Monday, November 30, 2009
I found this on-line and copy/pasted it here to share the idea. It's been called myth by some or even 'Urban Legend'. Well, remote monkey-covered Japanese islands aren't exactly urban, but I understand. Whether or not all the facts are accurate, I love the story and I've been thinking of it a lot in relation to people. Check it out: "The Hundredth Monkey by Ken Keyes, jr. The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years. In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes. Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes -- the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes. THEN IT HAPPENED! By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough! But notice. A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea -- Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes. Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind. Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people. But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone! (from the book "The Hundredth Monkey" by Ken Keyes, jr. The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part. You can look at the whole book also.)" This idea really gives me a lot of hope. Since the 60's our culture (and even more so our counter-culture) have been moving toward some type of enlightenment. It's not something that comes strictly from one source. Yoga, meditation, energy healing, shamanism, holistic living... All of these ideas and many more are converging to teach us a better way. So many of us are moving away from the fear and towards the love. I'm so glad to be here to see it. I love the idea that if a certain percentage of us open up to this and realize the power of love, the rest of humanity will find it impossible to turn away. Like everyone will suddenly gain a realization that love is the most important thing and it's not just a feeling but a way of living. It shows up in the things we do and how we treat ourselves and others. I was talking to a woman over the weekend about how difficult it can be to stop judging others, even when we consider ourselves to be loving people. We're so conditioned to it that it's automatic. And it's even more difficult when the others are judging us harshly. In the interest of helping myself unlearn this judgemental reflex, I've decided to bring a little humor to it. When I encounter these negative people, I'm going to quietly remind myself that they are eating dirty fruit. I guess I would be grumpy too if my sweet potatoes were covered in sand.
I went to the Holistic Festival at Gibralter Trade Center this weekend to practice massage. I've never done anything like that so I had a lot of anxiety in the week or so leading up to the event. All of the 'what should I bring?' and 'how do I do this?' kinds of questions. I knew that once I set up Friday morning I would relax because after that it's just one person at a time. I was hoping to make some money and I didn't manage to break even. I covered my space and probably gas and food but I had to get a hotel and didn't cover that. The experience was worth so much more than money, though. The people I met there were so kind and supportive, so generous with their advice. There were several other witches there as vendors so I immediately felt at home. There was some great merchandise- books, stones, statuary, oils, great organic nut butters... There were some great readers too. Just a wonderful little bunch of people. The first person I met as I came in was a girl who works at Gibrlater and helps the vendors find their places. She was so sweet and told me she loves to work that show because all the vendors are so nice. She was right. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude I'm not even sure what else to say. I got an amazing reading from a medium (Gary Gurgold) that really opened some possibilities for me. I'm finding it very hard to articulate the joy of this experience. I was set up near- literally surrounded by- people who offered me so much support and encouragement. When I got home last night I took all the cards I had collected out of my purse and I looked at them and there were six people who I met that really stood out. Each of them, aside from sharing amazing and interesting conversations, said one or more things to me that meant more than I have the ability to thank them for. It was so great to be out and around like-minded people for three days in a row. I loved getting to know them and feeling friendships starting to form. The woman who was set up next to me was practicing Reiki and using crystals for her clients and watching her work was so beautiful- like seeing a glimpse of the type of things I may be doing in the future. I'm so grateful to her for her abundant kindness and the time she took to give me such thoughtful advice. I'm working out ways to continue going to this show without losing money. If I could go and break even every time, that would be great. I wish I could say more but I'm a bit tired and trying to slide back into my day-to-day while holding on to all the great energy we all shared over the weekend. To all who were there, I owe you my unending gratitude!!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I've been thinking of my ability (or lack thereof) to manage my time. Alanis Morissette said once in and interview that she sees time management as being synonymous with energy management. That makes so much sense to me. I've learned that I'm not great at multi-tasking when it comes to upcoming events or plans. Whenever there is a big holiday or I'm planning my daughter's birthday party or planning to take part in a big massage event, I find it all but impossible to see beyond that event. There is a voice inside that keeps telling me, "You just have to make it through this ________ and then you can make other plans." I'm working at an event this weekend and I've found that I can't seem to start planning for Christmas because a part of me- or most of me- is totally tunnel-vision-locked on doing well and making sure I have everything I need. In one way this is good, I'm giving attention to planning. However, how much of me has been living in this weekend since I signed up for the event? And if so much of my conscious thought is going to something that hasn't happened yet, how much of me is here now?
Monday, November 23, 2009
Have you seen the new holiday Gap commercial? I am so happy about it! They recognize Christmas, Hanuka (spelling?), Kwanza and Solstice!! I'm so impressed that a mainstream store finally decided to advertise to pagans- in a way. There is a group who is upset, insisting that this commercial is "anti-religious" but give me a break. First of all, all four major holidays are mentioned. I read a comment on the convocation conversation that pointed out that if it were anti-religions, wouldn't they have just said 'Happy Holidays"? Not to mention the fact that Solstice is also a secular holiday, if you can't accept it as a witchy day. It's the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of daylight. That was something to celebrate even when I considered myself Christian. So what's up with all the hate? It's supposed to be the most loving time of year. We're constantly inundated with Christmas blah blah. It's hard to even see the religious meaning of Christmas through all the lights, tinsel, and blaring music. So what are people afraid of? It comes back to Fear vs. Love in my mind. There is such a tendency for people to start screaming about things being unfair or unbalanced. It's really sad. I've never heard a single witch complain about the propensity of Christmas ads and the complete lack of anything that mentions Solstice or Yule. It's been out of balance for so long!! I'm glad to see balance brought to advertising. I've never been into the Gap but I will be buying some gifts there this year! If you're on the side of Love and acceptance, I hope you do too!!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So I watched the Zeitgeist movie over the weekend. I'd been putting it off till I felt strong enough to handle it and I'm glad I did. I don't want to go into what the movie is about here other than to say that I wish everyone would watch it. It's terrifying but meant to be a wake-up call. I haven't been able to really focus on all the info because the whole thing is looming in my mind in a kind of crazy barrage of imagery and revelations. What I keep coming back to, in an effort to avoid letting this thing drag me through the emotional mud, is the ending. It wasn't an apocalyptic message, but not a positive one either. The final point was that we, as humans, have a choice right now between FEAR and LOVE. We can keep our heads down, mindlessly meandering through our lives being bumped around like pin balls, or we can wake up, look around, and find reason to love all we see. The idea that fear and love are the main opposing forces in the world is starting to make more and more sense to me. Fear is what causes anger. We fear that which we don't understand. We fear that which will cause us to lose power, or what we perceive to be power. We fear anything that is different from whatever we consider to be 'the norm'. Organized religion (I'm not trying to be offensive, it's in the movie) perpetuates fear by instilling in its followers a feeling that theirs is the only way and all others are following the wrong path, or worse. In society in general, we define differences by borders, skin colors, genders, sexual orientation, age, beliefs, levels of education, income, perceived limitations, parenthood, political tendencies, physical appearance, creative expression... just about any way we can think of to make others seem not-like-us. And the sad thing about that is we do it in order to somehow make ourselves feel superior. "I make more money than this person", or "Well, my son gets much better grades than hers". These are the types of things that we let define us. There seems to be very little interest in learning what we are really all about. I know I'm being a hypocrite again. After all, that seems to be what this blog is about. But at this point in my life, I desperately want to let go of all the fear. I want to do all I can to love everything I see every day. Even what's staring back at me in my mirror. As I believe the mirror is where it has to start for each of us, maybe I should make a point to love myself every day just for the fact that I so sincerely want to be a force of love on this planet. I'm so sure that's my path here. I haven't learned how to put it into practice but for all I know, I'm already doing it. I hope so because as much as I try to relax and trust life and time, there is a part of me that wants to just start running from person to person, telling them that I love them and somehow giving them the ability to love themselves. So what can I say? If you're reading this, I LOVE YOU!! I don't care if I've never met you. You're on this planet with me and you hope and grow and hurt just like I do. It is my deepest wish that each and every person find some calm inside themselves. A place where the frantic mind that we all live with gives reprieve. If you can find just a second of that calm, you will see a glimpse of your own perfection. Don't let your ego talk you out of it or shadow what you see. We all come from a core of perfection. Carry that with you always and do your best to honor it with your actions. I will do the same, and even give up this fear that I won't be able to proclaim the message of love, because I just did.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
practice: 1. to do or perform habitually or customarily; make a habit of 2. to do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill. I was thinking of this word today and it created some interesting questions for me. First of all I was thinking of all the things that we practice in this world. A doctor doesn't 'do' medicine, she practices it. Lawyers practice law. I'm a massage therapist and I don't 'do' massage, I practice it. I'm also a witch and we don't 'do' magic, we practice it. This is one of the things that drew me to this path, that we are always learning what works best for ourselves, not dependent on what others have done, simply using their experiences as guideposts for our own exploration. One of the most common things we think of as a practice is yoga. Hatha yoga is a practice of physical poses but the practice of yoga goes much further than that. Yoga is a life-long practice of integrating our mind, body, and spirit and can be applied to anything we do with meaning in our lives. Meditation is an important practice, whether it's a part of our yoga or not. There is so much beauty in the things we practice and the very idea that we are practicing gives us the feeling of not needing to be perfect. So I wondered, what if we take this practice a step further? What if we agreed that we're all always practicing everything? If we knew that we are all practicing friendship, for example, would we be more forgiving, less judgmental? If we agreed that we are practicing love, would we be more patient with our partners and remember that our relationships take effort and that they deserve work? If we realize that we're practicing parenthood, would it help us to strive to become better at it? I think that's the thing that struck me today about that word and gave me so much comfort. If we're practicing, we don't have to have it all figured out. If we're practicing, we know that there is room to get better, room to grow into what we're doing. So when we're letting our inner critic run her mouth, lets take a moment and remind her that we're here to practice, for goodness sake, and we'll do better next time. Sorry for using the word 'practice' so many times but I'm just a writer practicing.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
There's this anonymous quote that I absolutely love. It says, "Be kinder than necessary because everyone is fighting some kind of battle." I think it's so true in our world today. And if anything could be even more true it's the fact that we are not usually as kind as necessary. Again I find myself to be the unstoppable hypocrite. We tend to view the behavior of others through the lens of our own experience, assuming reasons for their actions or behaviors. What we so often forget (I forget) is that others are likely going through life experiences that we could never understand or will never have to deal with. And why, for that matter, do we need to qualify the actions of others at all? It's like we need this information so that we can put people in the right box. Or we think we need to know, to have everyone figured out. Is this a case of looking outside to find answers because we can never really seem to figure ourselves out? More often I think it may be a way of explaining away something that has made us uncomfortable or we've taken something personally when almost nothing is. I'm looking for the bottom line here and I think it's this: "Be kinder than necessary because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.", and "mind your own fucking business." Ok, that last one was just to me. And let's go one step further and see the beauty and love in others. If someone is short with you, it's not about you. We can't possibly know what that person is working through in their lives right now. So rather than taking everything personally, the next time you feel slighted or you simply can't understand or "figure-out" why a person is acting the way they are, stop. You don't have to know. It's not about you. Offer up a little prayer of support for that person and move on with compassion and a little grace.
Friday, November 6, 2009
So I don't think it's all that uncommon for people to have feelings surrounding a relationship long after we have stopped seeing that person. What I'm wondering about are the best ways to let go those things that may be holding us back. In my situation, I'm thinking of a person I have known half my life. We never really escalated our encounters to a full-fledged romantic relationship but it would have seemed so from the outside. Nothing was lacking except the commitment. My feelings for this person were magnified to a degree that still gives me shivers. He had equally deep feelings but for him, these feelings hovered comfortably in the friend zone while I was shamelessly desperate for more. We tried so valiantly to say everything at the end, not really sure it was the end as there had been so many ends for us before that one. It takes a goodly amount of time, I think, to start to see something like this with even a shred of objectivity. For me to see that when he said, so emphatically, "Don't settle!", he may have been talking about himself. It took me years to see how much I was willing to give up for him. Even now, when I haven't heard his voice in three years, I'm overcome with emotion at the thought of actually seeing him in person. How is it that this person affected me, or still affects me, so deeply, when it wasn't meant to be. Well, I think I've made peace with that part of it for now. I need to believe that he was put in my life for me to learn about love. I learned from him the depth and breadth of the love I have to give. I learned what it feels like to be treated lovingly, respectfully. I learned what it feels like to make love and be so in-tune with your partner that all else melts away, and then suddenly returns but as a part of you. I learned about comfortable silence. I learned about unquestioning, unwavering support. I learned about being in love with someone who is a friend first. I even learned a bit about the beauty in myself. These are all great things to know, so what brings me to the keyboard today to whine to anyone who will listen? Fear. I know that I can love someone with all I have. Having been mostly single for five years, I think I can even do that without giving up who I am- now that's progress!! But I also know the danger. So I find myself, as I so often do, struggling with balance. Fighting between two, or more, instincts. The deepest instinct tells me that all is well. The world is an intrinsically kind place, in spite of all we see. The man who I'm imagining will come into my life and we will have BIG love. He will love me back in every way and all will be happy and well. Sounds great. But then there's the fear. (Oh Rozencrantz, I am afflicted!) Will I be able to give of myself in that way again? Will I be able to trust another? More importantly, will I be able to trust myself? After having spent so long believing that someone was my one, only to learn that I was very wrong, how can I trust my heart? And Goddess help us if I start letting my mind make relationship decisions! So if I know that seeing or even talking to that past lover is a mistake, I know that initiating contact is detrimental, where do I go for closure? Any contact between us would try so hard to be friendship and would come out twisted with want and sodden with fantasy. And that's if we managed to keep it out of the bedroom, which we never did in the past. So to the question of my moment- Is it functional to imagine closure? I know I could write a letter and burn it, releasing all the uckh into the Universe, but I crave a dialogue. Is it totally crazy for me to re-invent a last conversation? One in which we both really say everything. One from which we walk away feeling content, feeling heard and understood. One that gives me the courage to go forth and the strength to love again.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I started this blog to share my writing with people- anyone who would share their opinion or rant with or against me. The problem I have so far is that I haven't found a way to share with people without specifically inviting them. I also haven't found a way to search through other blogs and read what other people are writing about. I think this is operator error. I will do my best to figure it out. It's weird too because I'm not holding a pen. When writing in my journal, or on any available scrap of paper, there is a sense of privacy that is lacking here. I know that I can re-work and edit to my heart's content. I think that's why I like this format. It's so immediate. It lacks the organic feeling of putting pen to paper but it affords a kind of frankness that I tend to curb when I share my writing. If nothing else, blogging has quickly become a great outlet for those in-the-moment ramblings when I'm near a computer and an interesting new format and tool.
I was paying my rent yesterday, (yep, on the 3rd), and while I was in the office there was another woman there who had apparently not paid something. She was being 'talked-to' by one of the women who works for the soul-sucking company from whom I rent an apartment. The other renter was a middle-eastern or Indian woman. In truth, I really didn't look. I was just so shocked by the condescending tones used by the Office Worker. She was talking to the woman like she was a slow 2-year-old. Actually, I would speak to any two-year-old with more respect. It was really grating on my nerves because this was the company who, years ago, when I was dangerously close to getting evicted for late payment due to medical issues, literally laughed at me when I tried to work out a way that I could pay part of my rent- the part that I had- to try to keep myself and my six-year-old in a home. When I explained my situation and asked their accountant (which is who they said I should talk to) what could be done, he literally laughed in my face and told me I should start looking for somewhere else to live. Now, set aside the fact that if I couldn't come up with my rent on time, there was certainly no way I could afford to move into a new place. And the fact that this weaselly little man knew that better than most, after all, he was in charge of taking all our money. What struck me so briskly and stung, well, honestly till this day, was his lack of humanity. This is a business, yes. I understand that businesses are out to make money. However, when you are dealing with someones HOME, I believe that business has the obligation to have a heart. Or at least to hire a few people who have hearts to help deal with otherwise up-to-date renters who have unforeseeable, unavoidable problems. If you are out to make money and you don't want to be considerate of people's needs, don't go into the business of providing homes. So, back to my bitchy little friend and the poor renter under attack. I can't say why I was so upset on this woman's behalf. I was feeling hormonal? It cut a little too close to home? I am just fed-up with the general state of unfairness that seems to be the state of things? I was too tired to keep it to myself? My fifth chakra is on a rampage? Whatever the reason, I just couldn't take my receipt and walk out of that office. When the woman realized that the Office Worker wasn't listening to her, she said, "Maybe we should go to court. See what the manager says." She said this in the same tone of voice she had been speaking in all along. She was simply tired of listening to someone who wasn't listening in return. Office Worker had made up her mind and there was no point in the renter wasting her breath. So then Office Worker raises her voice and tells the renter that she has raised her voice and is becoming argumentative, or some similar word. I was appalled. The woman DID NOT RAISE HER VOICE!!!! And quite frankly, I probably would have. So Office Worker is having a little fit/power trip and hallucinating that this woman is yelling at her, so she asks the woman to come to her office where they can talk. Great, where Office Worker has an even more inflated sense of power. So, I couldn't help myself. No, that's not right. I didn't have time to talk myself out of it, the words just came. As we were all walking into the hallway at the same time, I said, not quietly, "You know, she really didn't raise her voice and you were being terribly condescending." Office Worker started to respond and I just said, more loudly this time, "terribly condescending". I heard her thank me for my opinion as I rounded the corner so I muttered a welcome and heard her go on slating me for speaking up. I held the door for a woman coming into the building and it felt good to know that I wasn't puking my rage on others. I got in the car and started driving home, asking myself not why I spoke up, but why it upset me so. I'm still pretty sure it's the unfairness of it all, but for some reason I took it very personally. I cried all the way home. When I got home, I ate a piece of pumpkin bread and went to sleep for three hours. It's amazing how much a moment out of someone else's life can so affect our own.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
So, why am I a witch trying? Well, I'm not going into why I'm a witch here. That could take days to explain. For now let's just say that it's the right path for me. So. What is it that I'm trying? For a long time I was trying to figure out just what it is I'm supposed to be doing here in this life. How arrogant that I assumed I could figure that out with my mind. I don't think we're supposed to know why we're here. In a funny way, that is why we're here, to find peace in the not knowing. So letting go of specifics, I learned that I'm here to help. It's not up to me to decide the ways in which I can help. I just have to be open and willing. So I am. Open and willing to do my best in any situation Goddess puts before me. But what am I trying? I'm trying to figure out this place, this crazy country, this outrageous planet we're on. There are a lot of things that need to change so I'm trying to find ways in which I can help make those changes. It can be hard to imagine but I really do believe we can all be the change we wish to see in the world. It seems overwhelming at first. How could my changing my habits or attitudes really change the whole world? But think about it, what if one day we all woke up and decided that we want to do our best to make the world a more loving place. Do we have to end world hunger and war that day? No. We have to be kind to those around us. We have to help out where we're able. We have to speak up for those who are going unheard. We have to love ourselves first so that we can see the beauty in all others. We have to immerse ourselves in an impersonal love for all-that-is. When I say impersonal love, I mean that it's not a love that is dependant on the actions of others to evidence itself. It's love without attachments or expectations. We know we don't all like the things others do, but we don't like things our family members do either and it doesn't stop us from loving them. I really think this has to start with ourselves. It's a hard thing to love yourself in such a judgemental and image-conscious society. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and a bit of surrender to see ourselves as lovable, as good enough. Sadly, that's a task that doesn't usually come to us all at once. So I have a suggestion. When you're out in public this week, look at a total stranger and think, "I love you!", with absolute conviction. You can't help but be filled with this warm feeling that you, too, are loved. It starts the feeling of connectivity. I really and truly believe that "Love is all we need", "What the world needs now is love sweet love", and "Love can keep us together". We've forgotten how powerful a thing love is. In most religions, there is a statement somewhere that says: God is love. We seem to fumble around this planet ever seeking more stuff, more status, more recognition, more, more, more! As I am just another person out there seeking stuff, I have to ask, WHY? What is it that I think I'm going to find? How have we been fooled into believing that something outside ourselves can possibly fill us up or make us whole? Everything that spiritual teachings, yoga, meditation, etc. have been trying to teach us is true! There is no ultimate in acquisition. Peace is waiting within. It's what will cause us to all wake up and realize that the world and its course are up to us. We have the power to usher in an era of peace, of growth and balance. We're finally starting to remember how powerful our thoughts are. We're finally starting to see that intention has real, tangible effects on the world. Remember that when you're speaking. When you're angry, don't say, "I could just kill her!". Watch your fleeting thoughts and consider the meaning of them. Words have great power. They can hurt and they can heal. I'm asking for a raise in consciousness. Or maybe it's a raise in awareness, in attention. Lets start to slow down. That's got to be the first step. Rushing around is getting us nowhere fast. So this is what I'm learning and the trying is just me trying to apply these things to my life. I'm like everyone else, I can talk forever about what I should do and I know very well how to get and stay healthy. It's a whole other thing to actually do these things. I think we need to be there for one another, support one another's good habits and desire to change and grow in positive ways. Please share these thoughts and ideas. I need to know that I'm not the only one trying.