I was sitting at dinner, listening to the Bill Maher Show, getting a taste of world affairs while crunching my tempeh and salad. Now I'm not one to watch the news. Long ago I just stopped. I had gone through a phase where I was paying attention and felt too deeply, the aching, breaking heart of the world. I stopped listening because it felt incapacitating. For quite some time I harbored silent guilt about this. If I wasn't listening to the news, how could I affect change? If I didn't know what horrors were going on in the world how could I take a stand against them?
Despite the guilt, my sensitive soul won out. It was too much for me to take. Today I very, very rarely watch the news. If anything I tend to read to keep up on current events. However, my mama wanted to watch the Bill Maher Show and I agreed. Much to my surprise, I appreciated the discussion. I found myself disheartened by the facts, but curious about what it takes to have a truly transformative kind of dialogue.
How do we catalyze a shift from money and power crazed agendas into something more aligned with an awakened and awakening heart?
I recently had a conversation about the constant striving for the most fabulous life aka having the most money. It feels like every where we look, media is selling us a life of luxury and an idea that without it we're missing something, we're not quite there yet, we're not quite "enough". Now I have nothing whatsoever against money. Money is a wonderful, useful tool. And as countless wiser people than me have said, it's what we do with it that matters. I truly believe that money should be in the hands of those making heart centered, health forward decisions for themselves and their communities. No question. That to me is doing something with it that matters.
But sometimes I wonder if the massive striving of corporate bottom lines, no matter the cost, is effecting us beyond just the poison they are putting in our food, air and water. I feel like they're infiltrating our consciousness too. I feel like we are so programed by a sense of scarcity and unsatisfied desperation that we reach for more instead of thinking constructively about using what we have. We spend our precious creative energy worrying about what we don't have or what we need to accomplish rather than living into each moment with the only thing that truly matters anyway, an abundant heart.
I apologize for diving in to the not so pleasant aspect of our reality on #soulsunday, but sometimes that's exactly what we've got to step into to get clear inside ourselves and make a choice for a new way. My throat tightens to think of the chaos and suffering happening on the planet in this very moment, and I know I'm not alone in wondering how to help, serve, and make a difference. I surely could have taken us down a much darker description of the times, however my intention is to simply widen our awareness and bring us back to the heart of the matter.
The decision I've made, that I've committed to, that is the heart of the matter to me, is simply that I am the difference.
It's kind of a radical notion and totally familiar at the same time. After all, Ghandi's famous words ring clear the world over "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Yet it's radical because to actually be that change requires commitment and unwavering faith. And so, I am a soul advocate, taking a stand for another way. In everything I have studied, learned, and discovered I have unwavering faith in our capacity as humanity to connect, learn, heal and create. The underlying theme of all those things that propel us forward is love.
And so I find myself asking, how do I bring more love?
How do I bring more love... to myself…. to those I love... to my students... to those I judge... to the earth... to the parts of myself I critique… to those who challenge me… to those I see everyday… to those I never see… to perpetrators and terrorists… to strangers…. to far off lands? How do I love the parts of me that are angry and wild and mean and ignorant just as much as the parts of me that are playful and generous and kind? How do I love all that's in me, and love all those parts in you, and you, and you, too?
Surely it's a practice... One not everyone wants to take on. Thankfully I feel totally clear on my mission. I am here to love. My path for affect social change is to awaken hearts, to support deeper love, unconditional love from the inside out.
Truth be told, this feels like a revolutionary act. Each client that I have had the privilege to work with has courageously turned to face themselves and embraced their wholeness. Healing the turmoil within is the first step toward authentic peace and respectful connection, with ourselves, each other and the world. Acknowledging our own chaos, embracing our beauty, celebrating our expansion and learning to navigate our darkest contractions is how we cultivate compassion. From the inside out. Not as a concept, but as lived experience.
When we come home to ourselves we return to wholeness. And from that place a profound transformation occurs, light begins to shine and love begins to flow more freely.
It's fitting that it's Mother's Day, because in truth I learned it from my mama. We all do. Mama's the world over are the most radical activists on the planet. They are whole hearted advocates for unconditional love. Even when they have a bad day or get it wrong, they keep coming back with more love. Even when we have a bad day or get it wrong, they keep coming back with more love. Mama's get on board for a cause the moment they find out life is growing, they show up with all they've got to make sure life thrives, they love even when it's hard, they love through it all, unconditionally.
Our mama's are powerful mirrors. Even the mama's who struggle and don't always get it right. They all, in my opinion, are holding the torch for more love, making the call for more love, taking a stand for more love. Through it all. They are reminding us of what really matters, they remind us of our own vulnerability and tenderness, they remind us of our desire to be held, touched and seen. The feelings that we feel toward mama, whether full or empty, are a call to love. More love. And for all the ways mama has brought love to us, it's up to us to bring it back to her, to remind her of the love she lives, gives and is.
On this Soul Sunday. On this Mother's Day. On this day in the middle of May I commit to more love. I commit to malama* the world by following in the footsteps of my mama and all great mama's that bring more heart to the conversation, more love to the room, more compassion to the world.
May we gather to celebrate those who stand for love and may we stretch into each moment giving more love. May this love change the world.
*Mālama is a Hawaiian word that relates to our environment, culture, and everything with which we interact. It means to take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect. It is something we all would benefit from doing more of everyday.