Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer for Japan

I dreamed a dream, you and I facing each other in a tiny yellow boat. On green water, under blue sky, me and my son, and a tiny yellow boat. And we laugh, and the boat rocks, and the ripples spread from the boat, to pond, to sea, to sky, and nothing can stop them, and nothing ever will.
excerpt from Joan of Arcadia

As mom and I lay in bed last night, letting both the literal and figurative darkness set in around us, we talked about what had been consuming ours and most of the world's thoughts for the last week; Japan. When you are across the ocean from a catastrophic crisis where thousands of people are deceased, missing, or in danger of nuclear poisoning, you can't help but feel detached and helpless. Mom, an extremely sensitive soul, had been phasing in and out of a teary eyed panic all day, stating that she felt guilty for smiling, so I thought I would share a piece of insight I read a year ago that has stuck with me. The best thing you can do to improve the energy of the world, to instantly make a difference, is to be as kind, loving, and respectful to everything you come into contact with, and the effect will ripple outward. 

I was informed yesterday that in contrast to the looting and rioting that ensues in the face of disaster in most parts of the world, the Japanese have been nothing but nurturing and generous with each other. If we can all apply this concept of one people, one world, we are doing the greatest service to the grief stricken global state. Pray for Japan. Send out the most sincerely healing vibe possible. Keep the effected people in your mind and heart, and practice simple love in every interaction. 

When you become light and you radiate, there is no darkness. A candle has one future, to spread the light. How does the candle spread the light? By burning itself, the candle spreads light and consequently knows the future. If you burn yourself, you will radiate and will spread light. The job of the human being is to radiate through the finite self the infinite light.

-Yogi B

Friday, March 18, 2011

Warrior Presence

When I asked Mr. Phiri about the three decades it took him to get his land and his vision to where it is today he answered, "It's a slow process, but that's life. Slowly implement these projects, and as you begin to rhyme with nature, soon other lives will start to rhyme with yours."
-Passage from Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume I by Brad Lancaster

In the book 12 by 12, a deeply inspiring account of William Powers' spiritual journey in an off the grid home, he talks about a concept her refers to as 'warrior presence'. The topic comes up when he discovers the acrid smell that had been wafting through the serene and largely undisturbed woods he was inhabiting was that of a commercial chicken factory. He writes:
In twenty years of meditation and spiritual search I've noticed that the people who really "get it" in the sense of beautifully blending inner peace with loving action have something in common. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic, or born-again pagan. They have what might be called "warrior presence." In other words, they face larger problems just as they face their personal problems - as Einstein and Jung suggest we do - on a different level of concsiousness than the one at which the problems were created. Instead of allowing the negative forces of a flattening world to flatten them, those with warrior presence maintain beauty and control in their interior space, through being fully present in the moment.
When I was reading the book a month ago, the concept resonated strongly with me, and I have recently come to know the importance and difficulty of applying it.

For the last week I have been brooding in the way that I do when something is bothering me and I can't put my finger on what it is. As it turns out, I was subconsciously obsessing over a conversation I didn't even realize I had let into my field of thought. While I had expressed one view in the midst of being passively insulted, I was feeling another entirely. I pretended not to let the offhand comments of another bother me when really their negativity had taken residence in the back of my mind, throwing a blanket over the steady and bright light my soul usually provides. Along with the muddled state I was experiencing due to the residing feelings of inadequacy, my reading on rainwater catchment has opened my eyes to the constant resource wasting that is intrinsic to the way the system operates, and ignited a feeling of complete helplessness to change it in my current location. Add to this the news that a dear family friend committed suicide a few weeks ago, filling us all with deep sorrow for the loss of such a wonderful human being. 

After a week of emitting 'jerky' vibes, Mom was fed up, and, in the manner that we usually do, we had it out. After 45 minutes of arguing we got the bottom of the problem and swiftly lifted the blanket, allowing my light to shine once again. The light, incidentally, illuminated the passage regarding warrior presence in my memory and inspired me to see all of the effort we are putting forth to change our lifestyle. For one, we have isolated our use of our dryer to towels only (because they get crunchy in the sun) and all other laundry items are now hung on a line on the patio. We compost as much waste as our composter can handle. I have replaced my lamps with candles and banished my computer to be used only in one room of the house, allowing for more meditative practices and less charging time (once every three days to be exact).

With my state of mind adjusted, I attended a meeting with a man who is organizing the creation of an eco-friendly, new age school in San Miguel. He is in need of insight and muscle to help him with his vision of an organic growing, water catching, dual language establishment. As I was restlessly wishing I had land to plant on and practice my new found knowledge on rainwater harvesting, he was providing me an opportunity to do this while at the same time supporting an organization I believe in. 

William Powers writes about his ongoing difficulty with the flattening world, and warrior presence is his alternative to submitting to despondence. And as Mr. Phiri implies above, and the law of attraction states, like attracts like, rhyme with nature and in turn, rhyme with others. Channeling the warrior inside and defending the right to shine and make the world as great as it can be, whether it be on a grand or domestic scale, is my newest practice in finding the greatest consonance I can in an increasingly complicated world. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


One of the common threads of all of the spiritual reading I have done is the stated fact that electronic devises such as televisions, computers, and cell phones suck energy, not just electric, but human. These objects are loud and demand attention, calling you to check out and alluring you with their endless possibilities for entertainment, even when they are powered off. It is for these reasons that I have banished my laptop to the dining room, and only the dining room, to be used consciously and only for short spurts of the day.

I recently read that Ghandi changed one aspect of his life at a time until it was completely congruent with his beliefs. The first step I took a couple of weeks ago in order to lessen our electric bill, carbon footprint, and agitation, was to eliminate my use of artificial light. Instead of turning on my lamps for hours every night, I light candles. Wonderful things have happened as a result, one of them being the calm subtle, bouncing flames elicit in Tallulah. She now goes to sleep when the sun goes down, and without hardly any effort on my part. 

After some time of enjoying the soft light of candles, it became apparent that the computer had to go as well, for as I was nursing Tallulah to sleep and watching the sun pass beneath the ground, I was anxious, thinking of all the things I could be doing on my computer, instead of focusing on the present moment and savoring my time with my daughter. Also, due to the nature of the laptop, I was carting it around with me everywhere, prompting me to constantly be checking something online, and in general producing an edgy state that is not necessary or comfortable.

I am constantly in awe of how Bronte and Tyler idolize their electronic devises, so it seemed fitting that I abandon my own to line up with my beliefs. After only 2 days I feel as though a burden had been lifted. I don't wake in the middle of the night to check my email, rather lay in the stillness and ruminate on my desires. I am more open to receiving the presence of others and the moment at hand, no longer solely focused on the internet connection or facebook comments. In letting go of having nonstop access to my computer I have also let go of the guilt that goes along with checking out in front of it.

I have found that a great many people don't live the life that makes them happy because they think it is out of reach, I agree with Ghandi, that all one must do is change one thing at a time, until they find their existence is in accord with what truly fulfills them. In only the short amount of time that I have been engaging in this very idea, my life has changed profoundly, and I am excited for each new day of nuanced discoveries I had missed being inundated in technology.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I sold Tallulah's mommy's little sweetie onesie today, and I admit I was sad to see it go, and that very feeling was pertinent to something I have been thinking on a lot lately; possessions, more specifically, people's attachments to them. As I grew up in the city, spending many a Sunday at the Mall of America, I understand the allure of consumerism, but it is my personal belief that the urge to buy shiny new things should be contained. Much like any addictive substance, shopping can produce a temporary high that brings only superficial and short term pleasure.

The other day Bronte came into my room and asked sweetly if she could wear one of my shirts. I responded indignantly telling her 'no' and that the shirt was "special." She left in a huff and I felt horrid for denying her, for what is more special than my relationship with my sister? I immediately reconsidered and told her that she could of course wear the shirt. We continued on in peace that day, having nipped the discord allegiance to objects can cause in the bud.

In addition to aforementioned experiences, I have paid witness to many conversations about special things recently and it has caused my perception of my own experience to deepen. Though I am guilty of lusting after designer duds from time to time, I believe that objects should pass through our lives, being used when needed and passed along when they have fulfilled their purpose. Emphasis should be placed on the infinite rather than the finite aspects or our experience. The items of real importance are our friends and family, of which some things may be kept and treasured to remind us, but the rest discarded when the time is right. 

So as I watched this young woman beam with joy as she showed the grandpa-to-be her new purchase, I smiled knowing that I am passing the joy of that adorable onesie on to someone else rather than hoarding it for myself. And as Tallulah crawled for the first time today, I was reminded of how little importance material things hold especially in comparison to the miracles present in the human spirit.