Monday, July 17, 2017

The Art of Awareness

As we move into the next phase of our global renaissance, copious creativity is the axis on which our elevation will turn. How deeply are we willing to tap our inner reservoirs? Can we expand our perception of what constitutes "art"?

Jose Argüelles, who adapted the evolutionary secrets of the Mayan Calendar for the Western mind, saw art as the unifying field, a path to help us move "from biospheric waste to artistic regeneration," by attuning ourselves to a natural time frequency expressed as an equation: T(E) = Art. Energy (E) factored by time (T) equals Art. Energy is essence: a rock, a flower, a star, a human being. Time is a frequency. When we use our energy in concert with natural time cycles, we are living creativity. In other words, Time is Art…not the clock on the wall or the cash in your wallet.

Eye of the Beholder

What this means in terms of cross-cultural energy exchange opens unimagined doors. A woman traveled from Denmark to the tiny West African country The Gambia, toting numerous colorful plastic bags — prized by Gambian women as symbols of status and respect — to use as barter. (Women of The Gambia also recycle worn or ripped plastic bags into one-of-a-kind purses).

In the marketplace, she discovered a hand-carved figure of an African goddess and, through gestures, opened negotiations to purchase the stunning piece.

But the indigenous artist had no interest in money. She wanted plastic bags. The Danish visitor tried to give her all the bags she'd brought, explaining that there was a surplus of these in her country. The Gambian sculptor accepted three, and each woman felt she'd enjoyed the better bargain. Plastic bags or a unique woodcarving: equally sacred art in the eye of the beholder.

Then there is the children's book that became a collaboration between two Jewish translators, a Protestant editor, a Muslim painter and a non-profit publisher in the deep South. It was a collective endeavor all the way, explained one rabbinical writer: "An Arabic Sufi tale (originally penned in what is now Iraq) translated by a rabbi into Hebrew in the Middle Ages and translated by us (into 21st century language and sensibility), with a Sufi publisher and a Pakistani artist." The subject matter — animals protesting their treatment by humans — transcended all ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries.


The Art in our DNA

The universal urge toward the aesthetic is coded in our cells. Theologian and author Thomas Moore writes, in Care of the Soul, "Children paint every day and love to show their works on walls and refrigerator doors. But as we become adults, we abandon this important soul task of childhood." When we relinquish this soul expression to professional artists, "we are left with mere rational reasons for our lives, feelings of emptiness and confusion, and a compulsive attachment to pseudo images, such as shallow television programs. When our own images no longer have a home, a personal museum, we drown our sense of loss in pale substitutes, trashy novels or formulaic movies."

Because art arrests our attention, living "artfully" might require of us something as simple as pausing: taking the time to shift from acquire to inquire, to let go of buying more in favor of being more. This is what honoring our collective creative impulse can do for humanity: restore us to wholeness, holiness, health. "Whole", "holy" and "heal" all spring from the same root. To be whole is to be balanced and harmonious in body, mind, soul and spirit.

It's this level of awareness that will characterize the coming Psychozoic ("spirit life") era, says Argüelles, when, having rediscovered who we are, we can create a culture based on the three virtues of true time: autonomy, equality, and loyalty to the truth in every moment. These are strikingly similar to the Three Commitments delineated by The Reconnections: stay free, stay present, follow the energy.

We already have fusion food: a culinary blending of cultures to delight the palate. Now we're primed to feed our deeper hunger, to fuse mind and heart into healing art, and reawaken the sacred dimension in daily life.


And if we make a subtle shift — move the "h" in heart from the start of the word to the end — we create "Earth". We live in a heart circle. Earth heart. The beat goes on.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Imagine Nation

"If I could tell the world one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair…"

~ Jewel, Hands



Here in the Great Turning, the predominant emotion is often fear — the same energy as excitement. What we feel is a matter of interpretation.

It's a time of incredible expansion, according to every cosmic weather report I've seen: an opportunity to compost our "harrumphitude" concerning Trumpelstiltskin (thanks to "mythic news" weaver of context Caroline Casey for these deLightfully winnovative words). If you have skin in the game vis-à-vis Trumpelstiltskin, this is the ripe moment to play your Trump card.

A Subtle Shift Makes the Diff

The key is our collective readiness and willingness to segue from living in Alien Nation to co-creating a global heart community, Imagine Nation. The shifts are subtle yet substantial: from thinking we're alone to realizing we're all one.  

In Alien Nation, self-flagellation is popular. "I'm the only one I know who can blackball myself in my own community," a woman despaired recently, explaining how, in angrily speaking her mind about an issue vital to her, she piqued the one person who might have proven most helpful, had she spoken with Spirit Tongue. I empathized, as I've often carried my own whips, too. Practicing self-love is the hardest task most of us will ever master.

Yet it's so apparent that everything is vibration: while food shopping in a happy frame of mind at my local organic grocery, trading quips from old Monty Python routines with the customer in front of me at check-out, I was bowled over when the young cashier offered, "Would you like me to burn you a CD of their skits?"

True Happy Hour


A New Yorker cartoon shows a man standing in front of a sandwich board outside a bar. READ MORE

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Inner Space, the Final Frontier

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
 Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

~ Jane Howard
  


In the 3rd millennium, we're designing ways to travel that weave us more deeply into life's web. People are opening their hearts and homes to intrepid travelers from around the world. Airbnb is in nearly 200 countries and expanding by the micro-minute. FriendsinRoute.com caters to travelers over forty, with the same basic concept: stay in a homey environment instead of a sterile hotel, and learn about your destination from the inside out.

This Earth Trek might be the ultimate social network. Because we're searching for something beyond simple travel comfort.

We're all driven by a fundamental need to be heard, acknowledged and loved. One of the greatest challenges is remaining present, open and loving when the other party — often a family member — can rapidly reduce us to a needy, sensitive child. When another's reality clashes with ours, we must find a way to bridge the chasm. And sometimes the people who share our DNA are harder to reach than strangers. READ MORE

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Homecoming


Home. Except for love, perhaps no word in the English language conjures more evocative imagery. We crave the cozy, nurturing, roaring-fire scene depicted so effectively on film. Home houses our identity. It's less about the four walls than what they represent: "the abode of one's affections, peace or rest," according to Merriam-Webster. At some point in our lives, many women (and men, too, if they will admit it) harbor a fearful fantasy of becoming a "bag lady/guy," carting our belongings out on the street. We see the homeless and quake — "there but for the grace of God go I."

What we're seeking is a sense of security inside ourselves, a home within that can never be taken away. As national boundaries dissolve and corporations invite poets and spiritual mentors into their boardrooms, the hunger for this broader definition of home has never been greater. 

From Me to We

Creating this inner sanctuary will entail a quantum shift for many of us: out of the competitive, "What's in it for me" worldview into a more collaborative, compassionate perspective in which the operative question becomes, "How may I serve?"

For instance: as record numbers of us skate towards elderhood, home care has become a hot topic. What does this mean? On one level, "home care" is about providing caregiving in the home to enable our elders and homebound to remain in their comfort zones. But the larger view begs our attention. Before we can care for our home, we need to know it viscerally. We must embody the place of wholeness that wants to be born in us.

Our own bodies and the planetary body are inextricably linked. Anthropologist Gregory Bateson speaks of "the pattern that connects," the common ground of our unity. We exist in relationship to everyone and everything else on Earth. What kind of home care is our aging Mother receiving? Maybe that's the real key to conscious aging: caring for the personal and the planetary with equal reverence.

Living in Tune with Nature

In other societies, the old ones are the keepers of wisdom. So-called developing cultures that honor their tribal elders also honor the land in which they live. "Home care" is a unified practice for them, as indigenous as the planting and the reaping, as natural as celebrating life's quotidian rhythms with ritual.

In this visionary view, we're all caregivers — Earth stewards, some say. Home care for our elders is rooted in how we create home in our daily lives. What kind of home do we want to cultivate and care for, inside ourselves, interpersonally, and as part of the collective "home body" we inhabit? 

Try this: for the next week, take a time-out from worrying about the economy, your teenager's pierced body parts and the latest virus scare to live into the larger questions about the quality of life you're choosing in every moment, by the way you live, by what you do and don't honor. Does your definition of home serve you? Is it inclusive or exclusive? Will your practice of home care help create a sustainable future for us all? 

Within a decade, for the first time in human history, the number of people in the world aged 65 and older will exceed that of children under five. If you're not already among this exhalted majority, one day you will look in the mirror and see your grandmother's or grandfather's eyes. Will they reflect the wisdom of generativity, of the home that you carry with you always, as a turtle does, caring for it because it is an intrinsic part of you?


Native Americans call this planet Turtle Island. I imagine this is what they mean.