my spiritual mentor

Michael Jackson was a spiritual mentor, whose wisdom has awakened and continues to awaken many people throughout the world. He was the epitome of artistic excellence, as well as an inspiring example of what we human beings should be. With its remarkable faith, resilience and integrity he taught us how to keep the light despite the darkness around you, to aspire to the highest ideals and never give up.

Майкл Джексон был духовным наставником, чья мудрость пробуждала и продолжает будить многих людей во всем мире. Он был воплощением художественного совершенства, а также вдохновляющим примером того, какими мы, человеческие существа должны быть. С его замечательной верой, стойкостью и целостностью он учил нас, как сохранить свет несмотря на темноту вокруг, стремиться к высшим идеалам и никогда не сдаваться.

7 tips in dealing with life if you can't afford a therapist

Let’s face it.  Therapy can be expensive.  As a licensed marriage family therapist myself, I admit I have at times wondered on the drive home what I could have bought with the money I just dropped on a session.  But that’s only if the session wasn’t that impactful.  And most aren’t.  Because therapy is a cumulative process.  We can’t predict when growth will come.  And that’s why therapy can seem expensive.  Most don’t weigh the entire process, instead they judge each session and wonder what new Lululeom pants they could have bought instead.  That being said, there are many out there who can barely put food on the table and a roof over their head.  So whether you don’t want to pay for therapy or really can’t afford it, here are seven tips to deal with your life without seeing a therapist.

1.  Live Outside of Self

I believe many are depressed becausethey live a self-centered life.  I don’tmean a life all about you.  I mean doinglife in your head.  By self, I mean mind.  When you live a life centered in self, youare closed, your thoughts are turned inward, and you are listening to a constant inner dialogue of judgment and criticism.  I’m not good enough, pretty enough, strong enough.  I could have done better.  I don’t deserve ________.  Your world is small.  

Unless you come from a perfect family and have had nothing but flawless relationships, your head will play this broken record of judgment or criticism.    Of course the volume of the record varies, depending on your story.  But we all have this playing inside us.  It is quicksand.  It starts with a raw emotion, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, despair, sadness, and anxiety.  We sink deeper as our raw emotion turns into an emotion driven thought - the broken record.  An emotion driven through can be okay – it’s when the Pseudo Self drives the mind into a pattern of thought that is contrary to the Solid Self that these thoughts can turn into trouble.  Or more accurately, false beliefs.  For example,

The world would be better off without me.  I’d be better off drinking again.  No one understands me.  No one loves me.  I am worthless.  I don’t deserve any better than this anyway. 

These false beliefs create fear and uncertainty.  They keep us locked in our heads.  They significantly lower our potential and when our potential is low, so is our ability to seek joy and be happy. 

The way you break this record is to get out of your mind (self).  Accept your feelings but not the judgmental thoughts behind them.  Live in how you feel instead of how you think.  Living how you feel doesn’t mean to just go around being an emotional person.  I am talking about labeling yourself, drawing conclusions from your judgment (living how you think).  It’s okay to feel lonely.  It’s not okay to stamp yourself as unloveable. 

2.  Pull from your Solid Instead of Pseudo Self.

People with weak transparency muscles live within a Pseudo Self.  In plain English, this is a false version of you.  It seeks other people’s approval.  You live in Pseudo Self because it gives you a sense of security.   It allows you to hide and live in disguise.  But most importantly, the Pseudo Self straps a muzzle on your gifts.  By gifts, I don’t necessarily mean talents.  I mean what makes you different than any other person on the planet.  In screenwriting, they say what’s most important is your voice.  Everyone has a story to tell, but it’s your voice that makes your script stand out from the rest. For example, Quentin Tarantino has a very strong voice.  It comes out in his dialogue and his non-linear way of storytelling.  Being transparent allows you to find your voice. Your voice is your gift.  Your voice is your Solid Self, the true you. What prevents people from exercising their transparency muscle is fear.  This fear prevents growth.  You must shatter fear or you’ll snap back every time you stretch.  A good way to remember Pseudo vs Solid is False vs Truth. Pseudo is false.  Solid is truth.  Everyone has a true and false version of themselves.  Many times where we pull from depends on our environment and who we’re around.  For example, if we’re surrounded by people we want to impress, we tend to project an idea of what we believe they are looking for or attracted to.  Our dial is turned on Take instead of Give.  We are seeking something from them, attention, validation, approval.  In order to turn that dial back to Give, we must pull from our truth.  We must practice transparent in voice and self.  This adds solidity.  What we are giving is our true self.  Everything false clouds the picture of our true self and transparency cuts through the clouds. In order to live your truth, you must be transparent.  You must be clear and flow like liquid.  Like Bruce Lee said, be like water.  

3.  Take off Your Bowling Shoes

Every Sunday morning, I sit down with my friend (spiritual mentor, brother) at a local breakfast joint in Silverlake to sip coffee, process life, and inhale chocolate croissants.  One morning, he gave me some great advice regarding the anxiety I had been experiencing in a new job.  What he said really hit me because it was so simple.  He said don’t own it.  I thought about this.  Then I thought about it again.  He was absolutely right.  If I don’t own it, it won’t own me. 

The fight you had with your boyfriend, the date that went south, the transition of a new job, these events are not yours to own.  They were a gift from God, the universe, whatever higher power you believe in.  They are yours to borrow and learn from. 

I think we create anxiety because we clutch on to things, want to control them.  We do this with our children, our relationships, our jobs, and ourselves.  But if you believe you do not own the event/experience, it won’t have power over you.  This doesn’t mean don’t own your feelings.  Your feelings are valid and you do own them because they are your truth. But the shit that’s happening in your life is separate from you.  You are borrowing those experiences like a pair of bowling shoes.  You get to use them as tools.  Without ownership, there is no urge to control.   Get rid of the desire to control and the burden is suddenly lifted.

Stop owning what isn’t yours to own.

4.  Have firm Non-Negotiables

I believe we negotiate too much.  Our jobs, our relationships, our boundaries, our time, our passions, our health, and our happiness.  Without non-negotiables, you are flimsy.  You don’t have a center of gravity.  You do not know who you are.  If you don’t know who you are, how will you know where you are going?  You become a piece of drift wood floating in the ocean. You are lost and stagnant.  You compromise yourself.  You get into abusive relationships.  You fall into depression.  You begin to believe you are worthless. You become grayed.  What are the things you are no longer willing to negotiate about yourself?  Here are some examples non-negotiables.  Character assignation in any of my relationships, including the one I have with myself.  I will always be heard.  I will always create a space to pursue my passions in some form.

5.  Live Inside Out

Most of us allow external objects to define us.  Money. Career.  Cars.  Aesthetics.  Other people’s opinions.  With this mindset, it is nearly impossible to be an authentic version of ourselves.  We will morph our truth to match these objects and slowly lose our voice and the imprint we’re supposed to leave on this world.  Instead, the world will leave its mark on us, having power over our thoughts and behavior.  We will walk with shoulds, compare our story with others, and constantly chase.  This process mutes us and sets us up for steep falls.  Once we fall we internalize and end up tightening our muzzle.  It’s impossible to live at our potential when we are muted. 

Living inside out also means not holding feelings inside.  Trapped feelings turn into anger and resentment.  We end up carrying this weight.  It hardens our shoulders and makes us slouch.  We concave.  In order to move through life with a gorilla chest, with certainty and transparency, we must unload what we carry.  The treasure is not outside.  What makes us valuable is what’s within.   If we decide to live inside out, we will share our value with the world.  If we don’t, we will not.

6.  Stretch Your Bright Spots

Someone once told me Life is shit except for a few moments of joy.  If that’s the case, we must stretch those moments like cookie dough.  Everyone has bright spots, though most are unaware of them. We are so busy obsessing about the future and dwelling on the past that we don’t notice them.  They fly by like our adolescence.  Turn your dial from macro to micro and taste the nectar in your life.  The first sip of hot coffee in the morning.  The few seconds after a brisk run.  Consuming your favorite meal.  The scent of your lover.  A life changing conversation.  Feeling beautiful in a dress.   The moment you forget you’re on a motorcycle.  The more you are aware of your bright spots, the more you’re training your brain to appreciate the little things in life.  If we stretch these moments and string them together, your days will feel happier, lighter, and you can flip the script and believe that …  Life is joy except for a few moments of shit.  

7. Share Your Story

Sharing your story doesn’t mean verbally vomiting on someone.  It means being vulnerable and disclosing when appropriate.   You have to define what appropriate means for you.  For me, if the desire to share is driven by ego or coming from an attention seeking place, it’s probably not appropriate.  If that desire is coming from a place where you think your story will help someone, it’s appropriate.  An easy way to determine if sharing is appropriate is if it is giving, it’s appropriate.  If it is taking, it’s not.  For example, if it comes from seeking validation, it’s taking.  If it validates someone else, it is giving. 

Sharing your story is a gift.  The act of it is giving.  Giving is being transparent.  Say you were at that same party we discussed before, and learned that someone was going through a divorce.  She admitted it to the group of single people you were chatting with.  The discussion was about how difficult it is to find good honest friends in this town.  Since her divorce, she has not been able to find new friends.  It was courageous of her to disclose this since society tends to stamp defective on your forehead when you are divorced.  Say you are also going through a divorce.  If you decide to share your story, you are giving.  You are giving someone support.  You are the person that will be valuable in her new container.

We learn more from other people’s stories than we do our own.  If no one shared their stories, where would we be? What lessons would we learn?  How alone would we feel?    

We are all a million walking stories.  Your story is what makes you you. Your Pseudo Self will want you to close your book.  Your Solid Self will want you to open it.

Growth means to accept, embrace, and share your story.

- Angry

day 27: #mantra

“Everything is already okay”

This is a mantra that is written on the mirror in the yoga studio I go to. After going there for so long I found out what it meant. The owner, and my spiritual/yoga mentor, explained to us that everything is already okay. We shouldn’t worry about our past or our future. We must be present and focus on the now. When we are doing yoga, we need to let go of our mind chatter and judgements and focus on our practice because everything is already okay.

Join the party! #yogapartypeople with yogarian, sunny-yogi, bexmaddy, healthyhappymotivation, & me!