Most people who are into self-development believe that their biggest challenge or their biggest “sticking point” on their way to success is fear.
It’s actually not the fear itself. It’s one’s resistance to fear that is the true blockage.
So in order to work with your resistance to fear, or your resistance to any emotion or feeling you’re having for that matter, what is required is to practice being present with the emotion or feeling, and to practice giving up the resistance it.
Just put your attention there. Explore its nature with your awareness. Set the intention to let go of the resistance and to feel the experience.
Rest your awareness right in the depths of the experience.
This is the practice.
Letting go is usually not something that occurs by simply deciding you’d like to let go.
When “holding on” is a subconscious process–which is what trauma is–the letting go must occur deep enough to penetrate the attachment.
It’s important to give the process of letting go, of forgiving, as much time as it needs. Trying to force it is counterproductive.
Just as there is a natural process to a baby growing up, a process which takes time, the best we can do is to nurture ourselves through the process of letting go.
The good news is that there are powerful practices that can catalyze the process–different styles of qigong and meditation, for example. I like to think of these types of practices as the nutrients needed for the process. And then we do what we can and the rest is up to the Divine.
Most of us are deeply conditioned to try to avoid our pain, to attempt to resist it, which only amplifies it and makes it worse in the long-run.
The answer is to turn toward our pain with presence and patience, and to practice in the ways of those who have the results you are looking for.
This is how to turn pain into power.
It’s about perspective. If I believe I am a victim, then I have the experience of feeling like a victim and of actually being a victim.
When you have had the experience of being a victim, it is of utmost importance to allow that experience to run its course by expressing it in a safe container, for example, with someone who is trained in holding space for the expression of extreme and disturbing emotions. This process usually takes time, it occurs in layers, and it cannot be successfully rushed.
Too often, we encounter the strategy of attempting to use our minds to “overcome” the experience of having been a victim. This is not helpful. There is no “getting over it” until we allow ourselves to admit how we really feel about it fully.
If the experience happened, and it is not fully processed, it will stay in the body and attempt to work itself out of your nervous system, like a splinter works itself out of your foot, in various ways, often by attracting increasingly amplified, similar victim experiences. This may seem cruel, however, it is ultimately helpful.
This happens because the subconscious actually wants to be conscious. It requires an enormous amount of unsustainable energy in order to suppress an experience. Suppressing, walling off, pushing away our experiences is stressful to the body, and in the long-term creates physical imbalances and dis-ease. The body/mind/spirit actually wants to heal though, so it brings us opportunities to experience what our mind and our conditioning is attempting to push down or away.
Turning toward our pain proactively through embodiment practices like meditating with the body, yoga, qigong, dance, or any effective embodiment practice, with the the ultimate intention to LET GO, that is, to forgive–this is the answer and antidote to the counterproductive, exhausting work of subconsciously attempting to push away our painful, traumatic experiences. This is, if you want to heal, of course. And not everyone wants to heal or is even ready to begin the process, which is ok. It’s not helpful to try and force healing in ourselves or in others. There is a greater story at play in which we all are participant-creators, and there is a divine timing to the unfolding of life.
As you process the experience of being a victim, you are likely to start seeing opportunities to recognize and remember your empowerment and responsibility. We start to see how we may have allowed, participated or even created the victim experience. This is extremely difficult to hear for people who are deeply attached to their victim story, before they have forgiven the perpetrator in their experience.
When people are not ready to hear about their responsibility, what they usually need is space to express the reality and gravity of their victim experience. Their inner child is wounded and needs care. This does not mean for us to hold weak boundaries with them. This also doesn’t make us responsible for helping them heal. As we heal, we recognize more and more of our personal responsibility.
Responsibility means the ability to respond. We can respond by offering to hold space, or we can respond by compassionately walking away or asking for space. There are many ways to respond, as long as we are aware of them.
Suffering sucks. However, it is not our responsibility to save anyone. Of course we may choose to offer help in a way we imagine would be effective, but I see no moral *obligation* to rescue another who chooses to stay stuck in suffering. Of course there is an impact to whatever our choice may be.
The more deeply we heal, the more deeply we feel, and the more poignant the suffering of others becomes to us because we sense more clearly through the illusion that they are separate from ourselves. In other words, we see them as other-selves, as ourselves, as not separate from ourselves. This, for me, has helped open my heart and inspire passionate empathy for the state and condition of those who suffer around me, and increasingly so, I want so much to help alleviate the suffering, as if my own arm or heart is crying out in pain when I feel the suffering of my other-selves.
You ALWAYS Have A Choice
What I invite you to recognize here is that you ALWAYS have a choice. I offer the perspective that there is no situation where you are truly a victim unless you believe that you are.
Yes, the stakes are high and the pain may be excruciating, and, I ask you, is it possible that at some level of your Being that you are participating in the creation of this scenario?
We imagine that we are who we think we are and nothing more. We imagine that we are not so powerful. We turn our backs on the One Self, from whom we are never truly separate, that is, to the extent we indulge ourselves and deny Ourselves.
The way to remember, bit by bit, layer by layer and in due time, is to practice turning toward those parts of ourselves which imagine our Divinity to be not true. Those parts are in pain.
Do not condemn those parts of yourselves or others. Let them express themselves. Let those dark parts be transformed by the light of awareness. Recognize that these parts of ourselves are in pain to the extent which they deny their true Identity, as they continue to create and sustain the illusion, for as long as they can, that they are anything but What and Whom they really are.
I’m a voluntaryist.
What that essentially means is that my organizing moral principle is non-harming, “ahimsa,” or more commonly known as the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP).
This principle is that to initiate force or to initiate the threat of force is immoral. Self-defense and defense of private property is ok.
Obviously there are an infinite number of complex scenarios where things can get fuzzy, however, this basic principle is my guiding moral compass.
In our culture, many people talk about creating situations that are “win-win.” This means that as a result of interacting or transacting, both parties win– that is to say that both parties feel good about the outcome of the situation.
Where I believe classical libertarians often fall short is in consideration of the greater whole, that is of the greater collective community, and of the natural ecosystem of the earth.
It is not enough for me and you both to win if our neighbors and our fellow humans lose. It is also not enough if people win but the earth loses, because the earth is, after all, our mother.
In order for our interactions and transactions to be truly optimal, I invite consideration of the Triple Win where We All Win.
Let us always strive to live our lives in this way, honoring more of the totality of our Being.
Why do so many people resist being helped?
Have you attempted to offer service to others before and encountered resistance? I know I have!
I wonder if it comes from years of conditioning that accepting service or receiving help makes one appear weak or incapable themselves.
“I’m good,” people often say when encountering attempts to offer them assistance. Interesting. Does that mean receiving assistance is interpreted as being “bad” somehow? If I accept help, did I have a weakness?
It’s the ego that has its defenses up.
And some of it, maybe most of it is for good reason.
Not every offer of assistance is valid.
By defending against assistance, one can protect himself against false attempts to “serve” that would not really benefit him.
So patient persistence is the key here, if you really want to offer help. Be willing to meet their shields and defenses with understanding and patience. This is what allows an opening, if an opening is in order.
No forcing. No coercing. Instead: reasoning, understanding, curiosity.
It reminds me of the cultivation of trust in any relationship.
Trust is not an entitlement. Trust is earned.
So people’s defenses are an opportunity to earn their trust. Trust can sometimes be won through patient persistence and allowing the process the time it needs.
It requires approval for the current moment without pushing for something else, but after accepting what is, inviting forth something new.
I’ve been reading the Law of One series, the Ra Material. I’m about halfway through book 3 (there are 5 books). I highly recommend it! It has been blowing my mind.
In these books, Ra transmits wisdom about the evolution of consciousness, among many other things.
Ra says there are 2 paths: The path of the heart, of forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and service to others. And there is the path of service to self, of separation and control.
Interestingly, Ra says that ultimately these two paths merge in the 6th density, where polarity melts away. Apparently, we are currently still in the 3rd density of self-consciousness as a planet, on the verge of moving into the 4th density of group consciousness, transparent thought, and heart-centered living. If you’re curious, Ra says the 5th density is also transparent of thought and is more about balancing compassion with wisdom.
I am on the path of the heart, of acceptance and service to others. And realizing this at deeper levels has been immensely helpful for my integrity of mind/body/spirit.
I intend to live my life from this place so that everything that I do ultimately fuels my service to others.
Ra emphasizes the importance of meditation, over and over and over again. Meditation is where we are able to know the self more fully, to integrate our experiences, and to gain understanding and spiritual development, among many other benefits. Ra does not recommend a specific type of meditation, which is interesting as well.
In the context of service to others, my life makes much more sense.
I can more intentionally live from the place of: How can I serve? And how can I go about my daily life in a way that benefits others?
Of course, this entails taking care of myself, so that I am able to serve effectively.
So I’ll just end this blog with a short prayer:
May I live well today. May I practice well, in what I do. May I be filled with beauty, love, truth, freedom and acceptance for all of Creation. May I be filled with wisdom to know how to serve best. May I radiate love, so as to inspire others to forgive and to serve others as well, so that suffering may be lessened and that joy may increase.
I coach my clients in 4 fundamental areas of life or 4 Pillars of being fully ALIVE. Together with my clients we develop personalized strategies for upgrading, enlivening and mastering each of these sectors of their lives. Ultimately, all 4 of these “Pillars” or areas of life operate like 4 legs of a table. When one of them is not strong, the stability of their life will be shaky. When all 4 Pillars are strong, then your life will be stable and full of abundance, joy, fulfillment and peace.
When you’re living in alignment with your life’s true purpose, everything else in your life flows better. Living in alignment with your life purpose is fuel and energy for the rest of your life.
When you lose touch with your life purpose, the quality of your vitality, wealth and relationships all begin to decline–maybe not right away, but in the long run this will happen unless or until alignment with purpose is restored. Again, life purpose is the fuel that feeds every other area of our lives. Usually a sense of purposeless correlates with depression, feeling lost, feeling lifeless, i.e. less life or less alive.
If you don’t know what your life purpose is then I suggest you decide that your newfound purpose will be figuring out what your purpose is. Spend some time each day alone with a notepad writing down ideas or better yet book some life coaching sessions with me! We’ll get right to it and you’ll be feeling the fire of life again in no time.
Also remember that your definition of your life purpose may shift over time. Just because you decide THIS is my life purpose now doesn’t mean it’s written in stone and you can never change it in the future. It is likely that your definition of your life purpose will evolve with your consciousness over time.
My personal life purpose is to become ever more fully ALIVE and to serve that same desire in others.
What this means to me is to embrace the particular daily practices I have chosen to optimize, enjoy and evolve my life.
I won’t get into what my daily/weekly practices are right now, but suffice it to say that once you have your purpose, practice of your purpose is what must follow. If daily practice of your purpose does not arise, then you are not in touch with your true purpose, so go back to practicing the purpose of questioning what your purpose might be, experimenting purposefully until you find it. That way, you can never be without a purpose!
When you have lots of energy and your vitality is strong, then anything seems possible. When your vitality is low, very little seems possible or achievable.
Many people are conditioned to “burn the candle at both ends” or in other words, to burn themselves out. But once you are burned out, then you’ll have to recover, and that can consume a lot of time and energy. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The key to vitality is to practice it every day as if your life depends on it because your life does depend on it. This includes activities like walking in nature, consistently breathing fresh, clean air (indoor and outdoor), drinking structured, energized, clean water and consuming food which fuels and energizes you instead of inflaming and draining you.
This also includes exercise and recovery (which should more often be mentioned together like this, as one, single phrase), and I include physical activities which have a spiritual and healing dimension as well like Qigong and Yoga, etc.
Vitality is a non-negotiable in life. If you don’t have it, then you don’t have life.
Monetary or capital wealth is generated based on the value you exchange with others.
Yes, there are types of wealth other than monetary or capital, for example, spiritual wealth. And while spiritual wealth is the most important type of wealth, capital wealth is an area of utmost concern for most of us living in modern society. When we dial in our relationship and mastery of wealth, everything else in our lives becomes easier.
Money has to do with the root chakra or in Maslow’s hierarchy, with survival needs. Issues at the root are often fraught with emotional charge, and the more we heal and energize this area, because it is foundational, then the rest of the structure of our physiology and life, i.e., the external circumstances of our life function more smoothly. Strong foundation = better chance of an overall strong structure. Without a good foundation, the structure will fail.
When we have plenty of energy (money is a physical representation of energy), capital or other resources or means of exchange to offer in exchange for products and services that enhance our lives, everything in life is easier! Our relationship with wealth and our level of wealth has a lot do with our perceptions and our beliefs around money and around life in general.
In most of the world, people have been heavily conditioned by society to have a negative and stressful relationship with money and resources and to believe that energy is scarce. The truth is that energy is the most abundant thing that exists. Everything is made out of energy, so there is no such thing as a scarcity of energy! However, there are more and less skillful ways of working with the energy and packaging and exchanging value in a way that builds wealth in the long term.
Mastering this “Pillar” of success allows everything else in our lives to work better.
Dating & Relationships
Life is about relationships. And relationships consistently provide some of our best and most challenging opportunities for growth and enjoyment of life.
Some people say that your network is your net worth. This idea reflects how interconnected every “Fully Alive Pillar” is with each of the others. You really can’t have one of the pillars missing since there’s a crucial relationship among all four of them.
What’s the point of life if it’s beautiful but you can’t share it!? Sharing your life with others gives ineffable meaning to life.
So even if you are single and you like it that way, you still have relationships with your family or friends or coworkers or clients, etc.
Some of my clients have been or are currently in a dating phase of their lives. Dating presents its own set of unique challenges and experiences.
When I was in my early and mid-twenties I spent around 1000 nights going out to bars and clubs and other social venues approaching women, practicing cold-approach pick-up. Not only did I train myself with consistent real life experience, I was also constantly watching videos from the most experienced “dating gurus” in the world, reading their articles and books and immersing myself in the world of improving my dating skills. It was very challenging for me and also fun sometimes. I learned a lot about male-female attraction and how to navigate the dating world. I learned a lot about human connection.
Eventually I found my way into long term monogamous relationships (I have a beautiful life partner of almost 5 years now) and I’ve also briefly experimented with polyamory. To further my experience and understanding of general relational dynamics and human connection, I practiced (and eventually facilitated) Authentic Relating. I also practiced Orgasmic Meditation and other advanced relational practices which have given me rare insight into human connection and how to cultivate it.
Of course there is also the platonic as well as the business side of human connection. I’ve always had an intuitive, easy ability to make friends anywhere I’ve gone. The difference with me is that I also know how to explain what I’m doing and how to help people become more magnetic, confident and charismatic and to naturally connect with others more easily, if that is one of their desires. It can take practice for some, but it’s simply a skillset like any other skillset which can be learned and honed. As is often the case, most of it is about unwinding societal conditioning and programming.
Lastly, but not least, I’ve spent my entire working career, over 15 years in direct sales, more than 9 years of which I have been successfully knocking on doors in order to sell residential roofing and other storm damage restoration services. I have a natural knack with people which, again, I have consciously developed over this lifetime, and the beauty is that I can transmit my knowledge of human connection to others in a way that they can understand and implement in order to master their own variety of relationships.
Some people like to divide life into more than just 4 sectors, and I have no problem with that. These are the Pillars or sectors of life that I use and that I work on with my clients. Mastering these Pillars of Success is mastering life itself. There are many different ways to go about doing this, but all of them require curiosity, experimentation and practice.
When we are willing to practice opening ourselves up to life, to embrace life, to face each area of our lives directly and to practice eliminating our futile attempts to run and hide from the intensity of life, life rewards us with abundance, joy, fulfillment and peace.
How about that?
Just because someone is older does not mean they are wiser.
Wisdom is generally assumed to be closely correlated with age, i.e., “the older you are, the wiser you are.” However, to more accurately reflect reality, wisdom should instead be understood as loosely correlated with age.
Here are two reasons why:
1) Age is correlated with experience, but experience is accumulated in different areas of life by different people at extremely different RATES of accumulation.
Some people accumulate experience much more quickly relative to others. How to accumulate experience quickly and the factors involved in that is a good topic but one for another article.
2) Experience alone does not equal wisdom. It takes experience + understanding to produce wisdom plus at least a little something more.
Understanding is a combination of 1) intelligence – which I define as the ability to comprehend, assimilate and creatively combine information as well as 2) perspective – the capacity to recognize relationships between wholes and parts.
To add one more dimension, wisdom is greater than the sum of experience + understanding. It also has (at least) the qualities of patience, humility, gratitude, presence and probably humor.
If wisdom were a gourmet meal served at a fine restaurant, the appetizer would probably be humility, the main courses would consist of experience and understanding, and the dessert would be gratitude. Patience would be the beverage of choice, topped off frequently throughout. Also, just a heads up, the courses are likely to arrive in a completely unpredictable order, e.g., the first course might come before the appetizer and you might not get the second course until after dessert, so a little humor can go a long way.
P.S. If you know someone who would like to stoke the fires of purpose and passion in their life, to upgrade their vitality or increase their skillfulness with dating or relationships, forward them this email or send them this link!
Living your purpose doesn’t require that every aspect of your life is aligned RIGHT NOW with your ultimate future vision for your life.
In fact, if you’re a highly growth-oriented person, which is likely if you’re reading this blog, your vision of your future life will likely always be bigger than your present circumstances!
This doesn’t have to be a contradiction at all. This doesn’t have to stop you from LIVING THE DREAM right now.
So you choose to work, for as long as it takes, a job that your heart is not fully in love with, so that you can pay your bills.
The KEY is that you are making consistent progress toward your goals, toward your vision, toward your dream.
If you are doing the best you can do, then don’t try to whip yourself harder. Recognize what IS the best you can do, and be clear about that with yourself.
Maybe the best you can do is 30-60 minutes a day building your dream life, especially after 8-9 hours at the day-job plus dealing with house chores or errands or whatever. Maybe it’s just a couple hours on the weekend. The point is that whatever it is, congratulations if you spend THAT AMOUNT OF TIME working on YOUR business/YOUR dream because you’re doing the best you can do and you can’t do any better than that!
Giving it your ALL is another key
If you know that you could be doing more, really, then you’ll won’t be fooling yourself.
Look, you’ve got to SLEEP enough (and optimize your sleep so you can possibly need less of it–there are lots of ways to do this, just do a quick internet search for “optimize sleep”). You’ve got to make time for the nutrients of life, which include quality social time, play time, down-time, exercise, eating, etc.
The KEY to giving it your ALL in a sustainable way is not burning yourself out because if you burn yourself out then the quality of your ALL drops substantially, and you make much less progress toward your goals than you would have if you kept more of a slow-and-steady pace to win the race.
But don’t think you can fool your subconscious into thinking you are giving it your all, in other words, doing your very best, if you are not doing so. Your subconscious knows.
And if you are accepting less than your best from yourself, you will KNOW it at some level, and you will feel the internal dissonance or general negative feelings associated with that, however subtle.
When you give your dreams your ALL then you will feel the emotional results of this. You will feel satisfied.
Be patient because Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Be content with putting one foot in front of the other.
Again, figure out if you are doing the best you can do if and if you are then congratulate yourself and keep it up!
After all, if you are doing your best then what more could you be doing? If you are doing your best then you might as well tell yourself that you are living the dream right now because there’s no other dream you could be living at the moment.
A healthy dose of self-acceptance opens up a lot of opportunities for more.
What you appreciate appreciates
When you cultivate a sense of gratitude, contentment, satisfaction, and happiness for your daily life as it is right now, today, even though it’s different from where you want to be, you actually invite better circumstances into your life.
Better circumstances are waiting for those who are already grateful for what they have now and where they are right now.
Your physical, external circumstances are a reflection of your energy and consciousness. And you are the director, the sovereign agent of your energy, to the extent that you are open anyway.
When you take great care of your energy, your life circumstances will reflect that back.
All of us have traumas which distort and block the flow and abundance of life from reaching us.
One of my favorite teachers says that you cannot lose love, you can only lose your awareness of love.
So we need practices which open our awareness back up. “Trauma” is another way of saying “blockage.” We have all created subtle and not so subtle blockages of life which may not be serving our best interests anymore.
A good embodiment meditation practice, a good qigong practice, breathwork, psychedelics or a skilled coach can help you let go of blockages.
Ideally, you implement all of the above and then some!
A good Network Spinal Analysis Chiropractor can also do wonders for helping you release the tension stored in the tissues of your body.
There are many ways to open up the flow of life (which occurs first in the body) and to release blockages to awareness, receptivity, abundance and joy.
Adopt (a) quality practice(s), patiently and consistently, and know that you will reap the rewards of your practice.
Life itself is a practice, so practice living your purpose, living the dream. No matter what your current circumstances may be, just do your best.
P.S. Sometimes it is immensely helpful to work with a skilled and experienced life coach such as myself to get personalized clarity on what your purpose is and how to “do your best” on a consistent basis, so that you can feel the full satisfaction that comes from this. If you or someone you know might like to massively upgrade their Vitality, align more fully with their Life Purpose or experience better results with Dating or Relationships, send them here!
Sometimes the cashier doesn’t make eye-contact and tells you to have a nice day in a tone of voice that sounds more like a thinly veiled “go to hell.”
Sometimes a customer or a coworker communicates in an off-putting way. Where I thought I deserved appreciation, I received reprimand.
The mail doesn’t come on time. The dishwasher stops working… You get the gist.
We all run into these mundane “obstacles” in our lives.
Yesterday I experienced a bit of pain with someone where I thought I deserved appreciation and instead I received reproach.
I see where I was not prepared for that situation, and I let it take me down momentarily.
Here are a few ways I’ve been turning this pain into power (and by “power” I mean “energy” or “the ability to respond” i.e., “responsibility”). Maybe by reading my experience you can find some insight to more efficiently alchemize adverse situations in your own life:
Practicing conscious forgiveness and compassion
Part of me wants to condemn this person. “They have no right to speak to me like that, etc.” When I remind myself that this person was doing the best they could in the moment, I can summon some degree of compassion. I don’t know what’s really going on in their life. I don’t know what difficult experiences they’ve been through that could have them communicating with me out of a place of trauma or unconsciousness.
I’ve been asking for help from my Qigong and other spiritual masters whom I often talk to. “Please help me forgive this person. Please help me to understand any lessons I can learn from this experience. Please help me to have compassion and not to condemn.”
I know that forgiveness and compassion are the keys to my healing and spiritual development. And I want to heal and develop spiritually. I also know that harboring anger and hatred is damaging to my health and I want to experience robust vitality. I don’t want to hurt myself by holding a grudge.
So I keep asking my spiritual masters for help until I feel clear.
Mundane adversity can trigger much larger pre-existing trauma
When a small affront or adversity triggers a disproportionately large emotional response, that is a flashing red light clue that there is a deeper trauma being pointed to, and this is actually an excellent opportunity for freedom.
It was important for me to admit to myself that I felt hurt by the experience, and even that it hurt much more than it “should” have. This is not condemning the person at the level of pain I’m experiencing, this is recognizing and admitting a personal level of pain that until I accept it, I will not be able to fully let it go, to fully heal.
This also allows me an opportunity to ask important, transformational questions:
Why did this seemingly trivial slight feel so extreme?
I can brainstorm for some old, unhelpful beliefs which may have been there the whole time before, influencing my life from behind the scenes, just out of reach of my awareness:
“No one cares about me.”
“I don’t get the appreciation I deserve.”
“I need love and I don’t get it.”
“I’m not enough.”
“I’m not respected enough.”
And the list can go on.
The value in identifying these unhelpful beliefs is that by becoming aware of them I have taken the first step toward eradicating them, and I can then plant the seeds of new beliefs which serve me much better:
“I care about me!”
“Many people DO care about me!”
“Many people appreciate me, and I always appreciate myself whether or not others appreciate me.”
“I am love and love is forever.”
“I am enough.”
“I respect myself regardless of the respect I perceive coming from others.”
In these types of situations, the Ho’Opono Pono can also be extraordinarly useful:
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” (Repeat multiple times.)
The goal is to forgive, to let go of anger, to relax our hearts and keep awareness in the heart-space. The Ho’Oponopono brings awareness straight back to the heart every time.
External vs internal validation
I can also begin to see the ways in which I might be relying on an external source for my sense of value, appreciation, respect and happiness.
The degree to which we rely on an external source for our sense of “enoughness” is the degree to which our sense of enoughness will rise and fall. E.g., when people love me or validate me, I’m elated. When people don’t love me or don’t treat me well, I’m devastated.
This is not to say that asking for and expecting respect, love and appreciation is not critical. Of course it is. I’m not suggesting anyone should tolerate abuse.
What I’m suggesting, in this examples, is that we recognize and remember that sometimes in life people are going to let us down when we expect them to treat us how we would like to be treated.
Unless I admit total responsibility for my own experience, I will remain a victim. To the extent that I blame an external source for my misery, I disempower myself. I pretend I’m not free. Pretending I’m not free (that is to say, responsible) is counterproductive to my freedom and wellbeing.
To quote the famous stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, from his treatise Meditations:
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”
Grist for the mill
As a result of processing our run-of-the-mill or “ordinary adversity,” as I’ve called it, we can come out the other side as more mature people, more capable of forgiveness and compassion, more deeply rooted in a sustainable, internally-sourced wellbeing, less reliant on the vagaries of external validation for our happiness.
In this way, we turn our pain into power. Adversity becomes fuel for our ever-growing aliveness.
P.S. If you’d like to experience turning your pain into power in an accelerated way, to step into more of your brilliance, to align more fully with your life’s purpose, or to gain more clarity and quicker results in your health, wealth or relationships, sign up for some 1-1 life coaching with me here. Also, please share this post with 1 person who might enjoy it!
We all fall off the ol’ horse from time to time.
I’ve fallen off plenty of times myself, and for much longer periods of time than I’d care to admit.
In life there are two general paths: The easy road which becomes more difficult or the difficult road which becomes easier over time.
Whenever I slip into habits of procrastination or of choosing short-term gratification over long-term gratification, sooner or later a dullness, a lackluster sense of existence starts to seep into my sense of wellbeing.
However, the sooner I notice what is happening and make the decision to embrace long-term gratification decisions, the sooner my sense of ALIVEness and wellbeing starts to improve.
We can fall off of the proverbial horse for 5-10 minutes, for 5-10 hours, for 5-10 days, months, years, maybe even lifetimes.
Short Term vs Long Term Gratification
The longer we stay on the short term gratification (STG) road, the harder things become.
Most of us are familiar with our own STG (short term gratification) mainstays. Maybe it’s junk-food, mindless social media scrolling, computer or video games, binge-watching episodes of the flavor of the week, mindless date application swiping, porn, weed, alcohol or any other means of attempting to escape the intensity of being truly present to our lives.
The Buddha taught that the more we attempt to escape pain, the more pain we encounter. It’s only by turning toward our suffering that we begin to experience less suffering.
My Own Recent Fall Off Of The Horse
Recently I went through about month of “falling off the horse” and attempting to escape my life. I was playing a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game which hijacked the “progress machinery” in my brain to trick me into thinking I was making progress in my life. I would get excited about playing the game, and I would play for several hours a day at a time because it was fun to advance skill levels and watch my character get stronger and unlock new abilities through completing quests.
All of my coachees have heard me repeat the phrase, “Progress equals happiness.” It’s an idea that Tony Robbins often repeats, and I love it because it’s true.
So there I was, tricking my brain into making me feel like I was making progress in my life and getting those temporary quick hits of dopamine when *REALLY* I was not fooling myself.
When I wasn’t playing the game, I felt down, dull, and a bit lifeless. I needed the game to distract me from the fact that I had fallen off my horse. It was a classic escapism-addiction scenario.
Almost as soon as I decided to turn back toward my life fully, to give my life my ALL again, I felt the life returning to my body.
This was around the turn of the year, and the momentum I started building then has continued to grow.
I’ve optimized my schedule, my routines, I’m polishing up my REAL life skills day in and day out, and I’m consciously looking for and finding great contentment and appreciation of my daily routines.
I’m embracing my life at a new level and as a result I’m feeling much more ALIVE.
No matter how long you’ve been on the proverbial ground in your life after falling off the horse, whether it’s been for 15 minutes or for 15 months or years or whatever, you can at any time make the decision to embrace what you ALREADY know you’ve been procrastinating.
Yes, it can be a real challenge to do that, and that’s exactly why it is going to energize you. Life gets boring without a challenge.
Don’t go so crazy that you get in over your head. Find that sweet spot where it’s not overwhelming, but it’s not under-whelming either. Get back in the flow-zone.
Put ONE thing in your schedule RIGHT NOW that you know will line you up with your life’s purpose.
Maybe that ONE THING is making a phone call you’ve been thinking about for a while. Maybe it’s scheduling a self-date or self-care session. Maybe it’s signing up for that class that has been calling you out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s having a difficult conversation you’ve been procrastinating.
EITHER DO IT RIGHT NOW OR PUT IT IN YOUR SCHEDULE! (DO THAT NOW!) I’LL WAIT.
It’s just a matter of making the decision to do it.
No amount of quick-hit, easy-fix, silver-bullet short term (de)gratification is going to get your pleasure levels anywhere close to the sustainable fire of passion that burns sweetly within you when you are practicing the purpose of your life.
Don’t try to do all of it, just do that one thing. And then do the next thing after that. The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.
Get back on that damn horse!
There’s nothing better than practicing your purpose–than living your purpose.
Living your purpose is how to be fully ALIVE.
P.S. Sometimes we can use a helping hand to “get back on the horse” or some accountability to STAY on the horse. If you’d like some wholehearted support, sign up for some life coaching sessions with me here.