Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to get 'LUCKY'

My son Alexender and my daughter Eden are now six months old. Already my children have inspired many topic ideas about which to write. I am sure much of my writing in the future will be some how related to them. The birth of my twins changed me in many ways. My priorities changed instantly. My perspective also changed.

Having a boy and a girl at the same time also reminded me how fortunate I am. Many people would say I am a lucky guy. What is luck? I am certainly blessed. There are many thoughts about luck. Even people who would say they are not superstitious, have lucky talisman or rituals. Lucky socks, rabbits feet, or kisses for good luck may have no effect, but they are widely accepted as reasonable. Some say we make our own luck. Thomas Jefferson wrote, " I am a great believer in luck, and find the harder I work the more I have of it".

Luck is more about perception than experience. Everyday we drive to work never saying, 'wow I made it, I feel lucky.' If we were pulled from a car after a bad accident we might pause to think, my car is totaled, but I feel lucky to be alive. Finding fortune in a bad situation is a key element to blissful living. If we can learn or grow from what seems to be a bad experience, the good experiences are valued as even greater blessings. Appreciating even the smallest blessings as good fortune, makes the big blessings more meaningful.

Being lucky starts with feeling lucky.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Welcome Alexender and Eden

After six months without a blog update, it is important for my return blog to welcome my children into this world. Alexender (Xen) Mark Porteous and Eden Liora Porteous were born on April 15, 2010. It was the most amazing event of my life. The emotional high was incredible. It has been a fantastic journey already and keeps getting better every day.
Their names are very special. We spent a long time deciding on them. I had been working on a list of my own since I was twelve years old. My first name is Charles, as was my father's first name before he had it changed officially to his childhood nick name Skipp. My grand father and great grand father also had the first name Charles. I was told it was a family tradition that led all the way back to the British thrown. As a young man I used to think about names that went well with Charles. I was excited to pass on the family name. Having a daughter never crossed my mind. My wife was very pleased when my father told me that he had legally changed his and that I should not feel any obligation to name my son Charles. Instead Renee suggested that our son share my middle name, Mark. His first name is our own little twist on Alexander, which means protector. By spelling and pronouncing it AlexEnder, we can abbreviate and call him Xen, a different spelling for an Eastern philosophy of calmness and being in the present moment. Eden is a place of unsurpassed beauty and tranquility. It is a oneness with God and creation. Eden's middle name is Liora. It is Hebrew for God's gift of light to me. I never could have imagined the joy a baby girl would bring.

Many years ago a friend of mine was having his first child. Someone asked why he would want to bring a child into this messed up world. He answered, "I believe my child will make this world a better place". That is what I hope for my children- that the world will be a better place because they were in it. My world is already a better place. I know they will be a positive force of change.

Welcome Eden and Xen. Your daddy loves you. I am so grateful to be blessed with the honor of raising you and filling your hearts with love and joy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crabs-in-a-bucket Theory

The people in our lives reflect who we are. In different phases of life we may attract different types of people. As we grow and evolve as individuals the people in our lives will grow with us, fade away, or hold us back. We can influence others but we can not change them. Change can only came from within. If we make the conscious choice to improve ourselves, we may also have to make choices about the people with whom we associate. This is not always easy. We do not want to leave behind the ones we love. If they are not ready to make the same choice to evolve, we can allow them to keep us from our own goals or we can separate ourselves enough to move toward our personal goals. As we achieve our goals, we can offer encouragement and guidance. In any recovery or self-improvement program it is recommended to separate oneself from the people that you are used to being around, because it is often those people that were involved with the behaviors you are working to overcome. Any successful person will tell you they surround themselves with like minded people. When we are surrounded my positive motivated people, we lift each other up and propel each other forward. Wanting the best for others, attracts people who want the best for us. Operating from a place of limitless possibility, we do not need to compete to be successful. We can rejoice in the success of others.

Our society does not promote the idea of limitless potential. We tend to act from a state of lacking. We are taught to think another person’s success diminishes our own. We measure our level of success or failure by comparison to others. This is the cause of the crab-in-a-bucket theory. The crab-in-a-bucket theory refers to the behavior of crabs when placed inside a bucket. While a single crab may find a way to escape, when several crabs are put in a bucket, none will escape. As one crab claws its way to the top, the others will pull it back down. This is a true phenomenon. Crab mentality is also a metaphor for the human response to self-improvement in others. Often when people see others advancing themselves, they subconsciously reach out to hold them back.

John and Matt had been friends for a long time. They went to bars to drink and pick up women at least a few nights every week. They would laugh about being hung over and calling in sick for work. They did not have meaningful relationships. Women were merely a conquest. Eventually, Matt began to see the harm he was doing to himself; physically, emotionally and spiritually. He was sacrificing so many goals and desires for the same shallow experiences week after week. He decided he wanted to make a change. He told John he did not want to behave like that anymore. Instead of encouraging Matt to better himself, John took it as an insult. He saw nothing wrong with the social rut they had dug for themselves. He was comfortable with the way things were. He did not want change. John tried to drag Matt down any way he could. He even used guilt to try to keep Matt from changing. Subconsciously, he was afraid that if Matt found happiness elsewhere, it would reflect a weakness in him. Instead of seeing an opportunity for personal growth, he chose to hold his friend back.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever been in Matt’s or John’s position? I would love to hear your stories about crabs in a bucket.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Middle Way

While I see the value of being free from attachments, self-denial can become an obsession. Buddha did not achieve enlightenment until he discovered the ‘Middle Way’.

Siddhartha Guatama was born around 563 BC. According to the traditional biography his father was King Suddhodana. After examining the infant, the hermit seer Asita announced that the child would become either a great king or a great holy man. He was given the name Siddhartha, meaning “the one who achieves his aim”. Wanting his son to be a great king, not a holy man, King Suddhodana, shielded his son from religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering. He built three palaces to isolate him from the outside world. When he was 29, he went out to meet his subjects. His father did his best to hide those who were old, sick or suffering. When he saw an old man, his charioteer explained that all people get old. Later he saw a rotting corpse, a diseased man, and an ascetic. When Siddhartha discovered the poverty and disease that existed in the kingdom outside the walls of his palace, he renounced his life of wealth and luxury for one of asceticism. Giving up all his belongings, he turned to begging for alms in the street. In search of enlightenment, he pushed his austerities even further, by practising deprivation of nearly all worldly goods. One day, after nearly starving himself to death, he collapsed in a river while bathing and nearly drowned. After that, he began to reconcider his path. In his quest to give up attachments, he found asceticism had become a crutch and was keeping him from enlightenment just as much as the wealth and materialism from which he had escaped. Upon deep meditation, he discovered what Buddhists now refer to as ‘The Middle Way’; a moderation between self-indulgence and self-mortification.

After 49 days of meditation, at age 35, Guatama attained enlightenment. From that point on he was known as the Buddha or “The Awakened One.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abstinence of Lent

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian holiday of Lent. The purpose of this forty day long event is to prepare, through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial, for the annual commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. These practices, which are intended to encourage spiritual growth, could also be called, meditation, forgiveness, charity, and abstinence. Regardless of religious belief, these disciplines each have obvious merit for enriching one’s soul.

Lent is most commonly known as a time of asceticism. The adjective "ascetic" derives from the ancient Greek term askēsis (practice, training or exercise). Originally associated with any form of disciplined practice, the term ascetic has come to mean anyone who practices a renunciation of worldly pursuits to achieve higher intellectual and spiritual goals. Asceticism is closely related to the Christian concept of chastity and might be said to be the technical implementation of the abstract vows of renunciation. Those who practice ascetic lifestyles do not consider their practices virtuous in themselves but pursue such a lifestyle in order to encourage, or 'prepare the ground' for, mind-body transformation. Some forms of Christianity and the Indian religions teach that salvation and liberation involve a process of mind-body transformation effected by exercising restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of these religions lived extremely austere lifestyles refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life, but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence.

In the popular imagination, asceticism may be considered obsessive or even masochistic in nature However, the askēsis enjoined by religion functions in order to bring about greater freedom in various areas of one's life (such as freedom from compulsions and temptations) and greater peacefulness of mind (with a concomitant increase in clarity and power of thought). As with most holidays, Lent is a symbolic gesture. It reminds us of spiritual excercises practiced by the most revered spiritual leaders. Although I do not consider myself a religious person, I am a spiritual person. I embrace any discipline that encourages my own spiritual growth. Letting go of attachments is a personal goal I have set for myself. This does not mean I do not allow myself to enjoy possessions or indulging in pleasure of the flesh, including food and alcohol. It is only the attachment or addiction to these things that I resist. Observing Lent is a good way to address our addictions or attachments and prove to ourselves that our free will is more powerful than our urges. For this reason, I appreciate the value of this religious holiday.

Advice by Example

I have been recording my experiences, in the form of poetry, since I was 13 years old. Writing helps me understand my feelings about my different experiences. Writing down my feelings allows me to organize, and express my thoughts. It seems to be a positive way of venting my powerful emotions. Re-reading my own words allows me to review my experiences from an outside perspective. I am able to detach myself from my situation, so I can offer myself guidance. It is always easier to advise someone of a situation in which we are not involved. When we find ourselves in the same situation, do we follow our own advice?

Advise by Example

All the answers live within us,
But we have been taught
Not to look for answers there.

Without conscious thought,
We search in others,
To see our own reflection.

We can see, though them,
The faults in need of correction
To improve ourselves.

Unaware we are looking in a mirror,
It is easy to share invaluable advice
And never know all its worth to us.

Of all we have offered,
How often do we accept and use
All that we have given?

Little advice is worth more,
In our own lives,
Than that which we give away.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrating Romance

As with many Christian holidays, the origin of St Valentine’s Day is somewhat unclear. There are different opinions on which Saint Valentine is being revered. Like Christmas and Easter, St. Valentine’s Day is also a mix of Christian and Pagan tradition.
St. Valentine’s Day, is often referred to as a ‘Hallmark Holiday’. For this reason, I always believed Hallmark was responsible for creating the resurgence of this modern holiday to sell more cards. After doing a little research, it looks like Valentine’s Day may have actually been responsible for creating Hallmark and the entire greeting card industry. Exchanging Valentine’s, or cards, is the oldest tradition of the holiday. In 1847, Esther Holland developed a successful business in her Massachusetts home making Valentines cards. Years later, other gifts like candies and flowers became popular gifts. In the 1980’s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine’s Day as an occasion to give jewelry.
All holidays are meant as symbolic reminders. How we choose to celebrate any holiday or event is up to us. I see Valentine’s Day as a reminder to be grateful for the romance and intimacy I am blessed to share throughout the year. It is a special time to reflect on love. Love is so important, it deserves a holiday. This day should not be an obligation of romance, but an opportunity for sharing. It brings attention to the great desire for romance. This can be an annual lesson on ‘how to be romantic’. It can motivate us each year to think of original ways to express our love. The expression of love is as important to the giver just as it is to the recipient. It is the great joy of giving.
What greater gift can we give than our love? Demonstrating love in our actions every day is the best way to show what is in our hearts. During this St Valentine’s Day, I am thankful for all the love in my life. Most of all, I am thankful for all the years of sharing love with my beautiful wife.
My holiday wish for all is to love yourself and others. Only as much as we love, can we be loved in return. Fill your hearts with love and live in joy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hope for a Brighter Day

In my blog titled, 'Tolerance', I included a poem, 'The Darkest Hours'. I wrote it while my mother was going through chemotherapy almost 20 years ago. After reading it, she asked me to write about the dawn that follows the darkness. The possibility of a bright new day helped her through her darkness. Tolerance is a culmination of faith, acceptance and forgiveness. These strengths, coupled with hope, led my mother through a very difficult time. Life, filled with love, has been her reward.

We all go through difficult times. When we make it through, it is important to look back and learn from our experience. It is also important to look ahead and see how we can grow from the obstacles we have conquered. Appreciating our achievments, reminds us of our potential. Every new day offers opportunities to actualize our potential. It is up to us to make the most of each new day.

Rise and Shine

Declaring war,
Dawn attacks the dying night.
Crawling over the horizon
Comes the army of growing light.

As trumpets sound,
From darkness you awake,
To find the night’s been captured
And the day is yours to take.

Armed with strength and courage,
That night has given you,
You are prepared
To do what you must do.

It is time to rise and shine.
The day has now advanced.
While threatening your demise
It still offers you a chance.

To take the spoils of the day
You plot your battle plan
Calling on every ounce of wisdom
To make the best attack you can.

Striking out at what’s to come
Use all that you have learned.
With light now on your side,
Surely the tides have turned.

In dark of night,
You set your goals.
Your mental strength
Enriched your soul.

By light of day,
Work through life’s chores.
You’ve made it through the darkest hours
Now claim the day as yours!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Divine Workplace

What we do for a living does not define who we are. We are that which brings us joy. Let’s find what brings us joy; family, art, music, science or whatever, and be that. Until we find a way to make money at what we enjoy, we can find joy in what we do to make money. What ever we do, by finding joy in doing it, we find we like it better. In an office, a factory, a classroom or at home, what we do is temporary. How we do it determines who we chose to be.

God is everywhere, including the work place. I am a part of the company where I work, just as I am a part of the Whole. I represent both and they represent me. How can we feel we are separate from any part of life, much less our chosen occupation? The work we do reflects who we are. Engineering, manufacturing, sales or service; each offers different challenges and opportunities. The greatest opportunity of any work place is to practice spiritual development, by acting for the highest good at all times.

I am a writer. It brings me joy. I am a salesman. It is the work I do for income. I find joy in my work, by seeing it as a field where I am able to practice and exercise my spiritual beliefs. Here I am writing (which I love to do) about the joy I find in what I do (for a living). Finding joy in what I do makes my job better for me, the company and the customers.

We all spend much of our lives competing for energy and attention. ‘Sales’ is a very competitive field. Competition motivates self and others. Motivation comes from inspiration. Without motivation, inspiration is just thought. Inspiration is the creative idea. Motivation is the act of following through. Just like a sport, different people have different qualities that make them successful at what they do. When we see our work in perspective with who we are, the way we work creates the person we become. Pressure to compete for success can challenge one’s ethics. Success can be measured with earthly or spiritual barometers. When we strive for the higher good, we find greater joy in the material gain.

Ethics -- The virtues of Competition

Practicing virtues and ethics at work develops them in our personal life. Every interaction we have with another person is an opportunity to improve ourselves. These opportunities come from customers, coworkers and venders. The choices we make through out our work day make us who we are. When we do what is right, there is no need to rationalize our choices.

     Honesty- Think, Speak and Act with Integrity.

     Respect- Help others
     Appreciate- Challenges/Opportunities

     Faith- Infinite Source. There is enough for all.
     Acceptance- Those who play by different rules
     Forgiveness- ‘Letting go’ of mistakes or bad choices

Friday, February 5, 2010


When speaking of tolerance, I am referring to both; forbearance, the capacity to endure pain or hardship and the act of allowing. Having the fortitude to withstand suffering and being tolerant of people with different beliefs than our own are both integral parts of spiritual evolution. Having faith, being able to accept, and being able to forgive all contribute to our strength of tolerance.

Faith is the cornerstone of all virtues. Faith does not mean following blindly. It is an internal awareness, a knowing. It is belief in a Higher Consciousness. This knowing allows us to exercise acceptance. Acceptance sounds so passive. It can conjure up an image of weakness, when actually it is a great strength. In times of great difficulty, acceptance is the first step toward progression.

The Darkest Hours

The darkness is upon you
As it has been, so many times before.
You remember yesterday
And all that it has brought you.
You look into tomorrow
And wonder what’s in store.

The day is done.
The night has now begun.

From the eerie night, your dreams run wild,
Making spirit sore and anxieties compile,
With thoughts of fear and sorrow.
Oh these darkest hours; only a break in time
To test your spirit and your mind,
In preparation for tomorrow.

During this temporary state,
While conscience lays in wait,
Allow yourself to be replenished..
Unleash your mind,
From the burdens of the day.
Use this time to remind yourself
things will be okay.

Appreciate the darkness.
You know it can not last.
Time comes and goes so fast.
Brief is the moment of darkness,
Compared to the blinding light.
Embrace the darkness.
Do not fear the night.

From these darkest hours,
Build strength and courage
To face a brighter day.
Be ready for the morning
The dawn is on its way.

Darkness represents suffering. There are many forms of suffering. Negative emotions, including, loneliness, depression and hate, cause discomfort and pain. These emotions are reactions to experiences we encounter. The suffering is caused by the emotional reaction, not the experience. It is easy to blame the situation for our reaction. Instead of finding blame or excuses for our situation, perhaps we can look for the best response to better ourselves. Often, suffering is seen as some karmic punishment. This can create a sentiment of blaming victims; If something bad happens, it was a self imposed reflection of thoughts or behaviors. People get understandably defensive when they think someone is telling them the bad things that happen to them are a punishment for something they did. Karma is more than just punishment and reward. Bad things do happen to good people. How we react to them can either enrich our lives or hinder our progress. We all go through dark times. That experience can be different to everyone. By embracing our experiences, good or bad, and learning from them, we find that we can grow from any situation. As we do, the darkness becomes just a cycle of life. We do not need to fear. As we grow through the darkness, we gain a greater appreciation for the light. The more we appreciate, the more we seem to have to appreciate.

This evening, my wife Renee and I saw a movie theater production of Dr. Wayne Dyer's, 'Wishes Fulfilled', with good friends. It was a wonderful experience. I will be writing much more about it. He spoke briefly on this topic of suffering and the great inspiration that has come from it. Earlier that night, we were talking about another friend who wanted to share her poetry, but she was afraid to express pain and darkness, when I am only writing positive stuff.  She inspired me to write this blog tonight to discuss tolerance. More than fortitude, I wanted to emphasize acceptance and non-judgment. I hope everyone who reads this will feel not only comfortable, but encouraged to share your comments, thoughts, or feelings. This is a judgment free zone.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Virtues of Love

Knowing that I am indeed a spirit in a human shell, and that I have free will to go in any direction I wish, where do I go from here? What is my ultimate destination? I want to elevate myself. I want to be closer to God, whatever God may be. All That Is, The Universal Power, the name we give it is irrelevant. The process of developing an intimate relationship with God is life’s challenge and life’s reward. This is how we learn to Be Love. This is why we are here. This is not a process which occurs overnight. It is a goal to work towards. Each of us can choose to work toward this goal at our own pace, or we can choose to ignore it all together. It is our choice. If you feel any desire to grow in this direction, I believe the following pages will be helpful and will explain my understanding of the virtues necessary to build human relationships founded in true, complete love. Although I have a long way to go, it is my goal to master these virtues. By practicing the knowledge I am now sharing with you, I aim not only to grow personally, but also to be an example, that we can all evolve toward the same goal. It is through our human relationships that we learn the skills necessary to build a real relationship with God. These skills or virtues that I am about to discuss are not new. They are taught in many cultures, religions and philosophies. What I am offering is my understanding of, and experience with, these important skills.
Some religions speak of the seven deadly sins and there corresponding virtues. Buddha speaks of three virtues; Tolerance, Compassion and Truth. Truth is pinnacle. Trust and honesty are vital in a healthy relationship. It is our choice to use them. Truth is bigger than just our relation to others. With our human eyes, we can not see Truth completely. We see all things with prejudice of our human perspective. Not even from the tallest mountain, can the whole world be seen by man. TRUTH is omniscient. With such limited perspective, it would be easy for us to say we are only responsible for the truth we know. It must be our own choice to listen to what we know is right inside, not what has been taught to us from others. COMPASSION is appreciation and respect. ‘Namaste’ is a greeting of respect. It is interpreted from Hindu to mean, ‘the Divinity in me perceives and adores the Divinity in you’. What a beautiful expression. Compassion is giving. It is an expression from within, a connection with the source. It is the Buddha nature. TOLERANCE is forbearance and fortitude. Three great strengths; Faith, Acceptance, and Forgiveness build Tolerance. Faith is a belief in Truth. Faith is a choice. With or without Faith, Truth will continue to exist.


Appreciation is recognizing value. In fact, when something is said to increase in value, it appreciates. A rare old coin buried in a jar has the same value as equal denominations. When it is recognized as special or rare, then it’s value increases. When we see every individual as unique, therefore extremely rare, we can appreciate their value. Value leads to respect. Respect, seeing the Divinity in others and in ourselves, creates a sense of equality and oneness. Respecting all life leads to compassion for all life. Compassion brings healing and wellness into the world.

Cost of Appreciation

Easier to want what I don’t have
Than to appreciate what I do,
I often wonder why I can’t acquire happiness
or why my wants and wishes
don’t come true.

When my wishes do come true,
I see more to wish for
Instead of gratitude.

When focusing on my wants,
it’s difficult to see
All of the gifts
I already have received.

Gifts we take for granted
are eventually taken away.
Value is more apparent
when loss is the price we pay.

So happiness comes from loss,
or so it would seem.
Until we are happy for ALL we have
happiness is still a dream.

Be content with what you have;

Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking
The whole world belongs to you.
- Lao Tzu

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Science of Mind and Spirit

We are more than our physical bodies. Each individual is composed of three very unique components. We are body, mind and spirit. Psychology, the study of the mind, was considered to be a branch of philosophy until 1879, when psychology was developed as an independent scientific discipline in Germany and the United States. The mind is so mysterious it was considered to be philosophical, not scientific. Just as we continue to learn about the physical world, our understanding of the human mind continues to expand. Understanding the power of conscious thought is an important part of understanding who or what we are.

Theories can be debated in both physics and psychology, but both subjects are now accepted as science. The controversy gets far more intense when we discuss the theories, or even the existence of spirit. If we thought the mind was a mystery, the spirit would seem like magic. How do we scientifically prove the existence of spirit, or how it works?

Most of the science we know today has been discovered within the last 500 years. Before then, we were still able to use the laws of physics, even though we may not have known how or even why they worked. Simple tools, like the lever, were used long before Sir Isaac Newton studied the effects of gravitational pull. Perhaps some day all human minds will comprehend the human spirit as an integral part of the whole human being. For now, we can look at several simple analogies.

There are things we can detect, that we can not see; wind for instance. We can look outside a window and know that it is windy. We can see and even hear the affect the wind has on the trees and other objects. Wind itself can not be seen or heard. Its effect on the environment is what we see and hear. If that example is too elementary, the same thinking is used in science for both the macrocosm of space and the microcosm of quantum physics. Quantum physics is essentially the study of atoms. Studying these tiny particles often requires a different process of observation. Sometimes it is necessary to measure the effects of particles by their interaction with other particles. Much of what we know about objects in space is the result of observation of their effects on other objects. Planets and black holes have been discovered by the way light reacts with them. One hundred years ago, we could not prove they existed. Just because we can not prove the spirit, does not mean it does not exist. Perhaps someday science will advance to prove the existence of the human spirit. For now, we can have faith that the evidence we see and feel in our lives is assurance enough.

To Live Without Faith

I looked into the future
and feared that I was lost.
I tried to believe
that I would make it through okay,
by searching for hidden answers
and that faith would lead the way.

The harder I searched
to find a path to follow,
the more I feared there was no way out.
My faith was pushed to the very edge.
That’s when the ‘voice’ began to shout.

“Your faith is empty.
It will bring you nowhere.
it will leave you dying in this wretched place.”
That was all it took
to see my fear and look it in the face.

Then I responded back,
I would rather die in faith
than to live without it.
I’ll stand and face my fears.”
And so I did…
…as I watched them disappear.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Power of Intention

Along with what we think, say and do, what we give, affects what we receive. Not only what we give physically, but mentally and spiritually, are returned to us. The 'Golden Rule' exists in most religions and philosophies. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' is a simple rule of respect. On a much deeper level, it is a rule of karma. It is not punishment or reward, it is simply a law of creation; we get what we give. How we feel about giving also affects the result. Our intent drives the experience.

It is said that giving is a selfish act, for in giving we shall receive greater than we give. If we are motivated by compassion to help someone, the help will be greater and we will be rewarded. If we help someone for our own gain, there is no intent to give. The intent is to receive. Even if we just want accolades, we are still being selfish in our giving. Although it makes sense to write off charitable contributions from our taxes, giving just to save money or promote business, changes 'giving' to 'investing'.   Receiving free admission to an amusement park for donating time is great. However, it is not really donating if tickets are the motivation, not the good work. Atleast the time is being spent helping others. In the process, perhaps the importance of the work can be learned as well and encourage the donation of time. It can be easier to donate money than time. As long as the intent to give is to help and not for personal gain, everyone is better off.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Consciously Creating Our Future

The power of creation begins with thought. Sending thought into the universe is like placing an order for delivery. Good or bad, conscious or not, our thoughts will soon manifest and return to us. Speaking or writing or even speaking our thoughts adds priority to the order. Manifestation occurs more quickly. Taking action on our thoughts is like picking up the order ourselves. I can go on line and order a book to be mailed to me. I need to allw 2-4 weeks for delivery. For a few extra dollars, I can add the words 'Rush Delivery' and have it in a couple of days. Or, I can go to the bookstore and have it the same day. This is the difference between creating with thoughts, words or actions.

How much thought do we put into ordering food for delivery? First we think of what type of food we desire. Next, we choose a restaurant. Then we decide which meal. Finally, we decide if we want to pay a little extra and wait a little longer, or if we want to go pick it up ourselves. Do we use this same conscious effort with our choise of thoughts and words we use through out the day?
When I was younger, I told my step mother I was so ‘anxious’ to begin summer camp that I just couldn’t wait. She corrected me, explaining that anxious meant nervous, not excited. The word I was looking for was ‘eager’. I have been very conscious of the difference ever since. I hear other people misuse the word and it reminds me of that little lesson and a much bigger lesson I learned from it later. I no longer use the phrase ‘I can’t wait’ for anything. Instead I say ‘I am looking forward to’. ‘I can’t wait’ implies a lack of patience. Patience is a virtue I am improving within myself. I prefer to use the positive affirmation of ‘looking forward’ over the negative connotation of not having the ability to wait. 'Looking forward' implies a positive vision for the future.  I am taking the phrase ‘I can’t’ out of my vocabulary. Instead, I may say ‘I currently struggle with’ or ‘I am getting better at’. In the case of patience, I do not say, ‘I have a problem with patience’. I say, ‘I am improving my patience’. This simple change is an example of consciously changing my creative power of thoughts and words.

This same practice can be done with any negative thoughts. Some negative thoughts are more difficult to address. Negative thoughts often originate from judgment. Many of us are quick to judge others, either mentally or verbally. Learning to tolerate and respect people who believe and act differently begins by consciously exercising non-judgment. Training ourselves to recognize our similarities with others instead of our differences, builds an instant bond with them, instead of a barrier. This helps build new relationships. It also helps with internal growth, by recognizing in others what they might have to teach us about ourselves. Seeing every contact with another person as an opportunity to learn about ourselves is one way perspective can create growth from challenge.

It is easy to rationalize negative thoughts that are provoked by others. Although more challenging, learning not to be drawn into others’ negativity, is an opportunity to strengthen our own positive energy and demonstrate positive behavior to others. The simple exercise of recognizing negative thoughts or behaviors will lead to replacing them with positive ones.

Because we are a part of the whole, we influence it and vice versa. Just as our fingers are a part of our body, we are a part of the universe. If we cut our finger, it sends messages to the whole body for assistance. First, it sends an immediate message to the brain in the form of pain. This allows us to react to the situation to protect ourselves from further injury and to address the one sustained. While we are consciously caring for the wound with compression to stop the bleeding, our body’s internal response has already begun. Platelets in the blood begin clotting the area to reduce blood loss. Neurological inhibitors are produced to help with the pain. White blood cells rush to the area to fight bacteria. The different systems of our bodies, communicate chemically through the blood and electronically through the nervous system. All parts of the body work together. As humans, we communicate and interact with the world around us as an integral part of the system. Being conscious of what we choose to communicate empowers us to choose more wisely.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coincidental Currents

I like to refer to coincidence as synchronicity. For years, I thought I had first learned this concept from the book, "The Celestine Prophecy". Shortly after researching the subject, I remembered where I had actually first heard it. In psychology we studied Carl Jung. The Swiss psychiatrist, first published his theory of 'acausal connecting principal', or synchronicity, in 1951. His theory refers to coinciding experiences that were thought or dreamed about in advance. Receiving a call from a person you have been thinking about, but have not seen in years is an example. It can also refer to a random experience that seems to occur by chance, but also satisfies a need that exists simultaneously. A man was running late to an interview for a sales position. He needed the job even though the available hours were not ideal for him. On his way, he got lost. Frustrated, he saw a competitors store and stopped to ask for directions. He saw a sign for a sales position available for the shift he was wanting. Instead of going to the original interview, he gets hired on the spot. Getting 'lost' seemed inconvenient, but turned out to be a synchronicity.
Jung proposed that these events did not occur by chance alone. He believed that all things are connected. If we can be conscious of our connection to our environment, we notice these events more frequently. They are responses from the universe to scenarios we have consciously or subconsciously created in our minds. Our minds relay these messages to our higher self and it is passed on to the universal network to which all things are connected. Synchronicity is a sign that we are on the right track.
This connection between all things that was introduced in psychology has been studied greatly in quantum physics. Physicists are discovering that the separation of objects is illusionary. For example, when photons are separated, no matter how great a distance, a change in one, creates a simultaneous change in the other. Science is starting to understand that all things truly are connected on a very deep and very real level.

Riding the Coincidental Currents

By dark of night,
or bright daylight,
I thrill to harness life's natural motions
and capture it's devotions.
I ride the flow of my emotions
to carry me to shore;
like a tidal wave which could crush my bones,
or the joy of love which mends my wounds.
They call themselves coincidence,
but we know there is no such thing
as an accidental incidence.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Quest Begins

As our hierarchy of needs is fulfilled, we develop self awareness and choice of who we are. Instead of finding blame and excuses for our situation, we can look for the best response to better ourselves. Life is full of choices. We can choose happiness. Accepting and understanding this concept is crucial before moving on with our growth as a person. This is where the journey begins.

Embarking on the quest for enlightenment is a conscious choice. The path is riddled with obstacles. Changing obstacles into opportunities is a matter of perspective. Our perception creates our reality. Greater perspective is one reward for choosing to elevate our existence. As we elevate ourselves and gain perspective, we are better able to create opportunity from obstacles. Our reality becomes an escalating spiral circle of ever improving circumstances. This cycle begins with choice.

Once we choose this journey, it makes sense to take inventory of our available resources to assist us. Sailors have always relied on many tools for a successful voyage. Engineering vessels is an ancient craft. Long before physics were understood, heavy ships were built to stay afloat in treacherous waters. Sails and oars were used for propulsion. They harnessed the wind, a powerful force of nature, to move them. They would navigate using sextants to determine their coordinates from celestial bodies. They used the stars themselves as mile markers. They had almanacs and maps recorded from previous travels. They had ships full of men they counted on for support. They learned from experience to follow their own instincts.

For the voyage of life we are provided all the tools needed to be self actualized. People come into our lives to guide and support us through different legs of our trip. Free will, the power of choice, engages the laws of attraction to draw into our lives that which we create in our mind and our higher consciousness. Synchronicity opens doors to new revelations. We are all born with instincts to protect us. Intuition is not learned. It is our natural connection to the world around us. As we develop our physical senses, we lose our connection to this powerful gift. The source connects us to all things and fulfills all our needs. Mastering the use of these tools enriches our experience and accelerates our trek.

Knowing that I am indeed a spirit in a human shell, and that I have free will to go in any direction I wish, where do I go from here? What is my ultimate destination? I want to elevate myself. I want to be closer to God, whatever God may be. All That Is, The Universal Power; the name we give it is irrelevant. This is not a religious concept. To me, it is philosophical. I want to be as close to The Source as I can, while still in my human shell. How do I get there? So many religions and philosophies offer different routes. Many contradict each other. Which path sould I take?


When cruising down life's highway,
No matter where you want to go,
There are many routes to get there,
Some you may not know.

In choosing a path to follow,
Many factors will help you to decide,
Whether you are in a hurry
Or just going for the ride.

Many maps will be shown to you
Of different routes to choose.
Once on the road, you must decide
Which ones you will use.

Plot your course ahead of time
But do not fear a change of mind.
Maps are simply guides
Of routes others have chosen to find.

Much of lifes greatest scenery
Is off the beaten path.
Often roads are missed
When driven by too fast.

The path to your destiny,
just perhaps,
may be on a detour
and not on any maps.

Body, mind and spirit

This painting depicts an eye on the side of a pyramid, surrounded by an electrically charged sphere. It represents the three aspects of man; body, mind and spirit.

The gold pyramid is physical and solid. It represents the body. Gold symbolizes material value and worth. Pyramids are considered one of the most durable structures on Earth. It is seven levels high, one for each of the seven major chakras. Chakras are energy centers of the body.
Chi energy travels through these chakras. Each chakra is associated with its own color and purpose. The seventh is the base or root chakra. Located near the sacrum, it keeps us grounded. It is red. The sixth is the spleen chakra. Located near the naval, it is the power chakra of the lower body; the physical/emotional self. It is orange. The fifth is the solar plexis chakra. Located near the base of the breast bone, it is responsible for human emotion and ego. It is yellow. The fourth is the heart chakra. Located at the heart, it is the love chakra. It is green. Separating the upper and lower body, it brings balance. It is also the three fold flame, Love, Wisdom and Power. This chakra can be used for healing. The third is the throat chakra. Located near the Adam's apple, it is the communication chakra. It is blue. It is the power chakra for the upper body, the mental/spiritual self. The second, is the third eye chakra. Located in the center of the forehead, it is associated with wisdom. It is indigo or dark purple. The first is the crown chakra. Located at the top of the head, it is our connection to the higher self. It is violet.

The eye represents the mind. It is the door between body and soul. Like the eye, the mind works best when open. In the mind's eye, all thoughts and emotions are created. Our mind, just as our other senses, allows us to observe others and our selves. It also controls the body. Imagining our body as a vehicle, our mind is the driver. It determines the condition of our body and in which direction it will travel. It is in our mind where all work toward enlightenment or spiritual development begins. Until we understand this concept, no further improvement can be made of body or mind.

The sphere represents the spirit that powers the body and mind. It is the Higher Self. It is pure energy. The soul has consciously manifest itself in the mind and body for the purpose of the human experience. Understanding and developing our connection to our higher self is a vital process in discovering and fulfilling our purpose.

Each of our three parts depends on the other two. It is a symbiotic relationship. When all three forms of self are in tune, each will perform optimally. Self improvement requires work on all three levels.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Self Discovery

Finding purpose begins with self discovery. To discover why we are here, first we need to better understand what we are. We are many things. We are a species, a race, a nationality and an individual. We are also more than things. Things are made of matter. We too are made of matter. Because we have consciousness, awareness of self, we believe we are more than matter. Matter is anything that has mass and occupies a volume. Albert Einstein's 'theory of relativity' led to many amazing discoveries, including the relationship between mass and energy. He explained that mass and energy are transmutable. We are familiar with the equation E=mc2. In physics, mass-energy equivalence is the concept that mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. All things are made of energy. Therefore, we are made of energy. Our physical bodies are made of energy. This is science. It is considered a scientific truth.

We are more than our physical bodies. Each individual is composed of three very unique components. We are body,mind and spirit. Not only is our flesh made of energy, in eastern philosophy, the human body as a whole is a system of energy known as chi. Chi energy plays a major role in our human existence. Everything from our physical health to our emotional well being is related to this energy. The cycle of giving and receiving energy is a part of everyday life. Sometimes this energy can be expressed as attention. When we give attention to someone, we are giving them energy. Depending on the type of attention we are giving, the energy can be positive or negative. Our physical bodies need energy from food, water and oxygen. Our spirit bodies also need energy. Most people struggle to obtain energy from others.

Receiving attention from others can be accomplished in many ways. From childhood, we learn to attract attention through trial and error. When a child learns to use the toilet, he is praised. This positive energy feels good. When he associates the joy of being praised with the act of using the toilet, the act is reinforced. If he is not praised for using the toilet, there is no motivation to do so. If the only attention he receives is the disappointment or punishment of not using the toilet, than that energy is what he learns to attract. Positive energy is preferred. In its absence, negative energy is accepted. As long as there is a source of positive energy available, the negative source will be avoided. If the negative energy is the only energy available, behavioral patterns are developed to receive this energy instead. The method used to receive energy as a child becomes the primary way of satisfying our need throughout life.

As we develop, we find other ways of getting energy. The universe is filled with limitless energy that we can tap into. By learning to connect with this energy, we can become self sufficient and do not need to compete with others for their energy. When we do not depend on energy from others, we can become a source to share. This sharing can bring great joy.

What ways can you think of that people use to get energy/attention from others?

Finding Purpose

Ever since man has been aware of his own existance, he has asked, "Why am I here"? Since I was a young child, I have asked the same question. In search of an answer, I have studied many religions, philosophies and cultures. Some suggest that we are merely toys of a supreme being, being played out like a game of chess. Others say we are here by chance. Many believe we exist in an organized universe, while others believe our universe is chaotic and grows unpredictably. Some live day to day believing the purpose of life is not meant to be known until the body dies. Some just accept a meaningless existence, believing that when the body dies, there is simply nothing left.

Although we have learned what we know from others, we each have the ability to accept or deny the information we receive. No one can convince us of a truth we do not wish to believe. I have chosen to share my thoughts and feelings with you, not to persuade or convince you to adopt my beliefs, but to offer them as possibilities. You might choose to do as I have done with the books I have read; incorporate what feels right to you to develop your own spiritual truth.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Human Experience

The Human Experience is based on a qoute from Pierre Teilhard-Dechardin.

"We are not human beings having spiritual experiences. We are spiritual beings having human experiences."

That inspired me to write the following poem:

We have created many vehicles
to transport us from one place to another.
However, there is one vehicle
greater than any other.

A gift we were each born into,
Each is unique,
as the spirit which lives inside.
We each experience differently
from the variety of opportunities
our bodies provide.

A gift received without a warranty,
no one knows how long
they will wear their shell,
but time is not important,
as long as it's worn well.

To make the most of the time we have,
each in our own way,
is all that we can do.
Nothing physical will ever see eternity.
This we know is true.

The time we share with others,
and even the lessons we learn alone,
enrich our spirits with wisdom
that without our bodies
never could be known.

First blog

Visions are like objects in the distance. The closer we move toward them, the more clear they become. -- Author unknown

Today I took another step toward creating my dream of being a professional writer. I took my fathers advice and started this blog. This is a forum where I can openly express my thoughts. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. I will be posting segments from the manuscript I am currently writing. I would love to hear feedback and suggestions.
Thank you for checking it out.