Defiantly Hopeful

merry-crisis

In the face of a world in crisis, I dare to care. In the face of materialism, consumerism, and me me me – ism, I recognize that I am because you are, that without you and you and you – plant animal mineral macro micro organism human- I would not exist. That we are all part of a brilliant multi hued tapestry, that we all add to the warp and weave and woof, that we all have a fierce light.

In the face of irony, cynicism, jadedness and despair, I choose hope. In the face of narrow empiricism, the confining corridors of quantification, of dogma of any stripe-rational, political, spiritual or religious, I choose to light a match to the fuse of possibility, and blow up all boxes, sending the church of reason, the church of ideology, the church of churchiness, into the air, with a deep and satisfying boooooom, so that emptied of their arrogance, these churches might offer us freedom, not more walls, love, not more hate, understanding, not more separation.

In the face of hatred, anger and fear, I choose love, compassion, and celebration. If I can’t party in your revolution, don’t put me on the guest list.

In the face of my own vulnerabilities and limitations, I choose to go easy on myself. I am not perfect, I am human, and that is a wonderful thing. My stumblings and fumblings make me real. I am simply doing my best.

In the face of my ego, which is always feeling either smalled or bigged, I smile gently and give it a little pat on the head, a kick in the butt, a nudge in the ribs and say,”hey we’re doing fine, we’re doing just fine. Get up off the ground, get down off of your pedestal and stand in the place of the real, neither inflated, nor deflated, just be yourself. That’s good enough.”

In the face of a sunny day, I cry out,”thank you! Thank you for this amazing world, thank you for 14 billion years of hard joyous miraculous work to get us to the point where we can really appreciate this magnificence. I’m going to stop pissing in my own pool and start truly loving this incredulous place, from the bottom of my toes to the tip of my tongue, gonna celebrate this one precious life, this next precious breath, this precious precious moment. To hell with the nay sayers and doomsdayers, the cynics and the pisspots, I will blow up the gates of the gatekeepers and storm the citadels of the power brokers with pure, unadulterated Love. Nothing-not anything- will stand in my way, not even myself. It’s the least I can do to say, thank you, thank you, thank you for the wondrous wonder of creative creation. And in case no one has told you this today, Universe: you rock!”

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Dare to Dream

“Hope and sincerity are the new punk.” – Antony Hegarty

light-person

DARE  TO DREAM

For now, let go

Just for now, let it all go

Your worries, your fears, your addiction to suffering

Put your despair and cynicism

On the back burner

Turn the dial to “off”

And let all that stuff stew in it’s own juices.

Let your seen too much eyes

Be fresh and clear again

Let your heard too much ears

Open to the music of hope

Let your felt too little skin

Feel the ecstasy of possibility

Again

Feel the wind of change

Again

Let your battered and beaten heart

Beat proud and loud and full of fire

Again

Let your shaken and broken soul

Be whole and fierce

Again

Let your Love shine out

Let your voice speak up

Yes, we know, we’ve heard, all the doubts, all the complaints, all the limitations and hesitations that will arise

In this all too real world

But today, let all that fall away.  

Just for a day.

Tommorrow, tommorrow, tommorrow…

It’s time to take responsibility

To take a chance

To become the dream you dare to dream today

Take a chance

To make that dream into reality

Take a chance

To become the change

You know is coursing and bubbling through your veins

No one else but you

Can do this

As we step into the Obama era

It’s up to us to keep on dreaming

No one needs to do it for us

Not me, not him, not them – 

Just you.

Because, this is about you.

Today, I dare you to dream.

Tomorrow, I dare you to become that dream.

 

~Velcrow Ripper, on the day of Obama’s inauguration

 

real-revolution

REVOLUTIONARY LOVE

 

 “At the risk of sounding ridiculouslet me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”- Che Guevara

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It begins and ends with love.  If there is one lesson, one key to being all you can be – and I don’t mean being a soldier, I mean being a warrior – it’s learning to love.   But just what does that word, love, mean?  It has become so fraught and loaded with double meanings and empty promises that many are justifiably cynical at the mere mention of love.   I’m not talking sentimental love, I’m not talking hallmark love, I’m not talking ‘luv.’  I’m talking about a fierce love, a revolutionary love, a true love, a love beyond illusion, a love that is not afraid to freak you out with the truth, even when it hurts like hell.  This Big Love is agape love, it’s a universal love, and it is, I believe infused in all of creation.   

When I asked Archibishop Desmond Tutu one of my favourite questions,  “what is the meaning of life”, he replied, “The God in whose image we are created, is a God of love.  We are the result of a divine loving.  Ultimately we’re meant for love…we’re meant as those who will communicate love and make this world more hospitable to love.”   

You don’t need to believe in God to feel the power of this truth – somewhere deep inside us all, is a bonfire of love, that we are here to embody, to unleash, to liberate from captivity.

Take a moment and send your awareness down to your heart, and see if you can feel a little taste of this vast love which is hidden there, like a shining diamond – your diamond heart.   Can you feel it burning within?  Or do you find constriction? A little of both?

If you’re like most of us, there is a thick armour coating around the jewel of love at the heart of your heart.  We create this  shield in  an attempt to keep the pain away, but what it really does is keep the pain in.    If you could only release  this fiery love from it’s hiding place onto the world, your every word, your every action, would be a blessing and boon to all you encounter.  And all that love would come right back at you.

How do we unleash the vast reservoir of love from inside us?   Little by little, day by day, step by step we can open the gates.  Don’t expect it to happen all at once, but if you make a conscious decision to reverse the process – from building up that armour plating, to tearing it down – it will happen.

Sounds scary?  Of course it is!  What could be more frightening than loving and allowing love in!   But, what could be more rewarding?  Nothing on earth.   The love I’m talking about is not dependent on others – it’s not something that anyone has to give you. It is already alive, inside each and every one of us.   It is always there, just waiting for you to access it.  

Opening your heart does not mean giving away your freedom, it does not mean surrendering to every person who comes along and demands a piece of you.  The kind of love I’m talking about begins with loving yourself, and then radiates outwards.  If you do not love yourself, you cannot love others effectively. And sometimes, the most effective and compassionate way to love another is to say ‘no’, especially when they are hurting you, the planet, or other people.   

Do you love you?  Really?   Chances are, if you are like most of us, there’s at least a piece of yourself that you just do not Love. Maybe it’s even the whole package. You are not alone – there is an epidemic of self hatred in our society.  Not all cultures have been trained to dislike themselves in quite the same way those of us in the west have, though the disease is spreading, with a global, all pervasive media campaign that teaches us that we lack…something.  It doesn’t matter exactly what it is we are lacking, just a vague sense of lack is good enough to make us ripe for commercial exploitation.  We might be lacking the right clothes, the right car, the right brand of cigarettes, we might be lacking youth, the right butt, a big enough penis, an HD TV.  There’s always something that we need, and we’re never quite good enough. But we could be, if we only had the right appliances, the right deodorant, another hit of viagra.   

There are  many other sources for this pervasive sense that we are not good enough – or not good period. Parents, peers, friends and relatives can all be dampers, stomping out our spark. We each have our own personal moments when this feeling may have taken root, turning points in our life that become touchstones of self loathing.   It’s important to recognize them, see them, bring them into the light of your conscious mind, and release yourself from their hold.  Because you are worth it. You deserve to be loved, by the world, and by yourself.  You deserve to be loved, simply because of who you are.  Not because of what you do, what you have, what you look like, but simply, because of who you are.  You don’t need to be anything more than yourself.  Your true self.

Tibetan culture is one of the lucky ones – as a community, they’ve largely escaped the disease of self hatred.  Some years ago an interviewer was explaining to the Dalai Lama how we in the north suffer so much from self worth issues.  He was genuinely puzzled, “really?  You hate yourself?  How strange.  Very very strange.”  In Tibet, they love each other, and they love themselves. 

 It is very difficult to truly love others, if you do not first learn to love yourself.  If we all loved ourselves, we would soon find that conflict would disappear in the world.    If every tin pot dictator learned to truly love himself, if every general, every leader, every jailer, every gang member, every would be killer, were to learn self love, this would be a very different world.   We project our self hatred outwards, onto others, and onto the planet herself.  In the feature documentary, “The Age of Stupid”, a man from the future,  looking back at the mess we made of this beautiful world,  wonders how we could have let things go so wrong.  Why did we fail to save ourselves?  Perhaps, he suggests, the answer might be that we didn’t think we were worth saving.

But we are!  We are so very worth saving, each and every one of us.  We are part of an extraordinary wave of manifestation, an incredibly rare and precious pearl of self aware consciousness in a vast expanse of silent space, and we are so very beautiful.  You are so very beautiful.  This does not mean you are perfect. Neither am I.  You’re not here to be perfect. You are here to be human.  You are here to be perfectly imperfect.  It’s how the light gets in.   This doesn’t mean  rest on your laurels – keep growing, at all costs, keep growing, but do it with self love, not out of self hate. 

WARNING:  self love does not equal narcissism.   One of the major pitfalls on the road to true self love is the trap of narcissism.  It’s an important but sometimes confusing distinction.  Narcissism means seeing only yourself, loving only yourself, to the exclusion of all others.  Perversely, many of us are self hating narcissists, obsessed with ourselves, and unable to truly see others.   Hitler was a narcissist, and projected his extreme narcissism onto a public willing to be seduced by claims that they were the chosen ones, the Aryan race.   This is not self love – this is hatred disguised as self love.   

In order to distinguish between healthy love of the self, and unhealthy narcissism, ask yourself:  am I loving myself from a place of ego, or from the authentic self?  The authentic self is Love.  It only Loves.  It does not hate.  To hate is to be inauthentic.  At the same time, the authentic self Loves in an egoless manner, as it is by definition beyond the ego.  This kind of self love is true, deep and sustaining, and will never draw you into the trap of self obsession, a sad and depressing addiction in our society.   True self love is a window to loving others, not a doorway that shuts out the world.  

To serve the world, to truly be of service, we need to be very very conscious.   We need to look at old programs, and see if they are running the show, instead of our true heart.  For women, in particular, the old models of serving others have been put in place and maintained by the patriarchy.  All of us, men and women, have to take a good look at how we go about serving this planet. We are not meant to live on our knees, we are here to stand tall on our feet, to truly shine.  We serve best from a place of power, not from a place of submission.  Not patriarchal power, but true power, a more feminine power – a generous, compassionate, loving power, that has no desire to dominate, but refuses to be dominated.

This week we interviewed Shandra Alexandre, founder of the Sha’can Tradition, for the film Redvolution.  She described how,  in Hindu mythology, the goddess Kali is shown with four arms.  On the one side, her arms hold gifts and boons.  On the other, a sword and a severed head.  The sword is for severing the head of the ego.  Painful as this may be, it is also the path to true freedom.   Terrifying as those Kali moments might be in our life, they also can be much more powerful and transformative than all the cuddling and coddling in the world.  We tend to want the gifts and boons of life, and want to avoid the fierce rewards of truth, but we do so at the expense of our growth.   

Fierce Self Love is not about denying our shadow, it’s not about being lazy and settling for less.  It’s about loving your potential, and choosing to water that seed.  Believing that no matter where you are right now, at the bottom of the barrel, or the top of the heap, inside is a divine spark that can never be extinguished, a glowing ember beyond the vagaries of fame and misfortune.     A sense of fullness, of deep, radiating satisfaction.  Beyond the power of lack.    Love is indomitable, unquenchable, unstoppable.  It can be hidden, but never destroyed.  It is at the core of who you are.   

Self Help The World

 

World Social Forum pic by Velcrow RIpper

 

 

Another world is possible, this very moment, when we choose to live it.  It begins with your very next breath.   Awakening is not something that happens in the future, someday – it happens in this moment, moment to moment.  There is nothing standing in your way, in our way.  When we begin to live another world, today, we will soon discover that new world reflected all around us.   As more and more of us choose an uncompromising life, a life that is truly lived, a life beyond sleep walking, avoidance or the numbing anaesthesia of fear, the more attainable that world is for everyone else.   The field of possibility expands exponentially each time one of us chooses to step up to the plate and  shine.

The real “secret” is not that through  our focussed intention we can get ourselves a new car, a new tv, a new lawnmower, or a new blender. That’s old news, and not very interesting.  Fortunately, since we live in a time of financial uncertainty, there is no correlation between the amount of “stuff” we have and happiness. Studies have proven, this.   Often, in fact, the reverse is true – too much stuff or focus on stuff, causes stress and worry, unhappiness and fear.  What’s worse, a tiny percentage of humanity uses the vast majority of resources, suffering because of our greed.     This is also old news.  But it bears repeating – again, and again and again.   Because we forget, again and again and again.

The truth is, when part of humanity suffers, we all suffer.   If part of me is bleeding, then all of me is bleeding.  If my heart is stuttering, my body is faltering.  We are inextricably linked, part of one vast system of interconnecting systems.   Global events are local events. Climate change, stock market collapses, environmental illness, all strike us, our families, our friends – people we know.  People we are.  It’s not just happening to “them” anymore.  We can no longer avoid the consequences of our imbalanced lives.

 I’m not suggesting we all become ascetics.  I believe we should all have our needs, and our reasonable wants met.     Every person on this planet has a right to good food, clean water, a safe environment, health care and education, at a minimum.  Plus some cool stuff.   There’s enough to go around, if we change our priorities, especially those of us from the wealthier nations.

But first we need to get our priorities straight.  Let’s put that law of attraction to it’s proper use – generating more and more Love in this world.    The real secret is that when we become Love, the world showers that Love right back at us, and around us.   The real secret is that by transforming ourselves, we transform the world.  I call it “self help the world.”  It’s a tremendous win-win situation, a pathway to true, deep, and lasting happiness.

Imagine a World

“Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk.  

Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run.

Obama ran so we could fly.” – JayZ

 

scaredsacred

 

Imagine a World where each and every one of was committed to discovering who we are truly here to be, committed to unwrapping our gifts, to living from our deepest being.  Imagine a world where we support each other in that quest.  Imagine a world where we see in each other our potential to become – Buddha to be, Gandhi to be, Einstein to be.   Imagine a world where we greet  each other with compassion and an open heart – Dalai Lama to be, Amma to be, Mother Theresa to be.   Imagine a world where we thirst for justice and respect – Mandela to be, Ang San Su Kyii to be, Joan of Arc to be.   Imagine a world where we stand up for the planet as part of who we are – St. Francis to be,  Julia Butterfly to be,  Al Gore to be.   Imagine a world where we dare to be ecstatically different – Rumi to be, Mary Magdalene to be, Wonder Woman to be.   Imagine a world where a black man can become president of the United States of America – Rosa Parks to be, Martin Luther King to be, Barack Obama to be.  

Imagine a world beyond imagined boundaries of race, class,  colour or creed.  Imagine a world where each person reached just a little bit further, towards compassion, sustainability, harmony and creativity. Imagine a world that stretched even further, to the place where ecstasy lives.   Imagine  a world of celebration for life in all it’s joy and all it’s pain. Imagine a world where nothing stands in the way but fear itself.   Imagine a world where fear is just a passing fancy, replaced by unyielding hope, undying trust, indestructible vulnerability.   A  world where everyone and everything that happens to you is part of an extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow and evolve.    Imagine a world that reflected back all the love in your heart, beaming right back at you, blinding you with it’s brilliance. Imagine a world where the extraordinary life you are here to live is here.  Your Fierce Light shining bright.  Imagine if you could start living that life, right now.

You can.  Yes, you can.

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