Category Archives: Purpose

To Live Your Message

Dollarphotoclub_41632997-30gmbl955jrede4tks0jre

What’s your mission statement?

I was asked that a few months ago and was like, “ummmm…can I get back to you on that?”

What sucks about having a mission statement is the accountability that comes with it. So you have a mission statement that boldly states what you’re all about. Your purpose, your passion, your whole reason for existing… and then the big question that inevitably follows it: So what are you doing to achieve that?

Gulp…

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it took me a few years to respond to that question. And here it is:

To live my message.

If ever a mission statement, this for me, felt like a truly powerful and empowering one. I didn’t need to be perfect, I was allowed to make mistakes. Having a mission statement with a specific “goal” in mind (like world peace, or eliminating poverty, or curing cancer…whatever) is extremely intimidating, and honestly, probably unrealistic. But this- living my message, sounded pretty practical and like something I could definitely do.

It was basically daily accountability to do the things I say I’m going to do,
avoid doing the things I say I’m not going to do,
and find flexibility and forgiveness somewhere in the middle.

So the real question isn’t about having a mission to change others or to make some dramatic dent in the world, but to be as truthful, honest, and real as I can possibly be at all times, and hopefully, that helps others feel free to be as truthful, honest, and real as they can be as well. In that, I find freedom, hope, and love. No rules, no super out-of-reach impossible goals to achieve within x-amount of time. No one-size-fits-all rules and expectations.

To do this only required one thing: to be brutally, rigorously honest about who I was and what I was about. No more people-pleasing. No more looking outside me to fill what was lacking inside.

As I began my path of discovery, healing, and self-love, I began to have a lot of “aha moments” and “epiphanies” that I was desperate to share with others (hence this blog). It was tempting to insist that my friends and family do what I was doing, think what I was thinking, and heal the way I was healing. I secretly judged… Sorry…

Little did I realize, though, was that by focusing on the progress and struggles of others, it would not only take away from my own recovery but pull me back. Significantly…

What I found was that in order to help others, or carry a message of healing to those who still suffer, was that I can’t “pull them along” in my own struggles. I had to live my message.

We learn only through our commitment to our own healing and growth. We carry that message of hope and strength by living it; by serving as an example. I believe it is not us who share the message, but the message that shares itself as it comes out in our daily actions and attitude.

If so, what was I sharing?

Self-improvement, personal development, healing, recovery- whatever you want to call it, is all a very intimate process that somehow unfolds itself uniquely in each individual, which is why it requires rigorous honesty, intention, and personal effort and commitment. We recover not through the advice of others, and not by doing things the way others do them, but by committing to healing ourselves, every day, in whatever way works.

No matter how far we have come, we do not have the ability to “teach” people how to live. We do not have the divine knowledge of what is the best path for others to take, and we do not have the right to insist that one way is better than another. We rely on a “program” that works for us and our personal relationship with some form of Higher Power, even if that Higher Power is your dog. Seriously. Whatever works. We never attempt to be another person’s “Higher Power”. All we know, by walking our talk is what worked for us, and this is evident not though an intense advising session but through our actions, thoughts, and behaviors.

It would be truly arrogant of me to try and teach something in which I had no experience or knowledge in, and that lack of experience or knowledge isn’t the things I’ve learned.

The thing I know absolutely nothing about and have no experience with is,
“what’s best for someone else.” 

What I learned through my unfortunate failed marriage with a sex addict, alcoholic, problem gambler is that the more I tried “teaching” him how to “overcome his issues” (as opposed to just living a better life for myself), the more I enabled his addictions, and the more distance I put between us.

All I know is that I have found my “program” transformative, healing, and a vital part of my recovery. Through doing my own personal work, I have met others who have experienced the same recovery and healing. While our stories are all very different (and in some ways very similar), our core commonality was in our commitment to our personal healing and co-witnessing how it transforms and heals us.

No matter where we come from and what our background, we had been supported and encouraged to continue working through our issues in a positive, loving, and supportive way, and this was all we could do. This was ultimately the most effective and influential for everyone involved.

Naturally, when we find something that works to make our lives better, we want to share it with the world. We want others to know and feel the freedom and joy that we once only dreamed of having. But our message, our product, that “thing” we hold dear to us, we only carry it because it carried us. Through a lot of inner-work, and commitment to bettering ourselves, it has now become a part of us, and through this, we are able to carry it in return. And that is how we live our message.

mahatma-gandi-qoute-hd-wallpapers

I Surrender

serveimage

“I surrender”

I know it sounds silly to talk about movies, but it was 2012. I watched the movie, “The Life of Pi” and had forever been changed. The take-away for me (which may be different for many) had a significant impact on the way I currently live my life. The first time I heard him say those words, “I surrender” I felt a chill down my spine. It was calling out to me, urging me to say it. “Try it… Say it…say, ‘I surrender”.

My body felt a sudden tension. “No way!” I thought. “I’m not ready! If life is anything like the message in this movie, just look at what happens when we surrender!

It had seemed that Pi had gone through enough pain and suffering. He literally lost EVERYTHING: his family, friends, country, and when he thought he had nothing more to lose, he lost the last of his food, the boat that kept him afloat on an ocean that could care less about about whether he lived or died, and his best friend was dying next to him. On the surface, it felt like he was being punished horrendously…for what…why…?

And yet the storms kept coming…hitting him harder, and stronger. If surrender meant opening my arms to a bigger storm, count me out!

This was not encouraging at all. To surrender meant an increase in suffering. I was not willing to suffer more. I had had enough. But the message kept ringing louder and louder in the back of my mind for years. Something inside me kept calling, begging almost, whispering, “say it..say ‘I surrender‘.”

I knew I had to at some point. But I wasn’t ready.

To surrender meant having to endure greater suffering, isolation, and the loss of all I thought I knew and believed (i.e., my “ego”)… What I hadn’t realized at the time though, was that through surrendering the ego, I was to discover myself and my purpose.

 

There came a time in my life (a few  years later) when I finally got the guts to say it. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I was desperate for freedom, so I said it. I didn’t whisper it either. I screamed it loud and clear: “Ok, God. I’m ready….(gulp)… I… surrender!”

And sure enough, I was granted what felt like Pi’s epic storm scene. A true shit storm. My husband’s infidelity came to the surface, my own ugly demons came staring me in the face, and eventually, my marriage came to crashing ugly end… and I was left thinking, “I’m a failure. A loser. Who on Earth could possibly ever love someone like me…?”

But what came out of that shit storm (shit storm being a serious understatement) was exactly what is promised when we surrender.

Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “your ego wants you to look for the inside on the outside.” He adds, “The outer illusion is the major preoccupation of the ego.”

In other words, when we let our ego lead, the ego feeds us false ideas of what will make us happy, constantly encouraging us to focus on things outside of us to fill that empty void inside of us.

But when we surrender the ego, we are forced to look inside- something we’ve been avoiding our entire lives. And yeah, when we finally have to take a peek at all of that mess…it is NOT pretty… Yet, when we courageously do look inside, we discover…the universe.

The cost is high, and the fear induced by it is great, but it is sooooo worth it. If you think about it, letting go of the ego to discover the universe…and as a side perk, suffering seems to decrease significantly. Now that’s a pretty good deal! An investment with HUGE return.

Suffering is something no one wants to do. And certainly, if we don’t have to suffer, why suffer? If there’s something we can do to remove the suffering from our lives, why not? But there are times in our life when we must endure the storms. There are times when we must embrace the suffering. And it is precisely this- suffering- a very necessary consequence of growth and evolution as a human being.

While it seems counter-intuitive, as we learn to surrender to the universe, we actually find peace. We find the universe, we find our true power, we reconnect and discover that full, infinite loving wholeness inside ourselves.

So perhaps the key to happiness, and yet quite a scary path to embark on, is to surrender. Don’t get me wrong: to surrender is not to give up on your dreams, or to aim a little lower when we don’t get what we hoped for, but to maybe aim a little higher next time, and let go of the outcome…each..and every time.

On the Practice of Gratitude

Gratitude isn’t a feeling, it’s a practice. This is a very important distinction, because we often confuse the practice of gratitude with “feeling grateful“. We can feel grateful for that awesome promotion, or the date that went extremely well, or our super cool friends. But feeling grateful for cool things that happen to us isn’t “gratitude.” That’s basically just an emotional response to experiencing cool things. It didn’t take any personal effort or acknowledgement on your part, you just got happy because something went your way. In other words, you felt happy. Not grateful. Happy. Big difference.

The practice of gratitude is like any practice. Take physical exercise as an example: the more you do it, the stronger you get, and the more results you will start to see in your professional and personal life on so many levels (physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, financial… you name it.)

PracticingGratitudeNov15

The problem with thinking that gratitude is a feeling is that, unfortunately, when things aren’t going so well, we don’t “feel” like being grateful. Have you ever felt super crappy and down in the dumps and compelled to express gratitude? Probably not. Your partner left you, the car broke down,  finances are low, the kids are fighting, you’ve had a long day at work, got criticized by a colleague, and when all you want to do is go home and relax, now you’re stuck in heavy traffic. What are all these people doing on MY road!? It may seem counter-intuitive, but this is the perfect time to practice gratitude.

The key word here is practice. In the beginning, it takes some serious creativity, focus, and effort. But anything worth anything takes a little effort. When all looks grey and gloomy, it’s really hard to find the silver lining. Fortunately, practicing gratitude isn’t about finding any silver lining, and it’s not about being overly optimistic. Practicing gratitude is basically the practice of looking beyond the crappy stuff.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: “looking beyond crappy stuff” is NOT the same as “overlooking the crappy stuff,” but simply changing your viewpoint (and sometimes attitude) about it.

There are many ways to practice gratitude, and some can be very easy. For example, today I woke up breathing. Some people weren’t afforded that opportunity… Thank you for another day. Given how I treated my kids last night in my moment of exhaustion, I don’t feel deserving of another day…

I woke up in a country that is not in the middle of bombings and war- in fact, it was silent with the peaceful sound of running water from a fountain outside my window and birds chirping as they bathed in it. My kids are healthy, I am healthy, I have a job, money, food, a car, and iPhone… What if I didn’t have these things?

My 42 year-OLD (yeah, I highlighted that last word) husband left me for a life of prostitutes, alcohol and gambling addictions. My childhood was full of abuse and neglect. I could focus on that… I could spend countless amounts of my precious energy being angry, sad, bitter and resentful for all the people and things that failed to meet my expectations… It really is just a matter of perception. I can’t deny it hurt a lot to go through all of that, and the grieving process was (and still is) a big part of my life. But in spite of all of that- no, BECAUSE of all of that, I am where I am right now. Strong, beautiful, empowered, resilient and with my heart left open and soft. Not hardened and shut down. It could have been SO much worse… but it isn’t.

In practicing gratitude, it’s easier to start with the stuff that we like, or the things that are going well in our life. Making it a daily habit of acknowledging and being grateful for the cool things that are going well for us, we slowly lose our focus on the things that aren’t going so well, and as if by miracle, MORE awesome things start to happen and appear in our lives. And as more awesome things start to happen, the less we are pulled toward or feel a need to waste our precious energy obsessing about the not-so-awesome things (which are almost always completely out of our control. Side note: if they were in your control you shouldn’t be complaining about them but rather doing something about it).

I got side-tracked…

Anyway, after a while of strengthening your “gratitude muscles” you can start venturing into the “gratitude for crappy things.” This can be a challenge, and definitely not something I’ll go into depth about today, but there will come a time in our life when we can reflect on the stuff that didn’t go well and, if not be grateful for it, just not feel like a victim about it. And when we choose to no longer be a victim to life, we set ourselves free.

Gratitude can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and because life is the way it is, the opportunities are in abundance.

Today, may I be an instrument of peace. May I learn how to love and be loved.
May I somehow be deserving of all that I have been blessed with.

The 3 Biggest Challenges

C61HWZHWYAE7tMn

As nasty a pill as it is to swallow, my biggest challenge in life is…myself.

I get in my own way. You get in your own way. We all get in our own way, every single time. When I find myself feeling pretty crappy, my go-to is to blame the person that was involved in whatever event that I was feeling crappy about. But if I dig deep enough, I realize that it is either because I simply lacked tolerance toward the behavior or attitude because it fell short of my personal expectations, OR, that behavior or attitude left me feeling insignificant.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Such simple yet profound wisdom. I used to let everything outside of me (the way people looked at me, talked to me, didn’t talk to me, treated me, didn’t treat me, the job I got, the job I didn’t get, etc.) suck all the energy out of me and define my value (and mood!). Now let’s be honest; putting that much power into something that is completely out of my control is…frankly…stupid. REALLY, REALLY stupid.

One of the main reasons I started Soulful Detox was precisely because of this idea that, maybe, I needed a total makeover- a “soul” detox- something to clear out and transform all of those unhelpful beliefs that kept me feeling so…bad.  Through a lot of inner reflection and work, I have come to narrow the biggest challenges I personally had to face, to 3 things. And here they are:

CHALLENGE #1: Thinking that who I am is limited to my body: “Your body is but a vessel,” said someone (I don’t know who). If that’s true, what is it that is being carried inside? Yeah… think about that for a moment. Most people would say something like, “my soul.” The Earth is approximately 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years and some change… I’m 35 years old. That means that compared to our cumulative existence, my life and everything I hold dear to me is not even a fraction of a second long, and yet it seems that I spend copious amounts of time thinking I’m too fat, too ugly, too wrinkly, my teeth are crooked, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not sexy enough, my hair isn’t perfect… All that shit is “shallow” shit. Why spend so much energy rowing a boat in shallow water? By doing so I ended up creating meaningless, shallow relationships that reinforce and remind me that I need to constantly try harder to decorate my “vessel” so that I can feel good about myself. What sucks about this way of thinking, is not only that people end up using you and leaving you regardless of what you look like, you don’t have any control over it. We age, shit happens, and we are constantly required to “fix” what other people aren’t embracing at the moment. Non-stop madness… So if my body is nothing but a vessel, then what if I spent all my time and energy beautifying the soul within instead? That is much more empowering. My point? Take care of the vessel, it’s how you get from one place to another on this short, short journey in life, but YOU ARE NOT the vessel.

CHALLENGE #2: Thinking that my thoughts and feelings are not important or flawed: When I was young, I used to run from anything that didn’t feel “positive”. If I was angry or felt rejected, I would internalize all of it and either blame the other person for being “horrible” or I would blame myself and think I was unworthy. When something positive happened, I would give the credit to everyone but myself, and downplay my excitement and pride in my accomplishments, afraid that I would be coming off as a pompous b*tch. As I got older, I picked and chose which thoughts and feelings were “acceptable” and which ones I felt I had to ignore. Feelings of love and compassion were ok, and feelings of insecurity and anger were not ok. This left me feeling like a fake- an imposter. Instead of recognizing that the bad thoughts are just as important, profound, and useful as the good ones, I only wanted others (and myself) to see the good and not the “bad”. Shame at its worse. Now that I’m “old”, I realize that hatred, anger, jealousy, sadness, grief, insecurity… ALL of these feelings, in addition to the wondrous good feelings, are here to teach me more about myself. When I’m feeling angry or insecure, I am no longer afraid to sit with that and do some serious inner reflection… WHY am I feeling so angry? What is going on inside me that is making me feel so insecure and unimportant? Going back to the vessel metaphor, ALL of this is what is in my vessel, and ALL of it needs tended to.

CHALLENGE #3: Thinking that motivation is something that comes to me, and not something that I’m personally responsible for creating on my own: It’s hella hard to stay committed to something we decided we wanted to do when that rush of  motivation we had at the time we decided to commit to it is nowhere to be found. There was a position in the office I’d had my eyes on for a while, and it required a specific certification that I tested for twice and failed. Why did I fail? I didn’t read or study for the test. I just glanced over the material, winged it, and hoped I could get ‘close enough’ and pass. A year went by and I vowed that I would study for the test this time and pass. I definitely wanted the job! Months went by and my motivation to pick up that 3-inch thick book on federal regulations was still not appealing to me… It sat on my desk, for months, opened to Chapter 1… Life got busy. That was my excuse. Now I realize, it was simply a choice. I didn’t want it bad enough and I was waiting for something outside me to motivate me enough to pick up the book and read it. Motivation doesn’t come to you. That’s inspiration. Inspiration comes to you. Motivation, the drive to stay committed to something long after the feelings we had at the time we decided to pursue it have dissipated, is born and grown through action. When obstacles get in the way and our feelings are saying, “let’s start from tomorrow….today, let’s party” is when that thing inside your vessel (your soul) can come to the front and center, or you can continue ignoring it.

I’ve learned that ignoring my soul only leads to suffering, and I kinda don’t like suffering. Especially for shallow things. Adopting this kind of self-empowerment has made a world of difference to me, and has helped me navigate through some pretty shitty and rough waters as I ride this vessel. The deeper the water, the smoother the ride. Go Deep.

The Price of Dreams

The Price of Dreams:

To fulfill your purpose and achieve your dreams, you must be willing to do whatever it takes, and there’s always a price.

Those who fulfill their purpose know that there are three forces that will either motivate people to achieve or give up. The first two forces: Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure are fueled by desperation. The third force is inspiration, which transcends everything.

So get inspired. Be inspired. INSPIRE! When you’re inspired, you embrace both pain and pleasure in the pursuit of your purpose.

With wisdom you look back at your life and realize that every single event, person, place, and idea was part of the perfected experience you needed to build your dream.

The bigger the crisis, the bigger the blessing!

If you want to excel at something, then let no day go by without dedicating your life 100 percent to making it happen.

Time is precious.

 

-Bits taken from Dr. John F. Demartini (The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation)

How to Solve Our Human Problems

New reading and it is beyond AWESOME. Just wanted to share…

When things go wrong in our life and we encounter difficult situations, we tend to regard the situation itself as our problem, but in reality whatever problems we experience come from the side of the mind.

If we responded to difficult situations with positive or peaceful mind they would not be problems for us. Eventually we might even regard them as challenges or opportunities for growth and development.

Problems arise only if we respond to difficulties with a negative state of mind. Therefore, if we want to be free from problems, we must transform our mind.

 

-How to Solve Our Human Problems, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

You Just Are… Beautiful

lavender_facebook

“Who am I?”

“What is my purpose?”

There are probably two kinds of people in the world: those that are curious about who they are and what their purpose is in this world, and then those who either don’t care or simply don’t worry about it.

For those that simply don’t care, life is probably pretty straight forward. They get up and just do whatever it is they think they have to do in that moment. While it seems unproductive, it also sounds pretty nice… Just to “be”…

Then there’s the curious ones (like me), the ones who spend a large chunk of their time on what feels like an endless journey trying to get the answers to this existential crisis.

What would it be like to just “be”?

Take flowers for instance: Jasmine never wishes to be lavender. And while both smell amazing, both are equally beautiful and wonderful just as they are. Jasmine doesn’t compare herself, wishing to smell a little more “lavendery” and lavender doesn’t build up resentment because jasmine can vine all over the place. Neither get jealous of the other if someone picks them instead of the other. They just “are”. They serve their purpose in the world, and thrive. They fill the air with their fantastic aromas, bringing joy and inspiration and peace to all around them.

What is their purpose? Some kids pick them and rip them apart, some get eaten or even pooed on by animals, some get trampled on, some get to be decor in some old lady’s hair, some get to run free in the wild living out a long life…and some get to be put in pretty vases in someone’s kitchen table having their lives cut a little shorter than planned…You just never know…

A flower never knows, nor has an awareness of “who am I?” or “am I beautiful?”, it just is. It may spend it’s entire lifetime never knowing or feeling or being aware of the amazing beauty it has… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.

So perhaps we must be more like flowers in this sense. If we become aware of who we are, what is our purpose, or even if we are “beautiful”, that is great! But even if we don’t, it doesn’t mean we have no purpose. It doesn’t take away our value. It doesn’t mean we are not beautiful. We just “are”.

You Just Are…BEAUTIFUL.

The Cure for Loneliness?

sitwithlonely

This week marks the 3rd month since my husband left and the feeling of loneliness has suddenly crept up on me unexpectedly. Trying to figure out how to overcome my loneliness, I started by asking myself, “how do I cure this loneliness!?” And so I started thinking of times when I did NOT feel lonely, and decided to do more of that.

This is what I got:

  • Laughter
  • Doing what I like (activities)
  • Talking to someone
  • Feeling of being heard
  • Sense of enjoyment in small things (like a great cup of tea/coffee, wine and cheese, or the smell of jasmine flowers in the wind, just for an example)
  • Being/going somewhere new
  • Trying something new (food or activity)
  • Playing with my kids / watching my kids play
  • Walking my dogs
  • Being in nature
  • Helping others
  • Dancing
  • Writing/Journaling/Blogging
  • Learning something fascinating
  • Reading a good book
  • Listening to friends talk about their lives
  • Changing the environment
  • Traveling
  • Warm baths
  • Getting out of my comfort zone

Then I asked myself: why is loneliness so bad?

Maybe it’s not..

Actually, if we don’t get used to loneliness, we will always run from it. And sometimes it’s inevitable. Maybe it’s something that once we are able to “deal with it” it doesn’t overpower us or cripple us and lead us to do things that we later regret. It doesn’t put us in unhealthy relationships for the sake of “not being alone”.

Being alone and being lonely are two totally different things. Being alone is a great thing to do sometimes. Pooping for example, is a great thing to do by yourself alone… Feeling lonely, however, is feeling disconnected. So we desperately search for some kind of connection, even if it’s shallow, fake, or damaging to our well-being. That leads to us feeling MORE lonely, not less. Like a drug that temporarily leaves us feeling “relaxed”; the moment it wears off, we are back to our feeling of loneliness, and we immediately grab for our drug of choice again- and sometimes that drug of choice is not just something we put into our bodies, but things we do with our bodies or what we allow to be done to our bodies.

The moment we are able to connect with ourselves, we realize that the thing we were running from the WHOLE time was never loneliness, but ourselves. We were running from ourselves, our feelings, our emotions, and after being away from ourselves for so long, that abandoned “place” has been left messy.

REALLY MESSY…

So let’s go back to ourselves, clean up the mess, and find peace so that there is nothing to run from. When the place we come back to is all cleaned up, it starts to really feel like “home” and being “home” starts to feel good.

It becomes a place that we not only find comfort and peace at,
but a place that other people genuinely find peace and comfort as well.

This makes us happy people and makes us better partners, parents, lovers, friends, workers, you name it.

There is only one way out of our suffering and that is through it. The longer we spend running away from it, the longer we’re going to spend our lives thinking that something is chasing us. We run, and run, and run away from that loneliness, not realizing that no matter how fast we run, it’s not at our heels, its INSIDE us. We CAN’T run from it…

After we have run as far as we could run, feeling exhausted and defeated, with no more distractions at our disposal, we have no where else to go…but… inside.

So why waste any more time? Go inside and say hello to this loneliness. Clean up the mess, and finally feel at home, be at true genuine peace, once and for all. Then throw a house-warming party and invite all your friends. Now it’s party time!

Work In a Relationship 

I was with a friend at lunch who was talking about struggles with her boyfriend and I was caught of guard when she said, “I want to get married. If we get married, all these problems will go away…”

This morning I reflected on that. What is it that makes a relationship “work”? I can’t speak for everyone but what I’ve come to believe is that, regardless of a paper document confirming the legal connection between two people, what really makes a relationship work, is…”work”.

I know I’m going to get a lot of people that are going to say “if it takes work then it’s too much and you should just walk away.” That’s of course not the kind of work I’m talking about. The work I’m talking about isn’t helping around the house or being patient enough to sit and listen to your partner complain or talk about stuff you’re not interested in.

The kind of work I’m talking about is the commitment to stay when you want to run away. The capacity to hold your partner’s flaws and not hold it against them. The work of doing your own personal and emotional healing so that your own emotional baggage doesn’t become a subconscious and silent weapon of attack on them. The work of being able to say you’re sorry and admit when you’re wrong. The strength to overcome your own fears and insecurities so that they don’t cloud your judgement and bring you to do or say things you’ll later regret. The capacity to step back and allow your partner to work on their own problems without your intervention. The work of trust, faith, acceptance. The work of looking at a flaw and instead of seeing it as a problem needing fixed, a starting point in the relationship to ask yourself, “can I fully and wholly embrace and accept this or is it a deal breaker?” And if you’re already in a relationship, being able to see the flaw and ask yourself, “is this something I can let go and be content with?”

The list is probably endless, but it really all boils down to the work we do internally, learning what it really means to LOVE another person, to love yourself, and not get stuck in that one way road of “what my partner is or can do for me” or the masochistic “I must kill all parts of me to make my partner happy, and then once they are happy I can be happy.”

It’s about being real with what is. Because what is is all that there is. What comes after that is the result of love or lack of.

Tasting the Sweetness of Life

UglyCitrus©Rhonda-Adkins

About a block away from my home is an orange field run by local farmers that sells a huge bag of oranges for $5. The look of the oranges is hideous. Even after washing, the oranges come off dirty, with uneven skin, and flawed. But when I eat the inside… it’s the sweetest orange I’ve ever tasted. What’s funny is that I’ve gone to farmer’s markets, organic markets, and even non-organic markets to find the sweetest fruit, and no matter what they look like on the outside, I can never tell (without cutting it open and tasting it) if it’s going to be sweet or not… Have you ever got stuck buying a bunch of fruit that looked delicious and none of it tasting any good?

That famous cliche “it’s not what’s outside, but what’s inside that counts”. We all know it and say it, but do we really “know” it? When we talk about what’s “inside” what are we actually talking about? Our character? Our values? If we’re nice or not? If it’s not our bodies that matter, but what’s inside us that matters, what exactly is that thing inside us that matters? Let’s be honest. Is anyone’s “insides” truly perfectly wonderful and sweet? Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that more often than not what we often find on the inside is NOT a kind, humble, generous, compassionate amazing human being, but an insecure person in some way- a person who suffers and struggles and, like all human beings, makes tons of mistakes. So if that’s what matters, then I’m not sure either of the two are an ideal “thing” to put all our attention on.

What if what matters, isn’t either of those (neither or body or mind), but something we totally overlooked? We get so distracted with what we look and feel like inside and outside that we completely forget about the possibility that…maybe…we’re still just picking at the surface. We’re obsessing about the peel of the fruit, and totally missing the real sweetness…

Yesterday, a good friend of mine sent me a video of Sadhguru, who spoke of life as we know it as simply the peel of the fruit. He spoke of the surface of life being our body and mind, and the basis of our life being something beyond our immediate five senses. Take for example when we die: Our body and mind are gone, yet our loved ones are grieving us. What is it they were grieving? No one cares about the dead body or the dead organs inside. Yes, while on Earth we have to feed our body and take care of it, but the only reason the peel of the fruit means anything to anyone is because of the fruit it carries inside of it. And so it goes with our own lives, we get so obsessed with the peel that we completely forget about the fruit!

Sadhguru said, “If you are eating the peel of life, how would life be? It would be bitter! The problem with the peel is that it has spots of sweetness in it.” The little chunks of sweetness in the peel are only because of the fruit, but if you go beyond the peel, and taste the fruit, how sweet our life must be!

We spend ridiculous amounts of time looking for joy only within what our immediate five senses can grasp: touch, smell, taste, hear, see… We cling to temporary satisfactions like food, drugs, sex, alcohol, and shallow relationships wishing, hoping, preying that they will keep us satisfied long enough that we won’t realize we’re wasting our life away nibbling at a bitter peel. Those things are not the fruit! It is all the peel…just fleeting moments of temporary satiation that only drop us back into that emptiness…that feeling of…something missing…

What if every day was spent eating the fruit and not the peel? How sweet would life be? Sadhguru said that living our life eating the peel is like living life only with the intention of eat, sleep, reproduce, and die. If that was our only purpose on this Earth, then what is the point of our intelligence? What is the point? The fact is, that “something missing” in all of us is a desperate search for connection, love, meaningful relationship, a sense of purpose. If our only purpose is to eat, sleep, have sex and die, we don’t need this kind of human body to do such primal things. We are better off being a dog, or a cockroach.

We are humans on this Earth, with an AMAZING potential and purpose. Our intelligence has brought us so far and so quickly, but we are currently at a stand-still because we have gotten so used to eating pith and peel, happy when we’ve managed to find a sweet spot, and disappointed when the rest of it is bitter nastiness. Yet we still eat it! We’ve totally lost sight that fruit even exists.

So with that my wish for you, me, and all of us is that when we come across the sweet and the bitter parts of the peel, we recognize it as simply the peel. May we remember that life is not what’s outside, but what’s inside. Life is what is contained within the peel. Life IS the fruit inside all the bitter and sweet spots. The real lasting, juicy, wholesome, unchanging sweetness is…YOU.