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bliss

221365 Lessons on Being Yourself

Once upon a time, a luminous energetic being (you) was born into the body of a human baby. As disorienting as the process was, it felt miraculous. In those first few moments of your life as a person you had no self-awareness. You were simply being.

As the initial days and weeks of your life on Earth passed, you experienced the limitations and demands of your human body. It needed sustenance every few hours. It needed rest in the form of sleep. And it absolutely loved to be touched, held, spoken and sang to by other humans much bigger than you.

After a few months, you became dimly aware that you had some sort of identity – a label you heard people referring to as a “name”, a “gender”, and an “age” or some combination thereof. Soon you began to associate these labels with yourself.

Years passed, and for most of them you joyously lived in the moment. There was so much to explore on Planet Earth! So many [click to continue…]

photo by: martinak15

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6329933346 a6cc4d94d2 Before You Diecc Before You Die photo credit: Kazz.0

Much is being made of today’s date, 11-11-11. Elevens are not new to me, since for the past four to five years I’ve been seeing them all over the place – on digital clocks, parking spaces, hotel rooms I’m randomly assigned, phone numbers – you name it.  I normally wake up at least once each night and it’s almost always at 2:11 or 3:11 or 1:22 or – you get the idea. I see 11’s when I glance at the digital clock on my iPhone, in my car, or on my alarm clock far more often as a percentage of the total times I look at the clock per hour than is normal, considering there are sixty numerals that could appear.

You can read more about the 11 phenomenon here, but for now suffice it to say today is as good a day as any, and probably a better day than most, for this post.

My last post expressed an unexpected but potent ethereal longing for a return to source – the place both beyond and from which our known world emanates.  Today I’m inspired to express a longing quite the opposite, and hopefully, to inspire it in you.

There are times we all want to escape the day-to-day reality of our three dimensional experience, but most of these times are not a soul’s longing for source.  Most of our escape fantasies are the result of a disconnect from the here and now rather than a deep connect with spirit. Most desires to opt-out occur because at the moment we have them, we’re not really living. We’re just going through the motions, killing time before we die.  Many are, in fact, already dead and just don’t know it.

So before you really do die, I want you to really live.

Ask Yourself: When Do I Feel Most Alive?

“Really living” is a relative term, of course, meaning different things to different people. For the cyber-junkie spending 12 hours a day in front of a screen, “really living” might mean having a social face-to-face interaction with a live human being that does not involve technology. To the workaholic, it could mean an afternoon spent playing with the kids. To the busy mom, continually fulfilling her family’s needs often at the expense of her own, it might mean a spa day or a night out with friends.

But what if “really living” were as easy and uncomplicated as deciding, every day, to actually DO the simple things that bring you joy – like taking a walk on the beach or spending an hour reading at your favorite coffee shop – that we all excuse away because there are constant, seemingly greater demands staring us in the face? And to not do these things as a means of procrastination (that’s easy enough) but to consciously include them in our lives as a way to remain connected to our happiness? How often do you dream about those little nurturing moments and never get around to them?

(If you’re struggling with that, my new Seven Simple Steps Into Happiness guidebook can help. It’s free. Download it at right)

In my own case, I’ve learned to stop [click to continue…]

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313 768x1024 The Longing for HomeThere are times when even the most seasoned of travelers can become deeply homesick.

Today is one of those days for me.

It doesn’t happen often – I don’t trend toward nostalgia and homesickness – but they have caught me off guard every now and then when I’m on one of my numerous outer journeys.

Today was different.

Today, a distinct and wholly unexpected longing for home came up.  Since I am not enjoying an “outer journey” at the moment (I’m at home) it took me by surprise.

Really, it was all Captain Picard’s fault.  Yes I mean Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, he of Star Trek: the Next Generation fame.  Since discovering this series in re-runs on BBC America’s cable channel this summer, I’ve [click to continue…]

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5089336756 81e208b705 My Art of Non Conformity: Learning Hip hop with a Bunch of Teens
cc My Art of Non Conformity: Learning Hip hop with a Bunch of Teens photo credit: tibchris

After writing this two-part series on following your bliss, I’ve come to realize one of the biggest obstacles to going after what makes you happy is actually standing up and bucking conformity if that’s what it takes to get it.

It’s all well and good to have figured out what brings you lasting and authentic joy, to acknowledge you want whatever that is, and to accept that being in alignment with it will make you happy.

It’s a whole other thing to stand up to the forces that be and declare you’re going to go publicly do whatever brings you joy, especially when it’s not the norm.  And that, dear readers, is exactly what makes Chris Guillebeau’s debut book The Art of Non-Conformity (affiliate link) so timely, reassuring and downright practical.

The Young Grasshopper of Non-Conformity

I’ve been following writer and world traveler Chris Guillebeau for about a year.  Sensing a kindred spirit (we both love to travel, travel-hack and write) after connecting with his blog, I immediately raised my hand for an advance copy of his book when he offered it and was lucky enough to get one.  Now about half-way through my read, I realize we share another key trait: non-conformity.

Art of Non Conformity Book My Art of Non Conformity: Learning Hip hop with a Bunch of TeensLike many readers of Chris’ book will undoubtedly discover, I owe him a debt of gratitude for emboldening and empowering me to set my own rules and go after the life I really want.  Because you see, Chris is a freakin’ non-conformity master.

In his early 30’s today, Chris is a man who refused from an early age to accept the status quo.  He dropped-out of high school after two years (mostly from what I construe as boredom) and went straight to college.  Taking classes simultaneously at a community college and local university, he graduated with not one but two (count ‘em, two) bachelor’s degrees at the end of his second year as a college student.  His friends from the brief time he’d spent in high school were just finishing their freshman year.

Chris then went on to do a variety of non-conformist things including a short stint working the night shift at Fed-Ex at age 20 followed by starting and running an eBay business, and more notably, spending four years as a volunteer aid worker in West Africa.  While in Africa [click to continue…]

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4913529311 9bcd12dea8 An Alternative to Right and Wrong   Part 2   The Joy Test
cc An Alternative to Right and Wrong   Part 2   The Joy Test photo credit: Frerieke

In part 1 of this series I explored internal alignment as an alternative to thinking in terms of absolutes.  I invited you to see all judgments as a matter of individual perspective and a chance to move away from the narrowness of right and wrong, black and white, either/or.  Then I suggested that if you’re going to peg your internal barometer to one thing, if you’re going to pick one state by which to measure your alignment, make it joy.  But many are asking “Why joy? And how do I know the real thing?”

Contrary to most mass religions and popular belief, I believe our human journey is not intended to be a path of suffering, nor a massive test we’re supposed to pass.  Whether you honor your inner guidance system or not, however, will determine if you make it into one.  And of course, it is absolutely your choice to believe as you wish.  (Recognize, however, as you believe so you will create.)

The good news is, we haven’t been sent here without an internal guidance system. We all have one – our emotions. Those emotions we call “negative” are there to steer us away from what is [click to continue…]

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