The Day I Met God in the Wood

The wind whistled, the birds sang, the colors whispered, the leaves danced, all in the wood where the boy stood. 

And he stood, silent and solemn, while the leaves pranced in the wind. With his eyes closed, and soul opened, a Voice whispered.

Hi.

Who’s there?

The voice smiled. Just Me, no worries love.

But who’s Me?

You are a boy, the Voice joked, I Am Me, the wind that caresses your cheek, the passion in your art, the colors in the sky. I Am everything.

Okay, and I’m sorry to pry but if You are all of those things, what should I call You?

You may call Me whatever you please, it makes no difference to Me.

But You must have a name…

Do I? A name defines who someone is, if you have no name, no one can define who you can be.

In church they call You God.

Yes, I go by that Name sometimes. The Voice danced around the boy as if playing with the leaves.

I heard a man near the subway call You Jesus, and another Krishna, and another Buddha, are those You as well?

What do you think? The Voice asked smiling, knowing the answer.

I don’t know. The boy said honestly. Can You just tell me?

Does the answer matter?

Well, kind of, how can I get to know You better if I don’t know which of those You are? And how do I know You are who You say You are and not an impostor? And how will I find You again if I don’t know who to call out for?

You’re doing it again.

Doing what?

Trying to define Me. You are talking with Me now and you didn’t need to know My name then, so why do you need to know it for the future?

Because there are those who say Jesus is God and others who think Jesus is a prophet, or vice versa, or etc, what if I get to know someone who is not You, but believing it is You?

That’s not possible.

What do You mean?

If you seek anything, with Me in mind, you will never miss Me.

So I could seek Jesus or Krishna or Buddha or Muhammad, I will find You again?

If you seek anything, with Me in mind, you will never miss Me.

That’s annoying.

The voice laughed. You keep trying to pinpoint me as if I was a human walking in a human body, or someone in a crowd, or someone you could spot from afar. You cannot pinpoint Me in a crowd because I am in the crowd and outside of the crowd. I Am like the wind; you cannot pinpoint exactly where the wind is, but you know the wind is there.

The wind whistled and blew over the boy’s body. How about this then? At church they say that Jesus is the only way to get to You, is that true? The boy was trying to trick the Being into an answer.

What is truth?

You didn’t answer my question.

Didn’t I? Hmm, maybe by answering My question, your question will be answered.

Ugh, fine. What is truth? He asked out loud to himself. Um… truth is what is right, what is factual, what is absolute, what is reality… I guess that is truth.

Okay, good.

That’s all You have to say? I thought by answering Your question, my question would be answered?

You are a feisty one and that is one of My favorite qualities about you.

My feistiness? Why is—You’re trying to change the subject!

The voice laughed. You answered your question earlier in the conversation without knowing you answered it.

When?

Think about it. You said truth is what is factual, what is right, what is absolute, what is reality…

Yeah, but the whole reason I asked that question was because everyone has a different idea of what is factual, and right, what is absolute, and what reality is…

The voice was silent but the wind blew the leaves around and around at the boy’s feet.

I see what You are doing and A) I don’t appreciate it and b) I don’t understand, if everyone has a different idea of what truth is, doesn’t that go against the definition of truth?

Think about it, I know you know the answer.

Gosh, being God, or whatever You are, You sure make me do a lot of the legwork here.

The voice belly laughed at that one. Comedy, that’s another quality I like in you.

The boy rolled his eyes. Okay, so I asked You if Jesus was the only way to get to You and You said—

I didn’t say anything.

Okay… You implied that everyone has a different idea of what truth is—

You said that.

Fine, You refused to answer my question when I said that everyone has a different idea of truth, which would mean that since everyone has their own idea of what truth is, like some people may say Jesus is the only way to know You and others would say otherwise, that… let me guess… ‘If you seek anything, with Me in mind, you will never miss Me’.

See, I did answer your question.

The boy dropped his head. You are relentless.

The voice chuckled and continued dancing with the leaves.

Then after several moments of silence, the boy asked another question. How can everyone have his or her own idea of truth? Isn’t it either right or wrong? Either Jesus is the only way, or He isn’t.

You are trying to define Me again.

Yes, I am, because in order to understand You I need to at least be able to define some part of You.

You are looking at this through the wrong lens.

What lens is that?

The human lens.

But I am a human, so I have to look at through that lens.

Yes, you are, and that’s another thing I love about you but I Am not human, you cannot put me in a box like you put other human things. I Am not defined by what’s right or wrong, what is yes or no, what is this or that. Human nature limits you to see things dually, but I Am not made of just two parts… but infinite parts. Saying there is only one particular way to know the whole Me not only limits Me but demeans my very Being. Answer Me this, do you know everything about your parents, or your friends?

No. I mean everyone has secrets.

But I do not? What makes you think you can even start to define Me if you cannot even define your own parents?

Well then tell me who You are so I can know You.

Sweet child, I know you want to understand Me, and one day you will but trust Me when I say that you know everything you need to know about Me in this moment.

But I don’t know anything! All I know is that You are here with me now.

Shouldn’t that be enough? If I told you anymore about who I Am, you wouldn’t have the pleasure to find Me on your own. I Am like a lover you met for the very first time. You wouldn’t want to know everything about that person immediately after meeting them would you? You would want to get to know them little by little because that is the process of falling in love. Love is a journey, you don’t want to ruin the trip by skipping to the end do you?

I guess not, but will I see You on this journey? What if I take a road that you aren’t on?

If you seek anything, with Me in mind, you will never miss me.

So the church is wrong, by saying there is only one path we can take to find You?

No, no one is wrong My love. The only thing that is wrong is saying you are right.

Your Thoughts Are Like Your Poop

Image

One constant theme that I’ve been trying to figure out is what holds us back in life?

I’ve found that the answer is pretty simple, but the application is pretty freaking hard.

The answer: Fear and Anxiety

The application:????????????

The most frustrating part of this answer is that fear and anxiety are really just mythical perspectives that we have created in our own minds. Sure, having acute anxiety keeps us safe in unsafe situations but the majority of our anxiety is completely and utterly fictional. It doesn’t actually exist in the physical world, only in our minds. Does that not blow anyone else’s mind? I know for me, the majority of my thoughts are based in future situations, future conversations, future, future, future things that haven’t happened yet or are completely imaginary and give me anxiety. Let’s just allow that to sink in because I’m still amazed that I put myself through this torture all the time.

So why do we allow ourselves to live in imaginary thoughts we have created within our minds? (Points to top of the article) Fear and Anxiety. If I could punch fear and anxiety in the throat, I totally would. Who is with me? 

Although this answer of fear and anxiety is incredibly frustrating, there is a majestic silver lining that became an ‘ah ha’ moment for me:

You are not your thoughts.

What? Of course I’m my thoughts. If I’m not my thoughts than who is?

Eckhart Tolle explains it like this:

“See if you can catch the voice in your head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact, you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground, there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.”

Tolle provides an incredibly thought provoking answer to the idea that we are not our thoughts and this is my elementary way of thinking about it. Your thoughts are a product of your inner being, the part of your soul that experiences and interacts with the world around you, but they are not a part of your inner being. Just like your poop is not a part of your body, but a product of it. (And yes I did just compare something to poop… so… yeah, that happened I guess) No one says that their poop is actually a part of their body like an arm or a leg (or maybe you do and that’s weird) so why do we automatically think that every thought we have is a part of our mind? The content we put into our brains matter just like what we put into our bodies matter. The more crap (no pun intended) we put in our minds or allow ourselves to think, the more negative our thoughts become. 

Here’s how I know we aren’t our thoughts. As humans, we constantly are comparing ourselves to others saying things like,

“That person is better looking than me.”

“That person is better than me.”

“I’m stupid.”

“I’m worthless.”

“Blah.”

“Blah.”

There finally came a time when I asked myself if any of that was true and I found that it wasn’t. How can someone be better looking than me? Who has defined what good looking is? Anyone who is an individual human being is the most beautiful “them” they can be. How is that person better than me? Do they have my same DNA or my same fingerprints? No. How am I stupid? Do we have the same brain? No. You are the only you, just like I am the only me, no matter how similar we are, we are completely and uniquely separate from each other.

If you don’t read anything else in this article read this: No one can make a better you than you because there is only one you! So every time you find yourself thinking any of these negative things about yourself know that you are not always those thoughts. You are unbelievably, most wonderfully, most uniquely, you. No one brings to the world the qualities you bring. So stand tall, put your head up, and don’t let anyone put their own expectations on you. 

And just like any diet, it takes time and effort to change these thought processes and you won’t be perfect at it. There will be times in your life where you will get down on yourself because we are human beings, unfortunately. However, if you practice self-compassion enough it will come second nature to you and eventually you will be able to have negative thoughts and allow them to pass through your mind like they came, a passing thought.

I suck at this, but I’m working on it. I’m a beginner at this too so don’t think I’m a professional thinker. Only allow positive thoughts about yourself and others into your mind. If you find yourself having a negative thought, let it pass. In the words of Frozen, “Let it go” and don’t let your own thoughts hold you back from being the person you were made to be.  

30 CHALLENGES FOR 30 DAYS

30 challenges for 30 days is an opportunity for everyone and anyone who wants to make a conscious decision to make small changes in their life now with the hope of creating big changes for the future.

You can watch this video if you want to learn more about the challenge and why I’m doing it.

I know you all have been dying to see my list of challenges… the anticipation is probably killing you… even in this moment…

Here they are!

  1. Write a I Like This About You note/text/email each day for someone
  2. Talk to one stranger each day
  3. Take one picture each day
  4. Re-evaluate one long-held belief each day
  5. Research and apply for jobs
  6. Take a 30 min walk each day
  7. Practice self compassion and self love
  8. Try a new recipe each day
  9. Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days
  10. Read a chapter each day
  11. Study a topic you’d like to master each day
  12. Read an article on an important issue each day
  13. Pick one bad habit you already have and ditch it for 30 days
  14. Inspire yourself each day
  15. Get fit for 30 days!
  16. Think of an accomplishment you’d like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, a year each day
  17. Practice a random skill everyday
  18. Wake up early each day
  19. Don’t lie for 30 days
  20. Do something that scares you every day
  21. Don’t complain for an entire day
  22. Meditate each day
  23. Practice one completely selfless act each day
  24. Keep an audio journal
  25. Learn a new word each day
  26. Create a bucket list— at least one each day
  27. Use words that encourage happiness
  28. Write down a positive thought a day
  29. Learn an instrument #piano
  30. Be present and don’t mentally live in the future or past

Join me in the month of May by choosing some of your own challenges and to be the best person you can be!

You can check back occasionally to see how my month has been going. I’ll be posting videos, blogs, etc etc, honestly who knows what this month will bring.

 

Here are the websites I picked my 30 from if you want to pick and choose some different challenges:

http://www.highexistence.com/30-challenges-for-30-days/

http://thoughtbrick.com/lifestyle/hundred-30-day-challenge-ideas/

http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/25/30-challenges-for-30-days-of-growth/

Is Finding True Happiness Possible Part 2

Since this is the second post on finding true happiness I’ll quickly sparknote the last post for you:

1) Don’t base your present feelings and mood on past memories and future worries.

2) You’re not perfect and you will fail but you are a perfect you and there is no one else like you.

There, that was painless right?

The next step to attempt happiness is equally as challenging as the first.

Be Independent:

1) Get To Know Yourself

If you need introductions to yourself just look into a mirror say, “Hi, my name is (say your name) and you are… oh silly me, I’m looking in a mirror.”

First, being independent doesn’t mean you are 100% independent from all things. I don’t want you to act like everyone around you has a deathly plague and avoid all human contact. As we talked about before, we are imperfect human beings. If we were perfect beings then we would need no one but our minds to get us through the day. However, we are flawed and therefore, will be at the least mildly dependent on something but that dependence shouldn’t keep you from becoming your best possible self.

** Let me mention that I am not talking about dependence on a spiritual level because that is a completely different topic and conversation. I am talking about dependence on a human being or something else non spiritual**

Independence in this post will mean getting to know yourself inside and out and falling in love with that person. It’s about finding your identity. Identity defined is, “The fact of being who or what a person or thing is” (Definition.com) It’s who you are. It’s the thing that remains when you have nothing. Raw identity is the thing that remains when you have nothing else. If you have nothing else, then all you have is your true self apart from all outside factors.

Take a second to think about all the outside factors that influence you throughout the day. (Family, friends, co-workers, random citizens, etc)

Don’t define yourself through other’s definitions of you. You define yourself and the only way to define yourself is by knowing who you are, what you believe, what you like and what you dislike, etc.

A perfect example of this happened just last week when I posted the first post on happiness. In my mind I knew that there was a possibility that no one other than my parents (Hi mom and dad) would read that post. I hoped that wasn’t the case, but I knew it was a good possibility and I had to prepare myself for that realization. I had to mentally allow myself to detach my self-esteem from how many views my post got.

That was hard.

Since I am a child of the media generation I, unfortunately, do allow my self-esteem to be partially based on responses through social media. I was depending on that to define my worth. My worth. Isn’t that sad? But that’s the reason I’m writing this to you because no amount of recognition or views or texts or interactions will define you. If at the end of the day all you have is “Likes” and “Comments” and “Good jobs”, which may bring momentary worth but deep inside, you still have unhappiness and low self-esteem and the only way to raise your happiness is to become independent from other’s defining your worth.

2) Independence and Relationships

As I mentioned, we are imperfect beings and therefore we will be, at best, mildly dependent on something or someone. However, there is a line. Dependence by definition.com means, “Requiring someone or something for financial, emotional, or other support.” It is also defined as, “Unable to do without.” When you are dependent on others emotionally, mentally and physically you are allowing your identity to be defined by someone else’s reactions to your needs. You and only you know your needs. Someone can say what they think your needs are but at the end of the day you understand yourself better than anyone. Eventually, your dependence on someone to tell you how to think and act will lead to your identity being defined through someone else’s eyes.

We’ve all seen that couple that starts dating and then does everything together and starts doing all the same activities and are attached at the hip and ignore all their friends.

Yeah… no.

My guess is that when one of them is having a bad day, the other also has a bad day and that’s not healthy. Plus why would anyone want that? If I’m happy, let me be happy. If your significant other is sad. Let them be sad, but you don’t need to be. Being independent doesn’t take away the empathy in relationships, it just adds identity.

Now I know some of you are thinking, “Well I expect my spouse or significant other to be there for me emotionally, mentally and physically, does that mean I’m doing it wrong?” Not at all! However, expecting someone to be there for you doesn’t mean you are dependent on them. You expect them to be there to process a bad day with you or to listen to your rants but if they aren’t there when you need them you have the ability to cope individually.

People often say, “Oh my spouse completes me. I am incomplete without them.”

Stop. If that’s you, re-read that sentence.

“I am incomplete without them.” I hate to tell you this but if you were incomplete before meeting someone you are still incomplete now. Identity, as said above, is who you are. No one can complete your life puzzle but you. You have the missing piece, not someone else. A physical person cannot fill a mental gap. When someone says they are incomplete without someone they don’t mean that they are missing a leg and that other person completes their body. They are saying that the physical person fills a mental void they’ve been longing for. That void may be temporarily filled but eventually, that person will disappoint you and that gap will reappear. That isn’t a bash on your significant other’s ability to console you because we are all human. We are all imperfect right? So why would another imperfect being complete our already imperfect self? I’m not mathematician but I’m pretty sure two imperfect human beings don’t make one perfect being. It just makes two imperfect people.

Now this doesn’t mean don’t have relationships. Please do! There’s nothing more special then having someone to bond with. I’m just suggesting you take a step back and redefine your expectations for that relationship. Instead of seeing your partner as your “other half”, see them as another complete 100% person. You are both a 100% imperfect human being coming together and learning and growing together. Neither completes the other but encourages each other to be the best 100% they can be.

Being independent takes courage. It’s tough at the beginning because once you close the flood gates that have been running for years, it’s overwhelming and silent at the same time. You may be alone in your thoughts but you don’t have to be alone on your journey. Talk about your journey to independence with people, tell them what you are learning and the things you are struggling with. Ask for different point of views but know you don’t have to adopt everyone’s point of view.

I overheard conversation between a friend and another woman who had lost a son to suicide. My friend told the woman, “You are so brave.” And the woman said, “To live, you need to be.”

Be brave. Fight for independence. Live.

Is Finding True Happiness Possible Part 1

You bet your bottom dollar it is. If anyone tells you that happiness isn’t attainable you look them straight in the eye and give them a hug. Then smile at them and walk away.

I’m only going to write about two aspects of change in this post for a few reasons: 1) No one would read a super long blog post, myself included and 2) No one can change everything about their life immediately. Change takes time and change is a step by step process. Let me also mention that I am no expert and this is my humble opinion.

1) Stop Worrying about the Past and Future:

My love for C.S. Lewis is unexplainable and one quote from him that always sticks out in my mind is, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” We live our lives in one of three places; the past, the future, or the present. For me, the latter seems to be the place I spend the least time. Isn’t there something wrong with that? It’s no wonder I find myself unhappy at times because look where my mind is, the past, which already happened and the future, which hasn’t happened yet. Rarely do I find myself living in the only place that’s real — the present.

You still with me? If not, do one jumping jack and laugh really loudly then come back. My favorite part is still coming.

One of my favorite quotes is by an unknown author and it says, “Thinking, dwelling, reminiscing on our past, clearly defines something that wasn’t meant to last.” The past is tricky because it’s filled with only memories. The problem with that is that our minds tend to only dwell on the memories that stick out to us and the ones that tend to stick out to us are the ones that made us feel something unique. For me, I typically always feel fairly tired and fairly content and those feelings don’t stick out to me because those are feelings that are pretty consistent in my life. However, when someone makes me feel angry or sad or worthless, those are feelings that are unique to my daily life and therefore stick out from my “typical” feelings. When these unique feelings come up, my mind wants to make sense of them and the only way to make sense of them is to think about them. That constant thinking can change our mood because it’s hard to be happy when your mind is so focused on figuring out anger or feelings of worthlessness.

So what can we do?

That’s a fair question, I’m glad you asked. The only thing you can do is understand that the only person that can make you feel anything (anger, fear, worthlessness) is yourself. Someone may say or do things that bring up those feelings but all those are are just words from someone who is not you. Their words are not your identity. You create your identity. If someone calls you a slut or a doushe bag, whether you deserved it or not, who cares, those are just words and words are only as powerful as you let them be.

(end rant) #keepreadingon

So back to the past.

Whatever happened in your past was meant to stay in that moment of time. That doesn’t mean you don’t still have that scar or memory but it means that memory and scar have no power over you. This world has a lot of evil in it and bad things happen to us. Some of those bad things are down right evil and you know what? You deserve to feel angry when someone hurts you. But don’t let that anger linger. What good will it do? It will just cause you to feel uneasy and unhappy. True happiness comes when you can look at a situation and say, “You know, that sucked and I feel hurt but if I choose to let anger and unhappiness dwell in my mind then I’m allowing someone else have control over my life and my happiness.” Do you want that? I surely do not. People will take advantage of us and we will make mistakes but I want to tell you that no one can make you feel inner peace but yourself. C.S. Lewis said once, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” You control your life and the direction it goes. You need to know that hardships will come. We need to look at hardships as a means for creating greatness. With every hardship comes a lesson and with every lesson comes wisdom and with wisdom, you can be extraordinary and radiate happiness.

Now to the future.

It’s funny how we stress over the future. We stress about school projects, illnesses we don’t have, interviews, future expenses, the list is infinite. I’ll let you in on a little secret that someone told me once. Come closer so you can hear. Are you listening? Open your ears and mind and soul so that this fact can penetrate every anxiety or fear of the future.

Okay, here it is… the future doesn’t exist.

Did you hear me? Okay, I’ll repeat it: The future does NOT exist. It only exists in our minds, in that fantasy world we have created. The only thing that does exist is this very moment. You reading this is the only real thing in your life right now. Look around you right this moment. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste? Close your eyes and take those senses in because where you are right this moment is the only thing you have in your life at this particular moment. In ten minutes you could be dead, heck, in 10 seconds you could be dead, but right now… you are alive. I give you permission to say, “Eff the anxieties and fears that keep me from being in this moment.” You are alive. So live.

** My favorite part is next so If your eyes need a break close them and spin around 26 times. Then finish reading. **

2) Understand Your Imperfection:

Now I know all this is a lot to take in and it seems overwhelming because it is and you won’t be perfect at this. Which brings me to my second and last point of this post:

You’re not perfect so stop beating yourself up when you mess up.

Striving for complete perfection will only bring you one thing, unhappiness. You are a human being, therefore, you will fail eventually. It’s inevitable and the sooner you give yourself that permission, the permission to be imperfect at times, that pressure is released. I don’t mean to say don’t strive to be the best person you can be, I’m saying don’t strive to be the person you’re not. You are an imperfect human being but you are a perfect you. So smile and know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the fights, the cries, the anger, the laughs, the dark nights, the mountain tops, and valley lows, all of those brought you to where you are.

Love yourself because if you won’t love yourself first, who will?

Feel free to comment on your thoughts. Or don’t. Whatever floats your boat.

#postgradproblems

Well.

Here’s the main idea. Since graduating from college I’ve had at least 17 existential crisis’ a day and I really don’t know what to do about them except to write them down in hopes I will understand them better. This blog is for me and my thought processes but I figured that others in similar situations probably have the same questions.

My grammar is not perfect, nor do I want it to be for this. I’m writing as if I’m writing it in a journal or something else informal so don’t judge me.

So what is the goal of this thing?

The answer. Happiness and Peace.

“Are they obtainable?” You may ask.

“Is air obtainable?” I would respond.

Let’s do this.