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Do You Even Leisure, Bro?

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Take a step back and ask yourself…

Do I enjoy any true leisure?

Or is my life an endless string of time-stressed busyness?

In the phenomenal book “The Tao of Abundance“, Laurence G. Boldt defines leisure as “activity free of time remembrance.” Essentially, leisure is any experience in which you’re wholeheartedly “lost in the moment.”

We’ve all experienced this state… Hiking a mountain with no concept of “clock time” or a schedule. Long-term travel with no specific agenda, just going with the flow. Diving into creative work and completely losing track of time. At a party, celebrating with kindred spirits, with no concern of past or future. A session of lovemaking when you’re so utterly immersed in the ecstasy of the eternal now.

We instinctively long for these exhilarating reminders of our timeless essence. We chase them, sometimes through unhealthy means, because we don’t “leisure” as frequently as we need to for a deeply fulfilling and enjoyable life.

When was the last time you stopped to fully appreciate the moment? Re-start that practice now. Constantly remind yourself to “be here now.” Bask in the glory of the moment and notice how deeply fulfilling it is.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? And I mean nothing. Not watching TV. Not playing video games. Not snapchatting selfies to Selma the secretary. Seriously, when was the last time you allowed yourself to just BE? Simply “being” is a smirk-inducing oneness with the moment; a merging into the sea of infinite bliss.

“Every moment is the best, that’s enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle

We live in a culture that is so frantically busy that we forget to allow ourselves to simply be. No input. No over-stimulation. Just marinating in the peaceful stillness of the moment. We often fail to remember how critical that is for intrinsic fulfillment.

The “time-crunch” we’ve conceded to doesn’t give us enough room to breathe. Because we don’t allow ourselves to ever fully rest (or experience leisure), it severely inhibits our ability to fire on all cylinders. That’s why most people trudge through life in this gray-zone of half-activity, never at ease, yet never at full throttle either. Everything is a balance of the yin and yang. On and off. Activity and rest. Balls to the wall, and balls to the… floor?

The grinding state of constant, compulsive half-action is insidious. It wears you down, while steadily lowering your maximum capacity. It’s burning the candle at both ends.

Let’s take sprinting (which is completely based upon generating maximum speed) as an example. Do sprinters sprint 24/7? Of course not. They have carefully calculated training programs, with rest being equally as important as the actual training. Sprinters also spend the overwhelming majority of their time resting. Even their training sessions, which include short bursts of high intensity sprinting, are intermixed with much longer periods of rest. If an athlete attempted to sprint unceasingly, they would quickly tire, and within minutes be relegated to crawling around the track. But this is how many people try to move through life. In a desperate attempt to keep pushing, they end up at an incessant, exhausting crawl; with no time to rest (so they think), no energy left to move at full speed and no clarity to even question why they’re doing it in the first place.

Most masters in anything are masters in both their craft and leisure. They operate like an on/off switch, with each paradigm sharpened by focused present moment awareness. Look at the greatest martial artists. They are unbelievably calm and peaceful, but once it’s time for action, they are lightning fast and immensely powerful. Without intense rest, there can be no intense action. Without intense action, there can be no intense rest.

Loss of presence disturbs both the restful state and the active state. In the case of the martial artist, thinking about the past or future will inhibit the peace of mind associated with rest. On the other hand, thinking about the past or future while in a match will quickly leave you incapacitated by your opponent. This is the embodiment of leisure through both profound rest and profound activity. When leisure permeates the entire spectrum of your being, you live vibrantly, instead of merely existing.

Tim Ferriss, who is just slightly more productive than the average person (I hope you caught the sarcasm), is semi-famous for alternating between intense activity and intense rest. When he writes, for example, he dives into it with intensive focus for a short block of time, followed by a break. This applies to life’s larger cycles as well. Tim said that he recently took 30 days off from any kind of work. A month of pure leisure and just being. He said it was a deeply revitalizing self-reset, and he came back to his work more focused than ever. Ok, you don’t necessarily have to take 30 days off from everything, but you can apply the same principles to your own unique situation. And speaking of those types of escapades…

Let’s talk about “real leisure.”

Honestly, do you get any real leisure? Moments when you’re so absorbed in the magnificence of the moment that nothing else exists?

As a society, we’re so leisure-starved that even our “time off” lacks leisure. Most people’s vacations are laughably short and desperately rushed, consisting of scrambling to catch flights, rigid schedules, hour-by-hour plans and the impending dread of having to go back to work.

However, one moment in which you truly allow yourself to just be makes it all worth it. This image, which epitomizes the word leisure, comes to mind… Sitting on a beach, soaking in the sunset and listening to the delicate crash of waves on the shore. That is all that exists, nothing else. A single moment experienced as a serendipitous eternity.

And don’t think you have to be on a beach to experience true leisure. That’s just a situation which is highly conducive to the experience of leisure. But literally anything that gets you lost in the moment is leisure. Leisurely experiences can, and do, vary wildly from person-to-person. For some people, solving mathematical equations might be leisure. For others, walking in the woods. For me, writing this right now is leisure. It could be anything. The experience of real leisure just feels right, as if you’ve delightfully surrendered within the warm embrace of your divine essence.

Cherish the now. Leisure is as simple as realizing that this moment is all that exists. Constantly remind yourself to “be here now.” The past and future are only projections of your mind. Fully immerse yourself in the euphoric ocean of eternal now and experience the ecstasy of everlasting rejuvenation.

Here are three sure-fire ways to experience true leisure and get lost in the moment:

1. Awareness

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

Simply being aware that now is all that exists is transformative in and of itself. You will begin to catch yourself thinking about the past or future, inhibiting your experience of the present (all that really exists). With present moment awareness, sunsets suck you into divine bliss, landscapes lull you into luscious lucidity and parties become the climax of your very own movie. Awareness allows you to realize that there is nothing but now, and it is meant to be cherished.

“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.”- Eckhart Tolle

2. Passion

Dive into your passions and experience time melt away. There is a magical quality to being immersed in your passion, whatever it may be. Time and space dissolve, and you’re left in a state of simply being, with the Universe expressing itself through you.

If you don’t know what your passions are… What gives you those kind of feelings described above? What causes you to become lost in the moment?

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

3. Play

“To play in a childlike way is to let go of self-consciousness, to drop the armor of ego defenses, to give up pretenses and be what we are, plain and simple.” – Laurence G. Boldt

Playing is a primary part of our primal nature. It begets vibrant happiness and helps us cope with the harsh reality so many of us face in day-to-day life.

Play is also essential if you wish to be an optimal being. Not only an expression of love and joy, play cultivates creativity as well. It’s absolutely vital for the development of one’s mental, emotional and physical capacities.

“Play seems to be an essential feature in productive thought.” – Albert Einstein

Yet sadly, play is an activity that we strongly reject as “respectable adults.”

“Especially while at work, we tend to take a serious, nose-to-the-grindstone attitude. We have gotten the notion that to be a “grown-up” is to act stiff and “dignified.” We fear that others will not take us seriously if we allow them to see us acting silly or in a playful manner.” – Laurence G. Boldt

Unchain yourself from the shackles of what others think. Choose love over fear, and express yourself. Life is too short to suppress your unique brilliance.

Play a game. Play a sport. Run, climb, jump. Dance. Tease someone in a loving way. Laugh. Joke around. Be ridiculous.

Leap into the liberating liveliness of leisure.

You don’t need a vacation to experience leisure, nor does everything in your life need to be perfect. All you need to do is “be here now.”

Get lost in the moment.

So I’ll leave you with a question… Do you even leisure, bro?

 

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Is the Concept of Time Stressing You Out?

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“What time is it?”  My friend asked me in a tone of preoccupied worry.
“Now.”  I quipped, flashing a frolicsome grin.

I’ve made a lighthearted hobby out of getting people to question reality. It’s good ole paradigm-shifting fun. And one of the most tantalizing topics is the concept of time.

Ah, yes, time. That enigma that clocks measure. That concept constructed by calendars.

Time is merely a means of measuring movement and the procession of events. But, for some reason, our increasingly rigid concept of time is a great stressor upon humanity…

“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.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

Disharmony proliferates when we perpetually project our consciousness out of the present, and into the past or future.

Is there any time when it isn’t now? Of course not. Our lives are a streaming continuation of now moments. The past and future only exist in our minds.

“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.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

One thing that both mystics and cutting-edge scientists mutually agree upon, is that our concept of time is, well, an illusion.

This begs the question, is the means by which we measure movement and the procession of events optimal? Or are we doing it all wrong?

Let’s take a look at movement. Everything moves in a cyclical, spiral fashion. Planets revolve around stars. Planets rotate. Stars go through life cycles. Earth has seasons, climate cycles, water cycles…etc. Living creatures have life cycles, with countless micro-cycles embedded within (digestive cycles, circadian cycles, breathing…etc.). You get the point. The defining characteristic of movement in our Universe is cycles.

And if you were to map the procession of these cycles, they would take on a spiral shape. Picture the movement of a galaxy and apply that model to all of the cycles I just mentioned. We also see the spiral’s ubiquitous presence everywhere. These spirals are physical manifestations of the Fibonacci Sequence. Besides galaxies, we observe Fibonacci Spirals (The Golden Spiral) in sea shells, hurricanes, flower petals and in the position of facial features of most animals. (This article provides some more examples.) There are underlying patterns which act as a template from which reality is projected. So it would only make sense to use systems that harmonize with these intrinsic patterns.

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Spiral galaxies, or the concentric circles we use to estimate the age of trees, might provide a more harmonious template to measure “time” (movement and the procession of events). The Mayan calendar, based on concentric cycles within cycles, may also shed light on a better way to approach things.

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The basis of our system of time is that it takes the Earth’s rotation, as well as the Earth’s revolution around the sun, and relegates it to a measurable structure (days and years). Both of those movements are cyclical, but we’re attempting to measure them linearly. Hmmm…

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So why do we measure time in a linear fashion, if everything moves cyclically? This makes linear measurement fundamentally disharmonious. So instead of flowing with the natural rhythm of everything, linear time resists that rhythm, removing us from all that is (the present moment). Measuring time linearly is like driving while looking at a map, instead of the actual road. One more: Measuring time linearly is like determining the score of a basketball game, not by the amount of times the ball goes through the hoop, but by how many steps each team takes.

A blatant example of “time-stress”:
I had a deadline (“dead”… “line” – coincidence?) to hit at work last week, and I could feel stress creeping into my consciousness as a result. I felt off-centered and even noticed a slight inhibition of digestion, all because of my projections into the future (self-created what if’s and worry). I noticed the signs quickly and immediately brought myself into the present moment, alleviating the “time stress” I had imposed upon myself. And as a bonus, I actually got more done by being present.

Whenever you feel yourself being “time-stressed,” ask yourself this question… “What am I doing RIGHT NOW?” Unless you’re getting chased by a grizzly bear, chances are there’s no real danger at this exact moment. You’ll realize that your fear or anxiety is merely a self-created illusion by losing touch with the present moment. That question will snap you back to your natural state of peaceful presence. The present is your place of power. The now is the river of life. Go with the flow. (Note: If you are getting chased by a grizzly bear, there’s no time to worry or over-think. You just act. There’s a difference between danger and fear. Danger is real, fear is a choice.)

Yes, the past can provide lessons. And yes, some things require future planning. But both of those are, ironically, done in the now and enhanced by “being present.” And remember, if you overdo those analyses, you’re missing out on life right now (and resisting all that exists). We all know people who plan like crazy, losing touch with the present to the extent that they don’t even enjoy or appreciate the moment when it (a vacation, party, event…etc.) actually happens. That ain’t livin’.

When driving at night, you only see as far as your headlights reach in each moment, but you eventually make it to your destination. Embracing the perpetual present moment allows you to effectively navigate the roads of life.

Fully immerse yourself in the present. Be here now.

Things to think about:

  • The most innovative and successful companies now focus on how much their employees actually accomplish, instead of just the sheer amount of hours employees work (which doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity).
  • Is it possible to hold any fear, anxiety, worry or guilt if you’re completely absorbed in the moment?
  • Athletes actually slow down time during high pressure moments, like a game-winning kick, hit, or shot. “Time” is malleable according to our state of consciousness.
  • According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the faster you move, the slower time progresses. And an object moving at the speed of light will experience time at a standstill (the eternal now?).
  • You can cross the imaginary International Date Line and go into yesterday or tomorrow, depending on which direction you’re traveling.
  • The Gregorian calendar differs from the solar year by 26 seconds per year. By the year 4909, the Gregorian calendar will be a full day ahead of the solar year.
  • In England, the Gregorian Calendar was implemented by an act of Parliament which advanced the calendar overnight from September 2 to September 14, 1752.

Time is a totally real, natural phenomenon, right? (Wink, wink)

Be present, it’s a gift.

– Stevie P!

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Creativity on Demand: How to Become an Idea Machine

So, living up to what I wrote about in my last post, I released a new book on Amazon Kindle! It’s called “11 Steps to Become an Idea Machine.” This book is seriously life-changing for anyone, especially if you’re someone who wants to transcend mediocrity and make an impact on the world.

I included the book description, with some snippets, below. If the content resonates with you, click the Amazon link HERE to get your hands on it.

Thank you.

– Stevie P

Blog Post Idea Machine

Everything made manifest by humanity begins as an idea…

The airplane once only existed as an image in someone’s imagination; then eventually materialized in the physical world.

The same applies to the entire spectrum of human creativity and invention. From the wheel to paintings; from clothing to philosophies; from nuclear bombs to Pokemon. They all began as an idea.

Ideas serve as the building blocks from which we create reality.

Ideas are prodigiously powerful. They exist beyond time and space. Once shared, a potent idea has the ability to reshape reality as we know it. Anything and everything of the material realm is subject to the dominion of underlying ideas. 11 Steps to Become an Idea Machine provides you with a template to leverage the strength of ideas, empowering you to steer your life in whichever direction you choose.

What is an idea machine?

An idea machine is an individual with the ability to come up with ideas anytime, anywhere and under any circumstances. An idea machine embodies confident creativity. An idea machine is dynamic, open-minded and impeccably clever. An idea machine adds ever-increasing value to both themselves and those around them. An idea machine is remarkably generous, as hoarding ideas only blocks one’s ability to receive more.

This book shows you, step-by-step, how to become an idea machine. Each step concludes with a challenge to help you integrate the information presented. In addition, there is a consolidated list of challenges, which serve as a simple guide for implement the steps into your daily life.

Ideas and Action…

There is a world of difference between the average person with one great idea who fears to pursue it, and the idea machine who chooses, out of thousands of ideas, a few to bring to fruition. The average person is stagnant, while the idea machine is dynamic. The average person is afraid to take action, while the idea machine takes action when he or she chooses to.

If you come up with an idea you wish to pursue, then yes, you need to execute it. Action is absolutely necessary in this case (which is detailed in the bonus chapter). There is no question about that. But as you will discover, idea generation, in and of itself, comes with a plethora of pleasantly surprising benefits.

Imagine what it’s like to always have access to an infinitely abundant stream of fresh ideas. Can you say wizardry?

Do you want to be more creative than most people can fathom?
Do you want to always be the most interesting person in the room?
Do you want to provide immense value to others?
Do you want to have more opportunities?
Do you want to be empowered and shape your own destiny?
Do you want to maximize your life in every way?

Become an idea machine and join in on the fun.

And here is a sneak peak of the actual steps:

  1. Write Everything Down (The Keystone)
  2. View the World as an Idea Playground
  3. Meditation (Master Your Mind)
  4. Maintain a Healthy Antenna
  5. Walk the Path of New Ideas
  6. Reading is Fun-(for)-da-mental
  7. Engage in Productive Solitude
  8. Shower Power
  9. Travel AKA Idea Tripping
  10. Ask Yourself…
  11. Flex Your Idea Muscle

Click here to get your copy of “11 Steps to Become an Idea Machine” today.

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How to Channel Your Inner 2pac and Ravenously Create

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Taking a step back a few days ago, I found myself muttering, “Now I know how 2pac felt.”

I’m in the midst of the most productive weeks of my life. By a long shot. And to be honest, I almost feel like a superhero with newly attained powers; sure-footed yet surprised, and impressed to the point of slight skepticism regarding the sudden jump in abilities.

I have a burning desire to express as much as I possibly can, blended with a deep-seated sense of urgency to create, create, create. Then create some more.

Due to a deluge of techniques and lifestyle hacks I’ve employed, inspiration is hitting like a young Mike Tyson and creation has transformed from a “should” to a “must.” It’s an extended version of the “flow state” that so many artists talk about. Something that the late, great Tupac Shakur was intimately familiar with.

The King of Content

2pac had an insane work ethic, to the point of it becoming a form of modern mythology. The amount of material he produced in his short life is absolutely stunning. He would write and record ravenously, diving into sessions of intense focus like he wouldn’t live to see tomorrow (which eventually came to fruition, as it does for all of us).

In contemplating what drove ‘Pac to be a such a creation machine, I was able to distill it into three key points…

1. Sense of purpose

2pac had so much to share with the world. He was immensely intent on sparking people’s brains and instigating positive change in the world. This is why he touched on such a multitude of topics and dabbled in almost every form of artistic expression.

This quote encapsulates his innate sense of purpose…

“I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” – Tupac Shakur

If you have an intrinsic sense of purpose, absolutely nothing stands between you and what you wish to accomplish. When you live for something greater than yourself, there is no such thing as being tired. There are no complaints. The phrase “I can’t” doesn’t exist.

Purpose is what fuels that burning desire that exists deep within all of us.

I wrote extensively on finding purpose in this article, “Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions.”

2. Death as motivation (A deep-seated sense of urgency)

2pac put in work like his demise was imminent (even well before it really was).

We’re not promised tomorrow. Death is the only certainty in life. Most people mentally comprehend this, but they live in denial of this fact. Truly knowing and feeling it on a deep level is what drives that kind of motivation that 2pac and many other great creators had.

If you were to die right now, would you be satisfied with what you did here on Earth? Ask yourself that.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain

With death as motivation, there is no time to waste, there is no time to procrastinate, only time to fully express, from the depths of your being, what you truly need to do.

Create, create, create. Express the brilliant wisdom of your heart. Because you never know when you’re going to withdraw from your physical vessel…

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean

3. Sticking to “systems.”

Building off of the last two points, which are more like states of consciousness, you must consistently take action to create at a high level. Action is the currency of our reality. It is what you must exchange in order to achieve anything.

The most effective method for continuous creation is developing systems. What a system is, is a regular routine with a purpose. As an example, here’s what I did to write every book of mine… I focused on doing something every day, no matter how small. Some days I got in the zone and wrote pages upon pages. Other days I edited one sentence (true story). I just focused on doing at least something every day, and before I knew it, I had a finished product. This technique is infinitely more effective than just saying “I want to write a book.” Most new years resolutions (and goals in general) fail because people merely dream of a goal, without implementing a system or routine to propel themselves in the right direction.

2pac didn’t have a fancy, detailed system. His system was simple. He just wrote and recorded every single day. That’s it. He had a vision and a purpose which he executed by hurtling headlong into daily action. At one point, he was recording as much as 3 to 4 songs a day. Now that’s impressive.

It seems obvious, but most people severely underestimate the power of consistent action. Relentlessly pursuing progress and persistently taking action results in gargantuan growth over time.

“Daily, consistent, focused, faithful expectation raises the miracle power of achieving your dreams.” -John Di Lemme

A note on time management:
You might say “I don’t have the time to create.” Which is a bullshit, disempowered excuse. If you incorporate the above techniques, you will make time. As Gandhi once said, “Actions dictate where priorities lie.”

With a higher purpose, a deep sense of urgency, and a system to take consistent action, you too have the capacity to channel your inner 2pac and become a ravenous creator.

We all have brilliantly unique gifts to share with the world. The greatest tragedy is dying with yours inside.

Don’t hesitate, create.

– Stevie P

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Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions

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You came here for a reason, didn’t you?

You can feel it in the depths of your being.

Your life is inconceivably meaningful. You arrived on Earth for a purpose. What that purpose is, you have to uncover (and create) yourself. It’s an epic quest from cradle to grave, and that’s what makes life worth living.

There is a deep yearning within everyone for that deep-seated sense of purpose. When people know what it is, they become an unstoppable force. Absolutely nothing can stand between them and the manifestation of their destiny.

How do you reveal your life’s purpose? I can’t tell you exactly how, as it’s incredibly distinct from person-to-person, but I can provide you with the tools for you to guide yourself along your journey. And your purpose isn’t static either. It may very well change and evolve throughout the course of your life. Heraclitus hit the nail on the head when he said “No man steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Ask… And you shall receive…

Here are 15 questions to ask yourself, which will set you in the direction of your life’s purpose:

1. What gives me energy?
Activities that align with your purpose will energize you. On the other hand, activities that don’t resonate with your essence will drain you. Be aware and use your energy level as a guide.

2. What excites me?
This is a better question than the lukewarm “What am I passionate about?” Excitement is easily discernible for anyone. And the funny thing is that you find out what you’re passionate about simply by being mindful of what excites you.

“The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?” – Tim Ferriss

3. What kind of ideas come to me in the shower?
The shower is probably the most relaxing part of your day-to-day life. Inspiration strikes when you’re relaxed, as that’s when you’re most receptive. So be aware of what kind of inspiration comes to you while you’re gettin’ so fresh and so clean.

4. What kind of things do people always ask me about?
What kind of advice do others seek from you? This is indicative of the value you can potentially provide to the world at large.

5. What kind of conversations do I have with those closest to me?
What subject matter do you immerse yourself in with loved ones? What information do you share with the people you care about most? What do you talk about when you’re being your true self?

6. What do I do with my free time?
Actions dictate where priorities lie.

7. What topics do I regularly read about?
An obvious way to shine light on your biggest interests.

8. What recurring dreams do I have?
The themes of your dreams will reveal a lot about your subconsciousness. Search the meaning of dreams to get a better grasp on the esoteric wisdom being conveyed.

9. During which experiences in my life have I felt the most alive?
A different spin on following your excitement.

10. What unique interests, or abilities, did I have as a young child?
If your memory is fuzzy, ask your parents for more clarity. This question will reveal a lot about your inherent abilities and your interests prior to societal conditioning.

11. What would I be doing if money were no object?

12. What would I be doing if I absolutely, 100%, did not care about what other people think?
Like the question about money, it’s important to ask yourself what you would be doing if there were no limitations. If you were completely free, what would you do?

13. What is on my bucket list?
What is most important to you? What things, when achieved, will create that deep sense of fulfillment within you? These will most certainly guide you toward your purpose.

14. What topics can I blend together to create my own unique niche?
How can you commix multiple subjects to create your own unique mosaic of life? A great example that James Altucher used was someone who loves both basketball and statistics. If they don’t make it to the NBA (which will be the vast majority of people), they can blend their interests of basketball and statistics to create their own unique amalgamation of mastery.

15. If I were to write a short (1-2 sentence) “About Me”, describing the ideal version of myself, what would it be?

I’ve been asking myself these questions repeatedly for some time now. What have they revealed so far? Well, all signs point to writing and poetry being a major part of my life purpose (for this chapter of my life, at least). Why? Because I’m fascinated by the intricacies of the English language. I also have a sick obsession with super-lyrical hip-hop (like this) and a burning desire to read, like all of the books in the world are about to get the Library of Alexandria treatment. Plus, the act of writing itself excites me. That’s why I’m able to practice every day, sparking new ideas and catalyzing continuous improvement. Combine that with my vast array of additional interests (health, fitness, spirituality, meditation, philosophy, psychology, self-improvement, history, lifehacking, hiking, travel and cooking, to name a few) and I have a staggering stockpile of raw material to distill into digestible poetry and prose. I figured out that everything I enjoy “absorbing” contributes to the skill of writing. So that’s why I do what I do.

Consistently ask yourself these revelatory questions and you will uncover your life purpose, as well as help bring it to fruition.

With more power than your mind conceives
You came here for a reason
You are a healer, believe
Earth is calling for a new season
Instate this miraculous age
Create a spectacular page
In the book of love and life
Lightheartedly rise above the strife
For your essence is essential
Please, step into your true potential

Have fun on your quest called life.

Much love.

Stevie P!

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The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

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Do you enthusiastically jump out of bed every morning, ready to attack your day?

If not, take a step back and think about why you’re taking a new day of life for granted…

If you wake up, complaining about “another day,” get ready in a grumpy haze and rush to work, well, chances are the rest of your day won’t be too fun. What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. That’s why it’s so important to start the day off in an empowered, inspired state of consciousness (if you want to live a happy, fulfilling and successful life). It’s no coincidence that the most successful people in any industry are avid advocates of morning rituals. It’s secret-weapon-level effective. What you do in the first hour of your day is the hinge point from which everything else swings. Here’s how to leverage it:

This is exactly what I do every day, as soon as I wake up. It’s the by-product of a lot of research and self-experimentation, inspired by the highly effective techniques of several others. I call it “The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual”:

1. Reiki – As soon as I wake up, I practice reiki on myself for a few minutes. It makes me feel simply amazing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I discuss reiki in more depth in this post.

2. Meditate – 5 minutes of meditation. I breath deeply, focusing on my breath until thoughts gradually stop popping up. Then I bask in the peaceful void of pure consciousness.

3. Drink a full glass of water with lemon, apple cider vinegar and Himalayan pink salt – I squeeze half of a lemon, add about an ounce of apple cider vinegar and just a pinch of Himalayan pink salt into a glass of water. This cocktail provides a plethora of health benefits, including detoxification, stimulating metabolism, hydration (obviously), alkalinity, digestion, strengthening the immune system, enhancing skin health and much, much more. I personally use this water filter and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.

4. Vitamins C and D – I take these two with the water described above. Vitamin C helps with detoxing and vitamin D supplementation is crucial during the winter months of scarce sunlight. A quick Google search on vitamin D will leave you awe-struck regarding the sheer range of benefits it produces and how important it is for optimal health.

5. Mobility/yoga – For about 5 minutes, I do some stretching, yoga and mobility exercises. This is done mostly intuitively, depending on what parts of my body are stiff. It breaks the bodily rigidity of sleep and gets the chi circulating.

6. Walking – On weekdays, because I have less free time, I walk on the treadmill in my apartment building for 20 minutes. On weekends I like to walk outside more. These walks are always accompanied by podcasts or audiobooks so I can learn while walking. The benefits of walking in the morning are also far-reaching (especially in a fasted state). And another bonus is that walking stimulates a ton of creative inspiration. Many of the greatest writers and philosophers knew this and made a daily habit of walking.

7. Cold shower – I start off with a warm shower. But for the last minute, I turn it as cold as possible. Doing this skyrockets my energy levels. Like every other step of this routine, cold showers have a whole host of benefits. These include increased alertness, better circulation, improved immunity, skin health, weight loss (through thermogenesis), muscle recovery, mitigation of stress, and relief from depression.

8. Oil pulling – Usually as I’m getting ready, I’ll swish coconut oil in my mouth for a few minutes. You guessed it, oil pulling has a ton of benefits too, especially regarding oral health and immunity. There’s a reason why it’s been practiced in India for thousands of years. Read more about oil pulling here. Just remember not to swallow it, because it pulls all of the bacteria and viruses out of your mouth.

Then I continue my day like a cross between Tony Robbins and Mace Windu.

In doing this routine, I wake up ready to maximize my experience of a new day. I feel a sense of purpose and deep-seated empowerment. It is powerfully detoxifying and supercharges the immune system. My body becomes more supple, at ease and at the same time energized. The same goes for my mind, which begets a flood of creative ideas during and after this routine. I get more done throughout the day while retaining my sanity, operating from a place of peace and blissful gratitude.

You don’t have to do all of that to get the majority of the benefits. I’m not going to tell you to go get attuned to reiki (though I highly recommend it) or buy everything that I personally use. But you can get started with a highly effective morning routine ASAP…

The simple and easy “Quick Start Morning Ritual” that you can begin tomorrow and steer your life in the direction you choose:

1. Upon waking, meditate for just 2 minutes. You can stay laying down or sit up, whatever is more comfortable. Breathe deeply into your belly, focus on your breath and simply observe and let go of your thoughts (without judgment) as they pop up. You are the sky, your thoughts are merely clouds passing by.

2. Drink a glass of water with squeezed lemon, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.

3. Do Elliott Hulse’s Bio-Energizer Warm Up. It’s a good starting point for priming the body in the morning, as it’s relatively simple and feels awesome. He recommends doing each exercise for a minute, but you can get most of the benefits in as little as 20-30 seconds for each.

4. Walk for at least 15 minutes. Either on a treadmill or outside. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while walking to learn while reaping the benefits. Don’t underestimate the importance of movement.

5. Take a shower and make the last 30 seconds of it cold.

Then get out there and make the most out of your finite time on planet Earth.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Gandhi

Carpe diem.

– Stevie P!

Further Information:
A great podcast discussing morning routines and productivity:
http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/early-morning-routine/

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Alcohol: Philosophizing on the Fun Poison

“Cheers!” You lift your bulbous glass filled with golden liquid, peaked by a touch of foam at the top. Everyone smiles mischievously as an orchestra of “clink” resonates through the air. You close your eyes and take a sip. It tastes oddly delicious. Bitter, yet accented with a potpourri of unique, subtle flavors. Your lips gently smack together a few times as you bask in the primal enjoyment of taste. You’ve come a long way since the first time you tried it, re-living when you almost lost your lunch after glugging that unanticipated, surprising smack of intense harshness.

You get that familiar warm and fuzzy feeling as the substance slithers into your bloodstream. It’s like being comforted by a seductive muse. You smile, laugh and enjoy yourself, but they are shadows of their genuine counterparts. She has you… And you brush your true essence aside for a deep dive into her delusory bliss.

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Oh alcohol, the ever-present fun poison. It pervades our culture, to the extent that its presence is demanded at every social event.

As a teenager, I would indulge in “the fun poison” to shed my inhibitions. It was a double-edged sword I used to cut through my social anxieties. And because “everyone was doing it” it helped me to fit in more and seem cool.

Thankfully, I didn’t completely depend on alcohol for building social skills and confidence. I developed confidence through more intrinsic means as well (health, fitness, meditation, skill acquisition, writing, reading a lot…etc). But once I became socially confident in most situations, I found myself using alcohol for other reasons…

One being the random spontaneity that alcohol tends to beget, and the other was to relate to as many people as possible. Regarding random spontaneity, most everyone would agree that you get into all kinds of “random adventures” when intoxicated. Much more than your “paralyzed-with-fear-and-conditioning” day-to-day self. And with relating to as many people as possible, it’s difficult for many unique-thinking-introverts to interact within a culture that glorifies extroversion and disingenuous small-talk.

This is why alcohol is a profound indicator of the insidious predicaments of our culture and collective psychology.

Let’s dive into some of these:

Escapism

Though escapism has not driven my alcohol consumption, it’s the case with many people. Life is difficult for so many, and alcohol, like any conscious-altering substance, provides a temporary refuge from the pain. It’s a short-sighted way of forgetting about problems (And will, in fact, exacerbate problems in the long-run). We all know that there are far more beneficial ways to address this issue (that’s another tangent) but alcohol’s omnipresence in society makes it all too accessible. Combine that with a society based on fear and limitation, and we have fertile ground for escapism.

Social Anxiety

The overwhelming majority of people don’t effectively express themselves (myself included sometimes). There is deep-seated, fear-programming that keeps us in an ego-driven state of comparison, feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-love. Most people go about life in a rigid, fearful and overly stoic state. But give them a few drinks, and they start expressing. You see them sing, dance and reveal things you would never have imagined if you saw them a few hours beforehand. Why does everyone have social anxiety? Why don’t we express ourselves like we know we should? Why is it so difficult to just be ourselves? Why can’t we sing and dance our hearts whenever the feeling arises? Why can’t we be random and spontaneous without drinking? These are the deeper questions we must ask ourselves.

Relating to the Masses

The philosopher/writer/speaker Alan Watts was a brilliantly unique man. He dove into the depths of human consciousness and shared profound insights on literally everything. But what people rarely mention is that he was an alcoholic. Watts would be invited to give presentations in front of large crowds, and noticed that he could relate to his audience more when he had a few martinis prior to speaking. This also applied to the after parties that often accompanied the events. Watts was a deep-thinker, who probably found it excruciating to engage in meaningless small-talk. He used alcohol as a crutch to make talking about the weather less cringe-worthy and as a bridge to discussions about deep, meaningful subjects. I’ve found this to be the case with myself and several other “deep-thinkers” I know as well. We must learn how to incorporate meaningful conversation and connection without compromising the health of our mind, body and spirit in doing so.

We need to ask ourselves some important questions… Why do we choose to indulge in this toxic substance? And are there more beneficial alternatives to give us the same “results” that alcohol produces? (like shedding inhibition, openly expressing ourselves…etc.)

Starting today, I choose not to consume alcohol. For how long, I don’t know yet. But I also aim to be freely expressive, socially fearless, ridiculous and unabashedly myself at all times. I started a habit on the app Lift called “Alcohol-Free and More Fun.” I welcome anyone else to participate there and join me in this challenge, especially if what I said resonates with you.

Life is a party , you just have to make the decision to step in the door (and not destroy the house while you’re at it).

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

-Stevie P!

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True Balance

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People always talk about balance. How it’s best to live a balanced life, balance this, balance that. But what does “balance” even mean? Its implications reach far beyond the dictionary definition…

True balance is not sitting in the middle. Life is motion, not stagnation. True balance is movement between poles. It’s a perpetual sliding of the scale, back and forth.

During a yoga class a few months ago, the instructor said that balance is not being completely still or static, but lies within continuous, small motions. It’s the subtle back and forth that promotes stabilization in yoga positions. Remember, trees stay standing by moving to and fro with the wind, not by being rigidly straight.

Life is a dynamic see saw between opposites. You don’t just sit in the middle. One side goes up and the other side goes down, then the cycle repeats.

Think about riding a bicycle. Firstly, you need to be in motion to stay balanced. Secondly, you pedal with your left foot, then your right, and repeat this cycle over and over to stay in motion. It’s a transfer of intention and force onto one side, which is then counterbalanced by intention and force on the opposite side. This is analogous to life.

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” -Rumi

Birds are another manifestation of true balance. They must be in motion and flap both wings in order to fly. Motion represents the flow of life, while two wings represent polar opposites. Both are fundamental for the phenomenon of flight.

Life is a beautiful dance between the yin and yang… Inhaling then exhaling. Activity then rest. Listening then speaking. Reading then writing.

And how does Earth maintain “balance”? It’s in constant rotation, orbiting around the sun and engaged in ceaseless cycles. Day to night. Summer to winter. An aeonian interplay of opposites.

I’ve recently become aware of some cycles that I naturally fall into. In the summer time I tend to be more inclined towards extroverted activities; traveling, going out and talking to more people. In the winter time, I tend to embrace more introverted endeavors such as reading, writing, meditation and other activities based in personal reflection. These cycles create an overall balance. Before I get too far on one side of the spectrum, the cycle begins to take me into the other direction, and everything comes full circle. Also, there are mini-cycles within these larger cycles. There are times when I’ll be reflective during travel, or times where I’ll go out in the winter. The scale is always in motion. I heed subtle hints from my intuition, sparking lively spontaneity in the infinity of each moment.

Spending your whole life meditating alone on a mountain is not balance. Conversely, spending your whole life drinking beer in a bar is not balance. Working all the time is not balance, nor is never working at all. Balance is partaking in both when the situation arises. (Without being attached to, or dependent upon either side.)

“Don’t find the balance by riding this narrow margin where you never sway to one side or the other. Find the balance by pushing the extremes out as far as you can on either side. Go for a seven day fast on the top of a mountain where the only substance you’re ingesting is water and peyote. Do that. Or meditation. Whatever is on the farthest side that you can reach for that. Then go the other way. Stand on top of some speakers at a night club, pound your chest and howl at the moon!”Aubrey Marcus

Go ahead and do everything. Experience as much as possible, but with two conditions:

1. Don’t allow yourself to be dependent on one side of the spectrum.
Let’s take partying for example:
If you find yourself partying every weekend of your life, that is not balance. That’s dependency, habit, addiction…etc. Throw yourself a curve-ball and spend a weekend in nature, reading a book, or doing anything else that interests you. Shake things up and break the dependency before you end up stagnant, drowning yourself in the deep end of one extreme.

2. Don’t harm yourself or others.
Continuing with the partying example. If you’re harming yourself or others, it’s most certainly not balanced. If you drink alcohol to the point of harming yourself, if you lose your temper, or you neglect obligations or other people due to partying, that’s not balance either. Choose love over fear.

Live in perpetual motion. Immerse yourself in the dance of the yin and the yang.

Stay balanced, my friend.

-Stevie P!

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You Came Here For A Reason

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With more power than your mind conceives
You came here for a reason
You are a healer, believe
Earth is calling for a new season
Instate this miraculous age
Create a spectacular page
In the book of love and life
Lightheartedly rise above the strife
For your essence is essential
Please, step into your true potential

 

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Thanksgiving Alchemy: Leveraging the Deception

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Digitally blurred reproduction of the painting entitled The First Thanksgiving 1621, by JLG Ferris. (public domain)

It’s about that time of year again in the “land of the free” (inversion). The holiday season… An interesting potpourri of family time, blind consumerism and people too busy mindlessly carrying on tradition to take a step back and ask “Why?”

Today is Thanksgiving. I could go into a long, drawn-out argument tearing apart the official story, but that’s not the focus here. The bottom line is that, like always, the story we’re told is a fabricated half-truth. It’s silly to think that an amicable feast between “Pilgrims” and “Indians” even happened and it’s just a wee bit misguided to essentially celebrate the genocide of Native Americans.

Just be aware of the shadowy manipulation of history and tradition. And remember that you don’t have to give your energy to the deception. But there’s also no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. You don’t have to completely give up on society and live in a tree house in the woods by yourself.

Here’s what you can do to leverage the deception and still have a good time:

1. View Thanksgiving as an opportunity to get together with family. You don’t have to participate in any of the rituals. You don’t have to eat what “you’re supposed to” eat. You don’t have to decorate your house like everyone else does. You don’t have to give any of your energy to the deception. But you can use it as an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Because that’s what’s really important, right? Cherish the moment.

2. Buy from local sources and companies helping the world. Support local farmers by buying from them. Also, buy holiday gifts from companies who are making a positive impact on the world. Or even make your own gifts. Don’t just be a mindless, conzombie (consumer zombie). Are you financially supporting the problem or the solution? Think about it. Vote with your dollar and help to make the world a better place.

3. Show gratitude. You don’t have to give thanks for the false story we’ve been sold, but be grateful for the moment. Give thanks for your family. Give thanks for having food. Give thanks for this gift we call life. Take a moment to stop and just be receptive to gratitude. Feel the love. Gratitude and fear can’t coexist. Gratitude is the open door to abundance.

4. Have fun. Don’t take things too seriously. There’s no need to fret over stupid decorations. There’s no need to worry about getting a turkey when they’re sold out of every store (or farm because hopefully you’re going there). There’s no need to obsess over the lie that’s been force-fed to us. Relax and have a good time. Laugh, smile and be your fun-loving, authentic self.

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

That’s how to become an alchemist during Thanksgiving and the rest of this holiday season.

Much love.

-Stevie P!