Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Call to Arms

Lay down
Your weapons
Open your arms

You wage 
With an
Illusory foe
Far closer 
To home
Than you realize

An unseen enemy
Your visible

You are seen
You are loved

It is time
To extend
For yourself
A Heroes welcome

Come home
The agony
Extricate yourselves
From within 
The excruciating walls 
Of self-abandoned

Gather yourselves
Come together
 (In each others) 
Each other
You can
Love yourselves

We need
Your hearts & souls
Here & now
"All hands on deck..."
Need you now
You are 
More than you 
Can imagine

Won't you 
And see

R. O'Neill (February 20, 2018)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Natural Consequences

"Family Day" today.. A trumped up statutory holiday conceived by a increasingly unpopular Provincial Government that have since been relegated to the "official opposition." Though recognized across Canada, here in British Columbia, it was deemed necessary to observe it uniquely, on an entirely different day. The out casted "Liberal" government, a decidedly right-wing party, that co-opted the name "Liberal," though their policies are anything but; also endeavoured through the creation of this holiday, to be seen as a regime, that had concern for, and valued families. Meanwhile, they hacked and slashed at programs across the spectrum of publicly administered services, making it ever-increasingly difficult for "families" - particularly those of the single parent variety.

As the scope of this post is not a political expose, I will end my "rant" there. Apparently, it was there ripe for the telling - and so it was.

I already had the day off so it wasn't for me, a holiday per se. The only way it would impact me would be those services that were closed for the holiday. I had been up particularly early to meet and friend for a hike at a local mountain. We met at 7:00 a.m. the objective being, to get up the mountain to an optimal viewpoint, in time to see the sun rise.  We managed to  accomplish this feat, by accessing, literally, a "deer trail" up the east face. Footing was stable (despite a decidedly "un-groomed" trail) the challenge then, the acute vertical climb. I have been fairly active on a regular basis for quite sometime now. However, I haven't spent any focused time on cardio development. This climb certainly gave me some insight as to where I was in that respect. It definitely pushed it, just the same in relative short order, my breathing and heart rate stabilized, so I was happy to see my fitness level is decent. It wouldn't hurt to address some cardio training more consistently and then activities such as that, would be more within, a established baseline of fitness (memo to myself).

After a stunning vista of the sunrising, frame by a crystal clear sky and Salish Sea, the hike down allow us to observe the early signs of returning Spring.

After treating myself to a hearty breakfast - butternut squash yams, red onion & goat cheese with some added avacado; I drove across town where I had a dvd to return.  That put me in close proximity to the local sea side, so I decided to go and walk the beach. The combination of a brilliant clear (albeit brisk day) & the afore mentioned holiday, did have an effect on numbers at the beach.

Throngs of people, young children and dogs were enjoying the long weekend and a respite from what was, a fairly consistently rainy January. Heartening to see so many families out enjoying the natural world and each other. I'm one that can when I choose to, rather handily block out extraneous chatter etc. so though there were a great many people, on the pathways above the beach and along the seashore too, it was minimally distracting. Though not my intention to "eaves-drop" on any conversation... I couldn't help but hear snippets of various conversations as a walked along. It was a little like spinning the tuning dial on the radio, briefly allowing it to stop on a station, long enough to hear what was being said in the moment, and then the broadcast changed, as the dial was set in motion again.

The recreation centres that I utilize were closed today for the holidays, which created a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of nature's playground. Trudging through the thickly dispersed stones along beach offer challenges in terms of the varying terrain. Walking along from log to log (anywhere other than the logs being "molten lava.....") is wonderful for balance.... challenging stabilizing muscles through out the legs and hips, as well as the body's core. Why would an adult indulge in such activity one might ask? Multiple reasons! For one thing, it's free! That ought to be a powerful incentive in itself. It's out in the fresh air. It provides a connection opportunity with the natural world, it's powerful energies and resident wildlife.  In North America, a significant percentage of adults suffer fractures etc. from falls. This is not a natural repercussion of aging! It is more a natural consequence of immobility. Aging (without exercise) can bring about a decrease, in lean tissue (muscle) - inactivity can cause further atrophy & decrease range of motion. This not only affects strength, power and endurance; but also the smaller muscles, responsible for stabilizing. Add to that a decrease in bone density and there you have the right and perfect storm for falls and subsequent fractures/injury.

Some time for rest and relaxation is certainly beneficial. Push that too far into an excessively sedentary lifestyle - and it has a negative impact. The body is "engineered" for movement. Human nature is nature; though modern living can increasingly disconnect us from our very nature.  Gyms have their place and can provide the equipment necessary for some specific forms of training. The natural world and a little creativity, can provide a physically challenging playground, that not only useful for the physical heart .. it is fabulous for "heart and soul.." 

No "wellness" program can hope to live up to it's name, if it just pounds away at the physical (though you can't entirely segregate the different levels of our being).

A walk in the park is not just good for your pooch - though if you are an animal lover, getting one is apt to get you off the couch, at least to walk your four-legged friend. Then you get the benefit of the natural world and the unconditional love of your canine guru!!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Ready... Set... Celebrate!!

Today, at least at it's onset, I showed up. This gives rise to a call for celebration. Celebrate what? Celebrate the small victory! What form will this celebration take? For me, I am inspired to celebrate the small victories until, I recognize, there are no small victories!!

Consider if one was only to celebrate those events deemed "monumental," first of all, what would the determining criteria be, that said reality warrants, said celebration? Secondly, there is no shortage of programming in our world from parents, schools, various religions....  "Don't blow your own horn," "now there you, don't go getting too big for your boots," "humble yourself," "you were born with a taint on your very soul!!!" Then of course there's the media that has many convinced that the only acts of heroism of any significance are those that are Rambo-esque, that come while consuming one's "shaken not stirred" or via the likes of Ms. Croft "the tomb-raider and Wonder Woman!!

Collectively, "on average" many are more inclined to down play their successes and talents, in some cases indefinitely. The tricky thing about this, due to the afore mentioned influences, and innumerable others; for some, the holy grail of a job well done, might continually elude them and no matter what the level of achievement attained; it's never quite good enough. There always remains some often near imperceivable blemish, and the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

I certainly can state categorically this has been true for me. This doesn't begin to address the countless personal "inner victories" any given person has all day, every day. You've restarted some element of an overall wellness practice (sometimes starting again, is even tougher than the first time ... now one has to wade through all the self-criticism for stopping.... "I used to be able to walk/run 5 kms. now I'm getting winded on the first hill.."

Having that awkward conversation with a friend, or partner. Dealing with some toxic convoluted dynamics in your workplace. Making some life changing, transformational decisions and day by day sticking to them ... with or without, the approval of your peers. Hell, just getting out of bed, opening the curtains and stepping out into the day. Nobody knows what it took for you to do these things except you. Nobody hears the inner dialogue but you! They don't know when you've overridden it, nor when you succumb to it's charms, offering a easier softer way. Fewer still, would see fit to acknowledge what they themselves would consider inane in their own life, which then behooves each of us, to lead our own cheers. Retire the inner judge, jury and executioner - and elicit instead, your inner guide, teacher and loving cheering squad. (why settle for one lone voice in the wilderness) - why not have a a choir singing your praises??

I concede what is being suggested here, is a radical departure from the norm. But seriously, what form of reflection is apt to inspire you ... to keep you, "keepin' on"? To continue putting one foot in front of the other... What if that mountain, that the mustard seed size amount of faith can move .... is you?

If you envision the sort of feedback in your life that continued to "stoke your fire," this might give you a clue, as to what form your own inner dialogue might take. And I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest, you are not in any danger of "over-doing" it. I'm not talking about holding hostage anyone with ears ripe for the bending.

I am going to conjure the analogy that this push toward claiming the small victories is like exercising a muscle. If you go to the gym and just blitz every major muscle group today and then don't come back for 3 weeks. First of all you're going to be really stiff and sore. Secondly you will have attained nothing in the way of a fitness gain (no stronger, no more endurance).  Go two, three or four times a week .... decent rest and nutrition in between ... gradually intensity increases, and in 4 to 6 weeks, you will begin to notice some measurable improvement..

So it is with the inner victory.. Let's face it, it I cannot overcome the inertia, doubts, fears etc. necessary to roll the small snowball up the hill ... what chance am I going to have - what mental, emotional, physical, spiritual resources, will I have developed, to assert in the face of some of life's bigger challenges..

The small victories, the "fun" - damentals - over and over & over .... sometimes ad nauseam, will hold you in good stead when the big winds blow.

You might never stand on a podium (unless that is what you aspire to) but then again, you'll never be outed by the Olympic committee, having been found to be utilizing performance enhancing drugs, in the form of your latte compulsion.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Truth the Final Frontier

I'm going to go along with Tina Turner and proclaim "We" (in the interest of personalizing it) I, don't need another hero!!" Whether my interpretation of that song lyric reflects its intended meaning, matters not - I am standing in "what I'm making it mean.." Of course art is open to interpretation and what it elicits from the beholder.

I don't need rescuing or care-taking - so would be "white knights" can either hang up their armour when interacting with me or need not apply at all.  This is not to say I don't appreciate nurturing, support, encouragement and loving-kindness. I'm clear the former is debilitating, stifling, smothering and generally detracts from an expansive quality of life. The latter, part of an environment that has love as its basis and is far more conducive to vitality, empowerment and living in alignment.

The fact that I'm not, "broken" doesn't preclude my want to proclaim, if you are inclined (consciously or otherwise) to want to "fix" things, I am not your next winter project.

To be clear this applies equally with respect to my assuming these roles in the lives of others. I respect the innate power of each and fully stand in, upholding the dignity for everyone - of their own journey. As such, I surrender any notion, that there be any need for me to define myself, by means of showing up in ways that lessen others & myself.

I am committed to showing up in the world, as he, defined through the ongoing connection and surrender to, the God of my understanding, via my aligned soul. No other man, women or child will determine who I am. Your perspectives, visions and experiences around what it is to be a man in the world, will be considered and held with interest and curiosity; you won't be allowed to interfere with what is between me and God. The agenda of others is none of my business.

I do not need a leader. Which is not to say I don't have need for teachers within my life. All "leaders" are not created equally. Many presume to lead, for the express purpose of accumulating followers. I serve the ego-gratification of no one. It is only my responsibility to seek to illuminate the dictates of my own ego where that creates limitations. I reserve the intention at all times and in all ways, to determine and discern, moment to moment, my willingness to follow guidance from outside myself. I will blindly follow, no one. There is no reason to believe that where another presumes to lead - that there is any benefit for me, or that their vision, isn't far more about serving them, than it does me. I don't condemn the self-interest of others - but I won't abdicate my own guidance nor acquiesce to anyone. I don't believe in ego-driven hierarchy - I will maintain, "all are created equally."

I am responsible to bring forth the best possible version of myself. One who seeks ongoing, to be an expression of the love of God - as it uniquely expresses through me. No one, but no one, has any idea of what that might look like.

God, self, others..... God's business, my business, the business of others... Perhaps keeping clean and clear on these in themselves, are ample to keep me engaged full time. I can forgive myself those times when I allow the order of priority to shift - it's also my responsibility to realign myself and reprioritize. It's not a case of what God "needs" - it's more to do with determines the quality of my inner peace (or whether I have any at all). I am clear there is no one outside of myself that provides that. This provides both me and anyone I interact act with a great deal of freedom. If I'm operating from my aligned centre I cannot be controlled by anyone else nor am I looking to someone else for my sense of safety, amusement, love or approval. How liberating!! For those that can appreciate that spaciousness sheer delight. For those that attempt to build their value through the dependance of others it might well be disconcerting.

It is through this "declaration of independence" that I become clear within myself of my intentions. It states opening and authentically my chosen path and creates a platform of personal accountability - which provides me an anchor and self-assessment tool.

Too frequently through my life, I have allowed my voice to fall silent. Of course there have been those times, when it might have been preferable, that it had remained silent. Nothing can change in that, defined as my "personal world," nor in the world at large, if my power is given to those whom presume authority - they have none, that I don't willingly hand them.

I am, "the one I've been waiting for!!!" (Thank you Hopi prophecy). Better to be alone for a time, in who that is, than in the company of those that seek affirmation through numbers for themselves, offering at best, a conditional love.

I then trust that in alignment with my values and truth - a divine loving community will form...

Monday, 5 February 2018

(In) The Way of Love

Across dale 
Over endless hills
Innate tracking instincts
The vaguely present
Of the beast
On the run
A bent 
and broken 
Chosen pathways
A wash
With patchwork
The trail 
Neither immediately apparent
But not entirely
The pursuit
Spans decades
To a profound discovery
Hemorrhaging life-force energy
A purgatory
Engineered with
Commandeered creativity 
Of self-loathing 
Abysmal isolation
And smothering
In the dank
Of an inhuman
Lies a feral
Hissing and spitting
At a 
Timeless exile

And sanctimonious posturing
Cannot hope
To bridge 
The now conscious 
Cavernous divide
A life
Destined for
Seeking to know
Express the
Love of God
Will find
No greater test
Nor depth
Of knowing
Than to 
The return to love
To a heart
Had be deceived
To believe
It lies there
Near mortally 
By Love itself

R. O'Neill (February 05, 2018)

Sunday, 4 February 2018

To Me With Love

After conducting a lifestyle experiment (going without a car) for that past 2 1/2 years - after years of owning a driving a car; I have recently rejoined the ranks of "motorists." I had during the afore mention "carlessness," rentals while I was travelling & have been renting since returning home; to have the ease and convenience of transportation, to utilize for getting out & about with my book.  After having the restoration of freedom and ease of movement allowed by a car, I decided I wanted a car of my own again.

Even with the access to a car, I am far more inclined to continue to walk, use the bus or my bicycle where that is practical and convenient. I also am letting go of any notion that there exists any "altruism" in going with out one and that somehow makes me a more evolved stewart of the planet (or whatever other stories people spin about such things)..

I benefited from the extended period of time where I rediscovered a love of walking and cycling .. I don't enjoy always showing up somewhere bathed in the afterglow of these activities, nor continually being clad in clothing that is more conducive to those activities.

I let go of any programmed martyrdom or mistaken beliefs around any virtue obtained through the suffering of inconvenience, complications to logistics, confinement.

I out the ego and it's inclination to categorize (I am myself: who happens to utilize, a blend of: a car, public transportation, a bicycle and walking) - I don't "identify" as "a motorist," a "cyclist," a "commuter," or a pedestrian..) I won't join crusades that focus exclusively on the needs of any of these movement special interest groups.. I am aware of the pros & cons of all of them.

It is not "more spiritual" to engage in any one of them.. It is not "more spiritual.." to do anything - it's not a competition. If you are happy doing something (and it generally brings about no harm to others then do it and enjoy it) - nobody else "needs" to do it - to validate your choice. Nor are you a "better" person than anyone else by virtue of that choice.

If you are making a choice and living it (primarily for the optics) all the while hating it, you are out of alignment with yourself. The "universe" won't reward you for the depths of your "sacrifice." The universe is not looking for sacrifice; that is something you are thrusting on yourself - it might be an interesting exploration to inquire into why that is so.

The car I had rented over the few months being back in town, I was really enjoying - I decided that some version of that was going to be where I began my search. It is a North American manufacturer of long-standing (& though American made cars weren't particularly competitive in the smaller car classes with the various Asian suppliers - they are now producing a decent car).

The lower entry level pricing means one could then consider further "bells and whistles" at a lower price point.

"New/used" - well I'm not enamoured with "twisting wrenches" at all. A basic adjustment or assembly of something ... maybe. Working on cars - I'm not even vaguely interested in, so I want reliability. This starts to weed out used vehicles in my mind - particularly as I wasn't in need of a "used car" price. Besides the technology that is part of most all newer cars now .... has reduced the number of "backyard mechanics" (even in the ranks of those that are that way inclined).

So then, the entry level line of vehicles would get me there, just as sure as the more premium vehicles.. but then again - why would I settle?

How many times have a settled for something in my life, I wasn't that excited about at the onset, but I "talked myself into it...?" How often was that pep talk effective at creating lasting satisfaction? The answers are, too many to count & pretty much never (respectively).

So this car (metaphorically) represents "I'm not settling for just anything..." I'm allowing myself - what I want! (not what's "more practical," not "what I should have...."

This choice doesn't mean anything in terms of my "status.." There is no virtue in "affluence.." and there most certainly is no virtue, in poverty.

Nothing wrong with owning a modestly priced, well-maintained vehicle - but there's nothing superior about it either.

I am blessed to be in the position to do this at this place in my life. I know full well that nothing from the outside can bring me fulfillment or happiness. But that doesn't mean, I need to go through life accepting the "short end of the stick," & and always settling for the crumbs.

Who I am, is someone growing in the ability to love himself. I can enjoy nice things and not be attached to them. I can invite ease and comfort into my life without "identifying with it.."

What of those that would present - the life of poverty of the likes of Jesus or the Buddha as being the criteria by which a "spiritual life" is to be led? Well I would submit that these spiritual teachers/guides had large networks of people that underwrote their work - so they didn't need to concern themselves with generating income.

Money (having it or not) is not more or less spiritual and awareness of ones inner "wealth & prosperity" is in my estimation far more valuable. Beyond that - do no harm and have what you please!