Fishing For Soul

Angling for Spiritual Reconnection

Archive for Spirituality Stories

What Do You Expect?

The New York City subway system is one of my greatest teachers.

The other night I was waiting for the #3 train to take me from 14th St. to my stop uptown in Harlem. The #3 is an express train and on a good night I can make it uptown in less than 30 minutes. Alas, this was not a ‘good’ night – all express and local trains were switched to the local track.

“Well,” I thought angrily, “now it’s going to take me longer to get home than I expected, and I’ve got to pack my bag and prepare my lunch for tomorrow. This sucks. I probably won’t get to bed until 1am.”

As the subway moved slowly uptown I became more irritated. “This train should be moving faster!”

At 23rd St., 34th St., Times Square and several other stops the train was delayed and sat motionless with the doors open. “Those doors should be closing now,” I said aloud.

“Really?” answered my voice in my head. “Should the train really be doing anything but what it’s doing now? You could get up and go to another subway line, take a bus or a cab, or even walk home. What you are doing now is painful.”

I took a deep breath and sat up, long and tall, in my seat. I had been leaning, knees on thighs, shoulders hunched and forward with my head in my hands, rubbing my furrowed brow. I looked at the clock on my Blackberry. I had been lost in stressful thoughts about the train (and a few other things that my negative thinking dug up) for nearly 30 minutes and my body was showing me what happens when my mind takes a stroll into the land of expectation.

“If you think you can lead a happy life by going through your days with a list of expectations, please think again.

There is nothing that is guaranteed to go exactly as you think it should.

‘My kids should behave.’ ‘My husband should keep the bathroom clean.’ ‘The trains should be on time.’ ‘Everyone should be happy.’

Those ‘shoulds’ can lead to disappointment, frustration and anger.

What if you just let things be? Or, ask that things be done or kept a certain way without expecting that they will.

Release your self from the nightmarish grip of expectation and you will find that your ride home is always pleasant and that your heart is filled with gratitude for the way things are. What else is there but what is?” – At One

What expectations are you harboring?

Today’s Powerful and Positive Affirmation is:
“I am open to experiencing everything as it is.”

Thanks go out to Jean at Nurture’s Path for giving me an opportunity to see and say what I’m good at, clients who teach me valuable lessons, a sweaty Spin class, friendly bank tellers, Sound Circle participants who fill the room with sounds of love, waking up to the sun, new and prosperous business, my book agent, editor and publisher, Narrativ Inc., and a chocolate-free day.

Thanks and peace to all.

Joe

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Your Impulse: Can You Just Give In To It?

Yesterday I wrote about following my impulse in writing. Without a known topic I gave myself permission to let my fingers and hands find their way to the computer keys and I let whatever wanted to appear on the screen show itself. What came out was a few lines about nothing.

Sitting down to write today’s piece I gathered my mental notes and news statistics about the blockbuster film Avatar. When I thought I was ready to type and fill up the page with some cohesive verse about the importance of a movie like Avatar my mind went blank. Then I heard a familiar voice say, “Follow your impulse and do what you did yesterday.”

I ignored the voice, just like I did yesterday, just as I’ve done a million times in my life. Hmm… And at what price?

I’ve decided to embark on what may turn out to be an interesting experiment and let this weeks posts write themselves. It sometimes happens like that anyway. When I go into ‘the creativity zone’ I often wonder who is doing the writing, talking, drumming. singing, etc. Let’s see what comes through today.

“Whenever you find your self resisting your true nature, you may experience discomfort, doubt, fear or uncertainty. Can you really be who you say you are when your heart and mind are at odds with each other, when your ‘true’ self is left to languish?

What on Earth would your life be like if you chose to follow just one impulse each day? Just ONE impulse out of the multitude that attempts to be seen and heard in a 24-hour period. Do you think it would be any more painful to follow an impulse than not to? What are you afraid of? Being wrong? Being right? Failing? Succeeding?

What if you TRUSTED your self enough to break out of the illusion of beliefs that have kept you from living where and how you want to live? Can you imagine what your life – your world – would look like? Can you imagine? Can you? We invite you to TRY.”

OK! There you have it.

Today’s affirmation: “Positive energy flows through me all ways. I live my life the way I want to.”

Today I give thanks to another impulse, my open heart and mind, the thrill of giving in to something that is not so new, anyone and everyone who has ever inspired me by allowing their impulsive genius to shine through, ‘negative’ assessments, my teachers at the New York Shamanic Circle, the Skype video cam, curiosity, chocolate, and my healthy body.

Amen.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

It’s Up to You. Be Stupid, Part 2

Those Diesel ads have gotten to me again. Now they have me thinking about my Action/Attraction Plan and my tendency to procrastinate (as duly noted by my ex the other night).

Who’s going to help you reach your goals? How will you be accountable?

“Whenever you set your mind to something there is a chain reaction in the Universe. All systems are set to go, and the ultimate player in the game is you.

You determine how fast or slow the results come. You determine the outcome. You resist or persist.

Ask your self: What do I really want? How do I want that to come to me? What can I do to make it easier for all of my allies to assist me?

Remove any and all obstacles by allowing your self to do what you do best: Create.

Build your Trust Fund by taking positive and powerful steps EVERY DAY until you feel certain that you are where you want to be and can fully support your dream with your positive thoughts, feelings and actions.

Commit to asking for help – all ways and every way.

Let it flow, let it flow and let it go.”

Here are some affirmations that may help you:

1) ‘I am all ways open to receiving what is best for me.’

2) ‘Everything I desire is mine.’

3) ‘There is help for me everywhere I turn.’

And so it is.

Today I am grateful for the ability to stay on track without looking back, Dona Leova’s protection bath, a clear vision and voice, prosperous new business deals, love without conditions, dating, abundant resources that support my dreams, my book agent, editor and publisher, deep sleep.

Paz y luz!

Joe

How Is Your Stamina?

It’s winter. I need to sleep. Not hibernate, just get a solid eight hours of sleep so that I feel rested when I wake up. It keeps my mind sharp and my spirit peaceful. Without the proper amount of sleep my stamina suffers.

Lately I’ve been staying up far too late for my own good. “But I’m working on my creative projects,” I rationalize. In the morning I manage to be quite chipper, but as the day progresses I notice that I am a bit ‘off’, and the actions I want to take in regard to manifesting my goals do not get done.

What to do?

I have a deck of Animal Medicine Cards and on an impulse yesterday (btw, my #1 new year resolution/commitment is to follow my impulses) I drew a card. Elk, the symbol for Stamina, appeared. The message that stuck out for me was, “Elk is telling you to look at how you choose to create your present pathway, and how you intend to perpetuate it to reach your goal. Your best weapon is the same as Elk’s: to stop when you need to, to persist when you need to, and to allow room for change and exchange of energies.”

The message always shows up at the right time.

And now I’ll take the advice that came from someone I follow on Twitter who posted a quote by Pablo Picasso: “”Action is the foundational key to all success.” and go to sleep.

Today I send my gratitude to all who dream big dreams and take empowering action to see them through, to Robin Coley, my landlord, my neighbors, all the folks who run the New York Sports Club at 145th St. and who gave my friend an extra day on her visitors pass, the authors and artist who created the Medicine Cards that I’ve had since 1993, my clients, new and prosperous business opportunites, my home at the beach, my book agent, editor and publisher.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

Come Out Of Hiding

My friend Greg has declared this year to be The Year of Profound Visibility. When I read his blog about the topic , it prompted the following meditation message.

“When you say that you want to be seen and heard, the immediate response of the Universe is to provide you with an abundance of opportunities to be that.

When you say that you want to come out of hiding and let the world see you for who you are, the Universe responds by bringing you home to you, asking you to acknowledge the beauty, the intelligence, the wit and the charm that is you.

When you say that now is the moment, the Universe says, “Every moment is the moment, every moment that passed was THE moment, and now you are knowing that.”

Let the Universe (which includes your friends, family, co-workers, the person you bump into on the street, the traffic, the sunshine, the clouds, the mountains, the streams, the stones, the animals at the zoo, etc.) show you who you are. Your job is to embrace it (or not!) – ALL OF IT – with love. You love you and all that is around you, and then you will be seen and heard and felt and acknowledged and loved and welcomed, and then – surprise! – none of it will even matter because there is no one, no thing that can see you or hear you but you.

Come out of hiding. Stop hiding from your self and open your arms to All That Is. What else is there?”

OK! I’ll meditate on that.

Thanks to Greg for the profound inspiration, Fred for the focus that comes with a daily action call, Robin for sending and resending info that sometimes eludes me, Holly for cooking, my guru cat for teaching me about asking for what I want, my hands and feet, my breath, my heart and lungs, my Y students, and a good nights sleep.

You can read more about Greg’s success plan on his web site,The Gay Guys Love Coach.

Are You Ready For The Big One?

“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark.”
– David Ogilvy

I can’t help myself. I’m thinking big and I’m excited about it. It’s a new year and a new decade and I’m ready for it to be HUGE. How about you?

“Be imaginative, bold and brave! The results may surprise you.” – Jim Allen

On New Year’s Eve I began a three-day Visioning Retreat (brought on by my desire to ring in the new year in quiet contemplation and the worst case of sneezing and sniffling I’ve had in a long time). It was a continuation of a process that had begun just before Christmas. I took time to reflect on the past year and ask myself where I want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years and how I might get there. It was a rewarding experience and now, on Jan. 4, 2010, as I embrace more fully my brilliance as a speaker, writer, instructor and guide, and prepare to ‘take the show on the road’, I ask myself to do exactly what I ask my clients to do:

1) Tell the Universe what you want (in a positive, ‘I AM POSSIBLE and DESERVING’ voice.)
2) Make a commitment to yourself and the manifestation of your goal.
3) Stay focused on your rich vision.
4) Take empowering action toward your goal everyday, and in every possible way.
5) Allow yourself to receive all that you ask for.
6) Be grateful for everything.
7) Acknowledge yourself.
8) Celebrate each and every achievement.

With those Law of Attraction principles set in motion I fully realize and accept that the Universe has many forms of showing me the way, and that each moment on the path is beautiful and perfect if I choose to see it like that. As Pema Chodron says, “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh.”

What BIG, BOLD idea, dream, goal is inspiring you? What actions will you take to see it manifest?

And so it is.

Today I am grateful for big dreams, big actions and big results, unexpected colds that keep me at home, a clean and clutter-free office,
my support team (visible and invisible), hours and hours of music, candlelight, Yogi Tea, my book agent, editor and publisher, my motivational speaking gigs, an abundance of weekly clients, and smiles from strangers.

Thank YOU. Breathe peace!

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