Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize – Part III


Tawakkul Karman

Tawakkul Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three children, has been called by some the “mother of the revolution” in Yemen, demanding the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s dictatorial regime. She has been actively participating in sit-ins, protesting the President’s dictatorship over Yemen. At one point, she was seized and held in prison, only to have thousands of people demand her release. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/07/tawakkul-karman-profile

In an interview with free-lance journalist Eva Sohlman Karman, the people of Yemen put down their weapons when they heard the announcement that Karman had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. They took to the streets with flowers in their hands. Karman believes that this award represents an understanding that Muslims are not terrorists, and that the people of Yemen want freedom and peace. (You can listen to this interview at: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1670)

In this same interview, she shares her belief that the first thing that must be done to ensure women in Yemen and in Arabic countries assume their responsibilities in building the world is to put an end to dictatorship regimes. Then they can begin the process of education that will allow women to become leaders.

She describes how women are accepted as fighters for revolutions, until dictators are put into power. Once they are in control, they speak against women and further their subjugation.

For those of us that live in relatively free nations, can we even begin to imagine what it must be like to grow up in a reality where you are seen as a terrorist because of your religion? Can we imagine what it is like to grow up in a place where political dictators use women as fighters when it serves them, and then speak against women once they attain power? Can we imagine how much conviction women in countries controlled by dictators must be holding in their hearts to become a voice for peace?

When I look at what I am here to do on this earth and I look at the obstacles and challenges I face, they pale in comparison to what Tawakkul Karman has had to overcome to become the “mother of the revolution.” She is absolutely committed to bringing dictators to justice and establishing peace in her country.

So let me ask, what can we do, to support Tawakkul Karman’s efforts for peace and freedom? Do we just sit back and watch? Or is there something we can actually do?

I believe there is something we can do. We can hold her intentions for peace and freedom in our hearts and bless those intentions with the same fervor and dedication with which she carries these hopes in her heart.

Every parent or caring person can know what it feels like to want peace and freedom for our children. I wonder how much Kaman is motivated by her own children, because every child deserves to grow up in peace, don’t you think?

Let us consider holding peace and freedom in our hearts, and then going as deeply into those feelings as we can—allowing our hearts to expand in their capacity to hold this hope for all who long for it.

If you are not familiar with the practice of holding, you might appreciate becoming familiar with the first step of the Creation Meditation we teach here at New Dream. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=75.0 Holding is the essential gift of the Sacred Feminine. I can think of no better time or reason to hold for peace and freedom than right now, when so many people in so many countries are standing for their right to live without the oppression of dictators.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creating What You Desire Through Gratitude


Do you remember the last time you were deeply grateful for something? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember how alive, excited and perhaps somewhat humbled you felt?

This incredible feeling is not only what you feel when you receive, but it is the feeling that can create your fulfillment. What does this mean? When you stop seeking and allow yourself to gratefully notice how your longings are already being met, you experience the power of this creative force that we call gratitude. What you thought to be unknown reveals itself to you and you become witness to the true Mystery of Divine creation.

Think about something you longed for as a child. Say for example, you always wanted a pet but your mother was allergic to cat and dog hair, so that wish was not fulfilled as a child. However, when you became an adult living on your own, you decided to get a pet, and now you have several.

You probably helped to create the reality of having pets by completely enjoying those moments that you spent with a neighbor’s dog or a friend’s cat, prior to having your own. Your delight in them—that feeling of being alive, excited and a little humbled—helped you stay present to your desire. The feeling kept you motivated and helped you bring your desire into fulfillment.

Not all desires are met right away. Sometimes you take interesting twists and turns in your process of fulfillment. Sometimes you are getting yourself ready for what you truly want. Often, you find that you need to keep yourself motivated. Feeling gratitude for something before you have fully received it keeps your motivation high. It also brings the satisfied feeling of fulfillment right down into your cells where your body vibrates the truth of that satisfaction. (Here is a prayer that might help you in accessing the depth of your gratitude: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=1580.0)

Your vibrational energy of satisfaction is attracting what you want as though it is already a part of your life. That means that when you shift from desire to gratitude, you are already creating what you want. If you pause long enough to be grateful, you can usually see evidence that what you want to receive is in progress.

When my husband and I were manifesting a home for us, he had a strong sense about what he wanted, and every day he gave thanks for our new home as if we already had it. Each time we went out to look at houses with the realtor, he saw evidence of his manifestation. As we looked at houses together, we became clearer about what our perfect house would be like, we communicated our desire better, our realtor began to get a visual picture of what appealed to us, and indeed we got closer and closer to the right house for us, until we finally found it.

I understood as we were moving into our new home that his gratitude played a significant role in establishing the motivation and vibratory field that landed us our home, because he didn’t think of our home as existing in our future. He saw our home as existing right now. We just had to align with it so that it could become evident to us. His gratitude created that alignment.

Today might be the perfect day to stop for a moment and reflect on what you experience and enjoy that causes you to feel grateful. Notice that what you once wanted you enjoy now. Right now you are experiencing the reward of that desire.

Then you might want to consider something new that you desire and give thanks that it already exists. Really feel those words of thanks because that lovely mixture of ingredients—aliveness, excitement and humbleness, that we call gratitude—is creating what you are manifesting right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize? Part II

Leymah Gbowee

BBC calls Laymah Gbowee Liberia’s Peace Warrior. The Nobel prize committee said they chose her because she:

…mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women's participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war.

Gbowee has known the violence that 14 years of civil war can create, and she has responded with action. She became a trauma counselor and worked with women and girls that had been raped by militamen. She and the women were desperate for the war and abuses to end.

According to a BBC report, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15215312, Gbowee and the women she organized in Liberia were deeply committed, as they picketed, fasted and prayed for peace:

Amid the shells and bullets, they prayed and protested for days on end, demanding that the conflict between former President Charles Taylor and rebel forces stop.

The protestors even followed President Taylor to Ghana’s capital when he flew there for peace talks, continuing to pursue him until they were successful. They indeed met their goal. Mr. Taylor is no longer the president.

Although Mr. Taylor is on trial at The Hague for war crimes, Gbowee makes it very clear in an interview with Stephen Colbert that he is not on trial for war crimes against Liberia. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/233532/july-14-2009/leymah-gbowee.

In this same interview, she talks about how the women went on a sex strike in order to influence their men to stand up for peace. They denied sex to those that were fighting and those that were not fighting. The women wanted even non-fighting men to speak to their friends and relatives that were choosing to fight, and participate in putting an end to the conflict.

According to the BBC report mentioned above, Ms. Amanor, Gbowee’s assistant shed some light on Gbowee’s reason for announcing the sex strike:

Ms. Gbowee also suggested that Liberian women might go on a sex strike to increase pressure on the various (male) faction leaders.

Their message to the men was that they can't go and kill mothers and daughters and then come home [to expect sex], said Ms Amanor.

This topic came up at our recent Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat. While sex is certainly a powerful way to inspire positive and peaceful behaviors in men, this concept triggers a spiritual question for me regarding our choices and sex. Clearly, she sees this choice as providing necessary motivation, and she has written a book about it entitled, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War.

Is it wise for a woman to accept a man into her body, when he is engaged in behaviors of anger, intolerance, violence and the manipulation of others? Yes, he might be in love with you, but when you are engaged in sexual intercourse, the boundaries aren’t that distinct. You are receiving a man into you. A woman has a responsibility for her body. It is her temple. Spiritually, it is a woman’s right and personal duty to herself to consider carefully what energy she is willing to receive.

By not receiving into our bodies men that are living lives filled with anger, violence, greed or manipulation, or are negligent in protecting women from violence, we are in fact making a statement about what is acceptable. We make a significant statement about our values personally and globally when we choose to receive, in our lovemaking, men that live in peace, compassion, generosity and humanitarian love.

This is one of the great powers of the Sacred Feminine. We are the vessels. Our wombs are the crucibles in which life is forged. So, isn’t it appropriate that we be the guardians of our bodies, and the new lives that may emerge from sexual union? Isn’t it appropriate that we, when our men do not, set the standard for the type of energy we want to experience within our temples?

What Gbowee and thousands of women teach us is that claiming our power has nothing to do with being angry, yelling or attempting to force our desires upon another. However, feminine power is clear, persistent, sacred, and holds to a standard of peaceful engagement.

If you would like to listen to Leymah Gbowee’s brief, yet inspiring message for the world in her own word’s, the Nobel Media provides a 2 minute interview with her that allows you to hear her clarity of purpose and her personal power: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1639

Thursday, November 03, 2011

May You Be Reborn as the Being of Your Choosing

Have you ever felt as though you are a person of someone else’s making? Perhaps you feel that God and your parents created you—fashioning you in their desires. Or maybe you feel as though you are partially created from your partner and children’s expectations of you. Our cultures and societies certainly have their expectations that you might find yourself responding to, and you might also find your life becoming a reaction to past challenges and abuses. So who are you, exactly? Are you the person of your own choosing or has that become lost in a myriad of external expectations and internal reaction?

At our recent women’s retreat, I was delighted when the Grandmothers on the other side of the veil reminded me that in the practice they have given us, new moon begins a cycle of renewal—a time when a person can recreate themselves in the fashion of their own choosing. At each new moon, 13 times per year, we can ride the energy of the moon cycles to become reborn as individuals responding to our own inner callings.

Consider the person you would become if you spent some time in quiet contemplation on the day of new moon. Perhaps you would consider what you most want to release or most desire to become. Imagine giving yourself permission, for at least a little while, during the waxing of the moon to plant the seeds within yourself that would further your own self awareness.

You might choose to consider one or all of the Four Prescriptions of this path—surrender, acceptance, desire and commitment—by engaging your creativity, and allowing yourself to see just where you are with these four momentums in life. You might choose to dance out each prescription, write, dramatize, sing, sculpt, sew or paint about them, or quietly meditate on each, or one, of these primary momentums.

You would likely discover what long-held beliefs you wish to surrender, what aspect of your nature yearns to be accepted, what deep desire longs to be acknowledged, or where commitment would serve you in your ultimate fulfillment. What would your life be like if you allowed yourself to honor your inner longings? How might you become the person you long to become?

The Grandmothers reminded me that new moon begins the cycle of self-recreation, culminating at the three days of full moon when the energy supports us in being fully reborn unto ourselves—right into the cells of our body and our conscious awareness. Then we rest and allow our new self-awareness to integrate during the waning of the moon until the cycle begins again.

This cycle that starts with the first day of new moon is so significant that the crescent moon is the symbol of this entire practice. Imagine how your life would be different if you allowed yourself to ride the energetic cycles of the moon by creating a ritual for yourself on the first day of the new moon. Now imagine doing that 13 times throughout the year. And finally, imagine what it would be like to live reborn as the being of your choosing.