Memorial Day

I recently read a Marianne Williamson book that talked about holidays and how in today’s world they are not really honored and celebrated the way they were meant to be.  She touched on each one and for Memorial Day she said that it has become more about bbq’s and mini vacations then it has about remembering our soldiers.  As I look on Facebook, I see several status updates reminding us of the true reason for the holiday.

Often times when I am watching the news and see images of war, I am completely detached.  It plays like a movie and although my mind knows it’s real, I can’t seem to feel what one ought to feel.  Mostly I think the media in America shields us from the most grotesque and raw images.  The pictures we are shown are not much different from what Hollywood shows us on the big screen.  I can’t imagine myself in those scenes.  It is something, I believe, one must experience to understand the true impact of.

Over the years though, I have watched various programs about soldiers.  I watched the PBS show Carrier that was a reality show that documented men and women living and working on an aircraft carrier.  A week or two ago I watched a Frontline episode about men who returned from Iraq and committed terrible crimes (arguably b/c of their PTSD) that landed them in prison.  It is this kind of documentation that allows me to understand the sacrifice of our soldiers.  It is one thing to see the quick flashes of war and quite another to hear a soldier tell his or her own story.  There are so many emotions and so much pain.  I’m sure many learn to push it down, cover it up, but it is there.  Our soldiers and their families sacrifice so much for the freedoms we enjoy.  They sacrifice for me so that I can write this blog.

So today I want to truly honor the purpose of Memorial Day.  I want to send out my gratitude to those who have served for this country and for my freedoms.  We are lucky to have people willing to do this job for us.

On this day I invite you to click on the link below and take 25 minutes to watch the episode of NOW provided.  It should open your heart a bit and allow you to feel true compassion for our service men and women!

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/547/index.html

Charles F. Haanel

This will be the last Sunday Quote for awhile.  It’s from the book,  The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel.

Pt. 4 #22. “The Universal cannot express through you as long as you are busy with your plans, your own purposes; quiet the senses, seek inspiration, focus the mental activity on the within, dwell in the consciousness of your unity with Omnipotence.  ‘Still water runs deep’; contemplate the multitudinous opportunities to which you have spiritual access by the Omnipresence of power.”

Summer Changes for the Blog

Hey everyone!  Last Tuesday I had an epiphany that I should take the summer off from blogging.  I started planning how I would make this coming week my final week for the next 3 months or so.    I came up with some reasons and excuses for doing this, two of them being the most important.  The first is that my girls will be out of school for the summer.  They are enrolled in no summer camps or programs so that we can spend lots of time together.  Lately Callee has become a bit of a mischief maker and I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s growing tired of entertaining herself while Bella is away at school.  I hope to provide them with lots of fun activities and attention this summer!  The other reason is that quite simply I’ve become too attached to my online life and I really need to reconnect with my real life.  I want to be better and do more for the people that I can see, touch, and talk to.  I also want to create and maintain a spiritual practice that will connect me more deeply to the “Something Within”.

So after coming up with the idea and the reasons I began to share with friends.  Most of them advised me to do whatever felt right, but one of them simply said it was a bad idea.  He pointed out that he thought my postings lately have been really good.  He reminded me that I have built a community.  He said the magic word: BALANCE.  “You just need to find a balance.”  With that I was sold.  I don’t need to quit blogging, I just need to create balance.

As of right now my plan is this:  Friday, June 4th will be the last day of the current 7-day-a-week posting schedule.  For the summer I will begin a 3-day-a-week schedule Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  I will not solicit any new click stories, but any I receive will be posted on Wednesdays.  I will also be writing for Owning Pink so after their new site launches in June if you really want to read more from me, you should be able to find something there.

Thugs VS Businessmen

This morning I was listening to NPR and getting the story about what is going on in Jamaica.  Basically from the little bit I heard, my understanding is that Kingston,  the capitol city is in utter chaos all because of one man who happens to be a drug lord.  The United States is asking that the man be extradited to the US to face trial for drug and weapons trafficking charges and the people of Jamaica are refusing to allow this to happen.  He has both government and everyday citizens on his side.  A war is going on in the streets.  Civilians are killing and being killed in defense of this man.  In America when we think of drug lords or leaders of crime organizations we usually call them thugs.  Does this man or rather thug in Jamaica really care about those people?  Are they fighting a battle that will benefit them in any way at all?

That thought brought me to the following question.  How different are some of our big CEO’s from that thug?

Take Rupert Murdoch for example. He is the media mogul who brought us FOX News.  **It was his network speaking as his voice that also brought us the tea party movement.  With this movement we have American citizens in the street warring with words without understanding all sides of the events taking place.  They’ve decided to listen to one side, and even more importantly, one source.  They are fighting for what?  Less taxes on the average salaries they bring in each month?  Has their taxes been raised?  I don’t think mine has.  The people who are most at threat for having a tax increase are the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world.  And interestingly enough he has regular citizens fighting his fight so that he can keep his millions and millions of dollars.  Does he care about those people?  Is he going to do anything to reward them for fighting his battle?  No.  He may be a businessman but seems to me he’s just one bag of dope away from being a thug.

I am truly concerned at the state of business in America.  The bottom fell out of our economy in 2008 because some money hungry un-regulated institutions started selling and buying imaginary items that were worth nothing.  It was our government and citizens who stood behind them and saved their asses.  Little to nothing has changed since then.   I was reading an article in Rolling Stone the other day about some businessmen who are buying up tracts of land in third world countries.  They are seeking fertile soil where food can be grown.  The plan is that as the climate changes and people are unable to find food, they will be able to cash in by owning the only land available for agriculture.  Basically many people will die so they can profit.  And apparently that is OK with them.  But they are not thugs, no, they are legitimate businessmen.

Something has to change.  It is a sad sate of affairs when our waters are polluted, sea life killed, children poisoned, and families are left homeless all in the name of making more money than one could even figure out how to spend….

**Thanks to the links Renee provided I see that I perhaps did not do enough research in writing this post.  It was not Rupert Murdoch and Fox News that brought us the Tea Party Movement.  I am going to keep the post up as it is though, because I do know that they organized and advertised many events and they are probably the only network viewed by most of the Tea Party folks.  From my quick overview of the first link in her comment it seems maybe it was initially started by an individual on her blog and a few corporations hijacked it.  They hijacked it to the extent that most of us don’t know how it really started.  Because of that it really has become a corporate sponsored movement with the regular everyday Joe’s fighting for the rights of the wealthiest Americans to keep all their millions.

OpinionatedGift’s Click

I met OpinionatedGift through this blog and Twitter.  He left a nice comment, I clicked on his blog, read and instantly knew he was good people.  I have so enjoyed reading his thoughts and opinions over the last year.  He is a really good friend and someone I have a lot of respect for.  He was among the first group of people I asked to write a click story for me.  I’ve tried not to pressure him too much, but remind him every now and then that I’m still waiting for his click.  He always tells me he’s still thinking about it.  Last week I read the following post on his personal blog and I thought…that’s it.  I emailed and asked if I could share it here.  He kindly agreed.  You can follow him on Twitter here and read his blog here.

Twelve years ago this week I was spending my days going through my father’s apartment with my brother. Dad had shot himself on the 9th and his body was found by his oldest friend in New York on the 12th. Twelve years ago Wednesday.

Twelve years ago I was sifting through grief, memory and questions questions questions. Not the ones you might think. The fact is, when I got the call from my brother that the police had called him from Dad’s apartment, I knew what had happened. I’d hoped I was wrong. But I knew.

Mom said it best that night when we called to let her know. “He was always so sad”. It was true. He was also scared. Whatever the combination, he had a dim world view.

I loved my dad. He was basically a good man who never really dealt with his anger issues, his alcoholism or his strengths. A talented actor, he’d packed us up from Tucson Arizona, sold the Ford Falcon and got us on a train to New York City and went straight into substitute teaching and social work. His career as an actor was essentially small productions in holes in the wall (before the moniker “Off Off Broadway” was coined.) and extra work in movies.

As a kid I would listen while he would lament the vagaries of the business and how hard it was…and it instilled in me the belief that the business was indeed brutal. It didn’t stop me from wanting to be an actor. It didn’t stop me from thinking I could do better. But these things are insidious and the sins of the father are often visited upon the son. His beliefs did become mine and even when I achieved some pretty good if minor successes, my joy would be tainted by fear of the success not lasting.

Now to be sure, being an actor isn’t easy. It can be brutal, but I can see very clearly as I look back how my own thoughts and feelings that were inherited affected the way I approached my career and subsequently the way my career developed…or didn’t as it turns out.

Twelve years ago fears and doubts overtook my father to the point that he no longer was able to reason. This man who raced down the street with me…encouraged me to take the training wheels off my back when he knew I could. The man who when he saw I was floundering in my efforts to audition for the High School of Performing Arts bought a gazillion plays for me to look through and helped me find the right pieces and even coached me. A man who as a social worker had saved or improved as best he could, so many lives, wasn’t even able to remember a simple meditation technique because anxiety had overcome him.

He’d been given Buspar and started to take it, then stopped. 12 years ago it got so bad that he sat at the edge of his bed and ate the barrel of a .357 magnum. He left a note that was really more of an excuse than anything else. Fears of a cancer that didn’t exist.

Two weeks later, the girl he wanted to marry, a dancer from Japan was finally allowed back into the country. He’d become convinced it wouldn’t happen after months of legal back and forth. Fear of being alone and abandoned convinced him that his life wouldn’t work out as he desired. So it seems he decided to just stop trying.

12 years later I still wrestle with loving him and hating him. Remembering his capacity for compassion for everyone while he seemed to only have pity for himself. I am sometimes on the edge of forgiving him. And then I remember having to tell my daughter what happened. I remember how as she is now almost 20 years old, she can’t play chess because that’s what she used to do with Grandpa. I can’t quite do it.

For the past 12 years, for about 3 weeks before and after the anniversaries, he shows up in my dreams. Sometimes as if he’s never been gone, sometimes as if he’s only been on some trip in South America or something and we all just THOUGHT he was dead.I forget about it…forget it’s that time of year…sometimes even the days of his actual death or the day he was found go by entirely unnoticed. Sometimes not.

Twelve years later I can watch Dirty Harry make one line comments about his Magnum and still get a kick out of it. But when Heroes first aired and there was an episode with half a skull being cut off and brains removed, I get completely worked up.

I wrestle with fear too. And it’s not hard to see how it keeps me from acting. Clouds my thinking. I’ve made a decades long struggle of shifting from “can’t” to “can”. It hasn’t been easy.

Twelve years ago I cremated my father. Twelve years later I’m still cremating parts of his legacy so I can rise from the ashes.

Roles

I have been thinking quite a bit about healing relationships lately.  There are relationships in my life that need to be healed and there is also a need for healing in a few relationships of people close to me.  As I began to think of how to initiate the process, I realized I first needed to look at the cause of the rifts.  I think that more than anything it has to do with our roles in relationships.

I believe we have a slightly different way of being with each person in our life.  In some relationships we give more, in some we take more, in some we feel more confident, and in others more insecure.  With one group of friends we may be a boisterous leader and with another a shy follower.  For the “seasonal friends” or the people that come and go throughout, our roles don’t become that vital.  If we change, it’s OK, we move on and let go.  With our life-long relationships any change in our roles can become make or break.

Change is inevitable.   We outgrow ideas and shift our perspectives.  But change like this is threatening to relationships.  If a subservient wife starts reading The Feminist Mystique, it might just scare the hell out of her husband.  If a straight A student starts getting C’s, alarms go off.  If the middle-aged chubby guy buys a convertible and starts hitting the gym, there’s a good chance his wife might start to question the motives behind these actions.   In these moments we must realize the change has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the path the other person is on.

I thought of a couple of examples to use to illustrate.  I know there are a lot of families or friendships that thrive on gossip.  So say you have two sisters who talk often and almost always share stories about what the other family members are doing.  One sister makes the decision that she wants to be more positive in her thinking and speaking.  This isn’t something she discusses with others, but just decides to do.  In the following week she gets a call from her sister, Sally Sue.  The very first thing Sally Sue says is “You won’t believe what our brother, Bob did this week.”  And goes on to tell the story.  The sister responds with a simple “that’s interesting” and then asks about the weather.  When the conversation is complete Sally Sue is left feeling hurt and confused.  She and her sister have always connected this way and she immediately begins to think her sister is mad at her and pulling away from their relationship.  In reality her sister is just trying to make positive changes in her life.  Now it is up to the sisters to shift their relationship or allow it to sink.  The roles have changed whether they both wanted them to or not.

There is also the parent/child relationship.  A father may raise his son always under the guise that he is the adult and he knows what’s best.  Eventually the son grows into a man.  As a man he is very educated and knowledgeable.  He learns a lot about his father’s interests and tries to offer advice.  His father is unwilling to see his son’s perspective and refuses the advice.  He is trapped in his role of “father knows best.”  This refusal to shift his role puts a wedge between him and his son.  The son was only trying to help and even gain respect but is instead was left feeling belittled and unimportant.

There comes a point in everyone’s life where they want to do things differently.  It may come as a response to growing resentful of some of their roles.  A caretaker may become exhausted by always giving and reach a point of feeling they deserve to be taken care of for a while.  It could be an answer to a calling of wanting to have a bigger life, be a better person, or contribute to society.  That kind of calling will shift the personal relationships because it forces a person to pull away and examine their essence.  But if we truly love those that are closest to us, those who hold these life-long positions in our life, we must be willing to seek to understand the change and hopefully embrace the new roles that are created (knowing that those roles may not be the last either).

Licia’s Click

I met Licia on New Year’s Day 2010 at the “Begin Again” retreat I attended.  I really enjoyed her leadership at the retreat that day.  She is a healer, intuitive, teacher, artist, and writer among her many other roles.  At the retreat in January she talked about coming back after a sabbatical.  When I asked her to write a click for me, I requested she write about the sabbatical.  She answered my request just beautifully.  If you would like to learn more about Licia visit her website here and her blog here.

A Larger Logic

By Licia Berry

May 17, 2010

When I heard the word “sabbatical” in my inner guidance time, I was delighted.  Oh, I get some time off?  Goody, maybe I can read all of those books on my night stand I’ve been meaning to get to!

Indeed, initially the idea of a “sabbatical” brings to mind some time away, a respite from the usual life, maybe even a bit of rest.  I also had vague connotations of taking leave to learn something, to dig deeper into one’s studies, to expand one’s awareness in the world. This is always an intriguing idea for me, since I love to learn and enjoy a break in routine…it keeps me interested!

Here’s what it really means:

Sabbatical- any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

1605–15; < Gk sabbatikós (sábbat(on) Sabbath + -ikos -ic) + -al

Notice that the root of the word sabbatical is in the greek “sabbatikos”, meaning “on the Sabbath”.  How interesting that there is a spiritual context for taking leave of absence from one’s usual life in order to grow!

Accustomed to moving on my inner guidance, I asked some questions.  What should I do with my thriving website and readership around the world?  What about my client practice?  How long?  I didn’t hear a clear response on that last question.  The assumption I made was that it would be a short time away from my usual work life; when that assumption was severely challenged, no one was more surprised than me.

I was guided to stop writing for the website (I was allowed a “goodbye” letter), and my client practice dried up within a week.  Astonishing; okay the universe really means it.  As things got quieter and quieter in my work world, I waited.  What was the reason for my sabbatical?  Would I know when it was over?  When could I get back to work?

After 6 weeks of watching the numbers dwindle on my website readership and doing absolutely NO client work, I was very antsy.  Can I come back to work yet?  I have spent a few years building this business…Can I please step in and save the sinking ship now? My fears turned into resistance quickly, and I jumped in on my website to try to revive the numbers.  All to no avail….Spirit was not going to cooperate.

It was then that I was shown a chrysalis, or cocoon, in my inner vision.  I was told that I was undergoing a major metamorphosis, and that I may as well let it happen because it was going to whether I cooperated or not.  I was also shown that my work in the world was going to change somewhat…I was close in many ways to authentic expression, but there were a few faulty ideas I was carrying around that were impacting my ability to be truly expressive of my unique soul and viewpoint.

And so I backed away again….and left my beautiful website and business to erode with time.  As my resistance gave way to acceptance, my life became fuller with my family and my own process.  I started to see things in my life that didn’t match with my heartfelt convictions, noticed beliefs I had tried on that no longer fit.  I had been a bit heavy on the intellectual side prior to this enforced time off.  I got in touch with my feelings, my body, my heart.  I saw I had been building my business persona on an imperfect foundation.  Thank goodness I was stopped before it got too big.  It was a great cleansing process, and a refining of who I truly was.

My sabbatical wound up lasting a year and a half.  Over that time, I changed drastically in some ways, but not really so much in some others.  I am still an alternative practitioner (healing/intuitive) and artist/writer, but I am more clear about how I am delivering those services now.  They radiate from a more healed center, a wholeness that I have not experienced before.   I am much more grounded in my life and connected to all of the various facets of it, which helps me keep them in balance.

I came out of the starting gate with flying colors on January 1st of 2010…after the official word from my infamous inner guidance!  And the super cool part was that I felt it was the right time.  It wasn’t forced, it just was the natural emergence of the real Licia Berry.  I had come out of my cocoon and beautiful butterfly.

And my business?  It is going gangbusters!  After only 5 months back in the work world, I am doing better than I ever did in my previous work life, and it is building fast with a momentum and support from the universe that I have not experienced prior.  I lost some folks from my email lists, but many more stayed on.  My understanding is that this is the way it works when we get clearer about who we are….there is a natural erosion of all that doesn’t fit anymore, and what is left is the good stuff.  The REAL stuff.

So, I am an advocate for following that nudge from Spirit to take the time off, whether you can hear it intuitively like I can, or whether it shows up in evidence like losing your job, ending a relationship, being diagnosed with an illness, or some other major course correction in your life.  If we can overcome the fear and uncertainty and simply trust that there is a larger logic involved, it makes room for amazing, magical things to happen, and we are happier for it.