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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, March 28, 2016

What do YOU want?

Ever feel like sometimes your life comes down to a balance between what you want and what you can have? Meaning, do you ever feel like you don't have everything you want in life because, well... that's just impossible right? Pizza and dessert? What are crazy!? One or the other here fat boy.

What if it isn't like that though? What if you could have everything you wanted? Just poof and there you have it. Tricky thing is, you'd have to know what you want first. Some people say money, power, and fame! Wooo! Champagne bottles! But at the end of the day those empty bottles lead to empty lives. The fame and fortune aren't as fulfilling as they might appear to be on TV.

I think if we all truly had what we truly wanted, our lives would look very simple and somewhat "boring" to the mainstream of society. I think if we really boiled it down to brass tax (idioms come free of charge this week) we really only want Love. Now, we might get to that by needing forgiveness, understanding, empathy, intimacy, openness and honesty but all of those are paths to... Love.

Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Here...
Back when most of us took Psychology 101 at one point in our lives we saw this table. Start at the bottom, work your way up and boom. If all your needs are met you're well on your way to being a healthy individual in mind, body, and spirit right? The only problem here is that we've learned that most of the things on this chart we can do without and still be quite healthy. In fact a few of them are impediments to that process. Take "achievement" for example. Trying to "achieve" something that falls into the "respect by others" realm of conscience could in fact be very dangerous. Because you skip the question of do you want to do this? Does respect = love? Take a look at any of those things listed above and ask does X = Love. 
Now I can ask you to skip the "physiological" section on the X = Love question (minus sex of course because if you feel no need to reproduce that moves up to "Love/Belonging" and even then it does not hold up to the "math"). But even the title of that whole section "Love/Belonging" is misleading. Friendships don't equal Love, neither do families or sexual intimacy. In fact all three of those can easily be toxic and harmful if not used as places to grow love. They can in fact keep us away from that which we want the most. 

Ever gone to a place with someone to order food and been influenced by their decision? Comes time to order and you've had your eye on that juicy burger but they order something like a salad and it makes you totally rethink your decision. Uh uh uh... club sandwich! Damn it! I didn't want that! But that's how most of us have chosen to live our lives. Other people say: Get a job, be in a family, have a family of your own, have lots of friends, buy a house, get the new i-phone, gain the respect of others, wear this, drive that, eat this way, talk this way, it's what you do. Well... what do you want to do? What do you want?

We all want Love. The love of God. Simple right? But what about all these lessons we're surrounded by day in and day out? Our jobs, our relationships, our own mental practices... what do we want from them? What do you want? is not an easy question to answer most of the time because a lot of the time we just don't know. We know what we're told we should want, we know what we don't want a lot of the time, but how many times can we truly say that we're clear on what it is that we do want? 

Take intimacy for example. (We'll start with a nice easy subject like that. Ha!) I recently had a conversation in which I discovered that I and the person I was talking to had completely different definitions of that word and perceived the act of giving and receiving intimacy completely differently. Does that mean that we will never have an intimate relationship? No. Does that mean that neither of us can ever truly fulfill our version of intimacy with one another? No. It does mean that we have an opportunity to share with one another and express what it is that we want within our relationship, if we want it to be intimate, and if we want it to be loving. This could come down to a chicken or the egg (idioms all day people) type situation. Does a loving relationship lead to an intimate one or does an intimate one lead to a loving one? Can you have one without the other? Does it matter which is first? Are they even different? I think all that matters is that both parties in a relationship say what they want! 

I want Love. I want to give love and think nothing of what if anything comes back to me. Remind yourself of that before you move on to 'what do I want in ____ scenario.' Work, family, relationships, whatever... keep the focus on 'how can I make this a more loving ____?' and you'll have what you want in the end... Love. Sounds easy enough right? It does get tricky to me though on the "form" of certain aspects of my life. What if I just don't know? What if I don't know if I want a relationship that includes cake on Fridays? (pick an arbitrary aspect to ask) Are you okay with never having children? Are you okay with not being the one who chooses your linens? But ask: how can you make cake or linens more loving? 

Until you're clear on what it is that you do want it's always okay to be patient, always okay to be open, always okay to be loving. Take time and figure out what YOU want. Because, at the end of the day you can only live your life for one person and that's you. I'm learning more and more that's it's okay to not know, it's okay to be patient, and if I'm doing things, saying things, and acting truly from a basis of love, then I have nothing to worry about. I'll figure out what I want and when I do I'll honor that. Until then... I can only look for the one thing that I do want... Love. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Where Does Fear Come From?

Where does your fear come from? Why are you afraid? What's the motivation?

We all live with some level of fear. Whether you call it anxiety or stress or nervousness, it's all just fear. I read an article a few months ago that claimed that fear is a natural state for humans on some level because it's what kept us alive back in the cave man days. Back when everything had bigger teeth and bigger appetites than us, fear is what kept us aware and alive. Being afraid of bumps in the night kept us from being a midnight snack and allowed us to stay alive. However, now that we're the dominant species on this planet, there aren't too many situations that we find ourselves in where that level of fear is needed... but it's still there.

These days it seems that we've just found new things to project that fear towards. Maybe public speaking is your lion, maybe walking alone at night is your tiger, maybe heights is your bear... oh my! (too easy there). Seriously though, all of us are afraid of something and maybe we're just struggling to define what that something is.

Think about all the things you're afraid of... rejection, abandonment, not being loved or valued, not being taken seriously, being alone, or how about the big one... death. We're all afraid of death. We all have a belief that we will die and that we can "lose" all of this that we've surrounded ourselves with. But where do these fears come from? And, why? Why? Why? This is a question that I've been struggling with for some time now. Why am I afraid?

I've come to learn that we are all afraid of punishment from God for all the "bad things" that we've done and all of our fears are just manifestations of that one fear. Especially death. Death (health issues, cancer, strokes, heat disease; all of them) is the one thing that our ego has convinced us has to happen. We have to die! That's it; turn off the music, shut off the lights, time to end it. You only have the few years here on Earth and then it's all over. Ashes to ashes, get your ass in the ground.

All of those fears that we carry around with us are just little fears of death. Some of us will cling so hard to life out of nothing more than fear of the "unknown" of death. It's only the belief that life continues on after physical "life" that can eliminate those fears. Only the belief in a strength of God eliminates those fears. We try to convince ourselves that our strength will save us and we insulate ourselves and hide from God in order to try and hide from those fears.

"There is nothing to fear. The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear." -ACIM WB 48.

Remembering God. Ah! That is what I've been reaching for lately dear reader. Remember that God is with me and that there is nothing to fear. Trust. Just getting back to trust and knowing that there is nothing to fear. Even if the Bengal Tiger comes through my apartment door and stalks me down and rips my limbs from my body; I have nothing to fear. I will continue on. Then, where will my fears go? They will go with everything else, my books, my computer, my couch, all will be left behind as I return to God. Death can not be feared for it is not an ending. All of those little things that we make so big in our lives can not be feared because they are not who we really are. We are love and we are here to learn just that.

Go today and know that you are loved. Go today and remember that there is nothing to fear because you are not alone. God is with you.

(Not just for Douche-bags anymore)