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Why TLC Was Wrong About Chasing Waterfalls

Multnomah Falls

Hi, my name is Stevie… And I’m a waterfall chaser.

I also don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to.

Now you might be all like “But TLC said ‘DON’T go chasing waterfalls!'”

Yes, they did. I love that song (90’s music has a special place it my heart), but I disagree with the message of the chorus…

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to”

I remember when it first hit me. My thought process went something like this… “Wait, so they’re telling me to stay in my comfort zone and never take risks? Fuck that.”

I get the meaning behind the verses; avoid the destructive aspects of life like violence, drugs, addiction and precarious sex. That makes sense, obviously. But the chorus is the antithesis of what I believe to be good advice.

If all you do is stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, you’ll be a slave to your comfort zones and live a life of lukewarm mediocrity. Nope, not for me. I’d rather explore.

Hiking Oregon

Comfort Zones Are Worse Than Death

Always sticking to what you’re used to is not living, it’s just barely existing. When you stay in your comfort zones, you basically live the same day over and over again for 75 years and call it a life.

There is no learning in that; no exploration, adventure, mystery, fun, fulfillment, excitement or growth. Comfort zones stifle growth. Life without growth is just dying slowly.

Build a habit of stepping out of your comfort zones. You can even start with tiny steps, such as turning your shower cold for the last 30 seconds. With a cold shower there is no risk, a ton of health benefits and you build the muscle of leaving your comfort zone.

Show me someone who continuously leaves their comfort zones, and chances are they’re someone who finds courage, success, fulfillment, passion, excitement, personal growth and what it really means to live.

At the end of your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do as opposed to the things you did do. Build some momentum in the direction of new experiences and continuous growth.

Waterfall Oregon

Act In Spite of Fear

We all feel fear, especially when stepping into the unknown (exploring rivers and lakes we’re not used to). What separates the hero from the coward is taking action in the face of fear. Everyone feels fear, but the hero chooses to be courageous despite the fear.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
– Brene Brown

Being courageous doesn’t mean being stupid or impulsive. It means not letting fear determine your decisions and taking calculated risks.

How do you build courage? Again, start with small steps. You don’t have to go climb a volcano and slay a dragon right off the bat.

Waterfall Thailand

Courage Momentum

One of the keys to truly living is building what I call “courage momentum.”

Here’s how you begin to build courage momentum. Notice things in life that make you slightly uncomfortable and take action when you feel that resistance.

Cold showers, like I mentioned before, are a great way to practice this. Another way is to say “hi” to people in public, even when you feel awkward. You can also try a new food or a new recipe. You can take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been. There are so many courageous micro-decisions that you can make each day.

If you practice small acts of courage daily, you will build unyielding courage before you know it. This is what I call “courage momentum.”

Lake Titicaca

Follow Your Heart

The two main motivating forces are love and fear. Choose love over fear in every situation.

Fear is constriction and limitation. Love is expansion and growth. Fear is the essence of your ego. Love is the essence of your higher self.

Notice when your ego tries to run the show. Be aware when it attempts to manipulate your decisions based upon fear. Simple awareness robs the ego of its power and gives you the choice.

Don’t chase the desires of your ego. Don’t run from home out of fear. That’s how you end up like the sad stories TLC warned us about. Explore because you truly want to explore, and follow your heart.

Trust your intuition and make decisions out of love. Be courageous, not limited by fear.

Explore, learn and grow. Just remember to follow your heart, choosing love over fear, and you will discover beautiful new lands.

So here’s my perspective on the situation…

DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS.

Much love.

– Stevie Wander

PS – Every picture in this post was taken by me, while chasing waterfalls.
 

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On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Obedience is the connective tissue of oppression.

In other words, any form of control on a collective level can only be carried out through obedience. A dictator can’t arrest or kill an entire population himself; he needs mindless minions to do the dirty work. This principle applies across all forms and degrees of systematic control, even the most subtle.

The desires of any wannabe controller can only come to fruition through the compliance of others. And that’s been the case throughout recorded history (his-story). The desire for control becomes a virus, driven by fear and infecting more and more people, until there are enough drones to oppress an entire population.

This phenomenon isn’t just the case with large-scale atrocities; it applies to anything which is an impediment to freedom or love; be it a person, group, system or idea.

Everything is held up by belief. Laws are merely words written on paper, only legitimized by collective acquiescence. Laws need people to enforce them. And if laws are unjust (as most are), those who carry them out must unquestioningly submit to authority and go against their own inner knowing.

The only way control or oppression works on any scale is through compliance. Too many people do the work of ‘the man’ for ‘the man.’ That’s the problem. The solution lies in civil disobedience.

Freedom Cannot Be Granted

“Freedom cannot be granted. It must be taken.”
― Max Stirner

Asking for freedom is oxy-moronic. If you have to ask for freedom, you’re already a slave.

How is freedom taken? The simple decision to be the master of your own body and mind.

It really is as simple as that, though difficult to apply. It’s easy to blame problems on others, it’s easy to neglect our health and think “the doctor can fix me.” We’ve been conditioned to externalize our power since childhood. We’ve been taught to not trust ourselves. We’ve been taught to submit to authority without question.

This is a recipe for a control system to stealthily and slowly permeate society (the totalitarian tiptoe).

When you attain a degree of self-mastery, you do not acquiesce to the will of destructive people or disharmonious institutions. Which leads to the next point…

Fear-Based Programming

“The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.”
― Albert Einstein

The covert means by which oppression takes over is through fear-based programming.

If you have people in fear, you can easily control them. Fear activates the part of the brain known as the amygdala (the center for emotional behavior/motivation) and inhibits neocortex function (our “thinking brain”). This means that rationality and intellect are thrown out the window, the perfect storm for brainwashing. There’s even a term for this fear response; amygdala hijack.

The media is one big amygdala hijack, perpetually programming the population with which boogeyman to fear next. This is a massive ritual of fear-based programming that insidiously shifts entire populations into thinking and acting irrationally out of fear. Television is called programming for a reason.

Remember the whole weapons of mass destruction fiasco with Iraq in 2003? US military action in Iraq and massive destabilization of the middle east (which continues to this day) was predicated on that lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction. But lingering fear from 9/11 resulted in a string of irrational behavior and many people blindly believing the hype.

The holocaust took place because German soldiers were thoroughly conditioned to carry out orders. They didn’t carry out orders because they liked doing it, but because they feared the wrath of their higher ranking officers, or even because they were conditioned to fear jewish people. These abominations only occur when fear is the driving force.

Fear is hard to pin down. It’s slippery, and ultimately illusory (False Evidence Appearing Real). Yet it’s the undercurrent of all “negative” emotions. Fear is what stops us from saying no to evil. Fear might actually distort our perceptions to support evil. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

When you cultivate self-mastery, you’re able to break the cycle. The spread of fear stops before you and is transmuted by the omnipotent force of unyielding love.

Love Over Fear

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon

Strive to choose love over fear in every situation. You can never go wrong if you act from a place of compassion. This is the fulcrum of change, and it starts within you.

The change we all yearn to see in the world will only happen in the wake of a fundamental change in consciousness. Everything we see in this world starts in the realms of imagination before coming into manifestation.

The change begins within and ripples outward. Embodying the change is the first step, the prerequisite. Without inner transformation, humanity will be stuck on the same merry-go-round of madness.

When a critical mass of people create positive inner changes, it will open up doors we never could’ve imagined before and will provide possibilities far beyond our current limited perspective. Solutions will spontaneously emerge.

Go within and stop the momentum of fear. Learn to listen to and trust your intuition. Have the courage to follow your heart instead of cowardly bowing to fear.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.'”
― Brene Brown

Compliance with destruction, hatred, oppression, violence and fear is cowardice, while noncompliance is courageous. In the depths of your being, in your heart of hearts, you know what is right.

Choose love over fear.

Have the courage of heart and freedom of mind to disobey oppressive forces.

Be the change.

– Stevie P
 

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A Completely Different Perspective On Trump’s Presidency (This Will Make You Think)

Note: This article was written by Bernhard Guenther and originally appeared on Collective Evolution. I don’t usually re-share articles, but this article is phenomenal and so necessary.

Considering the hype around the latest celebrity statement about Trump by Meryl Streep and the upcoming ritual to put “the man” into “power” officially (which will most likely result in protests by moral, upstanding patriotic citizens), I thought to repost what I wrote (trigger warning!) right after the election.

Hint: This is going to come down to you, and it’s deep!

Here’s the thing from a basic Jungian perspective: Trump is your shadow, America, a reflection of your unconscious, especially concerning people who identify themselves as Leftist, Liberals, and Progressives, their own shadow which they never deeply acknowledged, and hence project outwardly at the “other side” in their “holier than thou” political correct attitude, over-estimating themselves and dreaming to be awake.

The self-inflation, narcissism, greed, the “bigger is more,” the “quantity over quality,” the entitlement, the hypocrisy, the drive for recognition and fame, the “best” in the world, the bully, the “money can buy everything,” the racism and sexism, etc…..or anything else you despise in the man….it’s all you, buried in your unconscious. It’s also the shadow side of the “American Dream” and obviously reflected in America’s Imperialism.

It’s About You!

Anyone who identifies him/herself as “Liberal,” “Progressive,” “Leftist,” and projects disgust, hate, or anger on to this man, (really anyone who is triggered/irritated by Trump beyond political identifications), or reacts with fear, sadness, worry: you are looking at your own shadow and it won’t go away if you keep up with these reactive projections and look for external solutions or a different “leader” to follow or project your “hope” onto while still believing in the religion of government (which feeds off of the polarization and perpetuates separation consciousness) based on illusory tribal/national identification and adherence to/worship external authority constructs.

Moreover, nothing will change but will in fact reinforce the schism as long as you keep identifying with any side because it defines the other side. One cannot have the one without the other as long as you feed and play into this game of fabricated false duality which is exactly how Empire controls you – all entirely based on illusory socially/cultural conditioned identifications and beliefs which you are so attached to and define yourself by. It’s the basis for population control and social engineering, reinforcing the Stockholm Syndrome and “invisible” slavery/prison out of your own “free will.”

prison

But here’s the real “shocker.” Trump is actually your “teacher,” for he creates more friction and shadow triggers, hence more potential to wake people up from an esoteric alchemical perspective (Clinton would have been the sleeping pill for most people, even though she’s the more dangerous psychopath, hidden behind the mask of a “woman”), but only if people take back their projections and engage in some serious and sincere soul searching cutting through their programed socially/cultural conditioned identifications to ignite the alchemical fire within.

Any negative reactive emotion you have towards the “man” (including his silly tweets) or his supporters is a sign of giving away your power and life energy (literally). It shows you where you work is when it comes to basic Jungian psychology of shadow work until you can come to a place of non-reactive zero-point consciousness rising above fabricated duality and tuned into your true inner power and guidance, connected to Spirit and the wholeness of nature: a sovereign embodied Individual.

If you do that sincerely and go deep, you will finally stop believing in and supporting this religion of government (that was never, ever in place for the people and never, ever can give you true freedom), and realize that it was never about Trump, Clinton, Sanders or any other authority statist puppet to begin with, stop this silly idea of “voting for change” and fragmented mechanical/programmed search for “external solutions” and “leaders, worship of authority and then really, really question everything you believe in and have been told/taught, and most of all drop and let go of your identification, which just feeds the polarization. This the path towards a true shift and evolution of consciousness. Anything else is just going in circles, re-arranging the furniture and tapestry of your prison cell (you are not aware of), instead of breaking out of it.

And that is not a comfortable (internal) process at all for it entails utter disillusionment and taking full responsibility without blame and externalizing. Nobody can do it for you and nobody is going to save you. It takes tremendous humility and sincere self-honesty facing the lies within, which make up your conditioned personality, which is not who YOU truly ARE but mistake for you real Self. It’s much easier to project outwardly, protest, look for the next leader and keep up with the futile idea of fragmented “activism,” new “systems” and “external solutions,” all based on the fragmented male aspect of consciousness (your inner unconscious tyrant projected on Trump) removed from the wholeness of the feminine aspect of consciousness (nothing to do with gender) that is tuned into the wholeness of nature.

In the end, America got the president it “deserved” and when you act like slaves, looking for a leader/savior to follow, you get masters…and always will, as long as you support and believe in the religion of government, regardless what system is implemented. Also “democracy” seems like such a good idea until you don’t get your way, right? (oh, I forgot, it was the Russians messing with the election…right, of course….whoever you want to blame and keeps you from looking deeply within into your own shadow).

Obama mirror

That’s just on the surface 3D level. From a hyperdimensional perspective, all the anger and disgust, anything projected on the “man,” the polarization, protests, revolts, hypocritical speeches of statist celebrities about “empathy,” “equality,” and “protecting truth,” engaging in this unconscious shadow dance and reacting mechanically (and programmed) is exactly what the occult Matrix overlords and Empire want you to do and feed upon. In fact, that frequency is all they are after for it strengthens your slavery and sustains them, no matter what puppet they put in place for you to identify with or project anger on. It’s the old game of divide and conquer…and the Matrix has you.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.”

~ Carl G. Jung

—————-

“At every turn, the synthetic culture of Empire implores us to throw our hearts and minds into unconscious polarization. It wants us to radicalize ourselves to either patriot or terrorist, believer or atheist, white or black, liberal or conservative, strong or weak, and then embark on an endless crusade to reform, condemn, or destroy the other side. This one-way polarization renders all participants impotent, regardless of which side they pick. This subtle but devastating trick deactivates our will and we automatically forfeit our capacity to rule ourselves. Lost in unconscious polarization, we serve Empire.

Mass culture is a control mechanism that devalues the individual. It is aimed solely at promoting collectivism. It seeks to enforce the dependence of the individual human on a collective group and the priority of group ideologies over individual life paths. It is, at the base level, the very heart of socialism, communism, fascism and totalitarianism. It employs nationalistic impulses to setup polarities of antagonism that exclusively benefits a set of ruling elites. At the top level, the elites fully comprehend that there are no distinct nations, ideologies or cultural imperatives to speak of. To them, there is only power and no power.”

~ Neil Kramer

—————-

“[Look] at what happened in 1914 – or for that matter at all that is and has been happening in human history – the eye of the Yogin sees not only the outward events and persons and causes, but the enormous forces which precipitate them into action. If the men who fought were instruments in the hands of rulers and financiers, these in turn were mere puppets in the clutch of those hidden [hyperdimensional] forces.

When one is habituated to see the things behind, one is no longer prone to be touched by the outward aspects – or to expect any remedy from political, institutional or social changes; the only way out is through the descent of an [embodied] consciousness which is not the puppet of these forces but is greater than they are.”

~ Sri Aurobindo

 

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Release Into Love

“Repression is the hidden force behind illness.”
– Dr. Arthur Janov

We all hold onto so much unwanted baggage. Most of us go through life brimming with repressed emotions, desperately attempting to keep the lid on it all.

Combine our spongelike subconsciousness (particularly in childhood) with a society heavily based in fear, sprinkled with social taboos regarding expression and you have a perfect recipe for the unhealthy repression of emotions.

Our essence is love. We just have so much fear, trauma and baggage piled on top of it. Anyone with a regular meditation practice knows this firsthand. When we clear all of our thoughts, fears and worries we’re left with an indescribable sense of blissful, peaceful love.

Cultivating our well-being is more about letting go of the unnecessary than about adding things. Once we give our body, mind and spirit some space, it all naturally harmonizes. It’s self-correcting, if we simply allow for it.

primal release

How Do We Let Go?

How do we release? It ranges from simple daily activities to extreme forms of therapy, and everything in between.

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”

– Gabrielle Roth

Do you laugh every day? Do you sing every day? Do you dance every day? Do you cry when you feel sadness or grief? Do you exercise? Do you get out in nature? Do you have any creative outlets? These are all simple things we can do on a daily basis to let go of pent up emotions and lighten our spirits. Most of us “mature adults” do almost none of these things, yet continue to accumulate emotional stress throughout our lives. So no wonder why our emotional stresses just keep stacking up.

While you can clear a whole lot of emotional baggage through the simple ways listed above, some things you’re repressing may be more stubborn and shadowy. For some of the most ingrained traumatic emotions, especially from childhood, you may have to engage in a more intensive release practice or seek the help of a professional.

Unwanted emotions are not only held mentally, but in the body as well. This is important to remember – the most effective forms of release include the body.

Let’s take frustration as a simple, day-to-day example. If you’re feeling frustrated, does it help to just mull over your frustrations in your head? Of course not. You only let go of frustration if you act it out physically, maybe through working out or screaming when you’re alone. And this is also where being mindful comes in, as healthy outlets are important. You don’t want to just be reactive and take out negative emotions on other people. While holding everything in is internally destructive, taking things out on others is externally destructive.

It’s of crucial importance to find healthy outlets for release, which is why I created Primal Release. Primal Release is an in depth course that provides you with all of the tools you need to release into love. It will literally shift your entire state of being. You won’t even believe how light and free you can feel.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO RELEASE

Develop a practice of release. Learn to let go of the things that don’t serve your highest good.

You don’t have to hold onto it all.

Release into love.

– Stevie P!
 

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Why I Stopped Making Long-Term Goals

mountain goals

Almost everyone bases their lives off of a script.

These are often cultural checkpoints of what you should be doing at certain ages. Sadly, most of us mindlessly squeeze ourselves into these one-size-fits-all, culturally conditioned life scripts.

There are even massive disadvantages with creating your own long-term script. In doing so, you’re assuming that you know what is best for your future self based upon your limited perspective right now. That’s a dangerous assumption.

A caterpillar cannot even imagine what it is capable of as a butterfly. (Well, that’s if caterpillars even imagine in the first place.) If you’re continuously learning and growing, your present self can hardly imagine what your perspective will be in the future.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to have an idea of their life purpose. However, you step into your true potential when you focus on the daily process of it and allow your journey to change as you change.

The Perspective Discrepancy

We gain more experience and perspective as you go through life. Well, hopefully. If you’re not continuously learning and growing, what are you doing with your life?

You will be able to see from a wider perspective as you accumulate knowledge and experience. So why make rigid long-term plans from your limited perspective right now?

Focus on climbing the mountain in front of you, then from the panoramic view on top, choose your next mountain to climb. Don’t make self-binding decisions from the valley.

Most people do this with their careers. Think about it; the 19 year old you made a decision (choosing a college major) that you think you’re bound to for the rest of your life. Many people find themselves unfulfilled and in a mid-life crisis saying “I majored in Accounting and I can’t change that now. So here I am.” You always have the ability to change, especially with careers in the modern western world. Give yourself permission to change or be relegated to the purgatory of self-imposed monotony. Again, career is an obvious example, but this applies to absolutely every aspect of life.

If I set rigid life goals when I was 19, they would’ve been very different from what I would want now. I had a limited perspective then, with little real world experience, little self-awareness and I was completely possessed by my own ego and fears. Sticking to a long-term life plan I made then would be like making a fixed commitment to meet a friend for a cup of coffee at Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga Springs, New York on February 4th of next year at exactly 2:00PM. Who knows if we’ll be in the same place then? Who knows if I’ll like coffee then? Who knows if we’ll even be friends then?

Staying Open to Opportunity

Give yourself the flexibility to recalibrate what you want to do.

Stay open and things will unfold serendipitously in ways you never would’ve calculated. Opportunities will pop up that you never would’ve expected. Give yourself some flexibility to change as new possibilities present themselves.

If you stubbornly hold yourself to a rigid plan or goal, you’re cutting off possibility. Move in the direction you wish to travel in, yet be aware of the doors that unexpectedly open along the way.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
– Joseph Campbell

Create Shorter Term Goals

Make your goals actionable and for the near-future (within a year or two).

However, don’t focus on your goals on a daily basis… Focus on the process or system! I can’t stress this enough. Set goals but focus on the daily habits that bring you in that direction. Most people never achieve goals (even easily accomplishable ones) because they don’t implement an actionable daily practice.

For example, let’s say you want to write a book (something a lot of people say they want to do). You don’t have to commit to being a lifelong author to do this. What most people do is say that they have a book idea and never do anything about it (like with most goals). The result is being paralyzed with inaction because they think of a goal yet have no tangible way of implementing it. There is no action to take right now, so it gets ignored indefinitely. Instead of this, focus on a system to bring you towards the goal. This could be writing for 30 minutes every day. Anyone can write a book in 6 months or less if they create a habit of writing for just 30 minutes each and every day.

With this systems approach, each daily practice becomes a mini-step, meaning you can reassess everything continuously. Then after you achieve what you want, you can focus on the process to bring you towards another short/medium-term goal.

After you achieve a short/medium-term goal, you’ll be a new and improved person. From this higher perspective, you can set new goals and recalibrate your direction.

Learn to love the process of life. Be open, flexible, flowing and willing to change along the way.

Enjoy the journey. Revel in the mysterious serendipity of it all.

Much Love.

– Stevie P!
 

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The Simple Secret to a Fully Fulfilling Life

mindfulness

We’ve all had those truly special moments in life: being on top of a mountain looking out at an amazing landscape, at a party singing with a group of our best friends, a wedding day, getting off of the plane in a new country…etc.

Those are all beautiful moments in which we forget about our fears, leave our problems behind and bask in the blissful infinity of the present moment. We all chase this feeling throughout our lives. We fall into the trap of thinking “I’ll be so happy when [insert desire] happens.” Some of us even squander our present well-being for the mere potential of “that feeling” in the future.

What if I told you that this feeling is available to you in every moment?

I’m all for those cliché amazing moments listed above, but why can’t every moment be amazing in its own way?

Well, every moment is. Each moment is brimming with bliss, peace, joy, love and happiness. We just never stop to see it. The secret portal is right under our noses and it exists within one simple word: Mindfulness

Most people are so lost in thought that they hardly ever actually experience the present moment in its full brilliance.

When we live with mindfulness, even the simplest moments are infused with that feeling of blissful presence that most people only experience a handful of times in their lives. It’s like living life in high definition, a much richer experience than just going through the motions while neurotically thinking about everything other than what we’re doing right now.

Mindfulness is like a happy drug. It’s a happy drug that comes from within us, is inexhaustible, always available and has no adverse side effects. Who wouldn’t want that?

The great irony of humanity’s plight is that we search everywhere except for within ourselves for that sense of fulfillment. The truth is that what we’ve been searching for has been within us all along.

Happiness, joy, bliss, peace and love are not waiting at the end of some illusory rainbow. Those feelings we deeply crave don’t reside in the future when this or that will happen. They’re always with us in every moment, if only we’d pause, dip into the present moment and look within.

That feeling we’ve been searching for is right here, within us. It always has been. It always will be. All we have to do is be fully present.

mind full or mindful

6 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

1. Meditation – Engage in some kind of meditation practice on a daily basis. If you’re a beginner, try my 7 Day Meditation Challenge. Meditation naturally begets mindfulness. The benefits of meditation are seemingly endless and well-documented, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to have some kind of regular meditation practice.

2. Practice Mindful Eating – When you eat, just eat. Don’t watch tv, don’t look at your phone, don’t walk, don’t drive. Just eat. Focus on the taste of the food, the subtle textures and smells. When you do this, you’ll enjoy food like you never have before.

Also, mindful eating builds awareness regarding what you eat, helps you listen to your body and helps in overcoming unhealthy eating habits. You can even create a practice of blessing your food before you eat to create more mindfulness around eating.

3. Try Phone Fasting – Smartphones can be weapons of mass distraction. Everyone knows that the constant notifications, social media scrolling and email checking makes focus almost impossible and sucks you right out of the present moment.

Here’s a solution: Make a practice of taking some time to not use your phone. I personally don’t look at my phone for an hour before I go to sleep and an hour after I wake up every day. At night, this creates time to unwind, undistracted. In the morning, this creates time for me to engage in a morning routine and start the day off peaceful and centered, instead of instantly leaping into the fray of distraction. Another strategy is to not use your phone for a day (you can take a day off once a month or even once a week). Both of these practices are surprisingly freeing and cultivate focus, empowerment and mindfulness.

Phone fasting creates a pattern interrupt. It allows you to become more aware of your phone usage and helps you transcend the habit of mindlessly looking at your phone.

4. Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Situations – Practice being completely present in conversations, while walking outside, while listening to music, while drinking coffee or during any other day-to-day activities. So many of us live life on auto-pilot. A bit of mindfulness makes life more vibrant and exciting, as if you were a kid again.

5. Practice the Five Sense Walking Meditation

6. Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Try out all of these and make mindfulness a part of your daily life. Like everything, mindfulness is a muscle. The more consistently you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

Meet each moment with blissful totality.

– Stevie P
 

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How the 2016 Election is Revealing Our Collective Sickness

fat fast food

Artwork by Steve Cutts

As a collective, we’ve become perilously unhealthy.

If we were to think of humanity as one organism, we’re akin to an obese person who is realizing just how unhealthy and overweight we really are.

Seeing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as presidential nominees is like that first hard look in the mirror at our bulging, blubbery, naked body that we’ve been avoiding for a long time.

“Wow, I’ve really let myself go. I have to do something about this.”

That’s how it goes when the delusional trance of denial is finally broken. We’re becoming acutely aware of just how unhealthy we are and how much we’ve been deluding ourselves up until this point.

The mainstream media has completely disempowered our mindset with fear-based programming, our metaphorical couch has become too comfortable to leave and there are many institutions in place that profit off of our junk food consumption and collective sickness (note: both physical and metaphorical junk food consumption and sickness).

This situation is literally forcing us to reevaluate everything and choose new ways to live, or passively welcome our own death.

I don’t have to go into the details about how both candidates don’t have the people’s best interest in mind, or that democrats and republicans are two wings of the same bird (the illusion of choice), or that presidents are selected, not elected, or that the US government is an illusory democracy (technically an oligarchy) which is systemically corrupt to the core. We all know, on some level, that just about every major system on the planet is not serving our highest good. It’s pretty obvious for anyone with eyes to see. But it comes down to this, we need to figure out more harmonious ways to live as humans, and it all starts from within. If we’re possessed by our own egoic delusions and fearful within, everything we create externally will be a manifestation of that.

“Tomorrow, I’m going to start eating healthy and working out.”

This commitment to health is the next step after someone realizes the staggering extent of their unhealthiness. Yet without deep conviction, self-love and consistent action, this initial spark of inspiration will fizzle out.

We must shift our mindset to health, then take consistent action towards the achievement of health. We need to change our lifestyle and our overall ways of thinking, living and being. It all starts within us. We must be the change first. Because if there is not a strong internal change first, we’ll eat a salad for one meal, then quickly slip back into the old patterns that created our sickness in the first place. This is why revolutions, without the foundation of a shift in consciousness, just end up as oppression under a new mask.

Sure, being healthy sounds good, but how do we get there? We’ve never eaten healthy before and we don’t know the first thing about working out. But we can learn. There’s knowledge out there (and more importantly, in there). There are better ways of doing things and there are people who have achieved success in all areas of health. We can learn, and through consistent effort, become that healthy, vibrant person we always knew we were.

It’s up to us to get healthy from the inside out. No longer can we blame our unhealthiness on all of the factors outside of our control; how convenient McDonald’s is, how busy we are, how expensive healthy food is or even our genetics. We need to step up and literally embody health ourselves.

“I don’t even know what to eat though.”

It’s time we do some research and come to our own conclusions as to how to eat healthier. There isn’t one diet that is perfect for everyone. We’re all unique and thrive off of a wide array of foods. It’s not even that complicated, the key is to eat as naturally as possible and trust our intuition. Even if we have no idea about health, we do know this… This fast-food, cotton candy oligarchy is killing us and we need to stop consuming it all.

“I don’t think I can do a hard workout. Plus, I’m unsure about how to even start.”

It’s all about being simple and consistent. That’s how long-term, lasting results are achieved.

The best workout would look something like intuitively exercising according to our needs and pushing ourselves to the limit while listening to every part of our body in the process (metaphor hint: anarchy – the absence of government), but we’ll probably pass out or hurt ourselves if we tried that right now. We can, however work towards our ideal level of fitness.

Maybe we need a personal trainer to teach us and help us transition to becoming our own personal trainer, with keen body awareness and strength that inspires others. We’ve always viewed the personal trainers as something scary (outside of our comfort zone), as they’ve been so counter to our lifestyle, but we can learn a lot from those doing things differently than we have. I mean, look where our complacency got us.

“It’s going to be a long road, but I’m committing to change.”

This isn’t going to be an overnight process. It’s going to take months, or probably years to even get close to where we want in terms of health.

And non-metaphorically, personal change can take years, and collective, externalized change takes much longer than that.

Essentially, we’re at the point of realization, where we need to look within, evaluate our options and work towards the direction of health. This will most certainly be a multi-generational process, so while we can’t expect ourselves to live in a utopian society next year, we can undoubtedly move ourselves in that direction.

There are better ways of doing everything; energy, money, government (or lack thereof), education, disease prevention/curing, housing, transportation, farming, food, work…etc. We must find the courage to gradually let go of the old, embrace the new and work towards a better world. No matter how unhealthy we are, as long as we’re still alive, health is always an option. And it all starts within you.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kinds of junk food (both physically and metaphorically) am I consuming?
  • What am I doing with my life to create a healthier collective humanity?
  • What internal fears or delusions do I have to get rid of in order to contribute as best as I possibly can?
  • What actions am I taking on a daily basis, no matter how small, to bring about a healthier collective?
  • The simplest way to be a catalyst for positive change is to choose love over fear in every situation. I urge you to vote for love in every moment.

    Cheers to creating a healthy collective.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    How to Prioritize Self-Care

    self-care

    If you don’t love yourself, then how are you going to love someone else?

    If you’re not empowered, then how are you going to empower others?

    If you don’t grow an inherent capacity to give from, then how can you consistently give?

    In order to serve, you must first be fit to serve. This is why self-care is a prerequisite for any positive change externally. The cultivation of self-love must be a priority, or else everything else in life is compromised.

    Self-care is essentially anything that rejuvenates your being, facilitates your growth and helps you love yourself more fully. A wide array of things can be self-care: meditation, yoga, working out, walking, hiking, reading, writing, drawing, painting, knitting (if anyone still does that), dancing, baths, saunas, massages, reiki, acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, stress-free cooking, watching something funny, watching something inspirational, learning (on your own accord of course), traveling and even sleeping. We all know what can be considered self-care by the reinvigorating feeling that comes along with such activities.

    The Importance of Self-Care

    You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

    That expression is so true, yet few people apply it. Fill your cup first and give from the overflow.

    Get over the limiting belief that self-care is selfish. It’s not. And neglecting yourself does no good for anyone. You can only give more by increasing your capacity to give! Self-care, being compassionate towards yourself, helps you to embody compassion in every situation you find yourself in.

    Creating a Harmonious Foundation for Everything Else

    If you don’t clear your own bullshit, everything you do is going to be from a place of fear, lack and delusion. Without a high level of self-love, you will consciously or unconsciously project your delusions and fears into all of your relationships. Without a practice of self-care, even giving will be a distorted version of itself. You will find yourself giving out of duty (as opposed to love), giving because you feel like you have to (creating bitterness), giving with strings attached (conditional love), or just not giving at all because you’re so internally depleted.

    If you don’t have a harmonious foundation within, all of your relationships will be based in disharmony and built on shaky foundations. So many relationships are dysfunctional because so few people do the inner work. Harmony and alignment within creates relationships based in harmony and alignment. Disharmony and misalignment within creates relationships based in disharmony and misalignment. Build a strong foundation first, or you will be living in a house that’s falling apart.

    Your internal state ripples across every aspect of your reality. Cultivate self-love and let compassion ripple into the ocean of your existence.

    How to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Daily Life

    1. Make a commitment to self-care – Make self-care a priority. In order to fully follow through with anything, you must prioritize it. When something is a priority, you will do it by any means necessary, but if something isn’t a priority, you will find any excuse not to do it.

    Make a commitment to self-care right now, whether it be in writing or a strong mental affirmation.

    2. Simplify your life – Cut out all of the unnecessary distractions. Let go of the asinine commitments you’ve taken on that don’t serve your highest good. Reduce the amount of stuff you have (less stuff = less to upkeep = more time for you).

    3. Focus on simple, tangible daily practices – Commit to daily habits of self-care, not vague promises of things you might do in the future. Create a system for yourself to implement to bring you in the direction you wish to head in. Simple systems are more effective than lofty goals, as they’re easy to implement on a daily basis and you’ll get a lot more done in the long run while enjoying the process.

    Pick one self-care activity right now that you can implement on a daily basis.

    4. Make time (don’t find time) – When you prioritize something, you make time for it, no matter what. If you’re really pressed for time or if you have young children, you might have to squeeze in your self-care early in the morning, late at night, on your lunch breaks…etc.

    5. Do it!

    Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
    – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

     
    Make a firm decision to love yourself and prioritize self-care. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

    Cultivate unconditional love within and share it with others.

    Create a ripple effect of compassion.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

    focus

    Today’s world is an endless, omnipresent circus of distraction.

    We’re in the process of learning how to integrate all of this new technology into our lives. It’s trial and error on a gigantic scale. Because ubiquitous technology is so new to our species, we’re overwhelmed; bombarded with emails, Facebook notifications, text messages and unlimited information at all times. Perhaps the biggest casualty of this has been our ability to focus.

    Technology isn’t going anywhere, so we must learn how to master it as opposed to being a slave to it. So instead of passively letting our world of distraction deteriorate our focus, we must proactive maintain mental mastery or suffer from scatterbrained madness.

    Training yourself to consciously focus on one thing at a time is transformative and freeing. The ability to focus brings you into the present moment, allowing to peacefully and deeply engage in whatever you’re doing without being assaulted by the daunting worries of the past and future. A focused mind is far more relaxed, clearer, and sharper than a wandering, distracted mind that wastes energy on minutiae.

    Life becomes simpler when you’re focusing on what you’re doing in the present moment. Life is chaotic and overwhelming when you’re worrying about everything at once.

    Here’s a little secret too. If you consciously focus on one thing at a time, you’ll get a lot more done without any of the paralyzing anxiety, worry, regret, fear…etc. This state of conscious focus is what Buddhists call the one pointed mind.

    Think about the situations in your life where you were fully immersed in whatever you were doing, completely undistracted and in the zone. Didn’t it feel great? It’s like you freed yourself from the heavy burdens of the past/future and dipped into the peaceful ocean of the present moment. In addition to the serenity is a sense of clarity and sharpness that is far beyond the murky and turbulent waters of a distracted mind.

    There’s no need to believe that focus consists of grinding effort either. Focus simply means that your point of attention is being consciously directed towards something. Focus should ideally be effortless, a natural byproduct of a clear mind.

    Everything is a muscle that can be strengthened through practice. Here’s how to build your focus muscles.

    6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

    1. Gazing Meditation (Trataka) – Sit and gaze at a specific object (most people use a candle) for a certain amount of time. Then close your eyes and visualize the object in as much detail as possible. The practice of gazing meditation hones your powers of concentration and visualization. It is the ultimate one pointed mind builder.

    Really, any meditation practice helps with focus, but gazing meditation is the most effective if your goal is specifically to improve your focus.

    2. Set blocks of time for specific tasks – Choose a specific task, set a timer and only focus on that task for the allotted time. This is essentially an agreement with yourself, a commitment to focusing on only one thing. Close your email, turn off your phone and all other distractions while doing this. Start with a small chunk of time, like 15-20 minutes, but no longer than 50 minutes.

    I set myself blocks of time to write and it has produced amazing results. I get deeper in the zone (flow state) and produce many more words per minute (and better quality writing) than I did before using this technique.

    3. Read more books – Remember those things called books? Start reading them again. While reading a book, you focus on that book and that book only for significant amounts of time. This greatly hones your focus.

    If all you do is read click-bait listicles online, watch silly cat videos, read tweets and creep on people’s Facebook photos, your ability to focus is going to be pretty pathetic and you’ll be relegated to the mediocre purgatory of ceaseless, unfulfilling distraction.

    4. Practice presence – Practice being present in everyday situations. If you’re with someone, or eating dinner, or going for a hike, or playing with kids or your dog, turn your phone off and put it away. Be completely present in the moment. This will teach you to focus on what you’re doing and deepen your experience of the present moment (which is all we ever have).

    5. Listen to music – When you listen to music, just listen to music! Don’t do anything else. Listen mindfully and hear the subtleties that you’re usually oblivious to. This is an easy and enjoyable way to hone your focus.

    6. Make sure your body is healthy – A healthy body makes everything easier. It also optimizes your mood and cognitive function, which will naturally enhance your ability to focus.

    Eat well and exercise regularly. Eat real food and healthy fats for brain function, walk a lot, hike, do yoga, resistance training, HIIT workouts, kettlebell training (my personal favorite)…etc. A healthy diet (like this one) combined with exercise allows your mind to function at its highest capacity. If you’re eating fast food and sitting all day, your mind isn’t going to work nearly as well as it could.

    Now focus on applying those.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    2

    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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