Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools for Living at the Highest Levels of You

The audacity of hope needs these 4 things

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God bless Blanche DuBois. She holds on to an ideal who’s time has passed, the glory days of yore, a static memory of beauty with troubling undercurrents. Blanche wanted to be that beautiful girl she once was.

Oh she still had the looks, but that wasn’t the point. Her beauty came from the trappings – the elaborate family home, the pretty accouterments of privilege, the social hierarchy with servants at her feet. Without them she had nothing, was nothing, even though to the eye of the beholder she looked exactly the same.

My point is, Blanch was still attractive but she was not willing to take the risks that need to be taken to ground herself into her power and feel her own attractiveness rising from within.This type of risk taking requires taking advantage of new experiences when they arise, especially if they seem uncomfortable or even impossible.

When change becomes most challenging it is these four things that are necessary to act: inspiration, grit, courage and a supportive community.

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INSPIRATION

From the Greek In Spiro, literally means inhale. Movement in all of its forms is the impetus for inspiration. Like Blanche when we’d rather remember the good old days and rely on what lies outside of us to get us moving, inspiration must come from within. The same with writer’s block or any other feelings of stuckness, surprisingly often a series of long slow breaths is all it takes to get the brain out of lock-down mode.

GRIT

Grit takes grounding, which starts with the breath. Follow the awareness of the breath and you begin to feel sensations all through your body, red and white cells running through the bloodstream, a pain you hadn’t noticed before, tension creeping up your neck. Once you’ve noticed these they usually require a simple fix – a drop of the shoulders, pop of the neck, exhalation of breath. Then grit, that stick-to-it-iveness can become quite effortless.

COURAGE

Courage is a willingness to confront undesirable states of being such as uncertainty, injustice, or danger. It is ignited in the heart, in a desire for change that transcends the norm. In books and movies, it is often courage that turns mundane human experiences into adventures. Courage is the antidote to that most familiar emotion we fear, fear itself. In turn, fear can show us where we could most use some courage.

The journey of knowing fear is in fact the journey of courage. — Pema Chodron

SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

A mutual sense of belonging fosters trust, safety, and acceptance. What Blanche lacked in this department Madame D found in the concierge Gustave H and his loyal servants of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Where Blanche longed for the old south of Gone With the Wind, Madame D was stuck in Belle Epoque Europe of the same late 19th century era. Both of these women longed for the decadence that the Industrial Age brought just as the wave crested that exposed its injustices.

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These injustices are still being realized as we continue to envision a supportive community that encompasses a world built on love and kindness and couched in the aesthetics of a well curated play.tumblr_n9p1qwtbah1qb8if7o7_250

 

When we delve into this adventurous journey called life exploring beyond what we already know we allow experiential transformation to occur. The more risk we take from a place of love and support, the more willing we are to ask the deeper questions such as “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, questions with uncertain answers but often rewarding with the perspective they offer. Unless you’re okay with someone yelling, “Stellaaaaaaaa!!!!” in your ear all day long.

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Time to Don Your Night Goggles

 

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Idiocracy: “They’re watering crops with a sports drink?”

Night vision eyewear can be very helpful when you don’t have the ability to see in the dark. What if we could break out those goggles at any time when doubt, fear, loneliness and alienation have become our default settings?

I think we can.

On Halloween I started a post titled, Nightmare By the Sea but I never finished it because it didn’t have an ending until last night. The beautiful American couple in the movie By the Sea, live in a beautiful Maltese setting and drive an exquisite vintage Citroen convertible (with Cartier red leather interior) through narrow winding cobbled streets, to rocky cliffs overlooking the azure-blue Mediterranean Sea.

But alas, seeping out into this glorious veneer is a lonely, alienated and empty interior. The reason? Because she couldn’t have children. Really? The couple with six kids, half of them adopted and this is the story the chose to tell? Oye!

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“You want to hurt me? Hurt me.”

Their self-absorbed sadness was too much, “Go outside!” I screamed at the screen, as if Freddy Krueger were behind them. “For God’s sakes, get away from each other, go swim in the ocean, adopt a kid already, and please someone tell a joke!”

The urgency I felt yelling at the TV, Mystery Science Theater –style on Halloween is the same urgency I feel now, “Run!”

Trump is my Freddie Krueger. All the white men he will surround himself with, their thoughts on controlling women’s choices among other important social issues.

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“All the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously.       That’s to be expected.”

So today, yes,  I’m suffering. In the ebb and flow of life I’ve been in the flow for the last eight years, I’ve felt a part of something important, a community with a leader that made changes that felt in alignment with my beliefs.

And that is it right there. Beliefs. Ideas. Mindsets. This construct is what we’re up against. These thoughts that lure us into feeling good and riding high on that feeling and then comes the inevitable hangover, the suffering.

“Suffering is not a mistake. It is part of the path.”  —- Dharma saying

So what’s there while we’re suffering? Everything that was there before: the beautiful couple, the blue ocean and the old convertible (though now the leather seats are probably ripped and faded). The question is: Did you ever make to the beach? Help a child? Find the humor?

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  —- Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

When we know what truth looks like we can find it, even in the dark. Truth exists in our courage to trust love, our faith in the inherent goodness in each other, and our constant cultivation of hope.

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”     —- Maya Angelou                                                         

Lest we forget that this election brought us the first Latina senator, the first black/Indian (female) senator, the first female Somali Muslim woman in the house. Sometimes it’s the smallest differences that make the greatest impact. Hope is always there. It’s just that sometimes we need those night goggles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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