know your no

Homophones bring me joy. I love language, so I love deciphering not only words and meanings, but connections between words and meanings. Connection is the starting point of all significance.

The English words “know” and “no” are fun to play with and tease. “Know” represents a specific type of awareness, generally understood by “westerners” to root in the physical. When one attempts to explain how one knows of or about something others cannot physically sense, that knowledge is called into question. It’s an extremely immature and unscientific response, especially given what we now understand about atoms and molecules and all things microscopic, yet it persists.

We will not limit our understanding of the word “know” in that manner for this thread of thought.

The word “no” represents rejection. We might say it represents negativity, but I feel that is a repetition. Rejection is the primary intention behind use of the word “no”.

When we think of “know” as awareness and “no” as rejection, we ride a specific wavelength. There’s a certain energy there that is fun to explore. Can we be aware of one thing without limiting our awareness of something else? Isn’t rejection an example of limitation, as well?

Both words energetically represent limitation. When we focus too much upon what we know, we limit ourselves and our human experiences. There is more that we don’t know than we ever shall know. To be mindful of this is to grow past the limitations of knowledge. Yet, that does not make knowledge insignificant. With knowledge, one can more carefully cultivate one’s lived experiences. To know something is to further inform the way one travels; that information (in-formation) is a good thing, if one can label things good.

“No” is another powerful limitation that informs how we move through our space and time. I love it when a baby first learns the word “no”. It’s the first verbal sign that they are learning how to reject what doesn’t work for them, and that is a vital part of the human experiences. No one accepts everything that comes their way, unless they’re on a very specific spiritual path. And, even then, those folks have said “no” to “no”.

We all limit our experiences in one way or another.

The trick, as I see it, is conscious limitation. Are you aware of what you are rejecting and what you are accepting? Do you know what is going on in your life?

In our current dysfunctional, American society, both “know” and “no” have become vilified ideas and words. Certain people would prefer we remain ignorant and just accept what was handed to us by previous generations and the “powers that be”. To know the problems and reject them… that has become a contentious plot point. It’s not our first time here, but it may be the last time. Those who depend upon our ignorance and acceptance of injustice and hatred know this, but do the rest of us? As more of us become aware of how much power we hold (all of it), the plot will thicken and all may seem lost.

When things seem bleak is the most powerful place for “know” and “no”.

Know what you know. Reject what you reject. But, remember that what you know is not ALL there is to know. Don’t remember that from a fearful or anxiety-ridden awareness; remember it so that you can step into the power of the unknown (also all of it). When you surrender, only surrender to your faith and trust in how what you know has given you a glimpse of how amazing and wonderful and beautiful what you don’t know can be… and walk into it. You know, now, what to reject. You are proficient in saying “no” to what doesn’t serve you and the rest of humanity.

Now is the time to know that you know how good life can be. And, make it so.

make magic

I hope this day finds you crying.

Crying out in laughter, tears streaming down your howling face.

Crying with tears of love, your heart radiating so brightly it hides the sun in the sky.

Cry tears of grief that leave room for the sweetness you missed while lamenting the bitters.

Cry out in the pain of birthing a new you, stomping upon fallen, wet leaves within the forest of your mind.

May you leave your mind and find a space that calls out for your voice, your tears creating new rivers and oceans, like the Mothers of olde.

Surely, you realize this Earth is no mistake. She exists because women like you, women with their tears and love and anguish and joy, have always existed.

Thank you for continuing the tradition of crying, for tears contain salt and salt has always been a healer and cleanser.

The salt of this Earth is women like you.

You, woman.

end/beginning

We are coming upon a time that some of humanity’s peoples traditionally thought of as the ending of one year and the beginning of another. The time to reap and harvest was perceived as a reasonable beginning point for time.

Other peoples perceived Spring to be a good time to begin the new year, as Mama Earth was awakening.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the differences between a life lived from a sense of personal control (harvest) and a life lived from natural abundance (Spring). I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how agrarian cultures lose their connection to the Divine through their worship of their own achievements, even though that was not the original practice.

We live in an agrarian culture. Or, at least, a culture that was formed during an agrarian period.

I often wonder how that’s serving us.

If it’s not serving us, anymore… Have we picked up something better? Are the expectations we are currently normalizing and cultivating an improvement? Or are we disconnected further?

Time will tell. Perhaps this month. Perhaps in March.

photo courtesy of Mother Earth and Aaron Burden

pray not prey

What if every word we utter is a prayer? (And, it is.)

What are you praying for? The Divine loves you so much that your devoted wish is practically a command.

Know, then, that your words matter.

Know, then, that “no” is just as much a conviction as “yes”.

So many people will tell you that the Universe doesn’t hear “no”. If you repeat, “Not this. Not this. Not this.”, they say the Universe only hears, “This. This. This.”

Blasphemy.

When have the Universe and the Divine not been One? And, the Divine hears and honors all “no”s. All of them.

The problem isn’t the “no”. The “no” is perfect. Perfectly whole. But, not perfectly complete.

The Divine works in completion.

So, while “Not this” is a perfectly whole prayer, it is not a complete player.

The Universe works in completion.

There is no lack of movement in the Universe. You can stop. For a time, you can stop. But, there must be some movement in a direction after stopping.

All stops are pauses.

And, the movement after the stop, after the pause… you get to decide the direction. But, if you have not chosen a direction, you will feel like the Universe has only heard “This” when you said “Not this.”

This is the beauty of living.

You are in control. You don’t have total control, because this life is generous to ALL of us. Simultaneously, all of us are co-creating, generating, praying.

Do you know you’re praying? Do you know your whispers are written in triplicate, copied a billion times over for the benefit of all?

When you know, do you change your words? Do you shift your utterances, lifting all of humanity in a verbal embrace?

Words are prayers of healing.

How many of us are healing by death?

the peace pilgrim

I never think of myself as protesting against something, but rather as witnessing for harmonious living. Those who witness for, present solutions. Those who witness against, usually do not– they dwell on what is wrong, resorting to judgment and criticism and sometimes even name-calling.

Peace Pilgrim

gently, gently

How fragile are you?

This is an important question for human beings to ask themselves, if they intend to move beyond the limitations to which they’ve been socialized.

How fragile are you?

So many of us want people to be gentle with their correction. We have normalized an idea that we perform better as humans when people are tender with us. Is that true? Or is it a symptom of the normalization of trauma?

How fragile are you?

Societies that have normalized violation and violence (same thing) create people who constantly feel violated and oppressed. This is to be expected, but it’s not the only kind of people created. Because societies are the larger culture and families are the smaller culture in which people are socialized, family culture can transmute the more harmful societal norms and keep people from internalizing them too deeply.

How fragile are you?

What did your family teach you about power? Did it teach you that other people have more of it than you? Did it teach you that everyone has power and it is possible to take the power of others? Did it teach you that power is shared? or that power is synonymous with capital? There are so many lessons that we learn about power and, simultaneously, powerlessness.

How fragile are you?

Here’s a tip: human beings are created to enter this world through a trip through a vagina. We are formed in the womb in a way that gives us the ability to shift and be squeezed through a hole that widens to a 10cm radius. Not 10 inches. 10cm.

How fragile are you?

Could you possibly be more fragile now than you were at birth?

Perhaps it’s time to stop nursing your fragility. Life is not gentle. Beautiful, yes. Gentle, no. Birth teaches us that. We can fall into alignment with life and be beautiful ourselves, but we won’t be gentle. Gentle is not the opposite of violation. Gentleness is completely subjective. It is a sensory experience and no one can predict how your senses operate.

When I ask you to be gentle with me, I am asking you to prioritize your assumption about how I will feel about something. There are times for this approach, but it’s always rooted in fear.

How fragile are you?

Only as fragile as you allow fear to convince you you are.

Here’s another tip: Being conditioned to weakness does not make you fragile or requiring of gentleness. Strength is not a fact; strength is a perception.

photo courtesy of Lubo Minar on unsplash

craze(d)

Many of us spend a lot of time trying to understand crazy.

I’m talking about true crazy, not fun crazy. I’m not using crazy as a synonym for amazing or even incomprehensible (because sometimes we call things crazy simply because we can’t understand them). I’m not talking about people with mental health issues.

I’m talking about crazy as in harmful. To me, that is true crazy. It is absolutely insane to go around harming folks and the planet on a regular basis. And, people who have an entire life agenda around harming others, whether rooted in trauma (of course it is) without a lot of thought or with intention, are an example of true crazy.

Why do we spend so much time and effort trying to understand them?

Why do we spend so much time and effort assuming we should be able to understand them?

Why do we spend so much time and effort assuming they can be understood?

To understand something, one uses the logical aspects of thinking. What is rational about trying to cause harm?

Nothing.

That’s what makes it crazy!

How much of your precious life has been spent trying to understand what is incomprehensible?

I think this mentality around understanding is why so many folks argue with people who hold fundamental differences of opinion about life.

We have many, many people on the planet who are working for human rights. All human beings are born with certain rights, as inhabitants of life on planet Earth, and not all of us recognize that. But, many of us do and those people work to help others recognize it.

And, explanations are fine with a person who truly doesn’t understand something. But, do we know the difference between a lack of comprehension and a lack of acceptance?

Most of what many of us try to educate around doesn’t work. Why? Because the person we are trying to educate does not accept that our premise is true. We tell ourselves that what we are dealing with is a lack of understanding. Sometimes, we go as far as to tell ourselves we’re dealing with a lack of empathy. Those are very prideful and egocentric views of disagreement.

We’re often just dealing with a lack of acceptance.

If a person rejects, or does not accept, your premise, how are you going to make any headway with that person? You’re not. You will just be locked in a battle, assuming you don’t know how to have enough consideration for that person to leave them alone.

Assuming that people are just too dumb to get your point is an impediment to getting your point across. And, that’s the message behind continuing to “explain” something to someone who disagrees with you.

A lack of understanding is not the foundation to disagreement; a lack of acceptance is.

And, here’s the major point, for those of us trying to lead sane lives: People don’t have to accept your ideas.

You have to accept your ideas. No one else. We have all been gifted with free will. We can all live exactly as we choose. We can say what we want. We can believe what we want.

Why does that sound so good to us until we meet someone whose living, words, and beliefs are reprehensible to us?

Of course, there are extremes to being out of agreement with one another. Mass exploitation, enslavement, genocide, any form of systemic oppression. I’m not saying it’s okay for those things to exist. I’m saying that the people who support those concepts are not doing so because they don’t understand your points about how bad they are. They support those concepts because they don’t accept your points about how bad they are.

In a few occasions in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to dissect a point with a person who disagreed with me. We would agree upon every, single small point leading up to the larger point and STILL disagree on the larger point. We agreed on the path, but disagreed on the destination. How did the same path lead us to different places?

That was so fascinating to me, that I could totally agree upon the nuances of a point with someone and still disagree on the larger point, that I started thinking more about how I view the concept of understanding.

I realized that I view understanding as a moral issue, not an act of rationale. But, understanding is not a moral issue. So, I had to rearrange my relationship with understanding.

I suggest we all really sit down with our relationship with the concept of understanding and see where we have misunderstood the concept. Because misunderstanding the concept of comprehension will only lead to misunderstanding our fellow human beings.

And, misunderstanding each other is where relationships (or the potential for relationships) fall apart.

At this point in my life, I no longer try to understand crazy. I no longer try to convince people of my points (unless both parties are enjoying a bit of verbal sparring…I love a good debate/argument). I no longer assume something is wrong with you because you have reached a different conclusion than I have.

We get to think our own ways. Who am I to tell you how you should think? Or believe? Or live? Or behave? If you are not my child, it is not my responsibility to educate you, unless you have requested my insight.

That’s also what blogs are for. I’ve stopped using the people in my environment and started using tools like blogging to share my unrequested thoughts about life. That’s just me trying to be considerate of those around me.

Certain things are crazy, if you ask me. It’s crazy to live a life of intentional (or unintentional) harm. But, another human being simply disagreeing with me about life is not inherently crazy.

It would be crazy for me to assume it was.

love is a given

What do you deserve?

Who is going to give it to you?

I grew up with those questions asked along materialistic lines. Lately, I’ve been asking myself those questions as they pertain to relationships.

Personally, I’ve experienced a lot of trauma in the form of relationships. The people who claim to care the most about me have, historically, been the most dangerous people in my life. At a certain point, something so traumatic happened to me that I chose to push the reset button on my life.

Since then, I have made dramatic changes and blossomed into a much happier version of myself. I have a lot to appreciate.

Many, many moons ago, I began asking myself what I deserved, because I felt so resentful. Resentment is often the result of not getting what feels one deserves. And, I was pretty justified in feeling resentment, but I didn’t want that feeling to define my existence.

Feeling a way that makes sense, given what you’ve been through, and choosing to not prioritize feeling that way, anymore, is a paradigm shift. And, paradigm shifts often feel painful and/or destabilizing. Because they are.

So many of us just become what we were programmed to be by the choices of others. If I look at what I was programmed to be, I see two, distinct potentials. I was programmed to be stereotypically successful in a capitalistic society. Meaning, I should be a highly paid professional right now. I had the grades and aptitude for it. But, I knew that wouldn’t make me happy. I was much more interested in justice and humanity than I was in power and control.

The other thing I was programmed to be is… broken. I was programmed to always put others first, no matter how much they abused me. I was programmed to feel ashamed of myself. I was programmed to follow the rules, even when they hurt me and others. I was programmed to accept much less while giving much more.

I was programmed for defeat.

So, how was I going to be successful and defeated? I wasn’t, unless I underwent a serious bout of narcissism. You have to develop a personality disorder to become successful materially while being broken emotionally.

Instead, I chose to live as human a life as possible. I didn’t know what I was doing, because I wasn’t raised around or by people who prioritized their humanity. But, I just kept moving in the direction that felt true for me.

I did a pretty decent job considering I didn’t know how to have healthy relationships. And, at the foundation of all human dignity is healthy relationship. Relationship with others, relationship with self, relationship with the natural world.

When I pushed the reset button on my life, I began to focus upon relationships. As a result, I gained a lot of clarity around how dysfunctional most of the people in my life were, how dysfunctional I was. Clearing up that dysfunction has been the primary focus of the past decade of my life.

I’m doing a pretty decent job considering there are so many dysfunctional people to choose from.

Since I’m highly analytical, I’ve been reading about and watching non-dysfunctional people. I’ve been studying how non-dysfunctional people make decisions and choose relationships. I’ve been understanding dysfunction in a new way. I’ve been accepting that it’s truly challenging to be non-dysfunctional in a dysfunctional society.

But, it’s definitely possible.

The more I grappled with dysfunction, the more I grappled with trauma. The more I grappled with trauma, the more I grappled with empathy. The more I grappled with empathy, the more I grappled with compassion. The more I grappled with compassion, the more I grappled with fear. The more I grappled with fear, the more I grappled with my understanding of love.

I realized that we, as a modern society, understand very little about love.

I have moved from focusing upon dysfunction and healing to focusing upon embodying love. What does that look like? When we say we love someone, what do we really mean?

I have found that the love of someone living from a traumatized mentality means very little, indeed. But the love of someone who embodies Self-love means just as little. That’s the paradox of love.

Love isn’t the thing. Love is the EVERYthing.

I think once we understand that, we start to realize that using love as an excuse to hold on when we need to let go is a lie. That’s not love. Love just is. Love has no parameters or expectations, it simply exists.

Because of that, love does not end.

Now, when I ask myself what I deserve, I think about love. “Is this the most loving version of this relationship?” If not, what do I want to do?

“Is this the most loving version of this moment?” If not, what do I want to do?

I have accepted that love doesn’t need to be given. It simply exists. So, when I ask myself what I deserve… it’s love. And, when I ask myself who is going to give it to me… it’s me. And, it’s life. And, no one needs to give it to me because it’s a given. What I’ve come to realize is that when I think I’m grappling with love, I’m really just grappling with the barriers to love.

And, sometimes, those barriers look like people. And, I choose not to grapple with people I love, anymore. If we cannot love without conflict or barriers, let us love outside of conflict and barriers.

I’ve accepted that that sometimes feels like a lack of love to the other person. But, truth is not reliant upon feelings. That’s part of the beauty of everything true.

(it is not) enough

Are you centered?

Are you grounded?

Do you know how to live a centered, grounded life?

Do you know how to become centered, grounded at will?

It is not enough to know things. Data. Scientific knowledge. These are nothing but tools. And, tools in the hands of a madman are weapons.

You were born with tools that are still relevant, regardless of what is going on in the world. You don’t need to rely upon the tools of (hu)mankind, because you have the tools of humanity.

The tools of humanity are:

radical love

curiosity

breath

movement

creativity

None of these tools can be turned against the possessor without the possessor’s permission. What we call the mind is truly curiosity. When thinking ceases being curious and remains constant in a particular direction outside of curiosity, the mind is now the mindless.

We use our creativity outside of curiosity combined with breath and radical love, and we create needless chaos.

Chaos often looks like rules. Rules that should be followed no matter what. Rules that have paradoxes built into them.

Many will tell you life, itself, is chaos. But, what evidence do we have of that? The acts of humankind are often chaotic, but humankind has moved outside of life. Humankind has sought, for many years, to control and manipulate life rather than be an example of life. That is chaos at its finest.

The idolatry of the human mind, of human thought, is the misuse of humanity’s tools and will always lead to more harm than benefit. We are not the epitome of life; therefore, our thinking is not the epitome of thought.

We idolize ourselves to our own peril.

Let us put down the tools of (hu)mankind. Those tools are:

righteousness

fear

comparison

polarity

condemnation

These are the tools (weapons) of an imperfect being striving for unattainable perfection. Radical love can assimilate any of those tools (weapons).

Because radical love is an inherently assimilating force and our human nature is radical love, we are always striving toward assimilation… even when we are allowing our humanity to be weaponized.

Assimilation is not the opposite of individualism. Assimilation as a result of radical love does not mean we all became the same. It simply means we all become one. And, since we are all one, anyway, radical love does not alter our status.

Radical love simply enhances what is already here.

Have you ever been in love with someone and they looked so very beautiful and attractive to you? But, when you were no longer in love with that person, you looked at them and wondered what you ever saw in them.

That is the power of radical love. It helps us to see the beauty all around us and enhances our powers of attraction. But, the attraction is only for everyone’s benefit. That is what healing is all about.

Radical love is the simplest antidote to idolatry.

Will you try it?

photo courtesy of Will O at unsplash