Tagged: spirituality

A New Year – 2014

New Year's Eve celebration

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It has been quite a while since I’ve made a post on this site, but I have not forgotten about it. Stepping away for a minute, although unintentional, gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself and to reaffirm my purpose for creating this blog in the first place. I started this site with the intention of uplifting others.  My goal was and continues to be to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves.  With each post, I aim to spread love and light to those who are open and willing to receive it. As I read through the older posts, I feel as though my past year of writing provides a solid foundation for me to expand upon in 2014 with greater focus and purpose.

Looking back on 2013, I am grateful for the many expressions of love that I witnessed. The past year’s events have inspired me to more deeply share the divine love within and to live in purpose every NOW moment. Along with some of the reflective questions that I wrote in my End of the Year – 2012  post, some questions that I ask myself as the new year begins are:

How can I be of greater service to the world? In what ways, can I give and show support to another? How can I authentically express the divine love that I am? 

In this new year, earnestly intend to give love and be love. Set out to be of service not for fame or reward, but with the understanding that the value is in the giving. Aspire to spread love to all of creation with every thought, word and action.  In moments where you may fall short of your intention, forgive yourself and refocus on love. And if you feel as though your efforts are insignificant or not enough, understand that your positive energy always has an effect – even if you cannot recognize it.

For the past several years, I’ve started a practice of claiming that the new year will be the best year of my life so far. As I speak that into existence for myself, I wish the same for you. May your year be filled with an abundance of love, joy, and peace. Happy New Year!

Love,

Joseph

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Love and Fear

fear-and-love

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us. ”

Marianne Williamson

We live in a world of polarity. This polarity is most often noted by the duality in nature. We have male and female, up and down, left and right, large and small, short and tall, light and dark, night and day, etc.  Although duality seems to be most obvious in our world of physicality, there is often a middle ground which makes our polarized spectrum one that’s more of a trinity than just a simple “this or that”. For example, between hot and cold is warm, and between big and small there’s medium. I think that the fairy tale story of “The Three Bears” and Goldilocks best exemplifies this. Without the complement, we wouldn’t be able to truly know what a thing is. And sometimes the best way to understand something is by realizing what it is not.

For me, one of my biggest revelations was being able to see how all emotions are extensions and expressions of either love or fear. These are the two extremes of the polarized emotional energy spectrum. Love or fear is the motivating force behind everything we think and do. All of the positive emotions that we have like joy, gratitude, peace, happiness, compassion, etc. are expressions of love. The negative emotions and feelings that we have like anger, sadness, jealousy, depression, self-doubt, etc. are all extensions of fear.

The connection of each individualized feeling to its root of love and fear may not be so obvious. But if you reflect on those moments when you have felt one way or the  other, I think it becomes clearer to see how they are the grounding forces behind everything we do. Perhaps you may be asking, “What does being jealous have to do with being fearful?” When we are jealous of what someone else has or has achieved, what is really happening is that at some level, we are not fully seeing our own worth. We fear that we are not good enough to have what it is that we want, and in turn we envy those that do. This fear arises because we have brought into an illusion of lack–which is untrue because we live in an abundant universe–however, we think that if someone else has something, then there is less for us.

Love is the cure for fear. Fear and love cannot coexist in the same thought. You’re either moving in the direction of one or the other. Thankfully, at any moment you can choose  to think another thought. Living with love will open you up to a world full of exciting experiences. On the other hand, fear keeps you trapped from being and fully understanding the love that you are.

As a whole, we have traveled so far from our true nature which is love. We have identified with something that we are not (fear) and in the process have created an understanding of love that is unlike what it really is. When I speak of love, I mean unconditional love. A love that is neither jealous nor controlling. One that requires nothing. A love that gives without any expectation of return.The fear-based reality that has dominated much of the human experience can be changed by choosing to be and express love with every thought, every word,  and every action.

All actions and emotional reactions are a result of beliefs that we hold. When we believe that something is good, we react in a positive way and vice versa. The helpful thing about fear is that it shows you where you hold a belief that is out of alignment with your true self (love). You can use your fear as a guide post for seeing where you can change your beliefs and adjust the way you look at a situation in order to see it through a lens of love.  Once you face your fears and transmute it through loving energy, you can free yourself of the fear that you once held towards that thing. In fact, the thing that you once feared could become one of your greatest pleasures or joys.

When I catch myself thinking a negative thought, I stop and remember LOVE. I don’t beat myself up for it. Instead, I just move onto to a thought that is in the direction of love. By consciously monitoring our thoughts, we can began to live our lives more consistently aligned with our true selves. When I notice a pattern of negative thoughts, I find it helpful to ask myself “What am I afraid of?” This springs honest reflection that allows me to get to the root of the pattern and shift my thinking into thoughts that are more in alignment with love and not fear.

Love is the only thing that is real. It is the truth and it is eternal. Fear is the biggest illusion. Although it seems real, it is not at all. Think of a time when you had to do something that you were terrified to do. Once you did that thing, everything that you feared about it, you probably did not experience. You survived through it and you can see that the fear was all in your head. When we realize that there is really nothing to be afraid of, we can move out into the world and perceive and respond to all events with love. Freedom from consistent fearful thinking will help us to see the loving light within us and to express that in ways that will help others recognize their own light, and ultimately make this world a more loving place for all.

Love,

Joseph

What You Put Up With, You End Up With

SelfRespect

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
― Confucius

You may have heard this saying before and I think it rings very true. As we grow through life, we began to identify those things that make us feel good and those things that do not. In turn, we often learn through reaching a breaking point what we are willing to deal with and what we are not. When we begin to inner-stand those things for ourselves, we can make stable choices and set clear boundaries as guidelines for what we are willing to accept into our lives.

One of the core spiritual principles is that everything in your life is a reflection of you. All of the situations that are present in your life are there because you allow and tolerate them to be there. There are no victims, just “allowers”/volunteers. This is not meant to discredit your truth or your experience of a situation. Yes, you may have been hurt. Yes, you may have been transgressed against. But you cannot experience a thing that you are not a vibrational match for. In other words, all of the things that you experience: the good and the bad, are there because either consciously or unconsciously you invited them in. You energetically allowed them to happen. This may be a lot to take in and understand but when you own your part in the experience, you can then take charge to change it. If you continue to look at things through the eyes of a victim with thoughts like “They did this to me“, then you will continue to suffer in the same perpetuating patterns. By taking responsibility for your choices, you gain the freedom to move from that situation and choose something different for yourself. It is all up to you and YOU can choose to bring an empowering meaning to any situation.

You teach people how to treat you. You set the example for others. When you treat yourself well, others will see that and know how to treat you too.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is in a relationship that was causing her a lot of stress. She told me that she had not been happy for a long time and that she was feeling emotionally rejected and abused many times when she shared her feelings and concerns with her boyfriend. She also told me that prior to entering this relationship, she had never had a boyfriend before. Because of that she had no idea of what to expect or how to really go about being in one. For that reason, she did not set any boundaries for herself, nor for what kind of behavior she is willing to accept in a relationship. She had no prior experience to look back on and had never considered that setting boundaries might be something that could be beneficial for her to do. Fortunately, after some brief time apart, they both decided to start over and work things out again. I suggested to her that this was a great time to now set boundaries for the things that she will no longer tolerate such as the verbal lashings and emotional attacks. Since then, she says that things have been much better and I hope their relationship continues to grow from the foundation that they now have established.

I believe that boundary setting in relationships is very important. These do not always have to be laid out explicitly at the beginning of a relationship; although, sometimes they can. I think it works well to share your feelings in the moment when you are feeling disrespected. Simply just let them know that what they are doing or saying to you is not acceptable. From there, they will know not to do that the next time. If that unacceptable behavior continues after you have made your feelings clear, then you may want to consider letting go of the relationship. By allowing someone to continually disrespect you, you are not honoring yourself.

This topic relates back to self-love. The things that you are willing to tolerate in your life show where you are in your level of consciousness. Put more simply, it shows how much awareness you have to choose and act from a place of love and not fear. When you are full of self-love, self-confidence, and self-respect, you will be able to more consciously choose those things and allow those things that are aligned with where you are. As you raise your consciousness and your standards, you will not allow some of the old things that you used to. It is up to you let people know what is acceptable behavior for you. Know that it’s never too late to start displaying and requesting the respect that you deserve. It’s better to let your concerns be known than to continue to be demeaned or disrespected.

When you carry yourself with respect, people notice that and reflect it back to you. Self-respect is a visible expression of the love that you have for yourself. For example, the attention I get when I walk into a place with a suit on is different from the attention I get when I walk into the same place with some sweatpants. This is not to say that you cannot respect yourself in sweatpants. However, the way you carry yourself and the way you choose to present yourself is a reflection of the way you feel about yourself on the inside. The outside is always a reflection of the inner. Sometimes positive outer circumstances can trigger that internal confidence and respect. Just by putting on some nice new clothes, you may automatically feel better about yourself than if you throw on that balled up shirt you had lying in the corner. Something as simple as getting a new haircut or putting on a pair of glasses could be the spark to get you started to building your inner love, confidence and respect. It is important to note that the true means for building your self-respect is not dependent upon outside circumstances. It comes from going within and loving and accepting yourself where you are, as you are.

Outside of just your relationships with others, this same idea holds true for your relationship with yourself. Many times we set out to accomplish certain things, but then make excuses that keep us from actively working toward achieving our visions. When you allow yourself to continue to make excuses for why you haven’t done a thing or why you’re too tired, or too old, or too young, etc. you end up with the same results and not with your realized dreams and goals. You don’t have to put up with the same excuses you have been making for yourself. You can lovingly set a new boundary that will no longer allow the excuses. From there, you are bound to make progress towards manifesting what you desire.

When you do have to make the choice to let go of things that no longer serve your highest good, understand that it is okay to feel bad at first. Just know that the choices you make are equal to the amount of love that you have for yourself. As you gain more love and respect for yourself, you may find that you have to let go of some things to allow for new situations to come into your experience that are more aligned with where you are right now.

Setting boundaries is one way in which you can honor the miracle of life that you are. You are deserving of all good things, but it is only when you come to know that to be true that you will begin to allow the good to flow more easily into your life. Don’t hesitate to let go of those toxic relationships, friendships, etc. Ask yourself today, “What are the new standards that I accept for myself? What do I need to let go of? How deeply do I love and respect myself?”  With honest reflection and authentic self-love, you can open yourself up to an amazing new idea of the vision for your life.

Love,

Joseph

The Strength of Vulnerability

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Brené Brown 

heart_weights

Somehow in our society it has become commonplace to think that someone who shows their emotions is weak and someone who is stoic and seemingly unbothered by life’s challenges is strong. However, that idea couldn’t be more wrong. The exact opposite is true. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in a given moment, it is then that we are actually displaying our true strength.

As men, we are often taught that being emotional and being in touch with our feelings is a sign of weakness. They say, “It is only proper for girls to be vulnerable. Men aren’t supposed to have negative emotions outside of anger. Men are definitely not supposed to express those negative emotions. And there is absolutely no excuse for a man to ever cry.” But as a human-being, we all have emotions. Positive and negative. Our emotions are meant to be felt and expressed. With this understanding, we can move from a place of letting our ego be in control, to really letting our soul shine through.

One of the most important things that we can do is to teach our children and our youth how to express their feelings. So many times we tell our kids to “Suck it up” or “Stop crying and don’t be sad“. Such statements are often made by loving parents who do not want to see their children hurt and in pain. The error is that we are teaching our children to deny their feelings. We are teaching them that they should not feel any type of sadness or hurt. Instead, what we should be teaching our youth is how to feel their emotions and let them pass as they naturally will.  What ends up happening is that instead of learning how to feel their emotions, children start to build up walls to protect themselves from feeling much at all. These walls often carry into their adult lives and create unnecessary struggles for them in the forms of  trust issues, defensiveness, and sabotaging a good thing in the fear of being hurt by it. By guiding our children through the right way to deal with their feelings, we can help them establish strong emotional grounding that will support them as they grow into adults.

I’ve found that one of my biggest challenges has been opening up my heart again and expressing those emotions that are deep inside. Sometimes it seems easier for me to pretend as though everything is okay, rather than to let someone know that I am actually upset or saddened by something. But as I am learning, I see that without feeling you are not truly alive. You have to be able to feel. 

It is okay to have feelings of sadness, of heartbreak, of despair, of hopelessness and of other negative emotions at times. What is not okay is ignoring your feelings as if they don’t exist. When emotions are kept bottled up, it is unhealthy on many levels. Bottled up emotions often are the root of extreme expressions such as rage and tantrums. And they are also the cause of many physical dis-eases such as ulcers, cancers, etc.

Many people use different things to numb their pain instead of feeling it. Some of these things may include working a lot, eating in excess,  drinking alcohol on a regular basis, excessive shopping, etc. All of these things are distractions that keep you from feeling those negative emotions that are deep within. The way to move past these extreme behaviors and addictions is to feel whatever pain you’re avoiding. Deal with those issues and allow all of those feelings to come up no matter how painful they may be. What you are not willing to deal with and face, you will not be able to heal. Don’t use your behaviors as an excuse to stay stuck in sadness, hurt, anger, etc.

It takes a vulnerably strong person to say that “I am sorry.” It takes a vulnerably strong person to say that “I was afraid.” It takes strength to show your heart. Much like with many things in life, the more you practice being vulnerable and living from your heartspace, the easier it will become to act from that place in more of life’s situations.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that you are being gullible or too free in sharing yourself. It simply means that you are willing to express your emotional truth in a given moment.

Being vulnerable is really just being open. Open to the good things and the bad things. Without one or the other, we wouldn’t be having a full life experience. An open heart may experience heartache but a closed heart cannot feel love. If you’re too busy worrying about protecting yourself from being hurt all the time, you may miss out on all of the love and joy that could come in the most unexpected of ways. I offer you to see vulnerability as one of your greatest strengths. You may find that you’re stronger than you had ever imagined.

Love,

Joseph

End of the Year- 2012

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

FreeGreatPicture.com-203-colorful-fireworks

Focused Achievement

Today is the last day of 2012 and what a year it has been! I hope this has been a good year for all that are reading this. It is often at this time of the year that things slow down. Semesters end, people take vacations from work, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the year and to see how things have changed from this time the year before. During this period of holiday downtime, as a part of my reflection I like to ask myself questions such as:

What can I be grateful for from this year? What exciting things have come into my life? What did I learn? How have I grown? 

I often find that I remember a lot of special moments and small lessons that I haven’t thought about since they happened. This type of reflection helps me to put things into perspective and to make sure that I am continuing to progress and grow into the person that I desire to be.

Often around this time of year, many people make resolutions and goals to carry into the new year. I think it is helpful to do that at this time because each year is kind of like a new start. It is a fresh beginning and another 12 months to get closer to your dreams and to be the person that you’ve always imagined.

In order to move forward and progress in the direction of our dreams, we have to be willing to let go of those things that do not serve us in the highest way. The old habits, patterns, addictions, pain, and so on are the things that hold us back from being our full selves and from making those leaps and bounds forward.  Along with the previous questions, I also like to ask myself:

What can I let go of this year? What limiting thoughts and beliefs am I holding onto? What things are holding me back?

This was a year of a lot of firsts for me. I traveled to Europe for the first time, I spent my first summer away from home working and living in Pittsburgh, I recorded a music project of six songs in a professional recording studio for the first time, and I made the Dean’s list for the first time in my college career. Each of these experiences also brought with them many other small feats and first-time achievements. In every way, I was able to step outside of my comfort zone, face some fears, and learn a lot about myself.

If there is one thing that I have learned this year, it is that dreams really do come true. I’ve achieved goals many times before in my life but this year really helped me to see that anything is possible. Your dreams are real. And everything that you want, wants you. But a dream can’t come true without a believer. That’s where you come in. BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS. Believe in yourself. Do your part and be ready to receive your dreams when the time is right.

All of the big dreamers know that their dreams are out there beyond their comfort zone. Those dreams rest in a space of uncertainty that’s just outside of our grasps. But all dreamers also know that they can make their dreams a reality.

For whatever your goals might be for 2013, visualize the best outcome imaginable.  Detach from it and allow for it to manifest as it will. Do what you can to make your dreams a reality. And hold onto to your belief with unwavering faith.  With a clear mind, consistent effort, and an openness to all possibilities, all dreams can come true. So whether you’re trying to get into law school or get an internship, start a company or start a car that you can call your own, let go of some fears or let go of some extra pounds, know that this year will bring many new opportunities and know that you can achieve whatever desires are placed in your heart.

I like to end each of my years by affirming that the next year will be even better than the one before it. I invite you to do the same. So I claim for myself that 2013 will be the best year of my life, so far!

Best wishes to you all and Happy New Year!

Love,

Joseph

Self-Love

“I am somebody. I am me. I like being me. And I need nobody to make me somebody.”
Louis L’Amour
– loveyourself-beach

I thought that it would be good to start off this blog with talking about a concept that is fundamental to our personal growth as human beings. This concept is that of “Self Love.” It is essential that we love ourselves. The way we view and how we feel about ourselves affects how we approach life and in turn affects how we create and define our experience.

The source of self-love does not come from the outside but from within. The compliments that we receive from people, the attention that we get from a significant other, and the care that we receive from our families may all make us feel good for that moment, but they are not and should not be the source of self-love. The same is true for our financial circumstances, our occupations, our GPAs, our age, our hair and the like. These are all changing/fleeting things. Self-love is rooted deep within us at the level of our souls. At our core, there is a knowing that we are love and that we are loved by The Universe. There is also an awareness of our true selves as creative, timeless, and infinite, spiritual beings. I find that although there are days when I do not feel very good about myself and don’t have very much self-like, I never fully lose the love I have for myself because it isn’t grounded or subject to my circumstances in the physical world. At any moment, I can go within and tap into my self-love at the center of my being.

Similarly, the quirks and perceived flaws that we have are not imperfections but rather they are those things that make us unique expressions of life. If you didn’t have those quirks about you, you wouldn’t be YOU. There is no other self that is exactly like you and that is special!

Regardless of your outer circumstances or personal character aspects, fall in love with yourself in this very moment! Love yourself so deeply that  you never fall out of it. Make your self-love unshakable. Unbreakable. Unmovable.

I am not speaking about becoming a Narcissist but simply about understanding that you as you are is wonderful. Loving yourself is not saying that you are better than anyone else. Nor is it saying that you are a perfect person who has got it all figured out. It is simply saying that I recognize the miracle that I am, and I honor that through the love I give and show myself.

It is important to first love yourself because if you do not love yourself you can’t possibly love another. We all want to love those that are close to us. Our family, our friends, our significant other. But you cannot give, what you do not have. Fill yourself up with love so that you can give it to those around you freely. Sometimes in relationships it may seem as though you’re giving all you’ve got and your girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t giving you all of that back in return. It may be because they are holding back for some reason, or it may be because they are really giving all that they can. They may not have any more love to give you. So make sure that you are full, so that you can share your love from the deepest part of yourself. One of my favorite lines that relates to this is from a song by sounds_absurd called “More Wisdom”. The line goes: “…Can you please fill my cup so I can share it?” Brilliant, I say! Check out the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10u2xg_GzfE

In the wake of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, I truly believe that love is what was missing. Love for our neighbor as our brother and love for ourselves. There has been a heavy debate about gun laws and attention to mental illness and I believe that these conversations should be happening right now. However, I also think that there is a spiritual solution for every problem and that conversation should be happening too. Not only conversations, but forward action in the direction of love. When we are separate from our true nature, which is love, we tend to succumb to our negative emotions and negative experiences. However, a person that is grounded in love, knows where their strength comes from and knows who they really are. They know that no situation is permanent. And most importantly, they know that reconnecting with love is what will pull them through their dark times.  Love is the answer to every problem. With a little more self-love, we could do more things that are empowering rather than continuing to do things that are destructive to our world.

We are all capable of finding that love within ourselves and becoming it. Using mantras is a great way to start a practice of changing an old belief to a new belief that better serves you. Look in the mirror and repeat: “I love and accept myself where I am right now“. This is a personal mantra that I use frequently. Even if you do not feel like you can love yourself right now or that you should love yourself right now, as your old beliefs shift, you will find it easier to look in the mirror, say those words, and mean it. Creating your own mantra is also a great way to re-mind yourself and establish a new belief.

Know that you are love. You are light. You are fully cared for and supported by the Universe. Love yourself today. Be kind to yourself. And go forward with love in pursuit of your deepest desires!

Love,

Joseph