Will you fall into a hole or pass through a portal?

David Brooks, author of The Second Mountain, is a journalist after my own heart. 

In his latest, extraordinary book, Brooks weaves his own responses to life’s unexpected experiences together with those of scientists and philosophers. Brooks offers meaningful insights about how he rebounded after toppling off the first mountain of life by choosing service to others over self.

After reaching the pinnacle of what may have appeared to be “success” on that first mountain of life, you might be thrown some kind of a curve ball—a death, divorce, job termination—or something else. Brooks believes it is at that point that we have an opportunity to examine what really matters—how we can make conscious contributions to a world starved for community building.

I believe that his book has been of great benefit in helping me define the greater mission I seek. To be of service to others is a pathway toward self-renewal. With that in mind, I look forward to reviewing and sharing a collection of books from which I have gained knowledge and insight.  My Book Club List also marks a partnership with Andy Hunter, founder and CEO of Bookshops.org, a dream in the making that is helping thousands of independent booksellers to survive in these times of uncertainty. 

“You can be broken… or you can be broken open.”

“The people that are broken turn angry and resentful. There’s a great phrase that I love, ‘Pain that is not transformed gets transmitted.’ You lash out at others.”

Brooks speaks about the The Second Mountain in the following CBS interview…

In 2003, David Brooks became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. You may hear him on NPR’s “All Things Considered” or NBC’s “Meet the Press” as a regular commentator. His other books include Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got Thereand On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense, or his third book, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, a No. 1 New York Times best seller. The Second Mountain is his most recent book. He teaches at Yale University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Will you fall into a hole or pass through a portal?

“Let this be your heart’s deepest yearning; to becomeall of those things which you are tempted to seek from another. And in your becoming, you will get that there is nothing to get.”—Happily  Ever After…Right Now.

Luann Robinson Hull, second edition to be published August 18, 2020

hese are powerful and unprecedented times–perhaps times that are ripe for healing our human wounds–those raw places in our hearts and souls that can provoke feelings of separation and strong positions on this or that. Such a propensity can alienate us even further from those with whom we disagree, while standing firm in our sanctimonious righteousness—unable to hear any differing point of view. 

A beloved professor of mine, Ana Perez Chisti once said, “Elevate the position of your adversaries. Inevitably, they all have something to teach you.”

I know, it may seem impossible to do so, but what choice do we have? Are we really going to waste one nanosecond of our lives by snapping at the bait that will inevitably hook us? Or, will we avoid doing so at all costs by rising up to realize that whether or not humanity chooses to expand to the next level of our evolutionary status is up to us right now—it really is. If this is so, what are the necessary steps that will pivot us in the right direction? Many wise and brave souls on whose shoulders we can choose to stand, have carried the torch for us. Isn’t it our turn to show up and advocate for positive change, while heeding their accomplishments and the methods by which they achieved them?

“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
R. Buckminster Fuller

Here are a few shapeshifters to consider: 

  • Dr. Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his leadership in transcending racial injustice. 
  • His mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, facilitated freedom from foreign subjugation for a fifth of the human race with non-violent activism
  • Philosopher and transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau practiced civil disobedience by speaking out against slavery, the war (which the US had declared upon Mexico in 1846), and government authoritarianism. Following a night in prison for not paying taxes, he wrote Civil Disobedience, setting a precedent for Gandhi and King.
  • Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for female education, was shot by a masked, Taliban, gunman who, after barging onto her school bus demanded, “Which one of you is Malala?” Without hesitation she courageously stood and responded, “I am Malala.” Miraculously, Malala survived the bullet that traveled through her skull and went on to write her memoir: I am Malala. That book and her peaceful activism for women’s’ rights to education led her to become the youngest Nobel Prize laureate to date.

Each of these four were all about creating “a new model by helping to make the old model obsolete,” as they listened to both the inner and outer cries for change.    

“We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”—R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth

If you are reading the words on this page, whether you want to admit it or not, you are here to transcend the amnesia of the world in one way or another. So, what are you for? If you are not doing so already, it is time to speak up. White Eagle, a member of the Hopi Indian tribe recently said, “This moment that humanity is going through can be seen as a portal or a hole. The decision to go through the portal or fall through the hole is up to you…there is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand…”

What is the best thing you can do toward becoming the most evolved person you are meant to be? Albert Einstein’s theory on the quantum world for which he won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1921 implies that for every action there is a reaction. If you support such a theory, please consider the possibility that every single word, gesture, and breath you take has an effect on the general field of human consciousness. Each act of forgiveness and compassion, together with every gesture of kindness raises the ocean of humanity. Conversely, every act of hatred, resistance, and violence sinks the human species lower and lower toward entropy and despair.

Which way will you choose?  

Suppose you become well known for your contributions to humanity in a decade or so (should we survive the current quagmire in which we find ourselves). You and your accomplishments are acknowledged and celebrated on the front page of your favorite publication (July 29, 2030). What will that say?

We are standing at the edge of the frontier on what we can become. That becoming depends entirely on the limitations (or lack thereof) we place on ourselves. The decision to “fall into the hole, or travel through the portal” is entirely up to us. And when you triumphantly make your way through that portal, acknowledging any reluctance you have in doing so, you will realize, “There is no path. You make the path by walking.”—David Whyte.

Successful entrepreneur, Steve Hull (my beloved brother), who forged his own incredible path by putting one foot in front of the other says, “You just have to begin. The rest is easy.”

Believing in you…
Love,
Luann

“We are One Single Tribe”—T’Challa, Blank Panther (Chadwick Boseman)

Out of some combination of curiosity and civic duty, I tuned in to segments of the DNC and the RNC conventions. I must say both events brought up some real concerns about humanity’s level of attention to the wake-up calls alerting us to upgrade how we operate—or suffer the consequences. The upgrade, in my estimation, would include taking personal responsibility that rejects projection, blame, and any lies that might falsely fortify the goal of looking good, or getting ahead—whether personally or on a public platform. Sadly, as we all know too well, the political landscape does not reinforce the upgrade model. Instead, it typically colludes against it, perpetuating often vicious attacks from both sides (left and right) for the almighty purpose of “winning.”

Such positionalities play to our limbic system—the primal part of our brain which is anything but evolved. Instead, it is stuck in ancient fears rooted in survival, warning us that whatever gets in the way of our meals, safety, and reproduction, is an all-out-threat that needs to be annihilated. People living in Chicago, Portland, Kenosha, and Washington, D.C.—or anyone who has seen footage of rioting and violence in those cities, bears witness to what I am talking about. When our ancient, primal brain is activated by anger and hatred, it will shut down the reasoning centers in our frontal lobes, exerting a brute power developed about 450 billion years ago over those newer, more evolved regions of our brain. It doesn’t want you to think your way out of danger; it wants you to fight or flee and will maintain its clout until you elect to stop it, which you can do—since you have a very sophisticated neocortex in place.  As the newest addition to our brain, the neocortex controls higher functions like perception, decision-making and language. It also (quite miraculously) houses a direct passageway to the heart. All we need do to activate that connection is use it—over and over again.

Fortunately, my hope for the human soul continues to be restored by folks like the late African American actor, Chadwick Boseman, the iconic superhero who courageously transcended his life-sentence with cancer to live out his highest purpose. Boseman was not a politician representing the masses, but rather exemplified an altogether different flavor of fame. At the end of his legendary performance in Black Panther, while still embodying his movie character T’Challa, he shares his moving grand-finale statement: “We must find a way to look after each other as if we are one single tribe.” 

Reflecting on his many tributes, I realized that T’Challa merged with Boseman in that film, as I don’t believe those two characters were mutually exclusive. During his rise to international celebrity he managed to find time during his own cancer treatments to visit children who shared the challenges of his illness. He made them smile. He showed them love. He strengthened their courage. He gave them hope. He told them to find their purpose and follow their dreams, no matter what. Chadwick lived that message, privately, without fanfare. In my opinion, he was a legendary example of the “upgrade” to which I refer—by actualizing his full potential and humbly showing others how to do the same.

My first book, Happily Ever After…Right Now (recently released in its second edition) is dedicated to helping people live a life of purpose, passion and true happiness. I ask us in its pages to listen to the silent voice that keeps whispering messages about the unprecedented joy that will follow when you commit to fulfilling your purpose on this planet; to have faith, and when you are tempted to doubt, to turn to the miracles of nature.

When a caterpillar moves into the final stages of becoming a butterfly, it literally melts down in its own cocoon. The caterpillar doesn’t stop to ponder the risk of melting down—it just advances right into the cooker without hesitation. In the caterpillar’s chrysalis phase certain highly organized groups of cells known as imaginal cells propagate each body part in its new form—creating an elegant, soaring butterfly. It essentially shifts from a consumer to a pollinator.

The unfolding of this miracle is just one stunning example of the marvels that you too can experience as you develop your own willingness to flow with a Life-Force that is ever present in the undertow of your consciousness. You and the caterpillar each share within you the potential to transcend and transform yourselves from earth-bound creatures acting habitually from ancient brains to new, higher levels of being. All that is required of you is your willingness to go forward with faith, trust, patience and persistence.

Today, we find ourselves at the hinge-point of a shift in humanity. Our moment of choice is now. If we do indeed see ourselves as “one single tribe” of interdependent cells and human beings, do we have the potential to expand into superhuman organisms? If so, how? Maybe we can start by sitting still long enough to melt into our own imaginal network of propagating cells—even in the midst of the current existential madness, illness, and fear.  And if we should commit to doing so—say for a few minutes a day, maybe while in the process, we will make our way into becoming more conscious beings, pollinating the world with loving kindness, compassion, gratitude, and a genuine tolerance for diversity.   

What do you want to pollinate?

Believing in you,

Love,

For more about Happily Ever After… Right Now visit here or Luannrobinsonhull.com.

On Politics And Spirituality

Based on the state of things it would appear that not everyone on this planet  is coming from love and light. So isn’t it crucial that we shift from a fear-based reality, where we are pitted against each other in survival mode—to a model of tolerance and compassion before we annihilate ourselves?                                                   ~  Happily Ever After… Right Now

A wise, insightful professor once described politics as “the sagacious science of the control of others.” David Wilcock, best-selling author of The Synchronicity Key, states that “the big game of politics has always been about the manipulation of perception. Politicians find out who will generate the most votes, and then give people what they want—or at least promise to. And when it becomes impossible to keep playing the game, they change the rules.” In this model, it’s more about “leading” by gathering the numbers to secure votes while keeping constituents in a choke hold—rather than empowering people to lead themselves. Richard Rudd, visionary and thought leader, says in his breakthrough work The Gene Keys that “false leaders always try to hold onto you whereas the real leader always tries to get rid of you!” True leaders, he states, “create a space in which an organic team harmony can develop on its own, with minimal interference. They are often content to allow others with the requisite gifts to stand in the limelight while they lead quietly from behind the scenes.”

 With those ideas in mind, is perhaps the goal of a true spiritual path to awaken and move beyond the “game” of politics and divisiveness? Is it to step out of the delusion of separation from each other and our divine nature while realizing the internal power inherent in our own divinity? Furthermore, is it possible that if those of us who find ourselves disturbed by whatever is going on in our external orbits (e.g. the presidential election, political “players,” and the pandemic)—to use that disturbance as a nudge to keep our focus steadied on defusing any external façade that interrupts our true, divine nature? Can we somehow be in the world without reacting to it? And just by the simple act of calming ourselves down, might we help inspire others to do the same? 

According to the Vedanta—the last chapters of the ancient Hindu scriptures or “Vedas,”—there are two symptoms of awakening into a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things just don’t bother you anymore. You are no longer disturbed by whatever is going on in your external orbit. Rather you have cultivated a stable mind that can “hold still” and see the connection in all things—no matter what may seem to be going on in the external world. You find yourself repeatedly light-hearted and in a state of joy as you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences or positive synchronicities. Now, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter whether or not you subscribe to a Hindu path—the basic concepts shared here can be a bridge across all belief systems. While my own fundamental path is in a different tradition, I can incorporate nuggets from the other world religions to further enrich my life—and I love doing that. It helps me to avoid taking a position on whether or not my way is the “right” way. As my treasured teacher Matthew Fox states, “There are many rivers to the one well of God.”

In The Synchronicity Key, Wilcock also suggests that “this is our moment of choice. Do you still believe in a positive future (despite everything that is going on now)…in the value of helping others…in looking for ways to help the world become a better place? Do you believe that if you treat everyone (starting with yourself) with love, forgiveness, and acceptance—while maintaining responsible boundaries and not allowing yourself to be manipulated—that our personal and global wounds can heal?”  Wilcock holds that if you do believe in operating as he proposes, you are well positioned to start recognizing “more and more meaningful coincidences and positive synchronicities” in your life, while helping the rest of the world at the same time. 

As I write to you tonight, I absolutely know that our personal and global wounds can heal as many of us continue to wake up and see the connection in all things—regardless of however bleak or challenging these times may seem. And while I most definitely cannot always operate from a peaceful state and see the common thread that runs among us—the more willing I am to get still and make my attempts to go to peace, the more likely it is that I’ll be able to move into the states of joy and light-heartedness referenced in the Vedanta. When I find myself in that light-hearted, joyful state, I definitely do notice “meaningful coincidences,” even if it’s just hitting a string of green lights that keep me on time for an appointment. 

If you are inclined, please join me in considering what it means to move into a joyful, light-hearted state toward both an individual and collective “positive future,” while using love and tolerance as the guiding force. Together we can create a space where our “organic team harmony” will support the combined momentum needed to produce an upsurge in the collective consciousness. Oh yes, and I suppose if we want to be heard, won’t we have to make some noise? J

Believing in you! 

Love, Luann

Indiana Jones and the Citizens for Consciousness

Joseph Campbell created a framework for the spiritual path which he called “The Hero’s Journey.” The heroine, who is always flawed, starts out on her journey filled with hope and inspiration, endures a few dark nights, and faces repeated run-ins with her weaknesses. At the pinnacle of her suffering she has a breakthrough, realizes that she and God are one, and is inspired to be of service to others. (LRH, Self Belonging)

In the midst of our collective pre-election jitters, we lost Sir Thomas Sean Connery, a 20thcentury movie icon, who died on October 31st at the age of 90. A big fan, I felt it was my moral imperative to re-visit one of his films in celebration of his life. I chose Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Steven Spielberg directed the well-matched pair of Harrison Ford as Indiana and Connery as his father, Henry. Together, they create a classic “hero’s journey” set in 1938, just before Hitler’s army invaded Poland. 

Much of the film is devoted to Indiana’s search for Henry, a holy grail scholar kidnapped by the Nazis to lead them to Christ’s chalice and bestow them with eternal life. Once Indiana and Henry were re-united they set out to find the grail together, before the Nazis. Nonetheless, they all eventually ended up together at the Temple home of the chalice, where a series of death-traps had been placed for keeping it in place.

Once his dad was shot at the scene by the Nazis, Indiana faced the ultimate task of saving him and the Chalice by negotiating those death traps—the last one being to step out into empty space above a deep ravine. Henry mutters, “You must believe, boy,” when a bridge suddenly appears beneath Indiana’s feet, manifesting the benefit of his “leap of faith” and paving the path to the Holy Grail.

Dear hearts, as we all know, these are chaotic times when we too often feel poised on the edge of a ravine, wishing for a magic bridge. It is a time to decide whether to retreat in utter fatigue or exercise our own version of faith (on steroids). I don’t care who you voted for or what you think he or his party represents, can any of us afford the luxury right now of celebrating or anguishing the outcome of our recent election—regardless of how things may appear or play out? 

Is it possible that people in America have not been so tribally polarized since the beginning of the Civil War, 259 years ago? Just 85 years earlier, in 1776, The Declaration of Independence was signed, representing a United States bound together with unalienable rights decreed in our Constitution. Today, we appear to be two nations in one, separate and distinct, living in the shadow of both events, within a society rife with primitive hatred, pandemics, and general pandemonium. What on earth will bring us together now, as the world watches those of us fortunate enough to live in “the home of the free and the land of the brave?” What do we want them to witness?

What continues to fuel our competitive nature—the compelling force that keeps coaxing us to escape defeat at all costs—are instincts rooted in our primal past, thwarting our conscious evolution. (LRH, Self Belonging)

From my lens, I see a mighty Force that supports all warriors of light (however cheezie that sounds), stalwart in their commitment to usher in whatever it takes to transcend these dark and troubled times—which in my view no President or President-elect is solely equipped to resolve. Instead, I believe it is up to those of us who have had more than a few twists and turns on our own hero’s journey to summon the stamina necessary in support of triumph over darkness—whatever we might interpret that to mean. And yes, while at it, I suspect we’ll have even more obstacles to overcome, and some real leaps of faith of our own to step into. Can we hear Henry’s voice say “you must believe?” The alternative is to stand by and let the forces of primal entropy run rampant—while in fact this is rich, fertile territory, inviting us to join forces and make real changes in the landscape.

In being totally transparent with you, I have to admit: I am not liberal, conservative, or any grey place in between. Rather I am a citizen for consciousness. What does that mean? It means I am interested in making whatever contributions I can at this advanced stage of my life for the upliftment of humanity by connecting to others with the same objective. I know, it sounds sanctimonious, but if you’re reading the words on this page my hunch is that you understand and you want to participate too. Perhaps, together we can recognize that in serving as examples for others we have to let go of any primal persuasion for competition or the  “winners and losers” paradigm, while fortifying our individual and collective vision on what’s best for the greater good.

Believing in you…

Love, 

Luann

Gratitude and Thanksgiving—2020—Honoring Vicki

A couple of weeks ago I had a bad hair day. If you are a living, breathing female you get it. Usually, even when we’re tempted to obsess we can take a beat and get over it. I suggest you follow that coping strategy instead of what I did. Trust me on this. Otherwise, you too could end up looking like Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren—who for despite any political savvy are not our favorite fashion gurus. There was definitely a glitch in the dialogue with my beautician, who whacked off a bushel of hairx in a matter of seconds. In her defense, she did give me fair warning. “Are you ready?” she inquired. Turns out my affirmative spelled disaster. 

During my pre-teen days, my mother insisted on dabbing me with Tony-perms, a-curly-version-pre-curser to the Elizabeth Warren/Amy Klobuchar look. Of course, anyone under the age of 65 will not recognize the reference, but if you want a great laugh, click on to this one-minute clip of a 60’s vintage “Tony” do:

You’ll either relate to my anguish or recall the shock and awe when your mother did this to you.  

In high school I rebelled and have sported Rapunzel locks ever since—right up until my pivotal appointment. I’ve already researched how long it will take to grow back those five or six inches: one year. Maybe you dislike the expression, “It is what it is,” as much as I do, particularly when your mirror has no mercy. But after taking some deep breaths, I remembered a couple of lines from Self Belonging, my second book, due out in February: “What’s being asked of you in this situation? What would happen if you didn’t resist it? As you continue to step back in the moment from whatever is disturbing your peace of mind—without a need to fix or change it—you build emotional resilience.” 

Well…here’s to my “emotional resilience!” I gotta admit, I am a work in progress. Nonetheless, once I pondered the situation and dove in a bit during this Thanksgiving week, I was taken back to eleven years ago when I spent my last Thanksgiving holiday with my dear sister-in-law, Vicki, who died a few months later. She was beautiful, vivacious, loving, and kind—a very brave and damned near perfect woman. Watching her slowly slip away from metastasized cancer, was one of the most sobering experiences of my life. A few years earlier, a tumor was discovered behind her eye. Though successfully radiated and contained (at the time), it still caused her to lose her sight in the treated eye. As it happens, I have an infection this week, blurring the vision in one of my eyes—another vivid reminder of Vicki’s incredible valor.

Reluctantly, I left Vicki for a few weeks during the course of her grave illness, to come home and regroup. She called me just after she’d watched her gorgeous, sable-colored hair (all of it) drop to the floor, shaved off in preparation for chemo, which would cause it to fall out in clumps. She chose the quicker version of that disaster, while sucking up her anguish at a hairless head, staring back at her in the mirror. Vicki Lynn Hull was a saint. All she said to me about the experience was, “I didn’t like it.” Toward the end of her life, with chemo suspended, her hair did start growing back, forming tiny little ringlets, which delighted her. She’d learned to take such pleasure in simple things—like feeling, seeing, and sensing those little stubbles. 

Dear Hearts, these are pretty challenging times. No doubt about it. We have all been inconvenienced in one way or another by this invisible, lurking “thing.”  For some, the challenges have been extreme: there are people out of work, others are sick, and depression is on the rise. Many of us have decided or been forced to change our holiday plans. It is never more evident than now that those of us privileged to live in the U.S. are dispersed over wide swaths of the country—great distances that now separate us from our loved ones. We’d been so used to hopping on a plane to get here or there, that up until earlier this year it never occurred to us that most travel would no longer be an option, even if we did have the time and money. It’s all so strange. Can we actually find things to be grateful for in the midst of it? Here’s my own best shot:

  1. I still have hair—which is actually a little bit longer than Elizabeth’s and Amy’s. 
  2. I can smell and taste (an acquaintance recovering from Covid still cannot).
  3. I can see—with both eyes (even if one is blurry).
  4. I can hear with both ears, so I can talk to my loved ones and even enjoy “face time” with them—even as we won’t be sharing our traditional Thanksgiving meal.
  5. I can breathe easily.
  6. I can get outside and walk, daily.
  7. Though the days are starting to get shorter and shorter, the solstice will happen in less than a month, and spring will come—eventually.
  8. I have paper towels and toilet paper (even if it isn’t Charmin).
  9. The electricity is on. (It was off a couple of weeks ago). 
  10. The plumbing is working.

I know, this stuff seems pretty basic, but what I find in creating a list like this as often as possible is that it’s honestly a lot easier to get to gratitude when you realize how much the basics really matter. And I don’t know about you, but if I can discipline myself to do this the minute I feel myself “going south,” I get a noticeable upsurge in my energy. This year, I delight in going a bit beyond the basics in noting my full-on enjoyment while seeing a smile (minus a mask). And when there is a mask awkwardly affixed to someone’s face, I really like exchanging gazes with them (often strangers), smiling myself (with my own mask on) and watching their eyes light up and crinkle with a smile back (even if it is underneath that awkward face covering).

Happy Thanksgiving, dearest Friends and Family. I love and appreciate you all!

Luann

Thanksgiving, 2020

Winter Solstice 2020

Today is the solstice, my absolute favorite day of the year—especially over the course of the last 15 years when I’ve been living between two mountains. On the 21 st of December, the last peek of sunlight slides behind one of those mountains at 3:00 p.m. and doesn’t show-up again above the other one until 8 a.m. the next day. It is dark and cold here this time of year—a time to percolate on my blessings (at the risk of sounding sanctimonious). 

I admit, given everything that’s been goin’ on over the course of the last few months, it’s been a challenge, only this is what I believe—see if you agree:
Every positive thought we hold, every time we pivot toward the light and away from that darkness that currently seems so pervasive for a variety of reasons, every time we choose to love and compassionate over fear and hatred, we will raise the ocean of consciousness of humanity (and the cosmos in which we are immersed—including the sun, moon,
stars, and planets) at least an inch or two. 

We cannot know when that human consciousness of ours will tip into the right direction—into the possibility of a golden age of balance and love that has been long predicted to be possible by the avatars and advanced souls who have preceded us. All we can do is to fortify ourselves with everything that will strengthen our hearts and souls in making our contributions toward that possibility.

May each and every one of you continue to be endowed with unexpected joys, and magical blessings as we celebrate the coming of the Christ Consciousness and the “Festival of Lights” (the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem). Let us all continue to brighten those inner light bulbs of ours and usher in together, an absolutely spectacular 2021.

With so much love and gratitude for you all!

Luann
Winter Solstice/ 2020

On Faith…The Wisdom of Uncertainty

Dear Friends,

For those of you who may not know, my latest intimate relationship ended a year ago, the experience of which contributed measurably to the final touches of my second book, Self Belonging. The partnership (and its ending) was the ultimate test for me to verify my own ability to practice what I preach and write about—sharing with all of you my ventures in (and out of love) and the practices I’ve found so useful to support me with debacles of my own creation. Closure on this latest “situation” (even as I’ve been sustained by my own combo platter of science and spirituality) has most definitely been included in the mix of this past jarring and unpredictable year, when the world flipped upside down—for all of us.

While on this latest-12 month-sojourn, I’ve been constantly reminded of Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön’swise-title, The Wisdom of No Escape—a treasured book in my personal library. What wisdom is buried in this current climate of chaos, change, ambiguity, and uncertainty, from which it appears there is no escape—for me (and perhaps for you) either personally or globally? It’s easy to stay steady on the spiritual path when things seem stable and predictable. But what about when it’s hard to find steady ground—when chaos is the status quo, for who knows how long? Maybe indefinitely?

Are these times, laced with repeated uncertainty, actually hidden opportunities to buckle in and fortify our faith in the Divine plan? I am not a young woman. My faith has been tested many times—and I delight in reporting that to date it has never failed me. I trust the current global quagmire is, in one way or another, most definitely no exception.

My wise and treasured teacher, Ana Perez-Chisti states, “Be a refuge to yourself.” How better to do that than to find some time each day to steady the mind—be it with vigorous exercise, a mindful walk, or mantra meditation (or all three)? Don’t you find that it’s much easier to deal with whatever is happening in the external world when you can access that inner compass (the Internal Divine), ever available to help you navigate whatever is going on —both inside and out?

While we’re at it, shall we consider the healing power of love and how we can make our loving contributions to this ailing world? Now is traditionally a time of love, as Valentine’s Day approaches. From my vantage point during this cultural celebration, those “in love,” or in intimate relationships, can choose to expand their love into a greater loving intention for all—particularly this year. And those of us who are solo can join forces with the rest of you, while avoiding any temptation to keenly feel our “singleness” on this day customarily meant for lovers. We can most definitely find ways to love and be loved that are deeply meaningful.

How do I know? I just spent a month with my grandchildren, ages five and two. Inspired by these two amazing young Beings, I say love, love, love, with all of your heart and soul, and watch in wonder as love comes effortlessly back to you in unexpected and magical ways.

In this month that focuses on the heart, shall we see how open we can keep our own hearts—the back door to ourselves and the front door to others—while noting as we do any subtle (or profound) shifts in our daily lives? I believe that through these actions we will change the world—one heart at a time.

“If you could only love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the universe.”—Emmet Fox

Happy Valentines Day, brothers and sisters!

Believing in you,

Luann   Watch for Self Belonging: Embrace the Wisdom of Soul and Science and Live Your Best Life, due out on April 13th. Preorder now at https://www.amazon.com/Self-Belonging-Embrace-Wisdom-Science/dp/1970107049/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=self-belonging+with+luann&qid=1612991267&sr=8-1

Peace, Harmony, and Freedom…Eclipsing Human Evil

“If you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to others then you deserve a love deeper than the ocean itself.”—Nikita Gill

Dear Hearts,

The late Scott Peck introduced me to my spiritual path with his acclaimed classic The Road Less Traveled, which has sold 6.5 million copies since its release in 1978. Peck’s second but lesser known work, introduced five years later, is People of the Lie—The Hope for Healing Human Evil.  While The Road is a primer on how to live a spiritual life, People of the Lie offers direction on navigating the horrors of human evil.

In my second book, Self Belonging (due out in April) there is a section entitled Taming the Incredible Hulk, where I refer to neuroscientist Andrew Newberg’s assertion that “anger is humanities greatest enemy.” Newberg believes that of all the emotions, anger is the most primal, dangerous, and difficult to control since it shuts down the frontal lobes where reasoning, compassion, and tolerance live. When you get angry, you lose your ability to be rational—you can’t hear (let alone feel) another’s position or point of view. Instead, the more you boil the more justified you feel in feeding your own righteousness.  

I find that during these chaotic times, evil, or anger of the malicious variety, seems to be mounting from the personal to the global—a phenomenon unprecedented in my lifetime (which as I’ve shared is not a short amount of time). I was born just after World War II and have read extensively about the horrors of that war, documenting my own father’s critical role in Self. I graduated from high school in 1968, three years after America jumped into the Vietnam War and about 20 years after the end of World War II. My brother narrowly escaped the draft in 1967. Others I knew were not so fortunate, returning from Nam with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or not returning at all. I witnessed the effects of wartime and other atrocities while working in the psychiatric world, including abuses of the most unconscionable nature.

Nonetheless, it seems that the level of fear, the culprit for human evil according to Peck, is currently amped up to an exceptional degree, ever escalating with economies shutting down, people losing jobs and businesses, and folks sequestered at home, as global violence and desperation run rampant without any immediate end in sight. The only hope some cling to lies in the promise of modern medicine’s proclaimed messiah—the “miracle” vaccine. But is it? All I can say is do your research, and, in order to get varying points of view, you’ll have to dig.  

To paraphrase Peck, the difference between people who just get angry, raise their voices or freak out every now and again (if we’re honest, couldn’t we include ourselves in this category?)—and others who persistently blame and project their anger onto everyone else—is that the latter subgroup will never admit their transgressions. As Peck offers in The Lie: “The evil are terrified that their pretense will break down and they will be exposed to the world and to themselves. They are continually frightened to come face to face with their own evil…Regardless of how well they attempt to appear calm and collected in their daily dealings, the evil live their lives in fear.”

Then there are the “spiritual-people-offenders”—the worst in my estimation—who can “do no wrong,” repeatedly pontificating about their own virtues while vilifying others with vicious criticisms and judgments. Because, as Peck asserts, the evil are petrified to admit wrongdoing, they instead devote all of their psychic energy into devious and deceptive rationalizations for blaming everyone else—never taking responsibility for their own wrongdoings —even when those are blatantly obvious. Instead, the more evidence against them, the more bitterly they will defend themselves. The late Debbie Ford once wisely said “When you point the finger at someone else, you are pointing three fingers back at yourself” (go ahead, try it and see what she means.)

Peck actually hoped that those responsible for updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness would create a category for evil, but thus far, with two revisions since he wrote People of the Lie—that has not been accomplished. In contemplating Peck’s proposition regarding the DSM, I wonder: is evil a mental illness, a product of conditioning and DNA, or the old rugged brain (the fight or flight “monster”) on steroids? Perhaps we are looking at some combination of all three.

Whether or not we can resolve that question, it seems the only good news in evil raising its ugly head, is that when doing so, it’s exposed. And, more good news… we don’t have to put up with “mean people” who “suck” anymore (a phrase I once saw on a bumper sticker)—the ones, who can dish it out but will never take responsibility for their own misdeeds; the ones who consistently blame those who threaten their smug sanctimony, dripping in contempt.

If you have someone in your life who is one of those “mean people who suck,” run like hell, and for sure, don’t take their actions personally. Whether s/he be a government official or someone up close and personal, I mean it. Do not engage with them, or get all riled up over their rhetoric, nor expect them to take responsibility for their cruelty. Trust me. They won’t—not, at least, until hell freezes over and they have nowhere to run but toward themselves. If you are afraid to leave, don’t be. There are more resources now than ever before to support anyone who is being bullied, harassed, or abused. If you don’t know what those are but need to, email us here. Our team at Hearn House will help you find those resources or direct you to someone who can.

So if, indeed, anger is the human enemy, what can we do to eradicate it—or at least calm it down?

While Peck did recommend having compassion towards those with evil tendencies, he didn’t offer a more specific formula to transcend it. The amazing Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, however, did have some thoughts on problems of a seeming insoluble nature. As I note in Self, Jung stated:

All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This outgrowing proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically on its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.

In essence, Jung believed as I do that Divine law has our back. As long as we focus on that Life Urge of ours, it will never fail to nurture and guide us. And when enough of us tune in and listen to that sacred, silent voice gently nudging us to take heart and soar above the mundane meanderings of fear and hatred, we will create enough momentum on planet Earth to utterly eclipse human evil altogether, giving birth to a new level of human consciousness. At that point, Divine love will be the prevailing influence. Actually, it already is—it’s just sometimes not that easy to spot amidst the current chaos—maybe all the more reason to amp up our awareness and attention? We don’t want to miss the many acts of loving kindness that arehappening should we be persuaded toward some unnecessary diversion. As I say in Self Belonging, “People are just doing what they do. We don’t have to be there while they’re at it”—which brings me to the final point. Shall we join together and make a sweeping, universal intention to forgive any and all beings whom we may perceive as “evil” or to have transgressed us in some way? Doesn’t letting go of our defenses free us up to direct our energy toward what inspires us? Ya. That’s what I’m talkin’ about—peace, harmony, and freedom. Let’s do this…

Believing in you…and that spring will come!

Love, Luann

To preorder your copy of Self Belonging, to be published April 13, 2021, click here.