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From a Facebook site: https://m.facebook.com/2travelingdogs/photos/a.107764925964382.13451.106802709393937/638346789572857/?type=1&source=48

While I agree wholeheartedly with the message, they need to have this same message with old people on the picture, too. Westernized cultures are almost phobic about aging populations, and too often the elderly, a rich source of oral history, perspectives, wisdom and spiritual balance, are shut out, shut away, and categorically dismissed and devalued. Most are warehoused away from families and community, as very few can afford high end retirement communities, and shortage of quality assisted living housing, and even then, they are still segregated from family, seen and heard rarely. Non-elderly adult disabled usually fare even worse on the “throwaway” spectrum.

I say this without judgment or condemnation, just an observation and supported by extensive expert docs.

By way of contrast to western trends, cultures that typically retain and integrate elderly inclusively with younger generations are much more balanced and stable overall.

Even those with familial caregivers with best intentions and dedication struggle with issues of isolation for elderly and their own with longterm burden of care. The young have least appreciation, very often, for benefits of connection, perhaps because they are swept up in the expansive “doingness” of early life, and less focused on the being element, which the older people increasingly focus on, key to internal balance and vigor….

Food for thought….

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“WHEN YOU PARENT, IT’S CRUCIAL TO REALIZE THAT YOU AREN’T RAISING A MINI-ME…BUT A SPIRIT THROBBING WITH ITS OWN SIGNATURE.”

This is one of the most profound statements I’ve heard, perhaps in a very long time, from a book that in many very timely ways, resonated with me and opened my eyes to more than much I’ve ever read or heard, and gave me the most balanced and realistic perspective on myself as child, adult, parent, adult child and grandchild and part of a generation of its time and places.

Her book: The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary–I would say is a real page-turner for anyone who has considered having a child, has a child, has raised a child, or has been a child, for perspective. It’s a WOW! book that turns parenting & children upside down, inside out, and makes sense of the most complex and triggering relationships humans have in their lives, from all the many facets, cultural beliefs about the paradigm, throws a lifeline to parents and children alike. In fact, she asserts that children are called forth in a way to raise the parent by showing them where they, though adults, have yet to grow! I love that!

It has been a well known and much bemoaned fact that babies don’t exactly come into this world with a manual for us to know how to be great parents to them, or successful ones, or how to do and not do, be and not be, and this book makes sense out of why it feels so difficult and uncertain, and offers alternatives that may ease that burden, looking backwards, forwards, and most importantly, in the present.

Consider the cliches of parenting that permeate most cultures in some form of wanting for our children lives better then we had, to be selves that are better than we are,as a measure of our success as parents. But while the intention may seem on its face a noble one, from the heart, effectively we are coming at them from a place of inadequacy and scarcity. She says that it’s no surprise that we fail to tune into our own children’s essence, if so many of,us barely know how to listen to ourselves, as,our own individual pure spirits, while not trying to be some idealized version that of our own parents.

If we believe, and our parents believed that they were incomplete, should/could/might have been better or more, therefore inadequate, what a burden we pass on to the children, to be what we ourselves did not become! In so doing, seeking in them an idealized version of ourselves, while we over emphasize doing versus being, we judge them and ourselves successful when they move toward our idealized view, and when they don’t, we feel disappointment, our failure, and project it onto them as well.
Though we may get them to “conform” or else self-destruct trying to conform to meet that perfect vision of who they “were supposed to become”, in doing so, we may actually divorce them from who they are actually meant to be, quite different from us, yet unique, and special and a wondrous being in themselves, with their own destiny that we can’t even imagine, very often ultimately the ideal that we as onetime pure spirits dreamed of for ourselves and our children someday, but we got lost from ourselves. Then we could end up crushing their spirits in turn, leaving them, too, divided and diverted from becoming their authentic selves, depriving the world of those spirits and who they were actually meant to be. It gives me much pause to reconsider my entire perspective on parenting!

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http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/08/29/the-making-of-a-child-prodigy/

Looking different or functioning counter to cultural expectations, even those that trigger biased expectations says nothing about potential of the one labelled, nor of whether the mainstream or majority has a clue about any if it. Not that they can’t , but the eyes see what the mind seeks to believe things mean for most people and while biased superficial expectations may align with reality sometimes, they are more often lazy brain muscle shortcuts that have little to do with reality and more damaging than helpful, though typical humans may never look back and reconsider a previously invested opinion, revising to take into account accurate information.

They are the same ones that sit on their hands and predict failure and other negative outcomes when they don’t know enough to even have an opinion, AND don’t know enough to know that they don’t know enough to have an informed opinion.

That’s why naysayers have always been interesting to me up to a point, but after that point I tend to think “blah blah blah “in my mind, as they are saying nothing useful or helpful or persuasive in a factual rational manner. Even when they are regurgitating some factual variation of “that’s just the way it is”, they fail to take into account other possibilities that they likely cannot even fathom. They think they either know the answers or rely on some other designated “expert” or “professional”, who likely is also not exploring alternatives that are not part of their usual pattern. They are simply mouthing and propagating intuitive biases. They don’t look outside of their respective boxes, and are not receptive to new information , and sometimes they exercise power over another persons/child’s life to their detriment, unless there’s someone who trusts the person or they’ve got someone that tells them relentlessly that they might be wrong, while staying open themselves to new information.

This may indeed be more labor intensive for people who aren’t compensated or enculturated to enable or motivate them to give that much effort to looking at what is outside of their own bias buckets, so I understand why they hold to standard labels, but thank God for those who question authority when authority is wrong, and are wiling/able to update their mental software with new information, open to seeing what is there vs what they expect!

I know myself and I know other things and I know there are gaps and new information that may prove that my perspective needs revising, and I have no ego invested in being right; I am invested in being right in my understanding by learning new things to get it right, but when I do know something is right or wrong, I trust my knowledge, when it IS superior to other views. If that applies to benefit only a minority of lives, it’s still worth it to me to stand up, as every single life is valuable , and equally worthy of getting it right.

This kid is all the proof that I could possibly need to reinforce my intrinsic commitment, even if it didn’t apply to myself also (which it does /did). Getting it right and adjusting with new information , making the effort for every human being possible is worth making any effort necessary, up to and including everything I have in me, to fight for that, no matter who the person is.

Why? Because that person may be the one that will change the world in a significant or great way, big or small, so long as they aren’t blocked by others’ negative bias or dug- in ignorance.

How many prodigies who gave their genius to improve the world for us all, maybe saved us from ourselves or might have been kept from turning that genius against the good, who might have been lost to the world if the popular views at the time and the experts were accepted without question?

How many people of letters in high positions in institutions of higher knowledge have effectively destroyed what might have been great contributors with their enormous egos and bias filters?? How may have those with authority and power killed off? It makes me shudder to imagine.

Not all great thinkers or doers have the fierce tenacity to fight on, adapt, keep trusting and believing in themselves, and keep swimming upstream while others keep trying to shoot them down, for whom it is enough to do it BECAUSE they KNOW they are doing the right, if unpopular, thing?? How many are willing to stay the course despite the isolation and rejection and even malicious efforts to keep them back where some majority thinks they belong?

If they are as tenacious as I am, the challenge is to stay open , but still stay the course if it is right and eventually it becomes less effortful for others, to allow for some new possibility or information if only to make me go away and not waste any more of their time. It becomes a test of whether one wants to live with the chronic and painful thorn in their paw that I will become when it’s important enough to me, or else choose to endure the lesser discomfort of coming to the table and waste no more pain on the thorn that I otherwise remain. I much more enjoy being a contributor to a team effort than a ball and chain on a bunch of stubborn but wrong “bucket people”.

There’s always a cost for fighting, though, so I wish that it wasn’t so difficult sometimes to penetrate the ignorance of lemming types and their clueless authorities upon which they rely and behind whom they hide from a problem , especially when the information is right in front of them, often in their own rules, published wisdom, and guidelines.

For now , at least, it’s easier to jump into the fray when I have the ability to seek respite in solitude, when needed, to recharge my batteries.

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Yesterday’s journal drawn in darkness with pencil…..

“I have not loved the world, nor the world me.
I have not flattered its rank breath,
Nor bowed to its idolatries a patient knee.
I stood among them, but not of them,
In a shroud of thoughts which were not their thoughts…

What is the worst of woes-that wait on age?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
To view each loved one blotted from (my) life’s page,
And be alone on Earth as I am now…

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
I love not man the less, but Nature more.”

Excerpted from writings of Lord Byron (with apologies for my appropriative use and with gratitude)

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Marianne Williamson recently posted in Facebook:

“Enlightenment doesn’t mean we were never wounded; it means we’ve found a way to evolve beyond our wounds. Enlightenment isn’t idealistic; it’s practical. What’s idealistic is thinking we can live from our wounds, stay in our weakness, and ever transform the world.”

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With the greatest and most sincere respect to the expert here (that would not be me), I must disagree.  I just didn’t feel this rang quite true, or at least in conflict with itself in its articulation.  Sadly I’m not terribly concise, so my explanation may beg your patience.

I differ with Marianne on the idea that being wounded and weak are necessarily separate in the individual state from Enlightenment. I would suggest that they are all parts of all of us, and do not travel separately in our lifelines. To me, that is far too generalized, tidy a package to put upon a real human life, and is itself an idealized perspective on life. In fact what is idealistic is thinking that one is ever completely free of weakness, wounds, or failure, and if this were a condition of Enlightenment, then no one could ever transform the human experience of the world. Since people have done and are doing that, then they are accessing Enlightenment from their actively imperfect existence, which is always in flux, in degrees, and sometimes weaker than striping, or vice versa. Weakness and wounds are integrated into our being and integral to balance and action, none of which are static or distinct from potential. Living from wounds and weakness, sitting with that for as long as you’re not done with it, can be the impetus to develop means to transform the world. Acting on it may or may not best come from having already emerged stronger for it. In fact, sometimes it may be the better place to begin the bridge from one place to another.

I would say that Enlightenment is not only found in those who “have been” wounded and weak, hopeless and stuck in the past. Enlightenment is not a distinct state that waits out there beyond one’s wounds snd weakness, sitting apart for some point beyond one’s pain, suffering, despair, weakness, or feelings of the futility of it all that things–we–the world can’t change, or there’s nothing we can do, or wanting to just give up.

I speak only from the experience of just my own myriad experiences, when I say that at the very the darkest of dark points of one’s existence, in the worst imaginable Hell, with no possible chance of change perceivable, to experience life when one is the most helpless, abandoned and perpetually wounded and weak and diseased, inside and out, to be the most despised, attacked, trapped, and as yet fixated on bitterness and impossibility of change, Enlightenment is quite present somewhere already within us all. It is there from the first spark of life until the last spark is done with us. It persists in us, even in that worst of quagmires.

Though we are not healed, though we are weak and wounded, yet there is a part of us, whether we acknowledge it yet or not, that is thinking and acting, and holding us to life, and to something possible beyond weakness. And even if we aren’t consciously thinking it, the fact that we are yet alive at all, is the proof of it, though it may be all that we sense of it, it still acts, in that moment, and this is realistic and therefore must be enough for the moment, and enough to start building change. It may be the only sign to remind us that within us Enlightenment is in fact actively part of us, alive, and holding us yet.

If we can think any thought, even those that are keeping us weak and wounded, and stuck looking back, not yet moving beyond to healing, Enlightenment is also inextricably a part of that active process, somewhere in one’s being, even as the faintest whisper that “possible” can come to us in the next breath, or that there are important places that our minds are just not looking, cant yet see, or has yet to ripen.

Enlightenment persists despite everything, I believe, for reasons that I cannot yet, or may never totally fathom, reminding me like a beacon that has the power to cut through the cacophony screaming that all is pointless. Yet no matter how much one’s frailty, wounds, weakness and fear are pulling us down, back, or holding us where we don’t want to be, or that our paralysis, depression, and fear seem more like prophesy that we will remain imprisoned forever, looking only at all of our “had nots, have losts, will never haves, should haves or could have dones, if only”.still this tenacious even annoying, unrelenting thread of a whisper may yet pull us somewhere different and better.

Our souls know whether we listen or not in this moment, that somehow we can yet discover, either alone, or with unseen hands, that a quiet belief in “possible”, is in us somewhere, though weak. We may not imagine it yet, but if there is life, it already exists in us–there it is, in the core of our life, moment by moment, Enlightenment is a living process, not an after state, so long as life exists in us or even after us,, a tiny flame of “possible yet to happen”. The awareness of this is woven into our conscious path, just as much as a certitudevthat if nothingnchanges for the better, that we may surely perish–perhaps waxing and waning twixt them, like life’s currents tend to do, as we move through each moment. But they flow in life inseparably, just as surely as the fact that from birth, we also begin the process of death in an active sense. The processes are inseparable, whether we perceive both together or focuus on that or not.

The mind is a lazy kind of muscle, arguably to conserve resources and energy and effort, and when facing the hardest or new things, it defaults to ingrained patterns, hard-wired in us. Past is the source of hard wiring; new ways have yet to take root, and require effort to act on new things. What my short 53 years of life have shown me–the one singular inseparable consistency–and what always has persisted when everything and everyone left me alone, helpless, wounded, weak, afraid, without comfort or protection or shred of security, and the only alternatives at the time were usually worse than what came before, and when I also lacked vision, skills, resources to effectively change things for the better, something always held onto me, though I struggled and denied it, and looked back, not forward, when to me there seemed to be no forward, and didn’t want to look ahead, believing it was just going o be even worse. This unseen force always held fast to me, though I screamed, inside and out, to just “Let me go! You’re not real! Go away, and let me let go!”

When one can see no other lifeline, no respite, yet there is still a kind of faith that you can’t explain, is too unbelievable to be true and you hate it, but forces periodically a listen, maybe in dreams, that, despite being wounded, weak, and subject to all the frailties of one’s human existence, past and potential future, and all that has happened or may happen, that whether it gets easier or not, whatever may come, despite all that has and may be shredded within us by our hand or others, or burdens borne or yet to be laid upon us, there are yet important possible paths ahead of us, known or unknown, seen or yet to be seen, doors, windows, footholds almost imperceptible yet sufficient, partings in life’s forest of brambles, yet to be discovered or even made by our own hands, our chin, a single toe, a single thought, and that can change much more than even what you think you want or need. Just not there yet. Though we cannot see it yet, and however dire things may seem, or pointless, or unjust, or seemingly at some unwanted end, an unmovable mountain or in-vanquishable and seen to be the most evil of evils we can imagine, those things seem to stand between us and a moment of Life worth living, worth trying, and doing, even just a glimmer that there is a chance to heal, to rise and move past the weakness, wounds, and being stuck bitterly looking always back, someday, whether the actual effort succeeds or not, as we intended, we experience Enlightenment in those fleeting moments that tipped us to choose to imagine, to try, and that alone is success. That is Enlightenment, not in an ideal world or life, but in the reality of one’s own imperfect, broken, wounded actively real state of life. It exists despite our lazy brains; we choose it one moment at a time.

I know life as moments this way because I am autistic, brain-injured and altered early in life, and everything I’ve acquired of life, in knowledge of my universe, of people, things, ideas, feelings, beliefs, potentials, systems, is a compilation of all of them in my life systems, “from the ground up” detailed, a multitude of moments, much like giant jigsaw puzzles, and patterns woven into an ever changing landscape of perspective, in all of my ongoing olearning.

Conversely, top down, quick grab, big picture perspectives have their efficiencies, to be sure, but they make people vulnerable to generalizations, distortions, cognitive biases of all kinds, personality “dis-orders”, lead to fixed and fixated thinking that is more often wrong than right, and to throwing things away in life before we are ready to appreciate, learn and grow stronger and better from them. Too much running, rejecting, blaming, regretting, shaming, knee-jerk journeys through life this way. And apathy. It is a lot of labeling and shorthand, broad brushstroke acceptance or rejection of things and people superficially.

Maybe this is why it is so hard for some people to see their own Enlightenment in whatever their state internally, to imagine there will be something they cannot imagine yet but maybe later, to maje possible their way from life that is wounding to a winding one–that theirs is a spark cannot be perceived or experienced through extrinsic means or generalized recipes from diy cookbooks. It comes from within, a process intrinsic to each person individually, and its form and connection evolves within and interconnected in our unique existence. When one is stuck and blocked from it, very often, they are stuck in top down generalization mode. In the stillness of moments –and moments –and more moments, that is where one can begin to see, in themselves, with more clarity, a way to connect with that spark that only they can really know, as it inseparably is a most personal facet of their own self-made mirror, and it can only be perceived by them in their own way and in their own time when one is ready, in that moment, to see.

That’s my understanding of Enlightenment anyway, for what it’s worth.

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    Every Child Has Known God

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only 4 words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me , come dance.”

—“The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the great Sufi Master” translated by
Daniel Ladinsky

This was how I knew God since always, and how my heart still feels God’s presence, calling my heavy heart away from its burden and calling, “come dance.” The rest that is attributed to God, the names, don’ts, weirdness, confiscation –should it be in conflict with that perfect connection and bond, must be prepared to wait at the door, until they’ve reconciled themselves with the only unconditional acceptance and love that I have ever experienced and Who has never once abandoned me, then or now. This is the nature of my creation and my lifelong bond with my creator, and I trust that God does not err, though humans invariably do.

I have never needed a church or temple or mosque or any institution or any state or political power deified spokesperson to teach me that. My heart knew that before I had language. It was all I knew, and it was enough….simple and authentic. I yearn to clear away the clutter in my mind, be still, so I can hear, feel that connection, and dance again……

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Kali…..
….. is my petite cat’s name. Sundeep, my son, named her when he got her as a young kitten to spare her from an impending execution. Considering the circumstances, her name, Kali, is associated with a tremendously powerful and significant namesake, which I think quite apt, if not seemingly over- expansive for this diminutive in size, yet formidable huntress, and presence inside and outside our home since she arrived many years ago. She still looks so young!!

Yet from the vantage point of Hindu sacred writings, and from real life, it is obvious to them and to me, at least, that these bodies are mere vessels for each life using them for a time, and what we see as a simple little creature from the outside is often quite illusory, so who really knows what is concealed beneath her shell? Who am I to presume to know? Is this cat something beyond her corporeal existence? Most def, IMO, but who is to say with certainty what or who she is or is not? For all I know, I may have been enjoying the company of a goddess all these years, who was quietly sharing her time with me, which would make just as much sense, given the Goddess’ special qualities relative to time, life, energy and death ;-). Whatever or whomever she is beyond the shell, she has done these things nonetheless, and more!! Gifts come to me–do I notice properly? Have I lived in gratitude? Does my “becoming” reflect expansion of my gratitude? If so, then it perhaps was not a squandered gift, and perhaps will one day expand to a fuller measure that fills up most my remaining time and thought in my shell-leaving less room for the human frailties that come from suffering, weakness and fatigue of spirit and body, betrayal, insecurity, fear, and loss. One can only hope. I tenaciously persist in hopeful ambition that Iight continue to grow and learn and evolve and rise above these cages of my life, neither accepting nor rejecting self or other, but remaining open to possibility. Time will tell…

From Wiki: Kālī (Sanskrit: काली, IPA: [kɑːliː]), also known as Kālikā (Sanskrit: कालिका), is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time and Change.

Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilator of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva laid in path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger. She is time manifestation of other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.

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