It is Sunday, November 9th. I am sitting in my living room in Richmond Hill, reading German news online. There is a big celebration happening in Berlin, where I was born. Twenty-five years ago on this day one of the most positive and life-changing things of the 21st century happened: the wall that separated the city, the country, and the continent into two, fell.
Also on this day 76 years ago one of the worst things that happened in the 21st century took place in the same city. The Reichskristallnacht, Hitler’s staged attack on the German parliament that was blamed on Jewish citizens, started off the hunt and destruction of millions of innocent people.
Same place, same people, same history. Both events show how quickly and radically things can change – things that we thought to be set and impossible to change, or things we never considered would change or happen at all.
In her speech to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about not only the joy of that positive change but also the “responsibility which German history put onto us (the German nation)” due to the horrible changes that started in 1938. And she added “If anything was miraculous in those days (preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall), then it was the imagination that was set free after having been suppressed for so many years. […] We have the power to create, we can change things for the better. That is the message of the fall of the Wall.” 1
To me there is a powerful message in this: if we stay authentic, if we don’t forget our roots but neither forget who we are now, if we are willing to make hard decisions and then act on them, real, meaningful, life changing change is possible. But we need to be willing to question the status quo, the official message, and the established powers that be. We need to be willing to take responsibility, to do our part, to speak up about and act to change things that we have come to understand as wrong, harmful, or even destructive. We need to have the courage to really find out who we are and to stand in this truth, no matter what society has to say about that.
That doesn’t mean that we should become selfish and do whatever we like or happen to believe in. On the contrary, taking responsibility for ourselves means taking an extra hard look at our beliefs and thought patterns.
“This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question.” ~Orson Scott Card
We are living in a time that is calling us to change:
- Our environment is in dire straits according to the latest report on climate change by the UN. 2
- Ebola is killing thousands of people in Africa and has spread fear to many other countries.
- Wars are raging not only in the places like Palestine of which we are by now — so sadly — accustomed to see pictures of destruction, but to places like Syria and the Ukraine that not too long ago seemed stable and where war seemed unlikely.
- Countries have to fight corporations for their right to exist 3 and citizens have to fight internal corruption and power hungry forces to survive 4,5
- The gap between rich and poor is ever increasing all around the globe 6,7,8
And with the latest events in Canada — two soldiers killed on Canadian soil, shootings and stabbings in Toronto and other cities, and social scandals from Rob Ford to Jian Ghomeshi to mention but a few — the struggle for power and the increasing need for true and deep change is becoming increasingly evident.
In my readings over the past few weeks I came across an article about Delusional Disorder9. What stood out for me was this: “The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue. […] These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated. People with delusional disorder often can continue to socialize and function normally, apart from the subject of their delusion, and generally do not behave in an obviously odd or bizarre manner.”
That article made me think: how many of us suffer from some form of delusion on occasion, thinking we know better, do better, are better than others, thinking we are prosecuted, victims, under attack? How much of what we believe unshakeably to be true and fact really is true? How do we know ourselves and our connection to reality?
I am of course not suggesting that we all suffer from Delusional Disorder to some degree. But I do wonder if our collective willingness to put our heads in the sand and believe what we are told without questioning it, or on the other hand our feelings of invincibility and superiority make us slightly delusional as individuals and as members of our nations and of the human race. And again, world events right now seem to support this:
- The spectre of a new cold war is looming in Europe. Isn’t that because of some sort of delusion on both sides about possessing the only right way and the need for powerful nations?
- Mental health issues are increasing in many countries. Is it possible that that is at least partially because of the delusion that medications are the only possible healing tool — or that only treatments without medication can lead to true healing?
- An increasing number of private people live with an increasing number of personal debt. Isn’t that at least partially due to the delusion that “stuff” will make us better and happier, our lives easier, the world a better place? And what about our delusions of inferiority or superiority in all we do (when is the last time that you stopped yourself because you thought you couldn’t, or did something way too big because you were over-confident)?
We need to learn to let go of our delusions, of our hubris. Hubris is a Greek word, originally meaning “presumption toward the gods” — and I believe not doing what we are capable of and what we need to do because of fear and low self-esteem, because we think we can’t change anything, is as much a presumption towards the gods (or nature, or even society) as is doing something we shouldn’t do because we overestimate our importance and capabilities.
The ancient exhortation: “know thyself” is about being truly honest about our abilities and inabilities at any given moment and staying conscious and aware in the here and now. It is about finding the courage to look into the mirror of our souls and face the shadow aspects in there honestly and with compassion — and with a clear desire to understand them so we may move past them. In some spiritual texts, this mirror is described as the Guardian of the Threshold, a figure so horrible to look at that we would turn and run in fear if we aren’t truly determined and ready to pass over that threshold to the next level. In modern literature that image is best described in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. I wonder sometimes what my picture would look like right now…
This is a time of change: the earth is at a crucial tipping point in both societal and environmental matters. In the movie “Home” 10 Yann Arthus-Bertrand says: ”It is too late to be pessimistic. It’s up to us to write what happens next. We all have the power to change, so what are we waiting for?” It is also too late to be overly optimistic and rely on the divine order to get us out of the mess into which we have manoeuvred ourselves. It’s time to be real with ourselves, to ask ourselves: what is the truth of me and my life and impact in and on this world? What is it that I can truly do or can’t do? And it is time to act according to the answers we find for these questions.
How do we do that? We continue to learn, to grow, to explore. Therapy and personal growth courses and workshops can help with that. We educate ourselves and don’t rely on that which is given to us by official sources only. We strive to live as healthily as possible, supporting as best as possible our bodies, our minds, and the earth we all depend on. We think about what we take and what we give — from ourselves, others, society, and the earth — and we move towards a balance in this as best possible. But most of all, we find ways to act: small ways or big ways; changing personal thoughts and behaviours or changing some aspect of society; creating harmony, understanding, and compassion in our immediate circles or helping to create it on a larger level.
It is too late to be pessimistic. It’s up to us to write what happens next.We all have the power to change, so what are we waiting for?
If you are looking for specific ways to move forward, consider these:
Destiny Learning Workshop, Nov. 29th/30th & Dec. 6th/7th, Newmarket
Our destiny is woven throughout our life in every small and big incident, decision, and action. Learning to observe this destiny and finding where it may have originated is an invaluable tool to knowing ourselves and being able to take responsibility for our actions. When we understand our emotional and spiritual patterns — our destiny patterns — we are better able to acknowledge when we are reacting and we can more freely choose to act.
I am offering a four-day (two weekends) workshop on Destiny Learning in collaboration with my husband, Timothy Cox. The workshop runs on Nov. 29th and 30th & Dec. 6th and 7th. The group size is held to a maximum of four people and currently there are two spaces left. Click here for more information.
Andrea’s 2015 Essence, The Shift that Alters Everything
Andrea has been creating a flower essence combination for the new year for many decades now and her essences are usually powerful. This one promises to be even more so. She has a slideshow that introduces the energy of this essence beautiful. You can find it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6hBRFr5zio). If you wish to purchase a bottle of the essence, visit Andrea’s website.
Women Connect, a bi-weekly meeting of like-minded women to share, explore, create. Tuesday evenings, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, starting Jan. 6th 2015, Newmarket
A small group of women who are interested in exploring a deeper way of being in the world, of staying as authentic as we can be, and of connecting with others to strengthen our own resolve, will meet to enjoy a cup of tea, stimulating conversation, and supportive listening in a safe and inspiring group setting. Exploration and conversation will be stimulated through the reading of a book that speaks to the questions of group members.
Possible book choices include:
- Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
- Inner Work – R. A. Johnson
- Wild Mind – Bill Plotkin
- and more
1 Spiegel Online: http://www.manager-magazin.de/politik/deutschland/merkel-nutzt-mauerfall-rede-zum-appell-a-1001907.html
2 Final installment Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — http://www.un.org/climatechange/blog/2014/11/leaders-must-act-urges-ban-new-un-report-warns-climate-change-may-soon-irreversible/
3 Buenos Aires Herald: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/166582/argentina-files-legal-case-against-us-in-international-court-of-justice–
4 BBC Latin America: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30002547
5 The Guardian online: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/09/protests-flare-in-mexico-after-attorney-generals-enough-im-tired-remarks
6 Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/investing/2014/09/11/rich_gaining_more_wealth_study_shows.html
7 Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-germany-wealth-idUSBREA1P1VJ20140226
8 Caixin Online: http://english.caixin.com/2014-08-04/100712733.html
9 Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/delusional-disorder?page=1
10 HOME (English) on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU&feature=youtu.be&hd=1