Friday, May 8, 2009

Creating a Magical Life

One of my all time favorite books is, Oh the Places You'll Go, a children's book by Dr. Seuss. It is full of profound, humorous, yet practical life wisdom, for how to create and live a magical life. The book starts off like this:

"Congratulations! Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!You're off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

Dr. Seuss understood the magic that we all possess intrinsically. You do have the ability to steer yourself any direction you choose. That is because you are the great magician of your own life! And your magic is far greater than you could possibly imagine. Encoded within all of our spirits DNA, are magical powers of enormous capabilities. These powers include: Visualization and Manifestation, the Law of Attraction and the ability to create mental, emotional and physical states of being. And besides these powers, we also have embedded in our souls, ruby red slippers, a magic wand, a cape and magicians hat, which we can access at any given moment. And with these powers and tools, comes the ability to manifest virtually anything we could ever desire-anything... I decided to look up the word "desire" in the dictionary. One of the definitions is: to ask for; request something. So, to "desire" something is actually to ask for, request something from the universe. And with a strong enough "desire," we can actually pull something toward us, in a metaphysical sort of way. The amazing thing is, the universe is set up to give us the wishes of our heart. But, it only works according to our faith and intensity of our desires.

Our lives are meant to me magical, enchanting. The spiritual realm is full of magic and mystery, as is the physical world. The magic is all around us. We live in a magical universe. It is only when we lose our connection to spirit, or become negative and cynical, that life becomes dull and unmagical. Whether we realize it or not, we are all using our magic positively or negatively anyways, either consciously to our benefit or unconsciously to our demise. It is impossible not to use it. It is a free gift of the spirit.

Magic is something we all secretly yearn for. Look at the appeal of Disneyland to the general public. I believe, it's because somewhere inside of us, we know that magic is possible. We all hope that somehow, someone or something will arrive and wave that magic wand and then our lives will suddenly transform. But, what we don't realize, is that we all have the power to create magic in our own lives NOW. We don't need someone else to waive the wand for us. In fact, waiting for someone else to do it for you, is like waiting for rain in the desert, while at any given moment, you could dig a well and tap into a unlimited supply of water.... So stop waiting for something outside of you to give you magic. Just waive your magic wand, accept your God given power and use it to unleash the magic residing within you.

To create magic, you need to do these 5 things:

#1) Believe in magic (believe in and accept that you have magic power inside you at your disposal)
#2) Keep your mind totally positive (understand that like energy attracts like energy)
#3) Stay close to the source of enchantment, mystery (the creator, the great genie of the universe)
#4) Watch the company you keep (a rich, enchanting life requires you surrounding yourself with people who are believers in the magic as well)
#5) Practice creating magic in your life regularly (take out your magic wand and magicians hat, put them on, and access their power)

One last bit of advice on Creating a Magical Life is, to act is if you are a powerful magician. Even if you don't feel like it, you can bluff your way into the magic. Pretend you are magic. In my former clothing business, I had one particular young men's t-shirt line with a cartoon hero character on it. I found that I actually had to become the hero character on the t-shirts, to act and think as if I were him, in order to be able to draw forth the inspiration I got, for the ideas for the designs. There is power in acting as if you are something that you are not at the moment. By acting as if you already are something, you bring the magic to become that something right to you. It's time for you to start acting like the great magician that you really are. It is time for you to unleash the magic and create a magical life.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Giving in to Letting Go

I remember the first time I heard this concept-the idea of letting go, the power of surrender. I thought it was ludicrous. I have always been a go getter. And I have always been able to make things happen, to go after and achieve the results that I wanted to achieve. I was involved in a lot of sports when I was growing up (basketball, football, track, and soccer). And I learned to excel at most of them, by being aggressive, by using that bull headed, take charge mentality. It wasn't until many years later, that I learned there was a higher power I could incorporate into my life and actually accomplish more, by not pushing so hard. It is a Hindu teaching called The Law of Least Effort, or "do less and accomplish more." The idea behind this is that when we are pushing hard to accomplish something, we are rigid in our approach, and we are not acting in harmony with natural laws. Also, in this state of mind, we are most often coming from a place of "I" can do this. "I" can make this thing happen, which is the ego operating and not our highest selves. And don't get me wrong, there are people who produce, or who have produced great results this way, that have achieved a lot of success and abundance in their lives. I know, I was one of them. The problem with this type of approach though, is that you eventually run out of energy, or you become rigid and break under pressure, or you cause yourself a lot of unnecessary pain and stress. And you also keep out the presence that would gladly help you achieve your desires.

There is a better way to do things, a more natural way. That way is what I call, Giving in to Letting Go, or The Law of Least Effort. Lao Tzu said, "An integral being knows without going, sees without looking, and accomplishes without doing." The word integral is synonymous to being integrated, whole, or integrated in mind, body and spirit. When we operate from a place of being integrated, we are more balanced, poised, flexible in our approach, more aligned with the natural order of things, and more aligned with spirit. Deepak Chopra had this to say about The Law of Least Effort in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, "This law is based on the fact that nature's intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. This is the principle of least action, of no resistance. This is, therefore, the principle of harmony and love. When we learn this lesson from nature, we easily fulfill our desires."

In our culture, we are all about convenience and instant gratification. We all want success and we want it now. This is not what Giving in to Letting Go is about. It is not about being lazy and just waiting for things to come to you, or about instant gratification. But, it is about staying in tune with the natural order of things, being patient, and accomplishing things gradually, like nature. It is about keeping the spiritual aspect first in your life and always coming from a place of being spiritually full. There is a scripture from the Bible that really sums it all up, in Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. " When we take time to go to the source, to stay connected to the source, we are able to utilize a greater power to accomplish everyday things. Giving in to Letting Go is also about using visualization, positive affirmations, will power, in short, using our God-given resources to attract the things we desire, using the spiritual gifts we have been given, to create. Giving in to Letting Go is about surrendering to a higher will and design for our lives. It is about non-attachment to results, or not expecting things to go a certain way. This means remaining flexible. If you are pushing and pushing and nothing is happening, or things are not happening the way you want them to, then let go. Maybe it's not the right timing, or you are not ready yet, or maybe there is a better way to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish. Be patient, listen to your spiritual promptings and guidance. Breathe and meditate upon the things you are trying to bring forth, allowing spirits presence to come into play. Taste the sweetness and ease of living and accomplishing your goals and desires in a new way, Give in to Letting Go and watch the magic flow...

Copyright Justin Topik 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Courage to Be You

Today is your lucky day. I am going to put in your hand, right now, the ticket to your success, the inspiration you may be searching for, to unlock the courage to be you. You were created on purpose, for a unique, divine and noble reason. You are an incredible, magnificent creation. No one anywhere in the world can duplicate your unique expression of your gifts and talents. No one can offer your community, the world, your unique contributions. Your unique dharma is truly yours and yours alone. And right now, you have everything you could possibly need within you, to become a glorious new creation and to bring forth a glorious new life.

Sometimes, on our journeys toward a more authentic life though, we have to bravely and boldly walk through gloomy places and unmarked streets, just to find our way. I was actually excommunicated, or kicked out of the church I was raised in, for being me, for walking my path. I learned quickly, you can become quite unpopular by your peers and community for thinking outside of their box!!! Many of my long time friends even turned me away for this and wouldn't have anything to do with me anymore. For a long time, my family even turned their backs on me. But nonetheless, I have continued to blaze my own trails through the wilderness of life, because I am not interested in finding acceptance from family and false friends who don't accept me for who I am. I am only interested in fulfilling the dictates of my soul, walking to the beat of my drum and fulfilling my destiny...

And this is where courage comes into play. Discovering who you are is the easier part, while having the courage to be who you are, regardless of others support, approval or understanding, is oftentimes the more challenging and critical part! Even though we are all equipped with all the skills, talents and inspiration we need to make our lives work for us, we have to find within
ourselves the courage to be uniquely ourselves. We also have to find the courage to announce and declare ourselves to the world, or as Walt Whitman said to, "Sound your barbaric yawp over the rooftops."

We all have inborn impulses that urge us onward toward our goals, toward our life's path. Our souls know the agenda we have come here to fulfill. We also have core values and inner impulses that are motivating factors behind all decisions that we make and all actions that we take. Though no one else can do it for you, I promise you, you have what it takes to be magnificently successful at being authentically you. Allow the beautiful person waiting inside of you to come more fully to the surface as each moment passes. Let yourself, and the world around you, know the joy and fulfillment that is meant just for you to experience and express. If others disapprove of you, or give you a hard time, don't worry about it. Just understand that it is probably only because they're envious or jealous of you for living passionately and for reaching for and seeking a higher station in life, that they have probably never allowed themselves permission to go after, or found the courage to reach for.

There is an intense power in knowing who you are and what you want out of life. When you have defined your life's mission and values, and you start to act on them, regardless of how others view you, or talk about you, or even treat you, then you can then make every day of your life more fulfilling than the last - and you will experience a new euphoria, a new optimism for life!

It takes great courage to stand up for, and go after the life you wholeheartedly desire and deserve. It takes great courage to be uniquely, authentically, and passionately you...
I would like to end this today with the lyrics to a song I wrote titled:

My Cup of Tea

Sometimes I go walkin' and I cant seem to find my own way
Well it's gettin' late and I'm frightened, but this happens everyday
I get turned upside downside inside out
Sometimes I feel like water from a water spout
And I'm splashin' all around
and I'm a crashin' to the ground
But I guess that's the price that I've gotta pay
For being different in a different way
But it sure suits me well
Yeah it sure suits me well

Cause I don't care what I should do Where I should go, who I should be
And I don't care about the clothes I should wear I just wanna be free and be me
Cause being like you and everyone else just ain't my cup of tea

Sometimes I get lost when I'm strollin' down my own road
There are not too many on the path I'm on

And the streets aren't always paved with gold
But I'll take the road less traveled any day
And I don't care what the people say
Sometimes I'm lost but then I'm found
And I'm a crashin' to the ground
But I guess that's the price that I've gotta pay
For being different in a different way
But it sure suits me well
Yeah it sure suits me well

Cause I don't care what I should do Where I should go, who I should be
And I don't care about the clothes I should wear I just wanna be free and be me
Cause being like you and everyone else just ain't my cup of tea

I sit and watch the blind as they follow the blind
And I thank the Lord above that I'm not the sheepish kind

Repeat Chorus

Cause being like you and everyone else just ain't my cup of tea
No being like you and everyone else just ain't my cup of tea

-Copyright Justin Topik 1998

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Being Present

In today's world of busyness, one of the greatest gifts we can offer others, is just being fully present. Everywhere you look, there is so much hustle and bustle, so much to do, so much visual and auditory stimulation. Life is moving at lightning speed and yet, there is so very little peace. We have mastered the art of busyness, but very few people it seems, know how to just be present anymore. In fact, just this morning, my mother came over to watch my kids so I could go to work. And right when she arrived, she started saying,"OK guys so where do you wanna go today?" And I said, "Mom, just stay here and play with them. They need that." But my mother, although she is a nice person, has very little inner peace and can't just sit still very long. I think it is sad too, because kids really need adults to be present with them. They get so little of that anymore. We as a society, are so busy running around, doing this and that, going here and there. We have forgotten how to be present!

I find it ironic how in our society, oftentimes we are so busy trying to capture the moment, that we miss the moment. I watch people constantly with their cameras and camcorders, exerting so much energy to capture that picture, perfect moment. And it's not that there is anything wrong with taking pictures or making family movies. But it seems to me, that if you are always trying too hard to capture the moment, you oftentimes end up missing the moment. Deepak Chopra said in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, "The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called 'the present'." There is power in being present, in being in the moment. In fact, the moment is where all the power is. What good is spending so much time and energy trying to capture the moment, if you have to exert all your attention to that, and actually miss out on the joy, the experience, of whatever is right at hand, or what is going on in the moment?

I am a big believer in the power of meditation, as I have been practicing for over ten years now. I have learned through yoga and meditation how to be fully present. Also, I have learned how to quiet my mind and be still, and how to actually enjoy and be OK with the quietness. It is something I think you have to grow into. When your mind is still and you focus on the nothingness, your deep breathing, and on just listening to spirit, you can tap into a great source of stillness, peace, and presence. I am sure you know the scripture in the Bible, Psalms 23:2, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." To me, this is all about growing into a closer union with God/spirit, and how peace, if you let it, can take you over and become a more integral part of your daily life. When you commit to the practice of yoga and meditation, you will notice that you will be more able accept your life as it is, and that it becomes easier to be present in your environment, wherever that may be.


Copyright Justin Topik 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Life's Wisdom

Life's Wisdom is all around us. We don’t have to look far to find it. Life is constantly bringing us lessons to learn from and teachers to inspire us to greater understanding and purpose. There is a Hindu proverb, "The wise person looks within his heart and finds eternal peace." So with that being said, wisdom is much more than just knowing how to do a lot of different trades. It is more than knowing how to be successful in life, or mastering science, math, language, the arts, etc. Wisdom is understanding that you are a three part being: mind, body and spirit, and honoring the spiritual aspect as an active part of your life. It seems this is the part that is most often left out in modern culture. And sadly, the spiritual aspect is completely left out of our traditional educational system.

We get so caught up in our lives, that we oftentimes neglect one of the most important reasons I believe, for our being on this earth-learning life’s wisdom. Making time for growing in wisdom is one of the most important things we can do. I was just teaching my kids this concept, during our spiritual lesson this morning on "wisdom". I know if I didn't take time everyday to go to my source, I would be living without a lot of passion and inspiration.

Wisdom is understanding your place in the great spectrum of things, your part to play. It is knowing that you are just a small part in the circle of life, but an integral part nonetheless. It is not having all the answers, as no one does, but it is knowing where to go for the answers. Wisdom is knowing you are connected to a life source and that you are only as healthy and strong, as beautiful, as powerful, as creative and intelligent, as is your connection to this source. Wisdom is knowing that all things emanate from a source, and without a source, life wouldn't and couldn't exist. There is a quote from the Bhavagad Gita, one of the sacred Vedas, "I am the divine seed of all that lives. In this world, nothing animate or inanimate exists without me." Wisdom is understanding that you are a piece of the divine. Wisdom is staying close to and connected to your source, going to it everyday for clarity, guidance, support and nourishment. Wisdom is knowing and trusting that this source is guiding and directing your life. Wisdom is saying, "God I know what I want. You know what I need."

Wisdom is honoring the divine mother (mother earth), and taking from the earth what is needed and nothing more. It is understanding your connection to all of life, and honoring the sacredness of "all" life. It is honoring the sacred, spiritual teachings of all cultures, knowing there is much to be learned from all traditions. Wisdom is giving thanks to the creator for each new day, and knowing there is a sacred rhythm to all of life and trying to stay in tune with it. Wisdom is treating your body with respect and reverence, as well as the earth, knowing it is an extension of your body. It is knowing that all things in this world are temporary and impermanent. Wisdom is knowing there is enough of everything in this world for all of us. In fact, there is more than enough to go around, and therefore, no one needs to hoard anything. Wisdom is knowing that what we can see, touch, taste and smell, is only a small portion of reality, that there is a whole other dimension to life beyond the senses-a spiritual dimension.

One final and important point I’d like to make here, is that wisdom is not just walking around with your head in a book, or meditating night and day under a bodhi tree. It is practical, useful and oftentimes simple. I know from experience, that the deeper and deeper I have gotten into yoga and meditation, the more childlike, I have become. There is wisdom in simplicity, generosity, giving to your neighbors and in laughing, rejoicing and being present in the moment.

Copyright Justin Topik 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dare to Live the Life of Your Dreams

If I told you that you have in your back pocket right now, the instructions for living the life of your dreams, would you take them out and read them? And after that, would you actually apply them? Now these are kind of tricky questions. Some of you are probably thinking, yeah duh... of course I would, while others may be thinking, hmmm.. I am not so sure. That sounds a little bit frightening. Some people decide to live the life of their dreams, and they just go out there and really live it up. They create a sublime experience of life, a masterpiece so to speak, while others, although they may really want to have this kind of life, are afraid of taking responsibility for, and of creating and designing this type of life. They are afraid of the work and commitment involved.

There is a Chinese proverb, "Better to make a net than to yearn for fish at the edge of a pond." I know it may sound a bit funny, but to live the life of your dreams, you have to plan to succeed, work your plan and be proactive. Those are the essential ingredients for the recipe of success. There are also other essential ingredients. These include: practicing positive thinking religiously, risking looking like a fool for your dream, studying successful, passionate people's lives, and modeling what they do. Then, there is visualization, actually seeing yourself doing what it is you want to be doing. And last but not least, you've gotta take action.

You absolutely have the choice to live the life of your dreams, to live deliberately. We all do. Everything in life is a choice. And with that being said, everyone has something valuable to offer, something to contribute, to do from his or her essential nature. Thoreau said, "I wish to learn what life has to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived."

Be who you are, do what you do,

stick to your ideals, and love to be you!
-Justin Topik

So you wanna know how to live the life of your dreams starting today. Mike Dooley said, "The best way to live the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams Today, in every little way that you possibly can." Quit waiting for the perfect day to take action and do something you believe in. We all know people who complain endlessly about what they're gonna do someday, how they're gonna live someday, and so forth. You know the type-everything today is horrible, but someday, it’s all going to become magically perfect, right? The funny thing is, most of these complainers have one thing in common, they always speak of "someday," but never really have a plan for how to get there today. They don’t take those crucial steps toward making someday be TODAY.

Purpose, intention, vision, and determination, these four things are crucial on the path to reaching your goals. The only way to reach your goals is to SEE yourself doing them now. Focus your intention and clearly SEE yourself in your dreams, reaching your goals today. And each and every day, do everything in your power to live the life of your dreams in every small way that you can. Now just go on and do it! Don’t think about it, don’t worry about it, and don’t be afraid of anything! As Nike says, just do it!!! Live bold, or die trying.

Copyright Justin Topik 2009