It was the Celtic civilization that first celebrated the magical time of year that is Halloween. They considered this time, the Samhain, as the most significant turning point of the year, when things change most deeply, when connections to the dead open up… The souls that have gone through the ultimate turning from life to death. They believed that this was the time of year that the world of the living and the world of the dead were closest and that the spirits and ghosts of the dead travelled amongst the living. This conception of the closing gap between life and death in still widely celebrated in the Mexican Dia de los Muertos and even in the Christian All Saints Day. Taking this opportunity to celebrate the dead among us, to acknowledge the ghosts that remain behind and to befriend the demons that we embody are powerful and redemptive acts of love, both for the living and the dead, as what remains in hidden steals immense power from our living intentions.
Archive for the 'Sustainable Love' Category
We hurt ourselves by trying to defend ourselves against our own truth. The pain we refuse to feel collects in us and is stored in the places we are most shielded, which for most of us, is our hearts. We are so fearful of the potential of a broken heart that we inadvertently refuse to open our hearts for their intended use. This practice of shielding our hearts and denying our feelings can become such a deep and prolonged habit that we walk around encased in a shield that we don’t even know we are wearing. This explains why it is so rare and beautiful a thing – the meeting of two open hearts. It’s no good, this refusal of our own heart experience. The act of becoming numb to ourselves actually requires a lot of effort and explains our collective fixation on the wide range of drug and alcohol induced self-medicating. The pain in our collective breasts begins with what remains unseen in our hearts.
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What does sexual wellbeing mean to you? This is the question that the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) selected for its focus on the 2nd annual World Sexual Health Day this week on September 4th. More than 30 countries took part by creating events to recognize the need to articulate and understand the concept of sexual rights for all. This is no small thing, given that in most countries, the science of sexology does not exist and that, with the exception of a few Western nations, there is no collection or depository of sexual health data. Globally, we have not been willing or able to create a standardized terminology for the varied practices of sex. Unlike most other human-related scientific disciplines, our conception and understanding of our sexuality and related erotic selves remains in its infancy. When it comes to sexual behaviors, there is no collective data on legislation or its enforcement, the economic ramifications of sexual practices or even a shared global criteria for sexual counseling. It is truly something to celebrate that we have arrived at the 2nd anniversary of this day dedicated to raising global consciousness and I was proud to be included as a primary sponsor for the North American event in New York City.
One of my favorite talks that I listen to over and over again by Pema Chodron is her teaching about cultivating Bodichitta, which is another word for the ‘awakened heart.’ Her advice is that we have to start where we are, recognizing the love we have to give and, more importantly, the love we can receive in this present moment. In the talk, she empathizes about how many people share the common and painful experience of not being able to identify a single person that they felt loved them truly and unconditionally. This narrative of feeling unlovable is rampant in our time. Arguably, there are more people living lonely and disconnected lives than in any time in our history, which is ironic given the vast technological advances designed to connect us all.
“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” -Pope John Paul II
We are the country of grand experiments and the only constant is change. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ways we are witnessing the disintegration of the traditional family unit. I inherited my father’s AARP subscription and the cover story of this month’s issue featured a special report on the New American Family and detailed how we live now. The trends cited are important not only because they reflect how families are formed now, but even more because they provide important implications for what is to come. While the Baby Boomer generation has created a wave of cultural changes, the most impactful may be the close to 50% divorce rate statistic, which makes them the generation with the highest divorce rate in the 20th century. Indeed, their influence is clear as families consisting of married couples with kids are now less than half of what they were in 1970 and children born to unmarried women has jumped from 5% to 41%.
Of all the sciences, the one that is most compelling to me is Quantum Physics. A year ago I went to this remarkable Science and Non-Duality conference, where leading PhD quantum physicists convened with spiritual teachers, confirming the scientific theories, which support the ancient teachings that we are indeed all one. Accepting and understanding how we are all connected in this vast, ever expanding universe of benign energy is the context which makes the idea of a love centered revolution possible. A movement of Love Agents creating a stream of intentional loving acts will subtly, yet definitively shift the collective consciousness to the truth of our interconnectedness. And the idea that a relatively small group of people can become a catalyst for change and impact the larger whole has been proven time and again. Arguably, in the name of love, there may not be a more opportune moment to intervene than right now.
One of my favorite teachings in the Buddhist tradition is how love is transmitted between a teacher and a student. It is often described as a seed of loving intention that is planted in the heart and mind of the initiate, which, with attention, will grow into a life of the dharma. In truth, this is probably what sparked the idea of creating love missions. I don’t think it is a stretch to consider most of the missions that Love Agents will carry out as teachings in kindness. Bringing a gentle willingness to the ways we think, communicate and show up for our relationships doesn’t take much more time or effort than our usual interactions, yet it is often something easily overlooked. Deliberate acts of kindness teach both the giver and receiver by helping them to recognize how love feels in the moment. Love Agent missions are designed to create a heightened level of intentional attention to these moments so we can become cognizant of the visceral shift that occurs in the moments we experience love.
“In the last minutes of your life, it won’t matter what you have collected, where you have travelled, how much you have in the bank. The only thing that will matter to you is who you loved and who loved you back…”
If you have ever met me in person, it is likely that by the end of our conversation I may have said these words to you. I live my life by them and am convinced that the purpose of our lives is to learn how to love. And yet, on the face of it, we often are so consumed with the daily activities of earning our living, dealing with difficulty, and self-medicating our unnamed and unexpressed emotional injuries that paying attention to our loving relationships ends up last on the list. This might be in part because loving people is hard work, and often work for which we are unprepared, both in experience and education. Put simply, we often don’t recognize the opportunities for the applied practice that love demands.
“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” –Barbara de Angelis
Becoming more intentional in your life, especially when it comes to matters that engage our emotional intelligence and heart opening is the only path to a meaningful evolution and aging process. In human social systems, the idea of agency or becoming an agent has to do with our ability to make choices, as opposed to some predetermined destiny. It embraces the idea that we have the capacity, and some might argue the responsibility to make decisions and enact them on the world.
Blogging days are over. And as much as I love to ponder and write about what it takes to make love real, it is clear that this weekly monologue of mine about sustainable love must evolve into something that actually impacts the experience of love in the world. Lucky for me that I met a social movement architect who has helped us conceive of the first organic love movement of its kind built on individual acts of love. The truth is that every time any one of us does something deliberately loving for someone else, it creates an energetic transmission that enlarges the emotional capacity of both the giver and the receiver; and while I have been writing for years about good ideas for getting there, it is time to enlist the legion of all of you, who have been reading (thanks for opening all this time) and turn you into certified Love Agents.