0

Nothing is Impossible (A Very Short Story)

diving board short story

As a tribute to my father’s birthday today, I’d like to share a (very) short story from my book Momentous about a magical moment we shared. Happy Birthday Dad!


Nothing is Impossible

I looked up at the diving board. It was a proud blue piece of art that stood eight feet above the water.

The sun was shining brightly overhead as I observed a young man bounce off of the beautiful blue plank and execute a graceful swan dive, landing in the deep pool with a small splash.

Looking up at my dad, I curiously asked, “Is it possible to do a double backflip off of the diving board?”

Without hesitation, he looked at me with a reassuring smile and confidently replied, “Nothing is impossible.”

A sense of empowerment rippled through my consciousness. It was a feeling so profound that it transcends time and space. And I feel it as I type this.

I didn’t do a double-back flip that day, or any day for that matter (except on a trampoline once). Yet that moment created a life-altering, paradigm shift within me.

The real takeaway is not the act, but the message it conveys… The only limitations you have are those you place upon yourself.


You can get your hands on Momentous by clicking the image below:

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

0

21 Inspiring Children’s Books

Children absorb everything, good or bad.

As humans, we spend the first few years of our life in sponge-mode, soaking everything in, before we begin to express our own personality. For better or worse, we’re literally programmed according to what we learn and experience early in life. This is why it’s of crucial importance to instill love and empowerment within children.

This is where children’s books come into play. Children’s books can act as imprints of love, positivity and empowerment that children take with them for the rest of their lives.

So in the spirit of instilling love and empowerment, here’s a list of some of the most inspiring children’s books. Even if you don’t have young children, you too can benefit from a little lighthearted inspiration.

21 Inspiring Children’s Books

1. Oh The Places You’ll Go By Dr. Seuss

 
2. The Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire by Dharmachari Nagaraja

 
3. Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains by Deborah Hopkinson

 
4. Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee

 
5. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

 
6. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

 
7. Incredible You! 10 Ways To Let Your Greatness Shine Through by Wayne Dyer

 
8. Little One Step by Simon James

 
9. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

 
10. Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems

 
11. Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges

 
12. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

 
13. Matthew’s Dream by Leo Lionni

 
14. Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

 
15. An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton

 
16. Beautiful Oops! by Barnie Saltzberg

 
17. Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

 
18. Fancy Nancy Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O’Connor

 
19. I Believe in Me: A Book of Affirmations by Connie Bowen

 
20. I Think, I Am! by Louise L. Hay

 
21. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are by Dr. Seuss

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

0

Sagittarius in Love

sagittarius

Stevie P’s Note: This is a guest post by Mystic Medusa. And here’s my perspective on astrology to preface this… Space is not empty. We essentially live in a quantum soup, where everything is connected to everything else. So the movement of anything (especially that of large celestial bodies like planets) affects other things. Also, astrology is not a fixed fate. It’s more of an archetypal predisposition with room for your individual free will.


On the surface, Sagg seems quite simple to please. They like a lover they can have fun times with, like going skiing, dancing, or on junkets to exotic destinations.

They prefer it if their partner is not into turgidity, tiresome emotional demands, or other manifestations of the dreaded negativity. Some Sagittarian spouses come to feel that just living with Sagg is a variety of extreme sport. But Sagittarians of a certain age don’t mind being bonded as a pair like this. They just don’t like having to stay home and relate to their partner. And sometimes Sagg thinks love is having to grovel your head off just to get some personal space. Remember that Sagg thinks groveling is letting someone else finish a sentence.

Like cousin Gemini, they are also often fairly hopeless at dealing with high emotion. They don’t realize that saying something like “chill, babe, you’re getting hysterical” is not especially helpful.

Although Sagittarians have contributed a fountain of wisdom to the world, sage advice dealing with deeply tricky emotional situations is not usually forthcoming from them. “A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming,” actress Jane Fonda helpfully noted.

Sagittarian seduction techniques are fairly simple. They’ll give it a go. But getting one of these folk to fall in love with you is fairly simple. Just study everything you can on the Gemini genre and behave like one of them. A Sagg with a soul mate is a vision of love and supportiveness; this is one person who will never ever stand between you and your most grandiose dreams.

Sagittarius – Aries
It should be obvious that Sagg and Ramzilla are absolutely fantastic together. This duo exhilarates each other. Fiery optimism dictates the Sagg conduct. And in Aries the Sagg may have found one of the few people who will not only let Sagg be Sagg, but will actually jump up and down cheering. It’s a perfect match intellectually, energetically, and physically, assuming both can stay in the same place long enough to actually mate. This could easily become one of those alpha couples, supportive of one another’s dreams and ambitions, taking turns to hog the limelight. The catch? Sagittarians do need to work on the supportive bit. This is not going to be a long haul relationship if either party declares superior status, or that they have the most demanding ego needs. Ideally, they thrash out issues of power and prestige early on in the affair. Aries may need to tone down the famed Sagg candor. Ramzilla is probably not ready for the unvarnished truth about the great Aries screenplay, or the bid to become an astronaut.

Sagittarius – Taurus
Sagittarians are initially stunned by the Taurean combo of physical beauty and financial stability. How can someone so attractive lead such an apparently non-turbulent life? Sagittarius raves about the Taurean strength, sexuality, and an attribute that can only be referred to as being centered. This often happens when a Fire sign (like Sagg) meets an Earth sign (such as our Cow). Sagittarians will tend to find sanity quite the novelty at first, but soon they’ll begin to long for some of the old delirium. These two drive each other to new heights of “good in bed” and Taurus feels compelled to impress with great performances. But everyday relating can send Sagg running. All Sagg lovers—of whatever gender—can wind up running around being silly while the Bull plays the role of supportive dullard. It can work so long as Sagittarius stops messing with the Cow Person’s head. Memo to Sagg: Don’t move their things. Don’t touch their things. Don’t sell their things. Don’t knock their bodies.

Sagittarius – Gemini
Astrologically, Gemini signifies the so-called lower mind while Saggs represent the higher mind. That’s right! The Gemini brain is chock-a-block with trivia—they tend to be way up on new music or breaking Hollywood info, but not so informed on the profound issues pondered by higher-minded Saggs. And yet these two are so compatible. The Gemini adds dash and sparkle to the Sagg wit, while Sagg contributes desperately needed depth to the Gemini riff. This duo is so mentally stimulating to one another that they could live happily for years on a conversation-only basis; in fact, they may have to. The Gemini libido, though famously kinky, is also sporadic. Note: The way for Saggs to fire it up is by constantly changing the themes of their rants. Boredom sets in quickly if the Gemini isn’t kept challenged. Saggs may also have to put up with high-level flirtation aimed elsewhere. Both crave attention; both are heartbreakers who, once they’ve lost interest, scoot off without compassion. These two deserve each other.

Sagittarius – Kataka/Cancer
Sagg is a swinger—the Crab Person is just a mood-swinger. By the time Kataka/Cancer has made up their mind to be vaguely human again, Sagg is out the door. No time for negativity. No patience for people who walk around like those cartoon characters with little black storm clouds over their heads. Sagg can’t possibly visualize a future with someone so unstable and clingy. Or can they? It could be time to grow up. And, if emotional maturity is the goal, the clever Crab Person could be the ideal lover for Sagg. And, of course, Crabs are also often very attractive. Sagittarians will have to get used to talking about their emotions in the candid mode Crabs say they like, but all the time making sure to lie enough so their feelings aren’t hurt. You’ll know by now that the Crab is sensitive, prone to feeling sorry for everyone even when it is their own fault. They must have their compassion, but Saggs shouldn’t let themselves feel guilty for one second. This is not because you don’t deserve it, but because it will insidiously undermine this love affair. The big bonus of this relationship? Saggs get the support; Crabs get a blast of air.

Sagittarius – Leo
This is one of the most desirable couplings of the zodiac. This may very well be “meant to be.” Sagg and Leo make each other look even better than they are naturally anyway. Sagg is candlelight to the Leo’s complexion—a rose-tinted mirror for the giant Leo ego. Sagg contributes fun and youthful vigor to what might otherwise be an overly ostentatious existence. In return, Leo simply adores Sagg, providing structure and a solid frame of worshipful support for the genius. These two get along in bed and out, during good times and when the crap hits the fan. Both are naturally optimistic life enhancers. They tend to agree about the important things—who is and isn’t a pain, what is or is not music, and how to while away a beautiful Sunday. But to truly cement this relationship, Saggs must tame the leonine ego. It’s a beast of a thing, demanding an endless flow of flattery in order to function. Saggs must find a balance between boosting the Leo vanity and keeping their own genius intact.

Sagittarius – Virgo
A relationship between Sagg and Virgo is one of the weirdest known to humankind. Both envy aspects of the other that equally repel them. Sagg admires Virgoan efficiency and their holistic togetherness, yet secretly suspects them of suffering from anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure). What Saggs don’t know is that, when the Virgo carps on about having to disinfect some cupboard or cull the book collection, that is their pleasure. A Virgo guilting over how big their bottom has become is just Virgo enjoying decadence. The Sagittarian role in this is to engage that famous Sagg candor and say, “yes, your bottom has grown kind of sideways, but it’s more low-slung than usual, and it appears to be developing cellulite.” This could be a ruthless, S&M of the mind-type relationship, especially as Virgo can apply analytical skills (of which Sagg has few) to studying Sagg fecklessness, lack of application, and scattered energies. And does Sagg want to hear such negativity? No, no, no!

Sagittarius – Libra
These two are blessed with soul mating potential, given a slight temperament alteration from Sagg to begin with. Libra finds Sagg ludicrously attractive—and this Libran may be the most alluring being that Sagg has ever set eyes on. One prob: Saggs are known for candor (a.k.a. bloody-minded tactlessness) and Librans prefer appealing fallacy to fact or at least a highly varnished truth. There is no room for bumbling oafs in Libra’s life, and nor can Saggs expect to get away with the rants that they claim are conversation. To win the Libran heart, Saggs must become mannered. Once you’re back from finishing school, this relationship tends to flow smoothly. Libra loves the expansive Sagittarian intellect and boundless optimism. There are endless subjects to gossip about and when all the social and intellectual life is exhausted, there’s a happy tumble in bed. Note: If Sagittarian shacks up with Libra, the bed will have to be color-coordinated, flattering, and osteopathically approved.

Sagittarius – Scorpio
Sagg has noticed, for someone who swoons on about being so into “seeking” the truth in everything, this Scorp friend is freaking out when actually hearing any truth. One of the good things about the Sagg–Scorp tryst is that Sagg will never have to worry whether they’re weirder than the Scorpio. It’s a given. And the Scorp will rarely bore Sagg, except when they flip out into possessiveness, which can be on several occasions a week. Unless they’re totally soul mated, the Sagittarian attitude toward love and relationships could politely be described as cavalier. Sagg certainly doesn’t enter into relationships just to be nagged and made to feel negative. Heck, no. If that’s what’s going to happen, Sagg will just go out that door, and old Scorp can hiss on about facing up to stuff on a solo basis. Shudder. When Saggs have fallen wildly in love with a Scorpio, they may have to have a few words to them about this. Constant scrutiny is not something that Saggs thrive on, especially if the Scorpio has charged the detective agency to Sagg’s credit card.

Sagittarius – Sagittarius
It could be hard for these two to get down off their soapboxes long enough to actually relate. Sagittarians love to get together and just rant the night away about their various issues: politics, eco-activism, education, art… whatever. Sagg and Sagg make an absolutely gorgeous couple. They roam the world inspiring each other and every person fortunate enough to socialize with them. But they may be so busy having civilised fun that they omit the harder emotional work of a relationship. And when one does finally admit to feeling something non-intellectual, the other is prone to waving it away in a fit of pique at having to deal with such negative stuff. This couple can live together in a state of blissful denial. Identifying this tendency is the first step to eradicating it and establishing intimacy. Two Sagittarians really bond by respecting one another’s need for space and not taking (too much) offense at bloody-minded Sagg candor. Few other signs can tolerate Sagittarians for too long. This is a heaven-sent match.

Sagittarius – Capricorn
The Sagg–Cap pair brings two disparate personalities and molds them into an unbreakable unit. First, Saggs have to respect their Capricorn mate, resisting the temptation to screech “Straight!” at them just because their Cap is trying to stop their partner from becoming one of the sad Saggs sitting in some bar, fingering their sacred crystals. Saggs have big dreams and a stunning breadth of vision. Cap can help make this all happen, but there will be a price—the Sagg nomadic spirit may be tamed by Capricorn’s sexy stability. Sex, if the Sagg can stay still long enough, is sensational. And in comparison to Sagg, Cap can be boring and prosaic. Saggs wanting to get serious with the canny Goat Person will have to play against type and learn to compromise their full-on personalities. And what does the Goat have to give up? For a start, sanity, as far as the Capricorn understands it. The Sagg is a total liver of life and is excited by the kind of risks that canny Cap spends a lifetime avoiding. Capricorns must decide early to channel this energy, not destroy it. Capricorn and Sagg can be so powerful—the Goat brings the calm ability to work the system and Sagittarians have the intellect and energy to build a money empire if only they can bring themselves to listen to Capricorn.

Sagittarius – Aquarius
These two could almost have been genetically created for one another, cloned and programmed to titillate one another. At first meeting they can’t believe how alike they are and how fast they can power bond. This coupling has the potential to run forever, especially once it’s agreed that trifling differences of opinion should not creep into the socio-sexual reality. It is very sad to see a Sagg–Aqua couple turn celibate just because someone bought clothes made from non-organic cotton or sweatshop labor. Saggs are more flexible and candid than their Aquarian partner. The Aqua can be a bit of a hypocrite, a raving snob, and yet an armchair anarchist. A Sagg’s opinions may be fickle, but at least they’re honest about their principles being a work in progress. The Aqua is often the kind of person dubbed a bo-bo-half-bohemian, half-bourgeois. They torment themselves with middle-class ideals of how to live, and then feel guilty for not being ethical enough. Saggs are more the genuine wilderness article.

Sagittarius – Pisces
This is a misalliance waiting to happen; a liaison dangereuse that has the most chance of flourishing when both parties live on separate continents, meeting up occasionally for “discreet fun times.” It could also work out if Sagg has significant planets in Water signs or the Fish person has strong Sagittarian influences. Saggs are the most active sign of all—say the word and they’re off on that snowboarding junket. Pisceans are generally creatures of the chaise longue. Too much activity stifles the flow of Fish-Person whimsy. They don’t like group sporting action and, no, they will not sit patiently at home awaiting the Sagg’s triumphant return. The Pisces will probably invite around one of their still-doting former lovers to entertain in the Sagittarian absence. Then there’s the small matter of candor. Sagittarians are candid by nature but the Fish just fibs for leisure. Fish People will drive Saggs insane through being needy, dishonest, and passive, yet they will act most devastated (not remorseful) by the breakup and, of course, it will all be the Sagittarian’s fault.

About the Author
Mystic Medusa is an astrologer with a website where you can find an awesome astrology blog, super on point horoscopes, an amazingly accurate online oracle, year ahead astrological scheduler and 12 Card Instant Tarot Read.

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

0

Alcohol Mindfulness Meditation

craft beer

Note: This is the same general practice as the Coffee Mindfulness Meditation, but with some slight variations.

Are you living your life consciously or through unconscious patterns?

Are you mind-full or mindful?

If you’re mind-full (lost in thought), you’re living life on auto-pilot, unconsciously reacting to everything that comes your way. It’s essentially sleepwalking through life while being entirely possessed by your own thoughts. Mindfulness is the solution.

Mindfulness is the practice that everything else hinges upon. It allows you to be completely present, establishes awareness regarding your thoughts/emotions and puts you in a position of empowerment to choose your actions in every moment.

Here’s yet another fun way to practice mindfulness: with alcohol. Now before you think I’m telling you to go chug a 12-pack, let me clarify a bit.

Alcohol and Mindfulness

The combination of alcohol and mindfulness almost seems counterintuitive, as alcohol’s effects beget less mindfulness and less conscious awareness. But when mindfulness is applied throughout the process of consuming a single drink (yes, just one), it is one of the best and most enjoyable mindfulness practices. You get the enhanced sensory experience of drinking the alcohol with complete presence. You also provide yourself space to actually feel the light buzz slowly infuse your system.

Alcohol is by far the most heavily abused substance in our modern Western culture. It’s a legal drug, a multi-billion dollar industry and an enhancer of many harmful acts. Also, it’s called “spirits” for a reason, but that’s another tangent. Like I said, alcohol’s effects make us less mindful, and that’s why it’s even more important to apply this mindfulness practice. We should be able to consume anything we want (freedom!). But without a foundation of self-mastery, anything we do can become extremely imbalanced and problematic.

It can be argued that some forms of alcohol are beneficial in the range of 1-2 servings, but beyond 2 drinks alcohol is undeniably toxic and damaging (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). So remember, if you’re consuming more than 2 servings (or even one if you’re small), you’re choosing to poison yourself.

If you’re completely mindful, you’ll have no interest in binge drinking anyway. From a state of mindfulness, you will be able to hear your body’s signals loud and clear. So instead of mindless, unconscious consumption (which is the mode most people operate in), you’re presented with the choice to mindfully enjoy what you’re drinking. Again, choice is a superpower.

The Alcohol Mindfulness Meditation

I recommend doing this with a good quality alcoholic beverage that you enjoy the taste of. I’m talking about a good craft beer, glass of wine or your favorite liquor on the rocks. The goal here is enjoyment and being mindful of the effects, not drinking for the sake of drinking. My preference for this is a strong, tasty IPA.

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to yourself to sit – Make sure there are no distractions, leave your phone alone while you do this.

2. Mindfully drink your drink – Focus on the subtleties of the taste, the texture, the smell…etc. Deeply immerse yourself in the experience.

3. When you’re finished drinking your drink, close your eyes and just sit for 20 minutes, observing your body (you can set an alarm for something like 25 minutes before you drink your drink if you want).

4. Relax completely – Let go of any tension. Let go of your to do list. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Relax into the present moment.

5. Feel the changes in your body – Notice any tingling, flowing, rushes of energy, warm and fuzziness or any other sensations. Focusing on the body also has the benefit of getting you out of your head. Most people are lost in thought 24/7 and they don’t even know it.

6. After 20 minutes, get up and go about your day or night with a renewed sense of mindfulness.

Like with coffee or anything else you ingest, keep in mind that the effects really start to kick in at about the 15 minute mark.

You can even do a loose version of this practice when with other people, just by being mindful while drinking and tuning into your body.

Bringing a mindfulness practice to alcohol consumption is life-changing. It really is. Apply this practice and bask in your own journey of self-discovery.

Find Your Balance

My body usually tells me to stop after one or two drinks. Alcohol is poison after all. If you consume mindfully, you’ll enjoy it more. And you become hyper-aware of your body’s signals to stop, which makes it harder to binge drink. If you’re mindful, you’re literally forced to contemplate on why you want to continue drinking even though your body is telling you to stop. I guarantee that you won’t drink a lot if you’re completely mindful with each sip you take.

People only get intoxicated to drop their inhibitions and forget about problems. There are thousands of other ways to do this without poisoning the body. Practice mindfulness every day and you’ll naturally learn how to troubleshoot your own fears and problems.

For the last 3 months I’ve applied mindfulness to alcohol consumption. In doing so, I enjoy the taste much more (and only drink what I actually enjoy instead of for the purpose of getting drunk). When I go out, I’ll have 1-2 (sometimes 3) drinks, depending on how my body is feeling. I’ve also spent the last year actively stalking my shadows, releasing fears and letting go of limiting beliefs, so I don’t need alcohol to have fun or express myself. That’s freeing in and of itself.

Live mindfully and enjoy yourself.

– Stevie P!

For more on meditation, check out my Introduction to Meditation.

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

0

Coffee Mindfulness Meditation

coffee mindfulness

Mindfulness is the very most important state to be in.

Literally everything else in life is hinged upon mindfulness (or lack thereof).

When you’re mindful, you’re fully immersed in what you’re doing, completely present and conscious of your own state of being. This not only allows you to more fully engage in life, but also puts you in a position of power to consciously choose your actions and reactions in every moment. So basically, when you’re mindful, you live life in high definition, immersed in each moment, while exercising your superpower of choice. Who wouldn’t want that?

I mean, it’s no coincidence that the core philosophies of many spiritual teachers focus on mindfulness (Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Lao Tzu, Osho, Thich Nhat Han, Wayne Dyer…etc.). Even Tim Ferriss has found that a regular meditation/mindfulness practice is the biggest commonality among top performers in all fields. So yes, it’s that important and life-enhancing.

Enjoy Your Mindfulness Practice

A thoroughly enjoyable way to practice mindfulness is through eating or drinking, particularly with commonly abused substances which alter your physiological or mental state (coffee and alcohol being the biggest ones in modern western culture).

The practice I’m about to share with you is a coffee/caffeine mindfulness meditation. Coffee is essentially an acceptable drug in our modern Western society. It’s an intrinsic part of our culture that is heavily abused in most cases. The caffeine in coffee stimulates the adrenal glands, which produce adrenaline and puts us in fight or flight mode (activation of the sympathetic nervous system). While this state can be beneficial in small doses, it can wreak havoc if it’s out of balance.

This coffee mindfulness meditation will allow you to actually feel the effects of coffee like you’ve never felt before. Most of us drink coffee as we stare at our phones, computers or the tv, distracted to the point where we’re completely oblivious to our physical, mental and emotional states. Then after drinking coffee, we throw ourselves into the fray of distractions, work, technology and responsibility-juggling of life. This lifestyle of distracted consumption creates an unconscious, auto-pilot existence which often slides into imbalanced, disharmonious and destructive behaviors.

Simply being mindful of what you consume is the solution. From this place of hyper-awareness, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy the effects of coffee/caffeine and become conscious of your consumption of it (if you choose to consume it at all).

The Coffee Mindfulness Meditation

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to yourself to sit. – Make sure there are no distractions, leave your phone alone while you do this.

2. Mindfully drink a cup of coffee – Focus on the subtleties of the taste, the texture, the temperature, the smell…etc. Deeply immerse yourself in the experience of drinking coffee.

3. When you’re finished drinking the cup of coffee, close your eyes and just sit for 20 minutes, observing your body (you can set an alarm for something like 25 minutes before you drink your coffee if you want).

4. Relax completely – Let go of any tension. Let go of your to do list. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Relax into the present moment.

5. Feel the changes in your body – Notice any tingling, flowing, rushes of energy, heat, coolness or any other sensations. Focusing on the body also has the benefit of getting you out of your head. Most people are lost in thought 24/7 and they don’t even know it.

6. After 20 minutes, get up and go about your day with a renewed sense of mindfulness.

Keep in mind that the effects really start to kick in at about the 15 minute mark.

If you can’t feel anything, you’re either lost in thought or you drink too much coffee and have a really high tolerance. Take a day off from caffeine and try this meditation again after doing that.

This practice is superb for cultivating a sense of mindfulness. It allows you to consciously enjoy coffee and its effects, and enjoy it more deeply than you ever have before. You may also realize that coffee/caffeine isn’t for you. That’s cool too. It’s vitally important to be in tune with yourself.

I personally love the effects of one cup of coffee. It’s a profound and enjoyable experience when mindfulness comes into play. I can really feel my body tingling, my whole system ramping up and being infused with the yang energy of coffee. On the other hand, I’ve also realized that one cup of coffee per day is a good balance for me. Any more than that and I would be too far in fight or flight mode.

Try out the coffee mindfulness meditation.

Live mindfully.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

0

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)
  •  
    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.”

     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    0

    15 Profound Quotes About Life

    quotes about life

    Life is a beautiful mystery. Life is a video game. Life is a challenge. Life is a playground. Life is a learning experience. Life is all of those things, none of those things and much more all at the same time.

    Life is here and now, yet endlessly enigmatic and fleeting. That’s the beauty of it. Without rambling on too much, let’s dance in the mystery together.

    Here are 15 Profound Quotes About Life

    1. “Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.”
      ― Osho
    2. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
      ― Alan Watts
    3. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
      ― Neale Donald Walsch
    4. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
      ― Charles R. Swindoll
    5. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
      ― George Bernard Shaw
    6. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
      ― Anais Nin
    7. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
      ― Albert Einstein
    8. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
      ― James Dean
    9. “Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.”
      ― H. Jackson Brown
    10. “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.”
      ― Henry David Thoreau
    11. “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
      ― Mother Teresa
    12. “If you are depressed you are living in the past.
      If you are anxious you are living in the future.
      If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

      ― Lao Tzu
    13. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
      ― Eckhart Tolle
    14. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
      ― John Lennon
    15. “We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
      ― Terence McKenna

     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    0

    The Float Chronicles: A Journey into Nothingness

    floatation tank

    A Prelude to Nothingness

    “Only nothingness can be infinite; somethingness is bound to be finite. Only out of nothingness is an infinite expanse of life, existence, possible – not out of somethingness. God is not somebody: He is nobody or, more correctly, nobodiness. God is not something: he is nothing or, even more correctly, no-thingness. He is a creative void.

    Never for a single moment think that nothingness is a negative state, an absence, no. Nothingness is simply no-thingness. Things disappear, only the ultimate substance remains. Forms disappear, only the formless remains. Definitions disappear, the undefined remains.

    The awakening of a buddha is total. In that total awakening there is a luminous awareness surrounded by a positive nothingness. It is not empty, it is overfull. Things have disappeared… and what has remained is inexpressible. We try to express it as blissfulness, as ecstasy, as eternal joy, but these are just faraway echoes of the real thing.”
    – OSHO

    My Float Experience: A Journey into Nothingness

    Disclaimer: This is simply my float experience. Floatation therapy, like anything that consists of going within, is completely unique to everyone. So while I hope you find value in my personal experience, keep in mind that your experience could be different in every way. That’s the beauty of it.

    When I got in the tank, it took me a few minutes at first to find a position that “felt right.” After a little trial and error, the chosen pose consisted of having my arms above my head, elbows slightly bent (floating on my back of course). From this position, I relaxed into a state of acute awareness. This is the kind of awareness that is virtually inaccessible in our world of constant noise and distraction (to all but the experienced meditator).

    Soon enough, I became hyper-aware of facial tension I was holding onto, particularly in my jaw. I brought my awareness to the jaw tension and it dissipated a bit. It was stubborn though, so I opened my mouth as wide as I could, stretching my jaw and exhaling the tension out. Little did I know, this would become my release valve for the rest of the session. After I released this tension from my jaw, I moved through my cheeks, eyes, eyebrows and forehead. With the tension in those areas, all I had to do was bring my conscious attention to them and hold the intention of letting go.

    I relaxed back into the void again; pure awareness. From this second level of awareness, I became aware of a recurring thought pattern. I kept thinking of telling people about floating, how amazing it is, how “nothingness” is the answer to everything and playing out conversations in my head. Each time I became aware of these thoughts, I would immediately cut them off (almost with a sense of disdain).

    As the thoughts faded, I became aware of another, deeper layer of jaw tension. Again, I stretched my jaw open and exhaled the tension out. I knew it worked because I relaxed back into a third level of awareness.

    From this third level of awareness, I started dissecting the root of these thought patterns and this is when my float session revealed itself to be a bit of an internal scavenger hunt. I called this phenomenon of plotting futures scenarios “Reverse engineering from the future.” I realized that when I’m immersed in these kinds of thoughts, my mind is in the future and I’m reverse engineering that future until it connects with the present moment. This mindset can be useful (this is what allows for meticulous planning and much worldly success) but it robs us from the present moment. It takes away that gratitude for just being and replaces it with an endless chase for the illusory pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Following this revelation, I noticed another layer of tension in my jaw. Yet again, I opened my jaw as wide as I could and exhaled. This created space for me to begin addressing some questions regarding these conversations that were playing out in my thoughts. I was now in a fourth level of awareness, but there’s no need to get hung up on the numbers.

    The question that came up was “Why do I even want to tell people about this?” Well, I want to inspire and help people help themselves. That’s my heart-based motivation, if you will. But my ego piggybacks on this motivation and uses it to make me look interesting and pioneering in the eyes of others. I also realized that the ego will always do this. It’s fine that it’s piggybacking, as long as my prime motivation is heart-based. As long as the ego is not my master, it can go on doing “ego stuff” while I amusingly observe it.

    This led to a second question, directed at my ego: “Why do I want to look interesting anyway?” Which really meant “Why do I want to win love or approval?”

    I instantly knew where this came from. When I was younger, my father put pressure on me to perform my best at everything I did, whether it was sports or tests in school. Because of this, I inherited a limiting belief that I had to perform or prove myself to gain acceptance. This is also one of the reasons why I constantly place immense pressure on myself. But I also realized and truly understood that my father had the best intentions. It may have came out a little intense-sounding at the time (he’s a fiery Italian), which was that good intention filtered through his own limiting beliefs, pain and imperfect perceptions. And what I did was take it on and apply it to myself in an amplified way. The term “belief amplification” came to me, so that’s what I’ll call it. As kids, any beliefs we inherit through our parents are amplified because they are essentially our superheroes and their words literally mold our psyches. Additionally, any belief that is applied to ourselves will be stronger than beliefs we apply externally. This is the phenomenon of belief amplification. With that mini-epiphany, I was able to forgive my father with ease.

    With my being permeated by forgiveness and gratitude, I drifted back into pure awareness. Out of that awareness emerged a theme of self-acceptance. “It’s ok,” became my affirmation. “It’s ok if I want to tell people about this. There’s no need to judge that part of me. It’s ok if my ego wants to look cool (as long as it’s not running the show). It’s ok if I don’t always perform up to ridiculously high standards. It’s ok. There’s no need to always put pressure on myself.” I basked in this dialogue of self-acceptance, feeling the love ripple through every part of my being.

    Note: This self-acceptance is why I’m able to share this right now. It’s ok to share. And if my ego likes it if people find value in it, cool. It can do its thing while I playfully observe it from my heart-space.

    The self-acceptance slowly transitioned into another mini-epiphany. I had realized that I was being my own therapist, shaman and guru all at the same time. While this initially felt empowering, I soon drifted into fear. “How deep is this going to go?” I asked myself worriedly. My state of grace quickly darkened to that of fear, almost panic. I had let myself plunge into the hell of endless chaotic thoughts. They violently swirled in and around me, to the point where it felt tangible. My heart was beating furiously in my chest. It felt like a distant drum whose drummer had gone mad. The only way out was in, in through the present moment. The phrase “here’s the now” came to me. It felt right. So I repeated “here’s the now” to myself over and over again, while taking some deep breaths, until I was back in a place of tranquil awareness.

    This is where yet another epiphany struck me. This game, this internal scavenger hunt, can go on forever if you choose to keep playing. The sentence that came to me was “If you’re looking for something, you will find it.” If you’re looking for problems, you’ll find problems (or even make them up). It’s also like what the physicists are doing at CERN. They’re always trying to find smaller and smaller particles, so as a result they’re always finding smaller and smaller particles.

    This insight made me realize that I didn’t have to keep playing this game forever. However, I became aware of one last layer of tension in my jaw. I also knew somehow that it was tied to a deep fear. It frightened me to even entertain what this fear was but I knew it had to go. So I tapped into the depths of my being for courage, stretched my jaw and exhaled to release the tension. As soon as I did this, a phrase popped into my mind, “The fear of nothing.”

    “Wow. The fear of nothing? That’s final layer of jaw tension? This “ultimate fear” was the fear of… nothing?”

    “There’s NOTHING to be afraid of!” I chuckled to myself and broke into childlike laughter.

    I repeated it again with even more amusement… “There’s NOTHING to be afraid of!”

    At this point I was overcome with delight. I wiggled around in the float tank, giggling like a little kid until the gentle music came on. The session was over.

    I lifted my head, ever so slowly out of the water. It felt as if I was being rebirthed into a new world.


    Let go completely and allow yourself to dip into nothingness, for that is where all possibility resides.

    – Stevie P!

    PS – I’m releasing a new online course soon, called “Primal Release.” In it, I give you the tools to release all kinds of unwanted baggage you’re holding onto, which goes far beyond what I did in this float session. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter below to be the first to hear about it.
     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    0

    How the 2016 Election is Revealing Our Collective Sickness

    fat fast food

    Artwork by Steve Cutts

    As a collective, we’ve become perilously unhealthy.

    If we were to think of humanity as one organism, we’re akin to an obese person who is realizing just how unhealthy and overweight we really are.

    Seeing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as presidential nominees is like that first hard look in the mirror at our bulging, blubbery, naked body that we’ve been avoiding for a long time.

    “Wow, I’ve really let myself go. I have to do something about this.”

    That’s how it goes when the delusional trance of denial is finally broken. We’re becoming acutely aware of just how unhealthy we are and how much we’ve been deluding ourselves up until this point.

    The mainstream media has completely disempowered our mindset with fear-based programming, our metaphorical couch has become too comfortable to leave and there are many institutions in place that profit off of our junk food consumption and collective sickness (note: both physical and metaphorical junk food consumption and sickness).

    This situation is literally forcing us to reevaluate everything and choose new ways to live, or passively welcome our own death.

    I don’t have to go into the details about how both candidates don’t have the people’s best interest in mind, or that democrats and republicans are two wings of the same bird (the illusion of choice), or that presidents are selected, not elected, or that the US government is an illusory democracy (technically an oligarchy) which is systemically corrupt to the core. We all know, on some level, that just about every major system on the planet is not serving our highest good. It’s pretty obvious for anyone with eyes to see. But it comes down to this, we need to figure out more harmonious ways to live as humans, and it all starts from within. If we’re possessed by our own egoic delusions and fearful within, everything we create externally will be a manifestation of that.

    “Tomorrow, I’m going to start eating healthy and working out.”

    This commitment to health is the next step after someone realizes the staggering extent of their unhealthiness. Yet without deep conviction, self-love and consistent action, this initial spark of inspiration will fizzle out.

    We must shift our mindset to health, then take consistent action towards the achievement of health. We need to change our lifestyle and our overall ways of thinking, living and being. It all starts within us. We must be the change first. Because if there is not a strong internal change first, we’ll eat a salad for one meal, then quickly slip back into the old patterns that created our sickness in the first place. This is why revolutions, without the foundation of a shift in consciousness, just end up as oppression under a new mask.

    Sure, being healthy sounds good, but how do we get there? We’ve never eaten healthy before and we don’t know the first thing about working out. But we can learn. There’s knowledge out there (and more importantly, in there). There are better ways of doing things and there are people who have achieved success in all areas of health. We can learn, and through consistent effort, become that healthy, vibrant person we always knew we were.

    It’s up to us to get healthy from the inside out. No longer can we blame our unhealthiness on all of the factors outside of our control; how convenient McDonald’s is, how busy we are, how expensive healthy food is or even our genetics. We need to step up and literally embody health ourselves.

    “I don’t even know what to eat though.”

    It’s time we do some research and come to our own conclusions as to how to eat healthier. There isn’t one diet that is perfect for everyone. We’re all unique and thrive off of a wide array of foods. It’s not even that complicated, the key is to eat as naturally as possible and trust our intuition. Even if we have no idea about health, we do know this… This fast-food, cotton candy oligarchy is killing us and we need to stop consuming it all.

    “I don’t think I can do a hard workout. Plus, I’m unsure about how to even start.”

    It’s all about being simple and consistent. That’s how long-term, lasting results are achieved.

    The best workout would look something like intuitively exercising according to our needs and pushing ourselves to the limit while listening to every part of our body in the process (metaphor hint: anarchy – the absence of government), but we’ll probably pass out or hurt ourselves if we tried that right now. We can, however work towards our ideal level of fitness.

    Maybe we need a personal trainer to teach us and help us transition to becoming our own personal trainer, with keen body awareness and strength that inspires others. We’ve always viewed the personal trainers as something scary (outside of our comfort zone), as they’ve been so counter to our lifestyle, but we can learn a lot from those doing things differently than we have. I mean, look where our complacency got us.

    “It’s going to be a long road, but I’m committing to change.”

    This isn’t going to be an overnight process. It’s going to take months, or probably years to even get close to where we want in terms of health.

    And non-metaphorically, personal change can take years, and collective, externalized change takes much longer than that.

    Essentially, we’re at the point of realization, where we need to look within, evaluate our options and work towards the direction of health. This will most certainly be a multi-generational process, so while we can’t expect ourselves to live in a utopian society next year, we can undoubtedly move ourselves in that direction.

    There are better ways of doing everything; energy, money, government (or lack thereof), education, disease prevention/curing, housing, transportation, farming, food, work…etc. We must find the courage to gradually let go of the old, embrace the new and work towards a better world. No matter how unhealthy we are, as long as we’re still alive, health is always an option. And it all starts within you.

    Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kinds of junk food (both physically and metaphorically) am I consuming?
  • What am I doing with my life to create a healthier collective humanity?
  • What internal fears or delusions do I have to get rid of in order to contribute as best as I possibly can?
  • What actions am I taking on a daily basis, no matter how small, to bring about a healthier collective?
  • The simplest way to be a catalyst for positive change is to choose love over fear in every situation. I urge you to vote for love in every moment.

    Cheers to creating a healthy collective.

    – Stevie P!
     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    0

    How to Prioritize Self-Care

    self-care

    If you don’t love yourself, then how are you going to love someone else?

    If you’re not empowered, then how are you going to empower others?

    If you don’t grow an inherent capacity to give from, then how can you consistently give?

    In order to serve, you must first be fit to serve. This is why self-care is a prerequisite for any positive change externally. The cultivation of self-love must be a priority, or else everything else in life is compromised.

    Self-care is essentially anything that rejuvenates your being, facilitates your growth and helps you love yourself more fully. A wide array of things can be self-care: meditation, yoga, working out, walking, hiking, reading, writing, drawing, painting, knitting (if anyone still does that), dancing, baths, saunas, massages, reiki, acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, stress-free cooking, watching something funny, watching something inspirational, learning (on your own accord of course), traveling and even sleeping. We all know what can be considered self-care by the reinvigorating feeling that comes along with such activities.

    The Importance of Self-Care

    You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

    That expression is so true, yet few people apply it. Fill your cup first and give from the overflow.

    Get over the limiting belief that self-care is selfish. It’s not. And neglecting yourself does no good for anyone. You can only give more by increasing your capacity to give! Self-care, being compassionate towards yourself, helps you to embody compassion in every situation you find yourself in.

    Creating a Harmonious Foundation for Everything Else

    If you don’t clear your own bullshit, everything you do is going to be from a place of fear, lack and delusion. Without a high level of self-love, you will consciously or unconsciously project your delusions and fears into all of your relationships. Without a practice of self-care, even giving will be a distorted version of itself. You will find yourself giving out of duty (as opposed to love), giving because you feel like you have to (creating bitterness), giving with strings attached (conditional love), or just not giving at all because you’re so internally depleted.

    If you don’t have a harmonious foundation within, all of your relationships will be based in disharmony and built on shaky foundations. So many relationships are dysfunctional because so few people do the inner work. Harmony and alignment within creates relationships based in harmony and alignment. Disharmony and misalignment within creates relationships based in disharmony and misalignment. Build a strong foundation first, or you will be living in a house that’s falling apart.

    Your internal state ripples across every aspect of your reality. Cultivate self-love and let compassion ripple into the ocean of your existence.

    How to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Daily Life

    1. Make a commitment to self-care – Make self-care a priority. In order to fully follow through with anything, you must prioritize it. When something is a priority, you will do it by any means necessary, but if something isn’t a priority, you will find any excuse not to do it.

    Make a commitment to self-care right now, whether it be in writing or a strong mental affirmation.

    2. Simplify your life – Cut out all of the unnecessary distractions. Let go of the asinine commitments you’ve taken on that don’t serve your highest good. Reduce the amount of stuff you have (less stuff = less to upkeep = more time for you).

    3. Focus on simple, tangible daily practices – Commit to daily habits of self-care, not vague promises of things you might do in the future. Create a system for yourself to implement to bring you in the direction you wish to head in. Simple systems are more effective than lofty goals, as they’re easy to implement on a daily basis and you’ll get a lot more done in the long run while enjoying the process.

    Pick one self-care activity right now that you can implement on a daily basis.

    4. Make time (don’t find time) – When you prioritize something, you make time for it, no matter what. If you’re really pressed for time or if you have young children, you might have to squeeze in your self-care early in the morning, late at night, on your lunch breaks…etc.

    5. Do it!

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

     
    Make a firm decision to love yourself and prioritize self-care. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

    Cultivate unconditional love within and share it with others.

    Create a ripple effect of compassion.

    – Stevie P!
     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter