When I read about Eve Ensler’s global initiative to end violence against women and children, something stirred my soul and I cried. And not just for the women and girls around the world who have endured unimaginable pain and suffering, but also for my dear friends who are living (and some who are not) with the aftermath of sexual abuse. These wounds can be healed, but it takes a tremendous amount of work. How much better to put an end to this barbaric behavior by supporting the evolution of mankind. So tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, I’ll be dancing along with women in 197 countries. I hope you’ll join us!
If you’ve been agonizing over the Gulf crisis, you may be relieved to know that there’s something you can do that doesn’t require grabbing your hazmat suit and hopping on a plane to New Orleans.
A group of global visionaries put out a call last month to join them in an experiment in collective consciousness, The Gulf Call to Sacred Action. You simply sign up online to listen and participate in what is hoped to be the beginning of a new global movement of planetary healing.
The first call on June 26th led by Deepak Chopra, Lynne McTaggart, and Jean Houston, focused on setting intention. Deepak started by sharing an old Cree proverb:
“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
Of all the Evolutionary Leaders on the call, Lynne McTaggart, author, scientist, and architect of The Intention Experiments, has the most experience in the use of collective intention. Having conducted 21 large-scale experiments, she’s determined the effectiveness of her subjects’ focused attention on scientifically quantifiable targets in laboratories around the globe.
Lynne’s call to action for the Gulf crisis included finding positive intentions for BP; finding ways to move beyond our reliance on petroleum; and healing the rift between mankind and nature. She then challenged us to ‘power up’, focus, and actively imagine with all five senses BP correcting the Gulf situation as soon as possible while visualizing all the ecosystems restored to perfect health and imagining our connection with everyone else on the call. By working together in a group, it’s hoped that new and creative solutions will emerge that can be carried forward to change other world events.
To step up our collective efforts, Lynne has suggested that we send the following intention to BP’s engineers every day at 1pm EST, mentally imagining their success:
“My intention is for BP’s engineers to immediately and successfully divert the Deepwater Horizon oil leak with no long-term damage to the environment.”
Jean Houston, Senior Consultant to the UN in Human Development and co-director of The Foundation of Mind Research, suggested that we see this collective intention as an accomplished fact. She looks at this tragedy as the beginning of a new story – our entry into “high-level civilization” – a masterpiece of possibility to create new ways of being. To move humanity forward, she suggests that we use our senses more, explore our imaginations, and learn to nourish and support positive emotions. With a collective mind, we can empower higher modes of knowing that will empower those attempting to stop the oil hemorrhaging into the Gulf.
Barbara Marx Hubbard, President of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and co-founder of the World Future Society, believes that we may look back at this environmental catastrophe that has the potential to make the entire earth uninhabitable as the best thing that ever happened to us. Crisis proceeds transformation.
So there you are. Don’t you feel better already? I know I do. For me, joining with a group of dedicated people focused on healing the planet beats sitting around feeling helpless mired in the negativity of anger and resentment. The next call is Tuesday, July 6th at 8:30 pm EST. I hope you’ll join in!
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I’ve been wrestling with my unconscious – or maybe it’s the other way around.
Several weeks ago, the names ISHTAR and ISAIAH appeared to me in the middle of the night. By morning, I had no memory of a dream nor any visual clues – just the names. And neither of the them meant anything to me. All I could conjure up for Ishtar was the movie of the same name starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. As for Isaiah, I remembered him as a prophet, but that was it. But I felt strongly that these names held an important message for me.
I’ve since learned that Ishtar was the Babylonian goddess of love, sex, fertility, and war – the perfect embodiment of the opposing forces of life and death. Often described as bad-tempered, vengeful and cruel, her love was a curse to mortals and gods alike. In one myth, she descends to the underworld. After demanding admittance and threatening the gatekeeper with unimaginable horrors, she’s imprisoned. It’s not clear why Ishtar chose to take this journey, but a week later when I discovered Carl Jung’s recently-published opus, The Red Book, things began to fall into place. For Jung, too, took a trip to the underworld.
Jung’s journey to the depths began in 1913 with an uninvited, two-hour vision in broad daylight of a massive flood that covered land from the North Sea to the Alps. Two weeks later, he had a similar vision and then another and another that finally ended with a horrifying vision of a sea of blood. Unaware that the Great War was coming, Jung feared that he had lost his mind. What he came to realize was that he had lost his soul.
The Red Book: Liber Novus by C. G. Jung
Instead of turning away from these terrifying experiences, Jung embraced them. For the next 16 years, he induced what he called “active imaginations” by visualizing himself digging a hole and descending to the underworld to explore his unconscious mind. In his expeditions, he traveled the land of the dead where he met up with God, experienced the death of Christ, and engaged in dialogue with the prophet Elijah and his daughter, Salome, with the devil, monsters, and demons. He also met up with his soul in the form of a female figure who advised him not to fear madness, but to accept it and use it as a source of creativity.
These excursions, detailed in runic Latin and German calligraphy and illustrated with Jung’s own paintings, resulted in a 205-page red leather bound folio. And much to my amazement, I found that the very first page begins with quotes from ISAIAH.
I’ve been possessed by all of this for weeks. It seems obvious that my subconscious is trying to get me to look at my shadow self. But having grown up in the Midwest, I was taught to run away from the bogeyman, to repress my anger and my fears, to ‘put on a happy face’ and soldier on.
Dr. Stephen Diamond, a clinical and forensic psychologist and the author of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: the Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity, believes that we all cast shadows and that repression of anger and rage can result in violence. Only by unconditionally accepting ourselves as we are with our human imperfections can we let go of self-defeating attitudes and destructive behavior patterns. Further, he suggests that if we acknowledge and respect our daimonic impulses, we can make constructive use of their energy.
Before his encounter with ‘the spirit of the depths’, Jung had denied aspects of his personality. By age 40, he had accomplished everything he’d set out to do; he had a fulfilling family life and a successful career. But life had lost its meaning. With his singular focus on the cerebral, he had neglected his emotions. And of his soul, he said, “I had judged her and turned her into a scientific object.”
Jung’s walk on the dark side not only showed him the importance of nurturing the soul, but also convinced him that the shadow self was an integral part of life and needed to be affirmed. Ultimately, it led him to ‘the supreme meaning’ – “the path, the way and the bridge to what is to come.” For Jung, that turned out to be a new chapter in analytical psychology born from his experiences moving between the light and the dark. And in the end, he regained his soul.
It’s taken me decades to recognize and to accept my demons, but clearly, something’s up. My ‘spirit of the depths’ seems to be telling me that I’ve left a few stones unturned. Or maybe it’s saying that the time has come to transform my fears and unleash my creative impulses. I’m going with that.
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“So many of us are living limited lives not because we have to but because we think we have to.” – Dr. Bruce Lipton
Last December, my friend Mike told me that he was in Phase Three of his total makeover, or what has since become known as The Mikeover. He had completely revamped his wardrobe, dumped his old car and leased a new one, he was in the middle of finding new furnishings for his new condo and would soon be refurbishing his new office as the last act of his transformation.
WHAT? Who does this – especially in the midst of an economic downturn? I was intrigued. I had to know what prompted this great change. Did he wake up one morning, look around and say, “NOTHING IS WORKING – I HAVE TO START OVER”? It was a little like that, but as Mike said, “it all kind of snowballed organically”.
Over a year ago, our mutual friend Todd encouraged Mike to splurge on a pair of Gucci sunglasses. This may not seem like a big thing, but for Mike who grew up in a family of modest means with four siblings, this little luxury was the beginning of a shift in his perspective. Six months later Todd tempted him with a pair of Prada sunglasses (I know – what’s with the sunglasses already?) and that was it.
Mike’s wardrobe didn’t measure up to the glasses. And once he’d replaced it with ‘big boy clothes’, getting into and out of his 11-year-old Honda Civic hatchback just didn’t feel right. He’d had ‘New Car’ on his to do list for a few years, so this wasn’t an altogether random idea. So with his new Infiniti G37 coupe and his hot wardrobe, coming home to his ‘dump’ (his words, not mine) of an apartment didn’t feel right either. There were termites. There was an inconsiderate stomping, yelling upstairs neighbor. And he didn’t feel at home in his neighborhood. ‘New Apartment’ had been on Mike’s list, too, but it took the momentum of The Mikover to make it happen. Since then he’s moved into a condo in a swank building downtown San Francisco, filled it with ‘big boy’ furniture, and he’s having a house-warming party next weekend. YAY Mike!
With three phases complete, I was dying to know what impact all the changes had had on my friend. Did he feel different about himself? Were people responding to him differently? And here, in Mike’s words, is the answer:
“I feel like I’ve grown up. I shifted from ‘good enough’ to having the things I really want and know work for me. I feel as if I’m living externally the stylish part of life for the first time ever, and it feels gratifying and good – especially knowing that I didn’t have to pay through the nose for it. I never thought I could afford designer clothes, great furniture, etc., but Todd showed me that having great stuff doesn’t necessarily mean having to spend a lot of money. I feel like I deserve it and that I earned it. And I am immensely grateful for it every day.”
Mike’s story has me thinking about my mother. She, too, lived modestly, but sometimes she entertained fantasies about a life of luxury . “If only I had a million dollars,” she used to say. Then she would do – what? Go on a cruise? Buy a new car? She was never able to tell me what she’d do if someone handed her a big check, but the implication was that if this would occur, she would be happy at last.
Like my mother, many people believe that they have to ‘HAVE’ something in order to ‘DO’ something and then they will ‘BE’ successful and/or happy. But it doesn’t work that way.
In her article, Become the Change, Colette Baron Reid says that to manifest the life we want, we must align our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the experience we want to create. In other words, imagine yourself being the person you want to be, take action toward your goal, and you will create what you want.
And in Conversations with God, Book 3, God/Neale Donald Walsch says, “Live the grandest version of the greatest vision you ever had about Who You Are. Begin the living of it by declaring it.”
That’s what Mike did.
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A few months ago, I stumbled upon six guys dancing their guts out to wild African music on So You Think You Can Dance. I got so excited that I jumped up and started moving. And I promised myself right then and there that I would find a way to start dancing again.
DANCE had been at the top of my ‘to do’ list for years. But every time I even thought about dancing, my goblin appeared and provided a laundry list of reasons why I couldn’t do it. I was too busy. I didn’t need to dance because I was doing Tai Chi. And besides, I couldn’t possibly find a decent school; after all, I didn’t live in New York any more.
But after my reading with Dr. Steven Farmer last fall when he advised that dancing would help bring about the changes I felt coming, something shifted and I was finally able to give myself permission to do what I wanted to do.
All of a sudden, I had plenty of time. And a quick Google search revealed a dance school affiliated with a world-renowned dance company within walking distance from my house. Best of all, the school’s mission to provide students an opportunity ‘to re-connect heart and mind’ could not have been more perfect for me.
From the very first class, I was hooked. The teacher was so full of joy and passion that even though I hadn’t put my body through such a rigorous workout for a quarter century, I made every effort to jump and leap across the floor with the 20- and 30-somethings.
I’m not saying I succeeded. In fact, I could barely follow the choreography and my lungs were imploding halfway through the class. As I walked home – very slowly – every muscle, every sinew, every tendon – in short, every cell in my body was screaming, “What have you done? What do you think you’re doing?”
It was my goblin again. But this time I wasn’t going to listen. I loved the feeling of pure joy I’d experienced so much that I knew I had but one choice, and that was to put my goblin to rest and step outside my self-imposed prison.
Spiritual intuitive Colette Baron-Reid uses the term goblin to describe the shadow self whose job it is to keep us stuck in our current reality. When our intuition surfaces encouraging us to do something that would disrupt the status quo, the goblin does its best to keep us from paying attention to it. According to Reid, we can free ourselves from this entity by acknowledging it and transforming it into an ally.
Cellular biologist and pioneer in the science of epigenetics, Dr. Lipton produced breakthrough studies in the early ’80’s connecting the principles of quantum physics and the information-processing systems of the cell. His research showed that the outer layer of the cell is the cell’s equivalent of the brain. This ‘cellular intelligence’ allows the exterior environment to operate through the cell membrane and to control the cell’s behavior and physiology. These discoveries not only challenged the established scientific belief that life is controlled by the genes, but also pointed to the power of the mind.
How exciting is that? If our cells respond to our thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions, it would seem that we can use our conscious mind to create health, happiness, abundance – anything and everything we desire. But this is possible only if our thoughts are in harmony with our subconscious programming.
Over the past decade, Dr. William A. Tiller, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science, has expanded the proof that human intention does affect physical reality. When we repeat emotional processes over and over, our brains create neural pathways that direct our behavior. Using brain scans, Dr. Tiller’s research showed that when we imagine something long enough and with enough detail and energy, new neural networks are created.
This would explain why meditation, visualization, and affirmations work. Simply making the choice for a change can work, too. If you’ve been yearning to do/create/try something new and you’re meeting with resistance, look your goblin straight in the eye and JUST DO IT!
*Thanks to celebrity portrait photographer and recording artist Lynn Goldsmith for the title of this post inspired by her self-help comedy album of the same name.
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