Sometimes my sadness, anger and self-worthlessness feel so deep and infinite, I imagine if I let myself feel them at all that I’ll be lost in them forever.
I clearly remember the first few times I let myself feel as much of these “negative” emotions as I could. I remember how terrifying it was to peer into that oblivion, to imagine being sucked into it like a supermassive black hole, never to return.
In our emotionally illiterate society and culture, we’re conditioned to always be in the “up.” To always be positive, joyful, fearless.
And that is such fucking bullshit.
Courage, from the Latin “cor” meaning heart, is not the absence of fear but the resolve to stand our ground or to move forward in the face of fear because what we love, what we CARE about (cor) in our hearts is greater than the fear we feel.
Try squelching your fear, your anger, your sadness, your anything, and let me know how it works out for you. Try faking a smile for a year and let me know how many people believe you, let me know how your energy levels are. Let me know how lonely you are.
It takes massive amounts of energy to pretend.
What can confuse us is how overwhelming the force of the emotions can be, so often masquerading as the whole story when in fact they’re telling only part of the story.
Emotions are essentially information from the wisdom in our bodies, asking to be fully felt. When we fully feel them without resisting them or trying to change them or move them, they change and they move.
“What you resist persists.” In other words, it’s time to turn TOWARDS that thing you don’t want to feel.
That’s what it means to let something go. To “let” is to allow. To “go” indicates movement. To “let it go” means to allow it to move, and the only way we can allow it to move (let it go) is by being with it fully. This is emotional intelligence 101, and this information should be taught in kindergarten.
The truth of the matter is that we cannot cut off one emotion without affecting our ability to feel the rest of them. We cannot expect to feel happy but not sad, joyful, but not fearful. We’ve got to welcome the whole spectrum, the whole rainbow, or all we’ll get is a dull, sickening, soul-sucking shadowy grayish lifeless haze.
Another common place we get tripped up is not knowing what that feeling is or where it’s coming from. For me, sometimes I’ll feel something painful coming on for weeks until I can actually name it. Then, once I name it, usually I can let it move through me (by feeling it and being with it).
For me, I need to be able to identify it. As soon as I can accurately identify it and name it, I’m able to let it go.
The difference between complaining and naming the truth of an emotion in the present moment is the degree of accuracy and truth in the verbalizing.
If I’m perceived as complaining, then more than likely I’m not fully in touch with what’s ACTUALLY going on. I’m circling the truth, but not getting to the root of it. Complaining also includes avoiding responsibility, blaming, self-victimizing.
Sometimes it takes quite a bit of circling in order to get to the root of the issue, so give yourself room to be messy.
Give yourself room and time to feel into the unwanted feelings without having to name them right away either. For me, this process can take quite a while.
What we’re doing is re-learning how to function as whole human beings after years of being cut off from these parts of ourselves. This will take time.
Most people run. And while they’re running they’re certain they’re doing the right thing. They feel uncomfortable with the feelings, so they get up and walk away.
But what they don’t understand is that when they do that they’re walking away from themselves.
But we who have chosen to be more fully ALIVE have chosen to be there for ourselves. We are committed to being there for ALL parts of ourselves, not just the ones we like.
We’re in it for the long term, the only way that is sustainable.
We stand our ground, as compassionately, as truthfully as we know how.
We set proper boundaries, first honoring self then honoring other.
We respect the process, knowing that time is on our side and that patience plus care is the secret.
And we evolve. Adopting and discarding beliefs like stepping stones, never clinging too desperately to any one path or story, gently resting and moving in the infinity of story and the great spirit of evolution.
Beliefs like stepping stones.
P.S. If you liked what you read here and would like to chat with me about it some more, I’d love to have a conversation in which these fields and emotions become AMPLIFIED so that we can get to the roots of the issues and shine a light into the darkness. Check out the page Life Coaching for more.
For most of us, it seems there is a distance between where we are and where we want to be. That’s not new information.
But do we accept that this will always be true if we want to grow?
We will NEVER be where we want to be unless where we want to be is where we already are.
People say, “I’m getting there.” “I’m learning.” “I’m on my way.” And I say, “When will this never not be true?” “Will you ever get there?”
I don’t think so. We won’t ever arrive unless we accept that we have already arrived.
And accepting that we’ve already arrived means we must let go of our desire to arrive.
How can we be more like the tree, which seems to grow and not protest, “I’m not where I want to be yet.”
So my invitation to us all is: Let’s practice being like the trees.
We’re perfect growing here just like this. Taking our sustenance in the day. Sleeping at night. Perfect, whole and complete just as we are growing.
We’re perfect growing here, just like this.
Look around you and begin to think, feel and learn what Nature is, what Nature wants and what it means to be ALIVE, what the meaning of life truly is. And stop taking other people’s words for it. Don’t take my word for it!
Life is a celebration of existence. Life is an expression of perfection in its eternal growth and seasonal ebbs and flows.
And that’s the secret of the meaning of life: to grow and to be who we are, removing the blocks to the LOVE from which we are born.
There are laws and principles which enhance this growth and expression of Nature and there are [temporary] blocks to this growth and expression.
Long term VITALITY itself is an excellent reflection of our alignment with the laws of Nature.
Cultural/community vitality is the same, on a larger scale.
The long term outward manifestation is a reflection of inner integrity, and the more perceptive we become, the more we sense the alignment or misalignment of others and ourselves with the laws of nature.
The long-term is what counts here. Long term success is unsustainable if built on a faulty foundation.
The dearth of VITALITY we see currently in the world in so many places are results of misalignment with the deepest laws of nature, which are to forgive, to be truthful (that is to be loving) and to support LIFE.
People get extremely confused about what supports life in the long-run. Part of the problem is taking others’ word that “God’s word” is to kill, oppress, convert, destroy, conquer, repress, fight with nature, and to steal (taxation).
These are all compelling signals that LIFE is not being supported, protected and defended at basic levels.
But we are the ones who choose LIFE, fundamentally and circumspectly. And we choose to postpone certainty of all which may oppose life until the experiments have been conducted, and to be diligent students of what WORKS and what DOESN’T WORK, in the long run, of course.
We vigilantly seek indicators of that which grows us and that which kills us. We learn how to listen, to sense, to intuit and to sharpen each of these based on our dedicated observation of REALITY, not of some wishy-washy blog post, but of the life-long commitment to what WORKS, not to what we WISH would work, but to what WORKS.
I sometimes find myself so irritated at people who wish to CONTROL and COERCE and to FORCE things. This is a damned, lazy substitute to EDUCATED, RESPECT and LEAD towards what works.
What is so challenging about this is that we all want VITALITY. Many religions would call this “The will of God” which is ultimately peace, love, joy, abundance, resilience, celebration, perfection and growth.
Generally speaking, Muslims want peace. Christians and Jews want peace. Secular humans want peace. Republicans and Democrats want peace.
The conflict is that we have different ideas of strategy for long-term peace, growth and perfection.
Most humans still support massive CONTROL and COERCION. And one of the most pernicious manifestations of this tenacious desire for control in the United States today is the idea of “necessary evils,” namely, TAXATION.
Taxation IS theft.
If I own something and you take it away from me by force, under threat of danger to my well-being and without my consent, you have STOLEN something from me.
And it is no different if you wrap yourself in a flag and tell me your theft is for the “greater good.” It’s still theft.
Be suspicious of the integrity and claims of anyone who supports these ideals of “necessary evils,” because ultimately they are supporting control, coercion and death. AND have compassion on them because they’re doing the best that they can with the information that they have.
Theft is not in alignment with the fundamental principles of the universe, and any entity with a cracked foundation such as this will only rise so high, and WILL eventually FALL.
We may never rise higher than the integrity of our foundation allows.
If we look at the governments of the world as stepping stones on the way to another form of healthy community coherence and thriving, then it becomes easier to accept that this is a process and that we will get to the next stepping stone.
In a sense, all of our stories and beliefs are like stepping stones. They work to support our never-ending journeys for as long as they work! And they work until we’re ready to step onto the next stepping stone of belief.
Because eventually the beliefs we have once held stop working or they need to change when we’re on the path of growth.
Growth is about coming into alignment with that which supports growth, and shedding that which blocks it.
Nature grows as an expression of itself to the extent which it is in alignment with its deepest self, and in this process there is no coercion or theft, only relationship and mutually beneficial exchange.
So when will we begin to search for alternatives instead of bending over and taking it from the “necessary evils?”
Join me on the path to deeper integrity which supports life and growth in the longest, most sustainable way possible.
Have the courage to try something different.
There’s really only one person you must live with for the rest of your life: You.
And we have this choice, to LOVE ourselves or not.
And if love IS the truth, and the truth IS love, then inseparable to the commitment of loving ourselves fully and unconditionally is to accept each and every part of ourselves.
“Well, what if I don’t like this part of myself, Aaron?”
You don’t have to like every part of yourself, but if you’re going to LOVE yourself fully, you’ll need to learn how to accept it and to BE with it. That’s what it means to love something or someone, it means to be with it fully, in all it’s colors.
There’s a lot of confusion around what LOVE actually is. Most people imagine that love is a happy or even blissful feeling, but I disagree.
I believe that LOVE is the TRUTH whether it is happy or sad, whether it is pleasure or pain. Love is the act of being with what is, whether it’s our favorite color or not. Love is the whole spectrum of colors including black and white and all the colors in between.
“Love and light.” People use this phrase.
But what about darkness?
Isn’t darkness essential to our existence? Isn’t darkness intrinsic to who we are? Isn’t the universe made of mostly empty, dark space?
And is this darkness bad? Are black holes NOT LOVE?!? Is love only the sunshine and not the rain? Is love only the eating and not the shitting?
Or is it all a beautiful expression of Love, of God, of perfection.
And as we grow into alignment and acceptance of this terrific existence and the divinity which sources it, we experience what we are meant to be.
We are expressions of love, living to differing degrees in alignment with the principles of the universe, and as we learn how to welcome ALL of it and MORE of it, we become whom and what we are meant to be, ever more powerful as we surrender to the TRUTH which is LOVE.
We live and die as humans in this life. We live and die as the universe lives and dies.
And so the story continues, forever and ever, to infinity and beyond. A living story in which we have active roles.
Will you let that energize you or drain you?
Will you embrace the birth and death of existence in its terrific pleasure AND pain?
Will you say YES to what IS and let it power your spirit as it streams through your heart?
Because when you take care of yourself, you are equipped to take care of others, too. But you’ve got to learn how to take care of yourself first, how to love yourself first, how to set healthy boundaries and find freedom in discipline.
Be with yourself ever more deeply because that is the practice of love.
And when you learn how to love the hardest person to love, you may find it a little easier to love the rest of us.
If the Truth is Love and Love is the Truth, then we truly have nothing to fear.
Let us investigate the nature of the truth with intrepid patience and perseverance!
Let us accept reality as it truly is with every fiber of our being!–NOT only with our heads, but also with our hearts and guts and every extending limb and follicle of our skin.
Let us embrace the gift of life as human beings! NOT partially as fractal human doings or human thinkings, or human sensings but as human BEINGS! capable of myriad expressions flowing out of this being.
Let us reorient from asking for only what we want out of life towards honoring our desires while ultimately surrendering to what LIFE IS ASKING OF US.
Let us continue to reintegrate and transform the wounds of our past into the opportunities for deeper service, compassion and leadership these wounds truly are.
Let us remember that ALL IS WELL in the universe! That we are perfect, free and infinitely resourceful as we continue to grow, expand, contract and transform, forever and ever.
Let us uphold LIFE as our fundamental standard of morality and the initiation of force as the beginning of evil.
Let us begin and end with wonder, gratitude, courage and justice.
And may we never lose our curiosity, for there is always more to be discovered!
We may often find ourselves trying to escape the intensity of what we feel. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
Sometimes it just feels like too much, doesn’t it?
If our garden has overgrown with weeds and we still desire to have a beautiful, productive garden, we can choose to ignore the weeds or we can get to work.
And especially at first it may feel overwhelming.
“There are too many damn weeds in here!” “These weeds have completely taken over!” “There’s no chance!” Those are the limiting beliefs that have us turn away from tending and towards our pre-tending–pretending that there’s any other way to get true sustenance than the natural process of long-term nurturing, tending, observing, digging.
So we sack up. We start pulling out the weeds one by one. We enlist our friends, our coaches, our communities, our therapists, our pets, haha, whichever resources we can think of.
And eventually, we make a little progress. Then a little more. And a little more.
The weeds never stop growing altogether, but when we tend to them daily, we stay on top of them more easily.
And we keep growing, changing with the seasons, becoming something new.
Life is like our own little garden.
And we get to choose what grows there!
Be ALIVE today,
I’m usually pretty scared making these posts.
I imagine people criticizing me for putting my thoughts and writing out there. I know this is not a helpful thought pattern at all!
However, as one antidote to that unhealthy pattern, I imagine that somewhere, someone will like what I’m saying.
Someone will say “Yeah, that makes sense.” Or at the very least, maybe they’ll throw me a “Good for Aaron.”
I have a tendency to be a “caretaker,” taking responsibility for others’ feelings and reactions. I think our whole culture has this tendency. That’s a topic for another post. I feel that potential strongly when I write.
But when I share myself, when I just say here I am–this is what I’m thinking and feeling, I’m writing for the ones who will resonate with it.
And for the ones who don’t resonate with it, well, I’d rather be weird than lonely.
Anthony Robin’s 9 minute “three to thrive” routine is transformational. I learned it from his book Money: Master The Game, which I highly recommend.
It’s simply 3 minutes of gratitude
3 minutes of blessing people
3 minutes to write down 3 things to do for the day
And use those last three minutes to imagine how good you’ll feel having accomplished your three things to do.
It sets the focus and tempo for the day and frees us from having to wonder if we’ve been productive or not.
I’m back to using it every morning, and it works!
If we start the day knowing our objectives, and we meet our objectives, we win.
And last time I checked, winning feels awesome.
The alternative to growth seems clearly to be stagnation and death. And neither one of those FEEL good, do they?
Charles Fort, in The Book Of The Damned published in 1919 talks about that what is most nearly real is that which will last the longest.
So we seek that which is most nearly real. That which most resembles love. That which lasts quite possibly longer than its less real alternatives.
I just want to feel good, when it comes down to it. We all do. When we feel good, that means everything IS good. Isn’t it that simple?
The tricky part is in the sustainability of feeling good. Some things make us feel good for a few minutes, while others are painful immediately yet immensely gratifying later on. And it’s often those things which hold gratification LATER which allow us to feel best for the longest.
Things like proper exercise, diet, environment, reading books instead of watching youtube prank videos.
There are cheap, easy choices which cost much more in the long run. There will always be that alternative.
There is pain in life either way.
And in our human drive to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, it’s helpful to decide to take the pain on the front end.
We choose a pro-active pain strategy. We develop a love relationship with the front-end pain. We learn how to love it, or at least how to live with it.
And life gets better. Slowly, perhaps, but at least it’s not the procrastination of the same pain which collects its suffering with usurious interest.
It is what it is.
The purpose of life is to be fully alive, which is essentially to grow and to love.
The truth is that I’m doing it for me AND I’m doing it for everyone.
There are two paths in life we can take: The easy road that gets harder, or the hard road that gets easier.
There is simply no sustainable way to continue choosing the hard path that gets easier unless our motivation comes from a source greater than ourselves.
The most powerful force on earth is love. Love is what connects us to each other and to life itself. It is what lives in our hearts and electrifies the cells in our bodies with energy and potential to create and to dance and to simply BE ALIVE.
When we shift our focus from “I’m doing this because I want to be great” to “I’m doing this for me AND for everyone so that we can ALL be great” we find that we have deeper, longer-lasting motivation.
And it can seem paradoxical because, of course, I’m choosing the broccoli for ME. *I* want to have an awesome life. *I* want to have energy and focus and performance and competence.
But what I’m doing for me, I’m also doing for everyone.
I’m waking up early and doing my meditation and morning routines because I want to feel awesome for me AND for everyone.
Here’s the key: When I’m proud of myself and grateful for my existence and when I love myself deeply, it’s much easier to love others.
If I hate myself, it’s much harder to love others.
The world is a reflection of ourselves, and when we learn to take great care of ourselves, with so much kindness and compassion and patience, we end up treating the world the same way.
Of course, part of me never wants to work out or wake up early, or go to bed early. Part of me wants to lay on the sofa and eat Cheetos all day and watch TV. But that’s not the part of me that wants to be in community. That’s not the part of me that wants to actively participate in LIFE, in connection and in love.
When I’m focused on my community, on my family, on my people, I want to do what is best for me because I want to show up to my communities fully ALIVE and fully ready to be of service.
Here’ s my acronym for the practice of being ALIVE
None of it is worth it unless we’re doing it for ALL of us. I want to be awesome because I want to be an awesome part of this world. I want to be a valuable member of society, and that starts with valuing myself, my time, my integrity, my mission.
So my encouragement to you today is to continue supporting yourself outrageously well because the better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll take care of our world.
Here are a few things I do to increase my daily happiness levels.
I’ve noticed that eating my green vegetables every day improves my happiness levels around 20%. I particularly love the brassica family of veggies like broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower.
Doing my high intensity interval training run once weekly improves my general happiness levels around 25-30%. All I do for that is an all out sprint for 30 seconds followed by 90 seconds of walking–repeat 7x. It’s about a 15 minute, fairly brutal workout. But it’s quick and knowing I only do it once a week for a 25-30% increase in feeling good makes it worth it. I also use my Bulletproof Vibe for 7 minutes/day.
Getting to bed early enough to get 8-9 hours of sleep (my personal needs currently) improves my general happiness levels ANOTHER 20%.
Then, of course, there’s meditating, blogging, dancing, reading–all in addition to the essentials of work and social time, which add a few more percentage points of happiness.
Work and social time are hugely important to my happiness. I’m at least twice as happy when I’m working and spending time with my loved ones consistently.
When I live in alignment with what I know works, life works.
It’s all so simple on paper. Just do the thing, and life works, right? Well, I think so, most of the time.
What are the simple things that work for you? What’s not working for you?
Drop me a line and let me know!