Guilt and selfishness are linked like railroad boxcars.  Our idea of what it is to be “selfish” in front, followed closely and awkwardly by “guilt”, uncomfortably crashing into each other around every turn.  So much so, it’s hard to know selfishness without its counterpart. Ive recently been on a particularly winding road with these two- making decisions for my life that others would, and have, deemed “selfish”. Never wanting to hurt anyone but also knowing that I wasn’t happy, and that my unhappiness was hurting those I loved more than the risk it took to find it, to come back to myself.

One expression of guilt  is the distance between what you are doing and what you feel you should be doing. It is also the expression of wanting something we feel we are undeserving of having. Either way, guilt wants us to hide. It wants us to defend/ tuck tail and run. The only way to really utilize this emotion, or any for that matter, is to face it head on and look at whatever subject matter it’s hitched to (ie. the idea of “selfishness” or rather my “wants” being at odds with what I think I “should want” or “should be doing”) On my way down one particularly slippery self-deprecating slope, I stopped myself half-way down and asked “What does selfishness really mean?” Not really knowing, I turned Google:


adjective self·ish \ˈsel-fish\

: having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people

I believe we need a new definition. We need to reclaim this word from the collapse of it with “inconsideration” (of which this definition really speaks, thus why it is so easy to attach it to “guilt”),  and redefine what it really means to be selfish.

From my non-identification with this definition,  I had a revelation- I AM selfish. But not in this way. Instead, in a way that is to act from a place of knowing my true preference and having my actions extend from there. From knowing and honoring my true self in any given moment.

In truth, we are most considerate when we are acting selfishly. One of the greatest gifts we offer one another is to allow each other to choose authentically. If we operate from selfishness rather than doing what we think we should do, we give each other an opportunity to also choose.  This said, you have to own and make known your authentic preference to enable others to do the same.

The best option is always a win-win and a win-win is only possible from a space of authentic selfishness on both ends, in this way, everything is a win-win, every time.

I believe it’s much harder to be selfish than to appease or placate. We are taught in our culture from a very young age to be responsible for each other’s feelings/experiences. As kids, we are told. “You hurt him/her!, say you’re sorry! go to timeout,etc” We are taught to be more responsible to the emotions and experiences of others, than ourselves. One of the most challenging and most empowering ways to live, is in full responsibility for your own experience. This includes your emotions, your thoughts and your life, as a whole. When you are responsible for your experience, you have all the power to change it and create anew.

We come into the world as babies and children knowing this and intrinsically living this selfishness, you’ve seen how kids are the centers of their own worlds. However, we are conditioned out of this early on only to come back it in fits-and-spurts throughout our life. Regardless, our authentic selfishness is default. And most, if not all of our struggles in life come from resisting what it is we want with what it is we feel we deserve or what we “should do”.

me and youAuthentic selfishness is ultimately selflessness. When we operate from our own true preferences and give up “looking good” or “being right”, we ultimately drop the “self”, the idea of who we are and what we should be doing. By the very nature of this we give others a permission slip to do the same.

The mind will wrestle with this concept, so it’s better to perhaps explore this through feeling. Think of it this way, do you want your husband/wife, friend, anybody doing anything for you you that they really don’t want to be doing? No, you don’t. It doesn’t feel good. Do you want to do anything for anyone else that you really aren’t inspired to do? No. Again, it doesn’t feel good to do. So you have three options: do it anyway (wrong answer), don’t do it (right answer),  or find a way to be inspired to do it and then do it out of inspiration, out of inspired action (most “kinetic” answer- this is where we grow).

There is a distinct and powerful difference between action and inspired action. Action lends to more of the same, think cog-in-a-wheel, just enough to keep the same thing already in motion, in motion. Inspired action, moves mountains, parts seas, creates from nothing, something. The greatest inventors and heroes of history were always always always operating from inspired action.

You might be thinking, “what about people of a lower socio-economic status? what about other species? what about the environment?” It’s my belief that these issues and all others will only change by those individuals operating from selfish, inspired action. From a place where they love the feeling it gives them to donate money, or help first-hand, or create a system to support the positive transformation of these current circumstances.

Those who continue to post to Facebook their personal diatribes of the horrors of our humanity towards these or other issues, only promote more of the same. The quote “What you resist, persists” is as relevant as “like attracts like”. Be the model of what you want for the world and do it because it feels good. Do it because you are inspired. This is the only way to make a real, powerful, and lasting difference.

Do everything because you want to. Do everything because it feels good to do, and do nothing that doesn’t. Live courageously from this beautiful selfish nature that we are. What if you weren’t responsible for other people’s experiences? Guilt is perhaps the heaviest feeling we carry and many of us carry it on our shoulders and around our necks like a lead scarf- heavy and suffocating. What if you could drop this? I ask that you try it, just for a day. If you don’t like it, you can always pick it back up and wear it again, but for a day, be you. Be just you in the world, doing you. Do what you want, when you want, with no other reason then because it feels good to do.

Some of you might have kids, as I do.  This can be particularly challenging to practice with children, because there is no other relationship,except maybe caring for an elderly parent, that requires you to do for someone before yourself all. the. time. I know this is why I had kids, to practice in the most unselfish way, how to be, completely selfish. This is growth, this is soul stretching.

These relationships with dependents ask us to come into inspired action much of the time, to choose something that initially might be unappealing because the true benefit of our action is what we’re present to.  This is the blessing that kids afford. For no one else would we be willing to practice this as diligently as for these little people. If you make breakfast and taxi to school, take to practices, and help with homework from inspired action, your kids will feel it. Because a synonym to inspired action is love and another is presence. When you operate from the heart, from love and presence, it is felt deep and visceral. This is the stuff the best memories are made of.

You being an example of “doing you” as I like to call it, inspires and gives permission for others to do their own lives. Authentic selfishness is really about living your truth and being fully responsible for your own life. We lead and learn by example. Do you. Let others do themselves. Take nothing personally. And forget the rest.

Love Letter to Myself

There is a bridge. I will meet you there.

There is a place that equally supports the two lands from where we both come.

The bridge may be long. It may cross many rapids or a great void covered in frozen grass where the sun hasn’t shone for days, for months.

The bridge might be made of metal rebar or softened wood, and in some sections hardly standing. We might have to crawl across some parts to avoid holes and high winds. We might have to go against our instincts. We might have to just start moving.

We will have to trust that through the fog that rolls in, and the moon that sets,  we will blindly reach the middle. We must trust that the other is moving equally towards this middle and we will recognize each other when we arrive.

There is a bridge

I will meet you here.

I believe we are in a continual state of meeting ourselves. Always coming into a new relationship with an unseen part of ourselves. Walking always towards ourselves, even if the path is a tiny trail on the outskirts of a heart-land we don’t know. Even when we feel like we’re walking away from one shoreline we must remember the waters always meet, even if they are miles and rivers and oceans away, even if it’s in the clouds.

Originally this poem was written for a dear friend of mine. It became clear upon a third or fourth read that this is also from me to me. From us to us. Ram Das has said, “We are all just walking each other home”. This quote lives in my heart. I too believe, we are all walking each other home but by virtue of meeting ourselves. Sometimes it’s from the inside out, sometimes its the outside in that brings us to that place of meeting, of soul-to-self cohesion. Sometimes it’s someone else that shows us, us. Sometimes it’s a deeper knowing in us that shows us them. Two sides, same coin, transparent and porous metal.

It’s Not Too Many Choices, It’s You

IMG_0647“We have too many choices”. This is a truism believed by many, that the myriad of choices we have from salad dressings to potential dates from apps like “Tinder” is somehow beyond our capacity to manage. We are bombarded by choice, often to the point of feeling completely paralyzed by the necessity to choose. 

I was on board with this idea- let’s limit our choices, simplify, be consistent, have a shopping list and execute.

Then, it occurred to me, why is this conundrum of choice any different than any other “outside circumstance”?

I don’t think it’s the ever-growing expanse of options that induces anxiety or ultimately, paralyzation of choice. These choices, rather, speak to something of greater depth. The fact that we now have more choices than ever before from how we customize our smoothies to creating our own persona on social media, is both natural and completely relevant. 

As our species expands in consciousness, and in physical form, we are ultimately generating more varied versions of ourselves. This is inevitable. The universe is expanding, our inner universe is expanding, and so within, so without. We will invariably have even more options as consciousness expands and ripples out in the physical realm. This is beautiful, this is the physical representation of our inner expansion that will continue infinitely.

Lets stop fighting these things we don’t want. Lets stop designing studies to prove how “with the non-existence of the current situation, we would be better off”. The current situation is here to embrace, to let-in, and most importantly to be creative in our thoughts and find how it fits best within us, on an individual level- an internal Tetris of sorts.

The number of options we have matters about as much as the amount of germs that exist on the handle bar of a shopping cart. We have come to understand, through science, that it is not what is “out there”, rather its about the environment on the inside. Are you susceptible to disease? Or is your inner terrain healthy and can withstand the onslaught of “germs” we encounter on a daily basis? Just like, “Are you aligned internally?” or is the amount of choices available going to overwhelm and possibly paralyze you?

When we are grounded or aligned in who we are, we can trust that everything else will flow with ease, that the “right” choice will be blazingly apparent. How do we know when we are grounded/aligned? It’s more that we know when we’re not. This ungrounding is apparent when we feel burdened by choice, by the spectrum of options in life.

Contrast is necessary. It is gives life to our current experience. When we feel tired, stressed, anxious, sad, or any other of the less desirable emotions ( I like to call them “signaling emotions”)- it is our guidance system showing us that we’re off. Some things make it easier than others to direct our energy “on” them to try to change. Choice is one of those, kids are another, relationships in general. It’s so easy when it seems like it’s “out there”.

Still, these signaling emotions are the inner call of us to come back to us. And when we do, we know it. Things just click. Life like those little cubic shapes of Tetris, just line up. The right shape coming at just the right time.  These “coincidences” are our signals that we are in alignment. It’s in times like these that we hardly even think of choice. It feels as though life itself chooses us. This is how little the spectrum of options matters in the way of our mental attempt to diagnose the best strategy. This is why- begin with you. Start at the beginning, each time. Don’t make a decision, make yourself. Make yourself the clearest, most grounded, most aligned version of yourself and let life do the rest. 

You Are a Verb

Life is goddamn messy and beautiful and most of all it just is.

It isn’t how we planned it. It doesn’t work out according to our best script with the best cast and most idyllic setting. It happens how it does, and as cliche as it sounds- exactly as it should.

Would I take anything back? Do I have any regrets? Only that in any moment I was blinded by my idea of how it should be, obscuring the absolute perfection of how it was, how it all is.

At any given moment we are given a choice- to be in the moment or be out of it. Maybe more correctly, to be aware of the perfection of all things past and open to all things future and at the same time deeply moved by the momentum of the present, or—to not be. To be stuck.

To be stuck in the way we imagined it should have been, the way we thought it should go, the way it didnt. Fuck that. Fuck all of the past preconceptions of who you thought you were. Like the idea of  “love”, “relationship”, “family”, the idea of “how life should have gone”. What is life if it doesn’t rock you? What is life if it doesn’t slip the foundation out from under you? Only to remind you that the foundation wasn’t real to begin with.

11665454_10206280159717143_6675403578134118180_nGravity is an illusion. We’re all just floating, maybe our feet are seemingly planted on this earth for this momentary time we inhabit it, but life, all of it, all of the vastness of life from single-celled bacteria to every plant and every animal that ever was and ever will be—is floating. We are in space, we are of space. And the most of all that we are,  and all that we’re in, we do not know. We must float in the trust of now.

And what is trust, but to be open? and what is now, but everything and nothing and beyond the capacity that our linear minds can comprehend. What would we be up to if we weren’t drawing this picture as we were living it.

I dont know what is next. I know I am on this airplane and I can feel the next few steps pulling me from my center. I feel packing, and storing my belongings, I feel Boulder, I feel. And maybe that’s it too. Where is there the most feeling? If feeling is energy, like all things are, where is it most concentrated. Move into that, open into that, feel into the feeling that preceded your feeling. Match it, meet yourself. You’re already there.

We will die. We are mortal. But only in so much as we can conceive of this life. Only in so much that we define ourselves by the boundaries of our skin. We are beyond it. Just as time. Just as space. Just as anything that ever was and ever will be. We are looking for that. I see it in the eyes of people looking into the eyes of myself, I see the fire of their soul speaking a language of presence. Momentary, often fleeting, completely beautiful presence. I see it, I feel it, I want nothing more than to sink deeper into it.

Who are we when we are no more? I don’t want my legacy as a headstone. My epitaph should be a spark that when remembered creates remembrance. Let me be a remembrance that there is nothing that wasn’t before and there will be nothing that never was. Let me be a remembrance of self in the purest form that pulls you from your core and slowly surely smoothes the jagged rocks of identity of separate into the roundness of is. Let my spark be creation itself, let my spark be the language that language cannot touch but shortens the distance. Let me be the synapse. Let me be the synapse.

This is the promise I make to myself- I promise to move with you. I promise to release hold of how it “should have gone” to embrace how it’s going. I release you from guilt. I release you from suffering. Those are just a reminder that you are not aware of the perfection of what is. What is. Be with what is.

You are not your life, but you are here to live it. You are not your life, but you are here to LIVE it. YOU are NOT your life, but you are here to LIVE it.

Do you understand that? Can you appreciate the difference. The subtle but magnificent difference?

You are NOT your life. You are NOT a sum of the parts. YOU are not your past. YOU are not your future. YOU ARE HERE TO LIVE IT. The you is the music in creation, the dance in motion, not the instrument, not the dancer.  The real “you” is a verb not a noun.

“You” cease to exist each time there is a reflection of “you”. Then “you” are gone. You are only here, only palpable when there is no “me”, “I”, this, that, other, the pronouns are you’re cue that you are not “you”. The pronouns are your cue that you are not you.

So yes. It’s simple: be. here. now. But still, be where you are,  just be honest and be aware. Because sometimes you will have to take yourself to another place in order to come through another door into yourself. We’re all really just existing as a hall of mirrors. Our lives, our soul’s journey, one hallway to the next.

Life in Analog

It’s one of those days- when it doesn’t feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but rather traveled  to another dimension of myself. Wait, Im awake?

IMG_6428It’s just that I don’t know when I’ll be “me” again. Or if I’ll even know when I get there-like falling into an avalanche and suddenly not knowing which way is up- my internal navigation might be off.

I feel like a satellite pointed into the vast blackness of myself. But there’s too much electronic noise. Signal cant come through. They do say this is the problem with

analog—too much distortion

But I’m not digital. I can’t be digital. There just aren’t enough ones and zeros to color me completely from skin to marrow to soul.

Digital- I know, it’s more efficient. It’s all at our fingertips, everything we could possibly want to know. But the more I know, the less I feel, and that is perhaps my worst fear. I think there might be a direct correlation between how “me” I feel and how much of me I “feel”. It’s so easy to get lost in the doing, the going of life where each day becomes the next and each month the last. We can lose ourselves here, where the colors of life start to all bleed together.

We can all too easily forget who we are and what the fuck we’re here for when everything comes down to just getting it right, having the right information, the best, most calculated course of action.

I can Google every question I might have and fill my mind with more information about any one topic than could ever possibly be proven or peer reviewed, and even then, what does it matter? What does any of it matter if I can’t tell my own truth from another’s opinion?

Im not interested in what you know. Im interested in who you are when you’re naked, not just of clothes, but without judgements, and opinions., free of labels and shoulds’.

But the truth is, we are becoming more like satellites and less like animals. Still, the system we are running this data through is mostly water, this body is mostly body you see, and all of this information it creates insulation- between us and us.

Fillet me open. Take my beating heart and scrub the layers of doubt and fear from these hungry arteries. I know how to do nothing less with this gravity of life than to take the weight of oxygen and let it lift me from the inside out. I know nothing less, than to with prescience and precision,  turn my insides out and feel this world on the underside. What else is there?

I have no interest in the “right way”. No interest in becoming anything. I have every interest in being and feeling and doing this now with the most of me that I can muster. How much of me can I fill into the square inch of this moment. Let’s forget about the next. Let’s forget about the last. Let’s just forget everything. That’s a good place to start- from scratch.

Choice, Challenge and Opportunity

Challenge and opportunity are the same thing through a different lens. Its like a room, and walking into a darkened room and standing there, or turning on the light. Same room, different experience.

I was walking the beach today and passing person after person. Just taking them in through my eyes, and wanting to see if I could maybe understand from the way they smiled, made eye contact, or did not- what was going on in their worlds. We all have our own worlds, and I’m willing to speculate that 9 times out of 10 someone is going through a challenge of some kind. Maybe that is it, maybe the challenge is there at first for us to be able to see the opportunity, and it’s this opportunity that once realized, catapults us into the next phase of life, with a greater ability to live it completely.

Maybe challenge is like a Magic Eye, where at first its all fuzzy and can be overwhelmingly IMG_6411frustrating. I remember sitting with pages that I just could never get, putting the book down and opening it again and again trying to see what was behind  the blurred dots. Opportunity is when this all comes together. Suddenly the eyes readjust, and that is when our little brains line up with the expanse of our hearts and stop trying to force the picture, but allow it to come into focus. Wasn’t that how Magic Eye was done too? You squint too hard and you just narrow your view, contract the picture. You have to relax, open, and soften your eyes. Then it comes into clear view. Magic. 

I heard recently that people travel not to experience a new place, but really it’s to experience themselves in a new place. We all want to be taken deeper into ourselves, fall in love more fully with ourselves. When we are in a state of complete in-loveness with who we are, where is there to go? What is there to do? This is what happens when challenge becomes opportunity.

Sometimes it’s not that clear, sometimes that light switch in the darkened room is not visible and sometimes we have to read the brail of our lives with the lightest touch of fingertips instead of seeing it with opened eyes. We often have to feel our way through the muck, the complexity, the challenge. But here’s where simplifying comes in. We make small choices to effect big changes. Sometimes, no, most times, we don’t have the slightest clue what our small choices will lead to in terms of big life changes. Think children, think new jobs, think new moves, think death.

The way we make small choices is the same way we make big ones- one choice at a time. If you have two options, great. If you have an infinite number of options, even better- while this makes things potentially more “challenging”, it’s also indicative of the open nature of your mind.

Take all of the choices and then take the highest road, you know which one this is. Or just make a choice and adjust from there. There’s no wrong choice. There’s just life, and adjusting to life. Whichever choice you make will bring you another challenge and another opportunity. And that’s the point. Its not to make choices to avoid challenges, it’s turning challenges into opportunities…again and again and again. Its becoming more proficient in the dark, and learning to read brail more quickly and learning how, maybe someday, to have night vision.

The Epic Journey of Words

These words aren’t coming easy right now. They seem caught in a tide pool between the ocean of “everything” and the land-lock of “is”. Somehow paralyzed in these fingers right below the knuckle.

“Press on”, I tell them and from the weight and gravity of bent joints like crab legs fingering salty rocks. The words will come. They have no choice. Still, it’s been far too long since I inhabited myself and the world in this way. As though I were dropped off into the Amazon after spending a month in a deprivation tank, but opposite. Because the world that feels so striking as it pumps through these collapsed veins, is the mirror reflection of stillness cast against the shadow of life’s carnival.

Lights and sounds rebound from my center and travel upwards. My lungs siphoning them millimeter by millimeter, each inhale builds them a little fuller, a little more dimension and composition, and they grow. These things, these word-lets are alive you know, latent—kinetic.

Then these words pass through the heart, but this phase will take more than the line I can allow it now. This phase happens instantaneously but with the prescience and precision of lifetimes. This phase will take my life to traverse the inlets of and will be the single source that brings my fingers to this keyboard in hope of Morse coding my soul into the future. There is a suphoto (9)spension bridge I believe that hangs on the symbols of speech, attaching soul to time.

And, to the throat where most of this gets stuck. Song helps, it forces these, one balloon at a time upwards , higher. Most of us don’t know the more we shove down our throat the less room we give these to rise. Most don’t know the less truth you speak, the more the muscles atrophy, and momentum is lost in the dankness that caves create. Listening is a lost language that we must relearn in order to expand. We must allow the osmosis of space and silence to permeate our constructs.

The words that make it this far- they do something curious. There is this strong river that picks up with current from the top of the throat and up to the mind. Once a part of the water they get mixed up and agitated, breaking bonds, separating solute from solvent. That is why a sharp mind is so important. It’s all about reconstitution, really. They are arranged into a symphony of color and light that the eyes bring in. They smell and taste of all things poignant. And here they bake in the sunlight for sometime until perfectly golden and then pass once more, this time more like descending a spiral stairway, from the mind to the lips. Sometimes, a slide can be created, but it is best used with caution, before descending these so quickly. There is a seasonality to their spiral decent and the journey should be regarded each step.

Now, they reach the lips. And press up against them, sometimes all clustered and clamoring to get out, one golden bubble at a time. There is a hidden lever here, one that is controlled by something both within us and without. One that cannot be named, one that lives in the un-space of faith. It is this that pulls the lever and allows each out. A single note at a time. Building and expanding in the space around the face like a cloud of dandelion and in a moment is both gone and here forever.