Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aligning Our Decisions with Inner Wisdom

Changes. Lately, we have heard a lot about change in our political and financial systems and whether we have seen any real change on these fronts. Well, regardless of our country as a whole, many of us have seen plenty of changes in our lives. This is especially true for my husband and me. 2010 will be a big year of change for us. Our youngest child graduates from high school in June, Pat retires after 29 years in the Navy on July 1, and hopefully both girls will be safely ensconced in their Florida colleges by August. We will have no outside pressures to dictate that we live in Northern Virginia. (One could argue that there never was any outside force telling us where to live, what with free will and all that…but that is the topic for another time.)

Trying to make all the decisions about where to live, what to do, whether to travel and trying to make these decisions consciously, without over powering the other person, was the main focus of our Columbus Day weekend trip to Luray, VA. Nestled in the beautiful fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we set out to try to determine our next steps.

Being a project manger in Corporate America, I jump started the weekend by making several lists of questions that I knew we were going to need to answer. I categorized them by topic: Finances, Job Issues for Pat, Job Issues for me, etc. But the first question that needed to be answered, in my estimation, was whether it was in the highest good for both of us to live in NOVA after our lease is up in May 2010. I believe that we needed to think about / meditate / pray / arm wrestle with this question before any of the other questions are considered. It is hard to plan possible vacations, retirement parties, college orientation visits, if we haven’t decided if our furniture will be in storage, in another state or to re-up the lease.

When I explained this to Pat, he agreed with the approach and said it was like a decision tree, that wonderful logical tool of every project manager.

While I like the usefulness of a decision tree, the limitation of the tool is that you usually need to know all the options up front in order to follow the logic of the binary paths. I believe we need to give up the binary approach of a well managed project decision tree and instead look at the decisions we have to make in life more like a well aligned spinal column.

I want to line up the Cervical 1 vertebra, the atlas, with the base of the skull, as perfectly as possible before worrying about the alignment of the C2 (question number two). And I want to get the C2 – C7 aligned way before I worry about the Thoracic spine, the lumbar region and definitely before I even consider the sacrum. I am not saying that I want to ignore the health of the lower back. All the other questions need to be answered and possibly aligning these questions may take more time than answering the first question. For instance, scheduling a moving truck in the summer in the Washington DC area will take some pre-planning and I have already “pre-investigated” a cruise to Alaska, but as real or as fun as thinking about those potential options are…until the C1 is aligned with the bottom of the skull, the date we leave for glacier bay really doesn’t matter.

Obviously, the tricky part here is how to align an individual vertebra with the vertebra above it. We all have different ways of seeking the inner wisdom: meditation, fishing at a quite pond, jogging, dancing, sitting near the Potomac watching the planes land at Reagan National, seeking a counselor or simply being still without music, TV or other people to influence the wisdom we know, but frequently deny, is within us.

Interestingly, once you have aligned each question in proper order, there maybe a whole host of different answers more joyful than just the binary answers you thought about in your two dimensional decision tree. That is the true freedom of using alignment with inner wisdom to make decisions instead of the “if / then/ else” statements.

I encourage you to still the mind, seek the heart, and I know you won’t fail. OK – maybe you will fail…but the effort won’t be for nothing. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Focus on your alignment with your wisdom. Know once you have the C1, C2 and C3 aligned continue to align the rest of the vertebrae and the pain anticipated in the lumbar region, will go away, magically. I will remind myself this and to lift with my legs, when I am unpacking all those boxes!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Become of Fan of the only game in town

Every Autumn we hear the rallying calls of high school, college and professional teams….”Are You Ready For Some Football?” I saw a show recently that said the reason Americans get away with having NFL games on Sunday afternoons is that Football is a religion in the US. I am not suggesting we all become apostates from this national fervor, but I am hoping to hearken us back to the original turf for these Astroturf games; Mother Earth.

This autumn, we will see a plethora of venues to discuss debate and determine a way forward for us, the children of Mother Earth, to honor and respect all that she provides us.

These gatherings are as grandiose as the United Nations Summit on Climate Change that occurred in New York, yesterday (Sept 22, 2009), to the G20 Countries conferences in Pittsburg, PA, today and tomorrow, to the well publicized and lauded last-best-hope for the planet at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, held Dec 7 – 18, 2009.

If your ticket to these conferences has gotten lost in the mail, as I am sure mine has, I invite you to do something as meaningful for the game as being one of the players; be one of the fans. You can be one of the fans by attending more local gatherings like the Green Festival in the DC area Oct 10 / 11 (, finding more energy friendly pursuits or simply spending more time enjoying the great outdoors. These are just a few ways to show you are a fan of Mother Earth.

For me, however, I want to invite you to the ultimate tail gate party for Mother Earth that doesn’t require a cooler full of beer, sleeping in the parking lot the night before the game or a funny hat. Whether you set intentions, goals, practice a healing modality or pray, I am inviting you to keep Mother Earth in your thoughts at least once a day every day of the Fall Season 2009.

Our encouragement will let all know that we are in this game no matter how many wardrobe malfunctions we have to over come and no matter how many overtimes we must cheer. We can be the fans whose encouragement the world leaders need to know they will be welcomed back home with the preverbal ticker tape parade. We are fans because, truly, losing is not an option. And with the greatest fans in the world, Mother Earth won’t lose.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Cleaning, Getting Rid of Hate Crime Terminology

{Writer's note: The Washington Post challenged us to think of what we should get rid of this Spring. Here is my entry.}

We have all seen the news stories with graphic details regarding a young man being beaten because he was gay or the dangling of nooses around trees in the South. These actions against another human are motivated by hate. However, these are not the only crimes motivated by hate or its many gradations.

Bullying, beating or terrorizing a person doesn’t cause the recipient less panic just because he is the same ethnicity as the assailant. These crimes stem from the idea that the other person is lesser than or not as worthy to have the same liberties as the bully. The crime manifests from the fear that the recipient’s influence on people, systems and governments may upset the balance of power.

This applies to white collar crimes as much as to violent crimes. The possibility that racism and other “hate” crimes are the only ones motivated by hate diminishes our need to look to the root causes for other crimes. Take the current economic situation. The motivation for the actions, some criminal, is hate; total contempt for the effect our actions have on one another.

Why call one action a hate crime and not the other? Society is trying to assuage its guilt and shame for participating in, condoning or ignoring when certain groups had their rights, freedoms and sense-of-self abused. To atone for our involvement, whether covert or overt in these heinous crimes, we want to stand on the bully pulpit, declare that the actions of the new perpetrator is above the pale and punish them more harshly, just to prove our point.

This spring, let us rid ourselves of the collective misperception regarding hate crime terminology. Let us remember that all crimes are a motivated by a lack of compassion and love toward our fellow humans.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yellow Submarine - AWAD

Ok - so I am now I'll be humming The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" all day. Just this morning I was reminded what great teaching we can learn from many of their songs. Here is the background!!

I have been a subscriber to the free weekday email service called “A Word A Day” ( for years. The publisher takes an English word, tells the word origin, pronounces it and quotes where it has been used in a newspaper or magazine. I have been a subscriber for a decade; long enough to remember when it used to be sent 7 days a week.

Normally, there is a theme to the week’s worth of words. The week of January 19th, the publisher focused on words that now US President Barack Obama has said in speeches or his books. There was quite a bit of feedback on some of the publisher’s comments that accompanied those words and the publisher shared those comments with the readers in the weekly “Compendium of Feedback.” That is what has sparked my blog entry today.

Some of the feed back was on Mr. Obama’s use of words which makes sense considering the forum. Plus, there was feedback in favor of the new President and others expressing displeasure at the unveiled support of Mr. Obama’s presidency that the publisher shows.

My favorite visceral comment was from a reader who doesn’t agree with Mr. Obama’s fiscal policies. This AWAD reader’s comments included a derisive tone that it wasn’t rational for a policy to be based on “each should give according to his ability and take according to his need…” It is not my intention to discuss whether this reader is correct in her summation of Mr. Obama’s policies nor indeed whether I agree with said policies.

Instead, there are many universal truths that we could debate in this one statement, "each should give according to his ability and take according to his need." One of these pearls of wisdom might be that Divine Responsibility and Divine Compassion can be used in the same sentence as examples of principles for which we all should strive. But my immediate response to the statement was to hearken back to the lyrics from the Beatles song, “Yellow Submarine”.

“As we live a life of ease
Every one of us is all we need, (is all we need).”

What a great sentiment! The line doesn’t say that we all HAVE all we need. It says that we ARE all we need. WOW. What a wonderful way of remembering the essence of what is truly important; not the having, not the taking, but the being. And in the being, we are all we need.
Couple this concept with a previous stanza of:

“And our friends are all aboard,
Many more of them live next door,
And the band begins to play.”

We start to see the benefits of viewing this earth as a place where we all live and thrive together; only not just living and not just thriving. We are living and thriving in joy. I would find in nigh impossible to listen to this song and not have loving joyful thoughts for my shipmates and those living next door.

Here is to a life of peace and ease where we rely on all and none! Let the band begin to play! Namaste.