Elevating Lives Through Compassion

Are you ready to take the step into healing and recreating yourself? The greatest journey begins when we venture within in order to discover our full potential. Come and take the first step towards wellness.

Regroup and Refocus: Managing Anxiety Through Mindfulness

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I’d like you to try something. I want you to feel your anxiety, the train of thoughts , the hamster on the wheel, the fear, that overwhelming pressure of stress.

Ok, now I’d like you accept it without judgement. This is the hard part.

How is this helpful? What is the point? Did a therapist really just tell me to be anxious?

Well, acknowledgement of your feelings can allow you to regroup and refocus, to better react. Our amygdala is about the size of pea, and it’s responsible for all those things that keep us up all night, going over the lists of what was wrong and what was right. But, if we can take the time and step outside of the abstract picture of thought and see the frame, we can better see the painting.

I have been a drummer for about 17 years. Occasionally, in my new band ( no this isn’t self promotion) I need to play a drum solo. It can be nerve racking and stressful , especially in the middle of an intense show where I am drenched in sweat. Benny Greb, a drummer once said: ” If you can step outside that zone, the zone of thought , and regroup and refocus yourself , you can perform better because you are not on autopilot mode.”

So the next time you are feeling anxious, the next time life hands you a drum solo of anxiety, take the time to regroup and refocus. Mindfulness, isn’t just some new age meditation. Through controlled breathing , visualizing with hope and slowing your thoughts down, you can control how you want to approach a situation at work, at home or on stage.

The Question That Changes Everything

715AB0C3-DB9E-461C-8901-53C0443895A6We all strive for individuality and ways to express it.  But how many of us apply our uniqueness- those treasured traits that set us apart?  When there’s a fire deep down that burns within, do you quench the flames out of fear that those around you may oppose or even mock you?  We all have an inner voice urging us to break out of the shell in order to express ourselves.  The truth that lives in us far outweighs societal pressure and commentary.  Bottom line- one cannot have one foot in truth-seeking while peddling in conformity out of appeasing others.  A man must often toil in these times with the most vital question he’ll ever ask: “Who am I, really?”

The Law of Ego and Self-Esteem

D1DDD265-E12A-4881-8E74-0F97ECC1F0B1Ego and self-esteem both have an opposite effect on one another.  Where one is fed, the other diminishes.  We must exercise caution in differentating the two. Ego temporarily provides a sense of gratification and fulfillment but gradually creates separation, loneliness, and conflict.  Self-esteem, initially, may seem contradictory where one shifts focus away from self and directs it towards others, but in time creates a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and connection.  In short, the more I am ‘all about me’ the more disharmony I create;  and the more I am about others, the tighter the bonds and greater the balance I bring into life.  Mastering this art is the simplest way to happiness.  

Digging Deep When There’s Nothing Left

C13823A4-5CF1-4C5A-AA1F-A1D8636E434DI woke up to a voice unlike any other- a voice with much authority and clarity, one that I could not pretend was an imagination, or a whim, or an echo emanating from a quote from the latest self-help bestseller.  This voice resided in desolate and absconded territory, a place long empty, yet filled with pain and an ambience that could break even the most hardened soul.  And there I stood, listening to the voice “Dig….Dig.”  And so I did with no shovel, hands muddied and bloodied digging through filth, hardness, and nothingness.  Minutes passed, hours passed, days, weeks, months, and years, and…nothing.  Yet, the voice grew louder and clearer, “Keep digging.”  I stood there crying, skinny, beaten, sleepless, disheveled- fighting the voice, telling it that there was nothing there.  Nonetheless, it continued “keep digging!”  And so I did.  And from a distance I could see recognizable figures staring at the unrecognizable fragments of the man they once knew.  Gasps, silence, disgust, some look away.  Some dare to ask “what are you looking for?”  And tears roll down and I start feeling like a blend between the two protagonists from Beautiful Mind and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  “I don’t know what” I say.  Just then, a pastor I haven’t seen in years stands in front of a building with sincerity telling me to come here.  But I went there for years and found nothing as clear as this voice and so I continue to dig.  The doors of the building shut and fade away and an old childhood friend stands in its place, holding a bottle and a bag of cocaine.  He whispers “this will quiet the voices and kill all the pain.”  But I remember being dead inside and needing more just to get by… and so I, keep digging and the skin on my hands break and so does my heart as my old friend fades away, away from the voice.  Many others come along but I keep digging.  I dig through the pleas of beautiful women, money, careers, and almost oblige to the persuasive tactics of Appeasing Others.  But the voice grew louder and I dig.  I dig and dig until there’s nothing left of me.  And then, from the same distance the pastor and my friend stood, my family cries out, my son yells “Come daddy.”  I take a step towards them but the voice intensifies, gripping my soul into an understanding that if I don’t keep digging I will lose everything, I will lose them.  Humiliated and greatly discouraged I dig with the little strength and sanity that remains.  “There’s nothing left” I say to the voice as I stare into what is now the hollowed depths of my being.  Cries, pain, mistakes, past hang ups, traumas, guilt, and heartbreak escape the void and I stand like the miner who has discovered the finest diamond on earth… I can finally see the great voice, clothed in infinite Love living within me.  

What great pains and erroneous paths most of us take to find love!  I have found that G_d in His infinite wisdom chose the finest abode in a place we’d often overlook…within us.  Please, keep digging!  

Heaven Now: The Power to Perceive

70EA0849-1DB1-435E-970E-071FC398B8F3“Initially, the worst thing we thought that could happen to us was that we were addicts and could not manage our own lives, needing a program of recovery.  And as time passed we learned the best thing that could have happened to us:  That we were addicts and could not manage our own lives, needing a program of recovery.”  -Anonymous

The best stance to ever take on any matter is that we really do not know.  I have found that the most challenging circumstances, the events that would have surely taken me under once and for good, to have been the most beneficial in becoming more effective in helping others.  The measure by which we are either empowered or crushed by our circumstances is reliant not on the events that transpire but our perceptions of these events.    One thing to always be mindful of is that our lives are multidimensional and guided by infinite love and wisdom.  So we can always be assured that every situation we encounter is moving us in the direction of understanding and encompassing this love and wisdom.  The determinant factor in joy and despair is contingent on our willingness to go deeper.  As a well known AA speaker used to say “ Heaven is a pair of new glasses.”  

Dying for Meaning: The Reason for Suicide

C54587F2-BCDA-4724-8CC5-EF375DFB8E10In the human body a cell that has lost its usefulness, that is, it is unable to carry out the function it was created for, will nullify itself through a process called ‘apoptosis.’  The term, also known as cell death occurs when the cell no longer serves a critical function in the organism.  Similarly, when a man or woman lives a life void of his or her intended purpose, they will pursue a path of self-nullification known as suicide.  

Taking this into account, the only surprising thing on suicide is that it surprises us at all.  We live in a society that bombards us with ways to stay updated and simultaneously astray.  When the mainstream becomes the sole source of education on who we are and what we are intended for, a spiritually empty culture is formed.  When we cannot find our purpose of living, we lose our drive to persevere through the lulls and challenges of daily living.  Our objective should then be to diligently seek that purpose which resides deeply within (not without) all of mankind.  

Dishes, Diving, and Drugs: Mother and Son Arrested for Selling Fentanyl

4A1933B6-3AF6-455B-82DE-A33DDAE6963FA New Jersey college diving coach and her son were arrested on charges including the trafficking of fentanyl and cocaine.  Both were taken into custody last Friday as authorities had recently seized over 60,000.00 from Tyler Gottlieb as he boarded a flight.  Both Moyer and son are currently awaiting trial.  

This sheds light on the startling opiate epidemic.  It’s safe to say that we are fair from the isolated drug crisis of the 1980s where crack cocaine rarely escaped the boundaries of urban America.  Today, addiction is a global issue affecting members of every race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and lifestyle.  Cases such as these should seal the deal to bring us into awareness and a plan of action to deal with the spread of a collective disease.  

For article, click below.  

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Heroin-Cocaine-Fentanyl-Marijuana-Cherry-Hill-California-New-Jersey-Mom-Son-Arrested-484643191.html

What’s Really Wrong With Treatment?

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We have become too hung up on the description of addiction rather than on an effective solution.  Focusing on consequences or engaging in dialogue over its nature has its place but does absolutely nothing to treat it.  Scare tactics, statistics, substance classification, route of administration, celebrity stories of tragedy and recovery, emphasis on meeting attendance, religious rituals, alternative feel good therapies are all inefficacious forms of addiction treatment.  It is time to wake up to this epidemic and begin exploring what has always worked:  bringing men and women who suffer from addiction to a practical spiritually permeated life in which attitudes and behaviors are significantly altered to suit a life of continuous abstinence.  The more we treat this problem on a spiritual level and less on an entertaining or aesthetic one, the greater the chances of survival.  

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