Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A LOVE STORY: AND A COIN

My son and I were sitting in a small local breakfast place in Santa Monica, California.  We were surrounded by families, and people from everywhere......all colors, sizes and genders.  A world setting. 

Two boys about seven and eight, sat a few feet away with their mothers.  The younger boy was wanting something, struggling against his mother, and crying angrily.  His mom was attempting to get his attention and calm him, as she held one of his arms.  
      
Inside me, I felt his frustration.  I took a coin out of my pocket, placed it in my hand, turned my chair towards his table, and with both hands extended in front of me, I reached into his line of vision two feet away, and said, "tell me which hand the coin is in." Immediately, he turned, facing me directly.   smiling, ready to join me.  My intent was not to fix him, but to join him.

With a clear voice, I repeated, "Guess which hand has the coin."  He reached out to touch one hand, then the other.  He was moving up and down with joy.  I pulled my hands behind my back again to shift the coin.  This time, when I brought my hands back in front of us, he quickly reached out to gently hold on to one hand, believing it held the coin.  His whole body was laughing.  

We continued the "game" several times, connecting with our eyes, our hands and with laughter.  I was
warm inside.  We were bonded. 

One mother started to cry.  She looked at me.  "Thank you,"  she said through tears.  "Thank you."  Their food came and they ate together, all smiling. 



 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

CARTWHEEL AND THE LITTLE BOY

The boy was about five years old.  He was unable to perform a cartwheel in front of a spontaneous tourist crowd of about 400 people.  He had volunteered along with two other young people, a girl and boy about age eight, to stand before a Venice beach, California crowd of tourists from around the world.  None of the young people knew what they would be asked.  They were offered $20 each for volunteering to do something.... a something they did not know in advance.  .

With the background of beach and ocean, the hundreds of women, children and men stood in awe of the setting and what might happen.  Everyone smiling in anticipation.  Three children volunteered to stand in the middle of all this, without knowing what they would be asked to do.  Two boys and one
girl all between age five and eight.  After some comedic performance by the facilitators, the children were asked to do a Cartwheel. 

The girl did a partial cartwheel.  The next boy did a little less of one.  The third little one, about five, froze in place.  He could not do a cartwheel, or a partial one and was frozen in place. He could not move. 

One of the young gymnastic type men, rather than pressure the boy, or encourage him further, simply walked over to him, gently, with the boy's permission, picked him up and helped him do a cartwheel, standing in place.  He did it with compassion, kindness and respect for the little boy. 

As I stood at the edge of the crowd circle, and seeing how they spoke with and treated the boy, I cried inside and outside.  The crowd applauded and yelled, "yes." That little boy was me, and probably most young children who had been pressured, judged and embarrassed for falling short of expectations, believing themselves wrong.  My body released a tension I did not know existed since childhood.   The boy was OK just as he was, and who he was.  No embarrassment, pressure or shame.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN

Children everywhere of all sizes, genders, ages and colors, need fairness, equal respect, compassion, inclusion and total equality within the family, the community and the world.

I'm a child.  I know what I am doing. I know who I am.  Follow me.  See me.  Find me in you.  Really, find me in you.  I am the voice of the universal child.   My voice is your voice, the one hidden by beliefs not your own.  Beliefs that seem so familiar and natural,  yet, are often not the beliefs you had when a little person. 

Being a child is a universal story.  It is a human story, no matter the color of your skin, or religion, nor part of the world you live in.  Being a child has nothing to do with age, height, weight or where you live.  Children emerge into this world, not only innocent, but a living example of what all of us busy, hurried, smart phoned, Facebooked, big people can access and live out again------freeing ourselves from physical and emotional symptoms requiring medications, diagnoses and believing we are never quite good enough. 
 
Would our minds take a rest?  Would our need to compare, judge, blame and feel alone, or separate exist in the same way?  Schools, books, workshop trainers and psychology people could be transformed into the practice of listening well, caring, transcending the need for punishment, rules, regulations and defined expectations of others, especially children.      
 
today, now, this moment, I and we can speak to children and see them exactly as we would like to be seen.  Exactly.  We do not need to raise children.  We need to Be with them.  To be continued. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BEYOND TOO SENSITIVE

You can't be too sensitive.  Not really.   The phrase "too sensitive" has often been said in judgmental, blaming and make wrong terms, creating adults believing that when they "feel" something others do
not feel, they must be wrong, and "too sensitive."  

Consider that being sensitive, or "exquisitely" sensitive or aware, is a gift, a skill that allows you
or children to feel and see

BEHIND THE COUCH: APPRECIATION

 I'd been facilitating and teaching small and large groups for many years. My intent was always to help people rediscover their authentic self before social and cultural expectations seeped in.  On one particular occasion, I stood before about 60 people,and "directed" and facilitated a 15 minute unrehearsed skit, with many of the audience members reading parts I had written for them without their knowledge.  Before handing out the written "parts," I received their permission for this, about to be, unknown event.  My role was moderator and "introducer."  

Within the first minute, laughter filled the room.  Genuine, sixty-person honest laughter.   I continued my role as moderator as others read their previously unseen words. 

For fifteen minutes, my words and my humor, read by others, created a room full of joy and uncontrolled laughter.  Several people were on the floor laughing and in tears.  When the last person spoke, people stood and wildly applauded for several minutes.   Genuine appreciaion.

 The appreciation was for me and what I had written.   The energy of applause directed in my direction, brought out the little boy in me, forcing me to step back behind a couch, crouch down to hide my embarrassment, and handle the acknowledgment.   I felt completely shy, embarrassed and vulnerable  .

Had my body been free to cry, I would have, easily.  I would have cried out of being seen, loved and knowing I had a wondrous impact on 60 people.  Another layer of self-judgment was released from  my body. I knew it. 

And, I knew it was OK for me to respond in an honest way. To be honestly shy.  I was feeling, beyond my learned beliefs, of what I should do in front of others.   I was free.  It was a conscious beginning.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

STOP TALKING AND FEEL

I do believe I have yet to tell you what Michael did at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  In 1999, I suggested to Michael that he attend this ten-day World Work conference.  I borrowed money and found my way there.  Along with 400 women, men and young children from around the world, many from warring countries, people of many colors, religions, with some there because unknown others paid for them to attend.  I got to sit among them.  Wealthy people, others with no money, just the clothes they wore. 

Not only sit, but instinctively walk quietly outside around the perimeter of the roof, covering and protecting the gymnasium-size room inside.  I paced  the perimeter, as people inside released and expressed their frustration, anger, hostility, hurt and love.. I was aware that I was  holding the space for others inside, to release and express what needed to come through and out.  As I walked slowly on the perimeter,  I noticed Michael directly across from me, maybe 200 feet away, walking at the same pace..   We did not speak. We knew.

 Later, when inside, I listened and witnessed the anger, hurt and love freely come through.  People waving their fists, screaming, yelling, crying, blaming.  The only rule was no violence.  No violence. It was difficult to hear of all the injustice, yet I was grateful I got to hear it and bare witness. 

This went on for 10 days.  Ten days. On the last day, amidst the rage and tears and non-violence, Michael  my friend who had never done anything like this before, and who for nine days, quietly listened and felt,  raised his 6' 4" black frame up, and in this huge hall filled with 400 others, walked intentionally and directly into the center of the room:  "Stop talking and  feel," he screamed out. "Stop talking and feel."  

 His words came from another dimension.  A force in and beyond him.  Instantly, the room went totally silent.  A stunned silence.  A minute later, all that could be heard was wailing, crying, sobbing, and silence of words.  Michael simply stood in the center of the room, his own tears flowing.  Four hundred children, women and  men slowly moved towards the center.  Sobbing, crying and relief led the way.   No more words.  Only hugging and the embracing of each other.  Four hundred people, few having known each other hours earlier.

 Then silence. 
 A healing had taken place. 
 A connection for everyone.
 No more teaching or lectures or workshops.  No more teaching, lectures or workshops. 

 Soon, Michael walked into the hall and sat down in a simple chair, alone, aware and unaware of what he had just brought. 

 I walked out and sat next to him quietly.
 "I can't believe it," he said quietly as he looked down.
 People from inside the room, came to him and
 held him, thanked him and stood quietly.
 Michael was back in his body, almost embarrassed at his impact.

 Back in Santa Cruz, California, days later, Michael shared how  his actions surprised him.  He wondered if he could continue his life, holding that kind of influence in the world with others.  . 

 He felt touched, yet the everyday world seemed so distant from what he had just experienced. He wondered if that action was enough and could be sustained. 

 It was as though there was or is a voice inside that says, "Is that enough?  Can you sustain that awareness
 and impact on others?  Are you now done?  Am i enough?" To me, he is and was the same Michael that dropped an atomic bomb of peace.  Only once was required. Just once.