Sounds of Silence (Gobble gobble gobble…)

Sound of Silence

About a month ago things began shifting for me, but it was only the beginning of something greater occurring.  First, I was inspired to write a book.  Second, I got stumped during the process.  Third, I let go and intuitively knew that the answer to the question I had, would come to me in its own casual time.  I simply needed to listen for it. To be aware when it made its way toward me.  This is the process of creativity. I placed my project aside and then listened with an open mind and heart.

Before the answer began peaking its head through the horizon, a weird phenomenon was occurring.  People’s voices began sounding like jumbled noise.  Whenever I turned on the car radio all I heard was something that sounded akin to turkey gobble.  People jabbered away about sports, about celebrity news, about nonsense, and it all sounded like static to me.  Facts facts facts.  Gossip gossip gossip.  No “truth” involved whatsoever.  And when I say “truth,” I mean something that nurtures the mind and soul.  All I heard was filler for the old rotting brain, like driving through Mc Donalds for a fake burger to quiet the starving belly as quickly as possible.  Gobble gobble gobble.  People were just talking about nothing, and my brain wasn’t converting their sounds into words that made sense.

Jumbled noise.  White noise in the background of my open heart, while I was waiting for something more profound.  Blah blah blah.  People talking to me sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Wah wah wah.  Weird experience, but it continued, so I turned off my radio, and cut people off in mid sentence (not to be rude, but I simply couldn’t comprehend them).  I wanted to yell, “STOP JABBERING!  I can’t understand a word you are saying!”  (Gobble gobble gobble.)

This last week, I took some time off of work and went on a four day silent retreat.  I turned forty, and instead of having a big party with a bunch of noise (that I wouldn’t be able to understand anyway), I decided to enter into the sacred space of myself where I could actually receive some clarity.  The world comes at you like madness. In every direction. In every form. Distractions distractions distractions. We gobble it up instead of revolting in a pissed off tone WTF? No.  I’m not taking part in this.  I’m not wasting my life away like this.  Sometimes I feel like a cow on a farm, chewing away at the cud (unaware of the impending slaughter).  Our culture is insane.  And it has been for a very long time.  When you open your eyes and look behind the scenes, you get a good whiff of bullshit, and you just want to barf.  WTF am I doing?  How far is Bali?  Can I take my kid and bail from this madhouse?  My bestie recently encouraged me when he heard me so distraught. He said that it was good to be in this moment in time, right now, with so much coming against us spiritually, because we get to wake up and be who we are meant to be. We have the opportunity to guide people along the way.  It’s just like a movie we are playing a role in. If we are true to ourselves, we get to be the hero.

During the retreat, I felt a lot of discomfort in the beginning of the silence, but over the course of the four days, I relaxed with it, instead of resisting it. Of course, it eased.  By the time I left there, I felt quite conscious.  My writing took on a new form. It’s flowing like it hasn’t been for a couple of months.  The second day I was there, one of the hosts of the retreat asked me to meet her in the meditation room. She wanted to sit with me and teach me one of her practices.  Immediately she had me enter into my heart where I had a very clear image of a blazing fire.  She asked me what was in my heart.  I answered, “passion.”  I don’t think she liked that word very much because she made me come up with another word.  Well, I was clearly feeling passionate. The image of fire I was experiencing was as if I had swallowed a volcano that morning.  She was trying to move me to a softer place, like “love,” so I came up with the next best word I could think of, which was “Compassion.”  A simple play on words to satisfy this woman who knew nothing about what I was experiencing.  When I am tuned in, the images come clear in my mind.  I can’t change the images.

While she was talking to me about my heart, and the eternal “compassion” that was in there, a wild turkey walked right up to the window, looked me directly in the eyes, and squawked at my face.  I have never heard such a ruckus come from an animal. It sounded like the noise a little spitfire dog would make if it were annoyed.  We laughed, and stared, and then the turkey stopped.  As soon as the woman began talking to me again, the wild turkey reved up its squawking.  It was so loud, and hysterical!  I was complety enamored by the bird.  Every time she spoke, the turkey fired up his beak.  Throughout the four days there, I saw several wild turkeys, and never once did they make that sound again.

Turkey

Oh, the irony of that bird being there at that exact right time.  The one time when it wasn’t silent – when someone was trying to turn my inner fire into cotton candy (just like the rest of the world does to our soul journey in the physical realm), there that turkey woke me up to myself.  I love nature’s sense of humor.

Soon thereafter, I was back at work, sitting at a busy desk, getting bombarded with a million things.  I felt so overwhelmed yesterday at in my office. I wanted to run away and cry.  I can’t stress enough how we need to stop entertaining ourselves, quit running the rat race.  Who was it that said, “You may win the race, but you’re still a rat?”  Lily Tomlin, I think.  We are a very lost culture because we don’t sit still and listen.  We go go go.  Gobble gobble gobble.  I’m fortunate to have had this experience. I’m going to continue honoring the quiet space in my life where I can receive the abundance that the quiet has to offer.  There is nothing like being tuned-in, clear, aware, and filled with peace.  I would take that any day over fame and fortune.  Fame and fortune do not create joy.  Simple things like turkeys squawking in your face do, however.

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How About a Big Dose of What’s Happening Right Now?

Against the wind

A lot of emphasis is being placed on being present and “living in the moment,” but many teachers on this subject forget to include the moments that suck.  The moments where anger, pain, agitation, confusion (etc.) arise, or when we’re staring at the back of a garbage truck, sitting in endless traffic at a stoplight.  What about those moments?  I mean, it’s not all field’s of daisies and strolls along the beach.  I think we live in a society where we want to forget the monotony and try to make rainbows out of tears, but what if the tears are just as significant as the blissful smiles?  What if the garbage truck in front of you was just as sacred as the sunset, not because you’re delusional, but because it is there and real, and it has an odor that you can clearly smell?  What if everything you touched, tasted, saw, heard, smelled and felt was equal, instead of there being levels of appreciation for one thing or the other based on your judgement of their significance in your life?

We used to sit in weekly groups for after-care treatment when we had completed our six rigorous in-house months of rehab.  The counselor would ask what was going on with us, and most of us would talk out of our ass about the week we’d had, but she would stop us from rambling.  “No, I don’t want to hear about three days ago.  I want to know what’s going on right now?”  Usually when I shared about my week, I would try to include some intelligent insight that I had received about some mediocre experience I had, but all I got were eyes rolling and a diminished ego.  “What’s happening for you RIGHT NOW?”  She would bring me back to focus.  I should have said, “I’m annoyed and I hate this group because it cuts into my Sunday evenings…”  That would have been honest.  That’s what she was grappling for anyway, but I was still in my head at the time, trying to pull unicorns out of my boring, purgatorious weeks.  My life was incredibly insignificant (so it felt), therefore I had to search for something profound.  Right now I was sitting in a chair, dreading that moment.  I didn’t like that group at all.  It was a stupid end to my weekend.  The funny thing was, I was practicing “living in the moment,” but there were moments that I didn’t like at all.  The one thing I wasn’t experiencing, however, were my feelings.  I was still deeply identified with my thoughts.  If I had “felt” myself in that moment, I would have had a lot more of an experience in that stupid group.  I would have felt annoyance roll through my body, and fear.  I would have probably felt some anger and maybe a little bit of joy afterward for having tapped into that emotional part of myself for once.  Instead, I was where I had always been for my entire life – wanting something different – something better than this arrangement of chairs in a circle, facing people that I was tired of seeing each week.  I wanted depths and rivers, shores and blue skies, oceans and fairy-fucking-tales.  (I don’t know – I’m just saying.)

When I was a little kid hanging out with my church peers, we would fantasize about heaven, and what it would be like to be out of this confining body with all these “negative” experiences.  Grief, stress, sorrow, annoyance, etc., but what if we specifically came to this plain of existence to have these experiences?  To know ourselves better?  To touch the face of God (if you believe in such a thing) by recognizing God in all things – not just some things?  What if instead of having an experience of the physical world around us, we began having an emotional experience each moment (i.e., what am I feeling, how am I processing, what is coming up for me right now?).  Last night I was having a bad reaction to a situation, and for a few minutes I sat there still in my own annoyance.  I really FELT it, and let it move through me.  It was strong and kind of maddening.  I wanted to have an outer reaction, and I did for a few seconds, but then I came back to myself and paid close attention to what was going on with me “right now.”  It wasn’t comfortable, but it was dynamic.  I mean, the emotion was strong, and alive.  It was like something moving around in me.  Instead of hating on how I felt right then, I embraced it.  I wasn’t looking for an out from the discomfort.  I wasn’t hoping for the next moment which may have been a little more blissful.  I just hung out in my own irritation.  Just hours prior, I had been sitting on a beach watching whales, but I understood right then that neither experience was more important than the other.  When I was with the whales, it was right now, and while I was having a moment of irritation, it was right now.  Right now I am typing.  Right now I’m not thinking about feeling any different than how I’m feeling right this second.  I’m learning that each moment has power because truly, it’s all there is.

Being in the moment doesn’t just include seeing what’s right in front of you.  It totally includes embracing the emotional experience you’re having regardless of how uncomfortable it is.  “What is happening for you right now?”  Our counselor used to ask us this all the time.  It wasn’t until I got out of treatment and had an encounter with my bitchy co-worker, where I began feeling my own inner reaction to her snarky remarks, instead of responding to her directly.  She mirrored me enough to bring up some emotions within me.  That was pretty cool to experience without reacting.  I was in a whole new dimension of my existence – feeling life from deep within myself.  “What’s happening for you right now?”  I’m feeling frustration and it’s alive within my body, squirming around in there like a hungry serpent, bidding me to react.  

We’ve been taught to live the opposite way – from the mind to the projection of physical reality, but the yogis and monks would say that this is a shallow place to live.  Once you get down into your own body and feel what’s going on for you, the physical world becomes like a looking glass into your own body, which is an entire universe.  Life becomes more dynamic, and the more you sit through uncomfortable emotions, the more beautiful physical reality appears.  You begin seeing all things as equal, and joy expands within you because you’re paying more attention to the inner world, than to the outer (which is always a mirror reflecting your emotional body).

Yesterday on the beach, I was walking against the wind for a time.  It was uncomfortable, and tiring too.  I thought, “I’m experiencing some resistance in my life.  I’m not liking this wind at all.  What else am I resisting?”  That’s a really good question.  I’m going to reflect on that today.  Meditate with this inner resistance of mine.  Let it be with me like a buddy hanging out in my emotional house.

Living in the moment has more to do with being present with your emotions, than it does being ok with driving behind a garbage truck.  Does the garbage truck bring up some emotions for you?  That’s where the focus should be.  Does a loved one piss you off?  Sit with that anger (rather than reacting).  Because once you find yourself not having strong emotional reactions, the now (no matter what that now entails) becomes a constant experience of joy.  That’s the place we’re moving toward if we are practicing “living in the moment.”

People Fear What They Do Not Know

tarot

While I was growing up in the shadow of religion, I recall being told that things like the Tarot were evil and that they were a doorway for negative spirits.  I was interested in the Tarot, however – drawn to it by curiosity, but I stayed away out of fear because I did not want to be followed by demons, or whatever it was that was going to happen to me if I allowed someone to read my cards.  As I became older, I began following my curiosity, and had a few readings done.  Some of them were interesting, while others were a little airy fairy.  If people tell you they can read your future, they are probably a little “out there,” but I was discerning when I was young, and now.  The cards can be “off-putting” if you don’t know what they mean, and also, I was never aware of anything other than what I was taught, so for me to go way out beyond the limitations of my beliefs, was considered a bit like being a lost sheep.  What I know now from my “straying” is that I was doing exactly what we should all be doing… following our gut (intuition) instead of listening to outside banter.  Once you have information from doing your own research, you discover that either something you feared is completely harmless, or you realize (on your own) that it is to be avoided.  We all have an inner compass leading the way for us.  If I would have bought into the fear about the cards, I would have been ignoring my intuition which drew me to them.

About two years ago I dated someone who was very Tarot oriented, which was interesting to me because I had always been fascinated, but never took the time to learn what the cards meant, or from where they derived (no one knows, btw), but just like a deck of playing cards, they are genius.  Without getting into the different symbols and what they mean, the actual readings themselves are a bit like reading poetry of a person’s moment and time.  The Tarot is nothing more than a tool used to guide people back to themselves.  Now that I have been learning more about the Tarot and doing readings myself, I have discovered that many people are curious, but have been told the same thing that I have about them being evil.  The cards themselves are not evil, but a person can be.  So of course be aware of the person behind the cards.  Some people make money reading Tarot.  I would rather sit at a farmers market or something and read for people without taking their money, just to give them some intuitive guidance with the assistance of the cards, which merely depict facets of the human experience and archetypes (or roles) we play out as we move through our lives.  I’m not saying that making money reading Tarot is wrong, but I enjoy the art of the Tarot, and how a reading can help someone without me benefiting or taking something away from the person for whom I’m reading.  The Tarot is a gift, and now that I have learned about our subconscious minds and how we resonate with symbols on an emotional and spiritual level, I see the cards as a breakthrough into a person’s deepest part of themselves.

I have read the Tarot for many friends and family members, and they walk away from my readings with a broader sense of clarity.  Sometimes people text me and ask me to read for them because they are facing adversity and they need some clarity.  Honestly, because I have learned to tap into my own intuition and can read people just as well as I can read the symbols of the cards, I do not necessarily need the Tarot to give advice or direction, but they are a valuable tool, and I love the art of the Tarot.  The more readings I do, the more I resonate with the cards I’m using.  I love art in any form, and this is what the Tarot has become to me – a form of art.  I’ve had some beautiful readings done for me that have been beneficial in helping me let go of negativity and move with the flow of my life.  In a society that is so weighed down with noise, chaos and focused on material, tools like the Tarot bring people back to the undercurrent of themselves so they can understand what’s really going on.  Because everything in life is so innately connected, and we influence the outcome of our experience by how we think and by what we are feeling, the cards easily reflect the person asking a question.  There is no “magic” in the cards (although there is magic in the universe).  The magic is that we, as human beings, influence the cards by attracting them to tell us what we are asking of them.  It’s a science really, and nothing more.  If you’ve learned anything about the law of attraction, you realize that we create our own life experience.  The Tarot is amazing for bring a person right back to how they think, what they are feeling, and the way they are navigating in their lives.  There is nothing scary about that.

We fear what we do not know.  There was a time when I was afraid of religions like Buddhism because I was told it was evil, but when I did my own research, I realized that Buddhism wasn’t a religion at all, but a wonderful and beautiful lifestyle that had more to do with nature than some idolized character sitting in the lotus position.  Of course, people do worship the Buddha (which he would have never wanted), just like people use the Tarot to “fortune tell.”  Man is always twisting things up and creating weirdness out of very basic stuff.  Tarot to me is poetry.  Tarot to someone else can be something else.  Don’t be confused about the various arts and religions out there.  Discover for yourself what they mean to you and go from there.  There is nothing wrong with following your curiosity.  People are freaking crazy, but usually what they are into is nothing more than a guidance system of some sort, created for the purpose of bringing people back to themselves, where the answers all are anyway.  We are the walking talking version of our source.

If I was on a deserted island with nothing but my gut and my voice, I would have to listen to my intuition, which is the place we should all be tapping into, regardless of our circumstances.  We have an internal source of wisdom right in our own bodies.  Forever, we have used tools to remind us to go within, including the Bible, the Torah, etc.  People write them – we read them to help us remain on track emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  The Tarot is nothing more than one of these tools, although instead of words, it uses symbols.  Someone who has the wrong intentions can read the Bible in an evil way, just like someone who gets behind the Tarot and says they can read fortunes, is probably not the right person to do a reading for you.  Listen to your gut and go from there.  That’s all I’m saying, but don’t shun something merely because you’ve been misinformed.  Discover life for yourself and make your own decisions.  People judge when they are not informed.  I used to do this too, but now I am open to learning about something before I go and judge it.  It’s always the person behind the thing I’m looking into that I need to worry about – not the book or the cards themselves. People who have used the Bible to control the masses are more evil (in my book) than some kook behind a deck of Tarot cards. Lets get real. I mean, there is wisdom in every single element of life… not just one source of truth. There is a lot of ancient wisdom in the Tarot, and there is a lot of Astrology in the Bible (and numerology, although most people overlook this), but in the wrong hands, many tools we use can be used for evil rather than for good. Just like sex can be both life-giving and also destructive, there are two sides to every coin.

Dealt a Bad Hand of Cards? The Good News Is… We All Were

Hand of Cards

A friend of mine was telling me about a woman who died of heartache after her son committed suicide.  He placed part of the blame on her in the note he wrote before killing himself.  Sadly he was in such a poor state of mind, that he probably didn’t realize his words would destroy his mother.  Even if he did do it intentionally at the time, it was not an act of good reasoning.  He wrote something and reacted to life during the moment it was eating him alive.  I don’t know anything about him, but I know from experience that life can feel like it’s swallowing you whole at times, especially if you are suffering in addiction or with mental illness.  I don’t know if this young man was, but he certainly felt like a victim.  His mother, in turn, succumbed to his victimization.

I recall a time in my life when I felt like I was dealt a hand of shitty cards, and was pissed that I was stuck with them.  Instead of playing them, I threw them down and ran away from the table (a.k.a. life – myself).  I had no idea at the time, how strong, sharp, courageous, or creative I was.  I also had no clue about something very significant, that I understand now.  I was not only the player holding this hand of cards, but I was also the dealer.  Everyone sitting around that card table of life, was me in another form.  Everyone at the table is playing a role and most of us are bluffing without even knowing it.

When we’re born, we immediately wake up in this plane of reality surrounded in circumstances.  Some of us are lucky to be born in a loving home under a nice roof in a country that’s basically free, while others are not so lucky.  Either way, it’s how you think about things that determine your experience.  There are self-destructive addicts that come from a loving home in a free country, and there are brilliant people who are changing the world for the better, who have derived from poverty and abuse.  It’s not the circumstances that mold the outcome of your life.  It’s how you think and how you respond to your experiences that create your life.  If something terrible happened to me today, and I was thrown in prison, I could either go in there as a victim and mold myself into the negativity, or I could make the best out of the situation and remain a positive influence on the other women.

We always have a choice in life.  It’s not just a hand of cards that we are dealt.  It’s knowing that the hand is an opportunity to be strategic and willing to play the game.  Any of us can fold at any given time. Most of us carry on and hope for the best, but what if you knew something that other people don’t know about the game?  What if you realize that you are the one dealing the cards, and you understand that this whole experience is all a bluff?  What if you wake up one day with the same shitty hand of cards and you pay more attention to your anger about the cards, than dwelling on the cards themselves?  What if you look at the cards you are dealt, along with the smirks on the faces of the other players, and you suddenly know your agony?  What happens then? You wake up. You realize the game is a farce.  It’s a set up.  It’s set up to piss you off, to make you feel like a victim, to break you down, and to finally turn you inward.  It’s here to make you figure out something beyond the game.  There are hints along the way, but we get so caught up in the game that we completely lose ourselves.  We forget what we are constantly dealing with, which has nothing to do with other players, or the cards (the circumstances).  These are all merely reflections of something greater.  When you get this, you can either continue playing the game with a smile on your face, knowing it’s all a bluff, or you can stand up at the table (life), take a bow for your performance in the game, and move on with the understanding that you can now create whatever it is you want from here on out.  You aren’t stuck at that table.  You have a choice to move along to new experiences, but first you must recognize yourself in every aspect of each experience you are having, and in each person you meet.  Then an only then will you understand that you have never been a victim of a bad hand of cards.  You were simply the dealer disguising yourself as a frustrated player, in order to wake up and realize that you are truly the dealer.

I know a lot of people that succumb to an idea that life is filled with adversity in order to remind us that there is a god, and that we can count on him.  That’s part of it.  It’s always good to know that there is a bigger picture, but it’s better to know that you have a responsibility while you are here.  If you throw your hands to God and decide to suffer because you think it’s “His will,” then you aren’t fully getting it.  The idea is to overcome your suffering by understanding that this whole gig is a set up to discover your freedom.  The suffering is like a bad hand of cards.  When you notice your suffering, rather than the bad hand of cards, then you are getting somewhere.  That somewhere is the place that you came here to discover.  It feels like home, because it is.

There is nothing outside of yourself that is more brilliant or better off than what you’ve brought to the table.  No one else’s hand of cards are better than yours.  It only appears that way so that your frustration emanates something very clear.  When you realize what you’ve brought to the table, you understand that the cards were merely a tool along your journey of self-discovery, and you’ll get up and thank all those players in your life who were bluffing to show you the way to yourself.  Most people remain caught up in the game.  Let them be.  Now that you know, you are set free.

Our Bodies Are Meant to Feel Fabulous

Feeling Fabulous

After a long walk in the redwoods with a good friend yesterday, I took my son to the coast, which is a half hour away from home.  This time of year is ideal for sunshine and clear skies here on the west coast of California.  We went to a beach we had never been to before, and I was surprised to discover that we had to practically scoot down a cliff to get to the ocean.  The path was being used by surfers with big boards, so I wasn’t afraid to trust we’d make it to the bottom.  We were hands-free after all, which meant that we could bend our knees and lean to the side of the cliff that wasn’t a drop off, in order to survive the climb down (or I should say, slide down…).  It was a little bit treacherous, especially because my son didn’t have any grip on his shoes.  Going back up was a lot easier, and steep, but it felt so amazing to have the blazing sun on my shoulders as we made our way to the top.  I hike often, so it was not a difficult climb for me.  In fact, it felt amazing, and I was thinking how feeling good sober, is five thousand times better than feeling good drunk, or stoned, or high.

Our bodies are so complex and easily manipulated.  In December I was feeling incredibly “off” and blamed it on outside circumstances, just to discover that all I needed was a little bit of vitamin D (or ten minutes of sunlight) and some magnesium to rebalance everything.  First I made the mistake of going to a doctor, who prescribed me two heavy medications.  The bottles are still full.  I don’t know why I even bothered to pick up the scripts.  We have got to know deep down inside, that taking pills is completely unnatural.  What we eat, what we expose ourselves too, how we think, and how well we exercise, determines how we feel.  If you are feeling shitty, it could be the bad day at work, or it could very well be that your diet is not balanced.  It is most likely the latter.

That steep walk up the cliff, along with the sunlight and the negative ions from the ocean, gave me enough energy to go grocery shopping afterward, cook two separate dinners (I’m vegan – my children are not), do two loads of laundry, fold all the clothes, prepare for Monday, clean up the kitchen, and then some…  Ask me what my Sunday afternoon looked like five years ago, and I would tell you I could barely get out of bed after two days of drinking.

Feeling “off” is usually a chemical or nutritional imbalance.  If you are eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep, along with sunlight, minerals and vitamins, there is no throwing you off in the face of adversity.  Our bodies are organic vehicles that need to be kept tuned up and well watered.  We have more control about how we feel than we credit ourselves.  If you are sick and feeling awful most of the time, the problem is most likely your diet.  Just like a car, we need to constantly tune ourselves up, and take care of ourselves.  People are not depressed because they have a miserable life.  They are depressed because they are malnourished.  We have terrible eating habits in the west, and it’s been proven over and over that a plant based diet prevents cancer, heart disease and tons of other ailments.

Our bodies are meant to function at a “feel good” level.  If we feel good, we can accomplish more, overcome problems with ease, give more of ourselves to others, and enjoy life to the fullest.  Taking care of my mind and body has been essential in my recovery.  If I was stuffing myself with food instead of alcohol, I could not honestly say that I was living a life of recovery.

I’ve had to make several life changes in order to accomplish what I set out to do when I decided to get sober.  It wasn’t about “not drinking.”  It was about living life and enjoying the hell out of it without a drink.  Sometimes I have to re-evaluate my diet and exercise routine.  Often I have to rid myself of pressures in my life that throw me off.  It’s a constant tuning in and tuning up, but there is nothing like being able to climb a cliff without wheezing, or having the energy to conquer a hundred things in a day while feeling amazing.  Taking responsibility for yourself includes a lot more than just admitting your mistakes.  It is about keeping your vehicle tuned up and knowing that how you feel is a direct result of how you nurture your body and mind.  And just like sobriety, you don’t have to change everything all at once. You can do it one fabulous day at a time!

How Far Would You Go to Protect Your Freedom?

Protect Your Freedom

Whenever I watch movies about war or think about what would happen if shit hit the fan in America, and the government tried imposing stricter laws, I question what I would do to defend my freedom.  The answer is, I would do anything.  In my flesh and bones, I’m a raw American, who will wrath with passion the instant my freedom is compromised.  Insanity will take over my calm soul, and I will fight with guns if I have to (although not a big fan of guns, but this is how innately American I am).  As a born and bred American, I will fight.  I will literally, with my own two woman hands, wage war against those that try to relinquish my freedom.  It’s not only me though.  Try to mess with any American’s freedom or rights, and all hell will break lose.  There is no way the people in this country will stand to be subordinate to a government or superpower.  And the government knows this just as well as you and I do.

Have you asked yourself this question?  Do you ever think about how you would respond to tyranny in this country?  I know all my readers are not American, but it’s a good question to ask no matter where you are.  If you are American, I bet there is no limit in how you would respond to an imposition on your rights.  I bet you would go psycho just like me.

It’s ironic though – many new laws have been imposed since the “Attack on America” in 2001, but we haven’t risen up at all as “the people.”  We’ve unknowingly relinquished a lot of our freedoms in the face of fear.  Think about the scrutiny in our airports, the tighter gun laws, the imposition of government health care, the way we’re constantly being tracked and monitored.  Surveillance is occurring all around us.  If you so much as say the wrong thing, it is possible that you will be arrested, questioned and tried as a terrorist.  Do you know how many Americans are sitting in prison because of drugs?  Rather than offering treatment, they are filling our prisons with people who are not true criminals.  This is all occurring, but because we have the illusion that we are “free,” very few people are stirring in their chairs.

I just wonder what it’s going to take to get me to say “Uh-uh.  No more.”  I know one thing, I am constantly thinking about how I am completely exposed in this world.  Everything I Google, everything I text, all that I write and how I move about a building, and my phone conversations can be used against me in a court of law at some point.  That shit should get under my bones, and it does to some degree, but I’m just waiting on edge.  Push me to the point of having to fight, and the savage American will emerge.  That day may eventually come, but because this has been an extremely slow and subtle process, I doubt it will come in a way that we are aware of it.  Think “natural disaster” or “mass epidemic.”  It’s going to take something like 9-11, where great fear is induced, that we will become victims of subtle tyranny.  We’re already seeing it with the militant police raids.

Some of you may think I’m being extreme, or you may call me a “conspiracy theorist.”  I don’t care.  This is something we should all be thinking about.  It’s an important question to ask.  We should be aware of the freedoms that are slowly being relinquished.  Slowly, steadily, done with the injection of fear.  “War on Terror,” my ass.  More like wage against human sovereignty.

I’m just asking a simple question.  How far would you go to protect your freedom?  I’ve fought for my life through the “disease” of alcoholism.  I’ve faced my own demons and sat in chairs for six months experiencing myself in the raw.  I know what it means to be “free.”  I know what I did to free myself from my own fears, and it was a dirty business.  I know who I am on the flesh and bone level, and it isn’t pretty.  I know what I am quite capable of when challenged, and I have been empowered by breaking free from my own prison.

How far would you go to protect your freedom?  Have you asked yourself the question?  Think about it… I bet you are just like me.  It’s just good to know that we wouldn’t stand for our rights being compromised. Because the day very well may come.  That’s the trajectory of our current state of affairs. That’s all I’m saying on the subject. Thanks for reading, and also for asking yourself the question.  It’s important to know where you stand on the subject.

The Answer to Your Problems is “Be of Service”

Be Of Service

When things feel out of control and when life feels like more of a labyrinth than a walk in the park, it can really throw us off.  I had this experience in December and it got the best of me until I stood alone in nature and pretty much threw my hands up to the universe.  “I have absolutely no control, and you know what?  I don’t want control, so once again, I surrender.  Let me be a vessel…”  These were pretty much my words.  I have this convo with God a lot in life (I’ve noticed).  I’m always getting ahead of myself.  My wants and needs become crucial, while the simple things in life get tossed aside and overlooked.  I want everything NOW.  Or at least in my timing, which means that I am way behind in where I thought I should be by now.  Yet when I stop all my whining and nonsense, I realize that all of that chaos is in my mind.  Nothing is falling apart right this second.  Everything is going fairly smoothly.  I feel a little bit raw, and where I want to be is rubbing up against where I am, but to know where I want to go is essential.  It is the vision that will get me there, not the drudging to get there.  I don’t have to drudge.  I simply have to know where I’m headed and surrender to the moment.  I need to trust that I’m being guided along the way, and perhaps the universe moves a lot more casually than I desire, but that’s none of my business.  I’m simply a vessel, remember?

I had a dream last night that all of these people were cramming into one house, and I wasted all my time trying to figure out where I was going to sleep, while trying to keep all my belongings in one place, but it was impossible to control the chaos.  People were arriving and more stuff was being crammed into this one house.  There were animals in cages that were hanging outside of their cages because there was no more room.  It was crazy.  Toward the end of the dream, I didn’t know where any of my stuff was, but it was no longer important to me.  People needed guidance and they kept asking me for direction.  I stopped all my worry and just started helping the people.  When I started being of service, all the chaos happening was no big deal.  I felt centered.  When I got a moment, I decided to do some exploring, and I ended up in the back yard where there was a pride of lions.  There were so many lions – male, female and tons of cubs.  I took a photo of the pride and posted on Facebook, “These lions are right in my own back yard.”  I woke up and realized the power in that statement.

Lions represent courage, strength and power.  I have been dreaming about lions a lot.  In my dream there were male and female, which is yin and yang.  All of these people and animals were inside one house.  Everything in that house represents aspects of myself coming together.  This last month was so confusing to me, and chaotic, but once I surrendered and just centered myself in the moment, everything I needed (strength, courage, power) was in my own back yard.  (Perhaps the pride was a pun for my own pride that has often held me hostage).  There is never anything outside of myself that I need.  It’s all in one place in the here and now.  If we are confused, overwhelmed, scared and feeling powerless, the best thing we can do is surrender to it and be of service to others.  I have been asking the universe what I need to do to be of service, and the answer is right here right now.  My own job is service oriented.  I can be of service to my children and my roommate.  I don’t have to go to a homeless shelter to be of service, although that would be fine too.  If we can practice being of service right where we are right now, it will remove us from our confusion, immediately.

Sometimes we have to go through monotonous days so that we know what we don’t want, in order to visualize what we do want.  Often we feel overwhelmed so that we can re-evaluate our course.  When confusion throws us off, it is a good time to let go and do something for someone else.  Being of service is the quickest way to becoming grounded.  Give what you think you don’t have.  Be what you think you lack.  Know that the answer is always in your own back yard.  You are not separate from what you need, ever.  It may not be clear in the moment, but if you can just remind yourself to be of service to someone else, you will not only forget about the chaos, but you will become centered enough to receive the clarity you need.  It may feel like you are going nowhere, which can be frustrating, but nowhere is exactly where answers to your deepest questions await your awareness.  In recovery, it’s not about reaching the top of the mountain.  It’s simply about being aware of the moment.  We can very well climb that mountain, but when we get there, we will discover it was all a mirage.  There are more mountains to climb.  The journey is never-ending, so the universe laughs when we get ahead of ourselves.  There is nothing to achieve.  It’s all about now.  Who are you helping?  Who are you being?  How often are you letting go and simply being open to receiving?  What is your vision?  Do you even have a vision?  If you don’t, then get one.  With a vision, you will be guided.  Without vision, you will be easily misguided.  We simply need to focus on where we want to be, and then open ourselves up to moving toward that place, knowing that how we get there is none of our business.  That’s where I am today.  I know what I want.  I know what I don’t want, but while I’m feeling raw between the two, I’m going to put my head down and help others, even if it’s simply helping my daughter get ready in the morning because she’s running late.  That’s where it’s at.  I know it sounds mediocre, but to get anywhere, we have to embrace each moment as if it’s the path toward our vision, because it truly is.