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The Power of Fiction

Ralph Waldo Emerson Fiction quote

Bold statement: Fiction can be a more effective teacher than nonfiction.

The epics, the classic myths, the primordial fables, the transcendent archetypes and the phenomenon of story have all been omnipresent undertones of human culture since time immemorial.

Fiction has the unique ability in which one can use words as arrows of intention to penetrate the infinite dimensions of abstraction. In other words, truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth.

The deepest truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry. If they were to be written in a strictly analytical fashion, it would be confined to a sliver of interpreted reality. But with fiction, the words conform to the unique consciousness of the reader. They act as a range of possibility to be decoded subjectively, not a rigid pillar of force-fed predeterminacy.

Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

Along with being a vehicle for consciousness expansion, fiction comes with a whole host of other benefits as well…

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

  • Improves brain connectivity
  • Increases empathy (and better relationships as a direct result)
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances memory
  • Increases imagination
  • Expands vocabulary
  • Enhances creativity
  • Increases happiness
  • Enhances focus
  • Helps you be yourself (instead of conforming because the weight of social pressure is released when reading fiction)
  • Helps with approaching and overcoming obstacles (the influence of the hero’s journey)
  • Sources:
    The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction
    7 Benefits Of Reading Literary Fiction You May Not Know

    Stephen King Fiction quote

    How You Can Help Support Fiction

    Speaking of fiction, I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for my new novel Sozwik. CLICK HERE to view the campaign and provide your support.

    Expand your mind with the wisdom of fiction, embrace the power of story and dare to dream.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    The Visionary’s Creed

    This is for the new wave of hard workers, everyone out there grinding towards their vision, not someone else’s. All of the self-starters, hustlers, artists, entrepreneurs, this is dedicated to you to help you keep going. Ultimately, these words are just a confirmation of what you already know deep down; that you’re living your truth.

    artist

    I know what I want
    I know how to get there
    They may think differently
    But I know me

    Doubt arises
    I set it aside
    I know in my heart
    That I’m walking in the direction of my truth

    I see my vision
    Crystal clear clarity
    I meet it with persistence
    Bringing dreams into reality

    Fear grabs a hold of me
    I hug it with courage
    It fades back into illusion
    Propelled by my truth
    I keep moving

    The path may be difficult
    The road may be rough
    Obstacles will present themselves
    Unforeseen challenges may delay me
    And my route may shift
    But that’s a part of the pilgrimage
    The challenge is where the magic is

    It’s not about where I end up
    It’s about who I become through the journey
    More of myself

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    How to Practice Ho’oponono

    Hawaii

    We all want to see the world change for the better. But we’re doing it all wrong…

    We want to change other people. We want to change situations. We even externalize our power to politicians and religious figures to come save us.

    But how many people focus on changing themselves?

    Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
    – Rumi

     
    We do so much to stay victims, blame others and avoid taking responsibility. Are we that afraid of our own power? Are we that hesitant to make our own decisions?

    The only way that any change happens in your version of reality is if you change yourself.

    There’s a reason why Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Not change other people (you can’t), hope someone else does something (*cough* politics) or passively complain about things, but simply embody the change you want to see.

    You can only control yourself, not anyone else and not what life might throw at you (for the most part). But there’s a beautiful paradox here; when you change yourself, everything around you begins to change. Think about your perspective as a filter on reality. Change your filter and you experience a different version of reality.

    We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    – Anais Nin

     
    Here’s another aspect of the fallacy of trying to change others. How are you going to be an effective parent, teacher, psychologist, leader, coach or any other position where people are learning from you, if you’re blinded by your own biases, blocked by your own fears and possessed by your own pain? Everything you do will be based upon fundamentally skewed premises. If you’re disharmonious within, your actions will be from a place of disharmony.

    The best teachers are essentially clear mirrors, leading by example and reflecting back to others undistorted answers to their questions.

    Enter: Hoʻoponopono

    There is a simple practice that leverages the truth of inside-out-change, and it’s called Hoʻoponopono.

    Hoʻoponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It means “to make right” or “rectify an error.” Hoʻoponopono is based on the actuality of healing a situation by healing oneself.

    The practice of Hoʻoponopono consists of using these four affirmations:
    I love you
    I’m sorry
    Please forgive me
    Thank you

    Hoʻoponopono has been traditionally used to solve family and community problems, and has similarities to many other shamanic and mystical practices throughout the world.

    Think about it in terms of common sense, a family dispute will never be resolved if everyone blames each other. Forgiveness provides space for a solution.

    So how do I get that across to people — that we are each 100% responsible for problems? If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself. If the problem is with another person, for example, just ask yourself, “What’s going on in me that’s causing this person to bug me?” People only show up in your life to bug you! If you know that, you can elevate any situation, and you can release there. It’s simple: “I’m sorry for whatever’s going on. Please forgive me.
    – Dr. Hew Len

     
    There’s even a story that Dr. Hew Len healed a hospital ward of mentally ill criminals by using Ho’oponopono. Who knows if it’s actually true? But anything is possible.

    No Fuel for the Fire

    Any pain that people are carrying needs something to react with. If you don’t give it anything to react with, it doesn’t become part of your reality. If you do react to something, it’s because someone or something triggered pain that already exists within you. Can you see how important clearing yourself is?

    Here’s a relevant insight on relationships by Eckhart Tolle: (Note: This can apply to every kind of relationship, not just intimate relationships)

    If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant. Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.

     
    Ho’opononopono distills these principles of clearing oneself into a simple, effective practice. You only have control of yourself and it’s the leverage point for all change. There really is no “out there” out there. Reality is a subjective experience and our interpersonal interactions are the intermingling of unique worlds.

    If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
    – Wayne Dyer

     
    How to Practice Hoʻoponopono

    If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself.
    – Dr. Hew Len

     
    The practice of Ho’oponopono consists of visualizing a person or situation that is creating disharmony within you that you want to clear, then saying the four affirmations: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you. You can just say the affirmations once or repeat them as many times as you like (either aloud or to yourself). Whatever works for you.

    Affirmation 1: I Love You

    Start with being in a state of love. It’s that unconditional, compassionate love which has no opposite. Literally become love. You can bring your hands to your heart if this helps.

    Affirmation 2: I’m Sorry

    This is simply acknowledging something in your reality that you want to clear (no need for guilt or shame). Think of your life as like a movie: If something is in your movie, you have to deal with it, because it’s in your movie.

    Affirmation 3: Please Forgive Me

    Don’t worry about who or what you’re asking for forgiveness. The point is to bring forgiveness into your being.

    Forgiveness is more about clearing negativity from yourself than it is about another person or situation. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, it’s something you do for yourself to heal and move on.

    Affirmation 4: Thank You

    You don’t have to thank anyone or anything in particular. Just say “thank you” and feel the gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that opens the door to healing.

    Ho’oponono

    Are we 100% responsible for everything within our reality? Who really knows?

    But it can only help if we use tools like Ho’oponopono. Think about it this way… How could the world around us not get better if we stop playing games of blame and judgment and incorporate practices based in love, forgiveness and gratitude?

    It’s time to embody the change we envision.

    Much love to us.

    – Stevie P! (aka Just Another Aspect of Yourself)

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    A Journey Through Existential Crisis

    cave

    Act I: You

    You’re different.

    You feel like you don’t truly belong anywhere.

    There are things you feel and experience that are unexplainable. And most people wouldn’t even be able to grasp it if you told them.

    Most aspects of society are disillusioning to you. Many facets of physical reality are limiting to you, but you’ve tasted both the infinite bliss of the present moment and the fearless abyss that exists beyond. You know your own power, you feel your deepest truth and that’s what gives you the strength to keep going.

    You’re a tightrope walker, walking between worlds. Sometimes you fall into one or the other, sometimes you jump into one or the other, sometimes you dance along the tightrope and sometimes you find yourself paralyzed, looking down from unfathomable heights with existential dread. Whatever it is, it is. Let it happen. It’s just a circus act.

    You’re a pioneer, exploring uncharted territory. You brush up against the walls of mystery only to realize that they’re just thin veils.

    You see through the illusions. Your vision pierces through the darkest night.

    You paint the unseen with colors imperceptible to the human eye.

    You’ve awakened from the slumber of a fake, gift box reality and burst into the infinite swirling layers of existence.

    You throw yourself into the ocean of the unknown. And as scared as you are, you understand that you’re really a drop in that ocean; an intrinsic part, a microcosm of the whole.

    You’re not content on the surface. You dive deep, just to see how far you can go. Because, to you, the thought of leaving so much unexplored is far worse than drowning in the depths.

    This is the path of the seeker and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

    You’re different, you’re unique, but you’re not alone.

    Act II: Me

    I’m different.

    I feel like I don’t truly belong anywhere.

    There are things I feel and experience that are unexplainable. And most people wouldn’t even be able to grasp it if I told them.

    Most aspects of society are disillusioning to me. Many facets of physical reality are limiting to me, but I’ve tasted both the infinite bliss of the present moment and the fearless abyss that exists beyond. I know my own power, I feel my deepest truth and that’s what gives me the strength to keep going.

    I’m a tightrope walker, walking between worlds. Sometimes I fall into one or the other, sometimes I jump into one or the other, sometimes I dance along the tightrope and sometimes I find myself paralyzed, looking down from unfathomable heights with existential dread. Whatever it is, it is. Let it happen. It’s just a circus act.

    I’m a pioneer, exploring uncharted territory. I brush up against the walls of mystery only to realize that they’re just thin veils.

    I see through the illusions. My vision pierces through the darkest night.

    I paint the unseen with colors imperceptible to the human eye.

    I’ve awakened from the slumber of a fake, gift box reality and burst into the infinite swirling layers of existence.

    I throw myself into the ocean of the unknown. And as scared as I am, I understand that I’m really a drop in that ocean; an intrinsic part, a microcosm of the whole.

    I’m not content on the surface. I dive deep, just to see how far I can go. Because, to me, the thought of leaving so much unexplored is far worse than drowning in the depths.

    This is the path of the seeker and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I’m different, I’m unique, but I’m not alone.

    Act III: We

    We’re different.

    We feel like we don’t truly belong anywhere.

    There are things we feel and experience that are unexplainable. And most people wouldn’t even be able to grasp it if we told them.

    Most aspects of society are disillusioning to us. Many facets of physical reality are limiting to us, but we’ve tasted both the infinite bliss of the present moment and the fearless abyss that exists beyond. We know our own power, we feel our deepest truth and that’s what gives us the strength to keep going.

    We’re tightrope walkers, walking between worlds. Sometimes we fall into one or the other, sometimes we jump into one or the other, sometimes we dance along the tightrope and sometimes we find ourselves paralyzed, looking down from unfathomable heights with existential dread. Whatever it is, it is. Let it happen. It’s just a circus act.

    We’re pioneers, exploring uncharted territory. We brush up against the walls of mystery only to realize that they’re just thin veils.

    We see through the illusions. Our vision pierces through the darkest night.

    We paint the unseen with colors imperceptible to the human eye.

    We’ve awakened from the slumber of a fake, gift box reality and burst into the infinite swirling layers of existence.

    We throw ourselves into the ocean of the unknown. And as scared as we are, we understand that we’re really a drop in that ocean; an intrinsic part, a microcosm of the whole.

    We’re not content on the surface. We dive deep, just to see how far we can go. Because, to us, the thought of leaving so much unexplored is far worse than drowning in the depths.

    This is the path of the seeker and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    We’re different, we’re unique, but we’re not alone.
     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    Are You A Positive Person? You’re Probably in Denial

    wolf

    When I started Feelin’ Good Feelin’ Great, I was in denial…

    I believed that positivity consisted on only focusing on “positive” things and ignoring everything “negative.”

    So that’s how I lived my life. I dodged my shadows and avoided my own darkness, then wondered why I felt confined and limited. In doing this, even though I thought that my life was all sunshine and rainbows (because that was the only territory I let myself explore), I was governed by the fear of fear itself (which is a self-created illusion). This phase lasted 2-3 years, until the Seeker archetype within me grew to the point where curiosity, backed by a deep sense of courage/faith/trust, could no longer be confined by fear.

    Positivity can be immensely useful, but when it becomes your identity or a way of avoiding the uncomfortable, you ironically slip into a life governed by fear and delusion.

    This is the trap of what I call delusional positivity; disregarding anything negative and pretending that it doesn’t exist. This is a dangerous way to live because what is suppressed will inevitably manifest in other ways. Although this naïve optimism seems all loving and pleasant, it’s based in fear; the fear of your own darkness (as well as the external reflection of it in the world).

    And what is positive anyway? Essentially, positive and negative are just labels which we place upon things that the ego either likes (positive) or dislikes (negative). When you draw your perspective back and look at the big picture, what you might deem positive and negative will often flip flop. For example, being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning when I was 19 seemed like a “negative” experience at the time, yet it was the greatest catalyst for my journey of self-discovery.

    There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
    – William Shakespeare

     
    This concept is hard to swallow from the limited perspective of the ego, especially with the extremes of war and suffering going on this planet. But we cannot truly understand love and freedom until we experience the extreme opposite. I’m not in any way saying to enable these atrocities though. Part of our process is to overcome them collectively (which begins within each individual). However, the woes of the world serve the purpose of being a harsh reference point of what we don’t want and the ultimate difficult learning experience.

    If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.
    – Viktor Frankl

     
    Contrast is necessary for holistic understanding. We need negativity to appreciate positivity. We need darkness to appreciate light. From a higher perspective, challenges are viewed as an opportunity to grow, hurdles are viewed as opportunities to leap and pain is viewed as a means of truly understanding joy.

    Love is the innermost craving of humans. Why? Because it is our essence. We experience fear, pain, suffering and the like because through experiencing contrast, we’re able to truly understand and appreciate love.

    Love is a unifying force, while fear is divisive. This applies both internally and externally. Fear divides people and fear divides aspects of yourself. And whenever things are divided, they come into conflict with one another. But love unifies and creates wholeness. So it’s only common sense that the totality of everything is love. Love is the fabric of Oneness. Love is the defining element of Source.

    owl

    The owl’s vision pierces through the darkness and sees through all illusions.

    Big Picture Positivity (Positivity 2.0)

    This is a call to let go of short-sighted, delusional positivity and courageously embrace Big Picture Positivity.

    Big picture positivity is the ability to love everything. It is being able to acknowledge and show compassion towards both polarities of duality (light and dark, good and evil, bad and good, negative and positive…etc.).

    Big picture positivity is the application of unconditional love. Big picture positivity is unwavering compassion. Big picture positivity is a total acceptance of what is, without judgment or resistance.

    Can you acknowledge your inner demons and meet them with a compassionate hug? If not, then you’re governed by fear.

    Can you acknowledge “negative” emotions without trying to avoid or change them? If not, then you’re creating resistance, self-judgment and denial.

    Can you acknowledge your darkness and shine light on it? Or are you too afraid? If you’re afraid of something within you, then you’re fragmented yourself. This self-fragmentation will subtly pull on you, pleading to be acknowledged, and will fester until it becomes something that you’re forced to deal with (like a disease).

    Can you acknowledge the evil of the world and meet it with empathy, compassion and love? Or do you react with fear, anger or judgment?

    Crime and the criminal justice system is actually a macrocosm of the practice of big picture positivity, or meeting everything with love. Ignoring crime obviously doesn’t work. But judging and punishing crime isn’t the best solution either (look at the massive failure/disharmony of the US criminal justice system). What does work, however, is acknowledging crime and healing the individual who committed the crime. It is addressing an aspect of the whole that is crying out for help and meeting it with love. People who feel love do not harm themselves or others; it’s as simple as that. So wouldn’t love be the obvious solution?

    The same principle applies to shadow aspects of ourselves. Acknowledge your shadows and meet them with compassion. Heal with unyielding love.

    There’s nothing to be afraid of. It all just is. All of that fear simply comes from resistance to what is.

    Love it all.

    – Stevie P!

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    The Purpose Formula

    gate

    What’s your purpose in life?

    Why are you here? What drives you? What keeps you going?

    Have you ever thought about it?

    Do you even know the direction you wish to head in?

    As humans, we need some sort of purpose in order to be truly happy and have a deep sense of fulfillment in life.

    Without a clear purpose, we find ourselves floundering, paralyzed by indecisiveness, drowning in existential dread and living out other people’s dreams instead of our own.

    Life is a journey and purpose gives us a direction to travel in. It provides a central theme to our journey.

    The journey of life is filled with mystery, unpredictability and spontaneous changes. So while it’s crucial to have purpose, it’s also important to surrender to the process.

    Your purpose isn’t fixed. It can change and evolve as you change and evolve. The only constant is change, so it’s a good idea to periodically reevaluate your purpose, especially when starting new chapters in life.

    Your purpose can be very simple as well. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose like being president or being a billionaire (those things don’t necessarily make life fulfilling anyway), it can be as simple as cultivating a beautiful garden or as familiar as being the best parent you can be.

    Here’s a hint regarding purpose: Your purpose is most likely going to involve helping others in some way. We’re social beings and giving just feels good. If you get really honest with yourself, you’ll realize that the things that give you the most fulfillment have something to do with giving, sharing and connection.

    For a clearer idea of your purpose (or purposes) in life, I highly recommend reading the following article and truthfully answering all of the questions: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions.

    The Power of Purpose

    Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.
    – Viktor Frankl

     
    It’s incredibly important to find meaning in life, as a sense of purpose is an undercurrent to genuine happiness and fulfillment. Research in positive psychology shows that people who feel a sense of purpose (or meaningfulness) have less physical pain, less anxiety, less stress, less depression and have reduced tendencies toward substance abuse. It’s no coincidence that one of the major commonalities of centenarians (people who live over 100 years) is a sense of purpose. With centenarians, purpose is often tied to religious faith, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can find purpose no matter what their beliefs are.

    Purpose is like a magic wand. If you feel stuck in any area of life, wave your magic wand of purpose. If you feel depressed, reevaluate and reestablish your purpose with conviction. If you feel anxious, shift your thinking towards your purpose. And really feel it too. Feel that sense of purpose in the depths of your nervous system, igniting your body, mind and spirit. By focusing on your purpose, you naturally shed everything that’s not in alignment with it.

    Find a real purpose that’s going to give you the strength to keep it going, no matter what the fuck you go through; no matter what obstacle presents itself.
    – Crooked I

     
    When in doubt, focus on your purpose. It works.

    Mark Twain why you were born

    The Purpose Formula

    I came up with this technique, which I call “The Purpose Formula.” It is designed to give you a clear sense of purpose and how to move in that direction on a daily basis. Here’s what to do…

    The Steps
    1. Write down your personal mission statement for your life (in one sentence). This is your big picture purpose to always keep in mind.
    2. Choose 6-10 major categories in life (see my example below).
    3. Write your purpose for each category (there can be more than one per category).
    4. Next to each purpose, write down a habit, routine or tangible things you can do every day (or every week) to move in that direction.
    5. Do it! Implement the habits you’ve outlined, focusing on your most important one first.

    My Purpose Formula

    (Note: I wrote this first, which actually led me to develop The Purpose Formula, so I’m sharing the prelude which created the catharsis for me as well)

    Now, since I’m beginning a new chapter of my book, I want to set clear intentions. I want to set a clear direction to head in, to use the metaphor of a road trip.

    I need a big picture purpose, but also something that translates into tangible daily actions.

    Personal Mission Statement:
    Continuously expand my perspective and inspire the hearts of others.

    Health:

    • Eat natural, local food – Go to Farmer’s markets at least once per week.
    • Balance alcohol consumption – Limit 2 drinks (good craft beers of course) per night out then switch to water or club soda.

    Fitness:

    • Get even leaner and stronger – HIIT every morning, walk a lot, bodyweight workouts 5x per week (improving each workout).
    • Become more flexible – Stretch every morning, yoga at least 2x per week.

    Spiritual Progression:

    • Meditate more – Meditate every morning upon waking and afternoon/night as well.

    Writing:

    • Continuously improve and express myself through writing – One blog post per week, work towards the completion of a book every day.

    Career:

    • Writing – Continuous improvement, expressing potent truths, inspiring and entertaining (daily practices outlined in Writing section).
    • Inspire more people – Through writing, making videos (every day), creating more courses and just living my truth in daily life.
    • Expand my healing abilities – Meditate more, promote my online coaching and Reiki practice. Spark that brilliance within people in a one on one setting
    • Other – Getting involved in other projects that resonate with me to earn more money, learn new skills and broaden my life experience (ex/ freelance writing opportunities).

    Relationships:

    • Attract a beautiful partner to learn and grow with – Embody the qualities of a person I wish to attract, do things I love and don’t hesitate to say hi or reach out to people.
    • Attract or find a tribe and deep relationships – See above.
    • Deepen my connection with friends and family – Speak my inner truth. Embrace human connection. Reach out to people. Genuinely be interested in them. Be there to help. Show gratitude. Never hold back genuine compliments.

    Travel:

    • See more of the world – Visit places that are calling me. Plan an interesting trip within the next 6 months.

    Nature:

    • Hike more – Hike a mountain or trail at least once per week.
    • Connect with nature – Visit a cool natural place at least twice per week (park, body of water, hiking, ocean…etc.).

    Knowledge:

    • Read more books – PhotoRead at least one book per week. Read every night too.

    A Note on Habits

    Attempting to establish multiple new habits at once will just overwhelm you. So if you outline your Purpose Formula and see that you have several new habits which you want to implement, focus on one habit at a time.

    Also, make sure that the habits you outline are as simple and easy as possible. If habits are not simple and easy (especially at first), they can become intimidating and you probably won’t stick to it.

    Set one habit in one area of life as your priority and focus on creating that habit first. Once it becomes embedded and is second nature to you, then move on to implementing a new habit. Habits take 66 days to become automatic, so implement a habit for at least 66 days before starting a new habit. Remember, your purpose is the epitome of a long-term endeavor, so there’s no need to rush.

    Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
    – Bill Gates

     
    Know where you’re headed and embrace the journey.

    Now I’ll leave you with the obvious question: What’s your purpose?

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

    2

    Coast to Coast: The Great American Road Trip

    road trip

    Every new place we go to, every new experience, expands our perspective.

    This is why traveling may be the single best catalyst for personal growth (especially traveling alone).

    In the spirit of travel, I just completed the classic American road trip. I drove from the East Coast (starting in New Jersey) to the West Coast (Portland, Oregon) over the course of 12 days.

    Road trips are a perfect metaphor for life in general; you have to know where you’re headed, yet surrender to the journey. Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. Wisdom is an endless direction, not a place you ever arrive at. Can you see the theme here? The magic lies within the journey itself. The journey is never-ending anyway, as perceived destinations are really just checkpoints along the continuous journey.

    My road trip was amazing and eye-opening on many levels. I stayed with some friends and family along the way, and used AirBnb for the rest (along with a last minute hotel stay). I’m truly grateful for everyone who hosted me along my journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Here were my major stops (shown as blue circles on the map below):

    • Aberdeen, New Jersey (starting point)
    • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • St Louis, Missouri
    • Topeka, Kansas
    • Denver, Colorado
    • Grand Junction, Colorado
    • Park City, Utah
    • Boise, Idaho
    • Portland, Oregon (end aka checkpoint along a larger journey)

    Us road trip map

    Throughout my road trip across the United States, I recorded a few videos. They document my thoughts, feelings, reflections and experiences as I was traveling. And it’s not just about me. A lot of what I discuss are things that can be directly applied to your life. So instead of writing a long, drawn-out article about everything, I thought it would be better to just let my recordings speak for themselves…

    Road Trip Vlog Series

    Road Trip Vlog Part One

    Road Trip Vlog Part Two

    Road Trip Vlog Part Three

    Road Trip Vlog Part Four

    Road Trip Visuals Via Instagram (@steviepthatsme)

    My road trip across #murica starts now

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    #pittsburgh #roadtrippin

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Gateway to the West

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    I love books #kansascity #library #archeticture #regalasfuck

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Where I did my HIIT workout today #redrocks

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    😍

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Gorgeous

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Be-Utah-ful 😉

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    So unique #saltflats #utah

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Dope street art #freakalley #boise

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Last leg of my #greatamericanroadtrip

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

    Oregon coast 🌊🌲

    A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

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    Here’s Why You Don’t Understand Zen Poetry

    zen painting

    Much of Zen Buddhism is purposely paradoxical and riddled with absurdities.

    Its purpose is not to get you to think, but to get you to NOT THINK. The ludicrous language that often characterizes Zen poetry is designed to shatter your egoic, conceited notions of knowing, well, anything. This leaves you in a state of what Zen Master Seung Sahn calls “don’t know mind,” or a mind that is still, clear and free of preconceived ideas.

    Just as you cannot see your eyes or bite your teeth, you cannot use your mind to examine your mind. Many Zen teachings are crafted (often in hilarious ways) to bring your perspective beyond your mind, so it’s not meant to be understood in the rigid, logical sense.

    Seung Sahn, whose teachings are featured in the phenomenal book Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, has some of my favorite Zen poetry. Here’s a taste…

    Zen Poetry

    What is Buddha?
    “Three pounds of flax”
    “Dry shit on a stick”
    I don’t understand these words
    The infant is sucking on his toes

     

    I traced the steps of the cow that has been long forgotten
    Having caught the harness
    I hope you will ride on the cow
    Playing the flute with no holes
    And enter your home village
    Where flowers bloom in the spring

     

    Good and evil have no self nature
    Holy and unholy are empty names
    In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet
    Spring comes, grass grows by itself

     
    And here’s some of my own zen-style poetry (from my book Primordial Reflections)…
     

    An autumn day
    A walk outside
    Smile, golden retriever

     

    A zippery tandem
    A tippery zife
    Yeah that was random
    But so is life


     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    Release Limiting Beliefs With These 5 Simple Steps

    9689518312_a8305dd043_b

    We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.
    ~ Louise Hay

     
    Limiting beliefs are like heavy bags, filled with useless stuff, that you carry with you wherever you go.

    You may think that whatever you’re carrying in those bags is important, but the bags ultimately weigh you down and greatly restrict your mobility. There’s also the aspect of becoming accustomed to carrying the bags. Once you do it for a while, it becomes your default state. You don’t know any better, so you go around carrying your baggage without ever stopping to ask, “Wait, what am I doing?”

    Limiting beliefs are insidious because you don’t really know that they exist until you’re able to objectively look at yourself. It’s like the old phrase, “The fish will be the last to discover water.” Until you’re able to observe your thoughts, emotions and actions, you’ll forever be confined within a bubble reality of limiting beliefs and disempowering false assumptions.

    Many of the limiting beliefs we hold are learned from our parents. As children, we are subconscious sponges, constantly picking up beliefs, habits, behavioral patterns and general views of the world from our parents. This is how our model of reality is sculpted, for better or worse. (See: Face It, You’re Parents are Flawed).

    The Power of Mindfulness

    I cannot stress the importance of mindfulness enough.

    In order to be able to view yourself objectively and even have the option to change, you must cultivate mindfulness.

    Think of mindfulness as self-awareness from a higher perspective, or the ability to objectively observe your thoughts, emotions and actions.

    Mindfulness is the basis of any change. It is the foundational phenomena that, once, cultivated, will put you in a position of power to change anything. Instead of unknowingly repeating limiting or negative patterns on auto-pilot, mindfulness gives you the choice in every moment to indulge those patterns or not (and choice is a superpower).

    If you develop mindfulness, you will be in a position to intuitively discover and release anything that’s holding you back. With enough mastery, you won’t need any external information. If you can still the waters of your mind and just listen, you’ll be able to receive all of the answers you need. Remember that.

    Mindfulness is cultivated through a regular meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or time consuming either. The notion that meditation has to be difficult is actually a limiting belief that many people have. You can start just by sitting with your eyes closed and observing your thoughts for 2 minutes every day. Just 2 minutes! Another ridiculously easy practice is the 21 Breath Salute. Once you feel like you’re able to consistently watch your thoughts and they appear less and less, you can extend the time or try out other forms of meditation. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of meditation; even the shortest and simplest daily practice will be greatly transformative over time.

    A Simple 5 Step Process For Releasing Limiting Beliefs

    1. Ask Questions and Embark on a Scavenger Hunt

    Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want.
    ~ Matthew B. James

     
    Your limiting beliefs are the shadows lurking beneath the results you’re getting that you don’t want. So here’s the big question to identify limiting beliefs: What results are you getting that you don’t want? This can apply to any and every aspect of life.

    If you’re having money problems, for example, chances are that you’re holding a limiting belief around money. So ask yourself these kinds of questions to get to the bottom of it:

  • What is my self-talk regarding money? (Maybe it’s something like “There’s never enough money.”) And in what situations does this negative self-talk come up?
  • How am I reacting to my financial situation? A feeling of helplessness? A victim mentality? Anger?
  • Hint: If you’re reacting to your situation in a disempowered way, that’s a telltale sign of a limiting belief.

    If you’re having problems finding a relationship, there’s probably a limiting belief standing in the way. Here are some ideas of questions to ask yourself regarding this:

  • Do I think all women are (insert negative adjective)? Do I think all men are (insert negative adjective)?
  • Do I think that women only interested in X? Do I think that men only interested in Y?
  • Am I waiting for perfection?
  • Do I not want to settle down yet?
  • Do I not feel worthy of a good relationship?
  • Use these types of questions for any facet of life that you wish to release limiting beliefs. You’ll be surprised at how much you can uncover just by asking the right questions.

    A major part of releasing limiting beliefs is treating it like an internal scavenger hunt. You have to be honest with yourself and willing to make a change. Adding elements of gamification and viewing the process as a scavenger hunt makes it more fun and less intimidating.

    Note: Choose one specific limiting belief at a time for the rest of the steps. Focusing on one belief at a time will help create a deep awareness regarding that belief and allow you to effectively and fully eliminate it.

    2. Write down the limiting belief.

    Writing something down leverages the power of externalization. There’s something magical and cathartic about getting something out of your head and into written form. If you write your limiting beliefs down, it will give you perspective, objectivity and insight that you never would have imagined if you had just kept everything in your head.

    3. Recognize that it is a belief, not necessarily truth.

    This is crucial to understand; just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Viewing beliefs from this perspective is transformative in and of itself.

    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
    ~ Marcus Aurelius

     
    4. Change your thoughts until the belief changes (belief transmutation).

    The most effective way to get rid of limiting beliefs is to replace them with more empowering beliefs.

    A belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again. With mindfulness you can observe and change your thoughts. If you change a thought consistently, then you’ve changed a belief!

    Affirmations are immensely useful here. Let’s go back to the limiting belief regarding money, “There’s never enough money.” Every time you say “There’s never enough money,” “I don’t have the money,” or anything like that (to yourself or out loud), change it to something like one of the following affirmations:

  • I always have more than enough money to meet my needs, wants and desires.
  • I delight in the financial security that is a constant in my life.
  • I am open and receptive to all the wealth in the Universe.
  • I always attract whatever I need for a glorious future.
  • Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.
  • Wealth constantly flows into my life.
  • My actions create constant prosperity.
  • I am aligned with the energy of abundance.
  • Find an affirmation that intuitively feels right for you or create your own based upon the specific limiting belief you wish to replace.

    Consistency is key with this practice. Continuously substitute limiting self-talk for more empowering self-talk and soon enough your belief will be transmuted.

    5. Consciously change your actions based on the new belief.

    How would you act if you had this new belief? Act that way. It’s as simple as that. Act like the belief you want is your reality until it actually becomes your reality.

    Using the example of limiting beliefs around money again, changing your actions doesn’t necessarily mean spending extravagantly. It can be as simple as expressing gratitude (and not guilt) whenever you do spend money. It can also consist of staying open to and actively pursuing more income, instead of just complaining about your lack of money. Another strategy is to not let money be the biggest factor in determining everything you do. For example, if you’re really craving almond butter, splurge and get the expensive almond butter without worrying that it costs $5 more than you usually spend. If you don’t let money control your decisions (while using discretion, of course), then guess what? Money won’t control your decisions.

    Do you think you’re weak? Start acting like you’re strong, lift some weights and you’ll gain strength every week. Do you think you’re a bad writer? Write every day, and after a year, you’ll be a better writer than anyone you know. Do you think you’re bad at talking to men/women (whoever you’re attracted to)? Approach 100 people in the next month and you’ll be smoother than a frictionless surface after that. Do you see the trend here?

    Clarity comes through action. The car has to be in motion in order for the steering to work.

    You can’t sit around and do nothing, expecting your life to magically change. You have to meet the Universe half-way through your actions. Visualize the action and actualize the vision.

    Note: Do steps 4-5 simultaneously until the limiting belief has been transmuted into a more empowering belief. This may take a day or two for some, or as long as a month or more for deeply ingrained beliefs.

    Abundance

    The Paths Are Infinite

    There are also strategies that have the potential of helping you to spontaneously release limiting beliefs. This includes things like plant medicine (ayahuasca, iboga, psilocybin…etc.), energy work (reiki, acupuncture…etc), yoga (especially when holding certain positions for longer periods of time) and insights that emerge out of deep meditation.

    Though this article focuses on a specific process, remember that there are an infinite number of ways to reach any destination. Thinking that there is only one way to achieve something is a limiting belief in and of itself (wink, wink).

    Burst through the bubbles of limitation and embrace all possibility.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

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    Face It, Your Parents Are Flawed

    child parent holding hands

    Your parents are not superheroes. They never were.

    They’re imperfect, flawed humans just like everyone else.

    They have strengths, weaknesses, talents, hang-ups, blind spots and biases. Your parents are not immune to the numerous manifestations of the human plight. They slip up, they make mistakes and they’re not always right (even though they might have told you otherwise).

    If you’re now an adult yourself, coming to the realization that your parents are flawed human beings is necessary for both your own personal growth and the creation of a deeper, more harmonious relationship with them.

    The Silver Lining of Seeing Parents’ Flaws

    Recognizing that your parents are imperfect and flawed provides you with two beautiful opportunities…

    Realizing That Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Creates Space for a New Kind of Relationship

    By recognizing the fact that your parents are imperfect, it allows your relationship with them to be deeper and more genuine. Why? Because it allows for vulnerability. Any relationship naturally deepens when vulnerability is shared. Seeing your parents as flawed creates this space for both parties to share their vulnerabilities with each other.

    Through vulnerability, more inner truth is expressed and you’re able to more clearly see the essence of the other person. From this place, you can share your deepest fears, highest hopes and dreams, genuine desires and innermost feelings.

    Seeing your parents as flawed humans allows for the relationship to be a two-way street. They’re no longer “above you” and there is no command and obey dynamic. This relationship between peers allows you to give to them as well, because they need love and compassion as much as anyone else.

    There’s one catch though; both parties have to be willing to be open and vulnerable in order for the deepening of a relationship to take place. So you must first do the inner work. You must be ready, willing and able. And if your parents are ready as well, awesome. If not, remember the old idiom, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. You can provide the space, but the other person has to step into that space themselves.

    Realizing that Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Puts You in a Position to Heal

    As children, our parents obviously have an instrumental impact on us, for better or worse. Parents essentially set children off with momentum in a certain direction, and it’s difficult to change that momentum once you’re set in motion.

    We subconsciously soak up everything we’re exposed to from the time we’re born until the age of six or seven. During this time period, we absorb everything our parents say and do to us like sponges. We also take on their belief systems and models of reality. This sponge-like phenomenon continues throughout the rest of childhood (or even further), but to a lesser extent.

    Due to the state of hyper-absorption we’re in as children, we’re bound to pick up some trauma, limiting beliefs and negative habits. It’s inevitable in the world we live in.

    If you want to grow into the greatest version of yourself, you must let go of the things that are holding you down. This means releasing trauma and limiting beliefs.

    The perspective that comes with objectively seeing your parents as they are puts you in a highly favorable position regarding trauma, limiting beliefs and inherited pain. If you’re able to see your parents as flawed human beings, you’ll realize that they did the best they could (even if their best was extremely limited). You’ll also realize that their words (and actions) aren’t necessarily in alignment with ultimate truth. So if you picked up a negative belief based upon what your parents said to you, recognize that just because they said it doesn’t make it true. It’s merely their opinion (which may very well be skewed and limited). Seeing things in this way gives you a bigger picture perspective, and with this perspective, it’s easier to forgive, let go and not take on any more negativity.

    Another perspective that helps is seeing your parents as hurt little children, particularly when they’re possessed by their ego or pain body*. Again, they did the best they could with what they were working with. If you view them as demigods, their actions become final judgments and set-in-stone truths. So if they say that you’re stupid, for example, then you will truly believe that you must be stupid. But seeing them as hurt little children allows you to put their words and actions into proper perspective. Remember, only hurt people hurt people. From here you can meet their negative actions with compassion, instead of resentment or repression.

    This higher perspective will help you realize that you can choose not to carry around their pain and limiting beliefs any longer. It’s their pain, not yours. You only have it because you unknowingly inherited it. Let go. There is no need to carry such unnecessary burdens.

    *Pain body is a term coined by Eckhart Tolle, which he describes as “The accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose.”

    A Quick Note On Release

    There are many ways of releasing traumas and limiting beliefs, just as there are many ways of picking them up. However, this is beyond the scope of this article, as the topic of release is a rabbit hole in and of itself.

    Remember this though; self-awareness/mindfulness is always the first step. You must first be aware of something in order to change it. This is why engaging in a daily meditation practice is probably the most important thing you can do.

    Sometimes awareness is itself the release or solution, sometimes you might intuitively release in your own way and other times you need to use specific techniques or seek the help of an expert in order to release trauma or limiting beliefs.

    Bringing it hOMe

    Recognize, realize and understand that your parents are flawed humans, just like everyone else. Find the beauty and opportunity in their inherent imperfections. It made you unique, it made you who you are, it made you infinitely stronger than you would have been if you lived in a perfect little bubble.

    Even though this article focuses on the transmutation of flaws, don’t forget that your parents have admirable qualities as well. Be grateful for what you do have. Be grateful for how they helped you. And, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them with you, express this gratitude with them.

    Meet everyone with compassion. We’re all here to help each other out.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.