please share the video if you dig it!
please share the video if you dig it!
For a while I had trouble with the phrase “never forget”, simply because I wasn’t sure what we were referring to. It sounded to me like a reason to continue anger and fuel the desire for retaliation or more violence, attacking nations of people for the decisions of few. Finally it came to me- in contemplating my frustration I realized YES, there was more to the phrase then I had previously realized. I started to remember the power of 9/11. It was a tremendous tragedy that people are still trying to heal from. Since then our city, and economy have not quite gotten back to where we were prior to the attack. This is one side, but what actually amazed me the most was not that someone could get away with such horror, but rather the tremendous unity that came up from the ruins of our city. I remember the american flags, the music about loving each other on the radio- that is until the government band all songs of that nature…that’s a whole other topic. I remember everyone’s contribution to the society as a whole. People were willing to help each other no matter what the cost. Money came from every corner of the world to aid those in need. I remember how firefighters and police officers would not rest in order to save lives, even if it meant the cost of their own. It was a time of tragedy but also a time of true UNITY. One nation under God…Indivisible!We felt for each other, we fought for each other, we truly loved each other.
What I think is most important to never forget on 9/11 is the way that this city came together and worked as a team, a unit, helping in every way possible. the way that we as a culture loved one another, and could step outside of our daily routines and see the importance in caring for each other. We celebrated each others existence because we knew in those moments just how precious life was.
Have we learned that this is the most valuable part of life. or have we already forgotten? Let us never forget, not just on 9/11 but everyday. Can we care for each other, support one another, hold each other up every single day?!
To all those that have lost someone close to them, let the lives of your loved ones not be remembered by the job they had or how they died. But let them LIVE on through our kindness, care, and love that we can share with the world in their honor.
(Pardon the grammar please)
I have traveled all over the country and parts of the world this summer and I have discovered many things about myself as well as had the opportunity to observe how people respond to my teaching depending on the environment they live in. Returning back to NYC has been a shock for me. I am keenly aware of how much I have been working against the grain for so long here. On the up side I have learned so much from this challenging environment that we New Yorkers live in. The intensity of the concrete jungle mixed with all of our incredible ambitions hidden from the sunlight, in a city that forgets the importance of sleep, it seems like we may also have forgotten WHY we are all here to begin with. Most of us New Yorkers are dreamers, achievers, goal oriented, and believers when we arrive here but slowly get sucked into the vortex of result oriented success, rather then enjoying the process of the ever evolving, and unfolding of the expansion of life and its endless possibilities. In other words, we have become numb to the beauty of life because of our narrow vision and lack of awareness of the process that life has to offer. To give a more tangible example, for those of you that live in the city, how often do you walk down the street and feel empowered, uplifted or inspired by the joyous smiles and acts of kindness that surround you? When I asked this in the classes here in NYC everyone burst out laughing every time…me included, because that is a rare opportunity here.
If perhaps we can broaden our goals and mindset to see the big picture- joy, creativity, expression, growth, challenges, laughter, love, connection, etc- as well as, or in addition to our career path, or whatever we put most of our energy into, then maybe the city can be a little more welcoming, and kind. I know I don’t have much more time here in this city because it does not feel like HOME for me, but I do not intend to run away before putting my best foot forward to cultivating a bigger community of people that want to experience the big picture together.
For me, In the meantime I hope to continue to take groups of New Yorkers to beautiful lands of Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and wherever else I have the privilege of hosting retreats. Through the retreats we are cultivating strong bonds because we get away from our routine, get to let go of who we think we should be and really get in touch with ourselves, and each other. It has brought me such joy to see students that didnt know each other prior to retreat, no laughing and chatting in the hallways of the yoga studios I work in. I am so grateful that life has brought me in this direction- traveling to beautiful beaches and mountains, and getting to share Yoga in a setting that holds tremendous power for transformation and Joy!
Thank you all that have shared this summer with me so far be it in workshops, retreats, wanderlust festivals, or performances. I am so grateful to be on this path in both the narrow vision and the big picture of it all.
Below are some videos I wanted to share with you. one is instructional for arm balances, and the other is a collaborative AcroYoga/Intel video. So much love!
The Divine Artist
I recently had the privilege of reconnecting to my high school art teacher. To this day, my heart beats a little faster at the thought of her, the mention of her name, or the sight of soulful mastery spilled onto a canvas. She moves my heart and represents the fire that resurrected something deep inside of me- drawing it out like an exorcism of the soul.
Later that day, reflecting upon our conversation, I remembered the artistic process. At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and the thought of learning to draw, paint, and sculpt was overwhelming. I wouldn’t admit it then - but I was scared. Others were so talented. Learning new techniques sounded boring and impossible. I had a choice: fail, and forfeit graduation, or… try. One by one, I began learning new techniques, and, to my surprise, I fell in love. I became obsessed with the details – trying to make things perfectly realistic. I loved to watch the lines on the page dance with life. As the energy on the page swirled, so did my emotions. Those of you that practice yoga can likely relate to this energetic movement: we get into a pose and organize our bodies with technique and alignment. This awakens our inner world of breath and consciousness, and with a rush of power our pose expands in all directions and creates a physical expression of our inner world!
Music, Art, Yoga, Dance, Poetry… they’re all very similar. Each serves as a platform for self expression. A means of sharing this unique, individual experience that we call life. While each avenue requires specific techniques and skills, the process is the same: draw upon inner-inspiration and let it flow through your paint brush, vocal chords, instrument, and body.
Do we need to master the technical side of our craft to express ourselves? Absolutely not. We can dance around like monkeys at a Phish concert, or draw inside (or outside) the lines with crayons and magic markers, or play four chords on the guitar or piano and still create a hit song like “let it be”. Masterpieces come from the depths of our souls – from our willingness to be vulnerable as we tap deeply into the inspiration of our hearts. Sometimes the only tool we need is courage.
Let’s make this a little more tangible. Take language for example. Most of our communication and our ability to express our wants and needs comes through our ability to speak. Ever listen to a non-English speaking tourist try to ask for what they need? You witness the struggle and the occasional lapse into their first language in hopes that they will get the point across. You stand there hoping they can communicate through body language. Language is a learned skill. The more languages you know the more people you can communicate with. Many musicians study/play various styles to draw upon the appropriate “flavor” when improvising or writing music.
Prior to studying art, I lacked many tools of self expression. This resulted in a fairly constant state of frustration. I was never very good at verbal expression – words came slowly to my mind while emotions rushed through me. In a fast paced world, where silence is deemed awkward, i was fearful of not being heard if I couldn’t speak up and speak fast. Writing? Forget about it. My thought process was too filled with self-judgement and frustration to get passed my poor spelling and grammar. I was told those are “necessary” in the writing process, and I therefore determined I could not (and would not) write. I needed something to crack the shell. I needed to find freedom. I needed to let out all the energetic pressure that was building inside me. Visual art came to my rescue!
Art somehow drew out a side of me I had never seen before. My teacher had an amazing teaching style – assigning a technical assignment followed by a creative one. She gave us the skills to communicate freely from the heart. It was never boring. I learned to draw the bones of a hand one day and creatively incorporate the hand into a work of art the next day. Other times she’d ask us to draw anything we wanted in the medium of our choice (mine was pencil). Then we’d learn how to recreate it with charcoal, inc, acrylic, watercolor, and clay. If I drew a tree for fun, she would show me some ways to draw it more accurately and efficiently. She never required anything more than our effort and attention. She was famous for eliminating the words “I can’t” from our vocabulary. That lesson still permeates my life. If the only way to fail was by not trying, what would your life canvas look like? Is that fun to think about or does it scare you to admit to what you really want? If it scares you, is it because you are not doing anything to support what you really want? Or is it because you aren’t there yet?
You will never be “there”. You will always be HERE – moving towards “there”. That is the nature of growth.
When you witness fear, you have an opportunity to connect to what you really want. You can gain the skills and tools to take you “there”! It all comes down to finding the desire inside our hearts to create the masterpiece, song, or life that we want and having the tools to create it. The vision, coupled with the learning of appropriate skills, provides the inspiration and means to fly!
Part 2: Breaking Down the Walls
What stops us from sharing and expressing ourselves? Sometimes it is a lack of capability, or the belief that we have nothing to share, or the fear of being vulnerable that paralyzes us. If it’s lack of skill, start experimenting! Take a dance lesson, yoga class, or art class. There are endless art forms, and they all have their benefits. Personally, I can speak to yoga. The focus on breath brings the mind into a state of presence and ease. The attention to the physical body leaves a long lasting effect of feeling good. That being said, I started with art, and music first. There is no wrong starting point other than not starting. As Dan Millman says, “there is no starting or stopping, only doing.”
If you are not fully expressing yourself out of fear of not being accepted or fear that you have nothing to offer, here is a bit of perspective: Every single person on this planet has a unique set of life experiences, and a perspective that no one else shares. This means every one of us has something to learn from each other. We often take our diversity for granted. Instead of sharing our differences and learning from each other, we allow our differences to drive us apart. Sharing your individuality (without forcing it upon someone) is a service to the world. It’s scary to share ourselves. The very things that make us unique are usually the things that make us feel different and separate. The people that intrigue us the most often hold the most amount of power. They wield a sword of courageous vulnerability. They stand up and make speeches like “I have a dream…” or light their guitar on fire and drop to their knees in the name of passion. They step outside the norm and paint drooping clocks over trees, stop warring countries by starving themselves to stand up for ahimsa (non violence)…the list goes on.
Do we have to take ourselves to the extreme to make a positive difference in this world? Of course not. A simple, loving hug – an outward expression of the heart – can turn someone’s day around, and in turn, might turn their week or life around. Dig deep into the inspiration that lies within your own heart.
The world deserves you.
We are united in that we are all unique. When we share ourselves, we take down the walls of perceived separation, and allow for the opportunity to connect on the deepest level. So please, let these be more than words on a page. Let them mean something to this world by taking a moment to step outside the heavy armor and let your heart breathe. From that breath, share your story…the world deserves you.
Thank you to my teacher Eileen Walk, and to my high school art buddy Mary Benyo for both pushing me to my potential, and empowering me to go deeper. The first art piece above was inspired by my spiritual sister Julia Garcia- “draw me something vulnerable” thanks J. Big Big Thank you to Yogi, Graphic Designer, and Photographer Taylor Dunham for editing this blog out of the goodness of her heart. I stand tall from the support of amazing people.
While on the subway ride to class I witnessed a comical transaction between two people. It was one of the older subway car designs, which I like better because two seats face the isle and two seats face those seats. To me it feels more kind and allows for more of a community feel. However, it became incredibly apparent why the subway design is now a straight bench on one side and the same on the other after witnessing the event. The lady turns to the man and makes a hand signal to move his knee- he doesn’t catch on. She does it again, and then finally says your knee is pushing into my ass, move it. He moves it angrily and murmurs under his breath for a while. They both happen to get up at the same stop to leave. While waiting for the train doors to open he finally murmurs a little louder something in German I think, followed by a frustrated “your ass was sitting on my knee, keep your ass on the seat!” They bickered and got off the train, and the rest of us laughed at the hilarity of the situation.
Two people had two very different perspectives, who was right? The rest of us found it quite funny, why couldn’t they see the humor? How we look at life is nothing more than a matter of perspective. Are we able to see life from more than one viewpoint, and appreciate other angles and ways of looking at the same thing? More importantly when someone has a different opinion is it possible to know that they too are correct, and are we able to create a space for that to exist along side our own. One step further- can we learn from each others journeys and our own unique individual expressions of what our eyes, and ears have picked up along the way?
I would love to hear your perspective and thoughts, email theyogimatt (@) gmail.com or facebook-theyogimatt
This blog was born out of a homework assignment for one of my spiritual mentors. She wanted to hear about an experience of the “higher self”. What was supposed to be one paragraph quickly turned into a story that I knew I wanted to share for the readers following this blog. This is a topic I usually never talk about, and have only shared with people close to me. To give you a bit of context, what you are about to read took place many years before my journey of Yoga, but after a few years after I had started studying my mind through contemplation and meditation practices. Enjoy the journey!
My First Awakening to Spirit
My first awakening to the spiritual realm came unexpectedly. I had been deeply focused on inner work: cultivating a peaceful mind and compassionate heart; but I hadn’t thought much about spirituality beyond the physical realm.
The weather was absolutely beautiful – seventy-eight degrees and blue skies – when we all showed up for Brian’s memorial in a local park overlooking the harbor. In his honor, I took off my shoes prior to entering the park. I had never seen Brian wear shoes, even when I’d run into him in the street or at the ice cream shop. At the time I thought he was out of his mind, but something drew me close to him despite his shoe-less style and vegetarian diet. At the time I had no idea what was so magnetic about him but I knew I wanted to be closer. I wanted to impress him. I think everyone around him felt it…but what was it? He was calm when others were stressed; he found humor when others were engulfed by anger. And, his ability to stay focused was incomparable. I never developed the relationship I yearned for while Brian was alive, but after he passed I got to know him as a mentor, guide and best friend.
The memorial was beautiful – full of musicians pouring their hearts into honoring Brian. I admit I was freaked out by the meditators and the esoteric practices – chakra meditation bowls and chanting the sound of Om. Unbeknownst to me, a few short years later I would call these practices my own. I tried my hardest not to judge these “weirdos” knowing that Brian was close friends with them and would probably participate if he were still in his body. I watched my mind struggle to listen to statements such as: “he is with us in spirit”, “he is all around us”, and “he’s in a beautiful place now”. I had heard these phrases all my life but chalked them up to a means of comforting loved ones. I had little belief in afterlife, reincarnation, or the ‘G’ word that I was so scared of. My association with spirituality was that God was synonymous with organized religion, and that meant church every Sunday and believing what everyone else believed. As cynical as I was, and as atheist as I claimed to be, I yearned to believe in something…but I needed proof. When I was growing up, if something bad was happening I’d find myself saying “if there is a God – I mean, if you exist – please help me.” Rightfully so – why believe anyone else without evidence?!
The evidence showed up on that beautiful day in the park. As I listened to this weird lady whispering “Brian, Brian, Briiaaaann” into a microphone, judgements ran wild. She was creepy, crazy, and out of her mind; that’s when it hit me. Suddenly, without trying, I was out of my mind too. Colors were as vivid as a high contrast HDTV. Every sound was crystal clear no matter how close or far. The bird in the tree across the park was as loud as my friend crunching a twig with his bare feet. I could smell the burning sage that was on the stage forty yards away. He was all around me, and I could feel him and sense him more fully than when he was alive and physically in my presence.
I was awake for the first time in my life, really awake, as if the rest of my life was a dream – a dream I didn’t even realized I wanted to escape. Life was pretty good until that moment: I was driven, artistic, passionate. I was doing the things I loved, but nothing compared to the overwhelming sense of joy and peace I felt on that day. I knew it, and I could feel it: life would never be the same.
To Be Continued…
-Thank you to Lauren Lauren Jacobs for preliminary editing, and Taylor Dunham for the final edit.
Before I start this blog let me first apologize for taking two months to post another one. “Sex, Caffeine, and Food” had such a huge response, I received so many emails, and messages from readers about how the blog has changed their lives, or given them courage to take action that I found myself scared to write another one. Scared because I feared the next one wouldn’t live up to the it, or be good enough. If this sounds familiar, than “Potentially Good Enough” will resonate with you for sure…enjoy!
“I’m not good enough.” Have you found yourself feeling this way, or saying this to yourself?
About five or six years ago I noticed this was the undertone for which my thoughts, actions, and choices rested upon. At first I thought I was the only one, but when I opened my eyes I was surprised to see students, teachers, friends, and loved ones had a similar story. Like any character flaw, it hurt to recognize it, and at the time I didn’t yet see the beauty in the revelation. Practicing yoga helped a lot, it helped me feel good physically and emotionally but I still felt like I was striving for something I didn’t yet have; Teaching Yoga helped me to discover another chapter to the story.
As a teacher, and self-proclaimed yogi, I was striving to be good enough on so many levels. While I could see myself trying to fill emptiness, I didn’t know why I felt this way, or how to fill it. I was trying my best to be compassionate enough, knowledgeable enough, strong, flexible, kind, powerful, trusting, loving, financially stable, interesting, and any other quality I looked up to in my mentors and teachers. I wanted to live my life in accordance to what I perceived was a wise and humble lifestyle.
The upside; I was taking on the strengths of my teachers, but the downside; It became a comparison game for my mind to play. Even though I was becoming more of who I wanted to be all I could see was what I did NOT have yet. Even worse I began seeing what my teachers did not have yet as well. I was looking at everything and everyone from a lens of emptiness and I desperately wanted to shift my perspective. Revelation hit with the introduction to a powerful concept that has transformed my life for the better: “look for the good”. Look for the good in everyone and everything. Of course this took quite a bit of retraining the mind but eventually I started seeing everyone’s strengths and beauty first. I learned that seeing the good in people gave me an opportunity to celebrate them. This practice was and still is incredibly powerful. It helped me connect to the beauty in other people and in turn I was inspired to live up to my highest potential. The practice in itself brought out the wise and humble qualities in me that I was searching for. It was like I was viewing the world through a dirty window and someone suddenly cleaned it so that I can see the world more clearly. I recently became friends with someone who is masterful in looking at people’s strengths and celebrating them with you or for you if you have yet to see them in yourself. They serve as a reminder that I have more potential to grow in my ability to see the good in everyone. It would be incredibly easy for me to fall back into my old pattern of thinking and say- their mastery makes me feel like I’m not good enough yet, but instead I am grateful for the inspiration and example they provide me with. This brings me to this idea of potential…
While the practice of looking for the good helped me grow more humble and less jealous, I still felt “not good enough.” One day while teaching on the topic of enjoying “the journey”, the realization smacked me in the face; I wasn’t good enough in comparison to my own potential. I was watching students get frustrated with not having the pose yet, and I simply stated “What’s the hurry? When you get the pose, you will just want the next one. So practice enjoyment with where you are now, so when you get to where you are going you know how to enjoy that moment.” This statement helped me to realize, that it’s not that we are having trouble seeing our potential, but that we are judging ourselves based on it.
We all want to live up to our potential, or our “highest”, however the more we grow, so does our potential. In fact, the definition of potential is “capable of being but not yet in existence”. This means that if today I grow into yesterday’s potential, than my potential has now grown to the next level. To clarify, if we are constantly chasing something that we are capable of but does not yet exist, we are likely to establish a sense of not being there yet, not being good enough, or not being happy with where we are at now! It is important to set goals, they help motivate us in developing an action plan. As we climb the latter toward our goal, naturally we develop new desires and ambitions, making it easy to overlook how far you have already come. We tend to be so forward thinking that we miss out on the goals we have already achieved. Set your goal, but be sure to recognize, and celebrate the steps along the way, even the hard ones.
“Potentially good enough” was new undertone for which my life was floating upon! I never fully accepted who I was at any given time as “good enough” simply because I saw room for growth. It seems so obvious to me now- growth is the very nature of life…there will always be more to learn! There is no finish line. With the knowing that there is room for improvement, start with acceptance and gratitude and you will always be growing and expanding upon fullness.
Let potential be the source that inspires you to go deeper AND find gratitude in every step you take knowing that simply having the desire to grow and expand is a gift in itself! Change your foundation from “not good enough” to “grateful”. In this way our efforts will be moving towards expanding your current state of fullness, happiness and joy, rather than hoping to get there some day.
I am incredibly grateful that you just read this; I hope it serves you well!
Addiction arrises from our search and desire for freedom. We seek a sense of peace through external means. At first we see a glimpse of what pure freedom feels like. We then repeat it, then abuse it, then can’t release ourselves from it. We get hooked on the glimpse and when the glimpse disappears we are only left with a hang over, a sugar low, a feeling of emptiness that we “need” to fill. It is possible to direct this hunger and passion for freedom into a life practice that serves you and continually feeds you joy and ultimately brings you upward rather than potentially downward. Even these practices can eventually become an addiction, but by that time you will have the clarity of mind to admit that to yourself and choose your course of action. The important thing about addiction is knowing that deep down inside we all really know when we are addicted, but we spend 25 hours of our day defending, and justifying the addiction with great excuses that might sound like “I grew up with it,” “I am a guy”, “I am so stressed out”,”My mother is always drunk”, “My parents are divorced”, “thats just the way I am”…sound familiar? If you have a heart beat you have an addictive nature, we are all addicted to the desire to feel, give, and receive love, but because that comes with challenge, pain, sadness, we choose to fulfill that desire by drinking, smoking, sexing, snorting, beating, cheating, eating…etc. Be REAL with yourself, you deserve it! Here is a glimpse into my past, I hope it serves as a reminder that you are not alone, and that YOU can be whoever you want to be. SET YOUR INTENTION for living.
I still remember going to the bar for the first time in a while, and feeling the pressure of friends to drink. Actually the reality was that these friends that at one time seemed to be everything to me suddenly felt more like strangers. Seeing my empty hands they offered to buy me a drink, thinking i must be trying to save money, or something along those lines. After insisting a few times I awkwardly explained that I didn’t WANT to drink. Of course that was too crazy to simple leave it at that; more explanation was needed, I explained “I would rather feel good in the morning to practice yoga”. It was nerve racking to be that honest about what at the time seemed so against the grain. To them yoga was what moms did in front of the television to stretch: a lazy version of old school aerobics. It was that night that I learned who my real friends were. It became obvious that most of them were friends with the cloths I wore, job I worked, town I lived in, beers I drank, and misery I felt (misery loves company) rather then friends with who I was on the inside. I suppose i can’t blame them, after all I didn’t know who i was on the inside for the majority of the years of our “friendships”. Those who were friends with the real me brought me a glass of water in support of my choices, and expressed their admiration. I didn’t know it then but they were the real yogis, no need to practice fancy asana(poses), sun salutations, pranayama (breath techniques) they were already practicing the most important aspect of yoga-love. It was their strength and support that gave me the full courage to continue this path that I stepped foot on. If they weren’t there that night I may have given in, and eventually stepped back into my old world.
I now can go to a bar, party, concert and choose to drink…or not, without feeling any pressure from friends. Partially because I am surrounded by people who truly want the best for me and themselves, but also because I no longer have any insecurity about my social status amongst other people. More accurately, I have full confidence in the choices I make about the health of my body and mind. I have this confidence because i can tell the difference between addiction/attachment, and conscious desire. caffein , sugar, meat, bread, marijuana, sex, asana, and eating in general are some of the addictions that I have battled with.
There is a big deference between being addicted to food and actually choosing to eat it because your body requires the nourishment. If the idea of a ten, or even three day juice cleans (no food, just fresh vegetable, and fruit juice) scares you, and you have a million excuses as to why that is a terrible idea, you probably are addicted. Not that i am an advocate for juice cleanses being that many people abuse them as a weight loss addiction instead of A conscious health choice, but ask your self: does it scare you to not eat for a duration of time? Again, so there is no misinterpretation I am not saying you should starve your self, but with proper guidance it can be beneficial to cleans the body and restrain from habitual eating for a set time period so that you can tune in to instinctual nourishment. Be careful of the “backlash”- coming off the cleanse and returning to a diet that doesn’t serve you…this is another topic for another time.
Caffein was the first and most obvious addiction of mine that I recognized. About Five years prior to taking up yoga i started becoming more conscious about my nutrition. The signs were obvious and I hated them. It started as one small coffee a day, soon it became a large, then two, then three large cups of coffee a day. My personality suffered if i didn’t drink 72 ounces of coffee, which is something like 300mg of caffein? Even worse was that if I didn’t drink my first cup by nine o’clock, a migraine that could rival the pain of an elephant sitting on my head would take over for the whole day and the only thing I could do to lessen it was drink more and more coffee then I normally do. The very phrase “my cup of coffee” as if it is a part of my body/being;i talked about it like it was my right hand.
Insomnia seemed to be common, fast metabolism made me eat till my belly exploded, and my body temperature was always through the roof. The headaches…my gratitude to them because they were what made me decide to quite, I wasn’t perceptive enough yet to know that all of these other discomforts were also results of my caffein addiction. Here is how i kicked it: I replaced coffee with green tea and drank tons of it through out the day until I was addicted to green tea. The good news was I then started replacing green tea with caffeine free herbal teas, until I was simply addicted to flavored hot water which I was more then ok with since the herbal teas had positive health benefits.
Like any addict it wasn’t soon before I found a shiny new drug that had many of the same benefits but less of the draw back of coffee: Yerba Mate (mah-tay). Like coffee it started small and grew to being something I was known for and i even had the nick name Mate! The journey was similar- start small until I couldn’t do without it and once i grew strong enough to admit to it I mustered up the willpower to get myself off of it. I started developing a competitive nature with my addictions- me vs. them-no way My pride would let them win!
Thankfully seeing how addictive I was kept me away from trying hard drugs, but in my teens and early twenties sex seemed to be ok with me. I did sex like a drug, collecting women like beanie babies(even the analogy disgusts me, but thats really what it was like). I still am working through shame and guilt from what seems like another life time yet it still holds a tremendous amount of weight. I have to find compassion for that person because he was desperately trying to validate his existence, and prove to himself that he was worthy of someones trust and Affection. How ironic, trying to feel trusted, respected, loved, adored, admired, and good enough by treating girls with the opposite of what I was looking for. In reality I wasn’t physically violent, and cheating wasn’t something I had the balls to do, and I did care about the majority of the girls. However, I was reckless with their emotions, or Atleast I assume so, I didn’t let them close enough, because that might mean feeling that what I was doing was wrong.
After a while I realized I was having sex with everyone that was willing. Whether or not i was attracted to them became irrelevant so long as they were acceptably attractive to most of my friends. I began having trouble being turned on by anyone, and chalked it up to performance anxiety. That is probably accurate, maybe the shame and guilt finally caught up with me. But in reality i was seeing women as trophies…I don’t know about you but trophies don’t turn me on(to each his/her own thorough!) Oddly enough This was actually a blessing in disguise. It caused me to reflect upon my choices, actions, and motives. I saw how pathetic I had become and knew in my heart, thanks to my loving family and upbringing that I was worth more then that. I don’t know if I saw that the other girls were worth more than that or not yet, but it started me on the path toward really loving and caring about myself and everyone else. I do also have to thank my old band members who were courageous enough to stand up to my behavior. I know how hard that must have been to have a sit down with one of your best friends and tell him that he has a problem. I am incredibly grateful for their ability to unite in what seemed like an attack but was actually the most amazing gift I have ever received.
It was time for change, and despite my fear I decided that for one year I would take an unofficial vow of celibacy. While it seemed like an eternity, it also was one of the most empowering and transformative years of my life. After that year I then fell back into my addiction for a short time, but quickly saw what i was doing and quite again. The second time around proved to be important as it gave me the insight to see when I would have acted on impulse vs. who i really shared a true connection with. During thr second sexless year I Eventually I got lonely and prayer for a girl, an hour later she appeared at sunset. I was hopeful that we would fall in love and have a steady relationship. Little did I know she was just coming out of years of alcohol and sex abuse. She kept me at a distance but close enough to inspire me to read the book that changed my life: Wisdom
Of The Peaceful Warrior. It was this book that led me to try Yoga, which is now not only physical and spiritual practice for me, but a way of life. We grew to be amazing friends and we continue to push each other to live up to our fullest potential. I am grateful that my prayer was answered in the most powerful way, and for her roll in my life. While I ultimately know I will still make mistakes, my intention with sex is to share it with someone special where it is an extension of a connection that is shared, be it in a relationship or while in the dating world. I share this not to pour out my personal life but because I know that honesty allows a space for other people to find comfort in knowing that they are not a lone if they have a past that they would prefer to erase. And that it is possible to get passed it and live a happy positive life.
It takes a tremendous amount of will power and courage to live up to your highest potential. There is nothing harder then deconstructing patterns, impulses, and addictions but the reward is perhaps the most powerful experience: we feel worthy of our own love.
These days I have a cup of coffee only if I want to which is usually twice a year. Sex requires full honesty in order to decide whether it serves the highest or if it impulsive, be it in a committed relationship or not. Of course in a commited relationship you don’t want to be deeply contemplating every time you have sex, that’s not healthy, but still valid to be honest as to whether Or not the sexual side is an extension and
Enhancement of the beautiful connection both partner share, rather then an unconscious validation of the relationship.
As we all know this topic is complicated, and i am no expert. Sex deals with all aspects of our being: physical, emotional, spiritual, hormonal, instinctual, etc. For us to feel truly fulfilled on all these levels it takes absolute honesty and vulnerability. In short it takes courage to be tremendously truthful about your own intention, and have the skill of communicating it with whoever you are engaging with, and they with you. Word of advise, you are not protecting someone with white lies, that simply creates breading ground for mistrust, jealousy, and pain. Communicate the truth.
Food seems less serious, but equally important. For me it is a choice based on my energy level, immune system, and necessity, rather then a habit. I don’t have set times that eat, I listen to my body and let it tell me when it’s time to eat. I do choose to eat meat, dairy, sugar, bread, etc. on occasion and can usually tell if my body is going to be able to maintain its optimal performance or not. It’s a choice because my intention for eating is to feel good, and to have be in balance so I can think clearly and make the better choices. Bread generally gives me the afternoon sleepies, sugar gives makes me feel flighty and leads to a sugar low, meat drains my energy because it’s quite the process for the body to digest it, dairy makes my belly hurt, and gives me phlegm. Have you really paid attention to what your food does to or for you, have you felt it? Why do you eat? This doesn’t mean you can’t eat socially or for taste as well…I loooove food, you just have to think or consult someone who thinks or go to a restaurant that thinks outside the box.
While I strive to maintain the ability to choose my actions and not have to cut anything out of my life completely(unless I choose to), it is important to know that when dealing with stronger drugs like alcohol, pain killers it is wise in my opinion to just cut it out completely and don’t mess with it ever again. Every time I quite something, I fell into it again. Luckily most of my addictions have low odds in terms of death, but I’d your addictions do then just let them go! Write a new story for yourself, you are strong enough and completely worth your efforts.
It is imperative to be clear with what you really want. We often think we know what we want but realize later that it was simply a commercial that told us so, or a craving of something we don’t have, or a validation that we are worth something to someone. Practices like yoga, meditation, zen, journaling, and thai chi are great ways to become clear in the mind. Once you remove the garbage from your thoughts it is easy to set an intention. HOLD tight to that intention because life will test you and place you in situations that will make you forget that you ever had an intention.
Currently my practice is to be fully honest, open and vulnerable. This blog is an daring attempt to take a deeper step into that space. Yes,
It is scary to release this, I fear judgement, and misinterpretation, but if it inspires even just one person forgive there past or to change their current ways for the better, and to pursue a life of honesty, intention, and courage then it will be worth it! If you struggle with addiction, my advice is have an intention for how you want to live and get addicted to creating actions that support your intention- Intention Addict. YOU are worth it. If its white lies that you are addicted to just start by observing how often you say things that aren’t quite truthful, and then attempt to practice fearless yet compassionate honesty.
REMEMBER: Addictions are stronger then Intention, because you have been practicing your addiction for a long time. This means you have to start practicing your intention in every moment, until it becomes your way of life. Your intentions will change, you will also make mistakes along the way, allow for these things to happen but be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable. If you know you cant hold yourself accountable then find the strength to ask someone else who will hold that space for you. that can be a support group, or community as well.
You know where to find me for support or accountability,
Much love and gratitude!