On this site I offer Tips, Tricks, and Wisdom for Living Life!

When I Finally Loved Myself

When I finally learned to love myself I stopped looking to others for validation. Instead I looked for those who still sought approval from others and attempted to be an example for them; not in an egotistical way but as I imagined a loving, caring friend would act.

When I finally loved myself, I found it easier to also love everyone else in my life. As this love evolved and became more unconditional, I was able to stop judging others, which freed up incredible amounts of space in my heart for my healing Light to grow and expand.hand heart

When I finally loved myself enough I stopped the self-deprecation routine I had so skillfully mastered in my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. I learned to stop the demeaning stand-up routines in mid-sentence and to replace them with thoughts someone who loved me might say.

When I began to love myself enough I was able to realize that most of the stories, I had stored in my memory, about who and what I was, were false. Many of these narratives contained voices I had never questioned; teachers who had filled me with many lies, despite my trust that they always did the best they could.

When I learned to love myself I also learned to love my moment-to-moment experience of life. I decided to let go of the stories I had carried of the past; memories based on tainted recollections. I also discovered that it served me to release all fear about the future; learning through my exploration, that by being Right Here, Right Now it was easy to love myself. After all, what is not to love if investment in the past and trepidation about the future are set aside?

As my self-love has grown, I have learned to really appreciate my amazing body. I took it for granted, treating it like was a throw-away for much of my early adulthood. Today I am committed to loving it, nourishing it, and nurturing it, to the best of my ability. My mind still wants to beat me up about my earlier choices, but that is not what love does, not how love behaves. So, when I notice its desire to admonish, I release it, letting it float away, as if it were a butterfly in a dream. monarch butterfly

As I have learned to love myself more, I have let go of the idea that anything external to myself can bring me greater happiness. Since understanding this, I have quit buying things that I do not need, content to find fulfilling that which I already possess. When something is absolutely necessary, for me or my household to function smoothly, I may purchase it, but only if I have the money to pay for it. Love has taught me that debt is a prison which no longer serves me. Love always offers freedom, in all of its various manifestations. Hopefully this short writing has already conveyed this truth.

I love these thoughts on love from Peterson’s version of the bible, (The Message) 1st Corinthians, 13 5-7:

I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up…
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

As I have moved in the direction of loving without conditions, I have learned that we are LOVE itself, and as such, there is no value in playing small. In learning to love myself, I have discovered that my true nature (Self) is greater than my mind is capable of comprehending.

While I am still exploring what it means to live each of these truths, I feel free. I feel unlimited. I have had glimpses of the LIGHT that dwells in and flows through me and each of my beautiful friends and acquaintances. In the words of Whitney Houston: “Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all.” I agree with her: Learning to love ourselves is truly the  greatest adventure life has to offer. It certainly has been for me.Light in the sky

In closing, I want you to know that there is no truth I have discovered for my Self which does not also apply to you. May you join me on this incredible journey as we apply these Truths to our daily experience. Every time one of us moves toward Self-mastery, the consciousness of the entire planet expands and blesses everyone.

Authors Speaking to Me

I always pay attention whenever I receive information from multiple sources in the same day. Sometimes the repetition comes by hearing something, perhaps in a podcast or on a YouTube video or maybe in a conversation. Other times I read two distinct authors or books in which the same information presents itself to me.

The latter was the case yesterday as I read in John Powell’s book, The Secret of Staying in Love. He said that people live satisfying lives in direct proportion to their level of self-esteem. Powell, citing the book Reality Therapy by Dr. William Glasser, suggested that a lack of self-love creates a very painful life which manifests in one of four different ways:

1.   Depression – Spares a person from the agony of his deeper pain, protects him from the full impact of his unbearable life situation.

2.   Anger and antisocial behavior – Acting out the bitterness which accompanies the sufferers sense of failure and frustration.

3.   Insanity – Both a choice and an escape, a liberation from a very uncomfortable world and life.

4.   Physical sickness – The most commonly chosen way of dealing with such a dysfunctional life. The psychological pain of living life is transformed into physical illness. alone by the sea

Powell stated that the pain of low self-esteem leaves people seeking “relief by distraction, living like barnacles on the TV screen or dissolving themselves in work or play.

As I read this chapter in Powell’s book I could definitely see myself, if not so much now, certainly earlier in my life. I have, at different times, manifested my lack of self-love in each of the four ways described by Glasser and discussed by Powell.

Later, yesterday evening, I opened a file I keep as idea starters for future Secrets to Peace and I found this quote from Aldous Huxley in Doors of Perception: “That humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with Artificial Paradise seems very unlikely. Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul. Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H. G. Wells’ phrase, as Doors in the Wall.

While Huxley, in the quote I had saved, did not specifically address the reasons why we live pain-filled lives, it still resonated with me as similar to the information I had read earlier in Powell’s book.facing left prayer

I have worked on learning to love myself ever since I recognized that it was a problem for me; some thirty-five years I would guess. While I have made great strides in self-acceptance, I occasionally still hear an inner voice which is not totally convinced that I deserve the fruit of my efforts. It is not a conscious voice, but one that shows up when my actions cause less than pleasant surprises. While I have not used drugs or alcohol for many, many years as escape mechanisms, there are times when I feel tempted, even if only for a hot minute.

While I believe we all value happiness, we are often not aware that our thinking is what creates most if not all of our problems. Until we understand this truth, we tend to blame others or our environment for all the pain we experience. While this post is not the perfect venue for dispelling this understanding, I do want to list just a couple of thoughts worth considering:

  1. Unless there is some compelling medical condition which is creating one’s depression, the continual thinking about one’s self only increases our sadness and anxiety. I know some believe that chemical imbalances are the cause of depression, but my experience has proven to me that if I can just take my awareness off of myself, my chemical imbalance seems to take care of itself.
  2. What we focus on grows. When we are down, telling our story does nothing to help our condition. There is no value in telling others about your pain; you only intensify it by telling others about it. Rather than picking up the phone and telling your friend about your latest misfortune try finding some way to serve others, preferable anonymously. Or, if that idea does not sound feasible, try finding some form of exercise where your mind must be occupied by the activity itself instead of being focused on the perceived object of your discomfort.
  3. Finally, self-acceptance is not something that needs to be verbalized. It is self-evident by the way that we treat ourselves and others. If we are always building others up and tearing ourselves down, we are not demonstrating love, we are testifying to our own dysfunction. Love begins with acceptance. Realize that you are worthy and only programming, over which you probably had little to no control, could ever convince you otherwise. If you are demonstrating any of the above-listed four behaviors, allow yourself to change your beliefs. You may do this by spending time in the quiet until no thoughts of self-hatred exist, or you could work on it with a professional therapist. One way or another, you deserve a life that is free of the pain which accompanies low self-esteem.holding hands

In closing I want to offer these three things which John Powell says love does:

1.   Love esteems and affirms the unconditional and unique value of the one loved.

2.   Love acknowledges and tries to fulfill the needs of the one loved.

3.   Love forgives and forgets the failings of the one loved.

If you do not believe you are worthy of at least these three promises of love, find a way to make a change. You are valuable and you deserve to be loved, just as you are, for you are a unique expression of the One True Power which underpins all of life. Live like you know this to be true, even if you do not just yet.

It’s About Time and …

This year, I promised myself that I would write more often and that I would share more of these writings. At one point, I even had dreams of sharing a post every day, something which I did back in 2007.  Now February is almost over, and I find I have not shared a single post.
2015 new yearLife is moving so very quickly, unless I stay on-task and have my priorities very clear, life seems to slip through my fingers, leaving many of my dreams as mere ideas. I do not mean to imply that my life is not fulfilling, because it is.  It is just that many of the dreams and goals I had for last year (and some for years before that) are still pending. I have failed to keep these objectives at the top of my “to-do” lists each day. Unless I find a way to focus on the things I wish to accomplish, this year, I will be repeating this same disappointment when 2016 rolls around. Trust me, I know of what I speak.

I would like to say that I am constantly reinventing myself, but that would not be completely honest. While I do strive to live each moment fully present in this “now,” time passes and I eventually find myself examining my wish-list with regret instead of enthusiasm. I need to find a way to live in balance. I must dwell in the now, because I find it so much easier to be at peace here, while at the same time exercising the discipline to achieve some of my life’s goals. If I am to be a writer, I must find the courage and tenacity to write. If I am to be an online marketer, I must make plans and work towards the accomplishment of those plans.

balanceWhile I dearly love the freedom of simply doing whatever shows up in my life, as some sort of perpetual adventure, I also love the rewards that accompany dedicated self-mastery. Life constantly reminds me that anything worth having is worth the effort to accomplish. Balance is truly the key to my happiness. Perhaps that is why I was born a Libra.

While this blog is only one aspect of my overall ministry, it is one that will receive more of my attention this year. I will be posting more often, even if I only have a quote that is speaking to me.  So, if you are one of my reported eight subscribers, know that you can expect more thoughts to be forthcoming for the rest of this year. Together, perhaps 2015 will be the year when we find the strength and dedication to accomplish more of what is important to us.

Unwrap Today’s Gifts

I was reviewing some of my old reflections and I discovered a piece of prose which I shared back in 2002. This interesting short writing was included by Og Mandino in his book The Greatest Mystery in the World. I invite you to read this and consider it carefully.

YESTERDAY

By Dr. Frank Crane

I am Yesterday. I am gone from you forever.

I am the last of a long procession of days, streaming behind you,
away from you, pouring into mist and obscurity, and at last looking back 1 400 pix
into the ocean of oblivion.

Each of us have our burden, of triumph, of defeat, of laughter,
of bitterness; we bear our load from you into forgetfulness;
yet as we go we each leave something in your subconsciousness.

We fill your soul’s cellar.

I depart from you; yet I am ever with you.

Once I was called Tomorrow and was virgin pure; then I
became your spouse and was named Today; now I am Yesterday and
carry upon me the eternal stain of your embrace.

I am one of the leaves of a growing book. There are
many pages before me. Some day you shall turn us all over
and read us and know what you are.

I am pale, for I have no hope. Only Memories. looking back 2 400

I am rich, for I have wisdom.

I bore you a child and left him with you.
His name is Experience.

You do not like to look at me. I am not pretty.
I am majestic, fateful, serious.

You do not love my voice. It does not speak to your desires;
it is cool and even and full of prudence.

I am Yesterday; yet I am the same as Today and Forever
for I AM YOU; and you cannot escape from yourself.

Sometimes I talk with my companions about you. looking back 3 400
Some of us carry the scars of your cruelty.
Some the wretchedness of your crime.
Some the beauty of your goodness.
We do not love you. We do not hate you.
We judge you.

We have no compassion; only Today has that.
We have no encouragement for you; only Tomorrow has that.

We stand at the front door of the past,
welcoming the single file of days that pass through,
watching Tomorrows becoming Todays and then enter
among us.

Little by little we suck out your life, as vampires.
As you grow older we absorb your thought. You turn to us
more and more; less and less toward Tomorrow.

Our snows cumber your back and whiten your head.
Our icy waters put out your passions. Our exhalations
dim your hopes. Our many tombstones crowd into your
landscape. Our dead loves, burnt-out enthusiasms,
shattered dream-house, dissolved illusions, move
to you, surround you.

Tomorrows come unnoticed. Todays slip by unheeded.
More and more you become a creature of Yesterdays.

Ours are banquet halls full of wine-soaked tablecloths,
broken vessels, wilted roses.

Ours are empty churches where aspirations were,
where only ghosts are.

Ours are ghastly Pompeiian streets, rich galleons
a hundred fathoms deep, genealogical lists of sonorous
names, mummies in museums, fragmentary pillars of battered
temples, inscriptions on bricks of Nineveh, huge stone
gates standing amidst the tropical landscape of Yucatan,
Etruscan wine jars now dry and empty forever.

From us comes that miasma of inertia that holds
humanity in thrall; from us comes the strength of war-makers,
monarchs, and all the privileged.

We reach up long, sinewy, gray arms of custom and hands reaching 335
tradition, to choke Today and impede Tomorrow.

We are the world’s Yesterdays. If you knew enough
to put your feet upon us, you might rise rapidly. But
when you let us ride on your backs we strangle and
smother you.

I am Yesterday. Learn to look me in the face,
to use me, and not to be afraid of me.

I am not your friend. I am your judge
— and your fear.

Tomorrow is your friend.

There are no chains which bind us to yesterday. While the idea of starting with a clean slate, today, can seem impossible there is no reason, other than habit, to carry any emotional baggage from the past.

Today is all there is, and even an hour from now is not guaranteed.

This is why being fully present to this moment is so essential. It is also why we cannot put off, until tomorrow, anything which needs to be said or done today.

Today is our friend. The only value yesterday holds is the knowledge and wisdom gained though its experience. Wipe your slate clean and begin, this moment, with new eyes. Allow each instant to unfold without the pain of yesterday’s memories and you may be amazed at what treasure’s await discovery.

I Wish For You …

Last night at Spiritual Cinema we watched the beautiful movie, I Am by Tom Shadyac. There were a couple of quotes, which inspired me, in the movie but I had not taken any notes, so I went to the director’s website to search for them. Instead of finding the exact ideas I was seeking I discovered these from Hafiz:

“When all your desires are distilled relaxing in the grass
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy”

*
“I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being.”

These two thoughts really capture the theme of this thoughtful movie well. I do not think there is anything I can add to these profound words. Hafiz’s wishes are my own and they point to the reasons I feel compelled to write and share my insights. If I had one wish for anyone who may read this it would be that you might discover that you are LOVE and that everything in your world reflects your awareness of that Truth.

As an interesting side note, no one present last night had read yesterday’s post, yet the first thing we discussed as soon as we stopped the movie was the importance of doing work you love. What is serendipitous about this was the fact that it was not me who initiated this aspect of our discussion. I love the way life unfolds.

Life is a beautiful dance when we listen to the music within us. Thank you for sharing this dance with me.

Find the Work you Love

It seems that at least once a year there is a new book touting the idea that you can find work which you will find fulfilling by doing that which you love. The challenge, that most of us seem to find, is that it is difficult to decide what it is we love. Or, in some cases we find that we love so many things, it is hard to narrow the field down.

Here is what I know to be true: It is much easier to sit down to work when the task at hand is something I love to do. My interests are varied and so I may be building a landscaping wall one day and washing our cars the next. I write every day because I love the whole process of creating something from nothing. I do not know if I will ever find a way to sell any of my writing, but it does not factor in when I pick up pen and paper each day. writer 1

There are many people who have suggested the value of loving what we do. I really like Gary Zukav’s take on the subject: “When the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, when your activities and actions become gratifying and purposeful, when what you do serves both yourself and others, when you do not tire within but seek the sweet satisfaction of your life and your work, you are doing what you were meant to be doing.

When we can figure out what we love and do it with great energy and commitment, the Universe has no choice but to reward us with success.

I do not know what Ray Bradbury’s spiritual beliefs are but his take on doing what you love is impressive: “Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.

I think his idea that your work needs to be something you live for is very wise. Clearly, that cannot be just your routine job. I think our work must be so important to us that we feel we would not want to live without it.

Steve Jobs reminded us that: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I think the concept that our work must be “great work” which we also love adds a component to this definition which many of the well-known quotes leave out. When we are convinced that the work we are choosing offers the possibility of being great work, however we define that, it has the potential for offering us an additional reason for satisfaction. carpenter

Kahlil Gibran said, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” This idea really drives home the concept that our work does not feed us when it is a burden.

Finally, Rumi suggested that we “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.

While this may not help if you really cannot figure out what it is that you love to do but it does highlight the fact that many of our wisest teachers have recommended that we do the work to find our answers. It would seem that the rewards of such self-discovery far outweigh the frustrations encountered in such examination.

I will tell you that even if you insist that you have no clue what it is you love, you really do know. Throughout your life you have had moments and hours of epiphanies in which you said to yourself or to friends, “I wish I could find a way to do this for a living.” Even if you have not used those exact words you have spent time which passed at a speed which exceeded reason, or you have heard friends or family offer you advice concerning how you could use your special talents to bless others. Every time you have had one of these experiences, you have been given glimpses into ways in which you could use your gifts to do great works.coffee and book

I will close with one last thought, this time from Natalie Goldberg: “Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.

Witness Beauty

Wherever you are
Whatever your state
You have the opportunity
To witness beauty.
 amazing sunset small
Even in the most desolate
Of climes
The most barren
Of lands
Beauty IS!
 
One glimpse of beauty
And your life is transformed.
For to see beauty
You must be present,
Here and now.
 california poppy small
In that moment
Of presence,
Regardless how brief,
You are free
Simply because
You witness beauty.
 
You owe it to yourself
To not only stop and smell the flowers
But become a witness
To their magnificence
 beautiful spring small
In so doing
You will find yourself
Reflected,
Your beauty
Mirrored.
 
For to see beauty
You must be beautiful.
You may only see
That which you are.
 
Therein lies a great secret.
What you see
Is what you are.
 
See Beauty.
See yourself.
 baby looking in mirror
What you are
Is beyond words.
 
What you see
Of what you are
When free of judgment
Can only be beauty
Can only be magnificence.
 
Look in the mirror
Hold your gaze
Until you see
Beauty
 
What could be simpler?
 
Eckhart Tolle said, “Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.”
 into the flower 307
So,

Witness Beauty
Make it your mission
Peer into the Truth
Of Who and What you ARE.

God as Concept

If I tell you that any God the mind can conceive is a creation of that mind, how does that sit with you? Do you become defensive? Do you immediately go to a place where you want to make me wrong, or do you agree with this concept?

Is your mind open enough to consider the possibility that any concept of God is a creation of the human mind or do you want to fight to defend your idea of what God is? thoughtful statue

Your response to this question can either open you to the possibility of self-discovery or you can have a reaction which shuts you down. Your response may fall anywhere between these extremes and regardless offers you the chance to learn something about yourself.

So where do your ideas, about what God is, come from, provided you believe in such an entity at all? Were they given to you by parents or other family members? Do they come from any particular religion or from your reading of some text you hold sacred? Or, perhaps, your perceptions arise from within your own heart and mind?

Regardless of the source of your ideas about God, have they been carefully contemplated or were they accepted without thoughtful consideration? Consider these words from Robert Powell: “It must be stated that it is so much easier to repeat and accept something one has heard than to question everything regardless of its source. Our propensity in this direction is constantly exploited in the areas of religion and politics.”

A quick glance at the internet reveals that over 90% of the U.S. adult population believes in the existence of God. Less than 10% claim to be agnostic or atheist. I wonder what percentage of this number would say they “know” that there is some Supreme Being. It would be interesting to discover how they arrived at this wisdom.

What I “know” is that there is a Unifying Force which exists and gives rise to all that is. Is that God? I would say that this One power and Force far exceeds any concept my human mind can imagine. To name it God or any conceptualized terminology must, by its very nature, fall short of this Infinite Field of Energy.

If you believe in a God or know, as I do, that there is a vast Nothingness which is beyond the mind’s capability for understanding, what words do you use to define it, or do you even try?

I suggest you open yourself to really examining your ideas around this line of questioning and take a glimpse of how defensive or open you are to another’s truth.contemplation

Each such self-examination paves the way to true self-knowledge. It is a worthwhile use of your time to examine all you have accepted as truth and discover what is real, what stands up to thoughtful scrutiny, and what needs to be discarded. So often, when I have engaged in such soul-searching I have found that many ideas, I have held sacred, were given to me by those I never questioned.

If my above questioning caused any “reaction” in you, take it as an opportunity to use your response as an excellent entry point for such self-inquiry.

Releasing Judgment

Have you ever heard of something dreadful happening to a friend or someone you know to be a kind or generous person and felt or maybe expressed some form of the question, “Why do bad things happen to such good people?”balanceFor the purposes of discussion I want you to consider the reverse, “Why do good things happen to bad people.” In fact, in my life, I just recently heard a discussion, which went something like this: “How does that guy keep making so much money when he is so unscrupulous?” The implied, unstated question, of course, is why does this unsavory individual “deserve” such goodness? Isn’t it obvious, after all, that people of dubious character should be denied life’s blessings?

Many such beliefs were given to us by parents and extended family members before we were even old enough to decide for ourselves whether or not they were valid. The Truth is that all such judgments create suffering for us. When we judge some events as good and others as bad and somehow feel justified in deciding which humans deserve one or the other, we set ourselves up for needless misery.young girls read

Life is so much easier when we simply allow “what is” to be as it is without interjecting any personal values to the mix. Judging something which happens as good or bad is always a reflection of our own spiritual maturity and is never an actual indictment of the true meaning of the circumstance.

As we grow spiritually we learn to simply allow life to unfold without our ongoing insistence that we are somehow in a position to determine what is or is not fair and which people “deserve” life’s ups or downs. Such awareness offer’s us peace which is beyond the understanding of our previously judgmental mind.

Time to Clear the Blockage

It is August first and once again I am absolutely astounded at how long it has been since I shared my thoughts via this blog. I write nearly every day but I have not shared my ideas for such a long time.Agenda

When we are called to do something, as I feel I am to share my writings, and we disregard said call, push it aside for other activities, we become dammed up. We are always creating, but we must be careful about what we are creating. The creative urges within us are so strong that they will continue to create with our without our participation.

When we refuse to answer our calling, for whatever reason, we become constipated: perhaps not actually physically, but mentally and emotionally. We can feel it. We see it in our inability to function at anything which we might term a “high” level. Our refusal to express our creative flow creates this constriction.

This type of blockage shows up in varied manifestations. At the extreme end is sickness and even death. The lighter examples are things like forgetfulness or a mere feeling that something, perhaps not quite nameable, is off. There are dozens of ways this stagnation may appear in between these two extremes.screaming

Just as our physical body is designed for movement, our creative impulses are gifts which are destined for expression. They are not meant to be kept secret. Nor are they satisfied to be pushed aside like some trivial but necessary task.

You know what I am talking about here. If you have ever allowed clutter to pile up in your basement or garage or maybe even your living room, you notice how quickly this unmanaged rubble can become an overwhelming burden. Unattended this untidy room can become someplace you do not want to enter or even gaze upon. When we avoid expressing our creative desires, for whatever reason, they become like this overcrowded room.

For me, I know I need to write and share my words. That is where my responsibility lies. When I get caught up in judging the words I am given it is just like refusing to enter or look at the room where I have allowed things to collect to an unhealthy level. Yet, that is what I do.

I write and I think, “This is written so poorly” or “Who would want to read this” but these thoughts, when honored, become bricks in the dam which block my creative flow. Day by day, I write and by refusing to share these thoughts I reinforce the blockage so that eventually nothing flows from my heart to my hands, from beyond the physical to the paper.

This is true for all of us regardless of the medium of the creative expression. When we refuse to share, for whatever rational or irrational reason, we erect very effective blockage which eventually pushes us away, just as the clutter in our “out of control” room prevents our entry.push back clutterIt is my intention to share something each week day in August so that I may break the dam and get my creative juices flowing again. I need to do this in all the areas of my life. Perhaps I will even take on the clearing of clutter which has accumulated in my garage recently.

It is difficult to write every day, at least to write something worth sharing. It actually takes me longer than one would expect to post, find some pictures to make the post more attractive, and then also send out an email declaring the presence of the new post to my subscribers. But I am going to do just that for at least a month. I want to get back to sharing my thoughts and observations every day for a year, but we will start with my commitment for this month.

It is my hope that I come up with things to share which are worthy of your time, but regardless I need to post. I am feeling stuck and congested and need to clear this blockage. Thanks for sharing my journey with me.