I’ll have more to say about the book at a later date. For now, insights abound inside of the discussion created by the narrator, and Ramana. It is beautiful.
Well, in no way could I have foretold earlier this year, that I would have 200+ of you with me on this wonderful writing journey. And, you know, it’s more than that.
More than writing that is. Much more. How? Yep. Here we go.
The experience I’ve had this year has been unlike any I’ve had before. Why? Well, yes, part of it is the writing. Being back at my computer writing from both my head and heart is, for sure, a wonderful experience.
And, yet, you know what I’ve enjoyed most? Connecting and interacting with each of you. Really. I’ve had such a wonderful time reading all of your work. Such an inspiration. All of you.
From the exposes on spirituality, leadership and self-development, to the wonderful poems, fictions, artwork, pictures, challenges, recipes, and book reviews. All of it. Every single ounce of it. I love it all.
Know this. Ready? Good.
You are very much appreciated. Each of you. For being with me on this journey. From my heart to each of yours, thank you; and, thank you for allowing me to read about you and your life. A wonder.
I look forward to continuing this journey with each of you. As a matter of fact, it’s just about time to go check out what all of you have been up to. Fun.
Right, well that’s about it for this entry. Well, just a minute, one more thing, okay. Ready? Here we go.
Remember, when things get tough, and goodness knows we’ve had a lot of that this year, keep breathing, keep doing, and keep moving yourself forward.
You are an inspiration. You are beautiful. You are loved.
Meditation is and has been an experience that, well, quite frankly, has transformed my life. How? Yep. Here are three ways.
Increased focus – the focus you develop in meditation, focusing on the breath, or some other object, carries out to every area of your life.
Developed patience – sitting for any duration of time, free of people and distractions, can be difficult, thus, doing so, greatly develops your ability to be patient. Both with yourself, and, of course, with others.
Greater presence – when you sit in deep concentration, you also get to know your own mind much better. Meaning, that you can see your mind as your awareness grows. And, with a more expansive awareness comes an ability to shift your attention from yesterday and tomorrow to today.
When we intentionally create quiet time for ourselves, to be with ourselves, away from all people and distractions, we are able to breathe, reflect, and just be.
It takes time and assistance to develop a meditation practice. I mean to really develop a practice that is sustainable.
Meaning, learning from someone that has been schooled in the art of meditation is helpful. I still see someone regularly about my meditation practice, and, well, as I’ve written before, about all of life.
Remember, it takes time to develop a meditation practice. Example? Sure, here you go.
My initial meditation practice, what I then called breathing, was only once or twice a day for 2 to 5 minutes at a time. I could literally only sit still for that long. Yep. Today? Well, today, my meditation practice is much longer.
It just takes a dedication to practice. Practice daily, get some coaching, and it will come. Really, it will.
Someone once told me, we are what we put into our bodies. I know, I know. A very common saying, and you’re right. Yet, it is also very true.
I spent a lot of years putting very unhealthy things into my body, yet have learned the truth of the aforementioned statement.
It’s really about energy and clarity. When you eat more whole foods and put less refined sugars into your body, you do have more energy, and equally more clarity.
What does that look like? Well, there are countless iterations of healthy diets. Really. What does mine look like today? Sure. It’s pretty simple.
Fruits and veggies
Beans, nuts, and some grains
That’s basically it. Now, there are other things I do eat, for instance, I removed dairy from my diet about a year ago, so I now eat a dairyless oatmeal yogurt product. However, the core of my diet is listed above.
Now, also know that diets iterate. For instance, though at the moment, I’m not eating eggs, for example, eggs have been in and out of my diet several times in the past three years. Yep.
Well, when you combine eating healthier with meditation, guess what? Your ability to be present also increases. And, there is another benefit. What, you ask? Yep.
Clarity. With a healthier diet and regular quiet time for ourselves comes more clarity. Fun.
This is a fun one, as there are two ways I think about exercise today. Ready? Here we go.
Cardio and exercising to exercise – sounds funny, maybe? Well, what I mean is exercise, such as running, jogging, or hiking, lifting weights, if you like, and biking.
Contemplative exercise – yep, really. What I mean here is taking a walk, by yourself, no headphones, phones, or other distractions, and just walk. Just like that. Contemplation time, just for you.
Both are important. Why?
Well, being active, and in motion, is good for the body and mind. It gets all of your muscles and joints moving, and gets your heart rate up.
And, spending time with yourself on a walk, for instance, is very healthy for your mind, and yes, your body too.
We all need time by ourselves, to contemplate, to just be present to all that’s around us, free of the myriad of distractions that typically hold our attention. Very helpful.
Okay, this is a very important one for me today, and, well, it is also important for you, and for everyone.
When we spend time inquiring into why we feel the way we do, we gain insight on what’s happening with ourselves, yes, true, and we also gain a better sense of our own humanity, and our shared humanity. Truth.
When we ignore our emotions, regardless of the type, guess what? They just sit under the surface, and sort of fester, if you will.
They don’t just go away, especially those emotions we would associate with “negative” experiences, thoughts, or feelings, such as sadness, worry, or anxiety. Yep.
Spending time writing out how we feel daily, if possible, has been a helpful practice for me. When we do this, we can ask ourselves questions, such as, why did that incident or situation, bother me?
We can then trace it back to where the originally thought, experience, or feeling originated. Takes practice, yet is a super helpful and therapeutic experience. And?
As we work through our emotions, we become lighter. Really. We end up carrying less emotionalness inside of us. And? Yep, we also become more present. True.
Alright, so we’ve covered 4 areas that contribute to our overall well-being, and presence. That was fun.
Here are some closing thoughts to round out our discussion.
Meditate, or create quiet time for ourselves
Watch what we eat, reducing our intake of refined sugars and increasing our intake of whole foods
Get exercise, including contemplation time
Work on our inner-selves and our emotional well-being, well?
We understand ourselves much better. And?
When we understand ourselves better, guess what? We know when we are present, and when we are not; and, when we catch ourselves being distracted, we can let go of that distraction, regardless of what it is, and refocus on the present moment.
After all, it is really only the present moment that we ever have. Yesterday and tomorrow do not exist. Really. And guess what?
The more present you become to yourself, the more present you become to everyone and everything. It works that way; and is presently beautiful that way.
A 3-Minute Reflection on Being Alive and Experiencing Aliveness
It’s interesting to title a post as a reflection series, as every post and/or article that I write is a reflection. Really. All of them. A reflection of myself and the world. Yep. And?
Well, I wanted a place to create a similar dialogue, conversation, and discussion with you in a shorter format. Yes, yes, it’s true. I do tend to write, and write, and sometimes, even write more. My challenge, then? Good question.
My challenge in this series will be to connect with you similarly , yet to do so in under 3-minutes. The next question? Yep, that’s it. Can he do it?
Don’t know. Yet, I do know that I’ll have fun finding out. Ready? Alright, here we go.
A 3-Minute Reflection on Alive and Aliveness
What does being alive really mean? I mean, really? Have you ever pondered what it means to be alive, to know your alive, to really feel alive, and the resulting aliveness, if you will? Hm.
As you reflect upon those questions, let’s take a look at what I see.
When I was growing up, being alive simply meant not being dead. Really. You were alive, that’s all. You breathed in and out, and you did this or that, whatever this or that was, and you lived your life. Yep.
Yet, as I’ve aged, and developed, I’ve come to think about being alive differently. Being alive, or experiencing aliveness, is different from simply accepting, passively, that you are alive, as in my aforementioned example.
Aliveness, for me, is an active activity. Yep, I did just use active and activity back to back.
Right, so being alive is about feeling, loving, working, being, and doing, and doing so intentionally. Creating our intention to live the fullest life possible, whatever that looks like to you, or me, or anyone for that matter.
There is an important distinction here. Let’s spell it out more clearly.
Passively alive – reality happens to me.
Active aliveness – I create my reality.
A very important distinction. Why?
Because when we believe that reality happens to us, our locus of control, stay with me, is pointed outward; whereas, when we believe that we create our reality, or locus of control is pointed inward. Very important distinction.
Locus of control? Yep, here we go.
People with internal locus of control tend to expect reinforcements (1) to be the consequences of their own efforts or behavior, whereas people with external locus of control expect them to be the consequences of chance, luck, fate, or the actions of powerful others.
Basically, locus of control is how we think about the world, and our place in it. Do we believe that we create our life, or is the creation of our life in the hands of someone else.
Now, there are two more important distinctions here. Ready? Here we go.
Locus of control is not a binary – meaning that how people view their reality, and the creation of it, lives on a continuum.
Locus of control is psychological and also philosophical – we will look at the former in this post, and, maybe, the latter in a later one.
Now, when we believe that we create our reality, that our actions cause change in the world, change for us, and change for others; we have an internal locus of control. And?
And, if we regularly act on this internal locus of control, creating the life we want to live, one action at a time, we will experience more aliveness.
More feeling, more joy, more of, well, everything; and, this moreness in this example, if you will, does also include sadness. Why?
Because we are living more, doing more, creating more, risking more, loving more. Well, doing everything more, so it does follow that we will experience more joy, and also more sadness. It works that way.
Yet, we need not think about experiencing more sadness as a problem or an issue. It’s not. It is beautiful, because we are creating and living out our own authentic life. Fun.
Remembering that we are the creators of our experience, and, thus, our life.
We create our life, feel our life, and live our life via our intention. An intention about the aliveness we want to experience, which we create in every moment of every day. Now, and, now, and now. Just like that.
In the past three years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we view, internalize, and then perform our work.
Though many people associate work with a particular idea or vision of what work looks like, or should look like, work is a broad concept.
Because work is a broad concept, and, yep, is also socially constructed, it’s fun to ponder how the way we think about work affects how we feel and then do our work.
Right, so before we get too far into this discussion, let’s reset the definition of a social construction, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/
A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.
Work is something we do to achieve a purpose or result; and, how we define, internalize, and then view our work, like everything, is simply a subjective interpretation about something that people in a society or culture agree upon. Phew.
Alright, yet what does that really mean?
What does the social construction of work really mean?
Well, it means that how we think about work, the prestige, or lack thereof that we assign to particular types of work is nothing more than a subjective agreement within the particular society or culture that we live in.
Why does this matter? Good question.
Because when we fully understand that work is socially constructed, we are freed to think about our work in any way we want. Our choice. Yep.
Meaning that if you are a person that is cynical about your work, you can choose to become more positive about your work.
And? Passion can follow. Fun.
You can actually even think about becoming more positive and passionate about your work as actively resisting the social construction of work where you live.
Resisting the social norms that set certain types of work as more important or needed, than others. Norms that are also socially constructed.
When we are freed from limited notions of our work, we are also freed to do our work without limits. Making ourselves and our work unlimited. Pretty powerful.
What is work?
This is an especially fun question for me, as I grew up in a household where there was always lots of work to do. Always.
Yet, there was also always a demarcation between work away from home, let’s call this “professional” work, and work at home. A distinction that was very apparent.
Workdays, as in the days that were associated with professional work, always felt different. During my childhood, these days also correspond to school days, which then created a distinction, for me anyway, that those days should also feel different. How?
Well, they were heavier in some way. Meaning, they were considered, well, work, and that was associated with something that one must do. A compulsion, if you will, which, often, didn’t feel so great.
When we create distinctions between work at home, and work away from home, and create meaning that associates one with a more meaningful experience, we set ourselves up for pain and suffering. Really.
How many times have you gotten up for work, and hung your head, thinking, and feeling, phew, not today? I know I’ve had many of those days.
And, though those days are not part of my life today, I can still feel the heaviness of that type of thinking. Painful. And?
Well, we can create a whole new way to think about our work. Seeing our work as interconnected, one. Whether we are working in the garden on a weekend, cooking dinner in the evening, or visiting with a client, they are all you.
You are doing all of these things, taking all of these actions.
Therefore, we can release the notion that there is a distinction between work we do at home and work we do away from home.
Why How We Think About Work Matters
When we release ourselves from the aforementioned distinction, which, by the way, only exists in the language we use to create our notions of work, we create more freedom for ourselves; and, at the same time, we can reduce the stress and anxiety we feel about our work.
Releasing the distinction that some work is stressful, not as fun, plain boring, or even painful, while other work is not stressful, fun, exciting, and full of joy, also releases us from the pain that we suffer while we do our work away from the home, whatever that might be. Yep.
And, remember, how we view, internalize, and feel this created distinction about our work, may, nay, will feel completely different to someone else. Both are unnecessary.
It is an unnecessary distinction. Really.
However, when we create work in language similarly, regardless of what work we’re engaged in, we think about, practice, and feel work the same way, no matter where we are, releasing us from the aforementioned stress, anxiety, and pain. Helpful.
Right, let’s take a look at a couple of quotes about work, shall we?
Here we go.
“Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do, whether you’re a janitor or taking your first summer job because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.”
And, it is a similar attitude that we can hold about the distinction that some work is painless and some full of pain. When we think about all of our work the same way, and approach it the same, guess what?
We end up feeling the same way about all of our work.
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” Zig Ziglar
And, we can think about releasing the distinction between work at home and work away from home similarly. When we are always reaching for and giving all that we can, regardless of the type of work we are engaged in, our work will shine in all areas of our life. And?
Those around us will shine too. It works that way.
“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Saint Francis
When we release our previously conceived ideas about work, we also release limitations. Yep. Think about it.
When we release our limited thinking about our work, whether that is work at home or more than likely, work away from home, we also create an unlimited context for all of our work. And?
When we are unlimited, we move from that which is impossible, to the possible. Really.
It all starts with how we think about our work. When we fully understand that work is a social construct, created in language, we can create new definitions, or constructions, of our work. We set the standard. Yep.
And? Then we get to live and work in a context that sees no limitation, that feels no limitation, that is now, well, unlimited. Beautiful.
All of our work matters. Matters to each of us, and to all of those around us. Release yourself from any distinction you have about work that creates a false binary about the work you do.
All of your work is important and is further needed. Needed for you, yes, and for your family, community, country, and the greater world.