Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Dream of Peace for Our Children




Did I hear the man from that gun organization correctly?  The only thing that beats a bad man with a gun is a good man with (I presume a bigger) gun?  Well, I guess, if you're making trillions by selling weapons and representing the armament cartels around the world, that would be a good solution for you.  Everyone knows that the only reason to fight gun violence with more guns is to make money for gun manufacturers.  If you want to hunt, you don't need assault weapons.  But, If your government scares you so much that you need automatic weapons to defend yourself from it, maybe you need another country to live in.   

In March of 1990, Jim was watching the news one evening, when I walked through the room and caught a report about the little Brooklyn boy, David Opont, who was set on fire by kids in his neighborhood for refusing to try crack.  I flipped out.  We lived and worked in Bridgeport, CT at the time with many urban kids and we needed to do something to make life better for them.  Certainly, I felt, this great country can offer its children safety and protection.  So, Jim and I sought funding and over four years produced  "Child’s Play: A Violence Prevention Media Resource" for schools and the community, including  an hour TV documentary, “We The Children: Violence in the Lives of Inner City Children.”

In December of 2012, still living in CT, we experience the tragedy of Sandy Hook. I’m sad, shocked and outraged, but not surprised.  For "Child's Play" we interviewed two of America’s leading authorities on violence, it's impact on children and violence prevention as a public health issue: Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith and Dr. James Garbarino. They both said the same thing; people across America aren’t feeling this problem because it’s happening mostly in urban communities, but the problem of angry young men, violence and too many guns will hit the suburbs.

In a recent MS Magazine blog post on the Sandy Hook massacre, Soraya Chemaly, points out that the problem of angry young men wielding guns and murdering people is quite common in our country.  "Domestic" violence doesn't get the attention a mass killing does, but it is a problem of epidemic public health proportions. After all, she points out, the first to die that day in Sandy Hook was the 20 year old assailant's mother. (Ms. Blog,"Why won't we talk about violence and masculinity in America?")

This gun ad is reprinted from the MS article, it's for one of the guns that made the Sandy Hook massacre possible.   "Consider your man card reissued?" Really? How does this play in the psyche of a disturbed, conflicted, enraged 20 year old male raised on the glamor of guns and the adrenalin of violence?  

Perhaps we have reached the tipping point, there is a lot we can do to make sure Sandy Hook is never repeated again.  As then Chief of Bridgeport, CT Police, Tom Sweeney, states in "We The Children; " America's going to have to choose between keeping children safe and its love of guns. Stop wringing your hands, there are no new arguments, they've been the same for the past 25 years, (and he's talking almost 20 years ago); make a decision."
Motivated by love and the desire to protect our children, we can make effective changes that don't force them to carry the burden of our problems.  I shudder when I think of all the sweet boys diagnosed with Aspergers, Autism or even ADHD who might become the scapegoats and focus of this crisis because the powerful gun lobby can spin the PR and buy a public approach that takes the "heat" off them; even if it is, as usual, blame the victim. 

The idea that we should fight gun proliferation in our communities with more legally sanctioned gun proliferation is ludicrous.  What does it do to your educational experience to have armed guards roaming the corridors? Ask inner-city children or just consider how you feel about flying these days.  Gun control legislation, especially laws controlling public access to military style assault weapons, ammo and mandating careful background checks for licensing is desperately needed; yet, there is no one factor and no one solution to our epidemic of violence.

Together, using many approaches and our combined effort we can create the culture we want for our children.  In my dream of how we respond to this crisis, we each pick something we are passionate about, something that will do the community good, and do it. Here's how the most eloquent among those we interviewed put it:

We can demand accountability of our legislators and tell them to grow a pair and champion our children's interest over the gun lobby or we'll choose someone who will.   As our experts pointed out, the entertainment industry, with its penchant for gratuitous violence aimed at boys and young men, can be held accountable by the American public.  Let's use our imagination to figure out how we can enjoy beauty and goodness as much as we do blood and gore.  Let's figure out how to make sex sweet, safe, and real and how to reclaim it from the predatory sex industry.  Let's animate and film entertainment for our children that's fun, but doesn't involve all the violence for laughs, shock and awe.  

We can organize community resources so we have things to do together - places to dance, sing, drum together, whether we're single, a couple or a family.  I know a lot of people will point to their church and say, we've got all that right here in our faith community.  With all due respect, if Westboro Baptist Church or Mike Huckabee is what comes with church suppers and socializing around bible studies, I think we need alternatives.  Let's create community centers that aren't focused on creed, but on bringing diverse groups together for the good of all.

One big move at home would be to turn off TVs, computers and other wired devices long enough to be present with the people we love.  Be inventive, find other things to do together - games, word puzzles, story telling contests, nature adventures and walks.

I'd like to suggest that, especially in the evenings, instead of watching TV, a family can play with dreams the way we do in Active Dreaming: creating theater from dreams, writing stories and reading them to each other from dream themes or making up a story from just the title and first line of a dream, each person taking turns adding a line. Pull out the art supplies and draw or paint from dreams, share the pics and talk about them, hang them on the refrigerator. With stories and pictures, we can practice resolving dream conflicts or fears in creative ways.  Always, we respect the dreamer as the only owner and authority of his or her dream, no matter her or his age. 

It is possible to dismantle this culture of violence, if we want to. We can dream a culture we want to bequeath our children for many generations to come and we can set about creating it right now.




Friday, December 21, 2012

A Prayer for Sandy Hook

I'm sharing this moving tribute to the children and adults who crossed over in the tragedy of Sandy Hook, CT last week because I found it very healing.  It's written and performed by Eileen O'Hare, a teacher, who posted it on youtube.  Thank you, Eileen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God and Huckabee

I share Mr. Einstein's dream for the future, but even so, Mike Huckabee's cannot possibly truly be the voice of American Christianity today, can it?  So God was absent from Sandy Hook and this is what we get?

It's time to hear from the real Christian America, the majority of Christian people who know what Jesus would do, how he would feel and act.  Jesus, the model for Christian practice, is compassionate and loving.  Huckabee sounds  like the lot Jesus called, Pharisees.  At any rate, I at least know this, Jesus would want to help in any way he could; he'd bring comfort, not callous words.

Please, anyone who wants to preserve American Christianity for Jesus, please fire the lot of hypocritical, loud ignoramuses that have risen through the media as the voice of Christian or Moral Majority.  Let's hear from the real Christians, the ones who love and the ones who care, just like Jesus.

I'm not in any formal sense a Christian; I don't belong to a Christian or any other church. I'm not big on religion.  I am very keen on spiritual practice and matters of the soul.  In a Huffington Post piece, a commentator  contrasts Huckabee's awful comments and the wonderful multi-religious speeches at the service at Sandy Hook.  Then she goes on to say that even if you don't have a religion, if you're an atheist...

See, that's where I'd like to widen the scope a bit.  Regardless of your religion or your spiritual practice, your belief or your non-belief, your heart cannot let you say such heartless things to those in grief.    Your heart should want to help.

So let's hope this is a tipping point for those who love their Christian faith and their country, for those who follow Jesus; fire those sorry-ass distorters of Jesus' Word and bring back a religion based on the Love Jesus taught.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Calling all Dreamers


We are reeling from the news of the brutal massacre in Newtown, CT., home to so many friends.  Everyone here, around the country and the world is stunned.  

Early this week, I began reading Dr. Raymond Moody's book, "Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones"  and did one of those nose dive's into a good book. Thursday morning, I walked to the computer still reading Moody’s description of the practice and history of mirror gazing, the ancient scrying art used to contact the departed.   At the computer, I opened Facebook; first post on my feed, Robert Moss: The Science of Mirrors.

After commenting to Robert about the syncro, I turned back to Moody's book.  Later, Thursday, I got to the part where he describes setting up his "modern day psychomanteum" - a temenos/sacred space for communication with our beloved departed, as practiced in ancient Greece.  As he tells the story of finding and equipping his sanctuary laboratory, I remember the wonderful post my friend Trish MacGregor posted on her blog last month about this very passage in Moody's life.  I love the story she tells, which he doesn't include in the book.  The two accounts are a wonderful compliment to each other. http://www.synchrosecrets.com/synchrosecrets/?p=12817

So Friday, Friday the unimaginable happens in a neighboring town and we're again shocked by senseless, cruel, twisted violence, made more shocking because this time, it happens in our home state.  It's excruciating not just for its cold brutality and loss of innocent life, but for it's place in a stream of such events that have occurred over the last few years in our country.

I liken the impact of a tragedy such as this to the concentric circles on the surface of water when a stone falls in.  I stand in an outer circle because I don't have close ties to anyone who suffered this horror today, except the ties of community and caring. From this circle, as a resident of this state and country,  I join my voice to a growing community outcry:  Mr. President and all elected officials, control easy access to guns, especially automatic weapons.  We see over and over again, how one desperate, deluded individual can reek havoc.  Help public welfare trump corporate interests in arms dealing for profit.  Times of crisis are opportunities to do things differently, to transform our grief and rage to healing.  It doesn’t work to put profits ahead of humanity. Private citizens need automatic weapons?  Really?  

I heard the news of this massacre while sitting at our art gallery in Woodbury, CT.  A gentleman customer got off the phone after getting the news from his wife.  He said; “This must be terrorism”.   But, apparently, as in the past, it’s not the enemy without but the one within that attacks, often wearing the face of a lost boy acting out a private rage.  What can we do to stem the tide of violence that sweeps up some of our youth?  

Experts like, Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith and Dr. James Garbarino, both authors of fabulous books on the subject,  have been telling us how to help for years.  I hope we'll all turn our minds and hearts to finding creative, daring, bold and working solutions to the violence, greed, small mindedness, lack of love and lack of soul that's plaguing us.  I dream a future where we all contribute creatively to our children's education and well being. We put their needs ahead of institutionalized rules, and design education around experience and incentive, not testing and categorizing.  

For those of us right now in this outer ring of the catastrophe, who are not understandably consumed with grief, we might ask ourselves; What can we do?  What can we do to alleviate the suffering of those who have remained and of those who have crossed over?   What can we do to ensure that this never happens again?

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Generation



Jim back then
When I think of the changes I, and many of my generation, have witnessed in our life times, and the iconoclastic lives many of us have lived, I feel deeply grateful.  We were born into an amazing time.  The fifties, despite “Papa Knows Best” TV pablum, had brilliant writers, free thinkers and artists laying the seeds for the 60’s.  Some of my favorite teachers were 50s rebels, I’ll always remember the passion of one of my high school English teachers when talking to us about any piece of literature.  He would turn the literary mirror on us and help us imagine, beyond an English test, what these characters were living and trying to do.  I got an excellent education in freethinking, as well as literature, from his class.  He must have had some freedom in selecting curriculum to suit his message because he introduced me to Sartre, Voltaire and  Bocaccio, among others.  For my senior thesis in his class. I first proposed, “Was Mary Really A Virgin” but settled for “The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church.”  He gave me an A+; I wonder if I have that paper somewhere?  I’m grateful to him and to the many great teachers I’ve had, in public schools, university and post-grad.

My generation was encouraged to think, to feel and to experiment. Yeah, there were definitely failed outcomes to some of those experiments, but we dreamed of making a better world through spiritual values: Peace, Love, Joy, and yes, song.  I came of age living the shifting paradigm of the 60s.  I always remind my peers that we, who have been very blessed, (I mean, come on…the music alone!) have to give back.  We’re not a generation that will fade away into “senior” citizenry. 

So, post-election I commit myself to making what difference I can in the service of those same values.  My spiritual path, of course, is dreaming, and my passion is to share it, as I do here and when I lead workshops.  I know many, many others, friends and teachers I admire of my generation, who are making a huge difference in their communities, country and worldwide following their own spiritual paths.

I admire many individuals from younger and older generations, as well, and I only mean to go on about mine for a bit to strengthen my dream that we will help enable a great shift in consciousness on this planet, all of us dreaming it into being together.  We elders have a great opportunity to help make that happen. 

By now, most people know that the date 12/21/2012, this Winter Solstice on the Mayan Calendar,  is not a prediction of certain doom, but represents the Mayan culture's astrological mapping of the ages of time.  (For a fascinating insight into parallels in Mayan, Egyptian and other ancient cultures regarding the ages of human history, view the fabulous documentary, The Pyramid Code, especially in Pt 2).

According to the Mayan’s, we're at the end of a particularly dark cycle of time, not at the end of the world.  Out of this authoritarian, patriarchal age, we’re moving into an age of balance of opposites, of new awareness and new organizational paradigms.  We can do it, as our parents use to tell us, in one of two ways:

We can resist the awakening and go kicking and screaming into a hell we help create.

Or we can embrace new possibilities, drop old worn out paradigms and dream a new dream of human survival based on our divine being ness that can never die.  I love the interview Eckhart Tolle did at Google with Google personnel; it’s on YouTube, worth looking up.

I wouldn’t have wanted a woman’s life before my own generation.  My mothers?  My grandmothers?  No, thank you.  I’m grateful, especially to my mom, since both my grandmothers died before I could know them, for going out of her way to ensure my education was unhampered by gender role expectations like hers had been.  She didn’t want me to follow in her footsteps, though her own accomplishments, as cook and seamstress, were legend.

Of course, women were shattering the cultural/patriarchal paradigm way before the 60s; Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Isadora Duncan, Betty Freidan, Ursala Le Guin, to mention but a few. My contemporaries are Gloria Steinem, Mary Daly, Sonya Johnson, Charlene Spretnak, Merlin Stone, and Starhawk, to mention just a few; I had so many women role models my mother and grandmothers didn’t have.  My generation of women opened the door much wider than my foremothers could. 

In this election, my peers helped champion what we deem important. Kudos to the PSA Leslie Gore did that helped me contribute my cyber bit by passing it around. Many of my women friends and I fought long and hard to overturn social and legal restrictions on any woman’s right to govern her own uterus, to earn equal pay and to have equal career opportunity and don't want to see ourselves restricted again.

As without, so within; the 60’s also burst the self-inflated bubble of institutionalized religion.  Many paths for spiritual exploration and practice were open to my generation and we’ve helped illuminate many spiritual paths for soul seekers today. Those of my generation are the grandmothers and grandfathers, the great aunts and uncles.  We have the opportunity to continue to dream our collective dream forward.  I think we are the silver fox warriors of new dimensions of transcendence.   Well, maybe I’m carried away, but I like that image. We’ve pushed so many boundaries and pushing has paid off. We still have a lot to do; the results of this election encouraged me to think that there are many of us, which makes for light work, pun intended.

I was never a fan of the band, The Who, but I can't help ending with this song.  
According to Wiki, “Townshend reportedly wrote the song on a train and is said to have been inspired by the Queen Mother who is alleged to have had Townshend's 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighbourhood...Townshend talked about the famous line "I hope I die before I get old". For him, when he wrote the lyrics, "old" meant "very rich". 

The Who is still performing, the 2010 Super bowl no less. I’m sure Pete’s glad he didn’t die or fail to get rich, but the point is, we are still, many of us, going strong. I see us using that strength to create the world we want, to dream it forward; I'm talking bout my generation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MnDbWqe_kQ


Friday, November 23, 2012

Dreaming With Children in 2020


I’m happy to have met an amazing young man of 14 who came to our Robert Moss/ Gore Mt. dreaming retreat early this month with his mom, a wonderful dreamer participating in a Dream Practice Intensive training I’m leading.  He is so cool, sweet and true.  It’s very obvious that he liked what he experienced because he wants to come to some dream classes with his mom. 

I think young people and children like Active Dreaming because it stimulates imagination and reveals the fun it is to play with your dreams in a group of creative dreamers.  Our young mountain dreamer shared one of his dreams with our group and then directed us in Dream Theater, a game where the dreamer casts people to play out his or her dream. I got to play his cat, a part I enjoyed immensely, as I love cat companions and he has a really cool one.

Every time I share Active Dreaming with children and young people, I see how much they really appreciate innovative, imaginative ways to learn.  I’ll paraphrase what I heard renowned child psychologist and author, Dr. James Garbarino, say in a keynote to educators; ‘it’s a challenge for children to “survive the crashing bore” that is our conventional public and private educational system in this country.’  It’s a system that’s economically impoverished, yes, but the real poverty is in the curriculum and the structure, (not the teachers, with some exceptions). In other words, it’s the Spirit of education that in 2012 is impoverished.

As a teacher, I’ve always dreamed of unleashing, not harnessing and curving, our children’s curiosity and energy.  My vision of primary education is a lot of outdoor, nature based running and playing with very little time spent sitting and listening to adult blah, blah, blah.  Yes, they’d be guided in learning about many things in which they show an interest and the skills of reading and writing would be encouraged in them in creative ways, but learning will always be experiential, not rote and mechanical.

Young adults will be out in the community learning from gifted people in the fields of interest they choose. Dream explorers teach wonderful programs for children of all ages, including adults, to initiate and develop the art of dreaming.  Musicians, dancers, poets, actors, scientists and experienced spiritual healers, all of them dreamers, staff our educational programs.

I’ll add an idea proposed by a young mother in our Gore Mt. Group to my 2020 vision for education; our communities have created cyber classrooms in a central location we might call a “school” where through our amazing technologies, youngsters connect with others from all around the world and learn about each other’s cultures and life.

Dreaming the future to the year 2020, I see that our educational system is diverse and creative; its aim is to open the doors of imagination and to dreaming so that each child finds an authentic life path. Art programs will flourish as children manifest their dreams creatively and science will be based on developing the now revered powers of imagination. We all understand that consideration for all living things and the planet can drive our technology; we value strong dreamers in all fields and promote all creative activities. Einstein, of course, was way ahead of us;  “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.” 

Right now, while dreaming this future, the best way to open dream gates for children is for their parents to open their own, first.  When parents know how powerful, wonderful and energizing it is to be connected to dreaming, they’re the very best teachers for their children.  As for dreaming itself, children are the experts, many spiritual teachers say it’s because they are newly transitioned from dreaming dimensions.  The most important practices for adults to learn are: to listen, not judge, not analyze, respect the dreamer and the dream, and offer only what might delight or truly help the child, like back up to face anything scary and to create something positive out of the fear.

Here are some great articles from Robert Moss’s DreamGates blog and two of my own posts on this topic:



Here’s a story about my own experience-teaching children about dreaming:


What does your dream of future education look like?  What can we do now to make our children's future brighter and deeper?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Gratitude

Pundits are arguing about whether the election results issue the government a mandate; I revel in the joy of feeling that the mandate was issued to every person living in this country.  I think the mandate is to live and dream from our hearts, mindful of the impact of our actions down to the seventh generation on this earth, as native wise ones teach.

I'm in awe and gratitude to the voters of this country who clarified for elected officials what we truly care about, besides the economy.  I think we’ve only just begun to dream our best dreams into this reality and it's heartening to know there are so many people passionate about making a difference. 

I collect “dream” songs.  This is one of my all time favorites and it’s augmented by the fact that it’s talented author, Stevie Ray Vaughan, is on the other side, hopefully dreaming this dream even bigger.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post Storm Dreaming on the Mountain


When a natural disaster strikes, many things occur, none of which are business as usual.  "Nature Trumps" would be a good bumper sticker on our foreheads right about now.

I live in CT one of the states where Monday’s hurricane left an indelible, and for very, very many people, a painful mark.  My elevation from the beach defended against flood waters that loomed ferociously imminent and luck kept any of the magnificent trees in our neighborhood from coming down, though some neighbors dealt with very large tree limbs falling.  We never lost utility services; our lives resumed as normal, except for the sorrow at our friends and neighbor’s troubles.

In news reports we hear regularly that this area has no power and people often say; "I had no power..." I avoid using these terms, as you see.  Here are my reasons:

A)   As a society we've managed to enslave ourselves to generators and electrical grid sytems for our survival, obviously a bad idea in the long term.
B)   “Lost power” isn't a good term to use psychically to describe our utility situation.  Our psyches visualize and image, so what's the message we're giving ourselves in the wake of situations that requires great strength and heart?

I won’t say “I didn’t lose power” to explain my good fortune, nor will I say someone I know "lost power.”  Electricity isn't my power, in the true spiritual enduring sense of the word. That we've allowed a modern convenience to threaten our own and our culture's survival is something to think about.  Aren’t we smart enough to come up with a more sustainable infrastructure in the long run?  Yes, I think, if we think with our hearts, we can.

I’ve just returned from a wonderfully renewing weekend with Robert Moss and a deeply loving dream community of friends on Gore Mountain.  My mind is a kaleidoscope of experiences that I’ll be journaling and blogging about for months.  As I  often heard this weekend, the time is Now, so I’ll begin my story with a shamanic dream journey we all shared and Robert led very relevant to our present moment in time, our journey to the year 2020.  Our quest was to dream the future we want, not tied to politics and elections, but rather to envision what we want realized by that year for the highest good of all. 

We take this journey because if we dream the future, if we imagine what we want in rich and brilliant detail, we can realize it in this waking reality.  Dreaming cultures steeped in spiritual dream practices  believe this reality is only one of our soul’s experiences and not necessarily, except for the breathtaking beauty of the Earth and the immense joy of loving one another, the best one.  Indigenous dreaming cultures today are trying to dream healing for the planet and teach non-dreaming cultures how to dream the same. They're trying to teach us to visualize with our imaginations the positive outcomes we want so we can know what steps to take in this moment of time to make this healing dream come true.

The message being taught is to be one with Spirit; to care more about what is divine and less about what is impermanent.  I’m fond of asking what is it we really can take with us?  Maybe that’s what Jesus meant; “separate the chaff from the wheat.”  Spiritual power can’t be lost, but it's thrown away by lack of mindfulness, dreaming, imagination and respect for Earth.  

I listened to so many wonderful visionary suggestions from my companion dream trackers that I'm inspired to continue my positive creative visioning and invite you to add to it as well.

In my vision, we value everyone's contribution, and together, we create only earth respecting technologies.  Yes, I know there’s a powerful oil lobby, etc.  But if we all really, really want it, dream it, imagine such a world for ourselves, but more importantly for all the children of this planet, then we can create it.  As John Perkins puts it from the wisdom of his indigenous shamanic teachers, “The world is as you dream it."

In my vision, we each carry this motto in our hearts:  “We need Nature and Nature needs us.”  or as I would prefer, “We need Gaia and Mother Gaia needs us.”  We began this dream journey on Gore Mt., sacred lands of native ancestors, of bear and fox and deer, of the birches and pines.  In my dream, when it came time to depart from our mountain dreaming, each of us leaves in a beautiful spirit canoe, gently, surely paddling the river in all directions, accompanied by our power animals and guides, passionate to spread this vision, each in our own way.  Our experience dreaming together teaches us spirit power is alive and love prevails. 

We each have the natural spiritual power to connect to what is dearest to us, to what makes us know our own divinity and helps us find our soul’s true home.  We can access that power in different ways. One is definitely to attune ourselves to dreaming.  The yin/yang of existence is the dance between realities, conscious living and active dreaming.

Robert Moss is a great teacher of shamanic wisdom traditions.  I’m very grateful for his passionate, committed and brilliant leadership as a dream teacher and author and for the rich tapestry of dream roads his work offers dreamers. 

To honor this journey, this post storm dreaming on the mountain, I want to make a wish. My wish for the very, very near future is that people vote as if their vote really, really counts.  I pray that people will stop and consider what they want their vote to count for.  There are consequences to electoral choices because we entrust decision making power to officials of the government.  I want to elect leaders who truly understands that continuing to suck nature dry without thought for damage and consequences will cost us a lot  more than money; it threatens our human survival and that of untold animals, of the entire planet.  I want someone who gives a shit about future generations of children and about children right now. 

So vote with your heart, not your wallet.  Don’t forget, it’s worn on your ass for a reason.

I intend to continue sharing with you about the weekend; love to hear from you and may our best dreams come true.




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Death and the Devil?


Once, Jim and I were invited to a wonderful couple's Halloween party, a theme party.  As they both happened to be Episcopal priests, we were asked to reflect some aspect of church or religion in our costumes.  It was Jim's great idea to go as death and the devil, after all he said: "They'd be out of business without us."  I opted for death and Jim made a dashing devil, as you can see.

On the great metaphorical wheel of the year, this is the time we pagans pause to reflect on death, the end of the harvest, the beginning of the still, chill quiet times of winter, knowing all things must pass.  Nature based spiritualities, (pagan comes from the Latin word meaning, someone of the earth), from ancient and contemporary indigenous cultures, view death as no more than a turn on that wheel, an opening into the spirit world.  Nature based practices use this time to recall ancestors and departed loved ones. The  transitions that cycle through Nature, from life blooming to withering and decaying, is an obvious inspiration for this inward reflection.  

When death isn't demonized or denied, it becomes an ally; it teaches us to be thankful, to live in conscious awareness of our physical and spiritual existence and to weigh our values carefully, considering what survives death?  Will money work in other dimensions, or is there something more valuable to be gained from living in physical form, something you can take with you?

For Celtic cultures, this time marks the New Year, Samhain.   Jim and I got married on Samhain, Halloween to most, for this reason; it's a holy, magical time.  And since it's the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, our parents and beloved relatives in spirit could witness.  

That's death, what about the devil?  I've discussed in previous posts Carl Jung's view of how we project our own evil on to others and ultimately, through the figure of the devil, create an Absolute Evil we can point to and divorce ourselves from all responsibility.  It's an archetype, a universal human psychic energy, Jung called the Shadow.  One of the wonderful avenues dreams offer is an opportunity to meet, face and own our own weaknesses and evil, our own Shadows. It's something like when Jesus said before you point out the speck in your neighbor's eye, remove the plank in your own.  Projecting evil is at the root of things like the Inquisition and all the holy warring that is humanity's great evil. (for more on the Shadow: http://litadreaming.blogspot.com/2011/09/strange-case-of-me-and-not-me.html ). 

So, Death and the Devil really are the big ticket items for patriarchal religions, their cash cows and psychological secret weapons. Patriarchal religions bank on fear of death and the devil to exact allegiance from believers.  Just check out this guy, a Wisconsin RC Bishop who brazenly emails  his "flock" with instructions on who to vote for on penalty of soul loss or eternal damnation.  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/10/26/another-catholic-bishop-threatens-damnation-if-congregation-votes-for-obama/  

My favorite part of this edict is the exquisite Freudian slip of personifying America with the feminine pronoun, which as we all know, patriarchal religions use sparingly.

Let us pray for the electorate and let’s take action, that we may vote for good and moral leaders for this great country which will only remain great, if she continues to be and to do the good.

"If she continues to be and do the good?"  As defined by, let me guess... a bunch of old white males who are hell bent on keeping women out of their priesthood and exercising complete control over women's reproductive powers?  And if I don't listen to you, what?  I go to hell when I die?  Jesus won't like me anymore?  It was Jesus who acknowledged women's equality by letting them listen to him teach and accepting them among his followers as equals. What else you got?

By who's authority might I claim that religion is unnecessary at best and dangerous at worse?  Let me share with you a favorite bible passage from Luke, where Jesus is confronted for teaching and healing by the local "authorities."  In addition, I'll treat you to a brilliant work of translation by social justice advocate and Southern Baptist theologian, Clarence Jordan.  This verse is taken from, "The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts," published in 1969.

Luke 20:1  It so happened on one of the days while he was teaching and explaining the God Movement to the people in the church, that the bishops and professors, along with the church officials, laid into him and said, "Tell us where you got the authority to do such things.  Who gave you this permission?

Jesus, of course, used his best Socratic method to turn the tables on the authorities and went on doing what he was doing.  

If I already have a connection to my soul and to the eternal, why do I need religion?  And especially, speaking as a woman, a religion that has particular enthusiasm for restricting my freedoms, even over my own sexuality.  In some countries, these religions makes women dress to look like shadows,  indistinguishable from another, so as not to distract men, (who are apparently in their estimation, quite easily distracted), from their important and holy work.  Are you kidding me!?!!  ( a rule of thumb for recognizing anything patriarchal is when you look and see a preponderence of men running the show with a binder full of women at their disposal).

As Jesus taught me, I look within for my spiritual authority.  For some it's meditation and spiritual practice, for me its my relationship to dreaming and the dream worlds.  I'm a dream teacher because there's no greater thrill than helping anyone, of any age, open that inner path of wonder, that path to soul.

I like to call dreaming "organic spirituality."  It's the most natural thing in the world, universally and throughout time; it opens windows between the worlds for anyone. When you rely on dreams, intuition and personal spiritual guidance on a daily, nightly basis, religious authority is insubstantial.  And when you consider the role religion is playing in this election... well, I hope you do consider it before you vote.

Dreaming ultimately gives each and every dreamer independent authority and an avenue to seek answers to the big questions for ourselves, without relying on controlling external authority.  If ever any truth can set us free, it's this one.  


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dreams Require Action



Yesterday, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, a date I, like many people on this planet, remember with sorrow and prayers for the dead, a date that shocked us all awake, I posted my dream for post election America.

Today I want to emphasize that dreams require action. Those of us who have a dream of a cooperative society, not a warring one, must take whatever steps we can to help make it so.  In my dream, each person has his or her own disposition and soul purpose, so no one can dictate what another should do, but we all do something.

I'm dedicated to the spirituality of Love, which is not a person, but a vital Energy, as in essence are we.  Love is something that can seldom truly be described in human paradigms. So for me, the challenge is to come up with something creative, something I can do from my heart, that might help make it so.

Well, speaking out is one thing.  In my post election America, we aren't afraid to talk with one another, but we use respect.  Name calling, bullying let alone shooting people doesn't come into the equation.  We try to figure it out, we ask our dreams for council, we believe there is a way to live together and serve a greater purpose than our puny little physical selves.  The fact is, as human beings, we die.  Jesus came back from the dead, but that's not all that unusual.  We all come back. We all cross over. Maybe Jesus just wants to make us feel safe in that crossing.  This is why I call dreams organic spirituality; anyone can figure this out for themselves if they pay attention to their dreams.

It occurs to me, that sign in town I mentioned yesterday employs a strategy that reduces everything to a false slogan and appeals to fear, trusting it's the most common denominator among the people of this great land right now. These words are really more symbol than sign, meaning, they pack an emotional wallop that goes far beyond words.   It's large and simple, OBAMA = SOCIALISM in red and the catchy one liner, "gateway drug to" in between the two big words.  In my dream, I see a sign right across the street in the same mode: JESUS = SOCIALISM with the thought in between "He loves the poor."  See what I mean? 

I'm not comparing President Obama to Jesus, but neither should anyone compare him to Stalin or Castro.  That is why this gentleman's sign is inflammatory: it uses the biggest hot buttons in the American psyche, or so he thinks.  It's defamatory, because the person this is being said about has done nothing to deserve this incredible disrespect, and not true because caring for the poor is not really communism or any other ism the world has contrived; it's Christian, according to the teachings of Jesus.

I’m very lucky that back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood at  Colgate Rochester Divinity School, http://litadreaming.blogspot.com/2010/03/awesome-correlations.html the theologians I read, the people who taught me and the nuns, priests and bishops I knew, were all very much in favor of ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood. Then Rome managed to reassign a lot of those bishops, to Siberia, I presume, and many theologians were “silenced” (just ask the ever beautifully vocal, Matthew Fox, the theologian not the actor).

Today, RC Headquarters through the Pope is yelling at American nuns for caring about the poor more than protesting against abortion; really?  I’ve always, always found a great deal to admire about  many major sisterhood orders in this country. I’ve lost track of the RC community because my spiritual interests are elsewhere, but I'm always proud of what many American nuns are accomplishing. 

And what I’ve always loved about Jesus is his commitment to the least among us. When we start calling caring and social justice, socialism, we turn into an unsociable contentious culture obsessed with money; when hate is stronger than love, we’re in for tough times ahead.  In my dream of the future, Americans have the heart to live their Christianity and not be fooled by dictates and dogma from the old boys club.  Just because your pastor or priest tells you to jump off a bridge, doesn’t mean you have to do it.  No, we listen to our Mother, she speaks to our Hearts and we vote our conscience.

In my dream, we Americans don’t make a caricature of our Divine; we accept each  person’s way of expressing spirituality, just as we respect each person’s way of finding intimacy and relationship. There are a diversity of roads that all converge in Love, we respect them all. 

Now here’s my huge disclaimer; the visual image I chose for this post is very strong, dreams have taught me the power of image.   I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS A SOCIALIST; I BELIEVE HE LOVES THE POOR.  Also, I DO NOT BELIEVE PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST;  HE ACTS MORE LIKE A CHRISTIAN THAN THE OTHER PARTY'S NOMINEES.  AND JUST LIKE JESUS, HE STANDS UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN.

Back to my communal dream; a communal dream must be communal.  If we each contribute something to making our dream happen, we can do just that.  I’m calling all Jesus loving Christians especially to ask themselves in their heart, would Jesus vote for the rich merchant or would he vote for a man like Barack Obama?  Also, we know what Jesus would say about violence and nasty approaches to our message; he’d say be creative, but come from your heart, not in anger, but in hope,  creatively, as creative as you can get.

Let’s dream on it and let’s act on it.  Let’s make the future we want, not just for ourselves, but for our children, their children and everyone’s children, for many generations to come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dreaming the Future - Si Se Puede

In my town,  a gentleman of means, very active in the Republican party, who happens to own a billboard on a very main drag in town, posted a political message that I consider  inflamatory, defamatory and untrue.  I’m told he owns the signage under personal property license so, he can post what he wants there.  Well, I’m all for freedom of speech. 

I can get mad, but that's a lot of energy I'm giving to the dark side. Searching for peace, I realize that Now, more than ever, it’s important to dream, not just a personal dream, but a dream for the community.  When I let my heart feel the deep divide in our collective consciousness at this moment, I feel anxiety, dismay, bewilderment and anger. When I exercise my imagination to dream a better future outcome,  I feel hopeful and I'm encouraged to act to make that dream a reality.

The dream I have for America in this election  is that the person who cares most for all of the people of our nation be elected President .  In my dream,  I also see a Congress filled with intelligent, committed public servants who care deeply and compassionately for all the people of our country, regardless of wealth,  and who will make decisions that respect and empower  every person.  I also see leaders who will take responsibility  for safeguarding our planet Earth for the benefit of at least seven future generations, as our Native American ancestors taught.   I dream a future where we respect Nature as Gaia, living Consciousness,  who not only depends on us, but more profoundly, on Whom we depend completely.

I see citizens of this country making the effort to be truly informed.  We base our opinions on the public record of those who serve us, not on slogans thrown out by political marketers with no basis in fact. In addition, we consider much more than the economy when we weigh the qualifications of our leaders.  As they say, you can’t take it with you.

In my dream, we know that there are key human rights protected by the Constitution  that are deeply  at stake in this election.  While the right to free speech is one of them, so is the right to freedom of religion (and from religion).

In my dream, women of all religious affiliations realize that Father doesn't know best.  Who says that god is male and woman must obey Him? The Book of Mormom? The Bible? The Koran?  The Vatican?  (I’ll give you one big HINT; they don’t call these patriarchal religions for nothing).  In my America - the one just down the road in a couple of months - woman is still free to choose her conscience in all matters related to her own body.  We know that abortion is a RELIGIOUS issue, not a political one.  To allow one religious group to legislate morality is to demolish the most basic freedom a human being can hope for, the right to choose and pursue their own spiritual truth according to their own conscience.   Only patriarchal religions seek incessantly to control women and restrict their voice and power in the body politic; in my dream we know that an American Taliban like government is one to avoid and we will not vote for patriarchal religious fanaticism in any stripe.
 
In my dream of America,  post the 2012 elections,  I see that many,  many people  have come together to solve our problems in a heartfelt way.  We don’t dismiss each other with empty labels, as if life is one big football game.  We value our amazing diversity of race, culture, gender and beliefs, so we create social structures that work for everybody.  We are a spiritual and conscious culture,  excited by the revelations of this new age where science and spirituality meet, where dreams prove their power to each one of us and we each connect in our own way with our Consciousness of Divinity.   We have access to other worlds, other dimensions of reality through our dreams, we don’t fear the unknown, we explore it.  

Even if we still struggle to feed, clothe and educate  ourselves and our communities, we don’t fear destruction or lack. We want less and create our own plenty with cooperation and imagination. Will there still be greedy, selfish people?  Perhaps, but we don’t call them smart business people and uphold their realities for them; we help them to lay down that heavy burden and walk into a consciousness that is spiritual as well as material. 

In my future America, voters, the majority of us, have embraced a path with heart, not just on the coasts, but all through the land.     There is a new Consciousness about life and death and we're not afraid. Teachers like Eckhart Tolle. Caroline Casey and Robert Moss are gaining ever growing popularity among us.  We are investing in much more than our economy, we are growing our spirit.

For the next two months, I’ll be busy expanding this dream because I need to believe in what I value most, the power of Love, and not allow myself to be prematurely dismayed.  So I invite all  you wonderful citizens of this great land to dream a piece of this dream and do what you can to make it a reality.

May all the Goodness that guides the great universe lend us teachers, guardians  and companions in this soul quest to dream a communal dream we can wake up to post elections.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”  (I do hope John Lennon is one of our guides, doing what he can to fuel this dream from his side of existence now - maybe that’s why he’s been back in my night dreams lately.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

As Within So Without

PBS NOVA's "The Fabric of the Cosmos."


I think we're living in a time of extreme paradigm shifts, cursed and blessed with fantastic changes.  On one hand, quantum mechanics is stretching prior scientific theories of physical reality in mind-boggling directions.  I really can’t listen to guys like Brian Greene while I’m driving, though I love to other times, because I might find myself driving off the road in wonderment.  What I most love about all the theories I’m hearing from Greene and others in his field is the many parallels I can draw to dreaming and dreaming reality.

From my own dreaming, lucid dreams and OBE experiences, inner space has many dimensions, but perhaps it’s not inner space at all, but the back door of physical reality that opens on to a Greater Reality, True Consciousness, The Collective Unconscious, Space, the Universe, That Which Is?  I frankly don’t know what to call it.  But once dreaming becomes a practice, paradigms suffer a seismic shift.

For one, anything is possible.  You can fly.  You can outsmart the ax murderer.  You can have your prince and….well, some things are better left to the imagination.  Dream barriers are bridgeable; the world of form is only one world, but the dream worlds play by different rules.  Paradigm shift?  Definitely.

Another paradigm shifter is Eckhart Tolle, ET.  The ego is insane?  I love it.  I think, the ego should be the chauffer, not the driver.  The owner of the limo is the SELF; the ego is only the driver, though of vital importance.   According to ET, an ego in control is dangerous; a New Earth will come into being when we all learn to shift our paradigms from bug on the rug egos to cosmic awareness of our own eternity.  

Even though these times are trying, they are definitely among the most interesting and worth while of times to live for seekers.  May your best dreams come true.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence!


A lot of national holidays around the world have to do with war.  The 4th of July, 1776 is when our country declared independence from its colonial overlord, England.  We celebrate it as our nation's birthday, though it took another seven years of bloody battle to seal the deal.  

So what’s independence to you?  Freedom from tyranny?  The right to do what you want, within certain legislated limits?  The pursuit of happiness?

Jim just finished reading his third John Burdett crime mystery in a row,  “The Godfather of Kathmandu” set in Thailand. He told me about the detective of the series, Sonshai Jitpleecheep, a practitioner of Buddhist teaching, who views American obsession with “the pursuit of happiness” to be a great national psychosis preserved in our cultural meme in the Declaration of Independence, 

Thanks to that ever-helpful cyber-encyclopedia, Wikipedia, I can share the exact phrase Sonshai is talking about:

“The United States Declaration of Independence, which was primarily drafted by Jefferson, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.[3] The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads,

    ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

As political documents go, it does sound inspired.  But in my understanding of Buddhist teachings, happiness is as much an illusion as suffering is, so that’s why the pursuit of it is crazy.  If I’m happy or sad, it’s on the level of my Ego consciousness, not my Eternal consciousness that exists now and forever, outside of time.  There is only the Present; life is to be experienced as fully and consciously as possible in the Now.  That doesn’t mean lots of possessions, drugs, sex and rock and roll, necessarily.  It means always being aware of my own truth and opening my heart to living what is, not what I wish it might be.  Time is a mental construct, convenient for some things in the material world, but reality is only in the present moment, so to live in the past or the future is to spin one’s wheels.  Of course, to live fully means also to be alive in my dreams, or else I’m missing out on an entire aspect of my existence on this planet, my link to Home.

So here’s to independence, not just from political tyranny, but from limiting beliefs and self-imposed limitations, Blake’s mind-forged manacles.  Here’s to freedom from fear and hate; here’s to life. 

I'm posting this video of Jim playing our national anthem in honor of those who for love or duty are serving in the US military branches on this celebration of our nation's birthday. 
video