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Alan Watts on Music and Life

music life

Have you ever said this to yourself before?

“I’ll be happy when [this] happens.”

“I’ll be happy once I find the right girl/guy.”

“I’ll be fulfilled when ________.”

We’ve all done this. But here’s the thing: We’ve been programmed to do so.

We’re conditioned to think that salvation lies at the end of the rainbow. It’s a malicious deception that has us chasing that “something” our whole lives, yet never finding it. We believe that happiness awaits us tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. So most people spend their whole lives waiting for their lives to start.

Even when we get what we wanted, we don’t fully appreciate it, because our minds have been conditioned to constantly search for happiness somewhere in the future.

Here’s the secret: What we’re searching for is hidden in plain sight, in the here and now. This isn’t some woo-woo metaphorical rhetoric. It’s true and applicable RIGHT NOW. There’s a reason why the core teachings of almost every spiritual or self-help book is presence and mindfulness. It’s something that is absolutely crucial to understand and PRACTICE.

Take just a few moments to be fully present. Tune into the present moment, experience all of your senses (come to your senses), hold gratitude for where you’re at right now, and you’ll realize that this is what you’ve been searching for all along.

That’s the paradox. The happiness we think happens somewhere in the future when this or that happens has actually been with us all along, in the present moment.

You don’t listen to music just to hear the last note. You don’t eat a meal just for the last bite. You don’t just read the last page of a novel. You don’t just watch the climax of a movie. The process – the ups, downs, challenges and triumphs – is what makes everything beautiful, worthwhile and fun. The same goes for life.

Alan Watts brilliantly explains this concept in a lecture called “Music and Life.” The way he expresses this concept will shift your entire paradigm on life. Here’s the transcript:

Alan Watts

In music one doesn’t make the end of a composition the point of the composition. If that were so the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord; because that’s the end!

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our every day conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling that gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded. And what we do is we put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of “come on kitty kitty kitty”, and now you go to kindergarten. And that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade, and then come on; first grade leads to second grade and so on, and then you get out of grade school. Now you’re going to go to high school, and it’s revving up – the thing is coming. Then you’ve got to go to college, and by Jove then you get into graduate school and when you’re through with graduate school you go out and join the World!

And then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming. It’s coming, it’s coming! That great thing, the success you’re working for. Then when you wake up one day at about 40 years old you say “My God! I’ve arrived! I’m there”. And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.

And there’s a slight let down because you feel there’s a hoax. And there was a hoax. A dreadful hoax. They made you miss everything. We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end. Success or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and we were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

Alan Watts – Music and Life

 

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How Stories Shape Our Culture

story book

What stories shape your life?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all live based upon stories. Collective stories are the basis of culture and personal stories are the basis of how we view ourselves as individuals.

Stories are the underpinnings of human reality. Humanity is built upon stories. Stories shape our culture, our lives and the way we perceive the world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or false, if a story is believed, it becomes a blueprint of reality.

Cultural Stories

Every culture has stories that act as the very basis for how people live their lives.

In ancient times, mythology shaped the way people viewed reality, the world around them, society and themselves.

Any religious culture is dominated by the stories of that religion. People’s whole lives, down to the finest detail, are dictated by those stories.

Our modern western culture is based on a combination of science, religion and history (his-story). Science is constantly updated, disproving older theories, while failing to explain the “why” questions of our reality. Most organized religions are distortions of spiritual truths for purposes of control. And his-story is merely the story told by the winners of wars.

These cultural belief systems are attempts at explaining truth, at best. And at their worst, they’re attempts at control and manipulation. I’m not saying that all of these are false; I’m saying that regardless of being true or false, these stories shape our experience of reality and every aspect of how we live our lives.

Let’s take the scientific paradigm as an example. According to this story (again, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true or false):

  • We are our bodies, or more specifically our brains.
  • We live on Planet Earth, which revolves around the sun, in an incomprehensibly large universe.
  • This universe started with the Big Bang (the Big Bang THEORY).
  • On Earth, we evolved from apes, growing smarter and more and more sophisticated, until we’ve dominated nature and now live in the wonderful culmination of all of that evolution and “progress.”
  • You see, this is a STORY, or the background program that we run our lives by. And that’s not even getting into the stories of history, money, work, relationships, purpose, pleasure and everything else that makes up our belief systems. These things determine how we perceive and interact with reality.

    Where does this story get us? Well, take a look at the world around you. Check out the “news.” If it seems a little disharmonious (which anyone with eyes can see), we have to start reevaluating the stories we’re living by.

    grand central station

    Your Story

    What stories are you telling yourself? What is your identity based on? What labels do you identify with?

    In the midst of the trend of collective stories, we have the personal stories we tell ourselves. These are our individual stories that shape the way we view and interact with the world.

    Let’s use a man named Henry as an example, whose personal story might look like this:
    I’m Henry.
    I’m a white man.
    I’m an American.
    I’m a Christian.
    I’m not good at math (because my third grade teacher told me that and I’ve believed her ever since).
    I’m good at fixing things (because my dad said I was when I fixed his truck).
    I’m an introvert so I don’t have many friends.
    My favorite color is blue.
    My favorite food is steak.
    I’m a car mechanic, so I’m not good with computers.
    I’m a lower middle class guy.
    I go to work every day, then come home, drink a beer and turn on the tv to relax at night.
    I don’t have time to eat healthy or work out.
    I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
    I wear boots and flannels because I’m manly.

    Ok, you get the point. This is all a STORY. Almost all of those things could be dropped and changed instantaneously. Our friend Henry could literally have a completely new life tomorrow, if he chose to.

    Programming and patterns are incredibly hard to break for us humans. But simple awareness of the stories we tell ourselves puts us in the position to consciously choose what our stories are.

    So what stories are you telling yourself? What identities are you carrying with you day in and day out? What patterns do you have? What are you building momentum towards?

    Gain some awareness of the stories you’re telling yourself. Only then can you choose to change your life for the better.

    individual

    Creating New Stories

    We can create new stories in each moment.

    It is a choice. But you have to first be aware to even know that you have a choice.

    We can tell new tales and shape reality in our own way.

    What do you want out of life? What is your purpose? What’s on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?

    Be open and willing to change.

    Find your vision and start working towards that. Only tell yourself stories which help to create that vision of yourself.

    The Power of Fiction

    The importance of stories is why I love fiction so much. Whether reading or writing, fiction helps to reshape our world.

    Truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth. Paradigm-shifting truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    This is why I read and write a lot of fiction. If we change the stories we tell, we change how our world is shaped.

    Want to get your hands on an example of a paradigm-shifting story?

    You can get a free copy of my new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s on Kindle Scout right now, which is a platform that allows readers to choose what gets published by Amazon. Basically, books that a lot of people nominate and show interest in get published. So I need your help to get Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth out there. It only takes a minute of your time.

    Here’s what I need you to do:
    1. Go to this link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/WNJWEXEM3HEZ
    2. Click “Nominate me”

    That’s it.

    And if the book gets selected for publishing, you get an early, free copy!

    Let’s reshape our world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It’s About You!

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

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

    prison

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

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

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

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

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

    Obama mirror

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

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

    ~ Carl G. Jung

    —————-

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

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

    ~ Neil Kramer

    —————-

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

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

    ~ Sri Aurobindo

     

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    Release Into Love

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

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

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

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

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

    primal release

    How Do We Let Go?

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

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

    – Gabrielle Roth

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

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

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

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

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

    CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO RELEASE

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

    You don’t have to hold onto it all.

    Release into love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    Why I Stopped Making Long-Term Goals

    mountain goals

    Almost everyone bases their lives off of a script.

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

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

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

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

    The Perspective Discrepancy

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

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

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

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

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

    Staying Open to Opportunity

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

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

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

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

    Create Shorter Term Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Much Love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    The Simple Secret to a Fully Fulfilling Life

    mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    mind full or mindful

    6 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Practice the Five Sense Walking Meditation

    6. Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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

    Meet each moment with blissful totality.

    – Stevie P
     

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    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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    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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