Creating a New Earth

 

I formed this page to join like-hearted souls together to create a NEW EARTH by sharing our INTENTION in this process and to showcase our visions for what that looks like. I feel we are at a unique point in human history and very close to a new age. I believe we can together create this new earth, along with the transition of how we arrive there. Our collective creative energy can help more souls awaken to who we are, which will bring us to a tipping point. Being able to envision what this new earth will look like is a critical component to creating

it. I have begun formulating my own vision of what it will look like and am sharing it here. I encourage you to do the same, so that we can join our intention together to see this come to pass. We play an important role in this process, and I feel privileged to be able to influence for the Greater Good.

Newest book: “Becoming Space Between the Words”

Here’s my newest book: Becoming Space Between the Words: A Book of Daily Meditations. The book is a compilation of quotes to use as daily meditations that help us wake up to who WE ARE. WE ARE NOTHING. WE ARE INFINITE SPACE. WE ARE PRESENCE. WE ARE LOVE.

Join me on August 22, 2018 for a book signing event in Baton Rouge and then on September 16, 2018 for an Austin event.

To purchase this book, please visit the Amazon link here.

Hurt’s Role in Our Lives

Excerpt from “On Being Love” by Denise Roussel

“I have been thinking about HURT and its role in our lives. I don’t like to be hurt, nor do I like to hurt anyone or anything, nor do I like to see anyone hurting. I think it’s safe to say that most people share the same sentiments. However, I continue to be hurt by others, and on occasion, despite my best intentions, I hurt others. Why?

What I’ve discovered is that hurt is life’s way of showing me parts of me that need my attention. If my stomach hurts, that’s a call for me to examine how I can give my body the care and attention it is requesting. Similarly, if someone says or does something hurtful, it points to something in me that needs my love and attention, like fear of not being enough, fear of being unwanted, fear of being manipulated.

 

Conversely, if someone says or does something disrespectful or rude, and I have already given those parts of me love and attention, what they say or do won’t bother me. It’s like water rolling off a duck’s back. I feel neutral, unruffled. That’s not to say I need to put myself in situations that invite or tolerate this behavior of others, only that it doesn’t have to hurt me if it does happen.

We are all doing the best we can with where we are. We all have our own unique set of challenges and fears to experience. When I appreciate that about myself and others, I don’t have to take things so personally. It allows cialis pas cher me the chance to offer grace to myself and others along the way. Once again, I don’t advocate staying in abusive situations at all, only that I don’t have to hold onto offense.

I notice that despite my best intentions, I still cause hurt at times, and the same is true for others hurting me, even when they don’t mean to. I realize my goal is not to try to avoid being hurt or hurting. My goal is to INTUIT WHAT is APPROPRIATE in THIS MOMENT, (and that could change in 5 minutes). THIS REQUIRES PRESENCE! Being hurt or hurting in life is unavoidable. While I do my best to discern what is appropriate in this moment, if hurts arises, I can ALLOW that hurt to be a gateway for growth. So I continue this journey with grace, courage, presence, acceptance, compassion, gratitude and love as my guides, trusting they will lead us ALL home.”

To buy “On Being Love: How I Am Changing the World by Loving Myself”, click HERE.

 

Ambassadors for Creating a New Earth

We are fast approaching a new earth, and we as Conscious Creators have both the ability AND the responsibility to create something exquisite and beautiful that is an expression of the LOVE that WE ARE. Many of us are working hard on this by first loving and healing ourselves, for in creating this new earth, we must first EMBODY it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Many of us are doing our best to proliferate and inspire others in their journeys as well. My deepest gratitude for everything each of you do to create for the Greater Good.
This process of creation entails us flowing together in the Oneness that we are, each offering their own unique iteration of SOURCE energy. As part of this creation process, I feel it is important to share vision about where we are going. In this way, we each become ambassadors for creating a new earth, operating in our own gifts and calling to bring about this new way of being.
Here is what I AM creating in this new earth:
First of all, there will be no money. Things will progress on more of a bartering system. But we won’t own anything because we will have the understanding that we are all utilizing whatever it is that we have. It won’t belong to anyone, therefore it will all be freely shared. There won’t be people with many things and people with no things. We will all live more collaboratively much like the Native American Indians lived. There will be an understanding that there is enough for everyone and that everyone is worthy of being provided for and enjoying life. There will be no more greed and envy.
The way we get our energy and our food will be completely organic and sustainable and in a way that replenishes the earth by using the resources wisely and kindly.
In our relationships, we will no longer have the marriage structure. There will be an understanding that we own no one and no one owns us. We will freely share time with one another in a way that operates in unconditional love. Sexual energy will be used in a pure way to create more love. There will be no more jealousy.
We will base our lives and our work on collaboration not competition. And because we have opened ourselves to this kind of interaction, we will have opened ourselves to limitless creation that we will all enjoy. People will do what they’re passionate about instead of settling for work that just supports them. They will tap into their limitless abilities to create for the Greater Good.
Our educational system will be about experiential learning and will look very different from what we have known. So called teachers will be more like guides and facilitators that help students learn about life by experiencing it. Students and teachers alike will be encouraged in this process to follow their bliss and their passion, without being required to learn things that are not applicable for their journey. Learning will be a joy that everyone will naturally do throughout their lives.
In the family structure, there will be an understanding that we are all equal, that we are all souls here to support one another. The parents will not try to lord it over the children, but instead they will understand their role as guides, teachers and as students, since the children so very often are our best teachers.
Regarding leadership, the hierarchical system of leading will be no more. Instead it will be more of facilitator roles that guide people and give them the freedom to expand and create for the Greater Good. Many will play both roles of leader and follower, depending on the situation. Work will not be looked upon as mundane and unimportant because people will be flowing in harmony with themselves and with others and with the earth. In fact, it will be hard to make a distinction between work and just living and loving life. There will not be requirements for us to be certain places for certain amounts of time because there will be a fluidity that allows people to operate freely and in sync with others.
Our communication will be vastly improved because we won’t constantly be triggered by our fears. We will communicate authentically and purely from a place of unconditional love. This communication, which will take many forms, including telepathy, will be a powerful force of creation.
The need for healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, lawyers, people involved in the justice system, medical doctors and mental health practitioners will be dramatically reduced or nonexistent because people will know how to heal themselves and will operate in harmonious ways with one another.
Beauty will be highly valued and appreciated, and people will spend much time creating and enjoying it in all aspects of living.

 

 

On Being Love: How I Am Changing the World by Loving Myself

on being love front cover

“Some of the most powerful words we can say to ourselves and others are:

I ACCEPT YOU JUST AS YOU ARE.”  – Denise Roussel

I am learning how to love myself, ALL of me, my Light and my Darkness. And because we are all connected, when I love myself, I love everyone. It’s an inside job, and the hardest work I’ve ever done. This book is a compilation of a year’s worth of writing where I share my experience organically as it came to me. This unconditional love I have offered myself FIRST naturally flows out to everyone I meet. To be sure, I am changing the world by loving myself. – Denise Roussel

Buy “On Being Love” here.

You Matter Exactly as You Are

matterSometimes we have this notion that if we could just be better people, if we could just be more disciplined, if we could just have more faith, if we could just have our stuff together, then we could really make a difference in our world. Yet what we don’t realize is that each of us have unique opportunities exactly where we are to both learn and impart important life lessons. And no one else can do that but us.

By honoring and respecting our journeys, we create flow in this process. Our lives don’t have to look any special way for us to learn and offer truths that help us grow. Prisoners can bring the most potent lessons that help us flourish. Being homeless can afford us the most meaningful connections of our lives. Even being deeply entrenched in dogmatic beliefs can put us in a place of deeply touching another’s life in beautiful ways.

It doesn’t matter where we are in our journeys: By respecting and honoring each of our paths and by being fully PRESENT, we can make a difference like no other in our world.

What I Wish People Knew About Me

 

front cover onlyI am a different person since Cory died. Grief and death has a way of doing that to us. What I have noticed is people aren’t usually comfortable with talking about death, and it’s certainly not easy to know what to say and do when they encounter someone who has lost a loved one. People WANT to know what to say and do, but they struggle with it. A common interchange, especially immediately after the death, is for someone to say, “Sorry for your loss,” then to try to distract me because they don’t want to upset me. People do not like it when someone cries in front of them either.

 

A really common reaction when they hear someone has suffered loss is to think, What if that happened to me and my family! This naturally colors how people respond. They may get very emotional as well in my presence, or they may try to avoid being around me because I remind them of unbearable loss. Sometimes I feel my forehead has the letters G-R-I-E-F tattooed across it. It feels like people are almost afraid of me. I understand. And I totally see that people do care, but they just don’t know what to do and say.

 

Everyone grieves differently, but for me the last thing I want is to be distracted. And if you ask me to have a superficial conversation or to go to a gathering where the atmosphere is superficial, well, you might as well scratch your hands on the chalkboard. The latter would be preferable to the former. What I REALLY NEED is meaningful connection. We can even talk about YOUR problems! I am good with that. Let’s look into each other’s eyes and be fully present, having an encounter where what we relay is important to us. I NEED this to move forward, to heal. People may think that if we discuss your problems, that it would just be adding to my problems. THAT IS NOT SO! This is how it works: When I am engaged and fully present with you, the empathy I give YOU comes back to ME! Crazy, I know. But it’s the way it works for me. So if you want to help me heal, be real, be authentic, connect meaningfully with me.

 

One way to connect meaningfully with me is to ask sincerely, “How are you doing these days?” Not just some pat question. Actually wait and expect an honest response. Be willing to listen. Inquire into my life and experience. Here’s a BIG HELP: ASK ME ABOUT CORY. Maybe there’s someone else whose child died who would appreciate your inquiry. You will never go wrong by saying, “Would you mind telling me about your child? I want to know more about him/her.” When you do, listen intently. Listen with your heart. That is a sure fire way to help someone feel cared for, seen and heard, which is critical to the healing process.

 

Be willing to allow me to feel whatever it is I feel. There is a 95% chance I will cry because it just happens. I knew instinctively when Cory died that it would be very healing to allow myself to feel fully. Today I have a deep well of emotions, and they often translate into crying. It’s not always sadness either. When I feel intense love or gratitude, I cry. Don’t be upset by tears. One of my dear friends O’skar Madera sent me a beautiful poem that includes this line:

Be NOT

Ashamed to cry.

For tears are the fingers of God,

Caressing your face,

And gently…

Soothing your soul.

Sometimes, I just need you to give me a call or text me or send a card. Sometimes I just need a hug. And you can never go wrong by just gazing into my eyes with a warm smile. There’s a lot of healing in being seen, heard and felt.

To purchase “Portrait of a Grieving Mother” by Denise Roussel:

Click HERE

God in Costume

costume with quote

by Cory Roussel

Lately I’ve been seeing powerfully Godly beings in many who know/ practice no religions. The notion of swimming back and forth through “Samskara” [a mental conformation or latent karmic tendency shaping one’s present life] in various lifetimes has opened this beautiful POSSIBILITY (not even important whether accurate or not, still bears some fruit) that even enemies are spiritual masters in disguise teaching tough lessons. Thus the jokester, the Mariachi, the machismo, the DECEIVED, all are exposed as carefully chosen “costumes” “God” wears to teach the lessons suited for each stage of spiritual growth. In this model, even the “tragically lost” intravenous drug user “could-be”, IS Jesus if you will, coming to show us something. What a precious sacrifice these “junkies” have made for the rest of us to learn from. They willingly take on great pain and consequence even loss of life to bring us these lessons. The rapist even teaches forgiveness. Or perhaps the raped chooses to teach others how deep-seated resentment can kill us and rob us of joy. Either way, what a sacrifice the afflicted made in choosing their life of covert sacrifice. We really need not even KNOW or TRY to be Godly to be God. Our only option is WHICH PART TO PLAY? Willing recipient of Providence? Or martyrdom in sin and pain? Truly righteousness is for our own OPTION to exercise good and experience blessing. We cannot cheat God or deviate from HIS plan. His kingdom on earth IS here, and we visit it regularly. Just a thought I had as I noticed some telltale rays of light seeping through these cheap and imperfect costumes God wears. (We call them strangers, friends, enemies.)

This is an excerpt from “The Way Out: A Guide to Being Free From the Prison of Your Mind” by Cory Roussel.

To purchase “The Way Out”, please Click HERE.

Legacy of Love Offering

legacy of love heart

This offering seeks to integrate PRESENCE with the PROCESS of a bereaved parent relaying the legacy of a deceased child. This may include but not limited to: stories, feelings, thoughts, writing, pictures and other forms of remembering the deceased loved one.

The process may take several hours of pure presence of the parent, Denise Roussel, Cory Roussel and the child of the bereaved parent.

The culmination of the offering will be a book created by Denise Roussel, documenting the Legacy of Love of the deceased.

This offering is a bartering arrangement with no financial transaction.

Book Signing on Cory’s BDay of “Shifting Worlds: My Encounters With the Afterlife”

front cover for shifting worlds

Tuesday, August 22, 6-8 PM

La Divina Italian Cafe

3535 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA

I am celebrating Cory’s birthday by having a book signing event for my newest book “Shifting Worlds: My Encounters With the Afterlife”, which chronicles waking encounters, dream visitations, synchronicities and other stories of Cory since he has passed. Enjoy a free gelato or drink with the purchase of a book!
View the Facebook Event HERE

Shifting Worlds: My Encounters With the Afterlife

front cover for shifting worlds

My son, Cory Roussel, passed away on October 26, 2014. He’s not dead, just present in another dimension. I began to realize this almost immediately after he left. This book chronicles some of my encounters with Cory, both waking and dreaming, along with the stories of others and their experience with the afterlife. It does exist, and here’s how I know. My hope in writing this book is that others will experience connection with their loved ones who are always so very present and desirous to assist us in our journeys. – Denise Roussel

Available at Amazon.com

 

Reflections on Grief Support

a pic of cory and me at bulgarian wedding

I returned home from Austin today and have been observing a few things about myself as a result of my encounters. My last three days have included revisiting Cory’s life and death and all the grief that ensued with his passing. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with a Bereft Parents Dinner Group. That was the first grief group support meeting of any kind that I have ever attended. The way I have responded to grief was so unusual, and where I am today is so different from most people’s experience that I felt like first of all that I didn’t need a group. Secondly, I thought my experience may be intimidating to others. But what I realize and own is cialis prix that I didn’t want to have to deal with other people’s grief in that way.

When I go to Austin, I want to feel happy. I didn’t want to feel grief. I have done a lot of that on my own. But after going, I found out that I really received a lot by hearing other people’s experiences. I felt such love and compassion for my new friends, and it wasn’t a burden to share their grief. And what’s more, people weren’t intimidated by me. They were inspired by my story.

As I go further into looking at my life, I see that as I have healed, my focus has shifted from dealing with grief, which is somewhat specific to those who have lost loved ones, to a more general work of embodying LOVE. I don’t see myself as mainly offering something to those who experience grief, but sharing a universal message to the collective. And I think part of me was tired of being identified with and somewhat alienated by my grief experience.

What I understand now is I AM here to share my experience of loving unconditionally. But I am also here for my friends, known and unknown who experience loss and grief. And I feel grateful to serve others in love and be served in such a powerful way by beautiful people who have touched the face of God by feeling part of their soul depart to the other side.

Loving Through Detachment

detachment

Detachment does not mean I don’t feel for someone. Nor does it mean I don’t miss someone. To let someone go is to love them more completely. Therefore often I feel and miss people more deeply as I detach. Detachment is saying I release others from my egoic desire to have them, to be attached to them. I notice the illusion of having more as being more complete, and it is an illusion. Indeed attachment is quite cunning. When I let go of someone, I am released to love them completely and unconditionally. I picture myself before detachment with all of these people, things and ideas hanging on to me like appendages, extra weight and excess baggage. In that moment, I find it hard to move, to flow, to live. I am constrained by my own choosing without even realizing it. But then I look in a mirror and see my ridiculous and overwhelming state, and my resolve to be free is solidified. I begin to dismantle the monster I had become, removing one person, thing, idea at a time. It is a process, but I am diligent. I want to see what is beneath this unnatural creation I had developed over my lifetime. I want to view my essence, free from anyone or anything. Over time, I see me. Oh, so that’s how I look. Wow! It’s not what I expected. I am shining so brightly, it’s hard for my human eyes to see. I am beautiful. I am infinite. I am free. Free to love and to live. And it is here where I can do so completely, intensely. It is here where I reach down into souls and reveal their boundless essence. It is here where my feelings are most pure, profound, true. I am alive with love.

The Spirit of the Times: TO BE A REBEL…

cory graffitti 2
Do you want to live your Highest Truth? Do you want to make a difference in our world? Do you want to Be the Change? Then go INWARD, my Friend. Lasting change must come from within, and it proceeds outward as a powerful ripple effect. We MUST GO INWARD TO GO UPWARD.                                                                  – Denise Roussel

The Spirit of The Times: TO BE A REBEL…
by Cory Roussel

A revolutionary is part of the political world; his approach is through politics. His understanding is that changing the social structure is enough to change the human being.

A rebel, is a spiritual phenomenon. His approach is absolutely individual. His vision is that if we want to change the society, we have to change the individual. Society in itself does not exist; it is only a word, like “crowd” – if you go to find it, you will not find it anywhere. Wherever you encounter someone, you will encounter an individual. “Society” is only a collective name – just a name, not a reality – with no substance.

The individual has a soul, has a possibility of evolution, of change, of transformation. Hence, the difference is tremendous.

The rebel is the very essence of spirit. He brings into the world a change of consciousness – and if the consciousness changes, then the structure of the society is bound to follow it. But vice versa is not the case, and it has been proved by all the revolutions because they have failed.

No revolution has yet succeeded in changing human beings; but it seems we are not aware of the fact. We still go on thinking in terms of revolution, of changing society, of changing the government, of changing the bureaucracy, of changing laws, political systems. Feudalism, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism – they were all in their own way revolutionary. They all have failed, and failed utterly, because man has remained the same.

We have to be rebels, not revolutionaries. The revolutionary belongs to a very mundane sphere; the rebel and his rebelliousness are sacred. The revolutionary cannot stand alone; he needs a crowd, a political party, a government. He needs power – and power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Human consciousness has not grown for centuries. Only once in a while someone blossoms – but in millions of people, the blossoming of one person is not a rule, it is the exception. And because that person is alone, the crowd cannot tolerate him. His existence becomes a kind of humiliation; his very presence feels insulting because he opens your eyes, makes you aware of your potential and your future. And it hurts your ego that you have done nothing to grow, to be more conscious, to be more loving, more ecstatic, more creative, more silent – to create a beautiful world around you.

Hence a Gautam Buddha or a Chuang Tzu hurts you because they have blossomed and you are just standing there.

★★★★★ TO BE A REBEL ★★★★★

The world has known only very few rebels. But now is the time: if humanity proves incapable of producing a large number of rebels, a rebellious spirit, then our days on the earth are numbered. Then the coming decades may become our graveyard. We are coming very close to that point.

We have to change our consciousness, create more meditative energy in the world, create more lovingness. We have to destroy the old – its ugliness, its rotten ideologies, its stupid discriminations, idiotic superstitions – and create a new human being with fresh eyes, with new values. A discontintuity with the past – that’s the meaning of rebelliousness.

These three words will help you to understand: reform, revolution, and rebellion.

Reform means a modification. The old remains and you give it a new form, a new shape – it is a kind of renovation to an old building. The original structure remains; you whitewash it, you clean it, you create a few windows, a few new doors.

Revolution goes deeper than reform. The old remains, but more changes are introduced, changes even in its basic structure. You are not only changing its color and opening a few new windows and doors, but perhaps building new stories, taking it higher into the sky. But the old is not destroyed, it remains hidden behind the new; in fact, it remains the very foundation of the new. Revolution is a continuity with the old.

Rebellion is a discontinuity. It is not reform, it is not revolution; it is simply disconnecting yourself from all that is old. The old religions, the old political ideologies, the old human being – all that is old, you disconnect yourself from it. You start life afresh, from scratch.

The revolutionary tries to change the old; the rebel simply comes out of the old, just as a snake slips out of the old skin and never looks back.

The future needs no more revolutions. The future needs a new experiment, which has not been tried yet. Although for thousands of years there have been rebels, they remained alone – individuals. Perhaps the time was not ripe for them. But now the time is not only ripe….if you don’t hurry, the time has come to an end. In the coming decades, either mankind will disappear or a new human being with a new vision will appear on the earth. That new human being will be a rebel.”

The difference between a revolutionary and a rebel. To be a rebel we need to stand alone – yet together in this aloneness. So easily, with all the expectations raised by so much info coming out – and talk of what is about to happen – we can sit and wait for someone else to do it for us, when this attitude itself is what has got into this mess – giving our power away to governments, conditioning, status quo, the easy option, the safe option, not rocking the boat etc. Individuals have to take courage and speak up for themselves if we are to see this world change on a sustainable basis. It’s just a cautionary point at this time of great expectations.

Buy “Portrait of a Grieving Mother: My Thoughts on Grief and Death

 

 

front cover only

How does one deal with the  death of a child or the death of any loved one for that matter? What does grief feel like? How can we better understand how to interact with the bereaved? What lessons can death and grief teach us? These are some of the questions I have addressed in this book. My expertise is my experience with grief and death. This is my story, and I hope sharing it can help others to heal and grow along with me.

– Denise Roussel

Available on Amazon.com HERE

Speaker

Do you need a speaker for your event, group, lecture or book club?

Denise Roussel would love to speak about any of her books or topics such as:

Thoughts on Grief and Death

Love and the Human Experience

Practicing Real Love

The Healing Power of Empathy

The Dynamic Role of Meaningful Connection

Facing My Fears

Practicing Stillness

Seeing, Hearing and Feeling

My Turning Point

Finding Freedom by Opening

YouTube Preview Image

 

What It Is Like to Be With Me

perfection with logo

Lately I’ve noticed that even though I live with me, I haven’t always acknowledged my presence, at least not ALL of me. For a long time, I have lived with the person whom I thought I SHOULD be. I have basically overlooked, ignored, even denied parts of me. My practice has been to face my fears. So, I have decided to face ME and all those parts of me that I may have neglected or been afraid of. Most of my life, I have lived as a perfectionist. I say that not as something to be proud of, only to note that I do a pretty good job at judging myself- and harshly at that!  I have been exploring what would life be like for me if I learned not to judge myself. Instead, I am learning to be self-aware, to allow myself to BE, to be kind to myself, to LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, and finally to ACCEPT myself. I think I have had this notion that as I grow that my shadow side would vaporize…POOF! But I notice that I still have thoughts that aren’t very positive. I still notice feelings that are deemed by some to be unacceptable. I still make mistakes. I have come to realize that PERFECTION is NOT MY END GAME- my EVOLUTION IS.

These days I have been going inward, taking care of myself and noticing what’s inside of me. And I learning a lot! I am learning that “imperfection” can be beautiful. What is imperfection really? Just because something doesn’t turn out like we intended or doesn’t look like a culturally perceived idea of the norm, does that mean it is imperfect? I am learning to push some edges and challenge my thinking, my view of the world, my way of living. I am learning to BE STILL and BE WITH MYSELF. Notice I say “with” and not “by” and with good reason. Many people are afraid to be “by themselves” or “alone” because they are actually of afraid of themselves. We’ve been taught to judge and shun parts of ourselves, as if it is some cancer or worse, a demon. There’s a lot of freedom in loving ALL of me. I notice as I embrace and accept all of me, there is a synergy that flows between my light side and my dark side. I can see that my dark side is actually giving me opportunities to grow, for without conflict, growth is stifled. I am no longer afraid of being “with” myself. I am no longer afraid of myself. I LOVE ME. I am grateful for every aspect of my being working together to shape me into the masterpiece that I AM. When I look into my being, I see never-ending space, an expanse that rivals the largest ocean, the biggest galaxy, the entire universe. And it exists INSIDE OF ME! Inside this skin and these bones. Unbelievable! And even more incredible, it’s UNCONTAINABLE! It keeps spilling out everywhere from every part of my being. I see that I am LIGHT and LOVE. Even more beautiful, I can see it in YOU, too! WOW! No more words…because they cannot express THIS.

Added Trauma Associated With Death

helpful to express with logo

I have recently become acquainted with several bereaved parents, and it brought to mind that besides the trauma of losing a child or loved one, there are altogether additional and different circumstances that can lead to more trauma. For example, if a death is sudden and unexpected, like accident, suicide or homicide, the shock of the death seems even more pronounced because there wasn’t time to prepare oneself. In the case of a terminally ill person who dies, while there may sometimes be time to prepare for the death, the trauma of taking care of and watching the death over the course of months, weeks or even days is excruciating. When it comes to homicide, there are so many factors that may come into play: rage towards the perpetrator, unforgiveness, desire for revenge or justice, frustration over how the case is handled, to name a few. With suicide, the list seems to be longer: obsessing over anything that could have been done to prevent the death, feelings of blame, shame, worry over the afterlife of the deceased, unresolved issues. This, of course, is not to mention if the deceased loved one is found by a family member. Viewing a loved one after death, especially if the circumstances are horrific and unexpected is extremely traumatic in and of itself and may be difficult for that family member to forget that image of their loved one instead of a pleasant memory with them. Then there are instances where the whereabouts of the loved one is unknown for a long period of time. When the body is finally found, the surviving family members have to endure the dashing of their hopes, however slim, that their loved one may still be alive. And the grieving over the loss of their family member has been prolonged and even delayed. Other circumstances can also come into play that add to the intensity of the experience of the death of a loved one, like losing an only child or the death of a loved one when there is considerable unresolved conflict.

I think about these things because I want to educate myself and others about the multi-faceted experience of grief and death. There is no pat way to approach someone who has lost a loved one. My experience is to first just be completely present and as empathetic as possible. Another thing that helps me is for someone to be curious about my experience and to hold space for me to express myself without fear of making the other uncomfortable. Even though I have lost a child, I still have no idea what it feels like to experience some of the things others have experienced. I keep an open heart and mind to learn with love and compassion. So when I approach someone, I try not to come with an attitude of knowing exactly what the other person is experiencing. I can use my experience to help me to be empathetic, but I feel it’s important for me to listen and be fully present so that the other can be seen and heard. Interacting in this way requires a lot of intuition and love.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed and need someone to direct me into healthy thinking and guidance. Sometimes it just hurts. There is no way around it. And all I need is empathy and presence. I don’t need to be fixed or convinced there’s good coming out of this pain. I already know this. I just need to go through it. If I stuff it, it will come out eventually in some way.  At times like this it helps for someone to simply be present and as empathetic as possible. This gives me the space to get through the pain, settle myself down and proceed with my journey. It occurs to me that it is helpful if I can express when I want advice and guidance and when I just need a shoulder to cry on. That, of course, requires me to be honest and present with my own needs as well. I can’t expect people to know what I need or don’t need. I suppose this is all part of the process of growth and evolution. Either way, expressing these thoughts helps me to clarify what my needs are and to elucidate others on how they can best help those suffering loss through death.

— Denise Roussel

My Thoughts Today on Parenting and Relationships

relationships with logoI have been thinking about parenting and relationships in general and am noticing a powerful tool for healthy connections. My daughter-in-law, Amanda, is probably the most patient person I’ve ever met. And not just smart, but wise. I watch how she parents Benny, my grandson and am amazed and deeply gratified. When Benny pitches a fit because he can’t have something he wants, take for example to watch a video, he starts screaming and crying like any three-year-old would do. Instead of telling him to stop crying or giving him ultimatums for his unpleasant behavior, she simply says something like, “I can see you’re feeling really sad right now because you can’t watch that video.” An interesting thing happens when she does this: Benny usually quiets down, wipes his eyes, she gives him a hug, and they go onto something else. The simple act of acknowledging his feelings, not trying to fix the situation or force him to behave differently, is profound and beautiful to behold. I think about my own parenting and the forceful way I opposed my own children when they did things that were completely unacceptable. And I notice how counterproductive my actions were. The more I scolded and reprimanded, the more horrible they felt and the more they dug their heels in to do it MORE. I have no regrets about how I parented because I know in my heart I did the best I could with the tools I had, and they turned out well after all. But I wonder how things would have been had I learned what Amanda modeled. I know I could have saved myself and my children a lot of grief and stress. I think about my own life, when I am going through a difficult situation and how strongly my need is for someone to just acknowledge my feelings, to see me, accept me, empathize with me, just the way I am. I think about how I resist and don’t feel cared for when someone tries to “fix” me in those moments. I can figure it out. My heart knows what to do. I just need to feel and experience whatever it is that’s happening and have someone say, “I am here. It’s okay. Just feel and be. I see you.” Somehow that opens space for my heart to move from turmoil to a quiet place where I can be led by my heart to whatever the next step is. What would our relationships look like if we could see past the junk we tend to project, and learn how to just be with each other, to see each other, to empathize, to acknowledge our feelings openly, no matter how intense or negative they are? What would our relationships look like if we could learn not to react and be defensive, but to move past the story that is occurring in these situations and just sit with each other, in their (our) misery? It’s something to think about…

Love Fest in Austin, Texas

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Recently, I hosted a Love Fest in front of Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, where my friend, Brian and I gave out free compliments and free hugs. When we first arrived on the busy corner, I walked right up to a homeless man sitting on the curb with all of his belongings and a nicely decorated sign that said, “Happy Holidays, God Bless”. As I knelt down to be nearer to him and introduce myself, I was struck by his piercing blue eyes. “My name is Alan,” he answered as we shook hands. “I was wondering, Alan, if you could use a Subway card.” “Yes, indeed,” he quickly responded. I handed him a gift card with a quote card attached and asked him to read one side: “You are so much more than your form and your story. You are a human being with a spirit that is immeasurably worthy, infinitely beautiful, incredibly priceless.” His eyes softened as he offered his gratitude. I went on to tell him that I have this unusual practice of eye gazing where I communicate my love and gratitude spirit to spirit without talking for two minutes and invited him to engage with me. He readily agreed. I noticed he had a hard time keeping his eyes wide open, a common issue because there is often a feeling of not wanting to be seen. And he was so overwhelmed with the experience that he had a hard time not talking. After the two minutes, I asked him about his experience. He told me that he had never done that before and that he enjoyed and appreciated it. I shared back with him that I saw in his eyes a little yellow sunflower amidst a calm blue sea. “Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of the seeing the universe in the flower. I saw the universe in you.” Needless to say, he was a bit blown away, almost as if he was completely blind-sided by love, which he was.

 

I walked a bit further to the corner, and Brian and I pinned on signs to our Cory’s Dream: Be the Change shirts. His read “Free Hugs” and mine “2 minute Eye Gaze”. I held in my hands a double-sided sign with “Free Compliments” on one side and “Free Hugs” on the other. While Brian stood on the corner, I walked away about 20 feet farther away from both Brian and Alan. We each had our methods for sharing our love. Brian just stood there and opened his arms when people passed him, occasionally asking if they wanted a hug. I held my free compliments and asked, “Would you like a free compliment?” when people passed me. If they took one, I turned my sign around and said, “I am also giving out free hugs if you’re interested.” Some people responded by receiving our offerings of love; others, perhaps suspicious of us or involved in a conversation with another, politely refused.

 

After a while, I noticed Alan speaking with Brian and didn’t think much of it. Soon, Brian called me over and told me what transpired: Apparently Alan was very upset we were in proximity to “his” spot. (Incidentally, it is illegal in Austin to panhandle.) So Alan, who is quite a bit bigger than Brian, started yelling at Brian that he wanted us to leave, yadda, yadda… Brian calmly observed what was going on, while simultaneously listening to his inner voice yelling, “Danger! A large, homeless man is shouting at you at close proximity!” As Brian relayed what he was experiencing, I couldn’t help but picture the image of a duck smoothly gliding across the water, as if he didn’t have a care in the world, all the while his feet are paddling furiously below the water. Brian’s response was priceless: “First, Alan, will you give me a hug? Then we will take our stuff and leave.” Alan no doubt was completely taken off guard as he relented to this gesture of love in the face of fear. They embraced, melting away the animosity Alan felt. After their hug, Alan said, “It’s okay. Y’all don’t have to move.” And he quietly slipped back to his spot on the curb. What Alan may not have realized was, if anything we were helping him by being there on that corner, by generating a spirit of love. A little while later, Alan approached Brian and gave him a small “Gift it Forward” coupon book. How apropos!

 

A little while later, I spotted a police man at the light. Oh boy, I thought, Here we go. Soon he made a Huey and pulled up on the curb where I stood. At the back of my mind, I knew he was there to harass the homeless guy, but I also wondered if he was going to give me a hard time for holding up a “Free Compliments” sign. “Would you like a free compliment?” I asked the police man as he neared me. He declined and walked right past me to where Alan sat. He surveyed Alan’s sign and undoubtedly realized he didn’t have enough evidence to ticket or arrest him. So, instead he asked for Alan’s ID and checked it out on his computer. Soon, the police man was back to really lay it on my friend, “You’re homeless. You don’t have a job. You can’t just sit here. You’re a convicted felon. You have to leave…” blah, blah, blah. Every word felt like a blow to my heart. Part of me wanted to go over there and defend the man. But, I reasoned that this was just the way it goes here, and it wasn’t appropriate at this time to intervene. As Alan gathered up his things, I walked up to him. “You see how they treat the homeless? They didn’t say anything to you for holding up your sign. I am homeless. Is that a crime?! They treat us like we’re nothing.” My heart bled for this guy as I looked into his blazing blue eyes. “I do see how they treat you like nothing. But you and I know, Alan, that you are the universe.” There was a momentary pause to receive what I said, but it was quickly overtaken by the rage of injustice he felt so deeply by being told once again that he should not exist here. As I watched my new friend trudge away, I sent him along his way with loving intentions and gratitude for his journey. As I recall our experience, I feel a lot of gratitude for being there in that moment, for touching lives, but more importantly being touched with unspeakable love.

 

 

Letting Go

letting go tree with logo

I am noticing that I am getting a lot practice in letting go; and although it can hurt like the dickens at first, I’m getting pretty good at it. I feel so alive. Life is coursing through every fiber of my being, and I can now see, feel, know at such a profound level. It is astounding. I look around me and think, This is a fantastic dream. And I realize how liberating it is to simply let go.

What is detachment?

letting go with logoDetachment does not mean I don’t feel for someone.  Nor does it mean I don’t miss someone. To let someone go is to love them more completely. Therefore often I feel and miss people more deeply as I detach. Detachment is saying I release others from my egoic desire to have them, to be attached to them. I notice the illusion of having more as being more complete, and it is an illusion. Indeed attachment is quite cunning. When I let go of someone, I am released to love them completely and unconditionally. I picture myself before detachment with all of these people, things and ideas hanging on to me like appendages, extra weight and excess baggage. In that moment, I find it hard to move, to flow, to live. I am constrained by my own choosing without even realizing it. But then I look in a mirror and see my ridiculous and overwhelming state, and my resolve to be free is solidified. I begin to dismantle the monster I had become, removing one person, thing, idea at a time. It is a process, but I am diligent. I want to see what is beneath this unnatural creation I had developed over my lifetime. I want to view my essence, free from anyone or anything. Over time, I see me. Oh, so that’s how I look. Wow! It’s not what I expected. I am shining so brightly, it’s hard for my human eyes to see. I am beautiful. I am infinite. I am free. Free to love and to live. And it is here where I can do so completely, intensely. It is here where I reach down into souls and reveal their boundless essence. It is here where my feelings are most pure, profound, true. I am alive with love.

Order your copy of “The Way Out” by Cory Roussel

Excerpt from “The Way Out” by Cory Roussel:
“The more people purposefully put 5 minutes – 2 hours/day rekindling whatever perspective-giving remembrances they so choose, the happier, freer, and less regretful they’ll be.”
As we go through the one year anniversary of Cory’s death, I am reminded how purposeful his life was and how much he came to teach us. If you haven’t ordered his book yet, I encourage you to do so now. If ever there is a time to be encouraged to live our lives on purpose, it’s now.

Order your copy of “The Way Out: A Guide to Being Free From the Prison of Your Mind” today!

the way out front cover only

 

Join us for our 1st Annual Living the Dream Retreat!

Cory’s Dream: Be the Change

presents

Living the Dream Retreat

jacob well blue

Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, 2015

Jacob’s Well Retreat Center in Wimberley, Texas

Do you need a break from the “busy”ness of life? Are you interested in re-centering and being with yourself? Do you have a desire to join with others to spend quality time enjoying purposeful living in an authentic and natural environment? Then Living the Dream Retreat is for you!

Cory’s Dream: Be the Change is interested in inspiring others to Be love, Be compassion, Be authentic and Be present. So in memorial of the one-year anniversary of Cory Roussel’s passing away, we are spreading his legacy of love and compassion by offering Living the Dream Retreat. This event will incorporate all of the things Cory Roussel shared with us that brought about his state of growth, healing and enlightenment. These include but not limited to: yoga, meditation, authentic relating activities, ecstatic dance, educational forums and more.

Arrive Friday by 5pm

Depart Sunday PM* or Monday by 10 AM*

Saturday and Sunday activities begin at 8:30 AM and conclude at 10 PM.

Evening events are 7 PM to 10 PM.

* This retreat includes a sunrise memorial service on Monday, October 26 to celebrate the life of Cory Roussel on the one year anniversary of his passing. If you are unable to stay until Monday morning, feel free to leave after Sunday evening’s activities.

Also, some of the practices we will be incorporating into this retreat will be a period of silence before breakfast, a Saturday of fruits and vegetables only (which is a form of intermittent fasting). If ANY of the practices at this retreat does not sound like something you wish to participate in, that is completely acceptable. This time is for you to take care of yourself. With that said, this can also be a time of stretching and experiencing something new.

 

Sign up NOW at corysdream.org/resources/living-the-dream-retreats/.

Revised prices:

$275 camping

$350 dorm bed

Day only rate: (Saturday or Sunday, 8:30 AM-10PM, includes 3 meals*)

$75/person/day

*MUST BE PRE-REGISTERED FOR DAY RATES TO RECEIVE MEALS!

Night event only: (Friday, Saturday or Sunday, 7 PM-10PM, no meal included)

$20/person/night

For more info contact:

Denise Roussel

corysdream.org@gmail.com

An Amazing Space:

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jacobs well foyer

 

jacobs well entrance to house

 

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“Do You See What I See?” video of creative ways to show love and compassion

It’s DONE! The video of creative ways to show love and compassion for the “Do You See What I See?” project. Enjoy and pass along please. Thank you to Tom Roudebush who filmed and produced this. And thanks toJeremy Galloway, Matt Davis, Angie Trampel, Darrell Ferguson, Conner Moore and Michelle Amriel for participating.

Watch the “Do You See What I See?” video and please share!

 

OMG! I do this too! – so awesome!

The Liberators International with Oceanic Trimboli and 10 others

Where has the human connection gone in our big cities? In this public experiment we discover what happens when we intentionally share eye contact with strangers…We had no idea how quickly things would escalate!

Join the movement here http://bit.ly/1Gjm9em

Behind the scenes info about this experiment here http://bit.ly/1H6EkKX

Video Recording: Jimmy James Bee & Ocean Trimboli
Editing: The Liberators International
Music: Eyes Wide Open – Tony Anderson

‪#‎Eyecontact‬, ‪#‎TheLiberators‬, ‪#‎Freedom‬, ‪#‎public‬, ‪#‎perth‬, ‪#‎humanconnection‬

Do You See What I See? Part 2

Next on the agenda was quote poster and cards. What this entailed was holding up Cory’s sign that he himself made and used for this purpose that read, “Just be love(d).” In addition to the poster, I printed out cards with quotes that Cory had sent me that were uplifting and meant something to Cory. Well, this practice was trickier. People couldn’t seem to get past the idea that someone holding up a sign on a corner wants to GIVE something away- kindness and love. Some guardedly occupied themselves while they waited for the light to turn green. A few rolled down their window and allowed Jeremy to give them a quote card with a happy greeting, “Thank you for being YOU.” And yet a few more waved, honked happily or held up their “I love you” fingers. For this practice, I felt inclined to assist Jeremy standing next to him, smiling and waving. We also gave away quote cards to people on foot who passed by. Overall, it was an enjoyable practice but difficult to pull off effectively with a cardboard sign.

However, I expanded the practice beyond Cory’s experience to put quote cards on bottles of water, Gatorade and Cliff bars. (In the winter I also kept a supply of socks and large garbage bags with quote cards attached.) I keep these in my car or on my person at times if I think I will encounter a homeless person. And on this trip, I encountered several homeless people. My practice is even if I don’t have a quote card, a bottle of water or money, I can give my kindness. I strive to give every homeless person I meet a warm loving smile and a hearty greeting. Those moments however short are so energizing and tender. The way I see it is that love can be conveyed very quickly without words by how you look at someone. Once that connection is made, the interaction not only positively affects the recipient, but often the smile and love is returned. In so doing, a circle of love is created where both parties become givers and receivers, uplifting both hearts.

Reverse Panhandling At Its Best

11536028_380368305485027_8495756656736287834_nReverse Panhandling At Its Best
What an exciting week I had as I joined with a team of friends to complete the project, “Do You See What I See?” We began by shooting footage for a short film we are creating to inspire people about creative ways to show love and compassion. Each of the four practices we illustrate in the video are things that Cory actually did: Reverse Panhandling, Quote Posters/Cards, Free Compliments and Free Answers. Our first day of filming began across the street from Whole Foods at a busy intersection where Cory’s good friend, Jeremy, engaged in reverse panhandling. What this involves is holding up a cardboard sign that reads, “Reverse Panhandling”. And when people were brave enough to roll down their window and inquire what that means, Jeremy threw money into their car with a cheery, “Have a nice day!” as he walked away smiling. I was amused when Jeremy first stood on the curb and held up the sign. A yellow butterfly swung down and fluttered briefly in front of his face before flying off across the street. As expected, many people could not let curiosity get the best of them as they either looked down at their phones or straight ahead. But for those who ventured out, they were pleasantly surprised. “I don’t need this!” replied one recipient. “Neither do I!” Jeremy answered jovially. I enjoyed standing off to the side and watching the expressions of confusion, shock and then amusement come over their faces. One guy had the presence of mind to hold up his phone and take a picture of Jeremy as he threw money in the guy’s car. We had already decided that for the last gift, Jeremy would throw 10 $1 bills into the car. I told Jeremy he would know who to approach. Soon a black Land Cruiser pulls up with the windows rolled down and a big hairy dog panting out of the passenger window behind the driver, a young man in his 20’s. Jeremy started peeling off bills one by one and then threw a big wad. The guy was laughing and trying frantically to collect the money. Within seconds the light turned green and our cheery recipient drove off with a huge contagious smile on his face.

Wow! That sure was fun! Despite the fact we were filming, I was reminded that we were actually reverse panhandling. Having completed this portion of the project, we decided to go into Whole Foods to cool off and get something to drink. Mind you this is THE WHOLE FOODS, the one where it all started, a huge bustling store that looked like Grand Central Station on a Tuesday morning. We walked past the coffee bar, and lo and behold there is our reverse panhandling receiver guy! I introduced myself and he in turn told me his name was Connor. “You know getting $8 dollars was great, but it wasn’t the money that was so much fun. It was the whole idea. I love it!” I informed him that Jeremy threw $10 into his car, so he can enjoy hunting for the other $2 that no doubt fell into an obscure space. I also shared with him about Cory and that this was his idea. I talked to him about Cory’s Dream for us to be the change and the profound impact that my son had on my life. Connor was blown away and so very full of life and love. We exchanged contact info, and I friended him on Facebook before we parted ways. Much to my surprise, Connor is on his own spiritual journey where he just began posting about 100 days of meditation, and he was on day 2. This is what he had to say:

Enlightened Meathead day 2/100: Greenbelt calling my name
Today was such an interesting day from the moment I left my house. While sitting on a rock watching the leaves flow by, I got to thinking about how much our life stands to gain from the experiences that were unexpected. I had one of the most impactful conversations today with a woman who had lost her 27-year-old son and had turned an experience that could have crushed so many into something that will bring more authentic positivity into the world. When she told me her story, she expressed gratitude for life over sorrow for loss.

This had a hold of me in my meditation time today. We have no control over the unpredictable situations that will come our way. If we can look past the surface “good” or “bad” of what happens, we can find substantial growth. You’re a new person after each of these experiences. The question is: what kind of different will you be.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LET GO OF ATTACHMENTS?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LET GO OF ATTACHMENTS?

A close friend shared with me how early in his life, he was taught about attachments and how to detach himself from everything and everyone. I must admit, although I had heard that lesson before, I was a bit uncomfortable as he spoke. What in the world was he talking about? I had just lost my son, how could I not be attached to that precious soul that flowed into and out of my life so quickly? I have two other remarkable children, an unbelievably wonderful husband, an incredibly magnificent grandson who is the definition of goodness. I have a warm, inviting, soulful abode full of art and creative essence. I have profound connections with friends of all ages throughout the world. What does it mean not to be attached to anything or anyone? My friend challenged me by his thoughts and example.

As I am evolving, I see life differently. I understand the reality we see as form and story is in fact an illusion, confirmed by quantum physics. I see that we are all energy, souls, spirits that live infinitely in and out of this existence. I see how we are placed in this vehicle of form and story to help our souls to grow according to what we need to learn. I see that this life on earth is neither the beginning nor the end of our lives, only a sliver of our infinite presence. As I view this perspective, I understand what my friend is teaching me about attachment. Our insatiable ego is constantly trying to convince us to hold onto to grasp for more, more of everything and everyone. The funny thing is that the ego is never satisfied, and I see that no matter how hard I try to hold onto someone, something, an experience, a situation, a thought, IT IS NEVER ENOUGH. It is an illusion to think feeding my ego will satisfy me. It will never happen. Conversely, when I learn how to not feed nor protect my ego, and to identify with my true self beyond my form and story, I am always fulfilled- even when I am in pain, even when I am going through a storm, even when I am faced with death. When I let go of everything and everyone, I recognize, I AM ENOUGH.

What does it feel like to detach from everything and everyone? My ego screams, “Are you out of your freaking mind?!” My true self feels peace because I realize I cannot contain anyone or anything, no matter how hard I try. I understand when I detach from everyone, I am freeing myself and others to grow. I am reminded of Deepak Chopra’s spiritual law of detachment:
“Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions- allow solutions to spontaneously emerge.”

How does it feel to be detached from having all my physical needs met, being healthy, living in a safe and comfortable environment? And as I am learning to detach, I am challenged to go deeper, to not only things and people, but to detach from how I view myself. How does it feel to detach from the concept of how I am viewed by others- loyal, faithful, wise, beautiful, loving, logical?

I wonder if whoever is reading this is starting to freak out, thinking I am going to do some pretty drastic things. I wonder if whoever is reading this is, like I was listening to my friend, REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE. I understand. I don’t know what my future holds. I only know that as Deepak Chopra stated, “Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.” As I detach, I feel free and there is a deep knowing that everything’s gonna be all right.

People grow when they are loved well.

“People grow when they are loved well. If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.” ~ Mike McHargue

What does it mean to love unconditionally? “But I don’t have conditions on whether or not I love someone,” argues the internal voice. Perhaps looking at it a different way may help us to understand better. What comes out when I encounter: a homeless person, a prisoner, a murderer, an addict, a religious zealot, a monk, a severely disfigured person, a hippie, a politician? What are my instincts to think, say and do?

We are conditioned to try to understand logically. We are conditioned to decide whether something or someone is “right” or “wrong”. We are conditioned to judge everything, everyone, even ourselves. But what if when we look at someone we are able to understand that each of us are on different journeys, journeys that are specifically designed for our souls to grow and evolve? When we understand this, we are able to go one step further. What if that addict’s journey is EXACTLY what he needs to develop areas of his life: temperance, compassion, patience, love- lessons he may never be able to learn otherwise. What if the humiliation and restriction of being severely disfigured teaches that soul that she is ENOUGH? What if the grasping and cajoling of the politician shows him that he can rest in BEING? What if the violence of the murderer reveals the power of FEAR and its grip on our lives?

Whatever our form or story is, we can rest in the knowing that each of us are here for our souls to grow and evolve. Our form and our story is the vehicle by which we exist here on the earth, but it is NOT who we are, no more than our cars are who we are. What if we can recondition our thinking to look past form and story and see souls- spirits that are immeasurably worthy, indescribably beautiful, infinitely worthy? In this new mode of operation, we can see each other clearly. We recognize we no longer have to change each other, convince each other of anything. Why? Because we understand that WE ARE ENOUGH. WE ARE NOT BROKEN. We are simply pilgrims traveling on this journey we call life, learning, growing, evolving along the way. Instead of judging each other, we can see the incredibly wondrous spirits that we are. We can love without conditions, agenda or judgement. This is unconditional love.

The Power of Love

The Power of Love
Many of you are aware that Cory’s passing is a homicide investigation. The sequence of events suggests that he was robbed in front of the Houston Public Library in the wee hours of the morning. Because the surveillance videos at the library were not operational, there are three minutes of time unaccounted for when “the person of interest” and Cory entered into that space. We cannot confirm if he was assaulted at that time because there were no witnesses and the “person of interest” has not been found. When I heard of the homicide investigation, I can only tell you that I was gifted with both complete acceptance of Cory’s death AND compassion and forgiveness for the “person of interest”. I decided early on that I had no room in my heart for hate, bitterness, unforgiveness. The result was an overwhelming freedom and expansiveness that is really hard to express fully in words. I have no desire for “justice”. Karma has a way of exacting justice. It’s not my deal at all. And I really don’t desire for ANYONE to be caught up in the system we call “justice”. I would like to one day eventually meet this person who interacted with my son because I want him to know that I forgive him completely. Maybe I will have that opportunity and maybe I won’t. It doesn’t really matter. Yet, the space in front of the library calls me. It is there that I have met and continue to meet numerous homeless people who are now my friends.

Yesterday, I visited that space trying to connect with a homeless friend. I felt led to walk around the poles in the center of the plaza. I tried to picture a struggle to get Cory’s backpack and a possible impact against the poles. As I walked around each pole, I was drawn to a spot where the blue paint had peeled off the concrete. It was in the perfect shape of a heart. I was immediately reminded of a dream Cory shared while living homeless in San Diego in 2010: “This reminds me of a vivid dream I had during my retreat to Black Mountain two days ago in which a playful friend embraced me in jest only to morph into a grotesque fanged flesh-hungry demon, head pressed against my neck. His skin was fair and his eyes marked with wisdom, but his facial features protruded in ridges that revealed the violent movements that were his purpose. In that instant there was no fear, and I reached out and caressed his face and neck- for as a friend I enjoyed his company- but as a mortal enemy- I could only deeply love.” Truly there is POWER in unconditional love.

Awesome day filming a video in Austin of creative ways to show love and compassi…

5 mins ·

Awesome day filming a video in Austin of creative ways to show love and compassion for “Do You See What I See?” project.

Cory's Dream's photo.
Cory's Dream's photo.
Cory's Dream's photo.
Cory's Dream's photo.
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Great advice on real living…

elephant in the room
Great advice on real living…
It’s so easy to get caught up in the business and demand of life that we can often for the most simple of truths. Even some of the truths that hold together the foundation of our experience, that give life meaning, and that bring us joy often get buried beneath a concoction of thoughts, obligations…
thespiritscience.net

 

Wow! This is beautiful!

Wow! This is beautiful!


9-Year-Old Girl Building Personal Homeless Shelters for Her ‘Friends’
gma.yahoo.com
When Hailey Fort was just 5 years old, she spotted a homeless man in Kitsap County, Washington where she lives. Her mom said yes, and for the last four years, that’s what Hailey’s been doing: helping the homeless, with the help of her mom. The recipient of the first shelter, Hailey’s mom Miranda For…

Beyond This Space

It’s here! My first book!
“Beyond This Space: My Son Cory’s Story and How He Changed My Life”
To order, visit:
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-This-Space-Corys-Changed/dp/0996382801/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433377739&sr=8

The Seed Collection – A Book of Proverbs

Cory’s Book, “The Seed Collection/ A Book of Proverbs” is now on sale with Amazon. If you don’t have a copy, it’s a great daily meditation read.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/099638281X


The Seed Collection/ A Book of Proverbs
www.amazon.com
The Seed Collection/ A Book of Proverbs by Cory Roussel is a collection of “seeds of truth”- quotes, sayings, contemplations and concepts that Cory lived by. “These writings represent an extreme density of knowledge, you’ll do best revisiting them regularly over a long period of time, so you have…

Yes! Change that makes sense and saves lives!

Yes! Change that makes sense and saves lives!


OverCriminalized • Alternatives to Incarceration • WATCH THE F…

It seems that for almost every social problem that pops up, we turn to the criminal justice system. Suffering from mental illness? Here’s a cell. Struggling with drug dependency? Let’s throw you in handcuffs. Sleeping on the street? Here’s an arrest record. http://www.bravenewfilms.org/overcriminalizedAnd if you are a person of color, the criminal justice crackdown can be even worse.How could it possibly make sense to saddle police officers and prison wardens with sole responsibility for helping people get a roof over their head? Or to task lawyers and judges with treating mental illness or helping people get sober? Simply making problems into “crimes” is just making things worse.It’s 2015. We know better. Not only is all of this inhumane, it’s expensive. When our tax dollars are picking up the tab, it makes sense to put funds where they will make the biggest impact. Housing programs help solve homelessness. Treatment helps stabilize mental illness and end drug dependency. Arrests and jail cells just waste time and money.OverCriminalized profiles three promising and less expensive interventions that may actually change the course of people’s lives. It’s time to roll back mass criminalization and focus on what works. http://www.bravenewfilms.org/overcriminalized

Beyond My Form and Story

Beyond My Form and Story
My form and story are the vehicle by which I exist in this realm. Beyond my form and story is ME, a human being, a spirit, a soul who is indescribably beautiful, infinitely worthy, immeasurably wonderful and nothing can change that. The same is true for YOU. Equating my form and story as me is the same as saying the car that I drive to the grocery store is me. It is simply a vehicle. It is not ME. As I learn to identify with the real ME, beyond my form and story, I am liberated, expansive, open, limitless. As I learn to identify with the real ME, I am able to fulfill my life’s purpose to love unconditionally and thereby help myself and others move forward in their journeys. The good news is that what’s true for me is also true for YOU. Perhaps the only difference is I can see beyond the limitations this world has tried to ingrain into my being. I have taken the veil off the illusion that I am my form and my story. If you haven’t already, won’t you join me?

Cory’s Vitex Tree

We just returned last night from Spain and were greated by these lovely blooms on Cory’s Vitex tree. He lives. If you care to, today is 7 months since his passing and I would love to boost this FB page Cory’s Dream likes to 700. Can you share on your page?
https://www.facebook.com/corysdream

I AM the Universe. And so ARE you!

Cory helped me take off the self imposed limits on my life. I now know I am expansive, open, limitless. I AM the Universe. And so ARE you!


[Video] | Joe Rogan: You Are Literally The Universe – TIMEWHEEL
timewheel.net
TIMEWHEEL is an artistic collective, audiovisual studio and blog.

Will you take a minute to vote for a new outreach in Baton Rouge called Miracles…

Will you take a minute to vote for a new outreach in Baton Rouge called Miracles Manor? They are applying for a Chase grant. Miracles Manor seeks to help women transition from prison back to society. It is a fantastic approach and am so happy for all the work put into helping others at such a critical point of need.
https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-1/s100x100/10805626_401938466620294_2212289521187599461_n.jpg?oh=0729cedaa473e064735d3c44953e5e82&oe=55F2CD72&__gda__=1446311060_ddad3c729c2d52f31ad1dff897fbbcad

Sherral Kahey

Facebook Friend, Miracles Manor needs your vote. We are applying for a grant given by Chase Bank and we need 250 votes to qualify for the grant. Please Go to MissionMainStreetGrants.com and vote for Miracles Manor by Jun. 19. It is extremely easy to do and costs you no more than a couple minutes. We need your vote. Once your vote, please let me know and Miracles Manor thanks you in advance for your vote and your support.

This needs to spread beyond Utah. I have friends all over the country who need h…

This needs to spread beyond Utah. I have friends all over the country who need housing first. Do you know how hard it is to survive on the streets? Now try overcoming a major life problem or illness while not having a place to sleep, keep your stuff, charge your phone, use the bathroom, shower, do laundry… Let’s put some energy together to help each other, our brothers and sisters. Challenge yourself today by beginning with the small gesture of greeting, smiling at and looking a homeless person in the eyes. We are all connected.


Meet the outsider who may have solved chronic homelessness
www.msn.com
The process of innovation is often one of mystery. Where does an idea come from? How do innovators find it? What makes them different from everyone else fumbling around in the dark? 

Human touch is nurturing, healing and powerful. Try it.

Human touch is nurturing, healing and powerful. Try it.


The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer
www.enlightened-consciousness.com
By Mark GreeneGood Men Project In preparing to write about the lack of gentle touch in men’s lives, I right away thought, “I feel confident I can do platonic touch, but I don’t necessarily trust other men to do it. Some guy will do something creepy. They always do.” Quickly… #man #touch

Yes! Kindness will change the world, starting with ME and YOU.

Yes! Kindness will change the world, starting with ME and YOU.


How Kindness Can Bring Back Magic Into Your Life
thespiritscience.net
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” Barbara de Angelis Imagine the great human potential as a vast library full of books about every topic and discipline. Kindness would be a whole aisle in that lib…

Mindfulness has helped me feel fully alive. Try it!

Mindfulness has helped me feel fully alive. Try it!


Mindfulness Hacks & Experiments You can Try Anywhere, Anytime
soulhiker.com
  Mindfulness is the quintessential meditative practice, the most valuable instrument in your mind’s toolbox and the key to personal development. In other words, it’s the shortest path to actu…

I know the concept of this article to be so true.

I know the concept of this article to be so true.


Why going through a Life Crisis is a Positive Thing
soulhiker.com
In my life and work I have come across many people who have gone or are going through what can expediently be defined as a life crisis. The word carries a lot of negative connotations of course sin…

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Denise Roussel
https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=cjnGyYD0B6o&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGYKlBDox2-I%26feature%3Dshare
I was inspired to do a video of my post “Connecting in the Space Between the Words”. Enjoy!


Timeline Photos
Recently I found a CD with music that Cory Roussel produced when he was a teenager. I have named this piece “Cory’s Heartbeat.” Enjoy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_iY1QnA7xpDNzN0NUhGazJ4Tlk/view?usp=sharing — with Cory Roussel.

Thoughts on Pain and Grief

I know what pain feels like. Pain of abandonment, pain of abuse, pain of illness, pain of a broken heart, pain of child birth, pain of loss and pain of grief. I have felt it in the past. I feel it today. And I’m fairly certain I will feel it in the future. Pain is an integral part of the nature of life.

 

Most of us try to avoid pain at all cost and understandably so. It is NOT pleasant. But as I grow older, I realize that often it is precisely when we experience the pain that we are growing in inexplicable ways. I am not advocating for sadism or to look for ways to experience pain or even to try to relish in it. Pain has a way of finding us wherever we are. We don’t have to look for it. I contend we do however benefit when we allow ourselves to experience the pain instead of trying to wriggle out of it, for it is only when we endure the pain that we can learn from it.

 

I have had the wonderful opportunity to birth three children, and I chose to do so naturally without pain medication. I didn’t realize at the time how profound this decision would be as I believe these experiences were some of the most defining moments of my life. The preparation for natural child birth involved exercises in breathing and focusing that essentially were meditative exercises. The premise was that I was to focus on a point intently during a contraction, breathe and allow my body to completely relax except for the sections where the body must do the work to birth the child. Early on in my first marathon labor, I developed nausea and asked for medication to control that. However, the Phenergan caused me to be sleepy and unable to focus during contractions. Consequently, I was unable to relax during the pain. I found myself fidgeting, wriggling my feet, an attempt to escape that moment of pain. As soon as that wore off, I refused anything else because I sensed intuitively that I needed all of my concentration to focus, breathe and relax during the painful contractions. I was training myself to STAY during the pain. What I learned from the pain of childbirth is that through the intense pain, beautiful new life springs forth!

 

You may say, the babies would have been born even if I had pain medication. Yes, of course. I realize that. Yet I wouldn’t have had the experience of knowing what it is like to endure such intense pain and knowing that not only would I survive, but the end result would be so magnificent. I think of other pains I have suffered and how the end result may not have seemed so glorious at the time. That is exactly why I am so grateful for my experiences with childbirth: for having endured the most intense pain of my life, I instantly saw the fruit of my labor. But often we undergo tremendous pain and the new life that springs from it is nowhere to be seen. The thing is I KNOW IT IS THERE NOW. No matter how elusive that new life may seem, it is so very real, as real as that crying babe that has been laid on my breast. And it is so beautiful.

 

So, I don’t despair though I endure the pain. I focus, breathe and relax. New life is on the way out.

The Seed Collection/ A Book of Proverbs by Cory Roussel

The Seed Collection/ A Book of Proverbs by Cory Roussel is a collection of “seeds of truth”- quotes, sayings, contemplations and concepts that Cory lived by. “These writings represent an extreme density of knowledge, you’ll do best revisiting them regularly over a long period of time, so you have time to germinate the seeds and let them grow to their fruiting stage.  You’ll find the “Garden of the Mind” theme is a recurring one. I often speak about the mind as a

garden, susceptible to weeds, in need of regular maintenance, nutrients and watering.  Enjoy.” – Cory Roussel

 

Einstein Meets Sacred Geometry

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“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.”
― Albert Einstein

So I was reading “Ideas and Opinions” by Einstein earlier and stumbled across the above quote.

I realize, no matter whether a person believes in a God or not, we can almost all agree on the veneration of these three principles: Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

So, I took these terms, and decided to try and arrange them somehow, see if that provided any insights into a cogitation on Truth, Goodness and Beauty.  What better way than to form the Versica Piscii, the shape which births all shapes. Now, before you ignore this post as overly as esoteric- consider this:

The shapes I’m describing are a-priori arrangements.  They’re part of what some call the “fingerprint of God”, some call it freemasonry symbology, Illuminati.  Well, it’s none of those things and all of those things.  It’s simply a collection of arrangements we’ve found that seem to pervade our known Universe across diverse fields.  Interpretation of this pattern is left up to the curious reader.  Pythagoras and his Pythagorean School was famous for these sorts of meditations.  Unfortunately, most of those texts have been lost forever, along with their content.  Anyways, what I did is formed one circle, then a Versica by centering another circle exactly one radius-length to its side.

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So here is my Vinn diagram, I could not figure out what goes between selflessness and greed.  It’s just a contemplation, there are no right and wrong answers.
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Again, pretty interesting to think about just dividing them into perpendicular aspects.
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Here’s a look at Earth and Venus’ geometrically perfect pentagonal orbit.  I did not make this one, just stumbled across it the other day..

Circle -> Versica Piscis (Seed)-> Flower of Life (Entering Plurality) -> Universe (Square/Spacetime) -> Human (Pentagon) -> Communication (Hexagon)

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So if you’re interested in proportionality and universal periodicity check out this amazing book by Robert Lawlor.  I have spent probably 80+ hours in this small book which contains many illustrations and exposes the geometric proportionality of Architecture, music, art, the human body.  It also discusses a history of sacred geometry and numerals in the minds of our ancestors.  I will buy the book from you if you do not appreciate it.  It’s actually an academic presentation converted into a heavily illustrated book.  Don’t expect to completely understand it all unless you’re a bigger student of philosophy and mathematics than I (which isn’t really saying much :-P).  I think almost anyone with a basic understanding of geometry and philosophy will have plenty to be blown away by, regardless.

Ask me how i’m doing

ask me how I’m doing
and i’ll tell you its ok
ask me how’s it going
and I’ll say not bad today

but who can describe how it feels
the emptiness of lost kin
when your loss seems so surreal
the hurt that never ends

the song that says ‘I miss you’
the family around the fire
the friend who we both knew
new life you’ll never admire

ask me how I’m doing
I’ll tell you I am fine
ask me hows it going
I’ll surely pull the line

but surely me it happened to
not a short time ago
that i cried bitterly for you
a hurt no one can know

the clothes you left behind
the news of suffering i hear
writing about that time…fill in the line
or drinking bat cave beer

ask me how i’m doing
i’ll say fine
i surely will keep going
but can not describe the loss
that can never be replaced

Mandatory Life Hacks

1-Voice commands.

Example: “Remind me about our anniversary next year on March 2nd”

Explanation:While there is a learning curve, never forgetting the date again is a priceless reward.  You will need to force yourself to practice doing this any time you think of something you want to remember about.

2-Listing Responsibilities / Roles / Dreams etc –

Example:

Roles I play:
-Uncle
-Brother
-Friend
-Entrepreneur
-Salesman
-Steward of a vehicle
-Driver
-Global Citizen
-American

Explanation: There’s nothing more clarifying than an exhaustive list.  Everyone should have a collection of lists that act as a sort of “operating manual”.  Not only will you find this activity unexpectedly rewarding, but it will help you to keep mental track of where you see improvement and where you could stand to improve.  For me, a direct result of this activity has been greatly improved relations with my “inner circle” of friends and family, since I no longer forget to call them regularly.

Once these lists are created, you are free to take some time elaborating on how to address each, how to invest in improving each in an economy of time, how to set reminders and plan events that will assist.

Expanded Example:
-Uncle – Facetime Nephew Benny at least once a week.
-Brother – Call Bethany after I go swim on Sundays, text Landon to call me when he’s free at least once a week
-Friend – Call Corey, Casey, Cole, Bryan, Chris, Scott, Lance, William at least once a month just to talk.
-Entrepreneur – Read the latest posts to Ries’ blog.  Continue to take advantage of all the offerings from local Small Business Association.  Attend BootStrap Entrepreneur meetup.
-American – blog about political issues, redirect people’s attention to the sentiments of our Founding Fathers.  Watch

3-Journaling –

All influential people journal.  You can not manage what you can not measure.  You need a journal to record at least a little bit.  Your mind is great at remembering things, it just needs a little help, a collection of hints, something.  Journaling can be interpreted broadly to mean, any form of writing that reflects on what you’re thinking or experiencing at that point in time.  Just do it, even if it’s two sentences a day on what you did.

4-Reviewing said Journaling –
Journaling, in and of itself, will help you remember things.  Writing things down, like telling people things, helps cement them into your memory.  However, you’ll be amazed how many revelations you get from reviewing your past week every week, and even reviewing past years.

5-Meditation-
I know that if you don’t already meditate, it seems esoteric, religion specific and specifically spiritual.  It’s NOT. It is perhaps the single most important lifehack out there.  Meditation is something that fascinates neurologists. The concensus is that it makes you calmer, happier, smarter, healthier and a better lover.  Just do it.  Ease into it, start with 10 minute sits in the morning when you wake up, before you eat.  Try to pick one of the established postures and use it.  It will be next to impossible to stop the thoughts, that’s ok.  Just keep redirecting your attention when you realize it.  It’s worthwhile to spend some time reading about the different methods.  I like Shambalah teachings for beginning meditators.

6-Using a handsfree device –
to repurpose time spent in transit or waiting as time to catch up with friends and family or listen to an educational podcast.  Don’t waste your ride home or the time your doing the dishes, use it to learn or to catch up with those who love and miss you.

7-Fasting –
like meditation, it may seem esoteric, extreme, faith/spirituality specific. It’s NOT. You must fast every now and then if you want to operate at your top potential.   There is a reason why every major religion in the world uses fasting.  It’s benefical effects are not just spiritual and mental. Fasting is absolutely necessary way to reset your biological clock, your reward circutry, familiarize yourself with your bodies signals, develop spiritual  clarity, the list goes on.  You have nothing to lose, and you’ll never forget it.  If you’re looking for a motivation boost, try donating all the money you would have spent on food to people who are actually starving out there, your repurposed food expendatures could feed 2-10 starving children for however many days you fast.

8-Plasticity Encouraging Activities:

Dance, Improvisation, Outdoor Sports, Games, Creating Things – The world’s top neuroscientists are practically begging you to engage these activities in order to expand your mind, literally become smarter.

9-Attending MeetUps Regularly
to connect with people and exchange experience and collaborate towards mutual dreams.

10-Immediately Catalog Ideas –
with a text message or email sent to yourself (hopefully you’re running an auto-backup app of some kind too)

little practices, massive difference

Running with Cory in the Marathon of Louisiana…and of life

Yesterday, you ran with me…
Into the trees at George Bush park
Along the lakes before Bethany’s wedding
Ahead of me to Santiago de Compostela;

Yesterday, you danced with me…
Impromptu into Bethy’s room to wake her
In line all night to the Bulgarian hora
Free style at Bethy’s wedding;

Today, you ran with me…
Ahead of me in the trees along the Garden District
Beside me in the lakes into the University
Behind me at St James Episcopal Church;

Today, you danced with me…
Impromptu to the Latin beats of the Songsa that pumped me up
In line to start the race around Baton Rouge
Free style to my eclectic mix of Latin hip hop, Baroque classical and Gregorian chants.

Tomorrow, though your ashes spread about the earth from which you came,
Your soul called back to the Creator by whom you were made,
Your run with me, and you dance with me,
All the way to the finish line.

Reflections on a Mother’s Love for Her Son

I have the fortunate experience to be the mother of three beautiful children, Landon, Cory and Bethany, all of which I love profoundly and unconditionally. Recently, my son, Cory Roussel, passed from this life and into the next, plunging us all into a redefined existence along with intense grief and sorrow. Through this process I am reminded of the profundity of my love for Cory and he for me. One of the most powerful expressions of this love occurred while my son was incarcerated in downtown San Diego as his probation was revoked on a charge of transporting an illegal alien across the border.

Prior to Cory’s return to prison, his life was one filled with anger, confusion and depression because of the hate he had stored in his heart for the probation department that failed him miserably. As a result, my experiences with him before leaving for prison were during a very dark period of his life. Immediately prior to his probation being revoked, Cory experienced a supernatural endowment of courage to forgive, which released him to begin the journey of transmuting a one year prison term to one of personal growth. During that time, Cory wrote many letters to many people, sharing this new freedom he was experiencing. It turned my world upside down and opened my eyes to an entirely new way of living.
After his being in prison for eight months, I chose to give myself the birthday present to be with my son. Because of the strict regulations regarding visitation, I was only allowed to visit for two hours on two consecutive days, Friday and Saturday. When I arrived on Friday, we were allowed to hug each other upon arrival and departure, but otherwise, the visit was a no contact visit sitting opposite each other with about 2 feet of separation in cheap white plastic chairs. His eyes locked mine for 2 hours as we communicated both verbally and unspoken. It was the first time that he allowed me to see him, his true self, completely and unabashedly. Pure love radiating out of his eyes like beacons.
Since I was not allowed to visit him on Sunday, he asked me to come to the park across the street from the prison at 3 o’clock. This prison is a high rise in downtown San Diego, he being 15 floors up. The plan was that he would stand in the window where he had instructed me to look. (It’s pretty hard to see someone clearly from 15 floors up.) While preparing to go I tried to think of what to do to send him a message from the park where I would be standing. I thought of a sign, but then quickly realized he would not be able to read it. So, I tore a large heart out of aluminum foil. At precisely 3 o’clock, I stood in the park looking up and shining my foil heart upwards, squinting up to look for Cory. Then I spotted him, waving wildly with both arms and shining a mirror. We stood there for 15 minutes, he radiating his love and light and I mine. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. Cory changed me completely with his love. For this I am deeply grateful. I love you, Cory.

Prayer for Cory–said at his funeral

O God, our Creator
By your power, you gave us birth
By your providence, you guide us each day
And by your command, we return to dust.

We humbly pray and hope for the soul of Cory Roussel.
Show mercy on his soul and all the dead.

We pray that he passed from this world to a place of peace
In the company of Jesus Christ
Who died and lives.

O God, giver of love and forgiveness
As our source, we beg for your help to soften our hearts.

Help us forgive those who hurt Cory.
May Cory rejoice in the Lord’s Kingdom, where all tears are wiped away.

We ask that we may be united together one day as a family
To sing your praises forever

Glory be…

–Amanda Roussel

Free compliments, bottled water and authentic relating: Cory’s sister-in-law sharing his story with homeless at the St Vincent de Paul Society

“Please pray for me that I honor Cory and my mother-in-law”, I asked my friend on the phone.  I hung up as I passed into a part of town unknown to me. I double checked the locks on the car as the streets decayed into greater dilapidation with each block.  I arrived at my destination but circled the neighboring blocks a few times in incredulity. Surveying unkempt buildings surrounded by passing vagrants, iron fences and aid societies, I mentally noted that my mother-in-law had sent me to the “ghetto”. As I parked, I double checked the locks again, my heart rate accelerating. Grabbing my purse, my breath caught short in my chest. I prayed for courage reminding myself that there was nothing to fear. My mother in law visited this place often — the St Vincent de Paul Homeless Day Center and Shelter for Women. Moreover, this is exact the kind of area my brother-in-law would have frequented without trepidation. I rang the intercom and announced myself. I knew was I looking for Carl – a six foot seven inches tall black man with salt and pepper hair.
He greeted me but I could tell that he couldn’t immediately place my face in his memory. [My own short-term memory is failing me recently due perhaps to sleep deprivation or a defense mechanism for the grief.]  “We met at the memorial service. I am Denise’s daughter-in-law. Cory was my husband’s little brother. I brought the extra food, water, the book, and free compliments.” Without hesitation, he offered to assist me. “I want to honor Denise and she has very specific instructions. Please help me so that I execute this properly”. I read aloud the text Denise had sent me. “We are celebrating the life of my brother-in-law Cory Roussel who was killed on Oct 26 in Houston. Cory’s life purpose was to show love and compassion to all and he would find creative ways to do that. One way is that he printed out free compliments and posted them around downtown Austin. I would like each of you to enjoy your compliment and feel the love he so freely shared”.
I gave a bottle of water to first worker at the office – a coffee toned women with glasses. “Cory sold water for a living. This is in his memory and appreciation for you. ‘Hydration is vital’ (a selling line shouted by Cory by Congress Ave)”. I gave her a free compliment. Carl ushered me into another room with other shelter workers and volunteers. Carl hushed the room and the attention fell to me. “My brother-in-law Cory Roussel was murdered last Sunday, October 26 inHouston.  He gave out free compliments in Austin as a way to spread unsolicited joy, love and kindness in the world. I am here in his memory to give each one of you a compliment and a bottle of water”.  I paused sending another quick prayer to heaven for courage; I had promised myself I would look each person in the eye with intentional contact for as long as the receiver would permit. I resolved that I would not be the first to look away. Each person received a compliment and water as they whispered condolences. One woman in particular met my eye and would not look away first. My self-challenge was being tested; I looked away when others entered the room. I repeated the commemoration and gave them a slip of paper with a compliment on it.
I bit in my lip as we entered another room. I was kicking myself inside for already breaking eye contact over distraction. I should have lingered as longer as the receiver could bear. This room, a large open space with tables, computers and a couch, was where the women being served, the homeless “clients” congregated.  Carl called the room’s attention – nine women’s eyes were fixed towards me. Again, I said, “my brother-in-law was murdered last Sunday. I am here in his memory because he loved generously. One way, he gave himself was posting free compliments all over Austin. I am here to personally to give one of you water from the family and a compliment so that you too feel loved and valued.”  I approached the first woman. She was seated, blonde and bedraggled, mid-thirties. I lowered myself to her eye level, my hand went into her hand. She leaned in and hugged me, “I’m sorry” she murmured. I let myself feel her embrace, tears came to my eyes. I felt a warm weight of someone behind me – another woman perhaps two additionally embracing me. I trembled, crying with deferred grief, “Thank you for loving me”. Rising from the hug, more women gathered offering sympathies and squeezes as I resolutely without fear looked each one in the eye. Carl passed out water as I shook hands and gave compliments. A woman – dark haired tied up with a bandana – inquired about Cory’s age. “27”, I replied. 
She inquired “Whatcha do? Leave him outside? Is that how he died?”
“No” I replied calmly, “He was beaten to death.”

“A seven year old was beaten to death?”
I articulately more clearly, “He was 27”.
“That’s why I protect my own so that so nothing like ever happens to them”
“I sincerely hope that you never experience anything like this” I held her gaze and then she looked away.
When everyone had received a compliment and water, Carl and I posted free compliments on the bulletin boards.  I chuckled as I pinned them over the AA pamphlets, an irony that only Cory would appreciate.
As I was about to leave, one of the clients asked how she could help me. With a red coat and a black mantilla veil, this woman of twenty-something year-old looked like a black Blessed Mother Mary. I requested her prayers and for her to love others. She insisted, however, on “reverse panhandling” me – handing me a bag of unopened gummy worms to pass along to someone else.
Carl saved the rest of the paper to post at the men’s shelter, and he signed with a sad sigh a remnant of the slips of paper for posterity – dated with the location.
As I drove home, my heart was at once very light and heavy. On the radio, an announcer read the hagiography of the Saint of the Day – St. Martin de Porres. A mulatto man, abandoned as an illegitimate child in 18thcentury, who humbly served the poorest of the poor with great zeal and tenderness.  I invoked Cory, “please pray for me to have the courage to continue to serve with humility and love everyday”.

  

Bare feet, white dreams–eulogy to my younger brother Cory

Cory,

I see you as if it were yesterday—eating cafe con churros in the cozy salon de peregrinos in the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela. We were among the first ten pilgrims to show up at breakfast time. The five star hotel was legally required to serve us food provided we show up with our Compostellas at the back door, which we did—the Cajun way.  There we were, in this cozy room, seated around the table, overlooking the Plaza de Obradoiro just adjacent to the Cathedral, with friends we felt as if we had known a lifetime, even if we had only med them two weeks ago. For more than 10 years the vagaries of our circumstances had prevented us from quality time together, but then we were as if no time had passed at all. In two short weeks we had crossed the Atlantic and trekked by feet through rugged mountains, abandoned monasteries, medieval villages, torrential rains, and blizzarding snowfalls. By the end, we were as close as if no rift had ever passed between us. Los Hermanos Tejanos—we were called—incredibly different but in some strange way quite similar.

Perhaps it was my protector instinct or perhaps it was the fact that you could not resist the urge to run that resulted in the common scenario of you walking ahead of me—sometimes within eyesight and sometimes well ahead. We would  sometimes meet in the next village, where we would stop to eat or sleep. This resulted in a distinctly memorable circumstance on the way to the village Grandas de Salime, where we were caught by a blizzard as we trekked up a mountainside.  You walked just enough ahead of me to be visible, and I walked closely behind, petitioning Saint James that the Lord deliver us safely to his tomb in Santiago de Compostela. Despite your affinity for combining piligriming with physical exercise, I did not let you out of sight until snowfall stopped. I was not going to let you be another pilgrim lost and dead due to inclement weather of the Asturian mountains.

As your older brother, I always felt this responsibility to make sure you were protected and safe. I can recall, for instance, the profound sense of fear and responsibility to look for you when you were lost in Pensacola, FL. Just 9 years old, you managed to elude our extensive search for hours until we found you in the identical condominium building next door awaiting our arrival. Even before I can remember, I would hold you as a baby, cuddle you, and per my mother’s account was quite protective of you. And when you had struggled in life, I wanted so badly to protect you from the spoils that could befall you. When I was studying for my licensing exam in France, I recall hearing of your unfortunate relapse with alcohol. That night I cried beside Bishop Peter of Hartford, CT, who happened to be hearing confessions at Taize, the village where I stayed. ‘Ever since I learned that he had problems with addiction,’ I told him, ‘I feared for his safety.’ He prayed with me and told me that ‘he was lucky to have a brother like you.’ Later that night I wrote you a letter. I told you that even if you fell, you would get up and run again. Even if you fall a hundred times, I told you, one day you will get up, stay up and run. I quoted a song from the great philosopher Shakira that I had been listening to, which I thought described you. The song is translated as ‘Bare feet, white dreams.’ It’s chorus reads:

‘You belonged to an ancient race
Of bare feet and white dreams
You were dust and now you are dust
Thinking iron always softens to heat.’
I encouraged  you not to be as iron and harden in despair over a fallen man, who—as the song further warns—insists on having:

‘Every little thing calculated in its space and time
Answering only that and feeling only this
And may God spare us bad thoughts
Do what we owe society
Attend college
Always  wear shoes
…Even if you didn’t want it like that.’
And you believed me. You knew the futility of living a life—as the song warns—‘wanting to be happy here when you’re destiny didn’t mean a thing to you.’

When we met at rehab several weeks later, we shared the same conviction that the only path to healing from addiction was through a spiritual conversion. You found that your path to healing could only be successfully navigated by a genuine change, a living in the moment, and most of all—by a life devoted to acts of charity and love. In one of your most recent Facebook entries, you expressed a joy in living this conversion. You encouraged us to ‘meditate daily, write, journal, make eye contact and physical touch, purposefully target and cultivate relationships that are fruitful, and get in regular contact with loved ones.’ You made your decision to ‘the degree to which your life improves,’ and sadly, your free, trusting spirit led you down a path that would end in your life being prematurely cut short.

As a Catholic who believes in a God who created man as good in essence, I struggle to understand the evil to which you were subjected in your last moments. Falling prey to the temptations that deluded Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, is an easy one. Attributing evil events to evil deeds is a perennial human tendency. Yet Job 21:19-22 reminds us that sin is its own punishment. Moreover, he reminds us that suffering is redemptive. ‘When [God] has tried me,’ says Job 23, ‘I shall come forth as gold.’ As Job 42:2 reminds us, God’s omniscience is too great for us mortals to fathom His reasons behind human calamities. Moreover Job’s prosperity in Job 42:7-17 reminds us that fidelity to God in the midst of suffering will lead us to true joy, as Job was restored to more land, livestock and 10 more children. Still, I find myself at a loss to explain your death. As did Job, so too I ask for an explanation of why a good God can allow such calamity befall on you when you surely did not deserve this.

Yet as Christ taught us through his sacrifice, which Job’s suffering anticipated, only a true, authentic love can reconcile the irreconcilable—the fact of evil in a good world—and you, like Christ, taught us this love with our life in so many ways: by your generosity, your time, your charitable works, your devotion to prayer in its many ‘types and durations,’ and even your money—when you had it. I recall with gratitude the commitment you showed to ushering at our wedding. I also recall with surprise how you without hesitation loaned $5000 of your sparse savings to help your best friend find a lawyer to get him out of prison. Most recently, you bought Amanda an owl backpack that you found in Austin, just as a sheer act of gratitude for having her as your sister in law. Moreover, I am told of your great legacy of charitable works in Austin—community gardening, reverse panhandling, free compliments and simply befriending people in need of a relationship. Yes you sought to live a life as an unmerited blessing to those around you.

Some have stated that you ‘thoroughly discarded orthodoxy,’ but as your brother who has spoken intimately with you about life’s first questions over your 27 years of life, I know that you were not against truth. Coming from the Greek roots ‘ortho’ (right or proper) and ‘doxa’ (belief or opinion), orthodoxy—the right belief—for you was something attainable only by steadfast perseverance and supplication. As you once wrote me from prison, you warn against ‘profound distraction…[and] lies, which when coupled with any degree of apathy or outright unwillingness’ can ‘alienate us from… Truth [with capital T] in its rawest form.’ As you further write, ‘ I now know in order to reveal profound truths, one must abide by God’s divine timing and discretion. The recipient of such revelations must be ready for it. They must be of strong faith in God and must be willing to practice du diligence in study and supplication to assimilate and discern such volatile knowledge.’  To hastily presume the truth would lead to a narrowness for which you had a proper skepticism. As you further go on to say, ‘One MUST resolutely decide to pursue knowledge and suffer the often extreme pain of assimilation into wisdom…And in this way God has shown me to respect the fragile nature of the human condition. How easily a dislodged fragment of truth can contribute to spending 10 years in a self-destructive prison of the mind.’ For you experienced the self-destructive consequences of blindly confirming to society’s short-sighted presumption that following only one path would lead you to love the world fully. Through your genuine pursuit of love, often times through suffering, you found your joy. While we may never know you as Saint Cory, you take the place with Saint Stephen Martyr, St Paul, St Patrick, St Thomas Beckett, St Maximillian Kolbe and all those who have found their joy in suffering for the sake of love, even unto death.

While we all hope and pray that we are granted the grace of a peaceful death, we can take consolation in the suffering of your loss. For in our sadness, we can not only look back with gratitude for the great examples of love you showed us, but also for the grief itself into which your death has catapulted us. For our grief affirms the existence of love in our hearts. A world without grief would be a world without love. We also can take consolation in our prayers for you, that—as the Mass says—the Lord ‘Grant that you who was united with [His] Son in a death like this, may be one with him in his Resurrection…[and that] He welcome you into the Light of his face.’

After we had breakfast at the Hostal de Los Reyes Catolicos, you and I went to Mass at the Cathedral. You were not Catholic but you believed in the love incarnate in the apostle we had come to venerate. Every time that I go to the Cathedral of St James, tomb of the apostle who Jesus loved, I will not only remember Him but also you. And as I walk along the Way, be it the Way of St James or the Way of life, I will always know that no longer is it I who am watching over you for your safe arrival but now you who are watching over me, awaiting my safe arrival at the end. I will see you when I get there.