The Age-Old Question; Who Are You?

There was something formless and perfect

before the universe was born.

It is serene. Empty.

Solitary. Unchanging.

Infinite. Eternally present.

It is the mother of the universe.

For lack of a better name,

I call it the Tao.

It flows through all things,

inside and outside, and returns

to the origin of all things.

The Tao is great.

The Universe is great.

The Earth is great.

Man is great.

These are the four great powers.

Man follows the earth.

Earth follows the universe.

The Universe follows the Tao.

The Tao follows only itself.

— Lao-Tzu

Verse 25, Tao Te Ching


All religions of the world agree on one thing. We start out as energy, formless, and without matter, in what some call Heaven, or the Universe, Nirvana, Paradise, or Olam Ha-Ba, to name a few.  We then come into human form for a brief time. There are various belief systems about whether, when, and where we return to formless energy. But that’s a discussion for another time. Let’s take one step at a time.


You came from spirit to experience a human reality.

You did not appear as human to experience spirituality.

— Joseph Binning


Re-read the verse.  “Man-Woman is great”—not average, not mediocre, not so-so.  Great! When you were in the womb, did you have low self-esteem?  Did you have self-doubt?  Did you feel insignificant?  Did you need to be liked, accepted, approved of, Loved?  No. You were Perfect.  You were Whole.  You were Complete.  You are perfect, whole, complete.  You ARE one of the four great powers. Nothing has changed this truth of who you were—and who you ARE.

We all originate from the same source.  We all come from spirit and become human. We all are connected in this way. We all exist to be of service to the expansion and goodness of humanity. We all are given this purpose.  We all are connected in this purpose.  We all return when we are finished with our purpose, and we all will remain connected, always.


If we all were perfect, how did we become so flawed, unworthy, wrong, incomplete, and lacking?  Why have we become required to prove our worthiness and goodness?  Why are we continually suppressing and doubting ourselves, our worthiness, our greatness?


Here’s why.  After we were born, we interfered with our state of perfection. We created dual realities, opposite realities, comparative realities: beauty versus ugliness; tall versus short; smart versus stupid; my race versus your race; my religion versus your religion; my country versus your country; my God versus your God.


Why did we begin comparing ourselves to others?  Does our station in life make us feel better than, or less valuable than someone from another station? Does our location make us better than, or not as good as another? Does our color, religion, or political affiliation make us feel better or less than?

In creating and adhering to these dual realities, we lost our sensory awareness—our knowing—of our greatness. By drifting away from our innate knowing, we lost our selves. We forgot who we are, as soon as we began identifying ourselves by our religion, our external appearance, our job or career, our children, our relationship, our friends, our educational status, our possessions, our social status, our financial status.


What most of us do for a living is only the means of income to pay our living expenses. If we identify ourselves with our jobs or business, what happens if that disappears?  What happens if, suddenly, you’re not the vice president of your company, and you have to look for a different job?  You experience one or more of these feelings: loss; humiliation; failure; confusion; anger; resentment; depression; anxiety; self-pity; vulnerability; illness; grief; lack of purpose; or loss of self.


When we focus on the outer appearances of our individual existences, it’s easy to fall prey to these feelings. So, how do we not fall prey to them?  Remember, when we were created, we were great.  We are one of the four great powers.  We came from Greatness. We are Greatness.  We are destined for Greatness—Our Greatness—not someone else’s.  We were born with it.  Our greatness does not depend on anyone’s opinion, permission, or approval.  Our greatness does not shrink or dissolve.   It only becomes less visible to us, because we are looking outside of ourselves, not seeing our true selves.


Right now, begin living by two Creeds:


  1. Live with No Regrets: Put careful thought into everything you do, think, focus on, and choose– Own all of your decisions—and all of your outcomes—because you are going to be the sole chooser and creator of your life.  Commit to your choices. Commit to your life.  Commit to YOU.


  1. Others’ opinions are none of your business: This is the most important creed to live by. You are no longer going to base your self-worth or self-Love on others’ opinions of you. The only opinion that matters is that of the person you see in the mirror each morning. And that person is Great!


Take a moment now to write ten things you do, outside of your work.  Here are a few examples: cooking; scuba diving; meditating; running; reading; volunteering, attending a Meet Up, etc.  If you are on a roll and want to write more than ten, don’t stop the flow.  Write as many as come up for you.


After completing this simple exercise, you will discover that when someone asks what you do, you’ll have quite a lot to tell them. And that might lead to helping them identify what they do, as well!


People cannot hurt you without your permission.

— Mahatma Gandhi

If you have enjoyed this article please visit me at for more helpful tips and articles.

You can also get more helpful information in my book You Matter, even if you don’t think so which you can purchase on Amazon here Amazon You Matter, even if you don’t think so

For my free report Happiness Is A Choice click here: Happiness Is A Choice Free Report

Remember: Happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy.


Stop repeating what never worked.

Stand back and ask for a new solution.

— Deepak Chopra


CHANGE—why is it so hard?  Why do we dread it?  Why do we put it off until we can’t bear the pain of not changing?  If change were easy, you wouldn’t be reading this book, and I wouldn’t have written it.  If it were easy, we would all be doing it willingly and frequently.  Complacency is a dream killer.  We feel its effects in our lives, which is a good thing. It creates a realization in us that there is a need to change.  Change causes us to develop, expand, become more us, grow into our best selves, and become happier.  Change causes us to become our own thought leaders, the internal force that inspires and drives us.


So, how do we know whether we need to change and when?  By asking ourselves what we desire and why we desire it. Finding our why can be as simple or as difficult as we make it. For a minute, or a few, focus deeply on what you don’t like about that thing you don’t want, that thing you want to change.  What is it that makes you sick or disgusted, angry or bored, ashamed or afraid, frustrated or over it?  What makes you lose sleep at night?


Here’s where discernment comes in.  If your why is that you want to approval, then you want to change yourself for someone else.  But someone else’s doesn’t matter, remember?  We just learned that in the previous chapters.  If you’re to like yourself more, you must reach a point where you Love yourself, with no conditions needed.  With that said, wanting change for awakening, actualizing your potential, healing, letting go of what doesn’t serve you, or integrating self-discoveries is the best reason and motivator to change. And with these kinds of changes, all our future experiences in life will shift for the better.  Along those lines, if your why is to be healthier or feel more vitality or happiness, there is no better motivation for change.


Most take better care of their cars than they do their mind-body-spirit selves.  Although everything in life is temporary, including life itself, you’re here for a stretch, and you want that stretch to feel the best and easiest it can feel.  You’re the only you, the only you that will ever exist.  You’re one of a kind.  Changing for yourself is your right and your responsibility. Make sure that the change you are making is for you and only for you, to be the best YOU for you.   An added benefit of that is that when you change for yourself, your change will automatically, naturally, and positively affect those around you.


So, how do we begin the change?  The easiest way to begin, especially the change we’ve been putting off or debating, is the same method we used to determine whether we need to change.  Ask yourself why you want to make the changeAre your why’s  rooted in desires?  What are you desiring that you think this change will satisfy?  Find out all your why’s, and go to the heart of them, the core desire underneath the why, and write them down on a card, note, or whiteboard or bulletin board.  Then, you’re ready to do the next step—make them stick.


How do you make changes stick? Here are a few steps and methods to create change that works.


Envision yourself and your life without that thing you do not want anymore, or with that thing you want. What would your life look like then?  How would you feel then?  What would you be able to do, be express, have, or experience then?  What else would change from that change being completed? Take notes on your vision. Write the details of what your situation will look like after the change and what it feels like.  This step really helps you see yourself as if the change already happened and supplies the content for the next step in making the change effective.


Divide the change or goal into mini changes. When people are serious about wanting to change something, they often set the bar too high: I will lose 100 pounds in six months.  When they don’t reach their lofty goal, the conditioned response of mental shame and self-critical tapes begin again: I’m a loser; She was right; I shouldn’t have tried this; I’m just no good at this.  Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.  Be kind to yourself.  Divide your big goal or change into smaller, reachable pieces and start simple until you find the pace that feels reachable. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.  You’re not in a race.  You’re not competing with anyone.  This is your life.  You design it to feel good and right to you.  When something feels good, we stick with it.  When we find our rhythm, we know it.  You can always adjust your pace as you get more confident in and inspired by your stride and abilities.  You will feel good about yourself, and that is the goal, besides aligning with your desired intention. 


An intention is a statement or declaration of what you will do, say, think, believe, be, or experience.  Thousands of years ago, the sages of India came to observe that we shape our ultimate destinies with our deepest intentions and desires.  Everything that happens in the universe begins with a desire, followed by an intention. Whether I’m buying a birthday present, working on a project, or calling a friend, I start with a desire and then set an intention that will satisfy that desire.  When you clarity and set an intention, write it down on the same note or card that you wrote the desire that created the intention, and keep that card or note somewhere that you will see every day.


In his article, “5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions,” Deepak Chopra, M.D., founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, explained:


“Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or Love. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish. My book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, the Law of Intention and Desire, lays out the five steps for harnessing the power of intention to create anything you desire.


  1.  Slip into the Gap


Most of the time, your mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is the place called the gap. One of the most effective tools we have for entering the gap is meditation. Meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant your seeds of intention.


  1.  Release Your Intentions and Desires


Once you’re established in a state of restful awareness, release your intentions and desires. The best time to plant your intentions is during the period after meditation, while your awareness remains centered in the quiet field of all possibilities. After you set an intention, let it go — stop thinking about it. Continue this process for a few minutes after your meditation period each day.


  1.  Remain Centered, in a State of Restful Awareness


Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Stay centered and refuse the influence of other people’s doubts or criticisms. Your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen.


  1.  Detach from the Outcome


Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. We base attachment on fear and insecurity, while I base detachment on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Intend for everything to work out as it should; Then allow opportunities and openings to come your way.


  1.  Let the Universe Handle the Details


Our focused intentions set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. Don’t listen to the voice that says you have to be in charge, that obsessive vigilance is the only way to get anything done. The outcome you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and they will bloom when the season is right.”



The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become,

and act as if what you want is already there,

the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate

to transform your dream into your reality.

— Wayne Dyer


Writing is one of the most powerful and rapid methods to manifest what we want. Don’t type your desires, why’s, visions, and intentions.  Write them.  There is a different, more integrative energy and sensory process that affects our mind-body-heart connection when we pick up a pen or pencil and write, which does not happen when we type on a computer.  When you write each of these desires with intentions, make a few copies.  Don’t photocopywrite the copies.  The more we write it, the more deeply we plant the energy of our intention and form the new belief that will take us there.


Place these writings in clear sight of you in your daily actions.

The more we see something, the more it reminds us, the more it roots in our awareness, and the deeper it goes into our subconscious.  Keep a copy of your intention (s) in your wallet or purse, in a place where it will be visible by you each time you open your wallet or purse. When you feel weak, sad, shamed, fearful, or doubtful, pull it out to remind yourself why you are doing it.  Put another copy in a place you will see first thing in the morning, on the bathroom mirror, and last thing at night, next to your bed.  Put a copy in the kitchen, in the car, on the TV, on your computer frame, as a screensaver, and anywhere you can see it.


Read them aloud.

As you see each one throughout the day and night, read it out loud.  The energy of the voice resonates inside the heart.  When the mind hears you speak the intention you desire, the body feels it, and the heart will believe that it is.  Don’t worry about what others might think.  Just do it.  The positive change resulting from your readings will be powerful.


Get an accountability partner.

Being accountable is a great support resource for many people who need help to stay on track to accomplish any goal or change. If you’re being accountable only to yourself, and you don’t enjoy staying on track, who will know if you cheat or give up?  Who will encourage you to keep going?  Who will remember your why when you have temporarily forgotten or lost your way?  Choose an accountability partner who will commit to holding you accountable and reminding you of your why’s, your vision, and how deeply you desire the change. Make sure your accountability partner is someone you respect, someone who respects you, and someone who will always be honest with you.


Track Your Victories. 

Note and celebrate your victories, both large and small.  Create a journal—a Victory Journal. Write every victory, no matter how small. When you feel as if you’re pushing a heavy boulder up a steep mountain, you will need inspiration. Pull out the journal and read it out loud. When you hear yourself saying it, it registers on a subconscious level, and you will begin believing it. Reward yourself for the large victories. Count the small wins as steps toward the reward for the big one. Buy yourself a new something, treat yourself to a meal out, or celebrate in a way that’s meaningful to you.


Just be careful not to reward yourself with old habits or self-defeating, weakening rewards, like chocolate, gambling, a night out drinking, a shopping spree, or a whole day off from work when you have deadlines and commitments. You must face a whole new bushel of shaming self-talk and end up lower down the ladder.


Know that you can always push reset. 

What happens if you fall lower on the ladder and don’t stay on track in your efforts to change?  What happens if you give up before you reach your goal?  What happens if you make a mistake or you cheat?  Remember from Chapter 3 that everything happens for a reason.  Failures are lessons that teach us what did not work or something about ourselves or our desire that will help us get clearer and more certain. Failures never identify who we are.


Realizing that life offers learning with each slip, miss, or shift gives us an opportunity to experience and awaken to something new. Remember imagining when you first learned to walk and saying, after your first fall, “Well, that was a major mistake. I failed.  I guess I’m not meant to walk.” Failure is not the end.  It’s an opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t, try something new, and strengthen your walking muscles.  It’s a new starting point, a chance to re-calibrate and reset your feet.


You are in a constant state of change, even if you can’t feel it.  Your job is to create the changes you want ahead of time, by knowing what you want and why you want it and setting the wheels in motion with your intention.  You create your destiny.  You have the power to do so because; You are Great!


You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention.

As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed.

As your deed is, so is your destiny.

— The Upanishads, Vedic text


We base relationships on four principles:

Respect, Understanding, Acceptance, Appreciation

— Mahatma Gandhi


Be it romantic, familial, friendly, physical, emotional, creative, business, social, communal, or spiritual, we base every relationship on four principles: respect, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation.


According to one of the many books I have read on this subject, since the time of Adam and Eve, men and women have struggled with taking responsibility for the way we regard, treat, and behave in our relationships.  When God asked Eve why she ate of the fruit, she answered that the snake had tricked her. When God asked Adam why he ate of the fruit, he answered that the woman (Eve) had tricked him?  When a relationship is struggling, it is typical for each partner to find fault in the other partner.  However, the method of discerning which person needs to take more responsibility in a struggling relationship is simple.  It is the person who complains.


I once knew a person who cared so much for others but could not care for himself.

That person was me. 

— Joseph Binning


For me, relationship was, are, and always have been, one of the most difficult things to understand and navigate.  I’ve struggled with them all of my life, so you might imagine how surprised I was when I found myself inspired to write about them!  I didn’t have much of a relationship with my father, because of his removal from my life at an early age (see my post What I Learned From Being Stuck And Frozen, And Why You Need To Read This).  My only learning in how to be in a relationship came in the first nine years of my life before he left.  That learning came in the form of yelling and screaming to settle arguments, which usually lead to broken dishes.


Conflict resolution and fostering a healthy relationship was not a model I was privy to.  In much of my adulthood, I based the success of my intimate relationships on how much sex we had. My mindset that I believed was, If we just have sex, we’ll become closer.  Sex will solve all our problems.  If we have a lot of sex, we’re fantastic!  Although my childhood experiences might excuse my inability to create and nourish my own healthy relationships, they shouldn’t.


It is our primary responsibility to create a healthy relationship with ourselves if we want to have a healthy relationship with anyone else.


That being said, for my learning, I had to look to others who had a better understanding of what a healthy intimate relationship is, so I could pass this tidbit of guidance on to you.


Intimacy and sex are two different things.  Intimacy starts with our deep, respectful, nurturing, and honest relationship with, and Love for, ourselves.  If we have that as our foundation, we can create the same with others. The truth is: if we have more intimacy with ourselves and our relationships, we will be more intimate.



A definition of Love: happiness that the other person exists.

—Walter Riso

Based on the findings of authors like Walter Riso and Jorge Bucay, the highest value of any relationship lies in the importance of each partner showing gratitude for the gestures of care and affection made toward one another. Neither person takes the partner or the gestures, for granted, but shows recognition and appreciation for them.  In this mutual recognition, appreciation, and gesturing, each partner is co-creating, experiencing, and enjoying a full, healthy Love, or rewarding satisfaction, if referring to less intimate relationships.


In reading Rios’s quote, I noticed that it made no reference to “me” or “I” am receiving anything, other than a feeling of happiness within me, created by my appreciation that my partner exists.


As I grew into adulthood, I fell in Love many times. I attracted and fell in Love mostly with mother figures, women who would take care of me like a mother would take care of her child because I was not taking care of myself. I acted like a man child.  I discovered years later that it was not possible to have a healthy sexual relationship with a mother figure.


When a man acts like a child in a relationship, it forces the woman to act like his mother. The problem with that is, you can’t sleep with your mother!
Joseph Binning


Without consciously knowing it, each of us prevented me from growing up and being the man, I needed to be—and the man they needed me to be, to receive the Love we both deserved. The problem which I realized many years later was that I needed to be Loved verses the desire of wanting to be Loved.  I hadn’t yet learned about, or integrated, the foundational principle of relationships:


You can’t have a healthy relationship unless you are healthy.


Most women are emotional, feeling-oriented beings.  Most men are rational, action-oriented beings. We have been designed in these ways to bring balance into our relationships, to complement one another. A man will trample on a flower.  A woman will notice its beauty and share it, so that the man can see it and come to appreciate it.  The man will remove its thorns before the woman touches it to protect her safety, beauty, and happiness. Balance is the natural order.

The Taoists refer to this as Yin Yang. Yin Yang is the universal balance that embodies the Harmony of opposites.

But, in every relationship, balance comes with responsibilities.  If something is not working, it is the responsibility of both partners to share in working out the solution, though not necessarily in equal parts.  Sharing is something that becomes easier over the long run. It’s not about taking responsibility for all the elements of every problem or splitting them all fifty-fifty.  It’s more about finding a natural balance in our abilities and strengths to care for and nurture the relationship, while always committing to keep the channel of communication and appreciation open.


To share these responsibilities, communication plays a major, fundamental role in the relationship. We can’t make a commitment, take on a responsibility, or reach any kind of agreement without it. We have to be honest and tell the other person what we can and cannot do. It’s a process, with various sub-processes, of continual growth that will work for the benefit of the relationship, and for the benefit of each individual within the relationship, if their Love is healthy.



I’ve always thought the most beautiful response to ‘I Love you’ is: ‘And I can feel your Love.’


— Jorge Bucay



I found an article that really resonated with me on the website Exploring Your Mind that lists the “7 Pillars of Healthy Love:”



  • Respect


Healthy Love is more about quality than quantity. Loving a lot doesn’t mean loving well. Loving well implies respecting, trusting, being honest and mutually supportive, balancing the giving and receiving, maintaining separate identities, maintaining individual sources of interest and happiness, and communicating effectively.  Having self-respect and showing respect for the other person are equally important in the foundation of a healthy relationship.


  • Trust

Trust is not having to verify everything the other person does and says. It’s feeling certain and relaxed in your belief that the other person will stay committed and willing to share both the good moments and the challenging moments.  Trust is also believing in the relationship’s value and its ability to thrive.


  • Honesty

Honesty is being sincere about our feelings, needs, and wants—with ourselves, and with the other person. Being honest with ourselves requires self-inventory.  There can be no sincere and complete exchange for it. This includes being confident that our individual desires, needs, and behaviors don’t violate our partner’s rights.


  • Support

It’s important for each partner to show support for the other, being able to differentiate our needs and happiness from the other person’s needs and happiness, and supporting their growth, in all areas.  Support doesn’t always require action or even words.  Many times, it is non-verbal—a look, a hug, a wink, a thumbs up, a clap, a high five, a kiss, or just showing up.


  • Equality


Every healthy relationship needs a balance between giving and receiving, in which both partners have a responsibility to care for the relationship. Reciprocity is the basis of a healthy, thriving Love. Effective relationships solidified by exchange. When we give Love, we expect Love. When we exchange generosity, we feel a stronger bond of Love.


  • Personal Identity

It’s imperative to maintain our individual, separate identities so that each partner can be all he or she can be. Practicing individualism, where each person keeps self-care, interests, and self-Love alive, is a responsibility each person has to him/herself and his or her partner.  This enables each partner to enter, and continue through the relationship, feeling complete, healthy, and happy already, not needing to feel completed”, healthy, or happy by the relationship, or the partner.


  • Good Communication

Communication is paramount in any relationship.  When we’re trying to achieve a healthy partnership, it’s necessary to have good sending and receiving communication skills, for the basic conversation, and when expressing needs, desires, and gratitude, and in discussions and negotiations. A relationship is two people making many, but not all, decisions together and many times, but not always, sharing a point of view. For a couple to agree, it’s vital to have a calm, open, free, and trust-filled conversation.


Here is an exercise to help you identify who you Love, what you Love about your relationships, and why you Love them.


Take a sheet of paper and make two lengthwise columns. On top of the right column, write “Love.”  On the top of the left column, write “Reason.”  Make a list of all the people you Love and everything you Love about your relationships.  Next to that list, write the reasons you Love them.  Take your time with this. Don’t rush it. Really contemplate it.  After you’ve completed the lists, come back to this page and read the rest of this exercise—don’t read it now.  Wait until you’ve finished writing your lists.  Don’t cheat. Now, stop reading and start your lists.


Later, after you’ve completed your lists:


Read each Love and reason, one at a time, and if the reason centers on you, write “Superficial” next to it.  If it centers on the other person, write “Meaningful” next to it.  Now, look at the people and things you listed that you marked “Superficial” and note any realizations, thoughts, or feelings that come up in you.


Last, examine the names of the people you listed, particularly the order you listed them in.  Note any realizations, thoughts, or feelings that come up in you.


Did you list yourself?  If so, where on the list?  If not, why?  Note any realizations, thoughts, or feelings that come up in you.


To Love someone, you must Love yourself first.  If you have not come to Love, value, and nurture yourself, you have no capacity to do that for another.


Practicing the seven pillars is not a foolproof guarantee of a couple’s successful union or future, but if Love and health are there, these will support a healthy, dignified, fun, growth-oriented, and inspired union for both partners.



Your first job is to work on yourself.  The greatest thing you can do for another human being

is to get your own house in order and find your true spiritual heart.


–Ram Dass