Trading the high price of hedonism for hope

Since my recent visit to Italy, I have been thinking about the trap of hedonism. From a yogic perspective, hedonism is a concentration of energy in the sacral and solar plexus chakras, or areas of the body. Here is where individual lust, when it is allowed to, takes over the bloom of ever-lasting life. The mind-body forgets that life is not individual, but a collective and infinite rebirthing.

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Ercolano sits unearthed in the middle of a crowded Naples

I keep thinking about Vesuvius covering civilizations at their peak of hedonism in layers of ashes and dirt. Over and over again. We unearth the remains. Stare at the walls still painted in lust, and forget.

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Hedonism on the walls of Pompeii

We forget that we are still here. Captured in our lust. We are not doomed to repeat history, we simply choose to do so.

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This photo was taken in Rome, near the Vatican. If you look closely you will see a bride being photographed in her white gown near underpass where the tents of the homeless are huddled. 

Today, Naples sits piled in apartments filled with crowded life whose waste litters the streets. Plastic discarded after a single use blows amongst piles of dog poop and cigarette butts. In the cracks of pavement, green life stretches to find air and water before it is snuffed out by passersby who are thinking of yesterdays and tomorrows filled with want.

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Live blooming in the cracks of Pompeii 

Three hours away by car, Rome’s streets pave over more lost civilizations. What is left reminds us of the individual ego’s striving for power. Huge monuments raised to its mighty hand stand erect, guarded by machine guns slung over shoulders. Reminders of wars waged, battles for life lost and “won,” and the many, many spoils of victory.

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What was once Egypt’s is now Rome’s

A vast city inside a city houses the spoils of wealth stolen in the name of God.

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Vatican City crowded with visitors

Gold halls lined with painted angels watch over a vast fortune robbed from distant and not so distant lands. Lesser gods trapped in a fortress that has room for only one ruler. Yet, we walk the halls in awe. We  cannot help it. The splendor overwhelms and consumes us.

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A feast for the eyes, even the ceilings of the Vatican are lined in gold opulence.

Below, the echo of the goddess can only be heard when the feet are still and the many voices clamoring to be heard, mute. The want for air is nearly unbearable. Yet we hold onto our crowds, striving, always striving, to get ahead.

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Crowds outside the Colosseum 

I keep thinking we are one fiery breath away from annihilation. Again. We have thinned the air with our crowds and choked it with the pollution of our breath. We have chosen to guard the pillars of our mighty past and erect more as we overlook the goddess who sustains us.

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Mother Earth birthing and supporting life

Instead of honoring the Mother who brings forth new life, feeds, and provides for all our many wants, we trample her to near death in our quest to strive ever higher in dominion.

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A memorial to war in Rome is carefully guarded by men with guns.

It is difficult not to be cynical in this world so focused on the outer it has largely forgotten what sustains it. A world that fears so much what unites it, it would rather destroy itself, over and over again, for want of division. For want of lust to feed the false self. A temporary pleasure of the body that has forgotten the soul housed in light who choose not to see.

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The imposing remains of the Roman Colosseum 

And so I find myself sitting in my comfortable home in America, looking around at all that I have and all that I am in danger of losing. I find myself thinking about my individual choices and if they serve only me, or something greater than my individual self. I live in a town that has recently decided that recycling is not worth the monetary expense, and has chosen to override the planetary expense of not doing so. I live in a nation ruled by a man whose lust for power strives to over-ride all that is of the common good. It is easy to be consumed by the ugliness and despair of what feels like an impending doom. I would not blame our Mother if she  decided it was time, again, to swallow us up.

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Vesuvius in stasis 

But, there is little good to come of wallowing in despair, and much to be gained when one reaches beyond the darkness to grow the light. There is an empowerment of the inner that can be awakened when one looks beyond the myopic lens of the individual wants and sees that choices can be made to grow this light that we all share and that feeds all life.

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A male hummingbird in my garden drinking nectar from peach blossoms

I know that the old ways are not enough. That for me living in my small town in New Hampshire, it is not enough to simply rinse cans and separate paper and food waste anymore. That I must search for ways that are more sustainable, such as growing vegetables and joining a local CSA. I know that I can move beyond not just buying nontoxic and organic products, to making more of my own as I search for those that I must buy in biodegradable and reduced packaging. And, I know that I can search for more innovative ways to reduce and reuse and share ideas that I find with others. There is that realization that “more” can always be done to nurture the good of all, and not just the one. And, that in doing so, one can find not only hope, but joy.

 

The Balance of Sun & Moon #SpringEquinox2019

Today we tumble out of the deep bed of winter and stretch our limbs toward spring in the northern hemisphere. It is a day filled with promise.

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Hope is the bud quickening to the pulse of life ready to bloom into its fullest expression

It is a time of balance. Nearly equal parts dark and light, yet the two are not in opposition.

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The length of day nearly equals the length of night on the equinox

On this spring equinox, we are graced with the glory of the full sun, and also the full moon.

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The moon shines her full face towards Earth, allowing the sun to illuminate her glory at night

It is a time when the yin and yang energies — the divine feminine and masculine — are offered in balance. Equally holding space and supporting one another. Offering a mirror to the potential that resides within each one of us.

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A butterfly, symbol of transformation and rebirth, offering the dark and the light rimed with the blue of truth

 

At this era of time, when Earth and its children struggle for balance and harmony, we are offered this still point. A pause to reflect and then open to the perfection of balance. An offering to seek the sun, but also the moon and find what each has to offer us.

Strength, tempered by peace…

Darkness balanced by light…

Fear balanced by promise…

The singular life supported by all life…

The inhale of breath matching the exhale…

As the moon begins to wane, and the light of the sun lingers longer each day, may we be reminded of this balance. Using the sun’s energy to bring light to our greatest darkness. Darkness that holds fear in all its many forms, but also the seeds of promise. May we be reminded that each fear that we hold onto can transform into new life with the touch of the sun. It can bloom past the darkness from where we hold it tight as we breathe into its lips hope, promise, and love.  In the seeds of fear reside our fullest potential waiting to find the light. It is that place where the limited can become the limitless.

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May we today breathe in the balance of the energies that support us, allowing them to find balance within. Seeding the life that lingers in the darkness as we find the limitless love that unites us all.

 

 

 

What are we doing to our girls?

*Warning this post contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers.

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The first life I was ever regressed to was lived several hundred years ago. I never received an exact date, only the scene of my last breath. I was in China, living in a house with paper screens. The roof of my home was thatched, and I was waiting inside. I wore a red kimono-like dress with a hat. My face was painted white. I knew the men were coming for me…

I didn’t have to relive the rape, or the dismemberment of my body. That was a knowing, and the lingering of the sensations of violation that had reincarnated into the cells of my current body. The feeling of being choked…of being torn apart… I saw only the pieces of self left behind as my spirit rose from my broken body.

I was a forbidden woman.  A keeper of secrets. I was murdered when my value to the men who violated me had passed its keep. But that was hundreds of years ago, so why remember, why write this post?

It’s the year 2017, and yesterday I received a video in my Facebook feed. The title, “Human Trafficker Admits to Killing Over 400 Children in Video Confession.” Watch at your own discretion. It is highly disturbing. Why am I sharing it? Because it is the year 2017, and we are still allowing our girls, our children, the women in our world, to be abused. To be objectified. To be killed for sexual gratification.

What are we doing to our  girls? What are we doing to our women? Ourselves?

We are still, in the collective sea of our existence, in which we all dip our consciousness (or unconsciousness depending upon how you choose to view it), allowing ourselves to ignore, to deny, to look away, and to allow. Even to condone, this abuse or our girls, our women, ourselves.

Thousands of years ago, it was not thought absurd to revere the divine feminine. Instead, the goddess was worshiped in the form of multiple names. Names that are still, somewhat present, in our culture: Gaia, Tara, Quan Yin, Sarasvati, Kali, Durga, Isis…to name a few. Goddess names that are mostly associated with “New Age” groups, or misused by terrorists groups who desire to oppress the divine feminine.

It is the year 2017 and we have elected a president of the United States who openly disparages women. Who has sexually exploited women, and aims to oppress their rights in his position of “power.” Women voted for him, along with men. Women support him, along with men. Women and men with daughters of their own.

What are we doing to our girls? What are we doing to our women? What are we doing to ourselves?

I recently read the book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales, because my thirteen-year-old daughter was being harassed by a boy on social media. How did I find out? Two young women told the school administration. The book is as disturbing as the video I shared above. Yet, it takes place in present time. In the year 2017, girls are being raped and reduced to mere objects of sexual pleasure by their peers. Young women are being slut-shamed and denigrated by young men who sing songs about rape at Ivy League fraternities. It is the year 2017, where young men can gang rape our daughters and get a pat on the back. It is the year 2017, where beautiful girls as young as nine-years-of-age are being kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder so that they can be tortured and raped by horny men. If they try to escape, they are killed.

This is what we are doing to our girls. To our young women. To our daughters. To our sisters. To ourselves.

Over the course of hundreds of years, we have allowed the sacred woman to be replaced by an objectified body, in the name of sexual gratification and power, which still, very much pervades our culture. We cannot look away. Today, in the year 2017, a young woman cannot walk in the beauty of the sacred vessel of her body without being reduced to an object of sex. Her body, once revered, is considered a toy by boys too young to be called men. We can blame the pervasive culture of porn, or we can look within and see what is broken?

What are we doing to ourselves? What are we doing to each other? What are we doing collectively? 

We can also look without. We can broaden our gaze and see the horizon that stretches beyond our sight. We can look to the vessel of life that we call home, a planet once honored and revered as a sacred giver of life, and realize how we have, collectively, raped and exploited her as an object. A commodity. A giver of life that is worthy of little more than our greed.

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And we can look within, and ask, where do I harbor darkness? What do I choose to hide and ignore? In 2009, The Dalai Lama said the “world will be saved by the western woman,” during a peace summit in Vancouver. Perhaps this is true. Certainly, I believe, she will help lead the way. What about the western man? What about all men? What about the divine masculine merged with the divine feminine, that is as much within a man, as it is within a woman. We must, I believe, get to the point where we realize how much we are alike, than we are different. That the light that exists within “you,” also exists within “me,” just as the darkness that exists within one person, also resides in you, and me. And, we must walk together, as one.

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The Question of Restraint & Creating a New “Home”

I woke from a strange dream this morning, just at the point where I could have let go of the notion that I needed to go “back” home, and surrender into the vast unknowing. I woke with a feeling of constriction. I felt it in the chest tight with held breath. I felt it in my throat clogged with mucus. And, I felt it in my lower abdomen waiting to release the waters processed during the night.

In the dream I had been driving a cat. Of course this might actually have been possible if it had been a wild cat such as a tiger or a lion, and I allowed myself to imagine that glorious possibility for awhile after I woke. In the dream, though, my domesticated cat looked a lot like the one that lives in my physical house, only I had a ridiculous reign around its shoulders, as though I actually believed it would be capable of taking me where I thought I needed to go, which was back to my childhood home. When I woke, my wildcat, a tiger, had no yoke of any form, instead I rode her back and surrendered to where she wanted to go.

The cat, in both instances, represents the energy of the 2nd chakra, where our creative life-force energy is birthed into being through our intuition. In the dream, I thought I was letting the cat lead the way, but of course she was too small and too domesticated to carry my weight. It was a rather pitiful scene of restraint. Before I woke, I was digging futility in a backpack with many pockets, stuffed with everything, it seemed, but the GPS I was looking for. I was convinced I needed it to find my way back home. “Back” home, that is, instead of home. I was going backwards into the past, instead of forwards into the unknown filled with that fiery energy of possibility.

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The cat that wants to be a tiger

I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, and really, I wasn’t. Frustrated, yes, as we all are when we don’t allow that full expression of the 2nd chakra to channel into life. You see I had also been tempted by this possibility, in the form of a mysterious lover, who held me close and kissed me, before I made the choice to look for my “car. Yet there was the hint of promise in his words,”You will come back. Next time…”

Why, you might ask, am I telling you about this dream? Why should you care? Because, I realized, upon waking that my struggle against restraint is a universal struggle, which is so poignantly at the surface right now it cannot be denied. You need only to look around you, and within you, to see it. As the inner always mirrors the outer and vice-versa. It is also timeless, but I believe at this point in our collective evolution, the letting go of restraint is poignantly calling for our attention.

How many of us grew up with restraints and constraints? Most of us, I think it’s safe to say. I know that in the rare moments when I dared utter my will, which went against my parents’, a verbal or physical restraint would quickly reach out to hold me back. Of course it’s no wonder I am still struggling with the ties that bind, but oh is it frustrating.

Yesterday, I read a post of Facebook shared by a friend about a young man in Boston who had faced the darkness of uncontrolled restraint in the form of fear surfacing from the energy around this turbulent election process. I believe we all want to be free. Yet,  when we act out from the place of fear, we cause harm. When we choose to disempower another, instead of empowering ourselves, we cause oppression and hurt. We are seeing examples of this all around us right now as we are being called to walk with a faith that calls for a surrendering to the light which is love, which is grace, and which is also the vast unknown, and as yet undecided. This, then, requires a breaking down of fear and all its restraints.

The young man from Boston was not caucasian, and this threatened the foundation of “home” of the man who raged at him, as he was holding fast to old fears. Fears perpetuated by the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters, and hence fear that were not wholly his own (as all fears are really, in essence, everyones’). To hold onto his crumbing foundation, this older, white man, raged against the young non-caucasian, telling him to get off the bus he was riding, telling him to go “back home.” In essence, though, he was trying to find his own way home. His lack of restraint, in this case, had become a constraint. He was holding himself back from evolving, while also trying to hold the young man back who trigged this fear within him.

It’s curious how much we fear the unknown, but it’s also deeply troubling when you see all the damage it has, and continues to cause, in our world. A world that is trying, constantly, to evolve and grow, yet we try, in turn, to hold it back by holding ourselves back, and by trying to hold each other back. We cling to the past. We cling to what we are used to, because we think it is the safest way to live. But is it? Look around you and within you. What has this created besides  war and suffering?

Constrained energy causes disease. It causes illness. It causes dis-ease. Ultimately it causes death, because the vital life force energy that wants to flow through us is shut of or diminished by restraint.

Last night, before I went to bed, I watched the move “Miracles from Heaven.” In the movie, if you have not seen it, a 10 year-old-girl is diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease of the digestive system. She is literally unable to digest and process the nutrients her body requires for life. The relevance of that, in light of what this post is about, does not escape your observation, I am sure, but there is more.

In the movie, which is based on a true story, the girl comes back home to live out, it is thought, her last remaining days. Instead, her older sister, following what I believe to be a spark of intuitive guidance, urges her to let go of the restraints that bind her and climb a large, old tree in their yard. When the two girls are on a branch together, it starts to crack from their weight, and they scramble toward the trunk so they will not fall. But, the dying girl falls (through a hole inside of the trunk), and in that fall, she finds new life.

A miracle occurs in that moment. In the pit of darkness at the base of the old tree, in which she has fallen, the young girl loses consciousness, freeing her spirit from her body. She meets “God,” and is given a new chance at life. When she wakes, she is cured of her disease and all of its restraints.

As her mother later says during a church service, “miracles are all around us, we just need to open our eyes to them.” And, let go of restraint in the form of fear. The young man on the subway is an example of this. In the face of hatred, he surrendered his own fear to grace instead of caving into fear in the form of hate. In the story of the event, he admits to being filled with an impulse to react by punching the man. To return hatred with hatred. To fight the battle he is being called to fight, but instead, he surrenders to grace. Letting go of his own fears, he opens the gate to life. To a new reality. In doing so, the man entrenched in fear responds in kind, to this new, stronger, energy he is presented with. The anger in his face gradually melts as the fortress dissolves. Tears of release fill his eyes, and he extends his hand to the young man he has just assaulted verbally. And in that moment, a new world is born, at least for him.

We all share these fears, just perhaps in slightly different forms. We all fear, to different degrees, the new. We fear what we do not know, and what we could become. But should we? Restraint, held in the reign of fear, only stops us from birthing the new world within and without. Now, more than ever, we cannot afford to stop the light that is life from flowing into the infinite possibilities of who we are and are desiring to become. A genius, whether in the form of a painting, a poem, a symphony or a breakthrough in science, causes us to look at the world in a new way. We are filled with awe as we gaze upon the manifestation of greatness, but we forget that it lies, waiting to be birthed, in all of us.

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All else is an illusion

 

 

The Path Ahead

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More than ever before in recent history, we are being called to walk present in the Now, with the knowing that what we think, what we do, and how we interact with each other will ripple into the future we create for ourselves. This means being in the presence of grace as much as possible, and allowing the light of the divine to shine through us and before us as we walk these somewhat uncertain steps. It is up to us, together, to decide how much light there will be to guide us, and how many shadows we will choose to dwell within.

Each day, we can wake and ask ourselves, “How can I serve the highest good?” Then, set the intention, “Today I will live with grace and kindness in my actions and interactions; in my thoughts, through my words, and through my doing.”

Here are some ways we can co-create a more compassionate and kinder world. A world where unity is strong in the light of love:

*Wake with gratitude for Life and its gifts, even those that are unpleasant, for they are often our greatest teachers.

*Smile often. Laugh. Hug. Love. Always, if nothing else, Love. Even those you don’t like, for that is where we reach the state of grace.

*Rescue yourself by rescuing another, whether it be an animal, a person, or a tree. Extending that act of compassion to another brings out the best part of ourselves.

*Give your time and gifts when the opportunity arises. If someone, or something, is placed in your path that provides you with an opportunity to give of your gifts, and of your time, embrace it with gratitude.

*Extend gratitude: For the food that you consume and the sources that enabled you to have it. For the people and events in your life that allow you to learn, to grow and to love. To yourself. To Source, in whatever definition that manifests for you. To Earth, as your home (and honor Earth by helping to keep it balanced, clean and healthy). To the waters of life. To anything and anyone who is a part of your life, give thanks.

*Honor your feelings in whatever form they arise, knowing that those uncomfortable ones provide you with an opportunity to heal and to grow.

*Surrender to love, knowing that each fear your harbor is a cloak to the light.

May peace, joy and the ever-present light of love be with all of us.

A Call for the Light

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We are on the cusp of change. We have chosen and elected our catalyst in the form of Donald Trump. For many of us, he represents all that we find deplorable. For others, he represents the of power convictions postured in the form of Ego. It came down to two choices, one representing what could be stated as “more of the same,” the other a force-filled symbol of change. We voted for change, but we chose the hard road, as we were not quite ready to embrace the oneness that Bernie Sanders represented.

So, what do we do now? Do we continue upon the divisive road of otherness, or do we band together to find the commonality we all share? It’s not just spiritual jargon to say that we are, in essence, one. It is simply Truth. Whether you believe in creationism, evolutionism, or some other design that got us all here, we all came, at some point, from the same source. We all share the same light and darkness, it’s simply the degree to which we express it that we differ.

When I heard the news this morning, I went through the stages of grief, but very quickly. There was a spark of anger, followed by the shaking of fear. There was a sense of collective mourning, but there was also relief. And peace. Peace is what prevailed. Either way, I knew, we were on a path of change. Electing Hilary would have meant, most likely, a slower path. Donald, on the other hand, will ignite the fire within. It is our choice as to how it burns and spreads.

Inside all of us, there exists the Light from which we arose. We share this. This is what unites us. It is our life force energy, but it is also Love. We are at a time in our collective evolution where we are being called to the frontline, but not to wage another war. Haven’t we all had enough war and strife? This is a cycle we’ve repeated for thousands of years, and it doesn’t work, does it? Someone always loses in war. It divides us. It separates us. No, this is a call to the frontline to hold the Light. To walk with the Light. To be the Light. To spread the Light so that it may ignite the Light in others who chose to harbor fear.

When I let the anger and fear wash through me, I felt the power of this Light. I knew the time had finally come, and it was up to me, and to all who choose to live in the Light to walk strongly with the Light in whatever form we are asked to carry it. This is our time. May we unite in this knowing. May we come together and recognize the Light in ourselves and hold each others’ hands. I see, on the horizon, a beautiful rainbow. Hands raised in the joy of surrendering. When we allow the storm to pass, this is what will come to us. The New Earth is on the horizon, waiting to be birthed. Waiting for us to co-create it. It is our time. It is our calling. We are all One. May we unite in the Light of Love that we all share in our core.

The Drugging of a Nation

Perhaps it is because I live here, but I feel as though the drugging effect of fear is acutely present in the U.S., perhaps more so than the rest of the world at this time. I can see the Lady of Justice holding her scales, and they tip precariously downward. Fear holds a heavy weight. Recall the feather of Truth is weightless. The heart filled with Love holds no gravity. Yet, we are wavering on the brink of awakening to our true selves, so many of us holding onto the numbing effects of fear. I say numbing, because I see fear like a drug. I wonder if Caroline Myss would agree with me?

Recently, I felt called to re-read her book Anatomy of the Spirit, and was struck by her observations about the power of our collective energy. She speaks about the words we use to ourselves, and as a collective nation, and how these words and the energy they carry with them, create our reality. Many of us are familiar with the idea of manifestation and the Law of Attraction. The idea that what we send out, we create.

In her book, Myss uses as an example for this how the Great Depression coincided with the polio epidemic and the election of a crippled president. The Nation was literally crippled by the economic devastation at the same time a crippling disease crippled the health of its people. When the economy turned around, she noted, a vaccine for polio was discovered.

Few would argue that the U.S. is in the midst, or rather mist, of a drug crisis that threatens to spiral out of control. So many of us have elected to “drug” our minds. For many, it seems beyond our person control. We are in the midst of a new election for the leader of our country, and the choices, in some ways could not be more polarizing. When you look at the choices closely, and the rhetoric used, it is almost impossible to ignore that fear plays a heavy hand with many of them. Fear, my friends, is a drug. It numbs the powerful energy of love. True power is not control over another, it is not subjugation, it is the blossoming of the  power within. The knowledge and allowing of the true self, which is governed by Love and Truth, to shine forth. True power does not erect walls, it disassembles them piece by piece, and discovers as it does so that love resides within. And with that love, is unity.

Why do we fear? It’s a puzzling thought on many levels. Is it not our natural state to Love? We fear, quite simply, because we are taught to. False power, and those who strive to have it, perpetuate this fear. They shine fear though the glare of the news and thousands of horrific photos (which feed our fears), they write the word fear in its myriad forms in our newspapers, least you forget who is really governing you (or so they like to think). And so many, I believe, who don’t know what else to do, who are so mired in the muck of this plague of fear, succumb to it. Some choose drugs (more than some), in an attempt to numb the effects perhaps, but the result is loss of self-control. Loss of the true self. Loss of the belief that we are, in essence, Love.

The good news, though, is that the true self can always be recovered. Love is an energy, it cannot be destroyed, only manipulated and morphed into another form, but not forever. Love is the absence of resistance. Love is the absence of fear. Love is the knowing that the person beside us, and the person four thousand miles away, is a mirror of our self. It is up to us to see what we choose to in the mirror. It is up to us, individually, and collectively, to decide to perpetuate the struggle for separation. This false belief of hierarchy and “power.”

If you doubt this. Close your eyes. Dive, or walk gently with however many steps it takes to get there, into your heart.Therein you will find the answer. Therein you will find the Peace, Love and Joy that is you, and the knowing that this essence resides in all life. In each and every one of us, even if it is being temporarily drugged by fear. The choice is yours. The choice is ours.

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