Struggling with finding happiness in life? Tune out to social media, skip the epitome of incomprehensible psycho-couch-babble and go spend time with a child.

For the last nine months of my life I have been staying in an AirBnB rental in the Maya Riviera of Mexico. It is a worthy setup most preferred and conducive to constantly meeting new and interesting people and personalities. Having a steady supply of fresh people from all over the world ensures there is never a time without someone to serve as a new teacher in my life. Life is a mirror, what we see in others we are ourselves. Sometimes that can be a prickly thorn of annoyance, a lesson on what we need to work on in ourselves, and at others a wondrous gift in disguise. As with living, it is our perspective that counts most.   

There is no doubt you will get knocked down in life, of that you can be assured. The question rather is whether or not you decide to get back up. The rosy glasses through which we choose to view the world ultimately determines the outcome. At each crossroad we face this dilemma as ever present. Otherwise, life is outside of your control – don’t take the drama play too seriously. Like water in a river, learn to go with the flow. How we decide to react to our circumstances sets the path to either suffering or growth. Not many on my journey thus far have willingly chose agony, so there is still hope for those in want.

It is not common but every once and a while an adult is accompanied by a child here at our complex.  One couple, she, Mexican, he, American, stayed here for a short period; only for the female to return later for another stay, but this time she was accompanied by her eight year-old daughter, Ivanka. She settled in as my neighbor and in due time we all became friends. The daughter was extremely timid and guarded at first, taking only but a few requisite princess and tea chat sessions and gifts of sweets to win her over. As her mother was often busy, Ivanka would have no choice but to roam about the courtyard.

Other than your own rug-rats or children of immediate family, whom you are too close to and also a part of their development, it is hard to see every child with “fresh” eyes. There are so many practical lessons missed as a result. How often do you intentionally go out of your way to spend time with adolescents, watching how they maneuver their instantaneous fabricated reality, observing their selfless actions and surprising reactions, conversing with them at their level about things that interest them, or simply being in awe and wonder at their inherent guiltless disposition on seeing the world as one massive funhouse?

Much time outside while having a refreshing tropical fruit juice, meditation or soaking up some sunrays was spent observing Ivanka at play. Without any electronics or applications to steal away her focused attention and stupefy her to the world and nature all about her, I was in utter amazement the creative ways she found to pass time and enjoy her odyssey of perusal. Nothing is off limits! Kids can give rise to their own worlds of boundless radiance as quickly as an adult worries about impending bills or any other pointless trivialities. Kids are busy conquering their latest dream milieu – and its innumerable iterations.   

One evening, as her mom talked on the phone, she occupied herself at the public courtyard table where I was enjoying a cup of newly acquired chai tea shipped from India. She was carrying with her two small dye-cutout red castles, a tiny plastic princess figurine and a large stuffed pink hippo named Oscar. She was in her own little sphere; nothing could take her attention away as she transmogrified herself into the beautifully adorned princess and subsequent scenes played out for my viewing delight. The princess liked to hide inside the castles, when not lazily lounging atop the neck of her best friend for life, Oscar.  

What a wonderful way to experience life, with not a worry in the world –  gratitude for everything – as it is meant to be – as seen through the irreproachable guilt-free eyes of luminous God-like purity. As is with the perfect divine order of the universe, to kids all things in sight are enchantingly inter-connected, infinitely interchangeable: everything is faultlessly synchronistic, according to their juvenile eyes. As adults we lose the ability to perpetuate the allure and excitement, reverence for the wonderment of the omnipresent supernatural, the omnipotent attendance forever surrounding us on this spinning hot rock.

When the myriad priceless royal scenarios ran dry, off she went frolicking in the rain puddles from an earlier downpour. Nothing mattered to her at that time, succumbed by the instantaneous consciousness of excitement and untold astonishment that aimlessly splashing about in water can illicit – she was living unknowingly in the present. She was experiencing her life in the now, without a care for any distractive foreign stimuli. In sports psychology this is referred to as ‘being in the zone.’ Children do not need to practice mindfulness, it comes preternaturally. They can find untold joy in the tedious hum-drum of life.

Soon after my respite, it was time to head off to the corner market to get some sugary foodstuffs for the evening. I asked Ivanka if she wanted to join me. She finds immense happiness in helping assist others in need. I barely had finished my question and she was already bursting with fiery elation. She insisted on unlocking our front gate and opening the heavy metal door for me to exit safely in my wheelchair. Once at the store, she was unwavering about wanting something sweet. She wasted no time in finding the most decadent chocolate and nut ice cream bar in the store – while grinning an ear-to-ear smile to boot.

She was over the moon that her neighbor not only bought her small delights each day but that he also took her to the store and gave her full consideration of choice over which treat(s) she received. As she was always so well behaved, she was never in lack of favor. She was overflowing with gratitude the whole walk home; replete with absolute authentic gratefulness. We give to others in life to bring them a smile but also because it makes us happy, even releasing feel-good chemical hormones in our brain – a type of a ‘mental-gasm.’ The more you assist others in life, the better you feel. Give it a whirl sometime.

Some other days we would just chat about her day or homework or dreams of the future. It goes wholly without saying her biggest dream is to be a princess, living in an enchanting castle.  In the middle of our conversations, as soon as something caught her attention, without haste or hesitation, hurriedly she would run off with a sparkle in her eye – most often to something small an adult would overlook – such as the blossom of a new flower, an unknown bug or an impending rain storm. Nothing is off limits to the imagination of children; mysterious and otherworldly creation is always at the forefront of contingency.

As adults we have lost our effervescent God-innocence, our admiration and fascination at everything our eyes see, the thrill of new smells and adventure of new tastes, the spectacular feeling of living in a world that truly is our playground – we have lost our ability to find pleasure in living life, in appreciating the small things, in not yearning for tomorrow – in our ability to live in the now. We are too busy living in the past (depression) and the future (anxiety). We have been trained like Pavlov’s dog, responding to the bell, under the choking societal confines and rules meant to keep you a caged and obedient robot.

Tat Tvam Asi – “thou art that” in Sanscrit – the relationship between the Absolute and the individual in Hinduism. You are me, and I am you – we are the same, one shared conscious – undefined indescribable mysterious energy: God. We are all in the same boat; when the water rises, all boats rise. Children live their lives God-like, only for the present moment, able to metamorphose no end of marvel and suspend judgment enough to find the divine touch in all things. Buddhists speak on the beginners mind, being a child that knows nothing, seeing the glory of God’s existence and creation enveloping us at all times.

Children are naturally aligned by love; they are born knowing no different. Children are a by-product of what they learn and mimic from parents and peers. Over time this view becomes adulterated with the stresses and responsibilities of living in a vessel – an ethereal body covered in a meat-draped costume, on a hot boulder of magma flying through space; in a life where happiness is incessantly chased but often eluded; in an era with more wealth and access to information in all of history, yet we do all we can to avoid from plumbing the intense chasmic ineradicable depths of our heart and soul to find our “self.”

The mind itself is incapable of answering the bigger esoteric questions of humanity – the riddles of the universe are unanswerable. Dr. Seus considered adults as “outdated children.” Life does not come with an open guide book. If it did, life would be boring: one would never face challenges or obstacles that impel him to find out who he is, essentially what he is made of, or his eventual primary purpose. Neither fruitless exoteric inquiry nor intellect is sufficient; it is only through probing inspection of the heart that one can attain inner peace, contentedness, happiness. Children, with minds still unmolded, innately live thru heart-conscious, spending everyday living by way of perpetual stimuli and emotions, not intellect.

For it is through the profound innocence of solipsism, being the center of the world, that allows for the exploration of the child by dint of interaction with their environment and others, concluding that he is not the world but a part of it – his own little person. Children have no natural inborn prejudices or set ideations of things, people and places – they are pure of heart. This allows them to see others through a prism of love, ultimately teaching them that the world is smiles and laughter. Over time this innocence of sight loses focus to living life and how we perceive it; the mundane daily responsibilities of adulthood.

We are indescribably complex spiritual beings of light, living out this flash of a lifetime in spirit school on earth. We are created in God’s image of pure light, an imperceptible invisible vibration of flawless love, but the farther we suppress the self through the busyness and stresses of everyday life, the multitude of contemptible vices, whether psychological, mental, social, chemical or other, at all times losing sight of the “I” behind the “I,” we corrupt our child’s mind  – which is perfectly illustrated by Sri R. Maharshi’s instruction: “Just Be” –  therefore inflating the egoic conscious, moreover reducing our supernal sub-conscious valve, and to a great extent constricting the consummate symbiosis, the indelible connection to the Absolute source, our higher-self, our not-self, our cosmic-conscious, our super-conscious, God.

The older we get the further removed we are from the feeling of being a child awestruck by our intense surroundings. We no longer see life as simple – we treat it too seriously. We forget that we are all actors in a play of cosmogenic proportions. As you move forward, forging an onerous course on the road less traveled, the eternal quest of illumination of the heart, consider once more being a kid again, finding your inner-child, discovering your inner-Christ, your inner-God-conscious. Finding the child within will evermore reignite your soul and help you find bewilderment in everything you see and experience in life. So what if people think you are strange – the enchanting star-filled possibilities are without limit.

It all starts with being a child. What are you waiting for? Go be a child again. Your Happy Meal awaits!

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

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Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on IrelandSpainSweden,  BelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermanyNew HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

2021 – Forget your resolutions, affirmations and manifestations; You have your agenda in life and life has its own: Never tie a bow around it!

As we approach the New Year, it is a time of introspection, where we look back on the prior year with either regretful dismay or joyous glee, a period when the future, though uncertain, holds a refreshing breath of hope and promise, when we get a short respite to reassess where we are in life and where we’d like to be, beware jumping to any conclusions or having set attachments to any outcomes, as it is highly likely, all resolutions, daily affirmations and drive-through-Guru manifestations aside, that what events and actions you think will occur this year most likely will not result in the wishes you so desire.

At this point you are probably thinking that is a bold statement for one to make. It is. But there is truth behind it. For, we are not in control of our lives nor our minds in the ways we think [and have become accustomed] or feel we are. Alone, almost ninety percent of what we do on a daily basis is done without our knowing, our conscious willing, as we are on auto-pilot. Our mind and what we know is of a system that is in itself incapable of answering the biggest questions, for how can a system think outside of itself, it is self-contradictory and paradoxically absurd. Most modern ideas on decision theory, the what, why and how we reach them, have now been debunked by the likes of Gladwell, R Wright and Kahneman.

The cultural heuristics alone at play, if appropriately understood and applied to any said period, would make the average person rethink how their mind works. Many of the ways we come to decisions are out of our control; and they are made before we are even aware – as if pre-programmed in our subconscious. So, where then are decisions made? And how are they made? We know only one side of the equation. We know why we see the color red but we do not know why it is red. Other than outside environmental factors, affecting the person through epigenetics, imprinting memories from emotions and context links, the brain itself is only a machine good for calculations, logic and reasoning; otherwise, it is an unnecessary, stressful and anxiety loaded ping-pong machine filled with unfathomable confusion.

2020 has been a year for the history books, a year millions would rather have forgotten ever happened. But we cannot – we cannot change anything that happens in the universe or in our own lives even, we can only change our reaction, our attitude and perspective. We can only live in the present, the now – we have no choice, it is impossible to live in the past or future, there is only the present, and the present is now. As the ten-year anniversary of my horrific accident comes to pass, rendering me quadriplegic below the neck, waking up in a cold dark inner-city trauma ward with a priest at my side, it reminded me that we have our agenda in life, but life has its own – and guess whose wins, every time? Dare to guess?

“Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting.”

—  Marcus Aurelius

Once we are knocked down in life we have a choice, we can either choose to stand [or try] back up again, refusing to yield a victim, choosing instead to become a survivor by pushing forward and finding purpose and meaning in life, or lay down, crying “poor me,” allowing ourselves to wistfully blow abound in a blizzard of overly-emotional ‘snowflakes,’ offended by every little one of life’s idiosyncrasies, creating a world of delicate little ‘flowers,’ where no one can speak their mind or truth without causing harsh judgment or irreparable psychological damages to a ruling generation already in need of increased self-worth and inner-confidence. If there was ever a doubt, go read Jordan Peterson of the “true North.”

When I went out that Christmas week night with three girlfriends I had no idea I would wake up severely injured. Well, I was almost lost on the trauma table four times so I guess it was a bit worse than was originally thought. Most are not found under a moving train and live to talk about it, let alone become eighty-four percent recovered through a long torturous road of recovery and healing – resulting in a book. In due accorded time, I fully plan to walk and run again. It is through Doing The Dirty Dishes of life that one achieves something of any real integrated value or virtue – anything really worth having in life. 

But, did I have a choice? Do any of us have a choice what [personally] happens to us in life? Are we mere products of fate, pre-destined to be a certain someone or somebody? How much of it is in our control? Does free will exist, or is it the greatest invention of the mind since Siegfried thought he could befriend a wild white tiger – crude bold trickery of the mind? This is not the appropriate space or place to address such lengthy complex subjects or concerns, as they are worthy of their own book chapter each, however it is important that they have some mention. Had I not gone out that night to party and celebrate the success of my new business venture would I have still have ended up in a wheelchair? The answer is YES.

One could go so far as to the hard-determinism view on life, where Elon Musk, a huge proponent and supporter of simulation theory, where it is believed our whole lives are being lived out through a VR headset, sitting in a comfortable cosmo chair, somewhere in a universe conference room, believes we see and experience modern life and reality – virtually – the “ultimate reality.” It is no wonder he wants [and will] to take us to Mars one day in our future, our lifetime. Not that determinism, the doctrine that states that all actions are outside the will of humans, is flawed. Free will is a phantasm of the brain.

The existential and corporal illusion of free will once discovered is overtly disappointing, and at the same time covertly surprising; but once fully understood, an [third] eye-opening occurs, an enlightening and freeing of the mind and all its constraints. Along with believing we have control over our lives, they are the two most critical elements in contributing to the massive increase and ramped rise in stress and anxiety in modern society. There is no need to worry or stress, you have no control over any of your life, including your thoughts. We do not live in the universe; the universe lives within us.

“Fate leads him who follow it, and drags him who resists.”

—  Plutarch

Your life was pre-planned long ago at a meeting somewhere and sometime in the universe. It might have been near your home planet, or somewhere else of past assimilation or experience, but you were there in pure soul-spirit-form and agreed to every little facet of your life. In pre-birth soul planning you planned every part of your life, every last detail, from whom would be your parents, brother, who you will marry, kids or not, divorce, disease, accidents, graduations, travel, likes and dislikes – nothing is left out, or to chance. You spend all your lives surrounded by the same tribe of people, interchanging roles in each lifetime. So in this lifetime your mother could have been your brother in a past life, other-where.

Ever wonder sometimes when you wish to give up, when you ponder taking your own life through suicide, that there is this small flame deep inside that still burns on, a dim pilot that gives you a flicker of hope, a connection to something, a something familiar that makes you feel as if it will all be ok? When you intuit such feelings, even those you feel as you are committing wrongs, there are multiple reasons other than your inner body’s feeling of dis-agreement, they are also influenced through angel, spirit and ancestral guides, as well as your inner Holy Spirit, higher-self, inner-spirit-being, conscious existence – God, and the inexhaustible wheel of karmic debt self-balancing and inescapable cycle of reincarnation.

For those who question fate, and especially for those who believe in [what others blindly tell them] self-manifestation, for those who think you can (or sell other “sheep” into slaughter) do and become anything you wish, or order from the fast food universe, never having done the “actual” inner-work to achieve the desired results, who occupy their time being narcissistic, self-centered and egoistic, have not gone deep within their heart – into their soul – try temping it and see what results. Thus differently, without giving up control in life and what it brings us daily, it is impossible to garner the said outcome cleverly sold to you. That is for those who see success in the most verdant sense, not riches of the heart.

“Everything hangs on one’s thinking…A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is. “

—  Aristotle

For those who think that success, since in the modern world he with the biggest and most toys wins, the prevailing current ethos of our society where we elevate the superficial and reward the shallow, in constant need of daily emotional affirmation, is the result of untold selfless hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, Sisyphus grit and determination, are in for a shock. It is not due to their hard work, lack of personal conviction or endless resolve. The Bill Gates and Oppenheimers of the world owe their success to a complex sinew of universally inter-woven and inter-connected ensemble of synchronistic events.

Resolutions are also a waste – as if the habit, the base of the addiction or pattern, is not changed, so too will the results remain unchanged – rendering them worthless. Otherwise, beware, by definition, if you continue to do the same thing each day and yet wake up the next day expecting different results, one may be labeled insane. There can only be one Michael Jordan, no one else. Focus on yourself, figuring out who you are, why you are here and your passion and purpose, for everyone else is already taken.

Free will does not exist; it is a mental construct of the mind – same as linear time. They are two sides of the same coin – multiple choices in the tree of life, insofar all decisions lead to the same place, your fate.  You become what you are meant to become, even if you take a few detours on the way. You might even have an Unbreakable Mind and choose the road less traveled. It might take more lifetimes as Samsara plays itself out but, eventually once the lessons of earth are learned, you vibration increases manyfold. To begotten one must beget. Life will not come to you, you must go to it – what you put in, you get out.

All the ascended masters over time, whether Jesus, Buddha or Krishna, have increased their frequency and sprung forth their vibration not by logging onto “Rock-sta-app,” wishing they owned a large Mc-mud-hut atop a large desert rock outcrop – replete with haboob window-covers, through manifestation, by endless prayer (as if it is a list; as if God does not already know your wants and concerns), through daily affirmations (which have been proven to have little value outside the warm-fuzzies), or by the hand of any number of self-ordained – fill-in-the-blank on any social media type – life and success coaches.

These are the newly ordained graduating class of ass-hats, requiring  self-sacrificial thorns, a lamb of the self-crucified sub-group of those who have who have in life only successfully achieved mid-life crisis, a never-ending link in the infinite self-help movement societal noose, where a license found in a Cheerios box is no longer par excellence, however thoroughly ensured you are of impossible results via their Facebook PhD – the same group who they themselves have not walked the path by way of traumatic mistake, planned purpose or even happenstance, yet believe themselves worthy of guiding, or even worse, advising others on life – incessantly selling you inbox success and happiness. It is condescending and arrogant to think you know of another’s life better than he himself does; or that you affect change.

“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”

—  Epictetus

Whether I went out that frigid December night ten years ago in Philadelphia or not, I still would be injured, in a wheelchair at this time, unable to walk. If it were not the Friday night Express Train tragic accident, it would have been the Saturday morning bus smash incident – it was fate I would end up where I am now. There are no mistakes in life – or chance meetings of places or people of our collective memory. No mud; no lotus. Everything in our lives is inter-connected, with limitless imagination and possibility, as the trees in your backyard are inter-twined and co-dependent – one cannot escape the eternal condition and balance of our own personal karma – each lifetime and lesson must be lived out.

The meaning of life is just that: life – living. It is an experiential process that requires your participation. Sure, fate will bring us to where we are going, and we will get there, eventually, but only first by getting your hands dirty, Doing The Dirty Dishes of life, do you advance. Think of life as a garden, you can either till the soil, providing the proper earth loving nutrients and sunlight, so splendid flowers of love, support and friendship can take root and develop and grow into healthy and mature, bright and beautiful shining souls, or you can pay it no mind, denying it the necessary inner-self-love and natural needed nutrients to bring the plant, your life, to fruition. Life can and will, and is almost guaranteed, change in a just a flash of an eye – if only the Local Train! In life, by the way, your agenda ne’er wins: Never tie a bow around it.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.