Monday, December 18, 2006

Appreciation Part II

A few years ago my wife and I became parents. We are, for now, to a large extent responsible for the world our children are growing into. This responsibility threw into stark relief a central question on the spiritual path: “Who creates your reality?” Were my wife and I at the mercy of the world around us? Was our job simply to teach our children how to be a savvy victim of circumstances? And if that was not the case we realized that it was not about talking the talk or even walking the walk. Our children are looking a lot more closely than that. If we were to raise empowered children we would have to be empowered.

What is empowerment? Empowerment is the experience of the truth of who we are. Empowerment is felt oneness with source energy. Empowerment is connecting to the vibrancy of our spirit before choosing how we will respond to whatever is occurring, whether it is in our world or in our mind. Empowerment is the certainty that how we are being will always be more important than what we are doing. Empowerment is a choice that we make concerning what warrants our attention.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Appreciation, Part I

This week I woke up in the middle of the night and as my eyes opened a voice my head said “May you live forever in the high, fast, energy of appreciation.” It was the kind of experience you don’t forget and the kind of advice you are inclined to follow. In the ensuing days I have been an enthusiastic appreciator. What I have found is that appreciation is very fun and the people around you tend to join in.

Marianne Williamson wrote “The world we see is a reflection of the people we have become.” What we are seeing tells us more about ourselves than about our situation. Like someone climbing a mountain the view changes as you get higher. To make this concept helpful we need only take responsibility for our point of view. What we are seeing is not “how it is” what we are seeing is what we are choosing to see.

Try it out for yourself. How does it feel to ruminate on the utter lameness of another human being or situation? How does it feel to doubt your ability to be, do, or have something that you want? Can you turn that around? Can you move up the mountain a little and see the world differently? How does that feel and what happens to your world?

Friday, December 01, 2006


My mother-in-law, Ilona, grew up in Germany after World War Two. As a teenager she discovered that her father had been drafted into and fought with the combat arm of the SS. Her life has been to some extent devoted to resolving for herself the implications of that knowledge. As an adult she helped found an organization that recognized the clinical similarities between the children of Nazis and the children of their victims. And for the last many years she has worked to bring together these two groups as well as similar groups from other conflicts. The aim of their work is peace.

Ten years ago the South African government created special courts where perpetrators of racial violence under apartheid could confess their acts and receive a pardon. The aim of these courts was peace.

In recognition of her work, Ilona was invited to participate in the ten year anniversary of the reconciliation courts in South Africa. It is a singular and historic honor. I was at her house the day before she left and could feel the greatness of this moment for her and for all of us. The Government of South Africa and Ilona Kuphal have learned something that often only great suffering can teach, that War and Peace are matters of the heart, and that there is no Peace without unconditional Love.