Notes from “The Secret of Life” (2017) by Eckhart Tolle

I am a fan of Eckhart Tolle and have read many of his books, including The Power of NOW, so here are a few notes from this video titled “The Secret of LIFE”. I found that he elaborates on Presence and the concept of being present better here than in other videos I’ve seen from him. The actual YouTube version is listed above if you are interested:

“…There are two dimensions to you—to who you are—one that you are very familiar with—the person—the personal entity with a past and a future, ….including the physical body—the entity of ME—its life situation. That is usually the limit to people’s perceptions of themselves, not realizing that there is a deeper dimension in them that is…the Light of Consciousness—so that any moment you are both a person and you are the Light of lightofconsciousness6.jpgConsciousness that has nothing to do with your person or personal history….when the Light of Consciousness predominates over the personal sense of self, I call that being Present. There is a presence which you cannot touch or see or make into an object of consciousness. ….Because the Presence is an eternal subject not an object to your consciousness. …

“So in any situation—in the NOW—when you can sense the Presence rather than the personal, ….who are you really? Are you the Light of Consciousness seeing others around you without judgment, …or can you only operate as the Person of YOU with your psychological makeup—your sense of limited perception?  How do you feel, ….how do you sense, …the deeper Consciousness itself (of which you are only a minute part)?… At preeentmomentallthis moment (when you are in Presence) your problems have NO reality… you have only Presence. Therefore, you have no problem. …(Only when you start thinking about things do you perceive ‘problems’.  Problems do not exist in Presence. There may be situations and interactions occurring, ..but that is only what they are…situations and interactions occurring around you, …you can observe them in Presence. When you judge them and designate them as deleterious to you, then you make them ‘problems.’)

“The transcendent dimension can be experienced at any time as the simple powerful fact of the Light of Consciousness that you are.  …before the Light of Consciousness turns into a thought.  ..So you transcend your life situation and see your life situation as a timeless self immersed in the Light of Consciousness.  ..So then you can either be present or you can be immersed in your own stuff (that you judge and perceive as problems).

“…You carry the world inside your head with you,…so you cannot escape it. So you must bring the Presence into your daily existence so you can see thru the gaps in your daily life and simply be the Light of Consciousness… simply BE the Presence (without judgment or emotion).   When you are lost in your thoughts, you are lost in an illusory state of existence …unaware of who you really are.  livein now ekWhen you are Present, you can sense the peace of who you are in essence …you are not totally trapped in the personal sense of self.  A simple sense perception can take you out of your (thinking) mind and into your sense of just being.  This is when you can occupy two dimensions simultaneously: the formed and the formless—the personal and the Light of Consciousness itself.

“The fact that you are conscious at this moment is beyond doubt, but anything else could be a dream. …When you can know yourself as that Light of Consciousness (recognizing the illusory matter you call LIFE for the illusion that it is), …it is called self-realizationdeath and die ek

“You are the LIGHT from the projector, ….NOT the projection on the screen,…you are just the light.

“Challenges may distract us from our Presence, ….but then we wake up again to who we really are, …the Light of Consciousness, ..(not the projected image on the screen, ….we are just the Light behind it).

evolution ofconsciousness.jpg“We may experience challenging situations, but we do NOT have to suffer because of them, …because suffering is a choice. Suffering is how we choose to view any situation. Things happen to us, yes, …but SUFFERING because of those situations, is optional.”


“It’s wonderful to see you liberated from your personality.  To simply be your Presence without your rigid thought patterns or beliefs, …that is to be liberated.  And as you awaken there is a freedom in that, even though you may have your own particular characteristics, ….there is a transcendent consciousness that persists through it. That is who you are.”


Dueling Beliefs

dueling beliefs.jpgMany thoughts were swirling this Christmas season, as I recollected memories of friends and family who have passed from this earth-based existence.

Even the day of the BIG day, I shared a Facebook post on the essence of the season being that of peace and love, then immediately thought of a departed friend who would have countered my post with her own dueling-belief version stating that the reason for Christmas is Jesus, period.

Well, in a sense, yes, the day represents his birthday, whether factual or not (but since truthbelief.pngwhen does FACT ever matter to those who strongly believe the opposite) however, there is a symbolic representation of what the man Jesus represented to those around him at that time in the history of the world, as well as to the present world society that has interpreted his messages in unique and divergent ways.

Her particular beliefs were cemented in a few specifics of interpretation and appropriate “Christian” attitudes for her to maintain. When I first met her, she made that point clear to me from the start.

There was no diverging or differing in her religious belief system. As one might also expect, her political beliefs were very similar in effect.

She proudly was who she was—take it or leave it—staunchly content and vociferously defendant of her self-proclaimed “Christian Republican” label.  And when we talked, we avoided subjects that might lead to our confrontation of opinion.nograyarea

To her, there was no variance—no leanings to consider— life was right or wrong, black or white with no tolerance for gray shades—she was that certain in her opinions because she also believed that they defined her as a person.

But many years ago (2011) when she became stricken with some form of digestive cancer and I (with REIKI and hypnosis) did whatever I could to help her maintain her health and life activities for as long as was possible, her certainty and solidity began to waver.

She actually mellowed a bit. She considered the word “maybe” in her conversations on what had once defined her life.

So this morning when I shared that one little post that might have inspired an opposing opinion had she still been around, I reminded myself that her countering voice was now forever silent here, but I seriously wondered what her opinions might be now that she had transcended this plane of physicality. How do you see it from that vantage my friend? transcendence.jpgIs it all the same as you clung to here or is it a bit more loosely considered there? I’d love to know.

I can understand a sense of desperation in some beliefs—the emotional commitment to basing your very existence on holding some key tenants to be beyond reproach, but I also understand that when death calls you home, earthly beliefs mean little if they can’t stop death’s beckoning hand. At times such as those, inner peace may mean the difference in letting go of life with love or fighting to the last breath with fear of what lies beyond breath itself.

I hope she chose love.chooselove.jpg

That love would have sustained her and aided her transition to the next level. If she truly believed the energetic essence rather than the strict doctrine of what she once stated, she let love guide her home.

So this morning I sent blessings to her wherever she resides in the ethers, for that once strongly-countering voice I can hear echoing in my head.

At Christmas time I still think of you, Carolyn, …with a smile.

The Return of the LIGHT

title lightreturn.jpg

Happy Winter Solstice!

For those who follow the sun’s light strength and earth’s progress around her, we in the northern hemisphere welcome the return of the LIGHT. Meaning that from this day forward until June 21, the hours of daylight north of the equator will steadily increase until additional hours of light are gained in a day. Then it slowly reverses for six months to the light equivalent of yesterday.

Faulty perceptions aside, over the year it isn’t really that the sun changes position in the globe of hours.jpgsky, as much as it is the earth, on its tilted axis, positions us to receive more sunlight during this particular phase of earth’s 365 day rotation path around her. That’s a very important distinction of reality over appearances—true facts verses creative justifications for behavior.

The sun does not revolve around us although it might seem that way each dawn and twilight. WE revolve around the sun because this is NOT an earth-centric universe.  That theory was tossed around the time of the flat-earth debunking.  But for some strange reason some folks just prefer to believe untruths for the personal or psychological benefits that they may provide them.

However for the many of us who prefer truth, this RETURN OF THE LIGHT DAY is a happy one, especially to those of us desperate to find a reason to celebrate any change for the better in today’s world.

To agrarian societies, the extra sunlight and warmth meant the coming of planting season and the renewal of warm-weather food sources to easier sustain the people and animals. And to those who suffered during winter’s bitterness, it meant a greater chance of survival and the means to sustain the tribe’s procreation efforts.

So to those people with limited means who lived close to the land—those who most depended on earth’s bounty to fill their bellies and warm their bodies—the sun’s light strength meant everything; and days such as today with the winter solstice signaling a return to lengthened daylight hours and warmer temperatures, would give hopeful winter solstice blue.jpgreasons to celebrate the chance of better days to come.

On this day I hold that thought in my mind.

I celebrate today as the beginning of the RETURN OF THE LIGHT in all aspects of our existence—hopefully also the RETURN OF TRUTH AND HONESTY in all human endeavors—and the RETURN OF INTEGRITY to individuals who seem to have lost theirs for the possibility of personal gain.

Perhaps there are those still existing in our present world who cannot be bought by promises of personal advancement and material gain.

If there are, we need them to step forward now while the LIGHT grows the strongest. That is our greatest chance to overcome the spreading darkness of this deception-focused time period in the history of our nation.

We, as a growing tribe of Lightworkers, have an opportunity now to accept the challenge of creating a brighter day ahead. Let’s celebrate the return of the LIGHT on this day, and accelerate the return of truth and integrity to all aspects of government affairs.

earth in handsLet’s honor with joy and love those folks who serve quietly with dignity and respect, to make this a better world for all of us.  Bless them for their sacrifice and determination. Bless them for their dedication. Bless them for their higher aspirations and their intentions to make life better for everyone—and I mean EVERYONE—not just the top 1% of wealth-holders.

Those folks who daily battle darkness and depravity are the true Lightworkers. They revere the Light—they revere TRUTH.

Without a doubt they are my heroes. I celebrate their LIGHT.

I celebrate OUR united Light. Let it strongly shine and strengthen with each new day forward.

Happy Winter Solstice!lightflashing

PEACE and LOVE to all from the Tribe of LIGHT.

New Sources of Information Flooding In Now

Over the last three weeks in my own little myopic world, I’ve been treated to SO many new sources of interesting information that I’m practically buzzing as it processes through me.

What are these new sources? p&s summit2

I’ve previously mentioned the online “Psychotherapy and Spirituality Summit” that was very interesting and hopeful for the future of psychology in general. Then there were a few Facebook posts that caught my eye and interest, as mentioned in the Dr. Joe Dispenza Ted Talk that I posted previously, plus a few other short Facebook vlogs that I didn’t mention here such as Lee Harris’s monthly energy report ( November 2017 Energy Update – Lee Harris ) or my favorite layperson’s astrologer, Kaypache Lescher’s weekly energy report.

web of bto.jpgBut besides those things, in approximately that same timeframe as the “P & S Summit” I had also signed up to listen to the “Beyond the Ordinary Show” ( ) led by John Burgos where another 30-plus online interviews were held with various presenters pertaining to energy-related subjects, spirituality, and creating higher-frequency consciousness.  Those are available for replay by signing up for his show’s newsletters (if anyone is interested—I’m not pushing it).

So…evidently my info tastes are eclectic, educational, and usually involve learning more about the human experience whether by standard methods or non-standard. I’d say Dr. Joe on Ted Talk was probably the bridge between those two methods this past month.

And I, like just about everyone else I know, like to think of myself as fairly sane and well-adjusted despite the challenging, daily-life situations we all encounter, and also in spite of the news media’s deluge of horrific and toxic subjects that are aired 24/7/365.

But for me to shift my listening back and forth between the “P & S Summit” and John Burgos show “Beyond the Ordinary” – now THAT is quite a set of auditory bookends, even for me. Talk about competing brain hemispheres.Beyond the ordin.jpg

Many of John’s interviewees are energy-sensitive folks like myself who can feel the nuances of the energy ocean we normally swim in; and many are considered healers, psychics, and/or trainers of others to likewise participate in the energy-experience (or the consciousness matrix) in some way.  Many of these folks are channelers of some other dimensional being (or many beings), and some are just directly intuitive and knowing of higher intentions due to natural and developed abilities to decipher them.

I personally am more so in the later group, and am also a bit more skeptical of the channeled stuff depending on the person doing it and how the energy of what they are claiming as truth feels to me, which means my gauge of truth is more along the line of a kinesthetic feeling in my body.

infinity.jpgThe only thing I know for certain on any of this standard or non-standard information is that there is little we know for certain. The rest is speculation and personal belief. All modalities are evolving in understanding—even the psychiatric profession. Look at Freud’s theories from a hundred years ago. How many psychoanalysts today are following the exact same guidelines that he set back then? So who is to say what is relevant and what is non?

ALSO, as if that online acoustic flood wasn’t enough, I had been reading an NLP (neurolinguistic programming) book (because I am a certified hypnotist and a studied NLPer) that was amazingly pertinent to shifting a client’s restrictive perspective and/or attitude. The book is called The Rainbow Machine: Tales from a Neurolinguist‘s Journal by the RM Austin.jpgAndrew T. Austin. To say his treatment with clients is unorthodox is like the consideration of how easy it is to turn water into wine with a single sweep of his hand, although he claims it’s far easier to turn wine back to water—says he does it all the time. (Little Austin humor.)

Irreverent is hardly the word for Austin’s NLP therapy theories and practice—illegal probably comes closer, and I doubt he can even get liability insurance if he actually does what he states in the book. But it was interesting—VERY interesting in how he approached client treatment—reminiscent of Milton Erickson’s early forays into clinical hypnosis, and Richard Bandler’s documented NLP experiences, because it’s all about reprogramming (neurolingually retraining) ourselves and those around us to perceive things the way we want them perceived, rather than how the client sees them which has led to their current life dysfunction.

To me there are many ways to treat the disarrayed human condition—many methods, many approaches, and many possibilities to better framing the troubling situation for the client in some respect—with lots of information sources available to us at any time to establish those new borders of life’s context.

sign post infoInformation-wise this month was particularly fertile for me in that respect, so there will be lots of subjects to explore further—just as soon as they all finally settle down in my noggin. I’m already seeing correlations in approach that might have been otherwise overlooked because that’s what usually happens when counter currents merge midstream. Hopefully once the whirlpools dissipate and disperse I can elaborate on them further in the near future.

Just not right now. My head is still swirling.whirlpool

Endings, Beginnings, and Something In-between

If you thought that the beginning of October felt different energy-wise than did the previous month of September, you are not alone. I felt a large energy shift in the collective energies from near-stationary stagnation to a mountainous boulder beginning boulder.jpgto roll—although it is picking up speed in extreme slow motion. I won’t say that we are fully rolling downhill yet, but we are definitely moving forward with increased speed. Once gravity kicks in, it will be full tilt toward whatever end is in sight. (And it doesn’t have to be a cataclysmic occurrence—it could be a major breakthrough—depends on the collective intention attracting the major change to all of us.)

What that means is that things are going to POP soon…. events will transpire that shake everyone off our usual ho-hum centers.  And I don’t mean to lessen the impact of all these natural disasters occurring throughout the continental United States and territories the last few months that have put everyone on notice to how fast your safe and secure life can change in an instant; but I’m referring to something even more shocking, sudden and dramatic than that, …as if what has already occurred wasn’t dramatic and life-changing enough for us.biggie.jpg

Yes, I think we are due for a biggie very soon!

What constitutes a biggie, you might ask?

I would say a biggie is an event the size of President Kennedy being killed in Dallas that sad day on November 22, 1963; or on the more pleasant side, the day the Berlin Wall was opened and then dismantled by the cheering crowd, brick by brick, and stone by stone on November 9th, 1989.

Hmmm, there seems to be a similar month in which these major things have happened: November—just a couple weeks away.

Lao tsuAnd for those of us who weren’t that happy with last November’s election results, how about Nov 8th, 2016? That was a world-shaking day, wasn’t it, likely from either political party’s vantage, not to mention our world-wide ally’s confusion.

All I know is that the collective anxiety-energies last year felt quite different to me than they feel at present. These present collective energies are powerful and feel more like rug-shaking. Like something is going to break soon and it could mean BIG changes everywhere.

Should we be excited about it?

I honestly don’t know. Big change usually comes at a large cost to someone. Ask anyone who has lost family members, or a home, or a way of life. Change isn’t always pleasant or welcome, but BIG end to begin.jpgchange is unavoidable—it simply IS. It is direction changing—like when part of the mountain slope suddenly UPLIFTS and sends the rolling boulder moving in the opposite direction, which is NOW the NEW downhill.

When these BIG collective energy shifts occur you move forward from that point on. You stop, shake your head and collect yourself.  You recognize that life has left you shaken or stunned, but you can’t stay that way long. So you gradually move forward again, inch by inch, step by step, until you realize that THIS is what your life must now be—because everything has CHANGED from what it once was. This is your NEW direction for awhile.

Change is coming soon. The energies are primed to explode. Let’s hope for a collectively-pleasant biggie!

The Overview

What’s the overview here? Day after day I keep asking myself that question.multi

Why are so many suffering in such horrendous conditions all over the world?

It’s easy to get caught up in the disasters occurring nationally and globally, especially when they directly affect you or the friends you care about in some way, but what is the overview of what is actually happening worldwide and WHY is it happening? Is that is even discernible?

There are many distinct possibilities to consider: climate change, nuclear testing, fracking, air and water pollution, over-populations, disruption of natural eco-systems, solar flares and excess solar activity, pole wobble, electromagnetic devastationfluctuations, mankind proliferating in general and all the corresponding havoc that creates, etc..

Then there are all the subheads under “mankind in general” like: stupidity, greed, self-interest, maliciousness, vindictiveness, fearfulness, fratricide, sociopathic and psychotic behavior, to name a few easily recognizable traits.

I haven’t even touched the theology-related excuses for reasons too onerous to god disastmention all basically claiming God’s displeasure over some aspect of our existence that doesn’t adhere to the doctrine being prescribed by a believer.

I don’t even want to go there!

BUT…at the same time a part of me says that to do an accurate overview you have to be able to VIEW the entirety of the situation from a perspective distant enough to allow random chaos to form patterns of coherence. And WHO/WHAT handles that type of perspective other than an omniscient/all powerful being or force that not only understands the logic of what is occurring but INITIATES the situations that create the aforementioned chaos for a reason we are not able to discern.

catch 22.jpgIt’s a Catch-22. The (book and movie) World War II scenario think-process: You’re claiming to be mentally unstable so you can’t serve in the military, but what is more mentally unstable than to want to be in the military serving combat duty? So you use saying you’re crazy as your defense for not-serving, but the military knows you’ll use it and therefore considers that you must be sane to try not to serve, so they ignore your insanity claim.

(Defined by Wikipedia as “A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently contradictory rules or conditions.”)

Which means that in this situation I do believe that there is an overview reason for all the chaos, but since I’m not privy to that level of knowing to declare what it is other than my guessing at it—which is what most religions do in their own unique ways, so any answer that I offer will sound eerily close to a theological argument—just slightly skewed because of my own beliefs.

Meaning my view of the OVERVIEW is not verifiable fact, it’s just a different flavor of belief.

And with that stated disclaimer, here goes:

To me it all comes down to whether or not you believe that life is intentional or accidental. Then that distills down into whether or not you believe there is such a thing as “an accident.”voltaire accident q.jpg

If there are no accidents, then everything is intentional and everything has a purpose and a reason for its existence and function in the world we recognize. We just may not know the purpose or reason for it.

Pardon me for this tangent, but I was just rereading some old Carlos Castaneda quotes this morning about the KNOWN, the UNKNOWN, and the UNKNOWABLE, time cc.jpgwhich tries to define the limits to our human comprehension ability. This description alludes to our limited ability to know or learn things that we previously did NOT know, which are represented by the UNKNOWN. Then there is the infinitely large category called the UNKNOWABLE, which is beyond our present human-existence context and our capability to comprehend.

We can’t get our arms around the UNKNOWABLE because it exists beyond our present frame of reference and mental capacity to make any sense of it or even to conceive of it.

To make my point here with no soothing reassurances what-so-ever: I do believe thatcastenada.jpg there is a reason for all the chaos and destruction happening in the world at present, as well as a reason for all the chaos and destruction that has ever occurred at any time in the recognizable history of the earth, BUT….it is likely a reason we cannot grasp with any certainty, or catalog definitively within the material-world parameters that we know.

So does my overview help to calm our fears and anxiety over the nasty situations many are experiencing world-wide?

Not in the slightest.

gods handWhich is the very real example of WHY religions grew in popularity over thousands and thousands of years of human existence—to make sense of the UNKNOWN and to speculate on the UNKNOWABLE, because it’s a pretty scary world out there if you’re on your own and you don’t have a group structure to support you.

Shared risk is shared relief.

And the knowledge we gain over the course of our lives only matters in how we use it.

I concede that some things are knowable, and to that I would say that the overview of catastrophic destruction is that it creates opportunity for change and revision—a clearing of the palate sort of thing for the next course of action.

The key point to consider is that the next course of action is truly up to each of us. How we react to chaos and devastation is how the next phase of our lives unfolds.

At present, whatever situation in which we find ourselves, no matter how horrific, simply IS. Our only choice is in how we acknowledge that fact and move forward to a better existence for ourselves and for everyone else in the world that we know, …if we can even define what that might be.

I’m not sure that I can define it other than it will likely be a shared goal, vilsack goals.jpgrather than a self-interested one.

I’ll go with that.

Being Honest with Oneself

A couple weeks ago I read a man’s revealing blog entry about how his world was suddenly upended by his loving wife dying from a fast-acting form of cancer. He wrote how he simply came apart after her death and spent the majority of his time tipping a bottle. What saved him, he said, was bottoming out, letting everything go, and being brutally honest with himself about every aspect of his past, present, and future without her.

While these words below (inspired by his article) are mine and not his, it was a powerful and hopeful message that needed to be shared—how he slowly rebuilt his life from the ground up by changing how he viewed his role in the process.  I’d like to list his url page of the article here for all to read it directly but unfortunately I can’t locate it again. Sorry. This fictional account is the best I can do.


Jack, my counselor, told me he had one rule, and that was to be honest in our talks. “Be honest?” I sneered back at him. The only truth I knew for certain was that I was still sinking in a tar pit of pain over my wife’s sudden illness and death that past year—I raged for half an hour at the unfairness of it all to both of us.  “You want REAL?” I told him, “THAT is very real to me—so there Jack, THAT is my being honest with you!”

My counselor then said to use that very real pain as the starting point to feeling what truth is for me—to use it as the gauge of honesty for every other aspect of my life to help determine what I expected from life in general, and even more importantly, what life might actually expect from me—which made no sense at all to me back then. “What LIFE expects from me?” I yelled, “Screw life! What did it ever do but give me more pain?”

He said that if I could just be honest with myself over what I truly felt for my wife before and after her illness, and allowed myself to feel the real depth of my loss over her death, then I could be honest about other parts of myself as well. That honesty, he said, would help me determine how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The booze, he said, was keeping me from ‘feeling’ in general because if I never really let myself feel the pain, then I could never get past the pain to move on from there.

The court-required AA meetings helped because other addicts/alcoholics won’t let you lie about what you do or why you do it. They know. They’ve been there. They’ve said and done the same things, and they call you out on your stuff. You can’t hide it from them. You get that real fast. And I needed that.  I needed their truthfulness to help me uncover my own.

But I wouldn’t call those meetings support as much as I’d call it a mirror held up to your face that you can’t avoid.  There you are—twenty or so different versions of you—all gathered in one room sharing stories, shame, and self-loathing.  And there I was with a bunch of other people supposedly just like me—like being called by some other name to tell something similar to my story, like Jim or John or Lori, …or Frank or Jerry—but they were all different versions of me. “Same brand of ice cream, just a different flavor,” Jack said.

Well I didn’t like how that made me feel, so I told them about it. Said I didn’t belong there.

“Accept it,” they said. “We are alcoholics. You’re an alcoholic—lying is what you do, especially to yourself.  That’s who you are because that’s the most comfortable way to be—at least it always has been. Problem now is that even lying doesn’t work for you anymore.”

They were rough with me at times because I was so stuck in denial—claiming I was the victim here—why couldn’t they see that? One guy even pointed to me and said, “You want to keep seeing this same lying sack of shit staring back at you every time you look in the bathroom mirror? NO? Then change what you’re doing—change what you’re thinking. Because if you can’t accept the living proof of who and what you are sitting here all around you—if you can’t stand to think that you’ve been lying to yourself and to everyone you say you loved day after day for most of your life, then don’t expect your future to be any different. It’s your choice. YOUR choice, man!”

The “Your choice!” repeated over and over in their own stories. It’s always your choice. It’s your decision. “No one makes it but you,” they kept saying. “It isn’t really about life’s unfairness, or how much you miss your wife,” one of them told me. It was about being honest with myself about what I was feeling—what I still AM feeling about it all, and deciding if that’s what I want to feel in the future.

“If you can do that,” my counselor who led the group said, “if you can be honest with yourself, then you can pull yourself together and get on with your new life without the booze. But it’s really up to you.”

And as a parting shot, another guy who looked a lot like my sleezy Uncle Charlie, who was the last person in the world I ever wanted a lecture like this from, told me, “If you aren’t willing to help yourself buddy, don’t expect us to help you.”

Well, a couple years later I can tell you that it wasn’t easy by any means. Some days are still a struggle, but eventually I learned to view that past history of my previous self and life in a different way—what Jack called “in a more constructive manner”—one where I could refocus on how I had survived those painful life lessons, and use that survivor mentality to help me feel good about myself again, …which was far better than feeling so rotten all the time, where I simply wanted to numb myself into la-la land with the booze.

But maintaining the what Jack had named “lesson-filled, boot-camp view” of my previous life which he said I had successfully survived, was a difficult choice that I had to keep making day after day—sometimes every minute of the day for awhile, until I grew more comfortable in my new skin.

And getting to know this new me who thought and acted completely different from the old me, was the hardest part of it, because I finally realized that for 42 years I’d basically been doing nothing more than lying to myself, so I hardly knew what truth looked like, or even what being truthful felt like.

In fact the more I considered it, I’m not sure that I had ever been honest with anyone, let alone being honest with myself back then.

Was everything I’d said and done in my entire life a lie? If so, then wasn’t any part of it real? And what part of me was the real ME who was actually worth knowing? To figure that out, Jack tried to flip my mind again to see WHO it was that I wanted to become, to know how to get there. He said it was like creating an image of the new and better me that I would simply have to GROW into. But how could I do that?

Jack framed it to me this way: If I were the adult parent of a newborn ME ready to be introduced into this world full of challenges and wonders, what kind of parent would I truly need to be to successfully raise baby ME into a solid, well-balanced adult? Would I need a critical, demanding, drill sergeant constantly condemning ME and beating me down for my failings, or a nurturing, caring, coach continually encouraging my daily progress and raising me up to feel good about myself?

Not a tough choice, really. I didn’t need to feel any worse about myself than what I’d already been feeling.  What I needed was to feel more loved and supported than I had actually felt throughout most my childhood. Jack agreed. He said what I needed to help me succeed in my new life direction was my own loving guidance and support, not more self-condemnation.

Per Jack’s instructions, every morning now when I look in the bathroom mirror, I ask myself this question: “How are you going to encourage the best from that young kid in you today—how are you going to parent yourself to become a strong and loving person?”

Then I look right into my own eyes and say the words of a speech I’d memorized for doing this daily self pep-talk, “How can I express myself in more compassionate ways—in ways that other loving and caring people want to share in—ways that help them to recognize the goodness of my heart so they want to become more a part of my life?”

“How can I be a good person?”  I ask the ME staring back in all my imperfections. And that’s the goal I set for the day—every day—just trying to be a good person in some way—trying to help somebody or to do something nice for somebody else, because it makes me feel good when I can do that. And the more good I do for others, the better I feel about myself. Funny I know, but that’s how it is.

Well, as you can see, I’m still working on that goal of being a better person. But I wanted others to know that being honest with myself was a key to clearing out the garbage from my life. Think about it: You got to keep taking out the trash to keep from stinking up the house.

And if that ain’t being honest, …then I don’t know what is.