Today is the shortest day of the year and we are at the beginning of a new cycle. In our longest night, our deepest darkness, is where springs our new sparks of hope and our eternal inner fire is rekindled again. Tomorrow we celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Today is also day 99 of the 100 Day Warrior. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the warriors; our last day obviously being a new beginning. How beautiful. I didn’t plan it like that on purpose and I am a sucker for such symbolism.
Germany is mourning as they have lost a hero and a role model. Thousands of Germans paid tribute Sunday to a young woman who was beaten to death trying to stop a group of men harassing two teenage girls in a McDonald’s restroom. There is a Jewish saying: “Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe”. In the Buddhist tradition we have the Bodissatvah Vows, where the practitioners vows to save all sentient beings and attain enlightenment for the sake of helping others. From that perspective Tugce has lead a very meaningful life and set a beautiful example.
Moments ago the sad but touching news reached me that Thích Nhất Hạnh is passing away. He is still in is body but he is on his way out. This is sad news for us but also beautiful because he is 88 years old, lead a wonderful life and is surrounded by his closest students who he has been training for many years to be completely present with him in this very moment. We don’t have to feel sad for this beautiful Buddha, he is well prepared and ready, but for mankind it will be a great loss.
This website and my works central theme is warriorship and human bravery. “The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything” said Chögyam Trungpa, the great Tibetan spiritual teacher that I like to study and often use as a source of inspiration. When I looked through the pics below I was reminded to his words. There is so much beauty and sadness in the pictures and at the same time so much love and bravery that it reminds us of our humanity, our diversity and our obligation to ourselves and others to not give up on opening our hearts and taking care of each other.
We need to manage our feelings of powerlessness, of being overwhelmed by despair. We do have power, and we should know how to use it to effect change. We have to organize ourselves. Openness and loving speech can work miracles. Every parent, teacher, businessperson, and artist can always do something to encourage collective awakening. Everyone is responsible.
If you spend your days doing stuff that is impossible to do from your soul, you are violating yourself. Many of us betray our souls day in day out. It is sad and painful that we are conditioned that way. but it is your responsibility to do something about it.
When you do things wholeheartedly your work will energize you. If what you do exhausts you you are neglecting your soul, one way or the other.
The world is on fire. Three days ago a plane filled with primarily Dutch tourists was shot out of the sky by pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine, a week or so ago Hamas and the IDF went to mini-war against each other and ISIS is doing their best to cause death and destruction in Syria and Iraq. Due to the new function on Facebook to play videos without clicking on them in combination with the many contacts I have in the Arab world and their habit to show death from close up I can now see beheadings and executions first thing in the morning, today combined with dead Palestinian children and the bodies and body parts of my countrymen in a desolate field somewhere in the Ukraine.
“Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions or decisions. It’s inevitable, if you are honorable. Trying to get everybody to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.”
When I read the article it resonated with me. If I don’t at least try to manifest what I feel needs manifesting I will definitely be criticized by my Inner Critic. And if I give myself wholeheartedly to what I feel is my purpose others will criticize me.
By witnessing pure communication – that is the best way I can describe it – I realized how contaminated our average day-to-day communication is. When we feel free, open and courageous enough to let the words flow from our hearts everybody has something interesting to say. Not that anybody made any effort to impress, be funny or profound. It is quite the opposite. When the masks are dropped everybody shows up as human, vulnerable, tender, authentic. Words seem to come effortless from varying places. Sometimes from a deep, raw and tormented place, sometimes from a blissful and graceful place, and everything in between.