Posts

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All the socials

All the socials

Social studies

Social science

Social media

Social influencers

Social circles

Social impact

Social mores

Social norms

Social significance

Social guidelines

Social limitations

Social constructs

Social contracts

Social distancing

Social networks

Social connections

Social bonds

 

Weaving

the

through line

 

Return

 

together

united

protected

 

Whole

 

For your consideration:

Have we, individually and as a collective, redefined what it means to be social?  What does it mean, not only during these times of such pervasive online media, but also especially during these pandemic times?

For me, I’m noticing how very much more the metaphysical has become all the more strengthened than the physical. For that, I am grateful. It feels good to be in tune with the deeper messages that become more elevated and apparent when the physical senses are being asked to take a back seat. Despite the physical distancing during the pandemic, I’m feeling metaphysically more connected to others than ever.

Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you redefined “being social” these days?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Thankful for the bounty

Thankful for the bounty and all the riches

Stemming from the Latin bonitas, meaning “good,” bounty refers to all the goodness that one harvests. This week is an ideal time to consider the bountiful riches in our lives.  Take a moment to reflect on the abundance all around. There’s richness in all the planet provides, naturally.  There’s richness in personal connections, and love. There’s richness in faith, spirit, and confidence in the greater good, and in everlasting beauty. Even in those moments when we may feel less than bountiful, consider the pearl that emerges honed, smooth, and polished by enduring the repeated friction against it.

Let us give thanks for all that mother gaia provides us, and all that sustains us.  Let us give thanks for our daily practices AND our daily bread. Let us give thanks for each other, and our resolve to see the light shine against every darkness.

And, let us trust that more is yet to come. That’s faith: Faith in the unseen. Faith in the seeds planted below ground that they will reach the surface. Faith in the sun and the moon rising and setting and rising again. Faith in yourself rising, experiencing setbacks, and rising again.

For your consideration:

In what ways have you incorporated thankfulness in your life?

I still send in the mail handwritten Thank You cards, in business and personally. I suppose they stand out even more in this digital age. I hope so. I like envisioning that, even if but for a brief moment, the recipient stops to read the handwritten message and knows that I send along kindness and my gratefulness to them.

So whether it’s this Thursday, or at some other time during the next few weeks, I invite you to:

Say grace

Offer grace

Receive grace

Be grace.

Be heartfelt

Be genuine

Be sincere

Be thankful

Be true.

Count your blessings.

Make them count.

 

Okay, your turn:

What traditions, if any, resonate most with you during this time of year?  Is giving thanks a regular part of your daily life, or do you tend to focus on it only on certain occasions?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Going viral

Going viral

In social media terms, we describe something — whether it be an article, a photo, a video, a particular hashtag, or meme — as “going viral” when it spreads rapidly and in effect takes on a life of its own.  In common parlance, we say something spreads like wild fire. We use phrases such as “circles of influence,” and “ripple effects.”

Is it no surprise then that influence and influenza both stem from the same origins, etymologically? (These are the things I ponder as I prepare to craft a blog article for you all. Grin).

During this time of year, we talk of physical viruses spreading from person to person, and “sick buildings,” and diseases in the form of “contagions.”

What if, instead, however, we chose to focus on ease-ease, instead of dis-ease? Hashtag, ease-ease. Let’s see that go viral.  Kidding. Not kidding. Well; sort of.

Not unlike going viral in social media terms, we do also speak of someone having an infectious laugh, and we say things like “we got to giggling so much it hurt.”  That’s the kind of world I’d like to replicate and to see catching on with wild abandon.  Particularly during these times of seemingly widening rather than narrowing political divides, especially in the United States — and of course increasingly being amplified by way of social media – I’d say we would all benefit from an emotional recess. Maybe we each need to put ourselves, myself included, in a political time-out?  Sit in the corner, take deep breaths, and let the high fever simmer down.

Less hate, more love. Less ridicule, more understanding.  Less disdain, more compassion.  Less anger, more joy. Call me crazy. Crazy good. Crazy human. Going viral. Pass it on. Hand sanitizer not included.

For your consideration:

What is it that you’d like to pass along from one person to the next?

Remember when paying it forward was a thing? When it was an actual cultural phenomenon, not just a movie?  The idea was: You go out and positively impact three people, and they positively impact three people, and so on. And so on. That’s what we could focus on as the new, old way of going viral – not for the fame, but for the humanity of it. For you, for me, for us all.

Okay, your turn:

What are you willing to share that brings about comfort, solace, happiness, or pure joy in  someone else?

When’s the last time you got together with a friend and laughed so hard it hurt?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Special moments in time

Now is all we have, and it’s a lot!

One oh so enchanting evening

In this edition of Soul Notes we explore what it means to capture those special moments in time. 

Sitting in front of my casita, from atop the cliffs high above the smooth sea, along the central coastline of Mexico:  I am joined by two other caring souls as we look out at the nearly black night sky snuggling the horizon and the calm ocean waters a few hundred feet below.  Directly centered in front of us, along with a canopy of stars above, we see the moon slowly setting over the water.

As the moon descends, its reflection of sunlight forming a crescent shape, it turns with solemn power from a bright white to a warm and welcoming golden hue.  After several magnificent minutes, without even a whisper, the moon’s silhouette slips behind the horizon line and out of view.

We gaze out at the ocean in awe as we humbly appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this moment. We are reverent witnesses to nature and the cosmos, and to all that is.

Okay, so I may wax poetically like this from time to time.  How can I not?  Moments such as these beg for quiet reflection and invited rapture.

As posed by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

To be human is to live with a certain level of consciousness, awareness and appreciation for all that our senses, well…sense.  Our human experience is indeed a sensual one.

In the film “City of Angels” starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, there is a scene in which Seth (Cage’s character, who comes to Earth as an angel), yearns to know the taste of a pear. He asks Maggie (Ryan’s character) to describe it for him.  A bit perplexed by the question, Maggie takes a minute to find the words to convey how the pear tastes to her. Seth later in the movie experiences for the first time, the bodily sensations of hot water hitting his skin while taking a shower.

Simple moments perhaps.  Things we often take for granted.  And, yet they can be profoundly beautiful as well.   This is when our hearts and bodies serve our minds, and not the other way around.

“Where words fall short, experiences stand tall.” –Lori A. Noonan

As a writer, I’m quite fond of words.  Heck, right now you’re reading a blog article, I do realize (grin).

With words, we do our best to capture what our senses innately feel.  We have sensory-based phrases such as:

“In my mind’s eye”

“Touching moments”

“Hot blooded”

“Cold hearted”

“I hear you”

“I see you”

“I feel you”

“Tastes like freedom”

The senses – sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, and even a “sixth sense” of intuition and innate knowing -– all provide us an opportunity, in so many ways, to experience life in all its richness and supreme depth.  It’s up to us to tune in and be all that it means to be human.

Our lives are a string of special moments in time.  Let’s be aware of what makes them special; and: feel them, cherish them, and share them with others.  That is my wish for you today, and always.

Okay, your turn:

What examples come to mind or heart when you remember a beautiful moment in time?  Where were you?  What made it beautiful?  Did you take any pictures?  In what other ways did you memorialize that moment?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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What does it mean to live and lead from the feminine?

Marching to the beat of a resurging drummer

This edition of Soul Notes is devoted to the seemingly ever-emerging resurrection of feminine leadership.  By this, I mean not only the women (and men) who are stepping into leadership positions where they embody feminine principles (creation, co-creation, cooperation, and the like); by this I am also suggesting that each person has the opportunity to “lead with” and from a foundation of feminine principles in their own lives, in their families, and in their communities.

Allow me to clarify that this is not in any way intended to discredit the masculine.  It’s merely an observation that the time has arrived where we’re seeing an uprising toward “tipping the scales” back a bit more toward symbiosis.  The yin yang symbol itself, for example, represents this well, in my opinion.  It’s a swirl of two mirror image shapes of the same size, embracing each other within the one circle.  They complement rather than compete with one another.  They hold each other in balance and securely in place.

So this is what leading from the feminine looks and feels like

As I joined hundreds of thousands of other marchers in Los Angeles on January 21st, it struck me how much this experience represented for me what leading from the feminine looks and feels like.  I found myself coining my own phrase for it – what came to me was:  power humanified.

Power humanified

Although I anticipated that discord and perhaps even violence may erupt on the day of the March, especially in a large urban center, and during such a highly charged political climate right now – I was filled with a reassuring contrast, from start to finish throughout the day.

I found myself immersed in a completely peaceful, collaborative, supportive, and nonviolent expanse of humanity.  From the trains to the roadways to the downtown street crossings, to security officers to the marchers, to the weather even (!), all seemed to be cooperating.  Now, I wouldn’t say that this type of energy is at all limited to one particular gender.  And, I realize that this day may have been an isolated occurrence whose energy and peaceful activism may not last in the coming weeks and months.  Regardless, I can say that at least it is possible; I was there; I witnessed it; I experienced it.  It happened.

It was striking to notice, too, that the men who attended seemed to feel ‘free to let down their shield’ so to speak – the stereotype of men having to be forceful, stoic, and nonexpressive, truly seemed to fall to the wayside.  I watched as the men among us enjoyed being supportive and feeling supportive and supported themselves.  They were welcomed into the fold, and walked side by side, not charging ahead or showing dominance in any way.  This was equal footing.

And let me say a few words about American privilege, whether you are a man or a woman.  Yes, I am an American, born and raised.  I’ve traveled to other countries and other continents, and yet I do not presume to understand fully the experience of women (or men) who have been raised outside the United States.  I do recognize that I’ve been able to travel by way of means and access not readily available to women in many countries. What I find a bit difficult to accept, though, is the suggestion posited by some that because women in some non-American countries suffer unimaginable violence and abuse, that this somehow diminishes the need to increase awareness of the injustices and inequities in our own land.

While twenty-two countries from Argentina, to Chile, to Croatia, to Denmark, to Germany, to Jamaica, to Norway, for example, have had women leaders in recent years as their head of state (Presidents or Prime Ministers), America still has had none.  For a century and a half after the nation’s founding, the women in the United States had no legally recognized right to vote.

Is it about ensuring that any  woman attain the highest office in the land?  No.  Unequivocally, I say no.  I would suggest, though, that a woman who brings abundantly more experience and depth of knowledge than the other frontrunner (man or woman) running, then yes.  I say yes.

Words, and symbols hold power in them

In response to the proliferation of pink hats worn during the marches, a friend of mine posed the following question:  “Isn’t that merely perpetuating gender stereotyping?” My response to his question is this:  When you’re a member of the stereotyped group, there’s power in taking back the words or symbols that have been misappropriated by those who are not members of that group.  There’s strength in reclaiming those words or symbols that have for generations been used to demean, belittle, or make dismissible the members of that group.  So, to that end, I say yes, pink is ours…you can have it, too, thank you kindly, if you would please do so with honor and reverence, and not with arrogance, disgust, or power-over.

Many women, and some men, each have their examples of being “put down” for their gender.  I’ll share one here.  As a civil litigator working for a defense firm in Los Angeles, I was a young associate and member of a three-attorney trial team (myself, and two male partners).  We had just returned from a successful day in court.  I was pleased that we advocated well for our clients, and had emerged victorious.

As the three of us rode back up the elevator together from the underground parking lot to our firm’s office suite, after returning from our day in court, this transpired:  The managing partner, in front of the other male partner, turns to me and says:  “You did a nice job in there today…for…a girl.”  A few minutes later, the two partners then took off to have a celebratory dinner on their own, leaving me to stay at the office to continue working that evening.

Women are “girls.”  And, men are well, men (or ‘dudes’ when leaning toward the more casual).  And, they’re held to different standards of what’s acceptable.  [There’s a case in Northern California, for example, where the judge has issued sanctions against the male attorney who made accusations that the female opposing counsel had purportedly displayed “unlady-like” behaviors during a deposition.]

Even the word “guys” has been blurred to include men and women in ‘mixed company,’ because, well, its true counterpart “gals” doesn’t seem to stand on equal footing, either.

Often men are referred by their last names, while women are referred by their first names.  Women themselves often perpetuate this disparity in usage.  Many have come to accept it simply as commonplace.  A way too subtle, picky difference over which to make a fuss, you may say?  Maybe.  It’s the very subtlety of it, though, that makes it that much more able to escape scrutiny.  It’s not as blatant as “bitch” or “chick” (both of which are animal references, and as such are used as a way to dehumanize).   So, it’s sometimes easier to let slide.

Nonetheless, this pervasive belittling, whether overt or covert, brings with it a price.  That price is the ability of all people to embrace and exhibit all of who they are, with authenticity and dare I say even wild abandon.  Society as a whole suffers.  Repression costs us all.

Vibrating resonance

Despite what some may contend, I vote for the continuation of the conversations that have come to the forefront during this recent election cycle, and its aftermath.  I’m suggesting that the marches worldwide on January 21st were not an isolated moment in time.  Although a powerful day on its own, I’d say it started a “reverb” like no other, at least since perhaps the Civil Rights movement.  As with strumming a guitar, the sound continues its vibration well after the first chord or note is struck.  January 21st was a strong strum heard ‘round the world.

May we continue strumming.  And may we lead from the feminine.

Oh, and remind me to share the story sometime – the one about when I showed up on the lot at Paramount Studios to be an extra in a movie, and ended up playing a suffragette who marched in the streets during a President Wilson campaign rally.

Yep, that happened.  And, so did the marches this past weekend, millions of people strong, worldwide.

Power humanified.

Okay, your turn:

What, if anything, did you take away from the recent marches around the globe?  To what extent do you feel there’s a resurrection of the feminine?  Is this merely spiritual mumbo jumbo, or evidence of a real shift, rooted in practical reality?  What would you like to see more fully emerging in our world going forward?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Forgive a little, forgo a lot

Forgiveness:  For the past, or for the now? 

Close on the heels of Thanksgiving in the United States, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of what it may mean to give thanks for forgiveness – giving forgiveness, that is.  (Although receiving it, too, has its advantages, I suppose. I’ll leave that for another blog post, another new moon.)

Give thanks for forgiveness, you say? Oh, that sounds kind of like the celebrating of giving in – giving in to another’s (perceived or actual) transgression upon us, you may be thinking. In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s take a closer look:

Forgiveness may mean letting go of something that occurred recently, or long ago.  Either way, however, it’s not about the past.  Not really, anyway.  It’s about the present. And the future.  Yours.

There’s healing to be gained. And, a lightness of being to be enjoyed.

There’s the removal of the sting, the dropping of the hurt that lingers until you let it go.

Giving up any corresponding resentment, too, sets you free.  It’s liberating as well as empowering.

To carry the burden of nonforgiveness is a heavy weight to bear indeed.  Working through the ‘transgression’ and out the other side allows you to move forward with greater facility and with a lighter spirit.

Make the choice.  Decide.  Honor the hurt feelings, feel them, and then allow them to dissolve as if dropping a capsule into a glass of water.  It’s not an abrupt excising.  Rather, it’s a settling of the sediment, so that it may be sifted down and removed away from the present moment, and from your ongoing experiences.

Hidden Opportunities

There are opportunities, too, hidden in forgiveness.  What possible opportunity could such transgressions afford us, you may be asking?  Through the act of forgiveness, a transgression or the so-called ‘offense’ no longer holds any power over us.  We retain our sovereignty.   Conversely, allowing the offense to remain in our system (our body, our psyche, our spirit) grants it permission to maintain control over us.   We in effect trade in our sovereignty for suffering.

Forgiveness, I would venture to say, is not a “one-and-done.” It’s an ongoing commitment that each of has the good fortune to invoke on a regular basis.  As with other scenarios we’ve explored here on the blog, we now have yet another opportunity to engage in a daily practice!  Try it out:  Start with the “little” offenses you wish to forgive, and work your way up to the “big” ones.  As with any practice, it gets easier through consistency and repetition.

As I’ve shared before in Soul Notes, I lost my dearest brother to suicide.  It’s been quite a few years now since he took his own life; and yet, of course, new reminders continue to pop up from time to time, even all these years later.  My brother’s suicide has afforded me lots of opportunities to  practice forgiveness.  I’ve forgiven him for leaving me and the rest of our family to continue on without him.  I’ve forgiven him for what sometimes has felt to me like his having “taken the easy way out” – of our dysfunctional family, of a morass of financial struggles, and of deep emotional pain and suffering.  I’ve forgiven myself for even feeling that way about him, about the one person I felt really close to within my immediate family.  I’ve forgiven myself for “survivor’s remorse,” and have allowed myself to feel joy again (that was a big one for me, and one that only within the past year or two have I truly come to terms with).

Whether it be the loss of a loved one through illness or death, or the loss of a current relationship, or of simply unmet expectations, there’s a time for grieving.  Truly grieving.  That, too, is a topic that could fill up several editions of Soul Notes.  For now, though, on this new moon, I invite you to welcome in all the ways in which you can also take those losses and transmute them into instances of forgiveness.   Allow yourself the opportunity to forgive the other person or persons, and yourself.

To forgive, forgo

To forgive is to forgo:

Forgo the lingering.

Forgo the suffering.

Forgo the entanglement.

Forgo and let go.

 

For your consideration:

What if instead of hanging onto hurts and resentments, we each made an ongoing commitment to hand them over to and for forgiveness?

Okay, your turn:

What are you ready to forgive and forgo?  For you, is forgiveness a one-time only event, or rather an ongoing state of being?  What is your commitment?  What stand are you taking, in this moment? I would love to hear what comes up for you around this topic.

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Every time a bell rings

At this time of year when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is at its thinnest and most transparent, I’m struck by the emergence of seemingly non-coincidental coincidences.  In this edition of Soul Notes, allow me to share a story of what happened a couple weeks ago.

Fanciful financials

This year for me has been one of self empowerment – in my outlook on life, my relationships, and in my money matters. Among other things, I’ve been taking a more active role in creating and stewarding my wealth.  Along those lines, in reviewing my credit card statements this month, I discovered multiple charges on one of my accounts, that I did not authorize.

If you’re anything like me, calling an 800 number and working through a myriad of voice prompts and being put on hold for great lengths of time is not high on your joy list.  Even lower on the list is calling a credit card company to challenge hundreds of dollars in charges.  So, I took charge (pun intended!) of the situation by allowing the experience to be a lot more pleasant and perhaps even fanciful.  Fanciful financials, why that would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

I set the intention that, instead of taking on my usual dread of calling a credit card company, I would first make a call of a different kind.  I took a deep breath, got quiet, and called in the angels.  Not any ol’ angels mind you – I called in angelic helpers of a certain variety, namely those looking for a specific type of assignment.

My spiritual call went something like this:

 “Hello…any fanciful financial angels available in this moment?  Especially ones who are good at facilitating the resolution of billing disputes, so that I may remain calm and patient throughout, and get this resolved smoothly, today, if possible?”

Okay, if you’re thinking that this blog post is getting way too hocus pocus for your taste, stay with me.  My wish is that this lil’ story serves as a heartwarming respite from the otherwise heavy news you may be reading elsewhere today.

Wonderful wonders

Remember the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”?  Originally released during the 1940s, it’s now considered to be an all-time favorite holiday classic.

Jimmy Stewart plays the protagonist George Bailey who at the beginning of the film, we find out, considers himself to be a failure.  He wishes that he had never been born.  The film continues to weave between two “realities” – one where George’s life and the lives of those around him take a certain course; in the other, without George, those same events transpire in an entirely different way.

It is through the intervention of a visitor in town, a messenger named Clarence, that we and George see the true value of George’s life, and the vivid impact his life has had on everyone around him.

Near the end of the movie, George is seen standing next to his wife in front of a Christmas tree, with his daughter in his arms.  George looks down to find a book gifted to him by his friend Clarence, inscribed with prophetic words, and ending in: “Thanks for the wings!”

At that moment, a jingle-jangle is heard, and the camera zooms in on a small bell hanging on the Christmas tree.

The daughter points to it, and says:

“Look Daddy!

Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

George says to her, in response:

“That’s right.  That’s right.”

Looking up and winking, George says:

  “Attaboy, Clarence!”

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Now, back to my credit card story.  After I had invoked the fanciful-financial-spirit-helpers-on-assignment, I took another deep breath, and dialed up Bank of America on their customer service line.  With renewed faith and an uncommon-for-me dose of patience, I followed the multiple recorded voice prompts, and then waited calmly on hold, when eventually a person came on the line.

“Hello,” she says.

“This is Angel.”

What the what?  Come on, you’re kidding me, right?  I say this to myself, and then smile as I realize what’s happening…Well, of course her name is Angel.

I feel a gush of glee and satisfaction, and think to myself:  Well, this truly is fanciful financials!

Angel couldn’t have been more helpful.  She carefully reviewed my account and the disputed charges, and assured me that she would do what she could to get the charges removed.  To do that, she said, she would need to call the merchant.

Rather than hanging up with me – or giving me the usual “we will look into it and you may or may not see any changes reflected on your next statement” – Angel did something that in my experience was a first:  she offered to call the merchant while I was still on the phone, so that we could get everything taken care of in one fell swoop.

A three-way call

Here’s how the next part of the conversation went:

Angel:  “I have the merchant’s representative on the line, Lori.”

Lori:  “Angel, will you stay on the line, too, or are you transferring?”

Angel:  “Yes, I’ll stay on the call with you.  Here he is…”

I listen for his voice, and he says:

“Hello, this is Clarence.”

We worked it out, and all disputed charges were removed.

Jingle.

Jingle.

Jingle!

For your consideration:

Now is an ideal time to invite in clear communication and assistance from behind the veil. So, I leave you with these words from Train’s “Calling All Angels”:

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear

… And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels”

Okay, your turn:

What messages are coming through for you in your life?  Are you calling in any angels?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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A rising tide lifts all boats: Shall we rise?

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression:  “A rising tide lifts all boats”?  It comes up in a number of contexts, from religious, to spiritual, to economic. In this edition of Soul Notes, we take heed in the idea that what serves one, serves all.

Origins

The phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” is one made famous in a speech by John F. Kennedy.  He didn’t coin the phrase, although it is sometimes attributed to him.  There are various accounts of it being earlier adopted and used as a motto by a number of organizations dating as far back as the early 1900s.  Most notably, it is believed to have its true origins among fishermen who likely handed it down as folklore throughout the United States’ northeastern seaboard.

In political spheres, the phrase often pertains to economic proposals designed to serve the greater good of all. It’s reminiscent of Alexandre Dumas’ clarion call in his now-classic The Three Musketeers: “All for one and one for all; united we stand divided we fall.”   Interestingly enough, both phrases, while putting the emphasis on the rising, also suggest the falling.

Steeped in a particularly polarizing presidential election cycle in the United States, I find myself as I write this, drawn into deep reflection with regard to both sides of this equation.

It’s almost as if we as voters are on a cantilever, with all of us subject to sliding right off!

What struck me as swiftly as a ray of light was this:

~ What serves one, serves all.

And with equal veracity…

(ultimately):

~ What disserves one, disserves all.

I realize it’s not entirely that simple. There are indeed levels of gradation between and among persons, politics, economics and policies – in theory, and more importantly, in action and in how those actions play themselves out.  There are ripple effects from the middle as well as from along the sides.  It is at the extremes, however, where we find the starkest contrast and I would suggest, the opportunity to see with the most focused clarity. Perhaps that is what this election affords us.  It may be its most saving grace.

Rising with the tide, not against it

I’ve stood on many a shoreline, getting in boats, and getting out of boats. The water is in motion, as are the boats as they float and bob, hither and thither, as we attempt to provide a steady hand to the boat and each other.  Gently timed with the ever changing tide, I’ve coordinated with others to ensure the tide lifts the boat and us along with it.  It helps to work synergistically with each other, and all the while honoring and respecting the natural flow of the tides.  Doing it that way facilitates the embarking on our voyage as we head off and away from land’s end.  Equally as beautifully, oneness and unity helps get us back onto terra firma in much the same fashion.

Shall we rise?

Rising with the tide in our daily lives:  What does that mean for each of us?  It starts with awareness, followed by concerted action.  Together, in harmony with each other and with nature, we rise more effortlessly and for the benefit of all.  Perhaps an election year blesses us with that opportunity:  to bring that awareness to the forefront and into our hearts.  It highlights an opportunity to make heartfelt decisions from a place of a greater appreciation for all.  May we make our choices from that place.

United we stand; united we fall.

Musings for an election cycle, and

on this new moon.

For your consideration

As a gentle reminder, I leave you with these words, from Yogi Bhajan:

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.

Okay, your turn:

What does rising (or falling) together, all at the same time, mean to you? Is it valuable to us as individuals?  As a collective?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below.  Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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In support of support!

Let’s hear it for support!

All hail, support!  Let’s look at support:  Lending it, and receiving it.  Are there different types of support?  If so, do they provide different functions?  Does it matter?

In this edition of Soul Notes, we examine what support means, how it may show up in our lives, and to what desired end or ends.

In Support Of Support

We’ve all heard the phrases:  Supportive family; supportive friend; supportive spouse.  There’s spousal support and child support.  Many businesses offer customer support.  Slogans and strong sentiments abound, such as:  Support Our Troops.  In hospitals, we have life support.  My grandmother wore something called support hose (grin).

No matter how self-sufficient, self-sustaining, or self-supportive each of us may be, I’d venture to say that no one is without the need for support.  To paraphrase John Donne: No man or woman is an island.

Support may take the form of: financial, emotional, spiritual, inspirational, motivational, or by way of role modeling.  It may even be literal, physical support.  Ever have someone hold and steady a ladder for you, as you teeter on the top rung?  It’s pretty darn helpful to have a second person there!

Similarly, we may welcome another’s offer to lend a compassionate ear, or to provide earnest witnessing, or simple reflection.  Often we simply cannot see what someone else may see, figuratively and literally.  In a glass mirror, we see in effect the opposite of what someone else sees when they look at us.  It’s an illusion of sorts. (Take a moment and you’ll see what I mean.  When you look into a mirror – does your left eye appear to be on the left?  Look at your face as if you were looking at another person standing in front of you. Your left eye actually appears to be where the ‘other’ person’s right eye would be.)

Just as with reinforced siding on a house, support from other human beings may also help you to “weather the storm.”  It lightens the load.  It helps distribute the weight.  It provides stability and sustainability.

As with a physical house or building, structural supports serve as reinforcements.  Ever watch any of those home remodeling shows?  Ever notice how often they talk about whether the renovation would require altering or removing a “load-bearing wall”?  It’s actually pretty darn important.

While structural supports help sustain the weight of what’s above them, and make the overall structure stronger and more sustainable, these supports fit together by design with other parts of the building.  It’s an integrated system, working together.

The support does not stand on its own, so to speak.  It provides a foundation, nothing more, nothing less.  It still requires something on top of it to provide its own function and strength.  The supports do not overtake, nor replace what they’re holding up. They do, however, allow what’s being held to “last longer.”

As another example, let’s say that you’re holding a pitcher of water.  Water is heavy and quickly feels even heavier the longer you hold the pitcher of water.  Let’s say, now, though, that you rest your elbow on the side of a table, and continue holding the pitcher of water.  Now that table serves as your support, and you are able to hold the pitcher much longer, more steadily, and with less exertion of brute strength, energy, and effort.

Okay, so enough with the physics.  The point is this:  It’s okay to seek out support.  In fact, it’s just plain smart and awfully wise to do so. It’s as equally grand to serve as the source of support as it is to seek out support when needed.  Sometimes you’re the water bearer; sometimes you’re the table!

Be on the look-out for both types of opportunities.  They abound for each of us, in our daily lives, and throughout our lives.

Back Support

Okay, we’re not talking here about supporting your lumbar with an ergonomic chair, although I suppose we could! We’ve all heard the phrase, “I’ve got your back.” Or: “The universe has your back.”

To provide a little historical perspective:  One explanation for this phrase is that it dates back to the army in ancient Greece, where soldiers would pair up on the battle field, and sit literally back-to-back.  The idea was that each soldier that way would be able to cover what the other could not see.  It was the ultimate buddy system.

What this allowed them to do, and that which symbolically holds true today, is this:

Having support helps you stay focused on the challenges in front of you.  It facilitates your ability to attain results in a more effective way than you may ever attain purely on your own.  It provides reassurance and comfort when you feel wobbly, or you tend to waver, or you feel like completely giving up.  As on the literal battle field, of course, as with our figurative battles, you want that person who has your back, who’s got you covered, to be someone upon whom you can place your deep trust.  Someone who’s cool under pressure helps, too.

One of the best compliments I remember receiving came during my early days as a sales rep, after leaving a million dollar pricing negotiation with a CFO at a major law firm.  My sales manager came with me to the appointment.  I knew we were prepared (she provided strong support to me beforehand, as we worked together in reviewing the account, the pricing history, and our goals going into the meeting), and that my years as a litigator would serve us well when we entered the conference room.

The CFO was tough and to the point.  He surely wasn’t open to small talk.  I could tell he made my boss a little uneasy. Straight away, he challenged us on some of the pricing numbers, and I uncovered a (most likely inadvertent, yet nonetheless) miscalculation in one of his spreadsheets.  In that moment, I saw that I had earned his respect, and we proceeded to reach an amicable resolution, and walked out of the meeting with a solid, satisfying deal for both sides.

As we got back to the office, my boss smiled and shared with the sales team:  “In case you ever need someone, Lori is a really good person to have with you in a foxhole.”   We worked well together on that account. I had her back; she had mine.  Ultimately, we were supporting our sales department and our company, too, in securing that deal and in not losing a big account.

The benefits and ways to get started:

So, what are some ways to offer and to show support?

One-on-One:

I remember learning, as a budding young reporter, about the importance of asking the right questions during an interview with a news source – the cardinal “five Ws and an H.”  Anyone else remember those?  Or, in consultative sales, we were taught to ask open ended questions, designed to allow people to open up and share issues or concerns, or to clear up any potential misunderstanding.

Such approaches also facilitate the building of trust.

Accordingly, to offer support, it may be as simple as starting with: “What, if anything, do you need?”  And then allowing the other person to answer as fully as they feel comfortable with in that moment.

Group support:

Out socializing, a friend recently shared with me the benefits of a group fitness program, where she participates daily on her own at her own pace, combined with what she said was the big benefit of group support by way of daily participant check-ins, social media posts for inspiration, and the like.  Knowing that others are going through the same exercises and sharing their wins as well as their challenges, has been hugely beneficial, she said.  It has been what has kept her moving forward and seeing greater results than she would have reached otherwise.

For your consideration:

So, support – seeking it and providing it.  Is it worth it?  Is it necessary?  As we draw this line of inquiry to a close, I leave you with this:

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Okay, your turn:

What does support mean to you?  In what ways or situations do you seek it?  When do you offer it?  How well is it received?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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What does it mean to make the world a better place?

What does it mean to be of service? To whom? For whom?  And, to what desired end?  In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we explore this topic.

Authentic service:  spiritual growth

Many spiritual seekers, including many of you I gather, have felt the desire to be “of service,” and to leave the world a bit better than we may have found it.  So, what does this mean exactly, and how do we do it?

Service (or seva which in Sanskrit means “selfless service”) is to be offered from your heart and soul, and not for any egoic purposes. To be of selfless service means to do so from a place of well-meaning intention, without expectation of reward or acknowledgment.

“Service is not what serves you; it is when you enrich another person.” – Yogi Bhajan

Seva is infinite, not finite, giving.  It’s a way to make a difference, in your personal sphere, in your community, and the world.

Ultimately, it’s all in service to the Divine.

The idea and the practice of service is a spiritual one.  As you uplift others, from a place of service, Spirit steps in and uplifts you as well.  As you serve, Spirit in turns serves you.  You are held in love by the Divine.  It’s part of your own spiritual growth.

 Who benefits?

Accordingly, acts of service benefit those you serve, and yourself.  All “good works” have positive, impactful ripple effects. All gestures great and small – they all count!

Ways to get started:

Don’t be afraid to start “too small.”  Leave a room, a person, a situation better than you found it.  Raise the vibration to a level higher than when you first arrived.  Approach it from a place of free will, and with a spacious heart.  May your service come from an intention that’s pure, and not from any sense of “obligation.”

In this edition of Soul Notes, I thought it may be helpful to share some examples of ways I’ve chosen to be of service.  I share these examples for illustrative purposes (lest I give the impression that I am listing them here for my own edification, or to be acknowledged for them in some way.  That, of course, would pretty much fly in the face of the very essence of seva).  I sought out these opportunities, and volunteered my time and devotion to them, from what I hope was and always will be, a pure heart.   My intention here is to provide some ideas.  And, I look forward to hearing from you and for you to share yours as well!  Please provide your own examples in the Comments section, below. Doing so, in itself, may be a seva of sorts – in that someone may read your list, and get some inspired ideas for their own acts of seva.  The ripple effects continue!

Examples:

  • Prepare and serve meals to the homeless

I have done this on more than one occasion, for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States.

  • Clean up the environment

With an organization called Heal the Bay in Southern California, I have been trained and have served as a “Beach Captain,” to help clean up trash at local beaches, and educate members of the community on the dangers of clogging up the city storm drains.

With another group, I planted a garden at a nearby elementary school.

  • Build and provide shelter for families in need

With Habitat for Humanity, I joined a work crew to put up drywall for a family’s new home in a town near Los Angeles.

With another organization, I helped build a home from the ground up in a rural area outside of Tijuana, Mexico.

  • Enhance and help beautify physical structures

I have helped paint murals on the outside of school buildings, as well as painting a child-friendly mural inside a children’s waiting room at a local courthouse.

  • Tutor or teach or facilitate workshops

Through a program sponsored by a local public library, I tutored a young single mom to learn English as a second language.

I have volunteered with a nonprofit dedicated to helping abuse survivors heal through art programs.

  • Coach an individual or a team

With the Special Olympics, I have coached a local sports team.

Over the years, I have had several friends and colleagues too who have engaged in any number of acts of service.  They have placed their full hearts and souls into these activities.  They have generously contributed their time, energy, talents and good will to these endeavors, all to help uplift those they’ve served.

For you, it may be something completely different that draws you in to being of service? It may not be any of these listed above.  These are some examples, though, to get your “seva juices flowing.”

Again, acts of service need not be part of any organized activity at all, either, of course.  Sometimes, the every-day acts of kindness and service provide the most immediate impact. Perhaps you offer to help someone to cross the street.  Or, offer to help carry someone’s packages.  Or, maybe it’s alerting someone in a grocery store that they are unknowingly about to walk into a slippery section on the floor.  Someone did this for me just last week.  I was grateful and touched that a stranger would offer that to me, with such genuine thoughtfulness and care for my wellbeing. I felt an instant albeit quick, loving connection – human to human.  This is seva.

When it helps to “pitch in”

Whenever the need arises, perhaps you can offer to “pitch in” at a get-together with friends or at an event that needs helpers or volunteers.  Offer to set-up beforehand or to clean-up afterwards.  Offer to do the dishes!

Offer to prepare or share a meal:

In India, within the Sikh tradition, preparing and sharing food for and with others is referred to as langar (or “free kitchen”). Everyone is welcomed to share the Langar.  No one is turned away, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, or political or religious affiliation.  Additionally, it’s egalitarian — in theory and in practice.  No one is considered higher than or “above” (in stature) anyone else.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this:

“[M]ay your blessings be for all, may your happiness be shared, and may your smiles give hope to others.” – Yogi Bhajan

Each of us is a divine channel, through which we serve, and by which everyone in turn is served.

 

For your consideration:

Are you feeling the call to serve?  If so, go ahead.  Today. One small gesture renders great impact.  It all counts.  As do you.

It does require taking action – no matter how seemingly small (at first). Acts of service compound, like interest!

Open your heart.

Extend a hand.

Step up to serve.

Serve.

And, serve

again.

Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been of service?  Can you recall a time when you were the recipient of someone else’s act of service?  In those instances, what did you notice?  Today, what will you do to “make a difference” in someone’s life?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.