A Change of Heart

Trying to keep the light on hope

OK, I know I bade farewell yesterday … at least for a little while. Today, however, I read the news that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. Although always sad to hear this kind of news, there are certain individuals you just never expect would commit suicide. For me, Anthony Bourdain is one of those people.


Of course, I didn’t know him. But based on his life and his shows, I can’t wrap my brain around it. Someone who loves life, food, and adventure that much … it just feels wrong.

I could speculate, but I will refrain. All I will say is this: If this was done purposefully, he was obviously suffering. If it was accidental, in my opinion, he was also suffering.

I’m sure he exercised … maybe even did yoga and meditation. But I don’t want to continue seeing news about suicide — celebrity or not. In addition to Bourdain, Kate Spade and a relative of one my closest friends all committed suicide this past week.  That’s far too many suicides.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have a switch. Sometimes I drop to the lowest level of human existence emotionally. That switch — and thank God for that switch — always flips life back on for me. I am thankful for that switch. So thankful.

I don’t know where that switch is. How it gets flipped. I’m guessing it is something I do or think … even if it is subconscious. I opened this site back up for that reason. Whatever it is. Whatever turns that switch back on, I hope comes out here. Somewhere in these posts. Somewhere in my rambling words, I’m hoping there is a nugget that can help someone find that switch within them.

I hope you have found the peace you were seeking, Mr. Bourdrain.

Before I Go

I wanted to say something before I go. I have received comments that I haven’t accepted my situation. Accepted what is happening in my life.

I just want to say those comments are incorrect. Trust me, I have accepted everything in my life. I came from a poor family with a dad who would call me stupid when I pissed him off. I accepted that he didn’t have a perfect life growing up. That he was flawed, as was I. He did the best he could. I know my childhood wasn’t ideal, but it had very good moments. Call it denial or high-functioning mental illness if you will. I prefer to focus on the good points rather than the bad even if I see and accept it for what it was.

I’m not going to detail my entire life. I’ve had to accept a lot of things in my life. This past year, I thought someone cared about me. Maybe even a couple of people. Turns out they didn’t. Oh, I’ve accepted that. I always have. Every man or boy when I was younger that I’ve ever liked has never liked me. Trust me, I have accepted that. That’s why I had given up on finding love … until l thought a possibility was presenting itself to me. But it wasn’t. Still, I accepted it.

Yes, I lost my job. I was let go as part of a layoff. It wasn’t just me, but did I help my situation there? Not necessarily. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t love my job. When asked what I was proud of at work, I couldn’t offer anything. Unfortunately, that was the truth. I was never allowed to do my best work there. My morale suffered. So, did I play a part in it? Probably so.

But two days later, I sat on my sofa and I told myself, “OK, you’re unemployed. You were let go … for the first time in your life. That’s OK. You’re not the only one to go through this.” And I’m not. Millions of people have been let go. So I began my job search.

Do I suffer from depression? Yes, I suppose I do. I’ve never been diagnosed, but I know I get down. And yes, I have done so more in the last few years. Yes, I was told by a therapist that I had suffered some sort of trauma in my childhood. It surprised me. It took me a minute or two to process that. I thought and I thought what could have possibly caused the trauma, and I had no idea. At least not in the traditional sense. No big event or anything. There were little things like being called stupid. Seeing my dad’s anger do harm to other people and pets. Car accidents. A close family member dying when I was a child. So I determined it was that. Just a lot of small ongoing things. I accepted it and moved on.

Yes, I have accepted all of these things. This is my life. It is not perfect, but it is mine. And I can choose to wallow in the bad stuff, or I can choose to pick myself up and move on. Two days after being laid off, I started applying for jobs. And I kept applying and I have done many, many interviews. And I’m still applying. I’m still looking. I’ve accepted I may not find the same kind of job I had before at the same pay rate. So, I’m going to retailers and gyms and applying to their jobs. I’m OK with that. I just need to pay my bills. I’m practical like that.

I’m looking at different ways to make a living. Like getting certified in yoga and teaching yoga while working part-time somewhere else. Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybe I won’t. Maybe it will all change three weeks into starting it.

But to those who say I haven’t accepted it. Trust me, I have. I have sat on my sofa and cried for hours. I have gone to bed crying. I have slept for 12 hours straight some days. I have reached out for professional help. I’ve talked to psychics.

And this blog. My meditation and yoga. My applying for jobs — even those that don’t pay near what I’m accustomed to earning. My understanding that no one has or more than likely ever will love me. All of it means I have accepted it and now I’m trying to move forward. To walk away. There is nothing else I can do with it. I can sit here and do nothing. I can sit here and bemoan how my life has fallen apart. The blog has let me do that to some degree. But it has also let me work through my feelings about some of it so I can move forward and walk away.

I have accepted and I am moving forward. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes I get sad, but I keep moving forward. Otherwise, you will get stuck and stay there. I’m not staying there. If that’s what you consider accepting, then no, I won’t be accepting.

Despite all of these things. Despite being at the lowest point in my life. I fight. I get up and I keep swinging. Sometimes it’s messy. And others watching just want me to stay down. Don’t want me to get up and get hit again. But that’s not life. And although my choices and how I handle it may not look the way you want it to look, I’m accepting and I’m dealing with it. But what I do and the way it looks is not for you, now is it? It’s for me. Is it the right way? Is it perfect? No, it is not. But it has gotten me through my life so far.

And you can call that high-functioning PTSD. High-functioning anxiety. High-functioning depression. Whatever you want to call it. But it is me moving forward. It is me taking responsibility for my life. It is me trying to improve my situation. I wouldn’t be doing any of those things if I had not accepted my life and what is happening in it. You can’t move forward without accepting. That’s just the way it is.

Perhaps I have all of those disorders. All of them. It’s unfortunate. It may be true. But what am I supposed to do? Stop living? Give up my home and everything I’ve earned in life? Is that what accepting is? I guess I don’t even understand why someone would say I’ve not accepted it. I also don’t understand how taking steps to change my life is not accepting it and moving forward.

There are so many things that have happened to me this past year that I don’t understand. Things people have said. Things that have hurt me. Things I have tried to use to better myself, only to fail. I have asked for answers. Explanations. Confronted a lot of things. I haven’t received any answers. And I’m told that my looking for answers is part of the problem. That I’m not accepting.

Well, to that I say I realize you don’t always get closure. There are things in my life, especially this past year, that I will never understand. I will never get answers to. I have accepted that. As painful as it is, I have accepted it.

And you want me to walk away? OK. I will walk away.

But here is one piece of advice that I offer to some of you. If you don’t care about someone. If you are just pretending to care for someone to teach them a life lesson. Or to drive them in a direction you think they should be heading. Or any other reason other than actually sincerely caring about them. Don’t. Even if you think it is the right thing to do. Don’t break someone’s heart unnecessarily. Never lead anybody on for any reason.

You don’t know what someone has been through. You don’t know how they think and feel. You don’t know how they will react. I don’t care if you have some of the best therapists in the world working with you. You can’t fully predict human nature or human experience. You just can’t.

I did this once to a boy in fourth grade. He was my friend. His name was Bernie. We were good friends. He had a crush on me, but I didn’t feel the same about him. Of course, I had a crush on someone else who didn’t know I existed.

Bernie was smitten and I felt badly because I didn’t feel the same. I thought I would help him. I decided that I would agree to be his girlfriend and then break up with him. That way he would move on and start liking someone else. Eventaully we could go back to just being friends.

He played football. He wasn’t a tough guy but he wasn’t one of the softer ones either. Just normal. After I broke up with him, he started crying. I saw tears running down his face. The look he gave me devastated me. It wasn’t the result I had expected.

I had the best intentions. I truly did. I thought it was the best thing to do. It wasn’t. In fact, that was one of the worst things I have ever done. It doesn’t sound like much, I suppose. But it was. I have never forgiven myself for that. I probably never will. I didn’t mean to hurt him. My fourth grade brain didn’t undestand that it would hurt him. I just thought he would like someone else.

That look. To this day, I can still see it. He had on his football jersey and tears hanging onto his eyelashes. I had never seen a boy cry … or not like that. Not for that reason. I never wanted to see that again. I didn’t want to hurt anyone ever again. I have tried my best to never hurt anyone again.

I have, of course, but I try not to. People think that makes me fake. Or something. No. I just don’t want to unintentionally hurt someone. My intention with Bernie wasn’t to hurt him. It was to direct him elsewhere. But it was the wrong thing to do. I shouldn’t have done it and it has impacted my life every since.

Funny how something that small – or in the grand scheme of things is small – can affect you. So yes, I’m conscious of how I interact with others. Yes, maybe I err on the side of not being myself in order to not hurt someone. But I’d rather be alone and not myself than to hurt someone like that again.

So that’s one of the things I’ve dealt with this year. Someone pretending to like me in order to move me in a different direction. Or, as best I can tell, that’s what was happening. Again, I have no answers.

Maybe that’s what this whole thing has been about. Bringing me back around full circle. To that time I hurt Bernie. It was the wrong thing to do. I accept that. Forgiving myself for it? I don’t know yet. It was fourth grade. I was dumb. But I should have never intentially hurt someone — although that wasn’t exactly my intention. I meant to help.

Anyway, there is no point to all of this. It’s a ramble before I close. The death throes of a fucked up year.

I guess in the spirit of this blog my point is to be kind to one another. Be honest. If can avoid hurting someone, avoid it. If you must, try to be honest and caring. Never deceive anyone. And even when you don’t have answers, accept it. Accept it all. Then dust yourself off and carry on.


Strange Things Are Afoot


I know there are a few folks out there who follow this blog. I feel like I should give you a heads up out of courtesy. I’ve had some strange things happen online since I started this blog. I’m not sure if they are related to the blog or not. Regardless, I’ll be taking the blog offline in a day or two. Maybe one day when the strangeness goes away (or at least doesn’t feel so strange anymore) I will come back to it.

Thank you for reading it. I appreciate it.

Peace, y’all.

The Darkness Behind My Eyes

Allowing your darkness to open your eyes to the now


Today, the darkness behind my eyes was too much. I struggled with my meditation. The darkness felt like a void. A dark cave I couldn’t escape.

I know there are some out there who want my posts to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. Or to be more profound. This isn’t going to be the blog post for you. Or it will at least require you to read to the end.

Today’s meditation was about wanting clarity on where I should go in life. You’ve heard me talk about this here quite a bit. I start down a path. Feel certain. Then I don’t.

The last few days there has been no path. I’m standing somewhere that looks like nowhere circling around looking for a trail, a street, a sidewalk, a road. Anything that resembles a direction I can follow. But nothing is there.

Today, there was only that black canvas draped around me. My closed eyes seeking for something I couldn’t find. Lost.

Now that I’m writing it, that I’ve stepped away from that moment, I see that I can take that black canvas and project whatever I want on it. Picture the world just as I want it. But during my meditation, it felt suffocating. Too dark to handle.

My eyes flitted back and forth behind my lids. I tried mantras. Focused on my breathing, but none of those little tricks worked today.

I played the same thoughts over in my head. Things that have been said. That I hold onto this feeling, this feeling of being lost and not knowing where to go because it makes me feel special.

But I don’t feel special. Not remotely. Today, especially in that dark cave behind my eyes, I felt pointless. The opposite of special. There was nowhere for me to go. Nothing to do. I had no purpose. No calling. No reason for existing.

Is that depression? Maybe. Dark night of the soul? I don’t know. Do those things exist? An existential crisis is the logical explanation. But special it is not.

It was overwhelming. My mind raced. My breathing shallow. All I could feel and see was the blackness. The emptiness. Spinning ’round, looking for a path that wasn’t there.

The strange thing is that I did a yoga practice this morning that I felt good about. It wasn’t challenging in the strength sense. The challenge was more about slowing down. The pace was even slower than a normal yoga routine. It really focused on the aspects of your life and practice that have become mechanical. Being aware of the mind-body-breath union.

I was in a good mindset going into my meditation. Then the darkness arrived. So, here is a little trick I have found. I’ve only done this a few times. Perhaps it works for me because I have the ability to stare out a window for hours and literally not have a thought in my head.

If your meditation becomes too much. Too dark. The thoughts gain momentum rather than becoming clouds that drift by. Open your eyes.

For me, this works. Become present. Continue the meditation, but open the eyes. Instead of focusing on a mantra or the breathing inside the dark room, focus on the world in front of you. I sit by windows or french doors to meditate. I like to feel the sunlight. Or at least sense it if I’m not sitting directly in front of it.

Sometimes I focus better in the light than in the dark. It’s a simple adjustment. Focus your eyes on something and be knowledgeable of it and your place in the world.

I wasn’t in a dark room of despair. I was in my living room seeing the magnolia tree in my front yard. The shades of dark green mixed with a few golden leaves that will fall soon. The wind gently swaying the limbs back and forth. Seeing how the sun reflects off the glossy side of the leaves.

That is where I am. That is where I’m supposed to be.

I think the yoga practice actually opened something up to me. That is why the darkness was simply too dark for me today. In slowing myself down. Living and experiencing the movements and the breath rather than just performing them, I realized that I rush myself. That I think I’m being present but I’m going through the motions.

The darkness behind my eyes was simply me trying to rush toward a future I don’t know. Instead of embracing the not knowing, it overwhelmed me. Opening my eyes allowed me to refocus on the now. Where I needed to be. To see that majestic magnolia tree in my front yard. To experience the world in front of me at this moment in time.

Answers will come when they are ready. Make a decision to open your eyes and live in the now. See what is in front of you. Feel what is present now. Act on what you know now. The future will change. You will change. That darkness will always be there and it will always overwhelm you if you don’t recognize the present.

Peace, y’all.

Expanding the Spiral

Going within to grow without


That circular path. I keep coming ‘round to some of the same thought patterns. Expanding outward on the spiritual journey. Going within to grow without.

Why did I start this blog? To make the world a better place. I believe the only way to do that is by each individual making the choice to participate in that effort. That each of us, one by one, must make the choice to improve ourselves and the world around us.

Yoga and meditation, other forms of self-care, the deep ones, that’s how we get there. We try to be the best person we can be. These things help us go within. Work on ourselves. Be better people. From there, we become more loving, compassionate, empathetic. We see ourselves in others. We see the beauty in the world. And create more beauty in the world.

I believe we have an opportunity to expand upon what has been built and create a better world for ourselves. Expand upon religion as we know it. Reconnect with nature. Live more harmoniously.

This is how we will move forward as a species, as a planet. Expanding our perspective on the faiths of the world. Moving away from the divisions and finding greater love and peace within the commonalities. Seeing a connection between everything.

Today’s religions began during a different time in a much different world. They were developed as a way to civilize society. To provide guidance for living in and around other human beings as we moved away from nomadic lives to centralized living. They gave us something to aspire to … or to avoid (i.e, heaven and hell).

But we live in a much different world today. There aren’t a few large cities scattered across one or two continents. There are billions of people on this planet now. Living together. Connected to one another — whether they like it or not.

As our world changes, so must our means of living together harmoniously. I’m not saying demolish religion, necessarily. Expand upon it. Perhaps consider a universal religion. One based on the individual growth and responsibility. One based on finding compassion for others. Based on commonalities, not differences.

The Golden Rule. I wrote about it recently in a previous post. Most major religions have a similar take on the Golden Rule somewhere within their texts. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It’s so simple. Could a solution to many of today’s woes be that simple? Yes, I believe it can.

You may be wondering if I believe in a higher being. Yes, I do. I choose to believe that, but yes, I absolutely believe in a higher being.

However, I believe we are already part of that higher being. It is part of us. Each of us. We live and breath it every day. It connects all of us. It is not something we must die to rejoin. It is here and now. It is everything we know and see.

Unfortunately, the religions of the world now are serving to divide us. The religions have not evolved with the times. We are growing more and more divided because of the differences between this religion and that one.

Can you imagine for a moment if we changed perspectives? If we looked at the commonalities between religions? They all strive to get to a higher place. They all strive to become better people. Create a better world. Caring for one another. Treating one another as we want to be treated.

If we lived that every day, what would our lives be like? Wouldn’t that be more pleasant than the world as it is now? Wouldn’t we be more united than divided?

Is it so difficult to find the commonalities? To see one another as humans trying to aspire to be better humans? It’s not difficult at all.

We can reach a higher level than we have ever reached on earth before. We can live in greater harmony. Love one another more. Save the planet that supports us.

Heaven on earth? Utopia? Perhaps. More peaceful and loving? Absolutely.

But it all begins with me and you. Each individual making a choice to focus on the good parts of today’s religions. Focus on those things we all search for. And forget about the differences.

It requires us to be compassionate and empathetic. It requires us to be our best so that we contribute the best to everything around us. Then, let it spread like wildfire.

Of course there are other reasons behind the world’s problems. Fear. Greed. To name a couple. All of these things, these human frailties, can be improved through self-improvement. By going within. By choosing to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

I have always compared our existence with Einstein’s theory: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

If you have studied biology or geography, astronomy, physics. Everything in this world is constantly changing. People, trees, the air we breathe, the water we drink — everything is a chemical reaction or physical reaction that requires and generates energy. That energy creates changes or the energy itself changes. Our bodies grow, trees grow, things die, decay and regenerate from seed. It’s all energy. And that energy all interacts and reacts with the other energy around it.

That energy. That energy is the higher being. That energy that connects everything. That is God. Spirit. The Universe. Whatever you want to call it. It is us. It is every cell. Every subatomic particle. It is every human made up of those cells. Every community. Every country. Every planet. The stars. The moon. The galaxy and beyond.

Einstein saw it, I believe. The universe. Infinity. We cannot fully understand anything in this world because the world and everything in it are always changing. We can go so far but without stopping it, we cannot fully understand it. It is one step ahead of us. It always will be.

The mystery. He spoke of mystery. Things unsolved. He either saw it or chose to believe that there is something beyond that connects us all and that we will not understand it all. Of course, that is only my opinion.

Science and religion are connected for me. They are the yin and yang of our existence. Fact and faith. Science looks within ourselves, our cells, our galaxy, our earth to find the facts. We look within to find the faith, the mystery. Somewhere those two things cross paths. Where exactly, I do not know. But energy is the center of it.

We are made of energy. Energy creates us, and changes form when we die. And if we are all energy and we have the power to change the energy we send out through mindfulness and awareness, then we have the ability to change our world. To create the world we want.

Think about the energy you put out in the world. When you walk in a room and you’re gloomy or angry, it affects those around you. It’s a bad vibe. Bad energy. You can feel it. I can feel it. It changes the room. It changes the people.

That energy that connects us is the reason why we feel it. If we were totally separate, your mood would have no impact on my mood. My bad behavior would have no impact on you or the environment around me. But we all know that it does.

Happiness spreads from one person to another. Laughter spreads. Your spirit improves when you do something you enjoy. Those around you feel it.

Everything is connected. The spiral expands.

Step back and look at a bigger perspective. If there is an entire country of people arguing amongst themselves. Focusing on their differences rather than their commonalities. How does that impact that country? How does that impact countries around it?

When one human being looks at another human being and hates him or her for the color of their skin. Or for the fact that they are one gender or another. That they prefer to have sex with one gender or another. They believe in one God or another. How does that hate impact that other person? How does the other person’s reaction impact those around them and their family? The community that supports them?

Cancer works the same way. Bad cells multiply and spread. Affecting nearby cells and organs around them. It spreads. It devours.

Now flip the switch. What happens when you connect with others, show compassion? You change. Those who receive your compassion show gratitude. You smile. They smile. You are united in a common good. The world seems a little better. That’s because it is.

Everything is connected. The spiral expands.

Each human is like a cell in the greater being we call Earth. Earth is a cell in our galaxy. Our galaxy impacts a greater universe. That’s my philosophy.

Our connection with the planet, with nature, works the same way. If we mistreat it, it withers and dies. Or it fights back with storms and drought. Without nature, we don’t exist. We don’t breath. We don’t eat. We don’t have water. Mistreating the planet is mistreating ourselves.

By taking care of the planet, we take care of ourselves. Our air is cleaner. Our lungs are cleaner. Are food is healthier. We are healthier.

Everything is connected. The spiral expands.

Our journey, whether we want to believe it or not, is circling around. We are finding old patterns, old obstacles, old ways of thinking coming back up over and over again. We are stumbling. We are stopping. We are not expanding. It’s becoming a challenge that we are not overcoming. And the energy of the planet is changing.

We have the opportunity to grow. To be bigger. Grander. Happier. More peaceful. More harmonious. Beyond anything we have yet experienced.

But our ways of aspiring to greatness must evolve. Religions must expand. Our way of thinking and viewing each other and the world around us must focus on our connections now. There are too many of us. We live too close together. We are too connected to be disconnected.

Focus on the commonalities. We all want happiness. A comfortable peaceful home in a comfortable peaceful neighborhood. We want to enjoy food. Have good times. Have clean air to breathe. Food to eat. Water to drink. We want kindness and joy. Compassion when it is needed. Support. And most of all love.

We must connect to ourselves. Then connect to those around us. Connect to the world around us.

I’m not saying we won’t be human. We won’t stumble. We won’t suffer the human condition. Of course, we will. That is part of the experience. But isn’t part of the experience also to grow? To learn? To aspire to better the world and the lives of those around us?

It’s a simple solution. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do yoga. Meditate. Go within. Find that peace for yourself. Find the love for yourself. Let it spread beyond. Connect to those around you. Find the commonalities. Find the connection. Spread good energy. Bring good vibes. Let the spiral expand.

Peace, y’all.