My Insatiable Thirst Was Finally Quenched

Fountain of Life
I walked through a desert for what seemed like an eternity in a perpetual state of thirst. I spent much of my time searching for a lake. I don’t know how I knew this lake existed, yet I was compelled to find it. There were signs leading me along. Usually I’d discover a hearty cactus with a sufficient amount of water that temporarily quenched my thirst. These random drops of sustenance kept me moving forward.

There were many moments in between cactuses where desolation besieged me. I was alone, with sand and heat as my maddening companions. When I thought I could go no further, I asked aloud for help. Right away I fell into a deep slumber. In the morning I was awoken by the warmth of the sun. As I opened my eyes, I saw an endless lake, which I couldn’t have overlooked before… yet I had.

“Where did this lake come from?” I asked aloud. I walked to the shore and took a long drink of the purest water I’d ever swallowed. I’d never known such satisfaction. When I was finished drinking, I caught a glimpse of my own reflection. What I saw was not what I expected to see.

It was from within me that the lake derived.

I spent my life searching water, yet all along…
I was a doggone fountain!

J. L. Forbes

Are You Aware of the Role That You Play, Or Are You Stinking Up Your Old Costume?

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I’ve been changing it all up lately in the way I view things, including other people’s notions of “right and wrong.” The clarity is coming in strong. I am beginning to see everything in physical reality as a stage, while everything emotional is like the act, and then there are the actual players upon that stage. When everything is said and done and when the curtain rolls closed, everyone takes off their costume and becomes who they truly are – well, not right away. The funny thing is, the players don’t always know that they are actors. They play their role so very well, that they believe they are actually the character on stage. They don’t even see the stage, or the curtain, and they go about their life boasting around in their heavy costume. At some point the seams begin busting and people start seeing right through them, but they don’t want to remove that part of themselves because it has defined them for so long. They have been “right” or “safe” inside that old stinky garment, although the play is over. When people start seeing through the clothes, the actor becomes defensive and scared. They try holding on to the role they have played all these years, but the world won’t allow it any longer. It’s time to get off the stage and step down from being an actor. Their role has been exhausted, and they were brilliant for that time they played that part, but it’s time to move on. It’s time to become a true star, you see.

I’ve watched people in my life who refuse to get out of their costume. Their costumes are full of stench, and people are no longer buying into the act, but they refuse to switch roles to suit the current act. Often I get this overwhelming sense of stagnancy when I am around them, but up until now I couldn’t place my finger on why that was so. I get it now. It’s very clear to me. Then there are those who are in the midst of shedding their costumes, but they are having an extremely difficult time letting it go, so they squirm, and struggle and when I am around them I notice that they are unravelling before me. They are very convinced that someone or some circumstance is causing their discomfort, or their anger, but from my perspective, I only see a person who is resisting change and growth. I want to hug them, but most of the time they see people outside of themselves as the enemy, so I have to stand back and allow them go through their process, no matter how long it takes them. It’s none of my business really. They may figure out a way to keep that darned costume on so that they can continue pointing fingers at the other players because that’s been such a comfort to them all these years. I move on because I know my role in their life has been exhausted – unless they choose to embrace the mirror that I am offering.

Sometimes I see myself as a wanderer who gets a glimpse every now and again into people’s acts. Once in a while I get a role to play, but it doesn’t last very long. Many times I’m just a person in the audience, but even that is an ever-changing role. The one thing I don’t do is get lost as a player any longer. I don’t buy into a belief that I am one thing or another. Each moment offers opportunity to be the star that I am in it’s wholeness, but when I am not able to be the star, I gladly give up the part to whomever shines the brightest in that moment. I have so much to learn, as we all do. We are all stars, often playing small roles. Some of us just haven’t given up those small roles because they are so incredibly comfortable. To take off the costume is a terrific struggle, because at that point, we’ve grown out of them and they are stuck on our personas.

It is good to know what role you are playing in life and not to get caught up in the belief that you are that role. People wonder why God would put us here upon this dense earth to struggle and to suffer. After all, life is very hard, and grief can be excruciating, but what if… just suppose for a moment that God was inside of each living thing, merely playing out a role, forgetting the very essence of him or herself so that God could re-experience the essence over and over and over through different facets. What if God played many roles so that God could struggle and resist, and finally surrender until God came back to him or herself, because that experience (enlightenment) is something you can only feel when you have forgotten who you truly are? Think about it. Meditate upon it. Allow it to consume you. Realize what role you are playing, and then understand what is beneath the layers of costume. Step off the stage once in a while and be the audience. Change is good. Stop resisting. This life is not as serious as we make it. Circumstances are here to offer you a new perspective. That’s all they are, so stop buying into the act. We take ourselves so seriously. PLEASE – It’s all an act. The curtains will open and the show must go on, but once it’s over, you will be reminded of your essence underneath the costume.
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Seriously… Walk in Your Freedom, Man – I Mean, Literally BE SET FREE!

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Forget the past. I’m not kidding. The Universe does not refer to the past while it’s delivering the present. The PRESENT! Do you get it? Right this very second is a gift, and it’s not laced with anything that has to do with your past mistakes (unless of course you’re stuck in the past. Unless of course your thoughts keep taking you back there. Your thoughts create your experience. And if you don’t trust the law of attraction phenomenon, take one week to step out of your belief system and practice changing all your thoughts to positive ones. Shit, take a month – you’ll never doubt again). The question that has been stirring within me for the last year has been my very own demise toward receiving the magnificent gift of freedom. The excitement that fills me now as I write this – oh man!

You see, I did a little experiment this week after finally receiving my answer through a guest on my favorite radio show. First of all, my question was this:

“Do I need to drudge through all my past mistakes in order to receive the yearning of my heart? Do I need to really look at that stuff and tediously manage through everything? People always say that there are no short cuts in life, and though I’m not looking for a short cut, I somehow feel like I’m being held back from receiving. It’s like everything I desire is twenty feet away and I’m running toward it on a treadmill. Perhaps it’s because I was so irresponsible for so many years, and now I’m just paying for it. I deserve this, right? I deserve to struggle because I was completely irresponsible… is that how it works?”

The answer is this – Only if you so choose.

I decided to get of the treadmill. I decided that it can’t hurt to walk completely in my freedom for a week. So I pretended that I was not bound to my past (“act as if”) this last week. I unchained myself from my own repetitive thoughts. I stopped thinking – literally just stopped thinking about what I figure that I deserve. I stopped referring to my mistakes of the past; the way I handled things and how it’s affecting me now. This has a lot to do with money (if you haven’t already figured that out). I imagined taking off a metal cloak that has been blocking me from receiving. I laid it down on the ground, kept my head forward and trusted that I was set free from that ugly old thing. And guess what? I not only felt set free, I am set free. There is no past. The past is a big fat illusion. I’m not kidding. It’s like each moment that I walk in the light of my freedom, the universe is giving me a galactic sized hug. It’s saying “FINALLY! YOU GET IT! YOU GET IT! YOU FINALLY UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS! WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU ALL ALONG!”

This whole time – this last three years – I’ve been walking in like three quarters of my freedom, with one fourth of me still stuck in the past because I didn’t trust that I was allowed to be so radically set free. I was punishing myself, and I accepted that I deserved to struggle. That was my thinking. Well, just so you know, the universe doesn’t think like that. In fact, the universe of ultimate abundance doesn’t think at all. It merely delivers.

All I can say right now, is change your thinking. Know that you are not chained to your past. Understand that you do not need to accept any kind of struggle. You do not need to suffer for your mistakes. Be aware of your mistakes. Take responsibility for your mistakes by acknowledging them – even write them down if it makes you feel better, but then really let them go and walk in your freedom from them. If you don’t trust this, then do a little experiment like I did. It won’t hurt you to change your thinking for one week. Once you realize that you are not bound to the past, and that you can have exactly the life that you want (that you are so deserving of), you won’t go back to that old way of thinking. This is about stepping out of your fear, into the light. It is about being set free (completely set free), and it begins with the way you think. Don’t be shackled to your way of thinking. Don’t let other people’s idea of how the world works effect your ultimate freedom. In fact, forget everything other people say. And one more word of advice – when magic starts happening for you, don’t expect the hammer to come crashing down. Disregard that old pattern of thinking too. Tell the hammer to take hike. Don’t invite it into your experience by expecting it to arrive. Be set free! Walk in the light of your life – starting immediately! AHHHH, it feels SO DAMN GOOD! FINALLY!

A Little Gratitude = A Big Dose of JOY

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As I enter into the last day of another work week, I want to give a SHOUT OUT for all of the abundance in my life. It hasn’t been an easy couple of months for me. I’ve made some big changes, but I’m still here and life keeps moving along. I’ve been tested, stretched, lonely, weathered, overwhelmed and filled with anxiety, but I’m still here. I’ve been hurt, confused, scared, broke and at the end of my rope, but I’m still here. No matter what occurs in my life, I’m still here. None of those things took away from who I am. None of those difficult moments defined who I am. I’m learning more and more to stop identifying with circumstance and emotion, while allowing it to flow through me rather than getting caught up in it’s clutches. I’m growing, I’m learning, and I’m walking in the freedom of love instead of caving into the hollows of my fear. Life is an internal journey. I know this now, and everyday I am given opportunities to live in this understanding. I am grateful today for the challenges I have been faced with that helped me walk through my fears.

Several people have entered into my life over the last year, who have offered me a looking glass into myself. At first glance, I noticed their so-called “wrongs” toward me, but then I stopped and looked at myself. What was coming up for me through the likes of these other people? Was it raw emotion? Was I angry, scared, mad, hurt – was I expecting more from them than they were offering? The answer was always YES, so then I was able to spend some time with myself, getting curious as to why those emotions arose for me. When I stopped being affected by the other people, and became interested in myself, the other people went away and I had the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with myself through my emotions. I got to understand myself a little bit better, and I was able to work through things that I may have disregarded in the past while I blamed the other people for their “wrongs.” To these people in my life, who walked with me along my journey, I am incredibly grateful.

Never in my life have I felt lonelier and at times, more hopeless than ever, but I am still here. During this experience of loneliness and pain, I have been able to step inside of the rawness of it, rather than hide from it and resist its temperament. It has been a fractured relationship with myself in the past, where I have denied my human nature while embracing my spirituality, but because of the cavernous scarcity in feeling deserted, I have had no choice but to face the desperate hollows of myself where I’ve discovered that the feeling of aloneness is nothing more than an exaggerated emotion. Like all of my emotions, loneliness is simply a passerby whom I must acknowledge so that she can gently move along. I want to take a moment to thank this harrowing acquaintance of mine for nagging me to befriend it for a day. In a single day, it ate me alive and by the time I had acknowledged it’s jaws, it sank back and took a bow before me. It was just there merely to greet me, but for years and years I have been afraid to face it. I am grateful for the enlightening company of my loneliness this week. What a friend we have inside ourselves when we are aware of what lies beneath the surface of physical reality.

For the moments when I’ve been unable to see myself, and during the times when I’ve been confused about which direction to take, I’ve been able to ask for help. I no longer resist a request for help. Because of this, the fog of my life has been graciously burned away by the light of others. Instead of growing restless and discontent I have learned to ask for assistance and to trust that what I need will be provided – and it certainly has. Just yesterday I listened to a talk show that gave me answers to several questions that I’ve been asking. The greatest question was “Must I suffer for the mistakes I’ve made in the past? Must I drudge through my karma to be delivered into abundance?” This is a question I have been asking myself for months, but I finally asked it allowed, and right on the talk show, I generously received my answer, “You do not need to accept punishment for your past mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself, and acknowledge your mistakes, but then be open to receiving the abundance that you are so deserving of. You can stop that karmic wheel by simply telling it to stop. If you want to be punished, then you will, but once you forgive yourself, you can walk in your freedom. Self-love is the answer to humanity’s suffering, and forgiveness of self is essential to being set free.” I forgive myself today for my past mistakes, and I accept the abundance of my life that I am so deserving of. I am so grateful for the times when I’ve felt blinded in my life because it has given me opportunities to trust in something greater than myself. What an exciting life I am living!

I am so grateful for the challenges, the confusion, the people who have brought me pain and reminded me that I still have things to work through. I understand now that people are not in my life to fill a void – they are there merely to guide me toward my voids so that I have the opportunity to take a good look at them. I am grateful for feeling hopeless so that I’m reminded that I’m human. I’m grateful for all of the sorrows, the emptiness and the despair because I got to know myself a little bit better, and I am still here. Look at me – I am ALIVE! I am provided for, I am always being guided. I am loved – and more than anything, I am incredibly grateful!

Red, White and BLUE Without a Drink?

After three years, I’m perfectly ok to be the only one not drinking on the Fourth of July. I have always been a little “different” in a crowd. I drank for years, merely to fit in, but you know how the ole story goes – I always drank too much, and there I was again, standing out like a moth at a butterfly gathering.

Last night I went to bed excited about the holiday without even considering what it would be like to drink, yet I was offered a brutal drinking dream, so here I am awake now shaking off the horrible feeling of relapsing, although it was only a nightmare. Those dreadful drinking dreams still come up for me, and I feel like it is simply my body (emotional, spiritual, mental) releasing old toxins – old energies and patterns of thinking seeping out of me in my sleep. In this dream, I carried a bottle of bottom shelf vodka and took sips out of it all day long, trying to maintain a buzz without getting too drunk. I accepted that I’d relapsed, and decided to forget about the recovery memoir I’d written – it was useless to anyone now because here I was drunk again. (Such a waste). People all around me knew what I was doing, and I still tried to hide the bottle while covering up my breath with gum, mouthwash and food. (What a high maintenance addiction – it’s so much easier to just maintain sobriety). In my drinking dream, I knew I was failing myself, yet I was stuck in the old, hopeless cycle. Upon waking up, I felt shame, fear, and then relief as I came to. Dreams about drinking are a reminder of why I do not want to go there again.

Two years into my sobriety, I decided to go completely vegan, so today I will probably be the only American at our campsite barbequing vegetables and drinking bottled water instead of enjoying a hamburger with a beer in hand. So what? I’m a little different – always have been. I’ve become completely comfortable with doing my own thing. I’m so incredibly grateful for my life. I love spending quality time with my family, especially my children, while being lucid. Staying awake instead of passing out during the fireworks, is so enjoyable. The sun is out and I’m not going to be dehydrated today because of too much booze. None of my differences take away from my experience of the holiday – in fact, my sobriety enhances the experience because I get to be all up in it! I get the full treatment of this fabulous American holiday. The aroma of barbeque, the sun beating down on my body, children’s laughter, adults relaxing, a spectacular fireworks show, the campfire afterward, and I’ll still be wide awake. I’ll close my eyes when I decide it’s time for bed. I am no longer a slave to the drink in my hand. I’m in control now. This is my life and I’m doing what I love doing, and being myself without shame, guilt, fear or self-destruction. This is a reason to celebrate.

When we were kids, we weren’t even thinking about anything but having fun during this holiday (during any holiday for that matter), so why do we think we can’t enjoy the festivities without a drink? That’s complete nonsense. If you feel uncomfortable today, recall what it was like to be a child during the Fourth of July and become that child again. If you are surrounded by adults who are drinking, find the group of kids and hang out with them. I guarantee you’ll have a lot more fun. I do it all the time. Find a way to enjoy this day and practice getting comfortable in your own skin. Soak it all in – be present and tap into your gratitude today. BE different. BE yourself. There is nothing more liberating than the gift of recovery, and after all, isn’t liberty what this day is all about?

Restlessness – How to Settle the Inner Storm

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Restlessness is a sure sign to me that I am not in my body.  Even after three years and a couple of months in recovery, once in while I still become restless.  It is rare, but it does come up for me.  Yesterday even after meditation, a steadily busy day at work and an hour walk with a friend, I was still splitting at the seams.  A drive home in more traffic than usual, an unexpected encounter, an apartment that was too hot to cook a good meal for myself in – all more reasons to come even more undone.  I had hours before it was time to go to sleep and nothing I focused on could keep my attention for long.  I had to figure something out because this will last a few more days if I don’t get myself back to center.

I understand why I am feeling restless, which is good to know.  I just moved.  The break-up is final.  My daughter is gone for a couple of weeks.  Most of the time when I’m feeling restless, it’s a cue to take really good care of myself.  Back in the old days, the restlessness would vamp me up and I would turn into a self-destructive, unpredictable wild person.  Luckily the opposite of that is true for me today and I am able to see that I need some self-care.  I’ve been going to a lot of meetings and they help a little, but when it gets to a point where I am thinking about getting a tattoo (which probably could ease me back into my body, actually), I know that I’m in a bad space.  Tattoos are ok.  I have one.  I just don’t want anymore, especially one that isn’t planned out very well.  I can just imagine Jon Hamm’s face on my forearm holding a ‘Mad Men’ banner, or something even more outrageous.  I really needed to place my attention elsewhere, so first things first – I ate a healthy meal.  Nutrition and exercise are so important in recovery, but sometimes it isn’t enough, so what else can you do during times of restlessness an/or boredom?

Self-care during restlessness is the opposite of self-destruction, so that’s what I did last night.  There is a quaint little massage therapy place close to where I live.  They were slow last night, so I made myself an appointment and offered myself a little pampering.  It absolutely helped.  Afterward, I was in a different space and I slept very well.  Upon waking up today, I feel more centered.  The place I go is not expensive, which is great, but in the beginning of my recovery I may not have been able to afford any type of massage.  I know how that can be.  During these times, I would take myself to an artsy movie, or walk to a farmer’s market and engage with the people.  Sometimes they offers massages for a dollar per minute at farmer’s markets.  Massage is a great solution, especially if you can find someone who gets in tune with your body and feels what you need.

If you can’t get a massage, I encourage you to take care of yourself no matter what.  Bake yourself your favorite dessert.  Make yourself a delicious meal.  Watch your favorite comedy – laugh out loud.  Whatever you can do, or whatever you can afford to pamper yourself – do it.  Talk to people who are also in recovery.  This is a good time to do service as well, but don’t forget that you need some self-care too.  Even buying a new item of clothing, or getting a haircut and color will change things up enough to loosen that discomfort in you.  It’s important that you don’t spend money you don’t have, because that would be self-destructive.  Spend what you can afford, and if you can’t afford anything, perhaps you can take a swim, or spend an evening with friends.  Go somewhere new.  Take a long walk and listen to soothing music.  Pick yourself some wild flowers and put them in a vase.  Take a bubble bath with lavender to sooth your restlessness.  Love yourself and honor yourself back into your body.  This has really helped me in the past, and it certainly alleviated the discomfort last night when I had a massage.

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Restlessness is part of life.  Any big changes, or even the slowness of life can trigger this experience.  For addicts, however, this is a trigger to use or drink.  Remember that recovery is doing the opposite of what we know, so instead of splitting into several parts of yourself and destroying everything in your path, reign it in and pull yourself together by taking really good care of yourself in these moments.  If you are too busy to do anything for yourself (which is probably an excuse), just remember that this too shall pass.  The restlessness is not eternal.  It will flee at some point, but do not resist it.  Find harmony within it.  Allow to be with you and get curious about why it’s there.  Learn something about yourself while you are experiencing the discomfort, and be present with it.  Tell yourself it’s going to be ok, and then be good to yourself.  Take one moment at a time and don’t judge yourself for being human.  Peace be with you today.  Remain sober (no matter what) and this too shall pass.

Life is Like a Pizza Delivery Service – It Brings You Exactly What You Order

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Like many people, I used to think that life “happened” to me and that I was handed this random deck of cards that I was supposed to sort out and play according to certain rules in the game of life.  Always with a poker face, I rebelliously went against the flow of the game.  Sometimes I got a lucky hand while other times I had to fold.  I grew restless with the inconsistency and bored without direction.  If life simply happens to me, then I’d rather be dead.  This is unpredictable and scary.  It also makes me feel like I’m in a lottery and who wants to live in the land of hope throughout their lives?  With that kind of existence there comes a lot of disappointment.  There had to be a better way to live, and I had to be a lot more important than a number in a pool.  Being alive can’t be about waiting around.  It simply can’t.

Recovery took me right out of that game altogether.  I turned in my deck in and walked away from the table that dealt me my life.  It was time to create some kind of order in my existence because nothing was working for me.  I was acutely aware that something was amiss.  I attracted some things I wanted, while other things remained unreachable.  All this talk of the law of attraction excited me, and it definitely made sense when I saw that it was proven over and over.  It made sense because I’d experienced it to some degree, but I had to take it to the next level.  When I finally got myself healthy, and got to a point where I trusted myself to make good decisions for my life (a.k.a. self-love), I decided to practice this way of living.  How do I attract that which I want?  How do I create a life that I love living – that doesn’t just happen to me – that I can call my own?  We are made in the image of God.  God is the ultimate expressionist.  God creates – therefore I am the creator of my life.  And there is no right and wrong to how I choose to create, but how do I hone in on making my life a masterpiece instead of having random clumps of clay scattered about that are halfway molded?  How do I gather up everything I am and everything I have to create that masterpiece?  I’ll tell you – it takes a lot of fire.

First of all, the masterpiece isn’t outside of you.  It’s you.  So think of yourself as a piece of coal that must be put under pressure and heat in order to be purified into a diamond.  What happens when a diamond is revealed?  It is attractive, to say the very least, and this is relevant.  You become pure enough to attract, and what you attract is everything that you represent.  At this point of self-purification, when you’ve walked through your fear, climbed your mountains of doubt and have taken the volcanic heat of burning through all the layers of soot (a.k.a. labels, images, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, opposing behaviors, etc.), there you are left standing there in your wholeness.  There is nothing jading your lavishness and perfection.  The soul is shining through, and that powerful force inside of you is no longer obstructed by an ego.  The ego is there, but it is no longer in control.  Now it is of service to you because it is a terrific thinker, and you must think in order to create.  This is where things get exciting.

We are all pieces of coal in the stages of being purified into diamonds.  That is what we came here in this human existence to become, but some people would rather remain underground in the mine shaft away from the heat of life.  Others choose purification, but can’t take the heat and it is a very slow process for them.  We all decide how much heat we can take, how conscious we are about our experience here and how far we want to go with the purification process.  Many people get comfortable when they are halfway there and that’s as far as they go.

The human soul without the soot of opinion, fear, doubt, malice, etc. is a magnetic force that can bring forth anything that it wants.  Because everything is connected on a universal scale, nothing is out of reach, but the bottom line is that you’ve got to be in alignment with who you are, which is that beautiful soul.  You can attract all sorts of things without being in alignment and through your ego, but for everything to make sense and to have a masterpiece of an existence, there has to be a purified human being – one who has taken the hero’s journey and died to their old ways and become the person that they were meant to be.  That may never happen in this lifetime, but as long as you are being present and taking charge of your life, the ability to create that which you truly want will be delivered.  When we are not aware of this, it occurs as well, but life seems random and that is because we are living a random existence.  You have to know who you are, what you want and where you are going in order to attract all that you need to get there.  And you must know exactly what you don’t want, just as much as you know what you do want.  Knowing what you don’t want is like removing layers of clay that don’t fit the mold.  It’s all part of the process to creating a masterpiece of a life.  Those extra clumps of clay serve a purpose too.  They teach you how to rid yourself of what doesn’t serve your creation.

In retrospect, I see that I attracted so many things into my life – men, material possessions, jobs and experiences, but they were not fulfilling because I had no intention in my life.  I was kind of just existing, hoping for something better and giving into temporary pleasures.  Nothing was truly random, but it felt like it was because I had no idea who I was or what I truly wanted for my life.  I kind of had an idea, but I didn’t have a vision.  It is so important to have a vision and to know what it’s going to take to bring it into fruition.  This will eliminate all the soot that obstructs the view of the spirit.

You put things out into the universe with your thoughts and your desires, but the soot either holds things back, or obstructs the desire of the soul, so life seems unpredictable, and sometimes callous toward you.  When that diamond begins shining through, you get a sense of clarity about why things happen and what they mean for you.  You understand that everything you encounter is of service to you in some way, even if it occurs simply to tell you that it’s not what you want.  It is all very relevant.  What you order is what you receive.  Placing blame on others for bad experiences is like walking around blindfolded.  We are all creators of our existence, and the people that come into your life are there because somehow you attracted them, or you attracted the experience to bring you toward purification.  Nothing is a waste, and once you decide to walk in this awareness, you will become the master of your life –  with a lot of help from your higher power.  It all works together as a whole.  You are part of that whole, not a number in a lottery, so remember this and allow it to work for you instead of against you.  Order exactly what you want, and enjoy every bite of your life!

 

 

I Walked Through My Anxiety and There I Met Abundance (A Follow Up on What Lies Beneath Anxiety)

Abundance 2

 For the last few months, I have been faced with a decision to either identify with the anxiety coming up for me during a very heart wrenching breakup, along with not having a place to live when my lease is up at the end of August, or to allow this anxiety to be part of my experience without wrapping myself into it.  The fear has haunted me, but my awareness of it has kept it at bay.  During this time I chose to live my life in peace and harmony regardless of the shitty situation occurring, and honestly I have been quite happy.  There have been some days when I’ve felt defeated, but I looked at those moments as gracious opportunities to surrender to what I have no control over.  For five months I have been in a place where I could have been completely broken and miserable, but I made a conscious decision to walk the talk.  I entered the wilderness of myself and began a dialogue with my anxiety.  “Let’s do this, my troubled friend.  Let’s dance together for the time being, and then I’m going to have to let you go, because you’re taking up way too much of my precious life.  I am so ready to move on from you, but you can hang out for as long as you need to.”

Because the relationship with my former boyfriend is so strained and we live together, I have put my well-being (as well as my daughters) ahead of my desire to stay in the home we live in now throughout the summer.  This meant that I was even more under the gun to find a place to live without any money saved.  This cottage house is taking up most of my paycheck.  I realized that I didn’t want to live in tight-budget mode any longer, but instead of straining myself by getting another job, knowing that it would not be in the best interest for my daughter’s and my own well-being, I put it out in the universe that I either needed a bunch of money dumped on me immediately, or I needed to reduce the amount of money that I was spending each month, but more than anything, we needed a nice roof over our heads in this exact area we live in now because my kid needs to continue going to the same schools.  It wouldn’t be fair to uproot her after so much time and energy has been placed into her getting straight A’s and making new friends.  She has been through enough and I trust that when I ask for what I need, that the universe keeps her in mind as well.  I put a lot of pressure on God in this request to take care of us.  I made very specific requests, and then I went on about my life knowing that I would be provided for – ignoring all the fear and doubt that told me that I was going to need to pack up and move back to my hometown because I was failing.

I attend a Sunday night meeting and have the coffee commitment.  I’m there every week and last week, one of the women whom I’ve made acquaintances with stopped me after the meeting and asked if anything was wrong.  Prior to the meeting I had just been in another argument with the ex and I was feeling very defeated.  I told her about my living situation and mentioned that I need to find a place for my daughter and I to live as soon as possible, but it needs to be cheap because I need to pay off debt and save some money.  Part of my own recovery is to get myself out of debt.  The debt weighs on me heavily and I need to be free from it.  She listened and then we went about our business.  She was very caring and I needed this kind of support at that moment, so I was overcome with gratitude and it was relieving to be able to vent a little bit.  Throughout the week, I have been sending out emails for rentals without placing too much of my energy into it, but trusting that when I move forward, the universe is also working for me. 

Thursday I get a call from the woman at the meeting.  She’s so excited because her boyfriend has just given me a lead.  He is a pool cleaner and has been cleaning this elderly woman’s pool for over 20 years.  She has an apartment above her garage and the tenant has just moved out.  She needs someone there to take care of pulling out the garbage cans each week and to check on her once in a while because she lives alone.  She needed me to call her right away because on Saturday (today) she is leaving for six weeks to go to physical therapy in another town.  The house will be empty and she needs someone to water the flowers every other day.  Of course, it all sounded too good to be true, but I made the phone call.  When I spoke with the woman, something clicked.  It simply felt right, and I went over there to meet her on Friday.  Her family was there.  Her son, her daughter-in-law, two friends – it was a full house and everyone was so welcoming.

“Come on in, let my daughter-in-law show you the apartment and then I’m going to give you the garage door opener and let’s see if this is a good fit.”  I checked out the apartment.  It’s a large and accommodating studio with a deck overlooking a massive backyard and the solar heated pool (which we get to use) near hills with trails and in the best neighborhood of the town we live in.  Everything we need is in the apartment.  It’s furnished, and I don’t have much furniture, so this is a major plus.  There is a kitchenette, a stove, a refrigerator, a walk-in closet, a large bathroom and shower, a washer and dryer and a separate entrance.  I get to park in the garage, unlike now where my poor car gets hit with oak tree branches.  It’s quiet and would make the ideal summer home.  I decide that this is a treasure and I’m not going to pass up the offering.  When I go down to chat with the elderly owner, who is so incredibly kind and genuine, she tells me that the rent is less than what she originally quoted over the phone, which includes all utilities and cable.  The last thing that I am worried about is that I have a cat.  “Oh, yes, the cat is welcome,” she graciously says.  “There is a cat door and an acre of fenced backyard.  He will love to roam around here.  It’s a peaceful place to live and I need someone here for the six weeks that I’m gone, but you are more than welcome to live here however long you want.”  Needless to say, we hit it off.  I was given the wifi-code, the garage door opener and lots of smiles. Her family was kind and gracious.  She didn’t ask for a credit check, an application fee, references or any sort of deposit.  The rent is less than a third of what I pay now!  She went only on her intuition and apparently I made the cut.

Need I say more?  I mean, this is nothing short of some kind of cosmic miracle, right?  The most amazing thing is that I’m not even the least bit shocked.  This is what I asked for.  This is what I trusted would occur, and as I went about my life doing the next right thing, everything was manifesting in the background.  For the next several months, I will get to pay off debt, save money, buy some furniture, and take my two children on vacation.  My daughter and I are safe.  We found a temporary home that meets all of our needs and we don’t have to be in a rush to move again.  It’s all sitting pretty right before our eyes… AND THERE’S A POOL, which I didn’t even ask for, but like I said, my daughter’s needs get met when I am looking out for my well-being.  All of this happened so quickly, and the timing was immaculate. If I had been one beat off, none of this would have occurred.  It’s all just so sweet and loving.  I mean, how loving is the universe?  It’s so loving – it simply waits for us to be open to receiving.  We spend so much time with our head down to the ground, digging our heels in and trying to get somewhere, that we miss out on the magic of life that awaits our awareness of it.  I had no doubt.  I walked through my fear.  I faced my ancient anxiety and there I met abundance!

 

 

What 39 Years and a Bit of Recovery Has Taught Me About Life

Wisdom

In the book ‘Mutant Message Down Under,’ by Marlo Morgan (one of my favorite stories about an American woman who went on a Walkabout with an Aboriginal tribe), the natives never celebrated their birthdays.  Instead, they celebrated their wisdom, and it was up to each individual to tell the tribe when they had received great wisdom.  I wish this were the case in our culture today, but then again, I might be much older than thirty-nine.  After my life experiences, I might be REALLY up there in dog years!  I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes in this one single lifetime.  It often feels like I am a very old soul.

Today is my physical birthday, and I am elated that I get to spend the last year in my thirties completely sober and enjoying my life.  The last few years have been dynamic and the gratitude continues radiating from within.  But it isn’t so much the age that matters – it’s what I’ve learned.  It’s how I’ve grown and whom I’ve become.  More than anything, I want my life to be a reflection of love, joy and serenity, and though I’m not 100% there, the love has grown very strong within myself – for myself.  Learning to love and accept myself has been the most important lesson I’ve learned, because it eventually gets extended outward.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about life, which have transformed me:

The journey is the destination.

Once I focus on my journey rather than trying to get somewhere, or hoping to achieve something, the fullness of life envelopes me and I am filled with joy.  Each step I take is a moment of excitement.  I no longer focus on the end result because right now is all I have, and right now has everything I need. 

Love has no bounds. 

Most of us say we understand this, but we still judge those who do not demonstrate love in the manner that we do.  The element of love is boundless and limitless.  It does not judge, nor does it care if a person is of another origin or religion, the same sex, or if there is an age gap.  Love is not bound by marriage, or broken by condemnation.  Love goes beyond the measures of the human mind.  It is eternal and can only be understood through the heart.

– Compassion is the thread that unites humanity as one. 

I cannot say this enough.  First practice compassion for yourself, and then extend it out into the world.  This is my greatest lesson of all.  COMPASSION is the key to being set free.  We must stop focusing on trying to get people to change by telling them that they are wrong, and learn to understand the message of Christ and all of the other wise leaders who have come to change the world.  The message is COMPASSION.  That is it.  Simple and profound.

– It is not for me to judge.

Period.  I have such a long way to go.  I have no right to judge another human being, nor do I want that kind of responsibility.

– People judge.  It’s what people do.  So the hell what?  I will not waste my life worrying about what others think.

I live in an affluent county.  I drive an ugly old Saab and barely make ends meet each month, but I came here to thrive and I’m doing what I love most, which is writing.  I don’t own any clothes with fancy labels.  My only Prada bag is a knockoff and I am the only renter on this block.  I have had two failed marriages and I used to be a drunk. I am so incredibly grateful that I can walk out of my house and go on a hike, or drive to the beach in twenty minutes, or smell the redwoods from a block away, that I could care less about what other people think about my crappy car.  Everywhere we go, we will be judged, but this no longer bothers me.  I am so MYSELF and I am exactly where I want to be. I know that I am moving forward – I don’t have to prove this to the world.

– My intuition never leads me wrong

Once I began following my own inner compass, instead of listening to the noise of other people, my life fell exactly into place.  I cannot express enough that we all need to tap into our intuition.  It is the key to living out the existence that we came here to live, and to live life fully, and with purpose.

– There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more cultured and more successful than me.

This is why I no longer compete.  I simply do what I came here to do without worrying about being better, or looking better than someone else.  Competition has taken up so much of my life, way too much energy, and the disappointment of not being the best is so crushing, that I have thankfully given up on all of that, and have graciously learned to simply be myself.  This has deemed to be quite enough.

– All human beings are of equal value.

Enough said.  No one is better than another.  We are all equal.  We are all unique.  We are all enough for our creator.  What society deems as elite, is a terrific illusion.

– What better way to honor my creator, than simply being myself?

We live our lives trying to impress the people around us, but the only thing that matters is that we honor ourselves by simply being who we are.  If you’re an artist – paint.  If you’re a sailor – sail.  If you’re a photographer – take tons of pictures.  Stop trying to keep up with the insanity of our society and do what feels right inside of you.  This is how we honor our creator.

– Once we stop looking for someone to come and save us, we are set free.

I grew up with the belief that life was about suffering, and that the only way I could be set free was to wait around for a savior.  When I transformed my life through recovery, I realized that I was responsible for my own salvation.  Once I understood this and really got it, I began eating healthier, exercising more, being much more responsible for my actions, and honoring myself and all of life.  I am the temple of God.  God is not outside of me.  This is one of the greatest and most humbling understandings I have come to know.  “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one cometh to the father except through me.”  This is a powerful statement of being – not a religious statement of action.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”  By my own understanding, I have come to know that I cannot be present with “God” without entering into the sacred stillness of my own body.

Life goes by fast, make it worthwhile.

I try to live everyday with an understanding that it could be my last.  This way, I am always taking in the beauty surrounding me, the love offered to me and doing my very best.  I am not perfect.  I sometimes fail.  I get up, dust off and move forward without looking back.  Life is too short to be stuck in the past.

Fear is my only enemy.

Life is about acknowledge my fears, facing them and walking through them.  This is the soul’s great journey.

Everyone I encounter is a potential teacher.

It is not the actual person that usually teaches me anything.  It is the emotion that arises when I am in another person’s presence.  We are all reflections of one another.  Whatever emotions arise, is where I place my focus instead of blaming the other person for my personal feelings.  People come into our experience to help us face ourselves.  This is also the journey of the soul.

Each person I meet has gone through something that I have never experienced.

We should walk through life knowing that everyone we encounter knows something about life that we don’t know.  This is one great way to remain humble.

Humility is the shelter that keeps us aligned with who we are.

Once we walk out from this covering, we discover ourselves in our destructive self-will.  Remaining humble is imperative to living a life of greatness.

We are all one.

Each person is a facet of the Creator, but we are all of one consciousness.  This has been proven in quantum physics.  When you harm another person, you are directly harming yourself.  

Being nice is overrated – practice kindness.

Kindness has a ripple effect for the good of all.  Be kind instead of trying to be nice.  It goes a lot further and it is a genuine way to be.

Walk the talk.

Bottom line.

I am not my mind.

This realization set me free.  I am a soul, with a purpose.  My mind is the enemy which wants to destroy me.  To be aware of my thoughts is to be the watcher of my mind.  To be aware of my behaviors is to be set free from them.  This is ultimate self-awareness.  Self-awareness will change the world.

I am not lacking anything.  I am not broken.  I am whole.  I am complete.  There is nothing missing.

Spiritually speaking, we are everything.  Everything we need is within us.  It is our minds that tell us otherwise.

The purpose of my life, is to live my life with purpose.

I spent a great majority of my life trying to figure out what the purpose and meaning was to my life, and of life in general.  Now that I understand that my life is of great value (rather than buying into a belief that I am only one measly person among seven billion), I practice just being myself.  This has had amazing results, but most of all, I am eternally happy. 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandi

http://www.amazon.com/Mutant-Message-Under-Marlo-Morgan-ebook/dp/B000FC12ZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402159557&sr=1-1&keywords=mutant+message+down+under+by+marlo+morgan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Playground of Life, Sliding and Falling is Not Considered an Epic Failure

Image

Somewhere along my journey (about a year and a half ago), it occurred to me that I could stop judging myself based on the concepts of “right and wrong.”  You see, no matter which decisions I made for myself, there were always consequences that either moved me forward along my path, or taught me humility (which I needed to learn at the time).  Once I made the decision to stop labeling everything as “right and wrong,” something incredible happened.  I was immediately set free, and there I envisioned myself standing before this amazing playground that we happen to call “life.”  My soul has always longed to explore, yet I was hesitant to move about freely because of all the conditions I placed on myself.  There was religion, beliefs, ideas about the way things worked, my own thoughts about things, judgments, fear, concern of other people’s judgments, etc., yet here I had been very self-destructive regardless of all those conditions.  When something isn’t working for us (and obviously it wasn’t working for me), we must try something different, and this is when I decided to open myself up to the possibility that life was more about exploration, than it is about limitation.

When I was a kid, I was all over the playground.  I didn’t miss a beat out there.  I learned to climb to the top of things, swing as far as I could go, dig the biggest holes in the sand, slide backwards and down on my stomach, and flip around those metal bars; both forward and backward.  Oh, I got hurt.  Countless times I recall bashing my head against the ground from not getting enough air space during my bar twirls, and I don’t know how many times I burned myself on metal slides.  It was a dangerous place to be; those playgrounds.  My fingers got stepped on, my hair got pulled, my knees bled and my hands were often scraped up or splintered.  I laughed out there, cried, made friends, rejected stinky kids and compromised being Wonder Woman with a girl named Tina more often than I wanted to.  Each day outside was a different adventure and none of those pains or inconveniences stopped me from playing on the playground, because they weren’t considered failures.  They were simply part of the experience. 

We are all in this playground called “life” together.  When one person is climbing up the slide instead of scooting down it, we tend to project our distaste for their way of doing things, but what if we considered that this was simply part of their own experience, and compassionately allowed them to do their own thing?  As we grow, we learn how to do things less clumsily, but each individual is at a different level of exploration, and the playground is endless.  There are many things you have yet to explore, which may require a helping hand when you decide it’s your turn to twirl upon a different bar.  In your own arena of the playground, others may need guidance along their adventure, and you should be their to help them, rather than making fun of them for not knowing what you’ve already learned.  We shouldn’t stand back and judge the person who falls, or the recovering addict who relapses.  There is always something for them to learn, and humility is a definitive part of the human experience.

Since I’ve been playing upon this playground, instead of limiting myself to the safe boundaries of life, I’ve realized how much compassion and acceptance is out there. It’s like my safety net along my journey.  With this understanding, there really is no right and wrong – there are only learning experiences. Some of my so-called “failures” have been catapults to my greatest successes. This new perspective has given me freedom and there is no need for fear.  It’s a darned good place to be… this amazing playground called LIFE.