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Greetings of peace and health to all!

South Florida was hit with a great cleanser in the form of Wilma. Wilma taught my husband and I that Love is the most important thing in the whole universe. Keeping Love in awareness became a moment by moment conscious focus. I'm sure many of us experienced many frightening moments during the storm.

Right after the storm, one of my friends phoned and said that she had an odyssey. Since speaking with her, I've heard many odyssey stories. An odyssey is a perilous journey. I'm sure we all have perilous tales we could tell about the past week. But, I'm sure, too, there are also many miracles we could share. There were times during the "week-without-power" we just had, that I thought I was reliving the Maccabbee saga: our resources lasted longer than we expected. Our propane stove worked fine for five days without running out of propane; so did our propane lantern. Our fridge stayed cold for almost four days; our radio ran constantly on the original set of batteries. Our candles lasted as did our flashlight batteries. And more miracles: we met our neighbors who were really, really, really, really helpful.

A Course in Miracles says "God is but love, and so am I!" I watched love in action this past week as I kept allowing Love to come through me and to fill me and to heal the fear. As I focused on quieting my mind, a song kept bubbling up to the surface of my awareness:

The storm is blowin'
The snow is snowin'
What do I care how much it may storm!
I've got my love to keep me warm!

Who knew Irving Berlin was a prophet!
 


Happy 2006! 

May peace of mind radiate from your core and bless and heal the whole world.


Thoughts

The Miami Herald, on 1/1/06, ran an op-ed piece by Frida Ghitis (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/13518051.htm) about how there is less violence on the planet now than at any other time in history.  That the planet is more peaceful now is the conclusion reached by the Human Security Report that was published in October 2005 (http://www.humansecurityreport.info). Of course the question begs, if that’s true, then why aren’t we celebrating? Why are people filled with anxiety and dread? Why are people stressed out and filled with anxiety?  Why are millions and millions of people on Prozac?

The same issue of the Herald had an interview with me about defining spirituality (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/editorial/letters/13518041.htm). At one point, I spoke about how I learned that I could see the world through the eyes of love or the eyes of fear.

It seems as though the world runs on fear. We have to worry about an endless array of threats: if the terrorists don’t get us, then a hurricane will; if it’s not avian flu, then it’s global warming.  The nightly news features fires, tornados, murders, car crashes interspersed with commercials touting the latest cure of that deadly of all conditions – yellow teeth. We have to worry about dandruff, deodorant and dirty floors.

Fear impedes growth.  I read recently that in order for an organism to survive it needs to do two things: it needs to protect itself and it needs to grow.  If too much energy is spent on protection, there isn’t enough energy left for growth. Love fosters growth. Growth leads to self-actualization. It is a state of Self-realization. It’s the awareness that humans are all part of one Spirit.  We are all the Buddha, the Christ or any other term for the Divine Presence. It is Enlightenment or Buddhahood or being a Bodhisattva. The Hindu term Tat Tvam Asi means “thou art that,” or as Joni Mitchell said in the song Woodstock, “we are stardust, we are golden, and we have to get ourselves back to the garden”.

 


What you want is what you see!

            I read recently that the French government is starting its own CNN-type international news network. France’s President Chirac’s reasoning for starting a new network is “France must be at the forefront of the global battle of images.”  Chirac’s statement made me realize that the world is comprised of different factions all competing to get inside my head. 

            Think about the content of the competing images. What are the predominant messages? These are the message I hear:

a)      You need to be frightened because something’s going to get you – terrorists, hurricanes, foot fungus, dandruff, bad breath and erectile dysfunction.

b)      You are inadequate as you are and therefore need a myriad of products, potions and promises to compensate for your inadequacies.  Lately I find my salvation in hair gel. It’s making up for my incurable “menopause hair” malady.

c)      And often the messages conflict: Be thin, but stuff your face at McDonald’s. 

d)      Every once in a while you see messages of hope and inspiration, but they are few and far between.

      To sum up: the predominant messages of the world are based on fear, lack and conflict.

            A few years ago I was involved with an organization called Images and Voices of Hope (http://www.ivofhope.org/ ).   Images and Voices of Hope describes itself as “an international conversation about the impact of images and stories on people, families, communities, cultures and the world.” One of Its principles is that the world we perceive is based on our thinking. In other words as within, so without. Cognitive psychology talks about something similar:  perception is based on cognitive structures which can also be called the unexamined assumptions we hold in mind.  To put it succinctly, if I’m perceiving fear and lack in the world, my mind must be filled with fearful and anxious thinking. 

            A Course in Miracles says “when you want only love, you will see nothing else.”  The idea that we have a choice about what to think may be revolutionary.  But it is possible to choose what we think even under the most horrific of circumstances. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, recounts his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp.  He said that he was stripped of every conceivable freedom except the freedom to choose what he thought.  He also said that he chose to focus on love and based on that choice, he strove to make life better for fellow camp inmates.

            The global battle of images that Chirac describes is just a reflection of my brain’s battle of belief systems.  Do I want to choose a thought system based on conflict, fear and lack or do I want to choose to focus on love.  Thoughts of conflict, fear and lack give rise to a world in which I believe that I’m a helpless victim. Thoughts of love give rise to a world of hope, inspiration, courage, wisdom, creativity, humor, justice, and peace.

Visual Inspiration

For a visual experience of inspiration and joy, visit www.larrydubitsky.com. Relax and browse through the 100 plus original water colors from Master Artist Larry Dubitsky.  Larry’s paintings are magical; they transform people’s homes and their lives.  Tell your friends.


News

A Chorus of Wisdom contributor Barbara De Angelis’ new book, How Did I Get Here, is available on her web site http://www.barbara-deangelis.com/. Barbara is a gifted writer and speaker. How Did I Get Here is for anyone who wants to confront change with wisdom, courage, energy and healing.