11 Aug 2018 One drawing sort of day

This afternoon was about rain and a lot of it – what a blessing!  Our yard out back is finally starting to heal.  What happens to the expansive clay soil we live on reminds me of how my hands crack, split and bleed when they get too dry.  The healing balm of rain has been applied with wonderful results!

I baked a white cake (box mix as I haven’t found a white cake recipe I like yet) and some bread from scratch.  Baking bread can be very therapeutic – the kneading part especially!  I figured since I couldn’t really be outside like I normally do I may as well do something productive.  I’ve been inspired by our watching The Great British Baking Show.  We finished Season 1 just today.  We love to watch these types of shows because they are positive and even in this instance, educational!  We’ve seen cakes made that defy reality – 20 tiny layers of cake in one?!  Or this:

https://www.cooksinfo.com/dishes/desserts/cakes/kugelhopf-cakes/

Kugelhopf Cakes

A Kugelhopf Cake is a German yeast-risen sweet, rich bread baked in a special fluted tube pan called a Kugelhopf pan. There will be nuts, candied fruits and raisins or currants in the dough.

Looking forward to the next season.  I find I get so attached to people in shows like this lol!  It’s always sad to see them go.

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW | Introduction | PBS

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8 Aug 2018 All One (chalk drawings) and The Feather

Hello!  Quite a few drawings today.  I was thinking about my seed ships idea again.  I was marveling at the shapes in the wispy clouds this afternoon.  I’m obviously easily amused LOL!  It’s the little things that fill in the spaces of a life and give it meaning.

This afternoon I added some coils and magnets to some the GANS/orgonite setup I have working and that was interesting.  I keep wanting to combine the work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Nikola Tesla and Mehran Keshe into one form.  It’s all about the same source in my mind.  I know realistically it’s probably not that simple, I’m not a scientist lol.  I’m walking on a well-worn field with my puzzling over energy.  I keep feeling it’s about energy from existing sources like water, the soil, man-made creations  and ambient sources like magnetic fields.  We know there is power in particles we can’t see it’s just finding a way to collect enough of them to create power sources that can fuel cars….spaceships.

To create energy without destroying ourselves doing it!  Current sources we use for energy all have negative side effects (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_the_energy_industry) and make a few people a lot of money.  I feel like as soon as we can set aside profit margins and focus on working towards the greater good of all living kind we will get somewhere. Greed is a powerful adversary to progress!

Changing gears…..

I also had an interesting focusing lesson with a feather this afternoon.  Sometimes I will ask God energy what it wants to do with particular things in my yard just to see what the answer is for a blade of grass, a leaf etc.  Well I had picked up this feather and put in between my feet as I sat under our baby oak out back.  I asked God what the story was going to be with this feather.  So far it grew on a bird.  The bird had shed the feather in my yard.  After several days of noticing the feather, I finally picked it up and now it was between my feet.  What was next for the feather?!  Well it came to me to just focus on the feather and I did for what seemed the longest time – nada, nothing, no movement.  It seemed the feather was destined to stay on the step between my feet!

Well my concentration broke when I heard a noise like a bird or something moving over my head.  When I looked back for the feather it had flipped over and moved!  Just a second or two of broken concentration and we have feather sign lol.  Isn’t that like God?  A miracle when we aren’t looking for it?  An answer to a prayer when we are focused on the complicated prayer and not just letting God be God?!  For quite some time, as I had my talk with God.  The feather moved several times as we spoke and I was moved to tears.

I cry a lot when I pray/talk to God and it’s not always because I’m sad, it’s because of the love I feel in my heart.  A friend of mine had a great way to explain why people like her and I were quick to tear up about such things.  She said it’s because our spirits stick out more than other people’s do!  Such is the life of an Empath or anybody who cares a lot about this world and other people and wears their heart on their sleeve.

Sometimes I get very lonely.  Today with the help of a simple feather, I was reminded while I may be lonely I am never truly alone.   

https://www.gematrix.org

Feather = 63/9 cycle

Alone = 47/11/2/1 (Interesting Alone and Lonely have same values)

Lonely = 83/11/2/1

Concentration = 151/7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

Focus = 64/10/1

Oak Tree = 75/12/3 cycle (interesting with even adding oak to tree, 3 cycle still occurs)

Seed = 33/6/3 cycle

God = 26/8/4/2/1

Energy = 74/11/2/1

Universe =113/5 divided by 2 = 2.5 = 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

Source = 81/9 cycle

All = 25/7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1 (interesting all and one have the same values)

One =34/7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

31 July 2018 Todays chalk drawings

Hi there.  How is your present moment going?  I hope everything is well for you and if it’s not that you have great support systems to help you navigate your way through whatever you are facing today.  Sometimes, and I am terrible about this, you have to set aside your pride and ask for help.  Sometimes the first step is just admitting you even need help at all….that’s a big first step.  I’ve had to do that one a few times for different things.

The drawings today aren’t anything spectacular.  I decided to draw out that darn dream I had last night that was so vivid for me.  My dark green pickup rendering sucks balls but I’ve never been that good at drawing cars! Lol.  Anyhew – sending you positive vibes and an invisible hug across the miles.

 

24 July 2018 Finished painting, chalk drawings (Kate’s bracelets – dream) and Orgone

23 July 2018 – Kyle’s painting is finished! I am so pleased he did this with me.  Cried happy tears a couple of times yesterday lol.  There is so much going on!  There are colors of the Irish flag (he’s 41% Irish), dragon scales, blue blood (royal bloodlines on his Mom’s side), our wedding colors of black and white, hearts, purple of unity.  He is calling it Times Heart. 

23 July 2018 – This one is about how the water on the ground goes back up in the sky.  The cycle of water.

23 July 2018 – This one is inspired by me thinking about being out in my swim suite in the pouring rain.  I was trying to actively visualize relief from this drought!! 

18 1 9 14

R A I N = 42/6/3 cycle (life, death, rebirth) – of course!

23 July 2018 – The pencil and pen drawing I did so I have a tangible reference. I’m thinking this would be a neat painting to do.

23 July 2018 – Side by side. You can probably see why I like chalk – it’s more forgiving and softer.

23 July 2018 – This drawing has cycles, the water table and solar flare going on. When I start drawing stuff like this I just put it on the slab. My imagination is not entirely my own.

23 July 2018 – This morning I realized the side ways canoe of space ship design correlated to a dream I had just before waking this morning!  I had a dream about a little girl named Kate who looked a bit like Eleven from Stranger Things.  She was working on some healing bracelets like ones I’ve really made before out of copper wire.  The metal was like copper but a more advanced alloy.  I can remember seeing her face on a large computer tablet.  She was working with a young man who I shook hands with.  I had made three separate bracelets of my own.  Just before I woke up he showed me a quarter turn that was needed to put them into one bracelet that would work like the one’s Kate was working on.  The bracelet completed look like the center part of this drawing.

23 July 2018 – Sometimes I just draw these people together. When I finished I heard “Th” so I added it. Kind of like “9th” I guess?

24 July 2018 – I found this in the yard yesterday when I was walking around. It’s one of the first pieces of orgonite I made. I had made it into a pendant for a time but it was too heavy. I find myself wondering what else am I going to find I put in the yard?! https://saymber.com/2015/06/11/11-june-2015-wilhelm-reich-and-orgonomy-by-ola-raknes-its-in-the-structure/

15 18 7 15 14 5

O R G O N E = 74/11/2/1

https://orgonomicscience.org/  – this is a link to The Institute For Orgonomic Science which is dedicated to the work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich which included research to try to treat and cure cancer.

Reich now turned to exploring micro-organisms, to see if the energy measured in humans could also be detected on the cellular level. By this point Reich had left the university for a well-funded private laboratory. He first published the results of his experiments in “Dialectical Materialism in Life-Research. Report on the Bion Experiments” (1937). This was followed by the book, Die Bione – Zur Entstehung des vegetativen Lebens (The Bions: On the Origin of Vegetative Life)  (1938).

Briefly, bions are microscopic vesicles, seen as transitional entities between the non-living and the living; these vesicles move in ways that cannot be explained by purely mechanical movement (Brownian movement); they form more readily if the solution is heated in a way that should kill any spores or “air germs”; and they are often seen to have a blue edge to them–those with the strongest electrical charge have the greatest motility, pulsation and bluish color. Bions prepared under sterile conditions with a strong electrical charge could also be successfully sub-cultured.

This description of bions is in no way complete, but should give the reader a rudimentary idea of their nature. Their discovery played a central role in Reich’s realization that the energy phenomenon he was observing was not electricity as conventionally understood, but a distinct biological energy, which he came to call orgone energy in 1939.

8 5 1 12 9 14 7

H E A L I N G = 56/11/2/1

Drawing based on dream I had 18 Jan 2006

9 Feb 2018 Love and Abandonment (Morning meditation)

9 Feb 2018 /1019 am

I was outside preparing to do some “chalking” when a revelation about connection between “wisdom,” Why of Life and Death and Tree of Life came. It was instigated by my finding seeds that blew down from cotton tree to my hoodie. My good friend the cotton tree helping me again. What came brought forth a lot of tears. If I (we as a species) had remained ignorant, didn’t need to find out why (curiosity) I (we) wouldn’t know or care about living and dying. Sentience and consciousness, “awareness” would never have happened and may be we would have been happier — “Ignorance is Bliss” philosophy.

17 May 2017 – Cottonwood seed ships

Love changed everything because with love comes “attachment.” Something I learned more about through Buddhism’s the 4 Noble Truths and the 8 Fold Path. When you lose something or someone you love more than “existence” you will tear heaven and earth apart to find it, reclaim it. What I was willing to do at Mesa Springs when I didn’t know where Kyle was. What happened to me for 3 years after we lost our Sammy.

Source Internet: Seed of Life. I loved that this is made in stained glass with chakra colors.

Abandonment creates some of the largest energy vortexes, human black holes. It can be “perceived” or intentional abandonment but the abandoned feel it all the same. Why?!Where did you go?! When are you coming back?! Will you come back?!

(My mother, my Grandparents….all those I’ve loved and lost for whatever reason. I had to grieve and heal — fill the holes their “abandonment of me” left behind.

All of us have lost people, places and things through our shared journey. Are we so attached to these that we are willing to destroy ourselves and a planet to retrieve them? This is just what I see for myself. I hope there is something in this morning meditation that resonates with you….is helpful. I would ask you, what positive, loving aspect of existence can you put in the “holes” some sort of abandonment has made in your mind, body and most importantly your soul?

What do I do? All through my blogs here is what I’ve learned to do for myself with unseen guidance and loving nudges from the tangible elements that surround me. The arts, meaningful work, chores, spirituality, helping others and educating myself about people, places and things I don’t understand before making judgements about them. It is in the latter I have come to realize I can judge no one nor is there anyone on this earth who can either. We are all imperfect and it is in that imperfection we are amazing creations capable of greatness beyond our wildest dreams. We are here for each other. No one person can fix this shared mess our world has become. We must learn to build bridges instead of more walls.

17-feb-2011-my-puppy-sammy-and-his-tennis-ball (Sammy crossed the rainbow bridge 27 April 2011)

My Mom Jeanne and my Grandpa Harold (Hal) Becker on her wedding day, 21 Nov 1965.

8 Feb 2018 Dr. Wilhelm Reich books The Cancer biopathy and Function of the Orgasm Alvarado TX

8 Feb 2018 Jackie Wygant Blue Book for Alcoholics Anonymous Alvarado TX meditation about addiction like sugar etc

8 Feb 2018 Two books from Grandma Becker and Aunt Ruth to help me heal inside when I was younger I read from How to Be your own best friend out loud Alvarado TX

29 Oct 2017 Dreaming while your awake – imagining

Hello to you.  It’s Sunday afternoon now and it’s been a lovely day here.  Lots of drawing today.  I don’t know how to describe what it is that is going on with me and this chalk drawing now.  The phrase, “dreaming while your awake” comes to mind or just good old fashioned day dreaming.  Just putting down on the pavement whatever comes to my mind.  Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it’s just thoughts and images passing through.  I like to share them because may be something within them will spark your imagination too?!  I hope so.  It’s so important to make time and space for imagination….imagining.  When I go out with my chalks, that is what I’m doing.  What do you do as an outlet for all those miscellaneous thoughts?

5 Sept 2017 Insurance claim deadlines (Hurricane Harvey) Drawings and experiments

Hello to you – it’s 9:49 am on this Tuesday morning.  How are you doing in your here and now?  Good I hope!  We are doing well in our shared dimension here.  This morning began with a few chores which included more ceiling spackle patching in our bedroom.  The cracks at the corner of the ceiling near my side of the bed was pretty bad again.  I get kind of paranoid with our ceiling as earlier this year a nail had popped out from that same area and ants were coming through the hole!  Mind you we paid over $1,000 a couple years ago to have people come in and completely redo this ceiling and to look at it now, it’s like they never did anything!

Anyhew…..thank you people who make ceiling spackle stuff lol!

So Kyle got his report date for the next outage at the power plant and we are relieved and excited about that.  The money he earns is to our finances what WD-40 (https://wd40.com/ – in case you don’t know what WD-40 is) is to a squeaky door!  AAAAHHH!!!!  Very grateful!

I’ve been praying for the folks in Houston and surrounding areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey every day.  What a mess!  I’m not there but it seems like it’s going to be another Hurricane Sandy where people are in a bad way for too long.  It doesn’t feel like we have a very standardized way in our government at the many layers down to civic to deal with disasters of this nature.  A big road block seems to be insurance and how having or not having it impacts the recovery efforts for most people.  I really wish there wasn’t any red tape for these people, but I guess because people in past storms took advantage of benefits that they shouldn’t get, they have screwed everybody over in the long run.  The insurance companies have put up higher road blocks to avoid fraud.  As I’ve mentioned before, for us, nearly anything and everything that has ever happened to our house has not been covered by homeowners insurance, which I find to be criminal.  Who is conning who when it comes to insurance?!!  What am I paying for exactly?!  **Last I checked water is what causes floods and subsequent “water” damage but they are separate in an insurance policy?!!!  This doesn’t make any sense to me!  Kind of like health insurance.  We will cover every part of your body but your eyes and your mouth.  You’ll need separate “health insurance” to pay for those parts of your “body.”  Ridiculous! 

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/30/harvey-deadline-on-insurance-claims-is-wrong-experts-say.html

Personal Finance

Harvey ‘deadline’ on insurance claims is wrong, experts say

•Only 12 percent of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
•Texas law going into effect Sept. 1 affects lawsuits, not claims.

Kelli B. Grant | @kelligrant
Published 12:04 PM ET Wed, 30 Aug 2017
CNBC.com

Consumers affected by Hurricane Harvey don’t need to rush to file an insurance claim.

Warnings spreading on social media about a Sept. 1 deadline to file claims related to Hurricane Harvey are largely misinformation, experts say. The alerts reference a Texas law set to take effect this week that potentially reduces the penalties insurers face for late claim payments as a result of a lawsuit.

“[The law] has no impact on the insurance claims process, it only affects lawsuits,” Texas State Senator Kelly Hancock said in a statement. Hancock serves as chairman of the State Senate committee that oversees the property and casualty insurance industry.

“The narrative that the claims process changes on Sept. 1 is false,” he said in the statement. “There is no need to rush to file a claim. Put your safety first.”

As The New York Times reports, the law won’t affect most Texas homeowners whose property has flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Most homeowners unfortunately don’t have flood insurance (meaning they have no insurer to take to court), and the National Flood Insurance Program and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association are both exempt from the state law.

There is no deadline to file insurance claims related to Harvey, said Loretta Worters, a vice president for the Insurance Information Institute. Texas consumers won’t see the claims process, or their rights, change under the new state law.

“Regardless of the date the claim is filed, the insurer is going to work with them,” she said.

“They still have legal rights under the consumer protection laws in the event the insurer engages in any bad faith conduct,” she said. “They’re protected.”

For Texans, handling the insurance aspects of recovery probably aren’t top of mind — nor should it be.

“The issue right now is safety — getting people out, evacuating,” Worters said.

Once you’re to a place of safety, here’s how to start navigating the claims process:

Alert insurers

Insurance adjusters can’t get in until the flood waters have receded, Worters said, but it helps to pre-emptively reach out and let your agents know your home and vehicle have sustained storm damage. That helps insurers know both where to go to look for damage, and where to find you in the coming days and weeks to more quickly provide assistance.

Another reason to act fast: Insurers often handle claims on a first-come, first-serve basis, said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America.

Consumers likely need to make several calls. (Ideally, policy numbers and agent contacts would have been part of an emergency “go bag.”)

Homeowners: You may have several kinds of coverage. In addition to a primary homeowners insurance policy, some homeowners may also have separate wind damage coverage via the Texas Windstorm Association, and flood insurance with the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer, Worters said.

“Don’t assume you don’t have coverage.”
-Peter Kochenburger, deputy director, Insurance Law Center

Even if you don’t have flood insurance (only about 12 percent of homeowners do), call your home insurer, said Peter Kochenburger, deputy director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Homeowners policies specifically exclude damage related to flooding, but water and wind damage are separate issues. (For example, you could be covered for water damage resulting from wind damage to the roof, or a flying tree branch that broke a window, he said.)**

“Don’t assume you don’t have coverage,” he said.

Auto: The comprehensive portion of your auto insurance typically would cover flooding and other storm-related damage, up to the vehicle’s market value, Worters said.

Travel: Texans currently traveling should reach out to their travel insurance provider, if they bought a policy for their trip. The “trip interruption” portion could kick in for policyholders who need to cut short their travels due to the hurricane damaging property, said Megan Singh, project management director for insurance marketplace Squaremouth.

“They could actually be covered to return home,” she said — including the cost of a new flight and reimbursement for hotel nights and other prepaid expenses left unused as a result of the shortened trip.

Keep good records

Take notes documenting every contact with your insurer, including who you spoke with, when, and what was said. Those details can be important if you later have any difficulty with your claim, or need to file a complaint, Hunter said.

“You want to be able to remember exactly what happened,” he said.

Keep your claim numbers at hand for easy reference. That helps insurers route you quickly to the claims department, which will have the most up-to-date info on your claim, he said.

Save receipts

Your homeowners policy may include “additional living expense” coverage that provides reimbursement for immediate expenses like emergency repairs, temporary housing and meals, Kochenburger said. Ask your agent about that coverage. Insurers often reimburse those expenses quickly.

Explore alternatives

Consumers who don’t have insurance or are underinsured aren’t without recourse, Worters said.

Check DisasterAssistance.gov (run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to see if you qualify for grants or low-interest loans to help cover expenses such as temporary housing, emergency home repairs and property losses, she said. Nonprofits are also collecting donations to provide aid and supplies to people in need.

Kelli B. Grant Personal Finance and Consumer Spending Reporter

I have to wonder just how many of the people in this situation are going to have the resources to pay back any sort of loan?!! Then comes the “Robbing Peter to pay Paul – where people who have nothing are having to put their hands out to people from organizations that have little to nothing themselves!  This is not an organized way to recover from a disaster!

 

 

1 Aug 2017 Hot summer, gratitude, cloudbuster, drawings etc.

Hello to you – it’s 11:55 am as I start to write to you.  It’s overcast and cooler today….thank goodness!  Our oak tree Yolie and the neighbors cottonwood tree among other’s have begun to shed leaves and are literally scorched at their tops.  Watering doesn’t seem to do much – almost seems to make it worse.  With all the chemicals in the water it’s probably like putting gasoline on a fire (https://saymber.com/2015/07/03/3-july-2015-do-you-know-what-is-in-your-cities-drinking-water/).   Last night as I fell asleep there were just all kinds of pops and cracking sounds as our house was once again pulled in different directions.  I’m pretty sure the root systems of the large trees around us are shifting under the house too as they grasp out for water.  Freaks me out lol!  Hopefully rains will come soon for us and any other parts of the world that are scorching right now too.

Anyhew – I hope wherever and whenever you are stopping by here that you are finding ways to enjoy the moments you are in as each one comes.

Something I have to remind about a lot is that no matter what is going on in the headlines or mainstream media, MY life, is great and I need to stay in gratitude for that.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care others are suffering or don’t try to help, but I can’t allow the shadows of others to dampen my personal light.  So when I pray/meditate each day, I give thanks for the blessings in my life and pray that all other life forms on the planet may be blessed too.

Some people make really poor choices in life and with those choices come along the consequences….I’ve been there many times.  The only way to deal with it is to go through whatever those consequences might be.  Some of us are surrounded by great support systems and others not so much.  I try, when I can, to be helpful to people who have meandered down the wrong path but I won’t carry them….you don’t learn anything by being enabled by well-meaning people when it was you that, to be blunt,  fucked things up.  Own your mistakes, learn from your mistakes, try not to repeat them and pay forward your gratitude for surviving the mistakes by sharing your experience, strength and hope with someone headed down the same road.  It probably won’t stop the person from making the mistakes, but may help them find their way out quicker than it was for you!

Don’t know why but that was what came to me to write today.  Hope it’s a message someone passing through needed!  Much love and light to  you today!

 

 

 

 

 

25 May 2017 A New Design

Hello to you – it’s 1:41 pm as I write.  The pictures that I have to share with you will hopefully make sense in the sequence of the previous posts.  What has come to me is the only way through this design is through energy of creation…..creativity….originality….free-form thinking and subsequent design and manifestation.  What I made this afternoon I did with materials I already had – the only thing new was how I perceived what was before me, input from Kyle for how to start it and then just going with the flow.  We can’t change the past.  We can only live in the moment we are in and imagine the future while we are in the present.

15 March 2017 The Radical Power of Humility (The Daily Good Nipun Mehta)

14 March 2017 – my favorite face is Kyle’s so naturally he shows up in my art. He said I made him look like Jesus and I said we both know Jesus probably didn’t have blue eyes and blonde hair lol. No this is just how I view Kyle in my life, sunshine each day.

Good morning family.  How are you?  I am trying my best to practice mindfulness and a mantra I shared with you some time ago – “It doesn’t matter what they are doing, what matters is what I am doing, what I feel and what I think.”  It is so damn hard not to be literally swallowed up with what is going on in the world today but it can be done.  What we focus on with our hearts, words and deeds becomes OUR reality, not the reality other people want to impose on us.

Yes, there is a very old “war” of the houses, a literal “Game of Thrones” on the main stage right now for us to finally see.  The ancient quest for complete power and dominion over all people, places and things is alive and well in the world….to coin a phrase, “The Empire Never Ended – Philip K Dick.”  It’s like Dr. Wilhelm Reich said long ago, “It’s in their structures, in their tissues, in their blood.”

So this morning Kyle and I were talking about this surreal world and I asked the question, “What can we do?!”   The answers did not come easily but there are many things we can do and all of them start at the very core of our being….start with us. I was looking for comfort and wisdom and was lead to this story on the Daily Good. I especially like the fable of the sparrow. From now on when I put my feet in the air I will visualize this story lol!   Even if there seems like nothing we can do, that we are completely powerless there is always one thing we haven’t thought of yet we can yet do and it doesn’t have to be negative either!

My “sparrow” feet

Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell.
Shana Alexander

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
William Arthur Ward

Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.
Clayton Christensen

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
Warren Buffet

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1096/the-radical-power-of-humility-nipun-mehta/I pasted the entire article so that you would be more likely to read it.  I have trouble reading long articles on the computer, so I understand if you have to come back to this.  This phenomena seems to be a “thing.”  Without meaning to, I do a lot of “scanning” of digital media versus what I do with the actual printed word.  I am realizing this is a dangerous thing to do in this day and age.  Scanning things versus actually reading them word for word means things get “missed” and overlooked….go unnoticed and go on unchecked!  Now are the times of paying attention!   SLOW DOWN!       

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/why-digital-natives-prefer-reading-in-print-yes-you-read-that-right/2015/02/22/8596ca86-b871-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html?utm_term=.ef59ac2b73c0 – excerpt

“Earlier this month, Baron published “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World,” a book (hardcover and electronic) that examines university students’ preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital. Readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.”

On to humility!

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. –Mother Teresa

The Radical Power of Humility

–by Nipun Mehta, Jul 07, 2015

[Below is transcript of a talk, delivered to four thousand people gathered at the National Jain Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to Nipun’s talk, civil rights legends John Lewis and Andrew Young shared insights from their journey with Martin Luther King, Jr.]

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to all of you. What an honor to be here with all you today, and a special honor to get to follow John Lewis and Andrew Young.

Today I’d like to surface an unpopular virtue. One that’s fallen out of favor in a time of selfies and relentless status updates. The virtue of humility. We live in an era that believes it can no longer afford to be humble.

Years ago, I sat down for lunch, next to a young villager in India. As usual, I closed my eyes for a moment of gratitude before eating. As I opened them, I saw the most unusual thing — this boy was preparing a bite from my plate. My plate! Seeing my confusion, he kindly explained, “I wanted a piece of your prayer, and so I figured the best thing was to be of service to it right now.” Saying this, he offered me that bite. Imagine hearing these words, and receiving that gesture from someone you’ve only just met. I was touched.

Curious to know more about him, I asked him about his work. He smiled and said, “Well, it’s hard to describe. It’s a bit like the sparrow in that fable. As the story goes, the sky is falling down and all the creatures are fleeing. The sparrow thinks to itself, ‘I want to help. But what can I do? I’m just a sparrow.’ Then, the sparrow has a flash of brilliance — it lies on its back and points it two feets towards the sky. ‘What are you doing, Little Sparrow?’ others ask. ‘Well, I’ve heard the sky is falling, and so I’m doing my little bit to hold it up.'” After a pause, my new friend adds, “That’s what I try to do too.”

Small, subtle, silent. And humble.

The world we live in is almost the polar opposite — grandiose, mundane, loud.

A few years ago, Google released a searchable database of 5.2 million books published since 1500. Researchers soon discovered that, between 1960 and 2008, individualistic words increasingly overshadowed communal ones. The usage of “kindness” and “helpfulness” dropped by 56%, even as “modesty” and “humbleness” dropped by 52%. Our language reflects our lives. Phrases like “community” and “common good” lost in popularity to “I can do it myself” and “I come first.” We moved from We to Me.

The archetype of today’s hero is a go-getter, with a nice-guys-finish-last mindset. Our systems are designed to privilege power, where respect is calibrated by our titles and bank balances. As business cards lead our handshakes and hugs, our daily lives have morphed into a relay of commercial intentions. In a rat-race to pad our resumes, we’ve condensed our nuanced experiences into elevator pitches. We’re primed to “speak up”, and to favor ambition over surrender.

The question is no longer if we can afford our humility, but rather can we really afford our own arrogance?

Without humility, our overblown sense of entitlement disconnects us. It increases narcissism and reduces empathy. That may be good for the economy but certainly not for societal well-being. A couple of months ago I was in Bhutan with the folks who implemented Gross National Happiness, and from them I learned about some remarkable research at the University of Michigan. It turns out that ever since 1980, our empathy levels have been gradually dropping, but in 2000, they suddenly plummeted 40 percent. Forty! Not surprisingly, a Gallup report just released last week reported that the US has dropped from 12th position to number 23 on the global well-being index. It’s a strange paradox, we are at the same time, more self-centered than ever, and less happy and healthy for it.

With humility, though, we can give birth to a whole new story.

In the late 70s, two Buddhist monks — Rev. Heng Sure and Heng Chau — began a mind-blowing bowing pilgrimage along the California coastline. For 900 miles, they would walk three steps and take one full bow to the ground. Their practice was to meet everything as a reflection of their mind and rebound it with a heart of love. One day, crossing through a rough neighborhood in LA, they found themselves surrounded by a bunch of gang members. One of them threw down a trash can, removed the rod connecting the can with its lid, threateningly started screeching that rod around the side of the trash can. Sluzzzz, slussssh, as if sharpening his blade and signaling the impending fate of the monk’s head. Other friends egged him on with a menacing chant. As Rev. Heng Sure would later write in his journals, “All the hair of my body stood up in fear.” Yet his commitment was to unconditional compassion: no matter what you bring to this moment, I bow to the goodness in you. May you be blessed. And so he humbly went for that final bow at the teenager’s feet. His would-be attacker’s fist was raised in the air poised to strike, but he froze. Completely froze. Others around him fell silent. Imagine if you’re about to pummel someone and he bows to you with great compassion. The monks continued bowing right past the dumbstruck gang.

Humility is seen as a sign of weakness, in today’s culture, when, in reality, it is the gateway for an unparalleled and profound strength.

We see examples of this across all wisdom traditions. In Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth of their ten gurus, offered this credo to all the warriors: “Humility is my mace; becoming the dust of everybody’s feet is my sword. No evil can withstand that.” Jesus Christ washed the feet of his disciples, the 12 apostles, and then adds, “Know ye what I have? I have given you an example.” At another point, he explicitly states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” In Jainism, as you all know, there is the powerful practice of Micchami Dukkadam on the last day of the holy Paryushan period, where Jains actively seek and offer forgiveness: “If I have caused you offense in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.” Every year, on this day, I receive many such emails from Jain friends. Simply being on the receiving end is such a humbling feeling, that I can only imagine what it means to be on the other end.

We have so many contemporary examples as well. Mother Teresa called humility the “mother of all virtues” and reminded us, “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” And, of course, we have Gandhi. When he died, with less than 9 possessions to his name, journalist Edwin Murrow read this across the radio waves: “Man without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not a commander of great armies nor ruler of vast lands. He could boast no scientific achievements or artistic gift. Yet men, governments and dignitaries from all over the world have joined hands today to pay homage to this little brown man in the loincloth who led his country to freedom.”

Today, then, I want to share three progressive doorways of power that humility opens up.

The first doorway is the power of many.

In the absence of humility, we forget the shoulders that we stand on, and foolishly begin to take singular credit for what we’re doing. I remember my mom telling me a parable from the Mahabharata. A dog is traveling on Krishna’s chariot, and lo and behold, when the dog wagged its tail to the right, the chariot turned to the right. And when he wagged it left, the chariot turned to the left. It was an example of correlation, not causation, and it would have been nothing short of ludicrous for the dog to actually believe it was controlling the chariot with its tail. Yet, that is precisely how our arrogance deceives us. We forget that behind each one of us lies an invisible stream of conditions that supports our every move.

Growing up, I had certainly forgotten that wisdom. I started out doing all the “right things”: did well in high school, got into UC Berkeley, landed a prestigious job in Silicon Valley. Then, in my early twenties I left the corporate world, and started ServiceSpace. My television debut was a half an hour interview on CNN. People celebrated my accomplishments, and initially I believed I deserved the credit. But over time, I realized that I was just a dog on the chariot. The ego is ever-ready to build a story around our exclusive special-ness. Whether it’s about worldly achievement or even service, pride comes in one flavor. And our world, unfortunately, encourages this. Slowly, though, I started seeing the long series of cascading conditions that had to conspire even just for me to stand here today. How could I possibly think that this is all my doing?

New science is now pointing to the power of many. We have a greater impact on each other than we think. Studies have shown that the strongest influence on someone’s behavior is — their friend’s behavior. According to groundbreaking research by Harvard’s Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, happiness loves company — it spreads virally, in a network. So does obesity, cancer, and even divorce. If you have a divorced friend, you are 147% more likely to divorce yourself. So if you want to stay married, we have to work on strengthening your friend’s marriages. I try to tell my wife that if she wants me to get into shape, she needs to get my brother and mother on the treadmill. 🙂 And it works the same way for philanthropy, kindness, and good news too. Everything we do ripples out and affects each strand in the web of our connections.

With this understanding, a significant insight emerges: everyone matters, and everyone has something to give. And if we organize around leveraging people’s gifts we begin to create breakthrough possibilities.

I recently met a guy named V. R. Ferose. He had turned around a Fortune 500 company’s R&D department, and by age 36, had 5000 employees working for him. He married his college sweetheart, became a father and one devastating day, he and his wife learned that their son, Vivaan was on the autism spectrum. They were shattered by the news, but in the crucible of their despair, Ferose and his wife forged their lifes’ calling. As Ferose succinctly put it, “I want to change the world for Vivaan, and my wife wants to change Vivaan for the world.”

Soon after, they launched many successful projects. Ferose looked deeply into the unique gifts of the autistic population. Well, if you’re autistic, you are never bored, and you never lie. Ferose looked at those traits, and then took a revolutionary leap — he hired 5 autistic staff at his Fortune 500 Company, and then matched them with roles that allowed their gifts to shine. It was a huge success. The new staffers excelled at their jobs. News of their contributions reached the CEO of the company and he was so moved that he announced that, by 2020, 1% of their 65 thousand world-wide staff would be people on the autism spectrum. “That day a friend came into my office and said, Vivaan has just created 650 jobs. I had tears in my eyes,” Ferose remembers. Now, the UN is exploring a mandate to inspire other Fortune 500 countries to do the same.

All this transpired because Ferose understood that the best way to support his special child, was to help create a world that supports the specialness of others, and to build a community that thrives on the belief that everybody is good at something.

Tapping into people’s gifts can’t be done by brute force or authority. It takes a heart of humility. It takes deeply trusting the synergy of our inter-connections, and understanding the power of many.

The second doorway that humility opens is the power of one.

Last year, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Francois Pienaar, a rugby legend who was very close to Nelson Mandela — and famously played by Matt Damon in the movie Invictus. As he shared many personal encounters with Mandela, the thing that struck me was how practically every story spoke to Mandela’s humility.

One of the most pivotal moments in Francois’s life came when he visited Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island. Holding his arms out, he said, “This is what how much space he lived in, for 27 straight years. I grew up thinking he was a terrorist. All Afrikaners did. And yet he come out of jail with an open heart that can hold everyone.” Indeed, Mandela’s first words, after being released from jail: “I stand here before you not as a prophet, but a humble servant.” Humble. Servant.

A telling example of Mandela’s servant leadership came in 1995. Amidst rampant civil tensions that were taking hundreds of lives, he had come to power as the first democratically elected President of South Africa. That also happened to be the year that the country’s rugby team was winning a lot. With millions cheering on, many South Africans saw this as a symbolic opportunity to signal the end of Apartheid; they were eager to change the team name, colors and jersey in a sport that was widely considered a “white man’s game”. Mandela, on the other hand, saw a different opportunity. An opportunity for forgiveness. He went from sport clubs to town halls to rally his countrymen to take the higher road: “We have to surprise them with compassion, with restraint and generosity; I know, all of the things they denied us, but this is no time to celebrate petty revenge.”

That was the thing about Mandela. He had the audacity to believe in each person’s capacity to transform their suffering into love. He had done it himself. Where the power of many teaches us that everyone is good at something, the power of one points to our unbounded capacity for inner transformation. Everyone can find greatness in love.

They kept the same name, same jersey, same colors. Springboks in green. That year South Africa makes it to the finals, where they faced New Zealand. At the end of regulation, it’s tied 12-12. Overtime. An epic game. And South Africa wins the World Cup, for the first time in the country’s history! Mandela humbly comes out onto the field, not in a Presidential suit, but wearing a green Springboks jersey — what many considered the “uniform of the enemy.” The 65 thousand person crowd spontaneously erupts into a chant: Nelson, Nelson, Nelson! It was electric. “Never seen so many grown men cry,” players later said. The crowd later goes on to sing “Shoooo–shaaaa-llooooo–aaaaa” — a Zulu song that Mandela had often sung to himself while in jail. In that moment, an entire nation stood united under Mandela’s leadership — and his love.

In the concluding trophy presentation, as Mandela handed the trophy to Francois, he whispered to him: “Thank you for what you have done for the country.” Francois paused, deeply moved. And then spontaneously came his response, to the man he had once thought of as a terrorist, “Thank you, Madiba, for what you have done for the world.”

Mandela shook the world, not through the might of his ego, or his considerable skills, but through his breathtaking capacity for inner transformation and humility. He believed in the power of one, he embodied that power of one, and showed us how it is a force beyond measure.

The third, and subtlest, doorway of humility is the power of zero.

I recently met a 96 year old Sufi saint named Dada Vaswani. He has a great many followers around the world, is highly respected by monks and nuns from various traditions, and radiates a profound sense of peace. I was deeply grateful to meet him. But his first words to me were, “I’m so grateful to have met you.” It wasn’t just a pleasantry, he really meant it. And it wasn’t because he thought I was special — he just knew that everyone is special. Because everyone is connected to everything, and the whole show is sacred.

Everything about him, and around him, was humble. When we met, in his private study room, we sat on simple, white plastic chairs. Another plastic table stood flimsily between us. You could tell these surface trappings didn’t matter to him. The way he carried himself, the words he shared, the kindness he emanated, it empowered me and everyone around him — empowered us, not to be bigger, grander, somebodies… but rather to be small, simple, nobodies.

Dada shared that his own teacher was once asked who he was. “Are you a poet? Are you an educationist? Author? Saint?” He responded with, ‘I am a zero.’ Then he paused for a while and added, ‘I’m not the English zero — the English zero occupies space. I am the Sindhi ‘Nukta’. In Sindhi, zero is written like a dot. So that was the ideal placed before me,” Dada shared.

When we succeed in radically downsizing the ‘I’, we find true expansion. It is when we shrink our preoccupation with self, that far greater energies course through us. We no longer attempt to drive change in the world, but rather to “be” that change we wish to see. St Francis’s prayer was not, “Make me CEO of your peace”. It was make me a channel of your peace. And to be a channel, is to understand the true power of being zero.

At one point in our conversation, I asked Dada about his plans for the future. He’s 96 and the spiritual leader of millions, so the succession plan is a natural concern for many. Yet, his response was unequivocal: “Oh, that’s not my concern. I’m not the one making this happen now, and it won’t be me in the future. I just try to be zero.” He had given a lifetime to this work, and yet was not trying to control its future. He knew his job was to simply – be an instrument.

To probe into this idea of being an instrument, of being zero, I asked him about Bodhisattvas. Similar to Jinas in Jainism, Buddhists define Bodhisattvas as beings who forsake their own liberation for the sake of others. He paused for moment, locked eyes with mine and recited a poem by Shantideva. One deliberate word after another.

May I be a guard for those who need protection,
A guide for those on the path,
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood.
May I be a lamp in the darkness,
A resting place for the weary,
A healing medicine for all who are sick,
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles;
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings,
May I bring sustenance and awakening,
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow,
And all are awakened.

His voice died into silence, and no words could describe the electric feeling in the room. My heart was overflowing with gratitude. With whatever limited humility I was capable of, I asked, “Dada, how may I be of service to you?” Then, he did something that blew me away. He cupped his two hands in front of me, as if holding out a begging bowl, and gently said, “I request your tears of compassion.”

Long pause. This time, on my account. No questions were arising, no answers were arising. We just gazed into each other’s eyes. Finally I managed to get a few words out, “I’ll do my best, Dada,” I said.

When Dada asked for my tears of compassion, what he was pointing to is the power of zero – that capacity to be an empty vessel, so that compassion’s flood can effortlessly surge through you. And it all begins with the wisdom of humility.

In conclusion, I want to end with a story of a friend and a wonderful person, Shakkuben.

Shakkuben spent most of her life working as a school janitor in India. One day, however, she had this beautiful wish arise in her heart: I want to serve. Immediately after, she had another thought: what can I possibly give? A friend told her a story of how Gandhi had once lost a very small pencil, and he was looking everywhere for it. When someone told him, “Bapu, you’re the father of the nation; you don’t have time to look for a small pencil, here’s a dozen more,” Gandhi simply replied, “But a child had given me that pencil with a lot of love,” and carried on the search for the pencil. For Gandhi, size of love mattered a lot more than the size of the pencil. And Shakkuben took this to heart, and started her own experiment in service. Everyday, she would sift through the trash at her school, look for those small pencils that others had thrown away, and give them to people who couldn’t even afford that much. And for her, it wasn’t about the pencils but the love that they’d be wrapped in.

One day, after breakfast at home, Shakkuben offers me a parting gift. A slightly-ripped pink plastic bag, I still vividly remember it. Her first collection of those small pencils. I was so touched, I couldn’t even open it in front of her. I had another event that morning, and I couldn’t resist sharing her story there. As a show-and-tell, I opened that pink bag, put my hand in, and held out a fist full of small pencils, broken erasers, blunt sharpeners. Oh, man. It wasn’t just the pencils … it was what they were wrapped in. The love of this humble janitor. I couldn’t hold back my tears.

When our gifts to the world are draped in such humility and reverence, an unspeakable thunder roars behind those rain drops. And this is precisely what Jainism invites us to do. Bow to all life, Ahimsa; bow to others points of view, Anekantvad; bow to our inter-connection, Aparigraha.

When we bow to all that is, we reframe our understanding of success and accomplishment. We discover that everyone is good at something. That anyone can find greatness in giving, and that each is connected to all. We know then that our job is simply to be like the sparrow, and do our little bit to hold up the sky. Like my young friend who broke a piece of bread and offered up that bite, may we always strive to serve one another in small ways. And to hold a piece of each others’ prayers.

This is a transcript of an address at the 2015 National Jaina Convention in Atlanta, delivered by Nipun Mehta. Nipun is the founder of ServiceSpace.org, a nonprofit that works at the intersection of gift-economy, technology and volunteerism. You can also view his other talks online.