Summer Reset – The tension between self trust and self discipline

In our spiritual tradition, we have a big festival every June that culminates in a night long ceremony on the night of Saint John, where down in the jungle they ignite a bonfire that burns all night long. Before the fire of Saint John, you can have a conversation with someone to make commitments for your relationship, whether in business, romance, or simply as good neighbors. You can throw your addictions into the fire, you can write the name of a person you are in relationship with on a piece of paper and put it in the fire to set them and yourself free from the energetic cords that bind you, or you can send prayers for yourself for transformation, or for the health or well being of other people. The fire of St. John carries these powerful prayers up to the heavens and to the stars where they are heard and then manifested according to our deserving, which comes from how we give the best of ourselves here on the material plane.

So for me I spent a good amount of time in prayer before the fire, and then on the way home in the wee hours of the “madrugada” with the rising of a waning crescent moon in Cancer on the day of Saint John, the five visible planets and the Moon all lined up in the predawn sky. I saw Saturn, dim and up high, and Jupiter, and then Mars and the Moon. From my view Venus and Mercury were not visible yet, but I could feel their presence below the horizon. This seemed to mark a transition from one cycle of the evolutionary spiral to the next. We closed our June festivities on the 30th of June, and then traveled back out to Telluride Colorado, where I am now writing this. We will be here for three weeks of July, which is both a lovely time to be here, and also a very lovely time to not be in Miami, where it is 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity by 9:00 in the morning. And so I planning to take this time to do the journaling that I rarely do, to write, to rest, to read, to hike and to sharpen up on some of my habits that have gotten a little lazy with all the busyness.

In my personal spiritual evolution, I am moving into a time of being more comfortable in my authentic being. For me this is manifesting as “trusting myself to follow my natural inclinations because I am inherently a good person and my natural inclinations will not lead me astray.” This is a very interesting study, because it’s very easy for me to fall into the trap of trying to justify something that tempts me that I know is not in my highest good. In this study of the warrior spirit, which includes the fundamental principle of submission to higher authority, there is a can be a conflict between doing whatever we want and following our divine guidance. This tension, in my case, I see in my relationship to Chocolate Almond Croissants. They tempt me, and they make me feel lousy about an hour after I eat one. The same is true with ice cream, french fries, added sugars, processed carbs of any type, salty or sweet, and even hidden sugars like Coconut water.

I have to exercise some self discipline to free myself from cravings for sweet and processed foods that are not in my highest and best good. If I leave myself to follow my natural inclinations, I can find myself gaining weight and losing energy. So for this three weeks I’m going to stay in self discipline to balance myself. So for me, this means avoiding:

  • foods with added sugars
  • any fruit juices, sweet beverages, or milk
  • French Fries, potato chips, corn chips, or other processed carbs
  • bread, wheat, and any substitute for bread

I will also exercise discipline in taking healthy supplements that have been prescribed to me, by getting plenty of sleep, by limiting my expenditures of “chi”, and by hiking daily here in Telluride. My goal is to recover my ideal physical condition and pull myself into as much integrity as I am capable of achieving.

But discipline itself can become an addiction. At the same time I am doing these practices, it is important for me to remember to be kind to myself and to other people. To enjoy the abundant fresh foods that are available at the farmers markets here, to enjoy the beautiful nature, and to enjoy the warm relationships I have in my life with myself, my wife, my close family and my special friends, and my dog. This is where I am learning right now. I am learning to walk in the balance of self discipline, self knowledge, and self love. In so doing I will develop my connection to my higher self, and learn to trust myself to follow my inclinations. There is a very powerful way of being that feels like it is still covered beneath the surface, and I feel that as I adopt these practices, I can approach it and it will be revealed to me. It feels good. It feels strong. It feels like the manifestation of the true warrior spirit within my own heart and way of being.

Peace.

Knowing Who You Really Are – Lessons for the Yang Warrior

Many of us have often heard it said that it is very important to “know who you really are” as we make your way on our spiritual journey through this world, but have you really have ever had a true understanding of what this means? The essence of “who you really are” is buried under such a mountain of wounds and egotistical constructs that the little voice of your true nature is buried and so difficult to hear. We tend to identify with the ego clutter and lose touch with our true self.

Your Human Nature and your Higher Nature

One of my spiritual teachers was talking the other day about two aspects of ourselves that we have to integrate to understand who we really are. First, we have a Human Nature. We live in a material world incorporated here as Humans, and Humans have needs and desire, fears and doubts, and all kinds of needs and motivations. A large part of our life here involves tending to these demands of our Human Nature. Your Human nature also includes your shadow, and that is the part of yourself that you would rather not look at.

Your Higher Nature is your divine spirit that is incorporated here in the material world. This is the Higher Nature can be accessed when we raise our consciousness up above this material plane. We can connect to our higher nature in prayer and meditation, and we return to our higher nature when we leave this world. But most of us are stuck at the level of our human nature, and this is because we have rejected a part of us that is know as the Shadow.

What is your shadow, really?

You here a lot of talk about embracing your Shadow, or doing Shadow work. But what is this “shadow” that everyone talks about? Really it is simply that part of your true human nature that you do not like. You have feared that your shadow is some terrible set of urges that you really don’t want to know about. But this is not the case at all. At heart, you are a good person who wishes well for yourself and for all beings. Like the spiritist prayer says “May all beings realize their most intimate aspirations.”

But our society teaches us that many of our natural tendencies are bad, and so we bury them and pretend like they do not exist. We whitewash our exterior, and let our insides rot. Human sexuality is a perfect example. It has been so engrained in us that we are bad for having natural sexual desires, that we repress our true inclinations. We start to feel guilty about our natural inclinations, and we don’t want to look at them. This is how something becomes part of our shadow. It is simply that we do not wish anyone to know about our true nature.

And so the continued suppression of our natural tendencies stays in the dark, and there it starts to fester. Unexpressed sexuality creates a wound in our psyche that is subject to spiritual attacks by malevolent spirits. These natural urges, when they are suppressed and left to fester, are perfect entry points for malevolent spirits. And as they enter these wounds they start to do their work, and create truly deviant and unhealthy desires. The case of sexual abuse by Pastors in the American Baptist Church is a classic example. If these people had not so repressed themselves, if they had accepted themselves as they truly are, then they would not have this repressed sexual energy inside them festering. They suppressed these perfectly normal tendencies because they wanted to present a perfect clean image to the world, and thus their integrity was broken, and in this wound of the integrity, perversion festered, and this eventually led to crimes of abuse.

The addiction to pornography that is so prevalent in today’s world is another great example. I read somewhere that the pornography industry makes more money than all of professional sports combined, yet it is entirely underground. But why? Why do people secretly consume pornography? Because they are ashamed of their own sexuality. They have been taught to feel guilty about who they truly are, and so they hide their true nature behind white washed walls, and have a break in their integrity. And so when no one is looking, they sneak off and consume pornography, and this turns into an addiction.

This creates a lot of confusion about our shadows, because once something has festered into such a dysfunctional state, we really do not want to look at it. We then think our true nature is to be this horrible person that wants to do terrible things to people. But that is really only after years of festering. What we all really want is to be loved and to have meaningful loving relationships that are expressed in sexual relationships with people we are attracted to. That is our true human nature, not the diseased perversion of the abusive authority figure.

Look at animals for an example. Most animals are completely free from any concern that they have to hide their true nature. They just are as they are. And so then they really do behave in a pretty normal fashion. Of course, my dog might hump your leg in a display of excessive enthusiasm, and if were to do his shadow work he might need to acknowledge that he likes to hump the occasional leg. He could embrace this aspect of his true nature, and then he could also resist the temptation to hump the legs of people who don’t want their legs humped.

Anyone who has ever walked down the street has seen people to whom they think they might be attracted, and we are, for the most part, perfectly capable of acting appropriately. But we don’t have to be ashamed of our basic nature. It’s ok to feel attracted to people and to acknowledge to yourself that you feel that way. It’s also necessary to keep your actions in check to respect the boundaries of other people. That is the nature of Shadow Work.

So the take away, in people who have not suffered from serious breaks in their integrity left to fester for a long time, the Shadow is really not so bad. Most of us are basically good people who have received bad programming.

Relationships based on Denial of Shadow Cause Stress

In less serious situations than outlined above, failure to acknowledge and embrace our shadows causes us to enter relationships based on our outward appearance and then cause us to suppress our true nature in order to keep harmony in the relationship. I remember when I was working at a bank while also following a medicine path. I had to put on a suit and act like a super conservative banker, when my true self was taking plant medicine and embarking on a spiritual journey. I felt like an imposter in my starched white shirt, and I was terrified that anyone would find out.

A few years into this, I left the bank, and applied to the Florida Bar. Someone decided it would be a good idea to write a little letter to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and let them know that I was “addicted to ayahuasca” and that I should therefore not be permitted to practice law in the state of Florida. I was very angry at the time, and very afraid. This forced me to appear before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and explain to them what it was to be a member of the Santo Daime Church, and also to explain to them that my participation in the Church was in no way a danger to society or to my clients. I was very angry about this.

Why was I so angry? I was so angry because I feared I would be rejected if my true self were revealed. I expected to be despised. But I wrote a very good brief backed up by well settled cases, including a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court involving a similar religion called the UDV, and I presented myself before the Board of Bar Examiners. They sent me a letter giving the the authorization to take the oath of office, and the letter was post marked the day after my hearing. What I had feared the most was rejection, but when the truth came out into the light, it turned out that it was not so bad as I feared.

I am now, in retrospect, very grateful for being pushed out of the closet in this way. Now I have nothing to fear, because the authorities are well aware of the truth about me, and so now I do not have to fear.

We enter all kinds of relationships in which we have hidden our true nature, and then we make promises to behave, either explicitly or implicitly, in alignment with the version of ourself we have presented. I know a lot of people who have to hide their behaviors from their principle relationship or family, because they do not want to get in trouble. Cheating on a spouse is a classic example. A more common one is, for example, someone might hide their alcohol use from a spouse or significant other.

You can see right away how this leads to alcoholism. A person who has an urge to drink and feels like they cannot do so openly, hides their behavior. Once their behavior is hidden in this way, it causes a break in integrity, and then it starts to fester. Such a person will inevitably start finding opportunities to engage in the forbidden behavior until it overwhelms their life.

To know yourself you must love yourself

If you want to know who you really are, you must first love yourself unconditionally. This is the biggest secret to self knowledge. If you do not love yourself, then you will judge yourself, and your natural impulses will be buried. There they will cause hypocrisy and start to fester, and before you know it, you will be dominated by them, and you will be really afraid to acknowledge them. That is how addictions come to hide in denial.

You are a child of God and inherently a good person. If you embrace yourself like this, then you can work on your shadow. Take the example of a person who is tempted to drink alcohol, but hides this from their spouse. If they examined their shadow with the light of love and forgiveness, they would see this in their nature. They might say to their spouse, “hey, I have noticed that I have an urge to drink alcohol when you are not around, and I feel afraid that if you find out about this, then you might reject me.” Then you can look at the urge. Is it bad for you to drink alcohol? Many people say that it’s not bad at all in moderation. You might say I think I’d like to have a beer when I come home from a run, or I’d like to have a glass of wine when I settle down for the evening.

If the person you are in relationship with is not able to handle this about you, you have to ask how you got into relationship with them in the first place. Most likely it’s because you were already hiding the behavior. Thus, when you start to find out and embrace who you really are, you may find that you cause some upset in your relationships. But also you have to be wary, because alcohol can easily lead to addiction. If your spouse is angry because you had seven drinks after work and forgot to pick up your child at a friend’s house on the way home, well maybe it’s time for you to consider your behavior and change. But you can’t do this if you don’t acknowledge it, and you cannot acknowledge your true behavior if you do not love yourself.

The power of forgiveness

The first step to learning who you really are is to commit to loving yourself no matter what you find when you look deep inside. This is like looking through a dark and dusty basement with the flashlight of forgiveness. This is why forgiveness of our sins is so important. This notion of forgiveness is a spiritual truth that has been completely abused by institutional religions for many centuries.

Most people have the notion that forgiveness is something you can give to another person that makes their actions ok. A person sins, and then goes to a priest, and asks for forgiveness, and the priest makes them say some Hail Mary’s and then they are forgiven. But this is not at all how forgiveness works. It is not that Jesus will not let you into heaven unless you ask for forgiveness, it’s that you yourself will not go there unless you love yourself. And the only way to love yourself is to accept yourself as you truly are, and the only way to do this is to go looking in your dark corners and forgive everything you find there.

If you do not forgive yourself in this way, then there will be many aspects of yourself that you do not want to acknowledge or look at. You will turn away and deny these things, and then you will live in a hell of your own creation. You will suppress natural inclinations until they turn into deviant urges, and then you will hate yourself for what you have done. These tendencies will make you an easy target for addictions and obsessions, which once in control of your consciousness are very difficult to get away from.

Healing Addictions and Obsessions

Addictions are powerful patterns of behavior that hide in denial and control your behavior so that you do things that are not in your highest good. The most common addictions relate to substance abuse and food. Others relate to the high of gambling or risky behavior. People can also become addicted to deviant sexual behaviors. The truth that few people want to accept is that anyone can drop an addiction with a simple decision to do so. If you are addicted to cigarettes, for instance, you can right now go and soak your cigarettes in water and simply never take another puff of nicotine again in your life. This is not difficult at all. If you were stranded on a desert island without any cigarettes, but with everything else you needed, you would find it quite easy to quit smoking. This is true of almost any addiction.

Obsessions are similar to addictions, except that they relate to thought patterns. You can be obsessed with attachment or hatred toward another person, or towards an object that you desire. You can be obsessed with order, with perfection, or with anxiety. Obsessions are like addictions, but much trickier to deal with, because they come from inside your own head. There is no way to avoid them by going to a desert island, for instance, because your consciousness comes with you.

So the key to clearing yourself of an obsession is to learn to recognize it. Then as soon as the thought pattern arises in your head, you simply dismiss it. You have to exercise the discipline to not engage with it at all. As soon as the thought comes up, you must identify it, and dismiss it out of hand. You cannot indulge it even for a moment. This can be very difficult to do, but if you succeed, the strength of the obsessive thought pattern will be reduced every time, and your ability to recognize and dismiss it will be stronger every day. Soon you will be back safely in your clear conscience.

Once free from obsession and addiction, and once you have forgiven all that you do not like about yourself, and once you love yourself, then you can begin to act on your natural impulse, and this will become the new dominant voice in your consciousness. You will find yourself naturally inclined to eat foods that bring health and vitality to your body, you will find yourself naturally drawn to positive relationships and naturally avoidant of unhealthy relationships. You will find yourself acting with courtesy and compassion to your fellow beings, but you will not be overly concerned about whether or not they approve of you. You will find your true nature, and that is happy and free.

Peace

Yang Warrior in a world of Yin – Establish your Guidance System

A Yang Warrior must have a clear guidance system to make his way in the world of Yin, and the vast majority of men and women have been cut of from their natural connections. This separation comes from many sources–

  • Institutional religions that teach us to look to other people for divine guidance
  • Governments that teach us to fit into the mold
  • Schools that teach us to obey mundane orders and forget our natural tendencies
  • Addictions that cut us off from knowing what is good for us
  • Toxic relationships where we are bound by guilt
  • Media that encourages us to chase that which will never make us happy
  • Science that insists we are all made of random atomic billiard balls

If you do not have a clear understanding of the purpose of your life here on earth, of the divine forces which created you and everything, of what it is that you should value, then you cannot possibly make good choices about what to DO while you are here. And this is the principle Yang Function. We all need to know how to BE, that is Yin, but we also need to know what to DO, and that is Yang. If you think about this it makes sense. A warrior is valuable only if he follows commands, and those commands are delivered through an internal guidance system, and we have all been severed from our own internal guidance system.

Schools, churches, government institutions, and the media work first by severing your divine connection and then by replacing your guidance system with their own priorities. When you were younger you chased the dreams that were placed before you. They were the dreams of your parents, your neighbors, your teachers and your country. You were encouraged to pursue the goals that were laid out in front of you. You were encouraged to get good grades, get a good job, and build a life based on the model of the American “nuclear family.” You were rewarded with praise and recognition when you made advances in this direction. If you did not fit into this mold, you were diagnosed with some disorder, like depression, or ADHD, or dyslexia, or whatever. You were told by the authorities, your doctor, and your parents that you were defective, and then you were medicated so you would sit quietly in the class room and not cause any trouble.

I remember in fourth grade I was at an Episcopalian day school and we were told by the priest in our sacred studies class that anyone who was not baptized would be doomed to suffer eternally in hell. I was only in fourth grade and my internal guidance system rebelled against this lecture about the importance of the sacrament of baptism. I asked “what about the Amazon Indians?” I was naturally fascinated with the Amazon rain forest as a child, and I had learned a little bit about the people who lived there, and to me it sounded like heaven. I thought why would God create “Amazon Indians” only to damn them to hell for not being baptized. I objected and was sent to the principal’s office for being unruly.

Something inside me broke in that moment. I did not believe what this man was telling me, but every authority I knew, from my parents to my teachers, was holding this man up as the authority of God, and I did not know how to reconcile this. I was never told that I could listen in my own heart and hear the voice of God within me. I was told the opposite, that only crazy and dangerous people thought they could hear the voice of God inside themselves. We were not taught to seek the voice of the divine in our hearts. Instead, the only source of divine instructions comes from a dusty and incomprehensible book that was written in another language 2,000 years ago, and only dusty incomprehensible male priests were able to instruct on the meaning of this book.

It was these institutions that the Master Teacher Jesus Christ was rebelling against when they crucified him. Then these same power institutions, such as the Holy Roman Empire, usurped the name of this spiritual master that they themselves had killed. The divine connection of the individual directly to God that we all used to access through sacred plants and rituals was severed two thousand years ago, and human institutions became the surrogates for the divine. The world was taught that the word of God was delivered to the world only through the infallible pronouncements of individual humans, like the Pope. Anyone who stood in the way or disagreed was branded a heretic, and heretics deserved to be burned at the stake.

No institution in the world has brought more death and destruction to mankind than the Roman Catholic Church. This basic historical fact has been obscured, and it is very difficult to see, because so many people believe that this institution is here for the service of the Divine will in a sea of sinful humans. But we are now learning that Pope Pious XII enjoyed cozy diplomatic relationships with the Nazis and the fascists of Italy, and stood by while Jews were deported from Italy for execution in Germany. Before that the Church presided over the genocide of indigenous cultures in South America, it stood behind the inquisition, the crusades, slavery, and the extermination of millions of women who were branded as witches for offering knowledge of healing and illumination through sacred and medicinal plants.

Even today we are discovering the horrific sexual abuses by Catholic priests of young children, to which the establishment turned a blind eye. But so ingrained in our culture is the notion that this institution stands for the will of God, we still line up for our crackers in the communion line, receiving holy communion in the form of a sterile starch cracker right before announcements and donuts.

Back in ancient times, communion with the divine within came in the form of sacred plants. These powerful entheogenic plants exist throughout the world and give a direct and personal connection to the divine within us. Experience with the Indigenous people in South America teaches us that they know everything about the plants in their environment. With our prejudice against them, we assume they did not know about the power of these plants unless we have direct evidence that they did know. A more accurate frame of reference would be to assume they knew and utilized the power of all of the plants in their environment unless we have direct evidence that they did not. And more than this, they still know today far more than we know.

Their concoctions of poisons alone, for hunting for instance, are amazing. They combine plants to create poisons to kill very quickly small birds, to cause large animals to continue bleeding when shot by arrows, to make monkeys fall out of trees. They have drops that they put in their eyes that give hunters greater visual acuity. They use frog venom applied in small burns in the skin to increase immunity, energy and good luck. They know how to mix plants for all kinds of medicinal effect. Ayahuasca, or Uni as it is called in the Western Amazon, has been known and used as a source of communion with divine realms since time immemorial.

In Africa they have Ibogaine, in Egypt they have the tree of life, in the western deserts they have the Sanoran Desert Toad and Peyote, in Mexico, Northern Europe and the Pacific Northwest, they have psilocybin mushrooms. These plants exist everywhere and they open the door to divine connection. These divine plants were well known in ancient Greece, and when Jesus offered communion to his disciples at the last supper, you can bet that the “wine” and “bread” he served were in fact powerfully entheogenic.

But people with divine connections cannot be coerced. We see this in our own culture when the US Government started the war on drugs in the late 1960s after the psychedelic revolution that started on April 19, 1943 with Albert Hoffman’s bicycle ride. People were waking up to another way of seeing themselves in the world, and this new awareness was spreading like wildfire. Hippies were burning their draft cards and rejecting the mandates of the power structure in this country. Once a person has a direct experience of the divine and sees himself in the eyes of the other, it’s very difficult to persuade them to go to Vietnam and drop napalm on innocent people.
And so the war of drugs was initiated by the criminal Richard Nixon, and all research on psychedelics stopped for fifty years.

The first step to waking up and starting your path as a Yang Warrior in this world of Yin is to see what was stolen from you. This does not mean you need to take a plant medicine at all. There are many Buddhists who spend hours connecting to the divine through prayer and meditation. There are many others that find it in communion with nature. But the first step on this path, is to realize that you need a new guidance system.

Yang Warrior in a Yin World — The Path of the Divine Masculine – Humility is your Refuge

This writing is coming to me as a man, but it is not a book for men written by a man. Instead, it is a book for the Yang warrior in a world of Yin, where men and women both have both characteristics. It may be that mostly men benefit from these teachings and this makes sense to me, because I am a man who received them. These teachings were to correct my own imbalances and help me to succeed on my path. But they may also be helpful to women warriors who need to develop their own ability to hunt and to strike. Anyone who finds themselves always waiting for life to happen to them, and anyone who charges at the gate to fight every battle, can do well to find this moderation. So maybe for some women, these writings will help them to develop their own Yang power, and for the excessively masculine men, these writings may help to temper your overactive Yang with some patience and clear vision.

It can be difficult for the Yang to find their way these days. We are taught to trust our minds and then our minds are informed by the media, by the internet, and by other people who are influenced by more of the same energy. Our role models have fallen. Just look at the recent report of sexual abuse by leaders of the American Baptist Church. The same has happened in the Catholic Church. The same happens with political and business leaders. And it’s not the sex that is the problem; it’s the hypocrisy and the abuse. Our greatest leaders routinely fall to their hidden addictions, which they have denied and hidden so they can present a false image and cling to their all too temporary stations. But these frail and temporary bursts of misguided Yang energy must always fail and the truth must always prevail. We see this in the news every day.

So much of the spiritual advice and insight that we receive today comes from a feminine perspective, and it can be hard for the Yang to understand where it fits into the spiritual world. How can we embrace our masculine nature and follow a spiritual path? I have been on a spiritual path for 13 years now, and I am starting to see some of the lessons I have received over the years coalesce into a coherent structure about how to walk a Yang spiritual path in the world of Yin. And so with this post, I am writing the first of these essays, which may turn into a small book.

But first an introduction to Yin and Yang, which are the two that were created by the ONE when the universe was born from the great void. Without these offsetting natures, there is nothing. The Yin exists in contrast to the Yang, and the Yang exists in contrast to the Yin, yet each must also possess a small bit of the other. Yin is the primarily female aspect, and it is the earth, the moon and the water. Yang is the primarily Yang aspect and it is fire, energy, the wind and the air. Everything is made up of these opposing natures and it is in the balance of them that we can attain our highest selves.

This is also written from a spiritist perspective. We all throw the word “spiritual” around a lot. Many people claim that they are “spiritual but not religious.” And for me at least, this means that I am a spiritual being incorporated in a material world and having a material existence. My purpose in being here is to fully incorporate into this material world and experience my life here fully. When I leave through the door of death, my spirit will disincorporate from this reality, and I will wake up again in the place where I am dreaming this from. Just like when we wake up from a dream in our sleep, we only take our experience with us. And so it is our experience here that is the most important.

I want to be clear that these are lessons that I have received from benevolent guides to help me on my own journey. I do not hold myself out to be any kind of guru, any kind of shaman, any kind of person better than any other person. I am simply someone who has connected to spirit as anyone can do, and these are the lessons that I have had the fortune to receive. I am writing them here for two reasons. First, by articulating them in this way, I take my jumbled thoughts and express them in linear form, and this helps me to understand them myself. Second, by writing them here, they are open to comment and also have the potential to help someone else.

The World we live in is a world of primarily Yin, or feminine, force. The nature of this Yin is giant, enduring, patient, passive, attractive, and overwhelming. Water is powerful expression of Yin energy for it is a powerful force that pools in the lowest places. The nature of men in this world is Yang. We are fire in a world of water–we are temporary, small, and action oriented. The ultimate expression of Yin power in the animal world is the big snake, the anaconda. I have heard from friends of mine in the Yawanawa village in the far western Amazon of Brazil that giant Anacondas inhabit the woods and when they grow to immense size, they no longer need to move to hunt. Instead they stay in one place and cast an enchantment through the forest that causes their prey to lose their sense of direction and walk in circles until they walk into her. Then, in final moment, it is the Yang aspect of the big snake that strikes and consumes the prey. Thus, everything contains its opposite.

The Jaguar is the ultimate Yang predator in the Jungle. The Jaguar is the hunter and is the very definition of action. But even the Jaguar must wait for the right moment. I have also heard from my friends from the forest that a Jaguar can lock its eyes on a monkey in a tree, and attract a monkey to climb down out of a tree to its death. The Jaguar has a Yin nature as well, and uses this to great advantage in its hunting.

The same is true of male and female humans. Men must embrace their Yin aspect to be successful in the journey, and women must embrace their Yang. Pure Yang is a fire that burns out in a flash. Pure Yin always waits and never accomplishes.

Our main guide in the way of the masculine spiritual warrior in this world of Yin is our brother Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a spiritual master that inhabited the world near Jerusalem around 2,000 years ago. He was the ultimate Yang spiritual warrior in this world of Yin. He was a master of spiritual attainment and embodied the divine spirit, the same spirit that exists within all of us, to the point of being able to control the fabric of the dream we all inhabit to perform miracles. People saw that he was a son of God. What they have forgotten is that we are all children of God.

His wife was Mary Magdalene, his female companion of equal spiritual power and significance, whose place with Christ has been written over by the male dominated religious institutions that started with the Roman Empire in the 4th Century. We have had great imbalance of Yang energy in this world and this has caused incredible destruction and suffering. The murder of 6,000,000 female shamans and medicine women by the Catholic Church in the dark ages was the result of this weak misogynistic Yang excess, and we are still suffering as a species from the wisdom of the mother that we have all lost.

Jesus Christ is not our only Yang guide. We have guides from many worlds. We have, here in the United States, Native American warrior spirits that inhabit our natural environment and can share their wisdom with us when we are open and able to receive it. We have spiritual masters from the far east who have shared their wisdom for 5,000 years in China and India and Japan. We have the wisdom of South American shamans and their incredibly powerful plant medicines. We have the teachers everywhere, if we can only learn to listen to them. We have many teachers, but only one truth. The one truth is the truth of God, and it is this truth that forms the world that we inhabit.

The wisdom path of the divine masculine has been lost in a sea of excess. How can we reclaim it for ourselves? We must find our own inner warrior and chart our own course of divine masculine power in this Yin world that we live in. We must use all of our defenses, energies, and resources to succeed. The first lesson for the Yang on the spiritual path is to embrace true humility.

Principle Number One – Big Does not Make a Man

The world teaches us that to be a successful Yang in the world, you must be big. You have to have the best car, the best job, the prettiest Yin, you must be the king of the mountain. The man caught in this game is the macho man, and he takes great pride in his visibility, like a rooster. In this position, our Yang ego is inflamed and constantly on alert for any challenge to our dominance. So inflamed, all of our brothers are competitors, and all the prizes must be ours.

We see so many men strutting around and showing off their dominance in this world of illusion. We see the role models of the media stars– athletes, musicians, actors, rappers, politicians, billionaires– and we are told that success in life comes when we ourselves become the BIG MEN in the world as we see on the cover of magazines. We then compare our own achievements and find ourselves wanting, or we drape ourselves in the mantels of our heroes, by quoting their podcasts and wearing their uniforms, or by mounting their flags in the backs of our pickup trucks covered with bumper stickers.

But 99% of the men do not compete at this level of magazine covers and media stardom, and so we bring this competition down into our own arenas so that we can be the big fish in our own little ponds. And what are these little ponds? These “little ponds” are our offices, our golf clubs, our street corners, our barber shops, our platoons, our prison blocks, our temples, our schools and our churches. The path of the man in the material world of illusion is the path of competition against other men in a little pond. Everywhere men come together, we find ourselves sizing each other up and striving to be superior in the material arenas of the world. But this is not the path of the spiritual warrior. This is the path of the fool.

The path of the spiritual warrior is a small trail winding through the big world. The spirit warrior is a very, very, very small fish in a very, very, very big pond. And as such, we learn that humility is our greatest refuge, and invisibility is our best defense.

Invisibility is the Greatest Defense

Have you ever seen a celebrity try to walk in the streets of Rio de Janeiro? Have you ever seen a movie star in a public place? They are mobbed with people everywhere they go. Many people want a little bit of their essence, to exchange a few words, to take a picture, to get an autograph, to take a little bit of their power for themselves. These famous celebrities are then imprisoned by their own fame and wealth. They have to live in big mansions with security and fences. They have to travel in cars with black windows and fly in private jets and stay in hotels under false names.

So isolated, they live in echo chambers, where only sycophants can talk to them. Every window they look at turns into a mirror, and every mirror has a false image already painted upon it. They can only associate with other people who are as famous as they are, and they have to send others out into the world to do their bidding. They may be living a life of luxury, but it is sterile. It’s a giant fish bowl that they live in and all of their peers are other gold fish.

They are all in a constant battle of King of the Mountain and their life is a constant struggle to stay on top.

Great freedom comes from invisibility. I enjoy my freedom to walk anonymously in any place I go. I have walked through the streets of small towns in the Amazon outfitting myself for journeys into the jungle, and no one there gives me a second look. I buy my Andiroba and Copaiba oil, my farina and my colorão, my hammock, whatever I need, and nobody thinks anything of it. I can catch a taxi in Rio de Janeiro, and move around the world without attracting any attention at all. What gives me this incredible power is that really I am, at the core, nothing special. I have no fame and so there is nothing for anyone to recognize about me.

But this anonymity is very easy to lose. I lost it myself one time in Tijuana. I had never been to Mexico before, so my friend Bob and I walked across the border from San Diego. We were on the hunt for some Cuban Cigars. As soon as we got across into Mexico, we were swarmed by vendors offering everything from T shirts to drugs. One vendor was selling “rain sticks” which were long pieces of heavy bamboo filled with some kind of beads. I foolishly purchased one for my kids. I learned very quickly that the bamboo rainstick was a “schmuck stick”. Every vendor from there on out knew that if I was stupid enough to buy a schmuck stick, I was stupid enough to buy anything. I found myself saying no no no no over and over again. One vendor was so irritated by my refusal to buy something for him that he pointed at the schmuck stick with indignation as if to say, hey if you bought that, you have no right to turn me down.

I had lost my invisibility.

Every warrior must realize that they are inherently weak and fragile, and as soon as we stand out from the crowd, we become targets. We live in a giant world of tremendous Yin power, and we are just little tiny Yang warriors in this world. One of the most powerful secrets of the warrior is to find shelther in humility. We must learn to be small. We must learn to live simply. We must learn to carry only what we need for our journey. We must learn to be light, and fast and resourceful and nimble. We must learn to tune into the signs that are all around us. We must listen more than we speak, we must conserve our energy. We must protect ourselves from attacks. We must be invisible to our enemies and from those who would take from us.

I used to think that Humility was a personality trait. I remember a joke saying “one of my best features is my humility” and the joke was that just saying this reflects a lack of humility. But what if humility is not a personality trait? What if humility instead is a refuge? Then you can say very easily “my greatest refuge is humility.” There is no lack of humility in this statement at all.

Humility is a very small shelter, no larger than a pebble. But an elephant can stand on a pebble and not crush it. To get into the shelter of humility, you must reduce your own size to the size of an ant. And as a Yang ant, you can crawl into the shelter of humility and be safe in the world.

Humility frees you from taking anything personally

Our big Yang egos love to take offense and to become inflamed, especially when amplified by the very Yang power of Alcohol. This excessive Yang energy is on the lookout for any slight, for any disrespect, and immediately ready to challenge anyone. As such, anything anyone says is taken personally and used as fuel for this angry response. Humility is a refuge from this cycle.

Imagine any conflict where someone criticizes you. The excessive Yang heats up and fights the challenge. But the warrior guided by humility is not provoked at all. Instead he has learned to wisdom of listening to ones enemies, because often it is our enemies who can say things to us that our friends would never say. And so the Zen humble response to any insult is simply “Is that so?” That is a question the Yang warrior must always ask when faced with any kind of insult of verbal attack. By asking his question, we are asking to see the truth, and to see the truth, we must have humility.

Another aspect of humility is to not get caught up in the desire to receive credit or recognition. As soon as we are motivated by getting credit or recognition, we start to lose our invisibility and our humility. It’s far more powerful to own a TV station than to be a newscaster. The local weatherman gets all the credit and recognition, and he can’t go into an ice cream parlor without being mobbed by attention seekers. The owner of the TV station can walk down the sidewalk in his tennis shoes and nobody will look at him twice. Power does not come from recognition. Power comes from invisibility.

And this leads to a true secret that I have held for 9 years. I received a beautiful lesson in humility from an indigenous spirit that shared a vision with me in Brazil. He said to me that the secret power of humility is that it gives you clairvoyant vision. This is the first power needed by the Yang warrior. We need to cultivate our power of clairvoyant vision that can only come from the clear view of humility.

This is the first essay about the path of a Yang warrior in a Yin world. I pray to receive and share more of them. Please share comments.

Lessons from The Rhythm of Life

I have been reading a book titled The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly which a dear friend recommended to me. The gist of the book is that we should dedicate our lives to becoming the best version of ourselves. Matthew Kelly has sold over 40,000,000 copies of his books in 30 different languages. I thought that to have such a following, he must certainly have a few good things to say, and indeed he does. He explains that to be the best version of ourselves, we have four basic types of need–physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. These needs he calls “secondary” needs, because it is assumed that the basic needs of food and shelter and air and water are satisfied. He makes the very good point that we are here to thrive, not only to survive. Once the basic requirements for survival are satisfied, we move on to our secondary needs, which are the things we should pursue in our lives to become the best versions of ourselves.

A lot of what he says resonates with me, and I felt good that my life in general reflects the basic values and priorities that the book recommends. But I have been suffering from a physical malady over the last several weeks that is causing me some concern and that is the result of my somewhat lazy and gluttonous behavior. Early in January, I caught a mild virus that caused me to develop laryngitis. I kept up my routine as usual, expecting that it would go away, but it did not. Now we are on the cusp of March, and so it has been about seven weeks since I first noticed the symptoms, and they continue. My behavior has been to pursue superficial wants and cravings and habits, and to ignore what is truly important to me, which is my physical well being.

The second lesson that really struck me concerns universal emotional needs and how these are interrelated to our physical well being. I have always strived to develop a very independent nature, where my own life and self image are not dependent on other people. I have been resistant to the idea that we “need” acceptance from others. I thought of this as a weakness and a failure to know my own self. Even in my last post I mentioned that I had the emotional maturity of a seven year old in that I see in myself a desire to elicit the approval of others. One of my spiritual teachers in the doctrine that I personally follow has helped me to persevere even when faced with opposition from others. I do happen to be highly effective in life, and I do get a lot of things done, and this often creates conflicts. My Padrinho teaches me that “dogs do not bark at park-ed cars”. The point is that people who are accomplishing things and bringing about change become targets of criticism.

My own work in this area was to learn how to accomplish my life’s work without causing unnecessary upset. I would focus on being considerate and trying to see how my actions impacted others, and also to focus on communication and developing consensus. I learned I could be more effective when I listened to everyone. But at the same time, as anyone has served on a large committee knows, you can’t make everyone happy. So there is a balance between listening and being considerate on one hand, and moving forward and accomplishing things on the other.

I would seek humility as a refuge in these situations, but I would not let the negative attention that I attract from time to time deter me from my purpose. And so it was that I adopted a rather stoic attitude of not “needing” the approval of other people. The Rhythm of Life gave me some very new insight into this area. The book says that to become the best version of ourselves, we need relationships with other people. Other people and our good relationships help us to have clarity and help us to become the best we can be. They also give us the opportunity to serve.

And so it is that we have all kinds of different relationships. We have superficial and transactional relationships and we have more intimate relationships. The author points out that we have to share our lives with others in measure to the relationship. So for instance, if I have a bad day and unload my baggage on someone who is not in close relationship with me, I will perhaps feel somewhat better for having articulated my story, but if I do not have a sufficient level of intimacy in my relationship with the other person, then this will be seen as over sharing, and will alienate them. Instead of feeling heard and understood, I will just feel awkward and embarrassed.

On the other hand, and here I am about to return to my throat, if we do not share enough with people who we are intimate with, then it seems like we are distant and cold, and this can, over time, impair the relationship and leave us feeling hollow and frustrated. In the case of my throat, I do have some fear around the situation. I don’t think I’m alone in that my imagination can start to run a little bit when I have a physical ailment. I have a tendency to stick my head in the sand and to not want to talk about it. And I hate going to the doctor, because I’m always afraid they are going to actually create some terrible condition, like Schrödinger’s cat, by looking for it. This might be a little bit of an aside, but I do believe that consciousness forms our material reality, and so by looking for something we actually create it. So if I have a problem with my throat, and I’m afraid that I might have scar tissue on my vocal chords, the last thing I want to do is “open the box” and find the dead cat. If I can ignore it long enough, maybe it will just go away.

And so for me, to speak to someone about a medical condition is a very peculiar dynamic. It requires real intimacy for me to want to reveal a medical condition, but more than that, it requires that the person I am talking to not to have a reaction of wanting me to go to the doctor. I will use my mother as a good example here. If I talk to my Mom about a headache, she’s going to want me to get an MRI. So I don’t talk to her about it at all.

Intimacy is new topic for me. I always have equated intimacy with sex, but this book has a much more nuanced explanation of the need for intimacy. Intimacy is revealing the true nature of ourselves to another person. This takes a lot of trust and it takes a lot of courage. And sometimes it even takes a degree of detachment from our personal lives.

Even this blog explores the boundaries of intimacy. I am talking about things that are personal to me, and it’s funny because there is a small audience of people reading this (thank you). Some part of me wants to reveal more about my personal life here, but at the same time, I am aware that this will become part of the permanent record, and so someone who is not acting in my best interest might in the future do some background checking on me, and come across this in an adversarial context, and then I will be eating my words. So when I write here, I have to write in a public voice about personal matters, and so they are all discussed at a level of general applicability. For instance, I can say here that my habits are exacerbating my laryngitis, but I do not want to get into detail about my personal bad habits in this public forum.

So this intimacy requires confidentiality as well. Several of the people I love in my life have come to my aid. I promised that I would go to the Ear Nose and Throat doctor if my throat did not improve before we return to Miami from Telluride. Today I went ahead and made that appointment. I have also developed a list of self care practices to see if I can heal this myself before that appointment. These were also recommended to me by people I love and trust, such as gargling salt water and avoiding anything that will cause my throat to become dry and irritated. It’s these people who love me enough and care about me enough that want me to be around for a long time who are causing me to take the right actions to “be the best version of myself” in terms of my physical health.

So there are several different types of intimate relationships that we all “need” to become the best version of ourselves. There is our intimate partner in the traditional sense of the word. And beyond this we need a handful of other intimate relationships with people who truly know us for who we are. These relationships help us to become the best people that we can be, and in turn, it is our joy to reciprocate and help them to become the best versions of themselves too.

I am very fortunate to have my wife and family a handful of these true friends in my life. These are the relationships I really need to be the best version of myself and to fulfill my purpose here. On top of that we have so many more superficial relationships that fit together with our lives and we exchange good with each other, but at a lesser degree of intimacy. I pay to get a haircut and I chat with the stylist, and I get a good haircut and some humorous conversation. Maybe we exchange a few treasures, but it is a level of public persona that engages in these interactions.

We all have so many masks that we need to get through our days. I have the expert in aviation mask, I have the financial analysis mask, and the attorney mask, and I wear these when I go out in public. Then there is the level of people who know me a little better than that. They see my devotion to nature, they hear me play guitar and see me play with my little puppy dog. This is the realm of personal relationships. And then there is a small handful of people who we share our true hearts with.

For me, this case of laryngitis, coupled with this brilliant book, has really taught me an important lesson. It’s to expose something I don’t like about myself to those who I truly love, and then to accept their concern as help instead of criticism. And so I am going to gargle my salt water, and I’m going to go the the ENT and I’m going to keep lozenges in my pocket, and refrain from whispering, and avoid anything that causes dryness of the mucous membranes. I’m going to do all these things so I can be the best I can be physically. And this is really something that I truly want, because I recognize that my health is fundamental to my overall quality of my short life on this awesome planet.

I would also like to offer a prayer of peace and forgiveness for all the suffering in our world right now. May our universal celestial mother cover the world with a mantel of peace.

Peace.

Gen Z Free from Fear – One Simple Shift In Consciousness that Makes All the Difference.

Dear Gen Z – Do you feel it in your bones that you are being manipulated with fear? There are two fears I see being used to manipulate young people. They are the fear of being alone and the fear of being financially destitute. “Society” manipulates you with both of these fears, and if you can recognize this and shift your consciousness, you can take back control over your life. This article will share some things I learned about getting by in the world. If you want to scan ahead you can. If you have some time, you can read along.

When I was coming of age the big fear was for survival. You had to go to school and get really good grades so you could go to the best college (better than your friends), and then you could get the best job and the best house and the best car, and then at 65 you could retire wealthy and move to Naples, FL where nothing worse can happen to you than being stuck in a long line for a table at the Outback Steakhouse. I ran that race from 1988 to 2013, and now I’d like to see if I can help someone else save a couple decades.

The message we were fed told us we had to conform to all these requirements or else we’d end up living in a cardboard box. Scary right?

So the first mental shift you can make is…

  1. If you learn to be of service and to live simply, then you can do whatever you want and go anywhere.

My dog literally taught me this lesson. He’s perfectly happy wherever we go, as long as he has his doggy bed. It really does not matter if we put it in the back of a van, or in a tent, or in a crappy Air BnB or in a fabulous house. He does not have a mind full of ideas about what he should want, or that something else would be better. What makes him happy is being able to run around in the fields and streams of Colorado, or down the beach in Miami, or just around the neighborhood. And this is really a profound shift in thinking you can make to free you from the fear of scarcity. If you live simply, the world is abundant.

What you do have to do is construct a sustainable (which means debt free) life for yourself. The most important thing you can do to create a sustainable life is to live very simply. To be sustainable you have to “make ends meet,” and there are two ends. One “end” is what you produce or create in the world, and the other is what you consume. Society wants you to consume a ton of stuff, and to make that sustainable, you have to earn or produce or create the same quantity. So the first “end” you can work on is the living simply side of the equation. If you can learn to be happy with a metaphorical doggy bed, then you can put it anywhere and do whatever you want. It’s only when your needs get too big that your life becomes a chore.

Think about it. What is the difference between a canoe or a paddle board and a huge yacht? Well sure, a yacht you can fill up with friends and party, and you can impress a bunch of people on Instagram. But really, 90% of the benefit of the boat is access to the water. You get 90% of that with a kayak or even better, a small sailboat. It’s better for the environment and it’s actually a lot more fun than being in a living room on a giant yacht. And you can make real friends who like sailing or paddle boarding. Can you meet a lot of other friends with big yachts (do you want to??)

I was reading an article today about people in the Hamptons fighting over the East Hampton Airport operations. The Billionaires fly over 200 flights a day during the peaks in an out of this Northeast Beach Town, and the only-multi-millionaires object the noise of helicopters and jets screaming in an out every day–it’s the sound of people richer than they are coming to town! They have lawyers and arguments and all kinds of aggression. Does that make any sense at all? People who have everything fight over nothing. What happened to the beach itself? It has been forgotten. Now it’s all about social standing and who has the biggest mansion.

Not all wealthy people are like this mind you. There are plenty of wealthy people in Telluride Colorado. Super wealthy people even. But you would never know it. They walk in town for coffee. They hike. They ski. They enjoy the outdoors. These are super smart, highly successful, and very happy people. And what makes them so much happier than those folks fighting over the Hampton airport (who mostly go to Aspen), is that they are in touch with simplicity.

I am very blessed to be in a position in life where my material needs are abundantly satisfied. What makes me and my wife happy is the freedom to engage in the simple pleasures of hunting for mushrooms in the forest, or walking the dog, or cooking a good meal with friends. We make our own bed, we clean our own kitchen, we cook our own meals, we do our own shopping, and we enjoy these simple pleasures. YOU have the right to enjoy simple things–chop wood, carry water is the zen principle here.

Many of our very best friends are materially not wealthy at all. But spiritually they are so rich. One of my very good friends maintains properties in Telluride. He knows every trail on the mountain. He’s 6-4 maybe 180 pounds, and he is in ridiculously good shape and healthy. I met him when we first bought our place in town there. I remember thinking, oh my, that’s the kind of shape you have to be in to get the best out of Telluride. He is of tremendous service and his needs are simple. His life is a model that you won’t see in school, but it’s one you can easily implement for yourself.

And that gets us to the other “end,” which is what your produce or create. The basic idea here is to simply learn to be of service. If you show up on time, have a pleasant demeanor, and if you can be of some utility, then you will be welcome anywhere. You will get a job anywhere, and you will start meeting people who enjoy being in your company. Before you know it, you will find yourself being pulled into an awesome life. One step at a time.

You see if your needs are simple and if your goal is truly to be of service, you can do that by doing something you love to do. Let that sink in… what you do to make your way can be something you actually enjoy doing, as long as your needs are simple.

Let’s say you like to build things out of wood. You could be of service in carpentry. If you show up in Telluride and tell anybody you are a carpenter, and then you show up on time and treat people honestly, you will have no shortage of work to do. If your needs are simple, you can cherry pick your clients so that you work with nice people, and you can get by on a reasonable work schedule that gives you plenty of time to ski or travel or do whatever you want. I know people who set up websites, who teach English in Brazil, who do photography projects, who clean houses. It’s not hard to find opportunities to serve if you truly want to serve.

People who have simple needs and who are of service, find little niches to live in. This is such a great way to spend your 20s before you have kids and a family and a lot of responsibilities.

Society will tell you that you need to accomplish its prescription of goals and agenda or else your whole life will be a failure. But the bargain they propose… work your ass off in a job you hate to pay for a big house you are never in, so that you can retire with a 401K when you are 65… that whole dream is an illusion.

Life is a grand adventure for those who open up to it. Freedom from fear is the first step. I hope someone out there finds this helpful.

Peace.

Health Wealth Relationships and Spirt – 2022

Here I am on the first day of the new year, with a blank screen in front of me and yet another opportunity to write. I did have a blog for a few years that I wrote with a friend, and that was fun while it lasted, but we kind of ran out of steam, and the time between posts started to increase, and then it just became a forgotten correspondence between a couple of people who were close for a time when the universe brought them together. Now, as the currents have shifted, we have drifted off from each other, and so the blog languished. And with it, so did my writing.

But we all like to start fresh on the New Year. And so here we are. Starting fresh.

I was talking to my good friend Katie the other day about writing a blog. My biggest block, of course, is the little negative thought pattern that sits on my shoulder and says “who are you to write a blog?” I suppose the only answer is that I am what I am. My wife, Stephanie, who is a channel and a medium, channeled a spiritual hymn the other day with the idea that “you are the one.” She was asking a similar question. Who am I to take this on… and like an ant… the answer is you are the one.

So what is this going to be about? Well it’s really what I spend most of my time on. Health, Wealth, Relationships, Spirit, and Nature. And that’s what most of what I write will be about. So join me in these affirmations for the new year. Also, I have a tendency to talk to myself in my writing, or even in conversation. It is my human design that I organize my thoughts by speaking or writing about them. This process forces me to organize my thoughts into a linear stream. When I first read this post, I saw that many of my affirmations related to my experience and abilities. Please read this with the compassionate frame of reference that I do this to ground myself in the notion that I do have a voice worthy of this space. This is especially true in this context where no one is required to read of word of this if they do not want to. So here it goes…

Health – I am very grateful for my health and for the gift of life. My body is the vehicle that I inhabit during this life, and much of my experience of this life depends on the health and good function of my body. We all have the capacity to positively impact our health, through our diet, through our sleep, through our consumption habits, through exercise. Health is not about the treatment of disease. Health comes from investing time, care and love in ourselves for our own well being. Health is first, because without health, we cannot enjoy anything else here.

Wealth – This is a tricky topic, because there is so much anti-wealth rhetoric out there right now. Wealthy people are vilified as privileged or as not paying their fair share or of somehow leaching off the hard work of others. I do not believe that at all. Wealth is simply material abundance in excess of what we need for basic survival. In our society is usually is measured in terms of money. But not everywhere. I spend a lot of time in Brazil and have some very good friends who live in indigenous communities of the Amazon, where our version of wealth really has no meaning. Money is simply a step in the process of converting what someone produces into what someone needs. Wealth, then, might be the orchard of bananas that produces more bananas than the community consumes. This is not a metaphor. I am actually referring to a specific banana orchard in a specific community.

In our society, managing wealth is about what you do with financial resources that you do not need right away for your basic needs. I have a considerable experience in this field, it so happens, because I was trained as a Wealth Advisor by UBS Financial Services with particular study with their Global Asset Management business. I have a Bachelor of Science in Economics with Finance Applications, and I had about 12 years of experience financing private and corporate aircraft. I have met many private aircraft owners and their financial advisors. I have seen their portfolios, I have seen their financial statements, I have seen their tax returns, I have seen their aircraft.

And I learned from this, and so now, by the grace of God, I do not have to work in a corporate job to earn money to pay bills. I can manage wealth to do that. My career was basically from 1992 to 2013. I’m not retired, but I don’t work for anyone else. That’s the goal of wealth management.

And so in 2022 I would like to write about my study of finance, wealth management, investment and so forth. There is so much to know about finance, and so many voices out there profess to teach us, but really only persuade. And I’d also like to learn from smart people who are interested in these topics.

Relationships – Here is where we get our most joy in life. Relationships. I have had some experience here too, with two marriages and five children. I was married first for 21 years, and today, this very day, marks the last day of the tenth year since I met Stephanie, who I am blessed to be married to today. So all in all I have about 30 years of experience being married and I’ve raised five kids.

But these are not the only relationships. We have relationships at work, relationships with friends, relationships with professionals like lawyers, accountants, aircraft managers, therapists, doctors. We have personal trainers and massage therapists and acupuncturists. We have the friendly people who see us in our neighborhoods where we get coffee and check out at the grocery store. We also have our relationship to ourselves, and self compassion is what I’ve been studying recently. We have so many relationships in our lives, and in 2022 let’s let kindness and understanding be the rule.

.Spirit – What does that even mean? I started my spiritual understanding in my crib as a very young child with a dream that there was a man pounding in my chest against my ribs trying to get out, and when he broke out, that’s when my spirit would leave this world. I understood very young that I was a spirit that was contained in this body, but I lost touch with this.

My brain was infected by Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand, and her philosophy of objectivism. Which basically starts with the premise that if I perceive something, then there is a perceiver and an object of perception. From this premise, she concludes that thoughts of god and spirit are for the feeble minded. How simple the retort. But in a dream, do we not perceive? Is there an object separate from the perceiver in our dreams? No of course not. In our dreams we are both the object and the perceiver.

So what I have come to understand through a lot of work, and a lot of time in the jungle, and a lot of time in meditation that we inhabit these bodies. You are an eternal spirit having a material experience, and there is a reason that you came here to do this. I’m not sure about all the reasons, and I’m not exactly sure what it will be like when we return to the place we came here from, but it gives me great comfort to have faith that I am here for a reason and I chose to be here.

Nature – This is where we recharge. We as a species, have our highest calling as stewards of our environment. For me nature is about hiking the mountain trails around Telluride in the summer foraging for wild mushrooms, or about creating restorative agro-forestry projects in environmentally sensitive areas through our farms in Bahia, Brazil, and on the Big Island of Hawaii. Nature is about our connection to the planets, the stars, the sun and the moon. It is about our Mother Earth who brought us into the material. It is about the right of every creature to exist within the divine power.

Nature is where I go to recharge my batteries. It calms my nerves, and makes me feel the freedom of being a tiny little spec in an infinite universe. We all have the same sun, the firmament is the universal treasure, the ants are our teachers, and the forest holds the power. We are part of the natural world, but we have forgotten this. And so now we are suffering. But nature remains there to embrace us despite the abuse we have inflicted upon her. But really, we are only abusing our experience of the world. If we blow ourselves up now, after twenty million years goes by there will be little trace of us. And that’s only like one half of one percent of the time earth has been around. Global warming matters a lot to us and all creatures that inhabit the earth today. But not so much to the earth itself.

The new year gives a chance to reset our focus and to make incremental changes in our lives that will help us grow and enjoy more. For me, this means more attention to maintaining what I have created over the last few years and less focus on new creations. It means letting go of the plan, the map, the calendar, the goals and all of the other Saturn structures so that I can flow with the divine uncertainty that prevails anymore. It means releasing fight or flight and engaging the soothing system. It means a spoon full of honey before bed every night, just because it’s sweet.

What are your thoughts and plans for the new year? What might you want to change? If you are out there, please feel free to post a comment.

Thanks for the space.