Lower Self vs. Higher Self

Balance is pretty key. The more my life is out of balance, the more I sit within in my lower self, that part of me that is fear based and loses faith, in myself, and in turn in others.

If I maintain balance, I am aligned with my higher self, the part that is basically the soul, the part that is connected to God/the Source/the Divine Spark/the Universe.

It’s very hard work. But worth the effort and energy put towards it. At least it is in my opinion. Why? Well, drama just isn’t that fun unless it’s a movie or on TV and chaos isn’t my cup of tea either.

So each day is like a new match between my lower and higher self. In the past, it was like my first six-eight months as a white belt, the lower self beat out my higher self all the time. Now it’s reaching a place, kind of like where I’m at as a blue belt, while I still get caught, there is more consistency and learning the game of how to keep the balance.

A friend recently told me my Jiu-Jitsu game is like the tortoise, slowly and steadying improving. I definitely feel like the tortoise in this lower and higher self grappling match. Despite feeling behind at times, I just have to remember that the tortoise does win the race.

Redefining Spirituality

Redefining Spirituality
By: Jason M.A. Walter

(As written for and lol rejected by the LA Times Op-Ed section)

I dislike the word spirituality. Though I would consider myself a spiritual person, the term spirituality is too often blurred with religion and as a result, much of the value of incorporating spirituality in our lives can be lost.

Let us begin by first saying that religion should not be confused with spirituality. While the two could happily stroll through a park holding hands, spirituality is not limited to religion nor does being religious make one spiritual. A person with no affiliation to any religion can be very spiritual just as some religious figures seem to be devoid of spirituality (i.e. abusive clergy, extremists of any denominations, etc.).

It is my view that each person has a need to be filled on a deep intrinsic level. Many have already argued that the excessive materialism of our culture seems to be evidence of this lack of satisfying our inner needs. That is exactly why spirituality needs to be redefined. Traditional religions are just not cutting it for the masses and we have been driven to look outside (again see excessive materialism) to fill that which lies within.

The beauty of it all is that the answer is quite simple. Spirituality can be whatever we want it to be. Let’s use transportation as an example, albeit a very figurative one. Some people like to drive, catch a bus/subway, bike, or walk. Imagine you weren’t in a rush and it’s not about how fast you travel, but about how you get from Point A to Point B. I believe that the journey to fill this deeper spiritual need for each person is the same. Some people do this through meditation, prayer, going to church, and/or volunteering. Others are into tarot reading, surfing, hiking, whatever.

I would say it lies somewhere between doing what we are passionate about and striving to live in the moment. Over the course of the last three years (my Saturn Return for you Astrology types), I have strived to live a balanced life in this unbalanced time and by golly, it has worked. But first…

30 years ago on an island in the middle of the Pacific (Cue suspenseful/dramatic music).

I grew up believing that following your heart was important though societal norms indicated otherwise. As result, I was in deep conflict throughout my life because I was trying to fit in with what society told me. At 26, I found myself young, unhealthy, and miserable. It was not until I realized the shackles that were holding me back were invisible and of my own creation.

I began to incorporate healthier practices in my life. It can be a lengthy story but I’ll spare you the drama (though I know people love drama) and get to the part where I was empowered by my passion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and how it all culminated in competing in the Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, the second largest tournament in the world in California in April of this year.

Dot dot dot (the plot thickens)…

Leading up to the event, I trained very hard in the gym, and spent just as much time and energy outside visualizing to prepare myself for this leg of the adventure. I did everything that I could. Come tournament time, I truly did not feel nervous. If anything I felt more alive than ever. I felt this deep sense of gratitude for my life and all that I had been through and was on the verge of tears. I had finally experienced what it was to be in the Now, to go with the flow (or flow with the go as the Brazilians say).

They called my name and any lingering butterflies were eliminated as I was almost disqualified for a tear in my gi. I spent the next few minutes running around the Bren Event Center at UC-Irvine looking for my teammates. I finally found them and stripped bare-ass in the middle of competitors, spectators, coaches, Professors, etc. I ran back to face my destiny, got ready, went out there, and got smoked.

I fought hard, I did all that I could, and I lost. But that’s the thing. I didn’t lose. I won in so many ways it would take me longer than the Sunday1200 word limit that I have for this submission (ironically in Jiu-Jitsu one can lose via submission).

Let me sum it all up by stressing that following my passion helped me to grow exponentially as a person and allowed me to experience what being in the moment/truly being alive was. A whole bunch of awesomeness and I lost. I point out the loss because in our material, results-oriented culture, we sometimes forget that growth comes from facing the challenges in our lives and how we carry ourselves in the aftermath of adversity.

So right about now (assuming this even gets published) you are probably wondering how this made it to the LA Times or why or what the (expletive). I have always wanted to give to others and I share this experience because in some ways, California, you gave me this empowerment. In Hawaii, we have a saying called “talk stories” which is kind a cool way to say conversation. So here I am today just trying say thank you by talking stories with you. I know that following your heart will open up doors in weird ways and fill you inside. I surely didn’t have the Hollywood ending but I came out a winner in so many ways.

One could argue that the only absolutes are taxes and death. While you might be able to avoid the former, you surely cannot escape the latter. Wouldn’t you rather your story be about doing what you love and overcoming challenges versus living to work and letting fears guide you? Start to take the time to enjoy your life, you know, the movie that you star in.

Shoots and thank you Cali. Thank you so much.

Jason M.A. Walter, or JMAW, is a spirit sojourner in this human experience. He loves trying to understand life, himself, people in general, Jiu-Jitsu, giving tarot readings, and spending time with his JB. Oh yeah, he writes as well. You can find JMAW’s commentary, poetry, and thoughts at http://www.TheSimpleVoice.com.

Say Good Night Twenties…

Literally this is my last night in my twenties. Frak!!! Oh well, it’s unavoidable and the biggest conflict over it has been my own feeling towards it so I am going to take it in stride.

20 things I learned from my 20’s (in no particular order) that I’ll try to implement in better fashion in my 30’s (key word is try)

1. Slow down: There really isn’t a rush for anything. My clock isn’t the same as the Universe so no sense fret over that.

2. No Worry: I estimate that I worried about 7.5 years of time in my 20’s. The point of which I’m still trying to figure out because things worked out in some odd way every time. That and I never knew what was going to happen anyway so why worry in the first place? Just wasted time.

3. Be Kinder: To myself. And in turn to others.

4. Wake up in Love: It’s not cool going to sleep angry but at the very least let it go and wake up in love again. Much better feeling.

5. The Government is pretty dysfunctional: and so are most people. I’m going to spend my energy changing myself so that I’m not dysfunctional and that in turn will help to change society in some ways.

6. Don’t ignore the signs: Street signs, signs from the Universe, etc. They are placed in life for a reason…

7. Go with the flow or flow with the go: because resistance only creates strife in life.

8. The things that bother me the most about others: bother me because they are the things that bother me the most about myself. How’s that for a hard slap of reality?

9. Don’t do things for money: do it because it makes you feel good and you are passionate about it. Money comes to you from there.

10. Opposites attract: but probably because they have a middle ground somewhere otherwise it’d just be pure chaos 24/7.

11. Work to live: Living to work or for work makes life one-dimensional and pretty weak.

12. Take it one day at time: That’s all we really have. I spent my whole 20’s looking forward to the next thing and here I am at 30 thinking “Frak!” so yeah, one day at a time.

13. Jiu-Jitsu is spiritual and so can you!: Jiu-Jitsu helps me in my spiritual quest and yoga can help you or knitting or surfing or whatever. I know that doing something that fills you in that fashion will bring more harmony to your life.

14: There will be a movie greater than Avatar: I look at all the blockbusters of my life from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, etc. and they were always topped. Here’s to the next Avatar and the 18.50 we’ll pay in ticket prices by the time it comes out…

15. Be the best that only you can be: and all will be well in your world.

16. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, but there is healthier: We all have different perspectives about choices, actions, and lifestyles but it can almost be universally agreed that choices, actions, and lifestyles can be lived in a healthier fashion when possible.

17. All of us are Mike Tyson: he just had to live his life in front of the cameras.

18. One can be local: and global is the basically the same since we’re all local to the earth.

19. A smile can change someone’s life: I learned this at 19 and carried it through my 20’s.

20. There is magic in life: whether it’s psychic abilities or the magic of falling in love again and again, there is magic in life.

Mahalo ke Akua for this life and big shouts and hugs to all my homies out there for helping to make my life an interesting story.

Shoots!

Avoid-Write-Nesia

I know I am supposed to write.  I have literally seen the writing on the wall.  Throughout my life, family, friends, random strangers, psychics, and so on have told me to be a writer.  I put it off for a long time and then finally picked up the literary sword a few years ago.  While I have plied my craft here and there, really just training in that time period, I have come to see how I have a way with words, how I play with words, how there is something crying out to be shared with the world in these words.

And yet, I avoid writing.  It’s like a plague.  I don’t know why or how I became afraid of a wonderful way to live out a passion but I have become afraid.  I am here today to examine why that may be?

Lack of interest… On my part, that of most people I have loved.  I used to take great offense that people who I care about didn’t care about my writing.  I realize now that I was seeking validation from others when really I am the only one who can truly validate my work.  So we’ll scratch lack of interest then…

What to write about…  Now sometimes, I have so many ideas, I haven’t an idea where to start.  This is certainly a big theme.  Yet, I’ve recently begun to keep a log of ideas and have started many of the newer ones.  Can’t be this option…

Belief…  I’m going to gander that this is the culprit.  In the past, it was lack of belief.  Belief in myself, belief in what I was about, where I was going, etc.  I certainly didn’t believe in the past that I could make it as a writer.  I wanted that magical happening to come in and then I would write or go and do something. I guess you could say I wanted the money to come before the work.

I can’t say whether I fully believe that I am to be a writer.  I see myself writing, being successful at that while pursuing other dreams.  I think writing shall be something that I do.  Why?  Haven’t figured all that out yet but maybe 20 years from now, I’ll have most of the material down and can write a memoir.  Until then, guess you’ll just have to stop by for a reading on the old site or find me in a newspaper, magazine, and/or bookstore.

Oh yeah, since I have an idea of the root of this fear, I’d have to say that it is no longer a challenge and I am not afraid.  The wind just gusted.  Could it be that the world just shuttered at the thought of a JMAW unafraid of writing and writing to just write.  Nah, not fear, love maybe, a bit of finally maybe, but the Universe is surely not afraid of lil ole me.

Death

Death approaches with each new day

I feel the coldness of its lips brush against my cheeks

As I watch loved ones grow old

See how their bodies wither

Even though this physical death is only of this dimension

And what lies within shall go on much further

A fear of death still pervades

And with another passing day Death has taken one step closer…

Blur, it’s mad in the membrane
There must be choke stuff going on in the atmosphere

I said Blurrrrrr, it’s crazy in the brain
There must be alot of to process in the atmosphere