Monthly archives "April 2018"

are you heart smart?

There is certainly no doubt surrounding the importance of mental health. In fact, although there is still a great distance of progress to be made as to the generally accepted view of how significant mental health is to our completeness as human beings, we’re getting there.

Something I believe that, not entirely ignored but, is undoubtedly lacking in presence to the conversation is that of emotional health.

The barometer of our overall well-being has always encompassed a long-standing position toward the maintenance of our physical health but is now making a positive shift to include our mental health, as well. Within that, or perhaps a third quotient on its own, I believe, is emotional health.

Because the concept of mental health, although infinitely important, being in its relative infancy with respect to its public acceptance and relevance, thought toward or even the acknowledgement of emotional health is far behind if not entirely non-existent altogether. But, it too, provides and plays such a significant role in how you perceive, interpret and navigate your reality.

Not unlike mental well being, our emotional health is predicated on how we process our feelings and the translation of those feelings through to our thoughts and actions. Our mental functioning is a direct product of concepts, experiences and beliefs that are held within our emotional field. And yet, although we understand and speak about our “feelings” when trying to steer through our mental maze, we simply only scratch the surface on how deep our emotions run and reflect outwardly from our thoughts.

The mind is a powerful ally and adversary all at once, but our heart is really the engine that makes us go; it is always on our side. It really is everything. Who we are, what we believe, how we act, are all personifications of what we translate from our heart with our mind. I, for a very long time, assumed that how I thought is what I felt. But, it’s the other way around; what we feel is how we think. Are thoughts and feelings and feelings and thoughts intertwined and, probably, inseparable? I’m sure I’d have to say ‘yes’ more than anything else. But, I also don’t believe we provide enough attention to what our feelings really say to us or where they come from. The greatest impacts I’ve ever experienced within my Self were all a product of my emotion; of what I felt. That from which translated into what I thought; thought about me, about my life, thought about the people near to me. Yet, as much as I thought I was addressing those emotions, was I? I’ve discovered that, although I paid great credence toward my heart, there was a blurred line where into my mind took over.

My life has taken me in a direction where I’ve labelled myself as a “feelings” person (get your Myers-Briggs type indicators out). And, I’ve thought that we are not all feelings type people. But, we are. We just don’t all choose to be. We feel, but we ignore. We feel, but we push away. We feel, but we internalize. We believe that just by “feeling”, maybe almost automatically or passively, that we’ve done our job of attending to that side of us. But, there’s more to it. There’s more questions to ask, more depth to embark on, more challenge to face. And, I think, that’s what holds us back; emotion is tough. It requires a lot from us to find the truth. We’re scared to learn what we might find; scared to learn what may surface about ourselves. But, emotional health and well being is not about the fear of what’s there, it’s about the healing that will come. And, it will take facing that. It will take your own resolve to make that choice.

It’s been part of my own process and my own evolution, to address these parts of myself introspectively and, pun intended, to get to the heart of what it is. It’s been a journey and not an easy one. But, I don’t view it as a difficult one, either. It just feels like it’s the journey of who I am. And, I’m certainly not done. I don’t think one would ever be done. Your heart has no boundaries and so why would you?

Be Love.

 

got ’em in a row?

I found church.

Two things; one – this is not about church. Two – I almost wrote, “again”.

I grew up in a rather religious household. It’s how my parents were raised; it’s how each of their parents was raised and so on. My “attendance” at church every Sunday wasn’t so much of a choice than it was just doing what I was told to do by the people who paid my rent to live in their house. Needful to say, I started failing the proverbial morning roll call right around the time that Saturday nights began making Sunday mornings a real tough endeavour.

This is not about church.

Not too long ago, on very short notice (the same morning, actually), a very close friend of mine invited me to church. I knew why the invitation had come and, very transparently, I knew I should accept. I was compelled, let’s call it. It’d been a long while since I’d been to such a place for other than a Christmas or a wedding. It wasn’t because I was against what it had to offer, it was because in between the time of living under my parents’ roof and about ten years ago, I developed conscious thought toward my own belief system, what it meant to me and how the choices I made in life lined up with who I was evolving into. “Church”, as I’d known it, wasn’t for me.

I almost wrote, “again”.

I found church, for the first time. Or, probably better put, I let it find me. The reason I don’t say “again” is because my first go-round with church wasn’t mine. And, that’s ok. Granted, the original reason for my near twenty year hiatus was a product of simply just not wanting to wake up on Sunday morning anymore; my prolonged absence was because church and religion just didn’t line up with what I believed in. And, I’ll call it what it was; it was boring. It didn’t feel like it supported what I wanted for myself and my evolution.

So, what’s this really about?

I go to church to now. Every Sunday morning. It’s pretty great, to be honest. I don’t think I would really call it church, though, as much as I would call it a get-together; a get-together of a bunch of people with really big hearts and no judgement. A community. I find apprehension in using terms like church and religion because of my own experience with them. I think, like me, it can close people off to possibility. I found myself in that seat for the first time, earlier this year, not because I was looking for church or religion, but because another piece of alignment with my true Self found me; because someone near and dear to me helped me find another piece of it.

That’s what this is about; finding those pieces. This “church” I go to, it’s a beautiful place filled with wonderful people, accepting of all, that are interested in the same things; kindness, compassion, helping one another and Love. It’s not about dogma and fear and the boring weekly pre-scripted narrative that I grew up with. The energy and vibration here lifts me to a better place. “Sunday best”, has taken on a new meaning for me. It’s not making sure my collared shirt is neatly pressed and my shoes are shined. “Sunday best”, is me just showing up with an open Heart, wearing jeans and a Snoopy sweatshirt, to a place that makes me a bigger person than I was before I got there. And, that’s how I leave that place; better than when I got there.

I’m grateful for what’s happened; I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I let my past define my present and my future. Had I not accepted that invitation and resorted to falling back on what I thought I knew about “church”, sticking to my guns, sticking to what had been my experience, I would have never let this find me.

It’s about alignment; it’s about opening yourself up to possibility, even if you think you know everything about whatever it is. Trust me, you don’t. And hey, do I agree with every message or belief that gets passed along at this place? I don’t. But, that’s also been another valuable lesson I’ve learned. You don’t have to agree with everything or have everything in common with or aspire to exactly the same goal or objective to experience alignment with your Self. Alignment is not about commonalities or same past experiences, it’s about vibration and energy. Often, we gravitate toward the facets of life that we feel mirror us the best. Whether it’s friends, romantic partners, activities, an occupation; we try to draw towards us what we know. It’s because of the comfort in that idea and, more prominently, the fear of what we don’t know. But, how do you further your evolution, further your growth, by surrounding yourself with the same thing over and over, again? Well, you probably don’t. You probably just continue to get what you’ve always gotten. And, unless that’s working for you, maybe it’s time to do something different? Even if it means looking at something old through a fresh lens, as has been the case with me and my new Sunday meeting place.

When we try to line up the ducks before we even begin, we miss out. We miss out on challenge; we miss out on expanding our Universe; we miss out on evolution; and, we miss out on lifting our energy. For years I’d told myself that church doesn’t line up for me. For all intents and purposes, I’d been done with it. But then, my circumstance called this to me and I accepted. Without truly knowing it at the time, it was my energy and vibration, or perhaps lack thereof, which brought me to this. And now, for at least one hour of each week, I’m choosing to put myself in a better place.

There’s nothing being sold to me nor am I selling you anything other than what’s already inside of you. We’re all meant to lift ourselves as high as we can go. Sometimes that means pulling up our socks and doing it ourselves, sometimes it means allowing others to help us do it and sometimes it just means doing something different even it seems the same. Your alignment and energy will lead you in the right direction.

Quack.

Be Love.

if that picture doesn’t make you smile, i can’t help you. :)

You don’t just ‘be happy’, you choose happy.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? You don’t really just ‘be’ anything, do you? You don’t just ‘be’ strong. You don’t just ‘be’ well organized. You don’t just ‘be’ an astronaut. You have to choose the actions that are commensurate with the goal. You choose to go to the gym. You choose to be conscientious and tidy. You choose to go into outer space. Aside from humanness, ‘being’ anything doesn’t just happen (and, even the human being thing is a stretch for some people). 🙂

You choose happy. How? By making decisions in your life that lead to happiness. You choose joy; you choose fun; you choose uplifting people to spend time with; you choose hugs; you choose peace. You’ll never be able to choose everything in life that you get. But, you get to choose how you respond and you make the decisions that support your happiness. And hey, are you going to be happy all the time? Maybe! But, probably not. That’s what human being is about. The question is really about how you’re supporting happiness in your life.

We all go through tough times. We need those times. Great learning and personal evolution come from those times. When we reach beyond adversity to find the other side, we call upon our greater self to challenge who we are and who we want to be. That is growth. That is evolution. But, there also comes the time, past adversity, past the tough time, when we find further growth by choosing to elevate our Self. It’s as though you bump yourself up a notch and create a new baseline of Self; a new baseline of happiness that has traversed and triumphed over the former. You make that choice.

I know it’s easy to say you’re not happy, for any variety of reasons. But, I challenge anyone wholeheartedly that truly believes they’ve never experienced joy, or had fun, or appreciated the company of a loved one, or felt safe in a hug. That’s the stuff that leads to happiness. Doing those things over and over and over, again. Find the resources in your life to create the opportunities that create those feelings and emotions. The more time you spend in those places, the easier it becomes for your baseline to mirror that; to elevate there. You’ll forget what it feels like to be lower. You’ll forget what it feels like to be discouraged. You’ll forget what it feels like to lack value in who you are. When you spend more time in places that lead to happiness, you take the strain off of your mind to remember what it’s like. You remove the distance between the two points. You live there, together. Through, probably some not great times sure, but surrounded by happiness way more of the time. Surrounded by support, by strength, and yes, Love. These building blocks construct themselves upon each other; they’re dependent upon each other. You don’t work toward one to, only then, work toward the next. You let them work all together; that’s where the true power is. Everyone pulls the rope at the same time. If the first person pulled with all their might, then stopped so that the second person could pull with all their might and stopped to let the next person pull and the next and the next, down to the end, everyone would end up in the mud before they knew it. You pull at all these things together.

Get basic. Read something inspirational. Watch something heartwarming. Give a hug. Ask for a hug. Lay under the stars. Stop and smell the roses. Eat chocolate. Tell someone they’re beautiful. Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Pick up the telephone, dial a number and say, “I Love you”.

I promise, you get to choose all of these things.

Choose happy. Choose Love.

 

Be Love.

Listen to something fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dGp8F7CHEY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru0K8uYEZWw

can you hear me now?….

Connection.

Connection is real.

It’s the reason why that certain song always brightens your mood. It’s how you can watch that one movie over and over and over, again. It’s what draws you to a particular smell or a particular colour or a particular number (balsam, green and eight, by the way :] ). It’s connection. These are the frequencies emitted from any number of sources that resonate most with who you are. That connect with you; that tell the story of you.

Most importantly, though, connection is your greatest teacher.

Connection will guide you in an immense way. Albeit yes, although connection defines you in many physical parameters; the way you prefer to dress, the activities you like to participate in and the manner in which you represent your internal vision as your external self, connection is responsible for what shapes you most; relationships.

Connection is the reason for and why relationships enter, leave and remain a part of your life – including the relationship you have with your Self.

Think of the hundreds of people you’ve encountered in your life. Think of who has drifted through, stuck around for awhile, is here to stay and maybe even won’t seem to ever leave. Think, even, of the relationship you’ve had with your Self over the years. There are endless lessons here; joy, triumph, hurt, pain and Love.

It seems as though the general theory of connection is that it’s either there or it’s not there. And, it’s true. As elementary as it may seem to say, if a person has entered your life, there is a connection. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be there. But, it’s also true that connection is not just a ‘it works’ or ‘it doesn’t work’ thing. Connection is a ‘it takes work’ thing.

Connection is why you have the family you have; but it doesn’t mean that everything goes smoothly all the time. Connection is why you have the friends you have; but it doesn’t mean that you see or speak to them every week. Connection is why you have the romantic partners you have; but it doesn’t mean that you’re always on cloud eight or that any such person is even still around.

But, connection, real connection, is the reason why you do what it takes to be a family even when your physical self is frustrated and tired. Real connection is the reason why you can pick up with that friend after months without missing a beat even though your physical self has been absent for so long. And, real connection is the reason why you find a way to make it work with your partner even if your physical self attempts to stand in the way of your Heart.

Connection is rooted in the deeper part of who you are. It’s how strongly your Heart pulls you there. There doesn’t need to be a pen and paper reason for it. What your Heart says is the reason. It’s not established based upon attributes and definitions of the physical realm. Its foundation is in your Heart. Our physical limitations and boundaries are often what impede real connection, as opposed to fostering it.

To levy somewhat of a harsh opinion; if you feel as though you’re the same person you’ve always been, there’s a good chance you haven’t done any work in strengthening the connection you have with your Self. Why? Understandably, because it’s physically tough to deal with your shit. Your Heart and your spiritual being want nothing more than for you to be the beautiful soul that you are. That is your foundation of who you are. But, it’s your physical self that holds you back or convinces you that you’re “good” where you are; that you should be where you are. It’s also the reason we stay in relationships we shouldn’t. But, it is not of your Heart.

You don’t build connection; it is something that has already been long established before any of us knew so. It comes to us at the time in life that it needs to for us to evolve; to choose to evolve. You understand connection; not all will be the same. You strengthen connection; not all will get your full attention and energy. You learn and you grow. You decide which of them  will truly connect your Self to your life and to your Heart.

Be Love.

 

easy choice?

Last week, a very close friend called me saying that he’d promised himself that he would reach out with something more than a text message; certainly something I appreciated. In the same sentence, he also said he wanted to ask me something.

“Of course, man. Anything”.

Paraphrasing, he asked, “how do you write about the things you write about? How do you just put yourself out there with all of it?”

I remember my response. I paused….and then paused some more. Finally, I said, “because I’m not scared”.

I elaborated on I meant. It wasn’t a matter of being “tough” or “brave”, it was a matter of being who I am. I told him that I’d been through enough of life, of my life, to know this is who I’ve become and to be anything else would be as though I’d be swimming against the current trying to get somewhere I didn’t even want to be anyway. Or, was even supposed to be.

It made me recall a conversation, in somewhat of the same regard, with another close person in my life. It was speaking about how it’s not as though a person changes, it’s just that we all go through life experiences that lead us through and to who we really are. Those experiences are all part of how much of our heart we choose to want to unlock. That’s what evolution of the Self is. It’s not changing; it’s choosing. The part we have to play in it, is choice. We have to choose how much of our true self and the Love we have inside that we want to let out. And, it truly is an evolution; once you’ve gone that direction, it stays with you. It’s not a flash in the pan; one day it’s here and then maybe, poof!, the next day it’s gone.

I remember, in that previous discussion, giving the example of starting my meditation practice at Aromansse. It was something that ten-years-ago-me would have ever thought ten-years-later-me would have ever done, let alone be fully subscribed into. But, there I was; choosing that part of me to be unlocked. Not to change who I was, but to evolve into who I am. It’s a lot to handle at times. It’s tough. It’s scary. It’s a lot of responsibility to evolve one’s self, to almost have to let go of everything you thought you knew. There have been a few times that I’ve wanted to abandon ship. I tried. But, that’s the other thing I learned; anything that is truly of your heart you cannot go back from. I couldn’t just choose to ignore any of this. Like I said, I’ve tried when it felt like it got to be too much. When it felt too tough to accept the responsibility and accountability of this path. Too tough to accept what comes with self awareness. Too tough to embrace how much more there still is to go. But, you can’t go back. You can’t erase the choice of making your heart bigger.

And, my heart has grown bigger. From joy, from happiness, from hurt and from harm. It’s all Love. It’s all part of the curriculum. It’s all part of learning from each life experience. Would there have been things I would have done differently? Yes. Absolutely. I am definitely not a person that sits atop his pride and says, “if I could redo it, I wouldn’t change a thing”. It would be a lie for me to say that. There would have been things I would have done differently. But, I have learned from my mistakes. I have grown from my mistakes. And, more will come, I’m sure. But, I’ve chosen to accept what comes with the choices I’ve made, good and not-so-good.

And so, I’m not scared to be this. Are there things I’m scared of? There are. But, to be scared of my Self? To be scared of my heart? No. I don’t want to do that. Not anymore.

Be Love.