Surprises …

come in all forms, shapes and sizes.   Sometimes, they come in the forms of friends we thought we had lost along the way.

Sometimes surprises come along when nothing else is working and drain us of everything we have.

Trust that the universe is unfolding exactly as it must.

Sometimes surprises come along that could have been predicted.

Like the current situation in Syria. Or the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Or the destruction of civility and rationality in Mali.  Even the famine and droughts plaguing many areas in Africa.  The economic realities taking shape in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America.

So here is a prayer for stability and lasting peace in necessary regions.

May resolution be swift.

It ain’t just the economy stupid…

Social and print media have been bombarded with images of war and state sponsored terrorism lately.  No more so than images being leaked from Syria and not surprisingly, from Israel and Palestine.  France struggles with electing a new President in the midst of continued economic down turn and America is on the road to deciding once again if change is necessary.  In Canada, we recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Yet, I ask you, how many of you Canadians even knew that our Charter is only 30 years old?  Better yet, how many of you even knew we had one?  Our “culture” is so consumed by Americanisation that it surprises me that many do not know that there is an entire “Charter” that protects fundamental freedoms, like our right to freedom of expression.  While we have miles and miles to go before the Charter is reflective of every walk of life, we have come a very long way since 1982.

Rights activists will no doubt be screaming out that the Charter is lacking in a great many areas, however, compared to living in Syria or Palestine, I think we have things pretty good.  While we could undoubtedly give more recognition to our Aboriginal Peoples and to those who identify through sexual orientation, we are incredulously, among the luckiest people in the world.  Our government has not sponsored its forces to commit terrorism against us. Nor has our government walled us off from friends and family telling us that due to religious beliefs, we have no right to life or no access to water.  Although I am sure that many in Attawapiskat would tell you otherwise, the people of Palestine are facing a struggle so dire that, left unchecked, will result in the most covert, deceitful form of apartheid there is:  civil apartheid.  Human Rights activist and coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Frank Barat writes on Al-Jazeera that “we’ve gone way beyond Apartheid.”  That annexation of certain areas of Palestine to Israel is happening on such a civil level that the offer of citizenship to Palestinians in areas being annexed is nothing more than apartheid because it forces the walled in separation of Arabs from Jews.

Check out his article:

We’ve gone way beyond Apartheid

What is more concerning to me is what happens when most Palestinians are walled off from water sources.  Many no longer have access to water wells and sources that once belonged to them through ancestral inheritance of land. Is this the new level on which wars will be fought?  And has this been done deliberately so that each party can turn to the world and say “see? we told you they would….!”

We have become so complacent in our lack of understanding others that there is no longer outcry when Syrian forces kill young students without hesitation.  When people are starved of their rights to provide for themselves and educate themselves, what is left are a people so marred by violence and hatred that even the mundane activity of buying bread can become an event in rage.  Why is it necessary to murder in the name of a man who is so far removed from his own truth that he is creating a nightmare for all those who have the misfortune to be living under his rule?

For a world economy that is so fragile, so based in deceit to repair itself, will take leaders of all nations to come together to recognise the validity and the value of human life.  Even if it takes fifty or one hundred years, the end result will be well worth the effort.  Without the energy and the spirit of human kind, no amount of money will replace the lives, the dignity of all those who have fallen victim to apartheid, genocide, economic disaster, civil strife and war.  Today our lives aren’t just about the economy — they are about the meaning we derive from every moment.  Perhaps one day, Palestine and Syria will have charters akin to Canada’s. Perhaps one day, resources that are part of our environmental commons will be shared between all peoples, regardless of historical ancestry.

Here’s hoping….

 

Stand In Your Truth…

The world in which we live can prove disastrously challenging.  Especially when one is trying to live one’s truth.  What I have learned in the last week is that people will always have a reason for you not to own your truth and allow you to stand within it.  The great gift of this universe is that we do not require the permission of others to be who we were meant to be.

Standing in one’s truth may prove difficult at first; there may be others around you that will belittle you, insult you, envy you, make things difficult for you.  However, there is a greater strength at work here:  you.   As Iyanla Vanzant said many years ago, “a child of God with a made up mind is a powerful thing!”   One does not have to name a deity or believe in a particular religion to have this be true.  One simply needs to identify the truth of his/her own life and live it.   Yes, this can be more difficult than anything you have ever attempted, however, the greater power of you aligned with a universe that is on the same wavelength will conquer the insulters, the enviers, the people who do not believe that you have the right or the power to live your best life.

Whether your truth is being a teacher, a photographer, a writer, a singer, a stay at home parent, acknowledge this.  If your truth is identifying with your sexual orientation or living outside of the culture in which you were raised, acknowledge this.  If your truth is admitting that you have more debt than you know what to do with, acknowledge this.  Once you have the presence of mind to acknowledge your truth, whatever it might be, you will understand in your own life, how to express that truth.  And that expression doesn’t have to be grandiose in nature; one step at one time will lead to a “road less travelled.”

From Marianne Williamson, one of my favourites,  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you….And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

May the truth in which you stand light the way in service, in compassion and in the upliftment of people everywhere.

Living Your Truth?

Lately, I have been pointed in the direction of people living their truths and it got me thinking about people who never stopped living their truths.

We can look at people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Princess Diana (to an extent), every Mystic, every Sufi, every change-maker from Galileo to Omar Khayyam and every person who ever had to live under the yoke of oppression, and can conclude that these people never wavered from their own truths.  Or from truths that were presented to them.  Nelson Mandela lived in a jail cell for 27 years and kept hope alive within himself that one day his people, his nation would live freely.  I know many of you will question my choice of the late Princess Diana, however, she really did bring “touch” back to what seemed an untouchable monarchy.  Whatever her legacy, that in itself is an incredible accomplishment. When people live their truths, the universe has no choice but to unfold within those truths.

Conversely, if we look at people like Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Zine El-Abideen Ben Ali, Hitler, Genghis Khan, can we honestly say they were living their truths?  Or were they living their greatest fears made manifest? And yet the universe seemed to unfold to their wills.  Thus, the greater lesson unfolds:  what you focus on becomes truth. If a fear is made manifest, is it because it has been focused on so much or because the peace-makers/peace-keepers in the midst stepped aside and said “this too shall pass?”

Is Bashar Al-Assad living his truth in Syria or is he living his greatest fear made manifest?  And if he is living his fears, are the people around him living their own fears?  Hitler was a vegetarian but lacked the respect for life when it came to living people of his own species.  Is that relational?  Does one have to do with the other?

Here is the most salient lesson I have learned this week:  When I present myself as I am, it will be enough.

Every where I turn this week…

Life has been “showing up!”

Lessons abound at every turn. One I would like to share with all of you, courtesy of life teacher and great mother, Iyanla Vanzant:

If you don’t show up with who you are, people fall in love with who you are not.”

Have the courage to be true to who you are and who you were meant to be.  Life will take care of the rest.

Have a blessed week!

 

 

So much goin’ on…

A great deal has happened in our world over this past week; from bus crashes to the hysteria surrounding Joseph Kony, events in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.  The Republican circus in the United States is doing its usual “stuff.”

Last week I addressed the Joseph Kony movement issue and I was really hoping that this would lead to positive change, however, all sides of this issue have not been taken into account.  Adam Branch, senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute for Social Research, Uganda, and assistant political science professor at San Diego State University, California, argues that “The video qualifies as irresponsible advocacy by prompting militarisation and detracting from Uganda’s real problems.”  If you had the time to watch the Kony 2012 video, then please take a moment to watch this video, courtesy of Al-Jazeera.  (another one of my favourite websites!)

Dangerous Ignorance: The hysteria of Joseph Kony 2012

Let us remember that the thousands of child soldiers who were forced to become so, all over Africa deserve to have a voice, and a choice.  Let us not detract from that. Ever.

Recent events in Afghanistan have left me pondering if the world deliberately wants to go crazy and if the US is, not in fact, encouraging it to do so.  I don’t advocate the burning of any book, period, let alone a holy book.  To burn a Quran is to burn the Bible and the Torah.  Whatever your beliefs, burning holy books is a sign of incredulous disrespect.  We must not let the actions of one or two immaturely, irresponsibly stupid people be left to the “sanctions,” of the United States militia.  The resulting slaughter of innocent civilians by staff Sergeant Robert Bales is inexcusable.  I don’t care how many deployments he’s had overseas, that is no excuse to end the lives of innocent civilians! My heart does go out to his family who must be wondering what on earth is going on…

I do have to comment on one thing that is really bothering me though:  that he has been repatriated to the United States.  That “he is one of ours and has to be protected,” is unacceptable.  Yes, I am calling the Change Card here: Let people begin taking responsibility for their actions. If, when in another country, you commit a crime, you are subject to the laws and processes governing that country. Unless, that is, you are American military? Did the men, women and children who were lawlessly gunned-down not deserve protection as well?  What did those children do to so tragically offend Sergeant Bales other than having the unlucky happenstance of being born Afghani?  Bales ought to be returned to Afghanistan and tried in an Afghan court,  under prevailing Sharia Law.  I know that many of you, Westerners, will vehemently disagree, but here’s the rub: (and it bears repeating) if, when in another country, you commit a crime, you are subject to the laws and processes governing that country.   If it’s not okay to smuggle drugs into or out of countries, and if it is illegal to murder, then why is this case not being tried as a multiple murder?   I am absolutely sure that, if the tables were turned and an Afghan military man had done the same on American soil, then been repatriated to his own country, there would be enormous outcry in America, and demands for that person’s return to American soil to be tried in an American court. The American double-standard that applies when it comes to Americans v. Muslims is in itself, inexcusable.  That it is given executive privilege to protect “one of our own,” is utter, inherent, absolute rubbish.

On other notes…

My heart goes out to the families in Belgium that are suffering the losses of their children and teachers/teaching staff who died in the horrible crash in Switzerland.

My heart continues to go out to the people of Syria.  May there be a swift and just end with a positive outcome to your revolution.

To the Republican circus, I have only this to say:  the more some things change…..

Congratulations to some Outstanding Women!

March 8th, 2012 marked the most recent International Women’s Day and I wanted to reach out and congratulate some outstanding women:

Congratulations to: Margret Atwood, Regine Chassagne, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Jennifer Stoddart, and Clara Hughes!
Each of these women are fighting to bring awareness and insight to preserve literary education, to end the continuity of extreme poverty in Haiti, the protection of environmental lands and resources, the protection of personal privacy and the right to the protection of information, and the championing of surpassing human limitations and speaking out about subjects once considered unspeakable.From one of my favourite websites: http://www.strombo.com:

Women Who Rock

Congratulations to every woman who has ever had to overcome…