Gratitude: Your Secret Weapon

Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude naturally and effortlessly transmutes fear.

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

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

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

Where There is Gratitude, There is No Fear

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

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

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

The Great Transmuter

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

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

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

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

Remember, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

The Magic is Right Here!

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

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

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

Gratitude Practices

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

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

    When in doubt, be grateful.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    2

    5 Reasons Why Traveling is Like Playing a Video Game

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    Pai, Thailand

    Here you are…

    You materialized in the third dimension, popped out of your momma and ended up a resident of planet Earth.

    So don’t you want to explore it? Don’t you want to see what it’s all about? Aren’t you curious?

    I know I am (to say the least). And deep down, beneath all of the fear, you too want to explore as much as you can before you’re gone.

    The concept of life being like a video game fascinates me. For many reasons, I think it’s such a profound (and accurate) comparison.

    Beyond the argument that so many signs are pointing to this universe being some sort of grand holographic simulation*, the principles of video games also apply to life in general. That’s the aspect which I want to focus on here.

    Read another post of mine about life being like a video game here: Life is a Video Game: The Challenge Perspective

    We only grow through overcoming obstacles. Everything is a learning experience. If life weren’t challenging, it wouldn’t be fulfilling, rewarding or fun. Think about it this way, would you play Super Mario if all you had to do was casually stroll to the right the whole time, meeting no obstacles? Of course not. That would get boring after two minutes. The same theme applies to life.

    Travel is an aspect of life where the video game comparison is unavoidable. Here’s why…

    5 Reasons Why Traveling is Like Playing a Video Game:

    1. You Expand Your “Mental Map”

    The mental map is a concept that my friend (shout out to Cole King) and I came up with while we were working as pizza delivery drivers in high school. We compared learning new streets to the maps found in many video games. You know how in video games the map starts as completely black, and as you explore it, it clears? (You can see a good example of it in this video.) Well, the same applies to your own mental map in life. Everything is just a mysterious abyss when it’s unknown. And you “clear out” and materialize that abyss by personally exploring it.

    It would be a damn shame to die with only a tiny speck of your mental map cleared out. There’s so much out there (and in there) to see and experience. Make your story exploratory!

    2. You Level Up Through New Experiences

    I love the concept of “leveling up.” When traveling, I find myself gaining new insight (like whoa), broadening my perspective and developing skills at a mindblowing rate. Improving at anything is leveling up, and travel is conducive to improvement in many facets of life.

    When traveling, you continuously expose yourself to new experiences. You’re perpetually launching yourself out of you comfort zone. You don’t learn or grow by going through the same monotonous routine all of your life. New experiences provide the fertile ground for you to grow, level up and evolve into the greatest version of yourself.

    3. You Meet New People (Allies)

    If you’ve done any traveling, you know that you meet so many awesome, interesting people. You learn from all of these people too. Everyone you meet is a teacher. People you meet are like allies you encounter in a video game.

    4. Each Place You Go to is a New Level

    Each and every place has its own unique culture, landscapes, architecture, quirks and personality. They are all different levels within the video game that is your life.

    5. You Must Defeat the Bosses

    In most video games, there are bosses to defeat at the end of each level. The “bosses” in life, however, are often intangible forces and/or fears to overcome. For example, You may have a fear of heights that you defeat by cliff jumping.

    “Bosses” that I’ve defeated on this trip:

    Travel anxiety – The fear of missing a flight, not finding a place to stay…etc. All of that fear based on projecting into the future. I’ve learned to do what I can, let go and be present instead of uselessly worrying about the future.

    Fear of rejection – This fear would come up when approaching women. But I’ve acted in spite of this fear so many times that it’s no longer is a big deal. And you know what? Every time I’ve said “fuck it” and approached someone I wanted to talk to, it turned out well (or it’s a funny story). I’ve even met some really, really amazing people doing this. Maybe I’ll elaborate on it more in another post.

    Striving syndrome – I’m hyper-critical of myself most of the time. I constantly put pressure on myself to keep improving, be a better person, learn more, write more and stay focused on goals. This is good when it comes to achievement, but it can rob you of the bliss of allowing yourself to just BE. There have been many moments where I had to stop and give myself permission to just BE; to simply enjoy the moment, with no goals and nothing to strive for. It’s difficult to balance being grateful for where you are right now and continuously improving. But I’m finding that balance. Due to my awareness of this tendency within myself, the “striving syndrome” now has less of a grip on me.

    Kayaking in Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Kayaking in Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Where I’ve been to so far on this trip (aka the details of my mental map expansion):
    Marseilles, France
    Barcelona, Spain
    Croatia – Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar Island, Zagreb
    India – Pune
    Thailand – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai
    Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

    This trip feels like I’ve squeezed multiple lifetimes into this journey called “Stephen Parato.” I’m so grateful to be doing this and I want to inspire you to follow your heart as well.

    Have fun and keep leveling up.

    Greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    – Stevie P!

    PS – For pictures and some short goofy videos of my travels, follow me on Instagram @steviepthatsme

    *Resources regarding our reality being a holographic simulation:
    Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation
    The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

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    3

    Always Grateful, Never Complacent

    I said this phrase to myself in the shower the other day. Not sure why or how it popped into my head… But I like it.

    Did I just quote myself? ;)

    Did I just quote myself? Yup 😉

    Sounds like a good motto, slogan, or a tag line for a motivational Youtube video, right?

    Well, first thing’s first. What is gratitude?

    I’m glad you asked. Here’s the ol’ standard dictionary definition.

    Gratitude- The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

    Gratitude is a deep appreciation. A conscious expression of Love. Gratitude opens up every aspect of our being to infinite possibility. If you’re not truly grateful for anything, you close yourself off; damming the river of life.

    And I don’t know what it is, but gratitude creates abundance. It really does. I’ve personally experienced this. When you’re grateful for something, you open yourself up to more. Maybe it’s the law of attraction. Maybe it’s the power of positivity. Maybe it’s a magical genie, secretly granting your wishes. Whatever the exact mechanism is, it works.

    Ok, now here’s the ol’ standard dictionary definition of complacency:

    Complacency- A feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

    The key part, in my opinion is “…often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like…”

    Complacency is comfortable stagnation. It is trading growth, and everything new, for monotonous security. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Gratitude is an attitude. (Yeah I got rhymes)

    It is a state of being, not a goal. If you exist in gratitude, you carry it with you as you accomplish goals. It becomes a part of your being.

    Life is an ever-flowing stream. Apply gratitude to the flow of life.

    Gratitude is a raft, helping you stay afloat on the flow of life. Complacency is like a dock. Sure you may be floating (content), but you’re not going anywhere. So go with the flow (of life). And use the attitude of gratitude to love the journey.

    Why EVERYONE should be grateful:

    • If you’re reading this, you’re alive (hopefully). Be grateful for life. When you realize that life is a gift, gratitude is a part of your natural state. And to be blunt about it… If you’re not grateful for life, then what are you even doing here?
    • Someone has it worse than you. No matter your situation, there’s always someone out there who has it worse. There’s always someone who would do anything for your situation. So stop being negative and start being grateful. This too shall pass.

    Those are the two fundamentals of being grateful, applicable to everyone. The finer details of gratitude are all individualistic (ex/ meeting your girlfriend/boyfriend, finally leaving your stoop…etc)

    5 Ways to express gratitude (and open yourself up to abundance):

    1. Awareness. Just be consciously grateful. All it takes is simple acknowledgement. Awareness is powerful in and of itself.

    2. Write what you’re grateful for every day. Even if you only write one thing. The act of writing makes things realer, and helps bring your desires to fruition.

    3. Say thank you/ verbally express gratitude. Thank people when you appreciate what they do, compliment people, give em the metaphorical pat on the back, talk about things you’re grateful for…etc.

    4. Let your actions speak. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk as well. Grateful for your body? Treat it right. Grateful for your girlfriend/boyfriend? Show them Love. Appreciate your holographic Charizard Pokemon card? Frame that shit. Actions speak louder than words. Actions reveal where priorities lie.

    5. Give. Express through giving. Giving is a transfer of gratitude. It’s lighting other candles while still maintaining your own flame. It’s spreading Love, and opening yourself up for more Love. For more good things to come.

    6. Smile to yourself. Give yourself a lil Mona Lisa smirk when you think about things you’re grateful for. It’s fun. I do this all the time, especially when I think of something while in public.

    So it comes down to this… You can open up and high-five the Universe; or you can close yourself off and leave it hangin’.

    The choice is up to you.

    Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great, my friends.

    -Stevie P!

    Turn Negative Thought Patterns Into Positive Thought Patterns… Like Magic

    Yesterday I got to work absorbed in negative thought patterns for whatever reason. It happens. But within 20 minutes, my mind state did a complete 180. And I got more done in an hour than I did the entire day before.

    So, I know you’re on the edge of your seat asking yourself, what kind of crazy wizardry did he pull?

     All I did was write down (well, typed) everything I was am grateful for regarding my job.

    I listed everything from reasonable hours, to the people I work with, to financing my living in NYC. And once I finished writing down what I was am grateful for, my mood changed almost magically.

    Take one of these and call me in the morning

    Take one of these and call me in the morning

    I always thought that writing down things you’re grateful for was one of those “woo-woo”, new-age, floating on the ceiling-type things that people just talk about. But here’s the kicker, it actually works. 

    There’s something about writing things down that helps brings them to fruition. It makes thoughts more tangible. Like what everyone says about goals. You’re way more likely to achieve them when you write them down. And there’s something about being grateful (for what you already have) that naturally results in more positivity and abundance.

    So here’s the action item for this post:

    Try it for yourself.

    Next time you find yourself consumed with negative thought patterns, take a minute and write down what you’re grateful for. You’ll notice a positive shift immediately.

    Reclaim your awesome day.

    -Stevie P!