Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools for Living at the Highest Levels of You

Tag: hope

Let’s Make “Thoughts and Prayers” A Call to Action

“I don’t want to survive, I want to live.” Wall-E

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:14-17

You know the image. A soldier, in the foxhole, at the edge of the battle. Destruction is all around. Worn-down and haggard from months of fighting, he grasps the locket around his neck. He seems to be praying, offering thoughts and prayers to the existence of God, home, and country. Then he let’s go of the locket, with renewed strength, he jumps out of the foxhole into battle.

Every call to action is a battle. Whatever the cause. Whether it’s standing up for gun control, bringing awareness to mental health issues, fighting for veteran’s rights, or ending world hunger. It is the action that is important.

It’s easy to confuse non-violence with inaction. Thoughts and prayers are not inactions. It just takes more than that. Mohandas Gandhi led an entire independence movement with shaking speeches that motivated millions, a hunger strike, and consistent thoughts and prayers.

Meditation is another word for the phrase, thoughts, and prayers. Focusing one’s mind in silence is done in both cases as a method of finding peace. Meditation, like thoughts and prayers, is often seen as a spiritual endeavor. For the place of solace is considered to be in the realm of spirit.

Thoughts and prayers, meditation. These practices buoy the resolve it takes to fight the battle. There is a natural balance between the inaction of quiet, focused solace and actively fighting to protect our core beliefs. The higher power that lives within us, God – if you will, is not separate from our core beliefs. It is our core beliefs.

Can we please stop imagining that God is outside of us? Please!

An anthropomorphized man/woman, god/goddess, Justice League that’s going to save us. It is us – the highest expression of our most profound beliefs. Not the ego-driven, “King of the world,” us.

We love thoughts and prayers because we feel the love, hope, and faith in the stillness. Those feelings light up our soul. They remind us who we are, powerful beyond measure.

Some kind of action is always required for us to experience God’s presence. Thinking, praying, and meditating are actions that reinforce community oneness. That’s why we push the buttons to like and share them.

To make the changes we want we have to stand in the faith that oneness already exists. And then fight like hell to create the existence we want to see in the world in which we live.

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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