Tag Archives: courage

No Excuses. Ever.

human spirit quote
Today’s blog post is a video of a carpenter. It’s a stunning reminder of how powerful & resilient the human body can be, but more importantly, how invincible the human spirit is.

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Filed under fear & challenges, great quotes, inspiration

Definition of Freedom

aimee cavenecia text face

I’m not one to be chatty, or to call all the time. I really like personal space, solitude, & time to reflect. As a result of this, most of my communication ends up being online. Often I get emails from friends, family, or people that know me through my blog. All of these emails are appreciated & valued — but when an email is personal, when it’s deeper, digging into heartfelt feelings or fears, this is when an email really stands out. This is when I want to say, “thank you!” Because through your open sharing, I too have opened up. When I receive these types of emails, I really wish I could include everyone in on the conversation. But the conversation is private — between me & another person. So, what I do from time to time on this blog, is I only post my response. My reply to the email, without any background information on the conversation, or any details about who I am corresponding with. Below you’ll find an email reply I wrote this week. Hopefully by only reading my response, you will feel like you were part of the conversation. Because to me, you were. I feel like everyone is part of every conversation that I have. (Because everyone is in my heart.)

Hey XXXXX,

Explore this this year.–>“I didn’t trust myself to just go with the flow.”

It’s a big one. Flow is EVERYTHING. It’s the real deal. It’s the essence. Don’t leave this lifetime without getting to know flow, without trusting the unknown. It’s like living a lie your whole life, and never looking truth directly in the face. It’s the ultimate of being fearless.

I heard something good yesterday. An interviewer asked someone what their definition of Freedom was. The person replied, “the absence of fear.”

In this world we have all sorts of daredevils and ‘ballsy’ people bragging and showing all sorts of outward fearlessness. But VERY FEW can be with inward fearlessness.

For most, it’s way too scary. For those that have made it their life-work or their practice, to trust the unknown — they can finally be themselves — they can experience (or be) causeless contentment. Real freedom; bliss, internal peace. A place that money, will or talent can’t buy. It’s Grace — unknowable, unpredictable, unfathomable — and effortless.

One can’t push or muscle their way there. It doesn’t work like that. All one can do is humbly let go, and trust fully — totally surrender. Every moment is an opportunity for us to do so. Every minute is another chance. And the good news is; we don’t have to go anywhere, buy anything, or do anything. It’s always right here, right now.

Wishing you the best year ever! :) Explore the Unknown! Be fearless! Meet what’s inside, the real you that is unseen, and oftentimes, unheard. Be with it, listen to it, trust it. It’s not just in you, it’s everywhere. Finally seeing and meeting yourself, you finally meet the world. You feel the love and the peace that has always been there. All along.

I’m glad you are XXXXX. :) That is great news.

Love you!
A.

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Filed under emails, peace & bliss, power & courage

In What Way Are You Trapped?

There is a Whole Foods location in Manhattan that I have adopted. I go there to work several times a week. I basically have a breakfast or lunch there, & after the meal I pull out my laptop & get to work. Having a communal buzz around me while I work keeps me energized & focused. Plus, on every day that I work there, I have a least one person coming to meet me. Everyone needs support in getting things done & staying on purpose. Rubbing elbows & staying connected keeps people inspired.

For several months I have seen a bird in the Whole Foods cafeteria. I am usually pleased to catch a glimpse of it. Just seeing it for a few seconds brings me closer to nature & gives me an indescribable feeling of lightness. But on this day, I actually spent a bit of time observing it & watching it attentively. I watched it for 20 minutes, & during this time, all it did was attempt to fly through the various windowpanes — ramming into one after the other. These are large floor-to-ceiling windows in a huge loft space. So this little bird could be easily 10 feet above every one’s heads trying to escape for hours everyday, without anyone taking notice.

I spoke to a friend about this little bird & my concern for it. I told him that I would speak to the Whole Foods manager & do what I could to help it return to nature safely. I noticed how affected I was by this bird being trapped, & how desperately I wanted it to be free. Then I had to look at myself: Am I just as stuck as this bird? Where in my life do I keep hitting my head against the wall? Where is it that I feel trapped? What habits do I have that I can’t seem to break? How have I ignored my own self-entrapment because I have been too busy to notice?

I pondered these questions as I looked around at the jam-packed cafeteria. Are the crowds at Whole Foods just as trapped as this bird? Hitting their heads against some sort of barrier to their own freedom? Yet they don’t even know it? As I looked around, people were dressed similar. Most of them were office workers or students, eating lunch while monitoring the clock. Almost everyone appeared to be on autopilot.

“In what way are you trapped?” It’s an interesting question. And it got me to think about my life. To think about it with the same attentiveness I had, as I closely observed the bird in its environment.

We are so distracted in this culture. Everything is largely centered around school (to find work), or work (to earn money), or entertainment (to escape monotony). To me all of them are a distraction. A very clever & carefully orchestrated distraction. It takes a lot of awareness to be able to see though all the busyness. To see through the game. To see through the absurdity. It also takes quite a bit of courage to face up to it. But it takes even more courage, much more, to go beyond it. That kind of courage is more like the French word: coeur. It is the same as cor in Latin. It means heart, which is the root of the word courage.

If we want to go beyond the false & illusory reality around us, that we have all irresponsibly co-created & entrapped ourselves with — it takes tremendous heart. It also takes constant awareness and commitment to live up to a higher truth. I think this awareness is the first step. After this first step, we must bravely walk forward & not look back. Fearlessly walk into the unknown & trust where it leads us. I think it’s wiser to trust one’s intuition, & to allow follow one’s feet — allowing their greater awareness to guide them — than to blindly follow the masses.

It is always good to check-in with ourselves. To turn our concerns or questions back on ourselves, examining how we could be more aware or responsible. It’s very easy to fall into comfortable patterns, and then wonder why we have stationary complaints that never fully leave us. We are the only ones that can set ourselves free. But, in order to have the courage to make the necessary changes, we must first have the heart.

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Filed under awareness, unlearning

Dick Gregory, from the bottom of my heart — THANK YOU.

Oh, how do I begin?

Few people truly shine bright on many levels, & Dick Gregory is one of those people. He has shone inside & out, as well as across the board since the late 1950’s. And even now in 2012, you can see him at almost every major event that speaks on behalf of people’s rights.

His list of achievements is too long to list here. We are talking about almost 80 years of living fully. And when I say living fully, I don’t mean living a full life — I mean putting your life on the line! Living out loud & speaking your mind; doing all you can to find the truth; standing up for yourself & others; experimenting & testing & investigating; being an artist (first black comedian to break the color barrier); being an author (of 13 books, as either writer or co-writer); being an athlete (ran from California to New York City, averaging 50 miles per day for 71 days); being vegetarian since the 1960’s, and in more recent years raw vegan (he chose to not eat animals or animal products, because of his dedication to non-violence); fasting on water for 70 days straight (Dick Gregory is well known for his hunger strikes); running for president in 1968 (garnered 47,097 votes, including one from Hunter S. Thompson); feeding the hungry (shipped 10,000 pounds of beans to feed people in Marks, Mississippi); cancer survivor (cured himself of lymphoma with natural methods); I can go on & on.

Peter Barry Chowka summed it up perfectly when he said, “Gregory’s name, is synonymous with progressive social and political causes. He is that rare combination (like Gandhi) of activist and healer, one whose own life illustrates how real change first must come from within oneself.”

Thank you, Dick Gregory. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for having the courage to think for yourself. Thank you for putting yourself on the line. Thank you for looking deeper. Thank you for leading the way. Thank you for teaching others how beautiful & powerful they are. Thank you for reminding us to love & to be fearless. Thank you for showing us how much can be accomplished in one lifetime. Thank you for being you. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

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Filed under awareness, inspiration, power & courage, revolution, tv & video

Coney Island Polar Bear Club (& cub!)

The first section of this blog post is an email I sent to my Mom. It’s about the adventure I had last Sunday with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club in New York. The second half of the post is a detailed description of the event.

The email…

From: AimeeLovesYou
To: Mom
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012
I DID IT!
Yesterday was 45 degrees (brrr!), cloudy & a bit rainy.
I really didn’t want to go. But I did. I went to Coney Island… to swim with the Polar Bears! :) I was happy that I did it, & it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
I’m telling you, Ma. These fears are just puffed-up illusions. If you poke a hole in them, they really do deflate!
Happy Monday.
:) I love you.
Love,
A. (aka, Polar Bear cub)

The details…

The hardest part was leaving the Coney Island Polar Bear changing room on the boardwalk & walking out to the beach in a bikini. The distance from the changing room to the ocean seemed so far …& very intimidating. I would have to make my way through the cold, & make my way past all of the people. Everyone on the boardwalk was bundled with coats, gloves, hats, & scarves. They were looking at my friend & I like we were crazy (my friend with his tall thin tattooed body in nothing but orange swim trucks, & me sporting my playful hairdo that looked like Mickey Mouse ears, plus my black bikini-like outfit on a wintery-cold day). People were totally staring.

I was SO COLD walking out to the beach. My friend kept saying “Jump! Do jumping-jacks! Run! Stay active to keep warm!” But I was afraid my boobs were going to flop around (or out!) & everyone was starting at us! I felt frozen on the boardwalk, figuratively & literally. Eventually I mustered up enough courage to cross my arms in front of my chest & run out to the beach. When I got to the ocean I started to jump in place. After that, the rest of the Polar Bear Club arrived, warmed up (with jumping jacks), & then we all got in the water.

Being in the cold ocean wasn’t as bad as I thought. But it was so strange — at one point I thought my bikini bottom fell off. I kept reaching down to feel if my bikini bottom was there. I would reach down to pull it up, only to discover that it hadn’t moved an inch! This feeling kept happening. The other thing that worried me, was my private part felt so cold, it felt like it was going to crack off! My legs, arms, stomach, hands & feet, all felt fine — I just had a numb butt & a completely frozen _____!

The waves were the other thing that made me feel uneasy. As they approached, I wasn’t sure if they would splash me (brrr!), or raise the water level (oh no!). When I would see a wave forming or approaching, I would get really nervous. At one point my friend asked me, “Are you OK? Do you want to leave?” I said, “No, I’m fine, I can stay!” But then he asked me again after the waves started to move with more vigor. He looked like he was making his way out, so I said, “We’re leaving? Ok, let’s go!”

Again I crossed my arms in from of my chest & started to run. My friend & I were making our way over the sand & back to the changing room. People cheered us on. One man even shouted that he was proud of me. He hollered cheerfully, “I have to hand it to you, girl. I couldn’t have done it. But you did it. Bravo!”

The run back to the changing room felt like a flash (an interesting contrast to the run out to the ocean that felt like forever). Once I got to the entrance of the changing room, my muscles were burning. My thighs felt like they were on fire! My whole body felt fiery hot. My friend & I stood at the entrance rinsing our shoes & feet, clearing the sand off. I wasn’t cold at all. I was totally wet, standing in 45 degree weather, having a blast!

After that, we dried off, & headed to the subway. Off we went, to the next adventure for the day.

It was a great experience. I learned so much. It reminded me of a post I wrote last year: your BIGGEST OBSTACLE doesn’t exist. Sometimes the way out of a challenge (or fear) is to go through it. You have to walk right through it to see that it isn’t real. Or to see that it is only temporary. Like stormy weather, or an uncomfortable moment, or even a death — allow yourself to fully experience it. Allow it to dance around you & then see that it was only temporary. Happiness, sadness, pain, pleasure, see it as a flicker of life passing through you. The contrast & joy that is life, moving & shape-shifting. Fully feel it. And fully feel alive.

[Top photo by Jay Dickman.]

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Filed under emails, exercise & sport, fear & challenges, power & courage