Many years ago, I attended spiritual center where I was taught a question that forever changed my life.

Shout out to Reverend Michelle Wadleigh and The Center for Spiritual Living in West Orange, NJ. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend going to check out what New Thought is all about.

Knowing without any doubt that I am on a spiritual journey, over the years I have come to believe that everything does happen for a reason. Maybe not some finite, there’s a predetermined “destiny” for me kinda reason, but everything offers me the opportunity to make the conscious choice to learn and grow or to shrink away from whatever the experience is and to stay stuck and blind and small.

Now all of this is well and good when I’m feeling in tune and the “everythings” that are happening around me I perceive and label as “GOOD” … but I will admit that when the “everythings” around me are less than enjoyable, or are painful or confusing or frustrating or are pushing my spiritual buttons, I have a pretty hard time remembering that the uncomfortable “everythings” are happening for a reason too.

More often that not, I tend to get all stompy and pouty … pure Veruca Salt “if I don’t get what I WANT NOW I’m going to scream” style.

I’ll be honest, sometimes it takes a couple of days or even weeks for my stomping to stop long enough for me to see clear to the fact that I just need to shut up and sit down and accept things as they are … whatEVer they are … and then to sit back calmly and look for the other possibilities and perspectives that are contained within whatever “everything” is in front of me.

To shift my focus away from the perception that something is “against” me and the things that I want, to “How can this be FOR me?”

There are millions of people in the world with less than us. Another few million who have hurdles much higher than ours to surmount. Only death stops the process of learning and growing and changing … so … until then, why not keep looking for the silver linings? Seeking the possibilities.

Remind yourself however you have to (post-its, support systems, reading, meditation, phone calls to friends) that whatever you have in front of you … whatever “everything for a reason” is in front of you … no matter if you have labeled it as “GOOD” or “BAD” on your golden eggs meter … it contains an opportunity that is FOR you … and not against you.

Sound familiar?



{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Brilliant Zen of “Old Ben”

by ECM on January 31, 2013

“You can’t win Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi Wan Kenobi, Star Wars


Many years ago while they were still quite young, I tortured my two nephews with my refusal to acknowledge that there were any more than three movies in the Star Wars series and that the last one was made in 1983 and it was called Return of the Jedi. It made their then pre-teen, CGI loving little minds reel. I would taunt them … “Then why do they call it the Star Wars TRILOGY?” and they would shoot back with “But Star Wars says right in the starts that it is Episode 4!!” They would run and get all of the DVDs and I would pretend that I couldn’t see half of them. They would call for my brother and his wife to help make their case. … Good times.


Obi Wan = Rock Star

Above backstory and my personal aversion to the “rest” of the Star Wars franchise aside, it doesn’t change the solid fact that Sir Alec Guinness’ Obi Wan Kenobi was a total rock star. Calm and cool and wise and humble and patient … even so when young Skywalker was at his absolute whiniest moments and the rest of the world just wanted to backhand him.

But Obi Wan’s single greatest moment is during his ultimate battle with Darth Vader … when, while facing his greatest enemy, he simply ceases to fight. I can recall sitting next to my father in the theater the first time I saw the original Star Wars, gasping when dude just grins wryly, points his light sabre straight up, shuts his eyes and actually LETS Vader just … whoosh … right through him. what-WHAT?!

Obi Wan’s Jedi kung fu was SO strong that evil and darkness and demons and death struck NO fear in him whatsoever. He knew at his core that nothing Vader could do would make him “less than.”

In the world of Star Wars, Obi Wan, perhaps even more than the more impish Yoda, was the truth the way and the light.

And now, so many years later, I wonder what we can all learn from Old Ben.

What if we could all face our fears and our demons … our critics and our ‘haters’ … our challenges and crosses to bear … with the same calm bravery? What if we all had the quiet confidence to just put our defenses down and say “No matter what you THINK you can do to me … you do not truly have a single ounce of power … not to hurt me and certainly not to stop me from what I know that I am to become.”

What if we were all able to make the choice to cease fighting with the things we falsely perceive are our “greatest battles”?

If we take back all that energy as our own … who is to say that we don’t also become that much more powerful?

More than we can, ourselves, even possibly imagine.


{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Peculiar Power of Feelings

by ECM on January 23, 2013

Let’s bring it on home right at the beginning …

facts do not have “feelings” / FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS /
and feelings change … sometimes very quickly


One of the greatest things we can do as we seek to change our selves and our lives is to alter our relationship with our own internal feelings and think of them not as facts, but more as guideposts that point us to our next decisions and actions.

As much as they can be stirred by true, factual causes, feelings can be stirred up just as much (and let’s be honest, if not more so sometimes) by the imagined, erroneous tales of future-past that our inner monologue plays incessantly in our head.

For every thing that happens during our daily life, we will have a feeling attached to it and about it. And, while we tend to believe that it is people or events that caused those feelings, it is actually the thoughts we have about the people or events that then create our feelings about them.

It is from our own thoughts that our feelings arise. If we think something is wonderful, then our feelings follow suit. If we think something is awful, we will feel awful about it. If we think we are failing, then we feel like a failure. If we think we are guilty of something, then we will feel guilty. If we think we are lazy, then we feel lazy. If we think we have a right to be angry with someone or about something, then our feeling falls in line with those thoughts.

How often have you heard or said, “THEY are making me feel … xyz”? In truth, no one can make you feel a thing … it is simply the thoughts you have about whatever happened.

YOU create your own feelings with your own thoughts.

Our brains are magnificently complicated and our thoughts can create incredibly distorted but very powerful illusions of what we see and accept as truth. This becomes problematic, however, when we then make decisions and choose our next actions based on these fleeting feelings. Using only our moods and emotions as evidence that something or someone (including ourselves) is a certain way and “that’s all there is to it,” we close ourselves off to the discovery of better ways of proceeding.

If we want to change our feelings, then we have to change our thoughts. And if we change our thoughts then, often, we make the conscious decision to change our actions. Talk about the ultimate power of total personal responsibility!

Letting our selves be ruled by feelings before we take the time to examine what they might be trying to tell us (or guide us to) means that we miss out on extremely valuable information that could be used for our own insight and growth.

When problematic feelings come up, don’t just accept them as fact, give in to them and then behave based on them. Instead, start a practice today of taking a few minutes to logically question your thoughts/feelings. If you have to, step away from the situation or person so you have a few quiet moments to think.

What specific event/person caused this feeling to arise in you? What are the thoughts you are having right now about the specific event/person?

Removing any/all of the feelings/thoughts you are having, what is ACTUALLY true about this specific event/person? What are the FACTS? Take as much emotion out of it as you possibly can and just state facts for yourself. This is a great time to bounce things off of a trusted friend too! Having another perspective while you are seeking some bottom-line truth can be invaluable.

Now that you have some less emotionally charged facts in front of you … return to the feelings and thoughts that you were having about the specific event/person. Take the focus off of “it” or “them” and, instead, ask … what could the emotional reaction that you have had about this specific event/person be telling you about YOU?


What do you think about using your feelings as guideposts to change your life?

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Zero to Zen Hits Twitter

by ECM January 22, 2013

People are put into your life so you are compelled to look at something you might not necessarily have been aware of prior to their arrival. — Zero to Zen (@zero_to_zen) January 22, 2013  

READ full post →

Water, Water Everywhere

by ECM January 22, 2013

An important part of building a new life from Zero to Zen is taking a closer look at how we care for “the vessel” … the body that carries us through … and the easiest place to begin any quest for better functioning of the body and better health is with WATER. One easy baby [...]

READ full post →

Get Quiet Enough To Hear Your Own Answers

by ECM January 16, 2013

So … exactly where do you start when you feel like you are at zero and have little to no idea where to go or what decision to make next? The answer to that first question is easy. Meditation. Somewhere within the noise of our own lives exist all the answers that we’ll ever need. [...]

READ full post →

Marianne Williamson

by ECM January 15, 2013

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually … who are you NOT to be? You are a child of [...]

READ full post →

The Space Between

by ECM January 15, 2013

We constantly make decisions about the people that we want to be. Each of us, at many points in our lives, have made choices that have required us to also make changes—changes in what we do and how we move through the world. At other points, change is forced upon us through no choice of [...]

READ full post →

Be Out of Control

by ECM January 15, 2013

“The number one addiction of the human race is control. When we cannot control a thing we fear it. … We doubt ourselves and imagine the worst possible outcome rather than faithfully calling upon and relying on the guidance of spirit, which is available at all times in all situations.” – Iyanla Vanzant ***** Ah [...]

READ full post →

“Stop the Fighting Across the River”

by ECM January 14, 2013

For over a decade now I have danced around my affinity for Zen−so punk in its own quietly subversive, peacefully unattached “but why” way. So anti-organized-dogmatic-religion. Zen practice instead calls for the voluntary exploration and expansion of our own consciousness; most especially the examination and (hopeful) release from the suffering of the human experience. (Zen [...]

READ full post →