“Blowing in the Wind”

The photos last week of the little 5 year-old Syrian boy who had survived the bombing, touched my heart. Often I have to turn off stories about the Syrian war. By now it is possible that between 200,000 and 400,000 thousand people have died. Often all I feel I can do is pray. I am a peace supporter. I protested the second Iraq War of George W. Bush for months and months. I became a peace advocate in my 30s, so I was not a hippy in the 60s and 70s and part of the protest of the Vietnam War. However, today Bob Dylan’s song touches my heart, particularly the line:
“Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’till he knows
That too many people have died?”
When will all these wars end? “Blowing in the Wind” answers that question for me.

That is how I feel about the endless wars that have been the backdrop of my entire life. I did not experience them directly, but I had a taste of them through teaching some of the immigrants I taught English to as an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) teacher. First, I learned a little from my Vietnamese students in New Hampshire and even in North Carolina and also from the other teachers who taught with me. This was long after the War in Vietnam had ended (in 1990).

The first year I taught as an ESL teacher, I read “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places” by Le Ly Hayslip. Ms. Hayslip is Vietnamese, so the book was written from her perspective. When I saw the movie that Stone made from her book, it became much more the point of view of her American soldier husband, so Hayslip’s story was diminished. In any case, her book helped me to slightly understand who I was teaching at the time. I learned that first year teaching that the wars we Americans fight, when our troops leave these countries, they are left destroyed. After destroying their countries, then there is new wave of displaced people and immigrants who have suffered the ravages of war at the hand of American foreign policy.

Later in my career I taught Korean students, Palestinians, a few Syrian students, long before the present war in Syria. One of those students had a family that was living in Egypt when it used to be more stable. I had the good fortune to teach students from most of the countries of the world and because we needed to practice speaking and listening besides teaching English, I was able to learn something about their lives.

I love the USA, but I have deeply revulsion to our foreign policies in world. I believe that since the end of World War II, which ended before I was born, most of our foreign policies have been bankrupt, greedy, and very destructive.

A man who understood war well, President (and General) Dwight Eisenhower, warned us Americans before he left office at the beginning of 1961 NOT to create a “Military-Industrial Complex”.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
-President Dwight David Eisenhower

This is President Eisenhower’s entire farewell speech:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

Our politicians did not heed Eisenhower’s wisdom. Greed superseded wisdom.

I have no idea how to stop all of the wars. What I do know is that I personally must be at peace within myself and like myself. When I am feeling down, I notice I am NOT as kind to others. I have to start by being kind to myself. Stressing myself about “getting things done” and pressuring myself is NOT a good way to treat myself. Also when I disconnect myself from my heart and my source, I find I think and act more negatively towards others. I believe this is the beginning of callousness towards others and the “roots of all war”. All I can do is correct myself. If each of us, focuses on our own lives and also is willing to work with others, I believe it is possible to end war. Also getting the profit and greed out of war and selling implements of war: guns, rockets, etc. to others is also necessary. No telling when that might happen. No matter what, I can still be as peaceful as I can and live a happier life because I choose to be kinder towards myself and others.

I love this song. It says my point of view in a song, “Down to YOU”. Thank you, Bonnie Raitt.

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Love and Empathy Conquers Hate and Fear

When I have been afraid, I can NOT think straight. I feel I have no possibilities, or I feel helpless and hopeless. When I can become vulnerable enough and admit my fear and notice why I am afraid, then I can work to tell the truth to myself or others about my fear(s). Then I am free again and can notice other possible ways to deal with a situation or challenge than when I was blinded by my fear.

I was going through this process the few last weeks. This was not an instant process. It took me some time to unravel it. I also had to ask for help from my source. After I did this, I calmed down and was able to more patiently navigate my way through my recent and even ongoing challenges. I found a possible solution that I was unable to even fathom when I had been so fearful.

I have noticed that when I am fearful, I am also less loving and empathetic. I am quicker to anger. Over the last few months, with all of the mass shootings, shootings of African Americans, and police officers and unrest and shootings around the world, I have resisted going to fear, but it crept in anyway. Denying it was there was not helping. Also I have been disturbed and saddened by the hate I have witnessed against all groups of people.

Hate has an energy that is palpable and very dark. However, I and we humans have a way to conquer hate and fear, and that is with love and empathy.

From Wayne Dyer’s Book, page 27: “The Power of Intention” he said in his chapter: “The Seven Faces of Intention”:

“…Love… is a higher/faster energy than the energy of hate.”

Also on the same page Mr. Dyer said:

“Thoughts and emotions are pure energy. When higher energies occupy the same field as lower energies, the lower energies convert to higher energies.”

Therefore, in the presence of the energy of LOVE, hate is conquered.

Getting to this place of LOVE is definitely not automatic for me. What I can do, is begin with myself. I need to begin with being kinder and more loving to myself, only then can I give love or at least have empathy for others. First, I have to shift and acknowledge my fear or anger if I have any. Recently, I found what was under my fear was a very old resentment, which I needed to admit to myself. This included that I needed to become willing to be an observer of my own actions, emotions, and triggers. My source helps me to see what those are when I become willing to be humble and listen from a place of silence. I am no saint. I am aware I need all the help I can get, so I ask or pray for it.

“Love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world.”

– Teil de Chardin

I just saw this this Tuesday. This young man shows what LOVE and EMPATHY are in his unbelievable rap. Don’t miss it! Keep kleenex handy.

http://eagnews.org/video-eighth-graders-explicit-white-boy-privilege-poem-wins-school-competition/

Sorry, initially I copied and pasted the wrong rap!

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Slowing Down

Too often in my life, I have lived as if my life were a swiftly rushing river.  I came from a hyper family and fit right in.  One of the things I’m still learning is how to slow myself down!

rushing river

Rushing River

Much of my work life I juggled rearing my daughter alone, several part-time teaching  jobs, driving nearly 100 miles most days, and writing. When I look back at that time,  I don’t know how I did it.  I think this is unfortunately the life story of many people today. Today many people have added even more things and distractions in their lives: cell phones, gaming, texting,  twitter, fast food, Facebook, little sleep, hours of TV.

waters in stream

Racing waters in Stream

I dabble in Facebook (because of my blog) and have a “stupid phone”, so today I have not gotten so caught up in electronic devices. I work on my computer at home. I feel I am fortunate that my stream (of life) is slowing down.  Recently, I was with a student, who is a senior in high school. He told me that he had to make a deliberate effort to look people in the eye to talk to to them because he was so used to looking down at his cell phone.  I was very impressed that he was conscious enough to notice what he had been doing and was trying to change his behavior.

Here is a TED talk praising slowness by Carl Honore:

“For fast-acting relief try slowing down.”  – Lily Tomlin

river bend

River slowing down

One of the bad habits I have acquired due to having lived a fast pace so long, is I interrupt people more than I wish to admit. I am trying to bite my tongue more; I still embarrass myself some. I have people I care about in my life who remind me nicely when I’m interrupting them.  My latest long time habit that is getting me into trouble is how I walk. I even need to walk more slowly and deliberately. This year I have already paid the price because I have fallen down.

pond

still water of a pond

For me I meditate more now, and prayer has been helpful as I work on slowing myself down. I also live where the speed limits are low. Now I have more time to smile at cute children and people who are friendly, more time for walks and hanging out. For moments, I even have some serenity.

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness not because they never found it, but because they didn’t STOP to enjoy it.”  – William Feather

 

 

 

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