These Awkward Times

George CappannelliBy George Cappannelli (article first published in Spheres Magazine – reposted by permission of the author)

Frankly there does not seem to be much to celebrate these days! Aggressive/Depressives are running the show in Washington and in other world capitals. They are squandering our precious financial, physical, emotional and spiritual resources, abusing our planet, turning their backs on genocide, denying the real challenges and missing the true opportunities of our time. There is also so much media madness that feeds our obsessive compulsive focus on war, possible pandemics, and violence while offering us trivialized forms of entertainment called ‘reality shows.’ There is a national debt large enough to sink the planet, and speaking of the planet, changes in temperatures and global weather patterns caused largely by human ignorance, greed and, in some cases, indifference that threaten the very stability of our habitat. Couple this with escalating divisiveness between political parties, religious groups and nation states, unprecedented hedonism and myopia and the loss of both our individual and collective sense of meaning and the picture isn’t very pretty.

All of this leaves me struggling with a sense of sadness and despair that threatens, at times, to overwhelm me. So when this subject of celebration was offered as the theme for a past issue of Spheres, I found myself focusing on other project deadlines and doing a number of other things – in fact almost anything – to avoid dealing with the writing of this article. In fact, it was only when the moment arrived that I had to either get to it or throw in the towel that the power of this topic hit me. That’s when I understood that unless I am willing to deal with my despair and admit the absence of celebration in my life, I will not only continue to slide deeper into this emotional muck and mire that confounds much of the world today, but I will also continue contributing to the conditions that are causing it.

So I took a step back and asked myself whether this age that I am living in is really so much worse than other historical periods. For example, if I was living in Poland in the late 1930’s or in this country in the early 1860’s, what would my life be like? If I was living in Spain during the Inquisition or in Rome during its decline would my life be free of war, pestilence, greed, selfishness, divisiveness and struggle? You see, if I am honest with myself, these factors have played a significant part in the history of our species on this planet in every age.

Of course, I could argue that the weight of the world’s exploding population, both the pace and misuse of contemporary science and technology and the often absurd focus of a Fourth Estate on steroids makes our impact on the Earth much more immediate and global in nature, but then again, in doing so I’d only be giving in to the tendency to overly dramatize and inflate the self importance of this age. Instead I only need to reflect on other geological ages when cause and effect relationships, more organic than human, turned our planet into vast expanses of desolate waste or frozen landscapes incapable of supporting most forms of life, to regain my perspective.

So the bottom line is that life here on Planet Earth has always been a pretty challenging and risky affair and what should be obvious to me by now is that if I continue to focus on and wait for external events to improve or circumstances to change before I celebrate my life, there is a very good chance I never will.

What’s the alternative? First and foremost I need to regain my footing by unplugging from the noise of the world and the reported folly of those whose consciousness has yet to evolve above the lower rungs of Maslow’s Pyramid. I need, in the words of Michael Brown, author of The Presence Process, to take a ‘mind fast’ and cleanse myself of the disturbing and disruptive messages of fear and worry that have built up such toxicity within me. In short, I need to put myself on a diet of sanity and stillness.

There are some other things I also need to do. When the chance arises I need to exercise my voting rights and throw the bums out! I have to pay more attention to exercise, eating the right foods and getting a requisite amount of sleep so I can keep this physical instrument tuned sufficiently to take advantage of whatever capabilities the random draw of DNA allows me. I also have to start focusing a whole lot more on my immediate surroundings and ask myself some vital and ruthlessly honest questions. For example, even with all of the tumult and turmoil happening in the world around me, is my life in this very moment actually threatened by the folly of those who believe they are in control of the world stage? Do I really need to let their messages of fear, divisiveness and lack to impede my ability in this moment to pray, to laugh, to make love, to wonder, to dance, to be kind, to speak my truth or to listen to the wisdom that awaits me in the quiet?

You see, the more I am willing to ask myself these kinds of questions, the more I find that there actually is a lot more to celebrate than I am, at first, willing to admit. I have a wonderful wife and companion to walk this life path with. It is a relationship filled all of the challenges that learning, grace, intimacy and love offer. There are other people in my life who I love or, at the very least, care about from whom I learn a great deal and with whom I share a lot on this journey. There is my family with all of the challenges and opportunities for deeper growth and greater connections that families provide. There are friends and colleagues and especially the four leggeds, as the Native Americans say, who bring so much joy into my life each day. I have a really decent and safe place to live, more than enough food each day to eat, good health, a clear mind, the opportunity to contribute to the lives of others, the chance to earn a living, the talent to write and sculpt and the will and capacity to seek higher levels of consciousness. Is my life ideal or perfect? Can’t say that it is, but when I stop and truly experience this moment, this breath, this right here and now, I have to acknowledge that I have an awful lot to celebrate. I also have to admit that if I truly believe in the existence of a unifying and central force of the Universe, then I must also believe, as Dr. David Hawkins points out in Power vs. Force, that the consciousness of one individual – it could be me – vibrating above the frequency of courage can counterbalance the impact of over 90,000 individuals vibrating at lower frequencies.

So if I believe these things to be true then the choice becomes pretty clear. I can give in to my fears, my doubts and confusions, lower the frequency of my vibration, and spend the moments of my life dangling on the end of the string of despair. Or I can chose to learn to stay present in this moment and focus on the life I have been gifted to live.

Is it easy? No, at least it’s not for me. It is a moment by moment kind of thing. One moment slipping and sliding backward into the muck and mire and then the next struggling to pull myself up by my bootstraps. But frankly, this push and pull just seems to be part of my challenge as a human being – at least for now – and if I do not want to waste the moments of my life in dread and depression, then I have to choose to focus on grace and gratitude. Indeed, if I do not want to let the fool within me or the fools around me win, then the only choice I have is to remember and practice Meister Eckhart’s sage advice. “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it will be enough.”

George Cappannelli is author of ‘I Dream of a New America – Keys to Reclaiming the Heart & Soul of our Nation‘ which is available for purchase online at the AgeNation Store.

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