Accept yourself before you wreck yourself

hug

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

― André Gide, Autumn Leaves

I have always found it hard to accept myself for who I really am. I have always felt if people really knew who I was, then they would not want anything to do with me. Many times in the past, I have tried breaking up with myself, but alas, no matter how hard I try, I am still around.  So it seems I need to make peace with myself.

The only person we are in a strong relationship with, is ourselves. You know yourself better then anyone can ever know you, whether you like that notion or not. So why not treat yourself good?

One of the biggest reasons I decided to treat myself better, and accept myself totally, is because I realized that bad thoughts equal bad health, literally. Stress releases adrenaline and cortisol to run rampant in my body. Unchecked adrenaline will eventually raise my blood pressure, and eventually cause me to blow a gasket (have a stroke or heart attack.) And that is something I do not wish to have.

So what if not everyone likes you. To tell you the truth, there are a lot of people I don’t like, and I know for a fact not everyone likes me. When you finally let go of the notion that you need to be liked, a tremendous burden is lifted. It actually feels pretty good.

Human beings, are very difficult creatures to get along with, a lot of the time. That is why there are so many books about how to communicate with one another. Some people, no matter how hard you want them to like you, will never like you. It is because they don’t like themselves. The solution is simple, when you are around someone like that, don’t even waste your time. Find a simple exit, and then get away. Don’t make it more complicated then it has to be. When I used to work with very negative people, I would make it into a game, I would guess how many times they would say something stupid, or inappropriate, and if I got my guesses right, I would buy myself a beer at the end of the night.

Human beings are weird, some weirder then others. I’m sure there are a lot of people who think I am a couple cans short of a six pack. That is fine, because I find a lot of people do not even have one can in their six pack. So maybe it is not so much about liking each other, then it is about existing with each other. Acceptance is a wonderful thing. Just accepting who you are, and accepting others. Not trying to change people, and just sitting back and saying to yourself, “It is what it is.” Trust me, it is going to feel good.
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Into the flames of madness

pessimism

“A pessimist is a man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.”

― George Bernard Shaw

I have been down that dark road, feeling everyone was as nasty as me. I was sending off the vibration deep within my chakra, sending it through the air and polluting the world with my negativity. The world will frown with you if you let it. It is full of negativity, and eventually that vibration will destroy you. I can see the people who are negative with my naked eyes, because they wear it on their face. They say it in their speech. It is not hard to spot negativity. Often, you can feel it’s presence, before you can even see it. Negativity attracts negativity, bad thoughts attract bad thoughts, and anger attracts anger. A negative idea, from one person, can blossom into a full blown war between two nations, if it is not stopped. Like a wild fire with a strong wind behind it, and we are the forest to be consumed in the flames of madness.

The good news, is that positive vibrations work the same way. Peace creates peace, and love begets love. The first smile might be difficult, but then the second smile comes a lot easier, and before you known it, you can’t stop smiling. You may be consumed in the flames of negativity, but your goodness, can be the fresh water that cools the fire, and eventually brings the evergreens back. Every war has an end, every negative has a positive, and you can turn your pessimism to optimism. Everything bad has a good. It is the balance of life. You cannot have the bad without the good.

Someone once told me that no matter how bad it gets, it can always get worse. I like to think, it can always get better. Negativity is a life force, just like us. And no matter what happens in this life, one day, the negativity will stop, one way or another. It has to, nothing lives forever.

Everything dies, but in it’s place something else is born. So, kill your negativity, and give birth to hope. It is easier then you think. Just observing the fact that you are negative, giving it awareness, is the first step in stopping it. The second step is feeling it fully in your body, being with it, because that will sap it of its energy. It will flicker out, quickly, and something good will take its place.

Without understanding it is so strong in you, the negativity, which should only last 90 seconds, can be with you for the entirety of your life. Drawing energy from your body, and digging it’s roots deep inside.

Look at it, and give it the love it deserves.

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Western medicine

yoga

 

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~

 

I don’t think I can put my finger exactly on when remission occurred, because from that moment on, I left Western medicine and never looked back. I practiced every day for ten to twelve hours a day – spiritual studies, meditation, pranayama, yoga postures, Ayurvedic studies, deep, deep, powerful cleansings and fasting.

 

The problem with the western medical system today, is that it treats our body like a common machine, when in fact it is so much more. They might as well call our doctors body mechanics. “Hmmm, let me look under the hood here, yep, looks like I need to replace your liver and heart. Your pancreas is going to need some more insulin oil and your exhaust system is going to have to have an overhaul. Let me prescribe you a couple hundred quick fix pills, and take your first born and house as payment. If your body vehicle turns out to be totaled, would you like to sell the parts to our shop? Will give you twenty dollars off your one hundred million dollar bill.”

It is a system that causes mass frustration. It ignores the entire realm of spirituality, and a lot of common sense.

My experiences with doctors have not always been the best. They look at my chart, and then prescribe pills, with very minimal communication. If my cholesterol was high, it was a quick fix pill, not a discussion on exercise or better eating. If I go to the doctor for depression, again, a quick pill to take care of the anxiety. No discussion on other factors that might be going on. My body is treated like a car, nothing more, just a machine that will inevitably wear out and die. No wonder people are feeling terrible, if that is what they believe they are.

It is a mystery to me, how the western medical society became what it is.   Hospitals have turned into giant body shops, where people go in, get their repairs, and then go out.  They don’t focus on prevention, or what truly caused the disease in the first place.

There is a huge variety of amazing techniques that have existed for thousands of years, and have healed millions of people, and it is not being utilized in the United States.   For example, the one thing that has helped me more than any pill is meditation. And I have never been prescribed meditation.

My point is, western medicine ignores the spiritual side of us, which is a real thing. Being (spirituality) is not just an imaginary thing that makes us feel better. It is the life energy that sustains us, connects us with the universe. And if the flow of energy in our body is broken, because of worry, or fear, or chronic anxiety, then health problems will ensue.

There are many ways to free up the energy in our body. It is unfortunate though, that many people do not understand this part of existence, and how important it is.

Things are beginning to change though. For example, I have heard that some doctors are actually beginning to subscribe meditation to their patients, just because of the amazing empirical evidence of how much it helps the body. Meditation has proven better in lowering blood pressure than medications.

My point is, we must take it upon ourselves to educate ourselves on being. We must understand that doctors are not gods, and that they are following a very narrow theoretical approach to medicine, and healing. We must understand that the western medical society is influenced hugely by the pharmaceutical corporations, and lawyers. With that in mind, we must understand, their diagnosis, and treatment may not be the best. It is important to keep an open mind. Bring an advocate with you when you get checked out, and ask plenty of questions. Do research into other forms of treatment, look at all the things in your life, from your diet, your environment, too your personal relationships. You must trust in yourself, and understand that you know what is best for you. You are an expert on yourself, and must learn to trust your body and yourself.

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Change

earth

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma GandhiIt

is amazing to me how fast life can change. I think of life like looking at a clock, you don’t see the hour hand move, if you just stare at it, but go away for a little bit and come back, and you notice the change. When I live my life day to day, it does’t seem like there is a lot of change, but when I step back and look, just looking back a year, I can see a tremendous difference. I have had friends who were alive a year ago, and now are dead, I live in a new place in a new town. I have started a masters program, I am working on a website, and a new job. Everything in my life is different.

I sometimes wished things would slow down a bit, just so I could process everything that has happened. Unfortunately, that is impossible. It frustrates me that change is going to happen, no matter what, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes devastating. And when I think about it, it is the process of the evolving universe.

Our planet at one time was a giant ball of fire, and at another a giant ball of ice. It has gone through four mass extinctions, and it will again. Even our sun, has gone through massive changes, in fact it is on the last part of it’s cycle, before it explodes then implodes, it may even turn into a black hole. Even our own bodies go through massive changes, in fact every four years we are a completely new person, with all different cells. So, in retrospect, we are constantly always dying, and always being reborn.

But change has to happen. It has to, there is no choice. Things have got to move. What would happen if the earth stopped rotating? What would happen if our cells stopped dying and reproducing?

So, I can look at all this change as either good news or bad news. It is all perspective. If we cannot stop change, then why fight it? I choose to go with it, and accept it, and change the things I can and the rest just let go. For example, I cannot change the way people think, but I can decide to change the way I do. I cannot change the body I am in, but I can decide to change what I eat to feel healthy. Trying to change other people, it is futile, they have got to want to change. It is amazing to me how often I see people trying to change others, and the anger they have when it does not happen. I am guilty of that as well.

 

The really good news is, is that if things change so rapidly, and your life is unsatisfactory, just wait, things will get better again.  They have too, nothing ever stays the same.  And it really is amazing what can happen if you decide to try to make the inevitable change for the better.

So, if we are going to be changing, let us change together. I want to hear your opinions on this subject so I can learn from you.

Have a wonderful day

 

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happiness

swings

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.

When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.”
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
– John Lennon (Singer, songwriter, 1940-1980)

I can remember the happiest time of my life…

I was seven, and I just heard the bells ring for recess. The air outside was warm, and full of electricity, probably because of the coming storm. The wind filled up my lungs as as I ran as fast as I could to the swings. In my mind they were not swings at all, but a spaceship of my creation.

I ran belly first onto the swing, launching myself into the air, my arms spread out in front of me like superman. I saw flashes of lightning, probably a thousand miles away, in the distant clouds. It just added to the excitement. I could smell popcorn in the distance, the school carnival was tonight. I would swing for the full fifteen minutes, pumping my legs, feeling the speed launch me into the air. When the bell rang, I jumped off the seat, feeling my body fall. I would land on the ground, and then roll because of the force of gravity. I liked the jolt I felt when I hit the earth, I pretended I was a G.I.-joe, and I just jumped from my helicopter in hot pursuit of Cobra.

We all sat down on the carpet inside the first grade room, which was the color of steel grey, and had all kinds of colorful stains on it from years of activities . It told the story of youth. The teacher read us the book, where the wild things are, and I was fascinated with the pictures of the giants, and how they danced with the little boy.

Life was simple back then, my parents and I went to the school festival later that night. The evening radiated with an orange light from the afterglow of the storm. I got my face painted as a tiger, and would roar at anyone who dared come my way. Back then, I didn’t even think about if I annoyed people, just never occurred to me. I wore my red oshkosh bibs, and my hair was a mess, just how I preferred it.

I won a gold-fish that night, and named it Tony after myself. They put the fish into a plastic bag, and later I had to put it into a lemonade pitcher, because I did not own a goldfish bowl (we’d get one the next day.) Later that night, I would lay in bed and stare at the glow of the sticker stars on my ceiling. Their glow was faint, melting into the darkness of the room, my eyes would then close.

If I ever lived in the moment, completely, it was then. I had no idea at that time, that one day the imagination I loved so much, would hurt me as an adult.

When I was a child, happiness was just there. It wasn’t something I had to work for, or read about how to achieve. It was just my natural state of mind. Today, it is a much different story, but that is for another post.

John Lennon was right, happiness is not something that is acquired over time, it is a state of mind. It is a choice. We can choose to be happy right here, right now.

I think later today I’m going to find some swings.

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Miles to go

dog2

A short poem by me, Tony

I see my face it’s growing old

My is hair is fading, so I’m told

My memory is not what it used to be
Who said that? I cannot see

Time marches, taking me away in pieces
I feel like my life is a series of short leases

I just want peace, in my mind
It is peace I wish to find

A little respect for what I’ve done
Have a little love, a little fun

Play my guitar under the October sky
I want to live, I don’t want to die

I want to feel safe, above the ground
With a lovers whisper, a gentle sound

The lick of a dog on my face
So wet and warm, in my favorite place

Through the woods, leaves colored in red
Remembering what Frost had said,
About miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I go back to the deep.

 

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Love yourself

nerd

 

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
Buddha

I am going on 38 years old, and my place looks like it belongs to a poor college student. My bed is a queen sized mattress that lies on the floor, my furniture is a collection of crap I found or purchased very cheaply at garage sales. I don’t own anything of real value, just things that get me through the day. I am writing right now on a table I found by the dumpster. It is a good table, I brought up to my apartment and cleaned it. Looks almost brand new after a good shine. The sun will shine through my blackout curtains, rays of light can cast rays easily because the curtain rods are discounted and bent on the top. I figure I have moved so much, keeping really nice things is not an intelligent way to go, and quit frankly, too much stuff stresses me out. I have no children, I have never been married, I guess I am sort of an enigma. I don’t even understand myself, I have a brain that goes a million miles a minute, always telling me I have things I need to do. Anyone I date I probably drive nuts, because I’m pretty sure I have a weird type of ADHD, and I will go days without calling or texting at times, not because I’m thick, I just get lost in my own projects.

The point of all of this, is that I have learned to turn the hate I had for myself into tolerance, and eventually some of my tolerance into love. I do believe we have some control over our lives, but in reality, I don’t think we have a ton. My self-esteem determines a lot of what I feel I deserve, and what I don’t.

But it’s not like we designed our self-esteem. Self worth is a very complex process, that starts development while we are still in the womb. Both environmental and genetic factors play a significant role. There are many ways to change the way you view yourself, but that all takes time and effort (which is worth it.) So, in the present moment, how about we just love ourselves for who we are, because in the end, all you have is yourself. We are all in a long-term relationship with ourselves, and you can’t break up. (Believe me I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work.) If you find it hard to love yourself, at least be kind to yourself. If you find it hard to be kind to yourself, then just laugh at yourself. Anything is better then being cruel, and dwelling on the past.

Again, I am a 38 year old man who lives like a poor college kid, (not by choice). I have plenty to be down about. But, in the long run, what is the point of being vicious to my own psych? Nothing of value really gets done with hate, it gets done with patience and kindness.

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Dangerously content

lazy

“Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will–tomorrow”

― Gloria Pitzer

Tom came to me, not knowing where else to go, still shocked of the news his wife gave him earlier that morning. We met at the public gardens, and when I saw his face, I knew an emotional grenade had blown him up not to long ago.

I could see my distorted reflection within his glassy eyes, and I asked him, “What is wrong?”
He spoke solemnly and said, “My wife is filing for divorce.”
I looked at him, not saying anything, I was just studying his presence, waiting for him to continue, he then said,
“I don’t understand. I was nothing but perfect to her, we never argued or fought, I never cheated, I didn’t drink or smoke, I didn’t have a temper. I just don’t understand what happened. We have been married for thirteen years, this makes no sense!”
I could see that he was genuinely confused, I still remained silent, so I could absorb everything he was saying.

I have known Tom and Patricia (his wife) for a long time. And at one time they seemed like one of the happiest couples around. They were more then just husband and wife, more then just best friends, they were a team. I was envious and happy for what they had, it just seemed their relationship was so natural. Of course, over the years, things changed.

I wanted to tell Tom what I saw, but I knew I needed to hold my tongue. It wasn’t my job to give him my opinion, or advice. My job was to listen, to put myself into his shoes and see things from his perspective.

Tom’s story paralleled a lot with the other stories Iv’e heard. I understood what happened, because he was right, it was nothing he did, it is what he didn’t do that caused the relationship to crumble. Of course, there are no such things as 100 percent blame, a relationship is not destroyed solely because of one person.

It always seemed to boil down to two things. One being not lack of communication, but the lack of the right kind of communication.

The second thing, the one thing I call the most dangerous emotion of all, being too content.

When people become too content, too satisfied, they stop growing as a person. Once Tom achieved marrying the love of his life, he stopped pursuing her, because he had her (in his mind). The problem with that notion is, nobody really has anybody.

Tom, somewhere along the line, stopped pursuing her. They used to work on projects, go to movies, dinners, travel, and all that came to a slow stop. When people stop feeling appreciation from the one they are with, they will find appreciation somewhere else.

Of course, being content just isn’t dangerous for relationships, but for everything. Their is a difference between being appreciative for what you have, and growing. We should always be pursuing, learning new things, striving to better our minds, bodies and soul. When you better yourself, you better others, and if you can better yourself with someone else, you have a love that is evolving. Being content is being stagnant.

I used to be a runner, I ran cross country for my college team, and I was pretty good, I wasn’t winning any medals, but I was alright. Anyway, I decided to take a couple weeks off running after the season was over, because I was really tired of it. And I felt I deserved it. Anyhoo, weeks turned into months, months into a year. After I took a year off, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for a 5K race. No big deal, I could run one of those in my sleep. I remember the gun going off, and I took off….

I barely finished the race, I was so exhausted. I used to run 5:10 minute miles, and that changed to 7:45 minute miles. I was shocked when I ran through the finish line about how slow I became. The point of all this is that I was content, I stopped training and I assumed my body would attain the same power and speed it had when I quit running. Of course in retrospect that was ridiculous. And that is exactly what happened to Tom and his relationship. He thought things were amazing, because they were amazing at one point of time. Everything rots unless we give active appreciation and care to it.  Just maintaining what you have takes effort and work.

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Act like a dog

dog

“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”

Kristan Higgins (author, In Your Dreams)

When I visited my parents the other day, I saw him again. His large black eyes staring at me intently from behind the dining room windows, his two front paws tapping on the pane of glass with anticipation. He begin whining when I got closer to the house door. As soon as I enter, he comes barreling towards me, running, gaining momentum, his small fingernails sliding on the smooth wood. When he reaches me, his body launches onto my leg, latching on. I feel his energy, he is so excited a noise comes out of his muzzle that is not recognizable. He cannot take the excitement anymore, he detaches and starts running through the house, around and around he goes, sprinting, barking, jumping, just stopping abruptly for a lap of water from his dish, then off again. And while he does this, I think of how I have never in my entire life, have ever been so happy or thrilled. In fact, I don’t really recall anyone being so happy or thrilled that they had to run around the house because the happiness and anticipation was just so much. The funny thing is, I just saw sprinkles (not really his name, just covering it up for confidentiality) early that morning, not even two hours ago.

Why can we not achieve such happiness? I have heard people say that if you act like a dog when they are happy, then you will eventually feel the happiness.  So out of pure curiosity,  I acted like a dog, (when no one was around of course.) I ran around the house, jumping, with a big smile on my face. After the initial feeling of foolishness past, I actually did start to feel good, actually felt like a dog might have felt. That was until I looked out the window, and I saw my neighbor staring at me. Naturally I burst out laughing when I saw him looking, just because I can’t even imagine what he was thinking.

The point of this ridiculous story is not that I’m jealous of dogs, or that the fact my neighbor now thinks I’m crazy, it’s that our minds and bodies are in constant synch.  One follows the other.

My physiology affects my thoughts, and my thoughts effect my physiology. If I am sad, then the simple motion of smiling, will make me feel better, because my body is telling me that I’m happy. It may sound weird, but try it. Act like a dog for a couple minutes, I bet you will start feeling better almost instantly. I’m not a huge fan of the phrase “fake it until you make it,” but when it comes to being happy, there is definitely some good truth to it.

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Triggers

anger2

This is from a guest writer who wishes to be anonymous, please enjoy and add to the discussion after reading!

Triggers
Anorexia, bulimia, panic attacks, mood swings, being sad, getting mad, smoking, eating things that are not good for us too often, overeating, binge eating, cutting, burning, abusing alcohol, indulging in illicit or overusing prescription drugs. These are all things that can lead to that empty black void you feel afterward that leaves you feeling depressed, ashamed, and guilty. Someone or something triggered these responses. Do you know what these are in your life?
Trigger is an often used word that is associated with some sort of addiction but it can be anything for anyone and leaving them open to a poor emotional and physical reaction. The key to getting in touch with these triggers is to carefully become aware of your reaction to different situations. Your partner/spouse/family know exactly what button(s) to push to make you feel angry, sad, happy, etc. Then why do your loved ones use them? To gain control over a little part of their life for a short time, maybe? Who knows their reasoning for doing this? Most times the answer is NO ONE. It’s up to each of us to figure out what those buttons are and defuse the energy that is given to them.
There are many therapies that can help you take control of these buttons/triggers. The one that is “the right one” is the one that works for you! Hypnosis, meditation, deep breathing, exercising, grounding yourself in reality before reacting, look at the situation from a different perspective to name very few. You have to be open first to learning to take a moment to think before you react and decide if your reaction is a healthful one. It is known, that first comes an action from someone or something else. Second comes a thought of how who will react or deal with what has been done. Third is our outward reaction. And lastly, what happens afterwards. If we allow ourselves to take that split second of thought before we react and extend the time we give it, would you have the same reaction? You get the time to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. To actually get what is being said, the undertones, rather than the words that are actually being said. For instance, spouse comes home from a very hard day at work where nothing went right. Begins yelling at other spouse about why this or that wasn’t done or completed or where is dinner, why aren’t the kids settled and why are their toys all over. If we stop and think before reacting by yelling back, we can nip this argument in the bud and figure out what’s really going on so that after we don’t feel guilty about something that was not our fault in the first place and thus keeping us from a trigger that would lead us to depression.
You have to get to take the time and find your triggers. You should do this with someone whether it be your family, friends, professional, or someone who may actually say or do the actions that are your triggers to become more depressed. They have to understand that you have decided to take an active part in your mental health for everyone’s sake. You have to tell them what you are trying to do and why. Set boundaries or time out spots for yourself to calm down from whatever triggered you to become depressed. Once you have done that, you are actively taking a role in your own life for things to happen around you and not to you. It’s not easy. It’s very hard. It takes lots of practice. You have to be committed to doing this for it to work. It isn’t the easy path but it’s the way to the right one.

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