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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.

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.

When There is No Hope There is Only Love

 

My Confession

A recent stint in depression has hit both me and my work hard. I’ve spent the past few days meditating on Love, my mental illness, my game, parenthood, and sea of failed relationships. I think about the people who leave my life in swarms, who place the fair conditions on me that if I can’t be normal that I am too toxic or too weird to be in their life. So I meditate on love and kindness and try to undo all that I’ve learned in insecurity, and embrace security. I listen to motivational tapes, read self-help books, I distract myself, bury myself into my work, even Buddhism. I shift focus. I smile, I laugh. I receive a text on my birthday that there is no hope for me and that the doors are forever closed and that she will never allow herself to let me into her heart again because she believes she is inherently ‘bad’ and will not take part in hurting me anymore. No matter how much I grow, learn, no matter how genuine my heart is, or how strong I become, I am not the thing she wants. That it will always be her using me to scratch an itch, never her loving me. Yes, look at me, falling apart over a woman who has never treated me with respect, who has from the start told me she didn’t care about me and would abandon me if push came to shove and who has time and time again thrown me under the bus to protect her social status. Who had presented to the world that I was insane, that I was no one, and presented to me that only what she said to me not what she said to others mattered. But what she said was always in flux, bitter and filled with swords one day, neutral the next. Filled with promises and dreams, but always standing me up or filling it with something else. I had to beg to be seen by her.

To me she said she cared, to everyone else she shared in their gossip and talk about me, told them lies, painted it as though she was a victim of my obsession, but never revealed the conversations where she said she needed me in her life. To me, she made promises and shared dreams of adventures, and enjoyed my dreams discussing them. Flip flopping back and forth weaving a web of lies and illusions. She pretended to want me in her life, only to reveal one day that she had never wanted me at all, and just enjoyed the companionship I had to offer. Nostalgia she says, does not mean want. She offers me the opportunity to be her fuck buddy, friends with benefits? I decline, remembering how painful it felt to be an object, to desire connection, to search for her heart and only feel pain. Odd as it was, I loved her, it wasn’t her behaviour, but her underneath it all, and the yearning that if I could reach her, if I could reach her underneath it all that she would reach me, and that in that reaching we wouldn’t have to be alone. Why my heart wanted it to be her? I will never know.

The back and forth behaviour that she warned me about still would have me on my knees, and I would stand up again and again, promising to be stronger, getting stronger a little bit every day. I realized at the end of the day all I wanted was for her to look upon me with the eyes of love and say, I want you. I may not be able to be there right now, but I want you. You are no less, you are no different, even if we have to be far apart, I want you in my life and I do love you. And I carried on in the hope, that one day, after all the blood and toil, she’d look at me, genuinely look into my eyes, and she would see me, and I would see her, and she’d say this and mean it. Not just something she was trained to say, or learned to say, or kinda felt but didn’t. But to say it and really mean it. I yearned from it, and not just from her, but from the world.

There were days when she would say something close to it, but if she ever did she would take it back the next. Later she would tell me she left me because this was who she was, she could never be anything different, and it broke her heart to see me suffer. “I’m not going to change, I don’t want the things you want, and I won’t take part of hurting you”, she goes on, “I want you to be loved by someone with all their heart, I don’t want you to have to deal with this, I want you to have happiness. I don’t want you to chase after someone who isn’t chasing you back, who doesn’t have a reason to chase you back. I miss us, but I’ve shut the door forever. Love someone else.”

I remember in the earlier days I would cry and beg her to let me go, it hurt too much to hold onto someone who couldn’t love me. I can’t, she said. I can’t. But even when she did, I struggled to do the same. Now it’s my turn to let her go. Be there as my friend, she begs me. I don’t need a lover, I have one, but I desperately need a friend. I have so few close friends in my life, I need you as my friend. To catch me if I fall. I’m terrible with relationships, I want the one I have to work. Support me from afar, but if you can’t even do that without me hurting you, then for you and for me I have to let what’s left of this go.

So I do. I struggle with my own demons on my own, but I cannot turn away her heart’s request. I call myself her Raven, and she dubs me Diaval. I stay close beside her, trying to learn who I am, and the demons I fight and battle alone. She watches, never coming to my rescue, and I drown trying to figure out how to save myself from me.

The Truth Is

Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings.

Sutta Nipata 1.8

 

The truth is, I am no more capable of romantic love, than she says she is capable of authentic love. I love her, in a way that has nothing to do with romance and friendship. The second truth is, I am not capable of basic friendship to most people. I love in a way that is different in reflection to society. I love in a way that society shuns and would crucify me for. I love in a way that society says is wrong. Without boundaries, without walls, blind to social constructs, with true and complete freedom, without condition.

I’ve tried to go through romance to reach her beyond this because I yearn to be loved from a genuine place that I struggle to hold within myself. The world is a mirror and in my mirror I see the loop of rejection, pain, and abandonment. I see the constructs we’ve made, and we believe and we make real. It doesn’t matter if the world believes a lie, if the majority believes it and supports it, this lie becomes their truth, becomes the reality.

Friendship and Friend zones hurt because Society views friendship at a lower level, they are sacred because we don’t need to value them close to our heart, we don’t have to protect them or cherish them, there’s no “security” in the ones we give to ‘love’, no social constructs and laws protecting friendship the way they do contracts involving love. We can drop them without warning, we can throw them away, we can stratify them and stretch them apart. You abandon your friends not your spouse, you break commitments and promises that have meaning with your spouse—not to your friends, their pain doesn’t matter. You love your spouse, not your friends. You care for your friends, but you don’t love them. You would stand up for your spouse or a child and take a bullet for them, but society shuns the idea of taking one for your friend. Such acts of courage are called selflessness and bravery, we admire it in people because we would never do the same. Your spouse is your #1 family, your friends whether we agree or not are simply followers and only if they themselves are not following their spouse. You build love and legacies with the people you love, you leave behind the people you don’t.

If the entire world knew how to love without walls, knew how to care without segregation wouldn’t it be better? But instead we say, you can be loved, and you can’t, you are worthy of my love and respect, and you are not. Then I would never have any need to seek a relationship out of anyone because love would be everyone, abundant, in everything, shining through every single heart. I could drink from the rivers, I could dance. If the world is a mirror, I could look out onto the world and see love reflecting from it, back onto me, and my love in myself would be self-affirmed.

But life doesn’t work that way. Life can only reflect back what ‘we’ see. If we want the world to reflect and glow with Love we have to correct our vision and our eyes, and to do that we have to become Love and to do that, I truly believe that we have to emanate unconditional love and happiness that is self-illuminating, that is not dependent on any one or thing.

It is for this reason that I believe that the greatest gift she could ever give me is closing her doors and showing me how cold the world really is. Through her I see the closed doors of the world reflecting back at me, and through the world, I see me, my heart, closed, my windows closed. This is the wrong way to Love, not the right way. And I will spend an eternity learning how to love. I took up the Buddhist’s path because I don’t want it to take a hundred more doors for me to see what it means to love, truly, genuinely love without need or desire, without want, from anyone or anything. To allow it flood in and heal me, to allow myself to be as such that I can contain both realities. The reality of the loveless world we live in now and the reality of the world full of love that exists shining beneath everyone and thing.

My goal is to embrace this love, to stop reaching people through the shadows of romantic love and everything else, to love genuinely love, from within myself, without need. It’s hard. This path that I walk and preach is hard, I want to quit so often because it hurts. If it were so easy everyone would take up this path and love the way I speak of, to love as Jesus Loves, to love as God Loves, to love as Buddha loves, but it’s not easy, that’s why it’s a practice, that’s we struggle with it, and that’s why not everyone does it.

The greatest gift she could ever give to me was to let go and stick to her choice so that I could learn to love as I am meant to love, not through one singular person or entity. Not through need, or desire, or from a place of lack, but from a place of abundance, of needlessness. To be to others what I seek from myself. This is hard. And I struggle with it, but it is my path, and I walk it and every encounter I have will always lead me back to this most singular path. There is no greater thing than this. This is my work, and everything else will always distract me from it, and I will always distract others from my work if I pursue them. Consequently I pursue myself, whole-heartedly. No matter how hard it is, no matter how much I want to quit. I pursue me, and being one with myself, and the universe, the reality of it. We’re all dripping in roles and acting and plays, but underneath it all, underneath the grime, there we are. And that’s where I want to be, where I’m trying to be. But right now there are moments when I have to admit, it is simply hard, and just plain hurts.

 

The Struggle Within Society

I will always struggle to understand the high demands of society and the games we play. I never could fit societies shoes so I had to custom make my own, and at times I had to go without.

I cannot understand society or my place in it. I’ve spent my life trying to make sense of society. Social made-up constructs that determine our roles, and who we can love, and how we can love, and who we must cut out, and why. Constructs like Marriage, and 9-to-5 jobs, and personality and Ego, and Education, and economies. I would sit reading day in and day out about how it all works, and love. Romantic Love, what is it, is it real, and what is beyond Love. And what is beyond us. What are we made of, and how. I looked out my window at the world and yearned to be a part of a world where I’ve never felt like I quite belong.

I hid my heart and struggles from people for fear that people would never be capable of loving me, the real me, whoever it was, how could they? How could anyone love the real me, when they spend their lives unable to love their real selves, unable to look beneath it. They can’t love me, they can’t know me, if they can’t even love themselves, if they don’t even know who they are beneath all their roles, and make-up, and games. And I can’t love them if I am blinded by all of, if I keep trying to meet them through it. And I’ve struggled to let go of it all, and struggled to wipe away all that is not me, to find all that I am, and consequently be at peace in a world that is unable to break away from the game, that doesn’t want to and has no motivating factors to. And sometimes I wonder if I don’t want to break away from the game so much that I want someone to play the game, a game, any game that sees the truth and the reality beneath it with me; and yet when the veil is pulled that too becomes pain.

It is in the darkness of my hopelessness, it is my running from the games that hurt me so much to play that I ask myself, Who am I? I am Love. But was I really? All that Love was fueled by hope.
When she texted me, “Stop hoping, there is no hope.”
I realized Hope and Optimism is what drives me, the idea that we can dream any dream we want—but if you take away my Hope, if you fill me with hopelessness, what is there? There is only myself, there is only the present. Why does it feel bad? If I rub my fingers across the grime on the window and peel it all away, even without Hope, I am still me, and what is me, beyond me? Love. I am still Love, and yes. Being Love hurts when we’re still struggling with the social constructs of what it means to really love.

I have spent this entire journey wiping away the grime of everything that is not me, unlearning society, emptying my cup, ungrowing, undoing everything Society told me that I am not. Even my mental illness which rests on the surface layers interacting with the world through my thoughts is not me, if I wipe away the grime, who am I? What am I? All the things I am running from, underneath the surface is the nothingness, the emptiness, The Love. I’m still Love.

Yes it’s hard, this path I’ve chosen is hard. Yes it’s going to continue to be hard. Yes there will be hard times, and good times, they’re not bad they’re not good, they’re just times. I am yearning always yearning to go back to conditions, to go back to false love and pretend. But like her decision to never go back, I have to be firm to never go back to a time when the love I had and was giving was not real. This is real love, this is true, this is authentic, it doesn’t get any more purer than this, no matter how lonely it feels.

I have to be firm. I can’t let myself love anyone from that false place, that place is where the bipolar and insanity is at, that place is where the insecurity and the thoughts and false love is at. This place is beneath all the layers of my thoughts, is where it’s real. It’s not friendship, it’s not romance, I hate people calling me that as though that is what I am when like my gender I feel like I am beyond all that, maybe not in their eyes but for me and my relationship with the world and people I am fluid, ever-changing always present, and yet always constant at the same time. I am what’s behind the veil, the mystery, I am Love, and this is it. Whether people close their doors to it, or look away, this is who I am, it’s where I will always be, like air, I simply exist, being breathed in and being breathed out, it’s what I am underneath it all. I am them, and they are me.

This is it. It’s always going to be it. And it’s always going to be a struggle a fight to maintain it, to walk the path, it’s never going to be easy. Being who we truly are without running. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up, that doesn’t mean I have to stop trying. This is it. And I’m still here, and this is me. This is who I am.

I renounce the social constructs of relationships, and all that are contained within them. I am not a social construct or a concept. I am beyond that.

There is never going to be another relationship and if anyone truly ever loves me or even just genuinely cares about me. With their entire heart or otherwise, they will never ask me to be in a romantic relationship with them, and I will never ask them, and more than that, they will never ask me or box me into categories and boxes, like “lover” or “friend”, maybe to them, but I am way more than just a concept or social construct. I am NOT those things, to anyone. I exist to simply be seen as what I am. Light, Energy, Love, Freedom, Boundless, free-flowing.

This path to be present with myself, what I am, in a world that rejects it on the societal structure and level is hard. It’s never going to be easy. It may take work, a lot of work to see it, and be with it, to stay with it, and not cover it up with roles and make-believe, but this is it

That’s what I am, and it is what I will always be.

It Takes Falling

It took me running from myself, to the point of exhaustion, to the point of sitting at the edge of a cliff just to get away from myself to make the pain stop to see. Up until now I blamed me for everything. It’s my bipolar, my anxiety, my depression, my introversion, it’s my ego, my personality, all these things that are to blame for why nobody loves me or wants me or sees me for what I am.

I am not the categories and labels people keep forcing me into and people aren’t the categories and labels I keep forcing them into. It’s not us. It’s never going to be us. Never.

I am not just bipolar. Sure. It is a layer, a chemical layer, but it’s not me. If you peel it away there is more beneath it, a constant that doesn’t change with my mind.

Mental illness may define my interactions in life sure.

But there’s something else deeper than all of that and that’s what I live for.

And it’s only when I’m alone, it’s only when I’m not pursuing people, only when I’m not running, only when I’m letting myself look that I can see what it is. Hidden beneath all the grime, hidden beneath the heart of the game, that I can really see what I am and what we really are. I really, genuinely am light, love and energy, I think we all are but I really can only speak for myself. I see me.

I know most people think it sounds stupid and ridiculous

But most of my struggle is learning how to be present and stay with myself long enough to give myself the courage to feel what I am underneath all the shit. The surface shit, the shadow, to just be me, underneath it all. How can I want to be loved, when I am love? It’s a process allowing myself to be love and feel love from a different place other than from the place I’ve been taught to look outside of me. The me that is deficient without societal approval. It’s hard but I’m working on being present with the one thing I use conditions and the world around to cover up: Me, and what’s beneath it. Not the illusions, but what’s real. Only then when I can see me, can I look at the world and see it’s true reflection without the pain, only then can I see through all the doors. To do that requires me to be present and learn to sit with myself. And it’s always going to be hard, being who you really are underneath it all, that Love, Light, Energy, learning to sit still long enough to stop fighting long enough to let it shine through, undoing all that we’ve learned is always going to be hard. No way around it but that’s the path I wanted to walk and so I’m walking it.

In Short

It’s Hard, being alive, living and being present with reality and who we truly are that’s hard. This is my path it’s the one I chose.

I was asked what does this all mean and so here is the summary:

  1. When there is no hope there is only what is. (I call it love, light, energy)
  2. I’m the one who chose to ask a million questions. I asked to see what was, and I got it. Now I have to deal with it and the path it’s set me on. (I asked, the universe granted whether I liked it or not, no take backs, how can I go back to the illusions and be content with that when I’ve not yet learned to embrace what really is, and when what really is, is 100x’s more beautiful?)
  3. My chosen path of love and seeing what is real, is hard, really fucking hard
  4. But it’s going to be hard, and that’s OK.

 

The path I’m on happens to be the path of seeing the world and myself for what it really is and loving it genuinely and unconditionally and being happy unconditionally in spite of what I see without adding thoughts of this is bad or not bad. It means that I have to do hard things like sit with the pain of being myself and listen to see through it all, and then I have to accept it, embrace it, myself and all that I am, discarding all that I am not. And that anything that takes me off the path that keeps me from doing the thing I asked to do in the first place has to be renounced, and all so I can love the way I want to love, beneath constructs, labels, categories, and all that isn’t, no matter how much it hurts to be here loving by myself. I asked for this, it’s painful, but it is what I got, and I can’t take it back now that I am on it.

This is what that path looks like, and it is not a walk in the park. That’s why society doesn’t run to do it in droves, it’s why we only tend to do it when we’ve had enough pain and falsehoods and are ready to embrace something beyond that.

The Unconditional Life: A Series On Cultivating Unconditional Love

This post is a Table of Contents presenting the start of an ongoing series related to cultivating the Unconditionals required for living The Unconditional Life. In this way Life is synonymous to our method or lifestyle that enables us to serve and live with true Unconditional Love.

  1. We Are Small, To The Big Vast Sky – In this article I challenge us to view problems and struggles we face from the conditional perspective of time.
  2. Mastering Reality – preparing our mind to be rewired for change and why we’d want to.
  3. The Prevailing Method – reflects on the prevailing method of Meditation for doing this and the challenge to apply it to our lives.
  4. The Unconditionals – the unconditionals required for cultivating wisdom, this takes the form of the Unconditional Life as I have learned to perceive it in this moment.

Introduction

Even as a mother protects with her life her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings. – Sutta Nipata 1.8

Most of my work is focused on Love, Unconditional Love and serving with that Love through our livelihood and lifestyle. From as far back as I can remember feeling as though something was wrong with me. Consequently from the age of 7 possibly before that I went on a quest to learn all I could about myself and the world around me with the goal of ‘fixing’ me. Not surprisingly this desire to fix myself was also reflected in my belief that the world was broken and needed to be fixed. This view was a reflection of the state of my mind.

I felt and experienced the world differently and still continue to. I questioned everything right down to reality, who we are and our experiences in it. I lamented love and our inability to accept and love each other as we are with freedom, understanding, and the conditions we imposed and the abandonment that resulted from it. I’ve since learned that we can’t give what we don’t give ourselves and that how we treat others is a reflection of our own inner-world. To fix the world we must start where we are and fix ourselves. It’s the only thing we can fix.

I consequently spent most of my life looking for an antidote for my mind a way to fix myself. To date the solution I have found was the very balm I needed and sought from others: Unconditional Love, Freedom, Acceptance — Happiness. It’s been said that if we want to receive something we must learn to give it, and so I’ve built and continue building my life around the cultivation and concept of Unconditional Love healing ourselves with it, and serving the world through our lifestyles pertaining to it.

I spend a lot of my time behind the scenes doing one of three things: Researching, Developing Tools, and Cultivating a Lifestyle conducive to the values that I have. The tools I prioritizing working on developing are related to self-discovery and exploration, with themes like: Death, love, emptiness, source, yin/yang, and more.

To date I read various books from spiritual teachers and ordinary people searching for insight and wisdom, as well as meditating and reflecting on my own insights and evolving wisdoms. I don’t feel I have anything new to really say that hasn’t been said before more eloquently than others, but I do repeat the message that my heart desires to speak from all that it has learned while simultaneously planting seeds in my work and life as part of my practice of cultivating unconditional love, wisdom and well-being in my own life.

It is with my wish that the tools I develop, the work I create and the life I cultivate and live will be of use to the world and serving the people in it.

Love Is A Flower, Water It Gently To Grow, Then Leave It Alone

One day my ex-girlfriend said to me, “You keep trying to show me some enlightened way to love. But I don’t want that. I like where I’m at, I’m comfortable in the darkness. And the more you try to ‘love’ me authentically the more I’ll push you away.”

Things have changed for me since that day. On that day I very much believed that if I loved her genuinely and authentically, compassionately that in time she would come to the place of Love with me, that we could exist inside source and Love together, that we could transcend romance and friendship and time. I believed we were mirrors, extreme opposites, paradoxes, that we were meant to be together and that together we could return home. Whether this is true or not isn’t the point. Can you tell I am a romantic?

It is only recently that I’ve come to accept that Love and relationships will always be difficult for her to maintain, and that the intensity of my empathy to her sociopath create an unusual paradox. That my role in her life is to watch her share her life with another; whomever she and they so choose. That she doesn’t do emotions, let alone love, and when she wants to do them, it won’t be with me.

Still. Even though it was never equal in intensity, and even though I must Love her quietly in the darkness. It is through the trials of our relationship that I began to glean a lot of insights that I would later come to use today to grow. And it is through her continued friendship with me despite my slow attempts to Love her in the way that she needs, that is casually and distantly as an acquaintance on the breeze, that I have learned to reign back my love, and perhaps the most important lesson I want to share about Unconditional Love as a flower, even when it does not manifest in the way you would like it to.

People are Flowers, Flowers Are Love

In this analogy people are flowers, and all flowers are love. We must cultivate the love within ourselves and grow. Not all of us are able to feel love or understand or even make sense of love. And some of us once loved so greatly that when our heart broke we shut out all love and let in only darkness. The woman I loved was a bit like that, incapable or unwilling to Love many people, least of all me after the loss of someone important to her, and in her small baby steps I soon came to realize that there are some people we meet who are unable to open their hearts and love again let alone transcend in this lifetime or form.

For those who choose to live and serve with love, unconditional authentic Love, it is our job to Love them and others without expectations, to accept them as they are and let them be, and to focus inward on ourselves, if not for them but for us and our own wellbeing. We are flowers, and what we are growing into is pure authentic Love. Loving Kindness, Appreciation, Acceptance, Understanding, Serving without conditions.

When we are truly secure and can meet our own needs, there is no greater feeling than that type of giving to ourselves in the reflections of all those who appear outside ourselves.

You water your flowers by stepping back and letting them grow

Love is a garden of flowers. You look at a flower in your garden and you say grow. You tell it to be a flower now, but a flower has to be watered at its own pace, you have to be gentle with it, and you can’t push it or force it, or overwater it, or it’ll drown and die.

Then when that flower grows, the greatest love you can do is to leave the flower alone and let it be. There is an old quote floating around that states when you like a flower you pluck it, but when you love a flower you water it daily and leave it be. Let nature do its work, all life will unfold in time. Maybe not the way you wanted, but the way it was meant to be, we can learn to see the beauty in that if we let it.

The Right Amount, Is Unique To The Flower

To water a flower we must first ascertain the right amount. Too much water and your garden’s flowers will drown, too little and they’ll wither. You need to give them the right amount, just the right amount. Not only this but there are hundreds of thousands of flowers. Each with their own requirements for how much or how little water it needs. Some need a drizzle, some need a storm, but sprinkle just enough on the seed that it needs, no more than, no less than.

Patience, The Flower Does The Work

It’s the flowers job to grow, not your job to make it grow. It is the flowers job to allow itself to Love. You can’t make it Love, you can’t impose your will onto it, you can’t make it go faster. It unfolds in its own time at its own pace. The flower grows in its own time. You merely sit back and watch and enjoy.

Lao Tzu once said, “Nature does not rush and yet everything is accomplished.” trust it to grow and unfold in its own time, in its own way, and appreciate the result and the process of the unfolding as it manifests to you in any given moment.

The Process Is What Makes The End Valuable, Not Just The Result

When we are cultivating Love we can be hard on ourselves, especially as we fall or those around us fall many times. We often tend to only see through our current lens of what is, and not at the actual objective reality. For every perspective there are over a thousand more ways to view the outcome and the journey.

Here we take on the view that it’s the process, the struggle, the ups and the downs that make the end result valuable. It’s how we learn what we need to learn, it’s what gives us wisdom. If we can find value and enjoy the meditative process of tending to our own gardens we unlock the keys to enjoying life right until the end.

The Right Type Of Love

I often use the word Love, but Love as I define it will never be Love as society defines it. The Love as society defines it is conditional, it’s filling roles, it’s acting. It’s out of needs and insecurity. The Right type of love is unconditional, it’s pure, it’s self-sustaining, self-fulfilling, it’s balancing. Each person has gone through the Source, God, Love, Energy, either together or on their own, such that they replenishes each other by replenishing themselves. This type of love no one has to change, each person is their most authentic self. There are no roles to fill. The person can come and go freely into your garden, but more than not this person chooses to stay on their own accord. Each person is secure, and where insecurities lie they work through them.

In many ways Love is Freedom. It’s a bird, it’s a flower. You want to hold Love in your hand with an open hand not a closed fist, or else it will smother and die. With true unconditional love it’s nurturing, it’s healing, it doesn’t ask more than you can give, it accepts you as you are, it sees you as you are. And yet despite all of this it chooses to sit in your presence of its own accord. It feels like home without you ever having to be or do anything different than what you already are.

You are a Guide, a Gardener

You show the Way by living and being the way. You show love by being Love. There is no other way. You can’t give love, love isn’t yours, and love isn’t theirs, but it can be allowed to shine through you as a conduit from our source. Love is something that has to be allowed to shine through. It’s not something you have to say or prove, it’s something you simply be, quietly. Try it, go about doing things tenderly and lovingly in your life. Never say the word Love, just show it in your way, however you are capable of. Be genuine, authentic, from your heart to those around you. If someone claims you are not loving them enough when you are loving with all that you are able in this moment, recognize that it’s not anyone elses job to know when you are doing things from a place of Love, only yours. Serve with love, but don’t say it. Be as Love, the way a river just be’s as a river and flows. Not everyone can hear the words I Love you, and certainly not from the contexts as it is defined here. It’s OK to say it genuinely to say it to the world, but feel it, let it shine through you, it’ll show in your gentleness and respect to other beings.

At the end of the day your actions, your heart will always speak a greater volume than your words.

Remember, The Vast Majority Of The World Isn’t Ready To Love

If you look out at the world you see many people playing many different types of games, and none of those games have much to do with unconditional, authentic love. It is very exclusive membership status. Lots of war, suffering, pain. If you show them another way they’ll only scoff and look down on it. It’s honorable they might say or foolish, but it’s not the game they choose to play.

The world is not ready to love, and there is not much you can do about that except love them unconditionally ‘as they are’, and just let people be. We cannot save people, people are not fixable. We can love them genuinely and authentically all day long, but people don’t want to be saved. They’ll stop playing the game when they are ready, when they are tired.

To share a story, the pattern of my former relationship had been me trying to love her authentically, not romantically but from an authentic, genuine, unconditional place, and her pushing back as I struggled with insecurities that arose from her struggle to love. The more I said I appreciate her, I value her, the more spiteful she got, the more I tried harder and in desperation. This cycle was less about her and more about me.

It made me think back when I was younger and more darker. Someone used to try to ‘save’ me by saying I believe in you all the time, they said this to me. But they would say it with frustration because they couldn’t get me to believe in what they were saying. And I said one day, you keep saying you believe in me, but I don’t believe in myself, what I need right now is for you to just accept that this is where I am at this point in my life, and let me be, and watch me grow and unfold in my own time. And she couldn’t accept that and walked out of my life. In due time, years from now I would grow to be where I needed to be, but it was without her support which had been conditional. I had to have been there right then. She was incapable of supporting me as I was. And while I don’t judge her effort, I feel it works counter to how we really work.

And We Have to be Ok With That

Confucius once said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” everyone around us knows something that we ourselves do not know. This is the case with the world around us. Every person and every thing even the saddest of us has beauty in it.

It’s important to learn to be OK with the world as it is. To accept it as it is, while at the same time being catalyst for change by living the way. We have to be OK with people not loving us the way we want to or would like them to. Instead of focusing on them, focusing on ourselves and receiving our love from an indestructible place, where all love comes from and is connected. Envision it like a giant ball of energy that floats all around us, connecting all of us. Some allow it better than others, and this is OK.

Everything that is meant to happen will happen in its own time. Time itself is an illusion such that what has been and what is and what will be all exist simultaneously from A to Z. We just have to sit in the peace of simply allowing it.

In Tao this is called Effortless Action, where all is done and unfolds the way we unfold as we grow from birth to death always aging, effortlessly. Growth is a byproduct of emotional shifts, engagements and catalysts, and so it is in this way that just as the flower grows without much resistance, so too can we.

You Have To Have Passion To Survive Failures And Succeed In Life – Morning Reflections

People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up.

It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up. And that’s what happens to most people, actually. If you really look at the ones that ended up, you know, being “successful” in the eyes of society and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes, it’s the ones [who] were successful loved what they did so they could persevere, you know, when it got really tough. And the ones that didn’t love it quit because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it?

So it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail. So you’ve got to love it and you’ve got to have passion and I think that’s the high-order bit.

The second thing is, you’ve got to be a really good talent scout because no matter how smart you are, you need a team of great people and you’ve got to figure out how to size people up fairly quickly, make decisions without knowing people too well and hire them and, you know, see how you do and refine your intuition and be able to help, you know, build an organization that can eventually just, you know, build itself because you need great people around you.

-Steve Jobs

 

It takes a lot of passion to live the lives we live. A lot of passion, a lot of dedication, and a lot of perseverance. You have to value and Love what you have whether it’s an object, person, skill, job, business, anything, you have to have something, some desire, want, need, passion, that keeps you moving forward, to really persevere through the tough times.

Many tears and many failures, long roads, emotional catalysts and emotional shifts. Shifts that change your entire being, shifts that shake your world so dramatically that there’s only two choices, to stagnate and die or persevere and grow. You have to love what you’re doing whatever that is to stick with it, day in and day out, year in and year out, to grow together, to grow apart, and back again in a cycle to keep moving forward. To be willing to sit through all the pain. To be appreciative for things that we value, that we have, even when it doesn’t manifest into our lives the exact way we wanted, it manifested the way we needed in this lifetime to learn.

We’re all shapeshifters, masters of illusions, creators of our own reality, weavers of stories. Weaving in and out, creating the world around us through our thoughts, dreams, actions, living, lifestyles. Life is like that, living vs. just giving out and dying, finding your passion, and pursuing it even when you lose hope. Even when you’re in the darkness and there is nothing there but this deep pit of endless emptiness.

You have to face the darkness, the fear, the failure, the sadness, redefine the very meaning of failure itself, and learn from it. Until the darkness and the threats and challenges in it are no longer objects to be feared but opportunities to revere, even when it’s hard and painful and challenging, it gets easier, better if we let it. Because fact is, this world is hard, relationships are hard, people are hard, families, work and success, it’s all hard. Keeping and maintaining the things we love and want, cherishing it when we’re these divine beings having this very earthly, humbling and human experience it’s…hard.

And it just keeps getting harder and harder, until one day if we’re truly dedicated to mastering the skills and the arts, until one day it gets easier and easier if we let it. You reach this point where life feels like this endless cycle. Life is an illusion. You say. Then you reach a point where you realize, you can’t fix it. The only thing you can really fix is yourself. And in fixing yourself you fix a piece of the entire world, because you are the world, you are a piece. So then the only thing you can do in this life is to live, to just live and be as you are, in your most authentic and rawest form. Growing every day to be the best you you choose to be in any given moment.

Playing any game that motivates you to succeed and move forward. For me it’s the spiritual game, it’s the going home game, it’s the serving with love and seeing beneath the veils- to make the journey more tolerable game. That’s the game I love to play. That’s the game that keeps me going until the day we can put it all back into the box.

But until it does all go back into the box, all we can do is Engage. Engaging with the world and each other. Refining Ourselves. Learning More, and watching that cycle through until it finally clicks and sticks.

Engaging, Refining and Learning, that’s all life is: Engage. Refine. Learn. Wash-Rinse-Repeat. That back and forth Mantra, until you get to the bottom, that place where one day you realize you’re done, and breathe that last breath.

Take a deep breath, breathe in life. Life is a two-sided coin, a double-edged sword, it’s that place where you learn good and bad, love and hate are two sides of the same coin, they’re cut from the same cloth. And you realize that life whether it has to be or not, is always going to be hard work in some way shape or form, nothing is handed on a silver platter, people are always going to be hard work, but without the passion, the dedication even when you feel it will never get better, the perseverance, the willingness to try, the hope and ability to keep walking. Until one day you’re standing on the edge of the mountain top, looking out at the world, this is your becoming. The day you become the mountain, the mountain becomes you, and nothing in the world is separate, and you can finally go home to the place you were all along, right here. Everything you love is right here. Lost in the eyes of human experience, waiting for you to open your heart and feel: I see you.

But we go through life blind, unknowing, separate, in the illusion. We don’t know what’s beyond the veil, we don’t feel for it. And in that blindness, we hurt, we engage, we get lost, we get found, we play, we have fun, we have sorrow, we have wars. It’s a very human experience, a very hard experience, a very engaging experience, a learning, a refining. It’s hard. And if you don’t love it, if you don’t find a reason for what you’re doing, then you’re going to fail, because no sane person suffers through all of life, if they never find a reason to persevere and keep moving forward, even when it looks like it’s all over. Even when you’re in a Nazi Concentration Camp being marched through the forest in the dead of winter. Even when you’re trapped in the pits of middle eastern hell being attacked day in and day out by men, praying for death. You have to be willing to believe that it can and will get better, even if it doesn’t. And if you don’t believe, then there has to be a drive. Just surviving isn’t always enough, just surviving, just ghosting isn’t always enough to truly live with our whole heart and being, to truly feel, to truly be at home. Why do we have to wait to die, we can have it now. I can have it now, if I allow it, if I let it all in.

I close my eyes, the tears fall down. I’m not sad, I am in awareness this morning. I know that if I did not have the passion, the dedication and perseverance to keep walking, that if I didn’t value and love the things that I do in my life even on days when there is no hope, just full of sorrow and despair; even on days when I am full of joy, if I weren’t a masochist in some way. Willing to stress myself and endure until I break, and rebuild and grow; then I would never have the opportunity to know a day without pain right here, right now. I would never be able to appreciate, how beautiful the view is at the top, right now while I am living, while I am alive in this moment, in this form.

That’s how I feel today. I feel like I know what I value in my life, I don’t always know why it’s here or what will become of it. But I know it is here. I know that I value the things in my life that I have. I know that it’s been really hard, and even the pursuit of my spiritual path is going to be really hard, it’s really hard. But I love what I do, it’s my passion, the things I value in my life are my passion. And so long as I have that, that value, that passion, that dedication, that perseverance, that growth and transformation, that heart and soul that keeps me going like a never-ending drive…so long as I have that I can never fail, and like it or not, even if it has nothing to do with us, this is true for anyone and anything. That’s just the way it is, the way it will always be.

So there it is. The story of the hour.

7 Tips in Learning to find Joy in the Joy of others, Mudita, pt. 2

 

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi

It is with great joy I sit and write this as part of an ongoing Mudita series. Over the past week I sat with my mind meditating on more ways to combat envy and jealousy. Feelings that reflect our inner state of unhappiness with ourselves and project them on the external things around us, particularly people and things we feel and want. I made an ongoing effort to put it into practice, and I began to notice a change: I was happier. The people around me were happier, and I was better able to give positive and uplifting feedback towards the people around me, even rebuilding relationships I had long since thought lost.

Here is what I found to be helpful for me on my journey.

A Shift In Focus

Instead of focusing on something that makes you unhappy when you think about it (bad relationships, failed tests etc.) begin thinking about things that make you genuinely happy (for me, that’s love, martial arts, spirituality, game development and new projects).

When something occurs that you don’t want to happen and you catch yourself thinking, saying or behaving with, “No I don’t want that,” or “I don’t like it when you do that.” shift to the positive. Focus not on the negatives, the things you don’t want. But instead. “I like it when you do these things.” or “I’d like more positive healthy relationships.” Focus on the positive aspects of people, focus on the positive things that you want and then notice that if you focus on shifting away from negativity you begin to see more positive things including people around you, you begin to behave better towards them, and instead of feeling negativity and rejection from you they feel closer.

 

Accept and Take Responsibility

The moment you decide that you and you alone are responsible for your happiness and not external forces you relinquish their power and give yourself power. This is great with all sorts of emotions. “You didn’t make me do that, I chose to do that.” accept your sadness, and anger and jealousy, things that trigger

 

Spiritual Health and Development & Well being

Make this your primary focus. You want to make the conscious decision that your personal development, spiritual (or mental) health and well-being is more important than any other focus you have. This is not something that happens overnight and requires a commitment to changing your habits and behaviours and transmuting them into positive ones. You’ll want to create a schedule around it and then dedicate yourself daily to it.

To start. Create a list of goals, things you want to achieve in life, then take those goals and write a solution. What can you do to master these goals? This takes a little research and critical thinking, but is necessary.

Using those goals create a Spiritual Fitness Program with specific activities designed around this, this is your schedule for daily living. You want to stick to this schedule to make this a daily ingrained habit. It’s broken into 3 areas and worked in with your life, it’s unique to you. Meditation, Fitness, Diet and Daily Life.

In the following weeks I will work on creating an example of what one looks like and a step by step guide for how to create your own “Spiritual Fitness Program”. These are things I have applied into my own life inspired by boot camps and monasteries around the world. But you don’t need to wait for this program to be released, go out there and write goals and things you could do to achieve those goals, and then research and create some things that you can do with your health and focus in mind. If you need help with this contact us with your goals and we can work through solutions and create a program just for you.

 

Redirect. Redirect. And Redirect Again from bad habits

In the beginning your mind will constantly find itself feeling pangs of jealousy or envy or some other negative emotion. By now you should have figured out the root of the underlying feeling it brings to your attention to. Feelings of unworthiness or lack. Thank the negative emotion for bringing attention to your underlying feelings, and then redirect your thoughts to something that makes you happy or that is positive, or finding a reason this thing that happened in your life can be a good thing.

It’s a constant process in the beginning. Your negative thoughts will rise up again and again, but you will redirect. Redirect. And Redirect again, shifting focus from the negative and focusing your attention to the positive aspects.

 

Love, Awe & Appreciation

You want to aim to spend more appreciating things than putting them down. Appreciate people for their own unique strengths and differences, for how they’ve helped shine a light on areas you need to grow or in places where you are. People are like mirrors. Perhaps they helped you figure out what you really want. You can’t make those things fit into matching up with you, but you can appreciate those things. Maybe someone’s big house and big garden remind you that you want security and love, thank them for bringing your attention to the areas you lack. Appreciate them for what they’ve taught you, your bad patterns or habits. Your appreciation for them feels good for that person, strengthens them, but more than that, it’s a sign of wellness, of cultivating a healthy loving relationship with yourself, and appreciating yourself and where you are in the journey right now.

 

Help People To Feel Good & Redefine Your Life

There’s a saying when you want to feel better about yourself help others to feel good. Today is a brand new day. Redefine your life, who you are and who you want to be. Commit to building something great and helping others to build something great.

 

Fill Your Time With These 7 Activities

In combatting your negative feelings, spend less time around things that remind you how bad you feel, and more time doing things that remind you or help you to feel good.

Try filling your time with things that help others and help you. Here are just a few tips I’ve found to help.

  • Serve others
  • Lift people up
  • Prioritizing, Planning
  • Simplify (life)
  • Acceptance of success and failure, redefining failure
  • Perspective – change the way you look at things
  • Practice daily Gratitude

 

These 7 things alone when practiced daily are enough of a starting point to help change your day. Redirect your attention from activities that feel bad and refocus them on things that make you feel better but harm no one. Things that focus on your growth and development and make you into the person you want to be.

 

 

Finding The Beauty In Life During Sad and Difficult Times

One of the hard and challenging things that I find during my low points is to find the beauty in life during sad and difficult times. Losing a best friend, a lover, a relative, whether it be through death or simply the severing of a connection is hard, if not downright devastating. Rebuilding relationships after that can feel like an uphill climb and in addition people who struggle with depression or bipolar may have the added struggle of spiraling lows.

Not everyone has a strong support system filled with compassionate and understanding people, and there’s something to be said about those of us who did have a support system but find themselves left with increasingly dwindling support systems as time has gone on.

I find in my journey that every person I have managed to gain in my life with my particular set of struggles and unique ways of being is precious to me. So the loss of a person for whatever reason can shake my entire world. Especially when in some of the cases my crime has been, ‘you loved her too much and dived too deep’. Today’s post is inspired by such a challenge. The challenge of being in a moment when after all has been said and done, when you’ve reflected beyond the point of reflection, counted your losses and looked back at what you’ve gained. That moment when you’ve accounted for all the broken pieces of your heart and are left just sitting with what’s left and find yourself depleted.

Today I sat down. I meditated on Love. Acceptance. Quietness. And Beauty. I decided this post was long overdue.

The Challenge: 1,000 Beautiful Things

It’s a daily challenge, particularly when you live with mental illness and a small support system. But one that needs to be done.

I am constantly on a daily basis looking for a reason to want to live, looking for the beauty in life during sad times. But how do you do that when you are in the middle of the wreckage? Imagine this, you’re standing in the ashes of a disaster. Everything around you is dead, but in the sky you see a bird fly past. As you walk on you see a single green plant sprouting. You begin to make it a game, how many beautiful things can you find?

It’s hard isn’t it, especially in the beginning “to see the glass as full and not half empty, the good and bad in everyone” as Annie Lennox says in her song 1,000 beautiful things. But sometimes when every tear has been shed, you reach this point where your heart is just ready to let in some beauty.

So I’ve been compiled a list of some things that can help ease the pain, to recenter back in a place of quiet love, and to see the beauty during sad times when it’s feeling hard to see:

  • Meditate on Loving Kindness (Metta)
  • Listen to F*ck That: An Honest Meditation (video)
  • Deliberately meditate, reflect, and/or write about quietness. love. beauty. and acceptance. (youtube search these topics or google search to read or hear people talk about these same topics if it helps)
  • Take a shower and enjoy the warmth on your back
  • Cry and be fully with your tears
  • Make yourself a good hearty meal and focus only on it and eating it.
  • Watch a Video of people who want to make you smile! (And keep watching until you find something that gets you to crack a smile), in essence surround yourself with happy people who want to make others happy. (Ellen (especially her dancing and scaring people) and French and Saunders are two of my favourites)
  • Watch an entire TV Series online (see: television really does make you less lonely)
  • Listen to It Gets Better (Link)
  • Sift through Upworthy articles
  • If you have a dog or a child or someone in your life, and can tolerate hugs, give them one.
  • Watch and listen to people laughing
  • Do a Laughing Meditation (Laughing with Ellen, Laughing with monks)
  • Sit quietly and don’t react
  • Make looking for the beauty in life a game
  • Keep a list of all the beautiful things you manage to find
  • Take something that seems sad and give it a positive twist or story, a happy door it opened, something good that came from it. (Everything has two sides, flip around the sad side and look at it from the positive side, what it taught you about you, what you learned, what doors it opened, what it led to, and more )
  • Find something even if it’s just one thing to be grateful for each day
  • Be thankful for a celebrity or comedian or other figure who makes you smile when you’re down
  • Take it easy on yourself/be gentle with yourself
  • Do something kind for someone or Do something that makes them smile.
  • Do something nice for you.
  • Watch Kid’s Videos on youtube
  • Regress: Let yourself be a little kid again
  • Read the stories of successful people who started out rough, but had hope that it’d get better and it did (imagine if Oprah, Michael Jordan, Ellen and more gave up hope when things were looking grim!)
  • Remember tomorrow’s a new day
  • Remember: You are Loved
  • And though we haven’t met, I do Love you too.
  • And last but not least, if you’re feeling down and you need a listening ear and someone who believes in your worth, send a message. I haven’t met you yet, but you’re lovable, you’re worthy, and it will get better.

Get Lost listening to people who see beauty:

Those are just a few things I do to help me find the beauty in things. Last but not least, I’ve just come to accept that in my life there will be a lot of low points sometimes that last what feels like forever and a day, and sometimes we just don’t have the energy. I’ve gotten to that point; I still get to that point. Approaching myself with gentleness and love, and letting myself cry it out has been great.

Some books and articles for Recommendation:

There Is No Greater Truth Than Love

It was January, when she said to me. “I never really loved you, I’m really tired, I don’t care about you, you’re just not good enough. I love someone more than I could ever love you, you are beneath them.”

My great grandmother had just died so we (my living grandmother and I) were in transition, I was in the middle of trying to finish my game before the end of the month, and my lover, my ‘best friend’, had cancelled several plans last minute to do things like go to the pub or put a christmas tree up, or to explain why she’d spend a week in florida with old friends but couldn’t see me for a single day on my birthday, or to justify why I was not her true best friend, why I was abandonable, and it just went on.

This latest row had been in response to my list tackling those things, the type of commentary I was having a hard time with. I’d sent them to her hoping we could tackle the problems. I said I am sure I am just being insecure, but wanted to work through them together. Why I asked, do you always get sick after we ‘make love’, or stand me up, or put me down. The reaction was, I was nothing to her, that I didn’t matter in the grand scheme of her life, I was free to go and love whoever I wished, that she was exhausted and tired and did not have the energy to maintain this relationship, I was not self-maintaining enough. She didn’t want me. And worse she wanted me to believe that this past several years had all been a lie, when did she know she was done with me? When my child was born this past Summer of ’15.

I had given all of myself to her, my heart, my love, my focus, everything, and she was throwing it back at me. She asked why couldn’t we be just friends? What was wrong with that, maybe that she didn’t know how to be a friend, maybe because as she said I didn’t know the difference between a best friend and a lover, or maybe she and most people didn’t know how to be a true friend. I left her with no hateful words, only thoughts of love and processing that pain, and she proceeded by ignoring me for about a week. I counter proceeded by entering a great depression and with that depression I retreated into my heart, I wept, but I did one step more: I quietly both dismissed and accepted this ‘truth’. That I believed we were over, but that I didn’t believe there were never moments that were genuine and true between us, and the steady truth that I would always be there for her unconditionally even if she could not love me back; but that I would need time to heal myself from the events that had happened before I’d let myself see her again.

Retreating To A Spiritual Space

 

I retreated into my heart. I felt nothing but pain, and yet my knee jerk reaction was to keep on loving. In my pain and sadness, in my need, I knew of only one place to go, one place that I could go to seek refuge. It was the one thing that I had learned over the course of the past 6 years that still remained constant that didn’t fade, that didn’t die, the one place that could feed my heart with love and give me eternal strength without ever growing weary or tired. It was Source, Love, God, Oneness,
Energy. That thing that connects all of us. I removed the middleman, that was her and began focusing my energy on directly connecting myself with this Loving Energy to repair myself, to become so directly connected that I became a conduit of Love, a beacon, a walking place of Love, that I returned Home.

I buried myself so deep into this place of Love, this place of God that the only way to get to me was to go through this Love, this God, this oneness.

I imagined this source, this place of unconditional Love, and I called it Jesus and God and Buddha and a million names. I realized that I loved differently, that my heart was different, and I asked myself why and began writing in a depressive-manic state of coping about this character made in the image of Source, who was sent on earth with one mission and that mission was to Love. He deployed a Raven into the shadow world, and the Raven referred to him as the incarnation, the embodiment of Love, the Love he was channeling, and this entity emphasized that we were all made of Love we simply weren’t allowing it. The Raven refers to him as Jesus, but the entity believes that he is more than the vessel, the conduit, he is pure energy, pure Love, what all this stuff that surrounds us is really made of, underneath it all.

This entity, was the place where I was at, I felt connected to it, I felt one with it. I had gone so deep into the heart of Love that when I looked at her, that woman, and the world around me and all the pain and I saw the shadows, the egos, all interacting, all the sources of wars, but underneath the shadows I saw the real them, the real ‘yous’, the real love underneath it all in all their beauty, and I was connected to each and every one of them. No better, no worse, different and yet the nonduality of being the same all at once.

This voice said to me, that second to attachment and apathy the problem with the world was that not only did we not know how to love, the world was devoid of love, we lack love, we lack caring. It’s not that Love is absent in it, we all have the ability to Love for the most part, we are all connected to love, we are all full of love, we are all made of the same stuff, fully capable, but we don’t allow that Love to shine through, and so we hurt each other, we create in-groups and out-groups, we use the word to poison people against others. We love not with love but the ‘shadows’ of love, the closest we can get to love often comes at the expense of others, shutting the world out, severing our bonds with the world so that we are bonded only to one. We are so disconnected from our most authentic selves, from Love, from everything.

All I had wanted in my relationship with her was to be seen, for my authentic self and loved unconditionally, to be allowed to see her for her most authentic self and to love her anyway, to be that oneness, and she kept saying I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t lovable, I wasn’t valuable. That she would never love me equally or genuinely the way she had people who had been there for 15 -20 years and that she didn’t really care about me now, she couldn’t afford to. This was her shadow, and it was the shadow that disconnected me from all things in the world.

In my heart I retreated to this place that was so bright and beautiful, a place of pure Love, this place where we’re all connected to, where space and time are an illusion, where everything that is happened has happened, where all the possibilities and realities of the world exist. I imagined this love connecting all of us, that this was home, this is what we all are, this flowing of being. And when I was connected in it, the shadow world was just that, the shadow world, a place of form, none of it was real, it was all an illusion. None of that stuff was personal, because underneath it all, we loved.

I realized then that I had tried to bring people to love by entering the shadow world, I thought if I played the game of shadows that I could take people with me on a journey to a place of authentic genuine Love, a refuge, a source of home that does not ask or want or need, or make demands. So fulfilled and connected was it, so willing was it to see the real you beneath the shadows that it didn’t need you to love it, or be anything than what it was. So true was it and so at peace with it, with the knowledge that all would be and already was in a place of love, that this moment of experience didn’t mean much to it.

It didn’t need to convince you or me that the world was love, one day, in this life or the next it would unfold. Afterall when it’s over it all goes back in the box.

We Don’t Know How To Love

 

You see for years I believed I wasn’t capable of loving, of true, genuine, authentic love; not just that but I was also often criticized for my universal and unconditional concepts of love. Several times people have come into my life and criticized me for pursuing an all-encompassing love that knows no boundaries, that is unconditional, going so far as to tell me that love should be conditional, love should be exclusive, love should meet the insecure needs of past, that love should be jealous, that it is in short supply, and on and on.

This journey in life has taught me that I am more than capable of it, I am Love, and when I wasn’t being Love I wasn’t being true to me. I thought there was something wrong with the Love I did have to offer. And struggled with insecurities that blocked me from loving with the love I felt. Biological, Normal Love was too exclusive, Love was too conditional, it was too needy. Needing you to be a specific set of characteristics are you weren’t worth Love. Needing you to fit an image for you to be worthy, to meet their needs. This was not the self-actualizing Love we were made of it was a controlling love. Love that encouraged us to fill roles and be people we weren’t rather than to be just who we are and loved for it.

The Practice Of: Day In And Day Out

 

I wrote about Love day in and day out in my journal entries in story formats trying to capture the feeling, trying to be that feeling. So much so that if she were to enter my life again I wouldn’t ask her to change or meet my needs or be anything other than what she was. I’d simply challenge myself daily to accept her as the beautiful person that she is, to love her, flaws and all; to love myself flaws and all, to expand beyond myself, beyond ourselves, to expand so greatly that I could love all those who came to me, to expand such that I could love myself by being Love itself.

If I focused my energy that I had spent the past years seeking exclusive love and spent it instead on loving the world and serving the world with that love, as I did on any one individual, what would that look like?

I began looking back on my dreams, dreams I had had for many years on serving people with love, of helping, that I didn’t feel like I could do because the world didn’t want me. And I began to rebuild them again, but this time I didn’t ask myself how, I knew how. I would serve the world with Love. I would be Love, live Love, breathe Love. I would Practice Love so intensely so religiously, Love would be my religion, Love would be my beingness. Love would be me. And I would seed that Love into everything I do, instead of doing things thoughtlessly, I’d do it thoughtfully from a place of Love. I’d be a river of Love itself, and people could drink from my river, and I would look at all people who came to see me as part of myself. The nonduality of being one with me at the source but separate at the same time on the shadow level. I would see the world with a vision of nonduality, of both dark and light and know that it’s the light that connects us all, the love.

Each Day Is A New Chance To Do My Best

 

In my day to day life I became silent. The greater my love, the more silent I was, a sign that I was grieving. I meditated every morning and every night. I am Love. The sadder I was, the more I wrote: Love, Love, Love. I wrote it a thousand times, I walked it, I breathed it, I cried Love. Even my sadness came from a place of Love rather than a place of anger and jealousy and because of this my interactions with people changed, they became quieter, more accepting, more gentle. I began to look in the mirror and see vessel as beautiful, the voices of the shadows were just that voices. I read the four agreements, and decided not to take the shadow world personally, it wasn’t about me. I came from a place of love and I just did my best. Every day I did my best. And some days were harder than others.

I closed my eyes and every night I allowed myself to symbolically die and to wake up with a new dream every day. Today is a new day, this moment is a new moment. I lived in the moment and I put my entire heart and being into Love. Love and sowing Love would be my life’s work.

A New Journey Begins

 

If I wanted to receive love I would give love, but more than just give it, I would be that love such that I was always receiving, always giving even in the silence.

There is no greater truth than Love.

I truly believe this.

Love, real love, observes, it asks questions, it is curious, but it does not Judge. It sees you for who you are, it’s unconditional, it doesn’t need, it is self-sustaining, self-illuminating.

My mission is to be so one with Love that I am one with all things, that I am self-sustaining, self-illuminating, that I am a conduit for love, that I am love. If Love is energy, it cannot be created or destroyed, then love is what we are all connected to, and to be oneness with Love itself, to be a conduit a vessel for it, is to be Oneness with all.

Love is a practice, a lifestyle, a way of being. It takes effort, even now I am writing this. Love. Love. Love. I write these words even in the face of people whose shadows look at me and still say I am not lovable, I am not worthy. But I am more than just lovable, I am Love. And every day I do my best to let that love flows through, to unblock and work through all the things that inhibit me from being that, and I hope to share that journey with you and those like you.

To do this other people and what they do aren’t my concern so much as what I do. I must lead the way by being the way, and that way is Love. And I believe that anyone can practice love, be love, to love themselves. And I offer the solutions that have worked for me on my journey.

A Life Of Love, A Life In Love

 

I value my relationship with the woman in this moment in time as it has manifested itself to me, who tells me I am not valuable. That I am not worthy. Where she treats me unequal, where she holds some people up and others down. I value that it has forced me to see her, really see her beneath the shadow, beneath the words, and in doing so it forces me to see all people who behave out of ignorance and pain and low self-esteem, out of a place in their heart and life that doesn’t come from love but from shadows. It’s forced me to see her and them and even myself truly as we are underneath all of the shadows, to see it in such a way that I can really love them unconditionally regardless of what they present, because I see who they really are, who we really are underneath it all, and these shadows all of that, they’re not the real you, or the real me, they’re things that will just go back in the box when it’s all said and done.

Most importantly I value what it has taught me about myself, my willingness and ability to love. It has helped me glean insights and hidden truths into the world around me. It has been only in the great sadness and adversity, only in the solitude and isolation that I have learned to open my heart to the way of Love, and it is only in this way did I learn how to really and truly Love her and those around me or at the very least begin the process of genuinely committing to the effort of learning to be that which I most want to be: Love itself.

By choosing to see the world and people in it beneath the shadows, to see the energy we all are, to embrace our most authentic selves: energy, light, Love, an eternal flame of Love, a Phoenix of Love, I begin the path of becomingness, of becoming Love, a conduit. It’s the idea that I live Love such that I see love in all that exists around me, that I live a life in love with all that surrounds me, that I become a being of this Love, of allowing myself to be what is our true self, sowing it in all that I do with effort in the beginning, effortlessly over time, Love is my life’s work.

So I offer you my Love, it is my heart, it is my work, and I sow it into all the things I do. I share with you my journey, my struggles and the insights I’ve gleaned, my path, my way is Love. I am Love. And so are you, there is no greater truth than the purity of Love, we just have to learn to let that Love shine through. This is my journey in doing just that. To Love is to serve, to serve is to rule.

How to Grow Mudita: Meditation and Practice, Learning to Cultivate Unselfish Joy

I thought that the first Article I would write about would be Love. A type of unconditional archetypal, godly Love. Metta even. But when I finally sat down after meditating on Love and the beingness of Love so much, something happened. The woman I was in love with who had been the catalyst for the downward spiral that would lead me up into the heavens, walked back into my life. And with it I felt the challenges of what it means to put Love into practice. Love for her joys, Love for her family, Love for the best friends she has, Love for her choices, Love for the new relationships in her life. Love even in the face of the voices that were threatening to undo all the work on Love that I had managed to cultivate in its absence. Prior to that moment the mantra I had been repeating day and night, day and night:

  • I am worthy, I am valuable, I am beautiful.
  • I am worth having.
  • I am love, I love.
  • My heart is precious, my heart is worth having, my heart loves.
  • I am not better or less than anyone else.

All of that began to fall apart as I surrounded myself with people who when they weren’t saying it, showed it:

  • “You are not worthy”,
  • “You are not valuable.”
  • “You are not worth having.”
  • “You are not beautiful.”
  • “You are not better, you are less than.”

And I began to challenge those voices in my head and I could hear them wavering, growing smaller, almost as if I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t believe in it. Like I had to convince myself of the truth that I knew:

  • But I know I’m worthy,
  • But I know people are lucky to have me.
  • But I know I am a great best friend.
  • But I know I am giving of my heart.
  • But I know that I am honest, and courageous. and loving, and lovable.

But…how can these things be true when my own lover, or my own best friend, or the woman down the street, or -insert name here- looks at me and says:

  • “You are not worthy, this person here is”
  • “You are not worth much of anything, this person in my life is”
  • “I would abandon you and throw you away for this person.”
  • “Did you really think you could replace her? No, you’re the one who is replaceable.”
  • We’re all laughing at you.

These voices became a challenge. I felt love in my heart, I could feel it. But slowly as my self-esteem entered into defensive mode, as my security in myself began to waver, I began to fall from love into darkness, even going so far as to wishing unhappiness. Perhaps then, if there were no other people in the way who made her happy in ways I cannot, then perhaps, the flitting thought crossed my mind, then perhaps, I will be lovable, I will be worthy, I will be valued. Immediately I caught myself slipping back into the habit of envy and jealousy, a poisonous trap. I gently steered my thoughts away and analyzed what was happening.

I was doing my best, but I needed a different method to challenge my thoughts, to fight back harder with love. The moment came when I closed my eyes. Analyzing the world around me I said:

  • Human Beings are Fickle
  • And yet still, I Love
  • I Love
  • I am Love
  • I wish for those I Love to be surrounded by Love; Even if that Love is not me
  • I will build a Garden of Love for those I Love, Even if it is without me
  • I will sit quietly and watch from my window enjoying from afar the Love that they have, in the same way one enjoys two birds flying together in the sky, or watching a birds nest grow.
  • I will Love; and allow the person who is meant to Love me, Love me; especially if that person is me
  • I will come from a place of not needing Love; but being Love itself

Re-Grounding myself into a place of Love I sit here today. It is today then that I’ve determined, my first post should be about Mudita. A guide towards combatting feelings of envy and transmuting them into feelings of Mudita, of Love.

What is Mudita?

A topic few people seem to talk about is “Mudita”. There are a ton of books and articles on how to love, on how to make friendships, on how to be kind, there are articles on how to ease jealousy and envy, but not on how to practice feeling the joy of people. There are even articles on how to be mysterious and distance and petty and cruel—but Mudita. The lack of discussion on this matter baffles me. In a world so full of competition, of the have’s and the have nots this is incredibly important.

In Buddhism Mudita is pure joy, pure, sympathetic, vicarious joy for another. It is the opposite of jealousy and envy. It would be for example the joy we feel when the person we are in competition with, who perhaps was once our best friend, wins the woman we both were in love with. It’s when you watch the lover you want start a family with another, the birth of their new or second child, the strength of their marriage, or even when they form a strong bond with another, all while they exclude you. It’s when a group of people chatter happily and avoid letting you into their circle. It can even be their success. Somehow for whatever reason they are doing well, they have the things we want to have, and it doesn’t have to be material, it could be spiritual.

It stands to reason then that the issue is not the other person, but ‘us’. The medicine to the poisons of jealousy and envy then seem to be to ground ourselves in an image of self-love, to rebuild ourselves up so that we see ourselves in a more positive light rather than projecting our feelings of insecurity onto others.

When we are secure in our selves we can project Mudita and the genuine success, happiness and love that surrounds others doesn’t bother us.

First you cannot have anything.

There is no person or thing in this world that can be owned or possessed. Everything you have is borrowed. It is from this perspective that I like to think we borrow our best friends, we borrow our lovers, all of these are experiences temporarily on loan to us. I’d like to believe and find it comforting to do so, that each spirit or soul for better or worse makes a spiritual contract with our higher selves. They negotiate and agree on lessons and experiences we need to learn, people we need to meet. Sometimes those experiences we agree to lead us to feeling sad and lonely, it is from this sadness and loneliness can we either stagnate and die, or enter a doorway of growth and compassion that transcends anything we could have ever known before. Other times we enter contracts with people that are related to joy and happiness and having someone with us always.

I believe we attract into our life the people and lessons that we need to have in this moment, that if we run into the same problem repeatedly it’s reincarnating into our life until we learn what it is we need to learn from it, and graduate to a new level of being that attracts a new lesson into our life. I’d also like to believe that it’s from the worst experiences that our hearts break the most, and it’s when they break, truly break we have the opportunity to unleash onto the world true love and beauty if we so choose.

Thinking in this way has allowed me to have some peace of mind, by offering the idea that things happen for a reason, that people are in our lives for a reason and that we are in control on a spiritual level we just don’t consciously know it. We can become conscious by this by deliberately choosing to grow or simply accepting ourselves as we are.

Thinking in this way also allows me to realize that the ‘having’ of things is futile, that if it can be lost it was never yours to begin with, and that the only eternal thing you can have is love and a connection to it, building this bond is with oneself is stronger than any relationship you can ever have, and it is in this relationship that you are always worthy, no more or less than anyone else.

I want what you want.

The second thing I remind myself is that we are all one, all connected. We all are born with basic needs, love and security. We all want these things, and if we are honest, I want what you want. Love. We seek Love in all kinds of ways indirectly and directly. It is in the absence of Love that all wars are formed. In this way, if Love and security is what you want, I want that for you as much as I want for me. It is impossible for it to come at the expense of me because I can create security and love wherever I go, independent of any one thing.

The only way to get love is to give love, is to encourage Love. To encourage security. In the movie, The Family that Preys, someone says “You cannot have happiness by destroying the happiness of others.”

It may give us temporary glee to think that we thwarted someone’s happiness so that they can suffer and feel what we feel, “If I can’t have him no one can”, but the truth is, when we destroy his happiness, we destroy the happiness of a million other people, and what we are left with is emptiness. We are left with ourselves, in the end what we do will always come back to us, in some way or form. If we never resolve to loving ourselves we live at the mercy of others and their whims, abilities and limitations, destroying all things around us without love simply because we could not allow love into our hearts in response to another person’s love that excluded us but included another; simply because we were limited in our ability to stretch, expand our hearts and love ourselves enough to genuinely love outside of ourselves without condition.

Imagine instead if we sowed love, if we encouraged love. If we pushed love together all around us, if we felt joy in the love of those around us, even the things that we love but don’t have the illusion of having. Love so great such that we felt it as if it were our own. If we said, “I don’t care if you love me, I don’t care who you love, so long as you love anyone, anything with all of your heart, and never stop loving or giving, and you sow that love all around you.”

I meditate on that feeling, I imagine myself sowing love. If for every drop of sadness we felt in our hearts we instead planted a seed of Love, well. We’d have a garden of Love. But if everyone went out of their way to make someone suffer or to deny love to another, in response we spread unhappiness, misery and love and we essentially prevent ourselves

Coming From a Place Of Lack

For whatever reason we tend to function on the basis that the things we want in this world are in short supply. The Law of Supply and Demand. We don’t tend to believe that the world is full of abundance and that there is not a short supply of anything. Resources are limited, people are Limited, there is only one you. This is true on one hand, but if you look deeper there is no shortage of what you want and what that ‘you’ is made of. Energy, atoms, oneness, the sharp lines and edges that define you beneath a microscope at the tiniest of levels start to blur, underneath it all we are all made of the same stuff, energy, light, love.

There is no shortage of love. We are all capable of love and some of us are more capable at allowing that love to shine through us than others at any given moment but we can all learn to love and come from a place of love. This starts by realizing that there is nothing that I have to offer you, that you can’t give yourself, there is nothing she can offer him, that he can’t get himself. We all can give love. When it comes to Love and unrequited Love and even unrequited friendship we tend to focus our attention on the person’s shadow, their ego. I refer to this as part of the shadow world the illusions, a shapeshifting mask we wear. We are drawn to some shadows, some people more than others.

But in a world full of billions and billions of people, all made of the same stuff, all with different frequencies and tasks; why is it then that we choose to centralize our existence on a singular person, rather than exploring the world of love around us? Because there is no person like them? There is absolutely nothing that could possibly be better or more compatible or contribute to the joy that you feel, only this one person, thing or quality? Your entire world centers around whether they love you or because they have something that you don’t have? Some admirable quality, some bond, some family, some thing or object, some imaginary projection of idealized happiness that you want?

On the one hand you’re right, in our lifetime I will never meet another you, another soul identical to you, I may meet someone like you, or similar to you, but it won’t be you. If I lost my child, and had another child, no child would be like the one I had before, nor would any dog or cat. People are irreplaceable. In this way, there will never be anyone who can be you ever.

On the other hand no one person, holds a monopoly on love or a beautiful experience in life, because there is no shortage of love and each of our individual experiences are equally qualified to be just as beautiful as the next persons. Love radiates through everything, it is everything. And if you function from the basis that only one person, one type of experience, one object, one thing holds a monopoly, that when denied to you in some one– such as if that one person does not allow themselves to love or appreciate you, but gives it to another, or a person attains something that you have projected and imagined that you want, then right there you have given your power away. And the power you have given away is the power to Love. To Love not just yourself and to love others and to Love them enough to let them be free, all because you come from a place of lack.

What makes any object or event or thing so special that you would give up your ability and power to truly love yourself and consequently them in return. This is not just a form of self-harm, but destructive to you and the people around you, including the ones you claim to love.

Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company

It is no secret that this entire website was founded on the basis of Love, that all things are Love, that we are all pure Love. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true, but this is more than a truth to me. This is a way of being, a way of living, a way of seeing. Humans have a special gift, the ability to create the reality around them through their thoughts, their perceptions to shape the world. To build it. When I come from a place of love, and see the world from that place, my entire being changes, my heart changes. If I look out on the world and see the world as full of love, but functioning from a place where we suppress and do not allow it to flow through us, then I feel truly feel the Law of Abundance and my connection to all things. And it’s in that place where I can practice positive solitude. A place where self-love trumps loneliness such that I enjoy my own company.

To enjoy your own company it’s crucial to tap into that reservoir of pure love, feel that unconditional love and extend it towards ourselves. Before I believed the world was made of Love, that there was nothing of Love I used to feel really bad about myself. People had ostracized me, gossiped, put me down, they found all sorts of reasons I wasn’t welcome. In fact my worst fear was that people would see through me and into my heart and see me for the ugliness I believed I was underneath it all.

I remember one day listening to Buddhist Monks and they were meditating and talking about feelings of guilt and empowering yourself by taking responsibility for your actions but not the actions of others (blame). But what I remember the most was they separated my behaviour from myself, explained why I behaved the way I did, and they said you are lovable. When I was saddest, I used to close my eyes and imagine the monks meditating daily sending their love out into the world towards me. I meditated on forgiveness and love, and I realized of course I am lovable, to be lovable means that you are loved by someone, and someone does love me, many people who I don’t even know, who I’ve yet to meet love me. Even those of us who have behaved the worst and committed the most terrible atrocities out of ignorance and lack of self-love are lovable.

To enjoy your own company is to realize you are lovable and to love yourself.

We often don’t see the whole picture

It’s hard sometimes. We look at someone and we covet it, we have that ‘girl crush’, we want to be her, because maybe if we were her or him, maybe the person or thing we wanted would love us, maybe we’d feel love. But there are few problems with this:

  • Nobody’s life is perfect, everyone has to work for the things they love. The saying the grass is always greener on the other side because it’s fertilized with manure fits perfectly here. We are often seeing the side of them they ‘want’ us to see, the ‘perfection’ they attempt to emulate. The ‘gilded’ fences. We don’t always get to see their struggle, their pain, their weakness, we usually just see the ticky tacky on the surface. We’re on the outside looking in, dreaming of the fantasy but not the hard work and the pain and the sweat and tears that takes to get there and to maintain it for the most gilded of us. We don’t get to see the pain, low-self esteem and even lack of love that fuels their success, that they may feel on the inside, all the while they project an ‘idea’ of everything is great. Such happiness is conditional, such happiness is an illusion, it’s based on situations, people and things and even a hierarchy that involves looking down on others so they can feel above someone and better in some way. You have to be willing to love yourself enough to want more than the ‘false-we-are-better, ‘I’m better, you’re not’ projection that society tends to encourage.
  • There is more to life than a person(s) who is unable to value you, an experience with them that you wish to have, no one thing is the center of the universe. More honestly ask yourself what is it about the person who has rejected you that is so special that you would give them so much power to define your worth. Everyone is special, do not get me wrong, everyone is worthy, but sometimes the people who exclude people the most are the people who feel the least worthy, and seeking it by attempting to break you and others around them down.
  • You can remove the middleman, and create something just as beautiful it may take work and even tears, it will definitely take effort, but imagine building something so beautiful, true and pure in your life that other people will want for themselves. And, if you are honest with them, you can use it to lift other people up and not down as others may have tried to do to you before, as we have been trained to do to others. We can lift those up by encouraging them that they too are worthy, that they can be their best selves, they can achieve the same in their own way. This nothing to lose type of honesty takes work to maintain, to maintain that happiness and peace and love. It will not be done in a day, if you committed as much to it as you did loving another or hating another into your own well-being, and heart (love), you would have your own paradise by now.

Look Beneath the Desire

We can realize that what we envy in people is just admiration. It is possible to admire people without putting yourself down. To truly admire them. When we feel jealous of someone we don’t feel jealous of them, we feel jealous of the idea we are projecting onto them or what they are projecting. There is nothing wrong with admiring the love someone has and working to build a relationship and love with someone who will see and appreciate you. There is nothing wrong with making room for that with a person who is meant to share that experience with you, and there’s nothing wrong with admiring and loving yourself even if others don’t do it, or your experience and situation does not look like someone elses. There is beauty in who you are and what you’ve been through, and more importantly what you have to give.

List your Strengths

Everyone has a list of strengths. I’ve compiled a list of a few things that have helped me on my journey of rediscovering my worth, value and strengths. My inherent gifts, dreams, the things that make me special and consequently learning to cultivate them and give back in a way that serves others. I am sharing them here in hopes that it perhaps could help you to do the same.

I will list a few great ways to do this
based on

  1. Take an Inventory of your Strengths (VIA).
  2. Create Affirmations surrounding those strengths.
  3. Figure out what you want and find ways to give it to others.
  4. Challenge yourself and the voices that say you are not lovable; for every reason someone (whether it’s your voice or not) says you’re not lovable you find a reason in your head for why you are lovable; and if you can’t find a reason then ask yourself why you aren’t lovable and things you’ve done to prove that you aren’t lovable.
  5. If there is nothing lovable not even a single thing you can find, then ask yourself why that is and if you want to change that; then ask what you could do to be the lovable person you already are.
  6. Realize that nothing other people do is about you, this is about you and your relationship with you, just like the things people do is about them and their relationships with themselves we all just happen to interact with each other’s worlds.
  7. Focusing on building a you-first relationship, do things that make you feel good but remember to speak with love and act with love, this is not an excuse to hurt others, but to kindly prioritize your needs so that you love yourself.
  8. Ask yourself who is the best version of your most authentic self and what do you need to grow into this best version of your authentic self (your authentic self is not what others want or tell you to be, but who you truly feel you are).
  9. Ask yourself who you want to be and why and then work on being that best version of yourself.
  10. Write down things that would make you happy and what it would look like, these are things you are projecting onto other relationships, work on ways to emulate and be the very things you want.
  11. Go on a heroes journey where you discover your inner worth and value and cultivate that feeling, those feelings are your weapons against negative thinking and breaking the pattern.
  12. Figure out your Life’s Purpose with This handy reflective Test (The One Question).
  13. If possible choose your company wisely, be picky and selective on the people you surround yourself with; this is especially important in the beginning of the practice, as the voices of others can sometimes set you back, if you can’t change your surroundings, then be selective about the thoughts you let hold weight and be ever vigilant about doing things that remind you of your inherent worth and value.
  14. Alternatively ask people to give constructive (meant to build you up) rather than destructive criticism (meant to devalue and break you down for their own sake); in cases where this is not possible a handy skill is to learn how to view the constructive criticism beneath the destructive words, use it to strengthen yourself. Dismiss anything said only to break you down and build themselves up.
  15. Seek counsel from those who love you and want the best for you, not themselves; sometimes this means seeking your own counsel.
  16. Make room for the people who will value, and cherish you. This is important especially in the beginning, it is important to be careful as to not attach or depend on the whims of other people cherishing you or not as their opinions could change today or tomorrow based on something you said or didn’t say that lined or didn’t line up with your beliefs. Your love and worth in yourself has to be strong as people who value you today may not value you tomorrow, but your love and care for yourself with practice can remain constant.
  17. Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day, everything takes time!
  18. Create a daily meditation or Practice on things you can do each day to cultivate love for yourself and others
  19. Take it easy on yourself, do your best on any given day.
  20. Forgive yourself.
  21. Practice seeing abundance, joy and love in all things.
  22. Practice Metta meditation and Tonglen, these are great although difficult practices that revolve around cultivating joy for others, breathing in sadness and breathing out love. With time it gets easier.
  23. Find ways to be happy that is not dependent on anyone or thing but on things that you can do.
  24. Cultivate unwavering self-love.
  25. Imagine the happiness of those around you, smile for them, and then, imagine happiness in your life and smile for you.
  26. Realize that there is peace and even love in solitude too.

Below are some books I will be recommending, but if you don’t get a chance to buy or read them don’t worry, we’ll be talking about them in weeks to come.

Books:

  1. The Way To Love, Anthony De Mello
  2. The Four Agreements,
    Don miguel ruiz
  3. Positive Solitude, Rae Andre

Free Online Resource.

  1. VIA Institute of Character
  2. The One Question

Other Articles and discussions on Mudita:

  1. Be Happy For Others
  2. Mudita
  3. Mudita: The Buddha’s Teaching On Selfish Joy

Guided Meditation on Forgiveness and Self-Love:

  1. Meditation Oasis: Podcasts
  2. Self-forgiveness meditation, by Jack Kornfield
  3. Self-Love Heart Meditation, Andrew Weil
  4. Thich Nhat Hanh, The End of Suffering
  5. Meditation Forgiveness, soul-link productions

Other Resources for Inspiration and thought:

  1. View On Buddhism: Guilt
  2. Heroes Journey, Character is a vital lie, Shots of Awe
  3. The Ancient Heart Of Forgiveness
  4. 12 Principles Of Forgiveness