0

The Hidden Truth About Reaching Your Potential

potential

One of the most tragic things in this world is wasted potential.

And sadly, we all fall into this trap of not reaching our potential.

A few days ago, I had a profound realization…

I never achieved my highest potential in ANYTHING – EVER – until releasing my novel Sozwik a couple weeks ago.

Seriously. It was the most bittersweet realization I’ve ever had. And it shook me to my core.

Each and every aspect of my life had been squandered potential… Until I got clear on my purpose.

This unfulfilled potential was the story of my life. It happened with basketball, school, self-confidence, career success, relationships…etc.

I can identify a single point in my life that shifted me… When I started this website. That was the moment I BEGAN tapping into my potential.

And now, 5 years later, Sozwik is the culmination of this.

This novel represents the absolute best of my abilities in so many areas: Writing, vocabulary, philosophy, metaphysics, imagination, psychology, self-reflection, self-expression, creativity and more.

Then there’s everything it took to actually create it: Discipline, consistency, purpose and an unshakable trust in the process.

And in creating something that truly maxed out my potential, I was able to increase my potential. Now my threshold is greater, and will continue to grow.

But there’s another layer to this…

The Hidden Truth About Reaching Your Potential

potential

When I realized that writing Sozwik was the only time in my life where I maxed out my potential, another a-ha moment came with it…

Maxing out your potential means you’re living your truth.

When you’re tapping into your potential, you’re fulfilling your purpose. Everything within you is in alignment. And nothing is holding you back.

If you’re in full alignment, reaching your potential is inevitable.

This goes back to purpose. Getting clear on your purpose is so important, that’s why I offer “20 Questions To Reveal Your Life Purpose” as a free ebook).

When you’re clear on your purpose, you’re in alignment. You’re in harmony. You’re living your truth and you have a definitive reason for being alive.

If you’re apathetic about being alive, how the fuck can you truly reach your potential? You would have a hard time being happy and helping others (i.e. most people). And that’s sad.

So… Why are you here? What’s your purpose?

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It can be simple. And it doesn’t need to be too specific either. It just needs to be a guiding principle (or set of principles) that you use to set goals and create daily habits.

Here’s what I wrote down a few days ago regarding my purpose:

  • Help people look at life from a more empowering perspective.
  • Spread love (also bringing out our inner child to play).
  • Metabolize experience.
  • Creatively expressing this through language and any other means that come through me.

What I wrote isn’t unattainable or overly complicated. Yet those simple bullet points act as a guiding force for my life. That’s what’s important.

If you don’t have a guiding force, you’re going to drown in the lukewarm pit of apathy. You’re going to flounder and be a victim of habit, circumstance and everyone else’s agenda.

If you’re not empowered enough to get clear on your purpose, guess what? You’re going to be a part of building someone else’s purpose. And there are many large systems that don’t have the best interest of humanity (or the planet) in mind and are happy to have you as a passive cog in the machine.

Get clear on your purpose.

Don’t know where to start? Answer the 20 Questions To Reveal Your Life Purpose. That will give you a really good idea.

Use your purpose as a guiding force for your life. No need to be rigid with it either. Allow your purpose to evolve as you do. And allow some room for the mystery of life to spontaneously unfold.

Make every moment count. Enjoy the ever-fleeting present moment.

Live your best life ever.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

5 Reasons Why Your Body Is The Portal To Spiritual Growth

body spiritual growth

Answer this question truthfully…

Are you ignoring your body?

In our society, the vast majority of people live exclusively in their head (yes, even workout junkies). And a small percentage falls into the trap of what I call spiritual escapism, living in the clouds. Both are delusional.

The key – to unlocking our potential and living a fulfilling life – is THE BODY.

The body is not something to be ignored. It’s not something to be neglected. It’s not something to be demonized. And it’s definitely not something to be viewed as an impediment to spiritual growth. In fact, the exact opposite is the case.

The body is the portal to spiritual growth.

“Transformation is through the body, not away from it.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be FULLY PRESENT. I’ll repeat that again. The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be fully present.

Everyone is looking to escape the negative aspects of reality, including you and I. If you’re denying this, that’s part of your escapist self-deceit. And people try to escape in different ways; drug/alcohol abuse, television, work, social media, addiction to spiritual practices, externalizing power to authority figures instead of looking within…etc. Basically, most people will do anything to distract themselves from… well… themselves, and their raw emotions.

But no forms of escapism work… They just mask a problem and let it fester in the shadows. That’s when things get really ugly, and we see it reflected on the macro level in the world.

Here’s the hard truth: The only way out is through.

The best way to solve any problem, or realize that the problem doesn’t really exist, is to face it head on. Yes, this reality can be extremely challenging. But it only gets worse if you try to ignore or avoid it.

However, everything gets transmuted once you dive fully into reality, into the present moment. And that is done through the body.

With myself and many others, I’ve noticed that physical health is what tends to first open people up to who they really are. It’s the “first domino” that catalyzes spiritual growth, self-awareness, empowerment and all that “good” stuff.

After realizing this, I started looking into why this is the case. And here’s what I found…

5 Reasons Why Your Body Is The Portal To Spiritual Growth

body spiritual growth

1. Health

With a healthy body, everything else falls into place.

You can think more clearly and creatively. You also become a better conduit for ideas and intuition. Everything regarding cognitive function and perception becomes heightened when you’re healthy.

Another byproduct of health is being vibrant and full of energy. When someone is healthy, you can see that sparkle of life in their eyes. When someone is really unhealthy, they have that vacant look. This is a huge indicator, because you can literally see that some people are embodying their divinity.

Health is also the practice of self-love and self-care, which obviously has spiritual implications. It’s taking care of your temple and allowing the presence of the divine (or whatever you want to call it) to come through.

So what are the basics of health? It’s really simple when you boil it down. Eat real (natural) food and move your body. If you do that, you’re at least 80% there.

2. Getting Out of Your Head

Being in your body gets you out of your head. And that’s a big deal in today’s society.

Most people are trapped in their head and slaves to their mind/ego. The mind makes a beautiful servant but a terrible master. And the mind is a risk calculator, meaning if you’re trapped in it, you’re going to be calculating risks 24/7.

Our minds are hardwired to detect threats, because that’s what has kept us alive for millions of years. But we no longer have to deal with saber tooth tigers, so 99.9% of fears are purely psychological/abstract and not based in real danger at all.

But, in general, we let this risk calculator run the show. This is why the vast majority of people live in a state of perpetual fear.

Most people spend their whole lives thinking about the past or future and COMPLETELY MISSING THE PRESENT MOMENT. Actually acknowledging, feeling and experiencing your body changes this.

3. Presence

Being more in your body helps you to be present.

You get out of your head, and in the present moment. This point is so important that entire books are written on it (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh…etc.)

When performing a difficult exercise for example, it’s hard (and even dangerous) to be thinking about the past or future. This is why exercising can help you cultivate a practice of presence.

On the other side of the spectrum, many types of meditation involve body awareness and body scanning. This fosters a state of presence.

There’s also mindful eating. The practice of mindful eating means simply being completely present while eating.

First of all, you’re aware of what you put into your body. Most people mindlessly shove food down their gullet, then wonder why their health/performance is sub-par. And another aspect of mindful eating is being fully present and undistracted when eating. This means fully experiencing the taste, smell, texture of food and noticing how it feels when being digested. Practicing this not only allows you to enjoy food more, but hones the ability to feel what is beneficial or detrimental to your body.

And when you’r body is healthy, the clarity and clearheadedness that naturally arise make it far easier to be present (as well as the absence of pain/discomfort).

4. Being In Tune

I hinted at this while discussing mindful eating. Being healthy helps you get more in tune with your body.

And it’s not only with eating. It helps you get in tune with intuition, feelings and emotions. Again, good health allows for all kinds of clarity and the healthy flow of energy. Plus, there are the benefits of getting out of your head and being present.

All of this results in being very in tune with the subtleties of life. There’s nothing woo-woo about it. When you’re healthy, your awareness is heightened.

5. Holistic Expansion

True expansion, true authenticity and true health, is holistic.

You cannot ignore an aspect of self and think it won’t have side effects. We see the neglect of the body in many religions, which obviously doesn’t work out well (where guilt, shame and all kinds of perversions run rampant).

On the other hand, we see the neglect of the emotional and spiritual aspects of self in modern western society, and it doesn’t take a genius to see all major “systems” need to change.

We need to embrace all aspects of ourselves. And love it all.

The more grounded you are, the more connected you are to everything. Being fully embodied is a way of embracing wholeness.

I mean, there’s a reason why “spirit” (or whatever your term is for God/Source) is choosing to express itself physically, right? If not, we wouldn’t be here. Even if it were some big cosmic joke, we’re here now, in human form. So start with being present and fully conscious in this experience.

It also doesn’t stop at the body. The body is an aspect of self, not your entire self. It’s a portal to your true self, not the totality of your true self. Again, embrace all aspects of self.

Becoming Spirit Embodied

So how do we get more into our body?

It’s very simple; engaging in daily practices that benefit the body. Here are some ideas:

  • Getting out in nature
  • Hiking
  • Going to the beach (where you get all four elements at once – sun, air, earth, water)
  • Putting your bare feet on the Earth (aka grounding/earthing)
  • Any form of exercise
  • Yoga
  • Any form of martial arts
  • Eating healthy (and mindfully)
  • Taking a walk outside
  • Simply being present
  • Fully experiencing your senses
  • Meditating on how each part of your body feels
  • Breathing exercises
  • Cold water exposure (cold showers)
  • Swimming
  • Conscious sex
  • Dancing
  • Singing

Love your body. Cultivate health. Embrace all aspects of self.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Essentialism: The Philosophy That Will Change Your Life

essentialism minimalism simplicity

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee

The key to success, the key to peace of mind, the key to making your dreams come true ultimately boils down to one thing: focusing on the essential.

Simplicity, minimalism and the like may imply that blindly removing is the key. It’s not. Essentialism, however, is about finding what is essential for you and letting go of the unnecessary.

What is “essential” can be different for everyone. For some people, that may be their family, for others it may be music, for some people it may be travel. It all depends on what you want to prioritize in your life.

What are your priorities? What do you want to focus on? What is your purpose? What direction do you want to travel in? In order to make the most out of life, we must ask ourselves those questions and prioritize accordingly.

If you don’t have priorities or purpose, then you will fritter away your days in a muck of endless distractions, yet feeling empty inside. Without focus, the world around you has more than enough distractions to keep you preoccupied, passive, stagnant and depressingly mediocre.

Let go of the unessential and cut out distractions. If you want to write a book, watching tv for 2 hours a day won’t help. If you want to get in shape, prioritize your workouts and healthy meals. If you want to meditate, center your morning routine around it. If you want to be a better parent, spend more quality time with your kids by any means necessary. Find out what is essential to you and let go of the unessential.

This applies to everything in life, from business to relationships and everything in between. A company will be successful if it focuses on its core mission. A relationship will be harmonious if both people place love first. A person will transcend mediocrity when they focus on their purpose.

Make Essentialism an “essential” part of your life, and help bring your dreams to fruition.

Want to learn how to tap into the power of Essentialism? Check out my new book Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck!

Much love.

– Stevie P!

PS – You see how short and sweet this article is? That’s Essentialism at work!

Throwback Thursday: The Ego Shell and Emotional Armor

muscular

That’s me in July of 2011.

I recently came across this picture again… And you know what? I never even realized how muscular I was then.

Seriously, I didn’t. Body dysmorphia is an insidious delusion. Our minds play tricks on us more often than not.

At that point in my life, I was dead set on achieving perfection in every aspect of life. I NEEDED to be the fittest, smartest, funniest, wisest and most creative person in the room, simultaneously; at all times. Now how about that for some constant pressure based on unreal expectations?

If I could sum up my belief system, it would be this – Nothing was ever good enough.

Of course, there are far worse problems to have. But this is an exposé of the more shadowy delusions so many of us face (or choose not to face).

It’s not all bad though. This mentality greatly helped me in many, many ways. Due to this hyper-imbalance towards the warrior archetype, I’ve been able to learn, apply and do so much within a short span of 28 years. I’m grateful for that, though I recognize it no longer serves my highest good.

I now know this phase needed to happen in order to get to where I am now and to give me massive momentum in the direction I’m going.

With that nod of gratitude, I want to dissect for you the psyche behind the muscular frame you see in that picture…

Layer 1: Emotional Armor

I’m a sensitive person, a prototypical Cancer in that sense. Up until very recently, I would take any criticism like an arrow to the heart.

When I started working out and seeing results, it was like discovering armor against criticism. Since I was wrapped in my ego and focused on the illusion of perfection (among other things), I created a need to protect myself emotionally. I feared criticism, so I devised ways to mitigate it.

I felt like being muscular gave me armor against criticism. It was an ego shell. I thought that because I was “jacked”, people would be less inclined to criticize or make fun of me when I would act like my weird, authentic self.

It worked, for the most part, and it did help me to get more comfortable with who I am as a unique individual. But I needed to address the root. Why was I afraid of criticism in the first place? The revelations I describe below helped me drop that fear.

Now I no longer need emotional armor. I have nothing to defend, no false identity to parade to the world. Sure, I stay pretty fit. But the difference is, I don’t give a fuck now, whatsoever. I love myself no matter what (except sometimes when I forget to).

Last year I actually took a few months off of working out. I just did a lot of yoga and walking. Why? Because I needed to go into my feminine side and allow myself to evolve, instead of forcing it or unknowingly closing myself off with a hyper-masculine, stubborn attitude.

This more yin approach worked wonders and I was able to go through some incredible transformations. Then after a few months, I felt ready to ground back into my masculine side again. So I started working out again, but from a place of self-love, not to build emotional armor.

Layer 2: Perfectionism

Perfectionism was omnipresent for me throughout most of my life. I still even need to be mindful of perfectionist tendencies.

Much of perfectionism is due to cultural conditioning. Our parents and teachers praised us only when we did something they labeled as good. The media perpetually force-feeds us with artificially projected images of perfection for every aspect of life.

So many of us are slaves to our ego, which drags us along on the roller coaster of superiority and inferiority. No aspect of our society teaches us to embrace our uniqueness and accept ourselves as we are right now.

Perfection doesn’t exist (in this reality at least). We’re all imperfect beings. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Imperfection allows for uniqueness and continuous improvement. That’s so beautiful, so… perfect. In a paradoxical way, we can find perfection in the imperfection of everything.

For me, as I said before, nothing was ever good enough. I was critical of others, but even more critical of myself. My inner judge was a slave driver, constantly pushing me. I thought salvation was found in some future achievement or in becoming something more. My sense of self-worth was tied to the chaos of external circumstance.

For a deeper dive into perfectionism, check out my article How to Overcome Perfectionism

Layer 3: External Worthiness

I used to believe that I could attain worthiness by achievement. Oh, how that resulted in unrelenting difficulty. Again, this is culturally perpetuated and many of us have this belief to some degree.

I would not love myself as I was in any given moment. Instead, as I said before, the hope of salvation was somewhere in the future. But tomorrow never comes.

Self-worth is a journey all of us face. We all must go within and remove the debris we’ve piled on top of our essence. That’s the key.

The ironic thing for me is that my perfectionism made me want to improve every aspect of myself, even regarding self-love. Recently I got to a point where I felt clear and free. I still have certain hang-ups and delusions, yet I’m mindful of them and I accept my imperfections.

I got so good at solving problems and shoring up weaknesses. But then I realized that this need to correct everything was the very thing blocking me from true self-love. So in essence, I raced down the highway of personal growth, only to find out that my biggest lesson was to enjoy the scenery.

I’ve cultivated unconditional love within myself (most of the time). And because of that, I’m now able to love others unconditionally.

Love… that’s what is underneath all of the layers.

The biggest paradox of self-improvement is that we’ve had what we were looking for all along. We just couldn’t see it.

Thank you for reading.

– Stevie P!

15 Simple Ways to Improve Brain Function

brain function

The human brain is the most complex piece of hardware in the known universe.

It’s an immensely powerful tool.

The brain is also the device through which we decode and perceive reality. So to say that it’s important to optimize brain function is a severe understatement. I think we can all unanimously agree that it would be a good thing to improve brain function, right?

Instead of rambling on with more poetic descriptions of the brain, let’s just get straight to the applicable information.

15 Simple Ways to Improve Brain Function

1. Regular Practice – The brain, like everything else, is like a muscle. To strengthen it, it must be exercised regularly. Learn something new every day. Test your memory regularly. The more practice, the stronger it gets.

2. Variety – While regular practice is the foundation, it’s also important to switch things up. Do new things. Engage in unique experiences. This keeps you on your toes, highly adaptive, thinking spontaneously and builds the skill of learning how to learn.

3. Limit Sugar – Reduce your sugar intake (and processed, refined foods in general). Sugar is highly addictive and keeps you in the wired-then-tired trap of what I call “the insulin roller coaster.”

Limiting sugar will help you have healthy gut flora as well, which is intrinsically linked with brain health.

The brain can run on sugar (glucose) or fat (ketones). In both my experience and that of many other people, the brain operates optimally on fats.

4. Eat More Healthy Fats – Some of the best healthy fats are fish/krill oil, avocado, coconut oil, butter, olive oil…etc. Coconut oil, for example, appears to be an ideal brain food.

Here’s a challenge: Instead of starting your day with a carb-heavy breakfast, start with a cup of coffee (or tea) with a teaspoon of coconut oil in it. I call this combination “steroids for your brain.” Yes, it works. Try it out and feel the effects.

5. Intermittent Fasting – “Human and non-human animal studies have shown that IER (Intermittent Energy Restriction) increases synaptic plasticity (a biological marker of learning and memory), enhances performance on memory tests in the elderly, leads to the growth of new neurons, promotes recovery after stroke or traumatic brain injury, decreases risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and may improve quality of life and cognitive function for those already diagnosed with these diseases. IER has also been shown to play a preventative and therapeutic role in mood disorders like anxiety and depression.” (Stanford)

Want to try fasting? The best introduction I’ve come across regarding intermittent fasting is Eat Stop Eat. It does a great job of explaining the benefits of fasting and gives you a stupid simple protocol that gets amazing results. I’m actually doing a variation of Eat Stop Eat right now.

6. Brain Boosting Herbs – Brain boosting herbs include Gotu Kola (which I personally take every day), Brahmi, Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba. There’s a lot more too. Do a little research and see which one is best for you.

7. Learn a New Language – Learning a new language literally opens up a new world to us. When we expand our horizons, neuroplasticity kicks in and we form more neural connections.

8. Sleep – Sleep is the ultimate recharge for our bodies and our brain is no exception to this. Everyone knows that their brain works better on 8 hours of sleep as opposed to 4. Prioritize sleep and reap the brain benefits.

9. Focus – Limit distractions and cultivate focus. Being scatterbrained severely inhibits mental capabilities. Focus is the precursor to learning and problem-solving.

Tip: When you need to focus, set a timer for a specific amount of time and only work on the task at hand for that block of time.

10. A Morning Routine – Starting the day off on the right foot greatly helps with how our brains function. Having a peaceful, enjoyable morning routine gets us in a clear headspace, which allows us to operate with focus for the rest of the day.

For more on morning routines, read my article The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

11. ExerciseExercise improves memory and thinking skills. It also boosts mood and reduces stress and anxiety.

12. Walking – “Walking at one’s own pace for 40 minutes three times a week can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits and combat declines in brain function associated with aging and increase performance on cognitive tasks.” – (Live Science)

Walking also helps with creativity and generating ideas, especially when done outside.

13. Positive Thinking – Stress and anxiety kill brain function. Research has shown that positive thinking, particularly in the future tense, speeds up the creation of brain cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.

Also, when you’re in a state of fear, it activates the amygdala and shuts off higher brain function (like logic and reasoning). So positive thinking really does make us smarter.

14. Reading – This one is so obvious. We learn by reading nonfiction and expand our imagination by reading fiction. And sometimes we learn by reading fiction and expand our imagination by reading nonfiction. Reading also improves vocabulary, memory, concentration and helps hone visualization abilities.

15. Meditation – There are so many benefits to meditation, it’s ridiculous. A regular meditation practice reduces stress, improves memory, combats anxiety, improves concentration, helps kick addictions and increases productivity (along with a lot of other things).

Meditation helps cultivate awareness of our thoughts and gives us the choice to indulge in positive thinking instead of energy-sapping, negative thinking.

Meditation also has the absolutely crucial benefit of mindfulness. If you’re unaware of what’s going on in your brain, you’re unconscious and living in reaction-mode. This results in you being a slave to your brain, instead of the master of it. The brain is a powerful tool. It is in your best interest to learn how to use the tool without the tool using you. This is why meditation is so important.

Learn more about meditation here: Introduction to Meditation

Time to Apply

Try incorporating some of these into your daily life. If you want to pick just one to start with, I’d strongly recommend meditation. Meditation is the habit that all other habits build off of, the skill which enhances every other skill and the practice that gets you in touch with the essence of existence.

Want to start meditating? As soon as you wake up, hit the snooze button on your alarm clock and use that time for meditation. Sit upright, close your eyes, take some deep breaths into your belly and simply observe your thoughts without judgment. Do this every morning.

With most of this list, it’s common sense that these things improve brain function. But knowing and applying are two different things. Most people don’t apply what they know on a daily basis. Take action and commit to a daily practice.

Your brain is a miraculous tool. Treat it well and use it wisely.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Which of these do you apply on a daily basis? Did you learn anything new? Which ones do you want to start applying? Leave a comment below.

Gratitude: Your Secret Weapon

Gratitude

What if I told you that you have a secret weapon available to you at all times?

This secret weapon is not physical, nor destructive. Its power actually extends far beyond the reach of physical constraints.

It lifts the illusory veils we build, the many forms of fear that hinder our experience. You see, the fears we have in our modern western world are almost entirely psychological. We face almost no real danger. This means that the fears most people walk around with are overwhelmingly self-projected abstractions.

If we were facing the invasions of orc hordes every day, we would need mighty swords to fight them off. The orc hordes we face, however, are the fear-based ruminations of our own mind. The ultimate weapon against the forces of fear is the sword of GRATITUDE.

That’s not even a perfect metaphor because gratitude doesn’t involve fighting or resisting at all. Gratitude is so powerful because it’s essentially fighting by accepting. Let me explain…

Gratitude naturally and effortlessly transmutes fear.

Gratitude is like a laser beam that magically transforms insidious inner demons into Casper the Friendly Ghost.

It’s a calm breeze that refreshes your inner landscape.

Gratitude is the zenith of “positive” feelings. Actually, gratitude is beyond the duality of positive and negative. And it must be felt to be truly understood.

Where There is Gratitude, There is No Fear

Gratitude and fear cannot coexist. It’s just like how darkness is the absence of light. Once you shine the light of consciousness, the shadowy fears simply disappear.

This goes for any form of fear too. Fear is the undercurrent of all so-called “negative” emotions. Anxiety, worry, jealously, resentment, regret, stress, guilt…etc. are all children of fear. For example, stress is putting pressure on yourself for fear of an unwanted outcome; and being judged, by yourself and/or others, as not good enough. Anxiety is the fear of some possibility in the future. Can you see the trend here?

If you feel fear of any kind, shatter the illusion with gratitude. When you can feel gratitude, you’re letting go of fear. Don’t just think gratitude, FEEL gratitude, EMBODY gratitude.

The Great Transmuter

Gratitude is the master transmuter. Transmutation is the act of changing or the state of being changed into another form, which is exactly what gratitude does with what you would label as “negativity.”

It’s all a matter of changing your perspective. Show gratitude for the so-called “negativity” in your life and it transforms. Failures become lessons, crises become opportunities and imperfections become beautiful symbols of uniqueness.

Since gratitude and fear cannot coexist, all you have to do is be in a state of gratitude and all “negativity” dissipates.

Gratitude won’t necessarily change a situation, but it will change how you view the situation. And when you change the way you look at things, surprisingly, the things you look at start to change.

Remember, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

The Magic is Right Here!

Gratitude is all about accepting where you’re at, at any given moment. It’s about seeing the big picture and being able to show compassion towards everything, positive or negative.

Through gratitude, you’re able to both accept situations and accept yourself as you are right now. Gratitude is a reminder that you are good enough, no matter what. Here’s something I’ve experienced over and over again: When you love and accept yourself in each moment, you’ll grow, effortlessly and continuously, without having to force it or put pressure on yourself.

Gratitude is also rooted in presence. We only get lost in fear when we forget about the present moment and enter the obsessive thought-patterns of the past or future. There are no problems in the present moment. Show gratitude and bask in the blissful realm of the eternal now.

Gratitude Practices

There are so many ways to express gratitude. It really comes down to anything which allows you to truly FEEL gratitude. Here are some ideas…

  • Write down what you’re grateful for (a great resource that incorporates writing things you’re grateful for every day is The Five Minute Journal)
  • Give thanks every morning when you wake up
  • Express gratitude as many times as you can throughout each day
  • Practice Ho’oponopono
  • Say “I appreciate you” to someone you care about
  • Thank “negative” situations for the lessons they provide – For example; I know a lot of people who were living life at a frenetic pace, and the thing made them slow down and appreciate their lives was a car accident.
  • Even if you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, you’re alive! The chances of you being born are about one in 400 trillion! Now that’s something to be grateful for. If you’re not grateful for life, you’re just going out of your way to make yourself miserable.

    When in doubt, be grateful.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

    2

    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.

    The Openhanded Life

    Openhandedness

    “Hold on is what they say
    But I say open up your hands and let it fly away
    Until the day it comes back and it was meant to be
    Take a look at the lovely gift the world has sent to me
    Don’t suffer you got to maintain
    The rougher the storm gets the more they complain
    They don’t aim
    They shoot sporadically
    Panicky and so dramatically
    He ran frantically
    Summarized by the look in his eyes
    He couldn’t hold on after one too many tries”

    – Aceyalone

    Do you feel the need to clutch onto everything you desire?

    Most of us do. We’ve been conditioned that we must grab what we want and hold onto it for dear life. This applies to everything, from our identity, to our goals, to our relationships, to money, and everything in between.

    What if I told you that life is more about letting go than holding on? Well, that is if you want to be happy, fulfilled, present and at peace. If you want to cause yourself more suffering, feel free to stop reading now.

    Enter: Openhandedness

    Openhandedness is characterized by releasing that fearful, egoic clinging to everything, letting go, generously giving and cultivating the ability to receive.

    An open hand can both give and receive, while a closed fist can do neither. If we look at the two basic motivating forces, fear and love, openhandedness is based in love while a closed fist is based in fear. Fear is constricting, an inhibitor to growth and a creator of unnecessary barriers. Love is opening. Love is growth. Love is freedom.

    Openhandedness doesn’t necessarily mean walking around with your hands out 24/7 like you’re a Jesus figurine or something. It’s a metaphor for your general mindset. If you’re always so constricted and closed-off, you’ll never have the opportunity to give or receive. A closed fist is also used to cling onto things. And so many of us desperately cling to every part of our lives, for fear of losing whatever it is we’re clinging to. This is absolutely exhausting and completely driven by fear and scarcity.

    “Let go or be dragged.” – Zen Proverb

    What happens when you cling to a person too much? They feel suffocated and push you away. What happens when you cling to your money? You drive yourself crazy worrying about it, poison your relationships and cut yourself off to making more. What happens when you cling to your identity? You end up pigeonholing yourself and block any spontaneity or change from coming into your life.

    This is the mode that most people live in, especially in modern western society. I was completely controlled by this mentality myself until fairly recently. It’s a byproduct of being possessed by the ego, living in fear and not trusting the process of life. That’s a miserable way to go through life.

    Yet a magical shift happens once you allow yourself to let go and trust the process of life. That which is meant to come comes and that which is meant to go goes. When you live an openhanded life, you give generously, receive often and joyfully flow with the unfoldment of each moment as it arises. Good things come and go, their beautiful fleetingness thoroughly enjoyed. Challenges are adeptly addressed then let go of. Situations come and go. People come and go. Those who remain in your life remain because they truly want to, not because you fearfully cling onto them. The openhanded life is beautiful, free flowing and rooted in unconditional love.

    Lupe Fiasco has a brilliant reference to openhandedness in his song They. Resurrect. Over. New, saying “It’s a new year, every time I open my hands.” When you live an openhanded life, you’re rebirthing yourself in every moment. You’re effortlessly allowing life to spontaneously unfold and dynamically change.

    Note: Openhandedness is not synonymous with inaction. When you’re openhanded, you align your actions with the flow of life. You harmonize all aspects of your being instead of letting your ego try to control every situation.

    The Main Characteristics of Openhanded Life

    Generosity – Giving with an open hand. Giving freely and without expectation. Loving openly and wholeheartedly.

    In giving more you receive more. How do you receive more love? By giving more love! Now you might be saying, “This doesn’t work for something like money. You can’t get more money by giving more money.” Well, here’s the thing; if you give more in every aspect of life, you will cultivate a life where you do have more money (and more abundance in general). If you give generously, provide value and help people, you will inevitably find yourself in opportunities that make you more money (professional connections, entrepreneurial opportunities, job promotions, a better job…etc.). So while it may not be an exact 1:1 ratio (ex/ giving $50 and getting $50 the next day), be open to your giving and receiving coming in many forms.

    Being Open to Receive – Knowing that you’re worthy of receiving (we all are). Being open to things, situations and people coming into your life when you least expect it. Receiving with gratitude.

    Letting Go – Releasing your fearful vice grip to everything. Practicing the power of surrender. Allowing things to unfold as they may. Living motivated by love and without attachment. Remember, attachment is based in fear.

    Abundance Mentality – Having an abundance mentality as opposed to a scarcity mentality. The belief that you will always get what you need and you will always be provided for. The belief that there is enough for everyone. The belief that love is an infinite resource.

    Faith – Faith in the process of life. Faith in the universe. Faith in your intuition. Being able to trust that things will come into your life when needed.

    “It’s a belief: Life is always happening for us, not to us. It’s our job to find out where the benefit is. If we do, life is magnificent.”
    – Tony Robbins

    Harmony – Harmony is being in alignment. There is no discrepancy between your desires, your intuition and the flow of life. All aspects of your being synergistically work together. When living in closed-fisted fear, the ego attempts to control every situation, which as many people find out, often does more harm than good.

    When you intuitively live and act in harmony with the flow of life, life takes on a level of beauty and serendipity that you never could’ve imagined from the limited viewpoint of egoic fear. This sounds like overly poeticized rhetoric but I know it to be true, both from personal experience and the stories of many, many other people.

    Spontaneity – Flowing with life, dynamically adapting to any situation. Sailing with the winds of change. Not clutching onto what was or how things could be. Living fully in the present moment and truly enjoying life.

    Now that you’ve read about openhandedness, it’s time to apply.

    Live that #openhandedlife

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

    15 Profound Quotes About Life

    quotes about life

    Life is a beautiful mystery. Life is a video game. Life is a challenge. Life is a playground. Life is a learning experience. Life is all of those things, none of those things and much more all at the same time.

    Life is here and now, yet endlessly enigmatic and fleeting. That’s the beauty of it. Without rambling on too much, let’s dance in the mystery together.

    Here are 15 Profound Quotes About Life

    1. “Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.”
      ― Osho
    2. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
      ― Alan Watts
    3. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
      ― Neale Donald Walsch
    4. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
      ― Charles R. Swindoll
    5. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
      ― George Bernard Shaw
    6. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
      ― Anais Nin
    7. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
      ― Albert Einstein
    8. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
      ― James Dean
    9. “Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.”
      ― H. Jackson Brown
    10. “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.”
      ― Henry David Thoreau
    11. “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
      ― Mother Teresa
    12. “If you are depressed you are living in the past.
      If you are anxious you are living in the future.
      If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

      ― Lao Tzu
    13. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
      ― Eckhart Tolle
    14. “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
    15. “We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
      ― Terence McKenna

     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    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!
     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter