Response to the Debate: Grab the Gold and Owning Everything for One’s Own Greed

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When Donald Trump smirked and said, “That’s just business” in response to taking advantage of the housing crisis, I was reminded of a few lines from the Langston Hughes poem “Let America Be America Again.”  Our country is full of hard-working people of all races and ages with strength and hope in their hearts.  Americans do not need to be crushed beneath an ancient, worn out structure of “…profit, power, gain, of grab the land! / Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! / Of work the men! Of take the pay! / Of owning everything for one’s own greed!”  This way of interacting with the world is coming to an end.  Trump represents an old, worn-out philosophy of crush the poor and reward the wealthy.

Trump’s smugness about not paying his fair share of taxes is not what our country needs in a president.  Snide comments about not paying taxes is not a smart move in a debate, and it is definitely is not the choice of a leader with integrity.  Great leaders give to charity and want to pay their fair share of taxes.  I am by no means rich, but I bless the money I pay in taxes.  I pray that money helps the disabled, the hungry children, unemployed veterans, and others in need.  I thank God for my strength and ability to work and to give to others through taxes and charity.

Does Trump not realize that middle-class America is made up of many minorities, and minorities do not only live in inner cities?  His ideas about minorities in America seemed vacant, empty, and meaningless.  After all, he is supported by the KKK.

Great leaders are not sexist, xenophobic, or narcissistic. Great leaders understand many viewpoints and bring peace and prosperity to a majority of the people, not just to a few.  We are all in this journey together, and a spirit of inclusiveness is what makes America great.  Division and derision is not what makes America great.

The Langston Hughes poem I mentioned points out the fact that America has been striving towards inclusiveness and equality for all for quite some time.  As a nation, we are making progress.  We definitely do not need to go back in time to a place of greater sexism, greater oppression of minorities, or greater oppression of the poor.  We need to continue to make progress and elect our first female president.

Three Simple Steps for Removing Obstacles and Achieving Success: Be Kind, Clean Up, and Work Hard

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You are prepared.  You’ve done your homework, and you are ready to take your life to the next level.

How do you make the jump into greater success whether this success is a new job, starting a company, a new project, or even a new relationship?

#1   Be nice to everyone you encounter.  You don’t have to be everyone’s new friend. However, say you are looking for a job.  You should be nice to the attendants in the parking garage.  Start up a conversation with the janitorial staff, and be extremely kind to the administrative staff.

You never know who might observe you and remember your presence and how you interact with the world.  You never know who might put in a good word for you, so pay attention to everyone.  Wish your fellow job applicants success.  Your kindness will come back to you eventually.  Kindness will clear many obstacles from your path.

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#2  Clean up your past. You biggest obstacle to success is usually yourself.  Whether this is a questionable social media image, negative self-talk, or negative relationships with others, take stock of how others view you.  Make sure that your social media profile doesn’t have pictures of days and nights spent partying.  Don’t have check-ins at pub crawls, strip clubs, and bars.  Show that you are a well-rounded individual with many interests.  Volunteering to help others is one of the best activities to document.  The more you give, the more respect you earn.

Also, pay close attention to who you follow and who you connect with on social media.  If you are a single guy, and you follow a lot of exotic dancers and pornographers, you are going to look ridiculous to most women who view your profile.  Beyond looking ridiculous, pornography fuels human trafficking and 66-90 % of women involved in the production of pornography were sexually abused as children.  If a woman is in administration, she won’t give you a second thought if you openly follow pornography.  If a successful woman is interested in dating you, she will most likely feel disgust for you if you follow pornography. Work on showing a connection and passion to your field through social media.  Additionally, make sure your email address is a version of your name.  Save “MissSexy69” for your password and not what is visible to the world.   What you are aiming to become is a leader with integrity, so start acting that way ahead of time.

Maybe you don’t have an issue with a questionable social media profile, but you have anger or resentments from things that have happened in your past.  You cannot think a negative thought and positive thought at the same time, so choose positive thoughts for your life and future.  Clean up your own negativity in order to move forward into your future.

Also, as a college professor, I see people returning to school with significant others who are resentful and try to sabotage their partner’s attempts to better their lives.  As you make a jump forward in your life, whether this is a career, new degree, or new opportunity, pay close attention to the people who do not support you.  Realize that it is hard enough to achieve success with supportive people around you.  Consider cleaning unsupportive people out of your life.

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#3  Do the hard work. I see a lot of creative people with amazing ideas fail because they procrastinate, give up in the face of a challenge, or give in to laziness or self-pity.  The difference between coming up with ideas versus seeing things through to the end is the willingness to struggle, to do things that are not enjoyable, and to grow.

If you are willing to grow and learn, then your ego is a healthy one.   A fragile ego prevents some people from succeeding because they don’t want to accept that their first attempt may need considerable improvement.  They make numerous excuses for why they cannot achieve certain goals because it is easier to live in a dream world than to dig in, realize their weaknesses, and work to improve various areas that need improvement.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to continue to learn.  You can make the learning process fun, and you can create magic along the way.  However, the work can’t be avoided or dreamt away, so focus on the many small steps toward a goal and not only the end goal.  Set deadlines, and get busy!  Self-discipline will help manifest miracles.

I leave you with a poem by Marge Piercy about the beauty of hard work.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

 

Poetry Break- “Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)” by Mary Oliver and one of mine

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I’ve always enjoyed Mary Oliver’s nature based themes and spiritual themes.  The last stanza of this poem with the lines, “…lights up the deep and wondrous/drownings of the body/like a star” is gorgeous.  I think of the spirit like that–this beautiful light that lives in form, much to its dismay at times.  The poem of mine is about finding love and peace in simple moments in nature.  Magic happens in the now.

Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)
 
The spirit
  likes to dress up like this:
   ten fingers,
   ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
  at night
   in the black branches,
     in the morning
 
in the blue branches
  of the world.
   It could float, of course,
     but would rather
 
plumb rough matter.
  Airy and shapeless thing,
   it needs
     the metaphor of the body,
 
lime and appetite,
  the oceanic fluids;
   it needs the body’s world,
     instinct

and imagination
  and the dark hug of time,
   sweetness
     and tangibility,
 
to be understood,
  to be more than pure light
   that burns
     where no one is —
 
so it enters us —
  in the morning
   shines from brute comfort
     like a stitch of lightning;
 
and at night
  lights up the deep and wondrous
   drownings of the body
     like a star.  
— by Mary Oliver

 

Dreamland

Give me guilt free days in an endless

dreamland of bright green fields—

wild alyssum and newly hatched monarchs

a few feet away from our heavy heads.

We’ll rest on a quilt my grandmother made

and tell each other a few stories from our lives.

Our kisses might lead somewhere later than night,

or not, but our ties to earth and heaven

will be loosened, long enough to breathe

out complicated molecules of our pasts

and create a glorious, enviable,

present tense life.

© 2012 by Tricia Barker

 

 

Blogs that are Read around the World

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I’ve only been blogging about my near-death experience, spirituality, recovery from tragedy, healing, healthy eating, and other topics since March 20, 2016, and what a beautiful experience blogging has proven to be.  My near-death experience was listed on NDERF’s website of exceptional near-death accounts, and since that listing I’ve received beautiful notes from people all around the world.

Today, out of random curiosity, I looked to see which countries around the world had viewers of my blog.   What proved most most interesting are the countries not represented:  North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, Mongolia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and several countries in Africa, although I did have views in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Namibia, South Africa, and Morocco.  Most countries around the world were represented, and I chuckled for a moment, wondering who in Nambia read my blog. (I sent all the viewers love on their journey:-)  It made sense that no one from North Korea had viewed my blog.  If a blogger has a view in North Korea, that view is probably from a foreigner or reporter visiting North Korea. North Koreans do not have access to information in the same way that most countries allow.

Connection: The views from around the world pleased me not from a place of ego, but from a place of happiness that other blogs about healing and other more well-known blogs with helpful information are widely available around the world.  Years ago growing up in the country, I read books as a way to expand my mind.  I read Invisible Man at a young age, and this book deeply and profoundly helped me understood racism in the USA.  At young ages, I also read books by Alan Watts and C.S. Lewis.  I read books like The Autobiography of Gandhi, Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.  Although books are fantastic, I know I would have enjoyed certain online communities and the connections I could have made at that isolated time of my life.  Now, people can read a story from someone’s life with the click of a button, even on their mobile device.

Technology has certainly had some detrimental effects on many individual’s health and some aspects of life in general, but knowledge is power and personal connections expand our hearts and make us feel more connected.  Most societies are moving toward open dialogues about many topics not discussed in the past, and this is great improvement.   Oppression often begins with saying that one leader’s opinion or one way of thinking is the only right way to think.  Even saying that one religion is the only correct religion for everyone is a form of oppression.  Oppression of expression and information is certainly evident in places like North Korea, so let’s all rejoice that the majority of us around the world have the freedom to share our stories and express our beliefs.

I love the affirming, supportive communities I’ve found while blogging.  I enjoy many Facebook groups about mindfulness, healthy eating, near death experiences, and other topics.  Ninety-nine percent of my interactions have been incredibly positive with other bloggers and readers of blogs.  However, after making a couple of YouTube videos, I have experienced a very small taste of the hate culture out there.  I’ve seen much more of it expressed toward well-known writers and activists who I admire and enjoy.

Oh YouTube:  I only aim to bring healing to those who might benefit from my words and entertain a few others.  In a world of information, a viewer can click away to another story that brings him or her joy.  One important lesson from my near death experience is that life is short and meant to be enjoyed.  Every person lost in a rage of nasty YouTube comments or blog responses is mostly hurting himself or herself.  These people are stewing in negativity when they could be loving themselves and bringing themselves joy by focusing on what brings them joy.  Consider watching and reading what brings you joy and click away from what doesn’t.

I’ve mainly been attacked by evangelicals who are upset that I didn’t see Jesus during my NDE.  Luckily, I can delete these comments on my blog.  During my NDE, I felt a certain Christ consciousness, a loving energy, and a direct statement to be like a little child and to love openly and enjoy the natural world deeply.  Many NDEers do not see religious figures. I will go on record ahead of time before my book is published and say that my book will not appeal to evangelicals.  In a world full of information, I hope evangelicals find what they love and what brings them happiness and peace.  Happiness and inner peace is my hope and wish for all beings.  My work will reach the people it is meant to reach, and that is the beauty of the information age.  Readers can and will eventually find what makes them feel more whole, connected, entertained, and alive.

And may more bloggers reach citizens residing in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, Mongolia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.   Information is not only power, it is healing and stories connect us.

“Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one…

…Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…”

-John Lennon

Following the Advice of the Medical Medium’s Plan after the 28-Day Cleanse

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The Medical Medium’s Cleanse:  I made it!  I ate raw, organic fruits and vegetables for 28 days.  Besides a great reduction in pain from Fibromyalgia and an end to flare ups from Hashimotos, one of the best outcomes of this cleanse is a growing love and desire for more fresh fruit and vegetables in my daily diet.  I am drawn to what is naturally good for me.  I thought I ate a lot of healthy food and a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables before the cleanse, but participating in this cleanse taught me I can certainly add a whole lot more spinach, kale, and other greens into my daily diet.

For 28 -days, I primarily ate freshly blended, juiced, or raw foods, but as the new semester started I need a couple of quick snacks to get me through the day.  Rhythm Superfoods has dehydrated Kale Chips flavored with Bombay Curry.  They also have dehydrated broccoli that proved amazingly tasty. Because I missed spicy food, these two snacks were an awesome treat.

There were moments during the 28-days when I know my body was going through enormous changes, and I felt very tired.  There were other moments when I felt great–super energetic and wondered why I didn’t eat like this more often.  No matter the ups and downs, I stuck with it.  Even after the cleanse, I am continuing with many of the great smoothie ideas and all-natural dressing for salads.

Weight Loss:   By the end of the 28-Day cleanse I lost about eight pounds.  I think I’ll gain a few pounds back in the coming days, but I love how all bloating went away with this diet.  I didn’t want to lose a ton of weight, and I probably I lost the right amount of weight I needed to lose.  Everything about this diet felt right and natural.

Also, I look at food differently after this experience.  Celery is my new HCL pill.  A ginger shot is my new digestive aid.  I’m going to start growing my own spouts and an herb garden.  Green drinks call to me more than Kombucha tea or coffee.

The Body as a Temple:  We’ve all heard that we are what we eat, and I like myself more as someone who is mostly made up of organic fruits and vegetables.  During my cleanse, people I barely know came up to me and told me that my skin had a healthy glow and to keep doing whatever I was doing.  Moments like this helped me know I was on the right track to greater health.

I recommend this cleanse to jump start to one’s health.  It isn’t easy, but I learned so much about habits and how to form healthier habits.    Instead of reaching for a gluten free cookie mid-afternoon, I’m learning to stick to a piece of fruit for natural energy.  I can’t say that I’ll be perfect going forward in my eating habits, but I am certainly aiming to avoid the ten foods Anthony William suggests avoiding.

Avoid these Foods, Additives, and Supplements:  I have absolutely no trouble avoiding corn, soy, gluten, MSG, artificial flavors and sweeteners. I don’t take whey, iron, or fish supplements. I tend to avoid farmed fish and go for wild caught. I’ll admit that I will miss milk products and eggs.  I was a vegan for several years, and a vegetarian for ten years.  I tried the Paleo diet once I found that gluten had a bad effect on Hashimotos.  While eating Paleo meals, I enjoyed pork occasionally, but it won’t be that hard to avoid it. I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought to put something down if it had processed beet sugar or citric acid.  I will be checking for that now.

The hardest thing to avoid will be canola oil.  I love eating out.  I’m a busy professional, and I often grab premade foods from Central Market.  Today, I realized that the green beans with almonds that I usually pick up are made with canola oil.  Many gluten free cookies are made with canola oil.  It has been hard enough to explain that I don’t eat gluten or soy to people.  Now, I’m going to be the, “I’ll have the salad, but hold the cheese and dressing” type of eater at many restaurants.  Canola oil is a lot cheaper, and I imagine that a majority of restaurants use it in place of olive oil.

I feel great though, so I’m sticking with the Medical Medium’s plan and looking forward to the next book Life Changing Foods.   There’s a lot more to his first book than I have shared on my blog.  I recommend it!

Mindfulness for Millennials:  Five Basic Tips

Mindfulness for Millennials:  If you are a millennial, you may have heard of mindfulness in connection to Buddhism, meditation, or yoga.  Perhaps, you already have a practice.  If you do, hopefully the peace and awareness from your practice extends into every area of your life.  Mindfulness is something you should try to incorporate in every area of your life.  At a very basic level, mindfulness is being in a state of awareness, and even if you are not interested in meditation, consider the importance of mindfulness in your day to day activities.

It took a devastating car accident and a near-death experience to wake me up at twenty-one, but I would like for you to wake up in a gentler, kinder way.  Being conscious of the world around you can save your life, but it can also bring more peace and understanding to your everyday activities.  You will be able to handle stress more effectively and make better decisions in all areas of your life.  You will be better in relationships, better in school, and in the workforce.  You intuition will increase, and you will understand the world and other people in deeper ways.  These tips definitely apply for those who are a part of Generation Z, as well as to those in Generation X and Baby Boomers who haven’t examined their relationship to technology and set aside time away from their devices.

I made a YouTube video about this topic, but I have also created this post about five ways to be more mindful.

#1 Be More Mindful with Technology:  One of the first ways to become more mindful is to consider how you navigate the world with devices.  As I walk the halls of the college where I teach, students are glued to their phones.  Often, they nearly run into me in the stairwell.  I’m an instructor, and these students might want to ask me for a letter of recommendation at some point.  They should smile, make eye contact, and look around the world.  They should talk more frequently to those around them as they wait for class to start.

A popular spoken word video by Gary Turk came out a few years ago called Look Up. The video shows people in different situations and how their world would deepen and become more meaningful if they put down their phones. I want to tell millennials (and Generation Z) to look up and stay looking up.  Interact with people around you.  Observe others.  The more you observe the world around you, the deeper your intuition grows.  Intuition is a completely different subject that I will return to at another time, but for now know that intuition is often a whisper. You have certainly felt your inner guidance warn you about someone.  Maybe you overlooked this warning and listened to what someone said about themselves instead of what your feelings were telling you.  Later, you might have found out you were right.  That was your intuition talking.  If you constantly distract yourself with your phone, you will not develop intuition and pick up on the subtle cues that people give off with micro-expressions.  With a bit of training, you can easily pick up on lies and other subtle clues that people give you with communicating face to face.

Additionally, professors and bosses will react more positively to a face to face meeting than another email or text.  We receive hundreds of emails daily, but a face to face interaction is much more memorable and meaningful.  You are more likely to get the help you need with a meeting in person.

#2 Be More Mindful about How You Interact with People:  As I look around the world at millennial couples, I see a lot of people together but lost in screens.  I am not sure if one person is addicted to social media and the other person feels lonely waiting for that person to get off their phone, so they interact to fill the time.  Whatever the case, mindfulness teaches you how to see the beauty and mystery in other human beings.  Develop curiosity about the lives and feelings of those close to you.  Make a lot of eye contact, and create conscious, loving moments with people you love.  Your friendships and romantic relationships will greatly benefit with more conscious attention.

After my near-death experience, I was deeply curious about everyone.  I wanted to know what made people tick, what secrets they kept in their hearts, and what dreams they had for themselves.  Develop curiosity about people, and believe that they can and will show you their best selves. As you develop greater intuition, you will also discern who you should not to give your time to and who might be dangerous.

#3 Take Breaks:  Mindful people know how to take breaks and how to deeply enjoy these breaks.  Meditation has amazing physiological and psychological benefits.  During my recovery after surgery, I had a lot of time on my hands, and I discovered the joy and peace that can be found through meditation.  My body healed quickly, and I attribute part of my speedy recovery to meditation.

When my body cast was removed, and I returned to the beautiful U.T. Austin campus, I often took breaks that semester.  I felt ecstatic just to be alive.  I sat on benches and watched the world swirl by me. I felt gloriously happy just to walk, have breath, and be alive.  I have felt grateful for most every moment in my life since, even the tough moments.  I realized after my NDE that it is a blessing to be above ground and to get to experience the world in deeply meaningful ways.

Millennials are a stressed-out group, and you need breaks badly.  You expect things to happen for you instantly and quickly.  Breaks help you enjoy life and develop patience.  You need to take time just for yourself and not answer a single text, email, or engage with anything other than silence for a part of your day.  However, if silence is too overwhelming, and you are not ready for a daily meditation practice, consider shutting your eyes and listening to calming music as you breathe deeply every day for a specific amount of time.  Alternately, you might do as I did and sit somewhere in a beautiful area and think of all the things you are grateful for in your life. Whatever you do, experience daily breaks in a meaningful way.

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#4 Go Out in Nature:  Generation Xers had more freedom growing up, and many tend to associate nature with playing and having a great time.  I want your generation to experience the same child-like glee that many of us feel in nature.  Climbing a mountain is not only great exercise, but it allows you to get far away from everything that troubles you in your life below.  It is not a coincidence that many temples are built on mountaintops.  You are literally closer to God or a higher consciousness because you have escaped the hustle and bustle of the world below.

Nature is not just something to look at; rather, it is something to experience.  Being in nature invites you to open up to your senses and be in the here and now.  There is healing energy in nature, and your brain relaxes and thinks differently in beautiful areas.  If you have experienced trauma in your life, nature is a place where you can begin to heal these parts of yourself.

The Celestine Prophecy outlines the ways that humanity can begin to awaken, and one of the first ways is to become aware of the energy and power in the natural world.  Once you are aware of this energy, you realize that nature gives you energy.  The millennial generation should be the generation that creates greater sustainability and awareness of nature.  To do this, you need to get out and appreciate it yourself.

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#5 Nourish Yourself:  Don’t always reach for sugar and caffeine when you need energy.  Consider drinking water and eating a piece of fruit.  Look to nature as a way to determine what might be most nourishing for your body. After my near-death experience, I was deeply aware of what it felt like to have a body again, much like an infant or child is aware of the body.  Though I grew up a little quicker than an infant, I deeply appreciated the senses for quite a while.  Food sometimes felt like a psychedelic experience. After being in ICU for three days, and fed through an IV for several more days, the first sensation of food sent me spinning and felt like manna from the heavens.

Once I left the hospital, I researched diets and decided on a mostly raw fruit and vegetable diet.  I attribute the diet to how quickly my body healed.  Do research yourself, but also use common sense.  Everybody is different, but more raw fruits and vegetables added to any diet will probably benefit you.

My Connection to Mindfulness:  My near-death experience taught me mindfulness in a direct and instantaneous way. I was pleased to be back in the body and experience all of my senses.  I loved to taste amazing foods and interact with others. Even through the physical pain of healing, I used meditation and other tools to speed my recovery.  I didn’t run from the pain; rather I embraced it without pain killers and trained my mind to adapt to the pain and work through it.  Pain passes, and it passes quicker when you don’t run from it or deny it.

Additionally, my near-death experience showed me that I needed to return to my body and become a teacher.  For several years now, I’ve taught English and Creative Writing at the college level, and I’ve observed and worked with thousands of millennials.  Though millennials are a great, fun group, I would like to see more of you practicing mindfulness.  Mindfulness will help you become more successful students, friends, romantic partners, employees, and employers.  Mindfulness may be an important key for success, and it is my sincere wish to see this amazing generation grow more conscious and aware.

So many educators are aware of the importance of teaching mindfulness to students.  Here is a wonderful blog post about teaching mindfulness in the classroom.

If you would like to learn more about meditation, I high recommend reading the books of Thich Nhat Hanh.  You might also check out this YouTube video where Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses what mindfulness and meditation are really about: presence of heart.

If you would like a simple way to practice a loving, healing five minute meditation, check out this one by Louise Hay.

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