It’s Not About Religion,It’s About Relationship

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This seems to be a very popular saying among many Christians lately. Although I grew in a Christian background through my grandparents, I am not advocating any one particular religion. I simply believe that at our core, we are ALL spiritual or spirit. There is far more to each of us than we realize. I also believe that we are not human beings capable of having spiritual experiences ,rather, we are each spirit have individualized quantified ,personal human experiences. In order to truly achieve self realization, we must each go back to the source. This source cannot be found outside of us. A matter of fact, everything that seems to be experienced as outside of us is actually the result of our perception. Perception determines the reality that we witness with our five senses.

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. 
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.”

TAO TE CHING, 1

No one and I mean no one knows all there is to know about anything. In most cases, they merely know what was discovered before them. Even if you did discover a new concept, would you be able to say with absolute certainty that there is nothing else to learn? Of course not. We will never know everything there is to know about the infinite. Yet our origin is found there. It is a journey without an arrival, one experience after the other. We are all connected. It is my opinion that we all come from the same source and have never been separate from it. In actuality, we are each individualized expressions of this source(God ,Allah, Universe, Yahweh, Jehovah,etc) .Everything , both animate and inanimate is. It is the creator and so are we.. We use our thoughts, emotions and actions to create moment by moment. It is our nature. Our individualized perspectives determine our realities. We are one with the infinite therefore our true nature is infinite. We are each having a human experience each with a perceived beginning and end.

This is not reality. It seems real. Things around us seem solid, but they are not . We are not solid. Everything around us, including us is part of a vast, bottomless, limitless energy soup. Everything around us seems solid simply because of vibrations at different frequencies. The question is ….WHY?!!!

Not only that, but how are we conscious of this possibility? Why do we think? Scientist can theorize for years about the “mechanics” and yet still can’t explain how or why life and everything in our physical world happens. What started everything and if we knew ,the questions still remains. Who started that?!! and so on and so on and so on…. Well? Figured it out yet? Someone or thing had to have always been and if so, that is where we come from. Perhaps it is who we are. We are a microcosm of it as well as being it simultaneously, There is no real separation from it. It is the source of all life and perhaps so are we.. This source of all life is constantly learning,growing, expanding, evolving and so are we…

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When I speak about having a relationship with the creator,I am referring to you coming to a deeper knowledge of your higher self.I am not referring to a being separate from you, but rather your true self which happens to be the source of all life. This higher self desires you to know it as it knows you because it is you and you are it. Consider the statement,”God became human so that the human can become God.” We are called to become ” conscious creators”. This is a significant part of having a relationship with God. The other benefit is living in bliss.

Yes, it is possible to experience “heaven” now. This is not religion.You create whether you are conscious of it or not. Nothing or no one outside of you is controlling you. You are born and remain free. You assume a position of slavery by not disciplining your thoughts.

Your thoughts determine your perspective. It is all an illusion anyway. I am not insinuating to not have dreams and goals. I am merely eluding to the point that consciousness is all that truly is. Everything and I mean everything is a result of consciousness. Whatever you are conscious of is what appears in your life. Consciousness (“God”) is what you are in essence. When I use the term “higher self”, this is what I am referring to. Remember that you are the creator. You are divine, infinite, eternal , all powerful being having an experience of being a mortal, finite, aging , limited being called human. The state of your relationship with “God” is determined by the depth of your realization that you are one with it because you are it. You as Jesus appeared to be , are God in the flesh.Once you grasp what this means and the power that is yours because of it , the possibilities are endless. Once you realize that you are all that is, what is there to be afraid of? Religion can serve as an introduction to the idea of a higher power and the possibility that there is more to life and you than what appears to be. The concept of having a relationship with this higher power that is not only in you , but , in actuality, is you is potentially mind blowing . There is no end to the depth of this connection with your higher self. Dive in and keep going deeper and deeper. This is the key to true fulfillment. Relationship=Conscious Connection=Real Power=Fulfillment. Religion is only the beginning. Relationship is the destination that is never arrived. Just keep going deeper. The journey continues. Until next time…

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Run With “Giants”

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Be mindful of who you associate with. We are social creatures. Even the most introverted shy person needs human interaction. That being written, it’s that much more important to make sure that you invest in nurturing, constructive relationships as much as possible. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t give a damn about you. You’re better than that. You must become your biggest cheerleader though. If you don’t believe that you deserve the best around you ,don’t expect anyone else to believe it.

When I speak of giants , I am referring to individuals with giant ambition and strong character that love you for who you are. Whether friends or family members, they don’t necessarily have to have the same ambitions as you, yet they support your success. Right or wrong, they will express their truth without an agenda. They are genuine. They simply want to see you succeed.

Everything is energy. The environments that you associate yourself with have a direct effect on your emotional state which influence the actions that you take. Connecting with progressive people calls you higher. You take on that energy like a new jacket. This occurs on both a conscious and subconscious level. Everything as well as everyone is connected. Be committed to building empowering relationships.

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Negative people drain you. They tend to have this knack for finding the downsize to anything. They tend to be close minded and judgemental. Everything has to go a certain way or it’s not right. They are hurting inside. Many of them were hurt in some way. They can be insecure about their own capabilities. Be sure not to get caught up in their energy web.This can be especially challenging if they are a close relative or spouse. Limit your contact with them or if possible, avoid them altogether. If it is a close family member, consider telling them. Be sure to be tactful and not confrontational.Perhaps suggest an alternative positive viewpoint. If they refuse to listen, distance yourself much as possible. It might be necessary to love certain relatives from afar. Stay mindful. Be aware of your emotional state while around them or after a conversation with one. Be proactive about keeping your energy field unpolluted. You don’t want to put on anyone else’s negative energy jacket. Commit yourself to building both nurturing and nourishing relationships.

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At the end of your life, it won’t matter how much money you have , how famous you are nor the number of awards that you possess. You can’t take any of that with you. Your true legacy is determined by your relationships. What was the impact that you had on people’s lives as well as who impacted you? Connect yourself with individuals that dare to dream giant dreams, possess giant ambitions and dare to set giant goals that overstretch their comfort zones. In the book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul stated “Bad company corrupts good character.” If that is true then I conclude that good company strengthens it.

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You can’t be around positive, proactive people consistently and remain mediocre. You are naturally called higher and , more times than not, you answer the call. You step up accordingly. Most of us , live at a level far below our potential. When two or more get together to share ideas, encourage one another and brainstorm repeatedly, it is like fanning a flame of positive energy that each member feds off of. This positive energy fire is being constantly fed. It has to spread. When it does, don’t be surprised if it has a global impact. That’s how you change the world. Here’s to those who dare to be “giants”. History has shown that the world is better for them being here. Until next time…

At-One-Ment: The Answer to Everything

I had an epiphany today. You could even say that it was an epiphany within an epiphany. I feel that way because this wasn’t the first time that I came to this conclusion. Actually, it is the same epiphany yet clearer if that makes any sense.

Disease, war, addiction, hatred, racism,sexism,prejudice, discord and all other forms of perceived negativity stem from the perception of separatism. We perceive others as separate from us. We can develop preconceived notions about people based on stereotypes that we either consciously or subconsciously accepted as true. We are constantly under stress about bills, relationships, status or numerous other reasons that aren’t necessarily based on truth. Each of us have our own perspective about a number of things. Many of us live our lives on “automatic pilot” enslaved by routine and the concept of status quo. In many cases, we look down on those that have the courage to be their authentic selves. We say” What’s his problem?” or at least think it. We hide behind social media profiles and , in certain cases, write hurtful comments about others. Comments are written by people who wouldn’t have the courage to say in front of the person. Is this what the world has come to? It doesn’t have to be this way.

The solutions to each and every one of your problems rest inside of you. What you experience in your physical world is a direct result of your perception of it. What appears to be reality is just that. It is simply an appearance. Nothing more.

Everything experienced through our five senses is an illusion. This is not meant to be a negative statement. I’m just attempting to put things into perspective. We also tend to think in terms of time. Our experiences, past and present, have a profound effect on molding our character and identity. None of it is true. It’s all speculation. There is a catch though. We are creators by nature whether we know it or not. Our perceptions become our reality because our persistent thoughts become the things and people that appear as part of our human experience. Each situation that we are engaged in exist to potentially teach us something about ourselves. There is no judge presiding over our thoughts and actions. There are only resulting consequences. We are both “lead” actor and narrator of our own life story.

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Regardless of what are past challenges were, we don’t have to be defined by them. Learn from your past and keep moving. I also find it healing to practice forgiveness. Hatred and resentment is toxic regardless of whether or not it seems justified. Once you realize your true nature of being one with all things, you start to realize that hurt is an illusion. You are all powerful, infinite , eternal and wonderful. I use the word “wonderful” because of the endless possibilities that can materialize based perspective of any situation that you find yourself in at any moment.

I think that it also helps to consider that each person has their own history. No one hurts others just for the sake of it. There is always a backstory. They are as much “works in progress” as you are. They might not be aware of this fact , therefore, they react based on conditioned behavior. It has been my experience that most people don’t realize what they do or why they do it.

No one should be able to make you angry rather you choose to be angry. I meditate on oneness daily ,at least several times a day. It might only be for a few minutes at at a time, but it helps. I realize that if I feel animosity towards someone, it isn’t their fault. I chose that response. It is my error. They are simply responding in the “best” way that they can in their current state. It as if they are enslaved by heir own impulses. True freedom can come from realizing that you are no ever been merely human. You are infinite, eternal and all powerful by nature. You are an intricate , significant part of this cosmic design , yet your origin transcends it.

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We are each having a human experience. We are unique, in the fact that we have the ability to develop our own awareness. You can learn to forgive much faster once you realize that people say and do “evil” things based on “errored” thinking. This point doesn’t justify their behavior. I am merely giving a possible explanation.

The word “atonement” has to do with reconciliation. In the Old Testament of the bible, the Israelites practiced( many still do today) Yom Kippur. Another name for this day is “The Day of Atonement.” On this day the primary focus is on prayer, repentance of sins and giving to charity. The intention is to revert back to a pure state.

As a disclaimer, I respect each persons right to practice their own religion. In my opinion, true atonement is achieved through the realization that we are not alone nor are we separate from anyone or anything. There is one source for all life. There is one life having countless experiences discovering itself through taking on numerous forms simultaneously. Time and space is an illusion. This life is constantly creating . It manifests into and out of form accumulating different experiences while always learning more about itself. We are it and it is us. We are “One.” We each represent different aspects of the whole. The nature of this life is infinite, eternal , all powerful, limitlessly abundant and pure, unconditional love. Love is both a noun and verb. Love is both felt and shown. My definition of love is the acknowledgement and embracing of my connection to everyone and everything around. I am one with the Source therefore I am that one life and it is me. I am both the drop of ocean water and the ocean simultaneously with countless versions of me ….. and so are you.

This is the purist state and the only reality. Everything else is illusion. Yes, I can engage in numerous activities such as getting married, having children, becoming a millionaire or any other role that I decide to take on. I need nothing or no one outside of me to complete me because I am already whole. Wholeness is my true nature. I have been and will always be that way despite which identity I decide to assume. Good and evil are also illusion completely based on perspective. Love is all that is real. Why would I go out to purposely hurt another if that person is a part of me. Ultimately I would be hurting myself. There is no such thing as lack. The “natural” state of the universe is one of infinite supply. Meditate on this fact. Open yourselves up to receive from all possible locations. This doesn’t mean quit your job. It is more of a mindset. Align yourself with natural flow of the infinite supply of the universe. Embrace this as your own personal state before completeing any action knowing that you will receive all that you require and more. Allow this mindset to permeate your being. Meanwhile, give thanks for all that you have. Be open to opportunities to give to others whether it be money, time,etc.. You do this without reserve because you know that you will receive more. Do it simply for the sake of doing it not simply for results in your own life. Greed blocks the flow. there is no need to be greedy because there is enough for everybody. We are each connected to one another and everything everywhere. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone thought that way.

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Each animated and inanimate form has unique , irreplaceable and unquantifiable value. The more that I meditate on this point, the more vivid the experience and the longer it is felt. Meditation is the key. There is no need to desire anything because to do so connotes lack. Lack is unnatural. Even when something is destroyed, something comes in its place. Life constantly takes form and never ends. In essence, neither do you nor I . We have always been and will always be a part of it all. This brings me peace and freedom. These facts empower me to both consciously and actively take part in creating my own experience. I possess everything that I need to become anything I decide to become. This is my truth. It can be yours as well. There is no judgement to fear. We are the creators. We have the ability to learn how to create consciously. Life should be a work of art. It can become that once we make “at-one-ment” our priority. Until next time….

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The Power of Self Education

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Education should empower us. It should serve us by helping us to tap into our inner resources. The word “education” originated from the Latin words educare,educere and educatum.

The word “educare” means to nourish or to bring up. The word “educere” means to lead forth or draw out. Educatum can be broken down into two terms, “E” and “Duco”. The term “E” implies a movement from inward to outward. “Duco” refers to developing and progressing. Each word shares a common pattern. They each refer to a process that starts from within.

A true education facilitates learning. To facilitate means to make easier. Is that what we see in formal, organized education at any level? Does the current education system empower us or merely condition us? Does it facilitate independent thinking? Does it support us learning how to think or, simply, what to think?

We are constantly being influenced by outside sources. Have you ever taken the time to observe how many commercials you either see or hear on a daily basis. From the time that you came from your mothers womb , you have been both consciously and unconsciously receiving information. Three questions are embedded within our DNA: 1) What am I? 2) Who am I 3) Why am I here? For better or worse, each human being on this planet has been influenced in these areas.

Self education is a necessary practice for establishing self actualization or realization. Self actualization is empowering. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, emphasized self actualization. He believed that self actualization was the ultimate fulfillment of human existence. He described it as “the full realization of one’s potential.”

Each person has a core nature unique to them. This is where self education comes into play. Your core beliefs define you. Ask the right questions. Where did these beliefs come from? Did you come to your own conclusions or were they made for you? Your core belief system determine how you see yourself, others and your world around you. They determine what motivates you. The only way that you can establish your core nature is through self education.

When we speak of potential, we are referring to capabilities that have not been realized yet. The realization of our potential directly depends on the time that we invest developing ourselves. For many of us, we focus on career or salary potential. This is only a fraction of where our true capabilities lie. happiness and satisfaction are paramount to fulfillment. You can have all of the money, fame and prestige in the world and still feel empty. We are social creatures by nature. Nourishing relationships , satisfying career, health, knowledge and wealth are all factors for living a fulfilling life on your terms. In order for this to take place, you must have the clearest idea possible of what that looks like. It is never about settling for mediocrity or status quo. It is about establishing a vision of what that “desired” reality looks like and refusing to accept anything else. Perception determines reality.Self education helps you discover the source of those perceptions. Do your current perceptions about your life and possibilities serve you? Self education is needed.

Thanks to the internet, we have access to a practically unlimited amount of knowledge yet, there are still a vast majority of people that remain clueless about what they truly desire out of life. How many of us truly remember what we learned in either high school or college? Honestly!!Many remain distracted by social media while living vicariously through the lives of their favorite celebrities. These same “fans” are also waiting for an opportunity to criticize others for living their truth while hiding behind fake personas. Few commit themselves to doing the work of self realization through self education and reflection. If more people would, it would be a different world… a better one. You are either going to be part of the solution or the problem. We must become lifelong learners. We must practice thinking critically, independently and authentically. It is this type of “citizen” that takes an active role in building an enlightened society comprised of self governed individuals. Self education leads to heightened self worth as well as respect for others chosen path. A truly enlightened person respects others for who they are and doesn’t feel the need to compare themselves to others. We are each on our own journey . Overall, we much each become students of life itself. Each day has it’s own lessons. We can both learn from and “teach” one another . We can do this through our interactions with each other as well as how we carry ourselves. Making the conscious decision to live your truth as well as be a student of life inspires others to do the same. Once your eye’s have been opened you can’t go back to being asleep. Life will never be the same. Learning is necessary for growth. If you stop growing , you remain stagnant. You die in ignorance. It is time to evolve in our consciousness. There has been no other time in human history quite like this one. Humanity is primed to take it’s next evolutionary leap in human consciousness or awareness. In our life time, we can each play an active role in the “igniting ” of a global renaissance unlike any event witnessed in recorded time. Our possibilities are endless . Self education is the key. Hand in hand , we must take this leap together as one race… the human race. Our survival and thriving depend upon it. This is our time. Are you ready?

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Steps to Overcoming Self Doubt Pt.2

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I am certain that you would be amazed at how capable you are. Numerous people throughout history who were considered pioneers in any industry were told that their pursuit was impossible. You would also be surprised to know that many of these pioneers discovered their true potential after experiencing “crippling” defeat. When faced with a major challenge they chose to look within themselves for a solution rather than be defined by their failures. The “right” challenge can be out the best in us. You find out what you are made of. True leaders find the opportunity in challenge and are better for it. Failure is one of the best growth opportunities. A common character trait in successful people is that they have a relentless belief in themselves. You can pray all day, repeat positive affirmations and read all types of motivational books. If you don’t have “unwavering” faith in yourself and your abilities, your dreams are “born” dead. I don’t care what you did or didn’t do, you can never ever allow your “track record” to determine your capability for astounding success. Be the narrator of your own story.

Educate Yourself

There is no greater education than self education. If you know how to read and have access to the internet, there is virtually no topic that you can’t learn more about if you are willing to do the research. Become obsessed about learning everything that there is to know about the topic that is directly related to your issue. As humans, we have the ability to not only learn,but recondition our thinking. We can grow in our awareness of our mindset and take conscientious steps to alter our outlook toward ourselves and our world. The self help industry is built on this fact. The more we educate ourselves, the more empowered we are, therefore, our self doubt diminishes.

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Practice,Practice,Practice to Sharpen Your Skills

Once you have educated yourself , carve out time to practice what you have learned about the topic. Don’t make excuses. I don’t care if it’s 10 minutes a day. Do something. Consistent practice builds habit. Once you have developed a habit, it becomes second nature. Your subconscious is altered. You become naturally more confident about yourself and your abilities. At that point, you will officially be stronger. You will have developed a stronger work ethic. You can build a better for yourself once you accept responsible to do the work necessary to build your esteem.

Celebrate Taking Small Steps

Going back to what I wrote about earlier concerning carving out practice time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You must become your biggest cheerleader. Celebrate and congratulate yourself often. You will have chosen to not only identify ,but to take the necessary steps to slay your own mental and emotional “demons”. Decide to participate in making the life that you truly desire happen rather than have life “happen” to you. In this world, that is a rare character trait. You will officially be separated from the herd. This is worth celebrating.

Imagine What Success Would Look Like

Catch a vision. What does success look like to you? Engage your five senses. How do you feel? Whose with you? Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference. Act as if your desired reality IS your reality. Have fun with it. Stop taking yourself so seriously. You are infinite ,eternal all powerful being simply having a human experience. You are a creator.Your thoughts become the “things” that appear in your life. Each day you are awakening more and more to this fact. In other words, you got this!!

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Never Be Afraid to Start or Fail

Did you know that successful people tend to fail more than unsuccessful people? The difference is that successful people interpret failure differently. They get scared like anyone else, but they don’t allow that fear to define them. They move forward anyway gravitating towards success.

For a long time , I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and start a business. I was afraid to fail. I would ask myself,”What about my family?”, “What will they think?”,”Will I be able to provide for them?” or “What if we end up homeless?”.

In 2014, I had a major turning point. I was fired from my job. I spoke up during a staff meeting in defense of my coworkers. The CEO asked everyone at the table their opinion about what I shared. Everyone who spoke agreed with me. This was a problem. The CEO felt as if I had usurped her authority. I had to go. Some of her last words to me were ,” If you don’t approve of my leadership style, go find your own job as a CEO.” This interaction occurred over five years ago. The sequence of events that directly transpired changed my life for good. The sequence was as followed:

  1. Lost job., 2) Wife lost job., 3) Couldn’t find new job. 4) Spent all of savings, 5) Had to give up our apartment, 6) Homeless…. for 2 years.

Within those 2 years were marital issues , deep depression, emergency rooms, drugs and contemplation of suicide( I was ready to die or at least I thought I was).

My challenges have and continue to shape me. I learned many valuable lessons from my experiences that will stay with me for life. The two main lessons that are:

  1. It is never the end of the world.

I thought it was until the next day came.. and the next… etc. The world didn’t end , but how I viewed it did. Regardless of how catastrophic life may seem at any particular moment, it never stays that way. Life goes on with or without you. As long as you are breathing , keep moving forward without regrets. You can’t change what happened. Learn from it and move now.

2. I can’t make anybody love or like me.

I lot came out during those two years. I didn’t know if we were gong to make it. What about our kids? It was a hot mess. I was devastated . I thought I had failed everybody. What about all of the years of grandiose ideas and get rich quick schemes? Where did we end up? Homeless living in the hood. It was never my intention. Nevertheless, there we were. I was beyond embarrassed. I felt as if I had failed as a husband, father,provider and man. What was I good for? Why was I here? I asked myself those questions. There was no answer. I had to make up my own. I had to encourage myself. It was out of this space that I started this blog. I wasn’t going to allow my immediate “outside” environment to determine my self worth. I started this blog and wrote my first book ,partly, to prove to myself that I was greater than my circumstances. I searched within myself to find the strength to give to others despite my challenges. It no longer mattered whether or not someone believed in me. I believed in myself. That is enough. I remain a “work in progress”. Always progressing… Let’s move!!

Overcoming Self Doubt Pt.1

Self doubt is a dream killer. Let me rephrase that statement. We kill our own dreams because we give in to our own self doubt. As humans, we often underestimate our power.

I selected the picture on top not only because of the quote, but also the picture. It represents a popular story that I was told many years ago concerning a Circus Bull Elephant tied to a peg in the ground. The elephant had been tied to that same peg ever since it was a calf. Even though full grown male elephants can weigh up to 14000 pounds, this particular elephant had been conditioned to believe that it was bound by that short rope and peg. It was convinced that it was unable to set itself free. This poor beast had created a kind of mental prison for itself without even realizing it. Realistically , all it had to do is literally start walking forward and the peg would have uprooted without any resistance, end of story. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion, am I right? Yet, that wasn’t the reality experienced by that elephant. Potentially, it could have stayed the rest of his life there waiting for someone else to feed and take care of it. The chains of self doubt had a firm grip on the elephant and they were deeply rooted in the ground of his psyche. For many of us, I wonder if we are any different? I have said it before and I will say it again. Mental slavery is far worse than physical slavery will ever be. The first step towards freeing yourself is to first realize that you are enslaved. Next, is to do the work…

That statement was actually a quote by political leader and entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey. The reggae/folk singer and song writer, Bob Marley, popularized the statement in one of his songs titled , “Redemption Song.”

The words ring true for all of us striving to realize our highest potential in any area of our lives. Your thoughts become the things, people and circumstances that “show up” in your life. What do you really think about yourself , your environment and the people around you? Do you know your worth? How do you determine it? Is it based on others opinion of you or your own? Perhaps a “reevaluation” is in order.

You are both unique and precious. The depth of your potential for global impact is like a bottomless well waiting to be dipped into. There are no “true” limits other than the one’s that YOU establish. You are either your own jailer or liberator. I have identified some “keys” that perhaps you can use to break out for good! Lets’ get started.



Stop Dwelling on the Past

I like that last statement. Respect the lesson. Don’t dwell on it. Stop allowing your mistakes to define you. Own up to them . Be determined to learn from your failure so that the experience would not have been for nothing. Beating yourself up about something that happened years ago is futile. Why worry about what you can’t change? This is wasted energy. Focus on doing better and move on.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Personally, I have made this mistake numerous times. I had set benchmarks for myself that I was convinced had to be reached by certain points in life. For example, I believed that you had a homeowner by 30 years old in order to be considered successful. This is not true. Another example is that I believed that you had to be established in your career by age 35. This also is not true. There are many others that I could mention. The point is that based on the benchmark , I would compare myself with other men my age to gauge if whether or not I was on point in my life. I never took into consideration unexpected setbacks. I have had some major one’s in my life in past five years. Comparing myself to where others were in my life was a major “downer”.

Be careful with social media. In many cases, people seemed to be always posting themselves at different events while doing all of these great things. It’s easy to compare yourself with them. Always remember that everyone has a back story.Don’t get caught up in the hype. At certain points, I felt like a complete failure and felt so depressed that I wasn’t sure if I could ever bounce back. I felt hopeless to the point where I questioned whether or not I wanted to continue living at all. Yes, I actually contemplated suicide. Perhaps I was being melodramatic, but that is how I felt. I saw no way out because I kept comparing myself to others and what they had accomplished at certain points in their lives. How could I ever compete? I found that I didn’t have to.

What saved me was researching different successful individuals that had hit a “rock bottom” yet bounced back against the odds. At any point in history you can learn about someone who had to reinvent themselves despite their apparent circumstances. They all shared certain outstanding qualities that set each of them apart from the “herd.” They each established a clear , authentic, unique vision. They each also possessed a strong belief in themselves and an iron will. None of them determined their self worth through comparing their selves to others. This fact made them trendsetters instead of trend followers. Establish your own truth apart from the status quo. Be your own movement.

Use Positive Affirmations

In order to overcome self doubt, we must learn to manage our self talk.Affirmations can help. An affirmation is a positive statement that can help you to challenge and overcome self sabotaging and negative thoughts.By nature, we are creators. We create with our thoughts,words and actions. It is our nature for better or worse. Where you are at now in your life is a direct reflection of your perception of yourself and your world. The more conscious you are of your thoughts the more empowered you will be to change them. Your words are also powerful. They carry vibration and energy that always produce an effect on some level. The French psychologist and pharmacist,Emile Coue, coined an extremely popular phrase,”Everyday in every way I’m getting better and better.” This is a very simple yet powerful affirmation. It carries three profound implications:

a) Improvement is taking place in your life right now.

b)Improvements will continue to take happen in the future.

c) Improvements will happen in every area of your life.

This is an all-purpose affirmation. It’s also easy to remember. You can also create your own such as , “I am strong.”, “I am beautiful.”, ” I am smart.” etc… You get the idea. Words are powerful. Choose wisely.

Don’t Be Concerned With What Other People Think

Can I be honest with you? No one gives a damn about you! I know that sounds harsh and totally opposite of what this blog is about , but hear me out. I wrote the above statement for shock value. Honestly, for many of you , there are a lot of people who care a lot about you even if they may not always show it. The point that I want to make is that the vast majority of people around you are probably focused on their own personal situation(family,finances,job status, marriage,children,etc) It has been my experience that most people are too focused on trying to figure out life for themselves than to be concerned about yours. Get over it. If there are people who spend most of their time thinking about you , they have a personal problem. As the old saying goes,” If someone is talking about me behind my back, it’s none of my business.” Stop worrying about it. Invest the majority of your time on your own personal development.

Enough said.Be your own movement. Mind your own business. Demand happiness from the universe and the universe MUST give it you!!

Stop doubting yourself, okay?!!

I will end with this statement: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF SO FEROCIOUSLY THAT ANYONE WOULD BE AFRAID NOT TO….

Until next time…

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Practicing the Art of Living

To be honest,viewing everyday life as an art is a new concept for me. I have concluded that it is a valid description. When I think of art, I think of something beautiful. A “work of art” is defined as something of significant value. Some art aficionados might consider certain art pieces priceless. Isn’t this how the quality of life should be? Priceless? A work of art?

An artist is the master of his/her canvas. Indeed, to live a fulfilling life takes mastery. It is about knowing what it is that you desire from life and playing an active role in it’s realization.

Currently, I am reading a book titled ,”The Art of Living”by Epictetus. It is a short , yet insightful read filled with practical knowledge. This is impressive considering that it was written nearly 2000 years ago. So far, there are four points that Epictetus made that have especially impacted me.

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Learn to Accept What Happens to You

Life happens to all of us. Some situations are good while some seem not so good. Certain situations can be downright tragic. We each have our “buttons” or breaking points. Epictetus found it important to accept whatever happened to him at any moment. This conclusion came from a man who was born into slavery around 50 AD and rose to become a Stoic philosopher and founder of his own school.

Accepting what happens to you doesn’t mean giving up or doing absolutely nothing to improve your situation. Rather it is the first step in positioning yourself towards creating a new reality. In order to get to where you are going, you have to first establish where you are at.

Develop an “Iron” Will

It might seem like you can’t control what happens to you, but you can learn how to control your response to it. As the old saying goes, ” What doesn’t kill you , makes you stronger.” You grow strongest from challenge when your mind is set on growth. I think that it helps to get a little sadistic about it. Learn to welcome the pain because you anticipate growth. If it kills you then it won’t matter anyway. Fix your mind on winning in life no matter what happens. Life becomes more of a work of art when you take an active role in creating it as you go. It also becomes more of an adventure and fun. Be determined to make the most out of your life and never look back nor regret anything. Learn from your experiences. Be a persistent “student” of life. It takes an iron will to live your life on your terms. Those who live a “status quo” life are like the walking dead. The purpose of being alive is to LIVE. Figure it out.

Make the Most Out of Every Situation

The saying, “When life gives you lemons , make lemonade.”, reigns true. Once you have developed an iron will to look for the best in every situation, you can’t lose. Every experience ,whether perceived as good or bad, becomes an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being. Experiences become richer . You will also tend to remain more emotionally balanced . What I mean is that when something “great” happens , you won’t get overly excited. You respond with happiness, but remain level headed or sober. When something traumatic occurs, you will be less likely to stay bent out of shape. You may experience sadness and depression for a relative moment, but you will “snap back” significantly faster. You will have become a student of life. The joy is in the life journey and the lessons that you learn along the way.

Claim Nothing or No One , Yet Cherish Everything

A lot of our stress as people stems from our perceived affiliations with certain people , positions and things. This is a mistake. You and I are infinite ,eternal being having a finite, human experience. We are composed of 97% stardust( Seriously, look it up- carbon, hydrogen nitrogen, oxygen,sulphur and phospherous). I think that is pretty cool! I love Carl Sagans quote about us, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” We are each unique and precious and so are the people and situations that “appear” within our life experiences. Take nothing or no one for granted. Savor each moment that you have the opportunity to be part of. Yes, it can be challenging, but well worth it. This point has special significance because nothing in this life stays the same. Everything changes. Attach yourself to nothing , yet appreciate the person or thing while it “exist” in the material sense. Everything and person is precious.

Also be sure to remember that nothing or no one truly dies, merely, transitions. Each of us will too. It is the way of things.

Conclusion

The wisdom found in this book is timeless. Although the author, Epictetus, was born into slavery , he was never a slave. His mind remained free and open for learning and expansion. Despite his immediate predicament, he appreciated the opportunity that life afforded him to grow past his circumstances. In doing so, he realized the ultimate goal of this life… mastery. He didn’t allow his external environment to dictate what he was able to accomplish.. He also didn’t allow others opinion of him to determine his self worth.

We could each learn from his example as well others throughout history that shared similar convictions. The term mastery as it applies to life is relative. When we think of mastery, we tend to think of perfection. With life, there is no true arrival. There is always room for experience, learning and growth. There are countless levels of mastery. In my opinion, there is no final destination only transitions. Let’s focus on the journey( life) while enjoying the “scenery” (circumstances). Until next time…

Overcoming the Fear of Change

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”  Charles Darwin

Change is a natural occurrence of life. I view change as synonymous with growth. Many of us are afraid of change. It can feel uncomfortable to change your daily routine or surroundings. Nothing in this life stays the same. Each of us is on our own journey. A journey is defined as going somewhere. Going somewhere entails moving from one place to another.  If we are moving forward, it is only natural that the “scenery” around us begins to change. In order to live a fulfilled life, it is necessary to embrace every situation that you might find yourself in with the intention of learning from each one. Once you embrace change as not only a natural , but necessary process, life ,in its entirety, begins to take on a deeper meaning. It’s like switching from regular television to higher definition television. You begin to pay attention. Your experiences become “realer” and what you witness, more vivid. The little things become more important. No experience is taken for granted. There is a greater appreciation simply for having the opportunity to live. Although it may not be easy,you are certain to come out better on the other side of it. There is no need to fear. Fear is based on assumptions. There are no absolutes. To give in to the fear of change is to halt your growth. If you are not growing, you are dying, period. Without change ,there is no evolution. The lack of evolution(change) leads to stagnation and death. This cannot happen. You have the power within you to prevent it from happening. The ability to evolve is deeply embedded in your DNA. You are designed to be a master not be mastered. If you are currently “crippled” by fear, now is the time to solve the problem. Let’s look at some possible solutions.

  1. Focus on the opportunity to learn.

             Learn from the situation presented to you. Learn more about yourself based upon your response to what you just witnessed. Did you react in a way that was unexpected? Change happens to all of us. It is a natural process of the cycle of life. You don’t have to be a victim. Certain life changes are challenging, perhaps, traumatic and heartbreaking. I have had my share. There is only , but so much crying,cursing and arguing that you can do. Life goes on. Resourcefulness is a valuable skill. At some point, if you are still breathing, it will be time to move on. There is no getting around it.Make the most out of the transition. Consciously look for the lesson. Be determined to , ultimately, be better from the experience. Although  it may seem like we can’t control certain events that occur in our lives, we can learn to control our emotional response. There is no need to fear.

2. Don’t allow outside circumstances to define you.

Remember that you are a creator by nature. You create based on your emotional and physical reactions. They determine what and who appears in your life. You are THE creator , therefore , every thought or word that stems from you MUST have a direct effect on the outcome of any situation. Choose your thoughts and words wisely. Be patient. Time is an illusion. Relish in the knowing that whatever you put out must come back to you. It is the “law”. You define the circumstances. Expect blessings even if what is transpiring seems like a curse. Once you have established this truth about who you are and what you are capable of , what is there to fear? You begin to realize that whatever and whoever appears in your life, regardless of the appearance, comes to “serve” you in some way.

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3. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”
 
   It is never the end of the world. Besides, if it was, nothing else would really matter would it? We are more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. It is okay to feel sad, scared, uncomfortable, alarmed, etc. The problem arises once you dwell in that state. It becomes unhealthy. If you are constantly “navel gazing”, you might miss the opportunities presented right in front of you. You have probably experienced countless numbers of changes in your life. Perhaps some of them were devastating for you and , yet , you are still here. Don’t underestimate your level of strength. 
 
4. Celebrate being alive simply because you are. 
 You are infinite spirit having a finite human experience. The purpose is to EXPERIENCE. You are encased in this vehicle called a human body in order to properly and effectively navigate this “material” realm. Actually, this realm is an illusion too. All that there truly is is 1)consciousness and 2)energy. You are connected to every person and thing in creation. This is reality. You are infinite ,eternal energy constantly materializing and dematerializing in and out of form. You have the innate ability to develop your own awareness of this truth. No situation is permanent, but you are!! That is , not as a human, but as infinite energetic consciousness possessing the power to shape and mold your reality. Is that cool or what?!! Imagine if you lived each day relishing in this fact. You get to breath, eat, see, smell, hear, feel, cry, laugh etc. You get to interact with others within this physical world. They are all extensions of you. Nothing here is permanent. Learn to take full advantage of each experience that you get to have . Fear nothing. There is no such thing as true death. There is merely transition. Energy never dissipates rather it simply changes form. You will have a countless number of experiences. Cherish each one. If everything around you is an illusion, fear of anything is based on “lies”. Ideally, I would think that each of us would want to have the best experience possible. I get it. Personally, I think that as humans, we have to stop taking ourselves so seriously. Eventually, it will be “time” to exit your vehicle i.e. your body. Until then, why not make it a point to enjoy the ride? Perhaps, you will enter another vehicle. I don’t know. Does it matter? All that you truly have is now… eternal NOW. 
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Fear nothing. You are destined to master, not be mastered…. by anything or anyone. Enough said…

Overcoming the Fear of Being Alone

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As human beings, for most of us, it is a natural inclination to socialize. For many of us , we love to have friends. We like the idea of being popular as well as liked by others. Having healthy relationships contributes towards our personal growth. They help to improve our quality of life. When this happens, life can  become more fulfilling for us. That being said, there are also numerous benefits to being comfortable with being by your self. As beneficial as having relationships is, it is arguably more important to be able to enjoy solitude.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, 1 in 3 adults in the United States they fear being alone. In another article featured in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology it was stated that fear of being single may drive adults to either stay in toxic relationships or settle for partners below their standard. Life is too short to be crippled by fear of anything. You are not designed to be overpowered. Surrendering to your fears halts your growth. Fear is meant to be managed and mastered. Although it can be a problem,it comes with a solution. Problems and solutions are opposite sides of the same coin. Let’s look at several possible solutions that others have used to overcome their fear of being alone.

Pursue Interests or Hobbies

Use your time alone to research topics that you are interested in learning more about. Perhaps there are hobbies that you used to engage in earlier in your life. If not, a quick google search can open up “doors” to potentially unlimited opportunities. You need to keep your mind engaged. Hobbies are great for our personal development. Once you start pursuing them , eventually, you will improve. Once you start improving, you might start developing stronger self esteem. You begin to expand your capabilities  which can strengthen your sense of self worth. People who possess high levels of self esteem tend not to struggle with fear of loneliness. They are comfortable in their own skin. They know how to entertain themselves and do not require someone else to complete them.

Build Nourishing Relationships/Eliminate Toxic Ones

Surround yourself with people that genuinely like you for you are. This group also includes family members. Certain family members may love you, but not necessarily like you because you don’t “fit” the mold that THEY have created for you. That’s their business. Establish relationships with people who love you for who you are. You support one another and enjoy each others company. You also respect each others space. There are many of us that grew up in toxic, abusive environments. Consciously and subconsciously, these experiences shape who we become. Perhaps you are involved in a relationship with someone who is controlling or grew up with an abusive, overbearing parent. If we are not mindful, these experiences condition us to think that those type of relationships are normal. We attach our personal identity to them. We can go throughout our entire lives attracting the same type of character perpetuating the same dysfunctional cycle over and over again. In theses cases, it is better to be alone. Why associate yourself with people who sap your energy? Nourishing relationships empower you. You empower one another. You live other feeling better yourself ,them and life, in general. A good sign of an enriching relationship is anticipation for your next meeting. You appreciate one another and enjoy spending time together, but neither of you are the center of the other persons’ life. A person who has invested in relationships that prove constructive and empowering  never truly feel alone even when they are by themselves.

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Search for Opportunities to Meet People

Look for clubs to join. If you decide to establish a long term hobby that keeps you engaged, look for a meetup group consisting of like minded people. Go to concerts or social events. Search online for social events in your community that are either free or low cost. Join a gym. Regardless of what you decide to join, always remember that you tend to attract who you are. I can’t stress enough the importance of being comfortable with who you are as an individual. This is important. Remember that you are already complete, therefore, you are not lacking anything. Own it. If not, you position yourself to attract people who do not have your best interest at heart. Beware of the energy drainers and dream killers. Never settle.

Focus on Finding Opportunities to Help Others

Helping others can give you a sense of purpose. We tend to feel fulfilled when others look up to us for assistance and guidance. Life becomes more meaningful. Serving others empowers . We begin to appreciate life more. We become more grateful for what we have. It takes our focus off of our own challenges. Regardless of where you are in life, there are others that can benefit from your wisdom and help. You might not consider yourself wise, but you are. Your “wisdom” is your life , personality and perspective . Look for opportunities to share it with others. Both the giver of kindness and recipient of it benefit.  Serving is a solution for loneliness for all parties involved. Everybody wins.

In conclusion, it is unnatural for any of us to be mastered by anything. Freedom , in all of its forms, is your birthright. You are each here to live on purpose. If you allow it to,fear will cripple you  right where you stand. When you face your fear, acknowledge it ,yet decide to do what scares you anyway, you begin to take your power back. Again, although fear is natural, it must be managed. Fear management leads to fear mastery. Mastery leads to freedom. “Freedom to do what?”, you might ask. Freedom to live your best life… on your own terms. To live this way, is to live your truth. This is what the worlds needs. It needs more people to have the courage to live their truth. They are the changemakers. It is up to the changemakers to save the world. Power to the changemakers… Conquer your fear….  Until next time..

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Fear of Public Speaking

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You have a message. Your “message”  is your life. You determine  how impactful your message is to the world. According to BrandonGraille.com, an estimated 5.3 million Americans suffer from social phobia, 74% of that group from speech anxiety.  Based on my own research and practice, I have identified several key steps that have personally helped me to overcome this fear in my own life. My confidence in this area has grown so much that I actually aspire to be a full time professional speaker.

Know your topic

Practice,practice  and practice more. Research your topic so that when you speak about it, you speak with authority. Your speech should sound as natural as possible. You don’t need to have a doctorate  on the topic, but you do need to be prepared. More times than not, you will be more knowledgeable on the topic than your listeners. They are expecting to learn something about the topic from you. You don’t have to know everything that there is to know about a topic. As a rule of thumb, focus on being a step ahead of the average knowledge level of your audience.

Don’t focus on the entire group

Focus on one person at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed especially when speaking in front of a large group. Scan the room . Look for a “kind” face. I would go as far as inviting a close friend or relative to attend the event. They can be your point person. Once you find that individual, their reactions to your words can serve to help you to relax. It is also important to remember that you are not the first person to have gotten nervous speaking in front of a group.  Speaking gets easier with practice. Even seasoned speakers get nervous. They learn to manage their fear. They do not allow it to cripple them.

You don’t have to be perfect

Your audience was not with you when you were creating nor practicing the speech. You will be the recognized authority. If you have given yourself enough time to practice, you should have enough information stored in your brain to “wing” it if you have to.

Speak “naturally”

This speaking can only be acquired through constant practice. You rehearse your speech until it is embedded in your spirit. Research the topic and as much as possible, find out as much information as you can about your audience. You are delivering a message that is ideally catered to your listeners. Always remember to take the focus off you. The goal is to connect with your audience. Taking the focus of off your performance and more on the needs of the people you are speaking to can ease the stress of speaking before a group.

Focus on sharing the message.

The group that you will be speaking to need to hear what you have to say. You have important information to share and you are the perfect one to do it.

One thing is for certain. Regardless of what the fear is, you must be willing to face it in order to overcome it. It is natural to feel afraid, at times. The problem arises once we allow the fear to cripple us. Overcoming our fears leads to growth. You were born to conquer not to be conquered. When we muster up the courage to face our challenges, those that observe us are inspired to face theirs. You are never truly alone. The world needs to hear what you have to say. Count on it. Until next time.

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