Springing Into Action
In celebration of the growing daylight I would like to share my thoughts and feelings with you about individuality, community, humanity, spirituality, paradox, and Gestalt. In the past few months I've been having some intense feelings and dreams. Both of these experiences say a lot to me about the calm in the center of the storm. One of my central questions is always how do I/we respectfully balance my/our life choices in the context of our interconnected universe of “other”? It may be a new thought to many that even our thoughts affect others. That is not a new thought to me at this point but it was at one point. Both the invisibility of the laws of our physical universe and the invisibility of our metaphysical universe function the same way. Thoughts not only have energy; they are energy itself! The energy I/we put in motion has consequences. The impact is visible!
Some of the questions I am feeling and pondering now are: How do I/we create safe, supportive community where we can safely experience and express the intensity of the pain and the joy we are feeling? I am fortunate to have numerous communities where I feel safe, supported and supportive and yet there are still numerous times when I feel intensely sad, isolated and disconnected. Knowing that makes me achingly aware of all the people who have none of that safety and support. Another question is how do I/we raise and mentor children, teens and adults without using the fear-based tools of guilt, shame and authoritarian discipline? As a mental health professional and a sentient being I know full well that discipline does not come through threatening, spanking, nor beating children. Those techniques only instill fear, avoidance, resentment, anger, and pain. I much prefer the Montessori-inspired methods of logical consequences. These methods require that we as adults have the patience, inner discipline, and the understanding to teach and inspire in a healthy, respectful, consistent manner. I fully realize most of us weren't raised in this manner. I equally realize we must learn and value these respectful techniques in order to heal our society, our communities, throughout our world. These techniques work wherever we are! Every environment is simply a community! We must find a way to give ourselves what we did not nor do not have. We must make the effort to heal our lives from the inside out. It most certainly takes effort. I know that for sure. I know it can be done as well. The logical consequences are enormous and they are visible!
As we continue along the road of our spiritual, social development as a human family we continue to move forward away from fear and toward global respect and value. In February we celebrated Black History month. In March we are celebrating the accomplishments of women. I acknowledge that these celebrations are visible movements toward respect. I also acknowledge the personal and community pain these separated celebrations invoke in me. I also acknowledge the many men I know around the world who are diligently working to heal the pain that these separatist social policies have wrought. I am so grateful that there are conscious, respectful men working diligently to heal their own lives as they work to bring healing to the world around them. I also acknowledge there are many women who vehemently support the painfully damaging authoritarian, patriarchal, separatist social attitudes and policies. I have to say nothing is more painfully shocking to me! It is one of the most compelling human paradoxes I can imagine. That is one of the most striking places where our need for building healthy individuals and communities is evident to me. What do we need to do to get people to realize they are worthy individuals? No one deserves to suffer! No one deserves to be abused! Everyone deserves to have a healthy, happy, independent life simply by virtue of being alive! Surely that is not too difficult to understand nor embrace! Is it?
In the context of these aching, searching human questions I celebrate the visible green shoots of Mother Nature's beautiful Spring. We're heading toward the Spring Equinox where Mother Nature expresses equal night, equal day. Perhaps in the context of celebrating Mother Nature's awesome beauty we can reinvigorate our reverence for the intrinsic beauty of ourselves and each other. I look forward to the time when we are all cherished and celebrated as one human family. The visible and seemingly invisible consequences for marginalizing the integrity and value of all people is enormous. I am more and more aware of the fears that keep people locked into their patterns of marginalizing themselves and others. I have said before that arrogance is simply the cultured mask of ignorance and fear. I see the rage and embitterment of this form of disempowerment. It is exceedingly important that we recognize this frame of fear and personal and societal disconnectedness. We must recognize the erosion of our human spirit when we don't hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We must recognize we cannot control the actions of others by force nor by punitive laws. We must build these constraints from within! We must build a society based on nurturing, empathy, personal integrity and responsibility. Families, schools, churches and work places must be places of respect and learning. Prisons and mental hospitals must be places of compassion and rehabilitation, not warehouses for violence and abuse! We must recognize ourselves in these scenarios. We must move toward understanding and change. We can't change what we won't acknowledge! We must consciously build a culture of generosity, magnanimity, forgiveness! Perhaps with the warming of the weather there is a warming of our spiritual and psychological weather as we warm and soften our hearts toward ourselves and each other. A person I greatly cherish is doing just that kind of work right here in Kansas City. Rev. Dr. Vern Barnet has been diligently working for years to promote interfaith understanding and cooperation. In his January newsletter, Many Paths, he highlighted how much the different religions influence each other, and how much the different leaders in those traditions borrowed from other religions on their own spiritual journey toward being who they became as leaders. This tells me there is so much to share and value rather than separating ourselves off into isolated corners where we become disconnected, rigid, afraid and deadened to ourselves and each other. It's a flawed illusion to think that I can or should control others. It doesn't work and it's insulting! I believe people have the intelligence, motivation, and integrity to make their own decisions. I believe I have the intelligence, motivation and integrity to have intelligent, respectful dialogues and to set reasonable limits for myself and others. This is what I call healthy spiritual, psychological and social development. This is what I call living a life worth living. Respect myself. Respect others. Work together for peace, love, compassion, nurturing and global understanding! Peace is possible here on our beloved planet Earth! Namaste to you my precious sisters and brothers of our beloved planet Earth!!!
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