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“The marks life leaves on everything it touches transform perfection into wholeness. Older, wiser cultures choose to claim this wholeness in the things that they create. In Japan, Zen gardeners purposefully leave a fat dandelion in the midst of the exquisite, ritually precise patterns of the meditation garden. In Iran, even the most skilled of rug weavers includes an intentional error, the “Persian Flaw,” in the magnificence of a Tabriz or Qashqai carpet…and Native Americans wove a broken bead, the “spirit bead,” into every beaded masterpiece. Nothing that has a soul is perfect. When life weaves a spirit bead into your very fabric, you may stumble upon a wholeness greater than you had dreamed possible before.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings : Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

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‘If we examine nature, it is clear that everything is in a constant state of movement. Trees are a great example, in cycles they swing back and forth from experiences of growth to experiences of releasing, all the while alive, all the while growing. If we are refusing to grow, then we are moving against the flow of nature, the flow of change is so powerful that to move against it can only mean difficulty.

Sometimes growing hurts too, but it is the type of pain that is easier to endure because we know that it is for our greater good. Sending love to all beings. May we all create space in our lives for transformation. May we all transform as many times as our happiness and freedom require.’

-Yung Pueblo

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ON BEING SLOW AND EMPATHIC IN A FAST WORLD- Jeff Foster

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‘Sometimes I look around this world and a great and ancient sadness moves through me.

Everything is so damn fast here.

I feel like an alien, often.

A slow, mindful, present alien.

I watch people rushing from experience to experience, barely stopping to contemplate the fucking miracle of their existence. Hardly ever taking time to let the wonder in. Going for days and days without ever telling the truth or feeling their feelings.

Running from themselves. Running towards imaginary futures. So mesmerised by the ‘there’ that they forget the miracle of here. So identified with the ‘doing’ that the most precious thing is lost. Being. Life itself. Comfortable. Popular. Fabulous and successful, perhaps. On the path towards a better and exciting tomorrow. Yet so afraid to slow down. Afraid to rest deeply. Afraid to stop and invite in whatever lurks in the deep. The repressed terrors. The anxieties. Unmetabolised childhood yearnings. Unlived lives, unfulfilled potentials, unspoken truths.

Loving the light yet afraid to touch the darkness.

Abandoning the cosmic love that was pushed down in order to survive.

Forgetting the natural joy that was squashed so we could become ‘grown ups’. Neglecting the playful aliveness that had to be numbed in order to ‘fit in’. And now, content with surface pleasures. Success. Popularity. Looks. Achievements. The things that matter but don’t truly matter in the end.

Satisfied with a limited, conditional version of happiness. The kind you can post on Instagram. The kind that you can buy and sell. The kind that has an opposite.
The kind that looks good.

It’s sad to see our great potential forgotten.

Nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this unconscious activity, of course. I do not sit in judgement. I love our vulnerable humanity, and understand the mechanism of running, and we are all only doing our best, given our conditioning.

I used to run. But I had to break down. For the love I sought could never be found in the future. It was always here, buried in my own Heart, closer than breathing.

I only wish that everyone could truly find the courage to stop. Rest. Break, if they need to….’

-Jeff Foster

Being Peace

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Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try. Just as when we wish each other “Good morning,” it must be a real “Good morning.” Recently, one friend asked me, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on, we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. We can’t let just one channel dominate us. We have the seeds of everything in us, and we have to take the situation in hand to recover our own sovereignty.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “Being Peace”

Allowing Ourselves to Experience Our own Beauty

 

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Happy 38th Birthday to me and all of my parts, the good and the less desirable. They’re all beautiful really. I simply need a little reminder sometimes. Thank you Ram Dass for that reminder.

‘When I start thinking, “I’m Ram Dass, and I’ve worked on myself, and I’m supposed to be equanimous, loving, present, clear, compassionate, accepting,” oftentimes I get tired, I get angry and petulant, and I close down. For a long time I’d get into those states and I would feel really embarrassed, because that isn’t who Ram Dass is supposed to be. So I would appear like I was warm, charming, equanimous, compassionate, and there was deviousness and deception involved. Then I realized that’s bad business, because that cuts us off from one another… and I had to risk my truth. I had to risk being human with other people, and realize that what we offer each other is our truth, and our truth includes all of our stuff.

The first thing I had to do was accept my own truth. I had to allow myself to be a human being.

Now, what I found was that as I started to allow myself to be more human, just allowed what I am, things changed much faster in me. I mean, things fell away more quickly. It was as if I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself; and once I just allowed myself to be human, with all the foibles, things started to flow, and I could feel change occurring in myself.

Then, I started to experience my own beauty and it frightened me, because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years. Dissonance between the idea that I had to do good in order to be beautiful and that idea that I just am… and that what is, is in its own way beautiful.

You look at decay, and it is beautiful. Laura Huxley, who is a very dear friend, in her kitchen has these jars over the sink, and she takes old beet greens and orange peels and things, and sticks them in water on these long, beautiful pharmaceutical jars. Then they slowly start to mold and decay, and there are these beautiful decaying formation of mold. It’s really garbage… it’s garbage as art. We look at it and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s absolute beauty in that.

I’ve begun to expand my awareness to be able to look at the universe as it is, and see what is called the horrible beauty of it. I mean, there’s horror and beauty in all of it, because there is also decay and death in all of it. I mean, we’re all decaying – I look at my hand and it’s decaying. It’s beautiful and horrible at the same time; and I just live with that. And also with it, I see and live with the beauty of it.

So we’re talking about appreciating what is. Not loving yourself, as opposed to not liking yourself, but allowing yourself. As you allow, it changes. I think that gets behind the polarities. I think that’s what’s important.’

– Ram Dass

Taken from https://www.ramdass.org/our-own-beauty/

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Shame and Shun or Smile and Shine?

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“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.” ~ Jeff Brown (image from www.tailwindapp.com

A Little More Shaking-Those-Hips

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“Remember this, my darling—remember this. What you achieve on earth is only a small part of the deal. If there’s a secret I could whisper, and that you could keep, it would be that it’s all inside you already. Every single thing you need. Earth is just a stopover. A kind of game. Make it a star game. If I could give you a gift, it would be to teach you how to stay free inside that game, to find the glory inside yourself, beyond the roles and the drama, so you can dance the dance of the game of life with a little more rhythm, a little more abandon, a little more shaking-those-hips.

 –Billy Fingers