I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of kind regards in my life. Specifically as it applies to health and happiness. It dawned on me that our thoughts for and about each other create some sort of force field, the Vibe-O-Sphere if you will. In a healthy Vibe-O-Sphere the community of folks trust each other, they believe that they matter, they feel a sense of belonging, and a responsibility to the whole. Within such a field of love we flourish.
Studies have shown that prayer improves outcomes for patients. While I was undergoing treatments I was blessed to be on the prayer lists of several different faith communities in different parts of the country. I also had a small circle of dedicated friends who included positive healing thoughts for me into their meditation practice on Tuesdays for most of that year. I feel incredibly grateful to those who took me into their most intimate Vibe-O-Sphere and deliberately visualized good things for me. Especially since many dozens were people I will never know.
On the personal level the Vibe-O-Sphere has great impact. Think back on a time you were in conflict with another person, and what the vibes in the room were like then. When our family or circle of companions is less healthy, i.e often in a state of disfunction and unresolved conflict, it has great impact on our wellbeing. Or conversely remember being in the presence of a new baby – when the field of love and wonder envelops everyone in the room. It is said that we are the sum total of the people closest to us – that on an energetic level we are always sort of mind melding with our closest companions. If that is true, and I suspect that it is, it is certainly a good argument to choose our closest companions carefully. Studies indicate everything from our weight to our longevity are “caught” from those nearest to us.
We don’t have just one circle in our lives, rather many over lapping ones. From the most intimate, to the world stage. We may choose who is in our inner most rings, but the ripples we create with our thoughts flow out to encompass the world, and the world reaches back to meet us.
Enter the big elephant in the room, the circles that influence us include anything we connect our energy and thoughts to. Which probably means the music we listen to, the media we read/watch and of course who happens to be running our country. These days the national Vibe-O-Sphere here in the US is pretty seriously wonky. There is a palatable ongoing sense of fear and loathing. While I think it has been building for a while now, the post election – post inauguration stupor takes it to a whole new level. As more and more people are drawn into the fray, the national emotional Richter scale reading goes up.
All of the craziness that I have caught wind of leaves me questioning whether my freaking out about it all can possibly result in anything good. In fact I am certain that when my emotions are completely saturated with fear and outrage, I become easily distracted and turn away from the things that I can do. I lose access to the place within where I have the most impact. The Vibe-O-Sphere within myself is where I have the most power, it is where all of my personal power resides. If I want to radiate goodness into the national scene, it has to start with lighting the spark within.
While following the situation at Standing Rock with the water protectors and the DAPL forces, I have been very impressed with the discipline led by the Native peoples that includes prayers not just for the land, but especially for the workers – police – soldiers – bankers who are trying to push the pipeline through. As I understand it, the belief is that for a person to be willing to despoil the land, they are by definition tragically disconnected. Therefor praying for them to come back into right relationship with life is a logical response. Arguing with them not so much.
This strategy of action, to focus so fiercely on love, is remarkable. Remarkable and very much needed during these times of peril. Because ultimately we are the sum total of everything in the layers of Vibe-O-Sphere that surround us, which means we need to figure out how to love even the parts that are hard for us to grok.
It has me thinking about what it will take for me to respond to the policies, anger and statements coming out of Trumpland, with love. Focusing on the best possible outcome has some power to draw us towards that outcome. This type of shifting of the Vibe-O-Sphere is a legitimate social change tool. However as any activist knows, this work to influence the Vibe-O-Sphere is not the only action required. After all, the sophisticated approach being used by the Standing Rock folks includes a legal team and a publicity team, as well as the elders leading prayers.
Likewise the worldwide Women’s March in response to the inauguration was as much about vibes as anything else. We attended the march here in our little town, and saw people reaffirming that they value life and love in all of its many beautiful expressions, more than expressions of opposing the new administration. It was very heartening to see pictures from around the world of the people who gathered that day in solidarity.
Historically social reform has largely come about as a result of dedicated people fueled by love. Love of land, of culture, or of freedom. Our current administration is perhaps an example of what happens when the impetus for change is fueled largely by fear and anger rather than love. The posturing and degrading discourse is in such marked contrast to the eloquence of the abolitionists, suffragettes, Gondi and MLK.
I have begun to think that Trump is the President of Pain. A visual manifestation of the collective traumas of our nation. Regardless of how many did or did not vote for him, ultimately he is our president now as a reflection of the murky national Vibe-O-Sphere. Murkiness which is nothing more than the collective energy of all of our individual conflicted vibes. The first step towards peace is to start within.
“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The question remains, What work do I need to do on myself in order to be in alignment with love? How I can add love to the Vibe-O-Sphere, rather than adding more fear and anger? It seems to me that this is the prerequisite work for the world I want to put my energy towards. The job before me is to cultivate a disciplined state of mind so that I can be more effective in whichever actions I choose to undertake. Choosing love over hate means choosing to find a way to dialog with those who are acting out. To choose love is not an easy task.
That vocal minority that want to do things like build the wall are expressing a tragically misplaced desire to feel safe and secure. They are seeking a means to have sense of belonging to something they understand and can be proud of. The irony is that by emphasizing the small ways that we differ from each other as human beings, we miss the rather enormous truth of how we are all very much alike – regardless of language, religion or skin color. To transform our country from one that values inclusiveness and diversity into one that denies people access to basic human rights is a path in which we are all less safe and all devalued.
It is difficult to watch as immensely privileged people are put forth to supposedly represent the interests of the many people whom are not privileged. Like putting the fox in charge of watching the chicken house- we have handed the keys of our nation to the 1%. It is an effort to not stomp my feet and wail in fury when I see for instance the smirk on the face of the proposed Secretary of Education. So believe me I am needing to call forth significant discipline to redirect my angst in these times of peril.
“Critique by Creating”
These words of Michelangelo are probably my favorite call to action ever. The time is now to call forth all of our creative powers to make the world more beautiful. Not just for a privileged few but for all peoples, of all nations. The Vibe-O-Sphere is twanging with impatience for us to get busy creating a new paradigm. To do the work that aligns us with all of those who are connected to Love, and to do the work of loving those who have fallen away from love. Not only because they are dangerous, but because they are in desperate pain, and like any cornered animal they lash out – even when it is not in their own best interest to do so.
The Vibe-O-Sphere is the water we swim in. So when there is mudslinging, and hate being whipped up in one side of the pond, it effects all of us. The boundary we need is the one we can create energetically within ourselves. A boundary created when we are discerning, distinguishing between what are my feelings, and what are the feelings floating my way from the collective. Knowing that the powers-that-be use everything at their disposal to manipulate emotion on a mass scale enables me to step back and go within to figure out my next steps. To acknowledge the existence of the Vibe-O-Sphere grants me a little space to find clarity within by separating myself from the crazy.
Back when people were praying for me there were times in which the love being beamed at me from my beloveds was visceral enough to physically wake me up from sleep. That experience is for me a keen reminder of the power of good as applied to the Vibe-O-Sphere. Knowing that there are forces that actively saturate the waters with their dark agenda – like the repeated televised images after 911, or the smoke and mirrors reporting of mainstream media, lend some amount of protection from that manipulation.
The number one thing is to get ahold of myself. Without self mastery I have no hope of keeping my head above the waves of disorder. With self mastery I can be an agent for change. My plan so far for my own actions are:
#1 – Return to daily meditation practice to help me keep ready access to my calm inner self. I started today.
#2 – Listen, and seek out people who view the world differently from me to listen to, not with judgement but with curiosity. To practice finding common ground.
#3 – Start working on creating good things in my community. Right now. This is the realm where I have been most comfortable in over the years – I’m not sure yet what will get cooked up.
#4 – Speak my truth, speak truth in the face of injustice when I see it, with calmness and love.
In closing I offer up a pledge – to the nation I feel most in alignment with, a pledge you are probably familiar with if you took part in American public school system. By saying it today I am psychically linking arms with all the people, from every race, creed and culture that have gathered into this big experiment in getting along that is the United States. We are a nation with a history fraught in darkness, and yet also filled with enough light that we have at times acted as a beacon of hope to the world. The many are more powerful than the few if we use our voice.
With Liberty and Justice
Has a nice ring doesn’t it?
+ All images in this post taken from a social justice art installation I did at the Astoria Visual Arts Gallery in 2004.
Resources for Active Non-Violence organizations – these are just a few organizations that are actively working to improve the Vibe-O-Sphere that I am personally familiar with. There are many thousands of organizations working worldwide:
Fellowship for Reconciliation – an international interfaith peace organization founded in 1914. MLK received training from this group. http://forusa.org
Rural Organizing Project – an Oregon based human rights group that has been working in rural Oregon to advance human dignity since 1991. http://www.rop.org
The Catholic Workers – The Catholic Worker movement was started in 1933 during the Great Depression by Dorothy Day. http://www.catholicworker.org/index.html
The Center for Non Violent Communication – a non-profit founded by Marshall Rosenberg to train people in life serving communication. https://www.cnvc.org
Here is the site for sacred stone camp at Standing Rock: http://sacredstonecamp.org
Here is the site for #NoDAPL Solidarity -the work of protecting the waters is ongoing: https://nodaplsolidarity.org