One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of our We-All-Can project! Thank you to everyone who has posted, followed, and encouraged! It is the sunset of our year of Mindful Living and Conscious Consuming, and the dawn of Heart 2 Heart Strong.

Heart 2 Heart Strong ( www.heart2heartstrong.org )is the result of our We- All- Can project. Because we learned how to manage a website and Facebook page with We- All-Can, we were able to quickly respond with support after the Aztec High school shooting. Heart 2 Heart strong is a new website dedicated to healing from the unspeakable tragedies of school shootings. It is a series of short videos with clergy, counselors, and other healers including a therapy dog trainer. We hope you will share this information widely within communities impacted by the horror of a school shooting. It also applies to healing from all types of grief, tragedy, and loss, whatever the cause; be it a natural disaster, an accident, a shooting, or terrorism. We hope that it provides some comfort and encouragement.

It is taking longer to get our Heart2heartstrong website up and running than we hoped, so if you visit the link above, you will see that it is darker than we want it to be and that it doesn’t load properly on a phone. We’re working on getting it functional! But, until then, please see the initial videos on the Heart 2 Heart tab on this website.

Now for the 2nd part of our year long project…what we learned over the course of the Year of Mindful Living. Firstly, the personal observations are quite similar to our conclusions at the 6 month evaluation. Everything is easier, simpler, and sweeter because of the way we have taken much of the distractions of consumption off of the table. We have more ease and enjoyment in our life, even through the frustrating and challenging events that crop up. This is something to cherish and nurture. Additionally, it is easier to sustain our focus, joy, and aliveness throughout the day; it just flows naturally out of a sense of dominion and unity. These are gifts from a year of living more simply and deliberately.

What are our next steps? We want to play around with days of silence and disengagement from time. Our idea is to begin with a day where we cover all clocks and just see how things unfold. We want to do the same thing without speaking, reading, or engaging with media. We’ll likely combine the two and will also play with multiple days, just for the fun of it.

Life is an amazing gift! We enjoy experimenting in the ways shown through this blog and over the year. How do you enjoy learning, challenging, and enjoying yourself?

We wish you all inspiring experiences and rewarding relationships. Together, We-All-Can live joyously and courageously, and that really does make a difference!

Assessment: you need to do more assessment

 

New Years, it always seems an appropriate time to talk about resolutions.  In working our Conscious Living project I have discovered not a need for resolutions, but rather a need for ongoing reflective self assessment.  The “stop and think” aspect of Conscious Living oddly enough has found its way into a new perspective and habit of how I try to approach life.  It has become clear that “plowing ahead” with work or chores or obligations of all stripes is a recipe for frustration and overwhelm.  So first things first, it’s helpful to stop and think every day, indeed twice a day and do an attitude and process check on yourself.

I have started outlining for myself a process by which to frame my day for adherence to faith, principles and priorities, (the start the day bit).  Then too I have evolved an outline of steps to take and things to consider in reviewing how well I actually adhered to that faith, those principles and those priorities, (the end of the day bit).

The overarching principles for me have become:  1) do honorable work as well as you can do it,  2)  exhibit honorable behavior,  3)find joy, 4) do this always in the context of growing my relationship with God.  Ok, and my end of the day self assessments tell me where I am failing and succeeding in these intentions.

Share how you Care

 

Community Tragedy and Unity

Report Card Continued:

What we have learned about community

What we have learned thus far on our project is more complicated to communicate than our previous report card section on areas of reduced consumption  While we expected surprises, we never anticipated that our little community of Aztec would fall victim to a school shooting.  We reflected on how to help heal the shock, pain, loss and grief and are devoting We-All-Can’s Facebook page to that service.   We have posted a lot of information and nightly prayers for the first two weeks after the shooting.  These are now weekly prayers, on Thursday nights, because the shootings occurred on December 7th, a Thursday Morning.

Healing Heart to Heart, a video series, is our response to help heal from tragedy.  It can be found at the new tab across the top of the We-All-Can homepage.  Healing Heart to Heart is a series of interwiews with healers, clergy, counselors, and leaders about how to respond and heal from loss and tragedy.  We hope the interviews will provide encouragement and comfort.  We hope they provide insight about how to speak to and support individuals and families experiencing tragic loss.  We hope that it will give ideas to parents and teens about how to support themselves and each other.  We hope it will be a place to begin when you are stabbing in the dark and want to move forward.  We hope it will help you to feel less alone and to help others know that they are not alone.  I am grateful for all those who have contributed their wisdom so far, and hope to grow our library of interviews so that they can be available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, who is healing from any type of tragedy.

We have learned much about our community’s resilience, compassion, ingenuity, talent and love.  Healing Heart to Heart videos are testimony to that, as is the information provided on Facebook@weallcaninspire.  The return to wholeness will be a long journey with many bends; it will vary for each person impacted.  We will become whole again, but our new identity as individuals and as a community will be forever changed.  We are touched by the outpouring of love, unity, and support.  It is beautiful.  I pray that others can find ways to bring these beauties in their communities to the forefront without the presence of tragedy.

Share How You Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Prayer for the World

 

 

Hafiz, a 14th century Persian poet wrote the following wise words.  I post them here because, unbelievably, a bomb threat was called in today at our local middle school.  All is fine now, but that anyone would seek to re-traumatize our youth, at any time, but especially now as our  community is still in shock from the shootings of Casey and Paco, speaks loudly of where we need healing as a community and as humanity.

May Hafiz’s words give hope.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height
of their arc of anger

because we have finally realized there is just on flesh to woulnd
and it is His–the Christ’s, our
Beloved’s.

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,

a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this: every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine’s womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
God;

for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching–
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into the world to experience this:

men so true to love they would rather die before speaking
an unkind word,

men so true their lives are His covenant–
the promise of
hope.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of their arc of
rage

because we have finally realized there is just one flesh
we can wound.

by Hafiz, 14th century Persian poet

Share How You Care

Unity from Tragedy

Unspeakable events in our small community occurred yesterday with the shooting death of 2 Aztec high school students, Casey and Francisco, also called Paco. Last night’s vigil was a way to come together.  It is important to remember that we are never alone.  We are not alone in our sorrow, we are not alone in our confusion, we are not alone in our healing.  We have each other; we have the Divine.  To the unfathomably grieving families, we offer our love, hope, and prayers.  To the confused and sorrowful students, we offer comfort and safety.  To our shocked and grieving community, we offer togetherness.  To Governor Martinez, first responders, law enforcement, teachers and Aztec High School staff, we offer our gratitude.

Please see our facebook page for support information, news, and prayers.  facebook@weallcaninspire

Share How You Care

Slowing down and Relating to One’s Self

Bill and his newly reconstructed compost bins

The mindfulness project Susan and I are embarked upon continues to bring up common themes in  new ways.  It is decidedly fall now, thus the theme of seasons and change.  I have re-built the three stall compost system in anticipation of harvesting an abundance of leaves destined to be lovingly distributed to future soil expecting a future garden and a future harvest.  I have discovered that building good soil is something of a spiritual imperative — more about that in another blog post

For now the metaphor stays with fall and another change of seasons.  Wow!  Time moves along pushing us from season to season. Then one day I awake to discover my son has turned 30 years old!  For most of my life I would not have said that one fall feels appreciably different than the next.  Now this!

In my last post I mentioned that in “overwhelm and busy mode” that heretofore characterized my routine, I had found it impossible to consider making many changes simply because I could not conceive of fitting the needed change into the life I was living.

The mindfulness project is allowing me to perceive many of the ways I have previously shrunken life experience to continue my habit of constantly working.  Now on the cusp of sixty, with the help of time dedicated to pause and reflection, I perceive new ways of expanding life experience, and doing so more meaningfully.  This really is a gift of just slowing down.  The exterior life is just as demanding, but care of the soul comes first — and what a difference.

Share how you care

Subtle but Sweet Changes

That everything is a little easier and richer is the unexpected gift from this project so far.  We live in nature, and the appreciation of that beauty is greater.  We have difficulties but they are not as stressful as they may have been previously.  We attend to our health and diet, and that is more fun.

What does this have to do with removing the distractions of consumption?

One thing is that there is less stress and drama from our cultural noise because we don’t watch tv, listen to radio talk/news, or surf the web unless we want to learn something (ex: a recipe or fixing the mower).

We are concerned about the destruction caused by our recent hurricanes and wanted to learn more as we considered making some donations, so I turned on the radio to hear the news.  There were multiple updates about Puerto Rico but sandwiched between those reports were stories about the new television season.  Just listening to the descriptions of the shows was stressful!  It made me wonder what the impact of watching hours of such violence and angst has on our well being and relationships, particularly in regard to children.  There are studies showing that the effects of watching violence has a desensitizing impact on our tolerance for violence, but I am thinking of more subtle, daily impacts.  Are we less patient with each other because of the violence, control, selfishness, and bullying so prevalent in our entertainment?  Do we eat more junk?  Do we react to family members more harshly?  I don’t know the answer to these questions but I found the descriptions of the shows to be so distasteful that I turned off the radio.

Another result is that we pay more attention to what we do because there is less rush, so everything takes on a quality of richness and enjoyment, even the most mundane of chores.  While mindfulness and presence are things we have practiced for years, we have a clearer experience that simple tasks performed with the love of others in mind (e.g. folding clothes for the family), or with the simple determination to do this small thing well (because attention to quality in all things honors others, honors yourself, and honors your Creator)  raises the resonance of love and joy in life.  We are experiencing a greater sense of ease and flow, even about events that are challenging.   This is a subtle and unexpected gift that we are grateful for.

 

Serius Dog Days

Serius is the brightest star in the sky and is located in the constellation Canis Major (big dog) which is why it is know as the “dog star.”  You can see Serius in the east before sunrise in late summer, which is why these late summer days can also be called the “dog days of summer.”  Many ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions particularly note the days between July 23 and September 23 as a powerful time in relation to Serius.

So what can this mean for us?  These dog days and the approach of the equinox speak to me of reflection about the future.  These days invite us to go within and to imagine who and how we want to be for ourselves, those we love, and for the world.  Then, we take action in our lives with the intention of being the person we dream of.  This seems like a tall order, but there are simple ways to practice.

First, find a time each day to imagine who and how you want to be in a particular area of your life.  What do you value about yourself that you would want to share?  How would you share it?  What would be the result of that sharing; joy, intimacy, vulnerability?  Are you frightened, exhilarated, both?  Do you doubt yourself?

How can you develop that area of self more?  How does this “best you” go about her/his day?  What thoughts do you have when you wake up?  How do you go about your routine?  How do you respond to success or frustration?  How do you treat yourself…what do you eat, do you have supportive or critical thoughts about yourself?  How does this version of  you love, notice beauty, share kindness?

What do you need to heal or forgive to more fully be that best version of yourself?  How can you begin to share more of who you are in your current relationships and work?  How do you feel about that?

Really, the imagining is fun and it has a powerful way of helping you to set goals and to allow yourself to move past your own limitations.  The key and maybe the hardest part, is to give yourself permission to dream the best you, to create time daily (maybe as you go to bed or before you rise in the morning), and to allow this to change you.  Once you have practice, try doing it in all other areas of your life.  Have fun with it, allow you to inspire yourself:).

Share How You Care

 

 

 

 

What kind of future do you want?

“May it be the real I who speaks.  May it be the real Thou that I speak to,” C.S. Lewis.

I think a lot about the future of humanity and how our thoughts and actions have impact well beyond the obvious.

Our mission for We-All-Can includes that, ” We envision a global community where people of all nationalities, ages, creeds, and walks of life ignite each other’s imaginations for a world where dignity, compassion, hope, and safety are the norm.  We believe a paradigm shift is possible where growth and change are born out of vision, imagination, and love more than out of response to deprivation or tragedy.  We imagine solutions emerging that were previously hidden and leaders stepping up because of the encouragement and inspiration that we all generate.”

What kind of future do you imagine?  For me it isn’t one where today’s problems are “fixed.”  Rather it is one where solutions and ways of being are truly new (not a better version of the old).  What does that mean?  Well, I’m not sure because it is by definition something beyond what we are now experiencing.  For me there are bridges between the present and the New.  These bridges include imagination, compassion, dignity, love, unity, and the safety to dream.

What are your hopes and dreams?

Share How You Care

Value of Relationships

 

                                                                                                                                                                   

One of life’s greatest gifts is rewarding friendships.  We are blessed to know many people who inspire us with their zest for life, their lively spirits, and their generous hearts.

Likely you can think of such people in your own life, and they are treasures!  Such relationships have qualities in common.  They are people who are willing to be vulnerable with themselves and with others.  They share their most treasured strengths and dreams, as well as their doubts and confusions.  Dear friends are willing to be known by us and want to learn more of who we are as well.  In such relationships we feel safe to explore more of who we are as individuals and we learn more of the heart of humanity.

These treasured relationships take nurturing and inspire celebration of life.  Who do you treasure and how do you celebrate and nurture those relationships?

Share How You Care