Going Solo With Spirituality

There’s a wonderful phrase in the Neopagan / Wiccan text The Charge of The Goddess, that states “If that which you seek, you do not find within yourself, you will never find it without. For I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of all desire.” Most recently I have come to identify with this sentiment more and more, and it caused me to put much thought into my spiritual path and where I am headed with it. Earlier this month, my partner Eric and I cruised to the ABC Islands in the Southern Caribbean, and it was in Bonaire, where we visited a desert and explored caves, that I realized I needed to go completely solo on my spiritual journey. Being surrounded by such natural beauty, feeling this deep connection to nature, made me feel that I was spending too much time seeking the unseen, when there was lots around me that I could already see, hear, taste and touch. And it just felt right that after all this time seeking advice from others, in a wide range of different faiths and practices, that I have a go at it…. alone. This meant saying goodbye to an online spiritual community lead by amazing individuals, with equally amazing members, whom I had come to love and enjoy. So a difficult decision was made.

I’ve learned many things since I was a young child and started making my own spiritual choices. My mother and father weren’t big on organized religion, and although they were Greek Orthodox and Catholic respectively, the furthest they pushed their views on us was in the form of saying the Lord’s prayer and a Hail Mary before bed. I think this had lots to do with my Serbian Grandfather, who died a year before I was born, that witnessed so much devastation due to religious conflict between Muslims and Christians. He never went to Church, as he said it was full of hypocrites and that Church was indeed inside his own heart. He followed his faith, basically on a solo path as well, something I’m just now realizing I have in common with him. This didn’t fly very well with a local priest that refused to say his name at mass unless my grandmother paid him off. Thus my mom felt very comfortable in letting me make my own choices, even when it involved a group of Mormons visiting me when I was 10. I wasn’t baptized until I was 14 and the choice to accept Christ and become a Southern Baptist was entirely my own.

Petroglyphs written by the natives in Bonaire are found throughout the system of caves .

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the almost 40 years of choices I’ve made, is that your spiritual path is unique and relative to your existence. Which in very simple terms means it’s perfect for you and no one else. I think that’s largely where so much of the conflict arises with religion, as you want to share the amazing experience you’ve had with others which most definitely has to feel better than their own. Sometimes this is actually true, but mostly it’s not and it leaves both parties feeling angry and hurt. Many times the teachings of an entire faith seek to be dismissed, no matter how accurate or helpful they may be. As you can tell by my opening reference within this post, this is not the way I live my life. Of course, fear and religion are often mixed together in order to control the masses, and sadly this happens even to this day. But the part of a spiritual path being so specific to a single individual is all too often overlooked. Even in the most liberal of communities and belief systems, there will always be someone present that will attempt to invalidate your experience because they are an expert, through no fault of their own. And that’s when I have a huge problem accepting and fitting in.

“…a spiritual journey requires… staying humble and not being afraid to admit you don’t know all the answers.”

Spiritual guidance is of course extremely important to many, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from seeking as it were, to try and find a group of loving people that share your beliefs. However, I think it’s immensely important to always remember who you are in these communities, and not to take anything as fact just because someone says it. Take what resonates and walk away from everything else. Spirituality should be a lot like a good therapist… it should guide you to find your own answers, not spoon feed them to you. This point continues to be made clear to me by a statement made by his Holiness, The Dalai Lama, whom I’m had the honor of seeing speak at Florida International University in 1999. In his opening statement he said with much laughter from the audience, “I don’t know what the meaning of life is… if you do, please let me know because I’m still searching for it.” Indeed an enlightened individual stating the obvious… no one is an expert when it comes to such things. These words seem to pop into my head whenever I feel utterly confused about anything, and I’m extremely grateful for it. Perhaps his response is the greatest indicator of what a spiritual journey requires… staying humble and not being afraid to admit you don’t know all the answers.

While the mysteries of the “unseen” are still waiting to be solved, I’m spending more time with what is already here and staying present.

So that’s about it. I’ve packed up most of my angel cards and I’ve tucked them away in a safe place. I’m spending more time with the physical beauty that surrounds us all, and noticing it where it was previously overlooked. I still enjoy the connection of reading for myself, but only because it puts me in touch with my inner being and who I am. I don’t have to worry about the advice I give because it’s my own. My answers, my questions, my situations, my life… my journey. I’m still exploring the Universe, although with a very open mind and even a deeper connection to what some call God, Source or (insert your deity here). I’m still asking questions, seeking and sharing… and the experience is completely perfect in every way.

Just for me.

Your Book of Gratitude

There are many days when life just seems too much to bare, when everything seems like it’s working against you and you’re barely making it.   It’s during these trying times when observing the things in your life that are actually working is most important.   You might be thinking “nothing is working right in my life right now, that’s exactly the problem!”   However truth be told, if you’re reading this then your eye sight is still functioning and you have access to an electronic device, whether it be a computer or hand held, and that’s something that’s working.   Turns out,  if you take the time to take inventory all the good things, however small, you’ll discover there’s much to be thankful for.    And that’s what’s called “A Book of Gratitude.”

Your book of gratitude is a way of expressing your creativity and bringing the good things in your life into your awareness.

Like many things on my spiritual journey, I didn’t realize a book of gratitude was actually a thing until I started to make one.    I called it my “book of light” and it was a way of cheering myself up when things in my life weren’t going so great.    It gave me permission to express my wishes and desires, but also provided a place to document everything that was actually going great for me.    I sat by myself and really thought hard about everything… the smallest detail…that was “working.”    I could see, hear, taste and touch, I could feel emotion, I had some food in the fridge, I had some way cool gel pens, I slept on a pillow last night, I had shelter… I wasn’t going to pass up anything.    I figured it was more than fair since when we’re upset about things, we tend to make mountains out of molehills.    So I did the same, but in the opposite direction and this was actually real… and tangible.

I started out by getting a decent sketch pad from Target and getting a box of 100 gel pens from Amazon for like $15.   I figured spending a little money was a way of me committing to actually doing this, and it gave the project some importance, however small it might have been.    I ended up using an old flower pot to hold all these pens since I didn’t realize what a hundred of them looked like until I received them in the mail.    This was a very cool process in itself because by giving myself permission to be creative, and to stop thinking of all the bad shit going on, I opened my temporarily distracted mind to infinite possibilities and solutions.   Plus who can say no to coloring?

100 Gel Pens! Holy Shit!

I began drawing in outrageous colors and designs… I’m not an artist by any means but I draw a pretty mean flower, like the kind from 70’s shower curtains.    I had this!   I just began drawing pictures of things that made me happy, dedicating an entire page at times to things that were going right.    For example, I dedicated a page to my mom, who has taught me so many valuable lessons in my life, and documented all the wonderful aspects of her that I could think of.    I dedicated a page to my partner Eric and everything that we’ve accomplished and experienced together, and I even drew a page of wishes… manifestations of things yet to come.    All in a positive light and outlook.     

“…by giving myself permission to be creative, and to stop thinking of all the bad shit going on, I opened my temporarily distracted mind to infinite possibilities and solutions. “

Making colorful lists in my book also became a thing, as I started giving each written word or item a different color, making sure once again that I paid great attention to not leaving anything out.    By the end of my first session, not only had I enjoyed a much needed break from all the chaos, but I felt uplifted, inspired and most importantly, I had hope.   Hope for the future and the kick ass list of things in my life that were actually working. This totally began taking on almost a scrap booky kind of feel, but even better because I was documenting my soul so to speak.

So on this Thanksgiving, when we’re supposed to be thinking of what we have to be thankful for, why not start your own book of gratitude and enjoy the process of realizing that things are never as bad as they seem, and there’s always room for hope, light and love.  

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!

My book of light title page. Giving myself permission to draw about anything.

Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong

Astrology is the practice of observing the movements and positions of celestial bodies and making predictions based on this information.   For example, a new king will be born and a new era will begin when this star appears in the East.   Sound familiar?  Heaven forbid you actually practice the very art form that foretold the coming of Christ.   They just needed astrologers for the story and then they were all stoned to death I’m sure.

The level of hypocrisy I’m seeing with organized religion is astounding and it’s only getting worse.  Common decency and morals are thrown out the window when convenient, sexual predators are adored with a cult like following and serious crimes are dealt with internally and not referred to law enforcement.

Within its own construct, religion itself can’t even come to a conclusion.  There are over 800 versions of the Christian bible in English alone!  Does anyone remember the violence and discrimination in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants?  Seriously?   Their small differences in beliefs, although for the same God, were enough to justify murder.  Once again, all morals go out the window when it’s convenient.

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The Piscean Prison

Being a Pisces can be a bitch.   Plain and simple.    As I get older it seems it just gets harder and harder to deal with the outside world and all of the horrors available to us through social media and news outlets.   Pisces are idealistic lovers, we quite literally love love.    We love everything about love and everything about being in love.    We love people we don’t even know and we can smother those we do with so much love that they run away.   And it doesn’t stop there.    Since we love to spread love so much we become paranoid when we may have not spread the love inadvertently.    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost sleep thinking I said or did something to someone that hurt their feelings or pissed them off.     The idea of intentionally hurting someone, or stepping outside of the “love” zone really turns our world upside down.

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Activism and the Lightworker

Many of us that identify as lightworkers often feel as though they are tasked with a very important mission in life.   This mission, sometimes still not understood or realized fully, is at the core of their being and perhaps even led them to the discovery that they are lightworkers themselves.    The term lightworker, usually refers to someone that’s of high vibration, uplifting, and has a desire to spread this sense of well being around the globe.    What happens though when a lightworker’s mission in life contradicts with this practice of spreading light, and literally does the opposite?   What if in the process of activism, a lightworker brings “to light” acts of humans which are disturbing to others,  in effect, lowering their vibration?   Can a lightworker successfully fulfill their destiny and at the same time make others feel a sense of love and worthiness?    I often struggle with these questions myself and present them to you for your feedback and point of view.   Perhaps we can both learn a thing or two and help each other out at the same time.

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In The Hot Seat with Abraham Hicks

Spiritual journeys can take you more places than American Airlines, that’s probably why they’re called “journeys.”   They can transport you from a small church with a white steeple in the deep South, to mega-structures and re-purposed stadiums that accommodate tens of thousands of people in a single Sunday service.   The can bring you inwards, to take a deeper look into what makes you you, or they can take you outwards, quite literally, to the great outdoors where the Pagans celebrate the gifts and cycles that nature affords them.  Or they can take you to Orlando Florida to meet a lady that channels a group of ancient non-physical conscious beings that she refers to as “Abraham.”  The last reference, while sounding more science fiction than spirituality, is actually something Oprah Winfrey and I have in common… we both got to speak with Abraham Hicks and learn about the “Law Of Attraction.”  Not intended to replace your religious beliefs or spiritual practice, the concept of Law Of Attraction is a way of looking at the events in your life, how you react to them, and how you “attract” positive and negative experiences alike.

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Changing Perspective On Loss

This article was originally a post I wrote within a spiritual based online group called “The Lightworkers Lab.”

Sometimes really bad things happen to us in life and we don’t understand why. We beat ourselves up, we’re angry at God, we ask “why?” in complete agony over what just occurred. People will say “everything happens for a reason” and we want to scream because the pain is unbearable. The answers aren’t always immediate and sometimes it takes years or even decades to see the light behind the darkest times in our lives.

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Being A Leader, A Follower, Or Both

I have a friend that sometimes annoys the hell out of me when she says:

“That person is such a follower, they’re not a leader, they just do what ever that other guy wants.  They can’t think for themselves.”   

The names have been removed to protect the innocent.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before and sometimes I even question myself and wonder where I fall in this scenario.    Am I a leader?  Or a follower?   Do I just take orders and advice blindly, or do I put some thought into it first?   Most recently, while pondering the cracks in my ceiling before falling asleep, (okay there are none, but it sets a mood) I realized it’s beneficial to be a little bit of both.  We should know when it’s best for us to let our inner leader shine and take command, and know when to let someone else do the driving, be the follower we need to be, and learn a thing or two.  Sometimes we might even realize that we’re following to a point that we’ve stopped thinking for ourselves, and that’s not a good thing.   When we do that, we give up a part of who we are, a slice of our identity, a hand it over to someone that may or may not know what’s in our best interest.  That sort of following can be seen in many areas of society, most notably in religious organizations and political affiliations.

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Amazing Reading, Amazing Woman.

Brett Butler

You never know in life who you’ll cross paths with.   The Universe has a way of surprising us at times, with the most far reaching of possibilities, and making them a reality.   When it happens you’re often dumbfounded, contemplating the finite details and cosmic planning that went into creating this introduction, a clear orchestration of some intelligence beyond our own.  Such is my story of how I recently met Brett Butler, and the most emotional, enjoyable, funny and validating hour of conversation I’ve had in recent memory.   To say this made an enormous impact on me would be an understatement, which can make it difficult to put into words, but I’ll do my best to share my experience of the best psychic reading I’ve ever had.

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My First Week On Facebook

Many of you have never known a world without Facebook.   By the time you were old enough to read and use a computer, this revolutionary technology of communication and complex algorithms that identified friend or foe was already around.   You’ve never known a world without a friends list, a world without a wall or timeline, a world without this connection that spans continents, age, sex or sexuality.   You’ve been born into this arena of mass communication that I never knew.   Until now.

I decided to join Facebook only for selfish reasons, I was a frustrated writer and I wanted the world to see what I had to offer, wanted an audience that would appreciate what I had to say.    I wasn’t prepared for what I would find.  Initially it was much of the same, guys looking to hook up.  After all, I was fresh meat as my partner Eric put it, the new kid on the block people had somehow missed while looking for new friends to add to their ever growing list.

But what I found was humanity in it’s best and worst forms.   I found people bearing their souls, telling anyone that would listen about the darkest times in their lives.  I found people sharing stories of hope and love, and I found the in-between… people neither happy nor sad, just those content with telling others about the remains of their day.

In this first week of Facebook I’ve seen some pretty intense drama but I’ve also seen a global community seeking change.    I’ve seen a collective consciousness crying out to the Universe, wanting its voice to be heard, needing empathy and compassion, love and respect.    I’ve seen hearts broken and families reunited.   I’ve seen way too many puppies and kittens and other furry creatures that still manage to make me laugh.  I’ve seen what it is to be human.    The good, the bad and the not so certain.

While the technology is old in industry terms, and some would argue its time has come and gone, I think there’s a more important ideal it brings to those seeking truth.   It’s our message in the bottle, our representation of what the human race considers dear and precious, no matter how obscure the author is or was.

Perhaps in a millennia or so, the Earth might be a charred cinder, floating in space, the end result of occupants too intelligent for their own good.   But in the ash, perhaps a server or two will survive and provide some passerby a glimpse into what it was to be human.   That in itself is priceless.

Thank you Facebook.