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Dr. Cara Barker Headshot

What Makes Wisdom So Threatening?

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The issue is beauty, wisdom, love. If there is a better time for this than now, I'd like to know. This year has been a grinder for pretty much everyone we know. Some days, what we value the most can seem very far away, hidden.

As we stand on the cusp between what has gone before, and what is before us, known as 2012, I am hard-pressed to imagine a greater opportunity.

To "carpe diem," to seize the moment without a stifling hold, however, requires mustering all the clarity of mind, courage and genuineness of heart that can be garnered, particularly when you feel, at times, your shoulders are not big enough for what is asked of you by life. Nevertheless, regardless of the weight you've been carrying, now is the time to release worry, frustration, anger. It does not solve a thing. Yes, this means letting go even those thoughts about the people who bug you the most. As Terry Cole Whitacre wrote long ago, "What you think about me is none of my business!"

2012, a time for our times. So much has been written about the end of the Mayan calendar by scholars and scientists that there is little I could add. For the main, I leave that to them. For those of you wishing to hear a provocative discussion, however, you might want to check out The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophesies and Possibilities. Published by Tami Simon of Sounds True, the list of contributors is extensive: Arjuna Ardagh, Jose Arguelles, Gregg Braden, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ervin Laszlo, Jay Weidner, to name but a few. So many facets are named in this work, that it can be overwhelming. At the risk of oversimplifying, suffice it to say that a shift is on its way.

The real question is what does this mean to you and me? Taking it down to our everyday lives in the "trenches," how does this affect the way we live? The reality is that not only do we get to choose, but the way we choose has never been more important. Simply put, whatever you choose for you gets accelerated. Now, when you know the "biggie" is coming, how do you prepare?

By way of analogy, let's look at pregnant mama. She prepares by paying attention. She is a comfort-seeking creature, doing all that she can to feel more comfortable in her expanding body, be she human or otherwise. She prepares the way. She readies her nest. She eliminates distraction, for growing and delivering new life requires all her "juice." If she is wise, she drops down into her being, making deep and profound connection with what is so for her, her authentic nature. She reclaims her authenticity. Pregnant mama is an evolutionary agent in the lives of others. She is as strong as Mt. Rushmore, for the elemental is with her. All nature is with her.

The natural world evokes the mysterious. So, as in pregnant mama's case, it is best to hold the pregnancy of what is coming with a spirit of awe. Regardless whether religious or not, as a story, consider Mary when she said: "Yes Lord. Let it be done unto me. I am the handmaiden of the Lord." The spirit of these words has inspired artists of every genre through the ages to usher in their own rebirthing, their own vision of the "Magnificat" alive in the world today. This, of course, is the meaning of art: to bring forward into form what has not existed in this way before. As Rollo May said long ago, however, it takes "courage to create."

There has never been a greater opportunity for creating the lives we wish to live than now. That may sound overly optimistic if you look at the state of affairs of the world in our collective and individual lives. But the soul of every artist knows that the creative breakthrough always comes through the darkness, through creative tension that chaos brings. Always. As an artist myself, I know that the key is to trust the process, to "stay with it" regardless of the tension, and know that what is coming is much more than I'd planned. When the plan is surrendered, when the "baby" is coming, the art has room for its labor and delivery.

This is where we are. How do we prepare the way for birthing what is beyond what we can fathom into our own lives? Perhaps it would help to look into our "broom closet" and notice what has been overlooked or has been hidden because it threatens the ego to remember that it controls very little.

It is a remarkable thing that the very expression of love, beauty and wisdom can turn out to threaten the collective, the corporate mind, be it in business or organized religion. A colleague of mine, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, illustrates this. According to Dr. Estes, in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, North Denver, a magnificent painting of the Guadalupe, by mural artist Carlota Espinoza, in 1975, was mysteriously covered over. Attracting and giving comfort and inspiration to many to rebirth more meaningful lives, in 2009 the painting "went missing" behind a faux wall. No explanation was forthcoming from priest or archbishop, despite the people's pleas, marches, insistence... (see last week's post: "The Art of Creating Something Beautiful This Holiday Season.") Eventually, the mural itself was defaced, as she stood behind a wall, in what Clarissa calls a broom closet.

This is a perfect statement for where we are in terms of soul consciousness. As a human race, we have allowed what gives nourishing care to be vanished, disappeared by those who are scared silly by the Sacred Feminine, known as wisdom. No, I'm neither talking about gender nor religiosity here, but rather our right and our duty to cultivate a listening heart for our own inner truth, and live freely in ways that do no harm to our spirit, person or others. There, however, in the metaphorical broom closet, are the utilitarian tools we need: the broom to sweep up the mess, the mop to clean it up, the sponges and soap to purify what's grown fetid, dirty, dangerous. Surely this is the time to clean up our act, our world, not out of fear, but out of joyful respect for the gift of life we've been given. Now is the time to remember we are not alone. As Guadalupe said to Juan Diego: "Am I not right here, who is your Mother?" Although we may not be able to "see her" as did he, or even believe there are things afoot in the world that cannot be explained rationally, surely, when in the holy presence of someone we love, or something we cherish, be it the poinsettia this time of year, or the early "snowdrop" flower, or the warmth of the hearth, or a shared cup of coffee with a friend, surly when we hear the voices of children singing in the square, or the jingle of bells on the street corner, then surely we, too, can find her here. Our hands are her hands. Our hearts are her hearts. Our care for one another is not ours, but comes through us from that which is the "Great Mystery." Surely we are under the protection of that which is greater than our fear, each and every time we decide to reclaim our worthiness, our connection, our compassion for not only others, but for ourselves when we would love to "do more," but are facing apparent limits. Surely each time we forgive a wrongdoing on our own part, or on the part of others, we make a leap in soul consciousness and ready ourselves for a shift beyond our capacity to see what lies ahead. All I know is that each time we do this, we are better for it. In the meantime, let us practice the following:

Seven Simple Steps

1. Don't put anything out there that you are not proud of.
2. Surrender to what is within you that wants life.
3. Cultivate the Soul of an Artist. 2012 is all about new creation.
4. Don't be afraid to be picky. Surround yourself with what fans your creative fire.
5. Take time for the solace and restoration of nature.
6. Balance, balance , balance the demands of your outer world with the requirements of the inner.
7. Be not afraid.

Your turn: What evidence of love, beauty and wisdom would you like to find that has gotten "hidden from view" in this world so preoccupied with distraction, politics, indifference? Where would you like to find it? What do you believe is so threatening about demonstrations of the good? I'm listening! May the "reason for the season" be lived out each day for you and yours, this 2011.

For more, see carabarker.net. For updates, contact me at carabarker.net, or dr.carabarker@gmail.com. To save time, click on Become a Fan. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including "Practicing Love."

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