The Dance

The Dance

A beautiful poem to celebrate 2014, from a favorite writer of mine:

I have sent you my invitation
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiralling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don’t tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt
and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don’t tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side
by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul’s desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children’s children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle
not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging.
Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being, not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don’t say, “Yes!”

Just take my hand and dance with me.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, “The Dance”

You Just Never Know

You Never Know

You just never know if:

  • Someone has just been diagnosed and is thinking about all they have to lose.
  • Their lover just texted them to say, “It’s over”.
  • He wakes up every day thinking he’s about to fail, fearing that everyone else in the world knows something that he doesn’t.

You just never know if:

  • She’s in the middle of a divorce and is about to go on stage.
  • Before he was your driver, or your waiter, he was a doctor in his homeland.
  • Their spirit was fractured as a child by unspeakable things.
  • She is frightened.. All the time.
  • He resists life itself.. All the time.
  • They are frail from lack of love.

You just never know if:

  • They’re faking loving the heart-hollowed life they fought so hard to make.
  • Chemicals are coursing through them in destabilizing ways.
  • She hasn’t slept through the night in months and months.
  • They’ve experienced a loss that will leave a gaping wound for the rest of this incarnation.
  • Today is especially hard and they’re doing their best, while they wish for just a little more than what they’ve got.

You just never know.

Suspend judgement.

There is a story behind every person you meet.

Avoiding conclusions..

Can be a monumental act of love.

~ M

You Are In Control – Take Back The Wheel Of How You Feel

You Have Control Of Your Feelings

Take Back Control of Your Life

Each time you allow another person to get under your skin, you’re choosing to give up control over your life. The next time you hear yourself saying “so and so makes me so mad”, or “what she/he said really hurts my feelings”, check within yourself to see what it is that is truly making you that upset. A lot of the times, what upsets us so much about another person is really a reflection of our own selves, things we’re not aware of that we don’t like about ourselves.

Pay attention the next time you get upset with what someone says or does to you. Ask yourself why it is upsetting you so much. Check to see what kind of expectations you have for others. If you’re expectations for other people are too high, then you’re more than likely going to be going around upset all the time. People will never be able to live up to them. Just because you would not say or do such a thing does not automatically mean that others will live by the same rules you have for yourself.

No matter how upset you get about the actions or behaviors of others, it won’t change anything. The only person you have control over is yourself, and if you’re so busy being upset over the behavior of someone else then you have just given that person power over you. Another person cannot make you upset without your consent. Check your thoughts when this happens to see what you are focusing on.

Be careful not to get wrapped up in another person’s emotions, they are responsible for what they say, feel and act. Don’t allow them to drag you into their misery. Detach yourself from the drama.

Whatever it is that you feel another person is upsetting you about has more to do with you and less to do with them. Take responsibility for your emotions and get control over them. Make a commitment to yourself that you will no longer allow others to determine how you feel. As soon as you notice anger, hurt or fear arise take charge of those thoughts going through your mind, ask yourself who it is that is really in control of how you feel, is it another person that really has that kind of power over you or is it that you are letting them have that power over you?

Look at the upsetting thought and tell yourself “that is an interesting point of view ” and simply let it flow right past you, don’t hang onto it.

It’s not yours, it belongs to someone else.

~ M

Die Before You Die

Die Before You Die

“The secret of life is to die before you die and find that there is no death.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

That is one hell of a powerful quote don’t you think?

But what in the hell does it mean? How can you die before you die?

And how can dying paradoxically be the secret of life?

Well it’s only in the second “die” that Tolle refers to physical death. The first “die” actually refers to the death of our identification with our mind.

Throughout our lives since we are very young we form a self-identity. This is who we think we are which is partly based on our experiences and partly formed by our social environment – that is how people see us and interact with us.

We have a nexus of “evidence” – images, memories, impressions, beliefs – that make up the mental profile we have of ourselves. A cumulative life-history that gives us a sense of self.

It’s a long list full of “I am this, I know that, I have this, I love this, and I wish that”.

I think you get the idea.

We attach these things to our own self. That is to say we identify ourselves with them. In other words, we identify ourselves with external things or partial and fleeting perceptions we have about our world and how we feel about it.

We don’t do this intentionally or with purpose. It is a “default program” of the mind to make associations between things, identify fixed points of reference and make sense of reality by categorizing things and experiences.

There is no fault as such in this. The problem comes when that program completely runs your life unconsciously. This means that you are not conscious of the fact that you can be different or more than that image or identity you have of yourself.

You run the risk of attaching yourself to a false identity. This is what some spiritual traditions call the illusion of mind and of the self. You become completely entrapped in that reality like there is nothing more outside of it.

The essence of the problem is that because you identify yourself with certain beliefs, ideas or external things you strongly believe that if you lose them you will lose who you are (this is why we react badly when we feel that one of those things – like our beliefs – are being challenged or threatened). Or else that in order to be more complete you need to get more of those things like possessions, social status, recognition, knowledge, special abilities, relationships and what have you.

The truth is that none of these will actually bring completion. When you get them you realize that you’re still not there and you search for more down a bottomless pit. It brings eternal dissatisfaction which no self-gratification can relinquish.

Death, according to Tolle, is the “stripping away” of all that is not you. It is the stripping away of those beliefs encoded by society, those fears, those assumptions, those half-baked truths that become your internal reality after many years. Death is when that bubble bursts and you see yourself as you truly are. You understand that you are much more than you “thought”.

This brings us back to the quote. To die before you die is a way of saying that you strip off those illusions before you physically die and realize that there is no death, for you are more than your physical embodiment and those limited perceptions you identify yourself with.

To die before you die is realizing that you are not what you possess or achieved or your inclinations and dispositions. It’s understanding that your being is much more than your having or your doing.

It’s peeping into your naked true and authentic self and being more alive than you can ever be.

I get paid to teach people to strip.

I like to call it “The Full Monty”.
Original huh?

m

You Are Important

You Are Important

In my experience, I can always tell when I am reading brilliance. I do a doubletake, re-read it, then another time, then I just sit back and soak it up. This is definitely one of those times. Kudos to Chelsea Fagan, you friggin moved me. Brilliant writing! I had to share this, please pass it on. Enjoy.

You Are Important

I wish I could have met everyone you know. I wish I could have been there to hear everything everyone ever said to you, from the grandiose proclamations to the offhanded commentary. I wish I could have written it all down for later speculation, saved it somewhere I would have been able to reference whenever needed. Then, at least, I would know who told you. I would know if it was one person or a hundred, a school bully from across the playground or a past love who wanted to hurt you one last time before you went your separate ways. Because someone told you — convinced you, even, and it seems not to have been so hard-won — that you are not important.

You apologize for things which are not your fault, even for things which hurt no one. You will bump into a table and mutter that you are sorry to have hurt it, you will excuse yourself. If you happened to cross a stream of particularly rude passerby, you would hold the door open for hours on end, never entering the building yourself. There is a part of you which seems embarrassed to take up space, as though you don’t deserve the things you touch, the air you breathe, the chairs you sit on. You feel as though there is always a way to be more accommodating, less of an intrusion. But you are not intruding, you know. You never are. There is a way you move, a way you take up your space in this world (the space to which each of us is entitled, never more) that makes me wish I could be more like you. I feel boisterous, even occasionally oppressive. You are always kind, always humble, always so deserving of being there.

We are undeserving. It is we who are graced by your presence, and your generosity. You feel as though you need to give more to this world to earn your keep — that your being a kind person and deferring to others is somehow not enough — but that is ridiculous. It seems that you are just one of those rare, beautiful people who err a bit on the shy side, who assume the best in people, and who always move just slightly to the side of the stage so as not to compete for the spotlight. But you should have the spotlight, it should be turned to you. Its glow should cradle your face, and there should be a round of eager applause for you being here. When you step into a coffee shop, or a party, or a crowded commuter bus — I am glad you are there.

There are those among us who will be crippled by our delusions of importance, who tend to absorb the room as we walk in and push the furniture to the sides so as to better accommodate our presence. But there are also those who feel, often from being unjustly led to believe as much at some point in early life, that they have no importance. They feel that they are a burden of some kind, and are willing to accept being treated as a bit of relatively drab set decoration. You can see in their eyes that they nearly flinch with apology at the end of declarative statements, that their opinions are always tempered in a bit of empathetic softness. They are always doing on behalf of others, putting a million kinds of happiness before their own.

But you are important. You are important in a way that many people will never acknowledge, because they are too consumed with their image in the mirror or their voice on a recording to notice that they share the world with people around them. But you are important because you are good, because you look at your surroundings with tenderness and understanding. You don’t step on flowers when you walk, you allow a housepet to come to your hand instead of roughly insisting on your touch, you leave messages and wait for people to call you back at their convenience. You treat people with respect, and so rarely ask it for yourself. But you should. Because you matter. You matter to me, you matter to the woman you held the elevator for, and you matter to the friend you listened to while they unloaded the problems the world had put on them. You are more important than you will ever know, and never let anyone tell you that your economy of words is a stinginess of character. You are overflowing with love, and we can see it from a mile away.

~ Chelsea Fagan

Source: You Are Important – Chelsea Fagan

The History of Rap

The History of Rap – Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

I love Fallon and JT. I saw this on a friend’s site, I really enjoyed it, and the “feeling” it produced in me.

No purpose, just a totally random post.

So just enjoy the music, laugh, and DANCE damn it!

You know you want to.  Let go, feel it, ENJOY.

Limitless – Yes, You ARE

You Are Limitless

You Were Created Limitless.

There is nothing you cannot achieve.

NOTHING.

The limit of your present understanding..

Is NOT the limit of your possibilities.

Limitations live only in your mind. (Read again please)

Use your Imagination..

Then your possibilities become LIMITLESS.

~ Love this video, check it out. You Are Limitless

 

The Biology of Kindness

The Biology of Kindness

Kindness. Are we wired for it?

In the last week I have spent time connecting and re-connecting with people; family, friends, people I love, and complete strangers.

I realized firsthand, that although I spend a lot of time interacting with people online or on the phone, I have really missed interacting with people in-person.

Nothing matches physically being present with someone. You experience the total person, their body language, eye contact, their touch, their smile, their laugh, you identify, you connect with them.

A few takeaways during the past week:

  • People want to be happy.
  • People do not want to suffer.

And regardless of how the media spins it on a daily basis, people want these things for everyone else.

People do care.

I am convinced we are wired for kindness, empathy, and compassion.

It’s there. Always. You just don’t see it, until something happens, and it’s noticed.

We saw it after the Sandy Hook tragedy, we saw it after Hurricane Sandy, we saw it after 9/11.

In the book “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships”, Daniel Goleman points out:

The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.

That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)

Harvard’s Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature:

The sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness.

“Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,” Kagan notes, “they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.”

This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, “is a biological feature of our species.”

People matter. People care. People are kind.

The good in the world vastly outweighs the bad.

Really.

Just pay attention. That is the key.

Relationships: LIFE According to Carl and Ellie

Up Relationships

LIFE is all about Relationships

I spent almost 20 years in the movie industry, I have watched a lot of movies.  I am a big guy but I admit, I am rather tender hearted. My kids know firsthand that I rarely made it through a Disney movie without tearing up. I used to be able to conceal it pretty good by strategically placing my children on my left and when it happened, note the word when, I would just turn my head to the right until I could collect myself. It wasn’t long before they figured me out and insisted on stationing themselves on either side. Yes, going forward I was forever busted.

The Relationships Masters: Carl and Ellie’s Lessons on LIFE

Up is the story of a lonely, curmudgeonly widower, Carl Fredricksen, who decides to escape the world’s chaos by tying thousands of helium balloons to his home and floating away to paradise—all alone. But shortly into his trip, Carl learns he’s not alone.. a stowaway, a young boy named Russell, has unwittingly come along for the adventure. And along the way, both Carl and Russell learn some poignant lessons about LIFE ..

And about the importance of Relationships.

One of the most important things we can do is to connect with other people.. and it’s easy to lose track of that. And that’s the essential message of the film, that Carl thinks he missed the real adventure in life by not going to these exotic places and seeing these fantastic sights. But in the end he learns that he had the best adventure of all..

The adventure of the relationship that he had with his wife.

I expected to cry, but I never expected to be reduced to tears in the first 10 minutes of the movie.  And now you know.

LIFE is relationships.. The rest is just details.

Christmas Is Family

Merry Christmas 2012

Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Mine revolves around family. And in the past at the very center of it all, there was Mom. She loved the holidayseason and did her best to make everything PERFECT for us all.

I miss my mother, but I feel her. Especially today.

You see this Christmas we joyously celebrate a new addition to the Winters family, my first grandchild..

Brooklyn Catherine Winters, Christmas Blessing

Brooklyn Catherine Winters

Our little princess. She touches my heart and makes me smile. And it is such a tremendous joy observing my son Justin and his wife Krissy as they celebrate their 1st Christmas as a family. I love you both.

Yeah, it’s about Family.. that’s what Christmas is for me. Mom taught us well.

Merry Christmas my friends.  Whatever Christmas means to you, I celebrate with you today. May this holiday season be filled with new memories, heartfelt remembrances from the past, a joyous celebration of family, all filled with the warmth of LOVE that lasts year round.

Thank you for your friendship, inspiration, and the way you have uniquely touched my LIFE. I do not take it for granted.

Oh, by the way. I didn’t forget you on my gift list.

Here is my Christmas Gift to you.   Along with [[ HUGS ]] from the big guy.