Sunday, August 29, 2004

marlie is wonderful

It's true, folks. Marlie is wonderful. That's all. She just is.

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Patriot Act, same sex marriage #2

Many a question is asked, what do you think of City Council taking up matters such as the Patriot Act and same sex marriage, and then one minute is given for response. For those wishing more than the sound byte answer:

As a city councilperson, I will swear to uphold the constitution of the United States. In my opinion, opposition to the Patriot Act is part of my patriotic duty to uphold the constitution, as it would have been to oppose sending Japanese to internment camps, no matter what war hysteria demanded.

In relationships, a nice breakthrough is when one can see that while nagging one’s mate to stop being grumpy, you have become grumpy yourself. This TURNAROUND can lead to humor. I wonder if those who spent so much time concerned with the hour or so the council “wasted” on the same sex marriage proclamation, can laugh at themselves.

Nevertheless, the issue is compelling, and my take is this: if someone wants to marry someone of the same sex, it’s their business; people are free and one of the many ways they are free is to determine who and where and with whom they wish to spend their lives. It is fine and right for the city council to encourage any choices that are about love and caring.

I’m more interested in the unconscious marriages we have made with our cars, with our stuff, with our habit of hiding indoors away from Nature, with our city council business. These unconscious marriages are often but unseen habits that are cutting us off from happiness in the moment, which is the only place happiness occurs, and which real “quality of life” is all about.

As long as pressing local business is taken care of( and the council seems to have flubbed the dub a bit on getting around to involving people in the allocation of the $20 million in redevelopment funds), then helping out a nice person (the mayor of Sebastapol asked for council support) wanting more dignity for her way of life: that’s fine with me.

Chris Elms 996-1437

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Relationship heaven and hell

Talking to some people at the farmer’s market, I commented that the reason I was writing the book on relationship heaven, relationship hell was that I’d spent so many years in relationship hell, and had discovered that to make the shift only took a few shifts of attention. But without these shifts, the hell was hard to avoid. With these shifts, heaven was easy.

They asked the obvious question: tell us a couple of the shifts. Okay, I said.

One: come into the present. Get quiet in your mind and look at your partner. Let go the stories of what they did wrong yesterday, what they are supposed to be later that day. Just breathe, sense yourself and pay attention to them now. Being in the present and being in love are very close. Very.

Two: use nature as your model. Think of how you approach a redwood tree. Do you want it to weigh ten pounds less? Love you more? Think you are wonderful? Or do you just dig it for what it is? That’s the way to think of your partner, as you would think of anything in nature, a rose, a tree, the ocean. For that is what we all are, a miracle of life and nature.

Three: give yourself what you think they should give you. This is called the “TURNAROUND” in the Work of Byron Katie, found at (The Work of Byron Katie forms a nice chunk of my book; for me it's the way out of suffering when my mind won't shut up and let me back to the present; it's a marvelous set of very simple, very effective tools for transforming unhappiness and confusion into presence, love and peace). If you think they should love you more, love yourself more. If you think they should support you more, support yourself more. If you think they should stop being critical of you, you stop being critical of you.

Four: give them, what you think they should give you. Again, this is part of the TURNAROUND. If they should listen to you more, listen to them more. If they should stop lying to you, you should stop lying to them. (Get brutally, and humorously honest with yourself, and you will always discover how you are doing what you are accusing them of doing.) If you think they should stop criticizing you, you stop criticizing them.

That’s the short version.

Even the long version in the book will be less than a hundred pages. It’s all pretty simple, take the wisdom of now, or nature and love and bring that to yourself and your partner.

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Who am I? Who are we all?

Who am I? Who are you? The busier I am inside the words in my head, the bigger the false picture I can create of who I am, and how I am different than you. If I hold Marlie’s hands and close my eyes and follow my breathing, I become a calmness, I become breathing, I become Life aware of Itself. Then when I open my eyes, and look at my sweet friend, I am her. The me, me, me has dissolved, and I am just the one in my awareness.

Another name for this is love.

Another name for this is peace.

Enough of that, for now: this is, for now, a website devoted to the ideas behind my campaign for city council, and the ideas behind the philosophy of life that I have been discovering and evolving. The aim of the philosophy is to make sense of life.

So far, life makes this sense: we are here to wake up to the present, to be happy, to love life, to help others love life and themselves, to live in harmony with the Earth and take care of the Earth, to take care of those less fortunate than ourselves in a way that allows us to remain present, peaceful and happy. Happiness is not running around accumulating things. It is being present with a friend, a lover, a child, a rose, a pet, a forest, an ocean, a job you are doing and loving. Being present in your ordinary life.

This is good.

This is what the campaign is about: quality of life as everyday happiness, not some vague phrase.

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