The Happiness Manifesto Blog

How I Beat the Living Hell Out of Suffering and Made It My Bitch

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Spiritual Detox

I’ve mentioned before that I viewed discovering some old emotional/spiritual wound, feeling its pain as I processed it, and then ultimately letting it go as a sort of spiritual detoxification.  Those instances usually occurred rather unplanned: “Oh hey, what’s this?  A scar I didn’t know was there!  Christmas!!”  But today, boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about doing that quite on purpose.

When you detox physically, you usually plan it – sometimes a lot – with special recipes, supplements, baths, juicing, etc.  This usually involves a trip to the grocer for ingredients, and perhaps timing it to your days off if you think you might have a bit of a health crisis and don’t want to be miserable at work.  So why not plan our spiritual detoxification the same way?

Now obviously, you don’t need to head to the grocer -or your favorite religious/metaphysical shop, as it were – for ingredients (though planning it for your days off might be nice) in order to spiritually detox.  But a little intention goes a long way.

I recently made my first foray into the Akashic Records, and despite warnings from others to just “get a feel for the lay of the land” the first trip in, I felt driven to ask my guides to “bring it on.”  My guides get a kick out of that.  I heard them chuckling.

Bring it on they did.  And ever since then, I feel like I have been doing The Master (Spiritual) Cleanse.  Old, dusty, forgotten relics are getting expunged from my mental attic at such a rate that I very quickly stopped wondering why I was reliving this old feeling again and found myself just hanging on for the ride, like an old rickety roller coaster that bumps you around and gives you a minor case of whiplash.  It became evident that this was a detox.  A bring-a-good-book-to-the-emotional-toilet detox.  Don’t fight it; that will only make things worse.

After several days of just hanging on for dear life and squeezing my eyes shut on that roller coaster, I began to peek out of one eye.  I began to work on the physical purging project on overdrive, but was under no illusions that this was the purpose of my purge: this was merely a reflection of my inner workings.  Some people turn their outside lives inward; I tend to turn my inner life outward.  My cycles of messy chaos, focused organization, and pure creation have always reflected what was going on in my mind.  My packrat habits developed during the years that I was stashing away those emotional injuries so they wouldn’t hurt me in the present, only to be dealt with later; my purging project began when I started to unearth those old storage units and let them see the light of day.

Though I am still in the middle of this ride (I think presently my coaster is on the upside-down section of track), I can say this for sure: God, do I feel better.  And then worse, and then better, and then worse, and then better.  It’s kind of like when you have the stomach flu, and eventually you get to the point where you are just willing yourself to toss your cookies, just so you can get it over with and feel better.  And you really do feel better once it’s out.

…Doesn’t that simile just make you want to spiritually detox right now?  Eh heh.  I promise, it’s worth it.

So, put it out there.  Even if going to the Records is a little “out there” for you, or you just don’t feel ready for that yet, talk to your guides.  They’re listening.  Let them know you’re ready to start dealing with things that you previously couldn’t.  That you want to get rid of negative toxins in your thought process.  If we’re going to improve the world, we first have to improve ourselves.

But maybe do that meditation on your day off. 😉

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Changing Our Culture

In the wake of the horrible school shooting on Friday, I saw a number of people posting messages on Facebook that concerned me quite a bit.  Now don’t run away – this is not about gun control.  This is not a political blog, this is a spiritual growth blog.  What I’m talking about is fear.  Fear of “the other.”  Fear of strangers.  Fear of the mentally ill.  Fear of horrifying incidents at every turn.  Basic, primordial fear.

Now, I am not a parent, and I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be one, and so perhaps parents of kids that age who were feeling overwhelmed with empathy and protective feelings get a bit of a pass on this one.  But even other non-parents, or parents whose children were long grown were posting such things as: “teachers should be armed” or “this is why I own a gun” or “EVERYONE should be armed” or “I am afraid to let kids go to school” or “I don’t like that the doors at my kids’/grandkids’/friends’ kids’ school aren’t locked all the time” or “everyone with kids should homeschool to keep their kids safe” …etc.  Now again, this is not about owning a gun, or not owning a gun.  This is about the mindset it takes to fear your fellow human beings so much that you carry a deadly weapon with you for no other purpose other than your belief that it is likely that you may have to shoot someone who wants to hurt you to defend yourself.

How terrified are we of each other?  I had a friend from outside the US tell me (before this shooting, mind you) that she was afraid to come visit the US because she thought she might be attacked/mugged/murdered/shot.  I have other friends who won’t go out after dark, or alone.  How many people have conceal and carry permits, or even cans of mace inside their purse?  I used to work the night shift at a hospital within walking distance of my apartment.  I don’t own a car, so that meant I was walking to work at midnight, alone, just a couple of blocks away from the “notorious” street in my city.  Now I wasn’t dumb about it – I would call the security guard to let him know I was on my way, and if he wasn’t busy, he’d meet me at the corner in front of the hospital.  I stayed aware of my surroundings.  I didn’t walk with my headphones on.  But other people were more scared for me than I was for myself.  I had one coworker buy me a can of mace when she found out I didn’t have one (I never carried it).  And some of these were folks who had never lived in crummy neighborhoods or been the victim of crime themselves (I have experienced both).  So why were they more nervous about my commute than I was?

I wasn’t always this way.  I freely admit it’s a rather recent phenomenon.  During and after said experiences of living in the crummy neighborhood and being a victim of crime, I was a nervous wreck.  My high-alert level was so obvious it was commented upon by others.  And that is exactly why I refuse to live that way now.  Because I know that that is no life!  I was miserable, and I didn’t trust people any further than I could throw them (and I’m not even 5’5″, so I probably couldn’t throw anyone very far).  I walled myself up in my fortress of solitude, because my firmest belief was that people suck.

Now, I’m not going to get into quoting crime statistics here, but for a fabulous treatise on how humans have become less violent as a species, despite what the news and tragedies like this Friday’s would have you believe, I highly recommend the book The Better Angels Of Our Nature by Steven Pinker.  My transformation did begin before I found that book, but it really reinforced what I was already telling myself: most people are good.  Most people are just going about their lives, just like you.  There are not nefarious types plotting rape and murder around every corner.  Odds are, nothing is going to happen.

I am not delusional; I am not Candide, declaring that we live in The Best Of All Possible Worlds.  But 99.999%* of people are basically good, normal people (*not a real statistical number – please don’t snipe.  I doubt there is a study attempting to measure how many people are “good, normal people”).  Sure, there are a handful of nutjobs with crippling paranoia and a gun stash, or who have raped or murdered someone.  I am not saying we pretend they don’t exist.  Don’t do your best impression of a slasher movie victim and walk into the dark, abandoned cabin alone yelling, “Hello?” while chainsaw noises reverberate in the basement.  But don’t cower in fear from the poor homeless guy on the street who you think is “creepy” because he talks to himself, or refuse to live your life and do things you want to do because of the overarching belief that all the killers come out at night (I promise you, I was harrassed, chased, followed, stalked, and even had someone try and grab me off the street and shove me into his car as a teenager – all during the DAYTIME, as I walked to and from school.  Pedophiles are not vampires.  Nor are any other type of criminals).  My point is, if you let a largely irrational fear stop you – then fear has won.

Remember after 9/11, when we were encouraged to keep going about our daily lives, because if we gave into fear then “the terrorists have won?”  Why let this terror win?  Is it any less pervasive?  Which do you think is more likely: that you’ll die in a terrorist attack like 9/11, or that you’ll be a victim of a random crime?  Which one do you change your daily behavior for?  Sure, people avoided planes for a while, but most folks fly now without fear.  Why do we still avoid the streets after dark?  Car accidents are a common occurrence too, but do you avoid driving because there’s a chance you might get into an accident?  Are you afraid of other drivers?

In a debate with a friend on Facebook, I asked: which would you rather do?  A) Live for 50 years, suspicious and afraid of your fellow humans, until one day you shoot and kill another person who tried to hurt you, but hey, you “won,” right?  Or B) Live for 5o years, loving and trusting your fellow humans, until one day you die in a random mall shooting.  You maybe were afraid for the last moments of your life, but prior to that, you didn’t fear other people.  I’d rather be B.  Because at least that person got to live a life free from the limiting fear that too often we allow to dictate our lives.

I am in no way trying to say it’s not a tragedy when people die in a senseless act of violence, especially innocent kids like on Friday.  What I am trying to say is: if we let these horror stories terrorize us, if we let them make us paranoid, if we let them dictate our behavior, if we let them limit us… then we’re victims long before anyone possibly murders us.  We’re living in fear of something that is highly unlikely to ever happen.  Obviously it does happen.  But you’re more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than a random act of violence.  Do you run screaming from trans fats and chemical food additives?  Do you have an anxiety attack if you forget the sunblock?  I’m guessing probably not.

So instead of focusing on “what if,” let’s focus on what we can do to make things better, in any way.  Support the victims of tragedies like this.  Support charities you care about.  Support your fellow humans.  Let’s make a world where we help each other.  Let’s make life worth living.  Peace.

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