This year has been a year of marching. We marched in the Women’s March. We marched for environmental justice. We will soon be marching for pride. And this weekend we marched for life – to put the lives of the many over the rights of guns. I know this may sound inflammatory. It’s not my intention.
There were two profound things that I’ve discovered along the route that I want to share. Both I’m sure many will object to. But I hope you might see if we can find some common ground.
First, I discovered a sense of peace. I’ve spent the last year keeping up on the news. The rate that things have been changing lately has left me feeling anxious, to say the least. What used to happen in a month now seems to be happening in a day. And it can feel like the world is spinning out of control.
But a group of kids from Parkland reminded me of something different. They reminded me there are lots of reasons to be hopeful. Even when we feel like the world is spinning out of control, our connection to each other is what pulls us up and out of the chaos. And so marching with students and teachers and grandmothers, people who don’t have kids and people who do, it reminded me that we’re are all in this together. And there is so much to be hopeful about.
Second, I discovered a sense of compassion. I have to admit, I’ve never understand people who don’t want simple gun control like background checks. And I’ve never understood why people need to have automatic weapons to defend their homes. I still don’t understand the thinking behind this. But I do understand the fear.
We live in a world that is filled with daily blasts of fear. Every news show and headline is a reminder that the government may run out of money, someone may take away your rights and we are headed to a war tomorrow. These headlines scare me senseless somedays. And I can understand why the best option can seem like gathering up a bunch of weapons and hiding in your house for the rest of your life. It’s nothing short of terrifying.
In the middle of fear, we close down. We seek to defend. We don’t see a complex world with smart, compassionate people. We simply see us and them. We see the people who want to take the guns and the people who want to let us keep them.
Students all over the country are living with that same kind of fear. They are afraid for their lives that someone will come in and attack their schools. That there will be more lost lives. And, if history is any indication, they are sadly right. They have a lot to be afraid of.
I don’t have answers. I don’t want to make the people on the other side of the political aisle a foe. I know everyone just wants to live in a world where we feel safe. And I’m convinced that I live in a world filled with enough smart, compassionate people capable of opening up to new ideas and new ways of beings that change is possible – and
that hope is breaking through.
Today I want to share a way that you can release all that past relationship pain that gets in the way of having the experience of life that you want. And while this particularly appropriate for love, you might notice that the more grudges and resentments you hold, the harder it is to actually receive the good stuff. All that pain just gets in the way. So I’ll share a couple ideas with you and then a powerful exercise that I will help you release some of that right now.
This year I will be single on Valentine’s Day. This will not lead me to the wine bottle or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I will not be sad and wonder if I will ever be as happy as those couples carrying red hearts and making googly eyes. Instead, I will celebrate and be surrounded by love. And I’d like to make a few suggestions how you can join me!
Celebrate love every where you see it. When I was in grad school, I had a particularly sarcastic view of Valentine’s Day. I invited all my single friends out, we would wear grey and black and dine together. Now, we were a little tongue in cheek with this and I love the idea of spending Valentine’s Day with wonderful friends, but I wasn’t blessing the love that I saw around me. I was too busy being annoyed that I didn’t have it.
Over the years, I realize whatever I bless shows up in my life. It’s like it knows that it has a home just waiting for it. So if you would like more love, say a quiet blessing to yourself for every couple you see that they may be well and happy. If you are feeling particularly bold appreciate what you genuinely love about the couples in your life. Know that whatever you bless in your life comes back to you, often in unexpected and delightful ways.
Do things that are evidence of your own care for yourself. There are plenty of couples out there who are miserable. There are couples where one doesn’t feel seen by the other. Coupledom doesn’t equal your needs being met. Ultimately, you are responsible for making that happen whether you are soulfully single or in a couple.
So spend the day and pay some attention to your needs. Buy yourself flowers. Go to a movie that you like. I’ll be getting a massage and hanging with friends. We teach other people how to treat us. One of the best things you can do for the people in your life is teach them to treat you with love by treating yourself with love.
Release any notions that you are not worthy or deserving enough for love. I have had those “woe is me” Valentine’s Days where I thought that I must be broken or so unloveable that I should just give up. I feel your pain. Sometimes you just don’t know how to move the needle in the direction of the love that you want in your life.
But here’s the thing. Worthy or unworthy have nothing to do with your being single or coupled. In fact, there’s no such thing. You are worthy for love as a condition of your birth. It’s prebuilt that you deserve love because we all do. At its deepest level, love is simply experiencing the flow of energy that binds us all. We love coupled love so much because we can feel that connection more acutely in intense relationships.
Release any notion that you are not attractive, thin, tall, etc. enough for love. This is a special subset of the not worthy argument. You can look around you and find people of all shapes and sizes, all genders and sexual orientations, all colors and creeds, all finding relationships. While physical characteristics definitely play a role in attraction, more often that not love surprises us. The person we feel most connected to rarely comes in the package that we were shopping for.
If you feel like there is something about your personality or way of being in the world that’s getting in the way, then I would invite you take a look at that. I recently realized that I was carrying a weird belief that I was too boring to attract the love I wanted. I realized this while traveling in Thailand on my own, hanging with elephants and tigers and zip lining cross jungles. Who knows where this belief came from but it was neither true nor useful.
If you are are experiencing yourself as too closed, angry, busy, overwhelmed…to let love in then let today be the day you make a choice to shift that. You can just make a small adjustment. Open your heart a little. Smile at someone on the street. Make eye contact. Do whatever small thing that will remind you of the inherent goodness that is within you.
Finally, become the love that you wish to invite into your heart. We get confused and think love is a thing to be possessed. I’ve never been as lonely as when I held this belief – convinced that love had to be found out there. In reality, love is simply an energy that other people allow us to connect more easily to but it’s always available to us. One of the simplest ways we can connect into that energy is to do something for others, see beyond ourselves and become an ambassador of love.
You may choose to do all of these or none. No matter how many of these invitations you choose to accept, I want to remind you that you are love. At your core, your truest essence is the love that runs throughout and connects all life. Anytime you pause and listen deeply for the love that you already are, you’ll be able to find it. So wherever you are right now, please know that where I am right now, my heart is touching yours. I see the love that you are! You can’t hide it even if you want to!
Scott Mills, Ph.D.
Last week, 1700 people gathered outside of Washington, DC to do the impossible – to imagine another world – one where politics is grounded in love. The gathering, called Sister Giant, was filled with insight, inspiration, revelations and information that suggest how we can do that. I’ll be writing a series of articles over the next few weeks to talk about some of the practical actions that we can take to make a difference in our world.
I know this has been a trying time for so many people and bringing more love into politics might seem impossible at first glance. But we are impossible people and when we remember that rivers of possibility appear as if by magic before our eyes. I invite you to look into the mirror below and remember who you are.
Almost everything about us is utterly impossible.
We are impossible beings
Living on an impossible planet
Engaged in an impossible experiment
From the language we speak to the air we breathe, we paint in the medium of impossibility.
There is such tremendous power in that.
So much that some want to pretend that we should be practical. Realistic. Pick the lesser of the evils.
But for impossible beings
Living on an impossible planet
Engaged in an impossible experiment
Doing impossible things is the only choice.
We are only one of the many, many species that inhabit the Earth. For most of our history, we were smaller, slower and weaker than most of our neighbors who would have been happy to eat us. We have survived the ravages of disease, the oppression of all kinds of governments and the perils of our dark nights of the soul. And yet, against all odd, we are still here.
Living on an Impossible Planet
On a tiny planet that’s mostly water. On a planet that, like Goldilocks is not too close to the sun or to far away to make life sustainable. On a planet whose mysteries we are only scratch the surface of and yet we call home.
Engaged in an Impossible Experiment
To be guided by our higher angels, to listen to the call of love, to open our hearts and our minds and evolve ourselves back to the light that we came from. And what’s more impossible than for one human being to love another human being – in the midst of our unpredictable moods, our rages and our despairs, our passions and delights. What’s more impossible than to look at the one we call other and realize that we are one.
Doing Impossible Things
With each breath – one after the other, one step after the other, one day after another. We reach out and love the Other. We dive deep and love ourselves. We find within us the path to be kind, to be compassionate, to connect, to rage, to weep. We do the impossible.
We can not settle.
We can not accept the lesser of evils. Or any evils.
Even in the midst of despair.
Despair is simply forgetting that you are an impossible being living on an impossible planet engaged in an impossible experiment.
Even in the midst of anger and confusion.
Anger and confusion simply are reminders to shine brighter, to be the light that can more clearly see the Other as part of you.
The age of the practical, the realistic, the expedient has ended. The age of the impossible is upon us . Now is your time to dream, to do impossible things and to see yourself as the impossible being that you are!
What if we all came from a place of light and love? And what if we can return to that place (since we carry it inside of us) at pretty much a moment’s notice. In this short exercise I guide you back into connection with your own light and wholeness. Enjoy!
I’ve been looking around the world lately and finding a lot to be in despair about – the massacres in Orlando and Dallas, young African American men being needlessly killed and the refusal of our political leaders to respond with more than a gesture. In the midst of it all, watching the ones who are supposed to lead us – our presidential hopefuls – engage a campaign full of name calling and bullying has made it so much harder to see a way forward.
And when you throw on top of that the diagnosis of a friend with an aggressive form of breast cancer plus all the day to day that life throws our way, it all just seems overwhelming. It’s so tempting to just hide out and pretend it will all go away – to crawl into a pit of despair and imagine someone will wake me when it’s over.
But despair is easy. It let’s me give up, go back to my anesthetizing screens, have another drink, disconnect even more. It repeats like the lyric of a pop song that gets stuck in your head. And in the end no one is better for it.
And let’s face it, we don’t have time for despair. There are too many lives being lost, there are too many hearts being broken. There is simply too much pain to sit hopelessly by becoming part of the problem.
So I have to hope – even when it seems the darkest – that the light can come if we help it. But not that kind of hope that sits on the couch and hopes I’ll win the lottery even though I didn’t buy a ticket. Hope is a constructive act. It requires looking for splinters of light in the darkness, weaving them together into a tapestry of possibility and then doing something to usher them into the world.
It requires work. Sometimes hard work, sometimes work that goes unnoticed. It invites us into scary places where we speak out knowing all too well that silence equals death – perhaps not our own but others who will suffer because our voice was not raised.
So at the crossroad of hope and despair, in the moments where I have to make a choice which path I will take, I remember how I have walked this path before and come through it. And I remember that there are those that don’t get to make a choice.
And, when I am brave (and sometimes when I am not) I do three things.
- First, I remind myself of all the times that I have come through despair before. Even when things have seemed horrible there has been light. I remember living through the height of the AIDS epidemic working to educate and support HIV positive friends. I remember the moments of personal despair when I have lost people so close to my heart. And I remember that I have survived.
- Second, I look for other people who are actively hoping too. Despair is a place of isolation that can leave us unaware of all the others just like me who are longing too. As my friend SARK says, “We are all so indelibly connected.” When I reach out with my heart, raise my voice and listen for another voice to call back, I’m invariably answered even when it takes a while.
- Third, I take any action – no matter how small – in the direction of light. Sometimes we get stuck because we think that what we do won’t won’t matter. That our actions are tiny. But I know that when I do nothing then nothing will really never happen. But if I start to act and so do others, then change is possible. I know the tasks ahead of us are enormous but I do not have to solve them all alone. I simply have to do my part.
The great social reformer Margaret Meade wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Somewhere deep in my bones I know this is true. I see it in the world that I live in – an African American President in the White House, in the arrival of marriage for all people, and so much more. I’ll keep hoping – actively – and I hope you’ll join me.
This year has been a year of marching. We marched in the Women's March. We marched for environmental justice. We will soon be marching for pride. And this weekend we marched for life - to put the lives of the many over the rights of guns. I know this may sound...read more
Today I want to share a way that you can release all that past relationship pain that gets in the way of having the experience of life that you want. And while this particularly appropriate for love, you might notice that the more grudges and resentments you hold,...read more
This year I will be single on Valentine’s Day. This will not lead me to the wine bottle or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I will not be sad and wonder if I will ever be as happy as those couples carrying red hearts and making googly eyes. Instead, I will celebrate and...read more
Scott Mills, Ph.D. Last week, 1700 people gathered outside of Washington, DC to do the impossible - to imagine another world - one where politics is grounded in love. The gathering, called Sister Giant, was filled with insight, inspiration, revelations and information...read more
What if we all came from a place of light and love? And what if we can return to that place (since we carry it inside of us) at pretty much a moment's notice. In this short exercise I guide you back into connection with your own light and wholeness....read more
I've been looking around the world lately and finding a lot to be in despair about - the massacres in Orlando and Dallas, young African American men being needlessly killed and the refusal of our political leaders to respond with more than a gesture. In the midst of...read more