In the “Present” to Connect and to “Witness”

Often lacking in our culture is the deeper connections which allow for growth of consciousness and spirit. (“Often” is a judgement which, in this case, means “Most of the time.”) We are all here, in the present incarnation, to learn and to grow. Most importantly, we are here to support our fellow spiritual pilgrims on their (“our”) path toward “Enlightenment.”

One factor that gets in the way of connecting is our weakness in a key area of communication. We are resistant to using our ears and our intuition to fully “Hear” the person/soul who has “bumped” into us. Our culture teaches us to interrupt the “story” being shared with our own thoughts or past experience so we can “control” the conversation. We are rarely using questioning to assist our conversation partner to be more clear with “their” storytelling. We are lacking in the skills as a “witness” to the story, and possible wisdom, which is being shared. If we were fully “Present” in the interaction, we might invest fully in soaking up the story/lesson with all of our senses including our intuition. We are ALL “Masters” with much to share. Mastery includes being fully present and being aware as a “Student” to the experience. Appreciation and respect is often neglected due the lack of “Time” or energy or interest… What if God, yes the God we have heard about, was standing in front of us, perhaps as a “burning bush,” and sharing some wisdom with us? Would we/you/I listen fully and with respect? Or, would we discount this message because we are lacking focus? Would we interrupt God to share our story?

An individual soul who has awakened and begun to “remember” their connection to the Divine might be “Serious” about consciousness and spiritual development. Curiosity and openness would be a common thread in all interactions, with people or with nature. If you ever get “serious” about your practice of spiritual consciousness, you may wish to participate by “listening,” “watching,” “being fully aware,” and “Taking it all in.” Do this not just to support the next pilgrim with a story which needs to be “heard” but for yourself! This is YOUR learning and by raising your consciousness, you raise ALL consciousness (because we are ALL connected and “One!”)

You may find yourself in conversation with questions like:
What is a human being?
Who is this person in front of me and what am I to learn from them?
What are we to learn together?
They are equal to me and they have their “lessons” and challenges but their “pains” are the same as mine (perhaps experienced slightly differently.)

Listening and “Witnessing” are challenging skills which are worth developing. In our lives, we experience many “relationship challenges” which are often associated with OUR lack of listening skills. We might find ourselves interrupting or getting defensive when perhaps we could be asking questions and exploring the pain or blocks to intimacy.

We are not “perfect” and we come into this life to take the next steps toward higher consciousness and more fully remembering our Divine source. Do not give up! The challenge is our lesson! Even if you were “Perfect,” You want the experience of being human with the intense emotions and the difficulties with our limited abilities to communicate. This is part of the cosmic fun! Celebrate and take responsibility for the challenge before you. We are ALL in this together and, at some higher level, we are participating for the “greater good.”

You are a blessing! You are a Master! Your purpose is to learn, to grow, and to assist every soul you bump into to!

Be Present! Share your story! And, be a Master of Witnessing the story of the person in front of you!

If you would like more conscious connections with people who are actively “remembering their Divinity” and moving forward to higher consciousness consider participating in the non-religious community, Masters of the Journey.

You are never alone! You are loved, unconditionally! Enjoy the pilgrimage or, at the very least, appreciate the value.

Relationships and Spirituality

An amazing insight and new perspective has hit me like a ton of bricks. My self-definition and personal description, until last week, has been one which included speaking of myself as a “Relationship Person.” This means that I did not see myself as “Whole” unless I was in a “meaningful” relationship with some romance gluing it together.

In reading from the ACIM (A Course in Miracles) Chapter 16 section 5 “The Choice for Completion,” I stumbled upon a foundation shaking perspective – FOR ME. Due to my earliest childhood I believe that I have learned some interesting things regarding relationships, sources of love, and my need/belief that I am a “relationship” person. My possible “Attachment Disorder” has caused me to learn the lesson of believing that I am NOT WHOLE without being in a “couple relationship.” I am not a victim or expressing weakness. It has been my foundational understanding that I required another person in my life to balance me out. Our culture encourages this bonding and mating behavior. Our culture encourages individuals to be part of the team in: sports, work groups, religious organizations, political parties, national commitments, and “special relationships” defining families. BUT ACIM tells me that I am “Perfect and whole” as a soul with Divinity at my core. It says, and I believe, that I/we are made in God’s image and we are perfect holograms of the Divine Spirit. The readings from last week suggest that if I give myself up to be connected in a “Special relationship” then I am not honoring the perfection and wholeness of my divine soul. This does not mean that I do not love other incarnated souls. It just suggests that I should not look to or demand that a relationship make me “whole.”

I am struggling with recent teachings (from “A Course in Miracles” and “The Way of Mastery” see below) but feel that there is truth and wisdom in these words. I am not sure how to apply these concepts to my “current life” but will see where this leads me. My recent learnings and “Knowings” tell me that I am much greater than my “petty” human life and the Divine is at my core, as it is in the soul/core of every being I encounter. We are all reflections of the perfection of the Divine Spirit. No better and no worse. And, though we can learn from interacting with other “pilgrims,” we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and our purpose is to support and to assist “everyone” we encounter to learn their specific lessons so we can all evolve in awareness and consciousness together. We are all actors, playing our roles, in the Divine Play…

There are the many people I have loved and continue to love. I am blessed to have been guided and supported by friends, family, lovers, spirits, and even guides from other realms. My life has been Graced and Protected. When I came to the “Fork in the Road,” my choices were “Perfect” and led me to where I am today… Yes, especially in writing this obscure blog regarding my recent spiritual evolution and learning. As YOU read this, remember that YOU are Perfect and You are a Master. Your challenges have taught you the lessons that give You wisdom to share. You must find the ways to articulate your learning and to serve all the souls whom you encounter. YOUR Purpose is to take the hand of fellow pilgrims and support their learning and development so that we all can benefit.

You are a Blessing! You are so much more than the body and the incarnated life you lead. If you have not already, You will find Your way to remember Your Divinity and to Grace the Universe with your wisdom!

You ARE Perfect and if you would like to support fellow travelers consider the community of Masters of the Journey.

Reference:
My studies of the “A Course in Miracles” and “The Way of Mastery” which are amazing books which have been “Channelled” from Jesus. ACIM was delivered in 1965-1972 and published first in the 1976 and “The Way of Mastery” was delivered from 1994-1997 and has been published since 2004 (with some disagreements…) If you have not been exposed to these “dictations” you may want to spend some time with these wordy works. Personally, I require a support group, which I have, to help translate these concepts for my understanding. In the past 20 months, I have learned a great deal and turned some of my early resistance to these dictations into some very profound and important self-learning and spiritual insights. Sorry for this long introduction.

Meditation: The First Step to Higher Consciousness

Meditation practice regularly helps you to be more calm and present. When you release your thoughts in meditation, your body relaxes and energy is freed for you to use in other activities or to rest and heal yourself. Letting go of thoughts, fear, anxieties, and distractions allow an emotional environment where fewer mistakes are made and you save time. When you are calmed by meditation, you are less likely to be “Triggered” and you can be more available for positive decision making and better choices.

This is nothing new. Yes, it does take time and practice to learn to meditate but it saves you time and energy in the long run. I have found that people require less sleep and can focus better during their work day. Meditation also allows connection with the divine source of wisdom and unconditional love. You may not know this and even may want to argue about this, but if you quiet yourself and become more fully “present” you will find these benefits.

Or, you can continue to be caught in your emotional drama and allow fear & anger to run your life. This is perfect also. Being open and positive will help you to find more joy and contentment in the challenges of life.

Blessings to you on your path. Just remember to breathe slowly and feel the warm breath that you exhale assist you in letting go of unwanted tension and troubling emotions.

More information at:
Stress Education Center and
Masters of the Journey

Books on Meditations include:
Curt Remington’s Simple Meditation at http://curtremington.com
and
Paula Forget’s, “Guided to a Higher Realm at http://paulaforget.com/inspired/

Breathe and Be Present!

When all else fails and you find yourself emotionally spinning or anxious or angry, STOP, take a deep slow breath. Feel the cool air as you inhale and the warm air exhale as you slowly breathe out… Be present! Release the anger or resentment from the past. Let the future wait, without the fear and anxiety of the unknown. Sure this is easier said than done but with some practice, and willingness, you can learn to live more in the appreciation of the present moment.

It really is not that difficult to pay close attention to the cool air as you breathe in, then pause a moment, and then slowly release the breath while allowing the unnecessary thoughts and emotions to slowly, but freely, flow out and away. You have to breathe anyway. Why not do it consciously? And, while you slowly breathe, why not learn to take responsibility for YOUR role in creating the life drama that may be upsetting to you… Sure, there are annoying people and  incidents, but you have a choice to get sucked in to the drama or to not get sucked in. Yes, you can just watch the drama unfold and wonder what your lesson is and what you are supposed to be learning from the weird turn of events.

There are styles of meditation which are practiced for years and built around focusing on slowly breathing. It can take people years to master these styles but it does not have to take years to have important benefits for you in the present moment! In fact, if you walk out into a beautiful natural setting like by the ocean, or by a river/stream, or by the majesty of the mountains with the sky above reaching up to the heavens, you can use your slow breathing to find the beauty and appreciation of the present moment. This will change your attitude quickly, if you let it! You can let go of the fear and be present, basking in the love that accompanies the beauty of the present moment in nature. If you can not get out into nature then use a candle to focus on or maybe a beautiful photograph or painting as a natural mandala to soothe your mind and soul. Even a pleasant memory of a time basking in the beauty of nature will help to soothe you in the present moment if you find yourself slowly breathing deeply with the willingness to “let go.”

You can close your eyes and go inward to feel the cool air as you inhale, pause, and release the warm exhale, slowly. String together 8-12 slow breaths and your heart rate will begin to slow and your muscles will begin to relax. As you slow down, your mind will gently follow into a more peaceful and pleasant state. This is a great skill to share with the people you care the most about… And, also it is worth sharing with people who you do not care the most about. The calming with gently spread like a chain reaction and offer calmness to all of your environment.

The Stress Education Center has information at www.dstress.com . The Masters of the Journey has information and ways to find a spiritual tribe to support you at www.mastersofthejourney.com  Please take good care of yourself and find ways to be “Present.”

Zen Meditation for Westerners

Have you ever sat peacefully beside a campfire or a warming fireplace and gazed into the fire? You have even lost yourself for moments as you were transfixed by the dancing of the flames. It may have even seemed difficult to turn away from the glowing center of your focus.

Or, have you ever found yourself sitting on the beach watching as the waves roll in, break, and then wash up unto the beach? It is so meditative to walk along the beach and play tag with the waves that are thrown up unto the sand beneath your feet. Sitting by a river or stream can also bring the calmness of mind as you watch the moving water and hear the sound of the water as it washes downstream.

Watching the breezes blowing through tall grasses or leaves on a tree can also lead you into a peaceful, meditative state of mind. But why do these nature visions gently create the relaxed and mellow states of mind and body?

The very act of being out in nature, or finding enjoyment by appreciating natural beauty is one of the most important and most basic tools for finding inner peace and harmony. The very act of “being present” with the glorious natural beauty is another important tool. Find a way to let go of the “past” and release the uncertainty regarding the unknowns of the “future,” even for just a few minutes, can be a practice of restoration. There are many ways to do this such as: following your slowed breath with special appreciation of the cool air as you inhale and the warmth of your breath as you slowing exhale.

In the science of neuro-physiology, you may also learn that the sound vibration of running water (from a stream or from waves upon the beach) resonates with frequency of 10 Hz per second which neuro- psychologists understand is the same as the brain wave state known as the “Alpha” rhythm which, for most people, is the quiet mind, “meditative” state that can be found in EEG (brainwave) patterns of successful meditators. By being around moving water, your own EEG pattern may begin to align with 10 Hz per second and so help you to drift into a more relaxed state.

But what has this to do with the practice of Zen Meditation, which has been taught for thousands of years? Zen meditation, at its most basic level, is the practice quieting the mind by softly gazing through open eyes at the world. It helps to have a peaceful, quiet, meditative point to focus upon such as a candle, flowing water, a mandala, or even the beauty of a flower or tree. To become “present” and to slow your breathing as you focus are the first things to practice. In the beginning your mind may be cluttered with other thoughts and memories, but with dedicated practice you can learn to quiet these thoughts by not judging them and letting flow through you and out of your mind, while returning the soft focus on the beauty in front of you. There are times when times comes more easily and times in life when the distractions are more engaging.

A few moments of peaceful and slow breathing can better help you to prepare for the quieting of the gentle Zen focusing. Your position can vary from standing, to sitting, to lying down, though many trained meditators prefer the sitting position. Whatever your position, it is best to find a comfortable position where you might spend 5 -20 minutes peacefully gazing at the object which you are focusing upon. (If you are using a candle, be advised to do this safely and protected from hot wax or melting candles which may be too close to other flammable materials…)

Be as neutral as you can be regarding the focus of your attention. Accept the beauty and the moment. Allow yourself to drift deeper into the pleasant and relaxing quiet. Many meditators will allow these peaceful feelings to return with them for use through the rest of their day. This can  give them a more solid mental and emotional foundation so they can move more smoothly through the interactions of their daily activities. It may not solve all the challenges but it can be a very comforting, “centered” posture to move more gracefully through the dramas which can enter your life…

Pick a beautiful photograph if you can not get out into natural beauty. Choose a quiet time in your schedule when you are beginning this practice, because this may reduce the annoyances which can be distracting in the early stages of the practice of Zen Meditation. Some people pick early morning or sunrise. I like late afternoon or twilight times. Find the time that works best for you and stick with for a while until you know whether it is a good time in your natural schedule for meditation.

Be patient. Start slowly and for shorter periods of time. Remember to breathe slowly and more deeply than you might normally. Look to relax your forehead, your jaw, your shoulders, and anywhere else you may be holding tension.

My friend, Jim Papp, who is the author of the the book, “Inquire Within: A Guide to Living in Spirit” is a strong proponent of finding solitude in nature. His advice includes a walk or hike in a natural setting with the Zen mind of appreciation and “Presence.” The Zen experience of being with and in nature is a grounding exercise and a centering process which most people find meditative and healing of mind, body, and spirit. Finding all of your
senses surrounded by the beauty of the natural world gives a healthy calmness to your mind, body, and spirit. Connecting with nature is a practice that goes back in human history to the very origins of humankind and even basic survival for all lifeforms. The “ancient wisdoms” have been filled with appreciation and “presence” with Mother Earth, though this practice has been pushed into the background by technology and “modern” scientific rational thinking. This modern approach to nature has also gotten humans into a good bit of trouble with the lack of respect and “connection” with the Earth.

Blessings to you on your path toward greater consciousness and keep your eyes “soft focused” on the beautiful moments you encounter!

For more information on managing stress, including using meditation, consider the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com. For more support and information on growing your consciousness and spirit consider the Masters of the Journey community at www.mastersofthejourney.com.

Why we are more Overwhelmed Now! Stress

Why we are more stressed now. Do not be a victim to advances in technology.

Written by L. John Mason, Ph.D., Author of the Bestseller; Guide to Stress Reduction

Overwhelmed???

Why we are more stressed now than ever before!

Quality of life has suffered. Health has been affected. The rate of change has accelerated. Productivity can be jeopardized. We are “running” faster than ever and do not feel like we can ever catch up! Personal and professional support is draining away.

We are “stuck” with a “primitive” response mechanism which may never evolve fast enough to keep pace with technology. This ancient survival mechanism is built into our genetic code and has its origin billions of years ago. We still need this response on occasion, but day to day, it may be a major thorn in our side. It has been known since the 1930’s as Walter Cannon described it, the “Flight/Fight” response. This automatic reaction to fight or to flee to save our life is stilled needed, however, the normal daily reactions to less than life threatening situations, can trigger a part of this reaction in a habitual way which is slightly different for each of us.

The problem arises when we ignore the response until our systems have to over-react to get our attention. A major display by this mechanism can look like: tension headaches, tight neck and shoulders, sleeping problems, back pain, high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, stroke, heart disease, asthma attacks, panic/anxiety attacks, stomach problems, sexual dysfunction, certain skin irritations, hyper sensitivity, learning problems, memory problems, communication problems, poor decision making, emotional swings, resistance to change, lower productivity, and increased likelihood of worker’s compensation claims due to stress or on the job accidents and injury. Any of these symptoms can affect an individual employee, a team, a department, or the whole company’s bottom line. 70-90% of visits to medical doctor’s offices are for symptoms that are either caused or made worse as a reaction to this primitive stress response.

Symptoms of stress cost companies Billions of dollars annually in lost time, reduced productivity, worker’s compensation claims, replacement of key personnel, even lawsuits, and internal sabotage from overwhelmed employees. Prevention not only can enhance quality of life, it will also raise productivity, reduce sabotage, and assist retention strategies.

To make a point that we are more stressed today than ever before, consider the ever increasing rate of change based on new information. The “Information Age” was coined in the 1980’s. It has created a revolution of new information technologies. To see this point more clearly, think back to common societal changes since the mid to late 1980’s. Did you have cable TV in 1985? How many channels did you get from your cable provider? How many channels of TV do you have today, with cable or satellite dish? Probably 15+ channels in 1985 to now as many as 500 choices. In the mid-1980’s did you have a fax machine? A “pager”? A personal computer? E-mail? A Cellular telephone? You have probably experienced all of these since then. If you still do not have a “Cell phone,” you are not immune from the increased numbers of them… Just go to a movie, a restaurant, church, a meeting…. everywhere you go people are using the new technologies and probably stressing you out. A big one to consider that did not exist in the 1980’s is related to “cell phone” use while driving. Do you call when driving? Do other people behave unsafely when they are distracted by calls while driving?

Do you remember the early 1990’s? You could get new computer with software and not have to upgrade for 2-3 years. Now, if you get a new computer, it is outdated before you get it home and out of the box. Software upgrades seem to happen by the minute… Have you noticed that there are more coffee and espresso stands in the last 10 years? Is this how people cope with the increase in the pace of change and new information? Are there more cases of people going “postal” or “car rage”, or “air rage,” or whatever new anxiety we experience.

A final question, since 1985 has your genetic code “upgraded” to keep up with the pace of the Information Age? It takes thousands of years to biologically evolve! Psychologically and emotionally we must learn coping strategies to ensure our healthy survival. That is why now, more than ever before in human history, we must invest time and resources in preventing the adverse effects of our own stress response. Though it does take time and energy, prevention is worth the price. We can actually save time and get more done, by eliminating the internal distractions of stress. Also, we need to mentor, as positive role models, our children in these coping strategies that they will require to survive the ever-increasing presence of stress in our society.

There are models of companies using various prevention strategies and finding a return on investment. I know of one study with the company Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado where human resources reported a $5 return on every $1 invested in health and wellness programs. The positive return was based on reduced sick time, fewer accidents, increased morale and productivity. The more subtle cost savings due to prevention of sabotage (and resistance to change) from overwhelmed, disgruntled employees is very difficult to measure, but still a significant factor in many organizations. Often, improved communication, allowing for input from all levels of the workforce, can be a valuable stress management and prevention strategy that leadership is learning.

In house trainers, coaching and mentoring can create a tailored program that will best fit your organization. Outside consultants, coaches, and trainers can assist your organization to build the most effective programs, if your in house staff does not have the necessary training or experience. Consider the cost benefits of reduced: sabotage, health claims, accidents, sick time, turnover, and loss of productivity due lack of focus. Proactive retention strategies, which have used employee surveys, include stress management as a highly requested benefit (always in the top three requested programs.)

If you feel that you might benefit from an individualized stress management program to minimize your overwhelm and stress, consider the Stress Education Center’s audios which include a basic stress management series or specific stress management programs for: sleeping, pain management, anxiety control, and even pre-natal stress management. Check these out at www.dstress.com or http://dstress.com/products/specific-health-topics/.

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help you to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Waking Up

It is time to wake up! Have you heard this before? Was it your alarm clock or your mother or your job calling out to you? Or, was it coming from somewhere deep within you? Perhaps you have had the feeling that there was more to life. Perhaps you had the feeling that there is a different level of happiness or satisfaction you could achieve. Perhaps, it is time to engage in waking up! It is easier to NOT Change. It is easier to not seek. It is easier to find the feeling of “lack” because it is so familiar but this is NOT the way to move forward in your life or in your desire to become more whole and more conscious! Some of us are blocked by FEAR. Fear of the unknown, or of change, or of the risk with looking different from other people who live around you. Just look at these at these less conscious potential role models… Are they happy with their lives? Are they going to reach the end of their lives WITHOUT Regret?

This process is not one of enormous effort, only one of focused attention to “remember” what you already know… For many people it starts by quieting the chatter of your mind (and its expectations), following the breath, and moving into the state of being “Present.” Most of us can get fearful, anxious, tense, and stressed by “living” in the future. Or, we may find ourselves with: guilt, regrets, resentments, grievances, or sadness because we are living in the Past. It can help to find forgiveness and acceptance, which would be based on the premise that WE are all in this together. We are all “one.” The most challenging encounters with other humans are lessons that we find along our travels through life and these are meant to teach us what we need most to learn… I have heard it said that we “hate” most in another that which, at some level, we hate within ourselves. Personally, when I look at angry, impatient, opinionated people and find annoyance, I know these are the qualities within me that cause me the most difficulty.

It is time to WAKE UP! It is time to release judgement and the constrictions of the mind and the egoic ways of thinking which tend to separate us. There are many times when it is better to connect with other people through love and acceptance rather than the times when we look for, and fear, the identified differences. We have more in common than our mind leads us to believe. There are times, special times, when we drop the illusions of separation and feel the connection with humanity and with all life on our planet. It starts by being present, breathing, and quieting the divisive voices of the mind. (It does not serve you well to compare and contrast qualities you perceive in another person, for the sake of feeling superior or giving you a reason to look to knock this person off the conceived pedestal we might have elevated that other person to.)

Why would YOU want to wake up? What is in it for you, you might ask? When you are not “awake,”  it is easier to be caught in the dilemma of life dissatisfaction. It it easier to want what you do not have rather than to fully appreciate the blessings in your life. It is difficult to find lasting happiness with your life when you are wearing other people’s expectations. The solution may be found in going within, within your heart, soul, and spirit, to find the things that give YOU the deepest levels of satisfaction. Chances are that what you find are much more simple and basic life sustaining things. Your connections with your tribe. The sharing of life’s moments and the experiences acquired. Learning your lessons as you move forward along your path. Knowing Love. Finding Gratitude for all the encounters in life which are true blessings.

In the process of “waking,” you may be wise to connect with your intuitive wisdom. The “gut feelings” which are heart based and more a feeling than a thought, allow you to “Know” things that are more than fact based logic. The food of life is not always understandable. When we are guided by our intuition, we can step into experiences and connections which may allow for the deepest insights. There are no words which clearly define a taste or a flavor or a color or an emotion but there are a wide range of feelings which are outside our mental, rational thoughts. The “waking” involves trusting the messages from your heart and taking responsibility for the outcomes of your intuitive decisions. It is clear that you can better appreciate the laws of the natural world and connect with the Earth when you step away from the mental “rational” (?) thoughts of man against nature, with the outcome being the abuse of the resources our Earth provides. Our long term survival rests in backing away from the “conquer nature” mentality and the embracing of the love of our beautiful yet fragile existence.

Whether you know it or not your are here for a reason. And, since you have read this far, you need to be reminded, or may be told for the first time, that YOU are a Master! You have the Divine Spirit within your heart and soul! If you did not know this already, it is time to awaken to the truth regarding the important role that you play in this pilgrimage of souls toward full consciousness. You have a purpose! Find a way to serve. Find a way to reach around and assist your fellow pilgrims. Find the way to be a force for good in the world.

Waking up and remembering is the challenge that we all face, and the best part of following our path in this life. Are you a Glass half full or Glass half empty person? Choose Optimism and the synergy of connection with all life through love.

Namaste and Blessings!

Connection and Community

Have you ever lived in a family or a community? Most of us have had this experience, for better or worse. Some of us have been blessed with an ideal situation where we have found people who we really love and care about, who have functioned well in a loving, caring way toward each other. This experience is more rare. I remember growing up in a neighborhood with decent people who did not deeply care about each other. For the most part, they did better than tolerate their neighbors but, by and large, remained independent and superficial (or aloof) from their nearest neighbors. In primitive communities, neighbors worked together to survive and looked out for each other because they realized that it was too difficult to live comfortably completely on their own. But growing up in Southern California suburbs meant barely putting up with your immediate family, let alone the neighbors. At least, that is what it seemed to me.

No man is an island was a line in a 1624 poem by English poet, John Donne. Suggesting to me that we are all connected and the world is less if anyone goes missing. Also included in this poem, “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” “Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in Mankind.” So some people reach out to deeply connect and care for others, and this serves all of us to do so. Caring and connecting makes us happier and healthier. Perhaps we can remember this and make connecting a higher priority. Some of us may need to be reminded that life experiences are better when these are shared experiences.

Whether people are conscious or not, most of us strive to be included in communities. We feel better in a “Tribe.” In this day and age, a tribe may be with other people who share a common interest or even passion. In the United States you can see the tribes gathering on weekends in the Fall of the year. People in the tribe dress up in colors and costumes to be included in the celebration of the religion of their favorite football team. A very tribal community with elaborate clothes (Jerseys), hats, and even War paint. There is competition to be the most devoted and fanatic among the tribe’s fans. This may be our primitive need to join and to be part of a tribe.

Consider that this need for community exists and many of us do not feel a part of a “Healthy” and supportive group of people. We have been too isolated by our cultural behavior where independence is worshiped and lack of trust runs strong. For many of us, the need for connection and community has begun to surface, especially, as we begin to face aging or our mortality. Being “alone” during these transitions is often scary and less conducive for healthy transitions and the learning we gain during these major transitional periods. At the very least, it is better to have mentors or role models to help cope with these difficult life lessons. Connection and community can be very useful in these times.

So I ask you, what are YOU doing to build and maintain a HEALTHY connection and community? Not just with fellow sport fans, co-workers, or folks you see in class, church, or club, but real deep connections with caring, supportive people who can “count on you” and you on them…. It takes time and effort, but for most people, it is worth the “trouble.”

Another perspective comes from metaphysical philosophy which tells us that we are all in this together, spiritually. We are all pilgrims and benefit from reaching around and assisting the fellow pilgrims we meet in life. If nothing else, know the value you can offer by allowing another person to share their story with you. You can even show respect by not interrupting, except for clarification, as your partner finds the depth of their experience to share with you. I know that YOU would love to be respected and “heard” as you attempt to share your truth. Blessings and patience. Learn to judge less and accept more, for this offers the deepest love you can give your fellow pilgrim.

The skills of “witnessing” and listening are taught and practiced by members of the spiritual support community, the Masters of the Journey. The Masters of the Journey is a supportive community who believes that we are each masters (of our lives) having lived through many life experiences. There are lessons learned and wisdom to share. Find your supportive connections and community!

Find out more about Masters of the Journey: A Transformational Community at: www.mastersofthejourney.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney