29 May, 2011

Get Your Fix...or Not.

Several days ago I discovered a group/product/service that was created by a guy who was “looking deeper for more insight on how to improve the human condition.” As I see myself and my role in the world as a healer, it sounded much like my own quest. This man, Mastin Kipp, started sharing quotes and tidbits of wisdom and life lessons to his friends via Facebook, Twitter, and Email. Two years ago someone famous discovered his feed, suggested it to their followers, and his went from 1,000 to 10,000 overnight, and now has over 300,000! The Daily Love sends a daily email (or Twitter update), filled with quotes and stories that are created with the intention to spread love, wisdom, and overall consciousness. Check out the site and consider getting daily love updates via email at http://thedailylove.com .

I have had several days of receiving these emails, and already I feel the waves of energy that have begun to stimulate my soul. There is a commonality amongst the posts people create (Mastin is not the only contributor), and I have certainly been spoken to.

Do your inner work. Learn the lessons. Get your thinking right. There is a recovery process. Your life is a gift. You are worthy.

"Some of us would rather keep suppressing our emotions and working on ourselves, so these folks keep stuffing down parts of themselves that are dying to be seen, recognized and expressed. The path to self-destruction is filled with avoidance of yourself. That’s what addiction really is – avoidance of ourselves to our own detriment. There are LOTS of ways to be addicted. You can be addicted to substances, alcohol, people, work, fame, success, attention, flirting with people, sugar, food and lots of other things.

When we hit a rough patch in life, instead of just letting ourselves feel, we can choose one of the above addictions and keep avoiding what’s within us. This is not what The Uni-verse has in mind for you. No amount of chocolate, sex, alcohol, success, people or drugs can silence the Whisper of The Uni-verse within you OR your emotions." (http://thedailylove.com/bummed-heres-12-tips-to-bounce-back/)

So how do you get your fix? What way, no doubt ingenious, have you found to distract yourself from yourself? To numb yourself to the pains of the world, to the pains of your world?

Take an inventory of yourself; figure out what you use;

and stop.

Receiving a daily devotion such as The Daily Love is healthy; it is good fuel for the soul. Start the transition back into health by recognizing what healthy doses actually look like.

Ultimately, the resounding message of the co-creators of that site is that we must be proactive. We must actively choose to do life. Actively choose love. Actively co-create our lives with the choices we make. We can choose to replace unproductive and negative thoughts with productive, positive true thoughts. We must start to recognize that every addiction and negative habit we have, at its root, is an avoidance of ourselves.

This all made me think about a woman (Jen Lindwall) I heard once who spoke about the idea of peace. She said true peacemakers are people who are willing to sit down in a storm, find a bit of peace, and spread it. In order to do this on a large-scale (in the world of chaotic storms), we have to first be able to sit down inside the storm that is within ourselves. This leads back to all the discourse on inner work.

In maintaining honesty and transparency, I do not put enough energy into my inner work. I am a master at distraction and avoidance. That being said, living here in Paris, I don’t have “my people” surrounding me, I don’t have my compulsively-busy life, I live without roommates, I am neither in school nor working a time-consuming job, I have consciously chosen to abstain from any romantic situations, thus the path has been prepared for me to actually give my first fruits of energy to my inner work. What does this mean for me? I’m still discovering that. Writing, purging my thoughts and feelings, dancing, sitting still, breathing, studying the Wisdom of the ages—al l of the above. Awakening consciousness, recognizing each day as a gift, attempting to see the lesson in every relationship and growing, transforming, setting intentions and sticking with them, being present with every moment while maintaining thoughtfulness for my greater visions…these are all vital practices that I have thus far adopted.

It is not easy. Doing your work is full of uncomfortable expressions and discoveries, and that is only the beginning. From there, you have to choose to learn, use the experiences, and change.

And of course, always remember, there is a Divine source behind everything (some people say God, Uni-Verse, Spirit, etc), which longs to help you with it all, and bring you the best for your life. Start There.

Stay real, and do what you do.

♥ hannah lee

15 May, 2011

expats, empathy, and a very important rule to live by...

My life has been exceptionally busy as of late, thus I have abandoned the ever-important practice of writing regularly. I'll be back to it soon, as I move into my new apartment tomorrow! I will be living with none but a ferret; the change of pace will be very drastic, but I'm looking forward to the next couple months of new adventures and lessons.

My heart is broken right now for a dear friend of mine from the restaurant next door. This person (whose name I cannot say for his sake) has been living in Paris for the past 5 years, as he has been exiled from his country for writing things his government doesn't approve of. He was forced to leave his wife and two daughters, found work here as a cook, and works long days and long weeks to support his family financially. His daughters were 1 and 3 when he left; they are now 6 and 8, and he has been robbed of being a father and watching them grow up. He had many problems his whole life, which he wont discuss, but finds this situation actually good. He doesn't complain about missing his family, or about the fact that he is stuck here (he can't even leave France at this point); he is just grateful he can give his family a house and food.

This last week he came over to the restaurant, and told us that his wife's heart is bad, she is in pain, and she needs a surgery (which will be the second one she has had) in order to live. He did his best to hide the tears that have lived behind his eyes for so long, but the shaking in his voice as he calmly wondered aloud why someone so young and beautiful will have to leave her family prematurely, he could not cover. Even if the surgery goes well, she may only have a few years left before her heart is too weak.

My friend is faced with the uncertainty of when and how he will return to take care of his daughters, and the impending question of how long their mother will be around remains.

Things feel hopeless for him. He is mad.

At one point he looked up at the sky, and shouted,
"What are you doing?! Where are you!?"
Then to me he said,
"Yeah, I've been on my knees talking to Him all week. It's all I can do, you know?"

I thought of how kind he is and how hard he works (thanklessly) and how real he is.

I smiled and said,
"Friend, be angry. There are things in the world to be angry about. That's ok. You've got the right idea though; there's One who is just as angry about things not being right, and talking to Him about it is the best place to start."

You wouldn't know where he has been and what he's going through by looking at him. You couldn't possibly know the pain he lives in, and the survivor that he really is, without taking time to see him, to sit down and exist with him. When you remember that everyone has a story (and no less than an amazing one), and that the only place to start is listening, you're on the right track.

So be slow to judge, slow to decide, slow to make up your mind about someone, slow to dismiss, slow to classify, slow to write off.
And be quick to listen, quick to sit down, quick to see, quick to notice the unseen, quick to speak up for the unheard, quick to remember.

Rule One

by Philip Booth

Rule One of all
rules one:
No one ever knows
how much another hurts.
Kate. Ray. Randall. Me.
The nurses
who were kind to you, the gas-pump kid
across the bridge, the waitress here
this noon.
No one ever knows.
Or maybe in a thousand, one
has the toughness to,
to care,
to give beyond a selfish pity. Even
any given day,
given weathers, detours,
chances of what look like luck,
if we feel bad
we refuse the givens.
What blighted lives we lead.
Or follow:
showering, feeding, changing shirts or
pants, working, as one used to say,
to make ourselves presentable.
strangers to our painful selves,
we're still stranger to
diminished friends
when they appear
to hurt.
How much we fail them,
failing to come close:
a parent,
newly single, in Seattle;
an upstate poet in intensive care.
You. Blanche. Alvin. Sue.
Who hurts
and why.
Why we guess we know.
How much we never.

"Rule One" by Philip Booth, from Selves: New Poems. © Viking, 1990. Reprinted with permission.

Stay real, and do what you do.

♥ hannah lee