That Time of the Year

It is Mid-December, 2021, as I write. Yes, It is That Time of the Year! In fact, every year about this time is a time of reflection, Gratitude, Giving, and Time with your Community. In the Northern Hemisphere and the PNW, it has short, cool/cold, and damp days. The Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years approach. I am working on my Year-End-Review to reflect upon my past year and for consideration of what might be possible for my future. For me, continuing to get outside and into nature, as weather and my temperament allow, is important for my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. (The shorter, cooler, damper days become considerations for this time spent outside re-connecting with my natural world… Extra layers can be required.)

In reflection of not only my past year but what I can give thanks for in my life is a careful consideration for me. On this list, in no particular order, are: my friends, my family, my health, my freedom, my security (and lack there of), my world, and my Universe, which includes, especially, my connection with the Divine Spirit and all its guidance and protections. Yes, I am blessed! I can easily find the Joy of living with all the dramas of my current life. This reminds me, I spend time and energy each day Laughing, even if what I am laughing at are my own flaws and the awkward relationships I bump into. (Yes, after fear, anger, and my frustrations, I find the humor to laugh at myself and my situations. I do this because I am a imperfect Human with 3 dimensional limitations and taking myself too seriously can get in my way of enjoying the life I am living.)

So, consider gathering your thoughts and feelings to reflect on these past days, and commit to your new year and new directions. Who knows where you will actually end up? The return of the light, after the Winter Solstice, and the dawning of a new calendar year offer you a time of rebirth or renewal. “A New Start,” a “Fresh Start,” and possible new directions to get excited about and to move toward. When and where possible, share your story and your love with your community, no matter where you find it.

Do Not Forget to find Gratitude for what you have! Give thanks AND Share Your Wisdom and Love most Freely. Yes, give it away, unconditionally. The world needs more Wisdom sharing and Love! The Universe appreciates every gift you offer, unconditionally for our greater good!

With the shorter, darker and cooler days of this season, put some energy into these personal reflections. You may be surprise, as you consider your past year, how much has happened and how many lessons you have learned. Cherish these remembrances but do not get too stuck in the “what if’s.” Gather friends and family and share your stories and your love. You can never go wrong when you consider, and then act, upon your desire to serve our Universe. When you give your time and resources, give freely with no strings attached (no expectations of return…) Sorry to repeat myself but in the “Season of Giving,” checking your motivations is often important. Your heart may warm in the thoughts and actions of service…

Come to think of it, if you have read this far, consider that this series of words and thoughts which are strung together in this posting have value for consideration early in every day you are blessed to experience…

Know that YOU are Loved! In fact, You are Cherished by the Divine! You are a Miracle! Thank you for Being You!

Small Hinges

Small decisions and small changes can create large changes, for good or for bad…

“Big Doors Swing On Small Hinges. In the same way that a big door swings on a much smaller hinge; the choices and decisions one makes in life produce a much larger outcome. The result may be good or it may be bad – it all hinges on your choice . . . your decision. In the English language the word “but” is small.” (from a quote by W. Clement Stone.)

And, a door, whether large or small, creates an opening in a wall. The door may swing both ways. Getting an opening through an obstruction allows you an opportunity to experience a new world of possibilities. You then have a choice as to whether you want to continue on your path through this new world. That door would not have opened for you but for the small hinges which allowed it to move freely and allowed you to move through this barrier (wall.)

From a speech given by Ross Murker

FYI. The concept of the Trimtab… Small rudder attached to large rudder which allows for small change to direction of momentum which leads to big change in direction of larger ship. So, are there small changes or insights in your life which have lead to large changes in relationships or lifestyle? Example, deciding to turn off the TV, and NOT watch the evening news, allowed for positive changes which rippled through my life. I had more time and less anger and frustration. (I still get my news but more on my own terms…) A Trimtab is also found on airplanes offering the subtle wing structure to allow the plane to fly level and straight.

For example, you view a photograph or video of some natural setting and decide you would like to see this for yourself. You commit to visit nature and find that this trip to the natural world provides a solace and peace of mind that urban life does not provide. You find yourself less fearful and more motivated to spend time outside. Your lifestyle changes as you begin to embrace getting away from TV, media, and other forms of technology. You are energized by the beauty and miracles you observe on your visits out into the country. You may even dream of moving out of the city. So, the small experience of viewing the photograph or video of nature has led to major considerations and lifestyle changes. A seemingly minor suggestion may trigger a much larger consideration which may promote a major change in your attitude and the way you perceive the world.

There are times in life where a subtle change can lead to major differences in the direction your life might take. I know a couple who discussed the possibility of getting a pet and the responsibility this would make for their lifestyle. They wound up getting two cats. This allowed them to work together in a different way. Not sure of this connection, but now they have two kids and two cats. They are great parents AND their lives are dramatically different when considering their lifestyle before cats. (BTW, this example is not unique or unusual for young relationships to ease into family responsibilities. Though, having kids is much more of a lifestyle commitment change than cats.)

I am aware of a simple life philosophy which asks you to make a list of the things you need to do or the changes you would like to make. The list can be overwhelming when you look at what you desire on this list. Perhaps you pick just one or two of these items to reduce your feelings of overwhelm. You might consider picking a less challenging change to begin. By starting on a seemingly easier task, you can build momentum and overcome the inertia which may have been holding you back. On completion, check this off your list and begin the next item on your list. Once you get rolling, you will find that you are not so overwhelmed by the items on your list. (And, set priorities. If you have a high priority item which is “important,” do not push this too far down your list. Allow enough time, energy, and resources to accomplish your higher priorities.) This technique can work for your daily goals and for more major life goals, though major life changes may require more time and effort. Remember to reward yourself for each item you can check off your list. A daily list, can help you to better organize your day with the time and resources you have available.

Which subtle changes have you considered and followed in your life? Were these small changes in: relationships, careers, education, hobbies, or travel? AND, did these smaller changes lead to surprising outcomes, perhaps, life changing outcomes? The small hinges which swung the door open in your life can be appreciated for the larger change which came further down your path in life.

The Light of Love

Have you ever wondered why cultures in the Northern Hemisphere have so many Holidays in the middle of Winter? If you live a bit North of the equator which rings the Earth, November through early March can be the darker, cooler/colder, and often the damper time of the year. The winds can blow cold. The frost can accompany a brisk morning (or more snow and ice than is great to work in…) Where I live, mid-December days are barely 7-8 hours long and heavier sweaters are a mainstay. Some people enjoy, or at least tolerate, the cool, gray days of the PNW better than others. We have “Snowbirds” who head for the sunnier Southern climates for relief during the November-March time frame. S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is very real the further North you go. And, we have holidays to gather family and friends together from Halloween into Thanksgiving and then the mid-Winter Holidaze of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

The ancient (& current) Pagans as well as many indigenous cultures have celebrated the mid-Winter around the Winter Solstice (December 21st most years) to celebrate the shortest day of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere, and the return of the Light. The Sun will then begin to shine a bit longer each day until the Summer Solstice in June. But, many cultures also use this time of darker days for self-reflection. The New Year can bring a re-birth and a time to start fresh and to begin anew. If you like the gathering of your community, you also have time to reflect upon Gratitude and the sharing of Love. These focused reflections warm the soul in the dark days of the year. Much can surface regarding “Giving,” “Sharing,” and the offering of service.(We tend to volunteer more and donate more during this season.) In fact, we should be doing this all year long, however, the quieter times of reflection can bring this closer to the surface AND there is more need for the community to pull together to survive in the harsher climates. So, let’s look out for one another.

It seems strange that in this darker time of the year, in the Northern hemisphere, there appears to be more Light. The light of generous giving of time, energy, and resources. This light shines on the people bestowing the gifts as well as those receiving these gifts. Does it “Brighten” your life to give to someone? Does your heart warm? (If not, you are giving for the wrong reasons or there are strings attached…)

With the “ReBirth” around the Winter Solstice Season, you can use this as a time to do a year end review and to set new goals for the fresh new year. It is easier to head down your life path if there is a plan and positive desire to use as the “carrot on the stick” for your soul to guide you. Consider how you can share your wisdom and how best to be of service to our Universe. Come in from the cold and brighten the lives of the people you connect with on your path through life. This is great to remember to do year round, and this is an especially great time of year to reflect upon how you want to get this done.

You are an essential Miracle! Thank you for being you! Be the Love! Feel the Joy and the Love!

Joy & Happiness

Are Joy and Happiness the same or are these experiences different? Recently, I was asked to offer a training session with the focus on bringing more Joy into the workplace. After doing some research “Joy vs Happiness,” I came to some personal conclusions that Joy and Happiness are not the same, in my opinion. The group presentation began with this discussion in small groups and then the groups shared their conversation. It reflected my feelings and was similar to the research which I had uncovered. So, here is what we came up with…

Happiness is often coming as a reaction/response to an external interaction or experience. We see something (or hear something) and we react with a thought of happiness. We smile or laugh and our reaction can come, or go, as our mood in that moment allows. Happiness, or being happy, is GREAT! And, there is the opposite reaction/response where we can think and express “UnHappiness.” We can get “triggered” from interactions which create a feeling of unhappiness.

Joy seems to come from another, perhaps deeper, place. When our heart lights up with a “feeling” or a passion for an experience or perception, we may feel Joy. It comes from a deeper emotional feeling. Let me offer some examples which came to mind. Are You a fisherman, an artist or craftsperson, or perhaps a musician? When a fisherperson catches a fish, they experience happiness. When a fisherman walks to a lake or stream in a beautiful natural setting, they feel the Joy. When an artist or craftsperson receives new brushes or pencils or art supplies, they feel happy. When their creativity is triggered by work on their project, they feel Joy. When a musician walks into a music store filled with instruments, they feel happy. When the musician’s passion is expressed in performance, they feel Joy.

The group I was speaking with were managers in the helping profession. Caregivers by choice. When someone calls them and says, “Thank You for the work performed,” they feel Happy. When they go inside and react to the passion they have to provide this service, they know they are using their creativity and expertise to solve problems and serve their clients, they feel the Joy! For my clients who are “First Responders,” their DNA has a genetic code for rushing in to Save people, even through the fears or the dangers. This passion for service gives them a sense of purpose that when considered creates Joy.

As I stated before, there are situations you experience which create a reaction of Happiness. There are times when the situation creates UnHappiness. However, the internal, deep heartfelt feeling of Joy are unique to each individual. And, there is no such thing as UnJoyful. You either feel the passion, the creativity, and the connections through service and the Joy this creates or you do not…

Each one of us, in our own different and unique way, seek to express our passions. We create connections with people or our world and find a celebration which can reach deeply into the world of Joy. When we do what we have come here, to this life, to do and provide our service to all consciousness, we can feel/experience our Bliss, our unique Joy! Nothing external can create Un-Joy for you. So, find your Bliss. Find your passion and share it in whatever form your creativity selects… And, then feel your Joy!

When you wake up in the morning, start by offering Gratitude for what you do have and then look for the Joy which comes from every experience, every interaction, you have. Then, when possible, share your wisdom even if this is a reflection of some difficult challenge. Yes, even the dark places can create the Joy of learning from the challenge and celebration of new found wisdoms which serve you and the people you interact with.

YOU are a Miracle! You are a Blessing! Your soul guards and protects your deepest passions and Joys. Shine light upon these and find the way to communicate and to celebrate your Bliss!

Thank you for being You!

Thanksgiving in the PNW

November 25th, 2021 falls on the last Thursday of November in the Pacific Northwest (PNW.) Actually, everywhere in our world that uses the same calendar finds the same date on the same Thursday. But, that is NOT what this blog posting is all about.

I am thankful! I love Thanksgiving! It is my favorite religious holiday because there is no religion and fewer expectations of “gift giving.” The “gift” is that you can sometimes find yourself sitting at a table or, perhaps, in a room with people you love or care about and maybe share time, maybe some food, and LOVE. There has been a long history which allows this date and celebration to be special, for me (and possibly for you too.)

My Mother celebrated her birthday on November 25th and it was usually celebrated at our Thanksgiving family table. My younger son was born on November 30th (not December 7th, “Pearl Harbor Day,” as suggested during my wife’s prenatal care.) So, we double celebrated birthdays. My family had a long tradition of inviting people to join us for the celebration of Thanksgiving. Often these were family or close friends but also included people who did not have family nearby to celebrate this holiday with. (My very best Thanksgivings have been when friends circled the table and everyone “wanted” to be there. No family “expectations.”) The holiday was based around a turkey dinner which is a weird American tradition which I love. I love roast turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, and I knew these were going to be available at our family’s meal. In fact, I learned how to prepare this meal and taught my boys how to create these dinner foods, which has made all of us very popular in a low confidence cook’s opinion (my wife loved when I cooked and suffer from cooking anxiety for larger events.) There are many great family stories built around cooking for the family for this celebration. (Yes, even shrunken, micro-waved birds and getting stuck in elevators, and more…)

Then there is the gift, to me, of sharing Gratitude in the lives of the people gathered. The time of reflection on the Gifts of our lives is time well spent. Sharing these gratitudes is a full contact sport that nicely massages the mind, the emotions, and the Spirit. This can take 2-5 hours at 350 degrees of sharing to fully cook, if you use traditional recipes. Again, time well spent. The creation of the meal, the gathering of your loved ones, the sharing of the contributed foods and stories are parts of what makes this celebration so special and beautiful for me. Not everyone gets to get their “expectations” fully met but if we can find our way in to the present moment and dive deep into appreciation, hearts can be warmed and souls can be sustained.

AND, there are leftovers. Not just food but awesome memories. We can all find and create moments of Gratitude, Appreciation, and shared Love that do not just fit around a Thanksgiving table or end when we travel home. So, consider the gifts and the service YOU can provide to make this a loving and most memorable holiday. And, sure there can be grief from the losses we have experienced but these can make a sweetness in full appreciation of what we do have, what we have had, and what we have learned from the difficult challenges encountered in life.

If she had lived, my mom would be roughly 114 years old this Thursday, give or take the years she lied about her age and actual birthdate. Where possible, reach out and hold hands with your loving memories, your beloved family, and most wonderful friends. Even if you do this only in your mind AND then, Go Out and Do Good in our World.

You are a Miracle! You are a Blessing! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for Being You!
With My Love…

Chasing Enlightenment

First, let me say that I believe each and every one of us is perfect. We each have a Spirit and soul which is connected to the Divine Source. We each serve an important role in Divine Consciousness. AND, deep within each of us is the “Enlightenment” which many of us are consciously seeking. Yes, I am saying that if we run in circles with our hair on fire, we have the purest form of the Divine Spirit within us. And, if you do NOT run in circles with your hair on fire, pure, perfect Divine Spirit is within you, as well. However, many people live their lives in quiet, or non-quiet, desperation attempting to gain a consciousness regarding our “Enlightenment.” What is “Enlightenment” and is it worth chasing?

For me, Enlightenment, which does not find easy words to be defined, is a state where we are able to live in higher dimensional consciousness. A state where we have Equanimity as we walk through our lives. Personally, I struggle to not get sucked into the human dramas and the politics of living as a human. Equanimity does not mean that you do not feel the drama but you do not get caught in the currents which throw you mentally or emotionally into the extremes of reaction. (Boy, do I need to be reminded of this constantly…) Besides Equanimity you live in a state of Non-Judgement. You can Accept what you encounter. You take full responsibility for your life, your choices, and where your path leads you. You look for the Joy in life (and find it,) even in the dark times and places you travel through. You feel connected to the Divine Spirit and all of consciousness because you are an important part of the much greater whole. So, when you look into some other soul’s eyes you see and know yourself. Namaste!!! You can appreciate that the human linear concepts of Time and Space are illusions existing within our humanness because our three dimensional thinking, as humans, can not cope with the many multi-dimensions of higher realm consciousness. And, you “Know” and “Remember” what Divine Unconditional Love feels like. (It is an integrated combination of all the qualities listed above.

As we walk through our human lives, it can be very difficult to maintain your highest consciousness. We are tested. We are limited by human survival mechanisms. We have prepared ourselves for interactions with other incarnated souls where we lack full trust regarding their intentions. This is the fear based human consciousness of separation which comes along with ego thinking and living. So, many of us find ourselves living with our human limitations chasing after full consciousness and Enlightenment. But, does this work for us? This brings us to the purpose, or intention, of this posting. Can we chase down Enlightenment successfully? The very “effort” of this chasing can scare our soul’s Enlightenment away. Like a shy creature we come across in nature, this animal will run away if we chase after it. Its survival is based on the survival of it’s flight/fight response. The faster we chase, the faster it goes in an opposite (or different) direction.

So striving for Enlightenment may chase it away. “Wanting” Enlightenment may chase it away. Trying too hard to attain Enlightenment may lead to this same result. Trying too hard gets in the way of the Enlightenment we seek. Perhaps, being available without a chasing behavior gets us closer. Perhaps, accepting that we are chasing this elusive prey is a good place to start. Maybe, living in Gratitude with a “lack of wanting” allows this consciousness to find us… Consider, living in the present moment with a lack of expectations and judgement are keys to developing the feelings within your heart of what Enlightenment is… Making the human effort of chasing after it, may be getting in the way of achieving the state of consciousness which I consider Enlightenment.

Since it is already deep within you, you may not have to seek after it externally. You can not be forced or even lead to Enlightenment by people or forces outside of yourself. You may find yourself engaged in programs or processes which can begin to open doors by creating awareness or perspective on what is possible, but it will not take you all the way. It is to be searched for and accepted as the deep, perfect soul you are… Feel it to “Know” it. And, when you get to that state of consciousness, you can “Remember” your connection to the Divine and the perfection which is YOU and within every soul you bump into as walk the path through your human life. (And, someone else’s path or philosophy for achieving a state of enlightenment may be a a good example of what is possible BUT you are required to walk your own unique path. Your individual search is a unique experience for you to explore.)

Your tools to brighten your path may include: meditation, conscious breathing, being present, acceptance, equanimity, service by loving with no strings attached, and your sincere awareness that consciousness expansion is a key. We must look to assist other human souls which we encounter as we travel through the Universe. We are all in this together. By raising our consciousness, we raise all consciousness. And, remember that YOU are perfect. You are a Miracle! And, You are Loved!

Thanks for this consideration. You are a Blessing!
————–
And, my friend and mentor, Paula Forget, has added another point of view:

“Hi John,

Something that was missing is JOY!

Enlightenment is a state of being. Like you said: “Feel it to know it.”

I don’t think you can “practice” enlightenment, to become enlightened. It’s qualities must develop naturally. Otherwise, it is like trying to be good, not to be bad. It is a duality based approach, and still creates friction inside a person.
You cannot practice being “joyous”, for the same reason. By “practicing”, something is being suppressed.

I think, for myself, enlightenment, to be enlightened, is something that is discovered. To find something that was always there. It is a feeling, a knowing, that is found again, rediscovered. Its feeling is so full, that it transforms you into all those great qualities that you mentioned.

It is GRACE, to touch It.
That is something to be grateful for.

Of course, that’s only my opinion.

Paula”
Author of: Guided to the Higher Realms: A Personal Journey of Ascension through Meditation

I think Paula’s addition in adding her perspective is brilliant! So, set your intention to allow yourself to rediscover the Joy and the Enlightenment which is within your soul. I know that this is easier said than done but it “is” the way. At some point this may lead you to drop your human, cultural striving. Then you may be able to sit in the “present moment,” accept what flows before you, and share your love without strings attached in service to all the Divine Spirit.

Contrast

Life’s lessons are created by “contrast.”
Often we might expect our lives to move easily or freely through life experiences and then we hit a glitch. Perhaps a small obstacle or sometimes a great mountain which creates a major recalculation in your life’s path. The contrast from easy, quiet, and meditative to a chasm which must be carefully or forcefully overcome becomes some of the most important learning opportunities. You are tested by these obstacles. The wisdom you gain from your moving through or around this barrier thrown onto your life’s path is a lesson you have come into this life to learn.

In American culture, the English language looks to compare and contrast the objects and activities we experience. Better than, less than, larger, smaller, costlier, cheaper, more solid, more soft, the list goes on with defining things by comparing what they are similar to or dis-similar to. This limited and linear way of defining objects and activities seem easier for the limited 3 dimensional human mind to comprehend. We run into problems when we allow ourselves to be “present” and make attempts to explain emotions, feelings, flavors, or spiritual experiences. For example, how do you explain or define the smell of fresh baking bread? Or, really and fully put words to emotions like love? Sometimes we describe what something is NOT, but this rings hollow. Complicated or complex thoughts or feelings do not lend themselves well to English language definitions.

And, using contrast to define experiences often comes down to saying what something is not or something which seems similar, but is difficult to gracefully define. There is our struggle. Feel things, experience things, appreciate things and then attempt to integrate the full emotion or feelings of these experiences. Do not be lazy! It is work to be present and to sort out a complicated emotion. When we must communicate these feelings, we often turn to psychic expression of emotions which can be transmitted unconsciously. Our communication partner must “resonate” with the vibration you are attempting to communicate. If successful, they will “feel” what you are sending even if the words lack the depth of what you attempt to convey.

And, how do you know where you are on your path through this life without contrast with remembering from where you have started? Whether you know it and appreciate most fully, YOU are moving along your path and expanding your consciousness. By sharing your stories, you can clarify your learnings. You offer yourself and your listener a gift by attempting to share your discovered, or remembered, wisdoms.

Personally, I have learned and developed myself more when I have been confronted by the seemingly negative contrast of a major turn in my life. Upon survival, you can reflect on the situation and grow from the experience. There is much to learn when our “normal and expected path” through life is altered or blocked by a significant contrast. These contrasts are not always negative or seemingly painful, like when you suddenly, unexpectedly, “Fall in Love.” These can be dramatic changes in our “normal” path.

An example which occurred for me 50 years ago when I was barely 19 years of age may symbolize several of the concepts we have just discussed. There are no words which do this experience full justice.
The story: I attended a retreat with some students from UCLA where I was attending college. After “partying” on Friday night, we decided to get serious and do some “work” on Saturday morning. There were 5 or 6 group discussions organized and I “was drawn” (or guided) to attend a discussion on Death and Dying. I am not sure why. At the time, I had not done any research or reading or even much thinking about this topic but I was curious about this one choice in topics. The guy in the front of the room was learning about Kubler-Ross’s work “On Death and Dying.” His leadership technique was to lead a “guided meditation” to find out about Death. This seemed OK. I had NO expectations and I had no resistance. I was very naive about all of this, at that time. So, I followed his guidance and instructions which was to get comfortable, relax, breathe slowly, settle in, and then gently and slowly lift myself out of my body. “No problem” and I went along with these instructions thinking that everyone in the room was able to do this easily. He asked that we drift up and away from our bodies, watching as the image of our bodies got smaller and smaller. So, up into space I went. No problem. At some point, looking down at the speck of my body was not interesting so I turn 180 degrees and headed into the blackness of space. No problem and no fear. I traveled out toward what I considered the direction of death. When I got to what I believed to be half way, I paused. Before me in the blackness was a dark horizon. Emanating from over the horizon was the most beautiful warmth. A glowing warm I “knew” to be “Unconditional Love” and acceptance. In that fraction of a second, I “knew,” or “remembered,” what Divine Love was/is. A feeling of Joy, Freedom, Acceptance, no limitations of space or time, no limitations of consciousness, no limits on communication because everyone already knew everything about me and fully accepted me as a connected part of the the Universal Wholeness. (Notice that all of these words can have an infinite amount of personal interpretations…) It was an instant in my life where these feelings were so strong and clear that I will never forget them, though I am limited in going back and feeling these as if I was fully there. (The clear “thought” of this experience I remember, vividly.) I wanted to stay. I wanted to complete the travel over this dark horizon. It was too wonderful to turn away from. And then, the unheard voice telepathetically said that I had to “go back” for it “was not my time.” I argued. And, I was told “you have things to do and you will be able to return when it was appropriate.” I did not know what that meant or what I was “supposed” to do with my life but grudgingly I turned around and headed back to my body. No big deal. Everyone in the room had done the same. No fear. In fact, with this new consciousness, there was not fear of death or dying. No big deal, I assumed everyone had experienced this. When the exercise was over the guy in the front of the room asked if anyone could share their experience. Since I was one of the youngest, perhaps the youngest, person in the room, I waited and looked around. No one raised their hand. Finally, my impatience lead me to raise my hand and I told my story. The guy in the front of the room started bouncing up and down and looked very excited with my telling of my story. It dawned on me, THEN, that I had been “Gifted” with an amazing experience and my excitement kicked in. I did not know what to do with this experience which was an unexpected contrast to my “normal” life and consciousness. I may never fully integrate this experience into my human life. And, I said previously, this is not something I can pop into any time I want. I have tried. But, the feelings which are not well described, have not been diluted by time. That instant is indelibly etched deep into my life’s memory and life’s experience.

In the years since that out-of-the-body experience (or STE: Spiritual Transformative Experience,) I have retold that story. And, every time it brings up the same wonderful and profound feelings. Though my life’s perspective has changed from experience, I know that my life has been changed from this contrast and expanded awareness. My story resonated with me when I read many accounts of NDE’s (Near Death Experiences.) These “felt” familiar and similar. I have come to feel that these other documented stories somehow validate my out-of-the-body experience from when I was 19 years of age. There are times when I am telling my story or listening to someone’s NDE that we get locked in to the same vibrational resonance. I “KNOW” that when I transition from this Human lifetime, I will get to return to the higher realms and re-experience my Divine unconditional love, acceptance, and connectedness with all in the Universe (and beyond.) This is a huge contrast to what I was taught regarding end of life transitions as a child (younger person.)

Of course there have been difficult contrasts which have added to my consciousness like the death of my wife after 30 years together. Or, the struggle after having my out of the body experience which lead me to leave Los Angeles, UCLA, my home, and all my Southern California lifestyle which lead me to turning 20 in Strasbourg, France and never returning to live in Southern California. The “unknowns” we step into after “contrasts” present themselves almost always require a “stretch” to fit into the changed perspective and lifestyle which is created. Amazing stories to share are created.

You can fit your own life and details into a telling of the major contrasts in your life. Every time you tell or retell these stories you gain in perspective and learn. Your witness is blessed with the possible wisdoms, from experience, you are willingly sharing. A win-win for every participant, if all are open and available for wisdom sharing…

Contrasts can be sharp as in Black and white. They can also be more subtle as in shades of gray. A life of consciousness raising has both. Paying close attention is the sign of one who is moving toward an “Enlightened” state. When possible, do not avoid the contrasts. Learn from new perspectives and adjust your travels accordingly. You have choice and an unconscious need to continue to move forward in these adventures into consciousness. AND, when you are presented with an obstacle on your path through life allow this contrast to offer most fully the learning from this diversion. Sure it feels odd, maybe uncomfortable, but it offers new perspective and possible new wisdoms to live by. The concept “that you can not get the Genie back in the bottle” becomes the twist in your road of life which leads you on an amazing adventure… Along the way, share your stories and your wisdoms…

You are a Blessing! YOU are Loved!

Sharing Your Love

Today, I am considering two friends who are facing life threatening health challenges. As I get older, this seems to happen more often in the world of people I know. My consideration goes to, have I done enough? Have I shared my love? Will there be a feeling of guilt or unfinished business if I should not get another opportunity to speak with these friends ever again, in this lifetime? How should I handle leaving every interaction so no unfinished business is left unsaid? (Should I drop “should” from my considerations?) Perhaps, I am suppose to learn something from having unfinished business. (Should I drop “supposed” from by consciousness and just “Do?”) This makes me laugh but there is “a lot to unpack” in these considerations and I have never used the expression “unpack” before in my postings.

Relationships and interactions can be very complicated. If you are not “sleep walking” through your life, you can become aware of the major reactions and the minor subtleties which occur during and after each encounter. For me, being consciously aware of the learnings possible from each interaction is a great opportunity to learn and to develop. So, I ask again, what could I have learned from my time with my friends which may be the “last” time I interact with them? A simple answer is Do Not Leave My Love Unexpressed… And, how do I deal with my lesson regarding the vacuum created by the loss, or possible loss, of my friend? In my past postings, you may have found that my attitude regarding death and dying is different from the standard cultural response. Death is inevitable. Death is NOT the enemy. No escaping it. And, I can cheer for the soul who is letting go of their human existence even if this creates a huge hole in my life. My sadness and grief is for MY LOSS. They are in a “better place.” I am left behind to deal with the hole in my life.

What is MY lesson from considering the loss of a friend? How can this change the way I look at my life and, possibly, my behaviors? There are no coincidences. There are no accidents. Things happen for a reason though these “reasons” may not be fully, consciously, understood. Life is a series of experiences that you can learn from and build upon, if you even believe in sequential time… (Being “fully present” is a whole other blog posting…) Living is complicated and multi-dimensional. There are so many dimensions your human mind can not be fully conscious of all of these “happenings.” I have been told that the human conscious brain realizes, consciously, only a small fraction of what is going through your brain. Maybe less than 5% of what the brain is dealing with… And, the human brain, in its limitations of 3 dimensions, is only dealing with a very small percentage of what is occurring in our immediate Universe. Wow, so my thoughts and my feelings of each human interaction is only registering in my limited consciousness to only a small fraction of what is actually, “fully,” happening. (I am getting confused even as I attempt to write and convey the thoughts/feelings I am having.)

Time, if you even believe in time, is limited. Our shared time with the people we interact with and care about is limited. It is a part of the challenge we have living as human beings. Below the surface of Universal interactions, there lies a sophisticated and complicated series of wisdom testing experiences we have chosen (at some deeper, soul level) to participate within. Every interaction and every moment is precious. It is better to Bless each Soul we meet for the perfection WE are. (Because they are we…) Perhaps, when we reach an enlightened state, we can “Accept” and even find Joy in each experience we find along our path through our human lives. Easier said than done, for me. And, something to strive to accomplish…

My two friends who are in a fragile state of physical well being are such lovely souls that my human self honors the value they have as they walk this Earth. They are bastions of Love and Wisdom. To me, they seem to serve with every breath they take. Our world is a better place with these souls walking amongst us. The world, even our Universe, is a better place with YOU walking amongst us. Thank you for being YOU! And, in case I forget to say this, I Love You!

Be vigilant in every interaction that, where possible, you leave no unfinished business. This awareness identifies you as developing a higher consciousness, acceptance, and moves you closer to a level of human enlightenment, which we have all come here, to this life, to strive to accomplish…

Life is a Sh-t Show and…

Pretty dramatic to get your attention. And, Yes, you can put lipstick on a pig… but, it is still a pig… Personally, I do not have anything against pigs and I think that they may have a less desirable view in some people’s minds. In fact, pigs are perfect. A creation of the Divine Spirit who serve a purpose in the greater scheme of things but in my culture, they seem to be dirty bottom feeders. Hey, that could be said for many humans who walk the planet Earth with an inflated belief that somehow they are “better” than a pig… But, that is not what this posting is about.

You can strive to make life seem joy filled and fun. I believe that one of our main purposes in living as humans is to be aware and to look for the Joy in EVERY situation we encounter. There is Joy to be found in even the darkest of challenges and under the largest rocks which may seem to block your path through life. The most painful life experiences can teach the most important lessons and, if we are most fully conscious, we can find ways to share the wisdom we learn from these possibly troubling times, even if what we can share is what NOT to do. Many people walk around with the “life is wonderful” filter on the way they look at life’s travails. Bless them! Some people use the “life is a pain filled shit show” filter as they move through even the most lovely events. Bless Them!

There are peaceful souls who constantly look for Peace in our world. Bless them! There are anxious, angry, depressed people who manage to only consider the limitations in their lives. Bless Them! Every way you view the people and situations you encounter, attempt to remember that we are ALL Perfect and children of the Divine Spirit. We came to our lives with the agreement that we would mix it up in the Adventure Travel experience call human life in a limited 3 dimensional world. Why? Because this is where our experiences lie. We come to test our Divine Wisdom and to assist the people we come into contact with to move through their lessons and challenges. Even if we disagree with another person (or worse…,) they are here to challenge us and we are here to serve them and their learning. (Wow, I am using the word “challenges” a lot…)

Life is NOT easy or always fun. If you seek constant Joy then this may be an unattainable expectation if you hold this belief. (Unless, you are fully ascended master walking the Earth in mortal form. If so, then this posting will make “perfect” sense to you and you will accept it fully.) Think about your life. It has been a series of challenges. Some people would think you are a hero or saint for just surviving the life you have lived. And, some of us do not survive our life’s experiences for one reason or another and everyone who has known these shorter lived folks has lessons to learn about being fragile in human form. Even the most joyful days like getting married or giving birth or even graduating from school has difficult lessons to experience over the horizon. As an example, there are only two ways to get out of a marriage and we do not often fully consider these on our wedding days. Yes, you guessed it. Getting out of a marriage takes the form of either death or divorce and most people find these transitions to be challenging as learning experiences. If you have ever had children, or know people who have had children, or were a child at some point of your life, you recognize that only in the movies or on TV do you ever escape with the experience of families in the “living happily ever after” fictional account of human lives. There is always “DRAMA!” No exceptions… Even if you pretend to not care or to not notice.

I am not trying to discourage you from living your life and seeking fun and Joy. Go for it! And, consider that we have come here into our current lives for the “test” of being human. (Perhaps, I should say that we are living in human form to “test” out the wisdom we have acquired.) Honestly, Life is a Shit Show and we would do best to Bless it. Life is filled with “Miracles” and amazing adventures. Life in the Heavenly higher Dimensions is wonderful but “boring” without the tests and the limitations we experience in human form.

You are Amazing! Thank you for being you and for choosing to come into human life to be challenged. (There again, using the word “challenged” yet again…) Please remember to be aware and conscious so you can share your learned wisdom with other pilgrims. Your guides, your ancestors, and all Divine Beings are rooting for you and supporting you as you follow your life’s path. And, no matter how “bad” a life experience appears to be judged, there is much to learn and to take away from this experience.

P.S. Life is a Shit Show is a very dramatic, attention getting series of words. Many people live lives that are much more secure and settled than the people who are suffering in this world. It is perspective and opinion which would define the real depth of what a “shit show” would look like. Your perspective and your opinion is the only one which matters. You are the one living in your life. And, many of us do not acknowledge the truly good or the absolutely difficult occurrences in our lives. Denial is useful. Over statement of our happinesses and successes is not uncommon. As you strive for the highest levels of consciousness, you can find balance and equanimity in either extreme and then live the life which offers you the very best path. You have a choice on how YOU respond to every interaction and experience. No matter what seems to happen in this life YOU are perfect and you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And, you have a choice so if you are not satisfied then change things up.

Do you like seeing horror movies? Many people find these escapes from their realities as entertaining. Many people like riding on roller coasters which are exciting and seemingly dangerous. Like skiing off the top of an icy mountain, these “thrill rides” are enjoyable partially because you have to be focused on the present moment to survive. In our daily lives, our minds can wonder off into the complexities while dealing with past and future concerns. Our human brains do not often enjoy staying in the “present.” In “real life,” you may consider the human challenges as a “shit show” or you may find the challenges exciting and the “test” of your wisdom that they are, from a conscious perspective. Please, strive for increasing consciousness in yourself and those you interact with.

You have read this far. Thank you for hanging in there. Though life can be difficult and a real challenge, take some time and energy to consider that life is a Miracle. Living is amazing! And, when your consciousness allows, know that you are Perfect. The Divine Spirit is manifested in every cell of your incredible body. No matter where you choose to tread, look for the Joy and all the Miracles which surround you. And, thank you for being you.
You are Loved!

Painting

There are many activities where you can meditate with your eyes open. Some people call this a form of Zen Meditation. Painting a wall is near the top of my Zen Meditation activities which I have experienced. There is a repetitive activity where 90% of the wall’s surface can be painted without a great deal of rational thought. A smooth even hand can allow for an easy flow of paint upon the surface. This can be satisfying because you get to see a result and, barring errors, you are often making a positive difference in the world. BUT, is it superficial and shallow as a positive difference you are making? Covering the surface of the wall with another surface can be aesthetically pleasing to many observers. And, surface painting is by definition shallow. It does not get to the very core of many of life’s mysteries…

There has been an Eastern meditative activity which can fit for wall painting summed up in an expression you may have heard. “Chop wood and carry water” has been said to describe the benefit of mundane, routine tasks… “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. — Zen proverb” (A more complete discussion can be found at: https://medium.com/the-junction/chop-wood-and-carry-water-742765bf4bed Painting in a relatively mindless way, with your thoughts in a neutral state, can lead to being present and maybe some self-reflection. You can allow yourself to get “lost” in a simple task, like painting, and find peace of mind. And, a simple task which allows you to find yourself into a “present” moment and is a humbling activity, for most people.

Wall painting requires preparation. Preparation of the wall’s surface. Preparation of your materials. Preparation of your physical self with proper clothes. And, preparation of the mental/emotional self to most fully participate in and enjoy the process of wall painting. Many people actually really enjoy the activity for their own personal reasons. In the book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Mark Twain told a part of the story by having Tom cleverly get help “whitewashing” a fence. Friends wanted to help in the process so badly, Tom was able to get them to pay for the privilege of painting the fence. This is a work of fiction and there is some truth to the attractiveness of the simple task of painting a surface. Obviously, if it is done professionally and is a skill learned over time, it is more like work than the “fun” that Tom Sawyer was selling.

In life, have you ever “whitewashed” over some aspects of your life to create an appearance of change? A superficial change can look different but this may only run “skin deep.” And, even a skin deep change in perspective may turn your life around, under certain circumstances. I am the last one to judge whether your life change is superficial or one deep to your core. The awareness of whether you are taking full responsibility for your activities or responses in this life or working most deeply on tackling the changes needed in your life is really up to you. You know when you are just masking over the real challenges in your life. You are the one learning and growing from these life experiences and whether you are using integrity in dealing with the issues which affect other people.

In truth, from my history of wall painting, I have been told more than once by professional wall painters that I should NOT be a professional wall painter because I do not have the correct temperament for painting. I am a bit too hyperactive. But, for several minutes, I can focus really well and do a great job at wall painting. After that, things get a little rough. When I am moving too fast, I have been known to step in my paint tray and track painted footprints where they should not go… Maybe, someday, I will slow down and be more methodical. Or, maybe, I am not good wall painting material by personality… It should also been said about me that I do not do superficial very well, at least a lot of the time. “Hi. How are you? A lot of weather we are having…” (An example of “small talk” that I am not good at…)

Seeing a freshly painted room is amazing. A fresh start is often a good thing to experience. Now, what will you do with this new created space???… Everyone needs a “fresh start” from time to time. Looking new or fresh can change your personal attitude. Maybe you have more self-confidence. Perhaps your superficial external change is an attention getting device. Changing your exterior can change your mood. I have a story. In college I took an adolescent psychology class. Being a Psychology major this did not seem unusual. We were given an assignment. Since adolescents are transitioning from being children into growing into an adult stage, most new things they attempt are designed to test the waters of being a bit older. So, I decided to take on this project by changing my exterior self. I had always wanted to try “white face” as a clown. I used white face and painted a sad clown face on my face and went to the shopping Mall in town. I walked around wondering what reaction I would get being so unusual for the shoppers. Most people avoided eye contact and looked uncomfortable with this odd presentation. Only two people approached me and they did not care to connect with me or ask why I was looking like a sad clown. What they were curious about is where I had gotten the white face make up. My sad exterior began to sink in and emotionally I began to take on this persona. There is no way I could have expected that this silly makeup would make me feel deeply sad. Do other costumes affect the way people feel? A suit, a tie, high heels, blue jeans, tee shirts, football helmets…

I learned a lot about myself and how my “costume” can create a reaction emotionally and perhaps a “statement” about who I am attempting to be in the world.

You will engage in activities today. Some will be critical and important, so stay focused. Some will be simple or mundane and perhaps turn meditative. What are the “painting activities” of your life? Can you appreciate the simple things as you chop wood and carry water?

The “simple” tasks are important, though seemingly basic. Appreciate the moment. Find your way into being present. And, consider even the most superficial acts as a possible doorway into a state of meditative consciousness which can have value. You are a Miracle. Consider what a miraculous thing it is to paint a wall with ALL that goes into that seemingly simple act… And, if you do not want someone stepping in a paint tray and tracking footprints around, you want to ask someone other than me for assistance with your painting project.

You are NOT superficial. You are perfect. You are a miracle. And, whether you have been told this or not, you are loved. The Divine Spirit burns bright within you.

BTW… If you have read this far, I want you to know that my son and I recently painted every wall in a new home. It was an effort that I did out of love for my son and his family. It made a difference and is an experience which we shared. When you offer an act of service it benefits both sides of the equation. Even a simple task can add value to your relationship in ways that only time will tell. Appreciate every act of service given to you AND everyone you perform. These are Life’s unspoken miracles, much of the time.

You are Amazing!