Spirit of Thanksgiving Revisited

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Thanksgiving gives us time to pause and reflect on the spirit of the season, count our blessings, and meditate on gratitude. As a fellow human, I feel especially thankful for our home, Mother Earth. At times, I have taken Her for granted and I am sorry for it. If it wasn’t for Her presence in our lives, none of us would be here. And if I hadn’t been given the gift of Her presence in my life, my experience here would have been very different, and not as enriching to say the least.

Contemplation on how my life would be different in Earth’s absence yields a plentiful harvest of gain in my appreciation for Her bounty. It also deepens my feelings of gratitude for this lifetime living on this planet. As spiritual beings having human experiences, we are expanding souls so it is natural to desire abundance in its variety of forms. But we miss the boat when we forget to acknowledge our blessings and gratitude for what is.

How might your life be different if Earth had never entered into your lives, or had certain people, places or things not entered into your experiences?

I’ll admit it, I have my moments of heaviness at times. Even though I have been looked upon as a brother from another planet, like the rest of you, I have my fears and worries. It’s so easy to time travel to the past or back to the future, and get lost in those projections. How does one not get stuck in the intersections between the voices of trauma, resentful bitterness, rose colored glasses or nostalgia? Our suffering is in the clinging for one state over another. We wish this misery would be over or this happiness would never end.

Thanksgiving is no exception, as it is a holiday that serves up a feast of mixed messages and conflictual emotional memories. Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite mainstream holiday. But I don’t deify or demonize the Pilgrims or minimize, gloss over the genocide of Indigenous people, ignore the existence of this land before the current occupation, nor the slavery that existed then or the other forms of oppression that exist today. An authentic look at this holiday and still feeling gratitude for its totality is a lot to digest, and get be both bitter and sweet to the taste, depending on your attitude.

Admittedly, I welcome the relatively less emphasized market driven consumerism of Thanksgiving – at least compared to some others. Specifically, I’m learning to tame my own gluttony at the annual feast without defiance. Every year I walk away from the table pleasantly full even after eating less than the year before. It has taken me a long time to realize that softening the will is not about going hungry or selling out. Thankfully, I’m turning a corner on that front.

Beyond its polarities, Thanksgiving is about the intrinsic spiritual alchemy of being mindful of having an attitude of gratitude for what is and the gift of presence. When we are in this place, we win on the inside and everyone one around us is impacted in a positive light. And yet, this real realm of personal discovery is not without a new world of anxiety because anxiety is a fact of life. When I think of Thanksgiving and Turkey, I think about the spirit of shared blessings that feathers a ripple effect of reciprocity.

In my own experiences with anxiety, I would be lying if I denied that they sometimes ruffle my feathers. These days, my own OCD experiences have evolved (or devolved depending on your perspective ) into being mindful of my breath, and cracking puns – sometimes at oft color times of heightened nervous woodland creature energy. In fact, the puns fall quite autumnatically like acorns during this time of year or rise like the tides on Full Moons especially. Like most people, it’s pretty impossible to not find myself preoccupied with much ado about nothing, if only fleetingly, in the theatre of life. The trick is to not hang out too long in that space or chase thoughts with overly indulgent reactions.

For certain, you could charge me with being guilty of a coyote like subtle (or not so subtle) wry grin on my face, even when I should mirror a more serious affect or otherwise apropos facial expression to match the situation at hand. It’s hard not to be provocative when you are naturally wired for having a propensity for the theatrics or know when to say when during the interplay between wisdom and folly. Tricks that were once treats no longer work anymore. Some call it growing up, while others say they’re younger than that now. Awakening is a process, as is supporting the awakening of others.

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Truth is, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between where con artistry begins and true wizardry ends – whether it’s working with adolescent girls or my own observational self-examination. But that’s OK, communication with Blue Jay reveals a general sense of acceptance and non-judgement in this area of personal growth. Besides, the royal road to authenticity is paved with fool’s gold in footsteps that have a tendency to fake it till you make it. Walking the line isn’t about being perfect. It’s about floundering, making mistakes and failure. These are elements of Growth Mindset. Nature is such a powerful teacher. That’s why psychologists agree that the best laboratory is the naturalistic environment. May we embrace our imperfections.

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These days, it can be more challenging for the Ordinary Joe not to get sucked into his own alternate realities, escapism, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders or the dramas of others. The dying stages of the systemic patriarchy makes it hard not to do that. You all know about the impact of FOMO, peer pressure, social media profiling, and the garden variety of distractions. Today’s outer distractions have more bells and whistles. But at the end of the day, we have the power to turn the background noise into bells of mindfulness.

Remember that the world is a reflection of art imitating reality. Today, it’s probably easier to play the blame game, considering the myriad of conveniently inconvenient excuses flitting out and about in this world of 10,000 things. We are conditioned to point our fingers at targets of our own suffering. Alas, we shop around at those deeply engrained establishments, fixed ideas notwithstanding!

Learning to be human has never been easy. We all need good strategies.

But in this pandemic, have we forgotten how to be human in the social environment?

Speaking of Target, if you find yourself in a situation where there isn’t a prepackaged box readily available on the shelf, is this an apparent invitation for throwing a public temper tantrum, having a panic attack over the missing object of affection, serial text people to come to your rescue, or perhaps indulging in a private negative self talk episode?

Might these moments otherwise be worth self reflecting on as an attachment to a desired outcome, and could instead become a playground for spiritual growth?

Are they repetitive, unconscious behavioral traps or an awakened state of awareness that are just waiting to come out and play in the sunlight?

The reality is that we have to work at our wellbeing, mental health and social emotional learning. Yeah, you can argue that you have the right to be rude to a grocery store worker because they mixed up your items and placed them in the wrong bags, cite that you are a paying customer, and therefore justified in the attitudinal feast you served up to the grocer. However, that is an entitled position that eats a hearty plate of suffering by being part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Being entitled is a form of victim consciousness. You lose from that perspective because it is a recipe for more suffering.

For example, just look at the profiteering of this nuance in the popular culture and so called alternative media forms. There’s a romantic libertarian defund the police sentiment, a welfare state of dirty energy, liberal greed in the marketplace and conservative fighting over the people’s right to quality healthcare, which includes preventative care, mental health and substance abuse/addictions treatment. There’s a constant slugfest between philosophical differences or belief systems. Whether it’s Critical Race Theory or Civil Rights Team – some people are triggered by the CRT acronym. Take the fight out of it folks. Give inner peace a chance. There is enough and we can all win.

Instead of challenging, connect. We need connection now more than ever on our Planet today. It would be wonderful if Divine Intervention happens. I do believe a faction of extraterrestrial beings and highly spiritually evolved multidimensional beings are concerned about our survival and are doing their part to support our transformation, and probably planning something more exponential as we speak. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the powers that be are plotting and scheming to counter that with commercials that attempt to hoodwink us into buying into a feigned invasion that fronts as an alien takeover. But in reality, the Military-Industrial Complex’s potential smoke and mirrors campaign will likely be orchestrated and manufactured from our own advanced engineering of foreign technology. We shall see.

What can each of us do in the meantime?

What kind of energy do we want to attract?

Clean energy on the inside is a parallel process to clean energy on the outside. Developing a meditation practice helps bring equanimity into your soul and the collective soul respectively. If you don’t see empathy in the world around you, become the change of empathy you want to see in the world by seeing it in your mind and feeling it in your heart. See it in yourself and see it in others, especially in your so called enemies. Some have to work harder at this than others.

Connect with the animals, nature and your fellow humans. Connect with you Higher Self. Connect with Spirit. Connect with your Spirit Guides. They all want to connect with you, and we all need connection.

We humans cannot afford to take each other for granted anymore or view ourselves as separate from each another. The only real way out of our suffering is through a meditative mindful way of life. It is only through this inner work that we can heal our soul wounds that manifest in our outer world. At the end of the day, everything else is just cosmetic. Easier said than done.

Awareness is the first step. We have to acknowledge whatever it is that needs to change by starting with ourselves. That takes courage because, in doing so, you will experience what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Through meditation, we can learn to sit with the tension of opposites, or the interplay between what we call preferred and non-preferred experiences.

Remember, we are all mirrors for each other and the signs are there for you to see if you take notice. I have a coworker friend that just bought a new sweatshirt that says, “HEAVILY MEDITATED.” That’s a nice playful, light-hearted mantra to sport on an article of clothing.

Together, may we learn to live in the present moment, regardless of how unknown or uncertain it is. Besides, there are no guarantees, so we might as well come down into our souls and take up residence in the here and now. May we give thanks for that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone,

Ari

The Rat Bows to the Chinese New Year of the Ox

Artwork Created by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

Have you ever heard the meme singing like black crows to the following lyrical everyday magical tune: it is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them that they have been fooled? This conversational nuance sprung up in communication with coworker teacher friends recently. Following that, I reflected on the spiritual therapy of Coyote energy, regarding its trickster elemental, and the medicinal alchemy of balancing wisdom and folly that we have referenced in past blog entries. How will our Grandchildren look at the Good Old Boy network of greedy governmental narcissism, the elitist entitlement of the Trump presidency, and subsequent mob’s violent stormtrooping of The Capitol in Washington, D.C.? It’s hard not to be reminded of Obi Wan Kenobi’s Jedi wit, “who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?” The next several years will not be easy. But I do believe that we will rise out of these ashes like a Phoenix, by bringing more balance to the Force.

Personally, the above dynamic is particularly challenging when in the company of others, as I have a strong, single minded streak, and have relied heavily on my gut instincts in life. While being single minded, and self deterministic can be a sound survival skill, and good strategy for living at times, it can also be a curse. Being overly single minded, and self deterministic can come across as entitled, and too selfish to other people. When reflecting on the reality of this perspective, I am reminded of working with the New Age of Aquarius in a balanced way. Like the Wolf Government, the politics of Aquarius dances with balancing individualism with collective group consciousness. How do we balance the needs of nurturing our individual souls with the needs of the collective souls? It’s not an exact science or fixed destination, but more of an unfolding process.

Additionally, there is the street credibility of giving respect to others when respect is shown to you. In much the same way as we see in the old world classic series Game of Thrones, respect is earned, and based on a strict adherence to rituals, rules, and edicts. But a deeper quality of respect does exist, if we only allow for it. When journeying into this dimension, we are invited to dig a little deeper to access this truth, which arrives intuitively from the Dreamtime. For example, a fellow spiritual traveler echoed this awareness by asserting, “the Wabanaki notion of respect is unconditional. It lives inside of me, and the more I become aware of that, then I naturally respect others.” Thankfully, we have spiritual teachers that have lived on this planet before, as well as those that are living on the planet today that are good role models for us. We can emulate them so that we can awaken these truths within so that they become self evident. The more of us that are awakening to this dimension of respect, the more it is becoming a shared experience. Check out this short video that further captures the sentiment at Indian Island Penobscot Nation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pB1Y-s4UoNilF-zq0ETXzFv1tez2WEQs/view

Contextually, when watching the current events of your own life, are you finding yourself untangling from a complex web of your old self, past experiences, awakening to new beginnings, budding energies stirring within, and itching to spring forth out into the sunlight? That would make sense, as Mercury is in retrograde right now till February 20th. Keep in mind that Thursday is a New Moon, and Friday, February 12th is the Chinese-Lunar New Year of the Ox. Spring is on its way, and happening right now, energetically speaking. As we have discussed in earlier blogs, Ox symbolizes humility, hard work, and emotional regulation. What is more, their energies are good reminders that it is important that everyone be allowed to contribute in group work. Sometimes, it is good to stay in your lane, and trust that others will do their part. This process also invites us to be mindful of letting go, and surrendering to the will of the Universe. I can hear an old football friend’s wit, “There is no ‘I’ in the team, but there is a ‘me’“.

More importantly, Chinese Astrology tells a story about when the Buddha summoned all the animals to establish an orderly sequence to the Chinese Zodiac. Moreover, “in the race, the Ox would have taken the honor taking first place had it not been for the clever and cunning Rat, who rode the back of the Ox and jumped forward at the finish line to steal away the top award.” Given that rats are very shrewd, coupled with an apparant zeal for competition, their connection to the term rat race seems apropos. I hardly think it’s a coincidence, given that behaviorist psychology gained social science credence from the results yielded by studying laboratory rats in scientific experiments. The capitalist/socialist system that we live in today mirrors that science.

Furthermore, when exploring the inner realm of meditative spaciousness, consider contemplating the Sacred Geometric Arcturian wisdom regarding balance: “The energy of balance helps you recognize yourself. If you are true to your feelings, if you recognize your own truth, nothing will be able to disturb your balance.” Reportedly, some of these Arcturian inspired, and recommended assertive I-messages are to say, “I release all thought programs that no longer serve me” and “clear out (toxic habituated) thought programs.” These are examples of how we can shift the spotlight of our purposeful attention from negative self talk to positive self talk. We can do this by embracing the Chattering Monkey Mind, rather than trying to push it away or throw it in the trash. Moreover, meditation on the spirit of Bear reinforces the power of respecting your own personal authority, and the boundaries of self in relationship with others. Set your intention to the Dream Lodge, and ask for safe travels in your sleep/dream cycle. This is not always easy during our waking hours, but it is a good way to let go before a good night’s rest.

Finally, when examining balance in our daily lives, it is always important to live with intention, and try to follow those footsteps with commitment. That is the trick to play with during our daily walking meditation along the trails of life. When we are walking in the center of the circle, we need to be mindful of not getting too swayed to the right or the left. Have we ever lived in such divided times? Indeed, these are the days to remember, where we are being called to heal the illusion of Polarity Consciousness. All that means is that our Higher Selves are bringing in higher energies to illuminate the shadows of our lower selves in the underground tunnels of our subconscious minds. In this awakening New Age and Paradigm, we are transitioning into an era of Diversity in Unity. We are all created equal, but are also uniquely diverse expressions of Spirit. And yet we are all part of Oneness. The Rainbow of Children under the Sun and the Moon that we all are. The Middle School Civil Rights Students I work with get that concept. Or like Mr. Miyagi captured in the classic film The Karate Kid so simply, “different, but same.”

Take care of yourselves everyone,

Ari

A Song About A Mother And Son’s Sacred Spiritual Conversational Connection

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Wise Fool is song that I wrote several years ago. It was inspired by an old poem written by my mom many moons ago, during one of her psychiatric hospitalization’s from one of her severe bouts of depression. What evolved from her poem is a spirited conversation that arrived out of meditative experiences in the dreamtime. This song is also inspired by the spiritual energy of Coyote, aka the “trickster”, which generally symbolizes the balance of wisdom and folly. Some of my old friends used to call one of my “signature” facial expressions, “the grin”, which reveals this part of my personality. Today, I look at Coyote, and my mom’s Spirit as part of my Spiritual Light Team, which I activate everyday, prior to an early morning intentional prayerful-meditation. I do this by simply saying, “Activate Spiritual Light Team.” And then I typically follow this by saying, “We ask God Directly (Creator/Great Spirit/Universe/Higher Self), and the Archangel’s of the Highest Order, to help Us awaken Our Multidimensionality, walk in alignment with the Universal pillars of Love and Truth, becoming the change We want to see in the world, through the gateway of Inner Peace, one step, one foot, one breath at a time. And for all Your love, support, and guidance along the way, We thank You, We thank You, We thank You. Amen).” Remember that even in darkness, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wise Fool

Alone in a place no one can see.
Sit fools spinning dreams of who they might be.
Images and colors flickering, remain undefined.
Serving only to remind.

Are your feelings pulling at you tauntingly?
Smoldering beneath the surface cautiously.
Does your frigid exterior got your smile frozen?
Clinging tentatively to distorted visions
.

Like a vampire bite, dark emotions carry venom.
Attaching blame when I become a victim.
Feeding off the energy of another.
God help me, for I’m a psychic blood sucker.

Are your feelings pulling at you tauntingly?
Smoldering beneath the surface cautiously.
Does your frigid exterior got your smile frozen?
Clinging tentatively to distorted visions
.

Groundhog Day and I’m dead again.
A fleeting shadow is there no end?
Searching for an exit, fools eyes find none.
Until I awaken and see we are one!

Wishing you all wellness & inner peace!

Ari



Wise Fool Coyote

Coyote is a master trickster
Notorious for finding shortcuts along the trails of Life

Sometimes it makes sense to take the scenic route
Even when a quicker alternative path may appear

Like when you stop and smell the roses . . .

And a scent stimulates an adventure down memory lane
Suddenly you are revisited by an old relationship that had escaped
the safety net of your conscious mind

But there is healing when we find forgiveness for our trespasses
Especially when shortcuts unexpectedly take you off the beaten path
Leading you into unexplored mysterious places inside of yourself

What roles have you played in past relationships?

How do your trigger points from your past experiences
inform who you are becoming today?

Is your inner world governed by outer-directed emotional reactions?

Releasing judgments is good for the soul . . .

Try to have a gentle, invisible touch
When regarding either your own or someone else’s
personal blunders in relationship

Look back at the corners you have cut for a moment . . .
What do you have to learn about yourself in those close encounters?

Remember that unwelcome situations that were initially judged as foolish . . .

Perhaps later will be seen as surprise gifts
Merely wrapped up in brilliant disguises

Try to see the wisdom in your follies
The tricks are here to teach you something about yourself

Perhaps it has been a folly of yours to avoid opening your heart
to deeper heartfelt connections

But it would be wise to recognize how your own intimacy issues
have blocked the arteries that pump life into making heart-centered connections –
in spite of any undesirable qualities of another person

May Coyote guide you to see beyond the security of your old boarders and edges

See you further on up the trails,

Ari

Quiet Coyote

I remember feeling proud of my daughter teaching me the prosocial skill of ‘quiet coyote’ that she learned from her school teachers recently. However, after the fleeting emotion passed, I found myself flirting with frustration as she flipped the script by making the ‘quiet coyote’ sign on her dad somewhat akin to a classic Beavis and Butthead move in balking at an adult authority figure. Thankfully, I remembered to breathe and cut back to Inner Peace, kind of like Barry Sanders used to do on the football field, before he walked out on top. And while I’m not getting paid for faking the socks of guys bigger and stronger than me, like Barry I remember to politely hand the ball off to my wife when I need help from my teammate. It’s not always easy to give peace a chance instead of reacting without reserve.

Ah, Coyote . . . “you devil! You tricked me once more! Must I sit and ponder, what you did it for?” I can hear an old teacher saying, “Ari why is it that sometimes you’re a perfect little Angel (pause-look) . . . and other times I just want to strangle you?” Alas, the Universe might not always give Us what We want, but It does always give Us what We need. And while I might not like the bitter taste of our child’s unwelcome rejections at times (and other rejections as well), I am learning to adjust my palate to the taste of digesting bitter. Perhaps it’s in the cards that I return to the innocence and wonder of a child as I meditate on The Fool in the Tarot. Coyote reminds Us to lighten up and remember to laugh at the big Cosmic Joke, in much the same way that Jimmy Buffett reminds Us that “if we couldn’t laugh, we’d all go insane.” I picture myself embracing the Batman and Joker in me giving each other a big hug and moving onward to New Frontiers. If it wasn’t the for that roaring laughter, there would be no Tao. Further, in Our Judeo-Christian culture in the good ole US of A, We like to think of Ourselves as One Nation under God. But I know many market driven zealots that worship a bigoted god of a dying old world, with a fear-based belief that hell is a physical place where you’re damned and Heaven is an exclusive country club in the sky that discriminates against those deemed not to deserve to stick around.

Finally, I’ve heard stories that Our Christ, while having a Divine intellect and Being a serious thinker, was also playful like a child with a sense of humor that lit up a room.  I Bee Leave that He came here to teach Us to honor Our own power and see the God “as within, so without.” He wasn’t trying to be cryptic when speaking in metaphor and parable. Rather, He was trying to water a seed that was already planted in Our subconscious that would grow so that We could see the Kingdom of Heaven all around Us and understand our co-creative powers to amplify Our world together. For example, when reading spiritual texts with both an open heart and mind, we open up our inner state of Consciousness in a way that sets Us free. When We see in this Light, We become the change We want to see in the world and build the New Earth and co-create Heaven on Earth as One. In the eyes of the Universe, We are moving into an egalitarian age of unity in diversity, where humans, nervous woodland creatures, all other sentient beings and machines share space in the spirit of mutual aid . . . I can hear R2D2 becoming a Public Enemy #1 by sampling Chuck D spittin’, “just like dat.”

I Hopi You are well,

Ari