First Step

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Before you ask what’s wrong around you in any given situation, take the daring task of examining yourself, your beliefs, your values, your greatest fears and worries…We often find that these are the causes of most of our troubles.  The process of sincerely changing is like surgery.  You must go deep into yourself-beneath bone and marrow-and find those ideas that have been slowly eroding away at the possibility of reaching what you want to achieve.  The greatest victory is in keeping these invalid beliefs in plain sight and be fearlessly willing to battle them on a daily basis.  This is the path of awakening.  

Laugh Out Loud

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What makes anything beautiful, what gives it life, is the experience it has had.  We stare at a certain painting and become mesmerized by something unexplainable-there is an emotion, a life, a story that it has lived.  This is the essence of all things worthwhile.  They are neither fabricated or desired.  Instead, these are the things that preserve us and provides a deeper connection to ourselves and the world around us.  To be fully in the moment entails a full participation and realization of the experience.  Experiencing moments where we are submerged in what’s occurring is the lifeblood of humanity.  A bellyaching laugh, a melancholic embrace, a joyful victory, an attentive posture-all provide the opportunity to make the most of our lives.  

Without the experience of participating in the moment, we lose an essential part of ourselves-a missing part that becomes excruciating to live with.  Before we turn to medicine to alleviate our instabilities and sorrows, let’s ask ourselves how much are we participating in the joy of living, and how much are we avoiding it through diluted means of connecting?  An emoji can never take the place of seeing a beautiful face smile.  An “lol” cannot doesn’t come close to shared laughter around a table of friends. And words types across a screen can never replace an invaluable embrace of a loved one in distress.  What makes anything beautiful is the loyal commitment to strive to engage in life as much as possible.  

Of Thy Peace

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Inside every person is the built in desire for salvation.  This need is two-fold: we want to save and be saved.  Children and adults long to encounter or become the heroes of society.  We look deep within and ponder the possibilities of saving those in great need, and we await to be relieved of our problems-to a time where our troubles will all make sense.  But rarely is the meaning of heroes, salvation, and reconciliation ever explained.  We entertain, fantasize, and pray of attaining qualities of heroship but when the process of attaining begins to happen, we give it up. This is because the character building of usefulness doesn’t come in light and power- it comes in struggles and suffering.  It comes in understanding the human condition and being able to navigate through the negative aspects of life and the mind. A person who doesn’t understand the map of insanity…of depravity, cannot save a lost soul trapped in the trenches of the underworld.  Both would be lost and consumed by the darkness.  A person that wishes to be used effectively must understand that his reward is in rescuing others, but the price is knowing first hand the atrocities that imprison them.  

If you’re struggling with something too deep to express, have you considered you may be in a process of preparation to one day help a few or perhaps many people?  Remember, the greatest heroes in history were not those with crowns but carried wounds for the sake of being used in a purposeful way.  

Waking Up

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All things fall apart.  And all things can fall into place.  It all changes when we wake up, when we recognize our reality is happening to us and that this reality must be lived out responsibly.  “It’s a game, a joke, a role” we may say, but the game (life) continues.  Our happiness is not determined by manipulating the order of the game, our happiness is determined by our level of awareness and harmony we align with its laws.  Your role in the game may be one of success or one of lack, but spite of that, your existence validates you are an essential player.  You have been welcomed into the game with a key role to play.  Your awareness of this fact helps you strategize and play the game more effectively.  A realization dawns on us:  the game is ours and everything in it is happening for us.  Reality- the game- is much sweeter when we have finally awakened to it.  

The Invisible Line

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Catch me on a Monday morning stuck in South Florida traffic, running late to work, having to pass on the venti plain pike, dodging cars, looking down and realizing the stain on my shirt didn’t come off after washing.  “I’m late… what is the boss going to say?… stop, your mind is racing” I tell myself-  Catch me in a state of battling my own mind and you’d probably label this process as unstable. If at this point you were able to dissect my thoughts and feelings within a ten minute frame, you’d discover irrational, random, illogical, self-defeating, catastrophizing, and possibly nihilistic content.  You’d probably change your perception on the kind of person I am if we were well acquainted.  However, you’d also acknowledge that every person experiences between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day.  You’d probably reflect at your own thought patterns throughout a 24 hour period and come away with saying “I’ve had days like that.”  The reality is our minds produce a plethora of thoughts given each presenting situation.  Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to filter, choose, or ignore such thoughts-unfortunately, there are some who are incapable of doing so.  

If we explored the thoughts of any stable, mentally sound individual, you would find a vast area of uncertainty, anxiety, fears, resentments, selfishness, regret, secrets, desires, etc.  What distinguishes this person from the “psychotic” is a well functioning mechanism of containing, filtering, choosing, interpreting, discarding, and applying such thoughts.  The “schizophrenic” wears his thoughts and feelings on the outside, while the majority of us conceal and process them internally.  Nonetheless, the thought content of fears, dreams, desires, love, anger, etc is identical.  If you ever took the time to know someone that experiences auditory or visual hallucinations, you’ll discover the content has significant meaning.  Whether it seems bizarre or incoherent, if we examine our own thoughts we’ll find a common thread-that we all deal with fears whether real or imagined, we all dream, and we all seek to love and be loved in return.  The person who bears the challenges of being unable to contain and filter their thoughts within deserve our utmost gratitude. There is something magnificent, a life saving quality of being able to hear a familiar language uttered in a dark and foreign land. Similarly, it’s relieving to listen to an unfiltered emotion- a thought freed from the constraints of what is “right” or “appropriate” in the midst of challenges.  It’s in the process of crossing over to understand those society disregards- it’s through the voices and visions of a unique mind that we are able to reflect, relate to others, and manage our own inner world.  

The Ills That Save

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How can the greatest ills of humanity serve any good purpose?  The question can only be answered once the defect has been identified and we commence the journey to remedy it.  Those suffering from chronic mental health problems or addictions who have undergone a process of recovery have accomplished the unimaginable.  They have defied the laws of a self destructive nature and have catapulted themselves to state of unprecedented usefulness founded on a basis of knowledge of self and the divine.  I will continue to say of this wondrous matter:  “There is no greater miracle than this!”

Beauty of the Beard

2FC5968E-4C29-44F7-8785-800B9CFDD618“What’s with the beard?, she asks as the last drops of coffee spill into the forestry of salt and peppered chin hairs.  I should have known the question was coming as it happens to be as of recently she turns her gaze from my eyes to the puzzlingly scouting of untamed facial hair.  I sip air, hoping the quieted seconds will quell her curiosity and she’d derail her questions to colorful topics like politics or conversion or counseling in prison.  But I’m stuck and break the silence with “ideals.”  I realize I’ve already gone too far, recognizing I have missed the exits of ‘early Movember’ or ‘fashion statement.’  And then enters the anticipated dread of un-interruptions so I continue:  “The beard is a sea of ideals, a vast and seemingly infinite ocean separating who I long to be and who I am.  The strands of hair represent the endless journey, an ongoing battle to merge the contents of the mind with the desires of the heart.  My beard is a story composed of daily dialogues with the Creator- it is a panoramic museum depicting refined poets and unrestrained savages in combat.  My beard is a composition of curled letters telling tales of wandering peoples through the desert- an anatomy of a broken heart daring to mend itself.  The beard is a covenant, a promise to always recall what I’ve been through, where I stand, and where/who I want to be.”  

Shine

AD2CD71E-D566-4ABE-878A-D6721EF45C0FMan was created to shine brighter than the sun.  With a great capacity to generate power from within and illuminate the world surrounding it, man, like the sun, has been granted the ability to give light to those around him.  In turn, he is free to flourish and grow from the abundant light granted to him by those he encounters daily.   

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