How To Be Willing: Spiritual Key #1 (aka the Open Door Policy)

Five ways to let willingness kickstart your world today:

(Comfort-zone stretching… prepare for takeoff.)

1.  Say YES (in alignment with your light.)

If you want to see and feel your brightest, boldest, most bad-ASS colors, start by saying YES to life.

When reflecting on how I’ve grown over the years, my immediate response is that I’ve said YES more frequently – from a new yoga class to reading a different kind of book to embracing a stranger to starting a blog to traveling to India solo to going gluten-free, I’ve embraced an ad-nauseum-YES attitude.

YES has become my personal assistant for two specific reasons:

First and foremost, it serves as a spark and change-agent on days my psyche and soul need a bit of a shakeup. In saying the magic word, I’m always given clarity, inspiration, and a new sense of confidence just by stepping outside the box (courtesy of some good ole adventure.)

Secondly, when fear and doubt attempt to loiter around said psyche, YES is my security blanket – dispelling and protecting against the whirlwind of egoic thoughts which can lead to paralysis.  Ipso facto, I stay heart-centered.

Beneath the surface though, what are we saying YES to (above and beyond the mere activity)?

Ourselves.  It’s about momentum, really. (Remember this mini sermon about momentum?)

Of all the Spiritual Keys, willingness demands some YES. It’s how you open doors and move energy. Try a little today.

* * * If you’re wondering about the “in alignment with your light” part above, refer to #5 for the answer.

* * * * Despite our comfort-zone launch, this stuff is hardly rocket science.

2.  Delete stubbornness.

Want a foolproof way of accessing the Art of Feeling Good via willingness? Loosen and/or annihilate its evil twin – stubbornness.

Stubborn:  obstinately unmoving; fixed or set in purpose or opinion.

K.LITE lexicon:

Stubbornness:  thoughts, reactions, and beliefs that trip us up, or “stub” our progress/light

Side effects include but are not limited to inactivity, numbness, defensiveness, and heartache. Throw those qualities on your next job application…

When I was a pup, stubbornness was my Achilles heel. Rather than let willingness work for me (clearing many a path), I let stubbornness block me in (closing many a door.)

And not only did it close the door, but it sealed it, deadbolted it, and made me utterly immune to a lot of life MAGIC.

Fast forward to the present and that grip has loosened dramatically. As a result, I have a smile on my face and I’m more open than ever. But how did it loosen?

Like most good things, it took a bit of determination and practice. I decided that whiting-out stubbornness would require a conscious effort on my part to conquer any and all thoughts and things that didn’t support me. It was a mission.

Long story short, I chose to be willing by committing 144% to my individual growth.  Ahhh, choosing… a free-of-charge endeavor.

K.LITE Rhetorical Pop Quiz…

Which group of words do you most associate with growth?

A.) Inflexibility, unyielding, fixed, unreasonable, myopic, and negativistic.
B.) Ready, responsible, energetic, deliberate, forward, prompt, zealous, and in-motion.

What do they call that experience when you cut the living room corner and walk your big toe right into the couch? That’d be a toe “stub.” Hardly dangerous, highly painful.  (My eyes water just thinking about my last one.)

Choose wisely folks.

 3.  Keep things sunny-side up.

 “I am an optimist.  It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
                                                                                                  – Winston Churchill

Attitude is everything.  And optimism is mandatory for willingness to do its thing. How mandatory?  Mandatory as in there’s a NO NEGATIVITY TRESPASSING sign posted to its property.

Optimism — the choice to “opt in” to life

Science now too is proving the benefits of an optimistic outlook. Remember, the good drastically outweighs the not-so-good on this planet. If you ever need proof of this, just imagine that you’re living on a rock that spins in space at a speed of 1,000 mph.  Far out, right?

Oh wait… you already are. (This, my friends, is what you call a Miracle.) Your SnapChat page not loading while waiting in line at the DMV is NOT a crisis. Now where was I?  Oh, right…

More often than not, life is simply a matter of how you choose to look at things. Does shit happen in the world? Sure does. So no, you don’t have to talk like a fortune cookie. But you should definitely INquire.

Do I prefer soft, productive thoughts that flow? Or rigid, stressful thoughts that constrict?

Your call.

4.  Eliminate resistance.

Simply put, resistance is fear of the unknown. And a close relative of stubbornness.  (Phewww… talk about a family reunion.)

The underlying premise of resistance is actually the fear of victory – victory being, of course, your God-given right to thrive.  When you resist, you withstand against yourself.  (Wow, even typing that hurt.)

So here’s my challenge…

What if, rather than ignoring the ambiguity willingness may bring, you saw it as a gift basket full of surprises?  No matter how outlandish and different a situation may seem, make it a point to welcome change with an open mind and heart.

None of us know where the road may lead. But only those who throw it in drive will ever get to know.

(Want to really understand resistance?  Read this book.  Sheer genius.) 

5.  Say NO (in alignment with your light).

What?!?!

Let me guess.  This completely contradicts the say YES propaganda?

How can’t it?

Like so…

Say you enjoy the company of catching up with your old high school buddies/sorority sisters/what have you.  However, the environment in which they participate (barhopping and partying and gossiping and the never-ending reminiscence of the “good ole days”) – yes, my famous “self” keg stand I remember quite well, uh thank you – isn’t conducive to your growth.  Does that support you to keep showing up?

No, but it makes me a good friend.

No, it makes you an imposter because a good friend is an honest friend.  And you can’t be an honest friend if you’re not honest with yourself.

But what will they think?!

By the look on your face, I’m gonna speculate that “who cares?” isn’t a sufficient retort?

(Silence.)

How about this?  Have you ever seen the movie YES MAN?

Yep. He said YES to everything and landed Zooey Deschanel!!!

Good point, but…

… at the end of the film, Terrence (the head of the YES seminar) tells Carl (played by Jim Carrey) that there was no YES covenant to begin with. It was merely an avenue to stimulate action and open Carl’s mind to infinite possibilities. Carl needed a shakin.’  And YES shook him out of his stubbornness.

Yeah, so…

Well just like Carl, you too can (and should) say “no” if need be.  For most, it will be the ultimate willingness challenge.  It too is the “in alignment with your light” part.

Meaning?

That willingness is futile if it goes against your personal code. It’d be five steps forward and six steps back.  It’s “facing it” versus “pushing it.”

Yes opens doors.  No keeps ’em open.

In this scenario, “no” is a roundabout way of saying YES – to our truth that is. It’s a high form of self-love (ahem… boundaries.)  Which means people won’t get it.  You’ll be dubbed selfish, inconsiderate even.

Yeah Jane, she’s not coming… something about a bath and a good book tonight.
Oh John, no 50th party for him. Going fly fishing with his dog (scoff.)
Nope, Nancy’s out on Secret Santa this year. Such a Scrooge!
Steve, yeah, he’s really “changed.” 
(My personal favorite.)

Squawkers will squawk.  Their guilty YES’s are a big disservice to mankind. Your NO?  It’s an invitation AND permission for all to choose honorably. Maybe even for themselves for the first time. If YES’s are brave, NO’s are heroic.

“Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
-Steve Jobs

Thanks Steve.

But how do I differentiate between stretching myself (yes) and honoring myself (no)?

You’ll know.  (Get it? You’ll “no.”)

Oh c’mon!

Trust me, you’ll know.

Stay willing my friends,

hi there

TJ

 

 

 

The First Spiritual Key: Willingness (aka The Open Door Policy)

philipp-berndt-173197Get your notebooks out ladies and gents, this one’s important.  (And by important I mean imperative to everything happy and fulfilling and victorious in your world.)

Willingness is the mother of all keys to a spiritually-fueled life.

Yes siree, Robert. Sans willingness, the subsequent four keys could and would not be possible.  In fact, they wouldn’t even exist because they couldn’t be experienced. (Note to your Self:  if you’re reading this, you’re willing.)

Put simply, willingness is choosing. It is a prereq to all spiritual paths, a springboard to adventure, and a gateway to freedom. It is the law. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Hold up… what about the whole “Love is what makes the world go round” spiel?  Shouldn’t that be first?

Bait taken.  Here’s why it’s not:

Could you love fully and completely, or at all for that matter, without an open heart?  (That’s a rhetorical question.)

It is only when you are willing that you truly love. Show me an unwilling lover and I’ll show you a talented Kardashian. Willingness comes first, always and forever. The same goes for gratitude, change, acceptance, stillness, and taking action.

To be grateful, you must be willing to appreciate.
To experience a new life story, you must be willing to let go of the old one.
To accept others, you must be open to non-judgment.
To be still, you must be willing to enter the silence.
To take action, you must be willing to show up.
To (your preferred ideal), you must be willing to (fill in the blank.)

Attempt any of these without willingness and you’ll never leave the driveway. N-E-V-E-R.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

Now, before I define willingness, let’s talk about its source. Where does willingness begin? (A man in the crowd raises one hand with the other pointing down towards his head.)

Precisely!

Willingness starts with you. Just look at its root: will. Or the first five letters… will I? Your free will is the catalyst. Through our choices we have front-row seats to a field of possibility.

The K.LITE Dictionary reads:

Willingnessthe state of being open to moving forward; adherence to flow; readiness; resistance remedy, serendipity spark, the Open Door policy.

The Open Door policy?  Say what!?!?

Si, abre la puerta. If there’s one thing to be taken from this post, make it this mantra:

I AM the Open Door.

(That’s a referral to you, not me.  Well, all of us actually.  First person works best.)

Write it big and loud and colorful. Put stars around it. Highlight it. Underline it once, twice, three times. Make it your screensaver, iPhone wallpaper, car bumper sticker, your next tattoo. Tweet it, snap it, pin it, bop it, whatever the kids do.

“I AM the open door” is willingness as a means to fruition – that for doors to open, we must first open ourselves. By doing so, what you need to start your car will be shown to you.

Opportunities arise (that job shows up.)
Synchronicities multiply (a new class or idea pops up in more than one place.)
Books fall off shelves (or in my case, I find them in the abyss of the woods where no book could ever possibly be.)
Conduits stand next to you in the grocery line ( … one thing leads to another.)
Magical 3rd, 4th, and 5th options appear.

But you must be willing to be yourself and be it fully. You must be willing to explore alternate paths. You must be willing to be vulnerable (like this road story.) You must be willing to receive the guidance the You-Niverse (your intuition, what have you) is delivering. You must be willing, you must be willing, you must be willing.

Does this mean we have to say YES to everything new and different?

Absolutely not. What good is willingness if it goes against the code of who you are?  It does mean, however, recognizing our need to continually grow by shedding old habits, accepting new truths, occasionally stepping out of the box and/or pushing the envelope.  For this, a leap will be required.  Know what I’m sayin?’

In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra writes, “When we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.”

I liken this to willingness.

When we’re unwaveringly willing to both give and receive willingness to the utmost degree, our Heart’s Desires (our Inside) merge with those of the Youniverse, awakening a force so alive and so magnetic that the “how” shows up and alignment is all that can and will endure.

Greek playwright Aeschylus mirrors this by saying, “When one is willing and eager, the gods join in.” Hear, hear!  (Feel free, however, to swap “gods” for your own personal precept – Love, Light, God, Divinity, Moana, Jesus, Magic, Norman at the deli, that tree in your frontyard, who or whatever revs you up.)

By allowing fresh light to stream in, we wield our willpower. Through the humility to begin and the courage to evolve, there is no person or thing that is not the Open Door.

On the bright side (if you need one)…

Willingness is the ultimate answer to life’s roadblocks – spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional. Willingness has the superpower of turning the impossible in to the possible, confusion in to clarity, and walls in to ways. It makes an outstanding companion, and an even better doorstop. And sometimes, it’s just a simple thought away.

So, how strong will you allow your willingness to be?  Where will you allow it to expand today, tomorrow, this week? Can you open up just a teeny tidbit more?

Play with the key.  Love the key.  Live the key.  Be the key.

Its potential is up to you.

Willingly,
light

TJ

 

 

* Tune in next week for the How To’s of Willingness. These will be fun.

 

((Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash))

The 5 Keys to a Spirit-Fueled Life (aka The Art of Feeling Good).

matt-artz-353284

light
“How do I become spiritual?”

In a certain regard, this question triggers an upchuck.

Not to dis seekers of any kind. I would never. Whether your cup is full or you’re drowning in backwash at the moment, I’m a firm believer that (for the most part)… we’re all doing the best we can with the resources we have. Evolution is part of the dance, and all who participate should be applauded.

The Taoist in me’s response to this question is to simply “be.”  After all, we are human beings not human doings.  But given I live on planet Earth, where my Zen replies aren’t exactly “street legal,” well, here we are.

Before getting started though, I’d like to demystify any and all woo-woo connotations that shadow the term “spirituality.”

Literally speaking, spirituality is the “state of being spirit.”  One step further:  it’s your spirit in action.  That’s it.  Nothing chichi about it.

You know how people say, “He/she has such a great spirit.”  Well, there you go.

Whether you pray incessantly, sing eloquently, dance freely, crunch numbers rigorously, surf crazily, om loudly, golf weekly, paint sloppily, deliver packages regularly, vegan-out devotedly, drink coffee religiously, or lay cement smoothly, it doesn’t matter.  Spirituality is a do-it-yourself project that cannot be limited to a singular set of how-to’s.  It’s defined per soul applicant.

Enlightened Decree #27:  Spirituality is what you say it is.  There’s no right or wrong way to partake.

Truthfully, the headline to this blog series is the ultimate catchall. Many a title apply:

The 5 Keys to a Fulfilling Life
The 5 Keys to Manifesting your Dreams
The 5 Keys to Stress-Free Living
The 5 Keys to a Six-Figure Income
The 5 Keys to Increase Serendipity
The 5 Keys to a Seven-Figure Income

The 5 Keys to Dealing with Car Salesmen
The 5 Keys to Dealing with Your Landlord
The 5 Keys to Freedom!
The 5 Keys to Feeling Good

The latter being the crux of it all when posed with this question – I want to feel good.  I want to feel connected.  I want to feel alive.  I want to feel WHOLE.  And why shouldn’t you?  It’s your birthright to do so.  All day.  Every day.

Call to Action:  scrap the titles and stay open (teaser to Key Uno).

THE SPIRITUAL KEY SERIES

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to unveil the keys as part of a ten-post-or-so rollout. With each key, a subsequent how-to will follow. The reason for the breakup is to make space to assimilate and apply. Like anything in life, presence and action are required.  And the keys are only as powerful as what you do with them.

The wording “how to” is used in a very loose manner. On the one hand, the Internet totes loves lists, like straight-up cray cray status (is that what the kids say?) Translation: humans enjoy a protocol. They want to know who, what, when, where, why, and how to do something.

On the other hand, some souls are more independent ((two thumbs pointing at this guy)). Some are downright stubborn ((these people just suck)). Being told how to do pretty much anything reeks of pontification. For these folks, just think of the content as Tips for the Evolution of You. For all involved, let what resonates guide your sail.

Last but not least, have fun.

The cool thing about the ‘5 Keys’ is they’re already in you. Not the book aisles or seminars or the “real word” nonchalance, but IN.SIDE. you. The only ingredient in this pudding is possibility.  Copious consumption approved.

That said, the first key arrives next week. I look forward to sharing with you.

Godspeed,
Here I am

TJ

What To Know When You’re In Pain. And The Silver Lining To It All.

Suffering can be very real. The sky can go that low.  And it can hang.  So you turn left, then right:  walls.  Inescapable.  There’s no…  way…  out.

When it’s physical pain, it hurts and it sucks, but it’s cake in the end. The moaning and discomfort is communicable. The body heals or it ascends.  But the inner “stuff,” the hello-can-anyone-hear-me kind of pain… that shit stings. Heartache.  PTSD.  Loss of a loved one.  Nervous breakdown. Forgiveness. When that effing person’s phone rings in the movie theater.  Perdition runs the gamut (you now know mine.)

But the dagger of it all isn’t the agony within, it’s the thought you’re fighting not to think (and have zero chance to not actually think it): that the pain won’t end.  That it can’t end.  How could it when it… hurts…  this… bad?  Fear catalyzes.  It’s the icing that makes you want out.  (And the reason we shan’t judge.   Anyone.  Like ever.)

If you haven’t been there, someone close to you has:  family, a friend, the guy next to you at the coffee shop. Pain doesn’t typecast. It can broadcast with theatrics or vices, but more than often, it’s disguised. A racing mind can monopolize and protect itself at the same time, ya know.  It’s that darn good.

So what should you know when you’re in pain?   This too shall pass.

For real bro?  I’m dyin’ over here and you drop Scripture on me?

Yeah… that’s definitely not from the Bible, but I get it.  When your sadness exudes no mercy, clichés can be a real twist of the knife.  Morgan Freeman could narrate it and it would still seem shallow and glib.

There’s more fish in the sea.  (Don’t ever say this.)
Fake it ‘til you make it.  (Has its merits so long as it doesn’t mask.)
I know what you’re going through.  (Yeah… do you?)

(How ‘bout? You’re miserable AF.  A piece of this may stay with you forever, who knows?  And that’s OK.  Cause I see you.  And I’m here.  Nothing more.  Giving a human being permission to totally feel can totally liberate.)

This. Too. Shall. Pass.

An ode to the light at the end of the tunnel. The bait might not take at first. You’ll hear it and possibly purge. And that’s allowed. Healing without catharsis isn’t healing at all.

So hang in there.  Take big ass Pranic breaths.  And know…

This too shall pass.

It will.

There’s a heap of light waiting.

And it’s beautiful.

That I can confirm.
and so it is

TJ