Life and the Before and the After (11.06.13)

As human beings, we will mourn a loved one when they pass on. It's natural, we are sad that they are no longer in our lives. While natural, we must realize that it's selfish. We mourn the absence we feel in our own lives. The life they lived is something beautiful and something to be cherished. The memories we have from the intersection between their Lifeline and our own is permanent, and is never lost, even by death. The memories, the moments, the thoughts, the emotions, the revelations, those will never disappear, as long as we choose to hold on to them. These are beautiful, and often aid in our own growth as human beings.

It's never easy, of course. To even acknowledge that a loved one has moved on is a huge step on our part, as mortal, living beings. We have to understand that they will never be in this lifetime with us again. We have to understand that the lessons, the love, the understanding, and the memories that they brought to us are now finished. We then must understand that their Consciousness is in another place, in a place ours cannot yet access. This is a difficult undertaking.

Denial is always there. We want to resist. We want to scream out. We want to beg to our gods not to take our loved ones from us. But we must understand that their time is over. Not gone, not lost, and certainly not forgotten. There are some who live for short periods of time on Earth. Their lifetimes are meant to enrich someone else's, so that that person may go on to greatness. Some live longer lives. Either they have their own goal to work through, or they are a catalyst for a huge body of people.

Setting the prelude aside, I have been both cursed and graced with something remarkable. I have been sheltered, nurtured and protected from Death. Relative to the others that I know, and the average person, I know very few people who have passed on. The first person I knew who passed on was a teacher I had in Middle School. The experience was surreal. An instructor that I knew well, he was suddenly gone, without any warning. The funeral was strange. Everyone there - the people I had gone to classes with - seemed distant, as if they were very far away. It seemed as though it shouldn't be allowed to happen. I cried, of course. This man was not particularly invested nor influential in my life, but to be so close to someone whom Death claimed... it was a little unnerving. While I learned from him, the most important thing I learned was in his Passing. Death is swift, it is indeterminate, and it will take anyone at any time.

The second was a little closer to home. An old family friend, a man with many secrets. Having survived a war, this man came home to a country that did not do him the justice he deserved. I honestly believe this man, who was willing to work with our livestock, had come from a world of Black Ops. We'd ask him, interested, in what he did in the war. He'd always smile and answer with, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." He'd laugh, then go back to what he was doing. As a kid, I thought this was funny. In hindsight, I think he was serious. In his older age, we kept in remote contact. His death was... strange. It didn't strike me at first. I got the call from my mother, letting me know. I acknowledged it, hung up, and kept driving toward my location. It was no surprise, his health was failing a long time earlier. Out of the blue, I was struck by the notion: I would never see this person again in this lifetime. I had to pull my car over, I was hit by such sorrow at the thought.

The third person was much closer to me. It was my own grandmother. This blow was softened only slightly because it was not sudden. Her health was failing her, I knew a long time out the Universe was calling her home. My tenacity runs in my family - she was stubborn. She was resisting, wanting to continue to stay on Earth as long as she could. While it wasn't as much of a surrender as it was an acquiescence, she knew. It was time. Nearly a century of changing the world, it was time to go home. Her Passing was peaceful, in her sleep. One breath in, another out... and then no more. I was surprised with how easily I handled this. Perhaps it was because it wasn't sudden. Perhaps it was because in the time between her Passing and the family friend's before her, I had come to a conclusion.

Sorry for a loved one's Passing is an entirely selfish reaction. This doesn't make it bad by any means. Our mortal forms ache for their company and regret that it is no longer with us. We miss them, want them with us. We crave their presence. At first, we cannot imagine a world without them, and then we our forced to find ourselves living in one. The most difficult task is for the Living Left Behind. Those who have Passed are back where they came from. They endure no more suffering from this life. Their bodies, either sick, aging, wounded, or any combination of the three, no longer plague them. They are back in a place where they can experience joy and happiness. They know things we cannot even begin to comprehend yet. They... are in a better place, as overused as the phrase is. We do not truly mourn them - we mourn their loss in our lives. What we must understand is that it is only temporary.

In any religion; Christian, Muslim, Judaism, Greek, even Agnostic - when the soul passes on, it goes somewhere else. The Else is determined by the religion, but it is no longer on Earth. The other souls will join it, eventually. Even in atheism, the soul no longer hurts. It simply... isn't. As will we all be.

The fourth Passing I have been for, and am living now, is that of a beloved High School teacher. While I have been out of contact with him for several years as I pursued my college goals, the things he left behind for me are concrete and withstanding. I learned from him many valuable life lessons. As a band instructor, he inspired into me a love of music that would not be there had I not met him. I acknowledge these gifts, I honor them, and I understand that his time on Earth is over. His life, I'm certain, had it's own strife. He's at peace now, and that is a good thing. The hardest thing for me to deal with is the notion that someone so influential in my life will no longer be so. Again, mourning is selfish. Not bad, but it is our own human coping mechanism. The knowledge that the person will no longer be present in this life.

The thing I have slowly, painfully learned from this process... it's only temporary. Whether you believe in one life and one soul and an afterlife, or multiple incarnations, it's the same. The soul was here, and is gone. It's job is finished, it's mortal body is done suffering. Regardless of circumstances, mortal bodies were made to suffer. We feel pain, sadness. We ache, mourn, yearn. At that moment of Passing, nothing else matters. We do not ache, we do not want, we do not mourn. It's peaceful, soft, warm, and pleasant.

It's never easy to release a Soul. We want to hang on to that person, to hold them to us. We loved them, and of course we want them in our life longer than they were. Forever, if we could. But we must realize... the things they brought into this life to teach... were taught. They brought something with them and that time is up. While hard to acknowledge that in this body we shall never see them again, we must understand, at our very core, that to have it our way would be painful to them. To wish them back into our life as they were would prolong their suffering. It's not easy, it's unfathomably difficult, but we must accept it. Their time is over. Their suffering is over. They left within us something critical to our development. We learned something either about our own spirituality, or our own humanity, or both. Something profound.

We must take the time our human bodies need to mourn, to release the sadness that we shall never see this person again. And then we must gather ourselves and our resolve, and acknowledge that something was left behind for us to gain from. Mourning a loss never does a Presence justice. To truly honor the loved one that has Left, we must take their legacy, the teaching they left behind, and live our own life to its fullest capacity in the time we are given. And then, when we have taught everything we are meant to to others and are called Home, we must try and be willing to go.

As corny as it may sound, it is true: Dying is the easy part. We release all our sorrows, all our pain, all our strife, back to the Universe. Living is the hard part. We endure this, we learn, we struggle. And we overcome. Otherwise, those that have come before to teach us would have lived their life of suffering and pain.

We are living in a moment right now. What is that moment teaching? What understanding do you need? Ask for it, it will come. Live in this moment, live for this moment, take the gifts that those before you have left and start to make your own to leave behind. We create our own legacies. What will yours be?


The Present (11.05.29)

Living In The Moment

I have a friend that I know online. He is one of the most beautiful people that I know. He's this bright presence in my life that cheers me up on the worst days without even trying. His energy is warm and beautiful. The catch is... he's rarely around. Sometimes when I feel particularly down, I wish he'd come around and just talk. We don't even have to talk about anything important, but it always cheers me up. Sometimes he's gone for six months at a time. Sometimes it's a year. Once it was 18 months.

Having interacted with this individual for nearly ten years, talking to him once or twice a year, I've come to learn something. I've come to appreciate the moment. I have become grateful for the time I have with him, rather than mourn the time without, and this has been something I've tried to transfer into each day of my life.

So often, we spend a majority of our time thinking about what could be, should be, would be, will be, can be, and... isn't. The truth is, if it isn't happening right now, it isn't happening at all. With the exception of intelligent preparation - having supplies on hand for an emergency, for example, very little time should be devoted toward things that are not happening in this moment.

From personal experience, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time worrying about, thinking about, things that are not currently happening. As a person who is constantly battling an anxiety disorder, I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about all the things that could go wrong and possibly how to avoid them.

This Soul in my life has given me a beautiful chance to change that. By being this amazing person but only being around once or twice a year, I have learned to cherish each moment I do have talking with him. I appreciate the Present, rather than worry about when the next time he'll be around. For the first few years, I spent my time talking with him worrying about when he'd be back. This made for an uncomfortable, even painful experience. And then I realized something. No matter how much I want this individual to be a permanent presence in my life, he never will be. It is not his nature, and I have no sway in this matter, and nor should I. He is who he is, willowy wisp on the breeze, coming in with one tide and out on another. I have learned to release this desire for control, this want to know and control when and where. When he shows up, it's become a surprising and happy gift, (often at times when I'm at my lowest and he doesn't really realize how poignant his timing is) and I enjoy the hour or so I get to talk with him, and I can let it go when he leaves. I can smile at the end of the day, even though I know every second, every moment, that I may not see him again for another year. I'm alright with this. I understand that that's the way it works, and I focus on what IS happening, not what I want in the future.

I find that in my life, I've often spent most of my time worrying about things in the future, rather than enjoying the things currently happening in the present. My goal is to enjoy each moment as it happens, rather than focus on what's happening next. Sometimes the Present is hard. It's difficult, full of hard decisions we have to make, even when we know they're for the better. And while, on occasion, the last place we want to be is in the Present, sometimes there's something for us there. A Lesson, a Thought, an Understanding we wouldn't ordinarily come to, and if we simply try to push through it, rather than sit back and accept it, this might be missed entirely.

The future will happen soon enough, it's the future. This moment, This... Present, will only happen once, and it's happening right now. What are you doing with it?



It has been a long time, but I come with gifts.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman, is a story about an unexpected journey taken by the author. As he navigates a series of events in his life, he - and we, the readers - learn that sometimes the most important thing is to give up control and live in the moment.

Despite his success, college student and world-champion athlete Dan Millman is haunted by a feeling that something is missing from his life. Awakened one night by dark dreams, he wanders into an all-night gas station, meets an old man named Socrates, and his world is changed forever. Guided by this eccentric old warrior, drawn to an elusive young woman named Joy, Dan begins a spiritual odyssey into the realms of light and shadow, romance and mystery, toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. -Back of Way of the Peaceful Warrior
A truly uplifting story - each reader will get a little something different out of it. Some may not take to it completely, others may throw themselves into it enthusiastically.

You can find this on Amazon for around $10: Click here
I also learned while looking up this link that this book was made into a movie in 2007. You can find the movie here for about $12. And if you would like to purchase the book with the original cover (pictured above) you can find it here at varying prices from other sellers.

If you're more inclined to listen to things rather than read, I came across this young woman touring with Sylvia Browne. While I went to
see Ms. Browne, I have to admit I was completely unimpressed with the woman. That was likely due to the overwhelming interest I had in Colette Baron-Reid. She was stunning, and had a story to tell. It was less the words she spoke and more her voice and her energy that drew me in. And then - she sang.

Not only does she sing - but she has written a few books [of which I can't say much, I have yet to
read them.] and has a couple of meditation CDs as well as actual songs. Her voice is enchanting, inspiring, and it is one of the first meditation CDs I have actually been able to
follow. It is that CD I recommend now. Journey Through The Chakras is a guided meditation that leads through
each of the chakras, cleansing, purifying and re-aligning them. Every time I sit and do this meditation, I always walk away feeling upbeat, level-headed,
calm and controlled, and I always feel both powerful and empowered.

The following is an example of her guided meditation, also swiped off of YouTube. This is not one of the ones included in the chakra CD, but it is beautiful to listen to nonetheless.

(Just ignore the spelling error in her name. These aren't my videos, but I may need to make one soon. It's strikingly difficult to find her music in a form I can share in a blog.)

She has been one of the most amazing women I have ever seen. Perhaps I will make a video for one of her chakra meditations so you may hear an introduction to that. In the meantime, even if you choose not to look into the book or the CDs, I hope the music and the meditation brings you a little bit of peace.

Love & Light~


Warrior of the Light -03- (05.18.09)

It has been an extraordinarily ridiculous amount of time since I last meditated on a page from Paulo Coelho's book Warrior of the Light.  But that does not matter.  All that matters is now, in this moment, I am again.
A Warrior of the Light does not rely on strength alone, he makes use of his opponent's
 energy, too.  - Warrior of the Light, p3 - 

A battle cannot be won if one burns through all his or her energy in the fight.  A warrior knows that strength is important, but it is never a deciding factor.  Intelligence is used: how to use an opponent's weakness against him, how to cater to a warrior's advantage without exhausting the warrior before the fight is over.  The crowd watches, jeers, even, as the warrior pauses to kneel and pray.  He listens to the words of his god, his inner voice, his reason.  He does not listen to the human world around him, but touches with something much deeper inside of himself.  And it is there, in that core, that he finds his strength.

In a roman coliseum, this makes perfect sense.  The implications for modern society are perhaps not as crystaline.

The idea is, in effect, not to fight the full force of life.  We find ourselves on these life paths, wandering aimlessly, sometimes hopelessly.  Sometimes we know exactly where we're going and just how to get there.  Sometimes we have no idea where we're going, we just know the route we want to take.  And some of us are content to just wander dazedly.

One thing that Coehlo expressed in his novel The Alchemist, was that even if we know precisely where a path begins and ends, we can't possibly fathom what happens in between.  It will curve, twist, and take us in directions we never thought we'd go.

Sometimes we leave the path because we don't think it is going the right way.  Sometimes we try to fight the path.  Sometimes we see it through to the end, and are pleasantly surprised with the results.  The idea is that even if everything does not work out in precisely as we planned, it still may be vital to our education.  If it is not an unusual shortcut to the finish line, then it is something very important to experience.

It does take work and energy to get to where we want to be.  It doesn't just happen. Neither, though, does it happen by brute force.  We must use some of the energy that is given to us - the circumstances thrown our way - the energy of our opponent - to get to where we want to be.  We do not need to be ashamed of asking for help, be it from a god or a guardian or a friend or confidant.  When the enemy is too strong to pass through, simply allow it to redirect you.  Take every blow as a lesson in self-defence, and see where you stand when it's over.  Take it in stride and take it with gratitude.

Peace, Love & Light be with you.


Money God? (03.28.09)

I had wished to begin this again earlier, but the Fates conspired against me this time.  I will try and be more loyal.  I would like to continue with my Warrior of Light analysis, but I am not feeling the inspiration at the moment.  Instead, something else is pressing in on me: money.

And how can we not think about that?  With the way the economy is going, it seems as though our attention is rigorously focused on our financial status - or lack thereof.

While it is near impossible to cast aside our worries without a second thought, it is imparative not to let that worry possess our lives.

That which you focus on the most will come to fruition.  The energy and time put into a thought, an idea, a want will equate to the yield of that desire.

Whether it be by spiritual influence, or by simple logic (if you're always focused on one particular thing, then you will be, perhaps unconciously, doing things to ensure its outcome.)

This being said, it would be unwise to throw all caution into the wind and completely disregard the economic situation.  A balance must be maintained - a healthy balance. Know where you are.  Know what you spend, what you want, what you lack.  Your stewardship to your economic situation ends here.  Do not worry, do not dwell, do not lament. 

Money is not a god.  Under no circumstances should it ever be treated like one.  To be poss
essed and completely overwhelmed by a lack of money will do nothing but depress the individual, which can (and likely will) influence th
e economic situation further.  Instead, perhaps it is better to acknowledge what is lacking, understand what must be saved, and then find a reason to be grateful for what little we have.

Give unconditionally.  It doesn't have to be much - it doesn't have to be money at all.  Give love.  Give food.  Give joy.  Give some change if you can spare it.  That which is given freely and out of love always returns tenfold.

To be at peace with the situation promotes a happier worker, a worker more likely to be hired by an employer.
Not all is seen.  Two workers walk in for an interview. 

Both are dressed impeccably, both have outstanding creditials, one has been out of work for a month and has been stressed to a breaking point by his own ego.  In his mind, he must have this job. He must.  The other has also been out of work for a month,  but he knows he will walk into the room and do his best.  If it is not meant to be, then he will not get the job, and he will go somewhere else.  He is grateful for this change in workplace.  He is optimistic about the new doors opening before him.  He is excited to see what will happen next.

Though the employer may not have the 
history of the two men, the employer will be able to tell in the unseen.  The manner, the nervousness, the apparent egotistical nature of the man that desires the job to a point of craze - the employer may not even be able to articulate what the difference she percieves is, but there is one.  And she will choose the worker who is grateful and compassionate and relaxed, perhaps for reasons she cannot explain.  The obsessed worker will be turned away, and driven further into his craze.

Let it be.

Do not make your situation worse by making it the most important thing in your life.  Be grateful for what you have, enjoy it, and be kind with others.  It will return tenfold.


In Hindsight...

Every year we walk away from 365 (occasionally 366) days of learning. Sometimes, we carry these lessons into the next year and grow from the experience. Other times, we easily forget or casually toss them aside. Sometimes we have to relearn them the hard way, and other times we never think of them again.

In an effort to avoid that this year, I have listed the top eight things I have learned from 2008. I encourage everyone who reads this and feels so inclined to do so as well, and leave a comment linking to the response so that we can find them all.

8. Smelling like boy on my legs was worth the $0.95 men's shaving cream can.

7. Laughing is a fundamental element of the healing matrix.

6. Intuition is never wrong when given the respect it deserves.

5. Humans were born to be creators. Manifestations of energy - art, dance, dreams, physics equations and even schematic sketches are all testaments of inner fire.

4. Our greatest strength is not outside, but inside. The passion that drives the heart is formidable. The strongest ally and the greatest enemy. Our own desire potentials our undoing.

3. People are bouncy: the bigger the butt-kicking, the bigger the rebound.

2. Sometimes whimsical is the best way to go.

1. Love is all we truly have. It is what and who we are, and it is the only thing we really have and can freely give to everyone.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Give Love this season!

You-did and badboy69


Warrior of the Light -02- (12.19.08)

So it's been a little while, eh? I've been busy. It's how it goes. I have a feeling there will be much more free time at my fingertips in the coming weeks. Shall we, then? The following excerpt has been taken from Paulo Coelho's Warrior of the Light, a manual meant to accompany The Alchemist.

"All the world's roads lead to the heart of the Warrior; he plunges unhesitatingly into the river of passions always flowing through his life."
(Warrior of the Light, Coelho, p2)

Sometimes, it's easy for us to feel as though we don't deserve fortune when it comes our way, or that we should not waste time indulging ourselves. While over-indulgence should be avoided, it is not wrong, nor morally reprehensible in any sense to allow ourselves our own little pleasures from time to time.

To fully love everyone - which is our goal no matter what name you call your god, is it not? - we have to be able to love ourselves. After all, each of us is also a person on the Earth, and if we can't love ourselves, how can we ever hope to love another? Would you deny a loved one that enjoys manicures a trip to the salon once in a while? Would you say no to taking a child to an amusement park for his birthday? Of course not. We allow our loved one these guilty pleasures - why not ourselves?
A Warrior knows that the body and mind needs some degree of pleasure to thrive. He allows for this, but knows at what point over indulgence happens. When the body is softened by excessive pampering, or when wanting becomes needing the unnecessary, it has gone too far. That boundary is different for every thing and everyone, and only the person can decide when enough is enough.

There must be a balance at all points in life: when we can play, and when we must work. To play all the time is to throw regard aside, to be only concerned with Self. While attention to Self is important, constant, undivided attention is dangerous.

If we work all the time, then we neglect Self, and our spiritual energies start to fail. We become prey to sickness and depression, and eventually if not immediately, hatred. Irritation at ourselves - or at something we can attribute blame to - arises and eventually becomes hatred. Self-hate is one of the most horrifying things we can do. As beings of love, we should strive to love everyone - above all else: ourselves.

Be free, be alive, live, and love because that is what you are here to do. The Warrior knows this, he knows how important play is, but he never loses sight of his end goal. He also knows the things that last but a moment and those that can last a lifetime. Each has its place and purpose, and he knows, lives, and loves this truth unconditionally. So can you.

So go ahead, have that second cookie. It's the holidays.

Thank you to himmelskratzer and aussiegall and chotda.