The Peace Palace

For months, I have tried to puzzle out in my spirit how it is that people in power are so intransigent about the dangers of capitalism to life on this planet. Whether it’s begging a city council to be more humane in the way they deal with houseless people, or putting facts in front of lawmakers about the destruction of extracting and burning fossil fuels, the intransigence and indifference that I have personally experienced is, to say the least, despairing.

For the second time this year, I had the privilege of visiting the Peace Palace in Den Haag (The Hague) The Netherlands. All my life, I have dreamed of being in this space. It was a tiny little dream, because I never thought I would be able to actually achieve it. The universe works in very intentional ways, when your spirit is at the helm, I have found. This second visit was very special for me because I was able to tour the facilities with my husband. A very special moment that I will always treasure.

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The Peace Palace was created as a result of one person’s dream to put an end to endless wars. Czar Nicholas saw what the ravages of war and colonialism were doing to his people and to his lands, and in 1899, convened the first Peace conference. 14 years later, after much work and collaboration with people who also sought to end the cycle of war, the Peace Palace was opened. You can read about the history here. While I was inspired by the work that is done there, I was also puzzled how we have a history of over 100 years of court cases heard in these halls yet we still are nowhere closer to fulfilling the dream of living in peace, collaboratively, securely and harmoniously. The decisions of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice are binding, but there is little to no enforcement mechanism of the decisions. (This will be another topic in the future, where I discuss the meaning of a person’s honor and their commitment to their word.)

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the power of positive thought and intention. I do still believe that this is the only way to move forward. But, in order for that to manifest in its fullness, we have to come to terms with what we are up against. I wrote about the darkness that infiltrates the halls and hearts of ‘power’. I wrote about how light is the only way to beat the darkness back. It’s more than darkness, though. Their intransigence is the combination of a few realities, I believe.

The majority of the people who we assume to hold power aren’t stupid. They aren’t ignorant. They are, to my mind, extremely greedy, but most of them aren’t fully callous. To see their intransigence, knowing that they are intelligent and still somewhat human is baffling and deflating. How can this be? How can we celebrate their accomplishments when we know that, on balance, they have caused more harm than good? What drives them?

There is a tool that has been used in public policy for some time now: game theory. This tool allows policy makers to ‘game out’ the different scenarios associated to different public policy decisions. In theory, it’s a good idea. It’s a way to ensure that all aspects of a decision have been analyzed and taken into account. Game theory has a long history and many components – and I’m not smart enough to know which component is being used in any given circumstance. However, I am most assured that this is the underlying model that every policy analyst uses to inform policy makers.

So, if game theory is the tool being used to make decisions, why do we continue to see horrible policies enacted by people who are not stupid, nor are they fully callous? Why do we see policies enacted that leave so many people out in the cold, literally? Or left to die of toxic exposure? Why do we continually see the environment sacrificed? If I use my intuition, and choose to not be jaded in my thought processes, my guess would be that the game theory decision making process is 1. weighted heavily toward the “payoff” element, which may or may not be informed by economic outcomes and 2. some of the games have led decision makers to believe that there is an ‘end’ coming and the best they can do is prepare a small subset of the population for this ‘end’ and the rest are collateral damage.

I am sorry to say that I cannot, at this time, offer any qualitative or quantitative data on this topic. Perhaps in the future, I will be able to do so. What I can say is that this is anecdotal speculation is based in my personal experience and the experiences of my community cohort. Therefore, I believe that, as a theory, it has enough substance to inform how we can use light to change the path that we are on.

The Peace Palace is the result of many people, intelligent, caring and flawed, coming together to say that there is a better way – and here is the space where we can find that better way together. The time has come for us to ensure that the intention and the light associated to that place is no longer cloaked in darkness or subjected to the negative aspects of game theory. We can find a way to a better way of being. But we must understand the elements of the game being played.

Let’s put an end to the practice of allowing our environment and our neighbors being treated as collateral damage in game theory dominated by capitalism.

Think positive thoughts

For months, I’ve been struggling with how to participate in my community in order to bring more equity and justice into these spaces.  I’m nobody. I’m not the smartest person in the world. I forget stuff, a lot. Short story, I’m not ‘all that’. I barely fit in with mainstream groups, and my introvert likes to stay on the fringe, anyway. But – I want to put my hands to work. It’s what I’m called to do. All attempts to put myself ‘out there’ have yielded painful lessons, many of which are self-inflicted painful lessons. It ain’t easy being an introverted Capricorn with social justice imprinted in her soul.

But I’m strong. I have ancestors, guides, angels, and guardians. I have support where it matters most. I just have to remember that this is what matters most.

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This morning, Spirit Council woke me up again with a reminder. “Think positive thoughts”. This is a foundation teaching in my spiritual journey. Bring into the fore that which you know you want and put your attention there. Energy flows where attention goes. Their message to me came not long after I decided to stop using social media. Timely. Intentional. Aho.

But, I have some resistance to this idea of “think positive thoughts” as a remedy for what ails the world. Mostly because people have misused this spiritual teaching as a way to shirk their responsibility as part of the body politic. Some people have even used this spiritual teaching as a way to gaslight the damage that they are inflicting on others. But I’m not some people. I’m Twylia. I know the power and value of this spiritual teaching. Still, the Council had to give me some really good advice about how to carry this practice into this crazy ass world.

Face the reality that there is a spiritual darkness that permeates the world, in agency and industry, in community. A spiritual darkness that is immune to reason and compassion and is intransigent in its mission. The only way to move that spiritual darkness is to throw light at it. The only way to throw light at it, is to keep in the light – and to keep thoughts and intentions in the positive. There are ways to do this; think Joan of Arc. The armor is made of light and positive affirmations. The armor is necessary. But it can’t just be any armor. It has to be infused with positive intentions, which are then manifested by the word.

“With the light of compassion, we will overcome the corporate greed that allows our neighbors to be houseless.”

“We will move the spiritual darkness that walks the halls of our democratic institutions so that light fills those halls, in every nook and cranny.”

“With the light of honesty, we will successfully change the charters of our democratic institutions so that equity and justice live at the forefront of every code and regulation.”

“With the light of truth, we will restore the reciprocal relationship between us and  our more-than-human relatives so that the sacred abundance offered by our Mother is restored and honored.”

The light is the way. The light lives in positive thoughts. And the positive words are what creates a new reality. It all starts with your thoughts.

So, as I sat with this advice, and contemplated the struggles I have encountered over the last several months, I came to realize that this is my work. THIS. I am a glitch in the matrix. I am a beacon of light. And I need to adjust accordingly in action.

Prodigious

With a realization that some of my personality traits are vexing:

my desire for things
me, being prodigal, in the shadow,
a tendency to hoard that which is not needful
fed by a frenzied need to consume those things hoarded
which are neither needful nor helpful.
I am a prodigal out of balance.
I am prodigious. 

Some of these personality traits are inherited. They run in the family, so to speak. They worsen as I age, which is an interesting phenomena to explore, when I take an observer’s view of my life.

Hoarding is a societal problem, and it is evident in almost every level of our way of being. Consumption – consumerism – is a societal problem. And it is grossly evident everywhere. We are conditioned to view hoarding and consumption as normal. There is no balance in the system, because we live in a negative feedback loop. Even the most enlightened, the most devoted to a spiritual awakening, get caught up and splinched in the negative feedback loop when they try to escape.

Many bear the scars of those splinches. Evidence of their attempts to escape and lead a way to a more grown-up, mature, balanced way of being human in this world. Those scars are mocked in some circles. In some circles, those scars are blessed.

As I look at my life, from my internal presence, I see that I am healing from my hoarding. I see that I am full up with the detritus of things consumed which are neither needful nor helpful. I am ready to shed the consumptive spirit which fires the hungry-eyes of consumerism. I am ready to be a balanced prodigal.

A new path

This morning, my spirit council woke me with a nudge, telling me I needed to take a new path on my spiritual journey. Maybe not a completely “new” path, perhaps more a ‘side journey’ whereby my footsteps can be realigned and recentered. I won’t divulge all the message that I received, but there are parts of the message that I feel need to be expressed in the world, as seeds, and hopefully they can land in a good way.

There are spiritual teachings that are founded upon what is considered a universal law – “as above, so below; as within, so without”. My guidance from the spirit council is that it’s time to embrace humility as a foundational spiritual practice more regularly. To seek forgiveness, to repent (change my mind), to remember that what I see in the world that I fear is wrong is a reflection back to me of what I need to correct in my soul and in my heart.

They reminded me of a meme that sometimes pops up on social media feeds…”Be humble, you ain’t all that.” We live in a world where the consequences of our collective wrongs are being shown to us in very real and painful ways. We have a responsibility to see these consequences and to take ownership of our role in the many errors of our ways that have led us here. We can no longer afford to play victim or martyr. We must accept our responsibility as adults and endeavor to course correct.

Many don’t want to take responsibility for the little ways that their spiritual errors have contributed to the scenarios we find ourselves in today. Some may not want to see that their obnoxious self-righteousness has created a horrible pendulum effect, whereby ‘that which you fear the most can meet you halfway’ and instead want to cling to their self-righteous stance while the world burns around them. (I know, I have been on this path for a few months).

What I will do is the spiritual work that I am called to do, without casting blame or judgement on others, taking the responsibility for my part, and hopefully this will manifest a ripple effect of the Golden Rose energies throughout the universe. Courage and faith are required.

Dana

 

Self-care

Tomorrow, self-care is on the agenda. Perhaps a bath, but also housework. I’m grateful for the the opportunity to take care of my self, to try and heal, to slow down and be present in the moment.

I have procured myself a new “old Skool” planner for being more disciplined in the New Year. I’m excited to use it to plan things to do on the weekends, to keep myself committed to the events I love and that fuel me.

I have also come to realize that self-care also means not getting caught up in planning life so much that you forget to LIVE life.

This is a strange time to be living in. The world is changing. Violently and shockingly. It can be the epitome of unnerving to try and stay balanced and not go running around the lands screaming your head off…

People are hurting. People are dying. The crassness of capitalism is taking the shine off the glory of living and repackaging it in fools gold. The hunger and cold that grips our neighbors is real and 100% caused by crass capitalism, which also tried to market self-care as the way to peace and health. But only as long as you are capable of paying the entrance fee, which is high.

So, when I say self-care, I am not referring to the kind which numbs me out or has me selling my soul. As a warrior, I need to be in good shape. In all aspects of my life.

So tomorrow I will set some time aside to care for my body, mind, and spirit.

“Don’t postpone joy”

Our favorite restaurant in the world (@Pacificgrilltacoma) has a saying on their menu, that I don’t always see. This last Friday, it jumped out while perusing the menu. I’m all about it right now.

I am reminding myself this morning “slow down. Really allow joy to seep in.”

For me, joy is an elusive beast. I sometimes feel as if I can’t remember what joy feels like, and I start to panic a bit, and that panic elongates the path to joy. So, I bring to mind an anchor. A time when I felt immense joy.

Holding my babies in my arms. Looking in my husbands eyes and seeing his soul. Remembering laughter with my family of origin. Or the first time I really felt accepted by my Anishiinaabe relatives. Screaming in joy on a whale watching trip. Standing under a waterfall near Mt. Baker in only my long underwear.

One anchor leads to another. Then joy comes flooding in. The key is to slow down long enough to get the anchor set. In the choppy waters of life, sometimes it doesn’t feel safe enough to slow the engines down to get the crew on the anchor chain. Just keep trying.

Joy is the highest vibration for creation. Joy is where healing takes place. Joy is how the soul lets go enough to grieve those hurts and traumas that are held in the sinew of the heart, both literally and figuratively.

I encourage you … do not postpone joy. Like truth, the world needs more of us to be anchored, even if only for a few minutes, in the healing energies of joy.

Baamaapii

Change is constant

We change. As biotic beings, living in a biome that is constantly changing, morphing, evolving, we change. Whether we choose to see or honor that change, it is true. The rising and the setting of the moon bring us new opportunities to change in a good way. While we rest. While we slumber, our biome undergoes changes.

What we fail to recognize is how, then, we should change our habits. The old ways of being in the world no longer fit the new being we are becoming. We get stuck. We suffer. We seek relief from our suffering. But when we seek relief without acknowledging that we are changed, we cause more suffering. Not just for ourselves, but for those around us.

Changing biologically must be supported by spiritual and emotional work. Work. Don’t breeze by that word. Change is work. But it is work worth doing. Because our changes are incremental (mostly) and unseeable through our own lenses, it can be tough to understand what spiritual and emotional work really needs undertaking. And we can be thrown off the path to good outcomes in our personal work living in a world that bombards us with the effects of work not undertaken by others.

Persevere. If you hear the words that are in front of you, and feel the call to align yourself more perfectly, undertake the work and make the changes. Break the old habits. Make new ones.

You are a living being, meant to live wholly and healthily, in rhythm to the universe, where balance is a dance. Evolve, accordingly.

Day 3

My third day of self-care. I have been more active today, and am a bit worse for it, I have to admit. But, at least some things that needed to get done have been done.

I started the day with a lovely bath, another great meditation. I refreshed my reading of the Old Ojibwe Prayer, shared by Isaac Murdoch earlier this year, and it felt good to be saying good words in anishiinaabe. I re-read some of my journal entries, and notes from a reading with my dear friend Linda m. i had written a note about needing to take some time away from home, to take a personal retreat. As I started my third day of self-care, I realized that I don’t have to go ‘away’ to have a ‘personal retreat’….I just need a few things: intention, discipline, and the generous kindness of my family.

I’m grateful beyond words for the time and opportunity of the last three days. It’s been an eye-opening (third eye, in fact) experience, to retreat at home. Even though my household responsibilities pull at my attention, I found that I could successfully briefly break my retreat to take care of things (like fold some clothes, or vacuum the floor) and then easily return to the spirit and state of retreating. I committed myself to making my retreat my priority, and I could attend my responsibilities with grace and ease.

The medicines have been somewhat helpful. My mind is thinking in a good way, again. My spirit is breathing again. Today, I focused on flushing the dead and dying viruses out of my system, by drinking water and breathing deeply, as much as possible. The headache has not subsided and the pain in my back, neck and shoulders has returned. I’m going to give myself a full seven days o the anti-virals, even though the doctor wanted to see me after three days, if the headache hadn’t subsided.

Nothing has been for naught….I have some very valuable lessons from the last three days.

  1. I cannot be “in the world and not of it” if i don’t carve out time for the spiritual. Otherwise, I’m just always “in the world”
  2. I must not feel guilty about being in relationship with water when taking baths – this is sacred time and I send my relative back into the world with a blessing.
  3. it is possible to ‘retreat’ at home, and in fact, it is a must to ‘retreat’ at home if the only other choice is to not retreat at all
  4. Above all, love and hold positive energies.
  5. Be well, in all ways. speak healthy words, think healthy thoughts. Have compassion when witnessing dis-ease in yourself and others.

I’ll end with a Aleister Crowley quote which feels very right at this point.

‘Mitigate energy with love, but let love devour all things”

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viral …..

Last week, i received a pre-diagnosis of viral meningitis, after weeks and weeks of being ill with a headache, nausea, dizziness and congestion. I am on my second full day of treatment, and the headache is still immense.

I took Friday off, to have a full three day weekend of self-care. Of respite. Of not doing anything and not feeling guilty about it. I am not watching a bunch of television, and I’m trying to stay off of social media. Today, I have meditation music in the background, while I make some candles….something I have been meaning to do for months. I also am putting together batches of devils club salve and chaparral salve for my mom and dad and a dear elder.

Viral meningitis is no joke. I say pre-diagnosis, because I have not had the lumbar procedure, also known as the spinal tap, and I would like to avoid that at all costs. I have a history of chronic Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), so I should be very familiar with how viruses show up in my body, but I also tend to live in denial about it. The reality is that we are all one big petri dish. Virus, bacteria, hemoglobin, water, biological materials that are meant to work together in harmony….and when that harmony is disrupted, the imbalance creates a space for viral and bacterial bodies to colonize and cause pain.

A virus is a living being. If it has overrun my system, I need to understand how and, if I’m diligent, I can try to understand why.

epstein barr virus NIH 3D print exchange

The EBV image above, via the NIH 3D Print Exchange, looks benign and cool, kind of. There are other images on the web that aren’t as benign looking The thing about EBV, is that 90% of the population has this virus but it only causes issues in about 1% to 5% of adults. It’s kind of a nasty bugger to have riding around in your system, and especially if you don’t know how to keep it in check. {raises hand} I suspect that I became reactivated and the reactivation was aggravated by mosquito bites when I was in Texas visiting my family.

Being ill has caused me to slow down. Way down. I have had to rethink what I do with my time. I have taken a couple of hot soaks and this has reminded me the power of soaking in water. My relative. I’m determined to heal in a good way, to return to a way of being that is harmonious, light, and beneficial.

Taking time to care for my self, my whole self, is non-negotiable. I’m grateful to my friends who have given me wisdom and care, and for the love and support of my family during this time. Take time for yourself, in any way that has meaning to you.

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