Saturday, February 27, 2010

Do I Have Enough? Of What?

The Way of Power

I'm ready to be doing something; something different and soulful and genuine. But I'm having a hard time, because I'm scared.

I left my "regular" life/job in November, to embark on a new journey.

I sense with a great surety that I'm supposed to be here, in this moment. I've consulting my spiritual guides and tool kits, and I've been given the high sign to invest in my true self, my higher purpose.

I've been through a crucible of transformation; a ferocious tempering forge, from the events of the last few years.
I've been taught great lessons about my own personal sovereignty by the Monarch Butterfly and by the Deer.
They tell me it is time to ascend to the throne of my own life, and take responsibility for all of myself.

Through deep conversations with Fear, and the counsel of my spirit teachers, I've been taught great lessons about mastery; that control is an illusion, and the only true protection is to choose "right action", and dance the dance of my life with the impeccability of a warrior.
I've been shown by the beautiful Power Deck tarot how doubt destroys intuition, and how creativity needs a garden in which to thrive.
Dagaz, the rune of transformation, and The Blank Rune, the rune of the Unknowable, have counseled me accept nothing less from myself than an empty-handed leap into the void.
The Hopi prophecy counsels us to let go of the river bank. To float down stream and see what and who we find there.
From Carlos Castenada writings, I have learned that there comes a time, when you are truly prepared, that you look upon the great book of your life. The page on the left is filled with the gifts of your life experience. Filled with training. Filled with learning. Filled with experiences and guidance and strength and discipline and techniques and skills. This page represents your "reason".

And the page on the right -- the next page -- is blank. This page is your "will". And to truly step into one's power, one has to leave the left page behind. To own it, accept it, appreciate it, breathe it in. And then to breathe it out, let it go, and leap.

I think this is where I am. I'm staring at the book. The left page is full.

Do I have enough? Enough tools? Enough experience? Enough skills? Enough mastery?

Enough money?

What if I can't do it? What if I'm a failure? What happens if I have nothing to show for all of my efforts?

What if this exercise brings me ruin?

There is no way to decide that one has "enough". In the end, it's not about having enough of anything.

I think it's about deciding where to place one's trust. Trust takes courage.

I think this is how a fledgling hawk feels when it no longer fits in its parents' nest.

I'm going to trust that I'll learn to fly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are You Open Minded? Are You SURE?

Hearts and Minds, Swords and Mirrors

According to Christopher Joyce of NPR, in his article Belief In Climate Change Hinges On Worldview, we're not as open-minded as we'd like to believe.

From the article:
Dan Kahan, a law professor at Yale University and a member of The Cultural Cognition Project says people test new information against their preexisting view of how the world should work.

The operative word here is "should".

"If the implication, the outcome, can affirm your values, you think about it in a much more open-minded way," he says.

And if it doesn't?

It's headed for the trash can -- mostly out of fear. "Basically the reason that people react in a close-minded way to information is that the implications of it threaten their values."

Huh. Isn't that interesting.

Whether the world actually works the way you think it does or not, you fit the data to what you believe about the world. Not whether it fits your (or anyone else's) empirical data or even experience. Your VALUES.

To quote Mark Twain, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

This finding sheds some interesting light on why trying to change people's hearts is more effective than trying to change their minds.

There's another side to this coin, too.

The saying,
"I'll believe it when I see it,"
is actually the wrong way around, because the truth is,
"I'll see it only after I believe it's possible."
A double-edged sword, it cuts both ways. We can be deluded by our values into seeing what isn't there. And we can be prevented by our ignorance and prejudice from seeing what really IS there.

What's even more interesting to me is that how you see yourself impacts how you see the world. That may sound abstract, but here's where the rubber meets the road:
The participants tended to believe the message that came from the person they considered to be more like them.

So, how do you see yourself? As open? Closed? Certain? Doubtful? Are you kind and compassionate? Are you afraid? Are you aggressive? Are you weak?

Here's an interesting test. Take a look at what you believe in. Take a look at who you listen to on those topics. Then look at the messenger, and make an assessment.

That's an interesting mirror, now, isn't it?

The article ends with a "what to do about it" theme, which is useful enough. Kahan says, "The goal can't be to create a kind of psychological house of mirrors so that people end up seeing exactly what you want. The goal has to be to create an environment that allows them to be open-minded."

That's a challenge in dissolving dualism, so that we don't see ourselves as "different" or separate from one another or the universe. (A topic for another day.)

But I'd like to end somewhere a little different.

It's not about them and what they believe or what they do to try to get you to believe. No sir. It's about you.

Find the mirrors that enable you to see yourself clearly.

Then decide whether you like what you see. Change what you don't like.

And when you change yourself, you'll change the world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Girl Effect

The world is a mess. Most of us feel powerless to change it. But we're not powerless, and there are those out there who can show us what to do. You and I can join them, and it's easy to do.

I'm going to be brief, and encourage you to visit The Girl Effect and learn more.

In October, I read Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea. It had a huge impact on me.

I then requested Half the Sky (Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) as a Christmas gift. It's gripping.

I've also been researching micro-finance, (see Mentors International, Kiva, and MicroPlace. I discovered that the most effective use of micro-loans (in terms of creating positive social impact) and the most reliable way to lend it (in terms of getting prompt repayment) is to lend the money to women.

If you are interested in really changing the planet, visit The Girl Effect. Browse YouTube starting here.

Read all the facts. Here's just one: When girls and women earn income, the reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40% for a man.
See development through the prism of gender, and be stunned by how much can be done with how little.

Women hold up half the sky. Are we allowing them to?

Are we helping them to?

If not, we cause the sky to sag, indeed to fall.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What the Weeds Whispered

The other day I was meditating, in my shamanic way, and the oddest thing happened.

My vision was filled with weeds. Little ones. Big ones. Bunches. Weeds standing off by themselves.

And I saw them like you see below - the weeds that have taken up residence in between my back patio paving stones.

(OK, so there are a LOT of weeds in my patio pavers. It's that time of year in California, where the water comes out of the sky, and not out of the little black tubes that are on the timer, so things get crazy and a little out of hand out here.

But, I digress...)

The point is, in a shamanic journey, one sees weeds only if there is a message in them.

Ponder, ponder, as I stare at the waving weeds. WHAT am I supposed to learn? I see these scraggly scavengers, these insistent interlopers, and my first reaction is, "GOD, there's so many of them. How can anybody keep up?"

Tenacious weeds. Fiercely clinging to life, like Rambo holed up in a cave with a torch and an attitude.

And then, I get my own attitude adjustment.

They're not like Rambo. Not at all. They're not fierce or tenacious, really. They just "are".

They're doing their own thing, being their natural selves. They're enjoying the opportunity to express themselves. Practicing their craft, so to speak.

And here's the important part:

They don't ask anybody for permission.
And they don't need anybody's approval.

They do their thing with a simple joy and a community attitude of live and let live.

Sure, some get whacked, some get pulled, some get chopped, chipped, and chafed. But, to borrow from DH Lawrence, I never saw a wild weed sorry for itself. And an awful lot of them do OK. They grow, they flower, they leave a legacy. Without ever asking somebody more important for permission, or groveling for approval. They just go for it with a simple joy.

The lesson was suddenly clear.

The next day, I almost found my self rooting for this little guy. "You go for it, little buddy!"

He courteously replied,

"Why, thankye, Cap'n. I don't mind if I dooo!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Valentine

It's February; almost Valentine's Day.

The day is clear and cool in the valley.

But up on the ridge, it's misty, and mystical.

I plan a walk with a friend, although I often go alone.

Into the woods I'll go; always there,

There are friends that greet me.

Soothing trees. Rich, green moss. Open-hearted Mother.

Lots of Faery Folk, helping spirits, and wood nymphs.

And mushrooms. My little guiding friends.

Mushrooms with their crazy colors and happy demeanor,

Doing their work of breaking things down.

Time and again I start off along a trail, and am pulled aside by one of this colorful characters.

They lead me away from the beaten path, and into the woods, to surprising riches and secret treasures.

Today, my friend is late. I will be alone for a while.

I choose to explore down a trail as I wait for company.

And, lo, I am already not alone.
The Faery Folk are delighted to see me,

Peeking out from behind moss-covered stumps.

Riding the mist between the pine boughs and needles,

Their sheer joy and enthusiasm and acrobatics fill me with wonder.

And I walk along the trail some more.

And they catch my eye,

My little guides.

I follow one, off the trail, in my usual way,

Expecting a surprise, glee filling me like a child

(but never disappointed by what I find;
a child can always find treasure).

And there – in the distance, just there...

I go to investigate.

It is almost Valentines Day.

My lovely, loving spouse deserves a special gift.

And here it is...

The mushrooms and the Faery Folk say,

“Happy Valentine's Day,”

They would love to meet her, they say.

I will let her know.