Fishing For Soul

Angling for Spiritual Reconnection

Archive for New York City

Are You Doing It?

What are you doing now? Are you taking action toward your new years goals? Are you committed to getting past the 6-week mark that the majority of new year resolution makers fail to get beyond in order to see your dreams manifest?

The other morning before I left home for the day I spent some time working on my goal of decluttering my home office. It’s part of my overall Success Plan. My habit of piling papers is getting old (again) and I’m determined to stick to my new system. After setting a timer for 30 minutes to concentrate soley on ridding my space of the build-up, I picked up one paper at a time and did not pause until I found it a home – in the recycle bin, in a file, or elsewhere – anywhere but into another pile. At the end of the allotted time I had made great progress.

An hour later I was sitting on the downtown #3 train thinking about what I’d accomplished. I looked up and saw an advertisement for the School of Visual Arts. In bold letters was one word: do

How are you sticking to your goals? What’s your plan?

Below are four easy ways to stay motivated and on track:

1) Create a Vision Board that depicts your realized dreams in image form and post it in a prominent place in your home or office.
2) Begin or resume a daily practice of listening and sitting quietly for at least five minutes each day as you follow the flow of your breath and your thoughts. (Some people call this meditation.)
3) Call upon your support team, which could include friends, family, co-workers, a therapist, or spiritual guide when you feel out-of-sorts, confused, sad, happy, have had a breakthrough, would like company, are in need of a hug, want to share a dream, etc.
4) Acknowledge and celebrate all of your achievements.

Here’s a bit of inspiration from Tracy Chapman:

“If not now what then
We all must live our lives
Always feeling
Always thinking
The moment has arrived”

Today I am grateful to Barrett Benton for cleaning up my laptop and restoring my internet connection (call him for excellent tech service if you are in NYC), Holly for the laughs, company and food, my warm apartment, new beginnings, long walks on the beach that is within walking distance from my bungalow, Fairway Market, the MTA, all of the new places where I will be teaching this year, God, my book agent, editor and publisher.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

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!

Joe

‘Being’ in Action

acunpuncture

On Tuesday I had an acupuncture session scheduled for 6:30 P.M. On my way to my appointment I spoke to a friend and told her where I was headed. She asked if there was something wrong with me.

“There must be something wrong if you’re going to have acupuncture,” she said.

“Everything is fine,” I said. I was going to have a self-care, feel good, preventative medicine treatment and was very much looking forward to my session.

I bounded off the 6 train at 68th St. and Lexington Ave. and walked several blocks to the office of my gifted acupuncturist (who is also a good friend). I rang the bell and out walked Susan with a furrowed brow and a frown.

“I screwed up,” she said. Her regular Tuesday, 6:30 P.M. client, whom she thought was not coming this week, had shown up unexpectedly.

“He’s in there now. I didn’t know what to do. Can you wait until 7:30 and I’ll treat you then? I feel so stupid. I’m sorry.”

“Waiting an hour doesn’t work for me,” I told her. “Let’s talk tomorrow and reschedule.”

“Oh, Joe, I feel so awful.”

“It’s OK,” I assured her, knowing that my words may not soothe her.

I left the office as content and happy as ever. I spontaneously decided to walk north on 5th Avenue and give myself a chance to experience the sights and sounds there. What a gift! The taxis, buses, joggers, and dog walkers went about their business as I strolled. There was the Metropolitan Museum of Art without people or traffic in front of it, the Guggenheim Museum lit up and inviting me in to the Kandinsky exhibit, Central Park beckoning with the colors of fall leaves, doormen chatting on cell phones and hustling to help tenants with bags and kids.

kandinsky

“Look how this evening turned out,” I thought. “I’m so glad I took the time for this. This is my self-care session.” And off I went to Starbucks to sit, enjoy a cup of tea, and write.

“When you release expectation and allow your self to be present to what is, you marry mind and spirit. Giving your self a chance to ‘be’ is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give receive. What can you do now that is full of ‘being’?”

Amen!

Are you feeling stuck, unmotivated, or lost in a sea of fear-based thinking?

There are still a few spots left for my 30-Day, Small Group Magical Manifesting TeleCourse. Details below.

30-Day Magical Manifesting TeleCourse

This five-session Law of Attraction Coaching Intensive is designed to help you break through self-imposed barriers, get you focused on your J.O.B. (Joyful, Outrageous, Bliss), build your Trust Fund, and create more of what you want in your life.

When: Tue., Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24, & Dec. 1, 8: 30-9:30 P.M. ET

Where: TeleConference Line (phone # given upon registration)

Your Investment: $150 when you register and pay by Oct. 20th, $215 after Oct. 20th (Fee includes daily, inspirational updates, a 1:1 On-Track session, and ongoing support throughout the course.)

Registration and info: joemonkman@earthspiritworks.com, 917.609.5682

Today I am grateful to Susan for the opportunity to be in the practice of being, to the sights and sounds of a Fall evening in NYC, for my ability to say no, to Starbucks, morning laughs at the gym with the Diva of Harlem, thinking BIG, meditation, new business opportunities, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

What Is A Community?

community

There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.
– M. Scott Peck

On Wednesday night the Almost Economically Viable Community met in New York City. Almost Economically Viable is a social and business networking event that launched rather suddenly this past summer when I got together with three other people who wanted to share their unique gifts and bring entrepreneurs and others together in a setting that was interactive and a bit unusual, and that would help prove that ‘Networking Doesn’t Have To Suck.’ We succeeded and found ourselves referring to the participants as ‘The AEV Community’.

Was building a community our goal? Honestly, I don’t remember (Robin, Melea, Sarah, help me out here!), but it has happened nonetheless.

“Frankly, if you create a great product, you may not be able to stop a community from forming even if you tried. By contrast, it’s hard to build a community around mundane and mediocre crap no matter how hard you try,” says author Guy Kawasaki on his How to Change the World blog.

When I looked up the word community online I found these definitions:

1) a group of people living in a particular local area
2) a group of nations having common interests
3) (ecology) a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other

Social media marketing strategist Jacob Morgan writes, “I think it’s time we move away from defining a community as anything having to do with a physical presence at all. Sure that can be a factor, but in my mind a community is a collection or group of people that interact and share something in common. A community is actually best defined by the person being associated with a particular community.”

Think about people who are connected and who interact on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Those are online communities that are thriving.

When I facilitate workshops or healing circles, I like to remind people that for the time we are together, we are a community, and that the community may continue to evolve when the weekend or night is over.

What is your idea of community? What types of communities are you a part of? What community building action are you taking today?

Amen.

Today I am grateful for the AEV Community, Robin, Melea and Sarah, a full stomach, endless amounts of cash pouring into my hands and my bank accounts, fantastic new business opportunities, a steady flow of heat and hot water, lilies, New York City, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

PS – I am facilitating a community building workshop of sorts for gay men called The Cosmic Orgasm at Easton Mountain in upstate New York Nov. 13-15. Maybe you’ll be part of that ecstatic weekend.

Community. Common unity. Communion.

What Do You Want?

follow your dreams

Eight years ago the events of 9/11 forced many people to reevaluate their lives. In New York City I witnessed that first-hand as we strove to restore a sense of calm and purpose after that chaotic day.

Now that we have marked yet another 9/11 anniversary and are watching summer fade into autumn, it is the perfect time to once again ask the all-important question, “What do I want?”

‘When you take the time to question your dreams, your desires, your hopes, your fantasies, you give your self an opportunity to realign your self with the positive flow of energy and abundance that surrounds you.

What does that thing that you want in your life look like, feel like, taste like, smell like? Can you imagine it? What affect does the fulfillment of your dream have on other areas of your life? Are you, right now, fully aligned with what you want? If not, how can you come into right relationship with it?

Of course it does not matter if what you want is a material item or not. Anything that you desire is attainable when you engage your self and the abundant powers of the Universe.’

I like to use the following guidelines when I am in the process of goal setting and achieving:

1) Ask for what you want. State your intention/goal/desire clearly, in present tense terms and with as much detail as possible.

2) Stay focused on your rich vision.

3) Take empowering action toward your goal on a daily basis.

4) Allow yourself to receive all that you ask for.

5) Be grateful for everything, every step of the way.

6) Acknowledge and celebrate the powerful, abundant manifester that you are.

Those Law of Attraction principles are easy to follow. You may not realize that you adhere to several of those steps whenever you engage in the most mundane activities, such as going to Starbucks for your daily cup of coffee. And if you can manifest that cup of coffee, why not practice manifesting something that seems much bigger?

Remember: Positive Action will always lead to a Positive Outcome.

If you are in NYC on Wed., Sept. 16th and would like some FREE guidance on getting what you want, as well as insight into Law of Attraction principles, I will be facilitating a FREE Empowerment Life Coaching Class at the McBurney YMCA (125 W. 14th St. @ 6th Ave.) from 6:15-7:15 P.M. Show up with a notebook and pen, and an open heart and mind and you are guaranteed to walk away with something that you can immediately apply to your life.

Today I am grateful for new business opportunities, Macy’s, Eduardo’s tie expertise, the excitement and silliness of True Blood, Earth, breath, music, money, protein, Be Open T’s, my computer, this blog, Melea and Robin, my parents and siblings, God, a peaceful planet, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace!

Joe

How to Have a ‘Laborless’ Labor Day Weekend

hammock

Well here it is, Labor Day Weekend, a time of year that I have often dreaded; the beginning of the end of my favorite season. The good news is that I am not feeling the dread this year. I’m welcoming September with open arms.

Since I’m staying local this holiday, I have been thinking of ways to have a ‘laborless’ weekend. How can I remain active, enjoy myself immensely, and not get caught up in any unwanted business? Maybe it’s about the ‘not doing’, truly letting go of the everyday stuff, and being spontaneous and open to something new or unusual. That sounds like a good intention.

“When you give your self permission to let go and to allow that which is new to come in, you give your self an opportunity to expand your horizons, to expand the energy of heart and mind, to be at one with what is and what could be. You create moments that are fresh and exciting, and that can lead to more and more and more fresh and exciting moments. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of your life was lived that way? Do you think it is possible?

Disengage from the norm and you begin to engage something much bigger, something that just may look and feel like the life you have been wanting for a very long time. Go on and try it. What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose.’ – At One

Amen.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to sleep a bit later in the morning, a quiet Friday in NYC, September sunshine, a cool breeze, a good book to read, laughter with friends, the beach, family, renewed relationships with people from the past, my book agent, editor, and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace!

Joe

Do You Accept or Resist Change?

evolution

“See yourself as changing all of the time. Encourage change in others. When you hear yourself uttering a fixed opinion, stop.” – Deepak Chopra

The weather in New York City has been hot and humid this week and we’ve had some amazing thunderstorms. That’s not unusual for late July, at least not from my 19 years of experience as a NYC resident.

Hot. Humid. Storms. Summer. New York City. It makes sense to me.

I heard a bunch of people complaining about the weather the other day and it got me thinking:

EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY.

EVERYTHING IS IN A STATE OF CONSTANT CHANGE.

Then I was tested on my belief of those thoughts.

This afternoon I stepped out of the subway and into a downpour. I chose to walk in the rain because I wanted to get to my appointment. At first it was easy and enjoyable to wind my way through the dwindling crowds on the sidewalk. It was like a game.

And then the negative thoughts kicked in. I became very annoyed because the condition of my clothes was changing very fast. My shoes, legs, back and part of my bag were getting soaked (an umbrella only covers so much) and I started to think about what I would look like when I arrived at my destination.

I screamed, “I hate this fucking rain!”

rain

As the words emerged I laughed and calmed down. What could I do? The reality was that I was very wet. Soon I would be out of the rain and the drying process would begin. The rain and my wet clothes were a temporary condition. As the saying goes: Nothing lasts forever.

I’m excited about change theses days. I’ve been asking the Universe to help me transform some of my limiting thoughts and behaviors and I’m seeing that my efforts have started to pay off (despite that incident in the rain today!).

At times I’ve resisted the change that I’ve asked for and it has always felt uncomfortable. Why is that?

Here is an explanation:

“Whenever you are consciously asking for an element of your world to expand or contract, you are literally asking your self to expand or contract. The part of you that has lived for many years in the comfort or discomfort of a seemingly steady state often does not want anything to contradict it. Letting go of limitations and allowing something new into your sphere sometimes upsets the apple cart.

As soon as you ‘wake up’ to what is happening you can begin to experience the ease of the transition. It is as if your brilliant mind finally has accepted the new thought pattern. ‘Oh, yes,” it says. “I asked for that. Welcome!” And then the rest of you rushes in to catch up until all of you are playing happily on the same field once more.

It has been our experience that human beings can be very stubborn when it comes to change. The idea of newness often overwhelms and it seems easier for one to retreat into the old pattern and vibration, or so they think.

What would it take for you to become at one with what is happening? How still can you be on the inside when things seem to be spinning all around you?

Chaos is a state of mind. The balance that you seek lives IN YOU. Train your self to always go to that place and you will discover one of the richest treasures of all time.” – With never ending gratitude in an ever evolving world, we are happy to be ‘At One’.

I ask for change and it comes. I don’t ask for change and it comes. I can’t stop it. What a relief to know that! I think I’ll focus on something else now.

Amen!

Today I am grateful for Deepak Chopra (I found the quote above on Deepak’s Twitter page as I was formulating thoughts about this blog. I love when that happens!), Asher’s intuitive healing gifts, thunderstorms, umbrellas, bright blossoms, the smell of marigolds, fresh salad, new business opportunities, my book editor and publisher, and my parents.

Thanks and peace!

Joe