It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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What I learned in Puppy Class

puppyclass What I learned in Puppy Class

After our big poodle Ringo died, we had one very sad, little poodle dog in Alaska.  We decided It was time for her to make the trip to Arizona.  We hoped that a busier house and the warm sun would help her spirits lift.  She had come into our lives at eight weeks old, a rescue from Fairbanks, Alaska.  My favorite name for her was Baby Dog, even in her adult years.  She loved people and our dog Ringo, but wasn’t so sure about most other dogs.

I wanted to find a companion for Baby Dog to grow old with.  I also wanted a dog that could be my trail pup.  I choose the name Supreme, before we knew when or how a new dog would enter our life.  I loved the name Supreme because it reminds me of our connection to all the good and lovely things in life.  I imagined that every time I called Supreme, I would be connecting to the wonderful, spiritual richness life has to offer.

I found a male poodle puppy that would hopefully become Baby Dog’s best friend and my trail partner.  On his second day with our family, my son and I walked and mostly carried him on my favorite trail. The next day I took him for a wellness check.  I was told he needed to stay in our home and yard exclusively until he reached 16 weeks old.  After his last Parvo vaccination Supreme would be free to leave our home.  I was disappointed, but put off puppy class and trail walks until he was safe.

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Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You

Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You

Have you ever seen rage in yourself? Generally, we don't want to see certain states within us because we've been conditioned to think of them as being morally "wrong" for us. We don't understand that these dark states are part of an interior world that can be changed when the light of awareness is shined upon them.
 

What happens when we see things about ourselves that we don't want to see?

In order to avoid looking at itself, the mind will seize on the rage it has seen, and it will try to explain it. It will take the initial darkness, the negative energy, and because it seems to be basically out of control, the mind will try to make of it something that it can deal with. When we live from a nature that does not want to see its "self," then there's no chance that this level of self, this nature, can ever change. When we hide from ourselves the way we feel, the only thing that we're accomplishing is the assurance that these feelings will return again... only more of them! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: we condemn and doom ourselves by being afraid of the darkness in us. We have one thing to do with our own states, and that is to see them as they are, to catch the part of us that's afraid of being what we've just seen, and to stop trying to hide anything anymore... because we're on this earth to learn.

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Heartbeats for Harmony – a 12 minute solution to fear

Heartful-Banner-1024 Heartbeats for Harmony

Is your house on fire? I agree with Greta Thunberg when she said,

"I want you to act as if your house is on fire, because it is."


Climate change is just one issue. How are we going to overcome all the epic challenges when it looks like everything is on fire!

James “Gus” Speth - Author of 7 books and a champion of fundamental systemic change with The Next System Project offers some insights,

I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

I believe complicated problems do not require complicated solutions.

Every problem holds the answer to its solution.

Within scientific circles, high carbon dioxide levels are accepted as significantly contributing to climate change. While scientist struggle to develop carbon capture technology, a perfect technology already exists, it is called a TREE.

Planting a tree is a simple solution you can do today to improve our environment. The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign is one coordinated effort toward a global goal of planting a Trillion Trees.

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Touching the Jaguar

jaguarswimming Touching the Jaguar

 In August 2017 I was back in the Amazon rain forest on a Pachamama Alliance trip,  I was paddling a two-person kayak up the Capahuari River near the Kapawi Lodge with a woman who went simply by the name “Z”.  

She broke the silence. “There’s something swimming in the river.”

“Probably that tapir some of the Achuar saw near here yesterday.”

 Z turned to me. “No,” she whispered. “It’s a jaguar!”  

I froze, my paddle suspended above the kayak. My heart raced.  Slowly, cautiously, I lowered the paddle to rest on the kayak and leaned forward to peer around her.

A band of white water cut across the river, the wake of something swimming. I raised a hand to shade my eyes and followed the white water. Then I saw it: the black-spotted tawny-colored  head and shoulders of a full-grown jaguar, just yards ahead of us, swimming to the river bank. Our momentum was taking us rapidly toward it. I grabbed the paddle and stopped the canoe’s forward motion.

Speechless, we sat there, still, quiet, watching.

Without breaking its rhythm, the jaguar turned and looked at us; then it continued to the shore, climbed out of the water, shook itself, gave us another glance, bounded up the embankment, and disappeared into the tangle of foliage.

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224 Hits

The Secret to Letting Go of Every Fear

fear The Secret to Letting Go of Every Fear

Are you afraid of some condition in your life? Here’s a life-transforming secret: that seemingly scary condition, whatever it may be, is not the problem. It is your reaction that is fearful. This is why if you will become conscious of your condition instead of afraid of it, you will change forever your relationship with fear.

It is only within this special kind of inner-relationship that there is real safety, because now you are interacting with fear in an entirely new way. You are no longer letting it dictate to you how to act or what to do. Instead, you are aware of the fear. You are learning to quietly observe and study it. And, each day as you practice this, you discover something new about the strange and shaky nature of your own fearful reactions. They begin to lose their power over you.

Why? Because you are at last seeing these reactions for what they have always been: unintelligent mechanical forces. You are slowly becoming stronger than they are because by seeing them as they are—not as they would have you see them—you have helped yourself to climb above and outside of their influence. This self-insight is the difference between trembling through your life and being in command of it.

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247 Hits

Breaking into Pieces

breakingintopieces Breaking into Pieces

Many years ago a family member offered one of my daughters a shiny new helium balloon.  She was very excited.  We were outside on an overcast and windy day. I attempted to help her hold on to it, thinking it might fly away.  She was an independent three year old that wanted to do it alone.  The balloon was loosely attached by a clip to her dress.    Eventually the clip failed and the  balloon  slipped from her grasp.  We all watched the balloon float farther and farther away.  My little girl fell apart into a inconsolable storm of pain, loss and anger.  I knew it wasn’t just the loss of the balloon.  We had just moved to Alaska from the East coast with out her father.  The balloon was another thing removed from her small world.  I will never forget her pain.  I will never forget feeling so lost and helpless as a parent.  It seemed like I could not ease her heartbreak.

Most adults have experienced the same overwhelming emotions and sense of loss my child did at three; just for very different things. Often we experience our losses with extraordinary anger, pain and grief; because it is tied to something else.  Regardless of our age, we can loose control in the surface wave of emotions, that pull us back into thick muddied waters holding  past events.

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How To Overcome Fear with the Miracle of Love

selflove How To Overcome Fear with the Miracle of Love
Most of us are grappling with only one main issue, that is, how to stay happy. Being calm, focused and joyous, in a world which is constantly drawing us, into its chaos, is definitely a well performed feat. How to keep our mood stable, and our lives in a state of balance, is something we need to work at, constantly. Keeping our wits about us, and our brains and bodies in a state of balance, is an art we need to master. This inevitably doesn't happen on its own, we need to make it happen.

Living a life, which is aware and at a level of consciousness which is constantly evolving, is our prime duty towards our own selves. It is only by living in a state of awareness that we are conscious of our day to day stresses and we have the ability to combat them.

Stress builds up within us because we allow fear to step into the realm of our existence. With no fear, imagine the possibilities. I feel it is only the fear within us that hinders us from stepping into progress.
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How To Deal With Negative Feelings

contemplating-her-next-move-picture-id515643880 How To Deal With Negative Feelings

Your feelings are a signal giving you feedback.

They are communicating to you, showing you what you need to pay attention to.

We are conditioned to only feel what we think of as “positive” feelings. And we tend to do everything to avoid “negative “ feelings.

We must realize that the more we suppress our sadness, the more we limit our capacity to feel joy.

Consider this: Feelings are neither good or bad. These are just labels we place on them as a means of survival.

Feelings are feedback.

Feelings are energy.

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Learn to Be a Storm Watcher

stormwatcher Learn to Be a Storm Watcher

Before we can learn to free ourselves from our own fearful reactions to unwanted events, we must realize just how worthless fear actually is -- especially when we turn to it to protect us from what are essentially bad dreams wrought from the darkened works of our own imagination! When it comes to these stormy moments in life, what we resist always persists. In truth, it is our not wanting to be in a psychological storm that produces the very storm of unwanted feelings that we don't want!

One of the things that make uncertain times so hard to bear is the flood of fearful feelings that seems to travel with them, like hard rains we are sure will soon fall from a distant, dark cloud on the horizon. But such fear is neither a natural nor necessary part of uncertainty, and this you can prove to yourself if you're willing to be a conscious storm watcher.

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460 Hits

Three Easy Ways To Stop Fear And Worry

overcomeworry Three Easy Ways To Stop Fear And Worry

Fear is one of the strongest responses our physical bodies possess. When you fear, your heart begins beating faster, your blood pressure rises, your palms start to sweat and you may feel intense anxiety. This physical response is part of the “fight or flight” mechanism that our brain and body uses to deal with danger. This extreme response is warranted if, say, we were being chased by a saber-toothed tiger. In today’s world, we rarely experience life-or-death situations such as these, but still, our bodies have held on to this response.

Many times, our negative cycle of fear and worry can bring about this response, and it can be miserable! It can last just a short period of time, or it can last for many years. Experiencing a high level of fear and worry over an extended period of time can actually change the very chemistry of our brain. For this reason, it makes sense to learn skills and techniques that can help calm our mind and body when we get too far “in our head.”

Aside from the negative physical and biological effects of fear and worry, there are myriad psychological effects as well. For instance, worrying about the future and worrying about things you simply can’t control can eliminate any positive feelings about the life you’re living right now! You get so worked up about what could happen, that you miss what is happening right before your eyes. This will greatly reduce the happiness, joy, and peace that your life should entail.

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The Practice: Take Heart

woman-enjoying-beautiful-landscape-on-fuerteventura-island-picture-id513671582 Take Heart

What do you do when the bottom falls out?

The Practice:
Take heart.

Why?

It takes heart to live in even ordinary times.

By “taking heart,” I mean several related things:

  • Sensing your heart and chest
  • Finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you
  • Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out
  • Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted – going forward wisely even when anxious, knowing your own truth and as you speak it

When you take heart, you’re more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You’re also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit.

Additionally, it takes heart to live in, live with, and live beyond times that are really hard. Your personal hard time might be bad news about your health, the death of a parent, or betrayal by others. Or it could be related to changes in your country and world, and your concerns about their effects on others and yourself; I’ve written about the importance of finding and facing facts at the level of society (feel free to skip it if you don’t want my take on politics).

There are so many examples of honorable people facing great difficulty with dignity, principle, and courage. They did it. We can, too.

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Obsessing, Ruminating, Worrying…Oh My!

worried Obsessing, Ruminating, Worrying…Oh My!
Are you ready to move beyond obsessive ruminating and worry? Are you ready to move beyond fear, anxiety and depression? What works for me can work for you too!

I used to spend hours and even days ruminating about different things – a conflict with someone important to me, a work situation, finances, time pressures. I would obsessively worry or try to figure out the “right” thing to do or how to get the outcome I wanted. Of course, I would end up drained, anxious and confused, but this didn’t deter me from this addiction. It was in my blood, absorbed from my mother and grandmother.

In some wounded part of me, I believed that ruminating, obsessing, and worrying would somehow give me control over the outcome of things. I was afraid not to obsess – not to try to control others and outcomes.

But ruminating, obsessing and worrying created very low-frequency feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression…

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How can you face the fear of suffering?

fearofsuffering How can you face the fear of suffering?

Suffering seems to be a fact of life. How do we face it?

Clearly it is a stranger to none of us. Perhaps we’ve not experienced the corrosive pain of illness, persecution, starvation, or violence. We may not have lived with the deterioration and loss of a loved one. Few of us have seen the charred face of a burned child. But each of us has experienced our fair share of not getting what we want or having to deal with what we don’t want. In this, we all know suffering.

The way in which we deal with suffering has much to do with the way in which we are able to be of service to others.

Of course, not all helping revolves around suffering. Much of what we offer may be in the nature of simple support or guidance. Moving a friend’s new furniture, teaching a child to read. But it is the affliction of others that most directly awakens in us the desire to be of care and comfort.

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Ending Our Fear of Death

fearofdeath Ending Our Fear of Death

Fear is a powerful force, nowhere more so than when it comes to death and dying. By comparison, the solutions for solving other fears seem useless. You cannot test your fear; you cannot feel it and move on anyway. There is little reason to trust other people who seem to have no such fear. They have no more valid experience of dying than any other person who is alive.

It is reported that near-death experiences leave survivors without any fear of death, because they have seen the other side and found it unfearful. But near-death experiences, although highly publicized, are rare, even among patients who have died on the table in the emergency room, generally from a heart attack, and been resuscitated. You can take hope from their anecdotal stories—and millions do—but the information remains second-hand.

Fear of death is unique in the hold it has over us, and we spend our lives hiding or suppressing it. The prospect of not existing seems too overwhelming to face. But in one respect, despite its uniqueness, the fear of death can be faced and dismantled. There is a cure that is available to anyone. It consists of exposing death as an illusion.

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Healing Procrastination

procrastination Are you a procrastinator? Are you ready to get unstuck?

Oscar was stuck in his life; the following issue he presented in our session was one example of how he was stuck:

“My parents are coming to visit tomorrow and, as has been my pattern, my house is a dirty mess. I usually spend the day before they arrive frantically cleaning, which I will do today, but this time I’d like to do it differently and not beat myself up and judge myself. How to get the tasks done with peace, joy, and compassion? It’s a challenge because I feel pressured and get angry with myself for letting things go.”

“Oscar, there must be a good reason that you keep your house a mess and then feel frantic when you need to clean it up. How old were you when you first started resisting things like cleaning up your room? And how old were you when you started to beat yourself up for letting things go?”

“I think I started resisting things when I was very young. I resisted getting toilet trained, and I resisted getting good grades. My mother was so controlling and invasive that I think I learned these ways of not being controlled by her.”

“So the part of you resisting is two or three?’

“Yes, that sounds right. And now that I think of it, my mom was very judgmental and I think I took over the job of judging myself when I started junior high school.”

“So you have an inner system with a young adolescent trying to control you with anger and judgment, like your mother did, and then a 2-3 year old not wanting to be controlled and resisting. As long as these parts of you are in charge, you are not going to be able to clean up with peace and joy. Is it just about cleaning up that you procrastinate, or do you do it with other issues?”

“I do it most of the time with everything.”

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3 Ways To Choose Love Over Fear

1129582082088561.NTYwUzkQTj2NGQbzXPzZ_height640 3 Ways To Choose Love Over Fear

Choosing love over fear becomes difficult when we feel as if we’re being blamed, attacked emotionally, or harshly criticized. It is in these situations that we tend to choose fear, possibly even subconsciously. If our identity or ego is threatened, we can’t continue our comfortable narrative about who we are and what we stand for. This reaction to fear creates conflict within us, and we over-react instead of simply being with that fear. We become defensive, and as a result, we can become hurtful to those we love the most. But if we can become more aware of our actions and reactions, and choose love over fear, we can live in alignment with our authentic selves.

Here are three ways to begin making the conscious choice of love over fear!

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1537 Hits

An Appropriate Response: Living from an Awake Heart

man-practicing-karate-on-the-grassy-horizon-at-sunset-picture-id515148008 An Appropriate Response: Living from an Awake Heart

Much of our suffering comes from reacting to stressful situations with fear or aggression, rather than responding with wisdom and care. This talk explores the pathway of shifting from reacting to responding: this includes learning to pause, awakening the wings of mindfulness and kindness, and reconnecting with our deepest intention.

From Buddhist teachings…

The thought manifests the word;
The word manifests the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
habit hardens into character;
and character into destiny.

So watch your thoughts with care,
And let them spring forth from love
Born out of compassion for all beings.

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The Fear of Loving

depression-picture-id663870814 The Fear of Loving
Loving holds within it the greatest joy and the greatest pain in life. Yet, without it, life is empty.

Love. We all want it. We develop many ways of trying to get love and be loved. From the time we are infants, we do not thrive without it. When we don’t get it, we may turn to many addictions to fill the emptiness that occurs when we don’t feel loved. When we feel loved, we are on top of the world.
Yet many people have a fear of loving. Not a fear of being loved – a fear of loving. 

Why Would Someone Fear Loving?

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Choose in Favor of Your True Self

theater-of-the-mind Choose in Favor of Your True Self

Imagine for a moment you’ve gone to a movie cineplex that has 16 separate theaters in it. You buy your ticket and walk into the show you came to see. But, before too long, you realize you don’t like what’s on the screen so you decide to change theaters. Unfortunately, the next movie’s just as pointless. So you change theaters again. And again. Now as long as you remain one of those audience members who live only from the level of the lower “me mind” your only choice is to ramble around within the cineplex. You move from one show to the next—all the while not remembering that the film you just walked into was unable to please you the first time you saw it.

But by learning to live from the higher Free Mind another choice comes to you. You walk out of the movies. You take yourself out of the theater complex. Now you’re free to go enjoy the rest of your day in some other way.

To help you better grasp the intention of this illustration, we need to take a brief look into the theater of our usual mind. Consider your own thinking for just a moment. Can you see how your mind loves to go over and over events that haven’t even happened yet? This mental process is the “me mind” hard at work. But let’s take a closer look at what this nature of ours is really doing.

Each time the “me mind” envisions some future event it’s actually trying to find a feeling of security for itself. But the only security this lower nature can ever know is imaginary. So it has to dream up one scene after another where somehow you’ll come out a winner. The more victories it conjures up in this way, the more fear it feels that it won’t win the battles it just created. And the more agitated this low level of mind becomes from its own unconscious activity, the more it tries to settle itself with more mental movies. We can see the end of this painful picture without having to draw it ourselves. This psychological profile demonstrates what it means to be both prisoner and prison maker!

The Free Mind is always a witness to your whole mental and emotional experience, so it can’t be made a slave of any hidden desire. In this instance, the higher intelligence of the Free Mind instantly understands that no mere mental picture of security has any real power to make you feel secure.

And this realization empowers you, effortlessly, to just walk out of your own mental movie. Can you see the immense difference between the “me mind” and the Free Mind scenarios? Being able to consciously walk out of the movie- making complex of the “me mind” is the same as the power to free yourself. Why? Because once you walk out of this tiny darkened theater that your lower nature considers the whole world, you know for certain and at last: there is something outside the world of your usual mind. And once you walk into its light, you know that everything can be forever new for you.

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Don’t Take it Personally: The Protective Personality

unhappy-woman-looking-through-the-window-picture-id806822594 Don’t Take it Personally: The Protective Personality

There are more than seven billion people living on this planet which means more than seven billion personalities, opinions and ways of seeing the world. With so many diverse and varying ideologies and socio-cultural milieus, someone is bound to act in a way, or say something that upsets another.

The question is: Do we always have to take everything so personally? If not, how do we make what seems personal, impersonal?

Ego: Why We Take Things Personally
From the time we are young, usually before we’re even ten years old, situations or moments in life occur where we feel unsafe or insecure, or someone says something that makes us feel unlovable. When this happens, we begin to develop a second self, or a false self. That false self is often the “ego,” which I like to call the “protective personality” because no one likes to have an ego, but people don’t seem to mind having a “protective personality.”

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