Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shift in Action Posts

A few years ago I became interested in the work of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and posted regularly on their "Shift in Action" website.  IONS examines the links between religion, spiritually and science, marrying them together and uncovering a greater, fuller more encompassing wisdom which includes ancient ritual, spirituality and contemporary thought.

Included below are excerpts from some of the posts I contributed:

A gig, a girl, a death & Jon Watts' post

Goodbye Tiger, chasing those dolce’ vita times; somehow you seem to have left me far behind; but you can hear me whisperin’ on the night line: Goodbye Tiger” Richard Clapton

The tinnitus has just about passed. The 3 am finish doesn’t seem to have taken much of a toll on me, probably because I didn’t drink too many beers; busy laughing, dancing and singing. JR and Mick knew the lyrics to every song RC played and we all really got into the gig; three over 50’s bouncing around like twelve year olds at a Hannah Montana concert. And it really felt that way, the years evaporated.

Diamonds scattered out to sea, the Sun keeps laughing down on me, this crazy horse is trying to chase the wind.” RC

1983 - I remember being on Dundowran Beach at Hervey Bay in Queensland. It was deserted apart from a girl and I. We’d gone there to be alone. It was a beautiful flawless day. I stood in the shallows photographing her in the still water. Her lithe body was silhouetted against the reflection of brilliant fragmented sunlight glistening on the water behind.
Diamonds scattered out to Sea; “I thought, “So, this is what he meant”.
The shots I took that day were sublime; they portrayed an ecstasy I’ve seldom seen captured in photographs since. I no longer have them, they fell victim to one of many house moves. But every time I hear “Capricorn Dancer” that beautiful free spirited girl, the the scent of her hair and the astounding images we made together come flooding back. An island of enchantment.

What gives music in particular the power to so effortlessly transport us to sublime moments of our youth, to raise the spirit and shine light into the deepest, darkest recesses of memory?

Remember, remember those things that you’ve done and think of your youth when you’re teaching your son” Walter Rinder

My father died last year. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and all recent memory had either been totally obliterated or substantially faded. In the end all he had left were memories of a childhood lived during the Depression in the bosom of a loving, caring family.

Is this perhaps why we recall and identify so strongly with our youth; because it is what we need to recall and impart to our offspring? Bruce Lipton hypothesizes that a child is not fully conscious and its brain is not operating at an adult beta level until 12 years of age. Do we hang on to youth and childhood because during that period on some level we maintained a strong connection with our true selves?

I’ve read Jon Watts post on interconnectedness where he asks for questions and contributions relating to our interconnectedness to each other. Once again I find myself referring back to Lipton and his comments on the merging of human energy fields similar to two stones being dropped in the same pond. For me this experience has brought about instant connection to people I had never before met on a number of occasions. It also seems synchronistic that Jon and I are looking at the same subject – he on an external level, and me internal.

I watched "Into the Wild" over the weekend which was shot up Jon's way (Alasks) and one of the last comments Alex wrote in his diary was (and I paraphrase) - Happiness is only real when shared. So could happiness be a sign of where our internal and external connectedness intersect?

Perhaps our experiences from childhood and youth leave a similar energy pattern which never dissipates in our consciousness and merges with the resonances occurring in the present; and perhaps we are the sum of our resonances on both an internal and external level.

What do you think Tiger?


Dawn Patrol

Every saint has a past
and every sinner has a future”
Oscar Wilde

It’s Sunday and despite consuming a little more red wine than I originally intended the previous evening I am awake before the 5 am alarm. I must be a little dehydrated because my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth which feels like the bottom of a cockatoo’s cage. I meander my way to the kitchen for a large, cold water.
The tops of the trees beyond the window are ruffled almost imperceptibly by a slight North Westerly. I know today the swell will arrive and high tide is in 90 minutes. I wander outside to feel the air and take a drover’s breakfast. The breeze is cool and moist, scented with the sea and pollen from the wattles which grow in profusion along the creek beyond the back fence.  The dog drops her ball at my feet and looks at me expectantly.  “You’ve gotta love Spring Milly”, I say and throw the ball. Milly doesn’t reply and her white cocker spaniel butt disappears behind the gazebo in hot pursuit. I return to the house and go to Maddie’s bedroom.
Dawn patrol sweetheart; you coming?”
She sits up immediately, “What? Daddy? Wha..? No!”
Maddie collapses back into a sound sleep. I move to her twin brother’s door.
Lachie; dawn patrol mate. Are you up for it?”
In the light of his lava lamp I see him pull his doona over his head and hear expulsions of air from both ends of his body; guess not.

Having made the thermos and packed the car before retiring, I write a quick note to the kids, turn off the alarm, pull on a polar fleece and sandals and head south. I live within a fifteen minute drive of two great point breaks which will be really suited by the anticipated swell and the light Northerly.

After a few minutes I turn off the radio and push a compilation CD into the player. “It’s automatic when I talk to old friends……”. Paul, I’m thinking about Paul. “…their hair was soft and long and the beach was the place to go.” So what happened there? Best mates through school; surfed; chased women together; each got married; visited often and then suddenly it all died; “…waves of sunshine, California girls and a beautiful coastline.” Maybe I did or said something one drunken evening, but he never told me and I have no memory; “…get together and do it again”. I tried several times to get back in touch and it’s always been pleasant enough to see him, but the vows of continued contact never amount to anything. “Do, do, ron, dom, de, do, ron…………”. I still miss him.

Beyond the palace hemi powered drones scream down the boulevard”. That Chrysler Charger of mine – what a car! Couldn’t afford it; had to have it; bought it anyway. “…and the boys try to look so hard”. Red, low and fast; hardly an exercise in subtly but it had a real presence. “Tramps like us; baby we were born to run”. It made me feel as though I’d really made it. Then it was repossessed.

In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer”. What about those fights with Mum over the length of my hair? I remember her sneaking up behind me with scissors trying to hack a wedge out so I’d have to get it cut. “Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…”. In the 60’s we didn’t know what a WASP was; but Mum certainly was one. She just wanted me to look like everybody else. It doesn’t matter; loved her then; still do. “Penny Lane!”

“…but there’s a full moon rising, let’s go dancing in the light”; I’m so sorry D. “We know where the music’s playing, let’s go out and feel the night.” So many mistakes; I was so stupid! “I want to see you dance again”. Now there’s no place for the sorry to be heard, and this remorse comes flooding back when least expected; ”on this Harvest Moon…”. I know you’d forgiven but I still have to deal with myself.

The turn looms suddenly and I just make it onto the unmade road. Tyres scrunch gravel as I bump down the beach road into which recent rains have carved deep culverts and I pull up close to the point. I turn off the music, pour coffee and brandy into a cup, and wait; listening to the waves hitting the reef. The swell has arrived.
The yellow of dawn tinges the horizon and silhouettes the island in front of me. I alight from the car and shed a skin, replacing it with a rubber one. Two metre waves peel perfectly along the reef supported by the strengthening offshore breeze. As the light gathers the procession of swells make the blanket of ocean look like corduroy.

I walk along the rock strewn shore to the point and stand for a minute waiting for a lull. Another car clatters its way down the road. The board slaps the water with a thunk and I’m paddling hard toward a dark looming wall which cascades over me in a deluge of white chaotic foam. The torrent cleanses me and the icy first flush of water through my wetsuit focuses me on the task at hand. I paddle beyond the break and sit on my board facing East.
This is where I am. I am here. In this moment the slate is clean. This is where I’ll forgive. This is where I’ll unshackle my past. I am starting from here. 

I rise and fall on the unrelenting swell. The golden half risen orb of our closest star offers me a new day.


Talking mathematics and cold stir fry

I am a sole parent of 12 year old twins. Recently their school has involved them in a web based program called "Mathletics".

This happened tonight. Me, harassed; trying to serve up dinner; dry washing; prepare lunches. My son Lachlan transfixed by the laptop.

"Dinners ready. Come and get it".
"I can't".
"Lachie, get off that thing and come and eat"
"Dad, what's the time in Jordan?"
"How would I know?"
"Is it in our time zone?"
"Why do you need to know that now? Your dinner's ready!"
"I'm in a maths competition with a kid in Jordan and I want to know if he'll still be online after I've eaten."

I sit beside him transfixed by the laptop. What a wonderful thing! I recently posted my thoughts on the web being a power for good and the opportunity it provided for us to implement the shift, and here is my son interacting with a child in the middle east in probably the only common language they have - mathematics.  

The power of the web to shrink the globe astounds me. I have a profound sense that the impact it has will positively influence the lives of my children. By interacting with other children throughout the world as easily as they would with the kids next door they may well pour the foundations of the Shift for their generation and all of us.

The tools are before us. The Shift is in action. More and more common ground is revealed. It's a wonderful world.
We both ate our dinner cold.


Putting Things Into Perspective

I was clearing out some old files tonight and found this piece that somebody, somewhere along the line had sent me. I kept it because I liked it then promptly forgot about it - until tonight. It's anonymous but the author is likely a woman; a woman who has been driven to the edge and decided to "Shift" rather than implode. Obviously this shift is on a deeply personal level but the mechanics and underlying framework which support it can be applied to the broader spectrum. It seems more than a cry in the night and its passion is what touches me most. I hope you take benefit from it.

The Awakening"
Author Unknown
A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening.

You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter). And that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with YOU, and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are and its OK.(They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of newly found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are, and to over look their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you shouldn't weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love, Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable, or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy. And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up." You also stop working so hard at putting feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly O.K. . . . that it is your right to want things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you will not settle for less. And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his or her touch and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear, so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success, you need direction, discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone and its OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it, and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected, or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things you take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: A full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself, and you try to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin, as best as you can, to design the life you want to live.

"Those who believe it can not be done...
should not interrupt the person doing it."
-Chinese proverb

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