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LOOKING BACK ON VALENTINE’S DAY

LOOKING BACK ON VALENTINE’S DAY

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Valentine’s Day – the day of roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids with arrows – is past, which is symbolic because the age of equating love with roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids is passing. In this age that is passing, we often mistook need for love. How could this be? Doesn’t love require signs of affection, shows of constancy, and gifts to seal the bargain? It never has. When someone fears losing your affection, he or she will strive to keep it. Perhaps you have strived to keep someone’s affection, too. Fear of loss is not love. When your intention is to avoid losing love, your gifts are manipulations. When it is to appreciate someone with no strings attached, they are expressions of love.

We are leaving the age in which appearances were all that mattered because they were all that we could see and entering a new age in which essence is becoming visible. The essence of a person is not the clothing she wears or the things he does. People who love do not stop loving when others change their clothing or act differently. Your essence is not even your history, culture, race, or what you think and do. It is your soul.

A few decades ago “soul” was a theological or poetic word. That is changing. You experience your soul each time you sense yourself as more than a mind and body, your life as meaningful, or you feel that you have gifts to give and you long to give them. You experience your soul when meaning, purpose, gratitude, patience, and appreciation fill you, no matter how briefly. Cultivating those experiences aligns your personality with your soul. That is creating authentic power.

Soul-to-soul connection (not appearance-to-appearance connection) is love. (That is why we call this newsletter Soul Connections.) Think of love as the sun. It shines on everyone. The sun is not afraid of losing your love, and it doesn’t even require you to smile back at it. The more we love like the sun shines, the more we become able to look back on Valentine’s Day and see it very differently.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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THE REAL DEAL

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Authentic power is the real deal. You can’t inherit it, buy it, or win it. You also can’t lose it. You don’t need to build your body, reputation, wealth, or charisma to get it. None of that can help you when it comes to creating authentic power. Anyone can become authentically powerful. Even a rock star or the President of the United States can become authentically powerful, although just being a rock star or President is no guarantee of authentic power.

The only way to become authentically powerful is to create authentic power. You cannot wish, want, or command authentic power into your life, although you can try. Wishing, wanting, and commanding don’t give you any traction when it comes to creating authentic power. Creating authentic power requires commitment, courage, and discipline that far exceed those of a professional athlete or accomplished artist. The skills that athletics and art or any other profession require are limited in usefulness to athletics, art, or the profession. The skills that are required to create authentic power can be used in every circumstance, every situation, with every person. They are 1) the ability to distinguish within yourself the difference between love and fear, and 2) choosing love all the time no matter what is happening inside you or outside you.

When the pain of anger, guilt, loss, grief, resentment, fear, jealousy or rage stab, throb, ach, and tear at you, that is the time to create authentic power by not acting on it. When chaos, dissolution, dysfunction, or violence surround you, that is the time to create authentic power by not reacting to it. You decide what you will say and do, not your internal or external circumstances. You choose to be patient when impatience roars through you, silent when you want to shout, listen when you feel compelled to speak. You choose the healthiest intentions and actions you can reach for, no matter what. Like an accomplished athlete or professional, your performances are dazzling, but only you see them. They are not to manipulate or control others, not to vanquish, gain, impress, or win the prize. They are to stand on the ground of your own sanity and humanity, no matter what. This is the real deal. Are you interested?

Love.
Linda & Gary

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LOVE AND GRAVITY

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Buckminster Fuller said, Love is metaphysical gravity. I agree. What else could it be? Without gravity you would float like an astronaut in a spacecraft. Up and down would mean nothing to you. Your slightest motion would send you tumbling head over feet or rolling controllably. If you pushed hard against a wall, you would shoot backward fast until you hit another wall. If the lights in the spacecraft went out, you would have no way at all of orienting yourself.

Without love the same thing happens. Every experience of anger, jealousy, resentment, and fear sends you spinning out of control. You have no way of knowing up from down except what your anger shows you, and it always shows you that you are right and someone else is wrong, that you are a victim and someone else is a villain. The more you act in anger, jealousy, resentment, or fear, the more painful consequences you create. You careen helplessly, spinning, rolling, hitting walls you can’t avoid and colliding with others.

Love grounds you. It orients you. Love brings your awareness to others and yourself. Love opens your mind and heart to others and yourself. Love settles you and gives you balance. When you choose to become sensitive and caring instead of frightened and selfish, your anger turns to appreciation, your jealousy to gratitude, and your resentment to caring. You cannot lose your orientation: when your deeds harm others you are in fear, and when you create harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life you are in love. The ground beneath you is always solid.

That is why mystics say that only love is real. Now we are all becoming able to see for ourselves that we are parts of a larger fabric of Life and experience for ourselves what Bucky saw so clearly: Gravity calls you to the Earth. Love calls you to Life. And they always will.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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SIX THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM GUILT

SIX THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM GUILT

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Many people think that guilt is a natural experience. It is a familiar experience, but it is not healthy or productive. It serves no constructive purpose. How can that be? Here are six things to think about the next time you are feeling guilty:

  • Guilt comes from fear. Your spiritual growth requires challenging fear and cultivating love. Holding onto your thoughts and feeling of guilt will not support you or anyone else. They prevent you from living in love, creating in love, and enjoying yourself in love.
  • Guilt impairs your ability to learn from your experiences. When you see something that you could have done differently, or wish you had done differently, remember how you could have spoken or acted in love instead of fear so that you can apply what you have learned next time (not to make yourself feel more guilty). Your experiences are designed to inform, support, and benefit you, not cause you to contract into fear and remorse.
  • Guilt is an experience of a frightened part of your personality, just as the actions that you regret came from a frightened part of your personality. Following fear with fear moves you in the opposite direction that your spiritual development requires, which is toward love.

 

  • Guilt keeps you from being honest with others and yourself. You cannot cause emotional pain in another person. You can trigger emotional pain in someone else, but the pain that is triggered comes from inside them (not from you). It is an opportunity for them to learn about themselves. Your actions are your responsibility. If they come from fear rather than love, they will create painful consequences for you.
  • The relationship between guilt and forgiveness may surprise you. Guilt is actually a twisted or manipulative way of seeking forgiveness. It is the belief that if you inflict suffering on yourself for your choices, another will forgive you for them. This is the perspective of the frightened part of your personality that feels guilty.
  • You cannot give the gifts that your soul wants you to give while you are feeling guilty. Your gift may be to raise a family, create a new kind of business, write books, dance, or any of countless things. Whatever it is, it will fulfill you as you give it and lead you to your next gifts. It will bring you joy. You cannot give any of your gifts while you are caught in fear – for example, anger, jealousy, despair, superiority, inferiority, and guilt.
Love.
Linda & Gary
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SPECIAL OPERATIONS OF THE HEART

SPECIAL OPERATIONS OF THE HEART

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In the mid-eighties a young couple told a private conference of scientists, academics, sociologists, and writers that they would be working with the U.S. Army on a program involving exceptional human capabilities and were asking for advice from their colleagues. Their subjects would be two Special Forces A Detachments, or Green Berets. This couple was gentle, sensitive, perceptive, and counter-culture in energy and appearance. I was in the conference. As a former Green Beret officer in Vietnam, I was concerned about the experiences they might encounter. I was doubtful that they understood the disconnection from people, shared environment of brutality, and disregard for liberal perspectives and the people who held them they were about to encounter. I introduced myself and offered to share what I knew about the Special Forces and some thoughts that might be helpful.

Twenty-seven years later we reconnected, and they were eager to report their experiences. The project, they told me, had been a success. They also told me that my comments had been “sobering and illuminating.” Apparently, as I thought, they had no experience with the type of thoughts and lives that I described.

I knew the insecurity of the men they would be working with for six months, because I shared it, and even today I am challenging some of the energy in me that brought me into the Army (I volunteered) and then into the Green Berets (I volunteered). I told them that their only chance of surviving this assignment – emotionally – much less learning from it was to rigorously maintain their integrity. If they did not, I felt certain that these young men would “eat them for lunch” – disdain them, dismiss them, resist them, and ridicule them. Their only hope of success, I told them, was to know who they were, share directly and honestly, and detach from the outcome. Any attempt to manipulate these men by trying to please or impress them would lead only to disaster.

They were often amazed, positively, by the results that following my suggestions created. The project opened doors for them that are still opening. Beyond that, they were touched most by the men themselves. The courage and compassion that this couple brought to their interactions with these men created bonds that they still treasure. I told them to be honest and direct, even if they were frightened. Here are some stories they told me of doing that.

The wife recalled that early in the project while she was putting neuro-feedback brainwave sensors on a young captain from West Point, he asked if she had been “one of those anti-Vietnam war demonstrators.” She paused, remembered my advice, took a deep breath, and replied, “You bet.” He was silent a moment, then relaxed again and said, “I find that one of the most fascinating periods of history.” That was all. No disdain. No superiority. It was one of many times that she established a beautiful connection that could not have been created without her integrity and courage. Her husband told me another story. After a neurofeedback training session an enlisted man lingered in the lab, asking questions. At last, the husband needed to leave, but when he began to leave, the man finally asked him, “What do you think of us?” It was another moment of truth. The husband remembered our talk, as had his wife before answering the captain, and said, “To tell you the truth, I am surprised at how much I like you guys.” The young man replied, “I am surprised at how much I like you, too.”

Moments like these were the ones they remembered more than a quarter of a century after our talk at the conference. They told me of being deeply touched by tears of compassion flowing down the face of an Army Ranger, falling onto his “Death From Above” T-shirt, as his heart opened during a meditation. They told me of soul-to-soul connections created where personality-to-personality connections would have been difficult. These are the connections I am sharing with you. These are the Special Operations that are altering military history and that will eventually change the nations that create military organizations. I am grateful to be alive in this exciting time with you.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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CELEBRATING EACH OTHER

CELEBRATING EACH OTHER

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The Celebrating Gary’s 70th Birthday page that Linda created turned out to be more profound for me than I imagined it could. In the process of reading, hearing, and watching the many forms of appreciation that I received, I discovered that I appreciated the people who sent them and for the same reasons they were appreciating me! The more I read of their courage, open hearts, commitment, and compassion, the more I found myself celebrating them. The deepest appreciation we have for one another is not for what we do, but that we are here together, like it or not, continually offering one another opportunities to grow spiritually. Each time we experience an attraction or repulsion, we are offered an opportunity to grow spiritually. Each time we encounter someone we love or someone we despise, we are offered an opportunity. At first it seems that spiritual growth happens only when we open our hearts to people who open theirs to us. Then we discover that we grow spiritually when we open our hearts to people who do not open their hearts to us. This is where the real celebration begins – the celebration of everyone and everything because of the opportunities they give us without fail to grow spiritually.

Once we see this, we celebrate everything. Like students in a 3D, surround-sound, high-definition, full-color, cast-of-billions educational environment that provides them exactly what each needs to grow spiritually, moment by moment, we see how our attractions and repulsions, people we love and people we hate, and people who love us and people who hate us, all give us opportunities to respond with love or react with fear. Responding with love creates bliss. Reacting with fear creates pain. Recognizing the difference and acting on it – choosing love no matter what – is spiritual growth.

Thank you for celebrating me. It is a joy to celebrate you. What better gift could we receive and share?

Love.
Linda & Gary
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TWIN MIRACLES

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There are two solstices each year. These are astronomical moments when the light is greatest and the dark is least (Summer Solstice) and when the light is least and darkness is greatest (Winter Solstice). Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvass of awareness. At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare, and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow. All potential is concentrated into a single seed waiting patiently to begin its unfolding.

In the northern hemisphere, where Linda and I live, we are celebrating the Winter Solstice. It’s metaphorical richness pervades all – darkness before the light, silence before sound, stillness before movement, death before birth. It is the time of inwardness. SAD (“seasonal affective disorder”) touches millions as depression and self-examination emerge fearfully in the prolonged darkness. At the same time, people in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Summer Solstice. Its metaphorical richness also pervades all – birth after gestation, emergence after confinement, manifestation after potential, life after death.

These different sets of experiences occur at the same time. Our experiences of the Solstice depend entirely upon where we are when it occurs. Neither Solstice encompasses everyone. Neither can. The Solstices stand forever opposed, literally at the two poles of our Earth and experiences. If we look at this circumstance with five-sensory perception alone – eyes, ears, taste, touch, and smell – we must take a plane from the northern hemisphere to the southern to change our experiences of the Solstice. If we look from multisensory perception – the expanded perception that is emerging in millions of us – we must make another type of journey. This one is inward. It is the choice that we make continually, regardless of hemisphere, between health and illness, open and closed, prison and freedom.

The choice that frees or imprisons us is the choice of love or fear. Love liberates. Fear imprisons. You were born to learn how to distinguish within you between love and fear and to choose love no matter what is happening inside you (you are angry, depressed, jealous, obsessed with eating, sex, drugs, dark thoughts surround you) or outside you (an earthquake, tsunami, illness, 911 type event). Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives. There are only two. The choice of love or the choice of fear – the choice of vibrancy or lethargy, meaning or emptiness, joy or pain. We cannot control what emotions or circumstances we will experience next, but we can choose how we will respond to them. Choosing love no matter what metaphorical hemisphere you inhabit at the moment, is the choice you were born to make. Each time you make it, you create authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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PULLING THE ROOT OF VIOLENCE

PULLING THE ROOT OF VIOLENCE

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The deaths of the children and adults who tried to protect them in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut renewed the debate about how to prevent this kind of violence. How to prevent yet more unpredictable killings in more schools, theaters, and malls by more unpredictable suicidal murders. Some say more gun control. Some say more school security. Some say more care for the mentally ill. Others say our culture of violence – violent movies, violent games, violent language – is the cause. Almost no one says, “Look inside ourselves.”

The origin of the violence that erupted in Newtown is in us. When I look for it in me, I always find it. If you look for it, you will find it in you, too. Kindness and cruelty, patience and impatience, forgiveness and revenge live in each of us. Which will we choose? We answer this question each moment whether or not we are aware of it. Acting with cruelty (for example, in anger), with impatience (for example, in superiority), or revenge (for example, in inferiority) creates only emotional or physical violence and destruction. What is in you is in the world. When you change yourself, you change the world. The choices you make about yourself are important. They create wars, genocides, slavery, and poverty or harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. If you want to change the world, you must change yourself. Every experience offers an opportunity, including your experiences of the violence in Newtown.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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WHY PAINFUL THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

WHY PAINFUL THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

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responsible choice is a choice that creates consequences that you are willing to assume responsibility for. For example, you may usually shout when you become angry. Shouting in anger pushes people away, they are intimidated by you, they are cautious about sharing with you, and you become isolated. The more isolated you become, the angrier you become, and the more isolated and lonely you become, even if you are surrounded by people. This is because the people who surround you will have energy like yours. They will also be angry, and judgmental, too. They will find faults with others, the system (any system), and live their lives as righteous victims. They will try to convince others of the wrongs and injustices they see and of their own superiority. When they succeed, they bond with those people. Their group of “Us” becomes larger and always in conflict with a group of “Them.” If you are an angry person, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to act in anger, and you will.

Here is another example. Some people feel good about helping others, and they do so often. They do not realize that their good deeds have a second agenda. They want to be appreciated. When a care-taker gives and gives and does not receive appreciation, thanks, or even acknowledgement, she becomes resentful. Her resentment grows over time and eventually turns to anger, and then explodes at the person who is not thankful or appreciative. People at first enjoy her care-taking, but after a while, they avoid it, unless they desperately need it, because it feels “sticky.” It comes with strings attached, unspoken obligations, and people do not like it. The more they resist it, the more unappreciated the care-taker feels, the more resentful she feels, and the angrier she becomes. If you are a care-taker, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to caretake, and you will.

Caretaking is different from care-giving. Care-giving has no second agendas or hidden motives. The care is given from love for the joy of giving without expectation, no strings attached. It cannot be manipulated or discouraged because love cannot be manipulated or discouraged. Care-givers attract care-givers and live in a community of love. They are energized by their caring, fulfilled, and they love life. Care-takers attract care-takers and live in the company of resentful victims who see themselves as misused and are fatigued from constant giving with no return.

Care-giving requires the intention of love, care-taking requires the intention of fear. Not acting in anger when you are angry requires the intention of love. Shouting when you are angry requires the intention of fear – the intention to manipulate and control others – to pursue external power. When you know your intention, you are in a position to choose the consequences that you will create for yourself. When you choose an intention that creates consequences for which you are willing to be responsible, that is a responsible choice. When the intention you choose is love, you create authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

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An alcoholic demanded to return home from a treatment center. His wife felt that being home where she could take care of him was a good thing even though the staff at the center strongly advised otherwise. Once she had assisted with his return, she did her best, as she had over their years together, to love him with tenderness, encourage him to stop drinking, create distractions, and generally try to make him feel good about himself, or at least better. She appealed to his reason (this didn’t work when he was drunk), and addressed the needs of the most frightened parts of his personality when they were active. For example, he would say, “No one cares for me,” and she would say, “Of course people love you.” He would say “I am washed up,” and she would say, “You have so much to give.” He would say, “I can’t start again,” and she would say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

He feared experiencing the emotional pain that years of drinking no longer masked (which is what the center would have required him to do). His wife feared his rage, mood swings, irrationality, and drinking. Three months after his return home, he drowned in his vomit in bed, too incoherent or weak to prevent his death. There was no compassion in this picture. Neighbors may have thought the wife was compassionate, but what would they think if they realized that her choices assisted his death? Her fears and his fears prevented them from listening to professionals who know about alcoholism

Compassion is loving others enough to say or do what is appropriate from an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome. His wife did not say, “You can’t come back – not to my home – until you start to change yourself.” Nor did she say, “You are a tornado in this house, destructive to me, our children, and everyone around you. Leave this morning and don’t return until you stop drinking.” She probably could not have forced him into treatment, but she might have been able legally to force him from the house he used for shelter while he drank with no responsibilities. Although these actions may seem hard or cruel, they would have been compassionate choices, and they would have required her to challenge every part of her personality that felt unjust, inhuman, or guilty. And her husband might still be alive. Might be. The choice to drink or not – to experience his pain and change or not – was always his. It was his last choice.

We each make choices moment to moment. Sometime we make them from fear, and sometimes we make them in love. Only choices made in love are compassionate. There are no exceptions. Do you have the courage to act with an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome? If not, you have no ability to give or experience compassion. That is the shocking truth.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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