What Is A Gift?

So I am called sick, and disabled, and for many I might be considered one of the unlucky.

’Tis true of late I find it difficult to do most of the physical things we often take for granted.
Yet, I also consider myself to be one of the very lucky few. I am fed, sheltered, and cared for. In my lifetime I have not seen my home, my family, my loved ones ravaged by war. And most crucially, I still have the ability to love others, and to receive love. Yes, I may be confined to a body which often limits, but am not trapped in the much darker illusion that I am alone in this world.

What others might not see, is that my situation has also given me the most tremendous gifts. Daily I have been given the wonderful opportunity to contemplate, to evaluate what is truly of importance to me. Some might see that I was torn away from the life I had known, but on the very bright side I was torn away from the life I had known.

In other words all the indoctrination, the taking for granted that life is arranged as it is because “that is just how life is”, “it is just how reality works” became exposed as untruth when I was given the beautiful opportunity to extract, when I was given some perspective. I think of it like a detoxification- while on a drug life seems one way, but when it is purged from your system you can see things anew.

All self-important philosophizing aside (one of my remaining addictions). My great wish is to share the freedoms afforded me. To pass along this gift- the knowledge that the world does not simply run by a fixed set of rules dictated to us by others, but instead is made anew each day by our own actions, and by the decisions we make each moment.
So let’s make them very good ones, let’s shape this world beautifully, because it is and can be a magnificent place, because life can truly be wonderful for all.

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My Plea

Our culture is one which is geared in many ways to help us evade any need to face this inner, silent self.
-Thomas Merton

I am less afraid of Donald Trump or even of the bullies, bigots and climate change deniers then I am of us, of this. What I deeply, deeply fear is that we will slide comfortably back into the status quo as the world slides downward to the point of no return.
I fear television, video games, sports and bar room babble. I fear daily dalliances and petty squabbles. I fear anything and everything that numbs and distracts us from confronting all we need to.
So this I vow, I will not let myself fall back to sleep. I will not go about my existence pretending all is right with the world when so clearly it is not. I do not yet know what I will devote my minutes to, but I promise to spend them wisely and devote what is left of this life to furthering the worthy efforts others have made and are making, to serving in any way that I can.
Since I am always trying to better learn how I can do these things, and since I would like to help others do the same, one of the next projects I will be working on is called:
A practical guide to dreaming but staying awake
(empowering ourselves as citizens)
So to be continued. I will update you on how all of this is going.
With infinite love,
Rachel

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Shame

Why have I spent a lifetime being deeply, at times debilitatingly, ashamed of the most trivial and ridiculous things? Of pimples, of peeing (yes peeing…and of course every other bodily function), of eating (yes of eating too), of being fat, of not having big enough boobs, of talking at the wrong time, or saying the wrong words, of innocent mistakes (in words, in spelling, in grammar and etiquette).

Why have I spent a lifetime being afraid of my flawed body, of my imperfections, of my perceived faults in personality or behavior?

Yes, there are things I have done, and will do, for which I should feel shame. Knowingly harmful acts— like the countless times I have chosen personal convenience over the good of others. Perfect example, the times I have purchased products without doing the necessary research as to their supply chain, simply because I didn’t want to be bothered at that moment— bothered, as in taking 5 minutes to look something up, perhaps purchase a pricier product, though I was obviously fine with the “bother” which took years off a child’s life while they slaved in making this item (an item I will likely disregard when it no longer serves me).

Actually as I write these words I do begin to see things as they are, to see the unflattering truth behind these insane errors in my calculus. Despite all that I have done to prove otherwise to myself, I still quite desperately desire the approval, the love, of others. So ingrained in my calculations is this need for approval that it colors the way I judge myself in every way. If something might jeopardize said approval I perceive it as bad, shameful, something to be avoided (even if it is in fact an act that would do profound good). And should others excuse and accept me despite doing something horribly harmful (as in the supply chain scenario), well then I don’t pay that transgression too much mind.

So how have I continued to let this ruling principle of approval hold dominion for so long? I excuse it, I rationalize it. Oh boy have I rationalized it, with countless “intelligent” reasons… “I can do more good and help more people if they accept me”, “I can function better in life with someone to love me” etc., etc.

Well I call bull sh*t on myself and anyone else who buys in to this skewed logic, because what actually does some real good, what creates profound change is when we stand up for our ideals, when we reveal our truest selves, when we by our own actions make others less afraid to demonstrate their true humanity too, to see the world through honest eyes. And, as for love, we can never feel truly loved unless we are being our complete and pure self, a self which we can be proud of because it is in agreement with our most noble desires.

So no longer will I let these ridiculous shames stop me from focusing on what I really wish to be, I will merely be this self who is trying to do as much good in the world as she can, and who doesn’t always (or perhaps often) look, sound or behave beautifully, eloquently or acceptably in the process. My hope is that in being my glaringly imperfect self I will help free others to be their truest selves as well.

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Politics

“My” Political candidate is not a perfect human being nor is “yours”. I am not entirely correct in all my conclusions, nor are you.

And no political party has ownership over what it means to be human, to have empathy, care for each other, to spread love & kindness, to be responsible toward all of humanity.

As we enter this general election in America I feel it is of so much importance to make these points, because it is so important to never loose site of our love for and obligation to each other, and the futures of ALL our children.

I have my political opinions as do you, but all I ask of and for each of you is that you truly spend the time and take the energy to calculate to the best of your ability what you can do, whom you can support to make this world as kind, inclusive, loving, sustainable and promising for our children and their children.

Also LOVE each other and spread joy, because we are all better able to see clearly when we are happy and surrounded by friends not isolated, angry, and scared. If we only lift each other up and let none of our friends, our fellow humans fall into hatred, fear or despair this world will certainly be a more beautiful place.

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Beginning Anew

How about this as a starting point: We agree that we will never be xenophobic nationalists, that we will love each other, look out for one another, and treat each other with dignity regardless of our differences, that we do not wish to use guns to kill one another and that we wish to leave a healthy prospering natural world for future generations. The rest we can work out from there.

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Love More

I have seen many posts today from people (loving, kind, thoughtful people) struggling to reconcile todays violence, and wavering with blaming religion or Islam for these acts. So I feel compelled to add my thoughts into the mix–Until we learn to love one another completely, to see our inate similarities, to celebrate our divine differences, to accept that violence will never mend whatever pain we feel inside, these things unfortunately will continue to happen…and my controversial two cents, I also think fewer weapons floating around might help, but regardless. I think this horrific propensity is a glitch in us humans , not simply our religions. Were that we were to ban religion I fear that we would simply find a different vehicle to vent these hatreds through (you know perhaps ’cause people believe in driving different cars then us 😉 ) In all seriousness until we get over the tendency to raise our own life’s worth above that of another, this sense of our own inherent righteousness and others wrongness, the thought that other means enemy, this will not end. In summary the only true remedy is long term and it is love…just my silly thoughts ❤

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Call and Response

A few days ago I posted the quote:
“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from ills”
-Leo Tolstoy

And one of my wonderful, loving friends commented:
“I believe this wholeheartedly but unfortunately, in my experience, most don’t. I wish there was more empathy and tolerance and people not being so quick to judge. But then, I’m told I don’t live in the real world. I like my dream land.”

Here is my response to that :

And I would debate whomever said that to my last breath. The more I study and learn of all our actions as human beings, the more I see that the most enduring and successful acts are always those wherein we compromise the fewest ideals, wherein we account for and care for the greatest number of lives possible. In fact it is our failure to live up to those ideals that inevitably causes the downfall of any movement or individual actor. I believe if you scan through examples throughout history (and look for the long term, not short term results) this point will be well illustrated.

I suppose this question feels particularly pertinent to address at this moment in history when we as a human race are being challenged to evolve to the point where we realize our unbreakable bond to all our fellows. When we are being challenged to see that every time we try to avoid this responsibility it comes back at us one hundredfold. I actually don’t so much see a “migrant crises” or “climate change”, I see that I am part of a human race which keeps continuing to try to avoid coming to the inevitable realization that we are responsible to and for the whole of life, not simply our lone fraction, and unless and until we embrace that fact we will continue to manifest these disasters which force us to look.

And once again that whole statement could be summed up as “Love is the only way to rescue humanity from ills”.

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