Because it’s not personal. And a caste system is a structure that we have inherited, that we did not create, that we don’t — there’s no point in pointing fingers about it, but it’s something that we — recognizing it is the first step toward dismantling it.
This month is all about turning our focus away from anger, blame, self-judgment, hopelessness, frustration, fear and worry. These are all attitudes and emotions that belong to a lower vibration and they do not serve us at this time. We need to be turning ourselves in the direction of the higher vibration of COMPASSION if we are to be effective in our lives, with ourselves and with others.
The definition of COMPASSION is: “Sympathetic consciousness of others’ (or personal) distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”
COMPASSION is a state of being that helps us all remember that we are not separate, that we are all in this great game of life together and that going about it alone is not effective or rewarding.
COMPASSION is best practiced from a neutral state of non-judgment and a perfect follow up from November’s theme of forgiveness. With everything that is going on out there in the world today, the best way to use your time and energy this month is to focus on yourself with COMPASSION for all the ways you have judged, blamed, suffered, and felt powerless and ineffective.
If you truly want to “alleviate the distress” on the planet, you need to start with yourself. All change begins at home. When was the last time you were truly kind to yourself? Not just rewards and gifts, but true kindness?
KINDNESS is another theme this month that goes along with COMPASSION. It is easier to be kind when you have compassion and it is easy to be compassionate when you practice kindness. So they go along hand in hand.
As the big wheel of evolution slowly turns away from the young soul, goal oriented, combative struggle where there are winners and losers, it is the masculine energy in each one of us that needs the most compassion, kindness and healing. We are emerging from a cycle of over 2000 years where the masculine standards of production, success, taking action, winning competitions and doing whatever it takes to get to the top have been our guiding principles.
In this process the masculine in each one of us has taken a beating and needs a lot of kindness and compassion to heal its battle wounds. Many of us have turned away from our own masculine in reaction to the negative aspects we see being played out by the masculine out in the world. The masculine within is suffering and needs compassion and kindness, not judgment and rejection.
Healing the masculine is a theme that begins for us this month and will continue into next year and probably into the next several years.
As you reject the masculine and what it represents, you also reject the positive aspects of generosity, protection, boundaries, action, focus and appropriate will. These positive aspects of the masculine are necessary if we are to be effective in the world. So the work starts at home with yourself in healing your own masculine, your relationship with the masculine and reconnecting with all the positive aspects so you can be whole. If you are whole, it will be easier to be of service where and when needed.
Remember that evolution only goes in one direction and that we are in the process of completing one cycle and transitioning into the next. Our task this month is to hold the bigger picture, to take the higher road of compassion, to practice kindness, and to do what we can to begin the process of healing the masculine beginning with ourselves.
This month is all about helping yourself first. If you don’t have compassion and kindness for yourself, you cannot possibly practice it for others. So start with yourself this month. Review all the ways you have judged yourself for not being good enough, smart enough, known better, ineffective, not successful enough, not strong enough, not brave enough, not powerful enough, not perfect enough, not useful enough, the list goes on and on.
How have you judged yourself for not showing up, for feeing fearful, for missing opportunities, for not getting your life together, for staying in bad situations for too long, for being weak, for being indecisive, for not setting good boundaries, for not protecting yourself or putting yourself first?
This lack of compassion and kindness for yourself will keep you mired in this lower vibration especially if it includes blame, anger and resentment. This is the month to turn all of this around. There is much work to do on the self. It is easy to be distracted with “what is going on out there” in terms of injustice, negative behaviors and bad choices. You cannot do anything about that. You cannot change what is “going on out there” but you can change what is going on in your own home and your own life.
So this is a month to focus on personal change through compassion and kindness and the healing of your own masculine.
After reviewing all the ways you believe to have let yourself down, focus on the changes you wish to make. You might start with a simple commitment to set better boundaries or to speak up around your own truth or to make a plan of action to improve your life. It is also very important that you practice being in a higher vibration as much as you can. Beauty, wonder, awe, love, and of course compassion and kindness will always lead you to a higher vibration and a higher centered experience. After all this is a higher centered time when we have the opportunity to experience the lowest of the low and the highest of the high. You decide.
Relationships with others take a back seat to the relationship you have with yourself. “Me first” is the motto this month. Of course your other relationships will all benefit from the work that you do on yourself. Relationships in general have been challenged lately and fraught with a lot of projection, blame and confusion. Larger scale issues are being worked out and relationships are taking the hit.
It is important to remember that there is so much work going on now at a personal level that everyone needs a bit of space. Especially as we enter into the agreed upon social holiday time, don’t be afraid to say no and to limit your social interactions if you are needing time to yourself.
Treat all your relationships with compassion and kindness. This month kindness will go a long way to keep relationships from unnecessarily imploding. Give people room to grow, to change, to heal, to express their truth and to be creative in their own way. There is a lot of energy right now for change and it will be affecting some relationships. Stay out of fear and judgment and allow change if that is where the wind is blowing.
HEALTH AND THE PHYSICAL BODY
Compassion and Kindness, Compassion and Kindness, Compassion and Kindness. Our bodies have been through a lot and carried much for us. Mostly this month the body needs rest and rejuvenation. We don’t even know how exhausted we are. There has been so much work in the dreamtime collectively as our conscious personalities and bodies are “asleep”, that we don’t feel rested. We have been psychologically and psychically hypervigilant, holding a very big container for positive change and evolution and we are afraid to put it down. It is time to take a break and let what has been put into motion play itself out. The path is clear ahead of us and it is all about the personal healing we need to do on ourselves.
Health challenges this month could include fluctuations in energy levels with periods of great fatigue mixed with sleeplessness, physical agitation and restlessness. Knee and joint issues from the waist down are working out our masculine traits of moving forward and energetic mobility. Intermittent nausea and digestive issues are related to our will and the masculine energy of how we choose to show up in the world.
Take care of yourselves this month. You only have one body this lifetime and it deserves your kindness, compassion and love.
Being a very personally focused month, your personal environment is the most important thing on your “to do” list. You will experience a sense of power and accomplishment and purpose in changing or improving or fixing what is in your power to do. You cannot change what someone “out there” does or decides. But you can make changes and good choices and improvements to your own space and environment. When was the last time you took control of your personal environment, cleaned out the clutter and improved something that needing to be fixed?
Pace yourself this month both in your expectations as well as your physical output of energy in all the doing and fixing and changing you are inspired to do. Allow yourself to be guided by the environment you are in. If it is snowing outside, stay warm indoors if that is what your body wants. If it is sunny and warm, go out for a walk. If it is rainy or windy, honor the environment in the ways that it can support your own process of change, cleansing, or letting go of something. Practice working intimately with the environment instead of against it. This goes for all aspects of “environment”: physical, emotional, political, psychological, intellectual, global, personal and collective.
We are still in a highly creative period of time and although the creativity may seem to be very underground and hidden at this time, it may come out in the environment as weather anomalies, unexpected events, extreme temperatures and wild weather systems. Enjoy it!
This is a good month to focus on the foundations of your business and projects. What was the inspiration behind your ideas, choices and action? Is there anything that needs to be revisited or changed or refined? Take and inventory of everything that is working and serving you best as well as what is not serving or needs to be changed or eliminated. This is about acknowledging what YOU need and how your personal business, partnerships and projects will serve YOU first. Is your life task being supported?
As you inventory be careful not to judge or blame and remember that compassion and kindness goes a long way to healing what may not have been addressed that needs some clearing. It is a good month to tell the truth to others about what it truly important to you, and to tell the truth to yourself about what is not important to you that may be important to others.
There is great support for working on details, sealing up energy leaks and setting good boundaries. There is a fine line between functional community involvement on a project, and a dysfunctional free for all with no boundaries. I am reminded of the various experiments of the late 60’s with the communes, free love, and the break-down of social and economic boundaries. We are in a similar time but with hopefully more maturity and spiritual consciousness. These are indeed interesting times and it should be inspiring to all of us to think about the possibilities of what we can collectively create for our future.
December 1-7: It is a week of self-focus and taking care of the body, mind and spirit. The best use of this time is to keep your eye on the small goals you can easily accomplish as well as to practice being on that higher road of compassion whenever possible. Whether you are in the grocery store becoming irritated at the incompetency of the cashier or the confusion of the person in line in front of you, or witnessing an argument or inappropriate aggression among others, stay in the field of kindness and compassion. No one WANTS to be like that. But many are lost. If you can practice being in a higher state and a higher center, it will have a ripple effect.
Another good practice during this week is the “inner smile”. If you heart can smile and you can radiate that smile outward, that is the inner smile. It is effective, can bring you joy and possibly even a desire to smile outwardly. And it will certainly support a higher vibration and a higher centered state.
December 8-15: This could be a week of confusion, depression, energetic ups and downs, one day feeling hopeful and good about your practices and the next day in despair about all the things you cannot change. The only way past these challenges is through. The only way to navigate is to acknowledge the feelings and then do your practices of compassion, kindness and taking care of yourself anyway despite how unmotivated you feel.
Keep your tasks small and doable. Set boundaries when appropriate and protect yourself from the conjectures, projections and negativity of others. This is a good week for one on one interactions that are meaningful and to make plans and set intentions about how you want to feel in your life in the future.
Even though the month is very much about you personally and much of the energy is focused within, there are times that support community. The powerful time around the Full Moon moves us into a more expansive picture of sharing our vision and prayers with others on the same page and compassion and kindness are the magnetic force that will bring people together for a common cause.
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.
Spend some time today being inspired by your own life. Forget about what others are doing for a moment and focus on what you are doing and what you wish to do. Are you true to yourself, your spiritual and moral compass, and your true desires? If not, why not?
Acknowledge all experiences as useful even if uncomfortable. For things happening in your life that are less than “great”, adopt the following attitude: “Do I like it? No. Does it feel good? Not really. Is it necessary? Probably.”
And most of all, have gratitude for all of it. After all, it is a great ride.
December 16-22: This is a time frame to work on relationship. Relationship with your body, with yourself, with your masculine, with your right work, your right action, with your unique personality and with your personal environment. Have you had enough gratitude for yourself and your life lately?
Stay close to home and pay attention to the details that may come up during this time that require your attention especially in the area of your personal environment. This is the time that supports fixing, changing, refining and improving what you can and have the power to do. Instead of worrying about what you can’t change, focus on what you can.
Mercury goes retrograde on the 19th to support even more focus on detail and clear communication. Set good boundaries around your time and energy and work on eradicating the habitual energy leaks that tend to surface around perceived obligations at this time of year.
December 21: Winter Solstice is Wednesday, December 21 at 3:44 AM. Solstice time is always a good reset and transition time. We move from the darkest time of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) to the first day of bringing back the light. Especially this year, the significance of bringing in more light is palpable.
Honor this solstice by anchoring something you are transitioning into. It could be a new relationship, project, practice, or way of thinking. There is much that remains the same as we enter into a new cycle but what can change is the foundational patterns underlying all the judgments of the past. The way we see and perceive the world can be radically different if we allow it to be. This is the bigger picture that wants to seduce us to be more inspired, more creative and more hopeful. It is all possible.
December 23-31: The focus of this time is on clarity. Clarity of truth, clarity of what brings you joy, clarity of your direction, clarity of what needs to be complete and what needs your attention. This is a good time of year to make an inventory of anything that just does not feel right and decide what you are going to do about it. Watch for health issues around joints and bones during this time as the main “structures” supporting your body.
Part of your inventory should include an assessment of all the structures in your life and whether they are supporting you in ways that serve you or not. Structures are also containers and you might find that some have leaks, some are too small and some don’t hold together because they are just not meant to be. The categories are anything from relationships to work to study to personal environment to new projects, old projects, health support, where you get your knowledge and information and who you go to for any kind of support. When you find something lacking, instead of getting upset or self-judging about it, practice the compassion of the month and be kind to yourself and to others that you perceive to have “let you down”.
The truth is that what we want or dream of doesn’t always last. It tends to serve its purpose in our development and then fades away, losing its relevance. And we can do enormous damage to ourselves by insisting on carrying that which has died. Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.
Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
Fear, loneliness, anger, shame & hunger.
They drive us. They divide us. They take us away from our work, our mission, our ability to make a difference. And yet, sometimes, they fuel our motion, leading to growth and connection.
When a variety of FLASH shows up, it almost never calls itself by name. Instead, it lashes out. It criticizes what we’ve made or done. And mostly, it hides behind words, argument and actions, instead of revealing itself.
As you’ve guessed, correcting the false argument is futile. Logic doesn’t work either. You can’t reason with FLASH because it is, by definition, unreasonable.
Worth repeating that: We’re rarely reasonable. Most of the time, we’re afraid, lonely, angry, shameful or hungry.
Sometimes, we can address those emotions by seeing that reason can help our problem, but mostly, we start and end with the emotion.
Pause to allow it be seen and heard.
And then, if we’re willing, we can dance with it. We can put the arguments aside, the demands and the expectations and sit with the emotion. Not get defensive, because the emotion isn’t about us or our work at all.
Then, maybe, we can begin to bring civilization back into the conversation, the story of us, the opportunity for growth and connection, and ultimately, the power of thought and reason and forward motion.
‘You think the truth took a hit last year? It’s about to get worse. A lot worse.’
Welcome to the media in the Age of Trump.
- False rhetoric.
- False equivalency.
- Ad hominum.
Charles Sykes/Politico Magazine
All of this was a long time coming.
Trump’s victory means that the most extreme and recklessly irresponsible voices on the right now feel emboldened and empowered. And more worrisome than that, they have an ally in the White House. The new media will not only provide propaganda cover for the administration, but also direct the fire of a loose confederation of conservative outlets against critics and dissenters.
So what is this brave new conservative media going to look like? Probably more like Alex Jones than National Review. The appointment of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon as chief adviser to the president-elect was the new regime’s implicit imprimatur on the new conservative media. But perhaps the most revealing moment was Trump’s reported call, on the Monday after the election, to Infowars’ Alex Jones to thank him for his support in the campaign.
Jones is not your garden-variety conspiracy theorist. He is a 9/11 truther, who believes the U.S. government conspired in the attacks to justify the creation of a police state. He has suggested that the government also may have been behind the bombings in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, and at the Boston Marathon, which killed three. And he has repeatedly suggested that the Sandy Hook shootings were a “hoax,” “synthetic” and “completely fake.” He also thinks the government wants to “encourage homosexuality so people don’t have children” and said that Hillary Clinton was “a frickin’ demon and she stinks and so does Obama.”
Derrick Jensen/Orion Magazine
“…life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.”
Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.
False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.
Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they’re getting worse. Rapidly.
To hope for some result means you have given up any agency concerning it. […] They’ve stepped away from their own ability to participate in stopping it.
We simply do the work.
I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.
When you give up on hope, you turn away from fear.
And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to protect the people, things, and places you love, you become very dangerous indeed to those in power.
In case you’re wondering, that’s a very good thing.
You cannot diagnose a problem until you know the history of the problem that you’re trying to resolve.
The heart is the last frontier.
They were forced to seek political asylum within the borders of their own country because they were living in a caste system in the South that did not recognize their citizenship. And some of them travelled farther than current day immigrants might, but that was really not the point. The point was that the country actually was kind of two countries in one, and that’s what they had to do.
It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it. This is the means that they feel they must take in order to find freedom wherever they can find it.
George Swanson Starling. You asked him what he hoped for in leaving, and he said, “I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a manly way” — I’m getting chills — “without the fear of getting lynched at night.”
These were refugee camps created in our American cities. And as they sought to expand, or if they managed to save whatever they could from these jobs — and a lot of them, new research about the Great Migration is coming out showing that they actually worked multiple jobs.
So they were actually making more money, but it wasn’t going as far because there were so many coming in, flooding these neighborhoods that were being hemmed in and pressed against. And that was the world that they had entered. They were living in the Vice Districts. I mean, all of the things that make for every possible disadvantage that you can have going in — that’s what they were facing.
Your existence, by definition, prohibited you from getting a standard mortgage. And so they would then get mortgages on the second market — secondary market which meant they were paying exorbitant rates. This is sounding very much like 2006 and 2007 for us now. And so this is all setting in motion all of these forces that were making it even more difficult for people to succeed in these big places, the cities of refuge for the people of the Great Migration.
Because, ultimately, what this migration was — and I think people are identifying it — is that it’s an unleashing of this pent-up creativity and genius, in many cases, of people miscast in this caste system.
You think about those cotton fields, and those rice plantations, and those tobacco fields, and on all of those cotton fields, and tobacco plantations, and rice plantations were opera singers, and jazz musicians, and poets, and professors, defense attorneys, doctors — I mean, that’s — this is the manifestation of the desire to be free and what was lost to the country. Because for centuries, for 246 years of enslavement — and I have to remind people — 12 generations of enslavement, 12 generations of enslavement. How many “greats” do you add to “grandparent” to get that back to 1619 until 1863? And that gives you a sense of how long all of these people were miscast into an artificial hierarchy as to what they were permitted to do, or risk death if they did not do that.
And one fact about this whole idea of where we are right now just sort of cosmically, I think, in terms of this — let me put it this way: no adult alive today will live to see a time when the time of enslavement was equal to the time of freedom. And so that shows you that this history is long, and the history is deep.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. It is, hands down, the best work of nonfiction I have ever read. It tells the story of how the Jim Crow laws and their accompanying attitudes shaped the lives of three black Americans who came north during the 20th century. When I was reading it, I kept saying over and over again” — just like — “‘I had no idea. I had no idea.’”
And then, “We may be clueless and awkward around the subject of race, but we know what the Gospel demands. That we keep working at being better neighbors.” I think about that so much these days, about this work of knowing our neighbors who are strangers, and that that, in fact, is the immediate work that, in fact, is not evident how we do it because we’re so segregated in so many ways in our communities, but it’s possible. People must ask you this question. I wonder how — if there’s advice you give or thoughts you — that’s terrible — or thoughts you have about this work of coming to know our neighbors who are strangers, of being neighbors, just that.
I also believe that, in the time of working on this book — it’s multi-disciplinary. There’s sociology, there’s psychology, there’s economics. All of these things are in there. But I think the foundation of all of those disciplines comes down to the history. When you go to the doctor, before you can even see the doctor, the very first thing they do is they give you all of these pages to fill out. And they — before the doctor will even see you, he wants to know your history. He doesn’t want to know just your history, he wants to know your mother’s history. He wants to know your father’s history. They may go back to your grandmother and your grandfather on both sides. And that’s before he will even see you. You cannot diagnose a problem until you know the history of the problem that you’re trying to resolve.
“Over the decades, perhaps the wrong questions have been asked about the Great Migration. Perhaps it is not a question of whether the migrants brought good or will so the cities they fled to or were pushed or pulled to their destinations, but a question of how they summoned the courage to leave in the first place or how they found the will to press beyond the forces against them and the faith in a country that had rejected them for so long. By their actions, they did not dream the American Dream, they willed it into being by a definition of their own choosing. They did not ask to be accepted but declared themselves the Americans that perhaps few others recognized but that they had always been deep within their hearts.”
Our country is like a really old house. I love old houses. I’ve always lived in old houses. But old houses need a lot of work. And the work is never done. And just when you think you’ve finished one renovation, it’s time to do something else. Something else has gone wrong.
And that’s what our country is like. And you may not want to go into that basement, but if you really don’t go into that basement, it’s at your own peril. And I think that whatever you are ignoring is not going to go away. Whatever you’re ignoring is only going to get worse. Whatever you’re ignoring will be there to be reckoned with until you reckon with it. And I think that that’s what we’re called upon to do where we are right now.
I came to believe and to know that we all have so much more in common than we’ve been led to believe and that we’ve been sadly, tragically assigned roles as if we’re in a play, and this is what these people do, and this is what these people do, and this is what these people do. And the tragedy is that, regardless of which assignment that you had been put into, that might not have been your strength at all.
Every time I talk about it, I gain new appreciation and gratitude and amazement at what they were able to do. One of the things that I hope to do was to bring invisible people into the light. They never were being written about.
[photo: A group of migrants from Florida rest near Shawboro, North Carolina on their way to work on a potato farm in Cranberry, New Jersey. July 1940. Jack Delano, photographer/Library of Congress]