I sent this out as a newsletter yesterday and I wanted to share it here as well:
Last night I watched a documentary about Peace Pilgrim, the American woman renowned for walking over 25,000 miles for world peace, with no money and only the clothes on her back. (She didn't even carry a water bottle, or a bag of any kind.)
She walked as a pilgrim, not a missionary. She was cultivating her own inner peace as she walked, and her message was that creating world peace depended on people creating peace within themselves.
She said “In order to help usher in the golden age we must see the good in people. We must know it is there, no matter how deeply it may be buried. Yes, apathy is there and selfishness is there – but good is there also. It is not through judgment that the good can be reached, but through love and faith.”
Watching this documentary, I was brought to tears many times by the humility and wisdom of this great woman. If you are yet unfamiliar with her story, you can watch it on YouTube here.
Connecting with the messages and indeed, the living energies, of luminaries like Peace Pilgrim feels so nourishing and relevant right now, so I offer this to you in that spirit.
What does “Resistance” mean to you personally? Right now, we know #resist is being used as a unifying term to describe any activities or beliefs around not accepting Donald Trump and his administration. I see the practical value of the term “resistance” for this purpose, but I don’t love it.
Someone told me, “I am trying to find a way to feel truly peaceful while resisting” and I said, “It’s not going to happen.”
“Peace” in its true sense, and “Resistance” in its true sense, do not go together. When we resist, we push something away, and can never be peaceful while doing so. We push something away, saying, I do not accept this thing, I have no love for this thing. The act of resistance is exhausting, but more importantly it is futile, because it defines itself by the thing it does not want. Andodea Judith states, "Resistance to control is not the same as freedom from it. As long as we resist, we remain shaped and determined by the force we oppose."*
To resist is better than to comply. But there is something beyond resistance. I don’t know if I can sum it up in a single word, but for me it is a feeling of:
I accept all that is. There is space in my heart for all that is. And I take action from a place of love. I push nothing and no one away. I define myself and my actions on my own terms.
There is also a direct correlation between how you view and treat the not-beautiful parts of yourself with how you view and treat the not-beautiful people in the world. A number of times I've encountered parts of myself in ordinary life and in shamanic journeying that are completely hideous. So hideous that I thought, this cannot be a part of me, it's too awful. But it was a part of me. No denying and no resisting would change that. It was through witnessing, loving, and creating space for these hideous parts of myself that they transformed - sometimes very quickly - and became my allies. Each time I have done this, I haven't simply lost an enemy (an internal saboteur), I have gained vitality and wisdom.
I don't think this so different within one person as within a country. My challenge for you, should you choose to accept, is:
Love the unlovable.
Love the unlovable in yourself and in the Other.
What can you do today to begin to love more than you ever thought possible?
EARLY SPRING SELF-CARE
Caring for ourselves is the foundation of caring for the collective
February 2nd (Imbolc/Candlemas) marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and in Chinese medicine, the beginning of spring. Here in the Bay, I feel that so strongly every year. (In colder climates, maybe not so much.) It’s still rainy and cool out, but not cold, and the early spring flowers are starting.
In early February, there is a sense of energy rising up and needing to move. It is the time to begin to emerge from our winter cocoon, our winter hibernation, and move our bodies. Do you feel it?! Many people do. I discontinued my gym membership and instead have been dancing my ass off at home almost every morning. I couldn’t be still if I tried. Dancing is a powerful way to move energy that is ready to move, connect with the body and a sense of being held by the Earth, and cultivate love and joy in the heart.
Maybe for you dancing feels right too, or maybe jogging or biking down these drizzly streets is what’s needed, or maybe you’d enjoy joining a gym. Movement that honors your body is the key.
This is the time of year to avoid desserts and sweets, as well as milk and other dairy products, cold foods, and other rich creamy foods, in order emerge from winter in tune with the seasons, feeling light and energized, not having seasonal allergies and sluggishness.
You may find that your appetite on rainy days is a little low. Do your best to honor this and don’t force yourself to eat, and do not eat only out of habit or for comfort. This is a great time to enjoy hot, brothy soups, hot lemon water in the morning, and ginger tea.
If you feel melancholy, low-energy, or have a dull headache on overcast days, green tea can be really helpful. I’m currently experimenting with cacao for this purpose too: A heaping tablespoon of raw organic cacao powder mixed with just-boiled water, a pinch of cinnamon, a teaspoon or so of ghee (or butter or coconut oil) and once it has cooled a bit, a touch of honey. A stimulant for sure, but still not on the level of coffee.
Additionally, one Ayurvedic treatment for this melancholy~low energy~dull headache situation is nasya: Herbalized oil dripped in the nose. In this case, medicated with stimulating herbs (calamus is my favorite) and/or herbs that promote mental clarity (like gotu kola). Warm the oil bottle in a dish of hot water, then tilt your head back and drop a couple drops in each nostril, then massage your sinuses and head as you receive the oil. Excess will drip out when you tilt your head back to neutral, and you can dab off the excess with some tissue. Do this in the morning for more mental alertness and clarity.
I don’t have a strong recommendation for sources to buy nasya oil. One tiny bottle lasts forever, and I used to make it, so I haven’t explored much to see what’s out there or which local stores offer it. They have some for sale at LifeSpa here and it looks really good, but I haven’t tried it.
I'll just be over here dancing.
All my love,