Tuesday, January 31, 2017

There you can be sure you are not beyond love.

A poem by David Whyte, "Sweet Darkness"

When your eyes are tired
 the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
 no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
 where the night has eyes
 to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
 you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home

The night will give you a horizon
 further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
 The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
 except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
 confinement of your aloneness
 to learn

anything or anyone
 that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Womans March 2017

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, 
penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." 
~ Maya Angelou


I marched for my children and to show solidarity of women worldwide for not only equality but integrity for everyone-- all. My hope and prayer is that my sons will grow up to be men of honor in words and actions toward all people. 

My oldest son goes to school in the "inner city" with kids from every walk of life and color. It's also known as the school that is "kind" to LGBT. He's already had to deal with a situation at school when kids got into "locker room talk" and bullying with a bi-sexual student.  My son learned first hand how destructive this kind of behavior is. And, that silence when a group is bullying is actually consent. When we don't speak up, others will assume you condone the behavior. When he just learned this lesson, how can I NOT walk? 
When we show up, we empower ourselves and others to boldly do the same. Now the real action is to keep at it. Keep showing up for my kids, calling my senators, contribute to causes that matter to me, and at the heart of it all being KIND. You don't have to like someone to be kind, loving or gracious. The very thing we criticize the POTUS of doing (the blaming, name calling, bullying and whining), we are also guilty of. There's no reason to shame, blame or not be kind-- even to those we totally disagree with or have different views from. I will not be cruel when I speak my opinions of him or his actions. Just the facts-- and they speak for themselves. If you need fuel to motivate you to post-march action, I think this article lays it out nicely.

Here's what I am doing to affect change: 
1. Taking care of myself and my family by getting my own affairs in order: 
  • health: Health insurance (health shares are exempt from Affordable Health Care). Eating clean and moving my body as a priority 
  • future planning: made a will, sorted finances, etc.
  • my children: talk, read with, share hard conversations and teach integrity. Teach mindfulness tools to my son's teachers

2. Political action:
  • wallofus.org website sends daily activism such as calling and writing to senators about issues important to me and affecting our country. 
  • Using an app called #boycott to make my voice heard about products that hurt the environment
  • INSPIRING what is NEXT video by the Obamas: Obama.org-- new presidential center where they are asking people to submit ideas on what they should focus on for their foundation. 
  • Womansmarch.org also sends out action items and suggestions.

3. Love and
service in things that matter close to my heart:
  • Stay educated and give back: Alzheimer's Society in Calgary showed the movie Still Alice last night and had a neurologist to answer questions. Son #2 and I went to learn and talk about what we can do to keep our brain healthy, how this disease needs more funding for research for a cure, the stigma of the disease compared with cancer.
  • Caregivers of Alzheimer's Retreat in Houston, November 2017, apply today. It is free for all caregivers. 

What are you doing? I'd love to know more. Please keep comments positive, action reoriented.

And if you made it this far and need to laugh, here you go. You're welcome. 

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All photos by Melissa Smith.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time." 
~Maya Angelou
When we really observe someone and stop seeing them as we want them to be, and view them as they truly are, we become discerning. Not so that we can retaliate or shut them out of our lives, but so that we can decide to be empathic, kind or love them from a distance. 
When there's no sign or acknowledgment of a wrong doing then boundaries are helpful. There are peaceful solutions to loving them from afar. However, we can also choose grace because I do believe in the potential and hope for something new to grow within us and collectively through healthy communication and sincere effort. 
Hope can be a life raft in a sea of unknown.
Pema Chodron surprisingly, speaks against hope, saying it's akin to fear. "Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives."

When there is fear, we react but we don't have to. We can choose to observe it and see if it's really something to be concerned about. Most of the time, if we take the time to look at what we are afraid of, we realize it's not as powerful as we give it credit for. 

Hope as an expectation or savior from any suffering the fear has caused is not hope in it's purest form. Hope can be the antidote to fear. 

But to me, holding hope isn't like having an expectation. It is much more like: not fighting the world. Allowing things as they are. It's also holding lightly the possibility of peace within turbulence. And that to me is brave. "If we want there to be peace int he world, we have to be brave enough of soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it." 

Hope, peace, empathy and forgiveness are all the roots of a courageous and observant life. 

May you hold lightly to things today, including those who prick at your peace by showing you their humanity and imperfection. Isn't it all a practice?  

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