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5 Simple Steps for Cathartic Writing

catharsis writing

Do you want to gain more insight into your life?

Are you looking for guidance? Do you have pent-up emotions? Are you waiting for a breakthrough?

Writing can be the key to unlocking all of this.

Writing can be an incredible tool for catharsis, which is the process of releasing or transmuting strong or repressed emotions. All you need is a pen, paper and the courage to be honest with yourself.

There are few tools that are as powerful and accessible as writing. I’ve personally had enormous breakthroughs, profound insights and mindblowing epiphanies while writing. Through writing, I’ve also been able to work through difficult emotions and find clarity in various aspects of life.

This kind of writing is an awe-inspiring combination of self-expression, therapy, creativity, meditation and spiritual connection.

It’s nothing complicated or time consuming either. All you need to do is follow these simple steps…

5 Simple Steps for Cathartic Writing

catharsis writing

1. Relax

Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Let the tension evaporate out of your body and mind.

Become pure awareness.

If you have difficulty relaxing or stilling your mind, I highly recommend engaging in a regular meditation practice.

2. Tune In

After relaxing for a few seconds, you will notice things start to come back. These might be thought patterns, emotions or physical tension.

Be aware of these.

Notice your thoughts. What thoughts are circling in your mind?

Notice your emotions. What emotions are you experiencing?

Notice your body. Where are you carrying tension?

Awareness of these will act as cues for your subconscious mind to work through and transmute the disharmony associated with those thoughts, emotions and physical tension.

3. Initiate

Start writing by invoking your higher self.

Note: According to your beliefs, you can invoke whatever wisdom feels best for you; Source, God, your higher self, your subconscious mind, infinite intelligence…etc.

Here’s an example of how I initiate a cathartic writing session: “Through this pen my higher self flows.” I just write that sentence first and then let the rest of the writing flow.

4. Flow

Just write. Let it flow without resistance.

Don’t filter yourself. Let it come through however it may, without judgment. Let the words flow through you.

Keep writing for as long as you want. I usually stop after I get some sort of insight. After this, the flow tends to stop.

Feel it out for yourself. And don’t have expectations. You might not have a life changing a-ha moment every time you do this. Some of the wisdom that comes through is far more subtle.

5. The Takeaway

Write down a takeaway from what you’ve written.

This can be an affirmation or mantra to start using. It can also be something to do or an action to take.

Sometimes, in the process of writing, a clear takeaway will come though. Other times you may need to come up with a takeaway after, based on what you wrote or insights you had.

The takeaway is crucial. Because all of the insights in the world don’t mean anything if you don’t integrate and apply them.

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

This is a powerful process. I recommend everyone try this, even if you view yourself as someone who can’t write well

Try it out and experience the power of catharsis.

Happy writing.

– Stevie P!

PS – If you’re looking for more physical ways of facilitating catharsis, check out Primal Release.

 

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Release Into Love

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

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

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

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

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

primal release

How Do We Let Go?

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

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

– Gabrielle Roth

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO RELEASE

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

You don’t have to hold onto it all.

Release into love.

– Stevie P!
 

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The Simple Secret to a Fully Fulfilling Life

mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mind full or mindful

6 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Practice the Five Sense Walking Meditation

6. Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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

Meet each moment with blissful totality.

– Stevie P
 

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Are You A Negative Nancy? (Signs That You Are)

negative nancy

Note: This is a guest post by Matthew Snider.

We all know someone who is always the first to point out a flaw. They find the bad in a situation, or highlight an obstacle. These people tend to swim in the negative and have a propensity towards bringing others along with them. While no one really appreciates or thrives in this negative zone, these types are fairly common in today’s world.

Psychological studies suggest that people naturally react more strongly to negative experiences than positive ones. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “negativity bias” and dates back to the days of the cavemen. It is an evolutionary psychological concept and is very powerful in determining future behavior. Although negativity has a natural and instinctive way of pervading our thoughts and actions, if it becomes a habit it can really push people away.

Here are a few telltale signs you might be allowing negativity to dominate your mindset:

You Make Generalizations

One tendency of a Negative Nancy is to make broad generalizations in the negative. For example, if a letter you recently sent gets lost in the mail, you automatically assume the entire postal system is flawed. In another example, your assistant fails to copy you on an important email. Your response is to assume that all administrative assistants are incompetent. These mass generalizations can be very dangerous and even damaging to your psyche. If you find yourself starting to think in generalizations, take a moment to reflect on all of the scenarios in which these generalizations have been proven false. This will help you keep things in perspective and avoid some of those crazed thoughts.

You Assume Obstacles Are Long-Term

Assuming all obstacles are long-term setbacks is another sign you live in the negative. This chronic attitude tricks your brain into believing there are no alternative solutions to a problem and really hinders your ability to problem solve. For example, you present your budget for a new project and when the financing is not approved you automatically assume your idea is a lost cause. This hopeless thinking can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so be very aware of these defeating thoughts and begin to think in a solution-oriented way.

You Are Critical of Others

A negativity bias can make you hypersensitive to the faults of others. For example, your child might get four As and a C on his report card. But your mind jumps immediately to the C, which you offer a lengthy critique of, yet fail to comment on the positive marks. Additionally, you may attend the wedding of a close friend and instead of enjoying the evening of love and laughter, find yourself critiquing every part of the party. This attitude can be exhausting and can also push people away. No one wants to be in a situation where people constantly criticize them. Next time you find yourself nit-picking at a person or situation, try to sandwich your criticism in between two positive statements. This trick has a way of softening the blow and of making you think in a different way about your critique. It’s a win-win solution for everyone and will help you reverse some of your negative thoughts.

Your Close Circle Is Highly Negative

Highly negative people tend to flock together. They also tend to ostracize anyone who challenges their comfortable nit-picking habits with a dose of positive attitude. If you find that your work and social conversation is centered around negativity, complaining, and gossip, you are likely under the wrath of negativity bias. Additionally, if you and your posse find yourself bristling with irritation anytime someone tries to put a positive twist on a situation, you are swimming in the Negative Nancy circle.

If you identify with any of these common situations, you are most likely engaging in overly negative behavior. If you’re looking to reverse this trend, try one of these simple tactics. Your body, mind, friends, and family will all appreciate the positive change.

  • Write a daily list of things you’re grateful for
  • Name two positive qualities for every one piece of criticism you make
  • Practice gratitude – Say thank you at least two times per day
  • Smile and exude positive body language
  • Give a gift
  • Give a genuine compliment
  • Surround yourself with other positive-minded people (Remember, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with)
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    About the Author
    Matthew Snider is a writer, a personal development junkie and a regular blogger at Self Development Secrets. Matt, with his one quarter Asian descent, did not start out as a writer, but he says, “the love for a subject is the most important aspect of writing. The readers want to read something written by someone who understands them.”

     

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    7 Simple Rules to Make Life Simple and Happy

    happiness

    Note: This is a guest post by Sophie Addison.

    You have that inner longing to be authentically happy, and if you could only get hold of a simple formula from any lifestyle news that would spell out the tips on how to be happy, you would surely gladly exchange everything you have to get hold of that simple formula. There are indeed some simple rules in life that—if you practice on a regular basis—would readily help you become a happy person. These simple rules are quite ordinary that you would never think that they actually hold the secrets to a happy life. Here are seven of these simple rules:

    1. “Consider every day as a gift.”
    You may find it not easy to develop this habit of treating each day of your life as a gift. Once you begin to see each day as a gift, you would soon become the happiest person in this world (Stevie P note: at least top 5 haha). The reason for this is that you would seldom find a person who is not thankful for a gift, and a gift always brings in a happy disposition to the recipient of the gift. Therefore, once you look at each day of your life as a gift, you will begin to be appreciative of your life. Your appreciation of each day will imbue all aspects of your life, and soon, you will radiate happiness from deep within you.

    2. “Accept the things that you can’t change.”
    Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” once said that there are two circles of life—the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern. The Circle of Influence includes the things that lie within your control such as yourself, your habits, your mind, and your behavior. The Circle of Concern, on the other hand, includes the things beyond your control such as the behavior of other people, politics, your boss, the world, and many other things. If you dwell on the things within your Circle of Concern, you will inevitable end up feeling depressed, bitter, and anxious, because you do not have control over them. If you dwell on your Circle of Influence, you will feel fulfilled and happy because you are in control of these things. Anxiety and depression usually set in when you dwell on things that you are out of control, and for this reason, the more you focus on the things within your control, the happier you will become. As for the things beyond your control, you simply have to accept them.

    3. “Choose to be happy.”
    Being happy is a decision to be happy and to let go of the things that burden your heart. You can only effectively decide on things and matters that lie within your control. Your behavior is always within your control, in the same way, that your mind is within your control. Hence, you can decide on how you are going to react to any situation; and you can either choose to react happily or sadly.

    4. “Start to live in the present.”
    Living in the present is also a great habit necessary to live a happy life. “Living in the present” means you are fully immersed in the present moment and enjoying it without cluttering your mind with future and past problems. Once you start living in the present, you begin to appreciate the simple things that life brings and become fully alive. If you cherish every moment, you would naturally find yourself sporting an optimistic and happy outlook on life.

    For more on this: There Are No Problems in the Present Moment

    5. “Minimize your wants!”
    Happiness comes easily when you realize that the many desires and wants of your life are making you dissatisfied with life. Happiness is usually tantamount to being satisfied. Thus, if you develop the habit of minimizing your wants, you will unburden your heart and mind with unfulfilled wants and desires, and your outlook will eventually lighten up, and your mind will be free to appreciate the simple things in life that you have.

    For more on this: The Joy of Minimalism

    6. “Wish always the best for your beloved.”
    There is no greater joy in life than that of seeing the person you love so much achieve in life. Likewise, once you see that those you love are improving and succeeding in life, you will in turn feel light and satisfied. Real love is wishing the best for the beloved, so it’s a win-win to pray and wish that those who are dear to your heart are achieving, growing, and maturing along the way. The more you wish them happiness, the happier you will become.

    7. “Lastly, you should get in touch with your inner self.”
    Happiness comes from within; it can never be feigned nor faked. It is a satisfied state of mind wherein you feel at peace deep within. It is akin to the feeling of satisfaction after having eaten your favorite food. More importantly, you feel happy when there is no conflict deep within your mind and heart. Hence, for you to be truly happy, you need to resolve the inner rumblings deep within your heart; and there is no better way to do it than to engage in a relaxing meditation and self-awareness activity on a regular basis. Stay in contact with your inner self and you will surely find a center deep within that will serve as your source of happiness.

    About the Author
    Sophie Addison is a popular blogger and skincare expert. She is very passionate about writing on skincare and beauty. She has posted articles on tips for fine lines under eyes, weight loss and fitness news. Apart from work she likes gardening and listening music. You can also contact her on Facebook, and Pinterest.
     

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    The Paradox of Personal Freedom: How Positive Constraints Can Enhance Your Life

    the path to freedom

    As humans, we have an insatiable desire for freedom.

    It’s only natural. Freedom is our essential state and we feel this in the innermost depths of our being. When freedom is blatantly denied, it is an excruciating hindrance and not tolerated for long.

    However, every great truth is paradoxical from the perspective of the mind and through the filter of language. The idea of freedom is no different. You would think that total, complete freedom would mean total, complete happiness, right? But that’s not the case (in this reality, at least). Absolute freedom does not necessarily equate to absolute happiness.

    Infinite options equals ultimate prison, in many circumstances. You end up with this paradox of choice issue. It’s like standing in front of shelving at a Safeway with 300 brands of toothpaste and just wasting 15 minutes of your life trying to pick a toothpaste. You don’t need that kind of cognitive burden and decision fatigue.
    ~ Tim Ferriss

     
    Focused perspective allows for desired experiences to come to fruition, as a specific choice concentrates your reality based upon our intention. This focused perspective, or in other words, constraints on experienced reality, is the foundation for learning and evolution as humans. Limitation fosters creative solutions, resistance catalyzes growth and darkness is needed to truly appreciate light.

    If you think about it, absolute freedom means sitting in infinite possibility without choosing a possibility. So in a way, you’ve chosen to compromise complete freedom just by participating in the 3D human experience.

    Ok, metaphysical musings aside; what I’m getting at is this… In order to have a highly rewarding, fulfilling and purposeful life, you need to consciously apply the power of positive constraints.

    You’re always making choices and assumptions (in every moment) that are condensing the light of your freedom/possibility to a focused area. And the key question is: Are you consciously aware of the choices and assumptions you’re making?

    What are Positive Constraints?

    Positive constraints are constraints that you consciously place upon yourself in order to direct your life in a desired direction.

    For example, if you know that writing a book is something that will add immeasurable value to your life, you’re going to have to sacrifice other activities in favor of a regular writing habit. And you’re going to have to write even when you don’t feel like it. But as a result of this positive constraint, your life will be more fulfilling and you’ll create more freedom for yourself long-term.

    Why Are Positive Constraints Useful?

    Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.
    ~ Paulo Coelho

     
    Positive constraints focus your experiences towards what you want to prioritize in life.

    They actually create more freedom in many cases. If you want the freedom to travel the world, you have to make sacrifices to get there. You have to save money (though not as much as most people think), quit your job (or work for yourself and do it remotely) and decide where you want to go. All of those things are positive constraints to bring you to a place of freedom to travel.

    Being an entrepreneur epitomizes attaining freedom through positive constraints. In order to work for yourself, make your own decisions and have freedom of time and location, sacrifices must be made to get there. A lot of groundwork is required to get any business or entrepreneurial project off the ground, yet once the ball is rolling, it can create long-term freedom in many aspects of life.

    The Freedom to Choose to Concede Freedom

    Having the freedom to choose your own constraints is what makes life fulfilling and worthwhile. If you’re forced to do something, that’s a blatant form of slavery. If you’re programmed into thinking you don’t have a choice, that’s a subtle form of slavery. Both are extremely disharmonious and antithetical to human happiness.

    Ultimately, everything you do is a constraint on freedom. The Latin root of the word decision means “to cut off.” By making a decision, you’re literally cutting off all other possibilities. So it’s important to be mindful of your decisions in every moment, because you’re always making decisions whether you’re aware of them or not. It is choice (decision) that collapses the wave-form of all possibility and gives us a specific experience. Without choice, there would be no experience. Having free will without making a choice is to not have an experience.

    The key is being conscious of the choices you’re making and being aware of what you’re keeping and what you’re “cutting off” by making a decision.

    Family and Oneness

    One of the most gratifying positive constraints is choosing to start a family. By starting a family, you are choosing to give up some freedom, but the rewards of caring for others, giving and sharing can greatly outweigh the emptiness that comes from just sitting on the prospect of possibilities. Plus, taking care of someone besides yourself can be immeasurably rewarding if you already have some degree of self-mastery to build upon.

    Creating a family is unique in the sense that it imprints and amplifies your impact on other people (particularly children). If you haven’t released your own demons, you’re going to infect your family with your dysfunction. This is why families tend to repeat the same patterns generation after generation, unless someone becomes very conscious and grounded in their own power. On the other hand, if you’re harmonious within yourself, you’re going to spread the light of your love even more and that’s a snowball effect too. So from this higher perspective, you have the potential to create more freedom and happiness for the whole (which we’re all a part of) by choosing the positive constraint of starting a family.

    How to Apply Positive Constraints

    1. Decide what you want – This is the decision that cuts off other possibility and focuses your reality. Make sure you’re consciously focusing your reality and being mindful of where your intentionality is being directed.

    On a larger scale, figure out your purpose. Find what you want to prioritize in life and cast aside the things that aren’t in alignment with it. Also, you don’t have to have a fixed purpose for the rest of your life. Your purpose can change and evolve as you change and evolve.

    For a clearer vision of your purpose, read my article: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions

    2. Implement habits to get there – Once you decide on what you want, action must be taken. Form daily habits to bring you in your desired direction.

    Decide on 1-3 habits that are your “big wins” for the day and set aside blocks of time to do them, no matter what. With me, I set aside a 50 minute block for writing every morning and I record a video as well. Those have become things that I just do. Because I’ve built the habit, there is no decision to be made or questioning myself, they’re just what I do.

    Don’t forget about the first hour of your day either. Your morning routine is the foundation for your day. Make your morning routine the leverage point from which you build positive momentum for the rest of the day. Ideally, it should consist of drinking a lot of water (re-hydration and cleansing), meditation and some form of stretching/mobility exercises/yoga to prime your body for the day.

    More on morning routines:
    How to Own Your Day: Tim Ferriss Shares His 5 Morning Rituals
    The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

    That’s it. Applying positive constraints is essentially just focusing and following through.

    Enjoy your journey and much love to ya.

    – Stevie P!

     

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    Stop Consuming Culture and Create Your Own

    hands create sculpting

    Are you creating the life you want? Or are you just absorbing a version of reality that has been projected upon you?

    Are you living life on your own terms? Or are you letting your hopes and dreams become the desires of someone else?

    Are you maximizing your own state of being? Or are you focusing on external distractions?

    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

     
    Absorbing culture, as opposed to creating your own, is an insult to both your potential and individuality.

    We’re all super-creative beings, it’s just been systematically suppressed with most people. The potential that resides within every human being is almost unfathomable from the “poor little me” perspective. Every single person has unique skills and talents that, when cultivated, will be the building blocks of a better world. Are you cultivating and expressing your gifts? Or are you wasting your time on celebrity gossip or debating the latest sideshow act that the media has programmed you to react to?

    The Low Information Diet

    Many top performers in various fields (and happy people in general) consciously limit and filter the information they expose themselves to, particularly the news. Why? Because they’re focused on creating! And you should too if you care at all about living your life to the fullest.

    I’m focusing my energy on growing stronger myself; which means exploring new ideas, trying new things out, not being afraid of experience, becoming a role model that can support other guys in becoming stronger versions of themselves. Because if I don’t do that, I’m just contributing to the fucked-up-ness of the world.
    ~ Elliott Hulse

     
    The biggest culprit, in terms of information that hinders your well-being, is the news. When have you ever felt good after watching the news? And what did you personally do about the latest popularized tragedy? You’d be much better off working on yourself and helping those around you.

    The ‘news’ is nothing more than outrage porn. Or fear porn. Or literal porn. Completely ignore it and spend your mental energy focusing instead on being healthy, being creative and improving 1% each day.
    ~ James Altucher (check out his article on this called “Go On a News Diet, Starting Today”)

     
    It’s your choice whether or not to consume something. I’m not saying to never watch a movie or read a book again. Just be conscious about what you’re consuming and filter out the nonsense that doesn’t serve your best interest. Be mindful of your informational ingestion. Is what you’re consuming in alignment with your highest good? Is it making you a better person? Is it making you more of a role model to those around you?

    Author, investor and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has an entire category on his blog entitled “Low-Information Diet.” Yes, being conscious about the information you choose to absorb is that important.

    If you’ve noticed, I’m quoting a few people in this article, yet I’m synthesizing these sources to create my own unique work here. Also, the information I’m sharing sheds light on things within you that you may not have been aware of. There’s a big difference between consciously seeking information that will help you improve and mindlessly consuming asinine gossip and spiritually paralyzing fear-mongering (“news”).

    Our brains have a hard time processing what’s happening to billions of people, especially all of the horrors which the news seems to be keen on feeding people. Every person has a threshold of trauma which they can tolerate in their lives before the accumulated trauma becomes their primary operating system. The news creates information overload and forces people into a fear-induced paralysis.

    Focus on what you can do right now. Tune into yourself, start expressing your inner gifts, spread love to everyone you encounter and inspire by example.

    Lifting the Veil

    Even the most conservative and closed-minded people can sense the blatant dysfunction of the culture we find ourselves in, although many refuse to admit the sheer grandiosity of the lies we’ve been sold.

    Examine all of the major systems in place and you’ll find common themes of fear, deception, separation and scarcity. Mainstream media, education, religion, energy, healthcare (sick-care), politics and economics all operate under this paradigm. That’s why disharmony arises everywhere mainstream culture touches.

    Thankfully, there are alternatives emerging across the board. And you can be a catalyst for positive change as well. Everyone has something amazing to contribute. But that will be stifled if all you do is focus externally.

    Projected Reality

    The universe does not exist “out there,” independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe. Physics is no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, fields of force, into geometry, or even into time and space. Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself.
    ~ John Wheeler

     
    Reality is not as we’re told. It’s not as fixed and machine-like as we assume it to be (without any investigation), but more of a quantum soup of information that we’re decoding and projecting into simultaneously.

    The building blocks of our reality, atoms, are not solid. They’re more than 99.999999% empty space. So how can a universe consisting of these non-solid atoms be solid? Well, it’s not. We just decode it that way. Just like how objects in video games appear solid, yet they’re not.

    And we’re exactly in this situation in our world. We look around and it doesn’t seem that mathematical at all, but everything we see is made out of elementary particles like quarks and electrons. And what properties does an electron have? Does it have a smell or a colour or a texture? No! As far as we can tell the only properties an electron has are -1, 1/2 and 1. We physicists have come up with geeky names for these properties, like electric charge, or spin, or lepton number, but the electron doesn’t care what we call it, the properties are just numbers.
    ~ Max Tegmark

     
    The human brain processes approximately 11 million impressions every second that it decodes into the five senses. These 11 million are filtered down to about 40 and from that our sense of reality is constructed. The brain also “fills the gaps” of the unprocessed information based upon what it believes should be there. It’s all about how we decode this sea of information. So if you change the way you decode reality, you experience a different version of reality.

    Along with decoding the general informational template of reality, we’re all perpetually projecting into reality as well. The observer effect and the double-slit experiment show that the observer actually influences what is being observed. How crazy is that? Everything is interconnected and your consciousness creates ripples upon the web of reality whether you like it or not.

    So it is highly important to be mindful of your beliefs that are decoding reality in a certain way and your focus/emotions/thoughts/words that are constantly being projected upon reality.

    Energy flows where attention goes. What are you giving energy to?

    Imagine your focus as life force energy flowing wherever it is directed. If you’re watching the news, you’re draining your own energy (it really is energetic vampirism) and energetically contributing to the fear, destruction and violence. Instead focus on what you can do to improve yourself and make the world a better place. Objective awareness is crucial too. I’m neither ignorant nor apathetic to what’s going on in the world. It’s just that I choose not to focus my energy on it and focus instead on improving myself, writing, inspiring, being kind to everyone I encounter, being a role model…etc.

    The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
    ~ Dan Millman

     
    Television is like a hack into our reality interface. It programs the subconscious, which then makes you decode and project reality based on that program. When you watch television, you’re in a state of light hypnosis, meaning your subconscious mind is primed to pick up hypnotic suggestions in the form of advertisements, subliminal messages, beliefs, ideals, opinions…etc. Of course there are some good shows out there, but the majority of it (especially news and commercials) are psyche-hacks to make you decode, project and act under a paradigm of fear, ego-enslavement, disempowerment and inadequacy. If you notice, most people exhibit predictable programmed reactions based on events publicized in the media. It’s all engineered that way.

    There are six companies that control 90% of the US media. This is a ridiculous centralization of information sources. Combine this with how insidious television is and it’s the perfect storm for mass brainwashing. Get your information from various democratized sources (to have multiple data points for reference) and form your own opinions.

    It’s all in plain sight too. Remember, television is called “programming” for a reason.

    television programming

    Culture Creation Case Studies

    Look at what the downtrodden youth of the Bronx, New York created when American culture did nothing but oppress them. Neighborhoods were impoverished, schools were underfunded and traditional musical instruments weren’t available. They had limited access to many modern conveniences and a burning desire to express themselves. So what did they do? They created their own culture, hip-hop, which revolutionized music, poetry, art, dance, fashion and language.

    The hippie movement of the 1960’s is another example of culture creation. During this time period, the Vietnam War (a horrible campaign of violence predicated on lies, like every war) was going on and the American way, up until that point, was characterized by unquestioning obedience towards authority. But the hippies bucked the system (some by protesting the war and aiding the civil rights movement) and created their own counter-culture instead of passively absorbing the culture projected upon them. That movement planted the seeds for alternative thinking, questioning authority, open-mindedness, various forms of artistic expression, spirituality beyond religion and a foundation of love instead of the undercurrent of fear that pervades mainstream systems.

    Changing the World Starts with You

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

     
    You are the leverage point from which the world changes. Trying to change the external world without changing yourself first is like trying to comb the mirror instead of your own hair. And reality is a sort of mirror of our internal state (see the evidence above).

    Also, if you’re changing things without a foundation of self-mastery, that change is coming from a fundamentally compromised place. An external focus on change is like standing on top of a boat yelling at things to move out of your way, while internal change is simply steering the boat.

    How to Change the World

    Know thyself – Get in tune with yourself. Go within, meditate, observe your thoughts and emotions, do the inner work, rid yourself of limiting beliefs, let go of trauma you’re holding onto, continuously improve yourself and find/create your purpose. You are the hinge from which the door to all change swings on, and inner work is the opening of the door.

    Focus on your experienced reality – Not what’s on tv, not what’s on the news, not what Kanye West is doing. Focus on your experience, your personal relationships, your family, your community, your skills, your home, your joys, your passions, how you treat the people you encounter…etc. Everything else besides your present experience is just conceptual. What action can you take right now? (No, sitting on your couch moaning about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton doesn’t count.)

    Vote with your dollar – We live in a consumerist society and corporations run the governments. These companies cannot exist if people don’t buy their products/services, it’s as simple as that. Are you contributing to the problem or solution? Be mindful of where you spend your money, because that’s the real voting (it’s democratized, direct and not rigged).

    Find your gifts and express them – When you do the inner work and focus on your experienced reality (not manipulated “tv reality”), you will inevitably find and develop useful skills. Everyone has something useful and incredibly potent to contribute. You just need to shed the societal conditioning and find out for yourself. And each person, by sharing their gifts, will contribute to the creation of a better world. Some will invent ways to harness free energy (rendering oil dependency useless), some will be architects who design eco-friendly buildings, some will be great gardeners, some will be writers, some will be musicians…etc. All you need to do is look within and you’ll find that you’ve had brilliant gifts all along.

    There are millions of other people that would benefit from a little bit of insight or wisdom from you in the way you choose to offer it. Maybe you want to become a coach. Maybe you want to build a business. Maybe you create a non-profit organization. Maybe you make videos. Maybe you write books. Maybe you make poetry. Maybe you play the violin. Whatever it is, you’re adding beauty to the world. You’ve gotta keep that balance. If you let the death and destruction weigh you down, you’re becoming an anchor!
    ~ Elliott Hulse

     
    Be a beacon of love – Never underestimate small acts of kindness. The little things you do in each moment matter immensely, and they add up. Who knows how profoundly you can inspire someone with one simple act of kindness? Are you spreading love or are you contributing to the disharmony? The choice is up to you in each moment.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!

     

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    10 Profound Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

    classical music notes written

    I’ve been hanging out with a few old friends lately: Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Bach, Chopin, Handel, Wagner and the rest of those OG’s.

    Classical music has become a staple in my life. It’s a truly beautiful form of music that comes with a seemingly endless list of benefits which we can all reap. The first thing I do each morning is put on those harmonious, orchestra-driven melodies of classical music.

    Why do I listen to classical music all of the time?

    I like to call it “serenading the space.” Playing classical music instantly turns any room into a church of good vibes, a temple of celebration or your own tranquil sanctuary. Turn on some classical music and you’ll instantly experience this for yourself (if you haven’t already).

    Classical music is the background music to my morning stretches, my writing routine and almost everything else I do. It weaves a fundamental layer of peace and harmony into the fabric of my life.

    Now this is coming from a hip-hop head. Classical music was never really my thing. I don’t necessarily sit down and listen to it very intently either, but its benefits as background music are utterly unparalleled. Here’s why..

    10 Profound Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

    1. Increases Physical Performance

    Classical music, especially fast-paced classical music, has been consistently shown to increase physical performance.

    We’ve all experienced that extra push that music can give us when working out. It gets you to squeeze out that extra rep, or run that sprint a little bit faster. And I don’t know about you, but I feel like the hero of a movie whenever I exercise to some epic classical music.

    Also, because it doesn’t have words, classical music allows you to focus more on what you’re doing, instead of focusing on the music. If I listen to hip-hop when working out, I get a surge of motivation, but I’ll be less mindful of the exercise I’m doing. But with classical music, I get a similar surge in motivation, but I’ll be completely mindful and more present when performing the exercise.

    Sources:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10573664

    2. Increases Sleep Quality

    Classical music calms the mind, and when the mind calms down, the body follows. Listening to classical music is greatly effective for people who suffer from insomnia and other sleeping disorders. The soothing effects of classical music are tremendously conducive to sleep.

    The conclusion of one study (entitled “Music improves sleep quality in students”) reads “Relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems. Nurses could use this safe, cheap and easy to learn method to treat insomnia.”

    Sources:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18426457

    3. Eases Chronic Pain

    Classical music has inherent healing properties and has been shown to reduce pain. Along with distracting people from the pain they experience, the relaxing and stress-reducing effects of classical music actually reduce pain as well.

    Many hospitals have caught on to this and now play classical music because of its potent effects on pain reduction.

    On top of easing chronic pain, classical music actually accelerates healing too. But whether it’s just the relaxing effects that stimulate healing, or if the sound vibration itself is healing, is up for debate. But the bottom line is that classical music reduces pain and helps the body heal. So drop the pain killers and put on some Mozart instead.

    Sources:
    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0021-75572006000300006&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21704068

    4. Improves Mood and Fights Depression

    Classical music is well-known to boost mood, relax the mind and increase dopamine levels. Anyone can experience this too, just play some classical music and notice your mood shift for the better.

    Classical music also has the same physiological effects as a massage, which is an impressive testament to how much music (frequency and vibration) really affects us.

    The flipside of the coin of happiness is depression. So because classical music makes you feel good, depression naturally fades away, making classical music a powerful anti-depressant as well.

    A large-scale example of classical music’s positive effects on mood is that it literally fights crime. Classical music is like a super hero and has been shown to reduce crime rates when played in public places.

    Sources:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000689930400736X
    http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/10/05/how_classical_music_can_reduce_crime_benefit_your_mood_and_increase_your_spending.htm

    5. Lowers Stress Levels

    Going hand-in-hand with its mood boosting properties, classical music notably reduces stress. This makes sense, of course, due to its relaxation and mood enhancing properties.

    Classical music has been repeatedly shown to lower cortisol levels as well. Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone,” so it’s a way to tangibly measure stress responses in people.

    Stress is an epidemic in modern society, so listening to classical music is a great way to fight back against the chronic stress we’re all faced with in our day-to-day lives.

    How can you be stressed when you’re relaxed and happy? You can’t.

    Sources:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1069901/Listening-classical-music-relieve-pregnancy-stress.html
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110826/

    6. Boosts Brain Function

    The positive effect of classical music on brain function is so well known that it’s referred to as the “The Mozart Effect.”

    Here are some examples:
    In 1996, the College Entrance Exam Board Service conducted a study of all students taking their SAT exams. Students who sang or played a musical instrument scored an average of 51 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test.

    In a controlled University of California study, students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart before taking SATs had higher scores than students who didn’t.

    In a University of Washington study, people who listened to light classical music for 90 minutes while copyediting a manuscript caught 21% more mistakes.

    7. Sharpens Memory

    Being so beneficial for brain function in general, it’s no surprise that classical music improves memory as well.

    Studies have shown that music enhances the memory of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. One of these was a UC Irvine study, which showed that scores on memory tests of Alzheimer’s patients improved when they listened to classical music.

    There’s a slight caveat regarding classical music and memory though. In the 1960’s, a Bulgarian psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Georgi Lozanov found that different pieces of classical music were more beneficial to memory than others, depending on what stage of the learning process they were used. The learning process can be divided into three stages: relaxation, active learning and memory consolidation. Lozanov, after 30 years of experiments with music and memory, found that specific pieces of classical music yielded better results in these different stages of the learning process. Some pieces were better for relaxation, some were better for active learning and some were better for memory consolidation.

    Sources:
    http://www.rocketmemory.com/articles/music-and-studying/

    8. Decreases Blood Pressure

    Among classical music’s health benefits is that it decreases blood pressure. The tempos of music have a profound impact on both heart-rate and blood pressure. Slower, gentler music is relaxing, which slows the heart-rate and reduces blood pressure, while music with a faster tempo does the opposite.

    Many pieces of classical music are also in sync with the body’s natural rhythms. For example, blood pressure rises and falls every ten seconds or so, which is a rhythm that many composers mirror in their works.

    Another fun fact is that the second part of Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony is called the “music of a healthy heart” and it is especially recommended for high blood pressure.

    Sources:
    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/59065/20150610/your-heart-loves-music-operas-and-classical-music-can-lower-your-blood-pressure.htm

    9. Enhances Creativity

    Classical music is like a magical creativity catalyst. The good vibes put you in a clear, creative mood which acts as fertile ground for harvesting new ideas and insight. Combine this with enhanced cognitive function, being stress-free and relaxed, and you have a recipe for great creative work.

    Classical music, because it doesn’t have words, doesn’t disrupt the creative process either. I personally get into much more of a flow state, especially when writing, when listening to music without words. Music with words tends to be distracting when doing any creative work.

    10. Improves Productivity

    Want to be more productive? Classical music helps with that as well. An often overlooked advantage of listening to classical music is that it can make monotonous tasks more tolerable. If you’re engaging in a repetitive task, classical music can “get you out of your head” and help pass the time in a more enjoyable fashion.

    I personally would listen to classical music whenever I had to do a repetitive task at my job. It would transform an assignment, consisting of hours of manual data entry, from torturous to “this isn’t so bad” in a matter of seconds.

    Lyric-less music aids productivity as well. According to studies from Cambridge Sound Management, intelligible words can force us to shift focus from our work to figuring out what someone is saying (that’s why it can disrupt creativity too). According to Cambridge’s 2008 study, speech distracts about 48% of office workers. So while classical music can boost productivity, other more-wordy genres of music may actually hinder it.

    Sources:
    http://cambridgesound.com/sound-masking-references/
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0003687072901019

    Oh, and did I mention that listening to classical music instantly makes you well-cultured?

    Classical music comes with a whole host of benefits that you can leverage to optimize your well-being. The composers were geniuses who could create audio medicine, gently speaking to our subconscious mind and harmonizing the totality of who we are.

    So put on some Mozart and compose art. Play some Handel and handle your business. Bump some Bach and get “bach” to being happy.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

    PS – I wrote this whole article while listening to classical music.

     

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