Now is the Time

This will be the first ever time in my life I have written a semi-political piece on my blog. So here goes. Now is the time to, for those of us who lost (I did vote for Hillary and wanted her to be my president) be steadfast in our vision of a greater world, a more peaceful and compassionate country, county, state, city, town, and village. That responsibility is up to each of us, as we can not necessarily rely on it to be so from others we do not know. What just occurred is not some new evil in the world. This is an unearthing of the quiet ignorance, the forces of brutality, misogyny, racism and rigidity of not just Americans but of the people who call themselves that.

What has occurred before our very unbelieving eyes is a revelation of greed, mistrust, and ‘me first’ mentality. It has always been there, but now we can see just how rampant it is. Lest we forget it, all of these same characteristics and qualities are in each of us, even if we have overcome them mentally and emotionally in our every day lives, these are embedded in our DNA. We don’t get to say we’ve erased our ancestry from our genetics just because we know right from wrong. We don’t dispose of our demons, we live with them. Sometimes, if we’re successful and lucky, we knock them unconscious within ourselves, but they are always there.

So now is the time, with deep adversity staring us in the face, with our rightful sense of incredulity at this turn of events, to really embrace our ‘angels’, our refined qualities, our sweeter nature. Giving into reaction, to defeatism, to feeling like we lost, to eating whatever we want because we didn’t get what we wanted, that is a recipe, that is opening the doorway, to all the qualities and characteristics we now rail against.

All the worst stuff we do not like about humanity is revealed to us in startling high definition clarity. Our only job, the only adult thing to do, is to accept life on life’s terms, for right now. Accept the outcome, bitter pill as that is to swallow. And with that acceptance, double down our efforts to get in touch with all that is right and good and loving inside ourselves and reflect that back out to the world. Not just because it will make us feel better (it will) but because it is, in principle and in practice, the right thing to do, and because it will be good for anyone around us. I caution myself to safeguard against slipping into a depression, to giving up. Acceptance is not about giving up, it is about acknowledging what is and taking new steps to approach the world in a way we want to create it. This can only be done right now.

Whatever else happens, there are so many of us in this together, willing to do our part to raise the bar beyond where we set it originally. Now is the time to remember that anything can happen, that what happens now is up to each of us. It’s on each of those of us who voted for her to live up to and perhaps (perhaps) surpass the standards we sought to live under for the next four years.

The good things in our lives are the good things we make, so we need to start being a factory of good, of love, of compassion, of strength, of dedication to our dignity and perseverance. Now is the time to embrace with passionate arms the discipline that is required to shine the light of our conscious attention and will on our depth of character and our potential for excellence in all matters.

Now is the time to galvanize our spirits, to move forward from this moment onward with vision and purpose.

A lot to say. Not much to say.

As I get older (a phrase I never thought I’d say in earnest) I realize that I have a lot to say about life and other phenomena in general. It’s so much to say that I end up saying very little. Examining my reasons for remaining quiet shows me that the things I say would be unpopular, out of favor, and generally off-putting. The cure for this? The best outlet I have is fictional writing. To date, I haven’t really made any bold statements or provided any serious messages in my fictional writing. I’ve tried to tell a story that’s bigger than the events that take place in them and convey the possible parallels in our every day life. You’ll see that most strikingly in my newest novel in the Owen Hunter Trilogy Series, PREVAIL.

Sure, you can laugh it all off. It’s just fiction after all. But I don’t know for sure. I can’t say it’s entirely fictional because we see ever more striking similarities with what I’ve written (you’ll see what I mean if you read the new novel when it comes out) and what’s been taking place in the news. I’ve tried to make my novel more outlandish than what happens in the news, and I think I’ve succeeded on that score. But as time goes on? I guess we’ll see.

On the other hand, I try to never take anything I feel I have to say too seriously either. It’s better to have levity in my thought processes than all seriousness. The more I’ve perused Facebook the more evidence of humanity’s collective psychosis is in full swing. From one extreme to another, like a crazed monkey on a jungle gym course.

What I notice most of all (and I’m not saying this is good or bad as things go) is the rage and outrage people are expressing about the world we live in. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again here: history repeats itself in ever more clever and bolder iterations. I know it’s 2016 and I know we should be looking at this Utopian world that science fiction writers of yore have painted for us by now, but that is precisely where we get tripped up: our notion that the 21st Century ought to be a certain way already. And it isn’t. And it won’t be for a very long time. And if I should venture into the murky water of voicing my own opinion on the matter, then I should say things will not be getting better over time but worse. That seems to be the mad trajectory of our species. For every luminary the world so lovingly holds, there are four hundred million idiots who are ruled by their base emotions (fear, anger, jealousy, arrogance etc.) I needn’t explain the odds, or do long maths here, should I? And yes, maybe it’s a gross exaggeration of the luminaries to idiots quotient, but I’m not sure by how much.

Regardless of this fearsome shadow, nay this setting of the sun over humanity’s collective altruism and goodness, we can focus on the luminary aspects within us. Sometime’s we are the villain, the bogeyman, the monster under the bed, and sometimes we’re the hero or heroine who thwarts that aspect of ourselves back into the dark crevices of the unconscious from whence it arose. But much of the time, and here is where we are all implicated in the crimes against humanity itself, we are the ‘innocents’ who do nothing about any of it. Our refusal to play a part is playing the part of allowing the bad and the stupid to continue it’s down-spiral and insane collision course with who-only-knows-what.

Irrespective of the above I am a die-hard faithful in humanity. You might call me an optimist, but I think I’m a cautious-optimist. I think we can make it as a species for a few hundred more years, assuming Mother Nature doesn’t tire of our antics and sneeze into extinction, or an asteroid makes it past all the necessary gravitational pulls of bigger more powerful planets and careens into ours without distinction or mercy and wipes us out first. Because for all of our myriad foibles and predictable imperfections as a species, the brighter stronger side is also there for each of us to cling to and expand on.

If we choose it.

Sleepless in the Rain

Around 5 in the morning, most mornings, he showers in the dark, with only a nightlight plugged in to guide him. He shaves this way too, while in the shower. A ‘fog-less’ mirror suctioned to the shower wall. He must rub soft soap with delicate care along the surface of the mirror in order for the fog to remain off it.

Why does he do this? The design of this ‘apartment’ is such that the master bedroom and the bathroom windows are near each other. One faces north, the other east. When light from the bathroom is turned on, it spills into the master bedroom where his wife tries to sleep; her side of the bed is puddled in light, to which she is entirely sensitive.

When the morning ritual of cleanliness is achieved in near silent darkness, he carefully enters the living room, then straight into the kitchen and begins his day making a one-cup coffee wonder. A coffee pod in a machine. An exact amount of filtered water from his cup to the machine. And a coffee creamer to sweeten and flavor the brew when its hot and ready.

Next he attends his phone or his laptop. Sometimes he writes for thirty minutes or an hour, depending on when he’s scheduled to be in to work.

Sometimes he writes for fifteen minutes and then meditates for a half hour. Most days he forgets to eat a proper breakfast and is famished by lunch.

Today, now, outside it is pouring rain. He sits and listens. When it rains through the night most people can sleep like babies. Not him. He does not sleep well. If he is wakened to relieve himself and it happens to be raining, his sleep is banished, as though he had a shot of espresso.

It is an unusual thing, he thinks. To be so electrified by the rain. Who knows why—nothing he can remember about the rain makes this a particularly significant event in which he must stay awake. It’s as if some ancient portion of the brain is at work to defend him from unknown evil that only comes out when the heavens spill their waters onto Mother Earth’s thirsty lands.

When he thinks back very hard he can almost remember a time when the rain lulled him to sleep. This is way back, to when he was a child. Primordial history.

These days, however, upon hearing the rain in the middle of the night, the cerements of his sleep are banished post haste.

Any viscidity he may feel in the body is wiped clean, replaced by fresh verve. And with it he is up, coffee nearly forgotten, he is ready to tackle the day, or…tackle something.

Controversial Themes in Writing and shameless plug for my new short story out today!

Earlier this summer I had announced on social media that I was writing a neat short story. It had mostly come to me fully baked, but I had to take a break from it for over a month and now it’s almost October and I’m just about to publish it online as an ebook. The ending came to me right as I was meditating before falling asleep. I knew two things. 1, it was a much better ending than the original and I would change it in the morning when I woke up. 2, it was absolutely controversial.

This got me to thinking about the fact that we live in a world where the new taboo is sharing too much of oneself, unless you’re famous in which case you’re often rebuked for not sharing enough. This short story is as far away from political as I could get it, which isn’t difficult to do with the kind of imagination I have. And because it’s me, this short story has a definite supernatural element in it.

I’m willing to bet that many of you who read this, if you participate in social media at all, want to share your views as publicly and vocally as you can, and then refrain. Because to be open about your views leaves you just that; vulnerably open. Open to whatever it is that may come your way, in the form of praise or blame, rebuke or shaming. And so we’ve learned to take pictures of food and give witty updates. And if you’re not a social-media maven or near-denizen like many of us, congratulations; you probably aren’t sure how to communicate in that condensed and flattened format. You might prefer the human touch, and I’m with you. You may scream at your television or tell your closest confidant what you really think. At least you have an outlet, which is great.

For the writer, his or her prose (or non-fictional letters and books) serve as his or her voice. That’s me, in a nutshell. The written word often suffices. Teaching as I do in the healing arts also suffices for the voice that I think is buried in each of us. I’ve learned to let my inner voice do some talking through the medium of art. Art has the magic to embellish (highly) and create distortions that don’t get to occur in our shared waking reality. That’s why I love writing it.

This is all to say that the new short story is not to be taken literally. Usually you see some kind of Copyright notice with words similar to this: “All incidents, characters, locales, and businesses are either coincidental or products of the author’s imagination.” That is a neat way to say, “This stuff didn’t happen, but it could. It didn’t happen to me, and it certainly didn’t happen to anyone I know. It’s written for your entertainment.” And while said entertainment is assuredly dark, let me remind you that the dark is a process of uncovering the light beyond it. That’s partly why I write what I do. This short story doesn’t give any answers, leaves you with a sour taste, but that’s the point. And the point of this, I guess you’d call it preamble, is to forewarn you as such, and give you plenty of room to decide whether you want to read it or not. If it’s not your thing, believe me I won’t be offended—just don’t read it and accuse me of saying nothing first.

Guaranteed Or Your Memory Back is one of those fictional stories that is meant for mature audiences.

Enjoy, and let me know if I did my job properly or not with your review.

Multiple Identity Order

When you think you’re one specific person one minute, but then think you’re an entirely different person the next–that’s multiple personality disorder. That is not the subject of this blog. Multiple identity order is something entirely different I want to call attention to. Because this is something we all experience whether we realize it or not. Identity and personality are not the same things. Your personality can be found in all your various identities. So let’s cut through the confusion and dispel any misnomers right now.

Multiple Identity Order Includes:

  • You’re a mother/father
  • You’re ______ sexual orientation
  • You are _____ gender
  • You’re ______(insert racial concept here)
  • You do art (artist)
  • You teach (teacher)
  • You’re good with your hands (construction worker, mechanic, inventor)
  • You’re an officer
  • You’re retired
  • You’re employed
  • You’re an employer

Are you all or some mixture of the above? Don’t you think, based on the above you’d have to be some mixture of the above? That’s multiple identity order. For example, I am a writer of fictional novels and non-fictional blogs (and spiritual books). I work at a grocery store, so I’m also an employee. I’m a step-father, and a man. This also puts me in the category of artist and entrepreneur. Are all of these things at odds with one another? I guess it depends on how you look at it. The bottom line is, feeling in conflict with multiple identities could get confusing at times, sure, but it doesn’t mean one’s personality needs to change. It means perception around these things needs to change (if you’re feeling confused or anxious about it.) I know I’ve been confused or anxious about these different identities in my own life many times over, associating personality with different types of identifies and never being able to change my character to ‘suit’ one or the other identity. Which, thankfully, just means I’ve been myself all along.

The best advice I ever got, which I’ll share with you here, is to enjoy all the different facets (and hey, if you have the gumption, share all those facets) that comprise your identity while exploring and expanding your personality. One of the things I’ve been wanting to do this year is explore a role I’ve had in the past as a teacher or communicator of some of the esoteric arts. This would include some of the things I’ve written about in my book, A Sparkling Aura ~ A Sparkling Life. I’ve found some pretty neat platforms online that would allow for ongoing classes at one’s own pace, wherever one is in the world. And if you’re so inclined, I’d be interested to know you’re thoughts in the comments below this post. Additionally, I’ve been super focused on editing my 3rd novel, considering writing a new non-fiction book, and weighing the potential for said online course.

I’ve also added coaching to the lineup of work I do–if you’ve had sessions with me you know I’ve always done this. So what I think you’ll notice is that on my personal website I’m displaying several identities. If there’s been any awkwardness around this I’m happy to dispel it here and now. We all do so much in our lives, go by different identifications while maintaining the fidelity of our personality, and this is, I think, the way it should be.

Lastly, and honestly I can hardly believe you’ve read this much, I wanted to acknowledge my mother. Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of her passing. She is the one who taught me most of what I ever knew about auras and chakras, spirit guides and angels etc. I took much of what she taught me and, true to any student’s ambition, took it further. Even she was amazed at what I had uncovered during those years. Much of that is now faded in the background for me, but her love was strong enough to encourage me to explore all areas of myself and express whatever I wanted.

If you had a mom or dad like that, you’ll know that they would want you to be yourself and share as many of your good qualities and capacities as you could. Thanks to the Internet (and this website), I can do things like that.

One last thing. Over the years so many of you have shown me support and solidarity. You have prayed for me when times have been tough, and you’ve sent charitable donations, bought my books or other services, and have genuinely enriched my life by your presence and voice. For this, and more; the impact you’ve had on me, I say thank you very much!

Suffering your difficulties with cheer

I grew up around the concepts of dharma and karma. Dharma is one’s utmost righteous duty in life, but it extends to every action we undertake, every motivation we have, and every outcome of our karma. The words dharma and karma were thrown around since I was just a babe, I probably first really heard these words by the time I was 5 years old. 31 years later, these are daily understandings. Dharma is a primary principle by which my life is lived. The path is not only narrow, but sometimes razor sharp. So, righteous duty. What does that even mean? It has a religious tone to it, doesn’t it? You know that saying, “A man’s word is his bond” ? Right, you probably don’t even remember it, but if you do you’ll recognize that this saying is hardly ever met with reality. If someone says their ‘word is their bond’, you rarely take them seriously. Because hardly anyone ever lives up to their sworn promises anymore. To do so, to say so, and to genuinely follow through–even if it ends up hurting you a little or a lot, that is dharma. When you have made a promise (not even a vow) and live up to that promise, you are acting in accord with dharma. Yet it’s not that cut and dry. Honoring your word is one thing, honoring other people you bitterly dislike (maybe even hate) and knowing there is room for them in this world, that is also dharma.

This world presents infinite opportunities for us to struggle with opposition and intense moments of discomfort. In the end, it is all very fleeting–we’re here for a blip of time, and then we die. I’ve been reading this fantastic rendition of a book called The Mahabharata, by Ramesh Menon. This epic tale is about families, about friendships, about the light and about the evil in the hearts of humankind vying for domination. It is also an epic tale of how a war begins and ends, but more importantly, this is a tale about dharma. It begins and ends with dharma. In this story princes become the lords of the world, to have it all taken away from them in a high stakes game of dice. They get exiled into the forest for 12 years, and for their last year, their 13th, they must live in any city of their choosing in disguise. And if these princes who suffer so much at the fate of a dice game (believe me, there’s a lot more to this story than I share here) they can be attacked and killed.

At the end of their 12th year the Pandava princes (the exiled ones) go on a special mission for a Brahman priest to find some special items for his special ceremony. A deer had stopped the priest and accidentally took one of his important items by getting it tangled in his antlers, the priest couldn’t complete this special ceremony without these sticks (which have strings on them). These princes are bound by their word of dharma (the only reason they agreed to live in exile at the end of a badly played, and unfairly played game of dice) to get those items back for this priest. As they run through the woods they get very tired.

In fact, these woods are enchanted, and as strong as they are, as powerful as their weapons and skills are, they are tired and thirsty. One of the brothers climbs a tree to search for water. Remember, they’re looking for this deer who interrupted the priest by accidentally stealing his sticks. He sees the water off in the distance and tells his prince brothers he’ll go and fetch some water for them all. They wait for an hour, and realize something amiss has happened. One by one they all go down to the water until the last, the eldest prince, Yudhishthira, the very son of dharma, blearily makes his way to the water. When he arrives he sees his four brothers all dead and blue, laying in a slump by the water. He feels panic, but then thinks, I should drink this water so I can figure out a way to save their lives. When he bends over and scoops water into his hands a voice cracks out of the air, “Stop! You cannot drink this water, or you will die like your brothers. You may only drink my water if you answer these riddles. Your brothers thought I was a hallucination, and so each of them has died for not listening to me.”

Yudhishthira lets the water go and answers many of the riddles. Skipping ahead through many of these riddles, the lake spirit asks Yudhishthira, “What is truly amazing in this world?” Yudhishthira pauses and thinks for a moment, then responds: “Every day thousands of people die.” Then, smiling, he continued, “Yet, those who stay alive in this world think that they’re immortal. What could be more amazing than that?” The spirit has a chuckle at that. In the same way, each day people experience and undergo tremendous difficulty, challenges, pain, and the ones who don’t think they’re immune. Until it happens to them. I am no stranger to thinking this way myself.

Each of us undergoes what we consider to be a life event (large or small) that is very challenging. So how would we ever decide to ‘suffer it cheerfully’? When we really get it right now that untimely things happen–people we know and care about pass away, one of our closest friends moves across town or across the country. We experience loss, we experience inconvenience, we experience every kind of challenge–and we always will until we take our own last breath. Knowing this, and intending right now to greet our challenges with a smile, with an open and soft heart, with as much curiosity and humility as we can open to, then we can begin to (as Pema Chodron might say) lean into the pain and difficulties that arise in our day to day lives. I find that when I maintain my awareness in this moment and do not get dragged into fantasies about ‘later’, that I am content and even joyful, despite the ongoing challenges I face every day.

This, to my understanding, is dharma. Living with a strong sense of dharma, of right-self-action and discernment, moment to moment, day to day, gives me a sense of cheeriness that otherwise vanishes when I veer into self-serving habitual tendencies and allow myself to get lax in my principles and values. We all know what this is like: “oh I’m going to just eat pizza for lunch again, I don’t need to make a salad, I can do that tomorrow!” The problem with tomorrow is that when it comes, it’s always today. Lazy thinking begets “stinkin’ thinkin'” begets loss of principles and values, equals lessening of dharma, darkening of karma. Or so that’s how I’ve come to think of it.

Making Comparisons

The biggest error we can make in our life is ‘comparison’. Comparing yourself to someone else’s status or capacity in life is like drinking an evil poison when you do so from a place of lack. It turns into jealousy and enmity, and ultimately the worst of all: regretful hopelessness.

I saw a meme recently that said, “Right now you’re living someone else’s dream while you dream of something else.” I think that sums it up nicely, don’t you?

You might be thinking, “yeah, but Scott…I don’t make comparisons from myself to others, I love my life.”

There’s a mild misnomer here. Most of the time you’re right, you don’t make comparisons. But sometimes you do. When someone says something to you about a famous celebrity’s new house or car or their adoring fans, or that incredibly super posh beach they were spotted at, and you might snicker, “Must be nice!”

That’s the first seed. The second seed, or sprout, is when you start thinking about how you want that new house or new car or some adoring fans of your own. And you might even have machinations on how to pull it off. Then you run into the first, third, and thousandth obstacle and voila, you remember that celebrity and the ‘ease’ with which their life and dreams unfold and how all you need is X, Y, or Z to make that possible for yourself.

In other words, comparison is one of numerous paths to the heart of suffering. I can’t imagine we don’t all do this. I’ve done this plenty in my life. And to say that it doesn’t have a real effect on the heart is a deceit. Not just the emotional ‘heart center’, but the physical heart as well. If we dwell on the life we want to have instead of the life we have now, we will suffer greatly. Especially if our viewpoint is that we lack all the things necessary to make our life what we want it to be. Because that’s really the strong branches of the tree of comparison that grow in the mind and heart. We keep thinking about what we don’t have and what we wished we had and how we’ll probably never get it anyway.

To look at this nakedly, this act of comparing, without judgment, it opens doors in your spirit. It shows you where you are in your life right now and begs you to consider what’s real for you. To do this you have to be willing to look at your life, beautiful, amazing, and yes, warts too. You have to just look at it.

What dream are you living right now that someone else wishes they had? Have you ever considered that? And if you are ‘living the dream’ I beg you one thing only: to wake up from it.

Here’s another thing about the comparison game: we have to rely on it. So those who say “I never make comparisons” are either lying to everyone, or just deceiving themselves. We need to make all kinds of comparisons to get through our life. Comparing ourselves to what others have or experience is surely bad, but we must compare one apple to the one beside it. We must make some comparisons to others. Let me provide an example: someone says something nasty to you with a particular tone. You can react habitually as you might be inclined to do. Then again you can respond with a pause. You can even ask yourself after the fact: am I like that? If you have never said a nasty thing to anyone, your own children included, then I guess you’re off the hook. People are mirrors to us. Their greatness and capacity, their talents and strengths are all qualities we already possess. So too are all the negative ones. If we learned to look at the strengths and talents as something we posses in a developmental phase of our being, we could work on that day by day. If we realized that those same demons that others we know wrestle with are very similar to our own demons, we can also work with that.

Comparisons are a necessity for our lives, and they are so subtle that most of the time we don’t even catch when we are making them.

Dealing with Losses

I don’t think there’s ever an easy way to deal with loss. Whether it’s in our business or personal life, loss is something we really take notice of. With the experience of loss often comes a sense of being defeated. A defeat of time. A defeat for all the things we had hoped to do but never got the chance to, and on its heels like a moping child, is regret.

We all live in a world where losses are not only inevitable, but a daily occurrence. Recently, I lost a friend who had struggled ever since I’d known her. She came into one of my healing workshops 7 years ago and I helped champion her through a first ever heart and liver transplant surgery (simultaneous). She was like a sister or daughter to me, though she wasn’t much younger. Her name was Jessica Stewart. At one point she even had a testimonial on my site. A bright light in this world winked out, and the sting of her departure is still with me.

Another friend left us the same week as Jessica, a Vietnam Veteran, a man who also appeared at one of my earlier workshops and whom I had a great deal of affection for. His name was Roger. The poignancy of his leaving us all behind is also still with me. I know that people (and even things) come into our lives in order to teach us invaluable lessons about ourselves.

The question remains: how do you deal with loss? The only answer that makes sense in my mind is one conscious breath at a time. Allowing the deep felt sense of pain to emerge full in my awareness brings up intense sensation and emotion. But as I allow it to be there I notice that after a little while it loses its power. A deeper, more fundamental aspect of my self, knows that everything is okay as it is, that nothing needs to be changed or different. I’m grieving for myself, not really for the other person or thing. The other person is wherever they need to be.

When my mother died in 2010 I felt the loss at such a primal level–it was gut wrenching. And at the same time, I knew she was okay. I was the one who had to live on, to live my life in a way that would show her skill in care-taking for me, that would display the sort of individual she raised the world to know of. So each day is a recommitment to the values I’ve found that work well for me and that benefit the world from what I can tell. My friend, Jessica Stewart, taught me how to stop complaining about life. My friend Roger showed me a depth of compassion that also exists within me. They taught by their examples.

So though selfishly I will miss all these great people in my everyday waking life, I know that their examples and their lessons live on in me to share with the world I come in contact with. Knowing this is how I deal with losses.

How do you deal with losses? I’d love to hear from you.

The Mindfulness Landslide

You probably can’t walk into any store where magazine racks stare you in the face and not see someone like Jon Kabat-Zinn or Pema Chödrön staring at you with knowing eyes and smiling faces. It’s because they know and they’re happy that they’re looking at you like that—as far as I can tell, there’s not much of an ulterior motive going on.

So how long has mindfulness been around anyway? Jon brought the famous Buddhists teachings to the West and started something called theMindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in 1979. But the Buddhists had already been practicing stuff like that for a very long time, of course.

So why has this type of work begun to go mainstream? What initiated the leap into people’s everyday awareness?

My guess is that people found that doing the techniques actually worked for them. And you know how it is when you feel hopeless, like nothing you do matters, or anything you try just doesn’t work out? Imagine feeling like that, then giving yet one more thing (mindfulness) a try and to your astonishment, it works!

You tell everyone you know, because someone as lost and hopeless as you thought you were is suddenly noticing those pesky thoughts that tell you you’re lost and hopeless, and you realize you don’t quite buy into that line of thinking so much anymore. Super cool!

So what exactly is mindfulness? Well, it is becoming very conscious of your thought process. And, without judging it harshly or bashing it somehow, you enter into a state of softness around your thoughts. Maybe, as Pema suggests, you “lean into the sharp places” and you notice that the feelings and thoughts and sensations lose their sharpness and painfulness in that process. You begin to see the thoughts for what they are: insubstantial—like, thoughts! Duh.

There are actually specific tools to use, so many amazing ones really. I recommend taking any of Pema’s or Jon’s trainings. Pema has a number of online courses that are indeed excellent, as well as books and other programs.

The landslide doesn’t come from the promotional efforts of these great teachers, but rather the people who took a chance on some of their promotional efforts, and then they themselves became the walking talking adds for mindfulness and the teachers who expound on it.

You are the reason such things are so popular. Now you might be saying that such a thing isn’t possible—you never even heard of it until you read this blog. Well, it’s in the collective consciousness more than ever now. And it is you that I’m talking to and about—you brought this out into the daylight and now everyone’s benefiting.

What’s more astounding to me is that we are all entwined in the workings of this world—yes, that includes what we love and what we dislike about it. While this last sentiment may give you some pause, I encourage you to be mindful in your rumination, as perchance you will see yourself thinking about something rather than acting. In that moment (or even this one) you can bring your conscious awareness back to your breath and to this moment.

The Work works.

There are so many things in life that I’m sure I’ll never understand. One of the most interesting things I think I’ll never fully understand is the mind of a skeptic.

I know that things which can’t be seen are a difficult pill to swallow. We have to rely on science to tell us whether things are empirically there or not. So let’s leave behind the things which science hasn’t said “yay” to. Like ghosts, an afterlife, or the effectiveness of snake oil as a cure-all.

Let’s instead talk for a moment about healing energy. Healing, itself. The body is healing itself all the time. In a state of self-repair, and we call this repair homeostasis. I can definitely see how it would be difficult or impossible to accept the veracity of someone’s claim that they can wave their arms and hands over you and make you feel better if you are sick, or wounded, or otherwise injured. If my leg was broken I wouldn’t go see a Shaman priest to make it better. I’d go to the doctor like anyone else with a rational mind. Call me grounded in that level of reality.

But it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t also go see a reiki or energy healing practitioner. Allow me to explain my thought process on that. Do I think the healing is ever coming from them for my benefit? Do I think that the healing is coming from me when I work with others? No, absolutely not. I can positively say that the healing energy does not come from a person, place, or object. However, people places, and objects can and sometimes do act as ‘way stations’ of collected energy and power.

My own work, when I work with people, shows near-immediate results. When I put my hands on someone and do any sort of work, compression manipulation massage, or just plain good old fashioned healing/reiki work, they claim to feel better. Now I’m aware the whole time that the healing is not coming from me, I’m clear that I’m just another ‘bozo on the buss’, but I am equally clear that the work is truly moving through me, the healing energy that is.

How does that work? If we take the claim of science that energy can never cease to be and is recycled infinitely in various forms, then energy is not only all-pervasive, it is literally the foundation of everything we know and everything we do not know. Science also dictates that when we observe something, we change it by the mere fact of our observation.

In my line of work, observation and intention are amplified by our being together, and a radical shift occurs in the client, blockages are cleared up, and a person (the person on the table) suddenly feels better. I do not use the word ‘miraculous’ because I believe in time science will put more pieces of the healing puzzle together for us and explain in greater detail how it’s done. I don’t personally need to know ‘how it’s done’ to know that it gets done anyway. My clients don’t leave one of my sessions feeling worse than when they came in. Try explaining that to a skeptic. And I’ve worked on skeptics, hardcore ones, and they had no choice but to admit that whatever I did was working, and that indeed I was no charlatan. I put great effort into all the work I do. Can it be explained? No, perhaps not fully, but we can allude to it, in somewhat the same way we can allude to there being some kind of Source or Power or God.

Whatever else you want to call it, the work works—period. At least it has for me and the thousands of people I’ve worked with over the years.

I’m ready when you are.