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Saturday, December 31, 2011

There Are No Magic Shoes: Happy New Year

As we all ring in the New Year in our own ways, I feel that it is important to remember the significance of beginnings and endings. There is something pretty miraculous that happens every year around the world on December 30th. The ability to feel as though you're starting over with a clean slate can inspire people to take in their environment with eyes that see possibility. The reality, however, is that it is just one day ending to allow another to begin. January 1st may be the first day of 2012 but it is also just another Sunday like so many that have come before it. What makes this one day so much more special and notable than any of the others? Your answer It is your perception of this day that makes it what it is.....a new beginning, a fresh start. A day for resolutions and promises and change. Without your deliberate effort tomorrow is just another Sunday. It is important to note that the day itself possesses no magical powers. It does not have the ability to make your dreams come true, to help you lose weight, or to give you the strength to employ more patience and forgiveness. January 1st does not care who you kiss at midnight, what you wear, or whose company you keep. This is because January 1st is simply one more Sunday in a year littered with them.

Sprinkled with that special New Year's dust we all feel a little bit more powerful, a little bit more optimistic, and a little bit more excited about these wonderful lives we have been gifted with to do with as we please. What is sad is that the dust wears off the further we venture into the year. Twelve Sundays from now, most will have shrunken their optimistic enthusiasm for the future. Resolutions will be broken and we will begin to seek the comfort of the walls of our habits which have shielded us from our innermost desires. Sunday becomes just another day of the week and we become exactly what we began as, people who want more but don't seek it.

Now before you go and get all depressed take this into consideration, if January 1st is just another day and if the only thing that makes it so special is you then why can't everyday be seen as a new beginning? Why can't each day be greeted with as much gusto and viewed with as much optimism and excitement? If you are the magic that makes New Year's Eve so amazing then why can't that same magic be employed 365 days a year? Perspective is what makes your life what it is. Every morning is a clean slate, a fresh start, and an opportunity to see your life for it's many possibilities. So here is my challenge to you as you celebrate the beginning of a New Year; have fun, be safe, and never forget that you are the only catalyst necessary to living the life you dream of. You are the wizard, there are no magic shoes and there are no magic days. Every tool you need to find success and happiness has been woven into the fabric of your being. All you have to do is believe in the existence of the profound and endless possibilities that lay before you and then make a conscious effort to reach your arms out and welcome them into everyday. So happy New Year, happy January through December, and Happy lives to you all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Are A Soldier: Failure and Success

Some people spend their entire lives inside of a shell of fear. There are many things they desire but don't seek simply because the idea of failure looms so heavily that the reward of success seems impossible. While this may be safe and predictable it sure doesn't help anybody acheive their goals. Reaching for things may end with burnt fingertips but not reaching for them always ends with nothing. Even when you don't win whatever prize you are after you must remember that it is our wounds that teach us how to be better fighters, how to build stronger armour, how to swim faster and jump higher. Those failures aren't actually failures at all. Failures are what we use to sharpen our blade so that when that same foe presents itself again we are more prepared.  After all, how can we ever know what we are capable of if we never go for it?

If you look into the mirror everyday and see the same person staring back at you then you are not taking enough risks. We are all soldiers on the battlefield of life. Each lesson learned, each new piece of information retained, every victory, every failure is another badge added to the very fabric of us. No great thing was ever accomplished accidentally. You must learn to be proactive and seek with as much fervency as you yearn with. When you look at yourself in the mirror stand proud of the badges you've earned...every single one of them. With everyday and every chance you take you are building an even better version of yourself. You must make the choice as a soldier on life's battlefield, to never stop pursuing your best because if you don't then your best will never find you. And if you fall short of your goals, use the experience to build a taller ladder.  You are the answer to your own questions. You are the secret to your own success.  Let life in, it is not a spectator sport.  Nobody ever scored a touchdown from the bleachers.  Now go take some chances. Don't be just a a lieutenant, be a five star general.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Break Ups: Being the Dumped

   Whenever a relationship ends people become consumed with what I call Columbo syndrome.  They want to understand the whys and hows.  Instead of choosing to accept their new reality, they get sucked in by the need to understand the other person's choices, thinking that maybe there is still some way of rectifying the situation.  People wonder, "Why did they break up with me when things were going so well?"  Well there's the short answer and the long answer and in a completely unexpected turn of events (this is sarcasm by the way) I will offer you both. The short answer, of course, is that obviously things weren't going as well as you thought. I mean this isn't a Danielle Steele novel people don't generally end relationships that they are happy in. As the song says breaking up is hard to do, for most people (sociopaths are excluded from this generalization) and that is because there is usually one person who wants to leave and another who doesn't. I've been on both sides of this scenario and I can tell you in my experience that it's no bed of roses for either party.

    One of the wrong turns I feel that most people make is that they dedicate so much energy to rationalizing another person's decisions. Well here's your wake up call: You can't know why someone else does the crap they do, so knock it off! I mean really how many falsities have you yourself told someone else? As an example let's toss out a few examples and maybe the memories of your own sugar coating will start flooding back. "I am late for work because _______." "I wanted to be there but ________." "I really love your haircut (not!) where did you get it done?" The truth is that our desire to be kind or to appear (fill in with a grand adjective that desribes what you aspire to viewed as) puts us in a place of dishonesty on a daily basis. The caviat is that the people around us are no different. We get to have our secrets and they get to have theirs. It's a lot easier to say "my feelings for you have changed and I just want to be friends" than it is to say "you irritate the piss out of me and if I continue living with you I may just drive myself off of a cliff."

    So to answer the question, or to circumvent the question entirely, I will say I don't know why they broke up with you but I'm sure they have their reasons. One thing is certain if they intended to tell you those reasons then they already would have. Chances are they weren't completely honest about their reasons because they didn't want to hurt your feelings which means that they care how you feel. That's a good thing! Now don't go getting some unhealthy idea that this former mate cares about your feelings so they must still want to be with you. Expressing a consideration for someone else is not code for "you're the love of my life." If you push too much the real reasons behind your split will come out and you are probably better off for not knowing them. Just accept the fact that the relationship is over and that you don't need to know why. If the other person wanted to work on things and repair the relationship then they would have given you the opportunity to do so.  Instead they ended things so what's the point in dwelling?

Will I ever Be Happy? Life: A Ninja Around The Bend

     Nope...never! You will always be miserable and lonely and bitter. That's what life is all about you know, suffering. Suffering is all there is. Not!  Of course you can be happy. Sometimes the trick to finding answers is to realize that you are asking the wrong questions. How about this one: What can I do to make myself happy? Now that's one worth pondering. If you take life in like it's an enemy force of ninjas with the soul purpose of "getting" you then chances are you are going to feel shitty a lot of the time. It's hard to look ahead and smile when you're constantly waiting for calamity to rear it's head. Worry is the enemy of happiness. Waiting for the bottom to fall out is so time consuming and energy draining.

    Some people find it easier to look for the bad in things. They like to dress it up in fancy ball gowns and make it look nice by calling it stuff like "being prepared" or "weighing the consequences." But the joke's on them. There are always bad things to be found so congratulations on your successful endeavor. It doesn't take a super genius to see that there are bad things everywhere. Things to be sad and angry about are plentiful, and there isn't a shortage coming. What people fail to recognize is that the bad things are gonna be there whether you're "prepared" or not. Your constant, self destructive paranoia of the bad things doesn't protect you against them it just consumes your time and thoughts.

    Sure taking the blissful road and focusing on the good stuff out there has consequences. You might be riding your bike in the sunshine through a meadow of good thoughts, looking ahead at the awesome grandure of your possibilities and hit a pot hole. You may be flung off of your bike and break your arm as your body slams into a huge boulder that you hadn't noticed before ( because you were looking forward and not to the side or behind you searching for potential doom.) What rocks though is that when the bad thing (read pothole that knocks you on your ass) comes as a surprise you are more likely to handle it well. Your mind is brimming with positivity so it is harder to sink you in a pit of depression and uselessness. Positivity keeps you afloat, it makes you a problem solver. Instead of sitting on the ground crying about your injury and asking yourself, "Why does this always happen to me?" You stand yourself up, get back on the bike and pedal your ass to a hospital, one handed so you can get a cast on that wound and move on with your day. If you are so busy boo hooing your way through life and expecting the worst then when the worst shows up you'll probably just drown in it. But I hear that a good attitude makes for a really useful life raft....just saying.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Life Is An Ocean: Float or Splash?

    A human life is a timeline which, even in it's most basic form, cannot be defined with any certainty.  Any person cannot know where the ripples of their existence begin or end.  The choices we make directly correlate to the size of those ripples so, removing any spirituality from the equation, a person has the ability to create ripples that linger on for many, many years after their passing.  People in history, like Martin Luther King Jr. for instance, created such enormous ripples, waves really, that they may have very well earned themselves immortality.  An abusive parent may die but the ripples of their choices and actions may live on in their children for substantial amounts of time and may even be passed down generations.

    If you consider life in this way, as though it is an ocean, you can begin to miagine the ripple as you dip your toe in and the increase in size as you flail about in the midst of some unexpected calamity.  On the other end of the spectrum, ripples created as a measure of compassion may be what it takes to push a plank of wood towards a stranger who would have otherwise drown.
    For some, there are no ripples made.  They float comfortably along on sailboats, moved only by brisk and uncontrollable winds.  They never learn how to swim life's ocean.  Their bodies never feel the cold surprise of the water that surrounds them.  There are others whomake small ripples.  The kind which reach out tiny, metphorical arms to grab at things that exist just barely beyond their reach.
    And then there are the splashers, the ones whose movements can be felt from miles away.  Every splash made with the knowledge that at any moment a shark may pull them under or they may swallow too much water.  The splashers have courage.  They choose to participate in their lives, even if at times it is to their own detriment.  Splashers may not always wind up in the history books but generally live lives full of excitement, passion, and ambition.  They always know their capabilities because they do not harbor questions, they seek out answers. 
    So as you drift along on the ocean of life, ask yourself...have you ever welcomed the icy fingers of the water?  What size are the ripples you're making?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wrinkles and Love Addicts: Your Internal Pharmacy

       The things we say and do in life become grand gestures of our innermost goodness or representations of the ugliness we harbor and lock away.  Regardless which side of this you spend most of your time dwelling on the important thing to realize is that, though every moment of our lives is valuable, moments themselves are fleeting.  What lingers on with us is not the moment but the emotion we felt from that moment.  Feelings, you see, are what compose us, not moments.  So do we have a choice in our emotion?  Do we get to choose which emotions we hang onto?  This is a tricky question as it seems as though emotion is more like an act of God, uncontrollable and unpredictable.  The good news is that emotion is also a habit.  Just like everything else.  Our emotions are slaves to our thoughts and, in turn, we are slaves to our emotions.  So, it would appear that we have circled back into choice of thought patterns. 
       All any emotion is is a combination of chemicals released into your nervous system by the hypothalamus gland.  Not only does this gland's chemicals control emotion, but also hunger, thirst, balance, etc.  In extreme cases, that gland releases too much or too little of a certain chemical and medication is the only way to rectify the imbalance.  But for most people a simple choice in thought can reprogram the hypothalamus to release different combinations of chemicals.  The hypothalamus is like our own, internal drug dealer.  We think and it creates a batch of "stuff" suited to our thoughts.  Then it sends that batch out into our bloodstream where it hunts for cells to infect.  If you've ever known a drug addict then you know that after awhile they need more and more and more of the drug to get the desired affect.  Our cells are similar, they become addicts to chemicals and crave more of certain ones.  We are all addicted to different emotions, our cells screaming at us from the inside out for the chemicals we have gotten them addicted to based on our thoughts.  This is one of the reasons that so many scientists say that stress causes aging.  Stress is an overload of chemicals and those chemicals are bombarding your cells.  This bombardment eventually damages the cells ability to take in important proteins and amino acids which in turn begins to affect health.  With these unhealthy cells dwelling around inside of you, your skin loses elasticity at rapid rates and before you know it you look haggard.  One more example of why healthy thought patterns are so important.
      It's like that pendulum swing of love.  While you're in it, you're glowing, you feel energized, healthier even.  But then, when it's over, you can feel physically ill, tired, and miserable.  Ever wonder why that is?  It is because the person feeling love is merely getting an excess of a happy chemical from their hypothalamus gland.  So when "love" dies, people are almost like addicts having withdrawals from the chemical which they had become so accustomed to feeling in their bloodstream.  
     The good news is that emotions aren't bad, they just are.  They are present in every function of the body from digestion to sleep cycles.  Once those chemicals are released into our bloodstream they dock onto cells and can even change the cells nucleus to a degree.  In order to maintain health, in order to live at our fullest potential we must first recognize the way we are affecting our reality.  Thought, perception creates emotion and emotion creates us.  What are you cooking up in your internal pharmacy?  Who will you be today?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Power of Thought: Boners and Bad Days

We've all heard the many cliched is what you make it, believe and you'll receive or my personal favorite by Buhddha, "We are what we think," but do we really see them as true? People have been studying the brain ever since they realized that we have a brain and still amidst all of the technological advances and amazing discoveries we haven't come close to understanding the way our brains work fully. The power of thought has been pondered and argued about for generations. Books like "The Secret," make claims that we attract both negative and positive elements into our lives by merely thinking of them. Just the idea that something as fundamental as thought could affect our lives so dramatically is almost impossible to imagine. Almost but not entirely. Science is at work all of the time to develop a mastery of the world, the universe, and the unknown. The studies we hear about are generally those dealing with illness, disease and the environment but there are countless other experiments occuring all over the world that rarely make headlines.

One experiment of particular interest here was done by a japanese water scientist named Masaru Emoto. Using a high powered microscope and really fancy photography equipment he tried to prove the power of thought by using the most manipulatable of the elements, water. In one set of experiments he exposed water to different kinds of music and in another he taped written phrases to cups of water and left them out overnight. The results were astounding. After countless experiments he was able to prove that the direction of positive or negative thought and intention actually changed the appearance of the water molecules.
The phrase taped to this water was "You make me sick."

The phrase taped to this water was ""Love and Gratitude" 

Taking into consideration that our planet is composed mostly of water and so are our bodies, if thoughts can do that to water what do we do to ourselves and our world with our negative thoughts?
In another experiment done in 1993 in Washington D.C. four thousand randomly chosen participants over a period of two months were able to decrease the occurence of violent crimes in D.C. by 24%simply through meditation. It sounds astonishing and unbelievable but google it. It is real. They even brought in statistical analysts to determine the probability of a random decrease in crime in that particular interval during the study. The chances of that they found to be two in one billion. Pretty amazing what thoughts can do, isn't it?

If scientific experiments don't convince you then let's go at this another way. The thoughts we have on a daily basis do affect us physically and mentally. One blatant piece of proof is a boner. Men can get a boner without having any physical interaction. Most of the time it is their thoughts that create a hard on. It seems odd to jump from science to hard ons but this is an undeniable truth.  Thoughts can make things happen.  Thought isn't just a part of us......we are thought, it makes us who we are. Our thoughts are all encompassing, we are creatures of thought and our lives are the products of the choices we make based on our thoughts. If one negative thought directed at water can change a water molecule's shape so dramatically in one night without so much as a touch, then why is it so hard to believe that we can create our world based on what we think?

The world is a wave of possibility, if we can think of it then it can be real. It is our thoughts that restrain us. Internal chains are what keep us because external influences are only as real as the thoughts that give them the power to be. It is our beliefs that seperate what is from what isn't. What we believe in is paramount to what kind of lives we live. Belief, faith is just a choice in thought pattern. If we can make something as extraordinary and amazing as God a reality in our minds, if we can change water at it's most basic form with thought, if collective positivity can alter the course of crime in a densely populated metropolis, then what else can our thoughts accomplish?  Imagine the possibilities!  If thoughts are infinitely powerful then couldn't it also be said that we ourselves are equally as powerful?  If our thoughts are choosing our environment, if we are carelessly creating our world by not making the choice to acknowledge our part in it's construction, then why not try to take a more proactive stance?  Try to master your thoughts, to focus the positive ones and abandon the negative ones, if only to prove this theory wrong.  This puts the responsibility of your joys and sorrows back into your hands where it should be. What is real and what isn't? That is the ultimate question. But if you accept your world as it is and don't seek more then the more you desire but don't reach for will never find you. Energy exists all around us and within us, floating around like a swirl of endless fireflies until a thought manifests it as an action or a word or a smile. What will your thoughts manifest today?