Friday, November 9, 2012

Hope: Your Mission

Today. You. Can. Find. Out. Where. Hope. Lives. Inside. Of. You. And. Breathe. That. Knowledge. Into. Your. Life. To. Share. With. Pie.**

In October Liberation Tea we talked about hope as a tool of liberation, and something we all need in order to have our practice be sustainable, and so that we can be strong, effective practitioners of hope and justice.

Change Agents, I am assigning you a mission of hope. You have 48 hours to complete these tasks (and a life time of opportunities to continue practicing)**

     * Take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and intentionally. Notice how you feel before and after. Set a timer. Would you then be willing to use your breath to ground and center yourself?  (There are many ways we can work on being present and connecting to our work and the world, breath is one of many).

     * Watch this video: (This is a mobile link, you can also search you tube for: Never Give Up, Arthur's Inspirational Transformation!). Answer the questions: what  in your life inspires you? What gives you hope?

     * Make a list of things you are grateful for. Make some space in your life for those things.

     * Make eye contact with someone. Smile.

     * Walk around the block.

     * Sit with someone who is hurting. Hold space. Witness. Breathe. Don't try to fix it. Honor their journey and your own.

     * Do something that makes you feel alive!  How does this support your practice?

**If you're curious about how these stories are related to liberation, come to the next Liberation Tea and Anti-Oppressive Practice Skills on 11/24 at Heartsong Yoga from 2-3:30pm.

Liberation is a Process

This is re-posted with permission from the very wise T. Thorn Coyle
Posted on: October 25th, 2012
Liberation is a process, not an end. We don’t just reach a point when we feel free. We keep getting the chance to enact this formula:

Notice. Engage. Release. Notice. Release. Engage. Notice. Engage. Release. Notice. Release. Engage.

We cannot control our lives. What we can do – by noticing, engaging, and releasing –  is stay in active engagement with our lives and the process we are in. We can adjust attitudes, habits, actions, thoughts. We can come into right relationship with emotions. We can learn how to better be a part of community. We can of better service. Control can be a useful concept, but more often than not it becomes a stand in for what actually helps. Think of muscle control. An athlete wants this. But really, what the athlete wants is to engage heart, breath, attention and muscles all at once, so as to move precisely, with strength and flexibility, in the moment. Eventually, this becomes a state of pure presence, the athlete is one with herself and the water, the track, the grass, the mat. We can call that control. I would rather call it engagement. Relationship. Presence. Why? Simply because the concept of control can turn into rigidity of form and attempts to force an outcome.

I was discussing this with a client this week. S/he is discovering that life is working much better, and there is greater satisfaction overall, because s/he is more present and less controlling, less hung up on things looking and behaving a particular way. I spoke of the task I once gave myself of noticing a thought-form habitual at that time, “I just need to figure out.” I trained myself, when hearing that internal voice, to pause, breath, and open again. To notice, engage, and release. To notice, release, and engage. I did this because I realized “I just need to figure out…” meant I wanted to control a situation and thought I could come up with the answer that would fix things. I couldn’t. What I could do was invoke presence and relationship. That habitual thought-form has gone away as a consequence. Not because I forced it away, or controlled it into submission (two things which do not work, in my vast experience with them), but because I worked to shift how I responded to it.

All of this rings true not only in the personal realm. Think on today’s political and economic climate. We cannot force this away either. What we can do is notice, engage, release. Notice, release, engage. We can continue to find ways to shift our presence and relationship to our countries, to global economics, to the plants and creatures of this beloved, Earth, and to each other. Remember: liberation is a process, not an end.
We cannot control politics or economics. We cannot control our lives. But we can co-create them.
How do you co-create? I invite you to share insights into how you engage with the process of liberation. How do you remain present? How do you notice, engage, and release?