Archive for February, 2010
We tend to believe that the word “healing” means “recovery” from illness or injury. This need not be the case. I’ve been led, lately, to contemplate our concept of healing. As far as I can tell, the common, default view is: either one is sick, or one is well. If one is sick (or injured) the goal is to get as well as one can as soon as possible. In most cases, I would agree that this is the most desirable outcome. But, I would not be quick to dismiss illness merely as “something to be got over” without looking at its greater ramifications.
I had been used to posting here, in my beloved blog, several times a week. Lately, this has not been the case, and I regret I have lost some companionship because of that. I started this year by falling *splat* on my face, whilst crossing the street to fetch the mail. (Not from skiing in Aspen, as I would have preferred to tell people.) I am still, seven weeks later, recovering from those injuries. My poor right knee will never be the same. It has turned funny colors, and mocks me when I bathe. I’m not sure how I’ll react to “shorts season” this summer; I’m not much for shorts anyway, though.
Then, about two weeks ago, I contracted a nasty bit of stomach flu, (NOT the dreaded virus you hear about in the news, and I’m not contagious on the blog here, so you can keep reading!) one symptom of which allowed me to become nauseous just LOOKING at the computer monitor—much as I felt while watching Avatar in 3-D. Hmmm.
My first reaction, when having experiences such as this, is to ask what their message is for me. For instance, with the fall, I examined the street I’d crossed hundreds of times before, and found no new ruts or unusual bumps. My question: How, or to what, am I not paying attention? With the flu-ish-thingy, I asked “What am I holding onto that really ought to be expelled?” (This could be physical things, ideas, or even people!) The questions, and the answers will be different for each of us, and, for me, will come before or after meditation.
During all the healing involved I’ve managed to slow down. Really. How many times have we heard that “illness is signal that the body and spirit need some rest” or some such phrase? I’m learning more and more to listen to the wisdom of that. Generally, I spend more time in front of the computer monitor than with any other object, even loved ones (or the mirror) and feeling worse when looking at the screen has been rather disconcerting.
On the other hand, when I have “gone online” recently (Where do I really go when I go online?) I’ve made judicious use of my time, and I’ve had some wonderful, serendipitous and even startling experiences. (Report coming up in the next post!) I’d learned some time ago not to “fight” illness. I don’t want to fight anything, really. During the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent hours reading books instead of typing here or visiting virtual worlds. And found, once again, that spending time reading, in my favorite chair by the window with the view of the mountains, helped me along in a way that mere “information” could not.
On the other hand (How many hands do I have at this point?) I’m obtaining the idea, from some of that reading, that what we are, really, is information itself. Our bodies are simply receptors for that information. What do you think of that?
It is very tempting, particularly amongst the people I spend time with, to either “feel sorry” for someone who is ill, or, conversely “blame” them, because if they were aligned properly with their creative source, the illness would not happen. I used to sort of believe that last, and perhaps still do, a little, but I’ve become more able to look for the “gift” in any situation, even when not immediately apparent. There are reasons the body does what it does, and they all go back to decisions we make along the way. None of us set out to “get” an illness, or injury, but if we can look upon such events as situations rather than annoyances, we might be able to get through them easier.
Next time: Serendipitous Synchronistic Random Excitement!
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Together we can heal the world. Continuing on the Path of the Heart, I was pleased to discover that two holidays I celebrate every year occurred on the same day this year; namely Chinese New Year, and Valentine’s Day. I have participated in cultural activities in my area for Chinese New Year including providing back up choral singing for the largest CNY celebration in Arizona! What a treat it was to be part of this.
Chinese Year of the Tiger begins on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011.
The Tiger is the third sign in the cycle of Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animal signs. It is a sign of courage. This fearless and fiery fighter is revered by the ancient Chinese as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts. On New Year’s day itself, it is beneficial to celebrate, to be happy, to have smiling faces, and to refrain from scowling, quarreling, or criticizing anyone.
Generally, as part of my personal Valentine’s celebration, I spend some time remembering fondly all those whom I love. When I get well-entrenched into that heart-space, I then attempt to love everyone else. Not always easy, but always worthwhile.
♥ ♥ ♥ English eighteenth-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine’s identity, suggested that Valentine’s Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia.
Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love. ♥ ♥ ♥
I’d already decided to post on the “coincidence” of Valentine’s and CNY falling on the same day, when I received emails from two different sources asking for support in spreading even more love; the first in Peru.
The Incan and Ayamara elders selected Feb. 14th (Valentine’s Day) for the ceremony to Activate the Solar Disk at Lake Titicaca. The cosmic ceremony heralds the physical re-emergence into the earth’s atmosphere of those called The Children of the Sun.
We ask you to join with us on Sunday, Feb. 14th in your services, your meditations, your practices, or in groups and hold sacred this day. Using the imagination, see yourselves entwined with thousands of us at Lake Titicaca. See the sacred fires being lit as the many elders and shamans perform ceremonies that call in endless blessings of spirit for the entire planet. See the web of humanity opening heart centers to the Source of All. Feel divine wisdom and love pouring through the portal that is being opened. Imagine all of us holding sacred space and activating loving joy into our own heart centers. See an infusion of love and joy releasing and eradicating the fears and anxieties that have burdened us for so long. See our heart centers anchoring Universal Love and Light into all the people of earth. See the global family finally soaring to its perfect spiritual state of joy and happiness.
My love of music allowed me to be extra pleased to receive the following. I try to put love into musical performance all the time. Chanting is a special form of healing, meditation, and music which amps it up even further.
WORLD PEACE TONING AND CHANTING: A SONIC MEDITATION FOR PEACE ON EARTH
Join thousands throughout the planet for the 8th Annual WORLD SOUND HEALING DAY on Sunday, February 14, 2010. At 12 noon Eastern Standard Time (EST–New York Time), sound forth for 5 minutes with the “AH”, created and projected with the energy of compassion and love, sending a sonic valentine to Gaia, our Mother Earth. At that time, please go to templeofsacredsound.org to enhance the vibratory effect as we sound together for planetary peace and harmony.
♥ Thank you for joining your heart to mine today and all days. ♥
A slight teeny tiny warning: This is one of my rare semi-ranty posts. I’m publishing it because a dear friend told me his awareness and sensitivity changed because of my expounding on the following issue in conversation. Sometimes we’re not aware of our own assumptions until someone else holds a mirror to them. In that spirit, and having looked in many mirrors myself, I offer this:
Life events have conspired to put a topic much in my mind. First occurred a recommendation from *B&T bud Deirdra to read this post on “The Default Human.” Very pertinent and provoking. I’ve spent much of my life pondering the notion of the default person; only it wasn’t until reading this excellent article that I had a specific name for it.
In my country, and many in the western world, the “Default Human” is “white”, i.e. **”Caucasian”, and, often (even though they make up less than 50% of the population), Male. The “default” conception tends to further assume age: mid-twenties to mid-forties (old enough to convey some authority, but not too old to be “past it”), and economic status: middle class to upper middle class, and educated. Also assumed, of course, is his heterosexuality. When one applies all these filters, one is left with, really, a smallish fraction of the population of the United States; nevertheless, the persons contained within that fraction are who many of us think of as a “person”, without other qualifiers.***
This is understandable, to a large extent. After all, our “Founding Fathers” fit this classification. Yet, when I look around, other than at the “suits” on the television, this is not who I see. As a matter of fact, I believe American television, so voraciously consumed by much of the planet, contributes to the myth.
The notion of the “default person” can express subtly. Here are a few examples in my own life.
- I recently attended a group discussion in which a participant asked if there was a “larger meaning” of the earthquake in Haiti. The discussion leader rambled on for a bit–after all, who can really know?–and at one point made the rather trite observation that “They’re just like us” [First of all, who is "us"?] and, here’s the punchline: “Race doesn’t come into it.” [!] No one had said anything about race! The questions were about a tragic situation happening in a specific location, not to a specific “type” of people. But the “us” in “They’re just like “us” implies, at least to me, that “us” is the default person referred to above. There were people of color in our discussion group. Are they “us” or are they “them”? And how are they supposed to feel about that?
- I had the honor of participating in a Chinese New Year festival over the weekend. I was part of a group of backup-singers for a huge musical program, with an orchestra and its conductor. The conductor is originally from another country, but is now an American citizen. Generally a very open-minded person, he made a couple of references that disturbed me. My group was singing along with a “Chinese Choir”—and I have that in quotes because I must explain that the Choir was not made up of just Chinese people, although most of them were. The “Chinese” in “Chinese Choir” meant that the group mostly sang traditional Chinese music, used Chinese teaching methods, and sang mostly in the Mandarin language. So, back to the conductor: “American singers, please listen to the Chinese singers for the correct pronunciation.” –not TOO bad, really, but…many in the “Chinese” choir were American citizens, of Chinese descent. Then, the kicker: “Chinese people, please sing this passage for the White people.” …What? Was he LOOKING at us? The implication that we were either “Chinese” or “White” was, I felt, inadvertently insulting. There were several “White” people singing in the “Chinese” choir, but, more obviously, in both groups there were also other people of color. We have African-American people, Indian-American and Hispanic-origin people in the group. We also have two Japanese Americans. What are they supposed to think? Furthermore, the way this was phrased put us into two distinct groups: “Default” and “Other”.
- This one has been pointed out to me by myself, on numerous occasions. I read many novels, as well as much nonfiction. Most novels I find in my library are written by a “default human” (as defined above). So comfortable are they with their “defaultness”, they assume that we assume that every character is “one of them” unless defined otherwise. The “hero” of the book might be described as “tall and gangly”, but almost never—White. Whereas an African-American neighbor is described as just that, while his Hispanic lawyer also must be delineated. Once most authors add a character out of the “default norm”, qualifiers are used. This includes those pertaining to the female gender, i.e. the “beautiful ambulance driver” where her beauty, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with the story. The relative attractiveness of the male characters is generally not given much ink, except in Romance novels. [But that's another discussion.] One can’t help feeling (at least this one!) that the token neighbor of color doesn’t address the deeper issues.
The challenge with all this (actually one of many) is that the “Default” group, as intimated above, is only a portion of the actual population in my country, yet we have taught the world to default to that image. I have been attending a discussion group on “Racialism” of late, and it has put some new thoughts into my head. For instance, I’m told that the concept of “Race” is common in the US, but not as much elsewhere, even in Europe. It seems other countries don’t tend to label people by supposed racial characteristics as much as by country of origin. A group member wondered why we divide people into races by skin color first, asking questions later. Why not consider all “Tall” people another race, or “Green-eyed” people, or something? It seems obvious that a person’s color is the most obvious thing about them, but, as I’ve learned from the discussions, we are often mistaken in that. I am considered “White” by most in my society; I appear that way, but I have little tidbits of other things in my ethnic makeup. Even though those are a fraction of who I am, ethnically, I no more wish to deny them than I do the German or Scottish larger pieces of my ethnicity. I’ve begun to think of myself as a “European-American”. It’s more in line with “African-American”; as there are many countries in Africa which have shared their populations with the US (willingly, or not), and even the non-Caucasian ancestors of mine were immigrants to Europe, so, that’s fair, I suppose.
Going back to the Chinese New Year festival, I found it meaningful and enriching to participate. I’d missed the large celebrations we had in San Francisco, where I grew up, as I’ve posted elsewhere. When a cultural background is used to facilitate both cultural identity—which gives one a sense of comfort and belonging—and education for those of different backgrounds—which brings diversity into the mainstream—then, perhaps we can incorporate diversity rather than “default” to the norm.
The year of the Tiger begins most auspiciously on western Valentine’s Day this year. I follow the path of the heart as I combine celebrations in my personal practice. ♥ Peace to all who read here.
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**Caucasian: Of or being a human racial classification distinguished especially by very light to brown skin pigmentation and straight to wavy or curly hair, and including peoples indigenous to Europe. –The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
*** Image from Origin68. You can get this on a T-shirt!