Times They Are A Changin’

“Times,” Bob Dylan famously sang, “They are a changin’.” You may have noticed from my earlier post that time and change are on my mind today. As I mentioned the other day, we’re in the process of selling our house and moving back to Kansas City.

Change always makes me reflective. It also has a tendency to make us want to cling to what is familiar. This morning I sold our 2006 Kia Sorento to the junk man and will be waving goodbye to it for a couple of Ben Franklins.

This was the first brand new car April and I bought together back in August of 2005 and was our main family car for many years. This, too, has been coming for a while. In the four years we’ve been here, it probably hasn’t been driven more than 30 times. I put a new battery in it last Fall, but when I went to start it the other day it wouldn’t start.

This vehicle never let us down. We never had one morning when it was our main car that it didn’t answer the call. While it’s just metal and plastic in one way. In another, it’s memories of trips to Manhattan to watch K-State games and 43,604 trips back and forth up Highway 69 between Louisburg and Overland Park.

This move back to Kansas is a new chapter for us. Some things, including this Kia, will not continue on the journey with us.

Plato recorded Socrates saying the following. makes “Heraclitus is supposed to say that all things are in motion and nothing at rest; he compares them to the stream of a river, and says that you cannot go into the same river twice”

In our modern world, this quote has been culled down to, “You cannot step twice into the same river.”

Time passes. Everything stays in motion. What was no longer is. What is will soon no longer be. That’s the nature of all composite things…cars, rivers, and us.

It’s only attachment that makes it sad. If we can step back and see the big picture, the awesome symmetry to the whole cosmic dance comes into view. All IS well!

Ray

 

 

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Leaving Boston and Clicking Our Heels Together Three Times

Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Some thrill, some enlighten, and some just come into your life long enough to make the needed impression and move on. All are part of the great adventure that is our lives.

Four years ago April and I took one of those side-trips by moving to Boston. Literally, a few months before our arrival, Boston was not on our radar at all.

April was recruited here and accepted the job. Within two months, April, our black lab Mia, and I were on the road headed for Boston. Our time in New England has been extraordinary. We’ve often commented on how we still feel like we’re on vacation. This is truly one of the GREAT cities of the world. There’s so much culture, history, and there’s an ocean. It’s a place of poets and presidents; as much the birthplace of our nation as Philadelphia.

We got to experience the Boston Pops July 4th Concert twice. We’ve endured massive winter Nor’easters and blissfully soaked in fall colors found nowhere else on Earth. Coming from Kansas, we were surprised to learn that a heatwave is officially three days in a row above 90 degrees. We became old hands at the Mass Pike and the T. We experienced tall ships and and learned to sing “Sweet Caroline” at Sox games like the locals. We enjoyed Nantucket, The Vineyard, and The Cape. We walked Harvard Yard and the deck of the USS Constitution. We built the house we always wanted.

Yet, earlier this year we noticed a sea change in our thinking. When we moved here, only one of our two grown children was married and we had no grandkids. Now both are married. We have two grandkids and a third on the way. Suddenly, 1500 miles away felt like a million.

When we moved here, we had no expectation of how long we’d stay. We started talking about the possibility of moving back the second year. We also discussed living here for 20 and being the cool grandparents that our grandchildren would come to Boston to visit in the summers.

Alas, the gravity of family was too much and we decided to move back to Kansas. Our house spent three months on the market. Yesterday we accepted an offer and, barring hiccups, we now have an expiration date on this little adventure. By the end of June and four years to the week since we arrived, we’ll reverse course and traverse I-90 on a westerly heading.

Leaving Boston is bittersweet. This place got inside of us. It will never be just another place on the map again. Thankfully, April’s new job – still based here in Boston – will probably give us the opportunity to come back and visit. Perhaps, we’ll still bring our grandkids here when they’re old enough and show them the super-cool city where grandma and grandpa used to live.

The seven-week countdown is on. Soon we’ll be clicking our heels together three times and waking up in a Kansas bed. The tree-lined, windy roads of New England will be replaced by the wide-open spaces and skies of Kansas.

Yes! Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Thanks goodness for this one! It’s been truly wicked!

Ray

 

 

Our Lives are Built from Our Choices – Day 46 of 365 Days to a Better You – Day 46

The Power of Choice

There is nowhere – not in the deepest, darkest cave or the highest mountain – where we can go and escape our choices. Look around right now. You will see the choices you have made everywhere you look.

For better or worse and on some level, if we are adults, the life we are living is made up of the choices we have made and the choices we have not made.

I know there’s a temptation right now for some of you to feel the word “but” coming to your lips. I say with love and respect, stop. You have challenges. You’ve been cheated and mistreated. The world has not recognized your gifts. I hear you. Everyone reading this hears you. That’s the human condition. We all start from that place.

Our situations may be different, but who has lived more than a week on this planet and not experienced difficulty?

I’m not saying this to point a finger at you or make you feel bad. I’m not saying it to diminish the challenges you’ve faced. Actually, what I’m telling you is an amazing blessing in disguise. It’s the key to the chains of your thinking that have oppressed you.

Because guess what? The fact that your choices lie strewn everywhere in your life is proof positive that you have the power – the power of CHOICE.

You see, our choices every, every one of them, are our chances to change. By choosing differently, we can change anything.

This power can be scary, for with it comes responsibility for our lives and our progress. Trust me, it’s way better than feeling like someone else or something else is responsible for your joy, your peace of mind, or your success.

What will you be next? Whatever you choose!

Ray

 

Three Affirmations to Spark Your Thursday

Here are three affirmations to keep you on track this Thursday. The choice is yours.

  1. Everything in my life is a choice and I choose wisely.
  2. I always have the power to choose my reactions to life’s challenges.
  3. I choose to see the best me and be the best me all day long.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Staying Happy in a Changing World

It’s our last morning in Palm Beach. The expectations of the trip were met and exceeded. April and I had every bit the experience we wanted. I’m sure, though, you’ve had that sinking feeling on “headed home day.”

How do we go from the amazing high of expectation to crashing deflation of vacation’s end? In Buddhism, impermanence is a large part of the discussion. One of Buddha’s great insights is that we are craving beings. We want things and experiences hoping they will fulfill us. They do temporarily, but there’s always that moment when we realize the feelings are passing.

Another of his insights is that we’re clinging beings. We try to grasp harder to keep the things, experiences, and people in our lives just as they are. Yet, in an ever-flowing universe, this is not possible.

So, we become suffering beings because the things we wanted didn’t bring us permanent joy and the grasping to them only made it worse.

What’s the solution? How do we having fulfilling experiences in our lives without feeling the suffering? We can learn to appreciate the ebbing and flowing moments of our lives without grasping on to them. We can find our joy in the only thing that is permanent – Change.

There are more things to have, experiences to experience, and moments to enjoy. In fact, as long as we’re here, they never stop.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has a great quote that captures this principle. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

You don’t have to suffer. You just need to let go and catch the next wave.

Have an amazing Saturday!

Ray

 

Click on over to The Affirmation Spot for more great motivational content.

Interview: Dennis Nappi II, Founder Service of Change

D2 Oil PaintingToday’s interview is with Dennis Nappi II founder of Service of Change. Dennis is a veteran, having served in Army counterintelligence. He’s served as a police officer in Delaware, and a school teacher in the Philadelphia area. Today, he’s a publisher and a writer focused on making big changes through the small changes we can all make every day.

Dennis is someone who is really thinking about our world, where we are, and where we’re going. You’re going to find his ideas and insights profound in a way that will inspire you to dig more deeply for truth in your experience.

The Affirmation Spot: Hi, Dennis. Can you share more details about Service of Change? What it is, why you started it, and what do you hope to achieve? How can people help?

Dennis: Hi Ray! I’d be happy to talk a little about Service of Change. I initially created the site to promote my first book, Service, A Soldier’s Journey: Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement, and the Violence of Urban Education. My goal was to create a community of readers interested in making a change in the world with a focus on military life & PTSD, repairing the relationship between citizens and police, and brining about the changes needed to education. What started as a promotional blog, however, has turned into a grass-roots movement of change. We promote “Small changes among the masses can have a massive impact around the world,” and encourage people to “be the change.” I’d like to see more people take ownership of their lives, and develop a sense of commitment and responsibility to the improvement of their communities. Right now, people can help by communicating: start making changes and share your experiences on our social-media feeds. Also, it would be a great help if readers and listeners would share our articles and podcasts within their own respective circles.

TAS: You’ve published four books to-date. We’re going to talk about I Am Human in a moment, but what can you share with readers about your other books? Two are written specifically for teachers and one details your own journey of discovery, correct?

Dennis: Correct! The first book, Service, is my memoir. It details my journey as a young soldier, through a deployment to Bosnia as a counterintelligence special-agent, to a transition into police work, and finally concludes with my experiences teaching in a high-needs, violent, Philadelphia special-education classroom. I try to give readers an honest and raw look into my thoughts and emotions because I want people to understand how a soldier feels, or what a cop experiences when they are afraid or lonely. I also want people to know just how bad education has become in America, and how desperately our students need support. If we don’t fix education, I see the American future as being extremely grim.

My other 2 books are a part of “The Urban Educator’s Survival Guide” series. The first book is an easy-to read guide with 7 strategies designed to improve classroom management in the most challenging classrooms. The second book gives advice, procedures, and suggestions on ways to prepare, plan, address, and recover from violence in the classroom. They are quick reads, and I recommend them for every new teacher or anyone facing a challenging school-year.

TAS: Let’s talk about your latest book, I Am Human: & We Are Not What We Think We Are. It’s a provocative title and one that’s sure to get attention. Let’s start there. What’s the reason for the title? What does it mean?

Final Cover I Am HumanDennis: Great question, Ray! As I mention in the book, throughout my life I have recognized my spiritual path. I’ve had experiences that main-stream science and religion fail to acknowledge. After years of study and reflection, I found myself extremely restless one night. Information was pouring into me – some of it was my own thoughts, some was flowing in from places unknown. So I wrote everything down, trying to understand what it all meant, and what I produced was an essay that I felt compelled to title: “I Am Human.” Upon review of the essay, it taught me that humanity is living in a state of ignorance with a false sense of security. The basic premise is that in trying to understand who we are, I looked at life on this planet and realized life requires life to survive. Why should we be any different? I Am Human & We Are Not Who We Think We Are explores this essay in greater detail and suggests that we may not be at the top of the food chain, but woven within it as a potential source of nourishment for an unseen force that keeps us in a state of chaos and despair.

TAS: It’s a short book and I devoured it one sitting. I really connected with your writing style and the material. It details some profound experiences you’ve had and equally profound insights that it’s spawned for you. Can you briefly describe those experiences?

Dennis: Sure! Since early childhood, I’ve had experiences with Them. They come in the night and offer paralysis and terror. But they also inspired a profound inquiry and investigation into who they are. That study has led me on a journey of exploration that connects everything in this world: religion, politics, education, and even reality TV! The book mentions one of my encounters with Them, and then takes readers through my own investigation into the validity of modern religion, our relationship to nature, and an attempt to understand not just who we are, but our connection to everything around us.

TAS: What’s your hypothesis for these experiences? Do you believe you’ve been chosen for them? Do you believe they are happening to many people or all people? What meaning can you put to them?

Dennis: That’s a tough group of questions, Ray – but good ones! I’ll try my best to give an answer. I’ll start with the big one – my hypothesis. Please note that I am not the first one to make such a claim, but did come to this conclusion on my own. I believe that a parasite exists just beyond our perception. This parasite feeds off of human emotions (such as sadness and fear), and is able to influence our thoughts and actions to encourage such states within us. In ancient texts, this parasite is referred to as Demons (Christian Bible), Archons (Gnostics), and Djinn (Islam), among others.

I used to believe I was chosen and special, and in book 2 (Food for the Archons), I explore this in greater detail. However, in answer to your question – no. I don’t think I am special or chosen. I happen to be aware of a tiny aspect of something that is happening and feel compelled to investigate this further. I believe the “special” designation (common among many abductees) is designed to ensure complacency in a given agenda. (I’m special, so I will do X since it is my destiny). The way I see it is: I’ve seen so much suffering in this world, and I think (they) had a hand in my father’s suffering, so I am going to learn everything I can in hopes of starving Them out of our existence.

Is this happening to everyone? The late Karla Turner theorized that this could possibly be happening to everyone. I tend to agree with that theory. There are so many accounts of false memories, screened memories, or a complete lack of a memory for an experience, that I think this affects the majority of the human population.

As far as meaning – I am still trying to find my own understanding. On one hand, something terrible is happening. On the other hand, had it not been for this terrible circumstance, I never would have started this journey of understanding. I never would have grown in the ways that I am growing. I have come to understand that sometimes “bad” things are necessary for growth. Most days I believe that these experiences are not necessary and we are mere cattle and lab-rats. But as an objective investigator, I still have to wonder if in the end there is a greater purpose for this hardship. With that being said – I have not seen any revolutions or evolvement for the benefit of the species in chickens or cows since we have been slaughtering them for our own nourishment…

TAS: If your hypothesis is correct, how does that change the day-to-day lives of human beings on this planet?

Dennis: If my hypothesis is correct, then this should change everything. It also explains human suffering, war, and hardship. If humanity could realize that our suffering is by design, and we could understand the mechanism behind that design, we could find a way to design our own “matrix.” We would be empowered to create a better way of life, based on helping one another instead of fighting for our own piece of the pie, which in my opinion, is much easier than one may imagine. If we all started making those small changes and caring about one another and our relationship to the planet, I believe the majority ( but not all) of our problems would disappear.

TAS: Some people might dismiss ideas like these. What would you say to those people?

Dennis: I probably wouldn’t say much to them. It is because of these types of people that I took so long to go public with my thoughts and ideas. They are a part of this system of control, and so was my silence. If anything, I would encourage them to read my book. It’s free online and a quick read. If they are willing to have an open dialogue, free from unfair judgment, then I am happy to hear what they have to say, even if they are being critical. We sometimes learn from our greatest critics. My goal is not to be right – my goal is to work together with others to find a better way.

TAS: Dennis, what else are you working on right now? What’s top of mind for you at this moment?

Dennis: I always have several projects running at any given time! I can’t wait to get back into Food For The Archons (Book 2), since I stopped writing half way through to create I Am Human. As a publisher, I am proud to be working on The Art of Service, A Collection of Haiku Poems by my good friend, Lori Latimer. We are publishing her inspirational haiku poems in a beautiful collection this May. I am also working with a former student who is writing a book about his experiences growing up with special needs. He has a powerful story and an important message to share. For more information on these projects, readers can visit www.ServiceOfChange.com/Projects.

Lastly, I am also currently working on an online classroom management course for teachers that I hope to release this summer.

TAS: Now, I Am Human is a short teaser for a more in-depth second book you’re writing, correct? How can people get Book 1 and when do you expect Book 2 to be available?

Dennis: People can read Book 1 for free at www.ServiceOfChange.com/IAmHuman when they sign up for The Seiker Newsletter (also free). We are building a great group of readers and interested people who want to explore this topic further and hopefully find some concrete answers.

Right now my goal for the release of Book 2 is March 2016. It’s such a great project, and I can’t seem to type fast enough to get all of my thoughts down. I am excited to eventually get some feedback on it, as I go into greater detail with my personal experiences and provide some research to support not only what I have experienced, but what I think may be happening to us. Subscribers to The Seiker will get updates on the progress of the book, along with some teasers along the way. In addition, they can get a little more insight at www.ServiceOfChange.com/Archons.

TAS: Readers can also hear you, along with your partner Joel Shafer, on the Service of Change podcast each Thursday night, correct? Where can readers find your podcast?

Dennis: Yes! Every Thursday at 9:15 pm, Joel and I host our Changecast: The Podcast for Change. Our goal is to interview helpers, free thinkers, and people having a positive impact on this world in hopes that our listeners can find inspiration, motivation, and concrete ideas on ways they can start their own journeys of change. For more information, readers can visit www.ServiceOfChange.com/Changecasts or subscribe to us on iTunes at “Service of Change.”

TAS: Dennis, thank you so much for investing your valuable time to bring your insights to our readers. What would you like to say to them in parting?

Dennis: Ray, it has been my honor to be a part of this discussion. Thank you so much for your time and interest. I’d like to tell your readers that despite the darkness that may be hanging over our heads, and despite all of the fear that is spread throughout the Internet and media outlets – there is hope! The system is designed to keep us afraid, but there is a better way. Start small. Look within and ask yourself what you can change in your own life that will make things better for you. One step at a time, and we can make a huge difference. As I say at the end of each show, “Small changes among the masses can have a massive impact around the world. Be the change!” Thank you!!!

TAS: Dennis, thank you. You’ve given us all much to think about. I know I speak for readers when I say, we’re looking forward to Book 2. I want to urge everyone to take Dennis up on his offer to download I Am Human & We Are Not What We Think We Are. You won’t regret it.

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorHe is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. Can one woman really change the world? Can she expose a lie told for millennia? Can she make the future possible for two worlds?

52 Reflections on “Us” vs. “Them”

There is a dangerous virus that pervades many minds on this planet. It is so woven into the fabric of our conditioning that many don’t even recognize it in themselves. The assumption that “We’re right” and “They’re wrong” is a given to many people on this planet. There are the true believers who believe that their race, religion, political affiliation, nation, ethnic group, or point of view are unquestionably superior.

This virus is ancient and it is persistent. Do you remember this scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey? How different are many of our actions today from this primitive display?

Then there are many who fall into this mindset simply from conditioning of one kind or another. They come not to recognize the bias any more. There are also those otherwise happy, positive people who, because of some traumatic or horrific event, have found justification for giving another group globalized characteristics. There are some who just flat believe humanity cannot change.

To me, this mindset limits us, keeps us in perpetual cycles of fear and violence. We feel justified, even righteous in shouting down or shooting down “Them”. I don’t pretend that this post is going to change all of this. My goal is to simply make you reflect on the degree to which you subscribe to an “Us” vs. “Them” mindset in your life.

These are a combination of Tweets from the past few years and some new thoughts as well. May we all continue to grow and transform this mindset in our lives.

  1. When the labels start, the critical thinking has stopped.
  2. Those who live in a world of “Us” vs. “Them” never contemplate that they are someone else’s “Them”.
  3. How arbitrary and fate-driven are the things that divide us. How conscious and choice-driven are the things that unite us.
  4. There is no greater impediment to the world we seek than the refrain, “But they…”.
  5. The tribe says, “Pick a side”. The wise say, “Been there. Tried that.”
  6. As long as your mind is divided into “Us” and “Them”, your world will be too!
  7. Those who divide the world into “Us” vs. “Them” miss the point. It always “Us” vs. “Us”
  8. Leaders who use “Us” vs. “Them” to secure their power deserve neither leadership, nor power.
  9. Hatred is a fire and its first victim is the hater.
  10. “Us” and “Them” are tyranny’s two favorite constituencies.
  11. “Us” vs. “Them” is a fear-centered world. A fear-centered world disempowers all of us.
  12. “They started it!” Two-year-olds in the sandbox or the mantra of world leaders in the “Us” vs. “Them” paradigm?
  13. The borders in our minds and the borders in our world are built of fears.
  14. Labels are toxic mental residue masquerading as critical thinking.
  15. There is no difference between a fundamentalist “Us” and a fundamentalist “Them”.
  16. “Us” vs. “Them” is a dead end mindset…literally.
  17. Whatever anger rules, anger destroys.
  18. Every time you think of the world in terms of “Us” vs. “Them”, you are empowering the dividers.
  19. Who you are born is fate. Who they are born is fate. Who we become is a choice.
  20. Many a king has kept “Us” together by creating a frightening “Them”.
  21. Those who divide the world into “Good Us” and “Evil Them”, must always avoid looking into mirrors.
  22. “Tastes Great” vs. “Less Filling” politics only conditions the mind of the people, robbing them of half their right to vote.
  23. The divisions we grow in our minds are the divisions we find in our world.
  24. We label what we refuse to understand.
  25. We live on a tiny blue ball in a great black vastness. How do we manage to convert that into division, rather than togetherness?
  26. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, peace is impossible and war is inevitable.
  27. But for fate, “They” would be “Us” and “We” would be “Them”.
  28. Every dogma that you hold, holds you. Every grudge that you hold, holds you.
  29. When you look for evil in others, you find it. When you look for goodness in others, you find it. That change is not in them. That change is in you.
  30. Labels are mental blocks that stifle discussion and critical thought, beginning in the mind and continuing out into the world.
  31. Open your mind to “Their” perspective. Walk a mile in the “Their” shoes. Read something you don’t agree with.
  32. Focus on seeing the “Us” in “Them” and the “Them” in “Us”. Soon you forget who is who.
  33. The unconscious superstructure underlying “Us” vs. “Them” is that I am part of “Us”. That, by default, makes “Us” right and “Them” wrong.
  34. As long as there are borders in our minds, there will be borders on our maps.
  35. See the world as “Us” and “Them and it is. See the world as We and it is.
  36. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, their evil justifies ours.
  37. Never was a greater money maker devised than war. Never was a simpler trigger for war devised than “Us” vs. “Them”.
  38. Every division on this planet is human-made and can be human-unmade.
  39. Let us transform fear into love and division into common purpose.
  40. Let us come out from behind our masks; come out from behind our labels; and live in peace as human beings.
  41. Let us create a world where fearing each other is ridiculous and loving each other is as expected as the next breath.
  42. Let us create a world where the adjective we are all most proud of is human being.
  43. Let us create a world where we love each other for our commonalities, rather than despising each other for our differences.
  44. Let us create a world where kindness is seen as a strength and violence is seen as a failure.
  45. Let us create a world where living in peace is as expected as the next breath.
  46. Let us get beyond our petty differences and move on to life’s bigger questions.
  47. Let us create a world where respecting our differences is as expected as the next breath.
  48. Let us each listen to our own heart and to the collective heart; both of which are calling us to greater things.
  49. Let us be quicker to love and slower to judge.
  50. Let each of us commit our lives to mending fences, rather than building walls.
  51. Let us live according to our hopes for each other, rather than our fears of each other.
  52. Let us remember the commonality of our human predicament and the things that connect us rather than those that divide us.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.  He’s the author of the breakthrough novel Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!