Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pocahontas Was Right

Everyone knows I’m a huge Disney fan and I find all answers to life in Walt’s quotes and Disney movies, but I have to say, I failed as a fan growing up because Pocahontas was never one of my favorite movies. I just didn’t think the story was as fun as all the others. (although who didn’t love these three guys? hehe)

Now that I’ve embarked on a more serious Spiritual training to become a better me and hopefully help others through my journey however, I understand the sageness in Pocahontas’ words and especially in her song, Colors of the Wind. Has anybody REALLY listened to the lyrics lately? They ring so true and are full of wise advice (I know the movie does not reflect the “real” historical Pocahontas, but that’s not what this is about so please, if you’re a history buff try to look past it and focus on just the animated version.) 

As a younger kid I never doubted that “every rock and tree and creature, has a life, has a spirit, has a name,” it just made sense, since my stuffed animals have always been alive and I easily make friends with animals and flowers! But I never stopped to put more thought into it than that. Until now. 

As an exercise in school last month, they made us go out in nature and find a good-size rock that felt “right” to us. We were told to take this rock home and talk to it everyday until it talked back. Now I know this sounds insane for those of you who aren’t five but bare with me. I’m still five so I thought it was fun (didn’t tell any of my more grown up friends though.) The point of the exercise was to get us into a different mindset from the one society has taught us, one in which our imagination is free to soar without judgement. A mindset of respect for Nature and one that helps us stay in the present and be more observant. Now whether you can believe the rock talked back or not is up to you, but once you’re willing to forget about what society deems "normal" and sit around with a rock you start to notice things. My rock was able to convey its story just by being the focus of my attention. It told me it came from the river, it still has water marks and smells deeply of earth and dampness. It is also a very old rock used as a tool by natives because, even though it has been smoothed by time and erosion, it still has a vague cone-like shape and has indentations that are the perfect size for fingers. It was most likely used to ground corn or other grains. And yeah I had it checked by a Native American Medicine man so I didn't just jump to conclusions, how awesome is that?! I was also told by this man that rocks are considered the record keepers of the Earth, so just by following a super simple exercise I learnt something about another culture. How many more mysteries could we unlock if we just retrained our minds to sit still and unplug every once in a while without judging each other for being "weird?"

Acknowledging the Spirit presence around us can truly open doors to things you didn’t even know could happen. Like who would have ever thought I could have an ancient Native American tool in my living room?! 
This concept of connection and the belief that there’s a life-spirit or essence in every single thing in the natural world is the foundation for many native and ancient cultures and it helps create a more balanced coexistence with our planet. Just like Pocahontas said "You can own the Earth and still, all you'll own is earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind."
If we all learned to adjust our perspective from thinking we are above the Earth and its non-human inhabitants, to recognizing we are all part of an energy balance supported by Earth, then not only could we find harmony a lot easier, but our lives would be so much more enriched by the simplest experiences! So in my opinion, Pocahontas was right and it took me all this time to really get it... just something to think about. 
And if you want to read about someone else's experience with the natural world, read Elizabeth Harper's post about her connection to trees. At least you'll see I'm not the only one thinking about these things lately and she's a lot more eloquent than I am, hehe. 

Love and Light to you all <3

Friday, February 5, 2016

Letter Writing as a Spiritual Practice

Everyone knows the Golden Rule, we all know gossip, judgment and stereotypes only harm and alienate us from each other and the One-ness, but unfortunately those things are part of our society. It’s a struggle for a lot of us to break away from those bad habits and see everyone as the beautiful Spiritual beings they are, instead of the human exterior we might not feel so similar to. 
I’ve mentioned before how I joined a pen-pal community while I was undergoing chemo (read here) and how much they helped me get back into a fun, creative life. The community is incredibly inclusive, safe and kind. And it’s not uncommon to stumble upon a conversation in our forums or twitter/slack about how we all wish our “real life” friends or people we encounter were more like the people we’ve “met” in this group. I constantly found myself agreeing with this, and I’m still trying to meet more of these great girls in person, but I hadn’t stopped to ask why we feel this way. How come everyone at the IGGPC can be such amazing human beings? And how are we able to show more of who we really are openly amongst members of the group but then we have to operate under other rules with our “Real life friends?” 
Studying in what can be considered a mystical school, doing my homework on bettering myself and dealing with classes all about matters of Spirit rather than ego, it hit me! 
The friendships formed over letters are pure soul connections with no ego or prejudice. You don’t know how that person you’re writing to looks like, how their living space is, what socio-economical class they “belong” to, what religion they practice, nothing! You just put your trust in the goodness of the world, knowing that they’re looking for a friend too, and you slowly start knowing each other by all the things you have in common, by the generosity of their packages and dedication to their beautiful letters. You get to know the real person on the inside because lets face it, it’s always easier to be open about your quirks and/or issues over a letter where you can compose your thoughts than in person where you don’t know how they’re going to react. 
You learn to care about these people who are open and loving before you ever know how they look like, what their families are like, etc. And by the time you do see them (even if it's just pictures or Skype,) your soul cares about their soul, the rest doesn’t matter. 
Thanks to the type of inclusive communities you get to see friendships without labels and across the entire planet. If it was a high school it would look something like a goth with a prep, a freshman with a senior, a Dragon cosplayer nerd with a Disneybounder, and it doesn’t matter! We all become one! It’s all about spreading love and cheer to one another and get that wave of happiness growing throughout the world.

I’ve made one of my (now) best friends this way, and we probably wouldn’t have become friends if we had met in person first, I'm more of a snob and tattoos can turn me off from people (I'm working on removing these behaviors.) But now my life is so much better because I know her. So it made me realize, pen-paling isn’t just a hobby, or and old school activity, it really is a gateway to true soul connections. 

It gives us something to think about, especially if you’re in any sort of pen pal community, if we can trust in the goodness of others and not judge them and connect with their essence, why don’t we do that more often with the people we actually see around us everyday? 

I propose we all try to see beyond the masks we put forth to cope with the world and beyond our limiting prejudices and try to think of everyone as if we were to be pen-pals with them ;)

Of course that doesn’t mean if someone is harmful to us we still keep them around, we just “don’t write back” but there’s no need to badmouth, gossip or judge. ;)
So thank you to all my IGGPPC friends out there and other communities like OTSP Secret Sister ProjectSnailMail-Ideas and Mail a Smile for encouraging community, generosity and creativity and for, without even knowing it, creating a daily Spiritual practice by reconnecting us to our hearts <3