A Very Important Question!

🌟 It’s important to ask oneself: Do you possess your beliefs? Or do your beliefs possess you?

I see a lot of life in paradoxes and contradictions. I see how everything contains its opposites: enantiodromia, yin-yang, pros/cons, however you want to call it. You could say I’m very analytical in my thinking.

But what if the way I’m looking at life is “wrong”? What if my beliefs are not the “best” way to live my life? What if what I believe as “absolutely true” isn’t the case? 🤔

There’s a film I once watched called “My Dinner With Andre”. It’s a fantastic and thought-provoking film about 2 old Theater friends, Wally and Andre, who reunite for dinner after 5 years. Wally remained in urban New York continuing as a playwright while Andre abruptly left Theater to travel the world in search of something more.

Throughout the film you hear about Andre’s vivid adventures abroad as well as Wally’s eventual skepticism with them. They share conflicting viewpoints:

📍Andre believes in seeking transcendence; Wally believes in a more pragmatic way of living.

📍Andre would say to climb Mount Everest for a greater sense of purpose; Wally would say that same purpose can also be found in the simplicity and details of one’s own backyard.

📍Andre would say he receives divine messages through patterns he sees; Wally would say they are coincidences.

📍Andre would share the benefits of a subjective, emotionally-driven view of life; Wally would share the benefits of an objective, intellectually-driven, scientific view of life.

Who’s right in this case? Do they both have valid points? What I absolutely LOVE about this film is while they share many things they disagree on, they also are able to find COMMON GROUND within each other’s beliefs. They understand and respect each other’s viewpoints and why they believe them to be so. In the end, they BOTH are able to learn from each other. No pitchforks. No name-calling. No eternal righteousness. Just 2 people having a conversation.

And this brings me back to the original point of this post: We all have beliefs. But do we understand why we have them? In other words: Are we in control of what we believe…or do the beliefs themselves control us? Do we impose our beliefs onto other people because we selfishly want others to follow them too? Or do we voluntarily share them without the expectation of agreement? 🤔

One solution I want to provide to you in order to figure that out is to ask yourself: “What do I believe? And is it possible from another perspective my beliefs could be ‘wrong’?”Just like Wally and Andre, both were very open to this possibility. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been willing to communicate with each other at all. And I believe that’s something all of us need to embrace more in our lives to further work with each other. 👥

And I know some of you may be thinking: “This whole post you’re also sharing your own beliefs! Challenge your own!” I will assure you I have. I can see how my own beliefs have both pros and cons to them, and I still choose to hold onto them. They are currently what’s serving me in my life. I’m not saying you have to agree with me, nor would I say you have to believe it. It’s another point of view you’re welcome to agree with…or not. #TranscendLabels

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Are you willing to do the same? Comment below if you are! <3

Do You Believe in Coincidences?

Do you believe in coincidences? Do you believe everything happens for a reason? As my other blog entry about reuniting with my old friend illustrated, I’m a believer in this area, how life happens for us, not to us. The past few years I’m noticing what I’d call “happy coincidences”, occurrences I can’t fully explain but I can’t help but smile about. I’m not talking about anything paranormal, but occurrences that make me think that the odds of them happening were so slim. Nonetheless, they happened.

I’ll share with you another example. Two weeks ago I was on my way to London to do some volunteer work. I’d never visited London, let alone traveled to Europe by myself, so a lot of Firsts were going to happen for me on this trip! Little did I expect an additional First that I wasn’t even expecting!

The day of the trip, I anxiously packed my bags, got driven to O’Hare airport, stepped onto the Norwegian Airline plane, and traveled 4000 miles across the world to London’s Gatwick Airport. Minus my new sleeping accommodations, I was so anxious I could hardly sleep on the plane. By the time we had arrived at the airport, I was needless to say a bit dazed and drowsy!

As I stepped off the plane, it was now 10am in London. Still in my half-awake mode, I grabbed my bags at the baggage claim and went straight to Customs so I could enter the UK. I believe I waited in the line there about 2 hours, but given my sleepy mood I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say it was at least an hour. It was one of those long lines where the airport had it set up to zig-zag throughout the room. It was one of those lines where every 30 seconds everyone took a step forward except you because you likely weren’t paying attention. It was one of those lines where you could look at the crevices in the floor and write a bestselling novel about them before you reached the front. Long story short, the line took a while.

And here’s where it happened.

I was waiting in line, rubbing my eyes with one hand and holding my baggage in the other. I’m looking to see where the front of the line is, and then to the back to see how much longer the line has extended since I got in it. And then I see him. I see a taller gentleman with a woman. At first I’m unsure, but then I have this feeling in stomach that I know who he is. This person that was about a dozen people behind me in line was someone I use to work with.

I remember my body feeling tense, because in my mind I debating whether or not I should ask and confirm it was him. The part of me that was saying not to do had a valid point: What is the possibility I’d really run into someone I knew from a different state, from 10 years ago, 4000 miles away from home, in the same country, in the same airport, and in the same room?

It was him. He was just as surprised as I was. We honestly didn’t know what to make of this surprise reunion. He noted how he vaguely recognized me, but he remembered. We briefly spoke, we gave each other our farewells, and we went on our way. This person, I worked with him 10 years ago at a summer camp. I barely knew him at the time then too, but I never forgot his face. As I got to the front of the line and walked out of Customs, I started smiling to myself: The possibility of that happening happened… 

I had many great memories on my trip, and this was just one that continues to stick out to me. 🙂

#TranscendLabels???

What do I mean to #TranscendLabels🤔

We create and use labels very often. We use them with political parties (Republican, Democrat, Independent), with personality traits (Introvert, Extrovert), with racism (African American, White, Asian), with sexual orientation (Gay, Straight, Bisexual), with food habits (Paleo, Atkins, Vegan), with medical diagnoses, etc.

Creating labels gives us a feeling of security, the impression we greater understand how the world works. They reinforce what we wish to understand more about versus what we don’t. They provide a sense of community among others who share the same beliefs and values.

And none of these things are right or wrong. But I’ve also found the more labels we continue to create, the more limitations we unintentionally set in understanding ourselves, others, and the world around us. I see it having a negative effect. Instead of the individual, we have a category. Instead of having multiple political views, we have a side to choose. Instead of understanding someone’s emotions, we have a diagnosis. Instead of understanding a culture, we have a stereotype.

By no means am I saying I’m perfect either. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if I kept saying: “It’s because I have Autism…It’s because I have a disorder…It’s because I’m an Introvert… It’s because Veganism is weird…” Transcending our labels and the ones we’re told about who we are, you will soon see how much you in this life are capable of. Much love. #TranscendLabels 

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Want to know how to Transcend Labels too? My FREE eBook “Transcend Labels: The 5 Keys” is NOW AVAILABLE! Click HERE to get your personal copy!

Dear My Teenage Self

At times I forget how far I’ve come in my life. I sometimes forget parts of my past that shaped me into the person I became. But when I let myself think about them, I remember a whole lot. The more I close my eyes and envision myself back as a teenager, the more memories that start to pour in. And if I had the chance to speak to him, my teenage self, to share with him what I’ve learned since then, I would tell him:
Continue reading “Dear My Teenage Self”