The front cover photo is a statue of Tara on a wintery day. What an honour it is to have her in our care and so glad she has a roof keeping off the snow. Over the years I have found only a few statues of her and the detailed carving in this one is exquisite. She is carved in limestone and it took four men to put her in our truck. She is a female Bodhisattva also known as the “mother of liberation,” and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Taras come in a variety of colours, each representing various aspects of life. This statue was carved in Bali where she has a history similar to the Buddha. They believe she helps us develop inner qualities so we can understand the teachings about compassion.
Richard and I have morning meetings with the Retreat Center crew and volunteers, it helps us to connect and find out how everyone is doing and what we are doing. We also choose an angel card and talk about what it means to us. The angel cards are from the Game of Transformation, developed by two women, Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake, who lived at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland in the 1980s. The cards were used there to encourage people to talk about what they were needing and feeling.
Each month, www.innerlink.com emails me the angel of the month for the world. January’s angel is the Angel of Compassion. The email is complete with a description of what compassion means … an energetic emanation from the essential part of us that holds the ‘will to good.’ The email continues, “Everything we touch is imbued with our signature. The more intentional we are, the longer our signature lingers and the greater the influence of our touch. The same is true of our thoughts and feelings: the stronger and more repetitive they are, the longer they ‘live.’ Cultivating our compassionate nature nurtures our ability to be with what is. It gives us refuge from our judging minds and allows our hearts to open. Without compassion, we cannot see the truth and pass through the suffering to trust in a greater reality. The cultivation of compassion is a life-long practice. For this month, practice the art of compassion through touch, thought and feeling, with the intention of leaving an energetic signature that animates the ‘will to good’ and love for humanity.”
We are living in a time of unprecedented opportunities to evolve spiritually. It is a turning point that requires each of us to release what no longer serves us. By continuously choosing to shift into the present moment, we let go of our history and allow it to transform. Learning new tools that strengthen our inner presence can move us forward with clarity, compassion and confidence.
Each month, there are so many issues that could be spoken about. Musing means to think deeply, so what is my reflection of the world this month? We know that change is the only constant in our lives and, as Gandhi said, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world. I watched his autobiography twice over the holidays and felt his commitment to stay honest with himself and his oppressors. “Never give in and never give up” is one of his non-violence principles. Several times during the movie, he makes the statement, “maybe the people are not ready” (to have compassion for their aggressors).
Nelson Mandela says, “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free.” I am not truly free when I take away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. My mission is to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor alike. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.
Another great quote that took me awhile to understand was, “When a butterfly flaps its wings, the world feels it.” To our mass culture, the Butterfly Effect has become a metaphor for the existence of seemingly insignificant moments that alter history. If we are the ones we have been waiting for and 2012 marks the shift towards a golden era as a new consciousness, then each human probably has a lot of work to do.
A good book to help us make an informed choice and offers many points of view is Healing Our Planet, Healing Our Selves, The Power of Change Within to Change the World. It has over thirty well-known thinkers with about ten pages each explaining how this theory works in their lives and how they have changed their thinking. Meditation, breath work and becoming aware of how one feels are all so important.
Observing my own behavioural patterns is something that appeals to me and is amplified by having a husband. Patterns that seemed subtle, are now felt more clearly. One pattern is a restless feeling in my stomach shortly after beginning another edition of Issues magazine. I start nibbling on sweet foods when I am not even hungry. Once the magazine takes shape, a glow happens inside of me and I am glad I worked through my frustrations. Travelling while doing the distribution and visiting people is a natural high that is much more enjoyable than tapping these computer keys.
Writing this column provokes a similar restless energy because I seldom know what I am going to write about. The muse in me struggles, for it takes much of my time to get down to creating. Often I start with someone else’s thoughts that resonated with me, then I rework the piece ten times until the ideas come and it sounds okay. Then Richard and Diana edit it, with me getting in the last word. I am often surprised at how much better things can be said. I am getting better at catching myself repeating an idea because I really want you to understand something important.
It is now getting late and it is time to fill the wood furnace and go to bed. As I push down the damper I muse to myself, for I see another pattern … If the fire burns too fast, it goes out and it takes time to re-light it. If it burns too slowly, it will cause smoke and chimney fires. The fine line of experience has taught me, via noticing the embers, that life is a reflection of my daily doings and beings. Finding that balance point is something I aspire to and feel I am getting better at.
I just finished the programming for the Spring Festival of Awareness. It is a weekend event with over forty instructors and healers who are very willing to share what they know. It is also a celebration and an opportunity to be with like-minded souls who are generating the energy of change. This will be my 23rd time co-creating this event, and it has changed me deeply. Richard has also finalized the 2011 Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center program, so please go online for a complete description, or read the workshop titles on page 34 in this Issues. I highly recommend attending either of these events as a way for us to grow ourselves and blossom into the person we came here to be.