Category Archives: community

Russell Brand: Addiction, Conditions & Community

Russell Brand Addiction

“Why is it, that through my life I felt this sense of irritation? This agitation, this emptiness, this hollowness? This feeling that something is not quite there. The feeling that there is something just beyond my grasp. This sort of loneliness, a hollowness in me always. It nagged away at me. When I found, sort of, every progressive drug; cannabis, LSD, crack, heroin — each of them were greeted as tiny little powdery profits — solutions to the problem of my inner angst. But, you know, none of them worked. The thing is, what I have learned is, that what I was looking for all that time, is a sense of union, a sense of connection. I heard once, that all desire, is an inappropriate desire to be one with God. Who knows that more than we? I think we drug addicts are very religious people. I think we have a yearning for something potent. Life is just not enough. It’s enough for other people to go have a few drinks, a bit of a smoke, even a couple of lines. And they’re alright with it. Why for us must there be more? Why for us is there the subsequent misery? Because for us, these flimsy scraps are never going to be enough. We want the real connection. We want the absolute connection. And the thing is, that kind of connection exists. It’s possible that you in fact could find it now. But first you have to remove the chemicals and substances. You have to get rid of them. I believe in abstinence based recovery. I believe that if you are a drug addict in the nature that I am, you have to remove drugs from your life. Then what I think is, you have to create the conditions for a spiritual experience. You have to create the conditions. I heard a wonderful analogy once, apparently if you live in rural America — and I can’t imagine what that must be like — but if you do, you have to build a post box. You have to put a post up and build the post box to the exact specifications. Otherwise, the U.S. mail ain’t going to deliver your letters! So every morning, if you are thinking, “Eh, I can’t be bothered to build a mailbox. They can just chuck it on the lawn.” You might not get any letters, and you might therefore receive the information in your head that no one loves you, that no one cares about you. But you didn’t build the conditions for the letters to be delivered! I’ve been getting clean from drugs and following 12 step based abstinence programs. It’s creating the conditions for a spiritual experience. We have to create the conditions for the letters to be delivered. Once we create the condition for the spiritual experience — which isn’t easy — it isn’t easy, but it’s easier than being a drug addict in active addiction. Once you create those conditions, it’s possible for the spiritual experience. Then, you will need the support of a community, a community of like minded people. I think this is true for any transcendence, for any spiritual life.” — Russell Brand

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Thank You, Greg Boyle (and Everyone at Homeboy Industries!)

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Father Greg Boyle_g-dog

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homegirl industries

Just in case you haven’t heard of Homeboy Industries and the work of Father Greg Boyle, I thought I would a share it with you. You can read the book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, or watch the documentary G-Dog, or eat at Homegirl Cafe, and much, much, more. There is so much goodness to experience through the work that Father Greg Boyle sparked. And that spark has now turned into Homeboy Industries wildfires. It has helped Los Angeles communities (and people all over the world) in such powerful ways, and it stands as an example of what is possible when love & compassion are unstoppable.

All I have to say is, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Below are a few clips from the G-Dog documentary, and a few other videos that share the philosophy, work, and story of Homeboy Industries.

“Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.” – Greg Boyle

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Filed under change, community, rehabilitation

Happy Thanks-living!

sweet potatoes happy thanks-living

Last week I was emailing with a friend. Before I ended my email, I added this sentence: “Have a super-duper Thanksliving next week. It’s nice to know that neither of us will be eating anyone. ;) It will be a celebration of life & thanks! So much to be grateful for.”

As most of my regular readers know, I don’t eat Turkey on Thanksgiving. I shared my point of view and reasons why in this 2012 blog post titled “Who Me?” If you click on the title, you can view and read the blog post. Please do! You’ll be happy you did.

I’m wishing everyone (in the USA, since it’s an American holiday) a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. But before I go, I would also like to share a video that was sent to me this week. I found it so inspiring. The video if of Jason Brown. He was an NFL player, that had a glamorous life and a 37.5 million dollar contact to play football. All that is behind him now. With awareness and insight, he made the decision to move to North Carolina to start a farm. He decided that living closer to nature & family was what was most important to him. This year, his farm grew 117,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, and he donated almost half of that amount to feed people in need. He is more connected to his environment, community and his family than ever. But more importantly, his more connected to himself on a deeper level, and lives with greater awareness. (His video is embedded below.)

I was talking to my dad on the telephone this morning. I was telling him that with greater awareness comes a deeper listing. It happens naturally as a result of stillness. When people are more aware, there is a stillness within them that allows them to listen intuitively. And it’s those internal messages and cues that guide them. Jason Brown was guided in this way. He knew that money & status wasn’t going to buy him what is most important. He was clear that love & connection is what he valued most. You can read more of his story here.

Whatever it is that we decide to do, in career, family, relationships, diet — it’s always best to choose powerfully. In order to choose powerfully, there needs to be some deep questioning and listening. If we can create a sense of stillness, and quiet the mind chatter or story that runs like a broken record in our minds, we can hear what is most important. For each person the details might be different, but the core of it is the same. Love, honesty, connection, and contribution is paramount. Without that, our lives wouldn’t amount to much.

Everyone defines their core values in their own way, even though we generally share the same values. Which is great, it makes us all unique. But it’s important that we repeatedly ask ourselves if we are living in alignment with our core values. Continuously checking in with ourselves and seeing if our current choices are in alignment with what matters most to us, and if it follows the guidance of our heart. And if we aren’t living in alignment with our highest values, why? What is stopping us? And what actions would it take to make sure that we are? What would our lives feel and look like if we made sure that our lives were based on powerful choices made with awareness, compassion and great love?

 

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