It’s time to clean my palate, refresh my nose, and wash the madness out of my hair. Yes, yes, yall. I’ve been decreasing my intake of political news. I’m a MSNBC addict. Yes I am. But it is better for me to limit my intake. Portion control is the solution.
The daily barrage of news and breaking events spewing from my HD television screen is polluting my spirit and outlook. I had to put a stop to it. I had to also stop sharing the madness via my Facebook posts. Portion control works both ways: intake and sharing.
Sometimes when you’re in the thick of something you don’t see the full buffet of madness you are taking in. So I’m cleaning out my DVR, watching some new shows, going to the movies, trying ne restaurants, and most important finishing my long-way-long-overdue novel.
I’m sleeping better and feeling lighter. Yes, yes yall portion control is the way to go.
Tiffany Haddish was surprised by Oprah on The Ellen Show. She fell into the Joy of the moment and sobbed. She didn’t try to play it cool.
Each day do something, anything that moves you forward. I’m not talking about some huge ridiculous move. I’m not talking some Bauce (boss), Black Girl Magic (insert your identification here), I am woman here me roar move. Nah and nope. I’m talking something. I talking anything. I’m talking about sorting and donating your shoes to make room in your closet and life for new shit and blessings. Simple.
Haven’t we all held a wish at one time or another that the person who hurt us — as he did with that cruel remark or angry action — could know what we felt in that moment of their thoughtlessness? Somehow we just know that if this person could be present in our aching heart he would be more than just “sorry” because he would share our sorrow; and that out of this new order of relationship he could never and would never act so carelessly again.
Yet, for all of this higher self-understanding we think others should possess, we often fail to see our own spiritual poverty — how when we hurt someone with our own callous behavior we are unable to remember how much it hurt us to be on the receiving end of such scalding remarks.
Where is this compassionate understanding when we really need it? How do we forget so quickly to be the kind of person we blame others for not being when they turn on us? To reveal the true nature of this sudden form of spiritual amnesia requires some soul searching of a kind. We must try to see, through our mind’s eye, the workings of our own psychology in these moments where someone hurts us. To begin with, let’s collect a few honest facts about what is taking place on our side of the duel that characterizes any unpleasant encounter with someone else.
First we need to acknowledge that when someone acts thoughtlessly towards us, it is a similar thoughtlessness in us that responds. In other words, our own hostile reactions take no thought for anything outside of what they call into account for their suddenly heated existence — so that the only awareness we possess in these times is that low level of cognizance that possesses us, making us “entitled” to attack back! And with our own aching heart or pounding thoughts providing the fuel, we lash out! After all, it is our “right” to set the record straight.
Once we come aware to the fact that when we hate, we feel this hatred first in ourselves, our relationship with this darkness is done. The whole issue becomes as simple as this:
To hold a wish to punish someone begins with the unconscious embrace of the very pain we wish to inflict. And with every pain the reactionary self hurls back at its adversary, all it does is condemn itself to continue cycling through the level of ignorance that produces this pain to begin with. So, with each blow this unconscious nature delivers, it just creates for itself the need for the next set of blows.
Let it stop now. From this moment forward, let it stop with you. Make it your intention to forever quit yourself from the turning of this invisible wheel-of-woe.
Each time we will consciously refuse to strike back in anger or act out some aggression toward the one who hurts us, we sow the seed of a new order of a conscious life. Now instead of being used by dark forces that grow at the expense of our soul’s development, it is we who use our endless differences with others to grow endlessly. And at the same time that we learn to rise above the pain of our own negative reactions, we create the possibility and opportunity for others around us to do the same.
Feeling safe at home is important, especially during times of uncertainty and seasonal change. Strengthening our soul connection to our home may not be easy, but can be done. How?
Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your views, an uncertain world can impact you, too.
Feeling safe in an unsafe world
Political and social uncertainty can lead to heightened emotions of fear, panic, vulnerability, anger, hatred, hysteria and more. These emotions eat away at our energies and in themselves carry negative energy, which can cause depression and anxiety. Often we are left extra alert and unbalanced.
Feeling safe when seasonal change is happening
Changes in the seasons can also impact us in many ways:
- Socially, because of a change in activities.
- Relationally, because we may spend more or less time at home with relatives and friends, which can cause friction.
- Physically because of a change in diet, room temperature, more flu bugs etc going around, which can impact our general health, weight, skin, digestion and more.
- Financially with higher seasonal expenses.
- Emotionally, if we are affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), seasonal (including summer) depression, conflict in the home, loneliness, boredom, general dissatisfaction.
Feeling safe at home
When the prospect of spending more time at home during the dark and cold season is daunting, it is important to do something about it.
Could this be an opportunity for some positive changes at home?
Depending on your circumstances you may think this is wishful thinking and impossible to achieve. You may not feel well and have financial, physical, or emotional challenges in your life. Everything is just too much and too daunting.
Indeed, you may not feel safe or have no positive connection to our own home – the location and environment, the neighbours, the people you live with, loneliness at home, history and memories, or just the feeling of too much or too little space.
Nevertheless, and especially then, is it important for us and our home to feel part of and not separate from a greater context of life: especially the seasons, nature and life around us.
At a time of great vulnerability it may not be easy to step up and beyond our fear, grief, frustration and anger:
- Our bodies and our homes may not feel safe and welcoming at all.
- Not feeling safe at home can unsettle us in our ‘self’ down to ‘the core’, which some call ‘soul’.
- We may feel ‘homeless’ in our own home.
- We may lose the soul connection to our home and to our self.
At such times we have to make a conscious effort to reclaim our home and our self, in our mind and in our heart.
What can you do to feel safer at home?
We all are connected at any given time to a world and life that is beyond our own immediate circumstances. To connect with that reality can make us feel stronger.
Reclaiming your home (c) KarinSieger.com
A few rituals and mindful changes in your home may help you reclaim, strengthen, and hold onto a connection between yourself and your home.
The following suggestions are just some examples and you may be inspired to come up with your own ideas, that fit in with your mood, reality, and lifestyle. Feeling safe at home is individual and unique to you.
- Cleanse your home physically. We do spring cleaning and clearing out. Why not do the same to let go of the old and welcome the new season?
- Cleanse your home spiritually. This can be done in many ways, depending on your preferences and beliefs with prayer, affirmations, sounds, dance, burning of incense and so much more.
- Create a place of light, ideally a light that is left on all day and night (like a battery powered tea light which is safe and comparatively cheap). The light is symbolic of the connection of life between you and your home. The light welcomes you home and stays behind when you leave. It is a predictable constant.
- Decorate at least one corner of your home with some seasonal offerings from nature. It does not need to be anything grand or expensive – a cone, a leaf, a branch, a chestnut etc. You can combine this with the light and again reinforce your sense of connection to nature, the seasons, life around and beyond you.
- Welcome yourself and your troubled soul into your home. When we feel overwhelmed we need more space and less clutter.
Be in tune with the changing seasons
As you re-tune and recharge your home to the season and make it a welcoming space also pay attention to re-tuning yourself to the season when you are outdoors: noticing the colours, air, smells, temperatures and sounds.
We are absorbing stimuli and energy all of the time, some more or less helpful, some very toxic, some nurturing and healing. By recharging yourself you will automatically recharge the place you live in.
When others are not supportive
Depending on your living arrangements you may feel this all difficult to achieve. Especially, if others frown upon these suggestions.
These home coming rituals can be discreet, very personal and subtle. Your attitude and open heart matters more than gestures.
To keep feeling safe at home when the world is uncertain, we all need to work on affirming and stabilizing who we are.
It may not change the world the way we would like it to be, but it will help us to live more firmly in a changing world.
It’s time for love. Now, more than ever, we need it. There’s always been a lot of crazy in the world, so it’s not that there’s so much more or even less, though I understand there is less suffering than in centuries past. More people are living longer, healthier lives, and then at the same time we humans are doing what we’ve always done to make life interesting – we create drama, some of which I find not all that much different than “Game of Thrones.” No, I haven’t watched even one episode (I’ve seen the trailers), which I know means some of you will never speak to me again. And, yes, I’ve created my fair share of GoT drama.
But truth be told, when I turn my television on, I need something to make me laugh and take my mind off the seriousness of life I am continually confronted with on the daily. Politics, part of that daily experience, are the current Reality Shows of today. Forget “Housewives of New Jersey,” for table flipping, just tune into Fox, CNN or MSNBC. Doesn’t matter which narrative you feel called to follow, it’s looney. Okay, I might be a bit judge-y here, but please, somebody, pour a little kindness atop this whole nutty circus story. Ultimately, we’re all crafting our own unique narrative every day. And there are any number of people who think my particular narrative is crazy and even downright un-something or other. And they could be right, or wrong, depending on which side of a particular belief system they’re sitting on.
We all get to choose the story of our lives that we’re crafting, and for me, love must be the central character of mine.
And I mean big love, the agape kind. I tend to think, believe actually, that love is the one main sacred force of the universe. Love is God (Insert your namesake). Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a sermon on love, a recording of which I heard not too long ago, where he breaks love down into three different categories. First, I love that Dr. King was talking about love in 1957, at such a necessary time for more love when the U.S. was just beginning to look at its deep prejudice towards black people in America. And, it seems we’re having to do the same thing again today, calling more love forward, with less than loving comments made by certain politicians about certain ethnic groups.
On November 17, 1957, Dr. King gave this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He broke love down into three distinct categories – eros, philia, and agape. First, he said of Eros, that it’s “a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love.” He goes on to say the Greek language talks about Philia, a “sort of intimate love between personal friends.” And then the Greek word Agape, “This is the love above eros and phila. Agape is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of man.”
I remember being glued to my car radio when I heard Dr. King’s sermon. I felt it had hit the love nail right on the head because I had experienced these three types of love in my own life. Love of a super hot and super sweet man, love for my family, and then a higher love, if you will, of human kind and God. The one common denominator in these three types of loving is me. And if my heart is open or closed these three types of loving – eros, philia, and agape, will or will not flow.
So, if I’m not open to love I’m blocked, protected, or closed. Experiencing a lack of loving is an experience I know all too well. First and foremost, it creates a deep inner pain of longing, if we can admit to it, and if not expressed and fulfilled we find any number of substances to cover and or fill the void. A whole bag of organic blue corn tortilla chips with hummus works for me. Bottom line, we will get our needs met on one level or another. And for some, this lack of loving will create an internal revolt resulting in anger, hatred, revenge, and actions which bring most of us to our knees and to the doors of heaven to question our faith in human kind. A lack of loving can be catastrophic.
Heart blockages are painful on many levels, and it takes strength to love and to be open to love. Sometimes we think we’re loving, but our love has conditions to it. You behave in this way and I’ll love you. You buy me this gift and I’ll love you. You get good grades and I’ll love you. You behave or even believe in this way and you will be loved and accepted. We all know these scenarios. The conditions are often spoken in the name of God. But conditional loving in not really loving at all, it’s expectation laden with judgment – quite the opposite of loving.
We’ve all experienced conditional love, but conditions don’t support true love or us in opening up our hearts.Opening our hearts is an act of great vulnerability and of great courage. It takes real balls to open your heart and love another, but the rewards are beyond measure, beauty and joy.
And it’s so easy to choose another focus for my energy and personal narrative. I can choose to judge, and have so many times, another person or situation, or most of all, myself. To be loving, to speak loving words, to be considerate or empathic, requires great courage in the face of the easier, more sarcastic response. Love is a choice. What are you choosing in each moment to participate in? What are you putting out into the world? Is it love, or is it not love? For some, it’s simply walking past someone in need. For other’s it’s condemning a particular person for their skin color, their sexual orientation, their gender, nationality, or their religion. See how tricky this gets?
Beautiful lyrics by Hal David, with music by Burt Bacharach, written in 1965. I love the Dionne Warwick version of “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” and Sara Bareilles’ version is epic.
I don’t know about you, but every day, in every conversation, every email, every text, every Facebook post, every Tweet on Twitter, I think about how my words will affect the person reading or hearing or seeing what I put out into the world. This is my world. I claim it as mine. And I share this great world with all of you. And I’m doing my part to make this place we call home just a little bit better, and a little bit brighter. Whatever anyone else chooses to do is their choice. What are you choosing? Are you choosing love? Are your actions, your words, your posts loving? Do they carry the energy of love with them – Agape? Don’t kid yourself by thinking you make no difference, or what you think and put out into the world has no effect. It does. Every thought we think, every word we write and say is like a rock thrown into the pond. It has a ripple effect that goes on and on touching everyone it comes in contact with.
It’s time for love. But you will have to choose it. Some will not. Some will hesitate. When you do choose it, it will require your courage, take one hundred percent responsibility, and great care. Love your children, love your parents, love your partner, love your friends, love your community, love your place of worship, love your God, and don’t forget to love yourself. Just remember not to not love others in the process when they love something or someone that looks just a bit different than you. God gave us our differences, like colors, and it’s why our world is as vivid and alive as it is, but ultimately, it’s love that brings these colors together in the richest of tapestries. Love creates vibrancy in our world, and it’s love that has the power to change all, make better, and free us to create the narrative of our lives placed in our hearts at birth. Live with love. The world needs us.