The Problem With Problems

by Ross Bishop

No one likes having problems. We want an idyllic life, free from stress and difficulty. Most of us long for a life on a south sea island, free from kids and other people, no obligations, no hassles, no problems and free chocolate – right? You’d think the way some people keep their lives in constant tumult that they liked it that way, but you’d be hard pressed to call them happy.

I’ve known island people and it’s true, in general they don’t struggle with life like we do. Their lives are simpler – something we could all learn from, but it isn’t that they don’t have problems. Most of them just don’t get wrapped up in their problems they way we do.

Everyone has problems, there is no escaping them (more about that in a minute), even on a south sea island. And, if all we had were our problem per. se., it wouldn’t be so bad. But our problems tend suck us into the self-depreciating spiral of our shame, and the situation then becomes an expression of all the other things wrong in our lives.

We can either stay focused on the here and now and deal with the situation or drop off the edge into shame and guilt from which there is no answer. We go from the situation to – “something’s wrong with me,” “I’m not good enough,” – you know the drill.

So how come everyone has problems? Why is life that way? It’s simple really. Because you’re not finished with the development of your awareness. With an incomplete awareness you naturally feel fear and therefore must call up your ego to protect you. That means you leave your compassion behind. You have “problems” because your ego is getting tangled up in your “situations,” and escalating them.

A great deal of dealing with life successfully has to do with our approach to it. When you can hold your love and compassion you still have situations, but they don’t become problems. There isn’t the ego involvement. When you finally realize that you cannot really be hurt by someone’s words or emotions, the game dramatically changes. So one of the secrets is not to try and avoid situations (you can’t anyway), but to learn to deal with them without getting triggered.

Another thing that helps is to realize that you are having difficulties not because something is wrong with you, but because you’re not approaching the difficulty with love and compassion. This is the growth in your awareness that I speak of. If you are to resolve a problem, you must first step outside your old way of thinking to move to a place of greater compassion. This is how we grow from our problems. In this regard then, you begin to see your problems as stepping stones not obstacles.

If you can make that shift, it helps you get out of your shell, and even if you don’t agree with the other, you can better see where they’re coming from. One of Gandhi’s real gifts was his ability to see things from the other’s point of view. Even if he totally disagreed with them, he honestly respected their viewpoint. And, that’s not to say, don’t take care of yourself, because the fist person for you to love is you.

So OK, you’ve got a situation and it has made you aware that you need to work on something or other. Find out what that is, and resolve it before it turns into a problem. Get your ego out of the way! Easy to say, I know, but it is what you came here to learn. And no one said this was going to be easy.

If the issue is big enough that you get hooked into your shame, get some help. Find a good shaman. We’re trained to deal with this sort of thing. When you free yourself from shame and self-judgment, you take important steps on your journey home. And as I said, that’s what you came here to resolve. And when you do that, life gets better for everyone . . . Remember, a trying time is a doorway to a new beginning.

Pina Colada anyone?

Copyright 2013 Blue Lotus Press

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Understanding Life

by Ross Bishop

When you read a novel, you don’t want to know the plot before you finish it. That works for novels, but it’s not a very good formula for life. But that’s what a lot of us end up doing. We go from problem to problem, without any real grasp of the bigger picture. If you want to make your life better and easier, it helps to understand what’s really going on, and surprisingly few people do.

We get so caught up in the tumult and struggles of the leftovers from our childhood that we rarely raise our eyes from the smoke of our personal battles. Because of that we fail to see that everyone else is having essentially the same struggles. We have to learn to untangle ourselves from the limitations of our egos and open ourselves to higher levels of consciousness. That is how we will evolve individually and collectively.

In the old myths and fairy tales the hero or heroine undergoes trials to eventually emerge victorious over the forces of darkness. Although the plot of these stories involves struggling with dragons or trolls, fairy tales are not really about struggles with an external threat, but with the forces contained in our own shadows. Just as there are no dragons or trolls, the demons in your shadow are not real either, except to you. Although ancient, these stories are about YOUR struggle.

Fairy tales contain the wisdom of thousands of years of experience of dealing with life, and the hero or heroine always comes out on top. That’s not just to make for a happy ending, that’s really the way life is. In this game, the deck is totally stacked in your favor. Regardless of how it may feel today, you’re going to win this one! However, that doesn’t say anything about what you’ll put yourself through on the way!

Our rational culture has trampled the old myths into the dust, so instead of an intriguing story about slaying dragons or defeating witches, I’ll just give you the facts, although it sort of takes the fun and adventure out of it.

FACT: When you came to earth, because of your unfinished awareness, you felt separated from the Creator and this lead to profound feelings of shame – unworthiness, being rejected, being abandoned, etc. This was intended. It happens to everyone. It exposes the unfinished areas of your awareness. Read that again – every-one – feels shame. Africans, Chinese, Hispanics, Anglos and Eskimos – everyone. Coincidence? Hardly. It is the opening round of this business called life.

FACT: The shame issues exacerbated by your separation from the Creator are directly connected to the issues raised in your relationship with your parents. There have been 7.2 billion children in the world and every one of them found childhood to be a trial. Doesn’t that strike you as a little odd? No matter how hard some parents try, life remains a challenge for their children. And again, this is not coincidental.

This is an extension of the shame issues as they play out into our daily lives. Our shame determines the parents we select, the life experiences we have and the intensity of our life lessons. As much as we’d like to blame the “bad guys” in our lives, they are simply actors in a play created for our learning. The perfection of the process is that this interaction gives the other people exactly what they need for their learning as well. Think about how easily your parents can get to you, and if you are a parent, how easily your kids can push your buttons. Again, coincidence? In every case? I don’t think so.

FACT: You have free will. And although this is a powerful resource, it can pose a real problem when it comes to learning. You cannot just be told or taught, you must find the truth for yourself. And interestingly enough, the best way to convince you of the truth is to start you off believing an untruth. Example: “I have been separated from God, therefore I must be unworthy.”

Eventually you see through the deception and hold the truth in a way not possible by any other means. But you have to come to it on your own – with a lot of help and nudging from the Creator for sure – but ultimately each of us must find the truth individually.

FACT: None of the things you have come to believe about yourself can be true! The whole shame thing and all the beliefs that go with it, cannot possibly be true. It is a zero-sum game because unworthiness is a deception. It is a grand set-up, pitting your personal feelings of inadequacy against the ultimate truth that you are a child of God and cannot be any of the things you believe.

Today when pushed, you move to shame. And so long as you believe in it and the beliefs associated with it, there will be friction with others. And as difficult as that may be, friction also creates opportunities for learning and change. Conversely, when you hold the Truth about who you are, your life is friction free!

Because it is universal, we accept life almost without question. And, since it happens to everyone, it just must be the way life is, right? At some point you have to stand back from all this – the same thing happening to every person on the planet, believing things that cannot possibly be true, everyone having difficult childhoods – and realize that something far more significant is taking place, specifically, your evolution into a being of higher level consciousness.

Still think that your problems are uniquely your own? Now, you do have your own journey to complete, and you can cause yourself a lot of unnecessary pain on the way, but are you feeling perhaps a little less isolated?

As a species, we do not yet accept who we are. We do not yet embrace the fullness of our beingness. But, that is changing. How will that happen? By our – individually and collectively – deciding that we have nothing to be ashamed of. By our learning to pay attention to the every-day frictions we have with others (especially those close to us) and learning and growing from them. And finally, by accepting the truth about who we are.

Now, if you will excuse me, I will go back to my fairy tales. . . .

 Copyright©Blue Lotus Press

 

 

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The Mask

by Ross Bishop

We all get caught in shame surrounding what happened to us at home. We end up feeling not good enough, unworthy, unlovable and a hundred other things. Now, we can’t be any of those things, but we can certainly believe that we are.

This is not an accident. In order to accomplish what you came here to do, The Universe needs to hook you on your “soft spots” – the places where you are “vulnerable.” So life (especially your relationship with your parents) leads you to believe that you are ______. Whatever it is, it cannot be true, but so long as you believe it, there is work to be done. I want to reiterate, the problem isn’t the “thing,” it is your propensity to believe it.

We can cling to our false beliefs with incredible tenacity. We generally stay stuck with them until we get so sick and tired of being unhappy that we search out some other way of being. This isn’t a failure on your part. It is a safety mechanism to keep you from changing until you are really ready to do it.

As shaman, one of my jobs is to show people the truth about themselves and offer them a way out of their self-imposed prisons. I’ve been doing this work for 30 years and am still occasionally surprised at how creative people can be in finding their own solutions to these dilemmas. I want to tell you about my experiences with one client – a young woman who was carrying an incredible burden. Her mother had simply abandoned her when she was three. She just left. Plus, her father was a narcissistic task-master and her stepmother was cold and insensitive. Later, this client was sexually abused by an uncle.

She hadn’t done anything wrong, she was just a kid, yet life was delivering her sense of self-worth devastating body blows. That is always the way it is – an innocent child being burdened with a heavy dose of guilt or shame. This is how The Universe makes us aware of the work we have to do. Obviously this woman was being set up for a huge lesson in self-worth. Can you see the pattern? Because it happens to all of us, you have to know something greater is at work here.

My client tended to intellectualize, so to get her out of her head I suggested she draw pictures of some of the traumatic instances of her life. When she did, she drew her “perpetrators” with blindfolds, because they were not really able to see her. They were lost in their own pain. We all do that to some extent, some more than others. We think we see reality, but what we actually perceive is a highly edited version, altered by our fears and beliefs. Behind the mask is a scared child, afraid to step into the light and be seen. The more the hurt, the bigger the mask, the greater the propensity for distortion.

Although the blindfold device was effective, my client’s inner one was troubled by it. This kid was very sensitive to things not working on all levels, so for ideas to work, they needed to be fully true and applicable. She felt that the blindfold was not quite right. The adults who had hurt her were inwardly focused for sure, but they were also responding to external circumstances. They weren’t really responding to my client, they were responding to what she represented to their fears and anxieties. They could not have seen this with real blindfolds on, so my client devised and brilliant solution.

She would make a drawing of a once painful situation, for instance, her dropping and breaking a glass. She would draw her inner child and color her in in bright yellow (the color she used for love) and then she would draw her father, pointing and being angry. She would add the things he would shout at her. This was how she saw the situation. The yellow was to show her inner one that she was always loved.

Now this is where the really creative part comes in: she then took parchment (baking) paper and placed it on top of her drawing so that she could trace it. On the parchment, she would draw how her father saw the situation – his inner child’s projection of what happened. Inside her dad, she would draw his scared inner child, and then she would draw her grandfather – who was a very angry man – shouting at her father when he broke a glass.

Because of the parchment paper, you could hardly see the yellow light inside my client’s little one. The situation changed from her being a defective person for dropping the glass to her father acting out his unresolved childhood issues with his father. Yes, a glass got broken and she may have been careless, but that’s not a character defect and anyway, it still didn’t explain her father’s explosive reactions. . .

She did a number of these illustrations until it became clear, for example, that she really had nothing to do with her father’s outbursts. As I said, he may have been unhappy about the broken glass, but his emotional explosions had nothing to do with that and now my client’s inner child could see that. She could also see that her mother’s leaving had nothing to do with her, that her uncle’s sexual abuse was about his sickness. She wasn’t even a part of these events except for being victimized by them! So when the child blamed herself (even partially) for what was taking place, it could not be! She saw that:

My parents, stepmom and uncle all had very traumatic upbringings and therefor their inner children were very scared and their wounds were very deep. I guess I hit the jackpot with this group…

Children are innocent (it’s one of the saving graces of these situations). The adults in her life really didn’t see her at all. They only “saw” the unresolved events of their own childhoods. She wrote:

Through the pictures, my inner one can now see that it was not even an adult who was running the show, it was their scared and hurt inner children. This really helps her (her inner one) not to be so scared.

I remember one time when my dad actually saw me. He looked straight at me and said “You have brought so much joy to my life”. . . I could feel that he saw me and it is the only time I remember him being open and loving. The drawing shows that if he had been able to see me more (if he had not had such a wounded inner child himself) then he would have treated me very differently. He would felt real love for me and I would have experienced that love.

She then had this very profound insight:

In an emotionally charged situation, how people treat you says very little about you, but a great deal about them and how far from reality they live, or said another way, how wounded their inner children are.

Her next challenge will be to get into the feelings the inner one holds about not being loved and that will take her to her relationship with God, but she already has a strong foundation to build on.

Doing this exercise has also made her aware of the illusions she holds. She wasn’t really “seeing” either her daughter or her husband, and the exercise has changed the way she relates to them. After all, it is only by facing your fears and healing your inner inner one that you start to live in reality . . .

copyright © Blue Lotus Press 2013

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Why Are You Here? Part II

by Ross Bishop

In Part I we looked at your problems as life lessons, and although painful, they are really here to help you. We also looked at the role the ego plays as a buffer between you and your lessons. In this installment we will investigate where all of that comes from.
———

It starts with your perceived separation from the Creator. When you are connected, there is certainty, things are calm, there just isn’t much to worry about. But there isn’t much learning taking place either, because nothing is pushing on your unfinished areas of awareness, and you still don’t know who you are. So a decision is made for you to come to earth to develop that awareness or what we often refer to as “self-love.”

In order for that process to work, you had to believe you lost your connection to the Creator, because if your awareness of the connection were intact, events on earth would simply not affect you. You would see them for what they were, perhaps not like what was happening, do something about that if you choose and then go about your business. The point is, with the connection intact, events here would have little traction. But if you thought that you’d lost that connection, it is an entirely different situation.

The moment that you separated was like being in free-fall. You felt alone with seemingly nothing to hang on to. You got scared and your fears (your unfinished areas of awareness) took over. You lived from your ego. And that meant you were going to have problems exactly where you needed – and didn’t want them – in the areas where your development was incomplete.

It is important to remember that the ego and God cannot co-exist. In your conscious awareness, you live in one house or the other, but never both at the same time. You switch back and forth many times each day. And your spiritual development can be measured by the amount of time each day you spend in one or the other.

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One way to evaluate our lives is to look at the time each day we spend in the ego space as opposed to the God space. The progress of your development (or regression) determines the quality of your life because that tells us how many problems you will have. The more time you spend in the ego space, the more difficult life will be. Are you progressing or have you “flat-lined”?

So how do your “unfinished areas of awareness” manifest so that you can work on them? Think about your childhood. You didn’t create your “inadequacies.” They were given to you. You “learned” them. Mostly they came from your mother and father, but siblings and other kids played a role too. You decided that you were (fill in the blank) but only after considerable prompting. But those weren’t your ideas!

What makes this insidious is that there is some truth to these assertions (which is why they stick). But notice the special quality to these judgments. They speak to who you are as a person rather than just your behavior. The reason they can do this is that they resonate with your unfinished awareness. There is a vast difference between eating too much to compensate for not feeling loved and being somehow a defective person, which is what so many of us believe!

If you did not already hold the “defective persona” thing, the judgment from another would just shallow out and would not crater your personality. Your issues are “this world” stuff. Maybe you need to work on your weight or your anger or whatever, but when you move into shame, you are dealing with the deeper issue of your unfinished awareness. It cuts into who you are. So really, you end up dealing with two issues. There are your “inadequacies,” and then there is your shame about them. There is an explanation for how and why that happens, but there isn’t the space for that here.

But now that you have accepted these beliefs as true, your task is to learn the real truth, dispel these false beliefs about yourself and get hold of the larger truth. In doing that, you make major leaps in finishing your awareness, because you decide for yourself what the truth is. And that is “The Secret” to this earth trip. You decide that you really are OK. You still have to deal with your weight or whatever, but you won’t feel badly about who you are – and that makes an enormous difference.

Now, what’s also interesting about this whole business is that it is also a perfect opportunity for your parents to look at their issues. You see, if you were needy, insecure, angry or whatever, in addition to being part of your awareness development, it is also a reflection on their role as parents, i.e., their inability to love. The setup is they can’t give you the love you need – that’s for their learning – and your not feeling loved sets off your unresolved self awareness issues. That’s the perfection of the system. You both get lessons from the same experience. In most cases they didn’t want to deal with their part of this, so they dumped them off on you as “faults,” and that then, hooked you into your shame.

It’s a perfect dance, and that should tell you that there’s a whole lot more going on than just your inadequacies. Yes, you need to develop your conscious awareness by realizing that you are not inadequate or unworthy and that unworthiness is that path we must take to get there.

copyright © Blue Lotus Press

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Why Are You Here? Part I

by Ross Bishop

One question that vexes almost everyone is, “What is the purpose of my life?” “Why am I here?” When he was asked this question, the Buddha replied, “Life is pain.” Although true, his answer could stand a little explanation.

You came to earth to learn to love yourself. How will that learning take place? Because you don’t yet love yourself, you’ll operate from your ego, leading to the creation of “problems.” After all, the ego is an extension of your unfinished awareness and it primarily operates from fear, guaranteeing that you’ll either get your feathers ruffled or ruffle those of other’s. So, we have a partial explanation to the Buddha’s answer that, “Life is pain.”

But there is more. You typically get caught up in the struggle and hurt feelings (theirs and yours). I am going to ask you to set your feelings aside for the moment and look at what “a problem” really is.

A problem is The Universe’s way of calling attention to a place where you’re not finished – where you do not move with grace. Yes, there is another person involved, and they need to look at their part of this issue, but this has become a problem (as opposed to a situation) because you got hooked. That means that some part of this is yours! As I said, we get caught up in the drama of the situation and (conveniently) do not want to look at what is being asked of us. But this explains the other part of the Buddha’s answer. Life asks us to grow and the way it wakes us up to where, is through our pain.

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So, we essentially have two different things going on. At the ego level you’ve got this other person to deal with and at the spiritual level, the situation offers the opportunity for growth. An unpleasant and unwelcome one perhaps, but nonetheless an opportunity. The saving grace is that on both levels the solution is the same. As Gay Hendricks says, “The only thing any situation needs is more love.” You may not like what the other has done, but you can love them for who they are nonetheless and that will make resolution easier at the ego level anyway. Think about this for a minute: God does not judge you (or others) for your “inadequacies” or “failings.” He sees them for what they are. If He does not judge, how can you?

Does this mean that you should just go through life doing what you want? Actually it does. If you were to let your inhibitions go and really be “yourself,” other than your immediate fantasies, you really wouldn’t do much differently than you do today, but you would feel a lot better about it! And if you would do things differently, you need to look at your life! The point is, you have some learning to do. Don’t make such a big deal of it! Work on your stuff, for sure, but let it go at that.

So, since you are here to learn to love yourself, let’s consider your resistance, because it isn’t what you probably think it is. We view our problems as coming from our inadequacies – you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t pretty enough, you are overweight or skinny, you don’t have it together, yada, yada, yada. . .

Now, you may need to work on your weight or your behavior, but not for these reasons. The issues that produce shame are working the other side of the fence. They are calling your attention to an unfinished area of your awareness. This isn’t about your weight at all, but your vulnerability to criticism – and that’s a different issue. You don’t move energy well when criticized, and that is why you are here. So, work on loosing weight or whatever, but when you move into shame, you lose the ability to learn from the situation.

Some of us go through life continually pitching our problems out the window, because we don’t want to look at our part in them. We just want to blame the “other.” That strategy only works for a while, because The Universe has a built-in safety mechanism. It’s called stress leading to disease. Avoid a problem, create stress. Avoid it long enough, and face disease. Hospital surgical wards are filled with people who have been given a life or death choice – change or die. You get to decide.

Let’s take the subject of love. We can assume that there are some situations where you hold back and don’t move easily into love. In all probability those feelings didn’t start with the present situation. You can link them back to events that happened 30, 40, sometimes 50 yeas ago. In the past, you were left with the impression that if you opened up, you would be hurt. Now for a child, that is true. Children are dependent on external sources for love and support. But as an adult it’s not. You cannot really be hurt. When a situation goes badly, you may not like it, you’ll feel terrible and things can get very unpleasant, but short of physical hurt, you cannot be harmed.

You are going to have a “problem” in that area, because your ego can get totally bent out of shape and it has come to encourage you to see that. As I said its not punishment for your behavior, but to open your eyes to a place where you can be shamed and where you do not move energy well. Frankly, you’d rather avoid it. But the persistence of the problem won’t let you do that (funny how problems are built that way).

The ego is a protective system, designed to let spiritual awareness in as you are able to handle it (whether you feel ready or not). So, you may not be able to see what’s going on. You may be so wrapped up in your ego that the spiritual side of this whole thing eludes you. That’s OK, The Universe has time. . .

Copyright © Blue Lotus Press

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Surrendering

By Ross Bishop

Spiritual teachers have been urging people to, “Have faith! That is the way to salvation!” for years. And for years people have responded, “Thank you for the advice and encouragement, but I am not willing to take that risk and be that vulnerable. It’s just asking too much.”

Their experience underlies their reluctance. When they come up against a limitation, they want God to fix it. They either don’t feel capable of dealing with it or simply would rather not take it on. God, however has other ideas. He wants them to face their “inadequacies,” see the falseness of their beliefs, grow through the experience of dealing with it and move to a higher state of consciousness. They, on the other hand, largely want out of the pain without having to face their false beliefs (which they believe to be true). And that difference has been the sum total of the human experience for the last several millennia.

When they do not feel “The Holy Presence” – in other words, when they are not “rescued,” they assume that they are unworthy of God’s love, and shrink back into shame. That is another way to avoid facing the issue they didn’t want to address in the first place.

A story: One day two men were fishing from a boat and noticed a man thrashing in the water, desperately struggling to stay afloat. They hurried over to help the poor fellow, and as they approached they saw him go under. They became very concerned for his well being. When they got next to him they saw that he was struggling to stay afloat while carrying a large rock. The rock, of course, was pulling the man under. In astonishment, they yelled to him, “Let go of the rock!”
“I can’t,” he yelled back, coughing up water, “it’s the only rock I’ve got!”

Needless to say, this man’s attachment was causing him a great deal of difficulty. His attachment had cost him the ability to be flexible and respond to the situation. He was so attached to his rock that he had lost the larger perspective, and he was about to lose everything because of it.

The problem is our inadequacies, our rocks, aren’t real. Yes, there are places where you do not yet move in harmony, but these are learning places, not places of inadequacy. But because you see them as you do, you are reluctant to expose them. So, the spiritual teacher is correct, all you need to do is drop your rock, but unfortunately its just not that simple.

Anyway, that’s how it feels. We attach to worldly things to cover over our “inadequacies.” We cannot swim holding large rocks, yet that is exactly what we try to do. We go through life burdened by our baggage: by our wounds, by our feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy. All this “stuff” inhibits our ability to be free. And when we devalue our inner worth, we become preoccupied with external matters that have no lasting significance. Life has little meaning unless we get approval and acceptance, or at least get noticed. Hard work can create wealth and notoriety, but these things do not enhance the soul. There is nothing wrong with hard work or making money, so long as they do not interfere with your spiritual development . . .

There is another story about a man who went into a bookstore to buy a book about truth. The clerk offered him my book, Truth, and the man said that he was familiar with my book, but he wanted The Book of Ultimate Truth. The clerk paused, looked at the man and, straightening up to his full height, told him that they did have such a book, but that it would be extremely expensive.
“How much could it cost?” said the man, “After all, it’s just a book.”
“Oh, no!” the clerk replied, “It is much more than that! The knowledge of Ultimate Truth will bring you to complete simplicity, costing you not less than everything!”

And that brings us to the core of the dilemma. You’ve built a facade around your “inadequacies,” to protect yourself, but in reality you don’t need it. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU! But, of course, you don’t believe that. You have been convinced that you are defective. And it is only when you finally stop trying to live through your defenses that you will stop beating your head against the wall, and say, “This isn’t working, there must be another way.” Until then life is, as Elbert Hubbard lamented, “Just one damned thing after another.”

But when we reach this place of surrender, it is the “time of magic” because then real learning can take place. You’ve got to remember, you have free will, and so you had to learn this on your own. God is doing the best thing He possibly can to help you. It’s what God has been doing for all of us all along anyway – by allowing us to feel the limitations of the beliefs we impose upon ourselves. If you only knew how safe it really was to make the “leap” and take flight!

We are approaching a very special time in human evolution. The collective mass ego is bringing us to the cliff of extinction. By trying to live without faith, humans have fallen into the trap of hubris. In an ironic twist, man’s unfettered ego has brought him to the point that he threatens to destroy the very planet that sustains him. Soon, it will no longer be about choice. It will be “Change or die.” This isn’t about “if.” You are going to surrender, it is about “when.” The only real issue is how hard your going to make it on yourself until you do.

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2013

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Self-Suffiency

By Ross Bishop
When the Earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come onto the Earth of many colors, creeds and classes, and by their actions and deeds shall make the Earth green again. They shall be known as the warriors of the rainbow.  ~ Hopi
I don’t know what the future portends, I can hope, I can dream, but whatever comes to pass, we’re going to have to make some changes. To that end, I have a growing concern about the stability and quality of our food supply. The quality issue is with us now. Processed foods, GMO’s and the poor nutrition of our fruits and vegetables should be enough to motivate anyone to grow their own. But now, the imposition of supply disruptions adds an additional concern.

First, let’s consider food quality. Modern agriculture has simply destroyed the nutritional value of our fruits and vegetables. A 1999 study from the University of Wisconsin found that three decades of the overuse of nitrogen in farming has destroyed the soil’s fertility, causing it to age the equivalent of 5,000 years in 30. In addition, growers choose varieties that pack and ship well, regardless of nutritional value. The upshot is that in order to get the same amount of nutrients today, including vitamins and minerals, that you could have consumed in the first half of this century, you would have to consume inordinate, impractical and even impossible amounts of food.

For the amount of manganese you used to get in 10 green beans you would have to eat 300. You have to eat 11 bowls of spinach to receive the same amount of copper that you used to get in one bowl. To receive the same amount of iron in one tomato prior to 1945, you would have to eat 1,938 tomatoes today. Carrots used to have 10,000 IU of beta-carotene, now they have less that 70. Wheat used to be 40% protein, whereas now it is less that 10%. It goes on. . .

In an analysis of USDA nutrient data from 1975 to 1997, the Kushi Institute found that the average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables declined 27 percent, iron levels dropped 37 percent, vitamin A levels 21 percent and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar analysis of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980 published in “The British Food Journal,” found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent, iron 22 percent and potassium 14 percent. (http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/44/1/15.full) (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opinion/sunday/breeding-the-nutrition-out-of-our-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)(http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss)

Add to this the increasing quantity of pesticides, herbicides and other toxins sprayed on produce PLUS the curse of GMO crops, and you have plenty of reason to start growing your own. And by the way, having your own garden significantly reduces your carbon footprint.

“But I already eat organic!” you say. That’s great. That brings us to the second point. What will you do when organic carrots are $10 a bunch or fish is rationed? Because you must also consider the supply situation. It’s not an issue today, but it’s going to be, and it takes several years to develop a good garden.

Jim Yong Kim, President of the The World Bank, not known for its excitable rhetoric, said in a recent statement, “Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate change and weather extremes.” The thing is, the way industry dominates the political process and the global political situation in general, meaningful change isn’t going to happen. You’re on your own on this one.

The glaciers are melting. That means a threat to global drinking water and rising sea levels, by some projections as much as 20 feet by 2100. The effects will be devastating. Record high temperatures and severe rainstorms and droughts are becoming increasingly common. Extreme heat waves are happening two to four times more often now, steadily rising over the last 50 to 100 years, and are projected to be 100 times more likely over the next 40 years [source: Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University].

Today, India, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa already experience droughts, and experts predict precipitation could continue to dwindle in the coming decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that by 2020, 75 to 250 million Africans may experience water shortages and the continent’s agricultural output will decrease by 50 percent [source: BBC]. OK, so we’ve got disruptions to drinking water and disturbances to the food supply, now globalize that. Then consider that in the last 50 years, 50% of the earth’s rainforest’s have been destroyed. Roughly 224,000 square miles have been lost since 1980. At the present rate of destruction, an area the size of 2,000 football fields is lost every 90 minutes.

MISSING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: NASA reveals 37 years of Amazon deforestation by juxtaposing satellite photos of western Brazil taken in 1975 and 2012.

MISSING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: NASA reveals 37 years of Amazon deforestation by juxtaposing satellite photos of western Brazil taken in 1975 and 2012.

Major animal species are disappearing, either from loss of habitat or poaching. The loss of native plant species is simply incalculable. Global fisheries have been depleted to the point that some species will simply never recover. Farmed fish are proving to be a headache. I could go on. . . The point is that the future reliability of your food supply could be seriously in doubt and there is nothing, absolutely nothing on the horizon to change that. There may be supply, but at what price? We Americans like to believe that somehow, someone will save us. . . Well yes, Monsanto does have an answer. . .

So start taking care of yourself today. Plant a garden. If you absolutely can’t do your own, start a neighborhood or community one. Do it now. And while you’re at it, plant some fruit trees. You need to stop feeding your family the poisons and chemicals put out by the food industry and you need a stable/reliable food source for the future.

There are a few other things you might consider:

Start scratch cooking. No, it’s not as convenient, but it is healthier. Those little plastic trays of prepared meals you feed your family are loaded with chemicals – even the frozen vegetables. Eighty five percent of those food products are banned by other countries. Think about that a minute. Banned elsewhere. What do they know that we don’t? (http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Food/11-foods-banned-us/story?id=19457237). Scratch cooking is really not so bad once you start making it a part of your daily routine. Make them some pancakes or oatmeal. Isn’t that better than pop-tarts and Cap’n Crunch?

The same thing is true for scratch baking. Especially with the no-knead bread making technique, its not the arduous task it used to be. It does take more time, but it is soooo much healthier for your family than that shrink wrapped stuff you presently buy!

A related thing you can do is to learn food preservation. Dehydration is a wonderful technique because it is easy and food storage is simple. Freezing is great if you have the freezer space. Canning is labor intensive. But whatever method you choose, put the abundance from your garden in the bank. And let your kids help. It’s a great chance to spend some quality time together!

Think more carefully about your choices eating out – most chain restaurant food is loaded with preservatives and flavor enhancing chemicals, and we spend 45% or our food budget these days eating out. Even many independent restaurants today use sauces and prepared dishes they get right off the truck.

As a general rule, recycle, reuse – get away from the chemically laden, throw-away mentality. I know, it’s convenient, but what are you going to do when gas hits $15 a gallon, lettuce is $8 a head and there is no meat or chicken? What if you only get so many gallons of fresh water a week? Greater self-reliance would seem to be the order of the day. There are many more things you can do for yourself. (See the accompanying article about making your own laundry detergent and other household supplies.) For years greenies have been encouraging us to do this, now we may have no choice!

OK, I know this next one is a big step, but think about raising chickens. Fresh eggs are great, chickens eat kitchen scraps and bugs and are a good source of protein.

These may be further on the horizon, but consider:

Capturing rainwater and recycling your grey water. Use it for your garden and trees. Be able to filter rainwater as a back-up source for drinking water.

Rabbit meat is the highest form of animal protein there is. Rabbits are easy to raise and reproduce like – well, rabbits!

Solar is not far from being competitive with other forms of energy. Be thinking about it.

We have always relied on “the system” to save us. Well, “the system” may be the problem now, and “salvation” may only come by disengaging from it.

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Earth Friendly Cleaning Agents

There are so many things we can do to move from a chemical intensive to a more earth friendly lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions:

LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Supermarket laundry detergent is expensive, about $.21 per load, and filled with chemicals (especially phosphates) that are harmful to the environment. Homemade laundry detergent costs .03 cents per load, cleans very well, is biodegradable, and is easy to make! This is a low suds detergent. The new generation of HE (High Efficiency) front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason . . .low suds.

2 bars Fels-Naptha bar soap
2 cup Borax powder
2 cup Washing Soda

Grate the 2 bars of Fels-Naptha either with a serrated knife or a box grater over a paper towel. Place the soap in food processor and blend into fine powder. Add 2 cups Borax and 2 cups washing soda (not baking soda!) to the food processor. Cover the processor with a damp towel and blend.

If you have really hard water or well water you may have to adjust the recipe. I like to combine this mixture with an equal quantity of Seventh Generation laundry powder because that provides a bit more oomph!

Tips:
Fabric Softener: Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. It works great, and it removes residue and odors. (Also helps to keep the washing machine clean too.) For an extra dirty load, add a shot of Dr. Browner’s liquid Castile soap. If your clothes are starting to look dingy, get some Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing. It’s pricey at $7 a bottle, but you only need a few drops per load! If you want to add some scent, take 1/2 cup of the powder and put 20 drops of essential oil (lavender, orange, etc.) in it. Mix well and break up clumps. Then add to the powdered mixture.
DISH SOAP

cup of borax
cup of washing soda or baking soda
half cup of salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a container. Use 1/2 tsp per load – be careful – it can make the dishes really slippery! Washing soda really works in hard water and the salt will make glasses clean and sparkling.
PRODUCE WASH

The editors of Cooks Illustrated tried different methods to clean pears and apples including: a vinegar and water solution (3:1, water:vinegar), antibacterial liquid soap, scrubbing with a stiff brush. Not only did the vinegar mixture work the best, it was far, far better when measured for bacteria – it removed 98% of bacteria, compared to just under 85% for scrubbing. And remember, organic produce still has surface bacteria.

1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
20 drops grapefruit seed extract, (available at health food stores)

Keep a bottle of vinegar with a spray-top – just spray on the fruit or vegetables, let sit a minute and then rinse. If you’ve got longer to spare, leave fruit or vegetables soaking for 10-20 minutes in a vinegar/water solution, then rinse.
WINDOW CLEANER

Dawn Dish Detergent
Scrubby Pads
Absorbent Cloths
Squeegee

Place a few drops of Dawn in a container with a couple inches of water. Dip the scrubby pad into the water and squeeze out. Scrub the glass. The Dawn along with the scrubby gets the dirt off and does not leave a residue. Squeegee the window, starting at the top and working down, wiping off the “blade“ each time with a cloth. Wipe around the edges of the window to absorb any leftover water and dirt.
SCRUBBING CLEANSER

1/4 cup Baking Soda
1 TBS. Dish Soap
Vinegar

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 TBS dish soap, and enough vinegar to moisten to a paste. Scrub surfaces with a damp sponge and a blob of your scrubbing cream cleanser.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER

Citrus peels
Vinegar

Fill a one quart mason jar with citrus peels. Cover peels with white vinegar, place lid on jar, shake and allow to sit for 2-3 weeks. Strain the citrus peels out of the vinegar. Mix the vinegar solution with water 1:1 or up to 1:3 in a spray bottle depending on how strong you want your solution.
FURNITURE POLISH (WOOD)

2 TBS. lemon juice (use a real lemon)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Lemon essential oil (optional)

Prepare a fresh batch each time you polish. Mix 2 TBS lemon juice into 1/2 cup olive oil (add 10 drops lemon essential oil (optional). Dab a cloth (microfiber cloths are great!) into the mixture, and polish furniture. Allow to sit for just a little while and then buff.

STICKER GOO

Vegetable oil
Baking Soda

Mix two parts vegetable oil with one part baking soda. Apply it to glass jars with sticker goo on them, and rub off the sticker goo with ease.

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The Ego

by Ross Bishop

 I want you to quit fussing for just a moment over what you normally worry about and focus on the two issues that lie at the foundation of all the others: that you do not feel loved or lovable and secondly that you are not sure there is a God. The impact of our lives (past and present) have convinced us that we are unworthy and also that a loving God must not exist because otherwise why would the world be in such a mess!

These are the manifestations of the ego. And as long as we remain in that realm, we will experience the limitations of it – pain, unworthiness and inadequacy, either as individuals or as a culture. Remember, we have free will, and so we have the power to make this life anyway we want. The good news is that no matter what we do, we’re coming home anyway. The bad news has to do with how hard we’re going to make the trip on ourselves. So it is when we get, “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” that we will finally make changes and surrender control, usually to, “I don’t know what, but anything has to be better than this!”

It doesn’t come easy, this giving up the ego. After all, we have made a significant investment in it. It comprises the totality of who we think we are and of the world around us. So if you give up who you think you are, what’s left? The ego says there is nothing because it can’t see beyond its own realm. It’s like searching in the dark with a small flashlight. You simply cannot see very much, the system won’t let you. Then somebody flips on the studio lights, and you realize that you are standing in the middle of this vast landscape that goes on for miles!

The problem with life is that there is no one to flip the switch. Nor can you transition from one light to the other. My metaphor breaks down there. You can do it with lights, but it doesn’t work in transiting from the ego realm to God’s, because the two are not compatible. There is nothing of the ego in God’s realm. Coming into the God Space literally means finding a new way to see the world. You need to create a new mind.

But, we haven’t exactly been left without guidance. Christ came to show us the way. You know, “Love one another as I have loved you,” that sort of thing. It’s not easy, no one ever said it was going to be. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But what makes it difficult is that it means giving up the ego. So long as there is a “me” and a “you,” there is a potential barrier between us, a place for me to hide behind. In The God Space there can only be an “us.” And that doesn’t mean just people either, that includes the plants and the animals too.

But if we give up what we know, no matter how dysfunctional it may be, it’s like jumping off a cliff with no idea what’s beneath us. We’re told it is OK, that God will be there, that the space is really OK, but we’re not so sure. With your recent history, the ego has plenty to point to and say, “He hasn’t been there for you before, who’s to say that He’ll be there now?” Here is the problem with that argument: as I said, the ego and God cannot co-exist. So in the past, when you chose to live from your ego, you closed the door to God. Also, you needed to learn to leave the ego on your own, no one could do that for you. And besides, He actually has been there, just not in the way your ego-self would have liked.

In any case, it takes lot of faith to make that jump on only promises! And that’s the problem with the ego, it wants certainty and it wants it on its terms. But you can’t have it both ways – God’s and man’s. The whole idea of this stage of our evolution is to get you to release the ego and find faith. And that’s very scary!

Now I can sit here and say, “C’mon in, the water’s fine” all day long it it won’t make any difference to the ego. It will find a thousand excuses – you’re not like me, you’re cursed by God – or at least – He doesn’t love you or, you’re not ready to make that leap, etc., etc. As I say, a thousand excuses, because it cannot see beyond the limits of its horizons and it naturally fears what it cannot see or explain. It’s just doing its job until it is replaced.

So you have two choices, and staying where you are isn’t one of them. You either jump blind and hope that something will be there, or like the mystics for generations, you immerse yourself in God and jump with the knowledge that He’ll be there for you. I strongly recommend the later approach. You don’t have to become some religious fanatic. We’re talking spirituality here, not religion.

So, hang out and suffer if you like, it’s your choice. As I said, the water’s fine. How long before you decide to make the leap? (By the way, afterwards you’ll be amazed at how small the jump really was!)

Copyright©2013 Blue Lotus Press 

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Meet Eric

by Ross Bishop

Allow me to introduce you to Eric. Eric has been a conundrum to me for many years. He has more spiritual knowledge and experience than almost anyone I know, and yet he has been so estranged from his inner self that his inner landscape was an alien space – like the moon. That of course, has frustrated him. That frustration has caused him on more than one occasion, to check out. Yet remarkably he remains. The other day I received an email from him, containing the notes of a dialogue he had with an inner guide. I think you’ll get the gist of it:

CHANGING FOCUS

What is going on inside your Heart? “I feel depressed and sad.” Can we go into your heart a little bit? When you connect with your Higher Self you take the vertical approach. You soar upward leaving your body. This creates a split between body and spirit. Layers of your being separate out like cream on the top of milk. And it is a temporary connection.

So, I want you to go into your heart and establish the connection horizontally. From the horizontal you can sustain a clear strong connection to God, you can receive intuitive guidance, you can heal yourself and you can deal with the outside world effectively. The Heart is the place that links everything to everything.

This direction into the heart in the beginning is most often painful because of our wounds. Most people go the vertical approach to avoid the pain. They leave their body. The surface layers of the heart are where the pain resides. The deeper levels of heart take you to the place where you can make a direct connection to God. And this is where pure love resides. The true nature of the heart is Pure Love. Nobody’s heart loses that quality. The heart is the connector between Spirit and Body.

So with our intention and awareness and the help of the High presences we have invoked, let us very gently go into your heart. Imagine your heart being held in a cradle that Mother Devine is rocking. As she does this imagine her pouring out loving kindness on to this delicate Heart in such a manner that it gets saturated with the Essence Of Love . . . Now feel your body and those surface layers and breathe in into your heart. Give yourself permission to feel what is coming up and remain open, so the energy has a place to move to. Relax your muscles in your face, buttocks and rest of your body . . .

What happened during this process? “I became more quiet and still.” How deep did you go? “30%.” Are you willing to go deeper? “Something is in the way of going further. I don’t know how I can. Something is in the way.” What does the block feel like? “It feels like a lot of pain.” What will happen if you go into the pain? “I will get trapped in it and amplify it.” And what would that feel like? “I will be tortured.”

What does your inner child say about this? “I want to get somebody’s attention. I am alone.” This is very clear and understandable. Now, who is it that views that inner child? What part does not want to co-operate? It is the Adult Self that does not want to connect to the child’s pain. What does the child need? He needs Love. Are you willing to give that child what he needs? The child speaks: “Please love me, please hold me. Please pick me up and embrace me with your love. Please touch me. Please acknowledge me. Please care for me. Please be gentle with me. Grant me your loving attention. I hurt. I am alone!”

A disconnect. What happened? “I lost my focus. A lot of fear came up. My lower back hurts like hell.” Why? Because your attention went to the pain in your body where a lot of fear resides. You want to leave him and he is totally against it because he wants security, and that translates into control. You totally identify with him. If your child was trusting, he would let go and receive. Instead, he controls by creating pain in your back.

Do you want a home, a place where you are truly home? Does your ego/personality want a home? “Yes, a very nurturing place.” Your outside reflects your inside. If you want a nurturing place on the outside you have to create one inside.

When we started with love for the child, he came, but you got distracted by the pain in the back and then left him. You felt you did not have the capacity to hold it. Well, your heart has the capacity to hold the entire universe in itself, and that is the truth. It is not about compassion, it is about will. If you really want a nurturing place you have to take responsibility to create it within yourself. There are conflicting energies between your Adult Self and Inner Child. You, the observer, must take the active role of resolving those conflicts.

How much of you wants to remain in the body? “10%.” How much wants to leave? “90%.” Let’s ask God. What does he say? “It doesn’t matter if you stay or die. It is all an illusion.”

You inner child pretty much runs your life. Your child is furious with God and all of creation. He says, “Get me away from here-get me away from these stupid mean humans and all of their problems, their noises and sufferings, their lack of joy and love, and their heartless actions.” Who would want to stay on earth here with that viewpoint?

How does your heart want to respond to that child? “I want to pick him up and love him.” You are sending him love right? What’s your sense about the child, is he receiving the love? “He doesn’t feel worthy of it.”

What going on there? “He got the notion that he is a piece of shit and doesn’t deserve it.” What happens when you feel not deserving – (guilt and shame are playing out). You take the downward spiral. All of your attention is invested in him. You are filled with self blame and self-hatred and not being good enough. That is the child again. And the fact is, you have other parts other than the wounded inner child that are delightful and very wise. But you are identifying with the child voice. You forget those wonderful parts about you.

Yet you continue to being absorbed in your child with your attention. What does it do for you to do that? It shuts you down to having a wonderful life. It gets you off the hook for taking responsibility for your own creation of situations and circumstances. You get so lost in the child that you don’t see a way out.

You need to learn to pull attention away from being absorbed in that part and be a witness to the drama. That will pull you out of the hole you are in. You have the tools. You can’t see and use them if you are absorbed in him completely.

Let’s dream with our imagination. Let’s project into the future an imaginary time when you are really willing to take responsibility and what that would be like. Would you start to spiral down or would you pull yourself out? You would not work the old program. You would choose a wonderful part of you to place your attention upon. That part is pure love.

Dialogue with your child. Totally bathe him in love, and do it over and over again until he begins to really feel and accept your love and be absorbed in it. Love is always there in every moment. It is up to you to choose to go for it. A part of us knows this. The child can choose to not to go to love. It is matter of choice, being love or being the child. That is why I ask you about your heart. The heart is the doorway to that part of you that is willing to receive love and that is the real truth.

All the other stuff like self denial, self-incrimination, self-hatred, the one who feels not nurtured is only real in the 3rd dimension. From God’s point of view is unreal. Death is not real to God. From God’s point of view, all the ways you beat yourself up is unreal.

Who is that that has to take responsibility for choosing, claiming Love? The delightful loving part is the one. You don’t have any trouble accessing the loving part. To be awake and witness of both the child and the love within is your ticket out of hell. Then you have choice to align with Love. So make a decision now to choose love and just watch the drama of your life unfold.

Each part that is limited has limited choices to choose from. Their voices become louder and louder by how much power we give them thru our responses and choices. Ironically the only reason that your child feels so overwhelmed is because you are avoiding Him. You are not responding to him with love. He is not being heard, he is being ignored. And so that part, in an attempt to be felt and heard, draws your attention by either getting louder or by creating pain in the body.

A part of you that you need to see clearly is your adult self, which contains the roles your mother and father and other adults played. That program of Adult Self has to be dissolved. It too is limited in choices. The adult inside you doesn’t want to receive the child. What it boils down to is you have to watch yourself making choices and choose for the best choice, which is always Love in every moment.

You were not born with any particular disability. You learned how to compensate and disable yourself. You have been choosing the old programming and have not been choosing to use the tools, so that is why you are barely here. It is the child you are identifying with, that poor self-image. It is all curable. You could heal that quickly. A friend said, “I was dying physically. A mentor kept saying to me, ‘Everything that makes you think you are not God is false. There is nothing wrong with you. You are no different than other people. You are made to be enlightened. That is the Truth.’ She said her whole body turned around in a matter of a few weeks.”

You complain about receptivity not being there. But your heart, as soon as I tell you to go into your heart, you do it. Most people can’t. You can find your heart and listen to it right away. Your heart immediately gives the child receptivity. You are already there. Your child just needs to learn it, accept it and absorb itself in it. If you bathe it enough in love, he will gradually give up all those old programs. All the old programs are junk. The baby of long ago got those programs downloaded. If your child within had been placed in a loving family he would have gotten the self-worth and self-acceptance programming. But that was not the case. The old programs came from past lives where you beat yourself up. You chose those parents to finish off those programs.

You can either go thru the motions of choosing the old programming or select some new positive ones. You have the clarity now to choose differently. You really need only to let go thru the heart. Understand that we humans are a combination of our beautiful qualities of perfection and mistakes. We are a package which is all of that. You can carry the Cross and the blame and the betrayal, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. If you can just open your heart and see as humans that you are Light and also a bunch of mistakes, then you can be truly free.

When anyone feels they betrayed Christ or anyone, it is just setup to play a role of self-hatred. It is a role to be played as part of perfection for destiny to unfold in a certain way. Poor Judas, he really had no other choice. He played his role so Christ could experience the Crucifixion. Who is more a victim, Judas or Christ? Everyone is playing a role perfectly in the enfoldment of Destiny. Look at everything you have done with compassion. The actions, situations, circumstances, the thoughts and feeling you have are not who you REALLY are. If you are hooked in playing a role like you are, there is a payoff, avoiding responsibility of knowing Self.

Copyright © Blue Lotus Press  2013

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