Friday, December 31, 2010

No More Envy/Jealousy - Only Love!

In the Bible, Deuteronomy 5:6–21, within the 10-Commandments is a line that reads: "Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."  There is a lot of wisdom in our ancient texts.  This commandment is not a threat to make you comply with the edict or go to you know where.  Understand what the real message is behind this.  No matter how good you are or think you are, there will always be someone better than you.  No matter how beautiful you are, there will always be someone more beautiful than you.  No matter how much time you spend at the gym or with a personal trainer, there will always be someone more sculpted and toned than you.  This is a fact.  Now, knowing this, does this mean that you should in any way believe that people better, more beautiful, more sculpted, smarter and more successful than you takes anything away from who you are?  Absolutely not!  So, why allow thoughts inside of your head to negatively play and make you strive to be what you are not or cannot be?  It's pointless.  You are who you are.  Does that mean you have to accept yourself as a failure in comparison to people who are better than you?  Heck no!  What you have to do to be healthy and loving with yourself is learn to appreciate your own gifts, those things that are uniquely you that you bring to and share with this world!

Envy and jealousy are deadly things to self-love and are just wholly bad for you to behold.  This is the real reason this commandment was written.  It isn't necessarilly that it is wrong and you MUST avoid the topical application of this edict or fear is that it is bad for you to feel and think about.  Every individual has his or her own spark of divinity within.  We are all beautifully and wonderfully different from each other.  No one person is any more beautiful or special than the other.  We all bring something interesting and wonderful to the table.  We should be proud of that fact, comfortable with that fact and accepting of that fact rather than beating ourselves up because we are not taller, not blonde, don't have big breasts, large muscles, perfectly pouty lips, a thin body, a trophy wife or husband, a Ferrari in the garage, etc.  To give yourself over to the relentless pursuit of gaining material or other possessions to look good, or striving only to affect your outside appearance is like chasing an illusive and imaginary dragon.  It cannot be done and your efforts might gain you some ground but at a great cost to your soul.  Pursuing what everyone else has or trying to fit into someone else's mold makes you discount yourself.

Commercials and advertising always put out there some new and expensive way to make you more beautiful, more powerful and more wonderful on the outside.  Max out the credit cards for plastic surgery - now that is the way to true happiness, right?!  NOT!  If you cannot accept you for who you are, then what you pursue will always leave you empty.  Whenever we seek a superficial route of perceived perfection in look, in dress, in possessions, there will always be this nebulous emptiness pursuing you.  True happiness and beauty comes from within.  One of the most beautiful women I have ever seen was a woman probably in her sixties, over-weight, black and gray hair tied back but light shining in her eyes despite the wrinkles the years had brought her.  Walking with her were her grandchildren, laughing and playing and just to see her so wrapped up in a moment of enjoying their laughter - now that was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  Not to cheat the men, one of the most amazing men I've seen out in this world was a man somewhere in his 70's, walking with his wife by the beach, they turned from the pier and began walking on the street.  He put his arm on her back and switched sides so he could walk on the outside nearest the traffic.  He held her hand and smiled and in that, I saw one of the most amazing men ever.  He was not tall or handsome and he wore inexpensive clothes but he, to me, was absolutely amazing!

What I've described here that is most beautiful is the love that was shining from inside of people.  You cannot buy that from a plastic surgeon, a retail store or an auto-dealer.  That kind of beauty and wonder can only be found within.  The moment you are jealous of what someone else has, you have given away your power and your ability to stay in touch with the love and light within you.  The moment you allow envy to enter your thoughts, you have just told yourself you are nothing, less than and unworthy.  Those are not good and healthy thoughts for you and the more you hold negative thoughts the more those thoughts will act like a magnet to other negative thoughts and things in the universe.  Sometimes when we think so little of ourselves, people will sense that and they too may think little of us.  If we think we are unlovable as we are, how can anyone else give us the kind of love that really has lasting value?

Envy and jealousy are not wrong.  We have an ego that really promotes these things out of fear...fear that it will be abandoned, looked over and neglected or disparaged in some way.  But we can counter the fear of the ego by keeping always that flame of love within us burning brightly.  That flame of love ensures our well being and welfare from a more important place than the outside world. Envy and jealousy are hurtful thoughts to us.  Since we do not want to really hurt ourselves, we really should let go of such thoughts and not give them credence.  Admiration of others is different.  If you admire, you support in a healthy way.  I admire so many for the strength, adaptability, true love within, wisdom and intelligence.  I consider myself grateful to have such people in my sphere because I learn from them.  I have no need to be better them, beat them or drag them down.  I do not wish to be threatened by their presence, so choose not to be.   I want to see them succeed.  If I wish them only well and abundant and peaceful lives, what kind of magnetic energy am I putting out there?  I know in this world that there are women so much more  beautiful than I, with perfect teeth and bodies, desirable bodily attributes, beautiful hair and eyes...there are people out there more intelligent and successful than I but there is one thing I will not allow myself to do and that is feel bad that I am not as they are.  I will feel glad that I am who I am and for the unique gifts I bring to this life.  In this way, I'm free from chasing illusive dragons that will only ever really manifest pain and suffering in my life.

As we begin each new day, think more about self-love, self-acceptance and how you can be your own best cheerleader or coach every day and in every moment of your life.  Think about ways that you can demonstrate to you that you are important, that you matter and that you are successful in providing in this world your unique gifts that are worthy of admiration.  I'm not saying never try to improve yourself or to learn and grow.  I'm saying do so in a healthy and positive manner by striving for what is real and lasting and not for what is fleeting and shallow.  The reason?  Well, you'll live in this world a happier being and you'll send out miles of smiles all over this world and believe me, this world needs as much positivity as it can get.  I wish you a wonderful life!  I wish you Health!  I wish you Love!  I wish you Peace!  I wish you Happiness!  I wish for you the beginnings of all of your Dreams Coming True! ~Blessings

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Life is sometimes an amazing mystery,
Treat it as if it were the rarest and most priceless gift.
Don't be afraid to be open.
Don't be afraid to be wrong.
And never be fearful of love.

Live your life out there,
In the best way that you can.
Who cares if you don't do this right.
Who cares if you don't do that perfectly.
The only one that has to live your life is you.

Spend some time getting to know the real you,
And worry less about who and what people tell you you are or should be.
Focus not on how to please everyone else,
But rather what makes you feel good about you...
From the inside out.

Don't waste time focusing on the past,
Your shortcomings or your perceived failures.
Instead think about the richness and beauty of the lessons you've learned
And know you only repeat those tough life lessons...
You chose to repeat.

Even if life sometimes seems unfair,
Know that there is a good reason for everything...
Even if you don't understand what that is.
The unfair things in life likely have nothing to do with you at all
But you can learn regardless.

Seek always to find the truth in what you face,
Don't make assumptions and align emotions with them.
Try always to see things through the eyes of love
Instead of from a state of worry, anxiety or fear.
Know that love can dispell the mists of fear every time.

Understand that through your hardships,
Not only do you learn and grow from the experience,
But so does everyone else around you.
Your sacrifices are not made for nothing.
Your life and the way you live it really does matter.

Go into the world fearless,
Know the love within you is always on your side.
Seek the truth always and speak it gently.
No matter what you do or say,
You are still a child of your Creator
             and you are never alone.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Neon Blue

I love the color of the sky in those few moments after the sun sets and the fiery pink and orange colors fade as they chase the sun.  In those brief moments before the indigo blue and black colors begin to rise in the opposite horizon, we're left with a beautiful neon blue sky as far as the eyes can see.  If you stand there long enough and patiently, you might notice a few stars light up all at once as if someone flipped a switch.  Those moments are like magic to me...pure beauty that is there to behold nearly every day and I didn't have to go anywhere to get it.  I just had to stand still right where I was and experience it with eyes ready and willing to see.

There is so much in this world happening right in front of you, waiting for you to behold it if you could only just stop for moment and wait patiently with eyes ready to see.  Sometimes we forget about the beautiful things and focus only on the ugly things we perceive before us.  Everything is a matter of perception and perspective it seems.  There are the things we perceive and then there is the truth.  Sometimes those two things are as far apart as an infinitely wide chasm.  It's so hard to realize that your perception is just that...perception.  Perception can only represent provisional truth...a purported truth based on theories and assumptions.  Provisional truth is only true based on one's perception or perspective, which are shaped by too many things to list in a short article.  The truth, however, does not change from person to person or experience to experience.

Getting there and understanding the truth isn't as easy as it seems.  If you can remove all assumptions, eliminate all emotion and be willing to see things differently, you might be ready to behold the truth of a situation, a person, a place or a thing.  When the ego is in control of your perception, I don't think you can see the truth.  The ego likes to distort things.  It's not easy to move the ego out of the way but you can ask your higher power, "Please let me see the truth of this situation, please let me see the truth about this person or that thing."  In such requests, you begin to ready yourself to behold the truth.  Your intent will set the stage, your willingness will put the energy out there and when all of the trappings of the ego fall away, you will see the truth.  It may take patience, it may take time but knowing the truth and acting on the truth is better than acting on assumptions, perceptions and provisional truth.

These things are often easier said than done.  You have to want to change your perspective sometimes.  Its hard to know when your perception is based on assumption when you're always assuming and considering assumptions and emotions are facts.  Assumptions and their resulting emotions are rarely evidence of the truth.  They are made up by us for various reasons - most likely environmental psychology.  Denial is a good example of how the truth is a perception.  We deny the truth when we think the truth will be too painful.  I don't want to get into psychology tonight.  I'm too taken with awe looking up at this sky.  I no longer wish to collect my thoughts in an organized fashion to put them down in this blog, I'd much rather let them scatter amongst the stars in this beautiful neon blue sky.  The truth - it's not actually out there waiting patiently inside of you.  So too is beauty, blessings, true fortune (not necessarily money) and bliss.  You just need to be ready to see them.  You will see them.  ~Blessings and love to all.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like my books.   I'd be honored if you'd visit my author spotlight at:  Blessings.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Depression and the Holidays

So many suffer depression around the holidays each year.  It's horrible to wake up one morning and feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, the wind in your sails has completely disappeared and you feel both physically and emotionally wounded.  Having suffered many bouts of depression in my life time, there are a number of things I've been able to do that really make the bouts short-lived.  I wanted to share them in the hopes that they might help someone else out there suffering.  I am not a therapist nor have I been psychologically trained.  This is information shared from one human being to another for the simple reason that well, I just care.

When depression strikes, it can be a little startling and it can make you more than fearful.  So, in our thoughts, we sometimes attempt to fight the depression and we do it sometimes unnoticed belittling self-thoughts inside of our heads like, "What is wrong with you?" or "Why are you so defective?"  These thoughts don't help the depression and thoughts like these inside your head can actually make you feel worse.  I catch those thoughts playing  inside my head during these bouts.  I start feeling like a victim until I remember, I may feel depressed but I can control my thoughts about this.  So, the first thing I do is stop fighting the depression.  I let it hit me with the full force of gravity it needs to deliver.  I've had a lot happen in my life and, well, sometimes that pain needs to rise to the surface and gain acknowledgment.  So, I acknowledge it in the most gentle way possible and I will use a lot of positive self-talk until it passes.

I'll also work very hard to take better care of myself when these episodes hit.  Sleep is affected.  Sometimes I can't sleep.  So, if I can't sleep, I'll use the time to read a book or meditate to use my time in a positive way instead of allowing myself to get overly anxious about not being able to sleep.  I try to focus my thoughts on stabilizing the chemicals in my body.  I'll make sure I eat healthy foods and nothing too strong before bed.  I'll watch the calorie intake so I don't add weight to my body which will make me feel worse.  I will try, even though I really don't feel like it, to get some form of exercise - a short walk for even 15 minutes helps produce endorphins which are really good when you are depressed.

I observe the thoughts that I'm thinking to see if there is a thought-source to my depression.  Often there is.  I'll  write down those thoughts and understand that my thoughts are separate from who I am.  They are just thoughts and I can give the negative ones credence or I can give myself advice on my own thoughts as I would a good friend telling me these negative things.  I will try to turn each negative thought around with a positive one.

When I find pain over past wounds at the core of my thoughts, I give them voice and try not to fight them.  I embrace the pain knowing its going to hurt like hell but if I fight the pain, I know I will prolong my depression.  If its a particularly strong bout of depression, I will call and make an appointment with a counselor.  Often talk therapy, exercise, eating right and vitamins are enough to set things back on track.  I'm not big on anti-depressive medication because I've had abnormal reactions to them but for so many people, they really help so that is something that can be explored to help you get through the valley of depression.

I try to avoid too much isolation when depressed.  Sometimes when depressed, I purposely get myself out and around other people where I will need to act like I'm okay so I don't bring others down.  During those periods of "acting" I find that I actually do start to feel a little bit better.  I am distracted temporarily from depression during these times and that's a good thing.

Sometimes the bouts will pass in a few days, a few weeks or a few months.  I just trust that for whatever reason, I need to go through the depression and I try to eliminate the fear by trusting that one day, my positive efforts will kick in and I'll wake up and the light will be there instead of at the far end of the tunnel. 

Missing loved ones can be really hard and drive a lot of depression.  Allow yourself to mourn those you miss during the holidays.  It is absolutely okay to miss people and to wish they were there.  If you can, imagine they are right there before you and send to them loving thoughts and feel them sending loving thoughts back to you.  This is a hard exercise but it does temporarily feel good.  I try hard to hold onto any loving feelings when depressed.  Depression makes it hard to feel anything but bad.  Sunlight is unappealing, the things and people you love seem far away, everything you hear seems muffled and uninteresting and life so completely lacks luster that you just want to give up.  But notice those feelings...realize if you can observe yourself feeling like this or thinking thoughts like this that you are separate from those thoughts (Read Tolle).  If you are separate from your thoughts, you can influence your thoughts and talk yourself up to a higher place.  It takes practice, persistence and willingness to work through it at a time you seem handicapped to do well.  Trust that it will work. Trust that the depression will not last forever is necessary (remember, assuming you'll feel bad forever is just assumption and you do not know with 100% certainty that you will be depressed forever so cut those thoughts off by saying, I feel bad only for now - tomorrow may be different or this time next week may be different - realize that it is possible).  (Check out Thomas Moore's Dark Nights of the Soul).

If you can, try to stay away from unhealthy substances that would "numb" the pain.  It always seems to come back twice as hard if you use alcohol to numb it.  You don't want it to stick around for a long period so try to avoid those things that contribute to it.  Work with a medical doctor if you can to try to help you find the source if counseling did not help and nothing else seems to be working.  It's possible chemical imbalance can be contributing and a medical doctor can assist you with that and help you help your body to balance the chemicals.

As hard as it is, try not to give up mindful of what is an assumption in your thoughts and what is truth.  Deal with depression as you would a cold - take care of yourself.  Treat the pain you suffer as if it were a precious child you wish to take care of.  Be gentle with it and yourself.  Depression is not the enemy. It is a symptom.  It can be healed but you must try to find a way to keep thoughts about treatment open in your mind at a time it will be difficult to do so.

Find something positive you enjoy.  I love going to the beach so when I'm depressed, I continue to go even when I just don't feel like it...even if I'd rather just stay in bed...I'll get up and take myself to the beach...even when I'm there and my thoughts tell me give up and just go back home - I will stay and try to notice anything of interest...the light on the water, seashells, birds, people, the sounds, the smell...I'll focus on sensations that are interesting or neutral.  These things also distract me from the pain of depression.

Give yourself time to heal and trust that you will heal.  When you set your intent, you keep yourself open to healing and you can take steps, one at a time if necessary, to get back on your emotional feet.  Love yourself no matter what.  Imagine how you might treat a depressed family member and treat yourself with that same love, understanding and kindness.  The bout will pass when you find the right path of treatment for you.  Hang in there and let love and healing find you this holiday season and every day.  Many blessings.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rights of the Non-Personality Disorder Afflicted

This may not be a very popular piece but I have to write it for the victims that are struggling with the aftermath of life with someone who has one of the many personality disorders that results in emotional, physical and verbal abuse for the non-afflicted.  People think emotional or verbal abuse is no big deal, "at least you weren't beaten or molested."  Well, meaning but invalidating comments.   There is such a thing as emotional rape and that leaves hidden scars that fester and wreak havoc for many years.  I've read some things around the internet specifically concerning NPD and BPD and how the family members cannot use tough love, cannot leave the abusive person because it will do harm.  I'm sorry, as much as I truly feel for the NPD and BPD folks suffering out there, no person has the right to abuse another and no person has to continually subject themselves to abuse for any reason.  Sometimes, the only way for the non-afflicted to heal and come to terms with a personality disorder afflicted family member is to create a space of no contact.  There are times and cases where that is absolutely a necessity to preserve emotional sanity for the non-afflicted.

This topic is very near and dear to me for many reasons and without going into too many details to protect the privacy of the individuals involved, I'm writing from first hand-experience.  After suffering a life-time of verbal and emotional abuse, nothing made me feel more violated than to listen to people telling me I had no right to protect myself, that for me to take action passively to protect myself was wrong, and that I just had to understand that the individuals in my life had an affliction and I needed to just deal with it.  Well, those individuals have obviously never suffered emotional abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse to the point of near emotional destruction.  I'm sorry but they are wrong.  There are some individuals who can learn about the disorders and stay in the presence of the ill-family members and there are those who can't.  No one has the right to abuse another for any reason period and any kind of abuse from any source should not be tolerated.

Here is the one caution and consideration I have though, to the NPD and BPD individual, fighting back with them for their attacks is not okay.  Adding insult to injury does not promote healing and as much as "getting even" might temporarily make you feel vindicated, it is a short-lived high and will still leave you devastated.  For those folks I say, learn about the illness that you face, get professional help for yourself and learn effective ways to deal with the individual who carries these NPD and BPD traits or diagnoses.  These individuals seem like evil incarnate but they are not.  They are still beautiful souls somewhere inside who are carrying an invisible wound that runs so deep that they would cause harm to every person that loves them.  I do not believe they purposely set out to hurt you and not that this should excuse their behavior (because treatment, if they cooperate, can really be effective and change their lives for the better) its their wounds that have taken on a life of their own that are causing you harm.  I know about the uncanny ability they have to seek out all of the things that you hold dear and how they meticulously rip that to shreds and leave you lying on the floor and yet they kick and spit on you further with more vile and vindictive words and then, they'll just go and tell everybody that the horrid things they just did and said to you is what you do to them every day.  They'll turn family members and friends against you to protect their wounds at all costs and even call the authorities with made up stories of beatings, thefts and other things just to show you how much power they have over you.  This is tricky, so tricky to deal with.  That is why counseling and support for you is a must.  You cannot go it alone without suffering some type of emotional harm.

So, this situation is a no-win for families all over the world. The NPDs and BPDs have an endless pit of emptiness, an amazing ability to psychologically transfer everything onto you, and short-sighted developmental challenge as seeing every one as wholly evil or wholly good with no in-between (Read the book No More Walking on Eggshells for more information on the disorder).  Can you imagine having to live like that?  Its brutal, I've watched it.  But, the bottom line is that we all have choices.  When a healthy individual suddenly feels overly anxious or suffers depression, a healthy person will seek out the help of a counselor, clergy person or friend to help them work it out.  It's a choice that is made.  At some-level, there must be an admission or choice by the NPD or BPD too if they want to stop everyone from running away from them but their own illness prevents them in many cases.  It is their journey to walk and for those of you who are unable to cope with it, you may have to choose no contact, mourn your expectations about that person in your life and move on focusing only on you.  No one should suffer abuse and without help, you could carry some of their traits by holding onto anger, frustration and pain.  That's not good.  If you can't afford counseling, there are support groups online in abundance and these are free.  Just type in non-NPD or non-BPD support and you will find information, support groups and even counselors or coaches who specialize in treatment.  Even has videos for the ill and non-ill family members to help them understand and cope.

The purpose of this article is not to insult or disparage the NPD or BPD in any way.  It is to put the focus on those suffering the abusive side of these personality disorders and to let them know abuse is NOT okay, suffering abuse is pointless and to help the non-afflicted to find a way to get support for what they have suffered.  The NPD and BPD people suffer, no doubt about it.  However, every person has choices to make in their lives.  They can choose recovery and treatment or they can choose to remain trapped inside of a mind that distorts reality and causes them so much pain.  The loved ones of the NPD and BPD folks have choices too.  They can choose recovery and treatment or they can choose to remain trapped inside of the victim box that also distorts their life experience and causes them so much pain.  We all have choices to make and our tolerance levels vary.  For the non-afflicted, you need to either learn to disregard the insults and learn how to speak to the afflicted individuals in a way that is non-threatening...learn how to see the insults and criticism has nothing to do with you but are about the personality disorder of a loved one.  The non-afflicted may need to choose limited contact or no contact at all.  Whatever you choose, feel not one ounce of guilt for doing what you need to do to recover in a healthy way (by getting help and cutting yourself off from the abuse in a non-threatening way (as much as that is possible) to the NPD or BPD).  Taking care of yourself and being loving with yourself are the most important things that you can do.

For those who grew up with an NPD or BPD, Adult Children of Alcoholics has a program that is also quite wonderfully effective in helping you recover.  I cannot recommend that program enough.  If you don't have the money for a counselor to get treatment at the moment, this program is a good one.  You can participate in local groups in your town, online or go through the work books on your own (Just look up ACA or ACOA online and you'll find their book store).  There are also some organizations that might offer low or no cost counseling for those who qualify.  Check with your local state services offices and ask them what they can offer.  You never know until you try.  Your intent to heal and grow beyond what you've dealt with having an NPD or BPD or other aflicted loved one is the first step.  Finding that treatment program to get you there is the next step.  Do what you need to do to heal and grow from the experience.

My heart goes out to the afflicted and non-afflicted alike.  I've seen the devastation of personality disorders on the hosts and those who love them.  Its devastatingly painful to witness.  But more so without help and guidance of those trained to treat.  I wish you all much healing, much love and happy, healthy and productive lives here on Earth! ~Blessings

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stop, Think, Act - Don't React

Driving 70 miles an hour down a long empty stretch of freeway can give you a whole new perspective on life sometimes. Especially on a clear cool night like tonight with only the sound of my own tires speeding down the highway and the wind whipping against my windshield. The sky is pure black tonight, the stars are twinkling in such abundance and I'm so incredibly grateful to be driving in a less populated part of the county. There are lots of homes in south county and stretches without the big city lights always gives me a good feeling. No light pollution obliterating an impressive view of a vast expanse of December sky is truly priceless.

I can't remember the last 10 miles. I remember getting in the car and then suddenly I'm among smaller high rise buildings, merging freeways, and a lot more traffic. It's been a very long day that didn't start out well. I think I may stop checking my cell phone before I get out of bed. I may arise in a much better frame of mind. I can't help but think that sometimes life is just too damn hard to deal with. But then, hey, I'm me...Miss Positive and those feelings last a mere few minutes and are quickly replaced by an impressive army of silver-lining seeking thoughts that will be successful in any endeavor they embark upon. In this, I trust me the most!

So, it doesn't ever matter in life how much you learn and grow, how spiritual you become or how grounded you finally learned to be.  There are just those things that creep into the view that shove you off your center quite abruptly. It doesn't really matter what it is or how it happened. What's important are the things you choose to do next. I believe in pulling back to an observer position, noting all the thoughts and feelings without taking much action except to obtain clarity where clarity may be lacking. Somethings that are not about you can still hurt you to the core. But I sometimes think that is more of an unconscious reaction. If you pull back to an observer position, you can see things from 360 degrees without emotion instead of from a jaded and myopic emotional view.

These things are important...noticing, observing without taking any action but for clarity's sake. Bad things happen sometimes to seemingly good people. The world isn't out to get them and there is no insidious and evil design meant to tear down the light in this world. But, there must be balance. In order for things to work properly, the positive and the negative must be re-aligned to achieve balance. Even batteries must be grounded to work properly...well, so do we. The only way that we can stay grounded is to immediately realize that any intense emotion rising in us should be highly suspect and reigned in quickly in order to make sure every step we take is an action chosen instead of an unconscious reaction. Reactions can cause you even more trouble later so its best to try to get centered no matter what you face, acknowledge emotion, rationalize details, obtain facts and then take appropriate and healthy action for you.  Something important to note is that healthy action does not include getting even with someone who hurt you. Two wrongs do not make a right, ever. If someone causes you to retaliate, you have given them your power. Stop that because YOU need your power with you to stay centered and live a healthier life.

It's not easy being human. We were born with so many challenges. Amnesia to all things spiritual, an ego that may or may not have been developing healthy from birth due to environmental psychology and an awareness that may or may not be foggy or fuzzy in some way. All of these things can be overcome with the right tools and intention but we do have to have focus, we do have to have faith and we do have to have rules of engagement we set for ourselves. There are so many people out of control in this world inflicting their imagined slights and pain on others needlessly, carelessly and painfully. Its really sad. If we add to it by fighting back or getting even, we continue to contribute to the problem instead of engaging in a solution. You have the right to choose how you will be engaged. It just takes the span of a few heart beats to pull yourself back from reaction and get yourself into a mindset of thoughtful action.

These thoughts are the reason I've been distracted 10 miles. I'm disengaging from a reaction. I'm pulling back to an observer position to deal with emotions firing in a very reactive way. But the one thing I do know, while I am off-center, I will take no action other than to sort truth and facts from assumptions and off-based emotion. The inner child will not control this situation because the inner child is impaired in this one thing. Delayed gratification of defense will come but it will come in the form or understanding a certain scenario and taking only harmless defensive maneuvers. Well, that and lots of prayer.

So, the moral to this long-winded story is that you have a brain and you really ought to use that first when an emotionally charged situation arises. You have the right to pause and consider before you allow yourself to become engaged in a potentially unworthy battle. You have so much power within you that is better used in positive action that will be healthy for you rather than negative reaction to something someone presented to you to seemingly hurt you, frustrate you or make you mad. Just stop and think. Just stay balanced. Just breathe. If your intent is to quickly find the wisdom of a situation, your intent will be met with satisfaction. You just have to trust yourself and keep your ego from reaction! I wish you many thoughtful blessings on your journey.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Enough to Go On

Sunlight defused through morning storm clouds,
Casts an ethereal glow...
The world washed clean.
It seems to me, a strange world at times.

Rich hues cascade,
Across the moments ago dark landscape,
Sparkling drops of rain distract from the ugliness.
That's what we need, isn't it?
Distraction from the ugliness if even for a moment...

And within such moment...
A reprieve to gaze upon...
The beauty beneath the surface - Just out of view,
The meaning between the lines.

Like the love that sometimes secretly permeates...
The all of everything.
I guess its faith that lets me feel it,
Even when I can't see it with the eyes of the ego...
That hides the truth all too often.

Its the eyes of the soul...
That must be opened wide at all times,
To keep us from immersing ourselves...
Into the abyss of complete obliteration.

I see the sun,
I feel the love,
For this moment...
That's enough to go on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Preparations

I am immensely grateful to have come to a place in my life where I truly desire to be happy instead of being right! I had to learn I liked the former rather than the latter through a long line of difficult and exhausting interactions that finally sunk in and made sense! This time of year, in particular, sensitivities run high…we’re tired, over-scheduled, over-worked and suffering from too many sources of input. It’s important to always pay attention to the state of our soul regardless of the day or the season. It’s important that our soul growth continue and the holidays are just the perfect time to try to practice some of the things you have learned.

No one can get your goat as quick as family can. We somehow think that because they are supposed to love us, they should behave more lovingly and respectfully but family isn’t always loving and respectful in the way that YOU think they should be. We’ve all got different views on how the world should be and you can find those that agree with you but that agreement still won’t make you right and still won’t get that family member to respect you the way you feel you should be respected. People are people and blood doesn’t always seem to be thicker than water. Just know that you have choices to make…simple things like deciding not to take anything personally when spoken by certain wounded family members out for the whole “misery loves company thing.” You can choose to fight back too but that is just really exhausting and not healthy for you and I strongly advise against it. You can decide to hide your goat better and vent with a friend after the family gathering is gone. You can decide to give up the goat(by give up the goat I mean don't give credence to insult or attempt at emotional injury by loving yourself enough to know it does not matter what anyone else says or thinks about you but you) and not be bothered by anything anyone says to you. You can also reset your expectations about how family should behave and realize they are just people and may not act as you believe they should.

Other things that you can do around the holidays and to prepare for family gatherings is to make sure you keep up your exercise routines, make time for walks, do your best to get rest and take timeouts to gain peace in the midst of preparations, ask for help and do your best to think really positive. This is the same advice to consider every day but especially around the holidays. If you are not tired or taxed to your limits you will be much better equipped to deal with challenging holiday preparations and tough familial exchanges should they occur. One very important thing to remember and it matters not one bit who you are talking to but YOU have the right to terminate ANY discussion or conversation that you find demeaning, insulting or that makes you uncomfortable. You are NOT a better family member for continuing any discussions that make you feel bad…just stop them as politely as you can…a simple, "I’d prefer not to discuss this further with you right now, let’s focus on the family gathering," is a polite and tactful way to head off a potential emotional blow up…oh, and the drinking…if you have challenging family members, monitor your alcohol consumption and if you have to, plan to leave before any challenging family members have consumed too much.

Enjoy time with family over the holidays but don’t forget that you do NOT have to compromise yourself in a very negative way just because it’s the holidays. Set boundaries for yourself and others, set goals for yourself and set your own expectations reasonably in order to head off challenging interactions. If you can make these preparations a key point of focus, you might just have a better time, be able to step out of or head off any uncomfortable discussions and find a way to just have a good time.

I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday is joyous, peaceful and filled with love! Blessings!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ego and Unintended Negative Energetic Impact

Ego’s clash at times with such velocity it not only decimates the objects of collision but also creates a lot of collateral damage.  Have you ever been an innocent by-stander in a room of clashing ego’s?  The energy becomes negatively electric and toxic beyond compare.  Not only are the two objects of mass and velocity exploding into bits from impact but the shock wave passes through everyone even remotely near.  But most of this goes undetected, sadly.  Sure the hurt feelings and anger are readily apparent but the residue from the initial impact is not so easy to detect.  The ego does not know how to back down.  The ego sees a fight, takes offense and goes for the jugular.  The interesting thing I’ve noticed in life is that every single time someone has allowed themselves to become so engaged, at some level, they have deeply regretted it and if they didn’t, the soul still suffers from the lack of oxygen in the moment.  I’m referring to love.
 So, it’s safe to say we are all egotistical and in some ways narcissistic.  However, we do have a part of our mind (I like to actually call it soul consciousness – as do many others) that observes what is happening inside of the mind and watches detached.  These negative engagements of the ego register somewhere…even if unnoticed by the host or hosts.  I have to catch myself all the time.  I feel my ego engaged in the pit of my stomach.  I can feel when negative energy begins to stir because the vibration is off like a drum beating angrily and out of time.  It’s uncomfortable and once the energy vibrates like that for a time, there is no easy way out…only time and a whole lot of positive talk can counter-balance the negative energy reverberating throughout my being.  I don’t know why people want to put themselves through that.  I do my best to stop angry thoughts before they start.  I notice that the older I get, the less patience and tolerance I have for that type of behavior in me.  Not because it’s wrong but because it doesn’t feel good and its so unnecessary in most cases.
 Before the ego becomes fully engaged and ready for battle, we do have some twilight moments were we are not yet fully committed to the ego's darkness.  In those moments we can pull the initial thoughts back so they can gain no velocity, no foothold and the resulting initial negatively pulsating energy will quickly dissipate if and only if, you catch it, stop it and disengage.   Every human being has the right to disengage any discussion that begins to make them feel bad.  You can shut down the thoughts and stop responding to external agitation.  It takes less effort to do it on the front end than to deal with it once adrenaline begins to course roughly and uncomfortably through your veins and hurtful angry words are needlessly exchanged.  Now, having said that, there are those individuals that enjoy that rush…and I caution you if you are one of those…it’s not good for you…that kind of feeling of “alive” is like a short-lived high and is very negative in origin.  It is different than the rush of doing something good and satisfying or overcoming a life challenge or fear.  That is a completely different vibration.  One is low, off-beat and heavy and the other is a fast and smooth beating energy that is more uplifting and much longer lasting (not requiring a continual feed).  If you’re around a negative energy junky…just disengage, get away and don’t feed their addiction!
Our bodies can tell us so much if we pay attention.  Off topic a bit but for the sake of example, have you ever dated someone when you got that uncomfortable vibration in the pit of your stomach, a slight energy pull that really feels like a small physical pull…it’s that same feeling when you compromise yourself knowingly in some way…that energy feeling in the pit of your stomach is trying to tell you something.  If you’ve had that feeling and continued dating that person, how did it turn out for you?  I can tell you that every time I ignored that pull, I regretted it in a big way.  That tiny pull off-center was a precursor to major earth-shattering emotional things designed to pull me off my center by someone unwittingly extracting energy from me in a negative way.  Some of this is hard to explain until you’ve paid attention while experiencing it.  Once you’ve noticed that feeling, it is unmistakeable in the future.
 So, the whole point to this is not to highlight that the ego is wrong.  The point is that there are things, interactions and exchanges that are positive, uplifting and create that fast and smooth energy vibration and there are also those with a lower, heavier, off-beat and debilitating vibration that if you don’t pay attention to, you’re headed for a bad time.  Left unchecked these “bad time” experiences can collect in your energy field and lead to physical, mental and emotional maladies…depression, anxiety and general malaise.  It’s really worth paying attention to the state of your ego, keeping it under firm control, knowing when you’re out of control and disengaging so you can regain composure.  Its not rocket science.  It really just takes a very subtle awareness and focus to notice and a little effort to control your own thoughts and feelings.  My challenge for you if you are interested, as you run across people for the next few weeks and observe interactions positive and negative, see if you can notice any feelings around your solar plexus or navel area…what do those feelings feel like?  Are they heavy or light?  Do they pulse and how do they pulse?  Do you feel a vibration either fast or slow?  Pay attention to your body.  Notice if it is different when you are directly engaged versus a spectator in the room.  When you allow your ego to become engaged, you not only put yourself at risk but you risk impacting unintended victims.  Its just food for thought.  ~Blessings

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scheme of Things

There are just those days that don’t end up the way you thought they might…things go wrong and then get even worse sometimes. If you get too wrapped up in outcomes at the outset, life is just not going to go very well for you from an internal emotional and intellectual perspective. Let’s face it, bad things just happen, troubling people and situations cross our paths and sometimes frequently at that. We can’t sit in a space of fear and frustration waiting for blue skies and sunshine when the road before you is long, dark and pouring down rain from ominous seeming storm clouds occasionally lit by frightening lightning. When the thunder rolls, and I assure you, it will—you have to find something in the moment to be grateful for and I’m not talking about material things. Those things are cool and all but don’t matter a hill of beans when you’re facing one of life’s many challenges.

So, what to do, what to do…hmmm, well, you can start by getting really peaceful. The peace is there with you always, you just have to reach in really deep sometimes to find it. One of the best ways to find it is to remember that no matter what drama or conflict you face…no matter what uncomfortable or difficult things you might have to do, you are not the outcomes…you are not the feelings…you are not doubt, fear or defeat. You, at heart, are love incarnate. Sounds hokey huh? It’s not, it’s the truth and it is not one of those provisional truths thrown around with artful and fancy words. No matter what thoughts the mind does think, no matter what expectations the ego worries about or things and situations the ego compares itself with, you are none of that. If you are none of that, what does it matter if the sky pours buckets of rain or lightning flashes? What does it matter of this project failed or that effort ended up in disharmony? What does matter is the state of your soul, the love in your heart and the light you allow to shine forth no matter what you go through.

Life is hard sometimes and if you walk any kind of spiritual path, don’t be surprised or disheartened when you run across conflict, confusion or conundrum. Don’t worry if you seem to do everything right and everything comes out wrong. The one thing you can count on in life is that every single thing that happens, happens for a reason. There is growth to be had and even pure garbage and waste can be transformed into fertilizer from which, can be grown the most beautiful and fragrant flowers. A lot of good can come from a lot of bad if you are just willing to look for it, trust this and be patient. All will be revealed in time and 2 years from now, I guarantee the heat and passion of whatever thoughts you hold right now will be replaced by something else even more intriguing for you.

I’ve had a rough couple months and a pretty tough day and at first I started getting caught up in outcomes but apparently I’ve been paying attention a little to my spiritual training. I am at peace even though I face yet another dilemma, I face yet another of life’s challenges. I can’t let it ruin my day and I have to remember that none of the things I have to contend with compare to the beauty and peace under this cloudy night sky. Yeah, I miss the stars but even though I can’t see them right now, I know they are there and they are shining brightly as they always are. These life challenges I face are just like clouds blocking my view…I know what’s really behind the clouds and what’s really going on behind the life lessons. I know me, I’ll face them and be fine-- I always am. So, there really is no need to worry or fear or get myself cross-threaded over insignificant things in the scheme of things! Life is good no matter what…whether good day or bad day…I do not change…I’m still standing here breathing, feeling the peace in the eye of a storm. And the storm, heck, it’s really just a sprinkle. I’ve seen worse and withstood it…I’ll be just fine. I know this because it’s a choice I’m making…to be at peace and I’m feeling my choice at a time I normally wouldn’t. I like that. I deeply appreciate this ability to reach above and beyond turmoil. I hope this ability stays with me the rest of my life.

Whatever it is that you face on your journey, you have one thing no one else has…YOU. You’ve got something else we all have and share…LOVE. You will be fine no matter what you do, say or think as long as you choose to be okay. I wish you much strength on your journey…I wish that you always find one shred of a presence of mind to know that you can tap into love and peace in every step that you take. The journey is the destination so enjoy every step. ~Blessings

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Firmer Footing

Cold and alone in the dark,
The chill and my twinkling friends,
The sky is black and vast,
I feel so very small.

I’ve too many thoughts just now,
All clamoring for conscious recognition.
I can almost touch them,
But like smoke, they scatter when I reach for them.

It’s been a long hard emotional journey,
Although life has been infinitely good.
The feeling of stasis overwhelms me,
I feel a drift in a torrential sea.

I stopped struggling some time ago,
And let myself sink below the surface.
I found the silence a comfort,
Even though I felt I couldn’t breathe.

Back to basics and appreciation,
The gossamer thread that holds my mind intact…
That keeps my heart from shattering,
That keeps my soul alive.

I can’t give up so keep swimming.
I keep treading water at times until I tire.
I let the waves crest and wash over me…
Here alone in the blackness.

Although overwhelmed I am hopeful.
I know the dawn is so near.
When the first rays touch my skin,
Enlightenment will crystallize my view.

Until then I’ll just be here…
I’ll breathe and just exist.
The sun will show me the shore is in reach,
And I know I’ll find light and firmer footing.

My Old Friend

I've felt your coming for quite some time now,
But I'm hard-pressed to articulate the specific reasons why.
Maybe it's just a collection of things.

So, my old friend...
Here you are back at more door.
I've no choice but to let you in,
To embrace you instead of running away.

It seems I've run from you for so long,
but now that I've stopped, I know that I can run no longer.
I wish you weren't here but at the same tiem, I'm glad you are.

I know I have to face the fact that,
To live life, I must welcome you...
Because, only through you...
Can I begin to heal and to walk in the light.

I'm beginning to understand your presence,
And why you've come to visit,
I feel your vast depths and intensity,
But, as frightening as you are to me I really think
I'm ready for you this time.

You see, I've learned how to face you...
After all of these years,
To acknowledge you, to feel you completely.

I know the only way I can survive is if I embrace you,
Hold you close and let your intensity overwhelm me,
Because when you are through with me...
I will heal, and you...the pain...will be gone
And I will once again be happy.

Excerpted from Ravenous Reflections - Poetry from the Heart, by Jaie Hart

Wasted Time or Lessons Learned?

I’m an observer by my very nature. I watch everything with a keen eye towards understanding and appreciation. When you are looking at everything with an open mind, there isn’t a lot that you miss. I’ve seen some amazing places that others would think non-descript, not spectacular nor even worth a minute. But I’ll tell you, nothing is more beautiful, precious or amazing than standing in the middle of a forest, leaves spread on the ground as an amazing colorful carpet, looking up seeing the sunlight etch it’s way to the ground lighting the water molecules in the mist as the sun warms cold and wet ground. It’s breath taking. There is also simple beauty in the little things, brightly colored Japanese beetles, deep purple and red pansies or magenta colored petunias. Flowers always seem to hold this simple beauty that amazingly powerful and yet is truly a gentle explosion of creation, an example of mastering its elements and bringing forth beauty, fragrance and peace in its presence…and then, there are human beings walking the planet—some appreciative of all life has to offer, bringing balance, objectivity and gratitude for all that is and there are others whose role or sole job in life is to show us the absence of peace and tranquility.

I’ve watched the distorted angry faces of those craving love, not getting it the way they want and so punishing everyone around them. I’ve seen the turmoil in their eyes as they spin ever out of control lashing out at the world and everyone around them ever the victims of this or of that, never once standing up to take accountability for their own hand in their own undoing. They are no greater or lesser than anyone else on the planet but yet they feel so small inside that the only pleasure and satisfaction they derive in life is watching those they supposedly care for to learn what is treasured with the sole intent of filing that information away to pull out and use as some sort of emotionally deadly weapon in the future that might serve them. Its hard to stand in the presence of such people, see what they really mean as they hurl hurtful words they intend to use to destroy you for possessing something they cannot in their present frame—self love. Misery does indeed love company. As hurtful and frustrating as finding yourself in the presence of wounded people can be, I assure you that you have choices in what you take in, you have choices in what you believe might be true coming from the mouths of the mortally emotionally wounded and you have choices in terms of what you will tolerate in your presence.

Fighting back with these individuals is such a huge waste of time. Let them spill forth their toxic poisonous hurtful words…truth is, the fact that they speak them in such vile fashion truly only hurts them and shows the world that inside they are like angry wounded children or animals unable and unwilling to set themselves free with self love. It is not unloving to walk away from them. It would be unloving to stand there and feel bad about the things that they say. They need and want power to feel good but if you give them nothing, they will tire and go away frustrated and unfulfilled, for the most part. If you love an individual like this, know that standing there and taking their abuse actually only feeds their sick and twisted addiction to pain and adrenaline they hold dearer than you. I say, you must love yourself more…love yourself enough to say “No,” I do not tolerate this toxic poison being thrown at me… “No,” I will not allow you to extract sympathy from me at the cost of my very own soul and self love… “No,” I will not stand in your presence any longer despite who you are to me and your position in my life. For certain wounded people, no position is so sacred that you must stand there and take abuse from a wounded person. If they are willing to get help, point to the light whatever that might be and step back and let them go to it on their own. If they are unwilling, you may need to employ tough love and remove yourself or them from your sphere of every day life.

Life here is not meant to be conflict free. Understand that. Conflict is intended to teach you important life lessons and sometimes that lesson is merely knowing that you cannot walk another’s path for them and you cannot carry them by complacency or enabling behavior. You do not necessarily have to call them out but you can refuse to engage in the games that they play, you can decide to just say no to them and yes to you, yes to peace and yes to serenity. This time of year in particular, these types of difficulties come to mind for so many. There are those “so called” well meaning family members that take great pleasure (it seems) in poking at all of your weak spots or exposing you in some uncomfortable way. When you take offense, you hand over your power to these individuals. So, get real. If you have weak parts, don’t fear exposure. We all have weak spots. When someone likes to push your buttons due to those weak spots, just own them and say “so-what” or “and?” or “thanks for taking my inventory for me, I can take it from here.” And think nothing else of it. Those with the deepest most cluttered inventory of emotional "stuff” they ought to take care of actually spend more time focused on the inventory of others. Its called denial and avoidance. Its easier, when you are undercover weak, to point out how weak everyone else is. Know this and stand up and own your stuff no matter who calls you out and if they call you out wrongly, there is definitely no need to react because that has nothing to do with you.

Sometimes family members can be abusive in subtle (or overt) ways. If you’re holding out hope for the perfectly family get togethers and there are those people in your family, you need to adjust your expectations. You do get to decide what you react to and what you don’t. I always love the blank, silent stare when someone is taking my inventory. I say nothing at all until they get tired and walk away. Keep your power within you by not being fearful that someone may expose you or see your weakness. If I reacted to the hurtful things I’ve had said about me or to me, I’d be one angry and vengeful person. But I learned something spending all this time observing things. Sometimes human interaction is all smoke and mirrors. Folks will focus on your behavior to disguise their own…some are so deluded they even attack you for exhibiting behavior you never have once in your life but they do every day. It’s infuriating if you are expecting unhealthy individuals to behave as healthy ones.

So, hmmmm, holidays…go, enjoy, rise above the drama and conflict…see conflict for what it is…namely, an opportunity to truly see yourself and your reactions or a way to understand how someone else reacts. Be self-aware of your failings in life and own them, work on them to better yourself and when someone else attempts to expose you, you will retain your power during such an exchange. You might also attempt to hold compassion and just sit yourself in a higher place of your soul rather than your ego. Your ego always reacts but you can observe that reaction and if you can observe that reaction, there is a separate consciousness within you that can act to master those urges to react in an unhealthy way for you. Watch your thoughts, hear them but know you are not them. You are love. Surround yourself with people of like mind to your best ability and for those who are different, respect the differences, seek to understand what you might learn from that individual or individuals and know that you can always retain your power by staying balanced, centered and full of self-love. Treat yourselves gently over the coming Holidays. Enjoy family and friends immensely. Be grateful to be alive and living in a world that holds so much beauty if you’ll only be open to seeing it and know that lessons are never a waste of time. ~Blessings

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ego Games

Driving to work yesterday, gorgeous fall sunny morning, radio playing my favorite tune…when suddenly the red car just ahead of me changes lanes without signaling way too short in front of white car…white car nearly takes off my front fender trying to get into my lane just so he can do the same thing to red car.  I watched in awe and I was so sad.  One careless move, for reasons unknown…assumed to be personal and retaliation ensued and then the game continued for about 2 miles and then I lost them in the sun.  It made me so sad to see this.  I can’t tell you how much.  Retaliation and vengeance are so unnecessary, not to mention the harm that might have come to innocent bystanders just to prove an egotistical point.  Wasted time.

Later in the day, in the zone, communications humming right along and I hear it…the sound of someone’s obviously wounded ego taking pleasure in a small way in someone else’s pain.  The pleasure in noticing someone else’s pain was painful for me to hear and witness.  I shook my head silently and looked at the floor.  Sometimes it is so hard to be here at this time and witness the unnecessary pain inflicted again and again and again.  I wish we could all just heal our stuff, find the love within and learn to see situations for what they are, stop making assumptions, stop getting even.  No one’s actions can minimize you in any way.  This is no provisional truth!

I went to sleep last night thinking about this, feeling so sad about this, feeling sort of troubled by this.  But it isn’t anything new.  I witnessed it all of my life.  For the better part of my life I engaged in it in lots of ways but that was before I knew…once I learned, I stopped that for the most part some time ago (thoughts still occur but actions cannot).  The more I got in touch with my Higher self, the less it became necessary for me to save face or to take insults personally.  But I am still learning, I am still growing. 

Today, I watched it again…sitting at a light, another white car first in line at the light.  The light turns green but he doesn’t move.  The black car laid on the horn in seconds and I shook my head as I watched the white car driving 25 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone to get even.  Again, what a waste of time that was…a temporary high, an insult taken personally…impatience – YES…distracted—YES but insults???None! 

Today I thought of these things driving home.  Still a bit troubled…I understand its all about life lessons.  I had to learn in time but its hard to watch others mired in this go-no-where purely egotistical behavior…I missed my turn just lost in my thoughts.  I’ve never done this before.  I usually turn too soon but this time I missed my turn and went right on by.   I drove to the next street and turned right, made another right and a left and I was right back on track.  I got close to the intersection right near my house and then I saw it…a horrible three-car accident had just happened a few minutes before (likely at the time I would have been there had I not been distracted and missed my turn)…the chills, electric, ran across my skin as I watched 3 cars destroyed, wounded people, a wounded animal, a light post on the ground, shattered glass, car parts strewn about and people rushing to try to assist.

The world is a tough place but ultimately I guess  I’m grateful to be here at this time, I’m glad that I notice the things that I notice and the way that I notice them and I’m really grateful for my life’s lessons.  What are yours?  Are you paying attention? ~Blessings

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Judgment and the Overly Positive in the Spiritual Community

Several conversations over the past few days with some very wise souls got me to thinking and while I think, I tend to write because it helps me realize the full meaning of the topical lessons presenting themselves in my life. The post below is a train off thoughts I've been mulling over for a few days and a couple of themes have been brought out in so many situations with so many people I know. I touched on a few of them lightly here in my own way. In writing this article, if I sound frustrated, I honestly do not mean to be. In my own way, while I am being judgmental in the writing of this post, I do so in a space of love, compassion and understanding and wish to remind others who may be interested that there are times when we've gone too far or are incomplete with certain teachings we on at your own risk (smiles). I hope you enjoy or at least this provokes some thoughts. And, please feel free to share them with me! :)

And so, it goes....

While walking the spiritual path I have seen some amazing and wonderful things. I have experienced the highest of highs, pure joy and smiles. I have also experienced the lowest of lows, pure sadness and pain. That is the way of the spiritual path. It is not all wine and roses as some would have you believe. If you think, think, and think positive and bad things still happen around you, it is not because you are doing something wrong. It is because there are lessons you sought to learn in this lifetime for the enrichment of your soul and to assist with the enlightenment of others as you grow through life. Pretty simple huh?

I wish that you could see and experience the love I have been witness to when a soul group comes together and freely gives love and encouragement to the group just for the pure joy of giving with no expectation of receiving. I wish that you would never have to experience the dire disappointment of folks posing as light beings out to exercise their psychological drama on you. I have seen much on my spiritual journey. But then again, perhaps dealing with the darker aspects of the journey can be just as enriching as the lighter aspects. I guess it depends on what you do with what you learn.

I wish to turn to the darker side for a moment. And I speak of this not to tell a story of reinforcement of negativity but to shine a little light of awareness as you journey on your own spiritual path. Spiritual gatherings and communities here on Earth are made up of people. People who, for the most part, have similar paths or purpose, or so they think. However, people are people no matter what you do and where you are. The reality is, the ego exists and carries its wounded parts in sometimes underground fashion and manifests as passive-aggressive behavior, jealousy over the gifts possessed by others, harmful judgment for the purpose of exploiting one’s own wounds without realizing it and even envy. I’ve witnessed wise seeming souls unleash on others who make an inquiry, deviate from a speaker/writer’s position…I’ve seen people behave very poorly and use scripture to condemn others and I’ve seen people’s wounded egos trample on the hearts of those who really just wish to learn and understand. Its very difficult to watch and very painful to feel. It happens though. No matter how hard we try, we all have ego, we all have environmental psychology that shapes our view for good or ill and we all have lessons to learn even from the smallest of teachers no matter how much we think we have learned.

There are those who sincerely wish to uplift others in the spiritual community. They have been given much and understand that to keep some gifts flowing, they must be given away. There are those who gather followers like collecting nick knacks and they gauge their worth in life by how many followers they attract. There are those who use an influential position to minimize others. There are those who share words underground striking a balance in between somewhere. None of them are wholly good and none of them are wholly evil. Actions are actions and the results are mere consequences of actions taken. No matter what anyone does, there will be those on the sidelines very quick to judge and I might add with not one stitch of compassion, not one ounce of understanding and with all the ugliness that can live within man unleashed on another individual on the path for some self-righteous reason. Self-righteousness can be deadly. Not to over quote what has already been over quoted but have you ever read St. Mathew 7? It reads in part: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest though the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt though say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye: and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt though see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

We must be judgmental to a certain degree but it is how we judge that is the key. If you are very quick to take inventory of all around you in their wrong-doings but refuse to take inventory of all that is not right within you, you are merely a hypocrite escaping your own troubles and trials by focusing on someone else’s faults. If you judge and wish to bring a matter to someone’s attention, do so not with loathing and malice in your heart but with love, compassion, understanding and gentle (not brutal) sincere honesty. You may be making assumptions. You may not understand the situation. You also may see what’s wrong in others because of what is wrong or has been wrong in you. It’s important to pay attention to your motivation for bringing your judgment to another’s attention. Are you in a space of love, compassion and understanding meaning to help and assist? Or, do you wish merely to be right while making another smaller in your judgment? Self-righteousness can often backfire. None of us is any better than our brothers or sisters here. We all have our lessons to learn, honesty to entertain, have things within to fix and transform and understanding to gain. We must use discernment daily in order to choose what is really right for us and what is not right for us. We must use discernment in a healthy way in order to help us mature and grow here.

It’s easy to point the finger at others and tell them they are wrong. One thing I always remember is that when I point the finger at another and call them wrong, there are 3 fingers pointing back at no one else but me. So, the spiritual community is not unlike any other kind of community. There are those that are emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy and there are those who are not. There are those who are open to honest and sincere constructive criticism and there are those of us in denial. We’re no different than anyone else in any group, in any civilization in the world. It’s how we deal with what we see that brings us closer to our spirituality or builds a wall that separates us from true spirituality. It is up to us to discern what that is. It is up to us to make sure, as the Matthew verse indicates that we are taking care of our own stuff because without taking care of our own stuff, there is no way we can help others take care of their stuff. If what you say is not about instilling growth, hope or faith in someone else, bite your tongue before it bestows upon someone else an egotistical judgment designed to make you right at the expense of making someone else wrong. There is a danger here, always.

For myself, I’ve had folks come at with me screaming hellfire and brimstone is my ultimate destiny because I do not follow this or that spiritual path. I remind them that they were not assigned my personal gurus and if they do not like what they see in me, their thoughts and focus is within their control, they can change the channel and move on instead of making exorbitant efforts to convince me of my wrongness and their rightness. I’m human and am wrong about all sorts of things but the caring soul that comes to me with gentle honesty designed to help and enlighten rather than diminish and belittle will gain my ultimate respect…and in that moment, they would in fact become a beneficial teacher. So, the reality is, there is judgment in this world. I’ve said often that I try not to judge. That’s not really true. I strive not to judge in a way that is unhealthy and would never open my mouth until I’m certain I am in a space of love, compassion and understanding. If I am at all feeling ego-triggered with jealousy or envy, I will shut my mouth until I deal with my own stuff. But that’s me. I get to choose and if I don’t like what I see, I can change the channel—turn my focus away from what I don’t like or disagree with. It’s my prerogative.

Another challenge with the spiritual community and some motivational speakers in particular is that they unrealistically focus on just the positive without providing real and valid assistance in dealing with the negative. You just might manifest that brand new Ferrari but what if you crash it the next day, the accident is your fault and you’re about to lose everything—now what? How are you going to deal with that? Along with the conscious understanding of how to create and think positively, you must also be taught to deal with conflict and drama constructively. Drama and conflict can be truly wonderful guides but definitely they are not for the weak of constitution. Dramatic people exist all around us and for very good reason…how can we be drama free? Conflict occurs in every city, every day, every year. How can you be free of conflict? It does not go away by refusing to see it. You cannot be callus and think you have no hand in conflict coming at you or others…well, yeah you can but that isn’t solving the problem. Nothing is solved in your life by ignoring it.

Yes, we must work hard to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. No, we should not expect that in this life we will be drama and conflict free. Yes, we should strive to deal with drama and conflict in a healthy way for us. No, we should not beat ourselves up when our manifestation doesn’t work like we planned. Yes, we should be honest with ourselves and responsible when in an influential position. No, we should not accept negative thoughts that derail our own self love. Yes we should love unconditionally, starting with the self and that means setting boundaries with those we love if they are hurting us. No, we should not ignore behavior in ourselves that indicates we are wounded. We should deal with our stuff so that we can enjoy life. Yes, we should be there for others and try to bring others along as we journey. No, we should never put people down for difference in opinion, fight to be right at the expense of making someone else wrong. Yes, we should judge but do so lovingly. No we should not ignore the drama and conflict but trust that it has purpose, good purpose even if we cannot see it when it occurs.

The spiritual community where ever you find it is made up of fellow travelers. All are on different parts of the journey and some are on similar parts. Others will have tough life lessons that will take longer to learn and some will pick it up lightening quick. We should not envy or judge unkindly as we journey because when we do, that is what we will ultimately create for ourselves. My honest wish as I look out on the horizon at the spiritual community is that each finds his or her way to true emotional, psychological and spiritual healing so that they can live a happier and more meaning full life and as they transform the challenges and lessons that they learn, I pray they take 10 or more people along with them in a good way and so on, and so on. When you run across those that are just not your cup of tea, you can focus away from those people or “change the channel” with your thoughts. Its not always your job to fix everyone. Sometimes your only job is to fix you and find middle ground for dealing with conflict, joy, drama and happiness amongst your family, friends and the spiritual community. Much love, light and blessings to you all~!

Thanks IS and AD for the thought provoking conversations!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Impromtu Walk

I took an impromptu walk today noticing a stretch of empty land behind a shopping center.  The sun was just up, beautiful deep green dew covered grass spread up and down hills and I could almost hear my inner child staying, “Can we go, please, an adventure, can we check it out, come on, please?????”  So, I relented and explored for a few moments.  Sadly, the homeless and disrespectful filled this park.  There was trash everywhere but there were also stretches where you could catch a glimpse of the beauty that once was in this particular area, right in the middle of the suburbs.  Its land that the Newland’s donated to the city a long time ago.  Their old farmhouse still stands on Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach, CA.  It was such a quiet little hilly place and I actually found a seemingly untouched spot where I could stand there and listen to the birds while taking in the view of a natural landscape of trees and shrubs.  It was really beautiful.

Sad to me,  however, where the sights walking back to my car.  People, homeless, everything they own in their cars with barely enough room to sleep.  It made my heart ache.  Everyone’s situation isnt the same and some of these folks are here by their own choices in life.  I had a family member once who did not seem to get along with work for long.  This family member just couldn’t function with her emotional ups and downs, back pain treated only with lots of pain medication and alcohol refusing treatment that might bring long-term results.  As a result, this family member was able to become qualified for early disability from the federal government and tried to live off of a mere $600 a month and food stamps--  Very tough to do in this day and age.  Because of the emotional challenges she faced unchecked, she was frequently asked to move from roommate situations and eventually dealt with frequent bouts of homelessness, run ins with the law and getting to know the underside of society.  These were the results of the choices that she made.  She could have chosen differently but could not bring herself too.  Maybe it was the emotional challenges left unchecked that lived totally underground while in the system…hidden so that the wounds could never be brought to the surface where real healing could begin.  I’m just not sure and it’s not my place to judge but I thought of this family member as I walked by and saw a woman sleeping in her car with very likely everything she owned.

There is a tiny sliver between that woman and I…maybe that is an understatement…gratefully and graciously I’ve been blessed with good emotional, physical and mental health.  I’ve been blessed with a drive and ambition to never settle for less.  But I do contrast that, in particular with my family member.  This poor soul believes she has been victimized by the system, by men, by God, by me and the rest of the family.  Everyone else in existence is accountable for her predicament but her.  How do you combat delusional thoughts such as these?  I don’t know.  I remember another time down by the Pier in Huntington Beach.  I went early for a walk and a man came and sat down right by me.  He wanted a few bucks for some breakfast and I had just that and gave it to him.  He started to tell me his story and I told him it wasn’t necessary for him to explain anything.  He is who he is, his path is his path, I gave him what he asked for and nothing else was necessary.  He told me he just needed someone to listen.  So, I did.  He told me he had it all—a house, a wife, 3 beautiful daughters.  He lost his job and couldn’t provide for them.  He had become so depressed he could not function and could not work.  He began drinking heavily and he lost everything…the wife, the kids, his dignity and self-respect.  He depended on friends until they could or would support him no more and now here he sits, at the beach, homeless.  He said with everything in him, he wanted to walk straight into the water and never come out.  Still I just listened.  He said his piece and I looked at him and said, “In case you forgot, you are a child of God just like the rest of us…inside- you are beautiful and your life has purpose even if you can’t see it right now.”  He just shook his head and said he would never understand.   I said a prayer for him right then and there…told him God bless and left.  I felt sad but again I could see choices made and maybe those choices were made due to ill mental or emotional health.  If people knew they had wounds and that there was nothing wrong in seeking some direction for healing those emotional and mental wounds, maybe they could make better choices but the ego is tricky sometimes.  It’s by far better to drop out of the system, society and lose everything than to admit at some level you might be a bit defective???  Unrealized is that imperfectness is perfect for that soul in this world.

I tried to detach and hold as much compassion as I could.   But to me it seems easy – go get some help…but, I forget, I am mostly emotionally and mentally stable.  Some folks are not and they seem unable or unwilling to get there.  Do they deserve hatred, disdain or pity?  No, not at all.  What they need is love and compassion, some empathy rather than sympathy…they need to know they can make different choices and get help.  Sometimes we have to realize that it isn’t our jobs to stop all suffering but maybe, perhaps shine a little light on the path so the willing can get their own volition.  I don’t know.  It just had me thinking.

Tonight I am grateful, incredibly so, for the many gifts I’ve been given…I’m grateful for every choice that I have ever made and so very grateful for those in my life who refused to sympathize with me and instead showed me love, compassion and empathy…those things shined a little light on the path a few steps ahead of me so I could walk in the right direction.  So, if you would, if you are so inclined…say a little prayer for the homeless…that they become healed and willing to see the little bit of light shown them on their path… that they might learn and grow and stand steadfast in the love and beauty that is inside of them. ~Blessings