I once dated a girl who taught me about meditation. It changed my life. She taught me to be grateful, and to be very specific when expressing my gratefulness. Today being Thanksgiving, I decided to write a post, and be as specific as I can for the things that I am grateful for in my life.
I drove 10 hours yesterday from Huntersville, North Carolina to my hometown of Buffalo, New York in order to see my family, my dog, and a beautiful new baby that my best friend was blessed with recently. All while driving through the now brown, leafless mountains, even through the mountains at some points where man has conquered the impassable peaks with their machines. Winding my Dodge Journey along the West Virginia roads, wishing the wild flowers along route 19 we’re in full bloom. I dodged in and out of the holiday traffic in Pittsburgh, over the big blue bridge that always says to me you are two thirds of the way along. I reminisced through the old steel mill towns of Pennsylvania who’s skies are now all but absent of greenhouse gasses. I rolled into my home state of New York under cover of starless, cloudy, dark fall skies that reminded me why I choose to live where the sun almost always shines, and the stars almost never hide. All through the journey wherever possible I tried to keep my mind on things that I was grateful for in this life.
The thing that always comes to mind first is my family; my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, great nieces, great-nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, you get the idea. These are some of the things that make it hard to reverse the journey when it is time to leave. I thought a lot about my dog, and how much I miss him, and how I never intended it to be this long before he was back with me. I thought about friends new and old, and also the now absent friends who were taken well before I was ready to see them go. I thought about how blessed I am to be as healthy as I am, after abusing my vessel for so long. I thought about how lucky I am to be on the verge of an entirely new life, in a new place, and how blessed I am for having people that care for me there. I thought about my new job and how much more fulfilling it is than the old one, and how grateful I am that someone would take a chance on someone with absolutely no experience doing what I do, and less than a year later being able to manage my own crew and do it well. I also spent some time thinking about the future, and the things that I am grateful for that I have yet to receive. As the trip went on I spent a lot of time thinking about all the small things that I am blessed with; a place to stay, enough food to eat, the peace I have gained in my mind, the books I read, the music I hear, the art I see others and myself create, and a million other things that go through your mind as you’re staring between two lines.
Somewhere along the journey, I think around the middle of West Virginia after I stopped to gas up and wished about the wild flowers. I began to think about the things that are truly important in this world. Things like peace between us all, treating each other as one, the lives of all beings and the meaning of lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu. I started to realize that all of the stuff I was thinking in the beginning of the journey means nothing without this planet that we live on. Without Earth none of the things that we are all grateful for even exist. I decided to become more aware of that in everything that i do. We all seem to get distracted by things that are important also, but nevertheless much smaller than the health of the planet that we live on. We can divide the land, and make the laws, and elect people with agendas, but all of that means nothing because without the planet that we live on, we do not exist. It is very clear that we have hurt Mother Earth terribly in the short time that we have inhabited her land. In this coming year I hope that we can all learn to be more grateful for the one thing that makes all the other things we are grateful for possible. Please help, And next time you go to the voting booth thinking about electing someone because of their stance on this or that, please make sure you keep in mind the one stance that matters and be certain it is in alignment with the small stuff.
Peace love and light to you all, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Your world is so different than mine. I have just barely come to find, this world in my head that I create with my mind.
You’re all put together, so seemingly attached to your tethers. I’ve tried uncountable times to show others their feathers.
It only leads to nowhere, it gives no hope, just despair. Simply more broken hearts to repair.
So I’ll continue walking this path all alone, rather than break another heart, or my own. This is why I’m sure, how I’ve grown.
I wrapped you in my arms just one time. I could feel the rhythm of your heart entwine mine. The energy you feel when you find. Two longing souls that become aligned.
I rarely have anything bad to say about anything anymore. I know that allowing negativity into your life only attracts more negativity. This time, however, I just need to vent. First, some background to the story.
I decided close to a year ago that I was no longer happy with what I did for a living. I spent a lot of time in meditation, and praying for guidance because I knew I couldn’t carry on much longer with the status quo that had become my life. I decided to try to find something that I enjoyed to do with the rest my life. I began creating, and woodworking, and writing. I started to notice that things around me were becoming more clear. I began to have faith that I was not put here to work for big pharma, doing a job that I knew was wrong. I began to ask for signs in my meditations that would direct me, and to keep me on this path that I was giving more faith to everyday. Well, they came, they came in droves. It is true that the more you look, the more you find. As 2015 wore on I decided that if I really wanted things to change that I would have to leave my comfort zone and go see the world. How I was going to do this, I had no idea.
I had just gotten done reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and over and over in the book the author kept saying to create what you want that you should act like you already had it, and to be thankful for it ahead of time. I wanted more than anything to travel. The first thing I did was change my last name on Facebook to Kerouac after one of my favorite authors and world travellers. I decided that everytime I logged in and saw that, that it would remind me of that goal. Next I decided that I wanted to strengthen my yoga practice because yoga and meditation, I believe, unequivocally, were the reasons I was able to heal and overcome addiction and depression, and also grow my awareness allowing all the signs I kept receiving, and why I felt so much more faith in things. I began looking for places that offered yoga teacher training. There were tons of places around my hometown that offered it, and I reached out to many of them for information.
By now 2015 was winding down. I was as unhappy as ever in my job, and knew it was almost time to move on. I took vacation from work, and travelled to North Carolina to visit my cousin. While I was there I took some time to familiarize myself with the area because I felt like this may be a good place to start the rest of my life. I visited some yoga studios and looked at classifieds. I even dropped off a few resumes. When I returned home I decided that by the following winter I was moving to North Carolina hell or high water. Within the next couple of days I had decided that I was going to sign up for yoga teacher training at a school in my hometown. On the day that I finally decided to sign up at a school close to home, (I had the website open ready to make my payment) I saw an ad on Facebook for a place called Vinyasa Arts LKN. LKN, LKN, I thought, where have I heard of that before? I looked it up and realized it stood for Lake Norman which is the lake that is a few minutes drive from my cousins house in North Carolina. I began researching Vinyasa Arts. I was impressed to say the least. They were a married couple, Andy and Tamara, with 25 years of combined experience. They had a studio in San Diego, and were relocating to North Carolina to open a studio there. I watched a couple of videos that they had made, and I was sold. Not only did they have the experience I wanted in teachers, but they seemed like genuinely good people. Their classes began in July which gave me some time to situate my life and quit my job. Best of all it came out of nowhere, my favorite place. A sign if you will.
It has been a whirlwind adventure since then to say the least. I really didn’t know what to expect. I am not the most stretchy guy, and my poses all need a ton of work. I spent the few days prior to my first class worrying over things like; would I be the only guy, would I be too old, or not in shape enough. Well the first class came. I realized at that moment how tough these next three months would be. This was real yoga, hardly any resemblance of the yoga I had taken for the three years prior. I sweated more in that first 75 minute class than I did running cross country all through high school. I did however realize that this was exactly what I needed to strengthen my practice. My classmates were all amazing people of all different ages and backgrounds, and we all came together like family almost immediately. We pushed each other to work hard, and be better in our practice. When one of us struggled with something there was no laughing, we simply helped each other through. In times of real life pain we all came together to try and make each other feel better. It was truly a family, or a tribe maybe. Everyone working toward a common goal, and helping each other over the hurdles it took to get there. I was amazed at the abilities and wisdom of our teachers, yet equally amazed at the comradary of my classmates. I know I could never have gotten this far without them. I am blessed that they were all thrown into my life.
Ok now back to the rant… In one of our first class lectures we were talking about healing and yoga. During this talk our teachers told us that the yoga alliance has said that we cannot equate our yoga practice with healing when we advertise our classes without getting in trouble with the powers that be. This irks me to no end. So before I do become a yoga teacher and get in trouble for saying it let me tell you… Yoga IS healing for the mind body and spirit. Without any references to studies or lab tests etc. I myself can tell you, from my very own experience, that yoga is, if you put the effort into it, one of the most effective healing things you can do for your mind body and spirit. I will never tell you that my way is better than yours, because I know that people heal in their own ways. Anything you put a healing light toward can become a form of healing. Healing is truly about the effort you put into it. Yoga, meditation, religion, Tae Kwon Do, whatever brings you inward to find that spirit of healing inside of you can be your spark.
This, to me, reeks of big pharma sticking their nose in to stop from losing profits, and being more worried about selling more of their temporary solutions to the masses who are sold by their fancy advertisements, than actually ever helping someone. I worked in big pharma, I know how they operate, I know that from top to bottom it is all a lie.
It’s sad to me that people are so easily sold on treatments and medications, rather than diet and exercise. I have had so many people tell me “oh I’ve tried everything to help” this or that, but then when I ask them if they have tried yoga, it’s usually “yea I went once”. Well once is not what it takes to help with anything or change bad habits. Yoga is not a miracle cure, but if you put some dedication into it I can bet you will feel better in a month of regular practice than you do now. The best part of Yoga, practiced safely, with a good instructor, is that there are no side effects like the medicines you are sold by big pharma with lists of them so long it will make your head spin. Yes there are medicines we all need, but in many cases, especially, in my opinion, of cases of trauma, depression, anxiety, and many times incurable disease, you are being sold drugs that create no healing whatsoever, only a temporary relief from symptoms with very real risks from disastrous side effects.
Those of you who know me know that if something is wrong I will say it, like I did to big pharma. I see something wrong here. I obviously can’t tell the yoga alliance what to do, but if I could, I would tell them to let people know in every way possible that yoga surely can help you heal, because it does. The stories of healing are endless. If not for its healing light I would still be where I was 4 years ago. Mired in a downward spiral, and depressed that life was not getting any better for me and wondering why. I took the reigns and righted the ship with yoga and meditation. You can too with dedication. For we may not be able to change our fate, yet we can all choose our destiny.
Peace, love, and light. ~ p4th3tic
This is a 4 panel, 50 by 28 inch, re-purposed window. The window was stripped down to bare wood, then refinished with one coat of grey, two coats of brown, and 3 coats of white acrylic paint. It was then given a distressed finish for a rustic look. The end product was coated with 2 coats of clear acrylic paint for a durable finish. The photo is a high resolution image of a stream on the North Country Trail at Allegany State Park. The original photo was cropped into 4 different photos, one for each pane, to give it an authentic feel of looking out the window at a beautiful stream. The photos are backed with poster board, and held in place with glazier points. It comes ready to hang, and hangs very nice and flush against the wall giving it the feel of an actual window in place. I made this as a gift to my sister and niece.