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Empowered by One Change

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“What does one change look like? What is one thing you can do today to improve your health?”, said Sarah Britton (holistic nutritionist, chef & blogger) during her TedTalk in Amsterdam.

I would like to change that to: What is one thing you can do today to improve your life?

Sarah is one example how one change can not only positively impact one life, but many lives (see video embedded below and link posted above.) Every one of us has the DAILY OPPORTUNITY to make a change in our lives — and as a result, change many lives. The world is in the state it is in because of the choices we have made. Do we want to keep choosing in that direction, or do we want to choose something different? The same goes for our individual lives. Do we want to keep them as they are, or do we want to create something better? If I told you that 15 years from now, your life would be EXACTLY as it is, every single part of it the same. sarah+britton+green+smoothieWould you be super happy, or would you feel some disappointment? If you wouldn’t be filled to the brim with joy about it, it means there is room for change. It means that you could feel better, and those around you could too. And if you have the opportunity to create something new on a daily basis, why not accept the opportunity with open arms, and celebrate it with a little courage & gratitude? What would your life look like if you did? What would the world look like if you did?

“With every bite of food we take, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our food becomes us. Literally.”  – Sarah Britton

I would like to change that to: With every choice we make, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our life choices become us (creating our self, our life and our world). Literally.

[Photos by Sarah Britton, even better pics on her My New Roots blog. She’s a great photographer! You can also find her on Facebook & Twitter.]

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David Blaine Nailed It

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Charlie Rose: You never tell how you do things, do you?
David Blaine: No, I don’t think that’s what it’s about.
Charlie Rose: It’s about what? It’s about the joy of illusion?
David Blaine: It’s about the moment when people aren’t thinking about anything. There’s no, …there’s no logic. You’re just only reacting to the moment, and you’re stripped away of everything, you’re left open. That’s what it is, I think.
[That excerpt was from a 1997 Charlie Rose interview, when David Blaine was only 24 years old.]

david-blaine-cardsThis is why David Blaine inspires me. He nailed it. He said it. He knows it. Life itself, the life we all fear, overstress about, work extremely hard at, feel insecure throughout, and think that we need to win because we might lose — that life — it’s an illusion. And the ones that find bliss, and find balance, well, they aren’t lost in their heads, they’re in the moment, fully present.

Some people come to that realization the hard way. For them, it means being stripped away of everything before they can fully be present to what is. Sometimes that means literally stripped of what they value most (health, family, money, friends, partner, property, etc). But more often, it just means being stripped of concerns or concepts that only get in the way of one’s own bliss.

Being open is flow, it’s allowing yourself to be moved. Instead of being taken over continuously by habitual thoughts & programmed patterns, you are free — you are no longer bound by what you think you know. Knowing differently, knowing deeply, knowing better, happens when you pull yourself out of that box, or when life itself does it for you.

So many of us awaken to the beauty, mystery & gift that is life only after natural disasters, losing loved ones, devastating disappointments, near death experiences, or anything so moving that it completely knocks some sense into us and awakes us from our slumber. Heavy heartbreaking (more like ego breaking and heavy heart opening) experiences are really effective in waking people up. But not everyone needs to do it the hard way. There are some people that can do it while they still live an average everyday life, without severe ups & downs or scares. I’d say, let’s do it that way! Don’t wait for a hard wake up call, wake up now! Be open now. Get out of your head now. And fall in love with everything & nothing — with nothing but the simplicity & purity of every moment.

Every moment has infinite gifts and eye opening experiences, and deep deep stillness that puts us in touch with the mystery & source of all life. It both humbles us & empowers us. But in order to see this, we have to be awake, we have to be open. Like David Blaine says, his work offers glimpses of this. If you watch the people that he performs for, they are so focused, so wide-eyed, so still, so grateful, so full of joy, so full of wonder — this is what life is all about! This is available at ANY moment, under ANY circumstance. It’s always with us, around us, and in us. But we have to see it. Life itself is magic. You are magic! It’s all a gift. But you have to be open to fully receive it, to fully enjoy it.

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My strength is trust & out of this trust …I live.

I had some doubts when I wrote last week’s blog post. The interesting thing is that doubt was about adding the word trust. (*laughing to myself*)

I wanted to add this line to the blog post last week: “This is what it means to trust.”

This is it in context: “The point is, you are not forcing anything happen. You are not making anything happen. It’s just happening. — You are active, but you are not doing. You are allowing. You are letting go in order to be moved. This is what it means to trust.”

I was essentially saying that being & trusting are synonymous.

The idea of editing that sentence out came about because I felt that the sentence was just hanging there, sort of out on a limb at the end of the paragraph, without a previous mention that ties it in, or some sort of explanation to make sure people knew why I thought the word trust was so significant.

In the end I decided to trust that it should be there, I did not edit it & I left the sentence in the blog post.

Today (written Monday, October 24th) I found a lengthy quote from Hermann Hesse while surfing on the internet. The quote hit home to say the least & felt very appropriate with where my mind has been this week.

I would like to share it with you. Its title is: Trees.

It’s from the book: Wandering — by Herman Hesse.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

[The photos I decided to included in this blog post are of three people I greatly admire: portrait of author Hermann Hesse, as well as naturalist John Muir (aka Father of the National Parks) & Galen Clark protector of the Yosemite Valley & the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.]

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Additional information about trees, specifically Redwood trees:

My most beloved place to be is Muir Woods National Monument in California, ask anyone one in my family & they will tell you that my heart lives there. The sacred Redwoods I experienced in Muir Woods have never left me, because I have never left them. I felt something with them that was truly unforgettable.  Just the thought of them alone brings me to a greater awareness & knowing. This connection I have with trees is the other reason why I was so moved by what Hermann Hesse wrote & decided to share it as a blog post.

To get just a glimpse into the majesty of Redwoods, this TED video embedded below goes into great detail about them. It echos in a scientific way, what Hermann Hesse expressed so eloquently through a feeling.

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