Don’t Push For Change, Just Notice It

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Happy Weekend! Here’s a little motivation for your Saturday morning. I’m reading this book called The $100 Startup and came across this great quote by Maya Angelou.

A lot of times we’re not looking for the right path to open and don’t know how certain situations in our lives will play out. But there are times when we’re pushed to the edge by the need for change. And being on that edge puts the bulldozer directly in our path. And weather it opens expectedly or unexpectedly just needing that change allows those doors to open.

Sometimes you don’t need to encourage change. Sometimes change encourages you. And on those days be grateful that you have a strong mind that is capable of carrying a bulldozer.

Today, don’t focus on making your mind stronger or making room for that bulldozer.. Just make sure to notice things that spark change in your life.

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Mantra For a Better Day

Some say there’s an answer for everything and a reason for everything.  But some things don’t have answers and there’s no reason behind why others happen.  But they do happen.  And when they do, you may feel like you’re losing control.  How did I get myself into this mess? How am I going to fix this?

But stop and think for a second.  Is it really the mess you thought it was?  Putting everything in perspective, is the bad really so bad and does it outweigh the good?  If you can get out of your head for long enough, step outside yourself, you’ll see that it’s usually not.  It’s like playing ping pong – when the ball lands in your court you just hit it right back to the other side.  As soon as you begin feeling like you’re losing control, remember that it’s all just a big game and that you have control over the match!

If you wake up every day  and the predominant thought you think is I am a successful actor, singer, poet, dancer, acrobat, doctor, fill in the blank, eventually that thought prevails and you become that which you have been thinking.  Of course, you have to actually believe in yourself first– but that’s a different article altogether.

A friend once told me his mantra was “Strong Mind”.  He’d repeat it over and over again until it sunk in.  Choose a mantra, a slogan or a phrase.  Repeat it over and over and over again so that it seeps into you.  Think it, see it, believe it, do it.  Make yourself a winner in any and every challenge you face.  Because it’s true what they say about repetition.  The more you repeat a phrase, the more you’ll actually start believing it’s true.  So instead of repeating the negatives, repeat the positives for a change.  And see how far they’ll take you!

Give yourself that reason to keep going.  Give yourself that reason to look past everything that may stand in your way.  Let your experiences make you a stronger person, a fighter.  And know that if you allow yourself to think about what you want enough, that thing will become yours.  And one day it won’t seem so unattainable.  Allow yourself to dream really really really big!  Then sit back and watch those dreams come to life.

The Gloves Come Off

You’re strung out, you’re tired, you don’t want to work, you don’t want to talk, you don’t want to laugh, you just want to rest.  You’ve reached your breaking point.  And you don’t have the strength to get angry or get happy any more.  It feels like the same things keep happening to you over and over again and like you can’t catch a break.  You try to forget about this but just can’t seem to.  Something inside of you can’t shake the feeling of uneasiness, or the idea that what you’re doing may not be good enough.  You hold on tight.  You don’t let go.  And truthfully, in doing so you allow the cycle to repeat itself.  When it does, you wonder why and you blame everyone but yourself.

I can’t get him out of my head, or I keep getting shitty jobs like this, or I just can’t seem to move forward.  Then one day you get sick of it all and hit the breaking point.  For me, this breaking point is a combination of surrender and acceptance.  It’s not that I don’t care any more, it’s that I’ve been caring too much.  And have reached a point where I need to take a step back, re-evaluate and start all over again.  Yes, start all over again and push through the fears, the tears, the terror, and the gut wrenching truth of how I got to that place to begin with.

A lot of times I have to get to this point more than once before I finally see some traction or movement.  And really, that’s ok.  In fact, it’s more than ok.  It’s great!  Because when I realize that I’m repeating the same actions I become aware of what’s going on.  If ignorance is bliss, then awareness must sit right next to godliness.  I’ve learned that it is only in ignorance that we keep repeating the same actions over and over again and keep expecting the same results and keep blaming others for not achieving our goals.  Next time you face a problem, sit with it for a while.  When it comes up again, sit with it again and the third time it comes up, look your problem in the face and deal with it.  At that point you’re familiar with it and may even be expecting it.  So instead of letting it trample you, use a little bit of foresight and conquer!  If it keeps coming up and you start noticing a pattern, be grateful because you are now aware and in awareness we can change the things we want to change.  Though ignorance may be blissful in some respects, ignorance also causes discontent.

Now that you’re looking your problem in the face, you can consciously change what you’re doing, how you’re thinking or behaving.  The biggest blessing of all is being able to sit with your own fears, tears problems and worries.  Facing the truth of what you see and only the truth.  Uncomfortable as it may be, remember this as a blessing because maybe now you realized what a schmuck you’ve been or how selfish or thoughtless you’ve become. And better than that you can do something about it.

The best part of reaching your breaking point is that there’s nowhere to go but upwards.  Think of it like being on a plane and reaching your final destination.  You’ve landed, stepped outside, looked around and now you’re ready to take the trip back home.  Maybe this place wasn’t for you.  Good news – you can go home now and this trip will be easier.  This breaking point is sort of like your trip back, or your road to recovery.  You can either fight and struggle on your way back or you can surrender and give in to it.  You’re on top of the mountain and can choose which way to go.  Is it the long, hard, rough road that most people walk on.  Or are you going to take the road less traveled, the secret road that looks scary and frightening but is really safe, caring, warm and nurturing?

Yes, the breaking point puts you face to face with your demons and that is scary.  But in letting your guard down and in realizing that you don’t need to fight you make the road back safer and easier.  Those demons only come out when they see you’ve got your dukes up.  They like the chase and the thrill and when you take off those gloves, they lose interest.

Instead of blaming, wondering and fighting take the gloves off for a change and walk your path in surrender, knowing that removing them doesn’t make you vulnerable.  It makes you’re stronger, able to move forward clearly in awareness and ease.  Let someone else take the thorny road home.  You know the difference between the two now… and doesn’t that feel good!

Let It Be

Ethicist and thinker Reinhold Niebuhr said, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Many times you think you may want something, and when you eventually get it, you realize it’s not what you really wanted after all. The fantasy of that thing seemed so appealing and the reality was starkly different. The catch 22 is that until you actually experience something you may not know how you feel about it. So then how can you decipher what you really want from what you think you want? Where and how does your intuition come in and how do you shut out all the noise, encourage serenity and garner the wisdom to know the difference between the two?

Much of the cause of our discontent is distraction from the present. This is where accepting the things you cannot change comes in. Because when you can finally get out of that fantasy and accept the reality, you realize what is possible, what is impossible and what you really want. And of course with peace comes happiness in what you already have because in the present it is easier to see what makes you happy and what does not. While you may have thought you were missing something huge, this combined serenity and wisdom may tell you something different.

Lately I have been surrendering quite a bit; Mainly, surrendering to the things I cannot change and accepting what is actually happening around me. As we live in a material obsessed society, this is an easy concept to think about, but not always an easy one to live out. Last week I came across a few barriers and I realized the only way to change those circumstances was to accept them and try as best I could to let them go because, quite frankly, doing the opposite had become a burden I no longer needed or wanted to carry. And once I felt at peace with that reality, I could move on, and even more so change my circumstance. Thinking about that now, it’s a bit ironic that in trying to phase out the wanting I realized I didn’t really want to want it anymore.

However annoying it or stressful it may be there are a handful of techniques and maneuvers you can take on the path to acceptance. And though I could bombard you with a slew of different ideas, and methods to focus on I will leave you with the one that has worked the best for me. And in truth, it is both the easiest and the hardest one. It is to just let it be. I encourage you to just let it be. And to do it with as much grace and ease as you possibly can. I’ll let you decide how to do that. Perhaps it’s by writing, or meditating or taking a walk, talking to a friend, or taking a kick boxing class; find a way to release and accept the things you cannot change and the things you can change will become more clear.

Do not wish, do not want and do not desire an outcome. But instead hold complete understanding that you are where you are for a reason and that in time you will garner the strength and courage to accept your serenity and change what you can. Until then, enjoy the ride and just let it be.

Learning Patience in Yoga

My yoga teacher told us to pull back in class yesterday.  And while in my downward dog I did, and it was easy and I felt great.  “Pull back,” she said.  I guess this is something they teach Yogi’s.  Maybe this is one of life’s secrets and something they teach during yoga practices – when the desire becomes overburdening, when it starts to hurt too much they just pull back.  And it seems like it would be easy to pull back when you want something so badly it hurts.  When you want it so bad it aches inside.  Many of us, myself included, don’t pull back.  Like bulls we race forward in full force, hard core.  It’s all the way or it’s no way.  To pull back feels like it would be a weakness, it feels like it would be giving up.  It feels incomplete to pull back.  I still am not completely sure what it means to pull back. But I do know that on Sunday afternoon I did one of the best downward dogs of my life… and all I had to do was pull back.  It’s something I’m still figuring out – even as I’m writing this.  Like a lot of other complexities, it’s an idea that is much easier to understand than it is to live.  And though my downward dog may be pretty stellar, the process of translating this concept to other areas of life seems more difficult.  Is it because we continue to push when we should just hold back and wait another minute?

One of the awful things about youth is that it lacks patience.  We don’t want to wait, we just want to keep on going until we can’t push any more, until we’ve worn ourselves out, until we feel like there is nothing left to push. And then we don’t want to push at all.  We don’t want to give up.  So maybe the only other option is to pull back.  Now, once again, this  is all much easier said than done.  And life experience is the only thing that can teach one patience.  Of course, being young we don’t want to wait to live our lives.  We want to have already lived it, the secrets and wisdom pouring out before our time.  But patience is worth waiting for.  Hopefully one day being patient or pushing too hard won’t make us feel like we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

It’s really all about timing because if the pause is in the wrong place, the whole joke will fall apart.  So maybe it’s really about enjoying the pauses, the in between, the pull back that makes living so great and that gives us stories and lessons to relay.  There’s nothing fun, interesting or worth remembering about the time you ran so hard and so fast that you ran right into the closed glass door – other than maybe some stitches and a broken nose.  Perhaps age teaches us to live with a greater sense of ease, a little more patience and some pull back.  Namaste.

Carrie Bradshaw’s Take On Family and Relationships

“The most important thing in life is your family.  There are days you love them and others you don’t, but in the end they’re the people you always come home to.  Sometimes, it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.”  – Carrie Bradshaw

Most twenty something year old women and perhaps even a few men are familiar with the above quote from Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and The City.  Though I’m slightly embarrassed by it because it’s one of the more cheesier quotes I’ve used here, I must admit that I grew up on SATC, as did many of my peers.  The draw of SATC, besides Patricia Fields out of control styling was the incredibly rich and tender relationships Carrie had with her friends.  The show became a model for fashionistas everywhere, yes.  But more so than that it became a model for the kinds of friendships we all want.

Perhaps you watched SATC and thought well it’s just TV and those story lines are embellished and often made up.  While this is true, to be fair a lot of times writers base their ideas on real life.  So someone out there either personally had or knew someone who had friends like Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.  Weather you want to admit it or not we all crave deep, intimate and satisfying friends.  We all need and thrive off our daily connections and it’s our friendships that make us feel alive.  But how many friends can you say would jump in front of a moving bus for you?

What would you sacrifice for your friends?  Are you the kind of person that would stay up all night with a friend because her boyfriend dumped her?  Would you be by their bedside during surgery or chemo or ________________?  We all want friends that would fly to the moon and back for us and we all want to be that friend for someone else.  But it takes a certain kind of awareness to really understand the terms of this type of friendship.  And how to recognize who, if anyone in your life is that person.

It’s the people that make our hearts sing, the friends we look up to no matter how old or young they may be; they’re the ones that make us want to be better.  We all have busy lives and may not get to see our friends often.  Most of time it’s fine.  But there are those few people that we become physically sick without.  Our connections with them are often instantaneous and they end up seeping into our souls and becoming a part of our DNA.  You can’t always explain why this happens with one person and not another.  You just know that without her or him a huge part of you would cease to exist.  I’m certain it’s a part of you you don’t want to get rid of and most likely these few people bring out the best in you.

These friends are special and should be treated with kindness, care, and understanding.  Neglect is my least favorite word when it comes to the preciousness of friends because neglect leads to anger, anger can lead to resentment and unfortunately anger and resentment can be the cause of many arguments and breakups.  Most of us run around thinking that our best friends know exactly how we feel about them.  The truth is, they don’t and unless we tell them how important they are they won’t.  Once you drop your defenses and start accepting that you need other people in your life; that these friends make you whole and that it’s not possible to live in your high and mighty solitude the rest of your life, you suddenly get what you’re asking for.  You realize how much you need certain people and the lengths you’ll go to to make them happy, because they make you happy. And after you realize this, you’ll start accepting that certain bonds will never be broken.  Some people are meant to come and go, while others are meant to stay.  Just as Carrie said, sometimes it’s not the family you’re born with (although it’s important to love the one you have), it’s the family you make for yourself that you always come home to.

The Sweet Escape

The water ran over Frederick as he lie face up in the sand with his arms and legs spread apart.  The breeze caught his rosy, moist skin and the hidden gems boldly groped in his hands.  They were only ashes of a far away sand dune he had taken captive, but to Freddie they may as well have been gold.

A child only understands one thing, play.  And play is all Freddie wanted. But before he could get back on his feet the enemy was holding him, engrossing him tightly and they began to lift his body upward in preparation of a drowned victory.  They were to thrust Freddie into the ocean.  His brothers, both older, knew he couldn’t swim and lying on the ground so pleased with himself and so vulnerable, they couldn’t resist.  The excitement was mounting.  Such a stupendous victory after Freddie’s triumphant defeat over them earlier.  What a way to end it all, they thought howling uproariously like wolves under the full moon.  Freddie opened his mouth to let out a call of distress.  His vocals echoed the beachy dunes and thundered inside his body.  He began to imagine them ripping apart, tearing at the seams until he could no longer speak.  He felt far away and tried to bring himself back but couldn’t.

His brothers were no longer holding him up, but had dropped Freddie to the ground and were gaping downward.  They saw a boy changing, morphing in front of their very eyes.  No one could speak, least of all Freddie, though he wanted to the most.  His shouts could now only produce tiny bubbles.  His vocal cords were now replaced with gills and the most he could do was pucker his mouth into a kiss and blow.  His body flailed on the wet sand.  Freddie was a dying fish.  His brothers stared, still petrified.  Unable to move much Freddie only had his thoughts now.  And he imagined himself slowly being devoured by these Humans.  Would he be fried, baked or cooked in a stew?  The wet sand and lack of water strangled him and before he realized it, his body was slowly flapping it’s way into the ocean in a sweet escape.

If he ever felt caught or trapped again he was now aware of this tremendous gift and the truth behind his identity.   Freddie could shape shift.

Demystifying The Myan Calendar & The End of The World

Contrary to popular belief the end of the Mayan Calendar is not the end of the world!!  It’s a re-birth and an emergence of a new form of consciousness.  Here’s what you need to know:

The Maya had two basic calendars:  The Tzolkin which was used for every day events and the Long Count Calendar, which was created to understand the cycles of evolution.  We’re going to focus on the Long Count today.  But before we dive in, I’m going to tell you something incredible.  This calendar has predicted major historic events, documented the speeding up of time and left philosophers and scholars wondering whether our idea of time will change after the year 2012.

In order to understand this in greater detail, we have to do some math… I know what you’re thinking.  Just bear with me and try to follow.  This calendar begins in the year 17.3 Billion BC and ends on December 21, 2012.  It is divided into nine time periods which are generated by factors of 20.  We are currently in the ninth and final underworld, which is 260 days long and ends on – you guessed it – December 21, 2012!  If you multiply backwards by 20, you’ll find that the eighth underworld was 13.5 years long.  Multiply 13.5 by 20 and you get 270 years, the duration of the seventh underworld.  The following description is taken from Barbara Hand Clow’s The Mayan Code, a great read for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the workings of the calendar and the meaning of time acceleration.

1st Underworld) 17.3 Billion BC: The Evolution of the Cellular Universe (The Big Bang, stars, galaxies form, etc)
2nd Underworld) 866.1 Million BC: Mammalian Consciousness (Monkeys, Lemurs, ability to walk upright)
3rd Underworld) 43.3 Million BC: Familial Consciousness (Homo Sapiens)
4th Underworld) 2.2 Million BC: Tribal Consciousness (Humans begin to make complex tools and begin to talk)
5th Underworld) 106,061 BC: Regional Consciousness (trading,agriculture, agriculture, organized religions form)
6th Underworld) 3401 BC: National Consciousness (Written language, science, fine art, historical religions)
7th Underworld) 1743: Planetary Consciousness (Materialism, Industrialism, Democracy..)
8th Underworld) 1999: Galactic Consciousness (Transcending the material framework of life)
9th Underworld) 2012: Universal Consciousness (No limiting thoughts, timelessness.)
**In The Mayan Code Barbara Hand Clow delves more deeply in to the history and events that take place during each underworld.

As the calendar progress these time periods shorten and speed up.  Another thing to point out is that all nine underworlds culminate at the same time, meaning that they’re all going on at once and they all end on the same date –  December 21st 2012.  Could this be the end of cyclical time?  Perhaps it’s the beginning of a new world consciousness?

After this, each time period is further broken down into seven days and six nights.   Because six plus seven is 13 – these periods are called The Thirteen Heavens (Heavens because each day or night is ruled by a god or goddess – but I won’t get in that now).  According to Barbara Hand Clow, “the first six numbers are the creation and building up of an issue, the seventh is a creative explosion and the last six add complexity that results in new creation.”  We are currently in the seventh and last day of Universal Underworld.

So now, you’re caught up!  This Mayan Calendar business is no longer a mystery to you and you’re not running to hide under a rock for fear that world is coming to and end!  If your mind is blown right now, like mine was when I first learned about this, pick up Barbara’s book here.

The Mayan’s offer us a new way to look at our world and the consciousness we create around it.  We are emerging into a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing, a new way of being.  We are coming into a world that is free of constructs where we can finally learn to think with our hearts.  When we realize that we are an active part of creation, the universe opens up to us and allows us to be free!

**Note:  Barabara Hand Clow’s book is based off of Johan Calleman’s The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness

Where the Magic Happens

Is there a small part of you that doesn’t want to do anything?  Maybe it’s a pretty big part.  Maybe you hear it every day.  The voice of frustration, the voice of fear, the voice of hatred, the voice of anger, the voice of wanting to stay out of it because you like stasis and don’t want to stir things up.  But, sometimes the pot needs to be stirred and when you’re in that mindset the excuses and defenses begin pouring out.  You come up with reasons for not doing, reasons for sitting, lying and staying frustrated, staying in the drama – even though you say you hate it.  Is that really the way anyone wants to stay?  No!

The thing is that it’s really easy to make excuses for yourself.  I don’t know about you, but I’m excellent at coming up with reasons to delay, procrastinate or not do something.  Sometimes it’s out of laziness.  Other times it from fear of failure.  Stepping over a hurdle is difficult because most of the time there’s just another hurdle waiting for you up ahead.  It can start feeling like a burden, like you need a break.  But think about it this way.  How dull would life be if everything was easy?  As much as you say you don’t like drama, wouldn’t you be horribly bored without it.  If you want something to change, you’ve got to shake it up, make yourself think, and give yourself a reason to step outside your comfort zone.

It’s never easy and anyone who tells you it is, is lying.  So, consider a new road, a new opportunity, a new way of being.   Don’t be afraid to shake things up.  If you want it, go for it!  A road will form when you’re ready to take a step.  But unless you lift your foot, nothing will happen.  Today, I encourage you to do something that scares you, or something you’re terrified of.  Go sky diving, take a class, start your novel, start a conversation with the co-worker you hate.  Step outside your comfort zone!  Then reap the rewards of conquering your fears.