Sorrow & Pain & the Artist

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In the morning when i open my eyes, after a night of pain, after a night of desperate prayers for consolation, birds sing outside in the sunlight. Outside a window filled with silk colors hanging, prisms on string dangling, blooming violets of pale pinkish lavender in a blue willow pot on a dusty ledge, with quartz crystals in varying hues tumbled together in a pile–all catching glimmers of daylight–the pale sun dares to discretely stream into a darkened room.
The birdsong is a natural sound of joy that serves as a reminder that life is bittersweet. nothing is truly this way or that. Light or dark. heaven or hell.
Beauty is everywhere. It can be found within anything when we choose to look. But within a certain mind all the vibrance of brilliant color is drained by the experience of a hard sad painful life turning everything into homogenized tepid gray. it suits our bad humor, our morbid habitual lack of imagination.
a broken heart sees a colorless broken world, yet a broken heart can accidentally or incidentally fill the world with a type of redeeming beauty that is beyond essential.

An artist takes the bleak mirage and out of necessity recreates–like magical ancient alchemy–an inner vision from whatever caustic despair may block the light. that’s how some of us survive. and in turn, that’s how artists share the art of survival.
an artist offers a vision of recreated determination back to the world as a challenge to its indifference.

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Love. And Stand the HELL up.

IMG_5143“Love thy neighbor.” That is the foundation of Christianity. When Jesus asked a young man what is the most important teaching, the man replied “Love God, and love thy neighbor as thy self.” And Jesus told the young man that he was not far from heaven. This is Jesus’s primary teaching. “Love one another.” He also said over and over, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” “He who has no sin, throw the first stone.”

Now I know I am far from perfect. However, I am about to throw some reality. Let’s apply Jesus’ teachings as i just mentioned to what is happening currently. Do white supremacist love their neighbor? No. And it is pretty damn obvious considering they–themselves–proudly scream and wave their myriad of assault weapons in gatherings of hatred directed at everyone who is not included their tiny dense (as in ignorant and moronic) box who they as white supremacists have judged to deserve death, destruction or exile. Most of these hate-filled people identity directly with Nazis, who kill their neighbors, after torturing them and stealing everything they own. Do we need to hate and kill Nazis. No. Should they have the right to take over a neighborhood, a town, a state, a country in the name of hatred, racism and violence? Hell, no!

Everyone standing up for good and for human rights (which all people deserve) need to rip to shreds every tiny iota of the propagandized lie and any other excuses violent hate groups and white supremacist bigots use to condone their evil behavior. And white supremacists are in mutual agreement with one another acting together for evil, initiating evil, and the evil of deliberately causing death and harm as a consequence of evil mob mentally and violent actions. As a Christian we have the difficult task of loving thy neighbor anyway. Does it mean we allow Nazis and other violent hate groups like ISIS or whatever attack and kill others–especially on American soil? Hell no! Love requires some backbone folks. You are on the wrong side of LOVE if you think being passive and silent or making fun of protesters who deliberating put their bodies in harm’s way for the benefit of those who are being hated and terrorized to say “Hell, no! You will not terrorize us or anyone!!!”

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Let’s get specific. If “you” are the one initiating more hate through indifference or by way of thinking it’s perfectly okay that white supremacy exists and you are giving them normality in this country; if you think it is okay to be on the sidelines snarling about protestors and being offended by the removal of stupid inanimate statues, offended by these objects created specifically to glorify slavery and white supremacy being dismantled or even torn down, you are a deluded buttkissing rascist hypocrite–if you also identify with being Christian. If you aren’t a Christian, or a religious person who has a doctrine of peace or you are just a human being with no regard for anyone else–then I have nothing to say except shame on you for being part of the “hate” problem if that’s where you stand. People are not merely offended by the statues of Confederate Soldiers or Generals and the like. They rather are tired to the bones of all those who have been destroyed and oppressed by way of the ongoing old white supremacist indoctrination that watches from these intentional memorials of intimidation to remind others of that reign of oppression. That battle was already fought and won. It was not won by the confederates. Confederate statues are memorials put up to honor the ideology of white supremacy. That’s is a fact of why they are there. They were paid for from the pockets of those with a white supremacist agenda. There is plenty of documentation of who it was that made sure these banners kept flying. If it was about the civil war, the memorials would be Union officers and soldiers. You don’t honor losers of a war, unless you are trying to perpetuate that war. So yes, maybe most of us white southerners do not look at these statues and see the ulterior motives to why they are there. But we, white southerners, aren’t the ones being threatened are we? And if we do know why these statutes exists, it’s to say “Remember what happens to those who stand up to the power of racism. Do you want a cross burning in your front yard?”

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Bring it on. i grew up seeing that vile hatred. I know it when i see it. I choose to love the hard way. Hate groups need to be extinguished. We can do that by protesting, by standing up together, by running them out of the temple with a whip if we have too. Keep it non-violent and legal. Do it like Martin Luther King. But do not let anyone else die from this stupid persistent disease of greed for power and authority. It’s perfectly fine to be angry at this. This is righteous anger. But then we have to gather in our emotions, and transform anger into useful passions to turn our anger into positive action. Do we win by becoming hate ourselves? No. no one wins with hate. So stand up for others. Live and love fearlessly. And don’t put up with shit.

Love takes a mountain of courage. Hate is a coward that cherishes its own skin far too much to stand up alone. Hate is a selfish little pissant.

Get off the fence. You either love and stand up, or sit down and shut up. — Pamela Stansberry

Born of Death

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When i was born a woman was told she was not wanted–the child was not wanted.

When i was born, there came a flood of tears of inconsolable regret.

Entering the world in such circumstances is not so unusual. The phenomenon occurs with an ill-wind that blows through the family tree, sending leaves in every direction, scattering souls indiscriminately.

And so we are born from the womb where we are planted–the karmic throw of the dice. In this, whatever we are meant to learn grows to fruition–good or bad–rotten or joyfully and abundantly good.

When i was born, i was thrown to the wolves, but wolves seem kinder. There are times when being raised by wolves teaches us ugly truth, and creates a wall between a loving innocent life and hearts of tragic sorrow.

But sorrow is a death that is livable. Sorrow is a death that is a womb from where divine perfection can bloom in a resolute fashion.

This bloom is so tender and real that springtime seldom holds one so rare.

There are souls that suffer so greatly. There are souls who mainly find solace in demanding a truth in being, a truth in coming apart, a truth in falling to pieces like a tired old flower dropping its petals to the dank foul ground in hopelessness.

My life is born of death. The death in my life swallowed me whole.

And somehow the truth of a greater person–a person or true light, a person invisible to all but God–made herself known.

This invisible one who is living within the hardship of all the suffering of the world is free to traverse the view of a broken soul, and be the right light for a suffering world.

Death has no sting for one such as this. Death is birth–and what a birth it is to be born of death.

Sometimes Words Fail

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Sometimes words fail. But often all we have is words. I will say this: I not only hope–but pray, and pray fervently–that all people of America will now stop for a moment to consider how to find peaceful resolutions.

Consider how the larger ramifications of divisiveness, blame, antagonism and hatred causes only destruction, and the blessings of coming together in a harmonious way is always mutually beneficial. This is a place in history for this country that is pivotal, regardless of political affiliation.

It is merely this, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

There is no way to bring together anything in anger and hatred. Anger and hatred will never work to heal this nation. And one person’s views are not representative of the rich diversity of human beings found on this planet, and in particular our country. However, every wise, celebrated and affective leader within this world has advocated peace, justice, and positive solutions.

If we all want to continue to live in the United States in a manner that is positive, it will require everyone’s participation. And it begins by eliminating the need to over-simplify the complexity of our country, and most importantly the human beings and all life found in it.

If you are a religious person, I suggest you pray for peaceful resolutions. If you are not, I ask that you stop to reflect on the practical value of peaceful communities, harmonious life and the rarity and glorious nature of having basic human rights for all. This is a conflict and a schism in our country that will not be solved easily; and it will require true dedication on all sides, in every mind and heart to find solutions that bring together and heal our communal life. This is not a football game, or a scenario of “winning” verses “loosing.” People can and do live well together while having opposing views when they want to–if we all at least value and respect the expansive practicality of justice, truth, safety for ourselves, community, peaceful existence, and prosperity for all. If we lose, we lose together. If we win, we win together.

This is our life that we all have come to enjoy, along side our family, friends, neighbors, and community. If you want safety and peace, you will not find it in furthering division by way of concept, words and action–or inaction. There needs to be the unilateral decision among all Americans to create space for peace and justice to dwell within, and in order to make this nation whole we must make it whole within our own selves–rather than to look for someone else to do it for us. Think of all that you value in your life, and then wish that for your neighbor too.

If we sink into survival of the fittest out of fear of the unknown, we will be rending our own opportunities into pieces. And if we tear up that potential, we destroy our own possibilities for happiness, health, and prosperity. Keep this in mind as we move through difficult times. We can do this together. But we cannot do it alone or in separateness. This is what we can do as a people, as individuals, regardless of ideology, religion or political attachments. Be the light by becoming the light. May we all be blessed!

The Theory of Love

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Can love be explained?

Probably not. As a matter of fact, if you can explain it, it is a guarantee that what is being described isn’t love–but rather a theory of love. Love in the higher form transcends our limited understanding and goes far beyond the restrictions of human imagination.

Sounds familiar?

It should.

That same argument is also commonly spoken when one attempts to describe “God.” If you can describe it, it isn’t God.

The same holds true for any aspect of the transcendental consciousness that purely exists beyond the reach of limited concepts. If you can describe it, it isn’t Tao.

“Beloved, love one another for love is of God.”

God is love.

We can say this, but what does that truly mean?

Regardless of the ineffable qualities of the subject at hand, we still should look at love, seek out its depth, and ponder the implications.

Love is not a possession. Love is not a goal. Love is not fixation on what we want. Love is not the same as an obsession.

Love can be an attraction. Yet love is also the joyous freedom one might find within the heart of a child that is expansive as the clear blue sky.

Love is a pure aspect of the divine infinite.

Can that be proven scientifically? No.

Can most spiritual matters be proven scientifically? Not at this point; and very likely it will never be proven in that manner. That idea often defeats the purpose of developing faith. We cannot control the unknown. We can only adjust our view–our way of coping and residing within the unknown–in order to find an essential space for glimpsing a larger reality in regard to the human experience of life.

Does proving love or spirituality through scientific means matter? No. Why should it?

Science helps where it helps. I love science. But not everything needs to be relentlessly “proven” as being a fact. Some things do not fit neatly into scientific boxes, just like not all things fit neatly into religious boxes. One is much like the other; and both can be dogmatic.

I say that only because there are things that we do not understand presently that will at some later date, be clearly understood scientifically or clearly known within an intimate spiritual human experience. And that sounds familiar because it is reminiscent of what the Apostle Paul said in the Bible 1st Corinthians which is a dissertation on the supreme qualities of love.

Paul mentioned that presently we may not understand much about anything–particularly about our own self, our place in the world, and our humanly divine experience. What we know of our self and of life is likened to a reflection in a mirror. We know it but can’t see it for mistaking the image for realty. Yet in the future–near or far–we may find with great effort that we reach a place were we do understand fully and can see past the reflection into absolute truth.

Science has specific rules for the way it works as a process. And sometimes the rules themselves exclude emotions and things that are not tangible in the workings of how human beings operate or exist.

Science will never be able to adequately describe love. At best, science can only see neurons firing when someone feels something, or may show what area of the brain is stimulated by it.

Love is far more important to be so narrowly defined anyway. And for those who feel that is all there is, I am sorry for you. And I will explain that in a sense. What we think of the experience of life becomes our life.

A very interesting subject.

But let’s talk of love. Love is messy and beyond priceless. It is perfect chaos within divinely imperfect humanity. It is the thing that gives our lives meaning.

Love is said to be an emotion. And emotions are a language that must be understood through the mind by interpreting what we “feel” through the heart–the emotional center. And what we feel surfaces or floats up from our emotional center to the mind; and is experienced and witnessed by our mind as emotion. And this same emotion is based in the deepest being–the unlimited infinite soul being–that spontanioisly speaks a language that is meant to decipher the subtleties of our experiences as they rise up to our conscious awareness as we individually encounter the results of cause and effect.

We react to what we feel or we respond to what we feel.

Reaction is instinctual and immediate, without the luxury of being able to reflect or make a conscious choice about how one will respond. It’s a kneejerk reaction–a trigger. Responding is based in a more centered understanding of the situation, regardless of feelings. The difference is awareness. When we are not aware of the language of emotions, we react every time we “feel” something as if the feeling is real. We react as if an insult really hurts us or is a real threat. There really is a certain uniquely personal science to emotional literacy.

So love is considered to be an emotion. But is it really?

Yes. It is. But it’s obviously far more than what we give it credit for being.

Love is as mystical of a quality as anything we could understand of the divine. It attracts us to those who become part of our lives. It holds us in a bond of mysterious illusive communion. We seek it out like honey.  And there are levels and forms, a diverse array of unfathomable expansions on the feeling that is rooted in what we consider humanity’s finest attribute.

We fall in love. We love our family. We love friends. We love people sometimes we don’t even like. We can be overwhelmed by ineffable feelings of love in regard to the spiritual, and the wonderstruck experience of life being beautiful.

Yet true love is inseparable with compassion. True love makes us better people.

Love is an innate quality. And some religious sects might argue strongly that love isn’t innate; rather that people are inherently evil.

The flaw with that philosophy is that if one considers him or her self to be inherently evil, then one will never have the capacity to move forward from that rigid idea. The idea of being evil condemns a person to a narrow-minded torturous concept that can only trap the mind and emotions into a non-negotiable tiny merciless box that has no potential for escape.

How can one escape from actually being darkness itself? That idea does not give room for light to exist in the same place.

Calling on God or Highest Mind would not help a person such as this. And I say that because how could a person thinking that their source is being at one with the depths of hell ever be able to elevate that same mind enough to reach out to a separate God to be saved? Could it happen? I am not sure it could because I don’t feel anyone who thought they were evil to that degree could actually accept  help or intercession from anything or anyone–particularly from the source of all that is good. And how could we “be” the quintessence of evil and have a higher aspect of mind that is anything other than evil too? To think one is evil is to think that one is unsalvageable. No one is un-savable. But our minds have to open to being accessible to transformation. How we think can stand between what will heal us.

The reason being is that if “I” thought resolutely that I was evil in my original state of existence, that “I” was born out of a darkness rather than light, then “I” could only call for outside intercession to become something other than what I think I am. And the problem with that is how could “I” coming from the idea of being evil allow what I think of as evil to find freedom in pure being and pure light?

In this scenario, our unrelenting mindset would be preprogramed to condemn and punish evil which is our self. We have made our own person our worst enemy and enemies do what they do. And on that premise, we would most likely eagerly punish our own separate evil “self” by maintaining this same viewpoint continuiously and unceasingly of condemnation, inflicting an unnecessary relentless cyclic eternity of self-punishment and self-hatred for the mere idea not being divinely pure in the first place. We can think our way into hell very easily.

It is the ultimate in dualistic thinking. One who thinks them self as evil has completely severed the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspect of balanced interior communion of the imperfect weakness of being human and inherently perfect divine. The paradox needs the space in our mind to be made seamlessly whole.

Anything else is schismed thinking. Being broken apart this way only lends to the concretely negative and horribly destructive attitude of “Evil = Me as a Human Being” and “Good = God as the Infinite Omnipotent Other.” And when things are so solidly opposite, reconciliation doesn’t happen easily. Does that make sense?

In order to be good, one must think one self is at least carrying the potential for good. It’s even better if one can truly embrace the inner vision of being Christ-like and having a potential to be brilliantly filled with all the goodness of God. Of course, we must follow through on that vision to be compassion embodied, which takes effort.

The same is true for love.

To love anyone else, we must love our own self.

Only love begets love.

How we think of our own personal self within our own mind–our self identity, our labeling of our self, the stories we tell our own self everyday about who we are that aren’t necessarily true–these mental habits constrain us to a point of miserable slavery or set us free to be wisdom, love and truth embodied. The way we think equates to heaven or hell within our own person and anything in between. And often we think we are at the mercy of a merciless world, when in truth a great deal of our demanding reoccurring negative issues are our mental and emotional programing playing itself out over and over again.

But what about love specifically?

If one truly wants love, we have to root around in our own messy deep darkness. We must face our fears as a human being to find our way.

Love is about being good to one another. Love is about allowing something splendidly desired to enter our life, which also makes us feel totally and completely vulnerable. Love is vulnerability because if we love we will feel pain. And that vulnerability is why most people are afraid to love. We are afraid of what will bring us the most joy because it will also bring us pain. Yet the pain of love is not the same as the pain of never allowing the heart to open. One is the fullness of a life well lived. One is the emptiness of a life avoided and shunned because of the fear of pain–the fear of fear.

There is always suffering in the world. Suffering is a result of cause and effect. What we think, say and do does have ramifications. A choice leads to a result. And a choice can be made even when we don’t want to make a choice. Not making a choice is a choice. So we cannot avoid cause and effect. We can try to rise to meet it fully by living well. We can become aware of how that process of works.

Developing a sense of compassion is the best way to navigate through life. To me, compassion is not pity. Pity is viewing someone else looking down from a distance. Compassion includes empathy for others–being able to feel genuine concern for someone else. In essence, compassion is a combination of love, wisdom, and effort to lean in, open our heart and help others. Often our egotistical inclination is the opposite. Our shroud of ego habits demand we protect ourself first, close our hearts so we cannot be hurt, leave others to fend for themselves because they are “other” than “us.”

Love destroys concepts of “Us” and “Them.” Love is unified, courageously open, and fearlessly free.

It is true that love is only for the brave at heart.

If you want another person to love you, you must learn to love yourself. But do not confuse being perfect with love. Love is messy. Love has nothing to do with uptight ideas of human perfection, which are a complete deception anyway. God’s perfection has to do with highest love and mercy; it has nothing to do with what human beings consider perfect. Our ideas of perfection are usually based in being seen as acceptable in the sight of others. That has nothing to do with love.

So we start there. We start by recognizing our own destructive habits.

How do we think about ourselves? Is it always critical? If so, then we begin to change the bad habits by recognizing them as something that needs to change. We start by living our lives in simple ways in order to be more compassionate toward our own mind, our own bodies, our emotions. Our compassion will flow forward. Our love will flow forward. And such will our new world become.

Love does not have to be perfect to be priceless. We all have it in us somewhere.

Love is always good–regardless of where we are in the moment.

We are broken people. And that is a good place to find love–amist brokenness. Love can come flowing like light through the cracks where our false ideas of perfection were smashed apart.

If we can find the mercy we need to forgive our own insufficiencies, forgive what we perceive as our faults, we can do that for anyone. It only takes love. Call upon its power.

And there are no rules to anything when it comes to love–except for compassion. Love is compassionate. A true love can be a friend that encourages us, a person we admire who inspires us, a dog who loves us unconditionally, a child who’s laughter brings us breathless supreme joy.

And if you can’t feel those things like I just said, it may mean there are walls around your heart that have come into being through habits of defensiveness. Let the walls drop.

Love is not an easy path, but it is the best and most rewarding joyful existence one can have. It is tapping into the divine and allowing that truth to shine out into a darkened world. It is a unifying truth of being interconnected with all that is alive and gloriously whole.

My theory of love is that love exists infinitely within everyone whether everyone believes that or not.

To embrace the concept of innate eternal indestructible love, one finds an unequaled power flowing through what we perceive as life, which not only gives us authority, but pure potential to transform our experience of existence from the inside outward. Our world is bound to be shaped and recreated into paradise when our foundation is based in such a thing as unequaled genuine love, even without fully understanding what that means in its entirety.

Love speaks for itself. And love heals immaculately.

Love is always the answer.

Anger Is NOT Who We Are!

by Reni GuidoAll emotions are part of the human experience, but we are not our emotions. emotions are a secret language of soul that requires the participation of our own mind and intellect to understand, contemplate, evaluate and discern what our emotions of the heart are saying. Anger happens to us all. However, if one is emotionally literate then such a person can navigate through anger by understanding deeper messages behind the feeling of anger. anger is to our subconscious mind what physical pain is to the body. it means something is wrong. something is not sitting well. something needs to be done to understand this situation more clearly. it’s an interior red flag saying, “look here!” Being angry is not helpful. Even worse is when we carry around repressed emotion. repressed emotion or emotion that is denied and shoved back down into the psyche only comes back up in other ways. when one has repressed anger, a minor problem can cause us to reactively explode. To become throughly functional and effectively responsive to our daily situations we must examine our personal stories of life, ingrained patterns of thinking and develop introspection. Anger does get in way for the most part. there is the actual possibility of finding an emotional maturity within oneself with great effort, which can give us functionality to allow space to feel emotions without being enslaved by them. when that happens we can direct all our neutral and compassionate energy towards better goals.

Please Don’t Kill All That Is Beautiful In The World

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What does beauty mean to you? What is it exactly?

Is beauty only a mirage–a fleeting visible image of the superficial, like an illusion? Is what we call beautiful only a shallow temporary experience of what pleases our physical senses? Or is what is truly beautiful a gift to our infinite being, something we visit that imprints indelibly on our soul, our character, making it richer and more expansive? A song that uplifts, a smile that enlightens, a hand reaching out to gently reassure us in encouragement and love, a shared spontaneous experience that makes us bust out laughing, a new born baby, a flock of birds swirling in graceful shapes against a sunlit blue sky–is beauty that indescribable breathtaking moment that makes us feel grateful for being alive? Isn’t that beauty? Is it an experience of a incredible moment, or an interaction that surprisingly arises in our mundane path, or something amazing we feel within the confines of a personal relationship that goes mysteriously far deeper than just a pretty dress on a fashion model, or a gilded framed peaceful landscape that matches our couch on our living room wall?

What is your idea of beauty?

Well, this is mine.

Beauty is like the picture above and what is behind the picture above–the story of what it is expresses or invokes the experience of beauty in what we see and what it all means, even when what it means is ineffable. In that deeper sense of what it means to me, there is something more to the experience than a 2-dimensional photograph.

The day I took this photograph, I was out hiking in the woods by a river and I stopped to watch several monarch butterflies at play. Sitting on purple iron weed in Autumn time, under a pristine blue sky next to a rolling river, I was entranced by a pair of perfect vibrant delicate orange and black wings that fluttered and flitted from place to place. It gave me a great deal of joy to watch this butterfly dance from flower to flower. My little butterfly friend even allowed me to touch it, and it sipped water off my fingertips.

But here’s the hard truth in comparison to this fleeting ephemeral image.

What is truly beautiful in this world we live in, like this monarch butterfly, is in real danger of going extinct. Just like the climate change has drastically affected the yearly monarch migration detrimentally, and heavy use of pesticides that have killed off vast numbers of these North American butterflies, potentially weakening future generations and their ability to thrive, there is a huge probability that to behold a monarch playing among the iron weed may indeed become a very rare sight. Once something is gone, there’s no bringing it back.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we, as human beings, are directly complicit and completely involved with the destruction of all the beauty on our planet. That is a sad and unpleasant fact. One we need to own up to and change. And I will not be so self-righteous as not to count myself in that lump of humanity. No one gets a pass. It is everyone’s responsibility, not just our “leaders”–spiritual, environmental, political or otherwise.

Just by going along with the way we do things in the modern age, we cause destruction to the planet and to each other. And yes, I love our modern conveniences, but not every convenience is necessary. Not every popular viewpoint or interior thought that comes to us with ease is beneficial. We can change the way we do things, as well the way we think–which is where what we say and do flows forth from–in a way that will have less harmful impact and more direct good. And we must think beyond ourselves. Selfishness, pettiness, greed, hatred and fear is the enemy at our gates. And we must beat it back interiorly within our own person. We must as a whole think of life on earth as interdependent, because it is actually and factually interdependent.

We breath because trees exists. Simply stated, trees exist because we and other animals exhale out what they need to live. But they can’t live if we chop them all down. And also, we can’t live if we chop them all down. The same holds true for the ocean. The ocean is our primary source of oxygen, but we are quickly killing off that symbiotic relationship too. When one part is out of balance, there is a cascade failure that causes catastrophic disaster. It’s like the process of organ failure in the human body. Each organ shuts down because each organ is dependent of the other organs to get what is needed to continue living. If our planet was a patient, it might already be in the ICU.

Humanity was never meant to be a plague on the earth. And the best of what humanity means in its highest idea would not be celebrating the way we treat each other either. I say that because there is so much violence and hostility in our current world, and, in particular, in America. What is wrong with us? Mob mentality is not higher thinking. It’s toxic death to everything beautiful and glorious about what we are as  human beings. Celebrate only what should be celebrated–goodness, compassion, wisdom and brilliant potential. Our habits of hate only cause harm, because hate begets hate. And love begets love. What do you want? Love or hate? Heaven or hell? And we all go there together, so chose wisely.

Because of our ability to reason, we were meant to be good custodians, caretakers and peacemakers, who ensure the positive cultivation and continuation of the indwelling natural abundance found within this miraculous planet of ours. But we aren’t doing that right now, are we?

Greed kills all. Hatred only causes destruction.

Of course, it is completely possible with a little extra consideration to educate one’s self so that we are individually able to make wiser, more comprehensive decisions on how to make better choices. And there is no excuse for not becoming a better person. Anyone can be compassionate if they want to be. It just takes effort. Becoming kinder wiser people not only makes our own life better, it makes life better for everyone.

You want a better world, be a better person.

Many people chose to live that way right now. And all of us have that capacity. I’d like to think we all care enough to be that person who makes a difference for good. But just how much do we really care about that? Is it far easier to sit and blame others, while placing all our responsibilities onto some political party, leader, employer or church affiliation? It might seem easier to go with the flow, stay silent, grumble and complain, spew hatred, incite violence, point fingers, but the end result is that things only get worse for everyone. No one else will do the work for us. We are either all in this thing called life to uplift, cultivate and protect the beauty in our glorious existence; or all that is inspiring and good gets eradicated systematically because of our own ignorance and apathy.

Very few things go extinct without our direct involvement with the destructive process. And the essential point I’m alluding to is that our involvement is not limited to the extinction of our splendid wonders of the world, our immaculate wildernesses really no longer exists in an untouched pristine manner. The wildernesses are already dying and so are the animals that live in them. Our oceans are full of garbage, spilt crude oil and radiation. Sea life is choking to death on our old cracked sippy cups, plastic forks and grocery bags.

And yes, this destruction of our beautiful environment is symbolic of our concern for life and each other. We are also directly involved with the denegration and destruction of our fellow human beings. Stepping on someone else’s back to feel superior or to take whatever we want is not acceptable behavior. Some of us do this intentionally–fully aware–driven by ignorance, hatred, anger, greed, and the hunger for power. And many of us do this each time we stay silent when we see injustice. Injustice is everyone’s problem. When irritable or angry, it is not our inalienable right to shove hatefulness and abuse at another person–despite what you may think. We become complicit when we don’t want to get involved with the struggle to uphold human rights and mutual respect for all.

Within our humanity, our divinity is waiting to be seen and acknowledged. Unfortunately, It doesn’t appear that many people think it’s important to make an effort presently. If we did, there would be no hatred, bigotry, inequality, starvation and war. Why are we allowing big industry to ruin our water systems and farm in ways that are toxic? Why do we eat that toxic food, when it sustains a greater problem? And don’t say because it cost less. Almost everyone in American has a big screen TV and a smart phone. If we wanted to spend money on more important things like healthy sustainable food sources, we would. But we just want our shiny stuff, don’t we. Why do we allow the deforestation of what’s left of our precious wildernesses? And why is there a garbage pile the size of Texas floating in our oceans?

Do we not care whether there is oxygen to breath? Do we not care about our children’s children?

We all have immense potential for good, regardless of our personal weaknesses or imperfections. The glorious state of human perfection is not possible because we have this crazy idea that perfection is what it is not. Perfect is not looking perfect. Perfect is not being unrealistically happy all the time by focusing only on external material things. Perfect does not equal wealthy, materially successful and powerful. Perfect is not the ability to do everything we do precisely in the correct way, without missing a beat. Perfect is not keeping your house immaculately clean. Perfect is not pretending you are superior to anyone else.

There is no such thing as human perfection. Our beauty is not judged by that ridiculous standard, like a beauty queen with a certain figure and a certain smile and perfectly straight teeth. The idea is absurd.

Beauty is far greater than restrictive ideas.

There is only a divine mystical perfection shrouded discretely behind the chaos of our unique experience as we think it is on the planet earth. The comprehensive perfection I speak of is that beyond our limited understanding, which is only glimpsed in the beauty of how all life is woven interdependently into seamlessness.

Humanity can kill or allow that beauty to be killed easily if we don’t all wake up.

Nothing is random. Everything that arises in our lives is a result of cause and effect. We  make choices, even when we refuse to make a choice. Refusing to make a choice is in fact a choice. And as I said, all life on the planet is interdependent. And it requires positive participation to keep that interdependence from taking us down the proverbial toilet. There is no us and them–no one to blame. There is only personal responsibility.

In our imperfect individual lives, we all are immensely beautiful in our own messy paradoxical existence. It is within the experience of our faults, weakness and imperfections that we are able to find mercy for others. But we have to seek truth. And we have to want to become merciful. Mercy doesn’t come automatically. Compassion is something we must work on developing. Not everything is warm and fuzzy.

Mercy is beautiful. Compassion is beautiful. Love is always beautiful. Wisdom is supremely beautiful. Nurture those virtues. Do not distain them or ignore them into oblivion.

With that said, yes, it is entirely possible to snuff out the beauty that gives life joy. It is also possible to repress or oppress all that is splendid, compassionate and awe-inspiring to the degree that we all will suffer such great atrocities and planetary disasters that our joy will only return on the wings of future generations, if we give them a planet to live on.

Do we allow beauty to be destroyed? Do we actively participate in destroying everything that is beautiful in the world?

That is a choice we all must make.

The choice to uphold beauty can be in the simplicity of a smile. It is in loving instead of hating. It is being accountable for what we think, say and do. What is our intention? Do we actually want to harm others? And if so, why would we ever think that way? We must learn to work things out compassionately and wisely by listening and learning from each other. There are no easy answers, but if we value what is truly beautiful we have a personal responsibility. If we treasure loving family, healthy relationships, a livable planet where our children can exist without chronic impending catastrophe or unilateral despair, the majestic wildernesses, clean water, land that grows food, the eagle soaring, honey bees, the great blue ocean, the air we breath, the ability to have freedom on this earth to live in peace, monarch butterflies flitting on wildflowers–then we must think, speak and act accordingly.

Give beauty a chance to thrive. It’s specifically up to you.