Archive for March, 2011

One…..More…..Breath,……(part 2 follows)

Posted in Big Questions, Desires with tags , , , , on March 25, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

What an amazing thing. For almost fifty years now I’ve been getting one….more….breath. And you have too. And they just keep coming and coming.

Though for almost 100% of this time, I, like most of us have taken this miraculous gift completely for granted. Not even for a second realizing that without this next breath, this body ceases to exist. And without it all that I love about life will no longer be part of my physical experience. Except for one physical calamity a couple of years ago I have not paid a darn bit of attention to any of this.

But yesterday, while sitting in meditation with my small group early in the morning, something profound transpired. Was it a moment of grace? I was sitting as I usually am following my breath and at times using a short mantra to guide me, all the while a dog barked and barked somewhere off in the early morning tranquility.

It was at this moment that I heard something inside me saying, “Matthew, you could keel over in any given moment”.

Isn’t this the absolute truth? A Deeper Truth. We don’t know when our moment to take our last breath will be. People are keeling over all the time. We’ve all heard the query, “If you knew you only had so much time left, how would you live it?” I’ve heard this zillions of times and never taken it to heart.

Yesterday morning was different—I heard my inner voice—and, immediately shifted. My posture in meditation became even sweeter, a smile came to my face that if I could’ve seen it, I imagine it would’ve been angelic. My entire being became even more vibrant, while also becoming even more still. The energy pulsing through me became more enlivening, while also becoming more contented. Essentially I experienced how much more life-force is available to me, and how much more peace. And how my “normal” way of being is but a pale shadow of what is truly possible in this body.

And the dogs barking ceased.

I took this awareness with me on the walk home, gazing with wonder at trees full of birds, who were deafeningly boisterous in their delight. And all throughout the day.

Oh to become more fully alive— from the simple recognition of the next breath’s gift— mmmm, sweetness.

(Part 2 added 31 March 11)

It’s been a week since my inner voice beckoned to me— “Matthew, you could keel over any moment.” That was it, nothing else was necessary. And the unheard of thing? I’ve actually remembered this calling and have continued to act with the utmost intention.

Wow, change does happen. So often before, if I’d heard these calls, I’d promptly forget. Moments of vast illumination that were relegated back to the unconscious. Well—not this time. Maybe this opening the heart business is actually happening.

I find myself during the day remembering this voice, and rehearing this call, this beckoning…..and lifting up out of my habitual ways of being, my complacency. Opening my mouth with those in my sphere, sharing deeper feelings, ideas, desires, visions. If I don’t know when the last breath will be exhaled, I’d better use ‘em for bringing more beauty, truth, love, and sweetness into my world.

This simple little sentence is transforming my life. Can it do the same for you? What would our world be like if more people felt the urgency in their lives—the gift, the blessing and the miracle of being alive, in this very moment? ………Now this is a question that I’d like to answer!

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A Story of Men….a sad intro.

Posted in Big Questions, Men with tags , , , , on March 24, 2011 by matthewstruth

  

The story of “men” has shown its head quite unexpectedly in some recent posts. I have caught myself off guard by some of the ruminations. So with a few recent experiences fresh in mind, the quandaries continue.

Men. I am one. And I can unequivocally say, that even with decades of inner work that the “workings of us” elude me at times.

Just this week I’ve gotten a couple of glimpses of us at our inanest. Being caught on a job in an enormous pickup truck that gets 9mpg with 3 other men, all somewhat physically fit and in their mid 60’s, left me speechless. On this day my “brothers” were incapable of anything close to resembling intelligence moving through their lips. The badmouthing, ridiculing and griping about trivialities, and the utter childishness spewing forth gave me the opportunity to feel such sadness for the state of our society. These men, all successful in that old paradigm way of having made oodles of loot, left much to be desired. As did my impotence in being unable to steer them toward something deeper and potentially more meaningful.

There was then the local event last weekend on the streets of this beautiful resort town. Approaching at 9:30 in the evening I was stunned by gaggles of drunken men everywhere bellowing out utter nonsense at the top of their lungs while the streets smelled of bad beer. Yuk.

Then too, I can’t forget the numbers of men over the years discovered dead from either passing out drunk on the sides of roadways in blizzards or dying in their beds asphyxiated in their own upheavals. True.

And unfortunately I’m not immune to this either. During a period of time living in NYC in my early 20’s I was awakening in my own filth in stairways too many times after parties. Being found once by friends passed out on the sidewalk at Second and Eighth became the last straw, thankfully. I was so lost.

What has gone on? What has led some of us to such despairing calamities? I know books can and have been written about all of this and perhaps I’ll begin my own soon, but now, in these few words? Once again I am struck by the workings of my psyche. Just having written the word “impotence” has got me wondering—could this be a big part of it? Are many of us men essentially impotent? If not literally within the sexual context, though with all of these marketed drugs who knows—then perhaps within the framework of our rapidly changing world? Do we feel like we can’t make a difference? That we don’t know what to do? That all of the old rules have changed and we find ourselves ill-equipped? Is this why we’ve drunk ourselves to death or maybe just not wanted to grow up?

Or maybe we aren’t privy to a higher reason for why we exist as a human being in the first place and so we go about our living our lives from a lower octave of being predominantly? More and more questions emerge constantly. And I get the feeling that many more posts will be forthcoming about “mine” and “our“ story. Hmmmm?

Until then, one of my favorite books about men and the issue’s we and the women in our lives face is “I Don’t Want to Talk About It“ by Terry Real. Enjoy.

Hearts of Japan

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are our hearts for?

In the recent posts “Shootings Heart Opening” and “A Mans Peace of Mind” I’ve been pondering this very question. As a man with one that was shattered very early I’ve been genuinely and tragically clueless regarding this question. Even after many therapies and attending various workshops over the years, including events boldly titled Opening the Heart, it’s still been a tough go for me, and therefore for those that I’d come in contact with as well.

But something is happening now on our planet. Do you feel and experience it? There are energies available, circumstances happening , old orders and paradigms are crumbling. A phenomenal network of teachers and teachings are coming forward at precisely this time, when they are so needed to assist in the creation of a new Earth.

More and more people are awakening from the dream of materialism. Certainly we need materials of various sorts to live, but do we need to run our lives, constantly striving for success and more stuff? What happens when we trust in the inherent sense that there is enough, that we are enough? Slowing down and removing ourselves, in whatever fashion that we can from faulty dreams, allows us to witness a larger perspective. And allows us space to feel into our hearts.

Events happening rapidly on our glorious globe provide us with the opportunity to truly recognize what is important. Most of us at any given time are not directly effected, but how about indirectly? Do you feel when others are suffering?—A sick neighbor? A homeless person? People struggling to put food on the table? People with no table? With the rise in different technologies, we can see and bear witness to the struggles of our fellow humans. Extreme difficulties could be happening for us at any time. None of us are immune—each moment, each breath is a sacred gift. How wisely do we use them?

Recently, at the end of a post I wrote—

“When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?……..On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.”

This “not going back“— is a difficult feat. As my heart has begun to thaw and open, I now feel and understand so much more. And these days—Feeling into Japan and crying. Why Japan? I certainly have a connection to Japan. My studies of architecture, ceramics and gardening have always brought me toward Japan. My body resonates with these ancient arts from their perspective. So is this why I feel into this tragedy more deeply now? Perhaps.

But really, it’s about the functioning of my heart. It is not only being battered open, but gently too with equal parts of—my direct intentionality—and grace. Grace, that force that can just appear before us if we can recognize and accept its presence. And then open to it.

I can see why keeping our heart closed serves some functions, not very noble ones granted, but ones that keep the day to day minutia going. These days I am tired, napping and feeling the extent of what it must be like for our fellow human beings coping with tragic calamity. This napping has nothing to do with “being asleep” and numb, but it’s about recharging and releasing stressors from everywhere.

And at times I’m now wondering how and why I didn’t feel Oklahoma City, Columbine, Indonesia, New Orleans, Haiti, Chile and countless others. Not feeling these didn’t bring me happiness or connection. Being numb to the events that effect our brethren didn’t make my life any more fulfilled, didn’t bring me any closer to those right next to me.

Today—sharing my anguish actually does open doors that can possibly lead to deeper connection, resonance and compassion with others. Isn’t this what we all need and deep down long for?

May we seize this moment, feel our feelings, and send whatever psychic energy we are capable of to all those in need. This collective planetary awakening is transforming our hearts and our species. We are one, whether the waves of tsunami, revolution, or other calamities are on our doorstop or not.

 

Healing Archetypal Gender Wounds

Posted in Feelings, Men, Motion Picture Lessons, Relations with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

It is time.

These three simple little words have been calling out to me for well over a decade. Who would’ve thought that watching a child’s movie on the vcr with my tiny stepdaughter back then would lead me toward deep contemplation—or that this “cartoon” would continue to do so today?

It is time.

These words emerged again a few weeks ago at the end of my post “A Man’s Peace of Mind”. Since then this mantra has been running through my mind pretty much non-stop, which led me to get the cd soundtrack from this movie out and now, it too, has been cranking incessantly throughout this home.

Sometimes, I just know—that second when insight occurs, don‘t you? Great personal power derives from these illuminating moments. Even if it’s from the most unlikely of sources—such as within an animated movie.

The archetypal, mystical, magical realm of The Lion King is one of these sources. It contains potent teaching’s that are of complete relevance today—recognizing the oneness of all life–healing familial wounding, abuse, jealousy, ostracizing attitudes and betrayals–recognizing the ramifications of environmental destruction and greed–remembering and awakening to ones true self, and taking one’s rightful place within society——and healing, with love the rift between the genders. The characters in this movie, our archetypes, show the absolute power of what can transpire from within these domains.

It is the medicine person Rafiki’s incredulous babbling of “it is time” that has captivated, and set the stage for me……to remember. So many of these motifs have played pivotal roles in my maturing journey of being human. And boy oh boy, can I relate to Simba, the happy, inquisitive, cocky, son-of-a-king. This potential future king watches his father die and is then sold a bunch of bunk by his murdering, jealous uncle, who embodies the shadow side of the un-evolved castrating masculine. Because of this, the very young Simba banishes himself, not only from his society, but from his deeper nature as well.

While our hero is physically growing up, he’s essentially hiding out with his shame, marginalizing and down-sizing his life to entail a happy-go-lucky smallness. During this time his family and society are being overrun by ineptitude and greed, and their land-base is being destroyed. When we don’t, or can’t show up in our power, bad stuff happens.

How many of us can resonate with this tale of familial and cultural abuse? What were the stories that we told ourselves? Some of mine were to strive to succeed without knowing who I really was or what I wanted. Becoming “the good boy” was my way of dealing with familial mental illness and the destructive elements of this. But it seemed as though I was on autopilot. Certainly many of my inherent aptitudes blessed me with a fledgling sense of self, but these didn’t appease my inner angst-filled, yet otherwise emotionless life and definitely did not lead to a love that I could feel.

As the emerging “masculine” is downsized and relegated to mediocrity, the “feminine” is left alone to deal with the tragedies of the other pole—an abusive, un-evolved masculine. Seems an awful lot like our culture, doesn’t it? We are witnessing and experiencing a masculinity that is a pale shadow of what it could be. In lieu of a healthy functional masculinity we have corporate sponsored environmental destruction, criminal behavior and greed, Wall St. swindles, hoarding, consumerism, power-over domination, war, absentee fathers, domestic violence and addiction. Not a pretty picture.

Certainly men are paying a price for this within their psyches—but it is women who are being decimated and brutalized. Unheard, starving, and deeply distraught, Nala, our heroine, goes off alone to find sustenance for her tribe—courageously tackling more than she should have to. She has taken all that she can from the abuser and now ventures forth as a final resort. How many women have issued the demand, “it is time TO GROW UP”? Or have had to go it alone, or remained children themselves, or have bravely banded together to create a new society? And how many men have just walked away?

While hunting and about to attack two funny creatures Nala is jumped and comes face to face with a large male lion. She has more than enough prowess to pin him to the ground. Isn’t this the way it is even in our time, women can very easily decimate a man at times of vulnerability. And here is something crucially profound—Simba recognizes his friend and calls out her name, where upon she dismounts, staring in complete disbelief. All it takes sometimes is for men to softly recognize the magnificence of the feminine, which allows her to reopen.

Nala has now discovered the masculine in his hideout, eating grubs—this is ludicrous, the king, eating grubs. The arrival of his best friend, now a fully evolved adult female, along with the joy and confrontation that ensued, provided a rich environment for self-rediscovery. Simba it seems had abdicated his true self due to unexplored faulty thoughts. An unexamined life. Me too at times.

How much of myself do I see in this story? Quite a bit! The larger-than-life issues of ostracizing familial betrayal, followed by a life geared toward minimization. Living on the fringe or at the edge and not knowing one’s true worth or purpose, floundering about alone. I’ve done this. I’ve lived like this. I recognize the Simba in me. Tears appear and also new strength, well, if not new, then at least an evolving strength. Even with rigorous inquiry at times, it has seemed as though my personal healing has had a timeframe of its own. It’s not that transformation hasn’t been occurring, its just that there have been so many layers to this psyche needing attention. As layer after layer have been illumined, more and more have come to the surface.

As Simba and Nala rediscover each other, after the exuberant joy comes the bellowing, “What in the tarnation have you been doing with yourself?? We needed you.” Ouch. She expresses her righteous feelings, and he plummets into his buried fear, misery and inner pain, which leads him again angrily into his abandonment story.

Lamenting, “ So many things to tell her, but how to make her see, the truth about my past, impossible, she’ll turn away from me.”

She cries out, “ He’s holding back, he’s hiding, but what I can’t decide. Why won’t he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside.”

Could this be the major thematic element of our times? Many men are lost and afraid, though it might not appear that way. Women have been evolving through the 70’s until now, while men have been dragged kicking and screaming to accept what is. Their predominant cultural roles are no longer the only game in town, the paradigm has changed. Their closed down emotional lives and hearts are being asked to open. The healthy feminine needs a healthy masculine to right this ship. I have been blessed and cursed to have a wonderful woman in my life whose been breaking my door down. The curse has been in fighting this incursion. She has seen the king in me when I haven’t. To have a true friend seeing us, who could really be more blessed?

In our story, the healthy masculine, his father, the murdered king, had promised to always be there, and this young adult’s sense of self has suffered in thinking himself the cause of the murder. As he’s angrily sulking and screaming to the heavens, his inner guide, in the form of Rafiki magically appears to bash him upside the head with some sense —“You don’t even know who you are?” How right is this?! He doesn’t. How many of us truly do? The head bashing continues and our awakening, newly alive guy runs off and is soon confronted with his own reflection, where upon Rafiki, this time ever so softly, challenges Simba to look deeply within himself. And here he sees that his dad, the king is in fact within him. And that he has been in there all along.

“He lives in you, he lives in me. He watches over, everything we see. Into the water, into the truth, in your reflection, he lives in you.”

Who is this “he“? Could be our higher selves, our spirit guides, God, angels, the ancestors, or the collective, all knowing source? Who really knows, but we are most certainly not alone in here.

In getting this….understanding this, he can now return to his homeland, take his rightful place as king and go about repairing the damage. And loving his gal, right along side him as well.

A roadmap for us? With these recognitions, comes new energy to move forward in life. Seeing the archetypal nature of this particular story provides a rich fertile place from which to heal very old wounds. Realizing where one has gone astray and some of the root originating factors leading to this annihilating self-betrayal is just what is needed for our culture to grow up and evolve.

 

It is time to awaken—to awaken from whatever slumber holds us captive.

It is time to love.

It is time to grow up from our cultural adolescence.

It is time emerge from hiding.

It is time to treat all beings with respect, love and dignity, including ourselves.

It is time to recognize the animals as our teachers.

It is time to honor the earth, and all upon and within it

It is time to fully recognize the oneness of this universe.

On and on……….

I T    I S    T I M E!

Mania, Depression or Pristine Balance?……..WINTER!

Posted in Feelings with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

Winter.

What does this word mean to you? How do you feel when you say it and experience it?

Where I live, winter has been thrilling us for four months now and there is absolutely no end to the snow’s beauty bathing us in splendor. We’ve been living on snow and will be for at least two more months. My delight with this reality hasn’t been with me every winter though. And the other day it dawned on me that this experience of breathtaking beauty and complete snow cover is actually quite rare. Being within it for this long, I forget that this isn’t the case for most.

Where we live can have a tremendous influence upon how we view winter. Spending a dozen or so winters on the coast of Maine felt brutal at times, while arriving in Denver and bellowing out, “there’s no winter here, it’s 50 and sunny most of the time” felt great in that moment. Seattle’s winter seemed absurd to me and, well, Crested Butte’s—oh my god, glorious.

But does the weather really dictate my state of euphoria or normality or even depression? What other factors play a part in this?

Being a gardener and food grower brought me in close relationship to the seasons. In the regions where I have predominately resided, winter was a time of going within, resting, moving slower, going to bed earlier, getting up later—generally using the suns energy to dictate the pace of living. A time of greater reflection, stillness and conserving of personal resources. Lots of soups, root vegetables and potlucks. And yes, sometimes it was so darn cold, bleak and grey that depression certainly showed its face. But even this usually was a marker for not being in the actual flow of reality, and wishing for it to be different, instead of allowing what was, to just be. The standard US way of living does not take the “inner” possibilities of winter into account. For most unfortunatelyit is still, go, go, go regardless of the fact that the Earth’s nature is moving through cycles, why aren’t we?

And here, in Colorado, in a small resort ski town? Many years ago upon arriving here it became apparent that people living and visiting here actually chose to be here. Snow, cold, altitude, all of it. And what a difference this makes, the consciously choosing part. Seemingly happy people basking in the glory of it all. What a contrast from northeastern coastal regions where what snow comes is usually immediately followed by rain, which allowed the snow to quickly become ice, and therefore wasn’t recreationally fun anymore, and generally a hindrance.

So while a ski town on the surface appears to be the real deal of winter, it actually possesses some attributes that the populace isn’t as adept at navigating—slowing down, going within, refueling personal reserves. There is a level of mania present that is heightened by endorphins, the altitude, and can also be drug enhanced, whether that’s alcohol, caffeine, sugar or even the big ones. The excitement level is so high that alternately burnout and euphoria replace deep personal contact for many, whether with each other or the greater non-snow based cosmos. The idea of basking within winter without that go, recreate, go mentality doesn’t seem to be highly regarded.

It is certainly evident that operating counter to any given predominant cultural paradigm is fraught with challenges. How pervasive is the idea of the American dream after all— or not adjusting the workday to the actuality of the seasons—or just not going within at all for some? Bucking any trend takes a toll, but it’s worth it by developing a stronger, healthier core that can then traverse many obstacles.

Can we truly relate to the winter of our chosen region? And shouldn’t this relating look radically different depending upon latitude or altitude—thereby influencing attitude?

What is winter like in your locale? How do you relate to this season of darkness and then the growing light?