Monday, September 28, 2015

Peaceful Practice

In my mind I keep hearing the Eagles singing the title of their song, Peaceful Easy Feeling. My assignment this week? Cultivate that feeling despite what might be going on around me. Have you heard of the spiritual saying, “Do not allow the behavior of others to steal your inner peace?” Yeah, well me too and I gotta tell you, it’s a slippery bastard to master.

Conflict and animosity seemed to be hiding around every corner since last we met, jumping out at me in an effort to through me off balance. Sometimes I fell for its trickery, my ego hopping aboard the “I Am Going to Prove I’m Right Express”, but as I found my inner peace waning I chose to make a conscious and concerted effort to exit at the next platform where my heart was openly waiting to embrace me and those that seemed to be intent on manifesting misery.

Just as soon as I had disembarked the crazy train, strolling through the land of acceptance and calm, I was met once again, and again, and yet again by the hostile natives. They wanted to go to war, clawing and shredding my newly donned monastic robes, not sing John Lennon’s rendition of Give Peace a Chance. It seemed as though any old trigger within my psyche that had the slightest spark remaining was intentionally set aflame by the locals, their joy in direct proportion to the degree of agony and discomfort they might cause me. For my part, I appeared to perform my own unique tap dance as I jumped about stomping out those fires.

I must say, it was exhausting. Many times I had to pause to catch my breath, breathing in the tranquility and out the drama. The only thing that kept me tentatively tethered to serenity was repeatedly hearing the phrase, from some wiser part of me or the universe, “Don’t let another steal your inner peace.” “Right!” was my soul’s response as I made yet another shift back to center.

So, how did it all end? (And yes, thankfully it did end.) Well, I wouldn’t say I am a sensei of the art I explored this week, but if grades were to be handed out I would give myself an ‘A’ for my efforts. Simply put, I tried. Truthfully that is all that can be asked of us- to try. We are not here to ace each and every obstacle that might stand in our path, we are only encouraged to break away from unconsciousness so that we might remember once again that we are the masters of our own universe.

Be well and happy. 

Monday, September 21, 2015


I’ve come to confess, each one of you my witness. I’ve a few flaws. Shocked, I’m sure you’re not because I stand in good company. Let’s have a show of hands, anybody else out there bear any blemishes? Anybody? Don’t be shy, we all come with a less than pristine rap sheet. Perhaps if I share with you what I know to be true about myself you might find it easier to bring to light that which you have been trying to keep in the shadows.

Anger and I share a close bond. I tend to hold onto it long past its expiration date, some part of me believing it is necessary for my very survival.

I have a tendency towards self-centeredness. While on my personal growth journey I can become so self-absorbed, focusing on what is going on inside of me, that I forget that there is a larger world that exists outside of my head.

Selfish I can be. I am not the congenial person on the road that waves you ahead of them in the construction zone. Okay, I might let you in but my natural proclivity is to speed up so you can’t get in front of me, as though I was once again standing in line in my elementary school days. And if you do happen to sneak your way into line before me, I fantasize about ramming my truck into you. True story.

Stubborn is part of my DNA. It takes monumental effort to sway my thought and opinions, however erroneous they might be. After all, I think very highly of those opinions.

When tired, the only thing I have to give is hostility. Waves of malice permeate the air to keep all at bay and if that’s not enough, I call in the daggers which will shoot from my eyes.

I have all the patience in the world, until I don’t. It is then that I must make monumental efforts to not say the unkind thoughts racing through my brain. Sometimes, the thoughts win that battle.

In my unconscious moments I am judgmental of others I deem to be less conscious than me. Ironic?

Is that enough for you to understand that I have my faults? I’m sure there might be some other qualities that can caste me even further in a less than tolerable light. But the point I’m trying to make, is that I own all of those behaviors. I could give various explanations for how all these traits came to be, and they might hold some weight, but the fact remains they still exist. I’m not necessarily proud of my list of failings but neither am I ashamed.

We are not the sum of our “sins”, instead they are but momentary expressions of part of us. In truth I, and you I’m sure, have just as many stellar and loving traits. It is when we openly admit our personality quirks that they begin to lose their power over us and are less likely to make surprise guest appearances. In addition, they can no longer be used as ammunition for those moments that another decides to shine the spotlight on our personal warts because we have already seen them in all their glory.

Denial has no place on this leg of the journey, but acceptance should be relied upon heavily. Acceptance doesn’t mean, “That’s just how I am, so deal with it.” No, no, no. It simply implies the acknowledgement that we are not perfect, ahhh, and while striving to not inflict harm upon others with our weaponry, well, we sometimes have a misfire. Perhaps a fitting title is “Embracing Your Inner Ass”, the goal being that we cease to judge ourselves and instead hold ourselves. After all, it is our Inner Ass that requires the most understanding, transforming ever so slightly when met with a loving and compassionate heart.

Be well and happy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Popularity Contest

Today’s world of social media has afforded us with the opportunity to reach far and wide. Never before in history have we been able to “touch” and connect with others the way we do today. Certainly this technology has spread valuable and important information to many that before may have been limited in its reach. This of course is an amazing feat but with it there can come a price.

There seems to be a non-stop and rapidly expanding arsenal of the latest tools for us to reach out into the ethers. Every time we turn around someone somewhere is telling us of the importance of gaining new followers and growing our numbers. The equation seems to be that the larger your audience number the more likable and important you are, sort of like the popular kids in school. Didn’t it always seem the poplar kids were the ones in the know and the ones to know that were held in higher regard by the masses? Today we label the masses “friends” and “followers” and the popularity contest is still going strong.

Surely you know it was a lie then and it still is. At any given moment you can click on your Facebook or Twitter page, for example, and see a continual flux in your approval rate. I know because I’ve watched mine wax and wane. Certainly no one would call my stats impressive but after each high or low finding, for an instant, my mind believes the message I’ve been fed. If my numbers go up, well then I did something “right” and if someone unfriends me or ceases to follow me then the first question is, “What did I do wrong?”

This continual drive to for an endorsement is exhausting. In answer to the question of, “What did I do right or wrong?” the answer is, “Probably nothing,” on both accounts. We are bombarded with the notion that if we post a gripping photo, most inspirational quote or profound educational link we will somehow be rewarded with a greater audience as a means of measuring the value of our content and us. We invest our mental energies in the magic formula. I find it to be a lie perpetrated by our egos.

The truth is that how people treat and react to us, whether in cyberspace or face-to-face, has far less to do with us and is more directly linked to them. What is going on, or not, in their inner and outer world has far greater impact on how they respond to us than our efforts at tossing out the most ideal elements. We would be better served to shift our focus to authenticity.

Share and convey what is true for you and that which speaks of the gifts and insights you can offer, it will resonate with people or it won’t. You are no less important or relevant if you have 100 followers or 30 million. You will reach and touch those you are meant to serve, let that be your inspiration and cease playing the numbers game. Know that your worth can only be found in your own heart, not social media, and all that is required is the number 1- and that would be you.

Be well and happy.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Easy Street

I've been working on project that is of significant importance and size for me personally. I've made conscious efforts to keep it low key, telling very few people what I am possibly formulating. I have my reasons, mostly that continually talking about it to a multitude of others seems to leak some of the energy required to create my vision. But now I've come to a stage of the process where I am in need of more external and professional guidance.
You see I initially approached this venture intentionally not seeking any expert advice or coaching. I wanted it to be authentic, for me it felt as though if I weighed my mind down with all the "shoulds" and "musts" I would lose my voice. At this stage I stand holding that which I've been shaping and molding and know I am in need of some additional and qualified input so that I might represent myself and my work in its best and true light. Now comes the fine tuning and I require another pair of eyes to to help me with the refining touches. I knew this stage was coming but nevertheless I did not welcome it.
"Ugh," was my mind's response to to what I was about to do. All I could see and feel was more work coming my way and pressure to get it right as someone else began to shine a light on matters that I had overlooked. "Why am I doing this to myself?" I wondered. Of course when I posed that question I was referring to embarking on this adventure as a whole. But, what soon became clear to me was that I should be asking this same question about the mindset I had approaching this next level. "Yes, why am I doing this to myself- preceding as if all that follows will be fraught with stress, strain and toil?" All that created for me was misery and the feelings of an insurmountable task.
Every day I set the intention to live with love, ease and compassion. While all three are applicable for any area of our lives, it was the word "ease" that was attempting to guide me. The light bulb that had begun to dim in my unconsciousness began to flicker back once more, reminding me that the universe was not hellbent on creating misery for me. When I received the feedback that I was asking for on my project I could be consumed with an overwhelming exasperation at the task that was before me or I could permit myself to believe the truth that none of this has to be hard. Of course I could continue with ease. That's not to say I could turn on Netflix, sit on my couch and watch season after season of some TV series that peaked my interest. The universe could not perform my tasks for me, but it would willingly make the road a smooth one if I allowed it. Inching closer to my goal would require effort on my part but it did not have to be work. Those two words hold a very different energy and I chose to see the path before as a gentle and joyous unfolding, not one comparable to the drudgery of a state mandated hard labor sentencing.
Another layer in embracing the ease factor was to not get caught up into how I was going to accomplish all that lay before me. My mind saw the mountain I had to climb and said, "How the hell am I ever going to get to the top of that?" I felt as though I wanted to abandon this ridiculous and grandiose trek and save myself the hassle. The answer to my question was, "I don't know." But here's the twist, I could drown in the feelings of ineptness or I could give myself permission to not have all the answers mapped out. On the heels of, 'I don't know' was the next key phrase on easy street, "...and that's okay."
All that was truly being asked of me was to take one step, not the entire journey in one fell swoop, and allow it to be fun and inviting. And so I began, letting go of the big picture and instead giving my time and focus to one key factor, being sure to ask for the universe's support as I embarked on the next stage. That was also key for me to ask for guidance and support as it released the notion that this was all up to me to figure out. "Nah," the universal beings seemed to be saying to me. "We've got your back and this is a team effort." And so I began with an air of lightness and excitement on this next leg of my adventure.
Our society not so subtly implies that any goal we set or strive to meet requires blood, sweat and tears and if none of that is present as we make our way through life and towards our dreams, well then we're not giving it our all. I challenge that. We can give our all an expect it to be buoyed in an idyllic easiness as the helping hands of the universe reach out to us and say, "Let's begin."
Be well and happy.