The Beauty Way

My latest article as the Mental Health writer with The Volk Magazine (3 min read):

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“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. ”

— A YEAR WITH RUMI, HARPER COLLINS (2006)

In the current state of affairs, it is all too easy to wake up empty and frightened. To wake up this way is often also an experience of people experiencing mental illness. The past four years I have lived and breathed social work, learning in school about mental health and social justice. The learnings have made me even more aware of the issues facing humanity, while creating a certain kind of rigid mind set needed to manage the academic work in order to attain a degree. I’ve also stayed up nights and woke up mornings reading one troubling news story after another. This combination has caused anxiety, and at time bouts of depression, making it difficult to, as Rumi says, take down a musical instrument. Taking down a musical instrument is a metaphor, which invites us to seek the beauty, even in the struggle. Continuing this article, I will share two experiences where I lived Rumi’s words. The article will conclude with suggestions of how you, the reader, can find your beauty in the struggle. So come along toward the Beauty Way.. Click here to continue. 

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A Contemplation on Struggle

Today’s Soul Report: Struggle

I saw a man. Same one I’ve seen several times, on Colorado Blvd. with a styrofoam cup, he jiggles for change.

The homeless here in LA are almost as common as the Mercedes Benz is here. That’s the interesting part about being here. The diversity one sees within seconds. Even in this instant. A man tattered and worn, asking for spare change to those in suits and ties. Standing outside one of the 10 best Italian restaurants in LA.

When I’ve seen him in the past or others like him, I’m uncomfortable. I usually have no spare change as I don’t carry cash and I live on a small savings until my business takes off. I wonder should I smile instead. But if I do- will they think I’m patronizing them. Giving them pity. Should I not look at all? But, then they might feel I’m just one more who turns the other way.

Yesterday, with the man with the cup, I had a new experience. Every fiber in my being, with absolute clarity, felt: I do not want you to live like this and I don’t want you to want it either. I felt it so strongly I wanted to tell him. I didn’t. Nor did I give him my dollar of change I was saving for the post office.

A bee from before

Another experience: I was walking. I looked down and saw a bee. It was on it’s back struggling. I walked past but I kept thinking about the bee on its back, fighting to fly. To live. I wanted to help it. I don’t want you to struggle.

I turned around to go to the bee, but a woman was coming out of her car. I worried what she might think, and continued on. But, I’m not that girl who cares what people think anymore, and I turned around but the bee was gone.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but as I went deeper I saw the benefit to others if we observe how we respond to beings that to us seem to be suffering. Because maybe they are not. Maybe it’s what is needed, but what I’m learning as I clear the space within me more and more ,is almost a compulsion to say to those I see struggling: I don’t want you to live like this.

This thought is what in the past made me controlling and codependent toward family and strangers. But then, I had other another agenda. Then, I also needed their behaviors to make me comfortable. I don’t now- at least not as much, and it frees me to get to the purity of this compulsion.

I sense in time, I will respond more and more to this compulsion in a healthy, compassionate way. It’s why I write. It’s why I will begin teaching. It’s why I might just look that man on the corner in the eye, and say: I see there is more in you and I want you to remember what that more is.  Remember. Remember. Remember. 

Reflection: I believe we all have this compulsion to assist others. We may be acting on it in more destructive and codependent ways, but it’s there.

Observe how you respond to this desire in you. What you think and feel and how you react when you see a soul struggle. This small exercise can and will give clarity into what is in you- those forces, often in conflict, alive in you. 

*Disclaimer: If this post arrogantly or ignorantly suggests those who are homeless or those who struggle in more obvious ways do not know of their divinity, or do not honor where they are, (because how am I really to know), I just want to say this is not my intention. I am in process of seeing our divine essence within everyone, and that this is what unites us, and I really just want us all to remember and unite. I just want to remember, and keep remembering- and unite.

Namaste,

The Soul Reporter