January 2 through January 17, 2017
My Anam Cara,
As we approach the inauguration of the President-elect, I’m afraid I have a confession to make.
Yes, I was wondering when you were going to get around to talking with me about this. Go ahead … get it off your chest, if it will make you feel better.
Well, I haven’t been very successful implementing our plan as it was laid out in our last Conversation. I’m experiencing extreme difficulty. And what’s worse … I don’t know what I am doing wrong.
You are not doing anything wrong. That’s okay … it’s a big issue. Now, come on. Get the rest of it out.
The rest of it? Isn’t that enough?
No, because you haven’t touched on the biggest part of it, yet.
Failure isn’t the biggest part?
Failure is a judgment; like all judgments, it exists only in your mind. This is the root of your problem, but we will talk about that later, if that’s okay.
There is no such thing as failure in this or in anything else. There is only what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. So far, our visualizations haven’t been working to relieve your fear and anxiety. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong in that. It is your judgment of it as a “failure” that is the problem and leads to the part you are covering up.
So, what am I missing? What is the biggest part?
Your guilt over what you are considering your failure to cover the situation in love and compassion is the elephant in the room. As we’ve talked about many times before, guilt is one of the most damaging of human emotions. It can paralyze you, imprison you, and keep you from achieving your goals.
Your guilt over what you are considering your failure has been causing you to hesitate in talking with me about it, hasn’t it?
Yes, to be perfectly honest, it has.
You are so hard on yourself. [I get a visual of Michael closing his eyes and shaking his head.]
You expect perfection from the starting gun. And when you don’t get it, you feel guilty and call your practice a failure (just like you used to call your earlier attempts at meditation and your earliest attempts at drawing failures.)
From there it is a very small step to judging yourself as a failure and throwing in the towel … giving up on the practice entirely … because you begin to believe that you are no “good at it.” You turn your judgment against yourself. Right?
Well, at least I haven’t done that, yet; I haven’t totally given up. And I am consistent. You have to give me that.
Yes, I will grant you that. You are consistent.
Then, of course, what you call a failure begins to make you feel depressed and more fearful and more anxious. And you slide down that slippery slope into a negative spiral from which it becomes difficult for you to recover. You begin to feel ashamed of yourself for your perceived failure.
You remind me of some of my former colleagues at Sony, wanting that MAGIC touch without investing the work and the money that creates MAGIC – the work, sweat, thought, and toil… the time and practice … that makes MAGIC happen. It takes time; it takes practice; it takes vision. It doesn’t just happen.
You sit down and visualize dropping LOVE bombs on the White House, COMPASSION bombs on the Capitol Building, HUMILITY bombs on the President-elect, and TOLERANCE bombs on the Supreme Court. You even visualize means of transport, like floating high above these locations in a hot air balloon with me … or throwing darts at the balloons suspended over representations of these buildings.
By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you that these visualizations have really been exercising your visualization muscles. You are really giving them a workout. I love that! You go, girl! [Michael chuckles.]
Yes, but, then, when I am sitting in a restaurant trying to eat and his face comes on the television set, there is an immediate physical reaction and I almost choke on my food. I usually try to recover and send a thought of support immediately afterwards, but the initial physical reaction indicates to me that I still have a long way to go.
This has actually happened a couple of times because so many of the restaurants my husband and I frequent have installed TVs. During the weeks leading up to the election in November, the 24-hour news cycle kept his face plastered across every channel. And, one day a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with my husband and Nancy Grace’s face came on the television set. I almost gagged.
How many times do I have to tell you? Rome was not built in a day.
No matter how hard
The times may seem
Don’t give up our plans
Don’t give up our dreams
No broken bridges
Can turn us around
‘Cuz what we’re searching for
Will soon be found
We’re almost there
Just one more step
Just one more step
Don’t give up
We’re all almost there
Look at the lonely lovers
That didn’t make it
It’s a long, hard climb
They just couldn’t take it
Don’t let it happen
To me and you
Hold on together, darlin’
We’ll make it through
Darlin’, keep on reaching out for me
Keep on reaching
Do it for me
Do it for me
We’re almost there
Just one more step
Just one more step
Don’t give up
‘Cuz we’re almost there
We’re so close
I can taste it
A life so sweet
We can’t afford to waste it
If you feel your hand
Slipping from mine
Just hold on tighter, darlin’
Just keep on trying
Baby, do it for me
Do it for me
We’re almost there
You have chosen to embark on a journey, the most important journey of your life and one fraught with peril. Like Columbus, you have chosen to leave your old world behind and to perceive your reality in a new and unaccustomed way.
You depart, risking, perhaps even expecting, to fall off the edge of the earth only to discover that the earth doesn’t have edges. It’s round! Well, who knew? Like him, you are discovering that this may, indeed, be a circuitous route you have chosen.
He didn’t turn around at the first big wave and say, “Oh, well, the sea isn’t smooth.” And he was working with maps that read, “Here be dragons,” in the undiscovered parts. That was part of his mission … to dispel those myths that had kept human beings land bound for centuries.
You are discovering that the myths that have fashioned your world and your perceptions of it in the past are still in place, despite your best efforts to go around them.
Too high to get over
Too low to get under
You’re stuck in the middle
And the pain is thunder
You have to be prepared to commit yourself to it for the long haul. It takes time to slay those dragons and it’s not easy. It’s not about arriving at some destination by the fastest and most direct route; it’s about preparing yourself to take the trip and not getting tripped up at the first sign of this phantom “failure.” It’s about learning to enjoy the journey.
Personally, I’m proud of you … and you should be, too. Your visualization skills are improving; just look at how far you have come in a relatively short time with this practice. Only a few very short years ago, you told me you were “no good” at visualizing anything. Now, you are flying around in hot air balloons! In addition, you are trying to be as regular with your practice as you can, despite disruptions to your schedule.
Yes, my husband’s work schedule has changed dramatically over the last few months and he is home much more frequently during the day. I try to accomplish our readings and meditations as early as possible, but it is often late afternoon before I am free. This change in his work schedule has thrown a good size monkey wrench in my daily activities and I am finding that I have to be a lot more flexible about getting things accomplished.
I have considered setting my alarm for 6:00 or 6:30 AM to begin the day much earlier so that I can get more accomplished, but, then, I caught a cold and the holidays didn’t help. Now that we are getting back to a more normal routine, maybe I can manage my time a little better to fit in all the things I want to do … and it seems the list is growing. I have rediscovered the peaceful activity of knitting and I find that I am thoroughly enjoying it again as I did 35 years ago. It is soothing and good exercise for my hand so I am knitting an afghan.
[Michael laughs.] You sound like some kind of efficiency expert has visited your house and decided you are not making “efficient” use of your time. Efficient is another judgment, just like worthy/unworthy, success/failure, or any other judgment.
I thought you were retired. This is your time to relax and have fun. You don’t have any quota to meet … no schedule to keep … no obligations about how you spend your time. Flexibility is a good thing.
It’s not the end of the world if your meditation time is flexible, but it is good if you do spend a few minutes every day just breathing and visualizing the best outcome for everyone. You sound like you have an “inner slave driver” cracking the whip over you. Silence that inner taskmaster. Relax! Breathe! You’re getting yourself all tied in knots again.
The thing you are missing in this practice is the “judgment factor.” And it is a significant factor. You are visualizing our love bombs falling all around Washington, D.C., but you are still judging everyone involved, including the President-elect, as the devil incarnate.
As we said in our last conversation, he is not; he’s just a man, prone to mistakes and not infallible just like any other man. He may be a man you disagree with and you may disagree with him for very good reasons, but you don’t have to agree with everything he says or does. All you have to do is acknowledge that you disagree … and accept that you disagree. You are not going to change him; and he is not going to change you.
That does not make you “good” and him “bad;” it just means that you disagree. And that’s okay. It is not an either/or proposition; it is a both/and conscious choice.
The same “judgment” factor comes into play often in global politics as well as personal politics. One nation does something that another disagrees with and the second nation automatically judges the situation according to its understanding. That’s how wars start. It’s okay to disagree; there is room on earth for both points of view. You don’t need to attack just because you are not in complete agreement. As long as no one is being harmed, disagreement is just disagreement … not the end of life as we know it.
You are doing to the President-elect exactly what was done to me during my physical life despite the fact that you objected so strongly to what was done to me for so very long. Can’t you see that you are demonizing him … dehumanizing him … making him “other” based on little more than his appearance and your perceptions of what he says and does. The entire world judged me in the same way that you are judging him because you haven’t been afforded the opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues you disagree about with him on a one-to-one basis.
It is your judgment of him that is causing you stress and anxiety. If you could stop judging him you would see a vast improvement in your anxiety level. Then, your daily practice would begin to feel more advantageous and beneficial. Total agreement is not necessary; only a willingness to see past the appearances is required.
If you could see past the appearance to the reality of the President-elect, you would perceive an uncomfortable truth: He is much like you in many ways. He is insecure but he covers the pain of his insecurity with larger-than-life bragging as much in an effort to convince himself as to convince you; when he is criticized, he acts out his anger in a way you disagree with.
Well, he keeps doing stupid stuff!
[Michael laughs.] See what I mean? Like what?
Well, during the lead up to the election I heard him say that he didn’t pay taxes because he didn’t have to pay taxes. He posed the question, “Why should I give my money if I am not required to?” I was appalled when I heard that. All responsible citizens are required to pay taxes. He enjoys all the benefits of citizenship … and then some. As a responsible citizen, he should pay taxes. If he’s above the law, there is no law.
I think this tax season, we should all contact our tax preparers and let them know that we will not be paying taxes because the President doesn’t pay taxes. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
That would be anarchy, but it might bring the point home in a way that he understands. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two ways this man understands anything – his pocketbook and his gonads. If the country couldn’t pay for the heating bill on the White House and his secret service agents, maybe he would get the point. Sorry, Baby!
That’s okay. Feel better? I sure am glad I got that off my chest, aren’t you?
You have been trained to judge everything, label it, and toss it into one of two bins … right/wrong … good/bad … acceptable/unacceptable. This is the “judgment factor” I referred to earlier.
If you continue to judge and label him and everything he does, you will experience limited success in your visualizations. Limited success … not no success … because placing yourself in the frame of mind that encompasses love and compassion will always be better than remaining in the fear and anxiety that is your normal perspective on this issue.
Beloved, you continually amaze me with the way our Conversations seem to reinforce or strengthen points that I am reading about in our readings.
What do you mean?
Well, as I mentioned in earlier discussions, we have been reading A Course in Miracles for our daily library time. We began at the beginning of the text several months ago and we have continued reading a little bit at a time every day.
The other day, I read the following on page 622 of the text:
“A dream of judgment came into the mind that God created perfect as Himself. And in that dream was Heaven changed to hell, and God made enemy unto His Son. How can God’s Son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will awaken. … Judgment is an injustice to God’s Son, and it is justice that who judges him will not escape the penalty he laid upon himself within the dream he made.”
As I am understanding this paragraph, the tendency toward judgment is the “knowledge of good and evil” which resulted in the human race being banished from the “Garden of Eden.” Have I got it wrong?
No, you haven’t got it wrong. It is definitely a way of looking at it.
We are all taught from infancy that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, when, really, there is just your way and my way. Of course, parents want what is best for their children so they want them to do things in the way that will work out to do the most good for them, but, in the process, they teach their children to judge themselves and others according to their standards. Then, religious leaders add their standards … and educational systems add their standards … and society adds its standards … and we end up having impossible standards to live up to.
It is far better to see everyone as ONE of US versus one of them. Perceiving someone as one of “them” implies separation; the person is separate from you or you couldn’t judge him. If you see the entire human race as one large family and everyone as your brother or sister, it is far more difficult to judge someone.
This idea of separation has led to so many false conclusions, violence, wars, prejudice, bigotry, bullying. It has separated us from each other, from our God, and from our deepest, truest SELVES.
We all have this tendency to see ourselves as right and our neighbor as wrong. It is difficult to overcome because it has been ingrained in us for centuries, but it must be overcome if we are to heal our world.
We are all ONE and the sooner we all come to this realization, the sooner we will be able to heal our divisions, eradicate our cruelty, eliminate world poverty and hunger, cure our apathy, and cease our over-exploitation of the planet from which we spring.
Are you saying that I am ONE with Donald Trump?
Yes! That is exactly what I am saying. [Michael laughs.] Read my lips. WE ARE ALL ONE! That does include the President-elect of the United States no matter how much you disagree with him.
Um … Beloved … that’s going to be a pretty hard pill to swallow.
The question is: Will you try? Is it so difficult for you to see him as ONE of US?
Have you ever said something stupid? Have you ever done something you were ashamed of? When you look back on your life, have you ever shirked your responsibility when you felt you could get away with it? Have you ever been lazy or overbearing? Have you ever been loud or bombastic? Have you ever said something in the heat of anger that you wished you could take back?
Of course, I have … all too often I have fallen short of what I should have done or said. However, eventually I found myself feeling remorse and trying to make amends for the harm I’ve caused in the process.
He doesn’t seem to have those filters … at least, not as far as I can tell.
There, but for the Grace of God, go I!
It’s a simple sentence and a wonderful reminder that we are all capable of the noblest … and the least noble … of actions and words.
We’ve all done those things that harmed ourselves or our neighbors. In our haste, we’ve trampled on our neighbors’ feelings. We’ve all said ill-considered words to those we love most. None of us is perfect.
If we could just stop judging other people … and ourselves … and recognize that we are all ONE … we could create the better world we seek.
Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
You have often asked me, “How did you do it? How did you not lash out against all those who persecuted you?” And this is the answer to your question.
I tried to always look past the appearance of illness to the perfection that lies within the thin veneer of all those sick children. I tried to remember that we do not all have to do things in the same way or subscribe to the same beliefs and that it is our differences that make us unique and valuable. I tried to remind myself that inside each and every one of us there lies that tiny spark of divinity that makes us all ONE people … one race … one world. And I treated everyone I met in the way I would want to be treated.
It is the golden rule; and it works.