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may the force not be with you….just roll with it

We equate control with results.

A natural product of this belief is that to achieve our desired objective, we need to have a strong contributory impact on the process. It’s a reasonable and rational belief. Leveling the weight of input with the hope of the output is certainly a motivator in and of itself; a strong motivator at that. But, it’s often not the most influential, or apparent, part of the equation.

Although our relative success requires both a concerted focus and effort toward the end result or product, we often get more tangled up in the control part of it all. Or, more aptly put, the potential loss of it. It’s normal to think that to get what we want we have to keep a firm grasp on how we get it. Control is power. Power gets you what you want. Or so is the axiom. But, when the process starts to possess an appearance that wasn’t part of our own blueprint, something that’s not out of the ordinary, we don’t readily adapt our plan. We grasp tighter. When things seem to go astray or even just take on an unexpected appearance, whether it appears good or bad, we infer a sense of loss of control. What happens in response, is a tightening of our grip.

And now, you’re forcing it. And now, you’re getting in the way.

Let’s say you wanted to hire someone to do a home renovation. You could probably muck your way through it, but you want it done right. So, you figure out what you want, how you want it to look, you find the right person to do the work and you’ve got checkbook in hand. It seems like you’ve done what you needed to do. How would the process go if, once this person showed up to the work, you hovered around all the time? Or, you constantly asked what they were doing? Or, how much longer it was going to take? Let’s even say you started handing this person tools they didn’t need or didn’t ask for. You’d really be getting in the way, wouldn’t you? Your project probably wouldn’t keep to its intended schedule. And, if you got in the way enough, it may possibly not even get done at all. Yet, the whole thing was your idea and now, you might the reason for its shortfall of success.

We like as much control as we can possibly convince ourselves is available to us. We don’t often assess how much of actual contribution we need to put towards a desired result, really, of any variety. More, it seems, is more. There is a measure whereby you do what’s needed of you and you step back and let the flow of the energy you’ve created take it the rest of the way. Once you open the dam, you can’t use your hands to push the water through faster; it will go as it will go. It’s by speaking to the Universe, to your God, to the stars in the sky, and saying, “I want this, I’m going to do my part, please do yours” that sustains the most force. But, doesn’t force it. WITH, the understanding that what you might get may not be exactly what you thought you were aiming for, but will certainly be what you need at that juncture in your life.

There is freedom and strength in faith and letting go. There is solace and comfort in subscribing to a grander idea than just you in your own corner trying to make things happen. Do your part, delegate the rest, get a good’s night sleep.

Be Love.

it’s not what you know, it’s what you now

“Be in the now”, “live in the now”, “be present’; modern day consumable mantra for the masses. Governance of the soul that is literally eons old. The Buddha spoke of it, Alan Watts narrated it, Eckhart Tolle authors upon it.

There is a chance that, as you read this, you are in the now. You are simply here, reading. For these four minutes, there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no to-do list. Just here. Just now. Why? Because it’s simple. Your presence of now requires something very simple; your attention and a brief amount of time. Reading this, or not reading this for that matter, doesn’t come with any apparent “consequence”. It doesn’t impact your health, your loved ones, your future or your bank account. It will disappear as easily as it appeared and, for all intents and purposes, you could be no better or no worse for it. So, for these few moments, it’s easy to be in the now; fully present, embracing what is, whether consciously or not.

As I write this, I am too here. In the now. There is nothing else taking up my space but this. I know, however, that maybe not immediately, but sooner than later, life will catch up to my current presence of now. It’s how I think of it; that being in the now is being ahead of “life”. “Life”, with quotations. Very soon, I will be back in a pattern of thinking about “life”; the decisions I’ve made, the decisions I will have to make and the decisions I don’t even yet know about.

I’m learning, though. I’m learning about what “now” means to me. It doesn’t mean to ignore the past and not learn from it, but it means to leave it there. It doesn’t mean to disregard the future and live as though each day was your last, but it means to appreciate and respect the finality of it. I want to be in the “now” because I know it will most constructively use what the past has taught me and most beautifully create the future that is waiting for me.

I know that it’s a redundant theme around here but, for me, it’s everything to do with what’s in my Heart. Being in the “now” means living what’s in my Heart and not caring what I think. Yes, you read that right. Not caring what I think. It’s one thing to be concerned with what others think; it’s a true presence of spiritual being to not be concerned with what you, yourself, think. It means that you’ve discovered what is most important to your Heart and you do the best you can to live that every day. It means that you don’t care how many times you screw up or feel you could have done better. It means that you don’t care about emotions like pride and justice and being right; emotions that don’t serve your authentic self. It means that you’re finding peace within.

I’ve experienced that living the truth that is in your Heart is where peace is found. And, peace is being in the now. When we feel peace, we have a lot easier of a time with being present. You will feel it when you know you’re there. You will feel like both you and a greater power are both in control and in charge. It’s what will allow you to be present in whatever it is that is happening. You can experience peace in any emotion. You are allowed to still be scared or nervous or excited or joyful or anything; it’s just, are you living what’s true? True to what’s in your Heart?

Be Love.

to be yourself, or not to be yourself?….

To be yourself, or not to be yourself?….

Somewhere, probably a long while ago, something didn’t go the way you’d hoped it would; or, the way you thought it would. Likely, more than once. A bunch of times, I would imagine. Back when you were differently resilient. Back when you didn’t even know what it meant to be resilient. You just knew what it was to be you. It was a time where, perhaps, you weren’t more resilient or less resilient, but differently resilient. Not as much mattered back then. A lot of life hadn’t happened to you, yet.

Back then, you were more of yourself. You liked what you liked and you thought what you thought; you said what you said and you felt what you felt. None of it was ever to harm or hurt anyone. It was just what was you. But, somewhere along the way, someone didn’t agree with who you were. It may have been something largely insignificant like making fun of your favourite shirt or not letting you into a secret recess club, or something that you felt very deeply about like stepping on your dream to be a race car driver or even abandonment. At the time, all of those things were life. There was really nothing more because there couldn’t be any more. In turn, you only knew how to be you; the real you. But, along that path, there came the time where being the real you seemed to not be accepted. It seemed, “not good enough”. Thus, introduced was the idea that the real you was something that had the potential to not be accepted. It introduced the idea of being something other than the real you for reason of acceptance.

And now, fast forward. You have a job, responsibilities, obligations. You have aspirations and goals. You have expectations and dreams. You have “friends” and you have friends. You have a login and a password (or eighteen). You have insecurities and cognitive dissonance. You have hurt and you have emotional trauma. Back then, you didn’t really have many or even any of those things; you had a scraped knee. Everything you brought to the outside, came truly from the inside. And now, a lot of what’s on the inside has come from the outside.

If you knew then what you know now, you wouldn’t have cared about anything other than the real you. You would have known that the Universe, Love, God, Source, supports the true, inner you; the you that comes from within your Heart. It wouldn’t have mattered what anyone thought or said or did because you would have known they weren’t with the program, and that’s ok for them. They’ll get there at some point. And so, because you’re a human, when “you” weren’t accepted, it conditioned you to believe there was some other version of you that you needed to find; that you needed to become. Years and decades of that search has resulted in being more lost. And, no wonder we’re scared to be who we really are. We hardly recognize who that person is. Our lives are filled with much of what we’ve convinced ourselves to “matter” but that of which really very little forwards and fosters the Love inside of our Heart. We bought into the falsity of the reward system of falling in line with the outside when we should have been buying into the reward system of falling in Love with the inside.

The Universe doesn’t shake your hand and give you a hundred dollar bill for being who you are. It asks you to have faith and stick up for Love. And, when you stick up for Love, you stick up for the real you. It doesn’t look the same for everyone because we’re not the same. But, it feels the same. Love does not see, it feels. It doesn’t look for pros and cons, or reason and rhyme, it just points to your Heart and asks, “what makes that bigger?” It’s a rhetorical question.

Be Love.

better late than whatever

Technically, I’m late.

Some time ago, I’d made a commitment to myself that I would write every Sunday; it was my pledge. To do so, meant something for me. For what I believed in. And, somewhere inside of me, there was a part that hoped it meant something to someone, anyone, other than me. I kept to that self-imposed deadline no matter how seemingly stuck my thoughts were that day, how tired I was or even if I had to push it into the early morning hours of Monday. Having something there meant something to me.

But this time, I’m really late.

I felt some guilt about it. I felt like I, kind of, let myself down. I felt like maybe there was a chance I’d disappointed someone else. And, to be honest, I felt like just forgetting about it all together. I mean, there would be next week.

I felt the power of how easy it could be to give up. Even if just momentarily.

I don’t think I’d ever known myself to be a person to give up. Well, at least not for what is important to me; and, this is important to me. The truth is, though, I briefly questioned that idea. I wondered if it really was important to me. I wondered if it mattered one way or another. I wondered if I believed in what I believe in. When I phrased to myself in those ways, it didn’t feel like I was ok with any of those notions. It didn’t feel like just fast forwarding through to the following Sunday was really what would be in alignment with my original intention. I mean, it’s not really a big deal, but forgetting about it just felt like I was ignoring it. And, I don’t think there is a lot of resolution to be found in disregard.

The question, “does it really matter?”echoed itself. Quickly followed by the real question I was more embarrassed acknowledge, “does it really matter to anyone?” I remembered, though, that wasn’t the question I’d asked myself when I started doing this. So, why am I asking it now?

When I felt that bit of shame attached to questioning my intention and motivation behind sharing my words, I also did my best to find compassion in that. To embrace that I’m human, that I’m fallible and that sometimes the things that light up my Heart might become temporarily dim from time to time.

I’d decided that I would answer the questions this way; it is important to me, it does matter and I do believe in what I believe. Those were the answers in my Heart, from my Heart. I knew where I needed to be. For me and not anything else. Late or not, I would have something.

As if right on cue, I received a text asking if I was ok and if everything was ok because there was no new post this past Sunday. I chuckled and shook my head at myself; the universe waited just long enough for me to decide, on the inside, that I did matter before giving me a message, from the outside, that it was true.

First believe. Then see.

Be Love.

it’s the sweetest

I’m a little embarrassed by this one. Like the, “it was so obvious, I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out” type of embarrassed. I’ll explain.

Be Yourself

A timeless idiom if there ever was one. And, rightfully so. It’s good advice. It’s sound, it’s sage, it’s steadfast. It’s great advice, really. I’m sure only but a certain person would truly argue against that bit of elementary wisdom. That being said, I’m also sure that the concept of being oneself strikes a bit of fear in the minds of many.

We do what we do and say what we say for two reasons; to achieve a desired result or to avoid a potential consequence. At its most fundamental level, that’s the basis for our interaction with others. The idea to “be yourself” isn’t easy on the uptake for a lot of people for reasons being rather evident. A fair guess would probably say that a good majority of people aren’t overwhelmingly comfortable with who they really truly are. It’s something I figure to be a collectively disguised individual perception of how we believe we’ll be accepted, or not, by others. By that I mean, most us are scared to really be who we are because we have the same belief that, by being who we truly are, we won’t attain whatever desired result we want or avoid whatever potential consequence we wish to steer clear of.

The result; we’re not ourselves. We do things we ordinarily wouldn’t do. We say things that really don’t reflect our true thoughts or intuition. We, sort of, show a bit of who we are but not really the whole picture. We try to offer what we think the other person wants to see. But, I get it. I get why we do it and I do it myself. It simply speaks to the fact of not being fully confident and comfortable with what’s in our Heart. It’s a condition we’ve all been subject to. It’s why I qualify it as a collective perception. We all think the same thing about the same thing. It’s like being in a group meeting where everyone is nervous to be the first person to speak and share for fear of being different. But, once that brave soul breaks the silence, each other person sees their connection to the group. The perception of difference, then, dissolves.

This isn’t about the psychology of becoming comfortable with who you really are. This is about the overwhelming reason of why you should “be yourself”. This is the why “I’m a little embarrassed….” part. The reason you should “be yourself” is because that’s what the universe wants from you. That’s it. I’m a “universe” person. I believe that the universe can and will provide anything that a person truly desires to be the person they were meant to be. The only hook is that the person is aware of the alignment to that concept.

Being who you truly are is a relative concept in that we’re not all at the same place in our respective Hearts. Now, there is no Heart that has a greater capacity for Love or compassion or forgiveness than the next. But, there is difference in the willingness to show it. To live it. And, for reason of the idea to “be yourself”, that’s ok. It’s ok because you can only offer as much as you have an awareness to give.

Here’s the idea; if what you’re putting out there really isn’t the best of what you have in your Heart and you know it, you’re not going to get the best in return. It’s why when we try to adapt our actions or tailor our words in hopes of achieving the desired result or avoiding the unwanted consequence, we often don’t. And, you know it. You feel it. You don’t feel right about who the person it is that you’re trying to be at that moment because it’s not really you. You’re not lining up with where your universe thinks you should be.

Now, there’s a bit of a converse to this, as well. If what you’re putting out there IS the best of what you have in your Heart but is still kind of shitty, that too will still be what you get in return. The difference, though, is that the collaboration you have with the universe to attain what it truly is you should have in your life will just take a bit longer. It won’t be the most direct path, is what it means. That’s evolution. We all experience evolution, just not at the same rate of progression.

The universe knows what we all want, even if we don’t. It’s just Love. We are part of the grid that connections our universe, our Heart, our true self and Love. We’re the ones that provide the strength of connection to that grid. We control our signal. When we’re not truly in our Heart, that signal is weak. That’s when the universe is working harder than it should to be able to help you out. When you truly agree to “be yourself”, your signal comes through loud and clear. It doesn’t mean what you desire or manifest will immediately appear right before you in an instant but it does means that you’ve chosen the path of least resistance.

And, for as much as can be written about this phenomenon, for as much as can be read about this phenomenon; we all simply feel it. We have all felt it. We all know what it feels like to deny what’s really inside of us, that is, when what we’re denying truly is from the Heart. Yet, we’ve still done it and will continue to do so. It’s ok. It’s part of the learning and the evolution. The universe will never give up on giving you everything. It just wants you to choose what’s in your Heart. It just wants you to choose to “be yourself”.

Be Love.

and no, recycling isn’t the answer, either

Being in your Heart is work. I want to say it’s not; I want to think it’s not; I want to believe it’s not. But, I can’t.

Work isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not an easy thing. I can reasonably estimate that work is certainly not perceived as the path of least resistance. And, what most of us opt for when the going gets tough is the easy road. Especially when it comes to matters of the Heart.

Why is the Heart so special? Because it’s real. It’s really real. Naturally, when something possesses the ability to be the absolute most beautiful thing there is, the risk is also run that it carries the converse. And, when it really gets real is when it forces us to look at who we are. Or, realize who someone else is. When we don’t like what we see, real becomes reality.

Challenges to our Heart become very apparent. Do I believe that the Heart has a capability and power like nothing else? Yes, I do. Unequivocally. I believe it can change the world. I believe it has changed the world. It certainly has changed mine. And, the thing is, when it’s good, it’s good. There’s no challenge. We don’t take notice because the alignment is calm. There is no storm until there’s a storm.

When the storm comes, the alignment is not there anymore. Life all of a sudden becomes real. The challenges to our Heart become real. When alignment becomes misalignment, the universe forces us to take notice. It is when the work begins. And, with the work comes the reality. As soon as we start putting in the effort to correct misalignment, it forces us to identify the reason for it – you can’t find a solution until you really know what the problem is. The problem with problems is that we don’t like them. They can be ugly. They can be harsh. They can be debilitating. And, perhaps worst of all, they can be true.

Truth always possesses the opportunity to be its opposite. Call it what suits you; untruth, dishonesty, lies. They are ever present. We tell them to other people, we tell them to ourselves. The truth is tough to face. And, the more we don’t do it, the easier it becomes not to. That’s why being in your Heart is work. It means running the full spectrum of reality through your life, your emotions and your being. It’s not about picking and choosing what suits your level of courage.

The deception of reality is that which lies with its creator. I’ll be the first to encourage that we each create our universe and our reality. But, I also know that it means we are either choosing Love or choosing garbage. It doesn’t mean that by choosing garbage, because you can’t process and embrace Love, you’ve created a great universe for yourself. It just means you’ll reap what you sow. Choosing garbage is misalignment. You will feel it. And, you will feel it more. And, you will feel it until you don’t feel it any longer. And, if you haven’t put in the work to find alignment and the reason you don’t feel it anymore is because you don’t know any different, you’ve become numb to it or you’ve lived in the untruth long enough; well, you’ve created a reality that doesn’t have the support of your Heart. Of Love.

That’s why being in your Heart is work; it means taking out the garbage. Not piling more on top of it until you’ve become desensitized to it. The uphill climb is not really the work, actually. It’s believing that the payoff, Love, is worth it. It’s when, at your lowest, you can still believe that Love is worth all of it and to face whatever truth you’re living. There is nothing that’s more real than Love. There is nothing more true than Love.

Be Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, in twenty seconds or less

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And, I promise you, something great will come of it”.

We Bought a Zoo

I like that movie.

It may not seem like it, but it’s all about Love. All kinds of Love; past Love, new Love, misguided Love, misunderstood Love, compassionate Love, Love for all living things, selfish Love, selfless Love, self Love. They’re all there. It’s like the entire biography of Love in an average person’s life painted across a half dozen sub-plots in a movie about a family that buys a zoo.

And, it’s personified with one virtue, courage.

Courage is derived from the root word cor; Latin for Heart. In its earliest form, courage meant to “speak one’s mind by telling all one’s Heart”.

We experience many different Loves throughout the course of our adventure in life. Not people as Loves, but Loves that call upon different parts of us. Parts of us to give, parts of us to receive, parts of us to learn about and parts of us to evolve. Whether we can put our thumb exactly on when or where each of them came be or which have not yet crossed our path, is not so much important. Whether we attach a value of “success” or “failure” to these Loves, again, not what is significant. What it’s about, is courage. It’s about the old paradigm of what courage is supposed to be; “all one’s Heart”.

Emotion has a way of falsely imprisoning our thoughts. It’s not Love that does it, it’s fear. It’s the unwillingness to demonstrate and, simply, be courageous. It is the unwillingness to be of all one’s Heart that creates our unseen prison. The fear to find the twenty seconds to be completely and entirely vulnerable is actually what restricts us from finding our strength.

I think about the lost potential for Love; the lost potential for Love because of a lack of courage. And, it’s true; all it wants from us is twenty seconds or, usually, less. The trade off is a brief moment in time for what could be, what would be, a life of Love and presence in your Heart.

It takes but just a moment to tell someone you Love them. Or, a few seconds to abandon your pride and speak with whoever you’re not on speaking terms with. It takes those same few seconds to truly admit to yourself what you need to do better in your life for you. Saying “I’m sorry” is less than a twenty second endeavour. Offering forgiveness and compassion might seem like it would take a long time, but the actual decision to do so doesn’t. Choosing to open your Heart up to the one you Love can happen in an instant.

Courage just asks for one thing; for you to have faith in it. When you do something for the right reason, the right outcome will happen. I know that many an argument can be made that will say, “well, if I say this or do that, I don’t know what will happen. It’ll take me way longer than twenty seconds to navigate through the rest of it”. And, that can certainly be true, but that’s not what courage is asking you to do. Courage doesn’t worry about what comes next because it knows when something comes from the good of the Heart, something good will come to the Heart. As soon as we start introducing any thought that isn’t that, fear starts to take over. That’s why it only takes twenty seconds. It only takes twenty seconds to tell yourself that your Heart wants something good, something beautiful.

Think about trading twenty seconds to get twenty days, or twenty months, or twenty years. Twenty seconds of courage from the Heart and of the Heart will, actually, get you a lifetime of Love, every time. The more of that kind of courage that you find, the more Love finds you.

Be Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

beauty and the broken

 

We’re all broken.

Broken is real. It can be confusing. It can be misunderstood. And, it can be simply debilitating.

There’s no instruction manual for broken; it’s not as though we get put back together again as if we’d never come apart. By the time most of us even notice the pieces of our wreckage, chances are that all of them won’t even be there to put back together. It’s as though we don’t recognize what used to be us.

I am broken. There is nothing of me that it too embarrassed or too proud to admit that. It is a statement of truth; a virtue that is a part of who I choose to be. I know that I’m not alone; a fact I am aware of. What becomes blurry, sometimes, is the way we feel that we are alone when we are in this place.

Broken is a heavy burden to carry. It’s an easy spot to get stuck in; it feels like we have no power over it, begins to almost be comfortable, we develop an identity to it, our physiological, mental and emotional pathways become hardwired into it. We become it. We know broken by rote.

I don’t feel inclined to lecture that the shitty things that happen to us “happen for us” or are “a blessing in disguise”; an opportunity to rise above and “test your mettle” or that you get to choose if it’s “good” or “bad”. Crummy things happen to us in life; it is life. Life is also about what you’re going to put back into it. Stasis won’t work. I know, for sure, that doing nothing will get you exactly nothing.

Getting unbroken means two things; leaning on the right people and letting Love in. I know that I am fortunate to have the right people in my life. And, I suppose to be fair to myself, I’ve brought those people into my life; I’ve accepted those people into my life. I have learned the value of support and strength and genuine people with sincere hearts that believe in what I believe in.

Ever heard the saying, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”? Well, I’m not the smartest person in the room. The people I lean on lift me up. They hold me accountable and challenge my choices, and they do it with Love. They extend their reach to bring me up to where I need to be rather than come down to where I am. Leaning on the right people that are at a higher vibrational frequency than you will help you find the right part of yourself to lean on; that’s where you find your own strength. It’s Law of Attraction 101. And, to be honest, sometimes I don’t even know the people I lean on. I’ve never met them. They write books or post videos on YouTube. They teach me that I get to decide if I’m a victim or not. They show me that I can give power to an idea that pulls me down or that I can give that power to myself, where it serves me. Not where I serve it. It’s being really honest with yourself. Above all, I know that although the decision to be unbroken must be made on my own, there is only so much that I can do on my own.

And, Love? “I am broken. I don’t deserve Love. How could I?” You would never tell anyone, no matter what has happened or what they’ve done, that they don’t deserve Love. Yet, we believe it of ourselves. You will always deserve Love. You. Will. Always. Deserve. Love. Sometimes, it just takes asking the right person, “can you Love me?” The right person will. Unconditionally. The right person will show you how to Love yourself.

Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese practice of repairing broken ceramics using a special lacquer mixed with gold; the essence of which is to visibly acknowledge and incorporate the beauty of the repair into the new piece instead of disguising or hiding it. The brokenness is what makes it whole again.

Nothing of beauty that is broken will ever be reconstructed into its former self. It becomes something new. Something still good. Something still beautiful. Love is what fills our cracks and fissures. Love is the gold that binds our pieces together not to mask who we are but to give us our shimmer. To show that we were once that, capable and deserving of everything but we are now this, still capable and deserving of everything. We are still who we were made to be. The beauty and the brokenness.

Be Love.

breathe in the light

We search for what is but a stone’s throw away.

Stones we cast that break the glass we can’t bear to look through. Eyes that reflect blindness.

The stillness is where all is seen without seeing. There, it is calm. There, it is 
peace. Where the trees topple the storm.

It will never be a matter of if, but when. It never was a matter of if. Always when.

When the moon shone brighter than the sun, illuminating the darkest sky. 
Every star, a point in time, each eternal.

More eternal than even what the Universe knew. From the beginning to the end, 
where they met. Never actually separate. Never actually apart.

Universe after Universe after Universe; not even time knew how many. Never wasted 
when kept watch over by the Heart. Never lost when held by the Heart.

There was only one constant that bound them all. There was only one constant that 
could unravel them all. It was a cosmic prison of infinite expanse.

The constant. The true immeasurable measure of all that traversed all. 
Silently. Deafeningly. Unheard. Unspoken.

Resolute in purpose. Unwavering in contest. It would wait, patiently, gently, 
as each star was turned out. It would return the stillness to the divine cosmos. 
It would return the stillness to the dark. It would breathe in the light.

It would be.

Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

who’s in your starting line up?

There’s a bit of cosmic wisdom floating about hypothesizing that you are, more or less, the average of the five people you interact with most. Whether it’s family, your partner, a friend or a co-worker, it’s the five people you spend time with, seek advice from, cultivate ideas together, go to help for, share your personal life with and all the things in between. In effect, your human environment.

As malleable beings, we are shaped by our surroundings be it physical, emotional, mental or ethereal. If you’re outside in the dead of winter without a coat, you’ll probably get cold. If you’re at the library picking out a book to read, you’ll probably be more quiet than if you were picking strawberries. If you’re at rock concert, you’ll probably be jumping around or, at the least, tapping your foot. If you’re attending a funeral service, your mood will most likely be sombre and earnest. And, if you’re meditating with a bunch of like-minded people, you’ll probably feel a higher energy than if you were alone in your dining room.

We are, on varying levels of influence, readily conditioned, driven by emotion and subconsciously patterned in our own thinking and responses to the various experiences and connections we encounter in our lives. That is to say, sometimes we know exactly what a situation or how a person influences and impacts us and sometimes we have no clue.

And so, what does it all mean? Think of the five people you’ve drawn yourself closest to or have drawn themselves closest to you. Who are they to you? What do they stand for? What do they believe in? What do they aspire toward whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually? And, the biggest question of them all; are those people a reflection of who you really feel you are or want to be? Think law of attraction stuff here.

It goes without saying that we all feel a need for acceptance. We feel a need for validation. We feel a need for connection. And, ultimately, we feel a need for Love. These are largely the motivation behind the relationships we seek and maintain.

The “five people” hypothesis doesn’t definitively dictate that we are exactly who we share our time with. But, the idea has more than enough merit to garner sincere consideration. Let’s say you’re a regularly active person. Who is the most likely to give you that extra push toward a workout on a sluggish day; a partner that also stays physically active or a Netflix binge watcher? Is your closest friend at work a chronic complainer with no desire to find actual solutions? Do their qualms “encourage” you chip in your own two cents because either, they’ve triggered something in your own mind that frustrated you or you want to offer your friend a feeling of acceptance that they’re not alone? At the least, you may just sit there in silence and absorb their negativity. And really, does any of that sound constructive for you?

What about your social circle? Do they just slander whichever friends couldn’t make it that night or act obnoxious and just wait for one person to stop talking so the next person can? Do they rant about their husbands or their wives? It happens. Probably more often than anyone would like to acknowledge. Those environments fuel our conscious and our subconscious regardless of how much individual fortitude we believe we possess.

I think of my own social activities. I like to have a beer or two and talk about sports with the guys. But, I like speaking about the Universe more. I like speaking with people that like it, too. The people that have open hearts to share about what they’re going through in life; their challenges, their triumphs, the thought provoking ideas that pop into their heads. So, I hang out with those people more. I still go for beers and sports, but I go for the Universe stuff more.

I like spending time with people that hug hello and hug goodbye. I like spending time with people that look to communication as a way to help themselves through tough times or as a method of coping with the things they can’t figure out on their own. I like hanging out with people that partake in alcohol, or the like, to have fun, not to escape life. And, I like to hang out with people that kindly and compassionately, but firmly, call me out when I need to be called out.

In no way is this an edict (not that I have any authority) to abandon all the people you have in your life that complain or don’t exercise or haven’t ever meditated or like to drink beer. But, what balance do you have in your relationships? Are you growing more than you’re regressing? Does it feel like you’re standing still? Do you have the support and encouragement you really need? Do you really have people that want to see you thrive and want to shine with you or just passers-by on your highway of life? There’s a constructive way about all of the aforementioned. But, the thing is that in this instance, it’s definitely a “it takes two to tango” thing.

And so, maybe there’s some distance you need to create between yourself and some people and some distances you should shorten? Maybe there are some tough conversations you need to have with the people you really want in your life and the people you don’t want in your life? Maybe you need a different place to work with people searching for solutions or to join a different softball team with people most interested in just having fun? You have the ability to orchestrate your environment as a product of who you aspire to be rather than be the product of your environment. But, it takes awareness. It takes courage. And, it takes the support of the right people for you.

That, is self Love.

Be Love.