Q + A – People Can Change For One Another.

Several weeks ago a student came to me and said, “people don’t really change do they?” I did not respond at first, formulating my thoughts.  “I mean, not unless they are faced with an absolute necessity. They don’t really make the change they need to, do they?”

It was phrased as a question, but it was really a statement. I smiled, knowing where she was going with this. She was having trouble with her marriage, and did not want to be the one left behind. She knew where it was going, but afraid to admit it, even to herself.

I smiled, as I often do. I knew that she thought she knew the answer. It was why she was phrasing it as a question.

“Everyone can change,” I replied. “But they have to want to change if they are to do so. We can push them to change as much as we want to, but unless they truly want the change, it will never happen. That is why sometimes, some people will discover that it is not change that is needed, but a rephrasing of the question.”

We spoke a while longer. On the idea that the first question that enters our minds is rarely the question we actually need to ask, but a way for our minds to explore the situation we face, to drill down until we find the question we need to find.

She smiled back at me. We bowed our heads, feeling our foreheads touch, sharing the moment and the energy between us. She smiled and thanked me before leaving.

As she neared the edge of the rug her pillow rested upon, I stopped her. “You do know that nothing you can do can make him want to change, other than to be yourself. If he wants you, then it must be you he wants. Not some vision you create for him.”

I could see a tear in her eye form as she smiled and nodded.

We both knew the inevitability of the situation before her. In so many ways, the outcome was set. But how long it would take to arrive there was the question. Would she cling to the safety of the present, knowing it was wrong? Or would she stay true to her own convictions and her authentic self, and let the winds of the universe sort it out, as it inevitably does?

Two days ago I saw her again. This time she was smiling. After our meditation she paused. “You know, I think he really cares for me, for who I am.”

“It was inevitable,” I said.

I am not sure she even heard me.

“Neither of us had to change. But our life sure did. We just had to remember that part of who we were is who we still are.”

 

Tools To Take Action By

MY VIEW:

At times it really can all get to be too much some times. Over here we have a young African American by the name of Kalief Browder who committed suicide after behind held for three years on Rikers Island without behind convicted of a crime.

And over there, the one video that actually made me sick was of a Texas police officer throwing teens onto the ground and holding a young teen in a bikini down with her face down in the dirt. What was she, all of 100 pounds to his 200+?

The last time I was physically nauseous from watching a video was when I sat in awe watching the sheriff of Birmingham Alabama, Bull Connors, as he set police dogs and fire hoses on men, women and children who were simply marching in a peaceful march for equal rights.

That was more than 50 years ago. It was a time when my parent’s friends piled into buses and rode trains into the South to get rocks and worse hurled at them as they protested. My God Mother actually bears the scar from such a rock to this day, and she still laughed “All I could think of was ‘Thank God they don’t know I’m Jewish…”

Part of me is so sickened by how we are so quickly slipping back to where we were 50 years ago, that I have begun to doubt that we actually made any progress at all. At times I want to turn the Internet off and return to a state of naively blissful ignorance.

But we all know that is not the right course of action.

No, unfortunately that would only perpetuate the injustices that America is getting to be known for. Injustices that are toppling us from being a beacon of hope and opportunity around the world, to reflecting the lowest common denominator that is not ashamed to get their 15 minutes of fame however they are able.

From the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy, we have fallen. We are no longer leading the space race. We are no longer curing the causes of cancer. Instead we are running after the false Gods of money, creating cures for illnesses we created as we turn our back on the societal illnesses that are all around us.

When a well known Buddhist tells a story of accidently dropping a fifty dollar bill into the hands of a homeless person, and then taking it back to give the man a one dollar bill instead, I know the illness of our society is reaching a new low, or perhaps we have already reached it.

 

YOUR CHALLENGE:

So here is a challenge for everyone out there. It has nothing to do with meditating for 21 days or giving up petroleum products. It is not about selling your car and buying a bike. There are no 10 day retreats to run off to. It is simply this.

DO SOMETHING.  DO ANYTHING.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND MAKE IT COUNT.

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED IN SOME WAY.

No matter what your issue is, I have included a list of people to contact. At this point all you have to do is pick and click. The difference you make could be the life of a teen at a pool party, or in time, could be your own.

  • POLICE VIOLENCE: Write a letter to the governor of Texas to complain about the treatment of teens at a pool party. Acknowledge that yes, some may have jumped over the turnstile at a city pool, but that is no reason for a white PEACE officer of THE LAW to do what he did!
  • INSTITUTIONAL INJUSTICE: Write a letter to the Mayor of New York and refuse to spend your vacation money in the five boroughs if he does not do something about Riker’s Island, NOW!
  • PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Send an email to the Presidential Candidates and let them know you will not vote for them unless they speak out on X, Y, or Z issue!
  • BE NICE: Hold the door for someone for no reason at all.
  • SMILE: Smile and say please and thank you today and every day.
  • LGBT: Call the editor of your local newspaper and tell them you want to see more coverage of the LGBT issue, and no, showing how sexy Bruce Jenner has become is not it!
  • GUNS & NRA: Send an email to all of the above that says if it is fair to ID a person to the USA from voter fraud, then it is good enough to protect us from guns.
  • POLICE KILLINGS: Let your mayor know that if the police can kill 464 people in just the first five months of 2015, then they are no longer public SERVANTS, and yes they can start wearing body cameras.

No, I am not so naive to think that any of these things will really do anything. But maybe, just maybe, if we all start making small changes in the way we watch over each other, and watch over our own actions, we can bring back a little bit of the energy that started the Great Experiment that was the United States before it fails miserably in a ball of fire and smoke and ash.

 

YOUR TOOLS

If your excuse for not taking action is that you are not sure who to contact, please see the links below.

Members of the 114th Congress [phone, email, postal addresses – House & Senate] http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

Governors’ Office Addresses [By State]

http://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/staff-directories–contact-infor/col2-content/governors-office-addresses-and-w.html

Presidential Candidates [By Name]

http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm

 

 

Monday Moments: Meditation & Doodling

By definition, a doodle is “a drawing made absentmindedly.”
Interesting.

Perhaps it is time to update the dictionary.

Now that we know what is going on in the mind of the doodler, or at least in some of the minds…

In fact, research is tells us that the mind of a doodler, either absent minded or not, is active.  Very much so.

For some, the act of doodling helps them visualize the problems and issues that the subconscious is working on. For others, it is a way to free up the subconscious to enable it to explore unchartered areas.

Recent research in neuroscience and psychology shows that doodling can actually help people stay more focused, understand new concepts and retain information more readily. A blank page can serve as an extended playing field for the brain, allowing you to refine and improve on creative thoughts and ideas.

In fact, according to a 2009 study in Applied Cognitive Psychology, people who were encouraged to doodle while listening to a list of people’s names being read were able to remember 29% more of the information on a surprise quiz later, than those who did not.

If you’ve never doodled before, or you are not sure how, I want to introduce you to a classic exercise called Blind Contour Drawing. It is a classic intro-to-art exercise that involves drawing an object without looking at your paper while you do so.

No, you should not expect your drawing to look like a Monet or to win any awards, but you may be surprised at how alive it actually is. As some have said, “It is a way to see, without seeing.” Better still, it is a way to truly see the object before you, free from your own interpretations that might hold you back from your own creativity and from drawing what is truly there.

If at first this is uncomfortable for you, try taking a moment to find your seat and your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply as you fix your gaze upon an object in front of you. In time to your breath and without looking at your paper, reach out and pick up your pen or pencil. Clear your mind and begin to draw without look at your paper. If you do, simply smile, blink a few times, and begin again.

Refrain from looking at your pen or your paper. Instead, notice the lines and the angles of the object before you. See the curves  and the shadows, and allow your hand to flow freely.

Allow yourself to let go as you let your hand float for a few minutes. Do not worry, your mind will not allow you to go too long. It will bring you back; and when it does feel free to look down at what you have drawn.

At first you may laugh. But as you continue to look from paper to object, you will begin to see points of connection. You will begin to see where you hand took a turn that mimicked a turn in your object. That is your cue to smile. That is the point of connection between the object, your mind and the paper before you.

It is okay to set your drawing aside. It is okay to toss it in the bin. It is also okay to remember this exercise when you need to let go of the noise in your head so that you can focus on the task before you, as we all do from time to time.

Be well, and enjoy your Blind Contour Drawing.

A sort of doodling all on its own.

 

 

 

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