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|Posted on July 29, 2015 at 4:10 AM||comments ()|
This is Cecil, the lion slayed by American dentist Walter James Palmer.
In his book, Fieldnotes On the Compassionate Life, Mark Ian Barasch writes;
A friend once told me of visiting the Dalai Lama in India and asking him for a succinct definition of compassion. She prefaced her question by describing how heartstricken she’d felt when, earlier that day, she’d seen a man in the streets of Dharamsala beating a mangy stray dog with a stick. "Compassion," the Dalai Lama told her, "is when you feel as sorry for the man as you do for the dog."
That initial red hot surge of outrage was when I first connected with my Inner Palmer. I wanted to wound him, the cruel bastard, and hunt him down for 40 hours before beheading him, and how would he like that…and I saw that I was pretty much behaving just like him.
I'm trying to understand this trophy hunter, predator, sexual harasser of female employees and father of two, Palmer the dentist. I read a study linking small genitalia to hunters. So maybe he’s overcompensating for a small penis. I read an article about the remarkable similarity between serial killers and trophy hunters. So maybe he’s a sociopath. Yet another article discussed the hunter’s need to hunt and kill off the feminine, another was about ….and then I had to stop reading articles because I had reached my limit of disturbing photos.
How disconnected from his own heart, from Life's heart (so beautifully manifested in Cecil the lion) must he be? How soul-dead must he be to actually enjoy inflicting suffering upon another being? What happened to create this in him?
And again I realized that I was doing to him what he does to animals and other people: I was making him the “other”. One of “them”. I’m objectifying him and making him the monster. Easier to kill him off that way.
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
So here’s another way I connect with Palmer: I can disconnect from my own heart, I can disconnect from my own body, I can unplug from my own wild nature, and from Nature herself. I can disconnect from my mind, my intuition, my truth, other people. It’s so easy. Not only that; I can feel, see and hear the suffering this causes and still numb out with the best of the walking dead. I don’t numb out with substances and risky behaviors like in the old days, but there are so many ways to disconnect and unplug: I don’t have the time, 5 hours on the computer, I don’t want to know, 3 hours in front of the TV, I’m too busy, it’s time to reorganize the junk drawer, It’s not that bad, a pint of ice cream gone, I need the money, I’ll deal with it later…. I have a lot of respect for Kwan Yin, goddess of compassion, aka She Who Hears the Cries of the World. She doesn’t whine about being too busy and then unplug. I’d go mad if I had to listen to all of that pain 24-7. This is not an easy path. Thank goodness there’s music and art, meditation and dance, laughter and a multitude of ways to plug back in.
Palmer is the one being hunted as I write this. Part of me thinks; “Good, serves him right.” Part of me hopes he realizes that this is how the women and animals he preyed upon over the years felt, and has a change of heart. And part of me despairs that he will ever realize how disconnected he truly is, because he’s too far over on the spectrum. It's not a line... it's a spectrum that stretches between good and evil, compassion and indifference, connection and disconnection, and we’re all on it.
|Posted on May 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on June 28, 2014 at 12:34 AM||comments ()|
My poor, sadly neglected website Blog...I have been writing recently for the Huffington Post, and you can find those pieces here:
|Posted on January 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM||comments ()|
For the New Year or Any New Beginning:
Several years ago I read an article on the internet about choosing one word as inspiration and motivation for making changes in the new year, and I apologize to the unknown author for not being able to credit him or her. I've lost the article in the webosphere, but the concept in all it's beautiful simplicity remains. I've often used the practice with myself and clients since then, and pass it on to you today.
Instead of making a New Year's resolution (you know how those tend to go....), pick a word for the year. One word. But not just any word.
First, take some time to think about what you want for yourself and your life this year. We’re not talking new shoes and a great job here, although both would be nice. We’re talking about a word that describes a quality or energy that you want to focus on because you sense it is something you need for your growth and well being. Or maybe the world is asking this of you. The word will then act as your inspiration and guide throughout the year. Let’s say you want to improve your sense of self worth. As you think about it, you see that you’re rather mean to yourself in your own head. So you pick the word Kindness. Each day you focus on that word. You let the word guide you through your days, as in; “What would be the kind step to take now?” or “What would kindness say?”
Find a guiding word from the list below, think of a word on your own, or let a word choose you while you're meditating or walking....
Compassion Generosity Effortlessness Resiliency Abundance Caution
Creativity Willingness Change Growth Freedom Balance
Mastery Kindness Self-Esteem Laughter Health Gratitude Integrity
Acceptance Courage Magic Confidence Self-Compassion Action
Stillness Forgiveness Release Trust Knowing Patience Fertility
Friendship Fun Grace Laughter Love Expansion Honesty
Independence Optimism Exploration Adventure Openness Discipline
Clarity Communion Belonging Responsibility Serenity Enough
Curiosity Awe Awareness Risk Prayerful Activating
Powerful Allowing Centering Transformation Mindfulness Attention
Beauty Joy Unity Authenticity Focus Brave Healing
Self-Forgiveness Order Community Steadiness Presence Faith Vision
Connection Mindful Softening Healing Interdependent Wisdom
Now that you have your word, here are some suggestions for living your word.....
Make a collage or another type of visual reminder and hang it up where you can see it. When you start not-seeing it, make a new one.
Find or create an object that embodies and reflects the energy of the word you chose, and keep it where you can see it. If you start not-seeing it, move it to a different location, find a new location for it, or make a new one.
Find or create an object that you can carry with you - a talisman or touchstone for your pocket, purse, or as a piece of jewelry.
Practice embodying the word: Where in your body is home for that energy? How does it move through your body? How do you sit, walk, and dance when you are embodying that energy? How do you move when that word-energy is your dance partner?
For some of us, resistance to living our word may arise. Instead of fighting it, welcome your resistance and invite it to the dance! Dance the opposite of your word. What do you learn from that? Example: When dancing between Warrior and Worrier energy, I discovered that neither extreme is beneficial and went on to learn how to blend with both.The dance became much more interesting!
When you allow the word-energy to animate you from within, how do you sound when you speak, chant or sing? What would you say? How would the way you talk to yourself and others change?
If you play an instrument, how would you play and what would it sound like?
Find (or even more effective - create) a chant, song, or piece of music that can become your “theme song” or mantra for the word-energy, and play it/sing it/chant it whenever you want or need the inspiration. Let it become a call to action, or a soothing lullaby, or an internal fortifying tonic - whatever it is you need. If you start not-hearing it, find or create a new one.
Write a letter to yourself from the word you chose. What would Integrity say? What would Self-Compassion write to you? Let this develop into an ongoing dialogue in your journal, and allow the wisdom of the word help you navigate through your days - especially through times of confusion or discomfort.
Collect quotations and poems (create your own!) having to do with your word, and read them often.
Use the word as you would a mantra for meditation, or as an idea to contemplate in a quiet time of reflection, and just notice what arises.
Look for, read about, study, hang out with and generally learn from people (alive or dead) who seem to live the word you have chosen. They are your mentors and teachers.
Act as if. As if you are already living your word. Ask yourself; “What would (your word) say right now?” and then say it. Ask yourself; “What would (your word) do in this situation?” and then do it. This is called practice. Practice is priceless. All Masters and Maestros still practice.
Pick one small (do-able) task a day, a week, a month (or any combination) that draws on the energy of the word and has you acting in the world with that energy. It might be something from the above suggestions, something you come up with, or an opportunity handed to you.
Above all, have fun practicing! Happy New Year!
|Posted on September 2, 2013 at 8:29 PM||comments ()|
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation
- Lao Tzu
I was asked a question as a result of that quote, which led to another question...
Q. There seems to be an implication that if I need to transform, then there’s something wrong or broken with me...
Not at all! Do we label water as “wrong” when it transforms into a gas or solid? Is a caterpillar broken? Isn’t transformation into a butterfly part of its true nature? A tree bears no resemblance to the seed it once was.
Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and transformation. - unknown
In the same way, transformational shifts and changes - some of them radical and profound, others more subtle and slow moving - are an integral part of the human experience on every level, from genetics to beliefs and beyond. There are aspects of you that are dramatically different today compared to when you were six months old, twelve or twenty-six years old! Just as you wouldn’t judge the water, caterpillar or tree for being themselves at any given phase of their existence, making judgments about the right or wrongness of where you are in relation to where you’ve been and where you’re going is... unnecessary and unhelpful.
To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
- Henri Bergson
Q. Why would I want to transform?
We’re going through the process of transformation all the time, whether or not we want it! For many of us, it’s usually suffering or discomfort that urges us to begin the conscious, deliberate process of transformation. “I know something has to change”.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
- M. Scott Peck
Others seek the process of transformation for spiritual reasons or because they’re curious about new ways to experience themselves and the world.
The purpose of enlightenment in our time is not just to transcend the world, but to transform the world. How do we transform it? Through the evolution of our own consciousness. We have to realize that this process completely depends on us, on individuals who are willing to push the edge of the possible. - Andrew Cohen
Q. What are we transforming when we engage in self transformation?
On a personality and systems level, we are working with those thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, or ways of relating and responding to ourselves and the world that we continue to hang onto despite evidence that they have outlived their usefulness, don’t work, and may even be causing damage to ourselves and others.
It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear ...It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.
- Marilyn Ferguson
On the level of consciousness, we're engaging in practices that open our hearts to and expand our awareness of a unified reality, one containing multidimensional facets that we can explore and experience. If that's too woo woo for you, how about looking at it as expanding your potential ?
Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now.
|Posted on November 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on February 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM||comments ()|
I just read a great posting on self compassion from http://www.UrbanMonk.net. That path - the one that leads from self blame/criticism/hatred/shame to self compassion and kindness - is one I've certainly been on, and more often than not I'm encountering others on that same journey through my work and in the world. Here are some resources for the trip:
Dr. Kristen Neff has a book, Self-Compassion, and a website:
Dr. Rick Hanson has a book, Buddha's Brain, and a website:
Dr. Paul Gilbert has a book, The Compassionate Mind, and a website:
Dr. Cristopher Germer has a book, The Mindful Path To Self Compassion and a website:
Here is a song, Gentle With Myself, by Karen Drucker: http://youtu.be/ihWYx-QJ95I
"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete"
(This quote is sometimes attributed to Buddha, sometimes to Jack Kornfield, but why split hairs?)
|Posted on July 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM||comments ()|
.....till then, if you're reading this, please take a moment for a conscious breath......in.........try adding a slight smile on the exhale out..........