Spirit Lifter–Day 363 of being “grounded” 3/4/21

My best friend craves the desert. My son does also. My partner comes alive in the mountains. My two other best friends have to be in the center of a huge city, surrounded by history and art.

Me? Well, I don’t know where the phrase “Happy as a clam” originated, but I must be part clam, because I am never happier than when I am on a long, flat beach, staring out into the ocean…

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It’s really the way I have survived this year of lockdown and isolation.

I picture the ocean, the beaches I have loved, and the amazing lifestyle I had the pleasure of growing up in…

not MY dolphins

So when my only friends left living in my childhood stomping (well, SURFING) grounds sent me this article, I was delighted! I could FEEL this experience, with all my senses.

I hope you have a place in your mind you have been able to go to during this last tumultuous and devastating year.

Wishing you safety, health, and peace.

With Love,

ChosenPerspectives

 

Martin Luther King Day–2021

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My favorite Poster. (That’s my treadmill below it)

I read some of his speech, and contemplate, with every single inside walk…

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I still believe……

PS I have posted about Dr. King nine times. Please read more if you are interested…Just search Martin Luther King, Jr. on my blog.

Spirit Lifters–Day 301 of being “grounded”

Disclaimer: the first part of this, uh, essay, is not exactly uplifting, but, hang tight. I will get there.

I got myself through the first several months of the pandemic’s effects on my life by searching every single day for uplifting things to focus on…just to balance out all that was going on in the world.

As a practice like that can, it worked beautifully. My spirits were up, and my slowly increasing terror was easily manageable. 

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But somewhere along the line, it caught up with me. As my James would say (in Mississippi-Speak), I was just “slap wore out”. Most of us were. Not just with “quarantine fatigue”, but from all the other chaos we were experiencing; a deadly virus, horrific wildfires, and racial strife.

And politics?? Don’t even get me started!

Yep, just slap wore out!

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My exhaustion started showing up here in my blog. This is what I posted on September 18th:

https://wordpress.com/post/chosenperspectives.com/21344

I guess that should have been a warning…but I missed it. I had stopped practicing what I was preaching. I needed to re-establish an uplifting, daily ritual…and quick….but I didn’t, at least not right away.

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With the new year about to start, I am inspired by the concept of “resolutions”, even though in the past I have been reluctant to support this ritual. I have mostly seen it fail.

There is no magic just because the calendar numbers are changing, and I am a bit concerned that some are investing unrealistic hope in the year 2021 being better than what we have all just been through. That may be dangerously disappointing.

Realistically, I don’t think there will be a return to our old “normal”…ever.

And I actually hope there isn’t because too many things in that old normal were off kilter anyway…not working, even damaging, and we should not go back to that level of apathy, complacency and blind acceptance ever again.

Our New Normal could include all the lessons we’ve learned (or should have) during our forced, altered behavior. (Remember those photos in the first few days of World Lock Down, of beautiful clear blue skies all over the world??)

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But in the mean time, I’m going back to finding something beautiful, inspirational and miraculous every single day. I know that’s what my Dad did throughout his life, and he taught it to us. Toward the end, when he could not do much else, he’d sit on his front porch and watch for the wonderous among, and even camouflaged by, the mundane. He had a polaroid camera and would send me a photo now and then of a “miracle”. (A beautiful volunteer rose bush in his yard that he did not plant. An earthquake crack in the front sidewalk that had “healed” itself in another minor San Diego earthquake. And more.)

So I am determined to re-establish my own daily search for things to lift up my beleaguered spirits. 

Here is one of my favorite resources! The Greater Good Magazine. A free newsletter out of Berkeley about the science of well-being. It’s worth contributing to. (You’ll have to copy and paste because I still can’t figure out how to make a link.)

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/inspiring_moments_from_2020?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=6de12255ab-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_December_24_2020_COPY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-6de12255ab-74625275

One short video (30 seconds) in the latest issue ironically* brought me to tears of joy. I think it’s about the 10th one, titled Competing gubernatorial candidates try to bring voters together.

Anyway, Happy New Year. Like many other places in the world, we in the Seattle area usually bring in the New Year with a spectacular, crowd pleasing fireworks display from the Space Needle. It was wisely cancelled this year to avoid a virus super-spreader event, and was replaced by a truly amazing light show to watch from our homes! (Again you’ll have to copy and paste, but worth the 10 minutes, especially if you can see it on a bigger screen.)

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattles-stunning-new-years-at-the-needle-show-goes-virtual-this-year/281-5139fa73-61f1-44e3-bdf4-64858333a647

Well, that’s it for today. I will keep my eyes (well, all my senses) open for more Spirit Lifters to share.

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Please consider adding your own Spirit Lifters in the comments section.

I bet we could build quite a list!!

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

*irony best appreciated if you know about my ancestry…

Another barely Political Post 11/1/2020

I have been struggling for days, trying to figure out something to write, to all those I care for, concerning this election. I have not been able to find the words though.


Thankfully, someone I have long admired, did, so I am sharing Raphael Cushnir’s words from this morning. Close to what was swirling around in my mind, but I’ve always admired his eloquence.


Also, I am sending one of my all-time favorite a-political songs. It captures my personal politics perfectly. (included at the bottom of page)


I hope you find something for yourself in both offerings.


Non-Partisan Love and Peace to us all.

 

           

Rules for Tuesday 

By Raphael Cushnir

Breathe deep
Exhale all the way
Fall out of love with your opinions
Forgive yourself for not doing more
Then do a little more
Like cultivating peace
With your smile at the checkout stand
Your new bath salts
Remember that fear masquerades as swagger
So hate the swagger
But love the scared one underneath
Stop pretending that you know what should happen
How it should happen
When it should happen
To whom it should happen
Instead
Just love what you love
Stand up for what you love
Trust your passion
Cultivate your humility
Roar
Cry
Set aside at least 20 minutes to move your body
Wildly
Without premeditation
Dance even if you don’t dance
Or think you’re not any good at it
Find every knot of tension within you
Every story about the future hiding in your cell receptors
And shake them off
Breathe deep
Exhale all the way
Lick the sweat that drips on your lip
Mask your face
Unmask your self-righteousness
Find the scared one underneath
Put your arm around it gently
Hum to it softly
Remind it:
Sorrow will follow sorrow
That’s how this works
There’s no vaccine for it
But joy, too, will follow joy
Remind yourself:
To feel the sorrow and the joy
To feel everything
Including the fear you’re holding
Until there’s nothing left to fear
But that’s long-term
Because right now, that scared one needs you still
Remind it:
The earth may die
It’s true, honey
Though not today
Justice will triumph somehow
It’s true, honey
Though not today
Today is for one thing
Voting
With a ballot, sure
But there are so many other ways to vote
Vote with your feet by walking through your neigborhood
Vote for your ancestors with a deep bow
Vote for your descendents by trusting their vision
Vote for your tribes, all of them, by affirming that you belong
If you’ve lost your tribes, or never knew them
Here are some with openings:
The trauma tribe
The healing tribe
The compassion tribe
The outsider tribe
The artists of any and all mediums tribe
The evolution tribe
The revolution tribe
The never feel fully grown up tribe
The inappropriate humor tribe
The always still figuring it out tribe
The overwhelmed, exasperated, depleted, can barely take this anymore tribe
The invisible energy that binds us all tribe
(Which you can call God, Spirit, Heart – whatever you choose)
The loves social media tribe
The hates social media tribe
The love-hates and hate-loves social media tribe
The Stop! I never agreed to any of this tribe
The nothing I see out there represents my deepest longings tribe
The hurt people don’t want to hurt people anymore tribe
The consensual pleasure of all kinds is loudly encouraged tribe
The people with privilege who want to use it for the greater good tribe
The really want to listen tribe
The really need to be heard tribe
The hanging on by a thread without hugs right now tribe
The my soft animal body is not made for this world tribe
The desperate for quiet tribe
The quietly hopeful against all odds tribe
All of these tribes exist
Even though they’re not represented by any political party
All of these tribes have openings
And you are pre-approved
So on Tuesday
And in the aftermath of Tuesday
Vote and keep voting
Join and keep joining
Because now that you know the rules
You are not just pre-approved
You are pre-whole
You are pre-worthy
You are pre-lovable
You are pre-loved
And you have already won

Raphael Cushnir is a leading voice in the world of emotional connection and present moment awareness. He has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine, Beliefnet, Spirituality and Health, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. He has also authored six books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, the Omega Institute, and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 100 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits. For more info: cushnir.com

Copyright 2020, Heartfire Foundation

 

Lyrics: 
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
I was walking with my brother
and he wondered what’s on my mind
I said, What I believe in my soul
ain’t what I see with my eyes
And we can’t turn our backs this time
I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my country is all I know
I want to be with my family
people who understand me
I’ve got nowhere else to go
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
And I was talking with my sister
she looked so fine
I said, Baby, what’s on your mind
She said, I want to run like the lion
released from the cages
Released from the rages
burning in my heart tonight, yeah
And I ain’t no Communist and I ain’t no Capitalist
And I ain’t no Socialist and I ain’t no Imperialist
And I ain’t no Democrat so I ain’t no Republican
I only know one party and it is freedom
I am, I am, I am
I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my county is all I know
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
I want to run like the lion
Released from the cages
Released from the rages
I said what I believe in my soul
Ain’t what I see with my eyes
Someday
Someday
Someday
Someday
Someday
 
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steven Van Zandt
I Am a Patriot lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Lens-Artists Challenge #115-Inspiration 9/23/2020

I am so lucky, so blessed, to be inspired, energized, and moved to gratitude by so little.

Oh it’s not that I don’t love witnessing grandeur. The Redwood Forests, Grand Canyon, the Mighty Mississippi, and a sunrise in Fiji, all moved me to tears.

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And it’s not that I always remember to look for inspiration in the really small or mundane things.

But when I need inspiration, It shows up for me in amazing ways….

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Like the sunset last night…first time I’d seen the smoke-hidden city and the Olympics in 10 days. Inspired me to keep holding on…

And these lovely, end of season flowers have been such a joy. I can only have flowers in my house in one location, the bathroom. My otherwise, well-behaved cats insist on dumping vases, just for fun, and the bathroom is off limits to them, because they also climb shower curtains!

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My junior high school boyfriend, and his son, paid me a visit a few weeks ago from clear across the U.S. We’ve stayed in touch all these years, which inspires me to value shared history, and to refuse any limiting definition of “friendship” .

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Spotting this lovely on my car inspired me to consider deeply, the hand-painted beauty of Nature!

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This, in my yard…

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And these at the local Farmer’s Market yesterday, inspired me to eat healthy, even though otherwise disgusting treats are extra tempting during this Covid Lockdown time!

Speaking of produce…this guy moved me to a huge Belly Laugh! At first I saw a large- nosed cyclops with a tail. But then I realized the tail was an arm…still on a big-nosed cyclops.

 

During our 8 or 9 days of Smoke-from-Hell, due to West and Northwest Coast fires, I had to be doubly sequestered…behind drawn shades, closed curtains, air purifiers blasting 24/7, and no daylight. So seeing the return of our usual beautiful blue skies was more than inspiring. It gave me the determination to hang on.

 

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This morning in my unused office-group therapy room, I spotted this plant. At first, I thought “tears”…but then realized it could mean “abundance” (of water).

This one, you may have to think about for a minute, but seeing the two things side by side inspired me to remember…everything is relative, and I can choose different perspectives on things as time passes. (Forgive my rare derogatory, political comment, but seriously, have you ever seen a more condescending smile???)

 

Seeing that last one, I am moved, energized and inspired to encourage everyone I cross paths with to VOTE!!!

 

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2020/09/19/lens-artists-challenge-115-inspiration/Du

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #103: Theme Song 7/10/2020

VJ says, “Let’s have a little fun this week, discovering our current theme song.”

OK.

I am so boring.

I have a current favorite them song, but those who read my blog regularly are probably tired of this one.

It’s just that it still fits so perfectly for me…for these treacherous health times, for this political chaos, and for this long-needed, though painful racial upheaval.

So once again, pump up your volume and enjoy the music, the beautiful video and the message!

 

 

I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen

[Hook]
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

[Verse 1]
These times are poignant
The winds have shifted
It’s all we can do
To stay uplifted
Pipelines through backyards
Wolves howlin’ out front
Yeah, I got my crew but truth is what I want

Realigned and on point
Power to the peaceful
Prayers to the waters
Women at the center
All vessels open to give and receive
Let’s see the system brought down to its knees

[Hook]
Whoa, whoa
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Ooh, oo-ooh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh
Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh
Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh

[Verse 2]
I’m made of thunder
I’m made of lightning
I’m made of dirt, yeah
Made of the fine things
My father taught me that I’m a speck of dust
And this world was made for me
So let’s go and try our luck

[Bridge]
I got my roots down, down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down deep

I got my roots down, down, down
Down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down deep

I got my roots down (I got my roots down)
Down (I got my roots down)
Down deep (I got my roots down)

I got my roots down (I got my roots down)
Down (I got my roots down)
Down deep (I got my roots down)

[Verse 3]
So what are we doing here? What has been done?
What are you gonna do about it when the world comes undone?
My voice feels tiny and I’m sure so does yours
But put us all together, make a mighty roar
Roar

[Refrain]
I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen

 

Directors- Chloe Smith and Leah Song Cinematographer/Editor- Alex Allaux Movement Director- Justin Conte

https://www.risingappalachia.com/resilient-1

 

 

 

 

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/07/06/vjs-weekly-challenge-103-theme-song/VJ’s

Essay on Power (Warning: Political Content) 5/31/2020

(This post is dedicated to my beloved Warriors for Justice, who, of course, went down to Seattle to join in an important protest, or supported those who went by staying in contact all day. Many of the things in this post came from them, even during the chaos of the day.)

Unusual for me to be speaking out like this…I tend to steer clear of politics on my Blog (and actually in my life) but I am a 60’s Flower Child-Peacenik, currently living in the Seattle area so the last two nights of protesting the horrific death of George Floyd, have been rough.

Then seeing that too familiar evolution, from protesting into rioting, well, it all has me flashing back to my youth.

Even back then, during countess Vietnam war protests, and passionate civil rights work in the deep South, I rarely approached things politically. Instead, these were Spiritual events and times in my life.

I find the same is true for me now. Earlier in the week, when I heard the awful news story about George Floyd, the content of the video they showed, on TV and online, shocked and dismayed me. Somehow I selfishly related most closely to this one woman on the sidelines, screaming repeatedly, while she had to see that policeman commit that murder. Her panicked and desperate plea, rising above the crowd noise, was something like “He’s trying to talk to you. He’s trying to tell you something.”

I feel like I have been that woman my whole adult life…just trying to advocate…as loudly and as effectively as I possibly can. In a way, I’ve done it for my living. It is my life’s work.

Probably more than any other teacher, I have tried to live the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so this morning, I am spiritually crumpled…just crushed to have to see where we are right now, as a people. So much tragic, senseless, horrendous violence…

They are trying to tell us something.

THEY ARE TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING!!!

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I don’t however believe, like some, that all the work we all did back in the 1960’s was a waste, or was not successful. As the Dalai Lama says, “If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant”.

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I woke up this morning wondering if it was time to get out the poster board and paints, and find those old marching shoes? Or if it was time to think about how to pass on this baton I have held onto, mostly fiercely, for my whole adult life.

I’m still not sure but here’s how I am deciding.

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I pay very close attention to things that cross my path, no matter their form. If something is in my face, I believe I can learn from it. A song, a dream, a comment from a friend, an event, the squirrel on the bird feeder…again…anything can carry an important message. So when I woke up this morning with the movie (and book) Absolute Power, by David Baldacci on my mind, it stopped me…though it took some work to get at why. If you don’t know the story (spoiler alert) it is about who actually has absolute power over whom? The US President, over everyone? A black mailer over the President? Or a daughter over her father.

Huh? Yeah, that’s what I said too. What does this have to do with right now? What the heck is the lesson here?

But then I remembered my experience of the previous night.

Here’s how it went for me.

I am in our extremely remote Mountain Retreat, 300 miles from our home which is outside Seattle. I am alone here because James is gone, jamming with the guys tonight, some 50 minutes away from here. I know there are protests happening back in Seattle because several wonderful friends (the previously mentioned Warriors) are texting from the rally in downtown. I turn on the TV (we only get one live channel over here) to do my once-a-day check in on the virus, but am instead greeted with Breaking News interrupting the regular news programming.

Between the TV and my friends texting and sending live videos from Seattle, I now see the shit is hitting the fan all over the country. This is upsetting, and I no longer care about the stupid virus at all.

Then, interrupting the “Breaking News” about rioting, which has superseded the regular news, comes an Emergency Broadcast System Weather Warning, “crawling” across my screen, voice drowning out the riot newscaster’s.

I suddenly care a lot less about tear gas, rubber bullets and shots fired 292 miles away. I now have to gather up the cats, and prepare the house and cars for a huge thunder storm with 70 mile an hour winds, hail the size baseballs, oh, and probable TORNADOES, headed my way in a way shorter amount of time than it would take James to get home!

So the shift for me, of absolute power, went from one form of life and death, that is most likely to be present for the coming years, Covid 19 (unless we want to try drinking Lysol)

…to another, that will undoubtedly last at least until the election (“looting will lead to shooting” threatens our president?? “Our most vicious dogs will be sicced on protesters???”)

…and then finally, shifting once again to the most urgent absolute power of all…

Mother Nature.

No contest! Mother Nature (some might even call her God) wins hands down.

She’s just plain bigger and louder!

With her awesome weapons of hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, she wins every time!

So here’s what I’ve decided; I’m in too many high risk health categories to protest in a crowd these days, masks or not. I can’t even walk far enough to get in a good March but I am still with it enough to continue my spiritual journey. And I can still write my thoughts and beliefs and still look for things to inspire those younger (and healthier) than me.

I can pass on the baton but still wear this mantle for a while longer.

 

Here is some inspiration, and even ammunition, for the current battle for Power in our country.

Please listen and watch and do let me know if it is useful. I so want to be contributing!!

 

And an older, Jackson Browne, get-off-my-butt to fight song, that is still frighteningly true!!

 

All of our protesting in the 1960’s may not have made visible, permanent changes, that we get to actually see “in our lifetime”, but I would not trade a single minute of the deep, passion and purpose-filled, spiritual life I have been blessed to live.

And, with that wreath of flowers in my hair,  I still believe we will find our way…

 

 

PS Two more things about Seattle…1) you know you are there when the Police Force is riding their bikes, decked out in their shorts, and RIOT GEAR, and 2) the day after a riot you see this:

 

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Volunteers in Seattle, cleaning up after the riots the night before…