Last week the NH House made a historical decision and voted to approve a bill to legalize, tax and regulate the recreational use of marijuana for adults. I'm not advocating the use of marijuana or any other controlled drugs, but isn't it time to get real on this one. Really? Even President Obama has been publically speculating about marijuana being less dangerous than alcohol. 

Here comes NH Governor Maggie Hassan riding in on her political horse declaring that she will veto this bill if it gets to her matter what. What a hypocrite! For how many years has our "Life Free or Die" NH government been contradicting itself by being tough on drivers under the influence of alcohol, while at the same time openly promoting the sale and consumption of alcohol by placing state-run liquor stores on our highways? Too long. 

At a time when state funding has been cut in recent years, wouldn't an extra $30 million in tax revenue go a long way in solving some of our state's financial woes? Of course it would. Let's get rid of the hypocrisy and do the right thing. It's time. Share your thoughts. Take a stand for more freedom in our lives.


E.T. That's what I felt like as a child. Yes, I enjoyed playing with my friends and doing things with my family, but I always felt like I just didn't quite fit in. I always felt like I was just a little bit different than everyone else and that they felt it too, so I naturally spent more time by myself and was perfectly content with that arrangement. I spent lots of time thinking about God, heaven and why. I don't really know why I did. It was just where my thoughts went. 

My father was raised Baptist and my mother raised Catholic. For as far back as I can remember, I had to go to church with my parents on Sunday mornings. Baptist church. I would sit there and watch the other people in church, watching their expressions or lack of expressions like they were there just for that brief period on Sunday mornings because it was what was expected of them. There was no excitement, no passion, no real energy. Just minutes ticking by until everyone was off to face the world again. Many times I'd sit there and draw, or even watch my father fight to keep his eyes open. I didn't get it. 

For me, the best part of Sunday mornings was going to Sunday school. I thoroughly enjoyed talking about Jesus and the Bible. I really did. I remember giving our conversations, if they could be called conversations, a tremendous amount of thought even after Sunday school was over. Eventually, I began asking questions about God's appearance and the whole idea of going to heaven. Questions that weren't very well received by the teachers of Sunday school. They didn't have the answers, nor did they want to get into any deep discussions about what they were teaching. They just didn't know or didn't want to know, but I did. 

When I was in first or second grade(6 or 7 years old) I spent a weekend with my older brother in Brookline MA. It was during the winter because I still remember walking to and from the ISKCON temple from his apartment while the snow was falling gently around us. The light from the low street lights reflecting off the snowflakes as they fell to the ground. That walk was one of the most memorable times of my life. 

On Sunday nights the temple would put on an amazing feast of prasadam(food prepared for and offered to Krishna) and we were going to the Sunday feast. Upon entering the temple the first thing we had to do was remove our shoes. I remember this one guy who's feet smelled really bad. My brother told me later that the guy with smelly feet was a regular, everyone was invited and no one seemed to care. First, upstairs to the temple room where there were incense burning and devotees wearing robes passing out garlands of flowers. Garlands made of carnations. Every time I smell a carnation it brings me back to that moment. 

We lined up on either side of the room and in the front of the room were curtains drawn in front of something. I followed along, mimicking what the devotees around me were doing as we all bowed down on our arms and knees. They were praying. I was watching, and the curtain opened to reveal two of the most beautiful deities (statues to me at the time) you could ever imagine. Lord Krishna and Balarama dressed in beautiful clothes, jewelry and wearing beautiful flowers. It was beyond anything I had ever seen before. We danced to incredible music and sang. It was totally alive. I was totally alive. My experience in that temple room, that night, changed my life forever. 

After everything was finished we went downstairs to enjoy the feast. It was 1000x better than anything I could have imagined. I still remember the smell and taste of some of the milk sweets just like it was yesterday. That was 40 years ago. It was also the very beginning of my life connection with Krishna Consciousness. Thank you Bhokta. Hari bol!

Yesterday I had yet another reminder of just how precious each day of life is, and also how blessed I am to be in excellent health along with my wife and children. A friend of mine lost his younger brother a week ago and the wake was yesterday evening. Not to go into too many personal details about the situation, I'll just say that the brother died at age 37 and he had been confined to a wheelchair from the age of 12. I'd never met him and honestly I didn't want to go, but going to the wake was the right thing to do for my friend and his family. I think most of us feel the same about wakes and funerals. They are reminders of our own mortality. Something most of us don't want to be reminded of. 

At the funeral home there was an endless loop of hundreds of photos of the deceased with his friends and family playing on a large wall-mounted flat screen TV. I couldn't stop watching. Everyone was watching it. Despite all he had to deal with, this guy absolutely LOVED life. It was incredible to watch all the photos. I leaned over to my buddy and said "your brother really loved to have a good time, didn't he?". And he said, "He sure did. Just a week ago he was out partying with his friends."  

I am very grateful to have gone. Grateful to see this amazing example of someone who despite his own disability, demanded and expected his life to be a blast. He made other people's lives better just by being himself. He lived his life to the fullest, and when it was time for him to pass...his friends and family celebrated him because he did make there lives better. Wow! 

So what about the rest of us? What's our excuse? Not enough time? Not enough money? Not enough...fill in the blank? My excuses seem absolutely pathetic compared to being in a wheelchair. What about yours'? I use the phrase "it's later than you think" quite often, because it is. The unfortunate truth of our human condition is that it will end, no matter what we do or say, and we won't know when until it happens. Do you really want to arrive at the end of life's journey and ask, "is that all there is?" I sure as hell don't. So why live each day like you do? 

Do the things you want to do. Do it for yourself, and for all the other people in your life. Take your kid fishing, travel with your family or travel alone, learn another language, start your own business doing what you're passionate about, whatever. Just do something that makes your heart sing. Be the person who loves life so much that other people can't help but want to be around you. It's later than you think. Don't wait. Click here,  and find out how to take back control of your own life and destiny.

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Two nights ago while having dinner with my family I had a realization. We normally have a sit-down family dinner which begins with someone saying grace before we eat. The other night it was my youngest boy's turn and he said his typical, quick prayer before everyone started to dig in. Then something untypical happened. My wife asked him if he ever said any other prayers to God, and much to our surprise he said "no". So she asked our other two children at the table if they ever said other prayers to God, and they both gave the same response, "no". We were baffled, at least initially, to say the least. My wife and I then asked all three kids a few questions about their beliefs in God, or the Universe, or whatever else someone might call the Creator, and surprisingly they really didn't have anything to share with us.  

I was amazed. Both Samantha and I were raised in families that went to church. She, Catholic and me, Baptist. For as long as I can remember, I have thought about God, religion, spirituality and why we're here. I was introduced to Hinduism and the Hare Krsna movement when I was 6 or 7 yrs old, and would literally get into debates with the teachers who taught at Sunday school about the existence of heaven and reincarnation. How is it our children don't think about these things, or have a connection with God? 

The more I thought about it, the more obvious the answer became. You see, Samantha and I have both moved away from organized religion because of the manipulation and control we believe it so often exercises on those who participate. We've moved toward spirituality, toward acceptance of all religions and beliefs. Yet somewhere along the way, this transition away from the organized has resulted in a void in the spiritual awakening(or education) of our children. So here's the big question, have we failed our children? 

Overwhelming, I must answer that with "no". And "yes". We've raised our children in an environment filled with the principles and applications of personal development. We've taught our children about the power of intention and the use of visualization to achieve goals, about the power of creation and universal intelligence, and we've demonstrated the importance of doing the right thing and of being respectful of matter how different they may be. We've shared with our children the basic principles found it all religions, we just haven't exposed them to the individual religions themselves. 

So here's the next chapter in this lesson. Introducing our children to the religions we were raised in so they may see if something resonates within them or not. To provide them with the opportunities to develop their own individual relationships with God, the Universe, Infinite Intelligence, Krishna or whatever else helps them to grow into whole beings and to do so with complete respect of other people. That's a WIN! I'll take it.

Doubling Your Income in 2014

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Most people you meet have three things in common. Everyone seems to want more time to do the things they love and more money so they can do those things. The third thing most of us have in common is that we never get totally clear on exactly what we want to do, or the exact amount of money we need to do it. It’s true. Most of us spend our days in a state of self-induced attention deficit, focusing on this, then that and then something else. We wander through life and arrive right back where we started. The key is to get clear on what you want to do, why you want to do it and specifically how much money you need to attract to accomplish it.

I haven’t written a blog post in just over eight weeks. Honestly, I had arrived at a place where the intentions I had set for my income in 2013 manifested themselves half-way through the year. Interestingly enough, the fulfillment of my intention came from a place I didn’t expect it would. Once there I needed to get clear on the next chapter of my life’s journey. Without that clarity, I didn’t feel like I should be putting my inner voice to words for the universe to see. So I spent this time meditating, hiking, reading and deciding what the next steps are for me to be the best Jeff Cleveland I can be. Two books I found very helpful were “The Alchemist” and “The Pilgrimage”, both written by Paulo Coelho. Great reads.

Now that I know my intentions for 2014, I’ve decided they will manifest and that the universe is already conspiring to deliver them. I focus on these intentions everyday and I see them already present in my life. In my mind, I see myself as being the person who already possesses everything that’s coming to me. I live the moment, the life, in advance of its manifestation so it’s not a question of whether my desired outcome will manifest…it’s a question of when. Anything we desire, we can attract and manifest in our lives. We just need to be crystal clear on what and why, focus our energy like a laser and take the actions we know we need to do to get there.

Whatever you want in life, even if it’s doubling your income this year (that may be a clue), you can achieve be setting your intentions. More on that tomorrow. Until then, here’s another option to check out:

Remember, it’s later than you think.

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