6 Tips to Shake Away the Negative Blues

I’m pretty sure a Negative Nancy came waltzing into my brain today and decided to take over. It was terrible. Everything, and I mean everything, had this ugly negative spin on it. Yes, it’s true. I can’t believe I’m admitting this to the world, but it happens to all of us. At one point or another it’s like this little bug lodges itself in our brain and buzzes a negative tune and it’s like there is no darn way to make it stop!

Or so it makes us think…

You see, no matter what we encounter in our lives, we have power over it. Well, sort of. We have that power if we are aware that we do and choose to exercise it.

But how do we shift out of that negative zone when we find ourselves in it? Here are some tips:

1)      Take a cold shower. If you’re at home, do it! This will not only shift you on a physical level, but it’ll totally renew your energy field. Cold showers in particular are known to make your aura sparkle.

2)      Ask for help. Ask in your head or out loud to whomever you believe in be it God, angels, your higher self, that sweet shining Buddha within, etc. to help you shift out of that negative place. This helps you let go and surrender to something stronger that can overpower that negativity that pretends to have all the control over your mind. Just ask for help, let go and the powers of this blissful universe will come. Sometimes we encounter resistance and this can take a little while to totally shift, but please don’t undermine the value of asking for help.

3)      Use the power of intention. The almighty power of intention can be used to set your intention on focusing elsewhere. The more you focus on the negativity, the more you feed it. Focus on something else that is beautiful and moving. Play a nice song or change the desktop picture on your computer to something that touches you. Do what you have to do wherever you are to shift your mind to something that is beautiful to you and focus really hard on it. Tell yourself why it is beautiful, why you love it so much, and let its beauty take you over as much as you can. Do this for a couple minutes straight. This will start to shift your thoughts which will in turn help to shift your feelings.

4)      Do something different. If you’ve been washing the dishes and doing chores playing the same old tape about how badly you were treated by your boss or whatever your situation, then stop and go out for a walk or put on an exercise dvd and start exercising, etc. Conversely, if you’ve been working away at the computer, then maybe it’s time to get to some chores or other manual tasks. Don’t keep doing what you’ve been doing.

5)      Tap your thymus.  This is actually said to stimulate your immune system, but I have found many times that it also helped to release stuck emotional “stuff” and lifted my mood! You can do this anywhere and if you’re feeling self-conscious at work or in public, just pop into bathroom stall and tap away.

6)      Try toning. Toning is holding a note with your voice. The notes can change and you should follow your intuition and your feelings as to where to go with your voice be it low or high notes and so on. For certain people, this is an amazingly effective technique to help move energy.

And remember, when you’re seemingly stuck in that negative place, you have the power to change it. Different techniques work better for some than others, but in the end it’s a matter of moving the energy.

It is up to you to make whatsoever you want out of your life. An enlightened consciousness makes even death beautiful. An unenlightened consciousness makes even life ugly. For an enlightened consciousness, only beauty exists — only beauty; only bliss exists — only bliss. –Osho


Photo credit: From flickr, posted by atl068

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The Place Where the Important Things Get Done…

If you want to get anything done, you have to get out of your head. Gosh, this is such a tough lesson for me to learn as I’m a person who is almost always in my head. But, it’s true. When you start doing things, you enter into a new realm which isn’t the mental realm. It’s well beyond the thinking and mulling things over and philosophizing. You see, that mental place can be amazing and great fun to dwell in at times, but nothing in this tangible world gets done when we stay there.

A musician’s got the song created in his or her mind’s ear, but it’s not until the notes are plucked, struck, sung or beats pounded that it becomes something that the rest of us can appreciate. Yes, the mind is amazing and coupled with a dash of divine inspiration aka imagination it’s a powerful force to contend with. But, without any of its marvels put into action, its fruits can’t be savoured by the rest of society. I imagine myself to have great ideas at times, who knows if they’re actually great, but for the sake of this argument, let’s all pretend that they are for a moment.  But, I struggle in the department of getting those ideas out there and out there in a relevant way. In my humblest of opinions these are relevant ideas that have the potential to change things for people, but if they are to stay just in my head, they fail to reach their full potential because no one else will hear of them or learn how to work with them.

Within the spiritual community a distaste for being a “human doing” has developed as we are emerging from an era of do-ers that lacked mindfulness and peace of mind. A movement of “human beings” in the truest sense is emerging. However, we must remember that being fully present does’nt mean that we do little or accomplish little. I remember once seeing a picture online of a homeless person camped by the road with a sign saying “human being, not a human doing.” I feel that this is missing boat or maybe it’s just a bit of satire that they’re pulling on us. We must remember that we don’t cease the doing, we just change our approach to the doing. We still have to wash the dishes, cook our meals (er, yes, let’s not opt to constantly skip this!) and so on. It means that we take on less stuff that feed our egos, we take care of our well-being and we do less, but we still do. Arguably, our accomplishments become more personally meaningful and take on greater value as we do them with complete mindfulness.

Now for the over-thinkers out there, the challenge is to get out of that time wasting mindspace. The reason we don’t want to spend too much time there is firstly because it eats up time like almost nothing else. Secondly, it’s because when we dwell too much in that realm, we may lose sight of the fact that there is more to all this— more to our beings than just what our minds can discern. Our minds are limited. If we dwell solely from that place and choose to see our entire existence from there we will miss ginormous aspects of ourselves. Finally, if we spend too much time there we risk over-identifying with the mind and as we said the mind is limited, so we risk over-identifying with fallacies and shortsighted opinions. Here’s a nice little quote from Ram Dass:

“Thoughts are terribly seductive, but you don’t have to identify with them. You identify not with the thoughts but with the awareness of the thoughts. To bring loving awareness to everything you turn your awareness to is to be love.”

He hit the nail on the head there. Our minds are fine, our thoughts are fine, but let’s not get stuck on that level. Let’s move to that place beyond our thoughts— the place where things get done with more ease, that place where our highest aspiration is to bring love to all and to all that we do. That’s how the real stuff that the world needs gets done. So if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, take a step out of the mind. Let go. Realize that our greatest gift to all is the love that we can bring to the world. If your life circumstances don’t allow for your highest good to shine out, reconsider some of what you’re taking on and definitely adopt a practice of stepping out of the mind (aka meditation!). When you step out of the mind, the way becomes clear and there is always a way to allow our heartstuff to shine out.

On a final note, there is a time for everything. When we step out of our minds and take the trek down to the heart, time takes on new meaning. Things get done in their own time, their perfect time. We don’t mull over things or worry, we just do from the heart.

And I leave with this song… your heart knows the flower of your soul… when it will bloom and how it will touch you.  Just spread your seeds of love.

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Ps. I realize that this blog seems to touch on a lot of repeated themes, but it’s important to remember that the beautiful life is really simple… we complicate things with our minds. It’s just a few tweaks in how we perceive and experience our existence that makes the difference between the mundane or difficult life, and the amazing gift we are given here to experience. It takes regular work, but there isn’t some fancy or complex mind concept that unlocks the door. It’s simply coming back to our Source and perceiving from a place of true awareness.

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New Moon & Summer Solstice Seed Planting

Yes, so I finally did it! For the last few cycles of the moon, I’ve been eying the date of the new moon to do a little ritual seed planting (not physical planting of seeds, but metaphorically planting seeds in my life), but something would always come up and in short, I wouldn’t end up doing it. But, I finally did get around to it last night. Now, isn’t it ironic that I get around to it when I’m actually at my busiest! I always find it funny how things work out that way. But, everything happens in its own Divine timing, so I trust that yesterday was the day! I also love how last night was the new moon and today the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere. I kind of felt like I hit two birds with one stone (geez, what an awful expression!).

Anyways, let me back up for a moment here. For those wondering what I’m talking about, the new moon is a great time to plant seeds. From what I understand, it’s actually a traditional, organic farming method that operates on the premise that certain types of seeds planted during the new moon will have a higher chance of germinating and will germinate quicker. Now, I’ve got the opposite of a green thumb here, but apparently it has to do with the gravitational pull of the moon and how that affects the absorption rate of water by the seeds.

I’m definitely drawn to many different flavours of spirituality from the earthy, to the pragmatic types, to the high vibrational ethereal types. I’d say that using nature as a metaphor for our own lives and matching our rhythms with its cycles is definitely an earthy type of spirituality. And, so that is what is going on here. In doing a metaphorical seed planting at the new moon, we are tuning in to the rhythms of nature. The new moon period essentially represents a time of fertile ground and open possibilities. In doing a ritual at that time as we set our intentions, we are essentially harnessing that energy. And, if you’re more the pragmatic type and don’t sense that open energy of the new moon period, consider that ritual is a way of harnessing your intentions by shifting your subconscious in the direction of your intent. So, either way, it’s a nice excuse to do a little ritual to make life sacred and special. (And, for those more into the ethereal types of spirituality- we’re transmuting energy!)

So, last night I felt like I went all out. I committed intentions to paper, wrote declarations of intent, got a special box to put those in with a cloth to wrap around the box, and clear quartz crystal points to set around the box in a triangle grid formation. It was wonderful. I smudged everything with sage and made the whole process special. You see that’s the thing with ritual. It’s all about intent. It helps to harness intent as it’s something that draws you outside of your ordinary day-to-day thoughts and feelings. Ritual brings the sacred right into your living room and I will argue that it is a great tool to help manifest what you’d like into your life.

New Moon Intentions AltarWhat we attract into our lives is directly tied to our energy field. If you’re feeling bright and happy, then bright and happy events/people/things have a good chance of coming into your life. If you’re feeling down and miserable and well, you might stub your toe. It’s not always like that- sometimes we’re having a rough time and we are given a touch of grace and sometimes we are amazingly happy and we encounter tough times. Of course, the higher our vibes, the easier those tough times will be to digest!

That said, our vibrations really do affect what we attract into our lives and ritual helps us shift our vibes. How? One of the key ways to shift your energy is via shifts in your subconscious mind. Rituals, apart from the fact that they really do bring us in touch with the sacred, help to reset the subconscious in the direction of the underlying intent of the ritual.

Well, dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your summer solstice today and your new moon yesterday! I’m thinking after this experience that I should consider making this a monthly ritual as it has helped me feel so wonderfully connected! You should try it out if you haven’t already!

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The Cunning Ego

Oooh yes, today’s post is all about that frenemy of ours, the ego. And, if you’re wondering why I called it a frenemy instead of an enemy, it’s because we keep it so close, we appease it and tend to it, yet we so often want to kill the darn thing. It truly is akin to that frenemy relationship. Anyways, let’s dive into it, shall we?

So, the ego, as you know is a cunning character that takes so many different forms. At the overt and more obvious levels, the ego manifests as cockiness, jealousy, and feelings of separateness. And, some of us fall into the trap of thinking this is it that is what the ego is. Simple just work to get over these states and you’ve conquered the ego. However, once one becomes aware of these manifestations of the ego in their life and begins the path of healing and reconciling with their true nature (aka getting over the cockiness, jealousy and feelings of separateness), one may seem to have conquered the ego, but this may not be so. This is where many people often fall into a trap. We may not be contending with the overt ego anymore, but once these incarnations of the ego are overcome, it devises new ways to enter into our lives. I see myself at times in the thick of this trap. And, in fact, I’m sometimes so stuck in it, that I’m not even aware of it. I’d venture to say that despite our work, many of us are there together in the muddy egoic swamps at times. Sometimes, it’s something as seemingly innocent as feeling special about our “gifts” or feeling like our souls must be quite advanced or other such concepts that when you really sit with them, are kind of silly!

I digress for a moment here. Our essence recognizes that we are all truly gifted and it is our purpose to be of service and to be of service means not just to do something for someone. Our task is to cultivate our essence and in so doing, that process will reveal our gifts and then we are to share the gifts. Because it is in sharing our gifts which allows us to shine our light that we create the energy and space for others to discover their gifts and shine their light. And, that is how we are of highest service.

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

But, let’s go back to the many faces of the ego for a minute. I was on the phone today with my dad and I was talking about how the ego just seems to put on a new mask every time you feel like you’ve overcome an aspect of it. That led me to say that we always have to be “on guard against the ego”. And now as I write this a few hours later, I realize that is NOT it at all. It’s actually the opposite. If anything, being compelled to be on guard against the ego is another mask that the ego is donning. The ego, not our true essence, is what is compelling me to have that sense of needing to be on guard to catch it. That’s because it’s the ego that keeps us trapped, keeps us small and keeps us in that place where we actually need to be on guard. Being on guard means you’re closed, you’re holding yourself back, and it is akin to being in the fight, flight or freeze mode. Being on guard means that you are not free. You can’t let go in other words. This is not spirit talk, this is ego talk. Our true essence compels us to let go, to be free and to allow.

Now, the ego has been on so many people’s death row for a little while now and probably with good reason. I mean it takes a drop of realization and connection with your true self to feel its lightness, freedom and love as opposed to the heaviness of the ego. So, no wonder people want to be done with the ego and embrace their spirit! However, we overcome the ego, not by sinking down and resorting to its own tactics. The ego thrives on war. And, it’s in war that you need to be vigilant and on guard against the “enemy”. On the other hand, the strength of our essence, stills our divisions and all the fractionated parts of “us” and allows us to see the holistic, big picture. It’s like in the Bhagavad Gita when Krishna drives his chariot between the two armies and stills the battle as he gives his teachings to Arjuna. Killing the ego is a drive compelled by the ego itself. There is no killing the ego, to aim to do so only strengthens it. Spirit overcomes all by shining its light and love. It is in that way that it tames the ego. Therefore, we overcome the ego by cultivating our essence our true spirit. It is from that place that we become aware and we see beyond the illusions of ego (in any of its manifestations). The heart extends love and beauty in all directions.

Check out this video and listen for the main underlying message. The key is not to demolish the ego, but to let the heart be in the driver’s seat.

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Photo credit: Masks by exfordy

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A Bite of Insight

“Ride the energy of your own unique spirit.” –Gabrielle Roth

I’m trudging into controversial territory this week. Yes, that’s right, I’m going to talk about the often simultaneously loved and dreaded topic of food. I won’t lie, I seem to be approaching the topic with mixed feelings. A part of me is jumping with glee saying, “FINALLY!”… and a much less enthusiastic part of me is squirming in a corner.

You see, food and I aren’t the best of friends. Although I couldn’t give you any stats, I’d say that I’m one of many who has struggled with food in one way or another. My story may be slightly different than others, but then again, aren’t we all individuals with our unique upbringings and struggles in the end? I would venture to say that as a society our relationship with food needs to change. We’ve ventured far beyond food as fuel and also beyond food as a savoured culinary delight. Some people have it balanced, but a lot of people are struggling with weight issues, eating disorders, digestive problems, and other health issues that may have a food related etiology or may in some way be related to or affected by diet. I’m not stating anything new here.


But, for all that has been said, there is yet territory that needs to really be covered and brought to the public consciousness lest we continue to suffer under our self-imposed tyranny. Okay, so I could elaborate on food in many different directions, but in this post I’m going to focus on how we need a shift in the way we see and treat food and that change has to come from somewhere far deeper than a diet book. And no, I’m not here to tell you to eat your fibre and avoid fats, or whatever other nutrition truisms you’ve heard in the past. Though as an important aside to that point, I’d like to say that the world of nutrition is so complex and intricate that if anyone gives you seemingly simple advice, even if corroborated by others, don’t accept it at face value. Nutrition is as grey as it gets, new findings come out all the time and more importantly than this last point is that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Now, I’m referring to this in the broadest sense possible, meaning from a health standpoint what works for one’s body, may not work for another, and also in terms of psychophysiological processes, the strategies work for one person to rectify their relationship with food, may not work for another.

I’ve run into a number of people who have been given seemingly sage nutritional guidance be it from health professionals or books that have ultimately failed to help the person. Another prevalent phenomenon is what I’m going to call word of mouth health dissemination. What I mean by that is when someone, be it your friend or someone you just met tells you, “oh, you’ve gotta try[this food product or that diet], it’s cured my mother of [whatever disease] and I’ve been on it and I feel fantastic.” There isn’t a real issue with this in itself. In fact, it can serve to benefit society in that it helps to inspire people to take their health into their own hands and be responsible for their well-being. I’m personally a big advocate for that, because there is no one out there who has quite as vested an interest in your well-being and health as you and no one out there is in your body, so you’re your best advocate. However, and this goes for EVERYTHING in life, a line can easily be crossed into dogmatism here when a health professional says you should do this or shouldn’t do that or even when some random person hands you over a suggestion or advice. If you accept it at face value you are entering into the dogma zone.

One of the major issues in our society is that we are disconnected from nature and by way of that we are very disconnected from the bodies that we live in. Contrary to popular belief, our bodies although influenced by and physiologically connected to our brains, are much closer in their true nature to nature itself, the land, the animals, the atmosphere, than our heads and by that I’m referring to our conscious minds. Our heads spend so much time in some elitist human mode, serving to categorize and compartmentalize everything in the world and thus serving to establish that we are separate from nature, when in fact we are not. We are as much part of nature as an elephant or a chimpanzee in our physical processes. We need to eat, sleep, we have sex, females give birth and then we die and fertilize the land. Our bodies are nature. Yes, our heads can influence our bodies, but beyond autonomic processes which happen automatically, we are only scratching the surface in how to consciously use our minds to influence our bodies. At present most of us are operating at the mercy of a cross between the whims of nature and our own untrained minds mindlessly influencing our bodies (often in less than ideal ways- google the effects of stress on the body to get a sense of what I’m referring to).

Now, what I’m advocating for is a true coming into the body and a true integration of mind, body and spirit beyond dogmatism and the need to be told what to do.This is a huge step for a society in the position that we are in and some may question, “what’s the point?” when it comes specifically to food when we have health professionals that can guide us to better nutrition. First, I’d like to say that this is beyond food, though our food issues are an embodied symptom of an imbalance in the way our society functions and approaches life and living. Second, I say this from my personal experience and from having spoken to others, not from a scientific vantage point, but what works for one person even if said to work for many according to a study, may not work for each individual.

To dive a wee bit into my own life experience here, I remember being told to eat yogurt to help my digestive tract have enough probiotics. That advice given to me from an intern at the doctor’s office, despite the fact that I could simply no longer tolerate plain yogurt in the least. I was further told by other professionals that I needed to take a full spectrum probiotic supplement, which I took for months on end with no success and only worsening problems, only to realize upon stopping it that the probiotic supplements themselves were aggravating my system terribly. And only later, I was able to discover that it was certain strains that were greatly aggravating this, but other strains were actually helping me.

Now, yes, definitely do your own research– that’s good. But, remember that dogma trap. Six years ago, raw veganism was where is was at for me. All the research I was doing on the internet was pointing in this direction. Are you fatigued and tired? Try raw veganism. Do you have digestive problems? Raw veganism is the natural way to eat so your problems will go away. Heart problems? Are you overweight? Can’t think clearly? Raw, raw, raw veganism! Now I’m not saying this to sarcastically bash raw veganism in any way. What I am trying to say is that an approach which was touted by so many to be uber helpful did not work for me personally. And so this is one of the pitfalls of putting your faith into approaches and systems that are outside of yourself. They may seem convincing, they may be helpful for some people, but they may not be what is right for you. And, many people come to that point where they feel they’ve tried so hard to no avail. It’s a pretty deflating feeling because you realize that something that works for seemingly everyone else is not working for you and then feelings of hopelessness may start to set in.

However, I believe that there is a solution to this and it actually lies in the underlying philosophy that permeates much of what I write about. I alluded to earlier that we are disconnected from our bodies. We are, for the most part, so caught up in modern day life, that we have lost touch with the pulse of life and the rhythms that reverberate through us. The key for many of the problems we face be it food issues or anything else lies in re-establishing a healthy connection to ourselves and to nature.

One thing that I found really helpful was meditation. I know this sounds horribly generic, but meditation and I’d venture to say any type, opens your mind up to insights and it opens up your intuition. It’s strange, but many of the most wild, yet best insights came to me either while in meditation or in times when I had a regular meditative practice going on. Sometimes the “answers” were very direct instructions, and then other times I’d be shown a finger pointing in a particular direction to follow a stream of research that led to some answers. And finally, my intuition heightened. What would work and what wouldn’t work (in my case it was a matter of determining which foods I’d be able to tolerate and which I wouldn’t) eventually became less of a trial and error process and more of an intuitive process.

“A true master follows her own footprints, encoded within her before arriving in this incarnation. Someone else may remind her, someone else may in-power her, but no one else can possibly know the unique contours of her own true-path. Since you are the only one living in your temple, only you can know its scriptures and interpretive structure. The next step is right there inside you, divinely imprinted on the souls of your feet.” –Jeff Brown

So at the end of the day, I am advocating for a change in how we approach life. We can approach life using systems outside of us to determine what is right for us and what isn’t. Or, we can approach it by tuning into our inner compass. Truly, I think as long as we put all our faith in systems and guides that are outside of us, we will not be on the right path for ourselves. Only when we learn to come back into our bodies and we learn to listen to the pure voice within that speaks our truth (no, not the multitude of voices that our mind has appropriated from all that is outside of us- those voices can be quite pervasive by the way) will we be able to rectify our relationship with food and with all other areas of imbalance in our lives. This takes work and it’s not about being at that point, but of journey of getting there. I can say that 4 years ago day-to-day living was a great challenge for me, but in implementing what I’ve mentioned above, I have been able to transform my life. It may not be “perfect” (what is “perfection” anyways?), but I can say it is a very liveable and pleasant life and I am overjoyed and filled with gratitude with the strides that I have made. And so, I hope that these words help someone out there and I wish you the best of success along your path.

[Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebulux/6302344057/in/photostream/]

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Deep Enchantment

“Every day we’re confronted with a gap, often painfully wide, between the life we live now and a life of deep enchantment.”—Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

Yup— that’s me…right now. I’ve been trying hard to get a nice blog post together and it just hasn’t been happening. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the result of a shortage of ideas. It’s that I’ve got a jumbled mix-up of tangents and seemingly disconnected thought fragments that are proving to be rather incoherent and aren’t really working at becoming an actual post. My mind’s all over the place and I’m not sure which way to go.

“Being ‘in the gap’ can be disorienting and even scary. Nothing to hold on to, no sense of direction, not even a hint of what choices and possibilities might lie ahead.” —Osho

It is disorienting, no doubt. And, I’m willing to bet that we’ve all had this experience at some point or another where we simply feel disconnected. But, here’s the thing, the gap represents not our fall from that “life of deep enchantment,” but rather it represents the human experience. We experience our here and now— our mundane life filled with egoic concerns, but we also experience our enchanted side. That’s the beauty of being human, is that our consciousness swims between these two. We have to keep in mind, however, that we come into this human form for a reason. You see, we are meant at times, to find ourselves swimming in this sea of deep confusion and disconnectedness, because it’s in being there that we paradoxically find ourselves in the sea of pure potentiality.

In the chaos we are living among the multitudes of possibilities, the fragments here and there. It’s in that place that lies the unmanifest, waiting for our creative natures to mold and form something out of these bits and pieces. Whereas, in the enchanted realm, life feels so utterly connected that in its great beauty, it almost seems like each step and each moment is destined.

The key is to unite these two and understand that they are truly one. The chaos is the seed of creation and it represents our ultimate freedom and the enchanted is the fruit of creation being tasted and savoured and it represents serenity. Through the chaos we can manifest and be the sculptors of our reality. In the enchanted by virtue of our ability to be aware we are able to see the beauty that flows through us; we can see the beauty of existence. So, the idea here in swimming between chaos and enchanted existence is to realize that the source of the greatness of that which has been and ever will be manifested lies within our essence and in order to experience the enchanted life, we must recognize the beauty inherent in all existence. We accomplish reconciliation between chaos and enchantedness via intention. We have to set the intention to unite the two. This means bringing the magic from above into the mundane so that as we mold existence, we see and experience the beauty of the sculptor and the sculpted.

In every hour of every day, dealing with small details or dealing with huge issues, the alchemical power of our spiritual wands provides a portal into another realm, a magic carpet ride above the turmoil of the world. This is not illusion, this is reality. From the time we awake to the time we go to sleep, heaven’s light—the understanding of higher principles—is available to us, should we have the courage to bring it down.  –Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

The Flying Carpet by Viktor VasnetsovThe magic carpet is inside of you. It becomes real in the here and now when you set your intention to connect with the Divine. The power of the Divine flows through all. Learning how to recognize and harness that power through intention infuses your life with light and allows you to live an enchanted life in which you see the beauty and potential in the chaos. You may recall from an earlier post that I defined light as enlightened knowledge that reveals truth and particularly the truth about ourselves. What this means is that through setting your intentions to connect, light is bestowed upon you. Sometimes this may result in spurts of inspiration. Other times this may result in an understanding that reveals why you were sensing the disconnection and disarray in the first place. The power of intention has been bastardized into “the way to get the material stuff that you want,” when in reality it’s about your ability to connect to the Divine and transform mundane existence into something magical.

Life glistens if you really focus and choose to see it. It is first and foremost a matter of setting the intention to create and see beauty everywhere. So to return to my story at the beginning, the lesson in this (that clearly I’m still learning myself) is that when we find ourselves in a place of disconnection and confusion, we have to shift our focus from overwhelm to fascination and excitement at the array of possibilities and paths that lie in front of us. Divine guidance is always there for us. We just have to choose to get on the magic carpet and enjoy the ride.

Intention is a powerful key. If you’re looking for information on how to really apply and amplify your abilities to execute your intentions, stay tuned. I will go into some specific techniques in future blog posts. But, rest assured that even without those, you have everything inside of you to get this intention-ball rolling! So don’t hold back, start living an intentional and magical life right now!

[Painting featured: The Flying Carpet by Viktor Vasnetsov (1880), public domain]

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A Present Worth Remembering

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

Two scrapped blog posts later and as I near my self-imposed deadline the topic that I’m “supposed” to write about finally decides to implant itself into my mind. It’s funny… these things come at seemingly the most random moments. I was in the midst of my exercise routine and then there it was. And, you know when you’ve got it, ‘cause something inside of you just turns on and you feel those initial vibrations of inspiration pulse through you.

So here we go! I want you to think about your dreams. Not your nightly dreams, though they may factor in here as well, but rather your aspirational type of dreams. They’re what you set out as the highest ideals in your life, what you’d like to achieve, the life you’d like to live, the way you’d like to feel and so on.

Now, growing up we were often encouraged to, “follow your dreams”. Well meaning people passed this message along to us. Somehow, once the majority of people reached adulthood, this “follow your dreams” message got relegated to childhood fantasy and hence stopped being placed as prominently in our field of view. The tune slowly, but surely changes as you reach your teenage years and by your twenties and beyond, the R-word becomes so fully entrenched in your mind that it takes over at the steering wheel… at least for most. The R-word is “reality”. The fact is that a few people go after their dreams, but the majority begin to see an irreconcilable dichotomy between the concept of “dreams” and the concept of “reality” and abandon their dreams and let the R-word dominate their existence.

A point should be made here though that dreams are not merely childish fantasies and in fact, many dreams can be born out of experiences from adulthood and are very grounded. Dreams aren’t associated with childhood because they’re inherently childish, since that is not the case. They’re associated with childhood because children are able to achieve something that most adults need to meditate to be able to do, which is that they are able to achieve a state of mind free of the concerns, worries, seriousness and heaviness that adults often experience. Thus, children are able to open their minds and hearts and follow the paths to where they meet, intertwine and lead to dreams.

But, there’s more to dreams than just fantasy. Dreams are meant to be lived. Not in some far distant future, but here and now. Maybe that’s the true meaning of coming into adulthood and stepping into our maturity. It’s not about the heaviness of responsibilities and so-called reality. It’s about living the dream. Jeff Brown puts it best:

“Don’t just follow your dreams. You may lose them at a red light, or while wandering the trailways of transformation. Better yet, ingest and embody them, make them indistinguishable from you. Weave your most wondrous imaginings into the breath of your being.”

Live Your Dream

There you have it. We can’t just follow our dreams, because as evidenced by the majority of adults… they get lost because they are not an embodied part of ourselves. We don’t feel it like we’d feel the loss of some intrinsic part of ourselves when we lose focus of our dreams. And that’s a sad thing. It’s clear though that the R-word is a major factor here. But, very few people in my generation in the western world, save for those with physical ailments, are in a struggle to survive. In fact, we could become deadbeats and live off of welfare– sure not an ideal existence, but survive we would, no doubt. (I’m not trying to suggest that those on welfare are “deadbeats” as everyone is in a unique situation and we don’t know the underlying factors that lead to such scenarios; the reference is to say that we could theoretically do very little with our lives and still manage to survive).

You don’t live your dream due to some stroke of good luck or talent, nor by magically falling into a lot of money. You live your dream through living an authentic life which requires you to continually peel away at the layers of the onion to get closer to the core of your being. We have to be aware, aware of what is compelling us in a certain direction and what we truly want from life in each moment that we live. Living doesn’t happen in some distant future. It happens now. Following your dream means that it’s something you are trying to get to. Living your dream on the other hand, acknowledges that you are present in the dream. You are living fully and relishing the moment. And, authenticity indicates a departure from what’s imposed upon us and from the generic… What is meaningful to you? Forget the billboards and the commercials and the latest trends or the opinion of your friends and family. What makes you come alive? What do love? What pushes the boundaries of your own existence? Find your magic and make the world beautiful by living your dream fully.

In this remixed video, Jason Silva says, “return to things that are meaningful and bathe inside of them.” Yes, bathe inside of your dreams, don’t just think and fantasize. Immerse yourself fully, make them you, eat them up, digest them and live them. He calls for us to return to that place of authenticity and inspiration. That’s where we need to be living. That’s what makes life amazing. I know autotune irks some people, if the couple bits of it bug you in this video focus on the message, it’s worth it.

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As I was putting this post together, Elephant Journal re-posted a blog post from a couple years ago and in it they had this very pertinent and beautiful video that I just had to include as an addendum to my post. Though, I’m giving credit where it’s due, since I did pluck it from this post. I hope this video makes you embrace the inspired way of life. (Hover over the video and click on “vimeo” to watch it in a larger screen- it’s worth doing so). Though we might have this or that limitation be it illness, financial issues, or whatever it is, we can’t let those stop us from living an inspired and authentic life that’s worth living.

“If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. If there’s no future in it, at least it’s a present worth remembering. For fires of happiness and waves of gratitude. For everything that brought us to that point on earth at that moment in time, to do something worth remembering with a photograph, or a scar -I feel genuinely lucky to hand on heart say I love doing what I do. And though I may never be a rich man, if I live long enough, I certainly have a tale or two for the nephews. And I dig the thought of that.”  –Mickey Smith, Dark Side of the Lens

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Love is the Answer

So, I was walking around my neighbourhood the other day and happened to come across Einstein with his sign: “Love is the Answer”. As I was pondering on what to write about, noticing that for the first time I felt like I was overloaded with ideas and had trouble choosing which one to go with, I kept seeing that sign in my mind’s eye. Hmm, a sign, perhaps?

Ah, love. What a beautiful thing, er, feeling or something like that… Okay, so that’s where I’m going to start. It probably goes without saying that love isn’t a thing. It can’t be contained and it’s intangible, sort of (more on this later). So, it’s a feeling, right? Well, this blog is about my insights and opinions; I’m not an expert on the matter, but my opinion and insight you shall receive. To say that love is merely a feeling diminishes it. Yes, we feel love, but it’s so much more than that. At its core, I would say that love is what connects us all together and it is the breath of life that drives us and colours our world. Minus love, we are somewhat like robots operating mechanically with no intrinsic drive to aspire to anything more than just to get through life.

Love is our gift to the world. The world benefits from our gift and we benefit from the gifts of the world for our own sustenance. When a baby is born, she has nothing to offer the world, nothing but love and the child requires the love of family and others to grow and develop. As a side note, evidence of this is reflected in the The Budapest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) that studied infants in Romanian orphanages. The study found that the growth of babies and children who were starved of love was stunted. We do not come into the world with a tangible, material gift to offer. You see, love is something that is born out of connection. As humans, we have the ability to connect and we can live our entire lives in that state of being fully and lovingly connected.  One of my favourite Buddhist teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh says:

“It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.”

Love is a state of being; it’s a state of reciprocal, mutually uplifting beingness.  Ram Dass says:

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”

Now, if love is a reciprocated force alive only through connectivity, then how do we “be” love? We become love when we realize that we are channels through which love flows. This is an amazing concept. You see, as a species we are rising beyond material consciousness. Those who are lagging a bit might be wishing our essence was something that could be grasped, pinned down and claimed. But, the beauty of our essence in being channels is that we are able to share the love and the light and expand it. (To demystify the concept of light, light is knowledge in the greatest sense, which quite literally enlightens us to the true nature of who we are; whereas, the dark, clouds us from seeing our true natures and traps us in fear, jealousy and other low vibrational states of being; light always lightens). And by virtue of our ability to channel love, that love can potentially manifest itself through us into something tangible. Now, I should say that there may be more to our essence than just being channels, but for now, as I am on the topic of love, I am just focusing on this aspect of our beings.

So there you have it: You are a conduit for love. You become love by being it. You be love by allowing your every breath, your every sentiment, and your every action to be infused with that sense of intimacy and connectivity and by seeing love all around you. Love is our fuel. See the world through love and give it love through your thoughts, actions and meditations. That is your gift and your gift may manifest itself in the most wondrous and mysterious ways.

I leave you with a video, Occupy Wall St- The Revolution is Love. I know many of you have probably come across it when it came out at the end of 2011, but even if you’ve seen it, I suggest re-watching it. Charles Eisenstein speaks to the fact that we are here to give and that other modes of living ultimately are not working and will not sustain us. As he says, “the lover knows that more for you is more for me, too.” Love is the answer. Now go; be love.

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The Unforeseen Impact

Well, I struggled to come up with something to write about this week. Not just a struggle with the topic, but more so with the motivation and drive to actually write. You see, my grandmother passed a few days ago, and this is the second major loss in my family within a few short months and the third major loss for me within less than a year. I almost thought I’d skip this week, despite my promise to do weekly posts, but something inside of me urged me to give it a go.

Last week, I was sure that this post was going to revolve around a particular quote I had come across by the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu. It’s strange, even though I had an idea of where I wanted to go with that blog post, that post was not the one to be written this week. Instead, moments before opening my word processor to see what I could come up with, I came across another quote by Chuang Tzu that I’m quite certain fell from the ethers into a recognizable form as it spoke directly to me at the perfect moment:

Chuang TzuYou see, when you’re completely present and in the flow of life, life presents you with all that you need and there is no hesitation in each step you take. You’re centred and your mind is out of the picture insofar as worry, deliberation and trying go. You just are and in that presence of mind, the ultimate fills you with all that you need; all the inspiration and insight required to go forward. And so, when I saw this quote, I relinquished both my need to write about something and my incessant trying to work out in my head what it is I was going to write. I just let go and you know what came to me? What came was what actually needed to be written this week; the synchronicity of the universe, the beauty of it all and the importance of following that thread of inspiration born out of staying present and in the flow and truly experiencing the ultimate.

And so here it is…

A couple days before the passing of my grandmother, I published a post in my blog and in that post I included a video of a beautiful spoken word poem about death by a young man named Michael Lee. If you haven’t yet seen the video, I urge you to check it out, it will move you. Little did I know that days later this video would not only be personally relevant to me, but it would profoundly touch my father who had just learned of the passing of his mother, my grandmother. I don’t believe in coincidences and I feel that this moving video was included in that post written days before I or anyone else knew she would pass, in order to comfort those in my life.

This got me thinking, this synchronicity just happened to be something I became aware of and thus was able to recognize. What about all the things we do in life that result in a synchronicity for someone out there that we never learn of? And, that’s when I got it. You see when I wrote my last blog post and included that video, I had plans to write on other topics, but the juices just weren’t flowing and I couldn’t put any of those attempts together into a post and so I abandoned the other topics. I asked for guidance on what to write about and then it came. The video stood prominently in my mind and the topic which I spoke about quickly turned itself into a complete blog post.  And so, I posted it and lo and behold the synchronicity that unfolded shortly after.

To add to this, after publishing a couple of my previous posts I had received feedback that this or that post was just what someone needed to read when they happened to come across it or were sent a link to my blog. Apart from being a heartwarming response, this has contributed to my awareness of the synchronistic nature of our existence. When we are in tune with that subtle vibration and are in that flow, we become present to what is and the ultimate thus unravels itself through us. So in my case, I write. It’s one of the few things I’m up to these days, but this example can go for anything we do in life. When we are in tune, we see a person that needs our help and we’re there, we don’t need to question what our body needs to be nourished, we just know and when inspiration strikes to create something or do something, we must follow that, because that energy may have presented itself to us for a reason.

So all that said, with this blog post, I hoped to impart to you something that I’m learning myself and a way of living that I’m stepping into. For many of the important things we do in life, we can’t measure our impact. We don’t necessarily know what the future consequences of our actions will be for people. So with this in mind, I urge you to stay present, let yourself be guided from that place of inspiration and go forth with your work in the world. Come from that place of presence and don’t question its worth or whether it is making a difference. Do it knowing that the tales of the fruits of your work may never reach your ears, but the work may blossom and have a profound impact on someone out there

[Picture credits: Chuang Tzu and a frog, author unknown, copyright expired. Quote by Chuang Tzu.]

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The Everlasting Pulse of Life

“Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

The fox from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I’ve referred to energy a bit here and there, referencing the subconscious mind and our energetic field as if in doing so I’m presenting you with some proof or tangible validation of its existence. The fact of the matter is that I’m not a scientist, though there is some validity in that realm to a certain extent of what I and others are conscious of and work with in terms of the existence of subtle energy. But, it’s not from science that I understand our energetic realities. And, I strongly suspect that it isn’t the means by which most people come to understand subtle energy, especially considering that it tends to reduce it to something less than it is. It’s like it reduces it to a monochromatic spectrum when it can only be fully understood and appreciated when the entire rainbow of its reality is considered. I’m not saying it’s a hopeless cause; we just aren’t there yet to fully understand and appreciate the subtle energetic realm from that vantage point yet.

Energy is something that we can feel and sense and that is our way in. Although it affects all of us, not everyone is conscious of it. Though, if we are aware and can perceive its workings, we do get a sense of it. We can see it, feel it and hear its whispers. It affects us on all levels. It doesn’t just affect us on the physical; it affects our minds, our imaginations, our emotions, and our spirits.

Energy is not just something that floats around us and that merely affects our beings. It’s that, plus more. Energy is what we are. We are not our bodies. We are energy and our energy inhabits a body. Our bodies are vessels that localize and contain our energy to some degree. Even saying that is a bit misleading. Our energy is not stuck within this body while we are alive. We leave imprints where we go and we can also project our energy in certain ways that are far outside the reach of the body. But, our energy does fill up and animate this body. One of the greatest gems of wisdom to ever have been committed to paper and also one of my favourite books is the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Lao Tzu means ‘old man’ and he’s a character shrouded in mystery…who knows who this ancient, wise man really was).  I invite you to check out these lines from the 11th verse:

You see, our essence is the intangible and invisible stuff contained within our vessel, but we are not the vessel itself.  Who we are is the beauty that comes to life and the consciousness that makes the vessel something of great wonder. That stuff within the vessel doesn’t die when the shell dissolves and returns to the earth. When the shell breaks down, the energy within is released and freed. If that isn’t what happens, then tell me, what happens to our consciousness, our energy when we die?  We all know, much like Michael Lee in his spoken word poem Pass On points out that Newton established that “energy is neither created nor destroyed”… If that is so, then when our bodies break down and the energy of the vessel breaks down to fertilize the soil, what happens to the invisible stuff that made you be? You’ll want to watch him recite this beautiful poem as he so poignantly touches to the core of who we are:

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We don’t disappear. Our essence is freed from the body, but permeates into eternity.  “When we die, we go everywhere.” And, when we speak about death, we aren’t just talking about loss… we are really talking about life. Die a little metaphorical death and let your soul be free, recognize the beauty of the invisible and hear the whispers in the wind, because in the invisible lies the essential… the beautiful… life.

“We are not created or destroyed. We are constantly transferred, shifted and renewed.” –Michael Lee

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