In praise of THIS day

This day will only happen once. Never again will such a thing come to pass. The alignment of the stars in the sky, the sprawl of the flowing clouds, the configuration and connections of neurons in your brain-- all brand new and absolutely unique. 

Sometimes I forget to stop, even for just a moment, and appreciate how special this opportunity is to walk this earth, amongst the trees and rocks and buildings and animals and people. To recognize all those things that have happened in the cosmos to get me to be here (admittedly in my bed on this crazy mini computer we call an iPhone), right now, thinking and emoting and typing and feeling both tiny and infinitesimally small and also endlessly expansive and unlimited in the same breath.

I feel the rawness of this day. I try deliberately to pull away from my conventional thoughts and actions. I try to shift my perspective from automatic living and doing and buying and thinking and judging, to deliberate thoughts, deliberate, grateful actions and wide, clear eyes.

Let's see this day without the filters today, even just for a minute. Remove the "me-ness" from the experience of this time and place where you are, and just accept everything as it is, allow yourself to have just one sweet awakened, clear moment of pure, unfiltered, raw, vegan Bliss. Everything is perfect and as it should be... pains, pleasures, platitudes and all. We're here alive, breathing... All from a spark of gas that happened eons of time and space away... Love



Love or fear?

This dialectic seems to me to be the universal differentiator for people. It's what divides us-- politically, physically, spiritually, emotionally, socially, sexually, culturally, economically and sociologically.

When we operate from a place of fear we close off, get angry, defensive, sometimes irrational, hateful, sad, cowardly, rigid, dogmatic, compulsive, addicted, unhealthy or otherwise blocked. We stop and run before giving ourselves the opportunity and chance to open up into the fullest expression of imperfectly-perfect human animals.

When we operate from a place of love we expand our perspective, become curious, creative, sweet, receptive, unbounded, ambitious, beautiful, bountiful, strong, adventurous, dynamic, intuitive, spontaneous, optimistic and confidently ready for the ebbs and flows of this brief life.

Fear is hard to escape. I watch myself become fearful-- often...that I'm not good enough, that I'm a phony, that those I love most will disappear too soon, that I'll be rejected, that students won't come to my classes, that I can't do X, Y and Z for reasons A, B, C, D...X! These are self limiting beliefs and do not serve me. I work each day to notice these and change the story-- because it's all a big story, a sweet narrative running through all of our heads as we float through our lives. 

When I tap into my innermost knowing-- that  Peter who to open instead of contract, to trust that I am limitless, then I am in tune, I am in flow-- I am loving myself. I am listening. When I notice my mind in repetitive mantras of self doubt or limiting beliefs, I close my eyes, take a breath, and remember the Truth of this moment. That this instant right here is mine to play out-- to pick yes or no, the red pill or the blue pill, smile or sneer, smoke or breathe, give or take, awaken fully or numb myself....LOVE OR FEAR?! Always choose love and watch this sometimes routine-seeming day-to-day life of work and money and stuff, become one of infinite possibilities, wonder and pure magic.

Please, for all of us, each moment, come back to love, "it is where you came from and where you'll return."



Alan Watts

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” 



Learn. Do. Be.

We each have 24 short, sweet hours each day to both produce and simultaneously grow as individuals. Ideally this time is split between work, sleep and pleasure of some sort. Recently I have been trying to dissect my daily experience into separate, but overlapping activities: Learning, Doing and Being.

Learning. We should all be learning new things everyday. Whether you're 18 or 80 we grow, acquire wisdom and better ourselves through the process of seeking out new information, ideas and experiences in an effort to evolve both as individuals and part of the collective Oneness that is humanity. Whether this learning takes place in a classroom,on a yoga mat, in a book or from rich experiences, learning is a fundamental part of the ride we call life.

Upon graduating from college I noticed my learning process was becoming less active— less deliberate. I was learning new things by serendipity or out of necessity rather than learning for the sake of growth and knowledge. Recently I’ve turned learning into an active daily process. I reflect at the end of each day on what new things I’ve both learned and want to incorporate into my “new” self. Try to become aware of the things that you're learning actively, and those nuggets that you’re letting passively wash over you. Be deliberate with your education and evolution, and step back from your sensing self and analyze what’s coming in and sticking. Learn, and thus grow everyday. Learn here.

Doing. Most work environments necessitate a lot of doing. We need to complete presentations, projects, sales, designs, meetings, etc. While the hope and intention should always be to learn while doing, sometimes our productivity mechanisms and deadlines kick in and we just churn out work instead of simultaneously learning. But that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with ‘doing’ — in fact it’s necessary and important to put your head down, grind out work and just get shit done sometimes. This ‘doing’ has happened for centuries and is ultimately the reason why artifacts exist at all! Roads, buildings, computers, paper, toys, plastic, glass, snack bars— virtually every non-living thing is a product of people doing. Becoming aware of when you’re in ‘do’ mode verses ‘learn’ mode is important, and might just be the key to unlocking oceans of latent creativity. Try to incorporate more learning into your doing today. Do here.

Being. This is my favorite. This is where you step back from both learning and doing, and just “be.” Be okay by yourself. Be present. Be open-minded. Be with the people you’re with and not your iPhone. Be a mindful member of the human race. Be compassionate. Be love. Be your best self. Be your breath. This is the state of being where we are most in tune with nature and everything around us. Here we’re neither trying to learn nor do anything. Any learning that does occur is a result of just being.

Unfortunately most people waste these powerful states of mind and being on frivolous activities— and I am beyond guilty. This isn't about meditation; rather, it’s about being right here, right now. Look up and away from your screen. See? You’re here! There’s no need to change anything, or go into doing mode, as we all so often tend to DO. Just sit with yourself and feel the calmness of the present. Forget planning and remembering for just a little while…you’ll inevitably return to the other states soon enough. Enjoy a few moments for your breath and release all your muscles and tension. Just exist as you are. It’s pretty beautiful. Just indulge with me for a few minutes.

While there are obviously other states of consciousness and experience, I tend to wrestle with these the most. On the one hand, we want to be the best that we possibly can at whatever it is that we’re passionate about or working for. This involves both doing and learning…but when do you pull away from doing mode and actually figure out (learn) the best possible way to accomplish the task at hand? On the other hand, we all must learn to justbe sometimes. It’s essential to be a fully formed human. Being is what connects us to the magic of life, the universe and other humans. It’s when we explore our consciousness at the most fundamental level— without learning about it, but rather experiencing it firsthand. Be here. So go forth my friends! Learn! Do! Be! And if you have time, Love!



In Search of Adventure

So there we were, sailing slowly along in a 180' traditional three-masted tall ship, crossing the Indian Ocean from Bali to South Africa, rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Something dawned on me as the wind was gently blowing through my tar-filled grizzly beard…

More and more I realize life is supposed to be a journey — an adventure of one flavor or another — you choose. For some, perhaps this is more slow, cautious and calculated, where risks and rewards are deeply considered. For others, the adventure may be more adrenaline-filled, fast, wide-eyed and impulsive.

I drove by this older couple in a pickup truck towing a camper the other day and thought to myself, that’s so beautiful. Exploring the country with the one you love, towing your home behind you. That is freedom. That is adventure.

The paradigm of the American Dream is changing for my generation. The “work/life balance” is slowly fading, giving way to an exploratory, curious life of twists and turns and roadblocks and challenges and wins and loses between work and family and friends and society and Mother Earth and the universe…

The polarities need to drop away. It is all one “thing” — one ride, a one-way ticket. Are you going to stop and smell the roses (or eat the candy!) or just put your head down and “drive” like many of us seem to do, without fully realizing that we don’t get these breaths back.

It doesn’t matter what we do for work, or where we live, or what we have or don’t have in our pockets. What matters is that we allow this life is a journey; recognize that there IS an end (and that’s not bad!), and how we experience each of these fleeting moments is important — whether there is an afterlife or not.

I don’t want to preach, and this may seem like it, but I want us to not forget, or, perhaps, deliberately remember the importance of following one’s heart — about seeing that whatever is in front of your eyes at this instant, can in fact be a beautiful journey and is the most important thing in the world.

Now I opened with my sailing story because, even then, in the thick of a true adventure, I lost sight of the journey — of the adventurous wind that was slapping me in the face and throwing salt in my eyes. This is a reminder to either say ‘no’ to experiences, or an enthusiastic ‘hell yes!’ There is no middle ground when it comes to your time, attention and presence. Dive fully into whatever it is that you are doing, right now.



Dear Human

Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.

Courtney A. Walsh