An Invitation to join me Wednesday, February 8 to...

ASK, THEN LISTEN... LISTEN, THEN ACT.

 

Words have hidden worlds in them.  So much held in so little space, just waiting to be excavated and brought to light.  Words cross barriers, break boundaries, make the unknown intimate.

 

Both Shalom and Salaam mean peace.  But they mean so much more.  This peace is not simply the absence of war, but the presence of Oneness.  It isn’t just tolerating that which we disagree with.  It’s an invitation for our whole self to live in the light and be welcomed.  Every. Single. Bit.  The dark AND the light parts of ourselves.  To bear witness to the whole.  It is reveling in our full presence, our unabridged complete selves.  Delighting in every inch of what it means to be human.   A puzzle that’s never complete without each and every individual piece. 

 

The all is one and the one is all.

 

In English... Peace.  In Hebrew... Shalom.  In Arabic... Salaam.  As-Salaam, The Peace, is one of 99 names for God in Islam. 

 

Shalom and Salaam are used both as a greeting and to bid farewell.  “Peace” to YOU..all of you...and your arrival. “Peace” to YOU as you take leave.  I invite and greet the fullness of you from the fullness of me.  A warm invitation to bring your whole self to every interaction.  Doesn’t that feel like a sigh of relief?  To bring ALL of you to the table.  To be welcomed exactly as you are without fear or worry of being turned away.  Doesn’t that feel like weight melting off your shoulders?  

 

ISN’T THAT WHAT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE LOOKS LIKE?

 

The fabric of our world is fundamentally interconnected.  Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist says, “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”  We forget that we breathe the same air that Einstein, Cleopatra, Jesus, Woolly Mammoths, and Dinosaurs breathed.  

 

We've created a culture of separation by separating ourselves from nature, from each other, and buying into competition over cooperation.  Competition may help us survive to a point, but it's only in cooperation that we thrive.  In cooperation, in unity, we have profound untapped influence.  When mass consciousness becomes highly focused, it physically alters matter.  When the Towers fell on September 11, 2001, random number generators all over the world shifted out of randomness.  Studies linking mass meditation to lowering crime are coming to light.  Science is only beginning to see and study the effects of mass consciousness.  We are only scratching the surface of what is possible when we cooperate.

 

Have you ever felt the energy of a crowd at a sports game?  When your team scores and the crowd lights up in unison?  It’s electrifying and intoxicating. You feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.  Many notes creating a harmony.  As different as you may be from the person across from you, in that moment you are One.  "We are because we belong," says Desmond Tutu.

 

We are living in a time of many varied notes, all wanting to have our voice heard.  But shouting over each other is exhausting and keeps us separate, when we all have the desire to feel like we are a part of something.  Like we belong.  Like our whole self is welcome.  In peace.

 

So, I invite you into a moment of wholeness.  With yourself.  With me.  With each other.  Let’s tap into that feeling of being unified with something larger than ourselves.  Let's play with how our individual consciousness affects ourselves AND the whole.

 
 

 

I invite you to join me in a moment of prayer.  To pray simply means to ask. Ask a question.  Let’s collectively take a moment to ask… our god, our universe, ourselves...what is on our hearts.  To bring our whole self to this inquiry.  To ask earnestly.  

 

And then listen.  Not to the voices of our politics, our religion, our parents, our friends, or anyone else outside ourselves.  Listen to that inner voice.  The one we cover over with all the distractions of daily life.  Listen with our complete self. And nothing more.

 

WHAT IS IT YOU HEAR?

 

I invite you to join me in a collective moment of peace and prayer on Wednesday, February 8 at 12 noon EST.  Find your time zone here.  You may do this on your own, or rally a group of friends, colleagues, family, or even subway riders to join you.

 

Take 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever you like.  All that is required is to bring your whole self to this prayer.  Pray alongside your fellow humans.  As one.  

 

Ask, then Listen... Listen, then Act.

 

If you’d like a reminder the day of, please enter your info below and I’ll give you a nudge.

 

Shalom.  Salaam.  Peace.

The Front Lines of Love

Last night I went to bed shocked and horrified.  This morning I woke up feeling like war had ravaged my body.  Angry, sad, numb, all at once, I wept.  I looked online for messages of hope, and while there are lots to be found, they fell short.  I wanted someone to make this ok for me, to reassure me, to tell me everything I hold dear about our world wasn’t just demolished.  But nothing outside myself can make me feel ok.

 

So I started listening to my own voice.  The voice that says asking someone else to make it ok for me gives up all my power.  Letting anyone, anything, any circumstance dictate how I feel or what I do gives up my sovereignty.  Asking someone, good or bad, to lead me, just leads me away from myself.

 

Every moment is a beginning.  In every moment, there are an infinite number of possibilities.  Even when we can’t see them.  Even when a million possibilities have been taken away.  Eeven when we are devastated from our losses.  There are still an infinite number of possibilities in THIS moment.  They already exist, we just have to look for them.

 

In this moment, I see millions of people who know that love is larger.  That kindness matters.  That our desire for a world of unity is clearer and stronger than it was yesterday.  That we pick ourselves up and begin again.  Because love trumps hate.

 

So, in this moment, I’m inhabiting my sovereignty.  I’m repossessing my power that was already mine.  I will not wait four years to reclaim the world I want to live in.  I will do it NOW.

 

Power is given away, not taken.

 

I will not give my power away to a man who doesn’t hold my beliefs or values.  I will give my sovereignty to no one.

 

I am the center of the universe.  You are the center of the universe.  When we change ourselves we change the world.  Change starts with me.  And change starts with you.  I am taking responsibility for my world around me. I’m going to inhabit my “response-ability” - the ability to respond.  When we take our responsibility back, we summon our power back to create worlds.  We are no longer victims of circumstance.

 

I WILL NOT be a victim of circumstance.  I CHOOSE to rise above circumstance.

 

This moment we have a choice.  A choice to feed into the fear that got us here in the first place.  Or to rise above it.  To fan the spark of light and hope and burn bright.

 

Even when circumstance is out of our control, we always have choice… choice about how we feel, how we react, what we do in the next moment.  I choose to not to just exist in a world built on love, compassion, and unity by others… I WILL BUILD my world of love, compassion, and unity.

 

I will stand in my sovereignty and light up the world.

 

Will you join me?

 

Who would you be if the world never gave you a label?

I've been thinking a lot about these words uttered by Prince EA (in the video below), and how labels, beliefs, and definitions affect our identity, thoughts, actions, and happiness.  

The brain loves order and efficiency. It divides, categorizes, and compartmentalizes to perform faster, freeing up bandwidth for more and more complex actions and functions. But when we put a label on something or stop questioning it, we limit the possibilities that exist within it.

If I hold up a water bottle and define it only by the ability to drink water from it, I have stripped away an endless number of other possibilities it could be. The beauty of children is their inquisitive, non-defining nature. They don't yet know what it's "supposed" to be. They might see a microphone to sing into... a football to be tossed... a prism to filter light through... a noise maker... or ALL of these things.

We live in an inclusive universe. One thing cannot be separated from the whole and exist in a vacuum. We exist in relation to the environment around us. We are shaped by the environment and the environment is shaped by us. Separation is a construct of the mind.

Labels are literally just a construct of the mind, they don't actually exist on their own. As Prince EA says, "Labels are just labels." Labels aren't inherently bad. But they become dangerous when we don't see them simply as a function of brain efficiency and instead identify a thing or a person AS the label we've unconsciously stamped on them.

This does not apply solely to people and how we label them by the color of their skin. It applies to EVERYTHING we label, trying to define it and box it in.

I think about this often as the work I do for myself is to hold up each label, definition, and belief I have, and ask, "How did I come to this conclusion?" "Is this something I came up with in my own, or was it fed to me by society?" "How does it serve me?" "How does it feel in my body? Does it feel light and true or does it feel heavy and false?" "How else can I define it?" "Does a new definition serve me better?" etc...

Some of these beliefs hold up, and some of them do not and transform into something new. And when that happens my world becomes bigger. I SEE more possibilities, not because more were created where they didn't exist, but simply because I could not before see what was already there. Possibility was REVEALED to me, simply unearthed. I become more childlike in seeing what is possible. The boundary between me and the world around me becomes thinner. My sense of self dissolves a bit and I can feel how I'm connected to the universe in song.

This work never ends. Once you've worked through one definition, you find another one right behind it. But it is important work in a life of meaning and joy. The effects of it are so beautiful.

By changing the way I see, the world is changed.

The world becomes wondrous, expanding before my eyes in infinite possibilities. I become more creative, more inclusive, more joyful, more free.

I'm encouraging you all to explore your relationships with your own labels...

What labels, definitions, and beliefs can you hold up for examination? Do these labels serve you? How are they holding you back from a life of more joy, love, passion, abundance, etc...What will you find when you dig deeper? How can you redefine the beliefs you have? How will your life change when you do so?

Maybe start small with an object you see like the water bottle example above and see how many new ways you can look at it. There is a world of possibilities that exist that we don't currently see. All of the great thinkers of our history knew this, it's how the light bulb was invented, how Einstein's theory of relativity was inspired, how MLK Jr saw a world of equality. To operate in a world of infinite possibilities, we need to tap into seeing the infinite possibilities around us.

 

Guest Post on Thought Catalog: 10 Simple Ways to Heal a Broken Heart

The paradox of wanting to be seen, but afraid of being seen so raw. New vulnerabilities exposed to light.

Both the easiest and the hardest piece I've ever written. I didn't want to write it, I didn't want to share it, but the words just came spilling out of me. They needed to be unearthed and released out into the world in hopes it can help someone.

The most painful experiences of our lives can spur the most movement and clarify what it is we really want. It gives us the opportunity to reexamine who it is we want to be. We are not always able to control our circumstance, but we are able to control our reaction to them. This is what I'm learning in a whole new way.

"Use this time to crack your heart open rather than an excuse to just be broken.

Thought Catalog published a big piece of my heart on the art of transformation. Click the button below to read