Monday, October 24, 2016

Hello Soul - an introduction of sorts

I know this is way too long but if you have 20 minutes, a glass of wine, a fire to sit by either in your fireplace or on your TV screen and a blanket to snuggle with it might be something you would enjoy. If you take the time, then, thanks for watching. Get ready for more to come.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

stop drop and roll cause this shit is on fire.

I’m trying to get out of this societal debate but my heart isn’t that open yet. Sorry!

I will start by saying that I know so many awesome men in this world that get that women are equal to men. I’m not talking to those people. You know if this is meant for you or not.

Women are not receptacles for the male penis. We are humans the same as you men. We have our own opinions the same as you. We are the owners of our bodies the same as you. And we are not here to make sure you are serviced in anyway. If you believe we are then you need to leave the cult you are part of. You can believe a wrong thing and that is definitely a wrong thing.

“Locker room banter” is not a good thing. Let’s not pretend this is innocent. It’s that exact banter that guarantees that women will continue to be objectified by men in the most horrific ways and it will be excused by people who see that banter as innocent. When your child son hears women talked about in this way then you cultivate these same views in them. It’s not masculine. I know you think it is but it is not. It is cowardice. If you weren’t a coward, you wouldn’t fall the way of those around you. You’d be strong and stand for what is right. Not because you have a mother, not because you have a wife, not because you have a daughter and not because you have a sister. You’d do it because you are a strong person who does not fear the power of the female and you would do it because you lack the need to appear manly. A strong man can set himself apart from the mainstream. A weak man follows the pack.

If you do not stand up for women, you are weak.

If you are a woman that defends “locker room banter” then something has made you believe your place in this world is small and you’ve been taught to believe that you are at the mercy of men. You are an enabler of the male dominated culture.

Young men are watching. They are seeing how people react to this situation and they are learning. That is the good that will come out of all this.

I have a dream that one day people like this will be the ones filling the jails instead of being propelled to dominance. When white men continue to have total control of this world “They're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems to us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." Some of them speak from firsthand experience.

after note: I wanted to add this link I found on 10/10/16 that also speaks to this.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Open Heart

I wrote a piece for Facebook that I didn’t want in this space. I intentionally kept it off this blog because I want to step away from politics and bring this space back to its purpose. I had a few last words about the election that I felt were important to say and I wanted to say them before I get to the work that is in front of me. That thing doesn’t go with this thing. I’m trying to start fresh here but my human side wouldn’t just let it go first. We will call it an ego problem. I’m honest if I’m anything.

So having said all that I want to point out that I am just like you. I am a work in progress. I don’t know what the end result of that progress will be in this lifetime. What I hope to achieve is an open heart.

I don’t have to tell you all the ways prejudice effects my progress. If you’ve read here, you know. I am intolerant of intolerance. I abhor ignorance. It has always been important to me to know for myself. The thought of formal education feels murderous to my soul. It is hard for me to accept that others are not like that. It is hard for me to accept that people will walk through life blindly without trying to find truth for themselves. But then again what is truth? My conversations have always been short with anyone that does not share my values. I’ve felt it a waste of my time to get to know these people. I know you all know this about me. It is my cross. The thing is I want to do something about all this.

I’m here to suggest that we all examine our prejudices and be honest with ourselves. You don’t have to share what they are like I did but you have to be very frank about them with yourself. I think if we all do this we will be able to do something that has never been done. We can all open our hearts and face one another with love and welcome.

Prejudice is man made. It isn’t a real thing. What is prejudice? It is just what it says. Prejudgment. Not one person alive ought to judge the soul of another but we do it all day. We all walk our own paths. We all fight our own demons. We all are damaged in some way. It is the human condition. If we didn’t judge the souls of others and we saw the beauty in those around us, the witness to that beauty might be all a soul needs to bring it forward and let it lead. That includes all manner of people, those thought both good and evil. We cannot know because this is not what we do.

How many times in a day, a week or a month have you truly opened your heart to another person? How many times have you looked at others without any judgment? How many times have you met a person and automatically recognized them first for the brilliance of their soul? How many times have you looked at the people in your family and just accepted them exactly as they are without any feeling that you need to change them? This is your family we are talking about and I bet you cannot say never even to that.

If you are down to try a little experiment with me, here’s what we will do for the next week:

1.       Smile at every stranger and in the quiet of your mind, just say to them, Hello Soul.

2.       Do not prejudge a single soul. Not those you know. Not those you meet this week. Not those who you know have done terrible things and also those you know who have done awesome works. Just don’t judge them either way.
3.       Forgive yourself for whatever you feel you need forgiveness for and don’t take it back.
4.       Send love to the people of the world you do not personally know. Send it to those you both agree & disagree with and to those you don’t know either way because you don’t know their reputation at all.
5.       Think on the people who you feel have wronged you and send them love like beams of light straight to their hearts.
6.       If you cannot do #5 do this meditation:
Imagine you are walking to a playground and as you walk you get younger and younger until you are about 4 years old. Imagine yourself playing with your friends and other children that you do not know. Now for a second think about those people who you cannot send love to. Picture now that they are walking towards you on the playground and as they get closer they get younger and younger until they are also 4 years old. Now spend some time watching them play. See their innocence. See their childlike perfection that has yet to become a person who in the future might hurt you. Now think about people you have hurt in your past and see them walking towards you growing smaller as they get closer. Now you all play together. Think about that time when you were all innocent with no intent to hurt anyone and yet we all have. None of us have made it through life causing zero harm to others. We are all just innocent children on a playground wanting to just be loved as we are. Now join hands with everyone on the playground and walk yourself back to the present. Try to keep this innocence with you.
7.       Try as hard as you can to just give love for this one week. Forget about why you feel any sort of judgment against any person or any group of people. Doesn’t matter what they’ve done or what you think they might do.
8.       Every time you fall of this love wagon just remember to get back on. I know just like you, I will be falling off a lot and having to saddle back up. I am going to give it my all and I hope you will too.
9.       This week I turn 50 and this is the gift I’m giving to myself. I’ll be happy to accept the same gift from you.

Let the games begin and the hearts start to open.

The light within me salutes the light within you.

Friday, September 23, 2016

a purple crayon is still a crayon

It's been a while since I wrote anything here. I always try to wait for inspiration to spark before I write and honestly, I have been sparked a few times that I was just not willing to dig deep for in the moment. I thought it would take too many words but I can make this brief.

One thing I've really wanted to say is, I am in his corner. A lady once refused to stand and it started a movement. Thank you Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand because it's time to start another movement. Thank you. Thank you. By refusing to stand to the words of a slave owner who used the words "land of the free" while he owned humans,  might wake people to this great cause. I hope we look back at what you've gone through for this and see the fruit of it. I think we will. I know we will. 

If an epidemic swept the land that caused every person to go blind how would we go about hating? Peace can ring for all people as soon as all people embrace all people. Leaving people out is the only thing keeping us separate. It is that simple and it is that true. 

If every crayon in the box was white it wouldn't make much of a picture. We need all the colors or else we'll be looking at a blank page. I want this world to be bright and beautiful. I know that you do too.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Personification of America as Uncle Sam Might Be Confusing You

America belongs to all it's citizens people despite the way a lot of us have been brought up to believe. I think more people understand this than those who don't. But... those who don't are terrified that they are losing control. That is why you see people shouting and trying to scare you. Like I said, they try to scare you because they are scared. White men of the United States have controlled this nation for far too long through whatever means necessary. They think America is only for them because up till now it kind of has been. They killed the people native to this land to steal it for themselves. They enslaved people of color and built this country on their blood and their backs. They put their thumb on the women in their lives to make sure these ladies cared for them at home. They've had it all for so damn long and have been pacified by the blood of others who kept them in charge. It's killing them that we are taking their pacifier and they are throwing a tantrum about it. These men try to pit the different races, income classes and religions against one another so that we will fight each other while they continue to stay in power. "Keep 'em after each other, then they won't come after us." That is how they think. 

When you see a person that doesn't believe like you, look  like you, act like you, or live the way you live, stop seeing them as something else. They are human just like you. America belongs to all of us, not just scared white men.

You have forgotten or never knew that we are all equal. Maybe it is because the first time it was said on this soil the people who said it owned other human beings. Maybe that also confuses you. It friggin' confuses me but not for the same reason.

We will never be a great country and no one is going to "Make America Great Again" if you only want it to be great for the ones that look like you. Also, it would be hard to make this country great again when it never was. Our history has been ugly, brutal and murderous. We shouldn't fear rapists coming over the boarder when the founding rulers of this country could count themselves as such. I know it makes a person feel like shit to think that we may not be the good guys but guess what? We aren't and never have been. Instead of Making America Great Again, maybe, just maybe, we could MAKE AMERICA GREAT FOR THE FIRST TIME.

No matter the shade of skin, the belief of the person, the good or the bad, like it or not, this country belongs to all of us. Stop thinking you can take back something you stole to start with. We could be great and I know we will be great but it will not happen following the path we've followed till now. This next generation gets this and I know that scares you too. 

Hey, ya know Mr. Angry White Man, you should be scared. Your time is almost done.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

I had to go see some folks in Fentress and Pickett County on Friday. Everytime I'm in the area I am reminded of the time someone tried to take me to see the waterfall at Colditz Cove and couldn't find it. I've always wanted to see the falls and I figured that as well as the trails are maintained now in the area that it would be much easier to find. I always tell myself I'm gonna break for lunch there and see the falls and I finally kept my promise.

It's just a bit off the main road but the parking area is secluded by trees and there was no one there when I arrived. I headed out in clothes that were neither appropriate for the heat or the hike. My attire consisted of jeans and a long sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up and thong Birkenstocks. I didn't really think this thing out. I just wanted to see the falls once and for all. As I walked the trail I began to hear cars, doors slamming and people talking. I have no idea where it was coming from. It seemed like it was in front of me but I've never been one who could decipher the direction of sound well. It's never been one of my great abilities. So, when I started to hear it I remembered all the times I started a trail by seeing a sign that said "not responsible for items left in your automobile." It made me wish that I'd tried to hide my iPod, iPhone and purse just a little bit better. The only hope I had was that I could make this trip a quick one and get back to my car.

I finally reached the falls but with all the summer growth between the ledge and the fall I could hardly see the falls. I knew I'd have to go down but first, since I was at the top, I wanted to see the water spill over the top. Every twig and every root I tripped over in my inappropriate shoes forced the thong further into the split of my toes until they felt like the next time might actually split my toes. I would not give up even with the threat that my car was being broke into right at that very moment. I saw what I needed to see at the top and then turned to make my way back to the path that would lead me down.

As I moved along the path, stumbling over my Birken's, it finally occurred to me that if I tighten the buckle a few notches it might be enough to stop my foot at the strap instead at the thong. As I stood back up from the rebuckling I saw the most beautiful little turtle. At that very second I knew positively that nature was trying to tell me a thing or two. I was hot and my foot burned between my toes and all I'd thought about since I left my car was how fast I could get this done and get back on the road to work. Now, I just laughed at myself because I got the message loud and it was clear. I was in no danger. I could slow down and stop worrying about my car, I could stop looking for snakes at every rock and I could relax and begin to enjoy this detour to see something I'd wanted to see for many years.

I started to notice how all the downed trees looked like sculpture no artist could replicate. There were beautiful mushrooms everywhere and at one point my path was literally littered with tiny flowers that fell from up above. I went slow and took my steps very deliberately and decided that no matter the terrain, I'd make it to the bottom of that waterfall, in my now sweaty clothes and my fairly slick shoes. I knew it was mine to have and I knew this was the day I was meant to see it. I felt like this had been part of my birth plan. I felt so supported by everything around me and I knew I should just let go of everything else and have this moment for myself. I was protected by these woods and nothing was going to happen to me. In my heart I felt myself turn loose and fall back into the arms of nature.

When I returned to the car it was just like I left it. When I checked my Spire later it said that I had only walked for 23 minutes. It felt like it was much longer. I must have fallen into a time warp where 23 minutes feels like a couple of hours. It felt so good to check this off after so long and know that missing it so many years ago actually led me to this moment in time. My moment. My walking a path that led to finding  a tiny bit more of me. But now I want to share it with you. Enjoy...

Colditz Cove from tonyaru on Vimeo.

Monday, July 11, 2016

the mechanic's guide to gratitude

So we went over making a lasting change in the last post. So now let's talk about gratitude.

I just finished the book The Magic by Rhonda Bryne. It is an amazing book about learning to have gratitude in your everyday life. While I read this I finally recognized the way gratitude works. I wanted to break it down and share it with you here.

So, many of us, me included, start to feel disillusionment about the way the world works sometimes. If we keep up with world news we may start to think there isn't a lot of good in it. We may walk around in a cloud only able to see the bad. We may complain a lot or judge things harshly. So, what does gratitude have to do with this? Everything. Gratitude is the opposite of what I just described and by practicing it we will manifest more things to be grateful for.

When you decided to make gratitude a daily practice the first thing you have to do is decide to start looking for things to have gratitude for. Once you start looking (or keeping a gratitude journal) you will begin to see how much beauty their is in the world. It might seem like a challenge in the beginning but everyday lived grateful will make it easier day by day.

How does the shift occur that we all hear about when people talk about keeping a gratitude journal? In the third paragraph of this post I talked about how we get focused on all the negative things going on in the world. That my dear friends is a habit. It is a habit. It is a habit. How do you break a habit? Replace it with the desired way you want to be. How can we shift the habit of only seeing the ugly in the world? By deciding to concentrate on the good in the world. So, when we make gratitude part of our daily life we are really creating a habit to look for good.

I wish someone had told me that a long time ago. I'd read about keeping a gratitude journal and I'd think about how magical and transforming it could be but I never thought about what the practice actually creates. That transformation, turns out, is just learning a new behavior. If ya don't want to be a grumpy ass then learn to be a grateful ass.

Never mourn for what you've lost in life but instead be grateful for what you still have. Though mechanics are involved in that you can explain what happens in this shift, there is also magic. Give it a try and you will feel like someone waved the magic wand.
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