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Reflections in the Mirror

Mirror Project Report
This is a collection of conversations and images of Californians who are supporting humanity in many different ways, yet they all have something in common.  That is the deep understanding that we are inextricably interconnected to one another and our ecology.  These individuals work in ways that impact communities beyond California, and in many instances, beyond this nation.  They exemplify selflessness, commitment to improving the chances for equity and justice in choosing leadership, developing public policy,  and creating bridges between and among communities that must be seen and heard. The cover collage is of the youth who are part of the new generation of health organizers and advocates at the CA Endowment.

View or download a copy here (1mb PDF)

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Anything Can Happen Out of This Chaos

out-of-this-chaos

In this moment of our encounter with eternity, the Gift of Compassion has been given the chance to see the limits of our material existence. As a worldwide pandemic sweeps across the globe at the same time climate change is pushing human beings to flow to unknown places that might offer safety and stability – this nation was confronted yet again with the reality of brutality in the hands of law enforcement as the killing of George Floyd was captured on videotape as he gasped for air and called for his mother in the final minutes of his life and existence on this planet.

How far have we come as we sit in the year 2020?  Is this a moment of collapse or is this an opening that could allow for a new opportunity to realize the highest aspirations and goals for security, peace, and compassion?

The natural world has been turning and is practically upside down.  The data are showing unprecedented loss of species, both flora and fauna.  New and unpredictable changes in weather patters are destroying the ability of farming societies to survive, causing a migration of populations larger than any seen in generations. 

And we are beginning to see the deep interconnectedness of all beings and systems.  As the pandemic has required nations to take extraordinary steps to contain a little understood virus, all social systems have been rocked.  The political, financial, judicial institutions that once represented a means for society to offer a framework for stability – are all in chaos now.

Best efforts are being used to work with inter-disciplinary knowledge as in health research informing policy affecting employment and economic development and housing.  There are continuing needs for meeting the needs of the chronically ill or those in need of emergency medical care; and as the crisis of COVID-19 appears to not to respond dramatically to all social restrictions being imposed (and now debated), the world awaits the discovery of a vaccine so that things can return to some semblance of “normal” life.

What is hard to imagine is that there will be no return to the kind of life that existed before the novel virus appeared.  Yet, people are actually living with changes that are slowly and surely being required to adopt, if one wishes to remain in good health. 

There is no question, that a consciousness is being raised about the importance of demonstrating consideration rather than selfishness (wearing a mask as a matter of consideration for others, not self-defense).  People are aware of social distancing, whether at a market or in the streets or at worship to support a new social contract about unwitting disease transmission.  Children and parents are having a new series of question and answer sessions from personal health behaviors to the role of police in our communities.  Employers are thinking about how best to ensure a safe and healthy workplace as furloughs are lifted and rehiring is initiated.  More people are realizing that technology can be extremely effective in meeting the essential needs of clients where service is the “product” to be delivered.  In short, we are already “in it”.  The “it” is change. 

Finally, there is a moment here, when the chaos has truly opened up new ways thinking, being, and acting.  How the myriad of changes underway will ultimately settle into what we know as “normal” going forward is an invitation to manifest and correct the infinite ways in which we made choices that led us to this day.

It’s fascinating to realize that when the world is upside down, another way of experiencing it is not to be fearful, but to note the different perspective and feeling that arises.  Rather than fear the change, realize that change is constantly happening – just as it is in this moment – and with the change, is an opportunity to choose new points of view, new practices, and new tools to be used in the service of our collective  well-being and common future.  Displace the fear with curiosity and creativity.  It offers almost anything to happen for the good, out of this chaos.

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Finding Time and Space

Finding Time & Space
For Love and Grace

With all that we are seeing in the world today, it is too easy to feel overwhelmed.  Technology has made it possible for convenience to become our way of life and the experience of being together, face-to-face – has started to fade for many.  

With Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, we can have an experience of digital connection in real time.  These tools are great for overcoming physical distance;  but there is still something that doesn’t quite make it across Electro-land.  The words and expressions are there; but the touch, the warmth, and the energy isn’t the same, is it?

Creativity connected to nature, Kona coast

Creativity connected to nature, Kona coast.

Once a week, in Los Angeles – a vast space that takes much time to traverse – there is a time and space held for those who want to experience once again, what it is like to know something profound, but not specific…it’s a feeling, not a knowing.  The feeling may be one of acceptance, of goodness, of courage, of determination, of compassion and wisdom. And this arises out of silence shared in community.  No teaching by anyone, no reading to contemplate, nothing but shared space and time — these are the great teachers.  And for the shy one, the effusive one, the forgetful one, the creative one…there is reconnecting to the spirit of belonging to something much greater than an identity, a political view, or even the idea of being a human.

The space and time is there to show each one a way to move inward in times of searching for outward signals of how to live in a place of gratitude and caring with great determination in “not knowing.”  This can only happen in the moments of pause, quiet.

In music, the thing that brings alive a composition and its rhythms are the spaces that have no notes – the rests.  Without these, there is just one big, chaotic, unending noise!

People who are looking for a way to bring meaning, sense, rhythm and joy into their lives, need to know something of the value of silence.

Children in meditation in Tijuana sanctuary

Children in meditation in Tijuana sanctuary

We call it the Great Silence – meditation.  It can happen anywhere, and can also happen as one deepens a practice.

When there is nothing, anything and everything has a chance of being revealed.  And for each one, the revelation is different because their lives are uniquely unto themselves.  And in the end, there is one revelation that all will encounter.

Finding this is why we hold space and time for nothing…but to be together.

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