Best Practices For Wielding Our Power

Editor's Note:

Khalilah Ramirez is a performance artist, author and educator in San Jose. She founded The Dance of Peace in 2008 and continues to practice daily with the mission of, "Peace In Every Heart." Here is her latest experience and it's all about remembering.

Greetings to all! Khalilah Ramirez, Official Peace Dancer here, recounting the events that bring us together. Being a Peace Dancer is a unifying role. One that we can all jump into and play around with. Play is the highest recommended activity for growth in all the world. If play is abandoned, not only do we miss opportunities to grow, we eventually forget how and why we must play. Never fear, though. We can always remember it again, since play is innate to the human species.

That's what this latest edition of TWIP is about. Remembering. 

In late August, numerous facets of the community came together to march for pride, justice, equality and for the sheer joy of it in San Jose's Annual Pride Parade. There were incredible sights including a rainbow themed SJ police cruiser, cheerleaders flying in mid-air and a 30-foot, inflatable model of Jesus Christ covered in a long, rainbow sash. Of all these amazing sights, the people were the best and most triumphant. It was a hot morning (almost 90 degrees), yet thousands came out to represent their organizations, their loved ones and their ideals. When our families and ideals are harmoniously inclusive, that's great. When we are willing to step out of our comfort zones and into the streets (preferably dressed up in a million colors) to represent our beliefs, that's progress. 

Being there felt wholly surreal. All of us together, singing, dancing and cheering as one. Not so long ago, such a gathering would have been considered immoral, even illegal. It still is in many places today. When we have our material and emotional needs met, it's easy to become selfish, taking our freedom and privileges for granted. It's tempting to focus on what's missing, constantly plotting to have the "more" that we think we need to be complete. This is a natural behavior that the scientific community calls, "hedonistic adaptation." The tendency to get what we want, only to discover that it actually doesn't make us happy for long. Adaptation is good and natural. It is one of the greatest assets that human beings possess. It's only when this tendency interferes with our enjoyment of daily life by blinding us to all that we have, does it become problematic. That's where remembering comes in. 

Remember who we are. We are the children of Earth, alive in the present moment. Remember what we have. We have the free will to make our lives what we want them to be. Remember to practice gratitude for the experience of life that we are having right now. 

If we read that last section and thought, " I have nothing to give and I never get what I want. Now what?!" The answer is: Remember! We are sovereign beings of power. If we feel that we have nothing, the solution is to give more to ourselves and others. Even a smile or a  friendly greeting can be a gift to someone. Don't wait for others to give to us first. Giving to ourselves and others focuses our attention on contributing, something that we are all here to do. Think about how we (as individuals and as a community) can help people, improve situations and contribute a positive effect. Even if the contribution is: "I will give myself a nice long nap." That's a great start. Sleep is restorative. When we wake, we will have much more strength to create with. This practice of thinking generously is constructive and rewarding. The more we employ such thoughts, the more we will be moved to act. The more we act, the more benefits we receive. Beginning where we are, we can use whatever advantages we have to develop ourselves and start to cultivate a depth of fulfillment in life. 

Lastly, the great ideas that uplift us are best when shared. Could this be the topic for a juicy conversation at the next social event? Rich conversations are the outgrowth of rich ideas. Getting input from like-minded people grows our imagination and our potential. What may start as a casual conversation can evolve into noteworthy projects, events, collaborations and more. Are we daring enough to explore?

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