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How To Develop Games In The Midst Of Depression or Loss

Depression is a real challenge that I have to face in my work. I feel in our society that there is not as much support and resources that there could be, specifically when it comes to work and rehabilitation, and helping supporting people. For instance, I love writing and game development. Storytelling and world building, creating worlds and being able to share that with others who care or find value in it genuinely makes me feel happy. For others this is their art, or their music. I also love volunteering and working with animals and meeting new people, though the stimulus and my inability to focus on both my work and socialization can overwhelm me.

The Work Force

To this affect one thing I realized in my attempts to adapt and survive in a world that wasn’t quite made for me, is that people aren’t sensitive or aware or even capable with all their own pressures and daily stresses of understanding themselves let alone what you’re going through. I think even the average person could benefit from work built around their unique challenges, gifts and needs; the idea that a work schedule can be more flexible, where demand can be dealt with in increments. Where each human being is valued.

I remember one time trying to meet the high paced demands of work and having my boss sigh with exhaustion and say, “Look I have 50 other employees to look over, I don’t have the time to worry about your special needs.” I was slowly falling apart. The excitement and enthusiasm I had initially felt, getting to deliver pizzas and go door to door, meeting all the amazing people just turned into constant anxiety. Anxiety that I would not be able to meet the high demands, anxiety that I would mess up an order and get yelled at, anxiety that I would drive through a storm and due to not being properly trained not see that napkins and cups were requested, and it seems so long ago that now I’ve forgotten what it’s like to wake up feeling blue out of nowhere in tears, not wanting to get up. Where every step, every breath is a battle.

Starting a Business: Accommodating Your Own Needs

That doesn’t go away when you decide that you’re better off accommodating yourself and starting your own business. In fact it can almost seem like there is just as much pressure because now you’re no longer guaranteed a steady paycheck. So when you wake up one day and you’re staring at a mountain of all the things you have to do to get our start-up indie off the ground, and you can’t even get out of bed let alone stop crying for those who are really down about it. Here are some tips I have found to help me, both as a single parent, and an indie developer.

I.

Tips To Cope With Down Days

Take your time

Slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to take your time and focus on quality, and getting things done one bit at a time. Work 5 minutes here, work 5 minutes there. Soon before you know it you’ll have finished your work.

Take a break

In between chipping away, take a break. Did you work hard yesterday, did you do your best? Just take a moment to be with yourself. Go for a walk, sit in the sunlight out in the back yard. Listen to a feel good meditation tape, or just let yourself cry. It’s OK, it’s just a break, it’s not forever. Honestly, I promise, it’s ok to take a day off.

Create an Overall Goal

I often give myself a deadline. I take everything I have to do and write some reasonable ideas, when I’d like to get those done, for example by the weekend; and then I write the final deadline for them. It’s amazing how when I am easy on myself and take breaks, I manage to make those goals more than when I am trying to cram and work nonstop even when I am emotionally and mentally stressed and feeling a low come on.

Do it in Bite-sized chunks

Dedicate 30 minutes here, maybe an hour there, and break it out throughout the day. Sometimes you are more productive by breaking an overall task into smaller pieces than doing the same all at once; it’s better than never doing it at all.

Create a Daily Goals List

Every morning I write a list of my goals for the day (sometimes I do it before bed). I log all my hours and what I’m doing related to those goals. I’ll log my time writing this blog, then I’ll log my time taking a break, I log every minute. It’s a habit now. I can look at when I took a break to handle my lows, to work with my children. How long I worked for, and what I got done, and what needs to be done. It helps.

Be Flexible & Patient with yourself

Part of having depression or any other mental illness is knowing sometimes you’re going to have bad days. We tend to be hardest on ourselves which can aggravate the depression as we start getting into low sense of self-worth and self-esteem. This job requires a light heart, openness, and flexibility.

Do your best within any given moment

“Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.” – Mr. Rogers

Some days you’re going to do your best in that moment and it won’t be what your best was yesterday. Give yourself some slack. Push a deadline a few days to a week ahead, so long as you are doing it.

In The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz he says do your best, and that your best changes on any day depending on how you’re feeling.

Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret. – Don Ruiz

Tomorrow’s a New Day

So what you didn’t get all you wanted to do in. Try again tomorrow, make this a motto that you’ll try and give it your best. And you’ll keep on trying. Push yourself to do that 5 minutes, that 30 minutes that hour, but don’t stop trying. Every morning is a great chance to reset and start over. Don’t think about yesterday and all that you didn’t get done, Today’s that day.

Do just one thing

Pick one thing off your to do list and then do it. Read about it, research it, integrate it. Do something related to it. If you can’t get out of bed, then lay in bed and scroll through your phone reading about indie game development or whatever your task of the day is. This applies to whatever you need to work on.

Meditate

To date Meditation in the beginning is hard, and by hard I mean it’s not easy to learn to sit with yourself and your emotions, to not try to distract yourself from them but to face them head on. To that effect, I meditate every day. I aim for 1 hour, twice a day, but a lot of days I just get 30-20 minutes and on the worst days I only get 5 minutes in, but I try every single day. The goal is to build mental and emotional resilience and meditation is proven to help with this. Sometimes Mindfulness (also known as Vipassana or Zen Meditation) is too much for me right away, so I’ll do a loving-kindness meditation, Jack Kornfield’s guided meditations helps a lot, other times I listen to a meditation on manifestations, realities and goals, and other times I’m too tired to get out of bed so I just lay there and do deep breathing following my breath.

The first time I really did meditation and sat with the emotions and couldn’t escape I became suicidal. I was in a fit of tears trying to escape the pain. But with support and love, compassion and perseverance it became easier and easier.

Listen To Anything That Makes you Feel Good

I find in lieu of not having many supportive friends who are available that watching a favourite TV show, or someone funny online like French & Saunders or Ellen Degeneres; or listening to self-help feel good helps. But also thinking about how infinite the universe is and all small we are and timelessness helps me too. That’s different for others.

Mental Strength Training

Research meditation and mental endurance and strength training techniques. The mind and heart is a muscle, practice it a little bit every time.

Prevention

Create a work environment that focuses on preventing lows, offers flexibility and ease, and is able to accommodate you when you do hit a really bad day.

Remove Negativity, Find a Community

I am a big believer in turning with openness and love to all things and people. But sometimes when I am sharing my thoughts on game development or on spiritual health and mental wellness, people I am talking to will put me down, or comment that they’re bored, or hate the subject, or they will really make a point to tell me what I am doing is stupid. These same people might be all I have for support and tend not to value me as a person.

Make it a habit to minimize contact with those people, love them anyway but if you need to and wherever you can, build a wall of protection. Create a buffer and reach out to communities for support. Find people who believe in your cause, who motivate you. And spend more time around them. If you don’t have a support system, find and build one. Make that a goal. And practice mental and emotional resilience in the meantime.

Letting It Out Safely

It’s usually while I am meditating that a lot of my feelings that I am suppressing or denying come out. Tears will roll from my eyes and I’ll admit that I am hurting. I’ve made a rule that when I am angry or hurting I do not vent or say any word that is not helpful or will only cause harm to another person. No matter if it’s directed or at them or no matter if I want to vent frustration. It usually only makes me feel better for a time offering short-term momentary relief, long-term however it damages and does more harm to good, and bites hard when it comes backback to me. So I write a letter in my journal describing all my pain and anger, and then work out the hurts underneath and what I really just want or need from someone or anyone. I then cry and ask for strength and really just sit with the pain and offer myself compassion. A lot of the times I’m frustrated with myself more than I am anyone else. Journaling privately helps me manage that pain and keep my interpersonal relationships in tact. It also keeps with my rule that I only say things that build people up constructively rather than trying to break them down destructively; and guess what that includes yourself. It helps to know where there’s emotions are coming from and what’s at the root, so if you need to cry then just let it all out, and get back up. It’s ok not to be ok or down sometimes.

Extra

OK so there’s plenty more that you can do, but these are the top things off the top of my head that I find help a lot. It most certainly helped me get through the day today.

Push comes to shove, if you’re finding that you’re really having a rough day in particular send an email. Share your story, explain a difficulty, and I’ll write back offering support, to rally you in your corner. I think sometimes knowing someone is listening with an empathetic ear helps.

II.

Bonus Round:

How Society can Help

Mental & Emotional Support

I believe that there are a lot of situations where just having the emotional and mental support, the love and care to get through the day can be a tremendous help. People who are well rested and happier are better producers. Offering or having access to regular support especially for jobs that have a lot of pressure and demands, and rehabilitation services can really boost the quality of a person’s endurance.

Getting Trained

In life we are going to meet a lot of different people who have various special needs. Developing empathy and emotional skills and equipping ourselves with the knowledge and unique needs of others can help. If we learn to understand what we’re dealing with then we’re more capable of leading and maximizing the success of our team. Teamwork is so incredibly important, and the traits and qualities of a Good Leader include the ability to know and understand people and maximize that success.

Now I know that in the western world, more often than not it’s traits of the sociopathic and uncaring leader that gets to the top. But the most productive organizations are the ones with the happiest workers, and happy workers feel good like they have their needs met. The ability to know that Jane just lost her mother or had a miscarriage, or Bob’s wife just left him, or maybe Kip struggles with depression and this is just a really bad day, can help us not just react to people but respond on a case by case basis.

It sounds like a lot to be compassionate, supporting, caring of your workers and to not just treat them like objects whose sole purpose is to produce for your team; to treat workers as human beings who lead real lives and have ups and downs, and to offer on-site support. That’s a big deal.

This also helps to learn how to deescalate problems rather than escalate them and solving unique problems as they come. This shows how you creatively deal with your jobs problems too.

Empathy & Understanding

I can’t say how often being told I am weird, giggled about and talked about behind my back, or told to my face I don’t understand you and I don’t want to dug deep. Having people in your life and being in an environment that wants to understand is incredibly helpful. This type of empathy and understanding is either something you’re born with or something you have to learn because our society values IQ over EQ, and definitely doesn’t seek to understand the other side or try to work with it to maximize support.

We have this it’s my way or the high way, from everything right down to our opinions and values, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

Nurturing Environments

The more high demand and pressure a job takes the more support and nurturing I believe is needed. If the work environment you are in cares about you and your family, that you’re a mom or a Dad and even offers a day care and on-site learning especially for those tech people that’s amazing. Being supported through your life changes, and having that accommodated is wicked awesome. To grow your family and your business. Yeah I’m talking about Google as one of the prime examples for how such a business can work.

If you go over to Google’s Benefits they truly work to adapt around what you’re needs are. And offer food and the opportunity and encouragement to learn more. This should be something that is available across the various professions.

Bonus: Free Food

Some people skip breakfast, or can’t afford lunch, especially in jobs that have low wage. I remember as a pizza delivery driver, I met some people who could barely pay their bills. One woman in particular had a mental illness and would steal food because she was hungry. I watched them clean the floor and drop a good pizza, then throw it away and say you couldn’t eat it. I watched them get an order wrong or have an order returned and instead of offering that pizza to their hungry low-wage workers they put it all in the back and donated it to the homeless. But offered discount to their workers. I remember being starving sometimes and having to get the right manager to say, yes you can have a pizza. Offering snacks or food that are available for free can help people, esp. those who struggle with blood sugars. Ever heard of “Hangry”, it’s a real thing.

III.

Homelessness

I am no stranger to having your life depend on your work; while having little to no income. You still have to take it easy on yourself, and be good to yourself. Follow your dream with passion and perseverance and always strive to do better. Read about inspirational stories like J.K Rowling, watch the Pursuit of Happiness. Realize that the only thing standing between you and your dream is learning your craft, what it takes to succeed, and fail, and to keep moving forward.

Behind The Scenes: Developing Afterlife

 

The Start of A Game

I’ve spent the past few months researching and developing the game Afterlife. It’s been an awesome and amazing journey. I first received and started the game about 3-4 years ago. The idea was to create a table-top RPG game called “Sanctuary”, it was a game that would use games to help people heal their wounds and go on a journey of self-discovery. The best part was it could be played with your closest friends and family around a campfire.

 

The Journey

There was one problem. I had never played a table-top RPG game and I didn’t have any friends I was social with. So I went online in search of forum based RPGs to solve this problem. It took a bit of searching but I eventually settled on a site that I wasn’t really interested in, but really enjoyed the depth of the information it had and the level of organization. I joined. And would quickly learn that in the real world the average member in society is not capable of understanding mental illness or handling it when it is encountered. I quickly found myself mocked, called strange, talked about, and shunned. People I had never even met were warning others about me and gossiping. I had shared my personal struggles with mental illness privately with only two select people I had trusted; and together they ignited me on fire.

I dealt with a lot of hurt. It was strange for someone to be so connected to their writing, to use roleplay as an extension of themselves and dealing with their own problems. I was in one place told that I needed to develop social tact or leave. I was attached and perhaps wrongly to, to a friend who never stood up for me and would say one thing to me while telling someone else something different. And while at the time this entire experience was devastating, it was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me. Because it helped me realize what exactly I was dealing with within society. The amount of cruelty and closed hearts and minds, the need for destructive gossip and exclusion, the lying and mistrust. At first I thought maybe I just don’t play well with others, maybe I am not flexible enough. Brainstorming with my therapist while also enjoying the spiritual and emotional resilience I had developed within the social world, I went back to the drawing table.

How could I create a game to help people mentally, emotionally and spiritually? And could I create a tool designed to do just that? Other challenges I encountered related to game mechanics, and fun, how to make it fun, and how to tackle the reality that the average person isn’t emotionally aware or even open enough to play such a game or to want to, let alone encounter someone different and strange.

From Pain to Creation

I didn’t know. That is until my attempts to heal in a fun and non-threatening way led me to developing the game “Afterlife”. The making of this game was a healing process. Designing and developing a game meant to help and aid others, and meeting the challenges, and emotional blocks that would stop me at one of the levels or Gates in the underworld was an amazing experience. I remember at one point I was at a level I was designing in the game unable to proceed. There I realized that an emotional block stopping me at the “Gate” was my ex-girlfriend. It was working through that grief, while also following the steps in the game to let her go, that I realized not only was I developing a game to help others heal and discover themselves, the process of developing it was helping me too.

Afterlife Is Born

Today I am excited to say that this past few months has given rise to Afterlife which is in the final stages of completion and heading towards testing. I have a few more games in the works after this. One Game to tackle the Syrian Refugee Crisis, another game to tackle Mental Illness some more. But AfterLife is a little bit different. It’s a game that focuses on self-discovery. It asks who we are by peeling away all the layers of who we are not, it’s a symbolic death and rebirth, inspired by my personal journey.

I read many books during this journey that helped build upon the idea and expanded me. Pema Chodron (Start Where you are, Going to the Places that Scare you, The Wisdom of No Escape, & Practicing Peace in Times of War), Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart and his guided meditations), Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), Happiness by Matthieu Ricard, Alan Watts, Wayne Dyers (Spiritual solution to every problem) and more. I read most of these to heal and empower me to heal, and there were other books and videos I listened to and watched.

Meditation and Sri Yantra were godsends for me, as well as practicing Shaolin Kung Fu to help heal my heart with movement. One meditation in particular was a Guided meditation by a Shaman who merges both native American medicine and celtic medicine into her medicine wheel. It was this introduction to the medicine wheel and how completely it helped me heal my heart and how amazingly it together with all the concepts and techniques I was developing allowed me to really undo all of my wounds, to let them go and move foreward.

Taking everything I had learned and practiced separately I decided to merge them into a single concept. It helped me overcome roadblocks and Afterlife became enhanced. To date Afterlife takes eastern concepts, and derives itself from mechanics like the medicine wheel. It comes together to create a game that I play and meditate on and not just for self-discovery but for everything.

I plan and hope to develop many variants of this tool that tackles the flexibility of Afterlife’s system.

Games as a Supporting Tool for Health

Most importantly Afterlife is a tool for mental health and wellness. It is also a tool for developing oneself spiritually (if you think of spirituality as a flavor of emotional and mental health and training). I really hope to continue exploring games as a tool for self-development and healing and am excited about the progress I am making with the game so far.

What I have so Far

To date I am still working on the cards which are almost ready to be printed. It was going to be just a card game, but as a bonus I am adding experimental board game features and a design. Once I get the card game printed hopefully between the end of this week and beginning of next week I will be beta-testing the game and receiving feedback on how it plays, and honing it as a tool. I’ll be testing it among various people I know in the spiritual community as well as a therapist to get a feel on what could be improved, what features removed or not.

My target Audience is largely the spiritual community and people in the mental health community specifically those who practice mindfulness. People who enjoy playing physical games with their family but also enjoy games that encourage them to grow will get a lot of this game. People who are turned off by mental illness, and who aren’t interested in learning more about themselves or each other, or who are not comfortable will not find this game to be to their liking.

I am also working on making this game something that can easily be played with just a single player.

I am really excited about this project, and while it’s taken a few months for if not more to put it together. I’m really excited about the idea of producing a tool that can benefit others, and that has been able to help me along with my other everyday meditation practices in managing the depression and bipolar aspects of my mental illness. I am working hard to take this game and concept further beyond just a tool.

Blogging Takes a Back Seat

Because I am one person my site has largely taken a back seat. My focus is on developing this game as a sole developer and producing a tangible tool. I have so many ideas I am working on, but one project at a time. Hopefully soon I can work on getting my book out that discusses Walking a Path as a Disciple of Love, in the way of Love, Serving and working with Love. For now my focus is on designing and testing this game as a tool worthy to be in people’s homes and offices.

A Day In My Life

Puppies

I feel openness. And grateful. I spend my days listening. Listening to others, listening to my mind. I write down what my mind says, and the struggles. Sometimes I ruminate on a thought. A feeling. I watch the thoughts come and go, but I’ve stopped attaching feelings to them.

In the beginning sitting with my thoughts and myself brought me distress. I nearly committed suicide the feelings I had to sit with were so
intense. But soon I gave in. I examined the pain, analyzed it. In the same way I analyze the thoughts. I’m largely an observer. My mind would wander during meditation into pain, and I would have tears pouring down my cheeks.

Later when meditating my mind would wander to thoughts, that would trigger an emotion. I’d follow the breath, the thought would wander. I’d give up on bringing it back, sometimes with complete frustration, like picking up a puppy and bringing it back, watching it wander off and bringing it back. Now in meditation, and in daily life I simply watch. I simply notice. I don’t cling to the thoughts I just listen.

When the thoughts come I can analyze the limited beliefs they carry, and then I can relinquish them one by one and reconnect to my higher self. Now I just watch the puppy, my mind. When I meditate I tell it Stay, and I watch it when it doesn’t listen, when it does, when it wanders off, when it pees on the carpet and makes a mess of things. When it runs off and away, and I watch it repeatedly do this, but I also notice it staying longer and longer. Training my mind is a process of starting over and over again.

I remember once I would beat the puppy of my mind for not listening. “I told you to stay!”

I’d give myself compassion in those moments. Now I give myself gentle reminders to be more compassionate with myself, and bit by bit, gradually I unfold such that I can watch my mind wander off, and gently lead it back.


Awakening is a process. I was reading that you can have a lightbulb go off inside your head, but it takes time to deal with the losses, and integrating it into your life. In that way living with an open heart in a world that’s closed takes time. You have to learn gentle acceptance of others, and yourself.

I am learning that the difference between someone who is Free and someone who is not, isn’t the difference in experiences. It’s just simply how we each experience the same experience, and our willingness to go into the pain rather than to avoid life, experiences and pains, but also our willingness to go into pleasure with awareness without attaching to it.

Another difference is our complete openness to life, changes, and all of what it has in store for us. We are open and connected to people, we are open to the good and bad. We train our hearts to love our friends and enemies with the same openness and heart that we love our children and spouses, we train ourselves to be aware of the connections we share with the whole, we train ourselves to be aware of our wholeness, our connections and interconnections. To walk with our eyes fully open and not closed. We’re willing to work through the limited beliefs that prevent us, and we know that unless a person is truly one of the walking irreparably wounded, that just like the mind the heart can be trained, and we practice it, every day. We practice loving, and we start with where we are.


Open to Life & Experiences

Being open to life and pain and my own pain has led the extremes that I once experienced to simply be experienced and witnessed by me. I don’t attach to them, and they are more mellow. I still experience shyness, sadness, but I just watch. Sometimes I see a flicker of a suicidal thoughts, but it bubbles up to the surface and then comes down. Sometimes I feel a thought, and I gently acknowledge it in passing, a thought like: I miss her. And I’ll reply. I know you do, and it’s OK. And watch the thought pass. Another thought. But I do love her. I know you do, and it’s OK. And watch the thought pass. Sometimes I don’t just acknowledge the thought but I try to show how the thought is limited, and ask a counter question to the thought.

So to I miss her. I reply, she’s still here and always has been. Or I say, if there is a vast, infinite timeless space bigger than you, then it is bigger than her too. Other times my thought is She doesn’t want me anymore. And my mind acknowledges it, and says the same thing as before, but expands it with sending love and energy that is unconditional, connected and whole, so much bigger than all of us and yet one with us at the same time. It practices a love does not cling or grasp or holds too tightly, and yet still holds in its hands the same joy and appreciation and deep inner knowing, perhaps deeper than those who never look within to what they see and only hang around on the surface. I think truthfully I feel more connected and more one to her and the people around me than I have ever felt in this space.


Awe & Appreciation

Lately I simply allow my experiences fully. I feel such deep appreciation that my ex-gf entered into my life and that for the time being whether temporary or not she is still present in some way even if it is no longer in the same way she once was. And while I miss that about her, I also know that she doesn’t have to do or not do, be or not be anything for me to feel what I feel for her, and her being in my life and being my anam cara, and being my mirror, my karmic opposite has taught me a lot. More than anything it teaches me every day how to hold in my heart with acceptance and love, without changing the world that which is opposite of me, contrary. To see it as it is, in this moment and stage of it’s life, and to simply love it, without trying to change it. But to see it, flaws and all and to hold it into my heart as forever and always a part of me.

Looking back on this journal, it’s taken me a long time to stop rejecting her, to stop rejecting life, to stop rejecting myself. What happens when we stop rejecting pain? When we start accepting life and people and experiences and loss and everything into our life, when we become flexible and not rigid, open and not closed, expansive and not limited. When we go beyond ourselves?

We experience peace. Maybe even boredom, neutrality, but even that feeling comes to pass. We feel nothing and everything at the same time and yet like they say: “After enlightenment, the laundry”

At first simply just being drove my mind crazy, I yearned to fill it with noise, but now it’s just still. I am honestly open to life, to people, relationships, experiences. I think even just a week ago I said I was closed, too afraid to get hurt, to afraid to hurt others. But now I’m just open. If the universe wants to move her away and bring someone else in, then I’ll let it. If the universe brings someone into my life and that person brings with it great pain, then I’ll listen. Pain tells me only one thing: That I still have more to learn. And it tells me where I have to learn it.

This is what it means to live gracefully in the river of change. Working with undiscovered feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and letting them be processed, felt thoroughly and to go without holding on. And the beautiful thing about all this is?

My mind and emotions and pains WERE extreme and intense. This means that when someone else goes through a similar process in their life, I won’t stand by helpless. I can understand the pain they are in, I have felt it, I can feel it and hold it within my heart without wavering, and I can gently guide them through the process, and help them as needed, never more than that.

“Death” is literally not just something we experience on the other side, but it happens regularly symbolically in our life. And for those who are having new experiences, and awakening, and going through this. I just feel like if I am strong enough to deal with my own extreme and intense shit, then there are few people I won’t be able to guide through it.

Today’s Plans

Today I am currently looking for a spiritual master to help guide me through the process of what I am going through. I also plan to finish working on my card game which is in the designing stage. I’ll be printing around tomorrow if I am lucky, but I am just going with the flow here.

I’ve been reading that we all need a spiritual teacher, or a spiritual relationship with someone to help remind us and keep us on track. On our own we simply create reminders, I write little reminders that I am infinite and expansive, timeless, and that this finite body that only understands finite slivers of time is not the whole universe, there is more to me and my thoughts; there is more to us. And that helps reconnect me to source and the universe. It helps get me out of my head and my pain.

Having a teacher and a spiritual community is nice. What I love is that while there aren’t consensus on a lot of things the people waking up share consensus in some things and have written guides to work through the experience that we have often on our own, It seems to be universal.

For now my spiritual teachers are books and videos and reconnecting and meditation.


Suffering is Inevitable,

Freedom is optional

You know when you pay attention to emotions and thoughts, you realize that they come from nowhere. Kind of like how our breath. It all seems to come and arise with some process that isn’t from us, breathing, our heart beating, it’s just something that happens and passes, moment to moment.

Suffering is inevitable in life. Things we love will always go away, and suffering abounds if we attach to it. Freedom isn’t packing up your bags and leaving everyone you know. It’s simply being aware that someday this too will go, and being open to that experience and open to all experiences and people. It’s living with an open heart. It’s the difference between being closed off to life and holding on within a changing world trying to make something constant and rigid and sticking to it. And the difference to simply being open. With compassion. It’s not the right or wrong way to be , it’s just a perspective.

It’s the difference from bearing our suffering like “an ox or soldier under a heavy hold” and the difference of the flow of the wind or river, going through the pain rather than against it. It’s Openness and living from this ‘spiritual’ place (which for me just means working with the limited mind and emotions and making them more expansive and manageable), of wisdom and love simply means that if we are living a genuine path, that we aren’t avoiding difficulties in life or mistakes, but instead experiences these difficulties with an open, compassionate and flexible mind, that’s what awake means. And then bringing those difficulties into our heart so they can be transformed. Setting out to love and be free is simply being willing to confront our own limitations and then set ourselves free from those limited systems, because only in doing so can we see the world with true clarity, and wisdom. This is naturally going to be a perception change, and it naturally can only happen if we’re open to seeing.

That’s all freedom and love and being open means. The willingness to open our eyes and face the world as it really is, and not as we or our minds have coloured it to be. We see with openness our thoughts, our emotions, beliefs, confusions, our weaknesses, strengths, and we go through them, examine them, feel them. We face the pain and loneliness that comes with them, the beliefs that come with them, and we go even beyond that too.

All mistakes, difficulties, and changes, in life are, are opportunities, to learn and grow and evolve and expand. Life is a succession of these such things, and everyone will learn it at their own pace. Everyone gets to this point at their own pace. It took billions of years for multicellular organisms to become ‘this’ today, and it might take a billion more in the expansion of time, but everything meant to be done will be done in a world that is truly infinite and timeless beyond our mind. In that way everything is OK, and everyone is OK. And I am OK too.

People will be saved, people will be alright, it just won’t be on my time. It won’t be when I decide. It’ll be on their own time, when they decide when they’ve learned everything they can or want to learn from this life or the next, whenever they feel like it. And I will be apart of that purely by the fact that I am connected to everyone and everything even when I die and so I don’t need to experience it directly from this limited body and mind. It’s just something that happens, and when you’re connected to everything all the experiences are within you, and that’s the end of this post.


Freedom & Love

The depth of my love is a resource that knows no bounds.

I commonly talk about Freedom without actually understanding what it means. This word liberation. Freedom, openness and love don’t mean rebels, and law-breakers, and willfullness and dominance. It in exact contrast to that. It really just means, the openness and freedom to go beyond our limited minds, and beliefs, to be flexible, malleable and not rigid. To challenge ourselves, our limited beliefs and thoughts, and to experience life and change, pains and joys, and people with openness, knowing, love and non-attachment, without holding others down, loving each other enough to let each person be free to think their own thoughts, be their own person, to evolve and grow, and so forth. We really don’t know how to truly love if we never learn how to love ourselves and to reflect that love and allowance back on others.

It’s like: If you need someone else in order for you to feel love, and that person needs you to feel that love, and there is no love without the other–then the paradox is, there was never any love to begin with. But if you can be whole and love yourself on your own; and vice versa, then such a love is true and pure, open and free, naturally. But we don’t know or allow that love, we enable each other, because we’re conditioned and afraid of what we see underneath it all.

People won’t love us, and without the love of people we’re nothing. But if we learn to love ourselves on our own, without limitation, with clarity and freedom, then we can love the people we meet and see and show them that through our beingness, and they can reflect them. Taking the drugs from the drug abuser hurts, giving him the drugs because it will hurt if he’s off them is enabling him. But it hurts a person more to be doing drugs. Even if they say, it’s not hurting anyone to be on the drugs, and it feels good for me! Interventions never work unless the person wants to be helped, so sometimes you remove the drug they say fuck you and go somewhere else to get it.

But if they want help, and you refuse to give it to them. Then you can compassionately guide him through the pain of letting go of the drugs, and teaching them to experience the world and life without them–that’s Love, and that’s what I have meant when I said: I want to save people. There is life beyond chemical dependency.

I want(ed) to show them that there doesn’t need to be a middleman, that they can generate their own Love, and that it doesn’t make the love we have less, it makes it more meaningful, more beautiful, more fulfilling. But my job isn’t to convince people of that, it’s to convince myself, and then it’s to live that way for myself, and guide people who are ready.

Spirituality is just some fancy word to say freedom from our emotional and mental and biological limitations, and structures, and facing up to what all that means. That’s all.


Present

Today I feel open and free to experience life and experiences. And that feels pretty good. I want the world to feel this feeling like someone wanting to share good food; but everyone and thing in their own good time. It’s enough that I feel it, and so I just sit in that experience.