Tag Archives: what is

Forget “What if?” & “What was.”– Acknowledge “What is!”

what if_what was_what is

For some reason the lesson of dropping “What if?” came in my mind this morning. I knew I had written a blog post about it in the past, but I couldn’t remember what I wrote. This morning I found it through my blog’s search engine, and re-read it. It’s from the time when I lived in an old building in New York. (I no longer live in NYC, the post was written in 2011.) I’m glad those days are over! But the lesson I learned, or maybe I should say “insight I had”, is still one that I need to work on. It was good to be reminded.

Ugh, where do I begin. Let me start off first by saying that it is 12:15am, and I am very tired. I’m afraid that if I write something right now, it will sound like a sleepy person babbling — and the blog post will be pockmarked with typos. But I’ll do my best!

Last night I was in dance class. I barely made it through the class because I got two huge blood blisters. One on each big toe the size of a silver dollar (that’s exaggerating… more like a quarter). Then, that same night, in the middle of the night, I hear a BOOM! The sound woke me out of my sleep. I thought a shelving unit fell off of a wall. I checked everywhere I could think of, but everything seemed okay. Then I heard another crashing sound, but this time it sounded smaller in size. It had to be in the bedroom near the front door, the room I had not yet checked. When I opened the door I saw that a big section of the ceiling crashed to the floor! Dust and sheetrock pieces everywhere! After that, I tried my best to go to bed (because it was almost 3am), and not think about it. I knew I had to call my landlord in the morning, and there was nothing tha could be done in the middle of the night. But my reasoning with myself didn’t work, I couldn’t sleep. Then, later that day, while on the phone with the landlord, I’m told that the supervisor of the building is coming right over to check it out. To make a long story short, the supervisor (after looking at it) said that he didn’t believe that the ceiling just fell like that. Someone made it happen, someone made it come down. He basically hinted that the whole ceiling in that room would need to be replaced, and he wasn’t sure the landlord would cover the expense. Two hours after that, I had to leave for a therapy appointment for my spine. Walking gingerly because I can feel the blisters under my toes, I notice a sign at the subway entrance. The subway train I need is not running – at all. (*sigh*) At this point I am really feeling in the dumps. But then something clicks. I have a little conversation with myself.

Big Self: Aimee, you keep thinking about the ceiling falling. When did it fall?
Lil’ self: Late last night.
Big Self: So that would be in the past, right?
Lil’ self: Yes.
Big Self: And if it happened it the past, it means it’s not happening right now, right?
Lil’ self: Right.
Big Self: And the other thing you are worried about, is having to pay for that ceiling. This would be something that could possibly happen in the future. The future doesn’t exist right now. So that means you are angry or upset about something that doesn’t exist.
Lil’ self: (*sigh*) Ya.
Big Self: So if you get your head out of the past, and out of the future, what is happening right now, in the present?
Lil’ self: I’m finally getting on a train that can take me to my appointment to see one of the best massage therapists in the world. (In my world that is!)
Big Self: So let’s look at this a little differently. Instead of focusing on “what if?” or “what was,” we are going to look at “what is.” You took one of your favorite dance classes and got to hang out with your friends last night. You got a few blisters, but now you are fine, they are healing nicely. Part of your ceiling fell in your apartment. The building you live in is 140 years old, so this kind of thing happens, old buildings break down. Good thing the supervisor came immediately over, and he is fixing it for you. And thank goodness no one was in the room when it fell, they could have been hurt. So this is very fortunate! Now you are on your way to getting a super-duper massage, and therapy for your spine. Soon you will feel amazing, and you finally found a subway that can take you there (after walking to a different train station). Lucky you!

After this little conversation with myself everything become light. The day was great. I had much to be thankful for. And all was suddenly well. It only took a bit of gratitude & awareness to change everything in seconds.

Now if I can only get some much needed sleep and catch-up on a few Zzzzzz… Tonight I am going to sleep through the night!

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Filed under self inquiry, what is

Courageous Biotech Industry Whistleblower & Vigilant Seed Saver: Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva Portrait
If you aren’t familiar and totally up to date on the biotech industry whistle blower Vandana Shiva, and the work she is doing, and the lectures she has given — this blog post is for you! If you have followed Vandana Shiva over the years and know her work well, you get a free pass. Good work! See you next time.

With the amount of reading, movies, TV, social eating, internet surfing, chatting, and radio listening we do, there is no reason to not dedicate a few hours to listen to people that are standing for truth and trying to educate the masses. Trust me, the masses need educating. The corporate controlled media has done such a fine job of turning people into zombies, and filling their heads with self serving rhetoric. It’s time to brake free of it. It’s time to get in touch with real people and real issues. That is you, right? You are real, aren’t you? You aren’t some TV commercial or print ad, or zombie citizen, created simply to excessively work and consume constantly, bringing billions to those that monopolize the world — are you?

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of at least 20 books. Vandana Shiva is also a leader in the International Forum on Globalization. She addressed the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, as well as the World Economic Forum in Melbourne. She won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award), and was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the founder of Navdanya, a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. Before becoming an activist, she was one of India’s leading physicists. She holds a master’s degree in the philosophy of science and a PhD in particle physics.

Here are three videos that are worth listening to. You don’t need to watch them, just listen to them. I think it’s important.

[I made the digital portrait of Vandana Shiva at the top of the blog post.]


Filed under awareness, food & diet, tv & video

Highly Recommended: Chasing Ice


I finally got to watch Chasing Ice this week. I tried to catch it in local theaters when it was playing, but I missed it. Now it’s on Netflix, and I got to watch it on my own schedule. I loved it just as much as I thought I would. It’s an important film. It’s a must see and a must recommend. In this day & age awareness is imperative. Please be aware, please make sure those around you are aware. Watch Chasing Ice to see what I mean. It’s just the tip of the iceberg though! Awareness in general is ongoing, and is extremely important to every aspect of our lives. And in many cases, our lives depend on it.


“All the time. There is an acute sense of time passing, an acute sense of mortality, an acute sense of history in the making with this project. And history is in the making. These landscapes are being reshaped as you and I talk here. And the people of the future, decades and centuries in the future, will look at these pictures and marvel at what was and is no more. …And the other thing that will happen when they look at these pictures is they will wonder why the people of the techno-industrial world were not paying better attention to this issue when we had all this evidence to hand.” — James Balog

chasing ice movie
[Photographs are by James Balog, and the whole film is based on his work.]


Filed under art & film, awareness, tv & video

The Dhamma Brothers: How Vipassana Meditation Transforms Lives

meditation quote

The Dhamma Brothers is a documentary film about the first maximum-security prison in the USA to use a Vipassana meditation program (Vipassana means insight or clear-seeing) to rehabilitate its prisoners. (There is also another prison documentary called Doing Time, Doing Vipassana that shows how this program works. The program is Indian in origin.)

In the film you learn about the 10 day Vipassana meditation program, as well as what its like to be part of the program. You will also witness the results. At the bottom of this blog post is a recent letter that one of the prisoners sent to the film’s director Jenny Phillips. The prisoners continue dhamma brothers meditationtheir meditation practice to this day (it’s been over 10 years). The program truly transformed their lives, it gave them a life long practice, a tool for not only understanding the self, but for greater awareness & peace.

I won’t say much more about the film, other than to see it. As far as Vipassana programs go — I recommend them. I’ve participated in several Vipassana programs over the years (at Spirit Rock & Insight Meditation Society). The basic program is outlined in the documentaries: 10 days of silence & meditation — no talking, no reading, no music, no phone, no entertainment, no vigorous exercise, no computer — just 10 hours of meditation daily (plus eating & sleeping & walking, of course) — while you learn to observe the sensations in the body (observing without a reaction). During that time, deep feelings that have been suppressed begin to surface. Not being able to mask or dull oneself with daily distractions (like entertainment, constant chit-chat or obsessive busy-ness) can become difficult. Many people have no idea what it’s like to just be with oneself. The 10 day Vipassana program provides the support & facility to do that.

Dear Jenny,

I once said of Vipassana meditation, “This feels like freedom”. I spoke only of what I was feeling at that time. I had no reason, not even the idea that has attached itself to me these last six weeks. During that time, I have been meditating in my cell four hours a day. It is all so very clear to me now. Vipassana is freedom. It is the freedom – I believe with all my being – that very few people attain.

I have none of those longings to be out of here. At the same time, I don’t have the desire to be here. Everything is just so right. All things are connected, and I am just a tiny part of the universal beauty. I am not always able to maintain this level of pure contentment. I sometimes become sad until I realize I’ve developed attachments, and I quickly find balance. It is so wonderful to be detached while at the same time to be a part of a stream that flows through everything.

Jenny, I don’t know that words could really communicate these feelings, but I simply have tried to tell you about them. I think that I am missing something, but even that is okay.

Much metta,
Johnny Mack

If you have a direct question about Vipassana programs or other meditation practices, you can email me (my address is above, in the blog header menu) or leave a comment below. I teach meditation & I practice it in various ways. Meditation is not only a big part of my life — it is my life. I realized that the most important thing I could do is be. You can read more of my thoughts on being in The Tao of Disasters & How I Practice Meditation, as well as my website www.AimeeLovesYou.com


Filed under art & film, awareness, spirituality, tv & video

Love, Peace & Happiness …is responsibility

Alice Bartlett-miniature landscape

Love, peace & happiness is responsibility. A responsibility to others & to yourself. Every choice you make might be helpful or hurtful. It’s not helpful or hurtful to yourself –or– helpful or hurtful to another. See that if you hurt another, you are hurting yourself, & when you help another, you are helping yourself. You can turn it around as well; when you hurt yourself, or help yourself — others are part of it. There is no separation. There is no self-destructive person that is not hurting others. There is no self-loving person that is not loving others. There is no separate self, completely separate, unconnected from all selves. See all of humanity as one living being. See all animals as one living being. See all of nature as one living being. Now see all of that as one living being! See life itself, not as your life, but as Life. Life living life! We are all part of it, but at the same time, we are it. Let’s honor it, cherish it, respect it — let’s love it.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For some it is a silly holiday that is completely ignored. For others, it is full of expectations & desires; desires to be loved & desires to love. In my opinion, any chance one has to reflect on the importance of love is a good opportunity. So this year, add a new context to the holiday. Make it not a reminder of romance, or friendship, or consumerism, or expectations — but make it a reminder that each & everyday is an opportunity to love. An opportunity to take full responsibility for the unlimited love we have available to us, & within us. It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I truly being loving & kind to myself? Am I being loving & kind to other living beings? Am being loving & kind to my community, to my environment, to nature, to the world? Can I improve on this? Can I be more self-expressed in this area? Can I be more generous? Can I be more active? Can I be more bold? Can I be more fearless? Can I love deeper? Can I be more sincere? Can I be more grateful? Can I be more helpful?

There is a slokah that I learned when I first began studying yoga. From the moment I heard it, it resonated with me. If one is practicing being more loving, & practicing being more responsible, I think it’s good to repeat it. It’s good to remind ourselves. And it’s good to let that reminder inspire loving being-ness in who we are & loving kindness in all that we do.

Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu

lokāḥ = worlds, especially the underworld, the earth and heaven.
samastāḥ = all, together, all together
sukhinaḥ = happiness, well-being
bhavantu = may all this be

May all beings everywhere be happy & free,
May my thoughts, words & actions contribute in some way
To happiness & freedom for all.

close up miniature people grass landscape

There is a quote from Sri Harilal Poonjaji that is very strong. It reinforces & drives home many of the points I try to share continuously in my blog posts. When I read the quote, it resonates with me deeply.

All that you are attached to,
all that you love,

All that you know,
someday will be gone.

Knowing this, & that the world is your mind
Which you create, play in, & suffer from,
Is known as discrimination.

Discriminate between the Real & the Unreal,
The known is unreal & will come and go.
So stay with the Unknown, the Unchanging, the Truth.

Tying the two quotes or verses together, understand that the Unseen or Unknown, or the dark, or the underworld, or even the tiny life forms we take for granted, like bacteria & insects, that live under us or on us — love that, just as you love close friends, lovers, & family. Respect & honor the mystery of life. See it all as connected & sacred. Find humility in the fact that you can not know it all, or understand it all, but you can love it all. This kind of unlimited unconditional love not only brings fearlessness into your everyday existence — but it also liberates you.

Why does it feel so good to love? Why do we all look for love? Why do we always long to be loved? …To set our hearts free. To no longer feel separate. This is love. This is available to us everyday. In unlimited unfathomable ways. This is yours for the taking. Take responsibility for it.

[Artwork photography by Alice Bartlett via My Modern Met.]

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Filed under awareness, great quotes, peace & bliss

Afraid of the Light

head in the sand

When do you feel your best?
When do you not feel your best?
What gives you energy, inspires you & lifts your spirit?
What takes your energy, leaves you uninspired & low in spirit?
When was the last time like you felt fulfilled, content & complete?
When was the the last time you felt unfulfilled, discontent & incomplete?

Take the time to answer the questions. Don’t formulate the answers, just allow them to present themselves. Quiet down, relax, & allow the answers to effortlessly appear. Write down the first thing that pops in your mind after reading each question. Don’t edit the answer. Don’t second guess it. Just write it down & accept it.

Notice. Simply notice all of the answers. Noticing is one of the most profound steps someone can take to transform their life. It’s effortless, but it’s daunting. For some it is scary. Because once they see what is going on, they will never be the same. They will forever be awake to what is happening in their life. They can no longer sleep-walk through their days & then wonder why they always feel tired, or always feel like year after year, they never reach their desired destination.

Begin to see what is there, & you will not only see that what is making you unhappy is being chosen (by you) repeatedly, over & over again — but you will also see that the peace, joy, energy, & inspiration is always there for the choosing as well.

Imagine a room in your house is buried with things that are unwanted, unsuitable for you, or unneeded at the present moment.  Because of that, you will not be able to see the things that are the most appropriate for you; the things that are perfect for you in this moment. It also doesn’t allow any room for anything new to come into your present life. That cluttered room is filled with the past. Past choices. Past solutions. Past desires. Things that no longer serve you.

buried covered unseen hidenMaintaining a jumbled existence doesn’t allow for room to play freely.  It makes it difficult to see & choose what might serve you best now. Spaciousness (physical & mental) is the freedom that many of us are seeking. And it’s not found in more stuff, or more experiences. We have plenty of those! It is found in being spacious. Being clear. Being open. Being ready & available to what might come our way next.

One way to be clear, is to clearly see. To see what is already there, right in front of you. Be clear about it. Then begin to dig, & clear out what is behind it. Go deep. Don’t be afraid to excavate (figuratively & literally). Dig & clear out your stuff. It’s taking up space, & it’s blocking you. These blocks (stuff being held, be it mental or physical) impede your energy flow. They also block the light. This heaviness or tiredness that people feel is often because they feel weighed down by the things they are carrying unnecessarily. Physical & mental blocks (or baggage) are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, both need to be cleared out. Both need your attention.

Awareness is key. Without that, you are lost. You’ll be on the hamster wheel of life, wondering why you are always chasing after something (or being chased by something). Wondering why you are always falling short of your self-expectations, falling short of what you know you are capable of being or achieving. To meet your best self or your best life, you must first meet who you are now. Have you really met you? Or do you constantly avoid you? I know that sounds funny or silly — but I’m being serious. So many of us are moving through our lives so fast, & we are so busy with work or family or entertainment, that we haven’t really sat with ourselves. When I say sit with ourselves, I mean with open eyes & open arms. We haven’t said, “Ah. I see you! I see how you have been hiding. And I see that you are buried. I love you. And I am going to unearth you, unburden you. I’m going to set you free.”

It’s simply an act of self-love. And unconditional love of ‘the self,’ is unconditional love of all selves (all people). So self-love isn’t a selfish act, it’s a self-less act. There is no separate self, separate from the rest of the world. Also, your life is a mirror. When you see love & perfection (or hate & imperfection) in you, you see it everywhere. Meet yourself where you are today. See what you see & feel at this moment. At this stage in your life. Meet yourself where you are. Then develop the relationship from there. Your relationship to the whole world will improve.

Don’t be afraid of the light. Just as you shouldn’t be afraid of the dark. Shouldn’t isn’t the right word. What I mean is, accept it. Embrace it. Make peace with both light & dark. Find the balance & the harmony between the two, & you will find harmony & balance within yourself. Make friends with the unknown. Meet what scares you. Sometimes the thing that we are most afraid of, is the very thing that would serve us best.


Filed under awareness, fear & challenges, unlearning

Express Yourself & Refresh Yourself: How to Detox Your Life (with AimeeLovesYou!)

refresh express

[This blog post was written on Saturday, January 12th.]

Today has been one of the best days I’ve ever had. Yes, it’s special because it’s my birthday (I turned 38 years old). But another reason that it is special, is because I’ve made some changes in my lifestyle & they are proving to be very effective. I’ve been on a happy kick lately — feeling more alive than ever.

For those of you that have known me over a long period of time, you might know about my past. I’ve written about it before, but basically, it was clouded with toxic thoughts & toxic foods, deep-rooted shyness, as well as, lack of motivation — due to the fact that I thought life was pointless. I viewed life as a stupid game that everyone was in a race to play. The way life seemed to be laid-out or predestined for everyone was unrelatable. I had no interest in it. And when I say ‘past’ I mean as early as kindergarten. So this view had really shaped my life. Until my adult years, when my life finally started to change.

Things began to change for me the moment I made a choice. I was either going to live completely & fully — or not at all. I was in a very supportive relationship at the time, & this person really provided a nurturing environment for me to work on myself. Self-expression & deep healing became a priority. I began to educate myself on physical, spiritual & mental health. I took it on like it was my full-time work. My whole life revolved around it. I soon made a list of my fears, & I began to conquer them one by one. A few years to work on myself quickly turned into 15 years. Which leads me to where I am today.

I’ve learned a lot, & I’ve been through a lot. And every step of the way, be it painful or joyful was a gift. I’m grateful for every bit of it. And I am EXTREMELY grateful for everyone that has either stood next to me, or was a stand for me, as I made a transition from a person merely surviving, to a person happily thriving. Every year gets better. Every year I learn more. Every year I see that the healing I needed to go through was part of a universal plan. It gave me who I am in the world. And it gave me something to share with others. Which I do weekly through this blog, & daily through the people I am in contact with in my day-to-day life. But I would like to take it a step beyond that.

I decided to offer some companionship, support & guidance, for anyone who feels drawn to it. I’m offering three options, you can choose which program is best for you. The programs are geared towards anyone who is serious about making room in their lives for more light: for a brighter more brilliant self. If you have any questions about the programs, feel free to email me.

Both programs include guidance & support on the following:

  • The 7 Keys to Radiant Health & Positive Living
  • Discovering Your Passion & Living What Lights You Up
  • Insights on Relationships & Personal Challenges
  • The Meaning of Love: How to Practice Unconditional Love
  • Practical Methods for Stress-Reduction & Improved Energy

There is so much (too much) to cover in a short amount of time, so if you have a particular interest, or something you would like to focus or work on, just let me know in advance. That way I can give you more attention & detailed information in that area.

fresh refresh detox cleanseI made the programs inexpensive intentionally. I did that so people can do two different programs back-to-back, or they can sign-up for the same program repeatedly. One thing that I learned over time, is that there is always something to clean-up in one’s life. There is always room to go deeper, or get clearer — always. There is also an ongoing need for support, encouragement & motivation. No matter how evolved one is, it can always be useful.

I look forward to working with you, & meeting you in person. (Via Skype or phone.) We are in this together! No worries, I will be on a program along with you. Mine may differ, because it will be geared towards my needs, & yours will be geared towards your needs. But if you would like to know what my personal program is, I can tell you all about it. I will tell you everything I am doing & everything I have set-up for myself. And if you feel inspired to take part of it on, feel free! We can incorporate it into your program.

You can choose from the following:

Vitamin A – 21 days ($115)
Love, Peace & Happiness — What Else is There?
2 Conversations via Skype or by phone
6 Personal emails (2 per week) to answer your questions
3 Informative PDF files (1 per week) to guide you through your program

Vitamin B – 40 days ($165)
Brave, Beautiful, Brilliant, Balanced: Life is Awesome!
3 Conversations via Skype or by phone
12 Personal emails (2 per week) to answer your questions
4 Informative PDF files (1 every ten days) to guide you through your program

Vitamin C – 3 days ($75)
Ray of Sunshine :)
2 Conversations via Skype or by phone
3 Personal emails (3 in one week) to answer your questions

In the future the three options might turn into group programs, but at the moment, I am only offering private programs. I will update this blog post if any changes are made.

Please note: When we work together, I will share with you my training, as well as my personal experience & personal views. Sometimes my views are intuitive, & sometimes they are based on technical information. In the end, they are just words. Ultimately, your progress depends on how open & available you are. You must show-up (for every meeting, & for every day of the program), & you must be willing to be either diligent or fearless — preferably both. This is no different from working with a personal trainer at the gym, or working with a doctor of some sort — if you are lazy & uninterested, you will get lazy & uninteresting results. You’ll be wasting money & time. When working with me it’s not tedious or boring, it’s fun. But fun is not always easy. Sometimes fun takes heart (courage & vulnerability), a place many are afraid to venture into.

If you are interested in working with me & signing-up for a program, please email me.

Thank you! …& Happy You Year!

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Filed under addiction, detox, transformation