How about trying something new?

I tried something new this week.

Not new as in “never been done in the history of mankind” or “totally new all-herbal diet plan”, but new for me.   I’ve heard about and read about it and understood it on an intellectual level most of my life. I’ve even given it occasional lip service myself, but I’ve never actually DONE it.

What, you ask?  What did I finally do?

I forgave myself.

I forgave myself for my failures. For letting Jacquelynn down (my words, not hers). For letting my employer down. For not living up to my obligations. For judging, condemning, and endlessly criticizing myself and others.

In short, I stopped being an asshole to myself, and it instantly changed my life.

All of a sudden, customers are buying instead of “just looking”. Some outside assistance came together to help catch bills up.

I slept two nights in a row for seven deep, uninterrupted hours.

The sunset blinded me with its incomparable brilliance.

I let go and allowed success in, and it didn’t just enter, it barged in and knocked the door off its hinges.

No ceiling now. Never, as long as I don’t return to judging and punishing myself again.

Yeah. Not again.

Greeting the Day with Focus

Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life… We can never help another without helping ourselves”, and is inescapably true that every good we do for another–or the world as a whole–can not help but benefit us individually as well.

Most of us have a daily ritual. That is, we rise, pee, wash, and set the coffee or tea to brew, and begin our day in a more-or-less consistent way.

My ritual is fairly consistent as well: I rise, attend to my ablutions, head downstairs to start my coffee, etc…

Stage two each a.m. is my meditation time. A key component to this is the Tao Te Ching. This 2500 year old owner’s manual for living as your highest self has been translated from its long-dead dialect and interpreted into modern language more times than can easily be counted. Of those I’ve encountered, easily my favorite is “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. Dr. Dyer didn’t translate it himself, but he combed through hundreds of english language versions of the text and composed an individual essay on each of its 81 verses, providing a layman’s guide to living the Tao and its essentially simple but surprisingly complex and dichotomous teachings.

I pick up this book, close my eyes, and allow it to fall open to a random page, and re-read that verse and its essay. It is on this lesson that my morning meditation is focused.

Today, I studied once again the 27th verse, which Dr. Dyer has titled “Living By Your Inner Light”. In the essay which accompanies this profound verse, Dyer makes the following suggestions, which truly clarify what I pray to accomplish with my life, possibly in part through these pages:

“Try on the view that you’re here to teach yourself and others in some way, and that the work is to raise the collective energy of our entire universe.”

“Virtually every translation of the Tao Te Ching I’ve examined refers to us all being one, and all of us needing to be there for each other.”

And finally;

“When you see the world as full of opportunities to help, one thought and one action at a time, you’ll be living by your inner light.”

This is my goal, my hope, and my calling.

Welcome To My Quest.

Inspire, Uplift, Encourage. These are the driving forces of my life, and this is the stage from which I hope to achieve those lofty goals.

My life is a quest. No, not to destroy the one ring nor to acquire the Holy Grail; my life is a quest of spirit, to become in flesh that which I truly am (which ALL of us truly are) in spirit. My goal is to realize the union of physical self with highest self, with my source.

The purpose of this blog is to expand upon and manifest those conditions which empower such growth. I began with my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/simplyuplift, and intend to use this forum to go slightly longer-form in the conversation. I invite any and all to visit, and hopefully to benefit from observing my journey. It is my grandest hope that, through my experiences, even one soul may be touched, may feel elevated, may understand the limitless, unconditional love that is theirs for the taking in this universe of endless supply.

So, please stop in occasionally and read a bit. There will be short thoughts, journal entries, and essays. Some may provoke thought, and some will, almost inevitably, provoke disagreement. It is my aim to learn, grow, and expand, not to aggravate or anger.

What I will not be doing, under any circumstances, is hating.   You will find no ire here, only love, for I do not believe that to disagree is dislike. Quite the opposite, actually; I find that people who are to disagree, even vehemently, and still remain close and civil are the most interesting to know. There will be no racist remarks, no gay-bashing, no intentionally divisive conversation. There will be tons of love, acres of inclusion, and bushels of inspiration. I hope you enjoy it.

Discovering prejudice where I least expect it; in me. Or Not.

Oneness. Truly, in my heart of hearts, I know that we are all one.   In deepest meditation, I feel it; I feel my complete connection to the world, my harmony with all of life. I perceive the pulse of billions of hearts, the rhythms of the world. I feel the grass growing from my flesh and the breeze tugging at my leaves. I sense the desperate joy of the birdsong, longing, crying, begging for a mate to respond. I know that we are all part of the vast, limitless organism of creation. I KNOW this, with all my intellectual conviction. Still, of all the concepts I have embraced, it is this one with which I seem to struggle the most… I sell cars for a living. I have since 2002. This is a business with a dismal reputation (largely well-earned) as well as a very sketchy consistency; months can go from wildly prosperous to terrifyingly slim with alarming speed. One of the wonderful blessings of this job though, is the very great variety of people you meet. Every imaginable ethnicity, each with its stereotypes and idiosyncrasies, and just as many who defy those ingrained expectations. It is here where I struggle. I know, for instance, that regardless of their nationality or origin, each human being who walks into my dealership deserves kindness and openness in their dealings, just as I strive to give all my customers. Still, I find myself prejudging, pretending that I know exactly how a certain person is going to act and deal based solely on their appearance. I struggle with surrendering expectations and dealing with people on an individual, tabula rasa level. I know that we all come from the very same source. I know that the same light which I embrace and hope to amplify within myself shines from their soul as well. I know that I should seek to see myself in them and to use that unbreakable connection as common ground. But, more often than not, I fail in this then make excuses that “I don’t deal well with ‘them’ anyway, so its better that someone else got them”, or use these same excuses to explain why I failed to make a deal. We create our realities. We get what we expect to get from life. When we expect someone to trouble us, guess what we get? Do we think others don’t sense us judging them?   Are they somehow supposed to be blind to our expectations? Why do some salespeople deal so well with other ethnicities while the rest struggle so?   Could it be because what they see is a customer, rather than a race or nationality? Am I really a racist who honestly doesn’t realize it? Can I come to see everyone I encounter as part of me, and as key to all of creation as I would like to be? Can I just LOVE and leave it at that? Can I really have learned so great a lesson while typing a blog post?

As it turns out, no, I’m actually NOT a racist, much to my relief.  Even while writing and facing the realization that I may be, my mind rebelled against the concept.  For decades, I’ve prided myself on my sense of inclusion and openness.  With my very diverse family and circle, I’ve never, NEVER felt the desire to judge or distance myself from any people because of color or ethnicity.  I feel that I got that from my mom; she’s never used the cover of the book to reach her conclusions.  It’s always been the content of the pages from which she drew her conclusions; the actions of the person which she saw.

So NOI’m not a racist.  What I am is lazy, and I’ve actually stooped to using race and nationality as an excuse to avoid doing my job.  What kind of world have we built in which it is easier to admit to racism than to laziness?  In what universe is judgement preferable to indolence?  Not in my world, for sure.  Not any more.

Thank you for listening