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If I diminish you, I diminish myself and humanity.

My wish for humanity this year and moving forward is the ability to gracefully


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and respectfully address, challenge or confront ideas, NOT people. Many people engaged in discussions with a compelling argument on opposing sides, rather than a thoughtful discourse on ideas use the statement “you are……, he/she is………they are………” which is frequently followed by a label, insult or disrespectful moniker. We determine the worth of the ideas by the moniker or label we attach to the person. The judgement we use determines the value we assign to the idea. How limiting and suffocating! We are all let down by the potential power of the moment when people are attacked and diminished rather than a healthy vetting of the idea or philosophy. Unfortunately the recent election in America has seemingly given permission to this manner of communication. Please be aware that assigning blame to any particular person, party or persuasion, is not important and ill advised, a wise elder I know says, stay focused on the signal not the noise. Focusing on the  noise, which our ego will compel us to do, will entangle us in a quagmire of stagnation and drudgery. So let us focus on the signal instead and ascend to a more satisfying and expansive world by concentrating on possibility, potential, courage and abundance.

We all have an important decision to make henceforth to truly affect what kind of world we want to manifest for each other; our children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters. We have to resist becoming idle in our comfort zone or paralyzed by our fears. So this year dear readers consider as part of a New Year’s resolution to fly towards a life of exhilaration and authenticity. Let us be mindful in all our interactions and observations to advance each other. Remember this simple approach in our communications both written and verbal; is it true, is it necessary, it is kind, and will it improve humanity.

We all have the ability and power to create our own journey and in turn impact the journey of others. So it is up to us how our journey will be, we can choose a rugged or a flowing path. Things will happen that effect us, but how we perceive these events and take action from there is our choice. Speak up when doing so advances our humanity. When engaged in a challenging discussion scrutinize the idea not the person. Try to avoid “I” or “You” statements, remember the vision of humanity is to focus on we and us. Look for common ground when areas of conflict appear remember the strong foundation we share first and then work through the conflicts. When we see injustice or unkindness be courageous speak up for our vision of humanity. Let us celebrate and spend time with what is refreshing and rejuvenating in our community and lives. Let us encourage fellowship and kindness. Each day focus on what supports this vision, the signal, rather than what doesn’t, the noise. We all seek belongingness and to sustain a peaceful and thriving existence we have to find ways to advance the feelings of acceptance to each other while also advancing our cleverness.

Let us all transform and break out of our cocoons of fear and spread our wings to create a humanity of oneness!

If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other ~ Mother Teresa


“The Wizard of Oz is such a great movie,” my girlfriend told me the other day.  She shared how the movie, filmed in 1939 based on a book written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum, is still relevent today.  And honestly I could not agree more.

Each of the characters in the story are seeking something they are missing, Dorothy is seeking a way home, the scarecrow is seeking a brain, the tin man is seeking a heart, and the lion is seeking courage.  So they all travel to the Emerald City to seek the great Oz and basically find out he is just a regular guy who can’t really manifest for them what they seek.  In the end they all find out they already had that which they were seeking, or in Dorothy’s case, she always had the ability to go home, you know the ruby slippers……..there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.   Great story, great movie, great message even for today’s standards.

I was reflecting on my friend’s observation as I attended a retreat this weekend.  I want to digress and tell you about the retreat, it was amazing.  It was the ‘Flute Discovery Retreat’ with John Two Hawks at Stillpointe Wellness Center.  If you do not know about Stillpointe or John Two Hawks I strongly encourage you to discover both, you will be better for it, I know I am.

Ok so back to my original train of thought; my friend’s observation, the Wizard of Oz still being relevent, and I am at the retreat reflecting on this.  So as I am attending this retreat to discover the power and reverence of the native american flute.  My eyes were opened to the beauty and I developed a deep respect for, the flute, but part of the collateral benefit was that I also witnessed great examples of personal courage.  I was particularly moved by the courage of three people.  One woman’s life story was so profoundly courageous, I wept.  I was so moved by her incredible courage and her beautiful spirit.  The other two stories of courage were also amazing; a person overcoming tragic beginnings and yet emerging with such kindness and compassion, and the third person was currently dealing with a very difficult situation and I mean knee-deep in it, even as I write this, and yet again her beautiful spirit was shining with compassion and kindness.

So of all the Oz characters I most closely relate to the cowardly lion at this point in my life.  I know I have courage somewhere inside me, but I need to make my pilgrimage to Emerald City to find it.  If only I could find a tin man, a scarecrow and a farm girl with a scruffy dog to go with me!  However, instead I was presented with these wonderful people and their examples of personal courage but most importantly courage displayed with kindness. 

I realized as I watched these beautiful souls share their stories of courage that it can and should be done with love and humility.  The common theme they all shared was courage with love is powerful and with humility is compassionate.  My greatest challenge with courage is how to be courageous and kind.  I always thought courage meant being unkind, and that is my greatest fear to be courageous for myself at the expense of treating another unkind.  At this retreat, as I watch these amazing people share their stories of courage, I saw the deep humility they all possessed and how that cast their courage in a completely different light for me.  Courage with humility is always kind.

I was taught many great examples of the ancient traditions of the Lakota way this weekend through stories and lessons and there was a common theme of honor and humility.  Again I am reminded as long as I keep my higher purpose in mind, loving kindness, I can face my challenges with great courage and with loving kindness and emerge better for it, and the world will be better for it.

All I can say is wow, I get it, now can I put my intent into action?  Stay tuned beautiful readers and offer a prayer to our creator that I can.

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou
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