Where to begin?

Begin with your breath.

The one right now.

The one sustaining your life in this moment.

Be with it until you recognize it for the gift it is and the gift it always has been.

If you can’t find it (satisfaction, fulfillment, freedom, joy, Heaven, etc.) here then you won’t find it in the next breath, moment, minute, hour, day, or year.

Our breath grounds us and if we are aware of it, it will open us.

Now that you’re grounded and open to receive the moment, begin with the surrounding ground just beneath your feet.

If you can’t find it (satisfaction, fulfillment, freedom, joy, Heaven, etc.) here you won’t find it in the next place, setting, job, city, state, or season.

Now that you’ve properly located ‘where to begin’, the universe will offer an endless supply and abundance of ‘what to begin’ next.

The question isn’t ‘Is it available?’.

The question is ‘Are we?’.

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Habitual Yes’s and Habitual No’s.

It’s pretty easy to see the current state of our collective and habitual yes’s. We don’t have to look far. Unfortunately, you’re probably even looking at it directly right now….the screen.

Facebook, ‘likes’, tweets, retweets, Netflix, and the NFL…these screens have captured our yes’s.

This collective yes, has caused us to collectively say no to life. By life I mean the depth and width and color and flavor of the human experience. The space where we can hold beauty, walk with mystery, embrace paradox, and pursue unity in-lieu of uniformity.

When we say no to life, we stop the progression towards something better and more beautiful than we can imagine. On the other hand, a yes to life is a yes to resurrection, renewal, communion, diversity, and togetherness – the themes of all great stories we share and remember.

So what happens if we start to collectively say no to such things? Of course quitting cold turkey probably isn’t the fix here. But what if little by little, your no’s offered you more space to say yes.

Could some silence in the morning be the seed sown to reap your music throughout the day?

What if you read the classics instead of scrolling through everyone’s SOS plea via their latest “I’m a victim” rant?

Could a note written to a friend move them more than a casual text sent with emojis?

What if you just started with saying no to Cyber Monday?

We have to say no to say yes.

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The Chef Sessions with Hugo Ortega – Caracol – Houston, TX

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Hugo Ortega is executive chef/co-owner of four of Houston’s top restaurants – Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi, and winner of Best Chef: Southwest at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards.  (He was a finalist for the award for six consecutive years, 2012- 2017.)  Ortega has been recognized locally, nationally and globally for his inspirational story and his passion for sharing traditional Mexican cooking and culture.

Ortega’s American Dream story started at Backstreet Cafe, a neighborhood bistro started by Tracy Vaught in 1983. He began his career in the restaurant business first as dishwasher and busboy and later as a line cook before graduating from culinary school and later becoming Backstreet’s executive chef. He and Vaught married, and together, they have created an award-winning Houston restaurant family that also includes Hugo’s and Caracol.

Chef joins us in this episode of Let The Music Play Podcast as we discuss his journey to where he is today, how he cultivates his creativity, and his simplistic wisdom on life, relationships, and great food.

You can stream this episode and all other episodes of Let The Music Play Podcast at AshtonGustafson.com, iTunes, and Stitcher.

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The Cosmic Conversation

It seems to involve connection and relationship.

Its theme, plot, and storyline is loss, renewal, and transformation beyond itself.

The only agreed upon word, thought, and idea it seems to be conveying is Love.

It only knows the present moment. Yesterday and tomorrow are not a part of the vocabulary.

Why are we only talking about money?

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