The Choice

[The text of this sonnet is printed below.]

We are so close!  We are closer than we have ever been to creating the ideal realm that the wisest humans have foreseen and been working toward for the past 2,500 years—a short time compared to all of human evolution, and yet long enough for us to develop the ethics and tools we need, long enough to get good and ready.

The arc of the moral universe is long and it has been bending toward this moment, this terrible polarized, destructive yet miraculously transformative year when millions of children rose up to demand we create a sustainable, harmonious, healthy relationship to the earth, and millions of people of all races rose up to demand that we create a society that is socially, economically and environmentally just and equitable for all.

These two uprisings are branches of the same tree of life, they are one forward movement of growth into the ideal society that treats all life and all the earth as sacred, meaning worthy of compassion, care and respect.  Both uprisings have demanded the ethic of the Golden Rule and the love of neighbor, grounded in a vision of oneness that sees that everyone and everything is our neighbor.  These are the foundational laws of the society that humanity’s spiritual, philosophical and wisdom traditions have called us to create.

We are so close!  Humanity is awakening to this expanded consciousness, eyes are opening to new perspectives, public opinion is rapidly shifting.

We can do this!  And the way we do it starts with making our own choice to be the change we wish to see in the world, and going out from there to help others awake and change, thinking of ourselves as part of a movement, as being one, every step of the way.  The choice is to be a positive force, to be on the side of love and life and light and give our time, talents and resources to that cause.

This poem is connected to “Light Muscle Building” and the introduction to it also applies here, offering practical steps to be part of a movement that can reach the ideal world that is so close. Continue reading

Light Muscle Building

[The text of this sonnet is printed below.]

“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws—racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”  Martin Luther King Jr. from his 1968 essayA Testament of Hope” as quoted in “How Do We Change America?” by in The New Yorker.

Today we could add environmental destruction and its health effects and injustice to King’s list of flaws, as well as the undermining of democracy by rightwing super-wealthy individuals and mega-corporations and the politicians they support who share their autocratic ideology.

Mahatma Gandhi’s work remains the greatest model for “radical reconstruction of society.” Many people know of his marches, fasts and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, but far fewer know that this Obstructive Program was just a small part of his overall movement, and it would not have succeeded without two other far greater programs. Continue reading

PS to Where Is the Howl?

PS…Of course I can’t write a poem about howling without Ginsberg’s “Howl” echoing in my mind, and the line that haunts me is “ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total animal soup of time.” That is the line in the poem that best spans the sixty-five years of its life and my life and speaks to where we are now. My friends, while you are not safe, I am not safe, while the cities are not safe my small town is not safe, while the earth is not safe none of us is safe and with only eight years left to reconstruct our society and way of life we are all really in the total animal soup of time. So howl, please! Together.

 

[The text of this sonnet is printed below.]

The wooded hills where I live echo sometimes with coyote howls.  Hearing them at night is haunting, but hearing them in the day is alarming—you know then that something is wrong, and you can feel in your gut the threat they face or their grief of loss.

We also hear the prehistoric cry of the pileated woodpecker, or hear its powerful drumming on a hollow tree, and those sounds can also feel haunting or alarming.

Sometimes silence can be even more piercing—the silence on death row when an inmate has been executed.

Far worse is the silence of those who have given up on this world as hopeless when there is still time.

Over the past year we have heard Greta Thunberg and millions of other youth crying “Our house is on fire!” as they watch the clock tick down on our chance to preserve an inhabitable earth. We have maybe eight years to make a change that will require the united will of humanity to accomplish.  In a sense we have only until November of 2020 if we fail to change the White House and Senate.

Right now we are hearing the cries and howls of people who have been oppressed and murdered for centuries.  You can listen below to one of the most eloquent and powerful by Kimberley Jones, and one of the rawest by Star Wars star John Boyega, and there are millions more to hear in the streets and on the internet.

Nature gives creatures this gift, the ability to translate our grief, rage and life-or-death needs into songs that stir other hearts to empathy and compassion, and create a feeling of oneness that can cross any difference, between races, socio-economic places, even between species.  We need that oneness now.  We need to be haunted and alarmed on one another’s behalf.  We need to be moved to meet our shared life-or-death needs.  We need humanity to change, and change fast.

So…

Where Is the Howl?

Coyotes howl their protest song, harsh sun,
the hottest year as long as we’ve kept track.
Too early, acorns drop off one by one,
reminders that this chance will not come back,
and of the howling pain that is to come
and is already felt out on the edge:
high, blighted trees the pileateds drum,
huge ice shelf thunder, sloughing off a wedge.
Of all the haunting signs the most distressing
is humans who refuse to howl or change,
who should be wearing sackcloth and confessing.
The silence on death row is sad and strange,
but now when we could save ourselves it’s wrong.
We need to howl a powerful new song.

copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder

 

Where Is the Howl?

[The text of this sonnet is printed below.  See the postscript to this post by clicking here.]

The wooded hills where I live echo sometimes with coyote howls.  Hearing them at night is haunting, but hearing them in the day is alarming—you know then that something is wrong, and you can feel in your gut the threat they face or their grief of loss.

We also hear the prehistoric cry of the pileated woodpecker, or hear its powerful drumming on a hollow tree, and those sounds can also feel haunting or alarming.

Sometimes silence can be even more piercing—the silence on death row when an inmate has been executed.

Far worse is the silence of those who have given up on this world as hopeless when there is still time.

Over the past year we have heard Greta Thunberg and millions of other youth crying “Our house is on fire!” as they watch the clock tick down on our chance to preserve an inhabitable earth. We have maybe eight years to make a change that will require the united will of humanity to accomplish.  In a sense we have only until November of 2020 if we fail to change the White House and Senate.

Right now we are hearing the cries and howls of people who have been oppressed and murdered for centuries.  You can listen below to one of the most eloquent and powerful by Kimberley Jones, and one of the rawest by Star Wars star John Boyega, and there are millions more to hear in the streets and on the internet.

Nature gives creatures this gift, the ability to translate our grief, rage and life-or-death needs into songs that stir other hearts to empathy and compassion, and create a feeling of oneness that can cross any difference, between races, socio-economic places, even between species.  We need that oneness now.  We need to be haunted and alarmed on one another’s behalf.  We need to be moved to meet our shared life-or-death needs.  We need humanity to change, and change fast.

So…

Where Is the Howl?

Coyotes howl their protest song, harsh sun,
the hottest year as long as we’ve kept track.
Too early, acorns drop off one by one,
reminders that this chance will not come back,
and of the howling pain that is to come
and is already felt out on the edge:
high, blighted trees the pileateds drum,
huge ice shelf thunder, sloughing off a wedge.
Of all the haunting signs the most distressing
is humans who refuse to howl or change,
who should be wearing sackcloth and confessing.
The silence on death row is sad and strange,
but now when we could save ourselves it’s wrong.
We need to howl a powerful new song.

copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder

[See the postscript to this post by clicking here.]

 

Come Back to Life and Live

[The text of this sonnet is printed below.]

This sonnet is a call to the veterans of the movements for social change of the 1960s and early 70s.  It was written several years ago in the context of climate change, economic inequity, racism, increasing masses of refugees and wars.

Today the social, economic and environmental injustices we tried to stop in the 60s are destroying our democracy and the ability of life on earth to survive.  We saw this coming when we were young.  We knew it would be the result of the policies and world-views that we were fighting.  Prophetic voices articulated it clearly back then, and now the nightmare fears of our youth have become the reality of our elderhood.

We knew the answers in the 60s and 70s—go back and read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Revolution of Values” speech, just one example from hundreds of leading voices—and just because those who opposed us fought back and made the problems far worse does not mean we were wrong.

Just because many of us abandoned our ideals and either became inactive or else actively worked on the side of the systemic wrongs does not mean that we cannot come back to our senses now, when our society and planet are in mortal danger.

I know that many of us have been contributing to our families, communities and the world in positive ways, being models of our ideals and always ready to do more.  What I am saying is, now is the time to do more—in fact, to do as much as we possibly can do.

The youth of today are rising as we did, and even more powerfully.  We have something to offer.  They could use our resources, they could use our bodies to stand beside them as allies, they could use our senior positions of influence assisting them.

We have something else, as well.  The world needs the wisdom that can come with full maturity (and not the stubborn closed-mindedness that can also come with age).  People in their 60s and 70s (as most of the veterans of the 60s and 70s now are) have the potential to move into the most mature developmental stage of human consciousness.  At that stage we finally can see clearly the oneness of all people and all life on earth and find a way forward through seemingly irreconcilable polarization.

We could help our society grow into that developmental stage of oneness now, just as we helped the global culture become more pluralistic and liberated in the 60s.

Humanity needs a vision of oneness if it is ever going to live by an ethic of true equality and compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed. Humanity needs a change of consciousness in order to solve the problems that threaten our existence.  That change needs people to articulate the perspective of oneness and model living by it.  And it needs us to be part a powerful social movement that says to Pharaoh, “Let my people go,” and leads humanity from slavery through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

We have so much to offer, and we have very little time to turn things around.  So…

Come Back to Life and Live

O generation of your flowers slid
down rifle barrels aimed at you and songs
rocking your jail cells—how many years you hid,
passive or worse.  A climate change of wrongs
wilts all your blossoms, tortures those who sing.
My generation, voice your silenced scream.
If our world’s ending, let the rending bring
a last bold song, a winter flower’s dream.
If you will, I will raise my voice again
and risk that ache of gunned-down, mocked ideals.
Let’s pick up where we left off way back then
before we chose a life that sleeps or steals.
We wake to find it’s those who sacrifice
who truly live.  Last chance to pay that price.

copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder

 

 

Lilacs

[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]

How I Lost an Argument and Won This Sonnet (and a few others)

Writing and the spiritual life both were important parts of my childhood, and when I awoke to adolescent consciousness I found them at the core of my being, where they have remained.

I emerged as a fledgling poet and spiritual and social activist on October 15th, 1969, at age 14.  It was War Moratorium Day and I was visiting my brother, George, who lived on the edge of the Harvard campus.  The night before he had introduced me to the poetry of William Carlos Williams and the Imagists.  That day we watched the coverage on the news of our generation rising up with the power of a mass movement.  That evening I wrote my first free verse poem, an imagistic social and spiritual manifesto.  I was swept up and rode that wave a long time.  I still am riding it, although in different forms.

We were strident those days, and part of my stridency was a harsh judgment of formal poetry.  I was a free verse fundamentalist as a Creative Writing Program major at Princeton, arguing with my thesis adviser, Carlos Baker, in a precept, insisting that the Imagists were far superior to Emily Dickinson.

I argued even more vehemently with my mother, who was my first literary and spiritual teacher.  She would throw Frost at me: “Writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net.”  She told me more than once that if I wanted to become a good poet I should write five thousand sonnets.

I would scoff and throw up my hands and walk out of the room—that beautiful room that she created by finding second hand furniture and fixing it up and filling the surfaces with vases of flowers cut from her yard.  How I would love to be able to walk back into that room today, how I long for that beautiful, ordered calm, that cool serenity now with our world falling apart.

How I would love to report to her that she won the argument, and I have indeed written my five thousand sonnets, but she died before I had written my first. Continue reading

Stop the Seeds from Getting Sown

[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]

Partisan media are inciting hatred and violence, polarizing a democratic, peaceful nation, and helping autocratic, fascist leaders rise to power who use their positions to inflame the situation to the point where citizens take up arms against people they no longer consider fully human, people of another race or culture or people who disagree politically.  The media and leaders and their backers create a crisis situation that gives them the excuse to unleash a civil war and slaughter millions.

That was Rwanda.  If you live in America in 2020 and don’t feel alarmed reading that description, I recommend you watch the film Sometimes in April.  It is worth doing anything to prevent it from happening here or anywhere else ever again.

We need not only to change the structures and systems, such as the ability of partisan media to take over a market without regulation providing restrictions and balance, but we also need to be aware of the seeds of fear, hatred and violence in our culture, our government, our homes, and stop them from growing, or from getting sown.

One of the moments in Sometimes in April that made my blood run cold was when the hero finds out that his family is on the list to be killed even though he is in the military and of the approved race. It could happen to anyone. I could imagine it happening to me.  It reminded me of a saying attributed on the internet to many different sources:

Solon (the Lawgiver) c640 – c556 BC Statesman of Athens, writer of its compassionate legal code:
“Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same indignation at it as those who are.” from Greek Wit (F. Paley) found on http://sqapo.com/aphorism.htm

The film helped me feel as if I were among those being wronged.  It helped me love my neighbor as my self, in true oneness.  I wrote this poem several years ago in response to the film and the genocide and the dangerous situation I saw building in America that today is starting to explode.

All of us who believe in the global ethic shared by all religions need to act now and transform society to live by the laws of compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed, love of neighbor, the Golden Rule in all its formulations.  We need to speak out, we need to organize, we need to vote and we need to watch the seeds and… Continue reading

Reflections On War and the Military: “Training Flights” and “Hanging Between Two Dying Ways”

I share two sonnets below, “Training Flights” and “Hanging Between Two Dying Ways: A Lament,” both from my collection “Sonnets for the Struggle for Peace, Justice and the Care of the Creation.”  I am publishing them here to follow up a facebook exchange that you can see below about the recent use of F-35 war jets to honor medical workers treating coronavirus patients.  This is a long introduction, so if you are more interested in the sonnets, skip to the end of this page.

Many reasonable people disagree with my feelings about war planes overhead and about militarism and modern warfare.  Some of those people are in my family and among my friends, and I respect them.  Their reasonableness and wonderfulness as people does not change my position, but it makes me want to explain myself. Continue reading

And Here

[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]

We need to change our society’s way of seeing and thinking about the entire creation, we need to evolve a new collective way of seeing and thinking about ourselves and our place in the order of things, in order to change our society’s destructive way of life.

Ancient spiritual traditions envisioned the cosmos being born out of divine love.  They teach us that we are to love the creation as its creator does.  Love of neighbor, love of the creator and the creation—these have been handed down to us by our wisest elders as the highest natural laws.  The collective, eternal flow of life is a stream of self-giving love, and for those who live in that Tao, individual life is a stream of many such acts over a lifespan, serving our time and place.

The goal is to create the conditions conducive to abundant life for all, for the common good—a sustainable harmony and an equitable and just society.

This is within our reach.  We have made stunning advances in understanding and technology, and humanity seems on the brink of making the needed developmental shift to the mature perspective of the wisest spiritual teachers.  We could evolve finally to have the heart and mind of Christ and the Buddha and Gandhi and King, and the wisdom and passion of Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai and Mother Theresa and Dorothy Day.  We see millions of people now moving toward that vision of compassion and oneness.  We have the tools we need.  We can do this.  And we must do this, for life on earth to survive.

The beautiful, joyous truth is that we each can help make this transformation happen by opening our own heart and mind to be transformed, and by living our own lives in our own place more lovingly.  We can do this right now, right here…

And Here

And here is where I heard the hermit sing.
And here is where the ermine popped through snow.
And here is where the golden eagle’s wing
sent benediction to the land below.
And here is where I stood to sing of songs
and presences and blessings we pass through.
I do not know to whom this land belongs
except by this one law I know is true:
The spirit of creation makes a claim,
love’s birth, love’s joy, love’s struggle to survive.
We live to serve and celebrate love’s aim.
There is no other cause to be alive.
And here we sing our thanks as loves appear.
And here we make our place by loving here.

copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder

The Harder Task

[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]

I recorded this poem in the summer of 2019 which seems like another world, another age of the world.  It seemed then as if the worst of the climate crisis era was still ahead a decade or so. Now we are in it. This is what it looks like: tens of millions of climate refugees; the erosion of democracy and the rise of fearful autocratic entrenched nationalism; the rich grabbing more and the poor suffering more and inequity worsening; ever increasing ecological devastation; accelerating species extinction; and yes, pandemics and economic collapse and social upheaval. We are in it now.

Some of the wealthiest are trying to escape, as this poem suggests, but millions of people of all kinds are working hard to change the world to reverse and heal the damage we have done and create a global society that is just, equitable, sustainable, resilient and at one with all peoples and all nature.

This is “the Harder Task.” Thank you so much for all you are doing for that cause. Please make up your mind now to do even more, to give it all your time, energy and resources. This is the greatest struggle any generation has ever faced, and it will take even more dedication and effort than World War II. Choose an organization and join together with others, contribute what makes you feel good.  Do what you love to do the best that you can do it for the cause. Thank you!

The Harder Task

Plop a banana peel into the compost
and watch the fruit-flies scatter through the room.
The bucket is their world, all else, the moon
and Mars and distant planets that will host
them till they can return.  What distant post
can we fly to when our world meets its doom—
when asteroid zooms in, or human plume
or magma ash turns earth to ice or toast?
It seems we have two tasks to undertake:
first, finding places that will serve as well,
and how to get there.  That task is unnerving.
The next one’s worse.  Somehow we have to make
our life more worth the saving—learn to dwell
in kindness, love and beauty worth preserving.

 

Love of Light Song

Love of Light Song

O Light, how much you love the mighty trees,
those massive trunks of maple, ash and oak
that cast up vast translucent canopies
beneath which long past generations woke
and we wake still, we lower, lesser things,
we dwellers in their filtered sun and shade.
We hear the wind or thrush high up that sings
the praise of greatness that your light has made.
But we sing, too, our humble, quiet songs
of ray pierced pools that make the rock moss shimmer,
of stained glass ferns that soar above the throngs
of praising beetle, worm and water skimmer.
You love us all, you give each all your gifts,
you bless the slightest song the humblest lifts.

Poetry Salon on Resurrection

Poets Garret Keizer, Sydney Lea, Mark Hart and Tom Kinder

I participated in a Poetry Salon at the Congregational Church in Newbury, Vermont, on May 4, 2019 along with Sydney Lea, Garret Keizer and Mark Hart.  It was hosted by the Rev. Dr. Michael Caldwell at the Newbury, Vermont Congregational Church and was on the theme of resurrection, more as a law of nature than religious doctrine. I read from upcoming books in my Sonnets for the Struggle series and from my upcoming collection, Sonnets of Celebration and Love.  I share expanded reflections and poems from that day in the half-hour video below.

You can find poems by the other three inspired, excellent poets on their websites, https://sydneylea.net/, https://garretkeizer.com/, and http://www.markhartpoetry.com/. Thank you to Janis Moore for the photo of us at the Salon.

You can follow this website in the sidebar (click on the little three horizontal lines symbol to see it) if you would like to hear and see more of my writings and find out when my books become available. Thank you!

An Appreciation of George Kinder, April 2, 2018

My brother, George Kinder, is a map-maker—he has been working on maps to the transformations that we need as individuals and as a world for decades.  I am celebrating his birthday by republishing this analysis of how his life work is contributing to changing the world for the better.

George has been recognized in national publications as one of the 35 most influential people in financial services, one of the top Icons & Innovators in financial planning, and the first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry.  He has revolutionized financial advising over the last thirty years, training over 3000 professionals in 30 countries in the field of Life Planning.

George is a spiritual teacher as well, and although his maps have been designed with financial Life Planners in mind, they have broad applicability. Hundreds of financial planners are now helping clients from all walks of life explore their deep heart’s core, their Golden Room.  The clients are living in, from and for the dreams or callings that they find there.  (A 2016 New York Times article described how people are following the Life Planning map to a meaningful retirement.)  Often these Life Plans contribute directly or indirectly to a healthier family, community or world.

George’s maps can be applied equally well to all facets of our lives and across the spectrum of our developmental lines or multiple intelligences, not just the financial realm.  All his maps lead us through the Golden Room of inner transformation to the transformed culture he calls the Golden Civilization.  Below I will look at the contribution that four of his books make to that movement.

Continue reading

Introduction to the Returning/Aloha Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Returning/Aloha is the most important stage of the journey.  It cannot happen without all the other stages, but this is the reason why we have sought and built the Golden Room into our lives.  The purpose is not for us to feel the bliss of being there.  The purpose, as the vision showed, is to take what we find within and deliver it to the world.

An essential part of dwelling in the Golden Room is returning to the world, living not just in our heart’s core but from it, in order to serve with whatever gifts we find there.  Usually a Life Plan contributes gifts to others, whether to family, our workplace, our local community or the wider world, even if the plan is to sail solo around the world or enter a monastery.  There is almost always sooner or later a gain for others in our fulfilling our Golden Room life.  The calling in our deepest, truest core comes from the universe that created us and is not for ourselves alone.

We return to the world, and then return to the Golden Room and then return to the world again, until that cycle of returning is resolved in the highest nondual or integral developmental stage of consciousness, when we see that the universe and the Golden Room are one and we do not need to return because we are always at home wherever we go and whatever we do.

We will not have reached the truest, deepest core of the Golden Room until we have attained this universalizing stage of oneness with all creation.  The heart’s core gives rise to a self-giving, unconditional, all-forgiving, universal love that does not differentiate between worthy or unworthy or friend or foe or this recipient or that, but loves for the sake of loving.

No matter how partial the love we find within, our task is to return with even the smallest sliver of its golden light and deliver our gifts to the part of our world where we find they are needed.

“Aloha” is where George Kinder’s Seven Stages ultimately lead.  The meaning of Aloha is far more than hello or goodbye.  It is a personal quality of generous-hearted lovingkindness.  It takes simple joy in bestowing gifts to the world, whether random spontaneous acts or larger life works.

Aloha is a returning of blessings to others out of the knowledge and gratitude that we have been blessed by the universe to have this time on earth.  It has nothing to do with a sense of obligation or self-esteem, and it may not be true Aloha if we have not mastered some degree of the Understanding Stage.  True Aloha rises naturally from the heart.  It blossoms when we attain freedom from inner obstacles that block us from the integrity of living in, from and for our Golden Room, the way a hyacinth blossoms after struggling up from its buried bulb through the dark earth, at last releasing its inner truth of sweet scent and beautiful hue.

Introduction to the Dwelling/Understanding Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

When do you begin to dwell in the Golden Room that you are building, whether it be the spiritual center you are nurturing or the heart’s core vision (the “Torch”) of the Life Plan you are implementing?

Once it is completed and you move in and you never return to your former dwelling?

No, at some point you awaken to the fact that you began dwelling in your Golden Room the moment you inclined your heart toward the faintest calling.  To seek the site, to clear it, to dig, to build are all to dwell in that place.

Even more so, of course, is to move in and change your mailing address, to rest after all the striving and be still and fully present to the moment of arrival, to look with wonder at the beauty of the Golden Room and feel the peace and joy of being in your true home.

You may find forgetfulness taking you back onto your old street, falling into old habits, straying from your heart’s core and dream life, but as soon as you waken to that fact and long to return to the Golden Room, you are dwelling there again.

Whenever you are aware of it, whether you feel you are there or not, you are dwelling in it.  Doing spiritual practices designed to lead us to the Golden Room keeps us dwelling there, however far it may feel from finished and furnished.  Working on the logistical steps to put the new life in place is a real form of dwelling in it.  To live in relation to the Golden Room is to live in it.

“Understanding” is the pivotal phase of George Kinder’s Seven Stages.  It is the moment when we gain the capacity to dwell within our inner truth with acceptance and peace, and to live as we choose to live, with freedom and integrity, no matter what inner or outer turmoil is swirling around us.

We have heard a calling to a new way or level of living, we have cleared and dug deep and gained the knowledge we need, everything is in place, but in order to dwell in that newness and be our true, authentic self we need to have a psychological and spiritual breakthrough, we need to emerge fully from the hold of our old self-limiting ways of thinking and acting.

The Understanding stage requires mindfulness, inner listening, the ability to let thoughts go and let feelings be, the capacity to dwell fully and freely in each present moment whatever experience it may bring, and choose our path through it.  The result is a tremendous release of creative and entrepreneurial energy, a vigor that is in the service of our deepest, truest self, which has altruistic love at is core.  The more we dwell in it, the more we contribute to the well being of the world around us.

The posts in this category will be about what we need to do to dwell in the Golden Room wherever we may be on the journey there or in the process of building it.  They will be about mindfulness and the contemplative life and the Understanding Stage ability to find freedom and integrity within the present moment.

William Blake wrote,

I GIVE you the end of a golden string;
  Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
  Built in Jerusalem’s wall.…

This Dwelling/Understanding category is about how to keep our fingers on the golden string that leads to and through the Golden Room.

Introduction to the Building/Execution Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Building puts new habits and practices in place where obstacles were blocking us before.  We begin to see the beauty of our dream coming to life.  We see the building’s emerging outline define a space, and we step into it with wonder and excitement as it evolves.  We create borders and boundaries, a sheltering structure.  Our perspective changes as each new development reframes the view.

We find ourselves no longer descending in the vision of the Golden Room through utter darkness, claustrophobic and scraping our skin with no end in sight.  We can see now the glow of the Golden Room ahead, and every step on the ladder brings it closer.   We shift from moving away from our old reality through a painful exodus to moving toward our destination with joy.

In the journey of Dante’s Divine Comedy we have gone from being lost in the woods to descending into hell to working through purgatory, and now at last we begin to ascend in paradise, the realm of light.

The Life Planning “Execution” stage is where we implement the architectural designs of the plan, we build the logistical structure.  We carry out the action steps for every solution to every obstacle.  We start to see immediate results as the building rises.  We begin to live into the new life.

Posts in this category will be about putting in place all the needed elements to live the Golden Room, heart’s core life.

Introduction to the Digging/Knowledge Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Digging continues the process that clearing began, the preparation of the site to fulfill the calling.  We dig in to the project, and lay the foundation that the building needs.

It corresponds in the vision of The Golden Room to the long, painful descent down the ladder.  This is where the challenges begin, and where many people give up.  It is no longer theoretical.  We have to get our hands dirty.

Kenosis, the process of self-emptying, becomes more intense. Thomas Keating, the teacher of Centering Prayer, talks about “the unloading of the unconscious” that contemplatives go through as their meditation practice deepens.  We need to bring up the junk, the old rocks and roots that will get in the way of solid footings.  The great song for spiritual renewal, Psalm 51, prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”  Digging works toward the wide open heart that we need in order for a new and right spirit to rise in us.

The EVOKE Life Planning “Knowledge” phase applies expertise to the Obstacles we find as we dig.  It researches what we need to create a strong foundation for our new life.  How can we move buried boulders, how can we work with immovable ledge or a high water table—what logistical groundwork or architectural design work do we need to do, whether financial or psychological or relational or some other form, in order to implement our Life Plan?

Introduction to the Clearing/Obstacles Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

We need to prepare the ground once we know what we are called to do and where we are called to do it.  This is the clearing stage.

We may need to remove some trees or rocks for a building.  Logistics may challenge us like building permits or bank loans.  We will need to remove whatever inner and outer obstacles are in the way.

The Greek word kenosis means self-emptying, clearing out the old attachments and addictions of the false self so that we can begin to develop the true.  We need to confront our fears, we need to get past those inner voices that threaten to withhold the building permit, we need to assess our inner and outer resources and obtain whatever we are lacking to make our vision come true.

The lid of the chest needed to be lifted in the vision of the Golden Room, and encumbrances needed to be let go or stripped away in order to climb down the tight tunnel.

The EVOKE Life Planning “Obstacles” phase is designed to help us brainstorm solutions and actions that can clear the way for us to live our heart’s core dream life.

Clearing/Obstacles can be the most dynamic and creative of times as the landscape reveals its hidden needs and demands, and we respond.  The calling is sharpened and siting refined as we make the heroic journey to overcome everything that could block us from reaching our goal.

Introduction to the Siting/Vision Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Calling forms a sense deep within us of what we need or long to do.  Siting happens when we begin to develop a clearer sense of where that impulse is leading us.  We start to walk the literal or metaphorical ground to decide exactly where our structure will stand.  We may try several different sites before we find its place on earth or in our life, and make many tweaks after that to get it just right.  We will need to use all our knowledge and wisdom and powers of intuition before we can be sure.

Siting corresponds to the moment when the vision of The Golden Room began with the instructions to go to the chest, open it and climb down.

The “Vision” stage in the EVOKE Life Planning process hones the sense of calling into a crystal clear, inspiring picture of what our heart’s core life would look like in the near term.  Once we have that image, called a Torch, we can start living into it by envisioning it coming true and letting it move us and instruct us how to take the first steps.

Posts in this category will look at the process of forming a vision of where our heart’s core is located and how to approach it, a vision of what it would mean to live in, from and for that Golden Room.

 

Introduction to the Calling/Exploration Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Calling is the earliest stage in the building process when the feeling stirs that creating a structure could be desirable and possible.  It corresponds in the vision of The Golden Room to the sense that something is about to happen, a heightened awareness, an attentive listening for guidance.

It could also be the sense that something must happen, as many of us feel in the world today.  We are waiting and watching as that something begins to emerge and grow clear.

The EVOKE Life Planning process “Exploration” stage is extremely powerful in the hands of a skilled Registered Life Planner.  It helps us discern callings that may have been hidden from us or that we may have discounted as impossible dreams.

The posts in this section will explore the topics of callings and discernment as well as Exploration, both for Life Planners and for anyone seeking their own calling for this stage of their life.