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Week of December 17th, 2020

Aligning Our Thoughts & Feelings with Our Highest Ideals

The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in zero degrees of Aquarius on the Solstice deserves our excited and reverential meditation. What inquiries and messages might it suggest?

1. What are our highest ideals? Can we refine and deepen our highest ideals? How can we work to express those high ideals in practical ways that remake the world to be fair and just for all people?

2. How can we build collective and community power to accomplish goals that transcend our narrow self-interests?

3. How can we revise our understanding of how the world works so as to more vividly grasp the interconnectedness of all life?

4. How can we expand our vision of the best possible future for humanity and the world? Let's be brave and playful enough to imagine what utopia would look and feel like.

5. What is the best way we can use our own unique gifts to make the world a better place? What might be our own special way of contributing to greater social justice? How can we personally contribute to reversing ecocide and healing the environment?

6. What can we do to expand and deepen our understanding of the changes sweeping across the planet? What can we do to deepen and expand our capacity to adjust creatively to those changes?

7. How can we practically embody our vision of paradise-on-earth?

8. How might our personal lives become channels for divine energies?

9. The definitions of what it means to be human are changing. How will we personally deal with those changing definitions?


Thanks to astrologer Greg Bogart for inspiring some of these thoughts.

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The Great Art consists of making continuous conscious effort to align our thoughts and feelings with the highest ideals we have thus far been able to comprehend.

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CONDUIT MAGAZINE: Can you talk about your relationship with intuition?

ROB BREZSNY: One reliable source of intuition is formulating good questions and having an intention behind the questions: "What is it that I need to learn today?", "Who is it I need to learn from today?", "What is it that I need to learn to live my life better?", "What is it that I need to do next in order to create a situation I will love?"

My sense is that intuition often reveals what you need to do next, although not necessarily the big picture. And if we're content with not pressuring intuition to always give us a mountaintop perspective, but rather just to answer for us, "What happens next? What do I need to do next?", I think that's a better relationship with intuition.

Four more things I'll mention about intuition: Working with dreams is fraught with the possibility of descending into chaos, but with practice and the development of skills, it can become a crucial source of intuition. I really value my ability to do one of the primary Jungian practices, which is shadow work -- dealing with those aspects of me that are unripe and dumb. Dreams have been crucial in helping me unlock the magic of dealing with my shadow and transforming my shadow. And that has been essential in fostering my true intuition.

Another good practice for intuition is to ask the question, "What does my death say?" On one's deathbed, what does one want to look back at and say, "That was important. That was important. That was important. No, that wasn't so important." So one's death can be a tonic informant that helps intuition really focus and come into maximum usefulness.

The other thing is that, for me, intuition is aided immeasurably by moving, by walking. I don't know if that's true for everybody. Walks in nature are important for me being able to tune into intuition that turns out to be useful and enduring. So often I'll take a notebook or recorder with me to capture the intuitions that come to me while I'm walking.

There's one other thing. The practice of intuition takes place best when you have gone as far as you can with doing research, of thinking hard, of using my logic, of being reasonable. That's crucial for generating intuition that's accurate and useful.

And once I've done the research, once I've tried to think my way to being as objective as possible -- and that may involve using the scientific method -- then I hand it over to intuition and say, "Well, what more can you tell me, given that I've come this far with all this analysis? What can you add to it?



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In my value system, it is immoral to complain without ever praising; it's immoral to criticize without also identifying what's working well.

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I propose that we set aside a time every now and then when we celebrate our gaffes, our flaws, and our bloopers.

During this crooked holiday, we are not embarrassed about the false moves we have made. We don't decry our bad judgment or criticize our delusional behavior. Instead, we forgive ourselves of our sins. We work to understand and feel compassion for the ignorance that led us astray.

Maybe we even find redemptive value in our apparent lapses; we come to see that they saved us from some painful experience or helped us avoid getting a supposed treasure that would have turned out to be a booby prize.

We could call it the Love Your Imperfections Celebration.

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Jeff Brown writes: "It may be a misuse of the term, but i imagine anyone who can stay heartfelt and relatively heart open in this world a true warrior.

"This is not the traditional use of the term, which has been associated with armoring our heart and going to war, but what is more challenging than staying heart open in this mad world?

"The next step warrior is a tenderling warrior, a benevolent warrior, a sturdy yet vulnerable human who can stand in life's fire with their heart open and alight.

"This is why the divine feminine will show us the way. They have a long history of staying heartfelt in the midst of the madness."

—Jeff Brown

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“This body that we have, this very body that’s sitting here right now in this room, this very body that perhaps aches, and this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.

"Furthermore, the emotions that we have right now, the negativity and the positivity, are what we actually need. It is just as if we looked around to find out what would be the greatest wealth that we could possibly possess in order to lead to a decent, good, completely fulfilling, energetic, inspired life, and found it right here."

—Jack Kornfield

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"I've been practicing radical authenticity lately," my friend Brandon told me. "I'm revealing the blunt truth about unmentionable subjects to everyone I know. It's been pretty hellish -- no one likes having the social masks stripped away -- but it's been ultimately rewarding."

"I admire your boldness in naming the currents flowing beneath the surface," I replied, "but I'm curious as to why you imply they're all negative. To practice radical authenticity, shouldn't you also express the raw truth about what's right, good, and beautiful? Shouldn't you unleash the praise and gratitude that normally go unspoken?"

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Here are the lyrics to my short and simple song, "I Want Everybody."

I want to be free
in the mystery of love
I want to be wild
when the world begins again
I want to wake up and listen
Be in love with my life and death
and I want you to be there with me

I want all the children
to have enough to eat
I want all the angry men
to destroy their own pain
I want us all to be happy
and crazy and safe and real
I want everybody to be loved

Hear me sing the song "I Want Everybody"

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ADVICE TO MYSELF #2, Resistance
by Louise Erdrich

Resist the thought that you may need a savior,
or another special being to walk beside you.
Resist the thought that you are alone.

Resist turning your back on the knife
of the world’s sorrow,
resist turning that knife upon yourself.

Resist your disappearance
into sentimental monikers,
into the violent pattern of corporate logos,
into the mouth of the unholy flower of consumerism.

Resist being consumed.
Resist your disappearance
into anything except
the face you had before you walked up to the podium.

Resist all funding sources but accept all money.
Cut the strings and dismantle the web
that needing money throws over you.

Resist the distractions of excess.
Wear old clothes and avoid chain restaurants.
Resist your genius and your own significance
as declared by others.

Resist all hint of glory but accept the accolade
as tributes to your double.
Walk away in your unpurchased skin.
Resist the millionth purchase and go backward.

Get rid of everything.
If you exist, then you are loved
by existence. What do you need?
A spoon, a blanket, a bowl, a book—
maybe the book you give away.

Resist the need to worry, robbing everything
of immediacy and peace.
Resist traveling except where you want to go.

Resist seeing yourself in others or them in you.
Nothing, everything, is personal.
Resist all pressure to have children
unless you crave the torment of joy.

If you give in to irrationality, then
resist cleaning up the messes your children make.
You are robbing them of small despairs they can fix.

Resist cleaning up after your husband.
It will soon replace having sex with him.

Resist outrageous charts spelling doom.
However you can, rely on sun and wind.
Resist loss of the miraculous
by lowering your standards
for what constitutes a miracle.
It is all a fucking miracle.

Resist your own gift’s power
to tear you away from the simplicity of tears.
Your gift will begin to watch you having your emotions,
so that it can use them in an interesting paragraph,
or to get a laugh.

Resist the blue chair of dreams, the red chair of science, the black chair of the humanities, and just be human.
Resist all chairs.
Be the one sitting on the ground
or perching on the beam overhead
or sleeping beneath the podium.

Resist disappearing from the stage,
unless you can walk straight into the bathroom and resume the face,
the desolate face, the radiant face, the weary face, the face
that has become your own, though all your life
you have resisted it.

—By Louise Erdrich

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Black feminist and social justice activist Adrienne Maree Brown is offering a workshop on "Pleasure Activism." She wrote all the words below.

"Prevailing ideas around social justice activism tend to focus on 'doing the work,' putting in long hours, and facing challenges head-on. Activism is rarely associated with personal joy and pleasure.

"But can there be a deep connection between activism and pleasure? How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life?

"Pleasure activism is a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the Black feminist tradition, I challenge us to rethink the ground rules of activism. Through connecting with our inner desires and needs—physical, mental, emotional—we can become better organizers, activists, and social justice workers. "

See details about Adrienne Maree Brown's workshop

See Adrienne Maree Brown's book

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Spiritual teacher A. H. Almaas believes that a genuinely creative act is always motivated by generosity.

So then here's the question: If that's true, how do you explain all the ego-obsessed "geniuses" who treat everyone like dirt even as they churn out their supposedly brilliant art?

Here's my answer: Those are not authentic geniuses.

Genius is by nature benevolent.

Definition of genius: those gifts in yourself, those offerings you make, those talents you express, that are of maximum use and benefit to others.

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Jill Stark writes:
1. Exercising compassion stimulates the same pleasure centers associated with the drive for food, water, and sex.

2. Practicing compassion with intention has a positive physiological effect on the body. It can lower blood pressure, boost your immune response and increase your calmness.

3. Not only are we hard-wired to be kind, but it is essential for the survival of our species.

4. Recognizing common fears or vulnerabilities rather than differences -- be it with a difficult friend, an abrasive colleague or a noisy neighbor -- calms the nervous system, boosting feelings of contentment and self worth.


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You don’t have to be anything you don’t want to be.

You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations.

There’s no need to strive for a kind of perfection that’s not very interesting to you.

You don’t have to believe in ideas that make you sad or tormented.

You don’t have to feel emotions that others try to manipulate you into feeling.

You are free to be who you want to be.

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"True life is lived when tiny changes occur," said Leo Tolstoy.

I agree. It's rare for us to undergo rapid, dramatic transformations in short periods of time.

That's why it's delusional to be forever pining for some big magic intervention that will fix everything.

The best way to alter our course is slowly and gradually, by conscientiously revamping our responses to the small daily details.

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Here are practical ways I carry on the work of championing and embodying the Divine Feminine:

I regard relationship as a crucible for spiritual work.

I think of the practical expression of kindness and compassion and ethical behavior as an essential spiritual practice.

I assume that a crucial element of spiritual practice is the consciousness and compassion we bring to the sometimes chaotic and messy details of being human beings.

I proceed as if loving and caring for animals and plants and the Earth is the test of our spiritual intentions.

I regard play and fun and humor as not diversions from "serious" spiritual work, but rather being at the center of it.

There are more, but I'll stop for now. What about you? What are the practical ways you carry on the work of loving Goddess?

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I'm not talking about what entertains you or flatters you or takes your mind off your problems.

I'm referring to the influences that make you stronger and the people who see you for who you really are and the situations that teach you life-long lessons.

I mean the beauty that replenishes your psyche and the symbols that consistently restore your balance and the memories that keep feeding your ability to rise to each new challenge.

I invite you to take inventory of these precious assets. And then make a special point of nurturing them back.

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Some people don't know that I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your cell or smart phone.

They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but on the other hand they're more frequent -- every day of the week.

My weekly horoscopes are free, but the dailies cost about 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription.

If you think you might enjoy getting regular bursts of inspiration from me to illuminate your adventures, check them out.

Go to Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

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"Having 'a sense of self' means possessing a set of stories about who we are," according to William Kittredge in his book *The Nature of Generosity.*

He says there are two basic types of stories: The first is "cautionary tales, which warn us" and therefore protect us. The second consists of "celebratory" tales, which we use to heal and calm ourselves.

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All omens should be interpreted favorably—as revelations about how to solve our riddles, perpetrate liberation, avoid trouble, ease suffering, find redemption, and perform tricky maneuvers that enable us to slip free of our mind-forged manacles and guess the deeper meanings behind our experiences.

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What are mirabilia? They're phenomena that inspire wonder, winsome curiosities, small marvels, eccentric enchantments. Here are a few:

* The National Center for Atmospheric Research reports that the average cloud is the same weight as 100 elephants.

* The average river requires a million years to move a grain of sand 100 miles.

* With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse colonies perform a dance to the sun.

* A seven-year-old Minnesota boy received patent number 6,368,227 for a new method of swinging on a swing.

* Clown fish can alter their gender as their social status rises.

* In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, the hero and heroine fall in love without ever gazing upon each other, simply by hearing tales about each other's good deeds.

* Twelve percent of the population believes that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

* The closest modern relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex may be the chicken.

* Kind people are more likely than mean people to yawn when someone near them does.

* Singing Gregorian chants can cure dyslexia.

* All the gold ever mined could be molded into a 60-foot bust of your mom.

* The moon smells like exploded firecrackers.

* The most frequently shoplifted book in America is the Bible.

* Black sheep have a better sense of smell than white sheep.

* There are about 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body. Every square inch of your body has an average of 32 million bacteria on it.

* French author and statesman André Malraux observed that Jesus Christ was the only anarchist who ever really succeeded.

* In his book The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead, physicist Frank J. Tipler offers what he says is scientific proof that every human being who has ever lived will be resurrected from the dead at the end of time.

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