Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday songs! A year's worth of spiritual songs

Sunday songs!:-)
Songs for happiness, freedom, inner peace, spiritual strength and beauty, chosen once every week!

Just more than one year ago, on November 14, 2010, i felt inspired to share a song that represented my own spiritual views. That song was Ziggy Marley's Love is My Religion. After that i began making it a personal tradition all year, choosing one song each Sunday (the one day of the week when i almost never work) that either i found helpful or important right at that moment. Sometimes a song will strike me during the week and i'll be saving it up to use for the Sunday Song, sometimes i choose old favorites that are good for this purpose, and on a few occasions, i chose songs that literally seemed to come to me out of the blue on a Sunday, that seemed to present themselves to me just as i am wondering which song to use.

i hope these songs inspire the same positive feelings and influences for all of you as they have and do for me:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On slaves, employees, and prisoners: Choose to not be a slave

At first thought, it might seem that we are all well familiar with these three terms and that they are all mutually exclusive. But i suggest a different idea - what we generally think of as slaves are actually prisoners, and the difference between "slave" and "employee" is a matter of state of mind.

Here's what i mean:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Berlusconi resigned! Two quotes to celebrate and memorialize.

"This intellect-free, soccer-club-owning businessman, with his oily film of corruption and sleaze, who regularly embarrasses his fellow citizens by making lewd gestures in the European parliament, who has mastered the art of speaking l'aria fritta (fried air), who expertly manipulate's the media (not difficult when you own it), and who generally behaves not at all like a proper world leader but rather like a Waterbury mayor (that's an inside joke for Connecticut residents only - sorry), has now engaged the Italians in a war they see as none of their business whatsoever."

- From Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

"Imagine if Bill Gates of Microsoft were also the owner of the three largest national TV networks and then became president and took over public television as well. Imagine that he also owned Time Warner, HBO, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Yankees, Aetna insurance, Fidelity Investments and Loews theaters, and you begin to get an idea of how large a shadow Silvio Berlusconi casts over Italian life."

- From The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi, by Alexander Stille

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Ayahuasca Experience, in Europe

i experienced ayahuasca in the fall of 2011. Three Peruvian shamans of the Shipibo tribe (Maestro Jorge, Maestra Celestina and Maestra Luzmila) had been brought to Austria to perform ayahuasca ceremonies on tour for Europeans. There was also then a shaman apprentice who is half American and half Austrian (Virginia) who acted as their assistant and the organizer of the event. My experience with ayahuasca was powerful, positive and helpful and has already catalyzed healthy change in my life and i think in my body as well.

Ayahuasca is a blanket term for psychoactive infusions brewed, as i understand it, from the root of an Amazonian vine mixed with plant leaves. It is made and administered by South American shamans as a religious sacrament, and shared with (and sought out by) foreigners for its spiritually and physically beneficial effects.

What will follow here is the journaling of my experiences over those 4 nights. (The first entry is MUCH longer than the other 3, it is perhaps the most exciting and fun. If you do read this though, or part of it, i do ask that you also at least scroll down to look at the entries on the 3rd and 4th nights as they are to me the most striking and provide important context for what i experienced on the first night.)

Realizing we always want to do everything we do: a helpful exercise (NVC advice i found from the CNVC)

i have realized that we are often stressed by the idea that we do not want to do the things we are doing. Most of us often have thoughts like, "I don't want to go to work," or "I don't want to pay my bills," etc., but this is actually never true. In fact, you are incapable of doing something you don't want to do. Realizing this and learning how to think about healthily, i have found, can be a big stress reliever and even a source of new joy and relaxation.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nothing is "helpful" in Italian

In 1981, attorney Anita Hill accused aspiring United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of something called “sexual harassment.” It was not the very first time the phrase had ever been used, and it was certainly not the first example of the phenomenon in America. But it coined the phrase for popular usage in America. This being an obviously negative concept, it brought progress towards reducing the problem in America’s work places, or at least i think this is how the story is commonly told.
There is one very helpful concept that has no word with which to be expressed in the Italian language. It is not something that is completely non existent in Italy, but is a positive concept that everyone on the Italian peninsula would benefit from its development and proliferation. What is this word that Italian language is missing?
It is “helpful.”

The United States of America has one of the oldest governments in the world

Growing up in the USA, i remember being taught (or at least believing) that America is a teenaged country, compared to the adult-aged countries in Europe. The opposite fact emerges if we look at modern countries’ actual present form of government.

LOVE and YOU: Two weaknesses in the English language

The incredible value of being a mother-tongue English speaker is very clear to me. i live in an international neighborhood and community in Rome, Italy where not just Italians, but also other international groups (Bangladeshis, Poles, Romanians, Turks, Arabs and Senegalesi) all make a point of speaking to me, an American expat, in English rather than the local Italian language (and most individuals of those groups with more success than the Italians!!) For these people it is deeply in their cultural, social and especially economic interests to learn to speak English fluently. Which is great, for both us and them i guess!
Over the last 6years living in Italy i have put a lot of effort into learning to speak Italian well. Today i speak Italian comfortably in most situations, though i am still shy of the term “fluent” being applied to myself. Usually i’m good to go. But i will quickly get lost in any discussion that strays from my short list of familiar subjects in that language: history, politics, art, haggling, pillow talk and combatative argument.
i have become increasingly frustrated, however, with the English language’s limited ability to adequately express two key concepts, one of which is an slight inconvenience and the other is a potentially painful flaw that is dulling and weakening our society. The poorly expressed concepts are that of “you” and that of “love.”

PaxRyan's Blog

Pax is Latin for peace.

Ryan is my name.

This is my blog.

Hari om.

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