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‘Each of us has something to do in this lifetime. We all have negative emotions to be purified and positive emotions to be cultivated. All of us need to reconnect to our source and drop our personal stories, don’t we? Men, women, old, young, from here, from there – it is the same. All you can do is your practice. There is nothing else. Don’t get caught up. Don’t stop. We have to learn how to get out of our own way. Because ultimately, the only thing standing in our way is ourselves.’ –Tenzin Palmo 

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‘Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult over comings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say ‘thank you’ to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for. Sometimes I see someone who has endured so much find their way through the pain tunnel to a truly better place. I am not talking about the bypassing of the pain-body. I am talking about the courageous working through of the emotional debris. And then I marvel at the human spirit, which creates whatever tools it needs to overcome the odds and find its way home. We ARE simply and utterly worth fighting for.’-Jeff Brown

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“Embracing the paradox that we simultaneously are and are not our story is precisely what enables us to keep writing new ones. My story about the abuse I experienced at the hands of my father will always be a part of me, but it no longer defines me. Of course, I sometimes spiral back into trauma; unlike the self-help pundits who say it’s possible to simply let go of the old hurts by cleansing them with a dose of love and light. I know that even as the impact fades, this experience is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.

That said, healing is not a linear journey. Old trauma is wrapped up in the fabric of the new stories I’ve created for myself, and the resulting pattern is not nice and clean and neat. In fact, the deeper we all go, the messier and more chaotic it will get. It is the contrasting loops of darkness and light, life and death, defeat and triumph, that make the human story such a compelling and gorgeous one…”

 

-Kelly McNelis

(~an excerpt from ‘Women for One’ founder Kelly McNelis’s new book, ‘Your Messy Brilliance’)

A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING -Jeff Foster

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A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING
Life,
Break in me whatever needs to be broken.
Fix my hope of ever being fixed.
Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me. Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.
Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.
Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.
Where I am still holding on, help me let go.
Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.
Help me laugh at my own seriousness.
Allow me to find the humour in the dark places.
Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.
Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.
Let gratitude be my guide.
Let forgiveness be my mantra.
Let this moment be a constant companion.
Let me see your face in every face.
Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.
Hold me when I stumble.
Breathe me when I cannot breathe.
Let me die living, not live dying.
Amen.
Jeff Foster

Allow -Dana Faulds

‘There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.  Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel.  Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground.  The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair,
practice becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.’
-Dana Faulds

The Beauty of No -Jeff Foster

 

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THE BEAUTY OF A ‘NO’

“On the Tree of Life
there are two birds, fast friends.
One bird eats the fruit of the Tree; 
the other bird, not eating,
watches…”
– The Rig Veda

It is good to stay open to feedback from others, to listen to those who disagree with you. To remain open to alternative viewpoints. To try seeing things through someone else’s eyes, even if you don’t agree with their perspective or conclusion in the end.

But when they cross a line and move from intelligent disagreement and constructive feedback to attack and insult, when they belittle and shame you and remain unwilling to meet, to engage and talk things through, that is something very different indeed.

Of course, you could argue that their behaviour is ‘allowed’, since it is an expression life too. Of course it is. But at the same time, your ‘no’ is also an expression of life! Your boundaries are also completely sacred!

Standing in your power, speaking up for your truth, honouring your feelings and needs – this is also a movement of the Divine.

A clear and direct ‘no’ to abuse, to name-calling and objectification, is not weakness but the ultimate courageous act of self-love. The ‘no’ honours life deeply. It has no venom in it – it is quite compassionate in its essence. It does not shame the other but informs them. It does not attack but protects. It is fire but it does not throw stones.

To the one receiving the ‘no’, it may not feel like compassion! It may feel like rejection and abandonment. It may feel like the opposite of love. It may itself feel like abuse. But perhaps, with time and deep reflection, one day they will understand. Who knows.

We can only speak our truth Now, hopefully in as compassionate a way as possible, and move on. And trust the process. And breathe through our feelings. And remain open to the other’s tender heart, whilst protecting our precious, vulnerable human selves.

Sometimes a ‘no’ is really a great big YES to life!

– Jeff Foster

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‘Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.’

 

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‘You have the right to hide. You can hide from this world if you want to. It can be cold. Sharp. Unyielding. This world is so unfair. But you hide from the world, you hide from the sun. The warmth of your bed does not compare. The words in your books do not compare to loved ones. The art on your walls do not compare to your creation. And some days I hide. Some days I choose less. But the awareness, of choosing less, makes sure I never stay there. Because you can hide from the world but you can’t hide from yourself. And you know you deserve much more than ‘less’. ‘–Sarinia Bryant 

In Praise of Slowness-Carl Honore

“Now the time has come  to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly.  Speed is not always the best policy.  Evolution works on the principle of survival of the fittest, not the fastest.  Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare.  As we hurry though life, cramming more into every hour, we are stretching ourselves to the breaking point.

Before we go any further, though, let’s make one thing clear:  This is not a declaration of war against speed.  Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating.  Who wants to live without the Internet or jet travel.  The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry. Even when speed starts to backfire, we invoke the go-faster gospel…. Yet some things cannot, should not, be sped up.  They take time; they need slowness.  When you accelerate things that should not be accelerated, when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay.”

Carl Honore (excerpt from In Praise of Slowness)

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“We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenager girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls.

So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term ‘violence against women’  is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ’violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them. Men aren’t even a part of it.”

-Jackson Katz

I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Jackson Katz until I researched him after reading the above quote last night. A quote that to me is so incredibly profound. It highlights the need for more careful language that shifts the blame to the actual perpetrator, not the victim as regularly occurs.

What an incredible bio he has. Katz, a former football star, a TED Talk speaker, and I now know, is one of the most prominent voices in the pro-feminist men’s movement. His agenda is to educate men, particularly in college age campus settings, on what they can do to end sexual voilence.  Katz is also the co-founder of MVP Strategies (Mentors in Violence Prevention), one of the longest-running intervention training programs in the U.S. He has also created training materials for universities and school districts, NFL teams, several Major League Baseball teams, and even the U.S. Navy.

We all know that sexual voilence and harrassment isn’t a Hollywood issue. It is a societial issue that affects females from all walks of life, regardless of age, income and workplace. Perhaps the most promising thing that could come out of the Weinstein coverage is for more men to understand that harassment from males, of all ages and positions, happens to females of all ages and positions. Perhaps this nature of giving men like Weinstein a free pass will end.  It’s time to stop blaming the victims and start taking the issue seriously.

 

 

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