Posts Tagged “enlightenment”

I may have bored readers with previous posts about my personal path to enlightenment, but after finally finishing A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I just had to share a few more meaningful musings.

In all honesty, after enjoying The Power of Now, I found A New Earth to read almost like a textbook at first. And I kinda felt like the spiritual master was preaching to the choir as I read. But I kept on keepin’ on and was glad I did.

As I got deeper into the book, a number of messages emerged, and a few fun parables stuck a chord that should ring true with anyone who lives a life of adventure on the open road.

The first was this simple lesson about the importance of acceptance…

“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at the moment. It is part of the is-ness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do you suffer.”

Anyone who has ever had trouble parking the rig, push-started a motorcycle in 124° heat, or struggled with some disgusting RV duty has much to learn from these words of wisdom. Later in the book, Tolle explains that you don’t have to enjoy what may be happening to you at any given moment, but you must accept it. Otherwise you are not taking responsibility for your own state of consciousness, and therefore your life is out of your hands.

Next time you feel things have gone awry, take responsibility for your life and accept that whatever is. You don’t have to enjoy it, but it does help to smile.

Re-frame Your Fear

All full-timers are intimately familiar with uncertainty. In fact, I would venture to say most of us relish it. Not knowing the unknown is why many of us enjoy this adventurous lifestyle so much. For anyone allowing the false security of their current situation to keep them from following their own road trip dream, I give you the words of a Roman philosopher…

“The Desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”
Tacitus

Tolle refers to this quote when describing the importance of being able to live with uncertainty, and yes, even enjoy it…

When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do, and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change.

In other words, when you do not accept uncertainty, it turns into fear. Once you accept it, uncertainty will fill your life with alertness and creativity.

The journey is the destination.

Here’s another Tolle truth that applies to any adventurous lifestyle…

“…the end and the means are one. And if the means did not contribute to human happiness, neither will the end.”

In discussing how to find your “inner purpose” he describes the common misconception that success is a future event. But any outcome is inseparable from the actions that led to it. So enjoy the ride!

Wake up and do it.

Tolle describes “awakened doing” as the alignment of your outer purpose (what you do) with your inner purpose, which is to remain awake and present.

Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny.

How you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness. See that bit about re-framing your fear above. So in any situation you face, or whatever it is you do, make your state of consciousness the primary factor. The situation is secondary. In other words, lighten up and roll right along with those bumps in the road.

So what is your purpose? I realize mine is to be happy, and to help others discover how they can live a happier, more rewarding life. Interested? Let’s talk!

Recommended Reading:

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Go ahead, give it a try. Smile.

Arun looking happy at the T or C FiestaFeeling upset? You may be surprised at just how good a smile will make you feel.

You might even be more surprised how contagious it is. In fact clinical studies have proven that smiling improves relaxation.

But smile at the wrong people, and they’ll wonder what you’re up to. I feel for these folks.

Going for an early morning run through industrial areas of Los Angeles, I would make it a point to smile and greet everyone I encountered. The majority of these people would just look at me funny. Some would scowl, others would grunt, and oftentimes someone would literally be quite startled. But every time, the eyes would quickly be divereted, if any eye contact was made at all. And while I did get a few responses en español, it wasn’t a language barrier thing. Take for instance the one older Asian gentleman walking briskly who replied with a big grin and resounding, albeit thickly accented, Good Morning!

More recently, as I was running along Mission Bay in San Diego, many people out for their morning stroll would reply with a smile or at least a nod. But still, the majority would still appear a bit taken aback.

Is it big city shitty life that makes one so jaded? I believe it has more to do with lifestyle. Take the old Asian guy. He was healthy, happy, and he knew it. The hungover lookin’ gangsta type at a bus stop appeared to be none of the above.

I realized something after comparing these runs over the past few weeks. Those who were up early and walking or riding bikes because they needed to be were not very happy campers. Those out enjoying the morning air because they wanted to be seemed much happier.

Where in this wonderful world of ours have you been where you noticed people to be exceptionally happy? Or rude for that matter?

I would have to say everyone we’ve ever met at Vickers Ranch has always worn a smile. And Luckenbach must be one of the happiest places in the universe. It is the center after all, according to Hondo.

Hondo Crouch Moon Shadow Sign in Luckenbach Texas Bar

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Jim helps replace blades on Vickers Ranch mowerPutting in a good hard day’s work is good for the body. Put one in with good people, beautiful surroundings and fresh mountain air and it’s good for the soul. Do it on a ranch and you’ll likely get a chance to give your mind a good workout too.

I sit in front of a computer most the year, and have done so in fact for the past 25 years or more. There’s a scary thought.

While maintaining the leading WordPress mulisite community for canine amputation offers a daily mental challenge, working the hay fields at Vickers Ranch brings total peace. Just ask Perk Vickers.

Perk Vickers dedication plaque at Gold Hill Cookout

Don’t be fooled by the plaque atop Gold Hill. At 96 years of age, Vickers Ranch patriarch ol’ Perk is alive and kickin’. His secret? It must have something to do with his outlook on life – that and a daily dose of whiskey. Just ask him how he’s doin’ and he’ll tell you, “Every day is a great day.”

Jim helps stack hay at Vickers Ranch

Every day is a great day indeed when working with the Vickers. Ranch work at 10,000′ requires one to be fit for sure. And you can’t beat the beauty of mountaintop views or the calls of the coyotes for a good dose of awareness. Counting bales and troubleshooting a broken stacker or determining proper blade rotation on a multi-head mower tends to put the old noggin’ to work too.

Upper Vickers Ranch Mountain RoadThis kind of workamping sure beats staring at a computer screen all day. What do you do to exercise your mind, body and soul?

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Allow me to stray from the topic of snowbird RV wanderlust for a moment here once again to share some more of that open source enlightenment.

Book Cliffs over Green River Canyon UtahWhen shit happens – and it undoubtedly will – we must deal with it, that’s a fact. How we cope with emotionally difficult situations depends on how we choose to feel. Allow yourself to feel frustration, angst, embarrassment or whatever else ails you, and you’ll certainly be dealt a bad hand.

Choose to reframe outcomes in your favor, and you can be free of pain and stress. Easier said than done, right?

Right. I have always asked myself just that. How? Exactly how does one correct their own reaction when in the moment of distress? Mindfulness teacher and meditation guru Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests by befriending your breath and dancing with the acuality of the event. Other ennlightened individuals will suggest by being – with all your heart and soul – in that very present moment, for that is when you have the choice to better your environment. Believe it, and this is easier done than said.

Capitol Reef, UT Highway SignsImmersing yourself in the present moment feels fantastic, and comes naturally when remaining calm in a peaceful environment. Simply being becomes much more difficult when spontaneity brings misfortune and distress. So again, how does one follow through after making the choice to feel good while the fan is praying shit everywhere? Just flip a switch in the brain? Yes. Turn off the fan.

My good friend NLP Dave explained an understanding of his that may help. I’ve been mulling over his allowance theory since our walk along the Eureka waterfront a few weeks back. From what I gathered – or if I recall correctly – negativity is a basically the resistance of positive thinking. The opposite of that resistance would be allowance. So, one must accept outcomes at face value and allow the silver lining of even the darkest clouds to shine through.

“Above every dark cloud, the sun is always shining bright. Except at night.”
— me

Recent events and resulting anguish provided the opportunity for putting this precept to the test. After putting a major gouge in the side of our truck while attempting to fit in a tight spot where I had easily parked just days before, with fellow campers waiting to pull by, I wasn’t exactly feeling quite chipper or acting very calm.

Book Cliffs over Green River Canyon Utah

Quick coincidental digression: I recently read an article about EFT which Dave showed me can be a powerful self therapeutic tool. Practicing a quick touch sequence while focussing to let go of the pain, anger, embarrassment and distress I was feeling allowed me to clear my mind enough to accept what happened, and realize that how I was acting was making me feel so shitty. Being in the present at that time meant understanding the damage was done, and how I fealt about it was up to me.

I allowed myself to welcome a positive vibe about our new spot – in the campground that is, not on our fender.

Big Rock Truck Crunch

As much as we shouldn’t compare – nor should on ourselves – the whole scene could have been much worse. The scrape is purely cosmetic, any damage to the trailer would have likely been functional. We finally had a nice wide open good level spot, with a more beautiful view of the river and cliffs. Satellite connectivity was quick and cell phone reception was better. We now had plenty of water, produce and provisions. We ran all our necessary errands and had a spot available at the small riverside campground before the busy Easter weekend.

There is a moral or two to this story. There is a great free campground about 9 miles outside Green River on Hastings road. If headed before a busy weekend fill the fridge at the market in town and top off with water at the truck stop. That way you won’t have to park again after rushing to town. Pay attention and never feel rushed when parking your rig. Just because you fit easily in a tight spot before, don’t assume fitting again will be just as easy. Always have your navigator keep on eye on the trailer and the truck.

And if you happen add another battle scar to your trailer or tow vehicle, understand that freaking out won’t fix it. In fact, it only makes matters worse.

Life Is Give And Take

You see, I have always looked at life like this. It’s all about give and take. Life, that is. It’s about giving what you’re willing to lose to get whatever it is you want to take. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes being put to the test to find that perfect spot.And you must be willing to pay the price for living life to the fullest and loving every minute of it.

In other words – if you’ll pardon my French one more time – sometimes ya just gotta say shit without letting it hit the fan. Because if you let it build up, life gets pretty stinky.

Epilogue: In nealry four years on the road we are fortunate and grateful to have experienced no major catastrophe. Perhaps positively dealing with the number of smaller mishaps that do occur will ensure we never do. After all, it is these dark moments that remind us to slow down and allow those silver linings to shine through.

Recommended Reading

FREE EBOOK: The Benefits of Mystical Oneness by Wayne (Wirs)

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing

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It was over two years ago now that I first pondered publishing a post titled, “I Could Die A Happy Man.” Now that may sound morbid to most, but I meant it in only the most positive sense, and still do.

Happy Jim Golfing Slab City Gopher Flats

My reasoning at the time was that we had enjoyed a wonderful life with Jerry on the road, where he taught us – among many other enlightening lessons – that every day is a great day, no matter what life throws your way. I was recently reminded of this by a comment on some satellite radio show about coping with difficulties. It went something like this…

“You always have a choice. Even if your only choice is how you react to the situation, you still have a choice.”

Kristopher Krall, AKA Spoonie GSo true. I choose to be happy. It sounds simple enough, but it can be harder than you might think, especially when life throws you a curveball. Or worse, beans you high and hard.

With the anniversary of Kris’ death coming up, and doctors suddenly telling another dear friend cancer is killing him, I thought it high time to share how I do it. Be happy that is. Consider it a bit of open source enlightenment.

Ever since we hit the road with our three legged dog after his cancer diagnosis and amputation, I have been privately working on this personal mantra…

I am available to more good than I have ever experienced, imagined or known ever before in my entire life. So I open myself to all the wonderful gifts the universe has to shower upon me. And I am grateful for living a happy healthy life free of pain and discomfort, thriving in tune with the cosmic dance. I know the universe is conspiring on my behalf, so I free myself of guilt and blame and think kind thoughts, speak kind words, and act kind deeds toward myself others and the environment. Should I experience stress or pain, I choose to let it go knowing that I am completely free without it, because I am most happy and comfortable enjoying every moment to the fullest choosing to live life in the ever present now.”

Happy Couple at NuRVers Ralley Luau NightIt’s an ever-evolving work in progress but that’s what makes it work so well. I repeat it most often when out for my morning runs. Another friend, Dave Berman, found it enlightening enough to use a variation we agreed upon when he launched his Manifest Positivity blog. You can ask Dave how the differences he suggested I incorporate make the mantra more effective, he’s the certified NLP practitioner.

But I am a creature of habit, and I believe this is working for me. Call it mumbo jumbo if you will, but a little good juju can go along way if you ask me. So I recommend anyone seeking a little more happiness from life develop a mantra of their own. Below are a few resources that led to me developing mine.

Recommended Enlightenment

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Depak Chopra –  I first listened to this audio book on tape (yes, audiocassette) in my previous life as a marketing manager who spent hours a day in traffic.

Ethics for the New Millennium by his holiness the Dalai Lama – Could there be any greater path to enlightenment than getting it directly from the source?

The Secret – The law of attraction is no secret after all, and anyone who has read or seen this will recognize the first few words of my mantra.

Pronoia by Rob Brezsny – Never read it, but a few of the things I tell myself I learned from Dave, who swears by its teachings about how how the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings.

Am I Being Kind by Michael J. Chase – I still owe Dave a public thank you, and book review for this quick read about how asking one simple question can change your life, and your world.

Excuses Begone! by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer – Didn’t read this one either but did take plenty of notes during Dr. Dyer’s seminar of the same name on PBS about how to change lifelong, self-defeating thinking habits.

Guardians of Being by Patrick McDonnell with words by Eckhart Tolle – Read our book review of this enlightening little treasure if you love Mutts, or wonder why it’s such a big deal to us.

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