Freddie deBoer’s article, The Resentment Machine, speaks of the monetization of human practice, specifically, consumption as achievement. Caught in valueless times, products of competitive households, the current Internet generation having nowhere to go, seeks solace in investing consumptive cultural goods with meaningful importance. Could it be true that they have gifted away their passions and with that, any hope of revealing a true self?
Just recently, my son called to say that he was dropping a theory class to join a salon for poets. Prior to reading this article, my response would have been quite different. I would have hedged on the side of resume, grad school, and job possibilities. Only now can I recognize the urgent need “only to create for the sake of creation, to build something truly your own for no purpose and in reference to the work of no other person.”
Of course, I gave him my blessing. ~ Sdukes
Image: Tdukes, 2011
There’s a tribe in West Africa whose members count the birthday of a child from the day the child is first a thought in its mother’s mind. On that day, a woman goes out and sits under a tree and quietly listens and waits until she can hear the song of her child. When she has heard the song, she returns to the village and teaches it to the man whom she has envisioned as the child’s father so that they can sing the song when they make love, inviting their child to join them. The expectant mother then sings this song to the child in her womb and teaches it to the midwives, who sing it when the child is born. And the villagers all learn the child’s song so that whenever the child cries or hurts himself, they pick it up, hold it in their arms, and sing the song. The song is also sung when the young man or woman goes through a rite of passage, when he or she marries, and then for the last time, when he or she is about to die (p.42-43).
Imagine being known by your community for your own sweet song, not your accomplishments, your status or your commodities. At the core of your being: a melody, a melody that your mother heard while she sat waiting patiently to hear you sing.
Not confined by space or time, Paul Goodberg sends a loving message to his students about trauma, its roots and its impact on our planet, our psyches and our relationship to the Earth. Sitting with Paul, one feels in the presence of someone who sees beyond the veil. With a pulse on energetics, Paul can clear an area to restore its balance returning harmony to a land and its inhabitants. At Ratna Ling on that bright and clear August morning, could we really sense that there was an energetic shift? We could, indeed!
Trauma resonates in many forms, and without a clearing, takes root. What was once pristine becomes encumbered holding memories of past misdeeds. Paul has made it his mission, his commitment to heal the Earth. Trained at an early age, Paul understands both the subtleties and the complexities of our native land. Put simply, Paul listens as the Earth speaks.
Passionate about his life’s work and compassionate to those who share his calling, Paul is student and teacher, vessel and vehicle. He walks a quiet line over a narrow trail along a steep ridge and in his footprints leaves his healings. ~Sdukes
Image: Courtesy of Helping Heal the Earth
Many years ago, almost thirty to be exact, I met my first spiritual teacher. Cloaked in silence, I spent three months sitting or walking while meditating. The only reprieve was the weekly much anticipated teacher “interview.” My assigned teacher turned out to be one of the first wise men that I had yet to meet, and teaching the Dharma, he held a candle to my darkness. Illumination came at a price, and the worldly journey through my many phases of Samsara left me raw and hoping to once again, at some point, see my true self reflected in his eyes.
Just recently, we met face-to-face. My heart was full; this was indeed a moment I had much anticipated. Imagine the reunion, the inquiry into my world, in return my graceful complements of his work, the impact that he and his writings have had in my own life. As I introduced myself, his dark eyes hardened and remained hidden behind a veil of feigned enlightenment. There was none of me in their reflection. There was none of me anywhere. Much like a beggar on a street in India, I was rebuffed, left to stand empty handed with my anticipation hanging in the air. Where was the mindfulness, the welcoming of the other and most importantly where was the loving attention that was at the root of all teaching?
As that painful moment passed, I began to slowly feel empowered. I saw him clearly for the first time in 30 years. I had caught him without his game face, and he was just a man. He was not my true teacher after all. In fact, in that moment it was me who was graceful, mindful and wise. Realization comes at a price, and between the many emotions that surfaced as a result of our encounter, I came to see that one cannot look outside for a true teacher. Our true teacher does not live somewhere else; our true teacher resides within each one of us. When our hearts are open and our attention steady, and when we greet the unexpected with loving attention, we become both student and teacher, we become the wise one. ~ SDD
Image: Tdukes, 2011
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. The point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. – RM Rilke
One’s authentic voice is vital; it is all that we have; yet, when entering the domain of the hospital or even the doctor’s office, one is silenced. Power is given over to those in the white coat, and with limited face time, we accept that which we are told. When one is sick and vulnerable, it takes a strong person to self-advocate.
We are at a revolutionary crossroads in our relationship to medical care. Caught by the industry standards, insurance restrictions, and tightly scheduled professional face time, the patient and the doctor have both entered into a new arena. With 15 minutes to diagnose, a patient spends more time waiting in his paper johnny than actually being seen by the doctor. Gone are the days of holistic care. In some ways, this new paradigm is slowly shifting the responsibility for wellness from the doctor to the patient or at the very least, it is forcing care to become a joint endeavor. However, this necessary change has left many in a void, faceless in the system, a number with a diagnostic code. It is here, as the template evolves, that Narrative Medicine, the story of humanity, the tale of the human condition, has the capacity to impact a system that has become, at best, tolerable.
Our stories are important to our unfolding health as a civilization. As we walk the ridgeline, we are reminded of our past as we make our way toward our future. As we step into the present, we need to gather our voices to insure that our humanity, our humanness does not become lost or replaced, buried under the tide of facelessness. After all, we have come to walk this path; we need to claim it. ~ Sdukes
Image: Boston MFA by Tdukes
Our relationships exist separately from us in a formless field of possibility, and our participation determines their success. How we feel, think and behave is directly mirrored by our connections with others. Our relationships exist in subtle and nuanced forms that are determined in a moment-to-moment participatory, relational state – a confluence of energy, consciousness and behavior contributed by all involved. It is not until we observe, hold, and thereby participate that our relationships actually come into form. In any given moment of relating, the degree of consciousness shaped by our individual psychological and emotional patterns predetermine the form the relationship may take. In other words, our relationships are a participatory-phenomena dependent upon not only our behavior but how we think and feel as we engage.
There, however, is a catch; how we think and feel about our relationships is often entirely separate from the actual potential that lives within the relationship:
- Our thoughts about our relationships are actually just that, thoughts about our relationships.
- Our feelings about our relationships are just our feelings. They may or may not have much to do with the actual relationship.
It is not until we are engaged with the other or others who comprise the particular relationship that we can accurately determine its true nature. Meaning, this interdependent, co-arising entity, relationship, carries within it a potential for transformation. Knowing this, we have an opportunity to shape each moment of interaction. Whether we are with a stranger, our children, partner, colleagues or friends – we have a choice:
- If we greet the moment with kindness, a soft response emerges.
- If we show up with happiness, we invite a playful and hopeful connection.
- When we connect with compassion, an opportunity for deeper understanding is available.
- When we embrace the moment with curiosity, we open to a dance with the unknown.
With a mindful and present understanding, we can re-discover our relationships within an unfolding opportunity of possibility. –Tdukes
Every day, through every endeavor, we are defined by our relationships and exist within their interdependent union. Most of the time, however, we do not realize the significance of those who pass through our lives. We think of ourselves as individuals independent of the other; however, this experience of separateness, of aloneness is simply an illusion. We are connected, each to the other, we have always been and we always will be.
The context of our organization, our business, our profession, our art and the relationships that ensue in our professional and personal life may be the most productive context in which to realize this oneness and to appreciate and receive the benefits. That is to say, we can profit by acknowledging that we are deeply and undeniably connected.
To reach the outcomes we seek, to perform at the level we know that we are capable, and to achieve our dreams, we do so through our relationships. And therefore, if, in fact, we already live in connection with one another, we do not have to re-create the bond that brings about the realization of our goals; we just have to remove the distortions that inhibit their manifestation.
My friend was diagnosed with cancer. With a systemic family history, it really came as no surprise. However, what was surprising was how she managed her treatment. All protocol pointed to chemotherapy. Everything in her being screamed, “no.” She said that if she succumbed to chemicals being infused into her body, she would surely die. Her surgeon and oncologist put up a good fight; they brought in the Tumor Board from the city hospital. She put up a better fight; she reached deeply into her soul and made a pact with God. She would heal, and she would have to do it without chemicals and, hence, without the support of conventional medicine and her medical team.
In Harry Massey and Greg Becker’s film, The Living Matrix – The Science of Healing, light is shed on the fact that beliefs can, in fact, override biology. Our belief system is our body’s strongest medicine. For anything to truly take root, one has to believe in it fully. It is no wonder that my friend could not embrace chemotherapy; she simply did not believe that it would work for her. She had already seen too many of her family members left bald and bloated only to die from the “cure.”
Intention plays a vital role in the healing process. Our thoughts and our cognitions impact our physicality. Information and energy transfer producing both positive and negative feedback within our bodies. Without us being fully conscious of their influence, scrambled information can take root and leave us disease-oriented.
My friend did something interesting. She actually changed the cancer model. Instead of “fighting” cancer with chemotherapy, she actually embraced her illness. She transformed the “warfare” model into love by choosing health over disease
I suggest taking a moment out of your busy schedule to watch this fascinating film: The Living Matrix – The Science of Healing will, without a doubt, shed light on the life that you live and the choices that you make.
Photo by Tdukes: UK 2007