Radical Love

Celeste and Shane IMG_0040 “True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35. The New Revised Standard Version

I don’t usually quote The Bible even though I graduated with a Religious Studies degree. The reason I don’t is because we think we know what the quotes mean from years of going to church school classes and listening to sermons. I’d like for us to consider a new, deeper way of thinking about the above Bible quote. I’d like us to consider that Jesus was asking his disciples, us, to practice Radical Love.

What is Radical Love? I don’t claim to have any special insight on that subject. This blog is prompted by something I saw on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week. Jon’s guest was a man who had written a book about the Koch brothers. During the course of the interview, the guest said something like, “These brothers are so wealthy that they’ll never know what it feels like to have to live on $2.00 a day.” When he said that I turned to Barry and said, “How do you reach someone like that? How do you help them find empathy for others less fortunate than they are?”

The next morning the answer came to me. We have to learn to practice Radical Love. Love is the only thing that will melt the hard-hearts of people who’ve never had to struggle to feed their family, or who’ve never lost everything. Practicing Radical Love is the only thing that will soothe the wounded hearts of people who’ve known nothing but struggle, discrimination, hatred and unending fear.

I don’t claim to be good at practicing Radical Love. Oh how often I want to make snarky comments on Facebook, or Twitter. But then I remember that we’re all connected by some indefinable something that’s linked to the Divine. And that stops me from writing the remark. Making sarcastic remarks on social media and in our daily discourse isn’t going to help the situation.

All I know is that we can change the world. But to do that, we have to be willing to change ourselves, as I’ve been writing in this blog for the last few weeks. We have to change ourselves so that we can look at another human being and see their beautiful soul, the soul that connects each of us to the greater Soul. We need to have empathy for what they are going through, and we need to love them, no matter what we think they’ve done.

That’s a tall order. I don’t do it all the time. My ego gets in the way. I get angry that the other person doesn’t see the world the way I do. When we fight against a person, we make them angry. When we fight a situation we make it worse. As Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth, “Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”

So, all I can say about the Koch brothers and everyone like them, is that I have to send them love. I have to visualize that the love I send is getting through to their hearts so that they can become compassionate, and have empathy for others. When they feel that, they’ll stop fighting to keep the billions of dollars they own all to themselves. They’ll be willing to share it with those less fortunate.

What are your thoughts about what Radical Love might be? I’m interested to know what you think.

Ariel and Daddy (31)

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014
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We Still Have Time to Change Pt. 3

The Skin of Our Teeth, Gladys with baby and Mom
The Skin of Our Teeth, Gladys with baby and Mom

“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.” –Arianna Huffington

“The very words you speak and think are your personal vehicle on your journey to happiness.” –Yvonne Oswald

After writing the posts for the last two weeks, I felt there were a lot more tools to share with those of you who are on the self-discovery path. Today I want to write about our thoughts as a tool. Our thoughts can keep us from realizing the life we want to live, or if we pay attention to what we’re thinking, they can help us create a dream life.

When something challenging happens, what are your first thoughts? I bet they’re negative. When we’re out and about, we overhear lots of negative comments from friends, co-workers and people in the next aisle at the grocery store. We’re so used to complaining and asking “Why me?”, that most of us don’t even think to look at the things that happen to us as opportunities.

When I was in college, I was going through a difficult time. Some wise person suggested I keep a journal and write down all the things I was thinking and feeling. “What a great idea,” I thought. However after months of whining and complaining in my journal, I was no closer to feeling better. Then one day I wrote in my journal, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” That was the key phrase. Immediately I got answers in my journal. Over the next months I looked at the lessons in everything that had been happening to me. Every time I looked for the lessons, I felt better, because I found solutions, and I became aware of the blocks in my thinking that were keeping me from living my dreams.

What happened to me, is a key to the way we can change the way things are going in our inner world and the outer world. Negative thinking is a habit that most of us learned at our parent’s knee. It takes a commitment to pay attention to our thoughts and what we say. When we pay attention to our inner and outer dialogue, we can find ways to change them to positive thoughts and statements. Many of the things we say are figures of speech that we’re so used to, that we don’t even think of them as negative. For example, how often do you use the words fear and worry in your daily discourse? How often, when something good happens for someone you know, do you say, “That’ll never happen to me.” The thing is, words are linked to emotional states of being, most of which are unconscious. Since that’s the case it takes time to root out those pesky negative thoughts.

A year or so ago, I read a fantastic book which has great exercises for identifying those negative thoughts that we aren’t even aware we have. The book is, Every Word Has Power, by Yvonne Oswald, MHT, MNLP, MTLT. The book is full of those everyday phrases and thought patterns that we use out of habit, that trigger negative thinking and feeling. Reading it helped me become more conscious, and to use language in a more positive way.

Yvonne Oswald’s work is based on scientific research. Among the circle of spiritual authors I read, it’s a well documented fact that our thoughts create our reality. This is something that was known by ancient spiritual traditions, but not so many years ago, it was verified by scientists, particularly quantum physicists. If you watched the series Cosmos, you probably heard Neal deGrasse Tyson mention this fact. But if you’re skeptical, here are two other researchers talking about the same thing.

Gregg Braden is a scientist and a spiritual teacher. This video of Gregg talking about the power of our subconscious mind, will help you understand the point that I’m trying to make, that what we think creates our reality. If you still need convincing, watch this TED Talk by Shawn Achor, a proponent of Postive Psychology and a happiness researcher, about how simple practices done every day for 21 days can change our thoughts and feelings to more positive patterns.

Why do we want to change our thinking and feeling to more positive patterns you might ask? Because continuing to see the world as if everything is going down the tubes hasn’t helped us change the serious problems we face. We’ve got to consider what Albert Einstein said as the truth. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We’ve been doing the same things over and over again, allowing our thought patterns to turn toward the negative. While human behavior has changed for the better, we’re at a point where we need to make a quantum leap forward. Which means we need a lot of people to work on becoming happier and more loving, and thinking in positive ways. The books and videos give you some practical ways you can do that.

The final tool that I want to suggest is to switch the negative television you watch, for shows that are more positive. Years ago I stopped watching the news because I felt so bad after watching a half an hour or an hour of negative stories about what was going on in the world. Shawn Achor said in his TED talk and on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, that we take in those negative messages and think that the world is a negative place. But it’s not true. It just takes a shift in the kinds of messages we take in and a shift in our perceptions.

Super Soul Sunday is a fantastic substitute for all the negative programming. Shows like Cosmos, or TV shows where the characters grow and the relationships become deeper and richer as the seasons go along are other great choices. Bones is one good example of that kind of fictional show. There are lots of others. You have to be willing to look for them, and resist the negative ones where competition and getting ahead is the main theme. It also helps if you talk with your family about the positive shows you watch.

Not long ago I read an article about a new therapy technique being used in research trials with young couples. The goal was to help newlyweds learn to communicate better and prevent early divorce. Instead of sitting down and talking with a therapist, the couple watched a romantic comedy together. Then they talked with the therapist about the behaviors of the characters, identifying the ones that they could relate to. In that way, the couple could identify destructive, and positive behaviors that they engaged in. Watching the movie created a non-threatening way for them to understand themselves and their partners better.

The bottom line is, the world is only a terrifying place in which to live, if you’re full of fear. You don’t have to feel fear. You can do as I did. You can ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” When you do that, you’ll begin to see a deeper meaning in current events. And when you look for the positive things that are happening around you, the world becomes much more friendly.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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We Still Have Time to Change pt. 2

Early June Yucca
Early June Yucca

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi

“Love is the deepest gift that we could be ever be given by someone and it’s the greatest gift that we could ever give to ourselves.” –Mastin Kipp

Continuing on the theme from last week, I’d like to write about one of my experiences, as a Reiki practitioner. I learned a great lesson during this period of my life.

For those of you who don’t know what Reiki is, it’s also known as, The Usui System of Natural Healing. It’s an ancient laying on of hands healing technique, and can be used to heal health issues, life situations, mental and spiritual issues, in other words, virtually anything we will ever face. I won’t go into the history of how Reiki came to this country now. It’s much too long. Besides, you can do some research on the internet if you’re interested. What I want to share is my experience of using it as a spiritual practice.

My husband and I were on a spiritual quest when we were introduced to Reiki. Since the church we had grown up in used hands on healing, we felt immediately connected to the practice and decided to become initiated.

Some time after I was initiated into second degree, I volunteered to give Reiki once or twice a week to the daughter for an old family friend. She had full-blown AIDS. This was early in the days of the AIDS epidemic, and not much was known about it. After my short time of practicing Reiki and seeing amazing results, I felt confident that I could be the conduit through which L could be healed. The Reiki practitioner is just a conduit for the healing energy, you see, but in my hubris, I wanted her to be physically healed. I didn’t understand that healing can take many forms. The person receiving the Reiki is in partnership with the energy, I was just the garden hose through which the energy flowed.

I think it’s a common feeling among people when they find a new talent or skill to be excited about what they can do, without understanding the depths it will take to become a master of the practice. Offering Reiki to L for the remainder of her life, was a huge lesson for me. No one knows the life contract, as Carolyn Myss puts it, of the person who has requested the healing. In the case of L, there were many family and personal issues she needed to deal with before leaving the planet. As the months wore on, and her health continued to deteriorate, I learned a great lesson from her and her family. Life is ephemeral, and death can be a beautiful, mysterious process. L and her family took the time to heal old wounds and peel back the layers that had kept unconditional love at bay. I became a humble witness to the transformation of their family dynamics.

At L’s memorial service, I got to observe the love shown to the family, and from the family to all those present. It was one of the most loving experiences of my life, and I was grateful that I got to help with the healing process of L and her family.

That experience taught me that to become a true healer takes lots of practice, and personal work. A healer can’t do their job well unless they have dealt with their own dark places. At that point in my life, I had many dark places that needed to be examined and exposed to the light. Reiki has been a powerful force in my own self-healing journey. And if that’s all I use it for, that and to help my family and friends, then that’s a wonderful use of my practice.

I’d like to close this post by sharing the Principles of Reiki with you. These are principles that could be used by anyone to help them improve their life, whether they are a Reiki practitioner or not. They’ve been of great comfort to me.

Just for today, do not worry,
Just for today, do not anger,
Honor your parents, teachers and elders,
Earn your living honestly,
Show gratitude to every living thing.

Blessings to you on your healing journey.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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We Still Have Time To Change

Earth from the Moon
Earth from the Moon

“Increasing your care for the concerns of the global whole brings spirit and increased empowerment to the personal self.” –Doc Childre, GCI Steering Committee Chairman

A few weeks ago, my book club group got together for lunch. We weren’t discussing a book, it was just social time. A few of the women were going away on vacation and we weren’t going to get together until early July. Every time we get together the conversation always turns to all the things that are going wrong in the world. I must say that sometimes I’m overwhelmed by events too. We do face big problems. However, most of the time, I’m the one who puts a positive spin on events, because I’ve learned that every thought and word we say has power to affect the world around us.

At lunch, the conversation turned to something horrible that was going on, and one of the women said, “I’m sure Lucinda will be able to put a positive spin on this.” We all laughed, as I said, “I’m not sure I have anything positive to say about that situation.” Then as the conversation went on, I did think of positive things to say.

About a week later, I got one of my weekly emails from Global Coherence Initiative the DBA name of the Institute of HeartMath. It was about solar cycles and how solar and geomagnetic activity affects humans. Remembering our discussion at lunch, I forwarded the email to the members of the book club group.

Global Coherence Initiative is a science based, co-creative project to unite people in heart focused care and intention…” a quote that explains what they do from the home page of their website. It’s free to join to participate in the synchronized care focus of the day where heart energy is sent to discordant situations around the world. They also provide wonderful educational videos that show how our energy emanates outward from us. The videos opened my eyes to the effect I have not only near to home, but in far away places.

My friends were thrilled to get this information. One of them said that I should write a blog post about this, and about my spiritual upbringing, which in her words, “I also firmly believe that your early training in spiritual matters provides you with a level of simple fortitude that helps [with] coping.”

When I read her email it made me think about my upbringing. I was fortunate to have parents who paid attention to spiritual matters. But, it was more than that. Something in my parents DNA was passed down to me that caused me to seek the spiritual life of self-healing.

We know that traits of all kinds are passed down from generation to generation through DNA. Even attitudes are passed down through DNA and education. Traits that were passed to me were an automatic spiritual connection, an acceptance of every individual, and a positive attitude. I embrace change and see the good in it because it’s in my DNA. It’s easy for me. For others it might not be so easy to accept that we all have a spiritual connection, and that we all affect the world around us. If that’s not part of your DNA, maybe GCI can help you understand just how important you are as a part of this planet we’re living upon.

Getting back to the GCI article, we are affected by many unseen forces in the world. We think we’re so advanced, and look down on the superstitions of the past where people believed they were affected by celestial events. The research done at GCI shows us that we ARE affected by the stars. It also shows that each of us is vibrating and sending out energy all the time, though most of us are completely unaware of that fact. We are affected by the energy of other people.

In many of my posts over this past year, I’ve written again and again about the need to heal ourselves, which in turn helps to heal the world. When you watch the videos produced by GCI , you’ll see that my assertion is true. I didn’t come by that assertion by accident. I came by it through lots of study of spiritual teachers, and sites like GCI.

So, if we’re going to save ourselves and our planet, we need to change the way we do things. We need some tools. GCI is one tool to become more internally coherent as the videos show. When you go to the GCI care room to participate, you are asked to focus your positive energy on a specific situation, place, or group of people. It’s a form of meditation. It doesn’t take hours to do this, but it does take dedication to spend a few minutes each day to focus on the situation presented. When you do that, you heal not only yourself, but also the world a little at a time.

I hope you’ll watch these videos, and join Global Coherence Initiative, or find some other way to heal yourself. We don’t have a lot of time to turn things around you know. However, we can still change the world for the better, if we choose to do so.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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