Yesterday, on the Muscle Testing Workshop one of the students said something, and I started to laugh uncontrollably. I laughed for minutes, it seemed, and could not stop for a long time. I wept more from laughing than most people cry from sadness, lol.
I have been observing myself the past two weeks or so, and my joy of life, my satisfaction level, my experience of being alive has been going down steadily with every passing day. Yesterday I got close to breaking point.
I was exhausted. So I thought that I needed rest. But when I muscle tested myself I was not tired. I was running on empty.
So... what did I do? I went hunting for something good to read. And though I have hundreds of books on my Kindle, the Kindle is not where I went. I found one of the Harry Potter books, curled up in bed and read till 1:30 am.
I slept well for the first time in these two weeks, and woke up early, ready to start my day, happy.
So what is this about? Listen up, this simple story has the seeds of big learning.
First let's tackle the question that you are probably asking: how can I be running on empty if I connect to Source, right?
Source is an undifferentiated energy, it turns into what you make it. It's like raw material. If you are boring, Light won't make you happy or a rich-inside person. You need to do it, and the Light helps you.
The Light is the raw material, really. You need to shape it into happiness, companionship, knowledge, it won't do it for you.
All of life is such: when you hope to be happy as the effect of anything that happens TO YOU, you will be unhappy, I guarantee it.
It's like the car and the fuel... it is still you who drives the car and goes to places to enrich your life, to have new experiences, to live fully. The best grade fuel won't help you have a rich life if all you do is go to work and to the grocery store... lol.
Now, that I got the Light issue out of the way, let's look at what's going on.
Thoreau says that people live a life of quiet desperation. Wallace D. Wattles says that unless you live fully in all three areas of life, body, mind, and soul, you'll be lop-sided, and I say, impoverished, and running on empty.
Most people handle this by reducing the output: after all you can't give what you don't have. They never think to fill themselves up.
Most people's "diet" is TV, stupid 2-bit movies, potato chips, talking to other 2-bit people, and then they are surprised that their life is 2-bit, sad, boring, and they are depressed, bored, and look for some fresh blood to suck, an interesting thing here, an interesting person there, the Light... what have you. They never fill themselves up with quality fuel.
Wow, that was a big ball of yarn, so let's pull out some threads to see what's in common in all these lives and what you can do about it in yours.
First off: nothing that's worth having ever comes easy and effortlessly. Or better said: everything that is worth having takes effort. Life doesn't come in a potato chip sac, it is more like a walnut. It is on the tree, has a gooey, bitter, outside, need to break it, pick out the nut flesh, and maybe even peel off the inside skin because it is bitter. But then, after all this effort pays off: you are nurtured.But we want work to be work, and life to be life... and there we are going wrong.
Our soul wants fulfillment. Fulfillment cannot be given to you, you need to get it, go through all that work, and then you'll have it. Fulfillment that comes in a sac isn't fulfilling. You have to work for it.
Reading is like that. Anything really satisfying isn't a one-layered, simple reading thing. You need to work to get the flesh out of the nut... or the meaning out of the words.
American movies are made for simpletons, most have no layers, other than maybe the Coen brothers' movies, or the Silver guy who produced the Matrix movies. There may be more, but not many.
For each American movie I watch, I watch nine foreign movies, because of that. I want to be nurtured not just entertained.
Entertainment is like potato chip: it makes you fat but doesn't give you any nourishment. It, really, is designed to be addictive. To be so unfulfilling that you will want more. Fulfilling stuff, like dark Swiss chocolate, is satisfying in tiny quantities: you can revel in the many layers of taste that it leaves in your mouth, in your throat, in your nostrils, in your heart. It's nurturing. You eat two squares of them and the effect is lost: it's like trying to listen to two concertos at the same time... cacophony.
Potato chips, on the other hand, or steak, or cookies, or milk chocolate, the more you eat the more you crave. They were uninteresting: the most interesting and satisfying part was the chewing.
I used to be skinny. No, forget that, I used to be scrawny. Skin and bones. Until I found out that it's hip to eat scientifically. So I started with whole wheat... it is good for you, right?
Next thing you know I was fat. Not huge, but about three times as big as I was naturally. Big enough for you?
Slowly, as I am finding my center, as I am finding my truth, I am following an advice I gave to someone a few years ago. I told her: eat like a cat. A cat won't eat something if it doesn't smell good, if she doesn't like it, even if not eating she will starve to death. I have had enough cats to know that.
This woman, really beautiful face, but overweight, had a family. She cooked every night. And she ate what she cooked. Then visited with other people and ate what they put in front of her. She never said 'no, thank you.' 90% of what she ate was just edible, not something she enjoyed.
It took some convincing, but she finally accepted the advice. She dropped 40 pounds in about a month, without dieting.
So, about a month ago I said that what was good for her will be good for me. I have been still struggling with a few extra pounds, ok, about 15 or 20 extra pounds.
So I started to watch myself. I noticed that most things I eat I eat them because I think they are good for me. Or because they taste good, but I want more and more of it. That is always a dead giveaway. There is even a saying: you can't just eat one potato chip, you have to eat till it's gone.
My body is confused enough after 50 years of eating according to my mind, so I muscle tested and found some interesting stuff.
The almonds I eat by the pack are bad for me. But if I soak them in water overnight, I can eat just a few, and feel satisfied. Walnuts are bad for me dried, but if I soak them... just like the almonds.
Most vegetables are bad for me. Most fruits are bad for me. Soups are bad for me. Stews are bad for me. But a little 4-6-ounce piece of well-seasoned, underdone fish or meat is really good for me.
All milk products are bad for me. How do I know? I can drink a lot and still want more. I can eat all the cheese in the house and want more. I can drink tea or coffee just to have more of the half and half. Hah, gotcha.
So, what do I eat? Very simple, the past few days I have eaten salmon, beef kidney (I am not British but I love them), soaked almonds. And occasionally raw onions... A slice here and there. That's it. I am happy, I am fulfilled, I am nurtured and I can probably live like this for the rest of my life. 1
Now, I don't want this whole article to turn into a diet article, that wasn't my purpose. But how you eat can be a dead giveaway of how you live. And it can be a good indicator of why you are unhappy, unfulfilled, and starved to death inside and out.
You need to give yourself what you need.
The problem is that what we think we need is so culturally skewed, that we don't know what we need. Just look at my eating habits. Used to be completely run by cultural "truths."
So let me give you what I think you will miss if you live by culture...
Here is how to refill your tank and never let it go empty again
- Read. Read stuff that expands your mind. That allows you to live a bigger life than you can physically. Harry Potter seems like a children's book, but it is some of the best literature around, its language, its characters, its layeredness allows you to live a rich inner life. And so are The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and The Journeys of Socrates. All these books initiate you into ways of thinking, ways of living, that will create the layers of your being that make for "not boring", instead of boring, like you now are.
- Watch movies. Netflix is a good choice. Chuck your television, even the set. Watch the movies on a small portable DVD player. Watching movies is an intimate experience. You need a headset, and it may be a good idea to turn on subtitles. Why? Because you want to be stimulated on many levels.
- You want to completely eliminate superficial, skin deep stuff. Conversations about nothing. Eating for company. Going to the movies to pass time. Reading the newspaper. They are emptying you without you being aware of that.
- Let someone else drive your kids to soccer or hockey practice or games. You have nothing to offer to them in terms of guidance if your life is empty... you are building a generation of takers, a generation of bored and empty people, right in your family. When you are tired, consider that it's not physical. Much like when you feel hungry. Mostly it is not hunger, it is your body and soul giving you signals that it is running on empty. Nurturing, building "food" is missing, maybe on all three levels, body, mind, and soul.
- Fall in love with your work. Make it a two-way street. Most people work for a living. Which means they spend time with work so they can live. It's wrong. There was an experiment that will prove a point: at a class some people found boring, but other people liked, they encouraged the bored students to raise their hand every time there was a question. These students, that participated, fell in love with the course... and so it is with work.When I came to this country, I was an architect. I was miserable. I could not wait for the workday to end so I can go and do what I really wanted to do.I realized this "participation equals happiness" principle and made some drastic changes: I left my phone at home. I didn't give out my work phone to anyone. I brought lunch with me to work so even the seeming "life is happening while you are working" syndrome won't take me off track.In a week I fell in love with work. I got my first thank you and compliment from my bosses in my entire, then 16 year long career as an architect. I loved to go to work. It didn't bother me that people thought me strange... lol.
Here is another example: as a Jewish kid, I learned languages, ballet and music, to be a full fledged human being. We could not afford a piano, so I played the violin instead and sang.
I hated the violin. It was hard, it was uncomfortable to hold up my arms for hours at a time, and I was always off key.
At 12 I told my parents that I wanted to play the guitar.
My dad, who was an author and traveled a lot, bought a custommade classical guitar for me in Germany. He brought it home, allowed me to touch it, and then locked it away.
He said: you can get it as soon as you get an A on your violin.
This was in March. I spent hours practicing every day.
That summer I had the shades closed all summer. I practiced all day. By August people stopped in the street to listen to me playing. Even I liked the sound that came out of my violin.
I got an A+ on my exam. I could have continued playing the violin and be perfectly happy.
But I switched to the guitar and put all that principle my father taught me into that, then into my studies at school, then into everything.
Life is like sex... if you are only about the prize, you live an impoverished life. It is all sex... everything. It is all your life... work, shower, breakfast, everything.
You get back what you put into it.
You are unhappy? You probably live a lop-sided life.
Or put effort into an area that's like a black hole, like caretaking. Or cleaning the house. Driving your kid... Or some other mindless stuff. People who are black holes... may give you stuff, but not an echo. Your best friend, your spouse, your children.
You need to listen for the echo.
Teaching a class can be nurturing or not.
Echo is what makes the difference.
It's like making music: you hit a chord and then you listen. You hear the takers, the black holes, and you stop giving to them.
The echo is not words, by the way. We all tend to give people more that sound like they appreciate what they got. But the words are bait: echo is energetic. The flatterers are probably takers.
My two favorite students never compliment me. But whatever I say deeply resonates with them. How do I know? I hear it. Energetically.
"It's easy for you; you are an empath", you say? Maybe. Just watch how YOU feel.
The echo that is coming back, is it like milk chocolate that you can't get enough of? Or is it dark chocolate that a little morsel of it is enough and for hours you don't want to eat anything lest you lose that good taste in your mouth.
Life is full of vampires, black holes, energy sucks, and time wasters.
You can get empty real fast, and if you don't create a regimen to refill yourself, you'll be unhappy, listless, and purposeless, and rudderless, and you'll live on hope, and the excitement of new stuff, and fads, and it will be never enough.
The question is this: is it worth for you to change so you can have a great life?
If you are the 99% of humanity, it isn't.
And even if you are the 1%, you will need support.
What support do I offer?
The rest is up to you...
PS: one more thing: most any raw material can become toxin in your hands... What you "consume" can become nurturing or not... it is up to you.