I Am... Now What?

May 10, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

When all your desires are distilled
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy.

There's this idea that enlightenment exists outside of "real life". That we can have so-called spiritual experiences, but inevitably we must return to the real world of work, family, relationships and all the struggles we face each day.

However, awakening to the truth of Who You Are doesn't mean you leave your life behind. It doesn't mean you move to a mountain top and exist in a perpetual state of selflessness. It simply means you walk the journey of your life with the realization of who you really are — your essential Self. Carrying that knowledge and that wisdom with you, even as you move through your daily chores and experiences.

Your essential Self is not found somewhere "out there". It's not something to strive for or work toward.

It's simply the You that exists closer than that which you can observe and label. Whatever you can observe or label, is not You. It is merely phenomena that You are witnessing. Closer than all that, is a space of pure Being, that which cannot be observed or labelled.

When you let go of all questions about yourself, all expectations, all labels that you or others have applied to you, you are left only with this subtle space of Being. A space of living presence.

What is this space, exactly?

I Am.

I Am is a constant flow of presence, an ever-blossoming newness. It's like a river, flowing continually into the Now.

No history or future, just Being.

It is an emptiness that is somehow overflowing with aliveness. Observing, flowing, arising. Being. Without expectation or remembrance, without worry or fear.

I Am just... is.

And what arises in the space of I Am? Joy. A sense of wholeness and completeness.

Lightness. Love.

Not the kind of love that attaches to someone or something, but an experience of Love radiating. It can't be described with words, really. It's kind of an experience of Oneness, a joyful feeling of Being and presence.

And yet it's not really a feeling at all.

It just is.

...Now What?

We can take the truth and beauty of I Am with us, even as we return to our mind, and all the experiences of living life.

Even as we go through our day and all its drama, we can remember the truth of I Am: We are not the drama. We are not our sadness, our anxiety, our worry, our fear. We are not the perceived flaws in our personality and our body. We are not the struggle. These are all ripples on the surface of the water — we are the Ocean Floor, observing all of this.

As you set aside the time to turn down the volume of your mind, your expectations, and your labels of Self, you become more attuned to the I Am that is always present and essential beyond them. More and more you can "return" to this space for clarity and perspective — yet you aren't really returning. You're simply experiencing the essential Self, that which always is. You, without labels and observations.

Let this be your practice. To know your true Self, to awaken to it. To know the transparency of all the dramas that unfold throughout your day, how fleeting and non-essential they are, and to walk in the freedom of I Am. Let this be your journey.

And realize that the I Am that exists in You, also exists in all others. It is our most fundamental connection. I Am is the Source that we all arise from and return to. In this, we are brothers and sisters. We are One.

May a sense of love, compassion and an intimate understanding of each other arise in You from this realization.

May you walk in freedom and joy.

And may your priorities be simply this: To love more, and be happy.

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You Don't Have to Be Everything

May 3, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.
Author Unknown

How often we look outside ourselves in search of a sense of completion... Believing we are too much of this, not enough of that. Believing the praise of another to be a critique of ourselves. Believing we are defined by our shortcomings.

What if we shifted our focus away from all that we aren't, and began an intimate walk alongside the One that we are?

Nurturing, developing, and loving ourselves — wholly, sacredly — cultivating the kind of confidence that only comes from realizing and embodying our own unique brand of brilliance?

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Albert Einstein
Consider this your freedom declaration:

You no longer have to make yourself small and civilized, in the hopes of seeming more palatable.

You no longer have to judge your weaknesses by the strengths of others.

You no longer have to embody every desire in your lover's mind.

You no longer have to have everything figured out.

You no longer have to walk in a straight line.

You no longer have to feel embarrassed about your weirdness.

You don't have to be everything to everyone... you don't even have to be everything to anyone. That isn't your mission.

You can make the choice, in this moment, to release yourself of that burden and accustom yourself to the unique light of You. The wild, untamed animal spirit of You. The strange, irrational, totally absurd and magnificent beauty of You.

Own it. Breathe deeply into it. Walk in it.

Choose confidence, even if it feels shaky at first. Confidence is a journey, and it is work. It is freedom and brilliance. This is yours.

And when you lean forward into it, you'll see that all those little things about yourself that you missed before, are actually pretty damn amazing. It's OK to like those little things, and even to love them. This is how you will shine like a radiant jewel.

So show me who you are. I promise that I will do the same. And we'll light up the Universe.

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Owning Your Magnificence

April 26, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

Act in a way that assumes + activates bigness in everybody around you. Including yourself.

Own: Acknowledge, admit, allow, avow, come clean, concede, confess, declare, disclose, grant, own up, recognize, tell the truth.

There's this myth in our consciousness that the closer we stay to the baseline of "normal", the better off we are.

When I was a young boy, I remember my teachers asking me wearily, "Why do you have to do everything differently from everyone else?"

In my early 20's, my work supervisors and co-workers implored me to "stop bucking the system" and "stop trying to change the way we do things".

The thing is, I never set out to do things differently or buck the system — I only did what made sense to me. I've been hardwired since birth, it seems, to embody a perspective of the world that is challenging, questioning, and perhaps a bit weird.

Sound familiar?

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How to Own Your Experience of Life

April 19, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.
John Maxwell

In a sense, we each live in our own private Universe — a world uniquely experienced by us.

This unique perception of the world around us is a direct projection of our current state of consciousness.

If you find that life is constantly happening "to you" (and often in spite of you), this is a signal that you aren't taking responsibility for your experience of life. It can be more subtle than this, however. Do you complain a lot? Do you find yourself criticizing people and systems on a regular basis? These are also signals.

All of these signals essentially point to the same thing: victim mentality.

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What We All Need

April 12, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

Life is beautiful, painful and surprising – it is so many things. Often we think we are too small for our own life – including the painful parts. But that doesn’t have to be the case. We can be big enough for our own life.

Sometimes the roads all disappear and the maps stop making sense. We find ourselves in the wilderness.

In the wilderness, we have a choice: We can focus on the oppression, the darkness, and the fear, or we can use the experience to know ourselves more profoundly.

Where is the intensity being felt? Where is the epicenter of it? What deeper pain is it re-awakening? There lies the wisdom. We find ourselves in the wilderness because something has triggered our own darkness to cry out, wanting to be known, wanting to be embraced, wanting to be healed.

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The Great Misconception About Love

April 5, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.
Tom Robbins

Love can seem like a difficult thing. The expectations, the anticipation, the hopes, the vulnerability. All of these can be met with disappointment and disillusion, causing heartbreak.

This is the great misconception about love: That it entitles us to own someone — body, heart and mind. That isn't what love is. The pursuit of ownership over someone only creates suffering. Ultimately, it can even create a mental and emotional prison that persists long after the relationship is over.

Love isn't ownership.

The nature of love is to simply be, of its own accord. To radiate outward, to find connection, to be unconditional. To be free.

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Dealing with Difficult People

March 29, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
Sam Keen

We all come across folks who are difficult, irrational or unkind. Our first instinct may be to mirror the person, countering their negative attitude with one of our own. It's normal to feel angry, hurt, and frustrated. What's worse, is the time we spend afterward thinking about how we were treated, perhaps staying emotionally charged for hours after the encounter.

The purpose of this article isn't to show you how to turn a difficult person into someone easier to deal with, although that can certainly happen. The point here is to offer a deeper look at what is happening within you when you experience a difficult encounter, and to present a few ways of handling it in a more favorable way.

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Holding Up the Mirror of Awesome

March 22, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

Newness by Daniel Collinsworth
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever been around someone who made you feel really good about yourself? Not through words of simple flattery, but through a genuine quality of their presence that just seemed to magnify the good and beautiful aspects of You?

It's truly inspiring to be in the presence of someone like that. Someone who shines a bright, loving light on your potential, and reflects a glimpse of who you are underneath all the filters of fear and yuck that we tend to see ourselves through.

Now... what if you could be that mirror for others?

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Seeing the Sacred in One Another

March 15, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Cultivating a profound, compassionate respect for folks goes beyond feelings and attitudes. We can enjoy a deeper experience of connection with others through a simple shift of focus.

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9 Ways to Be Gentle with Yourself

March 8, 2012 by Daniel Collinsworth

If you took a blue spruce tree and planted it in the desert, it would obviously perish. How do we forget that we too are living systems, and each of us have unique environments, needs, and conditions within which we flourish or wither?
Dawna Markova

Creating a habit of gentleness toward yourself is not only a healthy, consciousness-raising practice for You — it also cultivates an authentic sense of gentleness toward others. Here are some of my favorite ways to recharge, refresh, renew and realign myself with gentleness:

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