10 ways to make the new year rock

Everyone is hitting you with new years resolutions right now. I started thinking about what things are going well in my world, and what things I would like to improve. So here’s my own list… some of which I already do. Some I do okay. For some, I am miserably failing! Onwards and upwards, right?

Walk 30 minutes every morning. You’ve probably heard this one million times from one million sources. There’s a reason why walking first thing in the morning, before breakfast, gets recommended so many times. It does a lot for you physically, mentally and spiritually. Before the worries of the day can take over, a brisk walk firs thing works off glucose out of your system so your insulin hormones works better, which keeps your weight down.

It connects you with the natural world before you go into the manufactured world of adult worries, it bridges that time between sleep and awake so that your higher self can speak to you more clearly. I’ve been doing this for 2 years, and it has fundamentally changed my life. My body is happier, my dog is happier, and I am spiritually much happier and clearer. By the time I get to working, I am in a much more focused and clearer state of mind. It is now such a habit that if I miss a day, I feel like the entire day is off somehow.

Make lists. All sorts of lists. Make a list of things that worry you. Make a list of things that inspire you. Make a list of cool ideas. Make a list of the people who lift you up and make you feel good. Make a list of the things that you want to do before you die. Write it all down. When you write it down, you can let go of that anxiety to remember. It creates a placeholder for worries that you can dispatch quickly (or burn!), and it creates a list of things you can focus on when time allows. It also creates freedom from having to remember. When a worry comes up, you can remind yourself that you wrote that down and it will get done when the time is right.

Use technology for good. There’s been a lot written about how the internet is bad for you, Facebook depresses you, Twitter overwhelms you. The internet – or television – or anything else, is exactly what you make of it. Sometimes it is awesome and great, sometimes it makes you feel inferior or defeated.

Here’s a trick to make Facebook make you feel good. All of those people you went to high school, college, or even grade school with are extensions of yourself. Bless them, even the ones that annoy you. They ARE you. They may be your shadow self, but if they are in your awareness, then blessing them blesses you. Hide the people who make you feel bad. Seek out people who inspire you and make you feel good. (Elon Musk makes me feel good about the future of our world. He inspires me to think big.) Use this amazing tool consciously, deliberately, to connect with things that expand your life in a positive way.

Laugh more. Make others laugh more. Find hilarious things. Watch funny videos. Make a commitment to laugh at least 3 times a day. If you fail, roll over that commitment so that you have to laugh 6 times the next day. Life is hilarious. When something annoying happens, think of how to make it funny. Make it a priority! Think of how much money good comedians make. They create immense value in the world. They awaken us to the joy and exuberance that we really are! Let that out of you as much as you can. If it’s not flowing, then cry. Sadness and happiness are both behind the wall we keep up in order to function in life. When we let our sadness express itself, laughter can more easily express itself, too.

Make the mundane miraculous. Imagine how miraculous a mundane activity can be. For example, filling up the water decanter to pour water into the coffee maker. Some mornings, I wish the coffee would just make itself. But HOLY COW, I have clean and pure running water in my HOUSE. Most of human history has not had this. I have the most delicious coffee beans shipped from Africa, roasted by really cool people here in Shasta, and I enjoy this ambrosia every day. That’s a miracle, really.

The fact you’re reading this whenever and wherever you are… across the illusion of time and space. Miracle. You’ve heard that Einstein quote about acting like nothing is a miracle or that everything is. Have you tried experimenting with “everything is a miracle?” It’s kind of mind boggling, really. And it opens up your experience. Walks become a miracle. Your daily list of ideas gets bigger. Your belief in yourself as the miracle you are gets bigger.

There are so many miracles in our experience… miracles that are prerequisite to our life here. The sun is a perfect distance from the earth to create temperature to sustain life. How miraculous is that? So, if that can happen, what can happen in your life? Miracles happen every day. What miracle will you open yourself up to today? This year?

Love yourself. So, if you’re on this list reading this, you’re probably into ho’oponopono. You probably do the “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you,” a lot. Here’s something to add. “I love myself.” When you say, “I love you,” who are you saying it to? Honestly, it’s just you. If you’re taking responsibility for everything that comes into your experience, then you also get to claim the love for yourself too. There is nothing selfish about loving yourself. In fact, the more you love yourself, the more it will spill over into loving interactions with everyone else. The love you feel for yourself allows you to have healthy boundaries. It allows you to say “no” when you need to say no. It allows you to know when to say “yes.” Add some “I love myself” into the mix and watch what happens.

Play. What is play to you? Do you feel guilty for playing because there are about 40 other things you should be doing? I actually feel a little guilt for playing right now… writing this is a type of play for me, exploring these ideas makes me feel good. And there’s something inside me that says, “You really should be finishing up that web site for client A. Client B needs his books converted. Client C needs some focus too.” What is play to you? Do more of it. LOTS more of it. Ignore the voice that tells you what you SHOULD be doing. Do what you want to a lot more of the time. Take an entire day to do whatever you want, and begin moving your life towards more of that experience.

Eat whatever you want. Yes, I mean it. I’ve been on every single diet known to mankind. I really have. Vegetarian. Vegan. Primal. Grains. No grains. Juicing. Fasting. This year, screw the diets. Eat what you want, but make sure it makes you feel good. There’s a Christmas Pannettone in the kitchen right now. I would like to eat some, yes I would. So I am going to have some, because it’s Christmas. I might even have another cup or two of that astounding coffee. But tomorrow I’ll probably eat low carb and more vegetables than you’ve ever seen. Overall, I feel better on a mostly vegetable diet. But I’m not going to torture myself and avoid things I would like to enjoy. I eat what I want. And I want to feel good in my body. That’s REALLY what I want. (By the way, I had some pannettone, and immediately had an allergy attack. So, I’m good on the pannettone until next year.)

Say YES to people who make you feel loved, appreciated, and respected. People who don’t support who you really are can drain you. They suck you dry and exhaust you. We’re not going to talk about them. After all, that’s really want they want. Attention. All of your attention, because they’re not giving it to themselves, so they make their own inattention your problem. Let go of the need to save these people from themselves.

We’re happier being alone than we are with people who drain us. And sometimes even the people we love can drain us. We need breaks. We love ourselves, so we put ourselves first. If we need a sabbatical from people, we take it. And we say YES to the people who make us feel good. We say YES to the people who make us laugh, make us happy, and reflect back the feeling of

Meditate. Part of the power of ho’oponopono is that it expands the notion of who you really are. If you are willing to take responsibility for everything that comes into your experience, it naturally expands you. You claim more of your self. You claim power over more of your experience. All of the great spiritual traditions out there allude to our connection to something much larger than who we really are. Here’s the magic: YOU are larger than who you think you really are. The exploration of your inner self, your inner space, is our next frontier. That exploration starts with your unconscious, but it very quickly goes much deeper than that. How deep? You’ll have to meditate to go see. You’ll be amazed.

Overall, give yourself permission to be more than you ever thought possible. You ARE more than you ever thought possible. And you keep growing and expanding! It’s time to claim all of that.

You’ve probably read a lot in the last few years about ascension. I’ve come to the conclusion that ascension isn’t magic, and that many of us are in process on what they call ascension. Ascension, to me, is all of these things I just wrote about. It is discovering who we really are and making that manifest right here, right now. It’s going within to the depths of who we really are, and bringing what we find there out here into this reality to play. It’s letting go of the shoulds and the external games that say we need to be something that we are not. Ascension is simple being who we really are.

So, fellow travelers, ascend into 2014 by just being who you really are. It’s enough. It’s MORE than enough. It’s your new frontier. As you discover these worlds and possibilities within yourself, as you make those manifest here, you automatically change your experience and the whole world. Enjoy the process! That’s entirely what it is.


Forgive Yourself

Do you have that one person who drives you absolutely nuts? They push your buttons every chance they get. You forgive, you forget. You move on with your life  — but the next thing you know, they’ve done it again.

A lot of new-thought teachers that teach gratitude and love as the most powerful forces in the world. And I agree that they are. But you cannot put a band-aid of love and gratitude on top of negativity. The negativity seeps out, poisoning the well again and again until you do one thing.

Forgive yourSELF.

I was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. Mark came in and cracked a joke. The kids started cracking the same joke. No one could tell that my feelings were really hurt. I mean, seriously hurt. It was all in good fun for them. Had it been about anything else in the world, I would have probably laughed along with them. For some reason, this “joke” brought tears to my eyes.

The stark difference in their experience and my own experience was telling. I allowed myself to feel the emotion, knowing it was only a pattern and that it wasn’t really me. And then I asked myself how I could stop this pattern from bringing me to tears.

Spirit, which can be rather loud and unmistakable here in Mount Shasta, spoke.

It said, “Forgive yourself.”

I immediately got a higher-self impression of a past-life experience. A part of me that I did not understand or even know felt guilt surrounding this experience, and as such I have chosen a pattern of karma to balance that experience in this lifetime. That’s all it was.

Now, I cannot tell you specifically what that lifetime was. I don’t know. I cannot even tell you specifically what the pattern was or how it balances that guilt that a part of me is feeling. I don’t know why this dropped into my experience at that time, but I do know that I am supposed to write about it and share it with you.

In that split-second moment of awareness and understanding, I got a massive gift. I got a clear understanding of how and why ho’oponopono* works, I got a clear understanding of the teachings of the Buddha, and I got a deep understanding of what Christ said when he said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

(*Ho’oponopono is a ancient Hawaiian practice of “making things right.” It heals past hurts in relationship and cultivates forgiveness. It’s a powerful process, but it really is simply cultivating forgiveness and love. Mark has more about it on his blog.)

Forgiveness of the self, all parts of the self, all parts of creation, is the key to our freedom.

The Buddha’s primary teaching was that Nirvana was not something outside of us. It is within. He became his own guru, sat under the bodhi tree, and became enlightened, discovering the clearing of karma that is Nirvana. This awakening, this enlightenment, was not something he learned outside of himself. His search as Siddharta for his guru was fruitless. And for all of us, the path is similar. We look within. It is all within, because our experience is all us.

If it comes into our awareness, it is our own creation. The exterior is a mirror reflecting all that is within us. Yes, it is even reflecting parts of ourselves we don’t yet fully know. And the more we clear, the larger our sense of self becomes.

We do not need to ask the Divine to forgive us. We do not need to ask anyone else to forgive us. We don’t even need to forgive another person. We simply forgive ourselves for whatever is happening and however we brought it about.

The basis of most spiritual teachings is about taking personal responsibility for everything. If it shows up, you clear on it. Clearing is forgiveness. It is allowing whatever shows up to be what it is, but letting go of whatever is showing up with forgiveness.

As this new awareness came in, I began meditating, asking my Inner/Higher Self for guidance in what parts need forgiveness. And I forgave those parts of me. I let them go. Let go of your own hurts caused by others, and claim responsibility for whatever karmic balance is bringing this experience to your attention.

Forgive yourself, all parts of yourself, and know that all is right between you and others. Nirvana is within you. We simply must let go of all beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and patterns that stand between you and the enlightenment that is waiting for us to open to it.


Bring Back Summer

Winter has never really bothered me. I’ve heard people say that as we get older, all we talk about is the weather. So, maybe that’s it. I am old now, and I talk about the weather.

This winter is really getting to me. On Halloween, as I was standing outside around a fire at a friend’s house after trick-or-treating, I went into a near fit of depression as my fingers went numb, realizing what was before me. Summer had lasted longer than we expected, and I had a spectacular summer. As I stood there freezing and suffocating from the smoke, I felt overwhelming sadness at the end of summer.

Given the fact that I’ve lived in the upper midwest for most of my life, I feel like a wimp. I’ve endured 4 Shasta winters, only one of which really tested me.

We had only been in Shasta a few weeks. It started snowing. Our friend had lived in Shasta for 0ver 20 years. I kept asking, “This cannot be normal, can it?” He kept saying, “Sure, it snows like this a lot.” Then it really started coming down even harder. I think we got about 5 feet of heavy, wet snow in a couple of days. As we sat in the dark huddled around candles and the wood stove, we heard tremendous booms that shook the house. Trees were collapsing under the weight of the snow. Mark, our protector, asked us to move to the center of the house to avoid any trees falling on us.

Four days later, we dug out. I headed to Motel 6 for the longest hot shower I have ever taken. A few hours later, we got power.

Even after that nightmare, I still consider a Shasta winter not that bad. In comparison to Chicago’s ice storms, freezing temperatures, and brutal wind, I’ll take the sporadic massive snowfalls.

Also, escaping snow in Shasta is a short drive south. So, yeah. I have nothing to complain about.

The other part of winter that has been awful is that everyone in my family has had at least 3 illnesses already this fall. A couple of colds, flu, stomach viruses, and some larger and more frightening health challenges that I’ve had to support. It’s not been pleasant. At least now I know definitively that I am not cut out for a career in nursing.

But everyone seems on the mend here. Claire kept her breakfast down. I’m keeping Airborne in business with my own personal consumption. And it’s finally Christmas. Of course, it’s a Christmas I am wholly and totally unprepared for, but it is Christmas, and we’re here together. The weather is not so bad, and the days will again get longer.

I’ve got a few new projects I’m starting for the new year, and I’m excited about them all. Bring it on, 2014. I’m ready.