Fishing For Soul

Angling for Spiritual Reconnection

Archive for Judgement

You Irritate the S— Out of Me!

Life is fascinating.

I went to the Cosi café on 13th St. and Broadway on Monday afternoon to have some tea and write about allowing and accepting. As I waited for my computer to boot up I heard a woman sitting near me say to her male companion, “Do you have to say that? You irritate the shit out of me.” Perfect fodder for my blog, I thought.

When I logged on to Cosi’s free internet service, I saw the slogan ‘Cosi: Life Should Be Delicious.’ Hmm… How can life be delicious when we are irritated by the behavior of another?

“When you say that someone is irritating you, you are certainly not allowing them or your self to enjoy what is. A more honest and responsible way to express that would be, ‘I see that I am not happy right now because my thoughts about what you said are irritating me.’

When you identify the source of your irritation, anger, sadness, jealousy, resentment, or fear you can instantly loosen the grip that YOUR THOUGHTS have on you. Yes, it is ultimately your thoughts about any situation that lead to negative feelings and sometimes actions (and words) that cause you to look away from the infinite beauty and excitement of any moment.” – At One

My friend Eduardo is a great teacher. Last year he told me that his goal in life was to be happy. I see that happiness keeps finding him. He holds the intention of happiness and it shows up. Perfect and easy (if you let it be).

We are what we think. What we focus on grows. That’s the Law of Attraction and Manifestation. How is it working for you?

Today’s Powerful and Positive Affirmation is:
“I allow All That Is to be All That Is.”

My thanks go out today to Sunday’s powerful At One Alliance; a pleasurable, love-filled Valentine’s Weekend; coziness at Cosi; the NY Shamanic Circle; the world wide web; sunny days; an abundance of new and prosperous business, my book agent, editor and publisher; chocolate; a clear mind and open heart.

Thanks and peace to all!



Are You Living Peace? (Warning: This post contains strong language.)

“Motherfucking faggot,” I heard the man say as he barreled past.

“Is he talking to me?”

I looked around the subway car. There were four other people waiting for the #3 train to leave the 148th St. station, three women and a young man.

“Maybe he had a run-in with someone before he stepped into the train,” I assured myself.

A familiar uneasiness had crept in. I looked down the subway car at the big guy who had just sat down. He was staring at me. Or was he?

“Why are you looking down there, Joe?” I asked myself.

“What are you looking at fucking faggot?”

“I think he’s talking to me NOW!”

I pretended not to hear him and looked down at my Blackberry.

“Why am I nervous? Why the hell am I letting this guy upset me? Focus on something else, Joe. Be compassionate and tolerant, just like you think he should be. Do I LOOK gay? What am I saying? I AM gay. What the heck does ‘look gay’ mean? Great, now I’m thinking in stereotypes. Shit. Am I a stereotype? Am I dressed ‘gay’? Maybe it’s my shoes. Are my pants too tight? I’m sitting down, he can’t tell if my pants are tight. Mom once told me I looked like a girl in grade school. Where was that memory hiding? Remember when that guy called Byron Katie a fucking bitch? She said ‘Yes, thank you.’ Thank this guy for recognizing the truth: You are a man who has sex with men. So what? Oh, this is some conversation I’m having with myself. Compassion and tolerance, Joe, come on. Asshole. I could kick his ass. If I had a baseball bat I’d break his friggin’ skull. Asshole. I don’t need a bat, I’ll use my hands. Fucking asshole. He’s really messing with the wrong person.”

I laughed at myself. “Yeah, now I sound like him. Very good.”

I was so immersed in my violent, stress-inducing thoughts that I barely noticed my alleged gay-basher getting off the train. A deep breath. Now could I be tolerant and compassionate?

It’s a day later and I still don’t know if he was really looking at and talking to me. Funny what the mind can do.

How many gay men, people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, obese people, etc. experience what I did today? How many of us allow the kind of thoughts that I described to run rampant without taking a closer look at the source of the torture?

Why do we think that others must change for there to be peace? Like the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Will you let peace begin with you?

My affirmation for today is: ‘I am peace.’

Today I am grateful for the man on the 3 train, my brilliant mind, my loving heart, my fear and anger, my friends and family, gay men and women all over the world (Uganda, Rwanda!), warm clothes, Always Economically Viable, Robin Coley, Byron Katie, and this blog.

Thanks and peace to all!


Judge Me, Please! Part 2

I’ve been coming across a bunch of news articles and videos lately that are challenging the views of many Americans on race, sexuality, and religion: the debate over the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the antics of actor Sacha Baron Cohen as the gay character Bruno, and the Texas State Board of Education questioning whether to bring religious teachings more fully into public schools.

Those dialogues excite and encourage me. It reminds me that things truly are changing, and they are changing rapidly and publicly.

I have to admit that at times I have been shocked by the things that have come out of the mouths of ‘leaders’ and ‘pundits’. A Facebook friend brought a video clip from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to my attention. Maddow and her guest, fellow MSNBC correspondent Pat Buchanan, have a very heated discussion about Affirmative Action. I am glad to see that both Pat Buchanan and Rachel Maddow let their true selves shine.

Watching the clip below made me consider the moments when I think, feel, and act from a place of love or fear based on the story I tell myself and the world around me.

“Question your thinking, change the world,” says Byron Katie. Love doesn’t know judgement, it just accepts what is. Fear says, “You suck,” or “They are wrong.”

My meditation about this yielded the following answers:

“You are noticing a shift around you in part because you are changing your perspective. One cannot expect to grow in the physical world and wear the same pair of shoes from the age of 6 to 60. Why would you expect your spiritual growth to be any different? Your limiting views must change so that you can achieve the goals that you have set for your self. It really is very simple: You change, and the world around you as you once ‘thought’ it to be changes as well. As you continue to know your self and treat your self with abundant love, honor and respect, there is less and less room for you NOT to love, honor and respect others. Which will you choose: a vision of your self and the world that is critical and fearful, or a view that is expansive, loving, kind, generous and open all ways?” – At One

The practice continues…

Today I am grateful for provocative questions and answers, truthful friends, quiet afternoons, new business relationships, coconut water, blueberries, YouTube, WordPress, beautifully colored & inspirational Be Open T-shirts, constant change, and sobriety.

Thanks and peace!


Judge Me, Please! Lessons from Bruno and Byron Katie.

Curiosity got the best of me on Tuesday and I went to see Bruno, the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Cohen’s last movie was Borat and was quite controversial in it’s depiction of racism and bigotry in America. Bruno pushes many of the same envelopes.

As described by the web site, “Bruno follows the exploits of a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion reporter as he attempts to make it big in America.

The film has already caused controversy, with some of those duped by the character threatening legal action.

There has also been disquiet among some gay rights activists over the perceived negative way it portrays homosexuality.”

I understand why some people may find the character and the film offensive. Cohen, a talented improvisional comic, takes many of the most threatening gay male characteristics and shoves them down the viewer’s throat (so to speak).

What I came away from the movie with was the renewed sense that there are, and may always be, people who judge others based on sexuality, sex, skin color, financial situation, career, level of education, country of origin, religion, etc. No surprise there.

This past April I attended a weekend workshop led by the author and self-inquiry expert Byron Katie. At the end of the two-day experience, Katie asked the audience to insult her, to judge her.
byron kaite
“You think you know more than us,” yelled a woman.

“Yes. Thank you,” responded Katie after a brief pause and a breath.

“You think you’re better than us,” said another.

Again Katie nodded and replied, “Yes, thank you.”

“Katie, you’re a fucking bitch!” shouted a man in the front row.

Many in the audience gasped.

“Yes,” said Katie again before pausing. “I have sex with my husband and sometimes I’m bitchy. Yes. Thank you.”

The point of the exercise, according to the brilliant Byron Katie (my judgement), was to set an example of how one can choose to react to judgement. Katie noted that she always paused before responding. That and her answer of “Yes, thank you” acknowledged that at some point in her life she had, in the very least, the thought which matched the judgement.

She also explained that the usual reaction to the last person’s insult may have been to say, “Oh, did you hear him? How dare he say that to me?” All the while she would be gathering people on her side to prove how right she is. Meanwhile, the man is likely to gather people on his side and and do his best to convince them that he is right. Then both sides rally against the other. “And that is how war begins,” said Katie.

How can we loosen the grip that judgement has on us? I asked that question in meditation and this is what I heard:

“When you are threatened or insulted by the words or deeds of another, it may be a good time to reflect upon your own words and deeds. When was the last time you held judgement against someone? When did you last judge your self?

We would invite you to all ways start with your self. Look at the ways you judge and criticize YOU. If there is no self-critic, then how can there be one who criticizes others?

One of the beautiful things about human beings is that they are so outwardly different. How wonderfully creative and original Source is! And as the embodiment of Source, you are all the same ‘on the inside’. Look beyond the external and come to see for your self that a magnificent life awaits you, free of drama, insults, criticism, anger and despair.

Here, now, is an opportunity to grow into the best you, the brighest you, the lightest you. What are you waiting for?” – At One


Today I am grateful for the opportunity to know and love myself more deeply, for moments when I grow into the dreams I dream, for my friends and family all over the world, for provocative films, for freedom of speech, my ability to be who I am, for all the new business opportunities that await me, for my breath and my body.

Thanks and peace!