Friday, October 3

Houston…we have a problem.

Our world is falling apart. Or rather, our people are falling apart. It’s kind of funny if you think about it; in the 50’s, all the Sci-Fi books pointed towards the future and all they wanted was a perfect little Utopia. A place with no war, disease, hunger, nothing. Of course, twisted little creatures that we are, we even fucked it up in print. :-)

Just imagine what those authors would think of our world today. They would probably die from the shock. But it’s not the shock of the world that would do them in. It’s the people that walk the Earth that would kill them.

See, deep down, they all seemed to believe that Mankind would become better in the future. It’s sad that they were SO mistaken.

We have become a people consumed by fear. Fear of loss, of violence, pain, the dark, snakes, spiders, intimacy, and even, or rather especially, each other.

Mankind is the top of the food chain! So how is it that the “lower” animal species live life better than we do?

Did you know that whales mate for life? No 50+% divorce rate for them.
Or that a mother duck will pretend to be hurt to lure a predator away so her babies can escape? That’s a good parent!

I think we suck so bad at life because we allow ourselves to be ruled and dominated by fear. And do you know what EVERYONE’S biggest fear is?

Not being in control of their own life.

We constantly do ridiculous things to prove that we are in control, that we are in charge. Hell, we kill each other to prove it.

Well, I’m going to burst your bubble, and probably scare the shit out of you. :-)


Don’t believe me? Let’s start simple. :-)

OK…sitting right there, stop breathing. Or stop your stomach from digesting, or your cells from aging. Better yet…stop gravity from pulling you downwards. Just for a moment. (Email me immediately if you can achieve this one!)

Let’s get a bit more complex now. Because I can hear what you’re thinking…What about MY choices??

You make choices every day. Thousands of them. In fact, some choices are BECAUSE of other choices. That’s not control. Let’s take an easy one. The choice to eat. There is a table, full of your favorite foods, in front of you. Do you choose to eat it?

Let’s choose no. :-) Behind that choice is probably a hundred different reasons, thoughts, desires, memories, hurts, and what not. That doesn’t sound like YOU are freely in control of that choice. :-)

Let’s say YES! Again, the choice is predicated upon hundreds of different reasons, thoughts, memories, bodily urges, etc. And again, it doesn’t sound like YOU’S in control.

Control of anything is an illusion, a sham, a great human wish to be Lord God and Master. And it is THE source of our biggest fear and greatest frustration.

So what CAN we do?

“Let go!” – Obi wan Kenobi – “Star Wars”

That’s it. Let go. Come to terms with this and simply let it go. Stop trying to force the world and the people in it to conform to YOUR wishes. Let it go. Accept it as it is and live here and now, the way things actually are.

It seems that the more you fight against this…the harder things become. You know…there is a reason that some types of trees are able to withstand furious hurricanes and tornados. You know why? Because they don’t try to withstand and fight the fury. They bend and flow and go with it, until it’s spent. Then they stand up again and enjoy the sunshine.

I think that’s a key for us to learn in this constant struggle for control. A tree doesn’t fight for control…it just is. It doesn’t concern itself with what the neighbors are doing, or anything else.

In the words of the ancient Zen masters…”Be like tree!” :-)

We make our world complicated and hard enough as it is. Stop fighting everyone and everything for a control that you will NEVER really have. Let’s all try to make life simpler…rather than more complex. Shall we?

Start by giving up what you THINK you are in control of. It’ll be scary and hard…but don’t worry. I’ll be right here with you, smiling as you succeed. :-)

Thursday, October 2

Absolute Vulnerability…

For Sleeping Beauty…

Do you think you can cope?
You figured me out
That I'm lost and I'm hopeless
I’m bleedin’ and broken
Though I've never spoken
I’ve come undone
- Matchbox Twenty “Mad Season”

Do you ever feel that way? Have you ever? If you don’t raise your hand, you are lying. :-)

We live in a world that is chock full of violence, pain, anger, sadness, injustice, hypocrisy, and lies. Is it any wonder we start to feel broken and hopeless? Sometimes, we even get to feeling like it’s just too much. That we won’t be able to take one more blow and we can’t begin to see a way out.

We build a fortress for ourselves and hide within the darkest, safest spot and decide to just exist. We tell our hearts that this is the best plan and convince ourselves that we are “survivors” Meanwhile; everything in life continues to bury us and crush us under its immense weight. “Survivors”? Who are we kidding?

This sound like a familiar story? It should, odds are…you’re living it. I could continue on, but why? You know how the story is going.

So what happens when you find a bit of life or wisdom that shakes the walls of your fortress? What happens when a “Heart Truth”, not a World Truth, comes knocking on your front door? What do we do?

Simple…we run like Hell! :-)

We are SO ingrained in the World Truths that they have become the only truths we want to hear. They are as much a part of ourselves as your eye color. They have become safe, familiar, and in their own way, comforting. Heart Truths? They scare the crap out of us and the easiest choice is to run from it. Because if we faced the Heart Truths, then the fortress we so carefully built will come tumbling down and the safety we thought we had will be revealed to be a complete sham.

So what IS a Heart Truth?

It is a truth about life that you feel the rightness of in your heart. It’s not something that will be shouted from the TV, or pasted all over billboards, or made famous by Nike. It’s something that doesn’t need any of that, because in reality, your Heart already knows it.

Let me give you some examples…

• No matter where you are right now, no matter how you may feel; you are not alone. There is always at least one person there for you, if you let them.
• Love takes many forms, but the simplest and purest expression of it is acceptance.
• YOU will ALWAYS be “worth it”!
• Goldfish are better than dogs…less maintenance and a shorter term of commitment.

Well. OK…maybe not that last one. :-)

So, imagine with me for a bit…Someone coming into your life and sharing Heart Truths with you. Sharing them gently and peacefully. Showing you that loving acceptance. Simple happy to just “be” with you. What do you think your reaction will be? Confusion, fear, sadness, maybe an attempt to run, and most definitely tears as your Heart hears the things it’s always known, and the towering fortress of Solitude will shake and begin to tumble.

Will you keep walking on this path that leads into the unknown, slowly pulling down the fortress brick by brick, and risking being open and vulnerable in a world where being so is considered crazy? Will you come out of hiding into the sunshine, let your Heart breathe, and discover the “real” rules of this life?

OR will you tell yourself that it’s all just a load of horseshit and the world doesn’t really work that way then build the fortress even higher?

A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He's about absolute vulnerability – Soc. “Peaceful Warrior”

Honestly, the choice is yours. Locked up safe and sound in the dark or flying free and soaring in the beautiful sunshine?

But what about the risks??!! Ah yes…we always want to consider the risks.

Yes. There are risks in living your life by Heart Truths, and yes, sometimes you will get hurt. But that’s what life is…risks. Risk of failure. Risk of success. Risk of rejection. And when you start living from your Heart, based on Heart Truths, you WILL find a joy and happiness that can come from nowhere else. It will fill you and lift you up. You will soar higher than the eagles.

I know it’s scary…but that’s OK. Take my hand and know that you’re not alone. I will always be here.

Wednesday, October 1

On the Road again…

For my Mom. :-)

We are all on a journey, even if you think you’re just sitting still, even for a moment. Our lives progress. There is NO stopping of time, or really, lengthening of days. We walk along our various paths and live our allotted number of days, until OUR journey comes to an end.

But what if…you’re on the wrong path? What if the path that you’re walking down is one that will lead you through a lot of hurt and pain and suffering? Does that mean it’s the WRONG path?

Uh oh…wait…I really didn’t mean to get that deep today. :-)

Oh well…let’s just jump on in, shall we?

The wrong path…how in the world would we ever be able to know the wrong path? I’ve had several discussions with friends about right and wrong and our particular perceptions of them. See…we LOVE to be the ones to determine right and wrong. It’s one of the first things we do in any situation or with any person. WE decide right or wrong.

If you have someone come up to you and tell you that so-and-so just did such-and-such…you’re going to decide in your head whether so-and-so was right or wrong doing such-and-such. Right?

But really…who are YOU to be deciding right or wrong? Especially when it comes to right and wrong of another person. Sure, there are the world’s “accepted” definitions of right and wrong

And what ARE those? Oh, Mr. Webster!!! Come give this one a try. :-)

According to Webster, RIGHT is being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper and conforming to facts or truth. Wow….he did a good job on that one. Let’s see about…

WRONG is an injurious, unfair, or unjust act : action or conduct inflicting harm without due provocation or just cause and something wrong, immoral, or unethical ; especially : principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law. Ahh…there’s good ol’ Webster back again. :-)

So…read them again with me, right and wrong. Sounds like they are, well, VERY subjective terms. We use these terms on an almost daily and even hourly basis. They assist in defining our world and we use them to bring order to our world. Don’t we?

But…whose specific definition of right and wrong are we going to use? Who gets to decide whether or not you are right or wrong? Ahh…that’s a big question isn’t it? Guess what…I’m not gonna answer that one today. :-)

I want to get back to the path you’re walking on. How can YOU decide if it’s the RIGHT path or the WRONG path? And really…do you think that YOU can decide that? Isn’t it usually too late by the time we figure out we are ACTUALLY on a wrong path?

So…is it pointless? Can we really expect to see into our own futures and make that judgment?

How about a different, yet similar, thought to ponder on?

What if…the journey that is your life and the paths that you find yourself on…are exactly the ones you’re supposed to be on at that particular time and that particular place? What if your journey is designed to CREATE the final product of you and that every step you take is an ESSENTIAL part of that process?

At that point…is there really a WRONG path? ;-)

Let me leave you with this…live your life, walk your path, and keep trying to make the next right choice. Let your heart be your guide in that. It’s smarter than you think.

On the road again…..Can’t wait to get back on that road again… - some bad country singer. :-)

Tuesday, September 30

Take out the Trash…

What thoughts and feeling fill you up every day? How full is your trash bin? That is…how full is your head with crap that you don’t need right now?

How about this question…where are you living right now, right this moment? Are you here? Or maybe in the past…or how about the future? Or are you lost somewhere else completely?

And if you’re not right here, right now, what good are you doing yourself?

We don’t have any other time than right now. All we will EVER have is this one moment in which to decide and act. And yet, we persist in living our precious time and moments reliving the past and dreaming of the future. WHAT AN ABSOLUTE WASTE!

Ah, but I can hear you muttering already. We NEED to remember the past and not repeat it. What about those that hurt you? Are you saying we should forget that? And what about our dreams?! You just talked about how important they are for us! WTF! :-)

Firstly…settled down! We are talking about different things here. Trust me.

Right here, right now
There is no other place I want to be – Jesus Jones “Right Here, Right Now”

You’re right, actually. We CAN’T forget the past. However, we also CAN’T live in it and let it dominate our lives or drag us to a standstill where we can’t even move. The same goes for any and all hurts you have suffered. And even, the happy times and pleasures you’ve had too. Living in the past does NOTHING but keep us from being present in our lives.

So what about dreams and hopes and all that jazz? Sure, it’s great to have dreams and hopes and they are VERY important to every person’s life. But again…YOU CAN’T LIVE THERE! Lots of people want to live there. People LOVE to talk only about their dreams and how “Some day…” Living in the future does NOTHING but keep us from being present in our lives.

Sound familiar? :-)

Take out the Trash, Dan. The trash is anything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters. This moment. Here. Now. – Soc. “Peaceful Warrior”

We are a race that can live in only one place. Right now. No matter how bad you want…you CANNOT affect the past in any way. Nor can you really effect the future…it’s not happened yet. The only thing you CAN affect is now and what you do with the moment.

It IS going to be a challenge to live simply in the moment. We are wired and conditioned by the world to live anywhere BUT this moment. We have every distraction that you can think of and all the advice you can choke a horse with that encourages us to not be present in our lives.

So let it all go…just for this moment. Let go the fear, the anger, the hate, the worry, the tension, the dreams, the hopes, the past, the hurts, the love, the wants, the needs, and anything else that might be cluttering up your mind and excluding you from THIS moment. See what happens when there is nothing but you. Feel everything in the world around you. LIFE is happening in this moment. Look around and find it, in all its various forms.

Can you see a little bit of what you’ve been missing? Now watch what happens, just sit here for a while with me. You’re filling up again, aren’t you? It took such a great amount of work to get you empty for just that one single brief moment, that as soon as you stop, you’re almost back to full immediately. But what if you could LIVE every second of every day like that? Purely in the moment that is given you. Every second would become miraculous.

There are no ordinary moments. – Dan Millman “Peaceful Warrior”

When you live in the moment, you can find yourself. You will find that you live a momentous life. :-) You can be free of the dragging weight of the chains of the past, be able to look towards the future and make the most out of every moment you have. Moments are powerful .Moments change lives. Think about it…it only takes a moment for the lives of a family to be torn apart by a drunken driver. It only takes a moment to give freely and completely the love you have inside to another. Smiles make moments, as do tears. It all comes down to choices…so make the most of the choices you have…right now, in this YOUR moment.

Soc: Where are you?
Dan: Here.
Soc: What time is it?
Dan: Now.
Soc: What are you?
Dan: This moment.

Monday, September 29

Give a little bit…

We only have a short time here in which to really make a difference. Sure, with medical science we have extended our average lifespan to upwards of 80-90 years. But is that REALLY a long time? No. It’s not.

And out of those 80 years, at least 20 of them are spent in schooling and growing and learning, just to be ready to face life on your own two feet. OK, maybe for most of us that number should be a bit higher. But let’s just go with 20, k?

And in all honesty, the last 15 or so years have us in a very diminished state where our effectiveness for change is very reduced. Not saying that it’s not there…it’s just reduced. :-)

So, that leaves us with what? 40 years or so to make a difference in this world? Still think that’s a lot of time?

And what do MOST of us do with those 40 years? We scramble and rush and fight and claw to get to the top of some imaginary mountain and call down all the gold and riches from the heavens we can. Right? Yup. We chase the all mighty dollar and try to get as much STUFF as we can.

But really…what does that leave us with? A mountain of stuff? And an equally high mountain of debt? Hey…that’s the American way, right? :-)

I want to propose something to you today. A new way of living…or rather, an old way that most of us have forgotten.

Instead of burning ourselves out chasing the ever elusive dollar, try to spend your time chasing the hearts of other people. I’m not talking about chasing all the girls (or guys) that you can see. As fun as that may be…that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about is touching another person’s life and doing it for the better. We all have the capacity to love one another, honestly we do. But some very few of us actually DO it. We would rather spend our time caught up in all the shit that is this world. We watch others in need, or suffering, or maybe we don’t even see them at all…and we don’t do a damn thing. We sit back in our comfortable little life and tell ourselves that it’s not our problem. We make all the excuses we possibly can. And we let them pass right on by.

Well guess what? It IS our problem! Small kindnesses that didn’t have to be given are the most precious gifts you can ever give to someone. And you never know…you just might change someone’s life.

Don’t believe me? Check out a little story…then get off your ass and start living FOR something great. :-)

One day, when I was a freshman in high school. I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. Her name was Hannah. It looked like she was carrying all of her books. I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all her books on a Friday? She must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward her. They ran at her, knocking all her books out of her arms and tripping her so she landed in the dirt. Her glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from her. She looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in her eyes.

My heart went out to her. So, I jogged over to her and as she crawled around looking for her glasses, and I saw a tear in her eye. As I handed her her glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.’

She looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!' There was a big smile on her face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped her pick up her books, and asked her where she lived. As it turned out, she lived near me.

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of her books. She turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked her if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. She said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Hannah, the more I liked her, and my friends thought the same of her.

Monday morning came, and there was Hannah with the huge stack of books again. I stopped her and said, 'Girl, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! She just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Hannah and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Hannah decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. She was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Hannah was valedictorian of our class. I teased her all the time about being a nerd. She had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak Graduation day, I saw Hannah. She looked great. She was one of those people who really found themselves during high school. She filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

She had more dates than I had and all the guys loved her. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that she was nervous about her speech. So, I patted her on the back and said, 'Hey, you'll be great!'

She looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. 'Thanks,' she said.

As she started her speech, she cleared her throat, 'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.'

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as she told the story of the first day we met. She had planned to kill herself over the weekend. She talked of how she had cleaned out her locker so her Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying her stuff home. She looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. 'Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this beautiful, popular girl told us all about her weakest moment.

I saw her Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.

Not until that moment did I realize its depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse.