Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Human Condition

Learning our way around in a human body is puzzling, complex, and rewarding, most of the time. I crept, and sometimes ran, through life, and though I became aware of more and more possibilities, it took time for me to fully understand the power of my mind. In college I learned William Glasser’s Reality Therapy and Choice Therapy. I was excited to know about choices. I studied positive mind psychology and went to positive thinking rallies, but it was only when I was in a relationship that tested my reality and my sanity that these theories came into play.

I was in relationship with a man who lied about almost everything. It was more than just a relationship; I am embarrassed to say we were married. That’s another story, but, in my defense, as if I need one, it was a rebound relationship. He convinced my mind, this charismatic con man, of all kinds of things, but always my gut knew better. I wanted to believe him, but my body and my unrelenting anxiety knew that his truths were peppered with fraudulent claims. He was devoted and loving to me. He helped me with so many life tasks: ran errands, took care of the lawn. I couldn’t imagine life without him. Life was too daunting to face alone, but his help and love came with a price tag – my sanity. My reality teetered as I stood on the side of a perpetual black hole. I felt irrational, anxious, and fearful. We were financially entangled, and money was my Achilles heel. Unbeknownst to me, he ran up my credit cards, sought expensive medical care we could not afford, and depleted my savings. I remember riding down the road in my grey Chevrolet and, as I reached for my radio, something clicked in. I no longer had to be at the effect of his lies. I was not yet brave enough to divorce him, but I had the courage and power to think and act a different way. It was as if the low point in my life assembled everything I read and studied and gave them back to me as a superpower – the power to choose.

Eventually I divorced him, thank God, but the lesson of choice never left. I rejoiced. I now had the key to the Universe; I could choose my reaction to life and even influence outcomes. What a relief, this magic of choice, but if choice was the key, why was my life not getting better? I might be steadier, but I still faced mountains I had never imagined. I climbed each one, looking for the key to fix what was wrong with me and my life, but as soon as I propped up one area of my life, another fell apart. Eventually I began to find the real magic. There was no key; life is to be faced one moment at a time, and if I would dwell in the source of who I was, and stay radically present, insurmountable problems became stepping-stones to greater states of peace and power.

I understood why great teachers answer a question with a question. Students want to know the how to’s of life, but the true teacher knows that hunting for answers to life’s dilemmas is a detour. Trying to solve problems is not the answer. The answer lies in a space that recognizes that, at the deepest level, problems do not exist. In looking back, I could see that those grave moments of despair drove me deeper into myself and gave me the courage to surrender to the unknown.

Learning not to look for the key to life’s problems gives us a tremendous freedom. It frees up our energy. Figuring things out, making sure we are not being taken advantage of, trying to be important, not looking like a fool, all this requires searching, answers, and protection. It is all a burden we were never meant to carry. Life is simpler. The only thing we need to cover is the now moment. Our egoic mind loves our burdens. They give us an identity and can even make us seem special. Martyrs are respected and admired for what they came through, but we do not need a dilemma to shine in the glory of who we are. A Course in Miracles states that simplicity is difficult for twisted minds, and, while life is complex, there is always a simple or simpler road we can follow through our complexity. My deceased sister informed me, when I was young, that self-realization can occur in anyone. We do not have to be important, learned, or even wise; we just need to be present for our life. I did not believe her then. But now, years later, I know what she tried to tell me. Life is not what we think it to be; it is what it is, and that is okay. The power to choose is but a road sign pointing us to wholeness. My favorite thought these days is, “Drop it. Drop it. Drop it.” I do not always succeed, but I find that when I drop the need to see life as a problem to be solved, stop hunting for a fix, and follow my drop it suggestion, that everything in my life becomes EZier and EZier.

The Prime Minister of Possibilities


We live in a culture that sentences us to linear thinking. It’s not due to a conspiracy; it’s due to the sanctification and hybridization of the rational, mechanical, and the material. Somewhere, back in the days of deep discovery, we discarded something valuable, in favor of what we reasoned was undesirable. We placed our new discoveries at the top and center of our value systems and left behind the heart and foundation of our souls.

That’s why we have to wake up. We must wake up the sleeping parts of who we are and somehow bring the rational and material along for the ride. The rational, the mechanistic, and the material can no longer be the train; they must become the cargo. We are in times when we can conduct double-blind studies and learn to listen to the bees and the trees, and its vital that we do both. The scientist needs to meditate and to heed perennial wisdom, and the meditator must adopt essential practicality and act when needed. The businesswoman must open her heart and the spiritual activist must learn to leverage social media. We can no longer stay in the box of our choosing, if we expect to plumb the potency of our being.

The Prime Minister of a country is the leader of the government and is ultimately responsible for its policy and decisions. But imagine a prime minister of internal affairs, a personal prime minister, an overseer who has authority to open the doors to a higher way of being.

That prime minister (PM) does exist within us, and the PM can marry the profound and the practical and free us in a way that exposes limitless possibilities. We live in exciting times; we are on the edge of untold possibilities and unmitigated enthusiasm for a higher good. While the media might show us the limits of the world picture, and it’s something we want to know, there is an emerging tide of fortune, that brings with it a freshness that ultimately can’t be ignored. When our good nips at our heels indefinitely, when a higher way of being exposes itself at every turn, even our most cynical parts take note.

What catalyst awakens that which sleeps in us? It is simple. When we begin to feel good, we see things in a different light. We open to possibilities, because when we feel good, we don’t need to spend our energies protecting and defending our ideologies, positions, and imagined weaknesses.

We have to let go of many of our ingrained habits before we begin to feel good. What would our inner prime minister have us do to awaken to the pleasures of life? How can we prime the realms of expanded intelligence?

  • Quit making material success sacred. This quest runs us ragged and leaves little time to enjoy life. Success should never be a goal; it should be the byproduct of living on purpose.
  • Stop rescuing people and taking care of others, especially when it leaves us little or no time for ourselves. We can’t make others the central theme of our lives. While service to others opens us to miracles, codependency shuts them down. Discover the difference between altruism and martyrdom.
  • Join with others.Some animals are solitary, but humans are not. Social inclusion and interaction are necessary for our survival. This becomes evident when we become socially isolated, starting with depression and often culminating in disease.
  • Be in touch with our bodies. When we are in touch with our bodies, we know that bodies like sweet sounds, enticing aromas, and movement. The body loves sexual pleasures and healthy, good-tasting foods. The body loves to be held and hugged.
  • Be informed. Keep up with what’s happening in the world, and fuel our minds with joyful thoughts and fun times. If we keep all the news out of our lives, we spark denial, but when we keep the pleasure of living at bay, we become cynics. If we blend the state of the world with optimistic possibility thinking, the world presents opportunities rather than burdens.

Feeling good alone is not the panacea to solving the world’s problems, just as priming to pump only brings water to us. We can’t quench our thirst unless we drink the water. Learning to incorporate pleasure and feeling good into our lives is the prime for the pump of our good. It opens us to more intelligent choices. Can you imagine people who feel good about their lives stopping their party and saying, “Let’s go to war.”? Feeling good, experiencing joy, zeal, and zest, create a vibration that allows the treasures of pleasures to flow into our lives. Think of the inner Prime Minister as our higher self. It is a part of us that has answers that our rational mind bypasses. It is an all-inclusive part of ourselves that we can call on to solve problems, to open us to adventure, and to fuel a renaissance of being. It can manage and direct inspiring inner dialogue. The PM serves us in both practical and mystical ways. It brings science and sentience together. I heard a woman say, “I talk with my Higher Power. If you see me talking to myself, I’m just having a cabinet meeting.” Let’s call on our PM, and have a cabinet meeting, because when we do, life is EZier and EZier.

Friday, September 10, 2021

You Got to Be Kidding! Cold Water is Not That Hot (For Our Health)












Mom always drank room temperature water. Even though I shy away from her practices, which may not always be a great idea, somewhere along the way, I adopted her habit. When I was cold, it made no sense to drink iced water. Room temperature water seemed less invasive than frigid water. My hands stayed warmer in cold weather. For me, room temperature water made sense.

 Over the years I heard comments about digestion and not drinking water at a meal but heard no real health benefits of drinking room temperature water. I decided it was time to see what the Internet, an impeccable source of indisputable information, could lend to the conversation. The dubious results:

·       Cold water is not good for hydration. It causes the vessels around the stomach to constrict and slows down absorption; therefore, you must drink more cold water to hydrate.

·      Cold water slows down your metabolism. OMG. Women hate that. As we age, we live for things that reeve up our metabolism. Hot tea any one?

·       Reportedly cold water constricts your vocal cords, which is why singers drink room temperature water before or during a performance. Darn, I have no excuse.

·       Cold water increases your appetite. No, it can't be. Women live for foods that decrease their appetites. Even the skinniest woman would never eat something if it were labeled "Increases your appetite." This makes a powerful case for room temperature water.

Once I was on a small island in the Indian Ocean. I had traveled by car, bus, cab, motorcycle, jitney, and boat to get there. Fortunately, a senator recommended a guide to take me, who fell in love with me. He worked for the mafia, but that's off the point. Just so you won’t think I’m totally daffy, maybe I'd better say that when I found out the he was mafia, I was already at our destination. It was too late to turn back. Really, he had good credentials, but it was only when I was in the middle of nowhere did he tell me about being a hit man - that was after I taught him meditation, which he said changed his life. He sat across from me as I ordered guyabano juice. I was in a tropical paradise and expected a fresh, yummy treat, not canned juice. I asked for some ice, the hit man looked horrified, but the server assured me it was no problem. 30 minutes later three small ice cubes arrive. The hit man interrupted me before I could ask for more. I am completely puzzled. I asked the server why it took so long, and he told me there was only one place on the island that had ice, and that was in a private home. He had run 15 minutes to get my ice and then 15 for the return. This experience gave me a new perspective on drinking iced beverages. Germans drink room temperature beer. Maybe they are on to something.

I have been talking about room temperature water, but maybe anything cold is not that good for us. My friend, Judy, claimed her nose started running when she ate or drank anything cold. Ingesting anything iced exacerbates sore throats, sinus problems, and other flu symptoms. I know I’ve gone too far. I expect the Ben and Jerry police to be here any moment.

Did you know that people who spend long hours in air-conditioning gain weight faster than those who don't. Maybe our bodies don't like artificial temperature, be it in air, water, or food.

Do you see the point? My mama started me on this quest that keeps me warmer, well- hydrated, gives me a faster metabolism, and a better voice. When I can’t get ice, I don’t have to grouse; even my sinuses and throat love my mama for what she taught me. And what’s good for mama, is, most likely, good for you, too.




Friday, May 28, 2021

Rejoice: There is No Choice

We all want to be brilliant, to use up every bit of talent hidden beneath our inner admonitions of failure, ineptitude, and worthlessness. Some people work so hard to rise above some societal stigma, that they wear themselves out trying to prove their innocence and value. Few escape the limits imposed on them from their families, schools, or churches. Given these parameters, it is amazing how many actually emerge to be brilliant, creative, and compassionate.

What is it that brings out our distinctive abilities, even when we are thwarted at every turn? A religious person might say it is God’s grace. A motivational speaker will tell us it results from motivation, a good attitude, excellence, and persistence. A psychologist might mention the support of family, loved ones, or a mentor. Every system has an explanation for that which really cannot be explained. When I lie in bed in the morning, I resist getting up. I stretch, read, meditate, but in some unchosen moment, I hop out of bed. I wonder, at those times, what it was that pried me out of bed in just that moment. Two moments before, I was tied to the bed, then suddenly I am up in a flash.

I want to explore something, and you might think me mad, yet I cannot leave this idea alone. The idea is not new, and it is most popular in the eastern culture. The theory is that our creator created everything in the world of form so we could experience limits as unique possibilities. God, or Source, was the same, bliss and consciousness, yet Source wanted to explore all variations of creation. This action of exploration is called Leela or divine play. This all sounds plausible, but the intriguing aspect is that it means that Source, or God, is not only the creator but is the creation itself. When easterners speak of Leela, they deviate a bit in their definition, but the part that interests me in all the definitions is that Leela is a play of consciousness, and consciousness is the source of all. This is where it gets interesting, though I am not sure the concept of Leela incorporates this aspect of consciousness. And I must add this: concepts are not reality. They are the vehicles we use to try to express something that cannot be fully expressed or understood. I can tell you all about a diamond, but until you see one, all the information I push toward you is relatively irrelevant. Back to this theory or concept, which you can laugh at, given I have just destroyed its efficacy. God/Source is the doer, of everything. We think we have free choice, but we are an instrument of the Unlimited, and there is no choice. Just as I hop out of bed without making a conscious decision, Spirit operates through us, not just making that one leap, but making every leap and every choice through us.

This might seem like a terrible idea to the independent thinker and to the culture that almost worships the idea of free choice. To put this bluntly, we have absolutely no choice. Source does everything through us, as a part of the unfolding of the infinite universe. Maybe that’s a clue that we are Source, living our life as a unique individual. Hum, the whole idea brings me to a weird kind of freedom. It means that I can chose anything I want, thinking it is I who is choosing, even though every thought I have is made through me, not by me. All this may or may not be true, but in sifting through myriads of experiences, philosophies, and teachings, I can see its merit. And in my brief moments of being fully awakened, it was true. I was never the me I thought I was, separate from the Source, and I never had any choice. If spirit is living through me, I can just enjoy the ride. The idea that there is a me, is a lovely, complicated, original creation of Source, but “that me” does not really exist. When something happens, I do not have to freak out. I can know it was what was supposed to be. I can change it if I want, while remembering that I am not really doing the changing. And if I want to freak out, that is okay too. This is not an excuse to go out and do crazy things, but if the me I think I am, does crazy things or make mistakes, those actions were always the movement of Consciousness.

I write about this for a couple of reasons. One is that it helps me parse out things, and the other is to see if there are others, meaning you who are reading this currently, who are on the same page. We live in a no fail universe, and though it may seem as if there are many injustices, ultimately there is a stream of bliss or consciousness that flows through everything. It is divine intentionality, and it is That which we should trust, because we are That. And that is about all I can say, except that the more I realize that there is no me, and that the me that I think I am has no choice, the EZier I find my life to be. And that’s all, folks.