A Nation must have a Conscience

A nation must be governed by conscience. For what is a nation, is it real estate; is it a land of squatters? No, a nation is people. Everyone in the United States of America is a member of a family whose last name is America. There are no servants in a nation, no servants in a family – each member has equal value, equal rights, and can and should have equal expectation of consideration, education, health care, education, and protection. Those members of the family chosen to head the family are chosen by each individual with the valid expectation that their needs, and their rights will be given no less consideration than those of anyone else. They have a right to believe that the size of the population will not in any way diminish the value of every single member. If a whole neglects its parts it will eventually become defective.

Our future survival depends more on this than on any other single factor. Humanity has become marginalized. Human beings have been categorized as collateral damage, acceptable loss, consumers, the list goes on. A nation cannot be great if its people are suffering. A nation is not wealthy if its people are hungry. A nation becomes great when the health, education and well being of its people are its priority. A great nation is not a nation that excels in its ability to arm its forces or wage its wars. A nation is not great because it boasts the largest percentage of billionaires, but because it boasts the lowest percentage of poor.

The United States becomes less and less united every day, and this is because our leadership lacks a connection with the humanity of the citizens whose rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness it is pledged to represent. We send children off to fight a war. It does not matter anymore why we entered the war, it is of no importance whose fault it is anymore. What matters is that we understand the difference between supporting our children, our troops, our family members who are risking their lives at our behest, and supporting the war itself. Our sons and daughters sent over to Iraq face physical and emotional challenges that we do not even understand. They face medical and financial challenges that may last their entire lives. Their families, who also serve by sacrificing their husbands and fathers, also face endless emotional , and financial suffering. Why does this country respond so quickly and decisively when it needs young men to serve in its armed forces, and respond so slowly when those same young men need the country to help rebuild their lives? Why is their duty to serve their country unlimited, and our duty to repay their service so very very limited? What happened to a country for the people?

If we are to support our troops, we must hold the government accountable for how much of our tax dollars go to the continued support of the troops and their families, just as our tax dollars go to the continued support of those who serve in congress, the Supreme Court the white house. To serve the country as a lawmaker is no greater a sacrifice, or gift to the nation than that of serving in its defense. If we do not have enough money to honor and protect those who fight for the country in its armed forces, then we do not have enough money to wage a war. If we do not have enough money to afford them the unlimited access to those things that they need in order to enjoy the rights that they are risking their lives to defend – then we cannot afford to go to war. Our children cannot be cannon fodder. Our service men and woman cannot be considered less valuable, in anyway, because they do not have the ability to raise the capital to fund an election campaign.

What does it mean, United we stand – divided we fall? Siblings fight, differences arise, it is up to a wise leadership to find a way to unite the divided. In a nation composed of people that requires conscience, and when conscience has been lost so is the ability to lead a people forward. We are divided in so many ways, between rich and poor, between races, between religions, between educated and non-educated, but the most dangerous division of all is the division between the head and the body. We have no need to fear outside enemies when the head has become alien to the body. We can do nothing in that state but fall upon ourselves.

The Possible changes our Lives

It is the unseen possibility that turns a journey into an adventure.

Whether we believe in a world of fate or a world of free will, we are living in a world of possibilities. It makes no different whether our future is preordained or happens by chance we still have no idea what life has waiting just around the corner. We can’t plan corners only straight paths. Yet sometimes, what we did today lies in wait while something new, something completely unexpected jumps out at us from a hidden space.

Life in the Bronx had settled into consistency. My neighborhood was safe thanks to my mother’s personality. I had friends I had known all of my life. I knew what to expect, the good and the bad. My grandmother came over every Friday and stayed until Sunday. I made it through the week from weekend to weekend. All of my friends were born around the same time and for seven years we grew together. Friendship was not chosen we were born into it. Even though I was not white it did not matter from what I saw in my very small world. My father was not around much so his presence was a cause for celebration, not fighting. For me, life had settled into being as good as it gets.

Along comes the Throgs Neck Bridge!! The State decided to build a bridge and the toll booth would be directly across the street from my house. Everyone I knew had to move – my neighborhood was to be destroyed. For the first of many times, life came out of my blind spot. When I was told that we were moving I felt my insides turn to ice, I could not breathe. I would lose everything I knew. My father wanted to move to Connecticut, but my mother wanted to move to New Jersey and buy a house with my grandmother. She won.

I moved to Orange, NJ. It was a beautiful large house with thirteen rooms. When we arrived the house smelled so wonderful and new. There were shiny new wood floors and a big back yard. My room was so light and airy with a big beautiful canopy bed. Best of all, my grandmother was right upstairs on the third floor. My little sister and I went outside and walked around the block. The children did not come up to us, they just looked at us, as if we were aliens. My mother and grandmother were the only ones seen when the house was purchased, no one was prepared for the little black entourage that would come in after them. We were not welcome.

This bridge erased my life. My father only came home on weekends because the commute was too much. I think that the idea of sharing a house with my grandmother was made the commute even more unbearable. We now lived in a neighborhood where we were not welcome. There were forty children in my neighborhood, none of whom could play with us. There were a few Black families in the neighborhood, but they were tolerated. I was different I was a mixed breed. I was called Zebra, oreo cookie and nigger; parents threw rocks at me. I retreated within myself. Everything pointed to my being defective.

I found ways to cope; I drew an imaginary world of happy people and happy families. Slowly a few children began to come over and play. Before the first summer, my parents felt so sorry for my sister and I that they put in a swimming pool, the only one in the neighborhood except for Dionne Warwick who lived quite a distance from us. Suddenly, most of the children began to come over; their parents gave in so that they could swim during the long hot summer. I learned that prejudice is not a condition it is an obstacle.

Life is unexpected, things jump out at us from the Universe, like bridges that change our lives. We cannot plan for them, we cannot prepare for all of the possibilities. All that we can do is seek the purpose of the new path that we have been placed upon. My life has not been built upon a well thought out plan, but upon a series of unexpected turns, roadblocks, and detours. It has been built on possibilities, those bugaboos that jump out at you from behind the bushes and around the corners that we cannot see.

At no moment have we been misguided, nowhere have mistakes been made, and nothing has ever caused us to be anywhere but where we were destined to be when we were destined to be there. The opportunity is ours to embrace each moment, each day with all of its possibilities. We need to believe that although now is forever, it is a container that holds ever changing ever evolving contents. In as little as five minutes, an entire road may be closed and a totally uncharted one opened. Good, bad, or just plain boring, this is still now and the possibilities are still endless. We may be at a point where we have stopped for a while but we are never at the end. We are always on the road to success.

If we are walking down the street and a wall appears to obstruct our paths, it would not benefit us to stand there and yell at it for appearing. It would only cause unnecessary pain to throw our bodies against it. We need to let go and welcome the visit from God and check to see what His new plan is for us.

Life is experience and symbolism at the same time. Each experience represents something which is a part of our growth. The lessons never change, only the classrooms. A new man or woman enters our lives different face, different body and different voice, yet in a short time we find, much to our amazement that we are in the same relationship that we have been in time and time before. Astrologically nothing in life happens that is not promised within our birth. Our lives are either their fulfillment; or our charts are the images of our journey through symbols. We should take this even further to the understanding that when we come into each incarnationwe come with a vehicle. This vehicle is equipped with all that we need to travel and prosper on our journey. All of our possibilities are built in.

If we spend the time seeing the lessons, seeing the things that happen and the people that enter our lives we will find that there are patterns. The archetypal hero has many different challenges to overcome, many labors to endure. By looking within, by examining the lives that we have lived we will see our hero’s journey. One of my lessons is to be like the Buddhic monks who spend hours upon hours creating the most beautiful works of art in sand, only to have them blown away. The lesson of non-attachment has pervaded my life since the day that I was born. I also know that I must work hard for anything that I want and hard work will not guarantee my reward. I have to do for the sake of doing. These are patterns – my patterns. This is a part of the plan of my life. I also know that my life brings me constantly to the edge. If I am to be saved it will be at the 11th hour and so close to the end that only a fool would count on being saved. This too is a pattern. Understanding the patterns in our lives brings us closer to understanding the lessons and therefore reaping the rewards in learning them.

We are born into a family with its beliefs and its accepted boundaries. As we seek our place within that family we utilize those aspects of ourselves that make our fitting in easier. Those aspects of ourselves that do not fit, we put away out of sight, even from ourselves. Each of those aspects is an untapped resource that we have. It is just awaiting the arena to unfold. It is part of a possibility that has not yet become apparent. To expose those hidden parts of ourselves would not permit us to fit within our family structure. Those aspects of ourselves and of our paths that we hide from the light surface as dreams, wishes, longings and even doubts. They wait to be awakened by the Universe to fulfill their place in our life plan. The road ahead may seem clear, or paved with obstacles, but that is only its appearance, behind the corners, lie a million possibilities that we cannot even imagine. Tomorrow may be just another day, or the day that changes our entire lives. We cannot see all of the possibilities that are around us. Yet they are the things that life is made up of. They are the building blocks of our moments.

When things go well we don’t care about possibilities, and they go wrong we don’t believe in them. Yet the possibilities are all around us, remaining unaffected by our beliefs. They guide our lives. No matter how carefully we plan the future; it is possibilities that create it.

The journey of man from cave dweller to space traveler is a journey built on those possibilities. They fuel the adventure. It is not what we expect but what we do not expect that puts the life into living.

1979 was a very bad year for me. It was a year of seeing reality as I had never seen it before. I saw my place in the picture, and the responsibility that I had for being in that place. From where I sat I was living up to my mother’s expectations of failure. My life was not moving forward as were the lives of my friends. My daughter was six years old and I was not prepared for the responsibility. My ex-husband was fighting me over child support and in order to make my suffering greater he was refusing to see our child. I felt alone. Then one day, my boss went through my desk drawer and I felt so invaded that I quit. Honestly, I did not even know that I was going to do it until the words left my lips. Once done, I could not take it back although my boss gave me the opportunity.

I felt as though there were a brick wall in front of my life. I was not equipped to do the things that I needed to do for my daughter. I realized that I was not prepared to be the adult I was supposed to be. I was not prepared to be the mother and provider I was supposed to be. I felt so small and lost. Despair filled me, at 28 I had no options, no doors seemed open to me and a child depended on me for everything. I felt as though I were in quick sand I could neither pull myself out nor stop myself from sinking deeper.

My Grandmother pushed me to go and find a job, another any job. Feeling so frustrated that I had to punish myself; I went out on my birthday to make a fruitless attempt at getting a job fully prepared to come home having found nothing and prove once again my worthlessness. I walked by a Temp Agency and decided to walk in. After I filled out my application and failed the typing test the phone rang. An office in the building needed someone immediately, they needed a body and my poor typing skills were outweighed by their desperation. I had any job. This job changed my entire life. It led to my own business. This temp job allowed me to give my daughter everything that I wanted and to feel that I was not a failure. It was a twist in the road. Not visible from where I stood, a possibility that changed my life.  This is how our possibilities I walked into a temporary agency looking for some work for a week or two and my entire life changed. Walking into that door brought me to a road that took me from rags to riches. This is how our possibilities work.” 

My niece was a college professor in Iowa. The only person that she was comfortable relating to was her ex-husband. Although divorced, circumstances caused them to maintain their relationship. This environment, in which they both felt very out of place, left them dependent upon each other. She believed that this need for companionship was love. They had nothing in common; she had every reason to divorce him when she did. He finally met someone else and left her in a very deceitful manner, but because she was alone and feeling that there were no options left for happiness she wanted to get him back. Regardless of how I tried to remind her that he was not good for her, she just wanted him.

As the reality of a long summer alone in Iowa approached, she decided to do something that would take her to an environment where she did not feel his presence on every street. She decided to choose between spending a summer in Miami with me or going to Paris and learn French. I convinced her that summer in Florida was not a vacation, and Paris held such rich possibilities. So she applied for a grant and all of the pieces fell into place for her to leave for Paris. For the first few weeks her depression was upstaged by the beauty and excitement of Paris. But after a few weeks the pain returned. She began to feel the hopelessness of believing that her life would remain empty, and she would be a lonely old maid. Everywhere she looked she saw couples laughing, holding hands and filling themselves with the aura of romance that was the city. She became more and more resigned to a life that frankly, for her would not be worth living.

One night an old friend insisted that she come to a party he and his wife were giving. Although she was convinced that it would be another night of watching happy couples sharing what she would never again have, out of a sense of obligation and resignation, she accepted. Suddenly, she had a movie moment; a man appeared in front of her who was everything that she had ever dreamed the perfect man to be. The rest of the people in the room faded into the background and the two came together. It was love at first sight. Within six months she was married and living in Paris. It was a story that she herself would have never believed possible only a month before. She saw no way for anything in her life to change – but change it did. We do not see the steps that pave our destiny, we don’t plan them, we don’t work our plan – God’s plan works us.

Sometimes everything just seems lost, and sometimes we just get tired of looking. Perhaps we just need to rest; or we need to clear our eyes so that we may see what is coming. Whether it is a talent we didn’t know that we had, or an opportunity that we never thought we could have had; anything is possible at any time.

This means that however hopeless things seem, we should never give up and no matter how good things are we should never get too comfortable. All that we can do is enjoy the ride.

Getting What We Really Want

We usually do not ask the Universe for what we really want. We ask for what we think it looks like, so when we get what we ask for, we are disappointed.

We usually do not ask the Universe for what we really want. We ask for what we think it looks like, so when we get what we ask for, we are disappointed.” Once we have made a commitment we have focused our energies that focus creates a clear direction for the Universe to interpret and help guide us towards. Focus brings clarity. Once our desires are focused we are clear. Once we are clear our goal is understood and immediately the Universe begins to work. Having this focus means trusting that the Universe will guide our steps, even if it is not where we think it should be. It may not even be where we want it to be. The external world dominates our thinking and we make our plans based upon its rules. The Universe does not act in terms of physical categories, or forms, it acts in terms of the need to be filled on a soul level.

A position may appear before me, or someone may speak to me regarding a particular career and I will decide that it is what I want. This position or career stimulates within me a feeling of satisfaction, or accomplishment. That feeling is why I want that position, and so it is the feeling and not the position that the Universe will bring to me. The position is only the form that I assume will provide the feeling. It is the box that I assume contains what it is that I really want. This understanding is critical.

The Universe may not bring me that particular position because in actuality that position was not going to give me what I was really looking for. It is that underlying need, that underlying feeling that Universe will bring me. So when we focus, it must not be merely on the outer appearance of what we desire, but primarily on the feeling we anticipate that it will fill us with.

The ego is a bag with a hole in the bottom. What is fed through the ego empties into the soul. The problem is that food for the ego is waste for the soul. The ego cannot be satiated, that happens in the soul. Do we want to feel secure, or is it the sense of achievement that we desire? What does our soul receivefrom whatever it is that we are going after? When we see ourselves with whatever it is that we seek, how does it feel? We may seek the physical form of something but it is really the essence that we perceive is contained within that form that we are after. When we are attracted to the physical form what is being drawn to that form is the ego. The ego sees the thing, the person, or the position as a way to satisfy a craving. Yet, when we attain what the ego is attracted to, we are still empty within. When we override the ego and connect with the feeling of it, we are closer to the truth. Truth is what the Universe will at all times bring to our lives.

I may think that I want John, but in fact I want what I imagine being with John will feel like. It may very well be that what I think I will feel with John is not in any way what I would actually feel from him. He may not be who I think he is. I am. However if I focus on what it is that I want to feel, and open myself to any possible way that it may be brought to me, I am in a much better position to have my real needs met. When I am clear on what qualities I am seeking in a mate, even if I am hoping it is John, it will be those qualities that the Universe will provide. If I do not get John that does not mean that I will not get what I am seeking, it only means that what I am seeking is not John.

The Universe is constantly answering our prayers. It is we, who are not really in touch with what we are actually praying for. We may have an idea of the form that we imagine it will come in, but we need to leave the knowledge of the actual form up to the Universe. We need to trust that we will get what we really want. When we obtain what the ego seeks, we temporarily scratch an itch. When we obtain what the soul is seeking, we remove the cause of the itch. If we let go and have faith, we will get the enduring quality that our soul is seeking.

This is a lesson that may take us forever to learn. Very often the Universe will give us exactly what we ask for, and often when that happens we are disappointed because it is never what we thought it would be. The ego sees a box, wants the box and gets the box. The soul opens the box to get what is inside and beholds that it is empty. The ego does not look inside. It does not even comprehend the meaning of inside. To satisfy the ego at the expense of the soul is to put a piece of tape on a hole in the dam. It will not hold. The satisfaction of the soul fills the hole with the same material that the dam itself is made of. Therefore, there is permanent repair.

What we do not realize is that the Universe  may have presented us with exactly what we really wanted many times over, but we didn’t know it because we didn’t like the box. Each time that it appeared before us, we simply passed it by without noticing. Our ego was in the way. The Universe gives us what our ego asks for so that at some point we will begin to realize that the problem is not what we keep getting, but what we keep asking for.

We may be so entrenched in what we expect to see that we miss what is before us. Finally we learn that perhaps we need to look deeper to find what we really want and rephrase the request. It is valuable to go inside and dig beneath all of the layers of what we want to find out what we need from it. We need to find the feeling we are seeking. What is the experience meant to satisfy on the deepest level? Once we know what we need to feel, we will be able to focus clearly upon what it is that we want. When we can focus, we will find that we do get exactly what we want. There are as many ways to express love as there are people to express it.

There are certain things that are very difficult to recognize as adults if they were absent in childhood. If we were not given the love that we needed as children by either or both of our parents, we find it almost impossible to recognize love as adults. Love is an invisible energy that is transmitted through even the most trivial action. If you were not loved, you do not understand this. And so, you look to the world outside for almost Shakespearean expressions of love. Loving and grand shows of affection are two different things. A person who was taught to say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, who was trained as a child to always call home, to always ask about someone’s health and well being is a person who was taught to be polite. My daughter is extremely dramatic. When she was young, she would exhibit dramatic shows of affection. It didn’t even mean that she cared, it just means that she is a drama queen. A person can be impolite, inconsiderate and unemotional and still love deeply. I have known many extremely well mannered people who went through all of the ‘shoulds’ but really didn’t care about anyone. I have known too many people who have gone through life feeling unloved, all the while turning away those who love them because they did not recognize the form that it came in.

These people, desperately seeking love, were attracted to individuals who were natural at presenting a façade of loving or even caring when in fact their actions and words were empty, or self-serving. And it is easy to fall into this because if you don’t know what it feels like – you go after what it looks like. Unfortunately love looks like air, so since we can’t see it, we search for what we normally find containing it, a balloon, so when we think that we have love, often times all we have is a balloon. One of the greatest gifts that I have received is this particular understanding. I have learned that the value of a gift lies in its value to the giver, not to the receiver or to the general public. I know that some people love me because they give me the hardest thing for them to give and that is trust. I know that other people love me because they won’t go away no matter what I do. My father never did one thing that would fit on the list of expressions of love – but I knew that he loved me when he stopped at the Howard Johnsons to have pancakes with me when I went to work with him.

Sometimes getting what we really want requires taking the time to go inside and find out what it is that we want from it. If we do this, we will find that what we want from it may be in it, or it may not be in it at all. Knowing what we need to receive from what we want to achieve will give us a far greater chance at satisfaction. It removes the appetite from being the decision maker so that we may be really nourished. If we can attract to us that which we believe we want, we will cut out a great deal of disappointment and suffering if we are not focused on what we believe that we want but we believe that we want is what we also know that we need. When we know that what we want is a box and what we need is not the box but its content, then we can accept that only God knows which box is right for us.