I thought Radu Antoniu did a great job on the video he recently made, so I wanted to share it with you.
I thought Radu Antoniu did a great job on the video he recently made, so I wanted to share it with you.
For two weeks I’ve been sitting on this point I want to make. I tried writing about it several times. I just keeping thinking about it and not being able to fully flesh out the idea. So instead of being stuck on it, I’m just going to share it. Here it goes…
We often hear the phrase Rain or Shine, it’s basically saying; it’s happening regardless of good or bad, ideal or undesirable. Which is a good thing. I like that idea. But why is it that after all these years, we can’t see that both exist at the same time? Life is always both at once. It’s only our thinking that makes the two feel separate and distinct. And of course that is totally okay and normal, but the problem is, it kind of f*cks up our lives at times. It causes us to be disappointed or feel victimized, or wonder why life could be so cruel and deal such bad hands. No one wants to play a game where they feel they will suffer or receive unfair treatment.
The other day I was walking home and I was looking at the mountains. It’s an amazing view, I wish I could share it with you right now. But see if you can imagine it. The southern Oregon mountain vista was vast, and it was peppered with trees dusted in white snow. In addition to that, there was a rolling stark white mist that looked like dense San Francisco fog. This white fluffy opaque mass masked much of the view. It made it seem as if there were no mountains, much in the same way that the clouds or moon can fully eclipse the sun. If I were only focused on the mist, I would not know that the mountains were right behind it.
When I was crying in the emergency room about my dog being ill recently, if someone were to tap me on my shoulder and say, “Aimee, wow, don’t cry or fear the situation. It will be resolved soon and everything will be okay. Help will eventually be on the way.” At that time, when I was so angry and distraught, I couldn’t see it. All I could see is what I was focusing on. And focusing on it only brought me more suffering, not solutions. It wasn’t until I changed my focus that things started to change for the better.
The same goes for people that were alone during Christmas Day. I was so happy to be alone! It meant that I could do whatever I wanted! But I knew people that told me Christmas Day was very sad for them, and they wished they could have spent the day with friends & family. I thought that was interesting; two people, same day, same situation, but one loved it and the other hated it. Nothing was different. Only our thinking was different. Only what we were focusing on was different. This is why experts advise people that are overweight to not focus on losing weight, but focus on a higher goal. Make it about something else — something more inspiring and empowering.
If you focus on being fat, and how sad or hard it might be to lose weight — you will get more of the same. I think the same would be the case for anyone lonely, broke or in trouble. If you focus on what you dread, it’s only going to bring you more of it. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Bringing it back to my main point, if you are broke, fat, sad or lonely — abundance, health, happiness and companionship do exist in the world. You just have to go out and connect with it! Just like the mountains existed beyond the clouds, or hope existed for me in the emergency room. It was there! It was simply hidden, but it could have been seen if I changed my focus or investigated a bit further.
Another point I want to make is… If you want to shine, you have to go through the rain — literally! Life isn’t always easy, it’s not supposed to be! If we stop thinking in polar opposites, or in a constant state of duality, life would be so much easier. Because we would stop being so hard on ourselves and so hard on life.
No one ever did anything great (or anything gorgeously human) without risk — without rolling up their sleeves and getting all up in it! You have to get up and get in life’s face. You have to challenge it. You have to see what is behind the clouds. We forget that each day of our lives we are at risk. Nothing is ever a given — ever. Tomorrow everything could be different, or over.
We are vulnerable. It’s what makes us so exciting. Think of a rose or a fine meal, or a shooting star, or a baby’s laugh — it’s magical because it’s transitory. Just like our lives are. We are nothing but flowers living for our best season. That’s why I suggest we aim ourselves towards the light and bloom the best we can. We can stay hidden or tight in a bud — that’s actually gorgeous too. Sometimes I like buds, but it’s often undesirable because it’s too safe. It’s too tight, too restricted, too withholding. There isn’t enough self-expression or risk there. There isn’t enough unfolding. In order to do that, we have to be uncomfortable and risk falling apart. Did you hear that? (I should say, did you read that?) You have to risk falling apart. Life is about falling apart. Life is about letting go. Life is about only seeing clouds but knowing that everything else can exist at the same time. It’s not either or. It’s not, Life is Perfect or Life is Imperfect — therefore I’m happy or miserable, I’m either extremely pleased or suffering terribly.
Right now there is so much pain and suffering in the world. I hate to bring this up, but it’s kind of haunting me. Last night I watched a video titled Shaming Fashion Victims on the Street of NYC. (<– click link to view it.) It’s about wearing fur and how cruel it is. At one point, about 3 minutes into the video, there is a scene in a fur factory, where they rip the fur off of animals while still alive. During this scene the animal (who is on a pile of other animals), is alive but skinless, with all of its muscles and ligaments showing. It tilts its head up and looks directly into the camera, with blood dripping off of its doe-like eyelashes. It was alive and fully aware, being completely present and intimate with the camera — and it had an expression on its face that I will never forget.
After watching a video like that, of course I have the thought “How could people wear fur?” As well as, “How could people create factories like that?” and “How could anyone do this to another living being that is completely innocent, fully alive, feels pain and wants to live?” Those are all good questions. So are “How could evil like this exist in the world?” and “How can I go on living with injustices like this happening all around me?” And the best question yet, “How can I help?”
Yes, all those are great questions. But another question might be, “Is there a way I can fully realize that life can appear both bad and good at the same time — and if so, how can I help to make a positive difference in the world, while loving life as it is?” This is what unconditional love is. It’s love in its highest form. When we love like that (and live like that), we have compassion for the animals, and compassion for the one’s that are torturing them or exploiting them out of ignorance. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work towards putting a stop to it. We do! It simply means that more suffering (or more hate) isn’t going to make it any better. That’s the part we let go of, or that part we fall apart to. It’s the part that requires our patience, acceptance and surrender.
Nature allows it all. It allows everyone to live and learn. And because of this, it is the most powerful and most beautiful force I know. I doubt nature has a bad day when it’s raining, or falls into a depression when people are misbehaving or being cruel. I think it just keeps going. It keeps things moving and evolving. It’s wise enough to know that the bright sun and dark clouds can both exist.
This blog post was very hard to put into words. I hope somehow my feelings and thoughts came through in a way that made sense for you. Just know that whatever you see, do, feel or experience in the world — you are loved and your life is precious. Enjoy it the best way you know how. Try to make space for all of life to happen through you. Try to see that the best of life can also happen while the worst is also happening, and that it’s a choice to focus on what will bring us the most fulfillment, joy and peace.
This post is the meat of a blog post I wrote about grace in 2010. In that post I shared numerous quotes from the website Art of Grace. This week I wanted to be reminded of those quotes, and I also wanted to share them with you, again. I hope you are like me, and feel like when something is pointing to a truth, or to the essence of who we are — we can never hear it too many times. For me, each time feels new, and each time is an opportunity to live with more awareness.
“When you are in balance, you are in grace. This balance is dynamic equilibrium rather than a steady state. Often, this balance seems a paradox: joy and sorrow, fear and love, give and take, dark and light, yin and yang. Yet a Heraclitus noted, opposites are necessary for the balance of existence: “All things come into being by conflict of opposites.”
“A person living in grace depends upon no one person or thing, nor do they feel independent from all. Instead, the person living in grace realizes the interdependence of all existence.”
“Grace is awakening to the natural order of the universe. This awakening allows you to understand, appreciate, and accept reality rather than clinging to illusions. Awakening to reality creates cognitive harmony, in which everything makes sense, as opposed to cognitive dissonance, in which conflicting world views collide. Grace is a prolonged “ah-ha” moment. Grace is awakening to the paradox that we can never be fully aware of reality as it is, only as we, with our limited perceptions, can see it. This awakening may initially be perceived with terror, because at first, greater awareness can be disorienting, just as walking into the light can be as blinding as walking into the darkness. Yet expanded awareness inevitably leads to intense gratitude and actions motivated by compassion.”
“Grace is the realization that you are connected (immersed) in perfect relationship with the ultimate source of existence. In unity with the ultimate source, you are able to let love flow through you, allowing for deeper intimacy with others.”
“Like a ballerina, a person has grace if she possesses strength. As a spiritual strength, grace allows a person to realize their convictions, to do the right thing, even when it is difficult to do so. As with muscular strength, strength of spirit comes from practice, stress, good nourishment, and rest. Grace is cultivated by exercising right actions every day, nourishing your spirit, and taking breaks from the travails of life.”
I’m also sharing a video and quote from Deepak Chopra.
“When the rhythms of our body-mind are in synch with nature’s rhythms, when we are living in harmony with life, we are living in the state of grace. To live in grace is to experience that state of consciousness where things flow effortlessly and our desires are easily fulfilled. Grace is magical, synchronistic, coincidental, joyful. It’s that good-luck factor. But to live in grace we have to allow nature’s intelligence to flow through us without interfering”.
While having a conversation with a friend, I was reminded of the Oneness of everything. Not in the way we usually hear it, “we are all one”, said in a euphoric tone. We’ve heard that so many times, I think most people are num to it. What I was sharing in that conversation I had, is that there is no beginning and no end, and we really never go anywhere. By ‘we’ I mean spirit. I think of it (us/spirit) like water. There is no such thing as new water. Scientists are constantly correcting themselves, and currently declare water to be billions of years older than previously thought. Right now, the theory is that water is older than the sun, older than our solar system (which means that water is older than 4.6 billion years). I think scientists simply don’t know, and may never know exactly how ‘old’ water is. In my mind, water simply is.
Water takes many forms; some seen, some unseen. From the visible sweat on your skin, to the invisible air you breath — there is water. Water is everywhere. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. It takes on many forms, and it makes up what we are, and where we are. It’s constantly changing & shifting. Water is integral to our lives, and when we (our bodies) die, we (our spirit) take on a new form. Just as water becomes vapor — transitioning from the seen to the unseen. I think of life/water/spirit as ever changing, and seen or unseen at various stages — with no final stage.
Once something is apparent to us, we feel that we know it. We take it as truth. As final. As having a beginning and an end. When something is unapparent to us, we are unaware and that unseen/unknown something doesn’t exist (to us). This lack of awareness can create confusion and often fear. This is why most of us fear the unknown and don’t like when things become too unpredictable. It makes people uncomfortable, vulnerable — it gives us the feeling of being out of control (which we are). This is why people live their lives in fear of death and endings, and often live their lives from a place of confusion.
Somehow this ‘all is one, all is connected, all is seen or unseen, all simply is’ rambling reminded me of a blog post I wrote in 2012, titled John Frusciante: It’s all one thing. I’m going to re-post it for you below. I’m only sharing it to say, that some things are beyond the mind. Beyond the telescope. Beyond our imagination. When I talk about Oneness, I’m simply saying that we/it/everything is connected on every level. Some of those levels are clearly seen, but most are not. If something appears to happen to a piece/person/thing, and not the whole — it is in appearance only. If something appears to age, there is a part of that something that never ages (spirit).
Anyway… this is all just me sharing thoughts. Let’s just leave it as that. If you’d like to read the John Frusciante blog post. I embedded it below for you.
I was trying to explain the unexplainable this week. I was teaching meditation online, as I do from time to time, and it’s always such a strange thing to try to describe the indescribable, or explain the unexplainable. Saying things like: “Moving away from the idea that someone is doing something, or that someone needs to do something in order for something to happen” and “If suddenly I tossed a ball your way, you would catch it without thinking. It would be effortless & thoughtless.”
We get so wrapped up in the ‘survival of I’ world. So embedded, even lost, in the world of distractions, that we have drowned out the subtleties of life. Our innate & intuitive knowing, and our spontaneous effortless nature, has become a mystery to many of us. Beingness & awareness have become words to explore, instead of who we are as a whole.
No one does anything. No one makes anything happen. There are so many factors involved in everything — in even the smallest most minute thing/action. It’s all joined forces together at work beyond our comprehension.
If I think of the greatest things, or most significant things in my life right now. What I love most, what means the most to me, what is truly contributing or important to my life. If I make a list — not one thing on that list would be anything I would have/had control over. Nothing on that list would be something that I solely put together or chose for myself. They are things that happened for whatever reason. Things just fell into place. They all happened because of many factors and many things at work in unison.
I stumbled upon this John Frusciante video a day or two after that meditation session. As I listened to John speak, it reminded me of so many thoughts that I had.
As John Frusciante was speaking, I felt such an affinity to so much of what he was saying. Many mental notes of past thoughts I’ve had ran through my mind…
Nothing is new
Love is unconditional
Creativity births itself
They would pop into my mind as he shared his ideas.
John also exuded an energy like he had so much more to say, but that it couldn’t find its way out. Somethings can’t be expressed in a structured limited language. The written word can never fully describe what one can only feel or intuitively know. But as I continued to listen to John’s interview, I continued to jot down thoughts…
We have no control
Get out of the way
Give up control
Embrace the moment (as it is)
Love who you are
Trust the unknown
Have compassion always
It’s never about you
Don’t take it personal
Allow life to flow
Spontaneity is the key
There is only now
Stop thinking start listening
Intuition is everything
Follow your feelings
Let yourself be moved
Don’t be afraid to risk (you have nothing to lose)
Understanding is overrated
Live without reason
It’s all so interesting. The paradox that life is. How simple life can be when we stop trying so hard. How effortless life is when we allow ourselves to be.
Just like we look at earth like it’s one thing, or the solar system, or our bodies — why not see that It (Life) is all one thing? From the micro to the macro, it’s all the same force. Everything is moving, everything is being moved.
[Photo credit: Nabil]
There are so many people, that are so smart — so knowledgeable about what is going on in the world (or other important topics); but at the same time, they have allowed their brilliant mind to paint them in a corner. They fully acknowledge the power of knowledge, but they have completely forgotten the power of a miracle.
“Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.”
– Pablo Picasso
We could say that religion diluted and twisted the use of the word miracle, to use it to their benefit. Most religions paint a picture that miracles happen through God (a god they labeled and created), or through their religion, or through some dogmatic concept. As a result, many people lump miracles in with religion and think that both religion & miracles have little to no merit. Some scientists have also influenced people’s view of the word miracle, they have trivialized it or view it as hogwash. For them, because they can’t fully comprehend it and because it can’t be repeated over and over and over (and predicted), it simply doesn’t exist. How many things have happened for you that you couldn’t fully understand, or that you couldn’t repeat or predict? I find that life is full of unexplainable and unpredictable situations and things. Life itself is a great example. “Why are we here?” seems to be an unanswerable question, even for the brightest mind.
I think that the best way to form an opinion about something is to get to know it personally. To meet it in life, to experience it firsthand. Not by writings or findings by others, not by data or theories or tradition, but to see it with your own eyes, or feel it through your own body. For it to happen to you, while you are fully aware.
When I look at my life, I can see so many miracles. Things that happened that seemed impossible initially. Things I couldn’t predict or create. Things that I or others said “no way” — that later happened with ease. No crazy work or insane pushing and pulling to cause massive change or to make something happen, just a steady flow in the right direction. Sometimes that flow starts with small consistent steps, sometimes that flow happens by simply getting out of the way (which usually means, getting your mind out of the way). In either case, without us dominating or manipulating a situation — things happen. Incredible things.
“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.”
– Albert Einstein
I personally think that in years to come (maybe many — but eventually) people will fully embrace miracles. They will be able to tune into them and work with life’s flow & power. This is a quote from Why Science Can’t Accept Miracles (Even if They Really Exist):“Since earliest times, people had regarded lightning as supernatural. Benjamin Franklin showed that lightning was electricity and furthermore devised a way to control it. For the first time, a phenomenon went from supernatural, not just to natural, but to something controllable by humans.”
When I say miracles, I’m not speaking to any specific ones. I’m definitely not speaking to any biblical ones, or any based in tradition, or mythology, or storytelling. I’m just addressing: the things that happen just in time; the things that happen when all hope is lost; the things that happen so perfectly that they seem intentional; the things that seem to only make sense in hindsight; the things that make us scratch our heads; the things that make us humble; the things that make us give thanks with full gratitude. If you are familiar with any of those things, that is what I am referring to.
It does take a certain amount of awareness to experience or acknowledge miracles. Being on autopilot, being distracted or constantly busy, feeling your life only happens according to the ‘facts’ you learned in school, thinking that you always have bad luck, and great things or easy solutions only happen to other people, living from a place of preoccupation with fear or cynicism — all of those will bring down your level of awareness, and will cloud or dull your abilities to see/feel/hear in subtle, yet very powerful ways. Also, instead of experiencing the depth of a multidimensional existence or multidimensional reality, you might dwell in a boxed-in one-dimensional mindset, which creates your sense of reality and limits you. Like the Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
I’ve met many people that say they have no idea how to follow their intuition or to listen to their gut. I’ve also encountered people that question why adverse things happen to them over and over again. I think both challenges have to do with a level of awareness. Being still and going deeper, practicing more expansive hearing/seeing/feeling, learning to make space for subtle sounds and clues to be acknowledged — all are very important. When subtle feelings or clues go unnoticed or unheard for too long, they can turn into something very dangerous and alarming. Often, health scares were present as subtle clues, long before they turn into life threatening situations that can take over one’s life — or take one’s life altogether! The same goes for relationships. Minor problems unacknowledged (unheard/unseen) early on, turn into major unavoidable problems that can take a lifetime to fix, or can end relationships forever.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. ”
– Albert Einstein
The state of our planet is another example. Our level of awareness was (and still is) minimal. We didn’t see/hear/feel what we were doing to ourselves or to the planet early on. The result is, eventually it will be alarming (it is already in many ways.) It will change our lives drastically and take a lifetime to fix, or …we’ll just be wiped out eventually. Humanity will be a thing of the past, as the planet goes on and heals itself without us. But if we were more subtle, more sensitive, more aware, more observant early on, in the early stages, we might have changed the way we were being to avoid the mess that we are in now. But then again, it takes a certain level of awareness. And again, miracles could happen at the very-very last minute to our benefit. But one never knows.
“We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.”
– Ray Bradbury
I don’t recommend waiting for miracles, and I don’t recommend dismissing them either. A healthy sense of balance between the subtle and unsubtle is all I think it takes for one to live powerfully. (It’s like being a perfect balance of spirit and form.) I think taking action (small steps consistently) and living with a sense gratitude for everything, is very helpful and very transformational. As well as, practicing being still. Slowing down (the body and mind, this includes all fears). Making and taking time to just be. Practicing hearing/seeing/feeling, learning to make space for subtle sounds and clues. All that I mentioned are excellent ways we can raise our level of awareness. Our culture is so dominated with loud sounds, constant movie watching, video game playing, TV viewing, as well as, shopping, eating, socializing and working in excess — that one rarely has a chance to get still or just be. To be quiet and to listen, not only to the subtle sensations that are there, but to the clues, answers, or gifts that are being given everyday.
We can sometimes be so preoccupied, so programed, so afraid, so hasty, that we can simply gloss-over everything — even our own life. Including all of the once-in-a-life-time opportunities that come with it. We are living in a very interesting time. Things seems to be happening faster than ever. And as a result, I believe that people are learning and adapting faster. I’m very excited about all of it. If there was any time to think that miracles exist, now would be a good one. If there was any time to get humble and ‘tune in’ to the existing power of that which can’t be predicted or explained, now is a good time. But regardless, one can always benefit from a bit of unlearning. Abandoning old pattens that no longer serve one’s life, as well as moving from a heavy way of thinking and being, to a lighter more refreshing one. Being open and flexible not only feels good, but it can make space for amazing things to happen — inside and out. Enjoy how expansive your mind and your life can be. Try it, and see what happens.
[This blog post was originally written and published in June 2013, but I thought it would be good to share again. Sometimes revisiting old blog posts are great reminders. Living with more awareness is something I always need to be reminded of.]
I often feel guilt for being who I am. It’s something that I’ve struggled with for many years. I wrote this email to a friend, earlier in the week:
Sent: Wed 4/15/15 12:20 PM
I often feel so much guilt. I have for years. Guilt for not making better use of my talents; Guilt for sometimes not wanting to go through the monotony of life; Guilt for abusing my body in the past; Guilt for not saying what I feel or guilt for hurting people’s feelings when I do; Guilt for not being more grateful for all the love & luck I have in my life. There is much more that I could mention — but it’s basically a resistance to life. Some sort of internal struggle or fight. I am not embracing, accepting or allowing what is. I’m turning it into something good/bad/right/wrong/better/worse. And none of it matters. None of it’s real. Real beingness is effortless. It feels like spaciousness and unconditional love. It feels open, indifferent and empty, yet intimate, and timeless. I know it. I am it. But only between the words, and only in moments of spontaneous allowing (non-resistance).
Each year of my life I feel like I allow more, and struggle less. But there is still a fight. Still a part of me that goes kicking and screaming. Still a part of me that refuses to allow, and looks for a way to shake things, until they settle in a formation that suits me better. The effort it takes to control or fight life, is the very thing that prevents one from living it fully.
It’s like being on the floor, sweaty and bloody, with your opponent, side by side. Completely spent, completely vulnerable. Looking at each other in exhaustion. Feeling foolish for having expended all that energy in the fight. In that state of surrender, what the fight was about is immediately forgotten, and completely irrelevant. At that moment, one can experience the bliss and effortless of being. The joy of just being with what is. Accepting that one is only fighting life itself — which is who and what we are.
I’m babbling. ;) But I just wanted to share my thoughts. To accept all that is. To allow myself to be me, and life to be life (which is also me). I’ll have to ponder this more, and maybe turn it into a blog post. ;) For now, I’m just going to focus on having an effortless day, full of life living life.
Shortly after that email, I received two emails in the same vein, from two different friends. They were not related in any way, had no idea what I was feeling or communicating earlier that day, and live on opposite sides of the USA. One email was about an ‘inner light’ and acceptance. The other email was about embracing vulnerability. My life is often synchronistic in this way. Whenever I open, and become vulnerable and true to myself, the Universe sends me flowers. It sends me messages and signs. Confirmation that I am on the right path.
After spending more time on guilt, and why I find it challenging to truly embrace myself — which is to embrace life. A few things came to mind. Why do I make myself wrong so much? Why do I always view myself as ‘the bad guy’? I think I do this because I see myself wanting different things than most people (obviously we all want to be happy and loved, but we choose different ways to address that need — my way is often considered odd). Living in a way that’s not the norm. Thinking things that aren’t necessarily mainstream.
There is a quote that comes to mind: “If everybody likes what you are doing, you’re doing it wrong.” (I’m not sure who the author of that quote is. It’s seems unknown.)
I wouldn’t say wrong — I would say why? Why are you doing things just like everyone else?
Instead of feeling guilty for the choices I make, I should question myself: Who gave me the idea of how things should be done? Where did I learn it?
I question what it means to be a friend.
I question what it means to be a lover/partner.
I question what it means to be an artist.
I question what it means to be a family member.
I question what it means to be loving.
I question what it means to be compassionate.
I question what it means to be loyal.
I question what it means to be honest.
I question what it means to be human.
I question what it means to be alive.
I question what it means to be me.
Is it possible that I can create my own definition of those words? Could I not love people in my own way? Could I not be an artist in my own way? Could I not be a friend or family member in my own way? And if I did, and I fully accepted myself….. Would I ever feel guilty for being me? The question itself sounds absurd. I’ll have to question myself more often. To remind myself that life is not a program. And being human doesn’t have to be a blueprint we follow.