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If Your Heart Were Truly Open


During difficult times I am reminded of conversations with God and the devil. As strange as that may seem, the message from both are lessons I will never forget. Almost seven years ago, the day before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine who lived on the other side of the world woke up from a dead sleep and felt compelled to message me three words, “Divide and Conquer.” During that time period I had already begun writing, but it was fairly infrequent. But when I saw those words, it was different. I began writing and writing and I could not stop. I literally wrote for hours from almost 10am to 4:30pm that day. I only stopped because I needed to pick up my son from daycare.

On the way to day care, I prayed to God and I asked Him in my heart, “Why can’t I stop writing?” In that moment, I felt a peace come over me. I heard/felt the words, “If your heart were truly open, would you ever want it to stop?” As I felt those words something happened. I could literally feel every emotion of everyone. I could feel love, pain, anger, hate, happiness, all of it. I could feel all of it all at once as if each thought and emotion were in some ether floating around, waiting to be felt, waiting to be expressed. It was all there, but it was not overwhelming. It was as if they simply existed, all without judgment. There was no good or bad. They were just expressions, existence. There were just the words I associated with what I saw. Just as I could feel the peace and I tried to hold onto it, it disappeared. It was still there but as soon as I tried to attach my understanding, and my perception to it, it disappeared. From that day onward, I would continue to write.

Sometime after that I had another “conversation.” In a dream I had seen the devil. There was no fear, anger or hate. There was simply understanding. In a dark room I could see the outline of a door. As I opened the door, I could see a figure. A light seemingly coming from nowhere shown upon this figure. I recognized him to be the devil. It was as if he was frozen by the light. He was not able to move, except to speak. I asked him, “Why are you the way you are?” Not expecting any response, he answered me. He simply said, “I forgot who I was. I forgot where I came from.” I could see remorse, and sadness. His burden was to see and feel the fruit of the seeds he had sown. In him, I saw myself and mankind. We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten the light, and the way. And in doing so, it was as if we turned our backs on God.

Upon waking from this dream, I was instantly reminded of my conversation with God. “If my heart were truly open, why would I ever want it to stop?” Why would anyone want to turn their back on God? I have looked back on these moments. I often ask myself could I have done something different to continue feeling that peace? What can I do to come to that state of mind? But in trying to grasp at what we think we know and by trying to label those things that we think we understand, we judge. We judge our experiences by those of others. We judge every aspect of life. We judge our grief, our pain, and our losses. We judge our love, our happiness, and our gains. We judge and we lose sight.

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Identify!


If you could put your identity to the side, would you be willing to live and be who you are? What would you call yourself? Would you still claim a nation as your home, a religion as your foundation, and a god as your God? Who would claim your allegiance if allegiances were to be made? Who would hold your ear when a story needed to be told?

Who are you? Most can agree we are not the clothes we wear, or the job we take up, but then who are we? Many ask this question throughout their lives, while some pay no mind, and still others become who they are told to be. All the while, the question still begs to be asked, “Who am I?” Am I a mother, a father, a brother or a sister? Am I my parents’ child? Am I a policeman, a teacher or business person? Am I a stranger, a derelict or a criminal? Who am I to ask these questions? Who am I to answer them?

I am no one, and yet I am someone. I am you, and yet I am me. I am and yet I have no words to describe. Do not judge me. Just see me, for no words can do justice, nor should we attempt to confine.

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A Moment Not Judged is a Moment Lived


There is no such thing as stability when it comes to one’s life path. It is simply trust, misplaced. We take comfort in the constructs that we create in life. We tell ourselves that if we go to school and become educated that we will have a good job when we’re finished. We tell ourselves that if we save our money that it will always be there for a rainy day. We tell ourselves that if we show loyalty to people that others will reciprocate. We tell ourselves all of these things in the hopes that it all might just come true.

We live our lives expecting a specific set of possible outcomes, but when those outcomes are different, it causes us confusion. It causes us to question our very existence. The person who sought to educate themselves is now faced with having to compete with others of a similar background for a single position. The person, who saved, is now faced with inflation that outpaces one’s savings. The person who was loyal is now faced with the realization that his loyalty meant nothing to the one he sought to impress.

Our lives are filled with similar examples of misplaced trust. When our expectations are not met, we blame others, and we blame ourselves. We become self-destructive when what we really need is to open our hearts and our minds to what truly exists, and to what truly matters.

We spend so much of our time contemplating the what-if moments, the possibilities, but we never ask ourselves, does it matter? Is the purpose of life to earn money? Is the purpose of life to try and learn every possible thing we can? Is the purpose of life to impress others? Perhaps it is none of these things. Perhaps it is simply to express oneself, to take joy in each moment, as it comes, regardless of how it we are perceived. A moment not judged, is a moment lived, and yet here we are judging ourselves each step of the way.

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Dog Pile


Line of jurors for Casey Anthony trial What can we say for ourselves when we take joy in the destruction and dismantling of others? What does that say about us? Have our hearts’ become cold? Have we removed ourselves completely from feeling any empathy or compassion towards others? Have we become so cynical that seeing others in pain brings us enjoyment? We gather to see a spectacle, but in the process, do we not become the spectacle? Are we not taking part in the dismantling of ourselves?

All too often we try to mask our own pain by bringing to attention the pain and suffering of others. But rather than alleviating anyone’s suffering, all we do is throw more fuel onto an already burning fire and turn a blind eye towards our own issues. We smile and put up a proud face, but underneath, the pain is all too clear. And so rather than face it, we point it out in others.

We smile and we laugh and we give all the reasons for why others are imperfect, never giving a second thought to ourselves. Each person has their own trials. Each person learns in their way. Each person comes to an understanding of the truth by their own choices. If we could allow that, and learn to understand that despite our own suffering, we need not bring others into it. So rather than jumping in on the dog pile, perhaps we can have some sympathy and compassion.

photo credit: Bay News 9

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Not Guilty by Association


Muammar GaddafiHaving ties to a criminal, murderer, or rapist does not make a person these things by association. Rejecting hate does not mean rejecting a person who hates. Rejecting murder does not mean rejecting the murder. Rejecting rape does not mean rejecting the rapist. We can abhor these acts, but does it require one to disown and disentangle oneself from those who may have committed these acts? By doing so, does it not just feed the hate? To suddenly dislodge oneself from close association with someone because of their actions, does not bring a person closer to understanding, or love. Instead, it promotes the demonization of individuals. It turns individuals into symbols and idols, to either be worshiped or cursed. To cast another aside is to elevate oneself above all others. To bring into the fold is to show compassion, and understanding. To show compassion and understanding, is to give an invitation to unconditional love.

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Many Times Over Shall We See


It’s easy to criticize others. It’s easy to point out the things about a person, their actions or their beliefs that are distasteful to us. It’s even easier to walk away and pretend we didn’t hear something when we know it is wrong or offensive. So who is at fault? Is it the person who spews hatred because it is what he knows; is it the person who adds fuel to the fire through condemnation or blind reaction; or is it the person who walks away? So many of us clamor for a better life and for a better world, but change does not happen in the minds of men. It happens on the backs of our actions, and the backs of what we are willing to put forth with our own heart.

We can sometimes get so carried away with the ranting of a few that rather than make good from what is poison, we judge and criticize without care for bringing another into the fold. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us. Judge not the man, nor even his actions, but rather show him the loving light of truth. Reveal to him not our own disdain, but instead an understanding that he can take with him. For not once and not twice will we be given a path to redemption, but many times over shall we see.

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Bondage of Expectations


chainsIf we judge our life and our experiences by a measuring stick, then we’ve already lost. All too often we judge the circumstances of our life by the perceived accomplishments of others and even by the occurrences in our own lives. But what if we placed an artificial ceiling over our heads? How many of us would be willing to surpass it? How many of us would reach beyond it? How many of us would even realize we could reach beyond? What if the only boundaries were the ones we placed in front of ourselves? We are our own worst enemy. All too often we succumb to expectations, whether they are our own or others’. We place others on pedestals. We idolize and worship. Whether it is wealth, fame, stature, or one’s place in society, we find ways to distill that which cannot be separated. We set ourselves apart. And in that process, we measure ourselves against our dreams and expectations.

What if what we perceived as the ideal was in fact an illusion? What if the greatest illusion, or delusion of all was desire, whether it is the desire to reach a state of enlightenment, or the desire to cling onto a memory or moment in time. In this state of want, do we not lose perspective? Do we not try to relive the past, or try to grab for the future in a veiled attempt to catch what cannot be captured? In that process, do we not become slaves to our desires?

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The Answer is a Simple One


To me the answer is a simple one. It is love. My belief and understanding of love is one in which there are no levels. To me love is unconditional. The difference comes down to thinking we know something versus understanding it and living it. So although the answer may be a simple one, living it is not so easy. We all have different motives. Sometimes we come from a place of pure intent and other times we do not. Learning to recognize that, I believe, is part of the challenge of this life. One would think that if love was so simple, everyone could follow it, but again I believe it comes down to knowing versus understanding.

We can tell ourselves that we love someone no matter what, but the moment we see something we disagree with, we chastise them. Some would call this “tough love,” but I call it judgment. The same goes with looking at ourselves and our own self-worth. One would think it would be easy to love ourselves. After all, if anyone is going to be on our side, it would be ourselves. But as many know, it doesn’t always come so easy. Many are tough on themselves, setting expectation after expectation. But where do these expectations come from? Since when must there be stipulations before we can accept ourselves?

And so every day is a reminder. It is a reminder not only of how much we are loved, but of how we should love, and treat ourselves and others. Love is not measured in cups or hugs. It just is.

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Learn to Love Yourself


Sometimes learning to love ourselves can be the hardest thing we will ever learn. Throughout our lives we are told about the things we are good at. We’re shuffled along to learn different skills. Whether it’s playing sports or learning how to play a musical instrument, we’re encouraged to learn what we’re supposedly best at. Every once in a while, someone will care to ask if we’re actually enjoying what we are doing.

The same goes with life. We are told what will make us happy. We’re encouraged to follow our dreams, but only as long as it doesn’t lead to failure, whatever that may be. If we stumble we’re told to suck it up, lest someone should see us wincing on the ground. Every day of our lives we’re judged. We’re told we should be happy or angry for any number of reasons, but we’re never asked how we really feel. We’re told we’re doing well, or lambasted for failing miserably, but we’re never asked if we enjoy what we’re doing.

If loving ourselves is enjoying what we’re doing, and if loving ourselves is living freely without judgments, then what are we doing? Whose approval are we waiting for? Why are we still listening to those who themselves haven’t found happiness, if happiness is already here, waiting for the taking. You can’t teach someone to love, but you can show them how it feels. You can’t teach someone to love, but you can let them be themselves. You can’t teach someone to love, but you can remind them they are not alone. You can’t teach someone to love, but you can show you care. Sometimes learning to love ourselves is the hardest thing we will ever do.

   

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