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heARTful Action

New heARTful Action Post at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

On the day after the election, my beloved friend and yoga teacher, Amy Kidd read a parable from Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron called How To Defeat Fear:

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. (Continue reading here.)

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New heARTful Action Post at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

These are disorienting days we’re living in. It can be challenging to simply keep track of what’s happening in our communities, our country, in the world – let alone do any heARTful Action. I am swinging between despair/overwhelm and anger/fired up and it can be exhausting.

My wise husband, Frank who has renovated old houses for more than 20 years has a saying. When faced with an overwhelming and/or unappetizing task he always says, “Be an ant.” (Continue reading here.)

New heARTful Action Post at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

Me and you and you and you
Just wanna be free yeah
But you see all the world is just as we’ve made it
And until we got a new world
I’ve got to say that love is not a whisper or a weakness

– Mercy by Dave Matthews Band

I love my teacher, Jamie Catto, but when this post came up from him on Facebook last week, I hated it.

Let’s say it plainly: Trump is an embodiment of all of our collective, denied Shadows. (Continue reading here.)

New heARTful Action Post at at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And please, if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

“It was the end of the world…and I was dancing with Sally Bowles and we were both fast asleep”. — Clifford Bradshaw, Cabaret

My emotional landscape of late runs that gamut from disbelief to determination, disappointment to despair. But the one feeling that I keep bumping into these days is disorientation.

Continue reading here

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“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.

As my eyes adjust to the changing landscape of the world, I realize that mostly what I need is my ears. I need to listen more deeply to the words and perspectives of a wide range of people. It’s so easy for me to read and listen to people who are like me, people who agree with me. But that’s not where healing and understanding is going to happen.

If I really want to understand more fully, I need to listen more deeply to more people (and I need to leave my defensiveness and attachment to my perspective at the door). It reminds me of the story of the Blind Men & The Elephant: only by looking at everyone’s point of view can we see the whole truth.

These are some of what I’ve been taking in this week.

Between The World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In this award winning and deeply personal narrative, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about his experience as an American black man. His words shed light on what it is like to live without the privledge I take for granted. I will not look at race the same again.

Van Jones’ The Messy Truth

Just before the 2016 US presidential election, Van Jones went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to talk to people who support different candidates. His conversations cut through the rhetoric and get to the people and the values behind it. Watching these three short episodes (each around 10 engaging minutes) revealed more to me than any of the debates.

The Messy Truth, Episode 1 – A Trump-supporting family in Gettysburg

The Messy Truth, Episode 2 – Four Moms Who Support Different Candidates

The Messy Truth, Episode 3 — A Panel of Gettysburg Voters for All Candidates (including one hard-core young man with a Make America Great Again hat)

Photojournalist Reveals the Back Row

Similarly, photojournalist Chris Arnade, traveled 58,000 miles around the US in 2016 taking pictures and talking to people in rural areas and small towns. Neither his photographs, nor the political landscape he uncovers is black and white. This Wall Street Journal piece shines a light on the unprotected in our country.

heARTful Action for this week:

What are you reading? Who are you listening to? This week, make a point to Read or watch or listen to something from a different perspective than your own. Then share it with someone along with your thoughts about it. In the comment section below, or on the heARTful Action Facebook page, share what you read (or watched or listened) so we can all expand our perspectives.

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“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” — Eckhart Tolle

When it comes to social action, a positive intention behind is important to me. I want to focus on what I want and what I for rather than what I’m against. I even refuse to put negative bumper stickers on my car, no matter how funny or clever they are.

So when I look at the current landscape and decide where to put my time and energy, I tend to go with the Eckhart Tolle approach of non-fighting, non-resisting. Fighting only puts energy into something I don’t want.

Recently, though, I’ve read good arguments for fighting and resisting:
“You may not like the idea of being purely defensive …our natural inclination is to talk about the things we’re for …. the things that move us. But the hard truth … is that we’re not [the ones setting] the agenda….” – excerpt from the Indivisible Guide

When I have the privledge of leading the conversation, I’ll do it in a positive way about what I am for and what I care about. But when someone else sets the agenda, here’s how I’m looking at it:

Fighting FOR instead of Fighting Against

Shouting NO feels like a tantrum unless I also point to what is a YES. Even in the midst of protest, it is important for me to stay clear about what I want to see happen.

Persisting FOR instead of Resisting Against

Resistance feels like tension, persistence feels like endurance. I want to continue to consistently show up and speak up about what I value the most. Not just make a fist but also point directly and insistently toward that which will make the world a kinder, more inclusive, healthier place.

And there may be times when I can get in the way and gum up the works to slow or stop something that will cause suffering. When those occasions arise, I’m up for that, too.

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“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.

One of the many realizations I’ve had recently is that my tendency is to think that someone else (who is smarter, braver, more capable, etc.) will do what needs doing. I tend to vote and then leave it to the elected officials to figure things out. I often feel shy or uninformed so I don’t stand up for issues that I care about. I tend to say, “I can’t do very much given my schedule/budget/skills” so I do nothing.

Part of my heARTful action is shifting this belief and changing this habit. At a recent heARTful action gathering, my friend Kate Bennis (she’s also a social worker, an actor, a writer and a whole list of other amazements) reminded me of three excellent questions to ask when wondering where to put my time and energy:

What do you love to do?
What are you good at?
What is needed?

What do you love to do?

Think of a time when you felt useful and empowered and it felt effortless. Sometimes it’s called “being in the Zone” or “the flow.” It’s a feeling of firing on all cylinders without tension or dullness. Write down what you were doing and the skills you were using in those situations. Another way at this is to ask yourself if all your financial needs were taken care of, what would get you up in the morning? If you could plan your day any way you wanted, what would you do?

“Love To” Action: Make as long a list as possible of the things you love to do.

What are you good at?

This one can be a little tricky. For many of us it can be challenging to accurately determine what we’re really good at. Sometimes we love to do something even though we’re not good at it (and sometimes our love for the activity clouds our view). If we really do something well, we often don’t even notice it or think of it as a particular skill. We think, “Aw, that? That’s nothing. Everybody can do that.” But they can’t. For this action, it’s great to call on a couple of good friends who know you well from different arenas of your life. Ask her what you do well at work, ask him what you do well at church, ask her what you do best at home. See what you discover.

“Good At” Action: Make as long a list as possible of the things you are good at.

What is needed?

This is an important question to ask often with humility and an open heart. In our enthusiasm to help, it can be easy make assumptions about what’s best to do without asking those directly involved. Connect with people on the ground, living and working in the situation, about what would be the greatest help and support. Offer your ideas if you’re asked but mostly listen. Recognize that circumstances are changing all the time, so these conversations need to be ongoing and this question needs to be asked over and over.

“What’s Needed” Action: Make a list of what’s needed right now (and keep revising as things change).

Now look at all three lists and see where there is any kind of intersection between your “Needed” list and the other two.

Make a commitment to do one of those things this week.

Shine on, Love Warriors.

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