Saturday, December 15, 2012


Another paradox that requires a delicate balance exists between individualism and communalism. Oftentimes, people overemphasize one over the other. Some cultures promote a sort of rugged individualism that denies the social nature of humans, while others who champion altruistic community, neglect the fact that if people fail to put themselves first, no member of the community will be strong enough to contribute to it.

Speaking of community, the modern vernacular of this term has morphed into a concept synonymous with a simple group of individuals. Yet, according to its roots (and another book by M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace), it is much more than what we think of it. It is actually a notion that revolves around sharing and involves openness, vulnerability, honesty, trust, acceptance, tolerance, and diversity, as well as - and potentially most importantly - respect. A true community will have respect for all that is shared in common - which is by far more than the ways in which participants differ - and respect for the fact that each participant has a right to their differences.

Communitas supports the individuals in it by respecting their similarities as well as their differences; it supports diversity, appreciates participants for who they are, and helps them be the best that they can be, while not seeking to conform them into some version of what we think they ought to be.

I have experienced this miracle in fleeting moments, and I hope to see more of it more often :)

Moral imperative

It is your moral imperative to always do what is in your rational long-term self-interest.

Being “selfish” should cease holding a negative connotation, for how can you be of benefit to anyone else if you neglect to take care of yourself? According to a philosophy called Objectivism, the greatest virtues to uphold are rationality, by employing your brain; honesty, by committing to truth; justice, by being equitable; independence, by remaining responsible for your own life and never living for the sake of another nor asking another to live for yours; integrity, by standing firm on your principles and applying them consistently to all that you do; productiveness, by being useful and fruitful and contributing to your life and to society; and pride, by valuing your self and your output.

If each person were to put their own self-interest first, we would live in a thriving world. Many say that selfishness leads to some gaining at the expense of others, but since when did anyone find health and happiness through lying, cheating, and stealing? No: unethical practices are spiritually toxic, and are in no one’s rational long-term self-interest, as are any other self-destructive behaviors, many of which tend to fall under the umbrella of instant gratification. It is in each person’s best interest to be cooperative with others, since we are social beings who flourish in healthy communities.

Be charitable, volunteer, rear children – if you like – but only support causes or people you value, and be sure that your support is aimed at their growth, and does not engender long-term reliance, for fostering dependence is a great injustice – to the individual, as well as society.

Perhaps a wider adoption of greater selfishness would produce a more thriving existence...


Life is paradox.

Another Peck gem, he artfully illustrates that this truth is best met with embrace. We must not seek to obliterate one extreme in favor of its counterpart, but affirm both the light and the dark, and seek balance. The miracle of life is its persistence alongside entropy. I have always valued balance and made it a priority in my life, as I found it a crucial element to my inner peace and happiness. Therefore, I have deep appreciation for this broader view of it: that everywhere in existence we find paradox, and that it is not meant to be solved, but to be balanced.

We're all familiar with the dichotomies of good vs. evil, and emotion vs. rationality, and I've mentioned the dilemma of prioritizing current possessions vs. desired possessions. However, these opposing forces are not meant to fight out battles of elimination, rather we are meant to seek out ideal harmonies among them. It's not about banishing the darkness for the sake of the light, for those who live in the light will always cast shadows; it's not about listening to your head OR your heart, it's about informing each with the other; and it's not about appreciating your gifts at the expense of your dreams, it's about utilizing gratitude to manifest abundance.

Recognize dichotomies as paradox, and pursue equilibrium.


Calling again on the insight of M. Scott Peck, who listed balance among the four tenets of discipline, I am grateful for his elucidation and expansion on this distinctly essential virtue.

Balance is a thing to which I feel particularly sensitive. What is required to achieve it is different for each person, and its perceived importance varies as well. For me, it is crucial; I know that I like an eclectic array of interests to be served in my life, and that moderation is a great equalizer.

In general, balance requires strength, determination, discipline, and ultimately flexibility. Balance means maintaining a sense of evenness, but it also involves a capacity for adaptation to achieve such maintenance in a changing world. In order to stand on one foot on a hill in the wind, you have to be able to constantly make minor adjustments as the forces change. Similarly, in order to preserve balance between opposing forces in your life, you must support an equilibrium; it's not balance if you favor one extreme or the other; you have to accommodate each of them to a degree that zeros your scale, so to speak.

May you find peace and harmony :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bedtime meditation

While bedding down last night, I found my brain searching for a meditation to use to transition from evening activities to sleep, and "Now I lay me down to sleep" came to mind. I don't relate to the rest of that psalm, so I rewrote it:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray my soul to venture deep
For in my mind the truth does wait
To be revealed and emanate

I can't say I noticed anything upon waking, but I found sleep quickly and pleasantly :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Equinox

How fitting! Today marks the beginning of Fall, and I got a hankering to yank out all the dead foliage from a particularly dense part of my yard. I don't usually put much effort into the upkeep of the yard at my rental home, but now and then, I just can't help myself from tidying up a bit. As I worked, I realized the apt timing, and remembered that now is the season for shedding waste. I already made a Goodwill run last weekend, so I got a head start on my material life, and I got rid of a lot of used up matter today, so now I get to focus on dumping the ineffective thought patterns and counterproductive emotional processes that no longer serve me. Over the next three months, I shall strip down to my essentials, continuing to weed out my unnecessary belongings, as well as emptying my mind of impractical contents. That way, come Winter, I can repurpose my whittled possessions to better serve me, and rejuvenate those aspects of myself I have shunned or neglected, and become a stronger, more efficient Me by Spring, in time for the planting of new beginnings, before the Summer festivals for the fruits of our labors :)

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 21, 2012

World Gratitude Day!

How wonderful is that?! World Gratitude Day :) It's like an extra, global, Thanksgiving!

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has posted a short list of suggestions for ways to celebrate this glorious day, including making a "personal gratitude card" with 5 things for which you are thankful in your present life, and on the back, 5 things for which you will be grateful to receive in the future. What a fabulous idea! I second that recommendation :)

And of course, just be sure to say "Thank you" as you go about your day - to those who help you, to those you appreciate, to those who irritate you but thereby educate you, to yourself, and to Omni!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gratitude - a little ditty

I previously re-wrote the "star light, star bright" poem to go from a wish preamble, to a thanks preamble:

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight:
[insert secret wish here]

Star light, star bright,
Shining star I see tonight,
I fill with joy at Omni's might
and give thanks for this tonight:
[insert cause for gratitude here]

But I've recently found myself making a new minor, but substantial, alteration:

Star light, star bright,
Shining star I see tonight,
I fill with joy at Omni's might
and give thanks FOR THIS NIGHT
(emphasis added for this post)

Nice, huh? Yeah, I like it :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"The end is the means"

I've been receiving a number of messages lately regarding end-centered focus. The concept is summed up in the quote by Judge Thomas Troward: "The end is the means." The idea is to begin each endeavor (or day, week, month, year, decade, life) with the end in mind, and then use that goal to guide your actions. This technique is also supported by learning theory: when it comes to teaching a series of steps, you begin with the big picture in mind, then teach the last step, and reward the student, followed by teaching the preceding step, adding the last one with the reward, and so on, always reinforcing the steps with the end reward, and reinforcing the learning by keeping the freshest steps at the beginning. With this idea in mind, I suspect you could work your way backwards, and solve all your decisions before you get out of bed.

I have heard this, and I understand it, but it has taken the repeated shoulder-taps to get me to start adding it to my work list. New ways of thinking take conscious effort to implement. I believe that I, too often, operate on a rather short-term basis, and not often enough, make decisions based on longer-term desired outcomes. This is not to say that I am highly impulsive (though, I certainly can be!), just that I frequently fail to effectively prioritize my efforts, and I'm thinking that this method might be quite helpful. With this technique, I could approach each decision point with a road map in hand, and in fact, I would likely run into less decision points, having set out with said road map from the beginning.

I've never been much of a planner - oh I have plans, I just don't usually formulate them very clearly - and it sounds like this could be hindering my efficacy. I have generally preferred the go-with-the-flow approach to life with minimal planning, since my early plans all fell through, but maybe it's just because I have never developed good planning skills. Perhaps the simple practice of starting each day with a goal in mind for how I want it to end will guide my actions naturally toward that outcome. And perhaps with continued practice, I can become more skilled at setting and achieving goals! My dad said his dad said, "A failure to plan is a plan for failure." I may just now be truly seeing the merit to that.

It is often said that the most successful way to manifest your desires is to visualize them, and that seems to fit perfectly with this line of reasoning, so it sounds like there's some pretty strong forces making a pretty strong case, and that I ought to make a pretty strong effort to reciprocate. So, with that, I would like this day to end with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment - which I believe will come from the completion of my commitments, and... let's say... five items from my to-do list - coupled with a glass of wine :) Well, here's one down!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer love

Well, it's official: July 5th typically marks the true beginning of "Summer" in the Pacific Northwest, and the weather forecast affirms it :) So, now that the sun is really beaming and the temperature is warm and pleasant, I get to really enjoy the rewards of being alive on this Earth! To me, growing up in this climate particularly, Summer equates to playtime. This is when I get out more, socialize more, laugh more, and smile more. I have set in motion plenty of personal growth tracks, and now, I just get to ride the rides, and sing happy songs :D

On a side-note, I've gone ahead and signed up for Google AdSense, so this blog will soon begin displaying ads. I am under the impression that they will be topic-related, so hopefully they won't be too obnoxious. In fact, I hope some of you actually find them interesting, as sufficient intrigue will bestow a monetary benefit to me :) I made this choice to start branching out on my sources of income, so that I might find sustainability while my main business continues its slow and steady growth. I trust you all will support my diversification, and I suspect there's a good chance you might also appreciate the personally selected links to specific products I believe you will regard as potentially useful.

I wish you all a bright and fruitful Summer this year - GO PLAY!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sowing spring seeds

Spring is here. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming. It's the time of year for new beginnings, and for sowing seeds - both literally, and metaphysically. However, I have very little knowledge or skills in the area of gardening, so I find myself learning as I go with the spiritual cultivation. As it turns out, though, this Spring, I am indeed embarking on a substantial new beginning: I've started my own business. This is also something of limited experience for me, as it is my very first such undertaking. Again, I am learning as I go.

I was pleased that circumstances unfolded as they did, with the timing of this new venture coinciding with the Spring season. As I go about my duties, I am discovering that start-up is very much a planting phase. I just sow, sow, sow the seeds of business, everywhere I go. But I am also sowing seeds of me - of a better, happier, more successful, brighter, future me, and I find it thrilling!

One of the biggest challenges for me personally, has been the continual uncertainty. I am not accustomed to balancing such a degree of unknown with such a long list of responsibilities. I guess this is where growing takes place. I suspect it is in precisely these kinds of challenges that our spirits find potent fertilizers.

My ongoing job is to remember that I DO have faith in Omni and in my inevitable well-being, and to continually maintain the balance between faith and diligence - "Trust God but tie your camel," spoke the wise Rumi. I find that to be a particularly soft line in the sand. I feel like a clumsy dancer keeping inside those guideposts, but dance I must, and dance I do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Be the light

Find your joy.

Then, protect it.

Don't allow the negative emotions of others around you to dim the light of your joy. Feel sympathy, or even empathy for their plight, but if you get bogged down in their darkness, it's much harder to regain your joy, and even more difficult to help those who suffer.

Earlier, I found myself, in a semi-lucid, semi-dreaming state, considering this problem of getting bummed out when someone around me is down, and my desire to not be so affected. I found that in my mind's eye, I was watching my spirit wrap my joyful heart in a sort of wicker-looking casing, which was semi-permeable in that it allowed light to pass in and out, but would block negativity from entering. How wonderful! :)

This also comes on the heels of a recently revived, dissatisfied awareness of my occasional hip-shot negative reactions to other people's mistakes (mainly while driving...). I have a tendency to curse people who seem oblivious, and what I find would be my preference is to develop a new habit of just shouting blessings. To the person who is slowing down through a green light, presumably because they are unsure of whether to turn or proceed: instead of, "What the eff?! Can we make this light while it's green?! Go!!", I should like to respond, "Omni! Give this driver clarity!", or even just the quick version, "Clarity!" I want to spend more energy praying for people than criticizing them.

I believe that the more we shine our lights, the more light we will have in our lives. When others around us are not the joyful, clever beings we wish them to be, let's all just pray for them to be so, support them as best we can, and carry on with maintaining our own joy and growth.

Happy day! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the air, it's all around

One of my favorite pastimes is listening to music. I often find it a very useful emotive tool. Something I've discovered along the way is the joy of making a slight mental shift when listening to love songs, so as to interpret them as being sung to me by Omni, or, in some cases, being sung to Omni by myself.

Some of my favorites for this are:

John Hiatt - Have a Little Faith in Me - (Omni - to - me)
Kelly Clarkson - Thankful - (me - to - Omni)
The Black Keys - Everlasting Light - (Omni - to - me)
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me - (Omni - to - me)

Check them out; give it a try! (Please excuse the crude YouTube videos...) If ever you are lonely, you can use this trick to turn love songs from painful influences into positive and heart-warming audio hugs :)

Omni is love. Omni is you. You are Omni. You are love. Love is you. Be love!

On this day of romantic celebration, I hope that everyone feels loved, and that everyone is giving love.

Happy Valentine's Day! :) <3

Friday, January 20, 2012

Responsibility and power

I subscribe to an e-newsletter, of sorts, titled "Notes from the Universe." Today's message included a line that took me by surprise: "With great responsibility, ... comes great power." At first, I thought, Yeah, yeah... like in Spiderman. But wait - the line in that movie was, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Huh... Both are equally true, but the difference is poignant.

This new perspective alerts us to the truth that the more we take on, the more we have at our disposal. The more things we enfold into our own purview, concern, and obligation, the more resources we have access to by virtue of authority. By taking responsibility of greater and greater aspects of our own lives, for example, we acquire greater and greater sovereignty over our own lives. When we go further, and accept increased responsibility in other areas of life - say, work, politics, society... - we find we are endowed with increased ability, confidence, and efficacy.

Alternatively, the less responsibility we bear, the more power we give away to others. If we are not responsible for our emotions, they will run us. If we are not responsible for our choices, someone else will make them for us. If we are not responsible for our own well-being, another will claim dominance over our lives. If we are not responsible for our work, our jobs will forever be subservient to those who are. If we are not responsible for the state of our State, we will find ourselves the subjects of despotism. If we are not responsible for the conditions of our surrounding communities, we will not find rewarding places within them.

There really is no facet of our lives for which we should not take full responsibility. Even in those incidents which occur involving forces beyond our control, we can still hold ourselves accountable for the roles we play, for the attitudes we choose, and for our responses to the events. Additionally, it is equally important that we learn to distinguish between which forces are beyond our control, and which are entirely ours to command. While we're at it, we would all do well to run regular checks on our thought processes for areas where we unwittingly forfeit power, by placing blame on others, claiming victimization by others, or demanding unearned benefits under the pretense of entitlement. When we attribute power to others, it is always at the expense of our own, despite any appearances to the contrary. Take responsibility wherever you find it, and you will have all the power you will ever need.