Thursday, June 18, 2015

the long kiss goodbye

This personality, this form is but a costume Consciousness wears and plays with in this divine theater production the mind calls life. I'm not dismissing or discounting our human experience or denying life's ups and downs, humanity's suffering and fear, or even my own. I'm not saying that because I see this life as a dream that it makes it unreal and that we should all just float on a cloud or live in a cave and that nothing matters, so why bother? Not at all. All I'm saying is that for me, now, fanning the flames of this delusion is no longer true for me or useful. 

All that said...since it's been a story all along, anyway, I thought for this last post, I'd go ahead and give it a happily-ever-after. Which works out because this "ending" happens to be true. But before I do, I just want to say one more thing:

In the grand scheme of things, this blog isn't all that important, I know that. For me, brought me new friends. It gave me a place to make sense of things. It let me connect with people, honestly. My world was bigger and that much richer for the chance. So for all who've read over the years and led me to believe I had something worth saying... I thank you...I love you...I wish you well. Your reaching out blessed my life and will for all my days, believe it.

Anyone familiar with me knows I've never really had the best self-image or possessed the highest of self-esteem. Sure, I've had moments where I've thought, "Yeah, I'm pretty awesome..." - but for the most part, the running theme of my life's story has been the fight against my toxic, shame-based internal dialogue and the chronic fear that came as a result. For as long as I can remember, I've been walking around with the very painful sense that who I am is inherently flawed. That I'm too fat, that I'm a faggot, that I'm a loser, that I'm weak, directionless, lost...and that everything about me, inside and out - who I am, my natural talents, proclivities, my authentic way of showing up in the world is wrong...and...that if I ever did dare to honestly express who I honestly am, ridicule and shaming are bound to follow. That's a whole lot of bullshit for a soul to carry and believe in. And it lends itself to a very cautious, timid, hyper-vigilant way of approaching the world.

So terrified of how I come across to others and so certain that by daring to breathe and take up space in this world just as I am - looking like I do, sounding like I do, behaving as I do - with merciless judgment and ostracism the only anticipated outcome, I've hidden - in one form or another ever since I was a child. And still, deep at my core, is the impulse to connect, to love, to be loved. That's the reason I began this blog in the first place. I wanted to share what was inside of me, and at the time, via words on a computer screen was the best I could manage.

While I ultimately don't think Reality/God is ever out of order or that things don't happen precisely as they should, the fact is...if I hadn't spent so much time bowing down to fear I probably could have had a lot more fun. I've shied away from sleeping over with friends because I didn't want them to hear me snore. I've not gone swimming or soaked in hot tubs with people who love me because I believed my stretch marks and man-tits were a valid excuse. I have not returned phone calls, texts, invitations. I've rejected dates and sex. I've not hung out with, or even called on the phone, people I dearly wanted to see and talk to with every part of my heart, for fear I'm not cool, clever, sexy or wise enough. I have had beautiful people offer their hearts, inviting mine to sing and dance along - and so often failed to take that jump.

Whether it came from my home environment, repeated taunting from classmates, or fucked up messages from society at large, how this mechanism came to be, what set this pattern in to motion isn't important now. What matters is that as my devotion to the Lord has grown, my intolerance for living less than boldly the kind of life that Love would have me live, has also grown. Whatever the progress I've made these past few years, there still remains a propensity to hide, a lingering refusal to move past who I think I am and what I'm capable of and actually taking the steps to see what I could be. This past year thoughts of killing myself began to visit me, more and more often. Not because I've wanted to die but because every dream I'd have or step I felt soul-inspired to take and make real required facing some mental, shame-cloaked demon that convinced me it was just too much. What's a soul to do?

All I can tell you is what I did: I prayed. I put one foot in front of the other. I took it breath by breath, moment by moment. The grace of what happened next is nothing I can claim responsibility for; it's nothing that "I" did. My desire for Self-Realization started burning more intensely. The urge to be done with this ego-absorbed way of coming at the world came upon me. The inspiration came to finally deal with my fears and imagined trials - not in order to make myself more comfortable or happy - but because these are the very things that keep me from giving more to Life than I take and more worried with how I'm perceived by others instead of remaining focused on how I can be present and love others, in whatever way the moment calls for. I found the most brilliant, perfect-fit of a therapist I could hope for and I told the truth and am continuing to work with her, little by little, untying the knots that somehow found their way inside me, healing the shame, growing myself up as I go along.

I've come to respect the fact that my time on this planet in this particular body and mind-stream will, sooner or later, come to an end. Whether it be through illness, floods, tornadoes, fires, accidents, random acts of violence...nothing in this world is lasting; nothing is spared. The circumstances that we find ourselves in are so fragile and so ever-changing, and just because something may be so one night as you lay your head to sleep, it's not the least bit guarantee that it'll be waiting for you come the morning. I've come to accept that not everyone is going to understand me, or even like me. I've come to accept that I'm not always going to get what I want and that when I don't, it's for my very best good. I've come to see that nothing in itself is good or bad, that the wisest course in any situation is to rest in peace, letting the Universe move on its own course, balancing things out with its own time and intelligence. This is Nature's ship to steer, not mine. I've come to accept that my path looks different from other people's and that there's a reason for that. I've always felt down on myself that my life doesn't look like the lives of my friends, that I've not found some great lover to call my own, that I've not made any sort of career for myself. But at the same time, I know things and see things in a way they don't, in a way they can't. I have my gifts and they have theirs - and I see that it's okay to be different, to have a different speed, a different timing, a different walk - and way - through this world. It's meant to be that way. Ordained even. I've come to see that I've been making it needlessly hard on myself. I've always believed I needed to have some big, important vocation, that I had to to have what others have in order to matter. Over the years, I've turned to psychics, mediums, astrologers and the sort, looking for guidance on who I should be and what I should be doing - when I was exactly where I should have been, living the life I was meant to be living. I've always prayed for a purpose. And the great jewel, the answer I've been waiting for is so remarkably simple it makes me laugh inside when I think of how hard I've searched and worried and made myself sick. My purpose is to embody Love as best I can. It is to gently house that Divine power I've invited to infuse and take over my life. And how do I do that? By being honest and by acting with kindness - in every moment, in every thought, word and deed - to the best of my ability and understanding, period. How that ends up looking to anyone else - even those closest to me - and what they do with that is not up to me; it's none of my business. Fear and all its minions can come. I welcome them now. It can put up its best fight and still I will do what I'm called to do - which is to stand in who I know I am.

As I've sat with these things and felt them to my core, the relief I've felt is impossible to put in to words. The ache in my heart I've always held is melting; a simple calm contentment left in its place. There's nothing I have to do, nothing I have to be, as I've always imagined. Instead...what feels right - to me, inside? What feels true? These are what guide me now. And if the lack of restlessness and anxiety over the past and future are any indication, then I'm on the right track - because so far, so good.

I recently started working out with a personal trainer. I've drastically changed my diet and rocked every single workout. It's a huge change for me, considering how sedentary and overweight I've been. I'm working muscles that probably haven't been used since the day they were formed, lol! It's hard as fuck - and I love how that feels! It's new to me, this pushing myself. I'm so practiced at retreating in times of challenge, I don't know what to make of myself anymore. Every time I do another rep - hell, every time I show up at the gym at all - the story of myself as weak and incapable loses a little more steam; the proof that's held it in place just isn't there anymore.

As I came out of the gym this afternoon, though there were clouds in the distance, the sun was shining full-out and the wind was blowing, both drying up what was left of the morning's rain. As I was walking to my truck, like I've done each time before, I spoke out loud, thanking God over and over again for getting me through the session. Really, it's a gratitude for getting me through All of This. Any strength I have, any wisdom, any ability I have for anything good comes from God's grace alone. Every time I've walked out of that gym I've been in tears. I'm not even sure what it is that I'm feeling when it happens. Maybe it's that I'm working out long-held toxins, ancient fears, repressed emotions. Or adrenaline, maybe. I don't know.

I wonder if perhaps they're tears of Life Itself, God crying tears of joy or gratitude, as if to say, "YES! I finally got through to this one - at long last! At last I am able to move and breathe and live as this one. This one is finally going to let me shine. This one is gonna let me do my thing! This one is gonna let me LIVE!"

I am.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

giving up the ghost

Life doesn't always afford us the opportunity for closure. So when it does, I like to take advantage. Is it necessary? No. Does life carry on whether or not we get the chance to say our goodbyes? It certainly does. But I've noticed that when changes come and a relationship or circumstance of some sort has run its course, for me, personally, I enjoy reflecting on the impact said thing has had upon me and my life; saying thank you, I love you, I wish you well - you know, that sort of thing. It's with that spirit I write these final two posts.

This blog has always been about my spiritual path. It's been my version of celebrating the steps I took along the twists and turns of the peaks and valleys of my individual soul's unique set of joys and challenges. The thing is: my spiritual path, my identification with the role of a seeker has been winding down now for quite a while. Don't get me wrong: my devotion to the Divine is nowhere near gone; in fact it's quite the opposite. My love for God and my desire to be swallowed whole in that Being-ness has never before burned this hot or bright. And it's this commitment to waking up to my true nature that has somehow squelched the urge to chronicle this journey.

This is a journey I'll be on for the rest of my life; the depth of which I doubt I'll ever comprehend. But something inside has woken up. This Consciousness of which I'm made and whose nature I'm beginning to realize as my Self has taken over. And because my separate self has really begun to be clearly seen through, I can't speak of my personal story anymore with the kind of belief and conviction that I once did. Since I posted last, over this past year or so, there have been many, many findings of spiritual gold that have occurred in my world that I considered coming here to share. There has been loss, despair, great happiness, courage shown, hard truths told and authenticity lived. So many rich experiences! And yet there's been something inside saying, "Shhhh. Keep quiet."

Why? Because there is a power inside me that knows that in the memorializing of my personal story - the sentimentalizing of the so-called good or rejoicing at the transcendence of the so-called bad only serves to keep this ego-mind propped in place. And that is in direct opposition to my greatest prayer - Self-realization. Which brings me to why I'm here: with my desire to identify as a separate Jeff-entity slowly dissolving, the need for this blogging platform has also come to dissolution. There's no interest anymore in keeping the story afloat, if that makes sense. With all love...its season has passed.

The story of myself as a separate me in search of God, making progress in my daily, earthly affairs (or not) is nothing other than a thought in Consciousness. It's a ghost story I've been telling not only for years, but lifetimes. "I" don't actually exist in the way the mind imagines - in fact, the mind can't even touch It - and it's the stabilizing of myself in the truth of that recognition that calls me now. Yes, I still behave as a person. I still get irritable with the cat litter, I still crave certain foods. There are still karmic habits and tendencies and preferences that arise. But there is an alive space witness to it all - and I am That! Thoughts and reactions still come, but they're believed in and "stick" to the Consciousness less and less. The highest, most precious gift! Given by the grace of God alone - for which I am unspeakably grateful.

The path I travel now is so inwardly-focused and so silent, so subtle and personal a thing - even if I were inspired to share it - who would or could share this satsang?

No, it's time I keep quiet and let the mind cook in self-inquiry.

What is this Self that perceives joy and disquiet?

What is this Presence in which all things pass?

What is this Awareness that is aware that It sees?

And What sees even that?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

in you as you

You contain the Divine.
You house Divinity.

Your ultimate, intimate core nature is God Itself.

Don't just mull that over in your mind.

Sit with it. Feel it in your cells.
Feel the vastness that permeates those cells.
Notice what is aware of that vastness.
Feel Spirit directly.

In you.
As you.

The Holy Spirit is Here and Now.

Present and Alive - 
pervading, animating the "mind-body"
you imagine yourself to be.

What a miracle you are!

What a miracle that you are!

Friday, April 11, 2014

the wisest of favors

We've never met, but I'm writing this for you: for all you tellers of stories and weavers of webs out there, my fellow human beings. In particular, for those of you who may have gotten lost - in your own creations, in your own well-practiced, self-defeating views on who and what you are, in your very own minds. I don't know you, your story or your background. I have no idea exactly what's led you to believe the things you do about yourself. I do know how it feels to believe the world is a scary place, though, and that it's somehow lacking. I know remarkably well the consequences of believing that I'm not capable enough, good-looking, talented, or bright enough for this world; believe me, I'm well-versed in stories of self-loathing that suggest I'll never be able to accomplish the simple things of life that everyone around me seems to pull off perfectly without any trouble. So even though I don't know your personal circumstances, I do know pain; I know fear; I get it - and that's why I feel okay writing to share with you what I've found...and continue to find.

I have found that regardless of the stories I've told about myself and the world, I and It are more than okay - and so are you! I want you to know that you're okay. I want you to know that you are enough just the way you are. I want you to know that not only do you not need to be like your brother or your sister or your mother or your father, or anyone else in that cast of characters involved in the theater of your life, it's impossible. It can't be so. You're a miraculous combination of traits and energies all your own, by design. Every single person on this planet has varying degrees of ugliness and beauty; they have their goodness and they have their flaws. And while their possessed, unique combinations might differ from yours, the fact that everyone has this balance, makes us all inherently equal. So do yourself the wisest of favors: be done trying to emulate, or compete with, others. Be done trying to win another person's approval. Even those who know and love you best can never know your heart, not really. Not to its depth. No one else can ever know what is truly best for you and what will make you happiest - no one. Your inner sense of rightness and worthiness is your wisest counsel. Your happiness in this life is between you and God - and that's the God of your own heart; your personal sense of the divine. Allow that to guide you where you're meant to go; don't let your stories of the past dictate what steps you take now, today. If the accomplishments of others inspire you, then use that as inspiration, period. Don't take it to mean you have do exactly the same thing or in exactly the same way. To use another person's light or greatness as a story of comparison in which you don't measure up is the most foolish, useless form of self-violence a soul can engage in. Use another's accomplishments as reminders that there are great things to be done in this world. And that includes by you - in your own way and in your own time. The greatness of one man is a message to the world that it, too, can rise and realize its own. Embrace these reminders as the beacons of hope and calls to action they are!

The voices from the past that haunt you are powerful, I know this from experience. They creep in to your mind and continue to echo decades after their first arrival. But those were voices of children, of people who didn't know you. No one knows your heart. No one knows the extent of your talents or your gifts. No one knows what forces lie dormant inside you awaiting the correct time and season. No one knows what special things you have in store. So for anyone - I don't care who it is! - to speak about you as if they know who you are, as if they know what's best for you, as if they know what you're capable of, is insane. People can be vicious; they can take one look at you and decide what you're all about (and of course, not like it) without even getting to know you - sometimes, that's the way of it. Just remember that their pronouncements are nothing more than a demonstration of their own perceptions - which ultimately have nothing to do with you. 

I know it's easy to get discouraged when you reference the past and take note of all the things you've not accomplished, all the seeming "mistakes" you've made, all the things you wished you'd have done by now, but haven't. I understand just how easy it is to think something about yourself based on everything you've been before, but please believe me, you are not your past. You are not the car you drive or place you live. You are not the money that you do or do not have. You are not your mistakes or past behaviors. You are not the conditions of your life situation. Most of all, you are not what other people think or say you are. Who you are and what you choose to do with the rest of your life is completely up to you from this moment forward. Today, this moment now, is where all of your power is - such grace! Today is where you find your freedom from all of those voices of the past and from the things that you dislike about your life. That freedom comes from looking inwardly and noticing that who you really are is beyond what any fearful or sad or limiting story would say you are. Even the most beautiful, striking and favorable stories could never capture the vast mystery of you!

I don't know you. I don't know your story line, your life situation, the particular lunacy of your individual chains. But I know that divine, still space at the core of every human being. And it's to that space, I speak. It's to that space, I bow. It's to that space I encourage you to live your life from. Allow that space to be the storyteller. Question who you think you are. Set your weaving down and see.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

thank you, life

In a few short hours from now, I'll have been on this planet for exactly 32 years - plus womb time, I guess. It's been a pleasure, I have to say. Not that there haven't been nightmarish patches, but oh, my god, what a sweet, sweet dream it's been for the most part. From here, this present moment, my life story is just that...a story. As told by the mind, with it's limited recollections and biased filter. But honestly, it's a story that I cherish, and as time goes on, respect, more and more.

If waking up to my true nature is what this trip is all about, and I believe that it is, and if shedding the egoic beliefs and behaviors that keep me shackled in Maya has been the goal, and I believe that it is and has been, then I'm right on track. I'm understanding more while at the same time not knowing anything for sure - it's a good spot to be in. It's humbling; it's a challenge; it's terribly exciting!

Thank you, Life. For letting me be here, to be a part of this. Thank you for what I was born in to. I have been blessed beyond measure. Thank you for the people and places that I've known. I've had the best set of circumstances and the best cast of characters to grow with - partners come to shake me awake, both the "heroes" and "villains." So nerve-wracking, funny, cutting and Good - they're all You underneath. Of all the things you've given me, the revelation that All is You has been the sweetest, most beneficial gift I ever could be given. I don't want to waste the invitation. I'm doing my best here with everything, I hope you know that. I hope you're proud of me. I am grateful for every year, day, and breath I've been given. Thank you, Life, for having me at all.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

on love & i love you's

If ever there were a post written by, or on my ego's behalf, this is it. (And yes, they all are to one degree or another - that's a human being for you.)

But ever since posting about my time with Ambrose, I've felt naggingly compelled to explain, justify, and honestly explore, my quick and (at the time) unabashed use of the words, "I love you." Not because I feel like there was anything wrong with expressing those words to him - because I don't; the feelings that inspired my use of those words were pure and true. I suppose what prompts me now is thinking that maybe I should have felt there was something wrong with it, something foolish. And what gives rise to that, I suppose, is the fear that that's what others might be if they're thinking about it at all. I'm gonna wager a safe bet and assume they're not.  :-)

What were you thinking telling a stranger that you love them? What were you thinking traveling across the country to stay with a person you don't even know? What were you thinking opening up so blindly, so soon? Who are you to be professing love at all when you don't even love yourself? What does love even mean?

All reasonable questions, I'm thinkin'. And ones I've posed myself.

My now-conclusions:

Love, in its ultimate form, is something the human personality knows nothing of, not really. It's a creator of separation. It does so innocently, of course. It's just doing its job. It's what has kept the human species alive and physically thriving. It judges, classifies, categorizes. It perceives dangers or problems, and sets out to solve them. It's an egocentric mechanism that goes to extremes, insisting things be one way or the other. It has its story and it's sticking to it. It would sooner go straight to hell and suffer in its rightness than to open itself up and consider that there may just be another facet - or countless facets - to the Whole that it may have been ignorant of heretofore. Don't get me wrong: humans are capable of greatness that's extraordinary. They can be kind, generous, incredibly good. Those loving thoughts which inspire those loving actions, they are closer to our nature; they're closer to the lightness of Who We Really Are. But the way I see and understand it, those instances are born of grace; they're not something the ego inherently does as a rule. As I've heard Byron Katie say, "Personalities don't love...they want something." That feels true to me.

All is a play of mind. And there seems to come a point in every seeming mind-stream in some lifetime or another, where the mind wakes up to itself, and as it becomes more aware of who and what it really is, a space naturally opens up that allows for more connection and giving, and yes, more love. But in the meantime, until the illusion has been seen through, and Self shines through, fully embodied by the so-called personality, it does the best it can. It wanders around in the dream, seeking pleasure, avoiding pain. Sometimes sweet; other times vicious.

I'd say that's about where I'm at: still wandering around in the dream, but growing ever more lucid! That being the case, I'm not always a perfect manifestation of Love, so very far from the likes of Jesus or the Buddha. But when I use the words, "I love you," they're coming from the best, brightest spot I've got in me; they're of the highest vibration I'm capable of. I speak those words to another knowing full well that I'm not enlightened, that I don't have all the answers, that if our moods or stories clash, trouble could very well begin to brew. I know that it's an imperfect love; it's human - but one well-intentioned, nevertheless. I speak the words, "I love you," as my own personal "Namaste" - the divinity in me salutes, celebrates, and bows to - the divinity in you. And this is exactly why I never hesitate to say the words, "I love you" to the Ambrose's or The Brazilian's that I sometimes encounter in the world. I didn't have to know each and every detail of Ambrose's mental make-up or each stitch of his life history. It didn't matter that our darling love affair was destined to end in such a quick, comedic span of time. All I needed to know was that I was in. I was present and ready to share my heart. And I was prepared to help cultivate the best in his.

For me, the words, "I love you," contain a promise. I love you, my fellow soul, because I know Who You Really Are. I know that there is a pure, vast universe hidden just underneath your guise of humanness. I know that there is a being of unlimited, un-quantifiable Goodness that is alive and present midst, and despite, the fear, prejudice, and confusion that your ego occasionally revels in. I know that you are doing the best you can in any given moment. I love you, and that means that I will always do my absolute best to see you with compassion, with the knowledge and certainty I have for who and what you are. Not who you say you are or pretend to be; not the fleeting actions you take or the ever-shifting attitudes you hold; not who I sometimes mistake you for or who I sometimes wish you'd be - but You. I promise to behold the best in you. I promise to cherish the unclaimed, unhealed parts of you, as well as champion your light. I will be your witness as you feel and experience what you've come to heal and experience. I love you. And that means, as difficult as that may be for me sometimes, I will always choose for you what you choose for you. I want for you to live the life that you, yourself, would choose to live. I love you, and that means you have complete freedom to be who you are, to choose what you choose, know what you know, and to sing whatever song inspires your lips to sing. I see you. I appreciate you. I cherish you. I know who you are..and I adore the truth and majesty of what I see. 

Like I said, I don't always live up to the ideal of how I'd like to treat my brothers and sisters here. But it is my ever-present prayer, that's for certain.

When I began this post, I was feeling a little embarrassed for having said "I love you" to someone that I didn't know well, someone whose intentions turned out to be questionable in retrospect. I felt stupid and my ego wanted to justify and defend my use of those words. But as I've sat with this and written on it, the ego burn's eased up. I don't care how others perceive it. Yes, I didn't know Ambrose all that well. But my "I love you's" just don't come from that. They don't come from knowing everything about someone and then deeming them worthy of hearing such a phrase after putting in a certain amount of time together. (Which, I agree, taking time to see the nitty-gritty of things with regards to another would be a prudent, self-respectful course of action to take if we were talking about moving in together or tying up one's life with another, but we're only speaking about the sharing of one's feelings here.) I said I loved him because I did. And for what he continues to give me, and for all the people that have blessed my life - people from different parts of the world I call "friend" whom I've yet to meet in person, to people I know are on their way I've yet to discover exist, to a cashier who looks me brightly in the eye - I can truly say I love them all. It doesn't have to be romantic. Just love. Love, as I understand it to be.

I can freely say I love you, because at your core, I know who you really are.

How could that need defending?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

some pseudo-haiku vii

Facing greatest fear
And being greeted by Love:
Miraculous shit

Summertime, life here -
Birds, cicadas, flowers sing -
Light, in full effect

No more at peace - or
Found or Better than before -
Still...I wash ashore

Cool spray of water
Mists in the summer night breeze
Lawn plants drink, thankful

Friends sleep, drive away
Un-lone wolf with night and joy,
gum and cigarettes

Hush now, Jealousy
Your music: so sad; so shrill
Hush now as I sing

Ego catches up
little by little, while the
Soul adores you still

useless to the Self; hungry
for the Space Inside

You're loved radly and
unusual; your fears and
secrets safe with me