Tag Archives: love

UBUNTU: I Am Because We Are

UBUNTU I Am Because We Are

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree, and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run. They all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that, as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: I am because we are.

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Love, Peace & Happiness …is responsibility

Alice Bartlett-miniature landscape

Love, peace & happiness is responsibility. A responsibility to others & to yourself. Every choice you make might be helpful or hurtful. It’s not helpful or hurtful to yourself –or– helpful or hurtful to another. See that if you hurt another, you are hurting yourself, & when you help another, you are helping yourself. You can turn it around as well; when you hurt yourself, or help yourself — others are part of it. There is no separation. There is no self-destructive person that is not hurting others. There is no self-loving person that is not loving others. There is no separate self, completely separate, unconnected from all selves. See all of humanity as one living being. See all animals as one living being. See all of nature as one living being. Now see all of that as one living being! See life itself, not as your life, but as Life. Life living life! We are all part of it, but at the same time, we are it. Let’s honor it, cherish it, respect it — let’s love it.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For some it is a silly holiday that is completely ignored. For others, it is full of expectations & desires; desires to be loved & desires to love. In my opinion, any chance one has to reflect on the importance of love is a good opportunity. So this year, add a new context to the holiday. Make it not a reminder of romance, or friendship, or consumerism, or expectations — but make it a reminder that each & everyday is an opportunity to love. An opportunity to take full responsibility for the unlimited love we have available to us, & within us. It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I truly being loving & kind to myself? Am I being loving & kind to other living beings? Am being loving & kind to my community, to my environment, to nature, to the world? Can I improve on this? Can I be more self-expressed in this area? Can I be more generous? Can I be more active? Can I be more bold? Can I be more fearless? Can I love deeper? Can I be more sincere? Can I be more grateful? Can I be more helpful?

There is a slokah that I learned when I first began studying yoga. From the moment I heard it, it resonated with me. If one is practicing being more loving, & practicing being more responsible, I think it’s good to repeat it. It’s good to remind ourselves. And it’s good to let that reminder inspire loving being-ness in who we are & loving kindness in all that we do.

Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu

lokāḥ = worlds, especially the underworld, the earth and heaven.
samastāḥ = all, together, all together
sukhinaḥ = happiness, well-being
bhavantu = may all this be

May all beings everywhere be happy & free,
May my thoughts, words & actions contribute in some way
To happiness & freedom for all.

close up miniature people grass landscape

There is a quote from Sri Harilal Poonjaji that is very strong. It reinforces & drives home many of the points I try to share continuously in my blog posts. When I read the quote, it resonates with me deeply.

All that you are attached to,
all that you love,

All that you know,
someday will be gone.

Knowing this, & that the world is your mind
Which you create, play in, & suffer from,
Is known as discrimination.

Discriminate between the Real & the Unreal,
The known is unreal & will come and go.
So stay with the Unknown, the Unchanging, the Truth.

Tying the two quotes or verses together, understand that the Unseen or Unknown, or the dark, or the underworld, or even the tiny life forms we take for granted, like bacteria & insects, that live under us or on us — love that, just as you love close friends, lovers, & family. Respect & honor the mystery of life. See it all as connected & sacred. Find humility in the fact that you can not know it all, or understand it all, but you can love it all. This kind of unlimited unconditional love not only brings fearlessness into your everyday existence — but it also liberates you.

Why does it feel so good to love? Why do we all look for love? Why do we always long to be loved? …To set our hearts free. To no longer feel separate. This is love. This is available to us everyday. In unlimited unfathomable ways. This is yours for the taking. Take responsibility for it.

[Artwork photography by Alice Bartlett via My Modern Met.]

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Dick Gregory, from the bottom of my heart — THANK YOU.

Oh, how do I begin?

Few people truly shine bright on many levels, & Dick Gregory is one of those people. He has shone inside & out, as well as across the board since the late 1950’s. And even now in 2012, you can see him at almost every major event that speaks on behalf of people’s rights.

His list of achievements is too long to list here. We are talking about almost 80 years of living fully. And when I say living fully, I don’t mean living a full life — I mean putting your life on the line! Living out loud & speaking your mind; doing all you can to find the truth; standing up for yourself & others; experimenting & testing & investigating; being an artist (first black comedian to break the color barrier); being an author (of 13 books, as either writer or co-writer); being an athlete (ran from California to New York City, averaging 50 miles per day for 71 days); being vegetarian since the 1960’s, and in more recent years raw vegan (he chose to not eat animals or animal products, because of his dedication to non-violence); fasting on water for 70 days straight (Dick Gregory is well known for his hunger strikes); running for president in 1968 (garnered 47,097 votes, including one from Hunter S. Thompson); feeding the hungry (shipped 10,000 pounds of beans to feed people in Marks, Mississippi); cancer survivor (cured himself of lymphoma with natural methods); I can go on & on.

Peter Barry Chowka summed it up perfectly when he said, “Gregory’s name, is synonymous with progressive social and political causes. He is that rare combination (like Gandhi) of activist and healer, one whose own life illustrates how real change first must come from within oneself.”

Thank you, Dick Gregory. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for having the courage to think for yourself. Thank you for putting yourself on the line. Thank you for looking deeper. Thank you for leading the way. Thank you for teaching others how beautiful & powerful they are. Thank you for reminding us to love & to be fearless. Thank you for showing us how much can be accomplished in one lifetime. Thank you for being you. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

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no words — just love & silence

I have no words for this Sunday’s post. Something tells me that today is about silence: a moment to love & to simply listen.

The same something that tells me not to write, is the same something that tells me to leave you with a few videos from David R. Hawkins.

See you next week.

— Love you.

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Question: What is Occupy Wall Street? Answer: Just the Beginning.

I’m going to present videos & photographs & information about the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS – also #OccupyWallStreet or #OWS, written as Twitter hashtags). Following that, I’ll write a few words on how I feel about the global need for change & what I think is on the horizon. And lastly, at the end of this post, I will leave information on how you can support the OWS movement.

Occupy Wall Street, New York City

I received a FAQs sheet at Occupy Wall Street being held at New York City’s Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza Park) near Ground Zero. What struck me is that the sheet clearly read: “We are not a protest movement. We do not protest against things, and we do not have one or two simple demands. We are a movement which does call for accountability, however – accountability to ourselves and to our country.” To me the key word is: accountability. Personal responsibility for all aspects of one’s life is very important. This movement stems out of people who are tired of living in a country that calls itself a democracy when it is not. And now they have held themselves accountable for being the ultimate source for creating this democracy.

It continues,We must be accountable to ourselves. First and foremost, we are calling upon ourselves, and upon one another, to wake up and employ our power as citizens: to participate rather than observe, to raise our strong voices together, rather than complaining feebly in isolation. We cannot ‘whine’ about the injustices wreaked upon us if we have been complacent and silent in the face of these injustices. We must take responsibility for our own futures – and here at Liberty Plaza, that is exactly what we are doing, by modeling the kind of society in which everyone has the right to live. Here in Liberty Plaza, having lost our sense that we live in a democracy, we are reclaiming its practice.”

The next paragraph states, Our government must be accountable to us, and corporations must be accountable to the government. We are saying definitively: We no longer live in a democracy, and we refuse to accept that. We seek an end to the collusion between corrupt politicians and corporate criminals, as democratic and capitalist institutions have become conflated. (*1) As such we must see major advances in the area of the relationship between corporations, and people, on par with the amendments which outlawed slavery and assured civil rights to all people regardless of race, sex, or class…”

I wish I could type the whole FAQs sheet out for you, but this blog post would be way too long (-it’s too long as it is!) So, I will just add one footnote that belongs to the paragraph above, I think it’s important.

*1 “In the United States, the right to become rich has become collapsed with the very notion of liberty. From the time we are children, Americans learn to confuse democracy (a system of decision-making and governance), with capitalism (a system for regulating and releasing money flows).”

Occupy Together: Occupations all over the USA

All over the USA “Occupations” have been popping up from city to city. It’s steadily growing in the number of supporters & in the number of locations.

I was so proud to see this video of my hometown, the East Bay in Northern California. The video is from Occupy Oakland (aka #HellaOcuppy).

Occupy World: Occupations all over the globe

October 15th, 2011 was a day of Global Occupation, the International Day of Action. There were Occupations everywhere.

From Paris to Palestine, demonstrations were held in over 950 cities & 85 countries.

England’s Occupy London had the pleasure of demonstrating side by side with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. He spoke to demonstrators from the steps of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

If this is the beginning, what is next?

No doubt about it, there is much more to come. Not only in the way of government reform, or even epidemics & environmental concerns  – but in each one of us individually in a way we haven’t been challenged before.

We will eventually find that there is nowhere to turn for a sense of true security & peace. At that point it will be obvious that it can only come from the one who is seeking it.

The only thing we can truly change is ourselves. The only place we can truly find peace is within us.

Looking for answers or solutions outside of oneself never works in the long-term.

At the same time, yes! – Occupy Wall Street & other movements are important & necessary. Especially when it comes to waking people up & taking them out of their comfort zone – their automatic way of sheepishly & passively speeding through their lives. It makes total sense to be forward moving & create the external changes needed at the moment, but after that, the work just gets deeper.

Otherwise, everything reverts back to the way it was. The work will not be done until we have uprooted the source of the confusion & suffering within us, & cultivate a new way of being.

In my opinion we need a balance between the tangible side of ourselves & the intangible side. Our culture is so wrapped up in the importance of materialistic things, or external things (anyone or anything outside of ourselves). But it is the intangible experiences of love, harmony, joy, generosity, trust, balance, peace, & more, that truly make us happy, that make us come alive & make us feel whole.

Love, harmony, & joy are states of being & they can only be experienced & generated from within. The only one that ever has control of this is us. Each one of us has the power to create & maintain these states of well-being.

For lasting change, the most important revolution that needs to take place, is the one within.

Creating a daily lifestyle for ourselves that is meaningful & healthful, as well as  building communities with others based on the values & qualities we believe in, this is what change in action is all about.

So let’s #OccupyLove!  #OccupyBliss! #OccupyJoy! OccupyAwareness! #OccupyMindfulness #OcuppyPeacefulness #OccupyOneness!

The ways you can support  Occupy Wall Street or other Occupations near you…

Every Occupation needs something, the most important thing you can give is you. Share your love & support by physically being there & by sharing your intentions (what you intend by showing your support) with others. If you aren’t able to be there in person, actions like: donating money, food, blankets, hygiene supplies, drinking water, rain gear, tarps, tents, etc, can also be a great way to show your support. So can blogging, taking & sharing photographs or video, spreading the word, & doing whatever you can to contribute.

To send a donation to Occupy Wall Street in New York, their shipping address along with a link for information on their current needs is listed below. There is also a link to all other city Occupations in the USA.

The UPS Store
C/O Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton Street #205
New York, New York 10038

Occupy Wall Street NYC donation link

List & map of over 200 Occupy Wall Street USA solidarity events link

10/16/2011 UPDATE:
I also forgot to add that you can support by donating to a billboard in Times Square; or by showing your support with blog comments for those who stand for #OccupyLove; or by getting involved via yoga as activism; or by banking with a credit union instead of big banks like Citibank & Wells Fargo; or you can mentor a young person & share your journey of developing a more sustainable lifestyle; or you can sign petitions that stand for civil rights; or you can start a community food growing program & other sustainable projects to empower yourself & your fellow neighbors; and! …you can share this blog post on Twitter & Facebook. Here is a short link for you: http://tinyurl.com/3lgvksx

Thank you! ♥

“As I go through all kinds of feelings & experiences in my journey through life — delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay — I hold this question as a guiding light: “What do I really need right now to be happy?” What I come to over & over again is that only qualities as vast & deep as love, connection & kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way.”
Sharon Salzberg

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The Meaning of Surrender

I’m getting to a place where I see effort as futile. I believe that the universe, the planet, the body; is intelligent beyond my understanding. – So why do I push to understand, or force to make things happen when I am a part of this perfect whole? I am this universe, this planet, this body. (When I say, I am this body, it doesn’t mean that when it gives out or “dies” that I am no longer. It just means that I do not see myself as separate from the whole. I am infinitely connected & everything is consciousness. Everything is.)

The word surrender is moving closer to the forefront in my life. I’m beginning to crave it, & to experience its magic in layers. People seem to view surrender as giving up, as being defeated. They don’t see it as a powerful choice. I love this quote by OSHO because it states that surrender is the ultimate: “All methods are non-surrendering, because a method means depending on yourself. You can do something; the technique is there, so you do it. On the path of surrender, you are no more, so you cannot do anything. You have done the ultimate, the last: you have surrendered.”

Why would one need to surrender & how does one do it? Well, let’s use my life & a few of the things I struggle with as an example. I have been diligently working on so many aspects of my life over the years. Some I’ve made great progress on, while other areas seem to only get so far. The feeling of “Why is this still an issue?” hovers over me at times. I remember asking someone I respect for their opinion on the problem I have with my spine. His answer was, “If you have tried everything, the only thing you have left is to believe that it will get better” (or something like that). What he was insinuating was, that I have made great efforts by relying on my chiropractor, but I haven’t tried something simple as knowing that the problem will heal itself if I believed it would. – My excess body weight is another example of this. There is always a cleaner diet to be on or more exercise that I should take on. But something as simple as listening to my body & befriending it, as well as loving it unconditionally never seems to be the answer.

“Let go. Listening to something is an act of surrender.” – Brian Eno

So we can see the importance of stopping the fight if we wish to attain peace, peace with ourselves & all that we view as outside of ourselves. But one can not have a surrender method. They can’t buy a “How to Surrender & Win the War” book that lays it all out for them. It just is for them. It’s happening. The person hasn’t given up, they’ve opened up. They have chosen to expand, to encompass, & to trust. To be moved & to be one, with all that is & by all that is.

OSHO says it beautifully: “You cannot ask how to surrender; the very question is absurd. How can you ask how to surrender? Can you ask how to love? Either there is love or there is not, but you cannot ask how to love. […] Love is being totally open, vulnerable. It is dangerous. You become insecure. We cannot ask how to love, we cannot ask how to surrender. It happens! Love happens, surrender happens. Love & surrender are deeply one. But what is it? And if we cannot know how to surrender, at least we can know how we are maintaining ourselves from surrendering, how we are preventing ourselves from surrendering. That can be known & that is helpful.”

There is a fine line between action & non-action. If you choose to not act, you are actually doing something. Let’s use creativity as an example. Or dancing as an example. Or loving as an example. You decide to let go & it happens. Erich Fromm says, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties”. – When I dance, I dance best when I totally let go. When I love, I love greatest when I am unconditional. – In both cases I have let go of all expectations.

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” – Julia Cameron

Another great example of letting go of expectations, believing & finding strength in surrender is Kung-Fu Panda. Yes, you read that right. The children’s film based on a chubby panda bear that works at a noodle shop & is chosen to be a Dragon Warrior. There is a scene in the middle of the film were Shifu (played by Dustin Hoffman) is having a serious conversation with Master Oogway (played by Randall Duk Kim).

Here is a bit of the dialogue:

Shifu: The Panda?! That panda is not the Dragon Warrior, he wasn’t even meant to be here! It was an accident.
Master Oogway: There are no accidents.
Shifu: Yes, I know. You’ve said that already, twice.
Master Oogway: Well, that was no accident either.
Shifu: Thrice.
Master Oogway: The Panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours. Until you let go of the illusion of control.
Shifu: Illusion?
Master Oogway: Yes. Look at this tree. I can not make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before it’s time.
Shifu: But there are things we can control. I can control when the fruit will fall & I can control where to plant the seed. That is no illusion! [Shifu swiftly karate chops the tree & fruit falls to the ground, – & on his head.]
Master Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple, or an orange, but you will get a peach.
Shifu: But a peach can not defeat, Tai Lung [the antagonist]!
Master Oogway: Maybe it can. If you are willing to guide it, to nurture it, to believe in it.
Shifu: How? But how?! I need your help, Master.
Master Oogway: No. You just need to believe.

I will end this blog post by asking a few questions & leaving you with a few more quotes (because I love quotes so much). Take these questions seriously. Take out a pen & paper. Write freely & allow your answers to give you insights.

What are you resisting? What won’t you let go of? What do you refuse to accept? – How is resisting it or fighting it or refusing to accept it working for you?

Is there an area in your life where you are not trusting, not allowing, or not believing in? – Do you feel you won’t be safe or you’ll be too vulnerable if you do? If so, why?

Can you see how surrendering & letting go could lead to powerful experiences & a happier you? It takes the weight off of you & allows you to be free.

“Surrender to life itself and you’ll just be rewarded with so many things. And I’ve been rewarded so many times, in so many mysterious ways. So I have no reason to be disappointed with anything.” – Jason Mraz

This is a quote by Jasmuheen that I modified a tinsy bit: “Accept the perfection of everything that has been & now is, accepting that it has been our co-creation. It means deciding to be more aware & more conscious about how & what & why we create & then perhaps finding the courage to do things a little differently so that Grace can arrange Itself more powerfully through our life. We do this firstly by being a more awake being & secondly by treating others as we ourselves wish to be treated. Next comes the act of surrender where we sincerely invite our higher Self to merge us into the stream of Its love, & then finally to allow Grace to rearrange Itself throughout our life until all we feel is: appreciation & love.”

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” – William Booth

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