Category Archives: relationships

How to Change the World

On Facebook every day I see little messages like “Be the change you want to see.” and “Save the Rainforests” and “Give Peace a Chance.” Well, yes. Of course.  But let’s get real. What can we actually do to change the world? It isn’t enough to write a check or post a clever saying or read a book or love the sea lion pups. We have to be pro-active, steady and consistent.

Imagine for a moment that there is actually a fabric of planetary consciousness that floats above our heads in the near atmosphere.  This fabric is invisible to our eyes, but perhaps not to the celestial helpers who oversee our planet. They can tell at a glance the sorry state of our planet.

This fabric holds and reflects the thoughts and attitudes and mind-action of every person on the planet. When you or I have a fearful, negative, angry or resentful thought, our thoughts stain this fabric, help to turn it dark. When we have a spiritual thought, a loving experience, commit a selfless act, we add a tiny portion of light to the fabric.

I believe in this fabric. And I believe that darkness begets darkness, and that the light banishes shadows.

What color do you suppose the fabric of planetary consciousness currently is?

If we want to change the world, we need to be in control of our thoughts. I believe our thoughts are far more powerful than we can imagine. And when we are cruisin’ in the zone of light, we’re spreading the benign virus of love, which is a powerful way to lighten the fabric of planetary consciousness.

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Filed under Beauty, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability

2012: The Year of Forgiveness

I’ve been naming my years for a while now. 2009 was The Year of Hesed (lovingkindness).2010 was The Year of the Tao. 2011 was The Year of Living Simply, and for 2012, I’ve chosen The Year of Forgiveness.

I’ve heard that to forgive someone means to merely allow them their path. Very simple, and my experience says that what is simple is best.

Many years ago, I hurt a lot of people who got caught up in my tsunami of self-destruction. I am soul-sorry about that, and everyone that I’m aware of has forgiven me for my actions during those dark times, for which I will be eternally grateful. I needed those times; they were a part of my path to today. Surely I can allow someone else their path.

I find that it’s easier to forgive someone the big transgressions, but what about the guy who cuts me off in traffic? I am usually outwardly calm, but in my head, I’m screaming: “You idiot!” I really don’t want to do that any more, so I’m going to stop it in 2012. I’m going to let the little things flow over me, making “allow them their path” my mantra for the year.

And I’m going to forgive myself, too, on a daily basis, for being imperfect and doing all the stupid things I do. I say the wrong thing all the time, I eat the wrong things, I still am tempted to slide into old behavior patterns. I no longer burn with resentment, but I can chew on a good one for a while before letting it go. I don’t want to do that any more, either, and so I won’t in 2012. Forgiveness is sustainable; resentment is not.

Living consciously is a decision. Each of us is faced with a million tiny decisions every day as to how to react to a million tiny situations. So in 2012, I will react with love in my heart and the perspective that while we all might be on different paths, the goal is the same.

I have a good feeling about what 2012 has to bring.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Discipline, Learning, peace, Possibilities, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability, years

I’m a Veteran

I spent eight years as a journalist in the Naval Reserves. During that time, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and I was called to active duty in the Pentagon at the Joint Combat Camera Center.

During that time, I worked with marvelous, dedicated people. Some were in the military for the educational benefits, some were looking at it as a career, some were closing out their long, eventful careers. And as with all jobs, one’s coworkers become like a second family. There are parties, there are luncheons, there are friendships that spring up, and water cooler talk. People become close.

I served with countless homosexuals. Wonderful, talented, dedicated men and women who could never bring their spouse to an event, could never discuss their family situation, or their relationship problems, the way most of us do at the office without a thought. They had to closely guard every word that came out of their mouths, lest they let slip a bit of information that would get them fired, their long, distinguished careers trashed. 

Just try going a week without mentioning your spouse’s name at work.

What a terrible way to live, especially since they were doing the right thing, the good thing, the thing that many people fear to do. These people stepped up, took an oath, left family and friends behind to do everything from front line combat to back room clerical work, to chip paint on Navy vessels and pull maintenance on tank tracks, all to make the enormous machine that is the US military run. And they couldn’t confide in a co-worker if they’d had a heart-rending misunderstanding, or a particularly sweet moment with a lover.

I am beyond delighted that that era of mistreating these wonderful, courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines is coming to an end. They deserve to have every right that is offered to every other citizen of this country without living in the shadows, without worrying that something they do or say–even off duty!–might be fodder for a jealous coworker eager to kick them out of the promotion lineup.

I believe Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be a thing of the past within days. The next appropriate thing will be to allow same-sex partners the right under Federal law to marry.

Love is a good thing. Family is a good thing. Fairness and equality are high ideals. Let’s strive for those things and let the anger and suspicion fall away.

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Filed under relationships, Social Consciousness

The Global Conspiracy

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark.

But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening underground

An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution. From the inside out.

From the ground up.

This is a Global operation.

A Spiritual Conspiracy.  

There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.

You won’t see us on the T.V.

You won’t read about us in the newspaper.

You won’t hear about us on the radio.

We don’t seek any glory.

We don’t wear any uniform.

We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles.

Most of us work anonymously.

We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world.

Cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands.

You could pass by one of us on the streetand not even notice.

We go undercover.

We remain behind the scenes.

It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit, but simply that the work gets done.

Occasionally we spot each other in the street.

We give a quiet nod and continue on our way.

During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs.

But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place.

Some call us the Conscious Army.

We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts.

We follow, with passion and joy.

Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence.

We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking.

Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness…

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents.

“Be the change you want to see in the world!”  That is the motto that fills our hearts.

We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined.

Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains, it is not even visible at first glance.

And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries to come.

Love is the new religion of the 21st century.

You don’t have to be a highly educated person, or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it.

It comes from the intelligence of the heart.

Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Nobody else can do it for you.

We are now recruiting.

Perhaps you will join us.

Or already have. All are welcome. 

The door is open.

                                           –author unknown

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Filed under connections, goals, Goodness, Possibilities, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Evan Engstrom – 1942-2010

Heaven is richer today for the presence of my former husband and one of my best friends of all time. Evan Emil Engstrom died yesterday after a 26-year battle with cancer. The man was a warrior. 

I first met Evan when we were both struggling to get sober. I knew his sister and she was everything I wanted to be. Shortly thereafter, I met his mom and his kids, and knew this was the family for me. We married, I adopted his two wonderful children, and we set out to have a full life together. Evan was incredibly smart, the master of the one-line zingers, handy and clever, but most of all, he cared. Deeply. About everything, all the time. He wanted to do the right thing in all situations. My honorary Uncle Paul told me to marry “a man I could live up to.” Evan was just such a man, and he provided a moral compass for me from the moment we met, as well as everyone with whom he came into contact.

It wasn’t long after we married that Evan’s dentist found a small lump under his tongue. The surgery to eradicate this squamous cell carcinoma took the floor of his mouth, all the lymph nodes and big muscle on the left side of his neck, and required a skin graft from his thigh. The doctor told me: “The chances of his being here in two years are slim and none.” Well, they didn’t know Evan.

We moved from Maui to Oregon to provide a broader perspective of life for the kids, began to eat organically, raising most of our own food, and for a long time life was good. Eventually, however, we began to see that while we were really good friends, we did not make good mates. We discussed the fact that friendship is eternal while marriages are likely not, and we were in danger of losing our friendship as we toiled to maintain a broken marriage. So we separated, and eventually divorced, still committed to one another, still connected to one another via the heart, forever, in this world and throughout the next.

When I married Al, Evan came to our wedding. His classic comment: “I’ll come to all of your weddings, Liz, if there’s a meal in it for me.” Al had to know that my commitment to Evan was part of my family unit. And when Evan and Sharon discovered each other in a new way, we all became one big happy weird family, impossible to describe, but precious in every way.

Evan’s cancer came back. Again. And again. And yet again. He never gave up the fight against it, not after all the rest of us thought it might be a good idea that he just let go and let God. But he wanted to see his kids grow up. He wanted to see his grandkids grow up. And for the most part, he did. He leaves his two wonderful children, Nicole and Eron, and five grandsons, Luke, age 19, Joey, 17, Edison, 8 and Dean and Davison, both 3.

Evan left us too early. I particularly grieve that he and Sharon had such limited time together to explore their new relationship, to travel the world in happy retirement. But it is what it is, and we are all richer for knowing and loving him for as long as he was on loan to us.

Congratulations on your graduation, Evan. We all look forward to seeing you on the other side.

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Filed under Aging, Cancer, Death, Dying, family, Graduation, Marriage, relationships

All About Stress

I read some interesting things about stress yesterday.

First, it shortens your life. Duh.

But the interesting thing this report said is that your body constantly lives in the now. If your mind lived in the now, there would be no stress, no conflict, no tension.

I’ve always thought that we control our own level of stress, but I’ve never considered it to be this simple an equation before. If my mind is too busy thinking about what just happened or what might happen, then I feel stress, as my body is trying to pull me back to the present moment, which is where I ought to be anyway, paying attention and appreciating my life. The further into my history I dwell, or the further into the future, the more stress I feel.

Knowing the source of the stress/tension should make it easier to correct.

Another reason to live in the now.

In gratitude.

One day at a time.

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Filed under Discipline, peace, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality, Stress, Twelve Steps

Rightmindedness

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to that word: Rightmindedness.

We have a thousand opportunities every day to choose our mindset. If we get our minds right, we can choose happiness, joy, freedom, love, light, loyalty, sunshine.

Or, if something we don’t like happens, we can allow it to color our whole day, our month, our year.  A moment’s temptation can throw us off a diet, for example, and in a few days, all the good hard work that’s been done is erased. Or, we could choose to not let that happen. We could choose to put our minds right again, and not let a small slip throw our world into chaos.

The same goes for fear and anxiety. We can let it run our lives, or we can live with self-forgiveness and let old conflicts go. When new situations arise, we have the power to choose our reaction to them. If we behave ourselves, what do we care if others misbehave?

I read an article about how human minds seek out similarities. We like finding coincidences. We match up things that go together. We say things like: He looks just like so-and-so, except for…”  And that also goes for series of events. In one day, we could have a flat tire, have to wait so long at a professional’s office that we miss another appointment, get some bad news and have to deal with a miscommunication. Each of those things has the potential to ruin our day, if we let it, especially if we run down the litany of everything that went wrong to the spouse or loved one.

Instead, we should run down all the great things that happened. All the miracles that we’ve bunched together, all the coincidences, all the moments of synchronicity and delight. All the good things that people did for us, all the nice things people said about each other.

We’re not in control of much in our lives, but we are in control of our attitude. I know people who are negative, and I know people who are positive. I’d rather hang with the positive folks. The socially fragrant ones help me enjoy life.

I’m working on getting my mind right, one decision at a time, because that will make life a lot more fun. And it will also make the world a better place.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Discipline, Friends, Fun, goals, Goodness, Honesty, Joy, peace, Personalities, regrets, relationships, Spirituality