Friend On Bike Hit By Car

Posted Posted in My Stories

I received news recently that a friend from college had been hit by a car from behind while riding his bike. Although it’s just the beginning and things haven’t played out all the way yet, I think that this story is something that we could all learn from. It involves acceptance and dealing with anger, two things that are simply a part of life.

My friend is around 40 years old. He thought he was getting soft in his old age, so he started doing sprint triathlons and was out training when this happened. He was banged up pretty badly, but he’ll survive and should even have a pretty good recovery. It’ll take a while, though. Injuries include a broken leg, a broken shoulder, a broken vertebra, and all bowels removed with a bag put in their place. Doctors have assured him that the bowel region should be back to normal in 6-9 months. He’s an extremely active person, not the type who is cool to just sit around while he heals. He’s always had quite a fiery personality, too. As another friend who has visited him in the hospital said, “Doctors say he is about the fittest, most irritable, least patient, most pain-tolerant person they’ve ever seen and they just want him to settle down and be a patient.”

He has a long road ahead of him, and nothing can be done about that. His excellent health has already put him on the fast track, though. Anytime he gets down, it’s essential for him to zoom out and remember that in the big picture, 6-9 months is most likely short compared to however many years he has left. Of course a long life is never guaranteed, but what’s the other option – getting depressed about the recovery? Screw that. He’s not that type of person anyway. So zooming out is huge. That’s a tool he has access to any time to keep from getting down about the road ahead.

The bigger issue, from what I’ve heard, is anger. And I don’t blame him! He’ll have to take a good look at this at some point, though. He was riding on the side of the road, exactly where he was supposed to be, and he got hit from behind. There were no skid marks from the car until after the point of impact, which means that the driver didn’t see him until the impact. The bike went one way and he went the other. It apparently happened just beyond the crest of a hill, so maybe the driver just didn’t see him. We all know about distracted driving these days, though, with our smart phones and what not. The driver could’ve easily been texting, emailing, looking at a map, changing the music, googling something, or doing just about anything else as he drove down the road. From what I’ve heard so far, this is the primary source of the anger (and I realize that it’s second hand at this point (I plan on calling him pretty soon to say hi and wish him well in his recovery). And if it was, indeed, distracted driving, then the anger seems pretty justified. The problem, though, is that justifying the anger won’t change a thing except to make him feel worse. Recovery time is still the same. Then there’s the fact that we don’t know for a fact what happened. Maybe the driver has admitted to texting while driving – I have no idea. Even if that’s the case, though, my friend still has to accept that this happened… because it has already happened. That’s the key. We all have things in our lives we wish weren’t there; this just happens to be a really big one. The volume is turned up. Since these things are already there, though, it’s pointless to resist them. We can only move forward.

The final question, then, is what does he do with that anger? Readers of A Clean Mind know by now that the only thing that he can do is feel it, without any story. Suppressing and expressing don’t work (read Feelings 101, The Sedona Method). It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing wrong with the anger, nothing at all. In fact, it’s totally normal under these circumstances. The story, though, which is very justifiable under these circumstances, will only make that anger get stuck. And that’s exactly what we don’t want. Anger is still a feeling, and feelings are still temporary, and there’s still only a finite amount of any feeling. Let it be there when it’s there but don’t hold it, and that’s the fastest way out.

So that’s my take on a tough situation. It involves acceptance, only because this has already happened. There’s no time machine yet, so we can’t go back and change it. Yes it seems like it sure sucks, but it’s done. And it involves dropping any story and letting yourself just feel angry when there’s anger on your body. But without holding onto that anger. That’s the fast way for even the largest amount of anger. And if he gets mad that I wrote this, then I’ll have to deal with that. I thought there was some good stuff for everyone to learn from, though, including myself. I guess I should go ahead and call him now…

Situational Depression

Posted Posted in Common Issues

Good and bad are always around the corner on earth; this is true for every human. In other words, sometimes life sucks. That might sound depressing at first, but upon closer inspection, it’s actually a pretty good thing to go ahead and accept. That way when things go south, we don’t resist and make an extra problem out of it. Instead, we just remind ourselves that that’s how it is sometimes and we can only do our best and handle one thing at a time. No big deal – that’s the best we can do.

When things go south in a really big way, it might knock us down for a while. This is known as situational depression. It means that there’s nothing wrong with you, like the chemical imbalance that you might think of when you hear the word “depression.” In fact, what you’re feeling is actually normal under the circumstances. You’re not supposed to jump for joy when tragedy happens. It’s totally normal to feel depressed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you stick to the plan and do what we talk about here at A Clean Mind, though, then that’s the fastest way out. You’ll drop the story and let those powerful feelings flow through without getting stuck. And you’ll make the decision to go on about your day regardless of how the body feels. Before you know it, you’ll be back to normal.

I started this post after lunch one day and then saw two afternoon clients before returning to finish it. As things would turn out, both of those clients had some situational depression going on. You know by now that I don’t believe in coincidences…

The first client doesn’t like the holiday season, for one thing. And many people don’t like the holidays. Many people find them sad, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Lots of folks are disgusted with the commercialization, and others have an issue with the religious aspect. If any of that describes you, though, then you might want to prep your mind as the holidays approach each year because they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That’s just a fact. Practicing A Clean Mind is essential in this case, and this is a great opportunity for practice, really, because everywhere you turn you see decorations and hear holiday music.  If that takes you down, then you’re screwed. What a great annual measuring stick for your path to inner peace, though! I’d say bring it on – I’m in charge of my peace and not some decorations or music.

On top of not liking the holidays, this client also has a stressful situation going on at her job, with a change in positions coming up. The change will be for the better, but she’s stuck in her current position for the time being. When you add these things together, you have a formula for not feeling so hot. How nice it is to understand this, though, because that means how you’re feeling isn’t bad but rather normal under the circumstances. That’s a HUGE difference, and the situation hasn’t changed one bit – how we see it has changed. And we’re one step closer to inner peace. Pat your self on the shoulder. Seriously!

My second client that afternoon had something much more extreme happen – her dad had died. Four days prior to our session. Unexpectedly. This is also the first time she’s lost someone major in her life, so she’s had no way of being prepared for this experience. She’s in the beginning of some intense grief, but she’s really good at A Clean Mind. In fact, she was coming in to say she didn’t think she needed to come regularly anymore. And I agreed with that. I’ve said before that I’m always trying to teach people how to not need me, except maybe every now and then when big things happen or just for a tune-up here and there. So my client is handling this as well as it can be handled, but it’s still not exactly fun. As I told her, it’s normal to feel terrible for a while – there’s no avoiding that. It’s situational.

Hearing her talk also reminded me of when my own dad died about ten years ago. It was pretty unexpected, too. Life just felt strange for a while after that, like it was a dream or something. It was the weirdest feeling. Something was different, and it was hard to describe. So I got a bit choked up myself, but that’s fine – it’s just normal feelings flowing through.

Understanding situational depression is a great thing, because it normalizes how we’re feeling when life isn’t so fun. This is a much better plan than thinking there’s something wrong with us! When we do that, we’ve created an extra problem that has to be fixed. In this day and age, that often means prescription drugs. I think that those are fine in many cases, but not as a first resort for situational depression. And it seems that many doctors are irresponsible in this regard. When tough things happen, you’re not supposed to feel great. If you do, then that’s awesome. But if you don’t, that’s simply normal. Just let those feelings be there and don’t hold onto them or resist them. Drop the story and feel, like we always do when there’s something in the body that needs to be felt. Feelings are temporary, even if your dad died and there are a ton of them, and that’s good news. When you’re in the middle of it, it might not seem that way – it might seem like you’ll never be happy again. Keep practicing A Clean Mind, though, and you will.

Christmas

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics, Spirituality/Religion

I’ve written about Thanksgiving and the holidays in general, as well as not waiting for life to slow down for you to slow down. Now we write about the culmination of the holidays for many people, Christmas. I know that New Year’s Eve is a week later, but that seems like it’s more about just having fun without so much to it.

I wrote in the post on Thanksgiving that I never really associated it with “giving thanks” until I was older, and I also said that I was in my early twenties before I equated Christmas with Jesus. As a kid, it was all about the presents. I grew up going to church most Sundays, but not on Christmas. Christmas to me was this magical day when we’d give and receive gifts. And as a kid, I’d receive a whole lot more than I’d give, so that was great.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become fairly disgusted with the commercialization of Christmas, as many of us have. Don’t worry, though – I won’t go on a huge rant or anything. It’s pretty ridiculous, though. There’s the whole “comparison of toys” thing, too, that kids will naturally and innocently do. I feel bad for the families without much extra money, because I know that so many parents work so hard to make their kids feel good. And lots of people are experiencing tough financial times these days. I really wish we’d just scrap the whole Christmas thing and start over from scratch. That was a small rant, I guess…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s just simplify the whole thing. An easy, healthy way of looking at Christmas is that it’s simply a time each year for people to relax, be nice to each other, and appreciate each other. That’s all. No big deal. Lots of us learn as children to make a big deal about the story of Jesus’ birth with the manger, the wisemen, the star, etc. These are details, not the essence. Details are literally nothing – they don’t matter. The essence is what matters. And a nice essence is as I said above – a time to relax, be nice to each other, and appreciate each other. Done.

Okay, I guess we should go ahead and address those details mentioned above, since we’re on the subject… I wasn’t around 2000 years ago, but I’m pretty sure that those details are a story and not at all what really happened. Just do some research for yourself. It’s a common story, though, that’s been passed down for way longer than 2000 years, way before the time of Jesus. It’s not unique at all. That’s what the evidence seems to say, anyway. Here’s my whole point, though – that literally doesn’t matter! If you take offense at this, then take a look at why. I’ll bet you’re believing some things that aren’t true. Those are outer details, and Jesus is all about the inner. Inner, inner, inner. We often put our focus in the wrong place here. We’ve learned to do that, and now we can unlearn it. I think one of Jesus’ main points was that the truth of who you are as a spiritual being (and not a temporary body) is inside of you. It’s available to you 24/7/365. Or 366 on a leap year, but who’s counting… This is some serious essence, and who cares what day he was born? Let’s laugh out loud if we ever thought that was important or thought that we had to defend it!

So that’s my take on Christmas and Jesus. Actually, I’m feeling a more detailed Jesus post in the future, but we’ll see. If this helps you relax some, that’s great. And if you hate me now, then that’s fine, too. Oh – one more thing while we’re on the subject. I have brothers, and we all decided to stop giving each other gifts years ago. Best thing we ever did! If you like the gift thing, then go with it – there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with it. But if you don’t like it or if money is tight, then just be honest with the people in your life about that – it’s totally fine. They might even feel the same way.

Okay, I think we’re done now. So having said all that… Merry Christmas!

Is Your Life Always Hectic?

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

Does it seem like your life is always fast-paced and hectic? Do you find yourself waiting for life to slow down before you can relax a bit? That’s definitely been a pattern for me over the years. And then at some point it occurred to me that it doesn’t really ever seem to slow down. So instead of waiting for life to slow down (outer peace), I realized it’s a better plan to learn how to slow down internally (inner peace). That way you know what to do whether your life happens to be busy or not. After doing this inner work, then it’s fine to look at any outer changes you can make in your life (outer work). We don’t rely on those outer changes, though – that’s just gravy.

So what’s the key to being the eye of the hurricane, where it’s calm? Why, it’s stopping periodically and releasing, of course! You know me well enough by now… It’s letting everything you’re carrying in that moment go. This takes no thought, no words, and it only takes a few seconds. It’s pretty amazing, really. You constantly whack stress throughout the day so that it can’t build. The other option is to let it build and then feel totally stressed out by the end of the day. And then get home and yell at a family member who really didn’t do anything wrong. Not fun.

At some point I’ll post a totally unprofessional video about these little releases that I do throughout the day as needed. My clients know how quick and easy this is, because I can show them in person. I think some folks might be making it out to be more difficult than it is, though. It’s not. You just notice some stress building up, so you stop, close your eyes (unless you’re driving…), breath in, and just relax your whole body as you exhale. You’re intention is simply to let go of everything you’re carrying in your body in that moment. Letting go means that it can totally be there, though – but it can leave when it wants to. You’re not holding it.

This stuff really does work. Now stress flows through you without getting stuck and building. So stress really isn’t a big deal anymore – it’s just a normal part of life. That sounds pretty cool… It also gets you out of your head and into reality – now. This is called being present. When we’re living this way, we’re in a much better position to take inventory of the details of our lives and make any changes that will help slow things down. For instance, my counseling practice started to pick up several months ago, and I had weekly gigs every Wednesday and Thursday (I’m a mandolin player). The gigs were early restaurant gigs as opposed to later bar gigs, but they still took a pretty good chunk of time. Every Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30 I’d have to be driving to the restaurant. I would leave work and then go to… another job. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE playing music and am very grateful that I can do it. I needed some down time, though, so I made the tough choice to stop playing those gigs. I didn’t rely on this change, though, for me to be at peace. First I learned how to be cool whether I was busy a lot or not.

So feel free to take inventory of your own life and how much down time you have to relax and do nothing. Or do whatever you want. But don’t think you need that to be at peace – just let go of what you’re carrying now, in this moment. That’s something you can do anytime.

Young Client Teaches Mom How To Release!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

I have a female client who is in middle school. I definitely don’t work with young children, but I’ve been testing the waters with younger and younger people to see if they can grasp what I teach – feelings and thoughts, feelings and thoughts, feelings and thoughts. This particular client had some stressful things going on in her life and wanted to talk to someone about it. She ended up in my office, so we jumped right in with releasing. As she told me about each stressful situation, I had her stop, close her eyes, breathe, and just let go of whatever feelings came up, letting them be there but without holding them. Just breathe and feel and watch what happens to the feelings. And of course the feelings moved on out of her system, as they want to do to begin with. We did this a few times, and I was quite impressed. I saw her a week later, and she was like a different person. She doesn’t have to come in much now because she knows how to do it herself. Remember that I’m always trying to work myself out of a job by teaching clients how to be their own therapists.

Fast forward not too long, and I got a call from her mother. She said that she had been upset about something, as we all are at times, and her daughter told her, “It’s okay to feel upset, Mom. Just feel your feelings.” And her mom said that it indeed helped. Of course I was high-fiving the air when I heard this. Yes!

Letting go of what we’re carrying really is so simple, and this story supports that. That’s not to say that my young client isn’t smart, because she’s very smart. But there really is nothing much to releasing – it’s just different than how most people have learned to live. We think too much and we don’t feel enough. Bad feelings aren’t bad at all – they’re normal under the circumstances. But they aren’t designed to hang around for long. Feelings must be felt to leave. They aren’t called suppressions or expressions. So give it a try. If you’re having trouble or need some practice, let me know. And if I can’t help you, then maybe my young client can.

Premonition Dreams

Posted Posted in Cool Supernatural/Paranormal Stuff

I mentioned premonition dreams in a recent blog post, Answer Comes In A Dream, pt. 2. This is not meant to be anything exhaustive about the subject, but rather just a taste. Actually, it’s more a recounting of a mind-blowing dream experience that a good friend of mine once had. There’s plenty of material out there for you to check out premonition dreams if you’d like. To start with, just google it or even google Larry Dossey, MD. He’s pretty cool.

And before we get into it, let me say that I absolutely LOVE when weird things happen that we can’t explain. When something happens that we can’t explain, we can either pretend it didn’t happen or we can just admit that our knowledge at this point doesn’t have an answer. Mainstream science unfortunately tends to do the former, as astonishing as that sounds. You’d think that scientists would be very open-minded, but often they’re just the opposite, fiercely defending their current view of how things work. When the same weird thing has happened enough times to enough different people, though, it’s time stop pretending that nothing has happened. It might just be that we really don’t understand how the world works. This thought can be unsettling at first, but when you get used to it, it’s quite liberating. We can just go with the flow more and not have to think that we know everything. Because we totally don’t…

I’ll be writing more about this “fringe science” stuff in the future. It has such great implications about the question, “How does the world really work?” One of the implications of studies done with random number generators, for instance, is that our thoughts are not private and that “mind over matter” happens in measurable ways. I know that most of the world believes that thoughts are private and cannot effect matter, but that’s actually not true. The evidence doesn’t support it. So that’s a little preview. You can always read the book The Field by Lynne McTaggart if you’d like – it’s pretty wild in terms of some of the interesting science that’s happened.

If you google “premonition dreams,” you’ll see that they’re dreams in which the dreamer dreams about something that ends up really happening. There are plenty of well known examples, like the 1966 coal accident in Aberfan, Wales or even the events of September 11, 2001. When we read about this stuff second hand, we can say that maybe it’s all made up. Then we keep researching and find more and more examples where there are multiple people involved who can verify the story. At that point, it takes an awful lot of people making an awful lot of stuff up in order for you to keep ignoring the phenomenon. Eventually, the scales of your own personal belief might tip in favor of there being something of substance to this. And then what might happen? You might meet people who have had the experience. That’s what I’m going to share today. And I’m talking about people who are honest and not at all crazy. It could even be a family member. It could be someone you’d least expect. When this happens, just allow your beliefs to change if they want to – you’ll get used to the new beliefs over time.

A friend of mine once had a premonition dream that quite literally blew his mind. He dreamed something and then it happened. Exactly like in the dream. First of all, know that this is the kind of person who is totally honest, trustworthy, dependable, not weird, not exaggerating, and definitely not looking for any headlines or extra attention. He prefers to fly under the radar – that’s just how he rolls. A great guy. He’s extremely intelligent, as well as very logical in his thinking. He probably hasn’t even told many people about this. So when someone like that tells me of this freaky experience, I tend to listen – that’s just me being logical. I’m thinking, “It looks like there’s something to this, and our rules of how things work have to expand in order to explain how this could happen.” No more pretending or ignoring.

So my friend had a dream that he described as being “incredibly vivid,” much more vivid than his normal dreams. And by the way, that’s often a sign that a dream is not just a normal dream. Remind me to write about “visitations” in the future, by the way. A person might also remember these abnormal dreams much more than s/he would remember normal dreams. That was the case with the client mentioned above who found his answer to a situation in a dream (read Answer Comes In A Dream).

On the night of the dream that my friend had, there was a “crazy, monster storm” at the beach. He and the others in the house even slept with the windows and doors open in order to better experience it (the house is built in such a way that you can do this when it’s raining). He said he remembers going to bed “in awe of nature.” He’s not a tree hugger, either – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just want to cover all the bases. This was one of those times when Mother Nature was wailing and showing us humans who’s really in charge. That’s how hurricanes are down here, by the way.

During the night, he dreamed that he was walking along the beach. Towards the end of the dream, he looked to his right out into the water and he saw a shark. The shark was swimming alongside him as he walked. This continued for a while, and when he got to the end of his walk, he and the shark looked at each other and then the shark took a hard right and swam out to sea.

My friend awoke from this dream, and it was very early in the morning. Nobody else in the house was up yet, so he walked across the street to the Gulf of Mexico. By the way, he said this was “highly unusual” for him. He said he didn’t know why he did this; it just felt like the thing to do. There are boardwalks going over the dunes to the Gulf, and as he crested the boardwalk, he noticed a few things that were the same as the beginning of the dream, small things like birds flying, the various sounds, and how the water looked. He was shocked, curious, and a little skeptical, because the thought he was thinking was that this was not similar to the dream but exact. It was literally the same experience.

His intention from the beginning was just to go for a casual walk on the beach, so he did that but with much more awareness because of the weirdness that he was experiencing. He said that “all of these relatively little things kept lining up, like the sea oats and the driftwood.” He was aware that they were exactly as they were in the dream, but in the back of his mind he kept thinking, “This is crazy, but these are all little things. Am I going to see that shark??”

As he walked, he felt more and more “in the flow” and said that it got very comfortable. When he had walked far enough and turned around to walk back to the boardwalk, the whole experience was getting “more amped up, like the hair on my arms was rising.” Finally, he got the courage to look out to the water to his right and sure enough, there was the shark! He continued to walk down the beach, glancing at it here and there for a good fifty yards. Then when he got back to the starting point at the boardwalk, he realized that was when the dream ended. At this point in the dream, he would stop, take a good look at the shark, and then the shark would take a hard right and swim out to sea.

This is where it gets interesting. Remember that as he first crested the boardwalk, before his toes even touched the sand, he had the thought that he was experiencing the dream exactly. And even after all of these initial small things lined up, and then there were more and more of them, and then the big thing – the shark – lined up, and with everything feeling “definitely heightened, significantly different than normal awareness,” he was still skeptical. I told you in the beginning that this is not the kind of person who goes around making things up. He’s a very straight-up dude. So he still felt like it hadn’t been totally confirmed that he was re-experiencing the dream. He thought, “It could all still be in my head.” He said, “I had to face it directly, but I wasn’t sure how it would end if I did. Finally I looked directly at the shark, there was a strong connection, a pause, and then a release.” And with that, the shark took a hard right and swam out to sea. Exactly like it did in the dream. Exactly. Pretty cool…

The question now is, did this happen or did it not? We’re going to assume that it did, and here’s why. I’d already done lots of research before I heard this story, and I already believed without a doubt that this happens. I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I know logic pretty well because I have two math degrees. It gets pounded in your head after a while. In advanced math, we prove and disprove things all the time. So we’ve been taught that it only takes one of these accounts to be true to mean that this phenomenon is real. One! And if this is real, then our worldview, our explanation of how things work, must include it – so science must include it. If there’s nothing to this, then every single one of these accounts throughout human history has to have been wrong. To me, the chances they’re all wrong is simply ridiculous. Laughable. Probability very near zero.

So we’re going to be logical and assume that from time to time, people have accurate dreams of the future. Our next question, then, might be, “What does this mean?” It looks like I’m going to eventually have another blog called A Deep Mind for the deeper issues. There, we’ll talk about the nature of time. It might not work as we tend to think. For now, though, I think that the main lesson is that we really don’t know what’s going on. And that’s good news! We can chill out and not pretend that we do. As a logical person who has done lots of research on this type of thing and who is not limited to a certain belief system, I can say for sure that some very, very strange things happen in this world. “Spiritual” and “mystical” experiences absolutely happen. And the more you look, the more you find. And as I said above, it doesn’t all have to be true – far from it, in fact. Only one of a given experience or phenomenon has to be true to show us that our laws of how things work need to be updated. One. So we can let go of the need to understand everything. We can let go of the need to control everything. And that’s a good place to be when you get more and more used to it. It takes a lot of work and energy to have to understand everything. I guess I’m often reminded here in these writings of Dr. Larry Burk’s catchphrase, “Let Magic Happen.”

P.S. My friend had another premonition dream a few years later, but it wasn’t nearly as vivid as this one. I think he said it was separated by more time, too, like maybe a week or two after the dream. What he dreamed about definitely happened, though – there was no doubt about that. That dream alone might not seem so definitive, but together with the shark dream, the evidence keeps piling up. And this is just one person out of many. There are over seven billion people on earth now, and most people don’t advertise these experiences. They totally happen – you can take that to the bank. And it’s good news! Let go of your worldview if it’s outdated and just be open to life showing you another one at the right time that works better. And as always, let me know if I can help. I love this stuff…

P.P.S. My own worldview had actually already changed, based on lots of spiritual study and other research, by the time I heard this story several years ago. It had changed in such a way that this story actually made perfect sense. It only affirmed what I already believed. So when I heard this story, it was no more weird than hearing a story about a sports game or the weather. It was more fun, but not any more strange. If I had heard it at a different time in my life, though, my reaction likely would have been much different. So our worldview tends to change and evolve over time. That’s why the key is to be open-minded. Just let it evolve as needed without having to control it. That’s the faster way. Enjoy the ride!