Monday, February 11, 2013


Yesterday I sent out to my 'Mindfulness' list readers a link to a powerful piece by the Guardian's Gary Younge, "Barack Obama is Pushing Gun Control at Home, But He's  Killer Abroad" published Sunday. Younge paints an ironic picture of Obama's bifurcation, that dichotomy that plagues us all. I also read last night a group of short essays in the December 2012/January 2013 Progressive that someone had thrown in the magazine bin at our community recycling drive on Saturday. There are many good ones in there by the likes of Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Solnit, Scott Russell Sanders,Kathy Kelly, etc. but the one by Rebecca Solnit, "Everyday Subversion" particularly resonated. Perhaps because I am currently reading a number of books but two that specifically speak to aligning one's inner life with the bigger world we are hoping to change.

You wouldn't be surprised that one of them is Gandhi's An Autobiography: My Experiments With Truth
The Story of My Experiments With Truth

The other is a lesser known book I picked up a week ago and have only 20 pages remaining - James O'Dea's Cultivating Peace: Becoming a 21st Century Peace Ambassador

O'Dea'is a former long time Amnesty International Washington Office director and activist. In this work he hopes to cultivate the inner life necessary for the peace work that calls in the larger world we share. As a former president of the Institute for Noetic Sciences he understands the role of consciousness, the new understandings that science brings towards complexity and consciousness. Here's a passage read earlier this morning:

 Trust in your own creativity. This is essential. It is good to be appreciative of other people's creativity but not when it inhibits your own. We can find ourselves worshiping the brilliance of others and putting them on a pedestal in ways that shrink our own sense of capacity.

You don't have to be like those you admire. You are called to be true to yourself. Start with gratitude, which has the power to transform the seed of envy into self-empowerment. Be grateful for who you are and admit that you are a creative being.

Sometimes we are blocked and feel a wall of resistance to being creative in expressing ourselves, the blockage is like a cork in a vat. We experience the blockage as being generalized, but is in fact usually quite specific. Feeling that you will be blamed or ridiculed if things go wrong, feeling that you will lose control, feeling that you have no right to led, feeling that you have no idea what you are doing, feeling you will be on your own - all these and more can be blockages to creative action. Find the voice - that specific voice - which is holding you back and say to it, "You do not have the power to kill my creativity. I am a creative being." And whether it is stepping onto a podium, walking into a classroom, posting a video clip on You Tube, unfurling a campaign plan, starting an organization,leaving home to where you feel you are needed most, starting a dialogue with those you are in disagreement with, or simply reinventing and healing your relationship to anything or anyone who has stood in your path - tell yourself that you have made a commitment to liberate your own being. In fact, you are going to get out of the way and let the larger energy of evolutionary change come through you.

I agree with those who say not to take everything so personally. Think of yourself as a conduit for energy that wants to shake up the whole botched-up status quo. Think of energy as collective property owned by all, to be used on behalf of all. Now see that energy not as dangerous but as consciousness eager to serve the emancipation of all. Pure energy is humility and has no ego. So Step into it and surrender to its grace and power.

Like Meg Wheatley's So Far From Home, O'Dea's effort seeks to simultaneously soothe the weary change agent while energizing and empowering us to join in building a more just and prosperous future for all. Surely a worthy consideration for a winter's day.