I didn’t intend for the July post to have a kitschy 4th of July feel. But, there you have it, the unintended consequences of serendipity and inspiration.
I am in Santa Fe; my 3rd trip to this magical place. At the airport, I made one last business call to a colleague who has also spent a lot of time here. The word I used to describe Santa Fe was spiritual. He wholeheartedly agreed.
I felt my energy shift as soon as I got off the plane. I was calm, at peace, ready to go with the flow. Yes, there is amazing food, art and jewelry everywhere you turn, shopping galore. But the sky, the air, the spaciousness, the sounds and the energy…it’s like a deep cleansing breath.
On the plane, I decided that I would write this month’s post about emotion. In between this kernel of an idea and sitting down to write several things happened:
I met a lovely, outgoing, creative woman on the shuttle.
I saw this Flag of Values poster hanging in a small shop.
I did a guided meditation by guru Joseph Goldstein.
I opened my computer to write this post and found the “FOCUS” manifesto (written by Courtney E. Martin and illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton and written about in Maria Papova’s blog, Brain Pickings) on my screen. I’m still not sure why my browser was open to the page.
Two strangers meet on the shuttle, one black, one white, one an artist, one a company executive, one from Northern CA, one from Southern, sharing thoughts and ideas, observations and fears, incredulous at how our country is being led and represented to the world. Intellectual and emotional pining for some sign, any sign, of humanity. The emotional environment of this meeting for me was: gratitude, fear & hope.
A “Flag of Values” hangs in a little shop in central Santa Fe. It recalls honorable American values. A Flag, like our behavior, waves in the wind for all to see. People fought to raise this flag and it’s values. What flag of values are you waving? What values are you fighting for? The emotional environment of seeing this poster was: inspired, incredulous, angry, helpless & hopeful.
On the app 10% Happier, Joseph Goldstein guides a meditation on emotions. He suggests mindfulness can prevent us from getting carried away by, lost in, and drown by our emotions. Mindfulness has a liberating power. It gives us the space to feel the emotion and awareness to choose the most skillful response to each emotional situation. This is exactly the sentiment of Martin & McNoughton’s manifesto, “FOCUS.”
Created in post-election 2017, “FOCUS” calls us to feel into our emotions and challenges us to act. “Feel…the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption… and then FOCUS…pick up your pen…” The emotional environment created by reading this manifesto was: appreciation, respect, energy, hope & awe.
Our current political situation is stirring up strong emotions for almost everyone I know; it is simultaneously bringing people together and pulling them apart. Our institutions are in turmoil and threatened, our safety and security are at risk, and dignity, personal responsibility, decency and a sense of greater good seem to be lost. I don’t think there has been an “event” this divisive in my lifetime. We are reminded in the final thought presented in “FOCUS”, honoring Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem,” that “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after the light.”
So, this turned out to be about emotion and the bigger idea - to mindfully put our ENERGY IN MOTION. Pay attention and then create, build, do, make something that is good and true. Be an inspiration for humanity.
Where will you put your energy and what will you create in the light?
A serendipitous footnote: According to Maria Popova’s article about “FOCUS,” this manifesto was almost entirely written by Martin while she was walking in the deserts of New Mexico. What did I tell you…spiritual…inspired!
Flag photo by Lynne Bernstein © 2017