Lately I’m taken back to the 60’s when protest marches were common place as they are now. I remember the angry arms, fists raised in the air, and loud voices over megaphones blasting out about injustices. There are so many similarities in the demonstrations taking place today.

In light of the contemporary social justice movement that is really gaining strength this year, I have been re-examining the idea of the spiritual activism. I think of Martin Luther King and his non-violent protests that brought out the masses and lobbied for transformation and civil rights reform. I also think of Mother Teresa, that little body of fierce compassion and conviction who swayed the conscience of the powerful to support her causes. We can look to both of these beautiful beings for inspiration – two humans who strove for enlightenment, embraced compassion for their fellow beings, and pledged their lives to work towards their convictions. One human can inspire others and start a movement for peace, freedom and equality.

Spiritual activism is not about religion. It is about being willing to participate in creating change with the spirit of compassion, love, appreciation for the interconnectedness of all beings, and the determination to stand on conviction.

Buddhists hold sacred the tenets of compassion, mercy, altruism, and loving kindness, among others. In some Tibetan Buddhist traditions, practitioners will meditate on the female deity Tara, to develop these qualities. This practice maintains that Tara can remove obstacles that get in the way of personal growth and the cultivation of activism – and that everyone can achieve enlightenment.

Tara is said to have been born from the tears of the Hindu Lord of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, who dedicated his existence to rescuing all humans from suffering. But eons ago the Earth was going through a very challenging epoch where people behaved terribly toward one another. Just as this great being rescued one person, another would fall. He became frustrated and began banging his head against a wall from the futility of his efforts. However, since he was blessed by the Buddha, instead of wounds or bruises, two large eyes emerged on the back of his head. From those eyes tears began to fall… and from the tears emerged Green Tara and White Tara.

Green Tara pledged to remove obstacles from the path of humans so they could walk the path to enlightenment with greater ease. White Tara vowed to help humans by increasing their fortunes and extending their lives. Together they help Avalokitesvara, making it easier for us humans to receive blessings and to achieve enlightenment.

These deities model for us the meaning of compassion and spiritual activism. They have the altruistic mindset of service, not done for personal fame or aggrandizement, but offered because they care about the human condition. They want us to live better lives so that in turn we can become enlightened spiritual activists working for the betterment of humanity. The Taras stay focused on the positive and proactive, focused on what they can do to help us to overcome obstacles, especially our negativity, so we can create a better world for all.

The Taras also understand that all beings are interconnected. When one human achieves enlightenment and can live more in a spirit of compassion, then they have a positive influence on those they come into contact with, raising the vibrations of people around them. This model helps us to consider how as one of us becomes more compassionate and caring, we can demonstrate to others the power of compassion and the importance of standing up for our convictions.

One thing that I feel it is important to note is that each Tara have their specific assigned tasks. They do not take on everything, like so many of us humans try to do. They choose selectively where to put their efforts, rather than being all over the board. We can also use wisdom and discernment when we select a cause to fight for. When we focus we can apply 100% of our efforts and thus have a chance to make a difference. When we splinter and apply our efforts among multiple causes, which are all very important, we dilute our effort, and end up making minimal impact.

At this moment of turmoil in the world, we can take time to reflect on the lessons from Green and White Tara. It is possible to become a spiritual activist, to take a stand and make a difference. We can allow these role models to remind us to come to our activism with an altruistic and compassionate heart. Remember to focus on the positive. We can stand for what we are ‘for,’ not what we are ‘against,’ and the mindset can stay positive.

All of us are interconnected. What we do and how we do it has an impact on those around us. Your bad mood can dampen the mood of others. When you are full of joy, it radiates to those around you, lifting their moods. Finally, choose what you commit to with wisdom and discernment. Remember it is always better to under-commit and over-deliver than to over-commit than under-deliver.

If you, and I, can commit to these gems of wisdom, then we will have a chance to change the world – together!

 

This article was inspired by a blog posted in 2015 on http://fiercelove.wordpress.com

 

We often don’t want to look at our “shadow stuff”- our fears and wounds that lie in hidden in our subconscious, sometimes referred to as the Shadow Realm. We learn to hide these aspects of ourselves, even from ourselves. We develop all kinds of coping mechanisms that range from outbursts of anger, to defensiveness, or feigning submissiveness in order to protect ourselves. Or we find ways to soothe ourselves with food, drugs, video games, partying, etc. Eventually, however, our coping mechanisms stop working. Or they lead to more problems making our lives unmanageable at times. These coping mechanisms can create major limitations in our lives.

Yet when we take time to face our shadow we can discover some amazing things about ourselves. Often we find that what we have been fighting or running from is actually the source of some of the greatest lessons and wisdom. What would like to come out of hiding and into illumination? It can be a rich reservoir of information that can transform our lives in amazing ways.

This happened to me. At one time I was embittered because my whole life had turned upside down – my relationship, my job, my health, my family. It was the worst time in my life! But I was really being given a gift. I was shown that it was my attitude that was toxic. I was the one who was polluting everything in my life. When I made the choice to change my attitude that was when my whole life changed for the better. If I had not been willing to face my shadow, I don’t even know if I would be alive today – things had gotten that bad.

Breaking out of the old patterns often requires doing some shadow work. This is about being honest with yourself and asking some of the tough questions:

  • Where do these feelings of lack and limitation come from?
  • What is the source of your feelings of loneliness?
  • How can you fill yourself up? Is your glass half empty or half full? Why?
  • How can you take responsibility for where you are in your life?
  • How can you be whole and complete with who you are?
  • How can you be more fully engaged?
  • What are your interests and passions that bring purpose and meaning to your life?
  • What are your special gifts?
  • And what can you do to bring more fullness and joy into your life?

I have found working with counselors and coaches to be very helpful. What I have come to understand is that where you put your focus is where your life expands. When you are focused on the problems, when you are focused on what is not working in a relationship or your life, then that is where you tend to ‘cycle.’ And that is what expands.

By shifting the focus to what is working ‑ what you like about yourself, your life, your relationship, what brings you joy, what makes you feel good ‑ when you start focusing on these things, then that is when your life starts to improve.

We don’t heal by beating ourselves up and focusing on the negative. We heal by learning to have compassion for ourselves, by seeing our value, knowing we deserve, and most of all, beginning to love ourselves.

Yes, we need to work on our shadow – but not by continuing to beat ourselves up. It is time to transform that inner bully. It’s time to find compassion for ourselves knowing that we have always done the best we could with the knowledge, training, and skills we had at the time.

I’ve done lots of things that I regret in my life. I look back at some of my past experiences and think, “How could I have possibly done that?” I start to berate myself for being so ignorant, unkind, or thoughtless. Then the feelings of shame start to strangle me with guilt.

This is when I make myself stop and ask, “Did I know any better at the time? Did I have access to the knowledge I have now? Did I have the skills or training that I have now?”  Usually the answer is NO! The reality is that at that time I was floundering, in a lot of personal pain, and doing the best that I could. Finally, this is when I am able to have compassion for myself and begin to heal some of the wounds from my past.

You can do the same thing. When you start beating yourself up, this is when you can start to ask some of the hard questions – not by berating yourself, but by trying to learn from your past.

  • What part did I play in creating this situation?
  • How could I have done better?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What do I want for my life from this point forward?
  • What am I willing to invest so I can have the life that I want and deserve?

This is when you can begin to change your life for the better. We can be good examples of self awareness for those around us. The change we want to see in the world starts within each of us.

This is the benefit of working with your Shadow. Yes, looking at the past can be unpleasant. But when you look back with compassion for your younger self, then you begin to love yourself and find the courage and hope to build a better future. You deserve a great life!

If you want a better life and are struggling, give Joy a call to find out how she can help you live a more joyful life. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

Do You Care Too Much?

Do you over-give and consistently put yourself last?

I have an issue with wanting to ‘help’ or ‘fix’ people. It’s probably why I do what I do for a living. I really care about the people in my life and in my practice. I’m good at helping people find their truth and live with more joy. But, I’ve had to learn how to care and offer assistance with detachment.

What I’ve learned is that each person has to go through their own process, on their own terms, and in their own time. Being an Aries who wants things done ‘RIGHT NOW!’, it’s taken some time for me to appreciate and respect another’s right to go at their own pace.

The myth of Aphrodite’s love for Adonis is a good example of how too much caring can be smothering which can backfire and lead, not to ‘happily ever after,’ but to destruction and separation.

The myth of Adonis and Aphrodite is one of the great romantic legends of classical Greek mythology. This myth begins with Aphrodite recusing Adonis after his birth.  His mother was turned into a Myrtle tree and is unable to care for him. (That’s a myth I’ll save for another blog.) Aphrodite takes Adonis to Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld, to look after. Under Persephone’s care he grows into a handsome and virile young man.

When she realizes how handsome he is, Aphrodite now wants Adonis back as her lover!  A heated argument ensues between Aphrodite and Persephone. Zeus has to intercede and solicits Adonis’ input. Adonis, now a young man with a young man’s drive, wants to spend his time with a beautiful lover rather than an adoring foster mother. Adonis and Aphrodite are allowed to spend eight months out of the year together.

She is so infatuated with this young stud that Aphrodite abandons her responsibilities, devoting all her time to Adonis. She even learns to hunt, which she has no real interest in, so she won’t be separated from Adonis for even one moment.

Finally, Aphrodite can’t ignore her duties and must leave to attend some crisis. Before she leaves she warns Adonis not to attack any animal that shows no fear. He agrees, but Adonis is so relieved to be on his own and, feeling quite cocky, ignores the advice of the Goddess.

Adonis unwisely takes own the challenge of a wild boar (who some think is Ares, Aphrodite’s jilted lover). Soon Adonis is the hunted one. The boar attacks! Adonis is castrated in the battle and dies from loss of blood.

Aphrodite senses something is wrong and rushes to his side. She is too late to save Adonis, however. Stricken with grief she turns his blood into a field of anemones, small red flowers, in his memory.

Surprisingly, this ancient myth has a lot of relevance today! It is an allegory for how smothering love, excessive caring, and abandonment of our own interests to enmesh with another can result in the exact opposite of our good intentions.  In wanting to spend all her time with Adonis, Aphrodite smothers him.  Rather than achieving the connection and closeness that Aphrodite intended, Adonis rebels in a passive but aggressive way. This is revealed by his relief at being finally on his own and then ignoring Aphrodite’s sound advice. In his rebellion, Adonis creates his own demise.  Aphrodite loses what she tried so hard to cling to.

These were the makings of a tragedy. How many of us have lost the object of our desire because we clung too tightly? How many of us have ended up smothering those we care for, rather than caring and loving with an open heart and open hand?

I hope you take away from this allegory what I have learned and begin to love and care with understanding and respect for another’s time, space and process? To care for and love others with detachment. Sometimes the greatest kindness you can show a loved one is to stand back and create space for them to make their own way, even when you think their choices are fraught with difficulties. Remember, you faced many challenges in your life and survived – so will they.  The greatest gift of love is believing in their ability to make it!

If you find you are smothering your loved ones because you care to much or love too deeply, then give me a call for a 20-minute complimentary phone consultation and find how you can love and care for the people in your life with healthy detachment. Call me TODAY! 415-819-8769 or email me.

I’ve read and watched the news as much as I can emotionally handle. It has been both distressing to see the rioting and destruction, and inspiring to see peaceful non-violent protests by those who are demanding change, while being cognizant that violence and destruction only begets more of the same.

I am deeply disturbed to learn that a good part of the instigation of violence has come from outside infiltrators, many not black. Who could be so evil as to focus concerted effort on stirring up more dissension and unrest during these already chaotic and challenging times? How do we deal with this hidden malevolence?

I am old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement. I remember the pride I felt when I saw whites and blacks marching in unity for the rights of black to simply drink from a water fountain, go to a decent school, sit at a lunch counter without fear of retribution. I thought our country was moving out of the darkness of racism and bigotry to the favored status of equality. I was inspired to volunteer for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) requesting to be sent to the inner city to do my part. Unfortunately, it was during the race riots of 1968. Instead I was shipped off to an Indian Reservation in Minnesota. Though, I have to say, for a naïve suburbanite that was still an eye-opening, life changing experience!

Through the years I’ve maintained my interest and concern in equality and justice for all. I’ve kept informed about the injustices to blacks: the higher than normal rates of blacks in prison, the lower life expectancy of blacks compared to other races, the lower academic standards and achievements for blacks, the damage to black families without their male fathers, sons, uncles and brothers, etc.

I’ve been distressed by this information, but like all too many whites, I have been guilty of being complacent in my white privilege. I haven’t taken a stronger stand. Now I feel shame for not doing more; for enjoying my privileges while not speaking up more for the rights of my fellow African Americans. I wish I knew what to say, because “Sorry” just doesn’t seem good enough.

I’m not out protesting because, regrettably, I have physical limitations that make it difficult and painful to be on my feet for long periods of time. I did attend a program in 2019 on raising consciousness about injustice for blacks, but only whites showed up. We were attempting to view the lack of inequality and injustice through our ‘white’ lens.  It just didn’t authentically translate. I have been meditating for peace and justice, which is something I can do, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

My question it, what can I do? What can WE do? For there are others who are also feeling the shame of complacency? If we can’t be out on the streets protesting, what, then, can we do? I’m not the only one asking this question. I would like to open a dialogue. What can we do to stand in unity with the black community?  Please share your thoughts.

Please place your thoughts in the comment section under the post for this blog post.

If you are struggling with negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity, or anxiety please contact Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy here to schedule a 20-minute complimentary phone consultation today.

We are two months into a time national and global separation. Stay at home orders in most states have kept us in our homes unable to hug our families and friends for fear of getting sick, or getting them sick. We wear masks when doing our essential work, shopping, and/or medical appointments. These masks hide our smiles and friendly faces. Instead we look like bandits lining up to rob the local grocery store. We try to stay connected and/or work via Zoom which has caused another condition called Zoom Meeting Overload. We all long to return to normal, but will the world ever be normal again?

I worry because for some, the current stay at home orders may be exacerbating the feelings of isolation and separation. These feelings can heighten the perception of differences, increase frustration, and create an atmosphere of diminished tolerance and understanding.

Unfortunately, we already have way too much of that going on in our country. Even after years fighting for and trying to honor everyone’s civil rights, atrocities are still happening. Just last February an African American man, Ahmaud Arber, was killed as he was jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia. Because of the color of his skin he was assumed to be a suspicious character. Two men took ‘the law into their own hands’ and fatally shot him.

The fact that it took two months for the admitted killers to be called to justice is further evidence of how entrenched this sickness of judgment and bias is and continues to fester in our communities. This is why it is so important to remember that we are all ONE; that we are all connected.

This is especially true now. We are all sharing the same experience of struggling to survive in a world that has gone haywire. This shared experience calls for us to let go of our fear and judgment of our differences, and instead embrace compassion, understanding, and greater tolerance for the ONENESS that we all share.

This strange surreal world we now live in has recalled to memory one of my favorite inspirational writers, Wayne Dyer. He introduced me to the concepts of unity consciousness about 17 years ago. I have read many of his books and have long appreciated his wisdom. I found this article on his blog page and wanted to share his thoughts with you. I hope you also come to appreciate his wisdom. (I’ve made of few changes and have put them in parenthesis.)

One Indivisible Family

by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“No man is an island, entire of himself; every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main….”

John Donne, 1624

Are you familiar with these classic lines? Here seventeenth century metaphysical poet John Donne expresses the idea of oneness and unity consciousness. Ancient mystical wisdom tells us that in the garden of the mystics, distinctions such as I, you, he, she, and they do not exist. To reach a higher state of awareness and bliss in our lives, we must understand the truth of that first line, “no man (or woman) is an island.” That can happen only when our ego gets the message.

Our ego insists that we are separate from others and defined by where our boundaries stop and others start. Similarly, our ego tells us that we are separate from our environment and that we are here to sort of push it around as we desire. Yet mystical teachers and poets are always reminding us of our connectedness and the oneness of everything and everyone. We must look beneath the surface and beyond appearances to grasp the unity consciousness they speak of.

Imagine a wave or a drop of water considering itself apart from the ocean. It is weak when separated, but returned to its source it is as powerful as the ocean. Thinking of ourselves as separate from others, we lose the power of our Source and diminish the whole of humanity. When you see yourself as connected to everyone, you stop judging others and begin to see all of us connected to the same unseen silent life force.

Compassion becomes an automatic reaction when you see all of humanity as one undivided and indivisible family. Viewing all others as family members lets you feel more compassion and love toward them. John Donne’s words remind us that we all need each other.

Here are some unity consciousness ideas to practice:

  • Stop viewing yourself as distant and apart on the basis of your geography, or your isolation from those who are struggling elsewhere. When you become aware of someone suffering on another shore, say a prayer for that person, and see if you can experience in your heart your oneness with that person.
  • See (the Divine) in everyone and everything and behave each day as if (the Divine) in all things truly mattered. Try to suspend your judgments of those who are less peaceful, and less loving, and instead know that hatred and judgment are the problems in the first place.
  • Use fewer labels that distinguish you from “them.” You are a citizen of the world and a member of the human family, and when you stop the labeling process you begin to see (the Divine) in every garden, every forest, every home, every creature, and every person.

 

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If this time of isolation and separation is causing you to feel lonely, worried, depressed, isolated, or frustrated, please reach out to me and request a 20 minute complimentary consultation to find out how I can help you find more peace and inner calm even though the world around you seems chaotic. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

There is so much turmoil today in our nation and the world today. The problems seem so insurmountable; it’s hard to stay positive. The chaos feels so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to step in and even attempt to make a difference. Many of us are struggling – fighting our own despair and feelings of anxiety and panic. How can we possibly step up and be the courageous and compassionate Spiritual Activist that I know many of us want to be?

When I think about activism I’m taken back to my own days in the 60’s when protest marches were common place. I remember the angry arms fists raised in the air and loud voices over megaphones blasting out about injustices.

When I think of spiritual activism I think of Martin Luther King and his non-violent protests that brought out the masses and lobbied for transformation and civil rights reform. I also think of Mother Teresa, that little female body of fierce compassion and conviction who swayed the conscious of the powerful masculine energies to support her causes.

I also think of the more recent Women’s March and the “We Too Movement,” with women showing up and being willing to take a stand against the injustices they’ve faced. I am in awe of their bravery and their commitment to break their chains of silence. It took courage, lots of courage, to stand up to the prevailing misogynistic sentiment and speak their truth!

Spiritual Activism is not about religion, or even about being religious. It is about being willing to take part in creating change – and to play that part with the spirit of compassion, love, a sense of the interconnectedness of all beings, as well as the determination to stand on conviction.

In Buddhism, they hold sacred the tenets of compassion, mercy, altruism, and loving kindness, among others. According to some strains of Tibetan Buddhism, practitioners will meditate on Tara, a female deity, to develop these qualities. Tibetan Buddhists believe that everyone can achieve enlightenment. They claim that Tara removes obstacles that impede personal growth and the courage for righteous action.

Tara is said to be born from the tears of the Hindu Lord of Compassion, Avalokitesvara. He was dedicated to rescuing all humans from suffering. But he despaired at the futility of his efforts. He wept, feeling downhearted. Tears fell from his eyes tears and from those tears emerged Green Tara and White Tara. Green Tara pledged to help by removing obstacles from the path of humans so they could walk the path to enlightenment with greater ease. White Tara vowed to help humans by increasing their fortunes and extending their lives. Today it is believed that they continue to help Avolakitesvara so that we humans are able to receive blessings and achieve enlightenment.

These deities serve as compassionate role models for us because they exemplify the altruistic mindset of service – not for personal fame or aggrandizement – but because they care about our human condition. They want us to live better lives so that we in turn will become enlightened spiritual activists who work for the betterment of humanity. The Taras stay focused on the positive, on what they can do, continually helping us to overcome obstacles, especially our negativity, so we can envision a better world for all.

The Taras understand that all beings are interconnected. When one human achieves a state of compassionate enlightenment then they can positively influence and raise the vibrations of people around them. As one of us becomes more compassionate and caring, then we can demonstrate to others the power of compassion and the importance of standing up for you convictions.

Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa strove for enlightenment, embraced compassion, pledged their lives to service, and had the courage to stand up for their convictions.

One human can inspire others and start a movement for peace, freedom and equality!

It’s also important to note that each Tara have their assigned tasks. They choose selectively where to put their efforts rather than fragmenting themselves. It’s important to use wisdom and discernment in order to focus our efforts so we can be more effective in making a difference.

Take time to reflect on the lessons from Green and White Tara. Become a spiritual activist; take a stand and make a difference. But come to your activism with an altruistic and compassionate heart. Remember to focus on the positive. Stand for what you are ‘for,’ not what you are ‘against,’ so your mindset can stay positive.

Always remember that we are all interconnected. What we are and what we do has an impact on those around us. Your bad mood can dampen the mood of others. When you are full of joy, it radiates to those around you lifting their moods. Finally, choose what you commit to with wisdom and discernment. Remember it is always better to under-commit and over-deliver than to over-commit and under-deliver.

If you, and I, can commit to these gems of wisdom, then we will have a chance to change the world – together!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and despairing about your life, please contact Joy at 415-819-8769 or email her to see how she can bring more balance and harmony into your life.

** This article was inspired by a blog posted in 2015 on http://fiercelove.wordpress.com.

On a Personal Note

About 5 years ago I was gifted with a painting class. My Mom loved to paint and spent her retirement adorning her walls, and those of her kids and grandkids, with her paintings.

I inherited my mother’s creative side and many years ago I took art classes. Then for years as I was trying to grow my hypnotherapy and coaching practice I didn’t allow myself that artistic outlet. Amazingly my talents, though rusty, were re-awakened 4 years ago. I hadn’t lost the artistic touch after all! I painted for a couple of years and then took another pause until about 2 years ago. Fortunately I’m back to painting again and now even have my own personal art studio in my new home. I have wall space to hang all my pictures and can even invite my dear friend, Andrea, over to paint with me. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to give myself permission to create space to paint.

(If curious you may view my recent paintings at the end of this article.)

 

Unleash the Authentic YOU!

Most of us feel uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as creative, as potential artists in our own right, but we are.  We think artists write novels, paint pictures, choreograph ballets, act on Broadway, or shoot feature films.  Each of us, however, is an artist.  An artist is merely someone with good listening skills who accesses the creative energy of the Universe to bring forth something on the material plane that wasn’t here before. This “something” was a part of Spirit before it was manifested as a book, a painting, a ballet or a film.

The same is true with creating an authentic life.  With every choice you make every day of your life, you are creating a unique work of art.  Something that only you can do,  something that has the potential to be beautiful and ephemeral.  The reason you incarnated on the earth plane was to leave your own personal indelible mark on the world.  This is your authenticity.

Today, accept that you are creating a work of art by making choices, both the big ones and little ones.  If you notice you tend to play it safe and avoid taking risks, then, for a change, try something new and different.  Why not order an espresso at lunch, if you’ve never tried one?  Or why not sign up for that belly dancing or kick boxing class that you have always wanted to take?  Or if you have always wanted to ride in a helicopter, or walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, or spend a week in Bali, then why not set a date and do it?!

Or maybe you want to try something less daring, so why not stick a small bottle of balsamic vinegar in the shopping cart to drizzle over melon?  Or you can switch the dial on the radio station and listen to Country and Western instead of Rock, or Rap, or Easy Listening as you drive home? Or better yet, turn off the radio and listen to your own thoughts. You might be surprised by what you hear!

Each time you experience the new, you become receptive to inspiration.  Each time you try something different, you let the Universe know you are listening.  Trust your instincts.  Believe your yearnings are blessings.  Respect your creative urges.  If you are willing to step out in faith and leap into the unknown, you will discover that your choices are as authentic as you are. What is more, you will discover that your life has so much greater capacity for happiness, fulfillment, and endless surprises than you ever dreamed possible.

If you find that you lack the courage or motivation to follow your dreams, then consider scheduling a complementary 20-minute phone consultation to see if transformative life coaching with hypnotherapy can propel you down the path to fulfillment.

 

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Recently I have severely limited my intake of news. It is too disturbing and divisive. Right, Left. Conservative, Liberal. Man, Woman. Caucasian, African, Asian, European, Mexican, South American – whatever YOUR genetic origin, place of birth, or color of YOUR skin, YOU are still part of humanity. We all breathe the same air, see through our eyes, hear through our ears, red blood flows in our veins, we need to eat with our mouths and digest food through our digestive system. Our secret longing is for peace, happiness, security, and freedom. We share so many similarities. We are all part of the Oneness.

I am troubled by so much divisiveness, intolerance and lack of compassion and common decency that I see on a daily basis.

I have long been a fan of Wayne Dyer. He introduced me to the concepts of manifesting and unity consciousness thinking about 18 years ago. I have read many of his books and have long appreciated his wisdom. I found this article on his blog page and wanted to share his thoughts with you. I hope you also come to appreciate his wisdom. (I’ve made a few of my own additions and have put them in parenthesis.)

One Indivisible Family

           by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“No man is an island, entire of himself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….”

                                                                                                          John Donne, 1624

Are you familiar with these classic lines? Here seventeenth century metaphysical poet John Donne expresses the idea of oneness and unity consciousness. Ancient mystical wisdom tells us that in the garden of the mystics, distinctions such as I, you, he, she, and they do not exist. To reach a higher state of awareness and bliss in our lives, we must understand the truth of that first line, “no man (or woman) is an island.” That can happen only when our ego gets the message.

Our ego insists that we are separate from others and defined by where our boundaries stop and others start. Similarly, our ego tells us that we are separate from our environment and that we are here to sort of push it around as we desire. Yet mystical teachers and poets are always reminding us of our connectedness and the oneness of everything and everyone. We must look beneath the surface and beyond appearances to grasp the unity consciousness they speak of.

Imagine a wave or a drop of water considering itself apart from the ocean. It is weak when separated, but returned to its source it is as powerful as the ocean. Thinking of ourselves as separate from others, we lose the power of our Source and diminish the whole of humanity. When you see yourself as connected to everyone, you stop judging others and begin to see all of us connected to the same unseen silent life force.

Compassion becomes an automatic reaction when you see all of humanity as one undivided and indivisible family. Viewing all others as family members lets you feel more compassion and love toward them. John Donne’s words remind us that we all need each other.

Here are some unity consciousness ideas to practice:

  • Stop viewing yourself as distant and apart on the basis of your geography, or your isolation from those who are struggling elsewhere. When you become aware of someone suffering on another shore, say a prayer for that person, and see if you can experience in your heart your oneness with that person.
  • See (the Divine) in everyone and everything and behave each day as if (the Divine) in all things truly mattered. Try to suspend your judgments of those who are less peaceful, and less loving, and instead know that hatred and judgment are the problems in the first place.
  • Use fewer labels that distinguish you from “them.” You are a citizen of the world and a member of the human family, and when you stop the labeling process you begin to see (the Divine) in every garden, every forest, every home, every creature, and every person, and inner peace will be your reward.

If your judgmental thinking is getting in the way of you enjoying a loving, joyful and peaceful life, then please contact me to request a 30 minute complimentary consultation to find out how I can help you embrace the life you want. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

Most of my articles focus on women and the female perspective. This is sadly ignoring about 50% of the population. Men are also trying to find their way in our changing culture. I believe the changes are requiring men to develop more compassion. Yet, what is required of men to become more compassionate? For that answer I turned to an article written by Kozo Hattori that was published in the Greater Good.

What Makes a Compassionate Man?

What does it take to foster compassion in men? To find out, Kozo Hattori interviewed scientific and spiritual experts.

From these interviews and research, he compiled a list of what makes a compassionate man.

1. A fundamental understanding of compassion

Most events I attend that discuss compassion are predominantly attended by women. When I asked Thich Nhat Hanh how we could make compassion more attractive to men, he answered, “There must be a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of compassion because compassion is very powerful…Compassion protects us more than guns, bombs, and money.” Although many men in society see compassion and sympathy as feminine—which translates to a weakness in our patriarchal society—all of the compassionate men I interviewed view compassion as a strength.

Dr. Hanson noted how compassion makes one more courageous since compassion strengthens the heart—courage comes from the French word “Coeur,” which means heart. Dacher Keltner argues that Darwin believed in “survival of the kindest,” not the fittest. Dr. Ted Zeff, author of Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy, believes that only compassionate men can save the planet. Zeff argues that “the time has come to break the outdated, rigid male code that insists that all men should be aggressive, thick-skinned, and unemotional”—an excellent description of the act-like-a-man box that I tried to live in.

The compassionate men I interviewed agree with the Dalai Lama when he said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

2. Compassionate role models

All of the compassionate men seemed to have role models that supported their compassion instinct. Marc Brackett gives credit to his uncle, Marvin Maurer, who was a social studies teacher trying to instill emotional intelligence in his student before the term emotional intelligence was coined. Over 30 years after teaching in middle school, Maurer’s “Feeling Words Curriculum” acts as a key component of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence RULER program. Similarly, Marshall Rosenberg, author of Nonviolent Communication, constantly mentions his compassionate uncle who cared for his dying grandmother.

A role model doesn’t necessarily have to be living, or even real. Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search Inside Yourself, cites Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Gandhi as a role model for compassion. Dr. Rick Hanson posits Ender from the science-fiction novel Ender’s Gameas a compassionate role model. Certainly, Jesus and Buddha are obvious role models of compassion. The key is to treat them like role models.

Role models are not meant to be worshiped, deified, or prayed to. They are meant to be emulated. They pave the way for us to walk a similar path. Can we turn the other cheek and love our enemies like Jesus asked us? Can we transcend our ego and see all things as one, like the Buddha did?

In contrast are individuals who were not guided by positive role models. In his book From Wild Man to Wise Man, Franciscan friar Richard Rohr describes what he calls “father hunger”: “Thousands and thousands of men, young and old…grew up without a good man’s love, without a father’s understanding and affirmation.” Rohr, who was a jail chaplain for 14 years, claims that “the only universal pattern I found with men and women in jail was that they did not have a good father.”

Scott Kriens, former CEO of Juniper Networks and founder/director of the 1440 Foundation, concurs: “The most powerful thing we can do for our children is be the example we can hope for.” 

3. Transcendence of gender stereotypes

All of the compassionate men interviewed broke out of the act-like-a-man box. At a certain point in his life, Dr. Rick Hanson realized that he was too left brained, so he made a conscious effort to re-connect with his intuitive, emotional side. When Elad Levinson, program director for Spirit Rock Meditation Center, first encountered loving-kindness and compassion practices, his first reaction was what he claims to be fairly typical for men: “Come on! You are being a wuss, Levinson. No way are you going to sit here and wish yourself well.” So the actual practice of compassion instigated his breaking free from gender stereotypes.

Dr. Ted Zeff cites a study that found infant boys are more emotionally reactive than infant girls, but by the time a boy reaches five or six years old “he’s learned to repress every emotion except anger, because anger is the only emotion society tells a boy he is allowed to have.” If society restricts men’s emotional spectrum to anger, then it is obvious men need to transcend this conditioning to become compassionate.

Dr. Doty points to artificially defined roles as a major problem in our society because they prevent men from showing their vulnerability. “If you can’t be vulnerable, you can’t love,” says Doty. Vulnerability is a key to freedom from the act-like-a-man box, for it allows men to remove the armor of masculinity and authentically connect with others. 

Both Dr. Doty and Scott Kriens emphasize authenticity as a necessary pathway to compassion. Kriens defines authenticity as “when someone is sharing what they believe as opposed to what they want you to believe.”  This opens the door to compassion and true connection with others.

4. Emotional intelligence

In Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson argue that most boys are raised to be emotionally ignorant: “Lacking an emotional education, a boy meets the pressure of adolescence and that singularly cruel peer culture with the only responses he has learned and practiced—and that he know are socially acceptable—the typical ‘manly’ responses of anger, aggression, and emotional withdrawal.”

In contrast, most of the men I interviewed were “emotionally literate.” They seemed to see and feel things with the sensitivity of a Geiger counter. Tears welled up in Dr. Doty’s eyes a number of times when he talked about compassion. Dr. Hanson explained how he landed in adulthood “from the neck up” then spent a large part of his 20s becoming wholeagain. Much of Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself training that he developed for the employees of Google is based on emotional intelligence developed through attention training, self-knowledge, and self-mastery.

Similarly, Father Richard Rohr leads initiation groups for young men that force initiates to face pain, loneliness, boredom, and suffering to expand their emotional and spiritual capacity. It is no coincidence that these initiations are held in nature. Nature seems to be an important liminal space that allows boys and men to reconnect with their inner world. Dr. Hanson is an avid mountain climber. Dr. Ted Zeff advocates spending time in nature with boys to allow their sensitivity to develop.

5. Silence

Almost all of the men I interviewed regularly spend some time in silence. They’d hit “pause” so that they can see themselves and others more clearly. When our interview approached two hours, Dr. Rick Hanson asked to wrap it up so he would have time for his morning meditation. Meng Tan had just returned from a week-long silent meditation retreat a few days before our interview. Scott Kriens started a daily sitting and journaling practice almost ten years ago that he rigorously practices to this day.

Father Richard Rohr practices Christian contemplative prayer, which he says leads to a state of “undefended knowing” that transcends dualistic, us/them thinking. Rohr argues that true compassion can’t happen without transcending dualistic thinking. “Silence teaches us not to rush to judgment,” says Rohr.

Self-awareness through mindfulness practices like meditation, silent prayer, or being in nature allow compassionate men to embrace suffering without reacting, resisting, or repressing. Thich Nhat Hanh says that mindfulness holds suffering tenderly “like a mother holding a baby.” That poetic image is backed up by more and more research, which is finding that mindfulness can help foster compassion for others.

So the path to making more compassionate men is clear: understand compassion as a strength, get to know yourself, transcend gender roles, look for positive role models—and become one yourself. If that sounds too complicated, 84-year-old Marvin Maurer sums up being a compassionate man in five easy words, “Be in love with love.”

You can find the original article at https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_makes_a_compassionate_man

Daily each of us is becoming more aware of just how polarized our country has become. Some are applauding our national leaders’ actions; others are horrified and taking a stand by signing petitions, calling State and US Representative, or are out there protesting. Then, however, there are those, many of us, who are just upset, angry, fearful, depressed or anxious on either side of the deep divide that is daily becoming even more polarized.

No matter what side you are on, going into these intense polarized states are harmful for you, your community and our nation because polarizations knocks you off your center interfering with your ability to think clearly, stay emotionally balanced, and to act with wisdom and compassion. All of these low vibrational feelings are feeding the mass collective consciousness with fear, anger, rage and hate. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, the negative vibrations feed into the same mass collective consciousness which has a negative effect on everyone.

All of this has become very personal because I’m feeling all of these emotions and turmoil myself. I’m trying to stay centered, but sometimes, most of the time recently, it’s been very hard. Awhile back a friend shared with me an article from Wall-of-us Weekly Actions on how to stay centered when things get difficult. It was a good reminder for me around what I can do to stay calm and centered inside even when things are chaotic and contentious in the world around me. I thought you might benefit from them too.

I’ve re-worked some of the following suggestions with the intention of making them accessible to both sides of the divide that’s polarizing our nation.  Please read them. They were prepared by a licensed therapist. We all need a little self-care right now. While the world around us may seem unpredictable, you still have the ability to ground yourself by building predictable and safe habits:

1)  Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself breaks from ruminating about the actions of our national leaders and the people’s response to about what’s to come. Sit on the floor with your cat. Lie on the ground and look at the clouds. Or blast some music in your home and dance your butt off. If you don’t have that kind of time, or space, give yourself a minute to think of all your favorite movies, or songs, or the best kisses you’ve ever had. (I personally like this last one. I’ve had some great kissers in my life!)

2) Air your concerns. Talk to like-minded friends about your fears or concerns. Make a pact that whenever something happens on the national platform, or someone says something seemingly insane, you can be each other’s sounding boards. Also make a pact to not escalate into a heated, hate-filled discussion, but to listen and empathize. I am grateful for each of my friends. We have kept each other balanced when our world has gotten too overwhelming for us to handle calmly.

3) Get physical. Walk, run, swim, soccer, skate, or whatever suits you. Get out of your head and into the sensations of your body. As you exert energy, see if you can expel negativity that you are carrying from the latest news. Exercise helps you to release your endorphins which are your “be happy” hormones.

4) Use mindfulness techniques. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Slowly take in a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Try to relax your shoulders and muscles as you do this. Close your eyes and notice the thoughts, feelings, images, and bodily sensations that emerge. If you notice that your mind wanders, name what it’s wandered to (shopping list, to do list, etc.), then see if you can redirect your focus back to your breath. Allow any emotions (joy, sadness, fear, excitement, for example) to be present without judgment. Let the feelings move through you. Return to your breath.

5) Be grateful. Every day talk to a friend or write down something(s) for which you are grateful. Being grateful is a way of owning your power. No one, not even our national leaders, or parents, or friends, or colleagues, or an angry populace, can take that away.

6) Pray to your higher power and to the guides and masters who are working with our national leaders. Ask that our leaders be blessed with the wisdom, discernment, compassion, and insight to make the best decisions that will serve the highest good and be of the greatest benefit and joy for our nation, the people, humanity, and our great mother, the Earth.

I wish you balance, centering, discernment, inner peace, love and compassion as you walk your journey on this earth plane during these turbulent times.

If you are having difficulty staying centered, positive, and hopeful, then call Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Learn how Joy can help you maintain balance, clarity, and a positive attitude so you can be the most effective YOU possible, even during challenging times. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!