A New Kind of News for a New Kind of Earth?

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.                                                 Ghandi

I spent most of today watching the events in Boston as they unfolded on tv.  As I watched, I had many, meandering thoughts as I’m sure many of you did and do. My thoughts tend to go in many different and somewhat wild directions however as I tend to now view these events as to how they relate to the evolution and hopefully the potential ascension of our species.

I am one of those people who could be considered an “empath.”  I absorb other people’s and my own energy – often to my detriment.  I absorb it all and all the way around. In addition to weeping and grieving for victims of tragedy I also find myself wondering  about the pain of the person who everyone wants to hate. I wonder how the same God that creates our light can also create such darkness in our own kind.  I think about what it must be like to be that person who is borne with that ugliness inside of them – what that must feel like to be hated or to hate or to be the one to have THAT be your purpose and your legacy in life.  Why. When. How.  It cant feel very good to feel that way inside. Nor can it feel good to those who bore them or raised them.

Because of this I also have trouble watching the news, especially as it is often portrayed.  Too much incomprehension or sadness or fear outweighing the hopeful or funny or cheerful.   I absorb sad, bad, inhumane etc  and it affects me.  Its hard for me to sit with it or to understand it even though I know its part of the human condition.  I know I’m naïve but I have trouble with labels like “evil” because I fundamentally believe that everything derives from the same divinity. I think such labels scare us and separate us; they simplify things and keep us from asking some questions that might need to be asked to truly understand the necessity of souls such as these to be present on this planet.  I wonder what it is about this being human thing that we even need it anymore.  And why we are so transfixed by it.  Me too.

I tried really hard not to watch the Boston coverage on the first day because of this but like all of us was invariably and inexorably drawn in, especially today.

But why is it?  Why are we so drawn in?  There is always the compelling stories of community and love and our being the best that we can be that come alongside the examples of the worst that we can be as human beings. We need this and each other and that sense of community amongst such horror.   But my question is this,  at this point in our species evolution, and after proving it time and time again, through tragic event after tragic event through tragic event, do we really still need such tragedy and terror to bring forth the inherent goodness and courageousness of people?  Do we really need bad things to happen to take stock, realize, appreciate and even celebrate?  Isnt there a way we can have all this goodness emerge – and more importantly report on goodness  -without the terror or the lost lives or the lost limbs to precede it.

I had this strong sense that came over me this morning that as a country and as a planet, maybe we are coming close to the time when we actually don’t need it anymore.  That we might actually be ready to ascend to a level where love can prevail purely on its own accord.

Or maybe I’m just an idealist.  Maybe I listen to too many John Lennon songs.  And read too many spiritual books.  Call me crazy.

Yes, I had this sense – or maybe it was just a mere wish – a yearning, even a pleading to the powers that orchestrate the gyrations of this planet that we are perhaps – please God –close to an end of the era where we need anymore examples of how well we respond to hate and fear to show us how well love.  We do it well. We know we do it well.  We don’t need the tests anymore.

It made me think of Ghandi’s quote above.  I wondered could we becoming close to a time where the tyrants and murderers fall for good?  A true “New Earth”.

I know we know how to love.  And how to love well.  I read and hear stories about it all the time. Stories about entrepeneurs creating businesses,  people volunteering,  non-profits being established, about writers, inventors, artists, innovators, donors doing good, and of ordinary people sacrificing their own lives to help one another.  So why aren’t we promoting these stories on the evening news with the same fervor and intensity as we do every major tragedy?

I’m no different than anyone else.  I find myself glued to the tv and the story as it unfolds live before my eyes.  Even though I cant stand the chaos that created it.  I cry at the heartbreak of every loss of life, I feel the shock of those who were there, and I marvel at  the beauty of people coming together in common purpose for a time and how love always triumphs.   I feel every part of the human story and connectedness to it all. And that’s why I watch, why we all watch I suppose

Still I’m troubled.  I think if we create an intention to sell more good news then perhaps we can create more good news. I’d kind of like to see us showcase more of how the light of humanity glows naturally even in the absence of horror to provoke it, especially in its absence.  I even think there is a lot more of this good stuff going on minute to minute, day to day than the other.  Maybe we can figure out a way for the word “good” to have the same visceral charge that the word “evil” does.

If I were Queen for a day I would love to issue a challenge for the news media and for all of us spectators.  How about for the next day or two all  “breaking news” be about some extraordinary uplifting event that is covered with the same ubiquity as when terror strikes one of our towns.  Special reports and 24/7 coverage on every major channel.  Maybe some VIPS, politicians or even the President himself could fly to the scene of goodness and have his speech broadcast on every news station. We could hear about how people are acting courageously and generously without also having to list the names of victims and speak of the sorrow that accompanies the glory.

In fact I’d love to see a whole news channel dedicated to the good that is going on in the world.  That doesn’t mean some bad stuff might still happen or need to be reported on but just that maybe on balance we are tuned in to something that paints a different overarching picture overall.

So  I thought I should do some research to see in fact how much uplifting,  inspiring good news stories I could identify.  And I was so glad I did.  Because I found lots of sites already dedicated to the reporting of good news.  I felt like my “challenge” was already being responded to – if not yet quite on network news then at least on the internet.

I was pleased to discover a host of “good news” websites – I list some of them here…  dailygood.org; amazingnews.org; sunnyskyz.org; goodnewsnetwork.org to name a few. I urge you to check them out.  Support my Queen for a Day challenge and see if we can share and support the telling of all the good news that happens in this world every moment of every day.

And if there is anyone out there in a position to start a network or perhaps just  a “reality” tv show I challenge you too!  A New Kind of News for a New Kind of Earth…

Maybe we can even call it  — “Graceful Under Fire”…. (copyright – all rights reserved 🙂

Noticing about Noticing

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Today I want to write about “Noticing”.  Because I have been noticing          about noticing. That noticing what we think, do and say and how and why we think, do and say the things we do seems to be a pretty important step on the  spiritual path. Some will call this “awareness”.  But I think what happens first as you start to become conscious is that you start to “notice”.   Suddenly there is an awareness  and then a questioning of the same or similar reactions to the same or similar circumstances.  In my experience, it’s like there is one of me watching while the other of me is reacting.  The one watching is saying something like – “oh- isn’t that interesting… why would I do/say/think THAT?”.  She is noticing where she never noticed before.  And questioning.  She is watching but still not able to stop the one doing from having the reaction.

Not yet anyway.

One of the things I have been “noticing” these last few weeks is how irritated I have been getting about things that really have nothing to do with me.  Of course at the time I think it has everything to do with me.  But somewhere along the line my higher self knows better.

There are my usual sources of annoyance which some of you may also be familiar with  -traffic, long lines, waiting interminably (ten or fifteen minutes)  for food at a restaurant  or the epitome of annoyance creation for me – being forced to dial, then deal with, any kind of customer service organization, especially ones where I cannot understand the person on the other end of the phone.

But over these last weeks I’d been “noticing” myself reacting to some events that are beyond the usual triggers.

For example. – I always get to my yoga class super early.  I have a favorite spot and like to procure it and claim it as if I own it.  In the corner, where I can have MY space, my privacy.  These things are very important to me.  Especially when I have to reach my arms out wide in a sun salutation or in a “T” while doing a twist on the floor and I’d rather not collide with the outstreteched arms of the person next to me.   But in general I just like my personal space.  Its just a pet peeve of mine.  I realize I may be more sensitive than most when it comes to this need and that is precisely why I get there early so I can get this space.  MY space.

As the room starts to fill up I can feel myself slowly become more and more anxious.  Now I’m in yoga class mind you.  Part of the experience is supposed to be about finding peace and love and acceptance most of all.  To reduce not enhance anxiety.  So not only am I  feeling a growing, gnawing anxiety about the increasingly crowded room,  I’m also starting to feel a good measure of guilt about it as well as at my egoic and selfish need for my space in what’s supposed to an environment of “oneness”.

A few minutes before class starts is when my level of irritation starts to really take hold.  I can feel the unease rising in my body.  I’m quietly but fervently trying to guard the precious little space left beside me.  Trying not to make it too obvious since that would be very un-yogi like, I use every ounce of silent, energetic power I have to place dominion over my precious space.  I pray, I beg, I whine under my breath.  I direct my thoughts to the space claiming it to be mine.  Reserving it with my energy..  Hoping those coming in the room will pick up on the vibration that reads  “Reserved for Shari.”

The door closes and we are about ready to start meditation.  By this time I have already used up a considerable amount of energy and invested some time in trying to protect my space.  It’s the prescribed starting time for class and I can see outside the studio window that there are still MORE people coming in!!!  My irritation level climbs to beyond what I can humanly control,  like a fever that shoots up uncontrollably leaving you shaken and delirious.    Don’t they know class is already started?  I know all are welcome at yoga but this is the West – what about our Western culture’s sacred respect for being on time?   Or what about not distracting meditation—so if this is an Eastern spiritual practice, isnt there something in the Eastern culture’s notion about respect about that??

But it seems that neither version of respect matters right now. People are still trickling in and we’re still supposed to close our eyes and breathe and go inward while they do.  I really want to go inward.  Ive been looking forward to this all day.  But I can’t while there is still all this outward disturbance.  Another pet peeve.  Am I the only one feeling this??

This is the point where I do start to take it personally.  It goes something like this inside of me:

 I’ve succeeded!.  I’ve managed to keep a few inches of precious space clear next to me.  And class officially started! And so did meditation!   I breathe a quiet sigh of relief.  Only one tiny little space left – aha – next to me!  Phew!!!!   The begging and the whining worked.   I can relax.  I can meditate.  Aaaaah….

Or so I thought.  So when the next person walks in late – and after meditation has already started no less – and I know the only little space left is the one next to me in the far corner of the room where I have been silently praying;  while the teacher says “welcome” in that warm and inviting way that all yoga teachers say “welcome” (even to people that are late to class) I am taken over by my lowest of  lower self.  The fever is at 106.  I’m no longer in control.  I open one of my closed meditative eyes, peek through it, see that no one else seems to be disturbed,  and nevertheless, find myself giving  that person who came in late and is threatening to take my space a very self-righteous evil eye!  Yes. I admit it. I do.  I tried the quiet begging. It didn’t work.  So what choice do I have??   I’m thinking the glare of my evil eye will help them see the light.  At the same time, I’m also “noticing” how personally I’m taking this.   As if that person has been plotting all day to orchestrate their arrival in class just to annoy me.  Because, you know – they really have nothing better to do.

And anyway my evil eye isn’t that evil or effective anyway.  “Plop” goes the mat right next to me.  Five minutes late and all.  Despite my best and all out efforts.  The Universe is obviously out to get me.

Now if this ain’t “ego”, I don’t know what is.

I guess we all have one.  Even me.  They remind us they are here all the time.

It doesn’t end there however.

In my parking garage later that day there is a car parked across from my spot that is clearly marked “NO PARKING ANY TIME”.  It’s the umpteenth time they are parked there.  Their license plate says “MK HOME” – as if to rub it in.  I’m appalled at this car owner’s lack of rule following.  Such injustice!  Another example.  I would never do that.  So why should/can they?   Obviously personal.  Yet again.  It’s starting to feel like a conspiracy.

And then to top it off,  there is a daily, almost hourly, incessant stomping /running/ bowling(?)/ I’m not sure what it is noise coming from the three year old  that lives above me.  Like clockwork – 8 a.m, noon, 6 p.m..  BANG BANG BANG.   Now you may be thinking my other two illustrations are just examples of me overreacting or over –personalizing. Even I eventually question myself.   But come on– this one is definitely directed toward me.  BANG BANG right above my head.  They know I live here.  What  nerve!   That three year old was clearly , deliberately placed there just to annoy me!  What else could it be?    This is SO about me!

By now, I’m exhausted.  I got nothing left.  The conspiracy against me is winning.

Just when I think I cant take anymore I am rescued.  Thank heaven for Eckhart Tolle whose New Earth podcast I’ve been listening to – again.  And I was reminded, it’s not personal.  Not any of it. It just “is”. My ego thinks it’s personal because it likes to feel that special, because egos are well– personal.    I could make a different choice. Surrender.  Surrender is not giving in or giving up.  Its just acceptance. It actually gives me power; it doesn’t take it from it me.  And in so doing I can see that there is no conspiracy at all and that nothing or no one is actually doing anything to me.  Its all my choice in how to view it, or resist it or not.

I have a moment of consciousness.  I take a very small, incremental step toward spiritual awakening by realizing everyone else is not thinking about or out to get  me.  None of this is proof of that.  In fact, most likely, everyone else’s own egos are too worried about themselves and all the traffic and long lines etc out to get them to be that concerned about me.  All our egos bumping into each other.

Until we take a step back for one small, sweet moment and just – notice….