Keep alive the dream; for as long as a woman has a dream in her heart she cannot lose the significance of living.
– Howard Thurman
This week I’ve been on a major marketing push to support my sister’s storefront launch for her green smoothie shop. We woke up this morning to the news that she made her $8,000 goal via her kickstarter campaign. So first off let me say…
We had over 100 people donate amounts ranging from literally $1 to $2,000. It was an amazing experience to see how folks from our family, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our Facebook friends and even folks who didn’t know Andrea from David Neale, give to support her vision: to make healthy food fast and revolutionize an entire industry.
A month ago, when Andrea said she was going to raise $8k many of us in the family (well…actually all of us) were like “umm, seriously?” But I’m so glad she didn’t listen to our doubt. She focused on what her heart was telling her was possible. And its shocked all of us to re-evaluate the limitations we hold ourselves to everyday. Like the way our dad was hoping to fly out to San Fran to help her set up the shop before the opening on the 20th. Two weeks ago he didn’t have the money for airfare, now he’s discovered a way, commenting “I’m riding on the miraculous-ness of everything else GreenLid is becoming.”
Yes, it is sort of miraculous.
But at the same time it’s not.
I know my sister, and I know the deep internal and spiritual work she’s done over the past year that has enabled her to trust this dream. To trust it’s magnificent unfolding. To trust that whatever way it blooms is perfect for her development into more of who she really is. She doing the work, as Iyanla Vanzant encourages. Her commitment to self-improvement and faith in the unseen is the reason this journey has felt so AWE-mazing. Considering she launched this business a year ago in Washington DC at a neighborhood festival and is now opening a storefront in San Fransisco utilizing this new gifting economic system (like this Ted Talk on designing business on generosity, you gotta watch!) … is only the beginning.
And so today we celebrate her. With happy dances, green smoothies, cheers and applause.
peace lives in the dream.
“It is very important to have a vision for yourself, your life, and the world. Your vision is what you would like to realize as the optimum conditions of your life. Do not worry about how it will happen. See the end; the universe will take care of the details in divine time and divine order. My vision is to live in a world where people love and accept one another unconditionally. It begins with me loving and accepting everyone unconditionally.”
– Iyanla Vanzant
My peace practice is sacred time for me. And today I was thinking about why that is. Why is it important to practice peace, everyday? Where does the desire to be more peaceful come from? How come it so damn hard sometimes to continue the peacefulness of this time throughout the day?
So this post is about that second question: where does this desire for peace come from?
Here are some thoughts…
Human beings extract experience from more than their 5 physical senses (taste, touch, smell, sight & hearing). The limited physical senses were not meant to define how life is perceived. They cannot begin to, as our experience completely debunks their relevance in most matters of importance. Experiences of joy, hatred, or love cannot be measured by the the 5 senses not using the scientific method as we have defined it today. Yet of course there is a role for the 5 senses. We can know the birth mortality rate of children in northern Canada or the height of the tallest trees on the planet or the square root of pi. Yet what do these measurements and analysis tell us about our experience of being human? In the midst of learning from others: scientists, theologians, philosophers, social behavior specialists, astronauts, spiritual teachers, mothers, elders and children I’ve come to the conclusion that no one’s explanation is more valid or more likely than my own experience. My own choice.
And so I have cultivated space in my mind for exploring my physical (and beyond) world with technologies (practices, rituals, processes) beyond the 5 senses. I have created a practice, what I call my peace practice, to establish behavior that opens up receptivity to those technologies and creates safe, regular time to practice. To try them on and compare with previous experience how it feels.
And that is another key element: Feeling. I realize that I’ve had to put some major trust in my feelings and learn how to be guided by them instead of confused and overwhelmed by them. Now I welcome the complexity of emotions (well, most of the time) and no longer run towards something to numb myself away from intense emotional experience (if I’m honest fast food, alcohol, sex, partying, or marathons of Downtown Abbey are ingested most of the time only to shield me from paying attention to what’s emotional going on in my life –thankfully that is shifting!).
This is why I practice peace.
I met a prophet, dark as the night.
She could see into my soul.
Said she’d been watching and had some advice.
She said “Shadows make you whole.
A life without pain is a wolf in sheep clothes.
Cause if you listen to the lessons that it holds, you’ll find the gold.”
The opening lyrics of India.Arie’s new song Break the Shell, is making me reconsider some assumptions about shadows. Mainly that they’re not all like this:
Could shadows instead hold some deeper lesson? But to discover the lesson I’d have to actually examine the shadow. Especially the ones that reveal aspects of myself that I don’t like to think about. And I’m a pretty open person!
But we all have pain and we all have scars…mistakes….fears. Locking those memories in the back closet of the basement of my mind doesn’t keep them buried forever. In fact, they just seem to hurt that much more once re-revealed.
What’s the alternative?
- Risk speaking of them.
- Risk revealing them.
- Risk getting comfortable with discomfort.
I’m not claiming that’ll make you feel better in the short-term. Taking risks on matters of most import may not always get you what you want. Yet the alternative probably won’t either.
Nobody likes to feel pain, but sometimes pain helps you heal. And there is some peace in knowing that.
Today I’m stepping into 30 days of complaint-free living. And to keep me accountable, I thought I would post every few days about what miracles show up as a result of this mental game. I call it a game because it really is an exercise of mental persuasion. The more conscious I am of my capacity to choose where I place my attention, the stronger my mind grows in attracting what I’m attending to. Basically the game is to…
I first heard about the 30-day challenge to not complain about ANYTHING, in Edwene Gaines’ book 4 Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. I wrote a few posts back in 2011 about how I did, here was a funny one. Today I’m beginning again for two reasons: First, in preparation for Ramadan which begins next week and my tradition to give up a mental habit as I fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset (although I am allowing myself water this year). Second, I just need to shake loose this nagging voice in my head that loves to complain!
Have you ever been in a situation of undeniable beauty, calm and enjoyment when all the sudden this annoying voice whispers loudly:
“…you know this won’t last very long…”
…”if it wasn’t for that piece of trash/the dark clouds/the kid screaming over there this moment would be perfect…”
…”I forgot to do XYZ! Dang it! I’m such a lousy sibling/parent/friend/employee!”
I’ve learned at least to not resist or get angry at this voice anymore. That just makes it stronger. It’s not my goal to completely erase ever having a negative thought for the rest of my life. (But wow, wouldn’t that be cool!??!) My goal is a little more realistic – at least for me in this lifetime – to not DWELL on the thought and choose to refocus back on what I’m grateful for.
This is the power in the complaint-free challenge. To put your primary focus on gratitude. To move throughout your day in the following ways:
1. Being mindful for what is working:
2. Acknowledging how your strengths are being utilized:
3. Recognizing where kindness shows up
4. Looking for ways to serve more of all that good stuff.
It’s not hard once you decided to look for it. Would love to hear your thoughts and invite you to share how you’re choosing one less complaint today!