BOTH / AND
7 INSPIRATIONS FOR DEALING IN 2017
As a lady of art and other worldliness, I’ve been puzzling over How to Be with What’s Unfolding in our Country and Government: What is my role, how am I of service, what’s effective, what’s counter-effective. What drains and what builds? What?
Conversations and experimentation have yielded seven inspirations.
1. Guilt and fear are bad motivations for anything. If there is a giant SHOULD following you around, white fang that thing and get free of it. Each and every one of us has our way of contributing, of being of service, a different instrument to play. From one person to the next it is a personal decision. If the Should Monster is in the shape of a friend or associate, on fire with righteous indignation, this maybe a moment to pause and take some space as an act of re-centering and self care, done with love. If that should-monster is inside of you, what quiets it for you? A prayer like: Help me with the guilt, help me stop shoulding on myself. Help me to feel enough, be enough. Show me how to be at peace. Help me rest. Maybe one of these, uttered to God-knows-what-force you believe in, will be useful to you.
2. Who you are and what you do is vital and worth celebrating. When I saw Lady Gaga at the SuperBowl half-time show, she was standing in her power as a major performer and artist, staying true to her beliefs and her message as herself. This to me is not standing against anything, it’s standing for and living from who you are, and letting others do the same. How this looks is free and alive. You don’t need to nail down ‘who’ you are. Just be you, and nobody else.
Write a song that sings the truth you have if you make music. Lovingly sit with your elderly friend if that’s what’s on your roster for the day, be with what’s here for you, your own feelings, your own friendship, your own dirty dishes. Love starts at home, and the vibration is raised from the now that you are, the here that you are at. If it delights you to march and make signs, do it. If you are claustrophobic in crowds or have another job to do, make it something else.
3. Give Thanks. FOR ALL OF IT. Thank this situation for shaking and waking us up. I thank these unknowns for humbling me to how much a part of something greater I am, rather than an island unto myself. Every day I become more and more aware of my priviledge and wealth; Even if I’m the poorest person on my block, I’m fine! I can live alone, drive a car, protest, tap away on this laptop, make my own schedule…what utter luxury that is. This amazing abundance I can savor and give thanks for, while raising the vibration for all. Note: this is not guilt, it’s awareness. Be awake to the abundance in your life. If you are alive, there is abundance in your life. Find it and savor it.
4. Find or refind your personal practices for centering and grounding in the body. So much is polarized and intensified right now. I imagine it might get more so. It’s all out there. In here, where you are, touch the earth.
I think of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree, Mara’s armies coming up to intimidate, terrify, and ultimately cause him to falter, run away, doubt himself. The Buddha made a single gesture at Mara’s last attempt to judge, to cut down, and question Buddha’s right to sit and wake up. The Buddha did not judge, fight back, reject. Instead he touched the earth. He went into relationship. He connected. Right now, feel the ground, the support underneath you. Feel your legs. Notice the sensation in your hands. When things get charged, go into the legs, into the body, your own allotment of earth to care for.
5. Less is more. This is a huge subject, but feels incredibly relevant right now to me.
A conversation breaks out on politics. A news headline flashes up. It doesn’t make you good to flood your system, talk or read til three am, or hook into obsession. It doesn’t help anyone. It just drains your vital forces and makes it harder to sleep. Let yourself rest, we need you in good shape to play the part you play. The big news will find its way to you. Unless you delight at the whole play of political analysis, be with your child instead, your senses, your friend, your own feelings, the sounds around you. Your part to play happens on its own. You will find you get inspired to say, write a blog post or a friend will call. Go with what feels right and true and ignore the rest.
6. Diversify and keep it local in whatever way inspires you. Donald Trump was built on unbridled capitalism with no ethical base. He now is President of this country. I am discovering many ways in which I foggily participate in this capitalistic enterprise, every time I pay a giant conglomerate company for my phone service, or vaguely stop in a huge store for that cheaper thing they sell. There are a thousand and three ways to approach this topic, but the main point is, buy less, tolerate the giant companies monopolies less by going with the smaller ones. Diversify and keep it local in whatever way inspires you. I stopped using credit cards several years back, am discontinuing my plan with verizon in favor of a smaller company, and considering taking my books off of amazon. It’s imperfect and there are many facets to it, I still drive and fly in planes, but it feels good to realize these choices put me at a remove from feeding the beast in some way. It’s again easy to think you’re right and others are wrong, but no one can say what is right for you. It’s a first person decision and insight. Check out
7. Widen the View. While this can mean to take the historic long view, I will offer the vertical, locationless, timeless one. Try this on and see how it lands: This is your dream. Everyone here is some facet of yourself. It would be so great to be the good guy, with no shadow, but no one is. We are the victims. We are the perpetrators. We are one consciousness, no exceptions. When you can see that you are both the one in the movie and the screen on which the movie plays, the one in the dream and the one in which the dream is happening, the whole idea of fighting for anything becomes a tiny bit comical. Widen the view. Be awareness itself. When you are facing what you don’t like, be both and. Watch resistance fade, and become the one you are, the one that holds space for every new birth, and remains after every death.
A note about this last point: What I resist looms large and dominates my reality, my life, and my experience. I suffer to the degree that I resist. Stand For and Be and Act in accordance with your beliefs. You are so much bigger than this circus. What outlasts it is openness, compassion, and curiosity. Why on earth is this showing up in your dream? What is the subconscious saying here?
Solo Exhibition of new work by Hannah Burr
Ann Arbor MI
Sept 17-Oct 22 2022
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If you feel overwhelmed, confused or just plain excited by what's afoot in your life, and would like some excellent clarifying space and tools, try a session with Hannah! She's been a coach for 15 years. First 30 minutes is just to see what it's like...
Hannah Burr is a contemporary artist and author. Originally from Boston, she lives in Ann Arbor MI.