A Political Revolution

“Hope is born in the participation of hopeful solutions.” – Marianne Williamson

We are being given the opportunity, right now, to return this country to a democracy with one vote per person- something that has not been in effect for a very long time. The biggest reason to elect Bernie Sanders as President of the United States is to reform campaign finance; taking the power away from big money, and returning it to the citizens of this country. Otherwise, America will remain a plutocracy, ruled by the wealthiest individuals and large banks and corporations. Major policies have not changed regardless of whether a Democrat or Rupublican has held office because the powers that elected them have controlled their actions in order to serve their own (monetary) interests. While amoral practices have been allowed, it has been the hard working middle and lower classes of Americans who have suffered. By refusing money from a Super Pac or large corporation, Bernie Sanders is now returning the power to the individual citizens of the US.

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What he has done is nothing short of a political revolution. Over one million people have already contributed to his campaign (many numerous times), with an average donation of just $27! I was one of them. Despite not coming anywhere close to being able to pay my monthly bills for the past three years, I wanted to give his campaign a small donation to at least add my voice and show my support. Together, we can make a difference! Sanders has given many people the interest in participating in politics for the first time in their lives because they finally feel that they have a say. He has amassed a huge following of new voters, and without the support of his party leaders or billionaires who back Clinton, he managed to tie her in the Iowa caucuses, building momentum for his campaign in future states. (The voting in Iowa was so close, that 6 precincts were decided by a coin toss- all won by Clinton, even though that result is 98.4% improbable!). There are many ways to support Sanders’ campaign besides giving money. He needs volunteers to knock on doors, make phone calls, host house parties and fundraisers, etc. Both monetary contributions and volunteer acts help spread his message and inform others about the change that is possible. We can all do something! The time has come to make our voices heard. This is our opportunity to end corruption in big banks, take action on climate change, stop our participation in needless wars, bring down Monsanto and the poisoning of our food, and return the power to make decisions to the individuals of this country. We can’t wait another 4 or 8 years, and we can’t sit around and hope for someone else to one day possibly fix these problems for us. We must be a part of the solution! Sanders is giving us that opportunity now. With 33 years of experience in elected office and consistent positions on policies since the start of his public service, he has shown us that he has both the knowledge, wisdom, and morality to lead this country in a much better direction.
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Here is his moving speech following the Iowa caucuses.

And here is Marianne Williamson on why it is time for another American Revolution right now:

We must turn this ship around!

Finally, for anyone who has questions about his electability or questions on his policies, here are some answers.

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What do all Great Spiritual, Thought-Changing Methods Have in Common?

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” -Harriet Tubman

Our lives are ruled by our subconscious minds. Beneath our conscious, rational mind, a program of long held patterns of thought, beliefs, and behavior that were fully developed by the age of 7 runs continuously in the background. For most of us, these learned patterns are limiting and fear-based, and they hold us back from living the lives we were destined to live. They hold us back from our potential.
No matter how aware we become of our behavior, we will not be able to actually change our experience in the world until we learn to reprogram this extremely powerful subconscious mind. Otherwise, we will continually fall back into our old habits and ways of being and remained trapped and stuck. We will resort to blaming others and not empower ourselves.
Fortunately, today there are a number of methods to help us examine our thought, behavior, and belief patterns and shift them to ones that release us from our self-created suffering. They range from courses that are designed to take over a year of daily practice (A Course in Miracles), to a brilliant method of inquiry consisting of the same four questions that can be applied to any thought that is causing one to suffer (Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ http://thework.com/en).

While each form of spiritual psychotherapy or thought changing program has its own specific form, content, and method, I have noticed many commonalities between them.

1) At their core, each of these methods holds the belief that only love is real. All else is illusion.

2) Fear is the opposite of love.

3) The ego tries every possible method of keeping us in a fear-based state, which generates anger, depression, sadness, and violence. It does not want us to know the truth that only the love you have given and the love you have received is real because then it would lose all of its power. Marianne Williamson says, “The ego both tempts us to do stupid things and then punishes us severely for having done so. It is suspicious at best and vicious at worst.”

4) Suffering brings awareness. It gives us an opportunity to examine our minds and our beliefs and allows us to see that most of our thoughts are not true. We are not seeing accurately. We are creating our own suffering.

5) Forgiveness brings great peace. “A Course in Miracles” says that you can have either a grievance or a miracle. You can’t have both. Forgiveness allows us to be in an open state where we can receive miracles as expressions of love.

6) Only the present exists. There is no past. The past only exists in our memories which are influenced by our long held patterns. They are colored. They are an illusion.

7) The breath allows us to experience the present moment. In nearly every language, the word “breath” is also the same word for “spirit”. Connecting with the breath allows a connection with the spirit. The breath is also a link between the body and the mind.

8) Believing comes before seeing. Our thoughts create our reality. Perception precedes form.

9) Each method involves disciplined practice. This practice can come in the form of meditation, or in a specific form of study. “A Course in Miracles” consists of 365 days of lessons, as well as a huge volume of text. Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ consists of a “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet”, four simple questions, and a turn-around. Discipline creates accountability and repetition.

10) The morning is the optimal time for practice. This is when the mind is most fresh and open to new impressions, unencumbered by the stress and events of the day. It also allows the entire day to practice.

I highly recommend a disciplined, spiritual practice for bringing more freedom, ease, and peace into your life. When we change ourselves, it has an effect on those around us, creating a ripple effect into the world. The world will begin to heal when the collective consciousness is brought to a higher level.

Depression is Not Always a “Bad” Thing

I’ve been suffering both physically and mentally these past few days. I think I was infected with another stomach bug the Monday before Christmas and for the past nine days, I lost all progress that I had been making with my digestive system in the last 2 months. The intense abdominal pain and diarrhea that I had suffered for the last 2.5 years returned. (The fact that I ingested several things on Christmas that are not Autoimmune Paleo approved didn’t help either, and left me feeling like I still have a very long way to go in terms of healing my digestive system alone). And yesterday, my visit with a new primary care physician left me feeling very depressed. She was no more sympathetic or compassionate than the last one. She did not want to repeat any blood work “because nothing would be different than it was in August”. She blamed the massive amount of hair I have been losing for the past 2 months on my new diet and did not want to have my T3 tested like the last doctor. “Why do you want that?” she asked.
“Because sometimes, T4 is not converted to T3,” I said. I told her I wanted to have a full thyroid panel done (free T3, reverse T3, etc), but she said insurance would not cover those tests.
She asked me if I was working and when I said no, asked “Why not?”. I realize that very few people can understand what it is like to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome if they have not experienced it themselves, but I would hope that a doctor would at least be able to listen compassionately and try to understand. I had explained that I was sleeping 19 hours per day in the summer, that I was not able to even say “hello” to someone, that my brain fog was so strong that I could not read or reach out to anyone for help. “I felt paralyzed,” I told her. “I felt like I was dying.”
She had NOTHING to offer me. Her only suggestion was to see a GI and get a colonoscopy (which I do not want). I asked to see an infectious disease specialist, as I know that viruses are responsible for the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She did not think that was necessary. She denied I had any problems with my adrenals and instead tried to make me feel like I had an eating disorder. “Have you been losing weight? Do you think you need to lose any more weight? What is your ideal weight?”. When I showed her the list of lab tests from the book the nutritionist I follow in California wrote, and asked her if she would consider taking any of them, she flipped to the cover, saw “The Loving Diet” and smiled dismissively. I quickly tried to defend the author, but realized neither I nor she had any power in this place. She asked what medications I was taking and I told her none- only vitamins. She wanted to know where I got these vitamins and what they were. I started to list some off the top of my head: Astragalus, Ashwaganda, Cat’s Claw, Vitamin B12, L-Glutamine…
“What are they for? I don’t know anything about these.”
I asked if there was anyone in the network who knew anything about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She said she didn’t know- that she would have to ask and get back to me later.
I went downstairs to register and wait to have my blood drawn. An anger rose in me about the medical establishment as a whole. More than 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disorder and an estimated 2.5 million have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Western Medicine has NOTHING to offer these people. NOTHING. They are left to fend for themselves, are forgotten, and left to live the remainder of their lives in pain and an unfunctional state. I am grateful that I have found some resources that have started to help me, but I can’t help thinking about all those who haven’t. From my experience, I have learned that anything that falls outside of the standard training that doctors have received is immediately dismissed. Patients are not being listened to, and resources that they have discovered are rejected and actually blamed for their symptoms! (My first doctor tried to blame my vitamins and the second one tried to blame my diet! For the record, I have never eaten this many vegetables in my life and I have cut out many of the harmful foods I had been eating!). This kind of attitude is not only an unfortunate consequence, it is unacceptable and harmful. I have been learning a lot of science in these past couple of months, and most of it I hear about from a nutritionist who stays on top of all the latest research, works with people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, and who regularly attends trainings by knowledgeable doctors in the field. Had I not started the AutoImmune Paleo Diet, my brain would not be working well enough for me to write this now. While I still have a long way to go, I have brought my sleeping hours down to 12-14 hours per day from 16-19, cleared a great deal of my paralyzing brain fog, and started to heal my intestines. During this time, I have also read books that dispute much of what doctors have been taught. Most of the bloodwork that they are performing is completely meaningless. Private companies are now offering much more accurate tests in a number of areas, but these tests are not covered by insurance, are very expensive, and they are not testing what the doctors have been trained to look for. This doctor asked me why I wanted to be tested for Epstein Barr and not Lyme. “You were in areas with ticks. It is more likely you have that.” I simply told her that according to the research I had done, I was not worried about having Lyme. (Besides the fact that I did not have those particular symptoms, I now know that Lyme is also caused by viruses [not bacteria!], and is not even caused by ticks!).

I returned home three hours later feeling defeated, powerless, and no better off than I went in. I sunk back into a tired depression. Later that night, I listened to Marianne Williamson’s latest lecture. To my surprise, she was much softer and more empathetic than usual. In response to someone’s question about constantly feeling depressed and anxious, she mentioned a study by an anthropologist on depressed chimpanzees. As in humans, a similar percentage of chimpanzees display characteristics of depression such as social withdrawal, hyper-vigilence, trouble sleeping, etc.. In this study, the chimpanzees who displayed depressed qualities were physical removed from their tribe. Marianne asked the audience what they thought happened to the remaining chimps when no longer around their depressed members after the researchers returned within a year.

It turned out that all of the remaining chimps were found dead! It was hypothesized that the depressed chimps served as a warning system to the others! They were the ones who were watching for predators, who stayed up and were more vigilant. Without them, there was no one to sound an alarm!
This story instantly perked me up and reminded me that my feelings were valid. There was a good reason I was feeling this way! I also remembered a similar story that Glennon Doyle Melton talks about: canaries in the coal mines. In the old days, miners used to take caged canaries down with them in the mines. When the canaries stopped singing, the miners knew the air was getting too toxic to breathe and that they would die if they didn’t get out.
Sensitive people who easily get depressed are the world’s alarm system! We know when something is wrong. There are a lot of harmful things happening on the earth right now, and one of them is the lack of attention being paid to the toxins in our environment and in our food, as well as the propagation and mutation of viruses that are making us sick. Right now, 1 in 50 children are autistic. It is projected that in the year 2030, which is only 15 short years away, 1 in 2 children will be autistic! This is a staggering figure! The children are warning us. We NEED to listen. Women have also been historically dismissed and labeled crazy for their physical symptoms. 70 years ago, women did not suffer from the menopause systems they do today. The problem is NOT women’s hormones. The problem is the radiation and toxicity that our earth is filled with today. Today, 20 and 30 year old women are experiencing the symptoms of menopause! We can no longer ignore these warnings!

The first thing that we need to do to begin to address these issues is to actually hear one another with complete openness and a beginner’s mind in order to gain an understanding of the root causes behind these diseases. There is no room for ego, no room for an “I know more than you because I hold an MD and you do not.” We must listen to those who are presently struggling with chronic illnesses, to stay on top of the latest research studies, to hear what those who are working with chronically ill patients are learning from the use of supplements, nutrition, and perception changes. The only way that we can begin to heal the earth and ourselves is to open our hearts fully so we can learn from one another and make changes to reverse the harm that has been done. Our emotions are valid. They are telling us very important things.

Holy Days

I’ve learned a lot from Marianne Williamson this past year. Christmas is not just about the birth of one man two thousand years ago. It is about the birth of Love in all of us. We all have the light within ourselves to pave a path out of fear and darkness. We all have the potential to bless one another and to see the divinity within each other. We all have the power to alter our thoughts and to create miracles as the expression of love. Christmas is a time of remembering and re-birthing these parts of ourselves. We are already whole. Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to all!

I would like to share an article from Marianne that was published in the Huffington Post a few years ago.

“The holidays are only holy if we make them so.

Otherwise, the assault of modernity — from crass consumerism to a 24-hour news cycle to the compulsivity of the wired world — wrecks whatever we have left of our nervous systems, making the true spiritual meaning of Christmas seem as distant as the furthest star. It’s only when we consciously carve out a space for the holy — in our heads, our hearts and our lifestyles — that the deeper mysteries of the season can reveal themselves.

The holidays are a time of spiritual preparation, if we allow them to be. We’re preparing for the birth of our possible selves, the event with which we have been psychologically pregnant all our lives. And the labor doesn’t happen in our fancy places; there is never “room in the Inn,” or room in the intellect, for the birth of our authentic selves. That happens in the manger of our most humble places, with lots of angels, i.e. Thoughts of God, all around.

Something happens in that quiet place, where we’re simply alone and listening to nothing but our hearts. It’s not loneliness, that aloneness. It’s rather the solitude of the soul, where we are grounded more deeply in our own internal depths. Then, having connected more deeply to God, we’re able to connect more deeply with each other. Our connection to the divine unlocks our connection to the universe.

According to the mystical tradition, Christ is born into the world through each of us. As we open our hearts, he is born into the world. As we choose to forgive, he is born into the world. As we rise to the occasion, he is born into the world. As we make our hearts true conduits for love, and our minds true conduits for higher thoughts, then absolutely a divine birth takes place. Who we’re capable of being emerges into the world, and weaknesses of the former self begin to fade. Thus are the spiritual mysteries of the universe, the constant process of dying to who we used to be as we actualize our divine potential.

We make moment-by-moment decisions what kind of people to be — whether to be someone who blesses, or who blames; someone who obsesses about past and future, or who dwells fully in the present; someone who whines about problems, or who creates solutions. It’s always our choice what attitudinal ground to stand on: the emotional quicksand of negative thinking, or the airstrip of spiritual flight.

Such choices are made in every moment, consciously or unconsciously, throughout the year. But this is the season when we consider the possibility that we could achieve a higher state of consciousness, not just sometimes but all the time. We consider that there has been one — and the mystical tradition says there have also been others — who so embodied his own divine spark that he is now as an elder brother to us, assigned the task of helping the rest of us do the same. According to A Course in Miracles, he doesn’t have anything we don’t have; he simply doesn’t have anything else. He is in a state that is still potential in the rest of us. The image of Jesus has been so perverted, so twisted by institutions claiming to represent him. As it’s stated in the Course, “Some bitter idols have been made of him who came only to be brother to the world.” But beyond the mythmaking, doctrine and dogma, he is a magnificent spiritual force. And one doesn’t have to be Christian to appreciate that fact, or to fall on our knees with praise and thanks at the realization of its meaning. Jesus gives to Christmas its spiritual intensity, hidden behind the ego’s lure into all the wild and cacophonous sounds of the season. Beyond the nativity scenes, beyond the doctrinal hoopla, lies one important thing: the hope that we might yet become, while still on this earth, who we truly are.

Then we, and the entire world, will know peace.”

-Marianne Williamson

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-williamson/christmas-for-mystics_b_2288340.html