Swimming With The Grace Of Swan, and A Full Flower Moon.

May the animal spirited grace of Swan inspire you to paddle with the current instead of fighting against the rapids of everyday life. Notice the flow of grand moments, and the intersection between the extraordinary in the ordinary, as well as the perfection within the imperfection. If only we can gently allow ourselves to let it go instead of trying to grasp onto it, whatever it is.

Sometimes, all you can do is sprawl out and surrender to the will of the Universe, and trust that its winds will guide you to where you need to go. We all know the curse of this pandemic, particularly on humanity’s plight. But the blessing is also the gift of surrender among our human kinfolk.

A Full Flower aka Sagittarius Moon arrives on May 26th 2021. Not coincidentally, it gets its name from an abundance of flowers that spring forth across North America. When I think of Sag, meditations of fiery energy, mixed with new philosophical ways of intuitive knowing resonates in my soul. Also, this Full Moon is the second consecutive supermoon, and biggest and brightest moon of the year. It is also a Total Lunar Eclipse, meaning that it is fully obscured by Earth’s shadow, giving the Moon a reddish hue, which is where the term blood moon comes from.

Moreover, please consider the following Sacred Geometrical Arcturian Wisdom, via the Third Wave Positive Self Talk Mantra: “The energy of the Third Wave makes you aware of your choice to be here on Earth. Accept who you are on this Earth, and your strength will increase.”

Artwork by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

I remember when Grandmother talked about being called “white trash”, during her formative years in St. Louis, growing up in abject poverty during The Depression. In fact, she never saw a dentist until she was 18 years old, when she walked in off the street with bleeding gums, and the kind folks at the dental office followed their “hippocratic oath” and did the right thing. In this day and age, it’s mind boggling that our current healthcare system, in the wealthiest nation of the world, can still be viewed by the Establishment as a privilege rather than an entitlement. In the American political scene, we can at least directly trace this old world attitude to the England’s Elizabethan Poor Law of the 1600s. If you would like to delve further, check out this link: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_for_the_Relief_of_the_Poor_1601

During her childhood and premarital adolescence, Grandmother was a member of what sociologist and Harvard professor William Julius Wilson many years later referred to as “the underclass”, in his book The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. When I read his book in college, I learned also by experience that he accurately noted that this underclass was a growing epidemic in our world, as well as in the US. Grandmother being spoken to in a derogatory way was the kind of racial epithet that is analogous to prejoriative language to characterize someone who is LGBTQ or BIPOC. Negative self-talk is typically not regarded as helpful, but it is less so when it is spoken aloud, with an underlying edge especially. What is with the attitude about the poor and oppressed, that they are deserving of their suffering, should be controlled, and punished accordingly? 

The old world, and the status quo of its power structures are being dismantled, white privilege and white supremacy notwithstanding. In fact, a growing number of white people, including white men are part of this shift in equanimity in consciousness that is of mutual aid to the goose and the gander. We are living in a time when there is too much information, and it does seem to be harder to discover the truth. It is as if we are being asked by the Universe to discover the truth on our own individual basis, which is part of honoring our diversity. The unity piece comes in where we can know a collective truth. To do this, it requires that we are open to relaxing our attachments to the mental boxes that we have bought into.  

Race and class in America are nothing new. But even in this day and age, we still experience cultural denial that we have institutional structures in place that are barriers to personal freedom and liberty. For example, some of our “friends in Congress” are trapped in a “fake news” denial that we have a system in place that is rooted in class consciousness. Dr. King and others fully recognized that we have both intentional and unintentional consequences of discriminatory oppression of certain populations – both vis a vis legal laws and unwritten rules that are perceived as “that’s just the way it is”. It was never easy to move up the socioeconomic ladder. But Grandmother admitted to me that her movement into the Middle Class during the 50s was made easier for her to assimilate into because of the complexion of her skin tone, and white anglo Saxon protestant lineage, in spite of the culture of poverty that she was born into, and converting to Catholicism. If anyone could have chosen to stay in denial about her racial privilege as a coat of armor to hide behind, it would have been Grandmother. But she never forgot about where she came from, did what she could to help others like her get a leg up, and be a good role model for overcoming obstacles. Besides, demonizing the oppressor, whatever he or she looks like, is not the solution. Overthrowing the government or powers that be will only replace the same tyranny and corruption that you seek to dismantle. This is a cold hard fact of life that must be understood. The looting and rioting, militarization of the police, the education to prison pipeline, and bloated military that protects the stock exchange under the guise of puppet dictatorships of dirty energy is a recipe for a widening gap between the haves and have nots.

For example, I remember the cultural context of African American culture in America, during the time period called the Great Migration, when black folks sought personal freedom by risking their lives to escape from the oppressive Jim Crow South. Part of staying alive, and reinventing themselves into a new chapter in life, many secrets were kept to hide from the collective trauma of their shared experiences. A historical debate sprung up about where to focus on the advancement of black people. In the Booker T. Washington camp, blue collar jobs were seen as a way out of poverty and socioeconomic empowerment. Basically, the belief was that black people could get a leg up if they had access to blue collar jobs in the trade industry, production, manual labor, etc. Sadly, but understandably, the decimation of the manufacturing base and labor movement have reinforced the truth of this point to appreciate. Proponents of Dubois bought into the idea of the “talented tenth”, which posited that the focus for black progress would come from the upper echelon of African American society via assimilation into the college educated, white collar world. For those of you that recall the 70s TV show The Jeffersons or the 80s The Cosby Show, you can see comedic caricatures of these nuances play out in sitcom format. Today, the rise of the black middle class reinforces both perspectives, as both camps are true, on some level. The real division was in a segregated either/or mindset that mirrors how divided our country is today. So even in black culture, as in other BIPOC cultures, there are hierarchical structures in place of who is perceived as entitled to privilege, and who is not.

Check out this brief video on “Being 12: What Are You?”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10Ax4cbZAzVG_BGJQh_MY2fwmwYinVqqL/view

In fact, people that identify as BIPOC and LGBTQ and know their history understand the experience of “passing.” For example, you might see yourself as black, but you could pass as white. Or if you are gay, you could pass as being straight by pretending to be, or a trans person could front as being “cisgender” or in gender alignment with the sex they were ascribed at birth. But at some point in the game, waking up to who you are, and being allowed to express yourself in your true colors is suffocating if you cannot pass as yourself. Meditation on this perspective can help build empathy for another who might walk in different shoes than you do. On the other side of the coin, there is peer pressure to identify as LGBTQ, even if you are not because it is becoming the hip or chic thing to do. In early adolescence particularly, this can be a form of attention seeking, and over reliance on peers for identity development.

Psychologically, Albert Bandura was a behaviorist and father of the social learning theory, as the primary medium of personality development in children. In short, role modeling, or monkey see, monkey do is how we humans learn. Abraham Maslow, on the other hand was known for his pyramid called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with basic survival needs at the bottom and self-actualization at the top, and some other areas of personal growth in the middle. If you don’t have equal access to basic resources, or feel safe or a sense of community connection or belonging, then it’s hard to move into the area of self actualization. It can be done, but you have to work a lot harder. A more fair and just society is created when incentives are in place for “these truths to be self evident.” Of course a child that is raised in a loving home where they feel wanted and loved reinforces this natural belief to a soul that its inner light can awaken and shine through its form. We are all born into this world with a unique blueprint that is designed to love. Yes, we have different temperaments, and our personalities evolve during our life cycle. What matters is how we work with our core temperaments, and evolving personality characteristics. You can be born with an anxious-avoidant temperament, an insecure attachment with your primary caregiver, and without an athletic bone in your body. But you can still learn to relax, feel safe inside yourself, and take up athletic exercise for your own wellbeing. Who cares if you’re bursting with nervous woodland creature energy like a squirrel or never become a famous Olympian. Squirrels learn by imitating, like we humans do, and you can always go to your inner Olympian for building your athletic confidence.

An old friend sent me the article below that reinforces the figure above:

https://www.studyfinds.org/children-green-spaces-adhd-risk/

Additionally, many of you know that Ghandi, who gave up his privilege, stood up to the British Empire, and India’s Caste System at the time. Also, Siddhartha Gautama aka the Buddha, left his father’s empire that was set up to protect him from suffering, and then he subsequently gave up his privilege to awaken his inner light and know his Higher Self. There are risks inherent in living a life with purposeful attention that is in alignment with the living moment. To trade that for fame, fortune, and complacent personal contentment is a choice wrought with victimhood. That’s why the oppressor suffers just as much, if not more than the oppressed. It’s a heavy cross to carry when you defend the status quo of an oppressive regime. At the end of the day, it’s a lose-lose situation, even though the illusion shows winners and losers, and justification for that paradigm.

Furthermore, in the film The Trotsky, the main character plays the role of  a High School Student who believes he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, the late Russian revolutionary. In the film, this Canadian youth inspires his school peers in a way that moves beyond their boredom and apathy into the self evident truth that “school doesn’t have to suck”, and that student empowerment is a real possibility. In a nutshell, the students in the film move from being “sheeple” to empowered youth, in a prosocial power through legitimate means. You know, the only kind of power that is sustainable, vis a vis an externally inspired prompting but internally directed fruition.

Interestingly, some cultures have a common language and shared stories about reincarnation. Basically, the idea is that our souls are real and are recycled as part of its evolutionary process. While this process can be accelerated in a single lifetime, because of the way the established paradigm is right now, the precedent has been set up to take many lifetimes for a soul’s personal growth and transformation to take place. But the flowering of consciousness taking root on the planet right now is flipping the script on all that. Perhaps you lived as a member of a different gender or race in another lifetime. This could leave you feeling more empathic to the plight of the people who remind you of your old self, or it could paradoxically leave you feeling entitled today. Past Lives Matter. Do you have memories of your soul having experiences in another form(s)?

More importantly, a spiritual perspective that aligns with the human potential movement, and a generalist social work perspective understands that basic needs or equal access to concrete resources supports other areas of psychological growth and self-actualization. If human beings are encouraged to harness our strengths, recognize our blind spots, explore what we are passionate about, and what builds their resiliency, then before long they want to be an ally to support others in having this quality of life. Is this social engineering? Yeah, but only in a more mindful, meditative, positive self talk kind of light. Just imagine the possibilities without Berlin Walls, Glass Ceilings, Ethnic Cleansing, Weapons of Mass Destruction or fixed ideas that inhibit connections between new neuronal pathways. When we rework our DNA with “plasticity of the mind”, we open up to new ways of doing things, a relaxation of attachments to conventional boxes in cognition, and emotional reactions to our engrained repetitions. In this space, we observe a calming down of thought forms manifesting as verbal and physical escalations and behavioral traps respectively.

What is more, brain science reveals a false dichotomy” about trying to differentiate between the brain/body, in much the same way as we try to do between mental health and health. You can see this misunderstanding happen in the compartmentalized culture here in the US. The reason that meditation is good medicine is that it literally rewires the brain toward equilibrium so that we can respond to our emotions effectively. Daily practice is a general workout that exercises our social skills because the rehearsal pays off. Self awareness is knowing our triggers ahead of time. When we lean into our pain, and then shift our focus toward peaceful, calming thoughts and mindful breathing, we are putting the spotlight on our emotional centers in a positive way. Can you become more connected, in a way where you could tune into sensing a feeling a sense of ease or unease? For example, might you ask yourself some reflective questions like, am I needing to rest, take care of myself in a way that I haven’t, or am I congruent with my values at this moment? Personally, I like to think of the children’s story The Little Engine That Could for an inspirational friendly reminder. It helps me stay on track and not run out of steam, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Many of my students (and coworkers) have good “bullshit detectors.” As such, they know the difference between those that fake self confidence (we’ve all done it) versus those who have developed a “realistic self confidence.” And given that we humans have the ability for pretending, we can all learn to “fake it till we make it.” Along the way, we can see ourselves standing in our own personal authority by growing roots in the living moment.

But beyond a sense of entitlement, is a value attached to taking ownership for awakening our personal and collective power. This can happen through currency or any energetic exchange, like bartering. Reciprocity isn’t about the old egoic state of “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality. Rather, it is an evolutionary step into and coming from our Higher Selves that embodies win-win situations.

Be kind to your mind when recognizing that there have been abusive matriarchies in place in human history, where men were subjugated. Where do you think the fear of feminine, yin energy or woman’s power came from? Whether realized or not, men have been programmed, as we all have, to have a fear of feminine power, albeit the connection to this fear is often unrecognized and can play out in silly “facebook wars”, cyberbullying experiences, and in person interactions. Of course this also can occur in trans-racial and cross-cultural communication too. So it stands to reason that if suddenly, magically overnight the LGBTQ and BIPOC identified groups were to be in the majority and in control of the hierarchical power structure, we would not be living in a utopian shangri la. Keep in mind that was Hugh Heffner’s vision of the Playboy Mansion. You can see how sustainable that vision worked out, if you can appreciate the sarcasm. 

Finally, in our Civil Rights Teamwork, our students often freely initiate conversations organically. Because we established guidelines early on, they rarely need to be redirected to follow “the rules” of maintaining communication that embodies dignity and respect. For example, in a recent meeting, they initiated a healthy conversation about their respective astrological signs. During that conversation, we had an animated discussion about how you can take 10 people from the same race, ethnicity, ancestry or cultural background, who all might look similar on the surface, but could all have different astrological signs, meaning diverse orientations intrinsically. Like personality characteristics that are unique to the individual, a person’s astrological sign reflects their uniqueness and diversity, on a deeper level. Yet we all share the common tapestry of our humanity. Diversity in Unity. Remember that we are all mostly water in form. But on a deeper level, we are formless, yet luminous, energetic beings. Recognition of this does not discount our diverse expressions of form. If anything, we should honor those differences, as well as highlight our unity.

Take care of yourselves everyone,

Ari

Please feel free to check out my new podcast version of my blog:

Multidimensional Mental Health, Wellness and Everyday Happiness as a Way of Life Classroom Mothership Earth

  1. Multidimensional Mental Health, Wellness and Everyday Happiness as a Way of Life
  2. Swimming With The Grace Of Swan, and A Full Flower Moon.
  3. Raising Kids, Raising Ourselves: Something To Chew On For Trusting Adult Role Models and The Teens In Their Lives
  4. Coping with Climate Change, and The Transition Into A New Age and Paradigm.
  5. Chakra Meditation

Squirreling Away Our Acorns for Leaner Times Ahead

Images Created by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

A Full Corn Moon reveals its harvest in the skies on September 2nd, 2020, followed by a New Moon in its wake on Thursday, September 17th, and the Autumn Equinox on Tuesday, September 22nd.

Daylight is waning in the Northern hemisphere these days, as is brighter hints of fall in the air, and as seen on the leaves.

Can you hear the acorns dropping from the trees, and popping onto the ground?

Do you appreciate the beautiful rainbow spectrum of foilage on the trees, and the colorful shades of hues that decorate our human family?

Light and dark will be equal again on the Autumn Equinox, and then the dark will rise till its climax on the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year after the election and eclipse season are over at the tail end of December.

What new suprises are awaiting us between Tao and Zen?

When I think about squirrels, I am inspired about what they do with their nervous energy. I like the way the channel their chi in ways that find balance between work and play.

Squirrels have an intelligence about them that just knows what to do right now so that they have enough supplies gathered for food security for leaner times ahead.

They seem to know how to have fun in spite of how busy they are right now.

If only we humans can remember that during this season of transition, in our back to school, back to business mentality in schools, and other workplaces.

And even thought they often forget where they bury their acorns, they trust their sense of smell to guide them to dig into the earth to shed light on the mystery of their forgotten fruit.

How they don’t lose their minds, and go nuts in the process is beyond my human comprehension.

Seems to me that our world could stand to learn from our fellow spirited woodland creature friends.

Squirrels show us that they have their own rainbow of diversity. Red squirrels are smaller, but more brazen, vocal, and animated in their approach. Gray squirrles aren’t particularly quiet either, they don’t like strange squirrels, and they aren’t afraid to speak up on that.

But there is an old world respect of the rules that they play by that we humans can stand to adopt, nurture in our own doings, and coregulation with one another.

Black Lives Matter and Me Too are merely accentuating the power of that sentiment, just like a black panther captures the magic and mystery of the primal forces that awaken within the depths of the unknown.

It is a tragic and sad day when another black person dies at the hand of an unfair and unjust playing field that leaves all lives strangulated whether realized or not. It is a suffocating feeling, people are tired, and have had enough. The looting and rioting are chaotic manifestations from that anger.

Preschoolers notice differences but do not judge those differences as better or worse. We are taught to do that, and you begin to see prejudicial thought forms developing by Kindergarten.

Move beyond your judgments and see historical context for what it is. We have all been deceived to buy into a segregated system of us and them.

You may have had the good fortune to have been taught that you can grow up, overcome any obstacle, and be whoever or whatever you want. Perhaps the shade of your skin was not really a factor in that belief because you were raised by well intentioned parents to be colorblind.

But the reality is, that for black people, indiginious people, and people of color, particularly in America, that has not been their experience, from the eyes of the dominant majority or mainstream cultural norms.

Yeah, we’ve made progress, but we are still carrying the luggage passed down to us from our ancestors. The cycle of poverty and mental health issues are also part of that baggage that needs to be released and let go of.

The soul power of these movements represent shifts toward equanimity within our human family, and reflect the universal pillars of Love and Truth.

Especially now at the tailend of one age, while coming out of the birth canal into a new one.

The Virus has been a catalyst to challenge our modern day human paradigm in ways that reveal how isolated and disconnected we can feel from one another, and the world around us.

But then again, that is something we have needed to come to reconcile inside of ourselves.

Because the truth is, led by the power of love in our hearts, is the wisdom to know that we are never really alone.

The feeling of separation is part of our suffering. The way out of this suffering is to find the courage to step into our fears, and trust that we are all connected in unity, regardless of our diversity.

Empathy, sensitivity, and an appreciation for our different ways of seeing the world are good for us to work on, and play with in our consciousnessness.

That doesn’t happen if you aren’t willing to self-reflect about your judgments or take inventory of your thoughts and emotions.

It doesn’t happen if you don’t dig beneath the surface of your anger, or look beyond someone’s behavior to see the whole person that might have been hidden from your initial, cursory glance.

An American election is coming that faces a divided nation.

A radical political action that I take is to see the inner nobility of someone that I am struggling with inside of myself.

And then, I focus on gratitude for the presense of whomever I am targeting as the focus of inner nobility of that person.

President Trump is a good example for many of us on the planet to focus on our suffering that way.

As challenging as it might be for you, see his inner nobility, and focus on gratitude for his presense in your life.

This is easier to do with someone you like, and you know cares about you.

There are a lot of seductive conspiracy theories out there that are part of the fake news that flood the corporate media.

I heard a real humdinger recently, the one about The Donald being a light worker in disguise.

As ridiculous as that sounds, the point of namaste is to see the light in another person that also resides in you.

You don’t just do that with people you like or agree with politically.

The real challenge is to love everybody.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

We should heed his wisdom, and bring back the spirit of his teachings in our everyday affairs.

Till we tweet again peeps,

Ari