How Stories Shape Our Culture

story book

What stories shape your life?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all live based upon stories. Collective stories are the basis of culture and personal stories are the basis of how we view ourselves as individuals.

Stories are the underpinnings of human reality. Humanity is built upon stories. Stories shape our culture, our lives and the way we perceive the world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or false, if a story is believed, it becomes a blueprint of reality.

Cultural Stories

Every culture has stories that act as the very basis for how people live their lives.

In ancient times, mythology shaped the way people viewed reality, the world around them, society and themselves.

Any religious culture is dominated by the stories of that religion. People’s whole lives, down to the finest detail, are dictated by those stories.

Our modern western culture is based on a combination of science, religion and history (his-story). Science is constantly updated, disproving older theories, while failing to explain the “why” questions of our reality. Most organized religions are distortions of spiritual truths for purposes of control. And his-story is merely the story told by the winners of wars.

These cultural belief systems are attempts at explaining truth, at best. And at their worst, they’re attempts at control and manipulation. I’m not saying that all of these are false; I’m saying that regardless of being true or false, these stories shape our experience of reality and every aspect of how we live our lives.

Let’s take the scientific paradigm as an example. According to this story (again, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true or false):

  • We are our bodies, or more specifically our brains.
  • We live on Planet Earth, which revolves around the sun, in an incomprehensibly large universe.
  • This universe started with the Big Bang (the Big Bang THEORY).
  • On Earth, we evolved from apes, growing smarter and more and more sophisticated, until we’ve dominated nature and now live in the wonderful culmination of all of that evolution and “progress.”
  • You see, this is a STORY, or the background program that we run our lives by. And that’s not even getting into the stories of history, money, work, relationships, purpose, pleasure and everything else that makes up our belief systems. These things determine how we perceive and interact with reality.

    Where does this story get us? Well, take a look at the world around you. Check out the “news.” If it seems a little disharmonious (which anyone with eyes can see), we have to start reevaluating the stories we’re living by.

    grand central station

    Your Story

    What stories are you telling yourself? What is your identity based on? What labels do you identify with?

    In the midst of the trend of collective stories, we have the personal stories we tell ourselves. These are our individual stories that shape the way we view and interact with the world.

    Let’s use a man named Henry as an example, whose personal story might look like this:
    I’m Henry.
    I’m a white man.
    I’m an American.
    I’m a Christian.
    I’m not good at math (because my third grade teacher told me that and I’ve believed her ever since).
    I’m good at fixing things (because my dad said I was when I fixed his truck).
    I’m an introvert so I don’t have many friends.
    My favorite color is blue.
    My favorite food is steak.
    I’m a car mechanic, so I’m not good with computers.
    I’m a lower middle class guy.
    I go to work every day, then come home, drink a beer and turn on the tv to relax at night.
    I don’t have time to eat healthy or work out.
    I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
    I wear boots and flannels because I’m manly.

    Ok, you get the point. This is all a STORY. Almost all of those things could be dropped and changed instantaneously. Our friend Henry could literally have a completely new life tomorrow, if he chose to.

    Programming and patterns are incredibly hard to break for us humans. But simple awareness of the stories we tell ourselves puts us in the position to consciously choose what our stories are.

    So what stories are you telling yourself? What identities are you carrying with you day in and day out? What patterns do you have? What are you building momentum towards?

    Gain some awareness of the stories you’re telling yourself. Only then can you choose to change your life for the better.

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    Creating New Stories

    We can create new stories in each moment.

    It is a choice. But you have to first be aware to even know that you have a choice.

    We can tell new tales and shape reality in our own way.

    What do you want out of life? What is your purpose? What’s on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?

    Be open and willing to change.

    Find your vision and start working towards that. Only tell yourself stories which help to create that vision of yourself.

    The Power of Fiction

    The importance of stories is why I love fiction so much. Whether reading or writing, fiction helps to reshape our world.

    Truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth. Paradigm-shifting truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    This is why I read and write a lot of fiction. If we change the stories we tell, we change how our world is shaped.

    Want to get your hands on an example of a paradigm-shifting story?

    I just published a new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s a story written from the perspective of a dog, told in a journal-like format.

    And the twist is that dogs aren’t just dogs. They’re actually multi-dimensional superbeings checking out Earth and humanity.

    This story will stretch your mind, provide you with insights, entertain you, make you laugh and a lot more. It’s available for both paperback and Kindle.

    Get your paws on it here: Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth

    Let’s reshape our world.

    – Stevie P

    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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    The Real Reason Behind Blessing Food

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    I’m that interesting character at the restaurant, hands hovering over my food as I silently mouth a couple words and sport a slight Buddha-smirk before eating.

    No, I’m not a Jesus freak or a “broccoli whisperer,” and I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little bit). As you’ll soon (re)discover, there’s a method to this madness.

    Expressing gratitude, praying, saying grace and all forms of blessing food before a meal are among the most universal and ancient behaviors of humankind.

    Almost every religion has some tradition of blessing food. And many religious people do it at every meal. But I’ve never come across WHY blessing food is important. (Like with most religious practices, people just do it without asking questions.)

    There is, of course, a core of truth to these traditions. However, you can obtain all of the benefits of saying grace without all of the dogma attached to religious rules and regulations.

    In today’s society, we tend to discredit and undervalue the unseen. If we can’t physically see changes, they must not be happening, right? Yet when we get out of our egoic minds and become more in tune with the unseen, we realize just how profound something as simple as expressing gratitude can be.

    The Benefits of Blessing Food

    1. Blessing food brings about a state of presence and mindfulness.
    Showing gratitude over a meal forces you to stop and be present. From this state of undistracted presence, you will eat mindfully and enjoy the food more. It turns every meal into a holy communion.

    If you eat mindfully, you become more in tune with the food and your body. You’ll know if what you’re eating is beneficial for you. And you’ll be unmistakably aware of the signals your body is sending you to stop eating (making it hard to mindlessly overeat).

    Mindful eating also will break compulsive eating and food addictions if done consistently at every meal.

    2. Blessing food heightens your senses.
    Pausing with gratitude, communing with your food and being in a state of mindfulness will engage and heighten all of your senses.

    Here’s an excerpt from Natural News

    Thus, whether seeing, smelling, inhaling, or, most strongly, touching the food, changes to the person that occur during blessing of natural food include:
     

  • Salivation increases, as full attention is place on the natural food’s unique, distinct aromas
  • More digestive enzymes are secreted
  • The circulatory system routes blood to the digestive tract’s organs
  • Hormones benefiting metabolism are released
  • Breathing patterns shift from one best suited for working to one best suited for eating.
  • Abdominal muscle contraction changes from a tightness that supports hard work into a different, more relaxed state, which relieves pressure around the digestive tract
  • The brain becomes in a receptive mood ready to enjoy, experience sweet gratitude, and eagerly pay attention to the stomach’s stretching sensors, to trigger the neurotransmitters which engage peristalsis
  • The eye becomes aware of both the food’s beauty, which enhances digestion, as well as alert to any danger signs in the food’s appearance
  • The senses of smell and taste, when focused and entrained on the food about to be eaten, becomes enhanced, increasing enjoyment and sharpening the ability to notice anything “off” or spoiled in the food.
  • And finally, firing patterns of the enteric nervous system (the neurons lining the gut like a sheath) shift to better control the digestion and absorption of food. Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain (as described by the Chair of Anatomy at Columbia University Medical Center) consists of “sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus.” There are 100 million neurons in the enteric nervous system, more than in the spinal cord, and more than in all the peripheral nervous system.
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    3. Blessing food relaxes your digestive system.
    Holding gratitude and blessing food will switch your nervous system out of sympathetic mode (fight or flight) and into parasympathetic mode (rest and digest). As a result, you will digest the food and assimilate the nutrients much more effectively than if you’re holding stress.

    This concept is common sense. For example: try to eat while driving in traffic, with cars beeping all around and see how well you digest.

    4. Blessing food infuses the food with positive energy.
    This may seem a little woo-woo, but bear with me here. Food, like everything else, absorbs energy from its environment. If food is being prepared in a hectic kitchen and the chef is stressed out, the food absorbs that. If the beef your eating is from a tortured cow, it’s going to carry that energy. It’s vitally important to instill food with positive energy before eating it. And this can be done through something as simple as holding the intention of gratitude before eating.

    Dr. Emoto’s water experiments beautifully demonstrate how words and music affect the molecular structure of water. All life on Planet Earth is water-based and therefore, affected by words, intentions, music and any other vibrations in the environment.

    5. Blessing food leverages the Placebo Effect.
    If you believe that the food carries good energy, it will. If you believe that the food will make you happy and healthy, it will.

    The placebo effect, though overlooked by modern science, is a profoundly powerful phenomenon. It’s a testament to the power of the mind. Whatever you believe, in the depths of your heart, determines the result you’ll get.

    If a placebo knee surgery is just as effective as real knee surgery, think about what it can do to the food on your plate.

    6. Gratitude itself improves health.
    Do not underestimate the power of gratitude. Gratitude has been shown to lower stress levels, improve sleep, improve heart health and enhance overall well-being.

    Gratitude also opens the door to abundance. When you’re grateful for what you do have, you attract more.

    Feel gratitude, and feel every aspect of your life change for the better.

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    A Simple Food Blessing (Do This at Every Meal)

    1. Pause for a second and center yourself.

    2. Express and feel gratitude for the food in front of you.

    3. Thank everyone involved in the process of getting the food to you.
    It might look something like this: “Thank you to the Earth for growing this and all of the people that handled it. May it assimilate into my body with health, happiness and vitality.”

    4. Send energy to the food through your hands.
    Feel the tingle as energy flows from your hands into the food.

    5. Feel gratitude in your heart.

    6. Eat mindfully and enjoy the food.

    Commune with your food. Eating is both pleasurable and necessary. Be grateful for having food on your table, enjoy every bite and reap the benefits.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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    An Open Letter to the Materialist

    Guy

    We live in a three-dimensional reality
    And experience it through the filter of five senses
    We merely see a sliver of the spectrum of light
    We only hear a small slice of the scale of sound

    If we cannot perceive something
    If we cannot measure something
    Does that mean it doesn’t exist?

    There is an infinity
    Of indescribable mystery
    Based in energy
    Vibration and frequency

    Who is the driver of your body?
    Who is the witness of your thoughts?

    You are pure awareness

    Open up
    Experience the truth for yourself
    Experience the truth of yourself
    Feel it

     

    Earth Is Our Holy Land

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    It’s become painfully obvious…

    We’ve been getting played out for a long, long time; manipulated into the illusion of separation. We’re deviating from our essence of love, succumbing to fear, allowing ourselves to get dragged into senseless conflict and destroying our beautiful planet.

    “Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” -Michael Ellner

    We all know, deep down, that it doesn’t have to be this way. Humanity is capable of so much more, and (thankfully) we’re seeing clearer glimpses of our potential every day.

    We’re all unique, physical manifestations of infinite love, and the time has come to shine our light on Planet Earth.

    Let Love Be the Guiding Force

    “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

    Love is our essence. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real… An illusion.

    “I have been saying and writing for so many years that one sentence can encapsulate the totality of life, of existence, of being: Infinite Love is the Only Truth – Everything Else is Illusion.” -David Icke

    Love is the answer to most, if not all, questions in life. Choose love, let go of fear and judgment; that’s when we unleash our dormant magnificence.

    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between 2 “wolves” inside us all. One is Evil (fear). It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good (Love). It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

     

    Rigid Belief Systems = Easy Manipulation

    “We have to stop thinking in black and white and soften our rigid belief systems. This world is not black and white. Nothing is. If you have a rigid belief system that is not open to the endless subtleties of life, you become a manipulator’s party trick.” -David Icke

    Rigid belief systems are based in fear (“believe what I say or suffer the consequences”), and being in fear makes us easily manipulated and controlled. When we operate in love (or as love), it is the ultimate freedom.

    “Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.” -Osho

    Falling into other peoples’ molds is taking life for granted. When we embrace the fact that we’re all brilliantly unique expressions of infinity, the collective reality we experience has no choice but to change for the better.

    See Through the Illusion (Or Get Played)

    The world we’re living in is a grand illusion. We’re constantly fed is a massive deception.

    Every major system that is in place is built on fear-based conditioning. The education (indoctrination) system, organized religion, healthcare (sick care), the media…etc.

    Just turn on the news; it’s all fear mongering and propaganda, designed to paralyze our consciousness. When was the last time watching the news made you feel good? And anyone with half a brain sees through the utter nonsense perpetuated.

    We get brainwashed into belief systems and manipulated into conflict. Divide and conquer works like a charm when we’re programmed with fear and see others as “different” merely because of asinine labels we put on everything. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Americans, New Yorkers, Whites, Blacks, Republicans, Democrats…etc. Attaching our identity to these labels is what sets us up to be easily divided and conquered. It’s this rigid categorization that positions us as pawns for malevolent agendas.

    So many get manipulated into anger and violence through fear-based conditioning and viewing fellow humans as something different from themselves. When we drop the labels and see everyone as another aspect of ourselves, we simply won’t be coerced into harming anyone.

    The pathetic “elite” love war, violence, death, destruction and anything based in fear. War is immensely profitable for them. War creates more control. War is a massive fear generator, and they literally live off of our fear. (See David Icke’s books for a ridiculous amount of information and evidence on this stuff.)

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from “The Active Side of Infinity” by Carlos Castaneda (quoting his supposed mentor Dan Juan Mathus):

    We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over our lives. Human Beings are its prisoners. The predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don’t do so. Indeed, we are held prisoner. They took us over, because we are food to them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in coops, they rear us in human coops. Therefore, their food is always available to them. Think for a moment and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man, the engineer and the stupidity of his belief systems, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the Predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social morals. They are the ones who set up our beliefs of success or failure. They have given us covetedness, greed, and cowardice. It is the Predator who makes us complacent, routinary and egomanical. In order to keep us obedient and weak, the Predators engage themselves in a stupendous maneuver. Stupendous of course from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view from those who suffer it. They gave us their mind. The predator’s mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, and filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.

     

    Don’t feed the parasite with fear. We must choose love in order to free ourselves.

    And here’s an incredibly potent song by Black Sabbath:

    “Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black masses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Sorcerers of death’s construction
    In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds… Oh Lord yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor, yeah

    Time will tell on their power minds
    Making war just for fun
    Treating people just like pawns in chess
    Wait ’till their Judgment day comes, yeah!”

    Non-Compliance

    The way to bring about change is to not participate in the insanity. The madness simply cannot exist if we don’t take part in it. It’s as simple as that. Toxic fast food won’t be manufactured if people don’t eat it. Health-wrecking pharmaceutical drugs won’t be produced when people stop buying them. War will not exist when people refuse to kill each other.

    “The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.” -Albert Einstein

    “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.” -Gandhi

    We’re holding up the house of cards out of fear; it’s about time we walk away and build something better.

    It is only through releasing the old that we can bring about the new.

    We must stop compromising our morals for money and ego. We must stop sacrificing our essence out of fear. It’s time we step into our power, and as Gandhi so eloquently said, “be the change we wish to see in the world.”

    We’re far more powerful than we’ve been conditioned to think…

    A New Day is Rising

    “I’m American born, love America, love my people, love all mankind, all nationalities you know. I think it’s just recently where everybody just started to feel like there was an elite group that runs everything, and everybody else was sheep, ignorant, making all ethnicities, colors and creeds, niggers, blind to what really is going on. So I say take off the wool from your eyes. Out with the old America in with the new. End all racism, all injustice, all oppression to poor people, any people anywhere in this planet. Let’s come together: a new day is rising.” -Nas

    More and more people are waking up to the true nature of everything. Many are now seeing through the illusion,choosing love over fear and helping to bring about change to our planet.

    New and improved solutions, that are actually beneficial to humanity, are being developed in all aspects of life (energy sources, education, nutrition, economic systems…etc). We’re seeing glimpses of greatness amidst the chaos of the world. Change is happening fast. Change is happening now.

    “Just before you break the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.” -Chuck Yeager

    Oh, it’s shaking alright. And we’re about to break out of the matrix we’ve been held in for so long.

    Wake up, sleeping giants. Step into your inherent power.

    When we choose love, it will collectively manifest in all forms, and in every aspect of life.

    Get ready for a new paradigm.

    Infinite Love.

    -Stevie P!