Living in an Adventurous Dimension

It’s subtle the ways in which we avoid the call and remain in the adolescence of our lives. Our parents are eventually replaced by other structures that keep us secure, coddled, and within the imposing walls of conformity and comfort. Schools, corporations, churches, cushy government jobs with benefits… they all keep us in the cradle.

Oh but where does your soul want you to go? That little itch deep within that in its tickle is calling you somewhere. Why do we so often ignore and settle for the life not fully lived?

There’s a journey inside wanting to be experienced. We are not alive in the 21st century to maintain the status quo of a species that has lived in fear of scarcity and pain for so many thousands of years. We have the privilege to live in this era to sing in full voice the song in our hearts.

No more excuses. It’s time to follow your inner dream. There’s an adventure within you waiting to be played out. The expansion of the cosmos does indeed depend on you fulfilling that journey.

Photo by Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center

Life is too short to play it safe.

Just sayin’…

Here, listen to this crazy ol’ fellow, Alan Watts tell you how it is. You are the creative spirit of the Universe and we are here in the physical to live out its dream and to expand it in a multitude of ways:

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How far out could you get? … What dimension of being lost, of abandonment of your power- what dimension of that could you stand? – Alan Watts

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The Psychology of Defeat

Did you catch the World Cup semi-final the other day between Germany and Brazil? If you didn’t, you must have heard of Brazil’s historically massive loss against the Germans.

This was the biggest game to date of every one of the players on the Brazilian team’s career: the semi-final on home soil and they lost an agonizing 7-1.

I propose that they lost to such proportions not because they were a terrible team in this series and not because they lacked quality players. They lost because their psychology was destabilized, so they unconsciously found themselves in a losing mode.

How did this happen?

First, they were destabilized by the fact that both their star player and their captain were unable to play this game. This didn’t automatically put them into defeatist mode by any means, but it destabilized the structure and unity of the team. And when it comes to team sports, it doesn’t matter how great and prized the individual players are, it’s how the team performs as a unit and when that unit begins to shift rapidly and unexpectedly, it can shift the psychology of just a few team players, which is enough to bring down the entire unit.

The second and more crucial aspect happened when the Germans scored their second goal early in the game. The first goal was early and it was a blow, but psychologically a team can hold on to hope of recovering as they only have to score one goal to catch up- that’s doable. It was the second goal that sent the team crumbling to their demise. They let that moment of instability crush them and that is what led to the onslaught of three more goals (totalling five) against them within the next few minutes.

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik

I used to be a competitive swimmer and my coach used to describe when a swimmer that was following the leader quite closely in a nearby lane would begin to catch up, psychologically what would often happen is that the leader would begin to feel their energy being pulled down as the swimmer in second place would catch up and overcome the leader as he or she pulled the energy from the leader in order to get ahead. It’s all psychological because they’re in different lanes, so there is no pulling of energy in a physical sense. But, in the psyche as that person catches up and overtakes you as the leader, they get a sense of being imbued with energy, while you feel like your energy is being sucked away.

This is what happened to Brazil, they allowed their energy to get sapped by the Germans who capitalized on the breakdown of the Brazilian team.

The key is, however, that with the right psychology, this may have been avoided. Artists and athletes (particularly solo athletes) often talk about getting into the zone– a place where they themselves and what they are doing become one. In that zone of complete focus and attention, they thrive and perform at their best. Outside of it, they risk faltering due to distraction. This is akin to the concept of being present- in the zen sense- completely and totally in the moment and in tune with what you are doing. Miraculous things happen in this place.

If the Brazilian team had been able to play as if no goals were scored against them after the second one came, I believe that they may have been able to avoid the massacre that came next.

Each moment is fresh for the one that is present and no matter what prior defeat, she is able to rise up to her potential. But when we allow our minds to focus on our defeats, we are bound to encounter further defeat. Try this: when you’re doing a workout, think of something that totally brings you down- that makes you feel terrible and notice if it sucks the energy out of you.

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Breaking Free

I must apologize for my absence on this blog this past year. I’d been going through a highly introspective period where I needed to retreat inwards, rather than express outwards… had to take a step back from the whirlwind that is life. To those who have stuck around, thank you!

Gently nudged by a friend on here and by virtue of my emergence from my place of relative silence, I’ve decided to share a bit of what’s been on my mind.

So here goes…

It’s a real struggle to live an authentic life in a world that is increasingly supporting the inauthentic… silicone bodies, plastic commodities, even our food is fast becoming only a figment of what real food once was. How are we supposed to feel right in who we are when the norm is a face caked with makeup and rolls on your tummy are considered grotesque?

I’ll be somewhat candid here, I’ve struggled accepting myself since I was a kid. I looked different, I ate different, as I got older my spiritual views were considered bizarre, and I didn’t socialize quite like everyone else coming from a culture where socializing without an alcoholic drink in one’s hand was met with suspicion and rejection. I felt out of place. But, this is part of who I was and who I am. I struggled because I couldn’t change myself into what I wasn’t.

Lest I go down a dangerously negative path, I’m going to turn this ship around and propose a solution to one of society’s greatest problems: our lack of authenticity.

Photo by Patrick Lanigan

The only way we can stop these insane fake standards that society has been carving out for everyone to fit neatly into, is if we all abandon them in droves.

In university I remember studying Foucault and his theories about how we police each other into conformity. And that’s where I’ve found my solution.

The only way I can be free to be myself, the only way we can ALL be free is if we abandon these ridiculous standards and be friends with the beautiful essence in all forms of expression. The more we adhere to inauthenticity, and the more we ourselves run away from the beautiful within us and don some garb to fit in, the more we will find ourselves creating a world void of acceptance, love, and true expression.

Also, authenticity is best friends with honesty. Can’t have one without the other. The more honest we are with ourselves and with everyone around us, the more authentic the expression of our unique spirit.

I can be your friend if we look into each other’s eyes and let the tears and joy flow uninhibited by any apprehension that we won’t be accepted. I accept you. I accept you even if there is something “wrong” with you. There’s nothing wrong with you.

This is awesome mirror work… but the real mirror is the world. Bring the love and the acceptance out there and let’s create a better world, one where everyone has a place and feels good with who they are.

And so there, I give myself license to dance my crazy heart out to the so-called lamest music I choose and the freedom to walk my authentic path wherever that may lead. And I wish the same for you.

To our freedom!

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The Dawning of a New Day

Today I’m going to talk about hurt…

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, because the heart has been heavy. There are little hurts, the type that can be likened to a stubbed toe, painful in the moment, but soon forgotten. And then there are crushed ribs… the sort of pain felt when someone passes on, or when the cruelty of the world cannot be made sense of in our sensitive, empathic consciences, or the pain of disregard and maltreatment, etc..

It’s these heavy hurts that weigh us down because the wounds don’t tend to heal overnight.

I will say things that might not make you feel better if you’ve recently felt like someone was skipping rope upon your broken ribs as you lay sprawled on the ground, but it will make picking yourself up and taking one step in front of another something conceivable.

Healing takes time. Sure, the gurus in India and the new age aficionados may try to convince us that the healing of mental, emotional, and physical pains can occur in this instant (and maybe it is possible…). But, listen, for ordinary people there are no shortcuts to healing. We go through what we go through in life including the painful stuff for legitimate reasons. We need to go through the process of healing. That whole journey is part of why we are here. And, in our time-space reality through which we experience life, that takes time.

The time it takes to heal is not necessarily bad, nor should be considered wasted parts of our lives in which we could have otherwise been doing something more fun, more productive, or living what we conceive to be a perfect life… We need to redefine a perfect life. A perfect life isn’t a life free of pain, hurt, stumbles along the way, obstacles, etc.. A perfect life is a broken one in which we can recognize that even if we cannot yet see it, there is a gift and an impetus to grow in every experience we go through both good and bad.

All the time it takes us to heal could quite likely be the most productive, useful time in our lives to break out of our current molds and rise beyond the paradigms that guide our lives to become grander, more authentic versions of ourselves.

You might be thinking what’s the point of all this growing if it’s going to come with such hefty doses of pain? Growth does not make life easy. It allows us to experience a fuller, richer experience of life.

You see, there’s a caveat here. Not all people are willing to suffer well. To suffer well, to grow, we need to recognize that we can choose to go down the path of discovering the gift suffering has to offer. We can choose to heal. You can choose to heal. Or the same pain will remain or return.

The best way to look at suffering is with gratitude, that it is happening in order to teach us some very important lesson. It is useless to want suffering to go away. It is impermanent, it will go away anyway, but if we don’t learn the lesson that it is trying to teach us, it will come back in exactly the same manner. -Ayya Khema, Buddhist teacher

It may take time and you may find yourself wallowing in the gutters with a heart full of depression. But, don’t berate yourself for the time it takes for you to follow your path. After all, you may be crawling on gravel and broken glass at first. But, eventually you will be able to pick yourself up (perhaps with some assistance and that’s okay!) to stand on your own two feet, and take your first step forward (possibly with atrophied legs, it will be tough, but you can regain your strength!). And soon you will be walking and the path will smooth out and perhaps… perhaps after the darkest hours of your life, you will begin to see the light of dawn.

Photo by Joka2000

I’m not saying you’ll be out in the clear. Clouds may form above, or you may stumble. But, that moment of seeing the light will be (and I guarantee this) one of the sweeter breaths of fresh air you will ever take. You will not be the same person after travelling that rugged road.

There is no prescription to healing. No path twists and turns in quite the same way. This is your journey and yours alone. This is about you going within and reacquainting yourself with your essence– with who you are. It’s about removing the debris from the tragedy and seeing yourself anew in this world. And yes, it changes your life.

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.  -Rumi

This is the dawning of a new day and that new day will be one you’ve never experienced in all your life and never could have experienced if you’d never suffered and gone down the path of healing.

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The Fool’s Journey

When I dare to be powerful, I use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.


I had a bit of an epiphany today in realizing that the only thing that holds me back in life is my fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being able to make ends meet in life, fear of looking ridiculous as I stumble over my own feet, etc.. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that has felt an internal wall prop up at the thought of pursuing my dreams to the fullest when FEAR sets in.

The epiphany came about with this question, “What would I do if I had nothing to fear and nothing holding me back?” The first thing that came to mind was that rather than remaining stagnant as I have been, I’d set forth and do something. What that would be exactly at this point, I don’t know, but I know that I’d take risks that I’d normally be too afraid to take.

And this is the journey of the Fool. The Fool is an incredibly powerful archetype of the tarot that reminds us that the essence of Life springs forth through action; action that is spontaneous and thus contains the vibrant seed of Life. The Fool reminds us that in order to move forward and bring our gift to the world, to journey forth in this adventure, we must have faith that we have wings to fly. A poem by Rumi shares the message of the Fool so beautifully:

You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust.

You were born with ideals and dreams.

You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.

You have wings. Learn to use them and fly!

Furthermore, the Fool is not afraid of who he is or how others perceive him. He is true to himself and above all true to his inner journey. He is also not afraid of falling and hurting himself. The Fool might appear foolish to the burdened adult mind, but know that the Fool is an important guide and bears the wisdom of innocence. It is innocence that is at the core of creation, movement and the fulfillment of dreams and goals.

“I can honestly say that probably 95% of the things I was afraid of, it turned out I had no reason to be. So drop fear by the wayside. Just… let it go. Then make way for a surprising tomorrow.” — Neale Donald Walsch

We are born of Spirit full of everything we need to journey forth in the direction of our dreams. 

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The Chrysalis on the Verge of Greatness

 “In the sunlight of awareness,
everything becomes Sacred.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

There is no doubt that as beautiful as life can be, “living is like licking honey off a thorn,” as Louis Adamic says. It’s really a bittersweet experience and it is certainly challenging sometimes. “Challenging” might even be an understatement for some of what we have to go through. The trials, the pain, the suffering…

But, oftentimes, we have this misconception that the bad is truly negative. It feels terrible and it isn’t anything any of us would want to experience.

What if, however, what we label as “negative,” “bad,” and “ugly” can be seen as powerful agents of transformation? I have found in my life that the worse things that have happened to me— the most trying experiences, have always been the strongest forces of transformation ever.

You see the problem with life when all is hunky dory is that the imperative to rise up to new heights and experience life past our self-imposed boundaries may simply not be there. We live in a culture with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality and when things are going fine, we tend to get comfortable and yes, sometimes complacent.

That’s when the Universe comes in and presents us with a challenge. I am thoroughly convinced of this. We humans are chrysalises and if at times we become a little too comfortable in our cocoon, the Universe itself will present us with the imperative to begin the difficult journey of emerging out.

Photo by puuikibeach

The path of emergence is not an easy one. It involves change, it involves courage, it involves going into unknown territory, and it involves facing our deepest fears.

Recently I’ve been facing what feels like a stack pile of challenges.Tears have streamed down my face and I have wondered what is happening in my life. But, at the end of the day, the most important thing that anyone of us facing difficulties can do is remind ourselves that we are chrysalises. We are on the cusp of emerging into the greatness of who we are and the challenge is our key to getting there.

 “May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both-indeed hold it all-at the same time, remembering that everything in these quixotic, unpredictable, unsettled and unsettling, exhilarating and heart-stirring times is a doorway to awakening in sacred world.” — Pema Chödrön

When we are able to put our challenges into context and grow from them, we begin to see the sacred nature of the experiences of all life. Life is our friend even if it shows us some tough love at times.

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The Spirit Knows Its Way

“The Pueblo Indians told me that all Americans are crazy, and of course I was somewhat astonished and asked them why. They said – Well, they say they think in their heads. No sound man thinks in his head. We think in the heart.” -Carl Jung

I’ve been grappling with a decision that I have to make and have come to realize that the basis of the confusion within me lies in a battle between my head and my heart.

Or, more like my head is bullying my heart.

Basically my head, my pompous mind that reasons and thinks and therefore believes itself to hold higher wisdom than my heart, has led me to believe that my choices are limited. It tells me that my best option is to stay on course as planned lest I make a terrible and regrettable error.

It’s been tough to dispute my mind, because it reasons and has this air of superiority to it that doesn’t really allow for much exploration beyond what it deems reasonable and possible.

But, you see, I’m coming to realize that my mind is going about with blinders on. Anything that tells us that a certain path is unequivocally the best for realistic reasons and does not set its biases aside to open itself to potential other possibilities (no matter how crazy they might seem), is a limited source to rely on for guidance.

For a long while now, my heart has been tugging at me and I’ve been ignoring its faint cries as my mind has been the dominant voice in me. It has been telling me how things are and how I must continue along this particular path, because this is after all my dream (or so it says…) and I wouldn’t want to give up on that, now would I? Well, no, dreams aren’t to be given up on and I guess it is my dream after all.

Or is it?

Photo by StooMathiesen

You see, sometimes we have a preconceived notion of where we’re going in life and we think our way through a path that we hope will lead us there. Then somewhere along the way we start to think that this path we’ve concocted is in fact the dream we always wanted to accomplish. We plod on with our minds telling us this is what we want, without taking a moment to check in to see if our heart is in agreement with all this. We were excited when we first set forth, but somewhere along the way, things might have started to feel a bit off even though we stayed perfectly on course.

The reality is that the path is not pre-set; it’s not pre-determined. We might start something and feel strongly about it and as time passes our heart might lead us in a different direction.

The key is not to get stuck forcing ourselves through a path that the mind is forging for us when it is no longer in alignment with our spirit. Always, in life we must not merely check-in with our spirit, but be at one with it. We must follow it.This might mean going against what is reasonable, sensible or what the mind can even conceive as possible.

The spirit knows its way.

We need only to let go and let it show us. Ignore it and life goes on, but that ultimately leads to a life that compromises your spirit’s longings.

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” -Anaïs Nin

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It’s Time to Dig Deep and Excavate Your “Negative” Emotions

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” -Sigmund Freud

It’s a rare occurrence when you’ll find me quoting Sigmund Freud… to be honest, this might be the first time ever. But, on this very statement of Freud’s, I wholeheartedly agree and wanted to speak to this briefly here.

For those involved in the healing arts, particularly in energy work and most especially with Reiki, there is this overarching notion that the practitioner must maintain utmost decorum. I’d even venture to say that this notion has bled into the greater “New Age” movement. Anger and other “negative” emotions aren’t to be entertained because notions that we are in control of our own happiness and that we can affirm ourselves to a happier, more fulfilling life are prevalent (lest our negative moods lead us to a dismal life!). 

In Reiki it is explicit, as one of the principles that we are to adhere to is, “Just for today I will not be angry.” Of course, “just for today” means any and every day that one may perform Reiki, which translates to a general daily affirmation of “I will not be angry”.

Photo by justDONQUE.images

I took a workshop with a man named Patrick Zeigler last year. He facilitates teachings of a particular type of energy healing that is very centered on connecting to our emotions. The workshop was very deep and powerful in how it had us reach deep-seated emotions often held in the subconscious mind and allowed us to release those in the process of further opening our hearts.

Patrick mentioned from his observation that a number of the great and renowned Reiki masters in the world died prematurely of heart disease. (This is hearsay, of course, as I have not done in depth research on the lives of famous Reiki masters). He contends that this is a reflection of suppression of the so-called “negative” emotions such as anger. As Freud says, unexpressed emotions do not die. They live on within us, sometimes coming out emotionally in different forms and sometimes literally eating us up inside.

It’s important to acknowledge our feelings, acknowledge why we’re feeling that way, and most importantly it’s imperative to express the feelings. Of course, it’s important to channel emotions in a healthy way. Throwing plates against a wall in rage is probably not the most healthy way to express anger. Going out for a run to cool off and pounding a pillow might be safer and more ideal ways to let that energy flow.

The key is, however, not to swallow those emotions and bury them deep down. It is okay to feel. We live in a challenging world nowadays filled with stress, complicated social and family lives, and are disconnected from nature and energies that sustain our wellbeing. The havock on our nervous systems is immense. Of course, if these emotions are chronic, there may be some underlying causes that need to be explored with a therapist. That said, I am just going to serve here as a voice to caution you against burying emotions.

Of course, when you’re entering into a session with a client (or entering into a business meeting or any other sort of situation where it is necessary to maintain your decorum), you’ll want to practice “bracketing” your emotions. Bear in mind, however, that bracketing means setting them aside temporarily, so that you can be fully present for your client. It assumes that you will return to pick up your baggage right after and take a deep look at it and let out what needs letting out rather than affirming day by day that you will not let the fury loose.

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How to Find Love

Valentine’s Day also dubbed “Singles Awareness Day” is a holiday met with many mixed feelings. Those who aren’t in a relationship regard it sort of begrudgingly and those who are in one, either play along and go down the romantic route, or dismiss its overtly materialistic and commercial nature. In any case, the topic of love comes up and we’re either in a position where we feel we have it or we don’t. And for those who are single, it becomes a glaringly obvious reminder that they are not in a romantic relationship. Unfortunately that’s conflated with some notion of lacking love in their life. And, that’s where I’m going to press the pause button.

(Photo by Mike Baird)

I don’t like being didactic or coming across as all-knowing, but I strongly feel that I have some insight on the matter of finding love. And, even if this is really just my naïveté making an appearance, I feel highly compelled to share this.

Love is not something that comes from outside of you. It’s not born anywhere else, but within you. Yes, we’ve all heard this time and again. I mean we all know that we have to, “love ourselves first.” But, this is the reality of how you find love:

First, you begin to cultivate the love within yourself.

Second, you use that love to help raise your vibrations to the point where you feel so full of love that you feel fulfilled within your being. This entails, raising your vibrations to the level of joy. Some people have a lot of work to undertake here to remove layers upon layers to get to that place, while some people are already there.

By this point, you feel so satisfied with existence as it is, that you no longer “need” a relationship. You could take one or leave one and would rather not bother if it doesn’t feel “just right”. That’s where you want to be. Because when you’re in a place where you feel fulfilled and so content with life with our without a romantic partner, you are most ripe to enter into a relationship that will flourish… not a relationship where there is co-dependency, or massive walls guarding you, or where you or the partner you’ve attracted are trying to fulfill their own needs through the other.

The latter examples occur when we want to enter a relationship from the standpoint of longing and need.

Magical things happen when you are in a place where you are so filled with joy, love and life that you feel satisfied and fulfilled. When you’ve let go of the need to attract a mate, you’ve opened up a space to attract the right person for you, rather than someone who needs you to fill their areas of insufficiency or vice versa. It might take months. Heck, it could take years! But, let me tell you the time it takes becomes less relevant as you come to know yourself and develop higher vibrations and higher satisfaction for life in that process.

So, I urge you, if you are single and longing for a mate to give it a rest, work on yourself, love yourself, work on your blockages, find fulfillment in life in your own being and let the universe take care of the rest. This is the best prescription to finding love.

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Letting Go…

“I am so beyond frustrated right now…”  These are the words I noticed myself think just now. It’s crazy, but even as we continue along a spiritual path, we still feel these things at times. But, I guess *that* is the crux of a spiritual practice, to find ourselves whirling in what seems like chaos at times, but to be able to stop, step back and notice what’s going on.

I’m experiencing technology woes today as fears of potentially losing all my photos and whatnot are mounting as my external hard drive is suddenly no longer accessible…

There is on the one hand this part of me that wants to keep trying to fix it and keep tinkering away checking the same few things over and over again. On the other hand, there’s this part of me that realizes that trying to force it to work is not going to make it work.

That’s the hard part, though. It’s hard to let things be… to let go of control, especially when things are going wrong from our perspective. There’s this tendency to want to fix things, to make them right to make ourselves feel better.

But, in the end that’s what binds us. It’s our need to control our situation because we have placed our happiness, sense of wellbeing and peace in some external factor. When that’s the case, of course we want to control it, because should it continue to falter, so does our wellbeing.

This is stifling to go on living like this, depending on a perfect balance of exterior influences in order to maintain inner peace. We must learn to cultivate the still place within, the place where our peace, joy and wellbeing reside regardless of what’s going on around us. That is what spells true freedom…

Photo by Joanna Lee Osborn

 “What if you let go of every bit of control and every urge that you have, right down to the most infinitesimal urge to control anything, anywhere, including anything that may be happening with you at this moment? Imagine that you were able to completely and absolutely give up control on every level. If you were able to give up control absolutely, totally, and completely, then you would be a spiritually free being.”

— Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

And, so that’s where I’m at. I’m ready to just let go of this and experience the freedom that lies beyond my dependence on external events for peace and happiness.

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