Four Years. Go.

this video was what inspired me to finish my book and begin doing speaking engagements. watch it and get inspired! a side note... i was recently on a call with Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, and she reminded us all that this year- 2014- is the year we must make the greatest commitment to our world. What will YOU accomplish?

An Opportunity

as we have been working in our garden, my sweetheart Jakob and i have been talking a lot lately about the fact that, as a species, we have an opportunity to evolve to our next possible stage of awakening. this opportunity is urgent, clear and massive. we've already lost so much in making the choices we've made until now. we have lost ancient and deeply wise ways of living, numerous ecosystems, and countless species. we've also been talking about the fact that, if we don't seize this opportunity, we are in danger of losing our connection to what's most important - the very earth which supports the life of every being on it. if we don't seize this opportunity immediately, we may miss it forever. if we don't seize it right now, it may cost us absolutely everything.

what i am talking about is the opportunity to take on, in the most personal and global ways possible, responsibility for our current state of affairs on every level - economic, political, social, spiritual and environmental - by waking up to what we have done, feeling our deepest, scariest feelings about that, choosing to take a different path and creating the new world we all know is possible.

when i'm present to the possibility of this lost opportunity, i feel deeply sad, hopeless and angry all at once. my old fantasy of breaking a box full of dishes against a concrete wall while screaming at the top of my lungs comes back to mind in full force.

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when i hold the possibility of the opportunity seized, i feel hopeful, excited, deeply grounded, infinitely grateful and calm all at once. kind of like how i feel when i walk outside at dawn and take a slow, deep breath as i listen to the songs of the birds, feel the warmth of the spring breeze and absorb the color of the sky changing before my eyes.

although i am likely preaching to the choir, i will continue to say this at risk of being a broken record:  continuing on the trajectory we have laid for ourselves and our world will bring us to the brink - if not over it - sooner than we think. i believe that we all know, even if we don't want to admit it, that we are at the 11th hour and 59th second of pushing our planet beyond its capacity to hold our species much longer. the stakes are higher than they have ever been. and we are lounging at the table betting on who will win the game.

and, although i don't want to perpetuate the "us and them" story, the players in this game represent a clear dichotomy between the course the world-at-large seems to be setting and the direction in which individuals and local communities are doing their best to point us. it couldn't be more clear, more obvious.

We have now the opportunity to take on in the most personal

governments and corporations (institutions we created or allowed to be created which are now basically indistinguishable) continue to engage in wars and regional conflicts despite global protest, consistently choose fossil fuels over renewable energy at great cost to all in every way, and choose profit over people and planet at every turn. on the other hand, i meet people every day - organic farmers, holistic healers and outspoken poets - here in my rural community and online in communities around the world, who have decided that they are the heroes they have been waiting for. they know that it is up to us to turn things around in the most fundamental ways… like growing our own food from non-GMO seeds, dedicating ourselves to plastic-free lives, and choosing to buy locally over purchasing fake food and mass-produced products from corporate conglomerates that pay their employees just enough to stay trapped in the humiliating and devastating cycle of poverty.

the thing is… this game, if we miss this opportunity, has no winners. let me repeat that. this game has no winners. everyone loses.

so, what is to be done?

as Neo says in the last scene of The Matrix, "…I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

i don't have your answers. all i have is what's in front of me, what's here for me to be and do. so, i choose do do my darndest to be a positive contribution for the new world millions of us want to birth. i choose to love our Mother. i choose life.

what do YOU choose in this month of the height of spring, of celebrating mothers? i'd really like to know.

really.

Dear President Obama

Oil Pipeline through forestDear President Obama- Although I was a huge supporter of yours in 2008 and have written several blogs regarding supporting you in the past, I regret to say I am deeply disappointed in your actions, and my faith in your sincerity as our country's leader has seriously diminished.

As we all know the Keystone XL Pipeline is a huge issue. Some think it could be the defining environmental moment in our country's history given its very real potentially dangerous consequencesOthers think it will be a failsafe answer to our economic crisis. I'm sure it is clear on which side of this issue I stand. To quote an email I recently read in regards to the start of the operation of the southern leg of this pipeline, "This is a simply a sad day. The president who launched his campaign with a call to 'end the tyranny of oil' has now allowed - and even publicly encouraged - TransCanada to run the dirtiest tar sands crude straight through American farmlands, waterways and even front yards."

I will be the first to admit that I have been, at best, a pretty ineffective armchair activist. I have not yet chained myself to machinery nor strapped myself to the fence around the White House, the way i have often wished to. I have not written countless letters nor have I marched on Washington. Yet.

Mr. President, I ask you - what will it take for all of us to learn that more oil (translate as "more money lining the pockets of a very, very few already excessively wealthy") is not the answer to any of our crises - economic or otherwise? When will we wake up to the fact that completing the southern leg was actually a cunning (albeit totally blatant) way to ensure completion of the northern section (i.e. "well, we can't not finish what we started!")? Will we have to continue to poison our water sourcesdecimate sacred landswipe out precious wetlands and performeconomic hari-kari to finally learn that we made one of our biggest mistakes as a nation by allowing this fiasco to even be considered, much less acted out?

According to NASA scientist James Hansen, who likens the building of the pipeline to the enabling of an addict, "If he [you, President Obama] chooses the dirty needle [the pipeline], it is game over because it will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction. Canada is going to sell its dope, if it can find a buyer."

The Keystone Pipeline is a NO WIN situation for all, and the fact that it is being considered at all is clear evidence of how far we have to go. The choice is clear: stop the pipeline and leave a lasting legacy of a workable, healthy future for us, our children and generations to come or allow this monstrosity to go through and provide a very short-term economic gain to a very few short-sighted individuals now, with their descendants suffering the consequences along with everyone else. We must all take a bold stand for ourselves and our country by rejecting this pipeline, shifting to 100% renewable energy, and making personal commitments to changing our habits now.

There is no issue more important, more vital, more critical than our climate.

There is no issue more important more vital

Clearly, business as usual is not the answer. That is exactly what has created "the Mess" my friend Sharif Abdullah says we face.  If we don't care for our environment, everything else is a moot point. Nothing less than a radical, urgently swift and complete change and  is required. No change, no business. No change, no economy. No change, no rights. No change, no future.

Mr. President, I urge you to stand with the voice of reason, those whose lands are being seized and your children's futures rather than the corporate machine which, sadly, seems to have your vote more than mine on this issue. Although I have lost faith in the promises you made six years ago, I hope with all my heart you take bold, decisive action in the right direction. If you don't, I promise you this… we will fight this travesty with everything we have.

with hope,

erin ross

waking up in the Age of Awakening

farm to table photographi'm coming to the realization that the only real power i have is right here, right now. i know… it's something i've been teaching for years. but what i'm realizing, on a deeper level - yet again - is that the best place for me to make my greatest contributions to the world is right here in my own backyard. literally. this looks like growing a garden with non-GMO seeds from our local seed exchange, learning more and more how to live as lightly as possible on the earth (like carpooling with my sweetheart), raising chickens (arriving this weekend- so excited about that!) and contributing to my community in ways that are meaningful to me and hopefully helpful to others. it looks like doing things i love like writing, playing music, teaching workshops, sharing meals with family and friends, and laughing (a lot!). and it looks like opening our home to others who want to share in and co-learn this beautiful, ancient, essential way we are all re-discovering together.

if i were to be perfectly honest, i'd admit that the whole Get That You Matter "thing" started as a book - only a book. all i heard when i first got the message to write it was, "write a book." not "start a global movement" or "create a radio show" or "make a documentary" (although all of those things sound really exciting and tempting). i added all those other ideas over time as my ego got more and more involved in the ever-growing list of things i could do to make this a "really big thing." the truth is, it's the near-constant thinking that i'm not doing enough to make that stuff happen while procrastinating on finishing the book that trips me up every time and wakes me at 3am in a panic on a regular basis. does anyone relate to this?

what i'm realizing is this - it keeps coming back to one word:  simplify.

and this - for an over-achieving, relatively anxious, perfectionistic, recovering people pleaser - is a tall order. i mean, could i get by on checking facebook less than once a day? or stop compulsively signing up for emails about how to market myself bigger and better? or resist signing up for courses on how to make more money doing what i love so i can give more of it away? when i think about letting go of some of the things i could let go of in order to simplify and focus on what's in front of me, it's scary and liberating all at the same time. honestly, though, i can't tell you how much my shoulders drop, my belly softens and my breaths slow and deepen. i get quiet and feel peaceful and calm when i think about my little life "on the farm." the simple truth i'm arriving at is that living a simple life is actually one of the best ways i can contribute to the world.

i mean, if more of us (and by more, i mean millions- maybe even billions) took the time to stop or even slow down for a few minutes and really check in about where we are and what we're doing, we might actually be present. if more of us woke up to the lies we've bought about fulfillment coming from things (the stuff, the money, the cars, the constant barrage of "buy this and feel better"), we'd realize that so much of what we've been indoctrinated with is a lot of smoke and mirrors. if we realized that all that stuff just gets us more stuff, trashes the planet and drives us further away from our hearts and real, meaningful connections with each other, we'd clamor to give away what we don't need to those who could use it. we'd share more- much more. we would empty our costly storage units and tear them down to build community gardens and orchards. we'd end the so-called "demand" for useless little plastic toys and gizmos made in China which only end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch, killing Midway Island seagulls. we'd have dirt under our fingernails instead of acrylic. we'd be grateful to eat what's in season rather than participate in a system which imports pesticide-laden bananas from Ecuador so we can slice them over our genetically-modified cornflakes and antibiotic-riddled fat-free milk.

okay. you get the picture.

Here's the to the simple life

yes it is absolutely critical that we hold corporations (those pesky non-human persons run and maintained by human beings) accountable for their actions (or lack thereof) with protests and petitions and chaining ourselves to machinery. yes it is absolutely critical that we speak out for basic dignity and the rights of child prostitutes in Thailand, suicidal farmers in India, orangutans, polar bears and elephants, the Amazon rainforest and the rights of Nature herself. yes it is important - even critical - that we use the technology we have at hand to make positive impacts, to let our voices be heard and to connect with others around the globe in truly meaningful ways. and… we can do all of that while living simple, earth-honoring lives as unplugged from the machinery and corporatocracy as possible.

perhaps the thing to do is to be willing to tear down the house of cards we all helped to build, piece by piece, while transforming the vast water-sucking lawns around them into food forests maintained by formerly homeless, recovering addicts, ex-CEO's and exiled monks who live in gorgeous tiny houses built from the re-purposed materials of those Towers of Babel we now see were monuments to our own sickness.

perhaps we can sit down together at long farm tables spread with sumptuous feasts grown in those gardens and cooked in solar ovens, then dance to music played on landfill instruments around the bonfires fueled by the millions of boxes of documents we no longer need to hide or maintain and the wood from the warehouses in which we once thought we needed to keep our secrets.

but in order to get there, we are going to have to grieve - long and deep and well - all that we've done and built and ruined and lost in the name of perpetuating the grand illusion that we're separate from each other, our animal and plant companions and the very earth which supports us. only then will we be able to truly live in this beautiful, precious world in a way which sustains us all.

so, here's to the simple life. may enough of us choose to wail, weep, scream, laugh, dance, release, give away, share, re-purpose and create simple lives so we can turn the tide and truly usher in this Age of Awakening.

being vs. doing… part 2

giving up my personal will… ahhhhhhhh!!!

Worry won't stop the bad stuff from happening

wednesday, february 19 2014

i've been up since 3:46. feeling hopeless, less than grateful and slightly numb.

i've been struggling. again. with my spiritual practice. with getting things done. with wondering what i'm missing that is causing my bank account to be at another all-time low. with anxiety (if you really knew me). with pride. with saying what i feel i need to say even when it's f-xx-ing terrifying. like right now.

am i depressed? i don't know.

i'm struggling. yet again. with another cycle of Being vs. Doing… the cycle of staying present one moment enjoying the ride, then flying off the merry-go-round in some version of the past (practiced apart scarcity tale) or future (feeling unsure terrified uncertain restless expecting- ooh! good acronym!) the next.

i'm struggling. with this great urge to WAKE UP - myself, others, the world - to what's going on in the world. to the tragedy of repeated human folly, this broken record of behaviors we seem to be incapable of changing. to my fear that i can't do anything about any of it. to this hopelessness sometimes disguised as cynicism about my government, the corporate machine and about our ability to make a real, lasting shift before it's too late.

i'm struggling. with the fact that i pour my heart into these blogs and hope that someone will comment on them, but when i check for comments, all i see are 2,344 pieces of spam which, although sometimes look like actual comments, turn out to be complete crap. i wonder… am i writing into a black hole? are all these words just my over-active brain on some really great ego-trip thinking that someone else actually cares about the things i care about? is this just a glorified diary minus the miniature lock and teeny tiny key? am i just shouting into the void with a big, colorful yet broken, silent megaphone?

ok. i guess i'm depressed. a little bit. (and indulging in a pretty good-sized pity party.)

maybe the fact that i wake up at least once a week at 3 or 4 in the morning with anxiety - about everything from money to worrying about the elephants to the fact that my to do list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter- has something to do with it. hmmmm….

and, then of course, i worry that, if i post this blog - this one - the confessional about how messy i feel right now, it will be the one that gets more response than the one i worked on so hard about the NSA and our blasé attitude about the fact that we are all being watched by our own government. i keep asking myself, "what's the point of all this writing, anyway?" am i just jerking off publicly? or are these random postings actually helpful to someone else? (i sure hope so.)

to be perfectly honest, i'm struggling with this habitual drive to make a difference in the world and my deep desire to just go work in the garden. i really, truly wonder- what is the best way for me to "be the change" i wish to see in the world? 

option a) make a difference:

strategy… try to make Get That You Matter the global movement i envisioned a few years ago. use my will to "put myself out there" in the biggest way possible. go boldly forth into what i make up would be a more-than-busy schedule of marketing, promotion and sales (gag me!) in a go-go-go frenzy to "make my mark" and get this message out. sell the book on Amazon (booooo!). do the "power woman" thing (i.e. sacrifice my personal relationships, down time and walks in nature) to serve "the greater good" as i sally forth to make real my vision of inspiring millions of people.

outcome… honestly, as much as i know this message is good (maybe even great) and as much as i believe in it (having poured my heart and soul into it for the last 7+ years), whenever i think about what it would take to do this, i want to throw up.

hmmm… is this my resistance? or is it my deep knowing that something is really "off" about this entire approach? i don't know.

option b) work in the garden:

strategy… allow Get That You Matter to grow organically, slowly and locally (kinda like the only food we should be eating). work on a grassroots level. "think globally, act locally." maybe get a job so i don't have to worry about how i'm going to pay next month's bills. trust that it will get to who it needs to get to with word-of-mouth. let someone else do some gentle yet effective marketing (yes!). meditate. pray. write books, blogs and poetry. read good books. grow lettuce and carrots. cultivate my personal relationships. laugh and love with my sweetheart. walk in nature. slow down, knowing that my will is shaky and deceptive at best. use and TRUST Divine Will. serve the "community good" and, if it unfolds naturally, the "greater good" as i sally forth with my journal, computer and pitchfork in hand.

outcome… even though this option is scary for my ego to even consider, whenever i think about it, i breathe more deeply and want to cry.

hmmm… is this my resistance to being "unstoppable"? is it me giving up on my dreams? or is this my deep knowing that something is right on about this approach? i'm 97% sure this is the option to choose.

the trick is… remembering to give up my will, to let the Divine be my guide and to be grateful.

Is This My Resistance To Being Unstoppablei have written about gratitude and all kinds of things to help me remember. and sometimes, i forget. huge chunks of my joy and peace flake off like the Manhattan-sized iceberg that calved off of Antarctica a few weeks ago. sometimes it feels like the surrender, the joy, the gratitude are as slow to grow as glaciers. sometimes it feels like it's right here. like this gorgeous sunrise shining through the window (yes, i've been up since 3:46am.).

i recently saw a couple of posts by two women who are very wise and popular… women i admire for "making it" with their life's passions and, to be perfectly frank, women whom i envy for the same reason. kind of like they inspire me and make me sick all at the same time. (and that is so not about them… i hope some day i have the opportunity to share this with them.)

the first post was on facebook by Lissa Rankin. i really resonated with it because i think that's partly what my struggle is about:  "…the more I deepen on my spiritual path, the more I realize that the very will I've counted on my whole life in order to achieve my goals is sabotaging me. As Adyashanti writes, 'True realization, true enlightenment, comes through a complete relinquishing of personal will- a complete letting go…. By surrendering the illusion of personal will, a whole different state of consciousness is born in us; a rebirth happens.' Imagine that. Rebirth. Resurrection. Surrender... Anthony de Mello said, 'Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.' Wouldn't that be a relief, to finally let go of the handle, stop trying to force your personal will on an uncontrollable universe, and just TRUST?"

after that, i saw this gorgeous piece, "The Initiated Woman," by Danielle LaPorte which sang to my soul, especially this line. "She knows that when people are ready, they’re ready, and they’re never ready before they’re ready. Still, she holds the light for your readiness, because she knows how sweet it is when the time is right." honestly, it made me a bit sad because i don't think i have completed my own initiation. what i mean is, i make up that i haven't yet become as fierce as i may need to be. but, what i know for certain is that we are always ready when we're ready- never a moment before and never a moment too late. i know that, deep in my bones, because what's going on here is that i simply haven't been ready. until this year. and so it all comes back to giving up personal will. i've had moments of that - even months on end - when i let go of all the drive and comparison and surrendered to the moment, to the "inevitable" truth of the Divine, rising up and greeting the day with tears of joy and gratitude. total bliss. but… it seems like every time i'm striving or efforting or wanting to "make it" (whatever the hell that means!), i spiral down into this place. right here.

yes. i'm depressed. today. i've been forgetting that my will is not what matters. i've been forgetting to surrender. i've been forgetting that i matter just because i exist, and that my words are ringing true somewhere - even if it's just in my own heart.

what to do about it?

choose option b.

pray. pray. pray.

drink some more hot cocoa (that always helps).

go pull some weeds.

get busy and write my next blog.

 

or just breathe.

When would NOW be a good time to wake UP?

on Thursday February 6th i changed my profile picture on facebook from this erin fb profile pic

to this

fb nsa profile pic

after being inspired by the fact that my sweetheart had done so.

in all honesty, i thought long and hard before doing so. because, even though i fully stand behind this movement to keep our current system, this "corporatocracy," from making our lives look very much like scenes from George Orwell's infamous novel, 1984, i was a bit scared to be Bold about it in such a public way. then i realized that's exactly what they want me to do. they want me to pause and let that little trickle of fear grow into a river coursing through my veins causing me to stay numb, speechless and paralyzed. in that moment, i knew i had to do it, regardless. in choosing to change my profile photo and make a bold statement about how i feel about what is happening in our country, i was choosing to say "enough is enough."

i'm not saying that changing my profile photo is all that big of a deal or some super-courageous act. nor is it likely to land me on some list in a thousand-page document in a box in some government vault somewhere. (i'm probably already on one somewhere for something, anyway, like any good, vocal, participatory and upstanding citizen of what is slowly becoming the antithesis of a democracy is likely to be). but what i am saying is that there is, honestly, a growing shout inside of me saying, "screw it!" this is more important than my personal comfort, bigger than my fear and sure as hell something that deserves to be written about in as many places as possible.

the thing is, most of us are behaving like the proverbial frogs in the pot of water - the temperature being turned up just slowly enough that we won't notice until it's too late and we're all floating at the top of a big pot of frog soup. so many of us are going through our daily lives ignorant of or avoiding the truth of what is happening all around us - and we can no longer afford to remain in blissful ignorance. as i've quoted my friend Shanan many times, "it's time to wake up, sheeple!"

when i clicked the link for the Day We Fight Back website to learn how change my profile photo, this very compelling video grabbed my attention. if you really knew me, i usually tend to watch videos with half an eye and ear as i switch back and forth from what i'm writing to my email, but something about this one caught me, particularly every time i heard Aaron Swartz speak. i'd never heard of him until i watched this video, but he was incredibly articulate, passionate and intelligent… and i noticed that everyone else in the video spoke about him with a great deal of love and respect but also as if he were no longer here. so, i looked him up, and sure enough, i learned he had died. at the age of 26, this amazingly brilliant, boldly courageous and tirelessly dedicated man had hung himself after being indicted in 2011 "on federal data-theft charges for breaking into the MIT computer system and allegedly downloading 4.8 million documents from the subscription-based academic research database JSTOR"1  to which he had pleaded not guilty and was facing 35 years in prison and a $1million fine. As DemandProgress Executive Director David Segal said, “This makes no sense; it’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library…. It’s even more strange because JSTOR has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute."2

being honest john lennonas i sat in tears reading about this man's life, i realized that he was born just a few months after my son, who is also a brilliant, articulate and passionate man who happens to live in the same city as Aaron Swartz did. this was crazy. and, although this young man died at his own hand, i have no doubt that the very system he was trying to change carries much of the blame for his death. as his family wrote, "Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims."3

and he is not the only one who has suffered - as we all know, there are many courageous men and women who have been willing to question "authority" at great risk to their own lives. i believe whistleblowers and others who are willing to "say it like it is" are some of our greatest heroes - people like Daniel Ellsberg, persecuted for his bravery in exposing the vagaries of the Vietnam War, and Edward Snowden, currently living under a year-long asylum in Russia for courageously leaking numerous NSA documents about global surveillance. people like Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald. these are the people standing on the edge of the pot screaming at the rest of us, "jump out before it's too late!"

now, dear reader, you may be thinking that this issue has nothing to do with you. but i say it has everything to do with you, me and every other citizen- of every country around the world. if you don't think it does, i invite you to click these links and let me know how you feel after watching them:

• "The Program":  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/the-national-security-agencys-domestic-spying-program.html?_r=4&

or, maybe you think it's not a big enough issue. but i say, this is huge. it is connected to every other issue about which i and everyone i know is concerned - from climate change to human rights to gun control to environmental racism and on and on and on. in other words, it has become woven into the very fabric of our culture and, in my opinion, we cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

or, perhaps, you may be wondering what this bold, personal, political statement has to do with Get That You Matter. i say, it has everything to do with what we're about- getting that everything we think, say and do matters, and that standing up for our basic human rights is part of that. As Chris Hedges writes in his Truthdig article, The Last Gasp of American Democracy, "The state’s wholesale intrusion into our lives and obliteration of privacy are now facts. And the challenge to us—one of the final ones, I suspect—is to rise up in outrage and halt this seizure of our rights to liberty and free expression. If we do not do so we will see ourselves become a nation of captives…. The most radical evil, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, is the political system that effectively crushes its marginalized and harassed opponents and, through fear and the obliteration of privacy, incapacitates everyone else…. The object of efficient totalitarian states, as George Orwell understood, is to create a climate in which people do not think of rebelling… [it] achieves this control… by systematically crushing human spontaneity, and by extension human freedom. It ceaselessly peddles fear to keep a population traumatized and immobilized."4

i invite you to consider that we are at the most critical point in human history - right now, right here, today. if we are to truly get that we matter, my questions to you are these…

  • what has reading this blog sparked in you?
  • what are you willing to change? to choose? to commit to?
  • and, finally, as i've said before, "when would NOW be a good time to wake UP?!"

as David Sirota said so well in the New York Times Op-Doc Why Care About the NSA?, "if you don't speak up for everybody's rights, you'd better be prepared for your own rights to be trampled when you least expect it."if we are to play our part in the great re-evolution of humanity from where we've been to where we want to be going - if we are to build this bridge from "business (or life) as usual" to a whole new paradigm as we are walking, running and dancing across it - we must each be willing to commit to what we believe in and live it with every fiber of our being. if i am not up for that, then i should pull the plug on what i've been working on for the last 7 plus years, plug my ears and sing, "la la la la" while the world as we know it crumbles around me.

truth

QUOTES:

  1. http://business.time.com/2013/01/13/tech-prodigy-and-internet-activist-aaron-swartz-commits-suicide/
  2. http://techland.time.com/2011/07/19/reddit-co-founder-aaron-swartz-indicted-for-data-theft-could-face-35-years-in-prison/
  3. http://www.rememberaaronsw.com/memories/
  4. http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/the_last_gasp_of_american_democracy_20140105
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/opinion/why-care-about-the-nsa.html

you've got the whole universe in your hands

our wonderfully bold, brilliant friend Ryan Curtis is truly one of the most amazing visionary artists we know. his heart and joy for living are as big as the universe. we're absolutely thrilled to support his fundraiser on indegogo to publish his upcoming children's book, "You've Got the Universe in Your Hands" which ends February 8, 2014. click on this link to watch his wonderful video and consider supporting a children's book with a message whose time has come. if, for some reason, you don't see this until after the campaign ends, please visit his website, AquariusDreams, to support him by purchasing some of his gorgeous greeting cards or one of his amazing paintings. he's also going to have a website where you can pre-order copies of the book; we'll keep you posted.

A Transparency Story: A Human-Being/Doing/Shoulding

There is something bold abouti have a confession to make. i struggle. pretty much every day. with Being. here. now… and Doing. worrying about the future. stuck in the past.

i've thought about this for a long time and realized that, in writing this month's blog about my experience of Being Bold, i need to be completely honest. Back in December, i had intended to write a bunch of blogs ahead of time - you know, get ahead? i was going to write one about other people i admire who have been bold like Edward Snowden and Nelson Mandela, and about things happening in the world that i want to share boldly like the travesties of the Keystone Pipeline and the NSA. But the truth is, i did not feel like writing. Instead i spent my time preparing for the holidays, buying gifts and making plans for wonderful meals with family and friends.

i kept telling myself, "i should be working on my blogs for January, writing the January newsletter and clearing out my email inbox like i promised myself!" Instead i worked on my Getting That You Matter workshop and spent countless hours posting, tweeting and blasting emails to market it… because, if you really knew me, i was terrified that, after all the years of working towards launching my work in the world, no one would show up and i'd be sitting there in a room full of mostly empty seats - ashamed and alone.

What actually happened was amazing – a miracle really! Twenty four – yes, 24 – brave, bold souls took the chance on me and my invitation, and i witnessed a powerful, inspiring, beautiful process of awakening unfold before my eyes. i really can't tell you (because words have been failing me a great deal since the workshop) what a blessing it was, how gratifying it was, what a precious gift it was – to witness that unfolding in each person who hung in there for the ride. i was truly blown away, finding myself in tears many times over the two and a half days, at their courage, willingness and tenacity. it was long, intense and chock full of information. And here's the kicker – here's why i'm writing what I'm writing:  i am coming to a deeper understanding (and i imagine this may be true for some of you, too) of just how much i struggle most of the time with striking that fine balance between Being and Doing.

i guess what makes this blog as bold as it is is that i have to expose the truth of just how great that struggle can be sometimes here in this body. i know, with all my heart, who we Be is what makes the difference – what really makes us matter. And yet, without the doing, nothing will happen to shift us out of the mess we're in – i mean the global mess. Because, if you haven't noticed, we are in a mess - the biggest one we've ever been in as a species. And, the thing is – we've messed it up, not only for ourselves but for countless others on this precious planet. We have forgotten that we are part of this planet. We've been living under the illusion that we are separate from our mother earth. And in doing so, we have allowed ourselves to treat her, our brothers and sisters, each other and ourselves as though we don't matter at all.

The great paradox is that part of what's gotten us into this mess is forgetting who we are – our Being – which has caused us to allow ourselves to do the terrible, mindless things we've done. We have sacrificed who we really are for what we thought we could do. And we are paying a terrible price which is only going to get higher and higher the more we sacrifice our Being on the altar of our Doing.

So, if you really knew me, i struggle every day with how to balance my Being and my Doing. Why am i writing about this now, at the beginning of what promises to be another powerful year? Because i really believe there is something bold about speaking our truth, admitting what goes on "in here" especially when we're driving in circles in the "bad neighborhood" of our stuck thinking when we forget that we are connected to everything.

i realized that i go through cycles… sometimes i feel really grounded in my being and in my deep faith in my connection to God. Other times, i feel so ungrounded and stuck in my doing, flailing around wondering where i "lost" my connection to God. Do you experience that? i make up that most of us do from time to time. So, here's my request. i'd really like to hear your thoughts. What do you struggle with? How do you "should" on yourself? How do you get stuck in your Doing? And how do you reconnect to your Being? I look forward to your comments and stories, and i promise i'll reply. This is an important conversation.

Next time, i'll write about all those big, bold things and people. Today, i get that i matter. Today, i'm really happy to Be here. Today, i hope you are, too.

Day 3...

Body bowl Cleanse

yourself

for a week or a day

 

give up

your unconscious

habits

 

release that

which no longer

serves

and notice the

space

 

you want to fill

but don’t.

 

Instead, wait

wait for it to feel

empty

 

even if it takes a month

or a year.

 

Let it be filled

from your deep

innate desire

to serve.

 

What will it be?

 

That

Is not important.

 

What is,

is that you

let the space

be there

 

without filling it

with your old

habits

and choices

 

let a new light

from deep in the earth

from the

vastness of the sky

fill you

 

with inspiration

as you wait

patiently

for your assignment.

The Guest House

the guest house This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

~ Rumi ~

Being Bold

I love this being game!  We love it so much that we plan on playing it all year long as our theme for 2014.  To me, being bold is about living outside the lines.  It’s about being unreasonable.  With all of these tools we’ve got, why not make bold requests, make bold apologies, make bold affirmations, and act boldly? What stops me from being bold is typically doubt, and I learned something really amazing about doubt at our Get That You Matter workshop over the last weekend.  I found that hearing my ego express “doubt” means that I must have hit a nerve. If I hear “you can’t accomplish that” or “that won’t work”, it likely means that there’s something radical behind that wall, that to accomplish beyond the doubt would shatter the ego’s stronghold, and unveil a whole new vision of myself I had not known was there.  I like to think of doubt as my invitation to follow the unknown, to follow the fear, to challenge its truth.

Going in the direction of certainty (to take a polar opposite approach to living boldly, or moving against doubt), is business as usual.  Nothing changes with a school of fish riding a current together.  Being frozen in fear and doubt is business as usual (whether the fish swims or not, the current will continue to sweep them in the direction of business as usual).  Being bold means getting uncomfortable, and seeing doubt as a challenge, a game.

This year I invite you to live boldly, to boldly go where you have not been before.  If you’re feeling uncertain, it means that you’re moving something.  If you’re feeling scared, it means that something incredible awaits you on the other side.  The world can’t wait for you to be ready for when all of the circumstances are lined up.  Paradigms don’t switch without it, you need to get bold.

your life

you think you are separate?you think you are alone? disavow yourself of that hackneyed story. it does not serve your majesty.

there is no way you could be separate. everything you touch touches you. everything you love is longing for you to know you are loved in return.

give up this illusion, this attachment to your pain. it is such a petty reward, too small for your grandeur.

you are so much greater thank the cave in which you believe you are imprisoned.

let go the chains you grip so tightly. they never were shackles. let them fall away and get to the door.

let the light enter your eyes. let it make you shudder at its brilliance. let it melt you to the core as you weep and laugh all at once.

use your feet - crawl if you have to, but get yourself out in the cool air, into the dust and wind. feel the pain of being alive.

and know this - this is your life, and anything other than this is something you never wanted in the first place.

stand in the sun, even if you are blinded. stand in the rain, even if you are drowned. stand in the wind, even if it blows you to shreds. sand in the silence, even if you never hear

anything but your own breathing reminding you that you are part of life, that the darkness was of your own making and this unknowable light is what you really are.

We're all Connected… Waking up to what's wrong with the current picture

How Does the System in which I livelast month in the U.S., we celebrated Thanksgiving- a holiday in which many of us gather with family and friends to share our gratitude for life. regardless of what we believe about its murky origins (and they are murky), the idea - the ideal - of Thanksgiving is to come together - to connect - and remember the power and beauty of being grateful. however, it has also sadly become a day which marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season with the fabrication of "Black Friday," a day on which millions upon millions worship at the altar of the corporatocracy at the expense of our humanity, our dignity and the very survival of our planet. to me, Black Friday represents all that is wrong with our culture. i recently saw this post on Facebook. and i ask you, what is wrong with this picture titled "Define necessity?" here's my answer in this moment:  what's wrong is the lack of conscious thoughtfulness we put into our choices and our inability or unwillingness to see that everything is connected.

if, indeed, everything we think, say and do has an impact; if everything we do matters, my question is… how does the system in which i live (represented by the photo of the people with all that stuff ) have a direct effect on those we may never know are suffering due to our participation in it (like the children in the other photo)? and, who is starving? is it the young children who are dying - literally - for a morsel of food to fill their bellies or those of us who attempt to feed the bottomless "hungry ghost" inside with things which will never fill it - shopping, tv, alcohol, drugs, sex? or is it both? i agree with my friend Keith, who commented when i shared this post, that he sees 2 photos that have a lot in common.

then, a couple of days ago, i saw this post on Upworthy (one of my favorite websites) about the distribution of wealth in the U.S., and, truthfully, it sickened me. i can say it no more plainly than this… what is happening in our world is simply wrong - in so many ways. and it is time - actually, it's long past time - to wake up people!

if, indeed, we are all connected; if, as i believe, everything is one, my question is… why wouldn't we want the best for everyone? when i watched that video about wealth distribution, it moved me to tears of deep pain. not because i feel like i can't do anything about it (even though i often do feel that way), but because what i believe is that, when we are not paying attention to the whole, ultimately we are not paying attention to ourselves - on the deepest level. when we're not ensuring that everyone has enough, when we're not ensuring that our planet is not being raped - and she is literally being raped, somewhere, every minute of every day - so that some can have more, most can have nothing, and others struggle in lines buying into this mentality that's been created by a few, what are we saying? we're saying that we don't care enough to stand up and say, "No. Not any more." All of this is to generate what? money - and all it seems to buy - for a very, very few.

if we are not paying attention to or concerned by this massive global inequity, what that is is an absolute lack of love for ourselves. if we don't see the connection, what we're not seeing is that we are actually killing ourselves in the process. "it's as if," as i wrote in a blog last year, "we have become like the virus Agent Smith speaks of in The Matrix - the only other species on earth which consumes its host without considering that doing so will result in its own demise." we are behaving like that virus, acting as if it is more beneficial for us to kill our mother without fully understanding that, in doing so, we put our own lives and the lives of all beings, all future generations, in peril.

taking it a step further, if we assume that we're all connected (that we're one with everyone and everything) and if the only thing that's real is Love (that, as i truly believe, God is Love and that nothing other than Love exists), then everything we're doing is a monstrous egoic pursuit to prove that we're different from, that we're other than, God… other than Love. only a truly obtuse mind would do that. when we forget that we are one mind, one heart, one soul- that we were literally born from the same stuff as the galaxies, bees and all existence, that illusion of separation is what engenders in us the distorted presumption that we can exhibit the kind of behavior we've all bought into without suffering grave consequences. that illusion is what enables us to do what we are doing. and it is not okay.

i ask you, in honoring all that we have been given to care for and love, how can we possibly- any one of us- believe that our perceived need for things and acquiring and power and territory is more important than the good of all beings on and of this precious planet? how can we possibly continue to make choices which lead us all toward inevitable destruction without seeing the connections?

i don't have any easy answers to these questions, but i and many others do have a lot of questions that i think are worth taking the time to ask ourselves so we can find the answers that are workable for everyone.

finally, i'm very present today, with December being the month that many people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, to celebrating the birth of someone who gave his life so that we could all wake up. that, to put it simply, is huge. and, with the passing of Nelson Mandela last week at the venerable age of 95, we celebrate a man who did not give his life by dying, but rather gave his life by living… in chains, imprisoned, and then surviving probably countless threats of death and attempts of murder to become, as Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote, "the world's most admired and revered public figure."  in living their lives from that deep knowing in their inextricable connection to all beings, these two historic figures have given us more than we will probably ever know.

i ask you, in honoring these two men this month, how can we possibly fly in the face of that kind of dedication to Love?

some might say that, in the end, it doesn't really matter what we do here - that this place is just a playground or schoolroom for our souls, for all the parts of the oneness that thinks they're separate to just hang out, buy stuff, behave badly and die. perhaps that's true. but i disagree. i think that is a monumental cop-out. what i see is a massive opportunity… to remember that who we really are is Love and act from that opportunty, from that remembering. this unprecedented time in human history is a massive opportunity to wake up and get that, with every thought, every word, every action, each of us has an impact on the entire planet far greater than we will ever know.

it's like Russell Brand spoke to so brilliantly in this fabulous video, "I believe profoundly in the power of humanity. I believe that we're connected. I believe that there's an inevitability to a successful revolution. I think this is a change in consciousness that we're experiencing…. I think there's going to be radical changes. I think that we need to look at the world as one inclusive entity…. The ultimate truth is Oneness. We believe so much in our identity and our individualism…. On a deeper level, I recognize that all these things are transient. What's more important, what's defining things is the things we all share- love, unity, togetherness…. There's going to be a revolution. It's totally going to happen. I ain't got no flicker of doubt. This is the end. This is time to wake up."

so i ask you, in this final month of this remarkable year, do you see how you are connected to everyone and everything around you? do you get it? and, what will you choose with your thoughts, words and actions? is there any better place than here? is there any better time than now? how will you change this picture? are you ready to wake up?

Being Connected

being connectedI love this time of the year.  As temperatures drop, and the weather surges outside in many parts of the country, people are moving inward.  We tend to move a little more slowly, and treat ourselves with long showers, lingering conversations, and hot meals.  This time of the year holds many important holidays that reconnect us with our friends and family, that draws us to travel great distances just to be with the ones we love.  This is a time of connection and a time for closeness.It is in our connection to those around us that we can see the most immediate impact that we have on the world.  The people that look up to you, the people that you listen to, the stories that we share… we are all so infinitely connected, making waves of impact on those we love.  This holiday season I invite you to tend to your connections and family circles, whatever “family” means to you.  It is in these places where we have some of the strongest and most potent impact.  Where can you be love triumphing against fear in your family?  What can you clean up with your loved ones?  What can you take responsibility for? Who can you acknowledge?

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude is the place to begin from not the place to get to - Erin Rossalthough this month's Being Game is "gratitude," something continues to haunt me in the midst of this dramatic year. sometimes i feel it more than others, but it's always there under the surface - a vague, persistent sense of guilt and overwhelm about what is happening in the world today. especially the nuclear situation in Fukushima, Japan. i recently saw a video about dolphins and got to thinking about all the thousands of species that will be affected, and more than likely already have been affected, by the radioactive water that continues to pour out of that reactor. not only does the radiation give cause for me and many others i know not to eat fish anymore because of the extreme risks to our health, but there is sure to be a profoundly devastating ripple effect in the already challenged species anywhere in the path of that poisoned water. i awoke this morning deeply saddened by the negative impact this situation is having and will continue to have for countless decades in ways we will probably never know. i awoke with a heaviness that has not been with me for quite some time, knowing that there is probably so much more i can do than to be a good "armchair activist" by posting, tweeting and blogging about all of this. i awoke asking myself, "what have i not done enough of? where have i gotten lazy? where am i out of integrity with my mission?" and, surprisingly, the answer that came was, "be grateful… be grateful for all you have, for all the love in your life, for all the choices you've made, for all the beauty around you, and remember to continue to be love no matter what." and, in that instant, i felt a wave of gratitude so powerful wash over me, i began to cry at all the miracles in my life… the fact that there are multitudes of ways to share love with others; that dolphins, whales and manatees are our sisters and brothers; that i am being given an opportunity to be and receive love like i never had before; that the world is ready to receive the love i have to give; that this year is a year of choices- big and small, life and death, sleeping and waking; that this is the moment in which i get to choose to see life as perfect while taking bold, decisive action to raise the bar for the awakening and transformation of humanity.

at the Work That Reconnects workshop i attended this last weekend with the incomparable and deeply inspiring Joanna Macy, she said that gratitude is the place to begin from, not the place to get to because of what we have. when we're grateful for being right where we are and being on the way to wherever we're going, it provides the curiosity and interest to deliver us into presence.

i know that our voices - whether standing alone or in a crowd of thousands - have the power to inspire, inform, ignite and contribute to others… but if we don't speak, then that will never happen. i know that gratitude is the key to turning all problems into possibilities… for when we let gratitude be our guide, miracles occur. i know that it's not always easy to be or even feel grateful when there is so much going on around us that seems bleak and insurmountable… but if we don't connect to and express our gratitude, then we cannot move beyond numbness and paralysis.

it's not too late to change - to shift from entitlement to gratitude, when we remember, as Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface Carpets and one of my greatest heroes, said, "We are each and every one of us part of the web of life itself… and we have a choice to make. During our brief- so brief- visit to this living blue-green planet - to help it or to hurt it. It's your choice." because, as Paul Hawken stated so eloquently, "At this crucial stage in human history, there is no inconsequential action- only consequential inaction."

so my question to you is, what are you grateful for? do you choose to let yourself get overwhelmed by what's going on today? or do you choose to look around you at your life, at all you have to be grateful for - even if it's simple things like running water, a place to lay your head at night or public transportation - and let your gratitude grow inside of you, like a fire, igniting your capacity to take loving, heartful action? and, finally, which action will have the most powerful, positive impact on the people and world around you?

i invite you to begin a daily practice of writing down at least 10 things for which you are grateful. or at least sharing them with someone you love. you can do it at night before bed or the next morning. but whatever you choose, i invite you to try it on for at least a month. join us this month in being and expressing gratitude… and watch what happens.