Partly because we are angry and we don’t know what to do about it. It is anger born in impotence.

Notably, anger is  a weird thing for women in Western cultures.  There are allot of social conventions around our expression of it. It is probably where we most resemble our Muslim and other sisters who live in female suppressing cultures and I think this may be a big part of the problem. Ask yourself: Why Western women aren’t rising up like furious lions in the current climate of injustice and environmental aberrations taking place.

Is it not deeply in our nature to protect our children and the place they live?

Image result for dalai lama on angerThe Dalai Lama says that anger can be a good thing – if it is used consciously and purposefully.  Anger can be a sign that something needs to be changed or fixed within yourself or your environment. Anger can be a fuel – a kind of combustion towards positive action.

He also said it was Western Women who would rise up and protect the earth. Image result for dalai lama on western women

So, where are we?

As a person who is “spiritually focused” –  I tried for a long time to just let the issues of our world, wash off me – I thought THAT was the spiritual thing to do. Knowing what I had power over – which was not the governments of the world, or even the environment, outside of my own little house.  I thought knowing how small I was – was humble and in effect – Spiritual.

It took me a long time to come to the realization that without involvement in the larger construct of our lives, our cultures and society, we are not only not living anything close to a spiritual life.  Image result for spiritual living in society

Indeed, we are not living at all – but merely existing.

The purpose of your life is to know yourselves.

We know ourselves best by finding the “thing” we do, the passion we have for some form of creation or creativity.

Then we teach or we find a way to share that creativity with others and inspire them to do the same.

This is critically important on the search to self discovery.

A spiritual or any living construct is moot if there is no culture or society within which to practice it.

The point of living a life with larger focus, is not to gain security for yourself, but to assume and know that you are best serving your life if you are able to attain this understanding of yourself.

Right now.

Not next week or next month.

This has to happen right now.

Many of us are aware that there is a consciousness movement on the planet. And for those that have been connecting and practicing long enough to be self aware of their self awareness…then now is the time to pull out all the stops.

I do realize it is fine and well to give you the rallying cry and then, leave you hanging as to what exactly to do – I mean really TO DO.

The planets problems seems to all be tied into one central philosophical focus – our morality.  What we believe about life, what is owed to us, and what we need to survive. Our political, social and economic turmoil all reflect a lack of connection to our moral selves.

This is why a spiritual life not only fits in with the chaos of this period in history, but is the only “unified potential” for a solution.

Peace – the peaceful mindset – the idea that LOVE is an actual force that can make change and ensure the survival of our race, is the only solution to the binding crisis we find ourselves in.

Even that idea seems esoteric, so I will give you other more solid ideas, and potential courses of action to take to begin to manifest change in our world. Rea life changes.

The time for thinking, talking and self discovery is coming to an end and we are entering the time to put our practice to work, to walk our talk, and refuse to engage or participate in any form of violence or hatred whatsoever.  Not our actions nor our thoughts.

1- Stillness: Be quiet at least once a day. Meditate, sit, just be still in silence and away form technology. This is the time to refuel your inner manna, raise your vibration and in turn that of every living thing around you.  Image result for spiritual pictures

2- Have the conversation: Don’t back away from local conversations.  share opinions and ideas. Change the way you see the interchange of political ideas.  It was in the beginning that we gathered in discourse to create and build ideas that would result in the societies we inhabit today.  Don’t be afraid to continue and evolve this conversation into new ideas about how to establish deeper peace in our world.

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3- Expand your mind outwards – and include issues outside of your own self interest in your conversations and interchanges.

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4- Monitor your thinking: eliminate any and all negative or fearful thoughts from your mind. each time one is noticed, gently remind yourself to be more kind to your self. Even if the thoughts are not about you, they still have an impact on your perceptions.

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5-Don’t be afraid to speak your mind when you see injustice. don’t be afraid to walk the picket lines, to express outrage and to take peaceful action where it is needed.  Peaceful non-violence does NOT mean powerless and without passion!

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Have a day without violence at all – in your mind, actions thoughts words – only peace. and when you drift off course because of habit – just go back to the middle where peace waits for you. Image result for non violence

Bring that peace everywhere.  And when you see something or someone who needs it, share it, in whatever way you can.

 

 

 

 

This is my soap box.

😉 I hope you can find one of your own and begin to spread your good ideas.

Take action.

Now.

Peace

Never Born

Image result for mother earth

The world I have awakened to

is not the same one that cradled me in sleep

under bright stars – with promises to keep.

The morning world reminds me

I remain.

How can I grow old –

If I was never born?

I cannot die.

I have nothing to remember

or forget.

On this tiny blue ball,Related image

as we fly together,

safely nestled within her belly,

through our versions of eternity.

Sparks and sparkles of life,

flicker on and off,

Dancing upon her surfaces,

we don’t even know what our feet are.

Isn’t it amazing that we can dance?

There was no arriving at this place.Image result for mother earth

You have always been!

The cardinal outside my window sang

this spring morning.

It said You are “Appearing to be only what you are not”,

what comes and goes has no being,

and what is real,

does not change.

The real does not die.

The unreal never lived.Image result for mother earth

You are complete,

here and now.

you need absolutely nothing,

You were never born.

 

 

 

Olympic Inquiry Of My Own

Let me begin with a new idea: Have you ever had someone present an idea to you that was so completely totally different from the one you have now, that your mind simply can’t accept it?  Like how people must have felt when someone broke it to them that the earth was not the center of the Universe?  They hung that guy.

 

Or when we discovered that the earth was round and not flat (which some people still find controversial…).  A new idea that allot of people had a hard time adjusting to.

When I was at Uluru in Australia (the four most educational days of my life…) I was presented with a “new idea”. I learned that the aboriginal people don’t believe in some of the concepts and ideas that we find very natural – like competition, agriculture, and creating towns and villages and teaching children how to read.  My first reaction to these ideas was probably the same as yours:

“You must be competitive as a culture – how else will you have goals to strive for and landmarks to achieve. Competition is natural. Good. Healthy.

You must plant agriculture – Because how else will you create food?

You must make towns and villages! How else will you accumulate security?”

Leroy, our brilliant story telling tour guide explained it this way:

You plant an apple tree – and now you claim you own it. You own the fruit on it.

You feed it. Water it. Spend time with it. protect it. And eat from it.

It’s your tree.

One day, someone comes and takes “your” fruit. This creates two problems mate: a -conflict between people b- ownership of that which cannot be owned. The tree belongs the the land – the fruit belongs to the tree. if you treat the tree well, it will give you fruit. If you eat what is around you on the land, the land will live in balance with your needs.

2- You don’t build a village because then you are doing the same thing as with the tree – there is no land that can belong to you. You have to travel to where the land can best feed and sustain you. Nomadic movement is natural. and 3- communal identities create separation – and everyone is the same. No separation.

Remember – Australian Aboriginals have stories which date back now estimated at 60,000 years. Cave illustrations recently have been dated at a conservative 46 thousand years. Nearly 30 thousand years older than our native cultures in Europe and North America. Through their stories Aboriginal Australians have taken on the task of singing “Song Lines” of the earth, through instruments carved by man and nature, such as the didgeridoo.   They function in the Dream Time where the ephemeral Rainbow Serpent abides – she who created the earth and hold it all together with “Jarkupa” the law of the land.  Aboriginal Art is incredibly important in understanding both the perspective of their culture but perhaps also a new idea about how to see the world.

Most aboriginal art is done as an “astral travel’ perspective, the consciousness of the artists hanging high above her subject.  Paintings often represents maps, in effect. Even those painting which tell the great stories of the seven sisters and Orion, of the Great dingo, or the star people are presented as maps pathways. The simple and seemingly obvious and repetitive symbols passed down through illustrations that are still clearly seen on the cave walls after as long as 46 thousand years,  tell vivid stories of the Rainbow Serpent and how she carved the bones of the earth for all that lives on it.

She made the law – Jarkupa – and it is unmistakable and clear; the rules are simple.

Fairness. Equality. Survival is a group effort.

Everything is connected – through the Serpent.

And the consequences for breaking the law- Jarkupa –  are immutable.

For example:

You mess with my woman, we bring you to a circle with all the men – we throw spears at you. You live – it’s over. Don’t do it again. You don’t live, that’s too bad. You broke the law.

For women – you mess with my man, I take out my woman’s stick and I beat the shit out of you. You live – cool. We can be friends but don’t do it again. You don’t live. Too bad.  You broke the law.

Might seem harsh to us – but how many of our problems in our personal lives and our communities exist because we harbour resentment and anger – internalizing feelings that we medicate or douse with drugs alcohol, work avoidance.

there is sanity n dealing with things up front and lettnig them go.

There is clarity in the laws – no grey areas messed around with by our enigmatic ability to make thigns complicated when they don’t need to be.

God we are complicated.

Aboriginal Australians recognize that certain things do not require a ‘law” but are known within the soul of a person.

So, are they right about no-competition?

Are the Olympics helpful or not helpful anymore?

About competition…

Aboriginal people do not put one person up against another – like in a wrestling competition.  I think they figure they have enough problems living on the dangerous land they do, without creating conflict between each other. They don’t – for example – allow boys to compete in sports. They encourage work together and learn to hunt or fish. But they don’t compete. Philosophically they told me that competition, ownership and false pride – are the critical elements that have caused the our falling of of sync with the planet that we live on.  I am inclined to agree.

But here in the west we are far from the influences of the desert, and our history is based on things we have been told, by the ancient Greeks the founding culture of the Olympics.  We assume things like competition, winning and loosing are as natural as breathing oxygen – but they really aren’t. They are ideas we have been taught – like the world is flat and and moon is made of cheese. 

The Olympics were founded in Olympia Greece in 776 BC.   They were held in Greece and only by Greeks until the first International games also held in Greece in 1896. There was not another Olympics held in Greece after this for 108 years. In 1896, the IOC or International Olympic Committee was founded and it was agreed that the games would move from one nation to another from then on. The next games were held in Paris four years later in 1900.

When the Olympics happen – we have a  feeling of “national pride”.  It’s a good feeling and one we cater to with “National pride”  marketing galore. Economies boom – Favelas are ignored.

But in reality “national pride” “religious pride” or really “pride” in anything, is at the basis of so many of our conflicts.

 

The Aboriginals are right – “pride” brings separation. And the belief that we are separate from each other and the living things around us – is a big big problem for the earth.  Does the Olympics contribute to separation?

Lets face it, the world changes so quickly now, with everything we know about each other because of the internet, and how we relate to one another as cultures and individuals because of our technological connections, and a greater ease and economy in travel which has allowed us to connect in real time with one another, we are much more knowledgeable about each others cultures, habits and beliefs.

The lesson that is always learned by individuals and nations after International events? How similar we are. How we are all the same.

You do realize that we are all one?

The Olympics is not just any international event – it was created in this manner for the purpose of putting our political and economic differences aside to just be together as humans and enjoy our potential.

This is a good idea. No doubt the entire world needs to relax.

Maybe the purpose of the Olympics brings us a snap shot picture of this picture of peace. An “Act as if”  every four years. A peaceful Global pool party. Above and beyond the aspect of competition, maybe it is even more beneficial to us just to have goals, and come together in some united form that is for fun, for games for pleasure. and enjoy each others greatest abilities on display, give other kids hope and goals and things to reach for.

Maybe one day it will become an ACTUAL global event where all countries are welcome t.

Here’s to praying for continued peaceful games.

Island Time…

10710844_10154725267120230_5630421732310980176_nThe Caribbean islands are basically a bunch of volcanoes that exploded and cooled off.  Eventually, the islands were exposed by the receding ocean and poof…tropical paradise – surrounded by razor sharp rock called Ironshore.  This stuff fascinates me.  Ironshore is black and porous, jagged and deadly looking. It was used as a way to keep slaves from trying to escape the island – all you had to do was take away their shoes.  NO ONE can walk on Ironshore – not even the birds land on it.

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But there are places where the Ironshore has been smoothed out, by days and weeks and years of moving ocean. I see the ocean like life – day after day events happen, choices are made and we are washed with the waves of these events, thoughts, incidences and choices.  Over time, and over many many waves, the roughness of our exterior is worn down to a smooth more approachable material. However, on close inspection you will find that Ironshore is deeply beautiful in all of its contours and curves, fine sharp edges and black to white variegations. 10686916_10154725266900230_3191245413478023651_n

The Caymanian people come from a long line of pirates as the ships crossing the Caribbean would crash and wash up new residents on the shores. In the years of slave importation in the 1700’s the islands were settled by British and Scottish gentiles and pirates alike who would go to west Africa and import humans as slaves to populate and work the sugar plantations on the islands.  Eventually, the slaves and non-slave populations mixed up together, creating as in  Cayman an island full of Scottish black folk – quite a  mix of cultures I’d say.  I met a man named Chris Mactavish once who at 6 foot tall, with dreadlocks down to his knees and skin the colour of beautiful mahogany, showed me a picture of his first cousin in Scotland, a short little skinny white guy who practiced accounting, wore dark socks with sandals and a big wide smile with curly red hair. I said the family resemblance was startling. He thought I was funny.

I like Island people.  I get them and I feel comfortable around them.  Their rules are easy; When you are respectful and polite, you do well with other people. On the island there are real rules in as to how to treat your elders, using for example always Sir and Ma’am. For native Caymanians, time has not passed so quickly as it has for their American counterparts, and many still live in the same way people did a hundred years ago.  In my travels I meet so many interesting people.  The conversations are usually the same from one interaction to another; where are you from? How long are you here? What do you do in your “real life” – cause we all know vacationing is pretend life. One lady I met will leave an indelible impression on me…

She called herself Mrs. Shirley Jackson.  She is comfortably seated in a wheelchair and is equally brandishing a cane.  A younger man pushes her chair slowly.  We are standing over a pool of sharks, talking politely like vacationers do.  I tell her I find these two sharks very interesting and gentle – nurse sharks they call them. They are like gigantic toothless bottom feeders. Anyways calling a shark a nurse makes it seem so much more friendly.

She tells me boldly that she is 80 years old and asks how old I am. I tell her 48 – and make the appropriate “no way!” response in regards to her age – but really she looks 80 right now.  She tells me she has just buried her husband yesterday, and the man pushing her wheelchair is her son.  A white man with a Caymanian accent – I think that is so cool.  He looks at me with sad eyes and nods. I tell her we saw the grave site, and without knowing who they were said a prayer as we drove by. She thought that was nice and smiles a wide grin at me.  She has a nice smile.

We talk about Island stuff.  She almost treats me like an “insider” because I have pretty good knowledge of the place and an obvious love for the culture and people having been many times.  I have a particular love for the Caymanian people who sadly are being over run by the prolific American culture which has infiltrated the Island in the past 15 years with hearty investments and real estate development.  Cultures are like spices, if one is too strong and overbearing you just wont taste the others, and the taste of Cayman is being covered in ketchup.

Mrs. Jackson and I spend a long time on the shark bridge sharing travelling stories.  She asks me if I have ever eaten Barracuda, I white lie and say I don’t eat anything with a face.  That’s not entirely true because chickens and fish have faces, but I wouldn’t eat a barracuda.  Everyone has limits.

She thinks I’m funny, and I think that’s a good thing because I would not want to be the one to piss off Mrs. Shirley Jackson.  She is a lady who speaks her mind.

She tells me she has travelled the world, and although she is American she feels much more Caymanian. I agree with her, because I can see she loves the people and doesn’t want to mold them into an Americanized image of herself. I like Mrs. Jackson. She has moxy.

She wants to know about me, I tell her I am Canadian (everyone loves Canadians you know), and that I like to write and I am a musician. She smiles and says “good for you!’, it’s important to do what you love in this life.  I agree – although not always the easy route, I say – she agrees.

She tells me she is a published author and would like to write another book one day. She tells me about her sister, a nun and bush pilot who lived in Northern Rhodesia in the 1940’s and 50’s who helped ferry out the frightened nuns through jungle and bush when the revolution and massacres began. Even when her license was revoked when she was told it was inappropriate for a woman and a nun (imagine!) be doing the work she was doing. But that didn’t stop her.  I could see Mrs. Jackson admired her sister’s stoutheartedness.

I love stories of bravery. I tell Mrs. Jackson I’d love to write her sister’s story. She agreed and said almost jokingly I should come stay with her for a month and we would write it together.  What a lovely idea.

She says she published a diabetic cookbook years ago and felt very proud of that, but that writing a real story is on her bucket list.  She is the third person I have met  in the past day that says they want to write a book.  I think everyone has an amazing story to tell that should be written. I have an idea;  we can create a series called “Life”, and each novella is a kind of memoire, where people can reflect on their experiences and what they have learned.  My imagination runs wild.

About 45 minutes have passed I think and Mrs Jackson and I are reluctant to leave each other’s company, having enjoyed our exchange so much.  I give her a hug and wish them an easy bereavement.  She tells me again that every woman should marry a Caymanian man as they are culturally raised to be so gentle, kind and respectful of women.  She will miss him so much, she says. Her son and his wife now have gathered behind me and look at me with mournful eyes I am far too familiar with.  Is it strange that I  feel a kinship with people who are grieving? Or maybe it’s that people who are in pain have less shielding to hide themselves and I find them comfortable to be around.

I share about my own grief with my mother’s death and how the past year has been a blur of unpredictable tears and strange emotions that I refuse to disallow because I know that if grief this big gets all caught up unexpressed inside of me “I will surely explode and be dead”. She smiles at this and says yes, this is the right approach.  And she adds that if people around me can’t handle my sadness, then I should “just tell them to bugger off”.  I like Mrs. Jackson.  She isn’t a time waster or a bullshit artist.

The best part of travelling is  the people you meet.  Even the ones that give you pause for concern, like the man from Chicago at our condo that was verging on extreme racism in his attitudes towards the Caymanian people.  I kept wanting to tell him that Buddha said the only sin is ignorance, but I realized that nothing I would say would ever change his mind. It takes all types to make up a world, but admittedly I could do with more Mrs. Jacksons and less dummies.

Cayman is quintessential example of the direction of the developing world and at times it makes me feel hopeless for our planetary direction. It is  being torn apart because of greed for grand landscapes and unbelievable beaches. As a tourist and a business destination, there is probably no more temperate and pleasant place to be.  But the island is mysterious and two very distinct worlds exist.  There are unfortunately many people on the island that come from other countries, often America, to develop a “new America” complete with all the luxuries and indulgences of home.  Deep fried mars bars are easier to find on west side than a decent mango, which on the east side can be picked freely dripping abundantly from mango trees.  Two different worlds.

Sigh…

I sound like my father when I start griping about “how the world is changing so fast”.  My conclusion after travelling most of the world in my short life is that development and moving forward seems to be our human compulsion, but it is not in anyone’s best interest.

I will keep collecting stories of hope and goodness and to the best of my ability will put aside the evidence I see of a developing nation out of control.  I am grateful that people like Mrs. Jackson are around to keep things real.

Namaste.

Saving the World – birthday indulgences

Someone said to me recently in my writer’s group that the more opinionated our writing, the LESS universal it becomes. It alienates people.

So, I have been quiet lately.  Trying not to say too much, or not have too many opinions.  It’s hard with the world in such a frazzle.  But I try not to talk about myself or write about myself too much. I think north Americans have become narcissistic and self indulgent to such an extent that we are sharing some sort of mass hallucinations about who we are. Those hallucinations are governed by the state. I know this may sound crazy paranoid to you now but this is how government gets their message across,  through popular films and the media.  Its how they decide what is real for you. Censor boards etc,..
But the thing they have pushed for so long – Nationalistic pride – is finished. Done with. It no longer serves a purpose, that why it has fallen away for so many of you.  You used to feel a great desire to associate with being one or another nationality, but now this is no longer purposeful because our minds are awakening to who we really are – which is not our name, or our country – or even our bodies. We have much more in common than those menial aspects of self. In today’s vibrant changing climate it makes more sense to find the commonalities between us rather than to find the superiority amongst us.

My living hypothesis is that every human being is doing the very best with what they can given the resources of their particular lives.

I even believe this to be true of men like Hitler and Napoleon.  I believe it to be true of the men who whipped the black slaves in the cotton fields of early southern America. I also believe it to be true of the slave working in the field.

Dr. Maya Angelou said “If you would have known better – you would have done better”. True enough.

 

If we go on this precept, then we have to say that the world is in great need of something huge – something that will shake us to our roots. We are conducting “normal life” around a big illusion that is about to crumble.  Something that is not real – meaning it will not last. Our current economics crises, coupled with the ecological catastrophes we are facing are just small potatoes compared to the extreme state of spiritual disconnectedness that we are currency living our lives with.  Science and industrialization have disconnected us from the essential source that is our center. Religions have messed up our interpretation of that Source and we have lost the very basic ability to harness the energy and capacity of our essential beingness.

Our solutions lies in a return to basics – to nature. But we wouldn’t know what to do with “nature’ if it smacked us in the head. We need to be taught how to be ourselves – natural and connected to seasons and environment.  Respectful and balanced in our living.  However, the greatest irony of it all is that the cultures we have relegated and abused the “indigenous”, primal and pagan, are the ones that have the answers we need in order to survive the adjustments the planet is making. We are no longer taught by the old and wise.

In our pursuit for comfort, we chose to disconnect from one thing and connect to another. Free will being what is it, we are being directed towards a place of having to return to the original source that nourished us. Because of the manner of psychology evolved in man, we are only wiling to make drastic changes to our perceptions of what is necessary to live a fulfilled and happy life when something dramatic and terrible happens.

So the earth, as always, is accommodating what we require for our highest growth.  We asked for it – in some way – and so we got it.

 

The shifts in politics are not haphazard, they are happening just as they were supposed to – the chaos will cause people to unite. The minority oppressors (crazy Muslim extremists lets say…) will eventually be eliminated by a lack of interest. The reality of how little power they hold will become obvious to everyone through the dissemination of true information.  Information passed directly from person to person – like when Socrates went to the Hill and the whole town was involved in how a thing was decided. But now we call the hill the internet – and no one’s voice need be left unheard.

The internet is allowing us this primal capacity to return to each other.  It is magnificent. But of course, like all the Excalibur’s of our history, it can be misused.  It can be wielded to gain other things – the worst of these is that we spend time paying attention to things that distract us from our centers – from our essential beingness. Because we all know that the most important thing we can do is to really know ourselves.

 

So I guess that’s why I haven’t been writing. What I have to say is quite a mouthful and I think people are tired of hearing the darker side.  Being like this however disconnects me from my creative center – which for me feels like being constipated in my soul. I have begun to take steps to feel connected to a creative feeling again – but it eludes me. Day after day.  I become tired of searching for this dispassionate lover.

 

 

QUIET MEDITATION…

I have begun standing still –  learning to really meditate.  Every day. For an hour. No exceptions. This feels good. It will be my practice for life. Because there is something deeply wrong with the balance of my life if I cannot meditate for an hour every day.

serenity

But I won’t be hard on myself either. I know that I cant optimally stay still without pain for more than 45 minutes in a sitting position cross legged. I don’t think the point of meditation is to cause yourself pain – but I do think everyone on the planet should be doing it.

It’s not such a big adjustment in your life, but imagine the capacity when  we harness ALL of our collective energy together at once?  I believe something GRAND is possible if we can just – for one whole minute – let go of what we think is right and wrong.  Just for one whole minute – have no opinion on anything.

 

I believe this would change the world.

When you feel the freedom of a time with no judgement – you will always want to return there. It is SO much nicer to allow people to just be themselves.  You can make choices for yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat.  It just means you have to spend some time knowing yourself and, not just that but HONOURING the information you receive from your inquiries.  You know, a good relationship isn’t two broken people leaning on each other – it’s two whole people dancing together.  Much nicer.  Unless you look at yourself, you will NOT find that perfect “partner’, that so many people seek – because you don’t even know what it is you have to offer.  The same goes for your relationship with yourself.  You have MANY parts. Stop trying to be so NICE – and PERFECT and honour everything about you!  You can’t give to the world what you can’t give to yourself. That’s just reality.

 

Lose Judgement: 

 

“EVERYONE thinks they are doing the right thing. EVERYONE thinks they are doing their best.

 

The world and all its problems are very overwhelming.  I wonder often what it is you have to do to live peacefully and happily in this chaotic mess. I recently received the answer from a 92 year old man – a soul mate?  I would never have imagined such a kindred feeling with someone like this – but there it was.

 

His name is Gabe and he is my guitar player’s father in law.  Shawn and his wife had just suffered through a scary bout with breast cancer and Gabe, Anne’s adopted father came for a visit from the Maritimes to see how Anne was doing.

 

He was introduced to me as “This is Gabe my adopted father. He’s 92”, said Anne smiling

And smartly all I could say was,

 

“Holy crap, how’d you get to be 92?!”

No word of a lie, Gabe looked 65 years old. He had a hefty diamond stud earring in his left ear, a full head of shocking white hair and blue twinkly eyes. With a beard he might have looked a little like Santa.

I was grateful Gabe laughed then at my seemingly impolite outburst.  Once again my lack of filter was in full force. But I also learned allot about Gabe from that laugh.  He liked the unrehearsed parts of life best, I could see. He was spontaneous and smiled allot.

I set up my equipment and came back to his table eagerly wanting to talk to him.

“Gabe, tell me how it is you lived so long?”  I asked him quite seriously. The question of longevity having been on my mind since my own mother died less than a year earlier at only 65.

“I just didn’t die yet!”, he said laughing his big belly laugh.

“Seriously Gabe, I said looking him square in the eye,  “What is it? I asked.

He leaned towards me conspiratorially as if he was going to tell me a big secret and said smiling

” Love everything as much as you can”, he said smiling.  “You’re already doing that. I can see it”.  He smiled warmly. So much familiar love and joy in his eyes.  It was so familiar and amazing.

I got up and hugged him. The band was calling me to the stage for the first set or I would have stayed and talked to Gabe all night.

In between sets I found him outside as he was leaving to get some rest – which he said was important to longevity too – I smiled.

I hugged him and said frankly,

“I feel like I’ve known you a long time Gabe,”  I was sad he was leaving.

“But we have darlin’ “, he said smiling. “We’ll do it again soon”.

I thought then about how amazing it must be to wake up in the morning – when you are 92. Each day borrowed time.

I’d like to say I have the same kind of reverence for life as Gabe does, but I know I still take waking up each day for granted.

I was talking with a friend the other day about all the world situations how hundreds of thousands of people each day have to figure out how to pack up the basics of their lives, walk many miles in treacherous hot desert sand only to find themselves at a new country’s border – mostly unwelcome.  The world’s resources are running out, including livable space.

 

We were making a sandwich in the kitchen and starting saying all of the things we have that other people don’t have.  Like the seemingly simple ability to make lunch itself! Or go to bed without bombs going off outside our house. Or just having a house – or taking a shower with hot water, being able to call my kids who are safe, going to school or work. The ability to go to a store and buy food. To say whatever I want. To be able to show my face in public.

I wish it wasn’t the hardship of others that had the ability to bring me great gratitude for the most simple of things in my life, but that is the way it is.

That’s the end of my indulgent birthday rant. Wishing you a peaceful day!