truth and transparency

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Unbelievably, unthinkably, reprehensibly – Chelsea Manning is once again jailed. This news flits across the feed and is quickly buried. But we ignore this story at our peril.

Chelsea Manning is a truth-teller. In this latest go-round, she is again carefully and deliberately taking a stand for truth and transparency. It is a stand taken on my behalf, on your behalf. She is putting herself on the line for what is right and for the good of her fellow humans.

She is fully aware, after seven years in prison, of what she’s getting herself into. She is one of those few brave souls willing to stand up for truth, to hold the powers that be accountable, at a terrible personal cost.

Her story is, of course, obfuscated and tinted by those powers as they continue their long, cruel persecution. But the reality is that she is a hero, and deserves our support. 

Free Chelsea Manning. Truth and transparency.

tracks made

veru12_26_18Christmas happened, and now the focus shifts to the new year. The news media helpfully supplies us with recaps ad infinitum of what went down in 2018. It isn’t pretty, either. Nevertheless, they will rush us along toward Times Square and the sparkling globe countdown to 2019.

Seems like a reasonable time to look back over one’s own year, the highs, the lows… the lessons. Always lessons, you know, always.

This was a pretty huge year for me, and it was not an easy one. I made some big changes in my life, and faced some harsh difficulties. Looking back, I can see that the effort was worth it.

Letting go:  The changes I made somehow allowed me to finally, finally let go of some things to which I had been desperately clutching. Letting go was a huge, difficult years-long lesson; or, perhaps, the lesson was that refusing to let go is unbearably painful and one owes it to oneself and others to find a way to let go.

“There is something in the pang of change, more than the heart can bear. Unhappiness remembering happiness.” Yep, Euripedes said that.

Courage: The changes I made took courage. Change does, in fact, take courage. And I found that I have lots of it. Good to know.

Perseverance: Yes, thankfully there are those angels that meet you on the path here and there, but ultimately you are alone on the journey. No one can take your steps for you – you’ve got to do the work. That said, the angels are critical to shine a light for you, make you see a bit of the path just ahead and help you see it’s possible. I hope I can do the same for others.

Discipline: I faced some health hiccups which served to remind me to take care of my physical self better. This basically translates to establishing better discipline to run or walk, and to make the effort to feed myself well. Discipline is a challenge in other areas as well, like, for example, creativity. Discipline is a hugely important area of exploration for me across the board.

Boundaries – a lesson I thought I had already learned – once again became a subject for which I am apparently doing a thesis or something. The adventure continues.

Failures: Failure happens. Mistakes really are made. Pick up. Dust off. Learn. Regroup. Smile. Charge on.

Compassion: I felt burdened all year long to find the ways that I could bring active compassion where it matters. This applied to myself, to others, and to the world.  The events in the news media I mentioned earlier – they matter in this respect, too. Rather than be daunted by the foreboding material presented, the challenge is to remain in compassion and to work for positive change.

As I reflect back, there’s lots more. This was a rather epic year for me. I guess, though, I’m still sort of getting it all into focus.

And there is the path ahead.  Hence, 2019.

overcoming creative resistance

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I have a difficult relationship with creativity.

Creativity seems to be absolutely essential to my wellbeing, to making me all of me. I feel an almost constant and fierce desire for creative efforts.

And yet, I confront my own incredible resistance to it. The resistance wins, more often than not.

Sometimes, I think of the problem as a matter of being able to allow creativity. That, say, conditions must be just right for my creativity to emerge and flourish.

I think that maybe I need daylight hours in which to do my creative work. Or I need a particular environment that is somehow unavailable to me. Or I don’t have the right materials. Or I’m not skilled enough. Or the planets are not in alignment. Or the Muse is absent. Or. Or. Or.

Kind of sounds like excuses, eh?

And then I think that it’s not really a matter of engineering conditions to allow creativity. The problem is really a matter of eliciting creativity – calling it forth.

This involves setting the intention to do my creative work, committing to it, and forcing myself to carry through despite conditions.

I managed to prove to myself that this is possible. And fruitful.

Still, such commitment takes both courage and self-compassion.

I am not whole if I am not creative. If my creativity is suppressed, part of me is missing – a pretty important part.

I have looked long and painfully at the reasons my creative soul hides. I have learned a few things.

The world is a pretty scary place for that corner of my soul.

She is not at all convinced of her own absolute legitimacy and worthiness. She has no assurance whatever that she is loved and wanted and safe. And she just knows it’s totally not okay to get messy.

It is a matter of compassionately taking her hand and showing her it’s okay to come out. Indeed, showing her that the world is not whole without her.

It gets better with practice.

Intention, commitment, action.