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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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Judgement is not for you...

Do you ever see someone and immediately "not like" that person for whatever reason? Maybe you don't like people with visible tattoos, people who wear a lot of camouflage, homeless people, hipsters, obese people, or people pushing a stroller with three kids in there. What causes you to "not like" this person? Judgement. You're judging them.

From what I've learned what we judge other people for is what we really fear that we have the ability to become or what we fool ourselves into thinking we're not; what we fight with ourselves to not be. What this is is just a separation that we've created between ourselves and this person that we judge when in fact these people are just mirrors of ourselves.

"As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself." -ACIM T-8.III.4:2-5

You will find yourself or lose yourself. You will either find that you are truly connected and there is really no difference between you or you will lose your mind by convincing yourself that you are different. We all have to get to a point where we see no difference, where we judge to separation because we no longer see a separation between us. We all have to ask the question, "Would I condemn myself for doing this?" -WB124.

Are we not all in a position to grow into God's love no matter where we are? I believe that no matter where we are that there is where we begin our journey back to God. And, none of us have the extensive knowledge of the universe to be able to say where another person is on their journey. All of us are here learning our lessons, starting from different places, learning at different paces, some of us learn certain lessons easier than others, but we're all learning our lessons. If I see a racist and judge him for his hate, then that reminds me that I have my own anger to forgive and learn from. I don't have the ability to judge him for his anger because I don't know his lessons. If I do judge him, then it shows me what I fear in myself. I fear becoming a racist full of hate because somewhere I harbor that belief about myself. That's what "condemn myself for doing this" means.

We all share the same emotions and the same fears about the darker parts of ourselves and the higher parts of ourselves as well. It's what we choose to see in others and in ourselves that will manifest in our lives.

Think back to when you were a kid and you're parents taught you what was wrong or right in the world. The boy in school who got bad grades, acted out, and had head lice was not to be imitated but judged as "bad", dirty, and, a failure. You were supposed to sit quietly, do your work, and clean behind your ears everyday. Why? because that's what "good boys" do and they grow up to be good people; right? Early on we were taught the difference between what makes "good" people and "bad" people. Winners vs. Losers. Rich vs. Poor. Right vs. Wrong. And some of us were taught to judge and separate from those "bad" people and look on them as "lesser" than ourselves.
That thought system was wrong. We were taught the wrong things. How can we know this? Because they taught separation and they did not bring us connection to others, to God, and to ourselves. They did not make us happy, they made us judgmental, and they allowed us to feel guilty over that judgmental mindset.

"If the outcome of [your curriculum] has made you unhappy, and if you want a different one, a change in the curriculum is obviously necessary." -T-8.I.5:2
That's it. If you want a different view of these people and your world, then you need to change your mind. You need to change your thought processes and you need to change your whole curriculum. We all have to work to change how we project our entire world and forgive our separation from those in it. We have to be able to see them as we see ourselves, forgive ourselves so that we don't have to judge them, and then continue to practice not judging them for those fears that we have yet to conquer in ourselves.

Stop. Ask for help. Remember your connection to God and those around you.

This past week I tried really really hard to keep this in mind. Walking through life and constantly reminding myself that I don't know what any situation is going to bring me and I have no ability to judge it because of that "situational ignorance" was a very enlightening practice.
Have you ever told yourself, 'oh this is going to suck'? How did you know? What if that situation brought you an important lesson? What if instead you said, 'Help me to see this differently' or 'I don't know what anything, including this means.'? Well then you'd be able to stop and be able to just allow a situation to unfold rather than judging it and blocking what is intended to come your way. Not judging allows you to get out of your own way. It allows you to connect rather than separate. It allows you to learn rather than projecting what you "know."

Try it today. Try it this week. Tell yourself that you don't know. Tell yourself that you have no idea what anything means and that you have no way of judging it. Just let it 'play out' so to speak. Seek out those that you have judged and find what it is about those people that you see in yourself. The addict? What are you addicted to? The lazy guy? What to you do to overcompensate for that in your life because of what you fear in yourself?
Ask questions and then don't answer them. Let them be answered for you. Observe but do not judge. You'll find that there are lessons everywhere out there for you and that all of us are learning the same ones, we're all on the same path, we're all connected and there is no real separation between us.

Our judgment separates us. Our ego loves to judge. Our ego separates us and is the voice that tells us that "we know" what others are really like and how they're different and less than us. Listen to a different voice. Change your curriculum. Stop judging and start listening, looking, and get comfortable with connecting to the love that is all around us waiting for our acceptance.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Choices at the Crossroads

Every now and then we all feel as if we're standing in the middle of our road in life and facing a decision on which way to go. We've all been there. Standing at a crossroads in life and completely confused on which way to go. Choices need to be made and for a lot of us this is where fear comes into our lives and starts to upset us. But that's not always the case.

Sometimes when these choices present themselves we stop, sit down, and just relax. Sometimes, for the logically inclined among you, this is where you start your mental pros and cons list. For the emotionally inclined, you start to try and get a sense of what 'feels' right to you. For the undeveloped or untrained minds among us, this is where panic and fear comes in and you start to worry seeing only the unknown down each path. However, none of us can "know" what lies ahead. So each of us in our own way needs to find a way to stop, listen, and relax.

So how do you make the choice? How do you decide which path is right for you? How do you know which way to go? The short and simple answer is, you don't. And here in lies the beauty of the choice. You can't fast forward you life ten days, ten weeks, ten years and see how this choice plays out for you. You only have this moment; this Holy Instant in which you can stop, listen and... allow the choice to be made for you.

I've made 'bad' choices in life. I've found myself in dark places where my life seemed to be full of pain, fear, and regrets. In those times I questioned so many things: How did I get here? Why did I choose to take this path? Why in the hell can I not find peace? Why am I "trapped" in this dark place? When will this ever end? But if we all think back to those times in our lives we'll see that in the end there was an end to the pain and fears that dominated our mental processes. Maybe you're in one of those states, down one of those paths right now... so, how do you get out? How do you make another choice? The answer sometimes is more simple than you can imagine: You stop, ask for help, and allow a different choice to be made for you. You create another crossroads in your life and then allow yourself to take that path back to peace. The path back to God. You allow rather than choosing.

"In this insanely complicated world, Heaven appears to take the form of choice, rather than merely being what it is. Of all the choices you have tried to make this is the simplest, most definitive and prototype of all the rest, the one which settles all decisions. If you could decide the rest, this one remains unsolved. But when you solve this one, the others are resolved with it, for all decisions but conceal this one by taking different forms. Here is the final and the only choice in which is truth accepted or denied." -ACIM W-138

Thinking back to the 'bad' choices and 'bad' times in our lives... did they last forever? Is eternity riddled with pain, fear, and upset? No. At worst, we learned lessons about ourselves in those times. We grew as individuals and as brothers. We found parts of ourselves that may have upset us, may have delighted us, may have taught us more about who we really are. If you're like me, you may have found a choice that led you inward and back to your natural, peaceful state that is centered in forgiveness, love, and in an acceptance of what is offered to you from your Creator. 
(Wow, I understand that may sound really lofty there, and I'm not claiming Buddha status here... I'm still a work in progress but that is where this path is headed: Love and Acceptance of Truth.)

I've recently (once again) been reminded of one of my major obstacles to allowing these choices to be made. Patience. I have in the past been one to rush towards decisions believing that those who think fast, talk fast, and act fast are to be revered for their ability to make good decisions in such a quick manner without worry or fear. What I've learned is that, for the majority, that is not true. Those quick actions only mask the fear that is behind them. Any "failure" in those actions can then be just as quickly blamed on outside forces working against you rather than examined and accepted as personal and ego based. But what about doing things differently? How does that work? Maybe instead of acting, we can try listening, being patient, and then allowing those choices to be made for us.

But... but... but... then how am I to be in control of my own life? Where is the personal choice? What good is it to sit around and wait on things in my present condition and not 'pull myself up by my bootstraps' and get on with life? Stop. Ask for help. Listen. Accept the answer. 
When you've "been in control" and made your own ego based decisions is when you started down the paths that led to your upsets. (you. me. anybody.) So maybe when you find yourself at a crossroads you try something different. Maybe this time you just stop, sit down in the middle of the road, and just wait patiently. What's the rush? 

Like I said, I've found myself at crossroads before and thought that two separate paths leading to two separate lives awaited me. But when I stopped and just allowed choices to be made is when a third path opened up and I was ushered onto it. Patience is required here. Acceptance is required here. 

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." -Psalm 27:14

Oh man, I think I took on Emerson in a previous post and now I'm going to take on the Bible here. (Get a load of this guy!) We're not waiting on the Lord! He is already here! It is God that is waiting on us. While we dream of choices and paths in life and goals and achievements and upsets and fear and pain; God waits on us. If we forgive ourselves, let go, and allow, then we will feel the presence of God and see that our choices are already made for us. We only need do... nothing. 

Now dear reader, I understand that this post may be a bit all over the place at times. However, the message or point of is all is just this: The crossroads isn't real. There is but one choice and one path and that is the one back to our Creator. For me patience on this path is key. I need only see that there is no need to rush to certain "choices" because all I really need to do is take a seat in the middle of my road and instead of walking down it, allow the path to move underneath me. I will, you will, we all will one day stop our ego based mindsets and allow the choice to be made for us. So, stop. Have a seat today and relax.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Breaking up is not that hard to do...

It's not you... it's me. Really this time. Well, let's be honest... some of it is you.

At this time of year most people are really excited for the Super Bowl. America's biggest spectacle in sports where we all stand at attention, declare our undivided loyalty to the United States of America in flag waving, saluting, standing, singing unison before watching millionaires play a game that kids play for free.

Are you sensing a bit of saltiness from me today dear reader? Well the NFL has brought that out and now I'm walking away from it.  I've already quit my fantasy football league and I think I may have watched about one half of football in the playoffs. I may or may not watch the Super Bowl this coming Sunday depending on whether I have paint drying or not that night that needs my attention.

Seriously though, I used to love me some pro football. I still really enjoy college football but the NFL has just gotten tired for me. I don't like a lot of the players anymore and the ones I do like only get mentioned once a year when they give out the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Soaps operas... not just for women anymore!
NFL news these days is all about what guy got arrested or accused of what crime and which coach is about to be fired for whatever reason. Honestly, following the NFL now is like watching a soap opera of overpaid young men being scrutinized for every move they make. And, if one of them does do something really bad, well he gets a fine or a few games on the bench and then, if he's a good player, he's right back out there on national television. These guys get away with shit that would have most of us fired for even thinking about.
Then there's the "pop-culture-ness" that has made it's way into the sport. Hey follow this guy on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat... see him read the morning paper, walk his dog, ride in his million dollar car, eat a sandwich, breathe in or out... Did you see who he's dating now? What club he went to in Miami? Who cares? Oh and don't forget to tune in Thursday for 3 full days pregame talk about a 3 hour game! If there isn't any real news, we'll just talk about what they wore to and from the game or who is trash talking who this week and saying a bunch of crap that doesn't matter.

Wait, this could cause brain damage?
Now, the issue of concussions has come up a lot these days too. I don't care about that. The NFL is risk v. reward. These guys can not claim they don't know that head injuries may result from the types of collisions that occur on every play in the NFL. You're paid to take that kind of risk. Burn your candle brightly young man and then walk away. Please, I don't like to hear from guys in their 30s and 40s saying "I didn't know this could happen." Um, yes you did. I don't like television companies pandering to those that are concerned about it by saying things like, 'The NFL should really look at changing the rules and protecting these players.' Yeah, if I wanted to see two-hand touch, I'd watch soccer. I want to see tackle football. Also, you (the TV network) make money from this. You have no interest in seeing your profits go down, so stop telling me you want to see the game changed.

Does this seem to be taking a long time?
Those of you that know me know that Baseball is my favorite sport. But, but, but, baseball is long and boring! Not so fast! The average MLB game is 2 hours 57 minutes and 33 seconds. The average NFL game in 2015? 3 hours 9 minutes and 26 seconds. And, between stoppage, huddles, replays, and timeouts, you get about 11 minutes of real game action football during that time. I can no longer laugh at those who watch golf on TV. The NFL takes about as long and has about as much action in it. So on Sunday, by all means, find a couch, turn on the football and grab a nap. Zzz...

Are we Nazi Germany?
Ok... don't freak out on me just yet. However, at just about every NFL game and certainly at every big game or playoff game, there is a HUGE ceremony before kick off for all of us to 'honor America and...' do a number of activities to show how loyal we are. I remember one Monday night game in December that I had on while eating dinner that I literally stopped and had to question where the fuck I was. There was a huge flag stretched from sideline to sideline; endzone to endzone and each branch of the military was shown and represented while the whole stadium not only sang the National Anthem, but God Bless America as well! We need two fucking songs now!? There were fireworks, salutes, more flags, birds... all kinds of shit for 15 minutes of American masturbatory excellence.

Don't question this!!! Why would you be against eagles flying overhead and fireworks and singing and flags!? Seriously, try going up to a group of ten people on the street and ask them if they see the comparisons between us now and the Nazis... Bet most of them will think you're crazy. What? No! Blind patriotism? No, we're just here for the entertainment. (Pay no attention the man behind the curtain).

As we look into the crowd we see that the Boys and Girls Club of America has come out to enjoy the game today. Good for those youngsters!

I just may have better things to do...
What? Me? On a Sunday in the Fall? Why of course I'm watching football! Well not anymore.
For those of you that may say, 'Well if you don't like it then just quit watching it,' I say to you: You're right, I'm done with watching the NFL. I just don't enjoy the NFL as a whole and all the water cooler talk about the players and games that I just don't care about anymore. I started to notice this year that for at least a few of my co-workers and I that the NFL was about 2/3 of what we talked about... and that includes work talk!!! Screw that! I'm done talking about people and teams that I don't care about anymore. I can't even fake interest in it. Meh! Just not my thing.

Never again?
No. I'm not saying: NFL bad, Me no watch ever! I may find myself with a free Sunday afternoon, night, Monday night, Thursday night... its on all the freakin' time that I may want some mindless distraction to be provided by the NFL. But I'm done following it and looking for it and listening to all the talk about it. If I feel like it I'll send some positive thoughts towards the Atlanta Falcons (God knows they'll probably need it) but I'm not going to consider myself a "fan" of the team anymore.

That's it, I'm done. Rant, drop the keyboard, and walk away!

Tune in later in the week when I promise to get my act together and get a real blog posted for you dear reader. Until then...