Depending on the part of the world you live in, stress can come in many different forms ranging from the threat of armed conflict in parts of the developing world to the thoughts of a difficult day in the office in more advanced economies. According to a recent Gallop Poll, in 2018 even as the […]
Key Points: A growing body of research supports the immediate benefits of meditation, such as reduced stress and anxiety levels, lower blood pressure, and enhanced happiness. Other benefits include improved attention, memory, processing speed, and creativity. Meditation may also help counteract age-related loss of brain volume and increase telomere length. By Meditating for 20 […]
An excellent perspective on working with your network to cultivate energy towards a common goal!
People are really good at networking. This is a survival skill – we know it since the times humans overgrown other animals in ability to cooperate, and leverage strength of others to advantage of all.
That said, world of capitalism prefers society to be atomized, broken to a lot of tiny shards of human being – each locked into a scary, boring capsule of “free personality”. This is good for business – fear is a #1 way of selling anything, lack of cooperation is great to keep majority uninformed on the problems discovered by some. A business can sell a lot of useless junk for a good money, before population in general figures it out.
And people feel that, and reject that. People suffer from anxiety, fear, uncertainty. They hate being tricked by fine print and chased by fake sales pitches. They desperately suffer from consequences of that imposed lifetime…
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This introduction is from CEO, Karim Delgado, to Brain Mechanics Foundation. A beautiful company formed by a humbling mission and some very awesome people. Please read on and follow their cause, as it will change the world for the better.
I want to officially introduce you to this beautiful, humbling, roller coaster ride that I’ve have been honored to be a part of for the past few years. 6 years ago my Father passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease and I made him promise to find a solution to this horrible disease. Having a health & […]
This photo, not the best clarity,but I took this photo as I observed this beautiful moment of how the light, the energy of our magnificent star, the sun displays its brilliance through the cloud formations, through the atmospheric layers that alter its path towards the Earth.
This morning when reflecting upon this photo and a previous conversation with my wife about “purpose”, I somehow connected the dots between the two, to come to a fairly profound conclusion. You see, I’ve often asked myself, probably like many of you, “Matt, what is your purpose?”. The standard answer to myself, “To do good for the world”, “to make the world a better place”. Man, I have to be honest, for years it has felt like a pretty tall order! Honestly, there were times in my life that I have allowed this desired “purpose” to frustrate and overwhelm my mind!! (Rather counter-intuitive).
Over the past couple of years, I have been working on a project with some pretty extraordinary folks, with that same purpose in mind, “making the world a better place”. Hey!!! I’m fulfilling my purpose….right??? Yet, for some reason there were moments I still had that frustrated and overwhelmed feeling. (Creatures of habit we are) 😁.
Through the years I have come to understand, no, I have come to experience that everything in life is about flow. From within our bodies, to social and economic structures, natural and ecological systems, universal systems, all the way down to the sub-atomic nature of all things. The underlying foundation of all things is the flow (or lack thereof) of that particular system. Let’s face it, when we inhibit the flow of anything, we place a limitation which in turn causes an expansion of that area. Ultimately producing some sort of agitation.
For example, if we inhibit the flow of the gastrointestinal system, the walls of that system expand and, well, we’ve all experienced the agitation of gastro discomfort…!!
Okay, so what does any of this have to do with Purpose? Well, as I gazed upon this photo, I observed the beauty of the light shining through and around the clouds! This magnificent flow of energy making its grand show of power, as it broke beyond the limitations of the clouds, offering life to this Earth! The light of the sun doesn’t have a “goal” of giving life to this planet, its “goal” or better said, its “purpose” is to just keep on shining, to keep on sending its energy, it’s power, it’s force……it’s flow to all things…..to every thing that it meets!!
In a similar way, I have come to experience that this same energy shines within me….within all of us….it’s just covered with layers of clouds….layers of limitation. I realized that the feeling I get when I am just doing a task, a deed, engaging in an experience….in a selfless manner….no strings attached….is that same light, that same energy shining through! I’ve just opened up a spot in those layers of clouds and let that light flow through!!! This….in my mind…..is the perfect illustration of VOLITION and its significance!
I came to realize, my “goal”, “my Purpose” is not to make the world a better place!!! Just like “the goal” or “the purpose” of the sun, is not to give life to this planet! My purpose is the VOLITION that defines my action. It is the VOLITION that allows that flow of magnificent energy to shine through. Through this VOLITION….I am offering (as you can too) to all those around me….to all things I do…..and to all things that I am working on….the glimmer of that light….the instance of flow….that will give life to the project…..to the experience….to the person that it touches…just as sun and its energy gives life to this Earth.
Let your VOLITION allow the light within shine through!! It’s a beautiful experience….I promise you….I am sure every one of you have experienced this feeling….this light shining through!! Yet, just like the clarity in that first picture, you just didn’t know it…it wasn’t fully clear ….the foundation of its source!! Let VOLITION give you the clarity to see the source….feel the flow….to give you PURPOSE…and experience the true nature of your self!!!
May you all be peaceful….may you all be happy….and thank you for taking the time to engage in this experience I have shared. Much Love to you all!!
The other day, I had someone ask why paying attention to the breath is so important for a good mental state and an integral tool for strength. This was the general idea of my response. The breath is an amazing phenomena that we as human beings have been given, to not only provide our cells with the oxygen needed to nourish our bodies with energy and life, but, it is an excellent example of the essence of faith. The breath is a mechanism that illustrates both the feeling of control ( i.e. Taking a Deep breath), as well as the realization of trust (or faith). When we do not lay attention to controlling the breath, the brain/body takes over and handles the job without fail (well until the inevitability of impermanence rears its truth).
Similarly in life, we have this illusion of ultimate control, as we lay attention to the acute situations in our life and do our best to manipulate in a manner to gain our desired outcome. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Yet, in the long term, we ultimately experience the truth, which is this perceived control is truly an illusion. Eventually this reality becomes apparent, even if momentary, at some point in life (some sooner, some later) and as we relinquish this illusion of control, we realize the truth behind faith, for that which many call God.
Just as our respiration is regulated without need of our control or interference, faith allows that which was meant to be, come to be. Sometimes the outcome is congruent with the illustration one has in mind, sometimes not….but either way using control or using faith, the outcome ultimately is the same (long term). Yes, certainly as we attempt to control our outcomes, our destiny, there are small battles that are successful, usually at the expense of enormous amounts of energy and resources. Yet faith allows for a conservation of energy as well as the opportunity to realize that just as I sit here and write and my breath goes in and out without effort, so too will life with a true understanding of faith.
So are we the master of our own destiny? Well, I would suppose so, for we are the master of our reactive nature. Yet often our view of what we desire our destiny to be, and what it ultimately is, are very skewed. The only real truth we know of is, we are born, the current moment, and that we will eventually move on from this life. It is truly amazing once one begins living this truth, how everything you need manifests itself. (caveat…what you need isn’t always what you want….Que Mama Odie from Disney’s Princess and the Frog singing “Dig A Little Deeper”).
So, if you need a boost, some strength, not only trust in faith, experience faith. Close your eyes and just observe your natural respiration, just as it is. No control, no interference, just observe. It is this place that you experience the truth behind faith. The truth behind God. Here, you will find the strength you seek. For just as breathing without thought or effort is a miracle of faith…so is the river of life. For, no matter how much control we think we might have, the river will continue to flow whether we fight its current or have faith and meander down, accepting what it brings with love and a smile. May you all find peace and strength in your faith my friends and may you all experience the happiness and love we were all meant to live.
Look at that face, that tongue, it doesn’t get any cuter than that, right? This
little girl is Bugsby. Bugsby is a French Bulldog that has had one adventurous life. From the time she was a puppy, she’s liked adventure, she loves to roam in search of that next smell. You could call Bugsby a bona-fide explorer, a free spirit. Bugsby is one of our sweet fur-babies.
The start of 2016 had a lot of new beginnings for our household and it looked to be a great year. We had six (well seven) beautiful children. There’s our two-legged versions, Lucas and Luci, a trio of loving pups, Bugsby, Ling-Ling and Little Bones, a sweet kitty, we call Kit-Kit, and Bubbles, the Beta (that’s the seventh, if I didn’t mention Bubbles, Luci would let me have it!). Our household was full of all kinds of love! One of our new beginnings was that we decided to take a leap of faith, try to tighten our belts (a lot) and have one of us come home and take care of this big household. Lucas was six-months old at the time, Luci was eight, and it just made sense to us. So, I drew the straw, since Pam (my wife) had the tenure and income to seal the decision. Lots of good things in store for this New Year!!
Meet Stephy, Pam’s younger sister. Take a look at that smile, the energy and the beautiful spirit of love in her eyes. Such a ray of sunshine in so many ways. From a young age, she developed an unwavering compassion for animals like no other. Often rescuing and bringing home all forms of wildlife she had found while exploring. From birds fallen out of nests, to a baby squirrel that became a household pet, to turtles that she would find. Heck, she even brought home a pair of Sugar Gliders once, the list goes on and on. She, like Bugsby, an adventurer and most definitely a free spirit. Even as she ventured into adulthood, she dedicated a large portion of her time to various animal organizations. Pet Rescue by Judy and Loggerhead Marine Life Center, just to name a couple. In fact, her given nickname was Turtle.
Bugsby and Stephy you could say, are kindred spirits! Their personalities are very similar, with their goofy fun-loving energy, their love for the outdoors, their flare for being mysterious, yet always the life of the party! There is no question that there were forces from beyond that brought these two together. You see, Stephy and her boyfriend at the time Troy, were Bugsby’s parents.
As life often does, it took a turn, and Stephy and Troy made some changes in their lives that required these two kindred spirits to be somewhat apart. Bugsby came to live with us, where, if there was a second best option needed, our home was the place! Stephy knew that we would love Bugsby, just as she did. So, Bugsby lived a pretty charmed life in her new home and her new family obviously fell in love with her. Yet, through the years, Bugsby became the ultimate escape artist, as to fulfill her desire to explore. She would find ways to get out and peruse the neighborhood. We had to become excellent sleuths in solving the mystery of her whereabouts. We would use the local app Nextdoor to get the message out. We also had some really nice folks in the neighborhood that became part of our team, when she would go on what I would call a “walkabout”. She never ventured beyond our neighborhood, but she did like to explore.
Then, for lack of better words, the real 2016 started to unfold. Our beautiful story made a horrible turn for the worse. January 31st, 2016, after a trip to the local grocer, while unloading the car, the door to the house had stayed open long enough to give just enough time for our little escape artist to make her move. I, the top sleuth in the household, was out-of-town working my last trade show. Thankfully, Stephy and Pam’s mother were visiting, and they went on the search. Yet, after searching for hours, no Bugsby. It was dark, it was cold and we really started to worry. Initially, I posted her missing on Nextdoor, as I had so many other times. By morning, we had heard nothing. We then expanded the search to Facebook, Craigslist and Instagram, to no avail. By then, I was home from my trip. The following days we reached out to local veterinarians, shelters, animal control and SPCA and asked them to post the flier I had made. We Posted fliers on all street signs, local restaurants, grocery stores and shops that would let us. We even shared one with the mailman. I called Avid, the chip maker that monitored the chip inserted inside Bugsby, and reported her missing/stolen and asked that they put her on alert.
I then started looking beyond local, finding and learning so much about organizations that build networks to help locate missing pets. It was such an endearing experience. We talked to folks such as R.O.M.P. (Return our missing pets), Lost Dogs Florida, Zeustroop and so many more. They used their networks and resources to shoot out our flier to not only their followers, but, also other organizations that they work together with in their network. It was amazing the depth of their network. We had people all over the country looking for Bugsby. They offered fantastic information and ideas of things to do that would offer a better chance of success. They sent me stories of hope. I would look on their Facebook Pages and sites to see other families reunited. There were also other local folks that had recently lost their Frenchie’s that started contacting us via Facebook and offering their support and ideas. There was one gal that we became close to, feeding off of one another for hope. We even entered a 5k Color Run as #TeamBugsby and made shirts with our flier on them. We had lost our baby, Stephy’s baby, and were becoming desperate.
Then a call, a young man left a voicemail, offering a glimmer of hope. I called the number back and got his voicemail. He called back again and I got him this time. He said he was confident that he saw Bugsby. He said he had seen our flier on Craigslist, and that he saw Bugsby in St. Cloud, offering a street intersection. I sent Pam and Stephy a text, immediately jumped in my car and went there, to find there was no such intersection. I called the guy back to clarify and he said that maybe he got the street names confused. I asked if he had really seen Bugsby, and he confirmed that he had. I drove around the area to find nothing. The same guy called again the next day, and gave me another spot close to that area, this time I calmed myself and looked at Google Maps first. Again no such intersection. I did a search on his number, and it did not jive with his personal story and the number had complaints of a prankster. I let Stephy know, and she blew a gasket!! She reached out to her hundreds if not thousands of friends and asked that they “troll this guy!” Needless to say, the calls stopped. Stephy came to town anytime she could , going around town putting up fliers and spreading the word. She was as desperate to find Bugsby as we were, if not more, but still nothing.
In the meantime, as we continued to explore other ways to find our little girl, life went on. In early April, Luci had her 9th birthday. A sleepover party with some of her friends. A fun time was had by all, but late in the evening, a freak accident happened and our dining room table fell over on top of Little Bones , our little Chihuahua (she was very deserving of her name). Luckily (we thought at the time), the table did not land on her body, but only caught a leg and as properly illustrated by her name, it did not bode well for her leg. It was a nasty break, and after getting a second opinion, unfortunately, it required surgery to repair. Little Bones went in early to have her leg repaired, and I received a call from the doctor later that day letting me know the surgery took longer than expected and that Little Bones needed to be kept overnight for observation. I got a pit in my stomach. Something did not seem right. Later that evening, I received a message from the doctor, telling me that she was stable but still unresponsive. Trying to stay positive, I kept it to myself. Then, the call came in the morning, my eyes welled up, even before answering the call. I somehow knew the message before it was given. Little Bones did not make it through the night.
I couldn’t believe it. Two members of our family, two of our babies gone, two empty spots in our home, in the blink of an eye. How could I break the news to our family, to my little girl Luci? Our sweet little doggy had died over A broken leg…A BROKEN LEG!!! Apparently, since her bones were so little, it became difficult putting them back together. The initial attempt did not hold and they had to make a second attempt. She had been under anesthesia for too long and the assumption is that her body temperature, combined with the time she was under, was the story of her end. I couldn’t believe it. So, I broke the news to everyone and we all cried together. Everyone decided it would be best to bring her home and bury her in our yard. Luci and I made a nice burial box and we had a ceremony in our back yard together, as we laid her to rest.
Life in this 2016 was really unfolding much differently than expected. But, life did go on. We had a beautiful life event to plan, as Luci was to celebrate her sacrament of First Communion in the coming weeks. We had lots to do, and Luci was excited, as her Uncle Fefy (what she called Stephy from the time she could talk), was to come. She had something special planned in honor of Little Bones at her burial site. Luci was truly Stephy’s mini me, with a bond that was even stronger than being just family.
The weekend had come and we were doing our Saturday morning routine of My Gym early with Lucas and then off to Starbucks. Before going in, Pam, out of the blue, said, “Why don’t we all say a prayer together.” So, we sat together and said a prayer, then went in for a nice morning coffee. While standing in line, my phone started buzzing. I looked and it was my mother in law, Gio. I let it go to voicemail, as I was in the middle of ordering. The phone buzzed again, it was Gio, I answered. It was loud in Starbucks and I could not hear very well. I went outside, leaving everyone inside, as she sounded erratic. As I headed outside, my heart dropped. As I went through the door, I heard as clear as day, “Stephy’s Dead”…I remember everything just slowing down and a warm vibration overcoming my body …….”What?….What do you mean Stephy’s dead?” Gio, in hysterics, went on to tell me that Stephy had died in a car accident. I was numb, for the first time, in a long time, at a loss for words. I knew that Gio had called me, so that I could somehow convey the news to Pam and Luci. I gathered my thoughts, did a quick meditation for strength, and went into Starbucks and told Pam and Luci we had to leave. (All I could think of was the coincidence of the random prayer Pam requested). Asking why, I told them that we just needed to leave. While in the car, they asked again, I let them know we needed to go home, something had happened. I waited until we got home, so we could all sit on the couch together. Then, in the calmest manner that I could muster, I let them know what had happened. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It was a day that would change the life of our family, forever.
The following days and weeks were a roller coaster, with so many emotions being experienced. Luci couldn’t understand, and she continually expressed…“First Bugsby, then Little Bones, and now Uncle Fefy…why daddy? Why did they have to die?..”, (she feared Bugsby had been killed by coyotes. We had seen a pair out in our neighborhood when we were out searching for Bugsby). “It was their time, sweetheart. It was their time to go onto their next big adventure. They were needed somewhere else.” i went on to say, ” Uncle Fefy will be your guardian angel, sweet pea. She will be there for you when you need her most”, I would say each time she would ask. At first this gave her comfort. Eventually, that comfort faded. The viewing and funeral services were attended by massive waves of people, most discussing how Stephy was “too young to die”, how it “wasn’t fair”. Luci started feeling the same way about losing her aunt, about losing Little Bones, and about losing Bugsby…it was so difficult, so heartbreaking for her, for all of us. Pam was incredibly strong, I think her strength came from her sense of responsibility for her kids and her family, or possibly just numb, from the constant flow of loss, up to this point, in 2016.
As the dust settled, and things started calming down, we all went on with our lives, but, with massive holes in our home and in our hearts. Now that Stephy was an angel, the hope that Bugsby would come home became just that much more important, as kindred spirits never fully part. We knew that if there was anyone determined enough to find her, it was our Stephy and she had special powers now. Yet, as the days turned into months, well, the conversations started to fade. The social media reach out was less frequent. The fliers on the street signs started to come down or become weathered. Life’s cycle of mindless routine started to consume our energy used towards getting her back, but our hope never faded. A random conversation about Bugsby would come up and would remind me, remind us, that she is out there somewhere. She is chipped, and she will at some point have to go to a veterinarian. Our hope was that whomever has her, has compassion as she has some food allergies that just make her break out. Although, as time passed, I must admit, Luci’s and my theory about Coyote’s started to become more accepted by me. Maybe as a “letting go” mechanism, as it is the “not knowing” that is the most difficult part in this whole scenario. Yet, we never lost hope that she would come home.
As 2016 ended, we gladly said good-bye to that year, as did all of our family. It had been one of those years that would challenge anyone’s faith. I believe this was a common theme for many, in our little circle and beyond. So many tragedies, so much insecurity in the world community, so much hate and uncertainty, the world seemed for lack of better words, in chaos (more than usual). So, on New Years Eve, we stayed home as a family and I had gotten some of our own fireworks, to send off 2016 with a bang! To use them as a the true symbol for which they were meant, to send 2016 packing! To package all of those things we hold onto, causing us agitation, and send them off into eternity. To start this new year , 2017, fresh. With a new energy, with a new sense of hope and love for the world. Goodbye 2016…Hello 2017!!!
Our theme for this new year was truly hope and love for the world. Pam and I had a common goal, to just give the love, as much as we could. Give the love, offer a positive light, do something good for those that we cross each day. The pain and loss that had gone on in 2016 sparked a light, in both of us. Although the loss of Stephy was about as traumatic as one can get, it offered a stiff kick in the pants, as it not only was an illustration that life is a gift and it could be taken at any time, but also we were inspired by the ray of sunshine that Stephy was while on this earth. Listening to her friends, the folks in her circle, was truly an inspiration. The stories, the anecdotes, the messages of love and positivity that each person had. Every person I talked to about Stephy, lit up as they said her name, and would give an elaborate message of how Stephy touched their lives. We so often make the death of a loved one as a personal loss, as to question “how could this happen to me”? Yet, I see the passing of a loved one, as I observed this outpouring of love to Stephy, as an opportunity to get away from the “me” and dive into the true path to peace, the true path to happiness and selflessly live on as a beacon of light, just as Stephy had lived. To honor her life by living in a manner that would reflect being a shining, positive light for others, just as she was for so many.
As life went on, in early January, I woke up one morning, and I did not hear the familiar meow, as I did every morning for the last 18 or so years. Here we go again, I thought. Kit Kit was at least 19 years old and there were signs that illustrated her age. I went outside to look for her and did our common call, but nothing. I went around the neighborhood to see if she had wandered, but, for the last several years, she did not leave the back yard. She was just getting too old to get around and hop over the fence. I looked around the entire yard, under every shrub and bush…nothing. I put a post on Nextdoor, the neighborhood app and inquired with our neighbors, but nothing. I came to the realization that it was likely just KitKit’s time, and she went and found her final resting place. Although another loss to our home, it was a blessing in disguise, considering her age, for “ole Kritter” as we often called her. It was time for her to venture into her next big adventure. We were all at peace with her passing, but, boy, did our home seem empty, until…
It was Monday, February 20th. Pam, Luci and Lucas had returned from a weekend visit to a dedication bench that had been installed at Dubois Park in Jupiter, FL, in honor is Stephy. It’s a beautiful place that overlooks the inlet and offers a peaceful place to pray,reflect, and talk to Stephy. Pam, with a look of peace on her face, said she could really feel Stephy’s presence as she sat in the bench and prayed. It was a beautiful moment. Luci had a day home from school. We had planned to visit a nature preserve with my mother and niece. As often does in our plans, “life happens”, and due to conflicting schedules, our plans for the day had been altered. Luci, Lucas and I were outside playing a game of Superhero’s and Villans. A call came through to my cell phone, a toll-free number. Initially, I put my phone down, as we were playing. Yet, for some reason I felt compelled to answer. A young lady on the other end asked, “Hello, this is Avid, Is this Matt Jantomaso?” I said, “yes it is”. The young lady asked, “Is your dog Bugsby still missing?” I said, “for a year and a month now.” My eyes started to well up. She said, “Well, she’s not missing anymore!” I lost my breath! I said “What? Are you sure?” She said, “Wickham Road Veterinary clinic reported your chip number scanned in a French Bulldog.” She went on to tell me that a good Samaritan found and dropped off Bugsby. She told me that the office was located in Melbourne FL. I thought to myself, “how, in the heck did she get all the way over there?” I know she loved going to the beach, but in all seriousness, Melbourne is an hour & thirty minutes away !!! (no doubt she had been stolen and sold out of the local area.) She said, “we called you immediately, at first we thought she had been located previously and the information had not been updated, and she was lost again..”. I said, “No…No..shes been missing this entire time!” Then I got a beep from the other line and it was the veterinarians office that had her. I was in the middle of juggling the kids, and the woman, Teresa, asked for me. She went on to tell me the story about the good Samaritan bringing Bugsby in and that she immediately scanned Bugsby. Initially she did not find any chip, but knowing that the chips can migrate, she did a broader scan and got a reading! I couldn’t hold back, as the tears blurred my vision.
I immediately called Pam on her cell phone, but no answer. Earlier in the day we had discussed that she was visiting a client that was one of her most pet compassionate clients. The Singer’s and Pam would often share with one another some of the pet friendly places we have gone and many pet stories. So, I called the office in lieu of her cell phone to see if I could get a hold of her. Mrs. Singer answered and I asked if Pam was still there. I went on to tell Mrs. Singer what was going on, and all of a sudden I heard Pam’s tears of joy in the background. She was right there listening to the other end of the call, putting the pieces of the puzzle together! Mrs Singer gave Pam the phone and I just wanted to give her a big hug through the phone, we were both like children excited about finding a lost toy!! We came up with a plan so we could all go to make the hour and a half trek to be reunited with our little baby girl.
We pulled up to the clinic and everyone was excited. Luci couldn’t wait any longer, with leash, collar and harness in hand. She was wearing her #TeamBugsby shirt we had made for a run to promote finding our girl. Lucas had fallen asleep, so I had parked close to the door to the clinic. I stood at the door of the clinic to keep and eye on Lucas, but propped open so I could watch as Pam and Luci reunited with Bugs (never wake a sleeping baby). We went in and said, “hi, we are here to pick up the little lost Frenchie that was brought in.” Everyone looked at us with blank looks on their face. One woman said she did not know what we were talking about. I started to clinch up and started getting that warm feeling of distress. I told them that they had called us about our Frenchie that had been found on 192, brought in and scanned with success. The woman said that we must have the wrong place. I told them the name I took down matched their sign, but apparently I did not take it down correctly. We were in the wrong place. I went on to quickly tell them the story as Pam and Luci ran back outside to the car. One of the patients waiting to be seen, just started to ball and the rest of us welled up, as she exclaimed her elation at our story!! They were all in shock!! Man, it really is an amazing story!
Another few minutes down the road, and, finally the time came. Lucas was up and joined us. We went into the office, and again said, “Hi, we are here to pick up the little lost Frenchie that was brought in!” The woman at the front immediately saw Luci’s shirt, and said, “I know who you are here to get!” She went back and a few seconds later, the door opened and there she was!! Our little Bugsby! She ran right over, hopped her two front paws on my legs, like she had always done, and put her face up to mine. I set my nose right in the spot above her nose, and we embraced one another, once again. This had become our greeting to one another…oh, how I had missed that little greeting! I had missed that sniff, that snort, as our foreheads met…my little Boogenlet (one of the many nicknames, but, one that was special to us). She went around to everyone, as we recorded the moment, although, she was obviously exhausted. I can’t explain it. She looked as if she was in disbelief that she was seeing us again. All was right with the universe and I felt a certain sense of calm, as if Stephy was standing there next to me, letting us know…”We did it, we got her back”! Like a tremendous stress that she had taken with her beyond, had been released and she could now rest, knowing Bugsby was back where she was meant to be! Our guardian angel, Bugsby’s guardian angel, had completed her mission that had been left open here on this earth. She could now be fully at peace.
The ride home was surreal, as we all took turns with Bugsby in our lap, not minding the fact that she was stinky and full of fleas. Luci, determined to take the place of Uncle Fefy for Bugsby, made a list of things we needed to do: Cut nails, give bath, clean ears, brush hair, go on walk, feed dinner and finally play. I was very proud of her, as she is becoming a selfless little soul like her Uncle Fefy. Truly deserving of her name, meaning light.
Sitting in the back seat, Pam was playing music that rang a “coming home” theme as if she was dancing in her soul with her sister. Celebrating our victory, our reunion with Stephy’s kindred spirit, Bugsby. Knowing that her conversation with Stephy at the dedication bench in Jupiter, just the day before, must have in some way put the entire plan in motion. It was a beautiful and peaceful moment. A calming energy ran through the car. We as a family reflected in our own way, understanding that there truly are forces beyond this perceived reality of ours, and that faith, hope and a little intervention from beyond can truly make miracles happen.
Oh…and one more thing….please chip (and more importantly register the chip) your fur babies. There have been so many awesome stories like ours. Not saying without it, we would have ever given up hope, but it sure made Stephy’s job much easier to get her home!!!! For more info on this, visit Avid, they have a plethora of information on microchiping your pet!!!
***The following audio clip is a complete reading of “A Battle for Peace”. This is something new I am trying, to offer an alternative to reading, please comment and let me know what you think.***
The other day I had a Facebook interaction with an old friend, concerning a conspiracy theory being pushed around the internet waves. There are so many battles being waged between mankind. Conservative v/s Liberal, Black v/s White, gun control v/s no gun control, Radical v/s the world, privileged v/s non-privileged, parent v/s kid, good v/s evil. There really is no end to the list, it is a world in Chaos. As we went back and forth, the most intense battle that was occurring, was the struggle inside of me and the thoughts that rushed through my mind (meditation is good). At that point it occurred to me that there is only one true battle that can be won, that can offer long-term peace. That is the internal battle for peace, peace of mind.
The human animal is a funny breed. We are a creature of habit, we tend to fight the same battles, chase the same desires, deflect the same fears, ( all similar at their root), yet we continue to fight them …over… and over again. It is a cycle that has existed since we joined the world community. With this understanding, during this moment of clarity, I realized that to fight the external is a lesson in long-term futility, it was unbelievably liberating. Mankind has fought many battles over our existence here on Earth, and of course history illustrates the pinnacle of battle in the form of war. Yet based on our habitual nature, they are all very small, insignificant victories. As has been observed in our very short span of time on this planet, particularly, the 10000 or so years of “civilization” (1 millionth of a blink of an eye in universal time) so many wars have been waged, so many civilizations have grown and fallen, and the cycle happens again and again. Do we experience varied times of “peace” on the planet as a result? Somewhat I suppose, but as observed, the cycle, the battle, will soon start again.
I thought to myself, why? Why do we not learn from our mistakes, why do we not recognize this habit, or better stated, why can we not seem to break the cycle? At that point, the experiences I’ve had with observing my own microcosm within, through self observation between my internal self and interaction with external catalyst, offered a clarity I had only experienced in the depths of meditation. I realized that the reason the cycle cannot be broken, is that we externalize our problems. We look for the external source of our issues, and find ways to battle those issues, in an effort to find some sort of peace (Whether it be peace amongst a people, the peace in the security one finds through power, the peace one finds through wealth and prosperity), regardless, it is not a lasting peace. No matter the outcome of those benefiting from “winning” the battle, “winning” the war, it will never offer long-term peace, and eventually the cycle will happen once again.
Once I was able to get my arms around this thought, I must tell you, it was as if a giant rock had fallen off my shoulders. Even with the wisdom and practice I have cultivated in this lifetime, I still externalize many of the agitations that go on in my life. Considering the advent of technology and access to information and interaction with so many external forces, it’s a daunting task not to. So, with the understanding that, there is really very little that I can do (externally) to keep the cycle from happening again, it was as if I let go of all the ambitions I had for making the world a better place. I let go of the “battle” I was having with the chaos in this world. I let go of all the expectations I had for our kind to do “better”! The external “small battles” I had “won” in the past that offered a glimmer of hope, a moment of achievement, a feeling of “peace”, they were all short-term victories that offered the illusion of accomplishment and the incentive to keep up the fight. Yet with this new understanding, I was able to let go of the fight! (Sounds so anti-climactic…but give me a minute).
You see, to externalize an issue, to find fault and definition to the chaos in the world, to the chaos in your life, is a futile battle. As long as I, as we, externalize the issues, the issues will happen over and over again. It is our nature, and it has very deep roots. We may find small moments of peace, but they cannot last, as long as we have external expectations, look to external sources for cause. For,there is only one true battle, at least one true battle that can be won, that can offer long-term peace, it is the internal battle within oneself. The battle to find inner peace amongst the chaos, the battle to take personal responsibility for your agitation, the battle to recognize that you are a creature of habit, and only you can overcome the habits that cause the agitation within, the reaction to the external forces, for it is this habit of reaction that is the source of your agitation, not the external force. Let go of all those external expectations, those perceived external issues. This is the only true path to finding peace within and ultimately the only true path towards world peace.
Does this mean give up on your cause? Of course not, just give up on the external battle. Your cause does not need to be a battle, it should be a way of living. Yet if you feel agitation, remember, the battle is within. I do hope for lasting world peace one day, but there is only one place that can ever be achieved…..from within.
May you find the wisdom within to let go of all your fears. May you find the light within and share it with all that cross your path. And…May you find the truth within to guide you towards true peace, true happiness and may you offer this gift to the world.
I offer you all the greatest gift I can give…..and that is LOVE.
I’ve been reminded the last 7 days of just how significant it is to be conscious of how major a role the mind plays in our life. I have been engaged in a cleansing fast ( The Master Cleanser ) during this time. I have done the fast previously, in an attempt to alleviate symptoms of Crohn’s Disease (20 years’ symptom free). The fast is composed of a lemonade, with limes/lemons, pure maple syrup, cayenne, and water, along with some natural cleansing agents. This is all that is consumed for a minimum of 10 days. You go through various stages of discomfort, and through my experiences of the past doing this, they can vary. *** I do not consider this a diet or do it for weight loss. I choose to do this fast, as a reset button for my body, offering my machine the opportunity to work its magic***
During this experience, I went through long-lasting body aches and about 4 days of sleeplessness, no doubt due to the abuse of caffeine over the last 9 or so years since the last time I engaged with the fast. As these subsided, on came nausea and massive headaches. Now, at this point, after 7 days, I have some lethargy from lack of sleep, but mostly it’s a vary of discomfort, but at a much less acute nature as the first 5 to 6 days.
This all sounds like torture, I am sure, as folks in my circle that know what I am doing, have expressed. Yet, it is a good reminder, to me, how important it is to be wary of the mind and its power over our daily lives. For those that know me, I have practiced meditation for some time. I have come to understand that meditation is a tool, for the taming of the mind. If developed properly, it can be used to help tame one’s life. For the mind, is that which we define as “I”, that looks at this fast as a “torture”! During this time, I have been able to overcome, fairly peacefully, the challenges I have encountered. The training I have done over these many years, afforded me the ability to not give importance to these feelings, yet to control the trained desire to react. This has not been the case in the past. I came to observe that it really is as simple as how I choose to react to these feelings of discomfort. Our mind is trained to react in fear, to react in desperation, to react in a desire for sympathy, this is the nature of the mind at this point in time. Ultimately, through all of this drama, at the root of the mind is our true self, that has the ability to alter this habit of reaction. Throughout this entire time, I have been able to recognize that former pattern of reaction as it surfaces, let it go, and smile as I go through the varied discomforts.
It has been such a liberating experience. The statement, mind over matter is a valid statement, but maybe not always in the manner it is understood. It is the mind that defines the matter, yet it is our history of the mind reacting that is in the current state of control, or lack thereof for that matter. Ultimately, it is at the root of the mind that one is able to redefine how to meander through life. Meditation is a tool that allows you to get back to this root.
Be Happy…Have Faith….words that have been spoken for millennium, these are the expression at the root of the mind. For, it is Faith that creates the proper atmosphere needed to tame the fickle mind, whose desire is to attach itself to every feeling, every thought, every action, and is the catalyst for letting go of these things. It is a Happy state of mind that allows one to redefine the reaction of feeling upon doing so, to Be Happy..to be at peace, amongst any stimulus, any experience. Once I truly let go, once I truly eradicate this root, this habit of reaction, I have a clean slate, a new seed, and therefore I have to opportunity to find true happiness, which is the happiness at the source, the ultimate choice to “BE HAPPY”. Create a new habit at the source, to BE HAPPY, to BE PEACEFUL and it allows one to truly understand the nature of compassion with its objective beauty. So, start letting go of the I, experience how it is the “me” which defines “you” by attaching itself to all of these feelings, thoughts and actions. For this is the culprit that is the current commander of your mind, the current define of those habits, the current dictator of your life. Let go of that “I” and smile….and BE HAPPY!!!!
I had a conversation today with a good friend about letting go, and thought I would repost this! Happy Friday my friends!!!
The other day, while giving a little instruction to a meditation student of mine…well she also happens to be my wife, a way of illustrating one of the goals in meditation, came about. I was attempting to describe the process of letting go. Letting go of what, you ask? Well, I continued on, that during meditation, we attempt to keep our mind focused on something observable, moment to moment. In this case, it is the breath, the natural breath going in and out of the nose, you know, respiration. So, while doing this exercise, this meditation, the mind will wander. It will follow the various thoughts and sensory experiences that it deems important. As this wandering occurs, it is our job to recognize this, as objectively (with a smile and a no big deal) as possible and then re-focus our attention back on the breath. It sounds easy enough, right? …
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