Not all News is Bad News, there’s Good too

“Whether or not the world really is getting worse, the nature of news will make us think that it is…The consequences of negative news are themselves negative. Far from being better informed, heavy newswatchers can become miscalibrated.”     The Guardian View

We hear bad news at every turn, each moment if we check social media feeds constantly. Everything that could go wrong is going wrong in western culture, it seems, and in the outside world. But is this true?

Ninety percent of news in newspapers and on television is bad news, according to Big Think. That’s no surprise. Our negativity bias, BT goes on to say, means we weight bad news heavier than good news, sadly. The well written Guardian article, linked above, helps us understand the ramifications of  so much negativity.

The trailer for a beautiful article in the June 2018 Oprah Magazine  cites good news that helps dispel many bad news myths. For example, America’s so-called crime ridden cesspool cities are 75% less violent now than in 1993.

Dispelling the “young people don’t care myth” are the statis about Millennials. This segment of the population is healthy: better educated, visits public libraries more, unplugs from tech when vacationing more, donates to charity more readily than any other generation, would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company – and, best of all – 85% believe that helping make the world a better place eclipses achieving professional success.

“Old white guys” really are losing ground. Women, people of colour and other minorities are running for office and holding office in record numbers. “You’ll never see policies that benefit all Americans until you change the policymakers.”, says Emerge America. Very obvious, this has been a long time coming, we weren’t ready for it.

Here are a few ‘Good News’ sights for you:

Note: With respect to women in leadership roles, in Canada we have Equal Voice, an organization that “promotes the election of women to all levels of government.”

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

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Net of Light Gathering, Joshua Tree, CA, April 2018

In mid April, my partner Don and I travelled to Joshua Tree, Southern California, for the Net of Light gathering. I needed time to process the experience before journalling; here is my attempt to put into words this powerful, ephemeral experience.

We arrived early and settled in at Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The Center is the oldest in North America at 77 years of age and was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and Son, after a unique man named Edwin Dingle, who had studied Eastern philosophy in Tibet, was guided to the land.

I felt honoured to be invited to attend the Beacons, or group leaders’ meeting prior to the gathering, as I planned to start a Net of Light group in my home town after this retreat. Beacons from all over the world attended, several from the Netherlands, some of them group leaders for many years.

The highlight of the meeting was meeting Sharon McErlane in a small group setting. Sharon’s Net of Light organization had grown to 250 groups worldwide over the twenty plus years since the Grandmothers appeared to her on a bluff in Southern California. Sharon told me I had definitely been called to this work.

In the early months of 2017 I had come across the Net of Light website while researching, returning to it repeatedly, not knowing why. I subscribed to Sharon’s newsletter, eventually meeting the Canadian Co-ordinator, Laura in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, our shared ferry terminal.

That afternoon, under the big, old trees in the park by the water, I received my first empowerment, a gentle introduction to the energy of the Grandmothers, meant to connect us to them and to allow us to bring out our unique gifts in a greater way. Things began to change subtly for me after the empowerment, I received nudges and small messages from the Grandmothers that helped me to live more fully and mindfully with an increased level of trust in myself.  I realized the  Grandmothers  had been around me before I knew who they were.

One hundred people attended the Southern California Gathering, ninety women and close to ten men. I had felt the presence of the Grandmothers strongly for two weeks before the gathering, helping me release powerful old held material from deep within myself. At the retreat they filled the room, and indeed the whole property, with a strong, but light energy.

During our four days together we worked both in the larger group and in ten breakout groups. We drummed and sang, calling in the Grandmothers and the Great Mother, casting and strengthening the Net of Light, the great energetic fishnet that holds and heals the planet and us during these difficult times. Sharon and others took us through guided meditations. In the small groups we debriefed and sometimes did exercises.

For four days we lived in a cocoon of delight and heart felt love. Because we were in an altered state and the experiential nature of the Gathering, I could not explain precisely what we did to friends who questioned me later.

One exercise impacted me powerfully, and remains in my memory banks to this day. We took turns expressing to a partner the qualities of the goddess we saw within ourselves.

When the weekend was over we reluctantly left our spiritual cocoon, spreading out in all directions, Don and I in the direction of Sedona, Arizona.

Since that time I feel I have made slow, but steady progress, beginning our Net of Light women’s group in my home, and building trust withing myself by taking more risks, speaking out more, both in person and in my writing. In these ventures I am supported strongly by the Grandmothers, by my dear women friends and by claiming my Tibetan name more fully, Lhakpa, meaning courageous speech, the name that came to me in a dream several years ago.

Love & light to you.

Ellen / Lhakpa

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

Stepping Back – Being, not Doing During Tough Times

Kluane Lake, Yukon – (Betty Owen)
The energies built for two weeks prior to the recent full moon lunar eclipse, peaking on July 28th, another phase in the increased vibrations affecting the planet and everything on it, with both positive and painful results.
“We are in a deep cleanse and preparation stage this summer…being prepared to receive more Light energy anchored through our physical bodies…”, says Judith Onley, a friend who channels a large group of spirits called US, or United Souls of Heaven and Earth, for many years.
Today change is happening on many levels, both internally and externally. Historically things worsened before they improved. People are pushed to their max as societies become imbalanced. Governments often shift radically, to a place of protectivism, the opposite of “We are all One”.
At times it feels like: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”, (Kipling), only I would replace the word head with heart.
Many of us are experiencing exhaustion and other physical and emotional symptoms. Processing the vibratory energies descending on the planet and grounding ourselves during the chaos and confusion around us takes a lot of energy. Two analogies that may work for you are: recovering from an injury such as a broken leg, or transitioning through the grieving process after losing someone dear to us.
We are being constantly challenged to hold the course, and in order to not simply survive, but to flourish, we need to design individual and communal ways to live.
Giving ourselves permission to care for ourselves deeply will allow us to move into a new place, one of ease. Tracking ourselves – paying attention to our needs, including the needs of our heart will bring us peace.
Communication between the heart and brain is a dynamic, ongoing dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. The heart actually sends more information to the brain than the other way around, scientists have discovered.   The heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: through the nervous system, hormones, pulse waves and electromagnetic fields.
Stepping back gives us the opportunity to not only rest and strengthen ourselves, but to expand, to make contact with our creativity in new ways…to become inspired again.
Humanity is beginning to move towards a heart centred way of living. We have a choice, to soldier on, supporting a cracking system, or to live in a way that expresses our connection to one another. That may look different for each one of us, but there will be overlaps. It’s a change in our approach to life, an attempt to live in the present moment.
“It is your heart that will lift you,” the Grandmothers tell us. “If you move into your heart and keep your focus there for only a few seconds, it will lift you.”
 “Your thoughts must travel through your heart.”
Medicine Woman Tarot cards
PS: We’re coming in to the third eclipse of this season… the New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse Saturday August 11th, powerful influences energetically.

Ellen

Co Housing Retrospective

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It’s odd the way things happen…We lived in a small co housing community in Vancouver from late 2001 until mid 2006, selling our unit about a year later. We  fell into our first apartment there, having been gently urged by a friend who often stayed in the building to visit a woman who rented her unit each winter when she volunteered in Africa. Our home is on the Sunshine Coast, a small rural community a 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver, and weren’t looking for a place in the city, although we had both begun to work in Vancouver.

The funky looking building, consisting of town houses and apartments, had been built three years previously on a lot that at one time held three houses and a corner store. The community was a village unto itself, an oasis in the midst of city busyness, a place where you could visit with other residents in the laundry room, while reading the paper in the foyer sitting room, at common meals or in each others’ apartments. After the initial six months, still needing a place in the city, and wanting to stay in the co housing, we purchased a small, lovely apartment with a water view.

Living semi communally in a building with about twenty other families was a new experience, not at all like my small communal house in Guelph while I was a university student. For the most part it was very pleasant this enhanced neighbourhood of well educated, similarly minded folks.

The building was self managed, and until I stopped going and my partner continued on, to represent our unit, meetings were a frustrating experience for me…as a strong minded group of folks micro managed each aspect of running the building. My joke was that it took us three months to decide what toilet paper to buy for the common house washroom!

Recently we returned to “our” co housing for their 20th anniversary celebration, after being back in our small town for 12 years,  It felt very familiar, it was basically the same community, but in my recollection it was a friendlier place during our four and a half year stint there. Several of our friends were missing that day, both current and past residents of the building, but the ones who were there, folks who had established the co housing twenty years earlier, were happy to see us. Oddly, even though we were guests in their “home”, not one newer resident, arrivals after our time, said hello, or asked if I was a former resident, or a friend of someone in the building, to my disappointment.

It was a nostalgic feeling returning after so many years at such a special time. We felt at home, yet not at home. I’ll never forget my time living in co housing, and I’m sure my partner, Don, won’t either. We are very happy to be back in our own small house near the ocean, in our quiet but active community here on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Had we remained in Vancouver, we would have stayed in co housing.

Tibetan Refugees Paved the way for Syrian Refugees on the Sunshine Coast

The first two Syrian refugee families have completed their first year on the Coast, sponsored by a Gibsons Church. They are doing well and are enjoying being part of this special, supportive community. They have paved the way for the next family, sponsored by the Sechelt Activity Centre, later this year.

Being part of the Syrian folks lives has been an honour and a privilege, and we are happy to call them our friends, as we do the Tibetan family we sponsored several years ago.

The first Tibetan families from remote northeast India, arrived on the Sunshine Coast in December of 2013 and were followed by several more families, for a total of close to 20 here in our community. The private sponsorship project ended at the end of 2016.

All these folks have made a positive difference, enriching our community by their hard work, their deep spirituality and friendly manner. They are willing to help other new refugees, like they were helped. The 1st arrivals  helped the next Tibetans. Now the Tibetans help the Syrians in any way needed, by attending fundraisers and loaning their vehicles.

We get so much back from volunteering, whether in India or at home. As the research has shown, helping releases feel good brain chemicals: dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin.

There’s more, but you can read the article through the link if you’re interested.

I really can’t imagine what my life was like before we began volunteering!

Transitions into new beginnings

Consolidation: “The action or process of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent whole.”                  Oxford Dictionary

Change is challenging for most of us. One of our most significant ones is transitioning from our career into what is still referred to by the inept term “retirement”. Our identity is heavily invested in our work for many of us.

Today’s retirees are younger physically, mentally, and spiritually. As the year 2011 began, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. From that point on, every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65 in the US. A similar proportion of Canadians will join them.

Having come of age in affluent times, boomers have high expectations of life. Consequently many of us don’t feel particularly positive about aging, worrying about finances and quality of life as we become elders. I share these fears. What stands out for me the most is life purpose. How to make my life meaningful in the years I have left. How to hold onto my hopefulness.

The most important thing in aging is to think increasingly seriously about how we want to use the time left, says my wise partner, Don. “I know it sounds like someone with a fatal diagnosis”, he says, “but it applies equally to those of us who do not have that. This applies in both broader strokes and to this very day, right now.”

Transitioning with grace is about connecting with what matters to us on a deep level. The process won’t necessarily be seamless, it may take years. There will be many bumps on the road. Because change does not happen in a straight line.

I’m an example of one’s identity being tied up in career. My work as a counsellor in a large Vancouver agency, followed by a return to the Sunshine Coast to a small counselling and coaching practice, along with authoring two books, gave me much purpose.

During that time there were three trips to India travelling and volunteering and one to Southeast Asia, combined with overseeing my mother’s care and visiting with her. Life was rich and I was engaged.

In late 2013 we became part of a group sponsoring a Tibetan family in our community through Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement Project, that is bringing 1000 Tibetan refugees to Canada from remote northeast India.

Last year I began to wind down my practice and to process the disappointment over it not growing the way I had anticipated. Added to that was the difficulty of marketing self-published books. Then, this January, we went off to India, on the odd trip I documented in two previous blogs, clearly part of our process.

I needed to close the door on what might have been before another door could open. As Alexander Graham Bell so aptly put it: “When one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

It has taken me fifteen months of processing to reach the point of moving on. It’s been a time of wondering, of reviewing, of literally wandering, sometimes in a what felt like a vacuum.

When we returned to Canada in May from the India/Ireland trip, the weather was warm, and I spent months sitting on the back deck, enjoying my garden. My friend Alma, the psychic who did the amazing channelling for An Indian Sojourn, told me quite firmly, through her guides, that I needed an overhaul, and should  do nothing for several months. Then it would be time to “honour my gifts” and begin to help others again.

This time of endings and of processing what had been, the unusual trip we took, followed by months of apparently “doing nothing” has been a period of consolidation for me, and I am now ready to slowly move into new projects. This new chapter incorporates what I’ve loved and enjoyed in the past, what has fed me, into a new way of being in the world.

For me those things are meditation, prayer, walking in nature, yoga, practicing energy work, volunteering, writing and renewing my commitment to music.

Internallized ageism is  a problem for me at times, and I’m sure for many of us. So I do my best to remain open to new opportunities, listening to my internal wisdom when it pushes me to try some new challenge, like singing in the Handel’s Messiah chorus this Christmas.

Everyone’s path is different. But I think most of us would agree that it’s very important to do what we really enjoy, at our own tempo, and to spend our time with people we enjoy and care about.

As my dear friend Rasheda, in her late seventies said to me recently, “Do everything you want to do now, because later you’ll want to but won’t be able to.”