A chance encounter…?

Do you believe that there are such things as “chance” encounters?  My gut tells me, No – that if we are living in accordance with our Intention, which means we are living with specific purpose, specific aims, specific requests, and specific needs, then along our path, specific and particular people/ideas/actions/thoughts/information/deeds will be delivered to you along your journey, and always when that specific thing is needed most. Funny thing is, you often may not even know that you are in need of that particular thing, until you receive it!

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The other day, I met a man named Shanti at my local Trader Joes  (so many great encounters take place at Trader Joes! Such good people there:).  He was dressed all in white, had a kind face, a dark beard peppered with salt, and a thoughtful demeanor about him.  I struck up a conversation with him and we began to talk about yoga, and he asked which practice I aligned myself with.  When I told him “Kundalini” he responded in an unexpected way.  “Kundalini for men, yes…but for women, I don’t know,” he began…”for Kundalini’s aim is to cause Rise, and men need to rise – but women, they have nothing TO rise.” 

Of course, the rise of Kundalini is the “Serpent” (which is definitely an on-the-nose MAN thing!) but this Serpent has been taught to me, and to many many others, as the “sleeping serpent coiled at the base of our spines – a coil of Energy that when released, will allow us to Rise.”  I don’t feel the need to reorganize my thoughts, or my practice of Kundalini because of Shanti’s statement – I have studied, taught, and practiced this form of Yoga for over a decade and find it to be particularly effective in my being: mind, body, and spirit…so it works for me, serpent or no serpent!  But, Shanti’s perspective does add a new dimension to my understanding of this rich practice, and allows me to touch a bit of the unknown…after all, perhaps there is an element of truth to his statement.

warp

Before Shanti and I parted ways, he asked if I also practiced meditation, to which I replied yes.  This was partially true – I have long been a practitioner of meditation, longer than I’ve practiced yoga, but over the past several years, life has gotten busy and my meditation practice has…slipped.  He asked if he might take my hand, which I gladly offered, and he told me to close my eyes and breathe, and to tell him what I felt.  As he held lightly to my hand, I could feel a surge of his energy rush through me – it was very strong.  Heat ran up my arm, spilled across my chest, and my face began to flush. I told him I could feel his energy and after a moment he smiled and released my hand.  “Your mind is VERY busy,” he told me softly.  To which I replied, Yes, it is!  Busy Mind seems to be the new normal…but that doesn’t make it Good…as we probably all know!.. (BTW: I reinstated my Meditation practice the very day I met Shanti…I thank him for re-inserting that into my life).

The really cool thing that came out of this encounter with Shanti (which was not a chance encounter at all, I’m quite certain) was his words of insight and truth before we parted.    “You must move down from your head, and into your  heart,” he told me.  “Men need to rise, but women, they need to Open…”

This was precisely why I encountered this man, at that moment, on that day.  There are SO many reasons why I NEEDED to be reminded of the role of my 4th Chakra, my Anahata, my Heart-song…and his whisper to this truth simply lit me up!  I’ve been having trouble re-connecting to my second novel, which I started last year.  Finding my “doorway” back in has been difficult. Shanti’s gentle insistence that I move back down to my heart, suddenly allowed me to understand that I had been approaching my novel from my Head, NOT from my Heart!…I had been trying to “think” my way back in.

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As I was reminded this past weekend while talking with Steven Kotler at the Bulletproof Conference (which was AMAZING! Go next year if you can!) creating Art allows (requires us really) to tap into the state of FLOW.  Creating is about getting out of our heads, and moving into the rhythm and energy, the spirit and river, of the creative flow.  When I approach Creating, or perhaps LIFE in general, TOO much with my Head – it’s all about Reason, Mechanics, and the clunky act of Contrived Thought…but FLOW resides in water, in free movement, in Intuition and the unexpected, the unusual and the Surprise!  The Heart is all about TRUST, listening to your INTUITION, and LETTING GO!  It’s the leap off the trapeze as you fly free through mid-air, reaching your hands with great Trust toward the other who is there to catch you.

So from my heart to yours – I thank you Shanti…I thank all the Angels out there, meaning You, Me, All of Us – we are, and can be, Angels for each other – if we can keep our Hearts open, our Minds clear, and our Spirits Engaged and Free.

(an aside: in T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland, he uses the word Shantih, which means: The peace which passeth understanding!Shanti at Trader Joes certainly passed this along to me)

*****PS…a Loud shout out on Steven Kotler: he is the author of The Rise of Superman (which is terrific!) and the co-author on the awesome book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think – highly recommend you all Read This Book!  It’s inspiring, hopeful, kick-ass, and brilliant!  Fill your noodles with the Awesome-ness in this book – and spread the word!

*****PPSS…: Don’t know what Bulletproof is?  You are Missing Out!  If you are an Athlete, an Experience Junky (such as myself), or simply a Person Interested in Personal Growth, you MUST check out the link above to Bulletproof!

 

Connecting…

We live in a major metropolitan area – crazy traffic, bustle bustle all about, dense living, lots of sounds (noise!) and activity…it’s amazing, and at times, bewildering.  But – while this happens all about us, we are also surrounded by incredible mountains and foothills, awesome trails and parks, streams and the ocean, and fabulous bike trails the wend along our soon to be “set free” river. Los Angeles is a true “melting pot” – an incredibly “Amercian” city in its breadth and scope and diversity, and the way in which we must all make room for one another.

I think this is the image that many “see” in their minds when they think of Los Angeles: a smoggy, “star” lit city (no, I don’t mean the ones in the sky:)) that is dominated by whackos, wealthy movie moguls and “Yo-dude” surfers that are blonde, blue-eyed, and dumb :).  Some of this might be true, but really…Los Angeles is simply an AMAZING place to live, to raise a family, and to explore the richness of the natural world.

Example: my kids are currently involved in an Ancient Skills Class, taught by a fellow named Chris Morasky, who spent more than a decade living with and learning about the natural world, through various Native American Tribes.  He now runs classes for both kids, and adults, who wish to deepen their appreciation, and knowledge of, the natural world.  Our kids have only experienced one class so far, but already they have learned some really cool stuff:

scented beauty!
scented beauty!

Did you know that a Eucalyptus Tree can be a source of…sugar?  Not “true” sugar, but at certain times of the year (around now, beginning of Autumn), on the underside of the leaves, you will see small white bumps that are called “Lurps” (sounds like they were named by Dr. Suess!…which, by the way, is the German word (suess) for sugar!) Lurps aren’t crazy sweet, but they do have a hint of sweet to them.  Take a walk around some Eucalyptus near you and flip a leaf over…look for the white bumps (the older ones turn brown or black – they won’t hurt you though, just don’t taste as sweet) and try a Lurp!

lovely cottonwood
lovely cottonwood

Cool #2: Cottonwood Trees and…toothpaste?  Yep – there is a direct correlation!  Many people on the planet do not use a toothbrush and toothpaste, but instead use the tender branch stem of a Cottonwood Tree. Cool huh:)  We got to try this as we moved along the trail – this tree pictured above lent us a small, tender branch which Chris cut into 1 inch pieces or so…ideally you would pound the tip of the branch piece between two rocks to soften the tip of the branch – we simply peeled the bark back a bit and chewed on it between our back teeth for a few minutes until it softened.  And then, brush your teeth with it!  Cottonwood contains Propolis, an ingredient found in toothpaste which acts as a natural deterrent against bacteria.  SWEET.

zip zip zip!
zip zip zip!

Last Super Cool Thing:

Some decades back, a scientist from JPL, (JPL – Jet Propulsion Laboratory…as in the place that is responsible for all current Mars exploration!…JPL is very close to this amazing park we were exploring last week), was walking along the same trails we were on, and stumbled upon this plant, a Burdock Plant.  The burrs of this plant are incredibly sticky, and yet…they “zip” together, and “unzip” amazingly easy, without any damage to the burrs.  This plant, these burrs, became the inspiration for….Velcro!  A wicked awesome invention discovered here, in our backyard:)

Get outside! Keep your eyes open, your mind unlocked, and your inspiration ready!  You might just discover the next “big” thing…and, you might just have a ridiculous amount of fun. Love Your Nature! (pun intended!)

Eunoia…a beautiful gift

 

light dancing through sound
                  light dancing through sound

Perhaps it is owing to the fact that I am a writer.  Perhaps it is owing to the truth that I am also a musician, singer/songwriter, lover of song and sound. Perhaps it is simply the richness that lands on the ear, burrows into the heart and soul, when one hears a word that moves across or through our being with such caress, such beauty, that it positively stops us.   Amazing how words shape us, as though they are a chisel, carving out the form and indentations of who we are. Which words we choose to use, to utter, to carry in our pocket, speak volumes of who we are as a human being, as an individual, as a member of a collective, or class, or educational background, etc… Think about it: When we first engage with another person, the first thing we take in is their appearance, and the very next thing, is their speech…the words they use, but also, how they use them.  There is a certain “coding” in the language that we adopt (or perhaps, better expressed as this: in how we choose to use our language) that identifies and categorizes us, whether we like it or not.  Hence the saying: “Choose your words wisely.”

Language makes Specific.  It identifies, labels, and takes an abstraction and turns it into a concrete Thing.  So cool, right?  And yet, simultaneously, there is also this terrific abstraction to language.  “Why is a tree called a tree?”  your child might ask.  Or – “Why is this thing called a nest?” Good question, on both accounts.  I mean, what does a bird “call” its nest? Language was first created as pictographs, and slowly, these pictographs were given words that somehow represented the image.  This simple act of language – both oral and written, is something I continue to find extraordinary in its own right.  That we can speak to one another, and by and large, most often, understand what each other is saying…and even more profound, we can understand what each other means. Through language, we are able to reside on the same plane, and within the same arena of expression and meaning.

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For me, words are gifts.  I hold them inside me like candles lighting my way, allowing me to “see” my (and others’) thoughts, memories, emotions, feelings, objects, ideas…everything.  Words unlock the world and allow it to become personal, held, understood – words allow us to be here…to be present. Remember that moment in “The Miracle Worker” (the television movie about the life and experience of Helen Keller, who at the age of 2, was struck blind, deaf, and mute) when she first understood water.  The word “water” was being written on her open palm in sign language as her hand was held under running water…suddenly, she was no longer locked out of “life,” she could “connect” to the world around her – AND – place herself inside of it…all because of language.  Helen Keller went from being a rather monstrous being, into a curious, and swiftly intelligent human being…because language made the “invisible” visible, and the “unknowable” known.

Okay – so I want to share a word I’ve only just discovered yesterday, that sent my heart all aflutter the entire day long (and continues to do so :)) .  I can’t get enough of this beauty, and I will hold onto her my life long, dancing on my tongue, for the reminder that she instructs about the essence and qualities needed for a happy life.  I could not stop whispering this word to myself just to feel its sound, its give, its enormous beauty.  Everything about this word moves through space weightless, in the way that you feel light and free when true joy resides in you.  The word is… Eunoia (pronounced yoo-know-ee-ah), and its meaning is this: “Well Mind” or “Beautiful Thinking.”  Say it out loud, listen to its sound, its Sigh, its river of breath, its softness, lightness, and how it immediately calms, like a balm.  Eunoia.  It is like sunshine, warming and peaceful.   Eunoia is the shortest word in English that contains all 5 vowels, and it was first used in Aristotle’s book Nichomechean – Book 8, which was written for his son as a guide for living a happy and joyous life.  Eunoia is said to be necessary as the basis for a happy, prosperous. and long-lived marriage; and it is also said that Eunoia is the goodwill that a speaker creates between herself and her audience.

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My wish to you, my wish for all of us, is to live our lives in friendship with Eunoia – that we share it with those that we meet, those that we love, those that we struggle with; that we carry this in our hearts, and on the tips of our tongues, as a reminder that leads us to our most fulfilled and excellent lives.

Blessings to you.  And Words, Words, Words…..:)

 

 

 

AE911Truth…

(Disclaimer: I am not entirely comfortable writing anything “political” – it is outside my comfort zone, and in this way – I fear I’ve been trained well.  I am “stepping out” in a way that some might find…old news, or un-necessary, or even un-American…that is their right…as it is my “right” to speak out…rather, I believe, my “duty” as a Citizen of a nation that calls itself “the Land of the Free.”   This subject matter has everything to do with where we find ourselves, as a society, today…hence, I feel it remains entirely relevant now, and for our future)

footHere’s the deal – We Americans are born into certain “inalienable” rights. Right?  We studied the United States Constitution in Middle School, we learned about it on School House Rock (if you are of a certain age) and we are, as citizens of this country, protected by this umbrella in our everyday, daily lives.  Yes?

Or are we?

It is not news to state that our freedoms have come under attack as of late – especially if you are something other than a wealthy white male in our society.  Much of the “stripping away” of personal freedoms seem to have taken root after the attack of 9/11…in particular, the switch to a greater Police State, a seemingly good and necessary evil, in light of the horrors of that event.  It was a deeply tragic day, for all Americans…indeed, for many around the world.

outside crown

But, there is a problem with the climate that was created after the events of 9/11 that continue to persist today: the ON-GOING erosion of our personal freedoms.  And they appear to erode unabated, and un-debated (Hello Supreme Court!).  The personal freedoms of women, the personal freedoms of black men, the personal freedoms of poor people…all seemingly under attack.  (On the flip side, the personal freedoms of Gun Ownership grow stronger and stronger…hmmmm)

Mis-information is a powerful tool.  Orwell wrote about this subject matter with great insight and fervor, and I would hope that we could leave this “spread of mis-information” to fiction, as a reminder of the dangers of absolute power, absolutely!  I am a citizen of this country.  I have no connections to anyone in government or in power :) so what I’m about to write about stems from the insights I have read, and listened to, by individuals who DO have insight and connections to those in power, and in our government (and who at one time, were a part of these forces themselves).

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Enter AE911Truth.  It has recently come to my attention that there is a growing collective in the minds and communities of our Scientists and our Architects, as well as individuals who once worked for the CIA and NSA, who question the validity of the reports that were written concerning the events that unfolded on 9/11.  Check out Corbettreport.com to watch compelling interviews with individuals that were highly ranked in the NSA and CIA as they join with AE911Truth to urge for a re-examination of what transpired that day ( in particular, in regards to the 3 towers, and the manner in which they collapsed).

*(An aside from Wikipedia): Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality,[1] or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal.[1]The commonly understood opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning. The concept of truth is discussed and debated in several contexts including   philosophy and religion. Many human activities depend upon the concept, where its nature as a concept is assumed rather than being a subject of discussion; these include most (but not all) of the scienceslaw, and everyday life.)  *See how LAW is included in the relevance of Truth?…)

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IF mis-information has purposely been passed down from our government, we the people have every right to insist that those who knowingly spread the mis-information be held accountable.  Why?  Two words: Police State.  The “police state” that grows around us, in our communities (check out images of police driving around our cities with left-over war machines, here in the NY Times) seems to be “tolerated” BY US, large in part due to the events that happened on 9/11.  Suddenly, the world was a dangerous place and we needed stronger defense systems to protect us.  Okay, that makes sense.  Stronger security at the airport?  Sure, good idea.  Stronger security at government buildings?  Absolutely.  Wire-tapping? Hmmmm…New unrestrained Police State?  WTF!

When did “shoot first, ask questions later” become good policy for Police?  Or, “shoot to kill” – when did that become the new way of “stopping” a suspect?  Or, 6 bullets into an un-armed young man, 2 of which were put into his HEAD, when did that become anything other than an Execution?  Apparently, this is all okay in this new Police State in which we reside.  This post-9/11 climate has become the perfect breeding grounds for intolerance, fear, suspicion…and a brand new use of Extreme Force.  And IF this has, in any way, been born out of purposely spread mis-information, by OUR GOVERNMENT…the depths to which this is wrong, is simply inexpressible.

black and white

Our new Police State policy has NOT led us to feel we are “safer,” but rather the opposite – our communities feel LESS safe, and entirely MORE DANGEROUS.   In the beginning of the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, we are reminded: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What our fore-fathers were saying is this: If our governing body is destroying our personal freedoms, and rights, it is our job to put them out, and start again.  Yeah, I know – we do that, don’t we?   By holding elections every 2 and every 4 years, right?  Ha.  Not when the richest white men in America can simply purchase any office which now seem to be readily, and deeply, For Sale (Hello again Supreme Court!)!

whole body

Life has certainly not gotten easier in the last decade, for the majority of people at least.  It has for some, the top 1% are laughing all the way to their Swiss bank accounts.  “Corporate greed” is redundant, and “un-necessary use of force” is swiftly becoming redundant also, if you are an officer of the law.  My point to all of this is this: If we have given away our rights, under the auspices of false information, large in part handed down, through the fists and mouths of our governing body – than we the people, should put into place, a NEW GOVERNMENT – one that puts Safety and Happiness, FOR ALL, at the front of its foundation. Yeah, I know…wishful thinking, right?

As long as we keep it so.

*Please consider signing the Petition on AE911Truth by clicking here*