The Blossom of Femininity

blossoming femininity

The dance of the yin and yang, feminine and masculine energy, has always been of great interest to me.

What adds to the intrigue is how imbalanced these energies have been throughout history (his-story). The shadow side of the masculine has dominated and controlled, suppressing the feminine and relegating femininity to its own shadows.

Since society doesn’t provide us with ideal versions of these energetic archetypes to put into practice, we must create our own.

This is why I’ve been exploring and defining my own version of masculinity. And in doing so, one word seems to exemplify masculine, or yang energy: Giving.

Helping, serving and supporting are all expressions of this true masculine/yang energy characterized by the spirit of giving. This interpretation of the divine masculine can take many forms, giving any type of love, helping someone in any way, material giving, the giving of undivided attention, emotional support (a shoulder to lean on)…etc. This kind of giving is unconditional and from a place of compassion, not fear-based or done in a “strings attached” manner.

A major role of this true, giving masculine, in my opinion, is to provide a safe space for the divine feminine to thrive. A strong masculine energy rooted in love can give femininity, not only within women but also within men, a safe place to fully express itself and blossom. This is not possible with the assault of domination and control from the shadow masculine, which suppresses and squashes the fruits of femininity. The divine masculine must support the growth of the divine feminine (not work against it) in order for humanity to live more harmoniously. Our world urgently needs the blossoming of femininity and its defining qualities like intuition, creativity, holistic thinking, compassion and cooperation.

In the spirit of this topic, these concepts are far better conveyed in more feminine, poetic language than masculine, hyper-rational prose. That’s why I’ll leave you with a poem…

The Blossom of Femininity

Too often we’ve seen the shadows
Masculine
Dominant and violent
Feminine
Deceptive and vain

Forgive the fear
It’s time we embody the archetypes
Through the incarnation of love

Giving
Is the essence of masculinity
The masculine must serve the feminine
For the dance of duality to flow
Not a servant-to-master dependence
But out of the free spirit of giving
The strength of providing
Providing space for the feminine to blossom
Providing safety for the feminine to express

Just as the sun shines its light unconditionally
Ever-giving energy to Gaia
Our light must shine the same
Unyielding and unconditional
Nurturing intuition
Cultivating compassion
Harvesting harmony
To engender the flowering of the heart
And see humanity in bloom

 

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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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Should We Always Be Happy?

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People have asked me this question many times…

Should we always be happy?

The short answer…

Of course not.

The long answer…

We all just want to be happy, right?

Why do we want a good job? Why do we want an awesome wife/husband? Why do we want to travel the world? Because we (falsely) believe that those things, once attained, will make us happy.

Bliss is what we yearn for in each moment. But here’s the key point: We would have no appreciation for bliss if it was all we ever knew.

“If you want to know what the water is like, don’t ask the fish.” – Chinese Proverb

Without experiencing an alternative, we have no perspective. We need the negative to be able to fully enjoy the positive.

As human beings, we need the “bad” to appreciate the “good.” Challenges and struggle make our lives a fulfilling, worthwhile experience.

We need darkness to recognize light. We would not even see anything if reality was all darkness or all light. We would not hear anything if reality was all noise or all silence. The law of duality permeates our universe, birthing a continuous dance of the yin and yang, helping us gain perspective.

Who appreciates a warm, sunny day more? Someone in Southern California? (Where it’s like that every day.) Or someone in Alaska who just experienced months of blistering cold and darkness?

“Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain
Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain”

– 50 Cent (Yes, I just quoted 50 Cent. That’s a great line.)

Something is cherished only when you know its opposite.

That’s why we’ve incarnated into this reality; to experience limitation and challenges in order to spur growth. This state of physical limitation allows us to fully appreciate the infinity that we’re all aspects of.

Everything is a Learning Experience

Experience the negatives and view them as a learning experience (because they are).

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Wallowing in victimhood and self-pity has never benefited anyone. We have to work through obstacles, learn from “failures” and use challenges to spur growth.

Working Out: A Microcosm of Life

Just as avid weightlifters learn to love the intense resistance of the weights, we can all apply the same mentality to life in general. Workouts are inherently challenging, but that’s why the practice is worthwhile. You must push yourself and struggle with weights you can barely handle to grow stronger. If it were easy, there would be no benefit or sense of fulfillment. Life is the same.

Success and Failure

Highly successful people persevere through struggle and hardships.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

Heroes work through struggle and overcome obstacles. Life would be boring and consist of no growth if it was one big cakewalk. There’s a reason why sheltered, spoiled kids grow up to be incapable, unpleasant people. They’re never forced to challenge themselves and grow.

Note: Though all things negative are crucial to any learning experiences in life, you have the choice to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. For example, getting depressed or beating yourself up because of a perceived failure instead of using it as fuel for future success. A lot of people get hung up on their struggle and attach their identity to it. This is what creates a victim mentality, where you will limit your experiences to the “negative” side of the spectrum until your mentality changes.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Video Games, Novels, Movies and Stories

Would you play a video game if it was too easy? Hell no. You would be as bored as Michael Vick at a PETA meeting.

Think about the best video games, the best novels, the best movies and the best stories. They all involve tremendous struggle that has to be worked through and overcome.

While things like war, in my opinion, are unnecessary forms of struggle (because they’re manipulated into existence), some form of struggle is necessary for a worthwhile experience.

My Personal Perspective

I’ll admit that I’m more positive than most (which is why I write about this stuff). But I’m not happy all of the time, nor do I pretend to be.

Like everyone, I experience the full spectrum of human emotions. And I’m grateful for it. It’s in feeling the brilliant diversity of emotions that we can call ourselves truly alive. However, it’s a choice whether or not to be consumed by these emotions. This is where things like meditation and mindfulness provide tremendous help.

Sometimes I’m frustrated. But I acknowledge the frustration and observe it without judgment. Then I’ll do something like deadlift while bumpin’ some Sean Price (RIP!) to release the frustration. Next thing I know, I’m back to my feelin’ good, feelin’ great self.

The Takeaway

Life wouldn’t be the miraculous learning experience that it is if we were always happy. We need darkness in order to truly appreciate the light. Embrace the struggle and persevere. Everything is a learning experience.

Life is a video game.

Have fun.

– Stevie P!
 

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The Balance of Beard Trimming and Life

Cole

My good friend and beard connoisseur, Cole King

Not shaving every day is liberating. It’s an emanci-face-tion proclamation, if you will.

That’s why for the past couple of years, I’ve chosen to forego the frustrating folly of frequently scraping my face with a razor.

Shaving was a daily practice, that to me, just felt like I was mangling my face and damaging my skin far too often. It was (in my view) an unnecessary burden. Life becomes more enjoyable when you release yourself from tedious routines that don’t serve you.

Thankfully, society is coming around and embracing some of our primal side. Beards are now socially acceptable (even preferred in some cases) and men are no longer held to the rigid standard of having to be clean-shaven at all times or ridiculed for having beard balm in their bathroom cabinet.

Think about it (a quick philosophical aside): Hair naturally grows on men’s faces, so why do we have to fight against what our body is doing on a daily basis? Why are we so afraid of the primal aspects of ourselves?

These days, I trim my beard about once every 2 weeks. But that begets the surprisingly thought-provoking question which led me to write this: Why even trim my beard at all?

Because, like most things in life, “beardness” gets to the point where the weaknesses outweigh the strengths. It’s a balance between the self-flagellation of daily shaving and the mess of completely letting everything go.

When my beard gets long enough, every morsel of food I eat gets caught in it. It also requires grooming and just becomes, well… difficult.

So when I let my beard get to a certain point, it ironically becomes as much work and headache as shaving every day.

That’s why I trim my beard every 2 weeks. 10 minutes of effort every couple weeks allows me to happily ride the balance between the skin-grating tediousness of shaving everyday and the extra work of a messy, wild beard.

That’s the balance; optimizing aspects of life while still maintaining peace of mind. It’s finding your own unique equilibrium between extremes. And it just so happens that the idea of beard trimming was the vehicle for me to drive this concept home.

Ying_yang_sign

As you may have guessed, this principle applies to almost any other aspect of life as well:
Cleaning – Being neurotic and OCD vs being a slob
Working out and physical activity – Couch potato vs exercise fanatic
Work – Lazy vs workaholic
Reading and the accumulation of knowledge – Over-analysis vs willful ignorance

There is a yin/yang balance to everything. Ultimately, you have to get to know yourself and figure out what your unique recipe is for what you want to get out of life.

Overall happiness in life can be viewed as a balance between extremities. On one extreme, sitting on your couch at home every day would not make for a fulfilling life for most people. But neither would something like climbing Mt. Everest every day, relentlessly subjecting yourself to extreme, harsh conditions.

With any activity, ask yourself, “At what point do the weaknesses outweigh the strengths for me?”

Remember, this point will be different for everyone.

Some more questions to help you find your own “happy medium” with anything:
– What are the extremes? Am I at one extreme?
– Does this truly make me happy?
– What would I be doing in an ideal world?
– Is what I’m doing motivated by love or fear?
– Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Find your own unique balance.

Enjoy life.

– Stevie P!

How to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. (Wikipedia)

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Last week, I experienced true burnout for the first time in my life.

I’d be lying if I told you that I hadn’t felt it coming. And a lot of people in my life hinted that I was trying to do too much. I was going on about 4 months of every minute of my life being goal-oriented. That goal, was (and still is) earning a living online, to give myself freedom of time and location.

During that period, I abstained from a lot of activities in favor of “getting shit done.” I didn’t drink any alcohol, rarely went out, didn’t have sex and didn’t see a lot of my good friends. I wrote like a madman, dove into countless projects, read voraciously, worked out like I was Ronnie Coleman and did a lot of yoga and meditation in an attempt to offset my extreme output. And this was all while holding down a 9-5 job as well.

I put insane amounts of pressure on myself at all times, constantly forcing myself to get more done. I was my own slave driver. Of course I enjoy this work (it’s a major part of my life purpose), but literally everything I did was geared towards my goal(s) in some way.

The yoga and meditation I practiced became goal-oriented (which, in some sense, almost defeats their purpose). I was practicing yoga to counteract all of the sitting I was doing and help rest (so I could workout harder and produce more content). I was meditating with the goal of gaining a higher perspective and getting more creative inspiration.

I even viewed sleep as merely a means to recover my ability to produce more.

Every single thing I did was aligned with my vision, and that became problematic. I was pushing the envelope of extreme output.

As last week progressed, I began to feel more and more burned out. But this drove me to a profound realization… I wasn’t ever allowing myself to just BE. And that’s the root of what was gradually wearing me down.

My creativity was the first to go last week. I noticed that I was less creative than usual on Monday and Tuesday. That was followed by feelings of fatigue. Then, on Wednesday night, a headache came on. The headache stayed with me into Thursday. The feeling of utter burnout got to the point where I left work early, went home and napped.

Note: These were all glaring signs to me. I was so used to creating as ravenously as 2pac. Feeling tired is so foreign to me. I don’t even remember the last time I had a headache before this. And I can only nap when I really, really need it. So with that combination of symptoms, I knew something was wrong.

After napping, I decided to spend the rest of the day completely “goalless.” I did some stretching, mobility work and practiced any yoga poses that felt good. I took a long shower. I watched some fascinating YouTube videos that caught my eye. I ate a jar of sunflower seed butter (so good). It was revitalizing to allow myself to just BE; no pressure, no to-do list and no goals.

I wound down for the night by reading The Fifth Sacred Thing until I fell asleep.

Then on Friday morning, I woke up feelin good, feelin great again. I feel like a phoenix, arising from its own ashes.

The Lesson

You have to balance the yin with the yang. You need rest to support activity. You need to balance goal-oriented time with goalless time.

If you keep pushing with blatant disregard for everything else, you’ll end up in a gray-zone of constantly trudging forward at nowhere near your full capacity. And if you continue this pattern long-term, you’ll end up in a downward spiral of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual dysfunction.

When you rest enough to balance your activity level, you’re then able push harder and continuously evolve into the greatest version of yourself.

What are some symptoms of burnout?

  • Less productivity – Spending more time while actually getting less done.
  • Less creativity
  • Less motivation
  • Loss of mental sharpness
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Self-doubt
  • Anxiousness
  • Poor decision-making
  • Not taking care of yourself – Falling into negative patterns or activities more often.
  • Life begins to lose its vibrancy

How do you avoid or alleviate burnout?

  • Grounding into the Earth (walk barefoot in nature or just on grass) – This syncs you up with
  • Mother Earth. Because burnout has to do with mental overuse, you need to ground yourself into your body and the Earth.
  • Get out in nature – This goes along with the previous tip. Getting out in nature is wholly revitalizing. Do something like hike a mountain or walk in the woods.
  • Sleep more – Get the rest you need.
  • Engage in “yin” activities regularly – These are rejuvenative activities for the body, mind and spirit. Examples include meditation, gentle yoga, tai chi, qi gong, reiki, massage, acupuncture…etc.
  • Reduce screen time – Turn off the technology and unplug for a bit. Keeping your eyes glued to digital screens tend to exacerbate feelings of burnout.
  • Go on vacation – Go somewhere relaxing for a few days (or longer, depending on how burnt out you are) where you don’t have to do anything.
  • Set aside some “goalless” time – This worked like a charm for me.
    How to spend goalless time:
    1. Do whatever you feel like. Seriously, spontaneously do whatever you want (as long as it’s not harmful to yourself or others, of course). This is one of the most freeing things you can do.
    2. Don’t put any pressure on yourself. There is nothing to accomplish, no goals and no to-do lists.
    3. Just allow yourself to BE. Be present and thoroughly enjoy whatever you’re doing.
  • And most importantly, HAVE FUN! Life is too short to be taken too seriously. Enjoy yourself, live authentically, laugh, dance, climb trees and high five strangers.

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

– Stevie P!

Do You Even Leisure, Bro?

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Take a step back and ask yourself…

Do I enjoy any true leisure?

Or is my life an endless string of time-stressed busyness?

In the phenomenal book “The Tao of Abundance“, Laurence G. Boldt defines leisure as “activity free of time remembrance.” Essentially, leisure is any experience in which you’re wholeheartedly “lost in the moment.”

We’ve all experienced this state… Hiking a mountain with no concept of “clock time” or a schedule. Long-term travel with no specific agenda, just going with the flow. Diving into creative work and completely losing track of time. At a party, celebrating with kindred spirits, with no concern of past or future. A session of lovemaking when you’re so utterly immersed in the ecstasy of the eternal now.

We instinctively long for these exhilarating reminders of our timeless essence. We chase them, sometimes through unhealthy means, because we don’t “leisure” as frequently as we need to for a deeply fulfilling and enjoyable life.

When was the last time you stopped to fully appreciate the moment? Re-start that practice now. Constantly remind yourself to “be here now.” Bask in the glory of the moment and notice how deeply fulfilling it is.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? And I mean nothing. Not watching TV. Not playing video games. Not snapchatting selfies to Selma the secretary. Seriously, when was the last time you allowed yourself to just BE? Simply “being” is a smirk-inducing oneness with the moment; a merging into the sea of infinite bliss.

“Every moment is the best, that’s enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle

We live in a culture that is so frantically busy that we forget to allow ourselves to simply be. No input. No over-stimulation. Just marinating in the peaceful stillness of the moment. We often fail to remember how critical that is for intrinsic fulfillment.

The “time-crunch” we’ve conceded to doesn’t give us enough room to breathe. Because we don’t allow ourselves to ever fully rest (or experience leisure), it severely inhibits our ability to fire on all cylinders. That’s why most people trudge through life in this gray-zone of half-activity, never at ease, yet never at full throttle either. Everything is a balance of the yin and yang. On and off. Activity and rest. Balls to the wall, and balls to the… floor?

The grinding state of constant, compulsive half-action is insidious. It wears you down, while steadily lowering your maximum capacity. It’s burning the candle at both ends.

Let’s take sprinting (which is completely based upon generating maximum speed) as an example. Do sprinters sprint 24/7? Of course not. They have carefully calculated training programs, with rest being equally as important as the actual training. Sprinters also spend the overwhelming majority of their time resting. Even their training sessions, which include short bursts of high intensity sprinting, are intermixed with much longer periods of rest. If an athlete attempted to sprint unceasingly, they would quickly tire, and within minutes be relegated to crawling around the track. But this is how many people try to move through life. In a desperate attempt to keep pushing, they end up at an incessant, exhausting crawl; with no time to rest (so they think), no energy left to move at full speed and no clarity to even question why they’re doing it in the first place.

Most masters in anything are masters in both their craft and leisure. They operate like an on/off switch, with each paradigm sharpened by focused present moment awareness. Look at the greatest martial artists. They are unbelievably calm and peaceful, but once it’s time for action, they are lightning fast and immensely powerful. Without intense rest, there can be no intense action. Without intense action, there can be no intense rest.

Loss of presence disturbs both the restful state and the active state. In the case of the martial artist, thinking about the past or future will inhibit the peace of mind associated with rest. On the other hand, thinking about the past or future while in a match will quickly leave you incapacitated by your opponent. This is the embodiment of leisure through both profound rest and profound activity. When leisure permeates the entire spectrum of your being, you live vibrantly, instead of merely existing.

Tim Ferriss, who is just slightly more productive than the average person (I hope you caught the sarcasm), is semi-famous for alternating between intense activity and intense rest. When he writes, for example, he dives into it with intensive focus for a short block of time, followed by a break. This applies to life’s larger cycles as well. Tim said that he recently took 30 days off from any kind of work. A month of pure leisure and just being. He said it was a deeply revitalizing self-reset, and he came back to his work more focused than ever. Ok, you don’t necessarily have to take 30 days off from everything, but you can apply the same principles to your own unique situation. And speaking of those types of escapades…

Let’s talk about “real leisure.”

Honestly, do you get any real leisure? Moments when you’re so absorbed in the magnificence of the moment that nothing else exists?

As a society, we’re so leisure-starved that even our “time off” lacks leisure. Most people’s vacations are laughably short and desperately rushed, consisting of scrambling to catch flights, rigid schedules, hour-by-hour plans and the impending dread of having to go back to work.

However, one moment in which you truly allow yourself to just be makes it all worth it. This image, which epitomizes the word leisure, comes to mind… Sitting on a beach, soaking in the sunset and listening to the delicate crash of waves on the shore. That is all that exists, nothing else. A single moment experienced as a serendipitous eternity.

And don’t think you have to be on a beach to experience true leisure. That’s just a situation which is highly conducive to the experience of leisure. But literally anything that gets you lost in the moment is leisure. Leisurely experiences can, and do, vary wildly from person-to-person. For some people, solving mathematical equations might be leisure. For others, walking in the woods. For me, writing this right now is leisure. It could be anything. The experience of real leisure just feels right, as if you’ve delightfully surrendered within the warm embrace of your divine essence.

Cherish the now. Leisure is as simple as realizing that this moment is all that exists. Constantly remind yourself to “be here now.” The past and future are only projections of your mind. Fully immerse yourself in the euphoric ocean of eternal now and experience the ecstasy of everlasting rejuvenation.

Here are three sure-fire ways to experience true leisure and get lost in the moment:

1. Awareness

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

Simply being aware that now is all that exists is transformative in and of itself. You will begin to catch yourself thinking about the past or future, inhibiting your experience of the present (all that really exists). With present moment awareness, sunsets suck you into divine bliss, landscapes lull you into luscious lucidity and parties become the climax of your very own movie. Awareness allows you to realize that there is nothing but now, and it is meant to be cherished.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”- Eckhart Tolle

2. Passion

Dive into your passions and experience time melt away. There is a magical quality to being immersed in your passion, whatever it may be. Time and space dissolve, and you’re left in a state of simply being, with the Universe expressing itself through you.

If you don’t know what your passions are… What gives you those kind of feelings described above? What causes you to become lost in the moment?

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

3. Play

“To play in a childlike way is to let go of self-consciousness, to drop the armor of ego defenses, to give up pretenses and be what we are, plain and simple.” – Laurence G. Boldt

Playing is a primary part of our primal nature. It begets vibrant happiness and helps us cope with the harsh reality so many of us face in day-to-day life.

Play is also essential if you wish to be an optimal being. Not only an expression of love and joy, play cultivates creativity as well. It’s absolutely vital for the development of one’s mental, emotional and physical capacities.

“Play seems to be an essential feature in productive thought.” – Albert Einstein

Yet sadly, play is an activity that we strongly reject as “respectable adults.”

“Especially while at work, we tend to take a serious, nose-to-the-grindstone attitude. We have gotten the notion that to be a “grown-up” is to act stiff and “dignified.” We fear that others will not take us seriously if we allow them to see us acting silly or in a playful manner.” – Laurence G. Boldt

Unchain yourself from the shackles of what others think. Choose love over fear, and express yourself. Life is too short to suppress your unique brilliance.

Play a game. Play a sport. Run, climb, jump. Dance. Tease someone in a loving way. Laugh. Joke around. Be ridiculous.

Leap into the liberating liveliness of leisure.

You don’t need a vacation to experience leisure, nor does everything in your life need to be perfect. All you need to do is “be here now.”

Get lost in the moment.

So I’ll leave you with a question… Do you even leisure, bro?

 

True Balance

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People always talk about balance. How it’s best to live a balanced life, balance this, balance that. But what does “balance” even mean? Its implications reach far beyond the dictionary definition…

True balance is not sitting in the middle. Life is motion, not stagnation. True balance is movement between poles. It’s a perpetual sliding of the scale, back and forth.

During a yoga class a few months ago, the instructor said that balance is not being completely still or static, but lies within continuous, small motions. It’s the subtle back and forth that promotes stabilization in yoga positions. Remember, trees stay standing by moving to and fro with the wind, not by being rigidly straight.

Life is a dynamic see saw between opposites. You don’t just sit in the middle. One side goes up and the other side goes down, then the cycle repeats.

Think about riding a bicycle. Firstly, you need to be in motion to stay balanced. Secondly, you pedal with your left foot, then your right, and repeat this cycle over and over to stay in motion. It’s a transfer of intention and force onto one side, which is then counterbalanced by intention and force on the opposite side. This is analogous to life.

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” -Rumi

Birds are another manifestation of true balance. They must be in motion and flap both wings in order to fly. Motion represents the flow of life, while two wings represent polar opposites. Both are fundamental for the phenomenon of flight.

Life is a beautiful dance between the yin and yang… Inhaling then exhaling. Activity then rest. Listening then speaking. Reading then writing.

And how does Earth maintain “balance”? It’s in constant rotation, orbiting around the sun and engaged in ceaseless cycles. Day to night. Summer to winter. An aeonian interplay of opposites.

I’ve recently become aware of some cycles that I naturally fall into. In the summer time I tend to be more inclined towards extroverted activities; traveling, going out and talking to more people. In the winter time, I tend to embrace more introverted endeavors such as reading, writing, meditation and other activities based in personal reflection. These cycles create an overall balance. Before I get too far on one side of the spectrum, the cycle begins to take me into the other direction, and everything comes full circle. Also, there are mini-cycles within these larger cycles. There are times when I’ll be reflective during travel, or times where I’ll go out in the winter. The scale is always in motion. I heed subtle hints from my intuition, sparking lively spontaneity in the infinity of each moment.

Spending your whole life meditating alone on a mountain is not balance. Conversely, spending your whole life drinking beer in a bar is not balance. Working all the time is not balance, nor is never working at all. Balance is partaking in both when the situation arises. (Without being attached to, or dependent upon either side.)

“Don’t find the balance by riding this narrow margin where you never sway to one side or the other. Find the balance by pushing the extremes out as far as you can on either side. Go for a seven day fast on the top of a mountain where the only substance you’re ingesting is water and peyote. Do that. Or meditation. Whatever is on the farthest side that you can reach for that. Then go the other way. Stand on top of some speakers at a night club, pound your chest and howl at the moon!”Aubrey Marcus

Go ahead and do everything. Experience as much as possible, but with two conditions:

1. Don’t allow yourself to be dependent on one side of the spectrum.
Let’s take partying for example:
If you find yourself partying every weekend of your life, that is not balance. That’s dependency, habit, addiction…etc. Throw yourself a curve-ball and spend a weekend in nature, reading a book, or doing anything else that interests you. Shake things up and break the dependency before you end up stagnant, drowning yourself in the deep end of one extreme.

2. Don’t harm yourself or others.
Continuing with the partying example. If you’re harming yourself or others, it’s most certainly not balanced. If you drink alcohol to the point of harming yourself, if you lose your temper, or you neglect obligations or other people due to partying, that’s not balance either. Choose love over fear.

Live in perpetual motion. Immerse yourself in the dance of the yin and the yang.

Stay balanced, my friend.

-Stevie P!