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New Beginnings and Endless Endings

A poem…

Writing

New beginnings and endless endings
Infinitely dancing
In a bittersweet twist
Of co-created fate

An ever-evolving cloud of possibility
Recycling existence
Ceaselessly raining new life

Drops diving into the ocean of eternity
Both infinitesimal and inconceivably meaningful
For the ocean is but a union
A union of individual drops

Rippling through the timeless now
Touching the deepest aspect of self
Subtly reminding us
Of our shared essence

 

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Time is a Sailing Ship

“We think that the world is limited and explained by its past. We tend to think that what happened in the past determines what is going to happen next, and we do not see that it is exactly the other way around! What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn’t explain a thing. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.” – Alan Watts

wake

Time is a sailing ship. The past is the wake. The future is what lies in the direction the ship is headed. And all of this concurrently exists in the present moment; the eternal now.

Both the past and future are projections from within the present.

We, as human beings, have a first person point of view of this voyage. Our body is the ship which we view the world from as we sail through space-time.

If you were to draw your perception back to a third person point of view, you would be able to see both the past (the wake left behind) and the future (where you’re headed). In the brilliant documentary “The Illusion of Time,” physicist Brian Greene compares space-time to a loaf of bread. What we perceive as now is a slice in that loaf of space-time, but the whole loaf always exists. So theoretically, if you were to somehow perceive reality from a higher perspective, you would be able to observe the whole “loaf” of space-time (past/present/future). Maybe this is the perspective of those who are able to “see the future.”

While the comparison to a loaf of bread is helpful in conceptualizing the past, present and future as the dimension of space-time, it doesn’t do justice to the ever-changing, dynamic nature of the universe. We live in a quantum soup of infinite possibility. There is no predetermined path (loaf of bread). The path is always shifting according to what you do in the present moment.

That’s why the metaphor of the ship is profound. You can change the direction of your ship at any point, and this will change both the future and the past. When you change direction, the wake you leave behind changes as well as your course ahead.

Even the simple concept of forgiveness demonstrates this. If you forgive someone who has wronged you in the past, you change the meaning of the past. So instead of harboring hatred and resentment in the present moment, you let go and feel freedom, love and empathy.

You have the power to transform past failures into learning experiences; pain into a catalyst for growth; disappointment into opportunity.

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A related, mind-bending phenomenon is called the delayed choice or quantum eraser effect, pioneered by the physicist John Wheeler. Imagine a star emitting a photon billions of years ago, heading towards Earth. And there is a galaxy in between the star and Earth. Because of this, the light will have to bend around the galaxy in order to reach Earth (which is called “gravitational lensing”). The photon can take one of two paths around the galaxy, left or right. Billions of years later, if someone decides sets up a device to catch the photon, it would behave as a wave, not a particle. This demonstrates that the photon really took both ways around the galaxy.

You could also view the photon by focusing a telescope on either side of the galaxy to determine which side the photon traveled to reach Earth. The very act of measuring the photon’s behavior means it can only come from one side. It will no longer act as a wave that went both ways, but as a particle which only went in the direction from which it was observed.

This is mind-bogglingly profound. It means that how we measure the photon now actually affects the direction it traveled in billions of years ago.

Everything is a projection from the present moment. The eternal now is all that exists, and from it you have the power to change both your future and your past.

Enjoy the voyage and sail free.

– Stevie P!

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Solitary Refinement: The Profound Power of Solitude

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“Above measure the singular pleasure of solitude” – MF DOOM (Bookfiend)

That line serendipitously seems to seep into my consciousness whenever I’m immersed in the unique euphoria that solitude brings.

Solitude can be indescribably blissful, or utterly torturous, depending on your state of being and self-love. Solitary confinement? Or solitary refinement? The choice is up to you.

I spent the majority of this past weekend in solitude and it was completely cathartic. That’s why I’m even writing this right now.

We live in a society that overly praises extroverted tendencies and dismisses introverted tendencies as being “anti-social.” Noise is excessively celebrated, while the silence that all sound comes from is overlooked.

With this imbalance skewed towards extroversion, the word “alone” has become synonymous with “lonely.” But that’s not the case at all. You can be lonely in a crowd, or feel connected with all-that-is when alone.

I’ll ask you this: Have you mastered yourself, accepted yourself and do you love yourself enough to bask in the glory of solitude?

“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.” – Albert Einstein

You must view solitude as a necessary practice in order to become the best version of yourself.

Solitude comes with an abundance of benefits. It’s no coincidence that many of the greatest people to walk the planet engaged in a regular practice of productive solitude.

Getting to know yourself.

The phrase “Know thyself” was famously inscribed at the Temple at Delphi. Knowing oneself is absolutely crucial for any form of self-awareness or personal growth.

Solitude is the fertile ground upon which the seeds of self-mastery of sewn. When it’s just you and your thoughts, you’re able to bring the subtleties of your own nature into conscious awareness.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” – Lao Tzu

Empowerment.

Everything you desire, is first and foremost, an inside job. External peace is not possible without inner peace. External harmony is not possible without inner harmony.

If you choose to be happy, you’re empowered. But if you rely on external factors to be happy, you’re giving your power away in exchange for victimhood.

By engaging in productive solitude, you build a solid foundation to become the master of your own destiny.

Idea generation.

Solitude gives you space to reflect. It provides the golden silence necessary for you to receive the subtle gems of the universe.

Ideas just flow effortlessly when you’re alone and in a good state of mind.

Recharging.

Solitude acts as a rejuvenating self-reset. It gives you the opportunity to take a break from the chaos of modern life and bring yourself back to equilibrium.

The ability to give more when around others.

Just as you’re able to perform at your physical peak after a good night’s rest, you’re able to give more to others after engaging in solitude. Restful yin energy is what allows for the maximization of the active yang energy.

Someone who has developed themselves simply has a greater capacity to give. Remember, you can’t truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself.

Also, independence is cultivated in solitude. So this means that you’re far less likely to be a nuisance or unnecessary burden to others. Conscious alone time is essentially flexing your handle-your-business muscle.

You’re most free when alone.

There are no compromises, no voting and no worries of pleasing people. Every decision you make is entirely up to you. That’s why it’s easy to be boldly spontaneous when alone, which can be a lot of fun.

Solitude fosters creation.

“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” – Pablo Picasso

Almost all artistic creation occurs in solitude. There is a level of concentration reached when alone that just doesn’t happen around other people. Combine this with the idea generating nature of solitude and you have a recipe for prolific creation.

I create my best work when alone. I’m also hard pressed to create anything with others around. A subtle reason for this is that I give everything I’m doing my full attention. So if I’m with other people, connecting with them is my focus.

Great people have always embraced solitude.

People who have made a significant impact on the world spent a lot of time in solitude.

Buddha and Jesus went off by themselves for years. This solitude was a major part in both of their breakthroughs into the level of consciousness available to all of us.

A major aspect of the hero’s journey (described by Joseph Campbell) is this form of self-discovery.

“Opportunities
To find deeper powers
Within ourselves
Come when life
Seems most challenging.”
– Joseph Campbell

Writers and any artists thrive off of solitude.

This goes hand-in-hand with the last two points. Solitude begets creation, as well as the self-reflection to produce timeless works of art.

Henry David Thoreau (The Notorious HDT) epitomized productive solitude with his two year getaway at Walden Pond, where he produced some of his best work.

“I’ve never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to go to the extreme that Thoreau did to leverage the power of solitude. All it takes is making some productive solitude a regular practice.

The point of solitude is not in becoming a recluse, but in returning to the world as an ever-evolving version of yourself.

Cultivate the power of solitude.

Thoreau-ly enjoy yourself.

– Stevie P!

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This “Alien Meditation” Will Completely Refresh Your Perspective

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When was the last time you experienced complete awe? When was the last time you experienced that magical feeling of childlike wonder?

Most of us lose our sense of awe by adulthood and coast through daily life on monotonous auto-pilot. We slowly fade from being awe-inspired to being awe-tomatons.

Far too often, we go through life driven by routine and absorbed in incessant thoughts. This causes us to miss out on the effervescent magic of each experienced moment. Ask yourself this question: Am I mindful, or mind-full?

The magic comes back to us periodically though, when we do something completely new that tears down the walls of our comfort zones. It’s in these moments, where we surrender to the enigma of existence, that we feel vibrantly alive.

Word on the street is that Leonardo Da Vinci had a practice to spark this feeling of awe-inspired novelty. He would constantly search for something new in every familiar object. Da Vinci understood that viewing everything with such intense curiosity would be beneficial in many ways.

Take a moment to appreciate what it would feel like to experience everything with completely fresh eyes, like an alien who just beamed themselves to planet Earth.

“At every moment, you stand on alien ground,
presented ceaselessly the opportunity to become new with it.”
– Teal Swan

The Alien Meditation:

  • Step 1 – Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
  • Step 2 – Imagine that you’re an alien who just teleported to where you are.
  • Step 3 – See, perceive and experience the world around you as if for the first time.
  • Step 4 – Find something new about whatever you’re observing.
  • Step 5 – Bask in the awe, wonder and magic of it all.

Cherish the mystical miracle of life all around you. It’s always there, within the beauty of the present moment.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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The Spontanist

Note: I use the pronoun “he” in this post (mostly because I included the picture of myself below). But if your vessel is of the female variety, feel free to substitute it with “she” while reading.

Spontanist

The Spontanist is the physical embodiment of spontaneity, living in perpetual celebration of the present moment.

The past can be learned from and the future can be used to plan, but the now is where life happens. The present is where the Spontanist resides.

The Spontanist welcomes change.

The only constant is change. The universe is in a state of continuous flux and so are we. Atoms are 99.999999999999% empty space and electrons are blinking in and out of existence. There is no real solidity! The world around us, as well as our bodies, are amalgamations of slowed vibrations. So to think that we are rigid, fixed and unchanging is utterly insane. The Spontanist leverages the permanent impermanence of reality. He rides the winds of change without resistance.

The Spontanist embraces the unknown.

He does not fear the unknown but greets it with open arms. Life is mysterious. Existence is enigmatic. There are so many unknowns. Certainty is an illusion but we all have the ability to handle anything life throws at us. The Spontanist understands this and gratefully accepts mystery as the key to adventure.

The Spontanist does not confine their entire identity to a label.

He has no need to box his identity inside of a nationality, race, gender, political party or name. Why imprison the self within a label, when you can choose the whole? (And the liberation that comes with it.) The Spontanist just is.

Yes, the word “Spontanist” is a label, but it is only a signpost, not an identity. And a signpost to describe only one aspect of being, at that.

When asking the question “Who am I?” the only plausible answer for the Spontanist is “I am.”

The Spontanist has no rigid, static personality to uphold.

(Nothing is rigid and static anyway, though we might delude ourselves into thinking so.)

He is free to be however he wants to be. His sense of self isn’t relegated to adjectives that describe behavior. The Spontanist isn’t quiet or loud, athletic or nerdy. He embodies any adjective, depending on what the moment brings. The Spontanist dances, not because he is a dancer, but because he feels like dancing.

The Spontanist is guided by intuition.

Intuition is his inner compass. The Spontanist flows through life, surfing streams of intuition into the magical mystery of existence. He uses inner judgment to determine his path, not the opinions other people or the standardized norms of society.

The Spontanist is dynamic.

He happily adjusts to any situation. He is strong yet yielding, flexible yet empowered.

The Spontanist epitomizes water as described by Bruce Lee…

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

The Spontanist doesn’t suppress desires.

He knows how to differentiate between genuine desires and deceitful desires. The Spontanist operates through intuition, not ego. He is motivated by love as opposed to fear. Acting out of a place of love, the Spontanist is confident with any decision-making.

The Spontanist has faith.

The Spontanist has faith in himself. He has faith that everything happens for a reason and everything is a learning experience. He has faith that he harbors the ability to gracefully flow through even the most turbulent of life’s waters.

Spontaneity is the spice of life and the Spontanist is a master chef.

Now is always the perfect time to cook up some freestyle fun.

 

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There Are No Problems in the Present Moment

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While I was in the shower this morning, I found myself getting annoyed and worked up…

I recently broke up with the woman I was dating. So I was grappling with my ego and mulling over the past. Realizing that I had created this negative mental spiral, I asked myself “What am I doing RIGHT NOW?” My answer was simply “I’m in the shower.” No problems, nothing bad happening to me, just water happily running over my body.

Of course, parting ways with someone close to you is difficult, but being completely present helped me to transcend the incessant, ego-driven thought loops that didn’t serve me.

To be clear, I’m not saying to suppress or ignore emotions. They must be acknowledged and dealt with or they will manifest in insidious ways. I’m merely pointing out that, through presence, I was able to stop the repetitive, problem-creating “ego-talk” that wasn’t doing me any good.

Combine intense presence with viewing everything as a learning experience or challenge (see: The Challenge Perspective), and you’ll be alright no matter what.

“There’s no place quite like here. There’s no better time than now.” – Jhene Aiko

Be here totally. Be here now.

When you’re completely in the moment, you feel blissful no matter what. It just works that way. But when we obsess over the past or future, everything starts becoming an issue. Our neurotic monkey mind, which can be an extremely useful tool, becomes problematic when we’re engulfed by it.

“The circumstances you are experiencing are not the cause of your suffering. The cause of your suffering is the thought that what is happening should not be happening or is not supposed to be happening.” – Teal Swan

That message is profound. And it does not mean that you should become passive and do nothing with your life. Not at all. To put it another way, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Just be. Totally accept the present moment and fully immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing; that’s when so-called problems fade away and life becomes magical.

How to steep yourself in the sweet nectar of the present moment:

1. Recognize when you’re obsessing over the past or future.
Are you caught in endless loops of thought? Or you playing out arguments in your head? Are you defending yourself in your head? Is your ego trying to justify itself? Are you thinking about how you’re better (or worse) than someone? Are you worrying about something that might happen in the future? Are you marinating on something in the past that you can’t change?

2. Ask yourself “What am I doing RIGHT NOW?”
What are you doing right now, at this very moment? Not five minutes from now, not next week. What are you doing NOW? Whenever you do this, you find that it’s all good and that the problems you’re creating in your head are based on projections into the past or future.

The exception to this is something like getting chased by a bear. But in any life-threatening situation, you don’t have “time” (see what I did there?) to worry or feel bad for yourself. You’re just absorbed in the moment and existing in pure, adrenaline-fueled action. Danger can be very real but fear is a mental construct.

3. Firmly tell yourself to “Be here now.” (Or any other affirmation that helps to bring you back to the present moment.)

A mantra that keeps me present and worry-free is “All I have is my breath.” I breathe deeply and repeat those words to myself. This mantra grounds me into the moment and makes me truly understand that anything can be taken away from me at any time. It puts me at peace with the perpetual, enigmatic flux of the Universe.

To drive the point hOMe, here are some quotes from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle:

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

Embrace the present, it’s a gift.

Much love.

– Stevie P

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A Game of Shadows

I’ve been noticing many hidden subtleties in both nature and myself lately. One must acknowledge the shadow aspects (or “the dark side”) within everything in order to realize wholeness. With that being said, here’s a piece of poetry I wrote…

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Day and night are a tide of shadows

Nighttime is defined by shadows
Even the horizon
The Earth itself
Becomes a gigantic shadow

Sunrise is the great reducer of shadows
High noon is shadowless
Sunset is the great grower of shadows

Expansion and contraction
A continuous dance

Life is an interplay of shadows

Hidden aspects of self
Beautiful blind spots
Highlighted by awareness

Do not denounce the shadows
They exist to provide perspective
Allowing us to see

The sun still shines
Yet we find ourselves
In a grand game of shadows

 

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12 Signs That You Need More Freedom

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Freedom is a tricky term. It’s a word that has been dragged through the muddy waters of assorted interpretations and biases for some time now. I could write a book philosophizing about what freedom is and what it entails…

But instead, I’ll share a simple definition that I found fairly accurate and useful: Freedom – Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. (Dictionary.com)

With that being said, we won’t find absolute freedom (in this reality, at least). Limitation is just a part of the game here on Earth. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have more relative freedom than what we’re experiencing now. Perfection is unattainable but we strive for continuous improvement. That’s what we do as humans. That’s what life is all about.

Some of us are finding that we deeply feel fulfilled by more freedom. Not more money (although this could be a means to more freedom), not a bigger house, not a comfortable, safe job…etc. Those things may make some people happy, but this post is for the free spirits, those of you who yearn for freedom from the depths of your being. Those of you who recognize that something feels absent when you politely nod your head and swallow orders; knowing that deep down, your heart doesn’t agree.

Tame birds sing about freedom. Wild birds fly.

12 Signs That You Need More Freedom

1. You don’t like being told where and when to be somewhere – Instead of feeling like you have to be somewhere (think work), you prefer to determine where you want to be. You live by your own instincts, which usually don’t coincide with rigid, predetermined group models of time and location.

2. You value your time – You thrive off of prioritizing your time and doing things that are in your best interest. You enjoy being able to choose who you spend time around. Having to participate in time-consuming activities that are disharmonious with your goals makes you uneasy to say the least.

3. You prefer to create your own schedule – You’re independent and self-sufficient. You’re in tune with your natural rhythms. You know when you’re most productive and how to leverage your own unique “body clock.”

4. You trust yourself – You have faith in yourself to make the right decisions. You have confidence in your own inner judgment and intuition. You don’t need someone else dictating what you can and cannot do.

5. You think for yourself – You’re an individual who celebrates a unique world view. You have trouble aligning all of your thoughts, beliefs and actions with a one-size-fits-all group structure.

6. You’re self-motivated – You don’t need people to tell you what to do. You’re driven and productive by your own accord.

7. You’re spontaneous – You live in the moment and by your own intuitive guidance. You don’t like planning every minute of your life. You would rather go with the flow of the moment. The idea having to get approval for vacation time months in advance is ludicrous to you.

8. You cringe at being inauthentic – You just don’t feel right when you compromise who you are. You can’t feign enthusiasm. You struggle to put on a fake smile. You don’t want to make borderline (or blatantly) unethical decisions based on orders from others.

9. You question authority – You don’t accept anything at face value. You don’t blindly take orders out of fear, you would rather act on things you truly believe in. You question everything, even the fundamental beliefs that society is based upon. A passionately curious mind cannot be relegated to a state of confinement.

10. You don’t take yourself too seriously – You have a sense of humor. You laugh deeply and genuinely when something is funny. You’re not overly serious. Being “professional” and politically correct feels like you’re suppressing your inner child. You often ask questions like “Why does everyone have to be so serious all of the time?”

11. You’re highly creative – People who are highly creative have trouble staying inside of the box. Artistic freedom is paramount. So if you’re a creative person working in a job that doesn’t allow you to express your inherent creativity, you will constantly feel stifled and unfulfilled.

12. You have no desire to control other people or be controlled – Live and let live, this is the crux of freedom.

And you don’t have to be a single twenty something to attain more freedom (although that does help). You can make all of it work if you’re married with kids as well.

This idea of freedom will look differently for everyone (and is intimately connected with work and money in today’s society). For some people, they might be happy with a traditional, corporate office job. For others it might be working for a more innovative and flexible company, or manual labor, or some form of freelance work or entrepreneurship. For others it might even be checking out of society entirely and living off the grid. It’s all unique to each individual. Find out what more freedom would look like for you.

I personally fall somewhere around the freelance/entrepreneurial part of the spectrum, which is why I’m writing this post. It’s become glaringly obvious to me that the traditional, corporate office structure is absolutely antithetical to my intrinsic nature. I’m actively taking steps in the direction of more freedom (more on that soon) and I already feel as though a weight is being lifted off my shoulders.

Remember, we came here to be free.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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Heighten Your Senses With This Walking Meditation

http://www.forestwander.com

The meandering path through the lush green of the woods served as a walking meditation for me. I was deeply immersed, steeped into the sweet nectar of the moment. Each of my senses took its turn to be heightened and fully appreciated.

The scenery transformed into high definition, becoming absolutely breathtaking as I began to gain elevation. The tops of trees looked like broccoli, the jagged, chestnut-colored cliffs smiled at me, and the benevolent blue sky was a boundless blanket of love.

I heard the cheery chirping of birds. I basked in the welcoming, social sound of dancing branches in the gentle wind. I listened intently to the subtle crunch of my shoes over small rocks and twigs.

The fresh scent of spring serenaded my sense of smell. I inhaled deeply with my eyes closed and was embraced by bouquets of blooming vegetation.

Despite the barrier of rubber between my feet and the ground, I felt connected with the Earth. My hand reached out and stroked the brown bark of a charming tree. It felt like an old friend.

The saliva in my mouth was infused with a touch of sweetness. There’s a certain purity that you taste when you’re out in nature, a purity that’s far more enlivening than the staleness of stagnant air indoors.

As the ascent became steeper, I inhaled grace and exhaled stress, expelling any lingering anxieties I was hanging onto. The higher elevation brought me to a higher consciousness. I felt as if I was transcending worldly struggle as I gazed out at the beauty of the mountainous landscape. A childlike, jovial laugh emerged from my essence as a placid breeze stroked my cheek…


That was an excerpt from my short story Falling into Forever. And I wrote that particular part because of how profound and enjoyable walking meditation is for me.

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We often take life for granted. Many of us (myself included) tend to fall into monotonous routines and go through life on autopilot. Most of the time, we’re so consumed in looping thought patterns that we never really take a moment to stop and smell the roses (or, as you’ll soon find out, walk and smell the roses).

This is where meditation becomes a powerful tool. It enables us to fully experience the life we’re living.

“No meditation, no life. Know meditation, know life.” – Osho

Don’t get it corkscrewed… Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged in silence for hours on end. It can come in many forms, like Pokemon. (I just can’t write a post without a Pokemon reference, huh?)

Meditation, in my opinion, is any moment in which your mind is still. The mind is either completely focused or blissfully empty, and you reside in the underlying essence of presence and peaceful awareness.

I find that I often get into a deeply meditative state while walking outside and connecting with nature. My mind becomes still and peaceful, my senses become fully heightened and there is a deep-seated feeling of bliss that permeates my entire being.

This state of being is accessible to anyone, especially through simple, moving meditations like this…

The Five Sense Walking Meditation:

While you’re walking alone outside, fully immerse your consciousness in each sense. Take a minute or two to focus on each of your senses individually, like so:

1. Sight – See the colors, shades, forms and shapes all around you. Notice the patterns in everything. See the subtle characteristics that you often overlook. See how vibrant the world really is. Look at everything as if seeing it for the first time.

2. Sound – Listen to the sounds of nature, the sound of your feet touching the ground, the sound of your breath. Notice the silence that all sounds come out of. Listen to everything as if hearing for the first time.

3. Smell – Be aware of all of the scents surrounding you. The subtle smells that you normally wouldn’t notice when you’re consumed with thought. Smell everything as if smelling for the first time.

4. Touch – Feel your entire body. Feel your clothing against your body. Feel your feet upon the Earth. Feel the wind caressing your skin and hair. Reach out and touch a tree; appreciate its beautiful texture. Touch, feel everything as if feeling for the first time.

5. Taste – Taste the saliva in your mouth. Be aware of your tongue and taste buds. If you have water with you, take a sip and let it pool in your mouth, immersing yourself in its flavor and texture. Taste, as if tasting for the first time.

Wrap up the meditation by allowing all five senses to integrate – Simply continue walking as you normally would. Each sense will feel as if it was dipped in an ocean of rejuvenating energy. You will feel like life has been upgraded to high definition. You will be in a state of intense awareness, yet deeply peaceful and radiating with overwhelming bliss.

Try it out for yourself. See, hear, smell, touch and taste like you never have before. Experience complete awareness. Wholeheartedly experience life.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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The Balance of Beard Trimming and Life

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My good friend and beard connoisseur, Cole King

Not shaving every day is liberating. It’s an emanci-face-tion proclamation, if you will.

That’s why for the past couple of years, I’ve chosen to forego the frustrating folly of frequently scraping my face with a razor.

Shaving was a daily practice, that to me, just felt like I was mangling my face and damaging my skin far too often. It was (in my view) an unnecessary burden. Life becomes more enjoyable when you release yourself from tedious routines that don’t serve you.

Thankfully, society is coming around and embracing some of our primal side. Beards are now socially acceptable (even preferred in some cases) and men are no longer held to the rigid standard of having to be clean-shaven at all times.

Think about it (a quick philosophical aside): Hair naturally grows on men’s faces, so why do we have to fight against what our body is doing on a daily basis? Why are we so afraid of the primal aspects of ourselves?

These days, I trim my beard about once every 2 weeks. But that begets the surprisingly thought-provoking question which led me to write this: Why even trim my beard at all?

Because, like most things in life, “beardness” gets to the point where the weaknesses outweigh the strengths. It’s a balance between the self-flagellation of daily shaving and the mess of completely letting everything go.

When my beard gets long enough, every morsel of food I eat gets caught in it. It also requires grooming and just becomes, well… difficult.

So when I let my beard get to a certain point, it ironically becomes as much work and headache as shaving every day.

That’s why I trim my beard every 2 weeks. 10 minutes of effort every couple weeks allows me to happily ride the balance between the skin-grating tediousness of shaving everyday and the extra work of a messy, wild beard.

That’s the balance; optimizing aspects of life while still maintaining peace of mind. It’s finding your own unique equilibrium between extremes. And it just so happens that the idea of beard trimming was the vehicle for me to drive this concept home.

Ying_yang_sign

As you may have guessed, this principle applies to almost any other aspect of life as well:
Cleaning – Being neurotic and OCD vs being a slob
Working out and physical activity – Couch potato vs exercise fanatic
Work – Lazy vs workaholic
Reading and the accumulation of knowledge – Over-analysis vs willful ignorance

There is a yin/yang balance to everything. Ultimately, you have to get to know yourself and figure out what your unique recipe is for what you want to get out of life.

Overall happiness in life can be viewed as a balance between extremities. On one extreme, sitting on your couch at home every day would not make for a fulfilling life for most people. But neither would something like climbing Mt. Everest every day, relentlessly subjecting yourself to extreme, harsh conditions.

With any activity, ask yourself, “At what point do the weaknesses outweigh the strengths for me?”

Remember, this point will be different for everyone.

Some more questions to help you find your own “happy medium” with anything:
– What are the extremes? Am I at one extreme?
– Does this truly make me happy?
– What would I be doing in an ideal world?
– Is what I’m doing motivated by love or fear?
– Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Find your own unique balance.

Enjoy life.

– Stevie P!