The day you actually changed

keep-calm-and-make-it-so-1


(30 seconds to read)

“Everyone is crippled in some area, and everyone is somewhere on the path of evolution, some ahead of us and some behind. In the steps we have walked are the old lessons of life, and before us are new teachings.

There is nothing to feel guilty about and nothing to blame. There is no one to hate, but there is that which is better avoided, and such blind alleys will become increasingly apparent.”

The day you awaken is when you see the blind alleys you turn into.

The day you actually change is the day you know you are not that person anymore.

Quote credit: Dr. David Hawkins


Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.

If this is something you care about, then SHARE it.

Less observation.

More participation.

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The echo chamber is the ego’s home.

baby in womb


It’s warm and comforting not mingling with the other tribe, like when we were cavemen.

The echo-caveman-chamber is constructed by our unconscious doubts about our self. Leaving it means being challenged, and even being told we are wrong. But what’s wrong with that?

The ego doesn’t like it.

This chamber is like the mother’s womb that the ego wishes it had never left. But it would never admit that.

The umbilical is the chain that keeps us there and sustains our ego, but it holds us back from getting out of our comfort zone to grow.


Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Godfather

I just revisited the movie, The Godfather, and this line shared by Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro coincides with a recent measure I’ve enforced on myself, making myself an offer I can’t refuse. I’ve given myself no choice. I must be present, I must show up, or I fail. More and more people are doing it every year, and it’s happening across the world: We are addressing our primal need for danger and challenge.

Surfing, skiing, mountain biking, mixed martial arts, powerlifting, Crossfitting, entrepreneurship. These require your full attention. Your diligence. And once there, you find yourself in the ecstasy of presence, of productive bliss, of conquering and understanding. Of truth.

And you don’t need to go skydiving to experience this. What I’m talking about is getting focused at your task, like when the coders were “wired in” in the movie The Social Network. It’s called the flow state, as coined by psychologist Csikszentmihalyi from the studies he’s done with people. It’s a primal state of clarity. It’s simply when you flow from decision to decision, without fear, without confusion. You are wired in. You are fully present, and experiencing life.

So one way I put myself on the line is simple, harmless, but highly effective: I set a timer for 15 minutes, or 20 minutes. For each task I have: writing, a work task, reading a chapter, cooking. I click the timer and I go. I am “on the clock.” I don’t have any other options once I click that timer. And it works. There’s no time to think. Your bike crests the hill and gravity grabs you, nature takes hold, and there is no turning back.

The flow state is where we aren’t thinking of any other task but the task at hand. Anxious, fearful, impatient, embarrassed? Then you’re not in flow. Flow means we’re focused, we’re present, and we’re totally invested. There’s no time to worry. You’ve isolated a slice of your life. I’ve given myself a 15 minute mini-life. You see ‘death’ coming up, the end, and there’s no time to procrastinate. No time to think, “maybe this won’t work, maybe this will suck”. You just need to push off down that hill, you need to grab that breaking wave, and go, go, go. There’ll be time to judge yourself after you act.

The cost of not getting into flow? No bliss. Marginal levels of happiness. Imagine crawling when you could be running. Imagine a potted plant on a window sill compared to flourishing in the full sun of a meadow.

Can we soak up all the experience in our life? Can we live it like it’s going to end?

Of course we can. It’s going to end anyway, right?

Because we’ve all been given an offer we can’t refuse: Death.

Getting personal isn’t rude.

oldtimer convo

“My mother married 4 times, so I had 4 fathers,” she said.

I told her it must have been tough having her mother get married multiple times.

“What was it like?” I asked.

Then my other friend interjected. “That’s personal.” His tone was incredulous. “You don’t ask about that.”

I hesitated and didn’t ask further, but I’ve thought about it, and I realize that asking about our friend’s problems is not rude. In fact, I think as a friend, it is a requirement.

I believe that if someone isn’t comfortable talking about something, then this is an indication that it’s quite appropriate to ask about it. Friendship is about helping other people, not just with money, or lending a hand, but with your actual interest, asking questions, communicating your thoughts through your words, and encouraging them towards a better place.

Communicating gets thoughts out where you can shine a light on them and ask yourself what you think. Do I want to keep doing this thing that makes me feel this way? And that’s what friends are for. To get you that perspective on a situation that is truly impossible for you to get from the inside. To help you talk about things that you want to change or need to face. The things you don’t want to talk about are precisely the things that need talked about.

Relationships are what make us feel valued. The only way to feel valued by another is when you do something valuable for them, and what’s more valuable than helping them change into a better person? And letting them help you do the same?

Get personal. It’s what friends are for.

“I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.”

Care v Dont care

The title quote is from Leo Buscaglia. He was an evangelical champion of love and observed many things about the human condition. From my first readings of his works, I was hooked. And I’ve related it to my experiences with death. Among my other readings, his has helped me solidify my opinion that it’s curiosity that will drive us to happiness. Curiosity means caring. Caring, first for yourself (after all, how can you truly care for others if you can’t care for yourself?), and then start getting curious about your environment, particularly the people in it.

Make yourself one of those who care. Because when you care, you become part of that minority that holds power. Someone valuable. We don’t have to change the world, but we can make a difference in everyone’s life that we interact in. Again from Leo:

“Don’t spend your precious time asking “Why isn’t the world a better place?” It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is “How can I make it better?” To that there is an answer.”

And when we do good things, we contribute to a positive environment, and this will come back and create a better place for us to live. Do good, and good things happen to us. But if we wait for good things, wait on others who care, then the environment we end up in isn’t good. It may not be bad, but it is a limp, stagnant environment. An environment in which you may be financially stable, but without love.

We create the environment we are in, intentionally or not.

So care…about everything you can. Don’t get lost in the troubles of the world. Your vicinity is the best place to do good, with your friends, family, workplace, and neighborhood. Do good things, and good things will happen to you.

There’s nothing spiritual about karma. It’s just the way life works when you live in a community.

Evolving towards unhappiness?



My days felt sluggish. Have you ever felt like your body was walking through mud?  This is how I felt.  Work was not challenging me, and it had been three weeks since I had been to the gym. I wanted to get back, but only out of habit.  Then, in the middle of my workout, after I’d pushed past the point when my mind had told me to stop, I was overwhelmed, but not from any physical pain.  I realized how much I needed a consistent challenge in my life, and I wondered: Do most people get challenged in their daily lives?

Challenges bring us happiness

I looked in the gym mirror, breathing deeply. I saw past my face and looked into my eyes, and everything fell away. I didn’t worry about what I needed to do later, or what I should be doing next week. Their time would come, but right now, I knew I was ready, and whatever happened, it would be ok.  I took the barbell onto my back smoothly, and balanced it there, feet planted firmly on the ground, and I gazed forward undistracted, but then I thought: Why don’t I feel like this all the time?

Work gives value to our life

Today we have evolved to get things done faster and with less work.  Or we’ve evolved to a point we don’t need to do them at all. In the past, the time we spent resulted in a barn, a pair of pants, or a tasty meal. With exercise, there is nothing tangible.   All we gain is the feeling that we’ve challenged our whole being, our heart, mind, every living part of us. It is a happiness that lasts all day, and can integrate into our whole life.

I think this is something we can all afford to spend time doing.