Red, White & Blue

 

How we frame anything matters. How we talk about the issues that face us, and the questions we pose that result from that framing, matters. A lot. Why? Because it sets us in a particular direction; telling us what is important and valid, and what is not. It directs us as to what to pay attention to; what to ignore and what to include. What to make important, and what it is that doesn’t matter at all. In essence, how we frame anything, along with the particular words we use, sets the stage for how we will understand and interact with, what is before us.

In a world of unknowns, where there is much that a human mind cannot comprehend, know or control, we turn towards our particular frameworks to explain the world to us. But how well, or not, we frame anything determines how close, or not, we will land to the Truth. Why does this matter? Because the closer we get to the full and complete reality of what stands before us, the more accurate and true our solutions become; taking us to greater levels of understanding and meaning.

Because I only keep a tiny portion of my attention on mainstream media, and because I identify with neither the Democratic nor Republican party, I can miss some driving forces in how it is that our culture is framing certain issues. With that said, it has taken me months to catch up to a deeply concerning way that we are framing a virus that has changed our world.

Unfortunately, and erroneously, our culture has been framing how to address a virus as a political issue. In the process, we have set ourselves against one another at a time when we most need to be coming together. Compounding that, we have exacerbated, by omission, a longstanding epidemic decline in health and vitality in our country by ignoring the complications and death rates brought on by a preponderance of underlying chronic conditions that have left so many of us susceptible to a virus.

Because we have been framing this as a political issue, we have lost track that what is before us is neither a red state nor a blue state issue. It always has been, and always will be, a health issue. This is not about who is right or wrong, better or worse, harmful or helpful. This is not about “this side” cares, and “that side” does not. That framing of the issue is a sad and destructive distraction that has taken us away from creating an accurate and healthy frame. Dare I say, that frame being: What is health? What undermines it? What supports it? Specifically, what is it that will boost the immunity of a population that transcends agendas, special interests and conflicts of interest?

I know this may seem overly simplified. Or too contrary to the current narrative. But think about it. When it comes to having a healthy immune system to fight off a virus, what else could the frame be if not precisely that? Something simple and body based. But to see this would require dropping the political agendas and weaponry. It would take asking some difficult questions around how health care is framed and delivered in a world that values and is controlled by what makes the most money and who has the strongest political lobby. Most of all, it would require opening up the existing framework to healthy debate; with input from many, many different disciplines brought in to help reshape the framework.

If this makes any sense to you, you must start with yourself. So instead of aligning with a system outside of you to tell you what it means to be healthy-what if you started learning how to recognize and honor the truest needs of your body as the one and only foundational framework of health? A frame based in Biological Truth that transcends politics, censoring, mandates, and “hero likes” on social media.

Start now. Get in the habit of pausing at least once a day. Take a breath, and then, ask yourself “What am I feeling right now, and what is this feeling telling me I need?” From this one simple practice you begin to build a framework based on real human health. And from there, everything is possible. For all of us.

First Things First

 

Many years ago, I heard the expression “spiritual bypass.” If you’re not familiar with this phrase, it can be defined as “…a tendency to use spiritual explanations to avoid complex psychological issues.” In other words, instead of meeting head on and working through difficult and unresolved issues, we leap over what is too hard, while trying to land in a place we would rather be. Somewhere that feels better to us than here.

Wherever that here is, and whatever it takes to get us there. Delusion and denial included.

While this phrase has always been used in relation to how we see ourselves spiritually, the same underlying avoidance is being played out all around us, and on every, single level of our humanity. We want more ease in our minds, but because it feels too difficult, we bypass to “serenity” through drugs, alcohol, shopping, and scrolling. We want to feel at home in our bodies, but because we do not know how, we bypass to “safety and security” by abdicating our bodily autonomy, authority and sovereignty over to a doctor, the marketers and corporations selling us things, and now, our very own government. We want more closeness in our relationships, but because we have grown accustomed to screen-mediated interactions, we bypass to “intimacy” by believing that social media is the pinnacle of satisfying modern day connections.

Whether you look to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the yogic chakra system, childhood development, or building a house, every system worth its salt includes the same principle: First Things First.

Meaning, that before we can experience peace of mind, we must do a study of what it is that disturbs the mind, and what it is that calms it. Before we can feel at home in our bodies, we must learn how to take responsibility for what it means to care for them. And before we can have meaningful relationships, we must put the time in, in real time, day after day, that they deserve and require.

Somehow though, we don’t want to know this. We don’t want to know that things take time and our effort. For ours is a culture of bypass, leaving us more at home with the illusion that things can be got without cost, consequences or hard work, than with us doing what actually needs doing. We believe we are just supposed to be able to have it. Or easily get it. That someone else should do it for us, or at least tell us how to do it.

These are the thoughts of a child. But if you are ready to see things not as you wish them or expect them to be, but as they actually are, and are willing to use that reality check as a starting point, you are now in a position to leave bypass behind in the service of the life you most want.

What might that look like?

Find something in your life that is not working. Make a list of all the related things you think you are supposed to have or be in this department. For instance, if you are not well, that would include everything around the end game of feeling better that you currently do not have. Keep stripping it all away (this takes time and effort) until you can let yourself be where you are, feeling what you are feeling, and experiencing what you are experiencing.

Then, ask yourself, what is the very first thing I must do now? The thing that must come before all else? The thing upon which everything else relies?

And then, stay with that very first thing until it feels totally sated. This will be longer than you want or can imagine. But just like building a house, if you can put the care and the patience of creating a solid foundation into the service of what you most want, everything, everything, that comes after that will be true.

P.S. Often the first thing that most needs doing is exactly the thing we most want to avoid. So, if you can find out what that is, you will be well on your way.

Everything We Need

I wake this morning to the call of the crows, and even though I am rising later than they would normally be around, there they are. Three of them. Arranged in a little triangle. Three is a number of balance and completion. It signifies past, present, and future. The triangle is the strongest shape in construction.

My day is off to a great start. Why? Because I am listening. Listening to more than my fears and conditioning. Listening to something other than the self-imposed limitations that plague me. Listening to the Truth of the Universe as spoken by The Natural World.

The animals always serve as a harbinger, or a reminder, or a confirmation of something for me. This morning I am thinking about expressing more of myself through the work I do as I first lay eyes on the crows. I take their presence as confirmation and reminder. I am on the right path, and I no longer need live with outdated versions about what people are going to do with me if I challenge their world view.

And then, it gets better. Out on a run, I encounter a doe and her fawn on the road right at the moment I am thinking about the progression each one of us is on in our own lives. That we are all in different stages of development, and that all stages are to be respected and honored.

And then, it get even better. As I am running back towards my house, there is a cyclist broken down on the side of the road. For those of you who know my road, you know he is miles in either direction of help. I ask him if he needs anything, to which he responds, “I have everything I need. It’s just that right now, it’s catastrophic.” To which I respond, “Just like being in the world we are living in.”

And there it is, we have everything we need to be healthy. We have everything we need to solve things with other people and nations. We have everything we need to live in harmony with the Earth. And we have everything we need for everyone’s needs to be met and for their greatest potential to be expressed. The question is, will we do it? Will we each and every one of us make the shifts we need to make? Or will we continue to create catastrophes to wake us up out of our own self-imposed fogs?

This is not easy to do, and it takes time. But if we are committed, little by little, and in great leaps and bounds, we can find ourselves there. If you are willing, try my new 10% practice for anything you are ready to shift in your life. It looks like this: When you are full, leave that last bite on the plate. When you are moving your body, go a little stronger, a little more, or a little more unusual to challenge yourself. When you get a sense inside that you can’t prove, but you know to be legitimate, see if you can act on it, or at least keep it in mind. If you are always talking, be more quiet, and if you are always holding back in conversation, step forward. Go to bed a little earlier, turn your phone off at the dinner table, do whatever needs changing in your life in increments of 10%, and watch what happens.

The Great Divide

 

Years ago, I was deeply struggling around how to live a life that made sense to me when it came to taking care of my health, and the health of my family. It was often very challenging to be making different choices around the food we were eating, and the medicine we were using, and not using, in a world that values the cheap, the quick, and the maintenance of the medical and pharmaceutical status quo. I was trying to find my footing around how to see what I was seeing and know what I was knowing, in order to stand for what felt like health to me, in the face of dissenting, and sometimes very vocal, critical opinions.

Without fighting. Without judging. Without acquiescing to what felt harmful and lacking in foresight to me.

So I went to Source. In meditation, I asked for help. The immediate, clear, and resounding message that came through was, “Nothing that separates.” It broke me. And it broke the internal ping-pong match of a struggle that I often found myself in when it came to standing for what I believed while being in the presence of another’s derision, frustration, and even anger. For you see, I never had any doubt about the choices I was making. It was only coming in contact with others who were unfamiliar or suspicious of what I was doing that rattled me.

Which is why the message, “nothing that separates” landed so thoroughly with me. And why it is that I continue to try and live up to its Truth. For there is nothing more that I want between us than to be able to live the Truth of who I am while respecting the choices that each of us feels called to make. Nothing that I want more than to be able to tap into the undercurrent of Connection that exists between all of us, and that far outweighs the individual choices we make.

Which brings me to us. I know we all see and feel the polarization of our world around how to be healthy in the time of co-vid. Whatever your feelings are on how to proceed, I would like to propose that there is an essential element missing in most conversations. That being, the shaming and coercive energy behind where you place someone on the scale of humanity based on whether or not they choose to receive a shot. And that being, the way that this issue is nefariously and dangerously dividing parent against parent, child against parent, teachers against students, friends against friends, family members against family members, and co-workers and members of a community, against each other.

We have forgotten that Real Medicine does not harm, and it does not separate. It never pits people against one another. It does not divide families. Nor does it legislate its use. Or create caste systems. That is not medicine. Real Medicine is that which heals and makes whole. It transcends agendas and attitudes of the times. And always, and in all ways, it connects, and considers all of us.

Nothing that separates. Such a tall, tall order for a human being. We all have our preferences, our beliefs, and the hills we would die on. But now, in a time of Great Divide, any and all of these personally cherished attitudes must be held, somehow, with Great Unity. Lest we perish. Lest we get our way, but lose each other. Lest we forget that there are many, many ways to live a life that brings health, care, and contribution to the Greater Whole.

If you want to know who the real enemy in the time of co-vid is, it is separation.

Can you stand for what you stand for, without standing apart? Without forcing or coercing or shaming and blaming the other side? And could we all be so visionary as to recognize that to “get our own way” in this may be the very thing that divides us all in the end? Ask yourself what you most want in the world at this time. And then, watch yourself very, very closely, being particularly attuned to when getting what you want creates a divide.

To Be Of Service

 

Not long ago I had a Vedic astrological reading. This system has some similarities to Western astrology, but is also very different in some fundamental ways. So while I have experience with Western astrology, working in a new system allowed me to see and understand aspects of myself that sometimes elude me.

One of those elusive aspects being my relationship to service in the world. My concern for the welfare of All that has been with me since I can remember. It has been a source of great joy for me at times. As well as a place of pain, confusion, distortion, and overwhelm. You would think helping others would be straightforward. It is anything but. For when you really begin to wonder what it actually means, looks like, and takes, to be of genuine and authentic service in the world, it gets a little, or a lot, murky, sticky, and oh so very tangled.

Personally, this exploration has been the single greatest, and most arduous endeavor I have ever taken on. Ever.

I use the phrase “taken on” intentionally. For to contribute in a healthy and meaningful way is to first and foremost choose to do the work of getting to know yourself inside and out. It is to come to understand why it is that you do what you do “in the service of others.” It is, paradoxically, to begin with yourself, not the other.

It is to seek out the dark and distorted places that look like help, but that are really masking your own personal gratification, neediness, and desperations around safety, belonging, and being seen and approved of. Ouch. And it is to recognize that much of what we do for others that looks so noteworthy, newsworthy and post-worthy, are in all actuality, about us. Basically, our attempts to look like a good person. To insinuate ourselves into the lives of others so that they need us. Cannot do without us, and think well of us.

Through it all, we deny our own needs and what is best for us in the name of sacrifice. The world loves this. It rewards and elevates those of us who do more than our share. Those of us who do not consider ourselves. Those of us who look “good” according to some cultural definition. Sadly, “rewarding” those of us who contribute in ways that allow others to not have to take responsibility for their own lives.

Enter 2020, and all of this takes on a deeper, darker, and more dangerous tone through the seemingly world-wide agreement to signal our virtue to one another based on whether or not we follow mandates that ask us to deny basic human needs. Based on whether or not we choose an experimental drug. Based supposedly on us doing all of this not for ourselves, but for others. Effectively separating us from our truest needs and the absolute, God-given right to bodily sovereignty.

To choose an action that leaves you out of the equation, that asks you to give up control over your own body, is to cause great harm to not only yourself, but to the people you say you are helping. For the Truth is, our collective is only as healthy as the individuals who make it up. Which begs the question: Why would we ever ask any individual to sacrifice their health and well-being for the good of all?

If this makes any sense to you, begin to get into the habit of asking yourself, “Why am I really doing this?” whenever you see yourself as helping the cause. Whenever you hear that voice, inside or out, that says “Do this, not for yourself, but for others.”

Walls

 

I recently read an article by a bodyworker who was talking about how we build false walls and false floors in our fascia and muscles to compensate for postural imbalances. Basically, all of the ways that we get ourselves positioned incorrectly, and then come to lean into those false constructions to free up the dominant side of the body so that it is available for action. I so know this process in my own body. And I so know how this way of holding myself both reflects and entrenches old, unhealthy states of mind.

In other words, how the walls in my body represent the ones I have built up inside of my own mind to keep me feeling safe. Balanced. Prepared and ready for action. Walls that have been created to give me a sense of security. Whether or not that is actually so having nothing to do with the maintenance of them in my life. Even going to great lengths to hold onto what does not work. What hurts. What is faulty.

Which is why coming to recognize that there has never been a single hurt that I have ever experienced as an adult that wasn’t connected to the past, has changed my Life.

For if you can come to see that how you view what is happening to you now as being somehow connected to long ago, you will have taken a most important step to freeing yourself up from the false constructions that set the stage for why you suffer now. This is not a rationale for staying stuck in the past. Instead, it is a reminder that what happens in the mind happens in the body, and that what happens in the body happens in the mind.

That we can go in through either doorway to change all of us.

Try it. Find one thing that bothers you now. Something you feel slightly hurt or disappointed by. Come up with a headline. For instance: “Feeling Unsupported.” Then, follow the bread crumbs back. Where in the past have you felt like this before? Drop all the names, the places, and the circumstances. What feels familiar to you from then to now? Name what it was for you, and then move. Dance it. Shake it. Wiggle and writhe it. Move your body in random and unusual ways until you feel like something has completed itself.

Then, watch yourself throughout the rest of your day. Is how what you lean into, or what is dominant, different somehow?

To Retreat

 

To retreat is an act or process of withdrawing

I am recently back from guiding a woman’s retreat in the mountains. On my first day home, I easily fell into a slower pace with a pronounced reluctance to jump back into what I routinely do. Instead, I felt called to not only slowing down, but to using that space to clear and organize my outer environment. This happened quite naturally, with no planning on my part. It all felt like something within me needed a gesture in the outer world to reflect back to me what was happening within me.

That being, to clear out the old. To honor the new and what it is that wants to come in. In a phrase, to withdraw from what has been in order to open to something more.

To retreat is an act of personal empowerment. It is a visionary choice that says,“It is time I withdraw from what I always do in the service of regrouping.” To even do this though requires having the courage to recognize that your way of being may not be serving you, or the world. It is a choice to get a scheduled tune-up to get your life realigned. It is a head-clearing vision that says, there is so much more.

To step out of our lives is an act of sanity. It is to recognize that we may be off track without even knowing how or where or why. It is an intentional pause, and the long over- due sigh that allows for the release of what needs to go. It is the breath long held that finally, finally, gets a chance to release in order to allow the next breath in. And always, and in all ways, it is a homecoming.

The world is in need of taking a step back. Personally and collectively. A kind of stepping back and away from where we are charging head first into the abyss of silo-thinking, fear, rushed choices, and an ignoring of perspectives that would include all of the costs and collateral damage that come from making decisions at warp speed. But that would take not only courage, but humility, an open mind, and the wisdom to back off until a fuller picture could reveal itself.

Where in your Life are you pushing too hard to make something happen? Trying to get to a resolve prematurely. And how would retreat be the bravest, sanest, and most life-affirming thing you could do? You don’t have to go far. Your own back yard will do. A commitment to be with yourself for even a few minutes quietly will do. And a dedication to understanding what drives your Life will always do. For you. And for the rest of us.

In Whose Hands?

 

I have been thinking about health for more than thirty years. Reflecting on questions like, What is health? What supports it? What undermines it? In whose hands does it belong? It has been a wondrous journey. A frustrating one. An illuminating, maddening, and empowering one. One that even on my worst days I would not trade for it has brought me health, and it has brought me into contact with that which still needs healing. Both personally and collectively.

But more than anything else it has brought me to me. Creating and shoring up a kind of sovereignty that I did not even know existed. Or needed. One that emanates from the inside out, and transcends the lobbying, the marketing, the hidden agendas, the outdated and narrow-minded science, and most of all, the fears and conditioning of my past.

But it has been arduous. Requiring that I come up against the places where I have abdicated my responsibility to another person. Or system. Or limiting belief. Mine or others. Or…fill in the blank. For to explore and claim total responsibility for your own health and well-being is an intensely deep, nuanced, and all-encompassing endeavor. As in, no stone left unturned.

So, let’s turn over one of the heaviest and most difficult of all stones to turn over. Playing the victim card. This is the part of you that says someone else is to blame, and therefore is ultimately responsible for, what happens to me. This is the voice that says I have no power here. I cannot possibly stand up for myself, fight back, or choose another way. Most especially, whenever I feel threatened and am up against that which I perceive to be bigger and more powerful than me, because I am too weak to hold the line and keep myself from being violated, accepting what does not feel right to me, I hand my power over to another.

Caroline Myss writes, “The core issue of the victim is whether it’s worth giving up your sense of empowerment to avoid taking responsibility for your independence.” Health is a central and guiding aspect of your independence. Where are you abdicating your power in this regard?  This one won’t be easy to get to as we live in a world that embraces, encourages, and justifies victim mentality. Meaning that, because so many around us have given over their power, we have come to believe that this is normal. The way it is. We even go so far as to bond with others around how we are being F’d with.

So if you want something else, you will need to look more deeply. Much more deeply.

 

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss

Our Truest Nature Is Our Greatest Contribution

 

In a woman’s circle well over a year ago, I was asking for guidance around how to be of service in a world gone mad with fear. I drew the card “Healing.” The instructions were to “Reconnect to My True Nature.” This was not the answer I expected, or even wanted. I was looking for something along the lines of an outer effort. Something that I could do. Something that could be seen, known, and quantified.

And yet, the guidance was profound.

I have come back to this one instruction over and over again because something deep inside me knew it was true. But it hasn’t always been easy. At times it has uplifted me, and at times it has smashed me into my own misconceptions; deeply humbling me and forcing me to rethink what it means to contribute to the world.

It can feel so much easier, nobler even, to send our energy and attention out to what needs fixing or saving in the world. Out to how we are supposed to be or show up according to someone else. How it is that we are to demonstrate our caring nature by behaving in prescribed ways. But if we are all to truly heal, it can only come in the form of reconnecting to our own selves. This is different than doing things for other’s health and well-being, and instead is a recognition that the single most powerful thing we will ever do for another is to take full, personal responsibility for how we show up in the world. For it is only in knowing and claiming our own Nature, that which keeps us healthy and that which does not, that we come to truly and genuinely contribute to the world.

Otherwise, we add to the chaos, the co-dependent ways of relating, and the polarizations and politicized debates we find ourselves in. Everything that will never be healed by focusing on what is outside of us.

Health and healing are fundamental to our truest Nature. As a matter of fact, it is all unbelievably simple. This is contrary to the messages we receive in the modern world that our well-being is complicated, requiring experts and things to buy. Over and over we receive the message that it is all beyond us and best left in the hands of another. But that is not how our truest Nature works. Despite the contortions and distortions of the modern day mind and what is being sold to us, our very own healing Nature is built into us. We have only to clear the illusions and confusions that get in the way of a clear connection. Not easy to do, but oh so very satisfying, and so desperately, desperately needed by All.

Would it not be the single greatest blessing in all the world if out of the past time period came a return to what is true around human health? A kind of deep inner knowing that can only come from becoming more completely accountable to the choices you make every day. For everything. From what goes into your body, to what goes into your mind.

Where could you begin? If in doubt, what could your body absolutely not survive without? Think back to times before there were the technologies, the experts, the junk foods, social media, insane schedules, things being sold to us, and anything else that takes us away from the Truth of who we are and what we really need. Start there.

The Mind

“How does imagining new possibilities affect realities in the present?”

I read this and weep. It saddens to me want something so much at times but still be ensnared by the ping pong match in my own mind. The back and forth between what I know is possible for all of us, and the old conditioned need to focus on, and fight against, what is not working. What I do not want. What lacks any possibility whatsoever; standing purely in the service of what came before.

It takes energy and determination to be the author of your own Life. To draw a line in the sand that says “I will no longer be party to what is broken.” Not in my own mind. And not in connection with others and the world. Sound straightforward? It is. But oh my goodness how hard it is to put into action. To untangle from all of the beliefs and the societal pressures that say “This is how it must be.” This is all you can expect. Nothing else is possible.

Even though I forget every day, there is one thing that I know to be true. It takes a decision. A big one. A hard and fast commitment to learning the ins and outs of your own mind. To challenge what you take for granted, and to be open to new perspectives. For starters, what is it that you are agreeing to that you would best not agree to? Either with yourself or with the world. This is so worth your time. For what you agree to in any domain of your life is the place from which all else flows. Your happiness. Your health. Your very own birthing of something you think you cannot be, but must. And it all comes down to a choice.

To decide your own mind is to choose to be with yourself and with Life through it all, while simultaneously recognizing that you do not have to believe everything you think. Or are told. That in any moment you can make another choice. You can step out of who you have been and into the possibility of who you are becoming. Into a present moment reality that says “Yes, this is where I most belong. This is where Truth lives.”

But to come to know this place, in effect, to be the author of your own mind, is to ask yourself over and over and over again, “Why am I doing/choosing/believing this?” And then, when you get your answer, the obvious, what-you-would-say-to-anyone response, try it again. This time, set aside all the socially condoned responses, the need to please, the fears around how this makes you look, while asking again, “Why am I really doing this?”

To open to new realities requires the possibility that you got it all wrong. Can you live with that?