The End and Beginning of a Journey

image
It got hazy, standing on the boundary line of beginning and ending. Wondering what defines you as the mist of doubt swirls and sprays in your eye. One foot wading into the adventure of the unknown and the other safely planted in the comfort of the known. Self doubt and fear creep in causing that first step to be questioned from every angle. A step, a leap, a jump, full force into the unknown is the only remedy in this battle between the head and the heart.
 image
In the borderlands of wrapping up two years of ego crushing travel, ill be honest in saying I woke up with a solid fear gripping my heart each morning. The practical life questions each of us face seemed to suddenly crash upon me in a heap. What do I want to do with my life, where do I want to live, what kind of work can I do, will I be happy and successful, and can I let go of this lifestyle and move into another? I was emotionally paralyzed each morning and it would take a few hours of meditation to settle my heart, and constant attention of my mind to stop questioning the same things over and over. Armed with those two methods I would slowly reclaim myself and be able to go about my day.


What emerged shortly after I finally got a hold of myself was a new distinction. The age old question of what do I want to DO and who do I want to BE? There are many many things in this world I want to do, and even create, but they are not who I am. Somehow I never noticed how I positioned myself to define my beingness by what I did. Creating a community or traveling the world isnt who I am, its what I do. When I listed out all the things in my life, they all landed squarely in the doing category. Where was the definition of my being?
 image
Suddenly and without much fanfare a new idea entered into my thinking. I cant say it was really new, but I treated it with the attention it finally deserved. In all the things I wanted to do, in all the things I loved in my life, I wanted to BE a healer in all of them. I’ve known this about myself, but never put this little fact into the box of definition called who I am. I always played with the idea (learning or experiencing various things), or thought about how I could make a career out of it (always with a mix of trepidation and excitement). Suddenly everything fell into place when I accepted this truth about myself. I am a healer and it can be expressed in many forms and many ways. I wasnt pigeon holing myself into a small box, in fact this definition opened so many doors I could finally relax. There wasnt a big aha moment, it was a quiet acceptance of what I had known all along.


images
Owning up to this didn’t come easy, that’s for sure. It took all the learning and experiences of traveling the world and coming back, practicing meditation. being fearful about making money, and then being excited to turn a deep love into a lifestyle to get over the fear of just even starting. I spent literal months questioning myself, using my mind exhaustively, working myself up into fear and frenzy. I was fearful of HOW it was going to work out, but the answer is always in the doing. After all the fears and worry and doubt, there was a gift waiting for me when I finally just started acting. Every fear my mind created was easily blown out like a candle in the wind of applying yourself to action.
massage-therapy-pict
After knowing what you ARE, doing easily flows from this place. A new idea to become a massage therapist struck me as quite a lovely idea. I get to be a healer in a practical and accepted field and I get to open the door into all the other healing techniques I have to offer. I can travel with this profession and there is endless learning that can be experienced. I get to help people, help myself, and it is something I am already good at and love to do. I get to BE who I am and DO something that supports that beingness. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was the start of a new journey.
 image
I could have applied my new definition of being a healer in many ways mind you. I also want to do spiritual counseling and teach meditation, to do intuitive card readings and share human design. Massage seemed the most practical as it answered a very fearful question of supporting myself financially. Massage is already an accepted healing modality and I can make money with it around the world. Everyone needs to start somewhere and with my first chakra active to find stability and security this seemed the easiest way to enter my new way of life.
 image
When I decided to start on this path, it was like walking the yellow brick road. I am beggining at thirty years old, with all the wisdom of self knowing, and the passionate commitment to master myself in the field of massage therapy. I prepared well for this journey before I even know I had begun, and likewise did all the appropriate research with friends and practitioners in the field to make sure I was suited to this path. As I began this walk, the petty fears I had held for so long all melted away with experience and within a month, I had secured an apartment, furnished it, started school, made friends, landed a job, and was enjoying my rooted life. One month! I was truly fearful of figuring out all those things just the month prior because I didn’t know HOW it was going to happen. This is when I realized I had crossed the boundary; from thinking and fretting about my future to just living my present. One step at a time, I slowly and safely walked into a new life of being a healer.
 image
I am in love with this lifestyle and what I get to do each day, because it resonates with who I am. I find I am centered and calm at school, talented without any effort, because it is already who I am. Massage isn’t so much about technique as my fellow new students can demonstrate, it ends up being all about your presence. All the work I did around the world of learning about myself and deepening into my own presence has paid off in the most interesting way.  If you love what you do, others can feel that in your touch. This applies to anything and everything. If what you do comes from who you are, you will eventually be a master of it. Despite the ups and downs over the last eight years of walking the spiritual path, I can say it was all worth it, the fears and the joys, the anxiety of the unknown and the culmination of starting a lifestyle that really motivates me.


I would wish this self discovery and knowing upon you all, so that you may begin to live a life that supports itself in a complete circle. To discover and accept who you are and to pursue a life that supports your being. To set aside the fears of how to do it and just take one step at a time forward in your own direction to better yourself. This is what I set out to accomplish in uncertain terms just two years ago. I wandered in many ways that supported me and at many times felt very misaligned. In the end though I accepted something that was authentic and will continue to serve me the rest of my life. There is only one definition of who I AM and that is to be a HEALER.


As I begin a new chapter in my life it is again a new journey of self discovery. To embrace the essence of a healer and having finally found my light, but I still have work to make it shine. Getting this knowing anchored is the first major battle, but every step after that, is one of delight, bringing passion to all your efforts. The choice to be a massage therapist has given me a few hidden gifts as well as I find that my teacher aspect and my acceptance of myself as a master has come forth. Before I anchored who I Am, I certainly had doubts about my talents and qualities. As I work with my fellow students and often find myself teaching, I am owning my power and accepting the knowledge and work I have accomplished in my travels is actually needed, well explained, and even masterful in its execution.
 image
So it comes down to this. An old journey has ended and a new one has begun. I could never have guessed how my travels would have landed me back in Salt Lake City as a massage therapist, but standing in this new role I find myself overly content and couldn’t imagine doing anything else currently. All the efforts of the past have led me here, just as all my currents efforts will be leading me to some other greatness I cannot imagine. It is tiring to fight against the flow of the universe and worry about how life will work itself out. Begin today and just take one step closer to who you are and have always wanted to be. It makes all the difference in how you feel about each moment.
 image
May you all find the place of knowing in yourselves to accept the beautiful gift you already carry with you and know is your calling. May it come easier than my hard won battle, but please you all the same. In light and love may we all walk this path together.

Finding Balance In Bali

image

Swooping into Bali on the eve of Nyepi, Balinese new year and day of silence, the streets are packed with revelers, smiling faces, singing and loud noise crackers. Crews from local temples have hoisted large daemon statues into the air and are parading on every street corner. For the typically laid back, relaxed Balinese people I would come to know, this was quite the extraordinary celebration. Waking up the next day and being legally required to stay in your home compound and relax, I slowly tasted this new setting.

 

It’s a strange feeling to arrive in the tropical paradise of Bali and receive the knowing that after two years of spiritual journeying the desire to travel is finished. The universe has been mysteriously pulling me towards Bali for over a year now, without a promise of why, but a knowing that something was waiting for me. I have arrived and suddenly I want to run away, I am anxious and scared, and beginning an existential crisis. I want solitude and warm clothes and a cup of hot tea. That is not your typical response to landing in the lush garden of Bali, but for me will be a critical turning point in my inner world.
image
After the solid support of India’s meditation, and meeting daily with enlightened masters, I find myself adrift in the laid back waters of this tropical paradise. With smiles and yoga, raw juice and food, techno nomads and water sports at every turn, I find this life of leisure a boring routine after so many months on the road. It’s a beautiful picture of a daily world, but I am lost and must be found. My ego must answer a new question that has been building in me: “Who am I and what am I going to do in this life?” Suddenly the question of practical life has reared it’s head in asking the most fundamental questions. What do I want to do to support myself? What skills do I actually have? Can I take my dreams and ideas and do something practical about them?
f5bc9a68_original
I am living in a beautiful villa courtesy of my new friend Salvador. The wildly charismatic, successful, Ashtonga yogi, and restaurant builder from Los Angeles whom I met in India. He is living a perfect balance of work and play, and is an example to me in this difficult time. After slowing down an 80 hour a week restaurant life to balance his spiritual practice and work, he is flowing in the universal juices more than ever. Watching him navigate new business ideas and deals from conception to reality, making friends with yogis and strangers in cafés, and absorbing the meditation world of Osho, I’ve seen levels of synchronicity I’ve forgotten existed. It’s all just a reminder to trust more deeply, that energy flows, to live a life that you love, and embrace yourself in the mystery of existence.
10431667_10100324487596341_7907335649558984020_n
It’s hard to know the full impact my new mentor in business will make on my life, but I know that my ego took a rough couple weeks of beating before I found my balance. It’s safe to say that I’ve been living a life focused only on my inner work for the last two years. Suddenly living in this new energy of business, practical life, meditation, and creation begged me to answer the question of what do I really want to build in my life and can I overcome the fear to actually do it? The rhetoric answer has always been my sustainable meditation community and my mind fed this back to me in one hundred different ways. Despite the fact that I don’t think I have the skills needed at this moment to accomplish this entire task, I was counting on my desire and inner knowing to pull me through. I was trying to answer the question of how to do this all in my head. Plans, figures and resources needed, locations and promotional success and again and again I was driving myself into a hole of pressure and trying to answer a question that couldn’t be answered without action.

 

This is the quality of the ego my friends. It will take you to the depths of despair, uncertainty, and fear so that it can maintain it’s power and keep you from living the fullness of your life. Despite battling this exact scenario and foe on many occasions, it still gets the better of me from time to time. You have to let it all go. You have to trust yourself and life. And above all else you have to stop trying to answer unanswerable questions. There is an answer of course in your heart, but never in the vicious circle in your own mind.
image
I finally managed with the help of some outside observers and patient support to settle down and put these mental questions aside. I began slowly to focus on the present moment and support myself with positive self talk, meditation, and simple daily goals. Most importantly I just stopped trying to answer these very dear and important questions when they popped up. Wouldn’t you know that a few days later I was calmed down. I could see the beauty of Bali and I could enjoy my life again. I could find my center and my authentic longing to live life once again. I could find my prayer, and my love, so that I could express my unique presence in each activity I did no matter how small. From this place, all those important questions seem so easy and simple. A matter of one foot In front of the other and remembering this is the most important remembering one can have.
image
I see many people wrestling with this one issue of trying to answer some deep inner question and never finding the answer. Osho has taught me that there is no answer, but the task is to take away the question. The heart deals with how to love and express and experience life. From this place there are no problematic questions as such. There are questions like how can I be in more gratitude, how can I feel the depths and heights of this human life, how can I better serve humanity, how can I be one with the universe, God, and love? These are also unanswerable questions, but the quality is instead a deepening and expanding of the life force. It makes you feel good to wonder these things. Alternatively trying to answer, what to do, am I good enough, and can I trust I’ll be taken care of deplete this vital source of happiness and energy to the point we fall asleep in life and forget the beauty that surrounds us.
image
As I woke up myself, I woke up to Bali. The food was better tasting, the people more loving, the whole situation was a pleasure to find myself in. I promptly took a vacation to the beach to surf and scuba for a few days. Out of the hustle of Ubud and the entrepreneurs, I finally relaxed into beach life and the beautiful meditation that is scuba diving. Spending my mornings exploring a vast, mesmerizing, alien world while floating in three dimensions is nothing short of meditation. Breath in, breath out, float up, float down, repeat. In those depths I found myself again and my efforts of centering were only growing more and more. I suddenly had three days left in Bali and the beauty had just found my heart.
603807_10153356796181282_6299275285401792825_n
*Courtesy of Carolyn McDonough
Perhaps it is knowing that something is going to end that helps make it all the more beautiful. We could cling instead to what is departing and suffer the inevitable outcome or embrace the fleeting beauty of experience. My ego has a pattern that has become quite familiar to me when it is time to leave a place. It tries to have every good experience again squeezed into just the final days. This is most often expressed by trying to eat every delicious food I know of. Such a silly idea because you just create a belly ache and then none of the food tastes good anymore. This is the egos way of trying to have everything, and in reality keeping you from accomplishing anything.  I’ve settled on going completely against this notion and try to have an entirely new day of experiences on my last day. New experiences are ultimately the only kind of experience we can have and any attempt at repeating one is met sadly with lackluster results.
11091354_10100324487526481_3683126616439728794_n
Salvador, Maria, new friend Jamie, and myself took a beautiful morning ride through Bali’s rice fields and palm trees to say goodbye to beloved yogi friends and master teachers. Followed by a trip to puri nugong kawi to sample the meditation caves of monks long past. Our real goal was the secret waterfall behind the temple where we plunge into the cold waters on this bright morning and feel the power of nature and come alive in her magnificence.
1484237_10100324490370781_7161442142874365195_n
My favorite experience it turns out is the Balinese water temple. You take a prayer Into the waters and before the twelve holy spouts you dunk your head and cleanse your heart. With each successful cleansing the prayer gets deeper and deeper. More longing and truth come out and you end up with the most beautiful process of cleansing your heart and knowing you are one with God. All the things you want, all that you are grateful for, all the love you wish to experience has been felt in that cold rush of holy water. Cold and wet, but perfectly happy, I can feel why ceremony is so important to the Balinese lifestyle.
image
We finish this spectacular last day with a long planned visit to mosaic. The most expensive restaurant on Bali and one of the best restaurants of south east Asia. While only moderately priced for western standards, this meal blows me away. Over 40 people have a hand in each dish, with expert execution and an emphasis on local flavors, this is easily one of the best meals of my life. Each plate has so many perfectly balanced elements to delight the senses I am in awe of how much effort went into each plate and there will be ten of them, for each of us, depending on our dietary preferences.
image
During this meal a strange thing occurred, but of course was orchestrated by the universe for my benefit. Having 12 people, we were split into two tables and my preference was to sit with my new friends and a particularly interesting gentleman with sufi background that I wished to know better. As such, it turned out I would sit with Maria, Sal, and three new friends, two of whom are from Kansas City. Small talk was polite and semi interesting, but the bomb came when Maria and I finally had a talk about our time spent here and the energetic issues we could never quite talk about with any depth. Often times you need a friend or even stranger to help you see the patterns which are obvious to an outsider yet oblivious to yourself. Thus the crux of my reason for being in Bali was made known to me.

 

I don’t know what the center of my power and identity of self is. Maria, thankfully a master in her own sense of identity, let the axe fall so to speak and gave me a strong dose of truth. It takes a strong person to deliver that kind of truth and be comfortable doing so. It is true that when I arrived in Bali I could not find my support, the base on which I could stand and be relaxed in my self. In India, Osho holds that place of support which I now understand more fully why I feel so comfortable there. This lesson is about being out in the world and finding my own inner support that doesn’t waver. Maria needed support as well and when we turned to each other in Bali and couldn’t support the other, problems arose. Our mutual support turned out to be Salvador who was a rock of joy and enthusiasm for living life each day in paradise. While I was struggling to find myself and battling my ego I did learn a few things.
image
Trying to answer a question in your head, for example brooding about something, is useless as the answer cannot exist there. If it did, you would have answered it, but since it isn’t, that is the egos way of running you in a circle to assert its importance and generally just tire you out. Remedy; put aside that thought entirely and replace it with action or positive self talk or prayer.

 

Laziness comes in many forms. If you cannot constantly apply yourself in your own life, slowly a type of sleep begins to master parts of your life. I was living more in thoughts and dreams than being active in creating the life I wanted. I needed to be more myself and take some risks. For fear of upsetting another person or some imagined status quo, I lazily placated myself and everyone by being “the good boy”. Sometimes you just have to stir the pot and be a bit crazy; upset some people, say something daring, be exciting. There is no need to be mean, but without poking people or yourself at times, you become lazy to your own growth and fall asleep.
image
What is your base of support and are you in control of it? I mean, is your base located inside or outside of yourself. Mine has been an external support, that of meditation and community. To bring that locus of control inside, to an internal support is a self growth exercise. Finding out what you can stand on is vital to branching out while being in your authentic power. This is where the confidence to support yourself, emotionally, spiritually, and materially comes into play. With that deep knowing, you are able to rest in your natural self and apply yourself in any endeavor.

 

I have struggled with this area of personal identity. With so much meditation and letting go of attachments, my cunning ego also found ways to exist with this new spiritual mindset. When you let go of excitement, curiosity, wonder, preferences, new ideas, and expansion, you begin to live a flat life, not a real life of non-attachment. Non attachment is a very positive state, you can delight in all things, especially the small things. Somewhere I forgot this state of being. The spiritual journey is full of dangers without any guarantee of being found. Which makes the process of being found such a wonderful experience. The more I wake up to the fact I was sleeping, the more I enjoy my own process of waking up.
image
That is the whole trick I believe. Once you start on the road of waking up one step at a time, everything will find its own place. Allow the beauty to be your focus and put all the concerns of the mind to the side. Bali was a wake up call, ripe with hidden teachers and lessons. It doesn’t take traveling halfway across the planet to learn these lessons, you can wake up to your life right where you are. It takes a little focus, it takes a little effort, and in the end you keep taking it one step at a time.
image
Bali was about finding balance between the internal and the external. It started a new dialogue that will move me along the path. I am thankful to all the teachers and strangers who stepped on my path to show me the way. Those that help remind me to keep waking up, to keep moving forward, to keep shining my own beautiful light, because one day I will realize myself and that will make all the difference.

 

Many blessings to you and your journey. May you find your way happily.