Squirrely Happiness?

I love childhood memories, and the way it shapes you into who you eventually are!  I’ve always loved feeding the birds and throwing out scraps for them since I was young and my grandmother would have a pot of scraps every day to throw out.  It was part of my childhood growing up and it is something that I continued as I moved onto my own independent routine.

My husband, however, who never grew up this way—or in the country—has a very hard time with me feeding the wild life.  It wasn’t part of his upbringing and he is not a fan of critters.  We’ve had a mouse in our garage before, and when it was caught in the trap he waits for me to dispose of the dead body.  He just can’t handle wildlife of any sort—dead or alive.

Daily, I feed the wildlife and love watching what is attracted to the food, and who claims what.  We have the biggest fattest crow that comes.  I never noticed what a beautiful animal they really were until I saw them very up close.  I was even informed by my son that there was a fox on our back patio.  I was away that day and didn’t get to feast my eyes on such a wonderful animal, but definitely heard from both of the males in my household that we are not having a wildlife sanctuary in our back yard.  Like I listen!

We also have lots of squirrels, which are my favorite!  One baby squirrel is now the love of my life and I adore watching him.  He’s so tiny, and has so much growing to do, but can he ever take the food and store it away somewhere.  He will find a heel of a bread and just gnaw away at it until it is small enough to fit in his stubby, little outstretched arms.  Then he will hold the bread with his little fingers wrapped tightly around it and will continue to nibble around the edges until it is small enough to carry in his mouth.  Finally, he will quickly scurry with this huge piece of bread, that is actually bigger than him, somewhere into the forest.

As I watch this little creature venturing on his own at such a tiny size, fending for himself, running here and there making sure nobody takes his huge piece of bread it makes me think of how humans doing the exact same thing!  Do we sometimes take on more than we can chew?  Do we try to be the little squirrel who can’t even pick up the piece of bread but are determined that we are going to make that piece of bread our own, no matter what we have to put ourselves, or our families through in order to do it?  Are we going through life a little squirrely thinking it will make us happy?

How many of us are convinced we have super powers and try to pack our lives full from sunrise to sunset?  Most of us in today’s society do, and for what?  Is there a reward at the end of the day if we have taken our children to two birthday parties, three different sporting events, went to work for a bit, made a four course meal, and spring cleaned, then went to an adult function all evening all on our day off?  No, there isn’t.  The only reward we get is realizing that we bit off more than we can chew and our health suffers from it.  Instead of being rejuvenated at the end of our weekend, we can’t wait to get back to work for a break.

You might not realize it at the time, but eventually your body will slowly shut down.  The fatigue and emotional strain will bring on lots of different kinds of aliments.  Science is proving this, but the human egos keep trying to think they are unaffected by this stress.

You might let your ego persuade you that you HAVE to do all these things on your day off, because the ego wants you to think that you are just THAT important and the life of your family would not be worth living if it wasn’t for you micromanaging every minute of their day.  Well, that is just totally your ego talking.  You have to learn to determine what is important and what isn’t.  Our bodies can’t afford the price of this crazy lifestyle no matter how attractive it might be to your ego.

I know you are thinking, “Well, how do I slow down when I have so many responsibilities?”  This is definitely not going to be easy.  You are dealing with deeply imbedded behavior patterns that were probably implanted when you were a child and your parents did the same thing for you.  Just because that is how you were raised doesn’t make it right.  You have to make the changes for yourself and your own children so that they stop this cycle of running ragged and biting off more than they can chew.

You have to make a conscious decision to make this lifestyle change.  You have to decide that you want a different way of life.  You have to choose to let your ego stop running your household, and let your true self take over.  When we let our ego constantly make us rush, and trying to squeezing every minute of daylight we are letting it rob ourselves of our own precious vitality.  When we let go of our ego and are calm and rested with our priorities in line, we glow of strength and beauty.

Instead of being like my little baby squirrel and biting of more than you can chew, try to start feeding your soul every morning with some sort of routine to calm your ego for the day.  Sit in silence and meditate.  Read a spiritual text that talks to you.  If you start your day off squirrely, your whole day will go squirrely, but if you start your day off relaxed and tapped into your true self, your day will follow suit.

Continue your day in this manner.  Slow down at work.  Remember to ask yourself, is this important or am I just doing it to boost my ego?  At meal times, take the time to enjoy your food.  Relax over your meal.  Try to stop multi-tasking while you eat.  Your body needs that time to energize itself.  Determine what is important to be doing in your free time and don’t be scared to ask people for help.

Let go of that squirrely ego that is torturing your days.  Relax and enjoy this trip called life, and don’t let it stress you out!  As Buddha once said, “Happy are those who have overcome their egos; happy are those who have attained peace; happy are those who have found the Truth.”  Find your happiness and peace today!

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Top 10 Wise Old Men

I have a weird confession to make.  For some strange reason, I absolutely love old men!  I know it sounds bizarre, but I totally understand where it has stemmed from.  I had the cutest grandfather in the entire universe!  Ever since I was born, I was so in love with this man. He had the softest disposition, yet put on a hard-core façade.  Deep down, however, I knew he was a teddy bear with a huge heart.

He only had a grade three education.  Born in 1911 he didn’t have the opportunities that we have today, and he decided to quit school and start making money for his family.  Even though he only had a grade three education, this man was a very wise man, and I could sit and listen to him for hours.  I loved how deep he was and how life’s troubles were never troubles to him.  He felt that we had to go through suffering to be better people, and this is something that I admired about him.  He lived through stomach cancer and other ailments that just mystified me, yet, never did I ever hear him complain of his upsets.

It wasn’t until lately that I really noticed how my crazy attraction to these wise old men was, and how I continued this obsession with my grandfather right into my 40s which is decades after his passing.  All I seem to read and watch are books, documentaries or YouTube channels about old men and their wisdom.  I have my top 10 list for sure, which I am pleased to share with you.

My favorite old man that I am obsessed with would have to be Emanuel Swedenborg.  This man was fascinating and has changed my life as a person and a Christian!  Through his spiritual experiences, or Near Death Experiences he has brought back tons of information to make the Bible make sense.  Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1688 this man was a total genius.  Check him out online at Swedenborg Foundation or their YouTube channel Off the Left Eye.  His teachings are eye-opening to say the least.  You can download his books for free off his website, so why not give it a read?

Secondly, a man who I hold dear to my heart who passed away three years ago is Dr. Wayne Dyer.  I love him and his teachings!  He is really the man who introduced me to many of the other old wise men that I am in love with!  Through Wayne’s love for spiritual teachings he exposed me to many of my favorite old men.

Which leads me to my third absolute favorite old man of all time, Lao Tzu!  This ancient Chinese philosopher, born in the 5th-6th century BCE wrote the Tao Te Ching.  This man was simply brilliant!  A true mystique.  I recommend you reading the Tao.  It’s only 81 verses of pure genius that is still important to apply to our lives today.  Also, a great read is Dr. Dyer’s book on “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life:  Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”  I actually just order it today to give to a friend of mine.  One of my must-have books in any library!

Another recommendation from Wayne, who is also an incredible wise old man is Peter Deunov, a Bulgarian philosopher born in 1864 who was an inspired teacher of the Perennial Wisdom.  He is also the man that Albert Einstein said this about, “The whole world bows down before me; I bow down before the Master Peter Deunov.”  That is how amazing this man is!  Definitely a man worth looking into if you enjoy this kind of teachings.

Also referred for me to read from Dr. Dyer was Saint Germain and the teachings from Guy Ballard who received Saint Germain’s teachings while climbing a mountain in California.  He has a series of books that are must-reads!

I can’t forget Sadhguru.  Number six on my list, this man’s real name is Jaggi Vasudev, but he now goes by Sadhguru.  Finally a man who is still alive! Born in 1957 he is probably the youngest of my favorite old men.  I love to watch him on Youtube.  He’s entertaining and uplifting.  His spiritual talks hit home with me, and I recommend you giving him some of your attention if you have the time.

My seventh favorite wise old man is Deepak Chopra.  Born in 1947 in New Deli, India, this man is brilliant in his field.  I’m sure you’ve heard of him, since him and Oprah are very close and have done many programs together on her Soul Sunday show.  If you don’t know who he is, check him out on You Tube, or I recommend his book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”.  This is a book I keep on my bedside table to read a bit daily!

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with the Pakistani, Yogi Bhajan who is number eight on my list.  Born in 1929, this was the man that brought Kundalini Yoga to the Western world.  If you haven’t tried Kundalini yoga, I highly recommend it.  It’s the most incredible exercise I have ever participated in, and I have tried many things in my time.  It just totally connects my mind, body and spirit in a way that is indescribable for worlds.  It is definitely the most out-there activity I’ve ever done, but the final product is amazing.

Another new favorite, who is ranked number nine on my list, is a native of Cuba, born in 1949, Alberto Villoldo.  I’m now on book number three of his, and what has drawn me to him is his knowledge in the Shamanic world.  I am very interested in the Shaman’s way of life and how they are so in touch with nature and their souls.  His books combines ancient Shamanic wisdom teachings with cutting-edge practices in nutrition, biology and neuroscience.  This man lived in the Andes and the Amazon for 25 years, experiencing and learning the way of the Shamans.  He is definitely worth checking out!

Last but not least on my list of favorite old men is Thich Nhat Hanh.  Born in 1929, this 91 year old Vietnam Buddhist monk is still strong in his field of teaching and is a man that everyone must be introduced to.  He has written over 100 books and even though I’ve only read 10 of the 100, I will read them all as part of my Bucket List.  He is more than intriguing and wiser than anyone can imagine.

I know that was my top ten men, but I can’t leave out the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi.  I love his poetry!  He has many great pieces, but the favorite quote of all time would have to be, “I looked in temples, churches, and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.”  This sums up my feelings to a tea.  Check out his work too, I promise he will touch your soul.

Hopefully this list of my top 11 wise old men can help guide you into some reading material to help you kick off your Spring reading material.  If loving my grandfather was the stepping stone for leading me to admire these incredible eleven men, then I think my obsession with old men have been beneficial for my life.  Without them I might be a lost soul, but through their teaching, I feel I’m a better person.  If I can inspire one person to open their minds up to any of these wise men’s work, I will feel accomplished.  Take time today to Google just one of them.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Love Your Kingdom

I love how time changes everything.  Most importantly, I love how time has changed me!  I look back on the person I was, and I am so glad that I am no longer that person.  I love how much I have grown, and matured.  My biggest life accomplishment is how I finally learned to love myself.

People would say, you cannot love someone else until you truly love yourself, and I thought that I did love myself.  But looking back on my life, I didn’t even as much as like myself.  People who love themselves aren’t critical of other people.  They don’t find faults in others.  They just love others like they would want to be loved because they realize that we are all one.

It took me a while to understand and digest all that goes along with this concept.  It wasn’t an instant connection for me.  It was a gradual shift in my life.  First, I started spending time with myself.  Learning to connect with myself.  I was portraying to love myself, but I didn’t like being alone.  If you don’t enjoy a person’s company doesn’t that indicate that you may not like that person?  Probably.  I finally clued into this and started spending more alone time with myself and low-and-behold, I did start to enjoy my own company.

Years later, I really crave my alone time and need it.  Some days, I would rather just be by myself to have my internal dialogue with myself.  Now, I really love hanging out with me.

Step two on this road to self-love was learning that I had to remove all negativity from my life.  The Law of Attraction really does exist, and every negative thought that we have affects our lives.  I had to stop being so critical of myself.  Forgive myself for my silly mistakes that I had made over my life and realize that I can’t go back in time, but I can change my future.  Changing this future meant giving up thoughts and beliefs that I was a bad person.  It meant that when I started being negative about something, I had to quickly change it and flood it out with positive thoughts instead.  This is a trained response and takes time to master.

Finally, I just clued in to this last tip on how to truly love yourself while I was studying 2 Samuel.  This chapter is about King David and how he was defending his kingdom and creating his dynasty.  In chapter 10, as I was reading that he was being attacked from the front and the back and that was when it finally all fell together in my brain.  We are all kingdoms.  Our bodies and minds are kingdoms.  These kingdoms area constantly under attack from all directions by negative thoughts that we bring on ourselves.

Thoughts of guilt, shame, envy, jealousy, anger, fear, anxiety and panic are all attacking us all the time, every day, but we have to fight for our kingdom like the wise King David did.  He was the greatest King of the bible, even though he committed adultery and tried to have his lover’s husband murdered, he repented and then rose his kingdom to great victories.

We are all models of King David.  Well, you might not have plotted to kill anyone, or had an affair on your spouse, but we all sin and do crazy things in this life that we regret.  You can’t let the guilt and shame of your past life bring you down.  Just like myself.  I’ve done some horrible things to my kingdom that I wish I could change, but I can’t.  I have to focus on fixing my kingdom from the ground up, or the inside out.

Even though David had turmoil in his life, especially after his affair and murder plans, he still enjoyed a very blessed life.  He had to go through these tragic events to become all that he was created to be.  He needed to hit bottom before he could rise his kingdom into the great place of victory.

We have to start thinking of our body, mind and soul as our own personal kingdom that our Creator has blessed us with and trusted us to become great rulers over.  We have to start fighting for it all.  It’s your choice what you do with your own personal kingdom that you’ve been given to reign over.  You can give into the attacks of the enemy of negativity and surrender to a life that we don’t want to live, or you can start using the power within each and every one of us to start fighting back with your own internal army to a victory like no other.

After studying this book of the Bible, I feel 2 Samuel 7:16 really sums it up, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”

Your kingdom, or your soul, will last forever, but what you do with this kingdom is totally in your reigning hands.  King David was so incredible because he took his job as ruler of his kingdom very seriously, and listened to what God put in his heart.  We all have the same repentant, loving hearts as King David, but we have to demonstrate genuine sorrow, and then move on.  We can’t look back on past regrets.  We have to keep battling forward until the army of negativity wave their white flag.

Once you see this white flag, you know the victory of truly loving yourself and the kingdom inside of you is yours.  As soon as those negative emotions start retreating, your life will totally change around.  David didn’t become this great King overnight.  It was a long road, as was my journey of self-love.  Day by day, you will see little victories, and it is these little victories that eventually have you ruling the throne of your kingdom with skill and precision, just like the great King David!

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Anchor of the Universe

I have loved being a parent since they laid my first born son into my arms at the hospital almost 16 years ago.  It was a change that happened deep inside of me.  I totally became a new person on this day.  Since that hot day in July, I have made my children my life, and put them in front of myself in every manner.  I would sacrifice my life for my children and actually some days I feel like I owe them my life!  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

It’s funny how when they first came into my life I read parenting book after parenting book trying to make sure I was serving them to the highest of my ability.  I wanted to teach them to become all that they were created to be, but somehow, they turned this intent totally around and now they are teaching me to be all I’ve been created to be.  They are showing me how to become a better person.  They are forcing me to keep an open mind and change my views and ways.

Now that my oldest is almost 16, I find myself nostalgic and reflecting on how we have all grown over this period of time.  The best thing happened to our family the other day.  My son made a very poor choice at school and had to make an incredibly uncomfortable phone call to me.  I could tell in the tone of his voice that he was devastated and trying to keep his emotions under control.

As he explained his situation and his disappointment in himself, I was put into an opportunity to implement my latest obsession…living by the Tao Te Ching.  That morning, I had been chatting with a friend about their “perceived” lazy daughter.  I had explained to them that laziness is just a perception and went on to teach them my favorite verse of the Tao Te Ching.  Verse 37 says, “The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.  If powerful men could center themselves in it, the whole world would be transformed by itself, in its natural rhythms.  When life is simple, pretenses fall away; our essential nature shine through.  By not wanting, there is calm and the world will straighten itself.  When there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.”

The most important part of this entire verse is the first sentence.  Do nothing and nothing gets left undone.  I was explaining to my friend to just let their child be, and watch how she will just blossom into the amazing creature that she really is.  But how many parents really want to try and control their children and create them into what they THINK they should be.

Right after this chat with my friend, I got my own test of practice-what-you-preach phone call from my incredible son.  A test to see what would I do in this situation?  How would I react when the shoe was on the other foot?  A situation that I thought I would never be faced with was starring me straight at me, waiting for my reaction.  Could I do nothing, and let the universe make sure nothing gets left undone?

To my surprise, I did just that.  A total calm came over me and I let my son just get out his feelings and reminded him of all the spiritual teachings that I’ve learned and been teaching him over the last four years.  I told him to stay in the now, he couldn’t change the past, but he could change how he reacted to this situation and his future.  We did a mindful hug over the phone to ensure him that I trusted he’d do all the right things to fix the unfortunate event to the best of his ability.  I reminded him that everything happens for a reason and something wonderful always comes out of our pain.

I left all punishment in his own hands and put the responsibility-ball in his court to see how he thought the situation should be dealt with.  Would he knock it out of the park, or strike out?  I tried my best to create no resistance in this situation and just let the universe take control.  I held strong to the last part of this verse, “By not wanting, there is a calm, and the world will straighten itself.”

After this was all over, and the waves from that day had settled, I did explain to my son how incredibly proud of him I was.  His choices on how he handled the entire situation was very mature and wise.  From apologizing to the people he wronged without my guidance or influence, how he took full responsibility for his own actions, to how his own self-punishment was exactly what he needed.  He took the appropriate steps he should have and he actually did anchor himself the universe that is found within him.  He was connected to the Tao without even realizing it…as we all are.  His true nature shone through in this trying time.  I witness it with my own eyes!

I think we all should try and change the way we think about power and success that has been forced into our thinking by this over-egoed society we live in.  We have to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be the best at everything, or out do others.  We don’t have to make ever thing perfect in our lives.  We are all going to make mistakes, but we can’t beat ourselves up.  We have to deal with the situation, learn from it and move forward.  Let nature take its course.

As parents, spouses, leaders, teachers and friends, sometimes we have to learn to just bite our tongues, extinguish our emotions, and let go of all control.  Just let what has to happen—happen.  We can fight the Tao or just give into it.  In all reality, this makes life much simpler.  Controlling things is what brings unneeded stress in our lives that all of us seem so desperate to get rid of…but none of us are willing to give up our control.  We want happiness and peace, but won’t release this part of us that will bring these treasures to each and everyone of us.

It’s time to let go of our need to try and control every little aspect of our lives.  Stop this obsessive wanting that the Tao talks about and you will find the calm.  The peace.  Let your children, your spouse, your friends and family just be.  Just let the Tao, the Universe, the Divine or whatever you want to call this higher power, take over.  It is going to in the end whether you want it to or not.  Why fight it?  Find your silence and let the Tao anchor itself to you.  I promise, it will never disappoint!

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