According to Jung, every culture lives by myth. The myths that affect culture most are usually the myths that blend empirical truth with fiction. The truth is, fear is a pretty good short term motivator. Nothing like a shark fin to clear a beach. That said, over time fear can change the way our brain processes emotions and non-verbal cues. Long term exposure to fear produces anxiety and impacts our thinking and decision making in negative ways. Fear leaves us susceptible to intense emotions, impulsive reactions and stress. Living under constant threat weakens our immune system and can cause long term health problems. Despite all these facts, fear as a motivating force remains a convincing myth. That kernel of truth – that we run when scared – maintains the power of the myth. But, myth it is. Fear doesn’t work in the long term. And, the sooner we give up the myth, the sooner we will be able to create creative high functioning societal environments.
March 2017 Book of the Month
Words from a Wanderer, version two, is a timeless and beautiful collection of #anote2self affirmations. This book of gems was first published in 2013 as a collection of notes and love poems. For the three year anniversary, WFAW has been redesigned, re-edited and rereleased. It is now a book of 62 #anote2self daily affirmations that readers can carry with them easily. This edition can serve as a resource for daily meditation, mantra guidance, and encouragement to its reader. Author, Alexandra Elle, created this book to shed light on the fact that indeed not all who wander are lost; some are simply still finding their way.
The truth is always deep beneath the surface level of the words. It is the silent, peaceful knowing that is infectious. This feeling of peace is beyond measure, beyond reason and certainly beyond words.
Many years ago the communication scholar, Marshall McLuhan, famously coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” In other words, McLuhan understood “medium” in the broadest sense. He used the example of the light bulb to describe his theory. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a profound effect on the environment. A light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence.
Similar to the light bulb, the life of every individual in their every thought, word and action influences the entire field of the cosmos. Therefore, someone with peace at heart naturally vibrates peace and harmony to influence the whole universe.
February 2017 Book of the Month
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.
Rather than offer a book club pick this month, we thought we’d suggest students check out a new website: www.bigwavesstrongboat.com.
Social worker and TTSM friend, Mary Waldon, has put together an outstanding resource for individuals looking for a “taste” of meditation. One of the quandaries of integrating meditation into daily routine is finding the time to sit. This collection of guided meditation allows for an active mindful practice. And, seriously, why not use your shower time to develop mindful awareness? Besides it’s FREE, it’s ONLINE, it’s FRIENDLY and EASY to use. Honestly, Mary may have eradicated all valid excuses for putting off the exploration of self. Enjoy!
In sixth grade, my daughter, Camille, made a papier-mâché “Ellacambit”. For those of you who are wondering, an “Ellacambit” is an elephant/rabbit combo forged together with the help of a little bit of Cami ingenuity. I gotta admit, he was a pretty fabulous creature. He joyfully graced our kitchen table for quite a while. We eventually “lost” him to an encroaching mold infection. We mourn him still.
The job of the artist is making tangible the inner workings of the imagination. The Greeks refer to this process of bringing something into existence as aition. Creation is not just about making something happen, it is a matter of letting something come forth and setting it free. Acts of creativity capitalize on the process of making the invisible visible.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi wrote about normal human perception as containing the values of all levels of knowing – from the gross, surface level to the abstract, absolute value. His motivation for bringing meditation to the West was to restore this visionary seeing/knowing to individuals across the world. He taught that it was stress that blocked an individuals’ ability to utilize the fullness of normal perception. By releasing stress, individuals would regain a normality of perception – and this would open the gateway to enlightenment.
Consciousness based education brings the inner and outer – subjective and objective – worlds closer together. When we are able to see beyond the gross level, we are able to connect with the pulsing urges that exist beneath the surface of known reality. This is where all the ideas live. Unencumbered by the weight of our stress, we can dive deep into this bubbling pool of creativity.
I like to imagine that this is the land where the Ellacambit’s roam free!
(Photo: Elacambit’s distant cousin – Beacamgon!)
It’s interesting how the world works, isn’t it?
When I was younger, I remember being mesmerized by magicians. Trying to figure out how I was being fooled right before my eyes was a game to me. I wanted to master this art of “tricking” people. Magic felt make-believe.
Now that I am older, I realize magic does not only lay in the hands of a magician but also in the perspective you chose to identify with. The soft breeze in the air outside that makes the branches dance, the old man laughing at the comics in the newspaper alone in the diner, the happiness that fills the air with the sound of children’s laughter are all emotions that we as humans resonate with. Magic is real. Magic is simply your fears turned into faith and each moment that we feel love and gratitude.
For so long, I deprived myself of this love. I deprived myself so much that I stopped eating, I checked out of relationships, and I crawled into a ball of jealousy and judgement. I realize now with great awareness that the reason I gave up on love was that I simply couldn’t see the magic. Like I said, it was all make-believe.
Through my recent experiences I have grown in compassion for myself. Having compassion for myself allows me to see that my actions were motivated by raw vulnerability and a confused identity. Now that I have grown up, I have decided to look for the magician within. It is my goal to create magic without any manipulations. I have forgiven myself for my own naivety. By opening my heart to the love I am deserving of, I am able to open my arms for those who still feel tricked.
Your greatest strength is love. Your strongest power is magic. You hold the key to all things good in this world.
We’re thrilled to announce that the Tuning the Student Mind movie is now available for free online.
Click here to view the 27 minute movie as well as our 13 minute deleted scenes.
Molly brought her new puppy to group meditation with the 7th graders at The Boggs School. Gotta admit, he was a bit of a distraction from meditating but Louie sure knows how to spread the love!
Over 120,000,000 people voted in last year’s Presidential election. 96% of the individuals who voted did so in person. Our guess is that if you consider the commute to the polling location, standing in line and the act of voting itself, it likely took an average of an hour and a half to get the job done.
We wanted to share a few thoughts regarding this reality.
1.) Voting is the lowest common denominator of true engagement. While voting is important, true responsibility of citizenship requires engagement beyond an hour and a half commitment. The very nature of voting implies asking someone else to do something for you, rather than figuring out what you can do for yourself and/or others.
2.) If those 120,000,000 voters mentioned above offered an hour and a half of time to a constructive volunteer effort once a quarter (four times a year), it would produce 720,000,000 hours of community participation.
3.) Using an eight hour a day model those hours convert to 90 million work days.
Just imagine what citizens might accomplish if everyone committed to giving six hours of volunteer time a year. Citizenship is not meant to be enacted in isolation. When we limit the benefits of citizenship to voting, passports and political opinions, we deny ourselves access to the fundamental value of democracy — PARTICIPATION. Furthermore, engagement with the world around us and true connection to other people is what helps us to evolve our consciousness and grow in compassion.
Let’s re-imagine our role as citizens in 2017! Let us know what you are doing to get involved in your community. We promise to share our engagement with you too. Happy 2017! Now, get out there and spread some GOOD!
Photo: TTSM film director teaching yoga as a volunteer to 5th graders at McGlone Elementary School in Denver, CO