In Pain, Consider Gratitude

You may think I am crazy, and perhaps in some ways I am.

The thought of offering gratitude when you are in pain runs contrary to how we’ve grown up in the world and I was tempted to shy away from this post topic. But, I couldn’t, mostly because that’s where I have been for the last several days.

It’s one of those inexplicable cases where I felt fine one moment and not the next. No obvious precipitating event seemed to lead to my misery.

I simply had progressively worsening pain in my right groin area that made it extremely difficult to move, bend or raise and lower my right leg. As a consequence, I relied almost exclusively on my left side and upper body to carry my weight, causing additional problems.

I’ve had something similar to this happen to me before, but never with as much pain.

I tried to understand why this was happening to me. I recognize this is one of my default settings- needing to know the reason(s) for things in my life. But, I also recognize now how useless pursuing this line of thought is. It doesn’t resolve the problem, takes me away from helpful courses of action and even if I knew exactly how the problem occurred, what benefit would that serve at the moment?

So, I tried to take a step back and accept that something had happened and it was now up to me to choose how to react.

My first thought was to feel a little sorry for myself because I anticipated that the pain was going to be with me for several days, given how sharp and intense it was.

I’ve learned to try to follow my natural reactions, but not get caught up and stuck in them. So, I pushed a little further.

Yes, there was pain, but what else. Was there something hidden that could be revealed? Could I discover any reason(s) to be grateful for this experience?

Now that is a challenging question and one I don’t feel I was completely ready for. And yet, I knew it was important to consider it. So, I asked myself, what gratitude exists here for me?

The first thought that came to me was that there are folks who are available to me to help; my wife, chiropractor, doctor, family, friends, the pharmacy. I wasn’t alone in this.

I got into the spirit of this exercise.

Instead of being angry that I didn’t get my usual 7-8 hours of sleep, I was grateful for the four hours of sleep I did get. I was grateful that I would be able to seek medical help. I was grateful that my back was okay, despite the extra load placed on it, which is a huge thing for me.

I thought about the timing of this event and expressed gratitude that it had happened when it did, rather than during my recent vacations. It would have severely limited my ability to enjoy them fully. But it happened after them and long enough before our next vacation, so I have time to recover.

I continued listing reasons to be grateful and allowed my physical suffering to exist, but not to overwhelm me. I admit this takes a certain amount of commitment and concentration, but the value to me has been extraordinary, not only for this episode, but to carry with me into the future.

This idea may seem too challenging and not one you can easily accept, but had I not opened to the idea, I would not have discovered gratitude’s great power and beauty. I ask only that you consider seeing if it might offer you the same.

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Overloading

When you travel, do you end up bringing the exact right amount of stuff with you or do you under or over pack?

I am guilty of over packing. I do it every time I go somewhere.

It seems silly to me and I end up resolving not to do it again…only to do it again.

One time I took note of all the stuff I didn’t end up needing or using as I returned it to its resting place at my house. I’d calculate that sometimes I brought as much as 50-60% more stuff than I used or needed.

It made me wonder why? Why would I consistently bring so much stuff with me? It didn’t make any logical sense. Wouldn’t one sweatshirt have been sufficient, instead of two? Did I really need extra underwear and socks? And, how about that towel I packed, didn’t the place I was going offer towels for the beach or the pool?

Maybe you don’t ever do this, I don’t know. Maybe you’ve figured out the secret to packing just the right amount. If so, please feel free to share.

Since the answer to my over packing didn’t seem be logical, I wondered, what else could be the reason? Did it stem from some inner sense of comfort I needed, so that I would feel that I would be okay?

I also sensed a level of fear involved and asked myself, what would happen if I didn’t have everything to meet my needs? It did occur to me that I probably could buy whatever the missing item was, but it might not be convenient and it seemed better that I should have it with me to start, right?

That’s when it hit me. The reason wasn’t logical, it was emotional.

I over packed to create a (false) sense of comfort and to ensure that I would be able to feel okay with my surroundings.

And, as with most other experiences, I felt there would be some definite relevance to my life if I explored this a bit deeper.

I wondered, did I over pack in other aspects of living?

The answer turned out to be ‘yes’, and for the very same reason, to feel comfortable emotionally.

But does it work?

No, not really. Mostly I believe because while ‘things’ can create outer comfort, they can’t create inner comfort.

The only thing that can do that is inside of me already. It’s my awareness and knowingness that the entire universe will support me in whatever I choose to do. This goes far beyond both the logical and the emotional and dips directly into the spiritual.

It is not necessary for me to understand all of the dynamics involved. It isn’t necessary for me to be able to explain or prove that this is the truth for me. What is necessary is that I exercise faith and trust that I am loved and cared for and that everything I truly need will be provided.

This is a very big deal.

It may strike a cord with you and find a home. I am grateful if this is the case.

But it may still leave you wanting more. If so, I need to ask you something, what balances and centers you when everything starts to tip over? If it’s something outside of you, it probably doesn’t work all of the time and so, a shift to the inside might help.

Maybe stepping back, closing your eyes, breathing slowly and easily, and opening your heart and asking the divine inside of you to come and share its wisdom with you will bring you peace.

I try to remind myself every time I over pack, either when going on an actual trip or traveling some new pathway in life, that I am loved and cared for by the divine that is always inside of me.

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I am…

Who are you?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I’m pretty sure most people have at one time or another.

Some people tend to rephrase by asking it a different way. They ask, what am I doing here?

There does seem to me to be a connection and answering one may lead you to the answer for the other.

A long time ago I chose to participate in an exercise of self-discovery, where I posed a simple question, “who am I?”

I challenged myself to provide 100 answers to see what would happen.

If you want to try this for yourself, you may want to stop reading now and come back after your list is completed.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do this exercise now and would prefer to live vicariously through me, please feel free to continue reading.

Since it had been years since I’d done this, I decided to repeat the process. I opened a notebook and listed numbers down the left side, starting with 1 and ending at 100, then began writing whatever came to me.

I found that my answers came in spurts. I’d list all of the relationships I could think of; I am a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin, friend… until I ran dry.

Nothing would come immediately, then other answers would jump out, having to do with my interests, talents and skills. Things like; I am a driver, bill payer, artist, writer, speaker, football fan, painter, dishwasher, swimmer, drip castle maker… the list grew considerably.

I’m not saying I’m good at all of the things “I am…”, but, I am them.  A lot of them.

The breadth of my answers surprised me. Hobbies, things I do at church, help I provide my family, things my wife and I do while traveling. A very diverse list began to appear.

Despite the breadth, I was still far short of the one hundred answers I hoped to find. So, I dug deeper and began listing all of the attributes I believe I possess; I am loving, caring, valuable, a dreamer, thinker, conversationalist, reader, sleuth, happy…

Even adding all of my attributes I needed a few more. I thought about all of my spiritual experiences and answers came, like; I am a retreat leader, healer, message giver, website post writer, energy worker…

And what about the obvious, yes…I am human.

Finally, I completed my whole list. It wasn’t without a lot of struggle and not for the ‘faint of heart’ because of the challenges it presented. But, it was a beautiful opportunity to look within and reveal things to myself.

I discovered that “I am…” far more than I initially thought and many of my answers show how deeply I am connected to others in this world. And, it made me want to stay connected. In fact, it made me want to grow and share and be more a part of others’ lives. Not bad for a deceptively simple exercise.

Now for the epilogue.

If you are super adventurous and want to really go deep, try turning the page in your notebook and numbering from 1 to 100 and do it all again, ** without repeating any prior answer**.

“I am…attempting to complete this”. If you choose to do the same, I’d love to hear what you discover.

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Was Buddha Worried About His Weight?

One day I was wondering about all of the diets there are around, so I decided to investigate a little. A quick search of the internet produced thirty-nine diets, identifying their strong and weak points.

It was mind boggling.

How could anyone ever hope to understand all of the differences between them and conclude which would be the best to try, if in fact, you wanted to try one at all?

The specifics of each diet change depending on the emphasis of the plan. Many diets support the idea of increasing fruit, vegetables, fish and plant-based foods. Others capitalize on certain foods groups to counter physical conditions like, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardio concerns or to improve mental functioning. In all the cases I read about, nutrition and safety play a major role, but there seems to be a significant difference of opinion, depending on the expert who is providing the information.

Some diets are notoriously difficult to follow, while others make it too challenging to understand the differences between good and bad food items or some other key components.

In many cases there are supporting statements made to attempt to convince a potential dieter of the values or reasons for the individual plans. For instance, some report that the Paleo Diet says, “that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t either.”

It wasn’t until my mid 60’s that I felt the need for a diet. A gradual increase in my weight each year suggested I would be in trouble if I didn’t make some immediate changes.

So, off I went to Weight Watchers.

Their program stresses adherence to certain point goals (each food is assigned a point value) and highly recommends attendance at weekly meetings, to monitor weight and participate in conversations with other members, guided by an instructor.

I did, in fact, reach my goal and have been mostly successful in maintaining it, within a reasonable range.

What all of the instructors say is, that to be truly successful, you have to change your mind-set about your relationship with food. Merely altering what you eat for a short time, even though it might produce some results, will fail in the long run.

I believe they are correct.

I believe there is a lot more involved that allows a person to achieve their weight goals. Or, for that matter, any goals they might have.

This is where Buddha comes in.

Have you ever seen a picture of Buddha with a large belly? I bet you have. Do you think Buddha spent any time concerned about his weight? I doubt it.

Bear in mind here (BIG DISCLAIMER), I am not suggesting or recommending that you ignore the sound advice from your health professionals regarding any diet ideas they have, especially, if you have an obvious health concern.

What I do want to share is a thought about our ‘beliefs’, especially in relation to what we experience in life.

Considering all dieters, could the difference between those who are successful and those who are not, be their belief about the outcome they would experience, rather than the particular diet they were on?

If you substituted a different concept for dieting (academic, career, relationship, finances…), would it work the same way, meaning your outcome would be directly related to your belief about your outcome, rather than one of the individual steps you took?

It certainly feels to me like an important idea to consider, mostly because it alters the dynamic, shifting it from a conceptual form to one of belief, particularly if the belief is deep seated.

This idea is creating a shift in my mind-set about my food intake and maintaining my weight. What if I had a strong belief that it is not so much about what I eat, as it is about what I believe about what I eat?

That’s something I think Buddha would have something to say about.

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Dream Big

One day I decided to go for a walk. What I thought of as a very long walk. My wife, Maureen, drove me to a town quite a distance from our house, kissed me and said goodbye. I had nothing with me, other than what I was wearing. Several hours and sixteen miles later I finally arrived home. I felt exhilarated that I could walk so far and happy for the up close and personal view I’d given myself.

Ordinarily I drove everywhere. I realized that I missed a lot by zooming by, with little time to glance at the scenery or connect with the little things along the way.

Sometimes my life feels this way too.

I’ve discovered that I am not the only one who likes to walk. My friend, Sketch (Mike Wurman), who created the magnificent cover design and interior illustrations for my book, talking with (god), decide he wanted to go for a walk too.

His version of a walk was to trek the entire Appalachian Trail, all 2,190 miles. He broke it up into four sections, rather than doing it all at one time, which doesn’t tarnish the accomplishment at all to me. I think it is a spectacular achievement.

He told me it was a wonderful experience, filled with so many events, emotions, new friends and worn out sneakers. I know it must have been challenging in many ways and I wonder about all of the opportunities there must have been to quit. But he didn’t. He finished, and stared out at the world from the top of Mt. Katahdin in central Maine, the journeys end. I wish I’d been there with him.

There are two other people I’d like to mention.

Before I do, I’d ask you to bring to mind some experience or project or dream you have that seems too incredible to contemplate. You know the ones I mean. The big, big, big ideas that you think would be major life events. I’ll give you a minute. Okay, keep your idea in mind.

A woman named Mildred Lisette Norman decide at age 45 that she wanted to make a change to her life. She wanted to dedicate it to a cause, one that rested deeply in her heart…peace. She set out and became the first woman to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. She liked walking so much that for the next 28 years she crisscrossed the united State seven times. She said in 1964 that she stopped counting the number of miles she walked at 20,000. Some have tried to estimate her actual total based on her trips and have suggested it is likely to be over 43,000 miles.

This astounds me, especially when you consider that all she brought with her was a comb, a folding toothbrush, a ball point pen and her message of peace. She relied entirely on the kindness of strangers. Can you imagine? No extra clothes, no food, no medicine, nothing to protect herself from the rain or the wind or snow. It boggles my mind.

Everywhere she went she spoke about peace. The inner kind and the outer kind. Part of her message was, “when enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war.”

And then there is Angela Maxwell, who on May 2, 2014 set out to walk around the world, ALONE. She sold or gave away most of her possessions and piled what was left onto a rolling cart that she either pushed or pulled for six and a half years and over 20,000 miles. She traveled to four continents and a handful of islands, building relationships and sharing herself with the world.

Angela says her goal was never about the pace of her travels, but rather the faces she met along the way. She seemed to know that it was important to slow down and pay attention and to give more than you receive along the way. She has dedicated a portion of the funds she receives from donors to support her organization, Her Future Coalition, which is devoted to creating a safe haven for survivors of gender violence and human trafficking.

Big dreams. I’d say so. But what makes them both real and spectacular to me is that they each had a purpose, a drive, and a desire to share with the world. I too want to share with the world.

And, I hope that all of your big dreams come true.

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Different Angles

Every so often Maureen and I have our two local grandchildren come for a sleep over. It’s a grand affair and we have tons of fun. My six-year-old grandson, Evan, and I are the early risers.

Recently he and his sister, Kirsten, were here for the weekend, arriving Saturday afternoon. The next morning, I got up and quietly went upstairs to my office and began writing. After a few minutes I heard his feet on the stairs and watched as he pushed the door open and came over to me. He sat in my lap and we surveyed my office walls, which are filled with some of my most treasured memories. He had lots of questions, as I suspected he would.

I pointed to a picture straight in front of us and asked if he knew who was in it. He didn’t, so I told him that it was his mom when she was about four-years-old.

We swiveled in the chair and I asked if he knew who drew the sequence of about five pictures I aimed a finger at. He thought for a minute, but wasn’t sure. I told him they were done by his mom. He commented, “those are really good!”

I love those pictures and the beautiful child who drew them. I am so grateful for the love I share with her and now with her children as well.

When I glanced again at her pictures, it occurred to me that we all see things from a different vantage point. We somehow evaluate with different criteria and assess, perhaps, according to our own skill level. And, we’re impressed or not, often based on comparisons.

It made me realize that whenever we use comparisons, we open ourselves and create many opportunities for distress and dissatisfaction, rather than just appreciating something as it is.

This isn’t the only way of seeing things. Instead of using a comparison, with our own or others ‘work’, we sometimes set up an ‘ideal’, then judge according to it. We allow ‘experts’ in the field to establish standards or norms and accept these as the rule. Think, ‘standardized tests’ for one.

I wonder what other ways there are. Perhaps there are different angles we could take. I thought it might be worth some of my time to consider.

One could be where ‘no ideal’ is set and where an individual would be encouraged to pursue their own personal development.

As it relates to schooling, there is such a process, known as the Montessori method. It leans on the principles of self-directed activities, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Children make their own creative choices in their learning and have highly trained teachers to help guide them.

Imagine how good that must feel to a child, to have some say about the direction their education and their life takes.

I wonder how children in this program do, once they are out in the world. Are they better prepared or are they hampered because they haven’t had to conform to strict rules and regulations?

When I was in college I was able to participate in an experimental program called, The Living Learning Center. There were freshmen through seniors and we all lived in the same dorm and took a set of common classes together. We had several professors who were dedicated to our program and stayed with us the entire year. It was fantastic and as a senior, I learned more during that year than I did during my previous three. I’ve always been grateful for this experience and recognize that many of my ideas and sense of freedom came from this year in my life.

I find that taking a broad approach and looking for different angles has opened my world and made for a much happier life.

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Somehow Everything Serves Me

Does this seem like a radical statement and unlikely to be true? Is it enough to shy away from even reading this post or is there a chance that you hope that it is true and want to know more?

For the majority of my life I would have said ‘yes’, it is a radical statement and ‘yes’, it’s unlikely to be true. I would have followed that up with answering that ‘yes’, it is enough to make me move on and ‘no’, I don’t want to know any more. I know enough already.

I felt it would take a major shift to change my outlook, one I did not believe was possible.

I’d suffered numerous outcomes in my life that I could broadly describe as ‘bad or negative’. Things had happened that hurt me and distanced me from others. I’d fallen and failed and frozen in place and thought to myself, what good can ever come from ‘this’, whatever ‘this’ was.

Perhaps you’ve experienced your own challenges, pain, frustration and resentments in your life. Many are probably the ‘fault’ of others or fall loosely into the category, ‘it is what it is’. Some problems may be the result of actions you’ve taken or not taken. Others are because of words exchanged, sometimes in the heat of the moment.

When I first considered the statement that, ‘somehow everything serves me’, I wondered, how could this be true? How could something so painful or which felt so wrong, ever offer me any benefit or value?

I discovered that asking this question out loud or thinking it inside of me was a part of the wall that separated me from an answer. Asking this implies, at least to some extent, that I don’t believe that everything could possibly serve me. And, if I already held that opinion, there was no room for any benefit or value to show itself.

There was another hurdle to jump over.

What did the statement mean to me when it said, ‘serves me?’ Did that mean that there should be some obvious connection I could see that linked a ‘negative’ experience with an eventual ‘positive’ result? And, how exactly would I be ‘served’? Would I even notice?

I find I learn best when I have an example to follow. I promised myself to remain open to the idea that it could be possible that somehow everything serves me. I promised to be observant, during the search and afterward, in watching for the benefit or value as it was brought my way.

I felt it would be a good idea to choose something big as my example. Something with a little meat on it. It turns out that wasn’t all that difficult.

I lost my job. By lost, I mean that it was taken away from me. One day I had it and the next day I didn’t. I’ve read that this rates as the #5 most stressful experience in life and I can see why. It changes everything; financial, emotional, social, intellectual, physical, you name it.

I confess my initial reaction was one of being totally overwhelmed, and I believe that tears were involved. There was only the very smallest part of me that held out any hope that this might ‘serve me’.

I came to realize that it’s possible to stand too close to a situation and that you have to take a few steps backward to be able to see clearly.

As the days went by, I kept my promise to remain open. I allowed myself to grieve and release the heavy weight of my emotions then move on with a watchful eye. I found that I could stand far enough away and make decisions that would help move me forward. I took a critical look at our finances and made sweeping changes. I opened to receive an offer for a new job, even though it wasn’t a part of my original plan. I made concessions and tried to rewrite my story.

Months passed and there they were, sitting right in front of me. A whole host of benefits. I had a new job which offered me the chance for achievable results. I had dramatically reduced my work stress level and responsibilities. I had the chance to revise our finances, which set us up for a better future forecast. And best of all, I found a way to retire years before I would have, had I stayed at my old job. This allowed me to spend more time with Maureen and to share in the radiance of babysitting our granddaughter, and then our grandson.

I’ve discovered that, no matter what example I choose, the outcome is the same. I am served by everything that happens to me in my life. This doesn’t mean that everything is rosy and bright. It’s work, most of the time. But, it is work with a huge payoff, far greater than I’d ever thought possible.

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Claiming Your Best Life

I’m not sure how you feel about mind opening ideas, but I have one for you. Actually, it’s not mine. I’m just the one passing it along to you.

It came from Lia (see below if you are new to this website for an explanation of who Lia is).

We were having a conversation and I was pushing for deeper insight. Really pushing. I told her that I wanted to know everything there was to know. I wanted to wake up and fully remember. I wanted to believe that we humans are really spiritual beings with unlimited abilities. I do believe that.

I asked Lia how I could experience my best possible life. Her short answer was, “claim it.”

I have to admit this type of answer has always been difficult for me to hear. It makes it seem simple or merely a case of deciding between available options. But it is not that simple for me, mostly because there are so many things I don’t know or understand. I don’t even know what all of the options are, so how can I choose the right ones?

Lia is very patient with me. Always. It’s one of the many things I love about her.

I’m so dense sometimes, but I keep trying, so I asked for more of an explanation.

Lia told me that there are an infinite number of lives that already exist and have always existed. They are fully formed and available for whoever chooses them. She said that no matter what sort of life we desire, the one we ask for is always open to us. Always available for us to claim as our own.

I needed a few minutes to try to absorb this.

I admit that I was confused, so I asked for clarification. Was she really saying that I could live whatever life I truly wanted and live it without any limitations? And, what about the life I was already living? Was she saying that I didn’t need to spend time fixing it and correcting all of the things I felt were wrong with it, before I could live ‘my best life’?

Lia smiled at me and went on to say that, of course, I could experience any life I desired. All I had to do was choose it as my own. She said that since the life I wanted to live already existed, I merely laid claim to it.

Lia said I could close my eyes and imagine what the life I wanted looked like and bring it into focus and see it as my truth. And to feel it as my truth. She told me that the more often I did this, the easier it would be for that life to appear. Lia told me this is how all lives can change.

I was stunned. Did this mean that I could choose to release all of the life stories I have been told? And, did this mean that I could hit the reset button and let go off trying so hard to fix all the things I felt were wrong with me?

Lia said, yes, I could release all of what no longer served me and claim my best life, for the rest of my life. What beautiful news.

Lia is a feminine part of (god) that I am connected with and her name stands for Love In Action. She and I are inseparable and she often comes to share (god’s) wisdom and love with me.

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Play-Doh

Play-Doh, what a delightful material. Talk about fun!

I hope that everyone reading this post has had an opportunity to create with this soft, colorful, mold-able compound. If not, I strongly suggest you buy a few containers and discover the joy for yourself. You can buy small plastic cans for fifty cent a piece. It’s an incredible deal when you think about it. Of course, there’s no price tag for pure joy.

I remember playing with it as a child. And, it just so happens that it was marketed in the mid 1950’s, so Play-Doh and I grew up together. I loved it from the start, even though the selection was pretty basic, unlike today’s explosion of colors.

Not only was it fun to mold, it smelled great too. I couldn’t wait to open the container and get that first whiff…mmmm. And I confess, yes, I’ve eaten my share. Not whole cans mind you, but a nibble here and there. It’s very salty, in case you wanted to know.

To me, the ideal is to enjoy Play-Doh with children. Watching them is a magical experience. It’s also an opportunity to learn about the world.

Think about it for a minute.

You open up a few containers, take out the dough and then what?

Here’s what…you create something out of nothing. Of course, you can copy something you’ve seen but you can also allow your imagination to run wild. It’s all up to you.

What a divine experience, to be a creator. Free of any rules or restrictions. Well, maybe one restriction. Don’t let it fall on the floor and get mashed into the rug. It’s super hard to get out and homeowners are funny about things like that, unless it’s your home and you don’t care, then you’re free again.

I wonder.

Is our life like play-doh? Is it fully moldable? Is it a little bit salty and a little bit sweet? And, are we truly the creators of our own experiences here?

To me, a lot rides on our answers to these simple questions.

What’s really at stake here?

When I watch children create with play-doh, they fully engage in the experience. They often choose lots of colors, so their creation is more beautiful. They aren’t afraid to mix and match and smash and start over again. They walk away for a snack, then come back. They talk about their life, or at least bits and pieces of it and some of their energy gets infused into what they create. They seem to understand that joy is a part of the process, not only the end result.

Every one of these things inspires me to see my life from a different angle. I don’t always have to be in a rush. I can enjoy the moment. I can explore. I can release pursuing life as a goal. I can open to an inner freedom. And I can know a truth, that it’s okay to start over, because there’s always more play-doh.

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More Heaven

Imagine that you are a being of light. You have form, but no tangible substance. And as light, you flow.

Imagine that you know everything there is to be known. For you, there are no unanswerable questions. You are pure awareness, pure consciousness.

You are part of the ocean of bliss. It is your home and you call it, heaven.

I was a part of this bliss. I am still a part of this.

This matters to me because the awareness of this represents an unbreakable promise, that I will return home, after my earth life is complete. There is immense freedom in this assurance.

There was a moment in time where I chose to shift my awareness and decided to live a life of a spiritual being, as a human being.

There was a ceremony for me in heaven. A passage. A losing and a gaining.

I chose to experience the ‘great forgetting’, where I released my awareness of all things, so that I could live without knowing the answers to all of my questions. I chose to shift my perspective so that I could create and experience every part of my human life with newness. And I accepted the gift of free will, the most precious of all gifts.

With free will, there are no requirements or obligations upon me. This is an incredibly beautiful thing, when I wholly accept and embrace it.

This matters to me because I am able to choose my own direction without restrictions, regardless of what my culture teaches. I can consciously choose to correct whatever I see or feel are my mistakes, not because I have to, but because I want to. Everything is open to me.

With the gaining, there was also a giving, because in this transition I chose to believe in separation. I chose to leave behind the truth, that I am part of the one, the whole, the holy.

I chose to accept what my culture taught me, that I have missing pieces and that I should live my life searching for them.

I accepted that (god) was not personally knowable or touchable and that my only way to the truth was through someone else’s voice.

And I did not see that fear was my beautiful messenger.

I did not realize that all of what happened to me was a part of my plan, so that I could create and experience anything I desired.

Understanding this, matters to me because I can wake up and abandon this illusion if I choose. I can give up my search for any missing pieces, in favor of accepting the truth. The truth that I am already whole. And I can live this human life, knowing that (god) lives within me, in each and every moment, and that when my human life is complete, I will be reunited with bliss and admitted to heaven.

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