Archive | June 2012

The Addiction Factor

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There seems to be many addictions a person can have like drugs, sex, work, Hello Kitty, etc. What it is that drives us to have an addiction, that state of being that something so simple can occupy our thoughts and cause us great distraction?  How can we engineer our lives to match up that same addiction factor with what really fulfills us?  For example, I have a desire to play a guitar.  But I’ve been very successful at procrastinating on learning this very thing.  How can I take my desire and apply an addiction factor to it?  Is this “factor” learned?  Is it biological?  Where does it come from?  I think if I can crack the code to the addiction factor and apply it to any of my desires, there is nothing I couldn’t achieve.

I think that fear is the main source of our procrastination in achieving our desires, but also the main source of our addictions.  It seems those addictions we have, maintain such power over us that we will almost stop at nothing to achieve them.  Fear is the one power in our lives that rules so many people; that drives us to do many things we really don’t want to do at all.  How can we “flip” fear to work for us?  How can we trick it to take its immense power and apply it to achieve our personal, life fulfilling desires?

I think the key to mastering our fear and ultimately to achieving our desires is to truly Know Thyself.  What I mean by this is to understand that the true You is not your thoughts or your mind, but rather something much more powerful.  The true You is Limitless and can achieve all that you desire.  You have just forgotten who You really are.   To take the power of fear and flip it to your favor you must step outside of the self or the mind and see them as tools.  Your mind is a great orchestrator, organizer and very effective at achieving results.  So, when you have a goal of playing a guitar and you find yourself coming up with all kinds of reasons not to learn it, Stop and step outside of these thoughts and see them as false.  See that this is the ego “protecting” you by convincing you that you shouldn’t even try because it will be too hard or that you will be embarrassed if someone heard you play.  The True You can take control and say to your mind, “shut up!”, this is my decision to make not yours.  The power here is that You are taking control of this decision and you see your ego’s thoughts as a distraction.  This power position, once it’s fully realized, can be a source of great pleasure and passion for more.  Once you see how effective you can naturally be at achieving all your desires by directing your thoughts and mind, you will want more until you have firmly created an addiction to being You!

I am not my self nor my mind
I am much more powerful
I have the wisdom of the ages
I am limitless in potential
I need only choose and act
I am awakening to this truth

Dwight Raatz

A Person’s Worth

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There are so many places that we are subjected to judgment and taught that we need to earn acceptance from others.  We first hear it as children in things like:

•    Santa – if you’re good you will get a toy
•    Being ignored by parents or family because of various circumstances
•    Not being the right size or shape to have friends
•    Not being the right sexual orientation
•    Not “cool” if you don’t have the latest gadget or clothing
•    In church where you hear that you have to follow a set of rules to be saved or worthy of heaven.

This condition of acceptance is prevalent in our workplaces, in the media and especially in society as a whole.  We are accepted or not based on some set of rules or made up standards that have no bases in a true loving and accepting relationship.  The frustrating part for me is how it’s all couched in words that are “believed” to be inspirational and supportive.  I’m seeing this over and over how brainwashed people completely believe what they are saying, but they have no idea of the true meaning behind their own words.  Blissful ignorance is a good phrase for all of it.

Each of us seeks love and acceptance from others.  I believe this is genetic and “primal” to us as we are truly pack animals.  If we don’t have the touch and connection to others, we tend to go a bit crazy.  This is even true for new born babies, if they don’t get touched and held, their health and chances of living diminish drastically.  Even as adults, if we are not touched, our minds take over to try and fill in the reasons for why it is this way.  We tend to blame ourselves and create shortcomings or faults in us to explain why we are unacceptable.  This state of being tends to send us into a state of survival where we start making odd decisions about how we run our lives.  We do what can seem to others at the time or in hind-sight to you, as unacceptable.  We might decide to ignore our kids in order to go out and find a mate or someone who will pay attention to us.  We might even drink or take drugs to soothe the pain of loneliness.  We might even become a workaholic just to feel like we matter to at least someone – even if it is an employer.

While these actions are self centered, they are rooted in the fact that we want to survive and to be loved and accepted.  Moreover, when this happens, we are not specifically intending on hurting anyone but it can and often does happen.  Oftentimes the ones who are hurt most deeply are children.  They don’t have the maturity or understanding to “reason out” what is happening.  The child just knows that the people they love are not loving us back unconditionally.  The pain of this becomes anchored deep within the psyche and their ego kicks in to try and protect them.  It starts to manufacture all of the reasons why this is happening based on the “facts” as a child would understand.  An usually the created story is not supportive in any way.  Then as the child grows and brings forth all of these fears into their adult life, they continue to search for acceptance and love anywhere they can.  As these adults have their own children, this cycle can continue forward if the adult hasn’t taken their life back into their own hands.  This dis-ease of nonacceptance, unworthiness and conditional love spreads out to all generation after generation if gone unchecked.

For us looking for love and acceptance we are sometimes called seekers.  We go out to our communities, bars, churches and other various locations seeking this connection.  This got me to thinking about my Christian Lutheran birth religion and that one of its purposes was to provide this connectedness for people.  In my years of going to church the only part of the whole thing that felt “real” to me was when we got together as a group for fund raisers or even the after church for cookies and coffee.  In my opinion, where all of it goes wrong is when the church tries to make you believe that the only way for you to be accepted by this group (long term) is to abide by their belief system which is rooted in conditional acceptance.

I just watched the movie “Mouth to Mouth” with Ellen Page and the overall story is about street kyds getting recruited to follow this “new path” or way of living with this person’s vision.  Initially it is a very attractive ideal and feels very open and accepting.  It does draw in many kyds and adults alike, but as the story goes along, it becomes more and more apparent that the leader has different motives and is ultimately applying the same conditions of acceptance that the kyds were “rebelling” against in the first place.  This MO is so common in many aspects of our society.  We are so incredibly starved for touch, love, acceptance that we are easily convinced to believe the ideals of a “profit”.  This also reminds me of a new documentary called Kumaré about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona.  His group was amazed at how we are all looking for this connectedness and will so easily believe in someone simply because the “Guru” is paying attention and listening to them.  Truly spending time to connect with others is really a huge part of healing.

The good news is that the cycle can stop at any time and it is completely in your control.  The process to reclaim your life starts with loving yourself  completely.  This doesn’t mean you have rose-colored glasses on and believe you are not capable of mistakes.  It means you accept and love yourself just as you are.  And when you mess up, you don’t berate yourself or find reasons to think you are less than any particular standard.  You just simply acknowledge what happened and make a plan or decision on what to do to fix, remedy or mitigate the issue.  Then move forward.

It is important to understand that the dis-ease of unworthiness has been very infectious and has been growing in the world society for thousands of years.  The basis for curing all of it is for us to stop right now, in our tracks and spend a few minutes each day just loving and acknowledging  ourselves.  Take time to just sit with yourself or go for a walk in nature and just breath.  Clear your mind of the chatter of the day and just listen to your footsteps or maybe the sounds of nature around you.  This can be achieved in various ways and you will find it.

Stop the dis-ease of thinking you are unworthy from spreading. BE STILL and know that you are love. You do not need to earn love. It all starts with you – loving yourself.

Dwight Raatz

Author’s Note: This post was edited on 06/23/2012

Becoming Completely Unraveled

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Building the Butterfly ~
I am not who I once was
I am primordial ooze forming
I am all potential with intention
I am growing and defining
I am beauty beyond belief
I am building the butterfly
I emerge
                                  – Dwight Raatz

I pulled the string that was wound around my life and began the unraveling of a lifetime of myths, fears, expectations and perceptions.  At times, I watch the spinning and wanted to reach out and pluck peaces out to hold them fast as to not change them, but that isn’t possible.  I’m finding that in order for me to create myself anew, I must completely unravel down to Nothing.  And this process has not been simple or in any way easy.

In the beginning, it was religion that was a main focus for me to reveal my own thoughts and truths about what I felt about what was going on in church and what it all meant to me.  But I have come to an understanding about my spiritual path and view of religion, so this no longer concerns me.  What I aspire to now is the intricacies of my relationships with others and with full acceptance of myself.

As I become closer and closer to the core of my true self, I find that I am less and less concerned about all of worries I’ve held and created in my life that have never served me.  My mind is less bogged down with churning in and through all of the “situations” in life and it is free to be creative, to write, to experience people and places with a new and healthy perspective.  I’m slowing down the pace and seeing what’s truly there and truly important to spend my time responding to.

If you find that life is just not going the way you’ve planned or thought it should be, then let it unravel and see what is really being presented to you that you’ve probably been missing.  Look upon life as a new gift and an adventure each day and you may be surprised at the peace and love you will find.

Dwight Raatz

Meaning from the Meaningless

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Where does the need to find meaning for my life come from?  Is this an innate force that comes from within, or is this a learned behavior that is so engrained I don’t even know the original source?  I think about all of the situations I’ve been in, the people I’ve met and how perfect the timing has been.  How is it possible that there is no purpose behind these events?  It seems impossible to me that everything that has happened and all that exists is a continuous result of pure random chance.  I’m not saying that I believe there is some all-knowing power out there that has a detailed plan for my life and I am simply acting out a predestine part.  What I’m coming to see is that there are natural states of being that attract or repel the like or unlike.  Could it be that there is no true intelligence out there that has an agenda for each aspect of my life, but rather that there is an ebb and flow of life energy?

I’ve spent the better part of my life seeking meaning in all things.  This fact has really been the core of virtually all my struggles with depression, the resulting anxieties and pent up anger that, at times, consumed me.  I would analyze and pick apart what a person said to me, or didn’t say; how a person would look at me, or not look at me, why I wasn’t happy at my job, what I was lacking as a husband and father, etc.  Each time I looked earnestly for the answers to my “why” questions, I come to a dead end or I find myself going in circles around “situations” that have no answer or meaning.  I see this search now as futile and my role as a Seeker of meaning to be pointless.  Seeking answers for things outside of me, for justification of what has happened, is happening, or is going to happen is really not only a waste of time, but also a huge drain on energy.

I can clearly see now why religion was and is such a perfect “solution” to the dilemma of wanting meaning to life. While it doesn’t necessarily answer all of the questions, I think it gives the person enough to satisfy and abate the bigger aspects of one’s questions. However, I see the destructive nature of religion being that it instills a deep unworthiness inside us.  If you were to ask someone with deep religious convictions about this unworthiness, they would deny that meaning and say that they are accepted by their God because they believe in some constructed rule-set that allows them to be accepted or saved.  When you look at the rules laid out by Christianity, you will see that each one is based in judgment, worthiness, and conditions in order to be saved.  I’ve always been confused at putting human emotions on God.  How He will be angry or upset or jealous if we do not follow a set of rules.  This picture of the Christian God has always reminded me of the stories of Zeus and other gods of Olympus.   I see Him looking down from above upon his subjects and seeing only their disrespect and misbehaviors and him getting mad, stomping around in “heaven” yelling and cursing at his disappointment in how he is being treated.  And if his “rules” are not followed, he brings upon the earth all sorts of disaster, pestilence and bad luck to all those who need to be taught a lesson.  And these “lessons” are what we conjure up to give meaning behind things.

Recently I was sharing with a friend my personal perspective on my beliefs.  One of them is that I believe that no matter what path I take in my life (good or bad) I will still end up going into the great energetic “collective” of the Universe (a.k.a Heaven).  I also shared with him that I don’t believe in Hell as it’s described in the bible.  I told him that I believe Hell is here on Earth – in that how we treat ourselves, how we treat others, how we deny ourselves or separate ourselves from our true Divine nature.  While I consider my friend to be a pretty calm, level-headed individual and very intelligent, he became visually and emotionally agitated in what I was saying.  His response was that he believes “Satan” has me wrapped around his finger and exactly where he wants me.  For me to believe that all is well and there are no concerns for my soul being saved seemed irresponsible to him and he said he would and is praying for me.  While I knew he was completely serious about this accusation, I couldn’t help finding it a bit humorous and very interesting.  It seems that his version (Lutheran Christian’s view) of God is very judgmental and God’s love and acceptance is conditional.  This makes no sense at all.

So when we seek meaning in our lives through religion, what we are taught is that we as humans are not completely worthy of love unless we follow a set of rules.  We are taught this from a very young age and so begins the illusion of unworthiness that inundates and infects us as we grow.  This idea of conditional love is rampant in everything from the stories we are told, books we are read, in school, and in social circles.  Unless we prescribe to acceptable rules, love and acceptance is withheld and given to only good girls and boys.  We continue this idea of unworthiness into our school years, college and then on into our work world.  We constantly are comparing ourselves to others, to people on TV shows, to advertising, etc.  We look for meaning in what we are doing and whether it is acceptable to others, whether we measure up and if we will be included and accepted.  Is this really what life is about?  I don’t believe this at all.

I don’t believe that God or any “higher source” has a master plan for my life, I believe I choose.  If you were to consider there to be any “plan” at all, it would be to give love, to experience love and to explore our own vast abilities in each day of our existence.   I see religion’s version of life to be about conditions, judgment, pain and suffering.  My view on life is to combine love with others, to grow and exponentially create and expand to become greater than the sum of the parts.  It is to enjoy our own selves and others for who we are and to support those who need help to recognize their true selves and abilities.  To find the meaning in my life is irrelevant in order to find love and enjoyment of myself and everyone else in my life.  It has been said that what life is, is just simply what it is and nothing more.  We choose how we will be and interact with all that is around us.  I say, choose wisely and with Love in your heart.

Dwight Raatz