Archive for May, 2009

Insight #47 ~ ZEN Shredding…
May 28, 2009


WB 110


You are not your

emotions; you are the one who is having emotions. 



Most people have not learned to appreciate the true value of their emotions. To embrace your emotions is to engage your energy ~ keeping it in motion.  To deny your e-motions prevents them in leading you to what is important.  Denial traps energy from motion.  E-motions are not the language of your Soul, they are however one of your most valuable tools to maintaining a healthy connection with your Soul, a stepping stone and guide to clarifying your direction.  You are not your emotions you are the one who is having emotions.  Learn to love, embrace and understand your emotions.


Extended commentary:


Understanding the spectrum of our emotions is a learned skill.  In the west we are accustomed to responding to our emotions in one of two ways: expression or repression.  Expression is not necessarily any improvement on suppression and in most cases neither stance will lead you to emotional resolution or integration, let alone allow you to discover Who You Are.

More often or not expression of our emotions is very unconscious; jealousy remains jealous, anger remains angry and prolonged sadness can turn to suffering.  Repression usually requires a substitute, an activity or behavior that inevitably does not contribute to our total, well being.  Repressions repercussion, is that we deny ourselves access to a deeper level of understanding and awareness in our ability to access the innate, ever-present, inherent wisdom of the Soul.  

There is a third option however; to elevate our way of being in the world, to become familiar with the underlying currants of our emotional body by learning to witness the ebb and flow of their movement through our awareness.  As we learn to “notice” their movement, as we learn to become aware of the rise and fall of our emotional landscape, without placing any evaluation, judgment or significance on those emotions, we begin to see that all emotions have beginnings, middles and endings.  We begin to see that behind the curtain of our emotional spectrum, we can find a subjective freedom and peace that lies outside the usual stance of identification only.  With awareness, we can allow the impulse of our emotion to move freely through our nervous system unobstructed, so that those emotions can be processed, digested and integrated to completion.

Without awareness; without being present to our emotions, we will fail to see or experience the connection and interdependence that our thoughts have to our emotions, and vice versa.  When we fail to understand that behind every emotion is a potentially paralyzing belief, conclusion or decision that was, or is being made, we will never recognize the  impact and influence those emotions have on  the subjective experience and expression of our life.  We lose touch with a valuable resource and guide to enhance and elevate our well being. 

You are not your thoughts or your emotions; you are the one who is having those thoughts and emotions.  Better said, those thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions, associations, perceptions and memories are happening not in you, but “on you”.

In a worse case scenario, the inner wisdom to Soul is temporarily incapacitated as we become more and more overshadowed by our emotions.  Lacking the wisdom of experience, we fail to navigate their experience, and we lose ourselves to the obsessive, compulsive stance of the mind, which only further affirms our erroneous identification to those emotions and their occurrence.  

In a best case scenario our pain and suffering can be “leveraged” as a pathway to our emotional well being; we can touch, taste and experience the wholeness that lies on the other side of those unprocessed infantile concepts, conclusions and trances.  Without exception, all emotions can be used to guide, trace and reveal the expression of our false core ~ the person we imagine ourselves to be in the world.

In tracing those emotions, in learning to witness those emotions, we have a chance to reveal our essential, inner, core.   As we learn to develop the skills of emotional resolution it creates the space for resilience to replace repression or unprocessed expression, which so often accompanies and dominates the ups and downs of our life experience.  By using those emotions as pathways, rather than allowing them to use us, we learn to navigate with more ease, the ebb and flow of our life; we engage a valuable tool with which to reconnect to our ultimate, whole Self.

  I think it’s important to emphasize that being emotionally present for your self or another is not about doing, it’s more about Being.  Being without any evaluation, judgment or significance to what is happening with those emotions.  Our emotions become windows of opportunity, a chance to discover and reveal the fabric of our own, perceived, limited, individual self.

The degree to which you can be emotionally present with yourself will reflect the degree to which you can be emotionally present with another.  To be present with another, to give another your full attention to another, without distraction, is the greatest gift you could bring to the present moment.  Being present to the moment allows you to relate essence to essence, core to core; Being loses itself in Being. 

To realize through awareness, our emotions are not Who We Are, but only symptoms, hints and expressions of an aspect of our inner world and where it appears to be going, allows us the ability to move from individual consciousness, to witness consciousness.  The comfort in developing an experiential understanding of embracing those emotions by learning to witness those emotions rather than judging or evaluating them, is not only an important steeping stone to our emotional freedom, but also, a pathway to revealing our real Self that lies beyond the trials and tribulations that often arise from those emotions…          


 What can you learn from your emotions, what feelings do you judge the most?


To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:




Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…






When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:




The Essentials of a Good Life…


(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.



Louise Thomson ~ ZEN Shredding…
May 18, 2009

Michael and Louise at book launch!


As I start to write the first few words of this blog entry at 4:30am, I can hear the sounds of the birds as they begin their very early morning chorus.  A new dawn and a new day has begun as I attempt to word a few thoughts on the very common, seemingly “final”, subject of death.

Death of any kind is a deeply personal thing.  Premature death from accidents, violence or disease is particularly disturbing, even to those you do not know.  As much as I have been acculturated into previous conditionings and the more unconventional teachings of progressive spirituality, I am affected by death; we all are affected in unpredictable ways, when it arrives at our doorstep. 

I just received some news, the kind of news no one really wants to hear.  Upfront I need to say, I’m not really interested in writing about the premature death of one of my closest and dearest friends, Louise Thomson to cancer.  I’m more interested in celebrating and sharing with you a few of my thoughts; to express in words, the gratitude I have for the gift of her life on mine. 

I’ve known Louise for around seventeen years, and it’s been an honor to both experience and witness the unconditional love of this amazing human Being.  To see how it has touched not only my own life and heart, but also the lives and hearts of countless others in a hundred, thousand, different ways.  This is the fact, truth and joy; I was able to experience untold blessings as a result of meeting and befriending Louise Thomson.

If you have been reading this blog or, if you have read my book ZEN Shredding, you might remember from the “acknowledgments” page, the name Louise Thomson.  In it I wrote:

“To Louise … thank you for your continued friendship over these many years.  The courage and conviction you have so easily expressed in your life has influenced and inspired me deeply in unforeseen ways…”

You can’t not be around an incredible human being for that length of time and not be influenced in some way.  I consider meeting and befriending Louise a real miracle in my life.  I have expressed before in my writings how rare, how unique and how “special” it is to finally meet someone who “gets you” totally ~ unconditionally.  It’s a rapport that occurs beyond an intellectual level.  It’s a bond that occurs at the deepest of Soul levels ~ at the core of your existence.  It’s the juicy, profound, blissful experience of getting to spend time with someone, without the need of the protective masks of your human “I” dentity; to momentarily relate to someone, essence to essence.  It’s the gentle reality of being able to show up in your pain and suffering or your purposeful joy, and, by simply being, slip helplessly, freely and religiously into the present moment now.

The pages of my book ZEN Shredding are filled with the influence of Louise.  They are in many cases an articulated expression of how she lived her life in her own very unique way.  Embedded in many of the insights are the inspirations that came from the hours of intense, intimate conversations that I had the pleasure of experiencing over many years.  Conversations that arose from her own worldly experience and the wisdom of the relationship she had to her own Soul.  Conversations that informed her directly in how she lived, practiced and breathed her life.

One of the highlights of my creative life, that becomes more meaningful day by day, was last year’s book launch of ZEN Shredding. My greatest joy came in the opportunity to bring together all but a few of my closest friends to celebrate in their own unique way, the launch of my book.  Louise was there in all her glory as she shared her own commentary and insight from my book.  I felt truly honored by her attendance, I was grateful for her presence.  With glee, I marveled at her grace, ease and authenticity, as she shared with us the magic of her own inner knowing.

I find it ironic that it would be a liberated, wise woman who would come into this gay mans life to role model the skills that have lead him to become a fuller expression of a “whole man” than any man could ever do; to unconditionally love, when it’s much easier to react.  To listen, when it’s much easier to talk; to be tender with oneself, when it’s much easier to judge, hate, run or hide. 

More than anything Louise role modeled consistently how to be truly courageous in life and purpose, when it’s so much easier to bend or break to your real and not so real fears; to thrive in the clarity of your own boundaries, when it’s so easy to be marginalized by the expression of your past conditioning. 

Louise was a walker of the talk, and constantly strived to be an impeccable expression in character and passion.  She navigated and mastered life through the art of being, strengthened and built on the foundation of her allegiance towards being the consummate expression of her own inner wisdom and experience.

When I think about what made me feel so safe, so loved and so affirmed while in her presence, I realize how rare it is to find another human being that can be emotionally present, to be emotionally available with and for you.  I realize that only when “the other” has faced the wound of their own false core/false self that they then can have the ability to draw on the compassion, strength and power of their own essential core, to live life with the greatest of awareness and integrity.

I have lost a treasured friend in my life, but I will always have the memory of experience that will live on in my mind and heart.  Life does go on; life willfully goes on, and so will the inspiration and expression of love that was Louise Thomson, that continues to live on in the mind and hearts of the hundred, thousand, others, her life touched…


Insight #46 ~ ZEN Shredding…
May 13, 2009

 new whistler blackcomb 009


Trust and honor your body ~ love your body. 


A biological intelligence exists within your body that is smarter than your cognitive mind.  Let your body ride the terrain of life.  Look after it and it will look after you.  Your individual body is your connection to the larger Universal body.  To deny your body is to deny your connection to the world, to deny your connection to the world is to deny your connection to the Universe and its underlying unity. 


Extended commentary:

It does not surprise me in the least, that the worlds ecosystems are in such degradation, that day by day we destroy another species, pollute another river, cut down yet another acre of old growth forest.  To me, it’s simply a symptom of the degree to which we have disassociated ourselves from our Selves, and from the bodies that those “Selves” exist in. 

The degree to which we have lost touch with our true nature and Self, is the degree to which we treat not only each other, but the Earth that we live on.  The degree to which we disown, judge and abuse our own body is the degree to which we will disown, judge and abuse the relationship we have to not only to each other, but to our Earth.

On the surface it may appear that the world is “out there”; separate, distinct, something to be used, taken advantage of, and then discarded.  The world is seen and experienced as another object, something to be controlled ~ something to be sold. 

Many of us have been conditioned in very subtle ways to see the body as an object; something to be used, taken advantage of, and then discarded.  While this may seem a somewhat extreme statement to make, we can see it clearly in our behaviors and attitudes.  We can see in some of our most influential value systems the blatant disregard and implicit judgment that becomes our explicit conditioning and experience.  The degree to which many struggle around, judge, evaluate and demonize their sexual expression is, a simple example of how something so innocent can become so easily contaminated by cultural, religious and philosophical doctrines based on the fear, judgment and conditioning of others.    

The ancient wisdom traditions teach us, that there is no distinction between “in here” and “out there”.  They inform us to become aware of, embrace, and celebrate “the temple of our body”; to recognize our body as an instrument, a tool, and resource from which we can then explore the greater magnificence of our worldly adventure, and the inherent potential that lies within the gift of our body. 

But do we listen?  Do we engage the learning’s that unfold as we develop an intimate connection and relationship to the bone, tissues and senses that offer us such potential and delight?  Getting in touch with our body; becoming intimate with our body; provides a unique opportunity to become aware of, discover, and respect the boundaries of that body.  As we become more aware of our  body, as we begin to value the physical boundaries and the potentials that exist within our body, I believe we cannot help but become more aware and respectful the boundaries, limitations, and sensitivities of our physical world.

When you spend time with your own body, honoring, owning and celebrating its expression, you cannot help but want to explore not only the expression of your own body, but your also, your extended body which is the world you live in.  As you value the gift of your own body, you cannot help but extend that same value spontaneously to another, and then naturally, to the very world those “others” live in. 

As you cultivate an intimate relationship with your own body, you cannot help but want to create an intimate relationship with the world you live in.  And in the intimacy of that relationship, you will experience the interdependence and impact of your body on another’s, and to a greater extent, the world that you live in.  When you spend time in your body celebrating its existence by immersing that body in the body this Earth, you cannot but help feel and recognize the interconnectedness of it all…   


How can you honor your body with more



To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:




Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…






When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:




The Essentials of a Good Life…


(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.



Insight #45 ~ ZEN Shredding…
May 6, 2009





When you find out who you are,

everything changes. 


It was never about changing the world.  Nothing ever needed to be healed, fixed or changed.  The Dharma of acceptance is the greatest teacher, a humbling instrument that elevates and ennobles who you are. Your role is to become accustomed to the illusion of an ever-changing world that masks the mystery of your never changing Self.

Extended commentary:

 The author, teacher and “healer” Niro Markoff Assistant once wrote:

 “Healing is accepting who we are and saying yes to it, without trying to change anything…” 

 It’s one of a few quotes that continues to inspire me in life, to examine and question life and the traditional agenda that most human beings operate under: doing, fixing, transforming, healing, clearing, or attempting to integrate the moment of our experience as it arises. 

 There are times in my life where I clearly have and will operate in the neurosis of this self engendered belief that the “I” (or “me”), actually has domain and personal volition over its existence; that it has the power to __________ (fill in the blank).

 At an intuitive level; at a knowing level, there is a recognition that behind the curtain of conventional reality there hides an “intelligence” within our Universe that is unbound by space and time, and the detailed circumstance and experience that occurs in day to day story.  In spite of our attempts to usurp some alternative power within our physical world, or the seduction of spiritual attainment that allows you to somehow “create the life you always imagined”, life will happen, and it will happen outside the preferences of an “I” no matter how noble, enlightened or altruistic those preferences may or may not be.

If the illusion in life is the ever changing experience of the world, then why would we want to place our attention and effort to making it different?  If the “grace”, “freedom” and true “power”, lie in the never changing Self, then why would we imagine that something needs to “be done” in that moment, for that Self to be realized?

 In this present moment now, we can spend our time imagining, wishing, wanting, willing, needing, intending, fearing, desiring and affirming the mask of our ever changing world be somehow different, or we can instead allow that self, to settle down into a quiet tranquility that is the heart of acceptance; and in that moment, glimpse or reveal the mystery of our  never changing Self…


Can you accept who you are in each moment without trying to change anything?



To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:




Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…






When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:




The Essentials of a Good Life…


(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.






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