Terminally Comfortable, or Uncomfortably Alive?

If you’ve ever been caught between these two you’re witness to the breach between the comfort of routine and fear of the unknown. That’s where we end up when facing a task that requires an effort larger than we’re used to, in any area of life. And the tension strikes hardest when it comes to approaching a choice that might plunge us into uncertainty. The mind immediately charges in to fill in the blanks in the unknown with scenes of gore and guts (yours), with all the super-villains from every movie ever made, laughing, taking turns at you, your hands cuffed behind your back and your nape tied to your heels. The bigger the uncertainty, the bigger the fear. You’re gonna FAIL!  You’ll be the embarrassment of your generation!  Or, hey, even worse… you may succeed!

So you find yourself in a face-off between fear and comfort. A rock and a hard place. Yup. You think comfort ain’t hard?  Think again. It pins you down, reassuringly, like a ton of cushions and beer and other worldly pleasures, safely away from danger. But you’re still pinned down. Comfort’s corrosive, alright. And fear’s right there, staring you in the eyes, burning a hole in your desires. And there is you, aloof, stuck comfortably between these titans.

But we’ve got it backwards: fear’s not your enemy. When you think of it, all fear really is is discomfort. Alas, of a very convincing and terrifying kind – but most of the time that’s all it is: discomfort. And I mean psychological fear, not the fear you’d feel when spotting a salivating cheetah racing toward you. In that case the danger is real. Run!  Irrational fear is the product of a mind freaking out at the doorstep to the unknown. It wants to keep you safe from the possibility of eternal disgrace for asking that cute girl out for an alto-unsweetened-almond-double-shot-cappuccino (or whatever the hell they call “coffee” these days). The mind can’t deal with potholes in its timeline, so it urges you to step on the brakes, lest you fall in and blow up, sky high. Most of the time fear clicks on before any calamity it tells us will happen happens at all. And after the fact, most of those monstrosities never actually come to pass anyway. And those that do often bring with them priceless lessons, although usually in disguise.

The real enemy is comfort – what we know. What we’re used to. Comfort is what keeps us stuck, not reaching for the goodies that lie beyond the threshold of its well known zone. It’s what impels us to watch another late-night infomercial for anti-bald spray instead of starting that uncomfortable but necessary conversation with the wife.

What’s worse, comfort’s even more persuasive than fear. Otherwise, why would so many spend lifetimes in its deceptive grip in an attempt to avoid fear?  Better to rot slowly while reading these mind-numbing memes on Facebook than send out that email to that hot prospect.

If you must fear something, fear comfort.
Comfort leads to conformity leads to deformity.
This is the stuff we want to steer clear of.

The elixir of life lies just beyond our discomfort – in the heart of fear – while comfort soothingly squeezes the juice out of us. Learning to live with the discomfort of approaching the desire that makes you nervous is actually the “behind-the-scenes” of long-term fulfillment. Life IS uncomfortable. Birth makes sure we get the memo on day one. No “pain” (discomfort), no gain. It’s as simple as that.

I’m reminded of Anaïs Nin’s famous quote:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

You get off the couch only when something’s inside you bursting to be unleashed and you can’t stand to lie in excuses anymore. You cease to buy into comfort’s trickery. You step off your comfort zone – into the throes of fear. You dare to kick danger’s ass beyond the relaxing erosion of convenience. You realize that all that fear of being in the storm was comfort’s way of trying to keep you safe – but not alive. And you “get” that fear is actually the fuel that propels your desires forward.

So, is your juice decaying slowly, comfortably?  As Pink Floyd would say, are you hanging on in quiet desperation?  Have you become comfortably numb?

Or are you willing to be uncomfortably alive?
‘Cause that’s where life’s sweet nectar’s at.

* * *
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More Heart ≠ Less Balls

A misconception’s been going around that keeps those who believe it from living a full life. A real, full, satisfied life. Of course, it keeps believers safe from looking frail or airy-fairy. It makes them seem nonchalant and powerful. But it also cuts them off from a fundamental facet of being human. From this paradigm one can exert substantial power onto the world and instigate memorable change. But one can never attain the lasting satisfaction nor interpersonal pizzazz that could otherwise help them reach their maximum potential.

It goes like this:

If I allow myself to have feelings or to make a choice through empathy I’ll look weak and may be taken for a fool. Like what mobster Paul Vitti (Robert DeNiro) said to psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) during therapy in Analyze This:

Paul: “If I talk to you and you turn me into a fag, I’m gonna kill ya, you understand?”
Ben: “Could we define fag? Because some feelings may come up…”
Paul: “I go fag, you die.”
[Click the link – DeNiro says it better than anyone’s imagination 😉 ]

Those who live by this opinion assume that you can only have either heart OR balls. And it makes sense. We’ve seen the spineless new-age hippies who looove the world with all of its fluttering fairies, but who are also broke and brand “successful” people as evil and greedy.

We’ve also seen the uncompromising tycoons whose pursuits of power and success have built empires, but have also wreaked havoc in their marriages, friendships, and personal lives (does a recent President ring a bell?).

Fortunately, some have begun to believe a higher truth:
Heart and balls are not mutually exclusive.

On the contrary: they enhance each other with essential qualities that the other is missing. That’s why we have both. Heart gives us love for oneself and others, unattachment, and an inclusive world-view. Balls provide courage, assertiveness, and effective choice-making. They’re both meant to be used, each in its own domain, complementing the other. To use either while excluding the other is to invoke the spineless hippie or the relentless asshole. Neither is balanced. Being open to both creates farther-reaching choices that result in better conditions for all involved.

In fact, it takes more balls to open the heart than to shut it down.

Think about it. It’s scarier to expose one’s feelings and to act from a more vulnerable, loving place than to force one’s cock down the world’s throat. Many have been cast aside as weak and even bullied for showing empathy or respect, both quintessential qualities of the heart. And praises have been sung to those who lead the way relentlessly from their balls. (And, ladies, this “cock shoving” also includes you, although men shut down emotionally more often and tighter.)

When we open our hearts we are accepting the fact that we are feeling beings – more so than thinking beings. Our intuition opens up, and new, more inclusive opportunities become possible. And once the ego begins to accept this new way of being, our emotional default begins to elevate. We feel happier and more trusting, and those around us seek us out because of the positive energy we exude.

So, more heart doesn’t have to mean less balls. It just allows our balls to do what they do in a more evolved direction. And ultimately, the one who benefits most from having the balls to use the heart is whoever chooses to do it.

* * *
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Master or Slave

As long as you make decisions based on whether someone else will be offended or pissed off, you’re a slave to approval. And just as bad: you can’t blame the other for it.

~ “He won’t let me.”
~ “Oh, you don’t know how she gets!”

The truth is you’re afraid that you won’t be able to deal with the other’s reaction. So you pacify yourself, bury your real desire under layers of justification and victimization. You’re scared at the prospect of having to justify yourself to another – real or imagined – and cannot tolerate the thought of it.

So a piece of you dies. But you pretend not to notice, not to hurt, not to care. And this becomes habit. You extinguish your flame, withering like a rose in winter. And you get so used to numbing yourself that you forget who you were and what lit you up. You even make yourself sick without realizing it.
“It’s something I ate.”
“Mel sneezed on me yesterday.”
But it wasn’t the food, nor was it the sneeze. You got yourself sick. And with every choice you don’t make that may spark animosity in another you keep stabbing yourself with the blade of justification.

Is this how you’re living, not making waves?  Trying not to rock the boat?  Are you making yourself a slave to approvalAre you choosing to forgo your inner flame for fear of igniting another’s insecurity?

Or are you willing to let go of expectations and judgment from others who care more about how they’ll feel or look than your freedom to be you?  Can you base your choices on what makes you happy?  Are you willing to say NO to that with which you don’t agree?  Do you have the balls to be the Master of you?

It’s not about stepping on anyone’s toes. It’s not about going against them, even when they seem to be against you. They’re not really against you; they’re afraid of their own power and terrified to see you in yours. But who’s to blame them?  It happens to us all.

It’s about going your way when you know that’s the way for you to go. It’s about showing integrity to yourself first – and letting the chips fall where they may. You can’t give yourself if you don’t have yourself. It’s about being responsible for all your actions and their consequences.

Be yourself, as ridiculous, cheesy, vulnerable, and scared as you are.
This is where your power is.
This makes you your Master

There’s no-one to blame for your choices – the ones you make, and the ones you don’t. Your freedom’s all on you.

* * *
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Viva María

Hoy despierta este blog luego de un largo silencio. Nada había tenido importancia suficiente como para sentarme a escribir, aunque temas no han faltado. Y es que hoy he chocado con una noticia que me ha dejado fuera de base.

Hoy me enteré que una ex-compañera de trabajo y ex-alumna de inglés fue secuestrada hace una semana, aquí, en Ciudad México. Entre varias versiones de la verdad que jamás se conocerá a “ciencia cierta” dicen que fue abducida cerca de las 9PM luego de tomar un taxi en Santa Fe. Que, después de llamar a su esposo para decirle que iba camino a casa, fue llevada a sacar dinero de uno o más cajeros automáticos. Que fue recluida mientras los (ir)responsables pedían el rescate por su liberación. Me enteré que una cantidad elevada en pesos (y euros) les fue entregada. Que sus familiares luego pasaron aparentes eternidades sin noticias – ni de ella, ni de sus secuestradores.

Y, por último, leí hoy en las noticias que su cuerpo fue encontrado en el Estado de México. Que la asesinaron. Que la mataron – aún luego de cobrar su “recompensa”. Que el cuerpo que una vez la vistió fue encontrado en un depósito de aguas negras, nada más y nada menos que el 15 de septiembre – día en que celebramos la independencia del país. Día en que mexicanos y extranjeros por igual nos unimos para reafirmar el “quién”, “qué”, “desde y hacia dónde” y “para qué” de estar cada uno aquí. Día en que María, de nacionalidad española, debió estar en casa celebrando en compañía de su esposo y amistades la migración de ambos al país.

Viva México.
Así, sin exclamaciones.

Y viva María. Mujer, joven, de treinta y tantos. Saludable, inteligente, estudiante híper enfocada. Trabajadora implacable, atractiva y activa. María, una profesional que dejó atrás su país con la esperanza de construir una mejor vida en otros rumbos. María, una persona como yo.

Es difícil identificar y poner nombre a todas las emociones que siento ante esto, todas a la vez. Una orquesta en cacofonía de instrumentos aullando por la atención de un espectador que no logra escucharse ni a sí mismo ante consiguiente caos. Una vida destrozada por la maldad del ser humano. Hijueputas malparíos que la mataron, aún recibiendo su pinche pago.
Como bien se dice aquí, esto no es de Dios.

Hoy me dueles, México.
Más que nunca.

Y no puedo evitar pensar en tantas cosas. En la fugacidad de la vida: hoy estamos, y quizá hoy mismo ya no estaremos.

Pienso en la falta de conciencia en la que vivimos. En el caso omiso al respeto por la vida de otro ser humano – y sus allegados. Y no solo en casos extremos como este. También en decisiones “inofensivas” (según su ejecutor) como pasarse el semáforo en rojo o mentarle la madre a toda voz y con dedo erecto a quien le reclame.

Pienso en la impunidad. No solo en la de los políticos, sino, más importantemente, en la de cada ciudadano. En la falta de responsabilidad que presencio cada día en la ciudad – y la ausencia de disposición para aceptar y restituir falta propia.

“Mi hijo no sería capaz de hacer algo así, mentiros@.”
Y crece el niño. Y años después…
“No fui yo quien chocó fueron las pinchemil chelas ajajajaja no me culpen culeros écheme la mano poli no jejeje???!!!”

El problema no es el gobierno.

La ruina del individuo, la ciudad y el país la crea quien comete el crimen, sí, pero siempre de la mano de su enajenado cómplice: quien lo ve y se queda callado.

Entonces, aparte de rumiar en lo doloroso y lo inútil, también tengo un lado práctico que quiere soluciones.

Pero, ¿qué hacer? 

No puedo convencer a un secuestrador de capacitarse para unirse a la fuerza laboral productiva del país. Ni si quiera puedo impedir que un conductor atraviese volando un semáforo rojo o invada una ciclovía porque “es que voy tarde”. Entonces, lo más básico que puedo imaginar es lo único que está bajo mi propio control: mi ejemplo.

¡ JA !
Lo más difícil en la vida.

Hacer lo que siento está bien – aunque vaya en contra del “qué dirán”. Escuchar mi voz interior susurrar mi Verdad por encima de los gritos de las engañosas superficialidades sociales. Decir lo que es menester escuchar – aunque queden ofendidos a mi alrededor (habla la experiencia, y aquí sigo, vivito y jodiendo).  Así también mido quién pertenece conmigo y quién ya no.

Y del otro lado de la moneda, estar dispuesto a recibir crítica y evaluar si hay algo que debo cambiar.

Cumplir mi palabra al darla, sin excusas – o no darla si no estoy seguro de cumplirla.

Decir NO cuando no estoy de acuerdo.

Si fallé, pedir disculpas y rectificar lo que sea posible.

Porque al actuar con rectitud genero un campo de fuerza que no solo me beneficia y protege, sino que proyecta vigor a quienes estén listos para también activar el suyo. Y ser consciente en cada momento de que, inevitablemente, si yo no lo hago bien, seguiremos todos mal.

Que este vacío que nos deja la partida prematura de María nos inspire a dejar nuestro legado a México, y al mundo. Que aunque ella no haya nacido aquí se propague aquí una ola de rectitud inquebrantable y valentía proactiva en su nombre. Que mi trasnochada poniendo estas palabras en orden no quede resagada en tu pantalla. Que cada uno de quienes aún permanecemos tengamos suficiente agudeza de observación para notar lo que no “cuadra” y la fuerza de pelotas para no quedarnos callados, porque el silencio del supuesto hombre bueno es la mejor arma del hombre malo.

Que viva María.
Que viva México.

Ya basta del silencio.
Ya basta de hacernos los pendejos, México, porque muy adentro sabemos que no lo somos. Y no merecemos menos que darnos a nosotros mismos lo mejor de nosotros mismos.
Aunque nos aterre.
Aunque nos amenacen.
Aunque nos pinches secuestren y nos maten, carajo.

Ponte de pie, México. Coño.
Es hora, hace rato ya.

* * *
Chekea el resto del blog. It’s bilingual. Lo puse aquí con la intención de que te haga pensar en lo importante. O más aún, que te incite a actuar diferente.
Y si te gusta, comparte. Sin miedo. El Feis y Chwirer no son solo pa postear gifs de gatos pendejos.

My Inner Saboteur

We all have an inner saboteur. That little part of us that doesn’t want us to receive what we want in exchange for safety. But safety is a booby prize – fool’s gold. We want what we want, not safety!  But that’s what we get when we live through our saboteur. Safety and emptiness.

Just last night I identified a very important saboteur of mine, one that has had me dodging a lot of miracles for years. That little guy is self-righteousness. Let me explain:

In recent years, whenever there’s been something that I’ve really wanted, regardless of the topic, a “movie” would play in my head about how it would turn out with something or someone blocking me from getting the thing done or receiving what it was I had in mind. The “film” would then show me how I’d confront the person or situation so that I could set them right for their lack of consideration toward me, their irresponsibility regarding that which I wanted. Go figure!  My ego would then feel a “faux” satisfaction from teaching them a lesson, them wrongdoers!  After the fake satisfaction was real enough – a temporary dissipation of the fear energy that had not turned into directed action – the movie in my mind would move on to another topic, oblivious to what it had made me miss.

The perceived benefit was that I was exercising – in my mind only – my ability to communicate my frustration and to feel vindicated from the evil “they” had bestowed upon me.

The problem – and most important aspect – of this dynamic is:

An even deeper aspect of this problem is that sometimes my ego would make me the enemy. When I had myself to blame for screwing up I’d send myself to where I’d be as far as possible from seeing what I wanted, not to mention receiving it.  The ego won’t blame itself, of course, and someone must pay, so I, the real Self, had to be punished for getting in my way.

Now I realize that instead of working toward my intention, my mind has been keeping me “safe” from the possibility of failure by not doing anything about it, and feeding me an illusion of actually having done something. And it’s only that: an illusion.

Knowing this I can now cut out the middle man, and go directly into working on my manifestation. Now I know that whenever my “mind movie” goes into “protect Carli from frustration” mode there’s really something there for me to do about what I want. I can now turn off its previously automatic switch and redirect my energy toward creating my desired result – like writing this blog post, for example. I can stop looking for the fall guy, as there is nobody there. It’s only myself!  I can starve the parasite of self-righteousness in exchange for living into the best version of my life.

What is your main saboteur?  Which part of you gets in the way of living the way you want?  Do you blame others?  Yourself?  Who’s the usual culprit for you not having what you want?  Take a moment to observe your patterns of failure or inaction and identify what keeps you away from your desired manifestations and feelings. Reflect on how you can redirect your focus and what you can do now from an unbridled point of view. Then go for it!

Comment below, I’d love to know your insights!

* * *
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Ve tu Vida como Fotógrafo: Reenfoca y Reencuadra

Gracias a los avances tecnológicos de la última década por fin hemos podido familiarizarnos con un objeto que antes nos había parecido místico e indescifrable: la cámara fotográfica. No importa cuán bien la sepamos manejar, la misma fácilmente nos permite compartir experiencias e inmortalizar momentos importantes. El impacto de cada imagen lo produce la combinación de elementos que presentan la foto tal como la vemos: con lo que muestra y sin lo que no. Dos amantes bajo una palmera; un bebé coloreando una pared; un paisaje montés al atardecer bajo un cielo sin nubes.

La irrepetibilidad de cada imagen depende de muchos factores: cualidades y posición del sujeto, iluminación, distancia a la cámara, área de enfoque, qué se está incluyendo en el cuadro, qué se excluye…  Al decidir todos estos elementos – ya sea a propósito o inconscientemente – el fotógrafo plasma lo que tiene en frente en una imagen única.

Al llegar la imagen al observador esta evoca una emoción, procura reflexión. Presenciar una fotografía es adentrarnos en su mundo, sumergirnos en la historia que nos cuenta. Y siendo única, cada foto provoca lo que sólo ella puede en quien la observa: una sonrisa, lágrimas, disgusto… o indiferencia. Hay fotos que nos gustan y otras que no. Hay las que reflejan lo que nos atrae, y las que nos muestran aquello que preferiríamos no ver.

De manera muy similar, cada situación que vivimos la creamos a través de nuestro enfoque y encuadre: desde un punto de vista que nos “pinta” el panorama que presenciamos. Este incluye lo que percibimos y excluye cualquier otro elemento que no sea “visible” o posible desde ese punto de vista. Y cada punto de vista lo escogemos nosotros mismos – ya sea consciente o inconscientemente. Desde ahí nos proyectamos lo que presenciamos, lo que llamamos “realidad”.

Saber este concepto como fotógrafo profesional y haberlo aplicado como coach en mi propia vida me ha ayudado a mejorar cómo percibo varias situaciones difíciles.  Pero no tienes que ser un pro en la foto para aplicar estas ideas. Cuida en qué estás enfocando tu atención, en especial cuando sientas emociones “negativas”. Observa cómo estás “encuadrando” la situación y qué resultado te está provocando (tristeza, impotencia, culpar a otro, etc.).  Entonces podrás cambiar tu punto de vista – igual que un fotógrafo mueve su cámara – a un lugar que presente solución, o al menos sensaciones más a tono con lo que preferirías ver y sentir.

Recuerda que quien único pinta las circunstancias de tu vida de la manera que las percibes eres tú, de acuerdo a cómo diriges la “cámara” de tu percepción.

Cambia tu enfoque. Dale la vuelta. Reencuadra hacia otros factores o personajes. Decide qué incluir y qué excluir en tus consideraciones. Usa el “zoom” hacia adentro (para ver mejor los detalles) o hacia afuera (para apreciar mejor los grandes rasgos del panorama). En fin, modifica la manera en que estás usando tu “cámara” para producir una experiencia más parecida a la situación ideal. Imagina cómo quisieras presenciar ese momento y créalo aspecto por aspecto, reencuadrando, quitando y poniendo factores según sea necesario.

Practica esto en cada situación y área de tu vida para trascender las experiencias que no te han servido. Así comenzarás a “fotografiar” tu realidad de la manera que te quieres sentir al respecto. Enfócate en aquello que quieres y excluye lo que no te conviene.

¡Enfócate y disfruta de tu nueva imagen!

* * *
Checa mi próximo taller “CREER PARA CREAR” este sábado 7 de septiembre 2013. Detalles aquí.

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∞ Universe of Infinite Evidence ∞

It’s a pretty big place we live in, this Universe. In fact, it’s the largest thing/event in the 3D (space/time) construct. It surrounds us and is in us. And even though it operates according to Universal Laws, it also obliges our thoughts like a computer obeys the programs running on it.

But if the Universe responds to what we think about, what makes it so mysterious?  How come it seems so random and at the same time shows such coherence?  Here’s an analogy that can help us understand how our reality is projected to us based on what we focus on:

Imagine the Universe as a gigantic warehouse where all possibilities are held. Every perception, idea, feeling, situation, person, and object is found in its infinite database. It’s all-encompassing: everything we ever wanted to experience can be found somewhere in this enormous cosmic goop.

Now imagine that as long as there is no observer this warehouse remains completely dark. Its contents are kept there, unseen, unless they are shined upon by a spot of light. The Universe functions on the concept that something exists only insofar as there is an observer focusing its attention on it. Only then can anything come to life, become “real”. Looking at, or focusing on something is what makes it “real” to its observer. And when no one is looking, it goes back to the nothingness whence it emerged.

So then, what or who can shed light on all this potential richness?  Only an entity with the gift of awareness… such as You. At any given moment you are retrieving data from this endless field by merely observing – that is your beam of light. However, you are not a mere spectator when you direct your attention. By focusing on something you define it The data you retrieve take whatever form your thoughts instruct it to. And the way your thoughts shape it into what we call physical manifestations depends to a large degree on what you believe is possible. In other words, whatever you think about and believe to be true or possible gets taken by the Universe as an order to fetch it for you – whether it is something you want or something you don’t. When you shine your awareness on an item in this endless warehouse, that wave of  endless possibilities gets collapsed into a particle of existence – its potentiality gets “condensed” into matter and becomes “real” in your experience (whether imagined or “real”).

Great, but what does all this have to do with me?

Look around in your life right now: the people that surround you, the food you eat, where you live, your health, your income, your internal state…  Everything you are experiencing in physical form is a residue of what you have been shining your light upon. You have created all of it by merely focusing your attention on and putting your energy into it, which has placed you on a path where only that can be observed. And this is true whether you like what you are experiencing or not. The Universe can only bring to you that which you have instructed it to show you by the power of your focus  – whether consciously or unconsciously.

So try this:
Practice observing how you’re observing. Find patterns of what aspects of life you habitually focus on. Does everyone appear annoying to you, or are they collaborators on this journey?  Is life a continuous struggle to catch up with payments and expectations, or is it the path on which you feel taken care of and able to express your true purpose?  How you view life is how it will be reflected back to you.

If there are situations in your life that you would rather do without, find the thoughts that describe them as you perceive them and question whether there are other ways to interpret them. As you begin to shift your focus, your spotlight will shine on aspects of life that were previously hidden from you. Your behavior will also begin to reflect your new paradigm, since your upgraded thoughts will begin to yield actions that are congruent with them. The more you practice experiencing life the way you want, the more life will reflect back to you the way you want to experience it.

Shine your spot toward the light and you’ll not only redeem what you truly want – you’ll also redeem yourself from hardship. The Universe will sooner or later reward you for your efforts, guaranteed.

* * *
Thank you for visiting my blog. Please leave your thoughts below!

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