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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The Void We All Experience, is an Unopened Trove

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The infamous VOID that we’re constantly trying to fill, cannot be filled because it is already full and the lid is tightly sealed.  I know this from experience.  Everything I tried to fill myself with eventually brought more emptiness.  I don’t need to go into this because we all know about temporary fixes.  What we don’t all know about is that the void is wreaking havoc on your life because it’s yearning to be explored.  There is nothing more cavernous and beckoning than the void inside of each human being, but rather than give it our full attention, we try to shut it off because we secretly think it’s going to kill us.  On the contrary.  That cave inside of you is the richest part of your human experience.  If only you would sit with it for quite some time and learn to acknowledge it; you will discover that there is a treasure inside of you simply waiting to be opened. 

One of the men at my home group has been coming back as a newcomer for weeks.  He gets thirty days and spoils it.  Over and over.  He is in a lot of pain.  I’ve been there before and I hear him speak about the void that is inside of him and how he used filled it with women, but now he’s filling it with God.  I understand all of this.  I understand that many of us think that God is the one who is supposed to fill that void, but I will tell you something that I don’t think I’ve ever said before.  God never stopped me from taking a drink.  God never stopped me from self-destructing.  Filling my void with God didn’t remove the cravings, nor did God remain in there so tightly that it filled up my void completely.  Like sealing cracks around a window, the air always finds its way through, and God never took up all of that empty space inside of me.  There is nothing that can fill that space because it’s not a space at all.  It’s a place of yearning.  Its a place of essence.  It’s the very core of YOU, and its begging for your exploration.

You’ve ignored yourself for several years.  There is so much entertainment, too many distractions, a bazillion people wanting your attention.  You spend your energy trying to achieve their approval and acceptance.  There is a career, possibly there are children, and so many relationships require your time.  If you’re religious, Jesus needs your attention too, and if you’re into technology, then you’ve kept yourself occupied with plenty of computer stuff.  Movies, games, meals, sex, TV shows… it’s enough to draw anyone away from themselves for decades.  And the void seems to get louder.  It’s aching inside of you and it’s begging for your attention, so you fill it with even more outside stuff and suddenly you discover yourself in a self-destructive cycle.  WHAM!  Then you’re finally left with nothing except for you and that disturbing, terrorizing void.  You can cry over that void because it makes you miserable.  It’s irritating and longing for one thing only.  That one thing is not God.  It’s you.

 Hang out with your emptiness and learn about that space inside of you.  It’s not going to kill you to feel lonely, or to desperately ache.  That feeling of void is the neglect that you have offered to yourself throughout your life.  It’s sadness.  It’s pain from being abused by you.  It’s your own self longing for your friendship.  Haven’t you ever wondered why there is a void?  Perhaps it’s not a void at all.  What if it is everything you’ve ever dreamed about, wrapped up inside a beautiful box just waiting for your arrival?  And it was getting louder and louder because it has been waiting for so damn long?  Come back home… it calls to you.  Love me… it beckons.  Like a little child missing a long lost parent. 

The void is not emptiness longing to be filled.  It’s a rich trove, begging to be opened.  Walk down into that cavernous space of yourself and discover what it’s like to open a treasure that fills up every crevasse of your being.  Stop running.  Stop fixing.  Stop pretending you aren’t aching just like everyone else on this planet.  The only difference between you and the person who is filled with serenity, is that they finally stopped fighting their emptiness and accepted the gift that was yearning to be discovered.     

 

Speaking at Meetings

Your Voice Matters

One of the visions I have for my life, is to be a speaker who brings other people back to themselves; the person they most likely know the least.  I don’t have to look too far ahead in the future to see this occurring.  I’m asked to speak at meetings often enough, and each time I share, my story becomes a little more refined, clearer, and I begin seeing myself standing in front of an audience sharing a message of self-empowerment to a full auditorium.  What I love most about speaking, is how the people relate to me.  I don’t spend very much time on how ugly it looked to be a drunk.  We all know what that looks like, and what it feels like.  We don’t go to meetings as a pastime (most of us anyway).  We go because things got ugly and we needed to find our way out of hell.

When I speak, I share about how disconnected I was from who I am today.  I tell my peers how I was always looking for something or someone outside of myself to feel better, and how when I got into recovery, I discovered that I was the one whom I was searching for all along.  When I began reconnecting to myself, the love and power that filled my soul, was so far beyond a fix or a high, that I no longer imagine ever going back to that way of life.  Why would I stay sober if it was anything less than incredible?  If life sober is worse than life drunk, why not stay drunk?

After I speak, other people share, and this is when I get to be blown away.  You never know who is going to speak up and say something that simple matters so much. I end up going home feeling ignited and motivated.  People relate to me, adding more to my own story.  It’s like collective momentum that builds in those rooms; where each person gets to plug in for an hour and recharge their sober battery. The greatest thing about speaking, is that I get to set the mode for that hour. I get to choose how my story reflects on the faces of the people I’m speaking to. I like making people think, and I like when people think about, or hear something in my story, that they’ve quite possibly never considered… like how God isn’t something outside of themselves. Some people don’t realize this because a higher power seems so obscure.

Public speaking rates at one of the top fears for most human beings, even above the fear of death. I used to be terrified of speaking to a crowd, yet I still have this burning desire to do it as a facet of my career. Each time I speak in the rooms, my fear is eradicated. I’m discovering myself having more fun speaking; and if I’m having more fun, so is my audience. I think it’s pretty incredible that I’m offered so many opportunities to refine my public speaking skills inside the rooms, where people are incredibly accepting and receptive.

I wrote this today because everyone’s voice matters. If you are asked to speak at a meeting, you should always say YES! There is something in your story that will have an affect on someone else. We all relate to one another, and we all want to hear a fresh voice, along with a different perspective on things. Don’t ever let this opportunity pass you by, because not only will you be honoring your recovery, you will discover yourself more motivated after that meeting, than you ever have sitting back in the chairs listening.

Your voice matters. Your voice matters more than you even know.