My Morning Routine

So, this is a thing, is it? Morning routines, shared? I’m game. Morning has been the one time of day when I can carve out sanity and peacefulness for myself. I am an early riser on purpose so that I can ensure I’m able to get into the right headspace for dealing with life and achieve my goals.

I work from home, and I haven’t had an office outside the home since 1998. It allows me more flexibility in creative pursuits while being a mom.

As a mom, my mornings have ranged from horrifically sleep deprived to amazingly wonderful and centering. Since moving to Mount Shasta, I’ve really committed to keeping a morning routine. I think it’s been critical to my happiness.

What is your morning routine?

For the past 5 years, this is what morning looks like to me, especially in the summer.

5:30 – 6:00 awake. No alarms. Some days it is earlier, rarely later. I go through the first floor of the house and open all of the windows and doors to let fresh, cool air into the house. In the winter, I sleep in until 6:30-7, and my initial activity is starting up the wood stove.

6:00 am – 6:50 am. Write. Before I check emails, check social media, or check analytics/reporting, I check inside to see what wants to come out. I write the following:

  • 5 things for which I am grateful.
  • 5 things I want to accomplish.
  • 5 things that scare me.
  • At a minimum 1,000 words for whichever book, website, or character wants to come out.

I use Day One App as a place to collect my thoughts. I used to use a variety of Word/Pages documents, but it became too cumbersome. Having an app as a one-stop place to collect thoughts privately has worked well.

I write for a number of places online as well as newsletter mailings, so I need to continue generating words as much as possible. The best way to generate words is to write as much as possible. This is a nifty site that encourages making writing a daily habit.

Summer: 7:00 am – 8:30 am. Run, walk, hike. Every single day. I love being out in nature early in the morning, and there is something wonderfully meditative about being alone with my dog hitting the trails (or the pavement) when there is no one else around. After the first 30 minutes, I start to feel a real shift in my energetic state. Walking also helps me mitigate back pain I’ve had for years. If I walk, I have no pain. So, it is a daily ritual.

I get home around 8:30, fire up the coffee, let the cats out of Max’s room, feed the dog. I start reviewing emails and social media about this time. I manage a number of social media presences, but I make sure I am connected with the Big Mind before I connect online. The kids and Mark start getting up around 8:30-9, and my day begins in earnest.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

With Claire getting older, my routine has become much more regular. When she was younger, she’d sometimes awaken before me. With young children, routines are out the window. I’m glad they’re older and more able to manage their own needs.

What time do you go to sleep?

I start winding down around 9 and usually asleep by 10. Mark usually stays up much later than me, so I sleep in a different room. There was one point where I had both kids and the dog sleeping in my room; it felt like a huge slumber party every night. Max moved to his own room a few years ago, and now it’s just Claire and the dog. Claire has her own bed, but isn’t quite ready to move to her own room yet.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Alarms in the wintertime only, and only if the kids need to get to school at a certain time.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I have coffee after my walk/run, usually around 8:30. I don’t actually eat anything until at least 10:30 or 11, and then it’s usually eggs and veggies.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

Meditation has been a huge practice for me. I feel like my morning walks are meditative in many ways. I don’t listen to much while I am walking other than the sounds around me (no music or podcasts) in quietude, alone.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day?

Later, and this is important to me. Unless it is absolutely critical, I wait to respond to requests. As someone who has done a lot of client work and has fallen into the trap of hyper responsibility more than I’d like to admit, I find having boundaries of what can be requested of me and when to be incredibly important. I won’t answer anything outside of 9-5 unless it’s important.

I need to ensure that my own flow is established before I can support anyone else’s flow. If I get pulled into too many directions, I end up losing my flow and resenting the people doing the pulling. I try to make clients set appointments for my time rather than just calling on a whim and taking up an unscheduled hour of my time that ends up throwing my entire day out of whack.

That being said, I really like talking to people. It just throws my entire morning off.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

I’m one of those freaks who sleeps with a fan. Because Claire was such a light sleeper when she was a baby (any by light sleeper, I mean not much of a sleeper at all), I started using a fan to keep the noise at a minimum. Now neither of us can sleep without a fan. If I do need to set an alarm, I use Rise. It makes waking up on someone else’s schedule a little less unpleasant.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Getting centered, getting moving, getting into a positive mindset. From there, I can handle just about anything (and often have to).

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Usually coffee, sometimes water. I always have coffee. I am a big fan of Hypnotic Buzz Deep Trance Blend.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

I follow this routine every day, except on Saturday I allow more social media for non-work-related activities.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

If I am traveling, I am usually traveling with kids in a hotel. Getting time for myself isn’t quite as easy, but I seem to manage.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

This weekend, for example, I was not able to get my exercise in nor was I able to write much. But I managed. The key, in my experience, is to make the morning routine as habitual and as pleasant as possible so that when it doesn’t quite go as planned, it’s easy to get back into the routine.

 

Comfort Zones Kill

About 20 years ago, I was working out a lot. My partner and I joined a gym, and as a part of our new membership, we were required to go through a fitness assessment. Frank went first, and he got a fitness trainer that was incredibly easy on him. I am pretty sure she was a cheerleader and thought that two sits ups were cause for celebration.

I went for my assessment the next day. My trainer was a former marine.

As marines are known to do, he pushed me and pushed me hard. During the time we were together, we chatted quite a bit when I wasn’t coughing up bits of lung tissue. I told him how I had just purchased a house in the suburb we were in and that I worked in the city.

“I grew up here. But things have changed. This town isn’t the same anymore. We’re being overrun by mocha-drinking, cellphone-talking, SUV-driving moms with perfect manicures and judgmental minds. They’re all as comfortable as can be.”

“I think I pulled something in my leg,” I said.

“You’ll live,” he replied.

He told me how he was moving away from the Chicago suburbs and to the Pacific Northwest to escape the decline of civilization as he knew it. “Comfort zones kill,” he said. “And these people here are all as good as dead.”

A well-lived life

I have to admit, I like a comfortable life. I live a comfortable life. I have a beautiful home in a beautiful place, a wonderful family, and good friends. Sure, I have to drive 60 minutes to get to civilization, but it’s worth it for the daily experience of waking up in Mount Shasta every morning. I have the best of all worlds, and I am pretty happy with my life.

It’s an easy place to get comfortable.

And I am. I have been.

When we get comfortable and secure, we tend to erect patterns and structures of protection to keep us in that comfort zone. We stop stretching, challenging, and pushing. It’s an incredibly first-world problem, yes, but it is a problem that our modern comforts and accoutrements tend to create for us.

And it’s killing us.

All we are is change

Being comfortable and secure is not the natural order of things. That marine that pushed me out of my physical comfort zones gave me a huge gift that day, a wake up call to never let myself get too comfortable. But here I am, again, getting comfortable with what is and not really wanting to grow or change.

Growth is all we are, however. All we are is change. And if we’re getting too comfortable, we’re losing out on a part of who we are. We lose out on our expansion. We lose out on joy.

The more comfortable and content I have allowed myself to become, the more I stopped wanting. I stopped feeling much desire to do anything, including the things that really excite me. I lost a sense of creativity and inspiration that comes with feeling hungry for something more.

I started creating some of those structures and patterns to keep things just as they are. I didn’t want change, even though I know intellectually this principle that all we are is change. It became apparent that the amount of effort to keep things just as they are is equal to the amount of effort it takes to grow and change. The world keeps changing, and if I am comfortable with where I am and want to keep things as they are, I still have to exert effort to keep static in the face of the change that is ubiquitous in our world.

Luckily, we don’t live in a vacuum. Sometimes things happen. Wake up calls, enlightenment, awakenings… we get a message. Something unconscious in us recognizes that we’ve become our own worst enemy and it shakes us up a little, destroying some of the structures we’ve created to keep everything just the way it is.

I’ve had a few of those, but I still haven’t wanted to give up where I am. So, the wake up calls get a little louder. Change is going to happen, whether you choose the change or not.

Comfort zones kill. So I choose change.

Pushing out

Part of that comfort was being happy enough with hiking my standard route every morning. When I got the message about comfort zones again, I ran. It hurt. I used to run all the time, but running is one of those activities that is never very comfortable so I stopped. And I got a little too comfortable, and I lost my ability to run long distances again. So, I am running again.

Mark started pushing me in different ways, too. Putting myself out there more, and not worrying what other people think. Taking pictures of myself and putting them on social media. Writing again, even if it isn’t all that great. I’m even going to start with podcasting and vidcasting.

Why do all of this? I explain a little in the podcast I recorded this weekend. The world needs our voices, and the world needs our expansion. This is no time for comfort zones.
success-beyond-comfort-zones life-happens-outside

 

Recovering from Negative SEO

Negative SEO is really a thing. I’ve spent a good portion of the last year helping people recover from Google penguin penalties. One person had hired a bad SEO person who built spammy links to his site. The other company was under attack from a competitor who was attempting to get them removed from the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Losing rank from the SERPs can destroy a business. And I imagine that this is what happens when someone finds out that they’re not in the SERPs anymore.

remove all the links

It’s not good.

Recovery requires a laborious process of researching links, determining what was a bad link versus a good link, contacting the site owners of the bad links, and creating both a spreadsheet to send to Google and a disavow file to upload to Google Webmaster Tools.

It’s a lot of work. More importantly, it took expertise to know which links to remove and which ones to leave alone.

The Emails

This morning, I awoke to an email from a company I had linked to on this post about resources for remineralizing teeth. They asked me to remove links to their site from mine because of a Google penalty.

I removed the link as they asked, but I had to wonder who they had hired to do this process. They lost a link from a customer, on a site that is a far cry from spammy, on a page that ranks for the problem their product solves.

This site is not a spammy site. It’s just my personal site, a site that often languishes as I work on other projects. The metrics on this site are pretty good for a site that has languished as long as it has. It has longevity and decent enough trust flow and low citation flow. I’ve never built links to this domain, and I know where every link comes from.

They lost out on something that was benefitting them, not something that was hurting them. Of course, I replied to them that they were hurting themselves. But I am sure that email will not make much sense to the person doing the link removal. She was told to “remove all the links” and wasn’t given any sort of guidance about what links to remove or which to leave alone. As such, she’s further damaging her company’s commerce website and their bottom line.

The Spreadsheet

I’ll end up as a “removed” notation in the spreadsheet that gets uploaded to Google drive. I was nice and responded. She will probably receive very little response to her email blasts to site owners, and the responses that she does receive will make Guido the loan shark seem like a nice guy. She’ll be asked for payment for link removal. If her company pays for link removal because they fear both Guido and Google, they’re making another bad decision. Never pay for link removal. But definitely make sure you keep track of the sites you contact, whether or not they respond, how they respond, and the end result of your link removal request.

Which sites do you contact? There are site research tools that will give you an overview of the link quality on each site. For the site that contacted me this morning, I linked specifically to a toothpaste that worked for Claire’s remineralization. It was a good link. Any good SEO person would have recognized that it was a good link. She was not a good SEO person.

How to tell if you have a penalty

Most companies probably don’t even know that they’ve received a Google penalty for bad links. Many don’t even know about Google Webmaster Tools. They just see that they’re out of the SERPs. Or maybe they see that their traffic is diminishing, or sales are going way down. They hire someone to figure out why.

Google Webmaster Tools tells you if you have a penalty. However, you can still have a penalty and not have it show up in GWT. The best way to tell if you have a penalty is to examine the search engine result pages yourself.

The Disavow File

The disavow file tells Google that you disavow any links from bad properties. Some people think that you can just upload a disavow file to Google Webmaster Tools and be done with your bad links. However, through my research and experience I have found that you need to show some level of attempt that you have tried to remove the bad links. You have to go through the process of bad link removal and upload a spreadsheet detailing what you’ve done to Google Drive. This spreadsheet combined with a disavow file has been proven to work. You cannot just upload a disavow file and recover your property from bad links.

The thing is, you have to ensure that you’re protecting your good links, too, unlike our friend who emailed me this morning. You have to look at the links coming into your web site and actively manage your inbound links as a part of managing the asset of your web site.

Even if you have no penalty, always manage a disavow file. Even if you are not blasted from the SERPs, you can still ask for link removal. You can still disavow links.

Penalties and Negative SEO will only grow

If you live by Google, you will die by Google. Meaning, if your business is dependent upon search traffic, when search traffic is affected you will lose your business. You have to manage your organic search traffic as an asset, protecting it from damage by anyone, including Google. How do you do this?

Monitor backlinks at all times. Use tools such as AHREFS/Majestic to see what’s pointing at your website. If you see something wonky, get rid of it before it becomes an issue.

Maintain a Google drive spreadsheet of your inbound links and any actions that you’ve taken. If you’ve contacted the site owner and they’ve asked for money for removal, if they’ve responded and removed, if they’ve not responded… just keep a record of how you’re managing your inbound link profile.

Keep a disavow file even if you don’t think you need one.

Be proactive. Penalties and negative SEO are going to be a fact of life going forward. If your web site drives your business, and organic search is a big part of where your traffic comes from, showing that you’re proactively managing your link profile can prevent being victimized by penalties.

Expand your reach beyond search. Organic search traffic is only one way to get people to visit your web site, engage, and buy. There are a lot of other ways where you’re not dependent upon Google to drive your business success. Social engagement is but one. As with living/dying by Google, you can also live and die by Facebook, Twitter, or any other traffic source. The key is to build an asset and market it in ways that leverage traffic sources but are not dependent upon it.

 

State of the Web 2015

I’ve been working in internet-based businesses for 20 years now. As such, I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve made a lot of money. I’ve gotten burned out. And I’ve gotten re-inspired. I’ve started working with a few businesses to help them take advantage of where the internet is today. And in a recent conversation with a client, I was asked what I saw as the top trends in Internet business right now. It made sense to put everything into a blog post, but where to put it… oh yeah, here is good. Might as well start blogging again, even if it isn’t about kittens, doggies, kids, or adventures in Shasta. (But yes, things in Shasta are awesome. The kids are thriving. Mark’s business is thriving. My kittens are hilarious, Alex is awesome, and I still miss Riley.)

So, the state of the Web. Here are the trends I see.

mobile-phone-usage

Being mobile-ready is absolutely critical

More and more traffic to web sites is coming from non-desktop sources. Whether your traffic is coming from iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, or the plethora of me-too table computers, mobile traffic is dominating. If your web site isn’t mobile-ready or “responsive” yet, now is the time to get it responsive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business, a personal blog, or a large multi-national corporation. If you want to get found, it is critically important to have a web site that adapts to the device it’s being viewed on.

Don’t know if your site is mobile ready? Here’s a great tool from Google that gives you an idea. If you’re not sure how to get mobile ready, talk to your web developer. If your web developer downplays the importance of being mobile ready, find a new web developer.

Ensuring your site is mobile ready will even determine whether or not you rank in the SERPs (search engine result pages). If you like organic (free) traffic from Google, being mobile ready is critical for your business.

Social media marketing dominates

It’s no secret that social media is the place where people congregate online. What’s growing is how businesses engage with their customers and prospects on social media. Facebook is definitely the top dog at the moment. Untethered by Twitter’s 140-character limit, Facebook allows people — and businesses to engage at a deeper level, interacting in a way that is most comfortable to consumers. While Facebook advertising has been a point of contention for many users, it is one of the most effective and non-intrusive methods of connecting with prospects. Facebook’s depth of targeting capabilities and awesome return on investment makes it my favorite choice for growing businesses.

Of course, other social networks know this. And they’ll also allow for increased ability to target and market to consumers. Advertising is the dollar that drives the internet and makes it possible for us all to enjoy social media without paying for it. Watch for the other social networks to consistently improve and innovate in the advertising space.

Engaging your customers on social media also feeds into your search placement. So even if you’re only focused on ranking in the SERPs, your social media participation is incredibly important to your rank.

But there are still billions of searches performed each month. Search is still incredibly important, and social media involvement supports search.

Retargeting creates assets.

What is retargeting? Say for example you find some great shoes on Nordstrom’s web site. Then, you go check on Facebook and see an ad for those same shoes. Boom, you’ve been retargeted. If you do any online marketing at all, setting up retargeting is very important. It basically creates a list of people within either Google or Facebook that you know are interested in whatever you have to offer. You can set up retargeting for your site as a whole, or your can set up retargeting for each individual content area. If you do it by content area, the segment or “custom audience” becomes incredibly targeted. And it has value. It becomes a method of targeting your marketing quite effectively to each segment’s specific interest.

google-inbox

Email marketing is evolving.

Have you tried out Google Inbox? It’s a nifty little tool for your mobile device that segments your Gmail based on the type of mailing. If you’re an internet marketer, it might be kind of depressing to see your mail grouped in with the latest in spam-related pitches.  If you’re looking to develop a long term relationship with your customers, you’ve got to be very strategic in how you develop and manage your email list. Here are things that are out:

  • Sending out mailings pitching Clickbank garbage every single day. If you’re looking to churn through users and bleed them for cash, go right ahead.
  • Offering lightweight “bonuses” to entice people on to your list and never providing any value to your customers.
  • Using your email list to sell sell sell without ever providing any valuable content to your users.
  • Thinly veiled affiliate offers for garbage products/services (I’m looking at you, affiliate marketers pushing Hostgator accounts. Shame on you.

I’m sure you see some familiar activities that are out. These activities destroy your deliverability, destroy customer relationships, and destroy your business. Your customer’s inbox is the most important piece of internet marketing. It’s the place where you come into their experience most intimately, and it requires a level of respect that most internet marketers fail to grasp. So what’s in?

  • Creating value. Send your customers things that will genuinely help them — sporadically.
  • Respecting your customer’s inbox. Don’t inundate them with emails every day.
  • Use email to invest in your relationship with your customers and prospects.

If you’re having issues with deliverability and low open rates, look at managing your list more efficiently. If your customers don’t find value in what you send them, it has an affect on your deliverability (e.g., the big email service providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. watch these things).

Manage SEO

Manage your SEO as if it were an asset.

Search placement is no longer something to take for granted. Negative SEO is definitely a real thing, and being targeted by unscrupulous competition happens. It’s going to happen more frequently. And if you shot yourself in the foot with bad link building, it is still possible to recover from negative SEO. If you’re not aware of how and why your rank is where it is, there are tools I can show you that will give you an idea of what metrics go into your search rank. If you’re not ranking at all, there are things you can do to rank again. Negative SEO and penalties are here to stay, and it’s very important to watch your rank and manage your search placement as the asset for driving business that it is.

Content marketing will continue to dominate.

Writing blog posts, creating infographics, and placing articles on web sites that also link back to your own web site will continue to create value both for search engine placement but also for engaging customers and prospects. However, there is a lot of crap out there on the internet. I hope I am guilty of very little crap content generation, but the awareness of how much crap is out there should do one thing for us: make us commit even more towards creating content of value. Make people laugh. Make people inspired. Make people feel good. All of that value does one thing: creates brand recognition and brand loyalty.

 

 

Consciousness ascension is happening

For the last few years, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about ascension. From the myths of Mayan calendars ending in 2012 to various other predictions, there has been much discussion of humanity’s ascension. The field of spiritual personal development is overflowing with products promising awakening, ascension, or discovery of missing secrets. There have been some folks predicting the end of the earth, spaceships  coming to whisk us all away to 5th dimensional reality. I’ve even seen people assign dates to all of this. Nothing comes to pass. It’s all overwhelming and it feels like I’ve been chasing red herrings. I’ve been trying to piece together what they’re talking about in order to understand my own experiences.

I know something is happening. I can feel it. I can see outward expressions of it. I know we’re going through a shift. The old way of experiencing life is dying, and it has been for a while. Look at Wall Street. Main Street. Our geopolitical affairs. It’s just a symptom of the overall consciousness shift. We’re going through a cycle or death and rebirth on a global, maybe cosmic, scale. I don’t know if it has always been this way or not. I just know what is happening now.

I can’t be crazy. Or am I?

My experience of time is shifting. It feels like time is elongating and shrinking. I tend to lose track of time very easily these days. Weeks are flying by, my dreams are more intense, spirit is more playful and funny with its symbolism in outward experience. My intuition is stronger, when I listen. There seems to be a blending of my dream state experiences and my real life experiences. Others report similar experiences to me. So I know something is going on.

I finally get the bright idea that perhaps I need to ask my own higher self what is going on. The answer came instantaneously, but I think it took me a while to really get it. I’m dense that way. (Actually, the whole experience of life right now is rather discombobulating, so it’s really easy to allow fears to block us from connecting.)

So, giving full credit to whatever source of Spirit gave me these impressions, here’s what came through as a download. Ascension is real. It’s a thing. It’s happening. We’re all on our way to a completely different life experience. The stresses of reality right now are just birthing pains as a new system of reality comes into being.

However, we’re not leaving. We’re not going anywhere. Ascension isn’t a trip to a new place, ascension is bringing a new place here to earth. It is bringing more of who we really are and making that manifest here on earth.

We’re ascending in our consciousness, pulling in more of who we really are from a much larger part of ourselves. That larger part of ourselves is much more aware, much cleaner (without the blocks that mire us in negativity here), and more able to manifest reality very quickly. Ask and it is given happens a heck of lot more quickly when we allow this ascension process to happen.

Ascension isn’t something you do. It’s not something that happens to you.

It is something you allow yourself to become.

You are a multi-dimensional being. You always have been. You are already 3rd, 4th, and 5th dimensional, ad infinitum and you’ve been that way for a long time. However, you have only expressed a very small part of yourself in this reality. You’ve been asked — now a little more forcefully — to express more of who you are into this reality. When you allow those multi-dimensional parts to be expressed in your reality here on earth, you allow yourself to become ascended. As each of us does this, we ascend as a group consciousness together.

If you’re still holding on to the past, to the things that felt safe in your old life, then it’s going to be a bumpy ride. You’re going to have a discombobulated experience of trying everything but having nothing at all work.

I tried this. I had a fearful experience pop up last fall. So I said yes to some things out of fear. It became more and more apparent that I said yes for all of the wrong reasons. I meditated on the problem, realized I was doing things based on past beliefs and fears. It wasn’t working. I was running into blocks, half-truths, and finally a closed door. I couldn’t make it work no matter how hard I tried. It was a dead end and a wild goose chase.

What a blessing! I’m so glad that didn’t work out! Now, I am being led on a journey of exploration, to a new experience that expresses more of who I really am. I have immense gratitude for this mistake.

If you’d like to make it a smoother, less bumpy trip, here are my recommendations. Actually, these are the things I’m doing for myself on this journey. Have others? Let me know.

Meditation. I have a few meditative activities including getting lost in nature, sitting in meditation, and listening to music designed to expand consciousness in non-duality. It literally keeps me sane. Studies everywhere show how meditation is good for you. Why? Because it brings in more of who you really are — that pure love light being that is only partially expressed here on earth. How can you fully be more of who you really are if you don’t explore yourself? Your mind is a mansion of many rooms, and you’re using just a few of them. Leave your comfort zones and start exploring other areas of your consciousness.

Dream. Some of the most profound explorations of consciousness happen in dream state. It’s the place where you allow yourself the freedom to explore yourself, your beliefs, your desires more than you do in waking life. Before you go to sleep, tell your unconscious mind to have a blast, and that you look forward to the journey. It’s one place where your ego stops trying to be in control and other parts of your consciousness gets exercised. The more your can work with your dreams, the more you can explore who you really are.

Invite your multidimensional self to express itself. Just ask. You’ll be surprised, pleasantly so, when you’re greeted with some amazing, miraculous, even quite humorous experiences. What if our higher selves, our multidimensional selves, were just waiting for us to ask for an ascended experience? Ask and it is given. You’ll laugh and feel joy a lot more than you might expect.

Speak the truth. There are no more secrets, no more lies in the new reality. Your truth, no matter what it is, is the perfect exploration of who you really are. The more you can speak your truth, the more of your true self you can make manifest here. In the new reality, we’re not able to pretend to be someone else just to get the girl, the job, or whatever game we’re playing. When you pull in more of who you really are, your passion becomes your life’s work. You get rewarded for who you really are. There is no more room to say yes to projects for money instead of passion. Speak your truth.

Demand honor for yourself and others. In the ascended world, there is no room for dishonoring anyone. We’re all being asked to honor ourselves and honor others. Sometimes this means calling people on their crap. Lies are becoming incredibly apparent these days. If someone isn’t truthful, we are becoming increasingly adept at seeing the untruth and misrepresentation. Allowing someone to lie to you dishonors them as much as it dishonors you. There is no more ends justifying the means anymore. If our actions are not in alignment, nothing works.

If you need evidence of this, just look at the political, banking, and intelligence agency news. The lies and secrets are being exposed on them as much as they’re invading our privacy. We cannot lie, they cannot lie. There are no more secrets. Everything is being exposed, and that which dishonors is crumbling away no matter how hard they try to prop it up.

Forgive and forget the past. The past no longer exists. The rules of the past no longer apply. The rules of the game have changed. It has actually always been this way, but it is even more evident now. It used to be that we could make predictions on outcome based upon our past experiences. But since the past does not really exist (we actually re-create the past every time we remember something), this has been a bit of a fallacy. Now, we’re being asked to stay present, to be present, and to make decisions based upon our current connected intuition.

Cultivate gratitude and appreciation. The state of gratitude and appreciation of our reality and your growth and ascension process allows for a rapid acceleration of the process. There is nothing to fear. This is an awesome journey!

Thank your ego. So much of the new age movement tells you to forget the ego. Sure, the ego can be a pesky master if you allow it to run the show. When you thank you ego for its involvement, it tends to quiet and allow other parts of our multidimensional self to come forward and provide input. The ego is great when you need it. It just isn’t such a great driver.

Be thankful for the stresses! In asking my higher self why I have had experiences lately of stress and mistake, of being lied to, of not being able to complete projects, I was told that without the stresses I would not understand the urgency of my need to connect right now. I cannot find the answers to my problems on the internet. Other people’s explanations are not working for me. I have only one source I need to connect with right now — whether you call that God, higher self, Spirit, the Divine — it is just waiting for you to open to it.

Let go, be here now. It’s an adventure in consciousness, this whole process. There is nothing to lose that is real. Anything you can lose is unreal. Everything that is stressful and fear-inducing is temporary. Be here now. Explore a tree. Love your family. Go within. Follow your intuition. Just be. Stop reading the internet news! Pet a dog. Give the cats some catnip and enjoy the show. Go swimming, sit in the sun, take your shoes off and walk in the grass. Have a snowball fight. Just find ways to enjoy where you are along the journey. In reality, it’s all you can do. You cannot change the past, you cannot predict the future. Today is all you have. You’ll be someone completely different tomorrow, and you can enjoy – or worry – about that then.

You can fear it. You can worry about it. Or you can just let go and allow it — and allow yourself — to become whatever it is.

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.”
— Eckhart Tolle

 

The Guru Within

cropped-meadow-0329131.jpgThere is a meadow by my house. On one side of the meadow is a beautiful view of Mount Shasta. On the other side is a slightly obscured view of Mount Eddy. Like my neighborhood, the meadow is on the edge of nowhere. Directly west of the neighborhood is an abyss of nature full of all sorts of things that can be scary: bears, mountain lions, maybe even bigfoot.

I have spent most of my life in the wilds of skyscrapers. The wilds of bears and mountain lions actually scared me when I first moved here. I would walk with my friend Riley around the neighborhood and peer into the meadow. Riley would look up at me with longing eyes as if to say, “Let’s go in! It’s fun!” Riley showed me how much fun the meadow could be.

I have had a lot of blissful, wonderful experiences in the meadow and in the surrounding woods here. I am no longer fearful of what I might find, or what might find me.

Yesterday, Mark came home from a meeting with a spiritual friend in a state of bliss. I asked him a little about the experience, but he said I had to ask him questions about my own life or my own observations, and then perhaps he could share a little of what he got.

mount_shastaI started talking about the meadow, and how I was realizing how important it has been for me. I recounted a few of the experiences I have had there, connecting with nature, strange noises that seem to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, time slippage, and deep meditation and connection with what is real. I talked about how I have recently taken this natural beauty for granted, how I have not really been diving into it and experiencing it. I was starting to feel that this luxury of an experience in Mount Shasta was ending, and that it was time to go back to the “real world.” I told him how, since Riley’s passing, I’ve been going back to the meadow and remembering. It is a magical place for me, and I am grateful to re-experience it again.

Mark replied, “You are the meadow.”

With those four words as a response to my five minute monologue, he helped me dive deeper into the experience of what I was sensing. Yes, I am the meadow. The meadow is me. It’s all a part of me.

I spent too many years of my life afraid to go into the part of myself that opens up when I visit the meadow. I have turned away from that very large part of myself where magic happens, where I open up.

Riley showed me not to be afraid in the physical world. He showed me that what I really wanted was right there on the other side of what seemed scary to a city girl. Now, Riley is gone. I have Alex, who has of course never been afraid of the meadow. And I go into this magical place and just walk around experiencing the opening of the bluest sky I’ve ever seen, the mountains, and the earth.

And myself. The external magic of the place reflects back something in a deeper part of myself. The meadow, on the edge of an abyss of magical forest, reflects the abyss within myself that I have only danced around in this life of mine. I’ve stayed rather safe in my quite adept mind that likes to think it’s got it all figured out.

When I go into the meadow within myself, there is something much larger waiting for me to meet there. This is what is real.

meadow-032913The meadow is my doorway to the guru. And the guru is within me.

After Mark said this to me last night, I had wild dreams. In one, I was taught to fly. I was adept at it, taking my physical body to fly over everything. One of the places I flew in the dream was my meadow. Then I saw someone do something that angered me, so I tried to fix it. And I couldn’t fly as well anymore.

Sometimes these experiences feel like a luxury. To be able to walk every morning in such an amazing place, to be able to have spirit gift me with such obvious dreams, and to be surrounded by such loving beings in my family, friends, and neighbors. I am so blessed in ways far beyond anything I could ever buy. I am blessed by magic. I am blessed by just-in-time synchronistic experiences that ensure that I am cared for, provided for abundantly, and graced with opportunities to grow, to love, and to experience joy.

In this place, everything is a miracle.

Sometimes we think things are happening to us in life, when the real magic is that there is a larger part of consciousness that is ensuring things happen FOR us. Everything about this magical place I call home has been inviting me to explore the abyss of the guru within myself where only love resides.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
— Rumi

 

The Blessing of Manjushri

Tibetan monks visited Mount Shasta. I wanted to visit and connect with them, so I went to a meditation. I went to the only one I had time to do. It was a Manjushri empowerment meditation and blessing. When I told Mark that we did a Manjushri meditation and learned the mantra, he replied, “Oh no.”

“Oh no? Really? Why?” I asked.

“Don’t you remember? That’s the name Rajneesh/Osho gave [former business partner].*”

manjushri“That’s actually kind of hilarious. Manjushri is about cutting through illusion. See?” I showed Mark the image of Manjushri with the flaming sword. “He uses the sword to cut through illusion. [Former business partner] is all about perpetuating illusions for his benefit. No wonder he has so many problems! If you’re not cutting through illusions, I suppose being called Manjushri would be somewhat of a curse.”

We laughed a little about it, and went about our day. As time went on, I was starting to get messages about speaking out about our time in Austin. You see, neither Mark nor I have said much about our time there. We’ve alluded to things – like his blogs about the types of teachers which angered his former business partner greatly.

But we haven’t talked much about why we left.

I’ve tried my best to move on, and I feel like I have. Shasta has been an amazing home for me for the past 4 years. I feel like a completely different person. I’ve done a lot of healing here, healing I would have not been able to do anywhere else on earth.

But I get the sense that it’s time for us to get clear — really clear — on what happened in Austin and why we left. It feels like there is a bit of unfinished business, like someone left a garbage can open.

Of course, as per former business partner’s MO, that’s my manifestation because it’s in my reality. That I am being judgmental, and thus I am the one with the problem if he does something egregious. He gets a blank check, doesn’t he. He gets to judge, he gets to write lies and untruths, and if I say anything about it, I am only looking in the mirror.

Sigh. That twist of logic happened a lot during those years.

If I said anything about former business partner — for example being horrified that he went on a drinking binge during an event (May 2008) — then I was told to clean on it and not judge. He always had a way of telling people that if we didn’t like what he did, it was a reflection of something wrong inside of us that attracted his behavior.

So, if someone calls me a bitch behind my back (as he did), I attracted him doing it. If I call him a jerk, I am the one with a problem.

It’s a double bind isn’t it. I cannot practice discernment, or else I am judgmental. But he can judge me.  It was so perfectly convenient for someone who wishes to remain above reproach. If you try to defend yourself or even call out him on bad behavior, he turned it around and blamed the victim. It’s all your fault I spent the weekend drinking in my room. It’s all your fault I called you a bitch. And if you don’t like it, that’s your problem, too.

Here’s an important distinction. I get to judge. I get to discern. I get to say, “I don’t like this.” I even get to say, “That’s pretty messed up when you spent the weekend drunk instead of interacting with our event attendees that paid to meet you.” I even get to say, “You’re an asshole!”

There’s nothing non-spiritual in calling events and behaviors as I see them. There’s nothing non-spiritual in saying any of that. It is a contrast.

What I do own is my emotions surrounding the experience. The sadness, disappointment, discouragement, and negative feelings are all my own. I own them and I work on those. Those I clear. But remaining silent in the face of lies serves no one except the liars who intimidate those who might speak out.

Manjushri, take me away!

I know this was not an unusual situation. Having worked in the corporate world, I ran into a lot of personalities like this. However, for someone who was working in the personal development field talking about spiritual concepts, someone who called himself “the buddha of the internet,” there are much higher expectations. He set it up that way. If you don’t want to be called on your behavior, don’t call yourself the buddha.

It finally got to the point where even Mark couldn’t take the games anymore. We had to leave Texas.

We’ve done our best to put the whole experience behind us. He comes up on the radar every once in a while because he’ll write something somewhere. He accused us of “stealing his list” and promptly deleted that portion of his blog entry when Mark called him on it. It’s just an annoyance from a little fish in a big Law of Attraction pond who really doesn’t matter.

His latest exhibition of judgmental anger is in his new book. Chapter one is a laundry list of lies about Mark for which the great guru has expressed his holier than thou forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness for things that never happened is easy when you’re not forgiving yourself. The book is full of untruth couched in spiritual “wisdom.” (Is that Manjushri laughing?) I could go line by line and refute everything. But the people who believe he’s a spiritual guru will never hear it. They are the bamboozled, “hypnotically marketed” into a place where they may never recover.

sagan-quote

And those who are not bamboozled don’t need to hear it because they already see through the games.

Mark has been chomping at the bit to speak out, especially about the lies in the book. He wants to set the record straight. I’ve asked him not to. It’s not worth it. But spirit has asked me rather loudly today to write this post. Perhaps it was the Manjushri blessing from the Tibetan Lama.

Perhaps it’s just time to put this behind us. Perhaps none of it matters anymore.

Perhaps I just need to get it off my chest so I can continue writing about things that really matter. Because these ridiculous games of pot shots at us every 3-6 months from Wimberley, Texas are getting old and tired, just like the same stories he tells over and over again in his books.

Or maybe that’s just me being judgmental and I’m the one with the problem.

I do find it ironic that I receive Manjushri’s blessing, and then three times today I am asked to speak about false gurus by synchronicities and friends.

Cut through the illusions

Illusions. There are a lot of them in this world.

It’s all an illusion. All of it. All of the games we play with each other. The fears we express. Even the actions of Mark’s former business partner are coming from anger at his ghosts and fear of losing it all.

These illusions are not us, they are merely the games we play.

But even though they are not real, we still believe them. It’s one of the reasons I don’t write about the former business partner when he acts like a petulant child, and why I encourage Mark not to also. Some people need to believe in the lies, they need to believe the illusions. Even I have had to at times. Perhaps I still do about some things. I never did about him. I found a lot more power in the truth. Unfortunately, the truth is hard to get to unless you really extract yourself from the charlatans and start finding the guru within.

This is the path the real buddha gave us. It is the path of enlightenment and awakening. No course, no clearing audio, and no guru is going to do the work for you because that journey is within yourself.

 

Riley was not my dog

Riley on the front porch asking us to come out and play.

Riley: “Come on! We’ve got balls to chase!”

Riley passed away last week. Riley was not my dog.

Riley was, however, one of the best friends I ever had. He was an incredibly special dog, unlike any dog I have ever met. I am amazingly blessed to have known him, and I am incredibly grateful to the people who called him family that they were so open to letting Riley come visit us and spend time with our family. They, too, are pretty special people to know that they “owned” a dog with a heart bigger than anyone could contain. He showed love to everyone.

Riley was 14. He changed my life forever. And now I get to figure out what life without Riley looks like. I don’t like that thought. I’ll figure it out, but right now, I just want to share what an amazing being this dog was.

Max and Riley play ball in the front yard.

Meeting Riley

One day a few months after we moved to Shasta, Riley wandered over to smell things in our yard.  Max was horribly afraid of dogs after being attacked by a dog at his dad’s house in Texas, but I sent him outside with a ball. Riley LOVED balls, though trying to get the ball back from him was a challenge. Max and Riley bonded and became incredibly close over the next few days.

It was a perfect set up really. Riley came over to play for a few hours a day. Max got doggie time. I didn’t have extra fur to clean up! Riley was just awesome. One day, Max’s dad started loading Riley into his car as a surprise for Max when he picked him up from school. I had to remind him, “That’s not our dog; you can’t do that.” Riley looked at me as if to say, “What! I was gonna go for a ride!”

Riley started spending more and more time over at our house. He would sleep on our front porch. We put out a carpet remnant and a water bowl just for him. He walked with me and Claire every day. He had some days in which he was obsessive about being with us. Sometimes I felt guilty that he wasn’t with his own family. But then his mom would call him, and he’d go to her immediately. He knew who mom was. He just knew he had work to do with other people.

Like me. When I first arrived in Shasta, I was rather emotionally beat up from our time in Texas. Shasta was intended to be a place of healing and spiritual respite. I didn’t realize Riley was going to work on me… but I am grateful he did.

Alex and Riley swimming in the meadow. Riley going for the stick.

Alex and Riley swimming in the meadow.

There was one walk where I went with Riley to a meadow near our house. Riley got the goofy puppy energy going and pretty much tackled me. Then he just looked up at me with those eyes as if to say, “Sorry. I forgot you’re not a dog. But I wish you were.” He just gave so much love to me, to my kids. I loved Riley, I love Riley, more than I can describe.

Yet, he was not our dog.

A few months later, Max cried one day that we didn’t have a dog of our own. I said, “Go out and play with Riley.” He cried, “But he’s not OUR dog!”

I did a quick Craigslist search for golden retrievers and found Alex almost immediately.

Even with Alex in our life, Riley did not feel left out.

claire-alex-riley

Claire sits with Riley and Alex in the back door.

Alex and Riley became great friends almost immediately. I walked with them every day for the last four years around our neighborhood. Sometimes other dogs would come pack up with us. We went to the meadow. We played in the backyard. Sometimes we would just sit on the back patio together.

Alex loved Riley. They competed for balls. We walked together every morning. They swam in the creek whether it was 85° or 19°. They would disappear in the meadow chasing smells together. They would take turns rolling in things they shouldn’t have. They would take turns avoiding being turned into a horse by Claire. (Riley was much more patient with Claire than Alex.)

When I would put Alex out to do his business, he would look for Riley. If he hadn’t seen Riley in a while, he would go to Riley’s house and try to find him and encourage him to come over and “pack up” with us.

Alex, Riley, and that mountain.

Alex, Riley, snow, and that mountain.

Riley wasn’t a part of our family, but he was one of our best friends.

I wish had words of eloquence to describe how amazingly wonderful Riley was, how healing he was to us, how full of love and playfulness. Right now I just have words of sadness. I miss him terribly.

I never had enough time or energy to play with Riley as much as I wanted to. He didn’t mind. He waited patiently for me, for Max, for Claire, until we were ready. And when he felt we had enough of him, he moved on to another neighbor who he felt needed him.

A good friend mentioned that there are lots of new dogs in the neighborhood. There is the cycle of life and death, rebirth and we’re just in the middle of it. We always are. Sometimes we can distract ourselves from the cycle of life, but it’s always there underneath the surface.

I’m still grieving, and I guess I will be for a while.

Little pig, little pig, let us in!

Little pig, little pig, let us in!

Saying Goodbye

I knew about two months ago that Riley wasn’t doing very well. He came home from a trip with his family after Christmas, and he felt different. By early January, I could feel him slowing us dramatically on our walk around the neighborhood. One day, I just knew.

I cried a lot that day. I put Alex inside and stayed on the back porch with Riley. I told him I knew. I told him it was okay for him to leave, that when he was ready, I was going to be okay. I thanked him for the love and lessons of heart-centered living that he gave me. I told him he would be with me in spirit forever, and he was the greatest dog in the world. (I’m sorry Alex!)

I cried a lot that day. I felt that I had said my goodbyes. We had a few more walks, and I took some more videos of him to keep my memory of Riley alive.

Last week, when Claire was sick, I had a dream that Riley’s parents came to my house to let me know he had died. The next day, he disappeared, dying on his own terms in the neighborhood that was, and is, entirely Riley’s. I knew by Thursday when I hadn’t seen him, that the dream was his way of saying goodbye.

Riley was not my dog. But the Riley-shaped hole in my life is going to be there for a while.

 

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.