Category Archives: Shifting

Grieving, Singing and Shifting

“Even if the whole universe is nothing but a bunch of jerks doing all kinds of jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk.” – Eihei Dogen (1200-1253 C.E.) as rendered by Brad Warner in his book Don’t be a Jerk

7 stages of grief

Yesterday, I watched part of Matt Khan’s latest talk, The End of the Old Paradigm. This was recorded after last week’s election. Matt postulates that the universe is actively helping us to evolve by moving us from the dormant state of divinity, which is the darkness of judgement to the active state of divinity, which is the light of gratitude. Even if we are getting down on ourselves because in this moment we cannot feel any gratitude, we can let go of our self judgement about that. Matt suggested that we all have to go through the seven stages of grief to let go of the old paradigm. Namely, an ego-dominated state where we are rooted in judgement, fear and greed. The new paradigm where we recognize one another as equal despite our differences, leads us into a heightened state of benevolence.  We cannot rush our natural process. So, wherever we are with our reactions, we can love and honor ourselves right where we are.

This talk was helpful to me as I was walking on a treadmill at the gym.  It minimized my viewing of the seven TV screens reporting news that usually provokes my judgement, anger and sadness.

Matt caught my attention when he asked how reality could get our technologically advanced culture, living in denial, to look up from our cell phones.  Putting the “TV host of The Apprentice” in charge of the free world has certainly made us look up and around. Hopefully, it will cause us to reconnect with one another directly. It is time to stay aware, even if we are in stages of confusion, anger and sadness. It is vital to stand up for one another’s human rights while working through until we can enter into the advanced grieving stages of acceptance and hope.

While wrestling with our ability to deal with current events in a loving way, Julia and I visited an out of town friend.  He is a fellow musician who told us about singing for another friend’s father in hospice.  He started singing and was amazed that his friend’s father, who had advanced Alzheimer’s, knew and sang every word. I recalled singing for my uncle Si, who had such advanced dementia he could no longer even remember his wife. The night I sang for him was their anniversary.  As we gathered around in celebration, my uncle Si became lucid and sang every word with conviction and a passionate connection.  Singing opened a window in his memory and for that one night, he remembered my aunt and who he was.

This past weekend Julia and I were at a Folk Alliance conference. When we arrived, everyone was somewhat distraught. By the end of the weekend, everyone remembered who they were and the significance of what we do individually and together. Singing has a power to reconnect and realign us to who we are. We may not be able to force, or negotiate our way through our process of collective grieving in order to let go of or die to the old paradigm but perhaps we can sing our way through.  Even if you don’t think you have a good voice, you can still hum a few bars.

During the weekend, my friend Kirk Siee, a grand stand-up bass player, gave me his copy of Brad Warner’s Don’t Be a Jerk. This is Brad’s radical but reverent paraphrasing of Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, which says, “We touch the deepest experience of all human beings throughout history when we allow ourselves to be truly quiet.”

Don't be a Jerk

So, perhaps be silent and sing, sing quietly, sing in the silence, but don’t silence the singing of your being!

Alzheimers disease and Music Therapy

 

Rebecca Trobe- Impacting the Great Turning

Perimeters change as we contemplate who we are and what we can achieve.  Level the obstacles by mapping out a sure course and following the love inherent within your path.  Match unlimited aspiration with unlimited service.  We are the generators of positive change and benevolent reconfiguration.  The steel structures of binding separation weigh heavily on the shoulders of mankind. We are here to promote the memory of a balanced humankind with emphasis on the kind. To recognize one another and especially the role that women play for the true healing and reclaiming of this planet, we can shift away from our charade of domination and relax into a merging of our individual streams into an ocean that reflects the infinite.

********************************************************************************

rebecca-trobeYesterday Julia and I got to have lunch with our friend Rebecca Trobe who is incredibly delicious. Some friends give you a natural battery charge. My uncle Jeff used to say that if you run on your own, no matter how charged your battery is, you will run down. But if you plug into the wall socket you can keep going. Rebecca is plugged in. She is the founder of Impact Coaching & Consulting. She works with individuals, couples, families and philanthropic organizations to help them invest their wealth generationally towards things that will benevolently boost their communities and the world.

She talked about the circuit that is completed when folks with money who don’t know what to do with it are connected to things that really help foster positive change.  It not only lifts their esteem and gives them purpose but it ushers in hope. 

She talked about the circuit that is completed when folks with money who don’t know what to do with it are connected to things that really help foster positive change.  It not only lifts their esteem and gives them purpose but it ushers in hope.

Look at the Medici family in Italy. They might have been just a bunch of old rich villains but because of people like Rebecca, the Medici helped to bring us the Renaissance.

It’s all about using intelligence, charm and a juicy heart to direct people towards what is really possible.

She talked about the author Joanna Macy and The Great Turning, which is something that is taking place right now. It is a transition from Industrial Growth Society to a Life Sustaining Society.  The mindset of our society dictates what happens to the planet and all of us on it. This is determined by the way we set our goals and measure our success.  Success is measured in terms of growth and growth of what?   “Health, longevity, wisdom, beauty… or profit?” Ms. Macy points out that our economy is just trying to maximize one aspect, namely profit so we can’t sustain balance.  Actions that slow down destruction of the industrial society (soup kitchens, protest marching, legislation etc.) are not enough. We need alternative structures, ancient ways of growing foods, new education to wake each other up. But that is not enough.  Change must be deeply rooted in our values, in our belief of what is worthwhile.

The shift in consciousness is happening. Wisdom traditions are coming forward; science is coming up with new ways of seeing the interconnectedness of all life. (Quantum theory, Holographic theory, Chaos theory) There is a scientific and spiritual revolution that is bringing about this Great Turning and we are a part of it.

“It means that life can go on and that can be an exquisite reason to get out of bed in the morning.” – Joanna Macy

joannamacyPQ3

Knowing Rebecca as we do and how right on she is in terms of her authenticity and intention, we know that she is working for the Great Turning every day. Not only when she goes to work but when she is hanging out, wherever she is.  We are always encouraged and inspired when we see her because we remember that is our aim as well.

You are obviously a Great part of what makes life here so sweet.  Thanks for being here!  Let’s carry on together!

Stream of Light 12-22-14

Where love imposes new ideas we cringe but in a more malleable state, concur.  
What is the essence of fear and dread?
Becoming inconsequential, as if we never were, insignificant.
Being separated, isolated, alone; 
Losing Love.
 
Bring what you have to the table.
 
Increase what is given to you by implementing the grace into something that is transferrable.
 
Listen to what comes through without needing to bully it into submission.
 
Contemplate what makes us recognizable to one another.
This voice, this smile.
Why are they different?
Who does the distinguishing?
 
Where our roots lie our potential for connection is deep but we vibrate at various frequencies. 
What catches us in fullness and allows for our greatest outpouring maybe outside of our heritage.  
(There is no outside within.)

 

Take up your post and beam out hope!

Sometimes it seems that we are placed within various mediums and appointed posts throughout the spectrum of humanities’ belief system to remind us that the stream flows through everything.
Cat Stevens seemed to disappear into Islam only to remerge as Yusef.  The Peace Train is still in motion with a voice that helps us understand the sweet breadth and depth of Muslims in our midst, while laying down tracks to the universal depot.
My good friend Jordan Anderson seemed to disappear into Hip-Hop only to reemerge as Zwill. His latest video “Don’t Trip” is a call out to those struggling with sadness and isolation; a rope of hope on the waters of despair.
“Hold on just when your loosing your grip.”
“I can hear your voice I can hear your distant yell and I’m sending love to your every little cell.”
“Whatever shit your facing, never get to hating. There’s no such thing as problems, only situations. So face them, embrace them, even when your aching. Stay moving. Be patient. Keep waiting.  Whose advice have you been taking? ‘Cause first it fits great and then it starts chaffing. So take it off. Let your mind get naked.  Skinny dip, the water’s amazing.
Don’t you think our little blue dot is worth saving? That’s what I’m saying.
Whatever continent you stay in, I’m praying that we can join up on occasion and purify the water when the clouds start raining.
Life is heavy but as much as it’s weighing, there’s strength you haven’t even touched yet, I see it there. And when it hurts, at least your still breathing air.
I send you love, may you always be aware.” – Zwill
__________________
” Self-scrutiny, relentless observance of one’s thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience.  It pulverizes the stoutest ego. But true self-analysis mathematically operates to produce seers. … Man can understand no eternal verity until he has freed himself from pretensions. The human mind, bared to a centered slime, is teeming with the repulsive life of countless world-delusions. Struggles of the battlefield pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inner enemies! … The one who practices a scalpel self-dissection will know an expansion of universal pity. Release is given him from the deafening demands of his ego.”
– Tall wandering sadhu talking to the young Yogananda from
Autobiography of a Yogi
Those that have wrestled with their angels and seen the intertwined suffering of the chain we have unwittingly wrapped around one another, can believe that it is merely depression they struggle with. As artists in our various mediums, from carpenters to teachers, therapists, musicians, actors, illustrators, instructors, mothers, fathers… we are vulnerable to what we perceive and what we hope to see for those we love and want to share our love with.
Here are
We can see within their ranks those who have provided us with strong tools to mine some laughing sanity in the shuffling madness*.
Douglas Adams- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…
Woody Allen- Midnight in Paris…
Agatha Christie- Poirot and Miss Marple…
Charles Dickens-  The Pickwick Papers…
T.S. Elliot- Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Vincent Van Gough- Starry Night…
Michalangelo- David…
Abraham Lincoln-  Emancipation Proclamation…
(*- reference to Locomotive Breath/ Jethro Tull)
 
Let’s take up our posts and beam out a message of hope for those who think they are in the void alone.

 

Stream of Light 12/1/2014

Getting along, along the Loxahatchee river

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful and that you can breathe around the middle.
My family was invited up to Jupiter, Florida where a friend of my dad’s had purchased four houses along the Loxahatchee river and connected them via a boardwalk into a compound.  His friend passed away this year and his widow invited us up for Thanksgiving.  My folks extended her generosity and invited the extended family until there were 21 of us enjoying the hospitality and the incredible views off the docks.

A few of us, who are known for being a bit whoo whoo, sent up a treatment for a magical week with no drama.
I am happy to say it worked.  Sending up an intention is no guarantee, but it does help and increases our chances for success.
The hardest thing is to remember to see the people who have a history of not being our favorite differently.
My mom told us a story of another family reunion in which, among the guest list, there were these two cousins. Mostly everyone loved the one cousin and thought the other cousin was mean and bit crabby. As the ‘mean and crabby’ cousin was coming down the steps to the party, my mom’s sister waved at her thinking she was the cousin everyone loved.  Well, this “mean and crabby” cousin, seeing this mistaken reaction to her arrival, lit up and was absolutely delightful and lovely all weekend.
“The most important decision we ever make is whether we believe we live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe.”
-Albert Einstein
Our host for the week was an amazing woman who, once a month uses the houses to host wounded warriors and their families.  They get to fish and swim, are taken out on a boat, one night her and her team watch the kids so the Vet and his or her spouse can go out for a fancy meal alone.  Our host said their gratitude and appreciation makes the work worthwhile.  Yet she confessed to me that after a few days, even in this beautiful heavenly spot, this one is fighting with that one… “To see a family that seems to really like each other like yours,” she said, “is very refreshing.”

I give the credit to my folks who are so giving with such a generous spirit and amazing sense of humor that accepts you where you are while cheerleading your stronger self, most of my friends have asked if they can adopt themselves into the family.
May you be adopted into an open-armed existence that values you for what you are and nourishes what you have to give!

Stream of Light 11-17-14

Stream of Light 8/20/14

What is in our mind’s eye is there as a token of what we need to learn to let go of.  All concepts are a barrier to being with the present and with our true reality.  Still, it is ok to be where we are.  Thinking is a tool, a means but not the end.  What is known in the heart when you look at the blossoms of Spring is something that goes beyond thought.  To hold all extremes in our frame and become balenced within is to know wisdom.  Getting snagged on the pettiness of one emotion or thought is to be snared and mired.  Let yourself flow in the stream of being while your dark thoughts, fears and the ageold need for revenge become funeral pyres, ashes in the stream.

King Lear Laughs

Here is a video of The Levins singing a new song inspired by King Lear: The Levins at the Towne Crier, Beacon, NY – God’s Spies
  King Lear is essentially us in our pride needing to know how much we are loved.  That which loves us the most purely and ineffably seems to remain silent while that which is false proclaims it has our best interest at heart and once we have separated ourselves from what is essential to us, we go mad.  However, if before we are lead away to our supposed doom, we recognize the love that was always there, we can walk off the stage in the fullness of our being, “..and sing and tell old tales and laugh at gilded butterflies and take upon us the mystery of things… as if we were God’s spies.”*
 *- King Lear Act 5, Scene 3- Shakespeare
Old Will Shakespeare has 157 million pages on Google that refer to him.   The wisdom and wit he managed to impart to us transcends the common wheel of daily drama.  We are suffering from the same components of our collective dumbshow as the groundlings experienced at the Globe while watching Hamlet for the first time. Yet, the perspective his plays offer us allows us to rise not only to the finest seats in the house but out through the roof and above the firmament.
Our lives are not a forgone conclusion but “One of the finest comforts that life offers us is that you can not sincerely help others without helping yourself.” – Shakespeare
“Let no one who loves be unhappy… even love unreturned has its rainbow.”  –  Shakespeare
Savor your week and may your time be as gold collected at your rainbow’s end ; )