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The Presidential Pledge January 25, 2009

Posted by admin in : Politics Tags:, , , , , , , 4comments

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Oprah had a special pre-inauguration show on Monday, January 19th where special guests included Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher in recognition of the Presidential Pledge video they produced on Myspace Celebrity, which was then presented to Obama during the inaugural festivities. The celebrity power couple filmed over 50 of their friends and colleagues pledging their promise to be a part of the change every American wanted to see under the new Administration. 

People pledged to do whatever they could to make America a stronger and more dignified country by promising to do anything from smiling more to being more green to not giving anyone the finger in traffic. I personally thought it was a great contribution during such an extraordinary time of hope and change under the inauguration of the new President Barack Obama, but apparently others did not feel the same.

There was a whole host of negative comments posted on the web from people who thought the video was a lame attempt at celeb self-glorification, but I think the people making those comments were missing the point. How could you take something so beautiful and turn it in to something negative? People’s opinions never cease to amaze me, but that is the society we live in and we are, after all, entitled to our own opinion.  I just think the intention behind the video is what’s important so who cares who initiated the project or the reasoning behind it? There’s a lot of power in collaboration so why not get everyone to collectively come together to support Obama’s call for change?

The intention and hope was to get everyone to participate in the country’s future, as one person can’t make the difference alone. It’s time for us to stand up and take a stand, as it’s going to take a united effort from every single American to make the change we need in order to turn the current state of the country around. My hope in writing this post is that others will be encouraged to make a similar pledge to make a change in their life, as a contribution to making this country a better place to live because each and everyone of us has the power to make a difference.  

I am proud to be an American and I have hope that our country is going to recover from this recession. We are stronger and smarter and far more superior to the alter-egos who have gotten in to the way and stunted the growth of this Nation. There’s been an excessive concern for one’s own self in the past, but it’s time to come together as a collective whole to bring this country back to what it once was.  

“My pledge is to be consciously aware of my thoughts, words, and actions towards myself and others, as not to pass judgment on myself or another.”   

If you feel so inclined, you can make your own pledge by replying to this post. Be sure to say it aloud, as it is commonly held that what is spoken out loud has more power. I will say my pledge aloud and will then hold myself accountable in hopes that you will all do the same. So be it! In full faith!

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Silent Retreat January 20, 2009

Posted by admin in : Meditation Tags:, , , , , , add a comment

If you’ve never had the opportunity to start a year off in a retreat, you might want to consider doing it some time, as it’s a great way to ground the holiday energy and welcome in the New Year. I went on a 4 day meditation retreat taught by Dr. Bhagwan who is a world renowned meditation teacher from India.  He is known to embody a deep inner silence and is able to guide students to a place of deep inquiry without having to say a word. 

I sat in utter silence for 2 hours during the 1st evening session and 3 hours the next morning without any guidance or direction from Dr. Bhagwan.  It was mentally, physically, & emotionally challenging and I was extremely irritated, as my emotions and thoughts ran like wild fire. The physical discomfort sent pangs throughout my body to the point I wanted to get up and run out of the room. All I wanted to do was experience the quintessential bliss of nothingness yet I couldn’t seem to reach a point of silence, as I was either fixated on the physical discomfort or the ridiculous mental chatter that seemed to have a life of its own.

I was stuck between the two worlds without reprieve and yet Dr. Bhagwan seemed to sit comfortably and at peace with the world.  I was silently cursing obscenities at this great sage, as he seemed to have no remorse for what I was going through as a novice meditator. I desperately wanted him to speak or give me a couple minutes to walk around and stretch my legs, as my body wasn’t use to sitting so long. Of course the holy man sitting before me knew exactly what I was going through and had every bit of compassion, but he had a certain method to his teaching and it was all part of the process. Meditation retreats are effective because they pull out the muck in our lives and allow divine light to filter in through the veil that separates us from knowing our true selves.

When a person meditates, the mind slowly settles in to silence, as awareness is brought to the breath or a particular mantra. The heart rate slows and the central nervous channel calms, which is when the body starts to release stress. Once stress is released, there’s activity in the body. Activity in the body then triggers mental activity, which creates more thoughts. I use to wonder the point of meditation if there would always be more thoughts, but the more I sat, the more I experienced larger periods of silence. Through a regular practice, I began to realize the gaps between each thought were widening and I was experiencing more and more moments of pure consciousness, which enabled me to experience something other than the physical body, the thoughts, feelings, and mental images of my external experience.  The truth of my existence was slowly being unveiled by going within and eliminating the mental chatter, which allowed me to settle in to a place of deep inner silence. 

Dr. Bhagwan eventually spoke, but it wasn’t until the 3rd round so I had ample amount of time to purge all the thoughts and emotions that tormented me during the 1st two sessions. Had he not let me sit for such a long time, his words wouldn’t have had as much meaning so I was thankful for the initial purification, as it created space for me to absorb the profound wisdom he had to share and it enabled me to finally be able to settle in to a place of deep inner stillness where there was nothing to think, nothing to feel, or nothing to do.

Some of my most profound awakenings have come from challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone, as the insight and awareness that come from sitting through dark moments and challenging times are deeply profound.

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The New Year January 12, 2009

Posted by admin in : Life 101 , 1 comment so far

This tends to be the time of year when the mad rush of self-defeating thoughts come rushing in as a result of indulging in sweets and alcohol over the holidays and not working out as often because typically, from Thanksgiving until the 1st of the year, most people live outside their normal realm of structure and routine.

Exercise doesn’t happen as frequently, holiday parties fill the schedule, sweets are overly abundant and additional stress and pressures are felt. It’s no wonder we are completely exhausted and worn out by the time January rolls around and in a desperate attempt to get our lives back in to some semblance of order, we force ourselves from one extreme to the other. I hear people say, “As of the 1st, I’m not going to eat anymore junk food, drink alcohol, or stay up late and I’m going to start working out every day, but why do this to ourselves? How about a little compassion? Is there anything wrong with nurturing ourselves a little more instead of jolting ourselves back in to some rigid regimen?

We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves, as we are not perfect. I think we have a tendency to let everything go during the holidays because subconsciously we need the freedom to let our hair down and be a little wild. The month of December seems to give us some sort of respite from the daily grind of keeping up with the Jones’s or having to live up to a certain set of standards so there’s no need to beat ourselves up for having a little fun. It’s human and necessary so don’t be the victim or feel sorry for yourself  because you gained a couple pounds or feel a little off from all the holiday binging. 

Give yourself permission to take one day at a time and your body will thank you. Let this year be more about acceptance of who you truly are and honoring your imperfections by acknowledging not only the brilliant light of your true essential nature, but your dark shadows as well.  Find the equanimity in your life, but be patience and compassionate, as you honor, nurture, and love yourself!

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