Shad

Today’s post is about music. Everybody knows music has the ability to instantaneously elevate moods. You not only hear music, but often FEEL IT on an intrinsic level.

So without further ado, I present you Shad aka the “Canadian rap sensation” (see “Yaa I Get It” below to “get it”).

You probably haven’t even heard of him, but “if you don’t know, now you know…”

Listening to Shad always puts a smile on my face. Wielding a masterful combination of technical rapping prowess, witty punchlines, uncanny wordplay,  positivity, music with a message, and relatable subject matter; Shad’s whole aura is a breathe of fresh (Canadian) air.

My favorite thing about Shad is that it always sounds like he’s smiling while rapping. A half-laughing, euphoric permasmirk. That kind of smile when you’re all giggly with infatuation around a newly intimate partner. Shad’s girl is hip-hop, and he’s having a grand ole time with her.

 

Some quotables from Shad (plus the songs they’re in):

  • “I’d rather live with these ups and downs than flat-line” -Wild
  • “Brainwashed, I’m still learning how to be me, worth millions, I’d rather be free” -Rock to It
  • “We’re breaking up, can’t hear what she’s saying but I get the tone” -Telephone
  • “I use to want to find the love of my life, now I’m trying to live a life of love, it’s not just a husband and wife” -Keep Shining
  • “You can’t be everything to everyone, so let me be anything to anyone” -Keep Shining
  • “If they treat you like a substitute teacher it’s probably because you’ve got no class” -Out of Love
  • “Know who the staff you roll with is, your staff can turn to snakes like Moses’ “-Now a Daze
  • “Ya’ll cowards couldn’t (w)rap this dope with a zig zag” -I Don’t Like To (now THAT’S a punchline)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He drops gems left and right. I’ll leave some for you to discover for yourself.

Must-watch videos: (Enjoy!)

Rose Garden (possibly my favorite video of all-time)

I Don’t Like To

Brother (Watching)

Yaa I Get It

And, in conclusion…

TSOL Outro (lyrics below, because it’s that good)

Lyrics:
“Yeah beautiful
Dangerous season the fall of youth
Souls wither like gold diggers we follow suit
The booth is starting to feel small
I should feel appalled
Instead I feel it all and can’t call it
My heroes have the heart to lose the life I wanna live
In the end I’m hoping that I take less than I give
We go through stages I ain’t talkin’ bout gigs
And I ain’t talkin bout famous when I talk about big
Prophetic poetics connect my life to my words
Some cause play-back pain right to the nerves
For me it’s hard to hear (that you’re hard of hearing)
Didn’t believe I was def till some checks started clearin
Now thats a different kind of clarity
And love for your brother
That’s a different kind of charity
Ya I rap fearlessly
But I act carelessly
When I’m busy on my grizzly
I’m a quarter bi-polar bear with me
The rarest breed
Naw I’m just a parakeet
I talk what I hear
I do as they do
And I hate what I fear you see
A simple animal sin is sincerity
But when I get carried away
You carry me, TSOL”

^Now that’s some put-a-smile-on-your-face kind of lyrical dexterity. And a good note to end on.

Keep shining.

-Stevie P

shad

3

Get Rid of All Preconceived Notions of What a “Spiritual” Person Should Be Like

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In mainstream Western society today, the keywords surrounding someone deemed as “spiritual” look something like this:

Emotional, feminine, hippy, vegetarian, vegan, yoga, meditation, tea, psychic, tofu, soy milk, passive, positive, pacifist, unique, in tuned, dreamer, unrealistic, out there, creative, artistic, New Age, free spirit…etc.

You get the idea.

Though some of these are great attributes, it paints the overall picture of something like an unemployed hippy chick with no sense of reality. Or a frail, overemotional man who lacks strength and vitality.

Is that not the stereotypical image that is conjured up when someone is described as “spiritual” in mainstream culture?

Well, fuck that (you gotta emphasize things sometimes haha). Let’s shift the paradigm.

Shatter those preconceived notions. Actually, shatter all preconceived notions. They do nothing but put the world you perceive in rigid little boxes. Don’t attach to a preconceived image of what something should be or look like.

But, before we go further, what is “spiritual”?

My definition of spiritual is being aware.

Being… Being in the moment… Simply being. And awareness… Being aware of the tranquil stillness deep inside… Being aware of infinite potential… Being aware.

Here’s another sign post pointing down the road of spirituality, courtesy of Bruce Lee. This is one of my favorite quotes of all-time.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to do yoga. A spiritual person can achieve the same body/mind connection by deadlifting the weight of a small car.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to sit cross-legged and meditate. A spiritual person can use any activity as meditation.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to be a vegetarian. A spiritual person can thank the animal that gave it’s life to provide sustenance for another being.

A spiritual person doesn’t have to be passive. A spiritual person can live through action!

So don’t judge anyone. And don’t judge yourself either.

DON’T PUT OTHERS, OR YOURSELF, IN A BOX.

Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you can’t express your emotions.

Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t be strong (physically and mentally).

Just because you’re a trucker doesn’t mean you can’t meditate.

Just because you look like you can pin a grizzly bear in a wrestling match doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual.

Just because you work in the cubicle farms of the corporate world doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual.

But, then again, we’re all spiritual beings anyway.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Teilhard de Chardin

Why Body Transformation is the Most Popular Form of Personal Improvement

 

When someone wants to change their life for the better, what’s the first thing they usually do?

That’s right, Musclebob Buffpants.

They focus on transforming their body. (aka makin’ all kindzzz of gains)

Why is this?

Well, it boils down to two things, CONTROL and TANGIBILITY.

There are only two things that we have full control of, our mind and body.

Everything else consists of either things we may be able to influence to certain degrees, or things we have no control over. Realizing this allows you to let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can.

You can’t control other people (although there’s some “powers that be” that believe otherwise). You can’t control the weather. You can’t control the score of the game you’re watching. Seriously, what’s the point of getting angry over a bad call by the ref during the Knicks game? You just lost a minute of your life in which you could’ve been happy. And did I mention you’ve been sitting on your ass eating chips for the last 2 hours? We need to take control of our lives.

The second aspect is tangibility. Unlike the mind and thoughts, the body is tangible. It is measurable. This is the reason why so many people strive to improve their physicality. You can literally see the results. You can’t measure positive thoughts. You can’t measure willpower. But you can clearly see and measure when you lose 50 lbs of fat. You can measure it when you deadlift 400 lbs.

Having such tangible, measurable progress is ridiculously empowering. It puts you in control of your life. It seeps its way into all aspects of life and creates a snowball effect of success.

You’ve mastered what you can control. You’re in the driver’s seat. You don’t fret about what is beyond your control. You do all that you can, and leave the rest up to the Universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it. Remember, “the universe tends to unfold as it should.”

Let’s evolve to become the best versions of our unique selves, and spread it. It’s contagious.

And, in conclusion, here’s a relevant Mr. T fact on a camper van…

There is no control key on Mr. T’s keyboard… Mr. T is always in control!

5

Flip the AM Motivational Switch

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I don’t know about you, but I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning during the winter. It’s cold outside, knuckle-drying cold. Cold beyond the comfort of your warm blankets. But we can’t stay in bed all day, because that ain’t living! We need to learn how to “flip the AM motivational switch” when we get thrown from the realm of dreams and land in bed. Here’s how I get ready to attack the day. These should be the very first things you do when waking up.

1. Chug a glass of water
This provides a whole host of benefits, especially after going 8 or so hours without water. You can add some squeezed lemon too if you like.

2. Pee (optional)

3. Bio-energizer Warm Up
This really gets me going in the morning. Check out my post about it HERE.

4. Take a cold shower
Sounds scary? Why? There’s really no consequences to taking a cold shower. It’s just cold. You’ll get over it. Then you’ll feel like a superhero. You’ll feel accomplished. And that feeling will be carried with you for the rest of the day. Plus cold showers are good for you.

Try this out, and you might just become a morning person.

The Balloon Technique

…Because counting sheep doesn’t work.

Letting-go

I recently came up with a technique to help myself fall asleep. And maybe it can help you as well. I call it the balloon technique. What I do is envision every thought that pops into my mind as a balloon, then I let go of it. Like a child letting go of a balloon and watching it float towards the heavens. Envision the thought as a balloon, and let it gracefully float away. So many people have trouble falling asleep because they let their minds run wild. Tame the beast. It’s bed time, you don’t need to preoccupy yourself with incessant thought patterns now.

How to implement the balloon technique:

Step 1: Be aware. Be still. Be the sky, with your thoughts being passing clouds.

Step 2: Envision your thought as a balloon.

Step 3: Picture letting it go and it floating up, up, and away.

Step 4: Repeat until no more thoughts pop up and you fall asleep.

Try this out. It works for me, and hopefully it’ll work for you.

Happy Holidays friends!

3

Good Reads: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

I recently finished reading “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander. It’s a great book, to say the least.

Front Cover

If you couldn’t guess what it’s about, it’s a (supposedly true) story about a neurosurgeon who falls into a coma for 7 days. While in a coma, he experiences “the afterlife” and comes back to tell about it.

What’s so interesting about Eben Alexander’s experience is it’s almost like the perfect storm of near-death experiences. First of all this guy was a rigid, scientific atheist. A true skeptic. When in a coma, he lost all neocortex (our higher level, human brain) function. This resulted in his experience being without the incessant filtering and constraints of the analytical mind. Dr. Alexander also made a miraculous full recovery, allowing him to share his story.

Eben Alexander’s experience reinforces a lot of ancient spiritual teachings and Eastern philosophy. He describes a higher state of existence, beyond the limitations of this reality. Overwhelming, unconditional love, feeling (as opposed to deciphering with our worldly senses), and the non-existence of time as we know it are described. He also states how words fall short in describing his experience. Eben Alexander’s story seems to be very credible in my opinion. It reinforces many spiritual concepts I’ve understood. And this isn’t just some hippy on an acid trip. He’s a friggin’ neurosurgeon! He also systematically debunks every other hypothesis of what could have caused his experience, leaving a very convincing argument to this being a genuine experience.

I’m not using a grading system for these book reviews. Just offering my opinion and sharing some intriguing information.

Now here’s some of my favorite excerpts from the book. Enjoy!

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6

Dietary Hodgepodge: Salsa & Almonds

Because peanut butter and jelly is so played out. Yeah, it’s good, but we gotta step outside the box and find some new awesome combinations. Introducing… Salsa & Almonds.

Salsa!

So how do I make this masterful mix?” You might ask (in a high-pitched, half-singing, British accent).

Ready for it?

Take a handful of almonds…………and throw it in some salsa.

It’s so easy a caveman can do it. And speaking of cavemen, I guess it’s Paleo too (if that’s your thing). You can eat it with a spoon (are spoons Paleo?), or if that’s not caveman enough for you, your bare hands.

I’ve been using Tequila Lime salsa (see the pic) and roasted almonds. But you can use any combination of salsa and probably any kind of nut as well. Get experimental with it. That’s the point. It makes for a great snack. Capping dinner off with this combo really hits the spot. Plus it’s “healthy” by most standards.

And I haven’t decided on a name for this. Salsalmonds? Almalsa? Salsanuts!?

Drop a name in the comments section if you like. I’d be happy to hear some suggestions.

4

Yo Elliott! Live in New York City

Earlier today I was at Yo Elliott! Live in New York City, and I can honestly say it one was of the best events I’ve ever been to. Limited to 30 people and in a Crossfit gym, it was 4 and a half hours of unscripted awesomeness. Elliott just answered the questions we had for him. He shared his personal knowledge and experience, providing insight to ultimately help us help ourselves.

But wait, before I get into this, you know who Elliott Hulse is right? He’s that guy with all of the Youtube videos. The strength coach who goes off on philosophy tangents. That jacked dude shaking like a maniac at the gym. And in my opinion, he’s a genius as well as an inspiration. Here’s the thing, we all have the potential to get to that level (that Elliott and other mentors are at); we just need to realize and actualize it. And people like Elliott Hulse are guiding us in that direction.

Here’s a pic of Elliott and I, because, you know, if you don’t get a picture, it never happened, right?

(I think it’s time for me to get a hair cut.)

But anyways, when we all got there everyone made a name tag. But with the addition of some artwork to express our individual uniqueness. I felt like I was in first grade again (in a good way of course), so I took it and got all deep with it. Steve = Infinity symbol/plus sign/eye/heart/eye. Interpret as you wish.

So, yeah, back to the event. Everything we discussed is still sinking in, but here’s a hodgepodge of discussions and quotes from Yo Elliot! live in NYC:

My question to Elliott was actually about this website, regarding passion and purpose. Here’s what it looked like. (It’s not word for word because I was busy paying attention, so I didn’t write it all down or video tape it. But you’ll get the point.)

I’ve come to the realization that my passion and purpose seems very broad and can’t be labeled. I have a knack for positivity and feeling great that I want to share with people. My website/blog is actually called “Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great.” What’s your opinion on finding a niche as opposed to just doing your thing and seeing where it goes?

And here’s the gist of Elliott’s response to my question:

Stop letting the mind categorize everything.

Just let God work through you.

Don’t hold anything back.

Don’t worry about fitting into a category, throw yourself into the river and see where it takes you.

All of the great minds throughout history couldn’t categorize themselves. How do you categorize something that’s new?

Give birth to new ideas. Just do it.

Share whatever you’re passionate about with the world. We all need it.

This was an awesome confirmation for what I’ve been feeling inside. The content I’ve been posting here has been what I NEED to share and express. Maybe I can’t put a definitive label on it now, but I’m going to keep doin my thang here until I blaze my own path. Because I CAN’T NOT help as many people as possible to go dance through life while feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

Enough about me. Here’s some of the topics/concepts we covered:

Heartbeat, which is creating/establishing a  daily routine to reach a goal. As an example, Elliot makes one video and writes one e-mail (for his newsletter) every single day.

Correcting movement patterns. He helped one person perform an exercise to practice engaging his glutes. He helped another check his form while performing front squats. And he helped another person find out how to improve ankle stability with one-leg balancing progressions.

Neurotic holding patterns. Conditioning. How repressed emotions manifest in bodily tension. Learning to express yourself through speech, motion, exercise, and countless other ways.

Finding new universes on the quest for knowledge. When you have a thirst for learning, you constantly go deeper and deeper into rabbit holes of information. Elliott explained his love for indexes in books, which serve as a portal to vast new worlds of knowledge.

The art of detachment. And how it benefits us.

And some quotables from Elliott:

“I owe the world.” (Referring to his passion of helping people become the strongest versions of themselves)

“Don’t be so selfish as to hold things back that you can share with the world.”

“We all tell ourselves stories. We define ourselves with our stories. Is your story helpful? You won’t be able to tell a new story until you stop identifying with your old one.”

“We live in a society where we want a guarantee. But the truth is we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“No fucked up situation happens overnight. You get little taps on the shoulder as warnings. You need to recognize the signs.”

“The whole idea is you gotta get over the bullshit.”

“Our society praises extroversion to an unnecessary degree.”

“Bamboo grows downward before it grows upward. It has the extroversion (above ground) and the introversion (underground). The power lies within the roots. But all you see is what is above the surface.”

“What attracts people to me is that I’m relentlessly me, to the point that it’s fucking weird.” (This seems to be a common theme among people I view as mentors)

“People appreciate people that are different because it gives them permission to be different.”

“You’re a unique flower, don’t compare it to flowers that already have been.”

“Find your awesomeness, and be flamboyantly awesome.”

“The stronger version of yourself wants to come out, but you’re creating prisons.” (self-imposed limitations)

People ask me, “Elliot, are you a philosopher?” And I respond with “Do I need a piece of paper to be one?”

“It’s the implementation of your knowledge that really matters.”

“I have a feeling that the future of education is going to go back to the roots. And that is apprenticeship.”

“Two things you never go cheap on, your food and your knowledge. Because both become who you are. Your food becomes your cells, and your knowledge becomes your ideas.”

“You know what’s one of the best inventions? Audiobooks. I love those things.”

“For the nervous system, repetition is the most important thing.”

“I’m not attached to anything.”

“Think about the power you have when you can readily entertain and deviate from ideas.”

“The minute I tried to be something, I realized I wasn’t that.” (referring to categorizing and labeling yourself)

“There’s a version of you that’s completely detached from race, religion, nationality…etc.”

And this is the note he ended on:

“See what’s possible for you when you let go. Just be.”

Thank you for an amazing day, Elliott (if you’re reading this).

Now I’m even more inspired to pursue my passion and fulfill my purpose of sharing my thoughts and ideas to help others.

The snowball effect of awesomeness is in motion.

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Elliott on the interwebz:

http://www.facebook.com/elliotthulse

http://www.youtube.com/user/strengthcamp

http://www.youtube.com/user/elliottsaidwhat

http://www.youtube.com/user/CampaignNonJob

http://www.hulsestrength.com/

 

 

9

Life is a Game: The Challenge Principle

Video games are meant to be challenging. They are based on overcoming obstacles. Why? Because it makes it so much more satisfying when it’s all said and done.

The same principle applies to life in general.

What would a video game be without any challenges? It would be boring and absolutely pointless.

Would you play Super Mario Bros if all you did was leisurely walk to the right the whole time with no obstacles? Hell no! What’s the fun in that?

Would you enjoy playing Pokemon if you had unlimited master balls and rare candies? (I hope you got that one haha). It’s all about the journey, baby.

Think about movies too. Just about all movies are based on overcoming challenges and the progression of the main character(s).

We develop through struggle.

We need darkness to appreciate light.

We need clouds and rain to appreciate sunshine.

Everything is a learning experience.

Every situation is an opportunity.

Learn, move on, and persevere.

“The universe tends to unfold as it should.” -Random guy from Harold and Kumar

But seriously, that’s an awesome quote.

Whatever you’re going through at the moment is what you need most right now (in this game we call life) and an opportunity to better yourself and grow.

Here’s a personal example. I packed on the infamous freshman 15 (lbs) in my first 4 months of college. This was a major wake-up call for me. But instead of getting depressed about it or ignoring it, I used it as an opportunity. I started educating myself on health and fitness. And more importantly, I applied what I learned. I worked out consistently and made better food choices. This strengthened my body and mind, and helped me shed the excess fat I had accumulated. This has not only given me a plethora of knowledge and experience in health and fitness, but also created a snowball effect of successes in every aspect of my life since then. It was exactly what I needed, and I took advantage of the challenge presented to me. Overcoming that challenge made me a stronger person and greatly helped in developing my character.

“What you call a setback, I call a challenge, if I fall I know I’ll get back, it’s all a balance.” -Crooked I

So embrace your challenges. Embrace your difficulties. They are learning experiences on your way to progression and building a stronger version of yourself. Because life would be so boring if we just coasted through.