Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Conspirituality: Transmuting Darkness into Lightness

a wake up call?

When 9-11 happened it really sent me for a tailspin. Me and pretty much the entire planet.

I was 23 years old, I was full of post adolescent angst and felt uneasy, and sick. In the core of my being it all felt wrong, so wrong. So I entered the wormhole called conspiracy theory. I delved into the lands where the electron is king, and followed link after link for hours upon hours.

I read about Afghan pipeline deals, the Illuminati, the military industrial complex. I watched videos, went on web forums, and was completely immersed. At that point in life I was just recently unemployed and on E.I. and had a lot of time on my hands, waaaaay too much time.

Did I find what I was looking for? Was the attack on 9-11 definitively a government cover up, a pre text to an illegal war? I still don't know, and neither does anyone out there. I have an opinion, but that is all it is – a thought shape we call an idea. If it was a government cover up, and unless George W. Bush blows the biggest whistle in history, no one will ever know for sure. Anyone who says they do – is living in ego's folly. We can only make assumptions.

WE DON'T KNOW. We may never know. I do know that people do bad things, some people do some very, very bad things. I don't need to give any examples – most people know the Hitlers and Genghis Khans of history well enough to know that people can do hateful, destructive things. Heck I am guilty of some acts of evil myself – I put a garden hose in a mail slot, and turned it on, during a drunken meandering walk home once in my teens. What we call evil can inhabit any and all of us.

Someone very close to me told me the story of a poisoned arrow. If we were to be shot with an arrow laced with poison, how important is it to worry about where the poison came from? Priority number one is survival, self preservation. I need to get that arrow out, and rid myself of this poison. Does it matter who shot it? The damage is done, vengeance and blame are reactions to the poisoned arrow, but they will not take away the wound. Maybe I was shot with a poisoned arrow because I am a soldier in an occupying force in enemy territory. Or maybe I killed someone's family. What ever the cause I need to focus on a solution, there is time for pointing fingers later.

9-11 was a poisoned arrow to me. I spent a lot of time trying to “figure it out”. Twelve years later I still have no answers. I've never met anyone who was part of the Illuminati, or any other shadow organization, and I have yet to see anything definitive to prove what EXACTLY happened. Now that's not to say I don't think we are lied to by the media, our governments or even our parents. Hello - Santa, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy? But what could I do if any of it were true?

I became the guy at parties that prattled endlessly about the government, cover-ups, human rights abuses and so forth. I was the conspiracy nut. Did any of my research amount to anything? No, the world just kept on changing and chugging along.

Nobody wanted to hear me blather on like a nut. I just ended up feeling shitty. I felt defeated by the world – powerless to do anything. Then some new information started showing up, and I became more interested in spirituality, and doing what I could – even if it was small. The world was full of poisonous arrows, but the world wasn't my responsibility. I WAS my responsibility.

If the maxim “what you focus on expands” is true, then wasn't my energy being poured into this conspiracy stuff just growing this darkness? I realized that my energy was being wasted, syphoned off into an abyss of dark negativity that was just me sending my life force into nothing productive. If you want to change the world – start at ground zero, start with YOU.

You don't like seeing animals die, stop eating dead animals, or cut it down as best you can.

Pollution pissing you off, stop driving gas powered vehicles and buying things that contribute to the problem.

Tired of endless conflict and war? Stop watching violence, supporting governments that involve themselves in conflicts. Learn to control your own personal anger.

Sick of greed and the financial inequality on the planet? Stop being greedy. Use less, buy less, reuse, share and trade. Grow some food. 


Carry on my wayward sons (and daughters)
Little increments add up. Don't put pressure on yourself to change the world, change a habit here, an expenditure there. I promise you if you just change that in your realm of control it will change your own world, and believe it or not that is the most important world of them all.

What ever it may be that you want to rebel against, look at your role first. It's a huge wake up call. Don't waste time pointing at people calling them “sheeple”- seek to help. Be an example, demonstrate your life as a solution. Shut the fuck up, and do something. Create a new way, and support others that already have. Learn to think for yourself. Try to be better for you and your family.

I've found as hokey and hippie as this sounds, that the ability to share and give love is the strongest resource we have for change. Again, ground zero is most important – love thyself. Change the relationship and dialogue with who you are. Remember, we can change.

Most importantly – explore your relationship with a higher power. Why the heck are you here? Ask questions. Try to live in a sense of wonder. Love who you are, your imperfections, your awkward ways, your gifts. Find a purpose, live it. My life Journey has been wonderful, and I have been blessed with so many vibrant and lovely experiences and people in my world. But I had to confront some dark aspects of myself (and still continue to do so).

I will say that my foray into the dark world of conspiracy theory/alternative news did lead me towards an existence based more on love, and spirituality – my only regret is that I spent almost a decade trying to figure out the shifting natures of shadows that never have any solid form. Now when I am at parties, I talk about life, solutions, adventures, and love. It's funny, but people seem to be a heck of a lot more receptive.

I'd love to hear some comments – so don't be afraid to get involved in the dialogue. This blog doesn't exist without your attention.

Thanks for sharing your time with me today, lots of love,


Friday, February 21, 2014

Brushing the mind, opening the heart

The Mind: a beautiful servant, a dangerous master.

A fortuitous bouncing of light and shadows - a fluke photo.. or is it?

I've been on the longest unbroken stretch of meditation in my whole life.  It's been 50 days in a row with a minimum of 20 minutes of sit time per day.  Of late I have been more then happy to do almost an hour at a time.  I won't lie - doing twenty minutes 50 days ago was a challenge.  I was counting the seconds until my chimer went.  Lately, instead of relief, when my time is up, I keep sitting for a few more minutes, just because.  I am disappointed when I have to stop (yes, I am working on that too).

I've committed to making meditation a daily practice in my life since the middle of December.  They say something becomes habit after about 55 days, give or take.  Like brushing my teeth, meditation is becoming habit.  Like brushing my teeth, every meditation is different.  If I have a kernel in my teeth, I might spend a bit of extra time brushing one area, paradoxically an entrenched emotion in my psyche might need an extra bit of attention to dislodge. 

Am I the dalai fucking lama?  Not even close.  Most of my meditation involves me observing how my inner monologue is that of a kid who just drank a full can of coke and ate an extra helping of birthday cake: bat shit crazy.

Meditation is not fun. It is not easy.

Frustration: yes.
Discomfort: check.
Constant annoyance at the nature of one's own mind: oh hells yes.

I can only talk directly from my own experience although there are NUMEROUS studies that support how beneficail the practice of meditation is on the human brain.  Andy Puddicombe explains below:

For those who think meditation is only for the monks of the world, you couldn't be more far off.  If anything it is the rest of the world outside of the monks who can really benefit from taking time everyday to quell the mind. 

I learned something a few years ago that has been incorporated into my belief system - WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS.  Just because we think it doesn't mean we should own it.  Thoughts I liken to seeds of plants and weeds that have blown into the garden of our mind.  They've been dropped there from parents, friends, society, and god knows where else.  Well, these thought-seeds take more root and grow deeper the more we place our attention on them.  So if we focus on the negative seedlings by repeatedly "going there" that will be the dominant climate of our mind.  Learn to let thoughts and emotions go.  Laugh.

The whole point of meditation is to see thoughts for what they are, and like all things they go through the passage of arising and dissapation.  When we meditate we see thoughts, don't attach energy (emotion) and let them seeds blow on by.  It is hard, but with practice we start to cultivate a sense of laughter about thoughts and see them for what they are, nothing.  Do you get mad at the wind when blows, can you do anything about it?

After 50 days, there is a profound change happening.  My heart is opening, I just have more love for life, and for humanity.  With this opening new experiences are coming into my sphere, new people and new circumstances.  I also feel that my capacity to give is growing, and I feel more like I want to serve those around me then more then myself - this is a huge shift for selfish little me.

I strongly reccomend you cultivate the practice of meditation in your daily life.  We make time for so many other things (how many minutes do most first-worlders spend on their phones and computers?) and just try your best.   There are no meditation competitions, at least not yet.

There is no right or wrong way, sitting and being aware of your crazy mind is a great, albeit frustrating first step.  Of all the practices I've incorporated, meditation has brought the most peace, and by changing how I interact with my inner-world, I've changed how I respond to my outer-world.

If you want to get into it and just jump in the pool like I did without checking the water, I recommend this free (yes I said free) 10 day retreat.  It will change your life.

The best things in life truly are free - and I continue to donate to this cause monthly so that others can gain the benefits I have. 

Make a space in your day for this powerful practice, and you will see your life change.

Love and Light - Robin

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My 3 year (other) birthday: Liberation from the Bottle, and an Ode to Seymour H

I just thought this picture was overly melodramatic and cool.
It was a cold snowy January day in 2011. As usual, I was running late en route to work, and lucky for me there was an accident on the road on the way in. The perfect excuse for being late, I snapped a picture on my phone as additional proof; evidence for manipulation.

This was how my brain was functioning. And no, I am not proud of who I was and the direction I was headed. What I didn't know was that I was about to lose my job.

A week before my 33rd birthday and I was about to have nothing, to be on my ass and not know how I was going to pay the rent. That morning my boss, who had also become a mentor and friend - let me go. A mounting list of indiscretions on my part had been compiled. I won't go into details, but I had it coming.

It crushed me. I did not see it coming from a mile away. Shocked, dismayed, and utterly broken and confused I went home. I felt sick, how was I going to go forward? I knew something was very wrong, very, very wrong. Not with the world – but with me.

I was an alcoholic.

This wasn't a surprise, the surprise was how progressed I was. I was completely deluded as many of us with addiction problems tend to be. I needed help.

Going to AA was not something new to me, I had known I had unhealthy drinking habits since I was in my teens. However the great illusion of every drinker is the delusion that WE can control our drinking. I had been testing the waters in recovery since I was 30, so I had been to meetings, and had a temporary sponsor. I had never done the 12 steps, but that was about to change. I went back to AA and found an amazing sponsor and got to it.

My first meeting back I felt like Bambi on ice. I felt so broken. After a few meetings I started to feel better – I was not alone. And as tragic as I thought my story might be, it was nothing compared to some of the other people in the rooms, who had seen severe tragedy. People who had killed people, lost everything and gone bankrupt, pushed away the ones they loved and cherished most.

The 12 steps of AA became life or death to me. I HAD TO FIND ANOTHER WAY. I had to give up, and completely surrender to a program that wasn't mine, a huge fear, giving up the illusion of control. After six weeks of sobriety I had completed the bulk of step work and had made a circle of friends that are still in my life today, and will forever be.

I won't get into the whole AA thing here, though I will quickly dispel some of the myths. Most people conjure up an image of a bunch of disheveled, stinky drunks, sitting in a circle shaking off the DT's. Or they see people crying and sharing. Whatever the perception, the truth is, that those rooms have been some of the most sacred and holiest spiritual places I have ever been. I have felt the presence of a higher source speaking through others, their shared experience being exactly what I needed to hear to get healthier, stronger. Better.

I believe that alcoholism as with many other addictive behaviours, is a need-to-fill-a-spiritual-void disease. It's spiritual warfare out there on planet earth. My own journey into my spiritual war started young. I was a single mom kid, I grew up poor, my mom left my dad when I was 3 – she saved my life, and for that I am eternally grateful. I won't get into the details of my father; he struggles with his own demons. Mom had the wisdom in her early twenties to see that the impacts of that struggle would have carried over to my brother and I. However this fracture in my early family life, coupled with my mother's anxiety created a pattern in me. A disconnect.

I felt a lack, a lack of love, of belonging. Not for my mom, she was a loving parent, and as all exceptional mothers do, she put our needs ahead of her own. Nonetheless a spiritual fracture had begun, and there was a void. As I grew up I tried to fill that void – I always felt different, like an outsider always looking in. I still feel that way a lot of the time, but instead of trying to cover or bury these feelings, I meet them head on as best I can. We also live in a time where the material world is the obsession and focus of most “advanced” societies on the earth.

Us human beings are so disconnected from the spirit world, particularly those of us in the first world. We live hectic, go-go-go lives, connected cybernetically, but so disconnected to living things. I heard recently that an amazonian tribe calls our world the “dead world”. I get it; look around you. Everything around you is likely the dying remains of things that once were alive. No wonder addiction continues to rocket upwards in its trajectory. Where is the aliveness in our environment? And in ourselves?

Before I go off on a tangent, which I will reserve for another potential post, alcohol for me was a way to feel alive, connected, relaxed and to fit in.  There is a reason why alcohol is called spirits. But like a sheet of wood grain veneer slapped onto particle board with glue, the alcohol was only a surface implement, designed only for a short term disengagement of feeling my emotions. I had begun to medicate at least 4 or 5 times a week, near the end, almost every day.

I have new tools to challenge problems, new ways of taking care of old business, and being sober for 3 years has been a true rebirth for me. My sobriety has left me with deeper insight, wisdom and taught me how to confront my demons in a healthy way. Yes, life is fucking hard, but it is amazing. There is nothing better then overcoming a challenge, especially when we grow new wings and can be an inspiration to our selves. I can honestly say that being sober for the last 3 years is one of my greatest achievements.

Admittedly, social engagements are a whole different beast. I was at a party last night, drinking a four-pack of near beers, and I had fun. Coming out of my shell was such a challenge for me, and alcohol was my best friend, it gave me liquid courage, but it would wear off, and it wore me down with it. I've had to relearn how to “be” at parties, and social events where booze is ubiquitous, but I get to be MYSELF – all the time. That my friends, is a blessing. I've learned to love me, who I am, social awkwardness included.

So what does this have to do about a guy in a camper writing a blog?

This is a spiritual journey, life is. Being sober has made me so much bigger on the inside, and after 3 years, I look forward to the rest of life sober, with a clear head, and an open heart.

Addendum 1:

Today Seymour Philip Hoffman died, as many addicts tend to do.  Many of us are charming and unbelievably good at hiding our addiction, it's kind of an art form really.  The tough and sad reality is that many of us don't make it through the hell of addiction.   It took me SEVERAL attempts to gain any traction in the sober world - and it wasn't easy.  I send a prayer out there for any, and all souls who struggle with any form of addiction, may you join us on the other side - it's worth the price of admission.