Do You Even Feel, Bro?

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Here’s your life…

Think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think.

All you do is think.

You’re so caught up in your head that you’ve forgotten how to FEEL.

“Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts.” – Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace)

Feeling is understanding. Feeling is both your inner guidance system and the means by which life becomes fully, deeply and totally experienced.

Pause for a second and allow your awareness to drop from your mind and into your body.

How do you feel? (This isn’t some ambiguous, hippie question to have you hold hands and sing kumbaya. It’s both practical and unfathomably important.)

Ask yourself these follow-up questions right now:

What sensations are going on in my body?

What emotions am I feeling?

What feelings or emotions are accompanying my thoughts?

Establish a habit of asking yourself these questions, every day, in different situations and build your “feeling awareness.”

Can You Feel Me?

Fully inhabiting my emotional state was always difficult for me to do. I was so conditioned to always use my mind, to be consumed in thoughts and to (over)think things through instead of feeling things out (especially as a man being born in the US). Western people, and particularly western men, are so dominated by the mind that feelings and intuition are suppressed to the point that many of us aren’t even aware of them.

I would always understand things conceptually, but I never realized that most of the time, I wasn’t really FEELING the truth of the matter. To reiterate the point from before, feeling is true understanding. There’s an indescribable feeling you get when you deeply know something to be true.

Gratitude is a great example of something I’m finally learning to feel. I always thought that being grateful was merely thinking about gratitude (all in my head). But I rarely actually FELT gratitude. Now, when I’m grateful, I not only think it (in my head) but I feel it like waves washing over me (usually in my chest/heart center). And sometimes the feeling is so intense that I feel like I AM GRATITUDE. It’s a different world than just thinking about gratitude. It’s magnificently real.

Why is Feeling Even Important?

I’m a man (in this lifetime at least), so I’ve often wondered about the usefulness of feeling. Something like “I thought that feeling was some overly-emotional, feminine, drama-queen shit. How would feeling benefit me anyway?” And you might be thinking something similar, especially if you’re the product of western (mind-dominant) culture. I’m not saying to be a drama queen or a slave to your emotions, but just to simply be aware of your feelings. Here’s why:

Feeling is your inner guidance system – Your feelings and emotions are your compass, your inner guidance system. It is through the awareness of feelings that you tune into your intuition. This taps into the wisdom of the heart, which perceives from a much more expansive perspective than the mind. As you know, the mind can be deceptive. It’s so easy to trick yourself with the mind, or let self-doubt restrain you from your full potential. Go into your feelings and access the wisdom of the heart. It’s the only guidance you’ll ever need.

Feeling allows you to fully experience life – What is a sunset without the feeling of peaceful bliss associated with it? What is sex if you’re in your head, not feeling the ecstasy flowing through your being? What is hitting the game winning shot if you don’t feel it? The shot is taken through instinct, not by thinking about it, and followed by a feeling of tremendous celebration. Life is an experience, and experiences are to be fully felt, not merely thought about.

Feeling supercharges your manifestation abilities – Most people are familiar with the law of attraction. What you focus on is what you bring into your life. Your thoughts help create your experienced reality. But, here’s the thing, thoughts are only powerful attractors when combined with passionate emotion. It’s the emotion that makes your focus a strong magnetic pull.

This was something I never fully grasped until very recently. I would merely think thoughts, or write them down, thinking that I was attracting the object of my thoughts. And guess what? My manifestations have always been slow going. In contrast, many women I’ve been around are very powerful manifestors. Why is this? Because every thought of theirs is blended with powerful and passionate emotion.

This is why visualization is so powerful. Visualization is imagining something you desire like it’s already happening. You feel it and all of the emotions that come along with it. Successful athletes have famously applied the power of visualization to excel at their sport. It’s a secret weapon of elite athletes and it works astonishingly well.

Here’s an action item (if you want to improve your feeling, visualization and manifestation abilities):
Take 10-15 minutes each day and visualize yourself living the life you desire. Feel it like it’s already happening. Go through all the facets of life; your body, your relationships, your career, your life experiences…etc. Visualize and FEEL it, and you will be a powerful magnet for whatever you focus on.

More Ways to Hone the Power of Feeling

Cultivate body awareness – Practice bringing your awareness into your body. When you have a thought, go into your body and feel the feeling associated with it. When you feel an emotion, notice the corresponding feeling in your body.

Yoga – Yoga is meditative movement, bringing you out of your head and into your body. The practice of yoga is one of the best ways to cultivate bodily awareness. You will naturally be able to intuitively feel things out more. In addition, many yogic poses are heart-opening, opening you up to the world of feelings/emotions (and positive ones at that).

Do anything to get out of your head – Meditate, express yourself creatively, write in a journal, exercise, walk outside, go for a hike, watch the sunset…etc. Anything that helps you to get out of your head will allow you to become more aware of your emotional state.

Drop into your heart-space – Practice bringing your awareness out of your head and into your heart-space (the heart chakra in the center of your chest). Allow your consciousness to reside there. I’ve been doing this a lot recently and it’s been profound. I’m more intuitive and a deep feeling of love pervades my being when I drop into my heart-space. For phenomenal resources regarding this topic, check out the HeartMath Institute.

The mind is a phenomenal servant, but a terrible master. Let your heart be your guide, but don’t forget to take your mind along for the ride.

So I’ll leave you with one question: Do you even feel, bro?


 

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11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

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In case you don’t know, I’m on an epic trip right now. (Here’s a little background)

Travel is one of the best ways to expand your perceptions. Everywhere you go adds depth to your character. Exposure to new cultures and new places are priceless experiences.

I’ve been thinking about techniques I use to make the most out of my experiences, no matter where I am. So I came up with a list. They’re as applicable to a weekend trip to a nearby town as they are to backpacking around the world.

These work incredibly well for me, so I suspect that you’ll find them useful too.

11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

1. Get in the right state of mind – If you want to maximize your travel experience, you have to have an adventurous mentality. Be spontaneous and bold. Drop the inhibitions that don’t serve you. You may even have to periodically psyche yourself up (that’s what I do).

2. Pack light – There’s something magical about minimalism. Plus, it’s easier to get around when you have less stuff. (Read my article about traveling light here)

3. Walk a lot – My favorite thing to do in a new place is walk around, a lot. Exploring places on foot is an intimate experience with wherever you are. And as a bonus, walking comes with a near endless list of benefits. It’s what our body is designed to do.

4. Find the highest point – Every city has a structure with a great view and/or a hill with a phenomenal vantage point. Find out what it is and go to it. It’s always breathtaking. And if you’re not in a city, still find the high ground. Like if you’re In New Hampshire, hike Mt Washington.

5. Leverage the power of fasting – I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting. It comes with a host of health and cognitive benefits, along with making life easier. I always fast during flights if I’m changing time zones, and break the fast once I get to where I’m going. This helps me sync up with the place I’m at much quicker. What my usual day consists of is skip breakfast, having a light, healthy lunch and eating whatever I want for dinner. I never get energy crashes and feel amazing. Think about it, you can’t really function if you’re eating heavy during the day. This eating cycle also has the benefit of detoxification after indulging in food or alcohol the night before.

Resources on intermittent fasting:
The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler
8 Incredible Health Benefits Of Fasting
LeanGains.com
Why Breakfast is Nothing But a Scam

6. AirBnb – I use AirBnb almost everywhere I travel to. It’s cheaper than hotels and you get to meet locals who host their places.

When I was just in Barcelona, I got a room in a nice 2 bedroom apartment. The host was an Italian guy named Daniele who lived in the other bedroom. He ended up being one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. It felt like I was visiting an old friend. He had everything set-up for me and gave me the inside scoop on the best places to go. I even went out with him and his friends one night, which was a lot of fun.

7. Tinder – Yes, it’s an app for hook-ups, but it’s also a useful tool for meeting new people around you.

When I was in Marseille, France last week, I downloaded Tinder and within a few minutes I was talking to a woman from Marseilles. After we confirmed that we were both decent people, we agreed to meet up. She drove me around in her awesome little golf cart car. It was small and had no windows or doors haha. We went to a cool, local bar and then she took me to the café that her and her mother own. She knew everyone in Marseille and it was an experience I would have been hard-pressed to create on my own.

8. Find the cool spots for food and drink – The touristy places are always more expensive and worse than the good ones. They’re the overpriced ones closest to the main tourist attractions and/or squares. The best restaurants are usually smaller places on side streets. Look for handwritten menus on chalkboards, as places with those never disappoint.

9. Eat local – Eat the local cuisine. Get the genuine experience. Are you really going to eat at a chain restaurant if you’re in Italy? C’mon son. They say “When in Rome…” for a reason.

10. Drink local – This is the same premise as the food. If you’re in Belgium, drink beer. If you’re in Italy, drink wine. And even if there isn’t a famous type of drink, every place has a local brand that they’re proud of. Do yourself a favor and try it. (See my picture below with a good Croatian beer)

11. Don’t be afraid to ask – Ask for directions if you’re lost. Ask someone to take a picture of you. This will not only help you, but asking questions is a great conversation starter as well. I’ve met a lot of cool people by just asking them a question.

Try implementing some of these on your next trip. I’m pretty confident that they’ll add to your experience.

Cheers from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

– Stevie P

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Heighten Your Senses With This Walking Meditation

http://www.forestwander.com

The meandering path through the lush green of the woods served as a walking meditation for me. I was deeply immersed, steeped into the sweet nectar of the moment. Each of my senses took its turn to be heightened and fully appreciated.

The scenery transformed into high definition, becoming absolutely breathtaking as I began to gain elevation. The tops of trees looked like broccoli, the jagged, chestnut-colored cliffs smiled at me, and the benevolent blue sky was a boundless blanket of love.

I heard the cheery chirping of birds. I basked in the welcoming, social sound of dancing branches in the gentle wind. I listened intently to the subtle crunch of my shoes over small rocks and twigs.

The fresh scent of spring serenaded my sense of smell. I inhaled deeply with my eyes closed and was embraced by bouquets of blooming vegetation.

Despite the barrier of rubber between my feet and the ground, I felt connected with the Earth. My hand reached out and stroked the brown bark of a charming tree. It felt like an old friend.

The saliva in my mouth was infused with a touch of sweetness. There’s a certain purity that you taste when you’re out in nature, a purity that’s far more enlivening than the staleness of stagnant air indoors.

As the ascent became steeper, I inhaled grace and exhaled stress, expelling any lingering anxieties I was hanging onto. The higher elevation brought me to a higher consciousness. I felt as if I was transcending worldly struggle as I gazed out at the beauty of the mountainous landscape. A childlike, jovial laugh emerged from my essence as a placid breeze stroked my cheek…


That was an excerpt from my short story Falling into Forever. And I wrote that particular part because of how profound and enjoyable walking meditation is for me.

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We often take life for granted. Many of us (myself included) tend to fall into monotonous routines and go through life on autopilot. Most of the time, we’re so consumed in looping thought patterns that we never really take a moment to stop and smell the roses (or, as you’ll soon find out, walk and smell the roses).

This is where meditation becomes a powerful tool. It enables us to fully experience the life we’re living.

“No meditation, no life. Know meditation, know life.” – Osho

Don’t get it corkscrewed… Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged in silence for hours on end. It can come in many forms, like Pokemon. (I just can’t write a post without a Pokemon reference, huh?)

Meditation, in my opinion, is any moment in which your mind is still. The mind is either completely focused or blissfully empty, and you reside in the underlying essence of presence and peaceful awareness.

I find that I often get into a deeply meditative state while walking outside and connecting with nature. My mind becomes still and peaceful, my senses become fully heightened and there is a deep-seated feeling of bliss that permeates my entire being.

This state of being is accessible to anyone, especially through simple, moving meditations like this…

The Five Sense Walking Meditation:

While you’re walking alone outside, fully immerse your consciousness in each sense. Take a minute or two to focus on each of your senses individually, like so:

1. Sight – See the colors, shades, forms and shapes all around you. Notice the patterns in everything. See the subtle characteristics that you often overlook. See how vibrant the world really is. Look at everything as if seeing it for the first time.

2. Sound – Listen to the sounds of nature, the sound of your feet touching the ground, the sound of your breath. Notice the silence that all sounds come out of. Listen to everything as if hearing for the first time.

3. Smell – Be aware of all of the scents surrounding you. The subtle smells that you normally wouldn’t notice when you’re consumed with thought. Smell everything as if smelling for the first time.

4. Touch – Feel your entire body. Feel your clothing against your body. Feel your feet upon the Earth. Feel the wind caressing your skin and hair. Reach out and touch a tree; appreciate its beautiful texture. Touch, feel everything as if feeling for the first time.

5. Taste – Taste the saliva in your mouth. Be aware of your tongue and taste buds. If you have water with you, take a sip and let it pool in your mouth, immersing yourself in its flavor and texture. Taste, as if tasting for the first time.

Wrap up the meditation by allowing all five senses to integrate – Simply continue walking as you normally would. Each sense will feel as if it was dipped in an ocean of rejuvenating energy. You will feel like life has been upgraded to high definition. You will be in a state of intense awareness, yet deeply peaceful and radiating with overwhelming bliss.

Try it out for yourself. See, hear, smell, touch and taste like you never have before. Experience complete awareness. Wholeheartedly experience life.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

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Do you enthusiastically jump out of bed every morning, ready to attack your day?

If not, take a step back and think about why you’re taking a new day of life for granted…

If you wake up, complaining about “another day,” get ready in a grumpy haze and rush to work, well, chances are the rest of your day won’t be too fun. What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. That’s why it’s so important to start the day off in an empowered, inspired state of consciousness (if you want to live a happy, fulfilling and successful life). It’s no coincidence that the most successful people in any industry are avid advocates of morning rituals. It’s secret-weapon-level effective. What you do in the first hour of your day is the hinge point from which everything else swings. Here’s how to leverage it:

This is exactly what I do every day, as soon as I wake up. It’s the by-product of a lot of research and self-experimentation, inspired by the highly effective techniques of several others. I call it “The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual”:

1. Reiki – As soon as I wake up, I practice reiki on myself for a few minutes. It makes me feel simply amazing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I discuss reiki in more depth in this post.

2. Meditate – 5 minutes of meditation. I breath deeply, focusing on my breath until thoughts gradually stop popping up. Then I bask in the peaceful void of pure consciousness.

3. Drink a full glass of water with lemon, apple cider vinegar and Himalayan pink salt – I squeeze half of a lemon, add about an ounce of apple cider vinegar and just a pinch of Himalayan pink salt into a glass of water. This cocktail provides a plethora of health benefits, including detoxification, stimulating metabolism, hydration (obviously), alkalinity, digestion, strengthening the immune system, enhancing skin health and much, much more. I personally use this water filter and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.

4. Vitamins C and D – I take these two with the water described above. Vitamin C helps with detoxing and vitamin D supplementation is crucial during the winter months of scarce sunlight. A quick Google search on vitamin D will leave you awe-struck regarding the sheer range of benefits it produces and how important it is for optimal health.

5. Mobility/yoga – For about 5 minutes, I do some stretching, yoga and mobility exercises. This is done mostly intuitively, depending on what parts of my body are stiff. It breaks the bodily rigidity of sleep and gets the chi circulating.

6. Walking – On weekdays, because I have less free time, I walk on the treadmill in my apartment building for 20 minutes. On weekends I like to walk outside more. These walks are always accompanied by podcasts or audiobooks so I can learn while walking. The benefits of walking in the morning are also far-reaching (especially in a fasted state). And another bonus is that walking stimulates a ton of creative inspiration. Many of the greatest writers and philosophers knew this and made a daily habit of walking.

7. Cold shower – I start off with a warm shower. But for the last minute, I turn it as cold as possible. Doing this skyrockets my energy levels. Like every other step of this routine, cold showers have a whole host of benefits. These include increased alertness, better circulation, improved immunity, skin health, weight loss (through thermogenesis), muscle recovery, mitigation of stress, and relief from depression.

8. Oil pulling – Usually as I’m getting ready, I’ll swish coconut oil in my mouth for a few minutes. You guessed it, oil pulling has a ton of benefits too, especially regarding oral health and immunity. There’s a reason why it’s been practiced in India for thousands of years. Read more about oil pulling here. Just remember not to swallow it, because it pulls all of the bacteria and viruses out of your mouth.

Then I continue my day like a cross between Tony Robbins and Mace Windu.

In doing this routine, I wake up ready to maximize my experience of a new day. I feel a sense of purpose and deep-seated empowerment. It is powerfully detoxifying and supercharges the immune system. My body becomes more supple, at ease and at the same time energized. The same goes for my mind, which begets a flood of creative ideas during and after this routine. I get more done throughout the day while retaining my sanity, operating from a place of peace and blissful gratitude.

You don’t have to do all of that to get the majority of the benefits. I’m not going to tell you to go get attuned to reiki (though I highly recommend it) or buy everything that I personally use. But you can get started with a highly effective morning routine ASAP…

The simple and easy “Quick Start Morning Ritual” that you can begin tomorrow and steer your life in the direction you choose:

1. Upon waking, meditate for just 2 minutes. You can stay laying down or sit up, whatever is more comfortable. Breathe deeply into your belly, focus on your breath and simply observe and let go of your thoughts (without judgment) as they pop up. You are the sky, your thoughts are merely clouds passing by.

2. Drink a glass of water with squeezed lemon, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.

3. Do Elliott Hulse’s Bio-Energizer Warm Up. It’s a good starting point for priming the body in the morning, as it’s relatively simple and feels awesome. He recommends doing each exercise for a minute, but you can get most of the benefits in as little as 20-30 seconds for each.

4. Walk for at least 15 minutes. Either on a treadmill or outside. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while walking to learn while reaping the benefits. Don’t underestimate the importance of movement.

5. Take a shower and make the last 30 seconds of it cold.

Then get out there and make the most out of your finite time on planet Earth.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Gandhi

Carpe diem.

– Stevie P!

Further Information:
A great podcast discussing morning routines and productivity:
http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/early-morning-routine/