Saturday, April 14, 2018

Balance and the Vernal Equinox (from March 21, 2018)

I was reflecting the other day on balance. I know that I often talk of balance on the equinoxes, however, it came up for me differently this time. I am pondering why, when I think of balance, I automatically think of equal parts, of something symmetrical. I actually prefer asymmetry in art. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before at the equinox to think about a different kind of balance, one that isn’t equal parts this and equal parts that. Balance can be incredibly beautiful without everything having to match.

What then if I applied that thinking to our perspective on the light and shadow within us?  It was a revelation to me, though perhaps you’ve thought of it before! I am a visual person and had been writing recently about negative and positive space and the image that is created by both. So while I knew this before, now I see it with more clarity. In this human expression, our goal isn’t to eradicate the shadow within us, but to find a beautiful balance of it in harmony with the light. And the gift of asymmetry is that we can allow and encourage the light to be so much greater than that shadow that we all have, and yet, still have balance. I can acknowledge the shadow side, and be aware of its reminder of the choice that as a conscious human being I can make each moment for compassion, for love, for peace, for light. I can let the memory of asymmetry be my reminder of the opportunity to consciously diminish the shadow within myself, in balance with my goal to always be growing the light. What a beautiful image that can make!

Now I see the asymmetry of potentially our biggest snowfall of the year so far, against the contrast of the first day of spring in a new way.

Just for fun, in honor of the snow falling outside my window, check out these amazing magnified photos of snowflakes. I think I’ve shared it before, but it’s worth sharing again!

May the light always be growing within you!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Venn Diagram

I’m exhausted by rights and wrongs. We spend our lives drawing circles around groups of people; them, us; left, right; Democrat, Republican; rich, poor; black, white; gay, straight; Christian, Muslim. It goes on and on and on until we are trapped inside our bubbles of separateness, staring out at each other through gauzy dividers of our own making, pointing fingers, fearful, blaming. I see the bumper stickers everywhere, with different names after each election, but always the same message, “Don’t blame me, I voted for ____.” Fill in the blank. Fill in the blank with who is to blame, because surely we must have someone to blame. Surely I must be right and someone else wrong. Surely it must be the fault of someone outside of my bubble. So I sit self-righteously inside my circle with those who are like me, looking out.

The problem is that life isn’t as simple as that. People don’t, and shouldn’t, fit so neatly into little circles of sameness. Life is more of a venn diagram. Our circles overlap, our interests overlap,  and those places where they meet and blend, create new spaces and new colors. Those are the spaces of our common ground – safety, peace, security, food, shelter, joy, love. It is in the spaces where we overlap where we must meet and dwell. Those are the spaces where we can talk about the future we all want for the children, and for generations to come. Our need to be able to put food on the table. The desire to have a safe, comfortable place to live and rest. The safety and freedom to worship or not worship, as we feel called to.

Life is a venn diagram. Look for and seek out the places where we overlap, and gather there, find yourselves in each other there. Because in the end, despite what the bumper stickers say, blaME ends with ME.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

For Election Day 2016. Vote, yes, definitely, but don't leave love outside the voting booth.

Love Outside the Lines
Lynda Allen

While love is often jubilantly colorful,
as far as I know it’s not limited to one color,
not red
or blue.
I will color outside the lines that have been drawn around love
and doodle my way to you.
Lines on paper, check marks in boxes cannot limit my love.
I will love you tomorrow as I did today,
even though I know it’s sometimes challenging
to love outside the lines.
I hope you will offer the same to me.
And don’t forget that when we allow our colors to blend,
we create something new.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



There are many who are stepping out of social media for the rest of the election season. I understand their frustration, their need to turn away from the negativity. I’m choosing to stay, not because I have a statement to make about a particular candidate, but because I don’t want the shadow to dominate. I’m not staying to debate or change anyone’s vote. I’m staying because I know the light is stronger than the dark, but I also know that you can’t see the light if you hide it “under a bushel.” From my perspective what we are seeing in the United States (and in other countries as well) is a battle of epic proportions between our shadow side and the light within.

I don’t think I’m over dramatizing when I say epic. It is a time when we clearly get to choose, not just in the election cycle, though it is amplified there, between indulging our shadow side like petulant children, or acknowledging it with grace, and choosing clearly to set it aside. For we all have a shadow side, a side that wants its own way, that wants to dabble in what might be harmful for ourselves and others, that thinks it should be able to say whatever it wants no matter the consequences. Yet, we all have a light within as well, a light that can guide us surely and truly, and that can be a blessing for others when it shines into dark places.

That’s what social media has become of late, a dark place. A place where people feel they can indulge that shadow side without risk of consequences, because they don’t have to speak to anyone’s face, and so see or feel their reactions. The boundaries of civil discourse become blurred or non-existent. But from my perspective that is the time to shine all the more brightly, to act all the more civilly, to choose all the more consciously to set aside the shadow. We have an opportunity to choose to stand in the full light of high noon and allow that shadow to be minimal and fall away behind us. Or we can choose to dwell in the darkness of that shadow, and give in to the basest part of ourselves. I prefer high noon.

However, to borrow from social media parlance, I like everyone else, have had many moments lately of WTF? But in this battle between the light within and the shadow we cast, I have found a different definition for WTF. What’s the Fear? Because for me that’s what this is all about, fear. Our shadow is cast by our fears, and we have many. Right now those fears are very loud for many, and they are being expressed with vigor.

The problem is that when we deny our fears and push them down, they simply grow in the darkness waiting for a moment to rear their ugly heads. Which is exactly what they are doing now on a large scale.

Therefore, I think our first step towards any sort of healing and unification is to take an honest look at those fears. WTF, What’s the Fear? Denying that your neighbor has a right to his or her fear, whether it is rational or not, won’t make the fear go away, or bring you closer together. Has telling someone who is afraid of heights that there is no reason to be afraid because they are perfectly safe there on that ferris wheel, ever actually eliminated their fear? That fear is still very real for that person, as they are for us and our neighbors.

I suggest we try something we might not have tried before. Maybe we can simply ask someone what their fear is. Because make no mistake, fear is what is driving this election and the mood in our country, consciously with forethought, and unconsciously. The cause of the fear varies; fear of people who have a different skin color, or a different religion, or a different bank account balance, fear of not having enough or losing what little you already have, fear of losing power and privilege. We don’t have to debate whose fear is more legitimate or whether they are unfounded. We simply have to acknowledge we have them, and attempt to empathize. Through empathy, which has been sadly lacking of late in our public discourse, we can begin to again have civil conversations about what we have in common, and how we can address our concerns and fears. Only then can we find real solutions and live peacefully with our neighbors.

So, WTF, my friend?