What is Truth?

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If there is one thing that is certain, it’s this: nothing is certain. I look back onto my life and see that the truths and philosophies I once thought to be absolute no longer seem so – rather, they’ve morphed, changed, or completely dissolved into new levels of understanding. This seems to consistently be the case.

As Barry H. Gillespie said, “The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.”

So what is truth, then? Quite possibly ‘truth’ is an ever-changing, fluid body of innate wisdom that never rests. Seeing deeper truths is continuously possible, so long as we are flexible and open. Instead of holding tightly onto those things that we believe, we allow ourselves to change, move, learn, and see the world continuously with new eyes.

We then accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, acknowledging that none of us have the one true answer. So we venture into life using the only compass we have – our own. We sail uncertain seas and, like children, live in wonder.

This is, then, my truth in this moment: My truth is not a fixed point. I’m a student of life, open to new experience and open to possibility. Each day I surrender to the unknowable.

And this is where the magic lies.

wonder

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Life: What Happens To You While You’re Looking at Your Smartphone

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I pull up to a stop light. It’s a beautiful day – the sun is set high in the deep blue sky and the snow-capped mountains look nothing short of majestic looming in the distance. I marvel. I look to the car stopped to my right to see if the man driving the car is also noticing. He’s pulled out his cell phone and is furiously typing away. I shrug and look to the car to my left – the woman driving is also intently staring at her cellphone. It hit me: we are losing the ability to be present.

Have we forgotten what it’s like to just be?

I have to admit, I’m often guilty of the same kinds of things: I feel the nagging pull to check my phone when I’m stopped in the car. I feel the urge to check my e-mails, scan my social media accounts, and surf the Internet almost immediately upon waking.

Our culture highly promotes this fascination and absolute obsession with technology. It seems that we cannot even be in a room with other humans anymore without being on her cell phones at the same time, logged in to our social media accounts or snapping selfies to post for all to see.

What I’m telling you certainly isn’t news. I think we’re all aware of this obsession. Are we so aware of how much it really consumes our lives? I’m not so sure.

I’m going to throw a couple ideas out there and feel free to chew on them a little bit.

First: We’ve become afraid of actual, real-life, in-the-flesh human connection. Not all of us, certainly. But I notice that wherever we are, whether it’s sitting at the DMV, amidst family or friends, at a restaurant, etc. we are consistently tuned out. This is even worse for the newer generations who have grown up knowing and using technology – every single life event must be captured through an intermediary device (i.e. cell phone) and immediately posted elsewhere. Does this mean the actual life event isn’t REALLY being experienced?

Not only are actual moments not simply experienced as they are, but they’re also highly manipulated through the intermediary device (i.e. adding ‘filters’ to photos, for instance). Buried way, way underneath the desire to stay relatively “tuned out” from reality may just be a fear of human connection. Living in a technological world, we’re being trained to avoid actual contact and accustomed to communication through our devices.

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Second: We no longer know how to engage with the moment as it is. We no longer know how to be still and we’re totally and completely afraid of stillness. American culture promotes the hurried, fast-paced lifestyle. We’re constantly hurrying from one thing to the next. How often do you find yourself, say, stuck in traffic and unable to stop thinking about what you’re going to do when you aren’t stuck in traffic? Do you do the same thing while at work? If we’re totally honest with ourselves, we do this all the time in most every situation, desirable or seemingly undesirable. We’re so accustomed to avoiding the present moment that we habitually imagine what we’ll be doing next. This may become so habitual that even when we’re at the seemingly desired destination that we’ve been imagining (i.e. home after a long day of work) we can’t stop imagining another place in another time (i.e. tomorrow at work).

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When we do actually have a moment of stillness, we often feel strange as though we should be doing something or completing something. If you’ve ever tried meditation, notice that it is often difficult to remain present, without thoughts about the past or future, and without an urge to go do something else. It’s ingrained in us.

The constant urge to be on our phones or online is one symptom of this restlessness.

However, this restless lifestyle feels absolutely awful – the rates of depression are skyrocketing in America as it’s documented that more and more Americans are working overtime and skipping vacation days. With technology consuming our lives, we’re also bombarded constantly with information overload which not only activates a stress response within our bodies, but actually makes our brains far less efficient.

So while it’s certainly true that being a part of the world today means that we’ll use or come into contact with technology in one form or another (and we may as well embrace it), should it take the place of actual, real-life experience or actual, real-life contact with others?

I’m not so sure.

Let’s remember how to be. Simply be. Without distraction.

 

Here’s to the moment, to stillness, and to attention spans that are as wide and wavering as the ocean.

Cheers.

vibes

 

 

 

Instant Abundance

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What do you think of when you hear the word abundance? Possibly you think of having more of something – more money, better opportunities at work, more friends, more vacations, etc. I’ve also heard abundance described as the pursuit of ‘balance’, or being able to achieve harmony with all facets of your life, neither having too much nor having too little.

However, the pursuit of abundance still implies one thing: you are not okay just as you are.

Particularly in Western societies, negativity seems to be rampant — there is a constant reinforcement of the idea that we are not okay.  By and large, we’re told that having more of everything equals happiness. Every single day we are bombarded by advertisements telling us that our voids may be filled by purchasing a certain product. This kind of thing most certainly does not make for a very satisfied society. Why? Because there was never a void to begin with.

Here is an idea that will most likely sound a bit radical: You are perfectly alright, just as you are. 

This being said, there is certainly nothing at all wrong with goals or hoping to achieve something so long as this desire stems from a solid foundation of knowing that you are complete as you are and that no outside source can ever possibly deplete or add to that completion.

Often it’s easy to forget that life is a glorious, interconnected web of energy and that our lives are part of this vast, intelligent fabric. So often we overlook the abundance that is right here and right now, untouched and unmarred.

Let’s try something:

For a moment, forget your story. I’m serious – just for a moment, let it all go. Set it down. Anchor yourself with your breath, and stay fiercely present in this very moment. Stay in this moment, full and infinite – it’s all your truly have (and it’s enough. Boy, is it enough).

Now, I want you to place all of your awareness on your hands. You might notice that you feel them come alive when you do this – maybe they get warmer or more relaxed. Notice the energy coursing through them.

Now, expand that awareness to include your arms. All of your attention is on the feel of your arms. Notice how relaxed they become.

Expand this awareness now to your entire torso. Right now, an entire bacterial ecosystem the size of a rainforest is at work in there, keeping your body functioning.

With gentle ease, let the awareness expand, down to your legs and upward toward your head. All of your awareness is focused on what it feels like to be ‘you’.

That ‘you’ that you’re currently feeling is made up of about 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms (that’s about 7 octillion).

Stay with the feel of it.

With that same gentle awareness, feel the blood coursing through your body. This blood travels about 12,000 miles around your body in one day.

Your body is producing about 25 million new cells every second.

Now, turn your attention to the space around you.

It’s often said that humans have 5 senses, but in actuality, we have about 15, including the ability to balance and sense temperature.

Now, using those senses, check out the colors in the room. Find one that is particularly vibrant, and place your full attention on it. Don’t label it ‘purple’ or ‘orange’ or even ‘vibrant’, but just sit with it as it is. Let the color come alive.

Now, do the same with other colors in the room, no matter how dark or how vibrant. Be with it.

Now notice that in the seeing of these colors, there is little to no distinction between the seer (you) and the seen (the color). Where exactly does the seeing end and the object begin? Is there a difference between the seer and the seen?

Ask these questions lightly. Hold everything lightly.

As you look, know that your eyes are made up of over 2 million working parts.

If it’s daylight, look outside –I want you to notice the depth of the sky. I want you to really, really notice the depth of the sky. This, like you, is infinity – open, vast, and absolutely free of limitation.

Now, if that isn’t abundance already, I don’t know what is.

(And the funny thing is — once you begin to really, really take notice of the abundance that is already present, more abundance seems to drift your way.)

 

This life is abundance.

You are abundant.

You are perfection.

There isn’t anything you need.

After all, you’re everything

remember?

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It’s All Play: Wisdom for my Daughter

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To my little girl –

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sort of advice or life wisdom I’d most like to pass along to you. Of course, there’s your standard ‘be sure to always wear a seatbelt and floss your teeth’ kind of wisdom, but then there’s something even more primary to that (though those things are, and always will be, important).

Here it is:

You are not a stranger in this world.  You are the entire universe, choosing to have a human experience for a while.

Love people. They are all you, too, having their own experiences. We are all manifestations of the whole.

Be with it all, right here and right now. Time is, after all, just an illusion. There isn’t ever anything but the right here and the right now. Be with it. Don’t waste your precious life getting caught up in thoughts about tomorrow –it never comes.

It is all play.  We humans like to take ourselves really, really seriously. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to. Realize that the entire universe is essentially playful –I think Buddha was really on to something when he said “when you realize how perfect everything is, you’ll tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”.

The deepest and most fundamental truths are best found in silence. Try to have a few moments of unobstructed silence each day.

Humans tend to think that we are distinct, solid entities, completely separate from all other things. This, like time, is just an illusion. Get close enough and you’ll see that we’re all just made of vibrating waves of energy. There isn’t really anything solid there at all. Everything is truly nothing –just the Universe masquerading as form for a little while. You and all that you see are the same thing. This should fill you with endless amounts of joy (you’re ‘God’, after all).

Most of all, enjoy your time here, but don’t get too anxious about anything –like my favorite philosopher Alan Watts once said: “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

Take everything I’ve said with a grain of salt. Maybe some of it will resonate with you, and maybe some of it will sound like gibberish. Either way, discover your own truths, sail your own seas, and follow your own deepest yearnings.

Forever yours,

Mom

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How to Stunt Your Growth in One Easy Step

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It’s no secret that social media can be exasperating.

Seeing friends, particularly those within the same age-range, post updates of their accomplishments can be a bit, well, disenchanting.

This was one factor that led to my own ardent belief that not only should I have a six-figure career by now, or be travelling wildly around India on the backs of elephants and backpacking across Europe for an entire summer, but be madly in love, adorning a sparkling 10-carat diamond on my finger. Or something like that, anyway.

Possibly this contributed a bit to what I call my “quarter-life crisis”, a fantastically overwhelming sense that I has become –yes — a total loser.

Of course when you spend time comparing your life to the experience of others, you will inevitably end up being disappointed. My own life was being vastly distorted and reduced to mere ash by the very though that I was supposed to have my life together (as though there were some requirement for me to have all the answers!).

What I was failing to take into account was that these feelings of inadequacy were distracting me from some of the ripest, juiciest years of my life: The Soul-Searching Years.

And these don’t necessarily happen in your 20’s, either. These times are injected into our lives periodically as a PAUSE button, one which is made for taking time to re-evaluate. To test the waters. To play. To get a little bit messy in hopes that we discover new faculties and strengths.

What do these times require? Being A-Okay with ambiguity. Trusting that it serves a vital function.

And my God, yes it does.

The emotions that resulted from resisting my Soul-Searching Years were vastly profound and overwhelming, and energy I spent reprimanding myself for not having accomplished more was desperately needing to be redirected into conscious, loving introspection and deep and meaningful exploration. In my perceived ‘stuckness’, life was simply inviting me to get to know myself on a new level.

There are years meant for action, and years meant for reflection. The Soul-Searching Years are best spent compiling information, making connections, trying out to new things, and hopefully failing a bit, too. Even though it might not look like it, periods of perceived aimlessness can be periods of profound growth, and nothing can stunt that growth more than feeling like you are supposed to have it all figured out already.

My best advice: Ease into the unknown. Go inward. Ask questions –lots and lots of questions, and be open enough to receive the answers. They will come, at the right time.

(And if you need to, maybe even deactivate that Facebook page for a little while.)

Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Maybe (just maybe) there is a reason for all of it. And, in the words of Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Cheers.

Life Worship

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I find God all day, in small ways.

‘God’ as the almighty panoptic force, known as many different things, and going by many different names. (It’s all the same)

This is not the towering bearded man in the sky.

This is God as infinite love and energy, weaving the tapestry of our lives, embedded in our cells and flowing in and through everything.

I have a secret to share with you, and that is this: I have been irrevocably altered by kneeling down before that which is my life and praising its details. Each morning I make it my mission to be reverent and observant of the holiness that composes everything. 

I call this ‘everyday worship’, or ‘coming closer to God in moments disguised as everyday life’. As Rumi so aptly put it: “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

None of this needs to happen in a church.

This is Living Room Worship. This is Bedroom Worship. This is Mountain-Top in the Summer-Time Worship. This is Watching the Sun Rise With Coffee Worship. Dance Worship. Drunken Fits of Laughter Worship. Smile on my Child’s Face Worship.

We’re all here with different quests, venturing through life with souls that inherently crave different things. We are born into this great mystery having only those answers that are etched into the linings of souls, making themselves known through our intuitions and deepest desires. It’s our mission to remember, and to really, really see the divinity dwelling in everything.

Those things that we love are no accident –we must worship them. We must worship them like instructions from God. We must worship them like they are the keys to our freedom. We are far more than skin and bone, after all –we are souls with bodies, flitting through space and time, innately aching to dance with those things that will set us on fire and bring us closer to our source.

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips. -Oliver Goldsmith

You’ll know it when you find it – your divine order. Simply put, It feels like coming home.

For me, it’s that feeling of still and quiet happiness dancing rhythmically through my body after yoga. Closer to God. It’s seeing my daughter smile and laugh and play. Closer to God. Nourishing my body with the most natural foods. Closer to God. Waking up early when the house is quiet and still, pouring my heart out onto the page with a cup of strong coffee in hand –oh yeah, closer to God I come.

It’s that everyday, each-waking-moment, love-that-surrounds-me-all-the-time worship.

We can all access this by making the very conscious choice moment by moment do do more of what brings us closer to God. And sometimes these moments that deserve worship will be disguised as simple and seemingly mundane –so much so, that they are easy to miss. (Stay present). The simplest things can be deserving of praise: that first glorious sip of coffee in the morning. The sound of your lover’s voice.  Walking through grass totally barefoot. Looking into someones eyes and feeling safe. The scent of new books. All glorious, glorious, glorious.

Let’s turn our very lives into causes for devotion.

And closer to God we come.

Cheers.

vibes

The Burning Ceremony (setting your old self on fire)

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As part of ringing in the new year, I’ve begun a tradition which helps to clear away all the things in my life which no longer serve me; I call it “The Burning Ceremony”.  Of course fire is an extremely powerful and symbolic element, used for creation and light, destruction and purification. Fire can be exceptionally useful in clearing away the old, making space for new energy and resurgence.

If you, too, are interested in creating your own personal renaissance, and burning the hell out of old ways to create space for the brighter days ahead, here’s how (it’s pretty simple):

Start by grabbing a sheet of a paper (nothing fancy because, after all, it’ll be ashes soon), and a pen –I personally choose my least-favorite colored markers to most effectively symbolize all of the unwanted in my life. You’ll also want some music to set the mood while you write your list, and, of course, a lighter.

It’s a good idea to begin by taking some time to breathe (really, really breathe), and settle into the space and the moment. Then, begin listing all the things (feelings, situations, events, etc.) that no longer serve you. This can be anything, from outlooks and attitudes that hinder success, to habits that push you off of your truest, highest, best path. Basically, write down whatever is you’d like to ‘burn’ and do away with from the previous year, or even further back than that.

I get pretty serious with this –I conjure up all the feelings from all the things I want to change, and pour those consequent feelings and emotions onto the paper.

Then, the best part of all: the burning. For me personally, I see this process as monumentally sacred and transformative, and heading outside to light my old self on fire feels pretty damn good. I let the ashes scatter in the wind, and watch happily as my life instantly feels restored.

The next step after all of this is to write your own personal mission statement for the year and beyond. Detail what you desire in the days to come –don’t leave anything out, even if it seems too lofty (trust me, nothing is). In the newly cleared space, this should also feel pretty transformative.

So, take about twenty golden minutes, allowing your paper to be your outlet, and the fire to help clear out all the ‘junk’ that’s accumulated in your life.

Pretty simple, and super effective.

Happy burning.

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