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  • Do You Hear the Cry?

    Life is changing rapidly these days. You can see it clearly on the world’s stage. Our darkest shadows express themselves in politics, warfare, natural disasters, and hate crimes in our own communities. Every day we think, “It can’t get any worse, can it?” And then it does.

    People are more polarized than ever before. We are choosing sides, laying stakes, and not budging. People take pride in being stubborn, calling names, and hating their fellow humans.

    God knows no sides. Life doesn’t differentiate between one or the other. That “other” is you. There is only one. One humanity. One spiritual body. One planet earth. One ecosystem calling for healing. And that healing begins with you.

    Do you hear the cries of the planet? The hurricanes that ravish our shores. The earthquakes that shake our cities. The floods that wash away our homes. Who are we to think that we can go on living the same way we did before? Let’s get all Einstein for a sec and acknowledge that we cannot find the solution to a problem at the same level of thinking that created it.

    We must start fresh, new, again, for the first time. And we are given that chance today – right now, and every day, over and over again. You are given that opportunity. You.

    Yea, it’s easy to sit back and look at the world and think about how there’s all this crazy shit going on out there. It seems easier to have another drink, another smoke, another cupcake. It seems easier to beat yourself up at the gym or force yourself to work longer hours. You can’t seem to stop watching TV or movies. The video games suck you in each night and every weekend. But those problems, the ones you see played out over and over again on the 24-hour news cycle, aren’t going away.

    Some of us will see these images and weep. Our hearts will break. And tears will flow down our faces, drench our shirts, and create a puddle on the floor around our bent over bodies.

    Some of us will see these images and get angry. Someone is to blame and it’s not me or you – it’s them! They need to be killed, beaten, isolated, or exterminated. We become red in the face and so heated that we take it upon ourselves to do the killing. We bring out our biggest gun and kill the innocent kids playing in the yard at the mosque on the corner.

    Some of us will see these images and die. The weight of the world has become too heavy. There’s no reason to live. Killing one’s self is the answer. Suicide, cardiac arrest, car accident, or cancer. Our time is over.

    But then some of us will see these images and know. We know what these images really are. We see the light beneath these shadows. The light that makes these shadows possible. And we give praise! We praise God, The Universe, for answering our prayer. We kneel before nature and give thanks to her beauty and bounty. We bless our fellow humans. We call forth all those who wish to welcome this light to earth with open arms and hearts. We worship!

    These problems are a reflection of the deep healing occurring within us collectively and individually. And it is you and I who are being called forth to heal this planet, to heal ourselves, and to heal each other. That means you, because YOU MATTER.

    No longer can you pretend that your individual life doesn’t matter. It is naive to believe that you can be on this planet and have no effect whatsoever. It is selfish to ignore the power that lies within you. It is reckless to think the world’s problems exclude you. And it is insane to think you can stay the same throughout this all.

    Do not be a vapid, ghostly body walking this planet. Because you have purpose and meaning. Because you matter. In that lies great responsibility. And you knew that when you came to this earth. You knew what you were signing up for. No longer are you allowed to shirk your responsibilities to this planet, to its people, and to yourself. In so doing, you put all in harm’s way.

    You need not run out to join a political campaign, activist group, or volunteer activity. You don’t need to write a manifesto, work longer hours, or give away all your money. You don’t have to do these things unless you feel called. At this time, what you’re called to do first is to love.

    Learn to love. Learn to let love in. Learn to see love as the driving force of the Universe. Learn to welcome love into your heart. Learn to give love to other people’s hearts. Learn to be love. In that journey, you will find a path that suits you. A path that heals this planet, its people, and you.

    We are each an individuation of the whole. And in the whole, we see reflected all that is within ourselves.

    Stop waiting. Stop denying. Stop hating. Stop thrashing. Stop resisting. Stop forcing. Stop talking. Stop shitting on this planet. Stop for just a moment. Take a deep breath. Let go. Surrender. And let in the mercy of God. You are needed now more than ever.

    Do you see the tragedies in your own community? Do you hear the cry of the coral reefs dying? Do you taste the poor quality food that’s poisoning you and your children? Do you feel the sorrow of your fellow humans losing their homes? Do you smell the rancid sewer waste filling our oceans, crowding our creeks, and polluting our streets?

    It’s time to get right with your soul. It’s time to come together. And it’s time for being love and allowing that love to move through you in miraculous ways. When you let the hand of God, the Universe, guide you, all you do will be like Midas. You will have a powerful touch that heals the planet.

    Remember: you matter. You mean something to this world. You have a gift. You have a talent. You have a vibration that affects the environment and the people around you. You matter. And now’s the time.

     

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  • The Artist’s Path: An Exploration into Consistency as the Middle Way

    The Artist's Path

    As a nurse, I care for people of every race, religion, sexual orientation, attitude, and family dynamic. Care does not discriminate, nor do I. In taking care of such a wide range of individuals, I’m often surprised and intrigued by what I uncover about the humans I care for.

    One of my patients had a secret talent. After three days of caring for him, I learned from the doctor that the patient was a phenomenal artist. The doctor heard from the patient’s friend. Curious, I approached my patient, “Tell me about being an artist?” He said, “Well, what do you want to know?” I said, “What’s your art? Your medium? What art do you go about arting?”

    He explained that he’s a painter. He’s been painting since the age of four. He can render any image into an exact replica on canvas. He’s so good that he’s had people approach him about creating counterfeit art. They offered good money, but after some thought, he said, “I told them no.”

    It’s no coincidence that as we’re talking I’m thinking about my writing. I’ve been wrestling with my art the last several weeks. I’ve explored many avenues with my writing in the last couple of years but I hit a wall again and again. My writing has slowed to the pace of a blooming flower. I journal with vigor about the need, want, and desire to write. I write words on a blank page. But then never return to them. My publishing rate has dropped to a low level. And I’m turning in circles, wearing holes in my shoes.

    The artist went on to explain that he’d get a build up of energy like, “I just had to paint.” An image would enter his mind and stay. A pressure built in his head. Any new thoughts or ideas stifled in the presence of the one idea that wouldn’t go. Painting was the only answer. “I’d paint for hours or days. I’d get it all out of me. And then it would be gone,” he said. He paints by pressure alone unless someone specifically asks him to make a painting.

    I asked if he could draw me something, since we don’t have paint, but he said he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t feel like it. “No pressure,” I said.

    I walked out of the room and returned to the nurse’s station. Pressure. And no pressure. Inspiration. And no inspiration. The game of the artist.

    The pressure builds to a point that you can’t sit back anymore. You must take action. No matter the quality, you must at least take action. Relieve the pressure. And go on your merry way. But know that the pressure will build again, and you’ll be called back to your art, again and again. Maybe you like the back and forth, the tug-o-war between your logic and your art. But maybe you don’t. The cycle can be broken by adhering to the middle way.

    The Buddha suggests that enlightenment can be found between the extremes. And while I don’t need enlightenment, I desire a path that centers my being, keeps me focused on the heart, and allows me to endure, experience, and explore life in a way that satisfies, heals, and integrates. The philosophy of the middle way can be a source of continual inspiration for any artist, myself included.

    What fruit can blossom from consistency?

    Consistency, or practice, centers the soul. Consistency is a guide, ever returning your attention to the heart of the matter, the why, the work, the play, the life. There’s a quietness in consistency and commitment that allows the flow to keep flowing and life to keep giving.

    The artist explained that his friends and even strangers would praise his work and encourage him to do something about it. The quality of his art is worthy of great galleries and great money. But he reservedly shook his head and said, “No,” time and time again. Despite the urges of the Universe, the sirens calling to him from as close as they could possibly get, he turned away. He engaged in the cycle of extreme creation and extreme stagnation until he reached a point where he no longer created.

    Where could he have been if he had heeded the call? Where would his art be today? What homes and people would proudly boast the art on the walls? What beauty would be dispersed in the world? What inspiration would fill hearts and move souls?

    When you engage in the cycle of extreme creation and extreme stagnation you open yourself to the struggle of the return and the possibility of never returning. It’s harder to sculpt, mold, and transform the puddy of inspiration as it rebuilds itself within you each successive cycle. Inspiration will only call so many times before it leaves you empty handed as the artist who wouldn’t commit.

    I’ve never been a gambler. Why should I gamble with my art? And why should I deprive the world of the beauty and inspiration that could arise by sharing my work? Who am I to think that the world doesn’t need it? Who am I to believe that it’s too hard or not worth it? Who am I to turn down the call to heal the planet at a time when we so desperately need it?

    Answer me this:

    What art are you not creating today that could serve humanity in profound ways?

     

     

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  • 2016: The Year of Completion

    heart driven life

    One thing most people don’t know about me is that I’m interested in numerology. Numerology deals with the significance of numbers. Each number indicates a specific meaning depending on whether you’re talking about a person’s name, birthday, or the universal year. Like this year…

    When you add together 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 it equals nine. A nine universal year signifies completion, reflection, and service. All year we have been bringing to an end whatever started within the last nine years, that which is ready to come to a close as we prepare for a new nine-year cycle starting in 2017.

    For some, this past year may have been slow, low-key, and relaxed. I know that it certainly was for me. I started my new career, ending a long stint of college education. I had several months of learning to rest and relax as this year comes to a close. I’ve even spoken with a couple people who have had similar experiences from friends to family members. This year has brought change and closure to a lot of people’s lives.

    But looking back over the past nine years, I find I have a lot to reflect on.

    Nine years ago I was in my final year and a half of high school and starting a journey of independence and self-reliance. That’s about the time that I became interested in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance,” and used it as a guiding light for my own self-understanding. Upon reflection, I see how Emerson and that essay foreshadowed and fully encapsulates what the last nine years have been for me.

    It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great mean is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    After high school, I went on a four-year journey not only from home to home but also an inner journey as I awakened to a reality much greater than my self-obsessed one. I can remember each specific step along the path that cracked open my mind and heart with each moment subtly leading to the next. Until one day, my world got turned upside down and, like an explosion, my consciousness expanded to include the cosmos.

    I can remember my perspective shifting from one of self-centeredness to literally include my view of the earth from outer space. Since then I have grown tremendously as a person and spiritual being.

    While my spiritual lessons were underway, so were my human lessons. I had to figure out my life path and purpose. And I was dedicated to discovering what was right for me. Many times I wanted to move from my path to nursing but with each step or even hint in any direction away from nursing, my guides forcefully redirected with me. Yes – forcefully.

    The force included anything from upset and nauseated stomachs with diarrhea or even headaches to flat tires and broken parts within my car. I quickly learned that I’m on a path that is crucial to my life purpose. And I learned to trust my body and the environment for signs about which direction to go. I developed a strong intuition as I navigated choppy waters and made mistakes along the way.

    I made it through two college degrees and finally into my career where I’ve settled into the beautiful knowing that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And that feels good.

    Throughout the last nine years, my career, life purpose, and relationship with myself underwent an overhaul. My personal expansion literally blew my mind and still blows my mind today. I am in awe of the woman I am today as I am still learning to love and appreciate myself deeply instead of relying on others to validate what I already know to be true about myself. This is a major lesson I’m wrapping up.

    My family relationships have certainly shifted over the last nine years. The structure of my family has changed immensely with divorces, marriages, and babies. There have been breakdowns in my extended family, difficulties between siblings, parents and children, and tremendous collective growth as we have all changed with the times, no matter how small or large the change. Some of us have matured, myself and my siblings included as well as cousins, as we’ve come into our own. We contribute to the family in ways we were unable to do so before.

    I’ve learned a lot about family in the past years. I’ve learned about expectations, traditions, patterns often passed on from generation to generation, the sponge-like ability of children, and the enduring power of love – if and when love is actually present. We all just want to fit in and be accepted.

    Personally, I have found my voice within my family. When I entered my teenage years I felt different than the rest of my family. And as I entered many years of metamorphosis that these last nine years have been for me, I’m now exiting this cycle with a sense of self that I am confident in and able to express vocally to my family. This was not possible before.

    Before, I did not feel as though I had a voice or a place. Today, being different is still a challenge but I’m learning, at great strides, to trust the bonds of familial love and risk my uniqueness in favor of self-love rather than self-betrayal. From this, I learn that family will either love me or not no matter how I show up. Being myself is far more important. Being loved as who I am is important for my own happiness and for the happiness of those around me.

    The journey I’ve been on continues to inspire me to move forward with greater vigor, enthusiasm, and passion. The lessons I’ve learned, no matter how hard, have shaped me into a human worth being and excites me about the human I’ll continue to become.

    We are now entering into a new nine-year cycle. I want to encourage everyone to finish 2016 with deep reflections over the last nine years. And take the time to set intentions for the next nine years.

    I have learned from personal experience that self-reflection positions me to respond at a higher level the next time I have challenges to face. As I encounter and work through challenges, I can up level my response and grow as a person, becoming a better version of myself. Self-reflection plays a major role.

    When you know where you’ve come from and what you’ve learned, you can make smarter and wiser decisions going forward and be an active, happy co-creator with the Universe. Yes – you – can actively participate in the creation of your life. It is a dance after all. The Universe may be leading the way but you have the opportunity to have your own flare and style along the way. That is the beauty of being human.