Good Ole Socrates Knew What He Was Talking About

Know Thyself
Some of us come to this earth out of the womb knowing exactly what we want to be when we grow up. My mom probably has hieroglyphic script scarred into her inner abdomen from my earliest writings. An artist knows her path without much outside influence. And then there are those who are born without direction who may feel like they came here without a purpose. Perhaps a purpose for being here doesn’t even occur to them. I don’t honestly know. I’ve always been a poet, a storyteller, a philosopher of sorts. I knew my purpose early on. I don’t know what it feels like to not have a craft, or if it even matters to those who don’t, but even if you are some artistic prodigy right out of the womb – until you know yourself, your craft may feel a bit unbridled and frivolous.

For those of you who don’t know your purpose in life (and if you even care) – we all have been given one unique thing in life. That one unique thing is yourself. If you spend your whole life trying to figure out who you are through the likes of other people, or by searching outside of yourself for answers, there will always be a sensation of feeling lost. If you feel lost, it is because you have not yet discovered yourself. Trust me, I know. I spent a good majority of my life feeling completely lost although I knew very well that I was a writer. Writing is just a tool that I use to channel my voice, but if I don’t know who I am, then how do I even know what I want to say? More often than not, I wrote from the point of view of other people, and a lot of times I plagiarized (in a sense) because I would read books and try to imitate those author’s writings and voices. My writing did not become organic until I took an interest in myself. When I decided to put down the bottle of booze and began learning to treat myself with respect and love, I discovered that my inner child (my soul) was the one thing I’d been searching for all along. I wasn’t lost simply because I was an alcoholic. I was lost because I detached from my essence when I was twelve. That innocent part of me simply wasn’t “cool” when I was trying to fit in with my peers, so I left her behind and molded myself into what I thought would be acceptable to others. I was a fish out of water trying to breathe in air. It never worked for me, but I spent over twenty years trying to develop lungs in place of the gills. This became incredibly gruesome in my thirties. People began catching on that I was a charade, so through the gift of recovery, I made my way back into my natural environment. Here I am now without a doubt of who I am and what I am doing while I am alive. I got to know myself, you see, which is an ongoing process. Each human being is an entire universe. Explore that universe. Discover your essence. Be a physicist and get to the bottom of yourself where you will discover that you are everything. This is the purpose of your life. This is what we should all be doing.

To “know thyself” is a powerful statement of action. It sounds a bit self-centered, doesn’t it? But truthfully when you come to love yourself in a genuine manner, you learn to practice compassion for your faults. You learn to not take yourself so seriously, and you chuckle instead of condemn yourself for being human. This self-love is a gift to others because once we know who we are, we understand who each human being is and we are able to love our neighbors with the same kind of compassion as we have for ourselves. Jesus knew what he was talking about too, when he gave that one commandment to “Love God with all your mind, your heart and your soul, and love thy neighbor as yourself.” To honor yourself is to honor your Creator, and to love yourself, is to love God. To love yourself is to love others. This statement Jesus made was symbiotic. Love is circular – global actually. The universe was created in love, and everything in the universe is cyclical. On a smaller scale, this love we learn to have for ourselves has a cyclical effect on those around us. It is the ripple effect we so often hear about (one act of kindness extends out unto the world).

What does it mean to “know thyself?” Yes. Continue asking this question and allow it to lead you to the answer. The only thing we all should be doing, is being ourselves. This is the soul purpose of each human being. We come to earth in this body. We leave the body behind when we die. In the meantime, we should know that our body is a temple – the dwelling place of our essence (our soul). The human body should always be searching for its beautiful soul while it is alive. Remember in ‘Finding Nemo’ how Dori forgot who she was, and Marlin was there to remind her. This relationship between Marlin and Dori was a beautiful analogy of the dance between the body and the soul. Keep re-connecting to yourself and discovering who you are. Align with that essence and unify with that inner light. We all have it. That light will lead the way (just like Dori intuitively lead the way for Marlin), and you will never feel lost again. Remember when Dori told Marlin that he just “felt like home?” Yeah, Pixar is pretty deep. Going home has nothing to do with entering heaven upon death. It has everything to do with the soul uniting with the body right now. This is the truth in the words of Socrates, “Know Thyself.” And the message of Christ, “Love Thyself.” More than anything – BE Thyself.

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Awareness + Openness + Acceptance x Unabashed Faith = Abundance

Financial Abudance
Many of us go out and search the world for answers to big questions. I’ve been to many churches, several temples, inside a thousand books, and out in nature seeking some sort of “truth.” Truth is exactly like a firefly in daylight. You may get a glimpse (every now and again) of the notion of truth, but truth is not something you can capture eternally. Truth is perpetually on the move. It’s taunting and playful and wants to be followed. To walk toward the spark of truth is to walk an invisible path of insurmountable light. At some point I realized that truth is an experience, rather than an actual point of knowing.

There are many religions and beliefs, but I no longer subscribe to man’s ideas about life. If you were to ask an ant how he views the world, you would immediately discover (as a human being) that the ant’s perception is incredibly limited. He knows nothing about something greater occurring outside of his colony. When breadcrumbs fall, he gathers them and takes them home. I doubt very seriously the ant ever worries about running out of food. The ant trusts that there is an abundance of food, and even if he doesn’t know what abundance is, the ant still never worries about starvation or death, or anything for that matter because the ant is simply “being.”

In the grand scheme of the universe, human beings are even smaller than an ant. Yes, we have something greater than an insect – we have the ability to conceptualize, philosophize and create, but our perception of life is still very limited, no doubt. We also carry around a lot of fear which limits the way we navigate in our lives. Instead of stepping out into the wide open world and experiencing all that is offered to us, we often play it safe. I’m learning more and more to get up on stage in front of people I do not know, just to sing a song, or to read one of my poems. Before I get up there my mind tells me all kinds of awful things and brings back horrible memories of me messing up in front of a crowd, but then I pretend that this is my last day on Earth (because “now” is all we have) and I get up there and I do my best, and it feels so liberating. Instead of feeding off of the crowd, I began experiencing my own self up there, who goes from completely shy and awkward, to excited and carefree. I stopped limiting myself to what my fears tell me, and I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others. Self-acceptance has been my biggest challenge over the last three+ years of sobriety. And as I have begun accepting myself, I have become much more accepting of others. In fact, I’m much more interested in other people’s differences – because they obviously have something to teach me about life that I don’t already know.

It is difficult for me to tell people what religion I subscribe to. I grew up Christian, walked a few miles as an Agnostic, dabbled in Buddhism and have discovered myself (without even knowing it) following the path of a Shaman and eventually coming to a very Hindu understanding of life. Regardless of all of my “religious” costume changes, the one thing I have never left behind was my faith in something greater occurring than what I see. Even as a momentary Agnostic, I was still chasing the firefly. Come to find out, “Agnostic” simply means that a person doesn’t claim to know anything ultimately. Being Agnostic is being aware that there is no ultimate answer. So it comes back around to awareness, which is basically a place in which all things are possible. This is a very liberating place to be. This is the dwelling place of abundance. If all things are possible, then nothing is impossible. How cool is that?

The Buddhist understanding of life was interesting to me until I discovered that Buddhists don’t put much weight on desire. In fact, The Buddha pretty much tells us that desire creates suffering. To some extent, this is true, but because I am extremely curious, I don’t just buy into something without exploring it thoroughly. If it were not for human desire, the world would lack creativity. Creativity creates worlds, therefore I believe what The Buddha was saying was that we should learn to make peace with what is – to be in acceptance of all things that we encounter, rather than desiring a different result. Desire can take away from the present moment, which is all there truly is. Like everything in life, we must learn a balance between what is now, and creating the life that is ahead. When a desire suddenly comes to me (as it so often does), I trust now that it’s the universe nudging me forward toward that desire. My decisions right now, are often influenced by that desire. Whatever that desire of mine is, has already been granted you see. It’s merely awaiting my awareness, openness and acceptance. When I follow this unabashed faith of mine – what always follows is abundance. And what I have learned is not to expect things the way my limited mind projects what it thinks it wants. I have learned to be open, and to receive life however it presents itself to me, because, again, my perception is very small. Most of the time, what life offers me (when I am aware, open and accepting) is something much greater than I ever expected.

Right this very second is abundant. Look around you. Find gratitude in the bold taste of coffee, or in the morning sunlight. Be aware of the clothes on your body and the people who offer you a genuine smile. Tune into laughter, feel the skin on the hand that shakes your hand, look deep into the eyes of your lover. Life is now. It’s not ten minutes from now. It’s not when Jesus comes back. It’s not when Obama leaves office. It’s not when your bills are all paid. It’s the purring cat, the chirping birds, the cars driving by. We live in a universe of abundance. You are never apart from that abundance unless you are looking somewhere outside of right now. Somewhere in this illusion of time, we will learn to enjoy the firefly in all it’s movement, rather than wasting this moment trying to capture it.

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For Those of Us Who Are Sensitive to the Energy of Others (How to Keep Your Balance When You Carry the Weight of the World)

Weight of the World
When I was a child, I naturally looked past people’s faults and saw their pain. Not only did I see it, but I felt it deeply. At some point, this gift became overwhelming for me and I could no longer handle all the emotions I carried, so I consciously disconnected from myself and began to live my life on the surface – if not merely to fit in – simply to be set free from the heaviness I carried. Eventually I came back around to myself, but I learned to focus on my own emotions, rather than the emotions of others. I still feel people. Immediately upon meeting people, I know what is going on with them, and when I feel nothing, they are either very clear or incredibly guarded. I feel confusion, anger (this is the worst for me), jealousy, lack of focus, an unsettled spirit (difficult for me to be around), insecurity, neediness, sadness, etc… and I also know immediately when someone is whole in themselves. I feel their entire presence and we usually connect very quickly. I have met a couple of people like this recently and within a short period of time, we have become very close.

One of the people is a twelve year old child. She is experiencing people’s pain and it becomes overwhelming for her at times. It’s difficult because you can’t fix the world, but you want to when you have this gift of empathy. There was no guidance for me at her age, so it is important to me to offer her my guidance now that I have come back around to myself. The thing I’ve learned over these last eleven years of soul searching and truth seeking, is that suffering is a choice. No matter what circumstances we are facing, no matter how difficult things become, suffering is absolutely a choice. How you think determines how you feel, and also, how you think creates your experience, so we must understand that when we are in the presence of someone who suffers, instead of feeling sorry for them, we should give them compassion, but we should also know that taking on their suffering is going to drain us. In the same situations, people experience situations differently according to how they think. I have been very poor financially at times to where I was eating top ramen for months so that I could pay my rent, but I never once thought of myself as poor. I was so grateful to have a job, to have a roof over my head, to be sober and to feel good. The last thing I ever did was compare myself to other people who were affluent. I knew my situation was temporary and I was also more concerned about my well-being than I was about my income. Within a fairly short amount of time I moved up in the world and got a better job, etc. If I would have bought into a notion that I was “poor” and “less than,” I would have never been open to receiving the abundance that I am experiencing now, and it’s only getting better because I still do not go to dark places in my mind when life brings me challenges. The most important thing I do, is not worry about how other people view my situation. I don’t care if Bentley driving Drew over there knows how to drink responsibly, owns several homes, travels the world and has five college degrees – The last thing I’m doing is considering what he thinks of my situation. That would be futile for me.

Because the universe is made up of vibrations and light, everything we experience is a direct result of our own thoughts (which are vibrations). Even before we were born, we were a vibration in the universe. This is quantum physics here – I’m not talking out of my airy-fairy ass. Therefore, it is clear to me that this human experience is but a grain of sand in the ocean of experiences. I am convinced that we live several different lifetimes. When I encounter someone who is suffering, I not only look at them as my brother or sister, but I see them as myself. Because I believe that we are all one, I understand that we all experience every facet of life. This means that we have all been the aborted child, the mother who aborts her child, the homeless man on the street, the drunk, the junky, the murderer, the President, the Pope, the affluent person, the person of poverty. I no longer buy into a concept that I am separate from anyone, but I do understand that I have the ability to create my experience now. This means that everyone else is creating their experience too, and I don’t think it begins at birth. Because we are already vibration and consciousness prior to birth, I trust that we know exactly what we are getting ourselves into when we join the human race. Yes, I feel that I knew my challenges before I even came into this world. Perhaps a child who knows it is going to be aborted, chooses that path in order to move a mother’s consciousness into a higher level, or to give the mother an experience that she wouldn’t have had without the abortion. This is why I no longer judge any situation or anyone who does anything. Since we are all very connected, we all influence each other’s lives. at some point in our experiences, we wake up – we completely wake up, but it can take several lifetimes to get to that place. Because we only have a very limited point of view of the overall picture, I’ve decided to trust that I know nothing. All I know is who I am, and all I can do is get closer to that I AM, while offering love and compassion to others along the way. I cannot fix the world or change anyone. I can change myself, however, and that’s where I place my focus.

Ground yourself in yourself and ask for help when you need it. Be true to who you are without being influenced by the people around you. Keep your balance by focusing inward, rather than out. If you “feel” someone’s deepest emotions – feel the emotion all the way through. Allow the pain to roll through your body so that it is quickly released, but do not hang onto it, or dwell on how you think the person is feeling. They are having their experience of life, while you are having yours. Having compassion means allowing others to have their experience without interfering. You can be a guide to them by simply being whole in yourself. The last thing you should do is take on their experience.

Trust your intuition about people without judgment. If you feel a stir within you that doesn’t feel good, there is no reason to remain in the presence of that person. We get so caught up in attachment. Learn to let go everyday. Life is constant movement. You do not have to stay anywhere or with anyone who does not feel right. It is good to learn to keep moving and to trust yourself along the way. Since I have been more aware of myself, I am much more aware of what is going on with other people. I have learned to remain solid, but I do waiver at times – and this is ok. It is good for me to feel that insecurity because it gives me something to work on. I don’t have to judge myself or condemn myself for not being completely whole in myself all the time. I am always growing, learning and becoming closer to who I am. Life is a journey and nothing more. It’s just an experience. Don’t get too caught up in the drama. Just learn to be present and keep moving forward!

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

Stage
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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Why Should I Enjoy My Life When the Whole World Seems to Be Falling Apart?

World Peace
We cannot deny the state of affairs in the world. Everything, from lack of water to mutating flus and diseases, unpredictable weather, wars and rumors of wars is occurring all around us. Just yesterday I heard of a tragic armed robbery in the town I grew up in, along with the news of the missile destroyed Malaysia plane with nearly 300 innocent people on board. Things are getting worse, not better. That’s obvious. The root of all our problems has been the same for thousands of years. It’s all about money and power. Leaders wage war on other lands to obtain rights to natural resources, and the common man murders a child’s mother to obtain some cash. It’s devastating to those of us that live our lives in peace just trying to do our part in the world. When we get these kinds of news stories, it feels like we are doing so very little to change the state of the planet. Recycling and being kind to others seem like small gestures that aren’t doing much good. What else can I do? We ask ourselves this question knowing that we can’t stop world leaders from being egotistical warmongers. We can’t bring water to India or Africa. We can only do our part, like we are already doing, while we hear of people suffering around the world, and of people being murdered.

I used to become very depressed because I felt so helpless in the grand scheme of things, but instead of paying attention to myself and the world around me, I self-destructed. When I figured out that my body is an entire universe, and that the world around me is given to me so that I can be responsible toward it, I realized that by changing my perspective and my attitude, life became much more bearable. In fact, I am incredibly happy and light-hearted now, even about the events occurring in the world. One thing I know is that there is a much bigger picture playing out than our eyes can see and our ears can hear. Something significant is happening on this planet that we cannot even fathom. A greater purpose is in the works, and we must understand that things must be broken down in order to be restored (recovered). The planet is in a state of denial, but soon, the people who are in charge will see that this way of greed and lust for money and power is no longer serving them. When all our resources have been exhausted and when the common people decide that we no longer want this hierarchy/minority way of life because we understand that everyone is equal in spirit, there will be a great rise of the people, and then a surrendering of the egos. We will begin shedding our old ways and we will recover.

For those of us who dream of world peace, we need to understand that we can’t have peace without breaking down the old systems, patterns, governments, religions and institutionalized ways of thinking. During this process there will be a time of upheaval. How do I know all this? Because as a human being I went through it on an individual level. Everything that occurs on an atomic level, is a reflection of what happens on a universal scale. There are seven billion of us right now witnessing a time of great change on the planet. This has never occurred before. Isn’t it ironic that there are more people on the earth than there has ever been during this intense time? Doesn’t it seem like perhaps we all wanted to be here for this great event? If you are spiritual like me, then you know that this one human life is but a grain of sand on the universal shore. We live several lives as our spirit journeys and explores. When someone dies, it is not the end of them. The ones who suffer are the ones who are left behind, but that soul (those souls in the plane) live on, and perhaps even come back here in another human body to assist the planet in it’s great metamorphous.

I’m not of the belief that a savior is going to come back in a cloud and save his people by removing them from what is occurring on the planet. I’ve met several Atheists over the last few years, who (by far) are the most responsible human beings I have ever known. It taught me a great deal about my own irresponsibility as a so-called “Christian.” I grew up thinking that I didn’t have to worry about what I was doing or how I was being because Jesus was going to take care of everything for me. He was going to take responsibility for me and remove me (along with the other Christians) from this horrific planet. When it occurred to me that this may not happen, I did a one-eighty in my life. I went through an incredible process of awakening. I had a dream that I was standing in a mirror, and there I reflected the Christ body. Christ wasn’t only within me, but Christ was me. This is not an egotistical “I AM GOD” claim. This is an incredibly empowering understanding I received, that changed my entire way of being. During that time I was also brought to a higher consciousness experience where everyone I encountered was me, and also, I was everyone whom I encountered. There was no separateness between human beings. We were all one. I was living with an Atheist at the time, who was one of the most considerate human beings I had ever known. She took complete responsibility for herself and her way of being because she didn’t believe that a savior was going to come and save her. She trusted that she was here to save herself. I got that, in a BIG way. If I am the Christ and the Christ is me, then I must be saved through myself and the second coming must be a great human awakening. Even if it doesn’t mean this, and I am wrong again, the one thing I got out of it is that I AM responsible for this moment, which is the only thing occurring. We can wait around for a savior, or we can realize that we are the savior. And that’s how I choose to live now. It was scary as hell to receive this understanding because I had never taken responsibility before, thinking that Jesus was going to do it for me. All along I had been negating my wholeness while awaiting someone else’s return. The truth was – all along I was waiting for me to return to myself. It also told me something, however, when I was afraid to be responsible. It said to me that I have been very irresponsible, which was ultimately a very ungodly way to be.

The bottom line is that in order to change the world, you must first change yourself. You must change your old patterns of thinking, break down your belief systems, shed old behaviors and get down to the place in yourself that is ultimate love and peace. Then, and only then, will you discover that the state of the planet is merely a reflection of the consciousness of the individual. Once we all begin waking up (which we are), so will the entire planet. In the meantime, there will be wars, tragedy and catastrophe, but such as the human being when it is making a great shift. When we are recovering from our addictions, it feels as if our world is caving in for a time, but as we move through it and continue recovering, we are eventually liberated. The planet is at the end stages of her denial. She will wake up and she will surrender, and by honoring your own self, by being joyful in the moment, and by taking responsibility, you are assisting her in her great metamorphous.

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Forgiveness is Not for the Other Person

Forgiveness
Children learn by example. The other day I was in the car with my twelve year old daughter and out of nowhere she said, “Mom, you are a really forgiving person.” My body was filled with chills from her words. It wasn’t like I’ve been trying to preach forgiveness to her; I’ve merely been walking my path knowing that she is paying more attention to my actions than my words. It touched my heart that she would bring this up and it opened a door for me to explain something valuable to her.

“Thank you for saying that. I am a forgiving person. I always have been a forgiving person. It comes very naturally to me, but not everyone forgives very easily.” She was listening so I went on. “I learned a long time ago that it takes much more energy to remain angry than it does to simply let things go. And if I’m angry, then I’m the one who is suffering. When you forgive, you set yourself free. When you stay mad, it’s like drinking your own poison, or deliberately swallowing hot coals. I really don’t want to waste my life being angry or jealous toward other people. It’s much easier to just forgive. Life is too short.” She took my words in and we talked about it for a little while. She gave me an example of where she observed me being forgiving. She sat silent afterward and I wondered what she was thinking about. Perhaps this was a moment in her life where she would deeply understand the precious value in forgiving a friend for hurting her feelings.

We derive from a Christian family, and she is very receptive to what the Bible says, so when I talk to her about my way of life, I always refer to the teachings of Christ. I don’t care what the Hebrew laws were in the Bible. I certainly do not take the Bible literally. I don’t pay much attention to the words of his followers after Jesus ascended. Very few people understood his message, including his disciples who also took his words literally. His message was simply compassion, which has been the message of all the major prophets throughout history. When I explained to my daughter about forgiveness, I referred to Christ’s very simple message of compassion. Learning compassion is a way of life. It is not an easy way to live, yet it is the most simple way to be.

There are a lot of things we could all be angry about, but how many times have we wronged others and screwed up in our lives? How many second and third chances have we been given? I’ve even heard so called spiritual people say things like, “Forgive but don’t forget.” There are all kinds of philosophies around forgiveness, but when you live a life in spiritual freedom, and you understand that your entire walk in faith is about constantly letting go (of everything), it won’t matter how people behave because you won’t be trying to get something out of them. You won’t be plotting your life out, trying to impress others, looking for acceptance, or making things happen the way you want them to occur. Most importantly, other people’s behaviors will not affect you. You will simply wake up in the morning without thought of yesterday or worry of tomorrow. You will live your day according to how it pans out and talk to people who come into your experience, while being present with them. You learn not to get caught up into any drama, which is happening all around you, yet you will be so aware of it that it’s impossible to get snagged into it. Often I play along, but I’m only playing along. Situations that arise between people are not real to me. The truth lies somewhere between the lines of physical reality and emotion. I pay attention to arising emotion, and if there are no emotions arising, then I am able to partake in dialogue without being a participant in the drama – kind of like an actor. Most of the time because I’m not interested in the drama, other people don’t include me in it, which makes my life a hell of a lot easier. I also don’t go around planning things any longer. If people want to spend time with me, I’m open to that. It doesn’t matter how they are as a person. I simply don’t care. I’m not trying to get anything out of anyone. I just walk in my spiritual freedom and let things flow through me without any agenda, which gives me the freedom to not be hurt by others. And when I do find myself with an agenda, I take a step back and let go again.

I used to be a really controlling person. I wanted things to work out a certain way. I wanted others to feel a certain way about me. I based the way I felt by how people responded to me. That’s a really high maintenance way to live. Who has time and energy for that? I suppose it’s because I’m getting older and I’ve grown up a bit, but whatever the case, I simply do not put much thought into daily situations (sitcoms) any longer. If I’m faced with intense drama, I try to deal with it as soon as possible, but above all else, I let things go. In fact, I let things go so quickly now that I forget why I was even mad toward another person. Being mad at someone is like carrying their weight around while they are out there living their life. It’s really pointless, and toxic to your body. Being angry and remaining stressed or hurt places your body in an acidic state, which is cancerous. Forgiveness and letting go keeps your body alkaline, which is healthy. If anything, forgive others for your own health!

Forgiveness for some people is not an easy thing to do. If this is the case for you, might I suggest that you look at your life situation and see how many people are taking up space in your head. I would guess that there are plenty, which is indicative that there is a great opportunity for you to practice forgiveness right this very moment. We are always offered opportunities to grow and to practice spiritual freedom by the way the world and people respond to us. Most of the time we are blind to this so we react. We are incredibly ignorant about the inner journey of life. We don’t see that the world is staged for our spiritual and emotional development. If people in your life are constantly bringing up anger for you, then they are simply reflecting what you need to work on within yourself. They are not your enemies. They are your teachers. Once your lesson is learned, they will either move on from you, or you will become the best of friends. I know this from experience. Take the opportunity to practice forgiveness –or don’t, and remain on the merry-go-round.

I don’t like preaching forgiveness – I simply live it and don’t put too much thought into it, but I felt it was relevant today because it is an important way to respond to life, especially in recovery. Sometimes I read someone’s blog, or watch a YouTube video that is so parallel to what I’m facing in my life – so when a topic comes up for me as I’m about to blog each morning, I write about it knowing that someone out there will relate. This came up for me today, so here it is plain and simple. Forgiveness is not easy for everyone, but it sets you free, so I highly recommend it. There are plenty of opportunities to practice forgiveness, and once you learn it and become it, you will discover that people won’t prod and poke you toward your anger any longer. Keep walking the internal journey and noticing that the outside circumstances are there to point you in the right direction – right back to yourself!

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that that violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it” – Mark Twain

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JLForbes

Nurture Your Body, Your Mind and Your Soul with Food

Vegan

Walking around the Sunday Farmer’s Market is delightful. I thoroughly enjoy the live music, organic food and the cheerful disposition of vendors as they offer their home grown goods to locals. Honey in jars appears to be liquid gold and bunches of bright, colorful flowers are impossible to resist. I buy a bouquet of sunflowers as an offering of love and friendship unto myself. How can I not feel happy when sunflowers are lighting up my living space? Tea leafs in tin cans promoting good sleep and ultimate health is difficult to pass up after I inhale its earthy aromas, and I never pass on a piece of vegan dark chocolate. I love interacting with this community and it’s even better having a friend along who tells me the different names of vegetables I’ve never encountered, while informing me how to cook with certain peppers and spices. Produce never tastes better than when it’s grown with love and in consideration of the well-being of our planet. A juicy piece of an organic tomato right out of the ground is a bite of paradise, and it’s right here practically in my own back yard.

A couple of years ago I made the decision to become Vegan. It was a slow process of eliminating meat, poultry and fish from my diet out of concern for the well-being of the animals who are abused, neglected and pumped with hormones as we continue trying to feed more people on Earth than have ever walked this planet before. I knew nothing about cooking Vegan or why I was so gung-ho to be a non-meat eater. I sincerely enjoyed fish, meat and barbeques just like most Americans, but something within me tugged to live more consciously, and this included what I put into my body. It has been over a year that I have been Vegan, and I’m not a perfect Vegan. I still splurge on ice cream once in a while, and I do eat organic, range free eggs for breakfast. I put honey in my coffee instead of sugar, and god-forbid if I ever have to give up my dark chocolate, but no animals are dying or neglected so that I can survive, and this was the most important thing when I made this life changing decision.

As I’ve moved along in my Vegan lifestyle, I’ve migrated to a county that promotes organic living and I’m meeting people like myself who are consciously choosing to eat for health reasons more so than to fill some kind of emotional void. I’ve been known to pour comfort food down the ole hatch when I’m feeling out of control or stressed, but the more I learn about myself and pay attention to my emotions and my body, the more I understand why I crave certain foods and how it affects me negatively when I am stuffing myself full instead of nurturing myself. Recovery to me means re-aligning with the natural flow of my life (re-covering… re-cover). The bottom line is that we eat for survival. It is pleasurable to taste good food, but in the long run, is it going to affect my well-being? Of course it is. What you put inside your body affects your entire being, including your emotional and mental state. Because we are electro-magnetic beings as well (soul and heart), eating electric foods (raw fruits and veggies) is also very important. When we choose foods, we should be aware that we are nurturing all of ourselves, and because I’ve chosen to practice self-love, my diet is incredibly important to me, although I sometimes get weird looks and disapproving comments from those who enjoy their meat.

I certainly do not judge others for their food choices. This is my gig, and it is not an easy diet. I often crave burgers and salmon and all the delicious foods I’ve been raised on, but discipline is part of my lifestyle now. Because I’ve been so self-indulgent in the past, I practice a lot of self-discipline now. I’m getting older and as I look around at the people in the world, I notice those who have nurtured themselves, and those who have neglected their bodies. Because I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be one of those people who will live well into my nineties (we have a stubborn family with good genes), I have decided to nurture my body starting now. I just want to feel my best and to live a good quality of life as I age. The truth is, since I have been more conscious of what I put in my mouth, I have much more energy, I feel incredible and I enjoy natural foods so much more than processed foods. There is life in a mouthful of a good home-grown tomato. There is electricity in a carrot and in those beautiful leafy greens. I’m all about natural living, sunshine and the well-being of the planet. I also like supporting local farmers and businesses, which puts a lot money back into our economy if we would all do this.

I have a long way to go until I can say that I live a completely organic lifestyle, but each day I am conscious of what I place into my body, is a day that I am practicing conscious living. Recovery is about self-love, and self-love extends out into the world. When I am in alignment with myself, I am in alignment with the universe. It all connects and it is very relevant. I am not just nurturing my body when I place food into my mouth – I understand that I am nurturing my soul and my mind as well, and these parts of me are not separate. I love the wholeness of me, and that’s why I choose to eat food that grows right out of the Earth. Living a healthy lifestyle is a major part of my own recovery.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JLForbes