Oxymoron — Waiting for the Karma Truck

Sharing this thoughtful piece with those of you who might appreciate some meaningful words as I continue my blogging sabbatical. Mimi’s beautiful post is worth reading and reflecting upon.

Wishing you love and light. Eric

The night was sleepless and I’m wide awake…and the co-existence of contradictory realities seems to prevail. I am a contradiction in terms – held together by the small inhalations between words. You’d think that living within duality would at least offer up some deep slumber at the end of a day. Ha. […]

via Oxymoron — Waiting for the Karma Truck

Thank You

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“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” ~ Lewis Carroll

Many of you have read Awakening to Awareness for several years. You have thoughtfully offered your ideas, views and understanding. It has been previously communicated that I value the content on your blogs more than the messages shared herein.

Acknowledging this, I am choosing to express my gratitude in a small way.

Six months ago my first book was published. It reflects much of what has been shared on this blog. In appreciation for reading some of these eclectic messages, I am gifting 30 copies of the book… with a couple of guidelines.

A2A Book Cover

To qualify for a copy (which will be mailed) I invite you to be one of the first 30 to:

  1.  In comments, identify the one blog that most inspires you and briefly tell us why. You may link the blog if you so choose.
  2. Subject blog cannot be mine, yours or any affiliated with you.
  3. And… you cannot cite a blog that has previously been mentioned (hint: read the comments).

There is a purpose here and I hope it’s obvious. It’s to introduce those who follow this blog to others who take considerable time to write posts with genuine meaning and significance, often accompanied by delightful images of their own creation. Via this exercise we open doors and come to appreciate even more of the incredible talent within this community.

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Melody Beattie, an author whose insights I admire said,

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

To get the ball rolling, the blog that most inspires me is China Sojourns Photography, a brilliant collection of written wisdom and extraordinary photography by Randy Collis. This ought not surprise many readers as Randy guest authored here with this post in January, 2015.

Thank you! for choosing to add to our collective growth and blogging experience.

Adieu

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“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I thought about titling this post Bigger Fish to Fry but realized the idiom inferred more important matters to address. And in some respects this is true. But I didn’t want readers (you) to think yourselves unimportant in my eyes because you genuinely matter to me.

However, it is time to bid you farewell; to move on. Not long ago I shared a post in which I asked if any of you had been (or perhaps, are) On a Verge. Its premise was simply to honor your intuition when you know there are other opportunities calling. To those possibilities, I have listened and am aware of ‘what’s next’ and why.

Watercolor by Abby Diamond

Watercolor by Abby Diamond

For me, it’s always been about following my heart… helping, healing and sharing. To continue contributing in these and other ways, I am choosing to pair my ‘next set of priorities’ with abundant time, renewed energy and unbridled inspiration.

Many of you know, sustaining a blog and actively interacting with many writers can be time-consuming. And the experience has been thoroughly enjoyable! I’ve acknowledged this once before, but it bears repeating… I have gotten more out of what’s been shared in your posts and comments than with my written offerings.

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I’m excited about this next life chapter. I’ve been looking forward to continuing to realign with what really matters to me. And I suspect some of you are leaning in, whispering, what is it you’re going to be doing, Eric? 🙂 Well, I hope this doesn’t disappoint but there’s little noble on the radar screen. There are some nearer-term and some longer-term activities that will receive due attention. Once they’re completed, time will avail to do more — yet to be determined, good things.

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For those interested, here is what’s on the forward leaning plate:

  • I will be committing a hefty chunk of time to rehearsing for and competing in the (my now, fourth) Toastmasters International Speech Contest. While still untitled, my speech this year is about compassion creating connections.
  • I will finally, finish and publish my first book which will reflect much of what I have shared in this blog.
  • I will be creating more time to be in and with nature. Solitude rejuvenates and is immensely healing for our mind, body and spirit.
  • I am going to learn to speak/read Italian. This ought not surprise many given my professed fondness for nearly all things Italian.
  • I am going to travel. A lot. 🙂 I keep encouraging my Mom to do whatever she wants while she is of sound mind and body. An advocate for ‘walking our talk,’ I will practice what I encourage others to consider doing.
  • I intend to find a cause or organization that will welcome my time and services – in a volunteer capacity. I have mentored and been in service to others for decades, just not at the level I can now. It’s time for me to augment my contributions.
  • And perhaps most important, I will be spending much more time creating and rekindling connections with people. Live, in-person, connections which for me, are the most authentic and fulfilling.

I may someday return to this amazing WordPress Community; time and passion will tell. Know that I will cherish this mutual adventure and you… many of you more than you will know. I am privileged to have shared our connections.

With appreciation, respect and love,

Eric

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Becoming More Connected

Three strikes and you’re out or perhaps … third time is the charm 🙂 Whatever the case, a third and final reblog of one of my own posts.

Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness

“The most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

The value of our life, work, and relationships is the power of our connection to and with them. The question is, are we connected to them or just attached to them? The answer affects not only the value, but the energy they give to or take from us. If we are connected to them they enrich the time we give to them. If we are attached to them, they drain our energy and can leave us disappointed.

The source of our attachment is always found in the perceived needs of what is missing in our lives. We want to possess people, money, and…

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You ‘Can’ Let Go

Lately, I’ve read several posts wherein the subject of attachment versus detachment, and wanting to “let go” surface. I thought I’d share this older post.

Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness

“Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.” ~ Anais Nin

Yesterday I wrote about trying different versus trying harder. Sometimes trying a different approach entails letting go; an action many of us have a hard time doing. Here’s a visual: Trying to maintain control in life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly you grip the bar. There is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take you rather than fighting them. When you fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, your whole being becomes tense and anxiety is your close companion. When you go with the ride, accepting what you cannot control, freedom and joy will…

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Rowdy Girl Sanctuary

An advocate for the voiceless, I abhor animal abandonment and cruelty. I find Renee’s story inspiring. She has a dream and is taking action to see it happen. And I’m happy to share her message.

My Vegan Heart Blog

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Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is the dream of Renee-King Sonnen.

Renee is a singer and songwriter from the Houston/Brazoria County area who met her future husband, Tommy Sonnen, while singing at a nightclub.

Renee and Tommy

She went suburban living to ranch living 6 years ago when they got married. She lives on a 96 acre cattle ranch right on hwy 35, 50 miles southwest of Houston and 30 miles from Bay City/Matagord.

Her husband has been a cattle rancher for 15 years. . It’s beyond my ability to describe! My husband’s great-grandfather supplied almost all of Houston with meat in the early 1900’s – his great-grandfather had a slaughter-house.

When she married him 6 years ago, she had no idea that she would become vegan as a result of the horrors of the sale barn episodes with the calves.

Like Howard Lyman, the cattle rancher turned vegan she had an epiphany that opened…

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What Do You Stand For?

I’ve not reblogged one of my own posts. To close out this year I thought I’d share one that you might appreciate. Wishing each of you a new year filled with good health and fulfilling experiences.

Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” ~ Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Not long ago, I was traveling cross-country (U.S.). As I took a seat in the boarding area, I felt something protruding into my backside. Shifting forward, I realized there was a wallet wedged between the seat and back. I pried it out, looked around to see if anyone noticed and might, perhaps, acknowledge it as theirs. I opened the billfold to see if there was photo identification. And there was. I proceeded to the gate agent to report the find and the agent called for the individual by name. He didn’t come forward.

I soon boarded my flight, wallet in tow. When I arrived at my hotel, I phoned the owner. No answer, so I left a voice message explaining the situation and asked him to call me back. There was close to $700 in cash along with credit cards…

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Peace and Joy

When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” ~ George Harrison

Shopping today, I finally acknowledged the background music which was, predictably, Christmas themed. I know it has been playing for weeks yet I simply heard it as premature holiday noise, given my elsewhere focus. I’m unsure what triggered my ‘tuning in’ today but it was an anticipated and welcome shift.

One of my favorite vocalist groups is Pentatonix. Their medleys are amazingly creative and soothing. And since I’m now, officially, in the seasonal spirit, I am sharing one of their holiday harmonies. Their words and thoughts of cherishing, candles glowing, the joy of family, and love that the holiday season brings, are special to many of us. I hope you appreciate the piece.

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We’re heading into a bustling time of year; a time when peace can (and does) reign in our hearts and minds. While a bit early, yet with heartfelt warmth, I want to wish each of you a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa or whatever you choose to celebrate. May your time with family and friends be filled with overflowing joy.

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Finding Your Way

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“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~ Anaïs Nin

First and foremost, Ron Chapman is a full-time, all-time student of life. This allows him to approach any discipline, principle or practice in a search for valuable ideas to incorporate into his life. It also presents continual challenge, an opportunity to shatter old perspectives and ideas which no longer serve well.

An integral part of the role of the student is to seek. And for this Ron has become an adventurer and wanderlust. Who knows what places, events or circumstances may hold for any one of us. Yet we must commit ourselves to such experiences.

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From a developmental point of view, Ron values a notion described by the American philosopher Ken Wilber as “transcend and include.” Essentially, this is to incorporate everything new in a way that allows you to elevate your practice in the world, no matter what form it may take.

More important is the need to use knowledge and experience for the benefit of others…to find a way to make a contribution that is larger and provides greater value.

                    Ron Chapman

Ron Chapman

As this week’s guest on the Awakening to Awareness Radio Show, Ron discussed life transitions, what he’s learned from working through his, the concept of ‘metanoia,’ his work in the areas of healing and forgiveness and, the fact that – as boomers – vital years are not waning but beginning.

Ron talked about stepping out of comfort zones and “leaning into” / getting comfortable with discomfort as well as convincing ourselves that doing so can be in our best interests, as well as how this action can better prepare us to create breakthroughs and turn our lives into new directions. We get a sense of how Ron’s work and experience is transformational.

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The show’s podcast and Ron’s contact information is linked here.

Becoming Better Communicators

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“Communication works for those who work at it.” ~ John Powell

Jana Barnhill was elected Toastmasters International President at the 77th annual International Convention held August 2008, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She was only the fourth woman to serve as the top officer of the organization.

Recognized for her speaking skills, Jana placed 3rd in the World Championship of Public Speaking in 1993 and 2nd in 1996. In 1997, she became only the fifth woman in the organization to earn the coveted Accredited Speaker designation.

Jana Barnhill

Jana Barnhill

Professionally, Jana is a speaker/trainer for L.I.V.E. Speakers, Inc., a company she owns with her husband. She conducts seminars throughout the United States on management topics; including communication and leadership, team building, managing change and personality traits. She delivers keynotes and also serves as a speech writer and coach to other professionals.

Jana is no novice to staring trials in the face, while continuing to keep a smile on hers. Jana is a small plane crash survivor, suffers from a neurological disorder and her husband is battling ALS. She loves spending time with friends, theater, shopping, Christmas, movies, travel, anything fast, Disneyland (she has gone at least once, sometimes three times a year since 1991), entertaining and…shopping!

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As my guest on this week’s Awakening to Awareness Radio Show, Jana shared how she never really sought a global leadership role; how community, culture, and connection are integral to the Toastmasters experience; how boomers can offer their wisdom and experience to help members of younger generations and; how listening is such a critical element of effective communication.

She shared two personal stories about being inspired and how mentoring builds confidence. She acknowledged that “people are her oxygen” and how they help to sustain her energy and positive attitude. Jana advocates for no matter where one is in their life, there are always opportunities to work on your communication skills.

Interested in learning more about Toastmasters, listen to the show podcast or visit http://www.toastmasters.org