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Replanting The Garden

desertoasis

I consider the Garden of Eden story to be one of the most powerful pieces of lore in our collective human history. It points to the reality that human beings used to inhabit, and how we moved into a divisive world where we became aware of Good and Evil; moving from a state of absolute divinity into a space of mental comparisons, separation, and fear.

Being provided for by a garden of endless abundance is almost unthinkable in today’s society. And yet, there are people who are living off the grid, growing their own food, and able to survive and thrive by harnessing their God-given creative passions. One could say, they are replanting the Garden of Eden in the modern day.

How does one get to this place in themselves where such a radically different life can be realized?  In looking at my own life, it can be useful to examine both what I am doing, and what needs to be left behind. At the end of the day, it is fear and compulsive behaviors that prevent us from creating and living the life we truly desire, and truly deserve.

Fear is like the desert that has rendered our garden barren. Rather than revitalizing and replanting the soil, much of humanity has been caught up in chasing mirages across the desert. Addictions are like the dirty comfort blankets we cling to. They give us a false sense of security and safety, and yet are making us sick and stopping us from truly moving forward.

My counseling practice is called “Seeds of Love” because we all have the ability to plant and cultivate something better in our lives. The difficulty arises when we plant a seed and expect a lush, abundant garden to grow overnight. The fall from the Garden of Eden may have been rather sudden, but our return will in most cases be very gradual and very worth it.

Having worked as a gardener, I’ve experienced the ordinary miracle of watching a tiny seed grow into a beautiful, abundant plant. The best part is realizing the connection I have to that whole process; my love and care is an intrinsic component of the growth of the garden.

Working with my clients is very similar in many ways. All of our problems can be boiled down to a lack of self-love and a forgetting of our own true nature; what our intrinsic blueprint actually is. Just like a seed will not sprout and grow if it is not in the right environment, a person cannot flower and blossom if it is always inundated with toxicity.

To weave the metaphors further, it is like a gardener who puts a seed on some dirty rocks and then starts screaming at it to get growing. In society, we have harmful self-talk and negative beliefs that prevent us from actualizing our potential. I’ve talked with clients who have been putting up with various forms of abuse from people in their lives for a long time.

My work with these clients involves them pulling away from abusive people and beginning the work of cultivating a loving relationship with themselves. If we take the Garden of Eden story more literally, we can observe many people blaming God or Satan for why we no longer seem to dwell in the paradise we yearn for.

And yet, the onus lies with humanity—both individually and collectively. We choose to listen to “Satan” whispering temptations to us. We choose to go against our heart, our divine inspiration. And this is the greatest gift of all. The Freewill to leave paradise, and the Freedom to return to it as well.

eden

Paradise lost, and paradise found. The human journey in a nutshell. It is even more accurate to say that we cultivate paradise within ourselves, rather than finding it like some long-lost oasis in the desert.

Indeed, we have all the necessary tools at our disposal. We can make time to drink beer, smoke pot, and watch TV in our free time. We can also make time to meditate, flex our creative muscles, and give our mind, body, and soul what they need to truly come alive and thrive.

In short, we can cope with the pain of living in a barren desert, or we can begin planting the seeds of a New Eden. The choice is always ours, and ours alone. Now offering free initial consultations. www.seedsoflove.ca 

Game-Changing New Collaborations Emerging

peoplemovie

Human relationships are dominated by story telling. This is the bread and butter of all our relationships, our entertainment, our ability to connect, and our identities in general. What do we do on Monday morning after the weekend? We exchange stories as a means of fostering relationships with our co-workers (or perhaps just staving off the dreaded “Monday feeling”).

After work, Netflix or our platform of choice allows us to get lost in the stories of others and gather fodder for our next storytelling session to come. News stories, biased as they may be, provide endless content for weaving, deciphering, arguing, and modifying our own stories as they reflect our reactions to the world at large.

Long story short, human beings are innate storytellers in every area of life. Not only do we tell stories to our friends, loved ones,  and colleagues,  we also incessantly tell stories to ourselves in our everyday thinking.

This is my particular area of interest and expertise; the stories we tell ourselves; what no one else can see. In talking with clients, I have noticed a common theme that people feel bored, tired, or even victimized by the stories they believe in their minds. Many have shared that they have repetitive self-defeating thoughts; stories of why they cannot succeed, reliving past negative experiences, and so on.

It’s almost as though a bad TV drama is constantly playing in peoples’ minds. The allure of entertainment is powerful because we can temporarily get out of our own negative story and become enraptured by something else. Clients have told me they would rather experience anything besides the pain of their own thinking and self-judgment.

The interesting thing that can start to happen in sharing our most intimate stories with one another is that they begin to unravel and lose their negative power over us. For example, in speaking to people who have dealt with extreme trauma in the past, they can start to free themselves from the repetitive memories and inner dialogue over time simply by speaking or writing it out in a safe environment.

Like a movie or TV show, we can develop a sense of objectivity over even our most intimate thoughts, beliefs, and narratives. When I instruct people in meditation and mindfulness they learn how to see their own thoughts and emotions as they arise. This creates the ability to create themselves anew, without having to be bound to the past.

Like players on a stage, we all have our unique part to play in the divine epic of humanity. The question is, are we allowing our lives to be run by painful, unconscious narratives or are we getting in touch with our innate truth and acting upon it.

The present time is rife with opportunity to tap into and create a life worth living and a life worth loving. We needn’t be lost in negative story lines and merely distracting ourselves with the stories of others. We can fall in love with our own character and the part we are meant to play.

We are not merely passive observers watching our lives play out like a movie or TV show. We are creators and conscious participants that are able to influence our own lives and the lives of others for the better. The ability to harness our co-creative abilities depends on how much we are willing to let go of stories and beliefs that no longer serve us.

It’s been said that “all the world’s a stage.” Learning to love the character we are playing can transform the human drama into an epic story of heroes. We all have the power, and together we are even stronger.

 

 

Thriving in Recovery

When we think about life in active addiction or while struggling with a mental health issue, it is easy to identify areas where we are not thriving, merely surviving. We feel isolated and disconnected from friends and family. Our physical health often suffers; we generally eat poorly and do not get enough exercise. Our coping strategies are like borrowing money from a credit card. It may provide a temporary fix, but builds up an emotional debt over time that gets heavier and heavier.

Thriving in recovery is investing in ourselves. We take the time to exercise, eat well, and improve our situation one day at a time.

Soul’s Meditation

In the scientific community, the benefits of mindfulness/meditation are being discovered relating to finding ways of helping the body and mind. Mental clarity, deeper relaxation, balanced emotions, and many other benefits can be found through meditating regularly.

A deeper aspect of this can be explored through inquiry into, “what exactly am I that is meditating?” We are aware of the body and mind, different states, moods, emotions etc. Yet, what is it that we are?

Our deeper nature can begin to be revealed as a loving presence that is the constant of all our experiences. Indeed, the benefits we accrue through our healing practice are because of this true nature shining through more and more.

 

A Real Solution

The impact of addiction and mental health issues in our society are far reaching, if not always visible to many people. Treatment for those afflicted has become a major focus for many professionals, and the time has come for a radical change in our perceptions as a whole.

The traditional fear/judgment-based way of looking at those who suffer from these conditions is that they are a sort of anomaly in society. It’s as if society as a whole looks around and says, “These are the people with the problem. If we figure out what to do about them, everything will be alright.”

The change in how we view people can start to take place when we see those who suffer in the fringes of civilization not as the problem, but more as a signal of what needs to change in humanity as a whole.

We need to remember that people do not become sick in a vacuum; we only exist in the context of others. Treatment for individuals often happens in a sort of secluded, controlled and isolated environment that is very different from the outside world.

The hope is that people will become well, and then rejoin the world they left and be able to function “appropriately” in the very world in which their suffering began.

The solution I propose is in many ways simple, although the implementation will require the conscious, loving, and dedicated participation of many people who are willing to challenge fundamental beliefs about the nature of humanity and the world we have created.