Our Tiny House

Thursday, August 15, 2019

This Will Be Quick: Three Rules to Finding Your Perfect Path Through Life

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” --Brazenly asked by poet Mary Oliver 

Three Rules on Finding Your Path

1. Do the inner work to find the thing that rings your chimes.
2. Take the step toward that goal that feels the most delicious
3. Repeat steps 1 to 3 over and over until you’re dead.

(*Loosely quoted from Martha Beck)

What a difference a week makes. 

I began this blog a few days ago angry. l was feeling such as Howard Beale did in Network: “Go to your window, stick your head out and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.” 

That would wake up the neighborhood.

Too many people have been asleep too long.

Then I found a quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

“Whenever I despair,” said Gandhi,” I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail—think of it—always.” 

There are fine folks in our country, the trouble is we don’t hear enough about them.

There is more love than hate.
Sorry to say this, folks, but hate gets the most attention.  

That leaves all those fine folks shaking their heads, quivering in their footies, and giving fuel to the lizard brain that is always on the look-out for danger.

Then I remembered: 

The majority aren’t the ones that get things done. 

Were the suffragettes a majority? Were the founding fathers who crafted our constitution a majority? Were Martin Luther King Jr’s followers a majority? Are whistle-blowers a majority? Are helmets and seat-belts mandated because a majority wanted them? Would the majority vote for cleaning up the rivers and to keep toxic material out of the oceans? What about global warming? What about the desegregation of schools? What about natural childbirth and animal rights and equal pay for equal work? 

Did the majority bring all this about?

No, it was a hard fight, fought by passionate souls. 

Remember the quote by Margaret Mead (famed archeologist) I used a few blogs back?  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

Winston Churchill said, “You can count on Americans to do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted all other options.”

Help's on the way.

When a woman, Marianne Williamson, to be exact, is running for President of the United States you can bet that an awakening is happening. 

When I heard this brilliant woman who is astute in world's affairs as well as being grounded in psychology and spirituality say that as a woman she ought not be afraid to speak out, for she belongs to an exclusive 20% of the women of the world that have that freedom, I went, “You go, girl!” 

(I caught Williamson on U-tube ‘Under the Skin,”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mP4As8FJAc )

A great many women can’t go out of the house without a male escort, or walk into the street without being covered head to foot—what? Why? Lest they tempt the heart of an “honest” man? 

Bull Hockey.

There is an Awakening

Williamson said, that the world will adjust because it is out of nature.  

Recently I’ve been promoting self-help, and going for your dream and taming the lizard brain, but I don’t want us to contemplate our own navels so much we forget that the world needs our attention once in a while.  

Keep your eyes on the skies, but don’t walk into a sandpit.  

By self-help I don’t mean that we are broken, I mean that we want to understand the human condition more, to learn that biases built into us that need to be tamed. We are fear-based, (primitive survival instincts) and therefore need some understanding to give us peace with that. All this requires some inward thinking and work.  

If everyone did that we wouldn’t have to worry about world conditions.    

If you think it’s too late for you to address the question posed by Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”    Remember this: The world is re-created every moment. 
Lovely Martha Beck commented that no matter how many years have been stolen from you by your own ignorance, by cruel fate, or by the acts of others, you have a clean, broad slate before you.  
This gave me a big sigh of relief. 
Yes, I know, I’m a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.  

On July 1, 2019, I posted a blog titled “Check Your Eyeballs,” and it resonated with many people. Yesterday I found in Beck’s book Steering by Starlight, that rubbing your hands together and putting them over your eyes benefits the brain. (#The Bates Method of Vision Training calls it “palming”)  

  (Don’t you love it when evidence stacks up?)  

 It’s a simple meditation.   

 To do it, imagine energy penetrating from the palms of your hands, through your face, all the way to the back of your head.   (Brain research indicates that Picturing changes your brain state in a beneficial way.)   

Les Fehmi, Ph.D., a Princeton psychologist who studies brain patterns developed techniques that have had huge mood and physical improvement.   To do it, you begin by focusing your eyes on some object in your immediate vicinity. Then while focusing on that object, begin to notice the things around it. Without moving your eyes, slowly broaden the focus of your visual field to include the grass, the trees, the sky. Then broaden your attention to sense everything in your environment with all five of your senses.

Next notice what’s going on inside your head, your eyes, your nose, your breath.    If you notice fear, grasping, anxiety, or pain, pay attention to where it is coming from. Focus your attention on that area, and once again broaden your perception as you did with the blade of grass. 

Continue this until you feel a strong relaxation of your muscles.   

 These exercises have been found to change your brain state from beta waves (anxiety) to alpha waves (calm), and get as much of your brain working in synchronous alpha. 

A fascinating aside as regards vision, is that Pirates often wore eye-patches. That was not because so many of them had lost an eye, but because they often fought with swords. A rapid sword fight often leads from light (on deck) to darkness (below deck). And since the eyes take a moment to accommodate a change in light level, the patch kept one eye ready for the immediate change. Switch the patch to the other eye, and you see perfectly while your opponent is blinded by darkness.  

Remember that chemical “visual purple?” And how walking from sunlight into a darkened movie theater leaves you virtually blind?  

Give yourself a few moments and soon you can see dandruff on the shoulders of the person in front of you. Your eyes have adjusted. 

The pirates prepared one eye for light, and one for dark and they could quickly switch their patch. (I don’t know what the pirates did about the loss of stereoscopic vision when one eye is occluded. Compensated somehow, I guess.)  
   “Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. I’ll be the one lying flat on my back with my earphones on, fast asleep. Jostle me gently to wake me up, because I don’t want to miss the next stage of our adventure.” --Rumi 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Buterfly Affect

Did you know that the longer the butterfly struggles to escape its cocoon the stronger it becomes and the longer it lives? 

And if you try to help it by cutting open the cocoon it will die? 

I’m not saying we’re like the butterfly and need to struggle to become our most authentic selves, we probably did that at birth. We probably did stop and pant for awhile, as did our mother, but since she was a in a big hurry to get us out of there, we persevered—and made it out alive. 

The caterpillar that goes into the cocoon never makes it out alive.  

In the cocoon it becomes liquid. It has a total meltdown, and becomes glop. 

Joseph Campbell said, “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” 

That's the analogy of the butterfly. 

I didn’t know about the butterfly’s struggles until I read Martha Beck’s book, Steering by Starlight. Oh, I’ve seen pictures of a butterfly crawling out of a cocoon. I’ve seen it stop and rest, then unfurl those delicate wings and pump them up and down to get blood circulating or to dry them, but I didn’t know that struggle made them live longer. 

Martha Beck sent me on the Star trail I spoke about in the last blog. There I said that our star is our DESTINY, our LIFE PURPOSE, our DREAM 
Learning to Live Backward 
This was my most amazing Ah ha moment in Beck’s book. 
You know how we’ve talked about “Neurons that fire together wire together?” That means that we form paths in our nervous systems from experiences we’re had. The term used now is that they become “hardwired.” 

We weren’t born with negative feelings, yet many of our pathways have been built on negatives. We start life with only two fears, fear of loud noises and fear of falling. All others are learned. 

Remember what John Kennedy said about our problems. “They were made my man, and therefore can be solved by man.” The same can be said of our hardwiring system. It can be rewired.  

The learning that has made us depressed, anxious, and old can be relearned. 
 The brain can drop its fears and age backward toward its nearly fearless original state. (Protect your ears from loud noises and stay back from cliffs—but then rock climbers are pushing their limits.)
Beck made a fascinating observation regarding extreme sports such as rock climbing. They cause the individual to be so focused that their brain drops everything except the job at hand. If you’ve ever gotten into a fender-bender or worse, at that moment you’re not worrying about your finances. That wiring was, at the moment, either by passed by or broken. 

This brings me to my Ah Ha moment.  

Think backward. 
In traditional cultures living backward is common of “magical” people such as Shaman, medicine women, and witch doctors. Anthropologists call these people “contrarians.” 

Here’s the point: Most people talk of the terrible things that have happened to them. They tell of how they were done wrong, bullied, molested, etc. They recount these events until over time they are “hardwired” from all the focus on them, the telling, remembering, and recycling. 

But, if you look at something wonderful that is going on in your life right now, you know something happened before that wonderful thing happened. What if you do have your dream.What if you do have the success you worked so hard to achieve? The thing before had to happen before you got it. And thinking back, the thing before that thing had to happen, and back and back until you get back to the horrible event, and that had to happen too.  

I found this to be liberating.

A gift from the bird:  

Those who have read my peacock story know that the peacock is my totem animal. And look what our neighborhood peacock voluntarily dropped in our backyard.  
(One must never steal a peacock feather from the bird) 

Peacock symbolism: Vision, Royalty, Spirituality, Awakening, Guidance, Protection, & Watchfulness. In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock tail has the "eyes" of the stars. ... For this reason the Peacock feather represents immortality, and can absorb negative energies.