The Full Sturgeon Moon peaks on Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 8:02 A.M. Eastern Time. Our ancestors named this Full Moon after Sturgeon because August traditionally represented the peak seasonal catch of these mighty fish. Fish are highly sensitive creatures, and water is a powerful conductor of sound vibration. Keep in mind that humans are made up of mostly water. It is scientifically proven that we can influence our thoughts and can co-create our reality through the power of positive self talk. Might as well give our purposeful attention toward collaborative co-creative, fluid thinking over fixed, stagnant ideas. If there’s a fish that captures the expression ‘stirring the pot’, it’s Sturgeon. Given that Sturgeon have been around for over 130 million years, they reveal a survival instinct that should catch our attention, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Spiritually, Sturgeon’s ability to thrive, in spite of the many Climate Changes they have faced over millions of years, truly reflects their resiliency. Now more than ever, humans need to cultivate resiliency on our Planet today. Like Sturgeon, we have a strong survival instinct. But we could stand to build our resiliency at this juncture so that we can weather the changes in Ages we are now facing.We need to understand our interconnection with each other and all creatures from Mother Earth and the Universe. Co-regulation means that we can be in our heads and our hearts with each other in ways that both honors our diversity and recognizes our unity.
Artwork by Barbara Merlotti
A Full Sturgeon Moon awakens the magic of color in the theater of life.
But be careful of getting caught up in your own fantasies
of turning everything you touch into gold.
True wizardry is the knowledge that eating humble pie is good food for the soul.
Follow Dragonfly’s flight plan for a magical mystery tour.
Imagine flitting about with a playful, light-hearted sense of detachment in your energy field.
Have you ever heard of the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes?
Picture a Dragonfly to add color to your Life
Flit away any burdens your soul might be carrying
You don’t have to plug truth into a computerized search engine to learn about
what is really true and real
Are you focusing on what others are telling you?
Or are you paying attention to how people make you feel onthe inside?
Dragonfly inspires us to be light on the feet –
with magical colors of waning sunlight
See through illusionary smokescreens through the
laser precision eyes of a spiritual watcher
What hidden aspects of yourself want to come out into the sun and
dance in the daylight for others to see?
A Full Sturgeon Moon signals a peak seasonal catch . . .
Might as well swim with the current instead of pushing against the primordial power of water
Dragonfly breathes magic and color
into the ordinary doings of everyday life
A long time ago . . .
Dragon had the Midas touch of always going straight for the gold
But a wise guy called Coyote tricked Dragon by shrinking him down to a fly
so that he could eat a slice of humble pie
Do you need a change in habit?
What good are your lucky charms
If you get consumed by your own facade?
Let go of the shores and surrender to Life’s oceanic bounty
Are you holding yourself back with programmed beliefs that want to
break out of their boxed in mental compartments?
Lighten up by picturing a dragonfly making dazzling aerial feats
in the wide open vastness of your infinite inner space . . .
Ask for directional guidance to see through illusionary smokescreens –
Allow transformational pathways to become self-evident truths
Summer is a powerful time to act and create change in your life!
But it won’t be long before Nature reflects a colorful transition –
when Autumn leaves behind fleeting energetic balance and fallen old selves
Life is a mystery – isn’t the destination really the adventure of the journey?
August is a mysterious month. It is a time where it feels very much like the heat of summer will last forever. But even early on in the month – if you look carefully, you can see subtle evidence that fall is coming. Perhaps it’s a fallen leave or a hint of color that looks out-of-place in a treeline of green. Dragonflies are colorful creatures that do incredible feats. They are good reminders that it is a magical, mysterious and colorful world out there. Use their energies to see through the smoke and mirrors and awaken a more authentic and meaningful life experience. Remember to get out and play outside and meditate on the healing application of water.
Take care of yourselves everyone,
In case you missed it, here is a Chakra meditation video demonstration that I recorded recently. You can also find a multimedia description on the meditation page of this website:
May the sign of a male deer’s antlers point you into a doe’s yin-ward, gentle allurement into new adventures. Pay purposeful attention to the seasonal synchronicities that July opens up in your consciousness . . .
August is just around the corner. Even in its notorious ‘dog days’, if you look carefully, you’ll see early evidence of the subtleties of Autumn arriving. Perhaps an early fallen leaf, or another hint of Fall in the air.
Soon it will be back to school and back to business. Light and dark will be equal again on Wednesday, September 22nd.
Artwork by Barbara Merlotti
A Full Buck Moon wakens the return of the serpent to respond to the poisonous venom with medicinal healing energy of Snake. Out of the ashes, a Phoenix Rises. Growing pains are only an inevitable and natural part of life. But the stories you project onto your pain only adds more scar tissue to your wounds. Snake can help show you how to shed your old self and change the snake holes of your soul’s path.
What might look like a poisonous snake, could become the new skin of a healing tonic in your Life. Picture a Snake to see through the smokescreen of opinions that others might have about you, and slither into the truth of your own, unique identity. Are you sick from eating something bad for you? How are you feeling after getting a good night’s sleep, eating mostly fruits, plants, whole foods, spending time unplugged, and playing outside?
This month, we get in touch with our reptilian kin . . .
We are inspired to shed our old skins!
A Full Buck Moon arrives with the growth of new deer antlers
sprouting out of the foreheads of male deer.
As such, we transform the toxicity of venomous snake-bites
into an alchemy of soulful healing.
Might as well breathe in Divine air in the form of crystalline love-light!
Stoking the fire burning within . . .
A passing Summer Solstice,
Gently nudges us closer to feminine yin.
Meditation on Snake awakens medicinal transformation . . .
The time is now for heartfelt connections.
But don’t forget to mind your head!
Disasters leave a crematorium of ashes smoldering underground;
igniting new trees to leave underground darkness and branch out into the light.
Pain and suffering are hellish tragedies of Life . . .
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel derailed when riding along subways of unwanted emotions.
A sacred marriage between energetic masculine and feminine kin;
Awakens magical rebirths by shedding dead skin.
We live in a world full of toxicity. We are constantly being bombarded by lots of energies that leave us feeling depleted. Whether its heavy metals in our bodies, pollution, electromagnetic frequencies, radiation, a shrinking ozone layer, drugs, etc. – there are so many ways to bring us down or perk us up. But in spite of being bitten by these garden variety of venoms, there is so much help waiting to slither in from the spirit realm. All we have to do is ask. Just imagine the possibilities if every one of us started to do this from a clean place in our hearts – without any expectation of getting something in return. It will come about and reflect in our outer world when enough of us shed our old skins and open up to becoming something new. In this way, we will leave behind a clean energetic footprint for others to follow by being a role model. It’s like flagging a path for others to follow toward the trail head, to use a hiking metaphor. The trick is to not get stuck in our primitive lizard brain, or reptilian brain. It is easy to become trapped in survival mode – robotic and lost in the everyday busyness of life. But the same systems that oppress can liberate. It is encouraging to know that alternative energy really does start with you. We can all incorporate a meditative way of living by simply becoming mindful of our breathing, picturing calming and peaceful thoughts, expecting synchronicity and focusing on the positive. Enacting a walking meditation, if you will, really does change our experience with reality and energizes our bodies. This process of transformation is contagious and literally becomes your new normal.
Another Sacred Geometrical Arcturian Positive Self Talk Mantra asserts that, “the energy of Transition radiates trust and prepares you for new times. Every challenge dissolves old ideas and simultaneously creates new possibilities.”
A Strawberry Full Moon yields a fruitful harvest for this sweet crop. Light peaks on the Summer Solstice. Summertime begins and our spirits want to flock together like birds of a feather. Float with Butterfly to lighten up your soul to the energy of joy while following your bliss. External outer-directed energies are in full swing now.
When you are faced with the challenge of changing the latitudes of your attitudes . . . Remember to float with the joy of Butterfly lighten-up the color of your soul. Where are you at right now in your growth? Are you a caterpillar inching along? Or are you a grub in hibernation — just waiting for something new to break out of yourself? Or are you ready to spread your new wings and fly into new places?
Artwork by Barbara Merlotti
A Strawberry Full Moon rises on Thursday, June 24, 2021, just after the Summer Solstice on Father’s Day on June 20th. Many of you already know that yang symbolizes masculine energy or sunlight. In the Northern hemisphere, these male energies reach their peak. And then after that, the light will slowly wane till yang and yin are in energetic equal alignment again on the Autumn equinox on September 22nd. In the Southern hemisphere, it is the opposite. On equinoxes, masculine and feminine energies flow together in egalitarian balance.
When the light rises, as amplified by the eclipses and Full Moons, spirited energies are more intense. There is nothing to get dramatic, abusive or hung up about. Old patterns and issues rise to the surface for us to revisit and examine so that we can release old toxins and shed old skins that hold us back so that we can transform, and manifest new ways of being. I am watching this play out in my own life, as I know many of you are seeing it play out in yours, the planet, and beyond.
Be kind to your mind by remembering that there is always some dark in the light, as well as some light in the dark. There is no perfect sign, color or utopian symbol. Energy is energy . . . It’s what we do with it that counts. As such, we might as well do whatever we can to stay in alignment with the forces of Nature and the universal pillars of Love and Truth. Remember that happiness as a way of life is not without the bitter taste of pain. The key dynamic is our approach to “digesting bitter.”
How many of you have been listening in on the popular chattering monkey minds of the adult world regarding the sense of entitlement of youth culture today? For example, even some younger millennial teachers I know talk about how kids today are different, while sometimes citing justifications for their positional judgements. Of course, there is truth in these observations because the one constant is change, and that we are kneeling at the bosom of a flowering New Earth. At the same time, the old world is wilting away and dying. But if we give deeper and higher contemplation toward the quote below by an old school hall of fame teacher, it would seem like he was speaking to the everyday gripes about today’s youth right Tao, and yet from back Zen:
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Meditate on the ancient Chinese Taoist yin and yang symbol below:
Furthermore, when I think of the dying old world, with its savoir complex and forceful dog eat dog ways, I think about the Taoist meaning of “investing in loss”, by the late Chinese Tai Chi master, “Professor” Cheng Man-Ching, who brought Tai Chi to America from his native land, against the strict rules of his racial ancestral group. Can you imagine the culture shock he experienced when his new American students came to learn from him, who were predominantly white, hippie types with long hair and counterculture leanings? But the East and West came together in the spirit of co-regulation to learn about investing in loss as a way to neutralize a superior force through the practice of non-contention:
Now when I say, “Learn to invest in loss,” who is willing to do this? To invest in loss is to permit others to use force to attack while you don’t use even the slightest force to defend yourself. On the contrary, you lead an opponent’s force away so that it is useless. The hero’s journey starts with self-reinforcement, passes through acceptance and internal quietude, to arrive at listening, learning and perhaps, ultimately, transcendence. This is the common path of spirituality and martial arts. To win, one must first be sincerely willing to lose more than just their footing.
Sometimes, the Professor reportedly expounded on how women generally were more naturally gifted at the internal martial arts, push hands included. Because, as women, they tended to be more in touch with yin energy, which is the feminine. The internal martial arts emphasizes a gentle and soft approach to cultivating the power of Qi (energy) gradually, like water slowly gaining momentum. The dying patriarchy represents the sun setting on the old world, which is clearing space for the moon rising in the New Earth, where we are witnessing the return of the Sacred Feminine. The New Aquarian Age is about we consciousness, where the individual finds their way too, but not without a supporting balance between authentic personal growth and group identity.
During our everyday routine, we can step into the variety of roles that we play in life’s game with awareness and compassion, and then let go when our part is done. Learning how to be human is developing a relationship with our “non-self.” In this space, we are allowing ourselves to relax into a present moment awareness that reaches beyond the roles we play and identify with. In this relaxed state, may we notice a window opening up to freedom, joy and equanimity. If we can let go of a sense of expectation, clinging and grasping, perhaps we can see the river of emotions for what they are, and become more likely to go with the flow of life during its unfolding process.
Meditate on the images and accompanying healing mantras below via Gene Ang
InterGalactic Red Frequency-used to activate, warm, and strengthen.
InterGalactic Orange Frequency-used to cleanse, clear, and release.
InterGalactic Yellow Frequency-used to mend and heal broken bones, ligaments, and tendons. Also useful for mental processing.
InterGalactic Green Frequency-overall universal cleansing frequency.
InterGalactic Blue Frequency-cooling and soothing to inflammatory processes.
InterGalactic Indigo Frequency-unique spiritual vibration frequency
InterGalactic Violet Frequency-high vibration frequency used to raise the vibration of any healing process.
Notice how the colors in the above images correspond to the Chakras, as well as the colors of the rainbow, coupled with their accompanying meditations that we have discussed in earlier blog entries.
Specifically, from a Civil Rights calendar perspective, June is LGBTQ + Pride month. Another way to play with our sexual identity and sensual expression is to be mindful of the above rainbow of intergalactic colors and how they manifest in everyday wellness as a way of life. As you can see, each color represents a different vibrational frequency in spiritual healing. Entertaining a walking meditation of the applicability of these colors is another strategy for spiritual awakening in your daily life. This is an inside out approach to act out your sensuality in the form of a walking mindful meditation without necessarily doing anything outwardly different. We make a big deal about taking action in the West. Of course this is a good time of year for manifestation, and sometimes taking external action steps are a necessary part of personal growth and systemic change. But what we are focusing on here is an inside out approach by getting to know yourself on a deeper level as a formless, energetic being that wants to express itself through your outer form.
Finally, think about how gender fluidity connects to the above yin and yang symbol. Given that humans are part of Nature, we are reflections of that mirror. You can’t have Mother Earth without Father Sky. From this perspective, every man has a woman inside of him, just as every woman has a man inside of her. Moreover, every white person has a BIPOC inside of themselves, just as every LGBTQ has a straight person living within them. You might not believe in reincarnation, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a past life living within you that matters nonetheless. We are all connected and yet we are all unique. Diversity within Unity. Yes we should honor our differences and respect how we identify with them. Labels are an acknowledgment for what was once hidden within a jar. But the more open and transparent we become about our differences, the more we can let them go and just be with each other on a truly level playing field. It may sound out of this world, but given that we all have stardust in our DNA, we all have alien technology living within our humanity, if you’ll pardon the cosmological pun.
Take care of yourselves everyone,
Specifically, listen to how the ‘tuning up the organs’ meditation by Qigong Master Lee Holden below, harmonizes with the color frequencies above:
The wood element is about resiliency; a combination of strength and flexibility.
Think about a tree. It grows in both directions, staying connected to its sources, both above and below. The roots need strength to support the tree from below. The deeper the roots, the higher the tree can grow towards the light.
When we're grounded, we can be flexible with life's ever-changing circumstances, like a tree in the wind, able to go with the flow of whatever life has to offer.
“This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into unknown, uncharted, and shaky – that’s called ‘liberation’.” Pema Chodron
What I love about the above quote by this wise, Western woman meditation teacher is that it captures the timeless, universal application of spiritual awakening, and follows a path of conscious evolutionary living. How timely this quote is in the here and now in this reform school known as Earth. We are now officially in the early stages of the New Age and Paradigm of Aquarius. Regardless of your orientation, it’s impossible now not to feel it on some level. Some more than others are really embracing it. Many are clinging to the old world, the old ways, and wishing “things would just go back to normal.” But what does normal really mean? The truth is, there’s no going back, as living life in the rearview mirror prevents you from living in the present moment. Life is transient and change is inevitable. Nature reveals the changing tides through the reflections of the seasons.
Consider how art imitates reality. Do you remember the classic old cartoon, Looney Tunes? As violent as this TV show was, it was easier for a parent to explain to their child that a cartoon character that was blown to smithereens, and then magically came back to life wasn’t real because it was just a cartoon. As such, it was easier for a child to make this connection. Besides, unlike today, the repeated exposure to shows like these was limited, even if an adult wasn’t around to set the limit or offer any supervisory guidance. But TV, movies and video games are so realistic nowadays, not to mention readily accessible at the convenience of your fingertips. Given the pandemic of “fake news” out there, you all know how challenging it is to discern between fact and fiction. It’s a sign of the times that we all need to do the work to find our own pillars of truth (with love). Are you going to pay purposeful attention to your fears and negative self talk or are you going to be mindful of truth that is in alignment with love?
For assistance in making the quantum leap from old thought forms into new ones, consider meditating on the image and mantra below:
Image and mantra courtesy of Acurda
“Where biology has tuned its antenna, silica crystals, little dendrites, neural pathways and have been restructured in a way that the exact same seed creativity can now be expressed as light, compassion and love. By doing this you are not only changing all the structuring crystals in your pineal gland (Third Eye) and DNA but those of the collective consciousness of this planet. These high multidimensional thoughts create new crystals in the body, the biomineralization of a new human with simultaneously creating biomineralization harmonics to the planet reality.”
Accordingly, Sacred Geometrical Arcturian Positive Self Talk asserts that “The energy of contact allows you to feel that all doors to your inner source will open when you surrender and, like water, go with the flow. Let your strength lead you, and you will find your own way.”
For example, building an everyday positive self talk strategy is a good concrete replacement for negative self talk, like worry. When your worry is targeted toward someone you’re concerned about or even for the general plight of the planet, humanity or endangered species, simply call on these guides or allies in the spirit realm for help. Part of surrender, a leap of faith, and trust is to have an attitude of acceptance of physical and non-physical realities, and intuitively know they are interacting with one another.
Specifically, Arcturians, Archangels and Nature Spirits can all be seen as helping guides/spirits or allies in consciousness. From a shamanic perspective, this is a somewhat conservative, traditional, and foundational approach to spiritual evolutionary wellbeing because it’s been a time tested tradition for over 100,000 years and runnin’. Of course in conventional Establishment terms, this would be considered far out. But if you are open to it, all you have to do is be receptive to the benign, healing energies of the myriad of teachers in the spirit realm that are ready to assist you as needed. If you think of an invisible umbilical cord attached to your crown chakra that is connected to Father Sky, Heaven or the Cosmos, this can be an effective walking meditation to add to your multidimensional tool belt. Refer to the Chakra chart by scrolling further down in this blog entry for a pictorial context.
But what does it mean to be a multidimensional being? It just means that we recognize that there is a physical reality, as well as non-physical realities. The most simple way I can understand this is to picture a triangle consisting of a mind-body-spirit with a circle, or another triangle in the center that represents our soul. It appears to be a fact of life that the body eventually dies, and the mind eventually does too. But there is a growing body of metaphysical and scientific evidence that asserts that our spirits and souls live on. While we are living in this form, our soul can travel. For most of us, this experience happens when we are dreaming. For many, this understanding doesn’t happen until you are dying and getting ready to leave this Earth and return to Source. But it can also happen during various forms of visualization/meditation practices.
Image by Sherry Mosley
Here on the ground, and as a social worker in Public Schools, I get into more conversations with students (and adults) that are inspired to develop their spirituality, and are bringing up their queried stories to my attention on their own volition for further exploration. Indeed the veils between the physical realm and spirit realm are thinning more now than they have been historically. It can be challenging to discern what is spirit or what is physical, just like it is harder to differentiate between fantasy and reality these days, given the advancement in technology, and fluidity of personal boundaries in our connections with each other.
For example, one student I work with told me that she connects with her brother who lives in a faraway state through “astral projection”, and then asked me if I knew what that was. I reassured her that I did, and that some people are oriented in such a way that their soul can travel, but that all people can develop this skill through various forms of mediation. Of course we all do this when we dream. Another student told me that she has experiences where she sees and hears a beloved cat that died recently. Her animal dreams consist of a vibrant “animal heaven” state of consciousness with clouds, mountaintops, trees and rainbows. In dreams like these, the animal friends related that they had crossed over, and communicated that they are alive and well in an alternate reality where their spirits were living harmoniously. When students bring these issues up, we always process the mixed feelings that coexist, in the sense that there is enjoyment in reconnecting with a loved one that is physically gone, but that spiritual connections can be a bit spooky, uncomfortable or difficult to sort through. Part of our human experience includes sitting with the tension of opposites that naturally include entanglements with our attachments.
More importantly, people like me tend to find it helpful to have these experiences normalized. Moreover, folks typically feel empowered to learn about the common language that operationalizes their spiritual experiences, like clairsentience and clairaudience, or psychic abilities that perceive spirit. Part of developing good social skills is to know your audience, and recognize who is safe to share this information with, and who isn’t. Working on boundaries is part of learning how to be human, which of course is a life cycle process. It’s nice that kids can feel safe to talk with a trusted adult about such things. When we all get what we need from the ground up, we’re more likely to give that back from the top down. This is how we heal the illusion of polarity consciousness that we see playing out on the fields of life.
Additionally, many people that work in mental health are expanding their own perceptions of reality through their own personal growth. As helpers, it is dangerous to people when we don’t. While it’s easy to stay in our own boxes and hide behind their judgments, that leaves us susceptible to our own projections onto others, which can be damaging to relationships. Humans have been good at projecting our own experiences with reality onto others, while at the same time assuming that our projections are absolute gospel. While they might be true on some level, clinging to these prejudices are problematic because they block making fluid connections with each other, which is especially harmful when a helping professional does that. It is critical to “meet people where they are at.” Because we all have our humanity, that can be challenging for both support staff and teachers working in schools these days. But that is exactly what we are being asked to do. Meeting someone where they are at does not meant that we condone their unwanted behavior, like work avoidance, learned helplessness, victimhood, or not working to their full potential. It just means that you have empathy for what the person you are concerned about is capable of in this moment in time. And while your student or child might be being manipulative, they probably aren’t doing it on purpose or trying to ruin your day. But if they are, learning how to manipulate the environment is part of adolescent development. How many of us adults are still working out our own dharmic karma in this area?
Specifically, it’s like a kid who tries to come out to their caregiver that they identify as LGBTQ, and the adult responds in a way that is shaming, dismissive or generally non-supportive. Regardless of the age, if this is how the person sees themselves, it is hard to go wrong with a position of empathy and curiosity. For example, the parent could say, “wow, I can see this took a lot of courage for you to share this information with me. How do you feel about that?” Sadly but understandably, many adults struggle, hide behind their judgments, and then might proceed to project their own beliefs onto the child. While some parents wax on about a pro-LGBTQ identity, others do the opposite by citing religious convictions, and perhaps sending their child to a “conversion therapy”, which is thankfully illegal in Maine. The point is, try to be present with your child and keep a healthy conversation alive. Do you value raising a good whole person or a sexual identity that conforms to your expectations based on your own conditioning? Do you value allowing your child to be who they are or who you want them to be? Mixed messages, while a fact of life, are challenging to discern and navigate through.
Check out this short youth empowerment/Civil Rights oriented film about celebrating a Pride event in small town Nova Scotia:
Inspired by May being “Mental Health Month”, I remember a really good psychiatrist coworker who once pointed out in a mental health training that people affected by schizophrenia see things that “normal” people don’t. But it only becomes a problem when it drives the person crazy in a way that is characterized as “ego dystonic.” There’s an old saying that you have to get sick of being sick before you can heal and know liberation. Mother told me about experiences with depression that were so severe she encountered psychotic episodes. I believe Mother suicided to avoid going down that dark rabbit hole again, instead of confronting her inner demons that haunted her. Had she built up more resilience, I feel that she could have stayed alive longer without torturing herself. Mother is now part of my ‘spiritual light team’, and I can access her spirit whenever I ask for Her support.
Given the above nuance, what is really often going on here is that the concerned adult doesn’t like the mirror being held up in their face, and that can be a tough cracker to look at. That’s what happened in the early 60s, when many people were having spiritual awakenings, like Harvard Psychology Professors Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, before he was Ram Dass. To their credit, academics like them were trying to go beyond rat psychology, and understand consciousness. In this process of discovery, they humbly realized that they were out of the woods in their understanding about the nature of reality. Many people took LCD and other psychoactive drugs to expand their minds, and were thought to have lost their minds (of course plenty did). But they were having spiritual awakenings by opening up their ‘doors of perception’. People started waking up to portals into a multidimensional reality beyond a conventional worldview. Like author Joseph Campbell accurately understood, the difference between the mystic and the psychological crackup is that the mystic swims in the waters the crackup drowns in. It’s all about context, and how expansive your worldview is with the ability to pull back and stay grounded in this reality.
“Photo sensitive Transmissions from the New Earth” by Acurda
Furthermore, the mindful moment referenced above is an empowering strategy to feel connected in the present moment, and a simple way to co-create Heaven on Earth one step and one breath at a time. All you are really doing, or being rather, is keeping your power rather than giving it away to some external force. You have superpowers, but without the need to be identified with a superhero or savior complex. We are living in an age where we need to let go of our need to swoop in to rescue and save others. Everyone has equal access to their ‘spiritual light team’ if they so choose. That being said, it does take both the intention, and a commitment to it. The more you play around with your daily practice, the more your daily practice plays around with you. Funny the way that can turn into another form of mindfulness in your everyday doings. All you have to do is look at these beings as teachers in the spirit realm, by seeing them as silent mentors that we can link up with, like “in a zoom conversation.” And if you are feeling unsure, all you have to do is ask, “are you my teacher.” It’s your call who you let in, and you will know by how you feel.
The easiest way to open the doors to this perceptual experience is through your “third eye”, as indicated on the Chakra chart below. As you can see, this Chakra is typically associated with a dark blue or indigo color. This is the realm of intuition, forethought, and visualization. There are many ways to develop this Chakra. One simple strategy is to rub this area with your fingers side to side or in a circular motion. Or you can mindfully eat (ideally healthy) foods of this color, while chewing on how you are feeding your energy, if you’ll pardon the pun. For example, next time you eat a banana, think about nourishing your solar plexus chakra and grounding your self esteem. Also, you can also relax your gaze by slightly blurring your vision without crossing your eyes, as a way to play with your perception. These can be fun, yet practical ways to integrate what I like to call a walking meditation in your everyday doings. Besides, it’s harder to react to someone else’s facial expressions when you relax your gaze in this way.
Daily Chakra Meditation Audio Resource:
Finally, when we talk about Diversity within Unity, the Unity piece involves acknowledging our universal connection to one another, which allows us to feel less alone in the world. Nobody likes feeling lonely, not even hermits. Besides, as romantic as being a hermit might sound, they typically struggle with their own insecurities like the rest of us, and probably just have a harder time learning how to be human than your average bear. The Diversity piece honors our different expressions in form, as well as the unique blueprint of our souls. A shy person should not be seen as lesser than a social butterfly or vice versa. Besides, we all have both of these personality characteristics within our being. Some of the most family oriented, conscientious, kind and caring people I know aren’t necessarily the warm and fuzzy types, and can even come across as curt and rude towards others. We all have our unique blueprints and personality characteristics. Just imagine how boring our world would be if we were all nanotechnological, programmed cyborgs going around in a singular, monochromatic lockstep with each other, like in the film The Stepford Wives.
As a boy, I remember when Grandmother used to empathize with my complaints about teenagers by saying to me that “they were like a different species.” With no disrespect to our child who is a teen now or the teens that I work with in school, I’d say that Grandmother’s empathic statement was a spot on characterization of this unique stage of human development. Not long thereafter, I became a teenager myself, but she didn’t stop loving me or stop making me feel like I belonged. How she raised five kids of her own, especially coming from abject poverty, a significant trauma background, and no idea about how to be a parent is beyond me. But the woman had a strong survival instinct and stamina, as she had a household of five teenagers, back during the turbulent ’60s no less. Grandmother’s teenagers gave her and Grandfather a run for their money, especially by challenging the conventional cultural norms of the time. Before she could bat an eye, they all embraced the counterculture to varying degrees. Long hair, left wing politics, sex, drugs and rock and roll were all on the conversational table. Religion, conventional norms, and the Establishment were all being questioned, discussed, and protested at the family dinner ritual. By the time I came along, I thought all that was normal. And while it was natural, it wasn’t normal back then. Looking back in my time travels, I have never met anyone who would want to go back to their Middle School years again. Usually, there are other ages people fantasize about traveling back to, but not that time period.
Recently, a coworker friend inquired about what podcasts or other resources I might recommend for adults that are struggling with the challenging behaviors of the teenagers in their lives. In short, try to stand in your own personal authority, and stay away from power struggles. It’s your approach that matters. Easier said than done. Someone wise once said about parenting, “it doesn’t get any easier, it just changes.” Your kids might leave the roost, and then come back to live with you again. Before you know it, they might be changing your diapers someday. Might as well “teach your children well”, like the Crosby, Stills & Nash song posits. Nothing against having a sympathetic perspective toward someone else’s plight. But consider the power of empathy over sympathy, as captured in the following short Brene Brown cartoon vignette:
More importantly, parents and primary caregivers have a lot more power than we realize. At the end of the day, all we can really do is arm our children with the coping skills and strategies to build their resilience, and live their lives effectively. So it stands to reason that it is incumbent on we parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches and mentors to be good role models of those coping skills and strategies. When we do that, we are co-creating a safety net together to catch kids being good, and helping them bounce back when they aren’t. Self-care is a powerful way to be a good role model, and good replacement strategy for neglecting your own needs as an adult. Are you taking care of yourself? If the kids in your life are seeing you taking care of yourself, then they are more likely to pay attention to you when you instruct them to take care of themselves. Building in a commitment to a self-care routine in your life requires us to move beyond the entitlement of excuses that prevent us from making the wellbeing of our own souls a priority.
Just being honest, most parents who are struggling with their teenager (who isn’t) are also dealing with their own mental health issues because a teenager that is acting out impacts the mental health and well being of a family system. If this is the case, a parent might want to consider discussing their concerns with the family doctor. I know a wise psychiatrist who was very vocal about encouraging parents to push their doctors to do primary care, because mental health is part of primary care. Your primary care doctor might have some ideas to help you strategize about what steps to take. I have a coworker friend who informed me the other day that her doctor’s first “go to is are you meditating”, and has a chakra chart in their office. This doesn’t glorify the medical model. It just recognizes that our healthcare system is a support system, albeit not without its limitations. It is an embarrassment that the US does not have a universal single payer health care system yet (including mental health and substance abuse/addiction treatment). But to quote Bernie Sanders, “that’s a different conversation entirely.” However, by bringing up your concerns with your doctor, you become a catalyst for change, and a good role model for it. Also, as a parent/caregiver, perhaps accessing your own counseling or a family therapist is the prescription you need to take back your hearth. Let’s face facts here – you get an oil change for your car, don’t you? As a human being, shouldn’t you get at least the same level of care as a machine?
Furthermore, the point is that you are not alone, and it does take a village because the power of the community matters. But the parents should be calling the shots, not the other way around. Youth empowerment and child rights are about our youth finding and having their voice. But our youth still need the guidance of trusted adults to show them the way. When a child runs the show and has too much power, that’s scary for them and they can’t handle it. When adults are scared, that’s scary for kids. And given the times we are living in, coupled with the pandemic, that’s a common denominator for all of us to be sensitive to and appreciate nonetheless. Meditation helps you sit with what is in less reactionary ways to what is going on around you.
For example, a parent can be a good role model by being humble and vulnerable by reaching out to a teacher, school social worker or school counselor and starting a conversation about their concerns. At the Middle School I work at, we have a multidisciplinary team that consists of our building Principals, School Resource Officer, School Counselors, Nurse, Social Worker, and other supportive staff in our building. Our job is to discuss the students that are surfacing as the most vulnerable, which typically stems from issues going on outside of school, and typically within their family systems. Our collaborative work together comes from a trauma-informed, positive behavioral/restorative justice oriented lens. Our Civil Rights Team Co-Advisors facilitated a “Diversity in Unity” conversation at our last monthly staff meeting. It isn’t easy work, but having a multidisciplinary team that affords a sacred space for group process is a helpful constellation to any organizational structure.
Moreover, these days, we are living the turbulent 60s on steroids, for better and for worse. A lot of good came from that time, opening up consciousness, examining racial, gender, sexual identity, and class disparities and equity. But we didn’t finish the job, and there is work to be done. You can run but you can’t hide. Nowadays, things are so divided. On the one hand, you have parents that want to rule the roost, and have their children obey their command. On the other side of the coin, there are parents that buy into the anything goes mentality without question, and overly rely on the child’s perspective. There’s more than one reality. Keep in mind the one of the “Qs” in the LGBTQ + movement is “questioning”, as in it is in our right as adults to also question what we don’t understand, and question our children about what they understand about themselves and their world. This is a key dynamic in youth empowerment. The + sign means that diversity in unity is about us respecting and honoring our difference but at the same time, seeing that we are all cut from the same cloth. There is always a ripple effect, and the parent/child interaction is a mutually influential process of interaction and learning.
Looking back on the past 15 years of working primarily in the Middle School level (Preschool-High School experience) with students in the 6-8th grades, what a long, strange trip it’s been. This time in human development is differently unique, and I’m not just talking about the kids. As a social worker in schools, we have a unique lens that is a minority perspective. We generally view ourselves as educators in a different light, and we see learning that way too. For us, our bias is toward improving systemic, and equal access to resources in mental health, wellness, and social emotional learning. We tend to think about systemic problems in our work, and ponder what we might do to affect change on that level. It’s what our line calls “mezzo” social work, a unique hybrid of “macro” and “micro” practice. Our practice includes direct clinical work, we do some case management, and work with other systems of care, including getting on various committees with a keen eye on political activism, as it is part of our code of ethics to advocate for the poor, oppressed, and other vulnerable and disenfranchised populations. Most of us have a background in trauma, so we tend to notice how the adults in the lives of our population reflect what our students are acting out. Some of the adults are more awake and aware of these nuances and see themselves as part of the solution, or at least wanting to be. Others don’t and seem to want to keep the blinders on or bury their heads in the sand. And then there are those that expect us to wave a magic wand and fix the problem. We can make easy targets that way. We’re not good at pleasing everyone, which is OK, because that helps many of us like me that are wounded healers sober up to our disease to please, and lick our own wounds. Besides, it’s not our job to medicate people. We give a lot more thought to boundaries than other professionals, we have a sensitive understanding of power in relationships, and our idea of professional supervision is radically different from other workplaces.
Reflectively, it’s harder to be a parent and a kid today. Learning how to be human has never been easy. Yet paradoxically, in some ways, our world is far safer than back in the days of saber toothed tigers looking for food with us on the menu. Today, our evolution is more about our brain development, which is why mindfulness/meditation is probably the most important factor in the human life cycle. We need to support our capacity to co-regulate with each other so that we can learn to effectively manage ourselves so that we can function at home, school and community. If a child doesn’t feel safe at home (or school/community) then it isn’t very realistic that a healthy approach to learning will take place. All children (and adults) do better when resiliency is being appreciated, cultivated and supported. We all can benefit from learning how to make the shift from our “downstairs” brain to our “upstairs” brain or communicate from our amygdala to our prefrontal cortex. It’s when our brains get tripped up offline that we experience a system failure, if you’ll pardon the pun. As adults raising, working, and interacting with teens, our best tool in the toolbox is to be good role models. It’s hard to teach mindfulness if we don’t have our own meditation practice. As adults, this requires that we move beyond a position of entitlement. Those that are hardest to love need it the most.
Encouragingly, the kids are really eating this meditation/mindfulness stuff up. In fact, teens are at a uniquely receptive age for an advanced meditation/mindfulness practice due the stage of their brain development. Ask them about it. When I was a guest speaker at an Elementary School, it made my heart sing when a young boy stood up and said that his dad started listening to a meditation app to learn how to calm down when he was angry. In that, the boy recognized that his dad was becoming a happier person and better parent, as well as learning to have more self control. As a social worker, many of my regular students I see feel like a burden to their parents or caregivers. Some are oblivious and could care less. Others recognize their privilege, and want to be a good ally to their peers in need, even if they aren’t friends. In my Civil Rights work, it is beautiful to see our students becoming empowered, and playing a lead role in creating a more welcoming school (and community) for everyone. It’s a sign of a good coach who draws up the play, allows the quarterback to call the play, hand the ball off to the running back and let him (or her) run with the ball. They all have to trust the linemen and rest of the team to do their job if the play is going to work. Football is the epitome of teamwork and group work in action. You have to practice the fundamentals on the field and put in your time and do your homework off the field. It’s about working smarter rather than harder. But when you get knocked down, and don’t get your way, you suck it up buttercup, and get back up.
What is more, challenging behavior and addictions are not unique to teenagers, or “screenagers” as they are sometimes called, given their penchant for screen time. Talk about a normalized addiction in today’s world. It reminds me of growing up in a family of cigarette smokers during my youth, who would seemingly all light up at once at extended family gatherings, and I’m not just blowing smoke, if you’ll pardon the pun. And while marijuana might be legal in Maine today, when asked by parents/caregivers, my consultation about it hasn’t changed since when it wasn’t. Like Willie Nelson says, it’s better to stay away from substances, and tell your kids to as well. But if you are going to indulge, it’s better not to do it habitually around your kids or alone either really. Repeated exposure to wellness and making healthy choices is more likely to result in teens learning healthy lifelong routines. Probably the best medicine is to learn self-control, self-regulation, and remember to breathe consciously in the living moment. As adults, if we are focusing on positive self talk, being mindful of our breathing, picturing peaceful, calming thoughts, then we are more likely to be teaching our children how to do that. If we are treating them with dignity and respect, then they are more likely to show it to us. If teens are being defiant, struggling with paranoid thoughts, obsessions, or other deeply ingrained behavioral patterns, like gaming, smoking, drinking, drugging, cutting, bullying or other addictive behaviors, then we should respond to these issues with a restorative approach rather than punitive measures that just teach more work avoidance and apathy. In short, “tough love” is about teaching cause and effect, as gently and softly as possible. Again, as an adult in their life, you might as well start with yourself. You can’t control everything they do, but you can control how you respond to it. Yeah, there is a fear based respect that comes with ruling with an iron fist. But there is a different quality of respect from doing it Dr. King’s way.
Finally, natural and logical consequences can be powerful teachers. For example, let’s say that your teen is heavily into the party scene, and running the show at home. If you haven’t already, you could set three basic rules or guidelines that can be visually posted as a point of reference. This is a concrete strategy and takes the fight out of it. There has to be some buy-in to incentivize the game plan, which kids can usually articulate on some level. There should be consequences to when they follow the rules, and when they don’t. Kids are naturally egocentric, so there needs to be a “what’s in it for me?” to promote their motivation to do the right thing. It’s harder to notice and focus on the positive behaviors (and consequences), but that’s what’s most important. If there is a significant pattern of defiance and disrespect, then it might mean a choice between therapy, rehab or getting the police and legal system involved. Accountability is key, and learning to take responsibility for their actions is something that should not be robbed from teenagers, or you’re just asking for arrested development, if you’ll pardon the pun. Cheap for me to say, I do this well professionally but struggle personally at times, as it’s always more challenging to do this at home. It’s hard not to be entitled as a man who is a social worker at home. I’ve put in my time at work, and don’t want to come home and deal with the BS or drama, as it would be easier to just check out. But that is exactly what I am being asked to do by the Universe. So I’m not asking any of you to roll up your sleeves alone here. Grandfather used to say that he couldn’t expect his workers to do that for him if he wasn’t willing to roll up his sleeves with them. Hang in there folks. All you can do is do the best that you can. Try to become the change you want to see in the world. Sometimes, you just limp along with the rapidly or flaccidly firing neurons of the teens in your lives.
Take care of yourselves everyone,
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