The Darkest Day and The Birth of a New Sun (Things that Make You Go Hmmmm)…

Sun Rising

Today is the winter solstice.  It is the darkest day of the year.  In ancient times, these days were revered – not through the act of commercialism the way Christmas is celebrated today – but by taking the time to honor the movement of our solar system.  The winter solstice was celebrated as the “birth of a new sun.”  (Sound familiar)?  In ancient times, man knew that he was part of a greater whole.  Architecture all over our planet was divinely inspired and designed around the movements of the planets and stars, as were the stories you read in the scriptures (Fish = Sun in Pisces.  Ram = Sun in Aries.  Bull = Sun in Taurus.  Virgin = the Sun in Virgo).  These stories were not meant to be read literally the way we teach them today.  We have taken a story about our solar system and diluted it into a one-dimensional religion, but the true story is one of greater wisdom.  It teaches that we are not separate from our creator, but that we are all one divine consciousness playing the role of many.

I used to be confused about what it means to be “one” consciousness playing the role of many.  I was taught the watered down version of the story of Christmas, and throughout my life I felt lost.  Feeling lost and confused contributed to my self-destructive behavior, but I became incredibly curious about the whole thing and began searching my way to feeling connected.  All along, I had a hunch that there was something more to life than constantly asking forgiveness for my “sins.”  I was a curious person, and it became exasperating to feel like I was doing something wrong simply because I wanted to know more than I was taught, so I decided to trust my gut while defying everything I learned while sitting in a pew.  It has been ten years, almost to the day, and I went from feeling insignificant and separate from God, to feeling empowered and connected to all that is.

How do you explain that we are “one” when there are so many of us living various lives?  It is actually very simple.  All you have to do is take a giant step back from everything.  While we are experiencing darkness in the evening, the other side of the planet experiences daylight.  When you see this from the point of view of somewhere out in space, you can observe the whole of this, rather than the parts.  You can see that the sun is radiating one side of the planet, while the moon is reflecting light from the sun to illuminate the other side of the planet.  It all works in harmony, and there is no separation.  Go back a little further… now a little further… and there you see the entire solar system as one giant organism working together as a whole.  Everything is connected and moving together in sync.  There is a cosmic order occurring, and no true separation.

Sometimes you must take a giant step back in order to discover a wholeness to that which seems fragmented.  When I am confused about my life, and when my life seems disorderly, I must remember that it is all working together for a greater whole (or a greater purpose).  There is a way to find harmony within the chaos because there is no true chaos when you observe life as a whole.  On a smaller scale, life may seem unruly and disorderly, especially in today’s society, but on a greater scale, all of it can easily be summed up to a conscious shift occurring on the planet.  People are waking up, while others are fighting to remain asleep.  They do not know that they are doing this, but the battles we fight are always based in fear.  When people stop fearing and begin walking in their freedom and waking up (which many people are doing now), the fear grows greater in those that are asleep, and then there arises a great need to protect the “illusion” of reality.  The illusion of reality is that we are separate.  Religions desperately fight to remain separate.  If they are separate, then it proves their existence, you see.  The fear rises when people believe that they will cease to exist without an identity of who they are.  The truth is that once you let go of the fear of trying to “exist” on this planet, you realize that you are everything – not just one thing.  You are not just an image – you are all there is.  We fear letting go of our images, including labels of “Christianity,” but the irony is that Jesus never labeled himself, except to say that he was all there is and all there ever will be – the I AM.  Ultimately, this is what we all are.  The images we try to preserve are not truth.  They are merely preserving the fears of humanity.

Religions and political parties segregate themselves from the whole, claiming that they are “right.”  This causes great friction, especially because many people are claiming to be “right.”  Take a giant step back and you will see that right and wrong mean nothing on the grander scale.  The true battle is between fear and freedom – love and hate.  But these too, are merely opposite spectrums on the same plane of reality.  There is no true separation.  When people begin waking up, they will understand that it is only in their mind that we are not “one.”  The battle has always been to preserve the illusion of separation, when all along we are one source of energy, playing the roles of many.

Why is this?  If you are curious like me, you will seek out the answer to this question.  It is a great question to ask, and to continue asking – like a beautiful game of hide-n-seek with the divinity within you.  We constantly need to be reminded of the soul within the temple of our human body (Soul = Solar).  “As above, so below.”  Our own bodies are a reflection of the solar system.  On this final day of three of the darkest days in our solar year, let us honor the rebirth of our sun, which is a beautiful reminder of who we truly are.  The sun has risen after three days of darkness… (Hmmmmmm, that really does sound familiar).

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Embracing Your Quirks Along with Your Qualities

We all have sides to ourselves that we don’t like.  I don’t want to know or admit that I can be moody, or argumentative.  I want to believe that I am incredibly balanced, super zen, and supremely centered.  The truth is, I can be those things, but I also deal with bouts of anxiety followed by terrible panic attacks.  I grow restless sometimes.  I get irritable.  I still have moments where anger comes up for me, and there is a dark side of myself that doesn’t rear its head often, but it’s undoubtedly there.  I’m human, you know?  And we all are, so rather than trying to rid ourselves of the parts of ourselves that we don’t exactly like, or trying to pretend that we are all that, we should be willing to accept our quirks and learn how to look at them without judgment.

Without judgment?  Yes, without judgment.  There are so many parts of myself that I wish I could change, and I’m constantly working on myself, but I still mess up in life and say the wrong things to people, or get trapped in gossip sessions.  I am not consistently serene.   Every day has its challenges – and people, places and things often pull me in ways and bring out dark parts of myself that I didn’t even know still existed.  I surprise myself at how balanced I can be in certain settings, and also how unglued I can become in other situations, but there is no need for alarm.  If we begin accepting the stuff we don’t like about ourselves, we learn to laugh, rather than scorn ourselves for those things.  Laughter can alleviate the negativity, and it will transform a heavy situation into something more palatable.  Life is life.  It’s difficult.  On top of all of life’s unpredictable nuances, we have moods and stresses that push and prod us, often without our permission.  It’s ok that we are quirky and moody and sometimes unfiltered.  I think the best thing we can do is be self-aware and when we feel like we’ve made a mistake, or when we overstep our boundaries, we simply need to take a step back, re-evaluate and take responsibility.

I think the most difficult situations are when we screw up and we take responsibility, yet another person is affected and does not accept our apology.  When someone else judges us for our quirks, or for our mistakes, it makes it difficult not to judge ourselves, but we still need to learn to let go of what other people are harboring about us.  Most of us are doing our best, and sometimes we are caught off-guard in life.  If this affects someone else and you’ve said your apologies to no avail, then the only thing you can do is let go and move on, and allow that person to have their experience, or to cut you off if that’s what they choose to do.  Beating yourself up never does anyone any good.  Life is way too short to spin out about things you cannot change.  Take responsibility, learn from your mistakes, trust that you are unconditionally loved and always being guided.  Let go.  It’s ok.  Life goes on and you’re allowed to make mistakes here.  Earth is a playground of learning experiences.

I read this cute thing online the other day that some people call taking one step forward and two steps back, a “setback,” while some of us call that a “cha-cha.”  I really liked that.  It’s true.  As a recovering alcoholic, I have overcome challenges that I thought I would never overcome in this lifetime, but once in a while that old addict returns out of nowhere and wreaks havoc within me.  I cannot help this.  It’s just part of who I am as a person in recovery.  I am certain that I will deal with this for the remainder of my life, and when it comes up, I have to sit with it and talk about it and stare it in the face, but I can no longer judge it, because it is part of my own humanness.  The one thing I know is that I have beat it before.  I have moved through the cravings and the restlessness and the negative thoughts with flying colors, so when these things arise, I know there is light on the other side.  I don’t hate myself because of my challenges.  I learn to cha-cha with them without resistance.  It’s a fun little dance, you see?  It’s good when these things come up for me because it’s a reminder that I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.  I certainly do not want to go backward, but I am in no way, shape or form at a point of arrival.  We just keep moving forward and picking ourselves up when we fall, and laughing at ourselves for being so human.  Life is not asking you to be perfect.  It’s simply asking for your participation.

Don’t dwell on the negative stuff about yourself.  Just let it be there and observe it, and know that it’s something you can work on, but don’t ever buy into an idea that you’re less-than or not worthy.  Have compassion for yourself and move forward, regardless of how other people judge you.  We all here doing this thing called life, which is not in the least bit easy.  The challenges are set before us for our personal growth.  It doesn’t matter what other people think.  What matters is that you continue moving forward and taking responsibility and trying.  Don’t ever give up on yourself.  Surround yourself with people who care about you, and let go of those that don’t.  You will never please everyone, and not everyone is going to accept you.  The most important thing is that you accept yourself in all of your variations.  Keep the cha-cha in mind, and embrace all that you are.  If you can laugh at yourself, no one else will have power over you.

The Point of Being One in the Midst of Seven Billion Others on a Very Small Planet

Universe in your hands

I had a serious moment of clarity last weekend.  Not one with white lights and angels singing or anything.  It was simple, and it about knocked me out of my boots, which were wet from the rain and needed to be removed anyway.  The thought has only crossed my mind once before while I was watching that movie, ‘Adaptation’ a couple of years ago.  It was this powerful scene where Nicolas Cage and Nicolas Cage were talking.  He played the role of twins.  While one of the twins was dying (the less egotistical one), his brother reminded him about this girl whom he loved in high school who didn’t love him in return, and he was questioning his brother as to why he would love someone who pretty much made fun of him behind his back.  His brother was very clear about the whole thing and explained that it was “his love.”  The love belonged to him, and it didn’t matter if she didn’t love him back because it was his own experience.  That love was his, you see.

I was incredibly moved by that scene.  I mean, it really tore me up inside because it is such a beautiful thing to realize that love is not something you need returned.  It is simply something you experience and give, and stand in awe of, because it’s so much greater than you, and it is eternal.  To expect something in return for your love is cutting off the flow of the love.  It takes away from the full experience.

But this post today is not really about love.  It’s about life and how you can easily cut off the experience of it if you expect something outside of the moment to return a favor.  I do this a lot, and it hit me that this experience of life is exactly what it’s all about.  I can go on for years desiring all kinds of things that I don’t have right now, and expecting, rather than just standing in awe of this whole incredible experience, but it’s more than simply being present.  It’s understanding that the whole point of being here is simply to enjoy it. There’s nothing more to it, which makes it so worthwhile.

Let me explain it this way.  I have always felt a fire under my ass each morning when I wake up, to accomplish something, or to be somebody in the world, which is a horrible standard to live by and I’ll tell you why.  Because if I’m not accomplishing something, or being somebody, then I feel like my life is worth nothing.  That’s incredibly depressing.  To be one of seven billion people on a planet that is smaller than a molecule in the whole grand scheme of the universe, is depressing enough, so I’ve asked myself for most of my life what the point is, and I’ve gone out of my way to figure out what the point is.  I’ve even gone so far and been so arrogant as to think that I’ve got a purpose for being here.  And sure – I guess if you want to break it down to having a purpose, then we all can say that we have been given certain gifts or talents to enhance the whole experience, but still, in the grand scheme of the universe, who really cares?  Who cares if I’m a Queen or if I am a beggar for the small amount of time that I am here?  In the grand scheme of the universe, neither of those things matter at all.  It is only in man’s egotistical mind that those things matter, so again – what is the point? That’s where my moment of clarity hit me.  The point is to simply take it all in while I am here.

I am this person who is having this whole life experience that no one else on this planet is having, and so are you.  You are having a whole life experience that NO ONE ELSE on this planet out of seven billion people, is having.  Wow.  Just think about that for a moment.  Now what are you going to do with that?  The best thing you can do is take it all in.  Really.  Take.  It.  All.  In.  Not just the good stuff, but also the heartache, the pain, the sorrow, the confusion, the anger, the traffic and the brown desk that sits there and taunts you and reminds you that you are stuck in a meaningless job.  FEEL that, and know that you right here, right now are the only one having this exact experience.  And then revel in that knowing, because that my friend, is the point.

The point is to feel it all.  To take it all in while you’re here.  To be like, WOW, this is me having this whole experience that no one else in the entire universe is having.  That’s HUGE.  It’s incredibly beautiful, and I don’t know about you, but for the first time ever – it’s enough for me.  It’s plenty.  I’m like – FINALLY!  That’s what it’s all about, and I’m done pining for things I don’t have because, dude, this right here is flippen fantastic.  Me in this body, that I am always wanting to change, and me with this skin that is growing older, and me with these people that I’ve been given (called my children), are no one else’s experience but mine, and that makes me feel incredibly unique and special and worth something.  I’m not just one of seven billion people on a planet that is smaller than a molecule in the whole scheme of the universe.  I’m the sum total of all my experiences while I’m here, and I’m going to take it all in while I’m here, because that’s enough.  It’s plenty.  It’s all I ever needed to know, really.  Now I can finally stop questioning everything, and begin living this beautiful life that belongs to me. Because it’s all mine and there is so much to take in. Wow.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_?ie=UTF8&k=books+by+j.+l.+forbes

Thanking the People in Your Life Who Have “Done You Wrong”

Cover for In Lieu of a Dragon Tale

Abuse comes in all forms, from emotional to physical, and the abuse is passed down from one person to the next.  It is extremely unlikely that an abuser has been nurtured in a balanced and healthy environment.  Most people who are mentally and emotionally abusive are unaware of their control issues, nor do they have any sort of self-esteem because of what has been inflicted upon them and taken away from them, usually in childhood.  We know this when we deal with abusive people in our lives, but how often do we find compassion for them?  It is so much easier to take the stance of a victim and to blame that person for most or some of our “issues.”  I am writing this today because I was walking with a friend yesterday who was terribly neglected by her adopted mother, and even after the mother has passed away, my friend is still harboring a lot of anger from her childhood.

I asked my friend this question:  “Although your mom was abusive, neglectful and caused you pain, what positive influence did she have on your life?  I mean, when people push us to the point of misery, and cause us to want to rebel, often we go to the extremes to prove them wrong in some way, shape, or form.  Their behavior toward us has a direct influence on some of our biggest life decisions.  How did your abusive mother push you in your life, which proved positive?”

My friend considered this for a moment and then relayed to me that she would have never left home as early as she had, and taken several opportunities to travel the world if it weren’t for her mom driving her to the point of practically running out the front door.  My friend has been all over the planet because she refused to remain home in that abusive relationship with her mother.  She has literally seen most everything there is to see out there, in all of her childhood fury.  She went out and found her place in the world because she had no place with her own mom.  How empowering that relationship truly was for my friend.

In my own life, I have recognized other people’s “bad or weird” behaviors as an opportunity to look at my own self and see how I can change (clean up my side of the street) in order to navigate in a balanced way with those people.  Other people enter our lives to show us something about ourselves.  We think that life is incredibly random, but if nature shows us anything, it proves that it is clearly balanced, and it is constantly rebalancing, healing, growing, providing, etc.  When we are physically hurt, our body immediately sends signals to our brain to rush in extra blood so that it can begin the healing process.  It is no different in our emotional, spiritual and mental experiences of life.  The universe always provides people, places and things to offer healing, balance and growth.  If we recognize these people, places and things when they arrive, we will discover that life is not random.  It is incredibly connected and unbiased.

Everyone experiences pain, and everyone is provided opportunities for healing, balance and growth.  It is up to the individual to recognize their role in the ecosystem of their relationships.  If someone is causing you pain, another something or someone will be provided for healing.  Life is certainly not random.  If we are to become conscious of ourselves, we must also recognize what role other people play in our spiritual, emotional and mental development.  Everyone plays a role in our lives, including those who are completely clueless to themselves and how they behave.

If I have learned anything this year, it is that no matter how awful other people’s behaviors are, there is something I can change about myself in order to find serenity in that relationship.  I can find a balance within myself through their reflection of whatever pisses me off or annoys me.  Rather than trying to control them (because I can’t), I take control of my responses, and there I discover that I am way more in control than I previously thought.  When we begin searching for balance within ourselves, we discover how incredibly powerful we are as human beings, and how life is constantly offering us opportunities to heal, balance and grow.  When I heal, rebalance and grow because of those other people’s influences in my life, it is easy to take a step back from my ego and silently thank them for the significant role they played, without them even knowing it.  There is so much to this life experience that we miss if we are not aware of our soul journey while we are in this human form.

I spend most of my free time writing, and this is how I rebalance, and figure stuff out about myself.  I don’t know what else I am supposed to be doing with my life other than raising my two children and writing, so that’s what I’m doing.  I have recently published a book called ‘In Lieu of a Dragon Tale – A Modern Day Fable for the Young at Heart.’  It is about a girl and her unexpected relationship with a dragon.  The dragon represents wisdom and the girl is having a difficult time navigating through her life with this giant beast in a society that does not accept dragons.  The story wrote itself and surprised me in each unfolding chapter.  The ending was especially unexpected.  I’ve loaded it on Kindle for 0.99 and it is also available in paperback.

If you have suffered in your addiction, or if you are trying to make sense out of the chaos,  this story is extremely relatable, as the girl eventually descends into the darkest of places in order to separate herself from the dragon, until she has a powerful moment of clarity.  I am very excited about this book and am asking for some reviews on Amazon.  Here is the link if you are interested:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=in+lieu+of+a+dragon+tale%2C+j.+l.+forbes

Which Portion of Myself am I Supposed to Listen to Anyway? (The Conundrum of Humanity)

Heart and Mind

A couple of years ago I freaked my (at the time) fifteen year old son out by telling him something like, “Everyone’s minds are sick and twisted.  We all have messed up minds.”  His response was “Oh that’s just great,” as if to say that he didn’t have a chance in life – Like an “I should give up now,” sort of conclusion, but I wasn’t finished explaining myself.

“Son,” I continued, “what I mean is that our minds are like a labyrinth and if you stop and listen to it, you will see that it carries on and on and, sometimes takes you to terrible places.  Your thoughts are nuts if you really stop and listen to them, but YOU are not your thoughts.”

This is about the time my children’s eyes begin glazing over and I have to sum up the wisdom I’m about to embark upon them so that they don’t fade off not knowing what I’m trying to teach them.  (Oh, btw, I have a twelve year old daughter too).

“YOU are an incredible being, who goes way beyond your mind.  You have a brain, and a heart, which also thinks, has a magnetic field surrounding it…” (oops, losing him)… “and scientists are now discovering that the heart is also a brain, but it is so intelligent of a brain, that it does not operate by logic.  It is the brain of intuition that knows all, sees all, and holds compassion rather than judgment…”  Ok, so I’ve lost my son by now, but have I lost my adult audience here?

Now, my children tune me out a lot, but the proof of my own sense of who I am (the heart person, not the brain person), is strongly reflected through their trust in me, and them knowing that I’m solid in myself.  When it all boils down to it, my two children know that I am the real deal.  There is an underline “no-nonsense” rule with me (after several years of recovery).  I no longer buy into the bullshit of my mind, and sometimes when I’m going there, they observe me moving through it quickly.  This isn’t to say that I’m some super-human saint, because I’m absolutely not.  It’s simply that when it comes down to it, I am able to tap into that greater place of myself that knows all, sees all and holds compassion rather than judgment.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and lie.  I certainly DO judge people.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.  But the difference now, is that I know when I’m doing it, and I can finally take a step back and re-navigate from that greater place.  It’s an ongoing process.  I’m constantly reminding myself to stop judging, to trust in something greater than what my mind is telling me is true (i.e. there is no way I can achieve success without following certain rules of society…), to trust in the balance and abundance of the universe, and to follow my gut rather than buying into my confining fears.  This magic of life is all understood by my heart, which is where we all began in the first place.  The first thing that we are in this human form (besides the cells and membranes and such) is a beating heart.  Our brains do not develop until long after our hearts develop.  I remind myself of this when my clever little brain goes off into the maze of maddening reason, which is essential for problem solving in a pinch, but overall, I yearn to experience the fullness of my life, rather than spending time in the prison of my mind where I can make a conundrum out of the beauty of a flower.

I think a lot, but lately I’ve been learning to drop down into that greater place of myself which feels. When I am in the presence of another human being, I am listening more to my own emotions arising now than I am the words they are saying to me.  I am curious to know what they are reflecting within me.  I’m drawn to people who get under my skin, and also to those that bring out the best in me.  What is that about?  Why do some people pull out my negativity, while others bring out my unconditional love?  It’s so interesting to me (but here I go thinking again)…

The bottom line is that we have a constant choice to navigate our lives through our ingenious minds, or through our precious heart center.  There is a HUGE difference in how life unfolds when you begin operating from your heart center.  These two are incredibly opposing forces within you.  The mind is consumed with lust (for things, people, desires…), while the heart is filled with love.  The mind rejects, while the heart accepts.  The mind holds on, while the heart let’s go.  The mind sees limitation, while the heart is boundless in nature.

You cannot tell me that we are constantly being pushed and pulled from the outside by a devil with a pitchfork, and a god who lives way out in the cosmos somewhere.  All of this angel/devil stuff is innate within us.  It’s the mind vs. the heart.  It’s the challenge within ourselves that we all have to face – and at some point, embrace. We all come here with these two opposing forces within us and hopefully we leave this place from the same beautiful facet of ourselves where we began – the heart. The mind will take you on a psychotic journey, but the heart will keep you present, and that’s the whole point of this blog today.

If you want to be present, drop down into your heart center.  That’s where you truly exist and who you truly are.  That limitless, intuitive, all-knowing, accepting, unconditional loving, source of energy.  This is who we all are deep down inside.  There are no exceptions, so stop thinking you are better than dude standing next to you in line, and pay attention to your source of navigation.  Be aware of YOU, rather than getting lost in that maze of yours up there. And the amazing thing is, the instant you catch yourself in the prison of your mind, you can immediately drop down into that limitless place of yourself. No religious guilt involved, you see. Let go. Be free. Stand in the wholeness and vastness of who you truly are by navigating from your precious heart. YOU hold the key to your own experience of your life. Now isn’t that refreshing?