redefining spirituality and opening to non-limitation

Archive for April, 2009

simple things

(photo courtesy annia316af:)

I recently asked some friends and strangers what some of their favorite things were in life. Here are a few (no mention of jobs or paychecks or career success or power…):

The feeling of being in a creative flow, and that when a long project is completed. A good heart-felt hug. A conversation when we truly hear each other. The whisper of wind in the trees on a warm day. A vista after a long hike. Bird song, frogs croaking, crickets chirping, bees droning. Water lapping on a shore. Good dark chocolate. The smile of someone I love. (And there are many.) The fragrance of certain flowers, the rose and jasmine. A multi-hued flower garden; strong true colors. 3rd movement, Beethoven’s Ninth. the smell of just-cut grass. the droning sound of a bi-plane engine on a blue-sky-summer afternoon. smell of fresh baked bread in the morning. a cat’s purring. the fresh smell of linens and clothing hung out on a cloth’s line in the sunshine. the smell of gingerbread cookies in the air when winter comes around. Dyeing easter eggs and eating the obligatory peep. leaving a phone message on my best friends phone that only she and I can get. the pug snore that drowns out the tv at night. I love: my family. Living in Malibu, seeing the Ocean as I drive down the PCH. My friends, new and old, and my doggie ~ my most forgiving, loyal companion. Yerba Mate Tea with the accompanying alertness. my husband’s arms around me when i cry. watching a tiny rose bud unfurl into a majestic rose. setting the table for a meal to share with someone i love. the smell of freshly shampooed hair. the music of a dreamy saxophone. the sound of the water falling in my table fountain; giggling over the rose quartz and renewing the dry shells. the sight of sunlight thru stained glass. getting a card from a long lost friend. remembering that I was once told, “the door is always open”. the total acceptance of a child as he/she returns my smile. the smell of rain on concrete (city girl). anything by Kandinsky. a call from an old friend ( or an email). finding no trans fats in fritos. dressing up. Sunsets. Moonlight. The seasons changing. The unexpected call from a friend. ink-stained fingers from writing. The smell of fresh brewed espresso. Dolphins playing in the water off of Venice beach. An excited puppy jumping all over me. The oh-so-good ache of my muscles after an awesome practice. Holding a new born baby just minutes after they’ve arrived. My son’s beautiful smile and giggle. A balmy California night with the moon sailing in the sky. Lip-biting, toe-curling, knee-quaking, soul-deepening sex. Summer rain. The smell of the one I love. Kissing my children’s soft cheeks when they sleep. The taste of my morning tea. Riding my bike to work listening to music. Swimming laps and feeling like I am breathing underwater and sleeping while I do it. Feeling the arms of my kids wrapped around my leg or neck giving me a hug. That indigo blue color of the sky after the sun has set. The feel of my little cat’s sandpapery tongue on my hand. Running on the firm sand at low tide and watching the waves crash. The sound of almost any Strauss waltz. A fresh butter croissant in the morning. kissy attacks on babies — both human and animals. big belly laughter — and the way a huge smile makes all faces purdy. random acts of senseless dorkiness. inebriated discussions around the campfire. being blow out of my sox by excellent art, performance, music, roller skate dancing… and all things creative. The smell of the fennel on Runyon Canyon. The pink in the little black cheeks of a girl I sponsor in Uganda, named Dianah. The impossibility of not smiling when you hear a three year old’s laughter. The heat of a soft pretzel from Philly. Coconut macaroons made by a Portuguese baker named Elliot. Like eating gold and batter and coconut confetti at once. Anyone’s smile. A good hearty laugh. A good healthy cry. Gmail because it holds everything and I can actually check it at work.

thanks to everyone for sharing.

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a man



A man opens doors — always; a gentleman also stands when a woman arrives or leaves a table and when another man is being introduced. This not quaint, patronizing, pre-feminist behavior; it’s called courtesy that a man extends to a woman in appreciation for all she brings to the world. And expresses the respect of meeting another man.

A man knows how — and when — to curse, which is never used in the heat of an argument or in shouting at a missed hoop shot (a man never loses control), but to put a perfect punctuation on a colorful point.

A man never strikes a woman, child or animal — ever.

A man takes care of his body.

A man has at one point in his life read and memorized a poem — not a limerick. Limericks are for boys.

A man is a protector of those with less or in a weakened state or being taken advantage of. But he does not prevent a person from exercising their own personal expression of power and defense. He knows all individuals must learn to stand on their own two feet.

A man accepts no labels or judgments or limitations for himself or others. A man’s purpose is to find his own self-expression and then help others to find theirs.

A man believes in something greater than himself if for no other reason that it keeps him humble and grateful.

A man does not give his power over to a religion or cult or spiritual practice. He may learn from these practices and beliefs, but only in so far as they help him to empower himself and in turn others. A man is respectful of others spiritual choices, as long as no one’s free will is being impinged upon. He trusts each individual to find their own path. He does not proselytize though he does share. A man is an expression of his own godhood.

A man doesn’t apologize for his sexuality or his enjoyment of erotica — as long as no one’s informed, responsible, adult free will has been abused. A man enjoys his sexuality and shares it with his partner for the mutual enjoyment of both, not as an excuse to avoid intimacy. A man celebrates that, in sex, the woman always comes first.

A man doesn’t belong to a political party, but learns form all positions and makes his own informed decisions.

A man dresses consciously, whether for the beach, hanging out on the couch or for a formal dinner.

A modern man doesn’t hunt to kill, unless he plans to feed himself and his family, but to test his hunting skills and make contact with his primal masculine energies. He honors the life — and death — of the animal as his ancient ancestors did. A man never allows an animal to suffer. When the same intents can be experienced with a hunting photograph, then bullets are put aside.

A man is a protector of the environment.

A man obeys just laws and fights unjust laws and is thoughtful in his distinction of the two.

A man is harmless, but will defend himself, his family and his country if need be.

A man is respectful of differing points of view.

A man doesn’t take personal credit, but if credit is offered, he accepts it gratefully and humbly.

A man listens.

A man does not complain and certainly never whines. Though he does share his feelings.

A man performs his work with respect and integrity, or he finds new work that fosters these energies. A man knows that all work is honorable, whether a banker or a trash hauler. And he knows that the greatest work is that which helps others.

A man is gentle, kind, thoughtful.

A man is his own man.

A man is not prejudiced or racist or sexist; he accepts the complexity and diversity of life.

A man knows how to dance.

A man knows the difference between an ale, a beer, a scotch and a bourbon.

A man does not drink anything with an umbrella in it.

A man does not text message (my bad).

A man does not say, “My bad.”

A man speaks to another in person or on the phone rather than hiding behind email and message services.

A man does not spend added time with the computer or tv when he can be taking a walk or having a talk with his partner or child. A man doesn’t play video games unless it is with his child. A man does not read comic books unless it is to his children.

A man clears the path ahead and tests the water first.

A man knows how to build a fire, find true north, and read a geographic map.

A man, on occasion — literally — howls at the full moon.

A man faces his fears and help others face theirs.

A man does not dictate but encourages and supports.

A man doesn’t raise his voice: he doesn’t need to.

A man doesn’t raise his fist; he doesn’t need to. Violence is always his last choice. But when forced to act, he does so without hesitation.

A man is not weak, but also knows there is strength and healing power in vulnerability.

A man is both sturdy oak and bending willow.

A man builds things to last.

A man places his name on his creations.

A man accepts responsibility for his actions, does not lie, or pass the blame, and always apologizes when an apology is required.

A man does not seek revenge but closure.

A man is compassionate and empathetic.

A man holds his partner’s hand.

A man champions the best in himself and others.

A man enjoys competition and is never a sore loser. And he’ll stay to encourage the last one across the finish line.

A man never cheats.

A man is not afraid to cry to share his powerful emotional life.

A man shares without hesitation, even to his last dollar.

Too much? Unrealistic? Impossible?
Suck it up.
Be a man.

happy earth day/week/month/year/eternity

(photo courtesy thiru murugan)

Ohhhh, to be alive in time and space!

If only those now living could recall what such a prospect once meant to them before their life began. And what it still means to multitudes in the unseen now awaiting their own initiations who, try as they may, can’t even imagine the simple ecstasy of breathing.

To them, you already “have it all,”
The Universe

times a changin’

(photo courtesy creactions)

Here are some statistics for the Year 1909 :

The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower

The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour. The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as ‘substandard. ‘

Sugar cost four cents a pound..

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.”

Eighteen percent of households had at least
one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself. From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD – all in a matter of seconds!

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

IT STAGGERS THE MIND

(author unknown)

anti-aging

(photo courtesy mordoc)

from Newsweek:

Imagine that you could rewind the clock 20 years. It’s 1989. Madonna is topping the pop charts, and TV sets are tuned to “Cheers” and “Murphy Brown.” Widespread Internet use is just a pipe dream, and Sugar Ray Leonard and Joe Montana are on recent covers of Sports Illustrated.

But most important, you’re 20 years younger. How do you feel? Well, if you’re at all like the subjects in a provocative experiment by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, you actually feel as if your body clock has been turned back two decades. Langer did a study like this with a group of elderly men some years ago, retrofitting an isolated old New England hotel so that every visible sign said it was 20 years earlier. The men—in their late 70s and early 80s—were told not to reminisce about the past, but to actually act as if they had traveled back in time. The idea was to see if changing the men’s mindset about their own age might lead to actual changes in health and fitness.

Langer’s findings were stunning: After just one week, the men in the experimental group (compared with controls of the same age) had more joint flexibility, increased dexterity and less arthritis in their hands. Their mental acuity had risen measurably, and they had improved gait and posture. Outsiders who were shown the men’s photographs judged them to be significantly younger than the controls. In other words, the aging process had in some measure been reversed.

I know this sounds a bit woo-wooey, but stay with me. Langer and her Harvard colleagues have been running similarly inventive experiments for decades, and the accumulated weight of the evidence is convincing. Her theory, argued in her new book, “Counterclockwise,” is that we are all victims of our own stereotypes about aging and health. We mindlessly accept negative cultural cues about disease and old age, and these cues shape our self-concepts and our behavior. If we can shake loose from the negative clichés that dominate our thinking about health, we can “mindfully” open ourselves to possibilities for more productive lives even into old age.

Consider another of Langer’s mindfulness studies, this one using an ordinary optometrist’s eye chart. That’s the chart with the huge E on top, and descending lines of smaller and smaller letters that eventually become unreadable. Langer and her colleagues wondered: what if we reversed it? The regular chart creates the expectation that at some point you will be unable to read. Would turning the chart upside down reverse that expectation, so that people would expect the letters to become readable? That’s exactly what they found. The subjects still couldn’t read the tiniest letters, but when they were expecting the letters to get more legible, they were able to read smaller letters than they could have normally. Their expectation—their mindset—improved their actual vision.

That means that some people may be able to change prescriptions if they change the way they think about seeing. But other health consequences might be more important than that. Here’s another study, this one using clothing as a trigger for aging stereotypes. Most people try to dress appropriately for their age, so clothing in effect becomes a cue for ingrained attitudes about age. But what if this cue disappeared? Langer decided to study people who routinely wear uniforms as part of their work life, and compare them with people who dress in street clothes. She found that people who wear uniforms missed fewer days owing to illness or injury, had fewer doctors’ visits and hospitalizations, and had fewer chronic diseases—even though they all had the same socioeconomic status. That’s because they were not constantly reminded of their own aging by their fashion choices. The health differences were even more exaggerated when Langer looked at affluent people: presumably the means to buy even more clothes provides a steady stream of new aging cues, which wealthy people internalize as unhealthy attitudes and expectations.

Langer is not advocating that we all don uniforms. Her point is that we are surrounded every day by subtle signals that aging is an undesirable period of decline. These signals make it difficult to age gracefully. Similar signals also lock all of us—regardless of age—into pigeonholes for disease. We are too quick to accept diagnostic categories like cancer and depression, and let them define us. Doing so preempts the possibility of a healthful future.

That’s not to say that we won’t encounter illness, bad moods or a stiff back—or that dressing like a teenager will eliminate those things. But with a little mindfulness, we can try to embrace uncertainty and understand that the way we feel today may or may not connect to the way we will feel tomorrow. Who knows, if we’re open to the idea that things can improve, we just might wake up feeling 20 years younger.

Herbert writes the blog We’re Only Human at www.psychologicalscience.org/onlyhuman.

© 2009

A SPIRITUAL CONSPIRACY


On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark. But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening underground. An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution. From the inside out. From the ground up. This is a Global operation. A Spiritual Conspiracy. There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet. You wont see us on the T.V. You wont read about us in the newspaper. You wont hear about us on the radio. We dont seek any glory. We don’t wear any uniform. We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles. Most of us work anonymously. We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world. Cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands. You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice. We go undercover. We remain behind the scenes. It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit. But simply that the work gets done. Occasionally we spot each other in the street. We give a quiet nod and continue on our way. During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs. But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place. Some call us the Conscious Army. We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts. We follow, with passion and joy. Our orders come from from the Central Spiritual Intelligence. We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~ Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness… We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents Be the change you want to see in the world. That is the motto that fills our hearts. We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined. Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains. It is not even visible at first glance. And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries to come. Love is the new religion of the 21st century You dont have to be a highly educated person Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it. It comes from the intelligence of the heart Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings. Be the change you want to see in the world. Nobody else can do it for you. We are now recruiting. Perhaps you will join us. Or already have. All are welcome. The door is open.
~ author unknown