Simple Reminders

Inspiration For Living Your Best Life!


Foreword by Dr. Steve Maraboli

I have the honor of writing the foreword to this life-enhancing book, Simple Reminders... If I have learned anything, it's that life has a way of answering questions you didn't even ask.

This wonderfully challenging journey of life offers seemingly endless opportunities to grow, adapt, or remain stagnant. There are times we come upon such realizations on our own, while sometimes relying on the wisdom of others. For me, as well as for millions across the globe, Bryant McGill is such a source. His brilliant way of sharing his experiences, philosophies, and wisdom has empowered my day on many occasions.

I am forever grateful to those who inspire and empower others. With the many twists and turns of our journey, it is the empowered mind that reveals to us that sometimes we have to lose to win… that we are greater than what we've settled for, and that happiness and success are more than a feeling; they're a behavior.

Cheers to those much-needed souls who fan the flames of the empowered mind.

Life sure can hit you hard! Suddenly, when you least expect it, WHAM; life has a knack for challenging you in ways that you don't feel prepared for. I feel like life sometimes tests and shapes you in a manner in which you feel least equipped. It seems you don't get to choose the exercise equipment God challenges and builds your strength with.

When this is happening, it's easy to drop into a victim mindset. It's easy to feel stuck, defeated, and like you are a losing player in the game of life. This victim mindset argues (very loudly) that we have lost; that nothing good is on the horizon. Never forget that the volume of an argument does not reflect the validity of the argument. Just because the victim mentality argues that we are losing, doesn't mean that it's true. In fact, I have come to realize that during the times in my life where I thought I was losing, I was actually winning.

An empowered perspective helps me see that I can only get stronger when working against resistance. It is when I struggle that I strengthen. It is when challenged to my core that I learn the depth of who I am. It is when we feel broken that we can become experts at mending.

The truth is, I am who I am because the tears of my past have watered the magnificence of my present. It is from my broken hearts that I learned the measure and power of true love. Every job I was denied for ... opened the door to new opportunities. Every relationship that hurt me... led me to my true love. Every mistake I thought would be the end of me... pointed me towards an incredible success. Sometimes when you think you're losing, you're winning.

I am so grateful for people like Bryant McGill; those who selflessly endeavor to help others. I'm honored to write the foreword to his latest masterpiece. For me, Bryant is one of the greats; whose words will be repeated and shared for many years after initially spoken and written.

This book is a treasure chest of wisdom. May it help you and inspire you as you connect with his brilliant mind and the many insights of others he shares. Bryant is a friend to me; to all of us. Enjoy!

-Dr. Steve Maraboli
Internationally Acclaimed Behavioral Research Scientist

Preface by Editor, Brian Thompson

We're all faced with unexpected challenges in our life that force us into gloomy corners and make us feel like there's no way to ever escape. For many of us, life plods on in a lonely and confusing darkness — we're unhappy and we don't like it, but our life seems to be locked onto a non-stop trajectory to nowhere, with no option to stop and get off. And then there are those of us who have achieved many of their goals and have found great success, yet they still feel just as empty and as miserable as they did before, if not more so.

It's not easy to live the life you dream of, especially when life's struggles seem to keep getting in your way. Just when you think you're on the right track, you get knocked down again. Because of this, many people end up losing hope and settle for much less than what they deserve. All the pains of the past and all the worries of tomorrow seem far too overwhelming to move beyond. How does a person get out of the rut they're stuck in? How does one get past their anger, frustration and resentment?

In order to create any positive and lasting change in our lives, we need to drastically change how we view the world around us first. Simple Reminders is the book to do just that. This book will guide you towards a much simpler path, one that's filled with happiness, love, understanding and abundance.

I'll be returning to this book many times throughout my life so I can continue to be reminded of its simple lessons. It will inspire you to look at life with a more positive and loving point of view. It will encourage you to take control of your life and help you to understand all of the pain and suffering you've had to endure. Best of all, this book will teach you how to cultivate beauty in your life, using simple seeds of positive intention, so that it can blossom and bloom throughout the remainder of your days.

The book you're holding contains an uplifting message of higher consciousness; it's a fresh look at timeless wisdom that's been passed down through thousands of generations by all of the world's great spiritual teachers; wisdom that will continue to flow through every careful reader and student. The author shares true heartfelt wisdom that can only come from hard-earned life-lessons and direct experience.

Like all great books, long after you've put it down, its transcendent essence will continue to stick with you. Its simple truth will remind you to continue acting on its enduring message of love, acceptance, beauty and forgiveness.

Above all else, this book is a simple reminder that you always have a choice. This is the insight you've been waiting for to set you free.

Brian Thompson, Creator of Zen Thinking and Acclaimed Author of Sparks to Awaken.

Humble Beginnings

Once you connect with yourself, it is impossible to be lonely or desperate

"The only hope of transforming the world from the 'tsunami of violence' is for each of us to Become the Change We Wish To See in the World. Bryant McGill shows us the way."
Dr. Arun M. Gandhi, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi

I think we are all born with a certain theme to our lives. I'm not sure I believe in destiny, but I do believe in themes. There are themes in my life that I see over and over again. A life theme is like a common thread or a topic in your life that keeps recurring. For some, the thrust of their life is marked by some vague ambiguity with a few pleasant keynotes here and there. For others, the theme of their life is a dull pain with piercing keynotes of agony. Some lives are burdened with a sense of no destiny whatsoever — which is their theme. For me, I spent most of my life running away from my themes, but I eventually discovered you can't run from them forever — they always reappear. They'll come back in one form or another until you finally acknowledge them. It was not until I embraced the themes of my life, what some people call destiny, that I was finally released from them, and free.

You see, everything is trying to complete itself in this world and we are no different. We search for what we believe is missing, to fill the gaps; to complete ourselves. If only the world taught us we are already born complete, but it seems to teach us the opposite; digging a huge hole in us that we try to fill — too often in destructive ways. I would like to say I searched for my completion with intelligence, deliberation and dignity, but it was more like an awkward fumbling; like stubbing your toe in a dark room. Sometimes I reacted more like a wild animal than a dignified person. At some point in your life, you start to ask yourself the question of whether or not you can get through that dark room without breaking your leg. You start thinking that there must be a better way to learn the lessons that you need to learn, without so much pain. Yes, I would like to say that it was because of my brilliance that I found wisdom and completion; that would've been nice, but it's not true. Pain was my compass in life. Unease and fear were my guides; not angels, but my own demons. Suffering is one of life's greatest teachers. And if you're not a very good student, then these teachings will be continually tragic. As it was for me; I was a poor student and had to learn the lessons over and over again. But as I will attempt to impart in the book; tragedy contains opportunity — the greater the tragedy, the greater the opportunity.

Life's pressure is equal to your resistance.  
  Your grief has endless time.  
Your sadness is bottomless.  
  Your worries are relentless.  
Your resentment is unquenchable.  
  Your fears are unmovable.  
Every dimension of your suffering will instruct you,  
  Until you have learned your essential lessons.

Some people say that life is just a classroom where we come to learn all the things that we need to complete ourselves. But why does it have to be so hard? I discovered that it doesn't have to be hard and there are easier ways. One of the defining moments in my life was in learning to not unnecessarily resist things. Willfulness is often a mindset of self-battery. It's very tricky in that it can seem like strength, when really it is just arrogance. But you can't resist the whole world. It will wear you down over time. In fact, it seems like the whole purpose of life is to humble you, and made humble we certainly are — or will be.

I have been humbled more than once in my life. Memory is pretty merciful, at least in my life. Much of my distant past is so vague it seems like a dimly remembered dream. Trauma mercifully seems to blot out the periods of its betiding, like a compassionate amnesia, but many sweet moments are also lost in that personal fog of war. And so, my childhood is a landscape of forgotten beauties. When I close my eyes I travel there like a walk in the night where I only see shadows and highlights of fading memories. But the one thing I continue to grasp for is the innocence of that little boy; a child who was curious about everything — who was always laughing and making others laugh, but who in private had many fears and troubles.

I spent a lot of time alone as a child. In the dark woods covered in thick Kudzu vines amongst giant oaks draped in sleepy Spanish moss, I would spend my time day-dreaming. This is where my dialogue as a writer began, as whispers back and forth with the trees. The open flowers and honeysuckles were like microphones — they were all listening to me and understood me, and I drew understanding from them. It is in nature that I found my voice through my own imaginary world — an only child with no real friends. Alone in nature I was safe from the remarkable bullies who tormented me and tried to pollute my innocence with their demented cruelty, fear and self-loathing. Like it had been put in them, it was put in me; they transmitted their fear to me like the disease it is — their viciousness, ignorance, and rage infected me. The way the Kudzu vines strangle a forest is how my innocence was overcome; a slow and relentless act of suffocation and domination that stole a part of my childhood.

Much of my life has been a mourning of my loss of innocence; an attempt to reach out to that scared child and save him — to excavate him from his demolished spirit which was swallowed in the earthquake of coming-of-age with no sense of belonging. When you don't feel loved as a child you will search for belonging for the rest of your life because you are afraid of love. Not belonging becomes a safe place. I belonged to that loneliness. I belonged to the woods. I belonged to the red clay roads. I belonged to the blackberry vines and the blue jays. I belonged to the crimson and white azaleas. I belonged to wildness and the wind. As a Son of Dixie, I would whistle, hum and sing — alone. I looked like a character from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; dirty, bruised, sun-kissed and freckled. I was just a little boy running around barefoot on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Alabama. I may have been a hick, but I could run! At dusk, often on my way home, I would run barefoot through a five-acre field of dew-covered grass. I was running wildly on the tips of my toes with such speed that all I could hear was the loud wind blowing in my ears. I felt like Mercury or an Indian brave, and my energy seemed inexhaustible. I could run like the wind; feeling my power rushing through me. That memory is a highlight in childhood. It's the freest I ever felt in my youth.

Everything I write about is really about freedom. Freedom is everything; being free from falsehood, fear, control, and your own demons. A heart's call for freedom can be its own form of bondage in a world of liberty lost. Nothing can torment you more than yearning for freedom in a world of civic enslavement. No more trees to climb; no more careless adventures; no more dreams — just living a scripted life where you barely even remember who you are, only who you were told to be. Our routine and responsibility becomes a form of amnesia where we forget who we are while we slowly die inside. Many more die by routine than by corporeal death. But you can remember again. You can be free. You can reclaim your innocence. You can dream again. You can awaken.

A new chance can begin through your inner-life by making peace with yourself through total acceptance. You can co-exist peacefully with your past and present when you learn to respect your journey. You can rekindle the fires of your imagination and let the light lead you to the best of what is old, and all that is new. I have learned that the past cannot be left behind. A rich life-story is dependent on every chapter from beginning to end. It is always the things we run from or try to forget that hold us back. Forgetting your childhood is like a form of child abandonment. I believe the reason writers write and readers read, is to remember. The way to move forward is to simply remember; remember who you really are. It is only when you accept who you truly are that you can access the potential of who you could be. I have remembered who my true self is, and this remembrance has given the treasure of myself back to me and has kept me alive. May you discover the wonderful treasure of yourself too. May you walk the path of your dreams in delight, with grace and ease. To live fully awake and to feel fully alive and free is the most courageous of all dreams. But, the wake-up is not always fast; sometimes the wake-up comes in an instant, but sometimes it takes a lifetime.

From a young age something kept whispering to me, that things were not right with the world; that something was not right with me, an innocent by-product of an unnatural and dis-eased society. There was a call in my heart to journey beyond the path placed before me, and one day, I answered that call. As a troubled teen, with deep turmoil and fear in my heart, and with two apples and twelve dollars as my only possessions, I walked to the highway at the end of my country dirt road, stuck out my thumb, and like a leaf in the wind, I blew away into the great, wide-open world. I hitchhiked thousands of miles away. I left my friends, my family, and my hometown, and I did not return or communicate with them for the better part of twenty years. I went on a journey; a journey that lead me within.

At a certain point on this journey, I began disconnecting from the construct of illusions in the consumer driven, consensus-reality called, "the modern civilized world." I turned off the television for two decades. I unplugged myself. I worked to erase the programming that had been sewn into the fabric of my consciousness by our society's hidden masters. I began dismantling the artificial edifices that had been erected in my heart, mind and soul since birth, by unknown builders. Brick by brick, word by word: advertisements, slogans, cliches, judgments — layer by layer, I took down the false idols and symbols of identity, belief, self, pride, ego, ambition, and so-called knowledge. I questioned every belief and fact a person can "know." I doubted everything, especially, all of that which I professed to "know" with absolute certainty. Something in me told me not to believe! Unknowing became my comfortable friend.

I began teaching myself meditation and spending quiet time in nature. In the quietness, I could hear the whispers from within, "Freedom. Truth. Beauty. Peace. Love." My fear began to diminish and I finally felt more supported, self-assured and safe. I stood outside and looked up into the vault of the heavens. I invited truth and the universal power of creation into my life. I let the animals, the sun, the stars, the moon, the insects, the elements and the quietness become my guides. And as the saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." And so it was, that when I was ready, my teachers did appear. One after the other, some of the greatest minds in history would open their lives and hearts to me with their friendship, mentoring and tutelage. Eminent naturalists, great poets, renowned thinkers, prolific authors, great spiritualists; these elders all appeared one-by-one, each offering me a gift, which was selflessly given in love, for they knew then what I know now. They gave me what I wish to give to you with each word I write.

Decades later when I would learn of the Zen mantra, "great doubt: great awakening; little doubt: little awakening; no doubt: no awakening," I could only smile knowing this simple truth had already transformed my life in so many ways. Buddha's admonition that one, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense," had been a path I had instinctively followed. That very ethos had led me to a grand reunion with my original self, my authentic-self, my higher-self, my true soul, and my innermost beauty.

All of my teachers had prepared me for meeting my greatest teacher — myself. When we connect with ourselves we commune with a perfect partner for learning. Connecting with yourself and knowing yourself is a monumental and life changing event. Once you connect with yourself, it is impossible to be lonely or desperate. Loneliness and desperation are only possible when we lose touch with our beauty within. Connecting with myself changed me, opened me and healed me, and it all happened because I had begun to love myself and see the positive in life. I had been touched. I had awakened. I looked around and saw that the ugly world was a different and more beautiful place because I was different and more beautiful. I had somehow emerged on the other side of the looking glass. I was on the beautiful path; a positive life path, walking hand-in-hand, with the dreamers, believers, lovers and keepers of the vision of a kinder and more beautiful world.

Finding Purpose, Success and Joy on Life's Journey

Many people think they want to accomplish what other successful people have in life. People often see the surface of worldly achievements, but seldom consider that many of those attainments are constructs of a false world, full of traps and endless enticements that lead to nowhere. People tend to believe they want success, and more toys and things, but when they focus on them, to their bewilderment, those very things move out of their reach. My version of success is that my life is full, purposeful, beautiful and boundless. I attribute this success to my spirituality, my good health, and my community of positive relationships which have all come to me as a creation of choice. Success comes from finding your center and your self; being self-centered in a positive and peaceful way. I own my time and command the space of my beingness — a space where I am allowed to grow into my true, unique nature. Success is a spiritual process, not a worldly one; that is to say it is an internal process, not external. It is a process of peeling off the layers of conditioning, becoming your essential truth, and living the inner-life. Success is, therefore, a process of honesty, and oftentimes, also one of courage.

Fortunately for me, as a seeker and lifetime student of the world, the seeds of softness and sensitivity had been sown in my soul by wiser, gentler hands, and I found my way to a more graceful understanding of the true nature of success and power. My understanding evolved from the outer realm of control, materialism, and ego in my youth, to the inner realm of surrender, spirituality and compassion of today. In this context surrender is not a weakness, but rather an empowering state of humility — the humility necessary for self-realization and for living a life of purpose.

There are graceful ways of accessing your purpose and success with time, invitation, gentleness, cooperation and surrender. When one learns to focus their energy through surrender and sensitivity, they become free, and can access the expansiveness of endless possibility. To say it another way, the art of surrender is the art of getting out of the way of your own growth. Your greater purpose is already written in the fabric of your being; your purpose awaits your arrival. But you need not strive to become your greater purpose. When you release the illusion of control, you begin an effortless free-fall toward a grand reunion with your original self; a person uncorrupted by the world's false lessons of fear, control and limitations.

Your true purpose is to become your own unique self and to do so with happiness and freedom from fear. You are a unique and beautiful expression of the mysterious gift of life and creation. There are more elegant ways to create than the clumsy, brute-force tools of willpower, determination, and hard work. These methods involve releasing illusions of lack and cravings. It is a gentle calling and creation through beingness. Determination and willpower are not enough; they can knock down the door, but it is love that gently unlocks the door and invites you in. The true creator-self is a light-at-heart and care-free child, who accesses destiny as a simple act of joyful play. Your life is meant to be filled with beauty and joy. A life of success comes from seeking a life of beauty. I call this journey, walking on the beautiful path.

The beautiful path is not a place outside of yourself, but rather a place you carry within you everywhere you go. The beautiful path is the place you want to be to re-center yourself. It is the garden of peace you seek, but it is not a tangible place that exists in the world — it is within. Go there, within. The sweet pleasure of your own joy and success is a cultivation of both the heart and mind. To move forward, simply set your intentions, be grateful for what you have, be open to what is possible, and the rest will happen, as a beautiful and effortless journey of cooperation and listening.

There is no greater path than the act of listening, because the observer who listens can begin to see themselves as an active part of the one universal expression of purpose and beingness. Life is always speaking to us at every moment. The subtle whispers, cues, and nudges are there as guideposts, to gently carry the humble listener along the path back to the source and the true self. Always choose to trust yourself and your ability to listen. Listen to your intuition and the quiet promptings of your heart. Let it all go and enjoy the profound gifts found in your quiet places. These gifts are your birthright. Everything you wish to "create" is already there, waiting for you.

You are sweetening,
  you are coming into wholeness.
You are a purpose unfolding,
  the whole of life surrounds you
You are the fruit of life
  you shall ripen and flourish

The master action to move forward, is a form of inaction; being still and quiet. It is in this quietness where you can hear your intuition. Too much aggression and work will move what you desire further away. Instead of pushing, invite it to connect with you and move with you, and through you. The most effective form of creation is an act of cooperation, not force. All things are accomplished by the meditative act of releasing illusions and simply becoming. The master tools of success are invitation, patience, time, gentleness, cooperation, and surrender. Let go of everything. That is how you get everything; you let go of everything. When we try to control, we become controlled; when we release, we become free. Success, just like poverty, is a state of mind. You can become instantly successful with a simple thought, but long-lasting and pronounced success comes to those who renew their commitment to a mindset of abundance every minute of every hour of every day.

If you are reading this, then you are likely already on your own journey to uncover your unique vision of success in life. You are seeking, and that is wonderful. Every moment you are open as a humble student, you are surrounded with infinite possibilities of choice. As a powerful creator, your potential success awaits only the genesis of new thoughts. But sometimes we all need a little guidance, and it is my deepest pleasure to share with you some of the tools, constructs, and ideas that have opened my world and heart to so many profound successes. I deeply hope you are able to uncover and live your dreams.

Dreams do come true for those who dare to believe in themselves

I guess I have always been a dreamer, but that does not mean I was always a positive person. There are negative-minded dreamers out there too. I had a rough entry into the world. But somewhere along the journey I decided to see the positive in life. That doesn't mean I began ignoring reality or not acknowledging the negative, but I did decide to fairly accept the fullness in life's balance, which demands that there are positive gifts along with adversity. There is a law of opposition apparent in all life which guarantees balance and fullness. I quit allowing my negativity to block the positive gifts which were meant for me, along with all of the hard lessons and tribulations I had to endure.

I remember when I was twenty years old, I went to a therapist for depression because my grandfather had just died that week. I was devastated. He asked me what I had in my life to anchor onto, to give me hope. I told him that I held onto the fact that I was a great writer in the making. He asked me what I meant, and I told him that being a great writer was in my blood and that one day my works would be published all over the world and reach millions of people. He told me, "But you are not a great writer in reality." (Don't go to this guy if you are depressed!) I responded, "yes I am, that is a fact; it just has not emerged in the world yet, but it is a truth in my heart — a part of my truest reality." He sternly and seriously told me my thinking was dangerously close to delusions of grandeur. Not the first time I've heard that! I told him excitedly, which further disturbed him, "Thank you. I am happy with that. I would rather have that, than delusions of insignificance." He was not amused and loudly scribbled something in my file. I have to say that it feels good knowing I never let anyone destroy my dreams, not that I keep score — ok, well maybe I do a little.

I have learned a lot about the weapons people use to keep others down — and how these weapons are presented as "help" by those who "care." I have enjoyed, perhaps a little too much, not allowing those who tried to squash my dreams have their way. But then I remember that many "negative" people were conditioned by people with small minds and hearts, so I forgive them. They never knew it, but I couldn't be stopped — it wasn't a goal or an ambition, it was a calling. My second-grade teacher, who really made a positive impact in my life, told me I could be anything I wanted to be, and I really believed her. I knew her words were truth because of the way she looked at me. I always knew, even then, that I wanted to be a writer. From an early age, I was a natural encourager and advice giver, and so I decided as a child that I would write books that helped people — I thought that would be so much fun! I believed I could succeed because in my heart I knew I was a winner. I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I knew I was a winner because humility taught me that every person is a winner. If you believe in yourself and you don't give-up, the fullness of life's balancing grace will demand the symmetry of recompense for all your loss and pain. It is staggering how completely, fully and fairly life supports you if your negativity will allow the blessings to arrive.

Great blessings require great commitment and determination. I can promise that few of you know the long-suffering involved in my journey, and I am sure your suffering belongs to you in an equally private and intimate way. All I have ever wanted was to make a meaningful and lasting contribution and to live life as fully as possible. My chosen life path was definitely not the safe path, rather it has been like stepping out on a tightrope with no safety net. Something in me would rather fall than not reach the other side. Some people call that place success, some call it prosperity, and others may call it a purpose. For me, the destination of my dreams is where I came from originally — a paradise of innocence — but I was somehow separated from it when I was born. The truth is, and always has been, that I would rather not live at all if I cannot live in harmony with my innermost truth. For me, the journey of my life has always been to reconnect with my true self. Don't we all wish to find ourselves in this way? The child in me has been my guide. After all, a child's world is a magical place, and so is mine, and it always will be.

I have so much gratitude for the people who have loved me and stood beside me over the years. Deep appreciation fills my heart when I think of each of you. Thank you also to my enemies, detractors, naysayers, lurkers and secret ill-wishers — you have strengthened and blessed me immensely as my important teachers. All of my dreams are continually coming true. Dreams do come true for those who dare to believe in themselves. You set the standard for how people will treat and regard you, by how you treat and regard yourself. I hope each of you will believe in yourselves because life wants to give you the blessings you deserve. It is never too late to begin living your own dream. Start right now by beginning to believe.

There were times in my life where I didn't think I would even live another day. But I did survive my pain and I worked to understand it and use it in positive ways. Pain in life never ends, it's just a matter of learning how to sit with it and use it properly. Some things we never fully recover from, and we simply do the best we can. For me, recovery is a lifelong process. I try to write things in a way where you can put yourself or someone you know into the sentence. I leave out religion. I let you insert your own version of God and spirituality; that's none of my business really. But what I do want to make my business is letting you know that your life can be sweeter and kinder. I hope that as you advance into new inner-territories and better phases of your life, that you are able to become more open to receiving the opportunities for love and joy that you deserve. I hope you can see what I see. I hope your burdens can be a little lighter and your love and laughter can soar a little higher. I hope that you are able to heal some of those old wounds and stand a little taller and feel that spark of optimism in your heart and stride. I hope a few humble lines I pen make a little difference to someone somewhere. The truth is that my readers are more of a family than I ever had, and that means you are some of the most important people in my life, and I care about you, which is why I have written this book. Thank you for sharing your journey with me and for spending some of your precious and limited time in life kicking around some of my ideas.

I truly wish that your life be sweet and beautiful. We all know life is not easy at times, but I have learned that incredible things are made possible simply by the way we choose to think. I have been made an unshakable believer in possibility, because of the profound blessings of life, health, and wealth, which poured into my life because of the way I decided to think about and see life. You could call it faith and a quest for beauty. The beauty was actually there all along; I just had to see it. Beauty is in your life too; awaiting the moment of your realization. It is my earnest desire to show each of you how I made it to the other side with grace and ease. No one has all the answers, but what I have discovered, that worked for me, I feel obligated and delighted to share with you. And when the words that flow through me occasionally meet your mind, and possibly speak to your heart as truth, then in that moment my calling is fulfilled. I have learned that it is a high spiritual truth, that when you reach to touch something beautiful, something beautiful reaches back and touches you; such is the relationship between writers and readers. Thank you for this relationship. I will continue to do my very best to always share with you what speaks to my heart.

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

Life Challenges

Out of our suffering we emerge

"The best way to get rid of the pain is to feel the pain. And when you feel the pain and go beyond it, you'll see there's a very intense love that is wanting to awaken itself."
Deepak Chopra

The truth is that life can be very difficult at times. There can be a lot of pressure to keep it all together, to be smart and beautiful, to be so good and perfect. But sometimes we don't have it together at all. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we don't feel good or look our best. Sometimes things are not good at all, and we feel miserable, lonely or depressed. If you have lost your way and feel down, that feeling belongs to you. If you feel miserable — it's yours, and no one should take it away from you. It's important to feel your feelings. Maybe things honestly aren't very good at all right now. Maybe you have good reasons to be depressed, and the last thing you need is someone telling you to be happy. But one thing you do need, is at least the respect from others to let you sit with your valid feelings. You don't always need a cheerleader, but just someone to simply be a friend by acknowledging where you actually are, and how you really feel. Real problems can't be fixed with a motivational poster, a cute quote or a pat on the back. When you are in your pain, it does not matter how intrinsically special you are, or how beautiful life is, or how precious each moment is — if you don't accept and respect your suffering, it isn't going anywhere. Submit to your pain; don't suppress your pain. If you can sit with your pain, listen to your pain and respect your pain — in time you will move through your pain.

Pain is like a healing emotional fever. Allow your pain to cleanse you and burn away what needs to die. A new and better you will grow from the ashes. The most important parts of your life will be marked by pain. Some of the most amazing people in the world were not perfect; they were scarred by suffering, hardships, losses and imperfections. But, when they recovered, they were stronger, wiser, and more loving and compassionate. Your life is going to get better in the proper time, and you will be stronger and more at peace than ever before. Out of our suffering we emerge. Our struggles are really our only hope. Stay strong.

"Pause and remember— Every person is going through difficult hardships and growth. Let's be more conscious of this by being more patient, compassionate and understanding."
Jenni Young McGill

Every beautiful thing in the world is rooted in some kind of pain

At times, it can feel like the pain and disappointment just never seems to stop. If it is not one thing, it is another. We try so hard. We try to be so good and do right by people. We work and struggle and press forward day after day. We are told there is supposed to be some sort of reward out there, but where is it? There may be a reward, but for damn sure, there is also some pain; so much pain and aching. We see it on other people's faces, and we see it on our own. Body aches and heart aches; aching to be free of the hurt. But life keeps you running until your side is splitting, until you just want to stop and catch your breath for a moment. Sometimes the pain is a startling breach that hobbles your entire soul; dreadful losses that rupture your perceived reality. Pain so visceral and unrelenting that even death itself can begin to look like a welcomed and kind benefactor. Or, maybe it's not a sharp jolt of pain at all, but rather a steady, ambient field of uneasiness, loneliness, disappointment and ambivalence that just seems to go on forever. Low-grade pain can be so rooted in your being that the pain begins to look like you, and you begin to look like the pain — it becomes your identity. Unexpressed frustration. Unrequited loves. Unrecognized. Unappreciated. Unvalued. Unhappy. Unfulfilled. Un. The same numbness and disappointment every day sends some people looking for something tragic for proof of life. But most of us just try to stay calm and conform. We conform to pain until we don't notice it anymore; it's what you call — numb — and it tragically blots out our pleasure too. Conformity is a type of calm where you hover motionless on the edge of a scream that never comes. It's hard to scream when you can't breathe under all the pressures, like the pressure of waiting forever for a second chance that will never come, or a future you can never have, or some absolution for your deepest sins, regrets and failures.

In the face of every type of pain, we tend to think that life will never be the same, but guess what, it was never going to be the same anyway. The only thing more relentless than pain is change. It certainly can seem like the relentless pain of life is unbearable, but you are never more alive than when you are enraptured by pain. Pain is a horribly wonderful gift. We are never taught more deeply and more truthfully than by pain. We are all aching. Young and old — we all ache so much. Our hearts and bodies feel every shock. Pain is as expansive as life itself. Pain grows with us and in us as a cultivation of life's unfolding. Your pain is reminding you that the gift of life is tender and precious. Suffering cuts to the quick of aliveness. Pain realigns us with the present moment and brings us into a mindful awareness of the labored expansion of life's gift called — now. Whether it be physical or emotional, pain is usually a messenger trying to help us. Pain is a breach in the walls of decline and stagnation. Pain is the ultimate proof of life. We are all aching for something, even if only for some relief and a little peace. But remember when you are aching to feel alive, that you are aching only because you are alive! Lifetimes are lost in unnoticed moments, but pain forces us to notice. Because of pain you feel more and so you live more. Every beautiful thing in the world is rooted in some kind of pain. Pain is the clarion of aliveness trumpeting that you are living in the marvelous tender cause of life! Your burdens and pains will only be lightened by living ever so fully. If you want relief from pain just strive to touch more of every part of life. Live so fully and so brilliantly that your pain diminishes in your aliveness. Day by day, as you live more, you will become greater than your pain. May you receive the wisdom of your wounds and may you live your life even larger than your pain.

"Only through recognising and accepting our inner wounds can we find true healing."
Lisa Tenzin-Dolma

Don't be afraid of your own emotions or sharing your feelings

Many people are terrified of emotions and real communications. People are even afraid of their own feelings. Don't be made to feel ashamed of feeling, or of connecting deeply with others, or in being unabashedly you. Don't be afraid to express your truth. Open yourself to feeling everything! Living without feeling is no different than not living at all. If you repress your emotions your will only bring future suffering to yourself — feel whatever it is you're experiencing! Don't miss out on feeling the life you are living.

It's not wrong to be upset. It's not wrong to cry. It's not wrong to want attention. It's not even wrong to scream or throw a fit. What is wrong is to keep it all inside. What is wrong is to blame and punish yourself for simply being human. What is wrong is to never be heard and to be alone in your pain. Share it. Let it out. Tears are good. What flows is alive. Crying is like a thundershower for the soul. The air feels so wonderful after the rain. Don't think too much. Breathe. Don't be harsh or demanding on yourself. Just experience your feelings and know that your tears are announcing change in your life. Change is coming; like a summer rain — to wash away your pain. Have faith that things are getting better.

"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor."
Thich Nhat Hanh

What frustrates you right now will be over one day, and, believe it or not, you will miss something about it. So look at your challenges with a degree of appreciation. This may be where you are now, but not tomorrow, and when that time comes you will realize that it all had great purpose in your life.

You were always stronger than your fear and pain

There is an intelligent healing process inside of you that knows how to absorb pain and transform it into wisdom. But to heal, you have to give yourself to the pain. You cannot avoid facing yourself your whole life. If you avoid your truthful emotions and pain you will implode and contract into a diminished and unfeeling state. Growth and empowerment require reflection and facing the frightening, ugly, hard and unbearable reality. People are often clever masters at fooling themselves and not seeing the obvious right in front of them. One of the fastest ways to move through your pain is to get a grip on reality. Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward — get real with yourself!

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
Haruki Murakami

Crisis is what suppressed pain looks like; it always comes to the surface. It shakes you into reflection and healing. When you are avoiding your pain you are really only avoiding your growth. Get up in your pain's face — eyeball to eyeball — and say, "I'm not afraid of you!" The biggest liar you will ever meet is yourself. It is amazing the lies we tell ourselves because of fear. Stop your lying-mind dead in its tracks; no more running in frantic circles of nonsensical denial. No more blaming. No more escapism. No more neglecting. No more dodging and running. Suck it up. Swallow it. The only end to your pain is through fully consuming it and digesting it; otherwise it will consume you. When you face your fears in the light of openness and honesty, they will vanish. We carry many of these dark fears inside of us; frightening forms of mental obstacles that cast shadows on every beautiful possibility.

"The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear."
Aung San Suu Kyi

It is tragic the way fearful people put all of their fears and insecurities into others; the way they strangle their dreams — often in the name of love. Some people run from pain their whole lives, and what pain they do not digest they inflict upon others. You can't run from your pain forever. Avoiding pain causes endless suffering for you and others. Avoiding pain is really selfishness. When you face your pain, you will discover you were always stronger than your pain. Your pain was always a fraud; appearing inescapable, insurmountable and sometimes even as a friend. The time has come to say goodbye to the afflictions you have been carrying, nurturing, protecting and empowering. When you truly face your pain you will only see yourself. Your fear was always you. Fear is a prison where you are the jailer. Free yourself! Anything you want is just beyond your fear. Your healing hour arrives the moment you decide to live fully and powerfully. That moment is now.

Your pain is a divine rite of passage

Your pain is challenging you. Rise up from your sadness, frustration and low spirits, and allow the privilege of life's challenges to be your guiding companion. We are all just humble students of the world. What lesson does this painful majesty of life have for you today? The teacher can only provide the lessons, but the student ultimately decides what to learn. Life is a procession of painful lessons, and how precious those lessons are; so precious that we rejoice in the bitter-sweet gift of life. If you learn to look at the worldly madness through spiritual eyes, you will begin to see divine balance and sanity. Your suffering is not senseless. Your suffering is here to help you unfold and to awaken into compassion, love and strength. Your entire life has unfolded for your heart's ascension to love. Are you willing to accept its challenge?

Crossing the Rubicon of absolute pain is the only journey of purpose and meaning in life. Without your pain you are nothing but a spiritual embryo. Your pain offers you, the student, a choice of how you will receive the lesson. You can choose to let the pain harden your heart even more and close you off to the blessings of life. Or, you can allow the hammer of pain to split open the stone armor of your hardness; exposing the tenderness and beauty of your sweet spirit and sacred heart. Your pain is a divine rite of passage through which you will be reborn as a being of strength, wisdom and purpose. With your new eyes, you will see yourself and the world differently. With your new eyes, first look deeply at yourself, and see in yourself the divine architect's incomprehensible art! Your first realization will be that you are beautiful!

"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace."
Chuck Palahniuk

Through spiritual maturity you will see new ways to avoid unnecessary suffering; wiser ways to endure unavoidable hardships with grace, and opportunities to turn your pain into lessons of service and healing for others. Your hard journey has had a great purpose! Your pain was always a part of a plan to open your heart to love. Have faith. A miracle is happening in your life; the miracle of pain is transforming you to your highest self.

"Pause and remember— The spiritual path is not always going to be smooth and easy. There are going to be difficult situations, hardships, losses and lessons. Don't lose faith along the way. You are exactly where you need to be."
Jenni Young McGill

You have the heart of a warrior, and you were designed to survive!

In your life, you may at times feel you have worked so hard, and you have done every single thing you could in your power to earn your way and be a good person. You have given and given and given — trying never to keep a score or be a burden to others. You tried so hard to be selfless and tried to believe that good people are rewarded in the end. You turned your doubts into faith and your anger into love after endless failures and betrayals. You pressed forward with positivity. But, maybe things have not turned out the way you had hoped yet, and you have found yourself in a low place. You looked around and said, "I have helped people, who will help me? I have been so good." In these moments, it is tempting to ask, "where is my break; what about karma or God — does anyone care? Is everything in life for nothing? Is any of it worth it?" It is so easy to want to give up in times of failure and disappointment in what seems like an endless struggle. We can become depressed and dis-couraged, which means we have lost our courage.

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."
Maya Angelou

In painful moments of dire discouragement, please know that your soul has a resiliency and a capacity to endure suffering that is beyond anything you can imagine. Even the softest and sweetest heart was made by design for extreme battle. Make no mistake about it, no matter how kind, meek, humble and soft your giving heart is — you are a warrior! Your strength is beyond your own imagination. The further you are challenged and threatened, the more your warrior heart will emerge. When you are backed into a corner, or someone you love is suffering, or you are hanging by your fingernails over the edge of ruin with the cold, hungry abyss peering into your soul — the super-human occurs. Billions of years of dormant survival intelligence will erupt from every pore. You don't have to be strong, because the strength is in you; it's in your DNA, in your soul and your essence. You would not believe what skill, power and ability your total intelligence possesses until you are in desperate need. So, do not despair. Have faith. It is going to work out, and you will be delivered. You have the heart of a warrior, and you were designed to survive!

"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."
Lucille Ball

The bigger the mistake, the bigger the opportunity

Do not wallow in your mistakes. Do not grovel and prostrate yourself in hopes of forgiveness. We all make mistakes. Apologize and move forward. Do not replay the event in your head. Do not continue to beat yourself up. Do not profusely explain, defend yourself, make excuses or blame. After you apologize, do no more explaining; never explain more than once — ever. When you keep explaining and rehashing you just keep your mistake alive. Learn your lesson and adjust your behavior and move forward. Let people see you overcoming your mistakes with integrity. Most mistakes that seem huge in the heat of the moment are quickly forgotten. We often even further bond with others through surviving our mistakes together. Big mistakes are an outstanding opportunity to showcase your ability to recover and have grace under pressure. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the opportunity. This is how you turn it all around.

"Pause and remember— The past is over and it cannot be changed, fixed or undone by continuing to think about it. The quicker we can get over our mistakes, understand the lessons and move forward, the healthier we become to ourselves and everyone around us!"
Jenni Young McGill

The tides of change have great purpose in our lives

There is an ebb and flow to life. People and situations wash upon the shores of our lives. The mighty pressures of the water gently sculpt and shape us. The tides of change have great purpose in our lives. When it is time, the waters recede and sometimes carry things away; even things we love. The tides, while powerful, can move in our lives so gently, if we allow. If you resist the awesome tidal forces of life, you are going to hurt yourself. There are some things, people and experiences you cannot have or change. When the waters of life move upon you; do not struggle — give in and let go. Be still and let the waters flow around you. Let the ancient precession of tides cut a beautiful shoreline in your heart.

Life wears you down
  each day, little by little.
Like sandcastles, grain by grain
  back to the sea, breath by breath.
Back to the soil, the blood recedes,
  to the unknown, from the unknown.
Hands that create,
  and then wash away…

"When a big change occurs in your life it forces you to change direction. Sometimes the new path may not be easy, but you can be absolutely certain that there is magnificence for you on the new path. You can be absolutely certain that the new path contains things that you could not have experienced otherwise. When we look back at a negative event that occurred in the past, we often see how in fact it transformed our life. We see how that event directed us toward a life that we would not change for anything."
Rhonda Byrne

The truth can do years of work in seconds

If your situation seems impossible, at least look it straight in the eye, because having a painful truth is better than a pleasant lie. Pleasant lies just perpetuate your problems. People tend to think they want success, progress, happiness, and peace more than anything, but really deep down, people want the truth. People have given up everything and have even died for the truth. But the truth only comes if you are willing to face some very unpleasant things about yourself. You have to dig deep inside of yourself and have a look at all of your old resentments, judgments, insecurities and fears. All of these ugly, hidden things are how we lie to ourselves. We lie about how tomorrow will be no different, and how we can't, and how they don't like us, how we aren't worthy and how we're finished and it's impossible. And then there is the worst lie of all — that we are unlovable. This is how a person who is paralyzed by their own lies thinks.

"It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates."
Nisargadatta Maharaj

The truth can set you free, but when it comes, it's more like a wrecking-ball than a holy beam of illumination. Truth can be terrifying. If you're brave enough to follow truth it will shatter you and your illusions at the same time. If you are not taking proper care of yourself, you need to be broken, because you are probably set in your ways like concrete. Don't live a lie anymore. Come clean. Let it out. The truth can do years of work in seconds. Once you let the truth loose it is like setting a fire that you can't stop. Let the fires of truth burn away your false life and all of your excuses, fears, blaming, doubts and illusions of insignificance. Accept that through truth — tomorrow will most certainly be different! Accept that you can and will do what you must do to take good care of yourself. Accept that there are people who will like you for who you really are. Accept that you are not finished, and a new and better life is just beginning. All of this is possible through accepting the truth that you are worthy of good things, and you are a deserving and beautiful person.

"Pause and remember— You alone are responsible for taking an interest in your own growth. Understanding your deepest fears and pain is what will move you forward. If you can do this, you will be rewarded with not only a deeper connection with yourself, but also with others."
Jenni Young McGill

Disappointment is coming, for sure!

Disappointment is coming, for sure! People are going to hurt you in ways you would never have believed even possible. You are going to be let-down and deeply betrayed. And there is only one thing to do when you are tragically let down — let-go. No matter how wrong they were, holding on will not make it right, it will only eat you alive over time. You are worthy of not reacting negatively to negativity. Don't let them kill you twice. Letting go is the only way. Quit hanging on to the past; fantasizing, dreaming, wishing and replaying it. You can't change it. You just haven't realized it yet, but you have moved on. You are different now; not of the past, but of now — a different person. You don't need whatever the past had — it's gone. Your life is here today. Your greatest moments are ahead of you and are right where you are now, so seize them while you can, before it is too late. Quit the endless worrying about the future. The way you get through life is one day at a time; even one hour at a time or one moment at a time. Start by finding, creating or noticing one good moment. Even in the darkest of times, if you look, you will find one. Being more positive just takes practice. You can retrain your mind to see the best possibilities in everything. A good moment in a bad day counts. Begin with this moment, and make it count.

No one wants to suffer. No one wants to be lonely. No one wants to live in fear. No one wants to lose everything. No one wants their heart ripped to shreds. No one want to be sick. And, no one wants to die. But these things happen in life. So the least we can do is be there for others, as we would like others to be there for us. Supporting others through their trials in life is a wonderful way to refocus on something positive amidst our own struggles. When we are feeling low we can focus on one simple thing each day to get us through the moment: one beautiful memory, one sunset; noticing one precious living thing in nature, and relishing in our magnificent connection to it, and all that is life. The pain only diminishes when it is engulfed by our gratitude and our mindful awareness of the rare gift and tragic shortness of life. The boundary of our abundance is only one of non-acknowledgement, and you rush past those false boundaries by saying yes to love. Remember. You don't experience life; you only experience your feelings. When you choose to feel differently, you choose to live differently. You can change your life one feeling at a time.

"Pause and remember— Continuing to place blame and judgment on past and present circumstances is not going to change your life. You must accept the cards that you have been dealt and devise a strategic plan to make real and lasting change in your life. No matter where you presently are in life, you can achieve your dreams if you are willing to alter your thoughts, words, and actions."
Jenni Young McGill

Handling the moments of profound loss and pain

No matter how evolved we think we are, when we are caught up in a terrible tragedy we don't just sit around wondering what lessons we can learn from it — we are just simply holding on for dear life, hoping we can survive. Tragedy arrives in a blur, often accompanied by hopelessness, feigned calm and a fog-like numbness that feels like a surreal dream. The last thing we may need when in moments of tremendous trial is empty reassurances that everything will be ok. Often, it most certainly will not be ok. What it will likely be though is different, and you will be different too. It's better to just accept that things aren't ever going to be the same again. As for all the lessons, sometimes we need a break from learning lessons. Sometimes we just need time and space alone; we can always learn later. In the crossroads of a painful crisis what we always need is a moment to breathe, pray and accept our fate with dignity. This is how we steady ourselves against the great trials of life; quietly, not always bravely, but deep down in solitude, where we find our strength to survive.

"When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways — either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.
Dalai Lama XIV

Where do we look for the strength to survive in moments of such profound loss and pain? I have been so low before that all I could do is get through one breath and one heartbeat at a time. Sometimes all we have left is to try to make it breath by breath. Have you been there in that hazy space; disoriented — a hum-like ringing in the ears from an explosion of trauma or bad news? Your disbelief simply will not make it go away. In moments like this everything seems like it is in slow motion; hope is like a tiny speck at the end of a narrow dark tunnel. Sometimes we feel like we are beyond any conceivable positive thought, and we just want it all to end. Everyone eventually tries to rally — at least once. We try to willpower ourselves forward; to pick ourselves up, but sometimes we just fall hard all over again. Sometimes we cry a river of tears and sometimes our suffering is in profound silence. You feel like you will choke on the lump in your throat; your grief impossible to swallow. You try to put yourself back together, to compose yourself. Your moments of calm composure rattle and shake as the rivets in your mask burst into a falling-apart that blurs the lines between weeping and laughter. This is when you feel like you are losing your mind. Sometimes in the middle of a break-down you might involuntarily scream and then go silent; like an emotional gasp. But you can't hold your breath forever. You can't hold it in forever. The pain is going to have its way with you; it's going to work through you. There may be no comfort. There may be no answers. There may be no reason, logic or justice. Sometimes it will never be the way it was ever again. Sometimes it is a point of no return for who you were and what you had. Sometimes there is only pain. But, no matter how bad things get; no matter how painfully our hearts break and ache, it is still the sweet agony of life, and we must embrace it all. Every life is a harrowing story wrought with every emotion — good and bad — but these are the emotions that make life the bitter-sweet journey that we all treasure. It will feel impossible; like you are dying inside — this is your soul crying out for life. It may take everything you have; every ounce of will and strength. You will lose a part of yourself trying to save something essential and innocent. And when you have given everything, you will recover, and you will be set free, and you will discover there was even more in you than you ever knew.

"Pause and remember— Some of the most devastating events in our life can put us in direct alignment with our destiny, but we first have to move past the lessons to see our path."
Jenni Young McGill

Every one of us must eventually face the storm

The storm is out there, and every one of us must eventually face it. When the storm comes, pray that it will shake you to your roots and break you wide open. Being broken open by the storm is your only hope. When you are broken open, you have a chance to discover for the first time what is truly inside you. Some people never get to see what is inside them; what beauty, what strength, what truth and love. They were never broken open by the storm. So, don't run from your pain — run into your pain. Let life's storm shatter you.

The beauty of being shattered is how the shards become our character and our marks of distinction. This is how we are refined by our pain. When the storm rips you to pieces, you get to decide how to put yourself back together again. The storm gives us the gift of our defining choices. You will be a different person after the storm, because the storm will heal you from your perfection. People who stay perfect and unblemished never really get to live fully or deeply. You will not be the same after the storms of life; you will be stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before!

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."
Rabindranath Tagore

You see, it is our pain that connects us to all of the most beautiful parts of life. Love is such a marvelous pain. Birth, death, and suffering show us the essence of life and teach us so perfectly what is most important and precious. We are all made complete by our pain. When the storm of life comes howling and raging outside your window; when you look that tempest in the eye, there will be a quickening in your instincts. In that moment, you will burn with aliveness. Your total intelligence knows exactly what to do, because you were made to weather the storms of life. You will survive, and both you and the world will be transformed.

"Pause and remember— You will make it to the other side of this hardship. One day you will look back with wiser eyes, understanding and gratitude. Hang in there!"
Jenni Young McGill

People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot

There are ways to live life that some people are not even aware exists. People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot. They truly believe that life is a certain way when it actually isn't. It is like a sad inside joke that everyone is aware of, but them. They think they have it all figured out. They really believe they are "good" people. They do everything right — on the surface. They are responsible, friendly, pay their bills and work hard. They put food on the table for their families. They have good credit scores, don't speed and keep a clean house. But something is missing. It is so "missing" they don't even know it's missing. This is the calamity of a conformed life, devoid of self-inquiry and introspection.

"I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears."
C.G. Jung

Some people have been cut off from their own self-knowledge and critical thinking abilities, but even worse, they are disconnected from the very essence of life. They are missing the unseen essential. Some would say what they are missing is God, spirituality, passion, or a basic value for life itself. They are not in touch with universal gratitude; they do not glow with wonderment or see their life as a treasured gift. They have a distorted view of the world and a shallow relationship with themselves and others. But, they carry assumptions that they have it all "figured out" and that people who do not think like them are wrong, immoral or beneath them. They are cocooned by their comfort of assumptions in a type of developmental stasis. They exist in an obedient, placated "status quo" or autopilot mode of existence — a form of unconsciousness, like a real-life zombie. Unconscious people are spiritually stunted, effectively encasing their unique brilliance in a psychological tumor. Such is the bigot, the misogynist, the xenophobe, the common corporate drone, the condescending academic elitist, the zealot nationalist whose extreme patriotism includes a feeling of superiority over other countries, and the modern-day vapid college graduate, who has only been readied for obedient submission to a life of mediocrity and corporate servitude. But among these unawakened souls are also regular people; not bad people, just normal everyday people in our lives, even people who we love. Maybe we want to know them more deeply, but they are unaware and uninterested in those depths. Maybe we want to go with them on a spiritual journey of great intimacy, but they are not ready for that journey, and perhaps they never will be.

Some people cannot love you the way you want to be loved because they are emotionally and spiritually frozen. They recoil from or avoid affection. You will never meet a deep penetrating gaze from their shallow eyes; only a surface glance. They will touch your hand with their hand, but never with their heart. They will serve your body but not your soul. They can only connect with you through utility, but never passion. If you need cupcakes or a jar opened, they are perfect; if you need compassion or wisdom, you are all alone. They are only a person as society made them, not as nature intended them. They live life so perfectly but know nothing of life at all. They did everything they were told to be a good person but are hardly a person at all. They are empty. They are dead inside. They will break your heart if you let them. They are usually very judgmental. They see themselves as nice but are often mean and cold. They feel themselves superior. They think everything they do is exactly the way it is supposed to be done. They are repeaters. They lack original thought. If you challenge their slumber with awakened thoughts, they will panic and flee. They will make you feel crazy because they only believe what the masses believe. They are the embodiment of the masses because they have not become their own individual person. Individuation is an attainment of spiritual maturity — frighteningly seldom attained in today's world. You cannot change these people. They are trapped inside of themselves; stunted. You will waste your whole life waiting for them to wake-up to the treasure of what you have to offer. You cannot snap them out of their sleep. Often, only a tragic event will possibly awaken them. Sometimes they awaken during a painful life transition. Some awaken on their deathbeds. Some sadly never awaken to their deeper potential for self-knowledge, intimacy, expressions of feeling and knowing love. Maybe you know someone like this. Or, maybe it's you. Maybe you're dead inside and don't even know it.

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75."
Benjamin Franklin

Find good mentors, advisors and role models

Be careful where you get your information. A lot of people who talk about success aren't very successful. A lot of people who teach about business aren't very accomplished at business. There are endless social media experts who haven't accomplished anything with social media. Too many people out there are giving other people poor information; some call that the blind leading the blind, and it can not only be immoral, but it can even be dangerous. If someone is telling you how to be good to yourself — it is reasonable to have a close look at them and see if they are good to themselves. People who talk a lot about compassion often have no compassion for themselves. They want to help everyone, but their own life is a wreck. They go from one failed "uplifting" enterprise to another, but the wheels are falling-off their car, their body is out of whack and their finances are out of order, yet somehow, there they are, "advising people." They want to help everyone when they can't even help themselves. What they really need to do is take care of their own business. The last thing any of us need is ill advice from someone fully out of control in their own life. So before you take that advice that is being offered, take a good look at who is delivering it. Carefully study their energy, their lifestyle, their health and their relationships, and if they are living the life they talk — then, and only then, should you listen.

One of the ways to love yourself is to make an effort to find good information for yourself. Whether it is love, finances, goal reaching or overcoming our personal struggles — good advice can save us untold pain and suffering. One of the biggest problems people have in life is seldom getting any really good advice from qualified people. Too often, even as children, we receive poor advice for living life, or even none at all. We are also not taught how to pick good mentors. As powerful as a mentor or role model can be, they can be equally destructive if they are misinformed. The lesson here is to learn how to pick and choose your advice from people who have demonstrated they know how to make their type of advice actually work in the real world. If you want better relationships — take advice from those who have good relationships. If you want more money, take financial advice from those who have been successful financially and who also share your values. If you want to be healthy, then learn from those who have been able to cultivate and maintain good health in their own lives. If someone has failed over and over, of course, you can listen and learn from their lessons, but they only have half of the story. The best lessons in success come from successful people, who more often than not have both failed and succeeded. A person who has both failed and succeeded likely has the whole story and can help you with the steps to move forward. You can listen and learn from everyone, but just as there are different levels of advice, there are different levels of listening. Sure, you can learn from someone who has only failed — who has fallen and messed-up, but you can learn even more from someone who has gotten back up and recovered. Find good mentors, advisors and role models for yourself and listen and learn from them. You will be amazed how your life can change with good advice on your side.

"Pause and remember— One of the quickest ways to move forward in life is to surround yourself with mentors and positive people who understand your journey and who live the type of successful life that appeals to you. If you do not have positive role models now, seek them out, and don't be bashful to step outside of your comfort zone to find them. Most successful people are honored by the opportunity to share their wisdom with an eager student wishing to get ahead in life."
Jenni Young McGill

You are moving forward one way or another

"Some things in life are out of your control. You can make it a party or a tragedy."
Nora Roberts

Throughout the ages, many wise people have said this same thing in differing ways, that you need to accept your experiences, both the good and bad, and move forward. The truth is you don't need to choose to accept anything because you don't have a choice. You are moving forward one way or another. This life is like a roller-coaster; once you are strapped-in and the ride has started, you aren't getting off. Now you can wail and thrash about in a panic, which is no fun at all, or you can just put your hands in the air and give-in to what will surely be a ride of surprising turns, twists, climbs and falls. Just remember how lucky you are to have a ticket and try to enjoy the ride.

"Pause and remember— If you are reading this you are blessed to be alive and today is a gift. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Don't hesitate to forgive, hug and love those dear to you!"
Jenni Young McGill

You are being guided when you need it most

What does it even mean when people tell us that we are powerful? We certainly don't feel powerful at times. Being powerful means shifting our minds away from our troubles and into solution-thinking. You can access amazing inner-strengths by focusing on solutions rather than problems. But people often only focus and meditate on their problems, fears, worries and anxieties; playing out endless negative scenarios in their minds. This effectively disables their mind's innately brilliant problem-solving ability. If you relax your mind, it can begin working for you. Your total intelligence knows how to accomplish astounding feats. You just need a clear objective. Get clear. You will surprise yourself! The answer to your problems is to move forward and believe in yourself, which can seem like a risk, but it's not — it's trust. Stretching, reaching and fully embracing your problems head-on will activate your untapped abilities. You would not believe what skill, power and ability your total intelligence possesses until you lose your balance. So stretch! Reach for it. Like falling down stairs, where your inner-genius takes over, and you somehow impossibly catch your balance — your instincts are ready to serve you. But you have to put yourself at risk to activate your instinctual genius.

If your options are closing-in around you and you feel panicked, scared and helpless, this is the time for action. Your greatest moments of challenge are a call to defy your timid habits of safety and to rush out into life. This is the time to go out, socialize, meet new people, be around friends and embrace living. When you feel the crushing pressure, and you feel paralyzed, don't lay in bed and cover your head with the blanket. This is the time to open your windows, let the sunshine in and breathe the fresh air. Do something profoundly irresponsible like forgetting about your problems for a while: go to a movie, go for a walk, create some art or spend time with a sweet friend. Act as though everything will be perfectly fine — because it will. Life has you and it's not letting you go. Only the frantic stress of fear can harm you. Your calm and centered self knows exactly what to do. In the moments of your deepest need, despair, and desperation, what you need more than any other thing, is calm and faith. Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax. Have faith in your abilities and trust yourself. You are being guided when you need it most — if you will just listen.

"Pause and remember— If you just keep moving forward, everything you need will show up for you at the perfect time."
Jenni Young McGill

Faith is your only hope for deliverance

There is nothing worse than fear. Fear is worse than cancer, fear is worse than torture, fear is worse than betrayal and fear is even worse than death. Even death itself is made wretched by terror and fear. Fear paralyzes your total being. Imagine a man walking in the woods late at night beginning to panic. He is hyperventilating, spinning-around looking in every direction. He cannot hear what is near him for his own breathing. His heart is racing. He is discombobulated and walking in circles. Predators from afar detect his fear and move-in on him; he is bringing about his own reality. This is how many people move through life. They struggle in fear and alert every evil to come for a visit. Everything in life will attack you if it senses your fear; animals and people — but faithful confidence wards off all manner of evil.

Now imagine a man lost in the woods who is composed and confident. He accepts he is lost but trusts and leans on his instincts. He is not panicked. His hearing is acute. He is steady and thoughtful. His mind and senses are unclouded and delivering life-saving information. He walks straight and devises plans and systems to stay on course. What is the difference between the fearful person and the fearless person? One has delivered himself to destruction and one to salvation. The fearful person wilts and submits to what they call fate, while the fearless negotiates with fate for a compromise. The fearful have lost faith while the fearless allow faith to lead the way. You have to have faith if you want to make it out of the woods. Faith is your only hope for deliverance. Faith is your North Star. Fear is always death. Faith is life. Have faith and your victory is assured.

"Pause and remember— Nothing lasts forever. Better days are coming, but they will come faster with faith."
Jenni Young McGill

A way is being prepared for you

There are times in our lives when we finally get out of the funk and fog of our past just far enough, that a clearing starts to take place in our minds. Maybe we begin to believe we can and should do something we have wanted to do for a very long time, where the impossible starts to look possible. It could be going back to school or turning a hobby into a business. Perhaps we want to leave a relationship that has lingered on too long and is hurting everyone. It could be a risky career change or leaving your town to live a new adventure somewhere else that is calling to you. It could be overcoming an addiction, asking forgiveness or rekindling a broken relationship. When the clearing starts to happen, and we begin to see the path of possibility in ourselves widening, we often need help to make the journey. Maybe we need a little extra money or a place to stay where we are safe. Perhaps we need some tools, favors or just some moral support and encouragement. In moments like these, we may turn to our friends and family, only to discover that the community of people who have known us the longest can't see the same vision for our future as we do. The clearing is often only happening for us, and those who love us most cannot see or believe in our nascent visions, because they can only see yesterday. But if you have a deep desire to move forward, a way is being prepared for you.

When you are at the brink of destruction; at your most vulnerable and desperate hour and everyone has given-up on you, this is when the stranger appears. The stranger arrives when your heart is broken open, ready and believing. The stranger's eye is clear and not stained with your past mistakes. They are the ones who will leave you that hundred dollar tip or unexpectedly offer you a new opportunity. They are the ones who will stop and change your tire on the freeway, or give you a place to stay for a while. She is the one who compassionately looked you in the eye in the store when your abusive partner was yelling at you. Like an angel, he came in at the last moment and gave you the support or the advice you needed. They made the call to a friend and put themselves at risk to open an essential door for you because they saw something amazing in you. The stranger is the one who gave you something that was a much bigger personal sacrifice than you ever knew, because she did it with humility, grace, and with no expectation. The stranger is the one who believed in you when no one else would. The stranger uplifted you with words of hope and optimism when you were at your lowest. The stranger silently suffered to give you room to recover and to try again. The stranger meets you halfway on a bridge called faith. The stranger is coming to make someone's dreams come true. The stranger's hand is appearing out of nowhere and rescuing someone just before they slip over the edge. The stranger's appearance is in perfect time and is a miracle. The stranger could be a real life angel. Have faith and courage, and — BE THE STRANGER.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

Empowerment is often little more than noticing what was once unnoticed

Being open-minded is critical for your growth. If you cannot be open-minded, then you do not possess your ideas, your ideas possess you. Opening yourself to the possibility that you are wrong may make you feel vulnerable, but it is actually empowering, because this is how we learn. When you are not willing to be challenged, disturbed or offended, you are not willing to explore your weaknesses or ever claim the potential of greater strengths. Challenge yourself. Be defiant; defy yourself. Challenge authority; the authority of your own rational convictions! Think back to how many times you absolutely knew you were right about something or someone, only to find out later in life you had been absolutely wrong. This is a common pattern that repeats itself, and in the moment, it is nearly impossible to detect that it is happening. This is the problem with being short-sighted; it is hard to see. We all do this constantly! This is why it is so important to make a conscious and continual effort to be open-minded. Next time you are positively and absolutely sure, attempt the practice of releasing surety and opening yourself to the possibility that you are wrong, or that you do not understand the full picture. Open yourself to the possibility that you and your opponent are both right according to your own experiences and worldviews. Take a hard stance for broadness and understanding.

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?"

Moments of challenge are the greatest blessings in your life; they are your chance for rapid expanding and deepening of your understanding. Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth. The greater the discomfort, the greater the potential for learning. The more something upsets you, the more it is meant for you. When it no longer upsets you, it is no longer needed because the lesson is complete. When turmoil and upset transcend to clarity and resolve, your suffering and the suffering of others take on purpose beyond what seems like senseless pain. Every tragedy has a lesson equal in significance to its heartbreak. How you channel your justifiable upset — positively or negatively — determines the degree to which you waste your life force or mount your verve into worthy endeavor. And then there is useless common drama, stubbornness, and ignorance. Most of the petty upset we experience is unnecessary reactivity that can and should be tamed. Petty upset is a sign of a crude and unrefined personality, intellect, and spirituality. Petty upset is a sloppy waste of emotional energy; it is toxic and is often an inner-obstacle to seeing reality clearly. Most inner-obstacles are not overcome because they are seen as natural, ordinary and justifiable. You have to understand your inner-obstacles for the inhibiting barriers they truly are in order to move beyond them. The time to evolve and question your emotions is when you are feeling challenged. You cannot practice being open in a moment of no challenge. Don't be afraid of changing your mind.

"When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else."
Joseph Campbell

Changing your mind can move you into another dimension. Passages can materialize exposing a hidden world that was there all along. But there is no passage for a closed mind and heart. The expansion of your world, and in fact, your reality — expands and contracts with the arch of your mind and heart. A broad mind and heart inherits a broad and wonderful world; a narrow mind and heart suffocates in the tiny cage of their making. Empowerment is often little more than noticing what was once unnoticed and finding what was always there.

"Pause and remember— When you can allow yourself to let go of your firm understandings and truths, you are opening yourself to a vastly larger field of possibilities. Options that once seemed small and impossible from your previous viewpoint, are miraculously transformed into a new landscape of choices by opening your mind."
Jenni Young McGill

Beyond right and wrong to the genesis of new understandings

When you are embroiled in conflict, disagreement or challenging and painful circumstances, remember that this is the time to practice openness. There is seldom a clear solution to complex problems, and sometimes the best way to find a solution is to not look for it. Instead of looking for a solution, try to expand widely in both openness and communications. Don't listen to critics who may say your ideas are useless because they happen to presently be unaccompanied with clear solution. It is also unnecessary that everyone be of the same opinion, so do not listen to critics who say your opinions are invalid because they are inconsistent or incomplete. And don't shut others out because they have unfamiliar ideas and ways. What is essential is to continue communicating and the right ideas will emerge through the process of dialogue. This is how ideas work, and open-minded critical thinkers should always be willing to engage in dialogue, despite any differences of opinion.

Rather than focusing on right and wrong, try to think in terms of creating something new from a pollination of ideas. Consider each mind as a flower, which goes through its own cycles of growth, budding, bloom and decay. Somewhere along the path, the cerebral flower of the mind comes into full bloom, and through dialogue with others a wondrous process of cross-pollination with other mind-flowers can begin. Before you know it, new flowers with new colors, patterns, and shapes begin to emerge everywhere; idea-flowers that have never existed before, not even in our wildest imagination. This process exposes the genius of natural designs and laws which are far beyond our weak intellect's comprehension. What is essential is that we come together as a community and communicate, and do so as respectfully as possible. The change will emerge on its own, and will carry the unique imprints of each participant forward into the mysterious creation of that which is beyond imagination — a new world.

The world is full of beautiful people; unique and precious, each of us are fine, worthy and wondrous beings. Every person has something meaningful to say in the conversation of life. Let people speak. Let people disagree. Communicate. Listen. Listening is the way. Listening is the beginning of all progress. Have high-respect, if not for your opponent, then for your own comportment and conduct as a good listener. And don't make the mistake of thinking that you have to agree with people and their beliefs to defend them from injustice. If you can't respect someone you disagree with, then you don't even know what respect means. As free as you allow others to be, such freedom you create for yourself. We each have a miraculous capacity within our mind to evolve and to learn new ways of understanding. The great procession of life's challenges and conflicts ever advance, and every difficult moment is a new opportunity for each of us to showcase the evolved state of humanity we all wish to see in the world. In each relationship, you have the chance to cultivate and inspire what you wish to receive. Every relationship contains at least a partial reflection of what we are projecting, which is returning to us. It is very empowering to know that some of what we see in others, is ourselves. Give the best of yourself. Be open. Be respectful. Listen. This is the way to understanding, and this is the way to be heard. One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

Letting Go & Healing

All beautiful things carry distinctions of imperfection

We are all damaged. We have all been hurt. We have all had to learn painful lessons. We are all recovering from some mistake, loss, betrayal, abuse, injustice or misfortune. All of life is a process of recovery that never ends. We each must find ways to accept and move through the pain and to pick ourselves back up. For each pang of grief, depression, doubt or despair there is an inverse toward renewal that will come to you in time. Each tragedy is an announcement that some good will indeed eventually come. Be patient with yourself.

"The wound is the place where the light enters you."

Don't deny yourself of your own experiences, no matter how tragic or painful they were. They belong to you. When you cover-up your pain within yourself, you are suppressing your best chance to grow. Respect your pain and honor your pain. Those scars are your stripes and badges of honor. Those injuries are a part of your sacred story. Don't hide from your truth. It is in what you have hidden, that you will find what you have been so desperately seeking. In the heart of your deepest wounds and losses is the essence of your greatest hope. What you thought of as dreadful or shameful was always your greatest treasure, for it has cultivated your deepest understanding. Your pain has brought forth the pearl of your wisdom, compassion and strength. Be proud of who you are.

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968

All beautiful things carry distinctions of imperfection. Your wounds and imperfections are your beauty. Like Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold, we are all perfectly imperfect. Breakage and mending are honest parts of a past which should not be hidden. Your wounds and healing are a part of your history; a part of who you are. Every beautiful thing is damaged. You are that beauty; we all are.

Acceptance is the road to all change

People love to say everything will be okay, but sometimes it's just not true. Sometimes you hit a brick wall, a limit, a point of exhaustion, a boundary or your last straw. You may feel so strong and have every good intention, and yet you still get mercilessly beaten down and defeated. You just can't win them all, and when that time comes you will have to accept it. To not accept a defeat is to be defeated again and again without mercy. Sometimes mercy is simple acceptance. If you are exhausted or defeated, sometimes mercy is letting go.

Acceptance is the road to all change. If resisting has failed and frustrated you, try to accept what is. As hard as it is to believe, acceptance can open different opportunities for change than resistance. Struggling can sometimes swallow us even deeper into the quicksand of our problems. Difficult problems take time to resolve. The more frantically you pick at knots, the more entangled they can become. To untangle yourself try relaxing. Gently and patiently work with your difficulties and in time you will be freed from what now seems impossible. You are being called to heal yourself, not to agonize over your mistakes. Quit overthinking; this is what surrendering really means. Don't focus on your problems and don't obsess about "fixing" things. Avoid forcing "positive thinking." These thoughts can be psychological irritants. Just leave yourself alone! When you pick at things, they never heal. Simply relax and give yourself some time.

"Pause and remember— When you fight reality, you will lose every time. Once you accept the situation for what it truly is, not what you want it to be, you are then free to move forward."
Jenni Young McGill

Live in the present or die in your past; it's your choice

In your tragedies you will find your most magnificent opportunities for rebirth. It is through our pain that we emerge. Change comes from confrontation. You have to confront yourself or be confronted. The timidness some people call "humility" is often just a fear of confronting painful inner-truths, but honest and painful self-dialogue is essential for growth. Real spirituality is about getting the bullshit out of your life and getting real. Real humility knows how to slam a door closed and say no more. You can't be humble without self-love. Humility is not weak, powerless, faint, a pushover, a punching bag or an abuse magnet, because above all — humility cares.

Each person was meant to blossom into their own unique signature of greatness. Not being great is a form of extreme arrogance. If you were genuinely humble you would be great, because humility would never squander the magnificent gift of life and its fullest opportunities. It takes humility to accept responsibility for the mantle of greatness in your birthright and to become all you can be in life. Real humility is graceful power, not a mandate to be victimized and abused. If you are really humble you will put yourself first when you need to take care of you. A humble person would not put themselves last by not taking care of themselves, because that would be treating your sacred life poorly and carelessly — which is arrogant to life, not humble. Maybe you aren't humble at all; maybe you are self-suppressed and don't know it. Have you been playing the role of a victim long after your negative experience? If so, stop! Quit pretending to be a victim when you are really just a self-abusing, emotional-drama junkie. If you are guilty of this then stop-it now! It seems that some people are so addicted to their misery that they will destroy anything that gets in the way of their fix. Don't be that person. A person who is humble would never be abusive or selfish; so don't abuse yourself or selfishly withhold self-love or self-care. You are the first person you should treat with humility. Respect yourself; gather your strength and let it overflow to others.

When we are touched by humility we awaken to a moment of gratitude where we are free from our unpleasant pasts, and free from the torture of future expectations. Humility feels like a thankful-awareness of the present moment. Humility is patient because it is neither past nor forward seeking — it is content. Accept your present opportunities; the pleasant and the painful, which are both seeking to perfect you. Humility adds lessons to our pain and suffering, turning the seemingly senseless into meaning. You only have a chance right now, in this moment — but only through humility.

"Pause and remember— Life lessons were never meant to be a life sentence. Release yourself from prison. People who are successful in life, quickly accept their wrong doings; they go to therapy, do self-therapy, self-correct, or somehow actively learn the lesson so they can move forward. They do not wallow in guilt, pain and shame for years. Use your past as building blocks for a solid foundation in life, not to wall yourself into a life of misery."
Jenni Young McGill

Your past is like a bag of bricks; set it down and walk away

There is hardly anything more agonizing than holding-on to memories of our painful past experiences. We all make mistakes, but one of our biggest mistakes is continually revisiting the past. We have all suffered losses and pain, but no loss is greater than a life lost holding-on to a painful past. When we can't let go of the past, painful moments accumulate in us; metastasizing in our consciousness like an emotional cancer. Whether a painful wrong was done to us, or we have guilt for our own wrongdoings or mistakes, we must seek to make peace with these moments and move forward.

Have you ever felt like you are stuck on an emotional treadmill — reenacting past injuries and losses or visualizing potential future problems? How many times have you imagined going back to a painful moment in time and "doing things" differently? How many times have you rehearsed a trauma from the past, playing out imaginary solutions, only to re-live your painful emotions over and over again? While some people can adjust and move past their traumas, others do not respond as well. Under pressure, they may even inaccurately feel they are in danger again, even when they are safe. 1

"There is a place in everyone that yearns to love, that longs to be safe, that wants to treat others and ourselves with respect. Sometimes that place is buried underneath layers of fear, old wounds, cynicism, and pain that we have used to protect ourselves from injury."
Jack Kornfield

Self-doubts, feeling unworthy, rejection, and past injuries can churn in us with a low-boil of anxiety. Who would you be without your self-judgments and the baggage of your past mistakes in tow with you at all times? Learning your lesson from a mistake is healthy, but living forever in the emotions of your past mistakes is toxic and debilitating. The problem with traumatic, high-stress experiences is that they often create negative beliefs about oneself such as being powerless, unlovable, undeserving, unsafe and that things are unchangeable. Sometimes we resist letting go because we just can't see a way to move forward — believing things can never change for someone as unworthy as us. Be careful not to identify yourself with your past — you have a past, but it is not who you are today.

"When you don't flow freely with life in the present moment, it usually means that you're holding on to a past moment. It can be regret, sadness, hurt, fear, guilt, blame, anger, resentment, or sometimes even a desire for revenge. Each one of these states comes from a space of unforgiveness, a refusal to let go and come into the present moment. Only in the present moment can you create your future."
Louise Hay

Sometimes we have trouble letting go of the past so that we can forgive ourselves. Finding inner-resolution can be even more complicated when the past we are trying to free ourselves from involves having hurt someone. At times, all of us have been the wrongdoers or have somehow been neglectful, which comes with its own unique suffering. This seems to be the mandate of the conscience: when we harm others we harm ourselves; when we help others we help ourselves. When we have harmed someone or disappointed them, they may be angry with us and it's natural for us to feel anguish over this. But don't have unreasonable or excessive guilt. Guilt can interfere with our desires to move forward, to heal properly and to become a person who has the mental health and means of proper recompense.

Even if you were terrible and injured people, you need to move forward and take care of yourself first. You can't do the best work on yourself if you are under the constant scrutiny of negativity and hatred. An atmosphere of guilt, blame and judgement is not a safe emotional space that fosters recovery. Someone's forgiveness will not heal you; condemnation or absolution is their test, not yours. Choose healing and inner-peace over guilt. Set down the pain. Walk away and work on yourself first. When you are at peace, resolved and strong you can reach out and begin to make reparations. Paralyzing guilt will not serve anyone's interest. Start thinking of your guilt as being selfish, because guilt blocks opportunities from arriving for you, and for those you care about.

Oftentimes, our guilt over failing or disappointing someone exists only in our own minds. We torture ourselves senselessly over perceptions that others are judging us, when in reality they are not. Even worse, we brutalize ourselves over circumstances that are clearly beyond our control. Painful things happen in life. The fires of remorse, regret and guilt burn over us through our mourning, but only to make way for the new growth of life after our painful losses. Your suffering is there to inspect you and perfect you. We are made complete by our pain.

You have to make the decision to let go of the past if you want to move forward. Reliving your painful past will poison your heart and your tomorrow. If you look at today through the eyes of the past, you can never see what the present moment has to offer. Beating yourself up over every perceived mistake is the work of an internal abuser who must be restrained and reformed. The past is inaccessible. Almost all sadness comes from thinking about the past, and all worry from thinking about the future — present-mindedness is your only safe haven. Only in the present is your mind free to do what it does best — solve problems. The easiest way to leave the past behind is to remember that love does not live in the past, only memories — love lives in the present.

"Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now."
don Miguel Ruiz

Beneath your burdensome regrets and who you think you are through the lens of past mistakes, there is someone beautiful who wants to emerge. You are not your mistakes, and your mistakes are not you. You are so much more than your mistakes. Allow your truth to emerge. Your truth cannot emerge buried under a mountain of guilt and regret. Your past is like a bag of bricks; set it down and walk away. Quit collecting every painful word, memory, and mistake. Collect hope. Hope is lighter!

"Pause and remember— Stop mentally abusing yourself. Stop agonizing over your past mistakes and worrying about the future. Life is hard enough without the added fear, panic and anxiety. Your soul is crying out for love and encouragement. Take a moment to breathe deep, get present and find some compassion for yourself. Then, go out and treat yourself right; pamper yourself and take care of your needs. You are worth it!"
Jenni Young McGill

Forgiveness is about your peace of mind

Be selfish in your forgiving. Forgive for yourself and for the peace it will bring to your pain. Forgiveness has very little to do with the other person. Forgiveness is about your peace of mind. When you don't forgive, you are the one who suffers. When we refuse to forgive someone, we deeply jeopardize our own well-being. When we condemn others we condemn ourselves. When we judge and agonize over another's faults, we become attached to their imbalance and sickness. When we hold-on to someone's imperfections we become emotionally pair-bonded to their maladies. At a deeper level, when we constantly meditate on another's faults, it may be because we are neglecting our own unhealed wounds.

A good place to begin, is to forgive yourself for judging in the first place. Forgiveness is another way of saying, "I need to mind my own business." We all know we should not judge. We know judging others is usually unproductive — even when we are right. People are going to do bad things we don't like — even terribly hurtful things. If you try to hold people to your standard of conduct you will go mad with disappointment and grief. Forgiveness is not a magnanimous act of generosity and benevolence toward others. Forgiveness does not make you great, special or good. But forgiveness can help you to be sane. Through forgiveness you can be free of the tragedies and pain in other people's failures.

"The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire."
Gordon B. Hinckley

The best part, is when you do forgive, even selfishly, for yourself and your own sanity, and not because 'they' deserve it, something magical happens. You see, forgiveness, no matter how painful or difficult, is a gift. Forgiveness — is for giving. But the gift of forgiveness is a treasure that multiplies the more you try to spend it. Forgiveness blesses both the hand of the recipient and the giver. Forgiveness, no matter your motive, is a dynamic of mutual healing.

I promise you, that when you reach out to those you need to forgive, it is you that will be touched and healed. When you give others a new chance, a new chance is really being given to you. Let the power of forgiveness bless you and heal your agony and pain.

"When you release someone from a transgression, you're actually releasing yourself. Accept the apology you'll never receive."
Shawne Duperon

Forgiving another may be the ultimate act of self-love

They caused the first wound, but you are causing the rest; this is what not forgiving does. They got it started, but you keep it going. Forgive and let it go, or it will eat you alive. You think they made you feel this way, but when you won't forgive, you are the one inflicting the pain on yourself.

Whatever you do — don't wait to forgive someone until they apologize, ask for your forgiveness or even acknowledge they have harmed you. If you are waiting for someone to acknowledge they hurt you, you could be waiting forever and it puts them in the power position, where you need something from them in order to move forward in your life. Closure is an act of sanity you bring to the table of your own healing, it is not a handout your abuser holds over you that you need. You have the power within yourself to find closure and healing, but not through bitterness, wrath and smoldering resentment. Forgiveness originates with self-love. Forgiveness is always and absolutely for you. Forgiveness has nothing whatsoever to do with how wrong someone else was; no matter how evil, cruel, narcissistic or unrepentant they are. When you forgive a person, you break the ties with their ill deeds that keep you in anguish. Forgiving breaks the unhealthy bonds between you and your abuser-victim relationship, and redefines you as an independent victor in your own life. Forgiving cuts the cord — freeing you — and leaves the abuser with the full weight of their deeds and fate, and whether they accept their responsibility or not, you are no longer dependent on their participation for your healing. You can hold no malice; you can forgive them, and you can then move on. Boundaries are an essential part of forgiveness.

"True forgiveness is when you can say, 'Thank you for that experience.'"
Oprah Winfrey

Your life will be so much better when you start trying to understand and have compassion for the people who hurt you — instead of just reacting in the heat of the moment and hurting them back. It is easy to hold a grudge. It is easy to blame. But these narratives are a perpetuation of the role of a powerless victim. When you hold grudges the victimization continues. It takes emotional bravery to forgive. It takes a huge determination toward self-care to let go of painful past events and not let them define your future. There is no self-love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without self-love. Forgiving another may be the ultimate act of self-love. Forgiving is an inward act that establishes outer boundaries; it is an undefeatable triumph of self-compassion that proclaims you are no longer a victim. Through forgiveness, you can quit suffering from the sins committed against you. By holding-on to resentment you allow them to continue having power over you. Forgiving takes your power back.

"Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart."
Jim Henson

You cannot save everyone

Should you help someone who is reaching out and deeply-hurting? Absolutely. Do what you can to help people but have the wisdom to accept your limits. You can only do so much. You should never have a relationship based on guilt over someone's poor choices. It is easy to find ourselves in denial about someone's behavior because we so deeply wish they could escape their pain and suffering. But what we want for others doesn't work unless they want it for themselves. People must save themselves, and you can only help a person who genuinely wants it and is ready. You have permission to walk away from anything that doesn't feel right. Trust your instincts and listen to your inner-voice — it's trying to protect you. Never stop sharing your love with people; that's why you were put on Earth. But sometimes the way to share your love is to let someone go. Staying in an unhealthy relationship can keep both of you from finding your way and moving to the next level in your life. Sometimes the best way to save someone is to walk away. Real love sometimes means saying goodbye.

"It takes a lot more courage to let something go than it does to hang on to it, trying to make it better. Letting go doesn't mean ignoring a situation. Letting go means accepting what is, exactly as it is, without fear, resistance, or a struggle for control."
Iyanla Vanzant

Your life is meant for so much more than being a life-long doormat for deadbeats, losers, gossipers, nay-sayers, dream-crushers, energy vampires, users, abusers, ragers and passive-aggressive backstabbers. Some of these people are rabidly-infected with obvious madness. Some have less obvious ways, such as the "helpful" enabler, who sends you off to your destruction with a helping hand and a smile. Some are "doubt-whisperers," who plant seeds of non-belief in your heart to take root, only so they can then console you in your inevitable moment of defeat. There are also perpetual victims who feed on your constant attention. Call them what you want, you know exactly who I am talking about. One thing always reveals their sometimes hidden identity — after you have been around them, consider how you feel; have you been depleted and drained, or energized and inspired?

"From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead."
Anais Nin

A person at peace can immediately recognize a consciousness in crisis, whereas those in crisis cannot fully understand themselves or others. People often turn away from good advice because they need something another person can never give them — discovery. As much as we would like to help others avoid pain, sometimes we have to let go and allow them to receive their own painful lessons. Suffering is one of life's great teachers. You cannot save people from themselves. All you can do is stand firmly in your hopes for them, with compassion.

I know you want to be a good person and be helpful to people in need, but it's impossible to give to others if your energy has already been used-up. Being a good person has nothing to do with allowing people to destroy you. There are limits. You can best help others from a position of strength, not weakness. So, don't forget to be good to yourself first. Don't forget to take care of you! It is never cruel to want to save yourself from being swamped by fools. You cannot save everyone. Some people are going to destroy themselves no matter how much you try to help them. Their lives are full of emptiness, chaos, and dysfunction, and they will bring their misery and pain into your life with full-force if you allow it. Then there are others who have the outward appearance of success and are seemingly not self-destructive in nature. These people do not destroy themselves, but instead survive through the destruction of others — these are the users. Either of these types of people will latch-on to you in a death-spiral and take you down to the depths of hell with them — if you allow it. This is your life, and you have the right and responsibility to make good decisions for yourself.

"You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people."
Joel Osteen

You must firmly, absolutely and ruthlessly protect your safety and sanity. Misery loves good company, so if you are surrounded with drama, gossip and fools you may want to consider that you are presently at risk of becoming one of them. The real zombie apocalypse is the pandemic of drama and mediocrity. Troublemakers will infect you with the malady of their madness. And especially, if your positivity immune system is low, any exposure to a person afflicted with negativity can poison your life. You have to get these people out of your life once and for all. One of the fastest ways you can profoundly change your life is to rid yourself of toxic people. When you do come in contact with one of these people, run for your life. Get to safety. Meditatively and spiritually decontaminate yourself. Scrub down your brain with a wire-brush and remove their insanity from the corridors of your mind. Inoculate yourself immediately by creating a safe space and aligning yourself with healthy people. If you have to go it alone for a while until you find your healthy tribe and chosen family, that is fine. Being alone is much better than being around negative people out of loneliness or desperation.

"Inoculate yourself from dangerous bozos."
Guy Kawasaki

Boundaries and risk management are very important parts of living a healthy and positive life. Even professional therapists, psychologists, and social workers draw boundaries to limit exposure to their clients. What makes you think you can handle unlimited exposure to toxic people and survive? You can still be a charitable person who helps and cares about people, without helping those very people destroy your life. Learn how to draw a line and learn how to enforce it — let people know what is and what is not accepted by you. Get selfish and take care of you. Cleanliness and order are good Feng Shui, which applies to people even more than it does to the things in your life. You must clear out what you don't want, to make room for what you do want to arrive. The way to send a clear message that you are ready for better people in your life is to kick the rascals to the curb. The intimate space of your personal life should be reserved for amazing, beautiful, radiant souls — good, wholesome and loving people. Your truest family is your chosen family, people with whom you most identify. Make a clear decision on the type of people you want in your life and if they don't make the cut, create some distance. It doesn't matter if it is a close relative, a parent or a childhood friend; no matter the history — when people are toxic, disruptive and dysfunctional with no reasonable signs of recovery, then they need to go. Escaping a toxic relationship can feel like breaking a piece of your heart off; like a wolf chews its leg off to escape a steel trap. Leaving is never easy, but sometimes it's necessary to save yourself, and others, from dying inside. Love toxic people from a distance.

"The company you keep not only defines you but binds you, strive always to seek the company of the truth."
Panache Desai

Now could be the time to walk away; hell, you may even need to run. Haven't you been listening to your inner-voice? Be honest, your gut has been screaming but you have been ignoring it. How much more of your life are you going to throw-away for a lie? Accept it. Some people never change. Some people have abusive, negative, controlling tendencies in their blood; they are wired for havoc, bickering and deception. They know of no other way to interface with others except through their created chaos. Chaos is their home-court advantage where they play their mind-games so they can have power over you; it's a rigged game you can never win. They will wear you ragged and bring you to your knees emotionally and physically. In time they will destroy every wonderful thing you have in your life. You are in danger: your health, your peace of mind, your happiness and maybe even your life. There is more than one way to lose your life; quickly through violence, or fettered-away and wasted around dreadful, toxic people. You must take control of your life and make good decisions for yourself. The insanity must end, for your sake and for theirs.

"End it now! Don't waste another minute dealing with a toxic, negative, energy-draining person. ... Don't waste valuable time trying to change them. Change yourself and get them out of your life! Don't say a word; leave all of your belongings if you have to in the middle of the night. Cut off all communication. Don't take their calls. You have heard all the lies before. They will not change. They don't choose to change. It is who they have decided to be. Move to another city, if you must, and start all over again. Your life is worth it. You deserve to have peace of mind, a great relationship and an exciting life."
Les Brown

Sometimes a person needs us to abandon them, but we hang-on anyway, which can be devastating for both parties. Helping others can sometimes even be a convenient distraction from addressing our own unresolved issues. When someone you know is so toxic and destructive that they are poisoning your life, you have to create some distance. They need you to walk away as much as you need it. People who are out of control desperately need to observe your healthy boundaries in-action to learn from your example. You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours on them. There is a difference between giving-up and strategic disengagement. Know the difference. Learn how to let people go. Stop holding-on to the wrong people. Let them go on their own way; if not for you, then for them.

"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny."
Dr. Steve Maraboli

You can help others once you are safe, secure and successful in your own life. Practically every successful person you know of is successful, in part, because they moved the destructive and disruptive people out of their lives. Successful people carefully manage their energy and associations; they are gatekeepers. Who you allow into your life, mind and heart are among the most important decisions you will ever make. Take inventory of the people with whom you spend the most time. Who you spend your time with is who you are, or who you will soon become. Limit your exposure to unhealthy and unsupportive people. Love yourself enough to say no to people who diminish your chances for a beautiful and empowered life. Sometimes you have to get away from what you know, to discover what you don't know. It is time for the abuse, control, lies and negativity to end. Align yourself with a new tribe of healthy people who are supportive of your highest good and greatest potential. Find the people who are living the positive lifestyle you wish for yourself and who share your values, and create a new family of friends that you can call, "home." Your new positive and supportive tribe will edify you, strengthen you and empower you to serve others in ways you would have never before imagined. Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. It is not too late for you. It is never too late to begin loving yourself again. It is never too late to have the life you deserve. Healing for everyone begins with self-love — starting right now.

"Pause and remember— You deserve peace! So, don't feel bad for one moment about walking away from people, jobs, and situations that keep you from having peace of mind."
Jenni Young McGill

Most oppression is near and dear

We often think of oppression in terms of tyrants, but it most often comes from the institutions, philosophies, and people closest to us. Most oppression is near and dear. Next time your spouse or partner abusively criticizes you, or says you are worthless, not good enough, stupid or inadequate — tell them that if it is true, to consider that those alleged deficiencies could be what prevented you from getting a better mate. They say they can't stand your behaviour, but really, they can't stand themselves. People like this often criticize you from the position of being the "wiser" or "stronger" person, who they claim are only trying to "help" you. If they really were strong they wouldn't yell, they would reassure. If they were really strong they wouldn't put you down, they would lift you up. Maybe you're the one who is really strong. Maybe they just want to hold you back. Maybe it's time to stand-up for yourself!

Maybe you need to remind a few people to step back and have a little patience. Maybe you don't have the words and just want to tell them you are a work in progress and are doing the best you can. Maybe their harsh judgments aren't helping! Maybe your difficult circumstances plus the stress of their negativity is the very thing standing between your success and failure. Perhaps they are even right about some of their criticisms, but their constant negativity is poisoning your best efforts to change. If they are right about some things, then give it as much positive consideration as possible. You will never recover from what you refuse to accept. Healing begins with acknowledgement. But also acknowledge that the unhealthy relationship must also change. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, bravely acknowledge it and then begin to take the steps to do something about it.

This is your chance at life — right now. How will you choose to live it? Fettered away by agonizing drama, stress, fear, worry and endless nonsense? Or, savored in a deep and meaningful exploration of rich experiences, passions, people, and wonderment? Each day the choice is yours to choose. Be brave and choose wisely!

"Pause and remember— When you stop holding on so tightly to the way you once thought, you create space in your mind and life for new opportunities to arrive."
Jenni Young McGill

We are told to love people unconditionally, but sometimes we must get rid of people unconditionally

Toxic relationships are dangerous to your health; they will literally kill you. Stress shortens your lifespan. 2 Even a broken heart can kill you. 3 There is an undeniable mind-body connection. Your arguments and hateful talk can land you in the emergency room or in the morgue. You were not meant to live in a fever of anxiety; screaming yourself hoarse in a frenzy of dreadful, panicked fight-or-flight that leaves you exhausted and numb with grief. You were not meant to live like animals tearing one another to shreds. Don't carve a roadmap of pain into the sweet wrinkles on your face. Don't lay in the quiet with your heart pounding like a trapped, frightened creature. For your own precious and beautiful life, and for those around you — seek help or get out before it is too late. This is your wake-up call!

We are told to love people unconditionally, but sometimes we must get rid of people unconditionally. Some people just keep slithering and oozing in through the cracks in your resolve; they refuse to respect your boundaries. No more mixed messages. You must learn how to close a door permanently. Cut, cauterize and never give them another thought. Monstrous sociopath-like disengagement is your right. Your life is worth more. Don't waste another minute. Let them say you are awful. Block, ban, delete and disconnect. Do whatever you must to take care of yourself and don't you dare ever feel guilty.

"Avoid negative people for they are the greatest destroyers of self confidence and self esteem."
Zig Ziglar

There is a difference between loyalty and bondage. There is a difference between faithfulness and fearfulness. There is a difference between being devoted and being dominated. The difference is called freedom, it is all the difference in the world. This is your life and you get to choose what is acceptable in your relationships with absolute authority. Don't give your authority to someone who will abuse your trust. If you have mistakenly entrusted your authority to an abuser; revoke and reclaim your power now. You are the supreme authority in your own life, and you have the final word.

On one hand, you should have deep respect for the intrinsic value of each soul as an equal being of divine creation. Hold each person in your mind with reverence, respect and high regard. On the other hand you have to recognize that some of these beings, while deserving of respect at a fundamental level, are absolute disasters who will bring a calamity of misfortune into your life — if you allow it. Some people are damaged like abused animals; skittish, un-trusting, reactive, unpredictable and dangerous. They have been abused, and they will hurt you, even with the best of intentions. If you have a clear mind and peaceful life, it is very easy to spot one of these injured people. You can still love and admire the intrinsic value and beauty of all people without absorbing their toxicity and insanity. Let eternity weigh the intrinsic value of their souls, while you just get away from them. Respecting others has nothing to do with allowing them to destroy you.

"Other people's views and troubles can be contagious. Don't sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others."

No one wants to give-up on someone they love, but sometimes we are forced to make hard decisions by extraordinary suffering. It's easy to judge, or say, "never-give-up," until you have been there. Eventually, you begin to realize that life is too short and your powers to teach, influence or heal are limited. You finally accept that their emptiness, pain, and dysfunction requires more than you have to give. You can't hand your whole life and soul over to someone who doesn't even care about their own. You can only hold-the-line for someone hell-bent on self-destruction for so long, but when you start getting rope burns on your hands, you have to let go. You also must be careful fighting someone else's demons — it may awaken your own! Some of the people we adore most — like the moth to the flame — are going to destroy themselves. Their attraction to their inevitable undoing is heartbreaking to watch, and something you will never understand. As much as you love someone, you can't make their decisions or live their life for them. They must make the hard decisions all on their own. In many cases, the disaster is already in play; it's in motion because of their past actions, and now the consequences are coming, and there is nothing you can do about it. It hurts to watch. It is awful. Letting go is an excruciating heartbreak; mourning the death of what once was. If you did let someone go, and you still have guilt because of it, it's time to forgive yourself and begin to heal. If it is time to let someone go, for their sake, or for yours, then this may be your confirmation.

"Pause and remember— Sometimes, what seems like a very negative or challenging event is what puts us in alignment with our greater purpose."
Jenni Young McGill

You can judge a behaviour without condemning a soul

It's not judging to have eyes. It's not judging to know something. You don't have to walk in someone else's shoes to see they are about to walk off a cliff. If you see someone about to walk off a cliff, yell and stop them. You can judge in service without out a haughty or arrogant heart. You were born to judge just as you were born to think. Your whole life is a series of judgements and adjustments. Don't let people batter you from the bully-pulpit about judging to the point that you suppress your common sense. They are not holier than you because they call their judging "discernment." Don't listen to "non-judgers," who judge your judgement; it's hypocritical hogwash. We judge people constantly. We were born to judge. You can judge a behaviour without condemning a soul. Someone's salvation is out of your jurisdiction but once they have opened their mouth the invitation to judge is irretractable. People often use the "judgement card" to hide when you are getting too close to the truth for comfort. Hang on to your judgement. Good judgement will keep you safe. Good judgement can and does save lives. Don't be afraid of your rightful power to judge others. Judging is one of your most powerful tools you have to protect those you care about, and yourself, from harm.

Protect your energy and reserve the nucleus of your inner-circle for those with whom you share a rare destiny

Even when people are clearly toxic and abusive, people will argue over cutting them off and getting them out of their life. You don't need a reason to move someone out of your life. A person doesn't need to be toxic to get rid of them. You can get rid of any person for any reason. It doesn't matter if they are a saint. If you don't like their "vibe" or you are uncomfortable, or feeling that they are out-of-sync with your life path, you have the right to let them go. Being a gatekeeper in your own life is crucial. Who you ally yourself with is always the paramount consideration of your life. Learning to move people out the rings of your concentric circles quickly and neatly is a vital skill. Protect your energy and reserve the nucleus of your inner-circle for those with whom you share a rare destiny. There is hardly anything more limiting or more empowering than who you allow to stay in your life. Get over the guilt or be a slave to guilt; it's your choice.

Embracing failure and staying positive and enthusiastic

You know how your old entrenched bad habits harm you. You know how your negative self-talk and limiting beliefs continue to paralyze you. You know how you have talked about "change" and "working on yourself" forever, but it never seems to happen. No more procrastinating. No more excuses! Your will has to be stronger than your excuses. Your will has to be stronger than your fear. Nothing great was ever built on excuses. You can't whine your way through life. Kick your inner-whiner's ass and get to living the good life. Abandon your excuses and fears, and move forward. Don't be afraid of failure. Don't fool yourself — everyone fails constantly. Failure is an essential part of the success process. Embrace it. When you make a mistake or something doesn't turn-out right, just say, "I'm practicing imperfection." Successful people fail more! Fail, learn, recover, regroup and retry. Practice being at peace with imperfection and even enjoying it. You may have made some mistakes, but your life is not a mistake; it's a miracle. Change takes time. It takes time for the seeds to begin growing within, time to understand and process, time for the growth to mature, and time for the old self to die and fall away. Do it now and do it for you!

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Winston Churchill

Stop always wanting to please and not disappoint others. Sure, you may disappoint others, but their disappointment is totally irrelevant. What matters are your standards for yourself. What matters is how you feel about yourself. Being disappointed with yourself is useless, unless it is attached to an intention to take action and create personal change. What matters is if you can see yourself. You can't move forward unless you can see yourself. You can't move forward with the same poor vision and inner-dialogue that put you where you are now. See yourself honestly. Set new and better standards for yourself. Do it for you, to please yourself, and with absolute disregard for other's approval or acceptance. Cast out your negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. A pessimist's first position is doubt and they are surprised if they succeed. An optimist's first position is confidence and they are surprised if they fail. Quit making excuses, quit denigrating yourself and quit lying to yourself about your lack of ability. Tell the truth; you can, you will and you are. You are not going to move forward unless you firmly commit yourself to change. You must be stubborn about what you can do, not stubborn about why you can't. Be adamant about your standards. To really change requires violating certain parts of yourself, cooperating with other parts, and creating new behaviours. What are you waiting for? Empowerment happens when you face the profound responsibility you have for your own life.

"Pause and remember— Slow and steady will get you where you want to go. If you put too much pressure on yourself for results too quickly, you will quickly give up."
Jenni Young McGill

Escaping old patterns to become a better you!

At the very basic level all people are creators. We are all creating at every moment. Sometimes we are creating positive experiences and sometimes we unfortunately create negative experiences for ourselves and others. We all want something out of life and it is very natural that people want to create, re-create and continue to develop themselves. It is natural and healthy to want to enhance your creative skills and abilities so that you can access your own version of joy and abundance. The problem for many people is that they get stuck in old, negative patterns. Now, I talk a lot about what I call the beautiful path, in which I encourage people to adopt a lifestyle of positive life patterns. The problem that some people run into, is that they are not able to easily escape their old negative patterns because they are habituated to a certain type of thinking. Most healthy people innately want to be their best possible self. Every person wants to advance in life and be surrounded by beauty, prosperity, abundance, and most of all, love. However, many people find that when they attempt to advance themselves, they slip back into their old, negative patterns and behaviors. Why?

There are many reasons why people become "stuck" in their development. One common problem is habitual thought patterns and the self stories that people tell. For example, some people have stories from their past experiences that they tell over and over again when they meet new people. This may be a story about a challenge they faced, or some terrible event that happened to them, or maybe even a repetitive story from their youth, about rebellion, pranks or trouble. Sometimes these stories involve interpersonal drama in the form of social, relationship or family "war stories." They tell these stories repeatedly without noticing that these stories reinforce a part of their old self (or lower self) that does not represent the person they presently desire to be. So, an important part of becoming your best self is being very careful about your self-talk and self-stories. These stories, though seemingly harmless, represent a form of self-hypnosis. Negative self-talk and negative affirmation can keep you anchored in old thought patterns and identities. My advice for everyone is to carefully analyze the old stories that you choose to perpetually tell, for these are really life-long meditations. If those stories are negative or not supportive of the vision you have for your future self, it would be wise to quit telling those stories completely. Instead, develop new stories from new positive experiences and relationships — the experiences of your emerging new self! Resist at all cost telling your old negative stories.

"Let go of anything you don't love about your life story and just keep the things you love. If you hold on to negative things from your past, then you keep putting them into your story every time you remember them, and they go back into the pictures of your life — now!"
Rhonda Byrne

A real problem you may encounter when you are trying to change your life often comes from old friends and family who only know and accept the "older you" and not the person you are striving to become. A lot of people are not really evolving themselves, and some of these people don't like it when they see someone from their social peer group advancing, and maybe even doing better than them. So, these people will sometimes be quick to point out something negative you may have done in the past, or they may bring up a negative behavior when you "slip-up" while you are working on yourself. Sometimes these people can even encourage the old negative behavior you are trying to eliminate, because they enjoy that part of you, or they may even secretly, or sub-consciously, want to see you fail. You want to avoid all messages that reinforce your old patterns, whether those reinforcements come from yourself, or from others.

The most dangerous negativity comes from ourselves in the form of doubts, fears and unreasonable self-criticisms. Excessive self-criticism is a bad habit and is extraordinarily self-destructive. Don't be your own worst enemy! Imagine a bully who points out all the things you have done in your past, such as mistakes you've made and even future things that you "allegedly" cannot do or accomplish. This type of unreasonable self-criticism represents a form of self-hatred and fear.

So let's talk about some of the tools you can use to encourage further development of your new, better-self which will help you escape your old, negative life patterns.

  1. Surround yourself with beautiful and positive people, who love you and believe in you and believe in the possibilities that exist for your vision of a more positive life.

  2. Learn to catch yourself and stop immediately when you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk.

  3. Stop telling old stories, or so-called "funny" stories, from your youth, high school, college days, or any other time in your life when you were not living up to your full potential as a positive person.

  4. Become a very cautious consumer. Scrutinize everything you allow into your mind, including conversations, books, television shows, and environmental situations that may reinforce negative life patterns or lower level thinking. The old saying that, "you are what you eat" extends beyond the body, and includes experiences.

  5. Become a cautious consumer about the food that you are allowing into your body. Eat beautiful foods, which are nutritionally dense, wholesome and natural.

  6. Create and maintain a beautiful environment and surroundings in which to live. Keep your area orderly and clean. Allow sunshine and light into your rooms and life! Open windows for fresh air. Try to reduce mechanical and unnatural background noises such as television and commercial radio. Fill your space with beautiful music or nature sounds that are uplifting, exhilarating or inspiring.

  7. Get as much exercise as possible, even if it is just a short walk each day. Even gentle walking is completely transformative for the body and mind. Walking energizes and activates all of the systems of your body from your immune system to your circulatory system and digestive system. Walking awakens the total senses. Always try to walk around nature as much as possible and if you can, stay away from busy roads, construction sites or any other areas where you will encounter unnatural machinery, sounds or scenery.

  8. Spend time socializing with people who accept you, where there is laughter, leisure, and celebration. Anytime we can be around others and have a good time is energetically very good for us. Enjoyable social interaction, community and laughter have a healing effect on the mind and body.

  9. Finally, it is essential that you write down your goals. A goal that is not written is not a goal. It only becomes real when you write it down. Writing has the power of permanence. Look at your list daily and read it out loud. Let your list of goals become a mantra and a meditation.

Stop mistreating yourself. Be good to yourself. Love Yourself.

There is nothing worse than a treacherous, backstabbing double-talker running you down. It is hard to believe it when we have been treated with such disloyalty. Betrayal by those we trust can send us boiling into a panic of anxiety and pain. Just imagine a close friend or relative talking behind your back and whispering about your failures; prognosticating your doom and undermining your best efforts to lift yourself up. This bully is well informed and knows all of your past mistakes, and knows how to use those mistakes against you — a two-faced bully with a tongue like a switch-blade knife. Even worse, what do you do when the traitor is a very close relative; so closely related, that in fact, the betrayer — is you? That's right, you; the voice in your head that's whispering, "you aren't good enough; you don't deserve it and you can't!" Maybe the self-inflicted battering is a more subtle, "what will people think?" Or perhaps it's a whisper of procrastination to just, "try later, there's always tomorrow." Then there is the foulest pummeling; a total beat-down of, "You're fat. You're stupid. You're a loser. I hate myself! I wish I were dead!"

"Your word is your wand. The words you speak create your own destiny."
Florence Scovel Shinn

Maybe you never considered yourself a bully, a batterer or an abuser before, but maybe you are — to yourself. The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts. Being overly critical of yourself is like having a relentless, inescapable bully who follows you everywhere you go and abuses you. The worst part about this type of bully is that you can't get rid of them, because you can't get rid of yourself. But you can reform yourself and you can evolve yourself. You have to reach out to your inner-abuser and make peace. You can't live your life as your own worst enemy! Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye and make peace with yourself. Commit this day to putting your self-hatred and unreasonable doubts and fears behind you, once and for all. You are your own essential ally. Get right with yourself. When that inner-voice of doubt whispers against you, have a firm but sweet conversation with yourself, and exert your faith. Healing is a process and could take some time, but begin convincing yourself of your worthiness — no more abuse! Deep in your heart, you know you are good. Your heart knows you are deserving. Your heart knows you are worthy. Your heart knows you are capable. Every word you speak is a prayer, or meditation of reinforcement which creates permanence. Speak kindly to and of yourself. When the voices of doubt start whispering, turn-up the volume of faith and listen to your heart.

"Pause and remember— When you can truly realize and accept that all of life is cheering for you, and that every single event, person and lesson brought into your life has great purpose, then you have the real potential for living an evolved life full of grace, gratitude and magical splendor."
Jenni Young McGill

Gracefully flowing through natural conflict

Conflict is a natural part of existence. Life is a struggle for survival for every organism at every level. Everyone must "fight" for something at times, although some struggle more than others, and often unnecessarily. Force will sometimes get you through a challenge, but usually not without hurting and depleting yourself in the process. Brute physical, intellectual and emotional conflict often causes a great deal of collateral damage. There are gentler and more graceful ways to interface with natural conflict. As you spiritually mature you will begin to look at conflict in less self-centered ways. You will realize that engagement is an option. There is an enlightened way to flow with, in, and through conflict. Learn to resist but do not be un-moveable in your resistance. Resist like the water. Flow. You don't have to win. You don't have to be right. You don't always have to teach the corrective lesson. Sometimes you can teach the lesson of patience and non-engagement. Be wise. Sometimes it is best to stand back from conflict and allow other elements in someone's life to do the hard work for you. Time is a masterful teacher. Silence is a masterful teacher. When we want to talk, we can instead listen, and let our attentiveness to another's need to speak, be our silent statement. But whatever you do, always do it in love and not anger, and in compassion, not contempt.

When someone is vicious toward you they are giving you a glimpse of the pain they carry in themselves. Viciousness is suffering. The way you engage someone's pain either reinforces their pain or helps to release it. Be gentle when you can. If you are strong and safe within yourself, then be patient and teach your virtues by your calm example. Try to be less reactive. Try to be very kind to yourself and others. Start with one deviation from your negative and reactive habits. Instead of assuming, which creates pain and suffering for everyone, be open, curious and expect cooperation. Learn to be light. Have you ever tried to catch a tiny feather floating in the air? It's very hard to do. When you try to grab a tiny floating feather, it just flies right around your hand! The more violently you grasp, the faster the wind carries it away. In your heart and disposition, be as light as a feather and when they reach for you — you will blow right by their grip; you will effortlessly float to safety. Be as light as that feather. Have a smile of calm in your heart. Be peaceful. When you walk in peace you will literally see attackers shattering themselves against your inner-calm. They will defeat themselves.

"Pause and remember— Before you react in your typical way; stop yourself. Instead, become calm, centered, clear and thoughtful."
Jenni Young McGill

Becoming Non-Reactive, Releasing Fear and Illusions of Control

Learn to love being told you are wrong or being insulted. Every insult is an opportunity. Being insulted offers you an opportunity to practice decency and having a non-response internally. When we are easily upset it is because we are internally unstable and unrefined spiritually. Any defensiveness is a sign of failure. You can't move forward if you are defensive. If you do not like a certain behavior in others, look within yourself to find the roots of what discomforts you. The conflicts we have with the outside world are often conflicts we have within ourselves. Criticism is no threat to your self-esteem or identity, but rather informs you. You can't see clearly through defensiveness. You can get to a place where you see clearly; that place is zero defensiveness. Take any concept you believe in deeply and say out loud, and with full conviction, that your dearest belief may be totally flawed. Say, "There is no doubt that I could be wrong." If you cannot do this, then you do not possess the idea, the idea possesses you. Change will never happen when people lack the ability and courage to see themselves for who they are. An intelligent person is never afraid or ashamed to find errors in their understanding of things. The best practice is to be around people who absolutely disagree. Grace in conflict is a study in love.

"The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind."
Albert Camus

A great deal of defensiveness stems from the need to be right and frustration over not being able to control. This is why defensiveness is a component of suppressed violence within oneself; it is violent to wish to control others. We only have a defensive response when we are trying to protect some inner-territory or some belief. The earthquake of discomfort you feel moving inside of you when someone insults you is your own insecurity. Defensiveness often has little to do with what another person has said, but rather with your ego. It is only your weak, approval-seeking self that is throwing a tantrum for agreement. Most upset is a fear of rejection. Defensiveness and emotional tumult is often a fear response because of your need for acceptance and ruthless control of the territory of your safe fantasy world. Real strength only comes from vulnerability, not toughness. Only true vulnerability can set you free from the anxiety of painful insecurity. Openness is free and flowing — it is a dance, while being closed-off is protective and unmovable. Negative feelings can only exist through your resistance. As you quit resisting they diminish. When you emotionally stand aside from the attack, negative feelings pass by you like a charging bull. When you realize that the defensive feeling you have is a response to your resistance, you are free in that moment.

"Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner."
Lao Tzu

People can only have power over you if you are seeking to have power over others. You are only plagued with stress in moments of common petty conflict because you are arrogant, and believe others are transgressing by having unfavorable thoughts about you. Another person's thoughts about you are outside of your jurisdiction; you have no authority. You have fantasies about you being right, and about them being wrong, or that there is an injustice or an attack. Sometimes a perceived attack can seem very real, when it is really just your insistence or resistance. When someone is attacking you, they are coming to you for advice. How you react advises them. What advice will you give them? They likely may not know they are seeking advice, but you advise them nonetheless. You can teach an attacker many things through your response. Your boundaries may teach them they are not permitted to treat you disrespectfully. Your permissiveness may teach them to continue hurting you. Your calm and wise response may make sense to them many years later as they grow and heal. Perhaps your example will be steps in their ascension to respect and virtue. Has anyone ever helped you in your ascension to virtue? Perhaps you have been cruel or said something mean and someone responded to your attack with kindness or calm, which later caused you to feel bad or ashamed about your actions. That was someone giving advice to their attacker — you. When you wrestle with foolish people, you tie them tighter into the knot of their ignorance, hate and disrespect. But kindness and openness create an atmosphere where people feel safe to learn and change without judgement. Kindness teaches kindness; self-respect teaches self-respect. This is part of the meaning of "actions speak louder than words" or "leading by example." You are instructing everyone at every moment with your every action; in this way we are all role models. You are much more than merely a response to external stimuli. By choosing to have a calm response to what seems negative, you bring clarity and balance to your message. People not only learn from what you say, but how you say it. Each reaction we have helps us inspect ourselves by revealing parts of our own nature to ourselves; it is never about others. And remember, when you are speaking to someone else you are really speaking only to yourself. Everything you say to someone else is for your clarity, not theirs — you are presenting yourself, to yourself, for yourself at every moment.

"If the whole world rejected you and you didn't believe any of your thoughts about it, you'd be completely at peace."
Byron Katie

Learning to master inner-calm and non-response to what seems like negativity is a life practice. When you release yourself from the need for approval and control you can stop punishing yourself and others. The fulcrum of resistance is in your mind where you pit yourself against the weight of the external. Release yourself from the struggle of emotional exertion that goes nowhere. No one can make you feel anything; you are completely responsible for how you feel. Until you quit participating in your pain, cooperating in your abuse and engaging in the contest, you will always be a part of other people's games of torment and inner-suffering. Next time someone comes after you to fight, ask yourself in that moment, "who am I, and who do I choose to be?" Choose calm. Choose serenity. Choose independent confidence and sanity. Once you detach from conflict through non-engagement, you rise to a state of empowering calm awareness, empathy and safety.

"Pause and remember— Do not run from criticism. Criticism can be one of your greatest guides and teachers if you can just learn to not run from it."
Jenni Young McGill

When faced with conflict, try to keep the surface of your inner-pool of emotions calm and steady

If petty and meddlesome people stress you out try to begin looking at their slights, insults and jabs as a form of training. Being insulted offers you an opportunity to practice having a non-response internally by remaining calm. It's a practice and it takes time, but it is very possible to learn this skill. Start with small slights and attacks and when they occur — steady yourself by setting the intention and by saying to yourself, "Alright. This person is giving me an opportunity to practice having a non-response internally." Just the context of this practice as an opportunity will begin to help. Then continue practicing with each incident while exploring yourself and trying to better understand your feelings. Through this private intention you will begin to see ugly and coarse behaviours in others as helpful, and the practice can even become empowering instead of dreadful. The deeper you move into this practice the more you will begin to realize that the terrible feelings you once believed were caused by others originate from you and truly belong to you. Fear, anger, nervousness, dread and that awful fight-or-flight feeling will all slowly be replaced with calm, confidence, coolness, and eventually compassion.

The goal of calm and non-response is not to suppress your natural emotions, but to be able to flow with them and even marshal those emotions when needed. For example, anger can be a beautiful and useful tool. The fire of anger can serve you as a tool of survival, as a remover of obstacles, as a dramatic and effective psychological or theatrical punctuation of communication, and as a useful force of destruction when we decidedly need to wreck things in our lives with a controlled implosion. The problem is when anger controls you, instead of you controlling it. Much of this practice is learning to disentangle your emotions from the static charge of the other person's emotions. It can be very difficult to not be swept away in someone else's rush of troubled energy. When we feel controlled or influenced in this way we can become resentful, which fuels our dysfunction. We sometimes avoid difficult people, but we often do it because we know we cannot control our emotions in their presence! In this sense we are putting those people in control. The way you put yourself in control around difficult people is by learning how to maintain your objective calm in the midst of their emotional upheaval. Be mindful and don't let your emotions get out of control!

One technique to practice calm in conflict is to imagine a small fountain pool, like a bird bath, in the center of your stomach. Imagine yourself at peace and the waters in your inner-pool are calm and reflecting the world around you clearly. As you become upset, ripples begin appearing on the surface and little drops stream over the edge. The reflection, which represents your understanding, becomes less defined and somewhat distorted. As you grow in anger, fear, dread or nervousness the water begins slopping over the sides onto the floor. Your understanding is completely distorted and the more you try to control it, the more you seem to lose control. When you are facing conflict try to keep the surface of your inner-pool of emotions calm and steady. Your inner-calm is your safe haven in moments of challenge. Look upon the troubled waters of the other person, and simply have understanding — nothing more. In your serenity there is a clarity, strength and correctness that is beyond the petty scuffles of the moment — a greater truth — it is the truth of who you are; beautiful, calm, secure, open, willing and safe. Try to avoid allowing your adversary's conflict-energy to bump into your energy; remain separate and unentangled. See the moment for what it is — a test and an opportunity to practice being a good communicator and to further refine yourself. Much of life is merely a practice. When you begin looking at each challenge as practice you shift from being a reactive victim of circumstance to a victor in a rehearsal of opportunity. Every small run-through is preparing you for tougher challenges. Start practicing today and you will become stronger and more confident through each moment of challenge.

"Pause and remember— Every single event in your life, especially the difficult lessons, have made you smarter, stronger, and wiser than you were yesterday. Be thankful!"
Jenni Young McGill

Stop blaming and start being!

Stop blaming and start being! We attract what we are. We attract who we are. If you don't like something in your life, look only at who you are. Who you are is why you choose the friends and situations in your life. Who you are is why you choose poorly, or fail to choose wisely. Stop being a victim! When you blame others you are effectively proclaiming that you are only response to stimuli. But you are much more than mere response to stimuli. When you blame others, you are affirming that you have no power, and your existence is only a reaction to the power of others. But, you are powerful, if you choose to be. You can choose to be proactive, assertive and self-defining. You can choose better relationships, better jobs, better places to live, better uses of your time and better ways of treating yourself. Go look in the mirror and have a talk with your real boss. Find a new and better leader within yourself, for yourself. Lead your life with love and friendship; self-love, and as your own friend. Lead with honesty, total integrity, compassion, patience and tolerance — toward yourself! If you live with values for yourself, then you become of great value to all who know you. It starts with you. Quit waiting for others to give to you; it is not going to happen. You are all powerful, take control of your life's situations rather than being a passive bystander.

You see, reconciliation with others and the world begins within. If you don't get right with yourself, then nothing in this life will ever make you happy. Blame is very tricky in that it seems like a way out when it is really a form of imprisonment. Until you stop blaming and become positively self-critical you are not going to move forward. You think that if you blame, you will then be free of those problems, but blame cements you to your problems. You have to take responsibility. Empowerment is never about blame; it is about taking personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility is not about being "responsible" — it is about seeing your truth and evolving. People who blame are always looking to "get out" of something, but like quicksand, the more they struggle the more they are captive. Blame anchors us into the past; a place we cannot change. Acceptance frees us to the future. Even when something is not your fault, toxic blame has no place in your life. Focus on your own empowerment and healing. If you set a clear standard for yourself; for how you wish to be treated — people will take note. Rather than communicating blame, communicate your standards for proper future treatment. We must do better must always translate into, "I must do better."

"You have two choices, you can keep running and hiding and blaming the world for your problems, or you can stand up for yourself and decide to be somebody important."
Sidney Sheldon

Ultimately, everything is completely up to you. Quit looking for the answers outside of yourself. The invitation to something better is not arriving from any source outside of yourself — ever. Those who get the invitation are the ones who realize that the invitation only comes from deep within. Give yourself permission to be free from the past. You are the authority and the gatekeeper of your own life. Once you become something, only then, are you worthy of it. The life you want is a manifestation of self-realization. It is easy; just be — to receive. Manifesting is primarily about identity, and secondarily about action. Begin accepting your gifts now. You can have every wonderful thing life can bestow, by being every wonderful thing to others.

Stop blaming and start being. Everything comes by being! Be the love you seek. Be the friend you seek. Be the lover you seek. Be the honesty you seek. Be the integrity you seek. Be the patience you seek. Be the tolerance you seek. Be the compassion you seek.

Fill-in the blank: Be the ??? you seek.

"Pause and remember— The peace you seek begins with you! When you consciously and consistently choose peace in your words and actions, more peace will appear in your life. Stop blaming everything and everyone outside of you. Make peace within your priority."
Jenni Young McGill

If you want your life to be different you have to start reacting to life differently

We aren't always dealt the best hand in life, and some things are out of our control, but not everything, and there are easy ways to turn around some of your common recurring problems and challenges. We have all heard terms like "you reap what you sow" and "the law of attraction," both of which suggest having personal responsibility can help us. You may not even realize it, but who you are, how you act and present yourself to others, and your deep inner-truths are either calling fortune or misfortune into your life right now. You cannot hide from yourself. Your unresolved issues will continue to call-in experiences to teach you what you need to learn. If your life is a persistently a disaster, it is absolutely because you are a disaster. There is no way around it. Your problems are not because bad things happened to you; bad things happen to everyone. Your persistent problems are because of your response to common misfortune. If you want your life to be different you have to start reacting to life differently. The question you must ask yourself is, what is it about you that causes you to choose situations and people who expose you to risk, sadness and hurt? Why do you do it to yourself? You choose these things because that's who you are. Like attracts like. Dysfunction relates to dysfunction. You know, "birds of a feather" — you've heard it all before. But really, it is about your deepest core identity, your self-esteem, your soul-signature, and your level of spiritual and intellectual development. If you want more, then be more. If you want better, then be better.

In simple external terms, this is how it works. When you carry a frown you will see more frowns; when you carry a smile you will see more smiles. When you are hardworking and educated you attract hardworking, educated friends and you repel ignorant deadbeats. When you love yourself you attract those who love themselves, and you repel co-dependence because of your healthy boundaries. When you are a wholesome person, more wholesome people will appear in your life. Who you are is shaping your so-called reality. When you change — the world changes with you. This is what "be the change" means. This is what the "law of attraction" is all about. This is the basis of personal responsibility. You will always receive what you are equal to and what your perceptions, judgments and positions insist.

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far."
Swami Vivekananda

The real ladder of opportunity is ascending levels of consciousness. As your consciousness, refinement and pureness of heart expand you will become less judgmental, less corrective, less reactive, less black-and-white, less critical, less apt to blame and less tormented by others and their faults and views. As the aperture of your heart opens to love you will receive more of the light of compassion, acceptance, gentleness, grace and understanding. The more evolved you are the less you will agree or disagree with others, and the more you will gently sift through the fullness of what people are offering and gratefully take only what you need. The more spiritually aware you become, the more you will focus on your own development and less on the imperfections of others. As an evolved being, you will begin to see pettiness, quarreling and correcting others as non-constructive and crude. As you evolve, you will learn that the only person you need to correct is yourself. We teach best by how we live life; who we are instructs with absolute clarity.

"As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health — food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is 'LOVE OF ONESELF.'"
Charlie Chaplin

Your life is not supposed to be filled with unnecessary drama and pain, and if it is, then something is not right. While bad things do happen to good people, many common problems are frequently created by our own behaviours and thinking. You may not have started every problem, but you sure as hell have been keeping them going. Your burdens are perfectly measured and gifted to you according to your resistance. As long as you keep resisting, expect the pummeling to continue. Life is trying to get something through your thick head. Much of the torment of our lives is our own creation. Your every ill-thought, secreted hate, cynical and vicious judgment you carry is meant only for you. If you are prone to drama, you put your ugliness on others because you secretly want to see it and feel the pain it reflects back, so you can grow. You are the source of your pain, and you are the source of your healing. Even when someone hurts you, you choose how to struggle, resist, deny and receive. Maybe you receive pain selfishly — thinking only of yourself. The cycle of pain wounds every participant; both victim and aggressor. Most of your problems exist because your heart is hard, and you are being arrogant. It doesn't have to be so hard! You can change it. When you start acting more mindfully and positive, your life will come together in positive ways. But, no one can make it better for you; it's up to you. Take a beating of misfortune for the rest of your life, or expand in love and live with grace and ease. The life you want doesn't want you — until you are worthy. Only you can decide your worthiness. The nightmare can end the moment you humble yourself and begin practicing being virtuous and taking proper care of yourself.

"Pause and remember— You will have a lot more time and energy to spend on yourself when you stop worrying and wasting time on how others need to change."
Jenni Young McGill

Value is your way out of the trap!

You better have some skills in this world. You better bring something to the dinner party, or you will be the dinner. You will either have value or be grist for the mill — nothing more. I know it seems so unfair. I didn't make the rules. The truth is that the world doesn't have much use or respect for "do nothing" people. Can you really blame them? Take some pride in yourself. Get to work. Read everything you can get your hands on. Acquire several skills and find at least one that you can master, and that earns you respect. Let your skills do the talking. Get determined. This world is bursting with opportunity. Maybe it's time you reinvent yourself and try again. Get going. Don't cheat the world or yourself of what you have to offer. You must cultivate value within yourself if you want to move forward. If you feel trapped, quit thinking about the trap and start thinking about your value. Life favors value. Value is your way out.

Do you want to prosper? What do you give the world? Do you want to flourish in the garden of life? Life's gardeners pluck the weeds and care only for the productive plants. The quality of your life hinges on your attitudes and offerings. Become a gift in the lives of others, and you will always be well received. If you want more opportunities you have to become an opportunity for others. As you advance yourself your opportunities advance too. It's so simple. Get to work on yourself. The harder you work on yourself the more the external things you couldn't change will change on their own. Cultivating your value proposition in life is the way to move forward. You are the raw material of your own destiny. Start creating, start giving back — start caring! What will you share?

All growth involves choosing love over fear

Fear causes you to feel small and powerless. Fear is the most insidious and suffocating emotion. How many great and beautiful people have withered and vanished — whose gifts the world never knew — because of fear's dread? Fear is paralyzing to life. When we are afraid of failure, judgment, loneliness or rejection, we try to play-it-safe to avoid fear's pain and uncertainty. When we are afraid, we advance cautiously and try to keep things the same and "safe." However, no matter how hard we try to keep things the same, change is inevitable. Even non-change is imperceivable change, because inaction will slowly change you from what you could have been, to what you never will be. It can be so hard to face our fears. It is a pathetic agony, so desperately wanting to liberate our dreams and live fully and completely in alignment with our hopes. It feels like crawling when we want to stand and leap. Yet, with all the passion, hope, faith and determination we can muster, we still feel the foreboding unease that our dreams, if attempted — could become a nightmare. This is how we are stunted by fear. Fear is a thief because fear robs you before you even begin.

"Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us."
Marianne Williamson

The potential of your life experience shrinks or expands according to your ability to love. Love expands and opens. Love is courageous. Love is strength. Love praises and embraces life. Love stands-up and walks forward. You cannot avoid what you fear because what you fear is inside of you. Fear seems to stalk you because it is in you. When we come face-to-face with our fears we are really confronting ourselves. The moment we confront our fears we are declaring that we are contenders for life, and for love. To those who are mindful, life's preciousness becomes ever more apparent each day. When we truly love ourselves and love life, we are compelled to deeply explore ourselves and life's possibilities. Only when you decide to truly live can you be free of your fears, and only when you are free of your fears can you truly live. Embracing life and overcoming fear are one and the same. Your special destiny is too important to not act upon. Leap toward life. Expand in love. Let your passion and courage swell in you until you can no longer be contained by fear. This is your time to live your life to its fullest.

"Pause and remember— Change will happen the moment you have the courage to change."
Jenni Young McGill

Believing in Yourself

No external thing will ever make you happy or complete you

No external thing or person is ever coming to you, which will make you happy or complete you. As long as you are waiting for something to make you happy — happiness will never come. Expectancy creates disappointment. Chasing the external to achieve joy is a death-trap for personal development. The external only creates dependency. The foundation of joyful independence is being content with yourself; self-love. Recognize that you are enough and that all external gifts are simply extra blessings. Praise first the mighty blessing of yourself! Find your own joy within and then greater joy will be added to you.

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."
Martha Washington

The paradise you seek is a frame of mind. Each moment of gratitude awareness reveals the total beauty which surrounds you. Each step on the beautiful path of gratitude awareness moves you toward your life's highest possibility. The gift of life is present at every moment — even moments that seem insignificant or unpleasant. You will be blessed the moment you realize you already are. Start the daily practice of joyful living. Start walking now on the beautiful path already before you.

Take a moment to deliberately notice
  one beautiful thing in your life.
Acknowledge something beautiful,
  and something beautiful will acknowledge you.

Open your eyes to your power and beauty

If you are open to receiving the essential nature of life, its intelligence will flow through you like a great river. If a thousand people observe the ripples of water in a stream, they will describe many similarities. Observing the stream of eternal and simple truth is the same for all who look upon the fountainhead of consciousness. Any self-realized being, as opposed to the artificially produced modern "person" — has access to the dynamic genius that nature gives all beings. Even your body is a part of that sublime intelligence. Every part of you is a master intelligence and is speaking truth to you, and through you, at all times.

Something is speaking through you,
  you are an expression of something greater.
You are not experiencing life,
  you are the experience of life itself.

The master initiate of any craft appears magical to the uninitiated. But there is no magic. There is no exclusive venue in the divine. There is no genius. The adept is only adept, because such an instrument she crafted and bowed her soul to be. When we bend our hearts and minds, the sweet music of life flows through us as instruments of precious truth. All truthful music is familiar to the ear, for its notes were written into our souls long ago. We are all masters because we are the expression of one grand nature. When we allow the genius of simple nature to flow through us we become every genius who has ever lived. Your perfect, inner-genius has always been within you waiting for your acknowledgment, and ready to serve. Your divine time is the moment of your choosing.

"Everybody is a genius."
Albert Einstein

"Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them."
Buckminster Fuller

Get clear in your present life

You have to get clear in your present life — clear of the junk from your past. When you are laying in bed trying to relax, how many voices and people are in there with you? When you are thinking about making a move forward in your life that you should have made years ago, what scary memories or fears start running you down? You may not need an exorcist, but those negative voices need to be silenced, and now. Clear out all of those doubts and fears. Let the past be the past. It's time. You need some breathing room to think. Create some clear space and then you will know exactly what to do.

"One way to help prevent the past from determining your future is to stop believing that it will."
Dr. Charles Glassman

Be calm and create a clear, safe space in your mind. Just because your world is falling apart doesn't mean you have to fall apart. When everything seems crazy, you be calm. Don't let the outer chaos you are facing get inside of you. All healing starts with beginning to accept yourself and love yourself; even your flaws. Real love is opening your heart to the unlovable. Real gratitude is giving thanks when things aren't perfect. Real generosity is sharing when you have very little. Real courage makes the 'impossible' — possible, with real faith. So love yourself. Have gratitude now. Be generous and good to yourself. Have faith and quieten the voices of worry and discontent in your mind. Stop your worrying, panicking and stressing. Breathe. Remember, you made it this far through difficulties that seemed impossible. Remember how many times you were saved at the very last minute — this time is no different. Always strive for calm, that's where your ultimate safety resides.

Don't worry about what people think of you

Don't worry about what people think of you. Of course you want to feel accepted and loved, and of course it hurts when people misunderstand us, betray us and reject us. But, so many of our problems begin when we start worrying what others think of us. Just remember that everyone is on a different level of understanding. Try to believe that when someone is hard on you it may have very little to do with you at all. People who are hard on others are usually very hard on themselves, and the pain they inflict on others is a reflection of the pain they inflict on themselves. But even knowing this does not make it easy.

"People will try to label you not good enough, too slow, too old, too many mistakes. You can't stop negative comments or prevent negative labels, but you can choose to not let them hold you back."
Joel Osteen

You have to accept that you'll never be good enough for some people. Whether that is going to be your problem or theirs is up to you. Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny. You have to remember that your special life is for you, and your purpose has nothing to do with the opinions of others. When we have been hurt we often shrink and run for safety. Don't allow others to make you feel small. You came to this world to grow and to explore, and to touch the miracles and marvels of life. Your suffering needs to be respected. Don't try to ignore the hurt, because the hurt is real. Instead, let the hurt prove there is hope through your healing. Let the hurt soften you instead of hardening you. Let the hurt open you instead of closing you. Let the hurt deliver you to love, and not to hate. Some people are critical of everyone, not just you, so try to not take it too personally. They are so unhappy in their own life that their only joy is in dragging other people down. Know that you'll never please everyone, and that whoever hurt you just happens to be one of those people. Once you understand and accept this, it will be easier to let it go and move on.

"When you are judged, bullied or rejected, you have to be strong in your heart."
Sierra McGill

If you act falsely everything around you will be false

Do you want to avoid a meltdown? Start with being a little selfish and irresponsible from time to time. It's okay to flirt with disaster a little. Some people need a little risk to feel alive. You can still be a solid person and have a little adventure in your life. People who deny themselves the space for adventure often snap and lose their whole stable life just for a little excitement, when a brief experience would have sufficed. You don't have to always play it so safe; the grave is very safe. You don't have to be so damn "good" either. You can remain stable and sane if you will just be honest with yourself and allow yourself to be human. It's actually less risky to let off a little steam. Remember that safety is often a failure of courage. Take a risk now and then, because your life is your adventure. Do something different today. Think something different. Get off of the hamster wheel and push back on life a little. Stretch yourself. Risk is your only chance of really living. Safety is a fatal illusion; a slow-motion dream killer.

"To live abundantly, you must be courageous. You must be able to go outside of the box, lines, dimension, energy, set point, field, 'comfort zone' or whatever adjective humanity chooses to describe its current confines. Be like a child. Be an explorer who is ever-excited, ever-reaching, ever-searching, not because of lack but because of the courageous heart. Get out of old patterns, systems and ideas that have controlled your reality."
Darius M. Barazandeh

Aren't you tired of conforming? When you are around people, be who you are when you're alone. If you act falsely, everything around you will be false. When you hide who you are it's just like a ticking time-bomb. Think about all the acting you do; playing roles at work, with your parents or children and your partner. This is a major reason people become depressed and self-medicate or pop happy pills. Don't give in just to keep the facade going. If you keep faking perfect for everyone — one day either it will all fall apart, or you will. A life crisis happens when you haven't been being honest about who you are, and if you think a crisis isn't coming, you are lying to yourself. When you are honest, and there is nothing to hide, your life will adjust. Honesty is one of the greatest luxuries in the world. Don't be someone who has everything but can't afford the truth. Think about who you are when you are alone and start being that person full time.

You can change your views, opinions, ideas, and beliefs

Changing yourself takes time, it is incremental and can seem like hypocrisy to judging observers. While developing yourself you may reverse opinions, contradict yourself and seem inconsistent with your beliefs and actions. Don't allow people to control you with the consistency trap. Consistency has been weaponized. Don't let consistency be used against your holistic being and full-spectrum intelligence. You are not illogical. You are not stupid. Being 'smart' is a total spectrum of behaviors; it is about balance — not just intellect. Your opinions matter, and you can even change them! You can say things that are completely wrong and still be a part of a legitimate dialogue. You can do things that are completely wrong and still be a part of a legitimate evolution. You are an amorphous being and can change your views, opinions, ideas, and beliefs at will and as frequently as you desire. You are allowed to be inconsistent, contradictory and unbound by conventions such as sanity, intelligence or making sense. When you reserve the right to total contradiction, you reserve the self-acceptance to be human.

"In every or any situation, regardless of the mitigating factors, you can always change your mind. If what you are thinking, saying or doing in response to any person or experience is not bringing you peace, change your mind! Changing your mind about anything or anyone transforms how those things or persons impact your life."
Iyanla Vanzant

Accepting a person who is not consistent is difficult because it means you cannot depend on them to have unchanging values and ideas, which is another way of saying you cannot "understand" them. People often want to "understand" others to "know their place" for strategic self-positioning, which is ultimately about control and safeguarding their advantage. If you make a big life-change it may literally shatter those around you because they can only accept and "love" you "their way." They may judge you as unstable, but really they are unstable, which is why they may fall-apart as you move forward. It is really their illusion of knowing and control that has ended. The inconsistent person is free, and freedom is really what people fear most. Who says you have to be the same person tomorrow that you are today? It is a ridiculous notion. Change is inevitable. Your personal and spiritual evolution will always be seen as a betrayal by those whose values you abandon. You have a right to change your values, beliefs, and ideas. The discomfort you feel when you attempt to change is just the social control that surrounds you becoming more obvious and bearing down on you. There is nothing more spiritual than freedom and it is very spiritual to violate old beliefs for new values.

"Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go. People are constantly changing and growing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person in the past. See that person now. Your relationship is always alive and changing."
Brian L. Weiss

We so easily sling judgements on others, yet we don't want judgements levied against us when we change our ideals. Everyone just wants acceptance. Accepting others is really about accepting yourself, because when you accept others you are freed from your own inner-conflict. When you quit judging others you can be your true-self, rather than being emotionally embroiled with other people's lifestyles and beliefs. Your spiritual journey is about freedom, but not just your freedom — everyone's freedom.

You are not responsible for other people's happiness

Quit trying to please everyone. Get this through your head — you are not responsible for other people's happiness. It is exclusively other people's responsibility to please themselves. Be authentic and please yourself, which is perfect for running-off the people who need to go, and bringing-in the people who should be in your life. We sure aren't taught this as children are we? When children are taught to be "good" and keep everyone happy, it teaches them that they have the impossible burden of being responsible for other people's happiness. It teaches them that other people's happiness comes before theirs, and they wrap that concept up in a suffocating package called, "not being selfish." And what do you get for this so-called, "not being selfish"? Acceptance — but sadly, a false acceptance for being someone you are not, which often leads to never learning self-acceptance. I didn't say it, but we have surely all heard it, "to thine own self be true." Get selfish and quit worrying about other people's happiness. You are responsible for your own happiness. Take care of yourself. If you try to make everyone happy, everyone will be happy but you. You will never make people happier than by being a happy person yourself. And it all begins with simple self-acceptance.

"It is not your job to make anyone else happy. You cannot please your parents. You can never please your children! Do what you do, to the best of your ability, with a loving intent, for the good of all involved."
Iyanla Vanzant

Quit faking perfect and be yourself

When you come eye to eye with a fully conscious person; you will never forget it. You may not even understand what happened or why you felt the way you did, but you will know something special happened. There was something in their eyes. That feeling is your soul calling you home and reminding you to reawaken from your slumber and come back into yourself. Sometimes it is a beautiful experience, and sometimes it is scary. Perhaps they see something more clearly than we do, and they tell us what they see and it offends us because we are being protective, defensive and territorial. But sitting with our feelings of being threatened is one of the fastest ways to heal and grow! When you feel offended or judged, it can be because you feel uncomfortable with yourself, and you are insecure about something that someone is calling to your attention. Some upset can be very good for us. Truth that exposes your denial can feel like judgment. If you feel yourself being judged, don't always trust those feelings. Look for what you may be denying about yourself. These feelings all inform you. Instead of shutting them out by reflex, just try to open yourself to what your feelings are really trying to communicate to you. Listen and learn from your reactions.

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
Kurt Vonnegut

So many people cover-up things within themselves. They smile when they really need to frown. They "laugh" nervously when they are uneasy and uncomfortable. They try to make it "all right" so everything can be "perfect" and "fine." We do this to be accepted. We do this because people guilt us into acting perfect. We fake perfect, so others don't have to experience any unpleasant realities, because their life is just as fake as ours. If some people came into contact with anything real they would be shocked out of their minds. This phony life builds-up inside of you until one day you erupt like a volcano, and you don't know why. But, some people don't explode, they implode. They fake perfect until they disappear forever and become someone else's version of who they "should" be. Either way it's a total loss of life. You are lost because you have not been honest with yourself, and your life is largely unexamined and unexerted. You have to do some thinking and know who you are, and then you have to resist compromising your truth for the comfort of others. Don't intentionally be rude, but be you. Some people will see you as an asshole because they don't understand honesty, integrity and honoring oneself. Witnessing honesty frightens some people because they haven't known authenticity in their own life. But really, your abrasion is the rub they may need to open themselves or at least cause them to think. In a world of sleepwalkers, an awakened mind is a teacher and a catalyst for new awakenings, whether they want to be or not. A moment of truth is very powerful. Instead of smiling to be polite, just frown. Instead of laughing when you are nervous or uncomfortable, just speak your truth. Instead of acting like everything is alright, proclaim it isn't alright, and talk about your feelings! Honor your truth. Honor yourself. Be real. If you can honor yourself and be real about your discomfort and pain, then your happiness will be just as real. If you can't be real and firm with others about who you really are, you will be doomed to a phony, plastic bullshit existence, where you only live for others. When you are real you can move through what ails you, instead of being stuck there forever in some sort of "Pleasantville" hell.

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."
Franz Kafka

There is nothing you will ever do that is more important than being honest about who you really are. As crazy as it may seem, most of us are not who we think we are; we are someone else's ideas. Two words: cultural conditioning. Our identities are tremendously warped and distorted by yesterday's trauma and tomorrow's expectations. The struggle to excavate your true, authentic self from beneath the mountain of conditioning and ridiculous expectation is the epic struggle of your lifetime. Most people are buried alive in a cultural and familial avalanche from the moment they are born, and are never seen or heard from again. Your number one mission in life is to be who you were intended to be. Nothing is more miserable than living a muted existence of inauthenticity. All pain in life comes from suppressing your true identity. You must begin to understand that this is your life; no one else's! This is your precious, wonderful, unique and brief moment in life! Please, I beg you, to at least be honest with yourself and be who you are. If you can't be who you really are then what is life but an unbearable lie? It is essential that you follow your own idea of passion, even if to others it looks like suffering. Refuse to be coerced. Resist the suppressive pressure to contract and instead expand in defiance. Resist and declare that you are alive; you are you, and you are unmasterable and beautifully broken in a fixed world.

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
Oscar Wilde

Almost all real spirituality is about connecting with your truth. Who you are is an expression of your version of a Higher Power. You insult every version of a Higher Power in existence when you live falsely, timidly and out of accord with your awesomely unique truth. There are different levels of consciousness and awareness. Every discipline of religion and psychology has their own version of this stratification. There are varying levels of spirituality, emotional maturity, and intellectuality. These levels effectively isolate us from one another. The higher realms can see and visit the lower realms, but the lower realms have difficulty seeing or visiting the higher realms. Ascension through all levels of consciousness and awareness can only happen when you live life as you, and not how others think you should live. How could self-realization possibly be anything other than being yourself? Taking advice is fine; by all means, be open-minded, but not to the point of allowing others to obliterate your uniqueness. Evolving and bettering yourself is wonderful, but not if the set of standards and values you adopt smother you into oblivion in the process. Your uniqueness is the greatest gift you will ever receive in life. Your uniqueness is the master key that unlocks the hidden treasures of your lifetime. Who you are is indispensable to yourself and others. You are worthless to others if you don't know your own self and self-worth. Claw your way out from your slumber. Look deeply within yourself; that is what they mean when they talk about "finding yourself" and "knowing yourself." And once you find yourself — exert yourself unapologetically and unconditionally. Expand into the fullness of you. Dare to simply own the space of your body. Own your space! This is your life! Be you. There is one clear urgency in your life that you must never neglect, and that is — you must be yourself.

"Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world."
Ramana Maharshi

You are moving in life toward a calling that pulls you ever forward

Primal doubts are the worst; I'm ugly, I'm fat, I'm not smart or good enough. The difficult thing is that no matter how inaccurate — primal doubts can seem very real — and what seems real is real in a psychosomatic sense. And, the world can indeed judge us very harshly, and those judgments can truly impact our lives in ways that are catastrophic to our self-image if we are not deeply secure in ourselves. But no matter how the world judges us, it's ultimately our inner demons that we contend with day-to-day; a fight no one can win for us, but ourselves. The battle takes place in the mind and is fought with our inherited and modeled skills, and our inner-voice.

I receive thousands of letters from people begging for help with their primal doubts; women with wounded hearts who hate their bodies; young girls with scars on their faces from accidents; people with a wandering eye or some imperfection that takes center stage in their own dialogue of personal tragedy that never seems to end. These letters weigh so heavily upon my heart. Sometimes I will go and look at the photos of the person who has sent me a message. I never see what they see. I gravitate toward the beauty in life. I don't see the scar. The scar is lost in the landscape of the total person; the smile, the laughter, the twinkling in an eye — the landscape of a person is so large that minor details are lost as the human being shines through. But, this is how I see the world; this is how I see people. Primal doubts are often based on a small reality that cannot be denied and is then amplified. You cannot argue with someone's loneliness. You cannot argue with someone's desperation when it is based on years of rejection. These are real problems. I want to reach out to them and show them what I see. But that's the problem; they don't see what I see.

"Comparison is an act of violence against the self."
Iyanla Vanzant

Comparison is always the beginning of the death of self-love. Comparison is a daily brutalization against the self-esteem. Comparison sets the mark on its daily measure toward inevitable failure, and inadequacy. It doesn't matter how beautiful you are because there is always someone more beautiful. It doesn't matter how intelligent you are because there is always someone more intelligent. It doesn't matter how much money you have because there is always someone with more money. It doesn't matter how successful you are because there is always someone more successful. You see, this is a game you can never win. It does not matter how real your perceived deficits are; what matters is how you give life to them and amplify them through comparison and judgment against yourself. You are the supreme adjudicator of worthiness in your life. You decide how satisfied you are with yourself; no one else. You must cease all viciousness toward yourself once and for all. You can only evolve beyond the vicious self-analysis and violent comparison to others through loving yourself. If you can silence your constant judging you can have deeper levels of love and friendship with others and yourself.

At the center of your being is a tender spirit of benevolence and goodness. Learning to love yourself is really a process of learning to trust this benevolence. There is beauty and strength in your animated spirit that defies death with each supporting breath. Even if you don't think you love yourself — you do. You live! You struggle! You move towards warmth and support. You have a tremendous will for life! You are moving in life toward a calling that pulls you ever forward. No matter what type of problems and dis-harmonies you have in life, there is a great benevolent force of goodness encouraging your journey. Don't be hobbled by the petty dramas of the world, or by comparison and illusions of inadequacy and insignificance. Never doubt the treasure of your matchless life. What is unique has no comparison. Be so loving to yourself. Allow the tender benevolence within you to be ever so generous and kind with your self appraisals. Self-kindness can be applied to your inner-relationship, like salve to the insecurities that arise within you. You have a great and innate ability to express love and kindness inward in a way that nurtures your own insecurities. You can chose to be merciful to yourself. You can begin with one simple acknowledgement of gratitude. Start with one kind thought about yourself this moment.

"Pause and remember— You are unique. You are special. Every mistake, trial and hardship has helped to sculpt your real beauty. Stop hating yourself and start appreciating and loving yourself!"
Jenni Young McGill

Love is not about finding the right person, but about being the right person

Listen, I know it is hard when you feel alone. There are many types of alone too. There is the type of alone where your life is empty with no real friends or loves. There is also the type of alone where your life is full of people, and yet you have no deep and meaningful connections or passion. Then there is the type of alone where people are coming and going and living their lives, and you feel like an invisible observer in an intersection, watching people who are happily passing by, living the life you think you want. Real loneliness can seem like a slow death, where you watch the flower of what you have to offer wilt, and the petals drop one-by-one unnoticed. Then there is the worst kind of loneliness; a feral type of desperation that leaps at every person who pays attention to you and will not let go. The healthy and happy people you want seem to run for their lives, while the damaged, lonely people grab on with equal desperation in a bizarre death-spiral into the darkest of the dark. But have you ever considered another type of loneliness; a good and healthy, happy loneliness? Do you dislike yourself so much that you can't stand to be around you? What? It's boring you say? Let me tell you, if you are bored it is only because you are a boring person. Oh, you just want some companionship? That seems reasonable. Are you a good companion to yourself? Loneliness is really a wonderful companion that can show us so much about ourselves and others. Loneliness will give you the greatest chance of ever having a beautiful relationship with another person.

If you put a couple in a room together, those two people, as the only creators in that room, have the power to create a literal heaven between those four walls. So why do so many people create a hell? Let's simplify and remove one of the people. Even one person, alone in a room will often create a living hell for themselves. They will fill the space with their doubts, fears, addictions, blame, worries and desperation. Have you ever been that person? Being alone will show you who you really are, and if you cannot get-on positively as the sole master of your space in that room alone, then you can absolutely forget about it after you add another person. You had better start practicing being happy when you are alone.

Nothing is worse than being constricted in passion, love, and raw potential, when life could be so rich and beautiful by working as a cooperative team with a loving companion. Not having a solid partner in your life can intensify life's struggle. You can only go so far alone. No one person can do it all. But to get a solid partner you have to be a solid partner. You can only attract and keep what you are, or lower. You must elevate yourself to the level of your higher hopes. Sure. You want to be touched, inspired and made to feel alive. But a relationship is like a bridge where you meet other people half-way. That means if you want to be touched, inspired and made to feel alive, you have to be touching, inspiring and bring the fire of your aliveness to the union of your companionship. You must live what you wish to receive. Because we are always growing, life compounds and magnifies what is already within us. If you are miserable you grow in misery, and if you are joyful you grow in joy. This makes self-love the perfect soil from which to grow love.

"At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one's lost self."
Brendan Francis

You see, people have some really crazy ideas about love, friends and relationships. They have the absurd belief that their friends, children, family, lovers and companions can make them happy. Love is by, for and about you, and it never had anything to do with another person. The love you bring to the table, is a way of living that you have been practicing in your life — and that love can be needy, controlling, selfish, conditional and desperate, or it can be confident, open, giving, unconditional, and secure. Your love capability is something you cultivate within yourself. Loving is like any other art-craft where the masters have carefully practiced and where the novices have languished in their carelessness. This is why some relationships look so beautiful, and some look so tragic — beauty belongs to the thoughtful; tragedy to the neglectful.

"The purpose of relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness."
Neale Donald Walsch

If your life is like a tragedy it is because you have been neglecting something — most likely yourself. All those happy people you see, they know something you don't know. They know about a balanced type of relationship where they are selfish for the sake of others. You have to learn how to take care of yourself. Who you need, is you. It was always about, and for, you. You're the one you've been looking for; you complete you. If you have never found yourself, the best place to look is in your loneliness, and rock-bottom is even better. Quit looking "out there" for that magical "something" or "someone" to come and rescue you from your tragic loneliness. Do you want to know what people love? People love passion; they love people who are happy in themselves; they love people who are going places and doing things; people love people who are confident and secure, but most importantly people love most those who love themselves. Love is not about finding the right person, but about being the right person. If you get love and attention that you are not ready for, it will not fulfill you the way you imagine. We sustain our loving relationships by loving ourselves. We are only fulfilled by love when we ourselves are filled with love. If you want the perfect relationship, start with the one you have with yourself. If you make it right with yourself, it will be right with the whole world.

"Pause and remember— Love is available to you the moment you are available to love."
Jenni Young McGill

You are the supreme authority on you

Never let anyone convince you of anything negative about yourself unless it is for your own betterment. And, if what they have said is true, then thank them and take it in for consideration. But unless someone is trying to help you, don't you dare, ever let anyone tell you who and what you are, because, on this planet, you are the unquestionable and supreme authority on — you. But it can be useful to ask yourself a few important questions. If you met your exact self as another person, would you like them? Would they be a good friend? Would they seem kind, generous and loving? Would they have time and patience, and invest in your friendship? Would you feel good in their presence? Would they make you laugh? Would you truly want to spend time with them? Would they be a good influence? Remember, no one on earth spends more time with you, than — you. Be a good friend to yourself. The best way to be a good friend to yourself is to be a good person. Be the kind of person you wish you had in your life, because who you are, is exactly who you've got.

"Pause and remember— No one is coming to rescue you from yourself; your inner demons, your lack of confidence, your dissatisfaction with yourself and life. Only self-love and good decisions will rescue you."
Jenni Young McGill

Developing a deeper appreciation for yourself

Life is precious, and you are alive. Each day the sun rises, and it is a glorious new day, and you are ALIVE. Do not put your life on hold, somewhere off into the future, where you dream you will allegedly, one day, be happy, fulfilled and on your path of purpose. The only moment you have guaranteed is this very moment right now. Quit saying the words, "one day." That day may never come. You have enormous power and enormous value. You can begin in this very moment living in the ways that humans were intended to live, which is to live in joy, happiness, with purpose, and free from fear, worry and doubt. Creatively visualize your future, and see yourself as a worthy and deserving participant of the abundance of your own design and value. The answers that you need are not in the external. They are IN you, as the unique value that is inherent in each unique soul. The value is inside of you. You can exercise choice in developing yourself and guiding your creative stream of energy in the world, in any way you desire. Every company has a human resources department because the only value in the created world and the real world, is the unique contributions that can only be made by a unique consciousness such as yourself. Realize your tremendous value and your unique contribution to the world. Look around you in this moment, and be happy and live with gratitude and joy. Live with desires, but not insatiable wants perpetuated by constant dissatisfaction. Develop a relationship and a deeper appreciation for your own unique self— the only YOU in the world.

Living Your Purpose

Live your true purpose and share your unique gifts with the world

When you are not on your path of purpose, you are sure to be miserable. You have a great responsibility to become the full expression of your true self, and to rise to the full measure of your unique potential. Every soul has a gift and greater purpose. When we suppress our desire to be true to our greater purpose in life, we can become depressed, and over time, we may even become physically ill. To deny the course of our own nature is a crime against our own humanity. Imagine a world where all the great achievers: artists, musicians, inventors, scientists, healers, and dreamers, never took the first step toward their dreams! The whole world would have been deprived. Don't deprive the world of your contributions. Live your life with worthy pursuits that are to the benefit of all people and that express your deepest and truest longings. There is only ONE YOU. Live your true purpose, and share your unique gifts with the world. What if living your purpose changed the world? What if living your purpose even changed one life?

Discovering your purpose in life

"Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose."
Dr. Steve Maraboli

It is easy to know your purpose in life because you choose your purpose in life. A purpose does not just happen; it is cultivated. A purpose does not come as a grand, all-encompassing and final solution or supreme-understanding. A purpose is more like a positive daily-grind, with gratitude and a smile. A purpose is nothing fancy and is not reserved for spiritual teachers, so-called geniuses or impassioned artistes. There is nothing more practical, down to earth and easily accessible as a purpose. You will find your purpose revealed in every single action, once you realize that — you — are your purpose. Your life is your purpose. We don't "get" a purpose. We are witnesses to the unfolding of our purpose as our purpose is revealed to us daily by how we live life. The people who seem to know their purpose are sometimes just more present in their own choices and more focused with their gifts; gifts all of us have — yes, even you. But your purpose isn't to merely craft and showcase your gifts. Your purpose is deeper than the busy-work of talent. Your purpose is with you at every moment. Your purpose is simply what you do each day. Your purpose is what you are experiencing in the living of your life. Your purpose is a great unfolding; a distinctive honor granted to all life — highest among those honors is the gift of freedom of thought and choice. The purpose of your life is the purpose you bring to it, choice by choice, and recognition by recognition. If you don't know your gifts, your gifts and purpose know you — and if you are open, you will not have to find them, because they will find you.

Let us shout, weep and sing,
  for every dark and bright thing.
Let us joy in the breath,
  for the minutes we have left.

If your life is not a love story then you are not living the life meant for you

The greatest success is to have a lightness in your heart, and to be completely at ease and comfortable by being exactly what you were created to be; your own unique and beautiful expression of the divine. The respect of intelligent people does not matter at all, neither does the appreciation of honest critics. Betrayal of false friends, criticisms, and all societal markers of so-called success are meaningless. When laying on your deathbed you will care very little what critics had to say, how much money you had in the bank, what type of car you drove, or, whether so-called smart and intelligent people respected you.

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
E.E. Cummings

Who you are is unique to all other consciousnesses that have ever lived on earth, or that shall ever live on earth. Relish with joy in the great gift of life, and in who you are. Be true to yourself. Dare to live as you really are, and never audit yourself, or bend, or lie, or be ashamed, or hide from who you really are. Your value comes exclusively from who you are as a unique soul. Be proud of who you are, and have no other needs or considerations, other than the joy that you have air in your lungs, and eyes to witness your own unique life as it unfolds. Life is a beautiful gift. You are a beautiful gift. Live the inner-life, have a smile in your heart, and know that the greatest purpose that you will ever have is simply daring to be yourself.

In a world that wants you to be something else, simply have the courage to be beautiful, and let your heart's unbridled truth flow and move upon each person you encounter. In one transformative quickening, you are freed from the tyranny of self-doubts, simply by seeing and acknowledging the treasure of your own soul. When you truly see yourself, it will be love at first sight. You are such fineness. There is such quality in your life. No substitute can ever compete with your matchless qualities. Every peace of mind you ever sought begins by forgiving yourself and loving yourself. It all starts with the way you see yourself. If you cannot see your own beauty, then you are not looking with honest eyes. If your life is not a love story, then you are not living the life meant for you.

"Pause and remember— Every morning is a new page in the story of your life. You are creating your life at every moment. Think wisely about the day you want to create for yourself."
Jenni Young McGill

Your purpose, your passion, and your destiny

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Ferdinand Foch

Having a purpose is one thing, but the quickening is a total animation of passion. After becoming mindful that your purpose is unique to you; that your unmatched spirit is an emerging expression of the fingerprint of life — the power of "awe" may occur to you. This "awe" leads to gratitude and perhaps even enthusiasm. When recognition of your unique value is enjoined with awe, gratitude, and enthusiasm — this is when the FIRE happens. The fire is a quickening of passion; a white-hot reverence for the simple gift of living. It quickens your soul and ignites a sequence that was written into your heart and your DNA. That sequence is called, your destiny. When you are set on fire, and your mind and heart burn with appreciation, your total intelligence galvanizes into one electric, master-expression. Through this expression, you become the supreme architect of your own unfolding, and the passion in your heart burns so brightly that the blaze is felt and seen by everyone who comes near you. Brightly burning passion is the releasing of your essence, your specialness and your gifts to the world. Every person has a destiny and a gift, but not everyone releases their gift fully. There is no greater sensation of consciousness than to expend yourself completely through the quickening fires of passion. The animating fire of life is merely a total devotion to living. Devote yourself to living completely and sharing your unique brilliance. There is no such thing as a person without brilliance. One passionate heart can brighten the world. From person to person the chain reaction burns through us — setting heart to heart ablaze, and lighting the way for us all!

"I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money (not for purpose or passion) — has turned himself into a slave."
Joseph Campbell

We only truly understand what we experience

There is a huge difference between learning about truth and experiencing truth. Touch the source. Your mind can take in endless pearls of wisdom, and your mouth can repeat them, but until you have essential experience — you only have noise. Talking and listening are nothing without understanding. We only truly understand what we experience. When people have understanding they tend to be quieter and seek quietness. Consider the possibility that many of the things you hear and say are utter nonsense and meaningless repetitions of noise. Cut it all out. Quit getting your information second hand. Take any concept, lesson, story, book, quote or conversation and look for a way to touch its source of origin — which is always through direct experience alone.

The Gift of Life

Developing a foundation of amity and goodwill toward all life

I remember in vivid detail the moment each of my daughters were born into life's keeping. Two things about that moment had a true, lasting impact on me. What I consider most awe-inspiring was their very first amazing and miraculous breath, and with that breath the animations of life and their helpless, compelling cries. I have thought intently about it over the years, about its profound implications on my understanding of the mysterious world around us and ultimately about its beauties. The second thing that has continued to impact me is that as this happened — in that instant of their springing into being — I helplessly wept tears of utter and absolute humility and joy as a witness to the sacred gift of life and creation. Each time I think about the moment of their births, it poignantly reminds me that I have, continue, and will forever cherish each breath and every beat of their precious hearts. My children's births forever command me to accept that each soul I encounter also once took that first breath, and was — and is — a beautiful child at heart. Basic respect for life is the foundation for treating all people and all life with the utmost dignity. The gift of life carries in its compelling innocence an implied mandate to protect all life, and this is the noble striving of respect.

Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons. Respect is the most generous and wise teacher you will ever have in your life. But you cannot learn from what you dominate because anything you suppress, you also smother and silence what it had to teach you. Anyone you seek to control you secretly despise; this includes your children, companions and yourself. The spirit of control is supremely hateful. The nightmare spirit of control has always been, and is, profoundly stupid.

"Complete and unqualified respect is and must be the foundation stone of any mutually satisfying relationship, and must be the basis from which we enter into relationships with our children. Without it, we all inevitably end up in humiliation and disgrace. ... I think adultism — treating young people with less than complete respect — is grounded in a fundamental distortion in how we see and experience the nature of the world and especially the nature of human beings ... we carry a heavy load of shame about our nature and a horrible wound from being torn apart from our naturally complete interconnectedness with all of life. The sum total of our experience has resulted in an awful misunderstanding about the nature of being human. Incredibly, we are pulled to view our children as inherently lazy, irresponsible, stupid and manipulative in the worst sense of these words. So we justify disrespectful attempts to control or punish them as necessary to shape them properly or correct their brutish, natural tendencies; all this is done 'for their own good,' of course."
John Breeding, Ph.D.

In many ways, we live in a domination culture, where what is often called love is really suppression. Those with the spirit of domination are the most psychologically and spiritually crippled. Love has nothing to do with control, and people who are obsessed with control have neither self-control nor love for themselves or others. What they hate is their own lack of self-control, so they control you. What people who try to dominate you hold in utmost contempt is your refusal to be controlled; stunted, they must stand upon you to reach the height their underdeveloped psyche has never attained. They are no different from any tyrant. The more control they try to exert on others, the more they are out of control in their inner life as an immature and diminutive being. Your obedience will earn the trappings of their deceptive rewards of protection and affection, but it will never grant you freedom. Freedom is the one thing the dominative personality can never offer, because it is only a freedom with conditions, expectations, rewards and punishments — which is not freedom at all, but bondage. Real respect is more concerned with your freedom than your obedience. Real love gives without expectation, while hate carries an endless tally of debts. Hate controls everything it touches, but love sets everything it touches free. Love is not about others; love is a practice of self-mastery. Mature and loving beings desire to create a space of safety and freedom for everyone and everything in their presence. A loving person will master himself and contract, to open the space for another to expand and be free in his presence. The more mature and loving you become, the more you become concerned with people and creatures less powerful than you, and the more careful and gentle you become with their handling.

The idea of children as individuals — independent from their parents, isn't commonly considered in our society. Rather, they are considered necessarily subordinate to parents because of their very limited life experience. Less appealing, but no less common, is a tendency to view offspring as a legacy of patriarchy; from there, it's a short distance to children being treated as possessions. Our children and family members are individuals, not hereditary keepsakes. We do not own them, and they do not belong to us; we can only know them. They belong to the world and to themselves, and for a brief period in this ephemeral existence, we have the privilege to share time with them, and to serve them and their needs.

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."
Khalil Gibran

Your children do not belong to you. They are not a property or a possession. They are not here for you to command, but are in need of your considerate guidance. Children possess wisdom that most adults have long forgotten. How you treat (or even consider) your children and others less powerful, reveals a lot about you. For example, when you harshly punish a child, and they resist, and you push against their resistance with even more punishment — you are actually pushing against yourself. This is your imbalance that the child is showing you, as an emotional mirror to yourself. The struggle originated with you, and while amplified and escalated, your original act of force is the source issue — not what you considered to be the child's misbehaviour. These cycles of vying for control and domination tend to escalate. Many adults who become angry with their children, and punish and blame them, are actually themselves the unknowing sources of the child's behavior. What they believe they despise in the child, they unconsciously despise within themselves. They create what they hate within the child. Children and animals are psychological mirrors that allow us to see and understand ourselves; they reflect back our psychological energies. Violence instructs to violence; calm instructs to calm. Your message means less than the way the message is delivered, because in actuality, the way the message is delivered, IS the message. How we treat any being less powerful than ourselves, is a startlingly clear window into our personal nature.

It is important to remember that a child's problems are every bit as big as yours. The troubles children have on the playground are just as valid and stressful as the problems you are facing at work. Children have all the same emotional challenges as adults, but without the benefit of experience or advanced emotional tools to cope. Children are small and less powerful, and we must take great care to not squash their spirit with heavy-handed and careless leadership. Domination styled communication with children suffocates their confidence. They may seem to perform on command at the moment, but they are ultimately being crippled for independent life in the future. There is a difference between oppressive instruction and natural self-construction. We want children to organically assemble themselves into confident stature with our respectful and limited guidance, not to be forcibly stacked block-by-block into statues of our limited thinking, oppressiveness, and insecurity.

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think."
Margaret Mead

It is important to create an atmosphere of safety, openness, and trust for children. Domination and the fear it fosters corners children into subconsciously adapting deceptive survival strategies or withdrawing into themselves to hide. If you don't ever treat children with dignity, they will never be able to practice being a dignified person. We only teach a child inner dignity when we treat them as dignified individual beings — that is to say, they become dignified by practicing the behaviors that you offer them by treating them with dignity. By suffocating a child with oppressive command and control, we teach children to believe and act as though they are powerless. When teaching anyone a boundary, they learn less from the enforcement of the boundary, and more from the way the boundary is established. Forcing good behaviour is itself bad behaviour. You can only teach good behavior by living it.

"A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy."
Astrid Lindgren

If you are humble, you will always learn the most from whatever you perceive to be less powerful than you. It doesn't matter what or who it is: children, a mate, animals, plants or a blade of grass — everything and everyone is a teacher, if you are a humble student. Progress and healing involves seeing every person as not so different from ourselves. We can show love and respect by cultivating and extending freedom to those we care about, but this process must begin with self-respect and self-love, and then flow outward to others. When you walk through life considering each moment as a practice of respect, you are moving closer to your attainment of deeper levels of spiritual and psychological fullness. When you give respect and freedom, you become a cherished source of love to others; they will look to you and see you as a reservoir of safety and security. From the simple practice of respect, you will begin to receive the greatest gift; a foundation of amity and goodwill toward all life.

Every person's true identity is beautiful

Every person's true identity is beautiful, and much of the ugliness we observe in others was put inside of them by external influences. We all know the true beauty of people everywhere, because we have all looked into the eyes of children and saw ourselves looking back. When someone is suffering, there is a deep, visceral reaction in the core of our being, a flood of empathy and a frightfully desperate compulsion to give aid. When we see a person in physical crisis laying with a broken body and their blood pouring out, our deepest, most urgent instinct is to rush to them, and put our hands upon their wounds and comfort them. When someone is emotionally upset and crying, nothing is right in our own world. Our truest nature is to be helpful to others and to protect and love them. We care about people, and delight in seeing others happy and safe. We see this on a large scale in the aftermath of a catastrophe; the world population is deeply touched by the images of suffering, and many rush to help either financially or in person, when there is a tragedy. This is who we really are. When we see someone laughing, our spirits rise, and the laughter comes pouring into our own souls, and we find ourselves helplessly smiling. When we witness someone commit an act of kindness or selflessness, our emotions are stirred and we are touched by the high, noble spirit of what we know is the greatest truth — that we care about others, and delight in seeing others happy and safe.

"See the World through the eyes of a child."
Lisa Williams

Within each person is the miracle of a unique consciousness unlike any other in the universe. Within you, you will find everything you need to be complete. Within you is the power of unlimited creation. Within each of us is the enormous creator potential. We must seek together to address the good aspirations of people everywhere, for we are bound together through great commonality. There is a deep interconnectedness of all life on Earth, from the tiniest organisms to the largest ecosystems, and absolutely between each person, no matter their cultures or traditions. We have a tremendous opportunity as individuals to be kind, loving and considerate to others. We possess the choice of turning away from the lower self, and reaching for the higher mind. We possess a clarifying and self-defining moment of chance to give others the greatest comfort they can have during their journey. The beginning of all hope starts with respect.

Everyone who has an abiding reverence for the sanctity of life wants to promote as much safety and support for people as possible. We are the world, both the good and the bad. We are responsible for what we are creating. Even the cultural momentum that is sculpting us through our values, politics, entertainment, literature and art was and is our creation. It comes from us, and it is us. The full mantle of responsibility is on our shoulders, and the great thing about life — the most magnificent thing about being these sentient human beings — is that we have been given the power of choice. We can change the world one thought at a time, one act of respect and kindness at a time and one soul at a time. Let the change begin with your choices this very moment. You are creating through your choices, even now. When you close your eyes to what apparently "is," and look inward to the infinite truth of what is possible through choice and imagination, you will discover vast landscapes of uncharted territory, clear open spaces for all people to exist together in harmony. We can build these beautiful visions together, through respect. The essential respect is the one in your own heart for yourself. The expansion of your own consciousness, capacity for love, humility and compassion — this is the path; this is the way.

Have respect for the great and magnificent source that created you

The purpose of this message is not to provide you with a belief system. You were created, and you do exist. Rest your mind for a moment in the peace of knowing you were created, and you do exist. Do not quarrel or restlessly seek for more knowledge, until you have given proper honor to what you already know. You exist. No matter the source of our creation let us give honor to that source. Pause your opinions, debating and absolute knowing for long enough to conceive gratitude. Once you conceive the thought of gratitude, hold it safely in your mind and keep the gratitude thought alive. Allow the thought of gratitude which is in your mind, to submerge into a feeling in your heart. Once you feel the warmth of genuine gratitude glowing in your heart, allow it to grow within you. You are alive in the world just like that thought. Do not let the gratitude thought fade away. Gratitude is where self-love begins!

Give honor to your source by having an abiding respect and reverence for life. There is no room for reverence in a mind fettered with ceaseless query. In reverent pauses, when we slow down and think about the gift of life, we may briefly touch humility. Life is so humbling when we slow down and witness the gifts. The gifts of life are everywhere. There are too many gifts to count. Should we try to account for all the gifts of life, there would be no time for distress and uneasiness. Slow down and look for the beauty within all things.

"If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough."
Meister Eckhart

Start with gratitude for the gift of awareness, which allows you to pay honor to all life. Notice you are breathing right now. Become aware of your breath. How sacred and wonderful is each breath? Life is so kind. We do not need to beg, "may I have another breath?" Become aware of how you are sustained and supported at this moment. Even discomfort or pain delivers awareness of life, and an opportunity for gratitude.

Life is nothing short of a phenomenon. In every sense life is mysterious and unfathomable. Life is so big. Do not try to fill it. Instead, expand within. You are enough for you. Be grateful for yourself. Be grateful that you are you. You will never know anyone more intimately than yourself. Love yourself and be good to yourself. You are unique and beautiful. You always were beautiful, and you always will be beautiful. The child you once were lives on within you unchanged. Allow yourself to expand deep within your consciousness to remember the beloved child who is so worthy of love; that child is you.

You were created, and you do exist. Let your existence be enough for a moment. Focus on the tremendous gift of life. Raise a smile in your heart for the glorious Source that created you. Pay dear homage to that generous source; the river of life from which we flow. In moments of reverence and quiet communion, give offerings of your overflowing thanks. You have received the gift of life!

"Thank you" is an attitude you carry in your heart. "Thank you" has blessed me endlessly and is my privileged state of mind.

The reason you can accomplish something is because you already had it within you

It is good to have a dream, as long as the dream does not have you. Ambition can form an impenetrable barrier for those who fail to acknowledge what they already are. Nothing grows in the shadow of want without the sunlight of acknowledging your fullness. You already have and are complete; your value is intrinsic. The reason you can accomplish something is because you already had it within you. Our value is mirrored back to us through success only when we share the treasure we already are. The first step to sharing ourselves is simply acknowledging. Acknowledge your gifts. Acknowledge your blessings. Acknowledge your contentment. When you are constantly waiting and wanting, your declaration is that you are NOT. When you accept your value and have gratitude you are declaring your worthiness of further receivership. Our receiving expands with our gratitude.

Being, is a graceful act, whereas brute will-power and endless craving can be destructive and inhibiting. Healthy surrender means allowing yourself to "be," rather than being in a constant state of want. When you focus on want, you become an endless cycle of wants. Heavy want can become an insatiable obsession and lust; even greed. Want is small and will make you small. Want is needy and will make you needy. Want, and belief in lack, shrink your opportunities. Want is an empty void — your real value is full and abundant. Want is always hungry and searching, whereas contentment is steady, calm and receiving. Don't be so busy wanting and seeking that you never realize you already have and are; you are your destination. Relax and empty your mind of doubt and want. Empowerment comes from self-realization and recognition of our internal gifts, which we already have in abundance. Some people, unfortunately, stay in a state of paralysis; in an endless cycle of want. The secret is in realizing your internal gifts and then setting them free. If you don't know your calling or gifts yet, don't worry, your gifts and purpose know you — and if you are open you will not have to find them, because they will find you.

Be open to your potential and cultivate your highest expression of value from deep within. Your acceptance of your worth and your earnest expression of your gifts is a way to share the best of yourself with others. There is a profound connection between your cultivated identity and your opportunities. Who you truly are is actually the state of your worthiness for receivership. Opportunity is not going to chase you down. Opportunity will always meet you exactly where you stand. Opportunities of integrity will meet you in your stand for integrity. Opportunities of generosity will meet you in your practice of generosity. You will always receive what you are equal to. Everything you want starts inside of you with how you feel about yourself and how you treat yourself. No one can set your level of worthiness except you. Quit aspiring and dreaming and start being. To get, simply release, and then gently invite. Success is simply a state of acceptance.

Beauty speaks to us in moments

Sometimes we look to others for a message to remind us who we are, but really we are all messengers who have just forgotten. We are all messengers carrying the same message; it is a message from God which is saying with each heartbeat, "I love you." Life favors life — isn't it so obvious, that what is in you wants to continue? That longing you feel inside of you to live is your great purpose expressing itself. Life unfolds with such a deliberate grace of purpose that we hardly realize what we have become; something so incredibly spectacular.

Life is an illusion which wisely prevents you from seeing yourself fully, because if we could see ourselves fully we would be paralyzed in awe by our own sublime design. But from time to time the illusion weakens, and we get a glimpse of that profound beauty. We have all felt it. Perhaps it was the way a child spoke to us, and we marveled as they became our teacher. Perhaps we sensed a living static in the air before a storm or while the wind blew across the forest, where patterns and sounds spoke to us with a mystical sense of meaning that we could not understand. In spiritual moments we nearly perceive a grand, divine conspiracy of interconnectedness between us and everything. Perhaps you have caught a gleam in a stranger's eye — a spark of strange kinship, and though they looked ordinary, you saw their unusual beauty. Maybe in that rare moment, you even considered that such a rare beauty could also be in you. Beauty speaks to us in moments, and then we forget. I wish I could convince you or somehow show you how truly marvelous and beautiful you are, but I can't. But, from time to time, in the moments when you need it most, you will be touched, and you will remember your own beauty.

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders."
Andrew Harvey

You are nothing less than a miracle!

You are the forward edge of life's advancement; in this moment in time you are the finest expression of life's brilliance. All of history has pointed its refining focus to your life this moment. You are the culmination of all that ever was. You are the highest point of the vast pyramid of history and of your own life. Eons of suffering, brutality and struggle have paved the way through the corridors of time to create this moment, where you exist as an exalted expression of life. Life is ever reaching for strength, vitality, survival and the fulfillment of perpetuating its inherent message of continuance. You are that reach! Nature has placed you on the throne of royalty as the heir of all life that preceded you. Did you not inherit the Earth and all of life? You are the grand estate and administrator of — now. Do not squander your endowment. Dare not surrender to weakness you divine creation! Stand-up! You are the apex, the zenith, and the capstone. Your power and brilliance is the most awesome force life could muster. Do not forget or take for granted the splendor of your majesty. Your mind, your motion and your expression is an animation to marvel and to praise. All of life and history is holding you on its shoulders so you can stretch one atom further. Seize this moment and feel the glory of life's gift coursing in your deepest sinews. Relish in this moment. Be astounded. You are nothing less than a miracle!

"A soul who can be amazed is most likely a soul who amazes others. It is because you are astounded that you are astounding. It's called gratitude."
Susan Young

Positive Thinking

Your future begins with your next thought

If you are unhappy with your life and the state of the world, the best place to start changing things is within yourself. Sometimes your evolution involves changing your behaviors and habits, but more often the essential changes that need to be made are merely with your own attitudes. Your attitudes lie at the heart of any possibility for changing your life. Your attitudes are literally seeds for the growing of your future self. Your attitudes contain your future. Attitudes are like the DNA of your future life — they are the blueprints for assembling the person you will become.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes."
William James

If your attitudes are good, then your world will be better. Difficulties are more likely to recede and diminish with a favorable and hopeful attitude. But even if your adversity persists, you will certainly be carried more gently through the tumult by calm and constructive attitudes. Look in your disappointments for the resolve to transform your experiences into solutions. Your attitudes are slowly shaping you at all times and calling your deepest truths to the surface of your reality.

Positive attitudes are concerned with possibilities, whereas negative attitudes are obsessed with focussing on the unlikely. Where negative attitudes repel opportunities, positive attitudes open possibilities. Bias can work for or against you. Positive attitudes qualify you for positive experiences. Hopefully and devoutly focus on your greater possibilities. Hopeful thoughts needn't be limitless in scope. Any good is good enough. Positive thinking needn't be thought of as selfish or exclusively serving the self. When you live positively it is impossible to not also be living for something greater than yourself, because when you transform yourself, your change impacts the lives of many other people for the rest of your life.

Changing yourself changes everything. Your attitudes reflect back your exact possibilities. Every experience is seen through your mind's eye, so when you change your mind you change your entire world. There is no such thing as a non-subjective world to a subjective mind. Opportunity will only meet you in the domain of your chosen attitude. You will always receive what your attitudes insist of your worthiness. To alter the universe, alter your thoughts, because the only universe you will ever know is in your mind. This is why changing your mind and your attitude can move you into what seems like another dimension. Paths materialize exposing a hidden world that was there all along. Your future begins with your next thought. A more beautiful world is just one thought away, but when that thought fades, hope fades with it. A more beautiful world becomes more visible and permanent with each reaffirming thought. Hold the vision of that beautiful world for yourself first. Think positively and lovingly about yourself. Look for the beauty you seek first within yourself. Once you find your positive vision, then share the victory of your loving attitudes with everyone you meet, through your calm and generous successes.

Your struggles seem to be external, but we are always destroyed from the inside out

The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. The worst verbal abuse comes from our own tongue. The most negative influence is the devil on our own shoulder. The cruelest judge is the one staring back in the mirror. The person really withholding the love you need is you. No one will ever out-do you at playing mind-games. You must stop doing this to yourself! The universe is calling you to heal, not to agonize over your mistakes. Quit overthinking; this is what surrendering really means. Don't focus on negativity and don't even obsess about "fixing" things or yourself. Don't force "positive thinking." These things can be psychological irritants. Just leave yourself alone! When you pick at things they never heal. Just relax and give yourself some time.

Remember that you are the angel of your own life. Look past your ugly thinking; your fears, mistakes, worries, and doubts. Your struggles seem to be external, but we are always destroyed from the inside out. The way you transcend your challenges is by listening to the inner-guide within you. Your good judgment, your discernment, your kind thoughts and your own loving heart — in service of your highest good — is the angel you have been looking for to deliver you. The moment you accept your own beauty and power is the moment your deliverance begins.

"Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."
Henry Miller

The way to begin to truly see beauty in yourself is to begin to see beauty in all of life, and to realize you are connected to life, and that you are a part of life's great beauty. Believing in your own inner-beauty as a wondrous and unique being will begin to shift your perspectives about the world from cynicism to reverence. If you cannot immediately change your external circumstances, start with your words. We are all constructed out of our self-dialogue. Start with your inner-voice. Your inner-dialogue has a profound impact on your life. Make sure your ritual is not a daily prayer for failure through negative self-talk, ruminations, and gossip. Understand and challenge your personal narrative. Narratives become choices and actions — which become your life. Choose thoughts that give you the emotions of feeling alive and excited about life. Make a truce with your inner-voice and speak ever so kindly and respectfully of yourself. What you talk about you anchor yourself to, so if you want to change your life — change your dialogue. Making peace with your negative inner-voice is like making peace with a great enemy. Your inner-voice can become a protector and champion of your life. You give life to your problems with your words. If you really want change, then begin to use your words to give life to solutions. Your struggle is your strength. If you can resist becoming negative, bitter or hopeless, in time, your struggle will give you everything.

Beneath the suffering we are all the same vast beings

This life can be brutal, but it is never harder than when you feel alone. Aloneness is one of the great illusions of the world. When we feel alone, we forget our great commonality. We can then become pessimistic or fatalistic about life. You are not alone, and there is so much goodness in the world. Our goodness is so resilient and ever wanting to express and serve. You can escape from ugliness and flee to reverence, beauty, and awe. Seek out spiritual communion with nature and different ideas and people. Strive to develop your understanding of the universal human struggle for peace and existence on this planet. It is amazing how huge problems shrink as our awareness expands. As you expand yourself, you will realize that you are not so different from others in your suffering, wishes and hopes. Beneath the suffering we are all the same vast beings, and if you look deeply enough you will discover that you love people, and you care, even for people with whom you disagree or don't understand. The sweetness in life did not go away; we turned our backs on her. Turn away from the ugliness and reunite with beauty. You have to want the beauty of life really bad, and you have to take action and look for it. You have to become a beauty seeker. You may not realize it yet, but someone, somewhere in the future needs you, and you have something great to offer others in this life. You are never alone.

"We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community."
Dorothy Day

If you want to be happy you must become a happiness seeker

People often say they just want peace and happiness. You hear it from people all the time, "I just want to be happy." But really, some of these people don't want to be happy; it's a flat-out lie or a self-delusion. If they wanted happiness, they would have it. The truth is, we have what we want already. I know you will be tempted to blame everything outside of yourself for your woes, but it just isn't true. Sure, it's true that there is ugliness "out there," but happiness is absolutely something available inside of you — and it's available right now. If you are waiting for things in your life to align themselves so you can be happy, then you are likely in for some serious disappointment. Looking to the external for happiness is like a drug addiction; you are always looking for an external fix to sooth your withdrawals of depression when things aren't going well. It is a form of self-medicating something deeper and unresolved. Look, if you aren't happy, it's because you simply don't want to be. The mentally-ill and small children aside, you are responsible for your own happiness. Don't act pitiful and helpless. You do have choices even when your limiting beliefs insist that you don't. The most insubordinate obstacle you will encounter is your own limited thinking. How long are you going to keep waiting for happiness to come your way? I guess you're waiting for happiness to knock your door down and drag you out of your x-year-long streak of "bad luck." You may live in a harsh world at times, but you can have a beautiful inner-life, and a beautiful outer-life always begins with a beautiful inner-life.

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."
Albert Camus

Many have said that happiness is an inside job, but be sure to put some emphasis on the word "job." First, accept that you have responsibility in your own happiness. Stop blaming the world, your past, bad luck or other people. Accept the fact that you have some power and choices in your life. Then begin to use your power and choices. Happiness takes practice. It starts with deciding that such a thing even exists, or can exist for you. Then you have to decide that you should have some. Then you have to start looking for it. Chances are that you have opportunities for happiness right under your nose that you haven't even noticed. When we become open to happiness and are more mindful, we begin to notice happiness in moments. Happiness is not a permanent state. Happiness is not a thing we achieve. We do not find the secret to happiness, and then everything is just great. Happiness comes in moments, between sad moments and everyday ordinary moments. Happiness is there for you to notice and reach for and touch. If you want to be happy you must become a happiness seeker. You have to think about happiness, look for the happiness, seize the happiness and believe with all of your heart that you deserve happiness.

Pause and remember— Every situation in life is temporary. So, when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully. And when life is not so good, remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way.
Jenni Young McGill

Weathering the dark clouds of worry and doubt

Worrying is simply another form of meditation and manifestation. Worry is a sickness; an illness and affliction. Worrying is a misappropriation of a powerful mind, that should otherwise be spent focused on positive and beautiful acts of creation. While the feeling of worry can be a useful messenger to be listened to, excessive worry is a destructive bad habit. In all pursuits of self-betterment, habituation is one of the most important concepts that needs to be understood. Many people who have a worried mind, only worry because they have habituated themselves and their minds to be instruments of worry. The human mind is like a blank computer, into which any software can be written and run. Over time, the human mind's self-written programs will run automatically, and without thought or choice. When "bad things" happen in life, a person always has a choice how they choose to respond to that event. We cannot always control the things that happen to us in life, but one of the very few things we do have control of, is how we choose to respond to the situations and events that occur in our lives. When a person continually chooses to worry and engage in meditations of doubt, which is an act of faithlessness, over prolonged exposure to this choice, a person's mind becomes deeply habituated to this debilitated way of thinking.

"With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose."
Dr.Wayne Dyer

Many of the great mastermind thinkers throughout history have known that we become our thoughts. It is important that when a situation moves into your life, which may cause you to worry, that you choose to exercise the discipline to not engage in the very destructive meditations of worry. Excessive worrying is a sign of an undisciplined mind. It is a form of weakness, recklessness, and self-indulgence in negativity, and it is very dangerous. The human mind is the most powerful instrument on earth. The occupations of your mind should be your primary concern. There are better things your mind could be doing; much more constructive things that a powerful instrument of creation such as your mind could do with its time, rather than simply meditating on negativity.

In order to understand the nature of worry, it is important to understand the nature of human emotions. Sadly, most people do not understand their own emotions. Most people, when asked, say they believe they are subject to their emotions, rather than their emotions being subject to them.

Human emotions are like weather patterns. For example, let's talk about suspicion, doubt, self-doubt, judgment, worrying, anger or any other destructive thinking patterns. First, I would like to let you know that there is no such thing as perfection, and it is okay for you to have negative thoughts. It is okay for you to have angry thoughts and it is just fine for you to even have judgmental thoughts. All human beings have these thoughts come upon them throughout the course of their lives. For example, let's say that you're standing in the grocery line getting ready to check out. And let's say that the person in front of you has a voice and demeanor that grates upon your being. Without your choosing, suddenly like a storm cloud that appears in the sky, emotions of judgment or negativity may begin to form in your mind. This is normal, and it does not mean that you are a bad person. However, what happens next is the most crucial and important decision-making process and point of empowerment that will ever happen in your life. At the instant in which these emotions and thoughts begin to form in the mind, we each have a choice at that moment whether or not to give power to these thoughts. We have a choice to continue to entertain these thoughts and feelings by giving them the power of our attention, or we can choose to not entertain the thoughts. There's an old Indian story about a young boy who went to his tribal elder and told him that he felt like there were two wolves engaged in a ferocious battle inside of him. He said that one wolf was good, and the other was bad, and that these two wolves constantly fought. He asked the elder, "which wolf will win"? The elder responded, "the wolf you feed the most will win the battle." The thoughts that we feed by giving them our energy, time and attention will always win.

When the dark clouds of doubt, anger or worry begin to move upon you, steady yourself in the knowledge that in time, the storm will pass. Emotions are transient and temporary. But, the more one has engaged in a particular pattern of thought, the more difficult it becomes to override these habitual patterns, which is why it is very important for you to immediately begin using your power of choice, to feed the good wolf, or the higher-mind. Habit can be your worst enemy, or your best friend. Over time, one can habituate their mind to higher vibrational thought patterns. The mind can be habituated to feelings of compassion, gentleness, empathy, and even calmness and confidence in the face of uncertainty and tribulation. Your future begins with your next thought. Even now as you read this, the power is completely yours. The next second belongs to you, and no one can control how you choose to think at any time. No one can make you feel any certain way. Only you choose how you feel or how you react to the situations of life. This is a most empowering concept. Worrying is a victim's state of mind. Worry is the opposite of power. Worrying is a state of helplessness, weakness, and victimization. Choice is the antidote to worry, because in that moment of worry, you can choose to respond to the situation with confidence, faith, surrender, and humility. You can choose at that moment to commission your mind, which was previously subdued by the debilitating thoughts of worry, into the service of formulating solutions you need to free yourself from your troubles. Your mind wants to work for you! Allow your mind to serve you. This is mindfulness — observing your mind and taking control over where it places its attention.

"Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything."
Ernest Hemingway

A calm mind at peace is the most effective tool. We do not have control over what happens to us in life, but we do have control over how we chose to respond to those situations, and that is so empowering and wonderful. When you are worried, it is at that moment you must choose to not worry at all, freeing your creative mind and spirit to solve your problems instead.

"Pause and remember— Everyone gets discouraged and feels lost at times. Don't worry — life will get better. A new way is being made for you. Keep moving forward even if it's just baby steps."
Jenni Young McGill

Awaken to your power and the voice of truth

You cannot always trust your inner-voice. Often, your inner-voice is not really yours. You are not who you think you are; you are someone else's ideas. If you are unaware that you have been severely conditioned from birth, then you have been conditioned right out of your own mind. A great deal of fear has been intentionally put into people. Fear is like a virus you can transmit with words. Once fear has been ingested by your consciousness it can paralyze your mind and even cause physical illness. Fear is a common tool of control. We are so immersed in fear that we have accepted it as normal. It is often invisible. But the signs are there if you look for them: anxiety, uneasiness and a malaise of nagging feelings that things are not right — and always, always — the voice. The false-voice loves to create confusion and interrupt common sense. The false-voice portrays timidity as safety. The false-voice presents meekness and sheepishness as civility. The false-voice speaks of consequence but never of constitution. The false-voice whispers of loss and regret, but never of the hidden beauty in the moment. The false-voice ruminates over jealousy and makes you insecure. When you are feeling strong, the false-voice reminds you of past ordeals, and takes you back to re-live the anxiety and trauma, over and over. Some call this voice, the Devil. Some call it limiting-beliefs or insecurity; endless chatter that you are no-good, incapable, inadequate, undeserving or unlucky. In psychology, they may associate it with a negative Jungian animus or a malicious Freudian superego. Whatever the dark bastard is, we all know that awful voice. The false-voice is a master doubt-whisperer. The false voice is a world-class liar with one mission; to show you your brief moments of fragility and persuade you that you are forever weak.

Let me explain exactly why there are people, institutions and forces who are actively trying to use fear to persuade you that you are weak; it is because you are staggeringly POWERFUL! People have forgotten how powerful they are; they have been distracted, and a bit domesticated, at least on the surface. If you have forgotten yourself, allow me the pleasure of reminding you. Do you think a mountain lion is powerful and dangerous? Let me tell you something — you are dangerous. A human being is infinitely more powerful and dangerous than a mountain lion. Your will, your mind, your heart, your body; your total intelligence orchestrated into one razor-focused determination IS the hungry eye of the tiger. There is a fierce concentration inside of you; dormant — it is in your blood. It is the strength of your ancestors. It is the hammer and anvil of eons which struck the hardened steel of your spirit into a weapon of survival. You are a weapon. People deny their own strength because they are afraid of their own strength. Whether it's a corrupt government or an abusive lover, those who seek to control you want you to forget your strength, because they are afraid of you. And they should be afraid. In you is the terrible power to lay waste to a dark enemy in the resistance of evil. In you is the glorious power to heal, to love and to protect what is virtuous and honorable in life. Your awesome strength is a guardian and champion for all manner of good to prevail. In your hands and words are both the power of healing and destruction. When the false-voice of doubt starts whispering in your darkest hours, let the other voice, the voice of ages, which speaks through time to give you life answer back with your defiant, awakened resolve. Awaken to your power; the power to live, the power to overcome and the power to survive the challenges presently before you.

Resentment and guilt will block your opportunities from arriving

Quit assuming others have it better, or you have it worse. Everyone suffers tremendously in life. It's rude to belittle someone's suffering, thinking yours is greater. Don't judge someone's suffering as better or worse. A painful life can be lived brightly, because pain gifted that person with great perspective and wisdom. An average and easy life can be its own kind of tragedy; suffering a mundane deadness. A great life can spoil under its great fortune. It's hard having nothing. It's hard having everything. It's hard. Suffering is very personal and cannot be measured by someone from the outside. Everyone suffers in different ways. Life is not a suffering contest; the contest is for compassion. We all suffer, and for that reason we need to act with compassion toward others and ourselves. We need to love ourselves. Love softens the hardest edges of life's tumult.

"Everybody gets a pound of pain. Yours may be feathers, and mine might be rocks; but a pound is a pound."
Bernadette Randle

If you want good things to happen in your life you have to believe good things are possible for yourself. Quit allowing negative and cynical thinking to steal the good life you deserve. Quit assuming you are finished. You are not finished or washed-up. Maybe you are just beginning. Quit comparing yourself to others; to both their fortune and misfortune. Their life is not your life anyway; you have your own life to live. Don't harbor resentment because some appear to be doing better than you, or guilt because others appear to be doing worse. Resentment and guilt are commonly and closely tied to worthiness issues and are not constructive in the long-term. They may be useful — like all emotions — but not as a platform for building a positive and healthy life. Prolonged feelings of resentment and guilt will block your opportunities from arriving. Focus on your own development. Try to manage your own suffering with as much dignity as possible. Try to carry both your burdens and successes with calm and centeredness. Open yourself to the possibility that your challenges, no matter what they may be, are the most honest and giving expressions of life you will ever know.

"Pause and remember— If you empty yourself of yesterday's sorrows, you will have much more room for today's joy."
Jenni Young McGill

Learning to get your needs met without complaining or negativity

Are you waiting for the right time to take your life to the next level? That time is right now. Are you waiting for the right time to create a special moment with your loved ones? That time is right now. Are you waiting for the right time to follow a passion or dream? That time is right now. It's a hard truth to understand that sometimes tomorrow never comes, especially if you are waiting for it. Everything in life awaits your engagement. Opportunities, friends, soul-mates, being appreciated and finding a purpose are all acts of intention and engagement, not things you simply find.

It's ok to want friends. It's ok to want opportunities. It's ok to want to be acknowledged; to be noticed, appreciated, accepted and understood. Everyone needs to be heard. But when you are frustrated waiting for these things to arrive, instead of getting angry or impatient that they are not happening — give them to someone else. Notice someone. Share your appreciation. Accept someone. Earnestly listen to someone who's in need of acknowledgement. It is by withholding what you deeply need from others, that you keep it from yourself. When you put your needs into service in the lives of others, your needs will then be met. And don't forget to give to yourself what you want from others. The love and attention you always thought you wanted from someone else, is the love and attention you first need to give to yourself.

If you want anything meaningful in life, you need to be that meaningful thing. You keep waiting to meet an amazing new person, a friend, a life partner or a business partner — people who share your values. Then when you meet that special person, you may put them on a pedestal, where there is nowhere to go but down, so they disappoint you. But really, it was you who disappointed yourself with your expectancy. Maybe they disappear after a short time, or it fizzles out. But often we are the cause; it us us who again disappointed ourselves. Too often, we push people away with these unreasonable expectations. If you do this in your life, it is because you just couldn't let them be human, because you don't accept your own humanity. You wouldn't let them be real because you aren't real. You think people are disappointing, but maybe it's you who are disappointing people all the time, and you don't even know it. Sometimes people vanish because we vanished — we expected them to act as we act, to be as generous as we believe we are generous, to be as excited as we are excited. Where we think they failed, perhaps we failed them. In many cases, it is just plain and simple fear that destroys our best opportunities. Fear can cause us to suspect people don't like us, which can lead to insecurity, cynicism, negative thinking and unjust actions. Sadly, what we fear we often bring upon ourselves. Start with the simple practice of believing what you want is possible for yourself. It may take time, but everything positive will spring from that one simple practice.

Learn to minimize your fear and to embrace disappointment as cheerfully and positively as possible. Count on people to fail you. Plan on people never coming through. You are going to have to fight your way through all on your own. One thing you can count on is people not showing up when you need them. Don't look at people's unreliability pessimistically, just vow to never be like them yourself. If you build people's failures into your success strategy, you will not be caught off guard by surprises. And, when and if someone ever comes through, you can rejoice in the rare blessing of that event! Be continually surprised by people, rather than being continually let down.

There is a way of having your needs met without negativity and complaining. If you want something — give it. Being positive, giving and caring may not always work out exactly the way you wish, but whatever you give will come back to you one way or another. Your giving heart may inspire change in another, or qualify you for a better situation if the current situation must eventually change. And, even if it fails with the person in whom you wish to see a behaviour change — even if they are totally non-responsive, dysfunctional and a taker — you still can't lose, because you can never lose by being awesome and by being your very best.

If you want more from life start by counting your blessings

"Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe. Most people do not know this, yet it is true. Expressing thankfulness in advance is the way of all Masters. So do not wait for a thing to happen and then give thanks. Give thanks before it happens, and watch energies swirl!"
Neale Donald Walsch

If you want more from life — start by counting your blessings instead of counting your losses, deficits and wants. Impatience, resentment, jealousy and endless "want" are not creative attractors and have no value. These feelings block your opportunities. From time to time, everyone experiences these thoughts, but you must learn to move through them constructively. When negative feelings move upon you, reflect, and recognize the danger of feeding those feelings and keeping them alive. Let them take their course and see to it that they burn-out like a campfire in a dry forest; watching them carefully, without adding further fuel to their fire with undue worry.

Impatience, resentment and jealousy are obvious negative emotions that are more easily understood as toxic. However, the concept of want is more complicated and confusing. If your feelings of "wanting" are not disruptive to your inner-tranquility then they are likely healthy. However, excessive want is a form of desperation and a declaration of lack. Any aggressive lust lacks balance and is unwholesome and obstructive. Balance in life is the key to everything. You need to focus on more than just your wants. Everyone has wants, but you have to be smart to get what you want. It can be counterintuitive and difficult to understand that in order to get anything, you must offer your value first — you must give. You must also create a space of sanity and security within yourself for your value and strategies to take root and grow. That space of sanity is called contentment and gratitude.

Having contentment and gratitude in the present moment is the surest way to achieve success. Contentment is not greedy, possessive, jealous or impatient. Contentment and gratitude are signs that you are worthy of further receivership. They are indicators of inner-maturity and balance. They are the attributes of the naturally gifted and of those who have carefully cultivated themselves spiritually and intellectually. When you accept that there is no success greater than inner-peace and contentment, you instantly qualify yourself for more success. Contentment also protects your existing successes. Without inner-peace and contentment, success will ultimately destroy you along with everything you have created, or are trying to create.

You are likely the greatest obstacle to achieving your own dreams. Get out of your own way. Learn to exist gracefully and peacefully with yourself. Only inner-mastery can bring outer-mastery. Start deep within yourself and slowly build outward toward your goal. Be calm and patient with your desires. Reject the common false beliefs that you don't have much time or you will never have another opportunity. Be steady, gentle, calm, centered, focused, patient and grateful. Focus on your truthful passion, even if that passion "seems" to have no chance of bringing the worldly rewards you presently believe you want. Your wants will evolve as you grow in understanding and spiritual maturity. Be prepared to prove your passion with patience and longsuffering, or if you are wise, with long-joying. Remember that any desire is tested; the greater the desire, the greater the tests. Take action, but without attachment to any outcome. Work only as a truthful expression of your passion and not just to get.

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
Lao Tzu

The battle for what you want deceptively appears to be external — in the world, but it is completely an internal struggle with your mind. Success is not only in the hand; it is in the heart. Reach with all of yourself — with all of your heart, mind, and passion. The struggle is beautiful. Reach for success knowing that the gift of effort is instantly yours, and that the journey is the most rewarding and fulfilling destination.

The enabling force of possibility

When the world is collapsing around you, and everything looks like it is going to hell, remember — ALL IS WELL. All is well does not mean everything is perfect in the world, it means all is well within you. Your state of mind is integral to how you will experience life. When you are negative, corrective, reactive, bitter, vicious and biting — you become a component of a vicious world. When you are nothing but pessimistic you are an enabling force of impossibility. When you are positive you are an enabling force of possibility. All is well means all well-ness begins with and in — you. It means you are responsible for doing what good you can with what you have, and any good is better than none. It means in a world of turmoil you maintain the inner-peace and calm to share with others as you interact with them. It means you are hopeful and share the plenitude of your hope with the hopeless. It means you see the problems in the world clearly, but you also look for and see the solutions. All is well is a form of courage; it is courageous to be positive in the face of negativity. All is well is a form of gratitude; it is grateful to be thankful, even when things are not perfect. All is well is a choice for how you will live out your days. When you start your day tomorrow, and when the stress and pressure is on you, just remember, that as soon as you accept the moment for what it is — all is well.

"Trust that all is going to be okay. The fact that you are here right now is proof that everything has always had a way of working out for you."
Emmanuel Dagher

Every positive thought is a silent prayer which will change your life

Every positive thought is a silent prayer which will change your life. Prayers are at the very least meditations. A positive thought is a silent prayer; a negative thought — a silent curse. A single thought can flood your body with emotional stress, or calming relief. Your thoughts have tremendous power over your feelings and perceptions. When we feel powerless in a hostile world we can at least practice quelling the enmity in our minds. Think deliberately. Think carefully. Think purposefully. Think positively. Pray for your own deliverance from your own vicious thoughts. Ask for forgiveness — forgive yourself for the terrible things you have thought about yourself. Ask for the strength to never curse yourself or others again. Your positive thoughts are both the prayer, and the answer to your prayer. Each positive thought is your refuge and your sanctuary, where in that thoughtful moment, you are safe. Begin now with loving thoughts and allow these quiet prayers to transform your life.

One positive thought is the victory you need today!

If you feel overwhelmed just try to relax and look for one positive thought. Every good thing begins with one positive thought. You don't need to change everything in your life instantly. All you need is one positive thought. You can hold-on to that thought, and it will remind you that there is hope. One simple, positive thought is enough to make it all worth it. All your troubles, struggles, pains, and suffering is worth one good thing. Those good things come to us just when we need them the most, like an angel throwing us a life-preserver before we go under the waters of despair. One positive thought can save your life or the life of another. One positive thought is the miracle for which you have been waiting. One positive thought will shift the entire world under your feet. One positive thought is something you can accomplish. One positive thought is the victory you need today!

Proclaim now that you refuse to die without fully living!

Life really wants you to learn a few lessons, and it will not stop trying to teach you until you learn. What has life been trying to teach you? Life wants you to have gratitude for the gift of living. Treasure every second. Life wants you to know yourself, be yourself and love yourself. You are a beautiful and unique person — a gift to the world. Life wants you to be able to fully receive and give affection and love. Life wants you to know that people are more important than things. Things are only here to be worn-out in the service of our needs and of those we love. Always choose people over things. Life wants you to know that feelings are more important than facts, and you should never hurt someone just to be right. Life wants you to respect yourself, respect other people and respect the planet. Be kind, patient and forgiving. Life wants you to touch, taste and see the grandeur of the world's unfathomable variety. Travel, explore, learn and experience all you can! Life wants you to take proper care of your bodily vehicle, which carries your consciousness everywhere you wish. Life wants you to connect deeply with the hearts of other people — struggle together and rejoice together. Life wants you to thrive in the domain of your own unique creative vision for yourself. Do not merely submit to the expectations of others or society. Life wants you to be fully supported in your needs and to live in abundance and safety. Life wants you to live in total alignment with true love, passion, and integrity. Life is trying to tell you to wake-up! It's not too late. A thrilling, brilliant and electrifying life is yours the moment you wake-up. Proclaim now that you refuse to die without fully living!

"Pause and remember— When we truly love ourselves, it is reflected in everything we do and it creates positive ripples in the lives of others. Self-love is one of the greatest contributions you can make to the world."
Jenni Young McGill

Rush out into holy life and shine

God gave you legs, but you have to do the walking. God gave you a back, but you have to stand-up straight. God gave you a head, but you have to hold it high and use it. This is not a religious message about being saved "by grace" or "by works." Believe what you desire about salvation. Jesus may give you eternal life, but until then, your ass is going to stay right where it is until you do something about it. Let's talk about this moment right now. If you fall in the mud, stand-up and go take a shower. Don't pray to be delivered from the mud. There are some things you can do, and you should certainly do whatever is in your power. God's favorite type of prayer is action. Get off of your knees and pray with action. God loves a prayer of action. Move your ass. Be grateful. Do something. Be something.

You were given the tools to thrive! Don't live your whole life on holy crutches. Don't be a lifelong spiritual welfare recipient. Don't be a lazy spiritual beggar, no different than a child constantly asking a parent for money and handouts. God's prayer-line is not a wheel of fortune or a lottery for the indolent. "God helps those who help themselves," may not be in the Bible, but it sure makes sense to me. Faith doesn't work if you don't even believe it. Moses couldn't part the Red Sea if he didn't even show up. Show up in life. Believe. Have faith. Show up for yourself. Believe in yourself. Have faith in yourself! Don't you realize who and what you are? Why do you deny your own incredible power? Who convinced you of the lie that you are weak?

You are the offspring of incredible creative forces and have received the gift of life! With all respect to your religion or world-view — thank God, thank the universe, thank evolutionary processes — the keyword is "thank" — just have some gratitude and be thankful. While the ingrates duke-it-out about the true God, you take each breath in holy gratitude. The best way to be thankful for the gift of life is to not throw it away. Please don't waste-away in front of a TV waiting to win a lottery during the precious few hours you are not imprisoned in corporate shackles. Life is calling you. The other life. The analogue life. The real. Nature is calling you. And people too. Wondrous royal souls are waiting to meet, appreciate and experience you. We are all royal heirs of the divine unknown. Meeting another person is always a sacred event. Life is a sacred event. You are sacred. You are a miracle of creation. You are pure wonderment. Look at the majesty of — you! You are art in motion. You are incomparable. Your perfect life is matchless. Your precious gift of life is unrivaled like each snowflake. You are so fine and unique that it is impossible that there will ever be another like you. Give thanks!

This is your moment; this ephemeral instant is your unfolding life. Make your life a tribute equal to the magnitude of the gift of life. Rush out into holy life and shine. Witness each moment in astounded jubilation. Take every holy breath in gratitude. Rejoice in life!

Beauty Seeking

Seek first thyself...

Instead of connecting with falsity; connect with truth — your truth. Reach deep within, and reconnect with the essence of your being. Separate yourself from the lies and illusions which are not you. You are not your things, your titles, your status, your bank account, your IRA, your portfolio, your credit score, your degree, your intelligence, your feelings, your occupation, your town, your sports team, your nation or your religion. You are not even your emotions, judgments or your fears. You are something much deeper and much more wonderful. You are something that intellect and science can never even begin to fully describe.

Beyond Definition

I am not this man you see
  I am not even me
I am not my traditions
  I am self-seditious
I am not my countrymen
  And I am not my kin
I am something deeper
  Something far within

I am beyond definition
  I know I am not a man
I am the reaching soul of life
  The grasp beyond the hand
I am ever changing
  I am every thing
I am every simple hope
  I am every dream

I am not this man you see
  I am not even me
I am something wondrous
  And so I'll simply be...

There is a vast war against life, beauty and nature unfolding in this world. You are a part of that nature which is under great strain. Sit with yourself and face yourself, because you cannot escape yourself. You can't go from thing to thing and person to person and expect to create anything meaningful in your life. No matter where you run, to a rural village or a big city, to a new job or a new partner — there you are, the same you. Without inner tranquility and wisdom, we are devoured wherever we go. Beauty is everywhere, speaking to you and trying to remind you who you really are. Noticing the beauty will begin to heal you. Notice the beauty everywhere. Notice the beauty within you.

Reconnecting with your essential-self in the modern world

People feel more and more insignificant, cut-off and powerless than ever before. We are buried in a mountain of information, technology, gadgets, goods, and manufactured complexities. We are lost and rendered nearly invisible in a digital snowstorm of super-connectivity. It is a form of anonymity through mass-connection. True community has been nearly eviscerated, and a tactile-less mockery of community, in the form of social media, has been put in its place. Houses and apartments have become cubicle prison-tombs, where millions of screen-irradiated mummies hide from the sunlight, nature, and genuine social interaction. People have social anxiety because of their lack of experience relating to humans in person. At airports and restaurants, people eat alone, and strangers seldom talk. Everyone is texting, emailing, rushing, surfing and being connection-entertained with social media, and yet somehow, we are tragically ALONE.

Absent the vital lessons attained through simple face-to-face community interactions people soon become observers of life rather than participants. They begin seeing the "good life" as something to attain through goods, services, and external providers, and forget that the so-called Kingdom of Heaven is within. Through consumer-life, a sort of consumer based identity crisis envelopes us. Consumer life is an alternate reality. People addicted to consumerism have no meaningful relationships — except with need providers. Through consumer-life, even our life partners can become just another external need provider. Modern consumer life is like a mass dissociative disorder that prevents people from experiencing essential truth, real-life community, universal rites of passage and even an acceptable and reasonable death. Consumer life is essentially a social psychology framework, which seeks to keep your consciousness plugged into a head-end of created needs for profit. The result of this created dependence is a growing culture of empty, addicted, needy, fear-subdued, disconnected, isolated and mass-distracted people who feel powerless.

People have moments of consciousness and epiphanies throughout their lives, but then suppress the realization. This is because the culture has already anticipated the freedom seeking mechanism in humans, and a micro control-coup takes place almost instantly because of deeply implanted economic and social fear factors. This is because you are a part of a culture, and the culture requires assimilation over individuation for its survival. But, you are so much more than what your culture has asked of you to be. We must become reacquainted with our true human selves, and not the modern avatar of a "person": a commoditized, corporatized, homogenized, zombified, denatured, worker-consumer drone. Humans have become speculative commodities incarnate, with their life force as a gross product traded on the open markets. And like monetary cyborgs, our human resource currency is mixed and bundled with exotic financial instruments to the extent that no one really knows where the product ends and the human begins. We have lost our humanity to the decimal point. Through this financial coup d'etat over the human soul, we have lost our purpose, and many people see no way to escape the endless manipulation and coercion of modern life, which controls us through the fear of "losing everything"; most of which are all created and fabricated false needs. The total commoditization of the natural world has placed a veritable lien against the spirit of nature.

We fiber-optically connect our egos until each person is the center of his own universe; an aspiring god-brand. We build cathedrals of worship on Wall Street to glorify our money masters. The fiscal priesthood shows us how to purify our souls in a baptism of material goods. We dutifully pay our retail-tithe. We seek for gadget-enlightenment through purchases of glitzy techno-litter. The meaning of life; one endless shopping spree. There is no beauty, virtue, or truth left unexploited, unmolested, or unaltered for our explicit pleasure and total consumption. We sell ourselves for a quick taste of the 'good life' through products meant for the landfill. Planned obsolescence; the purest definition of our lives as both the consumer and the consumed. The garbage will pile-up so high that it will swallow you — if you allow it. Don't allow it. Quality people make a quality world. Seek quality. Be quality. Give quality. Put your mark of craftsmanship in every relationship, in every deed, and every thought.

For those who have awakened to freedom from the modern nightmare, it is painful to watch their fellow human beings be used and destroyed by the very institutions and ideologies they entrusted for their protection. It is a natural response to be repulsed when we see the treasure of joy in each person looted and plundered by predatory institutions and systems. Many of these systems — organisms really, exist solely as social and economic functions that literally devour people. These processes feed on people's hopes and energy, and then excrete poison and toxicity — environmentally and philosophically, in the pursuit of what is called progress, growth, and success. The destruction of the miracle of life is only made possible by our value systems. Many of our so-called value systems are really suicide engines running inside of each of us. But, because we have been constructed to a large degree from the cultural values passed down to us as children, it is hard to even imagine ourselves in any other possible structure or arrangement of life. In some places, it is just normal that some people die at a young age — killed in senseless wars or by disease. In other cultures, the economic war they die in, is so slow moving it looks like living. One day you just wake up after many years of being used — old, spent, and robbed of your best years, with nothing left of value to the system, and then you are discarded. Few things are so heartbreaking as seeing people in various forms of bondage.

We need to be constantly reevaluating what success means. Most so-called success in the world is slavery. The trappings of success often bring the opposite of success, at least in the ways most meaningful to people's lives. Beware! Success is not what you think it is. It's often a trap. You have been programmed from birth into a sick construct of competitive violence. Most success by your likely definition will lead to the destruction of your individuality and your inner-beings grand potential. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being successful and we should have abundance and success in our lives. But, we must possess the inner maturity to handle success; individually and as a culture. Every degree of success must be paired with a degree of integrity and compassion. Success without integrity is always fleeting, or monstrous. Real success sometimes involves saying no to growth, expansion and gain. Real success often involves absorbing tremendous loss on a personal level. Real success often involves sacrifice. Real success always involves virtues such as humility, compassion, and an abiding reverence and respect for life.

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
Bob Dylan

What we wish to change external to ourselves we must first change within ourselves, and this is why the ascent to higher consciousness and compassion is paramount, and also why the embedded power structures are hard at work to distract you from attaining enlightenment. This is of course a grave injustice. All injustice cries out for recompense, and the battle for freedom is fought on a thousand thought-fronts, by each person, every day. Sometimes the call for freedom whispers to us, and sometimes it screams, but it never shrinks for long, because the longing for freedom is in our blood; it is immutable. If there is ever going to be a kinder and more respectful world, it is only likely to come from individuals themselves taking an active role in their own self-actualization. Your ascent to your grand destination as a person of peace, calm, intelligence, wisdom, and happiness is in your hands. The journey is an inner journey that begins by questioning. The starting point to freedom is to begin questioning the cultural narrative you have been sold. Question everything, including yourself. Have the courage to question yourself. We've been distracted from our power, but we can take that power back and create a beautiful world. We can decide to take a radical departure from what we accept as reality. There is a place inside each of us that cannot be coerced to think a certain way or behave a certain way. Just beyond the horizon of the so-called impossible is infinite possibility. Anyone can find it if they choose to wake-up. Wake-up to the transcendental now. You are powerful, and there is beauty all around you. Become a beauty seeker.

"Pause and remember— At any moment you have the power to say 'this is enough' and radically change the course of your destiny. Have the faith and courage to follow your hearts calling."
Jenni Young McGill

Become a beauty seeker by being very careful about what you consume

You cannot become a true beauty seeker while purposely inviting unnecessary ugliness into your life. Think about how important it is to eat quality food. As an organism there is nothing more relevant or sacred than what you put into your body. There is nothing more metaphysical, in a literal sense, than food. Food is the ultimate sacrament. Food is a part of our contract with life. As creatures with a body, we should all be especially concerned about the quality of air, water and food we allow into our bodily vehicle. But we consume more than food. Life is a constant consumption of our environment through our senses. We consume sights, food, conversations, products, touches, sounds, air and time. Should we not feed our consciousness well? Ugliness comes in many forms, from materialism to the things we eat, and many of the things we consume with our senses. Many psychological and spiritual problems are really just forms of consumption illness. Through unwholesome consumption, the beauty within begins to diminish as we are consumed by what we feed on. When we feed on knowledge without conscience, intelligence can become arrogance, which leads to apathy and a loss of compassion. One such example of this is how our unwholesome meditations on violent entertainment can slowly erode our sensitivity and warp our spiritual palate as we acquire a taste for the perverse. All of these appetites can become vices, which create tragic imbalances in our lives that are not easily detected or quantifiable.

"If you permit your thoughts to dwell on evil you yourself will become ugly. Look only for the good in everything so you absorb the quality of beauty."
Paramahansa Yogananda

One of the most powerful ways to expand in beauty and abundance is to voluntarily turn away from, or minimize your exposure to violent entertainment in all of its forms. Violent entertainment, while it seems innocuous, is an assault against the sensitivity with which we are all born. Violent video games, television, movies and entertainment can erode our sensitivity and diminish our empathy. We are all too comfortably adjusted to a diet of violence. Depending on how selective you are with choosing programming, television can turn your family living room into meditative den of death and violence worship. Much of TV is a pornographic cacophony of violence, death obsession, screams, gunfire and drama; if you think it's fine, it's because you are damaged. While your children play, in the background the TV blares with screams, gunfire and rape-murder scenes — it seeps in. You don't have to be an extremist, but could it hurt to be more mindful about what you allow in?

"This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games."
William S. Burroughs

I do not believe violent games and entertainment directly "turn us" into violent people. I do however, believe violent entertainment adds something to the ambient cultural and personal psychological narrative — it taints its inherent innocence. Violent entertainment is absorbed, and while we may disagree about what happens after, it is assimilated by the consciousness. Even if violent entertainment does not shape us at all, it is still an expression of who we are through our interests. I was once a gamer and addicted to violent entertainment. I decided along the way that I wanted to feed my body and consciousness more carefully. The time we have in life to observe and feel the magnificent experience of living — is limited. Realizing there was enough real horror in life, I decided to distance myself from unnecessarily created madness. Instead of immersing myself in fictional dramas, I found real dramas and suffering in the world that needed my attention — starting with me. I quit watching TV for twenty years. I began avoiding negative themes in people, food, entertainment and life. The more I avoided violent and manipulative entertainment the more things changed for me for the better. Rather than spending my time immersed in negative entertainment, I spent my time positively by learning and developing myself. It is not just violent entertainment either. The media is a weapon pointed at your consciousness. I began applying a biological cellular-membrane model to my consciousness by becoming a gatekeeper and only allowing in what was good for me.

There is already so much real violence in the world. Do we really need so much of this type of entertainment in our lives? When we consume violent games (murder simulators) we take that energy, training, conditioning and experience within and it becomes a part of our experiential identity. When you play these games, you are making the statement that you love to spend your pleasure time immersed in obscene imagery, sounds and experiential meditations of violent bloodsport. This is your choice of pleasure and where you choose to place your thoughts and attention. Everything we consume affects us. In the way that all environmental factors shape us, you are being shaped to one degree or another by violent entertainment. If you are a gamer or lover of violent entertainment, maybe you have been changed by your diet in ways you are not even aware. Perhaps you would be a different person without those negative influences in your life. Who do you think you might be without focussing on so much violence and negativity?

And violence is not the only concern to be had over entertainment. Also be mindful about what you are being sold. The coveted perfect life is a created standard, which is purposely unattainable. Deceptive media images of faces, bodies, and lifestyles, make us hate ourselves so we will buy a solution to love ourselves once again. Advertisements make us ashamed of our blemishes, imperfections, and flaws, but these so-called flaws are really our strengths and gifts. These images, idols and fixations on conformity and unattainable perfection make us illusion-prisoners. The very brands that promise us relief and personal freedom deliver the opposite of freedom; instead turning us into material junkies. They are using us, and in the process convince us to trade our originality and personal freedom for lives of economic slavery and psychological dependency.

Another reason to not watch so much television and entertainment is because you could use that time to actually experience some of the adventures you are just watching! You don't need to be entertained; life is your entertainment. We must quit living vicariously through the fictional lives of TV and movie characters, and become the stars of our own real-life stories of adventure and creativity. The natural calling you were born with, to be your own creative genius, has been subverted to some degree by escapism and entertainment. Most of us are someone else's creation, playing the role of the watcher, in their story — as entertainers. When you become the author of your own life, you get to direct your own thrilling story!

Consuming what is natural, good and untainted frees you, protects you, and realigns you with what is natural, peaceful and safe. By consuming what is good and pure, and rejecting what is artificial, you open your consciousness to the space needed to heal your sensitivity. We must all strive to self-reflect and to reject violence in all forms, from the subtle to the overt. We must all seek to unravel the deeply-rooted conditioning which has perverted us, and attempt to heal ourselves and set our inner-truth free. To end violence we must only look within ourselves, understand ourselves and evolve ourselves. Innocence still lives within our hearts and the child within us still knows right from wrong. Instead of connecting with ugliness; connect with beauty. Take great care with what you put into both your mind and body — your health and well-being are at a tremendous risk.

There is something real in you trying to break through the cracks

To return to what's real, begin to question things. Don't believe any of it; the ugliness and negativity. Don't accept any of the falsity, but also don't become angrily rebellious — joyfully reject it all. Throw off the lies and illusions with a smile and call-out to the essential truth of what it means to be a human being — life will answer you back. Finding essential truth involves uncovering who you really are. Your sadness may just be calling you back to the real. Go real hunting; look for what is real. In this world, much of what is real is hidden below the surface. Real is resilient. You can see real in the grass breaking through the concrete sidewalk. Real is unstoppable. Real is wild and unpredictable. Real dispels all spells. There is something real in you trying to break through the cracks. Something in you is seeking the light of life. The concrete and steel of your self-delusions will not stop your essence from escaping. You can't hide from yourself forever. Your truth will shatter you if it must, but it is so much better if you set it free. Set your truth free. Set yourself free! We must reject the artificial and embrace what is real and true: truth in food, community, relationships and self.

Begin to remember again

Freedom is in sunlight, mountain hikes, riversides and in the night's sky full of stars. Freedom is in laughter and in tears, and in moments we hold someone we love. Freedom is in breaking bread together. Freedom is in the quietness and in your breath; it is deeply felt in ordinary moments. Freedom is simply knowing what's real. Freedom is doing what's right. Real freedom may seem pretty boring by today's standards; it is not perceived as spectacular, bedazzling, enthralling, or entertaining — but it means absolutely everything. Freedom is a forgotten land waiting for you to remember. Begin to remember.

Opening yourself to the unseen essential

There is an unseen essential that is intrinsic, universal and guiding everyone who listens. There is an invisible hand at work in the making of beautiful lives. Uncommon success is found on the spiritual plane; you can't get there through common convention or following others. Hard work is not enough; many work slavishly-hard for little reward. Intelligence is insufficient; there are so many educated and brilliant people who have failed utterly and completely. Goodness is not enough; think of how many meek and good souls are tilled into the earth like manure by demigods to fertilize their crops of great fortune. There is something more — it is the unseen essential, and everyone has access to it. The unseen essential is understood as many things by many people. Scientists, philosophers, and theologians are ever reaching to understand, describe and commune with the unseen essential. Why do some people prosper and joyfully thrive, while others languish in abject misery? How do some escape poverty and poor environments? Why do some who come from amazingly supportive backgrounds still fail? It is the unseen essential that makes the difference.

There is a Sun shining in your soul
   in the solar system of your solar plexus
Nothing can eclipse
   your divine appointment of light

Spiritual. Transcendental. Serenity. Prayer. Mystical. Consciousness. Faith. These are words we have all heard, but what do they mean in "real" life? These words seem nonsensical to some people. Beyond our current understanding is a grand fullness which is the unseen essential. The unseen essential is everything yet described, which science feverishly works daily to uncover. If you don't believe in God, then the God concept is simply a great placeholder for everything unexplained and that we don't know, which is exponentially more than what we do know. The unseen essential can be felt in your bones, in your teeth and the hair on your neck. It whispers in the hollows of your chest and gut. The unseen essential is the enormity of mystery in every element of you; from your physiology to your psychology — it is all which is perplexingly, indescribably and awe-inspiringly — you. Beyond the narrow sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum that our crude instruments can detect and "sense," there is a vast circular continuum of greater unknowns awaiting our discovery. We know there is more so we are open to more, and this is a good attitude of openness for both science and spirituality. Like the mysteries of the deep ocean or space, there are mysteries in the depths of consciousness. Mysticism and her metaphors reach to understand the enigma of self and universe; like poetry — spirituality bridges the gap between the forms and the formless, for spirituality can pull cogent meaning from the veiled truths beyond our perception. Spirituality strives to touch those unknown forms the mind cannot yet grasp. Each person is a vast territory of undiscovered mystery as nebulous and uncharted as the deepest oceans and expanses of space. Life itself is a universe of mystery. Only an open mind and heart can receive knowledge of the great mysteries of life and self. You can hear the whispers if you are open to hear and if you listen closely.

Inner cosmos
   let me fall into your soul
Lost in your mystery
   vast noble being
You are my galaxy,
   let me touch each star

In the inconceivably vast and humbling unknown called "everything," is a supreme inter-communication called, spirituality. The laws of life are written into every atom, molecule, and heartbeat. The clues to the great mystery are all around us! To understand the mysteries of life, you must look around and within. You will see patterns everywhere; patterns that seem to manifest themselves over and over again. These patterns exist intertwined within nature and man, bridging the gap between the enigma of self and the entire universe itself. You see them in spiraling galaxies and Mandelbrot fractals, and the logarithmic swirls of fossilized Ammonoidea — growing from the unknown to atoms, to molecules to solar systems, to galaxies to the furthest expanses of the universe, with origins and destinations unknown; just like us in birth and death. You see them in the similarities between tree branches, rivers and blood veins, the patterns of fingerprints like endoplasmic reticulum, or a black opal's play of fire like the nebula of a supernova. Moon shots are like protoplasmic lurches, while simple thoughts and observations of the nature around us take us beyond the unknown. The clues to the great mystery are all around us and deep within us. We are all immersed in the sweet law of unfolding mystery called life. There is a way to flow and cooperate with universal laws that can be beautiful and kind. When we are in sync with this flow, its power moves us like a mighty yet gentle guiding hand. The flow of spiritual connectedness and oneness with life will dwell in you if your heart and mind is open and innocent. If you are pure in intention and in alignment with beauty and love, in body and mind, the highest levels of your spiritual self will subsume your weaknesses. Spirituality will take you like love; it seduces you from contemplation to completeness.

Into the abyss,
  of the deepest heart I dive
And hold my breath 'til death,
  to stay alive.

As you open your heart to wisdom you will begin to see the unseen essential. There is something divine, mystical, magical, and unexplainable in the universe that is listening and responding to each of us. Something is reflecting our thoughts back to us in obvious and not so obvious ways. Spirituality is like a thin-thin thread, which if delicately followed guides us from darkness to light; from poverty to abundance, and from destruction to safety. The unseen essential can be described in many ways and comes in many forms, but is always preceded by virtue. Godliness. Opulence. Cleanliness. Love. Integrity. Who you are; that is, who you choose to be — your identity, works in your life like an invisible hand. It works for who you really are, not for who you seem to be. This invisible hand guides, protects and gives passage to the beautiful hearts and humble servants of good. But, the invisible hand will not allow the impure to pass. If your life is a miserable disaster, you might want to consider that it's because you are doing something wrong. If you lack understanding then call upon your Higher Power and ask, "please, reveal to me my own deceptions." For the vile human pigs in life; the sloppy, disheveled, uncaring dregs, the ungrateful, and especially for the vicious, negative emotional peasants — there will only continue to be the hard and painful lessons you so desperately need. The invisible hand will hold you in your wretched place until your last breath — unless you evolve. If you are cruel and ignorant the invisible fist will pound you into oblivion until you submit, humble yourself and soften your hard heart.

Your life is always a perfect reflection of your state of heart and mind, and of your truest identity. There is a different world on the other side of your present attitude. You can only access the beautiful world through faith by truthfully embracing beauty and caring. Be open to others; give people a chance. Be open to yourself; give yourself a chance. When you are open and loving you become the solution to every problem we have in the world. The unseen essential awaits your enlightened heart's ascension to love.

Strive to become a beautiful person

If you want a great life try being kind. It is astounding what power being kind, mannered, polite and considerate has in transforming your life. If you are rude, cynical, negatively-sarcastic or pessimistic, your life options are going to be very limited. Playful, positive sarcasm is different from negative mean sarcasm, and many people don't know the difference. Be careful with people's feelings. Elevate your thinking and comportment. Many people live in an induced spiritual coma; they are inherently vicious, and are completely unaware of their malady. They exist in an unconscious, mean-spirited and competitive state of being — always ready to pounce on their next victim. There is a coarse and ugly temperament and tenor observable in the common unconscious person. This piggish coarseness looks like impatience, intolerance, rudeness, vulgarity, selfishness, self-righteousness, ignorance, condescension and mockery. I know what it looks like because it was once in me. Maybe you are a pig and don't even know it. Have you ever considered it? Maybe you don't just have "bad luck" — maybe you are caught-up in a stampede of ugliness. The vile are trampled beneath the feet of other pigs. Maybe you're not a pig but you know someone who is, and you want them to awaken to virtue and righteousness so they can have an incredible life instead of suffering unnecessarily. If you want an incredible life and you have a bad attitude, and are mean to people — you can just forget about it. If you are cynical, pessimistic, judgmental, shallow and petty, you don't deserve success, because success is empowering, and petty people should never be given power. You have to earn the right to an incredible life by being an incredible person.

By being beautiful and kind you are given favored status and opportunity in life. Love can take you from any depth, and place you on the highest mountain. Choosing beauty and love does not mean being uninformed or weak; it means you clearly see the ugliness, but choose love anyway. Beauty is so simple, and it is all around you if you look. Beauty is reaching for you if you will hold out your hand in good faith. A blessed life will not come and force you to receive its blessings; receivership is a handshake requiring your earnest reach. Spirituality is very much about putting yourself in proper order. Strive to become a beautiful person. Live with kindness, integrity, and care. Comport yourself with grace under pressure. Don't hurt people! Be an asset in the lives of others. Put people before things and live from your heart. Be intelligent but know it is better to be kind than smart. Be a peacemaker who values peace and takes peace everywhere you go. Learn to understand your energy and how you create with your energy. Have among your priorities the characteristics of politeness, compassion, and patience. Avoid making rash assumptions. Be a believer in true love. Have faith in people. Seek deep communication with others and with yourself. Laugh and make the best of every situation and understand that life is not perfect.

Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward — get real with yourself. Change will never happen if you lack the ability and courage to see yourself for who you really are. Begin to elevate yourself today. Try to make better decisions. Become a beauty seeker. If you can begin to believe in your own beauty, you can then begin to believe in the beauty of others. The transformation of the world takes place in your heart. Once you reach the summit of your own heart you will see beauty is everywhere.

"Pause and remember— If you take the time to look for beauty, you will find it. Open yourself to the beauty you have been missing right before you."
Jenni Young McGill

Ugliness sees ugliness; beauty sees beauty

You will find beauty in every person and experience, but only if beauty has first been cultivated within. The supreme hallmark of reality is balance. Balance and fullness exist in the polarity of all things. How we choose to perceive affects how we partake of reality; narrowly or completely. When you engage in cynicism, pessimism and mean sarcasm you are amplifying imbalance and negativity in your life. It is not fair or realistic to be negative all the time. Dominant negativity cheats reality of its mutual positives. Your complete intelligence is designed to experience the fullness of life, not a narrow omission of its best possibilities. The world we create in our minds shapes the ultimate reality where we live. Perception meets you at the intersection of your beliefs and reality. Hopeful visions touch possibilities that only exist in the gaze of the faithful. So remember. If you want to live a new way, you have to start thinking that way. Your thoughts precede the lifestyle, not the other way around.

"If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought."
Peace Pilgrim

Understand the negative, but do not amplify the negative. Be aware of negativity but do not let it infect your creative spirit. We each project to others a reflection of the world that includes our choices of perception. Look upon the world with loving eyes and the reflection everyone sees will contain love. When we choose to engage reality as the best each moment can be, we are shaping more positive experiences for others. When we process our pain, and pass on only the lessons to others, our quiet suffering uplifts everyone. Become an extension of the light in the lives of others. By choosing positivity, you become a contender for the human spirit, giving hope to those in need. The incredibly powerful and enriching lifestyle of seeking beauty is a humble service of love and healing. Tremendously meaningful healing for yourself begins with how you choose to see the world. A more wonderful life and a more beautiful world is one thought away.

Let truth, beauty and love be your guide

Let truth, beauty and love be your guide. Truth is found in the exaltation and protection of beauty. Beauty is like a pristine peak on the landscape of life; yet un-savaged by man's gruesome defilements. Simple truth is ever-awaiting under the patina of common falsehoods. And how can you know something as subjective as truth? You can know something is a lie when it has no love in it. Hence, truth is the spirit of all that is good and worthy through loving. Love has perfect eyes for beauty. Love can see the limitless beauty within self and within others. Love is open to all possibility. Every great master knew love as their only master. Love exalts because it is exalted. When you become love you become divine because love is divine. The self-realized spirit is merely a spirit emancipated from fear, judgement and knowing. When you feel lost turn towards love. Become a seeker of beauty in all things. Each moment has an unrealized dimension of beauty that only your perspective can liberate. When we become seekers of truth and beauty, we are creating truth and beauty. Your perspectives change your realities. Your vision determines your destination.

"Pause and remember— Every moment is a choice. Every thought, word, and deed is creating your future. Choose wisely and positively!"
Jenni Young McGill

Finding beauty in the common is the sign of a gifted mind

Achieving mindfulness during your daily activities will reveal great rewards, even in the most mundane of tasks. Mindfulness is that space where you are in touch with life-experience, and you are brightly aware. Do not allow precious moments to pass-by full of unnoticed experiences. When you are unaware and lack mindfulness, you feel empty because life's experiences are passing you by, leaving you hungry. Experiences are meant to fill you. When people do not partake of natural, common and essential experience through mindfulness, they often seek to fill their hunger artificially by chasing empty and destructive experiences. The world is full of alluring, flashy and thrilling experiences, which are illusionary traps — they are paths to nowhere. Once you transcend the illusions you will discover that — you — are the most thrilling experience you will ever have. You are the greatest undiscovered adventure of your lifetime.

"Always hold fast to the present. Every situation,indeed every moment,is of infinite value,for it is the representative of a whole eternity."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The path to transcendence is unrecognized by many because it appears ordinary. As sensory experience junkies, we have been blinded to the majesty in the common; like never seeing the stars above the city lights. But out on the quiet country roads, like the untrodden corridors of your meditative self, there is clarity to see the brilliant stars of your own luminous perfection. Like the unseen stars, your joy and perfection have been there all along — awaiting your recognition.

Be beautiful, and life will protect you

Being love-filled and beautiful is almost unconquerable. Love absorbs the hard blows of rigid fists; love surrounds, softens and tires violence and force. If you are confronted, bullied or intimidated while expressing your voice of reason, remember this protective strategy — be beautiful. Being love-filled and beautiful is one of the most powerful defenses that one can employ. Imagine that you are a beautiful and unique flower growing in life's garden. Most people will not intentionally step on a beautiful flower. If you are walking through the garden and you see the beautiful flowers, you will walk around them to avoid destroying their delicate beauty. Even most "mean people" and "bad people," otherwise known as people in pain and crisis, try to avoid the destruction of beauty by their own hand. They recognize beauty and secretly wish more of their own beauty was dominant. And even when the rare soul who enjoys trampling and crushing the beautiful flowers comes along, they quickly discover that there are many gardeners who tend life's garden, and these gardeners do not like people stepping on the beautiful flowers. A beautiful person is protected like a beautiful flower in a garden, which many gardeners tend. You do not have to do anything to defend yourself in life; just be beautiful and life will defend you.

An important part of being a beauty seeker is taking loving care of your beautiful body

It is hard to see and experience the beauty in life when we are sick and feel terrible. People often write me and ask for my prayers for their family during a serious and often self-inflicted health crisis. What they don't understand is I have been praying for them for years by trying to inspire them to evolve their lifestyle. The best time to pray for your health is long before a crisis. The best prayer is a prayer of action. The best time to pray for your deliverance is today. The most sincere prayer for health is the daily prayer of respecting your body temple. You can't dig your own grave with a spoon for decades and then expect a miracle to pull you from the depths of that deep hole because you uttered one shallow last-minute plea for help. It's insincere. The truth is you have been praying for decades with your actions, and your unwholesome prayers are being answered. You really do get what you faithfully ask for with your actions. What are your actions asking for right now? Be careful what you ask for; you may get it. Quit abusing your body temple today. Pray for your deliverance tomorrow — by taking good care of yourself today. This message IS my prayer for you right now. I hope it will penetrate your heart and inspire you to make the changes that you need to make in your life.

The emerging worldwide health pandemic has it's roots in the ways we produce and consume. Unhealthy relationship models between producers and consumers have tragic effects on society and the environment. What we are really suffering from is consumption illness. Consumption illness is most obvious with fast food and less obvious with entertainment, news, media and other addictive products of little real substance. We are consuming what is artificial and bad for us. We are in poor physical, mental and spiritual health because of what we consume; not only what we eat, but what we consume in the form of all products, and also with all of our senses such as our sight and hearing. We are addicted to trash, and we are rotting from the inside out. Our consuming predilections are often encouraged by irresponsible corporations who wish to realize a profit even if it hurts their customers. Selfish and irresponsible corporations are subsidizing their profits with our losses in the form of our anguish, pain, suffering and sometimes death. This is the definition of violence and abuse. The propaganda spear-point of corporate conquest is often the promise of convenient, consistent and cheap goods and services. Cheap food and goods are dangerous illusions that do not exist. What you don't pay at the checkout, you pay at the hospital. How we produce and consume is really about how we relate to the world, to other people and to ourselves. So becoming healthy has everything to do with developing a respectful relationship with yourself and environment. You have to encourage an appreciation and develop an appetite for what is beautiful, real and life sustaining, and turn away from the ugliness. You must take responsibility for your health and realize that your are a sensitive being and that ugly thoughts, foods, relationships, and energies can and will harm you. There is an undeniable mind-body connection. A healthy and pure body lends to a healthy and pure mind.

"Internal and external purification are the first, crucial steps towards achieving maximum health and vitality. By cleansing your body on a regular basis and eliminating as many toxins as possible from your environment, your body can begin to heal itself, prevent disease, and become stronger and more resilient than you ever dreamed possible."
Dr. Edward Group, III.

I was raised in a culture of quietly "polite" judgments; a pressure-cooker of seething hatred, prejudice, violence and ignorance. Making matters worse, my self-esteem had been crushed through years of secreted childhood bullying and abuses, which would take me decades to overcome. What I remember the most about my childhood is constant fear — and "good food." The catfish and fried chicken were amazing! I was never really taught about healthy eating. To the contrary, my cultural inheritance was learning to "treat yourself" at "special occasions" by gorging on every horribly delicious food you can imagine. I don't want to get into the greasy, buttery, deep-fried, fatty, sugary, meaty, barbecued details here, but let's just say if gluttony really is the second deadly sin, then I knew a lot of people on their way to hell. With no knowledge of positive psychology, real foods or healthy lifestyles, time took its toll on me, and the invincibility of my youth diminished as my gut and waist-line expanded.

Much later in life, I found myself living (dying) in a suburban basement, like a hunchback shut-in, not leaving for months at a time because of embarrassment and chronic pain. It was really bad, and sad. I had no one to help me with my plight. I cried out for help to those closest to me, but my pleading was met with cold detachment and uncaring. There was a time when I was really worried and afraid that I was going to die, because I was so unhealthy. I could not even walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I was truly and frighteningly, unwell. I was on my own, and I was debilitated. I felt old and tired, and I could see the grave rapidly approaching. My body had become an entombment of fat covering the pain and loneliness of a broken heart and spirit. Hope and life seemed very distant.

But there was something still in me; a dream I had always dreamt of living a beautiful life. I had a calling in my heart; a great calling for a great work. But, to carry out my calling I would need strength and vitality, both things that seemed so far away. I longed to be free of the bodily pain, stiffness and decrepitude. I could remember what it felt like when I was young; feeling so healthy and free with youthful power rushing through me. I wanted that joyous, youthful vigor back. One of the first steps to achieving wellness for me was learning humility. To abuse the gift of life and one's own precious body is a form of extreme arrogance and self-hatred. So one of the keys for me was reacquainting myself with the beautiful gifts that exist, for those who have respect, gratitude and appreciation for all that is available to heal and sustain our bodies. I also made a very deliberate decision that I wanted to live life with health and vigor. I decided I wanted the energy and vitality to do and experience all of the wondrous things in life that are available to all people. I wanted the strength and stamina to lead a life of activity, exploration and true excellence. Ultimately it came down to me deciding whether I wanted to advance toward the grave in a state of decrepit stupor, or rise and advance in life as a fresh, vital being, full of youthful energy and joy.

In my quest for understanding, I realized something very important one day. That the human body is an unfathomable and miraculous microcosm of divine order. The intelligence, complexity and order of even a single cell rivals that of a large modern city. Our bodies love us! Just think about it. The universe within — your trillions of cells all cooperate in a grand orchestration to serve and heal you. Your cells work around the clock in total unison and harmony cleaning, repairing, restoring and nourishing your entire physical being. Every person's body wants nothing more than to cooperate with them in achieving optimal health. But I realized that I was at WAR with my OWN body. I was waging a terrible war of violence against my body by bombarding it with stress, toxic environments, lack of sleep, and the most terrible and dreadful toxic foods known to man, otherwise known as, the modern American diet and lifestyle. When you are obese, you are chronically diseased, and you are moving toward the grave at a rapid pace. My body had become completely addicted to heavy greases, oils, animal fats, highly refined carbohydrates, sugars, salts and an endless array of toxic chemicals. All of these self-inflicted bodily assaults kept my body's own rescue and repair mechanisms overloaded and unable to keep up with my deteriorating state.

Even through my pain I worked toward my heart's highest calling to be an instrument of healing for the world, but little did I know, that those whispers were really calling for my own healing. As destiny would have it, I found myself catapulted onto the world stage, and was given a rare opportunity to be a voice of reason and peace for the voiceless. However, with the opportunity came a humbling lesson. I was advocating for world peace, but I was waging a violent war against my own body. I was speaking about poverty and starvation, but I was eating more than my fair share. I was a hypocrite. This epiphany laid open my pride to the providence of self-love as I invoked the sage wisdom of Gandhi to become the change that I wanted to see in the world.

I discovered that simply by getting out of my own body's way, and letting it do its job, and cooperating with my body, IT would heal itself from the dreadfully debilitating sickness of obesity. To lose weight I did very little outside of gentle and peaceful cooperation with the inherent wisdom and intelligence of my own body. Through meditation and gentle cooperation, the body will heal itself with little or no effort. When we are at peace with ourselves the total expression of that true peace includes our outer being; our body. Losing weight and being healthy can be so simple and easy. Your goal should never be weight-loss, but rather to have true health and respect for the gift of life.

I know intimately the deep struggles and perseverance it takes to reclaim your health, because I have been there. This is not theoretical for me. I have personally lost over 100 pounds, keeping it off for six years, and shrank my waist from a size 48/50" to 30". I freed myself from all medications and healed myself of all my dis-eases: extreme obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, bad cholesterol, extreme acid reflux, candida, stiffness, glaucoma, arthritis, bursitis, knee and joint pain, gout, angina, insomnia, breathlessness, fatigue, chronic back problems, post nasal drip and sleep apnea. I believe I have extended my life by decades, reversing my heart condition, and clearing my arteries. I healed myself with totally natural methods, and I now have the energy, vitality, stamina and flexibility of a healthy twenty-year-old.

Your bodily vehicle is a sacred vessel that carries your consciousness. Be good to your body. Your well-being is the platform from which you serve others. Your personal health is your greatest possession; the most significant foundation of any future you will have. Make your body your prized possession above all physical things. Spare no expense, re-prioritize and invest in your health. Your health is a long-range investment that will pay-off when you need it most. What one person can do, another can do. You can reclaim your life and get back on track to becoming your full potential. It is never too late to love yourself again. Don't give up. You can accomplish almost anything if you really want it. Start educating yourself and learn how to take proper care of yourself through self-love. The unification of the mind, spirit and body is the triad of focus that gives one the clarity and resolve to deliver. I have used these, and many other techniques to completely transform my body and my life. My strength, vitality, and health are important parts of my secret to how I live a life of activity, exploration, and creative excellence. And now, it's your turn! The saddest thing in the world is a person who has given up on life; whose fire has been extinguished. Just remember that as long as you are alive the animating spark of greatness is still within you and can be rekindled. It's never too late! As long as there is life there is hope. Reclaim your health, body, spirit, and mind!

"Pause and remember— Stop procrastinating! Wishing is wonderful, but action is what it takes to make it happen."
Jenni Young McGill

Meditation & Peace

You are the student and teacher

There is no point in trying to figure "things" out, and there is no point in trying to understand. Life is very dynamic and ever-changing. People are always grasping for permanence and security. In the vast ocean of life's great flow, upon the enormous waves of change, people who are very frightened are constantly searching the horizon looking for solid ground. That solid ground does not exist. I'm always amazed when people tell me they believe that after a certain age, who you are is set, and is unlikely you will change! Nothing could be further from the truth, because change is all that exists in life. The only certainty is uncertainty. When a person has bought into the myth that they can control their lives: that by being good enough, and hard-working enough, or by being clever enough, or by perfectly following the rules, that they can control things, this is when they are set up for great disappointment. Life is dangerous, dynamic and ugly, and it is also safe and steady and beautiful. All things in life are represented through opposition and dichotomy. But when we try to over-solve our problems, or have total understanding, at those moments, we are engaging in a dangerous form of arrogance; the arrogance of believing we can control.

The greatest thing one can learn when trying to figure out life, is that life will be figured out, only when one stops trying to figure it out. The nature of surrender is not giving up control; the nature of surrender is realizing that control never existed, and was always an illusion. Many people believe that when they go through certain experiences that they are learning things. They may go to school, or read books, or learn by interacting with social groups. These people will inevitably say that their consciousness has been expanded, and they have been brought to new awareness through these experiences. The truth, however, is that the only time a consciousness is ever expanded is when that consciousness is brought in contact with the inner-self. It is not the act of reaching out that brings awareness, but rather after an entity has reached out, and then contracts back inward, in divine communion with self, that consciousness is expanded. This is because nothing else is needed except the self. Everything a person needs is already within. There is not a single outward experience, piece of knowledge, secret, guru, or truth that a person needs, which is not already within themselves. This is why people recognize truth when they hear it, because it was already within them! The only things that are true in this world are the things that teach a consciousness to release dependence on all things other than the self; one must rid themselves of all attachments. The real truth will lead a person away from any dependence they have from any outer source. For example, you do not need to be reading this text that you are reading right now. I cannot teach you anything. My thoughts serve no purpose except to cause you to do your own thinking, and come to your own realizations, which is something you could have done even without reading these writings at this moment. It is also something that need not be done anyway, because whatever realizations you have now, will be expanded or completely changed in the future. The future and your growth are ever-changing and ever evolving. There is no solid ground in the future. There is no understanding. There is no security. There is no safety. This is incredibly liberating because it suggests that you are perfect already.

When a person can release the desire to know, only then do they know all that needs to be known. A mind that wants to know is a tortured mind. A mind that needs to know is a discontented and diseased mind. The lust for knowing and knowledge is a disease. When a person can release this insatiable and unquenchable need, it is then at that moment, that they can have peace, which is the only reason people seek knowledge in the first place. Inner peace is the endgame, and you can skip right through all of the other nonsense and get to the peace, the very moment you release and become. Any time someone starts off their sentence with, "you know I've been thinking," the first thing I want to say, is, "don't do that." My greatest hope is that you will quit listening to me. My greatest hope is that you will discover that anything I say is meaningless. My greatest hope is that you will understand that I am unneeded, and all outer institutions are unneeded, and all the advice and wisdom of the world means nothing to you. You do not need years with a guru; you only need one brief second with yourself! Great teachers and sages of the world, and all of the great masters throughout history showed up only to teach their followers that they did not need them. This is a universal theme and always will be because this is truth. All of our answers are already within — we just have to awaken to them.

"You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is."
Jiddu Krishnamurti

The great teachers of the world were all merely students of the world. There are no teachers; there are only students. This is because there is only one source from which we ALL receive. The source flows through all people equally. The never-ending artesian well of light, love and energy flows through a single point, to all people simultaneously, and the only question is whether or not a person is ready to listen and receive, and download. People throughout time have looked at these students on their own journey, and considered them to be master teachers, but very seldom did these beings consider themselves teachers. No one person has more access to knowledge or universal truth than another person. The word teach implies that a person can give information to another person. At the most, a person can help another person realize their own ability to receive information that is already available to all people. There is nothing any great teacher can give you that you don't already have access to, and a right to possess. Any person bringing you information that claims to be an exclusive source of information is false. Any person who brings you a belief system, and especially a belief system of dependence, is your enemy. The true teachers, the great teachers, merely stand by and witness as the gift of enlightenment is received by the student in the same manner in which they received the same precious gift. That gift is a free-flowing endowment from the seat of all creation, which cannot be possessed, and is available to all souls whose hearts are open, and who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The choice is, and always was yours. Are you ready to become the student to your very own inner teachings?

Getting to know your inner intuitive guide

The intuitive spirit-nature we all possess is a beautiful gift, but too often that gift is suppressed. In many ways people have been denatured and have lost the magnificent gift of intuition. The most accomplished people do not solely rely on knowing the technical aspects of their pursuit. While technical knowledge is useful, it is only a small part of a true master's brilliance. The master of any craft is first a master of self; cooperating with innate intelligence within. Brilliant people have learned to detach themselves from limiting absolutes and trust their instincts to guide them to excellence. Achieving the creative pinnacle involves trusting the unknown guide within oneself versus intellectual force and control. Getting to know your inner intuitive guide is a liberating and meditative process of surrender. You cannot create a master of any craft; you can only help them to see their own innate genius within.

"He who looks outside dreams. He who looks within, awakens."
Carl Jung

We already have everything that we need to know in our intuition and our instincts. It is pointless trying to absorb all the knowledge in the world. That is partly because we do not need so much of it, and partly because we can never achieve knowing everything in our lifetime. What we do need is to be open to what we already have within us.

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."
Albert Einstein

Knowledge can be useful as a tool and reference point, but there is so much more than just knowledge alone. All the masters knew there was more — in simplicity. People who seek after knowledge, only for the sake of knowledge, become trapped in a process where the means becomes the end. People like that become seekers for seeking's sake, and they seldom experience the joy of knowledge as a state of consciousness. Instead, they spend their lives trying to learn everything that exists beyond them, in the hope of finding the truth that already lies within.

Connecting with essential truth and knowing oneself is the only way. Surrender is the path to freedom through our unique authenticity. Through surrender you may experience the flow of life not through the narrow lens of the mind, but through the vast refuge of the heart. Nothing else is needed — it has always been for, about and within you. Freedom is the realization that it is sufficient to simply be a human being.

I looked under every rock.
  I looked in every flower.
I looked between the seconds.
  I looked in every hour.

I looked in every shadow.
  I looked at every Star.
I looked in every meadow,
  At things that were, and are.

I found every darkness,
  I found every glory.
I found every choice,
  In every single story.

I found I AM the difference,
  My thoughts are free to be.
I found it isn't what it seems—
  I found, it's only me.

The path appears only when you calm your mind

Silence is the sublime refuge of your divine. Silence exposes the highest potential for clarity. In silence there is a perfection which any toil injures. Silence is more than observation; it informs from non-observation. Only in stillness does the imperceivable become discernible. You will only find the profoundly inexpressible in profound silence.

When we keep our silence we gather our power; when we speak we let loose the concentration of quiet reverie. Words are the fallen ruins of silent majesty. Beyond the words and ideas, there is a perfect space of total completeness called silence. Silence is another language beneath words. The language of nature is silence. Silence is so profound that it is like another dimension into which one can travel.

"Don't talk unless you can improve the silence."
Jorge Luis Borges

When you cannot cultivate the meditative space of your own silence, your existence is tormented by endless interruption and distraction. Silence is the true center of your strongest self. Connection with yourself only comes in moments of silence. Peace is the friend we find in silence.

There is a simple path to follow that appears only when you calm your mind. On the still calm waters of surrender, the reflections of clarity appear. Inner-calm will lead you on a beautiful journey back to your original self; the perfect, beautiful you.

Life is so big. Do not try to fill it

If you struggle to fill something as big as life, it will swallow you. Too often we feel we need to prove ourselves, our worth, and our purpose. The infinite already knows your purpose for it is the very author of your purpose. Your perfect unfolding is the same as every other living and non-living thing which exists — it is your unstoppable nature.

At one time or another, we all try to please everyone, to be smart or pretty, to keep it all together and to do everything perfectly. We see life as having expectations that we must hurl ourselves at, and we believe that we must not fail. Through our expectations, we violently expand and try to fill the world and receive the world. Desperately expanding outward to fill the world is like an explosion where we disperse and lose ourselves. When we are quiet and still we contract and settle. Relax. You do not need to prove yourself.

"Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, 'Prove that you are a good person.' Another voice says, 'You'd better be ashamed of yourself.' There also is a voice that says, 'Nobody really cares about you,' and one that says, 'Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.' But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, 'You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.' That's the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen."
Henri J.M. Nouwen

There are natural phases to all life, and wherever you are in life, you are perfectly becoming. Your pain and struggles only serve to remind you that you are alive. Accepting our pain is a way to say we treasure the sacred gift of life — run to your pain. Pain does not define us, neither does joy; our deepest definition is independent of our experiences. You are the observer who watches your emotions as they push, pull and stretch you. The beauty inside of you is unmovable. Your deepest and most truthful self does not care about trends, times, struggles, losses or worries. Your deepest self is free from the world's petty, made-up demands, judgments, and expectations. You love yourself, and you are happy, and what you perceive as self-loathing and misery are really outside of you. Quit trying so hard. Sit quietly with yourself and you will see that there are no demands within you. Only your surface is disturbed; in your deepness there is stillness and total tranquility. Only your surface feels empty and longing; in your depths there is a firm weight of fullness.

"Nothing has to happen immediately, this minute, or right now. It's okay to pause for just a moment. Just take a breath. Then go quietly inside. Ask life itself to lead you to your best outcome. There's nothing you have to do, really, except get out of your own way."
Neale Donald Walsch

There is a madness in the false world we have created; that world's only lessons are tension and fear — relax into yourself. Take your lessons from nature. Let quietness instruct you. If you pay attention and listen to quietness, you will notice a nearly imperceptible thread of consciousness, like a quiet hum or a perception of time. We have all noticed this feeling when we have been alone in nature, or in a quiet room alone. This space of consciousness peacefully advances — undisturbed by the surface tensions in your responsive mind. You can move into this space of mind at will; you are a dimension of this awareness. You are this calm thread of awareness witnessing the gentle unfolding of your perfect self. When you commune with your ever-present inner calm, you are released from the madness and pain of all outer turmoil. Your unstoppable nature is becoming and blooming — you simply, are. Go easy. Don't search for your purpose. You are not defining your purpose — your purpose is defining you. You are unfolding with profound purpose; your purpose is revealing you, to yourself. Run to yourself. Life is so big. Do not try to fill it. Instead, expand within. You are enough for you.

Quietness is your greatest preparation for life

Take some quiet time for yourself. In the quietness you will begin to recognize yourself again. We so easily lose ourselves in the daily shuffle of life. Mindfulness and awareness will allow you to participate in your life rather than only reacting to life. Through practicing mindfulness, you can begin to enjoy the simple things in life that have been lost in the clutter. Meditation is the powerful antidote to many of the poisons in your life; it stills vast yearnings and inner-discontentments. Meditation provides a reprieve from the vicious swings of worry; that horrid place where our mind continually wanders, where it's filled with fear and grasping for unknowable futures. Meditation opens you to completeness; a moment of true reality. Meditation does not strive — it only opens you to what is. As your hopes and desires disappear, you emerge. Through meditation you begin to take form in your interior as a beautiful being. Free from self-deception and fear, you will start to see and believe in your own beauty. As you submerge into your own realm of nothingness you feel you are being pulled into some great oneness; a mending of the fractures in your own consciousness. Nothing to conquer or control, no-one to quarrel with — the still mind is peaceful, and the still mind is free. Your quiet moments prepare you for the harsh scuffles and abrasions of life. Take some quiet time for yourself to center and to transcend the madness. Quietness is the most unpretentious preparation for a life of peaceful significance.

"Follow your intuition, step into the unknown and leap into the field of all possibilities."
Jayme Barrett

There is a vast kingdom of understanding within you

Sometimes we hurt ourselves the way we struggle and resist. Acceptance can be its own form of dominant resistance — because survival is sometimes the best resistance. Sometimes survival is all we have. Everyone wants to be powerful and thrive and soar high, but life's challenges sometimes demand we contract rather than expand. Retreating is not necessarily a loss, but often a strategy of survival. The defense processes you observe in the natural world, in animals and in cellular biology have their analogues in your psychology and spirituality. You are not weak because you must sometimes retreat and contract; it is a part of your brilliance. It sometimes is natural and genius to fail. There is often wisdom, strategy and intelligence in loss. Surrender is not just a spiritual, meditative or transcendental philosophy; it is often pragmatic, worldly and rational. Detachment and surrender are both rational and transcendental. Non-engagement or retreat can turn certain defeat into victory. Do not be ashamed of what you perceive as your weaknesses, failures and losses, which may have been your greatest moments of brilliance and survival.

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."
Maya Angelou

As an organism and being, your total intelligence is profoundly greater than what you can observe of yourself. Your education, intelligence, memory, vocabulary and obvious mental faculty is just the mere surface of your intelligence. There is a vast kingdom of understanding within you that you cannot consciously grasp. Each cell within you is its own kingdom of genius with a powerful will for life. You are one masterful orchestration; a system of great intuition, unfamiliar senses and ancient instincts that are constantly transmitting survival insight in your moments of challenge. Don't think you can outsmart or intellectually instruct the ocean of ancient wisdom within you. Intellectuality is often loud, clumsy, forceful and arrogant. Surrender and meditative calm will allow your total intelligence to come forward and instruct you with powerful patterns for living. Your will for life is speaking to you through every layer and level of your being's stratum; from the conscious to the unconscious. The way you open yourself to the ocean of wisdom within you is through humility, calm, and quietness. The way you marshal the vast kingdom of survival strength is through total humility and listening. Open yourself to your unfamiliar instincts that are quietly hidden below the noise and chatter of common thought. Trust yourself. Honor yourself. Accept yourself. There are legions of unknown forces within you awaiting your cooperation. The way you commune with your total force of intelligence is through surrender. In the quietness of your still mind, you will hear the whispers of a vast longing for life guiding you each step on your journey. You are safe. You are strong. You are brilliant. You are walking through life with total protection — if you listen and trust yourself.

Possibility is born out of impossibility,
  the voids define the forms.
Even now, your pain and weakness
  is giving form to your strength.

Quit resisting. Let your pain pierce your hard heart so the agony can flow out, and the love can rush in. It's the love that will bring you back to life. Wisdom doesn't come easily or without a cost; in fact, wisdom often costs us dearly. Your wisdom will run about as deep as the pain that has cut you. There are very few shortcuts in life, if any. But, if you are looking for the best shortcut available, here it is — LISTENING.

"The simple act of listening is the beginning of change in our lives."
Susaye Greene

Through meditation and surrender we can bring peace into our lives

We are at war with everything because we are at war with ourselves. The war is in the world because the war is in our minds. We find peace only in the meditative moments of surrender from our violent minds. People around us are constantly under the scrutiny of dissecting judgements by others. We do not actually know other people; we only know our judgements. When we release people from our vicious minds, we grant them a small reprieve from a life of endless guardedness. Through meditation and surrender we can bring peace into the lives of others by sharing our safe emotional atmosphere. People love the freedom and space to simply be; it is treasured when given. There is nothing more spiritual than freedom. Zero control; that is true love. Real love is freedom.

"Part of happiness is knowing your sadness."
Sierra McGill

Great healing occurs when we are better able to love our darkness. We cannot dissect our nature and simply throw out the bad. When you try to dissect and dispose of parts of yourself, you become psychotic. Only butchers of the mind dissect; this is the brutality of dualism and reductionism. We are full spectrum beings, and just as white light is every colour, we must accept our full colours to shine as brightly. As a species, we are in crisis. Crisis is imbalance. We are in crisis because we have difficulty accepting our true nature. Only complete love can completely heal our fractures and our spiritual dementia. All healing starts with beginning to accept yourself and love yourself; even your flaws.

"The linear deterministic approach to nature and technology promoted a fragmented perception of reality, and a loss of the ability to foresee, to adequately evaluate, in all their complexity, global crises in ecology, civilization and education."
Anatoly P. Liferov

Nondualism is not very well understood due to the dominant systems of thinking in Western culture. The ultimate deception is in the dichotomy; by choosing one or the other we tend to overlook possible interconnectedness between the two. Dualism makes you forget there ever was a whole. Most of your thoughts have been isolated, concentrated and refined by dualism; a violently divisive and narrow model of consciousness. Practicing nonduality splits open our outer oppositions surrounding our spiritual nucleus. Just as the planets orbit the Sun, our emotions revolve around the nucleus of our conflicts and oppositions. When you sink to the center of yourself, you reach the calm enormity of what defines your being. There is a dimension of peaceful wholeness in the surrendered, non-dualistic mind — a dimension of non-meaning. Surrender is finding the balance between the fighting sides inside of you. The meditative surrendering from constantly balancing between oppositions is healing. We are emancipated from polarity when we hover above opposites in the meditative state. Restful nothingness can be achieved in both the thinking and feeling states of observation. Move to the center of yourself and you will find a calm presence of release that is not easily disturbed.

"The scientific method only acknowledges monophasic consciousness. The method is a specialized system that focuses on studying small and distinctive parts in isolation, which results in fragmented knowledge."
Tara W. Lumpkin 4

In the West, consistency is integral to our comparative analysis of binary oppositions for the sake of so-called sanity and cognitive consonance. This goes to the core of who we are; into the nervous system of our tongues, through language and into the deepest levels of our thoughts and consciousness.5 There are few things more frightening to the Western mind, than a truly open mind that can see the validity of opposing points of view. Be open. Whatever construct you choose is perfect. You are not even you, unless you choose to be. This type of thinking frightens people because they want to "know" who people are, and what things are. People are terrified of those who change their self-definition because to understand means to control. When we can understand "it," we can control our interactions with "it," as a part of our risk management. But, to understand we must first observe. This is how the mind becomes a weapon. We observe, label and control. We label people to control them. All labels are for control. All definitions are a part of the intellectual dissection and compartmentalization of control.

Meditation attempts to escape the mind and its labels and understanding. The best philosophies for meditating are therefore non-philosophies — a philosophy of nothing. But even adopting a non-philosophy is the same as believing in a philosophy. It is just another form of holding, which is yet another obstacle to attaining enlightenment. The practice is simply a process of non-clinging to all boundaries and limitations; a process of not identifying with anything, including non-identification, until you become everything and nothing. This space can have no name, but is about balancing and hovering in your primal state of beingness, as you pass through the phases of consciousness through meditation on your sojourn.

One must take care not to fall into the trap of the intellect by believing that you can liberate yourself from all of the mind-made actions, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs by using some other action, thought, idea, or belief to do so. The mind can never let go of the mind. That would be like asking it to commit suicide, which it will never do. For this very reason, I refer to the mind and intellect as a "cosmic house of mirrors," from which a person can never escape. As soon as someone tries to let go, then the act of letting go becomes another form of holding — holding the construct of letting go. Instead of setting you free, the mind keeps you imprisoned in an unsolvable maze.

"The desire to let go is actually the desire to hold on masquerading as the desire to let go."
David Newman

Each person has in effect been kidnapped by their minds, but through meditation you can attain freedom and great peace by releasing control and by silencing the waring mind. The struggle before death is very similar to the mind before it touches truth through surrender. To the mind, surrender is death. The mind fears surrender as one fears death. The mind cannot remember the ultimate reality of what is, without first forgetting itself. As the mind relaxes into the openness of receiving; as it begins slipping away — suddenly comes a flailing panic, like the sensation of falling. Jolted back awake, the frightened mind steadies its command and control and reaffirms itself as the dominant reality. To quieten the mind, the mind must be seduced into forgetting itself. At the moment the journeyman believes he is now fully awake, he in fact, has fallen back asleep to consciousness. If you think you have things reasonably figured out, you are in a deep sleep. If you want to get a steady hand on reality, you are hopelessly lost. You can only really find yourself by losing yourself.

"The most exquisite soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can't have it. The minute you don't want power, you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible."
Ram Dass

Only when a person gives up trying to let go, does the release happen. Remember, what you hold firmly, holds you with equal resolve. Once you release the illusion of control, your innate being is allowed to emerge. The pathless path is easy for those who are sincere, and all obstacles will be dissolved within the free and open space of a childlike and open mind. One need only empty oneself of the "excess baggage" of thoughts, beliefs, standards and practices that have been accumulated over a lifetime, so that the fountainhead of knowledge can pour forth effortlessly into their human vessel. If you are willing to take the first step simply by choosing to release control, you will experience true freedom in every sense of the word.

Something beyond knowledge exists in non-knowledge

Meditation can plunge you into the nothingness void by destroying your thoughts — allowing you to perceive the unified whole of yourself. When we step out of the domain of our dissected knowledge grid, we can access the genius instinct through direct inner experience. Something beyond knowledge exists in non-knowledge; this is where we go to uncover the unknown. The greatest finding in the non-duality state of nothing is peace. Look between the words, the seconds and your surest facts, and you will see you are looking from behind prison bars. Slip through your assumptions and become free from the tyranny of knowledge. Balance, symmetry and simplicity are ready to heal your painful disproportions; you were meant for completeness. Simplicity is the most complex concept you will ever contemplate.

"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein

Manifesting Your Dreams

You are the artist and the art

"You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings."
Elizabeth Gilbert

Manifesting is accomplished by living with integrity and purity of heart and mind. Your mind, heart and soul can be pure — if you choose. It doesn't matter who you are, what you were or where you came from. You can choose to be anything you want. That's the beauty of life — you get to choose! This is how manifesting works — seeds that are planted grow. Who you are, what you believe, what you think and how you feel — multiplies. You are compounding in lack or abundance. You are compounding in anger or kindness. You are compounding in gratitude or blame. You are compounding in all things, attitudes, beliefs and choices. Every virtue you chose, your life will multiply in that goodness. What does manifesting mean? It means you are the artist and the art. Cultivate yourself. Take care with yourself. Love yourself. Manifesting is so simple. I can't stress enough that the opportunities are not "out there" — they are inside of you as a part of your own self-realization. Create a beautiful place inside of yourself and then begin to expand and build outward. As the beauty grows within you, let it touch every person you encounter and let it enrich the world around you.

Creating in the Space and Power of Love

The most powerful manifesting is realized by those who walk in love and create through love. There is no getting around this immutable truth; love creates and hate destroys. Love is the calm space of creation. People come from making love. Businesses are often built on the foundations of love and passion. The practice of love is the procreation of hope. Love is a lifelong practice. The master creators are masters of love. They inject, infuse and imbue everything they touch with the perfecting magic and miracle of love. Love is not just for people; it is also for animals, plants and even objects, which I know may seem strange to you. But what is love really? Love is a lens of an observer. Love is an attitude with action. One who walks in love sees the world through the envelope of their mission. As a servant of love every exchange passes through the practice. Through love, you see the whole world, not just people, differently.

Keeping steady and true to your principled journey toward success

Do you sometimes feel like being honest has held you back? Of course, no one wants to believe this, but in a seemingly dog-eat-dog world any of us can become disillusioned. It can seem that the honest people go nowhere, while undeserving snakes have slithered ahead. As much as this may seem true, it is only part of the story and in many ways it is an illusion. It is a common false impression because as you are moving-up, you sometimes, depending on where you started, pass through a strata of people who have not made it, many of them, because of integrity problems. So it seems like there is no integrity anywhere, and an honest person is doomed. There are also people at that level who are inexperienced with success and don't know how to actualize their visions; they are effectively dysfunctional. And then, there are people who are flat-out desperate. Some of these people have made less than noble decisions in lean times because they were operating from fear and a place of lack. I call it the three D's: desperation, dysfunction, and dishonesty. But if you keep steady and true to your principled journey, over time you can rise up through the fog of desperation. Real and deep success is a journey of total integrity. Like a plane breaching over the dark thunder-clouds with a blast of sunlight, eventually you break through to a new level, where it is the exact opposite and where nearly every successful person you meet, refreshingly, has a high standard of conduct; never perfect of course, but good. This is when you have found your tribe; those in your likeness. It takes patience, longsuffering, and a strong will to do good, but through it all, if you prove time and time again that you have integrity, you will eventually meet the success you always knew was meant for you. Stay true to your ideals and give them the gift of your wholehearted energy and effort.

"Passion and persistence are what matter. Dreams are achievable and you can make your fantasy come true, but there are no shortcuts. Nothing happens without hard work."
Diane Von Furstenberg

Be patient with the seasons of life and with yourself

Sometimes, right when you think your life is getting better, everything falls to pieces, and you end-up right back where you started. In those moments just remember, that right when your life has fallen apart, something unexpected will come along; a new person, friend, opportunity or discovery, that will help you put the pieces back together again. Don't hold together what must fall apart. The familiar life crumbles so the new life can begin. Things may be different, but you will love your life again in time.

You cannot fast-forward your life to just the good parts. Just like you cannot force a garden to grow faster — your life is a similar cultivation with similar seasons. No matter how badly you want the harvest of your dreams, it is not coming the second you make the wish. Immediate gratification is a dream killer! Be patient. The secret is to flow with the seasons of your life. This is how you reach the fullness of life's bounty.

You may have to try a thousand different ways to make it work before you find the one way that works for you. There may be long pauses between your best and brilliant moments, where it all just seems cloudy. Looking back at all you had planned, you may find you are not even close to where you thought you would be. But it is happening; this life of yours. What works for you is good enough. Those long pauses may be some of your sweetest moments. Your journey may have taken an unexpected turn or two, but it took you directly to who you are today. It all added up to something after all — to you becoming you. Be patient with life and with yourself, and remember, you can always hold out for something better when you know your self-worth.

"Pause and remember— Life is a process of surrendering. Make the decision to let go of what no longer serves you or makes you feel good. Know that you are worth more and something better will arrive once you create the space."
Jenni Young McGill

Getting over money blocks and worthiness issues

There is no nobility in poverty; that is to say there are beautiful people who are poor, but being poor does not necessarily make you beautiful. There is no sense in relishing in poverty. We serve no purpose by being small, and we can best help others from a position of strength; not weakness. Take a vow of total abundance. Declare that you believe in balance, and therefore, full spectrum inner and outer (spiritual and worldly) wealth and empowerment, also known as freedom.

The lie that you can't make money doing what you love is just a projection of your self-accepted unworthiness. We are all worthy of abundance. The great Earth is abundant, and we are its stewards; endless wealth is ours. We have the wealth of the universe; it's all accessible, but you have to claim the abundance. You don't have to be poor to be deeply spiritual, and in fact spirituality can bring every type of wealth there is to be had. What the world needs more than anything is more spiritual millionaires and spiritual billionaires; the world needs conscious leadership! Maybe that leader is you.

Money is not the problem in the world; hard hearts are the real problem — the hard hearts of both the rich and the poor. Unkind and selfish people, whether they be rich or poor, live in abject poverty. Yes, you have permission to make money — lots of it. Let your wealth aid in funding your passions, visions and hopes for others. And like all energy, such as time, effort, money and thought — spend it compassionately, purposefully and in service of others. For those who say money is evil or that it hardens your heart; speak for yourself — that's only your relationship with money. Money only magnifies and extends who you already are. Negative people who criticize and judge others just because they have money, spend their scant resources of time and effort foolishly and with a mean spirit. I became rich because I have a rich heart. I became wealthy because I spent my poverty well and kindly. You choose your worth in life each day, by how you treat others. Open yourself to the possibility of your total empowerment!

Contrary to what you may think, real leadership is not about superiors and their followers. Leadership is not about the senseless accumulation of wealth and power. Proper leadership concerns itself with what it does with its power to serves others. The endgame of leadership is fostering dignity in the lives of others. Real leaders want to create and empower other leaders; only the phonies hog it all for themselves. Real leaders spend more of their energy helping others than helping themselves. Real leadership is less about leading and more about service. Real leadership is about giving, and carrying the dreams and hopes of others in your heart every step of the way. The distinguishing characteristic of a true leader is pure elation in seeing others prosper. It is time that spiritual people open themselves to total abundance without shame or guilt. The world needs more conscious and caring leaders who are empowered, not only with integrity and big hearts, but with cold hard cash! Embrace the resources that can help bring more positivity, compassion, understanding, and change into the world.

The repayment for your good acts are the good acts themselves

When you are generous, sometimes people will take advantage. You may be respectful and yet some people will still be unkind. You may be a good person, and some people will nonetheless still treat you terribly. We don't always get what we give, but that's fine, because you aren't giving it for them anyway, at least not exclusively. It's really all a statement by, about and for you. How you treat others is really about who you choose to be in this life. The repayment for your good acts are the good acts themselves. When you act honorably, even if others don't, your honorable actions are your irretractable reward to yourself. Who you chose to be — decision by decision and act by act — is the great reward you receive by doing good. What is well done is well received. The mark you leave in another's heart is always left in yours; for better or worse. Just because people are not nice to you doesn't mean you have to be unkind back. That's how the world changes — one brave person like you being kind.

Heart centered service is a power of great attraction and manifestation

If you want to be successful at anything you do, it will help you to first be a successful human. Since human life is a social life, becoming a successful human means being there for other people. The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others. No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow human beings. We are here to spend ourselves on others; for each person is a great treasure. Success doesn't just mean happiness, success means doing the right thing, which often involves sacrifice and pain, but ultimately leads to deeper feelings of fulfillment. The greatest happiness comes from feeling and expressing our love for other people, and particularly our families. If you think about it, we love most those who we serve most, whether it be children, employees, friends or our communities. And this means that we can bring about a greater love for one another, though a life of simple, but meaningful service.

There are many types of currency, not the least of which is a system of emotional and trust economics that govern societies, both primitive and modern. These economics govern every relationship, whether it be between individuals or nations. In fact, money as we know it does not really exist. Money is just a piece of paper, and outside of our dynamic and collective consent it has no value beyond the value of the paper it is printed on. The only reason money has value is because we all agree that it does. So, ironically, money could be seen as a placeholder for trust. We trust that when we go to redeem that worthless piece of paper (or its digital representation in an account) the recipient will honor its value with real-world goods and services at a fair exchange. In a relationship, when trust is lost, everything is lost. We are all in a relationship with one another. We can become emotionally bankrupt, or even in debt. And this is why it is important that we invest in people with our personal currency of service, restoring those whose personal accounts of hope and optimism are low.

Many people want more in their relationships; more money and more success. They try to force these things, and when they do not materialize, they become negative and pessimistic. The harder they try, the more bitter and desperate they become, and the further the things they want seem to move away. They do not realize that all success comes through other people. It can seem counterintuitive when you learn that you get most things in life not by taking, but by giving. Giving is the key to all success in all applications of human life. The act of true giving is indistinguishable from receiving. Giving yourself is the ultimate revolution! Giving is not a physical action; giving is a philosophy and a way of living life. There are endless opportunities to give the smallest things that cost us nothing, but have great value to other people. Money and time are not the only things we can give. We can give others appreciation, patience, compassion, courtesy, kindness, dependability, friendship, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty, loyalty, respect, tolerance and of course — love.

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint — and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. "
Oprah Winfrey

Courtesy is such a powerful and amazing gift to give. Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and, in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man's cruelty and baseness. Mastering courtesy alone will enhance your life and the lives of others. We can give a tired clerk a kind and understanding glance. We can give a frustrated driver a spot in line on the road. We can give a hopeful passerby a kind smile and wave. We can speak to people at all stations of life with respectful and polite words and tones. We can wait patiently when we have only one item in the grocery line behind someone with a full cart, offering them a gentle smile instead of a frustrated tapping foot; body language to help make their day better. When we want to talk, we can instead listen, and let our attentiveness to another's need to speak be our silent statement. All of these simple but powerful gifts have immense value to the person receiving them, and all are examples of an overarching philosophy of giving and service that we can each apply in our lives every day. Simply by thinking about something other than ourselves, and by monitoring our behaviors with a pure and selfless intent of making the lives of other people better, we have the privileged opportunity to change them for the better. The solution to nearly every problem in the world comes down to greater awareness, compassion, and empathy. The roots of all commonwealth are planted in the understanding that we are all the same human beings. What we do to others, we do to ourselves.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
Mahatma Gandhi

No matter your philosophical or religious framework, whether it be the golden rule of Christianity, the view of biochemical inducement of self-preservation through the sociological laws of reciprocity, the "Mystical Law" of Karma (the universal law of ethical causation), Confucian Shu reciprocity, laws of the harvest or any other world-view construct of the same concept, life will start working for you rather than against you when you hold these beliefs to be inherently true. Life has a way of shining on people who stand in the sunshine of kind actions. But you can't fake it. It has to come from the heart, with a true spirit of giving and selflessness. For a moment in this brief existence, we have the privilege to share time with other people, and serve them and their needs. And there is a beautiful gift that comes with giving, and that is service brings healing to both the recipient and the giver. If you have not been served personally by caring hands in your own life, do not be bitter, but instead, ask yourself who you can now serve. If you have had some tough times in life, now more than ever is the time to make someone else's life better. You see, how we treat other people changes them, but even more so, how we treat other people changes us. This is the wondrous gift of giving; through this act, we receive an important part of our own identity. Small acts of kindness between you and the individuals around you create such abundance. Let us all reach out with a hope that we could each bring some degree of happiness to other human beings. Let each of us lead a revolution of support in the lives of others. Giving is always one of the most powerful ways to manifest. Share the treasure of your love with others and you will always be rich. Treat others with respect and you will always be wealthy because your community is your real currency.

Manifesting a better world through kindness and respect

Don't underestimate your power of influence. In today's world, any average effort or caring is a triumph. Simple caring and simple effort are heroic strivings. Those who have attained wisdom from the difficulties intrinsic to every life — can and should try to be there for others. Like experienced midwives, we should all assist those who are inexperienced in the painful birthing of psychological maturity and greater spiritual consciousness. This is the least we can do; lead people from their darkness with the light of our caring.

One of the best ways to show our caring is to allow everyone and everything to simply be — through respect. Respect is the universal currency that is accepted everywhere and by everyone. The answer to so many of our problems is greater understanding and compassion. The power of "getting to know one another" is so immense, eclipsed only by first getting to know ourselves. Carefully question the sources of your deepest animosity toward your perceived enemies, they may not be enemies at all. Many of our conflicts are cultivated between us by manipulation to misdirect our attention and to control us. We are all being played against one-another, and our hate is produced. Our inner-most truth is love. Anyone can be kind to someone they like, but the real test is can you be kind to people you don't like? When we become acquainted with any person on a human level, even a great enemy, we begin to see that no person is really so different from ourselves. We are all frail-embodied creatures, who at times suffer through injustice, abuse, illness, pain and misfortune. We are all imperfect and make mistakes. We all struggle. We all feel pain. We all have wishes and hopes. Hate offers the world no hope — only love can do that. Wish for the happiness of your enemies, for if they are happy, they are your enemy no more.

"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."
Abraham Lincoln

We are all very fragile and feel alone at times. We are also very strong and are surrounded with community at times. Things change, but throughout your life you are the only constant. This is why it is important that you learn how to treat yourself kindly. Start with one act of kindness at a time — toward yourself. If you want to be respected start with yourself; respect yourself and love yourself. This you can do today even when others will not. How respectfully you treat yourself, is in time, reflected back from others more and more each day. It always begins with you.

By being beautiful and kind you are doing your part to create a more beautiful world. When you are kind to people in public you become a force for good, and you are teaching everyone who is watching you. People know love when they feel it; your heart speaks to their heart. People don't care what you say, only how you make them feel, so try to create pleasure for every person you encounter. If you do this, your life will change forever, along with the lives of those you have touched. We are both thinking and feeling creatures. We must, therefore, devote our lives not only to rationality, but also to kindness. There is no greater intelligence than kindness and empathy. Kindness is the supreme intelligence. Let your brilliance be expressed through kindness. If you can be kind to people, you will be a genius in this world.

All things are possible through respect and kindness. Allow these words, my thoughts and feelings, to create within you a new concept of your own power — your power of kindness. Accept this transmission like a mind-virus or a program to run in your consciousness. As it has been said by so many people, you become your thoughts. You are first and foremost a creator, but most importantly, you are a creator of yourself. Meditate on these concepts and words, and then create a feeling of well-being and amenity within yourself. Develop your power of kindness and then use it to create immense goodwill in your own life, and in the lives of others.

Using the power of intention and manifesting for the greater good

Your intentions define you. People are more than just selfish response to stimuli. Many people have sacrificed themselves to fates that clearly were not based on self-interest by possessing intentions to serve something greater in scope than the self. Thus, deterministic or divine, intention is the seed-germ of all change, and can defy all environments. According to many theologians, the judgment of "the intentions of our hearts" by God, upon our very soul, is predicated upon our innermost intentions. According to philosophers and now even scientists, intention is the foundation of numerous quantum physical and metaphysical universal laws. Prayer, meditation, mantra, and affirmation are explicit forms of accessing the power of intention. In short, intention is the only pathway to the future we will likely ever know. We can use this powerful intention.

Acknowledge that everything we have created in the world started as a tiny intention. We carry within us the enormity of possibility that gave birth to everything that has been made in the world. Let us now yearn for the possibility of building a happiness in every heart. Let us now build inward a new world of hope, a world of limitless possibilities for the children of tomorrow, where each soul can reach the heights of their potential to love and to be loved.

We have the power to set our intentions on the betterment of our world. The very "least" among us has the enormous power to effect change through small acts of determination and will. We can each immediately liberate ourselves as victims in the world, through solidifying an intent to act; intent to forgive; intent to love; intent to be caring, polite and empathetic. Then, with that clear intention set into motion through the simplest first actions, we will begin to liberate ourselves from victimization, thereby creating an entirely new perspective and future. It all starts with how you look at the world, and forgiveness and love are integral to the process of healing. There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Every soul is beautiful and precious; is worthy of dignity and respect, and deserving of peace, joy and love. You will be a beautiful person, as long as you see the beauty in others. This is how you change everything. To have our needs met, to love, to be loved, to feel safe in this world and to each know our purpose, is a simple matter of creating those blessings for others. We have the power to choose these virtues, rather than choosing violence, rage, anger, revenge, greed and other base impulses of the lower-self. We may know our true purpose in life, because we may choose our purpose in life. Our purpose is to be there for one-another. Giving is the master key to success, in all applications of human life.

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In each of us exists a gift which has blessed the world with hope time after time. Each person carries within their core the birthright of creative freedom, which, when organized and orchestrated, is the most awesome force on earth. It is a force that can send a human to the moon or send her voice around the world in an instant. It is a power that collectively has always, even after mistakes, re-centered, and inevitably fought for freedom and rights. It is that kernel of promise within each of us which we must harness and responsibly share. You begin by expressing your highest intentions and by declaring your purpose which will be — and is now at this very moment being fulfilled — to rise above any indifference, and irrevocably declare that you too have true, heartfelt compassion and empathy for all who suffer. Through our intentions, we shall stand erect, defiant and without shame, and declare that IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

People are in desperate need of your great belief, vision and goodwill. Vast regions of the world are now human slaughter houses, where deserving and once bright and hopeful eyes, now stare blankly toward the last hiding places deep within. Each of these worthy souls have been robbed by poverty, fear, and grotesque apathy. They exist as former humans, who should be delightfully moving through the sacrosanct journey of life with dignity, but are instead reduced to mere vessels of pain; they exist each relentless moment as vessels of pure misery.

Cynicism is one of the terrible obstacles to progress. Please lay down your cynicism, and believe in the transformational power of love. Dare to believe that good things are possible when you follow your heart. Your intentions are so powerful. Your personal declaration of will is the first step in a seemingly impossible journey. Now is the time for all humble, good-spirited servants, who believe that through love the world can be transformed into a sanctuary of abundance for all, to work together. The time has come.

The beginning of all change starts with your intention the very moment you choose to no longer accept the "reality" you see before you. Do not underestimate the power in an individual's commitment to harnessing the power of their intention, which is a way for all people to be powerful. Express your intentions now, and become the powerful change the world needs to be healed — starting with yourself in your own life! Voice your greatest intentions and act upon them now!

Meditations & Affirmations

33 Meditations of Positive Intention

When you speak and affirm, you are creating a verbal contract with yourself. These intentions helped me transform my life, and I believe they will help you too. Reflect on them often.

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

  1. Love and kindness will be my greatest talents.

  2. I will have true love, health, wealth, abundance and longevity.

  3. I will know myself, love myself, develop myself and protect myself.

  4. I will continually seek to understand, know and sympathize with my fellow man.

  5. I will strive to cultivate the positive, and will resist indulging in negativity.

  6. I will not judge people, and I will remember we are all frail students of the world.

  7. I will be polite, courteous, and respectful of people and their views.

  8. I will listen deeply to what all people have to say, and they will be my teachers.

  9. I will continue to strengthen my resources so that I may have them to share with others in need.

  10. I will freely share my time and resources with people.

  11. I will take without forgetting, and give without remembering.

  12. I will reach out to people, not only financially, but also emotionally.

  13. I will use my resources, talents, gifts and determination in creative ways to solve other people's problems.

  14. I will teach others, through example, that much can be done with little, if you only have the desire.

  15. I will live my dream, not dream it.I will live it with morals and live it with a heart that's kind, and not judgmental, vain or conceited.

  16. I believe in the quest for the illumination of self, and then the world, through the simple, humble, almighty, supreme virtue of love.

  17. I believe in seeking, protecting and accentuating that which is innocent, good and beautiful.

  18. I believe in individual freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of belief and freedom of association.

  19. I believe in ethical living by never harming others on the inside or outside.

  20. I believe in world peace, harmony and being at ease with ourselves, our environment, and other members of our human family.

  21. I believe in helping all people abandon fear, outer attachments, and dependence on man-made constructs by looking INWARD, toward the DIRECT SOURCES of personal truth; a quiet communion with that which only YOU can know as truth.

  22. I believe every person is a luminous being of unlimited potential; a unique CREATOR, whose creative emanations radiate and project forward, as original SOURCE contributions and gifts to the World.

  23. I believe in the absolute and unfettered sovereignty and freedom of each soul; that no flesh and blood, man or woman, except by the bonds of will or contract, shall have ANY Earthly master exert dominion, power or control over their free will.

  24. I believe in choosing people over ideas, and in the reality of human commonality.

  25. I believe in service and easing the burdens of others, and no time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow man.

  26. I believe each person is already equipped with EVERYTHING they need to access purpose, meaning, fulfillment, peace, happiness and abundance.

  27. I believe all people are worthy of love, and all people deserve to be cherished as unique and beautiful.

  28. I believe in building a happiness in every heart; in building INWARD, a new world of hope and limitless possibilities for the children of tomorrow, where each soul can reach the heights of their potential to love, and to be loved.

  29. I believe that every person is precious, and inside, we are still like little children who yearn for acceptance, unconditional love, and the gentle, warm affection that can only come from another soul who is whole enough and generous enough to reach out and give the gift of acceptance and compassion. I will be that person.

  30. I believe in the overwhelming goodness of most people. The gifts of love and kindness are forces that have the power to change and heal people. How we treat other people can and does change them; equally so, how we treat ourselves can change us.

  31. I believe in changing MYSELF for the better, and in having my existence proved only by the raised hands of the people I have served, who will say without doubt I have cared.

  32. I believe in choosing positive over negative; love over hate; trust over suspicion; support over neglect; hope over doubt; and in KNOWING, that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

  33. Let us subdue the ravages of the baser-self, and aspire to the higher calling of exalting joy through compassion, for that is the one true purpose of humanity.

Dare to love every person, including yourself

Dare to love every person, including yourself. Become the energy of love. Begin the lifelong practice of love:

  1. Quit saying you hate people. Never do this again.

  2. Tell yourself constantly, "I love myself, and I love others."

  3. Tell the people important to you that you love them. (As hard as it is to believe, many people have never reached this stage.)

  4. Whisper quietly to yourself, "I love you and wish you happiness in life" to each stranger you encounter, speak to or walk by, who is easy to like, or beautiful in countenance.

  5. Whisper quietly to yourself, "I love you deeply and wish you healing and contentment in life" to each stranger you encounter, speak to or walk by, who is rude, or hateful in countenance.

  6. Find partners in this philosophy that agree to exchanging mutual feelings of love verbally.

  7. Speak aloud or quietly, telling all living things, such as animals, insects, trees and plants you love them.

  8. Speak aloud or quietly, telling all things seen, such as rocks, mountains, sand, and water you love them.

  9. Speak aloud or quietly, telling all things unseen you love them.

  10. Without speaking, emit a pure and innocent love toward all things and people that can be felt and seen by those in your presence.

  11. Become the energy of love.

Dare to see yourself for what you really are!

Dare to see yourself for what you really are!
Do not be limited by the judgements of others.
Do not believe the lie of limitations.
Inside of YOU is every possibility ever known.

Close your eyes and visualize your divine beauty.
Release all toxic energy and take in the energy of love.
Draw a picture in your mind where you are complete.
See your higher-self ascending to a place of peace.

Walk with the great masters in a circle of protection.
Let go of the old ways of fear and control.
Surrender to love, beauty, and peace.

There is great power in visualization; to define yourself.
Visualize yourself sitting with the great teachers.
Reach into your imagination and see what makes you happy.
From your visions take your unique gift from creation.

In your new world, choose to believe in the great beauties.
A natural soul can stand un-accosted by malevolence.
A sovereign mind is impenetrable and cannot be molested.

There is a delicate flower in your inner-most sanctum of self.
This soul-flower grows as a natural unfolding of your purpose.
It is safe, in a place where no entity or judgement can trample.
Humbly share this unique gift of yourself with the world.
BECOME! And share the unfolding of yourself with us ALL!

The power of creativity and discernment

Today I call upon my Higher Power to help me unleash the power of creativity and discernment in my life. Help me wisely create a more beautiful life one guided decision at a time.

Lay down your cynicisms

Today I call upon my Higher Power to help me lay down my cynicisms and believe in the goodness of people and the world. I ask for my innocence to be restored and my faith in possibility to be renewed.

Help me get through one more day

Today I call upon my Higher Power to help me get through one more day. Help me have gratitude in the face of scarcity, strength in my private struggles and the wisdom to live a good life for myself and others.

I am lovable

Today I call upon my Higher Power to help me accept that I am lovable. Because I was once unloved and deprived of affection, I learned to not love myself and to deprive myself. Each day I am moving closer to love in all its forms. I am worthy of loving and being loved.

Show me my deceptions

Today I call upon my Higher Power to reveal to me — my own deceptions. Give me the courage to see myself truthfully so I may heal, grow and thrive through humility.

From the impossible to the possible

Today, I call upon my Higher Power to deliver me from the impossible to the possible; from darkness to light, and from fear to courage.

Mend my broken heart

Today I call upon my Higher Power to mend my broken heart and ease the pain; to move forward in my new life with the courage to embrace the joy I deserve.

Lift me above my fears

Today I call upon my Higher Power to lift me above my fears, insecurities and doubts that keep me trapped in an unhealthy life.

Help me change myself

Today I call upon my Higher Power to help me release the need to change negative situations and people and the torment they bring. Help me change myself, so those situations no longer have power over me.

The Tree of Life

October 2003

The tree of all life divides
  The limbs and branches bifurcate,
Yearning growth shall not subside
  The will of life will not abate

With men and leaves the same
  Our family lines divide
Through this freely flowing vein
  Life's hope, the young derive

The branch from which you grow
  Will tell you who is kin,
And all those we truly know,
  Are those we call our friends

This simple truth of bloodline fire,
  No greater gift is known,
Than knowing why our hearts aspire,
  To forever cherish our own.

Like leaves we live and fall,
  On branches we all abound
The graves that catch us all,
  Are scattered on the ground

We all return to soil,
  This fate for both is known
For seeds are grown like souls,
  In death new life is sown

The ties that bind us taut,
  Man's family tree of souls
Are like leaves naturally wrought,
  On branches perched on knolls

While deep within the roots descend,
  Life's intercourse with ground
At each and every sunray's end,
  Stirs life, in mysteries bound

In this endless cycle of life,
  The past is future true
The days follow the starlit nights,
  As the sun gives way to the moon

The tides slowly ebb and flow,
  As mountains rise and fall
Winters warm to summers' glow,
  And spring gives birth to all

Life's chance is in the center
  Between the dark and light,
Outward, it grows, from the inner
  As diverging patterns fight

The voids define the forms,
  And the chaos stirs the order
For all opposing forces burn,
  Brightest at their border

To each and every living thing
  The call of life will enthrall,
From the mysteries, up we spring,
  Then to them back we fall

The worm awaits its feast
  Our master in the ground,
The most becomes the least
  Our death to dust is bound

Like leaves, we have a season,
  We pass through life so fast
And no one knows the reason,
  That youth and life can't last

All life awaits its chance
  To grow and plant its seed,
And hope the future grants
  Its single greatest need

To be a part of life
  With roots secured in ground,
While through the bitter strife
  New hopes are made or found

To reproduce the best
  And minimize our faults,
And through our lives attest,
  By that which we exalt!

To know of things greater
  Than the small part we play,
To know what Creator
  Produced us from the fray

For leaves and men the same
  Our time is frail and brief,
Cruelty has not been tamed
  Nor fairness worth belief

Some leaves wither and die,
  Because they grew too low
And others, perched up reaching high,
  Shall never peaceful shadows know

For growing high, up above
  Has many sights unseen,
Like the moist gift to all beloved,
  The silky-shaded dews that gleam

Some seem like perfect leaves
  With broad and beautiful forms,
Yet caught up in a gentle breeze
  From life they may be torn

Most are average size and form,
  While others grow not well
Some were diseased and deformed
  And quickly died and fell

The cycles of life will pass through
  Its purposes will be fulfilled,
And when destiny wants to take you
  No matter what it will

Give yourself to this flow
  And enjoy the time as you wait,
You may only resist to learn and grow
  But you cannot resist your fate

For nature is very resourceful
  Its mistakes are with pure intent,
It is never at all remorseful
  And shall never through force relent

So do not fight its mighty plan
  Or force will be met with force,
And in this yielding peaceful span
  Shall men then know their course

Life's truth is so simple,
  Its purity is cold and divine,
The skies are our holy temple
  Under which we are all entwined

We all yearn for knowledge
  The light we need to grow,
We must however acknowledge,
  Some things, we cannot know

Once we accept our design
  Living in joy can then begin,
This is the wisdom eluding mankind
  It is our pride, we must transcend

Take what life has to offer you
  And make it the best you can,
And understand the simple truth,
  It is glorious, to be a human!

Accept your place in nature
  The truth, you will then plainly see,
We're but a melody, in one grand overture,
  Like the rustling leaves of a tree.

Remember, there is always help available

It took me decades to process the anger and fear from negative childhood experiences. One thing I have learned is that these experiences are just like poison. Once the experiences are put in you, they will remain in you, doing damage until they are processed and removed. The processing takes time and is different for each person. For me, the trauma resulted in self-destructive behaviors and a much delayed mature interface with life. Consciousness and mindfulness are good places to start. Avoid violent and dark entertainment, watch less TV, especially the "NEWS," and learn to meditate. Read spiritual, psychology and self-help books. Seek therapy with a kind and nurturing therapist — therapy can be a wonderful and fun path of self-discovery. A therapist is always a good option because we tend to not see things, or ourselves, clearly and honestly when we are in stressful and unhealthy mindsets or situations. Possibly get yourself in a support group. Learn to convert the pain into depths of understanding and compassion that you can share with others, which will give meaning to your seemingly senseless experiences. Stay committed to uncovering your beauty and getting to know yourself completely. This is your chance, and you deserve to experience all the good and amazing things life has to offer you. These are fundamental decisions you must make about your life. Only you can make these decisions for action. When you obtain inner-clarity within yourself you will then have clarity in your outer world, and you will realize you have options. Feeling like you have no options is one of the disillusionments we often have when we are being controlled by fear, money or circumstances of life. I want to remind you that you have endless opportunities! Once you obtain clarity and make your informed decisions, a way will be made for you in time. Stay strong and be good to yourself!

If you are considering suicide, then please seek professional help and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. (


  1. Van der Kolk, BA 1989, 'The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma: Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism', Psychiatric Clinics of North America, vol. 12, no. 2 June, pp. 389- 411. 

  2. Stress shortens your DNA telomeres. 

  3. Research broken heart syndrome. 

  4. Tara W. Lumpkin, Perceptual Diversity: Is Polyphasic Consciousness Necessary for Global Survival? December 28, 2006 

  5. Spend some time researching: dualism, reductionism, monism, dialectics, linguistic semiotics, binary pairs, and deconstructionism 

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