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escapeConventional wisdom tells us that we can’t escape the reality of who we are by changing the location of our physical environment.

According to this logic, our personality is primarily an internal phenomenon consisting of thoughts, feelings, and intentions that have their nature independently of outside conditions.

Any effects that our environments have on us are secondary in relation to the inner attitudes we voluntarily cultivate.

In the song, Can’t Run From Yourself, Tanya Tucker aptly summarizes this perspective:

“You can run for cover. You can run for help. You can run to your lover, but you can’t ever run from yourself. Because there you are. No matter how far you go. You can run to Alaska. Run to L.A. Run home to mama, but you can’t ever run from yourself.” 

I agree with this view. Yet, it fails to tell the whole story.

For most of my life, I’ve touted the mantra “wherever you go, you’ll still be you” as if that were the final word on the subject of making environmental changes.

That was before discovering the works of thinkers like Christopher Alexander, Tarthang Tulku, and Arne Naess.

These scholars, along with many others, have challenged me to carefully reconsider my narrowly defined and static conception of personal identity.

The “you” that you think you are, and the “I” that I think I am, is significantly shaped by the architectural structures we inhabit,  the topographical qualities of the landscapes we navigate,  the manner in which we  see and sense surrounding space, the social networks in which we consciously and unconsciously participate, the frequency with which we are exposed to various elements within nature,  and a host of other factors that extend beyond the range of our colloquial notions of “personality.”

That is, we are not separate, discrete, isolated individuals. We are communal beings who exists as part of a vast ecological network.

Because we are entangled with everything else, we not only have the power to change our world, but the world also has the power to change us.

By making ourselves available to new places, we awaken and activate interior spaces that make it easier for us to create profound changes in our mental and emotional state.

We cannot escape who we are, but we can escape the rigid and restrictive patterns of thinking that are often reinforced by certain environments.

New settings can help facilitate new perceptions.

Wherever you go, you’ll still be you. However, a change in scenery might be an essential ingredient in helping you think clearly about the person you intend to become.

The mere fact that you’re unable to run from yourself does not mean you should uncritically insist on staying in the same place.

If you need to escape, escape. But don’t escape from reality. Escape from the corrupting influences that prevent you from honestly and healthily engaging reality.

Forget the past. Let’s talk about you instead.

“The universe doesn’t care about your past. It is blind to it. The universe doesn’t care that I wore pink pants in high school. (Hey, remember Miami Vice?) The universe doesn’t care that I got in a fight with Francis Franken and lost. The universe doesn’t care about your MBA from UCLA, your drug-dealing father, or that you wet your bed in junior high. The universe simply doesn’t care. One person and one person only weaponizes past transgressions: you.” – M.J. DeMarco

Plain and simple; The Universe doesn’t do background checks.

People may judge you according to your personal history, but the Universe at large is responding to your own beliefs and actions.

What we are transcends history. Our beingness emanates from that which is beyond space and our identity can never be determined by the stories we create from within time.

To accept failure, mediocrity, and suffering as the unalterable effects of prior causes, is to become identified with a mental construct that represents only a portion of the Infinite Potential we’re capable of expressing.

You don’t have to come from a past of well-being in order to create a future of well-being, because the essence of who you are is well-being.

Let no one’s definition of you become more prominent in your thinking than the awareness you possess of your individual right to self-determination.

You define you. If you’ve failed to create a past that you’re proud of, then excercise your power to re-define what that past means for your future.

Let go of all memories which no longer serve you and resolve to actualize Tomorrow’s brightest possibilities.

Create a great day and manifest a beautiful future,

T.K. Coleman

It is what it is and you are it

The possibility of flight was not achieved through the denial of gravity, but by the discovery of a principle through which the gravitational force could be superseded.

In a like manner, Faith is not the result of turning a blind eye towards the objective difficulties of the world, but it is the affirmation of a principle or power within ourselves thats enables us to transcend the suffering which often accompanies life’s challenges.

The legendary story of Jesus turning water into wine is not merely a call to worship, but an invitation to awaken to an alchemical universe in which the possibility for transformation is inherent within every particle, person, or place.

Popular culture routinely makes use of the phrase “it is what it is” in order to express the conviction of a thing’s finality. “It is what it is” implies that we cannot change it, therefore we ought to get around to accepting our present conditions as a brute fact.

There is a broader perspective, however, that recognizes a Formless Essence lying back of all things. Our recognition of this Essence, combined with an assurance of its Benevolence and Limitlessness, endows us with the capacity to conduct its energy into our lives thereby creating real miracles within and without.

Life is never a phenomenon that we are “stuck” with. It is a gift that reflects and respects the definition that each one assigns to it.

One does not need to deny that “it is what it is”, once he realizes that  “It” is simply a Something which takes the form of what he chooses it to be.

T.K. Coleman

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