In Hindsight...

Every year we walk away from 365 (occasionally 366) days of learning. Sometimes, we carry these lessons into the next year and grow from the experience. Other times, we easily forget or casually toss them aside. Sometimes we have to relearn them the hard way, and other times we never think of them again.

In an effort to avoid that this year, I have listed the top eight things I have learned from 2008. I encourage everyone who reads this and feels so inclined to do so as well, and leave a comment linking to the response so that we can find them all.

8. Smelling like boy on my legs was worth the $0.95 men's shaving cream can.

7. Laughing is a fundamental element of the healing matrix.

6. Intuition is never wrong when given the respect it deserves.

5. Humans were born to be creators. Manifestations of energy - art, dance, dreams, physics equations and even schematic sketches are all testaments of inner fire.

4. Our greatest strength is not outside, but inside. The passion that drives the heart is formidable. The strongest ally and the greatest enemy. Our own desire potentials our undoing.

3. People are bouncy: the bigger the butt-kicking, the bigger the rebound.

2. Sometimes whimsical is the best way to go.

1. Love is all we truly have. It is what and who we are, and it is the only thing we really have and can freely give to everyone.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Give Love this season!

You-did and badboy69


Warrior of the Light -02- (12.19.08)

So it's been a little while, eh? I've been busy. It's how it goes. I have a feeling there will be much more free time at my fingertips in the coming weeks. Shall we, then? The following excerpt has been taken from Paulo Coelho's Warrior of the Light, a manual meant to accompany The Alchemist.

"All the world's roads lead to the heart of the Warrior; he plunges unhesitatingly into the river of passions always flowing through his life."
(Warrior of the Light, Coelho, p2)

Sometimes, it's easy for us to feel as though we don't deserve fortune when it comes our way, or that we should not waste time indulging ourselves. While over-indulgence should be avoided, it is not wrong, nor morally reprehensible in any sense to allow ourselves our own little pleasures from time to time.

To fully love everyone - which is our goal no matter what name you call your god, is it not? - we have to be able to love ourselves. After all, each of us is also a person on the Earth, and if we can't love ourselves, how can we ever hope to love another? Would you deny a loved one that enjoys manicures a trip to the salon once in a while? Would you say no to taking a child to an amusement park for his birthday? Of course not. We allow our loved one these guilty pleasures - why not ourselves?
A Warrior knows that the body and mind needs some degree of pleasure to thrive. He allows for this, but knows at what point over indulgence happens. When the body is softened by excessive pampering, or when wanting becomes needing the unnecessary, it has gone too far. That boundary is different for every thing and everyone, and only the person can decide when enough is enough.

There must be a balance at all points in life: when we can play, and when we must work. To play all the time is to throw regard aside, to be only concerned with Self. While attention to Self is important, constant, undivided attention is dangerous.

If we work all the time, then we neglect Self, and our spiritual energies start to fail. We become prey to sickness and depression, and eventually if not immediately, hatred. Irritation at ourselves - or at something we can attribute blame to - arises and eventually becomes hatred. Self-hate is one of the most horrifying things we can do. As beings of love, we should strive to love everyone - above all else: ourselves.

Be free, be alive, live, and love because that is what you are here to do. The Warrior knows this, he knows how important play is, but he never loses sight of his end goal. He also knows the things that last but a moment and those that can last a lifetime. Each has its place and purpose, and he knows, lives, and loves this truth unconditionally. So can you.

So go ahead, have that second cookie. It's the holidays.

Thank you to himmelskratzer and aussiegall and chotda.


Warrior of the Light -01- (12.02.08)

Warrior of the Light is a book - a guide, really, meant to accompany Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Recently I read The Alchemist, and naturally went to see what was in this little handbook. Inside are proverb-like listings, some in the form of small anecdotes, some just a single sentence.

I would like to dedicate one post on analyzing one bit of knowledge from the book. Perhaps this will happen once a month, once a week, perhaps even bi-weekly. You need not have read The Alchemist to follow Warrior of the Light, though I do recommend reading the book. These are entirely of my own creation, save the quote itself. I do not ask you agree, though I do ask you respond and engage me in discussion, whether you agree or not.

For now, I will begin at the beginning.

"A Warrior of the Light knows that he has much to be grateful for."
-Warrior of the Light, Paulo Coelho (p. 1)

It's not necessarily a bad thing to be extraordinarily lucky or gifted, as long as you realize where it's coming from. All things - both good and bad - are placed in our lives for a reason. As long as we continue to ask for things for our highest good, that is all we will receive. Sometimes things will be hidden, and we'll pause to wonder 'why did this happen to me? I did nothing wrong!'

Bad things happening is not necessarily a punishment. They're never fun, and wouldn't it be lovely to reap rewards all the time? Though rewards for good deeds are often a good way to instill a sense of right-doing, the greater lessons must come to us in the form of triumph, not reward.

To be given a monumental roadblock, to the point where we pause and hesitate, think 'perhaps this cannot be right - it is too difficult', and then to decide to try anyway and succeed is the most sustaining form of growth imaginable.

Not only has the individual physically accomplished an seemingly impossible task, he has gained the mentality that he can do anything he wants, provided he sets his mind to it. He has also taken that step closer to God, to put trust in Spirit for just a moment, to suspend his beliefs while he tries with all his heart - only to succeed in the end.

They are also points of self-evaluating. Roadblocks may be placed in our lives for the very reason of causing us to pause and reflect. Are we really doing that which is for our highest good? Are we doing the thing that our heart calls us to do?

The tricky part is that it changes. What we start out looking for often changes, but not without reason. I began my path seeking a degree in science and a position as a researcher. Now, I find that it is no longer my calling. It was, most certainly, in the beginning, and because I followed that, I have learned quite a bit and met some of the most amazing people. If I had the chance to redo it, I'd do it all the same again.

Do not think that what you begin looking for is what you will end up finding. It is not uncommon or unusual for it to change. It is, however, unusual for one to realize this, and change his or her plans accordingly. Don't be afraid to listen to your heart when it tells you it wants something else.

I think the main thought Coelho is trying to get across here is the idea that we must be aware of our situation, we must be gracious for our blessings, but at the same token, not to take strife as a strike against us - that our God is punishing for something wrong. My God, or Spirit, Source, what have you, to me, is nothing but Love. I have found nothing more pure on this Earth than unconditional love. To me, it seems, that God could be nothing but that. Therefore, I choose to regard each setback in my life as God placing a challenge before me. Not punishment, but a chance to run forward and shine brightly with success.

We all have Godlight inside of us - we are all capable of love.

Shine on!

Thanks to edmittance, TechNopal.


Planetary Dance

After a series of killings in California, Anna Halprin reclaimed the defiled ground and Planetary Dance was born.

The Story

Between the years of 1979 and 1981 in Mt. Tamalpais, California, just near the Golden Gate Bridge, six woman were murdered. Authorities closed all trails leading into and out of the community, leaving the people inside helpless.

Anna Halprin,
an improvisational dancer, and her husband Lawrence, set out to reclaim the mountain. She, and the people who came with her, began to inact a positive myth in dance. This included walking along the trails that the killings had occurred upon.

A few days later, after years of roaming free, the killer was caught.

A local shaman vis
ited Halprin. "This mountain is one of the most sacred places on Earth. I believe in what your people did but to be successful in purifying this mountain, you must return to it and dance for five years," the 109-year old advised her.

The Tradi

Over the next five years, people gathered to perform the dancing ritual again and again. What was once a reclaiming of the mountain, it grew into "Circle the Earth" - a dance to re-purify the Earth itself. People all over the world participate in the dance, aiding to the name.

Long after the alotted five years, the entire world dances. The Dance is now called Planetary Dance, and is performed in dozens of countries. Each individual is encouraged to draw his or her own inspiration and run for something personal and global.

The Dance

The Dance consists of large numbers of people moving in concentric circles, and is divided into three runs.

In the first run, each person is invited to call out a cause he or she believes in, and begin running. It might be for another person who needs healing, or a cause that is personal to the participant. He might yell, "I run for my sister, who is paralyzed and may never run again!

The second run consists of a global cause. Each participant is invited then to call out a cause that affects all of humanity. She might yell, "I am running to save the Earth from global warming!"

Lastly, the children are invited to dance on their own, and though they may invite the adults to run with them, it is primarily for the children.

Many people have been moved by the powerful experience, some have even claimed healing had come from it.

Planetary Dance is still danced today, every year, all across the world, uniting people from all races and backgrounds for one common cause: healing the world.

Thank you to JJZ and chamarisk for their respective photographs.
Used through CreativeCommons at Flickr.