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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!
     

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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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    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!
     

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    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

     

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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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    The Blossom of Femininity

    blossoming femininity

    The dance of the yin and yang, feminine and masculine energy, has always been of great interest to me.

    What adds to the intrigue is how imbalanced these energies have been throughout history (his-story). The shadow side of the masculine has dominated and controlled, suppressing the feminine and relegating femininity to its own shadows.

    Since society doesn’t provide us with ideal versions of these energetic archetypes to put into practice, we must create our own.

    This is why I’ve been exploring and defining my own version of masculinity. And in doing so, one word seems to exemplify masculine, or yang energy: Giving.

    Helping, serving and supporting are all expressions of this true masculine/yang energy characterized by the spirit of giving. This interpretation of the divine masculine can take many forms, giving any type of love, helping someone in any way, material giving, the giving of undivided attention, emotional support (a shoulder to lean on)…etc. This kind of giving is unconditional and from a place of compassion, not fear-based or done in a “strings attached” manner.

    A major role of this true, giving masculine, in my opinion, is to provide a safe space for the divine feminine to thrive. A strong masculine energy rooted in love can give femininity, not only within women but also within men, a safe place to fully express itself and blossom. This is not possible with the assault of domination and control from the shadow masculine, which suppresses and squashes the fruits of femininity. The divine masculine must support the growth of the divine feminine (not work against it) in order for humanity to live more harmoniously. Our world urgently needs the blossoming of femininity and its defining qualities like intuition, creativity, holistic thinking, compassion and cooperation.

    In the spirit of this topic, these concepts are far better conveyed in more feminine, poetic language than masculine, hyper-rational prose. That’s why I’ll leave you with a poem…

    The Blossom of Femininity

    Too often we’ve seen the shadows
    Masculine
    Dominant and violent
    Feminine
    Deceptive and vain

    Forgive the fear
    It’s time we embody the archetypes
    Through the incarnation of love

    Giving
    Is the essence of masculinity
    The masculine must serve the feminine
    For the dance of duality to flow
    Not a servant-to-master dependence
    But out of the free spirit of giving
    The strength of providing
    Providing space for the feminine to blossom
    Providing safety for the feminine to express

    Just as the sun shines its light unconditionally
    Ever-giving energy to Gaia
    Our light must shine the same
    Unyielding and unconditional
    Nurturing intuition
    Cultivating compassion
    Harvesting harmony
    To engender the flowering of the heart
    And see humanity in bloom

     

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





     

    0

    A Journey Through Existential Crisis

    cave

    Act I: You

    You’re different.

    You feel like you don’t truly belong anywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Act II: Me

    I’m different.

    I feel like I don’t truly belong anywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Act III: We

    We’re different.

    We feel like we don’t truly belong anywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


     

    2

    The Purpose Formula

    gate

    What’s your purpose in life?

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

    Have you ever thought about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Power of Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

    Mark Twain why you were born

    The Purpose Formula

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

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

    My Purpose Formula

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

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

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

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

    Health:

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

    Fitness:

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

    Spiritual Progression:

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

    Writing:

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

    Career:

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

    Relationships:

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

    Travel:

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

    Nature:

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

    Knowledge:

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

    A Note on Habits

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

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

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

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

     
    Know where you’re headed and embrace the journey.

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

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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