I have spoken of fear, the fear that results in dire warnings, in hoarding and gun buying; the same fear that engenders the Unsafe Litany.
I have the sense that this fear is related to grief. Specifically, it is related to our reluctance to grieve. Why is it useful to grieve? Because grief is sister to love, and the depth of our grief will expose us to the depth of our love. We turn our backs on grief because our grief and our love make us vulnerable. And so they should — vulnerability is our birthright.
Earth is worthy of our grief. Start with, for example, the Gulf of Mexico. Move on from there. Every neighborhood deserves a wailing wall.
Grief denied can too easily turn into fear — the fear that shows up as dire warnings, as fortress building, and as much, much worse. Grief realized exposes our love, and love can become the ground we stand upon.
Touch the depth of your grief for our dear planet Earth. Let your grief open you wide to the depth of your love for her and all who inhabit her. Let your abiding love guide your actions.
October 12, 2010
Speaking of emanating love, here’s an image that you might find useful.
Imagine that the energy of love appears as short bursts of brilliant energy. Then imagine that the opposite of love, fear, appears as long stands of energy. You can see from that image that it is always possible for love to break up fear, but fear can have no effect on love.
When I first started my practice of emanating love, when I was teaching shoe repair, I used that image. As I walked through my day I imagined, I experienced, short bursts of beautiful energy flowing out from me, and I knew that it was love. It felt good, it was fun, and better yet, it made a difference.
That’s really all I did. I didn’t try to act a certain way, or think a certain way. I merely emanated love. What a powerful practice it is. What a difference it makes.
Try it. Let me know how it feels.
P.S. I’ve updated the Where is Jett section of my Web site, including some cool photos. Check it out. Go to Where is Jett?
I want to share with you this letter from a member of the Breath and Water Club. I share it with you as encouragement to continue or return to your Breath and Water practice.
I turned 70 this year, and I’ve been spending some time reviewing my life decade by decade. I’ve been looking for patterns, wondering when and how I learned the destructive ones I had for so long, and when and how I replaced them with beneficial ones.
I’ve noticed that after I turned 50 I began gradually to live my life on my own terms. Then during the last 10 years, the years of my 60s, I really began to feel happy for the first time in my life. It’s in the last 5 years that my life really settled into a kind of constant contentment. I went from being a woman of constant sorrow to being a woman of constant joy. I’m eager to see what my 70s will bring.
Then I realized something. I’ve been practicing Breath and Water for 6 years, ever since you suggested it in 2004. I believe there is a direct correlation between your teachings and my increasing happiness.
I love my 15 minutes of “intentional breathing” in the morning and evening. Thanks to it, I begin my day in peace, and regardless of how intense my day is, I end it in peace. There was a point not long after I turned 60 that I thought I was growing old. I thought that my body was falling apart and that I’d be using a walker in 5 years. Then you started the Breath and Water Club. Now I walk 3 miles every day, and I have a bounce in my step. Breathing and water, such simple things, but what a blessing they have been to me. Now I’m 70 and I don’t think I’ll feel old for another decade at least.
This is to say thank you for everything you offer. And I’m thanking myself for taking you up on your offers.
P.S. I don’t drink any coke or coffee at all any more! None. And you know how I used to survive on that stuff. I’d pop open a can of coke first thing in the morning and drink it while I was making my first pot of coffee. Now I drink water. How groovy is that?
As some of you readers know, I was a shoemaker for 15 years, and for 7 of those years I taught shoe repair at Minneapolis Technical College. During most of the time I was at MTC, I practiced emanating the energy of love.
There was a table in the lunchroom, a round table, where several instructors would gather every morning for coffee break. It was a lively group, and we did a lot of joshing and laughing. A couple of us also did a lot of challenging people’s assumptions about race and gender and class. It was always an invigorating 20 minutes. I felt fortunate to be part of such a interesting and entertaining group.
Some weeks after I left that job, I saw one of the instructors from the round table. I asked him how everyone was, and told him I missed those morning coffee breaks. He said that they had not met at that round table since the day I left. He said, “without you, there was no reason to meet.” I was flabbergasted.
I didn’t practice emanating love in order to be liked or even in order to be a good person. I did it merely because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, when I look back, I can see how profoundly that practice informed and shaped my experience at MTC.
Let me be clear. I didn’t practice being a loving person. I practiced emanating love.
I think that if I had practiced being a loving person, the effects would not have been so profound. I would have acted like some idea I had of what a loving person acts like. I might have made a list of the attributes of a loving person, and tried to embody those attributes. There’s nothing wrong with such a practice, but can you see that those attributes are details? Instead of practicing being a loving person, I practiced emanating the energy of love, and I let the details take care of themselves. As indeed they did.
Give it a try, practice emanating the energy of love. I wonder where it will take you?