Deer Hearts, I flew out to California for a U2 concert (the 360 tour). My daughter had these amazing front seats, so it was a rare opportunity to see my favorite rock & roll band, as well as my daughter and grandson. Irish tax controversy aside, for those of you who, like me are lifelong U2 fans, Bono (his voice was amazing, even in the open night air of Angels’ stadium) and the boys were spectacular. This is not a word I have used much in my life, so I use it advisedly. 60,000 people singing at the top of their lungs and with all their hearts to music whose lyrics evoke deep feeling and Oneness is unusual. It was so electric and exciting. Add this to their dedication to social justice and you have good reasons for their 30-year success. It was a love fest. A Phoebe couple made its nest above my front door this Spring. Every time I opened the door, the mother or father would fly off and then both would sit either on the telephone wires or porch railing doing exactly that – railing at me. It really cut down on my porch sitting time, which I like to do early in the morning with my tea. Each time I assured both mother and father that I wouldn’t hurt their babies. Eventually, they got used to me, unless I was hobnobbing with my neighbor cat, Petey, the inveterate hunter. One morning, I came down to find the nest dismantled and the baby birds gone. Yesterday, I saw that Petey had found a way to jump up to the porch railing and then leap to the top of the outer door, which is propped back during the summer. From there, he could easily reach the nest above the doorjamb. Feeling grief myself, I began to consider the whole process of grieving, and wondered whether the parent birds felt their courtship, nest building, constant care and efforts for the eggs, and then the hatchlings was all a waste, or if they grieved and moved on with life. Don’t let anyone tell you animals can’t or don’t grieve. As Amma says, “Even the worms in excrement love their children.” Sometimes we have to go through processes, changes, heaviness – allow our feelings and then move through them. There will always be challenges and polarities in our 3D world. The important thing is to be true to ourselves. What can that mean in 2011? It always means living as close to our values as we possibly can. It definitely means being more conscious about our choices. It may mean listening to that barely discernible voice or feeling that suggests doing, or not doing something may not be the best choice for us. When we don’t listen, there may be consequences; sometimes these consequences help us listen the next time. With food or drink as an example, if we feel unwell or tired after ingesting, next time we may choose something else, or not as much of it. Even the consequences we may call negative can build our chops. They can test us to get deeper into our true natures in order to become more aligned with the highest reality we can experience, and become our own authority. How many times, and in how many ways do we betray ourselves? Looking to other authority before connecting with our own? Holding back in the presence of those with different values? Lying to ourselves or others, because we’re afraid to be fully, powerfully ourselves in a world of rules set by someone else? Will there be sanctions or worse? Our answer probably depends on either previous experiences and expectations, or a really strong desire for change in our lives. There’s no real substitute for trusting oneself, and standing by oneself; indeed, being present for oneself in our unchanging core, where we know ourselves. Knowing ourselves is a lifelong process, so we must do the best we can and forgive ourselves the rest. Why wait for life to give us lessons, or separate us from who and what we love, just so we can learn to let go of attachments and become our own best buds? For life will keep bringing us experiences that make us choose to be sovereign beings. So let us embrace the sovereign beings we are now. In times of great change and chaos, there is only one place to go for decision-making; that is within. Even if we might have made a better choice, there is strength to be gained by making the best choice we can and developing intuition, sensitivity and fortitude. We don’t have to wait for our own approval. In fact, anything other than complete self-acceptance is a trick the ego mind plays to tell us we’re not good enough now. Diving into self-acceptance will reveal a truth and perspective of life’s possibilities that could not previously be seen behind the barriers of judgment and non-forgiveness. We must trust ourselves even in times of uncertain identity, when we are in transition, and when the old no longer works but the new is still unknown. If we can just stay in the emptiness, allowing ourselves to expand into it, we will move into new freedom and greater identity when the recoil passes. Now that takes courage, as do all opportunities to build true power. That’s the time to create or remember the list of what gives us joy in this life. Even the smallest things bring joy, because we see the heart of what is. If we do not succumb to desolation, we will be triumphant in the only way that means anything – the emergence of the sovereign self. For the three months of summer, we may challenge ourselves to practice this self-acceptance daily – be on to ourselves, and all the sneaky ways we refuse to be present and supporting of ourselves. Two very useful tools in this endeavor are having a sense of humor about our own foibles, and a “I’m doing that thing again, aren’t I?” attitude, and then moving on. Why is it essential for us to exist right in the center of ourselves? The most important preparation for all the changes of this age is to find peace within ourselves. The alternative is fear – why wouldn’t we be afraid if we have no real sense of who we are? Here are three questions to practice self-acceptance with: 1. When feeling out of balance, ask: Where am I? in order to become centered. Let your roots go into the ground, becoming one with Mother Earth. Open your crown to allow Sky or Above energy to connect you with your Higher Self. 2. Ask, How can I love myself right now? How can I share the love that I am, with the rest of life?