Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Decatur Street Beat!

Durham-based Dixieland Band - A good time group! Heard them at Pittsboro's General Store in May. Thanks for the memory....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Does it Mean to be a "Free Spirit"?

The human challenge is to learn to be a free spirit, to cope with and to rise above what we experience in the physical world.”  (JOH, K. Oddenino, 381)

“All addictions are the result of the belief system that we have been involved with from the beginning of our life.” (JOH,326)

As I think about what it means to live and to learn as a human being, I’m grateful to my parents, to all mentors, for their motivation to teach, to share their lives and knowledge and wisdom gained through living.  The phrase “free spirit” has been familiar to me as long as I can remember. When I think about it and try to pinpoint how I’ve interpreted it from others’ descriptions, and what it symbolizes to me now, I’m amazed at the way we snag little bits of truth (energy units) which make sense to us long before our minds can truly articulate an expansive understanding of them. This tells me something about how our energy system is designed as sensory beings, and how our minds work too, as we’re stimulated by and through the experiences we create.

Recently I’ve been reading about the Ten Commandments, as represented by the ocean of Internet sources, and thinking about how they relate to the Ethical Values as Kathy Oddenino teaches through Spiritual Philosophy. As stated, the first four commandments relate to the relationship of the human being with God and the rest to the relationships between people. In the New Testament, Jesus is said to have repeated some of the commandments to one of the disciples and condensed them elsewhere into two general laws: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matt. 22:34-40. Looking back at the list of commandments from the Old Testament, then, I see a rule book of behaviors, the last six of which are what NOT to do. That tells me that we have the rules only because we do not know how to behave ethically. Ethically means we treat each other with love, truth, and equally as human beings, because we are created with the same energy sensory design and purpose.

I think about what freedom means to me. I know the energy fluctuations I have felt as I’ve lived my daily experiences, making choices, doing physical things. I know which feel good, when I’ve felt sad, which rile me up (as some of us say in the South), which bring deep joy within me, from the Universe that I am and that I share. Until I was taught to think of these fluctuations as Energy, I was often confused by the flux of feelings and sometimes did not know how to interpret them in a way that was inspiring, truthful, and therefore productive. I understand, too, how we can think we understand what it means to be “loving,” truthful, and equal, as an intellect, or as a person who believes we live our emotions on our sleeve, and not truly know what it means to be a free spirit. That’s why we evolve as a consciousness! The Ten Commandments, as written in history as this rule-book of behavior, are just that- a strict guide for wayward souls that needed a light to stay on the “straight and narrow.” The Ethical Values explain another level of what it means to “be good.” The trinities of Ethical Values open a searching mind to the harmony and rhythm of joy, of happiness, of sharing as the stabilizing energy which increases our power of learning as we continue to create and share our experiences.

As a teenager and as a young adult I floundered among rules and rebelled against many. Not because I wanted to “be a rebel without a cause,” but because rules as physical rules did not help me to know myself as an evolving energy being and therefore to know that I carried these beliefs with me as energy through lifetimes to learn, change, and grow as I recognized beliefs that no longer served me in living as a free spirit. Rulebooks that related only to what-not-to-do only went so far as physical guidelines. The “why” which created the need for such a rulebook is what my mind was looking for. That “why” was the energy I’ve lived throughout my lifetimes as a human being, on Earth, interacting and sharing with all other energy.  I’ve learned from Spiritual Philosophy, and the opening of my mind, that our greatest addiction is fear. I know this is true, because I can map my mind’s “eye” and the legend of my experiences as I remember them.  Metaphysical teachings explain the seven levels of energy as: Being; God; Truth; Knowledge; Energy; Creation; Human and Divine Relationships. As I think on these explanations I recognize how fears grow into phobias, how habits can reinforce superstitions and therefore beliefs whose origins become lost in the forest of our busy lives, how we can resist the joy and adventure of consciously learning to know ourselves simply because we have not been taught to think of ourselves as evolving sensory energy beings.

Reading Rebecca Skloot's book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks fits in here, too. I'm amazed and fascinated by how she relates, for example, the superstitions so strongly held about hospital care in the first half of this century, particularly in the Baltimore area, i.e., Johns Hopkins. Hopkins himself founded the hospital as a place that would offer care for those could not pay for care, of any race, creed, religion, and including children, especially orphans. Scary stories of "colored children being snatched in the night," in the dark, dangerous streets of the hospital area, gathered many beliefs together and enhanced the ignorance of such fear into an incredible example of why knowledge (communication) is a gift of power. Images persist and grow through ignorance, and the communication of knowledge, through compassion of sharing and learning (love), goes a long way to eradicating fear and inviting love. This affects each mind, each following generation. I remember dreams and visions I had as a child, of caravans of tribes rumbling down our small hallway in the dark towards our bedroom. To begin to know the origins of these fears as ancient beliefs, which can be changed once we know how, is truly a gift that affects all generations.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Art of Food

An - Asian fusion in Cary, NC
A treat to celebrate my beautiful niece's high school graduation - desserts to live for! A perfect follow-up to The Voracity blog link I posted on facebook yesterday.....Ahhh, the art of food....

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Flowers Respond

I had a dream about lucid dreaming. I googled the term, then “Wikipediaed” (these new relations make me think of Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel Clockwork Orange – layered of course with graphically memorable images of Malcolm McDowell and more), and scanned the information, history, ideas, scientifically-accepted thoughts, etc. This brought Clockwork Orange to mind again…and not in a good way. I hadn’t thought about this book in many years and now, twice, a reminder: this dream within a dream, and my cousin’s book report which I read.  In my dream were many layers of dream and reality, in which I was being shown the reality of the dream, and the reality of what is, as shown by all waking moments. Sound obtuse? Not if you had been in my dream! As I reflect upon Sir Ken Robinson’s TED address (see earlier link) and his inspiring message about creative teaching and learning, I think of lucid dreaming and my dream this morning. We’re so programmed to ridicule, to deny, keeping silent about our infinite thoughts and dreams rather than being taught to explore them as the energy they are, part of us as energy, which makes them infinitely more interesting. We’re used to pontificating rather than communicating (sharing), controlling rather than listening. In my mind, during my dream and upon waking, I felt myself expanding, with the optimism and hope of listening more carefully, more compassionately, more usefully. I felt the shift of energy as I awoke, the way the physical energy focus felt – like placing my feet solidly on the ground, feeling the earth “move under my feet.” I turned on the TV to watch Holmes on Homes, and heard him say, I didn’t build this house, but I’m fixing this house!, as he proceeded with his teams to take care of each layer of problem they found to fix a solid structure without the risks that preceded him.  I listened to the water run as I filled the sink. I listened to the birds as I opened the door from the sunroom. The heat of the sun increased, and I watched the flowers respond.  Then I sent an email about Kathy Oddenino’s upcoming Joy of Health class, in which she wrote about Why do we expect to be sick? We can learn to know we are energy, even if we haven’t been taught this from our conscious beginning.

 We listen, we hear, often we judge – we already know that, we don’t want to hear that, we wish we didn’t have to know that, etc. It’s amazing how we have crafted our thinking selves. What inspires us? We have poured ourselves (and therefore our money) into building the systems we live with and struggle to support. The ones that sail on (fewer and fewer) we seldom think about. In yesterday’s NY Times was an article about the Human Genome’s promise and progress to date, 10 years past the mapping. We are complex beings. One conclusion is that in some respects, taking a good family history yields more helpful data. Our continuing stories reveal who we are at every level, if we open our mind to our eternal nature. As the Gulf Oil spill continues to present the current pictures of our challenge, we are invited to learn, to know, to respond, and also to acknowledge, again, that if we turn away and act like “that’s not me,” we are consciously declaring that we prefer to be ignorant and irresponsible; unfeeling. We prefer to live the meek or dragon role in the myths of our childhood, pretending that they are still only fairy tales, not images from our own minds as we reflect the reality we create.  So much for my own pontificating, programming, ignoring! The complexities of us are simply beautiful, once we know who we are.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


"We cannot conceive of the reality of timelessness."  (JOH)

I’ve been thinking on this concept since I read it recently in The Joy of Health. This is how I began: We cling to time as we resist change. We cling to what we think IS, or what we want IS to be, because we fear change. First, we fear changing our perception (belief), which would then…motivate us to change our behavior.  This is why we identify so intensely with the physical world around us that we experience any loss with fear (not knowing/loving self).

Our perceptions of right/wrong are related to or dictated by time more than we know or accept.  We can see how we create and how easily we accept change as “time passes.” Dylan Thomas wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” As I live my life (age), and as those I know and love change, I am encouraged to more gently, graciously, appreciate this gift, this art of life and how precious such love is. I remember little gems from my father as they flash into my mind’s eye: excitedly talking with him when I was a child, clamoring for his full attention (as I saw it) because what I had to say was all-important and really all There Was in that moment. I remember his expression as he patiently listened, even as he continued tinkering with his project of the moment. I remember his nodding as he listened, every now and then looking out the window. I remember his comment as he watched the birds, which he loved to do: I wonder why that bird keeps coming back to that one spot. I remember stopping for a flash, looking where he looked, maybe seeing the bird, then diving back into the well of thought I’d been whipping up for him to taste. Where was I? He smiled, continued listening patiently, inviting my attention to the bird, to the air, to the quiet. He might answer directly too, but mostly the point was he listened, and he invited me to listen more deeply.

As I listen to a friend’s disappointment about the outcome of an application, another’s intense adventure in a new job which requires full focus and adjustments with high stakes, as I continue the daily maintenance of a life – a house, a body, a mind, a pool, a car, a tree, a flower, I remember the power that guides us as energy in motion. We’re encouraged to fight (do not go gentle), to rage against what we feel are injustices, and we interpret, express this “fight” in many different ways – some violently, some persistently, some gently, some quietly, etc. I appreciate the drama of passion as the power of love and creation – birth and death as cycles of change as the best example. Firmness, dignity, growth, humility – as an Ethical Value passion is paired with discipline and knowledge. I understand this more clearly now. Passion, in its pure joy of creation, seeks, savors, and requires the knowledge of discipline and the structure of us as energetic beings. This is how we know and expand our power – to share, to love, to feel compassion, to enjoy the pure freedom of choice, will, and intention in our life, despite the challenges that may come (what dreams may come!) Our choices reveal our intentions, and in every expression, always visible as energy, our attitude about change as our most intimate internal relationship.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Over the Rainbow

We’re used to testing ourselves based on “trust everyone and everything” until proven “wrong” (innocent until proven guilty), or skepticism (“prove it”). Reading The Joy of Health again, I understand better now how we learn through opposites. As I think about and review my experiences up to now, I can see why and how I made the choices I made at different times and “crossroads.” When I think about the reality that “we do the best we can with what we know” at any given moment, I recognize how wise it is to feed ourselves the knowledge that helps us to “grow big and strong” as a mind. This is the same as truly appreciating (living, choosing, sharing) food as fuel for our physical body as we live each moment of every day. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it. Yet obviously it isn’t, or we wouldn’t have the level of disease experience and the constantly revving research and development and treatment engines that we have come to believe are essential for us to survive. When we know what’s good for us, we do it? Countless examples come to mind. The tobacco industry’s internal memos ever so slowly came to the collective surface as we reached a level of change in public behavior about the fact that smoking dramatically raises the incidence of diseases. How long did this take, and with how much cost? I smoked cigarettes for years, beginning in high school. (Happily, I gave it up years ago and my cells are happier for it, as are those I am around!) My parents didn’t smoke and were amazed that I did, encouraged me to stop.  Yet, I continued, off and on, for years. Why? It’s just an example to me of so much of our collective behavior and how we resist change, we resist thinking more deeply about the energy of our lives in motion and the ripple effects of our energy in motion as we live, breathe, eat, drink, laugh, dream, heal, die.  I still hear people say, everything that tastes good isn’t good for you!  That belief definitely could use a software update! And, this medicine isn’t working for me, there must be another that I can use. There are always alternatives.

The BP Gulf oil spill is another example in which I recognize how we aim to show ourselves how, seemingly despite our best intentions sometimes (we tell ourselves), “accidents happen.” As we begin to look at the causes and effects at each level of interaction (cause and effect), “accidents happen” is not enough of an explanation. Why? What can be done differently? Why did each cause happen? What were we thinking and why? What does each event tell us about our thinking and our true intention. Because we haven’t understood that we are energy beings first and matter second, we tend to think of who to blame (persecute, who will “pay”) first, not what were/are our true intentions and are we happy with the results.

“Only we know, on a subconscious level, if we are being true to that Higher Energy of ourselves within us as our personal guide.” (The Joy of Health)

How do we determine what is “best” for us? First, knowing that we want the best for ourselves is an important thought and energy focus. I did not always use this thought energy – Often I didn’t truly know what I wanted, or denied it.  I resisted learning. Why? I did not resist all learning. I loved certain information, certain people, full moments (which I didn’t know then to call “energies”). What level did I resist and why? What I resisted vehemently when pressured was change – changing my image and attitude about myself. Why? I did not like to be controlled (as I felt it then), yet the beliefs I held on to internally if not consciously, were the fetters I used to control my own thinking and feeling. Is an advanced level of thinking knowing what’s best for us and acting (choosing/living) in harmony with that energy of love? When we deny ourselves as an energy being (disavowing our mind, harboring negative emotions, abusing our senses), we react as animals cornered, or kept in a cage  - we must learn that the cage is our own beliefs.

Spiritual Philosophy teaches us that we are energy first, matter second – we’re encouraging ourselves to open our mind and consciously use our energy of thought as a Universal force of Good – i.e., being guided by the Ethical Values that are our internal design, not swayed by the small minds’ (ego) winds of change. Our physical identity as we are growing into “knowing ourselves” is not attached to a physical association of any role except that of a human energy being, first.  We’re patterned to be successful. What does it mean to each of us to be “successful”? Our country’s founding fathers (note, fathers, not mothers) honored their intention in a commitment to the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A friend years ago told me, You speak as though you know what you want, but you do not act as though you do.  I remember this often, and now that I have grown into loving the life that I live – this is very different than seeking to live the life I love.  Whatever our commitment is to ourselves, as a human being, we must know that we have one, and nurture ourselves with that knowledge. How do we do this? We each choose our ways, and enjoy them, must nurture them, share them. This is how we honor our creation and expand our infinite pleasure.