Tag Archive for 'fear'

Christina Perri on Fear and Strength

Heyo SuperForesters!

You may recognize singer/songwriter/musician Christina Perri from her uber-famous Twilight ballad A Thousand Years, or perhaps you know her from her heartbreakingly honest song, Jar of Hearts. But let’s get serious, most of you probably know her because she sang with SuperForest’s favourite son.

I came across this video yesterday and

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I was so amazed at:

a) Her super beautiful glossy hair

b) Her unbelievable video game analogy

c) Her badass fearless attitude!

Enjoy this video where Christina drops some serious knowledge about going to the edge, facing your fears, pushing on and going for your dreams! YES!

Slowly I started to make these conscious decisions to do the thing that I was afraid of…and I’m so serious that the minute I did that it was like all these doors appeared…

Rock on, sister! “Feel the fear, and do it anyway!”

P.S., I talk a lot too ;)

And for your musical enjoyment, please enjoy Christina’s latest hit, A Thousand Years:

Jackson’s Journal – Let’s Get Down To Business

Goood morning SuperForest!

I’m sitting here on the porch, ahem, lanai of Zero One, and the wind is blowing and the sky is overcast and Melissa is slouched down next to me and we’ve just eaten an amazing breakfast of kale from the garden, eggs from the hens, and papayas from the farmer’s market.

We were talking about faking a marriage, or really, just going through with one with an amazing pre-nup and exit clauses, simply as an excuse to get all of our friends and family to gather here on Kauai. It could be lovely. Perhaps an amazing an generous relative or well wisher would gift us some land and some seed money to get Zero Two going? We say: We’re getting married! We send out invitations. People rsvp or find better things to do. Flights are booked, vacation rentals located, bags packed. Our people arrive and we party and celebrate. But inside: This was all just a trick to get you all in one place. A ruse wedding just to bring you all to paradise and force you to have a good time there. Mwah ha ha! Sinister deeds!

Business. Lovely business. Move this person here, have them say this and that, then have them report back. Move the pieces on the game board. Minimize loss, maximize profit. Get what you want done. Play the game with the Universe.

Why play all the games? Why not just say to our friends and family: We love you! We want you all to be here! We’ll say and do whatever you need to hear to make that happen. Come to Kauai. Live here on Kauai. The life here is healthy and good and here we can make a difference. That would be more honest.

Instead, I could plot and scheme and use clever wordplay to hide my true intentions (which are, to be clear: build beautiful gardens for my friends and family to live in.) I could say that I was getting married to get you to come here. I could say that I was building botanical gardens and hide the fact that my “non-traditional employee/employer relationship” really meant that I lived in community and tried to make decisions based on the needs and interests of the land first, the community second, and how best to share the resulting abundance third.

In short, what I’m dancing around, trying to say, overusing commas, is that I’m done goofing around. I cannot believe how much time I’ve spent hiding my light from myself, rallying against wars and at war in myself, writing endless words when silence was what I needed, and breaking up my writing time with annoying meditation.

I have discovered a way out of the business life. I will now embrace a love life. For through my dealings and wheeling and failures and successes I’ve discovered something true for myself, and that is when business forms between two people then love dies, and fears enters the picture. So, I will no longer enter into business agreements. At least, never with people who I love and care about. Interestingly, I seem to love and care about nearly everyone I interact with, so that pretty much limits my business transactions.

Pop Culture, Politics, sports, all these are just offshoots of business, and business is what I’m over.

I mentioned that I had discovered a way out of the business life, and I believe that I indeed have. I will use this blog post as a prayer to a merciful and loving god, the Universe. Dear Universe, I would very much like some land to build a church on. I would also like some money to buy tools, seeds, tarps, a diesel truck, and a few odds and ends. I am building a church because I wish to serve god. In this case, I will serve god by growing food and caring for the land. I will use the food and land to feed and house people, who will grow the land alongside me. I will use the word church to protect our feeding and housing people, which is outlawed. Business does not want you living outside of business. It wants total conformity. Because when there is love, there is no business. And where there is business, there is no love.

If I can grow my own food, and trade food and my creations for that which I cannot create myself, and if I combine my talents with the talents of others, I can live in sustainable harmony with the land, and thereby escape the world of business.

Let me make it perfectly clear. I wish to escape the world of business. I never wish to buy or sell anything ever again, nor do I ever wish to own or possess anything either. I am content to have only that which is directly around me at any given moment. If I am in the Taj Majal, then the Taj Majal is my home. If I am visiting the Crown Jewels in London, I am visiting them because they are mine to visit. If someone pulls out a gun and demands my money, I will give it to him. Why was I carrying it in the first place?

Oh right, an in-between stage… It’s fine and good to sit here and think: I’m done with business! To heck with the whole crazy, world destroying, happiness-killing, fear machine of it all! But then, where is there to go? What Utopian world is there to slink off to? There’s nowhere I could go where the tuna weren’t going to be extinct within a decade. Nowhere I could go that wouldn’t have trash on the beaches. Nowhere on the planet where there isn’t the spectre of the industrial revolution hiding away in the plants and the waters and the delicious shrimp. Bali? Nope. Nowhere, daddy-o. The whole planet’s gone brown, homes.

Right then. An in between stage. Between business and love. Between the hideous zombie beast of a system we have now transitioning to something cleaner and brighter and a bit better thought out. A world unified. Undivided.

Do you know what that word means? Undivided? It means that there is nothing but you. You are me. You are the Universe. I am you. I am the Universe. We are all together. Got that? Really got that?

Undivided means more than a heart-warming montage of multiple ethnicities holding American flags and sparklers and twinkling at each other in the growing darkness for some mass celebration of life in the heartland. Undivided means that sports and money and politics and country and religion have no meaning whatsoever save for interesting conversation points about history. Because undivided means love. Perfect love. And perfect love is big enough for everyone to share.

I’m on a tangent. So, we have the world we are currently in, with all of its divisions and destructions and boxes and certainty and fear, and as a counterpoint, a glimmering idea of a future world that we could create, where everyone is taken care of and the human race is unhindered by the illusions of division and identity, and therefore able to share with one another.

During the past several months, I’ve had a few very close friends say to me that they were no longer interested in sharing. They said very clearly that they had shared enough and that they were going to stop sharing and instead, choose isolation. Privacy. Solitude. Triggered and searching for compassionate thoughts, I recalled a time when I myself had knowingly chose isolation. One popped up immediately: It was in 2008 after my fiance and I decided not to get married, and split up. For a year or so, I was pretty crushed. My whole identity had to be rejiggered. I stayed indoors a great deal, wrote a lot of posts, worked on SuperForest, kindled many online friendships, and generally avoided the fairer sex. One night at a bar, I was introduced to a beautiful young woman and we got to talking. She asked me if I was in a relationship, and I told her that I had been planning on getting married, but that we had broken it off. I told her that I felt like a ghost. I told her that I was rebuilding my personality, piece by piece. Sexy, right? I went home alone.

I choose isolation for a year because I was suffering inside. I was suffering, and I believed that my suffering made me ugly, made me unlikeable, uncharming. My suffering robbed me of my wit, my desire to please, to impress. That’s the story I made up. My suffering was what I chose to explore for a year, and for a year I explored it. I hid myself away so as not to inflict my suffering upon the world.

I’ll skip ahead a bit now, and just bang out a few details. Eventually, my fascination with my own suffering subsided. I was too interested in happiness and happiness, true happiness, in America is practically an undiscovered country. A year or so ago, an amazing experience with the plant medicine ayahuasca totally opened up my mind and gave me some wonderful perspective on myself. Ayahuasca shattered what felt like years of rock and ice encasing my being, and was one of the most positive, powerful, revelatory, wonderful experiences I’ve ever had.

Six months later and I’m out of New York, back on Kauai, and suddenly living in nature again. I am now here to start Zero One. Little by little, the energy and the space start attracting like-minded people, (for like always attracts like, and that is why positive thinking is so important.) Six months after that and there is a humming hive of activity at the newly productive Zero One, as gardens come online and fruit trees begin to produce. Six months after that and the project is over and I must leave this wonderful oasis that I and my friends have created and leap into the unknown.

I must say that choosing to focus my attention on solutions and joy, and shift my thoughts away from despair and isolation and suffering, has done wonders for my skin. My posture, once stooped from my endless hours online, is now slightly less stooped, as nascent shoulder muscles come online thanks to hours recently spent in the water. Did I mention? Since Zero One “ended” I’ve been spending a great deal more time at the beach and in the water. Loads more surfing, which is great for the skin, the posture, muscle tone, and leads to incredibly restful sleep.

I have but two regrets concerning Zero One, and these plagued me from day one. The first is that we did not have cameras running at all times, in every room, every hour of every day. What has happened here is nothing short of miraculous, and is why I feel so jazzed to re-create is ASAP. So, cameras everywhere, get it edited together, get it online, share it, send it out across the interwebs, and show the nice folks at home what happens when you start taking real responsibility for your life. Could have been rad. Next time.

The second regret is that I didn’t spend nearly enough time surfing.

Everything else has been a blessing, a benediction, and a gift from the Universe. I would not wish to retract or re-do a single millisecond.

I am asking, oh Universe, humbly and with a smile on my face, for a piece of land here on Kauai. With a stream or a lake or some sort of water feature. Larger than 2 acres. And I would like seed money to build a church. Thank you.

There is a life out there beyond business, SuperForesters. I am exploring the landscape and humbly offer my paltry services as a guide to this new world, filled with love and abundance, that I enjoy so much.

The sun has come out. Joe the gardener tells me that Rock Quarry has waves. I am off to see for myself.

I love you. Thank you. Forgive me. Cheers for your patience.

-Jackson

Melissa’s Journal: What do I want?

Margie + Melissa Adventure to Polihale

(image by me)

In preparation for the Zero One Garage Sale, I discovered one of my many old journals. This one I bought in Pennsylvania while visiting my parents for Thanksgiving in 2009, right before I journeyed to Kauai. It has orange hibiscus on it and was on the clearance rack at the since closed Walden Books in the local mall I frequented as a teenager. I figured, “It’s perfect for Hawaii. I’ll write in it every day!” With a grand total of 10 entries, eight from the first time round on the island and a mere two from the second, (I am notorious for buying journals, vowing to diligently write everyday and only writing for a week) I surmised I could rip out the couple of entries and get a couple bucks for it. Then I read the last entry:

6.28.2010 10:23am

Seems like I sat at the [Hanalei] bay and never returned to myself. Sounds about right, actually. I’ve had a really interesting time back on the island. I’ve been met with constant challenges to remain open and vulnerable to Holden, and I am learning that it’s a direct parallel to my challenges to remain open to myself. I run from myself. Period. It’s what I do. I’m terrified of success and likely believe I don’t deserve it. But I DO! There’s no other way to have success unless I believe I deserve it. I have been though some incredibly challenging events and have been able to push through the fear that arrises when I jump off of a cliff, or out of a plane, or climb a mountain, but when it comes to the fear of committing, I have yet to consistently succeed. I committed to school without a clear goal, and I’ve been unable to commit to a relationship with Jeremy. So many of these things that I’ve had so much difficulty committing to are because I’ve not been absolutely sure it was what I wanted. I wanted school, but felt so swayed by Juston to go. I want to be a photographer but I feel resentful for its being conditional.

What I want is Myself. I want to know what it is that I truly want. And one clear thing is to be on this island.

I WANT TO BE IN KAUAI.
I WANT TO BE IN KAUAI.
I WANT TO DISCOVER MYSELF.
I WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
I WANT TO BE IN LOVE.
I WANT TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER.
AND I WANT IT ALL ON KAUAI.
I WANT KAUAI FOR ME.
I WANT ME FOR KAUAI.
I WANT TO LOVE KAUAI
AND BE LOVED BY HER.

It will be hard. It will require a tribe. A tribe I’ve got. All the rest will come to be if I’m finally brutally open to it.

So get ready for it. prepare, meditate, work, reach out. Decide. Commit.

 

I’ve decided to keep the magical Kauai journal in which I managed to manifest exactly what I wanted in ten months. I remained open. I observed. I gained clarity. I made the decision to commit to the pachamama, and I arrived at Zero One two weeks after writing this entry. Every single one of those Wants has transitioned into a Have. I am so grateful to a former Melissa for showing me the power of my manifestation abilities. My reality is mine to create. So what do I want to dream up next?

Drake’s Journal: Strap Sandals and Emotional Bypass

I was incredibly fortunate to share my retreat with a Slovak couple, Anetta and Michal. (Check spelling). I sat behind them in lectures and meditations, and learned so much about love by simply being in their proximity. They are mountaineers: the pair followed the path of The Snow Leopard and took an alternate, triple-pass route to Everest Base Camp. Serious hikers. My sister and I are off to hike to Annapurna Circuit soon, each of our first treks, and we had loads of questions for the veterans, one particular sun- and tea-soaked afternoon.

I asked concerning blisters, which I am sure to accumulate on the trek. Mikael said that if I end up with blisters on my feet, I should put on some sandals, so I can still sock my feet and walk on, gesturing at his own black Tevas below.

“Ah yes!” I said, “and I can just wear these,” looking down affectionately at my Extra Arch Support Leather Rainbow Sandals, which my sister brought All The Way From Hawaii. For me, those super slippers are the epitome of flip-floppery; a symbol of tropical detachment, cool in the heat, to which, obviously, I am attached.

“Oh no,” Michal said, “you can’t wear those.” Clearly, my high-performance woolen socks are not compitable with the aloha thongs. I would need a new, different, strapped  cousin. And this sent a shiver down my spine.

Strap sandals! How could this be! I saw images of high school friends’ fathers, strapped in and ready to BBQ or talk WWII, my own pubescent attempts at being laid back, the unfortunate odor of summer feet against size 12 soles for way too long. But I had no choice.

A week later, Liza and I were in Thamel, Kathmandu’s frantic tourist ghetto, full of hawkers and knockoffs. We were scurrying from shop to shop attempting to assemble a trek-worthy inventory, and one of the items in my tastefully, not overly feminine (more-so Japanese) floral notebook was looming like a late 90s Midwestern stormcloud, the twin scribbles of strap sandals. The white whale was in sight.

And so, sitting on a woven stool, I sat for 30 minutes trying on seemingly every pair ever manufactured, black, blue, green, gray, until finally one fit, an underwhelming Cinderella situation: they had an alternating diagonal dark-and-light blue pattern to the center of the strap, with a black and white trim, suggesting of Phoenician sketches or some sort of failed shark superheroes. Liza, of course, found an onyx pair, the same model as the heroic Central European couple! A total shoe-in. Ah, but I, rather, had to face the melancholic facts, after leaving the shop and coming back a day later, I bought the menacing pair.

Another week of Buddhist teachings later, it was time to say goodbye to all that was not Coming on the Trek, as we would leave it with a friend in Kathmandu. And so, reluctantly, I strapped them in, heel, ankle, toe.

“I look like I’m eleven years old,” I said, gaping at my unfashionable feet. My sister, of course, could only laugh. And so I trudged out of the hotel room, and into the day.

***

That night, after walking around the Stupa and spinning many prayer-wheels, we ran into a friend from the Dharma teachings, Justin, a gentle mountain of a man, once a college football player, and now four months in the red robes of the Tibetan traditions, with whom I shared avocado pizza fantasies and sweet memories of bibampap. We joined him for dinner with another friends, Holger, a joyfully nihilistic German young man, with a smile that lights up the room.

The conversation exploded immediately, into talks of faith and uncertainty, the need to leave home and the pull to return, the nature of selflessness and of the self, and of trauma. Justin described that often what leads people to Buddhism is an initial trauma (such was the case with myself, meditation as a way of calming post-breakup thoughtstorms).

We talked of the some people’s fear of there not being a god, and Buddhism’s disinterest in supplying one; an example was supplied of an acquaintance who practiced for forty-years, but then came back to Catholicism at the end of his life, for the lack of a higher power did not meet his spiritual needs.

The conversation (unterhaltung, or holding-under, in German, how fascinating!) circulated around this point for some turns of the wheel, and the participants agreed that these issues need to be examined in order to be processed, in order to be healed. Like a cardiac bypass, simply rerouting one’s beliefs or practices does not remove the life-choking plaque present; it expertly avoids it. In the serious matter of knowing ourselves, we cannot overlook these issues.

Thich Nhat Hanh urges us to examine the seeds of our suffering in The Miracle of Mindfulness, a book that has been the Tiger Palm to the aches and pains of my spiritual muscles. The phrase sounds existential, brutal, Continental, but the way Hanh describes it, the process is gentle, caring. We must appreciate the causes of our pain, investigate why we flinch at certain stimuli, be it the possible Void of a Spirit Above or the cry of Velcro Below.

So, why did I resist the purchase? My childhood had many components, two of which were divorce and imagination. With those two conditions, it is plain to see that much of my chubby years were spent insecure, in fear of phantoms familial or imaginary, or, perhaps, both. The Buddhist tradition teaches that all phenomena are essentially empty, shifting, fluid: the arise with a selection of causes and fade when those causes are exhausted. Being that I was a child, I did not have the emotional equipment to transfer the energy of my pain and confusion into another form; rather, it sat (and often ran, often commanded) in me, and I would inexpertly sneak from bedroom to kitchen, science to gym, hunching my shoulders, trying to hide my over-sized frame.

These innocent Tevas have forced my to reconsider that bypass, to go back and untie the knot in my childhood heart. I see that the people that hurt me were suffering too, and just doing their best with the situation given, and harbored no malice toward me; I see that I was simply a needy child, so much like the brainy young students eager for my love and affection in Korea who perhaps did receive enough at home, and that this is all OK: with the clarity given by understanding, I can now better love my younger self, my family, my students, and my shoes.

Miss you all,

Drake
From April 3, 2011.

Being scared

I was catching up on happenings on the internet and ended up watching Merlin Mann’s talk on being scared shitless on 43 folders and it inspired me to write something about us being scared.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, we are all scared. You, me, your parents, your kids, your partners, your colleagues, your bosses, your friends; everyone is scared of something. If not now, then they must have been scared at some point in their life. Anyone who says they don’t, has to be lying.

Me, the guy whom some people say looks to be constantly at peace and unfazed by anything and also the one who have the courage to do things that his peers would not do, get scared. In fact, I get scared as often as at least once a day and at times I literally tremble in fear.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things that I was scared of when I was younger:

  • I was scared of bald mannequins.
  • I was scared of the dark.
  • I was scared of being alone.
  • I was scared when I ran away from home.
  • I was scared when I returned home.
  • I was scared when I started my past two relationships.
  • I was even more scared when I had to leave them.
  • I was scared when I took on my first job.
  • I was scared when I started my own website.
  • And most recently, I was scared about leaving my job.

And right now, at this very moment, a lot of things scare me too

  • I am scared of not having enough projects to earn a living and feed myself.
  • I am scared that I will die in the next few moments without  leaving behind anything meaningful enough.
  • I am scared that I will never meet my love and never have kids.
  • Although I appear to be a confident speaker, I still get scared when I have to speak in front of a crowd.
  • I am scared that my ideas are not good enough for the client
  • I am scared that the things I design cannot be built or will be over-budget or worse, will simply fail
  • I am scared that you will find this post completely self-indulgent and utterly rubbish.
  • I have no idea what I’m doing everyday and am just making things up as I go along and that scares the shit out of me too.

By now, I think you get the idea that I’m pretty much scared of a lot of things.

It was not too long ago that I would be overwhelmed by this sense of fear and be paralysed by it but thankfully, I have managed to learn from many before me and conditioned myself to recognize the feeling when it surfaces. And beyond simply recognizing it, I am also learning how to deal with it too.

Increasingly, I find myself looking head-on to whatever that I fear and then just leaning into its discomfort. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to do that but knowing that I must deal with it, is a motivation in itself.

I have realized that we can’t stop living life when we are scared. We can’t stop making awesome things when we are scared. We can’t not do something about it if we are scared. It might help to know that, no one really cares if you fail terribly when you are confronting your fears. Also, all of us should know that our true family and friends will be there no matter how things turn out.

However, no matter how much support or advice you get from the people around you, only you yourself can fight and overcome those fears. How do you deal with your fears?

 

 

Jackson’s Journal – I Reserve My Harshest Judgements For Myself…

Gooooood Morning SuperForest!

I am having an amazing and thrilling year so far! How about you? You having fun? I do hope so…

In the past few months a lot of changes have taken place in my life. Changes that thrill me, scare me, and provoke me into action, reflection, and growth.

In the past few months, I have:

Gone on food stamps. (part One, part Two)
Suggested that SuperForest should be declared a religion.
Helped kill, butcher, cook, and eat a pig.

In short, it would seem that I have lost my mind.

The relative silence of the majority of the writers on SuperForest speaks, I believe, of a sensitivity to the choices that I have made, and the ideas that I’ve injected into the zeitgeist.

I totally get it.

Here’s what happened.

I moved to Kauai last April to begin the Zero One permaculture node. Because of the incredible generosity of my patron and dear friend, SuperForester Jesse, I have been able to spend a great deal of my time here tending the land.

One of permacultures main ideas is PATO, or “protracted and thoughtful observation.” Engaging in PATO at Zero One meant a lot of sitting and observing the land. Getting to know the energies that flowed through our two acres. The wind energy, the sun energy, the bird energy. The trees, the flowers, the “is-ness” of Zero One.

Because my job was now to get to intimately know the land, I spent a lot of time looking at the things around me, walking around barefoot, doing some weeding, picking fruit from the trees, listening. It was a life full of input, yet free of the distractions that had cornered my thinking when I lived in New York. I didn’t watch TV. I didn’t get the internet hooked up. I stopped reading the news and magazines. I saw no billboards. I heard no music that I hadn’t specifically chosen. No advertising trickled into my ears. I done fell off pop culture, son!

It felt fantastic! And what happened was that by observing the land and the cycles all around me, I slowly got to understand that there was a landscape and energetic cycles within me.

Free of distractions, my attention span began to change. Free of much noise, my hearing also began to change. I noticed voices and thoughts and feelings inside of me. It felt like something within me was being reborn, simply because I was paying attention to it.

(image via Melissa Snyder)

There was a garden inside of me, and this garden was a mysterious and over-grown place that I hadn’t ever explored. I had the time to PATO two landscapes! One external, and one internal, and BOTH my environment.

In my internal garden, I found that much junk had piled up. There were rusty old hub caps, tires, plastic bottles. All were ideas and conditioning that had been handed down to me. I was able to observe these things and in paying attention to them, speaking about them to the people around me, I was able to process them out of my system. I started to work at clearing my inner garden of much junk and many weeds.

This process is ongoing, and will continue forever, I hope.

What I came down to is this:

I had a lot of judgments inside myself.

and

I was very afraid.

And what I judged the most, and was the most afraid of was…

Myself.

My ideas, my passions, my moods, me. The me that was actually ME, and not the conditioned me, not the “molded by my society and class and education” me. The me that was full of love, aloha, and was not afraid to try and try again. The me of the heart, and not of the head.

I was straight up afraid of that me. What would happen if I actually said and did what I was thinking? What if I was free to express myself, and make choices, all without any fear of judgment? What would my friends and peers think if I really started playing with ideas and language and thought patterns the way I had always wanted to?

I had to know.

And so I got to work on freeing myself from judgment. It has been hard and interesting work, and I’ve found thoughts inside my brain that totally astounded me. But the work is addictive! What else am I taking for granted that is taking away from my truth? There is much exploration yet to do, and I am so thrilled to be able to do it.

I have found a happiness and a level of self expression that I never dreamed possible. I live in a paradise surrounded by beautiful people, and I get to spend my days creating art. My art is thought. I create ideas.

I believe that all humans consciously manipulate the world around them to achieve self-set goals. Forgive me for my bluntness about engaging in this game called life. I thank you for playing alongside me!

My name is Jackson Nash. I am an artist. My medium is thought. I create fun and interesting ideas, and I share them free of charge with you. Because in my heart, I feel a great love and admiration for my fellow human beings. I want you to be happy, as happy as I am. I want you to feel free, as free as I feel. And I feel like if I am happy and sharing ideas, then the part of me that is you will be happy and sharing ideas.

And so, you are.

We are all doing an amazing job being ourselves. Each of us is exactly in the very best spot possible, calculated for maximum personal growth. When I stopped judging myself, I stopped judging others. This leveled the playing field in my mind. Now, instead of a hierarchy, with me “above” or “below” other beings, I was on a lateral equal level with everyone.

With this new equality in mind, I found that when people reacted to my posts about food stamps, or religions, or any number of things I have said and done that could have caused offense, I was firstly very happy to have found a receptive audience for my ideas, and secondly able to take nothing personally. I didn’t mind at all how people reacted to my ideas, I was thrilled that they had reacted at all. The reactions caused me to think and consider, but did not cause any offense.

Not that I don’t care what my friends and family think, or how they are affected by my choices. Indeed, I have ended my participation in Kauai’s food stamps program, in part because of the negative effect it had in the minds of the people I love. But love is love, and fear is fear, and I am finding it very easy to differentiate between the two voices. If the people around me react with love, then love is the truth, if they react with fear, and fear’s little friend anger, then that is the truth.

Much of the choices and thoughts I have previously made and considered were dictated by fear and anger. Jealousy, resentment, and separation all working hand in hand. When my people react to the news of my being on food stamps with fear and anger, do I try to help them see that they are viewing the world through this fearful and angry state? Or do I bend and capitulate.

In this case, I bend and capitulate. And slowly, with love, and maximum aloha, I try to fix the part of myself that created these reactions. For when I fix faulty lines of code in my Operating System, the world around me gets better and brighter and truer.

In my new mind state, I am working on becoming un-offendable. To achieve a heartspace where there is literally nothing that any other human being could say or do to me that would cause me emotional distress that I didn’t choose to experience. I want to be so centered in my truth, that even If someone decided to kill me, I could view it in the moment as an interesting ending to this already amazing life. What impact would my murder have on SuperForest? On the world around me?

I’m not saying that I want to be killed. I’m saying that I know for certain that one day I will die, and I’ll be gosh-darned if I’m going to spend my time living in fear and judgment of my fellow human beings, which boils down to living in fear and judgment of myself.

When I was able to re-direct the energy that had formerly gone into judging myself and judging the world around me, I found a new fountain of inspiration. And this new inspiration lead me to make some very interesting choices.

I have never been happier, and never felt more grounded in the truth of the love and aloha that I am. I am having so much fun.

And what really tickles my tightrope is that I get to have these experiences, and think these thoughts, and reach these conclusions, and then I get to share them with you. And then my ideas stick in your brain. :)

I will make you a deal. When I am living a life of effortless perfection, subjugating no one, harming nothing, in perfect harmony with my ecosystem and actively creating a brighter future for my children, when I achieve that state, I will do you the honor of sharing with you my judgments of you and your life, but only if you ask me to. Until then, I have much work to do on myself.

I am full of hypocrisy, contradictions, silliness, weakness, fear, bullshit. And I am also full of fun, wonderfulness, compassion, love, joy, and expression. And so are you. We are all in this together. Let’s treat each other nicey nice.

Don’t be afraid to share.

Love,

Jackson

(Top and bottom images courtesy of Casey Brooks!)

Jackson’s Journal – 8 Magic Words

Yesterday, Melissa said eight magic words, thus ending several days of emotional roller-coasterin’

The eight magic words are:

“I love you so much it scares me.”

At the bottom of it all, love and fear are doing the dance. Here’s to helping one another choose love.

Love and aloha,

-Jackson

(top image via flickr user lyudagreen)

Mathew’s Journal: The Chaos (Beauty) of Life

Hello Dearest SuperForest,

Life has a wonderful way of zooming by, leaving you on the side of the street rather confused. Recently I have been feeling rather zombie-esqe, simply moving through the strides of life without any real cognition of my surroundings. It was one of the treacherous stretches of time where you realise what you are feeling, but are helpless when it comes to changing it. I simply trudged along, day in and day out. Wake up, class, lunch, class, homework, dinner, play time, little bits of work if I feel up to it, and sleep, with a few social interactions in between. The strangest thing about this “funk” was that I wasn’t becoming negative, or less happy, or uninterested practicing my own growth. I still challenged myself to say hi and smile to strangers, and push my comfort zones in other ways, but it all felt rather dream like, still does in some ways. I want to get at the root cause of all of this, and I am going to let you travel on this voyage, as I haven’t even explored this with myself yet.

Interestingly two words popped immediately into my mind as I wrote this. The two being: doubt and fear. Oh doubt and fear! Those two good ole’ pals. As I sit here thinking about why those words, it seems to click that I am just about doubting the reality around me, and that brings fear. For the past few months I have been working nonstop in many areas of life. Perhaps it finally all became too much. Too many things to think about, to do, and to practice. This could just be my body and mind and spirit telling me to slow the hell down. Ambition is a beautiful thing, but often I found that it can get in your way, and quickly turn into impatience. We all have visions of where we would like to see ourselves, and this allows us to push forward and create. It is just as important though to slow down and have a vision about where we ARE. My mind has been so far in the future that I have forgotten stop and enjoy the smell of a flower and enjoy the sunshine, and it is all because my mind imagines what a flower could smell like in the future! It is at this point I laugh at myself. I certainly know that things will be just as brilliant now as they will be in the future, especially the smell of a flower.

I have found myself so far gone into the future that I started doubting what the future might turn into. Then I started fearing it. Like any SuperForester I have set my goal to: change the world. Then I started wondering how, and felt so daunted and overwhelmed that I simply forgot about it all. I let myself relapse into a dream-like state of “getting” through life. This is no state I would like to be in. I started to reject and doubt compliments I would get from friends and loved ones, when I so firmly believe in the practice of accepting gifts and compliments with a full and loving heart, grateful to be taken care of. I felt as if my SuperForest life and my “real” life started drifting apart.

How do I remedy this? Well, I decided I would go onto our lovely little site and start typing. I feel like it has been way to long since I have simply written here, for the joy of it. To say “Heellloooo SuperForest,” and let my words let loose, to get acquainted with each and everyone of you brilliant and beautiful human beings. After all, is it not the sharing of each other as human beings that makes the challenges that face us so worth going after? Is it not the love we allow to share amongst each other that keeps the love flowing? Isn’t it those two beautiful concepts of humanity and love (both of which are so intertwined) that has us set out on this adventure? Yes, yes, and yes.

That is where I stopped writing yesterday. Coming back to this post I was, at first, tempted to erase it all and start anew. Last night I had a cleansing, so to speak. So, my thinking was I should talk about that, but I shall allow the mind that wrote the words above to be heard, and tell you of my adventures last night.

Last night I had my final exam in wilderness first aid and CPR training (and passed with flying colours!), and during the whole thing I felt tired, dreary, and a headache coming on. So, I headed back to my room when the wonderful woman who is my girl friend asked me if I wanted to come see the ginger bread house she and her roommate (re)made. I answered, “As long as I can take a nap there.” I held myself up long enough to observe the glorious ginger bread house for it what it was, glorious, and take a picture of them holding it proudly. I then immediately through hat, glasses, and jacket off, collapsing onto her bed. The headache increased, as did the shivers, and so did the furious images and sounds in my mind.

My mind was relentless in torturing me. Memories, moments in movies, moments in video games, stanzas from songs, and many other a things were replaying over, and over, and over again. Soon all of them were combining, making a video game, movie plot, and dance music combo that just was tearing me to pieces. My body was shuttering, and my mind would not cease, even at my pleas to do so. I do not really know how long this went on, but it was surely hours, but felt like years. I finally managed to open my eyes, and ask for water. The silence in my mind started to come. Soon it was almost all gone, and then I was asleep.

This morning I awoke in her bed, surrounded by her love with sunlight beaming through the window, and myself feeling alive again. Looking back I can only term what I went through as my mind and soul’s detox. All the crap that had built in my mind was flushed out, harshly and terribly, but it was done. All of the doubt I had for those I loved, and loved me vanished. I woke up and felt glorious, and alive. I woke up with twenty-four emails, all glorious in their own right. One email from SuperForester Jon lit my face up, another email from my fabulous Representative Capuano about the tax bill being voted on soon, and him wanting our opinions made me feel secure about the future we are creating where leaders ask the millions, each also a leader, for help, and many other emails from organisations I support informing me about the victory over off-shore drilling (win!) and the work being done to save tigers. I was flooded with wins!

So, now I sit here writing to my favourite person in the world, you! I can only feel grateful for the abundance around me, and once again feel alive. I of course still live with many doubts, but I can feel secure knowing that my mind, body, and soul will act rightfully when they know something is wrong. We are never alone, not even when we are by ourselves.

I now I have research to do on the current tax bill proposal, and to give my opinion to my government official. I urge you to do the same. You can start here and here! And as always, Thank YOU for reading this. I am forever grateful.

Love,

Mathew

P.S. The amazing SuperForester Lyndsey wrote a brilliant piece that hit me in the core. I wrote the first half of this before I read her’s, and wow! I always love when universes collide. Thank you Lyndsey for sharing all that you did, and bringing a smile to this guys face and heart. Love!

On Fear…

“He was afraid. Therefore one who is alone is afraid. This one then thought to himself, ‘since there is nothing else than myself, of what am I afraid?’ Thereupon his fear, verily, passed away, for, of what should he have been afraid?”

-Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad

via yogi yoke

Jackson’s Journal – Fear and Control

(image via Mel Brooks)

Gooood Morning SuperForest!

I’m on my way to a friend’s memorial service today. My friend Andy Irons died far too young, and today we remember him.

Andy and I were born the same year, and grew up together here on Kauai. Having someone my own age die suddenly and unexpectedly has brought up many thoughts about my own life and mortality, and I wanted to share a little visual that I play with when I’m thinking about the finite time I will enjoy here on Earth.

Picture yourself holding two suitcases. One is marked “Fear” and the other “Control.” Picture these two suitcases as being very heavy and awkward, and you are carrying them. It is a hot day, and you are sweating.

Picture yourself slowly carrying these two cumbersome loads down a dusty street. Slowly. Really imagine the burden of it all. Dogs are barking at you. The cobblestones are loose. Flies are buzzing in your ears.

Now, stop. Set both cases down.

How does that feel?

Lighter? Free-er?

Without these two heavy loads, how would it feel to jump? How would it feel to dance a bit? Perhaps you’d like to sing as you try dancing?

Andy was a surfer, and will always be remembered as a surfer. To me, that means that every time he paddled out, he left behind him on the beach the two suitcases. He still had fear, and a desire to control, but fear and control do not go well with surfing. You cannot control the ocean. It will do unexpected things. It will spank you. You can control your response to its power. He left these two ideas on the beach and simply went surfing.

What would your day be like today if you set down Fear and Control, and went out there and lived as free as you were able? What would your day be like? Who would see you dancing about so freely and be inspired? How many people could you also inspire to give up fear and control?

It is hard for us Americans. We are taught from a very early age to embrace fear and control. We become addicted to it. Give it up, SuperForesters. If not forever then just for today.

Today, live your life without being afraid or trying to be in control, and please share your experiences in the comments.

Here’s to Andy, who was a surfer, husband, father, brother, son, and friend.

Much love and aloha,

-Jackson

(image via flickr user bogi bell)

Your Fears Erased Here Daily

(Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer)

This just is from SuperForester Sarah:

“I found this photo and love the concept! I tracked down the photographer to find out more about the location and he answered my email immediately! Here’s his response:

“Thanks for looking at my work. The chalkboard appeared at Burning Man 2006. I never found the name of the artist. It was set up as part of a theme camp. It has turned out to be one of my most popular photos, and appeared in the August 2009 issue of C-Arts magazine.”

He even took the time to look at my Etsy and told me which his favorite photograph was!

I just wanted to pass this positive image along!

All the Best,

Sarah Hickox”

Thank you, Miss Sarah!

SuperForest Comics: “Afraid”

screen-shot-2010-02-13-at-60432-pm

“Let’s be afraid together…”

These are the wise words of SuperForester Carla.

Thank you, Carla!

Love!

-Jackson

How To Eat What You’re Afraid Of

Good day SuperForesters!

I’m back from a two-week adventure in Cambodia (with a few days spent in Vietnam and Thailand). I had a blast and will write more about my trip in one of those journal-style entries. For now, I’ll share a valuable lesson I picked up while away from home: If you are afraid of spiders, there is no cure more effective than to hold spiders.

spider_town1Exhibit A

Not in a million years did I imagine myself holding a live tarantula. To my relief, it remained rather still in my palm, only once crawling to investigate the top side of my hand. Back to my lesson learnt: If, after this, you are still paralysed with fear at the mere sight of an eight-legged spidey, there is little else to do but eat one.

deliciousExhibit B

It was very crunchy, salty, the legs were a lot more palatable than the body, which wasn’t so much gooey but firm-ish (similar consistency of tofu with a crisp outer shell). The body contains spider eggs that are supposedly good for you (is it plausible that a clutter of baby tarantulas have made a new home in my belly?).

Happy New Year,
April