The End of the Decade – What Will You Do?

This decade is almost over. Watch this video and ask yourself, are you willing to be the courageous hero that this moment needs?


Happy Halloween!

When the witches and zombies ascend in the night,
The gravestones and pumpkins glow a ghastly light,
When the sounds of tricksters demand a treat,
And laughter squeals through their little teeth,
Our heroes stand guard on this night with care,
So that we can safely frolic without despair.

Have a safe and fangtastic Halloween!


Living the Dhri Crusade – Reflections (October 2019)

October 24, 2019

It has been four weeks since the team returned from our Dhri Crusade in India. The transition back has been far from simple for most. As minds and hearts race with various thoughts and mixed emotions over these past few weeks, the learning from the Dhri Crusade continues. Michael, Mia, Rebecca, Daniel, Howard, David, Jill, Ian, Jack, and Jocelyn reconvened last week to reflect on the journey.

Michael had experienced everything that the team experienced on his last trip to India. However, this trip was more meaningful being with and experiencing with his team — seeing everyones reactions, shared experiences, joys, struggles, and taking care of one another.  His last journey was with people who started off as complete strangers to him. This time, he was with people he already had relationships with, cared deeply about, and had a great deal of history with. What he experienced with his team was his biggest takeaway. And he misses being in the moment, physically, with each person.

This was a common feeling amongst everyone on the team — we sincerely enjoyed spending quality time with each other and getting to know everyone just a little bit more each day. We may talk to each other over the phone, or text and email each other on a daily basis — but there is something magical about being in the physical presence of each other. We fed off of each other’s love and energy that lifted us through the journey. We supported one another, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Someone asked Rebecca once, toward the end, if people began to get annoyed with each other — and were surprised when her response was that we ended the India portion of the journey stronger than ever. One has to wonder, why is that a shock? What am I emitting into the universe that eventually gets to people in a negative way? Something to ponder!

Other feelings were of a struggle, emotionally and spiritually, seeing the inhumanity everywhere, the filth, the people and kids with their limbs cut off to beg better — the loss of innocence and helpless feeling that there’s nothing that can be done to change that. Many will never see life or the world the same way again — but in the form of growth. Yet others felt that, while these sad things were seen and experienced, they returned with a more positive focus on life, family, purpose, work — there was a reenergizing feeling with being with everyone and connecting more with one’s self.

While talking through these struggling and opposite feelings from post-India emotions, as Jack stated, “The whole trip was an intense paradox of fierce opposites meeting at one place. It was  deep, dense urban crunched together in a tiny alley with the bulls, the crap and the motorcycles and then the airy Himalayas. It was the opulent wealth crashed in between absolute poverty. It’s the ultimate test of interdependence. It was the ultimate test of humility, collaboration and surrender. It was those three things that were tested on this trip because if you look at it through any other lens, you became very dependent, barely independent or forced into dependence if you brought in your own ego, your own competition, your own victimization, your own sense of being able to control those circumstances that you were under.” While there was suffering and injustice there, the paradox was that there were also the best darn popcorn makers on the side of the street — this was who they were. While there was begging, there weren’t people feeling like you had something they didn’t, so they had to stab you or rob you because they deserved what you had. There was a level of contentment there. “Where there is choice, there is suffering.” People in America have 47 choices to buy one object on Amazon, and yet they are miserable. People in India are living a life of no choice yet there was some assemblance of clarity for who they are, where they are, what their life is. And while it can appear that there is no choice and they are giving up, there is a difference between acceptance and throwing ones hands up and saying there’s nothing that can be done. There’s still a choice in not having a choice — contentment, acceptance, surrender vs. being frustrated and miserable for what you don’t have. The choice is in the faithfulness of who you are and what you believe in.

Jill added that there was a sense of vulnerability that she had never had before and struggled with. Even when she was working in the police department, no matter what dangerous position she was in, all she needed to do was hit that radio, make a certain sound and she had a small army coming to support her. Even with cell phones today, there is a sense of security being just a click away. In India, walking through the rubble, walking through the extremely crowded alleyways, other than each other on our team, there was no one to call. The level of vulnerability in India brought light to the false sense of control that we sometimes have, which was stripped away there. We do not always have control so we need to stop living like we do. Tony Robbins says that control is an illusion. The more we try to control the more miserable we are. The trip exposed things within ourself that aren’t always authentic. Instead of trying to control outcomes, if we spend that time and energy focusing on our own being, who we are as a person, the rest will work itself out. Yog Sundari had stated on the trip, “A lighthouse doesn’t go down to the ships and try to convince them not to go up against the rocks. It just stands there and radiates light.” By incorporating this lighthouse challenge into our lives, it allows us to let go of the things we cannot control and live with acceptance, humility, and peace. 

We were stunned by the traffic, the cows, the pedestrians, the busses and the cars, everything in a given space with no traffic control devices. We American’s were saying, this is absolute chaos, but they have a rhythm. There were pedestrians where a bus or truck would come within a foot of them and they wouldn’t even flinch because they knew that they were going to be respected, they knew they were not going to be hit. Our whole issue of space, and who are we to think that we are entitled to it. Where does that show up in our life, from promotions to how competitive we are with one another, like it’s our “space” that we have an entitlement to but in reality we don’t. In India, they don’t suffer; they embrace what it is and act.

Another common questions was whether we found enlightenment in India. Lao Tsu said, “Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.” Nothing changes. We don’t attain enlightenment — enlightenment is a realization. For many, the realization is that the experience in India on our Dhri Crusade has changed our perspective in many ways. Many of us are still working through and figuring out the changes that have happened, what needs to change, and how to apply our learning into our daily lives. We are figuring out how to re-focus on what’s important in our life and re-prioritize. We are finding ourselves more grateful for what we do have in our lives and especially the people who are a part of our lives — realizing what we have taken for granted in the past. We are continuing to practice the learning we gained as we move forward on our journey. Each of us have different reflections, reactions, and aspects that came out of the journey through India. And we continue to learn from each other, support each other, and work through these challenges and emotions.

There’s no question that this trip was hard. It took sacrifice for everyone to be away from their families, their homes, and other people had to step up in their lives to make this trip a reality. Everyone had to sacrifice to do it; it wasn’t easy, it was a struggle. But we persevered through that. There’s no question that every one of us is different for it and better for it. We can’t be one and done. We have to keep this going. We have to make India a process and that it was just a step in the journey.

The Dhri Crusade lives on, and there is more to come!


Article on Emotional Health

A great read. While it was written with correction officers in mind, there’s very good advice for all first responders, not just corrections. It speaks to the lack of training using your “emotional tools”.

https://www.correctionsone.com/american-military-university/articles/emotional-tools-to-build-correctional-officer-resiliency-QcFx5f83E41tsRbp/


Dhri Crusade – In Reflection

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 30, 2019

Our team has now made their way home from our pilgrimage through India, with the last of our team arriving on Saturday.

As we slowly get back into our normal routine and daily lives, we can’t help but reflect on our time spent in India, on our Dhri Crusade. The lessons learned and discussed, the building of stronger relationships with each other and those we work closest with, the experiences of the journey, the emotions felt. There is so much to take away from our time spent in India, and we want to keep the fire going — keep the momentum of what this journey has provided, and continue the Dhri Crusade beyond our time in India…continue it in our daily practices, influence, and actions.

Our team has committed to a 21 Day Challenge to enforce the teachings of the journey into our day-to-day lives. By committing to at least 2 daily practices starting tomorrow (October 1st), we keep fanning the flames of the energy from our journey. We invite you to join in the challenge as well! Below are some suggested daily practices that can help us to become the best person we can be, the best vision of ourselves.

While the official Dhri Crusade in India has come to and end, the Dhri Crusade lives on inside each of us!

Suggested daily practices:

  • First 30 minutes of the day – morning rituals and commitments. Instead of picking up your phone, turning on your computer, or watching the news, how you spend your first 30 minutes of the day sets the tone for the entire day. Try meditating, spending some time in silence, reflecting and making commitments/intentions.
  • Meditate each morning and evening – even for just 16 seconds, starting the day and closing the day with meditation will help provide needed balance for health and well-being
  • Read the lessons and learning as provided in our Dhri Crusade blog, or review lessons learned throughout the day
  • Write in your journal – a great way to capture thoughts, gratitude, reflections, commitments, and a release from the stressors and/or events of the day
  • Set your intentions for the day (what do you commit yourself to, just for today?)
  • Practice the 3 gates of communication – (1) Is it true?  (2) Is it necessary?  (3) Is it kind? (See Day 5 Post: https://bluecourage.com/dhri-crusade-day-5-laser-focus-surrender-to-the-fire-of-transformation/)
  • Physical activity, ex: Yoga, Tabata, Stretching
  • Recapitulation – reflection. Review the events of the day in stillness and silence. Reflect upon what has happened, what you have learned, what you are grateful for, what you commit to moving forward, etc.

Dhri Crusade – Day 8 – Amplification

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 23, 2019

Today’s Theme:

The Throat VISUDDHA

Colour Blue, 16 Lotus Petals, Element Ether, Sense of Hearing

Expression: voice, communication, permission, empowerment, expansion, development

Mantra HAM/HUM

Affirmation I SPEAK

Day 8 theme: Amplification 

  • Behaviors, habits, hopes, wisdom, knowledge that need to be amplified to expand my capacity in all dimensions: heart, mind, body, spirit
  • We can break any cycle that has brought us to this moment.

Today the Dhri Crusade team started our morning with meditation and yoga with the Himalayan foothills set as our backdrop. We then visited the ashram that the Beatles stayed at. It was a very interesting and beautiful visit inside a spiritual environment. Butterflies fluttered everywhere as monkeys played in the treetops above. One couldn’t help but fade in and out of history as we walked through the halls of the unkept, overgrown structure.

David met a police officer from this region and presented him a challenge coin from his department, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon leaving the ashram, we walked back into Rishikesh along the Ganges river, stopping along the way to dip our feet in the cold water.

Below is some of the learning we gained today.

You have to discover the true self. If you’re in denial you will never become the person you want to be – you can’t self actualize and evolve. Science proves the only nourishing things to do is to start the day in nature and mediation in the first 30 minutes of the day. Not on your phone or watching the news.

States of Consciousness

  • Cosmic consciousness – witnessing awareness
  • Devine consciousness – you see god in everything
  • Unity consciousness- connect and see the unity everywhere. 
  • Atma Darshan – glimpse in your soul. What you see when you meditate. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable and fidgety and angry but sometimes it’s peaceful and pleasant. 

Dhri Crusade – Day 7- Your Story

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 22, 2019

Today’s Theme:

The Throat VISUDDHA

Colour Blue, 16 Lotus Petals, Element Ether, Sense of Hearing

Expression: voice, communication, permission, empowerment, expansion, development

Mantra HAM/HUM

Affirmation I SPEAK

Day 7 theme: Your Story 

  • Purity of my speech, perfection of my words and message
  • Where am I on my hero’s journey? 
  • What have I experienced that has put me in the place that I am? 
  • What do I want for the future? 
  • What am I doing to get there?
  • Find my voice, empower others to find theirs
  • Don’t seek to impress, seek to bless others with my grace
  • Satnam – I am truth

Today the Dhri Crusade took the team to Rishikesh. We had to part ways from our local navigator, Rakesh, who was like a guardian watching over us. His hospitality and guidance in the past 3 cities has been a blessing and we are eternally grateful! 

Rishikesh, however, is a bit cooler and a bit less humid today than the previous cities. Upon arrival, the team traversed a narrow winding road from the Dehradun Airport to Rishikesh – a combination of hair-raising adventure and beautiful sights. The adventure continues tomorrow!


Dhri Crusade – Day 6 – Harmony and Vulnerability

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 21, 2019

The Heart  ANAHATA 

Colour Green, 12 Lotus Petals, Element Air, Sense of Touch

Love: kindness, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, harmony, self-care, peace

Mantra YAM

Affirmation I LOVE

Day 6 theme: Harmony and Vulnerability 

  • With myself, with those around me, with my environment
  • In my vulnerability rests my strength
  • The 4 A’s: attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance
  • Meta – unconditional loving kindness

Today after morning meditation and yoga, the Dhri Crusade went to visit the grounds where Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath, as well as the bridge over the Ganges river. The lesson taught below is one of life and easing suffering. The river is at a very high level currently, flooding part of Varanasi.

The First Sermon of Buddha (2600 years ago)

4 Noble Truths
  1. Life contains suffering
  2. The cause of suffering is grasping/clinging
  3. There’s a way to create a cessation of dukkah (suffering)
  4. How to stop suffering: The 8 fold noble path. 
The 8-fold Noble Path
  1. Right view – the lens, perspective, trajectory. Understanding the world around you, you are not above or below anyone. Suffering starts with you. 
  2. Right intention – Are you living the right intention in life. Live life with observations not interpretations. 
  3. Right speech – can I pass my words through the 3 gates (see previous post). Does it improve upon the silence? Does it add value to this moment? Is my word a promise. 
  4. Right action – you are the inheritance of your actions. 
  5. Right livelihood. Doing good work. Are you in service? Is it adding value to this moment in time?
  6. Right effort – we must bring it on. Wake up every day focused and bring it on. Don’t blame anyone else. Nourish your body and mind. 
  7. Right mindfulness (meditation) – make it a cornerstone of the day. Don’t squeeze meditation in. Dedicate ourselves for it. 
  8. Right concentration (awareness) – being fully present in all moments. Samati. 

Dhri Crusade – Day 5 – Laser Focus/Surrender to the Fire of Transformation

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 20, 2019

It’s 7 am. The team of the Dhri Crusade began to gather for their morning meditation and yoga at the temple of prayer within the hotel grounds. The leeches clung to the sides of the walls as friendly dragonflies fluttered around. The temperature and humidity was still bearable as a gentle breeze occasionally rustled through the air.

The meditation teachings, as depicted below, offered a lesson on filtering our spoken words. Yoga worked our core. It was a great way to start the day.

The Dhri Crusade took us into the city of Varanasi today, the oldest city in India. The streets were loud and extremely crowded. The small alleyways that took us to the destination of the day were tight and like a maze. It was extremely humid and hot. The experience was an assault on all of your senses at once. There were cows and street dogs moseying about. There were animal defecation everywhere. The smell of food was mixed with a thousand other smells. The destruction of old buildings was hard to miss. And your heart hurt as you were forced to ignore beggars and panhandlers for safety.

We visited an old crematorium where we saw a few bodies wrapped gently in beautiful cloth preparing to be cremated. Through the sweat, long walk, and trying experience, we were able to pay a short visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi’s most sacred Hindu temple. For the first time, they are allowing foreigners to enter the temple, but nothing is allowed on your person except your passport.

While each city offers a different adventure, breathtaking beauty and humbling experiences, Varanasi has been the most humbling so far.

We invite you to learn about the three filters or gates for the spoken word below.

The 3 gates/filters before you speak

1. Is it true – if not, it doesn’t need to be spoken. Verify facts before spreading it.

2. Is it necessary – just because you have information or because it’s in your head doesn’t mean it needs to be spoken. Socrates: “does it improve upon the silence?”

3. Is it kind – chose to speak kindly. Just because it appears unkind doesn’t mean that it is…it’s your interpretation. And if you must say something that appears to be unkind, at least do it kindly. Have compassion. For example, if you are no longer in love with a spouse and know it is the truth and is necessary to say, it’s unkind to continue lying to them. 

Allowing our words to pass through these filters allows us to flow more purely and communicate more consciously. Also keep in mind that when speaking, it needs to be the right moment. 

Throughout our journey through India, our Dhri Crusade, have assigned a daily theme that our attention will be focused on enhancing, which are centered around the 7 chakras here.

Today’s Theme:

The Solar Plexus MANIPURA  

Colour Yellow, 10 Lotus Petal, Element Fire, Sense of Sight 

Transformation: intentions, desires, following through, focus, power

Mantra RAM

Affirmation I DO

Day 5 theme: Laser Focus — to surrender to the fire of transformation

  • Where must I be doing better?
  • Am I intentionally cultivating the tools of transformation? Transformation is evolution — It is not change. There’s no going back. “Burn the boats!”
  • Transformation is: 1) moving from want to desire 2) taking action — what are you willing to blow up? What are you willing to engage in battle with yourself about?
  • Where do I see myself in the future? How do I get there? 
  • Who do I want to be? 
  • What new and better behaviors must I learn? 
  • What new heartset, mindset, skillset, toolset do I need? 
  • What distractions must I say no to?

Dhri Crusade – Day 4 – Experience

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Dhri = that which upholds
Crusade = a determined attempt to achieve a strong belief in a noble cause

September 19, 2019

Throughout our journey through India, our Dhri Crusade, have assigned a daily theme that our attention will be focused on enhancing, which are centered around the 7 chakras here.

Today’s Theme:

The Sacral  SVADHISTANA

Colour Yellow, 6 Lotus Petal, Element Water, Sense of Taste

Creativity: new directions, new ideas, new paths, rebirth

Mantra VAM

Affirmation I FEEL

Day 4 theme: Experience 

  • See, hear, feel, taste, visualize, apply to the future me.
  • Be willing to witness and accept — cultivate patience
  • PMA (Present moment awareness) — are you here as a tourist or a pilgrim?

Today on our Dhri Crusade, the team started the day with meditation and yoga in nature under the open sky before catching out flight from Jaipur to Varanasi. We sealed in our intentions of the day and learned about the 4 brahma-vihara, as stated below. Each of us chose one of the four and committed to practicing it throughout the day, just for today.

Peacock curiously exploring the Dhri Crusade team during morning meditation.

During meditation, we were visited by a few curious peacocks, which is the bird of India. As we lay on our yoga mats, strengthening our core, encouraging our flexibility, and amplifying our balance, a flock of birds circled above. The stunning visual of birds flying in unison, elegantly and cooperatively, and their beautiful song that was sung in choir added to the moving ambiance of the moment. In the moment…present moment awareness.

We invite you to learn about the brahma-vihara and commit to one for today. 

Brahma-vihara – 4 Buddhist virtues/states of minds. They are interrelated and support each other. They are fundamental truths that are taught in any religion, any philosophy, anywhere.

  • Metta (unconditional loving kindness)
  • Kaduna (Compassion)
  • Mudita (Empathetic joy)
  • Upekkha (Equanimity – helps us get centered and steady)

You have to have a conscious approach and effort. People can change and shift their way of being, but they must first want to and then must act – do something about it. If you want to stop smoking, then first you must actually want to stop. But beyond that, to reach your dream, goal, or desire, it’s not enough to want – you must then take action.

What Brahma-vihara are you committing to focus on today, and what actions will you take to honor this commitment?

More to come on our Dhri Crusade!