Gratitude: Your Secret Weapon

Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude naturally and effortlessly transmutes fear.

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

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

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

Where There is Gratitude, There is No Fear

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

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

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

The Great Transmuter

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

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

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

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

Remember, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

The Magic is Right Here!

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

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

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

Gratitude Practices

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

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

    When in doubt, be grateful.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

    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!

    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.”

    Are You A Positive Person? You’re Probably in Denial

    wolf

    When I started Feelin’ Good Feelin’ Great, I was in denial…

    I believed that positivity consisted on only focusing on “positive” things and ignoring everything “negative.”

    So that’s how I lived my life. I dodged my shadows and avoided my own darkness, then wondered why I felt confined and limited. In doing this, even though I thought that my life was all sunshine and rainbows (because that was the only territory I let myself explore), I was governed by the fear of fear itself (which is a self-created illusion). This phase lasted 2-3 years, until the Seeker archetype within me grew to the point where curiosity, backed by a deep sense of courage/faith/trust, could no longer be confined by fear.

    Positivity can be immensely useful, but when it becomes your identity or a way of avoiding the uncomfortable, you ironically slip into a life governed by fear and delusion.

    This is the trap of what I call delusional positivity; disregarding anything negative and pretending that it doesn’t exist. This is a dangerous way to live because what is suppressed will inevitably manifest in other ways. Although this naïve optimism seems all loving and pleasant, it’s based in fear; the fear of your own darkness (as well as the external reflection of it in the world).

    And what is positive anyway? Essentially, positive and negative are just labels which we place upon things that the ego either likes (positive) or dislikes (negative). When you draw your perspective back and look at the big picture, what you might deem positive and negative will often flip flop. For example, being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning when I was 19 seemed like a “negative” experience at the time, yet it was the greatest catalyst for my journey of self-discovery.

    There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
    – William Shakespeare

     
    This concept is hard to swallow from the limited perspective of the ego, especially with the extremes of war and suffering going on this planet. But we cannot truly understand love and freedom until we experience the extreme opposite. I’m not in any way saying to enable these atrocities though. Part of our process is to overcome them collectively (which begins within each individual). However, the woes of the world serve the purpose of being a harsh reference point of what we don’t want and the ultimate difficult learning experience.

    If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.
    – Viktor Frankl

     
    Contrast is necessary for holistic understanding. We need negativity to appreciate positivity. We need darkness to appreciate light. From a higher perspective, challenges are viewed as an opportunity to grow, hurdles are viewed as opportunities to leap and pain is viewed as a means of truly understanding joy.

    Love is the innermost craving of humans. Why? Because it is our essence. We experience fear, pain, suffering and the like because through experiencing contrast, we’re able to truly understand and appreciate love.

    Love is a unifying force, while fear is divisive. This applies both internally and externally. Fear divides people and fear divides aspects of yourself. And whenever things are divided, they come into conflict with one another. But love unifies and creates wholeness. So it’s only common sense that the totality of everything is love. Love is the fabric of Oneness. Love is the defining element of Source.

    owl

    The owl’s vision pierces through the darkness and sees through all illusions.

    Big Picture Positivity (Positivity 2.0)

    This is a call to let go of short-sighted, delusional positivity and courageously embrace Big Picture Positivity.

    Big picture positivity is the ability to love everything. It is being able to acknowledge and show compassion towards both polarities of duality (light and dark, good and evil, bad and good, negative and positive…etc.).

    Big picture positivity is the application of unconditional love. Big picture positivity is unwavering compassion. Big picture positivity is a total acceptance of what is, without judgment or resistance.

    Can you acknowledge your inner demons and meet them with a compassionate hug? If not, then you’re governed by fear.

    Can you acknowledge “negative” emotions without trying to avoid or change them? If not, then you’re creating resistance, self-judgment and denial.

    Can you acknowledge your darkness and shine light on it? Or are you too afraid? If you’re afraid of something within you, then you’re fragmented yourself. This self-fragmentation will subtly pull on you, pleading to be acknowledged, and will fester until it becomes something that you’re forced to deal with (like a disease).

    Can you acknowledge the evil of the world and meet it with empathy, compassion and love? Or do you react with fear, anger or judgment?

    Crime and the criminal justice system is actually a macrocosm of the practice of big picture positivity, or meeting everything with love. Ignoring crime obviously doesn’t work. But judging and punishing crime isn’t the best solution either (look at the massive failure/disharmony of the US criminal justice system). What does work, however, is acknowledging crime and healing the individual who committed the crime. It is addressing an aspect of the whole that is crying out for help and meeting it with love. People who feel love do not harm themselves or others; it’s as simple as that. So wouldn’t love be the obvious solution?

    The same principle applies to shadow aspects of ourselves. Acknowledge your shadows and meet them with compassion. Heal with unyielding love.

    There’s nothing to be afraid of. It all just is. All of that fear simply comes from resistance to what is.

    Love it all.

    – Stevie P!

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


     

    2

    A Glimpse into My Personal Journey

    big tree

    This is much more of a personal reflection than most of my articles. It started as a journal entry, but through sharing it, you may relate and find value in this too. Some may even find this outlandish, but it is my genuine self-expression and I know that others can relate at least the general themes to their own experiences.

    These are chaotic times we live in, where outer and inner realities are going through rapid changes. If you’re experiencing any overwhelming changes in your life, especially if you’re someone on the spiritual path who’s undergoing a rapid expansion of consciousness, just know that you’re not alone.

    Much, much love.

    – Stevie P

    6/13/2016
    I’ve expanded my consciousness so rapidly over the last 8 months, since I quit my job, traveled the world, wrote two books and had innumerable mindblowing experiences. As with any rapid change, it can be difficult to manage at times. And it came to a crescendo over the last couple weeks.

    Looking back, as hindsight is 20/20, I was honestly walking the thin line between genius and insanity for the last 2 weeks or so, up until this weekend. I was accessing knowledge, wisdom and understanding that was so intensely profound, to the point of being overwhelming. I was navigating territory completely unfamiliar to me, making me feel lost and honestly a bit afraid.

    I felt what the people who want to just check out of society feel – drug addicts, suicidal people, everyone deemed as misfits and outcasts – I felt what they feel and felt it poignantly. It’s extremely difficult to bring that feeling through the filter of language. I also felt what the “crazy geniuses” feel as well, being so far gone in the realms of creative inspiration that physical reality seems almost irrelevant. I was imbalanced, however, clinging to the creative muse, instead of letting her come and go as she pleases, which is her very nature.

    Note: I’m not sayin I’m inherently smarter than anyone else. We’re all geniuses in different ways. Most people just haven’t unlocked this potential.

    I’ve been seeing the world from a subtle outside looking in perspective. And from this perspective, it’s so easy to slip into runaway ungroundedness and lose all touch with this realm of reality. When you have a different perspective than the norm (which is akin to being asleep), it’s like waking up alone in a new house before dawn. Yes, you’re conscious and awake, yet you’re confused and stumbling around in the dark. I spent the last couple weeks getting my footing and groping through the vivid darkness. But I’m now learning how to navigate with this new version of self.

    Note: I’m using the term “asleep” not as a judgment, it’s just the best word to describe what I’m attempting to express. Everyone is on their own journey. There is no better or worse, just different. Who am I to judge someone else’s life?

    Like Chuck Yeager said, “Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.” My shaking and barrier breaking seems to have ended and now I’m flying smoothly again, just in a new domain of speed.

    The lens that I’m viewing reality from was re-focused. It was blurry for a second, but I feel intuitively that I’m starting to see more clearly than ever.

    I’ve learned this powerful lesson: If you ground yourself and master your mind, you can have that “higher” perspective without being lost in it; while still walking the Earth, being here now (in 3D reality) and enjoying the good things it does have to offer. Our selves are always changing, and sometimes powerful changes can throw off your balance. So it’s important to allow change to happen, while finding your balance through the process.

    I found balance by getting out in nature every day, spending time with family and socializing more. Grounding barefoot on the Earth has also been a godsend for me.

    I’ve also come to the realization that I need to connect with more people that I can learn from, who can help me along my journey. I’ve been pushing the boundaries so hard and for so long that, at times, it feels as if I’m alone in the depths of space. But I know there are other people who have already been through what I’m going through, which is true for any and all facets of the human experience. We’re all unique aspects of the same oneness helping each other out.

    A message that I received during a Merkaba activation in Costa Rica keeps coming back to me; an image of a tree appeared to me and said “Stay grounded. You already have all of the answers.”

    And it couldn’t be any truer.

    Gratitude fills my heart.

     

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


     

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


     

    Simplicity: Your Key to Lasting Happiness

    Simplicity

    If you’ve been indoctrinated into modern society, you’re conditioned to believe that accumulation equates to happiness.

    You go through life accumulating – money, gadgets, relationships, cars, houses, degrees…etc. – thinking that these additions will make you happy (And how’s that working out for everyone?). But actually it’s removal that begets happiness. Once you clear all of the bullshit, there’s nothing left but peace, joy and positive emotions.

    Happiness comes from removal, not accumulation. Remove fear, remove doubt, remove expectation and you’ll find that you’re left with happiness. Joy is your natural, essential state. You’ve just piled so much on top that you’ve forgotten the bliss that lies beneath it all.

    Meditation is the perfect example of this. Meditation is a “non-doing” in which you slip into the silent space between thoughts. It’s a transcendence of the neurotic thought loops of the mind, bringing you to a state of no-thought. It’s the ultimate removal. And guess what? Everyone feels positive emotions when they meditate (peace, bliss, joy, happiness, serenity…etc).

    “One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”
    – Bruce Lee

    And living a life of simplicity doesn’t mean being a simple-minded simpleton. It’s really about being intelligent enough to let go of what doesn’t truly serve your best interest.

    “I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    Simplicity & Lying
    In the phenomenal book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word.” Speak with integrity, say only what you mean, avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or gossip about others and use the power of the Word in the direction of truth and love.

    Being straightforward and truthful with your word harmonizes your emotions, thoughts, words and actions. That’s why it feels good. Because everything is in alignment.

    Morality aside, lying just makes things too complicated and tedious. For me, having to build and maintain a complex web of lies is much more difficult and emotionally taxing than being brutally honest (even when it’s not politically correct).

    Think about the relationships you have where you’re the most honest. Though your ego may take a few slaps to the face, those relationships are far more fulfilling than those which you wear a mask. Life is far simpler, genuine and enjoyable when honesty prevails.

    “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
    ― Isaac Newton

    Simplicity & “Stuff”
    The accumulation of “stuff” is a huge problem plaguing so many people. Buying things to make you happy is a quick fix that quickly fades. And soon enough, you’ll need another hit of it. Buying things can really be like a drug addiction.

    This also leads to the accumulation of stuff, which can bog you down and hinder your freedom on multiple levels. With less stuff, there’s less to clean, less to upkeep and less to distract you from your natural state of happiness.

    One of the first posts I’ve ever written here is on this topic: Possessions vs Experiences: Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

    Simplicity & Desires
    The vast majority of the desires you have are the result of societal programming. If you strip all of the conditioning away, all we really desire are simple things like love, happiness and personal growth. When you simplify your desires, you remove the self-created walls between yourself and happiness.

    “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
    – Epictetus

    Simplicity & Busyness
    Work smarter, not harder. Focus only on what you really need (or want) to get done, instead of dozens of asinine tasks. This will allow you to prioritize and accomplish the most important tasks while being less stressed throughout the process.

    “Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
    – Tim Ferriss

    Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
    – Peter Drucker

    Read my post on busyness here: 15 Ways to Cure the “Busy Syndrome”

    Simplicity & Your Body
    Create lasting health and happiness by simplifying diet and exercise. You’ll enjoy it more and it’ll become a natural part of your lifestyle.

    With diet, it might look something like this: Just eat real food (JERF), eat when you’re hungry and have fun splurging every once in a while.

    Regarding exercise, I’ve personally made the most progress using simple, basic routines. Just consistently improving at the most fundamental exercises has worked wonders for me.

    Simplicity & Your Mind
    Think of the mind like a computer. If you have too many programs running at once, the computer will slow down or even crash.

    Focus only on what’s really important, and focus on one thing at a time.

    Having a regular meditation practice will greatly help you in clearing all of the unnecessary programs running in your mind.

    Simplicity & Presence
    Simplicity brings you more into the here and now (all that really exists). The simpler life is, the more conducive it is to cultivating a state of present moment awareness.

    “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
    not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
    of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

    – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

    Read more: There Are No Problems in the Present Moment

    Simplicity & Minimalism
    Minimalism is a form of simplicity. Once you clear all of your baggage (physical, mental, emotional…etc.), you have less burdens, less weighing you down and less obstructions to your happiness.

    “Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.”
    – Linda Breen Pierce

    Read more: The Joy of Minimalism: Traveling the World with Only Carry-On Luggage

    Simplicity & Quality Over Quantity
    Quality over quantity is a common phrase, but how many people really put it into practice? It applies to everything, especially relationships. If you build a few good quality relationships, instead of just trying to please everyone, it’s far more fulfilling and rewarding.

    Simplicity & Money
    Prioritize your happiness, instead of making decisions solely based on money. Budgeting and worrying about every penny you spend is a miserable existence. Feel abundant, and abundance will permeate your life. If you have an abundance mentality, you will, by the laws of the universe, attract more abundance.

    Here’s a personal example: I was just in Goa, India and the town I was in (Arambol) only had one working ATM. It was a long walk away, always had a long line and had a limit to how many rupees you could withdraw. Basically, going to the ATM was about as fun as being the wicked witch of the west and caught in a tsunami. So what I did was I would go to money exchange places, which were closer and much, much easier. They charged a 3% exchange fee, but the convenience was so worth it.

    Another aspect of this is simplifying the bills you pay. Evaluate what you’re paying on a monthly basis and figure out what you really need (or want). Get rid of the unnecessary. Also, automate your bill payments, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay them (less programs running on the mind-computer).

    Simplicity & Distilling Information
    The skill of distilling information is being able to simplify and concisely assimilate information. This allows for more clarity on whatever you’re learning about, prevents you from succumbing to information overload and puts you in a position to effectively implement the information.

    If you can’t simply explain a subject to a young child, you don’t truly understand it.

    You can build this skill of distilling information by succinctly summarizing things on a regular basis. This could be through writing, verbal explanations or even giving presentations on certain topics.

    “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
    – Confucius

    Find bliss in simplicity.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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    Overcome Stagnation with This 3 Minute Trick

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    I just spent the whole morning writing. And I definitely sat down for too long, so I was feeling stagnant and utterly uninspired. I wasn’t just physically stagnant, but mentally as well (they’re intimately interconnected).

    You know that feeling, right? It’s that eye-rolling combination of being drained, dreary, exhausted and indecisive, with no mental capacity or motivation to do anything.

    I knew that I had to do something about it. I needed to create a shift somehow or I would feel like a rusty wheelbarrow with a flat tire for the rest of the day.

    So I did the following, and in about 3 minutes I felt anew and reinvigorated.

    3 Minutes to Overcome Stagnation

    Step 1) Put on a song you love – Play any song that makes you feel good.

    Step 2) Take 10 deep breaths – Breathe deeply into your belly. Feel the energy flowing within. Remember this: Shallow breathing makes you feel like shit and deep breathing makes you feel awesome.

    Step 3) Do some stretches, yoga poses or any mobility exercises – Do whatever comes to you, whatever your body feels like doing (listen to it). Just get your body moving, release built-up tension, get your blood pumping and your energy circulating. Break out of the rigid rigamortus. Open up and bring your body back its healthy, supple state.

    If you’re a complete newbie to this stuff, try Elliott Hulse’s Bioenergizer Warmup.

    Step 4) Dance – Feel the music. Let loose and let your body creatively express itself. This is cathartic physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t underestimate the power of dance. A few minutes of dancing like you’re possessed by the music will shift your momentum for the rest of the day.

    By the time the song’s over, you’ll feel like a new (wo)man.

    This is a quick and simple strategy to help you overcome the inertia of stagnation and set your momentum in a positive direction.

    From there, you’ll feel like you can do anything. After putting this technique to use, I had so much energy that I went right into an intense workout. It felt amazing.

    Try out this technique the next time you’re feeling stagnant. It really works.

    Life is movement. No movement, no life. Know movement, know life.

    Keep flowing.

    – Stevie P
     

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    Should We Always Be Happy?

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    People have asked me this question many times…

    Should we always be happy?

    The short answer…

    Of course not.

    The long answer…

    We all just want to be happy, right?

    Why do we want a good job? Why do we want an awesome wife/husband? Why do we want to travel the world? Because we (falsely) believe that those things, once attained, will make us happy.

    Bliss is what we yearn for in each moment. But here’s the key point: We would have no appreciation for bliss if it was all we ever knew.

    “If you want to know what the water is like, don’t ask the fish.” – Chinese Proverb

    Without experiencing an alternative, we have no perspective. We need the negative to be able to fully enjoy the positive.

    As human beings, we need the “bad” to appreciate the “good.” Challenges and struggle make our lives a fulfilling, worthwhile experience.

    We need darkness to recognize light. We would not even see anything if reality was all darkness or all light. We would not hear anything if reality was all noise or all silence. The law of duality permeates our universe, birthing a continuous dance of the yin and yang, helping us gain perspective.

    Who appreciates a warm, sunny day more? Someone in Southern California? (Where it’s like that every day.) Or someone in Alaska who just experienced months of blistering cold and darkness?

    “Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain
    Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain”

    – 50 Cent (Yes, I just quoted 50 Cent. That’s a great line.)

    Something is cherished only when you know its opposite.

    That’s why we’ve incarnated into this reality; to experience limitation and challenges in order to spur growth. This state of physical limitation allows us to fully appreciate the infinity that we’re all aspects of.

    Everything is a Learning Experience

    Experience the negatives and view them as a learning experience (because they are).

    “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

    Wallowing in victimhood and self-pity has never benefited anyone. We have to work through obstacles, learn from “failures” and use challenges to spur growth.

    Working Out: A Microcosm of Life

    Just as avid weightlifters learn to love the intense resistance of the weights, we can all apply the same mentality to life in general. Workouts are inherently challenging, but that’s why the practice is worthwhile. You must push yourself and struggle with weights you can barely handle to grow stronger. If it were easy, there would be no benefit or sense of fulfillment. Life is the same.

    Success and Failure

    Highly successful people persevere through struggle and hardships.

    “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

    Heroes work through struggle and overcome obstacles. Life would be boring and consist of no growth if it was one big cakewalk. There’s a reason why sheltered, spoiled kids grow up to be incapable, unpleasant people. They’re never forced to challenge themselves and grow.

    Note: Though all things negative are crucial to any learning experiences in life, you have the choice to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. For example, getting depressed or beating yourself up because of a perceived failure instead of using it as fuel for future success. A lot of people get hung up on their struggle and attach their identity to it. This is what creates a victim mentality, where you will limit your experiences to the “negative” side of the spectrum until your mentality changes.

    “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

    Video Games, Novels, Movies and Stories

    Would you play a video game if it was too easy? Hell no. You would be as bored as Michael Vick at a PETA meeting.

    Think about the best video games, the best novels, the best movies and the best stories. They all involve tremendous struggle that has to be worked through and overcome.

    While things like war, in my opinion, are unnecessary forms of struggle (because they’re manipulated into existence), some form of struggle is necessary for a worthwhile experience.

    My Personal Perspective

    I’ll admit that I’m more positive than most (which is why I write about this stuff). But I’m not happy all of the time, nor do I pretend to be.

    Like everyone, I experience the full spectrum of human emotions. And I’m grateful for it. It’s in feeling the brilliant diversity of emotions that we can call ourselves truly alive. However, it’s a choice whether or not to be consumed by these emotions. This is where things like meditation and mindfulness provide tremendous help.

    Sometimes I’m frustrated. But I acknowledge the frustration and observe it without judgment. Then I’ll do something like deadlift while bumpin’ some Sean Price (RIP!) to release the frustration. Next thing I know, I’m back to my feelin’ good, feelin’ great self.

    The Takeaway

    Life wouldn’t be the miraculous learning experience that it is if we were always happy. We need darkness in order to truly appreciate the light. Embrace the struggle and persevere. Everything is a learning experience.

    Life is a video game.

    Have fun.

    – Stevie P!
     

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