“A friend of mine told me of a guru from Sri Lanka who asked, ‘What will be the undoing of humanity?’ He answered: ‘The separation between you and me.”
Ahimsa, nonviolence, asks us to abandon the notion of separation.”
When nonviolence in speech, thought, and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.’ -Yoga Sutras
“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service; you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” -Martin Luther King, Jr
This week, our nation will shift to new leadership and take the next step in creating a country rooted in justice and opportunity––a country we know is possible.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1967 speech at New York’s Riverside Church characterized these moments of transformation as “revolutionary times” when “new systems of justice and equality are being born.”
As we look to this day as a moment to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s work, let’s take time to continue his legacy of forging a new and better day by serving our communities. Below are some ways to do so:
#1 – Volunteer with a number of organizations working in areas ranging from education to homelessness through the Presidential Inaugural Committee
#2 – Volunteer to transcribe historical documents through the Smithsonian Digital Volunteer program
#3 – Write letters to seniors who are in self-isolation with Letters Against Isolation
#4 – Support our military and first-responders with Operation Gratitude
#5 – Send a message of hope and healing to a child awaiting surgery through the World Pediatric Project
#6 – Transcribe Library of Congress documents with By the People
#7 – Help Food Pantries near you serving those who continue to face food insecurity
#8 – Provide groceries to those who are at heightened risk for COVID-19 with Invisible Hands
#9 – Strengthen emergency relief efforts with the American Red Cross
#10 – Check out MLKDay.gov, which allows you to search additional volunteer opportunities in your community
3 Types of Kindness
There is the kindness of ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ And the kindness of “I was wrong, I’m sorry.” The small kindnesses that smooth our interactions and help other people feel as though you’re aware of them. These don’t cost us much, in fact, in most settings, engaging with kindness is an essential part of connection, engagement and forward motion.
And then there is the kindness of dignity. Of giving someone the benefit of the doubt. The kindness of seeing someone for the person that they are and can become, and the realization that everyone, including me and you, has a noise in our heads, a story to be told, fear to be danced with and dreams to be realized.
And there’s another: The kindness of not seeking to maximize short-term personal gain. The kindness of building something for the community, of doing work that matters, of finding a resilient, anti-selfish path forward.
Kindness isn’t always easy or obvious, because the urgent race to the bottom, to easily measured metrics and to scarcity, can distract us. But bending the arc toward justice, toward dignity and toward connection is our best way forward.
Kindness multiplies and it enables possiblity. When we’re of service to people, we have the chance to make things better.
Happy Birthday, Reverend King.
Kindness is like snow.
It beautifies everything it covers.
Allysha Lavino/Sacred Mystery
“Kindness is often overlooked – we can sometimes forget how PROFOUND and TRANSFORMATIVE it is.
One of the most profound shifts that we undergo as we awaken, is the shift from being told what qualities we should engage, to truly understanding the beauty and magic they embody.
AWAKENING means transitioning from teachers’, parents’ and society’s lessons about sharing, being kind, and saying “Thank You” …
… To the expanded consciousness, where we experience the value in truly living these themes.
KINDNESS BRIDGES THE DIVIDES OF RACE, RELIGION, POLITICS, GENDER, AND ZIP CODES – a bridge that can lead us into a beautiful tomorrow.
Be grateful for the Goodness that we feel when we tap into the energy of loving-kindness.”
Finding a little bit of compassion where ever we can.
The humanitarian crisis is in the White House.
DT’s Second Term
So far, much of the concern about the long-term effects of DT’s presidency has centered on his antidemocratic tendencies. But even if we take those off the table—even if we assume that Trump continues to be hemmed in by other parts of the government and by outside institutions, and that he governs no more effectively than he has until now—the impact of a second term would be more lasting than that of the first.
Three areas—climate change, the risk of a renewed global arms race, and control of the Supreme Court—illustrate the historic significance of the 2020 election. The first two problems will become much harder to address as time goes on. The third one stands to remake our constitutional democracy and undermine the capacity for future change.
In short, the biggest difference between electing Trump in 2016 and reelecting DT in 2020 would be irreversibility.
Democracy is always a gamble, but ordinarily the stakes involve short-term wins and losses. Much more hangs in the balance next year.
The choice Americans face in 2020 is one we will not get to make again. What remains to be seen is whether voters will grasp the stakes before them. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s emails absorbed more media and public attention than any other issue. In 2018, DT tried to focus attention on a ragtag caravan of a few thousand Central Americans approaching the southern border. That effort failed, but the master of distraction will be back at it next year. If we cannot focus on what matters, we may sleepwalk into a truly perilous future.
“Humanity has come to a fork in the road. There is a way marked Love and there is a way marked Fear, each path leading tumor of the same…in our finest hours, America has stood for what humanity at our best aspires to be. We have sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed, but today, in our time, it is ours to decide our path as we move forward. lady Liberty’s torch is in our hands, but only we can determine whether it burns within our hearts.”
-Marianne Williamson, A Politics of Love
Marianne spoke in Las Vegas last night. I recommend beginning at 50:15 for her introduction video. Forward to 1:20:00 for her Q&A to hear the depth of her issues, wisdom, compassion, and her connection with “We the People.” (1:24:00 is beautiful.)
“A truth teller, a seeker, a mother, and a learned woman in this scary and strange new world, her voice is at once strong medicine for our roundedness, warmth, insistence, good humor, and a little light to see by.”
-Author Anne Lamott
Author. Lecturer. Activist. Democratic Presidential Candidate.
‘My campaign for the presidency is dedicated to this search, for wisdom of the heart is too often absent from the political sphere.
Together we can reclaim both our democratic principles and the angels of our better selves, expressed not just in our personal lives but on acts of citizenship as well.
Politics should not be a pursuit disconnected from the heart; it should be, as everything should be, an expression of the heart. Where fear has been harnessed for political purposes, let’s now harness the power of love.
It is time to let go of an old and tired political conversation, and forge a new, whole-person, heart-centered political dynamic.’
From Marianne on Saturday, April 27th: “We’re under 8,000 left to go! So we’re totally getting there. Please do everything you can to get even the smallest donations to get us onto the DNC debate stage.”
[Only$1-$5 donations needed for a singular/unique donation.]
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
‘Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.’
Rainer Maria Rilke
NPR/Morning Edition with David Green and Actor Melissa McCarthy discussing her new film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
GREENE: Did you learn anything about yourself in this role, in this film?
MCCARTHY: I think, for me, it made me really try to remember more like to look up and see people. Here’s this amazing, ridiculously talented, interesting, difficult, fascinating woman, and most people passed her by on the street. And she was invisible. So I do feel like I look differently as I’m passing people. And I think, what is your story, or what are you amazing at? Like, who loves you? Who do you love? What do you miss? What breaks your heart? I try to like – is – I don’t know if it sounds strange but make more eye contact.
And I do really think that there is an effective – if one person really looks at you in a day, that can change the whole trajectory of your day and then maybe your week. And maybe you look at one other person and connect that you’re humans. And to have someone know they’ve been seen, I think, can do a lot more than I had remembered it can.
‘One of the most painful barriers we can experience is the sense of isolation the modern world fosters, which can only be broken by our willingness to be held, by the quiet courage to allow our vulnerabilities to be seen. For as water fills a hole and as light fills the dark, kindness wraps around what is soft, if what is soft can be seen.
Prayers without words that friends, strangers, wind, and time all wrap themselves around.’
‘Continue to see the world not as it is, but as it could be, if only we believe in courage and kindness and occasionally just a little bit of magic.’
[Illustration from The Little Prince]
“We know, those people who know aeronautics, one small course correction, a minute course correction, over a period of time creates a dramatic change in outcome and destination.
Do something different in you life, no matter how small it is.
The biggest think you do in any day is often often going to be a small act of kindness, decency, or love.”
-Senator Cory Booker/onbeing.org
‘Infinite Spirit within me, Gaia, cause me to think and act kindly; constrain my mind to gentleness and peace; guide my thoughts into loving kindness and eternal forgivingness; and cause me in all my ways to follow the path of truth and justice. I judge no person and am judged by none. It is my sincere desire that everything I do or say or think will come into harmony with universal truth and justice. I judge no person and am judged by none. It is my sincere desire that everything I do or say or think will come into harmony with universal truth and peace, with love and joy. Consciously I let go of everything that is unkind and seek to so enter into communion with the Eternal Spirit that I shall reflect to my environment and manifest in all that I do the spirit of kindness, of justice, and of compassion.’
Introduction to Walt Whitman’s journal, Specimen Days, by Leslie Jamison:
‘Whitman initially journeyed to the battlefields of the Civil War for personal reasons. After seeing a name he feared was his brother George listed among wartime casualties, in December 1962, he headed to Fredericksburg, where he discovered George had only suffered minor facial lacerations. But this was just the beginning. Whitman started visiting soldiers in hospitals-tens of thousand, all told-and doing what he could: writing letters to families, dressing wounds, bringing treats-rice pudding or blackberry syrup. He once distributed ice cream to all eighteen wards of Carver Hospital.
The goal of a life is to have nothing essential left by the time it leaves its body, the way a flame uses up its wick. This is not sad but as it should be.
Let’s be honest
which doesn’t mean
being harsh, but gentle.
Let’s be clear
which doesn’t mean being dispassionate, but
holding each other up
in the face of what is true.
Let’s be enduring
which doesn’t mean
being important or famous,
but staying useful like a wheel
worn by rain after years of
carrying each other’s burdens.
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.
“In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
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”.
Photo: Cold Springs Bridge south of Ketchum
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
‘Every day, we change. We move (slowly) toward the person we’ll end up being.
Not just us, but our organizations. Our political systems. Our culture.
Every day we make the hard decisions that build a culture, an organization, a life.
Since yesterday, since last week, since you were twelve, have you been making deposits or withdrawals from the circles of supporters around you?
People don’t become selfish, hateful and afraid all at once. They do it gradually.
When we see the dystopian worlds depicted in movies and books [politics], are we closer to those outcomes than a generation ago? Do we find ourselves taking actions that make our conversations more considered, our arguments more informed, our engagements more civil? Or precisely the opposite, because it’s easier?
When your great-grandfather arrives by time machine, what will you show him? What have you built, what are you building? When your great-grandchildren remember the choices we made, at a moment when we actually had a choice, what will they remember?
We are always becoming, and we can always make the choice to start becoming something else, if we care.’
We make one.
‘Shannon Weber decided that there wasn’t enough love, recognition or connection in her world, so she did something about it. When she finds an unsung (don’t say ‘ordinary’ hero) she makes them cape.
Caping people, catching them doing something right, shining a light on a familiar hero.
It turns out that this is way more difficult than being cynical, or ironic, or bitter. Being closed is a lot easier than being connected. It takes guts.
What kind of impact does one act of kindness make? It can last for years.
Go, cape someone.’