Marching is the Start

This is the force that will change the world.

I truly believe that. Women and those who stand with women in genuine solidarity will be the impetus that forces changes that have been too long in the making. Spreading love, compassion, and tolerance as opposed to bigotry and separation consciousness is not the purview of special snowflakes or “weak crybabies.” It’s actually the hardest thing we will ever do or ever undertake on this planet of ours.

It is much harder to love and accept the neighbor you disagree with than to spurn and hate them. Liberalism and conservatism are false divides and beyond the point in the larger picture of this planetary play of ours.

What is in our hearts? What is it that we really want to see?

These should be the questions we ask of ourselves and each other everyday. We may differ on how we wish to achieve it or the political talking points but partnering to create movement and change is the important part, even on a very small micro-scale or individual level, regardless of the inevitable dissent and bumps along the way.  And those who oppose equal rights and tolerance for all should be opposed with all the might and force of our ancestors behind us who lived this reality and rejected it.

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Creativity: Finding your Flow

The creative force…it’s the unknown magic behind the world’s greatest art, music, writing, poetry, and dance.  It’s something that has baffled scientists and researchers for many decades.  It’s an intangible quality that resides in some more than others.  Or does it?  What is creativity?  What makes someone creative?  Can it be measured?  Is it quantifiable?

In our never-ending search for mental knowledge and answers as a species we sometimes try to study and define the undefinable.  Researchers throughout the 20th century, such as Robert Sternberg, J.P. Guilford, and Ellis Paul Torrance, among others, have attempted to define, place labels upon, categorize, and develop tests of the elusive quality known as “creativity.”

Modern day researchers have linked creativity to constructs and domains such as giftedness, intelligence, reasoning abilities, and inventiveness.  Creativity has been defined by researchers such as Sternberg as “producing something original and worthwhile” or by Guilford as divergent thinking, the ability to generate a wide variety of possible novel solutions from an initial problem state.  Common Western ideas of creativity have also often traditionally included the idea of imagination or bursts of sudden insight, those “light bulb” moments so commonly talked of and so little often found.

These sorts of peak experiences have also been pinpointed by researchers as being something called a state of “flow.”  Flow is a specific state of consciousness defined as being completely absorbed in a singular activity, focused on a state of pleasurable producing where a sense of time seems to disappear.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a primary happiness researcher, discovered that during these optimal “flow” experiences, people are activating their creative abilities and often feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, un-selfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.”

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The Problem is Civil Obedience

In this video from three years ago, Matt Damon reads from a 1970 speech by Howard Zinn, author of “A People’s History of the United States,” in which he calls us out, as citizens, for our blind obedience to authority in the face of topsy-turvy value systems which have presented themselves as our reality.  He uses examples from history to highlight the dangers of too much obedience to the state.

The excerpt of this speech really gets your gears turning.  At least mine.  It makes me look and wonder where I have been obedient all this time, without merit…obedient to systems of thought I was taught by large institutions, either religious or educational, obedient to social standards of behavior, especially for women, or just plain old obedient to my own fears which told me I shouldn’t step out of line or be different…because that would somehow get me in trouble.

Now, I’m not necessarily advocating for civil disobedience in the traditional sense, but I challenge you, as we enter 2017, where can you become less obedient in your own life?

How can you break down and disengage from the “rules” as they were taught to you by your family or society?

“We were not born critical of existing society.  There was a moment in our lives (or a month or a year), when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were deeply fixed in our consciousness-embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, television.  This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.”

– Howard Zinn, 2005

What would it take to bring more freedom, outspokenness, and disobedience in your own life in 2017?

How Trump is Healing Us (Hear me out…)

In the now three-week wake of the recent U.S. election outcome, people, on both sides of the aisle, are still feeling unsettled, sad, angry, and divided, with families splitting, increased hate speech and crimes, and protests continuing in response to one of the most divisive campaigns from a presidential candidate and now President-elect in history.

So how in the world, you ask, is this healing?

I’ll tell you…it’s because we are finally viewing our collective national and ancestral wounds out in the open.

They are emerging front and center, whether we like it or not, and we are finally having a good, long look at the pain and division under the collective surface. One of the first principles of any good therapy or healing work is that we cannot heal what we are unaware of. Whether you ascribe to cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic theory, or spiritual shadow work, one cannot change what remains hidden and avoided, whether you label them as negative core beliefs, unconscious wounding, or the”shadow self.” It’s the first step in the process of acknowledging, “yes, there is a problem, and yes, I am willing to look at it.”

So, we are no longer sweeping it under the carpet…

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“Sensitive is Just How I was Made”

 

In a vulnerable talk about her bulimia, alcoholism, and drug abuse, Glennon Doyle Melton teaches the joy and strength in removing our public masks to express our emotions and finally feel all the difficult human stuff we tend to push down by wearing our daily superhero “capes.”   Children know how to express their emotions from a very young age, crying and raging easily, but we tend to find ways around this expression as adults as it becomes less and less acceptable to feel and embody the messiness of life.  Sensitive souls, especially, may find themselves mired in addiction, or chronic pain, or medication.  Truth, vulnerability, and authenticity are the keys to beginning a healing process.  Glennon leads the way…

Halloween Contemplations

“Yet man dies not whilst the world, at once his mother and his monument, remains.

His name is lost, indeed, but the breath he breathed still stirs the pine-tops on the mountains, the sound of the words he spake yet echoes on through space; the thoughts his brain gave birth to we have inherited to-day; his passions are our cause of life; the joys and sorrows that he knew are our familiar friends—the end from which he fled aghast will surely overtake us also!

Truly the universe is full of ghosts, not sheeted church-yard spectres, but the inextinguishable elements of individual life, which having once been, can never die, though they blend and change, and change again for ever.”

~H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines