Greta Thunberg Standing on the Fulcrum of Fear & Love #IChooseLove

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

It has felt, for many months, or maybe even many years, as though we are collectively teetering on the fulcrum between fear and love. Some days there is a slight tipping toward love, on others I feel fear pushing its heavy weight into our hearts and there is a slipping towards an abyss that I care not to imagine. Yet, how can we not face our darkness? There are nights when I dream of the Earth caving in upon us, her mighty tongue lapping us back into her dying body.

Two days ago, I sat in a circle of 22 children and talked about love and fear. Although they were no older than 10 yrs. old, some of them already knew of the science behind our emotions. Before I pulled Dr. Emoto’s book The Secret Life of Water out of my bag, one child offered her scientific observations on two apples. One was spoken words of hate, the other words of love. There was an unease to her giggle when I asked her which one had decayed first. Although there is a knowing deep inside each of us, it is sometimes difficult to allow ourselves to understand the effects of our emotions.

We don’t always want to own our energy, or the fact that our energy is intricately woven with all life. If we talk love to water outside of us, it forms into a beautifully exquisite crystal. If we talk hate to water outside of us, the water separates into an ugly mass striving for cohesion. To me it resembles a bacteria smear on a petri dish. Each day it is fed fear, more toxic colonies grow.  It’s worth thinking about what the water inside of you is doing, as I discussed with the children while they gazed at the photos of proof.

Everything, in essence, is energy. Somehow, over the course of thousands of years, we have learned to crave density. We amass wealth in the form of condensed energy thinking it will bring us joy, but we should all know that the tighter the wrap, the more difficult it is for the light to get shine through.

The scientific proof is there, yet many of us care not to see it. Just like the scientific proof exists, and has for many decades, that our climate is indeed in a state of crisis. A crisis brought upon by our individual and collective choices to push the lever towards greed. We care not, for the most part, to see what is going on outside of us or inside of us through the lens of science and truth.

This morning, I decided to scroll through a few comments on Greta Thunberg’s Twitter feed. I have been thinking about this courageous and brilliant young woman a lot lately, and how she has chosen to weather our collective storm valiantly without fear of personal attacks. Of which there have been numerous. One needs only spend about thirty seconds on Twitter to see there are nearly equal tweets on the spectrum of fear/hate as there are on the spectrum of love/reference for this truth seeker and speaker. I found myself amazed, yet not really surprised, by how many people self-righteously send out the energy of hate towards a young woman whose only motivation is to save them, and in the process herself and the planet we all share. It’s mind boggling in its essence. Yet, it’s not. Some of us really like our fear and hate. It makes us feel powerful with all its lies and self-loathing so that we forget that we are harboring and feeding a cancerous mass inside of us.

It would be amusing how much we fear the truth if it were not so disturbing. I have realized, over these past several days while thinking of Greta and all the courageous youth who are standing and speaking up with her, that somehow, quite miraculously it seems, we have birthed new generations who do not hold onto fear the way most of us do. Perhaps it is because they have not yet lived long enough for fear’s weight to grow into a cancerous mass inside of them. I like to believe, though, that somehow they were born with an immunity to it.  That finally, we are moving toward the light as we push fear’s weight into the abyss from which it came. If I don’t believe it, the alternative is unimaginable.

 

Another Morning Has Broken: Grow the Light #GivePraise #Gratitude

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I woke with the lyrics of the hymn playing  inside of my head in the voice of Judy Collins, even though I grew up listening to Cat Stevens singing “Morning has Broken.” I have not heard the song in years, but there it was, singing inside a mind that refused to fall back to sleep. In my dream, I had been writing this blog post while the beauty of the song played on repeat.

Before I went to sleep last night, I watched most of the U.S. democratic presidential debates. “Are they still on?” my son asked when he came downstairs in preparation for bed. He had suggested we watch them, and together we had for about an hour.

“Yeah, I told him, but they haven’t even gotten to the environment yet.”

“Maybe it’s not on the agenda topics,” my husband replied.

Instead, the focus was on healthcare and gun control. Two topics I will not deny are essential to individual wellbeing. But, if we don’t tend to the home we all share, we won’t have individual selves to care for. Eventually, the morning light will not break into a new day on Earth.

16-yr. old  Greta Thunberg is now famous for telling us, “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

The truth is, most of us are more concerned with our own houses, than the home we share. Neglecting to realize that our individual houses are irrelevant if we don’t take care of the planet. Simply put, our house will burn if we continue to ignore the fact that our collective home is literally on fire. Immense forests, the lungs of our Earth, are burning because of climate change. While the land burns, the waters are rising. In attempt to shake us awake, our home is self-destructing with our help.

I realized as I was waking this morning that the song playing on repeat through my dreams was not a song, literally, of mourning, but a hymn of praise to the new day. It is also, though, a praise for union and the truth that we are “born of one light.” The song is incredibly beautiful, and it is no wonder it has been sung by various artists throughout the years. It may have originated as a Christian hymn, but it has a universal appeal, as Cat Stevens, also known as Yusuf Islam, has shown us.

Although I don’t adhere to a religion, I believe that we are all birthed from the same light. A light that weaves through all life, including this living planet we call home. We have, collectively, over many years, but more so in the more recent past, worked more to break this light than to honor it and nurture it.

Science says we are creatures of habit. It can take an individual two weeks to a year to break an old habit and form a new one.  Sadly,  we have made a global habit of looking out more for the individual self than our selves as an integral part of the web-of-light/life that we are all a part of.

The other day, I watched a brief clip of Greta being interviewed by a morning show on a major network here in the U.S. She had just traveled to the states via a zero-emissions boat. As her visibly uncomfortable interviewers also pointed out, she has also walked to their studio.

It takes a fair amount of discomfort to welcome in a “new morning” in favor of the one we are used to greeting. It takes a stretching of the eyes and mind a little wider to really see what exists beyond our myopic field of perception. But, the rewards are infinite. Imagine, for a moment, a new morning breaking into day. Imagine your beautiful light weaving into the light around you. Imagine what you can bring to this new day.

Admittedly, most of us will not change all of our habits, and certainly not at once. I know I am not ready to give up travel by plane to sail across the ocean, but there are choices I can make in each moment to dim the light, or to grow it. Here are a few that we can all consider each morning after we wake:

  • Skip the K-cups or the Dunkins run and brew a cup of fair trade, organic coffee or tea. (If you really want that Dunkins or Starbucks, bring your own reusable mug.
  • Gather a full load of laundry before starting the washer, and use warm (not hot) or cold water to wash. The next time you buy detergent, choose one free of harsh chemicals and dyes in the most environmentally friendly packaging you can find. Just say no to those hard plastic containers! If your washer kicks the bucket and can’t be fixed, buy an energy efficient one. When your load is done, hang it outside in the sunshine and save some money by using free, fossil-free energy! If you must dry it in the dryer, use an eco setting and wool dryer balls in favor of toxic non-reusable dryer sheets.
  • Likewise, run your dishwasher only when it is full on the energy-saver setting with eco-friendly detergent in eco-friendly packaging.
  • Make the choice to eat low on the food chain, and finish what is on your plate. If you can’t eat it all, save it for another meal. Compost what you must discard. Grow what you can, or buy it locally and organic.
  • Water the lawn only if you really need to, and tend to it with organic lawn care. Better yet, grow more plants and trees that don’t require maintenance and nourish your body, wildlife, and the lungs of Earth in the process.
  • Carpool to work or school in the most low-emissions vehicle available. Or, better yet, walk or ride a bike when the weather permits it.
  • Skip the hair dryer, iron, and curler, even if it’s just only weekends.
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use.
  • Turn off lights and heat in unoccupied rooms. (And when they are in use, make sure your using the most eco-friendly options available to you).
  • Support local business and farmers who are working on, or using, sustainable practices for the planet.
  • Invest your money in the future rather than the immediate pleasure of instant gratification.
  • Teach your children that caring for their planet will ensure they have a planet to care for them.
  • If you want to add a child or a pet to your home, consider rescuing one from a life of poverty and homelessness.
  • Wear your clothes until you can wear them no more, then use them as rages, make something new out of them, or donate them to someone who can use them.
  • Buy local. Buy eco-friendly. Buy used. Buy only what you need. Use a reusable bag to put your purchases in.
  • Support zero-emissions energy sources whenever you are able to.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. Turn down the water when you shower.
  • Skip the plastic whenever possible. Use refillable containers. Buy zero-waste products. Remember most of our waste is no longer recycled, and when it is, it takes large amounts of energy to do so.

And, most of all, breathe in the beauty of each morning. Breathe in joy and gratitude for the new day. Breathe in light and Breathe it back out. Imagine a new day where devastation is replaced with joy. Take at least one action each day to co-create another morning for all.

 

The “I Need to Be Special” Syndrome Vs. Greta Thunberg’s “I Don’t Care About Being Popular” Approach to Life

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s likely most of us suffer from it, to lesser or greater degrees. Soon after birth, the ego discovers its individuality and realizes that separation can be a threat to its survival. If I am not considered special, the ego decides, I may not be fed, taken care of, and loved. First the individual ego fears the rejection of his parents, then later learns to extend this fear into the wider world of siblings, teachers, coaches, peers, and employers. No one wants to be cast aside and forgotten.

So the ego searches for specialness. It decides, if I am attractive enough, I will be loved. If I am smarter than my peers, I will never fail. If I am fast enough, I will always win. And in that striving for specialness, angst sets in. What will happen if I  am no longer considered beautiful? Will I no longer be loved and cherished? What if someone smarter than me comes along? Will I be rejected? Overlooked in favor of another? What will happen if I lose this race? Will I no longer be a winner?

You cannot fault the individual ego who as a young child hears the words, “You are so cute” by his parents and translates this to, “I am cute, therefore I am loved and wanted.” Soon after birth, the child begins to learn the skills admired by her world, discovering in the process that accolades, hugs, and smiles accompany her feats of mental and physical acuity. She will likely hold onto these words and decide as an adolescent that the words “You’re smoking hot” translate to being worthy of love by another. If she doesn’t hear them, her self-worth may be severely questioned, as the insecure ego has learned to strive for specialness. And so this extends to all areas of life for each individual who grows in a world fixated on specialness. Each of us becoming, in the process, unconsciously obsessed with what separates us from each other, instead of what unites us.

We lose, in this process of striving for a specialness that separates us from each other, both inner and outer joy. Separation is the opposite to unity, and the constant striving for this separation from each other pulls us apart from what unites us. This encompasses the inner and outer unity, as there can never be contentment if there is a constant struggle for separation. Inner peace arrives only when the ego learns to exist in a state of balance with the body, mind, and heart-centered soul. It exists only when there is the realization that striving for the outer ideals created by the world around it are false ideals. That in fact no one individual can truly be more special than another. Instead, the individual must realize that this striving only creates separation. Separation from the true self.

I have been thinking about this pervasive syndrome of specialness obsession that many of us get pulled into early on it life. God knows I did.  My need to be accepted by my parents led me to swallow my words and emotions and bury my true identity. By the time I reached adolescence, I discovered that being different meant rejection by my peers, and so I struggled to stand out in more accepted ways. Although I won awards for academic and athletic excellence, as well as the affections of handsome boys who didn’t know my past, I existed inside a sea of inner turmoil. True connection with myself only became achievable later in my adult life after I began to let the outer ideals slip away.

Last week my son tried out for the school’s baseball team and didn’t make it. He took the rejection by the coach hard, at first. And, one of the comments he made was, “what will people think of me now?” He is in the eight grade. That stage in life when the ego is acutely fixated on identity. It is heartbreaking to hear these words come out of the mouth of your son, knowing the struggle for identity that he is going through. Yet, it is also an opportunity to teach and learn. To grow and overcome. To help discover that the perceived rejection of the outer is really just a superficial interpretation. The self secure in its identity will realize that there is no true rejection or separation.

Yet this process can take time. It can take much learning, or rather unlearning, to discover that the outer ideals so cherished by a culture premised upon ranking will eventually topple. It will create inner and outer wars, as we have seen over and over again. We are in the midst of this right now. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious discrimination have raised their fearful heads in a quest for dominance. On our thrones of leadership we have placed false demigods who thrive upon the ego’s “I am special” syndrome.

But, in the midst of the ego’s struggle with fear and supremacy, there are those shining voices of truth singing songs of unity. Some of them have not yet reached the age of adulthood. I am thinking in particular of Greta Thunberg, who at the age of 16 has been nominated for the Noble Peace Price.  When she was 15, Greta began protesting outside of Sweden’s parliament in an effort to inspire a more radical response to climate change. “I do not care about being popular,” she fearlessly declares when she speaks in front of a panel of rule makers. She lives through her heart supported by, and not ruled by, the strength of her ego. You cannot help but feel the power of her words. Never having, perhaps, caught the “I need to be special” syndrome, Greta shines in the light of a universal truth as she seeks to bring awareness to a global crisis that affects not just her, but all life on Earth. She speaks of unity and not division and has no care for whether she is liked. Yet, through doing this, she epitomizes true greatness.

During my conversations with my son over the weekend, we discussed the difference between striving for individual greatness driven by the ego’s quest for specialness vs. the larger calling of the soul ruled by the heart. Although he enjoys playing the sport of baseball, my son does not feel that a life centered around an ego-centric competition is for him. He has no intention of playing professional baseball. Instead, he realizes that he has his own unique strengths, which may lead him down a path that is not so much about letting the ego shine, but allowing the truth of the soul to shine. It gives me hope, just as it does seeing Greta standing sure and true in her convictions to inspire a better, cleaner world for us all.