Ego storms are similar to atmospheric storms in that they are the manifestation of agitated emotional energy in the body. Depending on our personalities these storms can take the form of anxiety, despair, anger, blaming, addictive patterns, isolation, etc, but whatever the content of the storm it's sure to cause some upheaval in your life.Read More
I’m one of those people who spends an inordinate amount of time trying to reduce the inevitable uncertainty that comes with being human.
I do however have enough life experience, and I’d like to think wisdom, to know and understand that most things aren’t just black or white. At the end of the day, 99.9% of our lives are defined by the terrible, anxiety-producing thing that is “gray area.”
If you’re like me, you will focus on every little slice of gray area and try with all of your might to solve whatever problem, answer whatever question or put an exclamation point on whatever issue is eluding you until that pesky gray area has disappeared…at least temporarily until something else comes along and triggers your latent ambivalence once again.
We like the illusion of control though, so when possible, we tell ourselves that we’re fixing things and “figuring it out,” and the truth is that sometimes we are. However, there are also plenty of other times when there won’t be an answer to our question or a resolution to our problem and we will be forced to live in the questions. There are some things we may never know while others may be revealed to us with time…whichever is the case, we certainly cannot rush the outcome.
A very wise and beautiful writer name Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote about this very topic (and many others) in a series of letters to an acquaintance of his named Franz Kappus. To Kappus, Rilke wrote:
“I would like to beg you..as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke
During times of ever-present ambiguity, I always go back to Rilke’s words and try to practice his advice.
It is important to remember that it’s not the certain, absolute, resolute and resolved that teach us our most important lessons in life. Though we can experience a great deal of anxiety when we are feeling unsure, it is the shaky foundation underneath us that forces us both to ask and to grapple with the toughest questions.
It’s within those questions and the gamut of emotions that we experience around them that cause us to grow, mature and become better at being who we are. Growing pains. Without stretching ourselves and allowing for this kind of movement, how would we ever evolve? Does a flower curse the sun for tempting its bud open? Your true beauty can only ever be revealed if you learn to love the questions themselves.
We may be obsessed with knowing why something is happening. We may feel like we just have to know how another person really feels about us. Or we may just insist that life let us take the reigns so we can fast forward to find out how it all turns out. Why can’t we just breathe out and enjoy the unfolding?
Instead of closing up, clamping down, avoiding, controlling and cursing the unresolved, we can step back, open up, breathe in and just allow. Yes, it’s super scary breaking our own illusion that we are in charge, but ultimately things come as they do, turn out as they’re meant to, and they are what they are, so why not let them be and learn to make the best out of the question marks that come with them?
Believe me, even if you live with a constant background of mental dialogue that keeps asking you “why” and “when,” one day you will suddenly realize that the questions that once plagued you have been answered and you have been living in those answers without even noticing.
Until then, cherish the questions and let yourself rest in the knowing that you are blossoming, even if you can’t see it just yet.
Some people's lives tend to unfold with relative ease. Of course we all have the normal human setbacks: illness, loss, death and heartbreak. However, some people have lives where it seems like mental, physical and or emotional turmoil is the norm rather than the exception.
In many spiritual traditions that acknowledge the reality of reincarnation it is believed that some particular lifetimes are meant to be difficult in order for the soul to accelerate its learning. These are called "working lifetimes". In working lifetimes, which are believed to be one in every ten lifetimes, the soul may experience heightened difficulties and challenges (as well as heightened spiritual understanding) in order to speed up the soul's evolution.Read More
There will always be times in our lives when we are called on to act from a place of courage. Some of us will rise to the occasion and do it because we feel that we "must". Something deep inside of us, some force, moves us, pushes us to continue even in the face of our fear because we could not go on otherwise.
Other times courage will be called for, and we will stick our tail between our legs and try to slip back into bed and hide under the covers, hoping that no one notices that we're phoning it in.Read More
I wanted to explore the concept of cords. No, I'm not talking about electrical wires you use to plug in your favorite electronic devices, although those are cool too. I'm talking about energetic cords. Yes folks, get ready to gallop with me through another post filled with kooky esoterica.
In all seriousness understanding cordings is important to understanding our relationship to others and the world at large. On a basic level a cord is a mental and or emotional connection to someone or something other than ourselves that both gives and receives energy (very similar to an electric cord). We consciously and unconsciously create cords with numerous things and people in our lives whether we like it or not. If you think about it we're all like energetic versions of Spidey.Read More
Keeping your body clear of impurities goes far beyond eating and drinking pure and organic foods and staying away from toxins. Favorite media buzz words like "antioxidants" and "free radicals" would have us believe that staying healthy is primarily physical endeavor. And while yes, ensuring that what you put into your body is of high quality and has essential nutrients and vitamins is important, it's not the whole story.
The human energy system is highly suggestible. So while your liver and kidneys respond to various toxins and process and eliminate them according to their level of functioning, the human energy field or aura can often do the same thing. There is plenty of evidence of the aura for those interested in the science of it all. Particularly experiments done to photograph the energy field around plants and their reaction to various positive and negative stimuli.
I won't lie to you, I originally planned to write about the connection between learning to let go and how that can attract more abundance…interesting topic, mostly because it seems counterintuitive. However, while I was brainstorming, I somehow ended up thinking a lot about another concept which seems to be not only related, but may actually be the underpinning to our resistance to letting go. So, here we are. Let's talk about struggle.
Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into a political rant or a commentary on social class. It's not even a pity party. I'm just going to skip the punch line, which is this: we all struggle. It's a reality, it's a part of life, and it isn't going anywhere right? Great, now we can move on the important part, which is how to let go of it.Read More
In response to a request to elaborate on our post Millennial Problems: An Open Letter to My Generation I'm expanding upon some suggestions made for Millennial's (or anyone else) on how we can support ourselves in our goals of reaching greater self/spiritual fulfillment. I don't proclaim to have all the answers, and I'd love to hear further suggestions from readers on how you think we can further achieve the level of psycho-spiritual and martial success we seem to desire as a generation. The following are things that have worked for Aaron and me, and others we have met on the path to deeper self-actualization. As with everything we write in this blog take what you want and leave the rest, there's plenty to go around.Read More
As a card carrying member of Generation Y I'd like to take a minute to speak to my fellow 80s and 90s kids. I've noticed that we may be in a bit of a crisis of consciousness. We are a fickle generation, the "me" generation they call us, and I think we tend to be all about ourselves in ways that don't serve us.
Okay, yes, we want to have it all. We see how our parents ended up working in careers they weren't passionate about, our grandparents selling out for security, and the Gen X'ers who are stuck in a strange space between hippie free-love and white-collar purgatory. We resolved as a collective entity to find our passion, display our creativity and change the world. Sounds good right?Read More
Defense mechanisms are a necessary part of living in the human experience. Without an ego, and if we didn't have to deal with other people's egos (and all of the variations in health and coping strategies) we wouldn't need defense mechanisms.
These strategies or coping techniques allow a person to retain a level of ego coherence so that they aren't completely shattered when something happens that is ego-dystonic (or uncomfortable). Our defense mechanisms can be mature, neurotic or immature. Conversely, we can have a set of mature/healthy defense strategies and a few that are more neurotic (or vice versa).Read More
Power is a very hot commodity. With power we can do anything from run a country to break cement blocks. The emotions that underlie power can be varied. Sometimes power (which is an energetic force) is fueled by confidence and purpose, but quite often it is fueled by anger, revenge and resentment.
More often than not power is conferred upon someone by other people who officially or subconsciously project power onto someone. Being powerful typically involves a lot of responsibility and some may avoid or even run away from power in the world some avoid identifying themselves as powerful due to a desire to remain small to avoid punishment or blame or to feed a sense of self which sees itself as weak and disenfranchised.Read More
There are three worlds. No, I don't mean in the alien sci-fi kind of way, and I'm not crazy (okay, I'm a little crazy but that's inconsequential at the moment). I'm referring to the three spheres of reality that interact and overlap the physical reality we typically acknowledge. The fun thing about these worlds is you don't have to drugs to get there (although some have had some pretty interesting experiences using umm...chemical methods to experience these spheres, although I'm not advocating drug use While i'm on the topic stay in school, don't do drugs and only you can prevent forest fires and all that jazz).
Anywhoodle, In many spiritual traditions, complex metaphysical philosophies and even quantum physics there is the notion that there are 3 planes or spheres that categorize existence, all of which house different levels of information and require different forms of "technology" to understand.Read More
In times of unrest it can be helpful to zoom out and look at what is going on through the lens of a holistic system. Not all systems are useful, but there are those that expose and reveal truths at a level we may have intuitively understood but were unable to integrate without the organization of the system itself.
With the impact of this week's government shut down on the minds of many, paired with the multitude of emotions, thoughts, ideologies and opinions that swirl at times when things feel tenuous and uncertain, we sometimes need something to help allay the anxiety of societal disarray.
I'm not here to launch any kind of political diatribe or rant. I do however want to reveal a new way of looking at structures like societies and their governments that can help to understand why they function in a particular way.Read More
"No" is a dirty word. People hate to hear the word no and even more than hating to hear it many people hate to say it. Many of us believe that if we tell people no they will cease liking or respecting us. However, that fear is not totally unfounded. Many people become personally offended when, after a request is made (no matter how seemingly ridiculous) they are told no.
Last night on our walk Aaron said people only like other people because they are doing what they want them to do. I resisted this at first because it sounded unnecessarily cynical but on second thought, I think she's right on a fundamental level. I think what she's really speaking to is the fact that when we enter into relationships with others (on whatever level that relationship is forged) we are really entering into a contract of roles.Read More
I love it when I start blaming someone for something because it's a good indication I've stopped taking care of myself, and I need to take a breath and figure out how I've given away my power. Taking responsibility for ourselves seems like a simple concept in theory, but to actually practice it is a whole other story. We love to blame people, life, situations, God and anything we can get our minds around for well...everything. The ongoing practice of taking responsibility for ourselves and our feelings, thoughts, and actions is really an act of meditation.
It is a very human tendency to immediately look for justification for why we behaved, thought or felt a certain way. Sometimes the excuses are related to the event at hand, for example: "I yelled at my kid because he was annoying me" or "I cheated on my partner because they were ignoring me".Read More
Dreams are tricky. They can run the gamut from the funny and slightly bizarre to the terrifying and bone chilling. People that have an active dream life have always fascinated me. I dream of course, but they are so incredibly mundane they aren't even worth journaling most of the time.
I literally have dreams about folding laundry and cleaning the grout in my bathroom (for real, I cleaned the grout in my sleep two nights ago). I do have the occasional wacky dream (like the time I dreamt that I was 90s teen actor Scott Wolf's agent and I was trying to get him cast in an off-Broadway production of MacBeth) and the standard archetypal subconscious dreams (forgetting to go to a class all semester, walking through a creepy haunted house while being chased by some un-named specter, etc.). I have had a few psychic dreams, (those were fun) and a handful of really meaningful spiritually significant dreams that still stay with me today.
There are different categories or types of dreams so I thought it would be fun and useful to write about a few of the most common.
Nobody wants to suffer. In fact, I think the goal of many people's lives is to stay as far away from suffering as possible. Pain is no fun, because you know...it's pain. When we are in pain we spend most of our energy trying to figure out how to get out of pain.
You put your hand in a fire, it burns, the hand moves. That's lesson two in the "Life 101" handbook (unless you like that type of thing then burn on my friend.) Nonetheless, for most of us if we are suffering, or more appropriately, if we are "in suffering" (because we cannot be suffering) it can be a peaceful to practice "conscious suffering".Read More
Expectations are a funny thing and they crop up everywhere. I've written about expectations before but it is a topic that is worth revisiting. Perhaps for my own catharsis and because someone else might need the reminder too.
We have expectations for most things in our lives. I like to claim I have no expectations, as a cursory defense mechanism against disappointment, but I think for most of us it's relatively impossible not to walk through life without some expectation for how we want events to turn out. I think some expectations are helpful and healthy to some extent. "I expect to be physically safe", or "I expect my partner to love me" are reasonable expectations for human contact. However, I think most expectations are shoulds in sheep's clothing. And we all know what shoulds can do to us.Read More
I teach a couple of college courses, which have been my delight and pleasure over the past couple of years: Men and Masculinity and Queer Theory. Without getting all academic, I'll say they both challenge students (and myself) to rethink what it means to be masculine, feminine, gay, straight, bi, lesbian, male, female and transgendered.
I feel like I've done my job if students walk away with a less static conception of gender and sexuality, which happens more often than not, and while sometimes cognitively upsetting to some students in the beginning ends up being infinitely freeing.
However, most people I encounter on a daily basis (dare I say more men than women) are stuck in rigid gender and sexuality roles that limit the expression of the full range of their energy, not because they choose to be stuck that way, but because culture dictates what is acceptable and what is not.Read More
"I want to find my purpose". Most people at some point in their lives have made this statement (either internally or externally). There's a whole subset of the self-help/career development industry that have used this idea as a marketing strategy (and made a lot of money). But what are we really looking for when we are looking for "our purpose"?
Of course we can talk about the external, role-oriented purpose many of us take in the journey to becoming more self-actualized in the world. But there is a more profound inner purpose in our lives that if pursued can take the anxiety out of searching for something. Understanding our outer purpose can be important, but should not be all consuming, because that is ultimately our secondary purpose. Our inner purpose is awakening, and is primary.Read More