Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Perseverance

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Perseverance is the difference between a fleeting notion and the pursuit of an idea.  Our ability to persevere is another self-made wonder of the wondrous world.

Perseverance is not simply having an idea, it is moving forward in making the intangible idea into a tangible thing.  It is a part of the means to the ends.

Dictionary.com defines perseverance thus:

noun

1.steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

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Perseverance is the course of action, the purpose – for example, choosing your own way.  Making your own decisions and choices in regards to pursuing the destiny you most want to find.

I do not want to sit back and let my life just happen…I want to make it happen.  I do not want others choosing for me…I want to make the choices.  I do not want my emotions to be a result of the influences of the world around me…I want to choose how I will feel.  I want, ultimately, to be content with my life, and happy with the choices I am making for it.

Yes, there will be bad days. You get doubtful, and frustrated when progress is not what you might desire it to be.  But this is just a part of human nature.  Even the happiest, most satisfied people in the world are not in that state absolutely all the time.

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That is why you persevere.  That is why you make the efforts you make, you strive for the journey and the ultimate goal.  Ultimately, you want to be happy and satisfied, and that is worth striving for.

I look at the world in the way I have always wanted to.  It is not a nightmare place filled with terrible people, tragedies and horrors…it is a world of endless possibilities, of good people, of possibilities and beauty and wonders.  Yes, it is imperfect, yes there ARE all the bad things out there as well as the good, but I can see the world for all its positives more than its negatives.

Turning a blind eye to the adversities of the world?  Wearing rose-colored glasses?  NO.  I see that there are horrid people and awful things in the world perfectly clearly.  But I am not giving them my focus, not giving them my energies, not giving them my attentions and intentions.  I am persevering instead to look at the good people and wonderful things in the world.  And frankly, without those negatives, we would be incapable of seeing the positives.

I am persevering still.  Are you?

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(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that this week’s Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic of the self is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart,  “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” author and photographer (these shots are the progression of the hike up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona).  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Living in the Now

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Life is meant to be lived in the here and now.

One of the great wonders of our wondrous world is our ability to know past, present, and future.  But it is the ability to live in the now that I want to explore today.

How do you live in the here and now?

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If you cannot live in the past, or live for the future, but need to live in the here and now – and most people seem to not be capable of doing this – how is it done?  Well, from my own experience, these are the things I have done/am doing/am working to do more regularly that let me live in the present.

Ask yourself questions.  We ask a lot of questions daily, but how often do we ask ourselves important questions?  Sure, we are constantly saying “How are you” and “What are you thinking” and “Are you feeling ok”, but how often do we ask that of ourselves?  How am I?  What am I thinking?  Am I feeling ok?  It is amazing how asking these simple questions we frequently pose to others can immediately bring us to the present moment.

We have become so concerned with appearing selfish, that we take selfless to the extreme, and truly become less of the self.  This point is why, frankly, I drive at the incredible need to live more in the here-and-now than either past or future.  There is no reason NOT to ask questions of ourselves, in order to be in the moment, in the here and now.

This can be a silent question – but I often find that if I ask it out loud, I am utterly drawn to the moment, to the present, in order to know the answer.  The simplest questions of the self, in the moment, can help us live in the here and now.

Be aware of distractions.  I find that I get distracted by outside influences and shiny things and my environment, which I know that everyone does from time to time.  But if I am aware of them, I can take my focus AWAY from them, and return to the here-and-now, to be where I want to be and do what I intend to do.

Yes, sometimes we NEED distractions.  I am not advocating avoiding distractions, nor ignoring them entirely – I am suggesting awareness of them.

Savor food and drink.  No, really, this is VERY hard to do, in especial when you are on the internet or reading a book or even interacting with people while eating.  This is a reason why many of us overeat or never feel fully satisfied by our sustenance.  But really paying attention to what you are eating, and enjoying the texture and flavor puts you very much in the present.  Also, really, you will be amazed how much better everything tastes.

It very much ties into being aware of distractions, but is still a separate idea.

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Be more observant.  How many times while you travel between points ‘a’ and ‘b’, whether you are driving or riding in a vehicle or walking, does everything between the points simply blur?  How frequently can you visit a room and not notice the sounds within?  How many times can you see a person, and have no means to describe their facial features, the color of their eyes, and so on?  That is a lack of observation, and in our high-speed, disconnected society, we become less and less observant of things around us.

Sherlock Holmes may be been a fictional character, but the lesson one may take away from him was that he was the master of observation.  He saw the most minute details of every person he encountered, and always astounded the uninitiated with what he could tell you about them.  This was no super power, or other inexplicable capacity – it was extreme, detailed observation.

It doesn’t take that much to do this, really.  If you start small, you will find that it gets easier to change your focus.  For example, when you are driving somewhere, don’t just pay attention to the road and the speedometer and other cars on the road – see the sky, look at the trees and buildings lining the road.  NOT, obviously, to the point of being distracted from driving – but so that you experience more from it.

Walking between places?  Note the atmosphere around you.  Listen to sounds, look at your surroundings, smell the air, feel breezes and changes in temperature on your skin, and so forth.  Don’t let where you came from or where you are going to be your focus, be where you are NOW.

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Asking yourself questions, awareness of distractions, enjoying sustenance and being more observant are just a few examples of ways to better place yourself in the present.  There are other ways and means to do this, but these are, I think, relatively simple, and can be done by anyone, anytime, unassisted.  And this ability is a real wonder of our wondrous world.

Did you ask of yourself today “How am I?”

(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that a previous Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, philosopher and author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: The Self

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Truly an amazing wonder of our wondrous world is our knowledge of the self.  But do you care for and love your self as you ought to?

In today’s society, we have become so focused on our jobs, our families, our friends, our coworkers, our education, our finances, our possessions, our weekends, and so on and so forth – that we have become utterly negligent of the self.

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We have become indoctrinated in the idea that this is selfishness.  Too much focus on the self leads automatically to selfishness, arrogance, greed, corruption…and as such we become uncaring, socially unacceptable creatures unfit to walk amongst the rest of humankind.

But this is a lie that prevents us from getting to know ourselves.  We are taught from an early age to share, and to think about others, and to consider the feelings of those around us.  I am not saying that this is a bad thing in any way – but what we neglect to explore is the connection between the self and the person we are sharing with, how we think about ourselves, and considering our own feelings.

I must iterate here that there is nothing wrong with selflessness – except when it involves the utter lack of attention and energy to the self.  When all you do is give, and sacrifice, and disregard your own needs and desires, you create an immense imbalance in your own energies.  Balance is utterly necessary in life.

We have become creatures of extremes.  Society places tremendous attention and focus on the opposites: male versus female, Republican versus Democrat, heterosexual versus homosexual, rich versus poor, fat versus thin, and so forth.  But life is very seldom defined by the extreme opposites; most is balanced somewhere in the middle.

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When it comes to time on the self and time for others, we cannot neglect the self and have balance.  But because we are so acutely aware of these opposite extremes, we forget that there is a line between self care and selfishness, and that we cannot ignore the one because of fear of the other.

Self care, self love, and self talk are NOT selfish.  They are utterly necessary.  If we neglect the self and sacrifice our wellbeing, our happiness, and our desires just to be selfless, we are only hurting ourselves.

Selfishness on the one hand, sacrifice on the other are the extremes in regards to the self.  The question is – where is the middle?  That would be Compromise.

It is surprisingly easy to mistake compromise for sacrifice.  The difference with regards to the self is simple – compromise is striking a balance between giving OF, taking FOR and holding FOR the self; whereas sacrifice is unbalanced with giving FROM, holding NOTHING and taking FROM the self.

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If you do not find balance in giving to and taking for the self, then you might find you really do not know who you are.  And our ability to really KNOW our self is truly a wonder of our wondrous world.

How do you feel about yourself?

 

(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that this week’s Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic of the self is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, deep thinker and author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Appreciation

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We all want to be appreciated.  Appreciation is an amazing wonder of this wondrous world.

I know no one who does not appreciate hearing “Thank you!” or “I appreciate that” or “That was really great of you.”  The appreciation, whether for an act you have performed or a job you have done or simply for you being you goes a long ways towards how you feel on a daily basis.

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Whether we are already aware of this or not, we are responsible for our own feelings.  No one “makes” us feel a certain way, though it is undeniable that the actions of others and outside influences will affect how we feel.  We choose how to let things phase us, and we can choose whether to let a feeling an outside influence produces linger or be let go.

One of the worst feelings you can have is feeling unappreciated.  In especial when others around you are being shown appreciation, and you are not.  Whether you watch someone you consider a peer receive some sort of award or recognition that you feel you also deserve, or whether someone you have been partnered with is thanked and you are not, there is nothing more disconcerting than feeling unappreciated.

Worse, the feeling of being unappreciated can very easily spiral into darker, even more negative places.  It is not hard to go from feeling unappreciated to feeling disconnected to feeling unloved to feeling unimportant to feeling sad to feeling angry to feeling hopeless…you get the idea.  And we have all been there, haven’t we?

The first thing we have to acknowledge about this is this:  You can do nothing to change how others appreciate you, or don’t.  Once the act of appreciation or neglect has happened, it is done.  Attempting to change it is a waste of time and energy.  All we can do is accept it and move on.

Unacceptable!  I worked hard on ‘x’ or I gave an incredible amount of effort to ‘y’ and I want that acknowledged!  I know that feeling, and I am here to tell you that, sorry, this instance is over.  It has happened, and you cannot go back and change it.  All you can do is accept it, and move on.

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Now that is not to say that you do not have the right to feel hurt, to feel angry, to feel dismissed, to feel neglected, to feel unappreciated.  We are human beings, and this is a part of our nature.  And since we need appreciation, when we do not get it it hurts.

What I am suggesting here is not to hold onto it for too long.  We have control over how long we will let that terrible feeling linger, and we can choose to let it settle into our being and fester for hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or what-have-you.  Holding onto that unhappy, negative sensation does not serve you.  It does not let you move forward, it is a roadblock to your continued wellbeing.

Let the feeling happen, because you cannot stop it.  But you can choose to not hold onto it for too long.

What comes next, though, is important.  What do you do with regards to the person or persons who did not appreciate you?  Do you continue to do good work even though you are not feeling appreciated for what you do?  Do you do less?  Do you do more?  Do you lash out, and seek retribution for the hurt you have received?

Here are my thoughts on these important questions.  First, and most importantly, whether you receive appreciation or no, you should not stop being you.  You should continue to act as you act, within your own nature, no matter if you receive acknowledgement or no.  If it no longer makes you feel good, and it no longer serves you, then by all means move on.

What you should NOT do is lash out.  You should not belittle or show a lack of appreciation in retaliation for the slight you have received.  That will only make things worse.  Remember, negative acts beget negative acts.  You have to break the cycle or it will continue.

Here is the even more important part of this.  If negative begets negative, then conversely positive begets positive.  If you want to get appreciation, SHOW appreciation.

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Remember to thank people.  Remember to compliment people.  Remember to show people that you appreciate them for what they do, and who they are.  Appreciation is a two-way street, and when we give it, we get it.  Yes, this is much harder after you have been slighted, but that does not mean it should be neglected.

I believe that if we are more grateful, whether for the things we have or for the people around us, and we show more appreciation, the whole world could be a better place.  You know how good you feel when someone shows YOU appreciation.  Shouldn’t we spread that out further?

Appreciation – a true wonder of our wondrous world.

Let me conclude with this:  I sincerely appreciate you.  Whether I know you personally or otherwise, whether you agree with the things I write here or not, I appreciate you.    THANK YOU!

 

(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that this week’s Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic of appreciation is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” author.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Ever Onward: The Question of Cravings

Ever Onward

When desire crosses a certain threshold, becoming more immediate, pulling you by the collar to demand your attention, it takes on new dimensions. When things like this happen, we need new words. Desires become cravings.

Cravings often present us with either a sense of conflict–something to battle against and overcome;- or guilt–we shamefully submit to something that we feel powerless to resist.

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We can crave certain foods, relationships, the idea of what a certain lifestyle will provide us, and all sorts of experiences.

Cravings are visceral. Invariably, they imply a very physical component. We feel cravings in our bodies, though they often have roots in emotional longings. They remind us of the ebb and flow, and ultimate unity, of the physical and non-physical.

And the reminding doesn’t have to stop there. We can learn to utilize cravings as signposts, calling us to make distinctions around what is true and real for us.

The whole subject is near and dear to me at the time of this writing because I’ve been going through a cleansing fast and diet transition over the last couple of weeks (write what you know!) The experience got me thinking:

What are cravings exactly?

I concluded that cravings are the more pronounced or extreme aspects of our habits, and even beliefs.

Cravings are not necessarily addictions, however, addictions, by nature, necessarily contain cravings.

We’ve all heard the standard definition of addictions: you can tell you have one when it disrupts the other areas of your life. Addiction throws you into a great imbalance. So the first thing to determine is if your craving functions as part of a larger addiction.

According to Merriam-Webster a craving is: “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.” This doesn’t necessarily convey a blanket “bad” connotation. The word “abnormal” probably comes closest. But we live in a world where great leaders, great love, great courage, are often abnormal.

Understanding that full blown addictions are a different topic, we’ll focus on a more benign and nuanced sitting-stillexploration of cravings by drilling it down this way: sitting with and getting into the message of your cravings  puts you in touch with an extremely personal, fundamental, and often challenging question.

If you start fighting a craving, and then turn your attention inward,  you’ll arrive at this question:

Do I really need to form a healthier habit, or am I fighting against something that is actually in my best interest?

In other words, what’s your better instinct? And what does a “healthier habit” even mean to you?

The question brings you smack up against the concern so many of us have in this age of information, which like anything can be a two-edged sword:

Do I listen to the advice of others (assuming they have qualified themselves), or myself?

In personal development and spiritual literature, we always hear that listening to your inner voice is the way to imagesgo…and it is, generally speaking. But there are a couple of kickers here.

First, you are not  an island, so sometimes the wisdom you need to hear comes through others.

Secondly, cravings can masquerade as, or morph, our innermost voice. Justification and excuses easily creep in. And this is where confronting cravings can be a spiritual exercise. It takes a degree of discipline and inner fine tuning to separate the wheat from the chaff.

And maybe, your craving is indeed of the positive, constructive variety–what others may scoff at as a futile obsession could be your call to greatness. History tells us that story again and again.

Confronting this inner reality brings you to a room inside yourself where you are called to sit quietly and discern what is in your highest good and the good of the all. And there’s one more kicker here. As many spiritual seekers know:

Things change.

Perhaps you turned a corner and overcame a habit, only to find out that after some time of living with the new habits, those too began to wear thin and reveal cracks. This is where we need to be easy on ourselves, remembering it’s an eternal adventure we’re on, and we’ll always be making new distinctions and evolving.

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It’s all play.

We’re all just swinging across the monkey bars, making our way. Just keep swinging from one monkey bar to the next.

Keep going for what feels good and true and expansive and what you’re at peace with. The expression of that will grow, and yes, changes; you will be lead to constantly form new skin then shed it.

As for slicing through the lessons our cravings put us up against, there are a few things we can do. The first is something very familiar: practicing gratitude. The cravings, like emotions, are a communication signal, and therefore, contain a treasure of self-knowledge waiting there for you, if you choose to unlock it. That’s certainly grounds for a thank you!

Secondly: truly ask, what’s real, and what’s just your mind’s excuses? Commit in the beginning to delve into your craving’s message.

Related to that, a third action to take  is asking what this reveals about your current belief system, your assumptions, your personal and universal “rules.”

To consider the common scenario of  food cravings: it may not be so simple as to say “oh, I was craving something so my body must have needed it.”

It’s well known that parasites, yeasts, and all kinds of nasty stuff who use your warm body as a host feed off of certain sugars, bread products, processed foods, etc. Like any living organism, they’re designed to survive and thus affect your chemistry, making you think you want something, when it’s really for them. That’s why cleansing is a paramount first step in a diet change. archangel-michael-art

We can look to that as a metaphor: there are parasitic thought forms that “infest” us when we agree to certain beliefs or carry out business as usual for certain groups we may be a part of. So again, this is where we are called to strength, cleansing, a diligent personal path; being a spiritual warrior.

It’s something you must go alone.

Only you can determine how you have cleansed yourself, and what your desires and cravings mean. Some people feel that they can easily transcend the parasite question (physical or thought form), or that it’s too simplistic an argument.

Certainly, hearing such an idea and then worrying about being controlled by something outside of yourself just creates more fear, and trading one fear for another is probably not what you want.

To continue with the subject of food (literally and as a metaphor), some say they or others can eat any kind of food and transmute the content. Or that while food may help a lot, consciousness trumps it. There are certainly tuned-in people who eat fast food, as well as miserable people with pristine diets.

All of it brings us back to this: we are extremely dynamic and quantum beings. While the simplest answers may be the most useful, and the fundamentals of love and presence remain as our alpha and omega, our navigation of this life brings with it mysteries and complexities.

My own explorations of cravings left me both edified and humbled, helping_handsreminding me again how individuals make choices for reasons I can never sit in judgement of.

Let’s all commit to our own presence and learning as we attempt to handle the forces that influence us, offer help to those who seek it from us, and be gentle and forgiving to ourselves and each other as we all make our way across the monkey bars.

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——JD3

Jared Domenico is, among other things, a musician, energy healer, and communicator. His Chakra Center column, Ever Onward, often utilizes topics that are atypical to spiritual seekers as springboards to discuss transmutation and growth, and to create re-framed perspectives, more understanding, and broadened points of reference. JaredDomenico.com, which started in Feb. 2013, is where you can find him online.