Friday, June 15, 2018

Cultivating the NO

There are those who take advantage of the generosity of others...and this causes resentment.  There are those that give endlessly...But they do so with transactional motives (in other words, it's not freely given). In both cases, an inability to say NO becomes problematic.

I once learned that there is no YES without an authentic NO. People feel that they have no choice when they lack the ability to decline. Thus, a well cultivated and loving NO is something we all must learn to invoke for good self care.  In this model, every YES is given in freedom.

Imagine a different community paradigm where those in need can ask for help, members of the community can say yes or no, and everyone trusts that both the request and the response are genuine. This removes the discomfort, blame, and resentment on both sides, as each person owns their request and response.

This is my hope.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

How Can I Help?

As we collectively grieve the loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I can't help but feel a sense of sadness at our cultural tendency to ignore those that are struggling in our immediate circles. Let's face it, we all know someone who is struggling, and yet, how often do we reach out to offer help and support?  Every moment of every day we can look around and see someone who is suffering in their own way. Whether it's the encampments on the side of the road, the elderly neighbor living alone and homebound, the woman at school going through a divorce, the new business owner struggling to keep finances afloat, the man suffering from depression and suicidal ideation, or the friend living with chronic illness.......Instead of opening our hearts in loving kindness, how often do we respond by assuming someone else is helping? Or do we respond in judgement? Or do we say we don't have enough time and energy? Whatever the reason....It's worthy of contemplation.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Naming the Cultural Sickness

We mourn the loss of brilliant individuals whose lives end too soon due to suicide, and yet we continue to attach a stigma to all kinds of chronic illness and disability.  We ostracize those that don't live up to perfectionist ideals, either intentionally or by defacto.  We don't gather as a community to help those in need....Instead we judge, ignore, or express pity yet do nothing. This is a CULTURAL SICKNESS that must be named and addressed. It is why we are called to help those that are doing so....We prevent the insidious illusion of disconnectedness from infecting our society.

It (whatever "it" is) can happen to any of us, regardless of social status. Life can change in an instant. I learned that only a few people in my life really LOVED ME, independent if what I could do for them. Needless to say, life is different now, and I'm grateful because I am genuinely LOVED.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Get Lost...Richard Rohr

The following meditation is by Richard Rohr...

"Although true solitude—alert aloneness without diversions—can be challenging, it is often the necessary gateway to our deepest passions, and the discovery of what we must do to live them. As David Whyte writes,

. . . Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

The Wanderer learns to look deeply into the face of her aloneness and discover what truly brings her alive and what doesn’t. . . . You discover ease, inspiration, belonging, and wisdom in your own company. . . .

When wandering, there is immense value in “finding ourselves lost” because we can find something when we are lost, we can find our selves. . . . Imagine yourself lost in your career or marriage, or in the middle of your life. You have goals, a place you want to be, but you don’t know how to reach that place. Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, you just have a vague desire for a better place. Although it may not seem like it, you are on the threshold of a great opportunity. Begin to trust that place of not knowing. Surrender to it. You’re lost. There will be grief. A cherished outcome appears to be unobtainable or undefinable. In order to make the shift from being lost to being present, admit to yourself that your goal may never be reached. Though perhaps difficult, doing so will create entirely new possibilities for fulfillment.

Surrendering fully to being lost—and this is where the art comes in—you will discover that, in addition to not knowing how to get where you had wanted to go, you are no longer so sure of the ultimate rightness of that goal. By trusting your unknowing, your old standards of progress dissolve and you become eligible to be chosen by new, larger standards, those that come not from your mind or old story or other people, but from the depths of your soul. You become attentive to an utterly new guidance system. . . . This kind of being lost and then found is one form of ego death and rebirth, one form of entering the tomb-womb of the cocoon. . . .

In order to live your soul into the world, you must continuously loosen your beliefs about who you are."