To be, or not to be

Today I thought I would spend some time in thought and contemplation about my intentions for the new cycle and perhaps the new year ahead.  How do I want to be living in my authenticity? What does it mean for me to be truly fully embodied? What truths do I have the desire and readiness to express in my daily life.  And, what would my behavioral choices look like if I were living the highest version of myself.

I want to live in my authenticity by being open, honest and loving every moment of my day. I believe that my authentic self is openness, honesty and love for all people, places and things.  I believe that if I can live in my authenticity I naturally become fully embodied as the presence of love. Being present with those traits in an open and honest space with no judgment or concern is what being truly embodied means to me.  I have always had the desire to be the best I could be and be that gift to all.  I have had moments when I have been that true embodiment and times when I have not.  I am ready to be the expression of love always, and have the desire to embody openness and honesty in my daily life.

As I enter the new phase and new year, I choose health, family and community.  I will choose to put good things in my body, and keep physically active and flexible. I will choose to feed my mind and spiritual being with love and compassion.  I will choose to share and support/mentor/play with family, friends and community.  I will choose to build new bridges and seek new opportunity to grow and learn.  I will choose to not beat myself up if at times it feels like I failed in living my highest version of myself.

Join me!

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

 

 

The family business

Day 30

From “Living and Dying” the book

Perhaps one of the most important elements the funeral professional brings to a grieving family’s world at the time of a death is “normalcy.” I live in a world where I am constantly reminded that we all die. In fact, I get that call every day. When it is your turn to call, you need that personal and emotional connection with normalcy. You need someone who has been there to listen and advise you as you navigate a journey you’ve possibly never experienced. You need someone who is comfortable with the death experience that brings a strong presence and calm to an otherwise anxious and often unfamiliar time. You need someone who has asked themselves the hard questions, and who sees death as a normal part of life.

What I mean by that is that with life comes death; it is a normal evolution of what happens to us. We have no control over the length of time we’re here, and we need to realize that there will come a time when what we know to be true today will be different tomorrow.

When that moment comes, you need us because we all need to feel safe, loved, and cared for. We need someone that can help coordinate the simpler daily activities you will be struggling with, someone who can help with logistics and scheduling. We need someone who has experience and knows what works and what does not work, and can communicate that. We need a trusted guide, someone who sincerely wants your family to experience a journey of healing, and we need someone who cares and wants to be there. When dealing with loss, there is an element of discomfort.

I see our role as one of responsibility first and empathy second. What I mean by that is that it is my responsibility to share with you my knowledge in the healing journey before you, and to help you craft an experience to your individual needs. I can only hope you don’t deny your feelings or abuse your connections with family and community. In addition to everything else I have mentioned here, it’s incumbent on me to be a good communicator and counselor. I need to be able to walk you down a path where you feel safe and secure, and I need to set that stage in a few hours.

The old way of funeral directing has changed. We are being called to perform superhuman functions in a time of distress and questioning. We are being required to develop new paradigms as the old ones no longer work. We are a profession reinventing itself, re-connecting to a new normal. Not an enviable task but one demanded of us. Those who are successful will remain in this time honored profession. Those who do not will be gone.

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

Connection

Day 29

Connection!

From “Living and Dying” the book

What is truly remarkable to me is how we either feel or do not feel connection. We can feel connected through family, friends, work, social, and cultural experiences. We are designed to feel connected emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Our shared connection can feel intensely good, yet there are days when we feel completely alone. How can that be? What is it that disconnects us? Where does the connection go? Is it a physical disconnect? Are we hurting so badly that the energy needed to connect is hidden and blocked? Is it an emotional disconnection? Is it so bad sometimes that our anger, or fear, blocks our ability to communicate our thoughts? Or is it a spiritual disconnect, where we feel completely separate in our growth and our faith? Do we often feel disappointed with God for not helping us find our way and for not answering our prayers?

I believe it’s all of the above, and I have experienced it all just as you have.
There are many great books and speakers talking about a new age, a new phase in our world. The main theme of these books revolves around the concept of returning to our source or connecting with our source. What I’m most happy about these days is that the more people I listen to, the more I am hearing the same thing. This is a time filled with struggle, fear, and trepidation. Yet it is exciting to see these things as they are slowly being eroded by love. The world is emerging to a new place as if a cloud has been removed from our heavens, as if something is uncovering new truths about the universe, as if there is a new and strengthened connection. It is undeniably a very powerful and transforming time—albeit extreme at times.

With all types of connection there is an internal experience or reaction that either feels foreign and odd, or good and right. While I believe we all have a common spiritual connection and a lot of what I write about reflects that idea, there are many other ways in which we connect. In fact, the mere experience of reading these words connects us in a world of thought, and that experience, that thought will undoubtedly create an energy that is felt as emotion. I know that for some, the words on these pages will produce an emotional response. I know that for some, the words on these pages will cause disagreement and reaction. I know that for some, the words on these pages will move them to a new place of understanding. I know that the mere fact that we react to being connected in any way is the purpose of our lives.

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

Joy

Day 28 for Barbara

Joy – for our hearts!

From “Living and Dying” the book

I had the experience of living in a state of joy for two weeks around the time of my sixtieth birthday. I like to tell the story of a dream I had at that time, which is where the experience began. In the dream, I was having breakfast with my two-year-old grandson at my favorite diner in Livonia NY. He looked to me when he saw a bird fly by and asked me, “Ba Ba,” (he calls me Ba Ba,) and he really couldn’t talk in real life, “how come birds can fly?” My response was, “Because it’s their nature.” After a reflective pause in the conversation, I then asked my grandson, “What is our nature?” His immediate response was, “Our nature’s to love, Ba Ba” and then went casually back to eating his breakfast. As I let that moment of childhood innocence and powerful truth flow over and through me, an overwhelming feeling of love and joy filled my being. I could only think of one thing so I asked him, “How come so many of us don’t follow our nature?” He said, “It’s because we can think. Animals can’t think and when you can think, you can forget.”

The dream brought me tears of joy for weeks after as I truly saw only love everywhere and for everyone I came into contact with. Whether it was the checkout girl at the register, the gas attendant, my family, or friends, I could only feel joy and love for everyone, I was love in its fullest. It was during that time when I realized that we all have the choice to shape our experience into what it is that we want, and only we can make that happen for ourselves.

Weeks later I returned to the other world, the back and forth world of love and fear. Often when I felt removed from love, I would notice a sense of being lost which made me angry, unloving and in some way less than I wanted to be and feel. It was in this struggle with loss that I became aware of my own loss of connection.
When I felt lost I would spend time in my head trying to figure it all out. Why was it happening? What was wrong with me? Why, why, why? It was this back and forth activity ‘life’ that brought me to this place today.
What I learned and continue to learn is all of our struggles are merely opportunities for re-direction, re-orienting us to find our path. They are really a blessing, a gift. I soon realized that when I felt lost, it was only because I had lost my way—taken a detour off the main highway. Because it was such a frequent event in my life, I just didn’t really notice it.

The experience of those two weeks of pure love and joy brought me to a place where I now recognize more frequently that feeling of disconnection—and I don’t like it. If we can find a way to re-orient our attention with our source, getting back to that main highway, when we feel these things, we can find our way back. We can return to the place that connects us with all things in our universe, a perpetual energy zone where all things are possible. Maybe all we need is a good map!

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

More about missing my dear friend

Day 27

More about missing my “dear friend”. (Sometimes when we break a habit or addiction we find ourselves missing it like a dear friend)  

When I finally quit smoking I had completed my relationship with using smoking as a tool for many things.  For me smoking was having something to do with my hands and taking a deep breath for creating a place or sense of relaxation.  During my 25-30 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, I quit many times, only to return to the habit which slowly became an addiction.  It all started in college where we were able to smoke in class.  Who of you wouldn’t want to smoke a pack of cigarettes during economics 101? lol  We would smoke on airplanes, in movie theaters, restaurants, in our homes and most all public spaces.  Smoking was considered “cool” and the social acceptance was huge.  My parents smoked, my wife smoked, our friends smoked, we were hooked.

In this case my “dear friend” became, “social acceptance, dealing with stress and a sense of relaxation” I was in love with it. I couldn’t wait to get to that familiar place every waking moment by smoking. Each day became a fight with my thoughts and desires. When I would give it up, I would miss those things. It became more frustrating to quit then to continue smoking, I stopped and started many times.  It felt like an all out war between my desire to live a healthier life and my “dear friend”  Fortunately for me, societies acceptance changed and my continued smoking created more discomfort and frustration then I could tolerate, so I finally was able to give it up.

Every moment in our lives create opportunities to develop and foster new “dear friends” new familiar places, creating new habits and new addictions. I still connect to the need to do something to stay busy, and create a place and sense of relaxation, and sometimes find myself off a healthy path. I find myself having to always be conscious of who my new “dear friend” is and why. I try hard to live clean and healthy and work towards finding spiritual awareness and wisdom.  Is that an addiction? Because, I’m to tired for  more wars.

I know this topic doesn’t begin to address the multitude of addictions but, I feel the “dear friend” reference is similar.  Here’s hoping our “dear friend” (familiar place) can be acceptance, peace, love and joy without unhealthy behaviors and thoughts.  As one of my “dear friends” shared yesterday “rather than hating your dear old friends, we somehow need to make them into our pets. They must be appreciated for propeling us forward. But that’s all, there are much better friends waiting”

While I continue to move forward on my journey with hope and love in my heart, I continue to see opportunity and pray for peace in our world. I’ll pray for you too.

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

My dear friend

Day 26

Sometimes when we break a habit or addiction we find ourselves missing it like a dear friend

 

Over a year ago I took to loosing some weight and dropped forty five pounds.  I am still holding to my new weight goals.  Recently I took three months off from drinking any alcohol.  I made it through a couple of months, but found myself back to it before the three months were up.

Whenever we make the effort to free ourselves of an addiction or a habit we no longer need or want we often find ourselves missing the old pattern as we would a familiar friend. This sounds counterintuitive, because we think we should instinctively gravitate toward that which is good for us. And yet, it makes a lot of sense when you consider that we are creatures of habit. This is why we gravitate to people and places–and patterns of behavior–that make us feel comfortable. Therefore, many of the habits we form are not conscious and are based instead on learned behavior from role models who were not always making the healthiest decisions.

Most addictions in my opinion begin as a way of avoiding feelings that are uncomfortable, so it makes sense that stopping the addiction means, for a time, a fair amount of discomfort. The same, of course, is true of habits that we have developed over time that we are ready to release. Just knowing that this is hard, and having compassion for ourselves as we work through this process, can help us to stay the course. It’s also helpful to remember that in time we can establish new, healthier patterns, and the yearning for the old ones will hopefully disappear. Ten years ago I gave up cigarettes and to this day do not have any urge to smoke.  My eating habits are different today then in the past, but I’m finding comfort in the fact I’m eating better foods.  Although I gave up drinking for a time, I realize I still miss the social and relaxation components of it today.

The only way to get to this new place is to endure a time of difficulty, which is a challenge we can confidently handle, if we remember that it will lead to the change we seek in our lives. Our bodies, hearts, and minds always need time to adjust to a new way of doing things, but they will adapt, and even become our allies, if we remain true to our vision of a new way. I think I’ll try with the alcohol again come January! Maybe even try exercising!!

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com

Winter wonderland

Day 25

Last night was our first snowfall of the season with 4-6 inches of snow falling by morning. There is something magical and energizing to wake up to a fresh new snowfall.  I can remember the joy we had as kids as we raced out into its freshness to build forts, throw snowballs, and play.  Back then, the snow came and stayed for all of the winter.  The roads would stay packed with snow initially and sledding on the local hills took up a lot of our free time.  As we aged, we began skiing and traveling to the different mountains in our area on the weekends and school holidays.  We bonded with friends and family, as we tirelessly endured and thoroughly enjoyed the cold and wintry months. It was good.  As we entered our own parenting days, we shared our experiences as children with our own kids.  Many weekends and school holidays spent on the ski hills with new friends and family.

Today I am grateful for the new snow.  Tomorrow may be different, but I think not.  It brings a sheer beauty to nature and our environment, wrapping the grey and dead looking landscape with its fresh clean look.  It is a joy to behold.  It will never get old for me, and I look forward to tomorrow.  I hope you do too, wherever you are.

“Blessings on your journey”

http://www.mkanthony.com