Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | March 11, 2017

Sweat Lodge Life Lesson

Today was another wonderful, tough, sweat lodge with The Stone Peoples Lodge in Northwest Georgia. I hadn’t sweated in probably 18 months but went last month. Last month and the previous 3 or 4 sweats/lodges were pretty tough for me. Tight quarters. Leg and back cramps. Strenuous breathing with all the steam. And the list of excuses goes on and on.

Today I went with a different intention. I logically know that if I go into a lodge with the intention to support others on their journey, through their experience, then my experience will be much easier. Well, I committed to this intention with a 75% commitment rate. And today, I probably had more of my own physical issues than on the previous several sweats. What I’ll say are allergies kicked in yesterday morning. Feels like golf balls in my throat. Runny nose. Feeling of sand being kicked in my eyes. General lethargy.

You know, Blah blah blah blah blah, with excuses to pull attention to myself.

Well, while standing in line to go into the lodge, waiting to get smudged, I was talking a little bit about the allergy symptoms when I realized it may not have anything to do with allergies. Maybe the symptoms I’m feeling are gentle nudges of energies ready to released in the lodge. hmmm.

I went into the lodge with the intention to support others. I was even ok if I didn’t “make the cut or limit” of only 25 people in the lodge, since we had 30 in it the previous month and it was a very “cozy” lodge. I truly had no expectations and no agenda. I’m at this lodge to see whom I can support.

Well, I made it into the lodge and had a wonderful experience. Yes. It was another very hot lodge. But I didn’t have my attention on how I was feeling because there were 3 or 4 people who were really having a hard time with it.  They were moving through their own limitations and keeping the commitment to themselves to stay in and ride it to the end.

Another opportunity for me to see how much easier life gets when I get the attention off of myself and focus on helping others. I know all I need to do is sit quietly and ask for guidance on what to do next. Life can be, and is, this simple.

The more I sit quietly, or even just breathe in the moment, and stay aware of Spirit, My Higher Sacred Self, the more clearly I hear guidance on what to do next. And usually, I am taken care of beyond my wildest dreams and expectations when I focus on being there for others.

I’m so grateful for another reminder of how easy life can be when I live a Spirit Guided Life!

Thank You Angels.

Thank You Spirit!

Thank You my Higher Sacred Self.

Now . . .

Sit Quietly.

Be Aware.

Feel Love and BE the Transformer.

Namaste

#LoveWins #LoveIsAllThereIs #HigherSacredSelf #SpiritDrivenLife #StonePeoplesLodge #LifeLesson

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Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | March 11, 2017

Laugh At Me! I’m Pregnant

Yup. You guessed it. Another opportunity to laugh At me. As you already know by now, the main philosophy that runs my life is . . .

I don’t care if people are laughing with me or at me, as long as we’re laughing. And usually, it’s AT me.

Well, a week or so ago, I went to a new dentist. As with any first time visit to a healthcare practitioner, or any professionals’ office, these days, your visit starts by answering all of these questions regarding past and current medical conditions. Great.  Didn’t notice anything different about this set.  I even signed the HIPAA Privacy Protection guidelines, blah blah blah blah blah.

I was called back to an exam room and the series of pictures and more specific dental questions started. So, 25 minutes into the appointment I’m still meeting with the dental assistant. Without any major surprise, she says “So I see you checked the “yes” box, that you are pregnant. At least you didn’t put a due date.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

I remember seeing the question on the form and thought, “Hmmm.  I usually leave this question unanswered. Today I’ll check the “no” box.” Well, somehow I checked the “yes” box.

Who knew a 55 year old man could get pregnant? I didn’t.

But on the other hand, maybe something I’ve been thinking about starting is being born soon. This could be a sign. Who knows?

What I do know, is when you’re starting to take life too seriously and need a little chuckle, think of me. Think of me carrying a baby to full term.

Namaste. Feel Love and BE the Transformer!

#LaughAtMe #ForAGoodLaugh #LightenUp

 

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | January 7, 2017

It’s all Fake News, how are You choosing to respond?

I just watched a TEDx talk about “astroturf” news. Who knew this even existed. We’ve all heard about “grass-roots” efforts and how it’s grass-roots efforts that actually produce results, etc. Well, “astroturf” is when the third-party researchers and the so-called grass-roots organizations are actually all made up by special interest groups that ultimately have some product to push. It was quite fascinating to listen to these viewpoints. I’ve also attacked “Big Pharma” and “Big Oil” and other so-called special interest groups and this talk was exposing some of this.

We’ve also heard reports about more “fake news” being shared numerous times on social media. I’m realizing it’s all fake news.

I have several friends who are still reeling in fear about the election. I’ve listened to many different sides on this one too and in all the hub-bub about what “should or shouldn’t” happen or what “should or shouldn’t HAVE” happened or “can you believe what was just said?” and all of that, I keep coming back to one, basic truth for me, one reminder for me to do only one thing.

Take the time to do whatever spiritual practice will work in that moment and allow a quieter mind to unfold. Allow a quieter mind to unfold that is neutral; free from the things I judge as positive that I want more of and free of the things I judge negative that I’ll do anything to get rid of. In that quieter mind, I already have all of my own answers. My answers that work for me.

If I continue to place my morning intention firmly in place “All of my actions, thoughts, feeling and intentions align for my highest good and the highest good of all concerned.” then how can I do any harm?

Thursday morning I received a voicemail message from one of my vendors telling me that a form I submitted was signed but the data was incomplete and it would all need to be initialed by the client again or completed accurately and signed by the client with a current date. I exploded. What a waste of time this is eating into time that I could be “Productive”. I was so angry at myself that I hadn’t double checked everything before I sent the form for processing and that I would now have to bother the client, look stupid and all in all, “waste time” having to redo it. I even looked at the documents I knew I had completed clearly before sending to the client for signatures and the pdf files were blank. Very very strange. How could these pdf files be blank but they are blank? How?

In the midst of all of this anger, I had a small, spider web thread connection/remembering to something I heard earlier in the week while listening to one of Daniel Scranton’s YouTube videos. “What vibration do you want to bring to the situation, any situation?” Hmmm. What vibration do I want to bring to this situation?

I went to the altar. I sat for a moment and felt my anger. Yes. I even asked over and over – Why? Why? Why? Why? What possible good could come from this? Why? Why? Why? But, what vibration do I want to bring to this situation?

Allowing these questions to be asked and allowing my brain to run wild, gave those voices a safe space to be heard. By being heard, they left. In that moment, I came back to the question “What vibration do I want to bring to this situation? Who do I want to be in this situation?” I chose to come from a place of knowing that I am always in control of how I react and respond no matter what is happening. I am the one choosing. Am I choosing to respond motivated by fear or am I choosing to respond motivated by love. I’m choosing love and peace.

I went a did something else for a few minutes and then reopened the files. I still need the client to sign and date the forms again, but I don’t need to take the time to complete the forms again because the pdf files were already completed. Now, how did that happen? It doesn’t matter how.

What matters is I am reminded that I am the one who chooses how to respond and react in every moment of every day. Love or Fear. I also was reminded that I have my own answers inside. I can always take the time to breathe, relax, and allow whatever is happening to occur. It’s only my judgments on a situation that cause me to suffer.

It is what it is and it isn’t what it isn’t.

It is what it is and it isn’t what it isn’t.

Life can be this simple when we have fake news offered to us 24/7 and we choose to listen from a place of love and then respond from the same place, love. As long as I’m motivated by taking action that aligns for my highest good and the highest good of all concerned, it’s not my job to police others nor their motivations.

Enjoy a more peace-filled, love-filled moment.

#Peace #ChooseLove #LoveWins #FakeNews #ChoosePeace

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | November 5, 2016

Please don’t tell my Atlanta suburban friends

It’s official. I am happy to report I’ve returned to city life. Almost 15 years of living in Atlanta suburbs and I moved into the city 6 weeks ago. I took a MARTA bus for the first time. I’ve taken trains to and from the airport and a few other times but never a bus.
True confession. I didn’t leave the apartment quite early enough and I saw the #27 pass me on Cheshire Bridge Rd. Ok. I’ll walk a block and catch the #30. At Woodland. Great. There’s one coming. But I was a half block from the bus stop so I got to see it, also from the outside, as it passed me. Two more blocks and I’ll get the #6 at Lavista. Finally on a bus. 
And who knew I could have loaded my Breeze Card on the MARTA app and saved a drive to the Lindbergh Station last night?
Already past the Five Points station on my way to the airport and I don’t have to pay for any parking!!! Yay! 
Now make sure you’re sitting down . . . 5 day trip, all packed in a carry on bag, including a suit for the funeral. I should have flown Southwest and then I could have checked a bag. I avoid those pesky $25 baggage fees as much as I can.
And by the way, I could get used to this public transportation thing. Let the car sit.
#itsmarta #letthecarsit 

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | November 5, 2016

Please don’t tell my Atlanta suburban friends

It’s official. I am happy to report I’ve returned to city life. Almost 15 years of living in Atlanta suburbs and I moved into the city 6 weeks ago. I took a MARTA bus for the first time. I’ve taken trains to and from the airport and a few other times but never a bus.
True confession. I didn’t leave the apartment quite early enough and I saw the #27 pass me on Cheshire Bridge Rd. Ok. I’ll walk a block and catch the #30. At Woodland. Great. There’s one coming. But I was a half block from the bus stop so I got to see it, also from the outside, as it passed me. Two more blocks and I’ll get the #6 at Lavista. Finally on a bus. 
And who knew I could have loaded my Breeze Card on the MARTA app and saved a drive to the Lindbergh Station last night?
Already past the Five Points station on my way to the airport and I don’t have to pay for any parking!!! Yay! 
Now make sure you’re sitting down . . . 5 day trip, all packed in a carry on bag, including a suit for the funeral. I should have flown Southwest and then I could have checked a bag. I avoid those pesky $25 baggage fees as much as I can.
And by the way, I could get used to this public transportation thing. Let the car sit.
#itsmarta #letthecarsit 

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | September 29, 2016

The joys . . . and stresses . . . of moving. Ha ha ha ha ha

The city kid has finally moved back into the city after almost 15 years of the Atlanta suburbs. After all, I am a Chicago high-rise dweller at heart. From the first night here, sleeping on the floor so the cat wouldn’t be alone here, I knew it was time to move back into town. I’ve never lived ITP (Inside The Perimeter) since moving to Atlanta in 2002. It just feels right to be here. I’m on the third floor, living in a tree house. All of the windows give me views right into trees. And I think several of the trees will keep their leaves all winter. I love living in Atlanta!

I saw a sign for a new trail within walking distance of the new place. Today was the morning to explore it. Here are some videos I took while walking it. Great way to start the day with a hike of almost 4 miles.

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The laughter comes a couple of hours later. My “healthy go to snack” when the salt cravings kick in, is a jar of black olives. I must have been really tired the other night because I put a jar of what I thought were olives back in the fridge. Well, it’s a jar of liquid. There are no olives in the jar. Ha ha ha ha ha. I looked at the jar just now and realized that there is only liquid in it. I guess this move has been a little more trying on my body, And Mind, than I originally thought.  Again, the philosophy that runs my life . . . I don’t care if people are laughing with me, or at me, as long as we’re laughing.  And usually, it’s AT me.

Who wants to come to help me unpack? This is the big jigsaw puzzle game ahead of me for the next few days; how do I fit all of this stuff into a 2 bedroom, 2 bath place?

We won’t even talk about how much fun it was moving the piano the other night. That’s a whole story on its own . . .

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | August 28, 2016

When you’re going through hell, just keep moving!!!

Three to five years ago I was going through a personal hell. I’ll share those details in another post. Today, I’m sharing a Big Win!!! For the past 6 to 8 months, I’ve been trudging through a mental fog that has kept me distracted from what matters and what is important in my life. Yesterday I received the benefits of moving through, feeling, and Clearing those limitations from the past 8 months.  Because I kept moving, day to day, moment to moment, and continuing my spiritual practices, last weekend a great sense of peace, focus, and clarity came over me after one of the processes in the Oneness Awakening Course that I was facilitating.  This entire week I’ve had more focus, clarity and ambition than I’ve had in a very long time.

Yesterday was a day with No Reaction to an event that could have caused a huge reaction for me. NO Reaction! Yup.  NO Reaction.

My first day to raft down the Chattahoochee River for a few hours with friends. Let’s “Shoot the Hooch”. I’ve wanted to do this for the 14 years I’ve lived in Atlanta so when friends invited me, I quickly said “Yes!” I trusted the bubble of white light I put around my car to keep my wallet, money clip and phone safely inside the hiding places within my trunk. Keys are in a ziploc bag to keep them dry so I’m good!!! Let’s float!

I gave my keys to a friend who dropped them in his cooler. We’re all good!!! Or so I thought. At the take out ramp, I hear his group coming out of the river and all I heard was “that brown little lunch cooler? I saw it floating away right where we all jumped in the river. Didn’t someone grab it?”

I had NO Reaction. None. For those of you who know me, this is a HUGE deal. I didn’t once start asking “Why?” or “Who’s to blame?” or “Why didn’t you have it tied to the raft?” or “How much time and money is this going to cost me?” or any of that? As my friend went into sentences beginning with “Why? Why? Why?” similar to “Why would someone let a cooler float away if they knew it was someone’s cooler and they saw it?” I kept repeating to him, and myself,

“It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t.”

“It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t”

And then I started looking at what my options were.  Uber home.  I have a house key in a lock box by my front door.  The extra key fob is on the piano.  I’m good.  Somebody at the parking lot where my car is parked will help me get an Uber or Lyft ride home.  I’m good.  I don’t know any telephone numbers for friends because they’re all in my phone which is locked in my trunk and I don’t have numbers memorized anymore.  I’m taken care of. I’m still taken care of.

Without having to consciously think about it, I stayed in the present moment.

I admit I was a little annoyed during the hour of my friend saying “Why? Why? Why?” so I just kept telling him . . .

It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t!

It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t!

Back at the parking lot, I tried the drivers side door to see if I might have left my car unlocked.  Nope!  So getting the phone from the trunk is not an option.  I joked with a group of 6 or 8 people getting ready to launch their rafts in the river that if they saw a small brown lunch box size cooler on the left side of the river just before the take out ramp to please bring it in.  The response? “Let me call you an Uber?”  Even though it delayed their start time, and I apologized for delaying them, another guy in the group looked at me and said, “It’s ok. I’d want someone to do it for me if I was in your situation.”

Key wasn’t on the piano.  I new it was on the altar, where I placed it earlier in the week to express my gratitude for how much I enjoy my car.

Back in Uber still making light of the situation, repeating . . .

It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t!

If you’re going through a mental fog, or some other experience you’d prefer not to experience and call it your own “hell”, just keep breathing and moving through it.  Continue on your spiritual path, whatever that path may be in this moment. There is light at the end of the tunnel!  As I’m typing this, my friend is literally hiking the edge of the river because we both know the cooler is appearing and coming back to us.

It is what it is. And it isn’t what it isn’t.

 

Here’s an update around 9:30am- Yesterday, every time my friend’s raft came close to mine, he would loudly yell, “Hey Mark Buhrke.  Remember I have your nuts over here.” Pun intended. Today, he just texted me a picture of a Titleist 1 golf ball and informed me that he was laughing out loud by himself in the woods. Yesterday he had my nuts, and lost them with the cooler.  Today he’s at bringing my balls back to me. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

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Another update around 3 PM. I’ll let the following pictures tell the story.

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I’ll have my keys sometime this week and he has his keys and his wallet back. They got an innertube’s and floated down where one of the guys last saw it yesterday. It literally was floating in the same spot and had hardly moved. Thank you thank you thank you!

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | July 18, 2016

Meeting my first Trans Man

Who would have thought? I’ve shared recently on my Facebook posts how I’ve enjoyed getting to know my transgender women friends. Hearing their stories and sharing each others’ “coming out” experiences has truly been another way to increase my level of compassion in the world. You never really do know the journey someone else has taken.

I told several people that I really want to meet a transgender man, ie. a woman who has become a man. I’m grateful for Sharon, Christine and Gabrielle and them opening their hearts and their stories with me. They’ve been awesome sharing their journey of man to woman transitions with me. They’ve even shared how I probably know some transgender men because it’s not as obvious when a woman becomes a man, because of the way the hormones work in the body.

Well, tonight is the night to watch one of my coaches from the gym perform in America Ninja Warrior! So a group of us went to a great restaurant near the gym. It’s always great to see friends who workout at different times so these events bring together the “morning people” with the “afternoon/evening people”.

As I’m chatting with two guys that I’ve known for over a year, I somehow bring up the story of my meeting my transgender women friends and that I’m still waiting to meet my first transgender man. To my surprise, one of them extends his hand and says “you don’t have to look far. What questions do you have?”

What? What? Are you telling me what I think you’re telling me? You’re a power lifter? I never would have guessed.

I kind of let it go and we continued our conversation. He said he could point me in the direction of some organizations where I could meet many transgender men and that one of them meets every October here in Atlanta. I’ve always thought of him as a very supportive guy in the LGBTQ community so I didn’t think too much more about it.

Well, I finally looked at him and said, “Am I hearing you clearly when you extended your hand to me a little bit ago? Or am I reading something into our conversation that isn’t there?”

Nope. He’s a transgender man. I am very grateful for this interaction and this opening of a whole new world to me.

I’m ready to learn more so that I can share more. I seem to operate in the LGBTQ world and also in the non-LGBTQ world. Sometimes I’ve been able to bridge the gaps between the two. I’m grateful for this. And I’m looking forward to sharing even more . . .

Feel Peace, and Be Transformed.

Posted by: Mark, Transforming . . . | June 16, 2016

My first time being smuggled into a gay bar, a sacred space.

Thanks for the memory Melody LeBaron. I was “smuggled” into my first gay bar between some friends since I wasn’t 21 yet. Still took me another 5 years of anti-gay therapy and a stint with Homosexuals Anonymous before I clearly heard my heart saying “Stop Fighting who I made you to be”. Glad I listened to my heart on that December night in 1986. I had 2 choices: make my suicide look like an accident or accept who I am, a fun gay man!

This is the beginning of a series of posts. I have no way of knowing how many posts it will become because this idea has been stirring in my mind for months.

I have tears of gratitude streaming down my face today (5:45am). I’m finally at Skate Farm in Floyd, VA preparing for 5 days of inline skating the mountains here. I’m excited and apprehensive, all at the same time. OK. 65% apprehension and 35% excitement. As I drove the last 10 miles yesterday, and experienced the hills in the car, I began to wonder “Just what have I gotten myself into?”  “Am I actually going to allow myself to skate DOWN these hills?  I can force myself up them, but how am I ever going to skate down them AND stay vertical???”

Then I was greeted by Dennis and then met the infamous Eddy Matzger. My Atlanta Peachtree Road Roller friends are right. I’ll love Eddy and my time with him.  I know that I’m in the right place on June 19, 2015.  I feel at home here, welcomed by a family, another “Tribe”, that I’ve just met.  I’ll write another post on that later.

For now, here’s more about the title and the background . . .

The last couple of years I would skate the Alpharetta Greenway, Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Beltline for a couple of hours without even drinking water. I was even called a name in Piedmont Park and I’ll gladly wear it: “The Dancing Roller Blader!” Well, last August I had been out for probably 2 hours, (without water. I know, how stupid.) when I saw this man standing with bottled water by the ramp to the Beltline Kroger. OK Angels. I get it. I get it. I’ll stop, turn around and buy some water.

As I approached, I started pulling out cash to buy water only to be told “Oh no. This is free. Just . . . come check out our gym, Iron Tribe Fitness.” Ha ha ha ha ha 9 or 10 months later, just how much did that “Free” bottle of water actually cost me Ben Davis?

Well, it cost me giving up my limitations in life and me living small and giving into small expectations of myself and giving up more and more minute aspects of my addiction to victimhood.  And it’s opened a new world Beyond Imaginably Magical!

Sure, it’s a gym membership that is costing me more than I’ve ever paid for a monthly membership before. Sure, it’s cost me buying inline speed skates that cost me double what my last pair cost, not to mention all the gear and clothing and accessories and wheels and bearings and socks and on and on and on that go with it. Sure, it’s cost me airfare and travel expenses and registration fees for inline marathons and Skate Farm “skate school”.

Yet, that free bottle of water is just one more piece of the puzzle of me living life fully and fully enjoying Every Moment of my life. I know there will be some “Oh No” moments these next 5 days as I fly down these hills at speeds I’ve never skated before. I also Know that there will be more highs and levels of living life fully, Enjoying Bliss, than I’ve ever allowed myself to experience before.  That free bottle of water has reminded me to Live, Experience AND Enjoy every moment, every experience of my life.

I have tears of gratitude streaming down my face, yet again, as I think about all of the people in my life who have opened up a space in my life that has allowed me to get here today. I am SO Grateful for them and each piece of themselves that they have shared with me, no matter how small it may have been. A Smile. A Kick in the butt, to keep me moving towards my goals. A word of encouragement. A business opportunity. An ear (and all of you know how much I can talk.)  A personal story of them sharing their innermost secrets that has inspired me in some way.  The list goes on.

This is the start, the beginning, of a series of my experiences with listening to that small, still voice inside.  You may call it your gut, your inner knowing, your angels, guides, Spirit, Higher Self, God, Allah, Buddha, LMNOP.  I don’t care what you call it.  Just take a breath or two . . . and listen.  You have all of Your Own answers inside of you, waiting to be revealed, on how to live your life Beyond Imaginably Magical.  That’s my current answer when people ask me how I’m doing.

So for today, take a moment and listen.  The more I exercise this muscle, the quicker it responds.  Take that breath or two.  Listen.  It could be words, or colors, or feelings or sensations or that “nudge” to get a free bottle of water or the “nudge” to click on a link or turn down a street you’ve never taken before.  You already know how “It” speaks to you and guides you through life.  Then, cast away any concern about what others think about you and follow that Inner Knowing, Your Inner Knowing . . . and Allow Life to Love you back as you experience your own life Beyond Imaginably Magical.

And Please share your experiences in the comments.  I want to hear them.

Feel Peace and Be Transformed . . .

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