Seriously Good Questions to Help Free Your Soul

To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.  

Dalai Lama

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I’m listening for the unknown in the silence.  For my inner guidance system to tell me what to do.
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Inspired by Tim O’Reilly and his explanation on the process he goes through when considering important decisions. How he waits for better answers in the unknown.
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Instead of following the Argyris Ladder of Influence. The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. … Draw conclusions based on the interpreted facts and our assumptions while developing beliefs based on these conclusions.
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Learning more about the Structural Differential (a physical chart or three-dimensional model illustrating the abstracting processes of the human nervous system) helps to understand why we should remain curious about the unknown instead of formulating answers based on old beliefs.
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What must I let die today? What most go, in order for me to love more deeply? To live more intently? To embrace life more purposely?

Kill List
1. That I am not a perfect fit for the world.
2. That I’m not enough, that I need to be more of anything.
3. That I am lost and disconnected.
4. That I must wear this heavy armor and use my tongue as my sword.
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What am I hesitant in doing?

1. Being more thoughtful and patience with myself and others.
2. Picking one path – oh, it might be a mistake. I make get caught looking stupid, feeling vulnerable and terribly exposed.
3. Speaking my whole truth. The damn truth and nothing but the fucking truth.
4. Creating a life I really want to live.
5. Becoming more loving – the real kind of loving – the unconditional kind.
6. Letting go of the pain of my past.
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What should continue to live? And what life am I afraid to give birth to today?

  1. More of my curiosity about everything.
  2. Trusting where love takes me.
  3. Exploring the lush but uncharted territory of this world.
  4. Listening deeply with a more loving and tender heart.
  5. My deep desire to connect with others.
  6. More leaning on the cheek of god, doing things that expand my mind and conscience.
  7. Allowing my heart to break open –  a vast and oceanic heart.
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Something to think about.  A new perspective on sparking more joy in your life.
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I use to wake up each morning wondering “What if?” My mind blown with anxiety.
What if he leaves me? What if I can’t contribute? What if I become ill? What if the world should end?
Now, I wake up each morning and change that “What if?” to acceptance and gratitude for
“What is.” Simply, What is. 
Patience acceptance

Staying Awake, Alive & In The Moment, Even in Times of Uncertainty

Three very memorable lessons from my morning (reading and mediation) ritual today.
Live Like This
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Act, speak, write and create as if it were your very last day. Your last moment here. Create from the heart as if you are expressing yourself for the last time. Like this is it. Make it all matter.
Listen: Tara Brach Accessing Innate Wisdom
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Let Go of The Controls
Stay open to the impermanence of life. To all of the change that is happening around you. To the fact that everything is constantly evolving.
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Discipline yourself to wake up out of the trance-like “thought” and come into your senses, awake and aware of this moment right now. Stay in touch with your aliveness. Open up to the space between your thoughts. Inhabit the pause, the silence between your monkey mind chatter.  Learn to tolerate the groundlessness & uncertainty of life. Let it all happen, even in times of maddening uncertainty.
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Stay Amazed and Astonished
Life is nothing short of a miracle. This is something to remember when you are busy managing the mundane. Never forget the miracle of being alive right now.
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Self-Abandonment, Sitting with Painful Emotions & Some Damn Good reasons for Building Self-Trust

I was seeking the truth about why my words contradicted my actions.  Why my good intentions were backfiring.  Why I would say “I want to achieve this and I want to achieve that” all day long- but I never really met my goals head on. I got some half-assed results.  Whether it was ” I will never let anyone treat me like that again,” as I jumped into bed with my ex or “I’m not eating another piece of fattening bread again,” as I smeared a slab of butter on the dinner roll.  Contradicting myself all the time.  Oh to be human.

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I would set myself up each day for success, at least in in my mind, but by dinner time, I was right back where I started, sometimes even worse off.  Self-sabotage.  Overpromising too many people, including myself and underdelivering and setting myself up for failure.

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It came to the point where I just couldn’t trust myself at all any more. I’d say things to myself like  “I’ll start saving money soon,”  as I continued to rack up my credit cards at my favorite boutiques, restaurants and cafes.

I’m working on building my trust back. Honestly, how can you trust anyone else if you don’t trust yourself?

Read: 21 Signs You Don’t Trust Yourself

Pains

Trusting yourself is what builds confidence. On the other hand, NOT trusting yourself, because you are lying to yourself, is what leads to self doubt and ultimately painful emotions. And you know how we don’t like to feel those.

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“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

Trusting Only The Good Parts of Ourselves

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Personally, I have found that self-trust starts with self-forgiveness and taking the time to understand why we are so self-deceptive. I took sometime to think back on all the terrible, selfish and thoughtless things I have done to myself and to others throughout my life.  Then I read the list. God that was hard. Then I waited a day and thought about more bad things that I did and added to the list. Oh, to take a good look into the guiltiness of it all. It was so damn painful. The crazy thing is – I would write down something I remembered that I did that hurt someone and then I WOULD MAKE AN EXCUSE FOR WHY I DID IT. Really??

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The point I am trying to make here is that we can’t just trust some parts of of ourselves. Like the good parts with the good emotions. We have to trust our whole entire being. The good, the bad and the ugly.  This starts by not abandoning yourself.  You abandon yourself every time you don’t allow yourself to be completely honest, feel badly and sit with some of the pain and sadness you have brought to your own life.  Don’t dwell there, just become more aware.

“Self trust is the essence of heroism.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units — because of this they could give God their own courage and dignity and then receive it back. Such things have disappeared perhaps because men do not trust themselves anymore, and when that happens there is nothing left except perhaps to find some strong sure man, even though he may be wrong, and to dangle from his coattails.
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Seeking The Companionship of The Conversations We Have with Ourselves & Overdosing on Overthinking

Isn’t it peculiar when you find yourself waking up from living in a moment that doesn’t even exist yet? 

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An important note about why we overthink things.  Why we try to forecast the future, figure out what is going to happen next and play out the scenarios before they even happen.

We find comfort there.  It gives us power. It can be a good thing.

We find companionship within the constant conversation we have with ourselves. 

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The addicting mind chatter becomes even more distracting when we have a challenge we can’t solve or when we feel all alone. We wander behind enemy lines (inside our perturbed minds) and begin to overthink it all.

The path to more peace, is to sit with how things really are and examine all the ways you chase for comfort when feeling vulnerable, lonely, frightened and anxious.  We become addicts to unnecessary activity and addicted to the discursive thoughts in our mind. 

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These addictions we have come in all types of forms, some more healthy than others. We become addicted to work, exercise, food, adventure, meditation, yoga, anything to remove us (read: escape) from the painful truth of reality.

drugs

Watch: How to Use Drugs by Alain de Bottom.

A drug can be anything that increases an expanded state of consciousness (that is the state or quality of awareness) in which the pain of immediate troubles is lessoned by euphoric recognition of nature and the cosmos.

 

 

Using Your Anger to Illuminate the Fundamental Truth of Your Self-nature

Most people – “the good vibes only” people in particular – tend to shy away from and may even passive-aggresively shame people who come to the party of life angry.  No drama here. No conflict. No, no, no. . .they will have none of it.  Confrontation just freaks them out.

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I’ve come to know anger on a very intimate level. We’re like BFF’s and believe me you, more recently in my life, my anger has served me well.  It has acted like a guiding light, helping free myself from the pain, guilt and shame I’ve been lugging around for years.

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One of my first really angry memories involved being bitten bloody on the arm by my raging cousin Ralph. Oh what a misfit he was. A terror. It hurt like hell. A big imprint of his huge buck teeth piercing the broken skin on my upper arm. It was a typical Sunday dinner at nanny’s house. Steaming plates of pasta and a big loud Italian family, all talking on top of one another, no one listening, ignoring the children, the women complaining and the men, oh the bravado and machismo. A scene out of . . .

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I was so enraged that I ran up to the dining room table and decided to let all of the adults at the table about what happened. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “YOUR SON JUST TOOK A BITE OUT OF MY ARM, HE IS AN ANIMAL.”  And in less than a split second everyone at the table began to laugh out loud at me. The table was rolling with laughter. I was astonished.

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Ignoring anger, any type of anger, whether it is yours or someone else’s, is not a strategy, period.

Pretending your not angry, “working out” your rage at the gym, downward dogging that dreaded pain and/or massaging your mind with positive affirmations will only create a deeper harbor for anger to anchor itself in your subconscious, and those are some deep and dark waters my friend.

I have been accused of being angry most of my life. I have damaged friendships, relationships and have gotten shunned by almost every member of my family for being angry. We are all good now, but it took a lot of deep digging to find out why I was a rage-full mad woman.

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I have come to learn that anger needs some proper investigation on a regular basis because it is a sure sign that something in your life is out of alignment with what you value and an indication that you are in need of some loving care.

Fear

 

It’s a red flag that your needs are not being met. And damn we have to meet those needs. Anger actually is a powerful emotion that protects us from feeling hurt and hopeless. Maybe even powerless. Feeling powerless is about as low as  you can go.

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Anger can be a very necessary emotion which will let you know without a doubt when you are feeling threatened and vulnerable.  When we approach anger with curiosity, when we ask ourselves “why the hell is this making me so angry?” when we take a peak at what is behind the anger curtain, the root of the problem, we find that we may be feeling hurt, betrayed, disappointed and disillusioned.

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It is to this place we must go, to the pain behind anger, with open arms, where we feel ourselves turned inside out, where we feel raw, bloody and wounded- that is what is underneath the anger. If you really want to become less angry, this is the bleeding wound that must be healed.  And you can’t rely on others to rub in the ointment and wrap the bandages. Oh no, this is an inside job.

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So if you struggle with a low tolerance for frustration or someone tells you that you need anger management therapy, try a bit of self-care.  Investigate that anger. Get up close and personal with the pain.

From Uprooting the Seeds of Anger

We might explore this possibility by asking ourselves about where our anger really comes from. What is the other side of anger? Fear. We can’t free ourselves until we work through both our anger and our fear. And what is the cause of fear? Ultimately, it is the fear of nonexistence, death, the fear of losing ourselves and being forgotten. But a fear of death translates into a fear of living, because impermanence is itself a fundamental condition of our lives. In this fear lie the seeds of anger.

So now, how do I deal with angry people? I realize that hurt people hurt. I approach them with curiosity. What is behind that big, bad bark? 

For myself, now when I get angry, I know how to soothe myself (a very good thing to learn how to do by the way). I take to the waters and I meditate.

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Now I know. . .

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Do Today As You Would in The Future & Living a Life in Accordance with Your Values

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People who are happiest and most content with their lives, know, without a doubt, that what they are doing right now and the friends they choose to connect with – are in complete alignment with what they truly value.
If you want your life to change for the better, the time to start living in accordance with what you value is right now.  And what you do now, will pretty much determine your future.
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“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

Most of our frustration and suffering comes from not living in accordance with our values.
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You see, if what I value is personal time and the freedom to make my own schedule and do my own thing at my own pace and suddenly I place myself in a relationship or situation where I am required to give up the time, I may feel trapped, held hostage, and/or unable to do what I want or need to do, I get very upset and angry.
What this looks like
It could be my parents (I really love them so)  who guilt me into thinking it is my responsibility to leave my life by the curb and my daily pleasures so that I take care of them for long periods at a time because they didn’t “plan” on falling ill. They assumed I would come to their rescue I guess.
It could be a client who wants me to put in more hours (again taking from my personal freedom to schedule my own day) then we agreed to or change our strategy in the middle of a project because the strategy they paid me to create isn’t working fast enough.
It could be a good friend who decides that I am not giving enough to our relationship, so I give more of my time even though I would rather be doing something else.
Anytime I and you am/are not living in accordance with what we most value we will hit a block, feel stuck, disappointed and frustrated. We are angry at ourselves for not staying true to what we really believe and our values and this in turn this leads to more pain and confusion.
Watch Teal Swan explain this so perfectly in her video The Secret to a Happy Life.
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Understanding our values will become easier when we know what we like, enjoy or want out of our lives and how we expect ourselves to go about it all. Our values are like our set of rules for engagement.

But How do You Develop Your Values?

Most of what you value came from what your parents told you that your should value.
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That is until you grew up and realized that you could develop a whole new set of values and evaluate those values as you grow older.

A Beginner’s List of Values

  1. Abundance
  2. Acceptance
  3. Accomplishment
  4. Accountability
  5. Accuracy
  6. Achievement
  7. Acknowledgement
  8. Activeness
  9. Adaptability
  10. Adoration
  11. Adroitness
  12. Advancement
  13. Adventure
  14. Affection
  15. Affluence
  16. Aggressiveness
  17. Agility
  18. Alertness
  19. Altruism
  20. Amazement
  21. Ambition
  22. Amusement
  23. Anticipation
  24. Appreciation
  25. Approachability
  26. Approval
  27. Art
  28. Articulacy
  29. Artistry
  30. Assertiveness
  31. Assurance
  32. Attentiveness
  33. Attractiveness
  34. Audacity
  35. Authenticityto be genuinely yourself at all times. If you value your authenticity and you are in a position where you feel like you have to be someone you are not, you may become very frustrated and upset, because you are living against your core value of being 100% completely you. The same goes for if you are feeling unaccepted for who you are and what you stand for. If your friends or aquaintances disapprove of you, then you may be inclined to feel disappointed. To live an unapologetically authentic life while surrounding yourself around people who appreciate your uniqueness is extremely fulfilling. Find them. 
  36. Availability
  37. Awareness
  38. Awe
  39. Balance
  40. Beauty
  41. Being the best
  42. Belonging
  43. Benevolence
  44. Bliss
  45. Boldness
  46. Bravery
  47. Brilliance
  48. Buoyancy
  49. Calmness
  50. Camaraderie
  51. Candor
  52. Capability
  53. Careif showing genuine care and consideration in your relationships is something you believe to be very important than you will be hard pressed to find compatibility with someone who doesn’t demonstrate a warm, affectionate, tender and kind reciprocation back towards you.
  54. Carefulness
  55. Celebrity
  56. Certainty
  57. Challenge when one of your core values is to be continually challenged by a life of learning, growing and expanding your consciousness, it is difficult to associate with people who are content with staying the same. 
  58. Change
  59. Charity
  60. Charm
  61. Chastity
  62. Cheerfulness
  63. Clarity
  64. Cleanliness
  65. Clear-mindedness
  66. Cleverness
  67. Closeness
  68. Comfort
  69. Commitment
  70. Community
  71. Compassion
  72. Competence
  73. Competition
  74. Completion
  75. Composure
  76. Concentration
  77. Confidence
  78. Conformity
  79. Congruency
  80. Connection
  81. Consciousness
  82. Conservation
  83. Consistency
  84. Contentment
  85. Continuity
  86. Contribution
  87. Control
  88. Conviction
  89. Conviviality
  90. Coolness
  91. Cooperation
  92. Cordiality
  93. Correctness
  94. Country
  95. Courage
  96. Courtesy
  97. Craftiness
  98. Creativity
  99. Credibility
  100. Cunning
  101. Curiosity
  102. Daring
  103. Decisiveness
  104. Decorum
  105. Deference
  106. Delight
  107. Dependability
  108. Depth
  109. Desire
  110. Determination
  111. Devotion
  112. Devoutness
  113. Dexterity
  114. Dignity
  115. Diligence
  116. Direction
  117. Directness
  118. Discipline
  119. Discovery
  120. Discretion
  121. Diversity
  122. Dominance
  123. Dreaming
  124. Drive
  125. Duty
  126. Dynamism
  127. Eagerness
  128. Ease
  129. Economy
  130. Ecstasy
  131. Education
  132. Effectiveness
  133. Efficiency
  134. Elation
  135. Elegance
  136. Empathy
  137. Encouragement
  138. Endurance
  139. Energy
  140. Enjoyment
  141. Entertainment
  142. Enthusiasm
  143. Environmentalism
  144. Ethics
  145. Euphoria
  146. Excellence
  147. Excitement
  148. Exhilaration
  149. Expectancy
  150. Expediency
  151. Experience
  152. Expertise
  153. Exploration
  154. Expressiveness
  155. Extravagance
  156. Extroversion
  157. Exuberance
  158. Fairness
  159. Faith
  160. Fame
  161. Family
  162. Fascination
  163. Fashion
  164. Fearlessness
  165. Ferocity
  166. Fidelity
  167. Fierceness
  168. Financial independence
  169. Firmness
  170. Fitness
  171. Flexibility
  172. Flow
  173. Fluency
  174. Focus
  175. Fortitude
  176. Frankness
  177. Freedom
  178. Friendliness
  179. Friendship
  180. Frugality
  181. Fun
  182. Gallantry
  183. Generosity
  184. Gentility
  185. Giving
  186. Grace
  187. Gratitude
  188. Gregariousness
  189. Growth
  190. Guidance
  191. Happiness
  192. Harmony
  193. Health
  194. Heart
  195. Helpfulness
  196. Heroism
  197. Holiness
  198. Honesty
  199. Honor
  200. Hopefulness
  201. Hospitality
  202. Humility
  203. Humor
  204. Hygiene
  205. Imagination
  206. Impact
  207. Impartiality
  208. Independence
  209. Individuality
  210. Industry
  211. Influence
  212. Ingenuity
  213. Inquisitiveness
  214. Insightfulness
  215. Inspiration
  216. Integrity
  217. Intellect
  218. Intelligence
  219. Intensity
  220. Intimacy
  221. Intrepidness
  222. Introspection
  223. Introversion
  224. Intuition
  225. Intuitiveness
  226. Inventiveness
  227. Investing
  228. Involvement
  229. Joy
  230. Judiciousness
  231. Justice
  232. Keenness
  233. Kindness
  234. Knowledge
  235. Leadership
  236. Learning
  237. Liberation
  238. Liberty
  239. Lightness
  240. Liveliness
  241. Logic
  242. Longevity
  243. Love
  244. Loyalty
  245. Majesty
  246. Making a difference
  247. Marriage
  248. Mastery
  249. Maturity
  250. Meaning
  251. Meekness
  252. Mellowness
  253. Meticulousness
  254. Mindfulness
  255. Modesty
  256. Motivation
  257. Mysteriousness
  258. Nature
  259. Neatness
  260. Nerve
  261. Noncomformity
  262. Obedience
  263. Open-mindedness
  264. Openness
  265. Optimism
  266. Order
  267. Organization
  268. Originality
  269. Outdoors
  270. Outlandishness
  271. Outrageousness
  272. Partnership
  273. Patience
  274. Passion
  275. Peace
  276. Perceptiveness
  277. Perfection
  278. Perkiness
  279. Perseverance
  280. Persistence
  281. Persuasiveness
  282. Philanthropy
  283. Piety
  284. Playfulness
  285. Pleasantness
  286. Pleasure
  287. Poise
  288. Polish
  289. Popularity
  290. Potency
  291. Power
  292. Practicality
  293. Pragmatism
  294. Precision
  295. Preparedness
  296. Presence
  297. Pride
  298. Privacy
  299. Proactivity
  300. Professionalism
  301. Prosperity
  302. Prudence
  303. Punctuality
  304. Purity
  305. Rationality
  306. Realism
  307. Reason
  308. Reasonableness
  309. Recognition
  310. Recreation
  311. Refinement
  312. Reflection
  313. Relaxation
  314. Reliability
  315. Relief
  316. Religiousness
  317. Reputation
  318. Resilienceto get back in the saddle, to bounce back from a bad moment, to keep on going. If resilience is what you value, you may become very short-tempered with people who give up quickly or enjoy a good pity party. 
  319. Resolution
  320. Resolve
  321. Resourcefulness
  322. Respect
  323. Responsibility
  324. Rest
  325. Restraint
  326. Reverence
  327. Richness
  328. Rigor
  329. Sacredness
  330. Sacrifice
  331. Sagacity
  332. Saintliness
  333. Sanguinity
  334. Satisfaction
  335. Science
  336. Security
  337. Self-control
  338. Selflessness
  339. Self-reliance
  340. Self-respect
  341. Sensitivity
  342. Sensuality
  343. Serenity
  344. Service
  345. Sexiness
  346. Sexuality
  347. Sharing
  348. Shrewdness
  349. Significance
  350. Silence
  351. Silliness
  352. Simplicity
  353. Sincerity
  354. Skillfulness
  355. Solidarity
  356. Solitude
  357. Sophistication
  358. Soundness
  359. Speed
  360. Spirit
  361. Spirituality
  362. Spontaneity
  363. Spunk
  364. Stability
  365. Status
  366. Stealth
  367. Stillness
  368. Strength
  369. Structure
  370. Success
  371. Support
  372. Supremacy
  373. Surprise
  374. Sympathy
  375. Synergy
  376. Teaching
  377. Teamwork
  378. Temperance
  379. Thankfulness
  380. Thoroughness
  381. Thoughtfulnessthe act of being thoughtful means to pay attention to the details, to think things through before doing them, to plan with more discernment. If thoughtfulness is an important value to you then you may be very frustrated going to places and experiencing things that are rushed, unmannerly or discourteous. 
  382. Thrift
  383. Tidiness
  384. Timeliness
  385. Traditionalism
  386. Tranquility
  387. Transcendence
  388. Trust
  389. Trustworthiness
  390. TruthIf you value the truth, you expect people to be honest with you and you earn and build their trust by being 100% real with them. When and if someone lies to you, you will suffer, because you value honesty in a relationship, whether it be a professional or personal one.
  391. Understanding
  392. Unflappability
  393. Uniqueness
  394. Unity
  395. Usefulness
  396. Utility
  397. Valor
  398. Variety
  399. Victory
  400. Vigor
  401. Virtue
  402. Vision
  403. Vitality
  404. Vivacity
  405. Volunteering
  406. Warmheartedness
  407. Warmth
  408. Watchfulness
  409. Wealth
  410. Willfulness
  411. Willingness
  412. Winning
  413. Wisdom
  414. Wittiness
  415. Wonder
  416. Worthiness
  417. Youthfulness
  418. Zeal

That Which is Rendered More Real

monster CB

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 . . .

 

girl dog CB

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.

How To Be Successful By Being Yourself

“When you understand yourself, you’re able to navigate the world,”

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Oh but where to begin. One idea. How about getting a bit curious about you. Instead of wondering why others aren’t liking your most recent Instagram post, spend just a little time learning more about what’s going on inside your head.

Here are a few practical questions to kick off the project of getting to know yourself a bit better and here a few deeper ones if you really want to dig in.

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What am I so-so at?
  3. What am I bad at?
  4. What makes me tired?
  5. What is the most important thing in my life?
  6. Who are the most important people in my life?
  7. How much sleep do I need?
  8. What stresses me out?
  9. What relaxes me?
  10. What’s my definition of success?
  11. What type of worker am I?
  12. How do I want others to see me?
  13. What makes me sad?
  14. What makes me happy?
  15. What makes me angry?
  16. What type of person do I want to be?
  17. What type of friend do I want to be?
  18. What do I think about myself?
  19. What things do I value in life?
  20. What makes me afraid?

These questions remind me of The Proust Questionnaire. The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

So, what helps in the process of opening yourself up to yourself? How about getting out there and interacting with the world.  However, one must proceed with caution.  First we must remove all the emotional blocks and drop all the baggage.  The grudges, the resentment and the anger that holds us back from really connecting. It begins with forgiving those that have hurt us.

forgiveness

Forgiveness is like a breath of fresh air, a lighting of the load you’ve been carrying, a softening of the heart, a soothing of the mind and a releasing of the soul. Compassion follows forgiveness because you have genuinely felt your own pain and getting close to your pain is an excruciatingly freeing experience. This is how we grow to understand ourselves and appreciate others. This is how we begin to truly build relationships.

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We connect through truly understanding the human condition. With forgiveness and compassion we have the capacity to feel each others pain and with the right intentions and words, we can help each other release that pain and open up our hearts.

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I truly believe we are here together for a reason – I mean we work together, we live together, we suffer together, we smile together and we experience each and every moment together.  How could we possibly be so in our own heads?

Our growth expands the closer we get, the great and kinder the connections we make as we move away from the false and painful fantasy of isolation. We are not meant to be alone all the time.

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Feeling for our fellow, showing care and concern, warmth, love and tenderness. To be sympathetically conscious of each other.  To hold space for one and another.

The emotional ability to picture ourselves with the same problems in a non-blaming, non-shaming manner.  Reading: Pema Chodron “When Things Fall Apart

On a side note: I am on my seventh day of receiving motivational text messages from a chat bot on Shine Text. It’s a fun way to start the day. Kind of motivating.  Check it out – daily shine. 

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To Die To Everything of Yesterday

To Die To Everything of Yesterday
To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion.
It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.
From the teachings of  J. Krishnamurti 
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Shedding Some Light on Just How Damn Annoying Life Can Be

Life can be so absolutely annoying when things don’t go as planned. Come on, don’t you agree? It’s all quite amusing how we think just because we set these great goals and go after them with all our might that everything is going to open up for us.
Sure I’d like to believe that life is happening FOR me and not TO me (thank you very much Tony Robbins) and that I am not a victim of circumstance, but the truth is life is very very complex and a lot of stuff just happens that is way out of our control. Things we don’t understand, that nobody understands, and then to add insult to injury,  we take this shit so personally. It’s a mystery really.
Just for Now

Working with The Monsters in Our Mind & NOT Becoming a Fugitive To Our Fears

On my future read list “The Life of Milarepa Read on to understand why.

I like to read like three books at a time, maybe more. Right now in the morning, I am reading Pema Chodron’s  When Things Fall Apart 
I don’t want anyone to know that my life seems to be continually falling apart, so I covered the front of it with a sticker from Spoonbill Books, one of my favorite stores in Brooklyn.
Chapter 19’s a trip wire.  “Three Methods for Working with Chaos” Pema outlines three methods for relating directly with the most difficult circumstances of our lives as a path of awakening and joy.
Method #1  No more struggle
Method #2  Using poison as medicine
Method #3  Seeing whatever arises as enlightened wisdom
These are methods for working through the most painful moments in our lives. Method #3 according to Pema reminds me of Inviting Mara to Tea, in other words, inviting what scares us to introduce itself and hang around for awhile. Sounds like a fun Sunday right? Yeah sure, but that’s how we grow.
milarepa
Quote from the book . . .
As Milarepa sang to the monsters he found in his cave, “it’s wonderful you demons came today. You must come again tomorrow. From time-to-time we should converse.”
We start by working with the monster in our mind.  Then we develop the wisdom and compassion to communicate sanely with the threats and fears of our daily life.
What I found absolutely fascinating was the image used in Tibetan Buddhism for working with chaos, the charnel burial grounds. As Pema explains, in Tibet, the charnel grounds are what we call graveyards.  The American Indians seemed to also have the idea. . .
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Now, the bodies were not under a nice mowed lawn with little white stones carved with angels and pretty words.
In Tibet the ground was frozen so bodies were chopped up after people died and taken to the charnel grounds, where the vultures would eat them.  Some would  be asked to meditate at the charnel grounds to understand the circle of life, complete with death.
Death, probably our biggest fear.
More practical ways to understand more about leaning into fear from Leo at Zen Habits.

On a more pleasant note. . .

wonderful

When we Don’t Grow Emotionally

My daughter recently called me emotionally immature. She said it in such a loving way, but it stung none the less. When we moan, groan and whine when we don’t get exactly what we want, when we want it, how we want it. This usually happens when we are not at our strongest, when we are frightened perhaps?  Maybe we are tired, hungry, angry, lonely, scared. Who knows?  But it is then that we can take every disturbance and interruption  so damn personally don’t we?

For Example . . .

Meditation today on the beach was almost ruined by an awfully noisy and very annoying beach tractor circling around me. Trying to find a quiet place to close my eyes and be “in the moment”, this guy just wouldn’t go away.  He kept moving closer and closer to my towel. I tried to meditate in spite of the loud motor drowning out the peaceful sound of the ocean waves.
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Just keeping focusing on the breath. Just accept it, I kept telling myself.  My mind fluctuated between just go and flow with it . . . all the way to . . . WTF, I just can’t get this time back. It was torture. It almost felt like he was doing it on purpose.
I actually started to tell myself that story.  “He’s purposely trying to ruin my beach meditation and Sunday swim.
Now, why the hell would I take this so personally? As if. But don’t we do that often. When things don’t go our way. When people annoy us with their absolute nonsense? When things don’t go as planned. When we are really disappointed.
Only after thinking more clearly did I come to the realization that this man has an actual job to do – it has nothing to do with me.  He gets paid to clean up the beach so people, like myself, can enjoy it. How about asking the question “Why am I getting in his way?” Always thinking about me. It’s all about me. Blah, Blah, Blah.
A poem by Dana Faulds
Let it Go
Click to read Pema’s book

Thoughtless Action

What has made matters worse, is how hard I actually try. It amazes me how I try so hard to make everything in life exactly how I want it to be without ever thinking of the possible effects my decisions might have on future outcomes and on those around me. I spend my days running from pain, chasing pleasurable moments and trying to get some “me” time, planning, scheming and doing all of the special things that I want to do.
Hard times

Leaping Before You Look

How I absolutely leap before I look and act so impulsively based on what I want for myself. I want more money, so I take on more really difficult projects without even thinking about the actual time, effort and energy these projects will take. Then I kill it by overpromising and ultimately under delivering.   Just wonderful.  So many great intentions failed miserably because I didn’t take the time to think things through.
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Becoming More Discerning

For example, if I am feeling the slightest  bit lonely and I want more friends, I open myself up to meeting and embracing anyone that comes into my life instead of realizing the value I will bring to the relationship and how much more discerning I need to be about who I choose to spend my time with.  I think we all do it from time to time. I act more out of FOMO instead of becoming more self aware of my actual needs from a true friend. This is probably why friendships can disappoint us.

What’s this About The Importance of Self-Value?

If you have any interest in the possible healing powers of Ayahuasca, I strongly recommend you check out The Last Shaman documentary. You can watch it on Netflix. It got mixed reviews, but it was absolutely eye opening in many ways. I have always wondered about the powers of “grandmother’s medicine” but frankly, I prefer meditation as my medication.
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Oh, side note: Ayahuasca is an hallucinogenic drug concocted by chopping and boiling Amazonian plants known to indigenous people for a very long time. The first western knowledge of ayahuasca was by a British biologist in 1851. The principal ingredient is made from a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, (‘vine of the soul’ or ‘vine with a soul’); a second key ingredient, is either chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana). Ayahuasca contains a powerful psychedelic substance DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine). Drinking the brew induces an altered, hallucinatory state that lasts up to eight hours.

And More about Self-Love

And what is it about the devaluing of oneself that serves us? Why do I not think about becoming a bit more compassionate and self loving? Why don’t I focus on this more. Wouldn’t I be more of a delight to be around if I sometimes took care of myself first?
If I took care of my needs and came to the party called life with my best dress on?
The one I thoughtfully chose to wear? Why not spend a bit more time on me? Does that seem to selfish? Perhaps we tolerate so much of others nonsense because we are not self aware enough to know what we truly value in ourselves and others.

Decreasing the Pain in the World

I find the more I open up to listening and learning from others, the more thoughtful I become. It’s like building a better brain by borrowing from others curiosity, understanding and deep research.
I am listening to James Altucher interview AJ Jacobs and the two of them brought up a great point about how we might focus our actions – actually become more thoughtful about whether our actions are increasing or decreasing the suffering in this world. Big or small, every action you take can either add to the pain of others or make life easier.
Listen to James Altucher’s Podcast, an interview with A.J. Jacobs The Intersection Between Discomfort & Curiosity.
Quote

The Habit of Employing Self-Deception

People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.

seneca
So much of my own suffering has come from shying away from reality, from protecting myself from the hardcore truth of the choices I’ve made for my life. It seems the more I run from my heartache, my soul ache, the more I continue to distance myself from the painfully honest truth. It’s a strategy for self-preservation actually, but a very bad one at that.
blind
I have found that I have spent most of my “waking” life quietly buried in a fantasy world of make believe and pretend.  Buried in being busy, buried in too much work, buried in striving for my “goals”, buried in trying to fix hurt people. Bobbing around in a bubble. Sometimes for a time it actually worked (like a band aid) but more often it didn’t.
adventure
Hoping, wishing, praying and becoming more and more determined to try to change those around me that didn’t want to change so I could manifest what I wanted without first seeing and holding the absolute truth about them. How selfish is that? Fighting instead of facing, without knowing the tools, talent or skills I would need to create a better reality, one, I probably didn’t even know I wanted (or needed).
Illusions
This way of living is reckless and irresponsible and will one day come to bite you in the ass.  Yes it can protect and shield you for a time and from the pain, but the cold hard fact is reality is your best fucking friend.
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I have also come to understand this behavior in myself is just another form of manipulation. When I don’t see what is truly in front of me, what is absolutely factual about any circumstance and I slip on those rose colored glasses, pretending that everything is fine, this is when I find myself in the most agonizing of circumstances.
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Whether it be the promise and potential I see, the possibilities in others, the “magic” of a truly desperate moment or the belief that I can do something I haven’t really trained or practiced for, it really doesn’t matter. The fact is I am not prepared to deal with the deep dark core truth. It’s so, so, so frustrating.
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When I convince myself that things are different than they really are, I struggle in that denial, trying to fit pieces of the puzzle in places they don’t belong. It’s maddening really.
fantasy
The more we bullshit ourselves into believing that we can do anything without absolutely accepting
  • where we are
  • what we have to work with
  • who is within our company (including our crappy-ass selves)
until we are truly accepting of the actions we have taken & the choices we have made and the distance we have to really go, we will stumble, fumble and fall.
One must start with the unquestionable truth of what is really happening in their lives before anything can get clearer.
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Stay awake, aware, alert and alive. Always.

alice