The Dead Sea… Whoa

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More greetings from Israel! How funny that I didn’t know if I’d be posting from my trip or not. While it’s an inner experience, the whole point is to bring that out into the world, in whatever that authentically means for you. For me, it’s clearly pretty loud. But isn’t it nice to be able to relax into not knowing and to even state that with innocence? “I have no absolutely idea…” (breath)… “Ahh…” If you like, drop in for a few seconds and consider how this might resonate with your own life. There sure is lots of contraction in our world about needing to know, and it really is optional. Just something to explore. And to have fun and be relaxed while doing so! 

Yesterday we swam in the Dead Sea, and I just want to drop a quick line to attempt to describe it to you here. An old friend of mine who has been there tried to describe just how buoyant the water is, and now I know what he means. It’s exactly as he described, but I had to experience it myself. It’s like describing a strawberry to someone who hasn’t had one before. Not a chance. And having said that, here we go! 

First of all, you don’t really swim. The water is so salty that it burns your eyes and tastes horrible in your mouth. You float. And the second you get in, you know because your body just pops up. Immediately. There’s nothing you could do to stop it. And then there’s this huge smile of wonder and amazement. 

The most natural thing to do is to float on your back. And when you’re on your back, if you start to roll to the left or right, it’s easier to just roll all the way around than to stop the momentum. The feeling I got was that it must be closer to what it’s like in zero gravity in space. And then there’s floating on your stomach, like the dog paddling position. I was not able to put my feet down to stand up again. Instead, I had to recline over to my back and then stand up. Then about five of us got on our back with our feet connected, like the spokes of a wheel. And we joined hands in a circle. This was really like zero gravity, drifting into one another. It was pretty hilarious. There was also the trampoline move. You go where it’s deeper and push your body down, like you’re trying to touch the bottom. You pop right back up right away, and then down, and up, etc. It’s like you’re jumping up and down because you’re touching the bottom, but you’re not. Wow. 

And then there’s the mud. It’s the most awesome and perfect mud on the bottom, and everyone rubs it all over their bodies, face and all. Good times. I didn’t get the best pics, but I snapped a couple. Check out the Facebook page for this blog to see. We also went to Masada earlier in the day, and there are more pics from there. Masada is a very significant place in the history of the region and the conflict between the Jews and the Romans. Which I learned as we pulled up in the bus… Yes, I’m totally an ignorant American. Actually, I take that back. I’m totally ignorant. The other Americans on this trip are familiar with all of this stuff. Hey, timing is always perfect. All good. 

In a few minutes, we’ll be headed to Jerusalem for our final four nights in Israel. And despite all that’s happened so far, it’s really just been the preliminary part, the warmup. The trip is definitely heating up now. In fact, I’d say it’s just now beginning. We’re a week in, and the group is gelling. Some major healing has already happened to many if not all. Jerusalem, here we come. And we’re ready! Some of us feel like some stuff might go down, and if so, bring it on (and I’m talking about inner stuff, Mom, so no worries!). Not only are we visiting holy places, but we’re also putting the holy back into them. And of course holy just means whole. This area has ben divided for a long, long time. So… it’s on. Peace out, love you! 

More Green Parrots at the River of Jordan!

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Greetings again from Israel! My last post was about an amazing experience I had involving a green parrot and my dad (who crossed over in 2002) up at the chapel on the Mount of Beautitudes above the Sea of Galilee. A couple of days later, we headed south for the Dead Sea. They say this is like going from Heaven to Hell, because it’s much more lush up north compared to the super dry desert down south. In between is the famous baptism spot on the River of Jordan. Now remember, I’m not even religious. This is all about living spiritual energy that is coursing through your body right now at this very second. Take a breath or two and feel it. This doesn’t take any special power; it’s your birthright. And it’s right there, all the time. The flow might be restricted or not, but there’s an infinite ocean of it available to all humans all the time. I’m learning to drink it in more and more, and I’m just scratching the surface. And even that is pretty awesome. 

So I had no idea what to expect; just showing up and letting it flow. First of all, it is stunningly beautiful. Definitely check out the Facebook page for this blog to see the pics. Wow, what beautiful emerald colored water. We went to our spot, almost fifty of us, and it was explained by our leader that we were there to step into the unknown. I talk about riding instead of driving on this blog. This was symbolic of really doing it. Like, really doing it. And then see what your life looks like and how it feels. Buckle up! 

We went in groups of twos, and I was in no rush. It was pretty moving seeing the others go, so I was enjoying that. And then what did I see right across the river in a big, beautiful eucalyptus tree? You guessed it, a bunch of green parrots! Dad was with me here, too? Of course he was… That felt very, very nice. And as I was writing about this a few days ago on the Facebook page, it hit me that the eucalptus tree has pretty major significance for me. I first saw them when I was in Australia doing a semester of college. I was totally struck by the huge eucalypts there. I mean, wow! They’re just stunning. Amazing. Beautiful. Elegant. Lovely. I totally had a crush on them, as you can tell… Well, I had a pretty major awakening experience in Australia, and it lasted for a long time, like a year or two? All I know is that you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face at that time. Something was very different. What used to be problems were os small that I’d laugh at them. And I know that I wasn’t denying or suppressing, either; I was just seeing things more clearly. I’m really just now coming to see how significant that time was, and honestly I’ve been on the road back to that level of unshakable peace for the last thirteen years or so. And now it’s conscious. So that was cool. Back to the story… 

Fast forward an hour or so, and I look around and realize that everybody else has gone, aside from the facilitators. It was only me and the lovely Maria from Belgium. She was already down in front standing by the rail, waiting for the ones in the water to finish. It was my turn to take my place. As I looked around, one of the leaders of the group, John Mark Stroud (the guy with the red clown nose in the pic on the Facebook page, whose website is, gave me the nod. He has been instrumental for me in the last year and a half or so, by the way. And this definitely ain’t your grandparents’ kind of spiritual teacher. Wow. 

So I got up and stepped down to the rail by the water, standing right behind Maria. And then it started… What started? A vibration. A strong vibration, all throughout my body. A vibration like I had never felt before, not even remotely close. Like a jackhammer, and a very rapid one at that. It was especially strong in my hands, or maybe that’s just where I noticed it more since I was trying to hold onto a rail. It was like nitrous oxide at the dentist’s office. And then a ton of strong emotion came up. It was so much that all I could do was breathe deeply into it. And I was breathing like I’d played full court basketball for the first time in ten years. Seriously! Tears streaming down the face. Yowzers! This whole thing just descended upon me, and it was not subtle. And keep in mind, this is a math major talking! It was sort of hard to walk, so I took it really slow. Then a dunk in the water, a few seconds of swimming that felt so freeing, and out. The emotion was still strong, fading over the next twenty minutes or so. Wow! Not a bad Thursday, or whatever day it was. And the green parrots were watching over us the whole time. Nice hanging out with you again, Dad. I love you. And we’ll see if this new energy cleared a path for more to come. It feels like it did, because that’s what it does. That’s why I’m here with this group doing what we’re doing. And what I have, I give, so you’ll be the first to know. Peace out, love you! 

Israel & the Green Parrots

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Greetings from Israel! And no, Israel & the Green Parrots is not a band name. I’ll have to remember that one, though, for my next project. The trip has been awesome so far, and I’ve shared most of my pictures and experiences on the Facebook page for this blog. Some were a bit involved, though, so I’ll share those in full here. And now we begin… 

Let’s start by filling you in on what the green parrot means for me (and my brothers). It means my dad. He passed away in 2002, and we’ve been even tighter since he passed. He definitely played a large role in my coming on this trip, in fact (and if that sounds weird, all good – just relax into it). And I’ve mentioned before that I can feel him quite clearly whenever I connect. In fact, he just zapped me now pretty good. Sometimes the emotion rises up so strongly that it wells into tears. Lots of love between two souls, that’s all. As an aside, I’ve done this before with clients that were open to it, connecting in pure, innocent love with loved ones that had crossed over. I’ve seen guilt and shame melt in just a few minutes, forever transforming the relationship that the survivor had with the deceased. Wow, pretty cool. Trust me, those beings don’t see the guilt and judgment where they are; that’s all self-inflicted by us. They’re like Love Machines. We digress… 

So when I was pretty young, like maybe seven years old, Dad went on a dove hunting trip to Honduras with three men from my mom’s side of the family: my grandfather, my uncle, and my great-uncle. And the national bird of Honduras is… the green parrot. My dad was a recon Marine and a very good shot, and a green parrot can resemble a dove when it flies. Put these two together and Dad had taken down three green parrots by the time the trip was over. This is like killing three bald eagles in the US… no beuno. They had to bury them to make sure nobody got in trouble. When they were in the airport in Honduras waiting to fly back home, one of them went to the gift shop and bought my dad a clock with a green parrot on it. This was known as the Green Parrot Award. I vividly remember seeing this and hearing the story even though I was so young. And thirty-five years later, I can’t say that I’ve even had a thought about a green parrot since, and I’ve certainly never seen one. Until now. 

Fast forward to the third day of the trip, just a few days ago, and were visiting various spots around the Sea of Galilee. One was the Mount of Beatitudes and the chapel on top. While there, I started thinking about my dad, and I started thinking about how I wanted to see him. Like, in the flesh, maybe across the field or something. Hey, wild stuff happens in these places; why not go big? I was pretty strong with it, too, and not casual. “I want to see you, I want to see you! Let me see you!” I wasn’t shouting out loud or anything, just in my head. I did not see him, so I kept wandering around, checking the place out. I ended up sitting next to a beautiful person on the trip named Rosie-Maria Love. For “whatever reason,” she started telling me about how her dad had died the previous October and her experience. And for “whatever reason,” she asked if my dad were still alive. As soon as that happened, the emotion came right up. Tears coming down from under the sunglasses. Then another beautiful friend from the trip, Kate Macnamara, sat down on my other side. She’d had a very powerful inner experience just a little while before. Later, she said she was walking by and just felt guided to sit down next to me. And by the way, she’s going to be helping me take my work to the next level. She’s an experienced counselor from Australia, and she has a book as well called Returning Home: to the Essence of Who I Am, which I’ll be reading. She’s the one I’m here to connect with as far as my work goes. And read that or pass it on if it might help someone. She knows what she’s doing as far as releasing pain by pulling it up from the root, as well as undoing old, stuck patterns. 

So while I was sitting there in between these two helpers, who weren’t even really trying to help, a little brown bird got my attention, hopping around right in front of us. It hit me that it was the same kind of bird that lived on my dad’s porch. And he was hopping around right there, especially after I made the connection. I even thought something like, “if this is Dad or a sign, then get my attention!” And then it shreiked and flew a few feet, right at that moment. So I did it again, and he did it again. Lots of emotion now. By this time, I felt like being by myself and letting this out. So I walked to the other side of the chapel and was looking out on the lovely countryside  for a minute. And what did I see in one of the trees? A bright green bird flew there and sat on a brach in very clear view. And what popped in my head right away? You guessed it, the green parrot! Don’t get too excited, though, because I still had no clue what kind of bird it was. In fact, it never crossed my mind that it would actually be a green parrot. But this was easily enough of a sign for me. I mean, we were already overflowing in the sign department. So I took a picture of it, and the moment I snapped the pic, another awesome dude from the trip, Rick, walked over and said, “That’s a parrot.” What?? Time stopped for a bit. I asked, “What kind?” And he said, “the green one.” So I walked over to a bench and just relaxed, breathed, and cried for a bit to clear things out, connecting with Dad in love and just laughing at him getting my attention so much. Wow. 

Now let’s go back to half an hour before, as I shouted in my mind, “I want to see you! Let me see you!” I wanted to see him. Then what got the emotion going was Rosie-Maria talking about her dad’s passing. And people don’t always follow that with, “Is your dad still alive?” And then the little bird right there, as if it were trying to get my attention, especially after I started directing thoughts to it. And then the green bird. And then Rick right there at that moment pointing it out, spelling it out crystal clear, that’s a green parrot. That’s your dad, right there, letting you see him. I’d say this was his best way of making that happen in that moment. In the flesh or a vision would’ve been nice, but this will certainly do. Nobody can say my desire was not answered. Wow. Thanks, Dad. I love you; we all do. You already know that, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again. Thanks. 

I’m Going On Pilgrimage!

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Hello good folks, I’m writing to let you know that I’ll be taking a breather for a bit. In just a couple of days, I’ll be hopping on a plane and heading to… Israel and France! My normal trips are road trips to the North Carolina mountains, sometimes the Virginia mountains, or to New Orleans right down the road, so this will be a big one. I definitely haven’t been out of the country in a while. Sometimes New Orleans feels like a different country, but no passport is needed. So I had to renew the ol’ passport.

I think I told you that I went on a really cool retreat to Sedona, AZ last September with a group called Way of Mastery. That’s been my “spiritual food” for almost two years now. It’s been very refreshing coming off the heels of about seven years of A Course In Miracles. The Course was great, but it’s so mental to me. And I’m so mental. So it was time to get in the breath, in the body, into feeling my way though life more. And with Way of Mastery, mission accomplished. Feeling versus thinking so much is just a profoundly different way of living, and it seems to unravel this old knot of ego much faster.

Basically, I’ll be with a really awesome group of like-minded folks touring around the Holy Land for a while. Then for the last five days, we’ll go to Provence, France, and hang out at a cave where Mary Magdalene apparently lived out the last thirty years of her life, teaching and healing those that came to see her. And none of this is even religious (I know that might sound weird or impossible). There will be lots of… you guessed it… breathing! And lots of meditation, that sort of thing. And as I said above, that’s always good for me. The less thinking, the better. I feel like I’ve done enough thinking for a thousand lifetimes, and all that thinking has definitely not been able to figure out inner peace. Ha! So I finally stopped trying it that way. Living in the breath more and more has been amazing. And I’m just scratching the surface.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a heads up. I’ll have my iPad on the trip, but I won’t be focusing on writing anything. It’s totally an inner journey for me. If anything wants to come right out, though, then of course it will – no rules. But there’s no doubt that any and all pearls will eventually come out on this blog at the most natural time. So that’s exciting. And I’m guessing that I’ll still start another blog called A Deep Mind at some point, which I’ve mentioned before a while back. But I’ve put that on the shelf until it’s ripe. No rush there. But I’m sure this trip will have a profound influence on that.

There will also be at least two counselors on the trip who have been doing some powerful and transformative work for longer than I have. So you can rest assured I’ll be milking them all I can! Without bugging them, of course… I’m going to soon be adding a very important element called “Inquiry” to this work, so I’ll be asking them about that, because they are masters of it. I’ve started doing it some in the office these last two weeks, and it’s already yielded some pretty stunning results. Many of you are familiar with Byron Katie’s “The Work,” and that is definitely a form of inquiry. This will be similar, but it’ll incorporate the breath and feeling more to make sure we’re not being too dry and mental (which is a great way to stay on the surface and not really get to the root of things. Trust me because I’ve mastered it!).

So there you go, that’s what’s up with me. And what’s up with you? That’s what I’m interested in. I’m seeing more and more people start to “get it” and live differently than they did before. And they’re doing it by learning and understanding the simple truths that we talk about here at A Clean Mind. I’m also aware that plenty of others are not “getting it” so well, and I think they might be over-thinking things. I know because I’ve mastered that as well. Lots of mastering going on today…

So if it resonates, I invite you to re-read any of the posts on this blog from 2015. It’ll be repetitive, but that’s kind of the point. The truth is simple; the ego is complex. Peace will never be found in the complexities of the thinking mind. The truth is way, way simpler than that. Let’s go for our standard issue, basic inner peace first. Enjoying my life first. Thriving first. And then I can try to make it more complicated. You’ll find, though, that you’ll have no such desire. And you’ll be amazed at how simple it really is to just be happy. Give it some time, though; I am. You’ll be amazed that good feelings really have been in there the whole time, and you’ve become an absolute master at covering them up. I sure know that I have, and I’m practicing this all the time.

So I invite you to take the next few weeks to really simply things. Live day to day, moment to moment. Even if you happen to be planning your retirement or thinking about a major change in that moment. Just do one thing at a time. Slow down, even when you’re on the go (think about that one for a moment – it involves what your mind is up to). And trust that Life is always bringing you exactly what you need to grow. That’s why I often call this work Ordinary Awakening. You don’t have to go on a pilgrimage to another country because Life will use whatever is in front of your face to help you realize how awesome you are. There are no rules, though, so if you feel called to do something like that, especially if it presents itself to you in front of your face, then go for it! That’s what I’m about to do, and I’ll report back in a few weeks when I return. All the best to you in the meantime, much love to you, you are supported, and happy living!