Stand in the Light

Today we need to "stand in the light", whatever that means to each of us. We need to be seen as we are, without judging or criticism or the attacks we see on social media. We need to have courage and kindness and give our gifts to the world, whatever they are. These are a few words from a song, "Stand in the Light", by Jordan Smith, with the lyrics and video below. It is an inspirational song that is relevant in today's challenging times.

One of the inspiring experiences in my life was singing with the Mile Hi Church choir, a tribe of about 80 souls dedicated to singing songs of inspiration.This video of the song "Stand in the Light" shown below, was from November 2017, a month before I moved to Mexico and became an expat. I was "never looking back as I was walking away". Here's the lyrics:

Stand in the light and be seen as we are
Didn't I tell you I hear what you say?
Never look back as you're walking away
Carry the music, the memories and keep them inside
Laugh every day
Don't stop those tears from falling down
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I'm not going to hide
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
With courage and kindness hold onto your faith
You get what you give and it's never too late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind
Fight hard for love
We can never give enough
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I'm not going to hide
'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
Stand in the Light and be seen as we are.







A Five Minute Writing Challenge

Thank you for checking out this blog post !

Hola, and good morning from Mexico ! (or whatever time of day it is for you). I'm listening to some very nice jazz from an album Esmiralda by Moeckel Schurmann Quartet. I first heard of them when a song of theirs was played on on Radio Swiss Jazz, a commercial free jazz station that has an app for my iphone. I did a search in my Amazon Music and found the album.

The purpose of this 5 minute writing challenge is to do something that you may not have done before. (Excluding social media posting - and your 5 minute writing is private -no one is going to read it).

To experience your own writing can be like a dance. Maybe it is a poem, or a narrative, or random thoughts and feelings that come up in the moment. It is intended to be a sort of stream of consciousness. Don't let your mind get in the way of just flowing with the words.

Maybe write about your experience of 2020, and what has been difficult to express on social media or even to best friends.  This can also be a therapeutic experience, a release of energy that may not have been expressed yet.

And when you are done be grateful that you have completed the exercise. If you did not go the full five minutes no worries.

Maybe you have some new ideas or insights that came out.

Notice any resistance to continuing, and holding you back from completing this.

You decide whether you will write freehand with a pen or on a Word doc. You decide what to write about or to just let it flow. You decide to stop before five minutes are up or go longer. No rules, just suggestions.

The challenge is
1) to accept the challenge !
2) if you can commit to five minutes non-stop
3) if it makes a difference in your life experience, if even for a few moments in the day

Here are some examples of my own writing with a timer for five minutes.

1) I just started my timer and am listening to nice jazz......I especially like the rolling bass in a jazz trio......however my very favorite is jazz piano....those two combined are sweet to listen to.......also with a muted trumpet and some basic percussion. Vocal jazz with music can be inspiring depending on what your tastes are or your preferences I'm thinking of Diana Krall Live in Paris)  Just glanced at the time and there is 2 min 48 seconds left so I keep on ...this year 2020 has been crazy.....on many levels.......we have learned so much about a new experience of a pandemic, about the negative manipulation of media, divisiveness and polarization to the point of losing friendships, esoteric hidden agendas and corruption.....the threat of technology using us instead of being used exclusively as a tool......the possibility of an alien agenda........basically, much of what was hidden or unknown coming to light.......and that can be shocking and my 5 minutes are up. 

2) In April 2020 right when the pandemic and lockdowns were most intense, I went to China and hung out with some locals in the rural areas, learned about an interesting spiritual group - the Fulan Gong - that practices meditation and Qi Gong and that has millions of followers, and a farmer who stood up to the CCP - Chinese Communist party and sued them in a collective group action against unfair taxation. Yes, it was only in a book yet after reading it I felt like I had traveled there and was interacting with these three heroes whose stories were described in detail by the Pultitzer Prize winning author. Of course the issue that we have is not with the Chinese people, but with the Chinese government, Chinese Communist Party, and their abuse of human rights, how they handled the virus, what is their agenda for controlling the world through advanced AI and technology that has been weaponized?

In this one above I caught myself doing some quick corrections of typos or spelling.....the writing is not private as it will be if you accept the challenge and try it. 

3) I just started watching the documentary The Social Dilemma, and after only twenty minutes into the 90 minute length I am in a state of mild shock and anger. Partial spoiler -  Yes I knew that Facebook and tech companies can have "your data" to use in a type of survey to determine advertising ideas etc. I did not realize how closely they monitor me with every click, comment, like, or browsing history in Google. What was a realty check was not that social media was a tool for better connection but also that we were the tools for advertising goals. Engineers fine tune the algorithms to manipulate and try to control and persuade us so that we act and engage even subconsciously without even knowing we are being manipulated. The documentary is a must watch for everyone who uses Facebook. It's on Netflix. 

So whether you decide to accept the 5 minute writing challenge or not, I hope that you are safe and healthy, and strong in this challenging time.

I never know who reads these blog posts so if you read this can you send me a message on Messenger with feedback? Or whatsapp.?   Carpe diem - seize the day. Make your life extraordinary. The "Carpe Diem" scene from Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams :

Is Life Like a Game of Chess?


 Is living our life is like a game of chess?

With every move we make possibly affecting the rest?

Should we live deeply and authentically or live in jest?

Can we live in the question as we receive the next test?

If something looks like honey could it be from a hornet's nest?

Are we sending out curses when we think we are blessed?

How are we processing what we think is a mess?

How can we handle the intensity and stress?
- dlb

"The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind" - Bob Dylan 1962

We Can't Stop Time

But we can "live in the question."

These days it seems as if time is speeding up, or maybe we are just experiencing life differently. Maybe there is a quickening of consciousness on a spiritual level. Maybe an awakening on another level.

It just seems that the days are moving faster. Suddenly it's noon, and I've been going since 6 am and the time just flew by. It's the same movement of time. Yet I seem to be experiencing it differently. My dreams also seem to be more intense and have their own "dream time." The minutes and hours are clicking away. How we manage or perceive, or spend our time is our choice and one that we can be grateful for. 

About a year ago, I had some thoughts about time in a way that caused some reflection on life. I looked at the alarm on my phone and noticed the stopwatch feature. If you haven't seen this lately, please open up your phone clock now and take a look. When you press "start" you see time moving in milliseconds, and each second appearing in the third digit from the right. Those milliseconds are moving very fast. This is time-in-motion as it is happening now. Just by looking at it there might be an "aha" moment of "make every minute count"! Sometimes those milliseconds are like thoughts that just keep streaming in non-stop. In deep meditation, it's always a nice experience when moments occur without thoughts for a change. (note to self)

And in these precious moments that we call time we are witnessing, and experiencing intense polarities of views in the news, extreme shame and blame, and possibly a disconnection from those areas of inspiration, those feelings of deep love, and those memories of better times. It's easier to be stressed out these days. Yet sometimes we can stop and still cherish precious peaceful moments, even in the midst of chaos, like the peaceful eye in the center of a hurricane.

In these precious moments, let's remind ourselves of our connection with a Divine Spirit, a higher power, and an energy that transcends time as well as infuses it with Being. Whatever our perspective is in this area of life, let's also celebrate these precious moments to whatever extent works for our sanity and peace of mind.

It's easy to be in overload now, have you noticed? One idea that I have used effectively as much as possible that allows for information to be less intrusive on my mind is "living in the question".  I even wrote two blogs about it. Here's the recent one >

Living in the Question with Inspiration

Living in the Question with Inspiration

When I was in my first year of college at Pasadena City College, which had a reputation for professors who enjoyed teaching and were not distracted with PhD research, I had a fantastic professor who used the Socratic method of teaching. He would ask questions in a way that would allow students to open up to different possibilities of answers or ideas, or insights related to the topic. It was a very powerful and effective way of learning. In a way, it has been with me for all of my life. Only in recent years did I decide to give a name to it - living in the question.  

For me, living in the question is a type of perspective that I have with most information that I read, or hear, or watch. It is different than questioning everything. It is more like being open to possibilities of different interpretations, perspectives, and depth that may not easily be seen.   

These days, sometimes there is a tendency to want to have it all figured out and "live in the answer". Yet, living in the question leaves things open-ended and has the effect of creating more freedom in thinking, in my opinion. 

Today this is more important as we are bombarded with news and views, scammers and spammers, intense emotional exchanges in social media, the pandemic, and the election coming up in November. 

When I searched Google for the phrase "living in the question" there is reference to Rainer Maria Rilke, the mystical poet, who wrote this in his book "Letters to a Young Poet. 

" I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

Perhaps we can also appreciate this letter as written to us in these times. Maybe we need to be patient towards all that is "unsolved in our hearts" and to love living in the question. Maybe there are some truths or answers out there that we cannot handle, as we would "not be able to live (with) them." 

By "living the questions now" or living in the mystery, then gradually, or suddenly, when the timing is right, answers or insights will be revealed. Hidden truths may come to light, and we will still live in the question even then, with more peace of mind, inspiration, and wisdom than we had before.

Could living in the question be like a liquid elixir of life?
read on >

The 30 Day Inspiration Challenge

A personal challenge is when you commit to doing something for thirty days in a row that you are not already doing consistently. It takes inspiration and motivation to commit to yourself and to stick with it until completion. It could also be to do something new every day in a certain area of interest. 

During this pandemic quarantine time, it seems that the opportunity is there to try a thirty-day challenge. It can be fun and doesn't need to be overwhelming. It can be creative and in an area that you already have a gift or desire to focus. You need to be inspired and motivated to have the commitment to follow through and stick to it. 

In addition to other routines, I have my two 30-day challenges during this pandemic lock-down.
The Yoga Challenge I Will Never Forget

The idea of a personal challenge was presented to me by a yoga teacher in 2014. I had just started hot yoga classes and loved them, and was starting to go to a class every day. One morning a yoga teacher asked if I had ever heard about a ten-day challenge—one hot yoga class every day for ten days. No, I answered, but I am going to try that. Since I already had a certain number done (I cannot recall, but I think it was three days), then seven days more, and I will have succeeded at this challenge. I was inspired and motivated. Towards the end of the ten days, the yoga teacher asked if I had ever heard of a thirty-day challenge. I answered no but was ready for it since I was enjoying the daily hot yoga. Then towards the end of the thirty days, I had the idea of extending the challenge to 100 days. I already had thirty almost done, so I needed seventy more days. Was I up to the challenge? Could I commit to it? Was I willing to not have anything get in the way of completing it? The answers were a strong yes. The word started getting around the studio about this sixty-year-old man who was doing a one hundred day challenge.
The yoga teachers at the studio said that I was "like a machine", as it became "automatic" for me to show up every morning. Since the classes happened seven days a week, it was easy to go every day. My energy and motivation continued as I started finishing forty, fifty, sixty days in a row. At some point, there was a request by more than a few students to the studio to offer a group challenge. Then the yoga studio provided a sixty-day challenge that would start on a certain day. There were a few guidelines, and record-keeping was being kept by the studio. I also joined that challenge, and it would go beyond my hundred-day goal. I ended up finishing both challenges after one hundred and fourteen days and as I got closer to that final number, I realized that it is not about the destination and number as much as the commitment and focus. Just starting it and sticking with it is empowering, and "the joy is in the journey". 

What are the Benefits of a Thirty Day Challenge?
After reading about the 100 day challenge, a thirty-day challenge may not seem so daunting. 

The benefits of completing this are many. 

> a personal achievement - mission accomplished!
> the experience of the journey - thoughts, feelings, insights
> the "unexpected benefits" - these may happen 
> building a new type of discipline - a positive habit
> inspiration as a result of the completion

Sometimes this challenge "takes on a life of its own", and you start to see unexpected benefits. It can be private, or you can share it on Facebook. 

What are Some Ideas of 30 Day Challenges?
It can be anything that you want to focus on. Physical, mental, spiritual, social, creative, or social.

> Writing in a journal every day - thoughts, feelings, about the pandemic, the new normal, personal challenges, and goals. It is a private journal, and you have the complete freedom to let it all out.
> Physical exercise is a common challenge: a new routine, 30 days in a row.
> A spiritual practice - meditation, yoga, reading inspirational content, affirmations
> a creative expression - art, crafts, writing, new ideas
> entertainment > watching a live concert on YouTube every day, playing online games, watching a new movie, documentary or series every day. 
> education - register for an online class, or commit to research and study a topic daily for 30 days
> travel - a 30 day motorcycle tour of U.S. National Parks

The famous quote from William Hutchison Murray describes a part of the process of commitment:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!"

So if a 30 day challenge is something that catches your attention, and gets you inspired and motivated, then go for it, and enjoy the process.

Inspiration and Gratitude - New Book Just Published

Just published on Amazon April 2020!

This is my third book and I am grateful for the inspiration to write. Ebook Free download Sept 18-22.

I felt compelled to write about why inspiration and gratitude are important as we are self-quarantined in isolation, and have time to reflect on our life, the world, what we are grateful for, and how to be inspired if possible in the midst this worldwide crisis. 

The link below is to the book listing on Amazon. It is in a Kindle format, and can be read with the free Kindle app that can be downloaded and used with different devices or on a laptop / desktop.

There is a "Look Inside" feature that allows you to preview the first pages of the book. -  Enjoy and stay safe and healthy.
David Brown
Link > Inspiration and Gratitude - Yes !

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