Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

simplify finding balanceI can’t seem to heed or hear these words enough: simplify, simplify, simplify. Somehow my life seems to twist and turn and end up in complicated places. Places where I try to mix other people’s wants and needs with my own.

Well, I don’t think it’s really about wants & needs, more like imagined dreams & desires. Life is a dream. We add story and meaning behind the impersonal and the empty. Life really can be simple, straightforward, seamless and serene. Yet, the drama, the passion, the drive, the fuel behind the fire — it creeps in like a thief in the night. Sometimes passion, and fire, and drama are great! They make for great movies. They make for great gossip, and great memories to obsess and to stew over for years. But they don’t seem to be great for peace and serenity. They don’t seem to be useful for balance and health.

Of course I’m speaking generally. And of course words can be twisted and and taken in directions not intended. All I’m saying is; I don’t like it when things get unnecessarily complicated. I don’t like it when egos or illusory identities clash and bump heads. I don’t like it when… I don’t like it. I hate when I catch myself not liking what I am part of, what I am giving my energy to. Not only is it not fulfilling, it’s completely draining. I like to like, just like I love to love. I’m my best when I’m open, loving and liking, appreciating all that I am part of.

I want to be liking and loving all day, every day. Not feeling the draining pull of resistance, along with the discomfort that comes from trying too hard. And let’s not forget fear. Where there is inauthenticity, too much effort, and the feeling like one is far from their center… there is fear. The fear of telling someone no, or the fear of not being honest with oneself, or the fear of simply not knowing what might come next.

This soup of fear, tension, cloudiness and resistance — the teetering decision making — not feeling here or there, or clear about anything. Even when it’s for a few minutes, it’s more than I can tolerate. It takes me to a place that feels like a tight shoe, like I’m walking and every step is uncomfortable, every step is an internal struggle. And I’m walking with a face that says everything is OK, when in actuality, it isn’t.

Every so often, I have to go over my life and look for the ‘tight shoes’. I have to see where I am being inauthentic, where I am participating in projects or conversations that are not in alignment with my highest self. And most importantly, I have to see where I am betraying myself. Where I have left and abandoned the purity of the soul that is behind the corporeal persona. I’m going through one of those moments right now, I’ve been feeling it all week. And it’s good! I celebrate moments like these. Moments when I have to say: STOP! What is all this about? Simplify. Let go. Drop what isn’t yours (literally, but more so figuratively). And walkaway, knowing that peace can only be realized, and the sweetness that is your soul is ever present. Nothing is ever needed, nothing is ever gained. And the love you imagine that might be taken away for living your truth, isn’t love.

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Filed under finding balance, getting clear, how to simplify your life, living your dream

Have You Been Sold a Dream? Are You Still Buying It?

A few weeks back I was at an appointment waiting to be called next. I looked to my left and saw a newspaper – the Wall Street Journal. As I flipped through it something caught my eye. It was an image of a man and a woman totally enthralled with one another in a blissful state. The man was reclining on a cloud made of stuff; tennis rackets, wine glasses, classical instruments, elegant accessories, overnight case, golf clubs, champagne flutes, skis, etc. The advertisement had two tag-lines: Element of Well-being / For a Better You.

My immediate reaction was a long sigh. Was the viewer supposed to think that this cloud of materialistic stuff and a vacation stay in a hotel would bring them bliss? I feel so tired of the marketing that is pushed down people’s throats. All day every day everywhere we look, we are being marketed to. The idea of “this thing” or “this look” or “this place” is what you need to feel great, to feel happy, to feel whole. Most of us know that none of those things bring lasting happiness, yet we are sold that idea over & over again – and we buy it!

Everyone talks about a vacation or a lifestyle that they desire. Most of us hate some part of the way we look as well, comparing ourselves to others and feeling like some aspect of ourselves is inadequate. Or it can be the other way around, we think that the way someone else looks or lives isn’t good enough for us. Who taught us that? Where did we get our standards from? What did we pattern ourselves and our lives after? Why is it that our life is the way it is? Did we freely & fully create it? Or did we allow society to greatly influence our decisions and our views?

If you lived alone on an island, would you be worrying about the same things you desire or stress about today? Would you want the same job you currently have? Take a close look at your life & ask yourself, “If I lived alone and I never or rarely saw people, what would I be passionate about, what would matter most to me? What would my life be about and look like?”

Would you need a vacation? Would you be working as hard as you do? What would matter most to you? More stuff? Faster car? Bigger income? Smoother skin? Second home? An academic degree? …Or something freely available and priceless, like love? I think we could say that love would be the most important thing. Yet we don’t see that, choose that, or act like that in our day-to-day lives. We don’t seem to make that our dream, our goal, or our number one priority on a daily basis.  And trust me, every money-driven corporation and business wants to keep it that way.

[Today's blog post was written and posted back in August 2011.]

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Filed under AWARENESS, dreams, goals

Marianne Williamson & Caroline Myss: Tough Love

Marianne Williamson  Caroline Myss Tough Love

Today I watched a Marianne Williamson Google Talk I had never seen before. There is a confidence and a hardness that I see & feel from her. But the hardness is due to a deep deep bottomless love. An immeasurable ungraspable love. It’s powerful, and you can feel it as she talks. I think that ‘hardness’ I see & feel is mistaken. I think the English vocabulary is short on vocabulary. Sometimes deep love can feel tough or hard, but it’s just certain. It’s without a doubt. And just like a sure ‘yes’ or a sure ‘no’, it’s a done deal. It isn’t debatable, swayable, or open to being pushed around.

Shortly after I watched that Google Talk, I came across a Caroline Myss interview (with Lilou Mace) that I had seen before, but I watched it again. Caroline Myss also comes across confident and ‘hard’. It reminded me of the same energy I felt while watching Marianne Williamson talk. I thought to myself: they must have a similar knowing, it’s as simple as that.

Below are both videos. Both videos are excellent. They dive deep into many timely issues. Marion focuses her talk on creativity and leadership, while Caroline focuses on humility and grace. In the bigger picture, their words are painting the same image. The reason our society is in trouble, is because we haven’t seen the connection between creativity, leadership, humility and grace. I watch these videos because it’s important to make that connection. It’s equally important to share it. But what’s even more important is to live it. Awareness is the first step. Always.

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Filed under interview, POWER / COURAGE, SPIRITUALITY, TV / VIDEO

The Work of Adam Harteau

Adam Harteau collage

Adam Harteau photo

A close friend of mine shared the work of Adam Harteau with me recently. She (Genevieve) thought I would like his blog Our Open Road — and I absolutely do.

Adam Harteau is no longer looking to raise funds for his 2012 Kickstarter project, but I recommend you check out the video on his Kickstarter page. I think it’s a great example of what he & his work is all about. In my opinion, it’s about Life. Life with a capital L.

Adam Harteau photography

Adam Harteau our open road

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Filed under ART / FILM, inspirational people, WORLD / TRAVEL

Real Rest Comes from Being Awake

james_baldwin_awake

“Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking.” -ACIM

Until we wake up individually, we will not have peace. Until we wake up as a people, we will not have peace.

The neglect, the fear of the unknown, and the comfort in the familiar has put us in a compromising place. And what we are compromising is our freedom. I don’t mean our personal rights, I mean our happiness as a birthright. Who we are is love. Who we are is peace. Who we are is awareness. And until we begin to live from that space, we will continue to suffer. Not only that — but we will continue to question ourselves and wonder what life is all about.

I can tell you that life is not about work. It is not about money. It is not about “getting ahead.” It is not about war. It is not about “well I’ll do something when they do something.” It is not about “when the time comes.” It is not about “one day.” It is about right here, right now. It is about YOU. It is about your true nature — Love! You are Love. I’ve heard it said before that the opposite of love is fear, yet most of us base how we live our lives on fear. We choose from a place of fear instead of love. We do this over & over again, without realizing it.

James Baldwin made a comment in a video (in the 1960′s) that was spot on. He said, “The [United States] is for the first time worried about [a movement]. You shouldn’t be worried about [a movement], that’s not the problem. The problem is to eliminate the conditions which breed [a movement].”

Most people think that something will solve a problem; let’s cure the symptoms! I say, No! Let’s look at the cause! Let’s examine the root! Leave the symptoms be and bear the discomfort. Be accountable and do what it takes to radically correct the root cause. And the fastest way to do this is within each and every one of us, individually, by taking personal responsibility. And then collectively, together as a people, by sharing ourselves and our lives with each other, by sharing our challenges & changes, our personal accountability & insights — together we change the world.

If we want to feel well rested, if we want to feel free, if we want to feel secure, if we want to feel peace, if we want to feel love — then it’s time we wake up! It’s time we take off the mask that we have been programmed to wear. It’s time to be ourselves. James Baldwin said it beautifully in this quote: “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” Love is who we are. Let’s allow Love to show us what being human is all about. Let’s let Love show us how to live.

[This blog post was an except from a post I wrote in 2011.]

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Filed under AWARENESS, insight, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, UNLEARNING

Take Another Look


When I say take another look, I mean take a bigger look. I’m talking about big picture thinking. Other terms for big picture thinking are: holistic thinking; expanded perspective; macro perspective; perception-enhancement; and global vision. What I am suggesting is to raise above your current level of seeing (a situation). Raise above it and see what the view looks like from higher up. You might find that it suits you much better.

If seeing is believing, that means you take what you see to be the truth. Why believe something that isn’t working for you? I’m sure we have all said, or all heard, the following views: I’m broke; this is just the way I am (or she is, or he is, or they are); life is meaningless; they don’t care about me (or us); it shouldn’t be like this (or they shouldn’t be like that); this is so hard; it’s impossible. Understand that there is always another view. Not only the view from another person (or animal, or insect). But an even broader view. Think aerial view. Think universal view! It’s that kind of view that is the most helpful — that gives someone the most advantage, the most freedom and the most power.

Think of something very personal that happened to you. Hold it in your mind. It’s hard to see it clearly because you are so close to it. You totally identify with it and you feel so close to every detail that it’s hard to see it clearly. It’s like holding a piece of paper up to your face. Imagine that paper being close, so close it’s only one inch away from your eyes. What do you see? Maybe only a few letters, or maybe some blurry words that you could take a guess at. Now pull that paper away from you so that you can read the whole sheet in context, fully and clearly. You needed some distance in order to see, right?

What about something that happened to you years ago, something traumatic? Does it feel the same now as it did then? Think of something that happened 10 – 20 years ago that made you upset. Or think of a lover you had in your life. Think of how upset you were when the relationship was over. Now take your mind to the present. How does what happened years ago make you feel now? Did the distance help to get some clarity, some ease, or greater awareness? This is the freedom that big picture thinking can give us in the moment — in the present, while it’s still happening!

Even if you can’t see the big picture. Even if you don’t know why something is happening to you, don’t worry. Just know that there is a bigger picture that only has your best interest at heart. Just the thought alone will revolutionize your life. But you have to take the time to step back and not take what you are seeing and experiencing personally. You have to see it from a greater awareness, a broader view.

[Today's blog post was written and posted back in December 2011.]

[The script image is of a brilliant quote by Mary Anne Radmacher.]

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What is Being Yourself?

being yourself be you

[Today's blog post is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote in February 2012.]

Being you is beautiful. It’s when you don’t need to do anything, or be anything. It’s when you just know without question. It’s when you follow your feet, and your feet follow your heart (and your mind just tags along for the ride). It’s when you trust that you are supported. It’s when you feel so much love, that you can’t believe that much love is possible! It’s when you wake up in the morning free & empowered & relaxed. It’s when you are free to be! To put it simply; your beingness (not your doingness) is you being you. The way you love unconditionally is you being you. When you are silent and at peace, this is you being you. Those moments of freedom, simplicity and bliss are all you.

You might ask: “But what about when I’m enraged or angry, this is also me! Isn’t the me that isn’t at peace, or isn’t being love, or isn’t oneness or awareness me as well? What about when I am depressed & I am suddenly able to create great works of art, this is also me! What about when I have lost a loved one & I am in tears, this is also me! What about after I’ve been taken advantage of and I’m full of anger & resentment & fear, this is also me!” — No, that is you under the influence. I don’t argue that those are also beautiful states of humanness filled with emotion. I don’t argue that the contrast of those feelings or experiences bring a richness and a texture to life. I don’t argue that the contrast between painful experiences and enjoyable experiences lead us to a greater appreciation. I don’t argue that the terrible experiences in our lives make us stronger and (hopefully) wiser. I don’t argue this one bit. I’m in full agreement with you. But where I draw the line is by seeing that and telling you that, these are not pure states.

When I say they are not pure, I mean they are forced by outside influences. They were not created out of thin air, something brought them on, and that something was outside of you. The states that I talked about previously, when I described what it’s like to be you truly being yourself, those examples are of you in all of your pureness & wholeness, without anything extra. Without the influence of anything or anyone. — Example: When was the last time you were completely enraged for no reason? When was the last time you felt cheated by nothing? Yet I can come up with numerous examples of when I smiled or even laughed for no reason at all. — Do you understand the difference? Truly being yourself is unconditioned, while not being yourself is.

Everyday I get some sort of impression of someone who is suffering. It can either be from the media, or on the street, or from a friend or family member. The one thing they all have in common is that they are suffering over things that aren’t within them. They are suffering over things that have nothing to do with who they truly are. And they continue to carry these pangs or these burdens as if they have to — & they don’t! Just as simply as they picked them up, they can let them go. But, only if they can see that they are holding on to something that isn’t real.

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Filed under HOW TO, ONENESS / BEINGNESS, UNLEARNING