Waste Not, Want Not Applies to Your Soul Too

So many of us cannot give of ourselves authentically because we are wasting our energy on activities that aren’t good for us.

“Soul-sucking job” is now a cliche, as is “toxic relationship.” We’re spendings millions of dollars on degrees we never use. Addiction statistics have reached absurd levels, and doctors in the US look at us funny if we say we aren’t taking any prescription meds. Netflix binging is the latest family value, and “healthy” can be used as an insult.

There are so many unnecessary demands and distractions in our lives, it’s a wonder any of us ever discover and cultivate our talents. It’s such a shame, because we all have them.

No matter who we are, we all have talents. And the truth is, it doesn’t really matter what they are. We don’t have be naturally inclined to music or sports or art or computers or sales…even though that’s what society seems to be telling us.

Whatever our talents are, they are meant to be used to help the world.

Whatever makes us feel good about ourselves is what we are meant to do.

A common misunderstanding of this is the difference between pride and superiority. We are supposed to be proud of who we are. Healthy pride is the result of doing something that reflects our soul’s desires. Hubris or superiority is the result of defining our value against the devaluation of others. We may gain something from superiority, but we are guaranteed to lose much more.

Most of us do not use our energy wisely. Like everything else, energy has become commoditized, something that can be bought and sold and squandered or used to distract us for a few minutes. It comes in a can, after all, or a paper cup with a logo on it.

We’ve lost sight of the fact that our energy is the expression of who we are. We cannot give authentically or expect to receive the blessings meant for us if we are wasting ourselves on jobs, relationships, or activities that do not feed our spirits.

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We want more because we are capable of so much more that we are doing.

The more we suppress our spirits, the more they push back against our skin, trying to get out. Each of us has a perfect design, composed of inclinations and abilities–ways of being, doing, creating, and loving–that do not go gentle into that good night. Our truest desires can become our greatest fears, our most crippling anxieties if we deny them.

That’s how we build our own cages. Then once we’re in our own cages, we’re easy prey for others to put into theirs.

Wasting our desires and talents, we find ourselves wanting more out of life. So we consume more of the things we’re “supposed” to want, what they say we want. But we don’t really want them. What we want is for our lives to have meaning.

The meaning of life is not measured in materials or public opinion.

A job may appear prestigious, but if it is not right for us, we will be wasted in it. The right job may appear unstable and risky, but when we do what we are meant to do, we find we are supported exactly how we need to be.

A couple may look poster-perfect, but if we don’t make each other happy, then we’re hurting ourselves and the people we are actually meant to be with. When we are truly in love, every minute is meaningful.

The thing is, when we are wasting ourselves, what we want seems impossible.
When we aren’t, we know what we want is possible.

There never has been, and never will be again, anyone quite like us. We are not meant to deny parts of ourselves or be anything we’re not. We are not here to waste our energy, to waste our lives.

We are here to learn, to grow, to live, love, and give…

 

As exactly who we are.

 

Adding to Our Lives, Adding to the World

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed; rather it transforms from one form to another.”
-The Law of Conservation of Energy

When some people here the word “energy” used in a spiritual sense, their eyes automatically roll or glaze over. They dismiss talk of vibes as ludicrous. They want nothing to do with that New Age-y woo woo nonsense.

Yet these same people readily accept the concept of energy in terms of science and nutrition. We’re all taught about energy in our early school years.

Some energy has a positive charge, some a negative charge, and some is neutral. Our bodies convert food into energy that we use to move, think, and feel.

It’s the same stuff!

Why is it so hard to believe that we, as human beings, give off positive, negative, and neutral energy that draws and repels the energy of other people? We know how magnets work. It’s not that complicated.

We know how music works too. Notes and tones vibrate at certain frequencies. When they interact with other frequencies they create harmony or discord. Likewise, our ways of being and moving (i.e. the “notes” we play) are vibrations that jive with some and clash with others.

I think the issue is that we’ve convinced ourselves that our thoughts and feelings aren’t real things. The scientific method doesn’t account for these, because they are “subjective” rather than “objective” and thus dismissed from evidentiary consideration.

The wave of my hand is a real thing because I can see it and someone else can see it. We can both feel and hear the movement it creates. We could both touch and taste my hand, if we were so inclined.

But no one can think my thoughts or feel my feelings. They are not observable.

This is a huge oversight.

Our thoughts are things. Our feelings are things. Should all of them be taken seriously? No. But they have consequences as much as our actions do. After all, our thoughts and feelings lead to our actions. They are the reasons behind our actions. And they definitely give charge to our actions–positive, negative, neutral.

Thoughts and feelings are energy, just like movement. Our bodies are drained after a time of intense study or emotion or rejuvenated after meditation or laughter.

If we hold onto grudges, over time, our bodies will show it as much so as if we’ve been consuming harmful substances. In fact, they often go hand in hand. However, if we hold onto love, joy, happiness, and gratitude…well, our bodies will show that too.

Of course this is not a black and white situation. No one is only positive energy or negative energy; nor are we meant to be. Our energies fluctuate with time and circumstance, and a lot of the time we’re giving off neutral vibes or a combination.

But what’s really interesting here is that we can transform our energy.

We have the ability to shift our energy from positive to negative or negative to positive through the power of our will and desire.

I know this from experience. I used to live a very negative life. I was a negative person. Yet I always knew somehow that that was not who I was meant to be.

As it always goes, I looked in all the wrong places for an answer until I looked in the right one: within myself. I’d known all along what my hearts’ desires are, and I finally willed myself to pursue them.


When we allow ourselves to do what it is in us to do, our lives are filled with possibility and positivity. It’s no coincidence that the sign for positive charge and addition are the same (+).

When we are true to our individual design, we add to the world; we make our unique positive contribution to the Universe/God’s plan. And we feel the addition too! Not only do we feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled; we draw into our lives more blessings, opportunities, and people who help us on our path!

It works the other way around, too. If you are not pursuing your true heart’s desire, you are subtracting. You are actually robbing the world of your gifts.

Each of us is equally as much a part of the grand design as everyone and everything else. We’ve each been given gifts from the Universe/God to give right back. If we don’t share of ourselves, our energy turns negative.

When we feel as though the life is being sucked out of us, it is. That’s the biggest sign that something is very wrong and we need to live our lives differently. We need to make positive change.

Becoming a negatively-charged person happens unconsciously over years. I don’t think anyone ever sets out with the decision to become miserable.

Becoming a positively-charged person, however, happens intentionally. That’s great news! We become happier, more blessed people by doing what we really, truly want to do!

Of course, it’s not that simple. But at the same time, it is.

When we see those people who appear to live charmed lives, always on cloud nine and beloved by all, we needn’t feel jealous. That kind of positivity is accessible to us. Our lives will never look just like theirs though, of course. Even better, we all can get our own versions of it.

When we really want to be positive, we believe we can and we make it happen. We choose positive thoughts and feelings instead of negative ones. Instead of being down on ourselves, we visualize the best possible versions of ourselves, and then we start becoming them.

Our energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed. We can transform ourselves.

What is your heart of hearts telling you that you want? It might be as grand as a seemingly impossible career or as small as an herb garden. Whatever it is, allow yourself to add to your life and thus add to the world.

Happy Problem-Solving!

We are always going to have problems. That’s just part of the package of life.

Truthfully, though, a lot of us have far fewer problems than we think we do. Illness, death, starvation, war, abuse… These are problems. And I don’t pretend to have answers.

No, I admit, the majority (but not all by any means) of the problems I encounter in my life or through other peoples’ are #firstworldproblems. As in, we wouldn’t have these problems if we weren’t lucky enough to live a comfortable lifestyle.

I just spent three days with someone who could speak without complaining. It made me very sad because it was readily apparent that everything that frustrated her was also created by her. Call it playing the victim, call it ingratitude or attitude… Beneath it all, that kind of behavior is a form of masochism, which is why it’s so repellent.

I’ve met many people like this. I remember being one of them.

This person doesn’t want to be happy, at least not right now. This person wants to suffer, but why?

From what I’ve seen, I believe this masochistic negativity is triggered by heartbreak and trauma and sustained out of fear. Negativity in the form of complaining and resentment functions as a security blanket.  By complaining, we protect ourselves; we place the blame for our pain outside of ourselves because we are afraid of it being our fault. 

When we cling to our negativity, we are afraid that letting go of it means we are saying that whatever was done to us was okay or that we somehow caused it just by being who we are.

But blame is not really the point.

Taking responsibility for our well-being is not the same thing as taking responsibility for what was done to us. Nothing will take away the events of the past or the scars they gave us, but our hope for happiness lies with our choice to have it.

Happiness is not a perfect state of eternal and constant bliss. As before, we will always have problems. You can tell, though, the people who are generally happy, who maintain a sense of positivity and are able to bounce back after life gives them a knock. Sure, sometimes this is a result of privilege, but it is something that is accessible to everyone who truly wants it…and is willing to do the work for it.

The right work. Becoming a more positive person is not a matter of whether someone is hardworking or lazy. It’s a matter of bravery.

When we truly want to be happy, we make it happen.

The first step is committing, from this moment forward, to be responsible for our own happiness.

The second step is making that commitment again and again and again and again.

We have to let go of our unhappiness in order to be happy. It’s just common sense. We have to let go of our hold on the past to move forward. Yet this is not a one time purchase.

Life will poke at our negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. That’s not something that will ever stop. In fact, when we start on the path of happiness, we’ll notice the poking even more. Our default patterns will want to take over, and we must over and over choose to be positive.

This is very tiring work. Sometimes we will fail. We will choose poorly. We will default because it’s easier. But we will also succeed, choose well, and change. And it gets easier because it’s what we truly want. Over time, we change our default setting.

We first change our behaviors, until we’ve changed our overall energy. We go from making positive choices to being a positive person.

When we become positive people, we don’t stop having problems, but we can solve them. Maybe not always as in “solve for x,” but we can figure out how to handle our problems. It’s true that sometimes to solve a problem, what’s needed is a fresh set of eyes.


By choosing happiness, we give ourselves a fresh set of eyes. We take on a new perspective, so we see our problems differently. We see everything differently.

It’s possible. It happens. Happiness and positivity are ours for the taking when we really want them.

It’s a huge change, and change is scary. But it is absolutely a change worth making.

After all, it’s only the rest of your life.

 

So the next time you feel the urge to complain or someone complains at you, take a moment to discover a positive choice to handle the situation. You’ll know what to do, then do it. Each small step adds up to miles.

Not Perfect. Brave.

We are not meant to live perfect lives.

We will never have perfect health, perfect work, perfect relationships, perfect finances, perfect leisure, perfect faith or perfect time-management to do everything that makes up our lives.

We all make ourselves sick. We all make mistakes at work. We all hurt the people in our lives. We all make stupid purchases. We all get stressed on vacation. We all put our spirits on the back burner when there’s too much “real life” stuff going on.

Even when you’re living your best life, it will not feel perfect if you want to get rid of the flaws.

The example of Alan Watts comes to mind. His life was such a gift to the world. He played an instrumental role in the movement of bringing Eastern thought to the West. He wrote many books and gave even more lectures filled with wisdom and insight. He had a unique spark about him that he willingly shared and that lives on after him in his work.

He also had three failed marriages and a drinking problem that, it has been said, was a reaction to his anxiety of public speaking and a contributing factor to his death.

Do these pieces of his life make his whole life not perfect? Who cares?

Who’s to say the world would have the brilliance of Alan Watts without his flaws? What if, instead of writing and speaking, he focused his energy on perfecting his flaws?

How many of us are guilty of exactly that? How many of us deny the world our gifts because we fear showing our imperfection?

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We all have something we need to give birth to, and there will always be metaphorical power lines in the way.

I argue that our true faults are not our “character flaws” or our failed ventures. Our real imperfections are our tendencies to deny our hearts’ desires and our lives’ missions.

We make ourselves imperfect when we make choices that take us off our path, that steer us away from giving our gifts to the world. We choose the wrong school, spouse, career, religion, location, community, hobby…because we convince ourselves that’s the life we should want.

Should be is safe. Meant to be takes bravery.

So why worry about your flaws? Are people going to criticize you? Yes, every step of the way. Everyone who’s ever done anything has done it in the face of criticism. This is a step on all of our paths–learning to be who we’re meant to be and what we’re meant to do no matter what!

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For me, it’s this.

 

We are not meant to live perfect lives.

We are meant to live brave ones.