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Why I Stopped Traveling the World

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After about 5 months of inspirited vagabondism all over this beautiful planet, I’ve decided to stop traveling (for now).

What? Why? Are you crazy? Don’t you want to keep traveling the world?

Not really, at least for this phase of my life.

I had a myriad of amazing experiences, met hundreds of wonderful people, discovered so much about myself and gained an enormous amount of clarity regarding, well, everything. In short, I got what I was looking for (but of course, the journey now continues in other ways).

How I Decided Where to Go

My travels were guided by places that were calling me. I would get these deep, intuitive callings to go places. And that’s what I followed, no matter what. Money, distance and convenience all took a back seat while I faithfully navigated via my inner compass.

Every place was special and served as an auspicious co-conspirator for my personal evolution. They all played a role that I never would have imagined if I didn’t follow “the calling.”

“There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.” ~ Albert Einstein

Why I Stopped Traveling

I stopped traveling because no particular place is calling me right now.

However, that calling is now coming in the form of new endeavors (there are big things on the horizon for Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great) and building relationships with kindred spirits.

I have an incredible pull coming from the depths of my being. So that’s my focus right now. That is the theme of this chapter of my life.

Where in the World was Stephen Parato?

Here’s the general list of places I went to (notice that most of it doesn’t make sense from a strictly logical standpoint):

Marseilles, France
Barcelona, Spain
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Split, Croatia
Hvar Island, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
Pune, India (at the Osho International Meditation Resort)
Bangkok, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Pai, Thailand
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Arambol, Goa, India
Iquitos, Peru (and the Peruvian Amazon)
Cusco, Peru
Machu Picchu
Puno, Peru
Copacabana, Bolivia
Isla Del Sol & Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
Panama City, Panama
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Isla Basimentos, Panama
San Jose, Costa Rica
Uvita, Costa Rica (and Envision festival)

I took a bunch of buses, a few trains and 13 flights throughout those 5 months (like a so-rad, pro-nomad).

I stayed everywhere from hostels, to Airbnb places, to guest houses and even a fancy hotel in Panama City for a night.

Such diversity of life experiences allows me to appreciate everything more, develop the perspective to be able to relate to anyone and evolve into the greatest version of myself.

Traveling for the Sake of Traveling

Since no place is truly calling me right now, if I were to keep gallivanting around, I would just be traveling for the sake of traveling. Doing that would actually be going against my intuitive guidance (which is pointing me towards new projects and building relationships, not more travel). And we all know what happens when we ignore our intuition.

If you’re traveling for the sake of traveling, are you really being guided by your internal compass? Are you traveling just so you can take beautiful Instagram pictures so that everyone thinks you’re cool? These are questions I’ve periodically asked myself. Notice when your lifestyle choices are based upon other people, or society, instead of your own inner guidance.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

I’ve learned to trust my intuition and trust the process of life. When I do, life is infinitely more fulfilling and magical. On the surface, continuing to travel seems exciting, but I know that I’m entering into a different phase right now. I know that as I walk this path of inner truth, opportunities will present themselves that I never would have imagined beforehand.

What is Calling You?

Get in tune with what is calling you. Be brutally honest with yourself.

What do you have a deep, irresistible calling towards?

Who cares what anyone else tells you? Live based on your own genuine, intuitive (heart-based) desires otherwise you’ll forever be a slave to other people and external forces.

The calling will be different for everyone. For you, it may be be starting a family, or learning a new language or traveling to the country where your grandparents were born. We’re all utterly unique, on different journeys and at different stages of our own hero’s journey.

It all boils down to this: Live YOUR life.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Croatian Island Bay Stance #hvar #starigrad #croatia #thatstancetho #perfectform

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on


 

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Selfie Sticks and Knickknacks (A Unique Take on Tourism)

Tourism is an interesting phenomenon.

On the surface, it seems pretentious and annoying – flocks of foreigners, swooping in on new (to them) lands, taking more pictures than they’ll be able to look at in five lifetimes and throwing their money at local knickknacks that don’t really serve any purpose; all while looking laughably out of place.

But tourism as we see it today is a symptom of transition. People are starting to become interested in different places, different cultures and different ideas. And that’s a beautiful thing. It’s just that most folks haven’t yet honed their inner guidance system enough to proficiently pilot their newfound curiosity through this hybridized world of natural wonder infused with exponentially increasing technology.

The old paradigm, which never served humanity or our planet in the first place, is fading away before our very eyes. We’re moving away from the days of people comfortably sitting in their “identity boxes” (nationality, sex, race, religion…etc.), ignorantly fearful of those within other “identity boxes.” Two world travelers, even from the most different places imaginable, will never go to war against one another. Why? They’ve seen and experienced enough to realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all humans, co-inhabiting this big floating rock. Ignorance is the prerequisite for division-based violence. And in today’s transparent, global society, the dark shadows of ignorance are quickly being illuminated out of existence.

We (the people, not the lawmakers) are also harmonizing many areas of the world toward a more peaceful vibration. This is the flip-side of the utter monstrosity that was colonial imperialism/vampirism. Tourism can be corny, annoying and even mildly exploitative at times, but it’s a step in the right direction. The underlying intentions of tourism (curiosity, wonder and adventure of everyday people) are a far cry from the intent of organized oppression and thievery of entire continents by those in power.

We’re waking up to the fact that we’re all humans, sharing this planet. A reinvigorated, healthy respect for one another, as well as Pachamama (Mother Earth), is sweeping through our collective consciousness. Today’s tourism, tinged with selfie sticks and knickknacks, is just a silly bridge between the old and the new.

One love.

– Stevie P

PS – This post wouldn’t be complete without a selfie of my own…

I don’t usually take selfies, but when I do it’s with contemplative monkeys.

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on


 

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16 Things You Need to Know About Ayahuasca

Aya

Master Shaman Alberto whistling an icaro into my cup of ayahuasca

Ayahuasca… You’ve probably heard the word recently.

The spirit vine, as it’s called, has been used traditionally by Amazonian shamans for (at least) thousands of years. Ayahuasca is typically consumed as a brew that has entheogenic properties and contains DMT (Dimethyltryptamine aka the spirit molecule). Now, with a global awakening in progress, Ayahuasca’s profound spiritual effects are now attracting more and more westerners. Although it may seem like it’s the latest trendy beverage in the consciousness niche of the internet, Ayahuasca is in another realm (literally) compared to your health food store kombucha.

I very recently went on an Ayahuasca retreat and I already feel that it has fundamentally changed my life for the better. Much of this inner shift has come in ways which were previously unfathomable to me, which further adds to the alluring aura of the spirit vine.

If you’re skeptical, do not dismiss Ayahuasca as a “drug” offhand. It is the complete antithesis of an escape and has been consistently shown to break drug addictions. Many plants provided by Mother Nature harbor potent healing properties and Ayahuasca is a prime example of this.

Here are 16 things you need to know about Ayahuasca. This isn’t a copy/pasted list of generic facts and you won’t find this type of information on Wikipedia. This article is a synthesis of some of my firsthand experience (so far). And funnily enough, you can apply most of this list to life in general, making it practical and pragmatic for everyone (even if you have no interest in doing Ayahuasca).

1. The stronger Ayahuasca calls you, the more ready you are for it.
Every single person who I’ve talked to that has communed with Ayahuasca has said that it was calling them in some way, shape or form. This is a sign that you’re ready for the medicine and it happened with me as well. For the last 2 years, the word “Ayahuasca” kept popping up everywhere for me (articles, books, people mentioning it…etc.). It eventually got to the point where I had to heed the call.

2. Ayahuasca is different for everyone.
Like everything in life, Ayahuasca is unique to each person. And that’s the beauty of it. Some people get a lot of visuals and some get more feelings; some have difficult experiences and some have joyous experiences beyond their wildest dreams. Ayahuasca provides a dynamic experience that gives you exactly what you need, which is the next point.

3. Ayahuasca will give you exactly what you need.
Along with being unique to each individual, Ayahuasca gives everyone exactly what they need. If you have a major limiting belief regarding money, Ayahuasca will address it. If you’re too ego-driven, Ayahuasca will put your ego in its place. A great example of “getting exactly what you need” was the experience of my roommate at the retreat. He was skeptical of Ayahuasca in the beginning and a bit frustrated because he didn’t experience much during the first three ceremonies. But the fourth ceremony turned out to be an epic journey for him. He said that he went “to the singularity and back,” saw “everything” and now believes in God (not the religious God, but the “God energy” which is the everythingness/nothingness/source that everything comes out of). He even told people that he went from a rigid atheist to openly spiritual in less than 24 hours, which is exactly what he needed.

4. You must relax into Ayahuasca to maximize the experience.
Waiting for Ayahuasca to kick in (after drinking it) is a lesson in and of itself. You won’t get deep into the medicine if you’re resistant, fearful and tense. You need to let go and surrender to it, which is excruciatingly difficult for the control-craving, egoic mind. Surrender is often thought of as negative in Western culture, but it’s not. It’s an act of trusting and letting go of all fear. When you take a train, do you try to stop it, turn it, or constantly look out the window to make sure it’s moving correctly? No, you trust that it’s taking you to your destination. In this context, Ayahuasca can be thought of as a train to unconditional love.

5. You have to meet Ayahuasca halfway.
Like I just described, you have to relax into the medicine for it to fully work. Ayahuasca will be most effective when you help out from your side. Also, after the ceremonies, it’s up to you to carry the momentum into your daily life. Although Ayahuasca does a lot of work behind the scenes, it’s also your responsibility to integrate your experiences, break out of patterns that were limiting you and continue evolving into the best version of yourself.

Think of it like getting a boost to climb over a wall. You may get some help in the form of a boost, but it’s ultimately up to you to grab the wall and climb over.

6. Ayahuasca should be treated as sacred.
It’s not a recreational drug. It’s not an escape from reality (quite the opposite in fact). Ayahuasca is a sacred plant that is most effective when used ceremonially. It also does not mix well with a lot of other substances, which is why you should only consume it with people who know what they’re doing.

7. Ayahuasca will be one of the most unique experiences of your life.
An Ayahuasca journey is so different, indescribably different, from the physical reality you’re accustomed to. Space and time become irrelevant slipstreams as you explore the most fantastic realms of existence. Words only point in the general direction of the experience, so I’ll just leave it at that.

8. The terror equals the ecstasy.
One thing that Ayahuasca has become infamous for is the terrifying experiences it can deliver. Sure, it might be scary at times, but every new realm we enter can be scary before we learn how to navigate them. Think about the first time you went into a gym. I remember being terrified, not knowing how anything worked and thinking everyone was watching me. But as I learned how to navigate the gym realm, the fear faded away.

Another dimension of this is that in order for a tree to grow tall, it must first have deep roots. The same applies to us; we must all go into our roots, our darkness, in order to grow towards the light. It’s all a balance. If you want to get metaphysical, we only experience this balance of both sides because we live in duality right now.

And lastly, there’s really nothing to fear, as everything you experience is a part of you (which is the next point). Also, remember that “Infinite love is the only truth, everything else is illusion.”

9. It’s all within you.
Everything you experience on Ayahuasca is something within you. Every scary thing you experience is a part of your psyche. Every battle is you against you, so there is nothing to fear. Fear is actually what creates the disharmony. An Ayahuasca journey is a matter of unraveling the disharmony within.

Life in general is similar, with everything in external reality being a reflection of internal reality. Change the inner, and the external changes as a direct result. Ayahuasca is just a direct, intense means of changing the internal.

10. Ayahuasca will show you things you’ve hidden deep within.
Things that you’ve kept hidden from yourself will be brought to the surface and released. You may not even consciously know it until they come up and are healed. So many people have become experts at deceiving themselves and Ayahuasca uncovers the deceit before your very eyes (or before your third eye haha).

11. All of your preconceived notions will be shattered.
Your sense of possibility will be wide open after an Ayahuasca journey. All of your fundamental assumptions will be tested and all of your limiting beliefs will be dropped. Yes, it’s that mind-blowing.

12. You will become a better person.
Ayahuasca releases what doesn’t serve you and aligns you with the harmonious energy of love, opening you up to continuous growth and evolution. I can already feel that I’m a significantly improved person now, less than a week after my Ayahuasca retreat.

13. It takes weeks and months for the physical body and physical reality to fully catch up to the energetic changes made.
Ayahuasca does most of its work in the energetic realms and the energetic reality is the template from which the physical manifests. However, the physical (being physical) is much more slow and rigid than the non-physical. As a result, changes which are immediate energetically take a while to physically come to fruition. This is why many people experience the most profound changes in their daily physical life during the weeks and months after taking Ayahuasca.

14. Ayahuasca is not the be-all and end-all of personal growth and healing.
Ayahuasca is just another modality for self-improvement. There’s no need to get lost in it. It’s tremendously effective and does a lot of work in a short period of time, but it’s not the only way. There are an infinite amount of ways to reach any goal.

15. Ayahuasca tastes nasty.
I just want to throw this out there; Ayahuasca tastes like a combination of tobacco juice and stale espresso, with the consistency and texture of sludge. But don’t let this minor detail deter you from one of the most profound experiences of your life. You can get it down.

16. Choose a safe, reputable place to consume Ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca opens you up energetically and can make physical reality seem far, far away. Because of this, you’re much more open on every level, for better or worse. So choose to be open for the better. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable state around people who don’t have your best interest in mind.

If Ayahuasca is calling you, I would highly recommend you to do it with Blue Morpho (the organization that I did my retreat with). They provide the best environment possible and their staff is among the kindest, most helpful people I’ve ever met.

Note that this is not a comprehensive list. Ayahuasca is so dynamic and so profound that fully describing every detail of it would be next to impossible. I just had to stop somewhere before this post turned into its own book.

Love and medicine.

– Stevie P!

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