Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Step In The Right Direction

Lighten up… and suddenly you are unencumbered by your own thoughts.

Since I don’t watch the news, I don’t “complain” about not being abreast of the latest issues, so, please bare with me if this comes in as old news to any of you. Yesterday at the gym, while pumping away on the elliptical machine – which of course is positioned directly in front of a large-screen TV – I caught a segment on a morning news show regarding a new “bracelet”. We have so many now, all to show our support for our favorite causes: Pink for breast cancer, Green for saving the earth, Blue to support the tsunami relief, to name a few, and now Purple to be worn and used as a tool to help us stop our complaining and support a “complaint-free world”.

Conceived of by Reverend Will Bowen, Pastor of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, the bracelet was originally designed to get his churchgoers to stop complaining. Every time you catch yourself complaining, you are to change the bracelet to your other wrist. Once you have gone 21 consecutive days (starting from scratch every time you complain) you receive a certificate of happiness. Turns out they can’t fulfill the orders for these wristbands fast enough. Calls are coming in not from just the U.S., but from around the globe: Australia, South Africa, Russia, as well as from troops posted in Iraq.

The thing that strikes me about all this is it seems more and more people are looking deeper and taking the initiative to create a better world by taking steps towards their own self-awareness. Finding happiness and changing the world starts by changing perspective, and that comes from within (not from a piece of paper or a band of rubber, not really). But, perhaps we are beginning to realize that if we continue to facilitate negative thought patterns by habitually and mindlessly voicing our complaints, we continue to perpetuate a world of negativity and pessimism. Like attracts like. We can re-direct this flow, but first we have to become aware - so why not have a tool that helps? By recognizing the energy within our thoughts, we can tell the difference between a complaint and mere observation and decide how we want it to be. At least then if we continue to complain, we will be doing so consciously.

It’s not to say, once we obtain our “certified happiness” that we will never have another negative thought. We remind ourselves we are human, each at a different point on the path doing the best we can, and give ourselves a pat on the back for paying attention and stepping up to do the work it takes!

[More on Complaint-Free World bracelets at:]

Happy trails!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Faith - Not for the Faint of Heart

Believe... and suddenly anything is attainable.

Everyday I wake up with the unshakable faith that when I swing my legs over the side of the bed, the floor will be there to support my size sixes, my weary knees, my dropping arss, my stiff shoulders and my bed-head. I also trust the water will come out when I turn the knob to brush my teeth, the coffee pot will work, and my car will start. ALL of this “knowing” before I even rise from my sheets.

What is this drive behind this powerful faith? Is it history, past experience? Optimism? Law of averages? Expectations? Technically, we’re all intelligent enough to know that just because something happens once, doesn’t necessarily mean it will or won’t happen again. Isn’t this the very thing that drives our disappointment? When our expectations fail us? Consider Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass on the morning he awoke and FELL out of his bed due to the stroke he was having. Imagine his fear then anger and finally his road back to resolution and his own faith. We’re talkin’ RAM DASS here folks, dubbed so by the Maharaji, and author of many spiritual texts.

This drive, this kind of faith in knowing the-chair-will-support-us-when-we-sit-down, is a powerful faith. It can disappoint us for sure, but the very same faith can also give rise to manifest. It can drive us to make things happen in our lives and in the world that could never be, otherwise. The power of this faith to create life and living and beauty can go beyond our wildest imagination – but why stop there? Believe, if you dare… it’s not for the faint of heart.

Peace and Sat Nam.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

Yield… and suddenly you can finally “get it”.

This is has been a difficult one to write about. It really stirs things up for me, I think it’s because our perpetual search for comfort is SO the crux of the matter - AND, so easy to see the solution, which is to just surrender right? But, how many of us can actually surrender ourselves, everyday, every moment to something we can’t see or hear or even fully understand: the powers that are greater than us - the universal force that is just as real as this material world we live in? Where, in the end, it is ALL an illusion. An illusion we create to keep us feeling comfortable and safe.

I realize that all the resistance I encounter in a day is the one, all-encompassing source at the root of my discomfort. It’s the force that pulls me away from what I innately know, to most often, the very opposite of what I expect or understand, and we all know that we fear what we don’t understand. So, there I am - anxious, angry, frustrated, fearful. How can I break this absurd cycle that my mind is constantly spinning?

Mindfulness, surrender and letting go is the only way – realizing that it is all an illusion - Maya, having it’s way with us, keeping us from true liberation. But, my ego so wants the fight. (I see myself swinging punches while someone keeps me at arms length, with their hand on my forehead!) My ego tells me it is SO self important. Because, to let go would bring me to the question of “what would be left? What will my day, week or life be like if I don’t take a firm stand on something? If I don’t prove that I am right, worthy or valid… then, of course I would loose control, right? When, in fact, I know in my heart we don’t have all the control. We can, at best, co-create our “fate”, but it’s important to recognize WHEN we need to step back and let our “co-creator” lead the way. Let resistance BE our guide - meet it, know it, embrace it and thank it, then … step back, because that resistance is the universe trying to tell us to reconsider our direction, our choices. Can you notice some of the subtle signs of resistance? Ask yourself, what is my general emotional state? Am I edgy, sad, impatient, bored? How does my body feel? Am I stiff, achy, tired? Eating a lot or not enough? … What am I resisting?

I can’t help but believe that every circumstance that shows up in our lives is a lesson, and the same circumstances or issues continually arise until we finally “get it”.

We can’t always expect to control situations and change others or their way of thinking so that WE can feel comfortable, safe and secure. We CAN act to communicate our truth, but in the end it is up to us to become comfortable with uncertainty. Ironically, we can find that comfort within - by stepping OUT of our comfort zone.

Blessings and peace.