Words to Live By: Siddhārtha Gautama

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Siddhārtha Gautama**

Truly loving one’s self is monumentally difficult so much of the time.  Though in my previous post I included connectedness to one’s self as something I want to create, it’s more something I want to personally pursue and support in others, because I fail in it so often myself.  Time and time again, however, I come across bits like Gautama’s above that remind me: I must love myself to be able to love the world.

**thanks to Parabola Magazine, as always, for their inspirational weekly enewsletter

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My Sacred Intention

Though I ravenously read Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing many months ago, it has taken me all this time to pick up any of her other books.  And the reason for doing so is silly, but deeply rooted: my upbringing has given me an illogical but very present aversion to anything Wiccan/Pagan.  Which is absurd because I find much more truth, both personal and universal, in the feminist spiritual system of energies and elements than in the sterile, separatist Judeo-Christian system of my heritage.

At long last I got Starhawk’s Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature from the library, and I am loving it.  It’s not the sort of book one necessarily needs to read front to back, but rather I am opening to sections spontaneously and appreciating the personal stories, universal insights, and practices that Starhawk shares.

This morning, while idly sipping my coffee and enjoying a breakfast of local eggs and a perfectly ripe nectarine in the long awaited cool breeze after last night’s storm, I was reading through the chapter entitled ‘The Sacred’.  Toward the end I arrived at an exercise to meditate and write on one’s sacred intention, and rather than read it and move on, I decided to take the time to ponder what my personal sacred intention might be.  It is far to easy to think ‘oh, I’ve already thought about those things’, but enormously beneficial when such habit energies are overcome in order to actually consider what and why I think what I do.  Following is my meditation- responses would be much appreciated, either on your own sacred intention or thoughts on mine.

Connectedness is sacred to me- as Tait said at the ED/CO retreat, it is the secular religion.  I believe in and want to support/create: connectedness of people to their own bodies and emotional experiences, people to each other and the larger human community, people to the vast multitudes of other beings, and people to the spirit, the sacred, the larger truth and beauty of the universe.

I want to take a stand for connectedness, feel the need to do so deep in my bones and spirit, but am often not sure how to do so because it is such a vague thing to explain while also being deeply personal and experiential to me.

A world where connectedness was cherished would be glorious and sustainable.  Leaders and politicians would feel truly accountable to those they speak on behalf of.  The disparity of wealth would essential disappear because individuals would recognize and know how to enact the fact that the health and wealth of one is dependent on the health and wealth of the community.  People would be intentional about their choices in everything from what they consume to what they choose as their vocation to how they educate themselves, and such intentionality wouldn’t be overwhelming, but rather seen as an opportunity to better understand the vast web we live in.

I desperately and wholeheartedly want to help bring this world into being, and I long for guidance as to how to do so.  My current work, both as community organizer and urban community house organizer, does not feel in conflict with creating a world where connectedness is sacred, but neither does it feel like the best use of my energies.

I feel blocked in doing this work by the enormity of the systems that are in opposition to a world that cherishes connectedness, by apathy of so many around me, and by my own pessimism/cynicism regarding the future of humanity.  I’m not entirely sure what will help me remove these blocks.  Courage would be good.  Educatedly optimistic mentors and friends would help too.  And a way to process and move beyond the despair that creeps in now and again.  From the universe, I need continued moments of reverence and awe.  I don’t mind crying, and in the moments I feel so much a part of everything I could burst my physical bounds and join the spirit stuff, I know in every cell that something and everything matters.

A beautiful insight on a constant conflict.

As with most individuals in the world, I have a number of internal worldview conflicts.  One amongst them, however, rises to the top of both my meaningful conversations and my quiet musings: should I stay in the city to do change work that may affect a greater number of people while recognizing I only have so much control over my own sustainability/simplicity because of the urban systems in place, or do I move to a rural intentional community where I might have a smaller scope of change impact but can live very sustainably, creatively, and off the grid?

One of the main arguments against the latter is that it often can be seen as running away from ‘real life’ (whatever that is).  Which is why I so greatly appreciated this piece from the Twin Oaks website.  I just might have to consider attending their conference over Labor Day weekend to learn more…

 

A letter to CON.

This weekend I embarked on the adventure that is one’s first comic book/sci-fi/fantasy/all things geek convention.  I went to CONvergence.

I’m still processing the experience, the multitudes of, well, everything.  Tamora Pierce‘s tattoos.  The incredibly complex costumes.  Yoga Quest.  The foam sword fighting.  The vast array of items one could purchase in the dealers room.  Everything Joss Whedon ever.  But before I lost the freshness of the weekend, I wrote a letter, a collection of first impressions if you will.

Dear CON,

First off, I’m glad you exist.  You give a home to thousands of people that in many other circumstances feel extraordinarily out of place.  Secondly, I am glad I attended you, glad I dove in relatively face first and met your denizens, listened to your speakers (Tamora Pierce, OMG), drank your alcohol, perused your wares, and just generally basked in your chaotic blend of costume, intellect, and connection.
HOWEVER… as noted yesterday [in my journal], I do not believe you are my tribe.  I wish you were.  I would love to belong somewhere so thoroughly, with people so filled with YES!  But I do not, unfortunately, and I’m beginning to believe I don’t really quite belong anywhere.  But that’s another story for another time.
There are many things you do so well, CON- you embrace the multitudes, not even regardless of particular predilections, but because of them.  You are unabashedly, inclusively sexual, something the world needs more of.  You provide for your people, with conversations of all sorts and sustenance for body and mind.
But CON, you also hurt my heart.  You produce a lot of waste after a lot of consumption.  You are very white.  You are excessively air conditioned.  You are internet-centric and astoundingly absent of nature.
In the end I stick by my beginning statement.  I’m glad I went.  I am not sure what future years will bring, nor am I certain of what I might want to pursue.  But thanks for loving the oft unloved, CON.

Love,
Lauren