Inspiration, life, life lessons, Living Out Loud Pub

How to Absolutely, Positively Get Life Right

By Julia Hubbel

Before you throw your laptop at my head, read this first:

  • The best way to be different is to consistently do the things other people refuse to do.
  • The best way to live the life you dream is to stop obsessing about what other people think.
  • The best way to succeed is to out think, out hustle, and outwork everyone else. Not to avoid the work, but to do more of it, do it better and be willing to make the sacrifices others can’t be bothered to make.

Let’s talk about what that means in real life…

There is no perfect way to be or live as long as you are following someone else’s way of being or living. The single best way to live a life full of joy for ourselves is to be willing to do the work to identify what gives us joy. What ways can you and I make a difference in the world are unique to us, whether that means getting into police work or becoming a social worker, learning to be a college professor and sharing your love of Shakespeare, or finding your expression through art.

My life has been immeasurably improved by people such as the community college professor who got into teaching simply because she wanted to share her passion for Shakespeare with a bunch of Florida youngsters. I will forever be indebted to her for helping me feel his words, rather than just read them. I still love the bard’s material, for she taught me how to love literature my way, not her way. That has been a lifetime gift. How would you love to be remembered decades later for being such a powerful influence in a young life? Five decades later I still think about her. That is an influencer in the best possible way.

There is no perfect way to journey to your best life. The only way we get there is our way, which can be helped, but not lived, by others. We can solicit advice, but one of the prices we pay for wisdom is knowing when said advice doesn’t necessarily apply to us. Our parents may want us to follow a certain career path, because it gives them pride and social bragging rights. Our hearts may say that we’d be far happier doing Peace Corps work, which may not impress their social circle but which feeds our soul. This may lead to disagreement, but you are following your heart.

My father was both irritated and disappointed when I told him I didn’t want kids and was doing something about it permanently. Dad wanted grandkids, I didn’t want children. To have had kids to please my father would have been disastrous for both of us, to say nothing of the kids. Often, those of us who have pretty clear ideas about being parents know it early. No matter what social pressures exist to do otherwise, following our hearts in this matter is likely better all around, for being willing to stand your ground to live the life you prefer is a key part of becoming a fully-realized adult. You don’t owe your parents grandchildren. You owe the world, and yourself, a well-lived life, which may not mean you bear children. That’s for you to decide.

I joined the Army in 1973, an act that nearly drove my mother over a cliff. That turned out to be one of the smartest moves of my life. Seriously good and seriously bad things happened, but in nearly every conceivable way those five years fundamentally redirected and structured my life for the better. Had I listened to my mother, or to friends, I never would have joined in the waning years of the Vietnam War.

That was a hugely unpopular move for the time, especially for a woman. It was right for me, and that is all that matters. I had done my research, looked at all the services, and before I took the oath I knew what I was getting into, at least as best as anyone can with such a monumental decision. I didn’t worry about what folks thought. The Army was right for me right then.

There is no way to hack, outsmart, avoid or otherwise sidestep the real work. While the above quotes say to “out hustle,” that has nothing whatsoever to do with finding ways around the difficult, sometimes overwhelming effort it can take to get where you want to go. That might be your PhD, it could be an around the world adventure, it doesn’t matter. My boyfriend was the youngest of four boys. Growing up in Jersey, he had a brute of a father who regularly beat the kids. He got the worst of it, until he discovered weight lifting. He threw his whole heart and soul into learning how to build his muscles and his strength. Eventually there came a day when, even as a very young man, he backed his father off, once and for all.

When my boyfriend went away to college, out of sheer spite for the fact that he could no longer bully his youngest boy, the father tossed out all of his son’s many bodybuilding trophies. But he couldn’t change the fact that his son, now in his early fifties and still incredibly fit, had done the work. And had forced his hand, a hand he would never use against his family again. The self-discipline that my boyfriend learned as a skinny adolescent he still applies today. The fit bodies he and I both have are the result of endless hours in the gym and disciplined eating. There are no easy shortcuts. And finally….

Fear is infectious

Other’s fear about what might happen to you can cripple your hopes and dreams. My mother was fearful her whole life, from her terror about the Army to every single other major decision I made. Especially about sports. My mother had been an excellent horse rider, and she had dreams to travel to Africa. Yet when I took on some hair-raising sports, such as sky diving, all I heard was that I had a “death wish.” When I traveled to Africa and Australia, I had a “death wish.”

In fact, yes, I did. But not the way she meant it.



I didn’t want to die having not lived life the way I wished to live it

I learned, finally, not to tell my mother about anything I did until after I’d already done it. Until the big reveal, she was in blissful ignorance about my latest adventures. She may have (and did) envied me, but she didn’t have faith in me. That’s crippling — but that lack of faith had nothing to do with me whatsoever. Those were fears she carried. That’s the same thing that happens when others try to talk you out of your dreams. Their commitment to hold you back has less to do with a genuine concern for your safety (unless they know you to be an irrational, irresponsible fool, which is another story entirely) than it does with operating out of their own insecurities or jealousies. You simply cannot live an extraordinary life listening to the fears of ordinary people who cannot see or feel what you do.

There is nothing wrong with living an ordinary life. Most of us are achingly ordinary in most things. Billions wear size Medium. Billions have brown eyes. Billions share a great many characteristics.

But only a few live extraordinary lives. The trick is to decide that you are worth the work, then to do the work, and don’t ask for others to approve. Chances are, they won’t.

For my part, that’s a pretty good indicator that I’m on the right track.


The author kayaking in the Svalbard Islands – Julia Hubbel

About Julia Hubbel

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

Read more of Julia’s work on Medium


Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium

Standard
Be inspired, life, mindset, People

The 8 Natural Qualities of Exceptionally Cool People

Cool isn’t just what you say, it’s what you do.


 Austin Powers. For some reason, the prolific 1960s spy who was unfrozen and thrust into an array of new assignments in a confusing ’90s world, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of someone exceptionally cool — “Yeah, baby?”

Okay, so the main selling point of the film series was clearly imbued with the joyous sexism reminiscent of early Bond flicks, but no one can deny that the always-up-for a-good-time, lusting for life and love Austin Powers, was exceptionally cool in his own right.

Love him or hate him, Austin Powers is remarkably unique.

Have you ever observed someone and thought: “Whoa! That dude is so cool. I want to be like that.”

It is never because of what there are wearing, what they do for a living or what they own. It is because there is something about them that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Something you admire.

That’s how all exceptionally cool people are. Their way of being in the world — how they think, what they choose to do, and how they talk and move — is all part of their wildly different identity that draws others toward them.

If you’re anything like me, you may wonder how they got to be so damn cool. Is there a secret to being less-than-ordinary? Were these people just born with a magnetic personality?

Thankfully, we don’t have to be a shagadelic imitation of Austin Powers to be cool. That is because there is no one secret formula that separates what we call exceptionally cool people from the rest of us — it boils down to what and who they are, along with certain qualities that come naturally to them.

And it is something we can all easily learn and effectively reproduce in our own lives.


1. Cool is Friendliness

Sometimes it can feel as if the world is full of rude, ill-mannered and inconsiderate people.

That is very uncool.

The thing about the people we consider to be cool is that we appreciate them for their caring nature and willingness to treat others in the way they would like to be treated.

They will give you their undivided attention and you can sense their genuine interest in you. These kinds of people know that a friendly attitude makes a positive impact not only at an interpersonal level, but to the world as a whole.

Kindness creates a ripple-effect.

I don’t need to tell you that kind-hearted and friendly people attract more of the same into their lives, and that makes us want to spend more time getting to know them.

Applying the Friendliness Quality

Being kind and friendly makes you feel good about yourself — happier. Make an active choice to qualify any negative feelings with something that feels better.

All of us can take the initial move towards potential friendly behavior with others. We can all make a difference.

2. Cool is Confidence

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” — Nelson Mandala

To be clear, when I speak of confidence, I’m not talking about blind arrogance here — that’s another category altogether.

However, I am touching on the type of self-confidence and self-belief that is needed to have faith in your skills and creativity — the kind that helps you keep striving to realize your life goals and dreams.

Pretty cool.

Yes, cool people have their low days and self-doubts like everyone else, but they also have the ability to overcome the fear of the unknown, set their personal-bar high and follow through with the courage to start new things.

They are the type who continue to test their limits and skills, while forming new ideas in their quest to manifest their greatest desires. Even when those around them are still pondering how to get started.

We naturally admire these people.

Applying the Confidence Quality

Try not to confuse confidence with ego. Rarely does one equal the other. Believing in yourself is what allows you to rise up and reach your potential. Realize that self-belief has a cause-and-effect motion, exactly as Nelson Mandala said in the above-mentioned quote.

That is positive power imbued in exceptionally cool confidence.

3. Cool is Philosophy

Every exceptionally cool thought leader is a forward-thinking rebel by nature. These individuals don’t much care about authority and are fast to question the ideal moral framework with regards to traditionalism, “right human conduct” and conformity.

Austin Powers provides a groovy example of a revolutionary mindset:

“If we had known the consequences of our sexual liberation, we would’ve done things much differently, but the spirit would remain the same. It’s freedom baby.”

Those with a sense of inner-freedom are the type who naturally live their life knowing the truth of John Allen Paulos’s popular observation about life:

“The only certainty in life is uncertainty”

Very cool people are open-minded with a focus on what matters most to them — their quality, freedom and vision for life, regardless of what others think of them.

Applying the Philosophy-Quality

I’m not suggesting that you need to break the law, wave your protesting-pitchforks at the next “extremists” rally or host psychedelic orgies to be cool.

But do try to make the time for introspection — stretch your awareness to encompass self; go deep and ask the important questions — about yourself, the world and your life purpose.

Analyze stale societal conventions that may be holding you back.

You see, opening your mind to new ideas is what creates positive change, improved thought-patterns and ways of being. Philosophy in a nutshell.

4. Cool is Inspiration

Just by being who you are.

A quality many cool people demonstrate is the innate love to evoke inspiration as much as they are motivated by the inspirational qualities in others. They give and take in mutual balance as they willingly share what they know minus the airs and graces.

That is, without being condescending or expecting something in return.

I also think that cool people strive to bring out the best in you by showing trust in your potential and lending you words of encouragement. It just feels uplifting to be around someone like that; as if you don’t need to worry about being judged, scorned or undervalued, even when you mess up.

But the best thing about cool people is that they walk-the-talk — fully backing up their words with actions, showing you what you mean to them.

Real life cool people know the power in showing up for others.

We can all do that.

Applying the Inspiration Quality

Don’t do things for people and always expect the favor returned. Try not to say things you don’t mean or make promises you cannot keep.

Short and sweet — keep it real. That’s inspirational.

5. Cool is Desirable

We all want to feel seen, known, and cherished by others.

Right? It’s the feeling that drives us towards attaining love, intimacy and connection in our lives.

Attraction is the energy emanating from within that draws people closer to us. It creates desire, intrigue, and deeper connections in relationships.

What is often misunderstood about desire and attraction is the fact that it has very little to do with your outwardly appearance and everything to do with how you feel about yourself.

Attraction happens from the inside out.

One of the coolest guys I know dated my girlfriend for a number of years. He wasn’t overly attractive but he was smart with a voracious, magnetic personality, and he was funny as hell.

Humor is very cool. You know this.

Anyway, just being around my friend’s fella somehow switched my energy meter to high, and that made him a desirable person to hang out with.

Cool people are less likely to spend time trying to create an appearance that fits a particular aesthetic and more time cultivating an inner connection to who they are.

Applying the Desirable Quality

First, you must realize and internalize that desirability is not about what you wear but how you wear it, and it’s definitely not about what you do but how you do it.

Feeling like an attractive human being is about cultivating an inner-connection to who you are and standing strong within yourself as that person.

Appreciate and love who you are.

Self-love and self-care are key factors because when you feel good about yourself, others will find those same qualities highly appealing. And it’s desirable.

6. Cool is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, express and control your emotions, and it is a very cool quality in a person.

Whether expressing honest feelings or dealing with a blow-up of some sort, it takes a certain level of intellectual capacity and self-awareness to remain “together” during the hard times.

Think about the people you consider to be cool. I bet you seldom see them acting out with anger, or slicing and dicing someone with harsh words when things don’t go their way.

Cool people keep their cool.

They understand the significance of staying under control when circumstances force them to burn out. They also realize their irrational response will achieve nothing other than to worsen the situation.

They work at dealing with problems by focusing on solutions, rather than losing their cool. And they make sure you know that you are important to them, regardless of the circumstances.

Applying Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is mindfulness-in-action — it’s the ability to empathize, communicate effectively and defuse conflict.

Be conscious of your inner-world and immediate responses by practicing mindfulness through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises; and paying attention to the moment, your body and your feelings.

7. Cool is the Language of Love

What sets exceptionally cool people apart from everyone else is that they see the good in others and don’t withhold expressing their love to the people they care about.

It touches our hearts so deeply to feel the truth and honesty of love.

Somehow, cool people are able to effortlessly touch you in the most meaningful and unexpected ways with their deepest truths, acts of humility and humble hearts. They are the type of people who show you beauty where you previously saw none, as well as restoring your faith where you most need it.

That’s what cool people do — they remind us to believe that we too are worthy of great love, beauty and kindness.

Applying the Language of Love

Truly exposing yourself to the language of love can be scary because you must allow yourself to become vulnerable. I totally get that.

However difficult it may seem, you have got to remember that love is worth every bit of putting yourself out there, as that’s what creates deeper connection and intimacy in your life experiences.

Exposing ourselves to great love and vulnerability takes courage — take a deep breath and dip your toes in a little at a time. Trust your intuition. Celebrate your ability to sense and experience love deeply in this lifetime.

That’s what makes you beautifully human.

8. Cool is Being Your Authentic Self

It may very well be impossible to always operate from your authentic self, but it is entirely possible to become aware of and connect with your authenticity. It is making the choice to merge with that immaculate, hidden part of yourself once again; learning who you really are and how to be true to that person.

Cool people know the value in authenticity and keep up the inner-work to be able to identify when their behavior or actions don’t align with their authentic nature. They realize that to experience a meaningful life is to fully embrace who they are, holding their inner-sanctuary in a place of love and forgiveness, along with the important people in their lives.

Exceptionally cool people empower others with their presence. They have a knack for making you feel cool, too, just by being around them.

Applying the Authentic Quality

To find your authentic self, you’ve got to dig beneath the layers of borrowed thought processes and learned behavior, social conditioning and expectations; as well as needless education and unnecessary moral policing.

Qualify every aspect of your life by honoring who you are. Accept, connect and strengthen how you choose to love yourself and others.

Being authentic takes real practice and effort, though it’s an important aspect of your humanity worth striving for.

Friendliness, confidence, philosophy, inspirational, desirable, emotional intelligence, love and authenticity, are all shared qualities that come naturally to exceptionally cool people.

But they won’t tell you that they are essentially good people. They won’t need to — their actions will speak loud and clear.

Now, that’s exceptionally cool.

Yeah, baby!


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

Standard
Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Uncategorized

Creative Writing Energy: Understanding the Mind for Creativity

The mind has many layers.


Creativity is one of the most fascinating challenges in contemporary neuroscience. In fact, very little about the nature of creativity is known. I like to think of it as a mystifying and wonderful complex side of our minds awaiting exploration.

Our capacity to create, produce new concepts and ideas is one of the most vital attributes of the human brain, and yet its neural basis largely remains a mystery – creativity and imagination cannot necessarily be defined or measured. 

I am not a neuroscientist, but I am a creative who often ponders the gift of imagination and creativity. It’s sure to be one of our most valued human traits, and has given us the tools to change the world through innovative ingenuity and insightful visualization. Creativity is also responsible for our ability to adapt to changes beyond our control.

But is creativity a conscious or unconscious process?  

In their attempts to understand creativity in the human brain, cognitive neuroscientists are led to the conclusion that the creative process arises from the unconsciousness rather than occurring as a conscious process, claiming that only 5 percent of our brain is conscious while the rest lies beyond our awareness.

The human mind has many layers.

Sigmund Freud believed that behavior and personality were driven by the constant and unique interaction of conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness: the preconscious, conscious, and unconscious or subconscious.

Here’s a quick overview:

The conscious mind

Rules thoughts, memories and feelings of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally.

The preconscious mind

Consists of anything that could potentially be brought into the conscious mind. It exists just below the level of consciousness.

The unconscious or subconscious mind

A reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. The unconscious mind thinks in the expression of form such as images, memories, underlying desires and creativity.

It is our subconscious minds that influences our actions to fit a pattern consistent with our self-concept. It’s like an inbuilt master program. This is why our thoughts are so critical – we can actually reprogram our lives and self-concepts through the thoughts we create and believe.

Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to kick-start change through kind, motivational and prosperous-oriented bites of sound. That’s why we at Creative Writing Energy created a series of positive creativity prompts – to help instil positive thoughts and encourage writers to believe in themselves and their creativity.

The unconscious or subconscious mind is a fascinating part of the human brain because it holds much of the mysterious aspects about humans, our perceptions and our experiences. It also holds the key to our creativity and shines a light over the path leading toward higher states of consciousness; the Higher-Self.

Your Higher-Self is where dwells your higher-creative mind.

From Wikipedia:

“Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a god or “the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts”.

Concepts of higher conscious has ancient roots dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas. It is a belief held by Hindus and New Age thought alike.

In his Theory of Consciousness, Gerald Edelman makes the distinction:

“The higher consciousness or secondary consciousness from primary consciousness, defined as simple awareness that includes perception and emotion. Higher consciousness in contrast “involves the ability to be conscious of being conscious” and allows the recognition by a thinking subject of his or her own acts and affections.”

Basically, our higher consciousness is the eternal essence in each of us that is everything divine, perfect and love – It is our bond connecting us to the higher-universal intelligence.

The source of all light and life within you.

Becoming aware of and building a relationship with your higher-self is like opening a door to parts of yourself that you always sensed was there but you couldn’t quite grasp it.

Yes, it might sound a little on the abstract side, and that’s because it is. There is a reason why neuroscience and quantum physics cannot solve the mystery of life, creativity and imagination.

Analytics, scientific data and a logical brain can only take you so far. The rest has to be learned through intuition, faith and connection.

Connecting with your higher-creative mind takes deliberate practice and intention through creating the space within yourself and your life to get there. You must possess the desire to reach for more if you are reap the divine rewards.

Creativity and imagination abound within these higher spaces, as does a sense of tranquillity, profound connection, wondrous revelations and well-being.

Here’s a few methods and tools you can use to begin the journey toward the higher-creative mind:

  • Meditation
  • Reading Spiritual Text  
  • Earth-grounding
  • The Tarot
  • Oracle Cards
  • Yoga
  • Shamanic Medicine Drumming
  • Free-form Writing for Self-Exploration
  • Crystals
  • Yoga

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th - 19th.  

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


Creative Writing Energy will be presenting their panel on Saturday April 18th at 3pm EST!

We’ll be around to answer comments – come say hello!

Standard
Uncategorized

Creation and Creativity: A Radical Change in Perspective


“Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray

According to mystic philosopher Neville Goddard, creation is finished. Creativeness is but a deep perceptiveness of the entire contents of all of time and space co-existing simultaneously. In other words, all that you have ever been or ever will be exists right now. When we create, we are becoming aware of what already is. Therefore, creation is really the art of manifesting that which already exists.

Consider this statement pulled from the wonderful teachings of The “I Am” Discourses:

“There is nothing which comes into physical form which is not first perfected on the invisible or higher planes.”

Ancient and spiritual gurus have been aware of the concept of the time-space continuum co-existing in the infinitely eternal now for eons, and many of their teachings reflect this knowledge. So, what does this mean and how can we use this information in our endeavor to create our stories?

When we contemplate the notion of an eternal existence and that all events are taking place in the now, it requires a certain amount of shedding on our part. We must first unravel old thinking patterns, concepts and beliefs in order to comprehend the profound importance of this truth. We can then charge forth to accept a radical new idea — that there is a plane of awareness that you can opt to live at; an extraordinary space existing in the higher regions which you have the ability to access, and it is within these rich realms that we discover our higher-creative minds.

I love the way Wayne Dyer put it when he said, “You begin this exciting adventure of changing your concept of yourself by being willing to die to your present self.”

Think about it; accepting that all things and events exist simultaneously explains the experience of that acute feeling of having met someone previously when meeting them for the first time, or even sensing that you’ve heard or seen a thing or a place before having experienced it physically. Some call it déjà vu while others recognize it for what it is — co-existing events strung along an invisible timeline.

As we go through the motions of navigating our lives, we experience and become aware of portions of what already exists. It is our self-concepts that determine the events that we encounter and experience along the timeline.

For the storyteller this is an exciting revelation. All those brilliant story ideas that have been vaguely sifting around in your head already exist; all you need to do is to become aware of them to bring them into fruition. We all have a creative fire that lives inside of us and is expressed in different ways. Our creativity is limitless and as discussed throughout Creative Writing Energy, holds great significance when it comes to connecting to our authentic selves. By tuning into our higher-creative minds where the fire of creativity burns strong within us, we begin to nurture the path to self-discovery and connect in a more powerful way to our soul — and your soul purpose is creativity.

The scripts, alternative practices and tools offered in Creative Writing Energy are intended to demonstrate the importance of your creativity and provide suggestions on how you can nurture this wondrous part of yourself. By lifting the mental fog long enough to access your higher-creative mind, you’ll never find yourself out of a muse. Instead, you’ll discover that you are all the muse needed to fuel the stories burning in your super-conscious mind.

We are born to create.

Accepting that you are a deliberate creator brings a sense of inner-freedom and liberation to your life and experiences. Aside from your writing life, grasping and appreciating the flow of creativity can bring many benefits to your world. Here is just a little taste of how creativity can enrich your life:

Strengthen a deeper connection with your soul.

Provides an outlet for your emotions.

Nurtures and strengthens your intuition.

Promotes deeper passion, inspiration and motivation.

Aligns you with your life purpose.

Raises your vibration and energy.

Helps to release stagnant and negative energy.

A Moment to Ponder Creativity:

Can you recognize how your creativity has impacted your life in positive ways?

Make a list as you think about it. Contemplating these positive effects will produce more of the same results and help to strengthen the pathways to your higher-creative mind and keep you uplifted.


Also published by Curiosity Never Killed the Writer at Medium

Standard
Uncategorized

A Shamanic Soul Journey

13765792_10154178098855901_6042815638787203073_o

“Hey Kim, my other half is interested in attending this event. Wondering if it might interest you.”

A fast click on the link to check it out reveals a compelling headline: A Shamanic Journey and Drumming Circle. Truth be told, I didn’t need to dive in any deeper on this one. My usual tendency to procrastinate the pros and cons of deserting my comfortable lair in favor of stepping out into the big wide world took a backseat. I was in.

“Tell your other half she has a partner in crime,” I replied.

By other half, my friend and author Catherine Evans was referring to her pseudonym, Cate Ellink – her less subdued self. This is the part of herself that loves to explore strange phenomena and pushes back against the social norms. The same part of herself that I seem to energize. I must admit, I do have a knack of unleashing and fueling those underlying qualities in those closest to me. Go figure.

Maybe it is because I tend to view the world through the lens of acceptance. I have no interest in judging others, idle gossip or sifting through tedious social bullshit. I am the first to laugh at myself and do so often; I like to play too; especially when the game involves a worthy adversary – in the nicest sense, of course. Yep, overall, you could say that I Go with the Flow. I work at keeping the faith and trusting that the universe has my back even during the times when the reality appears to the contrary. And I love to ponder and explore the more mysterious side of life. Who doesn’t?

Yeah. Back to the drumming.

Honestly, given all I just divulged about my interest in mystic exploration, it isn’t a long shot to conclude that taking a Shamanic Drumming journey is right up my ally. Even though I had never drummed before.

“Don’t you just smack your hand down?” Cath responded when confronted with the above comment. “Rhythm. We have rhythm, don’t we?”

Well, yeah. I’ve got rhythm honey, but as far as I’m aware, rhythm tends to favour my hips and not the ability to chime on a musical instrument.

Hmm. I didn’t express those thoughts out loud. Instead, I shut my mouth and charged forth into unknown territory; the world of Shamanic Drumming and meditation.

Did you know that the medicine drum is a tool used for healing and transformation since ancient times? And that drumming has the power to synchronise brain hemispheres and create altered states of consciousness in which healing and wisdom from the higher self can be obtained?

We were anointed with pine oil and smudged with sage and other pungently burning incense. We were cleansed and balanced with some kind of spritzy concoction; we listened to our hosts talk about the moon’s energy and shedding old habits that no longer served us; and we each gave an offering back to humanity in the form of soft tobacco leaves and syrupy whispers.

They gave us a medicine drum; mine was of deer, Catherine’s, kangaroo. Turned out, we didn’t have to just smack our hands down and wing it. We had drum sticks to guide our… erm… rhythm.

Oh, and we found it! Maybe not right away, but when our hosts began the steady tempo and the sensual sounds of our hostess’ voice rose above the thick incense curling through the room; rhythm had not eluded us. In fact, it became our friend.

The beat seemed to seep into my being like a sacred mystery unravelling the invisible threads binding me. It was glorious and liberating, utterly beautiful, and it created a sense wellness within. Sometimes, all it takes is an unexpected moment to arrive to show us what we didn’t realize we needed. I hadn’t realized that I needed to merge with the beat of a drum and fuse with the sacred energy accompanying us in the room that night. And I certainly didn’t realize that I needed to join hands in a circle made up of like-minded strangers and express my wishes for the greater good of humanity. It was like soul therapy.

After which, I felt renewed and energized. Were you aware that rhythm is a primordial vibration that pulses through our bodies with the beating of our hearts? Yep, consider the following quote:

“Ancient sources tell us that the frame drum was not just a powerful symbol of spiritual presence, it was an important tool for many spiritual experiences. Priestesses of the goddess were skilled technicians in its uses. They knew which rhythms quickened the life in freshly planted seeds, which facilitated childbirth and which induced ecstatic trance of spiritual transcendence. Guided by drum beats, these sacred drummers could alter their consciousness at will, travelling through the three worlds of the goddess: the heavens, the earth and the underworld.”

~ Layne Redmond

They spoke about our connection to the land and the universe, and how most of us are living beneath a veil of ignorance; and how the ideals and beliefs of humanity have turned upside down. The need to get back to our roots and remember the truth of who we really are is becoming imperative if we wish to see change in the world.

I agree. I guess that’s why I found myself in a dimly-lit area breathing incense, smelling like pine oil and gazing in wonder at the oh-so-interesting altar-mat splayed mid-center of the room and adorned with totems.

We sat upon blanketed mats with pillows and listened to words of ancient practices and beliefs surrounding the Bone Dance. Syllables strung together to form sentences fell upon my ears and swirled around my euphoric mind – the concept of shedding the outer layers and becoming a skeleton resonated someplace deep within me. The notion being that beneath our fleshy exteriors, our material-based desires, and our personalities, we are all mirrored. Take it all away and we’re left alike; an identical process of bones.

Have you ever meditated to the sound of the drum with interluding bouts of the didgeridoo? D – d- did you do-do?

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I hadn’t either. Admittedly, I’m not used to participating in group meditation, preferring the solitude of my own soft and quiet space when practicing stilling the mind. But there was something extremely transformative, uplifting and moving about tuning my senses into those soulful beats, that I almost forgot how hard the floor was becoming beneath my butt. Almost.

Okay, I might have to work on that part of the whole Shamanic Drumming journey experience.

All in all, the night far exceeded the expectations I actually didn’t have. It began with a picnic beneath the stars and great conversation, and ended on a naturally induced high – the likes of which cannot be achieved without transporting your spirit to the higher-realms where mysteries abound and dreams are for the taking.

Shamanic Drumming was more than just a meditative journey. It was a soul journey and I can’t wait to do it again.

 

Standard
Author spotlight, Uncategorized

Becoming Whole with Catherine Evans

 

siora-photography-629656-unsplash

I was a child of the ’80s and grew up with a firm understanding of rules and boundaries and what those restrictions meant to my life. Breaking the rules had consequences I’d rather avoid. I didn’t want my mouth rinsed out with soap, so I didn’t use curse words. I didn’t want to see the hard end of a wooden spoon, so I didn’t chat back to my mother. And I definitely didn’t want to miss out on dessert, so I ate what was put in front of me at dinner time … most of the time. Swallowing and choking on brussels sprouts just wasn’t worth the sweet stuff. Sorry, ma.

Adolescence hit with a hefty side of rebellion. I was that girl – you know, the one that seemed to have all the bright ideas about pushing the boundaries. My geography teacher disliked me so much, she spent parent-teacher night bitching about me to my aunt who had turned up to discuss my cousins academic progress. That went down well. The phone line was red-hot that evening. Maybe I should have thought twice before slicking the teacher’s chair with superglue and darting wet paper bullets through straws all over her classroom.

Hmm. No comment.

Once I passed those rebellious teenage years and emerged into adulthood, I realized the rules for adults were slightly less forgiving and accompanied with much higher stakes. The government want to meet their revenue quota. I don’t want to help them achieve that. I don’t want to go to prison either.

I’m still a rebel at heart. I’m a risk taker, a visionary; a dreamer. I’ll take that leap and bound full-force into unknown territory – even when it terrifies me. For me, life isn’t about conforming or pleasing other people. I’m considerate, compassionate and sympathetic, but being subservient to those traits won’t allow me to shine. Loving and honoring the people in my life doesn’t mean that I have to deny that which lights me up on the inside.

This is how I’m wired. This is why I’m finding that I’m meeting new people that feel and share similar qualities as me – likeminded souls that run full pelt into love and care less about the opinions of others; deep thinkers unashamed of who they are or what they want out of life.

Those rules – the ones that are written, the ones that are not – still exist. We know them and live by them even when we question them. Without them, havoc would reign supreme. Or would it?

Catherine Evans has a vision to change the world.

Sound familiar?

It should because you’re here too and so is your legacy. Changing the world sounds like a momentous task, but I’m going to tell you that it’s not. It begins with the small stuff. It begins with you and me, and the choices we make daily. If every one of us can deliberately compel ourselves to accept all love, kindness, faith and hope, and reject all suffering, sorrow and depression, then perhaps that is how we begin to change the world – from the inside out.

Catherine Evans wants to become whole. She wants to do what lights her up inside and make a difference in the world. I am proud to call her my friend as much as I am proud to introduce her to you.

 

Meet Catherine

 

I write under two pen names, which in some ways is good because it allows readers to find the books they want to read (or more correctly, avoid the books they hate). But there’s a part of me that’s saddened by this.

 

Let me give you a brief summary of me. I’m the eldest child, born into a conservative Catholic family. I am an introvert who avoids conflict, a rebel who doesn’t understand societal rules and strictures. There are two sayings that resonate with me. One is – “Learn the rules properly so you know how to break them.” It hung on my office door for years. It’s one of my beliefs.

 

For me, the introvert avoiding conflict doesn’t go well with a rebel. My rebellions have been rather small and personal. For example, I rarely wear dresses or make-up, and have no clue about fashion. I have long hair that’s not dyed and going gray. I worked in science where most of my colleagues were men. I had sex before marriage. I have no kids. I gave up religion. I kept my surname after marriage – and if it wasn’t for my husband’s strongly held belief in marriage, I would not be married.

 

I hate labels, categories, boxes, systems, rote, generalizations, and rules. I hate mindless following.

 

I love deep thinking and deep discussions, especially where you disagree but keep talking to find out why. I love challenging myself and my thinking.

 

When I started to write for publication, I didn’t realize that books had genres and subgenres and that these had rules. How I didn’t know this is quite amazing because I had read books all my life. In my defense, I submit that I read widely without caring about the genre.  The only option is that the book is interesting. Libraries are set up so the non-fiction is categorized by topic, but fiction is just alphabetical order. To me, that means story books are story books.

 

Not so. I had to learn what box I wanted to write in when I didn’t believe in boxes. I went with romance because I found Romance Writers of Australia who offered help and feedback online. When I narrowed it down to romance, I thought I was right, but no. I learned that I wrote cross-subgenres, which made it hard to market your book.

 

By this stage, it was doing my head in. My stories didn’t fit into niches. I hated niches.

 

While I was writing rural romance incorrectly, I realized I could write erotica and there were far fewer rules with that. When I wrote about sex, and included swearing [cursing], and was thinking about publishing this, my family were appalled. They asked me not to use my name; not to tell anyone; to hide this side of me.

 

I became two writing personalities.

 

Over the past eight years I have realized that all the little rebellious parts of me have become Cate Ellink. The parts of me that conformed to my family/society wishes have remained with Catherine Evans.

 

I bloody love Cate Ellink. She’s written smoking hot sex. She lusts after footy players and dreams happy stories. She unashamedly explores fetishes, taboos, spirituality. She questions her thinking about society norms. She wants to change the world. Keeping quiet and fitting in is not really doing it for me anymore. I’m getting to the point where I need to become whole. I’m of the age where I really don’t give a damn about others’ opinions, and we need change in the world before it’s a catastrophe for humankind.

 

It’s difficult to buck the system. It’s even harder to stand strong when people belittle and ridicule you. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have readers and writers who don’t care what I write, they just accept me. That’s been such a strength to me, allowing me to think I need to be whole outside of this reading/writing world.

 

Now Kim is tempting me into the paranormal. It’s not somewhere Catherine or Cate has gone before, and yet I love reading paranormal and my belief is in the paranormal. When I write in that subgenre, I won’t be able to manage three distinct personalities. I’m going to have to join all my parts together, allowing the different names to distinguish which part of my mind you’re comfortable reading! But I’ll be me, Catherine, Cate and whoever else I write as. It’s as exciting as it is daunting.

 

Do you have any tips for me?

Find Catherine:

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook 

Standard
Uncategorized, writing

The Truth about Love, Sexuality & Creativity

“It is passion, more passion and that we need. The moralist who bans passion is not of our time; his place these many years is with the dead. For we know what happens in a world when those who ban passion have triumphed. When love is suppressed, hate takes place. It is passion and ever more passion that we need if we are to undo the work of hate.”

~    Havelock Ellis

josh-felise-79105-unsplash

Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

 

I used to be a little girl with a little room filled with nothing particularly girly. There were no pink mermaid curtains draping the windows nor were there white frills adorning the bed covers. I loved climbing trees, riding bikes and erecting forts on top of the carport roof with my younger brother. Wrestling matches were fun too, till one of us was hurt enough to scream blue murder. I’ll be honest, a lot of time that person was my brother. Those were the times when the fun turned sour and I shot dagger-eyes and mouthed terrible things that made him go crying to our mother.

Tsk. Mamma’s boy.

Oh, brothers! There’s a whole lot to say about growing up with a little brother shadowing your every move. Almost three years separate my brother and me, and once upon a time he used to be smaller than me. But you know what? His lack of height had never stood in the way of his ingrained sense of protectiveness for me. He was loyal and courageous, and his love was fierce. I had seen that kid take on the meanest beefcakes in the name of love for me, and I always had his back too.

Although I would not have dreamed of admitting it at the time, my brother was my best friend, and for the most part, I adored hanging out with him. We spent hours creating new adventures and exploring uncharted territory as children. But sometimes, I had to retreat to a place of my own and turn my back on his pouting lips to leave him to his Matchbox cars. I had to shut the door to our room and delve into a world where he was not welcome or permitted. It was the delicate world of dolls.

Yes, dolls. Barbie dolls to be exact. I kept a bag beneath my bed filled with loads of Barbie dolls, one Ken doll, an assortment of accessories, and the biggest kicker of all – a Michael Jackson doll.

Every now and then, I needed to explore the soft feminine urges of the little girl I was and unleash my imagination with a focus on love. Romantic love. You know, the kind of love that springs from your fluttering heart and inevitably results in the happily-ever-after? It is the type of love that captures your breath and steals your soul. It wraps around every cell in your body till you can’t imagine a future without that person.

When you think about it, it is not so unusual that we begin to probe and delve into the beautiful mystery of love from such a young age, because it is love that governs your greater-self, your deeper-self. It is the part of you that connects you to all of creation, and this isn’t something you can ever know intellectually; you can only feel and be aware of it.

Our view of the world is usually less tainted as children. Those magical years when our imagination knows no restrictions are also the years when our memories are the strongest, and our perceptions are most pure. Somehow, we innately realize the knowledge that we are more than the flesh and blood peering back at us when we gaze into the mirror; we know that it is love from which we were born, and love that builds our whole existence.

Then time kicks in. The years pass and we settle into the dense 3D reality of our physical existence. We’re bombarded with societal rules and restrictions, beliefs and religions, fear, hate and worldwide threats breeding the rancid contempt in the bellies of our leaders and spilling into the population. It is greed, materialism, brutality and murder, and the ever-present outcries of injustice constantly influencing and informing our worldview.

The veil thickens and the invisible barriers are firmly placed around our lives, leading to those moments when we forget who we really are. They are the same moments we get to choose if want to continue living beneath the cloak of ignorance or embark on a journey back to the real stuff.

From time to time the curtain will lift to reveal a glimpse of the eternal source gracing all that is. It’s in those moments when you gaze from a mountain peak and your being soars with the beauty filling your essence; or those silent times when your soul lifts higher and you’re encapsulated with a sense of unconditional love; or even a simple gesture from a stranger that touches your heart in a way you hadn’t expected. However, most of all, it’s in the relationships we experience with other people.

In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson says, “In every relationship, in every moment, we teach each other love or fear.”

It is in demonstrating love toward others that we learn how to love more deeply. In exhibiting fear, we learn to be more frightened of life.

There exists one underlying force that connects us through our entire life. Despite the negative circumstances I mentioned above, humanity strives toward that feeling whether we realize it or not. It forms the basis in each one of our thoughts, interactions and tasks, it informs the words we utter and the way in which we see ourselves – Love.

Bold, fearless, glorious love.

It is love that forms the groundwork of most of our literature, art, music and drama, and love that has given birth to the endless inhibitions that humanity imposes on a false attitude toward sexuality – the most important expression of mankind. Sex is really life expressing love.

Love or fear?

You choose.

“In this relation between a man and a woman, in the sexual act, is expressed the complete physical, psychic, and spiritual hunger of being for another. No other activity or expression of mankind provides such a total outlet for love as the sex act.”

~ U.S Andersen.

When contemplating that statement, it’s easy to recognize how little sex is understood, and how abused, particularly when we consider how readily available sex has become in our virtual worlds. We live in an age where voyeuristic perversions are fostered by the exploitation of sex. The overexposure of sex has had a significant impact on changes in our sexual behaviors and continues to influence our younger generations.

At the other end of the spectrum we face the age-old taboos and condemnation surrounding the sex act. This is when people get touchy and uncomfortable about sex, but how could such a natural and wondrous part of being human become saddled with shame, ridicule and immoral ordinance?

When love is present, there is no such thing.

Love is the recognition of our true selves – the motivation for unity and the desire for fusion. It’s no wonder our stories are brimming with tales about love and romance. Even those authors who claim not to write romance are really writing some of the greatest love stories of all because it is love that flows from them and into their words; and love and passion, fueled with imagination, that embodies their creativity.

I believe every human is a creative. Every human can manifest and love; every being is ultimately cut from the same divine cloth. It’s the golden threads that weave your heart and soul together and bond you with the universal energy – that brilliant light shining resiliently from behind every negative thought and experience that lets you know you are loved.

Love and creativity are one and the same. Love is the source of creativity.

Through all our experiences – the good and the bad – there is one profound and complicated sentiment that remains a universal thirst. One element is instinctual to our nature that is continuously streaming through the veil that blinds us from the truth. It is the invisible link driving us to a common basis – love and sexuality.

When I was a little girl, my dolls fell in love in the stories I created for them. Now that I’m a woman, my characters fall in love through the stories I create for them. I fall in love every day through story, my beautiful interactions with people, sacred soul connections I cherish, gratitude and the simple pleasures of life.

Love is more than a word on a page or a choice; love is fundamental to being human, and you cannot evolve, thrive and appreciate without it.

It is through our divinity that we are created by the source of love. It is through our humanity we learn how to express, give and receive love in our physicality.

When we look past the taboos, the abuse, and the exploitation of sex, and nestle down and really search ourselves within, we can acknowledge and celebrate the magnificence of sexuality and all its forms of expression. In his wonderful book Three Magic Words, U.S. Andersen articulates this perfectly when he states, “The end of the sex act is not procreation – it is the expression of love!”

Free yourself. Love yourself. Express yourself.

Standard
writing

Unravel Your Thoughts, Ponder the Mysterious.


“Life is a series of constantly shifting cycles. When we resist change, we resist the natural flow of life and create unnecessary stress. Go with the flow – you will be surprised where it leads.”

I pulled the above quote from a pack of heart-shaped Lovers Oracle Tarot cards I bought back in 2009. That particular deck is beautifully illustrated with inspiring messages designed to uplift one’s spirit and provide guidance on love. I own a few decks of Tarot cards. Some have been given to me as gifts, others I have bought myself with the driving thought being that I would someday use them to cultivate my intuitive gifts. I’m still waiting for that day to arrive.

While I respect the Tarot and those that have the abilities to use them as intuitive divination tools and a means to interpret information from the other side, I have discovered they are not the type of tool I can personally connect with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tarot and all the mystical elements it represents. I have spent many hours receiving accurate readings but the Tarot doesn’t personally speak to me as a channeling tool.

Of course, I’ve experienced some bogus Tarot readings. One woman told me I’d never write books. My heart plummeted. She must have noticed.

“You may write children’s books,” she added quickly.

“Huh?” I replied, noting the inner-resistance in my gut. She was wrong. “Nah.”

Another woman told me I would write books. That felt right. A man with a colorful swathe wrapped around his skull told me someone I loved would not come closer. Wrong again. In 2016, before I published my first book, a woman predicted I would travel to New Orleans. Bingo. Of course, I had no idea at the time I would travel to NOLA to attend a writers’ retreat the following year. Evidently, that woman had predicted many other things that have come to pass.

I have a favorite psychic. His name is Blair. He used to live nearby but has since moved interstate. Blair has to be one the most beautiful people I have ever known. He is always upbeat and happy, and he chooses to appreciate every moment of every day. I love that about him. I make him laugh too. Geez, I make him laugh. He finds my life and my thoughts extremely amusing. Not such a bad thing considering we speak just about every week.

Blair has become more than just a guy that I call when I need another perspective on a particular situation. Our relationship has transcended the professional one we had originally established; we’ve become firm friends that care for each other. Yes, that does and can happen when people connect and honor those special bonds.

That’s another thing I love about Blair – his transparency and openness to give and receive love, and his endless compassion and ability to offer guidance. He is extremely patient too. He would have to be to put up with someone like me, because I’m the kind of person that thrives on deep connections. Always have been, always will be. Those unique connections are rare, so once established and I have landed in the comfort zone, I will give you a run for your money – that’s a promise. Just ask Blair. It is not unusual for Blair’s Messenger app to bling with an incoming message from yours truly:

“Blair, my world crumbled today.”

Ah, the drama.

“Hey Kim, how are you? Didn’t your world only crumble just last week?”

“Well, yeah, but it happened again. Lol.”

I’m a writer – give me a break.

“Did you sleep well last night?”

“Erm. Yeah, I did actually. Why?”

“Because I asked the angels to watch over you and help you sleep.”

Huge grin.

“It worked, thank you. Do it again.”

Did I mention he was patient?

Yeah.

I might be a little bit addicted to Blair. I am honestly glad he is wise and mature enough not to interpret my over-enthusiastic messages as a form of harassment. Shock. Horror. Did someone say harassment?

Someone call Moses.

Blair dislikes that word. Immensely. He also uses an interesting vocabulary for those that don’t appreciate me or worse; mistreat me. I think he might love me too. Although, had he possessed an inflexible mindset guarded by the iron gates of a bigoted belief system, things might be different. Then again, considering my unconventional way of thinking doesn’t gel so well with those inclined to be dogmatic and judgmental, it is fair to say we never would have become friends in the first place.

This does circle back to the Tarot.

How? I hear you ask.

Good question. Blair doesn’t use Tarot cards when discerning information from the other side. He uses his highly developed Clair Senses.

Rhymes with “Blair”.

Other than that, Clair Senses are actually types of psychic sensitivity: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Blair’s psychic abilities are a combination of clairvoyance and clairaudience. He is able to reach into another vibrational frequency and visually perceive and/or hear something existing in that realm.

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, yeah; especially if you are inclined to believe in more than what your earthly senses perceive. This is the part where you leave your narrow-minded tendencies at the door and embrace the mystical elements that exist in our universe. Welcome the esoteric. Invite the obscure and explore unknown territory.

And why not?

Many of the ancient races to inhabit the earth before us were much more attuned to our connection to the universe and celestial forces. They worshiped natural divine deities based on a polytheistic belief system. It is surprising how tightly woven the invisible boundaries are that many choose to erect around their inner-world today.

Unhinge your thoughts. The universe is as mysterious as you and I, and functions in perfect divine order. Do you really think the universe exists solely to expand the blackness of space by creating planets and stars through spectacular explosions and great bursts of energy? That’s it? Really? Seems a little fruitless. Perhaps the ancient races were on to something.

The ancient Druids believed the Earth itself was like the body of a dragon. They went ahead and built their sacred stone circles upon the “power nodes” of this body. They believed dragons connected us with the Earth’s magnetism and healing waters.

The Egyptian conception of the universe centered on maat – a word that encompasses several concepts in English, including “truth”, “justice”, and “order”. It was the fixed, eternal order of the universe, both in the cosmos and in society, and it was often personified as a goddess.

Kabbalah emerged during the Middle Ages – a Jewish mystical and magical system. Native Americans practice Shamanism: the shaman travels to the spirit realm to gain information regarding the community’s needs like healing or spiritual growth. And we cannot discount the spiritual practices, traditions and beliefs based on the original teachings attributed to the Buddha – a set of philosophies sharing the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood.

I often wonder if evolution among the human race has actually declined over the centuries. Sure, technology has advanced us in leaps and bounds. We have access to anything we desire at a click or two, and our screens are filled with images of “the beautiful” people demonstrating the facade of what we ought to be striving to become. Our minds and lives are overflowing with constant stimulation. We have all of this yet it has come at the expense of losing sight of the universal energy that flows through our being and connects us to all that exists; it has come at the expense of losing touch with the real; the kind of real those ancient races honored and sought to worship – source energy, divine spiritualty.

There are many other ancient practices and spiritual beliefs that encompass the enigmatic nature of life and our universe, and through the ages those beliefs and teachings have seeped like golden nuggets of wisdom to guide and inform, and help us understand if we want to push past the chaos of the modern world and listen; and all that unlimited wealth begins by looking within rather than to the outside world. It’s right inside you.

The universe, our existence, and the place we call earth comprises a series of wondrous miracles that occur in magnificent divine harmony with an energy whose sole objective is expansion, creation and ceaseless unconditional love.

How could we be so quick to disregard the unknown when you yourself are part of the great mystery? Psychic tools like the Tarot, clairvoyance, channeling or any other mystical practice really are not such a far stretch to believe when the foundation upon which we stand is riddled with a path of intricate beliefs, spirituality and sacred ancient magic.

Believe. Anything is possible. Anything.

Visit Blair’s website and discover more about this gifted healer! 

https://www.blairstewart.com.au

IMG_0627

Lovers Oracle Tarot Cards: A Four Card Spread I pulled For Myself about 5 Months Ago.

 

Standard
writing

The Unreal


“What is real?”

“That is real which never changes.”

~  Ancient spiritual avatar from the book Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer.

During a recent conversation with my mother, she asked me what I considered to be materialistic. I felt a slight surge of delight ripple through me as I gazed towards the rolling green ranges that spread out from my home on the other side of the valley. They are the same peaks I regularly consult. Yes, I talk to the mountains as well as the stars and the ocean, because it is among those natural elements that I feel most anchored to the mystery of life.

The mystery of life has nothing to do with anything I own, or how much money I have in my bank account. I took a breath and smiled. I was ready to engage; this was my kind of talk.

Materialism.

The word instantly conjures images of money-oriented people who are excessively concerned about gathering material possessions – and yes, it’s exactly what the word implies. According to Madonna we do live in a material world, right?

Look around. Just about everything you see is tangible. If you can touch it, squeeze it and mould it, it must be real. The more money you can accumulate, the more of the real you can gather. The more of the real you can collect and own, the more you become real. Well, you must be real if you own things, and I’m more real because mine is bigger than yours.

Bigger. Better. Bullshit.

I’ve never measured my success or my self-worth on material possessions, even when I was younger and surrounded by people that liked nothing more than to compare their earthly possessions or talk non-stop about money. I’ve never understood. Honestly, I could not care less if your shoes are worth $500 or what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is.

Granted, it’s nice to have cool things to play with – I get that, I do. I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the stuff you want. After all, that’s why we come here – to sift through our experiences; desire, want and create what we want, and learn as we walk the path. Of course, I want things for myself and my family. But for me, it’s the intention behind the desire that differs from the materialistic sense.

I’ll be honest, I do want success. I want financial freedom, I want to travel and explore parts of the world that beckon me, and I want to live in a home on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. I would love to own a secluded cabin nestled deep in the woods too. Is that being materialistic?

Maybe. To some. Especially for those who might be getting a little uncomfortable reading this article and are beginning to think I’m being hypocritical.

My desires are fuelled by something other than physical comfort and wanting the biggest and the best. I want what I want because we do live in a world where money is necessary in order to survive, and fundamental to be able to expand our experiences.

More than anything, I want to expand, experience and savour what the world has to offer. I want to visit sacred caves in Colorado. I want to travel to places off the beaten track, be among Tibetan monks, make love at Niagara Falls, and experience diverse cultures because that is the kind of stuff that will enrich my soul. I choose the home by the sea and a cabin in the woods because that’s where I feel most connected with earth’s energy. That’s where I can breathe and just be when I need time away from the world.

I say this, yet at the same time it’s so important to get away from the importance of money, and to view it as only a means of exchange. But how do you achieve that? – By working to shed the cultural bonds that have been conditioned in us since birth; by dying to the ideals and values that measure us on a materialistic basis and reinventing our perspectives, and perhaps surrendering to a new outlook that money and material possessions are not real.

The answer I gave my mother was simple – I consider anything that cannot be taken with you upon your physical death to be materialistic. Anything.

This is where it gets interesting for me because I’m not only talking about material possessions. I’m talking about anything that isn’t really you – Ego. Reputation. Beliefs. Personality. Values. Hatred. Fame. Accolades. Emotions. Body.

I’m not saying these attributes are unimportant, or as important as you want them to be, but each of those qualities change. All these unseen influences make up who we are and how we view the world during our lifetimes, but you won’t be taking your reputation along with you when you cark it. Nobody on the other side is going to care how many awards you won.

At the end of your life, all you get to take is your soul and the growth fostered during the experience of your lifetime. And I’ll tell you this for free; it’s only about love – how much you learned from it, and how much you were able to give and receive.

If that is real that never changes, then real can only be your spirit or soul.

What is real is love.

 


Standard