Feeling Helpless?

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Mother/Grown fawn visited me yesterday after months away – carvings gifted by my sister to honor my deer connection with this pair

Small actions shake the web of life. We may never see outcomes, but all I know is we have to speak our voices and throw our intentions out there, because otherwise it is as if we did not exist while we were here.

Actions can be on different frequencies. Prayer is powerful. If all you have to your name is nothing but a body, you can sit and focus your mental energies somewhere to benefit someone.

Here are three small actions I have taken to throw my pennies into the wishing well of humanity, posting in hopes they might inspire others.

ONE

Today, to honor the Standing Rock Sioux call to prayer, I will be holding a water ceremony of my own. I have been doing private ceremonies for a while, and the only thing stopping me at first was the question, “Is this okay to do even if I’m not a Native or spiritually trained?” The answer I arrived at is YES. The only requirement to support the field of water protection is intention. You might consider taking a small amount of any water source you feel is sacred (Hint: ALL water is sacred) and bring it to stand before a larger body of water. State your intention however your heart feels, whatever comes naturally. Mindfully pour your sacred water into the earth in front of the water source so that it may join the larger body. Mine goes something like:

“May all Water Protectors be protected and Earth’s waters restored. May all life dependent upon water be protected. May every cell carrying water in my body be protected.”

Here is a hub of actions people can design over the next months in support of Standing Rock:  Every Day Of Action

In light of THIS, it is not off base to think that soon environmental impact statements may not be allowed anywhere.

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Water cowl I am knitting

TWO

Knit for others

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Basket weave cowl

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THREE

I contributed my healthcare story to this Lifesaver Book collecting stories from 50 states. I listen to arguments against Obamacare. I do acknowledge there are many states seeing much larger spikes in premiums than in my own state, that there are many who do not fall in the income bracket the subsidies benefit, and I do know several states refused to implement it from the very beginning so their citizens never got a clear picture of its benefits. But for those of us the law has benefited, we must speak. If you feel called to distribute this storybook to your members of Congress as changes are in process, please do.

Fluid Uncertainty in 2017

There are many opportunities I am intensely grateful for in 2016. One of them was an online course beamed from Pema Chodron’s Abby in Nova Scotia. Another is spending the last few weeks in a group contemplating fearlessness. It all feels like preparation for turning the calendar.

No matter what side of the sociopolitical divide, I can’t think of a more resonant title for 2017 in the midst of global and personal shifts than this book of Pema Chodron’s. (click image to order)

9781590300787

Absorbing teachings and humor allow me a deeper understanding of ways to work with uncertainty. Plenty of opportunities ahead to practice remaining fluid and not getting too rigidly stuck in worry and anxiety about potentials for disaster during a time period many people are sensing is apocalyptic to scary to plain sad.

My body certainly tenses every time I read the news, and my mind spins to what if I lose my health insurance subsidy and cannot afford to insure my child, etc. And what if leadership of the largest energy consumer on the planet speeds up climate change to the point there is no more chocolate or coffee in my lifetime? I personally cannot imagine a world without chocolate or coffee, but I do understand these are extremely selfish reasons to want to slow climate change. Thinking about such dietary fallout is one way I am able to laugh at myself and my first world problems and keep tragic real-life consequences for millions of people and beings from ruling my inner life.

Since where we focus grows, I am receiving a strong intuition to work on peace generation in 2017 and attempt to host a few groups on this topic. How few of us actually know what peace means to us? What peace feels like inside our body? To contemplate how to be a peace generator even without a master’s degree in communication skills or military training. Is it possible to be a peace warrior without embodying hatred and anger toward the “other” and/or take decisive action while being peaceful?

Examples I see of peace warriors are Black Lives Matter, Water Protectors, and feminists. Fear and backlash against these organic movements arising from imbalance in a larger system is to misunderstand their intended meaning. Where in “black lives matter” does it say any other lives don’t matter? Where in “a belief in equal rights and opportunities for women and men” does it indicate men must be demeaned? What in water and earth protection threatens human life?

All I know is, after a decade of working on this topic inside myself and being barraged with many occasions to practice, I have finally turned a corner where things make sense that never made sense before. I am able to have strong emotions and let them go quicker, sprout ideas for positive action to shift my situation from fear to equanimity.

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Knitting as a Path to Peace?

In 2016 I knit more than I ever have before, (and crocheted for a young child my first ever stuffed critter – Totoro). And I feel more peaceful. I imagine any type of creative endeavor can harvest similar results. In a 2014 survey of over 3,100 knitters/crocheters, people reported:

  • Feeling of accomplishment (93%)
  • Reduced Stress (85%)
  • Improved Mood (68%)
  • Sense of confidence (56%)

Very similar to reported results of regular meditation. It’s pretty difficult to be an agitated, angry knitter, though I suppose needles might come in handy to defend yourself in a dark alley if necessary. Other writers on trends have commented about a rise in knitting post 9/11, a sort of “nesting” phenomenon.

Possibly not all knitting is docile. There is yarn bombing, a not-so-peaceful moniker for a trend started by this artist who prefers to be referred to as a street artist, not yarn bomber. She took traditional home-bound work to the streets and inspired many others. If past trend is any indication of future, I imagine 2017 will see one more spike in knitting demographics.