Archive for the Feelings Category

A Current Conundrum

Posted in Big Questions, Desires, Dilemma's and Solutions, Feelings with tags , , , on November 26, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

Yesterday, I drove my Subaru 15 miles to listen to a wonderful talk by a climate researcher and author. Indeed a profound dissertation.

Early on in the presentation he inquired of the audience, “How many of you think that humans are responsible for climate change?” Startling to him, everyone in this group on the coast of Maine raised their hand for “Yes, we are”. Usually he said it’s 50/50.

The roadways leading to the library where the talk was to be held were completely filled with auto’s clothed in the greatest colorful array of progressive bumper stickers imaginable, mine too……….and not a parking space for blocks.

At the talks conclusion, he stated that from his perspective it will take a new discovery of an alternative energy source to stem the tide of runaway carbon dioxide increases.

I am beyond perplexed, saddened and disheartened.

Here we were in this room, all in agreement to our role in harming the current stability of Earth, and what behaviors are any of us actually changing? In the face of overwhelming research, I feel powerless. And yet as he stated, we are more powerful that can be understood, we’ve been putting these forces at work for a while now, us, probably you and me, and everyone that we know. And yet, we’re not going to change, but just wait for some new source of energy??

Why is it that our current way of life, with all of its entitled comforts is not negotiable? These alleged comforts have only been around for a relatively short while. Why does it seem that we aren’t willing to modify our behavior all that much? And what would this look like if indeed we did modify ourselves? Why are automobiles, which from the perspective of a pedestrian are violent contraptions for inducing a lazy apathetic consumer culture, deemed to be a prerequisite for life within this nation?

I am dumbfounded. We in this room all drove, something that we know is inherently wasteful, harmful, on so many distinct levels, dangerous. Are we not capable of imagining a society without these things, and the multitudes of other dastardly conveniences? Can we get beyond the “I want it now syndrome?”

If we know that we a part of the problem, what will have to evolve in us in order to change course? What will we be willing to let go of? Isn’t this the greatest conundrum?—What will have to evolve in “us“?

While I live here now in this society, I do envision a vastly different one, and that one does not have automobiles at the center of our neighborhoods. It has us, working together for the things that matter dearly to us. This “working together” seems like the crucial point and something that many have lost the ability to accomplish. Some of our individual actions will not change the big picture, but we can choose which influence we’ll exert.

May we answer these questions, and even more importantly, share with each other what we discover. I know deep within me, and you probably do too, that our lives can be so much richer than we’ve been currently accustomed too. Even though I have not yet physically experienced this new way, I do feel its presence getting closer. And for that I am extremely grateful.

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Road Kill………….Squirrels Teaching

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

I am deeply saddened when encountering road kill. I think thoughts that are not pleasant. I get angry. I have conversations in my head. I scream out. This does not generally help. And then I forget and go numb. What other word can I use?

And then, there is another one, right there where the children walk to school.

 

Just yesterday a news program broadcast a story about skunks. The interviewee was stating that skunks have no natural predators, and that road kills are the predominant way that skunk populations are held in somewhat of a check. No mention of the barbarity of these acts. We, with our motor vehicles do this. Very sad indeed.

 

I’m mentioning this because it is early autumn and road kills are increasing. As a walker and bicyclist I am generally closer to the carnage, and I can’t look away. Or choose not too. There are multitudes of reasons why our standard consensus reality modes of moving our bodies to other locales is cause for alarm. But right now road kill is on my mind.

And this has reminded me of a letter from a few years back. I feel that it is still very relevant. Peace.

——————————————-

S q u i r r e l s    T e a c h i n g

What a glorious autumnal season is upon us! Refreshing crisp air in the early mornings and our trees leaves changing right before our eyes, as the suns lowering angle in the sky allows us to take in this utter breathtaking luminosity, a light which is magical. Don’t we live in a wondrous paradise? Where do we humans fit into this picture?

As this transformative season emerges, with it comes the exuberance of creatures that have so much to teach us, if we’d pay attention. Squirrels.

 

These animals are amazing and right now is their time in the spotlight. Please consider that these fellow sentient beings deserve our respect. They are being themselves fully, scurrying around with wild abandon, zipping from here to there with frenetic wonder, sometimes all the while carrying round green nuts, larger than their heads, in their mouths. Gathering and burying.

And sometimes running onto our neighborhood thoroughfares.

Here on Bradley, and in other neighborhoods the carnage has been astounding. In the past two weeks, along this small stretch of pavement, over a dozen fellow creatures have been destroyed by us with our metal vehicles. On one day alone, three of them, within two hundred yards. I know, sometimes we don’t even see them and might not even know that we did it. Can this really be our excuse? While being unintended, it doesn’t condone our ruthless carelessness.

This isn’t just about “those environmentalists”. It’s about our underlying wellbeing. When our neighborhoods are littered with carcasses, life-force for all, diminishes.

What would it mean for us if we paid attention and by this I mean being in tune with our surroundings? We’d know that when we turn the corner onto Bradley, that it’s a haven for squirrels. Thank God we’re not the only mammals left! We’re coexisting here and if we wanted to care, we’d know to expect the unexpected and then slow down. Can “our” scurrying really be that important?

But not only this. We’d be deeply touched by something outside of ourselves. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Finding the divine in any moment? At this time of year, these funny little creatures, who’re sometimes a nuisance for our home maintenance chores, can be our teachers. They can draw us into wonder and delight.

Why aren’t WE singing and dancing and delighting in each other? And in all that is?

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?

 

 

 

A Man’s Peace of Mind

Posted in Feelings, Men with tags , , , on February 8, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

“You see me on the street, well you guess I’m doing fine

Oh but its fantasy baby, almost all the time

I’ve got to get away, by myself

Oh the way it’s going, soon be needing help

‘cause I’m just a man, doing the best I can

don’t you understand, I just want some peace of mind.”

 

 

These words from a track on Van Morrison’s 1991 epic wonder, “Hymns to the Silence” say so much to me about the state of men—and the state of this man during many times in my life. This melody has floated through my awareness for almost twenty years now.

Hmmm, “doing the best I can”, how often have I uttered this phrase when called forth or challenged to grow into new behavior that I couldn’t?, wouldn’t?, make manifest at the time? Oodles of times. Certainly there is, as a friend would often say, a time for all seasons—a time when things are ripe for transformation, that can’t be rushed.

There is also a time for digging in ones heels and remaining stuck. But why would we choose this option? Probably not for any reason that’s very noble—fear, angst, rigidity, power and control, unwillingness to grow up, among others. Guilty, I’ve used them all. I thought “some peace of mind” would come from these stances, and I did want some. After bellowing the “doing the best I can” line though, did I feel better? Usually not. Usually I’d go sit alone somewhere, sulk somewhat, and wonder what the heck will it take to find some of this peace of mind.

Thankfully as those “seasons” come and go and maturity continues, combining this with inner inquiry, and evolutionary leaps and desires, that “doing the best I can” posture actually becomes drastically more functional.

What does any of this have to do with men in particular? Well as one, I can surely state that we all desire peace of mind, its just that many times we were taught outmoded ways of achieving this. How limiting it has been to be a mans man, and while in the process many of us were roaring absolute nonsense. Looking good, thinking I’m fine, and knowing somewhere deep inside that much of this look is fantasy. Baby—ouch. Yup fantasy. How many will admit this?

Certainly most of the worlds problems are caused by men. Operating from dysfunctional patterns and playbooks, using a “power over” model, greedily amassing heartless wealth, squelching dissent and acting like a child, but, in a suit—these were recipes for success. How many sensitive males have been squashed under this system? How many males hearts were broken and crushed before they could even walk? How many of us are willing to rectify this calamity and strive to create a saner, more just equitable playing field for everybody?

The new men’s work is to engage our hearts, learn what’s in there and what the darn thing is truly for. We—who were never taught what really matters, we—who were shattered with old outdated paradigms, we—who were allowed, due to our physical prowess to run amok, we—who are more capable than can be imagined—it is time. It is time to pull up our pants, it is time to spend time alone and with others learning who we really are, and it is time to learn to cherish—everything, knowing then, that we can cherish our peace of mind.

 

 

Belonging……….Be Longing?

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings with tags , , on February 6, 2011 by matthewstruth
 
 
 
 It was 32 degrees below zero the other day, a glorious morning and my husky could not have been happier. This is a winter paradise at 9000 feet, with the nearby peaks reaching to 13,000 feet, thoroughly breath-taking for myself the human. For her?—Well she’s out of her mind with ecstasy, diving off the trail into deep powder and tunneling her way through or sliding down hills on her back. Hysterical. As we trekked through the magnificence, her exuberance and utter delight showed me what I’ve always known, she belongs here.

Well obviously she does, but what about me? Where do I belong? This has been a question that I’ve been revisiting on and off for decades. It also begs me to wonder—How many of us truly know where we belong, and why?

Certainly as the years have added up, comfort within my own skin and a genuine level of happiness have joined me wherever I’m living. Looking at my dog and knowing that deep cold and snow are her element, I’m still wondering what my element is. And is it just me, or are we as a species still longing to find our healthy place within the cosmos?

What are the factors that allow for a comfortable sense of belonging?

Growing up on Long Island, 60 miles out, I never took in what this really meant. Returning many years later and hearing the accents, seeing the ever present Italian last names everywhere—well something clicked, yes this is where I am from. These people are like me, on the outer front anyway. I remember feeling a comfort in this then—and also the feeling that I couldn’t live there again.

Today I’m thrilled and content with many elements of my return to this winter paradise, am happier than I’ve been as a person—and yet—the people here don’t feel like my tribe, my soul family. Our physical fitness and athletic prowess bonds us, but I don’t feel a spiritual connection. I do with the land though, it’s almost impossible not to here. My own sense of contentment? Yes—but true belonging? What would it take, both within me, and within a community for me to feel this? Can we belong anywhere? And what are we belonging to—our families, our towns, our land-base, our race, our species, our planet, our universe? So many layers of possibility.

Being with people who “get us” and that we “get” seems crucial during these rapidly changing times. Being with those who add fuel to our inner burning fires of transformation, a true joy. If this doesn’t occur within our immediate communities we are so blessed today to have the possibility of connecting with people all over the world virtually and this is an enormous gift. What would it really feel like though to be with a gaggle of kindred spirits, creating not only a thoroughly new way of relating to one another, but also a new world?

So am I “Be-ing Longing”? Can I “Be Longing“? Longing can have so many stops along the continuum and like most things a balance is probably preferable. We can become dysfunctional as we long for something, while also allowing our longing to take us to places we might otherwise never reach for. Is longing an inherent part of the creative process?

 How do you relate to this idea of belonging? I’d love to hear what you think and feel about your place in the universe.