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:

A Snake Slithers In July And A Full Buck Moon Rises On July 23, 2021 Classroom Mothership Earth

  1. A Snake Slithers In July And A Full Buck Moon Rises On July 23, 2021
  2. An Inner Independence Day Revisited
  3. Eclipsed by Butterfly & A Strawberry Full Moon
  4. Multidimensional Mental Health, Wellness and Everyday Happiness as a Way of Life
  5. Swimming With The Grace Of Swan, and A Full Flower Moon.

Raising Kids, Raising Ourselves: Something To Chew On For Trusting Adult Role Models and The Teens In Their Lives

Artwork by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

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,

Ari

Please feel free to check out my new podcast series by clicking on the link below:

A Snake Slithers In July And A Full Buck Moon Rises On July 23, 2021 Classroom Mothership Earth

  1. A Snake Slithers In July And A Full Buck Moon Rises On July 23, 2021
  2. An Inner Independence Day Revisited
  3. Eclipsed by Butterfly & A Strawberry Full Moon
  4. Multidimensional Mental Health, Wellness and Everyday Happiness as a Way of Life
  5. Swimming With The Grace Of Swan, and A Full Flower Moon.

The Spring Equinox, Big Night & A Full Worm Moon

Artwork Created by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

Here on the ground, the arriving Spring Equinox on March 20th means that more robins are around, singing melodious songs about the early bird getting the worm. A Full Worm Moon, also called the Sugar Moon by the Ojibwe, takes place on March 28th. The Ojibwe name was inspired by the time of year when the sap of sugar maples starts to flow. Of course there are other names for this Full Moon as well. Moreover, in Northern New England on Big Night, the salamanders, wood frogs, and peepers are driven to make their sensuous journey to find vernal pools to procreate, and embody being good role models for sustainable living on our Planet. We can do our part by respecting their natural intelligence, and way of life. How do they manage to muddle along, in spite of overcoming incredible obstacles, such as scary predators, and paved roads full of human traffic? How do they do this without any guidebooks, lesson plans, compasses or maps to show them the way? Talk about taking back the night.

Remember in last month’s blog that we discussed coregulation, which in part just means the process of learning to harmonize with each other, and our environment. We become more equipped to do this when we are true to our core, and centered in our souls. Awakening to our soul’s purpose, and discovering our human potential is merely seeing that “the Earth is like a reform school.” Moreover, the transition we are going through is that we are getting back to our connection to each other, and our connection to our Mother Earth. What better way to honor Women’s History Month in March? In a nutshell, nurturing this connection means that we are taking care of our home, school, and community. Of course we can do this best when we are meditating and connecting with Nature consistently. But without women or Mother Earth, none of us would be here.

Additionally, in this dreamy Piceas time of year, meditation on Whale is a powerful spirit guide to tap into the heartbeat of the planet, and deepen our understanding of our empathic connections to one another. Keep in mind that whales carry the memories of our planetary consciousness. Of course we come from different pods, and have our diverse expressions. But in our multidimensional depth, we can all dive into the fluid and elusive nature of alternate realities, and who we really are. From this standpoint, it becomes easier to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the world. “Day turns into night, and back into day, the moon waxes and wanes, the seasons go through their dramatic and subtle changes. When a flower blooms and starts to fade, we accept the poignancy of that change. Even if the decay of the flower makes us sad, we can appreciate it as part of the movement of life. Imagine what it would be like if things existed in a fixed way. Wouldn’t life get boring pretty fast?”

Cosmically, sacred geometrical Arcturian wisdom reflects that the vibration of integration asserts that “the energy of integration helps you apply new truths in your daily life. The energy makes you aware that you are responsible for your own actions.” Moreover, the dimensional shift we are discussing here mirrors our movement into a New Age and Paradigm, aka an Aquarian Age or a New Earth. You already all know that the empowered freedom we like to highlight, is followed by the attached earmark of responsibility. But you don’t have to look at responsibility as a virus feeding off of its host of freedom. Same thing with taxes. If you’re making enough money to complain about how much you’re paying in taxes, then you might want to examine what’s underneath your disgruntlement. But try to remember to be gentle on yourself about it, and not too taxing in your self reflection, if you’ll kindly pardon the pun. Besides, alternative energy starts with you, just as it starts with me. Do you see?

Perceptually, marinate on the increasing phenomena of ETs or multidimensional beings as analogous to when our ancestors started to experience the arrival of Europeans in “Longer Boats.” For example, it wasn’t until a trusted Shaman or Wise Elder was able to integrate the reality of these crafts into their perception that they could report back their findings to the tribe. And then medicine people could share their visions so that the clans people could begin to see the reality of their new vision. Aborigines initially thought white people were ghosts from the Dreamtime, which to be dead serious, is both true and not true.

In much the same way as back Zen, the experiences right Tao are not all good or bad. Try to see these experiences as part of our collective, universal evolution. In that light, it is important to see the silver lining, and focus on making positive interpretations. This New Age of Diversity in Unity means that all voices matter, and that we should honor our differences. We all have different talents, and strengths. But that doesn’t mean that we have to go to war with each other or fight to make certain talents or strengths more or less valuable to the greater whole. That’s why cults and fascism are easy and seductive paths to the dark side, if we don’t do our own shadow work. Shining the spotlight on “power to the people” features the Divine Light of our better angels. The democratic process can get messy at times. But in the long run, a longitudinal and patient pace is preferable to the quick fix, and short term profits. It’s hard to go wrong with a diversified portfolio that supports the greening of the planet. BIPOC, LGBTQ, Super Pac supporters, and people who identify as “young conservatives” can all agree to disagree perhaps on their apparant divergent heritage or political differences without arguing or fighting with each other or taking their points of contention personally.

Furthermore, give consideration that the reported close encounters with ETs or multidimensional beings is a vibrational shift of them “slowing their vibration down” in a way or framework that makes sense to our brain consciousness.  Reflect back to February 25th’s blog entry about coregulation. A simple shift in perspective allows for a co regulatory opportunity that we can meet together in collective consciousness, from a place of curiosity and empathy. These entities meet us where we are at, and we can meet them where they are at. When we step into our fears with courage, we can use the power of our visualization to build up “multidimensional immunity.” We can also see ourselves as protected by a “vibrational vaccine,” as a way to empower ourselves during this pandemic, and the Climate Change that we are weathering on the planet right now. Or you could just literally shake out any trauma or fears that you experience, like many animals do naturally. It is amazing what a powerful release this simple strategy can have on your mind-body-spirit. That’s why martial arts, dancing, movement, exercise, yoga, taichi, and qigong can be effective wellness practices for good mental health. Of course there is no replacement for good therapy for personal/spiritual growth. I mean, you get your oil changed for your car, right? Just sayin’.

Finally, we hear a lot about the Growth Mindset in education these days. Similarly, we have heard good and plenty about the decay that mental rigidity and fixed ideas do to our well being. Growth Mindset involves developing inner resilience as an opportunity for learning and growth. A Growth Mindset framework allows for a developmental, life cycle approach to learning. Rather than striving for perfection, it is understood that imperfections are just examples of mastery in brilliant disguises that just haven’t happened yet. Sometimes, growing up is one step up, and two steps back. But paradoxically, see those masteries as already happening, and on their way. This requires an agreement of letting go of control, being open to trust, as well as having an open, passive attitude about learning something new. Given my strong, oppositional streak, and built in anger, this has been a challenging life cycle issue for me to relax on, lean into, and embrace. Systemically, being vulnerable, fostering inclusivity and belonging are part of the cultural paradigm shift that needs to take root in the matrix that we are mixing it up in together. It comes from a synergistic bottom up, and top down fluidity, where we are all working together, in the spirit of common language, and win-win politics.

Take care of yourselves everyone,

Ari

Inner Peace, Coregulation, Turtles, And A Full Snow Moon.

Images Created by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

A Full Snow Moon arrives on February 27th, and welcomes back ancestral traditions of honoring this Moon for representing peak snowfall accumulation. If rocks are part of your spiritual path, it’s a good time to let them rest and recharge underneath this Full Moon so that you can recalibrate them in your sacred meditation space. We all need to rest, especially with the cultural war raging on, coupled with the slow melt of the pandemic. It isn’t just the school community I work in that is hitting the wall during these hard times. And the lingering shadows of Old Man Winter are nothing to sneeze at either, if you’ll pardon the puns. But visions of Vernal Equinox, and Big Night, when the salamanders make their romantic midnight run to get it on, dance sensuously in our hearts and heads. How do tiny salamanders make it to far reaching vernal pools against all odds? Indeed, they have great forces of Nature, and lurking predators to contend with. Maintaining perspective is a key dynamic to happiness as a way of life. Patience in communication with each other is critical to that. Building bridges of understanding in our connections with one another will support positive development in human relationships.

Switching horses for a moment, when I think of turtles, I think of survivors. Turtles have been around longer than humans, and have even left dinosaurs in the dust. If you’re anything like the rest of the planet and me, then you could probably stand to meditate on the virtue of patience. Whenever I feel like I’m pushing the river or running the hurry up offense unnecessarily, I try to remember to keep my wits about me by visualizing a turtle to help ground me to the Earth. If only I can catch the wave of a mindful moment to swim with the current by allowing what is to happen, rather than striving to make it happen. Easier said than done. In my younger days, the spirit of Rabbit dominated my energy field over Turtle, as I was almost always on the hop. Who would I be without the charge of my hypervigalant nervous woodland creature energy? Suffering from young man’s disease means that you see faster as better, and competative worrying as a strength. But as my years of living on the planet advance, I feel more connected to Turtle’s spiritual therapy these days.

Furthermore, it is wise to realize that happiness doesn’t mean that we are above or below the tones of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings. If you are paying purposeful attention to your feelings, then you’ll notice that most of them don’t last more than 15 to 30 seconds. Indeed, they are like a river. So, what’s with all the sensational headliners? Is this suffering really an outrage or will this too so shall pass? Not to project my anthropomorphism onto Turtle, but I do believe their spirits will just watch without any judgment or clinging to any primary feelings or secondary emotions that might arise in its wake. Pretty sure Turtle wouldn’t get seduced into a partisan Congressional quagmired debate. No dark earmarks, bloated military industrial complex budget, Qanon or Trumpamania either. Perhaps more likely, we might entertain a peaceful, and non-violent act of civil disobedience. But melting the ice I don’t think so. This doesn’t mean turtles aren’t fierce or that they’re wimpy. They’ll let you know when they’re angry, and are good teachers on knowing when to retreat into your shadowy shell or let your head out into the sun for some vitamin d. 

More importantly, revolutionary spirit is in the air as we move in a New Aquarian Age. But what old ways still have meaning in this New Earth we are transitioning in together? Cocreating Heaven on Earth means that we are getting in touch with the better angels of our Higher Selves to support our universal connection to one another during our shared coexistence on Mother Earth. Diversity in Unity means that we are all connected. Like may attract like, but remember that even opposites attract because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. All voices matter so that we can honor our differences, and also be true to our oneness. Clearly, there are old patterns and wounds that we still need to release and heal before we can really move forward. Part of that healing is to hear that the attraction to Trump is “a belief that government should not run our lives, and limit our freedoms.” And while I can appreciate the sentiment, he is part of the problem, not the solution. BIPOC and LGBTQ + are not a threat to humanity, but rather weave an integral part of our collective inner tapestry.

For example, take a look at Bernie Sanders as an embodiment of revolutionary spirit, and of working Turtle energy in the positive. Now that’s an elderly white man of privilege that will give you the shirt off his back. All people like him are saying is that capitalism, socialism, and the democratic process can all coexist equally.  “The spiritual war that we have in our world right now wants us to cling to these fearful stories, take sides, and blame someone for our pain. We have to remember our togetherness and really what unites us which is our spirit. Our spirit is made of all of the same Divine Light.” Letting go of the Military-Industrial Complex’s concentration of power in our lives is breaking down, and we can see that through the eyes of disorder in our world. There is no one size fits all T-shirt folks. Don’t be tricked into believing that fixed ideas and attachments to them are not the real natural disasters and war drums that divide and conquer us. There is enough, and we can all win. It is unconstitutional not to level the playing field by promoting the general welfare of the public. But isn’t that obvious?

Looking back, we have discussed the growing body of evidence that supports the existence of the UFOs, extraterrestrials, multidimensional beings, etc. But keep in mind, there are many historical reports of these phenomena that existed prior to the Roswell incident back in July, 1947. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci was reportedly visited by “light beings”, and  Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, and Nostradomus reportedly saw some sort of UFO or otherwise unexplained apparent aerial phenomena that shifted their consciousness back then. Also, there are many culturally accepted stories by Indiginous people about “sky people” that trace lineage connections to humankind. Here in America, “multiple states” reported sightings in the 1800s. In his book Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters (1999), the late Dr. John E. Mack, who was a Harvard psychiatrist, and department chair, came out for his support of his clients that claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Dr. Mack believed that his clients had experienced something real that was traumatic, perhaps that their souls had really been abducted. However, it was unclear whether this experience was physical or more multidimensional in nature. A trauma informed lens would appreciate the meaningful reality of what they went through that had lead to transformational experiences in their consciousness. What is it that we need to revisit in our consciousness? What more do we have to learn about the truth of this phenomena as the Pentagon continues to relax its guarded secrecy, and disclose the information that it has been hiding from us?

Additionally, during this “dreamy” Pisces time of year, it is a time to “let go, surrender . . . (and) connect to our oneness, own spiritual path, mystical side of life, (and) reorder the sacredness of life.” It is within the elemental forces now to examine an old part of yourself that needs to die so that you can be reborn. During this process, we are invited to face our fears, and explore what is hiding in the shadows of our unconscious so that we can “bring love to it.” Meditation on Venus’ rising tide evokes passages through a death/rebirth cycle of inner transformation that reflects an out with the old, in with the new perspective that mirrors springtime. Many moons ago, I remember an old friend saying that she “got depressed” around springtime. This makes sense because it is natural to grieve the loss associated with the death of the old self. You might not even like Winter, but even so it can be hard to say goodbye to yesterday. Remember that we are part of Nature, not separate from Her, nor Her seasons. But the sun of Father Sky still rises to lighten our spirits, and the Moon still shines on and moves the tides. As humans, we are mostly water, which is a conductor of sound frequency, which Whale is deeply aligned with. “We are assisting mother Gaia (Earth) in giving birth. She has been waiting for us, patiently. Her water has broken and we are gathered ’round to assist her in any and every way possible. She doesn’t ask that we prepare in any way. She simply asks us to show up and assist her to remain calm and trust that all will go well in her delivery process. The cataclysmic occurrences on the planet as of recent have simply been Gaia’s very intense labor contractions. She needs us now, more than ever.”

Finally, according to the sacred geometrical Arcturian wisdom, “The energy of frequency helps you remain within your own energy. Quite often we conform ourselves to others, thus raising or lowering ourselves to a frequency that isn’t ours. By proclaiming your truth with love, you will start processes that may influence others. More unity will be visible!” Moreover, inner peace is about a vibrational-dimensional shift that takes place from the inside out. That being said, a trauma-informed/mental health oriented term that is gaining popularity in schools today is called coregulation. When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, anyway you shapeshift, coregulation is when we are able to influence each other in ways that supports empathic heartfelt connections with each other.

In conclusion, you’ve all heard the old saying, misery loves company. That’s why sympathy cards and gossip generate so much attraction. But generally speaking, neither does much by way of co regulation or helping anybody. There isn’t anything wrong with holding a sympathetic perspective toward someone or indulging in a little news gossip once in a while. There can be an element of catharsis to commiserating with a fellow coworker, peer, friend or family member from time to time. But just know that it doesn’t serve anyone’s well being when it becomes habitual, and ingrained in your everyday life. If anything, this pandemic has taken away the IV drip from the gossip and sympathy addicts. What have been their replacement strategies? While that remains a mystery, a 6th greader I know took my advice and has gone on a news fast, and has reported a significant decrease in his anxiety and paranoid thoughts. Also, I know many people who have started meditating, wearing items of power like crystal necklaces or other spiritual trinkets, playing around with smudging themselves or giving themselves energy baths with essential oils, or playing with chimes, singing bowls or utilizing meditation/mindfulness apps on their phones. These are all gadgets that help you make a dimensional-vibrational shift into inner peace, or become more adept at empathic coregulation. You can always become an agent of change by starting with yourself. Or you could just march to the beat of your own hum.

Take care of yourselves everyone,

Ari

Hey Bald Eagle, Please Feather Our Universal Ripple

Out on the trails last week, the sound of Catbird amplified our communication skills. The week prior to that, Duck helped us paddle through our emotional waters. This week, our spirits are soaring with the powerful mage wings of Bald Eagle, yet keeping a strong Earthbound connection with its powerful talons. Meditation on Eagle is powerful energy to consume for our spirit, soul and Life’s journey. Its medicine reveals seeing from all directions and resurrects the sound of “Instant Karma”. Great Spirit reveals itself in mysterious ways. With an Eagle Eye view, we see deep within our inner tapestry and observationally hover over and glimpse into what presents itself and needs refinement in our soul’s development. During this process of reflection, we develop heightened senses of vision and hearing, both physically and spiritually. Eagles are predators and help keep balance in Nature. As such, they effectively hunt and fish in water. Not coincidentally, water and fish symbolize psychic phenomena. In the spirit of that, consumption of Eagle facilitates our capacity to work with emotions, psychic space and consciously navigate spiritual realms with greater effectiveness.

On the surface of Mother Earth, we really need Eagle to feather the collective ripple of our Planetary consciousness. There appears to be a political movement to roll back legal justification for the Empire to use drone strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq by some of our friends on Capitol Hill. But there are mixed messages being reported on whether the Attack of the Drones will end anytime soon. Will we see an exit strategy to bring our troops home? Will we support their reintegration into our society when they return? Will the US flood Syria with more weapons to ignite Middle Eastern “tinder boxes”, or show restraint in that region by increasing humanitarian aid and supporting the same of Russia, China and Iran? Will we press Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel in that light? The Obama administration recently lifted “consumer communication tools” in Iran, but sanctions on medicine reaching its citizens continues. The US Justice Department is arguing in court that “vulture funds threatens US policy regarding international debt restructuring.” The World Bank appears to maintain its “business as usual” commercial that says what is good for business is bad for our Planet vis-a-vis encouraging countries to “deregulate in harmful ways in order to get better funding.” Whacking already miserly social services, education and health care is self-destructive for everyone, including the upper echelon. Moving onward, we raise our fists to the beat of Equal access to concrete services! And what about our extraterrestrial and underwater brothers and sisters? Are you reading between the lines regarding what the “man behind the curtain” is slowly unveiling on the corporate media?

Waking up to Eagle’s teachings is a clarifying reminder that we accept an increasing responsibility for our spiritual path. We are ready to see opportunities with our vision and snatch them up with our talons. Our efficacy to use our voice improves, knowing when to express and when to yield in authenticity and respect. We feed our soul with Eagle in the sense that we heed the callback of Spirit, by allowing it to radiate through our Being organically. The voice of Spirit likes to speak to us through the “Universal Pillars of Love and Truth”, rather than the ego’s trickery of negative and discouraging messages. Are you willing to legalize freedom and follow the joy that your heart desires? As a spiritual Being having a human experience (or otherwise), do you see that you are “of the Earth, but not in it?” “As more and more people see from these new viewpoints, we collectively end an old world of fear, illusion, and mistrust. We come together to build our Aquarian Age.”

See you further on down the trails,

Ari

Diving with Loon into the depths of the Soul

Loons give their Penguin friends a swim for their bills in their depository to dive deeply into the water’s abyss.  Winter is a time that we turn yinward and dive deeper into our soulful inner sea of consciousness.  Winter and water represent feminine energy, the dark Yin on the Chinese symbol of the Yin and Yang.  Loon medicine helps us wake up to lucid dreaming or becoming more conscious of our dreams and visions.  Paying attention to our dreams helps us take a reflective look at our waking lives and empowers us to living more authentically.  We all dream, whether we remember our dreams or not.  If we want to have more of a say in our lives, then it stands to reason that we might take note of what our dreams are saying to us.  Winter also represents darkness and the death cycle in Nature.  Mother Earth’s heartbeat slows down at this time. Given that we are a living embodiment of Nature, we are meant to slow down too.  However, many of us have a tendency to resist our natural internal orientation during Winter by trying to stay up in our activity level.  Although balance is always important, your soul will know the deeper acoustics of harmony if you allow yourself a bit more rest and get in touch with the deeper feelings that accompany Winter’s energies of death, grief and loss.  Now is the time when our dreams and visions germinate, somewhat akin to the seeds underground that are beginning to start thinking about waking up as we approach the Chinese-Lunar New Year in early February.  Like buds on our trees, the dreams and visions we are pregnant with now will begin to fruit around the Spring Equinox in March and their manifestation power intensifies as we approach the Summer Solstice in June.

In modern society, especially here in America we get pretty fired up about our guns.  Many folks are citing our Constitutional right to bear arms and some even openly carry a piece by asserting their right to do that and don’t see anything alarming about it.  During my childhood, I grew up in Michigan–boy do we really love our guns there.  Some folks believe that having a gun will keep them safe.  But we have more gun related deaths, many accidental within the privacy of one’s own home, than anywhere else on the Planet.  The NRA is a powerful organization with a lot of money to assault our friends in Congress to shoot down sensible gun control laws.  We have a chock full of military style weapons that end up in the wrong hands out on the street where there are dangers of bullying, desperation and poor impulse control.  Since we love our wars, the resistance energy behind the mind-set of war predictably promotes more storms brewing ahead.  Instead of real homeland security and crime prevention by funneling our resources into positive community connections, treatment, education, healthcare, infrastructure and creating good jobs for the 20 million folks who want to work, our leaders balk at this by concentrating monies at the top of the food chain.  Beef:  It’s what’s for dinner.  I remember visiting my dad as a kid and on some of those visits, he taught me to shoot a 22 by the time I was 6 years old.  Although my dad liked to shoot from the hip and lacked an adequate understanding of childhood development, I do appreciate that he was strict about teaching me the basics about gun safety.  Guns symbolize power and security, but they often manifest danger.  Those of us in touch with our deeper feelings are  grieving the terrible tragedy that happened in Connecticut recently.  I once lived in Connecticut and still have close friends there, so the tragedy has weighed heavy on my heart.  But in the grieving process of this tragedy, I know in my heart that it will lead to an awakening as we move onward.  Even in death, there is rebirth.  I have gone through this process many, many times.  Haven’t we all?

When swimming with Loon, we dive deeper into our souls, as our collective consciousness shifts onward.  Instead of God Bless America or Allah Bless Muslims, we dream God Bless Mother Earth and all living creatures.  Loon helps us understand the depth of our connection to the Dreamtime and reminds us we are all cut from the same cloth of Great Spirit.  Creator’s original Blueprint was a loving One.  Sadly, but understandably, that got distorted.  Given that we are all a reflection of that image, meditation on Loon helps us perceive this in our Being and make friends with that.  We are all living embodiments of All That Is.  Since we are all One, albeit diverse expressions of that oneness, killing someone else is ultimately directed at the self.  Although this truth is mind-boggling, I came to a point where this made sense to me intellectually.  But now I am arriving at a deeper intuitive understanding of this truth in my Heart.  That is why we speak of killing with kindness.  When we come out of our inner peace bubble and remember that there are no enemies, then we truly co-create a New Earth together one step, one breath, one moment at a time.

Stay True,

Ari

Resurrecting the Light with Beetle

Last week, we followed Dog tracks.  Along the trails, I found myself being more affectionate with my family and mindful of boundaries in relationships. While celebrating the Winter Solstice, we noted hot topics of gratitude and letting go, while coaxing back the light.  On the Gregorian calendar, we embark on 2013 and continue pressing onward in our Consciousness’ assent.  We are in the process of Climate Change and co-creating a New Earth right now and you are It.  Some folks were terrified of Doomsday scenarios that promised the end of the world.  Others were disappointed about being disappointed that our dying old world didn’t fall off the cliff, while immediately being transformed into a Golden Age on the day after.  But aliens didn’t take over and Hillary Clinton went to the hospital–thankfully receiving quality health care without worry of how to pay for it.  Soon we welcome the arrival of the Chinese-Lunar New Year, as Spring begins budding underground with Groundhog.  Before too long, we will know energetic balance again on the Spring Equinox in March.  I awoke the other night to a clear vision of a Beetle gleaming across my inner sky.  Like the Sun’s movement across the sky, Beetle moves from East to West.   Mother energy has been revisiting us at this time, as feminine-yin energy is dominant and we are turning more inward.  Meditating on Beetle medicine is like tapping into a mutable orientation.  Whether we are Franz Kafka or an Average Joe, we are all capable of metamorphosis.  Is anyone else inspired by a bug’s capacity to radically change from an egg to a grub stage and then fly away as a winged creature?  In women, this is somewhat akin to menopause or “mentalpause” as I have heard it called.  Do I embrace this heated change or fight it like a war on something I reject? 

During our tracking right now, many of us remember our heavy heartfelt losses.  There is much pain and it is hard to make friends with that.  Picture the horribly uncomfortable position of grieving the death of a partner, while giving birth to a new child simultaneously.  Some folks have lost their jobs, their homes or gone through gut-wrenching break-ups, separations or divorce.  Even our worried well in the pampered West, are waking up to the hard times we are living in.  Others feel like they don’t know who they are anymore and are uncertain of who they are becoming.  In the mystery of Life, has anyone ever lost a loved one to suicide, unexpected death or any other permanent physical good-bye?  It is a mixed blessing to feel the spirit of the season and also really feel the deep hurt and anger regarding our myriad of deeply traumatic soul wounds, including the inequities, pain and suffering on our planet today.  After I lost my mom to suicide, I felt abandoned and forced to enter into adulthood with deeper wounds than your average Bear.  I had already felt that before she whacked herself, but the void widened, part of me died as well.  But it wasn’t the first time I felt that way, nor will it be the last.  Tempting as it was pursuing career goals, objectives and being driven to distraction–doing the inner work is always what yields fruitful  and sustainable returns.  Living isn’t really sustainable until we wake up to our deeper feelings, while stoking the fiery embers of passion and courage to move toward intimacy, while letting go of egocentric avoidance tactics that keep us asleep.  Some of us have fantastic avoidance mechanisms in place that get in the way of us getting in touch with our deeper souls. 

The old world of white privilege is dying too and it is OK to grieve that.  Some white folks feel like they are losing their country and for them, things seem to be getting worse and they are feeling resentful about it.  Some complainants at the top of the economic food chain do not think it is fair that they might have to pay a little more if the Bush tax cuts fade away.  But a simple perceptual shift reveals that when the playing field is leveled for everyone else, there is enough and we can all win.  When I see a community of straight white men going out on a limb and intimately sharing their feelings around a fire and cheering for gay folks being allowed to join our formerly exclusive club–it fills my heart with hope to see Karma being cleared.  Yes, social change is slow and Great Spirit works in mysterious ways.  Human rights, gay rights, gender equality, civil rights, worker rights and culturally sensitive mental health assessments and testing and equal access to resources are all manifestations of our forward progress.  But we need to remember that conservative energy anchors us in our traditions and be sensitive to that too.  Sometimes this looks like taking one step up and two steps back. 

We cannot always be in control of our lives and remain in our inner peace bubble.  Spiritual beings having a human experience need to come down from the mountain and learn to be on the ground with our fellow brothers and sisters.  Sometimes, our securities wane gradually, while at other times they wash away instantly.  We need to remember that we can control our attitude and how we respond to the cards that are dealt, regardless of how uncomfortable we feel about them.  But the democratic process is messy.  We are all in this together and we all have a say in the great waves of changes coming our way.

Stay True,

Ari

Dreaming with Salamander and cleansing withTurkey Vulture

I remember walking along the trails with a student, when he noticed a salamander.  After exhaling dead air, I felt alive after taking a conscious breath of fresh air.  Further along the festival of Life, I became engaged in another conversational flow with one of the cats I roll with from around the way.  After helping him pick up some fallen branches left over from Hurricane Sandy, I said a prayer of gratitude for the storm’s minimal impact in our neck of the woods, while simultaneously expressing a silent blessing to our friends to our South that were affected more dramatically.  Given that I had just cast my absentee ballot, our conversation quickly cut to a commercial about going blue.  Although I didn’t turn into a wolverine or get depressed while listening to my feline friend’s assertion to vote in that hue, it saddens me that we are merely one step away from a dictatorship here in the United States, in that we are more polarized than ever in our collectively boxed-in mindsets.  But seeing two women on a presidential ticket here in the USA fills my heart Chakra green with hope!  When we truly walk in alignment with Nature, we shift our focus less on the odds by levitating into the realm of Infinity, where holographic possibilities abound.  With turkey vulture and salamander as a spirit guides, we ride the thermals of life, elevate our Auric vision and invigorate our energetic field around us.  Moreover, we shed our old skin to make way for rebirth and effectively navigate the elemental forces of land and water.  In this process, we co-create Heaven on Earth by consuming a healthy spirited diet, while feathering each other’s ripple in a positive vibration of Love and Light.

If we are to co-create a more egalitarian culture here in the Nation, the Americas, Planet and Universe throughout, we need to heed the cadence of Classroom Mothership Earth and the heart of Great Spirit.  All creatures, great and small, above and below are equal in the eyes of Great Spirit and we are all nourished by our Mother Earth.  Nature has an organic way of leveling the playing field and we see that play out in Climate Change.  Some of you have noticed that I have selected Tom Brady as a metaphor for staying calm in the pocket, especially when blitzed by unpredictable and turbulent weather patterns in the form of Giants.  Tom Brady personifies someone who may not have been blessed with the greatest natural talent, but he has become greatness by avoiding catastrophes time and again.  Specifically, the future Hall of Fame quarterback effectively demonstrates T’ai Chi like subtle movements in the pocket, psychically reading and adjusting to relentless defensive storm fronts and maintains a wide open angle gaze downfield, while believing in the possibility of making a big play, against apparent all odds.  Now if you think I’m throwing low balls at the rest of the team around him, I’ll bet that turkey vulture would concur that would be a foul ball.  Like a salamander, Brady slithers between the elements and demonstrates metamorphosis right in front of our eyes.  Like switching gears from running and passing, Mother Nature shows us similar shifting fronts of waning light and movement toward the dark.  Here in the Northern hemisphere, we officially turn our clocks yinward in the week ahead.  Masculine-yang energy is fading to black as feminine-yin energy is becoming more dominant, until it’s climax on the Winter Solstice and the end of the Mayan Calender on December 21, 2012.

Given the corporate media’s compartmentalized view of Nature’s new normal, we must get into alignment with Climate Change by embracing this phenomenon, rather than resisting it.  Humanity has a say in how we navigate this process and rather than hate the media, we must become the media.  On a personal spiritual front, experiential wisdom reminds us that what we resist persists and we must become the change we want to see in the world.  Yes, large socialist mega-corporations that continue to rape and abort our Mother need to wake the f-bomb up and stop fracking around folks, as my Midwestern aunt that likes to rant provocatively asserts.  We are spiritual beings having human experiences.  As such, we have the capacity to right the ship, come about and lead an unprecedented shift in consciousness while floating on the waters of life.  When we see things in our field of vision that are alarming, the Universe is providing us an opportunity to send the power of Love to whatever floats in our orbit.  That means that we acknowledge our anger and other flood of negative emotions that arrive and then gently breath those feelings out, while sending them Love for compost.  In a sense, we swim on land and surf the shifting tides into a New Age and Paradigm, one step, one breath and one moment at a time.  This kind of mulching has a much more pleasant stink to it than getting stuck in the muck.  By sending Love to our inner space, we shift from pollution to healthy renewable energy for all to share. 

Stay True,

Ari

Flying high with Eagle, staying grounded with Racoon and keeping it real with Blue Jay

I remember walking out of school the other day, while joining in with some co-workers gazing at a bald eagle soaring the heavens over a near-by stream.  I couldn’t help but snatch the friendly reminder to pay close attention to our spirited encounters with our animal friends and open up to their cadence to walk with one foot in the material realm, while also stepping into the realm of Infinity.  In much the same way as an eagle flying over a valley, our ripple was feathered to pause to reflect on its teaching that we need to remember to see the big picture in the Book of Life and see all directions.  Moreover, eagle has strong talons that remind us to keep our feet on the ground, so that our spirits don’t soar too high.  In this way, we maintain perspective and balance when bringing back wisdom from the Dreamtime, for effective integration into our Earth Walkabout.  But with this great power, comes great responsibility.  Some moments later, blue jay sent an assertive and positive tweet to remember to stay true to ourselves.  Somewhere in time thereafter, a dead racoon reminded me that Fall is leaving us behind and the veils are thinning at this junction in Nature’s Cycle.  Raccoon helps us remember that it is a good time to wear masks while exploring primal knowing and accessing wisdom from Unknown realms.  Raccoon medicine helps us become true master martial artists in the sense that we cleverly know what mask to wear to tap into our inner power.  Further, raccoon helps us balance our intellect and intuition to effectively sort through this process and relax and allow what we are looking for to appear organically.

Does anyone else out there in the participatory audience wonder why these free offerings aren’t all over the mass media to assist us in an effectively transition into a New Age and Paradigm?  I know some of the top dawgs at the top 1% experience a high concentration of Nervous Woodland Creature energy when considering this possibility.  From a position of empathy, some folks might wonder where they fit in, when barking up a more colorful tree with deeper roots.  And I know many folks that pass for white privilege in America feel that they are losing their country.  Some folks remember their working class parents having good jobs, more leisure time and nice vacations away at camps with access to waterways and outdoor fun.  But when we open up to the realm of Infinity, we know that abundance is there for all of us here in our nation, the Americas, planet and Universe throughout.  Although I believe in a philosophically free-market, based on bartering and sharing of resources–a simple shift in taxation with representation means less money for weapons of mass destruction and equal access to eco-friendly resources with special emphasis on the human factor.  We need to remember that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, ma chucka.  What would happen if humanity were to embrace the amazing power within us and send love to everything?  I have been practicing this skill when observing how polarizing politics have become, especially here in the USA.  In fact, many of my liberal and progressive friends out there became enraged when some Republican candidates said that pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s intention.  And of course folks on the religious right argue that God would never allow a woman to choose to abort her child.  With all this bickering, what gets lost is that free access to quality health care co-creates less rapes and less unwanted births.  However, the Hidden Hand wants the prize-fight to continue, while distracting us from the truth that there are devilishly dominant forces that wants to remain unexamined–the Great Deceiver, if you will.  Some of my closest friends sarcastically laughed me out of a room when I accurately pointed out that President Obama, when it comes to policy, is really a moderate Republican, business candidate of Wall Street.  Mitt Romney, the other pop candidate is right-wing white guy that speaks in a paternalistic tone and sprays himself to look darker to appeal to folks of color.  What a chameleon.  Really, master illusionist Carl Rove and company don’t scale back to buy our vote!  Can’t you hear the thunderous W.C. Fields energy commenting, what a catastrophe.

So what can we do about this mess?  Checking in with our inner voice and voting with our conscience is typically good medicine.  With open hearts, we send love everywhere.  We are pre-wired by Great Spirit to let our inner light shine and illuminate the shadows within our inner space and without our orbit.  Like Jim Belushi’s character in Animal House once said, “it don’t cost nothin’.”  If you find yourself disillusioned during this election year, with the ways of the world, or more importantly what is going on within yourself, just send love to it.  Take an honest look at your thoughts, how you are feelings right now in this moment and simply send love to whatever arrives in your field of vision.  Yes, feeling shame and guilt are important to own so that we may move forward in our journey.  After taking an authentic look at why we feel shame and guilt, we become ready to send love to the shame and guilt, so that it can be released for healthy compost.  Then notice what happens.  I welcome your experiences with that.  Also, please enjoy powerful energies of the Full Moon without getting a fever or too nervous and try to stay calm in the pocket during the hurricane.

Stay True,

Ari