Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Love, Acceptance, Respect, Admiration and Worship

April 18, 2016
Love, Acceptance,  Respect, Admiration and  Worship
My kid is almost 19.
When she was born I could hear
her non-verbal communication so clearly.
It was like she was speaking to me.
 
I knew she was fully conscious and aware.
A perfect soul in a little body.
 
I knew I had to do whatever I could
to give her the love, acceptance,
respect, admiration and
even worship that she deserved.
 
That has always been the core of my parenting philosophy.

How to Develop More Self-Love

April 13, 2016

How to Develop More Self-Love
How to Develop More Self-Love

I Love That Guy

Today I was talking to a friend and they had me on speakerphone
I heard the echo of my voice and told them so

They said
“Sorry”

I said
“It’s no problem,
I love that guy,
he’s so beautiful”

It just came out of me!
That reaction comes from the Self-Love
and self-intimacy work that I do.

It was such a nice surprise to get from myself

My friend asked me for some tips
on how to develop a more
loving relationship with themselves

Here are some of the things I shared with them.
I hope they can be of some service to you.

1) Hug yourself like you’d hug a friend in need
Or a child that needs comforting.

Do it often.
Do it every day if you can.

When we can turn our love inwards
in a physical way
it affect our consciousness.

We can actually bypass the mind
and give ourselves the message that we’re loved.

2) Think of any good things you’ve done,
however small, and thank yourself for it.

Expressing gratitude to oneself is an uncommon act.
This acknowledgement reinforces
the notion that you’re worthy of love.

I just did it for myself as I am writing this
about something that happened this morning.

I said:
“Thank you Vivek for expressing your emotions so freely today.
I know it was vulnerable to do so and
I appreciate you taking the risk and being so open.”

It felt so good to receive that.
mmmmmm…

3) Observe the innocence of babies
and practice feeling that same innocence in your own heart.

This one can take time
because we’re quite far away from that state,
but it’s a beautiful feeling
once you can get a hold of it.

It is inside every one of us.
From the most violent criminal
to the most loving person,
we all have the same, pure spirit within.

Beyond our experiences, our trauma, our labels and self-identity
There is a wordless, idealess, painless wonder.

You don’t have to live there all the time,
but once in a while close your eyes and see if you can
feel that open and connected sense of yourself.

It is a very healing thing to do
and only takes a few seconds of inward attention.
Sometimes that can be more effective
than 2 hours of meditation!

4) Recognize that your errors, your faults and your pain
come from a desire to love, to serve and to be whole.

Sometimes we get caught up in
the struggle of life and
forget the reason we’re struggling.

This desire to love, to serve and to be whole
is in your core.
It springs from your essence.

Even when you act or react in ways you would rather not
at their root is the desire to love, to serve and to be whole.

Dig deep and find that inner motivation
when you feel like coming down on yourself.

For example, if I lose my temper when driving
(that’s one of my big ones)
I will often feel bad about myself.

Then I realize that I don’t like to be pushed around.
This comes from wanting to protect myself
because I was severely bullied when I was young.

My inner knowing is that no one should be bullied,
no one should be treated with anything but kindness
and I’m fighting against anything that threatens this.

Granted the method is often ineffective.
(due to my pain and triggers),
but the deeper motivation is one of purity.

When we can remember that
love is our root motivation
we can see ourselves as
a fundamentally loving being
and that feels nice.

—————–
These ideas are a good start on the journey
to loving and accepting ourselves.
The more intimate and loving a self-relationship we have
The more we’re able to offer love to others
And the more we increase our capacity to enjoy life.

The Gift of NO

April 9, 2016

the gift of NO
The Gift of NO

Yesterday I asked my daughter
to get something from the car for me.

Her response was:
“No I don’t feel like it.”

Expressing my Gratitude

The next day I went to her in a quiet moment and I said:

“Hey kiddo I want you to know that
when you said no to me yesterday
and in fact every time you say no to me
I consider it a great gift.

It means you are listening to yourself
and honoring yourself.

I love it when you Honour Yourself

As your father, your friend
and your guide
this is the most important thing to me.

This is something I want you to
always pay attention to.

Because it means then that
you know yourself and love yourself.

What better gift could you give your dad?”

I could see that she was moved by this explanation.
This is an attitude I have
held with her from the very beginning.

She is almost 19 and I am still reinforcing this message.

She Feels Safe and Free

Knowing I feel this way allows her to
experience a deep trust and safety with me.
She knows she can be herself
and that I will love and accept her as she is.

This creates such a profound closeness between us.
That relationship is a priceless treasure!

———————-

There is a common question people ask
when I talk about supporting my daughter
in saying NO like this.

It is usually something like:

What about serving others?
What about family responsibility?
Aren’t you teaching her to think of herself first?

This is a natural way of looking at it.
This is not what happens though.

In order to understand it try and ask yourself
why you do good things?

Is it because you’ve been told to do good things by an authority figure?
Is it because you’re afraid what will happen to you if you don’t?

Or do you do good things because
it feels right?
It feels good?

Don’t you agree that, even when it really sucks,
when it hurts and is inconvenient…

doing the right thing just feels right,
and we know we really couldn’t have done anything else.

There are times when the right thing isn’t clear,
but when it is clear it’s best to follow it.

Inner Knowing is the Guide

It is this inner sense of rightness,
of knowing and of honouring
that we help develop in our kids
by honouring their NO as equal to their YES.

For only when we have
acceptance and intimacy with both,
when we fear neither,
can we truly hear what is
the right thing in this moment.

We will know when to serve
and we will also know when we need to
protect ourselves and step away.

We can hear the YES and the NO clearly.

When this skill is foundational
then service, responsibility, caring and generosity
arise naturally from the spirit within.

The Third Option

March 1, 2016

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The Third Option

Taking care of herself

The other day I was at an event with my friend Tanya.
It was 3 hour silent dance experience.
It’s a pretty intense way to spend an afternoon.

She was telling me later that at  first
she really felt like leaving.
She just didn’t want to be there,
it felt too much for her.

Leaving doesn’t work

Then she imagined what it would be like if she left.
She pictured that she would be going home
and collapsing on her couch.
There she would lay curled up
feeling kind of sorry for herself.

Staying doesn’t work

That didn’t seem so appealing to her
so instead she thought that she should
push through her insecurities and resistance.
Force herself to stay and join in with the group.

This felt inauthentic and equally unpleasant
as collapsing on her couch.

TRAPPED!

She felt trapped between these two choices,
neither one seeming very nourishing or enjoyable
and this was supposed to be a
nourishing and enjoyable dance event!

The third option inspiration

Suddenly it occurred to her that there was a third option.
She could stay in the event and also
honour what she was feeling.

So she stayed in the room with the rest of us,
but also spent a lot of time by herself observing.

By giving this permission to herself
she was able to relax and enjoy herself.
In fact by the end of the three hours
she had had a really good time.

I learn from my friends

This was such a good reminder for me.
Personally I love the concept of the third option.

Tanya demonstrated great skill in
thinking and feeling in a nonlinear way.

The trap of the false dichotomy

I also often find myself trapped between
two unpleasant choices.
This is known as a false dichotomy.

When I feel the tension or stress of
being locked in this way
I try and remember that there is
always a third option.

The third option is creative and non-linear

It can require some creative and
out of the box thinking in order to see it,
but I do believe it is always there.

When I put the effort into finding it
I am always greatly relieved.

It is like finding an alternative way out of the maze.

The third option in parenting

False dichotomies often appear in parenting.
This is one of the most useful places for us
to be aware of the third option.

A great example of where often
we can see only two options is
around the idea of authority.

My way or the highway

There is  the traditional idea that
parents have to be an authority figure with their kids
or the kids will end up ruling the home
and the parent will lose all their power.

The problem with this is the whole idea of power rests on a hierarchical mindset and relationship. When parents
assume a position of authority, kids feel it and the relationship will suffer.

They end up losing a sense of their own power and autonomy.
They do not develop the most powerful connection
to their own independence and decision making abilities.

They also end up learning that their own ideas, feelings and intuitions are less valid and important than those of the authority figures in their lives.

I’m sure you can imagine the long term effects of this kind of self-concept.

This is also damaging for the parents because they set themselves apart from their children and this limits the closeness they can create.

Kids ruling the home

The other option is not any more pleasant.
Having kids that are out of control and
not cooperating in any way with the family unit
will make everyone’s lives miserable.

The parents will feel disempowered and learn to resent their children. I see this all the time in the stressed out parent. It feels like their children are obstacles to their freedom and happiness.

The kids themselves will not learn healthy ways to relate to others in this environment. Whether we have strict or uninvolved parents children and their family systems are going to have a hard time. Fortunately we’re not limited to those two options.

Seeking out the third option

There is a third option available here,
but it is not immediately obvious to see.
It can be even more difficult to implement.

Horizontal Power Sharing

Imagine a family community where
the authority and power was shared equally by all members.

This may seem like a wild and radical idea
when viewed from the traditional parenting mindset.

Changing your perspective

In order to implement this kind of relational dynamic with your children you would have to significantly alter
how you view them and
how you view yourself.

You would end up trusting them in a whole new way.
You would end up not always knowing what to do.
You would also end up not feeling in control much of the time.

We avoid the unknown

The unknown and the unfamiliar can feel quite scary.
In fact they can feel so scary that
the fear can make us run from a new idea.

This is one of the ways we miss the third option.

Unexpected and pleasant results

When you put the effort into creating a home
where power is shared equally
between parents and children
an amazing thing happens.

Power struggles decrease because
we all honour the power in each other.

If a young person feels their power is honoured
they do not have the same desire to fight for it.

Cooperation increases because we all feel the natural desire to
make the other feel good. When your children sense that
you trust and respect them as equals they are much more likely to keep their hearts open to you.

Other parenting false dichotomies

Here are a few other areas where it can seem like there are only two choices. Maybe give a few moments thought to each one and see if you can find the third option.

Engaging in this kind of mental exercise when nothing dramatic is happening can increase your ability to see the third option
when the chaos erupts.
(As it always does!)

1. My child is either obedient or disobedient
2. My child is either polite or talking back to me
3. My child says please and thank you or they have bad manners
4. My child has temper tantrums or they can control their emotions
5. If my child tells the truth I trust them more. If they lie to me I trust them less.

There are likely 100 more examples of this. You will probably notice one the moment you stop reading this blog!

The third option equals greater freedom

In all of our relationships, especially in parenting 
and probably in just about everything we do,
if we can be aware of the third option it will help us to see different paths than the obvious ones set before us. We can be more open, creative and responsive. 

 

The 4 Year Old Explorer

February 23, 2016

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The 4 Year Old Explorer

The beautiful chaos of 4 year olds

I was at a birthday party for a 4 year old last weekend.
There were little people running all over the place.
It was pure, joyous chaos.

I really love watching the incredible variety
that little ones have in their personalities.

I love watching the way they interact with their surroundings.
The way they explore and experiment
with everything they touch.

I love watching the many conflicts arise
and seeing the way they deal with them.

Observing the parents as well

I also enjoy watching the great variety of
parenting approaches that one inevitably sees
in a room full of kids and parents.

Although this can also be difficult for me
as I am quite biased in my preferred approach.
And that’s putting it mildly!

The impulse to experiment

At one point a cute little Explorer
went up to the sound system that was set up
and started touching buttons on the mixing board.

He ended up getting his hands on the
volume slider and in one quick motion
turned it all the way up.

The whole room was rocked

The music exploded out of the speakers
and everybody in the room jumped.

The kids all had looks of terror on their faces
and screamed wildly as they
ran  into their parents arms.

It took a second or two for someone to run over and turn the music down. In that time kids were fairly traumatized.

That’ll teach him

There was a man sitting a couple chairs away from me
holding his 3 month old baby in his arms.

Throughout the afternoon I was enjoying watching
the tenderness between the two of them.

When this happened he turned to me and said
“That’ll teach him a lesson.”

I looked at him sideways and asked him
“What lesson exactly is that?”

He said “not to touch things when
you don’t know what they are.”

Are you sure?

I said to him
“Are you really sure that is the thing you
want to pass on to your kids?
That when they come upon something unfamiliar
they should avoid it for fear of
what the results will be?

Do you want them to be afraid to explore,
experiment and delve into the unknown?”

An unfamiliar response

I think he was taken aback by this
unexpected response to what probably
seemed like an obvious comment to him.

He grumbled a little bit and then said
“well ok, the lesson is if you don’t know
what something is ask someone else first.”

Are you Really Sure?

I asked him again
“Is that really the lesson
you want to give your kids?

That when they experience something unfamiliar,
before taking a chance and trying it,
before taking the risk that they might fail
and experimenting with it,
that they should ask someone else first?

It seems like that’s making them afraid to take risks
and try new things for fear of what
the consequences might be.”

This time he really grumbled and mumbled even.
He turned away and did his best to ignore me.

The friend I was sitting with asked me
how I would have dealt with it
if my kid did the same thing and then ran into my arms?

Empathy Empathy Empathy

I would start empathizing with the little one
as they would be full of tension and fear at that moment.

I would say something like “It’s okay my darling,
I know it was scary. I felt scared too.”

I would hold them close and do whatever I could
to make them feel loved and safe.

Accentuating the positive

Once I fell that their vibration
had calmed down enough
I would express to them how I
admired their willingness to
experiment with something new.

I think it’s really wonderful the way you
wanted to test what all the buttons
on that mixing board did.

Encouraging further exploration

I know that it was scary when the music got louder,
but that is what happens sometimes
when we try new things.

Sometimes they don’t go how
we expect and that’s awesome.
The main thing is that you tried
and that’s what’s important.

I think that is such a wonderful part of who you are
and I always want you to feel free and safe
to try new things like that.

I will always be here to support you and
love you no matter what happens.

Taking action

Why don’t we go to the mixing board
and take another look at what all the buttons do.

We can play with the volume slider
that you so bravely pushed all the way up
and see how it affects
the loudness of the music.”

Then I would go over there with them
and make a fun experience of playing with
as many buttons sliders and knobs as I could.

Empathize, Validate, Take Action

The process of empathizing, validating
and then following up with action is so important.

It helps kids process their experiences
in a deep and holistic way.

My own comfort with the unknown

The other learning for me from this experience
is to recognize that the message this father
instinctively wanted to give to
his kids is extremely common.

This means it is very likely
deeply inside of me as well.

I know that I have many fears programmed into me.
Fears that stop me from
venturing into the unknown at times.

I can feel it in my mind and heart
when I am faced with the unknown.

Holding myself back
Afraid to fail

Sometimes I have to really push myself
to do something that seems scary,
where I have the potential to fail.

It’s like I don’t want to take the chance
of having the music be really loud
because I wasn’t given that kind of
validation and encouragement.

Deprogram and Reprogram

So now I have the opportunity to
deprogram and reprogram myself.
To give myself that same empathy,
validation and follow through with action.

The more I do this, the more I will be free
to engage in the unfamiliar.
The more free I feel
the more I will be able to
pass that freedom on to my daughter.

The Challenge of Authenticity

February 7, 2016

The Challenge of Authenticity

The Challenge of Authenticity

Showing My Whole Self

Authenticity is challenging.
When I am authentic with somebody
I am exposing a deep vulnerability.

I can’t be authentic without showing
the Yin and the Yang of who I am.

If I leave out either
I am hiding myself.

Therefore it seems the degree of my authenticity
is the degree to which I’m willing to expose
both the darkness and the light of my being.

It’s bloody scary!
That’s why it’s a challenge.
That’s why authenticity is a warrior’s path.

The Payoff is Huge

And yet when I do achieve a deeper level
of authenticity and vulnerability with someone,
while it may be scary, it is also deeply fulfilling.
Almost like nothing else can be fulfilling.

Perhaps this is because these are moments
when I’m truly introduced to myself.
I see myself face to face.
And this gives me the opportunity
to really love myself.

Clearly there are a lot of benefits
to having the courage to be authentic.
I do my best to seek out deeper levels
of authenticity than I am presently able to access.

The Danger Of Being Authentic Is Very Real

The thing is though, the danger is very real
because I have genuinely been hurt in the past
for being vulnerable.
I have being betrayed.

The sting of those experiences is still with me
and makes me hesitate, makes me protect myself.
This is why authenticity is a process
and not simply a one-time decision or experience.

Raising Authentic Children

As I often do, I want to relate this concept to parenting.

I recognized early on how much I had to
fight myself and the world to be authentic.
Well maybe I didn’t have to fight the world,
but I did feel I had to fight
my version of the world
or perhaps my perception of the world.

In any case this is the belief system I had
and it played out in my life.

Recognizing that was the case for me,
I wanted the opposite from my daughter.

I wanted her to feel that
her authentic self is
completely natural and accepted.

Then it wouldn’t feel like a weakness or a risk,
but it would seem like her very core,
her strength, the very existence of who she is.

This has been a central theme in
my parenting investigations.
How can I make it feel safe and strong
for my daughter to be authentic.

Protecting Her Authenticity

I recognize that a certain amount of authenticity
diminishes over time with painful
experiences that all of us experience in life.

I believe though, that we can minimize that damage
and allow a deeper level of authenticity to be
fostered in our children than we ever had access to.

Isn’t that what evolution,
conscious evolution is about?
Helping the next generation
be greater than we ever were.

Conscious parenting isn’t easy.

There’s always a dual process occurring.

On the one hand we are trying to foster
powerful qualities in our children.

On the other hand we realize that
we must be working on those very things
in our own lives if we are
going to pass them on effectively.

Its looking inward and
looking outward simultaneously.

Quite a wonderful skill to practice
and a beautiful opportunity to practice it

Found In Your Body

February 2, 2016

Found In Your Body
Found In Your Body

A Journey Within

This past week I attended 5 day
dance intensive workshop
in Buffalo, New York.

The teacher was Alicia Grayson.
http://www.tumblebones.com/

She was a masterful facilitator.
She led us brilliantly through a journey
deep into our bodies,
into our hearts and
into the dance.

A Moment of Quiet Connection

One day during lunch I was chatting with her
about a particularly intense dance that I had.

I was describing how I was able to quiet my mind
and let go of the noise that usually
keeps me from deep connection.

I said to her,
“I got lost in my body.”

She said,
“Actually Vivek, you got found in your body.”

This change in perspective dramatically altered
the way I thought about my experience.

I realized that my natural state IS being deeply connected.
Being trapped in a world of
thoughts and disconnection
is not who I am in my essence.

And yet I have become so normalized to
the idea of being disconnected from my body
I considered that state as natural.

When my mind was quiet and
I was fully in the dance
I considered it being lost.

Language Reveals Our Feelings

One might argue that it was simply
a common phrase we use,
but I believe that the language we choose
reflects the perspective and feelings we have.

Alicia pointed out that in fact this deep dance
was me finding myself,
finding my truth,
finding my nature.

She didn’t actually use all those words.
She simply said “you were found in your body.”

Great Teachers Introduce Us to Ourselves

As all great teachers do,
she touched me with a magical moment,
allowed me the freedom to process it
and draw my own conclusions.

One of the things I enjoyed most about her teaching
was that she seemed to really believe in each of us.
She knew that we had our own innate wisdom
in our bodies and in our hearts.
She was only working to put us in touch with it.

Children are Naturally Wise and Connected

When we are first born our entire reality is
centered in our bodies and in our connection
to our mother’s body.

There is a wisdom, a love and
a sense of connection
that is natural and essential to who we are.

Disconnection is an Effect of Growing Up

As we enter the world more and more
we are drawn into our heads,
into society and customs.
We are wounded, criticized
and betrayed on a regular basis.
We become distanced from the
innate wisdom that we have inside.

It gets replaced with fear and trauma based reactions.

We rely on manipulation of ourselves and
others to get what we think we want.

We end up believing that
disconnection, pain,
punishment and struggle
are normal, natural and our lot in life.

A Message of Freedom For Me and My Kid

This is not the message I want to hold in my heart.
Nor is it the message I want to pass on to my daughter.

I want us both to know that
all the wisdom and love of the universe
is available to us within our hearts
at this very moment and every moment.

I want us both to believe that
trust and intimacy with others is possible,
beautiful and worth the risk.

I want us both to feel the beauty and joy
of connection with our bodies and nature.

And I want us both to know that all of this
is natural and normal
not the exception.

This is the foundation of my self-development
and spirituality work as well as
the essence of my parenting philosophy.

The Sage Miracle

January 21, 2016

The Sage Miracle

The Sage Miracle

Way back in 1995 I bought a van,
pulled out the back seat and
put a mattress in it.

Then I took off and spent three months
driving out west to explore Canada…
And myself.

This was what I called my “Pre-Pregnancy Trip”.

I had many amazing experiences
during those three months.
Quite a few miraculous and
impossible to explain occurrences.

I also learned many deep lessons during that time.

I’m going to share one such lesson
with you today that I call the Sage Miracle.

Seeking the Sage

I was staying with a friend
in Saskatoon for a couple of weeks.
I had heard that Sage grows there
and I really wanted to pick some before I left town.

So as soon as I got there
I started bugging my friend
to take me somewhere that Sage grows.

I kept pestering her and pestering her.
As my time there was drawing to a close
I was feeling more and more anxious.
I kept thinking I wasn’t going to
get that Sage and it was upsetting me.

My Persistence Was Getting On Her Nerves

I think by the end of the two weeks
my dear friend was quite annoyed with me.
And quite rightly so.

On the last day of my visit
I finally got a little upset
and insisted that she take me
to the park where she knew some Sage was growing.

We went there together,
her annoyed,
me frustrated and tense.

We Found a Little Bushel of Sage In a Huge Field

We hunted around for a while
and finally found a little bush of sage
about a foot high and a foot wide.

I started to pick it and put it into a plastic bag.
My friend stopped and said that
first we have to pray
and thank the earth for this gift.

By that time I really didn’t want
to pray or thank anybody,
but I did it anyway.

Hoarding the Sage

Then she told me I couldn’t pick it all
because that implied hoarding
and I needed to trust that
more sage would come to me when it was time.

It was part of respecting the gift
by leaving some with the earth.

Of course I was in no mood
for that nonsense and
I just grabbed it all.

I wanted enough sage to burn for
At least a couple weeks when I got home.

Needless to say she was annoyed
and we drove back to her place in silence.

We both kind of let it go because
I was leaving and we had a reasonably
nice 2 weeks together.

We didn’t want this last thing
to ruin our time so
we hugged warmly
and said goodbye.

I continued heading out west and
my next stop was Drumheller, Alberta.

Drumheller is a town that exists inside
a crater that was carved by glaciers.
It is actually one of the best sites for
dinosaur fossils because of the exposed layers of rock.

Beautiful Scenery All Around

As I drove into the town I was
admiring the beautiful scenery.
I looked at the hills all around me.
I also noticed that they were
beautiful bushes three and four feet tall
sticking out of the sides of the rock face.

Suddenly as I was looking at them
it hit me that these bushes were sage.

The Sage Miracle 1

I pulled over on the side of the road,
got out and climbed up the hill nearest me.

I was surrounded by huge sage bushes.
I could see them Everywhere
and in every direction.

Unreasonable Abundance

The Sage Miracle 2

I could have spent all day picking it
and filling my car from floor to ceiling
and I would not have even made a dent in
the quantity of sage that was available to me.

I sat down on the ground,
leaned up against one of these
glorious plants and just
shook my head laughing at my folly.

The Voice Who Knows My Heart

And then the voice came to me,
the voice that always shares
deep wisdom and knowing in my heart.

It said:
“Vivek my beloved,
I am always here to take care of you.
I will always shower you with abundance
if you will only allow me to.

I am the air you breathe,
I am the ground you walk upon,
I am the energy that animates your body,
I am the consciousness that allows you
to experience beauty and love
and I am the very beauty and love itself.

In addition to all of these things,
or more accurately
the truth of these things is…
I am you.”

We Are Never Separate, We Can Never Be Separated

The more you realize this and
the more you rely upon
your own consciousness
for your sustenance,
the more unreasonable abundance
on all levels
will be your life.

Sage Today – Tomorrow The World!

It seems I am continuously learning
the same lesson over and over.

When I push and fight and struggle
with my external circumstances
only stress results.

If I rely upon my spirit for my sustenance
I will always be taken care of.

I Use The Memory For Healing and Support

I think back to that moment often,
especially in times of fear or despair.

I remember seeing all that sage around me
and it helps me to relax, it helps me to breathe
and trust that there is a greater force at work.

When I do operate from this perspective
the quality of my life is enriched
and the beauty and joy of
my moments increases dramatically.

Thank you dear Sage.
I am forever grateful

p.s.
For those of you who follow my blog
on a regular basis
I want to let you know that this is my 372nd post.

I will be posting about
twice a week from here on out.

On the other days I’ll be working on
compiling, organizing and expanding
the last years’ worth of writing into a book.

This book will be about Conscious Parenting
With a heavy focus on Self-development.
Pretty much exactly what this blog has been about.

If you ever have any questions for me
or if you have a request for something you’d like me
to write a blog post about,
please contact me.
I would love to hear from you.

Peace,
Vivek

Talking to Vivek is Just Like Reading His Blog

January 16, 2016

talking to Vivek is just like reading his blog

The Importance of Language

I was at a dance event yesterday
and while I was waiting in line to get in
I was having a chat with a few friends.

We were talking about the importance of language.
I mentioned how my preference is
to use positive language most of the time.
Especially when talking about myself
I try and avoid using language
that puts myself down in any way.

The thing is though, I don’t use
the positive to avoid the negative.
I fill my life with positivity
so that I can have the strength
to face the negative.

Only by facing it am I able to deal with it.

Balance is Not Enough

My friend Nazeer, who reads my blog,
asked me if that was like balancing the yin and yang?

I said I don’t really love the idea of balance.
The way the term is usually used is that
we go part way to the Yin
and then back off
and go part way into the Yang.

Never really getting deeply into either.
Always hovering around the mediocre.

I said I prefer to be extreme in both!

He mentioned he had read that
balancing the yin-yang is taking the middle path.

I do like the idea of the middle path.
I just don’t like the idea of the mediocre path.

The two are easily confused.

I said imagine you have a stick and
you are trying to find the center.
In order to know where the middle of the stick is
you need to know where the ends are.

If you are hesitant or afraid
to go to either end
you can never really find the center.

This is why I allow myself to venture fully
into the part of me that is joy and love
as well as into the part of me that is pain and anger.

In facing and loving my extremes
I’m able to find my centre.

After I said that he turned to the other people there and said:

Talking to Vivek is just like reading his blog.
It’s exactly the same.”

Everyone laughed, especially me.

That’s really what this post is about.
I love that observation.
It’s one of the best things
anyone has ever said to me.

It means that when I write these posts
I am really being myself.
That has always been my goal,
but to have someone else reflect that
is very gratifying.

This is something that I strive towards.
That I am myself in all the different parts of my life.

Whether I am parenting, dancing, romancing,
teaching, writing or delighting…
In all of these areas
I want to bring my authentic self to the table.

There are two main benefits to authenticity:

First it makes me happier and more fulfilled to be myself.
It takes a lot of energy to hold up a mask.
I think we all wear a mask much of the time
for fear of what people would think
if they see the real us.

I know I lived many many years that way,
but in the last little while I have worked hard
to reveal as much of myself to the world as possible.

I took the chance that I would be ridiculed,
and occasionally I have been,
but in the vast majority of cases
people have responded with acceptance and love.

In general I feel much happier
and more at peace for allowing myself this freedom.

This is also something I’ve taught my daughter quite intensely.
That she is free to be herself.
That she will always have my support to honour herself.
And to do her best not to let anything get in the way of that.

This graphic sums up the point pretty well:

be yourself

Inspiring Authenticity

The second reason why it is beneficial
to bring my authentic self to whatever I do
is that it helps others as well.

It helps them because
when they witness me being vulnerable
and open with who I am,
it helps them feel more free to do the same.

It makes it easier to connect and relate to me
As I’m opening my mind and heart
It also means that whatever I’m doing
will be of a higher quality because
I’m doing it from a more real place.

There is always a risk in deepening one’s authenticity.
The risk comes with a worthwhile reward though.
An increase in happiness and satisfaction for you
and a benefit and inspiration to others.

The Path to the Root

January 15, 2016

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The Path to the Root

I’m better than you because I’m more spiritual

When I first began my
conscious spiritual journey 30 years ago
I went through a long  phase of believing
I was better than other people.

This is a common experience when
people first awaken to the fact that
there is more to reality than we realize.

I started learning about energy,
the power of thoughts, meditation
and a whole host of other things of that sort.

I know the truth, here let me educate you

I felt very powerful and would
preach to anyone who would listen
about the truth of life.

I really felt my truth was the truthiest truth.

I would tell people that they could be free
if they would only make the decision to be so.

I would say that all the power of the universe
was within them if they would only look.

I no longer look down on people from some imagined pedestal

While I still believe those things,
I am no longer speaking at people
from a place separate from them,
believing that I was somehow better than they are
for having had certain realizations.

It was as if I was saying
I already knew these things
and am now teaching them to you,

rather than recognizing that
I am struggling with them just as much
as anyone else.

I thought I was humble

I don’t think I consciously knew I believed that,
in fact I’m sure I thought I was quite humble!

Slowly and painfully over the years
I have learned the lesson that this is not so.

We are walking the same path

I finally realize that we are all
walking the same path
though it may look different at times.

Perhaps a good analogy for this is the tree

The tree has its roots
that connect it to the earth.
It has a single trunk.
It has many branches and leaves.

I think of the roots as enlightenment.
The ultimate state that
connects us to our original source.

The trunk is unconditional love
of self, of everyone and everything.

The branches are the different paths to this pure love.

The Branches Can Be Very Different

Sometimes we’re on the same branches with people,
sometimes we’re on radically different branches.

Sometimes the branches are way up high and
sometimes they are very close to the root.

Some branches are smooth and clean,
while others are gnarled and knotted.

But all the branches are paths to the same trunk,
and the trunk is the path to the root.

Look beyond the branches to the trunk

This analogy helps me to look
beyond the surface of people
and see the commonality that we share.

Knowing that we are all part of the same tree
helps me to feel connected to
even the most distant branches.

No matter how different the branches look,
We are all connected to the same trunk.
We are all in touch with the earth  by the same roots.
We are all nourished from the same earth.

I Embrace My Flawed Humanity

I no longer feel I am above anyone
or better than anyone.
This doesn’t mean I like everyone!
It doesn’t mean people don’t piss me off.

It does mean though, that I recognize
they piss me off because of their flawed humanity.
The very same flawed humanity
that I use very effectively
to piss other people off!

We are on the same journey

We are all flawed together on the same journey
from leaves
to branches
to trunk
to root
to earth.

The roots and the earth are where
all differences melt away
and we are truly one.