There is a saying attributed to Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” It seems that this is the spark that percolated in the brain of author, ordained rabbi, speaker and former Madison Avenue ad-man, Michael Shevack. I have known Michael for more than 15 years and find him to be an inquisitive visionary, whose mind is nearly always formulating questions that challenge the status quo, knowing that there is always a positive solution. He has found what he perceives to be a means of resolving the challenges that afflict our country and by extension, the world. He calls it The Six Fix: A Simple Spiritual Guide To Restoring America’s Goodness. According to Shevack, there are six simple concepts that all revolve around a four letter word….GOOD.
The six goodness principles are concrete enough that a kindergartner could undertand them (think Robert Fulghum, a fellow clergyman):
1. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for yourself.
2. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for an other.
3. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for all others.
4. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for future generations.
5. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for all Life and Creation.
6. In everything you think, say and do, seek good by continuously improving.
The book begins with the idea that there is room at the table for everyone and their spiritual and politcal beliefs, since at their core, they come from the same Source, which is Love itself. Folks from all traditions have endorsed this book, including an Evangelical Christian CEO , a liberal Rabbi, a Gay Social Worker, a Muslim chaplain, a Native American motivational speaker and author, a Jewish, Lesbian, African-American speaker, a Republican committee member and an African-American Interfaith Minister. The book contends that instead of shouting over each other to be heard, we would all benefit by truly listening and desiring the best for each other as we would for ourselves and our own families. He lays the groundwork with the t-shirt logo phrase : “Life is Good.”; which is not to say that everything that happens in life is desireable, but at the heart of it, is beneficial.
“That Life is Good implies that there’s an Order to Life. We Americans (and all human beings) don’t just live and act in a vacuum. There’s a spiritual way Life operates. It operates for good. Everything in Life takes place for good, for the purpose of creating and expanding good.”
He then proceeds to focus on the idea that we need Life Centered Priorities. Things that would fall into the category of its antithesis: dumping chemical wastes, waging war expediently, careless sexual interactions, and driving under the influence of substances. The next step is to outline what he refers to as Value Priorities:
Interdependence is a key factor; the truth is WE NEED EACH OTHER. Although we are unique individuals with our own ideas and values; joining together, we can be a greater force for good. This book can provide a catalyst to move from blame, finger pointing and divisiveness, to stretch ourselves beyond what we were indoctrinated to believe to acceptance, cooperation and shared purpose. We are all on the same side.
It reminds me of:
Prayer of the Four Immeasurable Minds
Through the working of Great Compassion in their hearts,
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness,
May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow;
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless;
May all come to peace without too much attachment and too much aversion,
And live believing in the equality of all beings.
From the first word to the last, Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gustsy Self is a tropical fruit smoothie treat penned by Florida based colorfully creative author, Lisa McCourt. She invites the reader to travel along with her as she sets the ground work by declaring that she ‘wants more’; meaning peeling away, letting go of, releasing what no longer served in her life, to begin anew. Having done that, she now has the tools and life experience to teach readers with her grow-along exercises that she calls JuicyFeels. Each one beckons a diving deeper into the subtle and obvious things that may have kept us stuck in the muck and frees us to dance into, leap into, levitate into a life that is truly worthy of the beautiful beings that we are. I found myself laughing at the familiarity of Lisa’s words since they seemed as if they came from a “Vulcan Mind Meld”; so aligned they are with my own, even though our life experiences are different. That is one of the appeals of the book; readers from all walks of life will relate. Some are of the ‘hippy-dippy’ sort (I am proud to be one of ’em:) and some more mainstream; but Lisa is adept at bridging those two seemingly disparate worlds.
The 7 steps she espouses are:
I enjoyed the exercises; many of them what she calls NakedWriting. Yes, you can keep your clothes on, but imagine peeling off the layers of your psyche whilst buck nekkid in the privacy of wherever you might be! Meditation, movement, time in nature and with loved ones, as well as mirror exercises are doorways to the life altering world of Juicy Joy!
Slurp from the top to the bottom of this literary glass with a silly straw! Yum!
My friend Jacinta, this high energy, enthusiastic, passionate about life sister social worker, waxed poetic recently which made it irresistable to refrain from following up with a question. “The possibilities are endless, I love life :)”, she offered.
“Do you love life, because the possibilities are endless, or are the possibilities endless because you love life?,” I queried. Each day, it seems, we are all faced with the uncertainty as the subsequent 24 hours unfold. We never know from moment to moment what changes and choices we will face. Anxiety is epidemic for many who fear that sense of not knowing. I have come to relish it. Most mornings, I wake up feeling as if a huge present is set before me that I get to unwrap. Even when there may be undesriable tasks to complete, I always know that at least one portion of the rotation around the sun, will carry with it, a bountiful portion of joy.
Was I born optimistic, or did I learn it? Perhaps both. “Optimism can be learned”, according to Martin Seligman, PhD. author of “Learned Optimism”. Everyone has challenges, but optimists seem to be made of rubber and bounce back from them more rapidly and with less impact than a pessimist.
Perhaps I was hardwired for it, although my paternal grandmother was a worrier and my father (to a much lesser degree than my Russian immigrant Bubbe who fled the pogroms to come to America at age 16) inherited her ‘worry gene’, viewing it as a sign of love. I reminded him often that worry doesn’t keep anyone safe. When I have been face to face with life stuff, I have been able to see my way clear to the other side of it without too much angst.
I am not a glass half full person…rather, I am a glass ALL full kinda gal. You see, even if it is only half full of liquid, the rest is air. I prefer to refer to myself as an ‘opti-mystic’ who sees life through the eyes of possibility. I rarely allow myself to be limited these days. Even when events don’t pan out the way I think they ‘should’, I am able to discover the message in the mess. I have become the queen of reframe and putting things into perspective. What if you knew that becoming a possibilities thinker could yield amazingly positive results? How would your life change if you could see what the day brings without second guessing it? As you close your eyes for the night, could you dream to the horizon and beyond? Could you become a lover of life?
http://youtu.be/ACCcU0X0dW0 What The Day Brings by Brad
This morning I was on the phone with my sister Jan, asking her about a pattern I noticed in both of our lives. We grew up in a home overflowing with love, support, fun, creativity, physical affection and nurturing. We were raised with the idea that we could do or be whatever we set our hearts and minds to….and yet, here we are, two seasoned women who are excessively hard on ourselves, at times, lacking in self compassion and acceptance. Where the heck did that idea come from? We both pondered the question, coming up empty for an answer; except that our father used to say, in an effort to create resilient daughters who could face challenges, “If that’s the worst thing that happens to you, you’ll be ok.” It could apply to anything from a skinned knee to an emotional boo-boo like a relationship breakup. He hadn’t intended to minimize our feelings, but the umbilical cord was connected to HIM long after it had been cut at our births that he couldn’t stand to see us hurting.
We both carry the idea that we need to be the go-to people, the Ms. Fixits, the rocks on which others can lean. I told her that I felt badly, venting to her about a challenging situation in my life, when she is facing more daunting issues in her own life. She said something that surprised me; quite the sage she can be at times. She replied that my issues were my central focus and deserved attention too. There are times when I minimize my ‘right’ to receive time and focus from others, since “after all, my life is pretty darn good and what the heck do I have to complain about? Oy vay!.” I am uncomfortable with the sense of vulnerability it implies (to me, at least), letting the cat out of the bag that I am not always feeling chippery and cheerful and can whip a walloping internal temper tantrum that would be the envy of a two year old.
There is a poster I saw that said “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves Around Here”. So often I (and perhaps you) harass and abuse myself with incessant choruses of criticism, as if somehow it will make us better people. It has a parodoxical effect and we end up feeling badly about ourselves, which in turn, has us spinning our wheels faster and with greater fervor, as if somehow that will make a difference. It only makes us exhausted, resentful and feeling as if we will never be able to catch up. Or then, maybe that’s just me. Nah.
I offer classes that focus on self love and compassion because, as the adage goes, we teach what we need to learn. I was speaking with someone tonight on that subject and was amazed how some of what this other person shared so mirrored some of my entrenched beliefs that I thought I had sent packing. Apparently not.
My friend Scott Kalechstein Grace waxes humorous about Critiholism which is perfect for those of us with over active inner critics. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxuYQqR1IScwww.youtube.com/watch?v=VxuYQqR1ISc