The Cosmic Machine

Integrating positive influences to make the world a better place

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Influences are funny. You know immediately when something has an impact on you, but you forget about it over time. You forget about the impact and maybe even forget about the thing that had the impact.

Yesterday I heard the song Imagine by John Lennon. I don’t remember the first time I heard the song. I don’t recall how old I was or where I heard it. All I know is that when I hear it, I still tear up. That song touches something so central to my being I am overwhelmed by it.

The simplicity of it is beautiful. The message, of course, is beautiful. I don’t really believe in perfection, but that song is pretty damn close if you ask me.

That song and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss pretty much sum up everything I am or everything I try to be. They are what this blog is all about when I get down to it.

If you read that book, listen to that song and maybe throw in the Golden Rule, you have my philosophy on life. My outlook on the world and how we should be. Maybe a Bob Marley quote or two could be added into the mix.

Yoga and meditation have recently come into my philosophy, and now Pilates as well. It’s really more just a mind, body, spirit connection. Physical well-being leads to mental well-being and eventually spiritual well-being. For me, I add on one more layer. The energy within us affects the energy around us.

OK, for my complete philosophy I have to include Einstein’s theory that energy can’t be created or destroyed, it simply changes form. Everything, in my opinion, is made of energy. That mind/body/spirit connection influences our energy. The world around us, the planet we live on, is also made of energy and connected to everything. Our energy influences the planet and vice versa.

So, in my mind, a pop song, a children’s book, and a scientific theory walk into a bar and a new world order is born. I think I’ve said this on here before I’m good at seeing the big picture. True or not, I think I am and that’s really all that matters, right?

Seeing the big picture means seeing all the moving parts and how they connect. To fix a problem in the big picture, you have to find where in the machinery the gear is stuck. Sure we have large-scale problems in this world, but don’t they all start from the individual mind? How the mind perceives something? How it reacts to it? That’s the stuck gear in the cosmic machine.

When that tiny, single gear is stuck way down in the machine it seizes up the rest of the operation. Perhaps it’s not completely stuck. Perhaps it just has buildup and turns slowly. Or it’s rusty and needs some lubrication. Still, it affects how the rest of the machine operates.

I’m just trying to get the gears at the beginning of the process to work properly and then we can start to fix the other things. Or maybe they will fix themselves.

We start by getting ourselves in proper working order. I’m not saying we have to perfect human specimens and we can never fuck up. If you don’t fuck up, you don’t learn, so being human is part of the process. Once you start understanding yourself and how you think and react, though, you can make changes that improve your well-being and eventually those around you.

You’re still going to fuck up. I mean, let’s be serious for a minute. That’s OK. It’s the effort that matters really.

People think you have to move mountains to make the world a better place. That is not my intention at all with this blog. I don’t move mountains. I write a blog. In the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty insignificant, considering there are hundreds of millions of blogs in the world and tens of millions of posts made every day.

I’m just a single plankton in the sea. In the end, though, it is the small things that matter. Giant, bold moves matter, of course, but how often do those happen? How many of us would feel comfortable doing that? Not many.

That’s OK. It doesn’t mean we can’t play a part. Helping someone move a piece of equipment in the gym when they’re struggling to move it helps. Saying thank you and hello to a cashier helps. Telling someone you appreciate them or they look nice today helps.

It may not seem like much. It may not seem like enough, but it is. If each of us did one truly kind thing, without expectations, each day or made one small positive change, that’s billions of good vibes out in the world within the same 24-hour period. How good would that feel? Pretty fucking good, I think.

I’m shy, though. Terribly shy. I always have been and have had to overcome it to function in this world. Lately, because of the type of work I do, I’ve fallen back into my shell.

I’m focusing on yoga, pilates and that sort of thing to feel more confident in myself. So I can be in a group of people and not wish I could disappear. I love people, but I’m shy as hell. The mind/body/spirit connection helps me with that.

One, it helps me make a bold, strong statement if I need to — one that may change things for the better. But, really, it also helps me be friendlier, especially to strangers. To bring me out a little more. I had learned to come out of my shell for work years ago, but I don’t really have to do that anymore. I can be a quiet little mouse, and I have been.

What I’ve noticed is that I shy away from more now than I used to. I refrain from saying hello or smiling at strangers. There was a point in my life when I didn’t shy away. I smiled and said hello to everyone. Not a boisterous hello or anything like that, but a smile and whisper. I spoke to everyone.

Just speaking to someone can have an impact. Those little things make a difference. At least I believe they do. Even when someone looks at me sideways for speaking to them, I don’t want care. That’s the way I used to be. I felt better for being friendlier and hopefully, somewhere deep down, it made them feel better, too.

I want to get back into that habit again. The world responds differently when you do. It may be a small difference, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice it.

This blog even is a bit of me working on being out there more. Trying to have a small impact somewhere, somehow. I’m not a great writer. It doesn’t matter. My ability to write is not the point of this blog. The point is trying to make a difference. To influence change if I can.

I heard that song and I remembered the influence it had on me in my youth. It still has an impact on me. I read The Lorax sometime last year, I recall, and I cried like a baby. A grown woman crying at a children’s book. Eh, I’m a sensitive type.

But that’s where I’m trying to go with all of this. Improving ourselves so we can make just a small change in our day, in someone else’s day. Get back in touch with those influences that make us realize our connection to one another. To what’s important in the world.

I’m trying to build that world John Lennon imagined. That place where the Truffula trees still live. Where the cosmic machine is operating at full capacity. I think it all starts from within. That we can make a difference one person at a time. It’s as simple and as beautiful as Lennon’s lyrics. Maybe I’m crazy or maybe Lennon was right. Maybe he’s not the only dreamer after all.

Peace, y’all.

Tornado Phases

A shout out to anyone dealing with life changes

For a while, I had recurring dreams about tornadoes. Usually, there were herds of tornadoes coming toward me. Is there a group term for tornadoes? I like herd. It felt like a stampede in the dreams.

These went on for about 6 months or a year. Not every night, but consistent. In one dream, an unearthly sized tornado picked up my childhood home. My entire family was inside, including me. At first, there was a lot of rocking back and forth, and then suddenly, everything was still and quiet.

We were all sort of floating within the space of the house. It had a feeling of weightlessness. Similar to being in space, I assume. It was strangely peaceful although I was thinking we were probably all going to die. It was silent. No one spoke. We just looked at one another as if in some way to say goodbye. Strange feeling. I still recall it although it’s been a few years ago since I had the dreams.

At the end of the dream, my dad disappeared from inside the house. I don’t know what happened or where he went, but I looked around he was gone. The rest of us were still there in the house in the eye of the storm.

That’s all I remember about that particular tornado dream. It stuck with me, though. I suppose because a year or two later (I can’t recall exactly when I had these dreams), my dad passed away.

I probably wouldn’t have thought there was any tie to my dad’s passing and the dream had I not had another set of recurring dreams just before cat passed away, which happened just a few months before my dad’s passing. The year leading up to my cat’s death, I had recurring dreams that he kept getting under the house (a house, not always mine) and getting lost. He always found a litter of kittens in every dream, but one. The last dream, he didn’t run away or get lost. He spoke to me in that dream. He was unfriendly in that dream, like he didn’t feel well or was upset with me. At the end, he told me I cared only about him until Charlie came along.

I didn’t know who Charlie was even in the dream. Charlie didn’t exist in my life in that dream. Charlie was someone I was going to meet later. In fact, I was going to the back of this extremely ‘70s beach house to meet Charlie. I woke up as I walked into the room where Charlie was supposed to be … somewhere in the future room.

My cat passed away soon after that. So, recurring dreams are not usually good signs for me. I’m not saying I predict the death of loved ones, it’s just maybe some trigger in my brain knew that day was coming someday.

I digress talking about my dreams, though. The point of bringing up the tornado dream with my dad was that feeling when the house was lifted into the tornado and we were just floating. Anticipating the future, not knowing what’s going to happen. How bad it’s going to be or if we’re all just really lucky? Except for my dad, who disappeared.

That feeling is the feeling I’m having with my life right now. It’s not a bad feeling, but uncertain. Trying to remain calm in the uncertainty.

The beauty of being laid off from my job is that it has given me the opportunity to reflect on life more than I do when I’m working. I know I want to make changes in my life. I am working toward those, but I’m not sure if any of them are right. It’s not bad or good, just uncertain.

The other uncertainty is how much change can I make at once? Can I go all out and change my entire life? Or do I find a bit more stability in a job that fits my experience and training and then make small changes. I have tried that a few times in the past with not a lot of success. That’s why I feel pressure, within myself, to make bigger changes while I have the opportunity.

Income is such a pain in the ass, isn’t it? If it wasn’t for needing to pay the bills, all of these decisions would be so much easier. I have no fear of trying something new or going down a different path. I fear not being able to make ends meet. That wouldn’t be a fear if I could find part-time work. It’s not happening, though.

Is it failure if you can’t make all the changes you want to make at one time? Does it matter if it’s failure? Failure isn’t a bad thing.

I’ve never failed. At anything. Ever. I mean, I’m a terrible public speaker. Anything I set out to do, I did. And, if I say so myself, I did it pretty well most of the time. I’ve always received good reviews. Positive feedback.

Until this last job. I received good reviews. Raises. After my third boss in three years, though, I was told I couldn’t write. That was my job. It’s been my job my entire career. Then I was laid off with several other people, but the rub of it was still there.

it shattered my entire being. Normally, in the past, I would have taken that in stride and kept going. But, I had already been looking for a change in my life. I wasn’t happy with my work. I knew I needed to change. I don’t know. I tripped.

It’s funny when I think about it. Never really failing. Never getting laid off. It’s not from staying in the safe zone. I’ve changed careers. I’ve changed jobs (fairly frequently the last few years). I changed majors six times in college. I’ve tried so many new things. Gone to countries where I didn’t speak the language and still had a good time.

But I never failed. Then I did. Now I know I want to make changes, but I can’t quite figure out what the changes should be. How far out there should I go? Do I take a small step and try to be a creative writer and get a part-time job? Do I go all out and change everything? Go back to school or learn a new skill? But then how do I pay the bills?

The eye of the tornado. It’s not the same feeling as the spiral of the spiritual journey. Well, it is, I suppose but at 180 miles an hour instead of a slow pace.

Dealing with your first failure while trying to change your life is a bit of a challenge? You have to overcome the insecurities that being laid off gives you while convincing yourself you can do anything you want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you don’t know what exactly it is you want. I go from being a life coach/health coach/nutritionist to therapist, to musician, novelist, poet, herbalist, pilates/yoga instructor and more. The other day I tried to determine if there was anything close to being a professional student? I haven’t identified such a career yet.

Each day passes without income and I can’t determine how to move forward. I realize I need to just devise a plan and stick with it. As soon as I do, though, I’m not sure if it is the right way to go and I change gears. Eventually, I will run out of time, unemployment benefits.

At the same time, I see all the opportunities available to me. I can go in any direction I want. That gives me joy. That peace I felt in the dream. The calm in the center of the tornado.

Given, I spent the first three months of my unemployment incessantly looking for new jobs instead of moving in a new direction. Well, besides the pilates certification. I wasted some time, but that’s what you do when you’re laid off. Looking for a job is your full-time job, or so they tell you.

How do you take risks? Big risks? I take small ones. Calculated ones. Big risks scare me. Is it even that big of a risk to go down a different path? Not really. Not if you can find income. Maybe I do Uber or Lyft for a while. Make a little money try to do something else.

I don’t know. I would love to hear if others have thoughts on this? If anyone else has gone through this and what did they do? Did you change or stay on your regular path?

What is the point of this post? To learn from others. It’s for me. It’s selfish in that sense. And to let others know it’s OK to question your life. To question if you’re heading in the right direction or if you should jump on a different path. And, since I know some many folks who have recently been laid off, you’re not alone. We all deal with these same questions and being laid off does suck in some ways and is very good in other ways.

I read a book a while back called Guitarlo by Arlo Hennings. It is an entire book of going through these tornado phases. He always followed his heart, though, and the doors always opened. It’s rather inspiring story if you ask me.

My problem is finding what’s in my heart. I can’t seem to nail that down. Again, if others have suggestions on how to identify what’s in your heart, finding who you really are and why you are here, I’d love to hear about it. Or do you just do what you love and not care about purpose so much? That has always been a stumbling block for me.

And if you don’t comment here, that’s fine. But if you know someone going through this process. Whether they are laid off or not, but especially if they are laid off, reach out to them. Let them know what you think they are good at, what their good qualities are. That’s what I’ve been seeking without an answer. That’s the difficult part for me. I know it’s supposed to all come from within, but hearing something from without helps. It just does. It confirms something you already knew or it opens up a line of thinking you had never considered before.

If you do that, it may help them to make that decision. To make the big leap … or take the small leap. Either way, it’s good. It’s helpful. Either way, their house gets placed gently back down on the ground when the tornado passes.

Peace, y’all.

Alien Signals from the Deathbed

Embracing your own insanity as a form of self-love

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So, I’m a liar. I said I was going to take a break from this blog. Here I am writing another post two days later. I’m pretty certain I’m going insane. I guess that’s OK. I have to embrace it, I suppose. I can’t stop it, obviously.

I was just writing in my journal this morning how I’m not compelled to do certain things. I want to do them, but I don’t feel compelled to them. Like, write a novel or paint or anything artistic like that. Painters are compelled to paint. Musicians are compelled to compose. What am I compelled to do?

So, I asked myself, on my deathbed, will I regret not doing these things? I didn’t feel that I would. They’re nice to have but not necessary. Tomorrow, if you asked the same question, I would probably answer in a completely different fashion.

I digress … or at least I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t know if anyone reads this thing. I get comments from time to time. I guess someone reads it or at least takes the time to comment whether they read it or not.

I’m not even talking about anything on here anymore. I realize that. It’s just my random thoughts sputtering out into the universe. For some reason, I feel compelled to do this. Suddenly. To share shit. I don’t share shit. It’s not my thing.

Well, apparently, now it is. This blog has basically become my personal journal. Someone commented once they liked reading about my journey. Yeah, it’s a journey, alright. Straight into Crazytown.

I am über private. Uber private. I wouldn’t let people stand in the same room where my journals were hidden. Yeah, they were hidden. Yes, I live alone. I was afraid someone would see them. Read them. Like someone gives a shit. It was a concern though.

Now, I’m putting all my thoughts out here. For no reason. I don’t really think anyone reads this. Not even sure if it matters to me that anyone reads it. So why put it on the Internet? Why not just write it in a journal?

I don’t know. There is no logic to insanity. I can’t tell you why. I think I’m just putting signals out like a beacon. Like NASA — or somebody — does. Hoping to find some other life form out there that can read the signal. That understands and may respond one day. Maybe we’ll connect. Maybe everything will make sense. Until then, just a constant pulsing of weird messages out into the universe. Floating through space and time.

I don’t put all my crazy on here. Be thankful for that. You just get a small taste of it. Some crazy, though, you keep to yourself. It’s just too much for the world to handle.

Anyway, feeling compelled. That’s what prompted this blog. I wrote in my journal this morning trying to find my purpose. How many times have I talked about that on here? Who knows? Too many. You know how the movies always show the folks in mental institutions repeating things over and over? There you go. Proof of the insanity.

So, I’m thinking about my purpose. What would I regret on my deathbed? I would regret not experiencing more in life. Not seeing more of the world. Not traveling more. Not learning about other cultures and the people on this planet. Not dancing and enjoying their music. That’s what I would regret.

Then, as things do on this blog, on my journey, in Crazytown, they circled back around. A few posts back I talked about how one human life wasn’t more important than another human life. I was talking about protecting immigrants here in the US.

See, I don’t see us as different. Well, we’re different but not separate. We’re all one species sharing one planet. It’s this whole interconnectedness shit that I talk about all the time. I don’t want us to be separate. I want us to understand one another. To get each other.

I love to travel. I’m introverted as fuck, so that makes it weird and awkward, but I love to travel. I don’t talk much. I observe. I like to observe and feel the place if that makes sense. Get the essence of the culture, the people. One on one, I will talk. I enjoy that actually. But, not everyone wants to talk to an awkward woman. Go figure, right.

Then I thought about that trip to New York I took back in February. I wrote about it here. I kept wanting to talk about the place. The vibe. The feeling. There’s so much diversity in that city. That’s what gives it the vibe it has. It’s a fucking awesome vibe, too.

I did the same sort of thing talking about Paris. I brief snippet, but still.

Back to the interconnectedness stuff.  Sorry. My crazy is working at warp speed today. My thoughts are scattered.

Travel. One species, one planet. I want people to travel. At least learn about the world. About other cultures. To understand how they honor their dead. The food they eat and why. Hear their music and learn why it sounds the way it does. To feel it. Dance to it.

That’s what I want to do. Experience those things. I want others to do that. To feel that interconnectedness. We really aren’t that different. There are differences. I’m not to going to gloss over that. Some we can’t ignore. But some we can. I would guess there are more things in common than not if you look at overarching themes.

And each place has its own energy. A unique mix of cultures and stories. That’s beautiful. I want us to see the beauty in our differences first. That helps tackle the challenges of our differences from a more grounded, empathetic position.

Is that a purpose? Can I make that a purpose somehow? A career? I don’t know. They say dream big. Uniting the world is pretty damn big, right? How do I do that? I don’t know. I jotted down a few ideas. I’ll keep them for myself. I keep spouting out big plans and goals on here and then not following through. That’s because I haven’t nailed it down yet.

I’m just sending out signals. Pulsing and pulsing. Maybe they’ll strike a chord with someone. I’m searching, I suppose. For meaning. For purpose. For more connectedness.

Then there’s that witch thing I mentioned. Where does that fit in? Healing. Well, I guess this is a form of healing, right? Music heals. Food can heal. Love and understanding heal.

What does this all have to do with mindfulness, yoga and meditation? Who the fuck knows? I guess embracing your own insanity is a form of self-love, right? So let yourself be insane for a while. Talk out of your ass from time to time. Maybe that’s where you find the meaning of life. Maybe the insane know the truth and they’re justing waiting for us to catch up.

Peace, y’all.

Between Politics and Piety

Finding balance between the inner and outer worlds

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Who am I? Why am I here? Yep, it’s that kind of day. Not in a mopey sense. A real philosophical deep dive into myself.

So I’m studying Pilates, planning to get yoga certification someday in the near future. I started down this path for an entirely different reason, though. Not to be fit, although that is a plus, too. I’ve said it before, the political environment sort of drove me in this direction. I felt like we needed to get to a good place within ourselves so we could fix what is happening outside of ourselves.

I’m not expecting us to see eye to eye on everything. I’m only hoping we can speak to each other without wanting to claw each other’s eyes out. To listen to one another. I mean, my bar is pretty low here. I’m not looking for miracles, but it’s starting to feel that way.

I’m a big believer in separation of church and state. Combining the two has never worked out long-term in the past. However, on a personal voter level, it’s unrealistic to believe our personal beliefs don’t play into how we vote. They do. Myself included.

But you may ask, “What’s this have to do with a blog about meditation and yoga and that kind of stuff?” Well, yoga and meditation get us better in touch with ourselves and who we are truly at our core. As an individual. Our own personal set of beliefs.

Right now, I believe too many people identify with particular beliefs because that’s what their church tells them to believe or the community they live in tells them they should think. We are starting to rank the value of life based on labels.

Self-care — I’ll call it that for short here — also puts us in a mindset to be real in our discussions. Honesty without the anger. Empathetic to some degree … even if we don’t totally agree with someone else.

The first step to getting in touch with ourselves and who we are is learning to care for ourselves. From there, we can get to some higher discussions. Solve some problems. Hell, at least talk without a fist fight breaking out. Low bar, remember?

I realize that’s a stretch for many people. It’s how my brain works. I feel that we’re disconnected from everything … primarily because we are so connected technologically. Our bodies aren’t connected to our minds. Our minds aren’t connected to our spirit. Hardly anything is connected to our environment. We’re disconnected from one another because of the constant separation of us based race, religion, place of birth, political beliefs.

We’re not relating to each other as humans but as members of specific groups. We’re not even listening to one another. We’re definitely not relating to our planet because we rarely interact with it anymore.

I’ve been told I’m good at seeing the big picture. And I may not be good at many things, but I firmly believe I am good at seeing patterns. I am good at connecting the dots and seeing where something is headed. I honestly believe we — America specifically, but the world in general — we are not headed in a good direction.

This total disconnection and separation is the big picture. We live in a constant state of bubble life and anything outside of our bubble is bad. This has created a political system that has lost its humanity. Without humanity, a political system will not last very long because it is ignoring the biggest reason it even exists. Humans.

So why am I thinking about all this on a lovely Saturday afternoon? Because that’s how a freakazoid like me spends her free time.

Plus, I had an experience this week. It’s the same sort of experience at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 that got me started on this blog in the first place.

I had no agenda whatsoever. I saw a human situation that touched my heart, and I reacted it to it. I shared a story on Facebook regarding a couple raising money to reunite immigrant children with their parents.  The only comment I made with the post was this: “I’m unemployed, but I’m going to contribute what I can to this.”

Just as it happened in the past (and with the exact same person at that), I was berated about the homeless veterans and children who are citizens starving to death. I had a knee-jerk reaction and responded with, “The programs that supported those groups were defunded by the Republican party.” And then I proceeded to explain that these children weren’t homeless, but that our government tore them from their families.

It would have continued except I blocked the guy. At that point, the second or third time around with this guy on different topics, I was done with him. So I did exactly what others are doing. And I was upset with myself for doing it.

I can sit and argue with the best of them. But unless the arguing is going somewhere, finding some sort of common ground or something, then it’s pointless and going nowhere. It’s arguing for argument’s sake.

The truth is yes, we should be concerned about the veteran’s and native-born children starving. My point, that I never clearly made, is that one human life is not more valuaable than another human life. These are humans, and I was simply reacting to a human cause because it was brought to my attention.

That is my point. And we need a political system that understands that all human life is valuable. One group is not more deserving than another, and we need to find a way to serve all of them. Our system has always eventually moved toward protecting human rights. Until now.

Now we’re moving toward protecting rights for certain humans over others. We can call it by any other name, but that’s what it is. That is the wrong direction. We’ve seen what happens when a country goes in this direction. We fought against it in WWII. We played a role in developing the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights to avoid this sort of thing. And now that is how we’re governing.

Does Pilates, yoga, meditation and mindfulness play a role in how we can and should govern our society? Yeah, in my fucked up brain, it makes perfect sense. We’re not identifying with ourselves as individuals, we’re identifying as groups or labels. Smaller and smaller factions that fight more and more amongst ourselves.

So I’m stuck somewhere between politics and piety.

Self-care, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, those are spiritual endeavors to me. It connects us to our bodies. Our bodies store our mind and spirit. They all interact and are connected. One cannot be fully healthy without the other parts being healthy and functioning. It is the center of where all changes start — within each of us. I cannot change you, but I can change myself.

There is something in each of us that directs us to be better. If enough of us focus on being better. On caring for ourselves, for our neighbors, our community, strangers on the street, then the world becomes better.

But I have to question myself: Is this enough? Is a blog about yoga, pilates, meditation and mindfulness enough?

I don’t know if it’s enough. All I know is that it’s a start. A place to begin. I believe it is the best way to start bringing humanity and human kindness back to the table. To incorporate humanity in the political discussion. To start looking at the greater good.

A blog that hardly anyone reads is not a lot, but it’s what I have to give. Becoming an instructor and helping others find what I’m finding is a start. That’s all I can do. Start. Take baby steps. Move in the direction I want to see the world move. Be the change, as they say.

Sure, I wish it was more. Maybe someday it will be more. Who knows, but it is what I can give now. I’m starting where I am.

I still want separation of church and state — separation of politics and piety. But, if our personal beliefs are going to play a role in our politics (and they are), then I want us coming from a place of empathy and humanity. And this is my small offering to help that happen. Maybe someday I’ll figure out a bigger way to get there, but for now, this my short-term goal. It’s my building block to re-uniting us as humans again. We’ll see where it goes.

Peace, y’all.

Habit Ain’t a Dirty Word

Forming habits to give yourself more freedom and happiness

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Habit. Is that a dirty word to anyone else? I always associated two things with the word habit: doing something bad and lack of freedom. I saw nothing positive in habits.

That’s the former me, though. I like habits now, but the idea of habits (good or bad) sounded terrible until this past year. Words even associated with habit felt icky: practice, routine. Bleh, boring, right? I guess that’s the way you look at them until you see the benefit of them.

The funny thing is that the good ones are easier to form than breaking the bad ones. At least that’s the case for me. I’m thinking about habits because I’m considering trying the break the big one.

I bite my nails. I have bitten my nails my entire life. It’s a bad habit. A disgusting one, too, but there have been few times in my life that I haven’t bitten them. I’m not sure that I’m there yet, to be honest. But I’m considering trying to break it.

When I thought about my nail-biting habit and wanting to stop it, I started thinking about habits in general. My nail biting has always been a bad habit. I have always struggled to stop that. I think because it’s how my brain deals with anxiety and stress. Lord knows there is a lot of anxiety and stress in this world.

What other bad habits do I have? Social media. Which is funny. Before 2016, I didn’t have that habit. Five years ago, I refused to look at my phone on the weekends or at night. Gradually that faded. Starting around 2016, it became a habit. Maybe even an addiction. I’m trying to break that habit a little more too.

I don’t want to be fully disconnected but I don’t have to be that connected. I thought I was going to miss out on the news. Turns out somehow you pick that up by osmosis almost. There is so much information floating around, I don’t have to seek it out it. It finds me and sinks into my brain regardless. It’s weird. I’ve noticed that since I started weaning myself off of social media.

I’m still on there. I still look. But, at least for now, I don’t do it for the first hour of my day. That’s something. We gotta start somewhere.

Breaking bad ones is a hard job for me. It’s easier, I find, when we replace them with something good. But for many years — most of my life actually — I had no good ones. None. I’d try to eat healthy from time to time, but I wasn’t consistent. I’d try to do something creative or just something new, but I wasn’t consistent. So, it’s no surprise, most of those things didn’t stick.

Like I said, I always looked at habit, even the good ones, in a negative light. To me, a good habit — exercising, eating right, general self-care things — was too restrictive. It took time away from other things. It limited my freedom. I wanted to live instead of working out.

Lately, though, I’ve asked myself what are you doing with that freedom? Am I traveling more? Am I happier because of it? Am I enjoying things that I love?

No, I just had more time to sit on my ass. And that’s what I did. Sat on my ass. Plus, I felt worse about myself because I wasn’t eating right and I gained weight.

I started some time back incorporating yoga and exercise into my life daily. I also planned out my meals more and chose healthier foods to eat. I worked at these things until they became second nature. I don’t even really think about them … unless I’m creating a schedule. When I do that, those are the first things that I slot into the day. Those things must happen now. Trust me, that was never the case before.

I was recently thinking about the “best time of my life.” The time I was happiest and felt the best about myself. It was in my late 20s. Not because I was in my 20s, but how I lived my life. It was second nature to me then to have habits. To schedule. To plan things out.

I hate the idea of planning. It destroys all spontaneity. That’s the way I’ve always viewed it — even in my 20s. What I have gradually been learning though is that habits and planning help me. I’m happier. More productive. And believe it or not, freer and more focused on the things I love.

During my happiest days, I was a magazine writer/editor. Constant deadlines, how could that possibly be good? Those deadlines focused my efforts. I also felt like I was overall working for myself. Other than the pay, benefits and a little direction here and there, I was working for myself. I was assigned stories at the beginning of an issue and then I was let loose to get the work done. I had to be disciplined.

I didn’t think it was disciplined then. I was just doing my job the only way I knew how. I remember to this day. I would have four weeks. Each day was planned out. The first week was for interviews and research. I booked the interviews conducted interviews, did online research, and so on. The second week was transcribing tapes and beginning the stories. The third week was finishing up the stories (a draft anyway) and doing any follow up research I needed to do. I finished the stories and sent them to be reviewed. Made the last edits and sent them to design. Then it was production week. I had one or two down days during production week, but I often was getting started on the next issue.

But I had habits in place. A plan. A schedule. A pattern. A routine. All of those dirty words. I was happy. Not only was I happy, but during that time I would spend my lunch breaks writing a novel. A novel I never finished, but I worked on something that meant something to me. And I was able to go home and enjoy my evenings without any stress or worry.

My happiest time was my most habitual time. I just didn’t realize it was habits that caused the happiness. I’m starting to realize that again.

I’m doing more in the first three hours of my day — all for myself, too — than I have been doing in entire weeks in previous years. I’m trying to get in the habit of writing every day. Thus this blog. I’m exercising, eating right, meditating. I’m learning piano and reading every day. I’m looking for jobs every day. I’m studying to get my pilates certificate (or starting that process anyway). And I still have most of my evenings free.

I had to change my mind about habits. They don’t take away your freedom, they actually help you focus on it. That’s why successful writers have a schedule every day. That’s why they live the life we all want … or some of us anyway.

We have to stop looking at habits as a dirty word. I’m the worst at it, so I get it. But habits, planning, scheduling help you make time for what matters most to you. More importantly, it puts the focus back on you and how you spend your time.

Now, you may ask, how does this help make the world a better place? That is the purpose of this blog. Well, if you think about it, everything can be a habit. Just like everything is a choice. We choose to be happy or not. We choose to change or not. We choose to get pissed off while driving in traffic, or we don’t.

Once we choose, though, then habit is what sets it in stone. Without habit, it’s another item on the checklist. Habit makes it a life choice, not a to-do item. And that slight change in perspective can change everything.

We don’t add getting up and going to work to our daily checklist. We just do it. So why not make the things we need or want — like exercise, or eating right, or learning piano — a habit, too.

If we make it a habit to focus on ourselves. To take care of ourselves and be the best person that we can be. It’s less of a struggle. It becomes second nature. You don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just there. It’s like breathing.

If we all develop the habit of being good to ourselves, then we start to look outside ourselves and focus on spreading that love to others. That becomes a habit. A habit of bringing joy to the world. If the whole world then starts to develop the same habits, well, there you go. You just made the world a better place simply by forming good habits for yourself. Ponder on that for a little while.

Peace, y’all.

Saying Uncle

Learning that self-care doesn’t make you superhuman

Did you ever play the game Uncle when you were a kid? The game where you interlace fingers with another kid and then proceed to try to break each other’s hands. You bend the fingers and squeeze them, twist them as much as you can until someone screams, “Uncle!”

It’s a torturous game really, but it’s so much fun when you win. Sometimes I’m a little competitive. I like to win.

Life, sometimes, is a little like that game. It wraps around you, squeezes you, twists you until it almost physically hurts. For me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, saying uncle isn’t an option.

That, I believe, is a fallacy of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Or perhaps I misinterpret it through my skewed lens on life. I’m a bit of perfectionist in one sense. I am actually just learning this about myself.

I’m a perfectionist in that I don’t believe I can show weakness. That I have to be strong at all times. That I can get through anything on my own. Without help.

That’s how I view the philosophy of yoga and meditation. It helps you overcome these weaknesses. You don’t get upset. You can face any challenge. You can breathe your way through anything.

But that doesn’t allow us to be human. I am fully human when I allow myself to be.

When I played Uncle as a kid, though, I refused to say it. I refused to give in. To claim defeat. I would squirm and twist and somehow slip my hand out of the grip. Technically, I think the other person won in that case, but I wasn’t going to own it. Allow it in any way. If I didn’t say it, they didn’t win.

Some of that is competitiveness. Some of that is stubbornness. I have a little of both in my blood. But some of it, I’m starting to realize in the middle of my life, may come from trauma. I mentioned a while back that I had been told I was traumatized in childhood. This trauma subconsciously impacts everything I do.

My dad had a temper. I couldn’t make too many “mistakes.” By mistakes, I mean, I couldn’t drop things or spill things or accidentally break things. I couldn’t be too loud. I couldn’t be annoying. If I did, I was yelled at. Not a little yell either. If I argued with my dad, he called me stupid. Once he hit me in the eye.

We all go through stuff, I won’t go into my life story. I loved my dad, but he wasn’t perfect. Of course, neither was I. That way of life, though, formed how I view the world and how I behave. I’m a fighter because I had to stand up for myself. I had to believe in myself when my father didn’t. I actually think he did believe in me, but his flaws didn’t always allow that to come through.

Being the baby and 5 years younger than my brother, who was closest in age, I didn’t get a lot of attention. People were busy. I spent my summer’s alone. No form of communication. We didn’t have a phone and I lived in the middle of nowhere. Both parents worked.

So I was home alone from about the age of 9 on in the afternoons and all day during the summers. My school bus driver bought me a birthday cake once. It had green and yellow flowers on base of white icing. No one had ever bought me a cake. I used to sit by him and talk instead of talking to other kids a lot.

I never understood why he bought me that cake until now. I think he bought it for me because I always got off the bus alone and there wasn’t anyone at home. Even my principal drove me home from school when I was sick. My parents didn’t come pick me up.

So I was alone a lot. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I entertained myself. I fed myself. I took care of myself. I did chores. I learned to be independent and strong. I could do everything on my own. That’s is a good thing. That is positive. And I enjoyed my alone time, so from that perspective, it worked out.

But it also taught me I couldn’t depend on anyone. I had no one around to depend on. It taught me I had to take care of everything myself at all costs. My survival depended on it. My dad’s anger taught me I couldn’t mess up. Be too emotional. Be a kid so to speak.

I am a soft, squishy thing on the inside. Sensitive. Emotional. Kind of a bad combination with the parenting style I grew up with.

So that skews my view of yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation are a way to help me control those emotions that flare up in me. Helps me work through anything life throws at me. Helps me be perfect on my own.

But I’m not perfect. I’m not superhuman. I think yoga and meditation help me, but they also trick my mind. I forget I’m human sometimes. When I finally lose it, I lose in an explosion of emotion.

Refusing to say uncle. The first time I realized I did this was when my dad was dying of cancer in 2016. My employer let me work from home while I helped take care of my dad. I went home to stay with my parents for a few months.

My dad declined pretty quickly. It started in June and he passed away in September. I was there for the last couple of months. It was tough seeing him in that shape.

He was always outgoing. Talkative. Walked 10 miles a day. A natural salesperson. Made connections easily. Generally a healthy guy, too. No medications or anything.

While he was sick, he couldn’t leave his bed. He couldn’t walk. He had cancer in his bones, mostly around the hips and legs, but it spread throughout. It hurt. He lost weight. By the end, you could see where all the bones connected in his skull. His eyes and cheeks sunken. He was sad. Didn’t talk much. Not at all like himself.

Mostly he was scared. That’s what hurt me the most. He was so scared. My dad hated thunderstorms. He literally acted like a child when one came through. He would curl up and cry.

His dad had left him alone on a hill in the middle of a thunderstorm. He screamed for him to come get him. Cried and cried, he said. He told me that story once. I always remember it.

So seeing him scared made me think of that story. How he seemed like a little kid. I don’t have children but I do have a mothering instinct. So I didn’t want him to be scared. I did everything I could.

My mom couldn’t quite handle the situation. They’d been married for 50-plus years. I can understand why it was hard. My sister as her own challenges, but I’m learning that my entire family does. Myself included. My brother just can’t deal with death.

So that left me. I needed to be the strong one. The dependable one. The one to administer his morphine every 2 hours. My mom helped. I don’t want to say I did everything. But toward, the end, the harder and harder it got, the stronger and stronger I had to be.

One day, I had not really slept for a week. I had not left the house in days. I didn’t go outside because I didn’t want to leave him alone in case he needed anything. I had to watch him too. Sometimes he would try to get out of bed. It’s a form of restlessness that the dying experience.

That day, I decided I was going to go to my home and sleep in my bed for one night and come back the next day. That was the weekend before he died. I didn’t get to sleep at home, but I did leave for a while.

A cousin of mine came to see my dad as I was leaving. He hugged my mother and talked to her for a few minutes and then hugged me as I was walking toward my car. I hadn’t seen him in years. When he hugged me he asked how I was doing.

No one had asked me that. I collapsed. My legs went limp. He had to hold me up. I sobbed like I have never sobbed before. It just came out. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t even know it was in there.

I immediately reeled it back in. Straightened myself up. Wiped my tears, but they wouldn’t stop flowing. He looked at me and said, “It’s alright. It’s OK to cry.”

That’s when I realized that no matter how hard I tried to be superhuman, I wasn’t. No matter how much I thought I could handle. How strong I needed to be. That soft squishy thing that lives inside me needed someone to ask how I was doing.

I stopped crying. I told him it was just difficult seeing my dad that way. Then I left. Perfectly strong as always. But on the inside, I was crumbling.

I’m going through something similar now. This change in my life. Being let go from my job for the first time in my life. Having bills to pay but wanting to change my life at the same time. Struggling to figure things out.

Yet again, I’m trying to face it head-on. I can handle this. I’m changing my life as I said yesterday. But the truth is, I’m scared to death. I have doubts, I’m afraid I’m screwing up. That I’m making all the wrong decisions. I know I want a change, but is this the right time? Am I going about it the right way? Am I going to lose everything?

I’m scared. I’m confused. I don’t know if there is such a thing as the “Dark Night of the Soul.” You read about in certain lines of thought. If there is, I’m going through it. Have been for a year and a half. If not, then I’m just in the middle of a crisis. Doesn’t matter what it’s called I suppose.

I’m single. My friends have their own challenges. My family doesn’t quite understand it. I have no one to talk to about it. I’m not alone, but I feel alone in this.

And that’s part of the fallacy. Yoga and meditation, as great as they are, tell you that you must go through this journey alone. From my perspective, that means, I can’t ask questions. Ask for support. Ask for guidance. The answer is in me.

Well, maybe the answer is in me, but I’m struggling to find it. I’m lost. Blindfolded in the dark just feeling my way around. Trying to find my way out. There are good moments and good things about the process. But there are some really bad ones too. I’m finally admitting it.

I’m finally admitting that I’m scared. That I kind of feel like my world is falling apart. And it’s OK. I’m human. I don’t have to be perfect.

So I’m adding my own rule to the self-care philosophy. Know when to say when. Know it’s OK to reach out to others. They can’t provide the answers for you, but they can support you. Make you feel less alone.

It’s OK to say uncle. So, I’m saying, “Uncle.” I ask that anyone who is reading this blog, if you don’t mind, pray for me if you pray. If you don’t pray, please send good vibes my way. I could use some support getting through this. It will be appreciated more than you will ever know. Because my perfectionistic ass has trouble showing weakness. But not gratitude. I am forever grateful for any kind thoughts someone sends my way.

And if there is anyone out there struggling with anything in life and you feel like you have to be strong. That you can’t be flawed and imperfect. That’s not the way you handle these situations with grace. Grace is knowing your limits. Knowing you’re human and allowing yourself to be human without waiting until you act out.

It’s OK to cry. And it’s OK to say, “Uncle.”

Peace, y’all.

A New Life & A New World

Support the cause of building a better world one person at a time

Today, I made a decision to change my life. This blog. The yoga and meditation I have been doing. Everything over the past year is leading me in a new direction. I’ve been saying this for a while. Today, I’m pulling the trigger.

This week I decided to add pilates to my self-care regimen. In fact, I have signed up for teacher certification, which I will begin next week and work on through November. After that, I will likely seek yoga certification as well. At a later time, I plan to expand on this. Perhaps offering meetup classes or travel retreats.

In the meantime, however, mama needs to pay the bills. I will begin offering advice through life coaching, health coaching or any other personal coaching that you may need. You can visit my Donate page to learn more. Or, if you would simply like to donate to the cause of creating a better world one person at a time, donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Also, in case you are not aware, I am a marketing and communications professional. Instead of throwing away my entire career, I have decided to offer freelance marketing and communications services and consultations. I am particularly interested in working with the arts (music/musicians/bands, visual artists, dancers, writers, etc.), but I am open to working with all walks of life. If you know anyone needing marketing or communication services, please direct them to my alter ego page.

Here’s to a new life and a new world. Peace, y’all.

A Slow Unveiling

Uncovering the layers of your personality to find the light within

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Who am I? No, I mean, who am I really? Do you ever ask yourself these questions?

I look at myself and break myself apart all of the time. Uncover all my little — and sometimes not so little — idiosyncrasies. I’ve always been that way. With everything. I popped the arms, legs and heads off Barbies to see how they were put together. Took radios apart to see what was inside.

I do the same thing with personalities. Myself included. Myself most of all, actually. For me, it is a form of self-love and self-care. To know yourself. All of it. The dark, the light and that ever expansive twilight.

In fact, sometimes you can’t get to the real light without going through the dark. I’ve sort of been going through that this past year with this blog. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself it is. Going through the dark to find the light. I’m not claiming insanity just yet.

That’s why this blog is funny to me in some ways. It is so serious. If you met me in person, I’m fairly ridiculous. I crack jokes. They are always a little askew. Dry. Quirky. Fairly sarcastic. I sound a little more like Charles Bukowski in person. Cursing and all.

This blog, though … why so serious? That’s one of my idiosyncrasies. I joke when I talk. It’s how I relate to people. I’m serious when I write. I write to dig down. At least when I write like this … not so much in emails. It’s too bad for you guys. I’m actually pretty funny if I say so myself.

Another idiosyncrasy, I have to go through all of this thinking — the stuff you just read — to figure out what it is I want to say. I wish my mind worked in a straight line, but God help us all, it doesn’t.

I joke to relate to people. I’m one person when you speak to me and another when you read my writing. It’s true. It’s not that I’m being fake. I have to find ways to relate to people. Not that I dislike people. No, I love people. But I’m kind of intense and extremely shy.

It’s all me, just different facets. I learned to bring the relatable facets to the surface when I’m talking, and the non-relatable parts talk to the Universe in my journal. Now, you get to see some of the unrelatable parts here, too. Hopefully, though, someone out there can relate.

In a previous post, I wrote about finding the beauty and the light again. Helping others to do the same. And that, my friends, is what this post is really about. It’s a slow unveiling.

I talked about the phrase “light and love” in that post. How folks who use that phrase are ahead of me in the spiritual journey. It’s true.

There is a vulnerability in saying, “Light and Love” to someone. I share my light with you. I give my love to you. It’s usually said to strangers. It’s unconditional in that sense.

To say it and to really mean it, unconditionally, you shed your armor. You strip down all of those layers of protection. If you say it, you know there’s a good chance someone is going to look at you kind of funny. They may appreciate it, but it may change their perception of you. They may take you a little less seriously.

See, that’s one of my idiosyncrasies, too. I want to be taken seriously … at least intellectually. And softness isn’t considered a part of the intellectual world in many ways.

In fact, very little in this world embraces softness. As I dug down through my layers to get to the point of my post, I discovered something else. I call myself a fighter. I stand up for myself. You have to defend yourself in the corporate world. It’s a dog eat dog kind of place.

So, I lost my softness somewhere between childhood and now.

I put up shields because people hurt me — even if some of it is my own doing. Because people will take advantage of me. Because I am naive and gullible. Has anyone else ever been told that?

When you’re a shy, little thing. One who likes imaginary worlds. Who daydreams about forests filled with fairies and fireflies. Well, this world doesn’t take too kindly to that type of person.

So we build layers. The funny me. The smart me. The serious me. The tough me. The me who doesn’t need anyone or anything.

That last me, the one who doesn’t need anyone, is kind of lie. But that’s what layers do if you build up enough of them. They disconnect us. Or they can. Disconnect us from ourselves and from each other. The real you doesn’t see the light of day. It’s buried behind the wall.

We are all born into this world loving and embracing everything around us. It’s as we grow up and get hurt, get rejected, see our softness as weakness, a vulnerability, that we build up these layers. That chokes off the words, “I give you my love. I share my light with you.”

So this has been a year of unveiling for me. Of stripping off those layers. Letting go of the embarrassment of who I am. Letting go of the shame for things I have done. Some of them anyway. Some of them, I’m still working on.

It’s a slow unveiling. An uncovering of the softness. Inside there is still a soft light of love and kindness. The way I was brought into this world. The way I lived until I learned not to live that way.

I have to admit that it’s hard for me. It’s embarrassing. To show that side of me. To talk about how I care about human beings and nature. How I cry when I think about the oneness of humanity and the universe as a whole. When I think about how we could be. To say that I love you, whoever you are, just because you exist. Because we exist together and we need to love one another.

It was hard for me to realize that I will give myself away to help someone else. That sometimes I value others more than I value myself. It’s unhealthy, but I’m working on that part. It’s part of my unveiling, but it’s me. That’s who I am at the core. This soft, squishy thing. But I’m trying to embrace it again. The healthy parts. For me and for the world. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s true.

We all still have that within us. The softness. We just have to strip off the layers. Yoga, meditation, gratitude journals, self-love, self-care. Those things can help you get there.

I invite you to take a look at yourself. Start to peel off your layers. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” And when you answer, say to yourself, “No, I mean, who am I really?”

If you want to love yourself, know yourself. Accept yourself for who you are. But find that softness in the center. The love you were born with. Uncover it. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. Or how you’ll be perceived. Don’t fear being hurt. Just join me in the unveiling. It may be hard, but the world could use a little light and love about now.

Peace, y’all.

Expanding the Spiral

Going within to grow without

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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.

The Sound of Birds

The importance of mindfulness for making choices that better serve us

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It’s funny how people can see things so differently. Choice may be the most powerful tool we have as a species. It can change our behaviors, our thoughts and, as far as that goes, our environment.

But we have to be in the right frame of mind to make our best choices. The pace of this world right now … we’re probably not making the best choices. We’re not thinking things through. We’re not mindful.

I can tell you that I don’t always make the best choices. I make them out of anger or frustration. Sometimes out of fear or uncertainty. In a rush because I need to get to something else. That is not the best place to be when making a decision.

That is why yoga and meditation are so important to me. It slows me down. It connects me to who I am. Let’s me control my emotions a bit better. And that’s where I make my best decisions.

Choice from the right state of mind.

I read a quote from Kurt Cobain’s journals yesterday. It said, “Birds scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth, but sadly we don’t speak bird.”

I admire Kurt Cobain in many ways. Very talented, and was super smart from what I can tell. And, he had a sense of humor … or at least that’s always how I read it. That quote, for example, made me laugh. I have a morbid sense of humor myself, so I fully appreciate that sort of comment.

Knowing how he died, though, and the songs that he sang, there may be some true sadness in that quote. Probably more than I read into it, to be honest.

It’s hard to be that smart, I suppose. To see the world for what it is — with all of its flaws and frailties. To hear the horrors in the sound of birds.

To be honest, I see the world that way, too, sometimes. Probably not as informed and intelligently as he did, but I’ve seen that vision of the world a time or two. The difference, I suppose, is that I choose not to live there in that vision. Not all of the time, at least.

I’m grounded there, for better or worse, but I can see something promising out on the horizon. I choose to see how we can be despite the flaws and frailties. Or, better yet, using those flaws and frailties to improve ourselves … so we can be better. The world can be better.

The birds are not a sound of warning for me. In reality, I’m sure that was a joke on his part, but even humor is based in reality. We know what his reality was. There was a grain of truth in that comment. That makes me sad for him. But even as a fan at the top of his success, I was always sad for him.

Gratitude To Go

Today, I am grateful that I can make choices about my life and how I see the world. I’m grateful that, in the end, no matter how I get there, my choices tend to end up on the side of light.

What are you grateful for today?

Today, I woke to the sounds of a bird festival outside my window. It would have made Hitchcock uncomfortable. So many birds, so many different songs. For me, though, they weren’t sounds of horror or sounds of warning. They were sounds of who we are in our natural state. Songs of what we can be.

I heard songs of life. Of existing in the moment. Songs of love, mating, and nourishment. Songs of protection and brotherhood. No two birds were singing the same song. They all had a different sound, for a different purpose, for different species.

Yet that cacophony of birdsongs put me in a peaceful frame of mind. They were sounds of joy and blissful existence. Harmonious and unified.

We choose how we see the world. I choose to see it through the eyes of love and possibilities. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness help me keep that vision. Although it is the same world as Kurt Kobain’s, with the same birds singing the same songs, I’d much rather live in my version of the world.

Peace, y’all.