We Are All Stoners

In high school English class, we read a short story called The Lottery written by Shirley Jackson. It was first published in The New Yorker in 1948 and is still considered one of the most provoking short stories in American literature. Much of its metaphor was lost on my 1970’s youth but I do remember a sense of foreboding and helplessness when our teacher added a viewing of one of its many film adaptations to our class time.

Its major theme is scapegoating – the action of mob psychology and how people will abandon reason and embrace cruelty if they are a part of a larger group behaving in the same manner. According to Wikipedia, “The story describes a fictional small town in contemporary America which observes an annual ritual known as "the lottery". The purpose of the lottery is to choose a human sacrificial victim to be stoned to death to ensure the community's continued well-being.” In the story, towns people draw slips of paper from a box once a year and...

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The Alchemy of Worry

It’s noisy out there. Divisive and fearful opinions daily sound off like sirens which layer us with worry and a smothering forgetfulness that seems to blanket our innate genius. When we do nothing to filter the noise, then we, as a species, often try and numb it away.

Substance abuse, work addiction and complete avoidance of personal feelings do nothing in transcending stale narratives that only speak of hopelessness and victimization to external powers. But note that the noise that claims how things are worse than they have ever been in human history is untrue.  The above sentences describing modern-day challenges are equally applicable to every past era as they are to the present.

And in spite of the noise, I believe we are actually evolving.

As we continue championing other’s authenticity as well as our own, we experience more and more minorities, women, and disenfranchised turning the volume up through civil engagement and thunderous demands for greater...

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In The Bag

Long ago the first lapidaries or gemcutters used primitive methods to polish the exterior of rough rock material. They would fill rough textured bags with raw unrefined pieces. 

Shaking it vigorously, twisting and kneading this bag between the palms of their
hands, they would create a sort or organic, primitive friction inside. This contact would help shed surface pieces and reveal the crystal within. After much repetition, what was produced was a polished gem.

Much like this process, when we are willing to be with the "unrefined" parts of us, when we can be with our limitations and coarse behavior and take time to earnestly examine them, then those behaviors are able to be smoothed.

Throughout our lives we repeatedly come face to face with unrefined ideologies of separation and limiting beliefs. If we do not self examine or participate in a process of shedding them, we give these ideologies power - a power generated solely from a refusal to face them....

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In The Meantime

…the time between one occurrence and another

…the period of time between now and when something is supposed to happen.

Recently, when meditating on this common phrase, it occurred to me that how we are “in the meantime” quite possibly is the most telling barometer of one’s state of spiritual maturity.

Between the “substance of things hoped for” phase and having the tangible experience of that thing, were we cool and assured or did we break a sweat in the heat of worry and concern over our hopes and dreams not happening? Were we flexible and curious in the ways and means our dream would arrive or did we micro manage and try to control every part of the timeline.

If you're like me, every 'in the meantime' brings about the opportunity to reexamine what we say we believe in.

What we do in the meantime counts for everything that defines our life.  By the word do I mean the way we think, speak and behave.

This span of time...

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Ducks In A Row

The secret to having it all is knowing you already do. – Unknown

If the gift of Life is already made, then our part must be to accept, receive, believe in and use it. - Ernest Holmes, “This Thing Called Life”

The four basic quadrants of human existence are considered to be, health, wealth, creative expression and relationships. Imagine these quadrants as ducks floating on the surface of the universal lake called life. What happens internally when you hear you can have all your ducks in a row?

Too often we justify and debate this as wishful thinking. We succumb to a worldly belief that in order to have success in one of these quadrants another area must suffer. In order for me to have a meaningful relationship, I must sacrifice my creative expression. It might drain me financially or take too many hours away from the office to live and act respectively regarding my health.

These ideas are human beliefs not spiritual truth. If my daily thoughts continually support...

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A Spiritual Sentinel

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. – Gandhi

If we want to be free from suffering, we have to stop inflicting it.  If we want love, we have to love, no matter what anybody thinks of us.  – Ernest Holmes, Creative Living

The job of a sentinel is to stand and keep watch. Hyper vigilance and keen awareness are not only essential but are part of the sentinel’s duty. No distractions. Stay awake. With this position there is no room for privileged thoughts of abstention and circumventing. You are there to safeguard and protect.

When you professed a belief in oneness and when you recited a pledge about liberty and justice for all, you became a spiritual sentinel.

As a spiritual sentinel you are here to guard the light. You are here to keep watch and protect kindness and offer support to those long denied it. You are to remain indefatigable in the pursuit to honor the huddled masses whose lives have been farmed as resource and to...

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It's Always Something!

Beloved comedienne Gilda Radner frequently joked, “It’s always something.”

So many relate to the everyday human existence with perpetual overwhelm. Life seems packed with situations we feel must be overcome. Our existence can be lived in a vibration of low or high panic, invading the simple act of living regardless of socioeconomic status. This is especially evident when bemoaning how everything feels like an obstacle course of unending challenge. Without a mental reframe about this acquired perception, our personal narrative will only continue to devolve into futility and a belief that constant struggle is normal.

Gilda was right. It is always something, yet that something can be viewed as possibility or problem. That consistent something can be realized as gifts for growth or accepted as burdens to endure.

Take this quiz.

How many of you are waiting for some specific thing to be over before you allow yourself to feel good...

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