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World Peace Is Simple – Starting on the inside.

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Starting on the inside.

By Andres Aguila

One of the cornerstones to truly living a spiritual life is the art of humility.  This essential element in the journey of the heart seems to have an arsenal of attack aimed and firing against it at all times.  I have seen in my life how easily it has been to slip into patterns of pride and arrogance even when I have been consciously seeking to live on the humble road.

In a discussion about the pitfalls of the ego, including the seemingly polar opposites of arrogance and insecurity, someone recently asked “But do you think that the ego is all bad, or are there parts of it that are necessary?”  First of all, let me clarify, I do not have any concrete answers to that or almost any other question, I simply draw upon my own experiences and the studies of others’ experiences to formulate my thoughts and beliefs.   That said, perhaps we need at least one more word to help divide the concept commonly referred to as the “ego.”  For the sake of discussion, lets just say that for the remainder of the physical life on this Earth as we now know it, there are traits of the “ego” that are negative, and there are individual characteristics that help define individual existences of the spirit.  We call each of these individual existences a “person.” I am not trying to be too ethereal or spacey about the subject, I simply wish to expand the language a bit for a bit of clarity as to what we are referring to when using certain terms.

Each person then has a personality, which gives some definition to that individual, such as “funny, mellow, high strung, artistic, etc.”  Ultimately these traits do separate individuals from one another and group individuals into categories with others in the sense that one may be naturally artistic and one may be more mechanically minded; or one naturally playful and another more serious; and so on.  These individual traits, ultimately, make up the whole of a beautiful garden of souls called the human race.  As in a flower or vegetable garden, each plant adds to the beauty and utility of the garden, and together they are one.

So, what seems to be the problem with the human garden?  It appears that there is something in the ego, or the separateness of humans, which drives wedges between people and fosters an unhealthy separation.  Let’s then call these traits the “negative” traits of the ego.  The negative traits of the ego would be things like arrogance, insecurity, greed, lust, selfishness (not to be confused with healthy self-love), etc.  These behaviors separate people in ways that are not beneficial to building a united human race and do not promote the expansion of true love.  Many of these negative “fruits” are perpetuated and driven by judgment and condemnation of individuals and people groups, which have led to countless murders and all out wars.

What then is the answer?

Humility – the act of being humble.  True humility means placing ourselves on level ground with others.  It includes letting go of judgments of others, accepting others even though they have faults and have committed all sorts of sins.  It includes realizing that we are all students in this life, we are all here to learn to love, and that none of us have found all the answers or perfected the human experience.

Practically speaking, for me, I have found that it is imperative for me to constantly expose the negative traits of ego in my behaviors or thoughts.  I also have chosen to surround myself with people who will hold me accountable for my actions, and will tell me and call me out if I am acting in arrogance or selfishness.

The answer to world peace then…each of us look within and take action right now.

Who are you?  What is your dream?  What are you going to do about it? 

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Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org         also find us on facebook                email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

 

 

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Who Am I? – Finding And Pursuing The Dream

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Finding And Pursuing The Dream

By Andres Aguila

 

“To travel the world and build a global network of self-sustaining youth ranches” became my dream and my mantra, a deep burning passion…I suppose due to my own “troubled” childhood and youth. After a series of bizarre events while traveling overseas, and receiving my first spiritual awakening, I simply felt the need to share positive options with the upcoming generations.  I realized that part of my mission on the planet was to assist others in finding their own passions and purpose.  I also felt a need to move away from the current world system.  I had no idea how I would finance this dream, but at age 20, I believed I was ready, and I am sure God must have been laughing as I would laugh with admiration if my 6-year-old attempted to carry the refrigerator up the mountain…with one pinky.  I soon realized that I had much to learn and so I began the process of preparing for this life mission.  Re-enrolling in university, I also began diving in to the business world by purchasing houses, remodeling them and renting them out.  All of this while now married with my first child.

I received my Bachelor’s degree in social work, with a minor in fine art, began showing and selling paintings in galleries, and had begun working with youth and children.  I taught, played, and worked with kids in a variety of venues, from a boy’s home for “troubled” youth, to church youth groups, to conducting arts workshops, directing theatrical productions, and teaching interns at my art studio.  Reading books about personal growth, spiritual growth, and about raising and teaching kids and youth, became common, along with taking various leadership courses and workshops.

Quickly the years began to pass, the responsibilities and distractions accumulated with the family, the businesses – including multiple failed business ventures, and the art career.  Each business pursuit I thought perhaps would be the way I would fund my real dream, which eventually evolved into “Building a global network of self-sustaining communities, which are schools, natural healing centers, and homes for orphans and others in need.”  The flame burned on, though at times seeming impossible to even pursue, much less realize, due to the other decisions I had made.  I had written down my vision many times, as the experts had taught me, and I continued to verbalize my vision to friends and strangers alike.

Though by no means was I becoming rich, my art career was beginning to create an income, and my work was becoming more popular, and shown in galleries internationally.    I also began to have success in modeling and acting in T.V. commercials.  These successes were a perfect ego distraction to pin me down in mediocrity.  Although I tried to remain conscious of the need to always be humble, the reality is that I began to tie my identity and my self worth to my own talents and accomplishments.  Surely to help keep me humble, I also received various failures and humiliations, including business failures and two divorces.

Through the journey, fortunately, I did remain at least somewhat focused on the inner voyage of the heart.  Even though often distracted by the ego and the cares of the world I realized at a core level that all the outer circumstances and tribulations were only tutors to assist me in realizing my true nature as a child of the Most High and as a part of the whole that is humanity.  I also started to realize that my talents had been given to me only to steward and to share with all of mankind…not to become some big shot egomaniac.

As the momentum had been building for many years, and the “knowing” had become undeniable, the time had come.  Receiving almost no support from friends or family…actually, even receiving much negativity, judgment, and condemnation…still, I knew this to be my destiny.  I could find years and years of excuses as to why not to pursue this deep purpose, or I could dive in head first.  I surrendered to the call of my heart. I dropped the art career, sold the house, gave away my material possessions, left behind many that I loved, and headed off to Central America to answer the call.

It worked, and is working.  We call it Awakening Soul. Though the road has at times been very difficult, the vision has manifested and is growing wonderfully.  Now remarried to my true love and true partner in the project, we purchased our first farm in Costa Rica a few years ago and are working toward organic sustainability; have started an incredible, life-changing internship program; and have seen many people receive healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. The internships are called “Who Am I?”  Our mission is to motivate and facilitate young people toward self-discovery and global consciousness through love in action.  Oh, and the art…the talents multiplied into writing, music, and other forms, as I continue to expose the ego and choose not to tie my own self worth to the talents or accomplishments of this little man.  Most importantly, I have continued to seek, and have and found true inner peace.  The adventure continues.  I believe that each of us has – even if buried deep beneath layers of “shoulds and shouldn’ts,” powerful dreams and visions, which assist us in realizing our individual missions, and ultimately, our destiny here on Planet Earth.

Who are you?  What is your dream?  What are you going to do about it? 

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Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org         also find us on facebook                email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

 

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What Other People Think – Important insight into the healing of the heart.

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Important insight into the healing of the heart.

By Andres Aguila

 

It has become almost cliché to say, “I don’t care what other people think.”  I recently read a blurb written on Facebook by a lady I knew 20 years ago, which said she remembered the time, in high school, that she stopped caring about what other people thought.  Her words accompanied her photo…with breast implants, make up, and dyed hair.

My observation of her contradiction is quite similar to my observation of western culture in general.  It appears that most people care about what other people think.  Is it wrong to care about what other people think of us?  I tend to believe that there is a balance to be had somewhere in the mix of the human experience, which put us in a healthy place.  I live on a farm.  I wear torn and stained clothes and rubber boots nearly every day on the farm.  On the occasions when I peal myself away from the paradise of the land here and make my way to the smog and hurried pace of the city, I wear different clothes…in fact, I usually even take a shower…and sometimes even use soap (natural soap, of course).  So, perhaps I do care what others think…perhaps this kind of caring is a healthy concern…or maybe it is still just vanity.

The deeper topic of approval is the subject of self-worth.  To judge our lives based upon the approval of others is a very dangerous road, which can eat away at our very souls and may hinder us from fulfilling our calling in life.  One of the most common instances that I observe in this unhealthy seeking for approval is in the parent-child relationship.  In counseling with people seeking answers to the question, “Who am I?,” it is nearly universal that some portion of the soul seeks and possibly even needs the approval of parents in order to feel complete.

Many people go through life, unaware of the subconscious placement of value on the approval by parents, spouses, or by others. People try to have the “right” clothing, car, job, friends, etc. in order to gain the approval of others. Many people go through life miserable, unfulfilled, and insecure.  It appears that these two senarios are very directly related.

The human experience is made up of countless parts.  For the sake of this discussion, let us focus on four major parts: body, mind, emotions, and spirit.  In seeking health, I find that focus on all four of these is vital to growth in humans – as are soil, water, temperature, and sunshine to a plant.

To begin a healing process, perhaps the body or the mind manifests unpleasant symptoms.  We then use the mind to try to find solutions.  The emotions are likely triggered and sadness, anger, depression, etc. may manifest.  All the while the spirit is crying out to be free.  The spirit seeks fulfillment – meaning – purpose.

Our emotional responses are keys to going deeper into the heart to find answers.  Using the emotions as indicators on the path to healing is very important.  The emotions are like dashboard lights and gauges in a vehicle – they let us know when something needs attention.  Balance with the emotions needs to be found in order for the journey to be peaceful.  A goal I have set for myself is to have the ability to separate from my emotions in order to function in a peaceful groove, without being ruled by them.  Yet, I choose to observe them, as I would a dashboard light, in order to be more conscious of the overall voyage.  In other words, I may feel angry about something, but I do not have to freak out in anger.  In fact, I do not even have to react out of that anger.  I can stop, observe the situation, acknowledge the anger as being present, and separate myself from that emotion.  Then I can make a conscious decision as to the next words that leave my mouth as well as the subsequent actions.  This, of course, takes discipline and practice…which I am still working on.

So, in the subject of approval from our parents or from anyone else, it is important to acknowledge the feelings associated with their disapproval so that we can become more in touch with the past portion of our journey.  Next, we usually need to realize that they will never reach our standard of desire for approval.  We then detach from the emotions.  We then let go of the judgments we have held on them.  We let go of the “need” for their approval.  Finally, we are healthy and happy and everything is perfect.  We then live happily ever after.

OK, maybe not exactly like that.  Perhaps we have to dig in deep, work hard at this voyage to freedom…and keep on keeping on even when the most painful memories and emotions surface.  I have seen major growth in my own heart and in the lives of others who have worked with this approach to healing.  It works.

I believe that there is something built in to humans, which yearns for that approving parent.  I have found that the ultimate approving parent is our loving Creator.  I believe that the fullness of what we seek in our own Earthly parents can only be found in deep personal relationship with God…our perfect mommy and daddy.  I have found that God loves me exactly as I am.  I have also come to love myself as I am.  I still seek to grow and improve in areas, and I accept myself and love myself in the growing process.

When we get to know ourselves and establish relationship with the Most High, life becomes an exciting mission.  On this mission, we come to expect that there will be resistance.  Often times the resistance comes in the form of disapproving words from others.  Modern society itself seems to be set against the freedom of individuals.  The world system is strategically designed to imprison souls in the cage of insecurity so they will “fit in.”  If your spirit is awakening and you are becoming free, the attacks will naturally become stronger.  The good news is that there is a way and a truth and a life for you.  Seek and you will find.  Once this key is found, the doors to life are wide open and the mission becomes even more exciting.  And then…who cares what people think?

Who are you?  What is your purpose?  What are you going to do about it?

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Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org         also find us on facebook                email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

 

 

 

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What are you willing to do? – Taking action to realize your dreams.

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Taking action to realize your dreams.

By Andres Aguila

 

You have a dream in your heart.  Destiny awaits you.

Our dreams and our visions have been planted in the fertile soils of our hearts and minds and are exuberantly waiting, like baby seedlings, for us to water and nurture them.  The power is in our hands.  As we choose to give attention to our destiny, we will begin to see the manifestation of our dreams.  However, it should be noted carefully that in order to truly fulfill your destiny, you must face many, many fiery trials and tribulations.  No on said the road to fulfillment would be easy, and no one said it would be fair…or if they did, they may have been hallucinating.  The questions then are these:  “How bad do you want it?,” and “what are you willing to do to get it?”

When you begin on the journey of “dream realization”, you should expect immediate resistance.  Not to say that everything will go wrong, and “all hell will break loose,” but a very large portion of it may break loose.  To attempt to predict the sailing waters of the entire journey would be foolish, but making adequate preparations is wise in order to prepare for endurance.  How do we prepare for endurance?  Well, the first preparation is to be conscious that resistance is coming.  The concept of surrender is a very powerful key to victory, but it should not be confused in the heart of the battle of destiny.  Surrender to the Spirit of God, which leads your true destiny is wise surrender.  Surrender to the powers coming in against your fulfillment of destiny is failure.

You are not a failure.  I can say this as a fact without even having met you because you are still here.  You are reading this text, which means you are not a failure.  You may have failed in the past.  You may have had years and years of failures, but you are NOT a failure.  If you hear the voice that says you are a failure, you are hearing the voice of a lie.  When you hear it,  take note of that voice.  Examine how you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Examine how you feel about your dreams when you are listening to that voice.   That voice is the voice of your enemy.  It is the voice of lies and fear.  It is wisdom to know your enemy.  How else can you resist, if you don’ t know what to resist?

Now, to know the voice of your enemy, does not mean to meditate on the voice of your enemy. Listen to that voice only long enough to make an assessment and then shut the voice up.  It is wisdom to keep a journal of some kind and to write down, or record the effects you observed when you heard and listened to that voice of the lie.  To resist the voice of the lie and to dive into the arms of love and truth is the path to your victory and your destiny.

As you choose to submit your dreams and your destiny to God, you will receive more and more clarity as to what to do with your life.  As you are awaiting the specifics, dive in to the general truth of love.  Take time to feed your emotions and your spirit healthy food.  Daily feed yourself with positive affirmations and meditations.  Memorize.  Repeat.  Meditate on truth.  Starve the lies by feeding the truth.  It is a simple concept.

In a dry and desolate mountain village, an old woman goes out to the well every day and it has the exact same amount of water per day.  She lowers the old bucket on the tattered rope and is able to retrieve one full bucket in the morning, one full bucket at noon, one full bucket before dinner, and one full bucket before bed.  She has a small garden in which she grows her food, and she considers the amount of water she will need to drink, to cook,  and to clean. It is not rocket science to realize that it would be foolish to give water to the thorns on the side of the garden…is wisdom to water that, which will bring life and health.  By not watering the weeds and thorns, they will weaken, and will be easy to remove.

You, my partner in this existence, have a limited amount of water per day…and it is the perfect amount. What you choose to give water to will grow.  The attention and energy that you put towards something will create something.  Focus the bulk of your energy towards growing and nurturing that, which will produce love and light in your life.  Yes, it is wisdom to pull the weeds of darkness and to expose the lies, but the greatest way to do so is to feed the great light of love that resides in you, and let the weeds of the lie wither and die.

So then, how far are you willing to go in the pursuit of your destiny?

Are you willing to give up everything…I mean everything…in order to fulfill your true calling?

Are you even willing to give up your dreams in order to receive newer and better ones?

4 simple steps that will not be easy:

1. Feed and water the light in you.

2. Starve the lies.

3. Listen for the voice of love to direct you.

4. Surrender all to fulfill your destiny.

 

 Who are you?  What is your dream?  What are you going to do about it? 

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Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org                                 also find us on facebook                                email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There Has Got To Be More Than Christianity

   There Has Got To Be More Than Christianity

             My first spiritual awakening came as a surprise to me. Growing up in a conservative “Christian” city in the US and attending a Catholic high school, I had no desire for any of what I had seen in religion.  After several years of drug use, selfish sexual activities, violence, and many other dark and egotistic behaviors, I hit rock bottom while on an overseas hitchhiking journey.  I had been away from home for nearly a year and I was ready to end my own life.  I felt I had nothing to live for…no love, no reason to go on, and no purpose in this life.

            In a depressed stupor I realized I needed truth.  Now what “truth” meant…I had no idea.  I sat on a dirt floor in a barn where I had been living with some people in the Fiji Islands.  For some reason I looked at a man and asked him to go on a walk with me to tell me the “truth.”  The man agreed to walk with me.  (There is a lot more detail to this story, in fact I wrote a book about the experience called Broken Man… I am just giving a quick summary here to get to the point of this article.)  The man shared, very boldly, some spiritual insights about light and dark, about heaven and hell, about religious hypocrisy and real spirituality.  He shared with me that I could have true salvation and true life through a relationship with Jesus…and again – three times actually – warned me about the difference between a relationship with God through Jesus, and mere religiousness.  I realized I needed the truth that he was sharing with me.  I prayed.  I asked Jesus to come into my heart and to change my life.

            Ok. The reality is that he did come into me, and he did change my life – tremendously.  BUT…there was another force, still lurking and desiring my allegiance.  The dark force still wanted me, and would spend years with a large variety of tactics to trick me and to deceive me into dead end roads.  The enemy of my soul used temptations such as pride, power, the lure of riches and fame, lust, pornography, adultery, violence, alcohol, drugs, judgments of others, and the ever-old tactic of religiosity.  Yes, one of the main strongholds that Jesus came to expose – that condemning religious spirit, full of doctrine and dogma – the enemy used on me.  Although I did grow and did learn about God, and I did even walk, at times, in personal relationship with God, there was still a lot missing from my life.

            As I continued on the spiritual path, I sought more truth and realized my need for deep emotional healing.  I embarked on a journey to receive that healing.  I began to really receive healing…and yet, there was still something missing.  I had heard the term “community,” but did not really pay much attention to what it meant.  I had heard it used for a variety of social descriptions, each with different levels of intimacy.  Something in me longed for real community.  I had grown up in a broken home and with no strong connection to my mom, dad, or brother, and so perhaps the longing grew even stronger.  I began to attend various organized “churches,” hoping to find a place to fit in.  (I use the quotation marks for the word “church” because I believe that the people are the church, not the building or its doctrine.)  Having no community, and not really finding a place to fit in, I continued my self-destructive behaviors, hiding behind my strong personality and my ego accomplishments.  I left in the wake of my arrogance, two x-wives and four children with broken homes.

            What had happened?  I gave my life to Jesus.  Why had I not been able to stay on the righteous spiritual path and be a light to the world?   Well, part of it was just plain old ego, and part of it was a lack of a real support system.  I needed a tribe.  I needed family to live in community with.  I needed strong genuine accountability.  I needed to live as the early believers did, as they sold all their personal possessions, pooled their resources together and lived as a single tribe, loving one another and caring for one another.

            Now, after 20 years on this conscious spiritual journey, and much personal introspection, I believe that it is nearly impossible to truly be a follower of Christ and not live in community.  The scriptures seem clear about this call to live in community.  The current condition of our modern, fragmented, selfish, and pathetically sick society also seem to point to the fact that community-based, tribal living is the way we are intended to live.  Oh, and by the way…this statement about society includes what is commonly labeled as “Christianity.”

            People claim to be Christians, and yet they hoard material possessions and personal wealth while even attending “church” services with people who are desperately struggling to feed their own children.  I believe that much of the behavior displayed by people claiming to be “Christian” is a classic example of using the Lord’s name in vain.  There has been a move in the “”Christian church” towards material prosperity and ego kingdom building, which has caused great damage, disillusionment, and has destroyed many lives.  Much of this organized religion has also successfully worked to push people far from the faith and hope in the Messiah.

            If you have been hurt by, condemned by, judged by, or otherwise burnt by organized “Christianity,” I encourage you to look beyond the lies and into the truth of God’s perfect love.  There truly is hope and there is real healing for you through relationship with the Messiah.   I believe that deep, life-changing healing comes through total surrender to God…not through religion.  I believe that one of the key aspects to living the surrendered life is to live in community with other believers in Christ who are daily seeking deeper relationship with God and with one another.

            Our doors and hearts are open to those seeking a new life in Christ – a life beyond modern Christianity.  We live on an organic farm in Costa Rica and are working toward sustainability.  If you are interested in learning more, please check out our website at www.Awakening-Soul.org

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The Magic Prayer – Letting go of judgments to gain personal freedom.

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Letting go of judgments to gain personal freedom.

by Andres Aguila

There seems to be a rather strange malfunction in the human existence, which is to separate from other humans.  Rather than working together for a peaceful existence, the normal activity of humans appears to divide.

One of the surest ways that I have found to misery is to judge others.  There is a dark magic that takes place in the act of judging others, which has a boomerang effect and smacks us onto our bums.  Though I am thankful for the humility that comes with such a smack down, I am learning to humble myself and walk in humility rather than waiting for life to do it for me.  The master Yahshua (Yahshua is the original Hebrew name for Jesus) warned us “Do not judge…for in the manner that you judge…you will be judged.”  I believe the seriousness of this statement is not simply for some ethereal afterlife experience in front of some white pearly gates with Saint Pete, rather it is for right now, in this lifetime.

I believe that there is a spiritual law in effect regarding judgment, which governs our ability to be free or not to be free.  Through years of study, as well as years of research in my own life and in the lives of many students and seekers of truth, I have determined that the warning must be true.  When we judge others, we are in essence judging ourselves.  Here again, I am not speaking about simply an ethereal idea of the ego and the oneness of all humanity, although that is part of it.  I am talking about right here, right now; in our face consequences to our actions…and sometimes these returns are devastating.  The bitter seeds of judgment that we plant, if left to grow, form bitter roots, and produce bitter fruits in our own lives.

Even specific judgments somehow return to us, quite often in the same form as the judgment we put out.  I have witnessed both small returns and giant returns, some instant, some slower in return.  Just recently I judged a man as being wimpy for wanting to go to the doctor because of a crick in his neck…the next day I had a debilitating crick in my neck that lasted for days.  I have judged others for many things and then found myself in the same sin I judged.

I heard a story from a man who clearly recounted a time when he heard about another man falling into the trap of molesting a child.   This man recounted that a pastor of a church was asking the people to pray for the guy.  Rather that pray for him, he remembered literally condemning the guy to hell.  Ten years later this man himself fell into the very same trap and then spent years in prison for the offence.  He even assured me that he realized later that his judgment was the very moment the seed was planted for this horrible, bitter fruit to grow in his own life.

How many times have we heard that someone has repeated in his or her own life, the same negative patterns of parents and even grandparents.  Perhaps some of these generational iniquities are handed down in part, or completely, through the judgments we passed on our parents.  The good news is that these bitter roots can be chopped and removed from the garden of our soul.  Many people say, “Just let go of the past.”  The question seems to be: “How?”

I am not saying that I can break these patterns down to a science, but I am saying that after years of farming the fields of my own heart, and guiding others through the process of releasing judgments, I have witnesses amazing, life-changing results.  The mechanics of the removal process is simple, yet it does take work and energy to really go through the process.  The mind is an amazing device, which has the ability and the programming to store everything that has happened in one’s own life (and perhaps in the existence of all humanity – but that would be another discussion).

The process is best done, or at least started, with another person to listen and to help counsel through the journey. The releasing process taps into the past, using our simple and available memory by making a list of every offence ever committed “against” us and everything else we can think of that we have judged anyone for.  This list includes our parents, siblings, friends, x-relationships, other people, and ourselves.  Next, like pinpoint surgery, or specific weed removal, we say a basic prayer of forgiveness and letting go of the judgments passed for each offence.  After each offence is forgiven, we cross it out with a line.  After the list is completed, we burn it so as not to keep any record.

Like gardening with plants, some roots are deeper than others.  Some are easy to remove, and some take more work.  I have seen some roots spring forth repeatedly for years even after saying the prayer the first time.  So what is to be done with these pests…keep at it.  Each time a negative feeling about a person comes up…repeat the prayer.  Just like pulling weeds with deep taproots, keep digging and keep pulling.  The weeds of the past make great compost for the gardens of the future.  If a negative feeling comes up about a new person in life, search the past to see where judgments may remain about mom, dad, an x-relationship, etc.  The new person may remind you, at some level, of a previous experience.  The process of letting go can take years, and roots that did not appear on the initial list will surface at different times and will need to be dealt with.

I have found that by purposing to make the prayer an ongoing part of my life, I have ingrained it into my programming and I am living a much freer and joyful life than ever before. In the moment that I feel offended, I find myself saying the prayer, forgiving them, and releasing judgment.  As a bonus, perhaps my letting go of judgment is also adding to the overall unity of humanity and to the coming reign of peace on Earth.

Choosing not to judge has changed my life.

I believe that prayers come from deep within us, and yet having a basic guide for releasing judgment has been magical in my life and in the lives of many others.

Here is a basic outline for the Magic Prayer:

 

I choose to forgive ______________ for _____________.

(Name)                                   (Offence)

I realize I judged him/her, and now choose to release that judgment.

I am not a judge and am not worthy to judge.

Forgive me for judging.

I bless ____________ in every way.

(Name)

Amen

 

Who are you?  What is your purpose?  What are you going to do about it?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org                                   also find us on facebook                             email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

 

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Successfully Failing At Ambition – New perspectives on success, failure, and ambitiousness.

 Successfully Failing At Ambition

New perspectives on success, failure, and ambitiousness.

By Andres Aguila

success: {1. the achievement of something planned or attempted  2. an impressive achievement, especially the attainment of fame, wealth, or power}

My dad told me several times in my youth that no matter what I do, if I am the best at it, I would be successful.  As a kid, I did not strive much for what the world would call “success,” because I do not think I had found anything to be successful at, which fell within the realm of my natural talents and desires…especially by the definitions of success to the world.  I did not enjoy school, I was not very good at sports, and had not been exposed to much else that I really enjoyed – except nature – and how does one become “successful” at bugs and lizards?

By high school my self-esteem seemed to be quite low, as surely I was basing my own worth on the standard measures of success around me – popularity, athletic ability, and academic ability.  Although I did have friends (and in my opinion, they were “cool” friends) I did not really fit in with the “popular” crowd.  I wrestled, but was better at being folded up like an origami than at victory in the ring.  I possessed intelligence, but lacked interest or drive in schoolwork.   So, with no other definition of  “success,” I suppose I believed myself to be a failure.  With this narrow and bleak outlook, the natural flow of events became negative behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, destructive violence, sexual selfishness, and a generally crappy and rude attitude.

So then, taking the definition of “success” and coupling it with the activities I was beginning to engage in…I began to strive to be the best at those behaviors.  The violence in me led to street fighting, and after experiencing a couple of victories, I strove to be the toughest.  I quickly gained a reputation as a fighter and I began enjoying the fame or “success.”    After learning a few shallow and heartless techniques to manipulate young women, I became intent at “scoring” as many meaningless encounters with women as I could.  I was becoming a successful violent, selfish, womanizing jerk.

Just a couple years in to university I had a spiritual awakening experience after traveling over seas.  With this awakening experience I decided to “give my life to God.”  Finally, I had a new perspective on life, I had meaning and reason to live, and I had a desire to love and to “do good.”  One little issue, among many issues, is that my view of “success” still remained the same.  So now, my intentions became more positive by most standards, and my outward appearance impressed some people…I was well on my way to sainthood.  I was going to be the “best Christian,” the “most righteous,” and of course, famous, for my efforts…because, after all…God would surely want me to be “successful”  – wouldn’t he?   Isn’t that what life is all about?

I soon realized that my heart had truly opened up to help people in need, particularly youth and children.  I began to nurture a vision to build sustainable youth ranches all over the world – places of healing and love for young people in need.  And of course, I wanted to be “successful” at that endeavor, so I would need to make it BIG!

Now how would I fund all of this?  Surely I would have to have a lot of money to buy these farms to support this enormous worldwide project.  So I quickly began exploring business opportunities to fund the vision.  After dabbling with everything from multilevel marketing companies to construction, I figured that the best option for me was in real estate investment.  While still in university, I began purchasing little fixer-upper homes and learning how to remodel them.  I used debt to get a cash flow going…and lots of debt.  Determined to be “successful” at real estate investment, I dove in headfirst.  My goal was to be a millionaire by the time I reached 30 years old.

I also realized that I had been given talents in the arts, and of course these talents must have been given so that I could be “successful” with them.  So now, I must become a famous, righteous, businessman, artist, youth ranch builder…and the best at each.  My expectations of myself continued to mount.

By age 25, married with 2 kids; a bachelors degree in social work; divorced; remarried; a professional artist, showing and selling paintings in fine art galleries; acting on T.V. commercials; modeling professionally; working actively with youth and children; I had about 20 houses as rental properties; and had amassed around ¾ of a million dollars in debt.  In my quest for success I had created a monster of ambition that began to eat at my soul and led to extreme disillusionment in life, which would require very drastic measures in my own heart in order to heal.  I needed an all out revolution.

 

But – I put it off for several more years.  I just didn’t get it.  The “American” ideals of success had been so engrained in me that I could not see far enough past my own ego to realize that the voice of God and the leading of the spirit had nearly faded from my consciousness.  I felt and heard bits and pieces of the leading of the spirit within me, yet, my own understanding and my own ambition still rang so loud that I could not let go of so many of the weights and pressures I had accumulated over the years.  I did make a feeble attempt to escape the world system and the ego kingdom I had built when I packed up my bags and moved my family to Costa Rica in 1999.  I was going to finally pursue my real vision and start the project of self-sustaining youth ranches.

Ha ha ha.

What an arrogant and ignorant little man was I!

I somehow thought that my own efforts, talents, and ego would accomplish this great feat – and would bring “glory to God.”  Though I do believe I had found a location I was called and destined to live in, that little jaunt lasted less than a year.  I simply did not have the understanding, wisdom, maturity, life experience, self-realization, or the endurance to build what I believed I was meant to build.  So, as I returned to the United States with my tail tucked between my legs, I had all the more reason to build up my ego and hide behind my pride.

I was indeed touching on and realizing certain things, which I still believe to be true.  Part of my life mission was to separate from my known world, to let go of attachments to what had been comfortable, and even to live in Costa Rica…The issue was not so much in the physical details of my living environment, as it was the condition of my own heart – the pride, arrogance, lust, selfishness, and the overall submission to the ego, rather than the surrender to the Spirit of God.

Though at many levels, I truly desired a life of surrender to the Most High, I simply did not have a healthy perspective, or the humility to receive such a perspective.  So, as the cliché goes, I would take one step forward and two steps backward.  During this time, through my choices and my ego defense, I ended up hurting many people and failing at many promises.  The only way out of the misery I had created was to blast into the depths of my own heart; to expose my ego in all its separation and darkness; to admit my failures; to receive forgiveness and forgive myself; and to take action for true and lasting change.

And so I plunged – deeper and deeper.  Into the past and into the present, I sought counsel with professional counselors, with spiritual leaders, with friends, with God, and with myself.  I cried, I screamed, I kept journals, and I cried some more.  Through the intense pain of my second divorce, and over a course of about 3 years of very intense “soul searching” and deep heart cleansing, I began to see brighter light, began to feel the leading of the Holy Spirit, and began to live in greater health than I had ever experienced.

With the healing journey and the humility I received, I began shedding ambition as well.  Finally I decided that the time had come to pursue the calling of my heart, which was to return to Costa Rica and to build the vision I had held for so many years.  I had given up my career as a real estate investor and businessman several years before, and was now ready to let go of my attachment to my career as an artist in order to fulfill my deep soul purpose in life.

So I left.  I now needed a new kind of faith – that God could even heal the wake of pain and confusion that I had caused to so many other people, including my own children I had hurt through divorce.  I certainly still needed to learn many lessons and still needed new perspectives – including the desperate need to redefine success, and to let go of all worldly ambition.  Even though I had left behind so much, and let go of so many ambitious pursuits, I still needed more cleansing.  Even the ambition to build such a grandiose project to “prove to the world” that I was successful…I simply had to let it all go.

I was very fortunate to receive many helps along the way to assist me in gaining humility and letting go of attachments.  It would be difficult to count the number of times I was stolen from – even loosing the entire $50,000 nest egg I had invested from the sale of my house.  People have come and made promises, and left without fulfilling them.  Through it all I learned that the project I had been working on all these years, appropriately called, Awakening Soul, was actually, all about me and about the awakening of my own heart.  Yes, over the years many young people have come and are still coming.   Nearly all have had very meaningful and life-changing experiences…the ones who receive the most are the ones who realize that the whole project really about them and their own awakening of the heart.

I am learning that my success does not reside within the eyes of men and women.  My success lives within me, and is not a result of worldly accomplishments.  I have chosen to base my success upon the journey of humility and of love.  I am still in the constant process of healing, called “life.”

 

Who are you?  What is your purpose?  What are you going to do about it?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org                                    also find us on facebook                             email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

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Soul Gardening – Letting humility blossom

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Letting humility blossom.

By Andres Aguila

 

“Through my humility, I become an open channel to be used by the Most High for purposes beyond my limited perspective.”  The Revolution Manual Volume 1 

            What is a weed?  I suppose a weed is anything that grows in a place where it is unwanted.  Each gardener or farmer has his or her own perspective on what is considered to be a weed.  Here in our gardens in Costa Rica, I often pull out weeds in the form of baby mango, papaya, or even avocado trees, in addition to hundreds of other species of plants.  In the U.S. many people consider beautiful edible plants with cute yellow flowers, called dandelions, weeds.

In the garden of the soul, each person has the opportunity to decide what to cultivate and what to uproot.  Though the choice is given to each of us, many do not take responsibility to actively tend their garden.  Just as a neglected flower or vegetable plot will ultimately become filled with strong and persistent “weeds,” so will the soul of a human if not actively cultivated.  The Genesis story of creation states that humans were created and placed in a garden, and that after the choice of disobedience, the labor of tending the garden became more difficult.  I believe this story parallels the story of our own hearts.

For many years I did not even realize my heart was a garden, and certainly had not a clue that tending needed to be done.  The weeds of arrogance and insecurity grew stronger and stronger, along with many offshoots of greed, lust, rage and a plethora of other bitter fruits.  While these bitter plants engulfed my soul garden, my judgments of others multiplied into a border hedge, which kept true intimacy with others impossible.  Though at one point, I did bow my knee in humble admission of my need for God and for the Messiah, the same hedge of arrogance and judgment hindered intimacy with my creator as well.

It seems that much of modern society is somewhat, or completely, unaware of the need to cultivate to the soul garden.  Still others are, perhaps, aware of the need, but are unaware of how to do so.  I have found that the first step in the process is humility.  I must admit my need for God.  I must admit my need for the melting of the ego into oneness with God.  When I decided to embark upon the journey of humility, I realized it would be difficult, and yet I chose, and continue to choose that path.  I continually find that the fruits are well worth the labor.

Modern society seems to be built upon the opposite principle, which is pride.  There is even a popular slogan in the U.S…”American Pride.” Although I do believe that it is good to do our work to the best of our ability, however, I believe it is wasteful to build any self-acceptance or self-worth upon our own accomplishments or status.

The fad of titles has swept society like a title wave, and people appear very impressed.  I am not impressed. Doctor, judge, professor, senator, etc.  Many people appear to want those names in front of their own names in order to gain respect or admiration from others.  I also find it funny how common it has become to place letters after a name on a business card or email tag.  “Bob Pinkowitz FRD, CPA, PHD, LDUR…” Whatever those mean. I remember meeting a guy years ago at a business that told me he was the “Controller” of the business.  I kept from laughing out loud, but walked away quite amused.  (OK, I’ve got to be careful here not to judge.) I have certainly had to deal with issues of control in my own life, and continue to expose them as they come up.  Though I believe that there is a tremendous amount of ego attached to the titles, I do also realize that there are business-marketing reasons for them, and I do not suppose to exalt myself above anyone using titles for their own reasons.  I am just seeking balance here.

Yahshua* stated quite clearly to those who choose to follow him, “Do not ever let anyone call you ‘rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters.  And don’t address anyone here on Earth as ‘father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual father.  And don’t let anyone call you ‘master’, for there is only one master, the Messiah.  The greatest among you must be a servant.  But those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  If we modernize the language a little bit, we could say that the terms “rabbi, father, and master” could be translated to include: “pastor, reverend, apostle, deacon, bishop, cardinal, or pope”…and yet…a vast majority of Christians use such terms to describe the leaders of their organizations.  This seems so weird to me… really weird.

In twenty years of being a follower of Christ, I have only met one head pastor of an “organized church” who told his congregation to just use his first name and to not call him “Pastor.”  Is he the only one who read those words in the Bible?  Incidentally, he was also the most humble “organized” pastor I ever met.  He said often stated that he wouldn’t call me “Artist,” so why should I call him “Pastor.”  He said that he knows he is a pastor and does not need people to call him that to affirm his responsibility to shepherd and to serve people.

I believe that there is a very unhealthy structure in the organized church.  The church has been divided into the “professionals” and the “lay people.”  “Lay people…?”  That term is hilarious.  Some types of denominations actually use that term.  Ironically enough, none of the first 12 disciples that hung out with Yahshua in the flesh were “professional” religious folks.  They were just regular “sinners” or “laymen.”  A big part of Yahshua’s ministry (service) here on Earth was to break down the religious walls of pride and arrogance that held many people in bondage and control by the “professionals.”  So, of course, the religious and political leaders decided to make the new religion called “Christianity…” and control people in the name of Christ.  Whoops.

Now, I am not saying that all that has been done in the name of Christ is bad or wrong, or that everything in the organized church is evil.  I am saying that the path of following Christ has gotten confused and twisted and has become way too professional.  There are many spots and wrinkles that must be washed and ironed out.  I am saying that it is time we humble ourselves, consider letting go of our titles, our professional spiritual résumés, and our silly egoistic “demands” for respect by others so that the true power and love of Christ may consume us.

Again, each of us must choose what we will believe, what and who we will follow, and to what degree we will follow.  I choose to go all the way with my faith, which means exposing every tiny detail of the ego.  For me it means there is no room to hold onto arrogance or defensiveness…neither defensiveness for my own actions, nor the actions of the organized church.  So, I now officially apologize to anyone and everyone who has been hurt, judged, or condemned due to arrogance of Christians or Christianity.  Please forgive me.  Please forgive Christians.  That was not and is not the message of the Christ.  Christ is pure love.

We have a lot of work to do in our soul gardens in order to see true positive change on this beautiful planet.  Rather than whining or complaining about the work – or ignoring the work all together – we can choose to enjoy and embrace the opportunity to learn and experience this incredible farming journey.

If you are interested in reading more about what Yahshua thought about and said to the religious hypocrites, read chapter 23 of Mathew in the Bible…He really lays into them, calling out their inconsistencies and hypocrisy.

I am thinking about making some business cards to hand out to people, to help keep me humble and which describe me…

 

Andres Aguila

Peasant Farmer

DIGS, IN, POOP

 

*Yahshua is the original Hebrew name of the Messiah, now commonly referred to in English as Jesus.

 

Who are you?  What is your purpose?

What are you going to do about it?

____________________________________________________________________________________

Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org                           also find us on facebook                or                  email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

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My Life As A Horse – Hard work, painful lessons, and perseverance

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Hard work, painful lessons, and perseverance

By Andres Aguila

            The dream started at age 19 shortly after I experienced what I call my first spiritual awakening.  No – not a dream to be a horse…the dream to live off the land and to reach out to others, specifically young people, to help them find their own purpose and calling in life.  Having chosen many dark and destructive paths in my own quest for self-realization, I became conscious that I had a message of hope to share with others, which could perhaps assist people in avoiding some of the unnecessary pitfalls I had fallen in.  Still being very young, I had much work to do and much discipline to learn.  I went back to university to get a degree in social work, began working with youth in a variety of settings, from a boys home for troubled youth, to churches, to theatrical productions, and other forms of the arts.  Finally, after more than 15 years of the vision bubbling up, I set out to Costa Rica and bought a farm.  OK, it wasn’t really that simple…there are a couple of books worth of experiences, pain, mistakes, triumphs, arrogance, humility, love, disappointment, and searching before actually landing on a farm.

After spending nearly two years in a particular region in the tropical Central American country, I felt like the time had come to actually purchase land.  I hitchhiked up in to a mountain valley that had sparked my interest after a couple of visits.  Having learned Spanish fluently, I asked the old farmer who offered me a ride, if he knew of any farms for sale in the area for a low price.  “Yes, I know of one that I used to live on as a kid.  They are selling it very cheap.  I can take you there right now.”  So we went.  Fortunately I had a lot of experience in the U.S. in fixing up old dumpy homes, so I didn’t fear upon seeing the abandoned farmhouse.  The land measured at about 13 acres, had year round spring water, virgin rainforests on two sides, some mature fruit trees, and was off the beaten path, but within a short walk to a road with bus service.

I struck a deal for the purchase, and had also bought a 4×4 vehicle.  There were rights to widen the trail, but it had never been done.  We could drive the vehicle up a road to a spot, park, and then walk about a kilometer (half mile) through coffee fields, pasture, and beautiful rainforest on terrain that was more or less level or down hill.  This worked out fine until I lost the entirety of my investment during a U.S. economic hick-up, and became what is commonly referred to in some circles as “broke as a joke.”  The car motor blew out, and even though a friend loaned us some money, the mechanic took so long to get to it that we began to learn and to live the lifestyle of not having a car.

Being only 36 years old, my back could handle the large loads of groceries and supplies up the mountain – I became a horse.  The trail up the front of the farm zigged and zagged to host about 20 to 40 minutes of fun. The students who were coming for the internship program usually came with zeal and strength to carry big loads.  After nearly two years without the vehicle, we realized we could get along fine without it, and traded it away for some farm animals…including two horses.

Patience is something I have been consciously working to attain for many years…and I seem to constantly be presented with opportunities to practice it.  (I think the official term for that learning journey is “life.”)   The guy I traded with had the cow and the 15 chickens right away and was to deliver the 2 horses, 2 goats, and 3 sheep within a month or so.  Well, he wasn’t able to do so.  So after several months of waiting he finally gave me a motorcycle instead of the animals.  The bike had cattle and horses airbrush painted on the tank.  The motorcycle was pretty much worthless to us and so it sat.  By this time in my homesteading adventure, my body had begun to let me know – through pain and soreness – that it was just about finished being a horse.  In fact, after two years of hauling up insane amounts of cargo for my 135-pound body, the pains and aches got to the point that I realized I must make a serious change or I could be doing long-term damage to the vehicle that carries my spirit.  My wife had already gotten to the point that extreme pain in her back would not allow her to carry much more than a hand bag and a couple dozen eggs up.

Like a dove to Noah, some friends offered us their horse in trade for some chickens.  Really, they were sort of giving us the horse to help us out, and wanted us to help them get started with some chickens.  And of course now having chickens for almost a year, we were pretty much experts.  We had increased our flock of 30 or so by at least 4 or 5 babies that had survived our dogs, the record rains of the previous rainy season, and us accidentally killing them by stepping on them, or even throwing a shovelful of dirt.  (OK, not exactly experts.)          Bosque (Pronounced Bos-K) was her name.  It means “forest” in Spanish.  A beautiful, 15 year-old, brown mare with a long black mane and tail, who had been retired, and not ridden for 6 years.  My life changed immediately.  My body thanked me, and I thanked Bosque.  After having to unload and reload the cargo saddle on the side of a steep and narrow trail a couple times, I soon learned how to properly load a horse.  Though she was stubborn (lazy) at times, she became an instant best friend to my 10 year-old son, Talin and to me.  He bonded with her in a very profound way, and we trusted her to take him on journeys alone.  Taurin, our 7 year-old, would climb on her like a jungle gym as she stood and ate.  I had no idea how wonderful of a companion a horse could be.  She was like a big puppy dog, but quiet at night…well, except the times she got out of the stable and ended up chomping grass right outside our bedroom.

We had been chopping down the coffee fields to allow pasture to grow, and along with carrying a sack of weeds from the gardens everyday, we had plenty of food for her while we continued to clear out more coffee and plant more sugar cane.  Friday evening came and it was time for Talin to put her in for the night.  We had been pasturing her in a field with the goats and as I milked Mona Lisa, I called to Talin and told him we could just tie her in the shelter with the goats so she would be closer to the pasture in the morning.  Since we were still working to define our horse trails, it made sense to rest the temporary trail after the rain we had.  He brought her down to me and I tied her to a post.  This is one of those moments in life that I could analyze and replay a million times.  The multiple variations on what I “could have done differently” could surely haunt me if I would let them.  I decided to give her just a bit of rope so that she could eat a lush little patch of imperial grass.

The next morning was Saturday, the day of rest, my day to sleep in.  My wife and I split our sleep-in days, usually she would sleep in on Friday and me on Saturday.  I was in the midst of a dream that I was walking with the friend who gave us the horse and that I had foolishly gotten on a bus when I did not need to. The theme and feeling of the dream was regret for foolishness.  My sudden and rude awakening came to my wife’s screaming my name, “Andres…Andres…Bosque is not moving, she is laying down, and I think she might be dead.  The foolishness and regret in my dream was manifesting in this reality.

“Oh no…Oh no…” I yelled in denial and remorse as I barreled down the hill to find her lying where I had tied her.  I immediately grabbed the machete and cut the rope.  Her body was still warm and yet lifeless.  “Get up Bosque, get up girl…come on, get up…!”  The life essence had departed and there laid only the shell of this good friend.  Now Talin had also come down the hill and we wailed together.  Our bodies folded over the body of our dear companion.  Screams.  Moans.  Tears. Tensing of every muscle.  Regret.  Sorrow.  Guilt.  Shame.  We had instantly entered a deep mourning as the reality became clear that our pal would not be getting up ever again.  Her help and her companionship had come to an end after only two months of knowing her.  “No!!!…No!!!…No!!!…,” I yelled in vain.

“I am so sorry buddy…I am so sorry…” I cried out to Talin.  “Please forgive me…oh please forgive me for killing our friend…I didn’t know…I didn’t mean to.”

I thought of some neighbors who had recently experienced the same thing…and ultimately had even been a warning that I obviously did not heed.  They had tied a slipknot, and the terrain had been steep.  I tied a firm knot and the terrain was relatively flat so I thought it was safe.  I never did figure out how she had fallen or strangled.  The rope was not tangled and the knot was secure.  Some details must just not be meant to know.  The pain was the consuming detail of the day.

Without much time to wait, I needed to bury this massive animal before flies and vultures learned of my foolish mistake.  Although the boys usually pitch in quite a lot with the farm work, I decided not to ask them for assistance.  There were no students on the farm at the time, and my wife was still recovering from the back pain due to having been a horse herself.  Tears and sweat fell to the already moist earth that day for hours as I plunged deeper.  The choice of burial location had been easy…down hill from where she laid. As the sun blazed, so did my mind with questions.  “Why had this happened?  What is the deeper meaning and lesson here?  How could I act so foolishly?  Now what do we do?”  I questioned the whole cycle of life and death.  Why was it that as I cried and mourned the death of a horse, I felt no sadness while I killed countless earthworms, bugs, and grass while digging?

We had no money and were operating on a budget that left us with about $20 to go to town with each week.  Our product sales at the farmers market gave us just enough to buy groceries each week.     Reality kicked in.  “I am a horse again.”

After several hours, once I felt the grave was large enough, I called my wife for assistance to pull the body in.  Surprisingly I was able to move her by myself, but had Zahrah pull the tail right at the last heave, as I yanked from inside the tomb.  My loving partner embraced me, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are forgiven.  Let it go.”  The blessing of that truth rang true to the core of my soul.  My belief in God, and in the forgiveness through Christ rang loud that day, as I remembered that forgiving myself was also part of the package in this amazing mystery of faith and of life.

I volunteered to go to the market the next week, instead of my wife who usually goes, so that I could also take care of the business of getting rid of the motorcycle.  I met with a man who wanted the bike and who said he had some horses he would trade for it.  Though the price seemed high on the horses, I told him I would consider it.  I slept nearly the entire hour-long bus journey back to our valley.  Upon waking, it hit me again…Bosque is dead and I am the horse again.  Sitting at our bus stop, with 5 backpacks full of supplies and only little Taurin, age 7, to help me, I held back tears as my thoughts shuffled to figure out even how to get the stuff to the neighbor’s house for temporary storage.  Hiking up the hill, depression and hopelessness sang me their sad songs, while bitterness and anger chimed in.  My combat technique worked, as I began to say out loud, things I was thankful for.  “I am thankful for these strong legs. I am thankful for these boots.  I am thankful for my wife.  I am thankful for the kids. I am thankful to live in this paradise. I am thankful for this farm.  I am thankful for your grace, God…” I kept stating things until I neared the house.  Gratitude is good medicine.

After discussing it with the family, we decided to make the trade for the horses.  A week later the man showed up down the mountain with 3 beautiful horses.  One of the horses looked strikingly similar to Bosque.  Talin looked at me and said, “Dad, right when I touched this horse, I felt like half of me came back.”  My heart swelled with joy to hear those words.  The journey went up and down and wound around, but finally, we received the completion of our trade for our 4×4 and settled in with our new companions…who of course brought their own set of challenges…

My period of mourning lasted a total of about a week, and manifest as sadness, stressful tension, and crabbiness.  I thank God for the grace, patience, and wisdom of my wife who helped me through it. This experience also helped me to search my past and into the disappointments of loss of relationships with friends, family, and loved ones.  I believe that part of the journey in this life is to learn to let go of guilt and shame for any and all past failures or mistakes. Though I certainly still do not have the answers to the mystery of life and death, I have become a bit more accepting of the cycle and of the fact that at this point, I am smack dab in the middle of it.  I will keep pressing on toward the finish line.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Andres and his wife, Zahrah facilitate internships, empowerment counseling, and natural healing on a beautiful organic farm in Costa Rica. For more information about Awakening Soul; the vision of living in community; and for free downloads of Awakening Soul music, books, and other articles, visit:

 www.Awakening-Soul.org                             also find us on facebook                       or         email -  1AwakeningSoul@gmail.com_

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