Let Us Pray

Let Us Pray

Let Us Pray?

Let Me Pray?

How?

To whom?

            God?

            Goddess?

Creator?

Creation?

            Spirit?

            Matter?

                        Which form?

                        Which shape?

 

Should I offer gratitude for all I have?

 

Do I make signs? 

Symbols? 

Altars?

Artefacts?

Statues?

Structures?

Gestures of reverence?

 

Do I remember the deceased and pray for their Souls?

            Their forgivenesses?

            Their guidance?

            Their love?

 

Do I invoke angels?

            Spirits?

            Friendly ghosts?

            Deviant daemons?

 

Should I send well wishes to all those ailing?

Struggling?

Toiling?

Failing?

 

Are there offerings to be made? 

            Flowers?

            Coins?

            Food?

            Alms?

            Trinkets from the heart?

 

Must I recite passages from scripture?

            Hymns known to all?

            Collected and respected known reveries?

            Vibrated tones of chant or song?

 

Do I kneel or sit?

            Fold my hands?

            Connect my palms?

            Close my eyes?

 

Do I offer in silence?

            Whisper?

            Sing?

            Roar?

 

Is better in the morning or at night?

            What about midday?

            What time of year?

            In groups or by myself?

 

Do I need a special place?

            Room?

            Building?

            Accouterments ?

 

What do I need to wear?

            Is there a uniform or dress?

 

How do I dedicate with diligence?

How do I do this?

Can my daily actions be prayer?

            Are they already?

            If so, for what?

                        My thoughts, deeds, breaths?

 

Does watching a sunrise or sunset count?

Is wondering at nature’s design sufficient?

Is playing with a child, laughing with friends, gazing into another’s eyes enough?

 

How do I do this?

Why do I do this?

Why should I?

What does it matter?

 

Brain Hole

Brain Hole

The brain hole is that place

That space

Where stories are born

And storylines are lost.

Where our imaginarium 

Is our planetarium 

For creativity and innovation.

 

It's dark and empty.

Bright and full.

Luminous in its nebulousness.

 

It's that place where ruminations

Begin, live and end.

It's where contemplations 

Recycle, recharge and compost.

It's where the threads 

Of thoughts

And ideas 

And opinions

And facts 

And information

Mulch into a mush.

It's where the halls of memory,

The files of remembrance,

The catalogs of our story

Sleep.

 

It's that space,

That place

That is infinite

In its nothingness

And 

In its everythingness

It's whole and empty.

 

 

It's that realm where

Magnificent things are pulverized 

Into nothing

And that nothing is constructed

Into magnificent things.

 

It's our inner magician's hat

Where rabbits of chimerical design

Are pulled from.

Behold.

 

It's that place where our inner scientist

Observes big bangs of sparks

Sparkling ideas 

Swirling into universes 

Of kaleidoscopic dreams.

 

It's that place where our inner artist

Crafts, creates and paints 

Masterpieces of/for bombastic display.

 

It's that place where

We play hide and seek with ourselves.

That place that carries our unbounded

Pandora's box.

That place where the ethereal is bound.

That place…

Oh, where is that place?

I’m sure it’s there,

Somewhere,

Giving essence to my radiant shadow

Or perhaps it just slipped into 

The vacuum of itself.

 

I am the marionette 

For my brain hole’s grandiosity,

Brilliance,

And mastery.

I am the shadow of its darkness.

I am the 3D imprint of 

It’s multi-dimensionality,

Inter-dimensionality

And trans-dimensionality.

I am it’s humble servant

Ninety-five percent of the time.

 

Gladly I play the part as it’s offspring

Flung forth like a potter’s clay

I am it’s work 

In progress…

 

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

The revelations of new beginnings — 

where all before 

and all after

are wiped clean.

It gushes with curiosity 

and childlike playfulness

in the place of not know.

What a wonderful place to be!

So much to gain,

the space of a revered amateur:

fresh.

clean slated.

infinite opportunities.

no limitations.

raw brilliance.

unsculpted clay 

ready to be spun and molded and crushed and re-molded.

 

What revelations are afoot?

What transformations abound?

What will launch from this wide open pad?

The excitement of new starts…

Into the everythingness we go.

The Vote Goes On

The Vote Goes On

Did you vote this past weekend?  Or today? Big voting this time of year.  In fact, it ’s the busiest time of year for voting.  Millions, if not billions, of votes will be caste by the end of the day today and for the next several weeks.  Gotta vote. I hope you got out there and voted.  But wait, midterms were several weeks ago, voting is over, right? 

Midterms did pass several weeks ago and many of us were caught in the frenzy of politics and civic duties.  Election time is generally very intense — divisiveness, issues rallied behind, principles questioned and considered, heated debating, celebrating and commiserating.   

During that time I was engaged in conversations with many people from around the US and the globe. The big question was, “Are you voting?” After listening to the pleas around the importance of participating in democracy (the US is a republic by the way, but really more of an oligarchy).  My response has been, “I vote every time I buy something and so do you.” So then question becomes, “How are you voting?”  This question is for more than people of legal voting age or of American citizenship.  Anytime anyone across the planet buys a product from an American Company, they (you) are casting a vote in the functioning of the American government (and much more than that).  

 

It’s important for us to consider that casting ballots in a box is not the only way we vote.  Perhaps there are other types of voting, which happen more frequently and with greater impact.  Let’s dissect this idea a bit, starting with the word, “vote.”

 

Definition: vote — n., a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual or bodies of individuals. 

 

With this definition we can move to interesting places, far beyond politics — but first, politics. Policy in the United States is largely influenced by our cash ballots, perhaps in more so than our electoral ballots (corporate money certainly leverages its weight on politicians which effect our legislation.  Some estimates suggest that there could be up to 100,000 lobbyists in the US which is part of a $9 billion dollar annual industry.)  Now is the time to get hip to the game and realize that our dollar votes have just as much impact and that goes beyond policy.

We vote environment with our food and clothing choices.  

We vote health care with our beauty and house cleaning products.  

We vote social based on what the parent company’s (of whatever completely necessary product we buy) agenda is.  

We vote international labor when we buy luxury garments or chocolate.  

We vote animal rights when buying a car or belt.  

We vote American jobs every time we buy something made in the USA.  

And on, and on.

So, how do we take our principles and ethics to our daily cash voting booths?  Must we investigate the integrity of every company?  Must we make sure that whenever we go somewhere we know what campaigns the parent company donates to?  Is it easy to just not think about these things?   

 

As challenging as it is, there are ways that we can match our principles with our dollar votes. Two useful smartphone applications are: Buycott and Good On You.  These apps allow you to align your principles with your cash votes.  They are simple, easy and fast.  If you are concerned about where your money goes (and overwhelmed attempting to research every choice) then these apps are for you.  

 

Equip with these useful apps we can then choose where our money goes and how it is making a national and global impact.  The challenge becomes when we have to change our lifestyle to match our principles. It’s worth the shift; it’s worth the evaluation; it’s worth the change.

 

By taking a step back from Holiday voting (spending) — and sinking into what we stand for, what type of world we want to create and what sort of environment we want to leave for future generations — we can choose wisely and perhaps even ethically.

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the most important time of the year when it comes to voting.  Caste your ballots wisely.

What Does it Mean to Be a Man?

What Does it Mean to Be a Man?

What does it mean to be a man?

Does it mean doing the best we can – 

all the time, in every moment,

in every situation?

 

Does it mean I have to be strong,

when others are so obviously wrong – 

doing this and doing that,

saying this and talking smack?

 

How is it that I'm supposed to act?

Is it just my opinion or a matter of fact?

When I think this and you think that – 

can we get along, despite our gap?

 

How do I share my feelings – 

my inner turmoil, my reelings and dealings?

Is it ok to laugh or cry

or sit on my hands and wonder why?

 

What about when I’m not doing my best?

How do I compassionately get something off my chest?

Can I scream and shout, moan and pout? 

Do I need to clearly and calmly speak my truth without a doubt?

 

What about my hair and dress – 

is this a “no” and that a “yes”?

Do these colors match?

Is it my looks that make me a catch?

 

What do I do? Where do I work?

Is it simply not being a jerk?

What about making money – 

or is it more important to be charming and funny?

 

Do I have to be fit,

awake, conscious or observant – 

stand for a cause of planetary rights,

or be a peacemaker when others fight?

 

Is it the way I vote, my opinions or views – 

whether I watch soaps or the news?

Do I need to be a good citizen

or volunteer at a soup kitchen?

And what about God?

Oh my God!

Is it cool if I’m an atheist, theist or spiritual seeker – 

what about just a moral keeper?

 

Does it matter where I shop and what I buy

or gazing at the stars and wondering why?

Is it the way I move or how I walk?

Is it the things I say or how I talk?

 

Do I have to be successful – 

what if I’m pitiful?

Decorated as a national hero

or living as an absolute zero?

 

Does it matter if I can cook a meal

or apprehend someone when they steal?

Do I have to be a conscious civilian

or understand what’s going on within?

 

There are so many ways to be a man – 

to be human.

I’m gonna try them all, 

then let you know where I stand.

 

Slowing Down

Slowing Down

Upon recently returning back to the United States from a 10 day personal cleanse in Canada, I noticed the hurry-up, fast paced lifestyle of the Northeast.  I wondered if this was just an East Coast thing, but then I flashed to many past West Coast experiences where I noticed a similar vibe (perhaps it’s just me).  In some ways it is industrious, productive and motivating. In other ways it is phrenetic, skittish and disorienting.  Across the board many of us could use a bit of slowing down — an integration phase of what we have done during our day, week or month.  

 

Our bodies live in the present moment, but our mind and emotions transcend the boundaries of time and space.  Perhaps that’s what this whole mindfulness thing is about these days: taking inventory of self and noticing what’s going on in the present moment — without judgment. 

 

So why not throw a “good old” 10 ways to slow down list?  If you’re curious about finding ways to pump the breaks or are in need of a reminder then the following list is for you.  

 

10 Ways to Slow Down

 

1) Take a deep breath.  I’m talking big, deep belly breathing in and out through your nose.  Connecting with our breath allows us to pause and connect with our autonomic nervous system.  As our day cruises by we may not even notice our breathing.  Take 3 minutes to connect with your breath and notice the effects. Check out the Tranquility in 9 Breaths Meditation my website: http://www.juliandevoe.com/meditation-bursts/

 

2) Take a walk.  Walking is an evolutionary accomplishment and has tremendous health benefits.  Walking while on a phone call, on a treadmill or taking a spin around your neighborhood can do your body and mind lots of good.

 

3) Go outside and get into nature.  Fresh air!  Ahhhh. Reconnecting with nature — because we ARE nature — is something that helps us to connect with our inner and outer nature, to allow the mind to clear and to meditate without even “knowing” it. Some therapists are recommending grounding, earthing or forest bathing as having tremendous benefits on our health. Now doesn’t that just sound cool?

 

4) Dance — like no one is watching.  Put on one of your favorite tunes and shake what your mama gave ya.  Great for the circulation, lympathetic system, mind and emotions. Let it loose and cut a rug.  Extra credit it for doing it in public.

 

5) Meditate.  Meditation is all the rage these days, and rightfully so.  This practice can be intimidating at first, so take it slow — ha! Start with just a few moments.  It doesn’t have to be sitting cross legged, yogi style, it can be anything that puts you into the zone.  Remember, it’s not necessarily about clearing the mind or having no thought.  At first it can be allowing all your thoughts and ruminations to dump out.  For some inspiration, check out:  http://www.juliandevoe.com/meditation-bursts/

 

6) Make slow movements.  This is the physical practice of slowing down.  Sometimes slowing down can be so obvious and physical that it gets lost in the shuffle.  Making slow motions is incredibly mindful and refreshing.  For some encouragement with slow-motion, check out some of these qigong exercises: http://www.juliandevoe.com/body-bursts

 

7) Put your technology down.  Oh boy, this can be tough, but so rewarding.  When waiting in line or at an appointment, when traveling as a passenger on a car or train and especially at the dinner table, put the phone aside. Allow for the moments of boredom to come in, sometimes they are most imaginative.  Disconnect to really connect empathetically with yourself and your surroundings.

 

8) Read.  Grab a good old book and turn some pages.  This is a great thing to do especially before bed.  It will help to create wrinkles (the good kind) in your brain, which will keep you sharp and open your imagination.

 

9) Journal/Doodle.  Putting pen to paper is an age old (well, at least since the invention of pen and paper) technique that can be incredibly cathartic.  Journaling can help us witness ourselves and our experiences. Doodling helps us to activate the right side of our brain in new and fun ways.  Doodling can even help us concentrate.

 

10) Take a nap.  Besides sleep this is one of the ultimate acts of slowing down.  In the hectic, fast passed, keep up, caffeine filled world, rest can be hard to come by.  It is crucial for feeling energized, attentive and joyful.  Studies showing that we are more productive when we take time to nap.  For more information on napping, check out this Harvard article: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/napping-may-not-be-such-a-no-no