The first will be last and the last will be first.

When I was a little girl, about 5 or 6 years old – I remember being in a group of children at a time where we were doing a gift exchange. Each kid brought a “present” for someone in the group – wrapped, and not addressed to anyone in particular. The teacher assigned us all a turn, and when it was our turn, we reached in and picked out a gift to open.

It was quite the pile of gifts, all shapes and sizes – but one gift stood out in particular. It was the biggest one.  A giant box that dwarfed most of the others and was wrapped in shiny polka dotted paper.  “There MUST be something good in there!”, we all thought, of course.  It gave the kind of appearance that would probably contain something expensive, valuable, or some hot toy that was super sought after by all of the 5 year olds at the time!

One of my friends was called first to choose her gift – and immediately her eyes rose to the fancy package and she stood up hurriedly to scoot over and swoop up the coveted box as fast as she could!  I remember feeling a little bit disappointed, thinking “Awe.  Denae got the good one…”.  I sat and watched as one by one, each of my peers had their turn and stood up to pick up their gift and take it back to their seat.

I couldn’t believe I had to wait all the way until the end, being the last one chosen.  When it was my turn, there was one package left.  The one no one wanted – a tiny, oddly shaped object wrapped and taped as only an oddly-shaped package can be – without much visual appeal!  I picked it up and held it in my hand, kind of wishing the game could be over so that I could go home and eat lunch.

Finally, the teacher gave us all the go-ahead to open our gifts all at the same time.  As wrapping paper tore and tape was pulled – I watched Denae open her gift.  She grinned as she tore the paper from the large box, wondering what she would be claiming as her prize.  As the paper fell, suddenly the look of excited anticipation morphed into a slow look of disappointment…  She sat there and blinked at the box.  It was a giant cardboard puzzle of the United States.

Now, while that may be exciting to some history and geography teachers looking for fun, educational toys for their classrooms – a five-year-old who regularly has access to the toy ads in Target, Walmart, and Toys-R-Us in the Sunday newspaper once a week would not be so impressed.  I remember feeling surprise when I saw the result of what should have been the prize of all prizes in that room, and thinking something along the lines of “Wow, that is really interesting how the biggest gift turned out to be so boring!”

I focused my attention on opening my own gift, wondering what terribly boring surprise could possibly lie inside this tiny item wrapped in scrunched paper and tape.  I pulled the tape off and unrolled the paper to reveal a clear, heart shaped plexiglass jewelry box.  It was faux faceted and sparkled in the light.  On the bottom was inscribed, “pure Austrian crystal”.  I opened the box on it’s hinge and inside on a bed of black velvet sat two sterling silver silhouette heart shaped forged earrings, each with a small sparkling diamond-looking round Austrian crystal in it’s center.  I held it – stunned, as I had never received anything so pretty, let alone so seemingly valuable!

The classroom peered over my hands to see and ooh’d and ahh’d at the jewelry.  I sat quietly, looking at the gift, and even though I was only 5 years old – fully felt as though I were learning a powerful lesson.  I realized for the first time, right then and there – that there are times when our greed or our desire to be or have the biggest and the best quickly – can have a very different result than the times when we have to sit back and accept the smaller, more humble package that you would imagine would contain not much at all.  That sometimes the most valuable of all things come in packages we would not expect.  That the biggest and the best – though wrapped well and appearing to be of sizable value…is not always what it appears to be.

 And that sometimes, there is something greater than us that may choose for us – times where if we were the ones doing the choosing, our judgement would lead us to disappointment – and so we are called to wait, and then led to another thing that is instead given to us at the right time without our participation – by an intelligence that knows what is right for us perhaps better than we do.

This is again an interesting analogy when it comes to life.  We strive so hard and work so hard to get what we need and create the best life that we can.  There is competition, greed and ego to wade through in order to claim one’s “prize”.  Prosperity is a gift, in my opinion, and hard work is one of the best ways to get there.   But let us also remember that image is not everything… that patience, humility and knowing that we do not have all of the answers is a great place to start to allow some of these true gifts to come to us.

And in the end, it may be the most downtrodden – the most humble, the most kind, the most patient, and the most loving whose outer packaging and worldly successes may look nondescript… but because they treated one another with love and kindness and gave up selfishness – who end up first ahead of those who place all of their value in size, appearance and status.

I think it can be human nature to want to reach for the biggest, flashiest package…but I also think it is important stop and to ask ourselves “why”, and if we have the chance – consider what would happen if we just stopped, to wait.

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Can a good person be turned bad? Can a bad person be turned worse?

At an event the other night, I heard someone speak profoundly on the life they used to live.  It was full of things that many people can’t even imagine being involved in, doing, or seeing.  The type of stuff you would see on TV, in music videos, or in the movies.  Not fun, exciting, good things – but things that would traumatize you to watch.  Things that would make you cry to see happen.  But they do happen.  They happen every day, in our neighborhoods, out on the street, in the restaurants you eat at, in the high rise next door, you name it.

One sentence really stood out to me.  He said, “Some people ask me what I was like before this, how I changed – was I a good person before I did all of the things I’ve done?  The answer is yes – I was raised with good principles and values and wanted to do good in the world…but man, its the people I surrounded myself with.  Slowly but surely the way they lived, said and did really influenced my way of thinking until I started wanting the same things that they wanted.  And thats how it all began.”

This struck me, because I have thought about this a lot.  Were people who are out there in the world doing terrible things and living a destructive lifestyle, or using people for a living, or contributing to hurting the innocent and controlling reality for their own gain while others suffer under their feet “always” like that?  Have some humans simply been these types of people since very early on, or did many “used” to be good people with good hearts and worthy values who simply took a tangent turn in their lives and became immersed in a place where their major influences were people around them who were not?

It is human nature to soak up what is around us, and we are very susceptible to influence and subliminal programming no matter where that is coming from.  When you hear something repeated enough times – even if it is something you do not believe or is completely opposed to what your heart originally values…you will find yourself eventually considering it, or even believing and following it due to the porous nature of our minds and how the subtle layers of neurolinguistic programming work.  This is why some people believe that we have to be careful what we listen to, hear, or surround ourselves with – because our minds, unfortunately are so susceptible to subliminal influence.

This is how mind control begins.  Whether that be in a controlling or abusive relationship, through television and music (both in consumer culture and counter-culture), social engineering, joining a cult, political programming, etc.  If you’ve ever gone to hypnotherapy, you can see how this works in live action.  It can be as subtle as hearing a friend make a statement about something – having that moment pass, and then hearing them say it again a couple of weeks later – the moment again passing.  

A few days later, you find yourself in a conversation with another person and you yourself make that same declaration or statement about something as though it were your own, not even realizing that you are simply repeating something that was planted in your mind subliminally simply by hearing someone else say it twice with confidence.

Again, this is how brainwashing and mind control begins.  Just the tip of the ice berg – but  it warrants the question – can this be used for bad?  Can it turn good people bad?  And can it turn bad people worse?  Is this how some people end up doing terrible things, in terrible situations that they would never choose for themselves if they could see outside of the box?  Or are there people who are inherently dark, sick, and twisted individuals who simply are that way, perhaps save a miracle?

I think the answer to both is yes.

The transformation I saw in this individual was beautiful, astounding, and amazing.  I believe that he was someone who was a good person, became heavily influenced by those he chose to surround himself with – and one day was rocked awake from his nightmare.  In order to change what he was doing and how he viewed the world – he absolutely had to move away from a lot of the people and things he was spending his time on and with.  A “sea change” requires the acknowledgement of what exactly it is that is influencing us.  Is it material?  Is is power?  Is it superiority?  Is it vanity?  Is is addiction?  Is it selfishness?  Has arrogance taken over?  Is it carelessness?  Do we care how what we do affects other people, or is it all about us getting to our end goal?  And who or what is influencing those thought patterns and ways of viewing the world?

Does it really matter who we hang out with?  Who we hear speaking?  Who we allow to influence the subtle waves and thought patterns in our minds?  Of course we can’t walk around with earmuffs on or put ourselves into a protective bubble 24-7 – but I think we CAN choose where the majority of our influence comes from…who we surround ourselves with, listen to, and take seriously.  Be aware and notice things.  Then make your decisions.

Those who begin with good hearts are clearly influenceable, but I believe they have a good chance at coming back from circumstances that caused them to veer off track if and when they take action during those moments of clarity.  And remain committed to making it through the detox that happens afterward.

Still others, will not do this.  Negative influence, programming, and trauma has such a hold on their minds and psyches that it has almost become a part of who they are.  In fact, I think many of them truly believe it is who they are – so the motivation to change is scant to naught.  Some of them seem to enjoy hurting and using others,  and the level of possession that it has over them seems impenetrable.  I think that these folks are in the greatest danger because their slide is already fully greased, and if subliminal programming affects us all in a similar way – these people will truly be influenced in a way that can heighten their sadism and negativity.  I don’t think that means there is no hope for them – but in my opinion, the answer is absolutely not to try to “change” them – for this is not something that you can change – but rather, something that they have to make the decision to do on their own.

I say this from a position of someone who has dreamed as big as the day is long that *I* could change a person (or two) who fell into this spectrum.  I thought that if I only led by example, reasoned with them, if I could just show them – and they would listen, and they would change.   Thats not how it works.  We can lead by example, and that is the best thing we can do, in my opinion – but we will never be the one who changes another.  It has to be their choice.  We may spend countless, fruitless hours mooring over how we can fix or change the situation, but this is simply a sand trap pulling us in deeper and closer to their own sickness – and it is in those moments that we have to decide for ourselves where that is going to take us.

While a lot of us don’t want to abandon others, and we do want to be able to shine light into dark places – we still have to be careful where the majority of our influence is coming from, and there is a fine line between ‘helping’ and allowing your energy to be syphoned from or compromised.

Food for thought…and while we cannot always control everything we eat – if influence is truly this dynamic – we have to remain vigilant in those moments where we do have a choice – to pick and choose our food as wisely as we can.

 

 

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Energy Vampires.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone with whom, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot get out of the conversation?  They keep going and going, and looping and looping, and hooking and hooking the dialogue and topics until you’re forced to take either drastic measures or use clever tactics to exit that interaction?  How do you know the difference between people who just like to talk too much, are lonely, or are nice people just having a bad moment – and someone who really does feed off of your energy and the attention you give them in a way that can be problematic?

There really are people who do not have much intuition or don’t know how to take social cues, read body language, or have a general sense of how much time and energy they are taking from the other person in conversation.  Perfectly innocent people who, while frustrating for some, are not energy vampires.

Well what IS an energy vampire?  I like to think of energy vampires on a sliding scale or spectrum – grey being not so bad and black being “want to eat your soul” type of status.  (And yes, they are out there.).  They are people who get THEIR energy – from you.  The less intelligent or ones without much of a current “source” latch on to people overtly – more desperately seeking your attention, conversation, money, affection, social status, status of any kind, etc.  The more highly intelligent ones, or ones who are much less desperate for a source of “supply” (as in, they have several sources they are feeding off of already), will be much more subtle about it.  Their tactics will make you come to them, want to be with them, or seek to please them.  Both, once they have you standing on the X – will begin their game.

Sometimes it is just conversation – and again, you have to be careful not to confuse someone who just doesn’t know when to end a conversation with someone who is using you for their own gain.  Often, with more vampiric-like people, the conversation will be accompanied by an intense, piercing stare from them.  At times, almost a stare-down.  Often they will “lean in” and lock eyes with you as they speak in a way that feels uncomfortable…

A side topic to this stare is, communication practices where you are taught to stare deeply into the eyes of another person or use “intentional eye contact” (long staring contests) for the purpose of improving communication or furthering a “spiritual connection”.  These practices can borderline on or accidentally facilitate a form of energy vampirism, in my opinion – however, this type of stuff sits in a different room than the general red flag of plain old intense eyes when someone is trying to pull at you in a conversation or interaction.

Another major red flag is, when you are talking to someone and you can literally feel in your stomach or your heart, an almost anxious pull.  It feels like the more you talk to them, the more something is pulling from your body to them at your heart or your stomach.  It does not feel good.  Sometimes you walk away from the conversation feeling exhausted, or confused.  Or sometimes will feel almost a dull, subtle, sick feeling in your gut when you’re talking to them or in a situation with them.

When we’re tired – EVERYONE feels like an energy vampire.  Whoever we are interacting with will give us some of these feelings because we are already operating from the reserves of our gas tank.  If you are in this state, please don’t walk around thinking that every person around you is an energy vampire – they’re not.  In those moments, it is much more likely that its you.  Most people also have desperate moments where they might be extra needy temporarily, and exhibit tendencies that drain you – this IS a vampiric quality, but that also does not necessarily mean that someone “is” an energy vampire.

But, when you’re operating at normal levels or even high levels of energy and you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you’re being syphoned – you probably are.  Or if a person constantly drains you – it truly may be that they have a problem.

Where it becomes problematic is when a person is like this most of the time.  Of course, it can take time to figure that one out – but once you’ve dealt with some really major cases, you can often tell pretty quickly after meeting someone initially whether they have that edge to them or not.  If you’re not sure, then give it time.

The reason why this is all important is because the term “energy vampire” simply describes what is at the gate of a person who may have a problematic personality that can often (not always, but often) lead to much higher levels of manipulation later on down the road with them.  Identifying the action of energy vampirism is identifying what lies at the gate of someone who uses others.  They may use others for sex, for money, for social status, to climb the ladder, for basic needs, for time, for attention, for anything really.  They’ve lost their own connection, so they use others to feed themselves or to prop up and heighten themselves.

Of course there are exceptions to everything spoken of here – but these are just some basic things to help you know that you’re not crazy when you feel them.

It can be hard to know where a person is coming from, sometimes – but if you pay attention to the subtle feelings in your body and repeated patterns that you see…it may help you to avoid becoming too intertwined with an individual who, in the end, only seeks to take and no matter how much they get fed, will usually remain hungry for the power to do so.

 

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Traumatized and Angry

When bad things happen – we think, “HOW could this happen? HOW could God let this happen to someone?? HOW could this be allowed to happen to me??”

We try to figure out who is to blame. Who we can lay that blame on in order to help rectify the flesh tearing disassociation within our psyches. Our poor souls and minds don’t know how to reconcile the experience of the deepest evil that exists. And many of us experience it or have experienced it directly.

Who is responsible for this? Who allowed this evil in? Who allowed the situation to exist that created fertile soil for trauma, for horror, for sickness, for torture, for destruction?

Sadness, anger, confusion, rage, and war against whoever or whatever is responsible for these evils sprout and take root.

And it is here that there is a turning point. We may shun or block out all of the things or people that we feel are responsible for our pain…and that may be justified. We may war against them to either make a point or to rid the world of their recipe for disaster. And this may also be justified. But one thing that we have to remember, is that EVERY act of evil, trauma, and horror – in the end…is transformed to be used for good.

We don’t need trauma – and it is unfortunate that we must endure it in this reality – but when trauma and horror are induced or inflicted upon us…we can be guaranteed that should we choose to recognize it – that same trauma can be transformed and transmuted to become the opposite of itself. That happens through allowing ourselves to grieve what we have lost due to that trauma within ourselves, or within our lives – and then once we have come out the other side — USING that trauma as fuel. Fuel to then help others. Fuel to battle evil with passion by serving those who are now going through what we ourselves endured or saw.

Don’t let the evil that occurs in this world – whether it has occurred in your own home, in your relationships, in your family, or out in the world where you walk every day…to fool you into sitting there and simply being angry. Forgive the ones who didn’t do enough. Forgive the ones who didn’t stop that evil from getting to you and hurting you. And if you can’t forgive the perpetrators of evil themselves (because we all know how incredibly difficult that can be) – at least see that these people and these things are simply being used by this evil. They are pawns. And one day they will expire and have to answer for their deeds, if they do not wake up first.

We are all at battle, every day – and we have to know that the conditioning that we’ve been through, and the evils that we ourselves have endured – happened so that we might equip ourselves with a sword. The sword of truth is one that can be wielded in a way that will allow us to stand up for others. To give, to serve, and to protect others from the evil that perhaps once tried to split our own soul in two by causing us to simply be angry. Instead of grieving our loss, standing back up, and picking up that sword, not with intent to hurt – but with intent to love and to protect.

I don’t know why terrible things happen. But they do, and they can be mind-splitting. I also know that it is possible to heal from the most hellish experiences, and that those of us who have come back from those things have a responsibility to be strong. Not to blame – but to forgive where we can, and figure out what we can do to help the rest of our fellow human beings.

Whether that simply means being a good person, being kind, being loving, being patient. Or whether that means really digging in and relating to those who are now more helpless than we are who are going through what we have been through.

All of these things happen for a reason…

And while the true purpose of why we, or others had to suffer may not be clear right away – we must eventually try to see and listen for what this purpose is…and then take action.

For while it may seem so… no hurt has ever, ever been in vain – nor should we ever let it be.

Some Helpful Sites for Dealing with Grief – whether it be a death, a life change, the end of a relationship, a personal trauma (something that happened to you) — all types of loss whether personal or relational pull in the need to grieve. Without proper grieving, healing becomes more difficult and anger can claim its space inside one’s psyche. Please take advantage of the many resources that exist for how to grieve a loss.

Grieving a Death or Loss of a Loved One:
Coping With Loss
Dealing with Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death

Grieving the Loss of a Child

Other Types of Grief:
Grieving After An Abusive Relationship

Grieving After Being With a Predator

Grieving Abandonment

Grieving Sexual Abuse

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

–Washington Irving

Why Sobriety?

I remember growing up in Sacramento, California and being immersed in the underground music scene there. There, we thrived on late night heavy metal shows – all made up of teenagers and early 20-somethings, all bopping around holding regular shows in various little underground music venues. Every kid had their own “rebellious” style whether trying to look like a punk rocker from the 80’s or an understated “scene kid” wearing nondescript sneakers and plain white t-shirts but with the giveaway facial piercing or artsy tattoo carved into their arm. Bands made up fast music with heavy breakdowns and lots of screaming – and the word “mosh pit” was an understatement. You would think with all of this rabble-rousing that the scene would also be full of drugs and alcohol. And you would then, be shocked at how wrong you were.

A phenomenon that I was not impressed by at the time, but later on in life look back on it and think, “Wow, that was really interesting…!” – this crowd thrived on a group mentality called “Straight Edge”, or in other words – sober. No alcohol, no drugs. In fact, drugs and alcohol were almost looked at as “uncool”, and if you did drink, you were kind of not in the club. There were “Crews” formed around this way of living and often being a vegan was added to the list of this righteousness. Ironically, this lifestyle is a tradition in some ancient faiths during times of fasting – but these kids were doing it all on their own.

I’ve felt a wave coming back lately of I guess what I would call “cool sobriety”. A state of living where you get some kind of trendy social cred for being someone who “doesn’t drink”. Of course, thats not why I quit. But I would love to see this become a thing. Why? Because it would save lives, and potentially souls!

We would all make better decisions.

We would all make decisions from a place of clarity. A place where our vision is clouded with one less thing. And man, that ONE thing felt so full of ‘spirits’.

Drinking can be a cultural thing…drinking can be a safe thing! Drinking can completely be a consequence-less, innocent, non-problematic thing. But the problem is that, for many people, its not.

For me, alcohol became the easiest thing to reach for when I felt uncomfortable. The easiest thing to reach for when I was bored. The easiest thing to reach for when I felt like I needed some “inspiration”. The easiest thing to reach for when I felt like I was grieving something. The easiest thing to numb myself with or shut my brain off with that no one would ever bat an eyelash at because it is simply the most socially acceptable drug that we have here in America. And it is SO easy to abuse.

Even if you just abuse it for a little while – it is so easy to abuse.

It takes all the pain away if you’re going through a rough period. It helps you to feel more inspired and uplifted – for a moment. It takes away inhibitions and can help you feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.

But what if you’re in a situation that you shouldn’t be in? And you’re using alcohol to make yourself feel more comfortable there? While simultaneously disarming your natural intuition which may be causing your discomfort because in fact – this isn’t where you’re supposed to be?

I wouldn’t apply this analogy to things like public speaking – but rather, life situations that seem to stretch out over time, or events where you are seeing and doing things that you actually feel uncomfortable seeing and doing. Some would say you need to challenge yourself to push through those uncomfortable feelings and “do it anyway”. But this is where it gets tricky. How do you tell the difference between a situation that is there to help you grow and a situation that is straight up, 100% wrong for you?

Well, this is where alcohol will trip you up, backwards, sideways and potentially off the cliff if you’re not careful (although hopefully if you do fall you will be caught!).

It is near impossible to tell whether you are making the right decision or the wrong decision if your life is in any way clouded by alcohol. And I’m not talking about people who drink occasionally or sometimes socially.

When the “alcohol mindset”, (a state of being and perspective you end up living from that is clouded by a layer of distortion that changes how you see things and how you feel about them, and also numbs any red flags that go off in potentially dangerous situations or simply situations that are wrong for you) – which you can absolutely possess even if you haven’t drank a drop all day long – has its lens over your brainwaves and thinking…

you can be assured that your decision making will be more from a place that is not exactly what I would call the sharp as a tack jet pilot.  More like, the 90 year old woman with glasses on as thick as 2 windowpanes hunched over the wheel of her giant Buick, squinting as she attempts her route to the grocery store.  I.E., this view is more from a place that is not you…

More from a place that just wants everything to be ok. More from a place that is willing to compromise. Willing to lie to itself. And seeing things not as they are, but rather, how you want them to be.

This is a place that I lived in many times. A place where I was so afraid of the alternative, that I refused to see reality. And alcohol helped me to stay there – over, and over, and over again. There were certain times and certain situations I found myself in where this surely could have killed me. But it didn’t.

I’m just not willing to risk it anymore. I don’t have time for that. I had blinders on for too long to ever consider taking the chance of them re-appearing on my face without my permission.

Alchohol has hands of fire that reach out for you and stroke the back of your neck, and beckon you from afar with a fiery come hither finger. Once you’ve let it control you in any capacity, it tries to come back for you, and it does not want you to leave it. If you’ve ever had a problem with alcohol, you have to view it as a psychopathic ex who simply will use every tactic it knows to manipulate you or lure you back in.

And you have to say no. You have to cut it off, go no contact, and never look back.

Without it, your clarity returns. You will know, for a fact, that EVERY decision you make is one coming from a place of complete, unclouded clarity. That while you do have to deal with life much more head-on, and you don’t get to just ignore the things that don’t feel right – you are living a REAL life. And making different choices than you may have made otherwise (can you imagine that?).

 

And then one day, it will have been a really long time…

 

You’ll look up at the sky on a sunny day. You’ll be walking down the street with the breeze in your hair, and think to yourself –

 

 

 

 

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

 

 

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Why shouldn’t I be able to drink?

“I should be able to drink. Why should I restrict myself?? GOSH, I hate people trying to control me! Just because other people think I have a problem with alcohol, doesn’t mean that I do.

Just because I go overboard with it sometimes, doesn’t mean I can’t control myself!

Just because I’ve had an issue with it in the past, doesn’t mean that I can’t handle having just one glass of wine here and there or a couple of beers once in a while…

Its not like I drink hard alcohol anymore.

Never mind the fact that it creeps up me and eventually find myself buying a 6 pack or a 12 pack or 2 bottles of wine and drinking it all in one night! That doesn’t happen very often.

Honestly, I think the people who decide to quit drinking are real alcoholics who just couldn’t stop. I can totally stop. If I wanted to, I would. It wouldn’t be a big deal.

No, I don’t think drinking affects my daily life or my decision making.

I mean, its not like I’m ALWAYS drinking! I make very clear, rational decisions when I’m sober…even when I’m a little hung over from the night before.

And I don’t ever plan my day or night around drinking or being able to drink.

I also don’t ever choose who I hang out with based on whether they are going to have a drink with me or not… How many times do I have to say this??

I DON’T. CENTER. MY PLANS. AROUND DRINKING. Geez…

You know what, its just really nice to be able to have a cocktail and relax. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter if I’ve had issues with alcohol in the past — I was going through some really stressful times! Its different now. Now I just drink casually. And after work to relieve stress. And at lunch. And on the weekends, you know, if my friends are going out.

I only got really drunk once last month. That isn’t that crazy. The rest of the times I was just buzzed. I don’t know why people have to be so judgemental. They’re so preachy.

And they’re probably all just wound up and jealous because they need a drink! Hahaha.

Having a drink or two every night does not make you an alcoholic…

Yeah, people really need to just mind their own business and know that each person is different.

Just because you had a problem with alcohol, doesn’t mean that I do.   Why should I have to restrict myself?

I’m fine.”

 

 

 

 

Note to Reader: If one cannot detect the dripping sarcasm in this piece, please go back and re-read.

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Humility.

Lately I’ve been noticing something pretty typical yet always poignant rising up around me, in work and in life. With worldly success comes many challenges. The biggest one, I think, is the ability to remember, or even have an awareness of what is important. If you didn’t hold many values going into your cultivation of worldly success, you are naturally more susceptible to it’s psychological perils. If you were prepared with some sort of armor in the form of things like humility, a desire to be kind, to be selfless, to be loving, truthful, giving, forgiving, etc., you might have an easier time at battle.

But what I see happening so much more often and so much more easily than I would normally guess to see…is worldly success in the form of status, money, praise, place in ‘society’, or success whether it be personally or professionally – causing a sort of zombified state of tunnel vision to occur amongst people. A fog that falls over their vision, causing them to see things in a different way. I don’t think that this happens with our permission – I think it happens without us even being aware of it, and by the time we do, its usually deep in a conversation with someone who knows us well telling us that we need to re-evaluate. (IF we are lucky enough to have a person willing to say those words to us!).

The rise to success, where you find yourself in a place where you have things that other people want, or where you walk into a room feeling ‘important’, where the sound of others constantly giving you praise drowns out the sound of the small voice trying to get you to look at yourself. A place where you use your money or status to make yourself feel even MORE important, accomplished, or perhaps to pay for and feed addictions that even moreso snuff out that small voice that is tugging at you about ‘something’ that you just can’t stop to look at right now because it would tear your train completely off the tracks.

Humility is something that a person who is lost in this place sees as another thing that will lift up their status in the crowd. When in fact, true humility brings them down. Not down to a bad place, but down to a real place. A place free of delusion, and self-induced, world encouraged hypnosis. A place where you are forced to ask yourself, “WHY am I doing what I am doing?”. Also a place where you are forced to acknowledge that you, yourself, being successful, accomplished and important – is not the point. A place where you feel motivated to look around you on that bottom tier at all of the innocent suffering that happens there…and ask yourself if your daily actions and treatment of others is contributing to righting what is wrong through leading by example of both your behavior and your vision.

This includes how we treat people. Looking at people as “lesser than”, whether that be on the street, in your workplace, in your family, in your circles of friends – in any way is one of the most dangerous positions a person can ever be in, in life. Why? Because it officially marks your state of being and perception of reality as not only deluded…but as controlled by something that seeks to destroy.

Don’t allow this to happen to you – and if it does, re-evaluate, and figure out what you need to do to change this. Because to be honest, the entire world rests and teeters on a cliff that could go one way or another with something as small as a tiny wind to give more weight to one side rather than the other. Figure out what side you want to be on, and use things like humility to help get yourself, and all of us, there.

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Starting over.

Have you ever had to start all over again? Had everything you knew or thought was true disappear behind you as though it were all just a dream? Letting go is hard. So is humbling yourself when things don’t go as planned.

Life has a way of making everything fall apart just so that we can build something new again. And that may mean doing things we don’t really want to do ~ it may mean working hard to create something new ~ it may even mean letting go of who we thought we were and trusting that even though we don’t know what lies ahead – we can know that it will be more fitting for us than anything ever has been before.

I love this video, “Way To Go” by Survival Guide. It really captures something I personally went through so perfectly – seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when you really aren’t sure – and continuing marching forward even when it hurts or is painful – is so key. When we do this, we are making a statement that we have faith, and that we trust. And when we do this……providence follows…..and the right path always opens up.

Choices, choices.

Every minute, we have a choice.

We are surrounded by distractions, by temptations…by the encouragement of addictions, the encouragement of self-centeredness and the nurturing of narcissism…the odds are so against us in so many ways to become and be good people in a world that is set up like pleasure island in Pinocchio. A world that plays upon our weaknesses and has been manufactured to tickle the shortcomings of our character and convince it that it’s all ok…

Well – it’s not ok.

And even though we are surrounded by a myriad of subtle sabatoge from all angles at any given moment – in every given moment, over and over again – we have a choice. We can choose whether that action is going to be to give in to whatever that is…or choose another action that might better serve us.

We can choose over and over again – even if we screw up over and over again, or don’t realize we are choosing to indulge our weaknesses until they affect us negatively – to choose the right thing. We have that choice, and we should remember it in this world that would prefer us to forget.

Choose wisely – and if you don’t….. well, try again!!

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When we lie to ourselves.

One thing I have learned: When there is something that we won’t allow ourselves to look at…something that we know is true, yet we can’t for whatever reason bring ourselves to fully acknowledge…we create a lie. And that kind of lie then goes to work creating a fortress around itself to protect itself from judgement or exposure. If it should be exposed, it might bring all things crashing down – or it might mean we will really have to change something.

And because that possibility seems way too terrifying and impossible — we allow the lie to continue. We allow it to continue, and we build an entire story around it to convince ourselves of it….over and over again – every time we ignore that slightly sick feeling in our gut, or that subtle knowing feeling that something is not quite right – we tell ourselves its ok, and this lie that we are telling ourselves to make everything ok continues on its way…a little blind dog leading us further into darkness. Whoops. We unknowingly just hired a little blind dog to lead us down the path…

Point being that this represents a lie that started out as something we didn’t want to fully look at…something we couldn’t acknowledge as being the truth because it was way too scary. And it now has its own bedroom – its own house with a yard and a pool it is now sitting by sipping margaritas. Sh*T! Now what do we do?

Well – it is now going to be quite a bit harder to look at the real truth because over time, we have created a story around this lie – told ourselves over and over again that it was all good, that the lie was the truth, and that the truth which we didn’t want to look at was the lie. Its a really, really tough situation to be in. A lot of times sh*t has to hit to the fan in order for the lie to truly be exposed and acknowledged…maybe sometimes it can be extracted and we can bring ourselves to admit the truth to ourselves of our own free will – but this scenario I think is far less common… Its hard.

But we will one day have to tell ourselves the truth, whether we like it or not. For some it may be sooner than others – I think some hang on to the lies they’ve created until the day they die. Others who are more adept at feeling and have a stronger conscience obviously will crumble sooner and change their lives completely based on the acknowledgement of whatever lie they’ve been telling themselves. I think the scariest thing is that when you lie to yourself about something for a long enough period of time – you TRULY and honestly start to believe it!! You find yourself not even thinking about it anymore as it has now simply become a wayside truth. Your brain now believes it due to the repetitious affirmation of what you have tried to tell yourself over and over and over again….that sick feeling is now replaced with complacency and maybe not even be a blip on the screen anymore…

The good news is that all lies will eventually be exposed, one way or another. Because the divine conspires for our good, all lies will eventually have light shed on them. It may take a ground-shaking, life changing event – or everything turning inside out – or maybe just a heartfelt conversation with another or with yourself with lots of tears where you really just finally acknowledge the truth. Either way it has to happen somehow… This is all so different for everybody — some people have little secrets, some people have huge lies that the entire foundation of their life is built on – whereas still others are in life situations that they have created based on little white lies they tell themselves – or really big lies they tell themselves. I think we’ve all had our own version of this somewhere along the line.

But the point is – that we don’t have to live that way. Sometimes we think we do – because the alternative is too scary. But the truth is that we don’t . And even if that means your whole life has to turn upside down in favor of the truth — the forces of good WILL conspire to lift you back up and re arrange things in the way that they should be — based on truth. A foundation of truth will last, and won’t feel yucky or weird. May we all have the courage to tell the truth to ourselves about any and all things as often as possible…and may we be given the strength to chainsaw through any lies we have told ourselves — in favor of a future that we may not necessarily be able to see — but is far more likely to be providential…and better than the one where we turned a lie into the the truth and then believed it.

It is by no means easy…but it IS the right thing…and we WILL see the fruits of our courage if we can bring ourselves to look at and tell the truth – to ourselves.

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