Many people anxiously await for COVID-19 to be gone so that everything can return to normal. But perhaps it will be better not to wait for the endgame and instead see this crisis as a spiritual awakening. Rodney Flowers talks with motivational speaker and author Forrest Rivers about the COVID-19 pandemic’s silver lining regarding self-empowerment and motivation. They discuss how today’s crisis has halted everyone’s growth to present fresh – and sometimes much better – life opportunities. Forrest also explains how the pandemic’s quietness gives everyone enough space to look inward. As a result, one can cultivate faith and understand the purpose of everything in God’s own plan.
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Pursuing Spiritual Awakening In The Time Of Pandemic With Forrest Rivers
I have Forrest Rivers in the studio with me. He is a writer, speaker and also meditation teacher. He’s here to share some insights on where we are as a humanity, as a people, where we are collectively on earth, how we can move forward and how we can use what has been presented to us as maybe a catastrophe or something negative into something positive as an awakening and opportunity. I would love to welcome Forrest Rivers to the show. Welcome, Forrest.
How are you doing, Rodney? It’s good to talk to you.
I am doing well. I’m excited about this conversation. I was reading through your profile. I’m interested in what you have to say about where we are as it relates to COVID and how do we move forward. It seems that you have some very interesting perspectives and more empowering approach about COVID-19 and the pandemic. I would like to hear from you. Share with us your new book and your perspective on things.
Back in March of 2020, when we all went into lockdown, it’s something that we all can relate to. Many of our jobs were shut down. We had that run on toilet paper. As absurd as that was, we remember all the panic and fear that was happening. I want to acknowledge very real suffering. Many communities were destroyed by COVID. You had Native American communities, African-American Hispanic communities that were particularly hard hit by COVID. You had people from all walks of life who were suffering from mental health. We all know it went haywire. It was already a huge problem in this country.
It got even worse with all the isolation. People were feeling it, including senior citizens. No matter your class, race or ethnicity, we’re living through a lot of fear during this time. There’s very real suffering we immediately started to feel. Remember when you turn on any new station or the internet and go to any website, you saw how much suffering there was, how much fear and anxiety understandably was coming out of this period.
Like with a lot of people, I was sent home. In my day job, I’m a community college teacher. We got sent home. Everything switched over to Zoom and all that. I started having a lot more time to write and reflect about what was happening. All I saw was the narrative of fear, anxiety and paranoia. I thought to myself, “Is there any silver lining that has come out of COVID? Is there a way that we can use all this suffering in this difficult time we were all going through for a more positive and empowering aspect?”
I’ve got to check out a few of your episodes before. It’s super empowering. Your whole message is about personal empowerment, regardless of where we’re coming from in our life. It’s a good match here. I started writing a series of articles from March to about November of 2020 while it was happening. I was writing from the perspective of empowerment and hope. I was tackling COVID from a number of different angles of that theme of hope and empowerment.
I talked about how this period could help us find more meaning in our lives. I shared different stories with people I talk to. For some people, this was their first time to slow down, reassess and be like, “What am I doing with my life? Am I happy with this 9:00 to 5:00 job I’m working? Am I happy slaving away in the office? Is this what I want to be doing? Is there a bigger gift I have to give to the world that better suits my own passions and desires?”
I had one chapter devoted to that. I had another chapter about following your destiny and how this was a time for many people to not only find more meaning but to make a big change in their life for the better. I had another chapter about how this could be a wonderful period for a new renaissance of art, creativity, music and all of that to resurface. I had another chapter about how this could be a wonderful opportunity to work with our fear of death and dying. That’s something that’s on everybody’s mind.Suffering provides an opportunity for awakening and empowerment, bringing out the natural goodness in everyone. Click To Tweet
With all the death toll statistics daily in the news and all of us probably knowing someone who either got very sick or even died from COVID, this is an interesting time for us to face down our own mortality. I’m of the belief and have been for a long time, Rodney, that if we can’t come to terms with our own fear of death, we get paralyzed to be able to live this life in a truly full, passionate and empowering manner.
I saw all this and I was like, “There’s a lot happening here.” On top of that, I had some chapters I was writing as this pandemic was unfolding. All of the stuff with politics and the economic part of it was all coming to fruition. I had a chapter about how this was a time to dig deep and espouse a true vision of what a real democracy would look like.
That was influenced by BLM, the empowering aspects of that movement, everything with George Floyd and all of that. There was a lot to impact there. We could not only use this for our own individual awakenings but this period could be powerful to start addressing very serious things like systemic racism and classism that have never died in this country.
I had a chapter that was called Real Democracy and then the other chapter was in search of a more fulfilling economy. There was a lot to impact in my overall message for your readers despite all of its very real suffering and there’s no denying that. Out of that suffering provides an opportunity for awakening and empowerment to bring out more of the natural goodness that I believe is in us all. It’s a lot of our institutions that are rotten and the behaviors of our institutions. Intrinsically deep down, we have the seeds of awakening. COVID could prove to be a monumental turning point in a shift in consciousness.
COVID has exposed us of many areas that are opportunities. There are some things that are horrible, need to be addressed and are flat out wrong. It’s not right, at least from my perspective. COVID has shed a light on those things. What we have is an opportunity to do something about it.
We can’t just sit back. The biggest tragedy would be if we sat back and nothing changed out of this because we didn’t do the work. I believe that to have change in a society, the change starts with each of us as empowered individuals first. Nothing can change until that happens. I hope that during this time, people have been using COVID to dig deeper into themselves and find a different and more empowered way of living.
When you have an opportunity like this, when something exposes weaknesses, I like to look at things like a game. I play sports. You know my story. I played football. When the opposition has exposed a weakness, a couple of things happen. First of all, that doesn’t feel good. You go back a little bit. It knocks you out of the game.
More importantly, because you still have a responsibility to win, you have the responsibility to do something about it. Don’t sit back. When your weaknesses are exposed because of your overall mission, I personally take it like, “I have to take action on this. Taking action on this allows me to become bigger, better and greater.”
It’s that next version. It’s the 2.0 or whatever the next level is. That’s the opportunity and the possibility. By me taking on that as a responsibility, I’m putting myself in a position to progress, transform, get to a higher and better level of myself. What does that do? That puts me in a better position to win. The opposition doesn’t have control over me. It’s not defeating me because I’m doing what’s necessary in order to outperform it.
What we all have here is that opportunity to outperform what’s in front of us. It’s exposing us and giving us a gift. It’s demonstrating what areas need to be addressed for us to progress as a humanity and individuals. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t feel good and it hurts because we’re getting hit with this opposition. It has knocked a lot of us out of the game. We’re trying to figure out how to get back in.
Some of us, when we go back in, we’re not going to play the same roles because we realized that the role that we were in is not our most productive role. We’re going to switch and change. That’s what game changing mentality is all about. It’s not getting hit and say, “I’m done.” It’s getting hit and then evaluating yourself and figuring out, “Who do I need to be to go back in and continue to win this thing?”
It’s a great way to look at it. When a lot of people do reenter the game, metaphorically, whenever this pandemic comes to a close, the roles that people go to might be radically shifted. People will have a more empowered perspective behind it. I couldn’t agree with that more. Look what many people are starting to do. Many people are dropping out of the game and then rejoining it on their own terms and turf. That’s empowering.
Here’s a cool story. I have a buddy who’s been slaving away at that 9:00 to 5:00 and hates every second of that job. He has terrible boss breathing down his neck. He’s used this period to become an expert woodworker. He’s a fantastic woodworker. He’s about to transition into his own business as a woodworker and bring some joy and passion. That’s how he’s used this pandemic. He’s rewriting the rules to gauge for him. There are lots of stories like that. You’ll hear it coming out of this period of people reinventing themselves and create their own rules to play.
It’s funny because a perspective that I offer to my readers and clients is to stop wishing that this would go away. If I’m coaching a team and we’re playing a tough team, don’t wish that team changed their defense and that team wasn’t as good. Outperform it to the point that whatever it is that they’re doing, it’s irrelevant. That’s what you want to wish, hope and strive for that you outperform it.
I get that COVID is causing a lot of disruption. I’m rooting for the medical teams and pharmaceutical companies to outperform COVID to the point that it’s irrelevant like the flu. The flu is still here. It’s not gone but it’s almost to the point where it’s irrelevant because of the advancements in humanity that allows it to not be so disruptive anymore.Change will only start to happen when everyone becomes empowered individuals in their own right. Click To Tweet
It still takes away a lot of people every single year and is still a very real thing, but my point is COVID may not ever go anyway. It may still exist but we can outperform to the point that it is irrelevant. There are things in your life that were once a major challenge. It still exists but it’s irrelevant now because of your advancement. At one point in time, you didn’t have the skillset, the know-how or the intellect to deal with that situation. You gain that experience and the know-how over time to the point where it seems like the challenge is not even present. It’s present but just irrelevant now because you’re so far beyond.
It brings an interesting point about what you’re saying with all this. One of the most valuable things in our life is a little bit of adversity. Adversity is what leads you to transcend those challenges and rewrite the rules of the game. Imagine having a life with no adversity. There’s no growth that comes out of that. That’s why you hear stories like when everything is handed to somebody and they never had to work for anything, they’re miserable, depressed, no sense of meaning, lost all sense of purpose and hope. That comes out of that.
Everything you’re saying and what we’re talking about is how to adopt a strong, courageous attitude to transcend the adversity that’s placed in front of you. That’s a message that’s been lacking during this entire pandemic so far. It’s been a message of lie back, remain scared and fearful and don’t try to transcend the adversity that’s in our path. What we talked about here is the opposite of that.
A lot of people want to go back. They want COVID to go away and some sense of normalcy that they’ve experienced before. I don’t know if that’s the most beneficial approach for all of us. I get that it’s uncomfortable but the progress and the development is indeed going through them and not going back.
It looks like a tough road ahead because of what’s in front of us but there’s so much growth in that. We should run to that and not be afraid. We’re only afraid because we know that who we are is going to take more than that to get us through all of that. We have to be willing to go through the growth, failures, development and everything. You’ve been through things.
When you gain experience, it doesn’t always feel good but once you gain it and you look back, you’re like, “I did that. I’m not the same person.” Where we are, I can clearly see, is at the beginning of a tough season. We’re not even sure what’s on the other side. We see the advancement of technology. There is a vision that we can be less divided than we currently are.
We can be better versions of ourselves and that could mean, “Maybe I’m not working a 9:00 to 5:00. Maybe I am in a business. Maybe that business is thriving.” We can clearly see the vision. There’s a lot of uncertainty about whether we can get there, not because of what’s in front of us but that’s what a value of life is. It’s not in the going back or the staying still. It is in the pursuit of that vision through whatever that opposition is.
That’s why I wrote this book. I wanted to say to people, “Don’t lose that vision to make this world a better place through empowering yourself.” This is a wonderful opportunity to work with suffering, adversity and become the best version of yourself you possibly can. In some ways, I would almost go as far to say, Rodney, that COVID has been what might be called fierce grace. It’s been grace for us. It’s a fearsome form of grace from the divine God, whatever you want to call that underlying reality we’re all a part of. It is a fierce grace and we need it.
The bottom line is this is where we are. We have a couple of different options. We can try to go back to the way things were, which we all know is not an option. There’s only this moment and then forging that vision ahead or we can do just that. We can be with this moment. Be present. Adopt the vision of empowerment, interconnection, overcoming adversity and move forward. That’s the path that we have to take.
The quicker we can accept that, the better life can be for us.
We probably have to stop talking about saying that phrase, “We got to return to normal.” We got to put that phrase behind us. We’re not returning to normal. Normal had problems.
Here’s normal in my book. Normal is waking up every day, facing your challenges, failing, coming short but learning, experiencing, developing and growing. That’s a normal thing to do. That’s what a strong human being does every single day. That’s how growth happens. Look at a baby. Baby wakes up. It challenges every day, not in terms of taking care of itself but just moving around.
It’s trying to figure things out because it’s trying to become independent, develop, learn and grow. That’s what a baby does. It goes through the series of falling, getting back up, getting hurt, trying to figure that out, what is this, what is that, facing all things that it doesn’t understand. Sometimes hurting itself when it touch it because it’s going through this learning process.
Clearly, that’s how we evolve. You do not go through challenges and then think you’re going to evolve. That’s not normal. The way you evolve is you put yourself in situations that tests, nudge and challenge you. Through those things, you gain more insight, understanding, knowledge, resilience, more wisdom, experience and understanding. You can gain even more certainty.
A lot of people were talking about, “There’s no certainty in the future but you have certainty in yourself” That’s where the problem lies. It’s not so much having certainty in the future. You don’t ever look outside for certainty. If you want certainty, you always look for certainty from yourself and spiritual sense. When you’re looking for certainty from a physical sense, there always will be doubt but when you can find it from a spiritual sense within, even when it doesn’t look like there’s certainty from the physical sense, you can have faith in a certainty you have from a spiritual sense.
One of my main messages in this entire book is that during this time, we need to be cultivating faith, not just belief but true interfaith in the spiritual oneness, the spiritual unity that we know is within all of us. That is our guide or our shining light through the adversity. Faith brings us to the position where we can face our challenges and adversity courageously without fear. When we can do that, that magical formula of faith equals the ability to transcend our adversity, the sky is the limit. We can do anything that we set our minds to when we’re rooted in that interfaith.
I feel like this is an invitation. I was meditating on this. What came up for me was the fact that this is an invitation. Where we are in life is an invitation. I know this has been very disruptive and some people have lost their lives. That’s unfortunate to all of the readers that have lost them, my condolences to you. For those of us that are still alive, this is an invitation to move forward.
If you’re still here, then there’s a reason and a purpose for you being here. What are you going to do with that? To have survived something that has taken away so many people, what does that mean about you? If you weren’t one of those that were taken away and you are left behind, first of all, congratulations. Be grateful for that. What’s the meaning behind that? What did you choose for that to be?
That’s a precious thing for you to have survived, especially those that have experienced it. I had it and survived it. You’re still here and still breathing. That’s a gift. What’s the gift back? To have overcome that, what is it about you that you’re going to bring forward and express? It’s more meaningful to be the best version of yourself having gone through something like that.Don't lose the vision to make this world a better place by empowering yourself. Click To Tweet
It adds more meaning and value to who you are, how you show up, the difference and the impact that you make. You could have not been here. You could be gone. That thing that you have to express contribute your way of serving wouldn’t even be possible because you’re not here but you are. Having survived, to me, makes it even more meaningful to bring whatever it is about you forward and express it in the universe. It’s what the world needs because the universe spared you to continue to exist.
The mere fact that we’re still here, even the two of us having this conversation, is a cause for celebration in gratitude to be here. There’s even more of an impetus for us to share and serve the world in some capacity with a positive message and contribution. That is so spot on. I’ve given a lot of podcasts interviews and I haven’t heard it quite like that perspective of the people who still remain and have survived beautifully put.
Our mere existence is purposeful. You’re not just here to be here. To be alive is a gift. I’m not going to get religious but I believe in God and in higher power.
There’s a higher power. The fact that we’re even here having this language and conversing, this conscious presence and awareness of two souls connecting, how else do you explain that? That is the work of some higher power.
Power is intelligent, purposeful and intentional. You are here intentionally and purposefully. I feel that power and intention are for the support in the outward and upward direction of life in and of itself. You and your existence are part of that purpose and intention to support, feed and connect with it in some kind of way per your being, service, contribution and expression of who you are.
We have the freedom of choice, so we need to choose to align with that. Intentionally and 100%, give ourselves in that metaphor that support or not. We’re not forced to do that. We have the opportunity and invitation to do that. There are things that happen in life that raises our consciousness of that fact that’s an invitation and an opportunity.
COVID is one of those events that is inviting us. Everything has purpose and our higher power, God or what you want to call it has purpose and intention. It’s a highly divine intelligence, which I believe COVID has a purpose.
Everything has a purpose. There’s nothing that happens that has no purpose and not intentional for whatever reason. It’s the conscious awareness of what’s happening. To have the consciousness and the freedom of choice is a privilege but it’s also a responsibility to understand that and be in a place where we can. I love that you’re a teacher of meditation. That’s important so that we can connect.
That’s the whole point of it. It’s a conversation. All meditation, when you boil it down, you don’t need to write a whole treatise or a whole book about it. It’s a conversation with that higher source. It’s a connection. Meditation, you could simply call it but it’s the highest form of prayer. You’re silencing yourself to be a channel of that connection. That’s where you can quiet your mind. Once you quiet your mind, you become open to the invitation and to the connection to that higher consciousness. Meditation is vitally important for helping us find our life’s purpose and meaning that we were put here for.
My expectations, given that we’ve gone through something that has forced us to be in isolation and many of us to be in isolation with ourselves is not a daunting thing but more a gift to open up that channel of connection and have that time for prayer. We’re so distracted with everything else. Anytime there’s something, it puts the whole world in a place of timeout or isolation. It’s a place where you are forced to be still.
I’m going to tell you this. When I was playing football at fifteen, I wasn’t just a great football player but I was a very active kid. I didn’t stop. I only stopped long enough to go to sleep. After that, I’m always doing something. When I’m not working out, I’m washing cars or cutting someone’s grass. I’m always physically doing something. My mind is on something. I was always moving around.
What was devastating the most to me after I suffered that accident was the fact that I had to be still. I was in a hospital. There was so much quietness and I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t get up and go turn on the TV. I had to ask somebody to come turn on TV. I had to wait for them to get there. I couldn’t go outside, wash your car, go running, play basketball and do something, things that a fifteen-year-old would do outside. I couldn’t do those things.
That’s where I spent a lot of time in isolation, with myself and in prayer but doing that over and over again, that’s where those shifts started to happen, new perspective started to appear, new vision started to reveal itself, new identity begins to take shape and form and I begin to see beyond what was physically in front of me but I was able to see it from a spiritual sense. With those things, that’s where that shift began to happen. It was in the quietness, darkness and alone time. It was with my eyes were closed where I was able to see around me in terms of what was available and what was possible when my eyes were closed.
This is an invitation in that isolation. Close your eyes and see beyond where you are. It’s offering us that opportunity to be in that space. We have to take advantage of that opportunity to get everything we need to get as an individual out of it. If I take that isolation, time of meditation, exploration and discovery within myself, I don’t think I’ll recover and make the shift.
It was vital for your growth. You needed the dark night of your soul to grow that faith to not waiver under any adversity that would come in your life. I can tell just hearing you in this show the deep reservoir. Spirit speaks through vibrations. It’s not just words. I can feel that you have a deep reservoir of inner faith. That’s a deep form of adversity, that kind of accident that you went through and coming out the other side of that.
We all had that invitation to take advantage of that stillness. Develop it as a practice going forward because it’s something that I still do. That’s my go-to. I still have that as a major part of my life. Having gone through that experience whenever COVID happened, I felt like, “The universe is paralyzing the world.” God is stopping the world for a second and saying, “Time out. Come spend some time with me. Let’s connect. Hold off on the game a little bit. Let’s huddle up. Let you and I have a conversation. I’ve got some things I want to change. I need you to listen up a little bit.”
All of this is metaphorical. We can choose to approach it in this manner to raise our level of context. I believe in identifying the tools and tactics that served you through this experience and to view it this way. As devastating as it is, it’s a way to outperform it. It puts you at an advantage instead of feeling disadvantaged by what’s in front of us. I’m leveraging what’s in front of me as my opposition as a tool to help me get over it. That can catapult me over this by viewing it in a light where it’s like, “This showed up. It hit me.”
Instead of saying, “I’m out of the game and I’m defeated,” I’m going to go meditate, study, reconnect and look at some other ways that I make it advanced beyond this. I’m still going to keep my eyes on score and on winning but maybe I have to do it a little bit differently. I may have to run some routes and meet some places that I never run before. I may even have to change positions.
I’m willing to do that. I’m in that exploratory mode. I’m in a mode of discovery to understand what is possible for me in this. How can I further express myself even though this exists? With the way I was doing it before, that may not work. That may be a little slower, less expressive, less serving or less contributing to a cause but let me explore what’s available.
I remember playing football. When I ran to one side of the field just as the play with design, if that side of the field was not open and available, I didn’t just go down to the ground and be like, “Coach, that door wasn’t open. The way you designed to play it doesn’t work.” No. I got creative and innovative. “Let me turn around. Let me go over here and see. Let me run this way. Instead of running through that lane, I think I’m going to try another lane.”Faith brings you to a position where you can face challenges courageously without fear. Click To Tweet
That’s what we are. This is a very exploratory period where we get to explore what else is available. What are the opportunities? What are the possibilities in this? I encourage people to change the mentality around this because we’re in a defeated type of space. Open our minds and innovate. This is the opportunity to innovate because clearly what was working isn’t working. That’s okay. Create. Be agile and flexible.
Remember that at our core, we’re all artists and expressionists. An artist, somebody who’s exploring new routes doesn’t just lay over and accept defeat. They transcend that. The whole route of an artist is constantly reinventing, reimagining and creating.
That’s where we are. That’s a mindset and mentality. You can choose to view it and approach it in that light. I believe in looking for the good in every situation. Sometimes it’s good that the defense hits you in the mouth off guard because what it does is it either puts you on alert like, “Wait a minute, hold up. I went in here thinking in a certain vibration and a certain consciousness, I’m not expecting that. That wasn’t enough because I didn’t catch that coming. I’m not where I need to be, so let me raise that.”
That’s an opportunity and an invitation to say, “Let me raise my level of vibration. I thought I was good but I need to be even more consciously aware.” That’s an approach to this. “How do I do that? I got to go back. It’s locker room time.” It’s not out there on the field with the lights on and performing. It’s to go back into the drawing board. Go behind the scenes, getting quiet, a little isolation and get into that discovery mode to see what else is there.
In a nutshell, you got my book. The whole message of my book is loud and clear. That’s my whole message, everything we’ve been talking about. Finding that inner reservoir of faith, adopting a mindset that we can recreate and reimagine the possibilities, shift into a higher gear of consciousness and meet the challenge where it is, not wishing it away but meeting it and then rising above it. That’s it.
Imagine how much different the world would be if we had that mentality. I want to say this last thing. When COVID does pass, whatever that even means, I hope that we remember the lessons and we don’t try to force our way back into a box of how we think that things should go back to being. There’s no going back. There’s only moving forward in life.
I’m so with you. Whatever lessons that have come out of experiencing COVID, let’s include those into the playbook. Not only are we remembering them. We’re executing them. They’re part of our being and our persona. This is who we are now. It’s the thing. The expression of those lessons, that’s what makes COVID, even if it’s still existing, in whatever capacity is existing, irrelevant.
One of the things about playing sports, especially if we had coaches like I had, we wanted to go against the greatest teams. I want to go against the biggest guys. Why? It’s because that’s going to make me better. I don’t want to play the team that I know I could beat. I want to play the teams that we know that are going to be a tough team. Why? It’s because of what it requires in us in order to play at that level. What I see here is an opportunity to play at a higher level. It’s a big opposition but it allows us to play bigger.
We can’t just retreat and hide. We must meet the challenge.
That’s a lesson to take, not just for COVID but in life. At some point in time, COVID is going to be overshadowed by something else. I don’t know what that’s going to be. COVID is just a game. After that game, there’s going to be yet another game and then another. The thing that we all have in common in life is we are going to face challenges in some way, form or fashion.
It doesn’t matter the nationality or financial status. None of that matters. The question is how are you going to perform? Are you going to be ready? Do you have the resilience, skillset, experience and structures in life? Do you know how to play whenever you’re faced with these types of things? Do you have the emotional intelligence? Do you have those things?
Going through things like these, that’s what it teaches us. It gives us those things. That’s why for a lot of people that don’t raise that level of awareness whenever they’re in those situations, it’s one of the lesson that keeps going over. It’s like Groundhog Day. You got to develop that muscle. Life is being uncomfortable, going through challenges and advert. That’s the definition of life. It’s something to be celebrated. You don’t have to feel bad about it like, “I don’t want to go through that.” That’s life’s way of teaching, developing and growing.
Those adversities have a purpose and meaning. They’re there to make us learn. It’s our lessons here on Earth.
How can people connect with you if they want to learn how to work with you?
You can find me on ForrestRivers.com. I have a contact form on there and everything. You can reach right out to me. It goes straight to my email. You can also connect with me on Facebook, just type in Forrest Rivers. The book COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening is available on Amazon. You can find it on there. It’s also on Barnes & Noble. I’m at work on a new book. It’s a follow-up. It’s called The Search for Meaning During an Age of Pandemic.
I’m going to be interviewing thousands of people about ways in which they have found more meaning in their life during this time. If you want to reach out to me, talk to me and share me your experiences during this time and how this has helped you find more meaning in your life, please reach out to me. I’m going to be traveling around the country and talking to as many people as possible.
I’m sure there’s going to be some wonderful stories that will come out of that. That’s awesome, Forrest. I appreciate it. Thanks for coming to the show. This has been a great conversation.
Rodney, let me say this. Your sincerity is off the charts. I’ve had a lot of sincere hosts I’ve talked to but this one in particular, I will remember this show. Your show is a huge boon to humanity. People need the kind of mindset that you’re offering more than ever.
I appreciate that. If I’ve chosen to perceive what has happened to me as a spiritual awakening to do what I’m doing, I’ve taken personal responsibility for that realizing where I could be. When I was talking about, “The fact that you’re still here, you could have died,” I realized I could still be lying flat on my back, not able to move but yet I’m able to move and walk.
It gives so much more meaning. That’s my gift back for God to have healed me, the universe to allow me to walk and express myself in that manner. I want that expression to be meaningful because it gave me the gift to express and enjoy it. I have the responsibility to allow that expression to be very impactful and life-changing to the world.
I get to walk around and because I get to walk around, I don’t take that lightly. I’m going to make sure that my walking around serves, contributes and makes a difference. It’s not just for me. That’s another thing. A lot of people think with the things that they’re going through, they take it personal as if it’s something against them. It’s not anything against you. It’s trying to get you to be a better version of you so that you can express yourself for those around you.
The tree going into the ground and becoming a tree isn’t just for the tree. The tree provides shade, housing for birds and an escape route for squirrels. It serves multiple purposes. We got to understand that our lives serve multiple purposes. It has impact on those around us. We overcoming a thing is more important than just the benefit that we’re going to get out of overcoming it. We get to express ourselves and feel what it feels like to overcome.
As a result of overcoming, if that meant you produced a product, created a service, improve a thing, innovate at something or whatever it was, what you did impacts. This is a game. This is a team effort here. We’re all in this together. We’re all trying to overcome together. The things that you do on the field impact how I play on the field, impacts how the next person plays on the field and that impacts the entire team. That’s what we have to understand. Getting over is a team sport.
We all have an individual responsibility and that individual responsibility is heavy because it affects the rest of the team. If you don’t get over, then the team is suffering. People suffer because you didn’t make it. We’re suffering because some people are gone and they didn’t express themselves and get the opportunity to lead their contribution. We’re not feeling the impact of their expression. We have to move on without that. That means something.
We can’t dwell on it but that’s what we have to do. Now that we are here, let’s not make it hard on ourselves. Express. That’s the goal and objective. Contribute. Serve. Anything that’s in the way of you doing that, you got to get over it. You got to take responsibility for that. “What do I need to do to get over? Who do I need to be? What lessons do I need to learn?” That’s what you need to do in this. When you wake up, that’s your objective in life.
Your purpose in life is to contribute and to serve. That’s your overall purpose. How do you choose to do that? You use the things that you’re good at. Use the tools and the desires that you have that are innate within you as a guide to be those things if that’s the way you like to express, that you feel good and confident. That’s what you do every single day. Cultivate that to the point that you are a master at it. That’s who you are and your purpose.
This has been an absolute honor to be on this show.
It’s been a pleasure to have you, Forrest.
I’d like to stay in touch. When I get this next book wrapped up, I would love to come on here and talk about it. I may even reach out to you and have you share a story about what you’ve derived from this period, which you’ve so eloquently shared.
I will love to do so. There you have it, another successful episode of the show. We all have choices in life. We can choose to be defeated or we can choose to be winners, even in the presence of defeat. As game changers, we don’t lose. We either win or we learn and that’s it. Those are the only options here. You’re not defeated.
You’re feeling the COVID pandemic and all the other things that are happening in life is making you feel like life isn’t purposeful, that there’s no meaning, that you should give up, that there’s no hope. No. You’re still here in the presence of all of that. That means you have the invitation and the opportunity to make a difference somehow. Sometimes, it’s hard to see how to win or score. It seems that the defense, opposition or the resistance is overwhelming. You can’t see how you can fight through all of that.
That’s why it’s important to be able to go in your dark space, in your closet and close your eyes, meditate and get spiritual. Exercise that inner muscle because maybe physically it is overwhelming but that’s not a reason to give up. That’s when you go inside and you find your wheel, fortitude, vision, spiritual strength, that connection with the universe, with your creator and allow that to be your God, to provide more strength, faith, creativity, innovation and a vision beyond what you can see in the physical.You needed the dark night of your soul to grow faith and not waiver under any adversity that would come in your life. Click To Tweet
That may take some practice. It may take you doing that over and over again until you get to that space where you have confidence in that connection and vision. You increase your faith to the point where you’re willing to wake up every single day and move forward towards that vision with will and determination in order to bring forward an impact and a change.
That’s how we have to play this game at times, especially during tough times. I invite you to check out this book about COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening. Spend some time if you haven’t already in isolation and meditating so that you can be the best player that you can be and create the impact that we need to move the team forward. Until next time. Peace and love.
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About Forrest Rivers
Forrest Rivers is a writer, teacher, and speaker who splits his time between the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the Colorado Rockies.
His personal journey of awakening began at the age of 30 on an awe-inspiring trip to Maui, Hawaii. It was there on that enchanted island where the profound healing power of the Earth spoke through to his heart and helped him overcome a difficult period of alcohol abuse.
After returning home from that transformative experience, Forrest became interested in the spiritual traditions of the Far East and began to immerse himself in the teachings of Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist mystics and took the pen name Forrest Rivers in honor of the Earth and her profound healing power. Today, Forrest is a teacher of meditation and has started meditation gatherings at each of the colleges that he has taught at during his over-decade-long run as a community college professor.