Oooo, sorry for the delay on today’s blog post. I had a busy week, then spent my usual writing day (every Saturday) traveling to New Paltz. (Had a great time in New Paltz, got some sun & got some new seeds for my garden project!)
So here I am writing the blog post. Not sure what to chat about today, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been into lately. Over the spring season I’ve been super inspired by singing bowls. Something about them just clicked for me. They feel right. Crystal bowls & Tibetan/Himalayan bowls resonate with me so greatly. There is no way I can explain it, no way I can put it into words. You’ll have to give them a listen and see if they resonate with you too. (To check them out, listen to Tibetan bowls here & crystal bowls here.)
This summer I am planning on putting three (well, more like four or more) things together for the most blissful-experiential-fun-educational summer ever! I’ve already put a little program together for myself, and I’m transitioning into it little by little as summer slowly rolls in. Here is the general outline: I’m going to meditate daily with my singing bowl (I have an antique bowl that I really love, bought from Temple Sounds); I’m growing an edible garden in a sunny-breezy room indoors (lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, green beans — the works); I’m having fun with my own energy by moving my body & voice (taking fun dance classes & figuring out overtone singing). That is the general idea (along with a few other creative projects), and I’ll be turning up the volume/intensity on everything as the summer rolls in.
The plan is to really experience life: light & sound & color & energy (all the same really, just various vibrations). I want to connect with it (with life, with myself, with energy) on a deeper more intimate level, and do it on a daily basis in a mindful way. I also want to powerfully choose & surround myself with high-vibrations that really resonate with me. Of course this kind of energy is always within us and around us, but it’s usually drowned out by the chaos & noise, or unseen/not felt because of our constant ‘tuning out.’ It’s not often that we connect with what truly works for us in a healing & energizing way. We also rarely get silent or still, rarely tapping in & allowing ourselves to be moved consciously (mindfully, with full feeling).
In our very busy day-to-day lives, it’s easy to fall mindlessly into autopilot and forget about connecting to our deeper selves & to the deeper subtleties in life. That’s why I want to make going deep & ‘tuning in’ a daily habit. With time & practice, I imagine that my life would be more in tune. I would be more in tune with myself & others, more in tune with nature, more in tune with life itself.
In the past two weeks of transitioning into the program I have felt a super-healing difference in my overall well-being. It’s only been a short time, but adding sacred sounds from a singing bowl to my morning meditation; playing around with my voice & having fun with overtones; moving via yoga & dance, feeling the group energy in class or feeling the quiet energy at home when I practice alone; getting my hands in the rich black organic soil & watching things sprout & grow in the sun — what a difference — what a joy! It’s brought so much light/energy/color to my life. It feels like I’m adding more life to my life! As crazy as that sounds, it’s true.
I’m so excited to see what the summer will bring as I continue to make all these things a routine or daily habit. Life is so exciting when you get excited about it! Follow what inspires you. See where it leads. Decide what you want to explore this summer, and have fun watching it evolve. Watch yourself heal & grow & bloom in the process. Does that sound exciting or what?!
I want to introduce you to the Woodstock Fruit Festival. I’ve never attended, but I do know many people personally that run the event (owners, speakers, chefs, volunteers, fruit vendor, etc.). I can personally say that everyone that works to make the festival happen is inspiring & wonderful. Just really good people trying to be of service & make a difference in the world.
Embedded in this post, is a full movie that was made of the festival….
In terms of the health benefits they share in the film (saying that a fruit based diet, or a diet consisting of mostly fruits & vegetables, helps to transform people’s health & lives), I can say from personal experience that this is true. You can view a past post I wrote some time ago, if you would like to read more about that. All of my meals are animal-free, plant-based, & mostly raw/uncooked. During the colder months, I do not eat as fruity I do in the summer, but all year I do eat plenty of fruit, along with an abundance of leafy greens & herbs. Every other food I eat (seaweed, nuts, seeds, legumes, sprouts, etc.) is centered around fruits & vegetables.
If you have allergies, low-energy, fatigue, skin issues, constipation, digestion problems, cloudy thinking, arthritic joints, depression, or anything else that is causing you discomfort or pain, consider changing your diet to a cleaner one. One that takes less effort from the body to digest & assimilate; one that gives the body the nutrition & hydration it needs, as well as the space/time/energy it needs in order to heal.
Along with diet, I find that there are other things that are vital to health, & equally important. Below are the 7 keys to health (not in any particular order). All of these need to be in place & given priority in our lives: Proper Diet Adequate Sleep Clean Water Mental Poise Sufficient Exercise Daily Sunshine Fresh Air
Since the year is coming to a close, I highly recommend celebrating it by ending the year in a refreshing, cleansing, uplifting, rejuvenating way. Then try starting the new year off in the same manner. After that, try to maintain that feeling by creating the best daily routine & environment possible for yourself, in order for you to thrive. Love yourself. Take care of your inside, as well as your outside. Allow yourself to have all that you need in order to shine & to feel good (in a lasting way). Invest in yourself. Go out on a limb. Take a chance. You’ll be glad you did.
…And no worries about getting everything ‘just right’ or perfect. It will never happen. This is a life long journey. There will always be tweaks & changes, along with new goals, or phases of your life that call for different things to be the focus for a while. Just enjoy the process. See every stage as perfect, just the way it is. Learn from all of it. Appreciate it all. Have fun exploring. Feel like a kid again. Be adventurous. Try something new. Everyday is an opportunity to rediscover yourself — an opportunity to rediscover life, in all of its abundance & natural beauty.
This week a friend of mine put me in contact with the film My Dinner With Andre, directed by Louis Malle, made in 1981. After finding out a bit about the film I rushed to read the script, and after reading the script I finally watched the film.
Below I’ve embedded a short video clip of the film for you, as well as the script for the scene. I recommend reading the text in addition to watching the video. Just so you catch all that Andre is saying since the scene happens quickly. Underneath the script excerpt, I share a few of my thoughts (very briefly).
My Dinner with Andre
ANDRE:Okay! Yes! We’re bored! We’re all bored now! But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process that creates this boredom that we see in the world now may very well be a self-perpetuating, unconscious form of brain-washing, created by a world totalitarian government based on money? And that all of this is much more dangerous than one thinks. And it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say “no”. See, I keep meeting these people, I mean, uh, just a few days ago I met this man whom I greatly admire, he’s a Swedish physicist, Gustav Björnstrand. And he told me that he no longer watches television, he doesn’t read newspapers and he doesn’t read magazines. He’s completely cut them out of his life, because he really does feel that we’re living in some kind of Orwellian nightmare now, and that everything that you hear now contributes to turning you into a robot!
And when I was at Findhorn, I met this extraordinary English tree expert, who had devoted his life to saving trees. He just got back from Washington, lobbying to save the redwoods? He’s eighty-four years old and he always travels with a back-pack ’cause he never knows where he’s gonna be tomorrow! And when I met him at Findhorn he said to me: “Where are you from?” And I said: “New York.” He said: “Ah, New York! Yes, that’s a very interesting place. Do you know a lot of New Yorkers who keep talking about the fact that they want to leave but never do?” And I said: “Oh, yes!” And he said: “Why do you think they don’t leave?” I gave him different banal theories. He said: “Oh, I don’t think it’s that way at all.” He said: “I think that New York is the new model for the new concentration camp, where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards, and they have this pride in this thing they’ve built, they’ve built their own prison. And so they exist in a state of schizophrenia, where they are both guards and prisoners. And as a result they no longer have, having been lobotomized, the capacity to leave the prison they’ve made, or to even see it as a prison. And then he went into his pocket and he took out a seed for a tree, and he said: “This is a pine tree.” He put it in my hand and he said: “Escape, before it’s too late.”
You see, actually, for two or three years now Chiquita and I have had this very unpleasant feeling that we really should get out. No, we really should feel like Jews in Germany in the late thirties. Get out of here! Of course, the problem is where to go, ’cause it seems quite obvious that the whole world is going in the same direction. You see, I think it’s quite possible that the nineteen-sixties represented the last burst of the human being before he was extinguished. And that this is the beginning of the rest of the future now, and that from now on there’ll simply be all these robots walking around, feeling nothing, thinking nothing. And there’ll be nobody left almost to remind them that there once was a species called a human being, with feelings and thoughts. And that history and memory are right now being erased, and soon nobody will really remember that life existed on the planet!
Now, of course, Björnstrand feels that there’s really almost no hope. And that we’re probably going back to a very savage, lawless, terrifying period. Findhorn people see it a little differently. They’re feeling that there’ll be these “pockets of light” springing up in different parts of the world, and that these will be in a way invisible planets on this planet, and that as we, or the world, grow colder, we can take invisible space journeys to these different planets, refuel for what it is we need to do on the planet itself, and come back. And it’s their feeling that there have to be centers, now, where people can come and reconstruct a new future for the world. And when I was talking to Gustav Björnstrand, he was saying that actually, these centers are growing up everywhere now! And that what they’re trying to do, which is what Findhorn was trying to do, and in a way what I was trying to do…I mean, these things can’t be given names, but in a way, these are all attempts at creating a new kind of school, or a new kind of monastery. And Björnstrand talks about the concept of reserves, islands of safety, where history can be remembered, and the human being can continue to function in order to maintain the species through a dark age.
In other words we’re talking about an underground, which did exist in a different way during the Dark Ages among the mystical orders of the Church. And the purpose of this underground is to find out how to preserve the light, life, the culture. How to keep things living. You see, I keep thinking that what we need is a new language, a language of the heart, languages in the Polish forest where language wasn’t needed. Some kind of language between people that is a new kind of poetry, that’s the poetry of the dancing bee that tells us where the honey is. And I think that in order to create that language, you’re going to have to learn how you can go through a looking glass into another kind of perception, where you have that sense of being united to all things. And suddenly, you understand everything.
To answer Andre’s question: “the problem is where to go, ’cause it seems quite obvious that the whole world is going in the same direction” I think the place everyone should go, is within. Don’t move out of your city to save yourself, and don’t go anywhere to awaken, and definitely don’t look for a place that will bring you happiness — it’s useless. The only place you can do that is within yourself, right here, right now.
And these “pockets of light” that he talks about — we can be them for each other. We can create public works, or a home, or a community space, that acts like a center or gathering place for sharing or schooling (or rather, unlearning) — centers where people come together to recreate their lives powerfully. Individually we can also be beacons of light, encouraging one another to shine, and to be human beings that think for ourselves (instead of following religion, tradition, or corporate marketing like consumer robots). We can begin to speak that universal language that Andre talked about, the language of the heart!
For me I have no doubt in my mind I will live this. No doubt at all. And this blog, and the work I do, and how I live my life now, is just the beginning. I feel more connected to everything than ever before. I also feel more optimistic about the future than ever before.
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).
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
“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
I mentioned it on a previous blog post, & I can’t help but to raise it again. I was really affected by the death of Troy Davis. I had a hard time sleeping that night. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I went through feelings of anger, of hopelessness, & of disgust. It was amazing how someone I had just heard of that week had opened my eyes & heart. I never heard of Troy Davis & his case, I only found out about him days before he was executed. In my mind I didn’t think it would happen. I heard that he was innocent & people, prominent people, as well as thousands of people around the globe were fighting for his life. I just knew the courts would change their mind & his life would be saved.
On September 21, the night of his execution (I call it murder) I watched the whole thing unfold on Twitter, watching updates on everything that was happening tweet by tweet. There were tweets from lawyers, celebrities, scholars, protesters, bloggers, news reporters, family & friends. It seemed like everyone was doing whatever they could at that moment. Then things started to look bleak. I’m not going to go into the whole series of events (you can find out more by watching this video), I’m just going to say that he was executed by lethal injection at 11:08pm. When I saw that flash on my computer screen, my heart stopped. I thought, What?! Is this really happening?
There are several things that I learned from all of this.
The thoughts & points I will share are not things that I didn’t know before. They just needed to be acknowledged & brought again into my awareness. The same thing can be said for the videos about Troy Davis that I will present. Everything I heard about him was new to me, but the knowledge that innocent people are being killed by the government is not new. Neither is the idea that people know this, yet do nothing to stop it.
“All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Michelle Malkin stood for the cop who was killed & Alec Baldwin stood for the life he wanted saved. Who was right? And would going at each other’s throats & pinning one against the other help matters at all? In my opinion it made it worse. It drowned out the many voices of both sides & turned everyone’s attention to a completely different topic. It was foolish.
The same “me against you” thinking can be said for the desire to kill someone because someone was murdered. Let’s add into that, that one of the people that are to be killed for the death of another might be innocent! How does this solve anything? It doesn’t bring back the life of the one that was lost & it doesn’t bring justice. How is anyone in their right mind able to carry out something like this & not see it as nonsensical thinking? It’s absurd. – And how do the rest of us justify allowing something like this to take place? Not just once, but ongoingly!
“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.” – Marshall Rosenberg
Only you can attain peace & end your own suffering.
The change we need is a change in thinking – in our own consciousness. The same people I saw rejoicing over the presidential election of Barack Obama were the same ones condemning him (for not speaking out about the execution of Troy Davis) on Twitter.
Do not look outside of yourself for a solution. One minute you will think you found it, & the next minute you will be searching again. Don’t put your hopes in anyone but yourself. You are responsible for the change you want to see in the world.
“Truth lies within ourselves: it takes no rise from outward things, whatever you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness and to Know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for light supposed to be without.” – Robert Browning
Today would have been Troy’s 43rd birthday had he not been executed at 11:08pm on September 21, 2011. This Sunday, October 9th 2011, he would have been celebrating another year of life.
May everyone remember this day, as a day of not only love, but of awareness. Think for yourself, open your heart, look within, show compassion, do something for the greater good of all, & learn the truth.
I’m sure Troy Davis would understand that considering part of his last words were “Dig deeper”. I’m sure he was referring to lack of evidence & that they (those that wanted him dead) should explore further so that they could see he was innocent. But when I read his final statement about digging deeper, it made me think (& others too) that we are all operating on such a shallow & superficial level. Not only in the actions we take & how we passively participate in society (as we allow it to keep us dependent on it & spoon feed us what it wants us to know & how we are content being a hamster in a wheel as the government turns it around for us), but in how we think. What happened to our capacity to reason? To design our lives freely, to create our own communities & standards. But more importantly, what happened to our ability to love & stand up for one another? These are questions we can only ask ourselves.
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
– Thomas Kempis
My liberation will be in this moment as it is.
I will not wish for things to be different in order to find solace.
I will continue to look within myself for the love, peace & freedom I wish for all beings.
The way out is always in.
“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
For information on Troy Davis & the death penalty, please view videos posted below….