Monday, October 17, 2005

Glad i asked

Yesterday, as i was enjoying the increasingly rare opportunity to be just Mommy all day, something interesting and wonderful happened. Beric came up to me as i was sitting in the chair in the living room and he put both of his hands around my arm and gave a squeeze and at the same time he made a very intense face. Maybe because i had been holding space the day before and was still in that holding/noticing mode, i thought to stop him and ask what he was thinking as he did that. He climbed up and curled up into my lap and looked into my face very thoughtfully. Then said, "I was thinking of all the love I share with you."

Mmmmmmm. Total body hum....

After the moment ended and he went back to rolling around with his brother, i found myself reflecting a bit as i watched them wrestling like little kittens. Children are so connected to their hearts and their bodies. They can still experience directly the heart as a generous organ. When a child tells you they love you, it just spills out of them--an overflow of the openness and joy of the present moment. And we hear it as the gift it is. Simple and direct.

Watching them wrestle i see the message of love too. The way they touch each other in play constantly communicates and reaffirms the bond of love they share. There is no separation; feeling, thought and action are in alignment. And i wonder, as their mother, how can i help to preserve this instinct for authenticity, as the dulling pressure of propriety encroaches?

And how do we do that for ourselves--reclaim that gift? --those of us who play with the idea that a different consciousness is possible and therefore a different way of being together. What a challenging thought experiment to try and discern which boundaries actually matter (good and wise structure) and which merely repress. To cast the mind forward into a potentiality where alignment is the norm--and to wonder what we might be like.

No answers here...just more shining questions...and a full and generous heart.

Love ya all

Friday, October 14, 2005

Saturday, October 08, 2005

a little riff on contraction

Contraction. From the Latin, con - draw together.

I have been expending a lot of energy for some time now--okay years--in working to deepen my understanding of defendedness or the contraction of the heart. Why does it happen? 'Cause it seems to happen all the time...even when we are conscious and have strong intent...fear, the great contractor, is ever-present it seems. Through our conscious practice, we can intercede and remain open, we can choose to act, speak, risk, connect. But isn't it interesting that a word that means something as simple as to draw together, has such painful associations.

Here's just a few...
Of course, the one that is still pretty present in my mind...the contractions of labour...lots of pain--got to keep thinking about opening--and on the other side a new life is born into the world.

And then there's the contraction of the heart...that cold and painful feeling when the heart closes in on itself in the presence of fear. The feeling of smallness, of failure, of loss of self...when our courage doesn't match our intention. And if our courage is up to the test, there's the pain of stretching open the heart, of surrendering to the emergent moment. Drawing together is always a significant act of faith.

Ken Wilber describes the ego as the contraction of the Self. And i have experienced this so far, only when sitting with and exploring the nature of defendedness. Then i can feel the painful contraction, the drawing in, the shortening, the narrowing, of the expansive Self. The ego at these times feels like some little creature fluttering fearfully, heart pounding, subject to so many judgements, desires, and attachments.

Contraction--to draw together. Not so simple. And just that simple. When we talk about drawing together, when we form the intention to create intimacy, we will encounter contraction. And what can keep us moving forward, what can open the heart in the face of fear, is faith in the significance and the joy of what can be born on the other side of uncertainty.

If we want more intimacy, if we want more peace, if we want to truly know each other, then we have to practice jumping into space without a net--often. (Now you don't have to start out with a mountain cliff, mind you...the couch will do for a start...) (Certain readers of this blog will recognize this as a note to self...i have a habit of cliff jumping...problem with beginner's mind and all...)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

poverty and regionalism in Canada

From Charity Village this morning:

According to the most recent report released by Social Watch, a coalition of 400 non-governmental organizations from 50 countries, poverty is rising among children and new immigrants in Canada, and the middle class is finding it increasingly difficult to afford education and housing. The report on Canada examines why the country has failed to make serious progress in the fight against poverty and inequality. It also demonstrates how a commitment to "small government" feeds regionalism and inequality, and how economic growth alone cannot reduce poverty and inequality, or improve access to basics needs and services.

The report is available here: Social Watch Report on Canada 2005
And consider a visit to the Social Watch site itself...some very interesting information available there .

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Open Space Sangha debuts

Well, it's finally done--enough. I can't get the template the way i want it, but so be it...enough fiddling! It's time to announce the birth of Open Space Sangha, a new team blog that i am administering. Go have a peek and see what it's all about ... in the beginning...

the fifth practice?

orb spider in web
Originally uploaded by the view from in here.

With our upcoming Open Space practice workshop taking up much of my reflective time, i have, of course, been dwelling on the practices even more than usual. And one of the things that seems to be emerging out of all this, is that perhaps there are actually five practices, not four. The four practices emerged out of a blend of the work and thinking of Angeles Arrien (Four-fold way), Ken Wilber (Brief History of Everything, etc..), Harrison Owen (Open Space Tech), Michael Herman and Chris Corrigan (Open Space Tech: A User's Non-Guide). The four-fold nature of the maps used in uncovering the practices don't explicitly name the fifth dimension, but it is present in all of them--the centre/perimeter.

As we explore the interconnections and watch carefully for the essential practices for growing the capacity to open space, we have noticed that the quality of the centre/perimeter is stillness. And that inner stillness can sure come in handy in many situations that arise when we work with others. The centre also can be the symbol for mystery and Spirit. Two other things it's good to remember and think about as we work in open space.

Here's an excerpt from an article in a series called Peaceful Practices that i wrote about five or six years ago. It addresses the first essential practice for peaceful living.

We begin by taking time to stop—by sitting quietly and beginning to observe the inner and outer dimensions of our lives. We take time to look at our busyness, the constant distractions around and within us. We can begin to observe the thoughts that flicker constantly through our minds and how we react and feel towards them. When we stop, we encourage our minds and our bodies to relax. We learn to be still and to slow down. When we begin from stillness, from the place of stopping, our actions become more effective—we do more things well, more peacefully.

Some practices i know of that support inner stillness are meditation, yoga, and prayer. Do you know of others?

And what do you think? What has your experience been? Is stillness at the centre the fifth practice?

Monday, October 03, 2005

oh how deep it's buried...

I was reading Raffi's blog this evening and was surprised by my reaction to one of the photos. It shows a couple of soldiers at Lenin's tomb. And the caption asks, "Why the guards?" What surprised me was the shiver of fear that I felt as I looked at the image of the Russian soldiers. Particularly surprised, because as a teenager, during the cold war, i worked extensively as a volunteer writer, editor, moderator and coordinator with a program that promoted global awareness. I met many Russians. I wrote articles on disarmament and peace. I read and educated myself. And still the iconic cold-war image of the Russian soldier snuck its way in there.

Here at home, most of our national monuments have guards. They're part of the experience--i hate to say it, but honestly, they are part of the scenery. I don't even think about them. I'm certainly not afraid of why when i think about seeing foreign military guarding a national monument, do i feel fear? And it was definitely iconic--the whole parade in Red Square kind of thing--not just fear of men with guns in general (which is a perfectly reasonable fear in my books). It's interesting how these triggers lie hidden, like land mines, in the unconscious. How many of these unrecognized fears assault us every day? How often are we held back--or is an unnecessary separation created--by old, unconscious patterns, icons, images, beliefs, fears--on a daily basis?

So much work to little brain to spare...