Gratitude: Your Secret Weapon

Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude naturally and effortlessly transmutes fear.

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

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

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

Where There is Gratitude, There is No Fear

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

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

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

The Great Transmuter

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

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

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

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

Remember, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

The Magic is Right Here!

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

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

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

Gratitude Practices

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

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

    When in doubt, be grateful.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    2

    Why TLC Was Wrong About Chasing Waterfalls

    Multnomah Falls

    Hi, my name is Stevie… And I’m a waterfall chaser.

    I also don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to.

    Now you might be all like “But TLC said ‘DON’T go chasing waterfalls!'”

    Yes, they did. I love that song (90’s music has a special place it my heart), but I disagree with the message of the chorus…

    “Don’t go chasing waterfalls
    Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to”

    I remember when it first hit me. My thought process went something like this… “Wait, so they’re telling me to stay in my comfort zone and never take risks? Fuck that.”

    I get the meaning behind the verses; avoid the destructive aspects of life like violence, drugs, addiction and precarious sex. That makes sense, obviously. But the chorus is the antithesis of what I believe to be good advice.

    If all you do is stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, you’ll be a slave to your comfort zones and live a life of lukewarm mediocrity. Nope, not for me. I’d rather explore.

    Hiking Oregon

    Comfort Zones Are Worse Than Death

    Always sticking to what you’re used to is not living, it’s just barely existing. When you stay in your comfort zones, you basically live the same day over and over again for 75 years and call it a life.

    There is no learning in that; no exploration, adventure, mystery, fun, fulfillment, excitement or growth. Comfort zones stifle growth. Life without growth is just dying slowly.

    Build a habit of stepping out of your comfort zones. You can even start with tiny steps, such as turning your shower cold for the last 30 seconds. With a cold shower there is no risk, a ton of health benefits and you build the muscle of leaving your comfort zone.

    Show me someone who continuously leaves their comfort zones, and chances are they’re someone who finds courage, success, fulfillment, passion, excitement, personal growth and what it really means to live.

    At the end of your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do as opposed to the things you did do. Build some momentum in the direction of new experiences and continuous growth.

    Waterfall Oregon

    Act In Spite of Fear

    We all feel fear, especially when stepping into the unknown (exploring rivers and lakes we’re not used to). What separates the hero from the coward is taking action in the face of fear. Everyone feels fear, but the hero chooses to be courageous despite the fear.

    “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
    – Brene Brown

    Being courageous doesn’t mean being stupid or impulsive. It means not letting fear determine your decisions and taking calculated risks.

    How do you build courage? Again, start with small steps. You don’t have to go climb a volcano and slay a dragon right off the bat.

    Waterfall Thailand

    Courage Momentum

    One of the keys to truly living is building what I call “courage momentum.”

    Here’s how you begin to build courage momentum. Notice things in life that make you slightly uncomfortable and take action when you feel that resistance.

    Cold showers, like I mentioned before, are a great way to practice this. Another way is to say “hi” to people in public, even when you feel awkward. You can also try a new food or a new recipe. You can take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been. There are so many courageous micro-decisions that you can make each day.

    If you practice small acts of courage daily, you will build unyielding courage before you know it. This is what I call “courage momentum.”

    Lake Titicaca

    Follow Your Heart

    The two main motivating forces are love and fear. Choose love over fear in every situation.

    Fear is constriction and limitation. Love is expansion and growth. Fear is the essence of your ego. Love is the essence of your higher self.

    Notice when your ego tries to run the show. Be aware when it attempts to manipulate your decisions based upon fear. Simple awareness robs the ego of its power and gives you the choice.

    Don’t chase the desires of your ego. Don’t run from home out of fear. That’s how you end up like the sad stories TLC warned us about. Explore because you truly want to explore, and follow your heart.

    Trust your intuition and make decisions out of love. Be courageous, not limited by fear.

    Explore, learn and grow. Just remember to follow your heart, choosing love over fear, and you will discover beautiful new lands.

    So here’s my perspective on the situation…

    DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS.

    Much love.

    – Stevie Wander

    PS – Every picture in this post was taken by me, while chasing waterfalls.
     

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    2

    The River (A Short Story)

    river

    I was dead set on scouring the Earth, desperately searching… For what? I wasn’t quite sure.

    All I knew was that I was alone. I yearned for meaning, for connection, for something to wake me up out of my shallow pursuits. Though at the time, these yearnings felt like vague apparitions on the outer boundaries of my consciousness.

    I had glimpsed what I was looking for, yet it was fleeting; too fleeting to understand. The glimpses in some way involved the river.

    The river was mysterious. And presumably perilous. I feared it, though I didn’t want to admit it. It wasn’t the fear of the river itself, per say, but my fear of surrendering to the mercy of its power.

    When I felt particularly courageous, I would dip into the river. But every time I touched it, I would quickly jump back, afraid that the current would carry me away.

    The river was an intriguing enigma. I began to analyze it, attempting to understand all of its workings intellectually. These calculations were solely focused on the risks of the river and the threats it posed to me. Risk rumination without trust equates to crushing doubt. I felt paralyzed.

    I wanted to explore. Driven by rugged stubbornness, I set out. After dragging myself through forests, up mountains and over vast fields, I realized that I was landlocked, surrounded by rivers on all sides.

    On the bank of one river (they could’ve all been the same river for all I know); I decided to turn my focus inward. I asked myself questions like “What is my purpose here? Where am I trying to go? What do I want?”

    I honestly didn’t know.

    Then, delving deeper, I asked the question, “Who am I?”

    This baffled me even more. I had never seriously entertained such a fundamental inquiry. Being next to a calm part of the river, I decided to take a look at my reflection in the water. What I saw astonished me. “I’m a dolphin?!”

    I gasped.

    Here I was, a dolphin, dragging myself across the land, literally killing myself for fear of letting go and allowing the river to carry me. “Absolute madness,” I thought.

    It was insane, too insane to even take seriously. I laughed at the utter ridiculousness of my self-imposed suffering. With that epiphany, that simple shift of awareness, an enormous weight was lifted from me. Then, trading my hesitation for trust, I dove into the river.

    It was nothing like the monster I made it out to be. Sure, the current was strong in some parts, but I’m a dolphin!

    I could’ve swum upstream if I wanted. However, I decided to get out of my own way for the very first time in my life. I trusted. I flowed. Soon enough, the path of the river led to the ocean.

    My world opened up, limitless. Other dolphins greeted me with love, ushering me into this new yet intensely familiar place.

    “Home,” I thought to myself. “This feels like home.”

    “Now the journey really begins…”
     

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    On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience

    Civil Disobedience

    “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    Obedience is the connective tissue of oppression.

    In other words, any form of control on a collective level can only be carried out through obedience. A dictator can’t arrest or kill an entire population himself; he needs mindless minions to do the dirty work. This principle applies across all forms and degrees of systematic control, even the most subtle.

    The desires of any wannabe controller can only come to fruition through the compliance of others. And that’s been the case throughout recorded history (his-story). The desire for control becomes a virus, driven by fear and infecting more and more people, until there are enough drones to oppress an entire population.

    This phenomenon isn’t just the case with large-scale atrocities; it applies to anything which is an impediment to freedom or love; be it a person, group, system or idea.

    Everything is held up by belief. Laws are merely words written on paper, only legitimized by collective acquiescence. Laws need people to enforce them. And if laws are unjust (as most are), those who carry them out must unquestioningly submit to authority and go against their own inner knowing.

    The only way control or oppression works on any scale is through compliance. Too many people do the work of ‘the man’ for ‘the man.’ That’s the problem. The solution lies in civil disobedience.

    Freedom Cannot Be Granted

    “Freedom cannot be granted. It must be taken.”
    ― Max Stirner

    Asking for freedom is oxy-moronic. If you have to ask for freedom, you’re already a slave.

    How is freedom taken? The simple decision to be the master of your own body and mind.

    It really is as simple as that, though difficult to apply. It’s easy to blame problems on others, it’s easy to neglect our health and think “the doctor can fix me.” We’ve been conditioned to externalize our power since childhood. We’ve been taught to not trust ourselves. We’ve been taught to submit to authority without question.

    This is a recipe for a control system to stealthily and slowly permeate society (the totalitarian tiptoe).

    When you attain a degree of self-mastery, you do not acquiesce to the will of destructive people or disharmonious institutions. Which leads to the next point…

    Fear-Based Programming

    “The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    The covert means by which oppression takes over is through fear-based programming.

    If you have people in fear, you can easily control them. Fear activates the part of the brain known as the amygdala (the center for emotional behavior/motivation) and inhibits neocortex function (our “thinking brain”). This means that rationality and intellect are thrown out the window, the perfect storm for brainwashing. There’s even a term for this fear response; amygdala hijack.

    The media is one big amygdala hijack, perpetually programming the population with which boogeyman to fear next. This is a massive ritual of fear-based programming that insidiously shifts entire populations into thinking and acting irrationally out of fear. Television is called programming for a reason.

    Remember the whole weapons of mass destruction fiasco with Iraq in 2003? US military action in Iraq and massive destabilization of the middle east (which continues to this day) was predicated on that lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction. But lingering fear from 9/11 resulted in a string of irrational behavior and many people blindly believing the hype.

    The holocaust took place because German soldiers were thoroughly conditioned to carry out orders. They didn’t carry out orders because they liked doing it, but because they feared the wrath of their higher ranking officers, or even because they were conditioned to fear jewish people. These abominations only occur when fear is the driving force.

    Fear is hard to pin down. It’s slippery, and ultimately illusory (False Evidence Appearing Real). Yet it’s the undercurrent of all “negative” emotions. Fear is what stops us from saying no to evil. Fear might actually distort our perceptions to support evil. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

    When you cultivate self-mastery, you’re able to break the cycle. The spread of fear stops before you and is transmuted by the omnipotent force of unyielding love.

    Love Over Fear

    “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

    Strive to choose love over fear in every situation. You can never go wrong if you act from a place of compassion. This is the fulcrum of change, and it starts within you.

    The change we all yearn to see in the world will only happen in the wake of a fundamental change in consciousness. Everything we see in this world starts in the realms of imagination before coming into manifestation.

    The change begins within and ripples outward. Embodying the change is the first step, the prerequisite. Without inner transformation, humanity will be stuck on the same merry-go-round of madness.

    When a critical mass of people create positive inner changes, it will open up doors we never could’ve imagined before and will provide possibilities far beyond our current limited perspective. Solutions will spontaneously emerge.

    Go within and stop the momentum of fear. Learn to listen to and trust your intuition. Have the courage to follow your heart instead of cowardly bowing to 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

    Compliance with destruction, hatred, oppression, violence and fear is cowardice, while noncompliance is courageous. In the depths of your being, in your heart of hearts, you know what is right.

    Choose love over fear.

    Have the courage of heart and freedom of mind to disobey oppressive forces.

    Be the change.

    – Stevie P
     

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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 5 Best Self Improvement Podcasts

    podcasts

    I’ve always wished to sit in on insightful conversations; to be a fly on the wall during brilliant exchanges between interesting people.

    Now I can, whenever and wherever I want. This is the allure of podcasts.

    21% of Americans now listen to podcasts. To put this in perspective, that’s the same percentage as Americans who use Twitter. Podcasts are becoming ubiquitous, and for good reason. They are changing the way we experience both entertainment and learning.

    The Audio Advantage

    I prefer audio to other mediums for the simple fact that you can listen anywhere. It allows you to be a time management ninja and learn while going about your day. You can listen to podcasts while driving, walking outside, cooking, stretching, cleaning, performing monotonous tasks at work or just sitting in the dark while resting your eyes (which I personally love doing). Audio is so much more versatile than something you have to watch. Plus, we all spend too much time looking at screens, so it can provide a much needed break from that.

    Authenticity

    Podcasts are usually raw and authentic. I really love and appreciate the authenticity of podcasts. They’re generally unscripted and not edited much. So whether it’s a conversation, interview or a one-person rant, podcasts feel much more genuine and real than radio shows or any traditional media. Many people can no longer tolerate the plastic fakeness of overly scripted, heavily edited and excruciatingly politically correct interviews and/or conversations.

    Choose Your Own Adventure

    With podcasts you choose what you listen to, when you listen to it, when to stop, when to resume…etc. Gone are the days of being relegated to what’s on tv or what’s on the radio. Interactivity, freedom, authenticity and the democratization of information are highly valued in today’s culture.

    Want to learn about health? Listen to a health podcast. Want to laugh? Listen to a comedian’s podcast. Want to hear an interview with a celebrity that’s unscripted and more like a conversation? There’s a podcast for that.

    There is a podcast for every possible niche you can think of. The choice is yours.

    The Perfect Blend

    The authenticity factor of podcasts allows the podcaster to be him or herself while conveying the information they wish to convey. That’s why, more than anything else I’ve found, podcasts have the unique ability to create an experience of learning, mixed with entertainment, all while feeling like you’re there listening in on an interesting conversation.

    I also love the funny quirks and unique sense of humor that people have. When these genuine qualities and “imperfections” shine through, it allows the listener to relate to whoever’s speaking on a deeper level.

    The 5 Best Self Improvement Podcasts

    1. The Tim Ferriss Show

    Tim Ferriss is an author, entrepreneur and human guinea pig. His podcast focuses on dissecting all forms of greatness. In Tim’s own words, “Each episode, I deconstruct world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.”

    2. The Model Health Show

    This is the best podcast on health that I’ve come across. The host, Shawn Stevenson, has the uncanny ability to break down and eloquently explain complex health concepts. Each show often focuses on one specific aspect of health, making it highly informative and actionable. Shawn is well-read, with an amicable personality and a holistic, big picture perspective. The Model Health Show really is the model of health shows.

    3. ReWild Yourself Podcast

    The ReWild Yourself Podcast, hosted by Daniel Vitalis, is incredibly interesting and packed with useful information. If you want to maximize your entire being and embrace your primalness (instead of ignoring or repressing it), you should definitely check out the ReWild Yourself podcast. Here’s the short description of it…

    “I’m Daniel Vitalis, and I’ll be your guide through the world of human zoology and lifestyle design. We’ll explore the strategies that ancient apes need to thrive in a modern world, awakening our instincts, and freeing our bodies –– and minds –– from the degenerative effects of human domestication.”

    4. Aubrey Marcus Podcast

    Aubrey Marcus is the CEO of Onnit and a master of “total human optimization.” He’s fascinating to listen to and shares valuable wisdom on a wide variety of topic. Anyone interested in practical spirituality and using consciousness to optimize and enjoy life will find tremendous value in Aubrey Marcus’ podcast.

    5. The Joe Rogan Experience

    Joe Rogan is a comedian and UFC commentator. His podcasts are long, hilarious and interesting conversations about everything imaginable. Joe Rogan literally explores every subject under the sun. His comedic wit makes the podcasts laugh out loud funny while discussing often mindblowing ideas with interesting people.

    Though The Joe Rogan Experience isn’t directly self-improvement related, it exposes you to a multitude of topics that will undoubtedly catalyze self-improvement.


    I highly recommend you check out these podcasts and see if they resonate with you.

    Keep laughing and learning.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!


    Resources: Apps to listen to podcasts on your smartphone

  • Stitcher (this is what I personally use)
  • Podcasts
  • Overcast
  •  

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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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