Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

January 26, 2015

New Blog and Website

Dear friends!

I am excited to announce my new website publicheart.org and my today’s blog “Governing the Fool’s Way“.

I will NO longer upload my blogs to this site. If you wish to keep receiving my blogs, please re-subscribe on my new website (see blog link).

I deeply appreciate your continued support.

Warmly, Franca

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December 28, 2014

The Gift of Truth

for 12.28.14 blog“The truth emerges from the space in between our beliefs and convictions…”

Truth is often experienced as a debatable concept that twists and turns in the tangle of our minds. Our mind adores truth as a way to claim the “right” answer, solidify its beliefs and ensure the safety of predictability. In this sense, our world is filled with billions of mind-truths — “news” from the mind — each day and each moment. The overwhelming whirlwind of so many truths can cause us, especially when afraid, to radicalize our own beliefs in the name of truth. We declare to the world around us what we stand for, often in the name of a greater cause. This stance is meant to make us feel safer, yet ultimately increases the precariousness of our declared truths.

By now, our minds might be claiming to be different and better or fighting these words and refusing to go on. What?! My truth is valid, important, and it even saves the world from all the unevolved, wishy-washy, wrong and evil truths!? Where would the world be without my truth? Even more chaos?!

In the space of our hearts truth has a different flavor. The truth experienced in our hearts challenges us into unchartered waters. There are no words, beliefs, ideas or urgency attached, only the spaciousness of experience in the vastness of each moment. This truth emerges from the space in between our beliefs and convictions. This truth can be comfortable or uncomfortable, a whisper or a loud bang depending how long we have resisted entering “listening mode” and claimed to be brilliantly all-knowing. This truth can often push us to the edge. It can challenge us, yet ultimately leads us into humbly trusting the richness of life and experiencing peace.

The gift of a “choked” justice system in Ferguson, New York and beyond, the gift of torture committed by our collective in the name of justice and freedom, the gift of abuses and war in the name of claimed superiority, the gift of exploding health and environmental costs are just few examples of the silent truth of experience that ultimately emerges no matter what the twisted mind-truths claim. This is the gift of truth. No need to rush in proving our truth to be “right”. This truth is timeless and beyond the control of our many mind-truths.

The gift of truth stemming from our collective heart can be fierce and rock the precarious security of our beliefs and make us feel quite vulnerable as citizens, as a nation, as a global community. Yet, in time this truth is like a gentle relaxing mountain stream moving through our collective body and connecting us to the source of life. This truth is the dark pool of the unknown where life begins each moment.

It is our choice each moment which truth to access. Like a dance, there are all sorts of possible options: we can dwell in either one, shift back and forth, or reside in both at the same time. It is part of human nature and throughout the day we move many times, no matter how evolved we declare ourselves to be.

The gift of truth that emerges from our heart is sustainable and brings health to our bodies and the collective body in the long term. The wordless truth of the heart ends up finding us sooner or later, and depending how long it takes us to hear the wake-up lessons of life, this truth is less or more painful. It is never too late to start. This is the beauty of our journeys. The vastness of a moment can unravel truths that have been locked in our individual minds for decades or thousands of years in our collective minds. While the chatter of our mind-truths goes on, the experience unfolding from our collective heart will speak for itself. No need to radicalize, scream and run, only listen to the collective experience and walk accordingly.

Thus, in this New Year let’s offer ourselves and others the gift of truth. No matter where we are on our journey of discovery.

Let’s practice dancing back and forth between our mind- and heart-truth and learn the difference.

Let’s surrender the raging of what we claim to know, no matter how good it sounds.

Let’s trust the unknown emerging from the stillness and bodily experience of our hearts.

Let’s walk in beauty.

When we have the courage to let go what we believe to be true, we experience more meaningful and authentic connections, more health in our individual and collective body. Most importantly, we are offering our world the gift of peace and justice.

Happy New Year!

 _______________________

Morality is Love burdened by the weight of judgment. Love embraces all judgments.

Morality punishes. Love is consistent.

Morality screams for integrity. Love silently offers it.

Morality discriminates. Love discerns.

Morality is threatened by Love. Love embraces morality.

Morality is the illusion of safety. Love is protection.

Morality rules res publica. Love pervades cor publicum.

Experted from ON GOVERNANCE by Franca Baroni

November 22, 2014

Strong Feelings About Politics This Month?

for 11.23.14 blogThere are strong feelings in the air about the outcome of the elections, the move of Obama on immigration and the many good old dramas of politics. The battle between the reds and blues is reaching a new juicy showdown that keeps us engaged, enraged, entertained and entranced. There are often valid points on both sides and the many side spaces in the middle. We all have opinions and for the most part we all believe we are right, right? The funny part is that we act surprised even though there is nothing ever new to the political dramas. The lines between the legislative and executive, and even the judiciary branches of government have long become blurry, thanks to the ever increasing influence of special interests. Regardless of our political jersey, we all know it but still adore arguing about the results. Behind the curtains of the political puppet theater, both sides and every side in the halls of Capitol Hill sadly or happily acknowledges this reality, depending who wins the game. Like in sports, “we the people”, are desperately chasing “the win” in every election in the hope that our team gets the trophy and we get candy (sweet taste of victory). From sports we know that the sugar rush of win quickly fades and the looser-ghost quickly catches up from behind, for winners and losers alike. With seemingly no way out, as politicians and “we the people” we react in a tantrum and try to convince why the other side is wrong and in this way we continuously re-create and feed the game of the public machine, res publica ( the origins of the word republic and literally the public thing in Latin).

What if nobody is wrong and everybody is right? What if we find the courage to starve the machine that exclusively feeds on good and bad, right and wrong, red or blue i.e. polarity? What if we let our public heart — a place beyond polarity —  lead the way i.e. govern?

The public heart – cor publicum in Latin – relinquishes the very premises of our mind-based political system: the strategy of “divide and conquer” , fine-tuned by the ancient Roman empire, and the doctrine of “delegation of power”. Many realize that our political machine is rotten and preventing even well-intended politicians to make any meaningful difference. In our insanity, we are beating a dead horse over and over again and getting upset at why it won’t breathe. The good news is that WE are alive and our hearts are breathing, silently beating the drum for the emergence of a long-forgotten collective song. Yes, our hearts might be atrophied from a long, harsh “monarchy of the mind.” The fight of the mind to transcend its very operating system (res publica) can be fierce. Yet, with a courageous heart we can choose not to indulge in the games of the public machine — and the machine in us — that are terrified of relinquishing control.

“Divide and conquer” is the game that convinces us there are two conflicting sides fighting for power and control in a world of scarce resources.  It is the game to get as many people on our side so that we can beat the other because we are right/good and the other side is wrong/bad. This game can be very sophisticated to the point that we use “divide and conquer” in the name of grander causes like freedom, justice, democracy, and the environment. How often do we engage in “divide and conquer” in our personal lives, at work, in our families? We all know it well.

And what about “delegation of power”? In a mind-based paradigm, we often define and express power as hierarchical control of money and status leading to the common collective definition of corruption, greed and heartless untrustworthiness. In a heart-based paradigm, power is adult level responsibility of co-creating forms of governance aligned with heart wisdom, capable of reconciling the conflicts of the mind into an integrated whole. The way each of us defines power programs the collective mind and body. And most of us, no matter how “evolved”, are still emanating mind power. So why are we so surprised of having the same experiences of collective power over and over again? When we believe that our power can be funneled into our “representatives”, we are not only transferring our belief systems about collective power onto our representatives, we are also unconsciously sacrificing our collective responsibility. We create a split between what we are individually and collectively. Power is inherent to and the responsibility of every citizen and there is no separation between what we are and do in our individual lives and collective lives. What we are in our personal lives feeds our collective body, and what politicians do in their collective action feeds our individual bodies, no matter how much we are trying to keep them separate. When we delegate power to our “representatives” we basically relinquish responsibility and express unconscious power. This gives us permission to chase “candy” (the sweet taste of victory) , whine about the results and the hopelessness of nothing ever really changing, or else check out completely. No matter what we do or do not do, we are all part of the same collective body and we continuously express our definition of power, consciously or unconsciously, which in turns determines the health of our collective body.

The way into heart-based power is not by fighting the elections results and eternally debating whether Obama or the reds are right or wrong. It is by simply letting the heart take charge in that we pause, deal with our strong feelings, embody a heart-based definition of power in our personal and daily lives, be mindful when we engage in “divide and conquer” and when we “delegate power”. When we have dealt with the raging voices of our minds and the strong feelings in our bodies, we may find quiet guidance in our public heart, which is present in each of us NOW. The systems of governance emerging from cor publicum – the public heart – are not a “thing” of the future and are not likely to be a result of a formal process of constitutional and legal changes because the current political machine can only re-create structures matching its own mind-based consciousness. Thus, let’s stop chasing our tails in the hope for our team winning. It will not happen. What we can do is to challenge the premises that are feeding the machine in our lives, be vulnerable, take a radical level of responsibility for the machine we created, embody heart-based power and listen for that space in our heart where right/wrong and god/bad dissolves into an unexpected integration.

The good news is that for heart consciousness to reach a critical mass – which will naturally shift our systems of governance – we only need 2.5% of the population, and we do not need to be enlightened, just be aware and humble when we fall back up into our minds. The good news is that the way of the heart is simple, forgiving and always available. And, in the spirit of the season, a proven way into our heart is gratitude. Gratitude for what is — the sorrows and the joys — the gift of being alive and the opportunity to make new choices each moment. So let’s offer the gift of gratitude of this Thanksgiving to our public heart in the faith that it will quietly guide us into a more sustainable game when we choose to slow down and be curious.

So let’s turn our chase for candy into a turkey dance…

October 18, 2014

Columbus, Halloween and Ebola: What?!

For blogIt is likely that we are seeking to make sense of this title. It is natural. To the mind, these topics and more are disconnected. If we drop 12 inches in our hearts, we might get curious:

As we are approaching Halloween, the Day of the Dead and the colder season, we have an opportunity to slow down from the summer and early Fall frenzy and sit with the murky unease that seems to surface from underneath for many of us and our nation. We are used to keep ourselves busy to numb the undercurrents of our individual and collective subconscious in the fear that these monsters will end up eating us. The more terrified we get, the closer these monsters look us in the face. The more we avoid them, the more effort it takes to dismantle them and the more likely they run our lives. We do not even know the difference between the shadow and the darkness anymore. In our longstanding ignorance and collective paranoia we throw both the shadow and the darkness in the same pot thus cutting ourselves off from the source that transforms what we fear the most.

We panic about Ebola and its face of death while we naively celebrate Columbus – who represented death for tens of millions of indigenous people in the Americas – confusing courageous sailing skills with evolution for the human species and glorifying a twisted interpretation of “sailing into the unknown.” We nationally celebrate a tyrant more consequential than Hitler, while we fight the butchering of ISIS. We look away when millions of Syrians and thousands of Mexicans neighbors have been brutally murdered for the past several years and at the beheading of literally less than five people with the right passports we unleash the national military machine. We get hooked into foreign brutalities while the cancer of organized crime – sex trafficking, slavery, racism, violent gangs, extremism, blind patriotism and more in alignment with the hidden heritage of Columbus – is growing in our collective body of the United States.

These are all examples of the collective shadow: those places within our collective psyche that are calling out for awareness in the spirit of growth. There is nothing wrong with the shadow. No matter how difficult, it is an inherent part of human nature as much as our goodness, which is equally growing. The opportunity at this juncture of our collective story is how we relate to this shadow. And this is where darkness comes into play.

Darkness is the space of stillness, the womb of Life in its unformed stage filled with potential. It is the mysterious place of the unknown where Life as an expression of Love is seeded and sparked into form. It is the place where we hear the beating of the collective heart and the whispers of wisdom. It is the pulsating source that “res-publica” (the public thing) — and its mechanistic and mind-based premise of reality — has severed from the collective body leaving us eternally pursuing “life, liberty, and happiness.”

Our opportunity and responsibility, both individually and collectively, is to welcome the darkness into our lives. We can breathe through our veils of forgetfulness and ignorance, relinquish control and dismantle our long-held assumption that the unknown and the uncontrollable mean danger and suffering. For over two thousand years we have been hypnotized by the sun and blinded and burned — by the stiffness of our assumptions about “res-publica” — while the roots in the darkness of our soil have been all along wanting to feed us. It is the darkness that leads the way and shines light on our monsters and healthy choices for our planet and ourselves. It is the darkness that holds the magnetic power to manifest those choices.

Our opportunity and responsibility in the unknown clarity of the darkness is to wrap our arms around our collective shadow and bring awareness to what makes us uncomfortable, or overly comfortable. Growth always happens at the edge of our comfort zone when our feet are dangling in the womb of darkness. For a long time, each and all of us, no matter how evolved we consider ourselves, we have been fighting this darkness and the very source that provides what are souls have been yearning for: life, freedom, happiness and justice on the planet. This leap into darkness takes courage but it is rewarding: we will have more sustainable and congruent means to melt our individual and collective shadows and mostly we will stop running from inevitable death and finally LIVE while honoring Life. It is time to step down in the darkness, in our bodies, in our roots and live in “cor publicum”- the public heart where the acceptance for our human shadows and the keys to transform them into new fertile soil reside. And the monsters will stop running our lives…

For today, let’s look down and inwards, dismantle our assumption about the darkness and our need for control and predictability in each area of our lives. For today, let the darkness inform how we respond to Ebola, ISIS, Columbus, the stock market and the latest sports scores. And tomorrow is a brand new day and opportunity.

September 14, 2014

The Call of the True ISIS

0824141545With the announcement of military strikes in Syria and Obama’s call to destroy the brutal Islamic group we are again at a familiarly unknown juncture. In my recent travels to Europe I felt on my skin the reality of ISIS and its extreme brutality. In Europe ISIS felt much closer to home. Not necessarily only in terms of miles but in terms of population, the number of ISIS followers is rapidly growing in many European countries and in the political mess of the EU and its member states the task of finding a unified answer seems daunting. In a climate of cross-cultural and socio-economic tension and growing polarization where right-wing groups are gaining political power at a concerning pace in many European countries -and Ukraine, not just the Russians, is no exception – ISIS grows on fertile soil. In the US we are living in a distracting bubble of entertainment where what Lady Gaga does on stage is deemed worthy news and the daily mass sports-trance hard to break. On this side of the ocean ISIS becomes just another aspect of a “war on terror” based on the known collective cognitive distortions of US foreign politics. The bully-mentality and blatant ignorance about complex local conditions that have characterized US actions abroad for many years are equally fertilizing ISIS’s agenda to destroy what they call the “West”.

As a terrorist and criminal organization ISIS needs to be stopped through firm collective action. Yet, the question is what consciousness informs this action. If it not aligned with the collective heart, it will feed the same paradigm that created the terrorist group in the first place. What the US “war on terror” and ISIS’ war against the “West” have in common is that they are both wars against a concept and justified in the name of freedom. They both deem each other as the incarnation of “evil” and are based on self-perpetuating collective mental distortions, and as such potentially never ending. These wars are the same old soup stemming from the global social contract of res publica, founded in a mechanistic mental and survival-based view of reality of good and evil, divide and conquer, denial, scarcity, addiction to suffering and problem dependence where peace is a golden cage that becomes smaller each day. Now we do have a choice, all of us, to surrender our sheep or reactive mentality and move out of our comfort zone and take a deep look at our collective assumptions and distortions about countries, religions, terrorism and the patriarchal version of power and control. We all carry distortions no matter how evolved we declare ourselves. The opportunity is to recognize and own these distortions and as we do we elevate the consciousness of our collective body. Then, after the screams of our raging mind we will find the stillness where we can hear the call of ISIS. The call of ISIS is an authentic call. It is the quintessential call of life and death. ISIS represents the most brutal expression of polarity and the most sublime oneness. ISIS has emerged on the world scene as a cruel, vicious and violent Islamic extremist group while ISIS has been felt by many of us, especially women, as the mother of us all and the manifestation of Love for thousands of years in our Egyptian mystery schools. In the paradoxical context of our human evolution it is not surprising that ISIS is becoming known on the world stage as an example of hatred while for thousands of years it has represented pure love and remained obscure. It does not really matter whether you ever heard of and believe in the existence of this Egyptian goddess. The call of ISIS is a symbolic passage as we are moving down the messy birth canal that is giving us the gift to choose and stand collectively in the resonant field of LOVE. We have an opportunity to call out the name of the true ISIS and raise LOVE out of the shadow of systemic ignorance and let our response to the ruthlessness of ISIS be guided by our collective heart- cor publicum. This is a call to our world “leaders” and a call to leadership to all of us. This is a call to the Muslim woman and men, and women and men worldwide to have the courage to speak out in the name of the true ISIS – LOVE- and embody the foundational womb of the collective social contract of cor publicum that births our collective body into a new consciousness. LOVE as the foundation of global and local governance has been decapitated in our current systems the same way ISIS has decapitated many innocent victims. At best, LOVE is mistaken as a soft, ineffective, weak and wobbly concept incapable to protect us against danger. This is another cognitive distortion of our mind-based paradigm. The good news is that the collective heart – where LOVE has a voice – provides clarity and self-awareness about our collective cognitive distortions and courage and strength to set strong and firm boundaries. Yet, it is also the realm of the unknown where our obsessive need for control and attachment to the outcome is surrendered. And this takes courage. The reward is that the collective heart is a source for congruent-action with sustainable and long lasting results. Thus, it is time for the US to stop taking side in internal wars where at the end it finds itself having supported the very fundamentalists it fights. As long as the US is engaged in this and many other examples of incongruent actions, it will continue to scramble and lose credibility and respect around the world and feeding the cause of extremists around the world. As a starting point, let’s create more congruency in our daily lives, challenge our collective distortions and our contribution to the shadow of patriarchal power and learn to be moved by Love in that we make peace with the unknown, move out of our comfort zone, listen and take action from this new place. In this way, we feed the healthy matrix of our country and inspire the collective body of the US to truly hear the call of ISIS.

August 10, 2014

Border Crisis: A Look Under

CIMG3974I have been feeling into this topic for a while. As an immigration lawyer representing illegal immigrants I have daily opportunities to observe first hand the many sides, angles and circles of this complex situation. My mind has some answers but they always fall short of capturing what my heart knows. My writing is an offering: from my heart to your heart and thank you for reading this blog in this spirit.

The mass exodus of Central-American children and women to the US border has inflamed the spirits of many, leading to another political and ideological battle between right and wrong, good and evil and some scant shades in between. It goes from Obama and the blues telling the reds to stop hating and the blues hating the reds for being so hateful. And the rainbows being absorbed and randomly pulled to each side in outrage and disbelief about the human tragedy. Slogans and outcries from immigration advocates and patriotic saviors alike are flying all over, and many involved in the immigration field literally flying across, over and through the country to deal with this humanitarian crisis. Congress and state governments are in the midst of a national hysteria and in the ping-pong game of right and wrong are desperately searching for solutions. Does this all sound familiar? Here we are again, witnessing a well-intended, yet tantrum-like, reaction typical of a society that has not quite reached maturity. If we have the courage to pause for a moment we might feel compassion for everybody involved: the victims, the perpetrators and the rescuers in this collective drama.

In this collective triangle the three roles are continuously shifting: the victims become the ones to blame, the rescuers become both the victims and the perpetrators, and the perpetrators act as if they are the victims or the rescuers. These roles continually shift between the red and the blues, the rainbows, the children and the women, the immigration advocates and those acting in the name of patriotism. The roles are shifting fast and flipping from one corner to the other, creating much confusion. It is no surprise that no sensible solution has emerged. It cannot. As long as we are operating in this Bermuda triangle of consciousness – also called mind-based consciousness- we will continue to point fingers at the other missing that it is our very consciousness that has created the situation in the first place. Here we are again swimming in the same circle spinning in the same vicious cycle wanting to escape the responsibility of how we have co-created the situation, forgetting how to be compassionate while having the courage to have healthy boundaries, forgetting how to empower instead of rescuing. The good news is that this all becomes available when we enter collective heart-consciousness. This is still new territory. When dealing with a crisis our default is still to go into overdrive and overwhelm, blame, guilt, judgment, self-judgment, hopelessness, rage: a mambo jumbo of emotions in the name of reason and with little clue how to disentangle and find wisdom. If we are going into freeze mode, control and numbing in our personal crises it is likely we respond the same way in our collective crises and that is what we are mostly seeing in this new episode.

Illegal immigration around the world is a side-effect of the root cause underlying our mind-based society: the scarcity and fear premise of a mentally ill collective body which heart-logically feeds corruption, poverty and organized crime. This is not only a Central-American and Mexican issue, it is pervasive across the globe and the children at the border are a simple reminder that we are sitting in a bubble of delusion thinking we are living in a disconnected world and then reacting with civic engagement and news-reporting that is simply another form of entertainment. While we are all interconnected, it is also equally true that we are separate and hold separate fields of responsibility. While our organized crime-feeding economy is intimately intertwined with Central America and Mexico, it is equally true that these governments and its citizens hold the very same responsibilities for their situation. The same goes for corruption and poverty. Our collective responsibility is both shared and separate, a paradoxical premise that the mind rebels against and struggles to reconcile. In this black and white collective thinking, the same finger pointing we are witnessing within this country is happening between countries: the Honduran President and First Lady blaming the Americans for the mass exodus of their own children or the Americans and Russians blaming each other for the situation in Ukraine, Hamas blaming Israel and the other way round. The list is infinite. The truth is that both and all, countries, groups and individuals, carry their share of responsibility for co-creating and feeding corruption, poverty and organized crime: when we consume illegal drugs, when we buy weapons, when we eat avocado, when we drink coffee and chocolate, when we buy fruits and countless other examples. From an economic standpoint there is no longer a way to differentiate what stems from corruption and the organized crime and what does not. It is like a collective cancer that has become so big that is now undetectable and treated like the big elephant in the room that few publicly speak about.

Within the framework of the mind it is quite inconceivable that to a degree we all share responsibility. The mind gets outraged at such proposition as it is convinced that it must be the other’s fault or – when blame is internalized – the mind gets so ripped by guilt that it runs out to try to rescue everybody while forgetting to attend to its own well- being. Thus, no sustainable approach or solution can emerge that genuinely serves and attends to the needs of everybody concerned. This is what is happening with the border crisis.

Another way is available at this very moment with no need to wait for the next government rescuing us from the crisis. From within the frame of heart-consciousness there is no conflict between needs; there are no victims, no perpetrators, no rescuers, only responsible co-creators. To determine what responsible co-creators do or not do is not always easy to determine. The heart-based response is anchored in a moment of collective stillness when we embrace our emotions, when we embrace our racing minds, when we compassionately embrace those who are suffering, when we determine what we can say yes to and what we need to say no to, in a healthy balance. This process of entering collective heart-consciousness requires an act of listening: to ourselves, to each other without dismissing, blaming and judging. It requires slowing down to the pace of wisdom which can be attained even in the urgency of a crisis. It requires the courage to question our assumptions. It requires our ability to surrender control and trusting that being in the unknown will birth a sustainable answer.

Both the reds and the blues have valid concerns and ideas about how to approach the mass exodus of children and women. The reds are –even though unskillfully- hinting at the importance of healthy boundaries, at the limits of rescuing and need to have each Central American country take on its separate share of responsibility. The blues- equally unskillfully- are hinting at the importance to embrace our shared global responsibility and act compassionately. Both sides are still only hinting at heart-consciousness because the reds turn healthy boundaries into rigid walls and the blues turn their compassion into blame and judgment for the reds thus further poisoning the borders.

As long as our countries and us operate from within the framework of the Bermuda triangle we will be chasing our own tail and the flow of illegal immigration will steadily continue as it has for the longest time. In our mind-based paradigm we are continually assuming that we are capable to solve the problems created by our very own consciousness even in the blatant evidence of the opposite. And illegal immigration is a perfect example. Regardless of both stringent and liberal immigration laws and enforcement the stream continues and it will until we move out of the Bermuda triangle of victims, perpetrators and rescuers anchored in the premise of scarcity. Yes, we can embrace all of the children at the border and yet that does not mean that we can sustain a continuous mass exodus. Each nation is its own collective body and while we are all interconnected we also have to remain in tune with our healthy boundaries. Both a full yes and a full no to this mass exodus are unsustainable, and this for everybody concerned including the children at the border. While we compassionately approach this crisis and embrace the humanity of those involved, our focus is to support and take responsibility in changing the conditions at the root, in healing the collective cancer of organized crime, in taking our share of responsibility, in creating the conditions for children and women in the future to safely live in their own countries and empower and fund the local communities to co-create healthy living conditions and eradicate corruption and poverty. We also have to take responsibility to raise our own ethical standards: how are we contributing to violence? how are we treating children and women? And how are many illegal immigrants treating their own women and children in this country? As an example, I deal daily with Hispanic women and children abused by their very own compatriots living in this country. Healthy boundaries to stop the immigration of patriarchal abusers are very much needed. Yet, how much abuse is tolerated and perpetrated against women and children by our very own people in this country? We are credible and supported in raising our standards in the name of our collective well-being when we are genuinely committed to walk our talk and contribute to a heart-based collective field in our own country.

There is no magical formula, no quick fix to illegal immigration. Yet, for a very long time we have been applying quick fix remedies while – in our delusion- stubbornly refusing to tackle the root causes. Yes, we can continue to apply the band-aid approach we are currently witnessing. But without healing the wounds the bleeding will continue and everybody soon or later suffers.

The heart-based response is available, moment to moment. We simply have to still the noises of our righteousness, feel out feelings, move into the collective body, listen to the whispers of our collective wisdom, trust that we are guided step by step and held by the sincerity of our intentions even when we cannot assure the “right” outcome, move beyond our surface differences and connect to the fundamental needs of each of us, the children, the women, the reds and the blues and the rainbows, in this country and around the globe. We mostly have to unleash our fierceness to take radical responsibility for our collective co-creations. All we need is to focus on what is in front of us, moment by moment, step by step, and listen to the integrated solution to seemingly complex situations that naturally emerges when we reside in the collective body and listen to the collective heart. Let’s stop engaging within the insane collective mind, stop whining in powerlessness, step in our heart-based leadership and have the fearlessness to hold the tension between the “blue-yes” and the “red-no” at the same time. Let’s have the courage to be in the creative unknown and generate the answers from surrender rather than an obsessive need for control and predictability. As long as we are insisting for control and the “yes or no” and the “either or” answers to the illegal immigration issue, we are dwelling in insanity and the heart-logical result is what we fear the most: unpredictability and conflict. Within a heart-based paradigm the individual and collective, the yes and the no, the good and the evil, the right and the wrong, separation and interconnectedness are integrated into balance and capable of breathing health into our living collective body.

June 8, 2014

Is It Really About The Guns?

IMG_1973I have been feeling the “gun” topic lurking in my consciousness and as the most recent college shooting happened five minutes from my house the topic moved right into my face.

In the wake of such events the public cries out in despair and its responses range from calling for the end of “gun violence” or for a Texas-like public display of guns. Everybody feels threatened: some by the guns and some by government regulations curbing the use of guns. The result: yummy food for the lovers of polarization and distraction. Let’s stop for a moment and take a deep breath: is it really about the guns? When kitchen knives are used to take away human life – which happens at a stunning rate across every age spectrum – are we debating about the end of the use of kitchen knives or raging for more knives in our streets? The gun-debate is an ineffective and senseless attempt of a mind-trapped society scrambling to find a solution to a side-effect created by its own consciousness. We often get blinded by and lost in the symptoms: we react, blame, point fingers while all along failing to identify the root of the situation. It happens in most every sector of our society and guns are no exception.

The widespread availability of guns is not the cause of violence. There are many caring people owning guns and many raging “no-gun” believers. And the other way around. There are many for whom guns are not even a topic. In my country of origin guns are a non-issue and when I first came to this country reading the “no-gun” signs entering a public place made me think “are you serious?” No matter what each of our own beliefs about guns are, calling for the end of gun violence or for less stringent rules around guns, sounds like a slogan of a young child, still developmentally incapable of getting the point. The root cause of violence is the pervasive disregard for life that results from our numbing. This is the elephant in our society that has become as invasive as terminal cancer. Numbing and our disconnection from life has become of such proportions that in our desperation we point at the first thing in our exterior world: the gun! In truth we are like sickish cells running around scrambling for life. How can we decide who can own a gun while the disregard for life is so pervasive and thus not detectable? We cannot.

Mental disease is widespread across the socio-economic spectrum and goes well beyond the officially “diagnosed” psychopaths. Simply put, this disease is our engrained habit of numbing our feelings at all costs. Most of us have been taught by our families and the prevalent culture, reflected in our systems of governance, that feelings are an uncomfortable by-product to be sedated or avoided. So we do this through keeping ourselves busy, overworking, shopping, eating sweets, engaging in politics, drinking, at times even through spiritual practices. In the numbing perpetuated by our systems, reality is often virtual and devoid of life thus easy to disregard. Given that feelings are the fuel that keeps us alive, when we numb our feelings we are basically saying NO to life. It is that simple. Our numbing displays the same disregard to life as that of a mass-shooter. We just do it in a more politically correct way and little by little, which is seemingly more acceptable, yet has the same deadly consequence. Our disregard for life happens in many settings: in our public schools the entire focus is on the virtual reality of numbers and letters while children are given little or no tools for the knowledge of Self. In business and in our civic engagement we revert to manipulate reality because of our inability to know or express what we feel. The cost of numbing: inner and outer isolation, a fading sense of significance and belonging, in short: a slow death.

Since numbing has become the pervasive way of “living”, the artificial separation between mental disease and criminal accountability is increasingly challenged. Can we criminalize numbed behavior with a disregard to life when the society is actively and systemically encouraging the same behavior? Who is accountable for the numbing behavior and how is this behavior addressed? These questions come increasingly alive as we are dealing with shootings and brutal crimes committed by a seemingly innocent young adult lost in the delusions of a mind-trapped society or people like the mind-focused athlete Pistorious in South Africa who might get away with killing his girlfriend with a gun because of an “anxiety disorder”.

Is numbing and disregard of life a criminal or a mental health issue? Criminal behavior always stems from a mental health issue and for our mind-based legal system this interdependence is overwhelming. The “solution”: individuals that have lost touch with life are either left on the street in their numbed state or placed in an institution that fills them with numbing medication or placed in a punitive system that perpetuates numbing and disregard for life. Restorative justice and other holistic approaches are only drops of water in a desert as they are placed “on top” of a heart-deadened legal system with little systemic impact.

We are masterful at exclusively tackling side-effects in the naïve belief of bringing about durable change. No wonder, little ever changes. A mind-trapped collective body is incapable of tackling what has been created by its own insanity. What we are now seeing in the streets and schools of this country and in many other places in the world: the obligate fireworks of the grand finale of a mind-based society that has rejected feelings as the fuel for healthy individual and collective governance.

In a heart-based system criminal and mental health issues are approached as an integrated whole and transformed at its roots; the intricate world of feelings and how they guide human behavior becomes an essential element taught in schools, business, civic and legal institutions; feelings are integrated in the very definition of law and accessed in the co-creative process of governance; In short, the wisdom that is gained from feelings becomes the force that informs the mind and our systems because feelings are the gateway into the wisdom of the heart and the heart is where the vibration of justice and ultimately the gift of life resides.

The good news is that as we are screaming about guns we have a chance to get in touch with our feelings – anger, fear, sadness, joy – in a healthy way. Anger without blame and finger-pointing is healthy fire that fuels our life force. Fear without blame is the wind of creativity. Sadness without blame is the water of empathy and connection. Joy without blame is grounded responsibility. As we are feeling more life force in our body we can start to become truly alive and strengthen the healthy cells in our cancerous collective body. The good news is that our collective body is not terminally ill. Life is generous and offers a brand new possibility each breath, each moment. A new cell can be created in each moment which is a fact – now even scientifically proven. As we learn to feel individually we are fueling the collective body with new life and slowly awaken our atrophied collective heart. This is no rocket science. It is a wisdom that has been available in the stillness of our collective consciousness for a very long time.

Yes, many of us do not even know what feeling our feelings even means. We are masters at turning everything including feelings and awareness into mind-blabber. So the key is to have the courage to be uncomfortable, just for a while, and dive into the underworld. This is the gift that criminals offer – a new look at the collective shadow and our participation in it. If we get outraged at this proposition or if we feel we already know, let’s keep diving anyway. When we can put our arms around the insanity of our collective body, when we can see and take responsibility for our part in the collective numbing, when we can feel genuine empathy for those who hold a gun and those who do not, for those who engage in behavior in blatant disregard for life, we may realize that we have landed in the collective heart. This is the time when criminal accountability and mental health are embraced as a whole. This is the beginning and end point of cor publicum (the public heart), the evolution of republic (res publica – the public object), where governance and law are guided by heart-intelligence.

Practice Tips: Get in touch with the feeling that “guns” trigger. Use this feeling as a gateway into the underworld and land into the collective heart. Just be curious…it is simple.

 

 

May 4, 2014

Mother’s Day: for Women and Men

IMG_20140312_185538_266In seven days we have an opportunity to celebrate mothers. And yet it is also an opportunity to celebrate the motherly qualities in all of us regardless whether we have children, regardless whether we are women or men.

What are we really celebrating on this day other than make florists happy? Mothers are adored as so special on this day but then “mother” is often for many a power-packed mixed baggage, a mix of idealized, expected and experienced motherly qualities. Our many interpretations of these qualities are colored by our own experiences, triggering feelings, beliefs and stories we were told and that maybe as adults we are still consciously or unconsciously telling ourselves. For some these qualities evoke nurturing, beauty, safety, compassion and understanding, for some they evoke control, anger, domination, absence or fear. For others motherly qualities evoke a blend of the above and for many motherly qualities are equated to the female gender. A big mish mash of assumptions in the desperate attempt of both men and women to categorize, label and box in what feels uncontrollable: the oceanic nature of the feminine.

The result: we are stranded on the island of gender confusion debating about who is to blame for the misery of the other, confused about who we are and starving for connection and understanding. The irony is that for all this time – as we are struggling on the island caged into our gender assumption – the ocean around us has been available to deeply fill our thirst at any moment.

For a long time we have been thirsty women and hungry men on this forgotten island with seemingly no access to the ocean. On this island we have been trapped in the gender illusion: this illusion has informed our cells for many generations and created painful experiences for both women and men. This illusion has been engrained into our bones by the stories developed in our families, by religion institutions, by the “winner and losers” of starvation island and reflected into the institutions and systems of our times. And, we have been perpetuating this illusion by parroting our “mother” and “father” stories to ourselves and those around us. In this gender fantasy both women and men have developed sophisticated and often crude survival mechanisms to cope with a self-induced disconnection from the ocean. In the insanity of a mind-based society we self-sabotage and cut ourselves off from what keeps us alive.

The ocean represents the quintessential feminine energy: the source of life, the womb of infinite creativity and possibilities, the realm of the unknown, the subconscious, the gateway into the present, the door into the universe of our hearts, the door into the pulsating life force. The ocean becomes available to feed our bodies and hearts when we are open to receive it, when we are cracking open the tight box of gender assumptions. The gateway to the ocean widens when we learn to own our gender assumptions with radical honesty, when we learn to fully feel the pain that these assumptions have caused to ourselves and to each other. This takes courage, much courage, because it challenges our ego, our identities, our worldview, the comfort zone of our box of known beliefs and stories. After all stretching our muscles after having spent so much time in a tight box on a dry island can cause painful spams. However, the reward for our courage to stretch is being truly alive, authentic, touched in a deep way that nourishes our souls.

As we are releasing the feminine from the gender trap, our desperate thirst and hunger for belonging and significance will eventually turn into a cellular knowing that we are being held by the ocean. Life on the island of gender confusion will still continue as long we are breathing in this body, learning and growing. However, we may not take it as seriously because we have learned to peak at the ocean and learned that we are deeply loved and held by life guiding our journey through the waters.

Thus, on this Mother’s Day let us both, women and men, celebrate in that we offer to the ocean our long held gender assumptions, acknowledge that we are simply learning to swim and drink from the well of our souls.

Practice: Find which and where your gender assumption is located in your body, stretch and dive into the ocean, river, or your bathtub.

April 13, 2014

Earth Day and the “Wisdom of Sinking”

IMG_2678Earth Day, the new TV documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously” and the many environmental initiatives, projects, talks and debates surrounding the state of our planet all offer opportunities to feel into what I call the “wisdom of sinking”.

What our collective mind does when it senses an impending “sinking” it goes into emergency mode: fight, flight or numbing. These have been the main elements characterizing our approach to the state of our planet and the undercurrent of the environmental conversation at most every level of society.

The environmental condition of our planet is approached as a battle of ideas, a battle of truths, a war over seemingly conflicting data, a race against time, or as a non-issue. For those who “fight and flight” the environment is perceived as an overwhelming reminder of powerlessness calling for immediate action and for the numbed ones a mere marginal aspect of our existence calling for more distraction. For those who declares themselves “conscious and sustainable” the reality in their eyes reflects that they still navigate between the three: fight, flight and numbing. No matter in what category we find ourselves, we are all anxious because we are faced with the terror of uncertainty – it is either the question what will happen to our planet? what will the people do? or both. Overall, the environment is embedded in the polluted field of a warring mind scrambling for survival and battling against uncertainty.

It is simple. The state of our planet simply mirrors the insanity of a mind-based collective consciousness and the cosmic joke is that for years we have been attempting to save the environment through the polluting means of our minds righteously expecting anything to change. The consciousness of our environmental activism has created as much harm and pollution as the ignorance of the numbed ones. The planet is a living being with a stunningly brilliant brain and body. As such it holds consciousness and absorbs and stores data from the powerful field of human consciousness. How can we expect the environment to inhale health and thrive while we point fingers, blame and rage in our politically correct or raw ways always making the “other” responsible? How can we expect the environment to inhale health and thrive while we are spending our days in our minds rather than in our bodies scrambling for solutions to the great challenges of our planet, sitting at our computers or staring at our phones, TV, chasing Malaysian airline, or the latest news? How healthy is the emanation of our repressed fears, our masked powerlessness and our abdication to the “other”? How healthy is our unacknowledged grief? How healthy is our manic joy of drinking, gambling, smoking drugs, endless shopping and greed? Well, our dear planet is inhaling all this, each day, each night. No wonder that our planet’s exhale is the one of a detoxifying body: smelly, intense, with bouts of diarrhea and vomit, eliminating all the imbalances in not very pretty and comfortable ways.

If you still do not find credible that the pollution of our individual and collective mind has much to do with the state of our oceans, rivers, air, and soil, try to direct hatred to a bowl of rice for a week, each day, and then try to direct love to another bowl of rice for a week, each day, and then notice the difference. Quite remarkable. The planet is like the bowl of rice: it will respond to what you emanate. Yes, many of our global, national and local corporate and government policies and laws have gone as much off course as the Malasyian mystery jet. However, the daily pollution created by our mind-based consciousness and our inability to feel our feelings have an even bigger impact on the health of our planet.

We are feelings-illiterates, we know how to talk about feelings and at best lecture about compassion, sustainability and the need for change for the planet but when it comes to actually feeling the feelings in our body we are lost, numb like many of our dried out rivers and lakes. Our ability to name, feel and take responsibility for our feelings without blaming the “outside” is essential to the ability of our planet to breathe in a healthy way. This is so because feelings reawakened in our body in a conscious way connect us to life force. This same life force or lack thereof is transmitted into the body of our planet. In our mind-based society our conscious feelings are deadened. Thus what do you expect the planet to feel like?

The sinking of our planet has much wisdom. When we feel the water on our toes we can either believe we are drowning and engage our mind in another frantic marathon, polluting the planet even further, or we can sink into our body, evaluate the pollution of our inner world, feel the emotions that the state of the planet is triggering in us without pointing fingers and then place our hearts into the ocean where new choices are emerging each moment. This is the starting point of sustainable environmental activism, initiatives, actions, talks or whatever we feel drawn to engage in with our heart. This is the starting point for changing our polluting mind-habits and actions, individually and collectively. This is the starting point for healthy planet.

In the consciousness of the heart – in other words – in the body of awakened feelings, time is an illusion. Equally, considering the planet as a separate being, the collective as a separate being, the “other, are all mind-based illusions as well. The heart-intelligent society of cor publicum (the public heart as opposed to res publica, the public thing) and its ripple effect on the health of our planet is available now, no need to wait for the “other” to change, no time running out, no drowning in the sinking. It is just us, you and me, wherever we go, wherever we engage, in the halls of Congress, in the corporate headquarters, at our workplace, in our living rooms, within ourselves. Many are being ripped of their own foundation and forced to feel through environmental disasters and many will follow until we learn to acknowledge the dysfunction of our own mind and its impact on the planet, until we learn to bring new life force to our body and the planet through our conscious feelings and until we let this integrity inform our engagement with each other and the planet.

As a species we are capable of using the wisdom of sinking, capable of being aware of our own pollution, capable of feeling anger, sadness, fear and joy in our body, capable of seeing creative power in the unknown, capable of being truly alive each moment. All it takes is courage. Let us sink into our heart and our bodies. We can choose to continue to chat, fight about the environment or go asleep or we can choose to engage in heart-based breath and feel into the miracle of a blossoming flower today. The planet has the power to birth itself in each moment in the timelessness of this breath.

Practice: Take stock of your mind pollution. Do the “rice bowl” exercise. Make a new choice. Consider attending the next Living Boldly Workshop on June 7: Discover and Use the Power of Feelings.

Meditation Journey into the earth elements by Franca Baroni.

March 10, 2014

Stories of Nations and Countries

story_birdsWhat story are the Russians authorities telling about the Americans? And what story are the American authorities telling about the Russians? What about the Ukrainian, EU, Syrian, Iraqis, Egyptian authorities?  What story are YOU telling about all the above? These stories have many names: history, truth, reality, the right and the wrong one, the stories of victims, perpetrators, the stories of saviors and heroes.

What most stories have in common is that they are generated by the mind. They are tunnel-vision interpretation of events. Because a heart-disconnected mind thinks in terms of right or wrong, it interprets events through a polarized tunnel-vision looking at events through the lens of victims, perpetrators and rescuing heroes.

An event happens in the moment. A story is the perpetuation of the event by the mind with its obligate twist, turns and distortions. Just try to play the game of stating “what happened” to one person, then go around the circle, and listen to “what happened” according to the last person: a whole new story. When this is done in an innocuous setting of a game, it is entertaining. When it is done on the world stage, it is devastating and to this day we continue to see the ruinous results of story-telling at a collective level.

Nations and countries themselves are sustained by stories of villains that the “other” deems heroes, and stories of heroes that the “other” deems villains. These stories often become over time ungrounded and illusionary tales of a perceived reality: inflated, deflated, idealized or demonized events created by the adversarial mind. The result: war in its many forms.

Stories – in a mind-based society – hold great power in the forming of the collective identity. With a story we define who we are, our assumptions, beliefs, rules, conclusions, expectations and our worldview. We are constantly telling stories: to ourselves, our family, co-workers, our neighbors, our buddies, our organizations of choice and so do politicians, religious and spiritual leaders, the media and the corporate world. We are used to believe that stories are important and true because after all they are the only sounds we ever have heard. Thus, we continue to tell them and interpret whatever happens through the lens of the same story, over and over again. The result: these stories create the world we see and we see nothing more than what these stories are telling us. A dog chasing its tail.

A collective story is not wrong or right. It is just a desperate attempt of the mind to make sense of what cannot be captured by stories, i.e. the complexity of life. Life cannot be captured by the mind. It is like trying to catch a butterfly with a nail. A collective (and individual) story will always fall short to hold the essence of the multidimensionality of events. At their best, stories are means to tap into what is story-less. They are slices of the essence of life, exhilarating, brutal and all the many shades in between. Stories are symbols, cryptic language to describe what is beyond words. If we recognize the limitations of stories rather than spending our days  identifying ourselves with them and pretending that they are the ultimate holder of truth of what happened in the moment, than we have liberated ourselves into a heart-intelligent society.

Who are we as a nation without our collective story?

Surrendering our belief in our stories frees us into heart consciousness. In the frequency of the heart there is no story, only unlimited potential to create a new story-less moment, each moment. When we let go of our collective story we have found our way into the “holy grail” – a symbolic story of the womb of unlimited options readily accessible each moment. Within a story-less container, different cultures can move from a child-like finger pointing to creative exchange with adult level responsibility.

Do we have the courage to stop entertain ourselves with stories in the belief that they are so important and true? This is the power of stillness. Stillness is the gateway into heart consciousness. This gateway is open even in the midst of the story of the events in Ukraine. It is always open. Let’s have the courage to be still and listen to the sound of our collective heart. Feel its story-less truth.

Practice: for a minute, for an hour or for a day, observe the stories you are telling others about yourself and your world? For a minute, an hour or a day, stop telling stories…notice any differences?

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