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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 6: The Masseur)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

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From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

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Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

6. The Masseur

Late one morning at the village massage clinic on the island of Allandon, the hairdresser rushed in for her regular treatment.

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“Sorry I’m so late, I have a big problem at work and I don’t know what to do.”

“I know what you can do,” the masseur said.

“What do you mean? You don’t even know my problem,” she said, plopping herself face down on the massage table. “Please give me my massage quickly, I’ve got to get back.”

“You’ve got to get here first.”

The hairdresser turned her head up towards the masseur. “What do you mean? I am here!”

“I think you’re still back at your salon. If you were really here you wouldn’t have a problem.”

“What?” she asked, shaking her disheveled hair with annoyance.

“Whatever your problem is, how will you be once you’ve solved it?”

She thought for a moment as she pulled herself up to a seated position. “At peace,” she answered.

“And that’s what you really want, isn’t it?”

“Of course.”

“So I suggest that you be in the moment now, and you will find peace right away.”

“But I am being in the moment!”

“Are you at peace?”

“No.”

“Then you’re not being in the moment,” he said.

This was not the first time the masseur had spoken to the hairdresser about this. However in her flustered state, she couldn’t recall how it worked.

“OK, so tell me how I can be in the moment,” she said.

“I can’t tell you how,” he replied, putting his hand on her shoulder gently. “It’s something you already know.”

“OK, OK,” the hairdresser said. She took a few deep breaths and then started to lie back down. “I’m ready for my massage now, I’m here. I’m in the moment.”

“Are you at peace?”

The hairdresser huffed. “No.”

“Then you’re not in the moment,” said the masseur smiling. “But I can give you your massage anyway.”

Be here now, wrote Ram Dass. When I first heard this phrase in my New Age discussion group years ago, it seemed rather banal. How can we not be here, now? Where else could we be? But I came to realize that this phrase touches on something subtle, and difficult to express. It is a pointer to an internal experience that allows us to be centered, peaceful, and intimately connected with everything around us. In other words, it brings us into the world of our Dao Self.

When we come from our Ego Self, we are anything but centered in the present moment. We are immersed in the shoulds of the future and the should-haves of the past. If peace is what we are looking for, it would be helpful to learn how to be here now. And before asking how to do it, let us be clear that in the end we cannot do a state of being. We can only be. To enter into the state of being in the moment we must have the capacity to literally un-do, or perhaps not-do, to let go of doing long enough so that we can just be present to the world and to who we are.

This is easier said than, uh, not-done. Our Ego Self will not cooperate with this, fundamentally because our Ego Self is all about doing. When we are under the control of the Ego Self we seem unable to contemplate being peaceful until we first fulfill the demands of our life, solve every problem, finish ever last task and errand. Funny how this never seems to happen. And even if we did finally scratch every item off of our to-do list, we might get so scared that we would suddenly invent a hundred more items to put on it. We seem to be more comfortable when we’re doing something.

And our consumer society wouldn’t have it any other way, since consuming is a particularly tempting form of doing. When we don’t pause to reflect on what we really want, the media directs us to fulfill ourselves in the way it see fit. The media may even be able to convince us that we are in control while it is actually pulling our strings. The messages coming at us like never before, through the TV, radio, telephone, computer, and out in the streets are appealing and persuasive, and as long as we stay firmly within our Ego Self they will continue to keep us looking for fulfillment through the doing of consuming.

Of course all this doing makes us tired and gives us stress. We could really use a break from it all. And I don’t mean something to make us temporarily zone out from our ‘real’ life of duties and obligations, like mindless channel-flipping, late-night drinking, or expensive vacations to ‘get away from it all.’ There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of diversions, but they rarely bring a lasting peace into our lives. Wouldn’t it be better if the way we lived our lives wasn’t tiring us out and causing us so much stress to begin with?

The truth is that the events occurring in our lives do not cause stress themselves. Stress is fully a product of our Ego Self. It is the dissonance between what is and what we think should be. It does not exist in the outer world, in the now. The only way an external event can disturb our peace is with our permission. This goes for anything from a hangnail to being threatened at gunpoint. The external event only disturbs our peace because of how we interpret it, which in turn comes from how we are looking out at the world. And only when we become aware that we are more than our Ego Self are we able to choose to look out onto the world, and thereby process it, in a different way.

Imagine our Ego Selves to be like islands that are part of an archipelago, all connected to the same land mass with the tips surfacing above the water. The islands appear to be isolated and separate, but when we examine down below the surface of the water we see that they are all connected. They are all One. The surface of the water is like the illusion of the ego, which separates the physical world above from the non-physical below.

The surface itself is usually turbulent, just like the mind is when it is busy and stressed. With practice we can slowly learn to still the surface of the water, so that we can see below and behold our vastness. When we identify with this vastness, rather than with our small and separate island-selves, then we come at the world from the perspective of our Dao Self, and peace and centeredness are immediate. In the Dao Self we are no longer focused on doing but rather on being. The very meaning of ‘I’ changes, and subsequently the world transforms into something we are at one with.

So how do we move from the Ego Self to the Dao Self? Hmm. There’s that question again about doing. To move into our Dao Self we actually need to relinquish doing, since doing is in the domain of separate things and keeps us focused above the surface. Our Ego Self does not surrender control very easily, but that is precisely what is required if we want to go into our depths: surrender. Trying too hard to reach our inner being is counter-productive because it is a form of control, and maintaining control, a product of the Ego Self, is precisely what we are trying to move away from.

My time in India training to become a Yoga Siromani (instructor) gave me a particularly acute vantage point from which to witness my own Ego Self in (over)action. While I finally had become mature enough not to try to compete with fellow practitioners (most of whom were far more flexible than me anyway), I still approached yoga in the same way as I had my other athletic endeavors: as a competition. Here, though, the competition was with myself. I would habitually try to stretch to the limits of my pain threshold, somehow believing that my mind must ‘overcome’ my body in order to train it to become more flexible.

The first posture we were taught was called savasana, the corpse pose, whereby the practitioner lay on the mat, arms and legs outstretched, in total relaxation. I knew it well and didn’t really consider it a posture. It was just the break between each asana (held posture). I was surprised when we were told by the Swamis at the ashram that we could skip one or more of the asanas any time we felt tired and simply remain in savasana.

The very idea of this was embarrassing to me, that I would ‘give up’ on doing a posture and simply rest. I had never given up on a challenge and wasn’t about to start now! How would that look to others? What would prevent me from giving in to laziness? My Ego Self was clearly in charge here, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.

In the space of practicing daily with the Swamis, their instructions started to sink in: ‘accept where your body is at this morning…’, ‘try to relax in the posture…’, ‘breathe…’, and as things progressed over the weeks, I did start to skip one or more of the difficult asanas and take a rest here and there.  I started to recognize when my body needed it. Slowly I paid more attention to how I was feeling inside, and I gave less attention to how I was looking on the outside. Rather than feeling that yoga was a war between the body and mind, I felt I was learning to bring them into greater harmony. It eventually struck me that savasana might be the most important posture in the entire sequence, because it embodies the transition from doing to not-doing, from our Ego Self to our Dao Self.

The variety of different pointers to flowing into our Dao Self is one of the main subjects of the new conversation. Yoga is only one path, but it will serve here as a good example because it illustrates the fundamental resistance we have in Western society to transcending the Ego Self. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yeug,’ which means to join or union. Traditionally, the yoga practitioner sought to achieve a union between their individual (Ego) self and their communal (Dao) self. But many of us here miss out on this because we think yoga is just for improving our physical health and reduce our stress. We have tended to adulterate yoga to fit our Western perspective. What we call ‘yoga’ is really only the asanas, the held postures. In traditional yoga, asanas are but one of eight limbs of one of four branches which touch upon different aspects of human life. What we have essentially done is turned yoga into something to do. An exercise, rather than a practice. A routine rather than a lifestyle.

 If we just add yoga to our ‘to-do’ list we will simply be giving ourselves something else that we need to find time for and get stressed about. We may be enthusiastic for the first little while, but this is not likely to last. There will always be other, more ‘urgent’ tasks that will crowd it out of the picture. As long as yoga remains simply a thing to ‘do’ in our lives, its impact will be short-lived. It will be swept away from our lives like a flower without roots in the ground of being.

We have to realize that when it comes to shifting our being, how we do something becomes more important than what we do. In evaluating whether it is worth our time to do yoga our attitude tends to be ‘What’s in it for me? How will I benefit?’ But this attitude actually works against any activity designed to promote union, harmony, and peace. Rather than thinking about what we can take from a practice like yoga, we need rather to ask what we can give to it: if we give ourselves, our being, that’s when the benefits will evidence themselves. When we give our being (i.e. the being of our Ego Self), we are in effect willingly surrendering ourselves to a higher or greater being (our Dao Self).

But this is not an easy thing to do. In Western society many of us have become very cautious about submitting ourselves to something or someone else. Perhaps we are worried that we will be told what to do, that somehow we will become enslaved or controlled. We have had enough of that. We have fought hard in our lives to become independent, self-directed, and free.

In India I was among yoga students from 22 countries, predominantly Westerners like myself. While the students were very interested in the teachings and practices, most of the Western students had various levels of resistance to different elements of the practice. Some didn’t like the vegetarian diet, and in fact there was quite a debate about its value during one of our lecture sessions. Others didn’t like to be forced to perform community service. Many complained about having to wake up at 5:00 and then do chanting for an hour. And when it came to a discussion of some of the deeper austerities of yoga practice, such as sexual abstinence and a withdrawal of the senses from the world, it was almost laughable for many of us. While eternal bliss in union with the Dao (Brahman in Hindu teaching) sounded interesting, we still wanted to hold on to many things and didn’t want to surrender the lives that we lived.

Without some willingness to surrender, however, the fulfillment we are looking for may continue to elude us. We are aware that all great yogis surrendered to their masters. And these masters also surrendered to their masters, and so on down the line. They would not have achieved their elevated states of consciousness had they not been willing to do so. But in the West we are on the fence. Some of us go to foreign lands and learn ancient customs out of a longing to see things in a different way, out of a conviction that the Western paradigm is falling short of our expectations. And yet, we hesitate to jump in headlong. Is this just our Ego Self in action, or are we sincerely waiting for something more, something that truly resonates with us?

Move on to Chapter 7…

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Consciousness

6 Conclusions Drawn From Thousands of Published Psychic Experiments

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dean Radin PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies has laid out six conclusions we can draw from all of the published research in parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    How much have yet to discover about ourselves and who we truly are? Are we still in the infancy of discovering our true capabilities as beings? Why are they so hidden?

Psychic research, also known as parapsychology or “PSI” deals with phenomena such as remote viewing, telepathy, clairvoyance, distant healing, and much more.

Over the years, despite the fact that many of these techniques were being studied, taught, and used heavily for intelligence gathering purposes with great success, such phenomenon has been ridiculed and brushed off as not real. But why?

The answer is simple, despite how valid, how repeatable, or how much evidence is presented or published, if something threatens the accepted framework of reality, or is controversial due to its paradigm shifting implications, the mind simply has a hard time accepting it. In many cases, the scientific study of such phenomena has resulted in a large case of cognitive dissonance among some of the academic community, although this is changing, and has been changing year after year simply due to the fact that strong and statistically significant results are being observed, there is still much work to be done.

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”  Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.

How strong is the evidence? Dr. Jessica Utts, the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine and a professor there since 2008 explains,

What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls…and so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science: the methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked. (source)

Here’s another great point she made:

“For many years I have worked with researchers doing very careful work [in parapsychology], including a year that I spent full-time working on a classified project for the United States government, to see if we could use these abilities for intelligence gathering during the Cold War… At the end of that project I wrote a report for Congress, stating what I still think is true. The data in support of precognition and possibly other related phenomena are quite strong statistically, and would be widely accepted if it pertained to something more mundane. Yet, most scientists reject the possible reality of these abilities without ever looking at data! And on the other extreme, there are true believers who base their beliefs solely on anecdotes and personal experience. I have asked debunkers if there is any amount of data that would convince them, and they generally have responded by saying, “probably not.” I ask them what original research they have read, and they mostly admit that they haven’t read any. Now there is a definition of pseudo-science-basing conclusions on belief rather than data!” – Utts, Chair of the Statistics Department, UC Irvine (From Dean Radin’s Book,  “Real Magic“)

The Six Conclusions

Dean Radin PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Distinguished Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He’s published a number of books, one of them titled “Real Magic” (endorsed by multiple Nobel Laureates).  In it, he writes:

Based on thousands of PSI experiments published over the last century by researchers around the world, many properties of psychic phenomena have been discovered. In order of scientific confidence, meaning the degree to which the evidence has been successfully  and independently repeated six conclusions may be drawn:

1. We have the capacity to gain information unbound by the everyday limitations of space or time, and without the use of the ordinary senses. In the vernacular, psi is a genuine “sixth sense.” Based on the available scientific evidence, this is a virtual certainty.

2. Psi capacities are widely distributed among the general population. Extreme levels of psi talent are rare, but laboratory tests indicate that most people have some discernible ability, whether they’re aware of it or not.

3. These effects arise from the unconscious. Psi abilities can be observed during conscious awareness, but more reliable effects can be detected below the level of awareness via physiological measurements and other techniques used to study “implicit” and unconscious responses.

4. Psi effects are stronger during non-ordinary states of consciousness, such as during meditation, while dreaming, or while under the influence of psychedelic compounds.

5. We have the capacity to mentally influence the physical world, probably not through the application of the four known physical forces, but perhaps through as yet unidentified principles that either affect the probabilities of events or ‘warp” the fabric of space-time.

6. We can gain information from sources purported to be non-physical entities.

A Real World Example

One example comes from people with special abilities reported on in a declassified US Air Force report on teleportation, which was made available through the Federation of American Scientists.

The document touches upon China’s psychic children, mentioning, in this case, the ones that were able to teleport full objects from one location to another without touching them.

Another one, titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers”  touches upon the same thing, and also provides multiple examples of children and people being video tapped and documented, under double blind conditions, being able to do the same thing. This particular document, which was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), outlines specific people with very special abilities and how they’ve been studied by thousands of scientists and governments around the world for a very long time.

There are many examples, these are a select few.

The Takeaway

How much do we really know about the nature of reality? If one thing is constant about what we know, it’s that what we know always seems to change, and when it comes to for that change, it usually takes a lot of time. Right now we are experiencing a scientific revolution where non-material science seems to be emerging as the next great leap, away and beyond our mechanical view of the universe. We are starting to realize just how diverse and non physical human consciousness is.

One day, we will acknowledge and really realize just how big of an impact our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and other factors of consciousness have on shaping our physical material world. We are much more than we’ve been made to believe, and reality is much more mysterious and exciting than we’ve been taught.

Watch a recent interview we did with a scientist deeply into non material science here.

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You can stream conscious media 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, and documentaries and guided programs.

Click here to start a FREE 7-Day Trial and watch 100's of hours of conscious media that you won't see anywhere else.

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Consciousness

I Had A Stroke When I Was 30 Years Old & It Changed My Life

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Apparently surviving a stroke that took half my eyesight and almost killed me would turn out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. Before I get into how all that transpired, I need to give a little background on how it got to that point.

Growing up, my parents took the same approach to life that most people growing up in the United States could relate to. Their plan for my three younger siblings and me was simple: Go to school and get good grades so you can go to a good college. Then get a good job and make a lot of money so you can have nice things and then you’ll be happy. This was the mantra that I, like many other kids in the U.S., grew up with; the American Dream. I followed the guidelines and my years of hard work finally paid off when I landed a job working for a Fortune 500 company in Rockefeller Center, Manhattan.

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a professional businessman. I wanted to wear nice suits, work in an office with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, dine in fancy restaurants, and date women outside of my Long Island gene pool. Each of these I had achieved more and more year after year as I slowly clawed my way up the corporate ladder. One job change, a couple moves from Long Island to Queens then the Upper West side of Manhattan, a few raises and promotions after almost a decade in the corporate finance realm, and I finally got to the point where I felt like I had “made it.”

However, when I got to that point I still wasn’t completely satisfied. In fact, I only wanted more. Then I saw an opportunity to move further up in the ranks when my director informed me that she would be leaving the company. This was the opportunity I was waiting for! I asked for and received more responsibility along with a sizeable increase to my salary. This eventually transpired into a “be careful what you wish for” situation. In the coming months I felt the responsibilities and workload piling up with no relief in sight. So began the silent war within myself that would lead to the event that shattered all that I had built for myself my entire life.

I worked longer and harder than I ever had in order to prove myself. In doing so, my life became completely imbalanced with the scale always weighted toward work. Over the next six months my stress and anxiety levels were higher than ever trying to keep up with my new workload, as the company had not yet found a suitable replacement to fill the empty role in the finance department. My mind began to turn against me and I felt as if I were stuck in the trenches of my work-related stress even when I left the office. Luckily at this point I was about to go on vacation with my girlfriend at the time to visit her parents, who had retired to a small village in Mexico. It was my first time visiting the country and I was delighted by the relaxed and care-free attitude of the locals and blown away by the beautiful beaches and nature that I immersed myself in. This was the vacation I needed! But all good things must come to an end, so on New Year’s Day 2014, we were dropped off at the airport to head back to New York City, or so we thought.

At the airline service counter, I was handed my boarding pass to return home. In that exact moment, I felt a sharp pain on my left temple like I had never experienced before in my life. I shut my eyes, grabbed my head, and let out a grunt. When I opened them, half my vision was gone and everything was blurry. Something was very wrong. I let my girlfriend know what was happening and that I was pretty sure I was having a stroke. I told her to get an ambulance immediately. I lay down where I was, drank some water, and began vomiting as my body convulsed on the floor of the airport. As the paramedics arrived, I began to feel a tingling sensation run throughout the right side of my body and I was starting to lose control of basic motor functions and consciousness. It was in this moment that for the first time in my life I thought to myself, “I might die.” I’ve been afraid before, but nothing could compare to the feeling I had on the floor of the airport on New Year’s Day 2014. The paramedics hooked me up to an IV and took me to the nearest hospital, which was luckily just down the road from the airport.

I was fortunate to survive with only having partial vision loss and no nerve damage. It was only when returning to New York would I realize the cause of my brain injury. The doctors at Cornell discovered a hole (PFO) inside my heart, which caused the blood clot in my brain. Not too longer after diagnosis, I was on the operating table in Columbia Hospital to remedy the situation. I never thought I’d be having heart surgery in my early thirties. My, how life is full of surprises!

Readjusting to city life after a stroke and heart surgery was by no means easy. At first, it was really bad. I had trouble physically getting around the crowded streets of New York City with only half my eyesight. My personality had changed drastically, as I had become more solemn. My relationships with my girlfriend, family, friends, and co-workers had all shifted to some awkward place that I was unfamiliar with, each in their own way. Invoking intimacy was not what it used to be, as my sex drive was stuck in first gear. I was nowhere near as fun and positive as I used to be when hanging out with friends and family. I had difficulty focusing so my performance at work suffered a great deal as well. My weekly therapy sessions proved to help temporarily, but my mind would constantly return to dark places. After a year of living this new life as a man I was no longer familiar with and didn’t even want to be around, the thoughts of leaving the planet began to cross my mind for the first time ever. That really scared me, so I did something I promised myself I would never do: go on medication.

I went on antidepressants and was also given Xanax that I was instructed to take only when my anxiety levels become unbearable. After just a few days, I levelled out. My depression was gone and my anxiety was non-existent. There was just one little problem: I didn’t really feel anything. Everything was just “fine.” If something good happened, my emotional response was “That’s fine.” Something bad happened? Also fine. At first I was so glad to have rid myself of crippling depression and anxiety that I was satisfied with living as a flesh-covered robot. That lasted only a couple of months. After a while I saw that I was rapidly dismantling into a highly functioning soulless drone. Was this better than living as the strung-out anxiety-ridden person I was before? Were there no other options for me to choose for continuing on with my life?

Related CE Article: Study Finds That Big Pharma Completely Lied About Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors For Depression

After picking up my prescription pills for the third month in a row, I hit the gym and when I got home later that evening, I realized they had slipped out of a hole in the bottom of my gym bag. I took this as a sign and decided to try going off of my meds cold-turkey. I fought through the withdrawals following the first few days then started to feel really human again. At this point in time, it was a little over a year after I survived the stroke and it became abundantly clear that I had a choice between pushing on with the usual day to day or maintaining my sanity. I chose my sanity. It was early 2015 when I officially decided I would quit my job to travel and figure things out somewhere else in the world. I immediately began downsizing my life. Most of my possessions were sold, donated, given away, or put in storage. With each item that left my possession, I felt physically and emotionally lighter, as if I were dropping off weights I had been carrying on my shoulders for years. That’s when I began the journey that would change my life forever.

In the summer of 2015 I bought an RV and my girlfriend, dog, and I decided to leave the corporate world behind and start anew in Mexico. After three months, a ten thousand mile road trip, and just over a month living together in the foreign country, it became apparent to us that our relationship of over three years was not going to work any longer. After it sunk in that everything we were planning for the future fell apart, I was completely lost. At least when I was in New York I had the comfort and stability of my job, family, friends, home country, and a language I was fluent in. Now I fell into yet another dark place, but not for long! I was determined to make the best of my situation, so I grabbed a backpack and began solo travelling for the first time in my life!

In the first month, I was just winging it and hopping on buses to the next stop on the backpacker trail of mid-western Mexico. This was a great experience where I met tons of friendly locals, expats, and travellers from all over the world. For the next phase of my travels, I decided to do a bit more planning. I was still hurting from my break-up and needed some physical, mental, and spiritual healing. So the next phase of my trip included an Ayahuasca ceremony in the Pueblo Mágico of Tepoztlán. My experience with Ayahuasca was very introspective and I kept receiving the same message over and over again: “You are on the right path.”

Next was a ten-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in Coatepec, Veracruz, another Pueblo Mágico. This was one of the most difficult yet profoundly enlightening experiences I’ve ever gone through. Ten days of being silent and meditating for eleven hours a day really helped silence my mind and take control of my thoughts and actions.

The last stop in my second walkabout was a month-long work exchange stay at a holistic healing retreat center called The Sanctuary in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Here it took just a few days at for me to realize that the Ayahuasca was right. I was on the right path! I learned new meditation techniques, was doing yoga every day, got a crash course on preparing meals for a high-raw vegan lifestyle, and shared the community house with extraordinary people from all walks of life. We worked, chanted, communed in nighttime ceremonies, shared our most intimate thoughts and feelings, and even cried together. This was exactly what I needed! Not too long after arriving, I ended up joining the team as general manager and The Sanctuary became my home for the next six months. During that time, I helped guide dozens of people through that chapter of their life’s journey, an experience I’ll never forget! It was here where I learned that truly spiritual people are those who have been through hell and have the overwhelming desire to help others out of their own versions of it.

After The Sanctuary, I was presented with the ultimate traveller moneymaking opportunity: trimming marijuana in Northern California, so I took it. I spent the next two months hunched over a table as a pot hairdresser. Once again, it was the people I was surrounded by that made the experience a memorable one. Nothing helps the time fly like sharing stories, listening to our favourite music, and laughing together around the fireplace at night when our fingers needed to rest.

With California in my rearview, I made a stop in New York to visit friends and family before heading to Puerto Rico. This was the home of a girl I fell in love with during my time in Mexico. The connection we forged during our short time together was different than any other in my entire life. It was based on a love and respect for who the other person was at their core as opposed to who we wanted them to be. Though the relationship would not continue after my visit, she without a doubt raised the bar in my ongoing search for a partner in life.

Once again I was leaving a piece of my heart behind and continued on with my travel journey! I flew into Cancún and worked my way slowly back to the beach city that helped heal my heart better than any other: Puerto Escondido. This trip was more about the journey than the destination for sure. In the Yucatan peninsula I witnessed and scaled massive ancient Mayan pyramids. While in Tulum I participated in a beautiful and emotional peyote ceremony where I took an even deeper look into the inner workings of my mind. In Palenque, I became one with nature after consuming the local magical mushrooms and bathing in the jungle’s mystical waterfalls near the ruins. As usual, sharing these experiences with travel mates amplified my experience. At this point I was a certified travel junky and never wanted it to end! Good thing I was going to nest in a beach paradise and backpacking hotspot.

Back in Puerto Escondido, I stayed in a Vivo Escondido Hostel for a month until I found a
long-term rental. You guessed it… more awesome people!

I ended up at a gorgeous newly-constructed two-story house where I would spend the next six months pursuing passions that I had been neglecting for years. I learned to surf, explored the local natural beauty, focused on healthy living, caught up on my travel blog, wrote a few articles, DJed at multiple venues, and made sure to enjoy every day as best I could. Mexico gave me the opportunity to let me live my life the way I wanted to for a while without any judgment, and for that I am forever grateful.

Just a few months ago, I took a two and a half week visa-run/vacation to Guatemala to visit my friend Luke Maguire Armstrong in San Marcos. He and I met while I was managing the Sanctuary in Puerto Escondido the year before and ever since becoming friends, I grew ever more curious of his work with a school for impoverished children in Antigua, Guatemala. I spent my first two weeks immersing myself in the raw beauty of the active volcano communities surrounding Lake Atitlán where he lived. Here I would partake in yoga, cacao ceremonies, ecstatic dance at the Yoga Forestand even Bhakti singing at The Fungi Academy. All activities of course were shared with new and exciting traveller friends of various nationalities. For the finale of my stay, I even booked myself a DJ gig at Bar Sublime, a quick ten-minute boat ride across the lake to San Pedro.

After bidding farewell to my new friends I met on the lake, Luke and I headed to Antigua to visit the Integral Heart Foundation’s school. Though I had been helping remotely with fundraising efforts for months before visiting, actually meeting the children I was helping made it much more personal for me. It was incredibly heartwarming to actually see the children in person, knowing the adverse environment they had come from not too long ago. None of them were going to school and many were forced to rummage through garbage dumps for pennies a day due to difficult circumstances. No wonder these were the happiest school kids I had ever met in my life!

A couple days later, I said goodbye to Luke and the kids to return to Puerto Escondido. However, when I got back a shift happened within me and I slipped into another depression. I began to question what I really wanted and needed in my life. I missed my friends and family back home and my funds were starting to run low. After a month of self-reflection, I decided it was time to return to New York.

So now I have come full circle… kind of. Over the course of a little more than two years I have had more adventures and experienced more of what this incredible world has to offer than most people do their entire lives. It’s comical for me to look back at all that happened, remember living in my own personal hell for so long, and to see how far I’ve come since those times of intense despair. It was like a mental quicksand; the more I struggled, the deeper I would sink into it. Of all the lessons I’ve learned, my greatest one is probably this: My mind can be my worst enemy or greatest ally. In the end, I am the one who gets to choose which one it will be. I had to journey into the unknown and experience life firsthand to personally integrate this lesson myself. My experiences and the hundreds of connections I made along the way were what really saved my life. Without them, I don’t even want to begin to think about where I would be right now. I still have no vision on my right peripheral, but I can once again see a beautiful future for myself, something I had lost immediately following the stroke.

In over two years of travelling I have had many revelations, but none more important than
this: At the very core of my being, I am a traveller. It is one of the few things in life that makes me feel truly alive. By travelling, I saw for myself that so much of what I thought I knew about foreign cultures was wrong until I experienced them firsthand.

Meeting people from all corners of the Earth gave me a new perspective on life. I realized
that although we may have been born thousands of miles away, were raised in completely
different cultures, and in many instances didn’t speak the same native tongue, none of us were that different from each other. In fact, many of us were on our own personal quests searching for a deeper meaning in life.

Living and working in New York City for a decade had put me in contact with people from
all over the world. This, however, was completely different from my experiences travelling, as most Manhattanites had found their way and were usually more focused on their careers than soul-searching. In my personal experiences with the people I’ve encountered, those who travel are seekers, searching for something that was missing in their lives back home. For me, I was missing a greater purpose, something that my fundraising efforts with the Integral Heart Family in Guatemala fulfills.

The best part of my story called life thus far is that it is nowhere close to being complete. I still have many more chapters to write, thousands of new characters to meet, and countless adventures to experience. In over two years of travel, the greatest gifts I have received were the connections I have made with my soul tribe from all corners of the Earth. I left New York to heal myself and find a higher purpose and I feel that I have accomplished these goals. In my experience living over thirty-four years on this planet, I have found no greater healer than creating deep and meaningful connections with other souls. This lesson I promised myself to follow through with and spread to as many other people as possible. What better place to continue this journey than New York!

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Lunar Eclipse In Capricorn: Clearing Old Blockages

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We are having a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 5th in most of the world, and on the night of July 4th in the Americas. Similarly to the Full Moon that occurred a month prior, it will be a penumbral eclipse which only has a subtle shade on the Moon. It will be visible (weather permitting) wherever it will be nighttime in part or all of its duration. This includes most of North America, most of Africa, Western Europe, parts of Central Europe, New Zealand, and all of South America.

This is the third of three eclipses occurring back to back, with this one following a more powerful annular Solar Eclipse in Cancer during the recent Solstice and a penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th. This one is also the last of a series of Eclipses occurring in the Cancer-Capricorn axis which began in 2018. This specific eclipse season marks the transition into the Gemini-Sagittarius polarity.

Eclipses reflect evolutionary changes in specific areas of our lives which can play out over the following 6 months and can begin up to 6 weeks prior. However, they are also part of a 1.5-2 year process in which the Lunar Nodes and most Eclipses are in the same signs. The changes that occur are connected to the sign they are in, the planets they are configured to, and how this all lines up with our individual astrological blueprint.

Lunar Eclipse In Capricorn

This eclipse is the final one of a process in which we have been experiencing a collective recalibration in how Cancer and Capricorn energies are expressed. This slightly began in summer of 2018  but kicked in more strongly later that year and in 2019.

This eclipse puts an emphasis on Capricorn themes as it is near the South Node which has recently entered Sagittarius. This indicates changes associated with Capricorn that can have a decreasing effect in how its energies are expressed, however, negative expressions of this sign can also come up more so to bring it to our attention.

The shifts that could occur, both challenges and developments, are more about changes or what we need to let go of, in relation to the energies of Capricorn to help facilitate a different balance with Cancer. Capricorn energies and aspects of life can be more constructive when they are expressed towards a Cancerian focal point. The areas of life in which it manifests also depends on how it is interacting with your natal astrology chart/blueprint.

Capricorn is the sign of ambition, career, duty, business, achievement, responsibility, discipline, mastery, and authority. It can be calculated, strategic, practical, orderly, conservative, realistic, authoritative, controlling, cautious, and worldly. It is a social climber and concerned with status.  It is also associated with governing and banking structures with this eclipse opposing the Sun of the United States, similarly to 1982 and 2001 in the months before 9/11.

Negatively, Capricorn energy can be serious, cynical, cold, unrelenting, and seek power over others. It can be overly focused on work and/or materialism while creating an imbalance with emotional, personal and domestic areas of life which is where the focal point has been considering previous North Node eclipses in Cancer.

Lunar Eclipse Near Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction 

Now and in recent weeks, Jupiter and Pluto (also in Capricorn) are in their second exact conjunction of 2020 which is strong until July 10th, but gets triggered by the Sun from July 13th-16th. However, this energy is a part of the backdrop until late in the year with this eclipse highlighting it as well.

As mentioned in previous articles, this energy can be revealing of hidden matters or perhaps issues connected to abuse, control, manipulation, obsessions, shadows, or power dynamics. However, it can also be a time of acquiring deeper perspectives and can have transformational potential as well. Considering that this is a South Node eclipse, it can be a time of releasing or changing negative qualities of this energy.

Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, is not too far from these planets in the same sign. The combination of the three  (especially Saturn-Pluto) in close proximity reflects the heavy energy of 2020. Saturn brings a level of seriousness and minimizes the expansiveness of Jupiter with restrictions and limitations, especially as Saturn rules the sign that they are both in.

Lunar Eclipse Square Mars-Chiron, Trine Uranus, and Sextile Neptune

Mars in Aries is approaching Chiron which will be exact around July 13th and 14th. This is also in a T-square with the Full Moon Eclipse (and Mercury Retrograde) carrying its themes for an extended period. This reflects similar energy in the lunations of previous months.

Mars’ conjunction with Chiron (configured to the eclipse) can reflect action and assertiveness that is healing, integrating, bridging, whole-istic, unorthodox, and addressing wounds. With it being in Aries, it could be connected to identity, individualism, or  individuality. It can also be about addressing negative expressions of Mars such as anger, aggression, or abuse.

The square to Mars can play out as conflicts, competitiveness, and intensity. We have already been seeing this on a collective level as the eclipse a month prior was also in a square with Mars. In the following 5-6 month window of this current eclipse season, Mars will be going retrograde which reinforces the energy of these Mars flavoured eclipses.

This eclipse is in a trine with Uranus in Taurus which can be innovative, inspiring, original, revolutionary, rebellious, and good for shaking things up. It is also in a sextile with Neptune, although this isn’t too strong, it can be supportive in a compassionate, creative, spiritual, or idealistic way.

Mercury Retrograde, Venus in Post-Retrograde Shadow

Mercury has been retrograde since mid-June and will be going direct a week following this eclipse. It is in Cancer reflecting a time of adjustments and re-orientations around home/domestic life, family, security, land/property, emotional comforts, caregiving, and emotional connections with others. As it begins to move forward in the days after July 12th and over the following weeks, we may see that we are proceeding in an adjusted way around Cancerian matters or developments that have come up since early June.

Venus ended its retrograde on June 25th and we are now in a time in which we are progressing differently around Venus ruled areas that have been playing out since the first half of April.  It can be connected to relationships, love, values, social dynamics, desires, worth, aesthetics, art, or perhaps financial matters.

Things To Consider

What have been some of the major themes for you over the past 1.5 years and what are they leading you towards? What area(s) of life do you need to let go of negative ways of expression? differently? What aspects of your ambitions do you need to release? Where should you be applying yourself in a healing way? Are there fragmented parts of your life that should be integrated to bring more harmony into your life? How can you achieve this?

These are just some examples of what can be playing out for you but not limited to these either. Keep in mind that the themes of this specific eclipse will play out until the Fall. It is best to try to tune into this energy as it happens and pay attention to your feelings to help you in decisions you need to make in the future.

The two weeks following this eclipse can be a good time to initiate any sort of releasing process if you feel necessary. The eclipse begins at 3:07am Universal Time on July 5th with it peaking at 4:30am and finishing at 5:52am. The Moon begins to wane after 4:44am GMT. You can click here to see when the peak will be in your time zone.

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