Archive for November, 2012

An End of Year Resolution

Friday, November 16th, 2012


            Tis’ the holiday season; for most of us it is the height of family and social ritual.  A time meant to expound joy and celebrate life’s many gifts.  It is a joyful time.  It is a loving time.  It is a sacred time.  Yet there is another pole to the holiday season, the “South Pole” we might say, a pole that is not distinct from joy and love, but amplified because of it.  At this pole, there is sadness and there is mourning.  It has something to do with celebrating something so familiar like the holidays with so much no longer there. 

            Everyday we are forced to confront in some way those we’ve loved who are no longer here as they once were, our own mortality, and the sweet yet certainly passing of time.  There’s something about the holidays that is like a rush of blood to the head (and heart).

            It confronts us in music and in shops, in tastes and smells, and in the playfulness and innocence of children.  “This is life,” is the message, “Hear me.” 

            There’s a lot of other things besides confronting what seems absent in the holiday season that sounds less significant but can be traumatic as you go through it.  It is the financial stress of budgeting for gifts, food, and travel.  Traffic jams and human traffic at store’s playing that song that you swore you were going to scream if you heard it again ten minutes previously.  That family member you don’t care to see or have done such a skilled job of avoiding for 364 days but this one upcoming.  Did I mention December is the darkest month of the year? 

           Then, there’ knowing what you want for Christmas.  Oh God.  In the Soprano’s Tony complains that he knows that everyday is a gift, “But does it have to be a pair of socks?”  For many of us, a pair of socks is all we can come up with to ask for.

            Then, there is the end of the year quick approaching.  “Did I have a new year’s resolution?  Did I accomplish it?  What was it?  I don’t remember.”

            All this being said I’m proposing an end of year resolution.  It is not a resolution for the body and doesn’t involve changing your diet or exercise.  It is not about goal setting.  You don’t have to track your progress or get a sponsor.  It’s a resolution focused on the soul; A commitment to your soul. 

            Not a search for the soul but to be with the soul           

            Not listening for the soul, but with soul

            Not looking for the soul, but as soul

           As Aelared Squire said, “Man does not have a soul, he is a soul.”

            When it comes to the complexities of the season, the mystery, the intensity, it takes experience at a soul level, to truly comprehend.

            Not in a physically, or materialistic, temporary way; Not in a psychologically, dog chasing its own tail kind of way; but at the soul level–living in the now and feeling the all of it–having not a plethora of emotions as much as a wholeness of feeling. 

            It may not be easy in that it involves an entirely different type of work than we equate the term work with.  It requires that you relax.  It demands that you listen attentively instead of talk unceasingly.  It requires receptivity, patience, willingness and open-mindedness.

There’s a lot of practical ways we can go about it.

Get a cup of tea and sit outside.  Just sit and drink your tea.

            Go walk on the beach, and just walk on the beach.

            Read something you like slowly and just sit with it.

            Just do what you do for no other reason than being yourself with what you are doing.  Being your self is the accomplishment.  You may be amazed at what reveals itself, not just to you, but as you.

            The soul doesn’t give us material gifts, but it does help us embody greater truth, understanding, vision, perspective, identity.  Being a soul means experiencing a rhythm of life, one we are primordially a part of, and living in awareness of it, things have a way of falling into line.


josh reeves









Relationship is Harmony

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

revjoshareeves1.JPG  I’m always a little surprised to hear someone describe their relationship in terms of conflicts.  Conflict, to me, is the opposite of relationship.  It is not relating.  So if you describe your relationships as a series of conflicts, it might be best to say that you are in a committed and faithful conflict than relationship.
When we understand that relationship is the act of relating, we know how to overcome all of our conflicts.  Relate.  Seek harmony.  It is then that we can make healthier choices for ourselves and as couples.
How do we relate?  How do we get along?  We listen.  We share honestly and respectfully.  We release our preconceived judgment and recognize that our version may not be the only of events.
Relationship is harmony.  Conflicts, strife, frustration, these are isolating.  The key to harmony in relationship does not begin in our relationships with others, but with the layers of relating within ourselves.
I’m amazed at myself when one day someone I’m in a relationship can do or say something that will completely drive me crazy causing me to be bitter and angry, and the next day they could do the exact same thing, and my response will be compassionate and understanding.  What’s up with that?
On one day, its, “Have you no respect for me, you’re so self-centered.”  Or “I can’t live like this.”   The next, it is “Oh you, you, you.”  This seems really complex to me, but I guess it really is just every episode of “I Love Lucy” I have ever seen.
  If in our relationships we could seek harmony, we might avoid the drama.  And if one day I can react completely differently to my partner’s behavior than the next, what does that tell me?  The conflict is in me.  It is in my relationship with myself, which again, if I am in conflict with, I am in not much in relationship at all.
  My harmony with myself directly affects my ability to be in harmony with my partner.  How can I get along with her if I can’t get along with myself? Like a runny nose being a symptom of a cold and not the virus, so what happens in our circumstances in relationships are often symptoms of the lack of harmony in our own inner lives. I am also amazed at how one day I can engage in a behavior and react with such viciousness towards myself and the next day with forgiveness and encouragement.  “I can’t you believe you ate that whole bag of potato chips,” one day,  “Mmm, those potato chips we’re so good,” the next.
The relating goes even deeper than us.  Our relationship with existence itself creeps in.  My harmony with others is reflective of my harmony with myself is reflective of my harmony with life.
  If my relationship with life is keeping it at arms length, grumbling that it’s not fair, or boring, or not enough, that shows up in how I treat myself.  That shows up in how I treat my partner.
  I’d suggest the next time your partner does something to upset you, go straight to your relationship with life.  Maybe you won’t find anything, but maybe you will, an unresolved conflict keeping you from a greater level of love and connection in your life.  Maybe you can correct it before you put further divide between you and your partner?  Not by any act of your own, but just by getting closer in your own consciousness to what life really means to you.
Pondering some of life’s greatest metaphysical questions can sometimes give us great insights into how we approach our relationships.  Is there life after death? Does any of this mean anything?  Why am I here?  In turn, our relationships can reveal to us the meaning of life as well in powerful ways. To look to the wordless message of your partner’s hand in your own…to just laugh, sometimes offers us more than the wisest scripture.