Wisdom of the Seasons

Growing up in California has its perks.  I was surrounded by a generally liberal culture, I ate an amazing year-round selection of locally grown produce and was never too far from the nearest coastline. The people were warm and so was the weather. Even in Northern California, the extent of winter was only a month or two of mild rain. The separation of the seasons was measured by gentle gradients of gray.  Change was subtle and calm, to the point of indifference. Everything lasted forever. Plants didn’t die; they shrunk, as if exhaling for the winter. I grew accustomed to a sense of false immortality, an ever-lasting eternal growth. This perpetual continuity kept me sheltered from on of life’s greatest blessings: its cycle.

In other less climate fortunate parts of the country, a temporal consciousness exists. This time-limited offer is measured in months rather than Californian years. Life is taken by the harsh snap of the wintertime cold. Death is observed and understood and, for some, it is even appreciated. The cold months pass with the steadiness of the tortoise, while onlookers peer into the future, calling for the warm rays of the sun. This terrestrial process incites value, gratitude and humility.

The power and strength of nature’s effortless pattern is a miracle to be marveled. Thoreau once said, “Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” Nature is graced by intention. There is not a moment of aimless action, nor a second of accidental happening. In it lays the perfection of life.

"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." ~ Juvenal

One of the greatest blessings of nature—one I am experiencing at this moment—is the bloom of spring. After winter has released its meditative silence, the dance of life begins. Set to the ballad of the most celestial symphony, the motion of spring reminds us of the splendor of creation. In its ease of return, our discomforts are soothed. Life begins again.

Yet, even with the joys of birth, we are never released from the awareness of the cycle. The looming seasons will surely repeat their pattern, leaving the recently bloomed daffodil no more than a rotted carapace. This understanding is essential to living a purposeful life. This awareness of temporality intensifies gratitude and promotes being. Only in the present can I fully enjoy the daffodil, for if I venture into the future, the flower’s demise will taint my experience. It is by this constant patterning that nature inspires full awareness of the present, bringing us into a state of supreme bliss.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Currently, every corner of New York is filled with scenes of blooming life. Everywhere, people and nature alike are taking the first deep inhalations of the season, expanding their presence and enjoying the moment. Spring is a celebrated event that transforms the city. Grumpy New Yorkers become gazing naturalists. Fast-paced business types are suddenly found strolling the streets. Speeding cab drivers…well they still speed. But the world has changed and for an instant, we become attuned to the consciousness of the natural world. Through its effortless, patterned pace, we become aware of the gift of life.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tzu

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Changing Vibrations

If any of you have wondered where I have been for the past week, the answer is Mammoth Lakes, California. This beautiful safe-haven of endless mountain-scapes, relaxed country folk, and champaign powder snow is a one-time-a-year stop for me and some old college buddies. I am fortunate to stay in contact with such great people and even more lucky that we get to rendezvous in such a gorgeous, breath-taking place.

One thing about Mammoth is its vibration. Peacefully lethargic like being trapped under a large, comfortable blanket, Mammoth is the epitome of homeyness. Each visit, my host introduces me to old friends who have never strayed from the comforting shadow of the mountain. There is always that awkward moment awaiting imposed judgement, but unlike anywhere else in the world, the locals could care less. They boast of extreme pride: their love for their town is undeniable. And I can see why.

Spending time in Mammoth is like recharging your spiritual batteries. What’s even more spellbinding is that you don’t need to know what spirituality is to benefit from the penetrating vibrations of the town. Nature and its beauty only need be experienced to gain its wisdom. Happiness, calm, peace, and reverence are almost unavoidable in Mammoth. You’d have to be a hard-pressed pessimist to miss these waves.

Writing an article on Mammoth could easily turn into a book, but what I’d like to do is to expand on my experience returning to Manhattan.

The beautiful intensity of the city

No more separate than night and day, my flight from California to New York brought me across the threshold of environmental duality. Like stepping out of fire and into ice, my experience, my being was thrust into a completely different vibration. Although I had experienced a similar change going West, my trip back East was much more jolting. Traversing down hill is always much easier than heading up. And going to New York from Mammoth was like scaling a the face of an inverted skyscraper.

Once in the city, everything felt faster. People’s eyes were the first things I noticed. No one let their eyes relax. Scanning, pulsing, and shooting in all directions, eyeballs were going insane! No one could keep my gaze and everyone was too busy to stop searching their surroundings. Even patrons awaiting their flight—with ample time on their hands—were struck with an incredible eyeball immediacy. The next experience I noticed was my lack of involvement with the vibration of NYC.

Kind of like being left behind, I was a fish swimming downstream against an entire city of fish heading upwards. Bustling was the word. Everything was moving at the fastest pace possible. The energy was overwhelming and for the past two days I have been crippled by the weight of a sloth-like laziness.  Just moments ago did I finally feel like I’ve begun to shake of the binds of extreme relaxation. It would be safe to say that the vibration of Mammoth and New York have little to do with each other aside from the fact that they are both vibrations.

Mammoth's Breath-Taking Mono Lake

I find myself asking, why do I live in New York. And I see my answer as a duty. My life, my writing, and my passion is to help others and only in such a productive place as New York will my lump of coal turn into a diamond. Living in Mammoth, Fiji, or Costa Rica may be very enticing, but my purpose of existence in this life is not relaxation—at least not yet. And the vibration of New York is the most upbeat, exhilarating vibration of any place I have ever been. Getting work done here happens in your sleep.

To each vibration their own

What I’ve taken away from this mini-vacation is an appreciation for the inherent qualities of different locations. Like the people that inhabit them, each place brings a different vibration to the scene of experience. Understanding their subtleties (and sometimes no-so-subtleties) is the extravagant offering of life. Experience is the game and life is where is it played.

Author’s Note: An Apology and a Retake

When I began this blog, I set out with a very simple, but important concept.  I wanted to improve my writing, but in a manner that was both useful and not self-absorbed.  I am not proud to admit that the last post I wrote did not stand up to either of these goals.

After rereading it today, it is apparent that I was upset when I wrote it.  Without going into details, January has been a very frustrating month for me.  What’s worse is that I am beginning to see my discontent spilling over into other areas of my life (enter yesterday’s post).  I understand that emotions will extend into actions every so often and that each day my actions will represent my consciousness.  However, what I am not willing to accept is that my personal emotions be extended negatively outward, especially in a venue that is being shared with the world (or blogosphere).  For this I apologize.  I took a completely valid topic and turned it into my punching bag, spewing negative energy across the universe.  I’d now like to rewrite this post in a manner more conducive to positivity so that we may learn something beneficial or understand something expansive, or at the least just enjoy ourselves.

I also promise to never go on a negative, self-absorbed rant again.

If You Wish to Save the World, You Must First Save Yourself

(An energetical retake)

Saving the world has become quite a booming business.  It most likely started with the whales, but has since moved into discussions of the atmosphere, the planet, and even the universe.  But what so many often forget is that the world—which we believe we are bringing to an end—is actually just a projection of ourselves.  In this reflective mirror, we can see the state of our consciousness as a global collective as well as a representation of the actions we take.  Both on a spiritual and literal plane, the earth is our planetary manifestation.

In yesterday’s post, I focused on how resilient the Earth is, which is absolutely correct (if we destroyed the climate, disrupted oceanic pathways, and decimated all life, the Earth would recover).  However, going past this disconnected explanation of our relationship with the Earth, I’d like to reclaim our eternal connection to her.

As our home, the Earth is directly connected to us.  Think of your room.  When you are busy, upset, happy, energetic, or sad how does you room look?  I am sure for all of us individuals, different appearances are created from different emotions, but the important idea behind this is that your environment reflects your state of being, your consciousness.  Often times we allow our emotions to control our consciousness.  When this occurs you get blog posts that are filled with anger =).  This is not good.  Our emotions are here to serve us.  They tell us when we are in need, they relay messages of experience, and they contribute to our learning.  They are not who we are, but a part of our experience as humans.  We are much more than our human bodies and mind.

These guys are here to serve you.

With this understanding comes another: the idea that we control our environments with our thoughts.  This can translate as newage intentionality or into a logical sequences of events.  Let’s begin with the former.  We have all heard of the book (or movie) The Secret.  In hopes of saving you time, the one sentence version goes like this: Thoughts manifest into reality. Although there are a bunch of techniques and ideas that the movie offers, the main idea is that your thoughts have consequences.  Now, what does this spell out for the Earth?  Well, if you take a look at all of the negative thoughts and actions occurring today (war, pollution, racism, suppression, etc.) you can get a better understanding of how we are affecting the environment we live in.

As a logical approach, our thoughts, which are formed into actions, have tangible affects.  For instance, if Person A thinks, “Well, I don’t care about the environment, I just want money,” his or her thought may manifest into a business that supports pollution and suppresses green technology.  In this sense, energy skeptics can start to understand that our world is a reflection of what we think.

This is exactly why we must set out to change ourselves if we wish to change the world. A great and well-known quote from Mahatma Gandhi sums it up eloquently, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  By clearing our heads, expanding our awareness and enlightening our consciousness, we will act out of a higher state.  In this state we will begin to approach decisions that affect our environment differently.  As we reach higher states of universal consciousness, we’ll realize that the Earth and our bodies are one in the same.  In this way, we’ll save the world.

From his thought, he liberated a country

In fact, this process has already begun.  Many across the globe are contributing in their own ways and a network of conscious individuals is aligning rapidly.  You can see it in our food system.  There is a uniform calling to reform our industrialized system.  From India to Peru, farmers and people alike are standing up for their right to enjoy food that will support their well-being.  I can speak of food because it is what I know best, but I see it in other areas as well; politics, health care, spirituality, and even slowly in the media.  We are beginning to wake up and realize that if we want to enjoy a future on this planet, we are going to have to treat it with respect.  This same respect must be shown to ourselves.

And in this process of self-salvation, we will indubitably save the world.

Don’t Save the World, Save Yourself

If it is one thing I hate, and rarely do I hate anything, it is the phrase, “Save the world.”

When I hear these words, it’s as if I’ve stumbled into a thick fog of putrid, self-righteous denial.  Not only is it’s logic is wrong on so many levels, but it manifests gigantic layers of ignorance.  Don’t get me wrong, I am as much of a fan of gas guzzling SUVs, ridiculous food miles, and the high number of coal burning factories as you are. I think the unsustainable practices of man are testament to the young age of our species.  However, I believe more than anything what exemplifies our immaturity as a species is the widespread idea that we need to save the world.

The world does not need saving. In fact, it is probably the being that worries the least about its future. It has been through an untold amount of uncertainties, many of which I am positive were more cataclysmic than the affects of mankind.  Of course, we would love to believe that we were the world’s biggest problem. Much in the same way we thought we were at the center of the universe, as well as the center of our galaxy, we have placed ourselves in the center of the existence of Earth.  Do you see a pattern?

I wonder which center she’s in.

There is a degree of egotism, which stems from the individual, but amasses in the collective.  This form of social egotism is most deadly.  In the group, it is an evolutionary suppressant reminiscent of the comet (or whatever it was) that killed off the dinosaurs.  The only difference is we are aiming to kill ourselves.

I mean, cmon, don’t we owe it to them?

And I don’t mean death by global warming, but by the suppression of our own consciousness.  You can see it in our media, in the public school systems, in our food system and certainly in our political system.  The suicide we are all contemplating isn’t a physical one, but a mental one.  And with sayings like “We need to save the world”, we draw attention away from ourselves—the one area we can control—and project it onto things that are ultimately out of our hands.

I was reading one of my favorite books by Paul Ferrini, Love Without Conditions, and I came across this quote that was talking about the need to not save the world: “Some people think that such advice is selfish and irresponsible.  They believe that they must save the world to find happiness.  That is an error in perception.  Unless they find happiness first, the world is doomed.”  Now, besides being an extremely relevant quote, this passage is effortlessly simple.  It’s logic is stated in such clarity that it is almost impossible to misunderstand.  How can we, as fragmented, discontented, and unhappy individuals expect to heal something as complex as the planet we live on without first conquering our own minds?  It is complete absurdity to think we can save the world without mastering ourselves.  And it is also complete denial.

The scapegoat was one of my favorite terms as child.  I always picture a scruffy billy goat perched atop rock ledge chewing a rusty tin can.  I thought it was hilarious that this little caricature of mine was always getting blamed.  I knew he didn’t do anything wrong.  In fact, that was humor of it.  The poor little goat just wanted to chew his tin, but instead all these angry people were yelling at him. What a horrible life.

It’s all his fault!

Well it turns out the earth doesn’t give a sh%t if you blame her.  She just keeps on spinning.  Maybe she’ll lose some greenery and gain some ice, but in the end she’ll figure it out.  She’s a resilient one.  We on the other hand, are the ones who need to worry.  Between all are yelling and crying, and pointing and blaming, we are missing the forrest for the trees.  We need to wake up and start admitting all the things we avoid.  That means all those little dark secrets you stuff down inside your soul need to come out.  All those wrongs you haven’t righted and all those emotional debts that need to be repaid need to start being fixed.

Even if nothing happens to the world and we live on for thousands of years, wouldn’t it be better if we freed our minds?  I know I have my skeletons, but everyday I figure ways to dance with them, letting them go and moving on.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on the wrong side of a cancan line and other times it feels like a lonely tango, but every time the proverbial music stops, I am a better person, lighter on my feet and ready to take on the next partner.

It doesn’t matter to me how you do it.  You can dance, shout, scream or run around naked wearing only an oversized bow-tie and striped galoshes.  You can do whatever your soul desires, but please, please, please, do not say you’re doing it to save the world.  She doesn’t need our help.