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Disagreement

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Resistance With LOVE!

  As the snow melts, the gentle flow of Cottonwood Creek comes to the surface.

As the snow melts, the gentle flow of Cottonwood Creek comes to the surface.

Love is long suffering and kind. Suffering does not mean endurance but rather the willingness to permit and allow the kind of person someone is. Love recognizes individuality and respects individual freedom. If I love who I am, then my love for you will include the tolerance to let you be yourself without censure or critique.  Gregge Tiffen (The Numerology of Love – February, 2007)

When fear is used to control us, love is how we rebel. Rivera Sun (The Dandelion Insurrection - http://www.riverasun.com/)

Love is the most potent, powerful force on the planet. It is a characteristic of the Universe. Love’s power can guide us to create a world of peace and plenty. And, as history shows us, love misplaced or misunderstood, begets fear, fighting and scarcity.

In forgetting that we are each created as unique individuals with our own characteristics, strengths, foibles and lessons to learn, what have we lost in terms of awareness of the individual contribution we are each here to make? Have we forgotten that EVERY ONE has THEIR story? That we are all different and we are all the same?  Even, especially perhaps, those with whom we disagree.

Across the ages, right up to this very moment our ignorance has led us to fear the ‘other’ and to engage in cruelties beyond my comprehension. And yet, in quiet, reflective moments I wonder ‘is there a line, some circumstance or event that would provoke me to physical violence?’ I pray that the answer is ‘no’, but I know that I am capable of thinking and speaking harsh words and that I can suddenly find myself in a stream of consciousness that is far afield from recognizing and respecting the individuality of those with whom I disagree. That is especially so when their decisions appear to have the ability to impact my choices, my lifestyle. I noticed that a sort of ‘how dare they …’ attitude is often what spurs me to act. 

Recognizing that this attitude is grounded, not in love, but in fear, led me to begin to explore how to pour love into the acts of resistance I choose to take. After all, why pour gasoline – acting out of fear – on a fire that is already raging? 

I hit the ‘pause’ button on taking action and realized that before joining the crowd in reacting to the latest outrage (of which there are plenty), I need to tend to my heart. It’s important to connect with what I am FOR even as I speak out against those things with which I disagree. What I am FOR is, I believe, grounded in love – justice, human rights, free speech (indeed freedom in all its forms!).  I’m aiming to engage from love.

Whether I’m signing a petition, writing a letter or email, or making a call I’m aiming to take time to infuse it with love. Love that “recognizes individuality and respects individual freedom”. Love that speaks what is true for me in the moment and, hopefully, opens the door for the other to consider. Love that opens me to other points of view – deeply, honestly.

I don’t know all the ways to make this shift, but I’m up for the learning. Whether you’re actively engaged in either ‘side’ of the current political divide or simply observing, I invite you to join me in exploring and experimenting how to pour love into your action.

One by one, let us deepen our love of self so that we can pour love into all that we do.

Give yourself a little treat and enjoy “All You Need Is Love” The Beatles:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsxtImDVMig

   Sunrise lights up the San Juan Mountains across the valley.

Sunrise lights up the San Juan Mountains across the valley.

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Count On THIS!

  I can always count on Luke's 'Treat Please!' shadow

I can always count on Luke's 'Treat Please!' shadow

No matter what the outcome, the sun will rise tomorrow … President Barack Hussein Obama, November 8, 2016

We have an abundant Universe. We have an infinite Universe. We have an omnipotent, creative Universe, and all these things are available to us. We are willing to receive and willing to give thanks as an integral part of creation. Gregge Tiffen – The Power of Giving Thanks – November, 2007

Yesterday I grieved. I allowed the sobs and tears to flow each time they rose from deep within. The tears of joy seeing moms and dads with their daughters and sons placing “I voted” stickers on the grave of Susan B Anthony and my expectation that election day would bring the shattering of a thick glass ceiling,  became sobs of grief as the results of election night rolled in. If the results landed differently for you, I honor that our choices diverge.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning when I finally put my tearful head on the pillow, President Obama’s words, “the sun will rise tomorrow …” offered a measure of comfort and a reminder to return to my wisdom, my core beliefs. I’d even found a surprising touch of hope in the tone and words of President-elect Trump’s victory speech.

After a few hours of restless ‘sleep’, I woke to the quiet and allowed the depths of my sorrow to rise with me. Through the sorrow, I realized indeed that the sun had risen. In nurturing myself in nature, I found solace. Like the sun, the mountains were in their place as beautiful and majestic as ever. The trees seemed to hold me in their care, embracing me before I reached out to hug them. And, Cool Hand Luke was his unconditionally loving self. Ah, This, This I can count on.

   In nature, I count on the gentle, sweet presence of deer giving me a watchful eye from time to time.

In nature, I count on the gentle, sweet presence of deer giving me a watchful eye from time to time.

Throughout the day I sought wisdom and understanding, mostly within on my ‘inner-net’, the receptive heart and soul of my being.  Receive and give thanks.

I ventured outward with cautious, selective curiosity seeking very little input yet wanting to know whether Hillary had spoken and what thoughts a few select colleagues and friends were sharing. I listened to a replay of Hillary’s message and found her generous, clear, consistent, committed, humble and grateful. Following that I listened to President Obama’s steady, graceful words reminding us of the fundamentals of our democracy and reaching out to wish the new president well.

How many among us can reach out after being as viciously attacked as the President and wish our attacker well?  I think of and am inspired by the Water Protectors at Standing Rock reaching out to the police who have attacked them. Could I be so graceful, so courageous?

How many among us could suffer a stunning setback and, within hours, stand tall publicly to gracefully wish our opponent well as Hillary did?

I looked in the mirror and reflected on how I’ve engaged in recent conflicts. Perhaps ‘grace in conflict’ as a learning opportunity doesn’t resonate for you, but I know that it is a part of my learning path as I seek to navigate ‘in’ this world without being ‘of’ it.  I aim to muster the courage to put my feet in the water of that muddy pond, and to experiment, up close and personal.

Deep in my soul, so deep that sometimes it is out of reach, I know that a divine plan is unfolding. It does so in ways I don’t expect, sometimes don’t like, and frequently don’t understand in human terms. My cells know this, but my awareness in this body and with this mind has not fully reached that level of acceptance. But the words of a mentor and friend yesterday reminded that I have eons of time and as many lifetimes as I need to experiment and to learn.

   And I count on the nourishing beauty of the mountains and the trees.     

And I count on the nourishing beauty of the mountains and the trees.

 

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Polarities

   What polarities do you notice?

What polarities do you notice?

You cannot separate yourself from the Universe.  Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Polarities, February, 2009)

One of the characteristics of the Universe is its infinity. You and I, like every other being on the planet are a part of this infinite Universe.  Another characteristic, or universal law, is polarity.  Earth and sky, negative/positive, visible world/invisible world, liberal/conservative are polarities. Each with its own energetic vibration is the opposite of the other, and yet, each is a part of the Universal whole.

Individually, we each carry all of the Universe’s characteristics as a part of us. At the same time we are each different, our own unique and individual expression of this Universe of which we are a part.

From these individual expressions the illusion of separation arises. In our passion for a cause or a candidate, we forget our Universal commonality. I don’t know about you, but much of the political rhetoric here in the United States seems to be designed to do just that: have us forget what we have in common. In our fear about what may happen in the future, we forget that we share the common future that is infinity: no past, no future, only this moment – now.

I find myself challenged to hold this lens in place when I observe politics in action. Some would say ‘just turn it off’, but the political science major in me is curious about the players, the process and, especially, about where our collective choices will take us.

Closer to home, I’m challenged to remember my commonality when controversy arises in my community, differences take the spotlight, and I clearly see that one ‘side’ represents a better way forward than another.  Likewise, when I experience a friend whose approach to an issue sounds harsh and I know there is a softer way. 

   What about here?

What about here?

Given how we humans have evolved and the systems that we’ve created, perhaps it is inevitable that our unique expressions clash.  In a perfect Universe (which I believe it is), there must be a purpose. Perhaps our learning opportunity is to learn how to navigate our differences, polarities if you will, without the rancor and judgement that we’ve come to expect from these differences.

Many individuals and groups are committed to creating just such a future.

I’m willing to take that on. What about you?

   Luke says 'hello' everyone!

Luke says 'hello' everyone!

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Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable

   Teachers at work. The boys at play. "No! I want the stick!"

Teachers at work. The boys at play. "No! I want the stick!"

Whether we are willing to admit it to ourselves or not, isn’t a disagreement actually about questioning how someone else could be so ignorant, uniformed, inexperienced or naïve to see something different than we do?  Patrece on behalf of P-Systems, an independent 501(c-3) non-profit corporation (PS 52 The New Experiment, Series 8, Week 18)

Bingo!  I’ve been sitting with a question about relationships: wondering how it is that I (and we humans) bristle in reaction to a particular behavior from one person, but hardly notice that same behavior in another.  Why am I disagreeable in reacting to Sally and more gracious toward Judy when each has done basically the same thing?  More importantly, how can I do/be the later; that is, disagree without being disagreeable?

This seems to be an important distinction and behavior to master.  I certainly see how it can positively impact my life, not to mention those whose paths I cross.  I doubt that anyone enjoys being treated ungraciously. I don’t. And yet, I sometimes lash out with harsh words or a harsh tone.  This is followed by a sense of unease, dissatisfaction, and disappointment from me to me.

As I reflected on a recent situation in which I found myself being disagreeable, I remembered a similar experience a few weeks back with another person in which I didn’t find myself annoyed even though we each had different approaches. Throughout that experience, I was at ease and gracious, able to make requests and negotiate a way forward.  What, I wondered, is the difference?

Then, my weekly installment from Patrece at P-Systems landed in my in-box (divine right timing, yes!).   When I read the quote above, I began to understand.  

When I engage in a disagreement from the perspective that the other is not as smart, informed, or experienced as me, then the respect needed to disagree graciously is missing.  It’s humbling to be reminded that we each experience life in our own unique ways. Each of us has past and present challenges that form our unique way of navigating life. We mesh well with some folks, not so much with others. With each and every one, “a little RESPECT” (thank you Aretha!) goes a long way.

Looking beyond our own small circles of life, we see examples daily in the conduct of public life and running for public office (and that, perhaps, is a topic for another day).  Imagine what a dash of sincere respect could bring to that arena.

R E S P E C T, the missing ingredient in disagreeing without being disagreeable

   The labyrinth ... a place for quiet reflection and peace.

The labyrinth ... a place for quiet reflection and peace.

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