AUM

AUM. What does it mean? It’s the acronym and sound for what I’m feeling right now. A is from Awe. U is for unbelievable, and M is for Magnificent, Miraculous and Merciful. And put it all together and it’s the humming meditation sound of “aum.” Which is the sound of Divine creation according to the yogic meditation practice.

This sound or word expresses what I’m feeling as I sit here and contemplate how everything in my life is working out not the way I planned, but just the way someone else planned. My Creator, my Dharma, my universe, seems to have some master plan that guides and directs my path.  I can see how everything in my life has always been just as it should be. Every struggle has taught. Every tragedy has been a stepping stone to triumph, and every bump in the road has jolted me to a higher awareness.

In retrospect, I can see clearly now all the pivotal people who have crossed my path at pivotal points completely shifting the trajectory of my life. I can see clearly now the evolution of my passions and interests and how each has led to new opportunities, relationships, ideas, and beliefs.

Everything that has happened in my life is not random, it has all happened for a reason. The Divine spark I feel inside is guiding me, no pulling me toward my destiny.

I’ve always felt that the Lord has great things in store for me. I’ve always felt that I would somehow make a mark in this world–and golly gee whiz I’m making it! I’m making my mark one person at a time. I remember when I used to think I needed to do some big thing–Mother Teresa style–but now that I understand Mother Teresa–and her greatness–I realize she wasn’t about doing one big thing. Mother Teresa made a mark because she did several small things. In her own words:

I can do no great thing. Only small things with great love.

Small things with great love equals great things for it is by small and simple mans that great things are brought to pass.

Here is another incredible quote I read today by Rabindranath Tagore:

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

I think I’ll meditate on that “AUM.”

Meaning in Suffering

I love Victor Frankl. I remember reading his epic book Man’s Search for Meaning years ago. It touched me then and moves me still.

Victor Frankl was an intelligent and highly accomplished Austrian Jew. His training was that of a neurologist and psychologist, and during WWII, he was imprisoned in a German Concentration Camp where he was able to overcome his situation by finding meaning amidst his suffering. Some of the great quotes from his book include:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfillment in circumstances where others choose madness.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Teach people to find meaning in their sufffering, and in so doing they will be able to turn their personal tragedies into personal triumphs. 

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last peice of bread.

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how

Why do these quotes move me so? It’s because right now I’m watching two loved ones fight cancer–a cold, uncaring killer. Like Nazis, cancer is brutal, but it’s also an incredible teacher.

I’m learning a lot.

I’m also crying a lot.

I cry because my friends don’t feel well. It pains me that they are in pain.

I cry that their families are sad, scared, and stressed, and I cry because I also know their families are learning and growing and feeling so blessed.

I cry because I know that life is predictably unpredictable.  And this knowing means I will one day suffer from some ailment too. I hope I, like them, will remember to find the meaning in my suffering. I hope I too can transform my tragedies into personal triumphs.

Thank you, Ryan, Lindsay, Tyler, and Rebecca for your incredible examples and your noble souls. I love you so!

Love Pheromones

What if your very presence electrified others? What if others could feel unconditional love in your presence?

Dr. Dyer shared a story where he met Mother Teresa. He was doing a radio show and she was also one of the guests being interviewed. When she walked into the room the atmosphere changed. She elevated the energy in the room and those in her presence said she radiated unconditional love. Dr. Dyer said he got the tingles all through his body and it was as if she emitted love pheromones.

I imagine this is what it was like to be in the presence of the Savior. I’ve felt greatness. Highly evolved, spiritual beings emit positive energy. Being in their presence feeds and strengthens your soul. I want to have this same effect on others. I think I’ll have to work on loving others unconditionally, which means I must suppress ego, not judge, allow, serve, purify, and love. Sounds like a worthy goal. I’ll need to spend more time visualizing this type of behavior and spiritually creating my day before I embark upon it for that which we can conceive and believe, we can achieve. Believing is seeing baby!

Intent to Manifest

I’ve become fascinated recently with this idea that believing is seeing and that which we can conceive and believe we can achieve. I love Dr. Wayne Dyer’s writings on intentions and manifesting and I’ve been experimenting with it in my own life lately with great success.

First, I had an intent to manifest a win-win resolution for all parties with my leaving KickFire and joining Nutra. I wanted to do right by all my team members and clients. There are so many moving parts and things that have to come together and I decided to believe it will all work out and so far it has. Don’t get me wrong, it is requiring a lot of work and creative structuring, but as I’ve made win-win my goal, and continued to operate from a place of abundance, it is manifesting in remarkable ways.

Cory, Matt, and Eddie are coming with me. Tiffiny is taking over the agency. Svêlo has a potential buyer. The toys are selling, and what doesn’t sell will be donated to charity and provide a nice tax break I can use to reduce my income in 2018. I am continuing to focus my intent on incredible outcomes and I have every confidence that it will manifest as I imagine. Believing to see is super empowering. It allows me to create my future, or at least feel like I’m not powerless to create positive outcomes. I will always remain intent to manifest.

Enough

Seth Godin had a great post this morning about Thanksgiving and the tendency to overeat. He wondered why we stuff ourselves full when eating enough is infinitely better. Enough feels good. Full doesn’t. Full, while uncomfortable, also has other deliterious consequences. Weight gain is one. The feeling of full doesn’t last so overeating just causes you to gain weight.

Why does the natural man seem to have an insatiable appetite? True freedom and happiness comes from being content. Learning to recognize that we have had enough and that we have sufficient for our needs really is the recipe for a happy life.

I’ve had occassion lately to contemplate enough versus stuffed. It’s tempting to overeat just because you can. But stepping back and realizing that eating more than you need really doesn’t have any benefit, and actually makes you feel worse off than before, helps remind me that I already have everything I need. I don’t like feeling full. I like feeling enough. I’ve always had sufficient for my needs. God and the universe have made sure of that. Why worry that this will ever change. God, and the universe, will continue to provide and supply.

How May I Serve

There are two ways we can go through life. We can constantly ask, “What’s in it for me?” or “How may I serve?”

I’ve been guilty of both and I’ll tell you that when I remember to approach life with the latter attitude, I’m enthused. And I literally cannot think of a better way to describe how I feel when I’m serving others or thinking about how I can best serve others than “enthusiastic.” Check out the origin and etymology of the word enthusiasm:

from en- + theos god

To me, en theos means to have God within. It comes from  the Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired

And what is really cool is that when we are inspired, we are in-spirit. Approaching life from the posit of “How may I serve?” puts us in touch with the Divine. We acknowledge the god within and the god in others. We live by–and are directed by–spirit.

When we ask, “what’s in it for me?” we are operating from ego. We simply serve ourselves, and many times at the expense of others. This position creates division and separates us from the whole of humanity. We are meant to be one. When we are one, we are Gods.

When we put others first, the universe conspires to put us first. Essentially, when we serve others, the universe serves us. This is a universal truth.  I meditate daily to condition my natural response to always be “How may I serve?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” I am well on my way to rewiring my brain so that I always operate from a place of abundance. The world is abundant. There is enough to spare and to share. I have been blessed with talents. I’d be a terrible steward if I didn’t share my abundance most generously.

Powerless

You never realize how much you rely on something till it’s taken away. That’s how things are rolling today. I woke up and the power was out. I wondered if it was just my bedroom and figured I would just need to go and flip a breaker switch. But it only took me a second to realize we were powerless and the entire house was out.

Being without power is crummy. I cannot do the things I want to do. For instance, I need to charge my Garmin before my walk with Sharee. I went to plug it in and was reminded that I was powerless. I went to make my breakfast and realized that I cannot cook my oatmeal because I don’t have power. I can’t even do my yoga routine because I’m without internet.

I think being powerless is tolerable only when you know the condition will end. We were informed that a drunk driver hit a powerline on 2nd North and that we should have power restored tomorrow. That’s longer than I’d like to be without power, but imagine if you had to live without power for an interminable amount of time. I think powerlessness would have one of two effects. It would either completely demoralize you, or you could find alternate ways of getting by, thereby creating your own power and no longer relying on the power others supplied.

Hmmm, that last line made me realize we are never truly powerless. We give away our power when we come to rely on others for it, but no one can take away our heart, will, and mind. We get to tell ourselves our own story. I can think today that I am without power or I can choose to focus on everything I can still do because of my own power.

I’m still able to sit here and compose my thoughts. Sure, I’ll have to wait to publish them online till the power is restored or until I figure out some other kind of workaround. Hold on, I just now thought of one. I can hotspot myself and publish this post. If I really wanted to boil my oats, I can go downstairs and dig up my camp stove. I’m not hungry enough yet to do that. I guess what this morning has reminded me is that I’m never really powerless. And that I’m grateful for modern conveniences. I need to never solely rely on other people’s power. I must cultivate my own so I can always power myself.

Self-Actualization

What does it mean to be a “Self-Actualized” person? I think I sort of know, but I really want to study it from the one who pioneered the phrase, and that means I need to read more written by Dr. Abraham Maslow. Once I’ve read his ground breaking theories, I need to study the application methodology prescribed by Dr. Albert Ellis.

Maslow believed the field of psychology–and the world of humanity–would benefit greatly by studying healthy, well-adjusted people over the mal-adjusted, mentally ill.

Both Maslow and Ellis believed that we could free ourselves from irrational beliefs and attain happiness by simply changing the way we view the world. I am going to secure a copy of A Guide to Rational Living by Ellis, and Toward a Psychology of Being by Maslow. I’m sure I read most of these works back in my teacher training days, but I want to revisit them again now.  Self-Actualization is key for me!

Life Fair

I cried today. I was watching some videos of my friend Tyler as he rang the bell at the hospital celebrating his last day of radiation. I then watched the video of him getting to come home from the hospital after spending 3 months there. I saw him break down and cry as he sang along with the music ringing through the hospital hall corridors, “I will walk again.”

I cried because I was just finishing my yoga routine. I can do yoga and he is in a wheelchair. I cried because I just landed a killer new job and Tyler can no longer work. I cried because I miss him. Tyler Seamons was the best business partner and friend I could ever have hoped for and now I don’t get to work with him nor do I get to interact with him every day. I felt the unfairness of it all. I felt guilty that I was enjoying so much abundance and he was experiencing so much pain. I know this too shall pass–the good and the bad–for the both of us, but it still caused the tears to flow.

I’m even crying again now as I write. I have tried so hard to do right by him and his family. I’ve worried about how to continue to care for them and handle all their financial needs. I try not to feel guilty for the blessings that have come my way nor to count the trials they are experiencing as cursings for I know it is all part of this grand adventure we call life. I know I have been blessed because of this experience and I know his family is being blessed too. I have enjoyed seeing his and Rebecca’s relationship flower. I love seeing Jason wipe food off of his father’s chin. I loved seeing Lucy come in the front room and hug him in his wheelchair and say, “I love you Dad,” before running off to play. I will NEVER forget these tender scenes. Never, not ever!

I know that while life doesn’t seem fair, it really is. Life is fair because we all get exactly what we need. We all receive the lessons we need to learn in order to become our best. I’m grateful for Tyler. I’m grateful for the lessons these shared experiences are teaching us. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. I’m grateful for the time we’ve had together. I hope for much more, but honestly, I don’t know that he will be with us much longer. I feel that he might have other places to go. Oh, Tyler, God bless you and your sweet family. I love you all so!

Overriding Instincts

Initially, I didn’t want to write about this because it was a painful realization, but recognizing my behavior as a natural self-preservation instinct–one that I must simply continue to override, enabled the embarrassment to subside.

Essentially, it irks me that whenever I feel threatened or insecure, I panic and my natural response is to think of myself–my needs–in the face of danger. This instinctual response bothers me because I want to always be an abundant-minded person. Why can’t my natural response always be that of abundance? Why, when I feel threatened, or insecure, does this petty, selfish side rear its ugly head?

So who am I? Do reflexive responses reveal our true nature? Or do reflexive responses exist to remind us that we are human? Is it possible to create a new reflex? Or in the words of scripture, can we overcome the natural man tendencies of the flesh? I believe we can, and I refuse to become discouraged that I’m not yet reflexively awesome all the time. I am, however, getting better every day and in every way.  It’s a process. I still have a long way to go, but know you this, I’m committed because I believe I can override my instincts and rewire my reflexive responses. I am becoming better daily.