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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Elvis has not left the building (part two)

I don't know why I feel the need to continue with the Elvis reference, but... here we are back to talk about some abandonment. Well, I'm going to ramble on about what I've been learning. It's your job to keep up the best you can.

One thing that I noted in the first part of this was the assigning of roles to others and then projecting abandonment outwards onto them or myself once they "failed" or "left" me. This projection was something I worked long and hard on to recognize in myself. The idea that nobody is "doing" anything to me or walking away from me. People are walking their own path in life. I'm walking mine. When God's love is present and we are walking together then, "Everything is as it should be in your life." When I'm by myself and God's love is present, "Everything is as it should be in your life." There is only one common factor in all of this... Love and the love of God. Center it all in love and you'll be just fine.

Hard to feel truly abandoned when you KNOW that everything is as it is supposed to be. Faith and trust are needed here dear reader. Faith and trust. Two easy words to type but a singular concept that has to be accepted. This concept of faith and trust has to be transformed into a belief. Not a feeling, but a belief that God is with you and that everything is as it should be. If you, I , a brother haven't gotten to that belief then there is still work to be done. There is still forgiveness and surrendering to be done. Surrendering to the knowledge that you are loved and as the Course says, "God goes with me wherever I go." -WB Lesson 41. So, you're loved, and never alone. Simple as that.

You cannot control what you do not understand. But, you can understand what you cannot control.

Didn't mean to blow your mind on that last statement, but I've got to drop some knowledge when it comes to me. One night I was out walking and it was a bit cold and I started to shiver a bit when that statement of control came to me. I was asking God to help me with some work that I was doing and asking for understanding when I guess I was told that I didn't need to understand it, nor did I need to try and control it. I just needed to surrender and understanding would follow. So, I sat with that for a while and asked to see my abandonment as clearly as possible.

What followed was a surrendering of punishment. What I found was that I would immediately look to punish not only anyone that I was projecting abandonment onto, but myself for any feeling of loss. Guess who that was really directed at? God.
I was a drunken fool standing in the rain, shaking my fist at the sky, and blaming God for being wet.

Surrendering a need to punish came behind the realization that when I looked at it hard enough I was blaming God for it all. I was, as the Course says, a slave to fear and death. My ego was/is doing everything it can to keep me a slave to fear in order to keep me from seeing God as he truly is. It would be impossible to see God as abandoning me if I were able to see him as he truly is; a giver. God wants only to give love. He isn't "out there" to try and punish me or abandon me. Only my fears allowed me to project this onto him.

I laughed at myself for a long time on this one because I saw God as a man standing in front of me constantly handing me $100 bills; then me standing there yelling about how this man never gives me anything. In reality God is always standing beside me offering me love and guidance. It is only I who chooses not to see him as he truly is. It's my job to develop the faith, the patience, and the willingness to accept God. I'm the one who needs to shift. I'm the one who needs to stop abandoning.

As I sit here at work today dear reader I'm laughing because of how differently I see all of this today versus just a few short weeks ago. I'm never alone. I only every feel abandoned when I have disconnected myself from God. I am only afraid when I disconnect from God.

There is still work to be done through self-forgiveness and still fears to be discovered and handed over to God. But as I sit here today... I can never say that I don't know where my "abandonment" came from anymore. It is only I that projects the pain and it is only I that can surrender to the healing. Only I can choose to stop projecting and start seeing not only God, but God in others as well. We're all together in this and God is with us every step of the way.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Who do I see?

I heard an interesting phrase this week in a book I was going through... "Be an active observer of your own life."

Now as you may have noticed dear reader, I have over the past several months been looking at as many aspects of my life as I can find. Trying to find fears, guilt, anger, or anything really that I can and looking at it, calling it up, forgiving it, and eliminating as much "junk" as I can. But what this phrase was referring to was being an observer of the whole human experience.

I accepted a long while ago the premises from which this phrase is referring to... we are not our bodies, we only live in the moment, the past is gone, and there is no use in planning for a future that has yet to come to pass. So, that leaves me with... now. Just now.
What the author was trying to convey is that I am never a human being having spiritual experiences but rather a spiritual being having human experiences. I am a spiritual being observing a human experience in each and every moment. Being an 'active observer' then would mean looking at each and every moment and seeing all of the projections, the fears, and the emotions that are tied up in that moment. From laughing with the grocery store attendant to cursing at the car in front of me in traffic.

The goal (as far as I understood it) of being an 'active observer' is to further enable me to look at where projection takes place most often and where fear is allowed to influence any decisions that I am not handing over to God.
Its supposed to help me, in the moment, to catch myself and say: 'Here! Here is where I'm afraid, angry, having an authority problem, feeling abandoned, feeling guilty, not being honest, judging, or not living/being present in that moment.'

This came to me at a time when I had an opportunity to test out something else that I have been working on. Who am I in any given situation?
I used to think that adaptability was something very useful. Why not? You can relate to everyone by adapting to them. Conceding more, changing your speech, your mannerisms, you interests, or any number of things to further relate to them. But you're not relating to them, you're mimicking them and trying to gain their "acceptance." What you're not doing is being you; the honest and true you. The most loving thing you can do is be who you are. Stop. Listen. Love.

So as I was getting to the, 'this is who I am, take it or leave it' stage of this work, I came across this 'active observer' phrase. Awesome! Here is something that I can incorporate into my life to help me identify when it is that I'm not being honest with myself or about who I am. In the moment... actively observe. Are you doing or saying something because it's what you believe, think, feel, or see? Or, are you acting in a way to best suit those around you? Hmmm... observe and find out.

I had three tests of this over the past couple of weeks and I've got to say it was very interesting. What I found most helpful was the non-judgment of it all. You're observing, not judging! However, when I did find that I was changing or shifting my opinions or statements and caught myself in a non-present mindset, I always snapped back into the moment, took a second, and then asked for God to help me. Help me see this differently, help me not to judge, help me to be present with this person, help me to love.

Again, it's not a tool to help you further judge yourself. I'm sure we all do that enough on our own. What it has helped me do is identify. Here is where you do this, or think this, or project this onto others or the world around me. It does give me more things to go back to and to do some forgiveness on, but being an active observer is proving to be quite an interesting experience. Sort of like watching a child discover new things, being an active observer of my own life is like discovering new things about myself that I've tried to hide in plain sight.

One other phrase from the book that I'd like to share here dear reader at the end of this short little post is this: "You can't have a better past."
Love that. Your past is your past. Everything that happened happened for a reason. All past hurts, fears and wrongdoings are... gone. None of them exist in this moment.

So, take a moment for yourself. Realize that everything is as it should be right now.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New world of forgiveness

This morning I felt like Scrooge McDuck as I ran outside to greet the world on Christmas morning. Except outside my apartment there was only a little redneck kid for me to shout at.

- You there boy! What day is it?
- Uh, it's college football Saturday there man.
- Then I haven't missed it! The Spirits! They've given me; a second chance!
- Whatever you say there Bubba. Ya might want to put some pants on though. Go Cocks (spit).

Now dear reader I might not have actually done this, but it certainly felt like it. I didn't cry myself to sleep last night, I laughed myself to sleep. I was literally hugging my mattress as I laughed and smiled over this new light feeling in my life. Why? Forgiveness. True forgiveness.

Have you ever been angry enough at someone or something in your life to portray it as betrayal? Betrayal. That's a big term with a lot of meaning behind it. I mean betrayal, like the kind of thing where you think so poorly of someone that you are almost in shock over how this action has affected you and your outlook on life. You call them names, you point fingers, you stomp your feet, you damn them, their friends, their dog! It's a dark place filled with anger, resentment, and fear. A place where it's tough to recover from right? That's what I thought too, but true forgiveness can erase it all.

Bare with me as I paint a picture for you. Imagine that you wake up and your house is surrounded by manure. Just shit everywhere. Gross right? Your life is deep in shit. Traditional forgiveness will shovel this shit over into a corner of your yard to get it away from the house so you can walk around, and live a normal life again. But, the wind will still blow some smell your way and the shit is still there, it's just over in the corner of the yard. You say all is 'forgiven' and you're ok. But, there's still shit over there and you can see it out of the corner of your eye.
True forgiveness is a truck. You dig up ever scrap of angry, resentful, fearful shit into a giant pile in your yard then just look at it. You look at this pile of shit for what it is and realize that its your shit. Gross! The true forgiveness truck is there for you though. So, you take your poo and shovel it into the truck; every last piece. You wash off the shovel and throw it into the truck too, then your boots, then your clothes. Then, the truck drives away. There is no more shit and you're just standing in the sun, clean, smiling, and whole.

That was me yesterday. I woke up so angry, so resentful over a perceived betrayal in my life. But all the anger was mine, all the fear was mine. The shit was mine! So I sat down and started to shovel it all up. At first it wasn't helping. I was getting angrier and more resentful. I was getting to a point where I was starting to defend myself again and point to where I was right and this person who betrayed me was so wrong. I kept piling it up, kept digging, and when the mountain of poo was so high I couldn't see over it anymore... the truck drove up.

Call the driver of that truck God. Call him the Holy Spirit. Call him whatever you wish, but know that I wasn't the driver of the truck, I was the guy waist deep in his own shit. And when the driver said, 'Hey! I'd like to take that shit off your hands.' I started shoveling it all into the truck. By the end of the day I was clean. By the time I got home from work and sat down to relax I was clean. When I went to bed, my ego came to me looking for shit and I literally started laughing. I went looking for anger, went looking for resentment, went looking for something outside myself, inside myself, anywhere to find some anger, some guilt, some fear... it. wasn't. there!

I (despite my poetic writing and expression) am unable to describe the lightness that came with the laughter that followed. Gratitude followed because I knew I had not shoveled all that shit myself. I had not driven the truck out of my yard.

Know this dear reader: In order to forgive you must truly forgive and give over your own emotions. You can not hang on to a single bit of resentment or anger. You must look upon the object, emotion, or person you are forgiving as well as yourself as being clean, bright, shining and new. The past is gone, never to return. The object of your forgiveness doesn't need to ask for it. They may not even have done anything wrong! Realize this: It could just be you! Admit that to yourself and get rid of your need to be right. Why would it matter? Whether they did, didn't, wanted to, whatever... it doesn't matter because you're surrounded by shit either way. So grab a shovel and start forgiving.

I always wanted to feel like Scrooge on that Christmas morning because he seemed so new to himself and his world seemed so new to him. Now I know how he felt. Nothing from yesterday exists today. I am able to go forward with only new experiences not dragging past with me.

Now! I know that I have promised to continue my posts on abandonment, but today, I can't find that. You can't feel abandoned when you feel full. So, go out today and dig up some shit. I promise you, if you give it all over, you'll live in a whole new world.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mini Muganlo TV

Yeah I think any videos I shoot will stay under the Muganlo TV flag. This morning, live from Folly Beach.

Just trying this out as something else to post and I may do a video from time to time... so, with out any other intro... the return of Muganlo TV!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Elvis has not left the building (part one)

Take a deep breath in.

Let that breath go.

Simple as that.

Where does that breath go? Has it really left you? Didn't that air become a part of you, nourish you, fill you, and sustain you in that moment? It did. And now? What happened? Did the air that you invited into your life abandon you or did you release it and invite in the next breath and the next moment. Have you tried holding onto a breath? What happens? Your face turns purple, you chest burns, and your moment turns to hell really quickly. You can't hold on to a breath beyond its purpose, you have to move on, you have to release it and accept the next breath of life.

I've come to realize that people are like this. People come into your life like air. We are all breathing the same air, we are all connected to one another, and we are all dreaming together. Some people come into your life and are there for just a moment. The cashier at the store, the mailman, the coworker... these people come into your life and are there for just a moment. You can show them love, or you can ignore them, the choice is yours. But, you are connected to them and they will come and they will go, just like air and these choices and these lessons will repeat until you learn them and get the ultimate lesson of connection and love.

The problem comes when you see a breath of air as "special." What about this breath of air? They've been around for years, I really like this breath of air, this breath of air makes me feel loved, this certain breath of air makes me feel guilty, angry, obligated to it. How can I let this breath of air go? These are the people in your life that make up your special relationships. Family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, bosses, coworkers, neighbors, teachers... These are the people in your life that you put extra importance on and make "special." You assign them a role and expect them to preform that role for you.

"What is your brother for? You do not know, because your function is obscure to you. Do not ascribe a role to him that you imagine would bring happiness to you. And do not try to hurt him when he fails to take the part that you assigned to him..." ACIM

What does this tell us? One, you don't know what your role or path is in life. Two, you shouldn't assign roles to others in your life. Everyone is who they are, they are like you, they have their own fears and insecurities and love to give. It also tells us what we all already know; after we assign roles to these people we get angry with them when they fail to live up to the role that we assign them.

Take this out to the extreme... I want you dear reader to be a tightrope walker. Get up on a rope 100 feet in the air and walk across it. Go! Scared of heights? Not that great a balance? Never been on a rope before? Tough shit. Walk. I want a tightrope walker in my life. Can't do it? Don't want to? Well screw you! Get out of my life! Silly right?

Now let me shift this back to me. One of my biggest issues in life is abandonment. People "leave" me. I, like most of us, assign roles to those in my life and they do the same to me. When those roles break down, relationships end, and then we breathe out. However, one of my hang ups has always been the feeling of abandonment. I fail to take responsibility for my part in the assigning of roles either to myself or to the other party. And, when those relationships end, I feel abandoned. They left me! I'm alone! I'm the child in the corner crying with my knees pulled into my chest.

Take this out to the extreme... God has abandoned me! In these special relationships I have in the past assigned the role of savior, teacher, and supporter to those around me. Who but God do those adjectives describe? I made a lot of these "special" people in my life into shadow figures of God so when I find myself "alone" I feel abandoned by my "special" people and... God.

This year I've come to a couple of realizations. (A couple... Hahahaha!)
One of them is that my ego will find any outlet to place blame outside of myself. It's them not you. Get angry, feel guilty, get sad... you are alone, they have left you, you are not worthy of their love, you are not worthy of God's love.
Another realization that I've had is that it is me. I let the ego take me there and I started to believe in that and I let it shut me down, drive people away, reject love, and close off my ability to listen and give love. My ego assigned roles left and right and then stirred up anger when those roles were not fulfilled. When all of that happened, when I chose that, I then felt abandoned. Abandoned by love, people, and God. My ego won the day.

After a lot of thought and prayer dear reader I've come to another realization. God has not left the building. I may have tried to ignore God, but he never left. We all take our emotions to the end, to God. Anger? Who are you angry with? The guy with 15 items in the 10 or less aisle? Or what he represents to you?
If I assigned God rolls to those "special" people in my life and then feel abandoned by them, who am I really placing the blame on? God.
No more! The ego may have won the day in the past, but no more. I am no longer listening to that blaming, angry, guilty voice. I am no longer seeing those in my life as anything more than they present themselves in that moment. In that breath.

I recently had a test of this. I had a 'friend' come to town that I haven't seen in 6-7 years. We met up and went to dinner. I looked on him as he was that night as if I had forgotten all that I knew about him in the past and all that he knew about me. I presented myself as I was that night. Where I was, what I was thinking and how I was feeling. I asked him questions and listened and learned from his answers. At the end of the night, when I got home I realized that I was relaxed and refreshed. I wasn't exhausted from playing a role and assigning a role to this person. Just a breath in, and a breath out.

This was a small event. This was a huge event. Part of my abandonment problem is making people "special", dragging along my past and theirs, and holding onto assigned roles. No more. In my work I've come to the realization that my feelings of abandonment stem from me; not others. I used to take that to the extreme and cast that abandonment onto God. No more.

So dear reader, I will cut this here. Here you've only seen a glimpse at how deep this goes with me. A set up of just a part of the work that I'm doing on this issue. I am done with restricting, holding back, and hiding. I am not abandoned. I am never alone. So 'What's Now?' This. And, after I do some more work, more forgiveness on this issue I will report back on where I'm going from here. Hint: Love, acceptance, forgiveness, and healing.

Until then... breathe in, breathe out. In that moment: Be with me, Be with God, Be in the moment and Be in Love. None of us are alone. We are not abandoned.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Its not you, its me

"You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures that fact that you believe them to be yours..." -ACIM

I've spent some time lately letting go of a lot of things. (This post really is just a continuation of the one from 10/22 since this is still on my mind. That post was mostly about my internal restlessness, this one more with outward projection as it relates. Keep up dear reader! We're not playing around here. Just kidding. Do what you want.)

One of my issues in life is my perceived inability to relax in my life, or to be comfortable in doing nothing. Do nothing? What are you crazy!? I have to be 'doing something' all the time otherwise... what?

The quote above can be seen as: what you hate in another or see as his/her faults is what you fear about yourself. I fear being perceived as lazy or not fulfilling my potential. That's right dear reader, I live (have lived) with that fear. Whenever I see someone or perceive someone as lazy it triggers in me a sense of anger or judgment. What a lazy bastard that guy is! Look at his life! Oh man, if he would just not be so lazy he could... what? Nothing. He/She isn't lazy. Its merely my projection out onto that person and a reflection of my own guilt over my own self-judgement of being lazy.

What's Now?
Here is what's now. I went to a good college, got a degree, traveled the world, learned new languages, cultures, I helped people, I learned a lot, and I checked off a lot of boxes that the world would consider to be "successes." Now, I'm 34 years old and working at an inn talking to tourists all day. According to the world, I barely make a living wage, I work at a service job that could be done by a high school kid, and I've "squandered" my checked boxes by not "working hard" and "living up to my potential." Oh my, how my life appears to suck from their perspective. How lazy are you? You could have "done" so much more!

Now, I laugh at that because I know that I am where I am supposed to be. I am comfortable in my life. However, in my internal search and in my digging into my path in life, there is this notion of laziness that has been nagging at me. I discovered that I was unable to even enjoy a day off from work because I needed to constantly be "doing" something so as not to appear lazy. Sunday off? Well I need to clean the bathroom, do laundry, go to the store, there's that project I've been meaning to work on, I really should go get the oil changed in the car... What happened to my day off? I might find sometime to meditate and relax, but even that had to be scheduled. What the shit is that? What happened to being able to sit on the couch, eat some popcorn and watch some football? What happened to being able to turn off the tv, the computer, the phone, the kindle, and everything else and just being?

Sorry, that last paragraph got a bit rambley there. I don't edit these as you may know, but rather just let stuff come up and then out... moving on...

I am not lazy. The inability to 'do nothing' that was present in my life in the past is slowly fading away as is my fear of being perceived as lazy. I've stopped projecting laziness out onto others and have stopped seeing that as "my brother's sin." The funny thing about it is that the more and more work I do on myself the more and more I enjoy it. The more I identify my "issues" the more and more I like looking at them rather than shying away from them. Laziness is just one of them. Relaxing, doing nothing, being present in the moment, these are not aspect of laziness. The only person the ever judged me for that was me.

Anxiety and fear are the things that come with this constant need to be 'doing something.' Better do something or you're lazy! But as I dig this up more and more and let it go, the more relaxed and comfortable I feel. The more relaxed and comfortable I feel the more I allow things to happen. I need do nothing!

I've stopped hiding. There is nothing that I want to hide anymore. Not from myself, God, my teachers, my friends, anyone really. I want to share. I want to share because I want to love. I want to accept because I want to accept love. Laziness was one of the first things to be tossed aside. This week, with a some help, I found another aspect that needs to be dug up and let go of... Abandonment.

So, tune in next time dear reader and hear all about it... in the interim, I'm going to 'do nothing' except my own work on myself. I have a lot to discover, uncover, look at, let go of, and a lot to forgive.

Hey, if you've made it this far, I just want you to know something... you are loved.
Smile a sincere smile today knowing that.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Goodbye Memaw

Yesterday I got word that my grandmother passed away.

Every parent or grandparent will tell you that they don't play favorites when it comes to their children or grandchildren. Not my Memaw. (That's right. I called my grandmother Memaw. Deal with it.) I was her first grandchild and she never really hid the fact that I was her favorite. Neither did I. She was, is and forever will be my most loved Memaw.

Death teaches us all a lot. I've come to learn that it is only a part of life and that we all only really move on to a greater understanding of ourselves and God after we leave our bodies and "die." We never really die. We are all just released from this reality and graduate to a greater understanding. That knowledge offers a great deal of comfort to those still behind who may be left here, still a little boy, missing their Memaw.

Those who play a large roll in our education and upbringing also offer us a chance to reflect once they pass away. And, my grandmother is certainly an example of that. Looking at it last night and again today I've been really appreciating the things that she taught me in life:

Unconditional Love.
I have never in my life met anyone who offered up so much unconditional love to everyone she met like my Memaw. "Andrew, everyone has something good to offer in this world." I also believe she is the first person I ever heard speak the universal truth of, "Our job is not to judge but to love." If only I could have truly learned that lesson from her.
Love is all you ever got from her. Always loving, always forgiving.

All of my grandparents were Depression Babies. They all grew up dirt poor in the rural South. For the most part my grandparents carried that with them throughout their lives. That sense of lack and always fearing a future of less. Not Memaw. She was the ever optimist. Things will always get better. Even after she had a stroke several years ago, had broken a hip, my grandfather had died, and she was in a wheelchair, she still believed that she would rehab, move out of assisted living, get a job, an apartment, and start living on her own again. Most people laughed this off, but you could see that she really just had a spirit of optimism in her eyes that despite it all would never fade.

Be Thankful for the Small Things in Life.
If love was number one from Memaw, gratitude was a close second. She was always so grateful for everything in her life. I was always amazed at how excited she could get over the smallest things. For her, everyday was like a CrackerJacks box; there was always a prize to be found in it. Never forced, never fake, genuine. There are several stories I could share to back this up, but trust me; she was always grateful for everyday that she lived on this earth.

The Christmas Spirit!
There was never a better time of year as a child than being around Memaw during the Christmas Season. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve Christmas and Memaw. For her it was a time of year to celebrate Jesus first of course, her family, and the wholeness of everything Christmas. Trees, lights, gifts, cookies, reds, greens, golds, Santa, elves, stockings, singing, and anything that made you think more and feel more about Christmas. Her love and her optimism grew ten times during Christmas and everyone around her could feel it. There has not been and never will be a Christmas that comes or goes with out me thinking about Memaw. She was one of the greatest gifts I ever received.

I cried a lot last night. I'm crying now. But only at the loss of the ability to be with my Memaw in this place. She has not left me. I heard her voice last night as clear as if she were in the room with me say what she had said a million times, "Andrew, sweetie... I love you."

I love you too Memaw. I love you too!

Mary H. Huldow