To Amanda, the “enemy” describes her devoted and loving husband of 25 years, Phil, a staunch republican.
To Phil, the “enemy” describes his beloved wife and life companion, Amanda, a proud democrat.
Phil and Amanda are partners in a relationship where a large portion of the principles and ideologies they believe in and subscribe to are starkly different. When I first heard about this particular couple, my first-blush reaction was one of disbelief. How could a vibrant long-term partnership not only exist or merely get by but actually thrive within a framework constructed upon so many contrasting points of view? Which led me to the follow-up question: How important are mirroring core beliefs to the vitality of a relationship?
Can a romantic partnership bridge the obvious gap between hot-button topics like pro choice/pro life, gay marriage, death penalty issues, and taxes?
And putting aside for a moment whether it “can”…must it?
A belief that a partner must share and embrace parallel understandings about most, if not all, of life’s day-to-day happenings could be the very thing that is blocking an experience of our highest potential and greatest remembrance. As we long for and seek to find relationships that support our already-adopted set of beliefs and firmly placed perspectives, perhaps we are overlooking the possibilities held within a relationship of distinction, one whose promise is to provide the highest and grandest opportunity for self-creation. Conversations with God, Book 1, teachings say, “If the world existed in perfect condition, your life process of Self creation would be terminated. It would end.”
Couldn’t the same be true within the context of our intimate relationships?
Differences within relationships present opportunities to experience oneness without the requirement of sameness. Whether our partners are interested discussing the most-recent debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or having a conversation around last night’s yoga class or perhaps the day’s events at the office, a partnership will continually invite you to create a space and be present in the same way each and every time: fully, mindfully, openly, and lovingly. Not because the particular subject matters – politics, gardening, yoga, football, knitting, book club – but because the person with whom you share your journey, your beloved other, the mate of your soul, does matter.
Therefore, it is not important that we agree, but rather that we resist the temptation to be “right,” consciously inviting the full expression of life into our realm of possibilities. And as life has demonstrated to us again and again and again, we are most often provided some of our grandest opportunities within the disguise of that which we resist.
In the upcoming 2012 election, Phil will vote for Mitt Romney and Amanda will vote for Barack Obama. And they will thereafter continue on in their sacred journey, a partnership of their souls, expanding in the appreciation of their diversity and operating out of their deeply held belief that the essence of love is freedom.
And THAT is a concept that has my vote!
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
REGARDING ABORTION: What is the spiritual value we are invited to honor?
There has been quite a remarkable discussion taking place both on the personal Facebook page of Neale Donald Walsch, and in the Comments postings beneath the current Headline Story here on this newspaper page. The discussion now moves to this Question of the Week space.
The Question This Week: What are the spiritual ramifications of the abortion issue…and can humanity agree on a resolution of this major social issue that so divides America, and much of the world?
We begin the discussion with a re-posting of the exchange between Ronald Moore and Neale Donald Walsch found in the string under the headline story. We invite Mr. Walsch’s Facebook audience to join in this discussion…
Comment by Ronald Moore on October 22, 2012 at 1:35 am
We are truly far from the ideal world of CWG right now and we have a long journey yet till we are there. We are free to make or own decisions with the knowledge that those have consequences. This subject would not be so difficult if it was anything but babies. Aren’t we supposed to be more compassionate towards the most defenseless of us all? It becomes more murkier when you see that the vast majority of these procedures have absolutely nothing to do with the safety of the pregnant woman. There is no easy answer, I certainly as a man don’t have the answer. What might help us is that we just be honest about this and stop all the lies. The truth will set us free and yes sometimes the truth hurts.
POSTING FROM NEALE DONALD WALSCH IN RESPONSE…
- Comment by Neale Donald Walsch on October 22, 2012 at 8:03 am Edit
Dear Ronald Moore…Now we are getting somewhere. You have said, “It becomes murkier when you see that the vast majority of these procedures have absolutely nothing to do with the safety of the pregnant woman.”
I agree. I think we can all agree, on both sides of this question, that the statistics clearly show this.
Ronald, you have also said: “There is no easy answer, I certainly as a man don’t have the answer. What might help us is that we just be honest about this and stop all the lies. The truth will set us free and yes sometimes the truth hurts.”
I agree again. There IS no “easy answer.” But we might start with a “truth that hurts.” If we come from a new and larger understanding of Life, and what is really “so” about Life, we might find many of our internal conflicts disappearing.
CWG has been contending for nearly two decades now that the problem facing humanity is a spiritual problem. There is something that we don’t understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything. Let’s start there…
One thing we don’t understand about Life is that it is eternal. Your Soul always was, is now, and always will be. It has been, and will be, forever, and even forever more. It has lived many so-called “lives,” or physical incarnations. This is true of the Souls of all living beings.
The key spiritual question here then becomes: Is this true also of the Soul of a fetus? If it is, then the question of “murder” is off the table in the abortion issue. And, for that matter, in all human affairs. The question in all human affairs becomes: What is the purpose of the Tri-Part Being that we call humans (Body/Mind/Spirit) coming into physical form in any particular lifetime? Does the Soul get only one lifetime to complete its purpose? Does it get any finite number of lifetimes? Or does it get an endless number of lifetimes, an infinite number, using All of Eternity to experience what it was designed by God to experience?
And what, pray tell, is that?
These are the difficult questions that true spiritual investigation must explore. And these questions confound the Mind, because the Mind is working with extraordinarily limited data—and inaccurate limited data at that: The inaccurate data given to us by human religions. Well intentioned religions, let us make it clear, but religions whose understanding is just as limited as that of human individuals. The problem: we are dealing here with incomplete data.
Human religions would have us believe, for instance, that the Soul lives One Lifetime, and that is that. This places the question of abortion—and all human interaction, for that matter—within an extraordinarily limited context. Is it okay to end the Singular Life of A Soul using the death penalty, but not okay to do so using abortion? And what, exactly, makes one action perfectly okay, while another is not?
Ah!, we say…because we have found the criminal “guilty,” while the fetus is “innocent.” So WE get to “play God” and decide (and we’d better be Right in every case about this) who is “guilty” and who is not. But in terms of a fetus we know for certain that it is innocent, and should therefore be granted physical life under every circumstance, without question.
Yet when we discuss things at this level, we are not talking about the level of Soul. We are talking about the level of physical being. The Soul of the criminal may or may not be “guilty.” We say that is up to God to decide. It is not ours to judge. God will make that judgment. Some people have killed others with what they felt was “good reason”. So we let God be the judge. We only kill those who WE think we have “good reason” to kill. If THEY thought THAT had “good reason” to kill, and if we don’t agree, we kill them for that. But we can only deal with the physical, and we have to let God deal with the spiritual. We’ll deal with the bodily issues and let God deal with the Soul-level issues.
Yet if that gives us the “right” to terminate the life of a cellular physical mass that call call a fully grown adult — through the death penalty, for instance (to speak nothing of what we call our “justified” wars) — why would it not give a woman the “right” to terminate the life of a cellular physical mass the size of a small coin, that we call a fetus?
In both cases, are not the spiritual matters the purview of God? Yes, but we have that question of Guilt and Innocence once again. But have we not said here that many innocent people have been killed in wars that some humans felt were nevertheless justified? And have not innocent people been killed using the death penalty that some people felt was nevertheless justified? Could not both have been “mistakes”?
You see, the whole of human affairs becomes very complicated when we consider its complexities within the context of what we imagine ourselves to know about Life Itself. Yet what if there was something we do not KNOW about God and about Life, the knowing of which would change everything? What is life was eternal, and you could not “terminate” the “life” of any Soul, no matter how hard you tried? And what if there was no such place as “hell,” and that even Hitler went to heaven — as Conversations with God says? What if there is more to this whole process of Life on Earth than meets the eye? What if we are trying to put a puzzle together with half the pieces missing?
NOW we are talking. Care to have THAT discussion?
If so, use the Comment Section beneath this post.
- Comment by Neale Donald Walsch on October 22, 2012 at 8:03 am Edit
You can tell if you are addicted to a behavior or an outcome when the absence of it causes you to abandon your happiness. This is the definition of addiction from the book “When Everything Changes, Change Everything. ” The word “abandon” indicates that we are aware on some level that we have placed our happiness on something external to ourselves. This definition becomes evident when we consider a popular television show in the United States called “Hoarding, Buried Alive.”
If you have not seen this show or even heard of this thing called hoarding, it is quite shocking to see what types of distorted reality some people are operating out of. In one of the most disturbing hoarding cases, a man had gone to his mother’s house because she hadn’t been seen in a few weeks. He couldn’t get into the house and then he noticed a strong smell coming from what seemed like the basement. “I thought, there’s no happy ending here,” he said. “I just had a feeling. I had a bad feeling for years…It’s a terrible thing to deal with.” Three days later, the police found his mother’s body under a pile of trash.
Watching the people on this show, as well as knowing some personally, the hoarder is so attached to the items they possess that those items end up possessing them! The idea that happiness comes from within has been so deeply forgotten that they desperately search for the thing that will bring them happiness, only to become buried under the weight of attachments. So where does it start? How does one get so distorted that they have become accustomed to living in squalor, with dead animals, feces, and mountains of garbage, clothes, and material possessions in some cases from floor to ceiling in their dwellings?
One theory is that a trauma has occurred in the affected person’s life that has created the belief that their life depends on these items being in their possession. The trauma was such that denial of their true nature was too painful for their ego to handle. Childhood traumas can be neglect, they can be physical abuse, including sexual abuse, or they can simply be from growing up in a house where emotions are not shown. These are just a few of the abuses many in society heap upon children. These traumas will manifest themselves differently in adults, and even more so if the individual does not have a strong sense of resiliency.
From the outside looking in, the obsession with materialistic possessions confounds most people because they look solely at the despicable conditions and wonder how anyone can tolerate that. What is clear from the addictions and compulsions specialist’s point of view is that through a predictable path of events in the hoarder’s life, they suffer from a disease, and a lack of ease is exactly what it is. They cannot easily ascertain their own ability to survive and find pleasure outside of the parameters they have set for themselves; that is, they feel they must keep on collecting items and never give them up. To give them up, they perceive they would be letting go of their comfort, happiness, and even possibly their survival.
Can this type of behavior be changed? Is there a chance for a recovery for the hoarder? Of course there is a chance; it is rare, however, due to the reclusive nature of the disorder. The statement “With him, all things are possible” comes to mind here. The more difficult question is, however, how does the afflicted get to the space where they can even entertain seeking a spiritual resolution to their disease?
How can we as a loving, caring community support these people and help them to find themselves once again and lead a productive, happy life?
(Kevin McCormack is a Conversations with God Life Coach, a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net, Addictions recovery advisor. To connect with Kevin please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)
Remember, with this, as with all communications from God, take what you read as valuable, but not as Infallible. Know that you are your own highest authority. Whether you read the Talmud or the Bible, the Bhagavad-gita or the Quran, the Pali Canon or the Book of Mormon, or any holy text, do not place your source of authority outside of you, but, rather, go within to see if the truth you find there is in harmony with the truth you find in your heart. If it is, do not say to others, “This book is true.” Say, “This book is true for me.”
And if others ask you about the way you are living because of the truth you have found within you, be sure to say that yours is not a better way, yours is merely another way.
That is what this present communication is. This communication is just another way of looking at things. If it makes the world more clear for you, fine. If it puts you more closely in touch with your own innermost truth, good. But be careful not to turn this into your new “holy scripture,” for then you will have simply replaced one set of beliefs with another.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to COMMENT on the above excerpt, please scroll down to the bottom of the ancillary copy below.
If Conversations with God has touched your life in a positive way, you are one of millions of people around the world who have had such an experience. All of the readers of CWG have yearned to find a way to keep its healing messages alive in their life. One of the best ways to do that is to read and re-read the material over and over again — and we have made it convenient and easy for you to do so. Come here often and enjoy selected excerpts from the Conversations with God cosmology, changed on a regular basis, so you can “dip in” to the 3,000 pages of material quickly and easily. We hope you have enjoyed the excerpt above, from the book: Communion with God.
If you believe that the messages in Conversations with God could inspire humanity to change its basic beliefs about God, about Life, and about Human Beings and their relationship to each other, leave those messages lying around.
Simply “forget” or “misplace” a copy of Conversations with God on a bench somewhere. At a bus stop, or a train station, or an airport—or actually on the bus, train, or plane. At a hairstyling salon, a doctor’s office, a chiropractor’s office, a park bench, or even just a bench on the street. Just leave a book lying around.
If everybody did this, the message of Conversations with God could “go viral” in a matter of weeks. So I invite you to participate in the Book-On-A-Bench program and spread ideas that could create a new cultural story far and wide.
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Neale Donald Walsch is a modern-day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now-famous conversation with God. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching the lives of millions and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day living.
Neale was born in Milwaukee to a Roman Catholic family that encouraged his quest for spiritual truth. Serving as his first spiritual mentor, Neale’s mother taught him not to be afraid of God, as she believed in having a personal relationship with the divine — and she taught Neale to do the same.
A nontraditional believer, Neale’s mother hardly ever went to church, and when he asked her why, she told Neale: “I don’t have to go to church — God comes to me. He’s with me and around me wherever I am.” This notion of God at an early age would later move Neale to transcend traditional views of organized religion.
Neale grew into an insatiably curious child whose comments about life seemed to possess a wisdom beyond his years, and often caused relatives and family friends to ask, “Where does he come up with this stuff?” While attending a Catholic grade school, Neale would often pose questions in catechism class that would extend past the traditional grade school curriculum.
Finally, the parish priest invited Neale to his rectory to answer the difficult questions that he didn’t wish to address in front of the rest of the class. This meeting turned into a once-a-week visit that blossomed into an open forum in which Neale learned not to be afraid to ask questions about religion and spirituality—and also learned that his asking these types of questions did not mean that he would offend God.
Joyless spirituality is observed.
Is rigidity and anger sometimes produced by religion?
By the age of 15, Neale’s involvement with spiritually based teachings led him to observe that when people got involved in religion they too often seemed less joyful and more rigid, exhibiting behaviors of prejudice, separateness, and even anger. Neale concluded that for many people the collective experience of theology was not positive.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, but academic life could not hold him and he dropped out of college after two years to follow an interest in broadcasting that eventually led to a full-time position at the age of 19 at a small radio station far from his Milwaukee home, in Annapolis, Maryland.
Restless by nature and always seeking to expand his opportunities for self-expression, Neale in the years that followed became a radio station program director; a newspaper reporter and, ultimately, managing editor; public information officer for one of the nation’s largest public school systems; and, after moving to the West Coast, creator and owner of his own public relations and marketing firm. Moving from one career field to another, he could not seem to find occupational satisfaction, his life was in constant turmoil, and his health was going rapidly downhill.
A life-changing accident.
A desperate questioning that touches the world.
He had relocated in Oregon as part of a change-of-scenery strategy to find his way, but Fate was to provide more than a change of location. It produced a change in his entire life. One day a car driven by an elderly gentleman made a left turn directly into his path. Neale emerged from the auto accident with a broken neck. He was lucky to escape with his life.
More than a year of rehab threw him out of work. A failed marriage had already removed him from his home, and soon he couldn’t keep even the small apartment he’d rented. Within months he found himself on the street, homeless. It took him the better part of a year to pull himself together and get back under shelter. He found, at first, modest part-time jobs, once again in broadcasting, then worked his way into full time employment and an eventual spot as a syndicated radio talk show host.
He had seen the bottom of life living outside, gathering beer and soft drink cans in a park to collect the return deposit, but now his life seemed to be on the mend. Yet, once more, Neale felt an emptiness inside. In 1992, following a period of deep despair, Neale awoke in the middle of a February night and wrote an anguished letter to God. “What does it take,” he angrily scratched across a yellow legal pad, “to make life work?”
The books that began a spiritual revolution.
The words that opened doors again.
Now well chronicled and widely talked about, it was this questioning letter that received a divine answer. Neale tells us that he heard a “voiceless” voice, soft and kind, warm and loving, that gave him an answer to this and other questions. Awestruck and inspired, he quickly scribbled these responses onto the tablet.
More questions came, and, as fast as they occurred to him, answers were given in the same gentle voice, which now seemed placed inside his head, but also seemed clearly beyond his normal thinking. Before he knew it, Neale found himself engaged in a two-way, on-paper dialogue. He continued this first “conversation” for hours, and had many more in the weeks that followed, always awakening in the middle of the night and being drawn back to his legal pad.
Neale’s handwritten notes would later become the best-selling Conversations with God books. He says that the process was “exactly like taking dictation,” and that the dialogue created in this way was published without significant alteration or editing. He also says that God is talking to all of us, all the time, and that he has come to understand that this experience is not unusual, nor does it make him in any way a special person or a unique messenger.
In addition to producing the renowned With God series, Neale has published 18 other works, as well as many video and audio programs. Available throughout the world, seven of the Conversations with God books made the New York Times bestseller list, with Conversations with God: Book 1 occupying a place on that list for more than two-and-half years. Walsch’s books have sold more than seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages.
The With God series has redefined God and shifted spiritual paradigms across the planet. In order to deal with the enormous global response to his writings, Neale formed the Conversations with God Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love.
The work expands.
A movement begins.
Neale founded the School of the New Spirituality and its CWG for Parents program to bring parents the tools to share new spirituality principles of a loving, non-condemning God with their children. He also founded Humanity’s Team, with branches in over 30 countries, now promoting the concept of the Oneness of all people and of all of life.
What Neale calls his “final creation” is The Global Conversation, an Internet Newspaper dedicated to exploring day-to-day events on our planet within the context of The New Spirituality, and offering people across the globe the opportunity to not only witness the playing out of humanity’s Cultural Story in the news, but participate in re-writing that Story, through their contributions and posted comments on the newspaper’s site.
Neale’s work has taken him from the steps of Machu Picchu in Peru to the steps of the Shinto shrines of Japan, from Red Square in Moscow to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Everywhere he has gone—from South Africa to Norway, Croatia to The Netherlands, the streets of Zurich to the streets of Seoul—Neale has found a hunger among the people to find a new way to live; a way to co-exist, at last, in peace and harmony, with a reverence for Life Itself in all its forms, and for each other. And he has sought to help them develop a new, expanded understanding of God, of life, and of themselves that allows them to create and experience this.
(Neale Donald Walsch lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife, the American poet Em Claire (www.emclairepoet.com).)
The GOP is in trouble again. Republican Congressmen Joe Walsh, representing Illinois’ 8th District, declared last Thursday night that there is never a single instance when there is a medical necessity to use abortion to save a woman’s life.
The congressman’s remark came in a televised debate against his Democrat opponent, Tammy Duckworth, and was reported by writers Bob Secter and Deborah L. Shelton in a copyrighted stored in the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune article was picked up and widely distributed by the Washington Bureau of McClatchy News Service and can be found here.
Asked about the statement after the debate, Mr. Walsh stood by his assertion in his response to reporters. “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” in which an abortion would be needed to save the life of a mother, the Republican said.
The Tribune story said that “medical experts sought to refute Walsh’s initial claim,” the newspaper reporting that “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said 600 women die annually in the U.S. from pregnancy and child-birth related causes.”
By the day after the debate, Mr. Walsh was retreating from his first remarks made both during the debate and afterward, the Tribune story said. “Those comments had created a firestorm,” the Tribune article said, and the paper reported that Mr. Walsh, who the newspaper described as “a tea party icon,” was “in damage control mode.”
“At a hastily-called news conference, the rookie congressman backed off that sweeping assertion, slightly, acknowledging ‘very rare circumstances’ where life-saving abortions might be required,” the Tribune story said.
The Chicago newspaper continued its report by quoting Dr. Erika Levi, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Tribune story said that, according to Dr. Levi, life-threatening medical conditions that can lead to terminating a pregnancy include infections of the uterus or the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus, some heart conditions, and pre-eclampsia, a rapid rise in blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy and in the period right afterward.
“All of these conditions can occur throughout the pregnancy,” the Tribune quoted Dr. Levi as continuing. “If these conditions occur prior to viability (of the fetus) then, at that point, abortion can become the only option to save the life of the mother.”
The Tribune story also quoted Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who, the paper said, “added others to the list, including complications of diabetes, pulmonary hypertension, and cancer, which he said sometimes can require termination of the pregnancy before treatment can proceed. Cases severe enough to require abortions are rare, Grimes said, adding that he nonetheless sees several a year.”
The paper said that “Grimes took issue with anti-abortion politicians, Walsh included, who view ‘women as some kind of Tupperware container that holds the fetus for nine months’.”
“I am flabbergasted that he is that out of touch with science,” the Tribune quoted Walsh’s opponent, Ms. Duckworth, as saying. The Democrat supports abortion rights, the paper said.
Rep. Walsh’s comments drew rapid comparison with the now widely repeated statements by Republican Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, who is in a race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill for a seat in the United States Senate. Mr. Akin, like Mr. Walsh a staunch opponent of abortion, proclaimed that a woman’s body would automatically stop her from becoming pregnant in a case of “legitimate rape.” The statement outraged both men and women inside and outside the political arena, and caused Akin to immediately lose funding and support.
The ongoing statements from both Republicans, and other members of the GOP across the nation, on the abortion issue have led to stern words of protest from women across America, and have caused considerable trouble with the female voting block for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney has sought to distance himself from extremists within his party by announcing repeatedly that his own opposition to abortion includes exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
GOP Congressman Walsh’s first statement that modern medical science has completely eliminated the last-case scenario, and his follow-up retreat that such a circumstance was, in fact, possible, but would be “very rare,” could be bringing a bit of election angst to Romney campaign headquarters, and to that of other Republican candidates for lower public office throughout the nation.
The issue has become a political hot potato in the 2012 campaign season, as both citizens and their political leaders struggle to find a place for government, if any, in the highly personal circumstance of a woman facing the question of whether to have an abortion. There are those who argue that the decision is a matter of women’s rights, while others declare that abortion is akin to murder and should be made illegal in all cases by the government.
Mr. Romney has flatly declared that if elected he will push to eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood, and has indicated as well that he would appoint pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a move, observers say, would no doubt tip the delicate judicial balance that has kept intake the Roe v Wade decision, which is the landmark Supreme Court case which struck down many state laws restricting abortion.
Women, and those men who support women’s right to an abortion and their right to make that decision without government interference, fear that should Mr. Romney be elected president, Roe v Wade will be overturned with his appointees in place.
Looking at how the New Spirituality might be overlaid on this issue, it is noted that Conversations with God says that freedom is a perfect description of the nature of Divinity. In a perfect society of highly evolved beings, CWG says, there would be no laws of any kind, and all behavior would be regulated individually by each member of such a society, automatically and without requirement bringing them into harmony with, and awareness of, the highest good of all concerned.
The question for our Earthly society in the 21st Century becomes: To what degree is humanity ready and able to live with such freedom? Business owners, for instance, want freedom from government regulation, while at the same time many of them want government to regulate what a woman may legally decide about her own body. Human society is still trying to work out the contradictions.
And your thoughts?
Every day I get to walk our puppy dog. It’s a ritual I’ve followed for more than three canine’s lifetimes with Bear, Sacchi, Morrie and now Toast.
Anyone who has been graced with a household pet–or “fuzzy children”, as my friend fondly calls them–knows how much laughter, zeal, joy, frustration, slobber, dirt, hair, spontaneity, tenderness, and unconditional love this kind of being can bring into a home.
And, if we’re lucky, we get to experience ourselves as equally tender and unveiled and unarmored many times a day. What would it be like to operate among human beings without that subtle layer of rejection-protection, I wonder? This is what passes through my mind whenever I lean in to kiss Toast’s rose-pink nose, near those perfectly round brown eyes, or in that soft notch where I imagine his “third eye” exists and quietly connects with my own.
Why is it that we don’t lean in as often in a day with our own partner, our own child or friend with this same kind of openness and innocence? And what is it that keeps us from asking for help or support when we really need it? I still think that one of the most effective ways of letting someone know we could use a little love and support is to walk over, climb up and curl into a trusted one’s lap, to surrender ourselves totally, knowing that we will be tended to appropriately. This approach seems to work brilliantly for animals–why not us?
For most of us, it’s very hard to ask for support when we really need it. In fact, for some of us, supporting others and spreading ourselves too thin is all we do. It’s a life of one-directional relationships, so much so that the people on the Receiving end come to expect it and are highly disappointed if we can’t bring them the level of support they’re used to.
But usually for these same people we are endlessly giving to, asking and expecting others to support them is all they know how to do. And it seems that they have made such a well-crafted habit out of Receiving without Giving, that they don’t even know to what degree they’re doing it.
Although I’m learning to reach out for support these days, I’m also learning to lend my support as well. It’s a constant balance and re-balancing of the two, as precarious as the childhood game of “see-saw”, where we would each sit on either end of a long plank balanced in the middle by some fixed support, one of us swooping swiftly up, the other dropping rapidly down as each of us took turns pushing the ground alternately with our feet. This is what exploring the dynamic of Giving and Receiving seems like these days, when so many of us are pushed well beyond our natural inclinations and healthy limits, and are forced to make choices between a meal, or getting to work on time; “being there” for our body or “being there” for a friend, staying up two hours later on the phone to be with them through a crisis, instead of logging in two more hours of much-needed sleep.
I observe that the people I know fall into either one or the other category, that of either Giver or Receiver, the majority of the time. It’s a wise and aware person who can operate from a golden mean, this “middle way” between the two extremes.
Which one are you? Do you create constant dramas, oblivious to other people’s own life challenges, and thus require everyone around you to forever stop, set down what they’re doing and help? Or are you the other kind–the person who believes you are partly responsible for any discomfort any person you know within a 300-mile radius may be experiencing, and so race out to try to lend a hand, zig-zagging across their Soul Path, certain that their lives are your responsibility and cannot move forward without you?
Lately I’ve become acutely aware of how precious and precarious the balance is between Being There for myself, and Being There for others. Ideally, it is a beautiful dance, showing us over and over again how important it is to be aware of both practices, and how to keep our own vessel “full” that we may give to another whose own is running close to empty.
If there were one awareness I wish someone could have gifted me with at a young age, it would have been to urge me to observe how often I required the help and attention of others unnecessarily, and even more importantly: How.
Each of us probably knows someone who is charismatic, charming, and maybe even good looking enough to woo even the most savvy of personalities. They have perfected the art of winning us over by, for example, pointing out their own shortcomings and making fun of themselves so that we laugh along with them, thus excusing their actions through humor. Or perhaps tossing their hair to one side, smiling coyly, and then giving you a sudden kiss on the cheek, drawing you into your more charitable nature. Or they may find more obvious and conspicuous approaches that are equally effective, through hoping to make you feel guilty, or selfish, or as if you’ve disappointed them, or that they may even be mad at you.
Every day my dog Toast makes me laugh. He beams at me and smooches my cheeks or my nose, or sometimes in my nose when my attention wanders. He accompanies me on every errand, and peers out the car window in earnest, celebrating me when I return. He plops on the couch between my husband and me every evening, and shares his beloved toys, and cleans one of our hands or a foot until it shines…
Every day I walk Toast. We take different routes, depending on the season. Sometimes we take the long, dirt roads, until they get newly oiled to keep the dust and dirt down in the height of summer. Sometimes we take the higher, paved roads if foxtails and star thistles aren’t blooming over into the road from the gravel shoulder. But sometimes, even with our best intentions, we end up with some sort of weed, or the end of a thorny vine, or a small branch stuck in Toast’s tail. It’s at this moment that he stops, looks back at me, and waits calmly, and I like to say, “Mama help?” Then, the extend-a-leash shortens as I close the distance between us, and I kneel down and begin to work the object out of his tail, or take the back foot or a front paw he has lifted up for me to inspect, and search the soft pads for a thorn or small rock that has caused a sudden limp.
And for some reason, it always brings tears to my eyes and a huge smile across my heart. Because I think that’s how Giving and Receiving should feel.
Yeah. Just like that.
– em claire
Three Dogs Knowing
They don’t set out to do anything grand.
They play, the three of them:
Black and Burr ridden,
Speckled and Bright-eyed,
Sleek and Questioning.
Every morning the play continues –
tugging one another this way and that
along throughout a day.
If He sits, scratching and gazing out across
the great divide of valleys,
She will bring Him an enduring piece of hat
or garden hose or
the last fourth of a plastic ball
and drop it at His feet.
If the One with the moon-colored eyes
lies in the ivy, with sun on Her ribs
and leaves in Her ears
the other two will attack mid-dream
with nip and tug at
neck and tail.
It is pure genius and heart.
Three dogs living out the Mystery
while it slips like water
all of my grasping.
‘Three Dogs Knowing’ – em claire
©2007 All Rights Reserved
(Em Claire is an American poet whose work appears in her book Silent Sacred Holy Deepening Heart, as well as in When Everything Changes, Change Everything. She may be reached through www.emclairepoet.com)
The saddest aspect of the democratic process in America is that so many people don’t know—and don’t seem to care—about facts. It is not Truth that matters, it is ideology. And when Truth flies in the face of what a person believes, many people insist that the Truth is a lie, thus making it possible for them to stick with their beliefs no matter what.
For instance, U.S. President Barack Obama recently said: “After a decade of decline, this country has created over half a million new manufacturing jobs.” The Truth: Since he took office, the country has lost about a million such jobs, and has regained more than half of them during the economic comeback. When a football team loses 15 yards of first down, then regains 8 yards on second down, that is not exactly called progress.
For instance, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said in the second debate: “We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office.” The Truth: the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month when Mr. Obama took office as a result of 8 years of President Bush’s administration—so holding Mr. Obama to a net job creation standard means he would have to have made up for massive losses that were out of his control entirely. AND….he has done it. The Bureau of Labor statistics show that across the four years of the Obama Administration there has been created a net positive 125,000 jobs.
Item 1 above was taken from a fascinating article in Time magazine’s Oct 15 issue, titled Blue Truth/Red Truth. The second item came from a story by reporter George Nornick published Oct 17 by The Nation headlined Romney’s Seven Biggest Debate Lies. Here’s another…
Mr. Romney said in the second debate: “I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.” But back in March, when Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri introduced a bill that would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage to employees based on the employer’s religious beliefs, Mr. Romney said: “Of course I support the Blunt amendment.”
Mr. Romney also said in that second debate: “As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land.” And, reporter Nornick points out, it is true that drilling on public lands dropped 14 percent in 2011. But it went up 15 percent the year before. So overall, oil production on federal lands is up under Mr. Obama. Says The Nation article: “Romney is being extremely dishonest in singling out the one year that it dropped.”
Meanwhile, the Time magazine article pointed out that Mr. Obama has asked on the campaign trail, “What rights would Romney deny (for gay couples)?” Then he has answered his own question: “Adopting children together.” The magazine points out that this is simply false. The article in Time corrects the record, pointing to the fact that Mr. Romney “supports adoption rights for same-sex couples.”
But the problem is about more than what the candidates say. It’s about what the American public actually knows. In the Oct 17 issue of USA TODAY writer Katrina Trinko, a member of the paper’s Board of Contributors, reports that “only 34% of Americans can name even one Supreme Court justice,” citing an August survey by FindLaw.com. She also reports that in 2011 Newsweek magazine asked 1,000 Americans to take a citizenship test—and 38% failed.
And a 2006 study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum “discovered that only 28% could identify even two of the First Amendments five freedoms,” Trinko continued.
But it’s not only constitutional provisions or civic questions that too many voters know little about, it’s “what’s so” in American life itself. For instance, Trinko reports, “a 2011 CNN survey found that the median estimate for the percentage of the budget that was foreign aid was 10%. In reality, it was then under 1% of the total federal budget.”
The writer says that “it’s the same story with public broadcasting,” touted by Mr. Romney in a debate as a place where he would cut expenditures, saying he “loves Big Bird,” but the cost of PBS had to go. The public’s median estimate of the PBS portion of the federal budget was 5%, “while actually it was 1/100th of 1%,” Ms. Trinko’s article said.
It’s becoming sadly clear that many people don’t like it when “fact checkers” take the sting out of their candidate’s charge, or the lift out of their candidate’s claim.
They like it when Mr. Romney says he wants to “keep our Pell Grant program growing,” allowing young people who might not otherwise be able to afford it to go to college, and they hate it when fact checkers like Mr. Nornick point out that the budget of Mr. Romney’s own running mate, Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, would cut Pell Grants for up to one million students.
They like it when Mr. Romney responds to a debate question about where he stands on equal pay for women by saying that he actively sought to bring more women into his cabinet when he took office as governor of Massachusetts, and they hate it when fact checkers point out that he actively and vocally opposed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
(And they totally despise it when Mr. Nornick reports on a Boston Globe story revealing that there were no female partners at Bain Capital during the 1980s and 1990s—and that even today only four of forty-nine of the firm’s managing directors are women.)
People like it when Mr. Obama’s campaign charges that the way Bain Capital reorganized “cost the government and the American taxpayers $10 million,” and they hate it when fact checkers at Time magazine point out that “Bain wrote off $10 million in debt to a failed bank at the expense of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC)—which is funded by banks. Taxpayers paid nothing.”
In just a few days now the people of American will decide: What part should Truth and Facts play in their decision regarding who shall be the next President of the United States? But the real question is, are there enough people with enough intelligence to even care?
A few days ago, when Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers showed that the unemployment rate in America is now lower than it was when Mr. Obama took office, right wing Republicans ran around claiming on all the talk shows that the latest statistics where artificially skewed in a vast internal conspiracy within the Obama Administration. These are the same statistics that those same Republicans considered extremely reliable when for the 43 previous months they showed a high unemployment rate.
The conclusion of the Far Right: When the numbers support us, embarrassing the President for 43 straight months, the Administration could do nothing to hide them or skew them, and so those numbers are reliable and you can stake your life on them. When the numbers oppose us, showing the President has made some gains on the problem, the Administration must have at last found a way to secretly pressure or force the Bureau of labor Statistics to report false numbers, and so the new stats are the result of a conspiracy.
People believe what they want to believe. The New Spirituality calls for complete transparency in all matters, public and private. Will we ever see that in our political campaigns? Not in 2012, apparently. And worse yet, not enough people seem to care.
Has your life become one struggle or challenge after another which never seems to end? It doesn’t have to be that way any longer. Eventually all come to a time and place where enough is enough and we become willing to do whatever is necessary in order to end the pain we are facing. It is sad we endure so much more than we have to in most cases. Many are just not yet willing to let go of the old, the past, in favor of a new and uncertain tomorrow, a tomorrow filled with joy and purpose, when we become open to the possibility that our struggles are really in our own best interest and not something we need to avoid.
All too often we spend the majority of our lives trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid any person or situation which may have caused us pain in the past. Not only do we unsuccessfully avoid the pain, typically we just increase the number of situations in life which will cause us pain in the future.
As we learn to embrace the changes going on in our lives not as something we need to avoid, but instead as part of the process of our growth, we are now moving towards a life of creation rather than one of reaction. When we begin to create our lives consciously, we no longer have to get so caught up in all the challenges and dramas life brings. We now have a choice in the matter on how we will respond to change.
AN ENERGY SHIFT IS NEEDED
I have been working through a personal challenge of my own in my life. Each time I think I am making progress and getting closer to finally moving beyond it, I find myself slipping back a couple steps. Fortunately, I have been through this process a number of times and know each little bit of forward progress is, in reality, a huge step to overcoming my challenge, even if I slip backwards now and then. It shows me I still haven’t reached the point of being entirely willing to let go.
I was talking with a friend recently about the challenges she faces after her epileptic seizures, both the physical ones as well as the mental ones. From talking to her, I saw how just shifting her energy slightly, before and after she experiences her seizures, she would be able to transition out of the negative energy states much quicker if she had just a bit of willingness to have a different experience. I was happy to hear from her yesterday that even though she had a seizure-filled weekend, she was up and functioning quite well by Monday afternoon.
Willingness is an action step in many cases. The way to see if someone is willing or not is to see how they will take action in their lives. Talk is cheap, and our actions speak much louder than words in many cases. I see this often in the recovery meetings I attend. We will have new people come into the program, their life in chaos due to the addiction, yet they do not follow through on the suggestions they receive from the members with experience. To me, this is a perfect example of a lack of willingness. In many cases, following a few simple suggestions (willingness) could have made all the difference for them.
WILLINGNESS FOLLOWS YOUR PASSION
“Passion is the love of turning being into action. It fuels the engine of creation. It changes concepts to experience…. Never deny passion, for that is to deny Who You Are, and Who You Truly Want To Be.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Neale’s words here are a perfect example of how we can increase our willingness to succeed in life. The more we are in touch with and doing things in our lives that fuel our passions, our dreams and visions, the easier it becomes to raise the bar on our levels of commitment to achieve more.
Think of a time in your life when you wanted something so bad and you were willing to do anything to achieve it. Maybe you had to start your day early and end it late. Perhaps you had to stretch your comfort zone and try new things. We will not have that type of commitment for something we are not passionate about. It is like a fuel to get us moving each day, striving to be and do more than we may have ever done in the past.
When the actions we are taking in our lives are an outward expression of Who we Are and Who we truly want to be, it opens us up to become entirely willing to do the things in life which we may have balked at in the past. This is willingness in action.
IT’S POSSIBLE TIME
As we dial into each moment, staying focused on our dreams and passions, we are just steps away from all we desire. Presence in this moment is another tool of willingness.
Willingness is a choice you must make over and over again until it becomes a habit you are not willing to let go of, no matter what happens in your life, no matter what obstacle shows up!
The next time you face a major challenge in your life, take the time to pause and remember willingness is the spiritual solution to all your problems.
(Mark A. Michael offers mentoring based on his understanding of the concepts and principles of “Conversation With God” and is part of the Spiritual Helper Team at www.changingchange.net. He can be reached at www.beyondfaithintofreedom.com.)
I’m trying to take my career to the next level by applying for work with some people who are quite famous. They say they love my work and will consider me when they have an opening. I feel like I’ve reached out to them as much as I should at this point, so how do I stay on their radar without making a nuisance of myself? …Edwin
Dear Edwin… Don’t forget that celebrities are really just people, too, in a different place along their path. They don’t have anything you don’t have. Their awareness that they have it is the only difference. Don’t be in awe of them. Just love them for Who They Really Are and allow their perceived successes to be an inspiration to you. Express your gratitude to them for showing you what you are also capable of, and be a friend when given the opportunity to interact with them.
For now, just send loving vibes. Let the energy do the work of reaching out. We always think we have to do it on the physical plane, but we don’t. It is equally effective to reach out energetically as long as we do so from a happy, excited-about-the-prospects-and-possibilities place. Surround them with love and light and envision your working together. See it as happening now. Pre-pave it at the energetic/thought level and love it into existence. This is how to consciously create everything. Simply love it into existence!
Don’t try to force it into being. Never force it. That gives the opposite result because it is a resistant action, and what we resist persists.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of The Conversations With God School, is a CwG Life Coach and author/instructor of the CwG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com
If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
In your opinion should employers tell their employees that if they don’t vote for a particular candidate in an upcoming election, their jobs will be threatened?