A Message About Change

change

Oh, how things change…

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we adapt? What was once completely alien soon becomes common sense.

Change is the nature of our universe, and by extension, the nature of us.

To resist change, to try to control, goes against this. Those who are most fearful, most trapped in ego, try to control situations and people.

This is where things get disharmonious. When the ego clings to control, things go awry. And since change is inevitable, this causes change to manifest in perverted ways – in equal proportion to the amount of control being exhibited.

Surrender to the flow of change. The ego isn’t in control (even though it wishes it was). Revolutionary ideas come from the mysterious stillness within, far beyond the grip of the conscious mind. When they arise, these waves are best ridden, as they can’t be controlled.

Within this universal flow, change must be implemented consciously to maintain harmony. Resistance and unconsciousness creates disharmonious change. Yet even disharmonious change holds potent lessons. So there are no mistakes.

It’s a grand experiment. Eternal flux. The continuous manifestation of infinite possibility.

To cling to anything is like trying to catch the wind within a net. Let it flow through, inhale the experience and continue along your journey.

There’s no need to cling, control or resist. Go within. And at your very core, you too will find that you are the ever-changing changelessness. Nothing is lost. Nothing is found.

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!
 

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Release Limiting Beliefs With These 5 Simple Steps

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We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.
~ Louise Hay

 
Limiting beliefs are like heavy bags, filled with useless stuff, that you carry with you wherever you go.

You may think that whatever you’re carrying in those bags is important, but the bags ultimately weigh you down and greatly restrict your mobility. There’s also the aspect of becoming accustomed to carrying the bags. Once you do it for a while, it becomes your default state. You don’t know any better, so you go around carrying your baggage without ever stopping to ask, “Wait, what am I doing?”

Limiting beliefs are insidious because you don’t really know that they exist until you’re able to objectively look at yourself. It’s like the old phrase, “The fish will be the last to discover water.” Until you’re able to observe your thoughts, emotions and actions, you’ll forever be confined within a bubble reality of limiting beliefs and disempowering false assumptions.

Many of the limiting beliefs we hold are learned from our parents. As children, we are subconscious sponges, constantly picking up beliefs, habits, behavioral patterns and general views of the world from our parents. This is how our model of reality is sculpted, for better or worse. (See: Face It, You’re Parents are Flawed).

The Power of Mindfulness

I cannot stress the importance of mindfulness enough.

In order to be able to view yourself objectively and even have the option to change, you must cultivate mindfulness.

Think of mindfulness as self-awareness from a higher perspective, or the ability to objectively observe your thoughts, emotions and actions.

Mindfulness is the basis of any change. It is the foundational phenomena that, once, cultivated, will put you in a position of power to change anything. Instead of unknowingly repeating limiting or negative patterns on auto-pilot, mindfulness gives you the choice in every moment to indulge those patterns or not (and choice is a superpower).

If you develop mindfulness, you will be in a position to intuitively discover and release anything that’s holding you back. With enough mastery, you won’t need any external information. If you can still the waters of your mind and just listen, you’ll be able to receive all of the answers you need. Remember that.

Mindfulness is cultivated through a regular meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or time consuming either. The notion that meditation has to be difficult is actually a limiting belief that many people have. You can start just by sitting with your eyes closed and observing your thoughts for 2 minutes every day. Just 2 minutes! Another ridiculously easy practice is the 21 Breath Salute. Once you feel like you’re able to consistently watch your thoughts and they appear less and less, you can extend the time or try out other forms of meditation. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of meditation; even the shortest and simplest daily practice will be greatly transformative over time.

A Simple 5 Step Process For Releasing Limiting Beliefs

1. Ask Questions and Embark on a Scavenger Hunt

Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want.
~ Matthew B. James

 
Your limiting beliefs are the shadows lurking beneath the results you’re getting that you don’t want. So here’s the big question to identify limiting beliefs: What results are you getting that you don’t want? This can apply to any and every aspect of life.

If you’re having money problems, for example, chances are that you’re holding a limiting belief around money. So ask yourself these kinds of questions to get to the bottom of it:

  • What is my self-talk regarding money? (Maybe it’s something like “There’s never enough money.”) And in what situations does this negative self-talk come up?
  • How am I reacting to my financial situation? A feeling of helplessness? A victim mentality? Anger?
  • Hint: If you’re reacting to your situation in a disempowered way, that’s a telltale sign of a limiting belief.

    If you’re having problems finding a relationship, there’s probably a limiting belief standing in the way. Here are some ideas of questions to ask yourself regarding this:

  • Do I think all women are (insert negative adjective)? Do I think all men are (insert negative adjective)?
  • Do I think that women only interested in X? Do I think that men only interested in Y?
  • Am I waiting for perfection?
  • Do I not want to settle down yet?
  • Do I not feel worthy of a good relationship?
  • Use these types of questions for any facet of life that you wish to release limiting beliefs. You’ll be surprised at how much you can uncover just by asking the right questions.

    A major part of releasing limiting beliefs is treating it like an internal scavenger hunt. You have to be honest with yourself and willing to make a change. Adding elements of gamification and viewing the process as a scavenger hunt makes it more fun and less intimidating.

    Note: Choose one specific limiting belief at a time for the rest of the steps. Focusing on one belief at a time will help create a deep awareness regarding that belief and allow you to effectively and fully eliminate it.

    2. Write down the limiting belief.

    Writing something down leverages the power of externalization. There’s something magical and cathartic about getting something out of your head and into written form. If you write your limiting beliefs down, it will give you perspective, objectivity and insight that you never would have imagined if you had just kept everything in your head.

    3. Recognize that it is a belief, not necessarily truth.

    This is crucial to understand; just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Viewing beliefs from this perspective is transformative in and of itself.

    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
    ~ Marcus Aurelius

     
    4. Change your thoughts until the belief changes (belief transmutation).

    The most effective way to get rid of limiting beliefs is to replace them with more empowering beliefs.

    A belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again. With mindfulness you can observe and change your thoughts. If you change a thought consistently, then you’ve changed a belief!

    Affirmations are immensely useful here. Let’s go back to the limiting belief regarding money, “There’s never enough money.” Every time you say “There’s never enough money,” “I don’t have the money,” or anything like that (to yourself or out loud), change it to something like one of the following affirmations:

  • I always have more than enough money to meet my needs, wants and desires.
  • I delight in the financial security that is a constant in my life.
  • I am open and receptive to all the wealth in the Universe.
  • I always attract whatever I need for a glorious future.
  • Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.
  • Wealth constantly flows into my life.
  • My actions create constant prosperity.
  • I am aligned with the energy of abundance.
  • Find an affirmation that intuitively feels right for you or create your own based upon the specific limiting belief you wish to replace.

    Consistency is key with this practice. Continuously substitute limiting self-talk for more empowering self-talk and soon enough your belief will be transmuted.

    5. Consciously change your actions based on the new belief.

    How would you act if you had this new belief? Act that way. It’s as simple as that. Act like the belief you want is your reality until it actually becomes your reality.

    Using the example of limiting beliefs around money again, changing your actions doesn’t necessarily mean spending extravagantly. It can be as simple as expressing gratitude (and not guilt) whenever you do spend money. It can also consist of staying open to and actively pursuing more income, instead of just complaining about your lack of money. Another strategy is to not let money be the biggest factor in determining everything you do. For example, if you’re really craving almond butter, splurge and get the expensive almond butter without worrying that it costs $5 more than you usually spend. If you don’t let money control your decisions (while using discretion, of course), then guess what? Money won’t control your decisions.

    Do you think you’re weak? Start acting like you’re strong, lift some weights and you’ll gain strength every week. Do you think you’re a bad writer? Write every day, and after a year, you’ll be a better writer than anyone you know. Do you think you’re bad at talking to men/women (whoever you’re attracted to)? Approach 100 people in the next month and you’ll be smoother than a frictionless surface after that. Do you see the trend here?

    Clarity comes through action. The car has to be in motion in order for the steering to work.

    You can’t sit around and do nothing, expecting your life to magically change. You have to meet the Universe half-way through your actions. Visualize the action and actualize the vision.

    Note: Do steps 4-5 simultaneously until the limiting belief has been transmuted into a more empowering belief. This may take a day or two for some, or as long as a month or more for deeply ingrained beliefs.

    Abundance

    The Paths Are Infinite

    There are also strategies that have the potential of helping you to spontaneously release limiting beliefs. This includes things like plant medicine (ayahuasca, iboga, psilocybin…etc.), energy work (reiki, acupuncture…etc), yoga (especially when holding certain positions for longer periods of time) and insights that emerge out of deep meditation.

    Though this article focuses on a specific process, remember that there are an infinite number of ways to reach any destination. Thinking that there is only one way to achieve something is a limiting belief in and of itself (wink, wink).

    Burst through the bubbles of limitation and embrace all possibility.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P

     

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    Face It, Your Parents Are Flawed

    child parent holding hands

    Your parents are not superheroes. They never were.

    They’re imperfect, flawed humans just like everyone else.

    They have strengths, weaknesses, talents, hang-ups, blind spots and biases. Your parents are not immune to the numerous manifestations of the human plight. They slip up, they make mistakes and they’re not always right (even though they might have told you otherwise).

    If you’re now an adult yourself, coming to the realization that your parents are flawed human beings is necessary for both your own personal growth and the creation of a deeper, more harmonious relationship with them.

    The Silver Lining of Seeing Parents’ Flaws

    Recognizing that your parents are imperfect and flawed provides you with two beautiful opportunities…

    Realizing That Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Creates Space for a New Kind of Relationship

    By recognizing the fact that your parents are imperfect, it allows your relationship with them to be deeper and more genuine. Why? Because it allows for vulnerability. Any relationship naturally deepens when vulnerability is shared. Seeing your parents as flawed creates this space for both parties to share their vulnerabilities with each other.

    Through vulnerability, more inner truth is expressed and you’re able to more clearly see the essence of the other person. From this place, you can share your deepest fears, highest hopes and dreams, genuine desires and innermost feelings.

    Seeing your parents as flawed humans allows for the relationship to be a two-way street. They’re no longer “above you” and there is no command and obey dynamic. This relationship between peers allows you to give to them as well, because they need love and compassion as much as anyone else.

    There’s one catch though; both parties have to be willing to be open and vulnerable in order for the deepening of a relationship to take place. So you must first do the inner work. You must be ready, willing and able. And if your parents are ready as well, awesome. If not, remember the old idiom, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. You can provide the space, but the other person has to step into that space themselves.

    Realizing that Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Puts You in a Position to Heal

    As children, our parents obviously have an instrumental impact on us, for better or worse. Parents essentially set children off with momentum in a certain direction, and it’s difficult to change that momentum once you’re set in motion.

    We subconsciously soak up everything we’re exposed to from the time we’re born until the age of six or seven. During this time period, we absorb everything our parents say and do to us like sponges. We also take on their belief systems and models of reality. This sponge-like phenomenon continues throughout the rest of childhood (or even further), but to a lesser extent.

    Due to the state of hyper-absorption we’re in as children, we’re bound to pick up some trauma, limiting beliefs and negative habits. It’s inevitable in the world we live in.

    If you want to grow into the greatest version of yourself, you must let go of the things that are holding you down. This means releasing trauma and limiting beliefs.

    The perspective that comes with objectively seeing your parents as they are puts you in a highly favorable position regarding trauma, limiting beliefs and inherited pain. If you’re able to see your parents as flawed human beings, you’ll realize that they did the best they could (even if their best was extremely limited). You’ll also realize that their words (and actions) aren’t necessarily in alignment with ultimate truth. So if you picked up a negative belief based upon what your parents said to you, recognize that just because they said it doesn’t make it true. It’s merely their opinion (which may very well be skewed and limited). Seeing things in this way gives you a bigger picture perspective, and with this perspective, it’s easier to forgive, let go and not take on any more negativity.

    Another perspective that helps is seeing your parents as hurt little children, particularly when they’re possessed by their ego or pain body*. Again, they did the best they could with what they were working with. If you view them as demigods, their actions become final judgments and set-in-stone truths. So if they say that you’re stupid, for example, then you will truly believe that you must be stupid. But seeing them as hurt little children allows you to put their words and actions into proper perspective. Remember, only hurt people hurt people. From here you can meet their negative actions with compassion, instead of resentment or repression.

    This higher perspective will help you realize that you can choose not to carry around their pain and limiting beliefs any longer. It’s their pain, not yours. You only have it because you unknowingly inherited it. Let go. There is no need to carry such unnecessary burdens.

    *Pain body is a term coined by Eckhart Tolle, which he describes as “The accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose.”

    A Quick Note On Release

    There are many ways of releasing traumas and limiting beliefs, just as there are many ways of picking them up. However, this is beyond the scope of this article, as the topic of release is a rabbit hole in and of itself.

    Remember this though; self-awareness/mindfulness is always the first step. You must first be aware of something in order to change it. This is why engaging in a daily meditation practice is probably the most important thing you can do.

    Sometimes awareness is itself the release or solution, sometimes you might intuitively release in your own way and other times you need to use specific techniques or seek the help of an expert in order to release trauma or limiting beliefs.

    Bringing it hOMe

    Recognize, realize and understand that your parents are flawed humans, just like everyone else. Find the beauty and opportunity in their inherent imperfections. It made you unique, it made you who you are, it made you infinitely stronger than you would have been if you lived in a perfect little bubble.

    Even though this article focuses on the transmutation of flaws, don’t forget that your parents have admirable qualities as well. Be grateful for what you do have. Be grateful for how they helped you. And, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them with you, express this gratitude with them.

    Meet everyone with compassion. We’re all here to help each other out.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

     

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


     

    The Power of Surrender

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    In our modern Western culture, the word “surrender” is thought of as negative.

    The basic definition of surrender is “to yield to the power of another.”

    It has become synonymous with giving up and viewed as an irrevocable display of weakness. But, contrary to popular belief, the act of surrender may possess far more power than you’ve ever imagined.

    Let’s look at another interpretation. In the religious context, surrender “means that a believer completely gives up his own will and subjects his thoughts, ideas, and deeds to the will and teachings of a higher power.” (Wikipedia)

    I’ve come to view surrender as something slightly different than what both the dictionary and religious definitions imply. To me, surrender is letting go of your egoic sense of control and allowing the rational mind to yield to a higher purpose. (“Higher purpose” meaning that it’s beyond and more expansive than the ego, the rational mind and physical reality.)

    While the religious perspective has some innate wisdom, I don’t believe that this higher purpose or higher power has to be something separate from us. Separation is a physical illusion, as everything is connected on some level. We are multi-dimensional beings, whose layers eventually roll up to Source, God, the Infinite or whatever you believe is the essence of everything. However, simply heeding this intuitive wisdom, whatever that source may be, is more important than debating about exactly what it is or if it’s something separate from us or not.

    This higher purpose often comes in the form of subtle intuition that the conscious mind can’t quite grasp. It can also be a deep-seated feeling (aka gut feeling) that you can’t completely rationalize but know to be true.

    Surrendering to the Flow of Higher Purpose

    I’m not going to say it’s God or angels or spirit guides or higher self or Zordon, because I don’t know for sure. But there is undoubtedly some source of intuition that subtly feeds us information and guides us in certain directions. I’m just calling it “higher purpose” for the (higher) purpose of this article (see what I did there?). Plus, it reminds me of the great Buckminster Fuller quote “God is a verb.”

    Surrendering to the flow of higher purpose is ultimately a surrender of the ego and its controlling tendencies. It’s also a surrender of the problem-solving/problem-finding mind to heart-wisdom or intuition. There is less logic and rationality involved, but more feeling, trust and an intrinsic sense of knowing. You release all fear and flow with a higher aspect of yourself that sees beyond what your conscious mind does. While the conscious mind only sees the next step, the intuition sees the entire journey.

    Trying to control life with your egoic mind is like trying to walk on your hands (your hands being your egoic mind and your legs being your higher purpose/intuition/heart-wisdom). Sure, you can walk on your hands, but your legs are so much more capable of walking. Besides, your hands are of far more use when they’re free. It’s just like how your mind is sharper and more useful when you’re not exhausting or stressing it 24/7. Let go of that inner egoic control-freak and surrender to the mysterious wisdom of your heart’s intuition. Remember, the mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.

    Think of this higher purpose as a stream carving through the landscapes of life, always leading to the ocean called “What You Need Most for Your Growth” (Yeah, it’s an ocean with a long name). You can choose to flow with this higher knowing, or go against it. And we all know what happens when we go against our intuition…

    Additionally, surrender doesn’t mean being a victim or just sitting around waiting for things to happen. It means heeding your intuition, surrendering to that higher knowing and moving with faith, knowing that your intuitive compass is pointing you in the right direction (because it always does). Another major component is surrendering to the moment.

    For more in depth articles on ego, intuition and all of that good stuff:
    How To Hone Your Intuition
    What Does Your Ego Look Like?

    Surrendering to the Moment

    Though blind faith in man-made systems without any critical discernment can leave you vulnerable to manipulation, not having faith in anything is just as debilitating (if not more so).

    Trust the process of life. Have faith that everything happens for a reason. Trust that life is unfolding for your highest good. Well, what’s the other option anyway? Living in perpetual fear and doubt!? Eh, no thanks.

    “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

    Surrendering to the moment doesn’t mean not changing anything. It’s simply an acceptance of what is, accepting that what is happening is indeed happening. There is none of the paralyzing, insidious self-denial that slowly gnaws away at your well-being. Accepting the moment (what IS) actually puts you in a better position to change or maximize your situation than not accepting the moment.

    For example, if it’s 2PM and you surrender to the fact that you’re stuck at work for three more hours, it puts you in a position to make the most of it. But if you resist what’s happening, you guarantee yourself complete misery for the next three hours. Here’s another one: If you’re overweight and you accept it, only then can you make the lifestyle changes to make yourself fit and healthy. But if you’re in denial of the situation, that self-delusion will prevent you from facing reality and making a change.

    The Journey of Life

    Learn to let go of your sense of egoic control and trust the flow of life. And paradoxically, when you do this, more of your desires come to fruition. Life is strange, right?

    Your intuition is your built-in GPS (higher purpose), trust that it’s bringing you to the right place. Just keep your eyes on the road (be in the present moment) and your hands upon the wheel (ready for action).

    Feel the paradoxical power of surrender.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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


     

    Live Like Every Interaction is Your Last

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    We’ve all heard the phrase “Live every day like it’s your last.”

    But how many of us truly apply that?

    ***crickets chirp***

    Yeah… Pretty much nobody.

    It’s too easy to slip into the dull monotony of day-to-day life, coast through life on autopilot and lull ourselves to sleep inside the deceptive contentment of our comfort zones; only to wake up and find out we’ve missed the dance.

    “Live every day like it’s your last” has lost its potency because so many people say it without actually embodying it. So a new phrase that I utilize is “Live like every interaction is your last.”

    Serendipitously, I found myself applying that phrase during my travels. “Live like every interaction is your last” has become a perpetual piece of motivational self-talk as I maneuver through my days; and one that has made life infinitely more fulfilling as well.

    Everything is an interaction, so whether it be with people, animals, places or circumstances, treat each and every interaction you have like it’s your last.

    I was led to approach this “carpe diem” mentality from so many directions. Multiple paths, winding around the requiem of human reality, ended up seamlessly converging on this idea of wholeheartedly diving into each moment, because the next moment is not promised.

    11 Key Components to “Living Like Every Interaction is Your Last”

    1. Facing the Certainty of Death

    The reality of life is that death is inevitable. Death can also come at any time. To not recognize this is ultimate denial. By being consciously aware that death is certain and tomorrow is not promised, you will cherish each moment and squeeze the last drop of divine nectar out of every sacred day you walk the Earth.

    No matter what your belief system is – whether you believe in heaven, reincarnation, evolving into Mewtwo in another dimension or believe nothing exists after this life – your time within this physical body is finite. This completely unique life that you’re living right now has never happened before nor will it ever happen again. So be grateful and make the most of it!

    View death, not as your enemy or something to be afraid of, but as an ally motivating you to make the most out of each fleeting moment.

    “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean

    2. Positive Programming

    Condition yourself to live like every interaction is your last. Find an affirmation or mantra to repeat and help ground you into the bliss of the present moment.

    During every personal interaction, I keep the mantra “Live like every interaction is your last” in the back of my head. It helps me to be more present, more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving, more grateful, more bold and more courageous.

    We’re always programming ourselves whether we like it or not. Everything you tell yourself is a seed planted in the garden of your subconscious mind. Are you cultivating the kind of garden you want?

    3. Letting Go of Judgment

    Are you going to waste your time worrying about what other people think of you? Are you going to let the opinions of others determine what YOU DO with YOUR OWN LIFE? Are you going to throw away your own time by judging others? In the grand scheme of things, those petty judgments are ridiculously stupid, and an absolute waste of your precious time here on Earth.

    I took a more in depth look at different forms of judgment in these articles:
    No One Cares: Your Key to Freedom from Social Anxiety
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Judgment

    4. Living Through Your Heart

    Don’t let your ego run the show. Reside in your heart-space, that intuitive knowing from a deep place of peace.

    Choose love as your motivating force in every situation, not fear.

    And as cliche as this phrase is, ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” (or “What would Buddha do?” if you prefer that as the archetype of an ascended master). The point is, what would you do if you were operating from a place of unconditional love? Do that!

    5. Practicing Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is a pivotal theme here.

    Holding onto any negativity is like holding onto a burning coal, thinking that it’s burning the other person. You’re only hurting yourself.

    Forgiveness is more about not letting negative emotions fester within you than it is about the other person.

    Cultivate mindfulness regarding holding onto grudges or dwelling on negative scenarios in the past. Simply being aware of it will take the wind out of the sails of any negativity you’re holding onto.

    6. Recognizing the Stupidity of Negativity

    In the grand scheme of things, complaining is useless, getting angry over little things is laughable (and if you really think about it, everything is a “little thing”), clutching onto resentment is idiotic…etc.

    Are you going to waste your precious time on Earth mad at the guy who cut you off in traffic yesterday? Get over it and move on.

    7. Honesty

    Why lie? What’s the point? Think about how it would feel to leave behind nothing but a complex web of lives for those you supposedly care about.

    Lying just complicates things anyway, while honesty (though more difficult at times) is much simpler.

    Honesty also feels good, because it’s the language of the heart, and any pain felt on the receiving end of a genuinely honest statement (based in love) is pain on the ego’s behalf.

    8. Embracing the Little Things

    Living like every interaction is your last is not necessarily about going skydiving or throwing a party and inviting everyone you’ve ever met; it’s about cherishing the little things in life.

    Savor your cup of coffee in the morning, feel the joy of taking a deep breath through your nose, go for a walk outside and cherish the moment, laugh for no reason, dance by yourself, hold the door open for a stranger and see their beaming smile, give someone a genuine compliment…etc.

    Learn to love the little things and your life will be an awe-inspiring experience of perpetual vibrance.

    9. Avoiding Regret

    “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, Jr.

    You’re the brave hero of your own movie, so act like it. And remember that (so called) mistakes make the best learning experiences. Sitting scared in your comfort zone is not living, but a slow death.

    Take some risks, be unabashedly honest, talk to that hot girl or guy, write that book you have inside of you, quit your boring job and travel the world, tell your loved ones that you love them every time you say goodbye… Because you never know…

    When you’re on your deathbed, are you going to look back and have regrets? Or smile and say “What a ride, baby!”?

    10. Presence

    The present moment is all that exists, and its fleeting, so cherish it.

    The past and future only exist in our minds. And it’s in the mental projections into the past or future where we find our fear, worry, anxiety and all those negative emotions. Remember, there are no problems in the present moment.

    The present moment is the ever-moving point of unending actualization which encases the physical dimension. It’s a ceaseless vortex of infinite love that goes wherever you go. You just have to surrender to it.

    Feel, in the depths of your soul, the indescribable magic of each moment.

    Meet each moment with joyful totality.

    11. Your Legacy

    What are you doing to make the world a better place? What are you creating? Are you living with purpose? What message are you conveying by the way you live your life?

    What is your legacy?

    Let the answer to that be a guiding force for the way you live your life on a moment-to-moment basis.

    The Catalyst of Travel

    Travel has a profound way of spurring this way of living like each moment could be your last. With all of the new (and sometimes scary) places, all of the perilous bus rides and the natural fear of flights, you become far more likely to constantly consider your own mortality.

    From that perspective, a choice presents itself in every moment: “Will I make the most of this moment, or succumb to fear and complacency, letting it slip away forever?”

    The choice is up to you. You have the option, in every moment, to make the most out of that fleeting moment and live like every interaction is your last.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    5

    Why I’m Not Voting

    Vote for Nobody

    I don’t own a TV. I don’t watch the news. I don’t pay attention to any of the bread and circuses. I’m too busy improving myself and those around me.

    But word on the street is that it’s getting close to election time here in ‘merica.

    People ask me what I think about Donald Trump running for president or whatever other WWE-like political stage show is going on. This inevitably leads to me saying “I’m not going to vote.”

    Now before you fall off of your high horse in astonishment, let me explain… I choose not to vote, not out of ignorance, nor out of apathy (actually quite the opposite), but out of noncompliance with a broken, fundamentally corrupt and laughably ineffective system.

    If given the choice between stabbing myself with a knife or stabbing myself with a fork, I would choose neither (after questioning why I would even stab myself in the first place).

    C’mon, do you really think the votes are counted fairly after fiascos like the blatantly manipulated “Florida recount” of 2000? There’s obviously foul play going on, and digitizing the voting process makes it even easier to rig the game. It’s not even a popular vote anyway. People’s votes (supposedly) go to selecting members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president. (Another safeguard to make sure that only “selected” candidates are voted in?)

    “Presidents are selected, not elected.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Isn’t it ironic that most people feel like their opinion is negligible when it comes to most things? But in terms of voting (which is a blatantly rigged game), they fall for the fairy tale that their vote counts?

    When I tell people I don’t vote, I get two predictable reactions…

    Some people say “If you don’t exercise your right to vote, then you don’t have a right to criticize anything.” But I would contend that if we have the right to vote, shouldn’t we also have the right to NOT vote? Mandatory compliance for the entire population is the antithesis of freedom. This leads into the next one.

    Other people say “If you don’t like it, then leave.” Well, America was founded on the principle that the people have the right to criticize the government, and the right to overthrow it if it becomes tyrannical. Then there’s that little freedom of speech thing that just so happens to be the first amendment. If you live in a country where you can’t criticize the government, you’re in a 1984-like nightmare. I’d rather not slide down that slippery slope.

    “To criticize one’s country is to do it a service …. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism – a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation.” – U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright

    Insanity

    The Two Main Reasons Why I’m Not Voting

    1. The System is Broken

    The entire political system in the US is basically a branch of the big banks. The vast majority of senators are lap dogs for big corporations (lobbying is just a fancy way of saying bribery). And the entire hierarchy is designed so that the most obedient to those interests rise to the top. Anyone who tries to bring about any real change from within it is either silenced into submission or converted into another spineless drone dancing the puppet master’s dance.

    If you can’t see that there’s a massive conspiracy at hand, you’re in deep, deep denial. This is a call for you to wake up.

    Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of deceit:

    Regarding the rigging of the voting process itself:

    Can you get any more dysfunctional and deceptive? Everything that’s projected at us is one big, theatrical lie. To even give such an institution legitimacy is an insult to our intrinsic nature as sovereign beings.

    Don’t get caught up in “what’s wrong” though. Running around like a fearful, paranoid conspiracy theorist won’t help. You just need to be aware of the forces holding you back in order to transcend them.

    We must focus on building a better system rather than trying to repair a hopelessly broken one.

    If a glass breaks, do you waste your time trying to glue all of the pieces back together? Of course not. You get a new glass!

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Dan Millman

    Is Elon Musk trying to change the auto-industry from the inside? Is he trying to take over Ford or Chevy? No, he’s creating better alternatives (through Tesla Motors) that are rendering the traditional technologies futile.

    And really, all of the bullshit legislation and asinine topics of discussion are akin to switching chairs around on the Titanic. We need to change the fundamental paradigms which western society is based upon. We need a monetary system that does not funnel wealth into the hands of a few. We need energy that creates abundance as opposed to limitation. We need to embrace love, as opposed to being conditioned from cradle-to-grave with fear.

    2. The Power of Noncompliance

    “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu

    For some reason, most Americans have been conditioned to believe that peaceful noncompliance isn’t an effective driver of change. Quite the opposite is true. This false belief has been propagated because, when used properly, it’s an immensely effective force.

    Peaceful resistance is the only way to create positive, lasting change. Noncompliance is the kryptonite of any control system.

    No law, no system, no government can be implemented unless people COMPLY with it. Any manifestation of a control system cannot exist without our acquiescence.

    “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Society is overwhelmingly shaped by acts, not laws. People are inspired through the heart, not necessarily through documents and signatures. What law did Gandhi pass? What law did MLK pass? Did Rosa Parks go through a legislative process? Hell no. She practiced peaceful noncompliance by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. And it was a huge moral victory.

    We can also look at the events that have shaped society in more negative ways. Look at 9/11. It was a false-flag attack engineered to instill fear within the population (along with being an excuse to occupy the Middle East). Ever since that tragic day, Americans have been literally programmed with fear.

    We need to take action to spark positive change, along the lines of Gandhi and MLK.

    In the phenomenal novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, a utopian(ish) society neutralizes the invasion of a dystopian society through noncompliance. The utopian society had built better alternatives in every aspect of living. When the armed invaders came, they were met with peaceful noncompliance. At first, some were killed for not obeying orders. But eventually, the invading army recognized that the place they had invaded provided a better life than they could have imagined back home. The strategy of peaceful resistance caused the hierarchy of the violent invaders to implode from within.

    You can’t fight fire with fire. It must be put out with water. Noncompliance is that water.

    What would happen if the majority of the population refused to vote? Not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance with a system that they don’t agree with. And letting it be known, emphatically, on top of that. (See the “call to action” at the bottom of this article to do just that.) Everyone would be forced to take a long, hard look and question even the most fundamental beliefs that the government is based upon. When noncompliance hits a tipping point, the established system of government would have no choice but to be uprooted and rebuilt from the ground up.

    And don’t think you don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (yes, you reading this). You most certainly do play a part. Just as an ocean is a collection of individual drops, a nation is but a collection of individual people.

    “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” – Voltaire

    It’s about time we started an avalanche of positive change.

    Change starts from within. There must first be internal change for there to be any real, lasting external change. That’s why Gandhi said, “Be the change we wish to see in the world,” not “Hope someone else will come along and change things for you.” (Which is the trap most Americans have fallen into.)

    Be the change

    Want Real Change?

    1. Wake up to the fact that everything being projected at us is one big, theatrical illusion.
    2. Do the inner work – Get to know yourself, meditate, journal, spend some alone time in nature…etc. Establish some self-awareness and recognize your patterns. Why do you think society keeps us distracted and focusing on utter nonsense 24/7? Because once we go within, the game is up.
    3. Clear your demons – From a place of awareness, you’ll be able to address the fears, traumas and limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
    4. Connect with love – Connect with the essence of love within you (it’s there), which is the underlying component of everything (aka God, Source, the Infinite…etc.). With this connection, love will be the main motivating force in your life, as opposed to fear.
    5. Practice small acts of kindness every day – Do not underestimate the power of small acts of kindness done consistently.
    6. Start expressing your gifts, whatever they may be – Some people are great architects, some are great engineers, some are great healers, some are great writers, some are great permaculturists…etc. Everyone has a unique gift to share with the world. We all have special talents that will become building blocks in creating a better world. You just have to do the inner work so it can express itself.
    7. Watch society change from the inside out – When we do the inner work, we will transform, then communities will inevitably transform and eventually the world as well. Change happens from the inside out, not the outside in (and especially not from the “top” down). What will this look like exactly? I don’t think we can even imagine the exact details of it from where we’re at right now. But as MLK famously stated, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

    We’ve been focusing all of our energy on external authority figures for so long that we can’t even fathom what the world would look like if we all stepped into our inherent power. And that is exactly what needs to happen for any real change to take place.

    Stop focusing on what, deep down, you know to be illusory and embody the change.

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

    We hold the key to change, and it lies within.

    We shape society based on our daily actions, not by hoping someone else will come and save us.

    And that’s why I’m not voting.

    – Stevie P!

    How Real Change Actually Takes Place

    CALL TO ACTION

    If you don’t want to vote, out of noncompliance (not apathy), you can do these two things to have your voice heard: (Imagine what would happen if thousands of people did this.)

    1. Tweet this…
    Tweet: I’m not voting, not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance with a fundamentally corrupt system. #novote #votefornobody #noncompliance

    Let’s get those hashtags trending on Twitter.

    2. Email the US Government, expressing that you’re not voting out of noncompliance.

    Here’s a general script for the comment: (You can copy this or create your own, with your own name of course)

    Dear US Government,

    I’m not voting in the presidential election, not out of apathy, but out of noncompliance. I do not wish to give legitimacy to a fundamentally corrupt system.

    Every president presented to us has been SELECTED by the shadowy and deceptive powers that (wanna)be. The interests of the people have taken a backseat to the interest of big banks, big corporations, big pharma, the military industrial complex, the oil companies…etc.

    I also do not have faith in the voting system. It is a rigged game and there never really was a truly popular vote.

    I’m grateful, however, that I at least have the right to express this. I wish to let it be known that I am not voting out of noncompliance.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    And whoever reads this, I wish you well.

    – Stephen Parato

     

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    New Beginnings and Endless Endings

    A poem…

    Writing

    New beginnings and endless endings
    Infinitely dancing
    In a bittersweet twist
    Of co-created fate

    An ever-evolving cloud of possibility
    Recycling existence
    Ceaselessly raining new life

    Drops diving into the ocean of eternity
    Both infinitesimal and inconceivably meaningful
    For the ocean is but a union
    A union of individual drops

    Rippling through the timeless now
    Touching the deepest aspect of self
    Subtly reminding us
    Of our shared essence