Is Your Direction Purely Consumption?

Consumption

We are a generation of insatiable consumers.  Everywhere we go there are advertisements working overtime on our human desires in order to get us to buy something we probably don’t need.  Commercials take up a third of our show’s airtime, and companies who have money to spend (like Apple and Pepsi) advertise their products right inside the shows we watch.  We are not only consumers of products, we are consumers of entertainment.  This is probably the worst form of consumption because it comes across so sparkly and harmless (most of the time).  The problem is, when we are constantly needing to be entertained, we lose ourselves in things outside of ourselves.  This is exactly what addiction is, and it comes in the form of many faces.  Some addictions drag you through the mud and rip your life apart, but many addictions are subtly and slowly removing you from yourself.  So what’s the problem you ask?  I don’t know – perhaps I think too much about the day I die and having regrets about things I didn’t do while I was alive (because I was too busy trying to fill up the empty spaces by consuming, instead of enjoying the precious moments of my life).

Lucky me – I know a lot of people who simply enjoy their lives, who are not the mainstream type of consumers.  This is refreshing.  I’ve been on both sides of the equation, and I still love my shows – they make them so funny now that it’s difficult not to watch them.  Not that watching shows are bad, but it’s how much time many of us spend zoning out in front of the television, or with anything that takes us away from ourselves.  I enjoy good writing, and I watch shows and films with good writing because it is inspiring to me – not just entertaining. I read books that inspire my craft. I enjoy beautiful artwork because it lifts my spirits. Not that I am immune to zoning out in front of the TV. I do that too.

Consumption is not a direction in life, however.  It’s a filler.  If you have direction and you know where you are headed, I would say that a little TV is probably ok, but like anything in life, there has to be a balance.  If you’re finding yourself unhappy when you don’t have people, places and things keeping you distracted from yourself, then it may be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your life.  What do you want out of your life?  Where do you want to go?  Where do you see yourself five years from now?  What are you missing out on because you have lost touch with yourself?  If you continue doing what you are doing, where are you headed?  If what you are consuming isn’t inspiring or assisting you toward your dreams or goals, then it probably isn’t worth your time.

I know what restlessness feels like and how disturbing it can be when you are left alone with yourself with nothing to do but spin your wheels.  It’s a terrible feeling – I KNOW, but it’s often a good place to be because without anything to relieve your restlessness, you can discover a lot about yourself.  What is your ingenious brain telling you to do while your feeling restless?  What does it desire?  What is it begging for?  What does it crave?  When I am feeling restless, I find out (really fast) what distractions are calling out to me, and it can be a brutal space to hang out in, but once I get past the squawking parrot in my head (the consumer), everything becomes incredibly settled and calm.  I realize all of that squawking was nonsense.  I don’t DIE, or end up disappearing when I don’t feed into the restlessness.  In fact, I become much more aware of myself, and of the deepest part of myself that longs for space to simply feel alive, rather than feeling numbed out all the time.  Even feeling emotional raw these days has such an advantage over feeling nothing, because at least I know I’m ALIVE.

I used to be bored all of the time.  I can tell you after three and a half years of sobriety and in knowing which direction I am headed in my life, I have not experienced boredom in most of those three-point-five years.  I can’t even imagine being bored anymore – even if I am just sitting on a couch staring at a wall.  I am not bored because I know who I am, where I am going, how amazing silence can be, and I am truly happy.  Life is not always a cake walk, but I am truly happy, even during off-days.  This is because I stopped filling the void and finally allowed to void to be.  I write about this a lot, but the void was simply my Self, desiring me to come home.  Once I entered into the void, I found out that I was everything I ever needed.  I recommend this course of action.  It is much better than living a life trying to keep that void filled.  You can never fill that void because (again) it isn’t a void at all.

Though many people are quite satisfied in their lives by simply living a day to day routine and enjoying the moments as they come, some of us have dreams and ultimate desires for ourselves.  If you’re one of those people, then take action toward your goals.  Make a bucket list and go for it.  Ask yourself if what you are doing throughout the course of the day is creating steps toward your goals, or taking you away from your goals.  I used to get caught in this trap of thinking that it was going to take me WAY too long to get where I wanted to go, and also, I was not up for the work that was required of me.  I suppose recovery has taught me something valuable.  Once you step toward a goal, and place your energy toward that goal, the momentum toward that goal picks up exponentially, and the spiritual, emotional and mental growth during the process is what will give you strength to continue on.  Once you get on the path, and you’re serious about the path toward your goals, the whole universe will conspire for you to reach those goals (haven’t you read ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho?  Well, you should if you haven’t).  It’s certainly not as daunting as you’re probably making it in your head.  Even after several years of writing books and not finding a Literary Agent or a major publisher to represent me (one of my goals), I am still going strong.  If it takes me another decade to get where I want to go, I’m not giving up.  I’m going to continue writing.  I will only grow better as a writer and learn more about myself, and life, in the meantime.  The path toward getting there has been that incredibly fulfilling to me.  And if I never reached my goals, I would not consider myself a failure, because at least I tried.  A failure is someone who gives up on themselves before they even try.

I have been blogging a lot for the last year, but some things have shifted in my life that require me to place my focus on completing the manuscripts I’ve started.  I write mostly in the morning because it’s the quietest time of day.  I decided to blog about once a week, and to fill the remainder of the mornings, writing my manuscripts.  For those of you who read my blogs everyday, don’t think I have given up. On the contrary. I have written a lot on this blog and I feel incredibly satisfied with LushNoLonger. I will continue blogging, just not as often.
In the meantime, I have a promotion going on from now through the end of October (2014).  If you download a copy of ‘Majestic Wonderbread – Earthbound and Seeking Hidden Treasure,’ http://www.amazon.com/MAJESTIC-WONDERBREAD-Earthbound-Seeking-Treasure-ebook/dp/B00DGZPXPI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413208837&sr=8-2&keywords=majestic+wonderbread

Then like my FB page https://www.facebook.com/MajesticWonderbread

and write an Amazon review about the book – email me with you full name and address (Articulatingmagic@gmail.com), I will send you an autographed copy of the book.  It’s a win-win.  It is a really good book and it’s the first of a series.  I believe in this book, so I’m promoting it – it’s part of my own path toward one of my life goals.

If you need more inspiration to follow your own goals, here is a link to ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho (I highly recommend this book):  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the%20alchemist&sprefix=the+alchemist%2Caps%2C466

Have You Ever Seen a Molting Chicken? We Can Learn a Thing or Two From the Animals

Molting Chicken

The other day at a farmer’s market I saw the most hideous looking duck.  It’s feathers were all bunched up and puffed out around its head and neck.  At first glance, I thought “neglect,” but then looking around at the other well-groomed birds, I realized that the poor old duck was probably just molting.  It’s not a pretty sight, but when those feathers do come in, that bird is going to shine and light up the whole farm. 

When I was younger, I had a few reptiles (snakes and lizards) that shed about once every other month or so.  Their new skin was so vibrant under the old dull skin.  Their eyes were clearer and they became more active right after those heavy layers came off.  As I grow throughout my life, I think of myself as shedding old skins and moving out of the layers of myself that no longer serve me.  I’m outgrowing old behaviors and patterns of thinking.  I’m shedding my ego and walking more and more in the lightness of intuition.  During weeks of restlessness and confusion, I have finally figured out that I’m simply going through that process of spiritual or emotional molting.

You know, we’ve been graciously gifted with nature that teaches us exactly how to be.  Animals literally live in the moment completely trusting their environment and their own instincts.  Animals don’t fear incoming danger before danger lurks.  They are so acutely aware of the moment, that they sense danger as soon as it arrives.  If danger is not there, they do not experience fear.  Fear for animals isn’t an ongoing thing.  If there is nothing to fear, they seem to be pretty content.

Animals also know how to love, and from some videos I’ve seen lately, they certainly understand acceptance.  There is a video (link at bottom) of a kitten and a young barn owl who meet each other in an open field.  I’m talking claws, sharp teeth, a carnivorous beak and talons that could quickly snap a kittens neck in half, but these two creatures find interest in one another and decide to make the most of the situation.  Instead of rip each other apart, they decide to play with one another.  At some point during the video, you realize that they’ve actually become friends, and they totally dig each other.  They harmonize together.  They learn to dance within each others limitations and accept each others differences.  

I get so tired of seeing people on Facebook pointing out what is wrong in the world.  Lets expose everyone’s faults and wrongdoings so that we can prove that we are better than they are.  No, you know what?  If we want to change this world, we should completely stop pointing out other people’s wrongs and begin accepting the differences in other people.  Then we should retract our claws, close our mouths and learn to dance within our own limitations.  We should learn to be interested in how other people fly when we only know how to climb.  We should learn something from one another.  No matter how loud and obnoxious one person is, we should stop judging and start being aware of our own behaviors.  Not one person on this planet has all the answers, and every single person you encounter knows something about life that you have never experienced.  Learn something from each person you encounter, even if it’s simply an emotion that arises within yourself when they are in your presence.  This world is so backward and we are really, really lost.  I’m not surprised that our world is so full of addicts.  I wanted to drown everything out because the negativity was too great to take on, but once I changed my own behaviors, the world began to be a much kinder place.  Like attracts like.  That barn owl and kitten found one another and thought about nothing but play.  There was absolutely no threat between the two of them.  This is how we should learn to be.

In the beginning of the video it looks as if the kitten is trying to attack the owl, and perhaps he was, but the owl didn’t succumb.  The wise owl took the opportunity (knowing she could easily fly away if needed) to befriend the kitten.  Once this was established, the kitten made nice and learned how to enjoy the owl’s company.  This is living in harmony.  This is what we learn to do when we stop resisting the world, and our experiences in our own uncomfortable skin.  If you’re feeling restless this week, let the restlessness move through you.  Be aware of it, but don’t resist it.  Ask yourself what old skin you could be shedding that no longer serves you – because you are growing right now.  You are constantly growing and it can be extremely uncomfortable.  Situations may arise that feel like the world is coming against you.  This is your opportunity to let go of the need to be in charge and succumb to your environment.  

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HOW TO LIVE IN HARMONY:  Experience life as it arrives and don’t jump to conclusions.  Be present with whatever is occurring, no matter how disturbing it may be.  I’ve got a lot of shit coming up for me right now, but I’m trusting in the experience.  I am surrendering because most of this stuff is much bigger than me.  I just need to tuck in the talons and learn to fly through it all.  I trust that the world will make nice and offer me exactly what I need even when it appears to be my enemy.  We are of nature, and I say this a lot, but it’s a strong message.  Nature lives in harmony.  It may sometimes look unkind, or ugly, but there is always something greater occurring.  We need to trust in that something greater, rather than getting caught up in snag of the moment.  Shed old feathers and skin.  Let them go without resistance.  If you’re uncomfortable, so what?  Be uncomfortable.  It’s ok.  Life is always offering learning experiences.  It’s up to you if you’re going to be an enemy, or a friend.  I choose the latter. 

Here is a link to that precious video: http://blog.petflow.com/a-cat-pounced-on-an-owl-i-was-ready-for-an-ugly-ending-what-happened-next-is-incredible/#V1VbZrCs2V7wxsTi.01

What Are We Waiting For? The Time to Live is NOW.

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Inspiration doesn’t always come from a flashing light in my brain, or by an epiphany I’m having about the universe.  More often than not, inspiration comes in the shower when I’m wiping soap off of my face, or during times in the car when there is nothing to talk about.  It comes when I am sitting at my desk at work and uploading a file.  It comes when I’m doing dishes or mowing the lawn.  I used to go climb mountains to find inspiration, and prior to that, I would go to church, but I’m beginning to realize that there is no place more powerful than the next.  If I’m not fully engaged in the way it feels to touch my keyboard and type in the pleasant darkness of a twilight morning while my roommate snores in the next room, what makes me think that writing a book in Greece is going to be any more significant?  There is no Greece, or mountain top, or island in the sand.  There is only me, a tablet screen, an old wooden desk and a cat that won’t stop digging his claws into my legs to get my attention.  There is snoring, meowing and a strange nose coming from the old pipes in this home I rent.  If I’m not inspired by these things, I certainly do not deserve to commence a life beyond this very one I am living now.     

Many of us desire something more than what we have already graciously been given, which is a terrific set up for our suffering.  Two billion people on the planet right now are looking toward the sky, waiting for a savior to come and remove them from their suffering.  Others are waiting for something, but they don’t exactly know what it is, and then there are people like me who spend most of their lives running around California in search of sustainable spirituality, and then when we can’t find it, we look for it at the bottom of a bottle.  We worry about death and what comes after this life, rather than breathe in the heaven that is right now. 

Haven’t you ever touched your cup of coffee and felt the magnificence of the ceramic in the palm of your hand?  Have you ever walked barefoot on a hardwood floor and felt the connection of the earth throughout your entire being?  Have you ever looked in the mirror, or into the brilliant old face of a sea turtle, and seen God?  I have.  I’m learning to see God in all living things, and to touch God in the cup I’m holding.  I’m learning to feel God in the brisk wind, to taste God in the life giving food I eat, and to drink God in the bottled water I buy at Target.  I’m learning to breathe God in each second I’m alive, and to hear God even in the voice of an angry person.  I’ve stopped praying to a far away God, and have begun realizing that the answer to my prayers is not coming tomorrow because tomorrow does not exist.  Everything I ever wanted in my life is available instantly.  I’ve never been apart from it; I was just too blind to see the illumination of life right in front of me.

We want answers.  We want happiness.  We want to be saved, yet we disregard this moment and the next, as if taking out the garbage is insignificant.  It is not.  It is so full of opportunity to explore our five senses, but instead of finding grace in touching, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, we are thinking about what could happen tomorrow.  It is the demise of the planet; this need to know what’s beyond this very moment, which is so incredibly sacred, yet we are devastatingly blind.  Joy is ever-present.  Each second of life, joy is inviting you to awaken to it, and then it graciously awaits your awareness.  Joy cannot be experienced without your presence, don’t you understand… because God came here to experience joy in the very template of you.  God came here in the template of all living things, so that every aspect of God could be explored in every possible way.  There is no separateness between God and man.  Even the air is full of everything you seek.  It is this very moment that exists, and nothing more, so what the hell are we waiting for?  Explore the magnificent world around you today, and there you will discover that there is absolutely nothing missing, and everything you’ve ever desired is immediately available. Wake up!

 

Being Patient with Yourself

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More often than not, I get ahead of myself.  I plan, over think
things and analyze my life more than I’d like to admit.  Lately I’ve been feeling extremely uncomfortable and restless.  This occurs about once every four months or so (I’ve skillfully observed), but it certainly doesn’t last more than a week when I’m willing to shine a light on it and not buy into the discomfort as an eternal state of being. If I allow it to be with me, and even invite it into my experience, it will gently pass, and usually there is some emotional and spiritual growth involved. 

Because things are going pretty well for me, and I feel good most of the time, I find myself thrown off by these uncomfortable moments in my sobriety.  My relationship seems futile.  My nerves are exposed.  My thoughts are a wasteland of incomplete… I can’t even think of the word I’m looking for right now.  It’s just frigging uncomfortable, and I’m feeling a little bit like a failure this week.  I wonder when I’m going to be like a complete human being after so many years of self-sabotaging?  Things go great for months at a time, and then something will arise out of nowhere, reminding me that I’m not emotionally capable of a lot of things that “normal” human beings are naturally equipped with, like say… nurturing.  I get reminded of this all the time through the mirror of my relationship. 

I don’t usually feel “less than,” but just yesterday while sitting in an office meeting with several successful co-workers (appearing polished and successful myself), my inner voice screamed, “You fraud.  You are nothing like these people.  You are still at the bottom of the totem pole.  FRAUD.  FRAUD.  FRAUD.”  I slipped out of the meeting immediately after it was finished, so as not to further present myself like I have it together.  I’m good at bullshitting, but I’ve somewhat relinquished this mask.  I only use it when absolutely necessary, and yesterday it was more necessary for me to get back to work. 

You know, I’m doing my best with what I have.  Sometimes it’s completely overwhelming for me, but I still move forward in my recovery.  I continue to face the mirror when it presents itself, although there is still the inner tug of resistance.  I’m making progress, although quite slowly at times.  My boyfriend keeps reminding me that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  I know this, but it’s frustrating to wake up some mornings knowing that I have a long way to go, when just yesterday I felt like I was at the top of a mountain.  It’s these ebb and flows in my life that create inner havoc, reminding me that I must slow down and be patient with myself. It’s perfectly ok to feel incomplete some days.  It doesn’t mean I am.  It’s simply a feeling, that I certainly do not have to buy into. 

It is important for me to write this today, because I often have an extremely positive attitude.  My writing is on point most of the time, and I’m excited about my life more often than not… Yet then there are these dreadful moments, which are so important to acknowledge.  I know others can relate, and I just want to remind myself today (and whomever else needs the reminder), that in recovery, we are doing our best.  We must not compare ourselves with people who haven’t been down our crooked street.  It will rip you apart if you do.  Please remember to have patience with yourself during moments of restlessness, boredom, or discomfort, because they will surely pass.  Let others know what you are experiencing, so that they have the opportunity to offer their patience as well.  Be open to these experiences and allow them to move through you without buying into the belief that they are eternal.  I’m going to spend the remainder of my day sitting with my discomfort, rather than lashing out at the world and my loved ones because of it.  This too shall pass…</p>