I have spent much of the last six months, living on Hawai'i, processing, releasing and letting go of that which does not serve me, healing, sitting, exploring, etc., etc., etc. I am exhausted and am ready for more fun...for more balance and peace.  

More than anything I desire to be loved, to love, and to live my life purposefully...intentionally. Ingredients for this life, I believe, include awareness and equanimity. I know that I possess awareness. However, I believe that I am not always equanimous with 'what is'...or what comes up, how I show up, my reactions to external stimuli that trigger habit loops that are symptomatic of old wounds...old scripting...etc.
Today I shall practice mental and emotional calmness and composure when I become aware that I am experiencing a difficult emotion. 

It's time to 'open the doors' and allow the friendships that are all around me, the love that is already there, in. In my continued pursuit of liberation, I choose to simply open my 'eyes' and see what is already, absolutely True. ...Love is all there is.
 
On Beauty...

And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty." 
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide? 
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech? 
The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle. 
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us." 
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread. 
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us." 
The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit. 
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow." 
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains, 
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions." 
At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east." 
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset." 
In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills." 
And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair." 
All these things have you said of beauty. 
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied, 
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy. 
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth, 
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted. 
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear, 
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears. 
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight. 
People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. 
But you are life and you are the veil. 
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. 
But you are eternity and your are the mirror.
 
 
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The Four Agreements (Agreements), by don Miguel Ruiz, are four self principles to consider, when peace, ease, and happiness are of interest. The Four Agreements are summarized below:

Agreement 1 - Be Impeccable with your Word:
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement 2 - Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Agreement 3 - Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Agreement 4 - Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

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I have been reading The Four Agreements for many years and refer to it often when I become aware that I may be 'breaking' one of , or out of sync with the Agreements.

Agreement 2, Don't Take Anything Personally, and Agreement 3, Don't Make Assumptions, are the two Agreements that provide me with the most opportunity for growth and development. 

Which of the following Agreements provide you with the most growth and development?

 
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Today’s Intention: Today I intend to be mindful of each ‘present moment’, continuing to consciously work towards the undoing of my Ego, through focused mind training effort.

I have spent much of my life trapped in a thought form of the past or the future. I respect my ability to not stay present. Like shadow work, I choose not to deny any part of me, including those Egoic tactics which do not serve my relative healthiness.

To assist me with today’s intention, starting now, I will receive a Mindful Bell every 15 minutes, for the next four hours, courtesy of my Insight Meditation Time application on my iPhone. I will be still, and check-in internally to see what emotions and thoughts in that moment I am present to. 




 
Full Definition of Integrity (Merriam-Webster)
1:  firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :  incorruptibility
2:  an unimpaired condition :  soundness
3:  the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
The above is a helpful reminder to me, as I desire to live fully with integrity of Mind, always. If I catch myself not living fully in my Integrity, without Self Judgement, my intention is to pause, notice where I am out of sync, make the correction, and continue in Integrity.

Additional present moment awareness suggests that when I see others not exemplifying Integrity, I have choice to Know that the potential exists am projecting my own fears of Integrity on that which is external of me.  

This afternoon I strongly desire to live in Integrity always, with no stipulation or condition of who anyone else is living, void of my projections and judgments.
PictureSeven Virtues of Bushido
Full Definition of Integrity
1:  firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :  incorruptibility

2:  an unimpaired condition :  soundness

3:  the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

The above is a helpful reminder as I desire to live fully with integrity of Mind, always. If I catch myself not living fully in my Integrity, without Judgement, I desire to pause, notice where I am out of sync, make the correction, and continue in Integrity.

Additional present moment awareness suggests that when I see others not exemplifying Integrity, I have choice to Know that the potential exists am projecting my own fears of Integrity on that which is external of me.  

This afternoon I strongly desire to live in Integrity always, with no stipulation or condition of who anyone else is living, void of my projections and judgments.

The photo to the left is a tattoo, representing the Seven Virtues of Bushido.  Bushido, means, "the Way of the Warrior". I connect to these virtues and look at Bushido as an example path, or "Way" of a "Spiritual Warrior". One of the seven Virtues is "Gi", which means "Right Action, Duty, Integrity".

"Today I humbly ask to be supported and guided to live an integrous life, regardless of how others, as I judge, project, or discern, appear to be living their life. Complete non attachment."
 
Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

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The above poem was provided to me and read by my Spiritual brother, Dale, and all of my 'Elders', at my '...until I return...' Spiritual men's gathering on Thursday, 19 September 2013, in Granite Bay, California. I love these men dearly.
 
Often over the last nine months, which have been primarily spent diving and residing in my mental abyss, which is my perceived life, I have often thought that I 'don't know' what I thought I knew. Beliefs, opinions, identify and stories (from autobiographic accounts to thoughts or suggestions someone else shares with me that I attach to), psychological processes, etc. - I am not sure that I know anything of what I consider to be the substance required to assist with living an even keel life of ease, peace, happiness, and love (to receive and give). 

I believe there to be a faint light, hope perhaps, in not knowing, no matter how uncomfortable the symptom of this present moment self realization is. Alas, I do know something; that is, that I 'know' that I do not 'know'. Wayne Dyer's suggestion of 'why not start there' is gently whispered in my Mind as I write. [Perhaps Dyer's whisper would be 'louder' if there were less constructs, such as thoughts and beliefs, to contend with...there is a lot going on up there.]

Last night during dinner, after what I experienced to be a higher-power, source connection sharing (more of a transmitting/delivering a message to the Devotional Retreat attendees) with the eleven of us Devotees, a consensus was reached to join in a very comfortable, inviting for most, warm living area for a 'hands-on (so to speak)' healing session. [This reminds me of my first attendance at a Unity church in Sacramento, California. I remember telling my, at the time, wife, that "no body better come up and try to hug me". That's the fear based rigidity I started with many years ago. I am so grateful to her for dragging me there.]

In the mid to late 1990s, I recall stepping into a ring for my first full contact, no pads, mixed martial arts event. I had prepared as instructed and was fearfully ready to set into the ring and face another man with similar experience. I was ready for three rounds, which would last 90 seconds each. Before I was to negotiate the crowd and walk into the ring for me debut, the event promoter shared with me that the main event contender, a Canadian don't ya know, had injured his knee hours ago and was unable to compete. Five minutes later I was convinced that the Universe had provided me with a remarkable opportunity and that I could end up the Champion of this annual event - I only needed to knock out the well respected, massive, extremely skilled veteran who had held the title for many years, knocking out all but one or two of his opponents. [side note - I was not actually convinced of anything as the event promoter was shady with weak negotiating skills....very cheap salesman-like attributes...yet an unhealed part of me did not want to let a man down, and, I actually did like the idea of stepping out into the stoplight as the main event]. An hour later, with the spot light warmth in my face and my song Drowning Pool song 'Let the Bodies Hit the Floor' blaring, I was led by a small entourage (I knew only one in my entourage) to the ring for the main event. Enroute, I vividly recall hearing the announcer state "...and for the main event...seven, three minute rounds...). As Seinfeld's Kramer often said: "Mama!"  There is more to this story, but it is not why I am writing this morning.

Back in the present I was walking from the kitchen, where I was able to clean with another, hiding really, while the remaining nine Devotees commenced 'healing touch', I recalled the above life event. Was there a time in my life in the distant past, or not so distant past, that I would choose stepping into a ring with Goliath over the softness and  gentleness of 'healing touch'? I suppose it's not important to answer that question. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Today is not the past...the past no longer exists except in thought form in my Mind (yikes). Tomorrow does not exist and in fact may have yet to be written (I suppose I do not know this for certain either).

When I stepped into the ring (opps...wrong story...arrived in living area, I noticed an opening in the middle of a very large couch, and I literally took a dive and landed on my back, and proceed to roll to one side. I was down for the count! Took a fall! If there were people in the audience watch this main event, they would be disappointed and want their money back. What ever! "Pay them, please!"
PictureRumi's Cleansing Conflict from Coleman Bark's 'The Soul of Rumi'
I have read Rumi's 'Cleansing Conflict' daily for over 18 months now straight. Lines committed to memory and exhaustively Tweeted, such as "What sort of person says that he or she wants to be polished and pure, then complains about being handled roughly?" and "...don't turn away from cleansing conflict, or you will remain weak." are a well received reminder that undoing of MY Ego, detaching from identify stories that lock my in victim-hood or suffering, takes work and may not appear to be pleasurable. It often feels like resistance. Resistance is my 'training partner'...very reliable in the present...punctual, willing to always show up, and will go the distance with me...there for me as long as I choose.

During the 'healing touch' experience, I was effectively able to identify with thoughts and feelings such as abandonment, unworthiness, thoughts of not really loving (more like not giving a @#$% about) myself, and a wondering if I have lived in a state of being shutoff to love for too long and now being broken or unable to feel/receive. This was immediately followed judgmental thoughts of 'knowing better' than to subscribe to such thoughts, back to 'but there is empirical data to reinforce these experiences', then shifting to 'you do not know anything', etc. This roller coaster of thoughts kept me everywhere except present, in the room. 

It feels good to get these thoughts out of my Mind and onto 'paper'. Nothing like memorializing my insanity via the Internet!!

No more self judgement this morning, so subscription to doubt thoughts, past identifies or stories...acceptance and gratitude for the realization that 'I do not know any of this'...this not knowing feels like a 'get out of jail FREE' card from monopoly or an easy button. Yes, the potential exits that this 'hall pass' feeling could be missing the mark, as I do not know for sure about it either.

As I mentally prepare for my solo morning walking meditation, Mary Anne Radmacher's words on courage enter my Mind.

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher
In my nearly twenty years of completing with another man, one on one, I have never been knocked out, knocked down, or even taken a knee. There is a courage, strength, and willingness at my core...I CAN step into the 'healing touch' arena!!!
 
PictureMorning Walking Meditation
Sunday, 21 September 2013, around 7:50 AM PST, I made a decision to honor my commitment to myself and to the Extension Center, to board Alaska Airlines Flight 805 from Sacramento, California, to Maui, Hawaii.  Final destination was Pahoa, Hawaii (the Big Island). My flight was scheduled to depart at 9:35 AM and was on time. 

My intention, following 11 hours the previous day spent hosting a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was to push my journey back one day, to provide additional Time to pack and prepare my residence. This 'commitment or agreement modification' started to form about 9:00 PM PST on Saturday, and was almost in concrete by 11:30 PM same evening. It seemed like a perfect, reasonable excuse; very justifiable. ...and, what's one more day?  My Saturday was spent joining with others on an honorable cause, my place was a disaster from giving away many of my material possessions, and my Beloved yellow Labrador, Gracie, appeared to be unsettled with all the movement and change manifesting before her.  

How many times in my life have I reached a legitimate excuse to push back, or away, even if just for one more day, one more week, one more month, that which possesses the potential to serve me?  I feel that replacement the word 'reached', in the previous sentence, with 'fabricated' or 'created' would be more accurate. Either way, digging up the past and generating quantities to reinforce the previous question or statement does not serve me Now.  I choose in this moment to just be aware of my ability to push away that which provides me thoughts and feelings, such as peace, ease, and happiness; the empirical data, which I choose to not to quantify, tabulate, or summarize, leaves me with this knowing...which is enough for now.

I awoke from a short nap around 6:30 AM, look at my place, looked at myself in the mirror, and then left it all behind to clear my head and connect with God and Gracie, on a walk near the American River. Making my flight and 'showing up' for myself in Hawaii felt right...yet also felt so wrong considering the remaining tasks to complete. I had a choice...I always have had and have choice. Start now! Leave everything behind, as is, and make a decision to move into the direction that feels right...the love, the light...towards Spirit...Source...God! I literally arrived back at my residence, which literally looked like all of my drawers, closets and cupboards, committed all of their insides, and more, out into my living area and bedroom. Interestingly enough, as much as I love taking photographs, I do not have one photograph to remember this level of material disaster. Perhaps my mother or step-father, or dear friend M.S., has photographs to remember; each of these dear ones, and a few others, were to arrive later that day to pick up that which I left behind...neither I, nor them, knew what was coming their way. I am truly grateful to all who assisted in such selfless acts to support me in this journey. (BTW, if you have photographs mother, Steve, or Mike, let's discuss their fate at a later date TBD.) 

PictureChecked baggage.
Without getting into too much detail, I made my flight departing Sacramento, made my connecting flight in Maui, and arrived on Time at my destination. Three of my four checked baggage arrived on Time as well. Little did I know the fourth item, which has yet to arrive as I type these thought-forms out on Tuesday, thee days later, would provide my initial inner work for me...might as well jump right in and getting going on my work.

I am now in Hawaii, staying at the Extension Center, for approximately two months, with no return ticket to Sacramento. What am I doing? I am here working to release and let go of attachments, such as beliefs and stories, that I have held onto for a few years...a few decades even. Beliefs and stories that I have gone to the 'mats' for; literally...I have found myself broken, battered, and bruised...externally, and internally. For what? What has been my benefit for these attachments...these beliefs that were never mine to begin with?  It's identify perhaps...at least partially. This identify, these attachments - these are examples of what I desire and intend to separate from to reconnect with my true self.  I have glimpses of who this is...and look forward to formally making my acquaintance. 

PictureInbound Maui.
Today is day three in Hawaii, and day two of a nine day Devotional Retreat I am actively present to and participating in. This Retreat is an "invitation to rest in the Core of our Being and let the Softness takes us deeper and deeper in an inward journey..." The 'softness' description is foreign, yet also so familiar to me. Going deeper and deeper within?  Well...bring it on!

That's enough for tonight. I am tired. 

Thank you to all who have supported me along my way and who are happy that I am here now. The only gift I can offer anyone may sound like a selfish gift...that gift is the willingness to be present now, release and let go of that which no longer benefits or serves me, and to start purposefully living my life.   

I love you all; thank you so much! Blessings and love! Muah! 

 
Today I am once again reminded of my day-log at +Spirit Rock Meditation Center where myself and many others, were introduced to 'The Work' of Byron Katie. 
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The Four Questions
  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought? 

As I continue to release and let go, in preparation for my 2-3 month journey in Hawaii, where I will be performing work, such as mind-training and undoing of the Ego, I become aware of how useful the 'Toe Work' is as a tool all throughout my journey..

So much of that which I am attached to, react to, or perhaps even am fearful of, is, is connected to a thought form of an event (a lot of childhood events) in which I created stories for explanation or reinforcement..and still at some level in the present,  buy-into said fabricated stories. How do I know?  Well,  by the symptom  of attachment. . Byron's The Work', Question two of four', I think would put a 'The End' on the majority of the my situational stories. 

Grateful for 'The Work'.