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 remember that if you take the restaurant too seriously and pitch a fit, they might kick you out early.
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!
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.
Recently someone sent me a Snapchat video of the landscape scenery as they rode in a vehicle along the highway. The weather was gray and cloudy, wet and rainy, as it is this morning while I type this.
“It’s beautiful!” he proclaimed.
And I loved that he said that.
Where some would see gloom and nastiness, he saw beauty.
Why did he see beauty when so many others would have not recognized it?
He saw beauty because he was, however consciously or unconsciously, acknowledging his inner state of being.
What we perceive, and how we perceive, is a reflection of our inner state.
When you feel good, the world seems more beautiful. When you feel miserable, even a bright, sunshine-filled Saturday morning festival might not lift your spirits.
So the lesson is to do our best to care for our inner state because when we do, everything else takes care of itself much more readily.
Take small steps each day which are aligned with your life’s purpose, and patiently be satisfied with that.
Even small steps in the right direction is progress.
And progress = happiness.
P.S. If you would like to achieve specific goals in living your life’s purpose and to experience more vitality, abundance and human connection click here.
Do you want to front-load your energy for the day?
That’s the real question.
Because you’ll have a drop off later.
Sitting with this question, you can be more conscious as you may choose to consume your capricious caffeine.
Short and sweet today 😉
Love you more than coffee.