Unpacking the Boxes of Our Perception

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weareone1In my household, we’ve always been purposeful in bringing up my two children (who are now on the cusp of 19 and 17) in an inclusionary way. We’ve stayed away from describing people via DIFFERENCES, and instead focused on celebrating our SIMILARITIES. We’ve stayed away from focusing on any perception of lack – from ourselves and/or others – and instead have mostly focused on the awesome things about everyone we know.

The other day, my oldest was talking about someone she knows, and started referring to the person via what she perceives is their parents’ income bracket. This was new, and a huge surprise to me, as we have friends from all throughout the spectrum of income, and it’s pretty much never before been a topic of conversation in our household. I asked her why it mattered and how she even knew any of that beyond her own supposition, and she said, “Well, it doesn’t matter… I’ve just observed this…” Without any qualifying reason for it to have been part of discussion. And then I realized, in her young adulthood, though she has a solid foundation from our household, she of course has influence via her access to the rest of the world, via college, work, and friends… and our household is STILL a rarity.

News flash: Our culture – and our experience through this experience of duality – has created an obsession with categories – what I call “boxes” – that limit us or others, that put us in an invisible hierarchy and perceptions of superiority and/or lack based on nothing but the illusions we create! And, BIGGER news flash: It’s time to let that go!

How much money someone makes, what kind of house someone lives in, what kind of car someone drives, what kind of clothes someone wears (and where they shop), what kind of food they eat, combined with hierarchies around gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, political beliefs (by the way, typically based on all of the above), weight, hair and eye color, attractiveness, the list goes on and on… and on. We often categorize and judge someone (ourselves included) based on any or all of the above, and yet we judge it in comparison to our PERSONAL filters of judgment around each of those categories.

Why do we continue to judge ourselves and others in this way? From my perspective and understanding, our physical bodies, our physical circumstances, and everything around us is perfect for the lessons we, as individual souls, would like to complete. We write, produce, direct, and act in the play of our own device, as part of the same of the collective, bigger picture that we collectively write, product, direct, and act in.

In duality, we take pride in the “that” and “not that.” We’ve done boxes in an extraordinary way! However, it’s important to remember that when we’re done with a particular set, we throw the script away, take off the costumes, take off the “meat suits,” or whatever suit our consciousness has currently chosen… we are simply equally awesome parts of the Divine Consciousness. WE’RE ALL THAT! Then we progress to write, produce, direct, and act in yet another play for ANOTHER set of lessons.

In my practice, I see a full spectrum of income, beliefs, race, gender, lifestyles, backgrounds, you name it… I have friends across the spectrum, as well. Yet, none of that matters to me, in the least – if anything, it makes my experience all the more colorful with such a variety! What DOES matter to me the MOST is, are they unhappy or happy in their current experience? That’s all that’s my concern; underneath everything else, beyond all of the boxes, all I see is an incredible, Divine being that is also a reflection of me in some way, from some time. When I see everyone that way, how can I help but just sit in a space of love for everyone else?

My goal, in helping others, is to help them remember their happiness, how to live in bliss… whatever picture that paints for THEM. When we do that, our Divine Truth and ultimate soul’s purpose naturally comes through, regardless of what the 3D looks like to others! AND… ultimately, EVERYONE can achieve their own happiness, once they realize they’re allowed to in whatever picture THEY desire.

When we do that, we begin seeing our similarities, and honoring the color that our different journeys create. We enjoy ourselves and each other more fully, and reach out, heart to heart, in a much higher vibration, in pure connection. We share, rather than hoard; we love, rather than fear; we identify, rather than isolate.

I remember seeing somewhere one of the first astronauts who said that from outer space, the Earth is simply that… Earth. No political boundaries, no separation… just a beautiful planet, as part of this amazing solar system. Time for us to remember each other in the same way, in full acceptance as part of the magnificent, Divine Oneness that we are.

 

Giving Fluidity and Acceptance a Little Weight

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Yesterday, I went to the gym to attend a barbell strength training class I’ve been frequenting every Saturday for awhile now. I love the class, I love the teacher; she’s a stickler for keeping proper form to prevent injury, and she has teaching the class down to a science. Though she always drives the class to push harder and to go further, she rotates focus on different muscle group areas throughout the class, so we can rest each set of muscles and have enough strength left to do another round for those muscles later in the class. It’s a well-rounded practice… and it feels balanced to me.

Upon entering class this week, I discovered that the instructor was absent, and the instructor for the class was someone I had yet to experience. Very different demeanor, VERY different approach. Instead of the workout I expected, she worked each muscle group for an extended period… until half the class couldn’t even do the exercises any more, in desperate need of a rest.

I have to admit that about 20 minutes into the class, I was a bit irritated.

But then – through what felt like the hundredth set of lunges, with the weight of the barbell making my leg muscles scream – I had an epiphany about the situation. (I understand that often happens when the body is completely depleted of sweat and then brings on the onset of a little delirium from discomfort…  LOLLOL!)

Fluidity and acceptance.

Instead of rearing up to “battle” it – the irritation and resentment that the instructor wasn’t running the class the way I’ve come to expect – I had to take away that expectation box, do it differently, and gain from it whatever I was to gain from it, in the highest and best way. From the instructor’s perspective, she was running the class in perfect balance… focusing on each muscle group, in one rotation.  In reality, was one way right and one way wrong? No; I accepted that each approach was right… just different. Both accomplished the objective of the class, and though this approach was out of my comfort zone, I finally decided to simply accept what this instructor was doing.

I eventually made it through the class… even though there were several times when I just thought certain muscles wouldn’t work at all anymore. However, instead of getting irritated, I laughed at myself a little, took some deep breaths, zoned out into a semi-meditative state, tapped into my Higher Self, remembered to become more fluid, and pressed on.

Now, I could have decided that the primary instructor’s way is the “right” way, and this fill-in instructor’s way is the “wrong” way…and I could have walked out in the middle of class, or lost my focus on what I went there to do by getting so irritated at this different approach that I couldn’t perform the exercises in class. Instead, I became fluid… and decided to use it as a learning experience. Is it my personal preferred method? No. However, it did give me the chance to look at that class from a completely different perspective, and how to do that workout with a completely different approach. Overall, my muscles probably benefited,  as well.

In further processing all of this later on, I realized how the experience definitely provided a mirror into remembrance. I understand the importance of fluidity in our consciousness, and in doing this work, I am very mindful of walking the walk as much as I talk the talk. So, there are three very important lessons that surfaced for me:

  1. On our spiritual journey to enlightenment, each individual path is “right,” regardless of how different each is from the other;
  2. Every time we experience something new and different that is apart from what we expect, instead of rejecting it without exploration, it’s advantageous to look for what it is we can learn from it;
  3. That it is beneficial – and much more “in the flow” – to accept change with fluidity and grace, while also discovering what the change can actually provide for us as a learning experience.

These messages have been coming to me more and more… now even including something as purely physical and grounded as an intense strength training workout at the gym!

As we experience exponential changes in ourselves, in our consciousness, and in the physical world around us, it’s important to remember that the only constant is change. Change is happening, whether we fight it or not… faster and faster, as we go along during these magnificent times! So, remembering to stay conscious, fluid, and without judgment through every challenge, every change in direction, and every experience that comes our way – expected or unexpected – is the key. Because then we will find equilibrium in everything… or we’ll stop feeling like we need to have it altogether.

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down…

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I’m a movie nut… and a bookworm. Generally, all kinds, depending on my mood. I’ve seen movie after movie, read book after book… so, when I say that one or the other has truly moved me and left an impression on my life… believe me, it’s an impressive thing.

The term “pay it forward” became popular from a movie of the same name that was released in 2000, with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment (think, “I see dead people…” from another great one). It’s about a boy’s social studies project that quickly starts to change the lives of the others around him… and beyond.

The assignment: Think of something to change the world and put it into action. The boy presents the idea of paying a favor not back, but forward – repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people.

I remember in the movie, that the boy explains that time to actually do something for someone else – to do this “favor” – is when you feel it the most… when it’s most difficult within the giver to do it.

The changes that start to fall into play – with people who have never even met him – are astounding.

This is such an awesome idea… so simple, yet so profound. However, it often seems that some of the simplest, most profound changes we can make to our world – and some that will simply tumble the facades we have built ourselves – are the ones we find the hardest to carry out. Why? I don’t know; probably because we’ve spent thousands of years in many different cultures building them up.

If you follow the belief (which I do) that we’re evolving back towards remembering our interrelation as One, I’m reminded repeatedly how simple – yet profound – this evolution is.

“Tearing Down Walls,” by Gwen MeHarg, accessed at the heART gallery: http://www.drawneartogod.com

Here’s the simplest in description: Eliminate the walls.

Easy, right?

Several weeks back, my 9th grade daughter and I were talking in the car while I was driving her to school one morning. I have a great interest in the reiteration of some of the conversations she’s had with her friends; it surprises me how the teens and kids are evolving right under everyone’s noses, yet many don’t seem to notice!

Anyway, it seems she and her friends have had quite a few open discussions about different belief systems, and different religions. (This alone is amazing – when I was in 9th grade, most of our conversations centered around what was going on in the entertainment world, our visions for the future… what was in style, whether we were going to the mall over the weekend, stuff like that!). So, I wasn’t overly surprised when she said, “So, what are we, anyway? Are we Christian? Something else? What do I say when someone asks me?”

I was a little bit at a loss; since I don’t think of myself as any designation – and my husband and I have been insistent on teaching our children about all types of beliefs, all types of religions – we’ve purposely not limited ourselves to “being” something.

I didn’t know how to explain that in twenty words or less – which is pretty much the limit for a 9th grader.

However, as things tend to go, this topic has come up again and again over the past several weeks. And it came to me when I was enjoying the quick read The Third Coming, by Jim Rosemergy. There was a portion talking about Gandhi; once, when a reporter was interviewing him in his home, it was noted that even though he is purported Hindu, there was a picture of Christ on his wall. When asked about that, Gandhi responded, “I am a Christian, and a Hindu, and a Moslem, and a Jew.”

It also  reminds me of a message I received in meditation once, not too long ago: Watch the children and how they play.

Finally, in answer to my daughter, I came back to her and said, “You remember that discussion we had the other day? On how we’re not anything particular? I was thinking about it, and I think it’s best to just say we’re Universal.” She thought about it and nodded her head. “I like that, Mom…thanks.” and that was that.

It’s great seeing the rash of bumper stickers (I have one myself), t-shirts, and other paraphernalia with the term “Coexist” on it, made up of the symbols of many of the world’s major religions.

Is it really practiced, though?

How often do you think or say something along the lines of “Those people…” “They should…” “They can’t…” ? How many times have you said, “I don’t know… I’m not ______”?

It’s easy to lend a friend, a neighbor, a relative a hand… but what about a stranger? How many times do we come up with excuses on why we shouldn’t help someone we don’t know?

We put up walls, and more walls…

How many times someone is “afraid” to go to a different church than their own, because they’re afraid they’ll “get punished”? Why would that be… because the semantics are different from one denomination of church to the next, or even from one religion to the next?

If you stop listening to the politics of all of the walls that create differences between religions and spiritual practices – and instead, traverse the wall and listen from the heart about what they all mean, and then compare notes – guess what you’ll find for the vast majority? Semantics, cultural (yes, cultural) rituals somewhat different… but the meaning, pretty much all the same.

This is the same with _________ – you name it: gender, race, culture, religion, politics. Under the microscope, our genetic makeup is pretty identical, in terms of science. It’s like I always say – everyone has a different flavor of ice cream that is their favorite, yet most ice cream is really 99% identical in make up… with just the minor differences making up the different flavors and colors.

Yet, it’s still ice cream. One flavor isn’t “evil” (though I’ve tasted some quadruple chocolate flavors that would be close LOL), one isn’t innately “better” than the other, and one person isn’t better or worse than the next because of a particular flavor they enjoy the most – it’s simply a matter of personal preference, based on individual taste.

That’s the point of the “Coexist” campaign. We are all the same family, we are all a part of this organism we call Earth; all that separates us are the politics and cultural practices in our day-to-day lives. Underneath, we all have hearts, minds, and souls. These differences are what make us “different flavors,” and individual. Yet, we can’t lose sight that we are one and the same.

Another way I used to explain this to my children is via anatomy: Our bodies are made up of approximately 10 trillion cells at any given point in time. Every cell has its own function, there are some basic differences between different types of cells, BUT each cell has the full body’s blueprint embedded within it. Every single one. And every single one knows what job it’s chosen, what its function is. Though each cell might not have conscious knowledge of that, or of the comparatively huge Being of which it’s a part, if that type of cell is needed in a different part of the body, that’s where the cell goes. If a person cuts his/her left foot, and some harmful bacteria enter the wound, the cells at the wound site send out signals for phagocytes (white blood cells that specifically ingest and neutralize potentially harmful invaders). Say there are some of those cells up in the right shoulder… do they say, “Well, it’s just so FAR to that foot… and the kids have a soccer game tonight…”  or “Well, it’s the FOOT that needs our type of job; we’re SHOULDER type of cells…” ???  No; they go and do their job; whatever it is that is beneficial to the entire organism.

To “get to the next level” – or even get back to whence we came, to restore the Earth and humanity – it’s time to remember that we ARE all a part of the same organism – whether we are in North America, Australia, or Asia; whether we are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan, or tribal; whether we are male, female, or in between; whether we are proverbially the shoulder, the elbow, or the nose. It is only then – once we’ve taken down all of these walls, labels, and separations that we’ve put up OURSELVES – that we will be able to truly function to our optimal potential as the whole of what we’re a part.

So, to circle back around, the reason I started this post with the mention of the movie Pay It Forward is because it is a perfect example of my point here: The idea has no boundaries, no limitations. It includes everyone… and it forces us outside of our comfort zone, makes us take down our walls, and to see each other – everyone – as equally important as the other, equally worthy, without prejudice and without  limitation.

And when we can do that… we’ll be able to accomplish anything, across the world!