Saturday, November 13, 2010
On December 13th at 6:30 PM EST, I'll be be guest hosting my good friend April Claxton's "The Movement Within Radio Show" to interview award winning author Nancy Garden. Nancy Garden is the author of over 35 books for children and teens, including Annie On My Mind (1983) an American Library Association award winner and a Booklist Review's Choice. Annie On My Mind, first published over twenty years ago, depicts the tender love story between two teenage girls and their fight for acceptance and equality. Since its publication, Annie On My Mind has been voted #48 on the ALA's list of 100 Most Frequently Banned or Challenged Books. Garden’s books have an important message for today’s youth, especially those experiencing anti-gay bullying or trying to find their own voice .
Garden continues to explore themes for GLBT and GLBT-friendly youth in her career. I'll talk to her about her experience as a writer, her coming out journey, why her work is so important to GLBT youth today, and how her fiction has helped her and her readers to "Move Within". "Tune In To Move In" with me, as I guest host April's TMW Radio with Nancy Garden on December 13th from 6:30-7:30 EST.
(And a special thanks to The Movement Within's CEO April Claxton , who is generously letting me co-host her wonderful radio talk show, and whose love, energy, and endless inspiration touch all around her.)
Happy Ganesh is also a proud supporter of the It Gets Better anti-bullying project. Happy Ganesh, Inc. is all about breaking through barriers - and hate can be a strong barrier, especially if sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you and you're feeling lost and alone. Geared towards GLBT or questioning teens in response to the recent rash of suicides (among them, 15-year-old Billy Lucas), the It Gets Better project features wonderful, inspirational videos from politicians like President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to entertainers like Kathy Griffin and Glee's Chris Coffer, or businesses like Gap, to brave, inspirational, everyday people willing to share their stories of how their lives "Got Better".
It Gets Better/Trevor Project was begun to spread hope and prevent bullying-related suicides among GLBT youth but the message of love, acceptance, and hope is for ALL humanity. This is for anyone who's ever felt taunted, abused, hurt, or shamed. This is for anyone who's ever wondered if their situation will improve or how they are going to make it another day. This is about letting out your own light and letting it shine, shine, shine with self-love and pride. Be proud of who you are. Every inch. Warts and all.
For more GLBTQ support, go to Outminds, a wonderful web-based network of support and acceptance run by some very, very old friends of mine. They're good people and they'll treat you right. Tell 'em Happy Ganesh sent you!
If we work together, and let our voices of love and tolerance shine, there is no room for hate. Don't give up. You are loved, infinitely.
It Gets Better.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I believe travel and spirituality are entwined. By moving out of our daily box, we see the bigger picture. You get on an airplane, you feel the world around you move and shift. And WOOSH! You're in a whole new place - and like all vacations - you only have a small bit of time to explore. Travel and spirituality. The line between who you were to who you are becoming.
For example, Eat, Pray, Love has encouraged a universal journey, largely geared towards women, but global enough for people to embrace their hearts, go into the dark and through the dark to find the missing broken pieces and to learn to live from them and to breathe new life into what you never had before. However, the journey talked about in EPL is self-contained. The journey has a start (Italy), a middle (India) and an end (Bali).
As a good friend of mine pointed out, most spiritual journeys do not stay within geographical borders and are not neatly packaged.
Most journeys that remake us, uplift us, kill us, and rebirth us do not come with a passport or an overnight stop to a perfect Italian hideaway or a spiritual retreat in India. Most journeys begin when our lives crumble underneath us, or when we realize that the way we've been doing things has attracted the same things again and again. At least, that's the way every story or biography of travelers that I've ever read has begun.
And that's when we go down fighting. We fight for a while - and then we collapse a little and give up. We say "Ok, I can't control it anymore." (I'm a pretty big, dyed-in-the-wool control freak so this is a hard one for me.) Surrender means trusting something better is out there and that, whatever it is, you are not in control. And then, things change.
Say what now? Did you say change? Omigod, change!
We start journeys of all kinds for a number of different reasons - but one of the biggest reasons are accidental - that things are just not working anymore and things either stall or we slowly begin to move. We can't see where we are. We can see the ground under our feet, but not the path in front of us. And so, we just go, day by day, until it changes. By "it", it's usually us who change, who rise to meet a new level.
That's part of the popularity of Eat, Pray, Love. In both the book and the movie, Liz Gilbert goes on a Big Massive (Sagittarius style) Journey when her marriage ends. I think the book and movie worked to get pop culture (mostly women) thinking about eastern religions and what a deeper, more spiritual path might mean to them. I enjoyed EPL. We even ran a manifestation class inspired by Eat, Pray, Love. And it's a wonderful message, to open your own door to happiness.
But for my money, I'll take On Pilgrimage (1992) by Jennifer (Jini) Lash, the mother of actors Joseph (Shakespeare in Love) and Ralph Fiennes (The Harry Potter movies). Diagnosed with fatal breast cancer, Jennifer Lash was given only a short time to live. Her doctor told her to make her arrangements and find peace with her life, to prepare for the end, quietly, at her home in the English countryside. He told her to call her seven children home and enjoy the last, precious months.
Jini Lash said No. She would not go gentle into that good night.
Determined to feed her soul and to explore her own love for religion and for her life, she packed a rucksack and made plans. Three weeks after major surgery she left England to embark on her own vision quest and to discover what the intersection of spirituality, illness, love, and God meant to her. She traveled from Spain to France to visit spots of "contemporary Christian piligrimage" and ended her journey at Santiago de Compostela. It's a beautiful book and Jini's style is intimate and random, as if the entire thing was lifted from her private travel journals. "Because of my recent experience of cancer, and all the obviously looking at life and death in a new way, it seemed clear that I had been voting myself out of life and diving for the dark. Considering Death had meant considering Life. I had made a firm decision towards life [which] instinctively meant going back to base, considering roots, the depths of things" (Lash, 28). In 1986 she died from breast cancer shortly after her return to England.
We're going through a lot of astrological changes right now, which make me think of both Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love and Jennifer Lash's On Pilgrimage. We're being forced right now, with Venus still in Retrograde until 11/18, to consider the depths of our relationships and our individual needs. With Uranus Retrograding in Pisces until December 6th, we're encouraged to study the dreamy depths of our rebellious sides. With Saturn in Libra until 2012, we're learning hard but welcome and important partnership lessons of all kinds - what we to establish a give and take in relationships, the same way that Jennifer Lash learned to establish a 'relationship' with God and the unknown. Chiron, the sign of the Wounded Healer, returns to Aquarius, and shakes us awake from the depth of our own routines. We probe through the darkness of our own wounds, yearning to heal them. With Chiron in Aquarius until Feb of 2011, we're destined to awake to our deep wounds and begin to learn how to heal them - in a community-oriented, big picture kind of way.
If you're curious as to how these big changes are going to impact you, contact me here.
Here's Jennifer (Jini) Lash on change, spirituality, the open road, and the unknown:
"Maybe energy is the means of meaning. Endlessly transforming, never able by its very nature to finally unlive."
"I was finding more and more that alone on a dusty road was home. I felt like a fog back at last in its basket. The heat was oppressive but the unknown street ahead was such a joy."
"Her departure was an act of faith, as all true love must be. An act of trust towards a transforming force."
An act of trust towards a transforming force. Bingo. Whether we call it love, God, life or death, trusting in the moment and in the road ahead may be hard and a little cloudy, but deeply needed. We've got so much celestial support for these changes, how can we stand still?
To the unknown streets and transforming forces,