That Which is Rendered More Real

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Could it be that our modern life is not good for our mental health?

There is an alarming global epidemic of anxiety and depression on the rise. According to the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 people are committing suicide every year (incredibly, this is one person every 40 seconds) and many more are attempting suicide. Sure, life can be pretty damn difficult, but suicide?  Wow. I hope you agree that this is some kind of world-wide cry for help, something must be done and this is an incredibly frightening sign that there is a real need for an awakening, a shift in our cosmic consciousness.

Mysterium tremendum et fascinans

Numinous

Venezuelan/American, filmmaker Jason Silva, described by The Atlantic  as a Timothy Leary of the viral video age begs the question, in an age of tremendous technological innovation and scientific advancements and with so many people moving away from traditional religious affiliations, how do we connect ourselves to a bigger meaning? How do we commune with something more real than the doldrums of every day reality? Something grand and awe-inspiring that fills our soul.

You see, as a child, I thought it was “church”, a place to at least attempt a holy communion with something bigger than myself. Now, as I am older, it is nature, meditation, dance  and cherished moments with people I love.  For some it is grandmother’s medicine, magic mushrooms and perhaps a heroic dose of LSD.

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Perhaps all of those poor souls fed up with their human condition, need more numinous moments in their lives. Maybe they need more shots of awe.

To Render a Holy Moment with Me

I, personally, haven’t had that many moments of psilocybin-induced cosmic communion –  glimpses of ecstatic illumination – but I do find myself feeling more & more connected after meditation and doing things like yoga.  Jason Silva on the other hand takes the question one step further as ask just how might we turn our passing illuminations into abiding light, rendering ourselves holy.  Whoa.

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In his video “Beyond Anxiety & Depression”  Jason believes that perhaps we, as a society, need a replacement to what religion once provided us. We need a cognitive reframing or possibly a psychic transformation. Oh to commune with the cosmos in order to impregnate our lives with meaning & signification.

To serve and savor the world.

I am fascinated with the idea of finding ways in which we can achieve those moments of awe-inspiring, mind-blowing moments of altered conscious states without drugs. A healthier way to reach new heights of clarity. Call them Eureka moments, a-ha moments, epiphanies, whatever — where everything seems to come together. When inspiration strikes and changes everything. The belief-

“If you can look at reality differently — shed your preconceptions and filters — you can change your life, you can invent something, you can make new observations, you can do things you were afraid or unable to do before. You have better access to the full spectrum of what exists.” Read more about Holotropic Breathwork here.

A More Painful Catalyst of Awakening

There are plenty of ways to wake up from the dreadful daze of an unfulfilled reality. Heartbreak can really shake you into a new more painful state of consciousness.  On my quest to mend my broken heart, I’ve been reading a lot about love. All the different types of love and more specifically unconditional love.

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Unconditional Love: How to Give It and How to Know When It’s Real

I may read back on this years from now and find I have a different point of view, but for the time being, I think this whole idea of unconditional love is nearly impossible for mortal beings. Even the grandest of caring mothers.

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The truth is you can only love people as much as they are willing to be loved.

I really dig the way Teal Swan explains why unconditional love is so damn difficult. Her challenge, to try to give love for a day to something, anyone, a child, a pet, a plant for just one day is incredibly hard. A worthwhile listen right here . . .

 

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I am re-reading When Things Fall Apart from Pema Chodron’s because I want to make sure it all sinks in deep. I need this wisdom.

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The wonderful illustrations in this post from the talented Chiara B.

The Best Gift You Can Give

The best gift you can give anyone is your full and true presence.

Distractions are everywhere, and who has the time for anyone, really?

I resolve from this moment forward to make more time for truer communication with those I love. This is what makes life more memorable.

Generous Listening

Inspired by Becoming Wise

I’m thinking about how important it is to listen generously. How to compassionately communicate and hear another’s soul, even through the most difficult conversations.

To listen with an awakened heart & mind. To listen openly, without trying immediately to fix the problem at hand or impulsively come up with an answer right now.

To drop the agenda.

I’m thinking about how improved my relationships would be if I just follow the emotion of the moment, if I let the conversation flow.

What if I tolerated more of them and watched my timing of words?  What if I made room for the difficult to pour out, for the pain to set itself free?  Dissipate.

How would the conversation go if I were more flexible with my speech? If I softened my tone? If I held out my arms?

What if I let the conversation move where it will, if I gave up control?

Imagine if I released myself of judging everything to not a single word. How would it look if I decided to just observe it all as if I had never heard it before. What would I see?  If I listened less guardedly.

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Healing Words

The next opportunity I have for a true conversation I will include words of kindness. I will believe that I am exactly what is needed to help heal the situation.  Everything needs a measure of healing, don’t you think?

I vow to not let  differences define what is possible between us. I can argue with your opinion, but not your experience.

I will try, yes I will try very hard, to understand why you are behaving the way you are behaving. Perhaps you are in pain. What can I say or do to help you soothe it away?

I won’t look with anger, but I will try to find the good in you, even during your worst of rage.

A More Courageous Conversation

Even more importantly, I will open up my vulnerable parts to keep the conversation real. It may feel raw, uneasy and probably very uncomfortable, but that is where we grow. I will admit my weaknesses and recognize that what I have done so far has gotten me here, not where I want to be.

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Feature Photo – Artist: Egon Schiele

Dismiss What Insults Your Soul

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“Life requires of man spiritual elasticity, so that he may temper his efforts to the chances that are offered.”

Viktor E. Frankl

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“Change is essential for survival. All life forms must adapt to their fluctuating circumstances. All form of life result from the process of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance. The universe is in a constant state of chaos. We each have chaos implanted into our bones. Nature wires all of us for change.”

Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

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“One of the most remarkable of man’s characteristics is his capacity for becoming used to conditions of almost any kind, whether good or bad, both in the self and in the environment, and once he has become used to such conditions they seem to him both right and natural. This capacity is a boon when it enables him to adapt himself to conditions which are desirable, but it may prove a great danger when the conditions are undesirable. When his sensory appreciation is untrustworthy, it is possible for him to become so familiar with seriously harmful conditions of misuse of himself that these malconditions will feel right and comfortable.”

F. Matthias Alexander, The Use of the Self

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“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

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“There’s no such thing as a mistake, really. It’s just an opportunity to do something else.”

Ralph Steadman

 

A snake doesn’t mourn when it is time to shed it’s skin.

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Featured Illustration – Walt Whitman

 

 

What Are You Grateful For Right Now?

I’m grateful for another chance. The opportunity to start from scratch. An opportunity to improve my attitude and behavior. This day is fresh, clean, unworn with emotional stains. 


Nothing carried over from yesterday, just this rare and beautiful day, made up of many moments ahead, today is a day in my life, not my entire life. How will I use it? 


What I choose to think about today will make me and much around me, better or worse, it is up to me.


Today is a chance to break my bad patterns of behavior. 

An opportunity to control my short temper, release my self-pity and remove envy of others.

I can help those right in front of me that need my help. 

I am given this day as an opportunity to finish projects and work that has been nagging to be done.

Perhaps I will start something new that I’ve been wanting to try.

Maybe I’ll apologize, sympathize, empathize with others.

What are your grateful for right now? How will you use this day? 

Leaving a Legacy of Love

Somewhere along stumbling to happiness and following our passion it’s easy to miss the true purpose of our existence. So wrapped up in achieving personal success, whatever we think that looks and feels like for us, we forget about the memorable mark our day-to-day behavior leaves on others. We get caught up in the bigger picture, the ultimate”legacy” we want to leave, placing the focus on our desires instead of others.

Making a True & Measurable Impact

Sure we talk about making an impact on the world, but the world is composed of millions and millions of people.  To be aware of the impact we have on each other with every single encounter is the start. From this second to the next; that last moment until now, every look, every sigh, stare, word, jab, smile, frown, punch, hug. . . .even the thoughts we are thinking that we do not dare to share, our truest purpose is to become awake to how are we making each other feel.  That feeling we leave behind is what matters most.

Did you lift them up? Show appreciation? Make them feel important?

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It’s how we make each other feel.  It’s the after effect, the residual emotion left from our words, our touch, listening to our friend, partner, parent, child, acquaintance, that truly matters mot. The bigger legacy of love is built on these day-to-day opportunities to make someone feel important and appreciated.  Did we leave them feeling loved?

Leaving a legacy begins with our behavior and everyone has the opportunity to leave a legacy.  It starts right in front of us, every second of the day. A chance to leave a legacy of love.

But people are so frustrating, so anxious, so hard-headed.

Try Reasoning instead of Rage.

It can begin with reasoning with those that are hurting. Reasoning communicates a message of respect. Respect is a building block to better relationships.

Recognizing the Good in All.

Praising another’s good behavior will reinforce even better behavior. When our good actions are praised we internalize it as part of our identities, and understand that even though we may have done things that weren’t kind in the past, we are able to change. Praise opens up the relationship to a higher standard.

Leaving a Legacy of Love Starts with Flipping the Script

Creating a new narrative about the way you want to leave your legacy. Sure you may build the next Facebook, Uber or Airbnb, perhaps you will find cures for diseases unknown but in between the chaotic moments of hustle and grind, how did you make everyone feel?

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Listen to Flip the Script from NPR’s Invisibilia

How therapists use the concept of non-complementarity behavior to help you make your own relationships better. Are you arguing with others? Angry? Upset? How do you flip the script? It starts by doing the opposite of what your natural instinct is, and in this way transforms a situation. Usually when someone is hostile to us, we are hostile right back. The psychological term is “complementarity.” But then in rare cases someone manages to be warm, and what happens as a result can be surprising.

 

 

 

From Gratitude to Forgiveness

Now that we have this whole #gratitude thing down, the  morning daily ritual to be thankful for everything we have that’s been buzzing around the interwebs,  I make a wholehearted recommendation that we also keep a forgiveness journal.

Mark my words, scientists will discover and the media will soon expose –

FORGIVING OTHERS LEADS TO LONGER, HEALTHIER LIVES

Join me if you dare. Every morning I will add one person to my morning gratitude journal that I choose to forgive with all my heart.

Holding a grudge? Disappointed? Can’t let go?

Let’s try it together.

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Expose Yourself

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A dear friend sent me this quote above via text message today. It came just in time and felt so very right.

I’ve also been thinking a tremendous amount about the importance exposing ourselves. Exposing ourselves to new music, food, friendships, work, skills – in order to grow.

And I have also been thinking about exposing our vulnerabilities. To be vulnerable and then share that vulnerability—which comes in many forms (awkwardness, shyness, joy, flirtation, upset, impatience)—with another person, leads to a more human relationship.

You discover you’re not alone. Other people feel the same way. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re doing just fine. It’s okay to make mistakes.

In short, you cut yourself slack for being human. The truth is the most powerful form of connection.

To My King Bee Rider – A Time for ThanksGregging

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Today I honor, acknowledge, applaud, celebrate and recognize the watchful one, my husband, partner, collaborator and best friend, my Knight and Day, Sir Gregory Johnson on his birthday.

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My wish for him today and everyday – that he may remain awake, alert and aware to the divine truth within him and continue to co-create and prevail with God.  Stand tall in the tower Gregory. I support you in every way.

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Gregory, extraordinarily beautiful yet slightly out of focus, this raging river runs madly deep. This meditation from Marcus Aurelius sums you up for me.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

Having been terribly misunderstood by many, I believe it was but Aristotle who said –

No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.

How to Spot a Genius, Deadhead and Follower of Rhythm Devils, Space Jams and Shows that were The Sacrament.

According to Roman mythology, the genii were gods who watched over particular people and places. Each man had a genius (he not was not “a” genius), a genius was a spirit who had given him being, who taught him and protected him.

No Wasted Time

Sometimes we wonder what happened to our past and linger on whether we took the right path.

dragonTo make the contributions for which they are known, all geniuses depend on the same general process. It starts with an unrestrained search for ideas without foresight into their utility. This hunt takes a creator down many dead-end roads, causing him or her to backtrack and start over. This trial-and-error process eventually leads a solution that works. For anyone who has engaged in a project for which progress is hard to measure or that seems to stall or meander, this theory is heartening.

When a problem or endeavor is difficult, we should probably not expect our research to proceed in a linear fashion. The many seemingly wasted hours exploring roads that lead nowhere may really be necessary to find an effective and innovative solution.

Or in words that resonate with Greg

“There is a road, no simple highway

Between the dawn and the dark of night”
-Ripple

You got to listen to the heavens, you got to try to understand. The greatness of their movement is just as small as it is grand. – Grateful Dead, Walk In The Sunshine

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