Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Buck Stopping, Consciousness Shifting, Center of the Universe

That's me.

And you.

And we need to get busy. The world is waiting.

I posted recently about the tendency for groups and individuals to identify themselves as much by who hates them as by who and what they are. Several thoughtful comments (Alli Silverwing, Sitara, Zephyr - thank you!) netted a host of theories as to the whys of the behavior. In response, Sitara Haye asked, "How do we change this dynamic? What can we do about it?"

So here's my answer to what we can do about this and other behavioral dynamics that undermine the mental and emotional health of our big ol' beautiful world:

Stand up and take your rightful place at the very center of the universe, the pivot on which the world turns. We need a major shift in the world consciousness and it's up to you and me to do it. The buck stops here, pal. No finger pointing. No committee meetings to assign responsibilities. I am and you are the buck stopping, consciousness shifting, center of the universe and it's time to kick some butt.

To affect a world shift, we have to use the best tool we have or ever will have -- the ability to change ourselves. We have to look honestly and deeply at ourselves and our behaviors and change them to model the behavior we want to see in the world.  It's harder than it sounds; I'm as aware as anyone how much easier it is to talk about change, to say we need a major world shift, than it is to do it. I also believe that there is no other way.

If we say we want peace, are we living peacefully?
If we believe community is important, are we living in a way that supports community?
If we believe the we are all connected, do our actions reflect our responsibility to the web?

While we're changing ourselves to be the future we want to see, we also have the responsibility to use whatever talents and abilities we have to influence others to change.  We cannot make them change, but we can't keep looking at ourselves in the mirror if we don't do everything we can to influence positive change. The key is to keep the priority straight, to remember to work from the inside out.  All our efforts to influence positive change in others, no matter how smooth the presentation or how persuasive the words, are undermined if we don't hold ourselves to the same or higher standards.

Yeah, it's hard. Being the center of the universe is not easy, but it's the only way. Start today.

"Everything that is good and beautiful..." from The Soaring Impulse

One of my favorite bloggers and a personal hero, Maithri Goonetilleke, posted yet another beautiful reminder of our connections and our resonsibility to each other. I hope you read this wonderful story that includes the words...

Sometimes people tell me that the little things we do, don't count. That they are lost to the winds, like little leaves in a storm.

With all my heart, I know they're wrong.

Its like my father has always said: "Humanity is a spiders web. Touch the web at any point and the whole web vibrates."
There is so much more on The Soaring Impulse, and Maithri's heart is bigger than my little words can convey. Please, go meet him and feel the loving vibrations he creates on our web.

I am not "loud" and my blog voice is not widely heard, but I will add my voice to the music at The Soaring Impuse. I am grateful to sing loving harmony with my friend Maithri.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

If you call yourself a Wiccan...

...then you really need to visit Sitara Haye's beautiful website and join in the discussion there. Most recently, this post about lineage verses self-made Wiccans caught my attention. I've already voiced my opinion there, and I am eager to read the comments of others...including you.

Sitara's entire site is a wonderland and not to be missed. Go check it out and, should you be inclined, join in the conversation. There are some GREAT discussions going on! Her site is beautiful, too, and is the work of a good friend at LadyCelt Design.

That's it for now...just passing along nuggets of wisdom and beauty where I find them.  Blessing of joy and peace to all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Six Men Won't Fit In a Bucket

Unhappy because power had not been restored to her home after a damaging storm, an irate customer called her local power company to complain.*

Customer: I can see the truck from my window, and there are six men out there, but only one of them is in the bucket fixing anything on the pole! The rest of them are just standing around on the ground! Why aren’t those other men working?

Power employee: Well, ma’am…all six of them won’t fit in the bucket.

Customer: Oh. (click)

As a former power employee myself, the story made me laugh, and then it made me think: How many times do we get all worked up because all the men aren’t in the bucket?

The caller had a single point of view – her power was off and she wanted it back. She had limited knowledge – she knew that power was reconnected by the man at the top of the pole, but she knew nothing about the number of men it took to remove and replace a damaged pole, cut and move fallen limbs, or ensure the safety of the guy in the bucket. She had limited perspective – her pole was the only one she could see. Yet with so little to go on, she was sure there was slacking going on and that said slacking was the reason she was still in the dark.

How often do we do that? How often to we get all fired up about a situation before we really know what’s going on?

So often, situations go like this: Someone does something that seems offensive to me. I have limited knowledge, limited perspective, and only my own little problem in my sights. So what do I do? I invent all those other details, filling in the blanks with just enough information to support my righteous indignation, making up a story that supports the offense theory and fuels my ire. The more I think about it, the madder I get!

Why is that? In the best of all worlds, we would have a wider view, one that made it harder to focus on a potentially offensive act or word. We’d resist feeling offended until we had all the facts and knew the intent and context from the other person’s perspective. That might require a conversation, some questions, some honest listening, but it would be worth it. If that’s too much trouble, we would at least make up a story that felt good rather than one that just makes us madder. If we are supplying the missing details, why choose the ones that cause the most misery? Do we enjoy having our feelings hurt?

Things are not always what they seem, and offense is taken far more often than it is really given. Next time you find your knickers all wadded up about something, take a step back, refocus, and learn the facts. You won’t be giving up your right to a good head of justifiable steam if the situation really warrants it. You also won’t waste your precious energy writing a story to piss yourself off. Before you get mad, remind yourself that six men won’t fit in a bucket.

*An all-too true story borrowed and paraphrased from my friend Indigo Satin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garden Goodness

Just sharing some joy from the garden. We've started harvesting vegetables regularly now, but we've been havesting beauty for weeks. Enjoy!

Who Hates You?

I saw this sign on a church on my way to work this morning:

My first thought was that it was a clever reverse approach to the multitude of “message from God” signs so popular locally –

“We need to talk.” – God
“My house on Sunday – hope to see you there.” – God
“How ‘bout introducing me to your friends?” – God

My next thought was more interesting:

Why is it that so many of us, individually and as groups, define ourselves as much by who hates us (or who we think/believe/hope hates us) as by who and what we actually are?

Christians preach about how they’re hated by “the world” for their commitment to Christ. Pagans rail about how they’re hated by Christians for their alleged assignations with the devil. Jehovah’s Witnesses love the notion of being hated by all other Christian sects for their departure on points of theology. Toss in liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, gays and straights, vegans and omnivores, Redskins fans and Cowboys fans…the list is endless. It’s part of the personal identity for some people.

Why do we do that? What is so compelling about defining ourselves by our perceptions of disapproval, distrust, dislike, distaste, and disrespect? What is it about being “dis’ed” that we love to identify with?

Any thoughts?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blackberries for Breakfast

I had blackberries for breakfast this morning
grown on a nearby mountain by a couple
no longer young but still in their prime.
I tasted their youth,
felt the grit between my teeth
of a too-tight budget and a too-small house,
smelled their dreams of acreage, farmland, a life made rich and full
by sweat and soil and a solid work ethic.
I mashed up my berries
and watched the juice run in the bowl,
saw blood from blistered hands
and heard the curses muttered under the breath
when another machine went down
and there was no money to fix it.
I lifted my spoon to my mouth and
tasted a first good harvest on land long saved for,
good years and lean years,
pungent, fertile ground and dust,
sun, rain, wind, drought, and storm,
sweet and tart together,
still gritty from time to time
but full and juicy and rich,
a breakfast so full of life
I could taste it.