5 Reality-Changing Ideas for 2017

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Dearest reader,

I haven’t written in a while. Truth be told, I haven’t known what to say. It’s been a deep dive into fathomless places, places where words aren’t a good match for the feelings, where feelings are bottomless, too, with overtones of screech, howl and whine.

Since the election, I, like you, have had to do a major recalibration. Almost overnight it wasn’t okay to spend hours on the Internet filling up with opinions, happenings, commentary and zeitgeist. The zeitgeist meters were all pinned on extreme, and my nervous system was begging for mercy.

So I unplugged. I started looking up and out and connecting with the actual people in my life. Our quiet Thanksgiving gave way to helping a family member’s household regroup after major surgery, including one trip to the emergency room just for support, and cooking several batches of a kickass veggie lasagna for their freezer.

We spent a peaceful Solstice evening in spirited discussion with some close friends and neighbors, candles lit, plates full.

The news that another close family member’s illness wasn’t going so well added to the feeling of catastrophe emanating from all corners of the globe. I still can’t say too much about this, as it is someone else’s news, but it affects me deeply and has tilted my world, casting doubt on my trajectory. This, like many of the season’s events, only highlights something that was already true, but the feeling of being forced to confront the nastiest of possibilities was a hallmark.

But unlike other times of utter chaos and fear (1968 comes to mind), I still felt that it was relevant and necessary to continue my path of healing, my path of developing a work of service to others, to keep growing as a person and pursuing my loves, likes and curiosities.

In fact, it felt vital to do those things. And because of the enormity of world events, it became unquestionably clear that the great, vast swath of human life on earth is not something I alone can influence, save or change, except in the small and local, authentic and true ways that my soul and spirit are directing me now to do.

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Several Things I’m More Grateful For Than Ever

But no list of new directions makes much sense without first acknowledging the foundations that make taking a new direction possible. These are the things I am more grateful for now than ever. The first is daily writing. Really, try this. Three pages, first thing. Nothing fancy. I use a Flair pen, which is gritty, black, bold. Face it, my pen is cool. Yours can be, too. But not until you’ve written every morning for a while. So get started. It’s one of the few things that hits all the categories: mind, body, spirit.

Second: Recovery. Some call it sobriety. Some, clean time. Whatever. It’s a set of principles I can live by that include a loving g_d, or several if that’s what I need, and a loving community, and a way to be of service that has humility built into it. No marketing, ever. No motive except more recovery. Sometimes I need it that simple. Simple is a reset.

Third: Yes, the obvious things now.  I think it may be against my religion to take these for granted: a warm, dry, safe place to live; plenty of food to eat; a loving family and partner; a car; all the necessities, including the emotional one of being treated with respect.

Now, moving into 2017 and having navigated the first Mercury retrograde, the continuation of a Saturn return, and it feels like the arrival of every other planet back to its natal position, some new ideas have risen to the top with urgency and even have words to go with them, which is lucky, so here goes.

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The Present Moment is the Point of Creation

It is absolutely no longer an option to live from a past that dictates certain things about me in the present and going into the future. This isn’t a new idea. I’ve just been reading about it in the The Nature of Personal Reality, a Seth Book (written in 1974), and it’s found in Abraham and Louise Hay, Ernest Holmes, all of the people.

Seth put it best: The reality we experience today is one of infinite probable realities. When we don’t like it, we look to the past to explain the present, choosing to focus on only those things about the past that easily explain the thing about the present we don’t like, and ignoring all the other things in the past that don’t agree with our theory or story about why we are the way we are. In so doing, we then solidify this past, this present, and by extension the future, in which we are this way and that’s that. And that is how we create our reality.

Seth says the present moment is the point of creation, something Louise Hay ran with (“The point of power is in the present moment.”) It bears repeating until we understand what it’s saying: choose a different interpretation of the past and the present and thereby change the future, starting – You guessed it – in the present moment. After you choose that something different, take an action that makes it real to you.

I am not allowed the luxury of inventing a past that explains my current limitations and commits me to struggling to get out of them into the future. From this present moment I am choosing to be the person I have been becoming all along, and I’m choosing to stand in who I am. Not becoming, but being. This effectively removes the future from the equation.

Which is funny, when you think of how scared we are that our new fearless leader will push the red button. What if this were a metaphor for the very real necessity of removing the future from our story, as an endpoint, a place we are working towards arriving at someday when we [fill in the blank]? Writing to you now, expressing these ideas is my action today that makes real the reality I’m choosing to create in this moment, a reality about me, about you, about the world in which we connect.

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What If We Were Being That Now?

The second big idea points to another paradox: Life really is about being, not doing. That is meaningful action comes from a state of being. It takes discipline in a time of catastrophe to stop and reorient ourselves to a state of being, to spiritual principles, to recall a vision that we hold and a reality we are creating, because we want to do things to make change and make a difference, urgently. We want to march on Washington. And the discipline isn’t to stop ourselves from doing things. The discipline is to connect with who we wish to be in this world, what contribution we want to be, and then take action from there.

Action Born of Being Is Not Against Anything

Next big idea: Fighting does not work. Wars are a waste of everything. I’m not fighting anything, ever again. I’m not fighting against anything, and I’m not fight for anything. No more fighting. I will not waste my energy fighting things. I’ll sign a petition, I’ll show up with my body to stand for principles, I’ll take actions that are grounded in my gut of guts, but I will not fight anything.

I’m going to use my active, male, yang energy to be hard-working, determined, committed, and to become stronger physically and socially. I’m going to be pro-active in my life and as a human being. I’m going to be fierce in my pursuit of beauty and real when I connect with people. So, no, I won’t be passive. I just will not fight.

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Being Ourselves Is More Important Than Ever

It’s imperative that I be myself and that you be yourself. Out loud, on paper, in words, in relationships, in all my roles and activities. For too long, we’ve let a few people bear the burden of being the poster children for various identities. It’s time now to show our contradictions, nuances, varieties, inconsistencies and our true colors. This means being honest with ourselves and dropping the expectations that our colors won’t clash. It also means examining our inconsistencies and owning our discrepancies. It’s called taking responsibility, and we all can use more practice un-pointing our fingers.

I’ve committed to knowing my own needs and speaking up for them. I’ve committed to speaking up when something’s not right for me or with me. And I’ve committed to coming out in every way that I can about who I am and what I stand for, because you know what? a) Fewer people actually care than I think, and b) Whatever it is, it’s needed.

One thing these times have not managed to do is to unseat my bedrock conviction that we have everything that we need to heal personally and as a planet, and that includes everything in me and everything in you, and everything in them and everything in us. Except now it’s not enough to secretly be this or that. Now is the time to be that, whatever it is, out loud, in public and without apology. We have no privacy anyway. Now’s the time to use transparency to show how much more alike we are than different.

 

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We Must Connect, But Along Different Lines

We’re all in this together. That means that the once totally progressive wave of acknowledging our diversity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, social class, racial, age and all the other ways of identifying ourselves became obsolete on the night of November 9, 2016. That wave must now give way to a larger tide that is throwing us together in unlikely, uncomfortable and weirdly perfect ways, so that we are forced to connect with people who don’t belong in our various diversity slots. We must connect with everyone in our world, from the neighbors to the legislators, assume each other’s humanity, and with our eyes open and our hands showing, speak our truth and listen to each other’s and find common ground.

So, yeah, I’m still going to coach holistic practitioners, finish my book, and help others finish their books. But I’m also going to be in the physical presence of my loved ones more and not accept social media as an adequate substitute for being in someone’s life. I’m going to read books, still the greatest invention of all time. I’m going to go out of my way to connect with people I’m sure don’t agree with me. And I’m going to make more music, and drum and teach others to do the same. I’m going to host potlucks and let people know that two women live here as a couple. At the same time, I’m not going to rush to label myself. I’m just going to be open to being true and real in the moment, including making space for my sensitive and true feelings and yours.

My first post of the New Year was going to be about how to form new habits. In a way, this is that, only turbo. There is no need to scramble for motivation to change or be something different in these times. The motivation has been supplied by extreme circumstances in the world. All we have to do now is listen to our hearts, step into our present moment, express ourselves through words and deeds, and love the shit out of our lives, just like always.

annmcgrath

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