Why Meditation Scares The Crap Out Of Me

Mostly because it forces you to face yourself.  Nobody really tells you that.  They always talk about the wonderful medicinal benefits, but really, you have to go through hell and back before you see those benefits (that’s the asterisk and small print we don’t ever read).

The voices in my head during meditation/regular life?  They yell at me and tell me I’m not good enough mostly.  They scream at the top of their lungs HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT BUSINESS OR THE WORLD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHY ARE YOU NOT QUITTING AND GETTING A NORMAL JOB YET.  Also the favorite YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ALL THESE MISTAKES AND THEN YOUR LIFE WILL BE AWFUL AND YOU WILL HATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE WILL HATE YOU.  Finally, the chorus ends with something about YOU AREN”T PERFECT AND THUS YOU ARE TERRIBLE WHY DO YOU EVEN TRY PS YOU ARE FAT AND EVERYONE PROBABLY HATES YOU ALREADY.

Luckily, lately, I’ve  been learning how to listen to those voices and pretend like I am talking to the psycho that lives in my head that feeds my psychotic lies.  And I breathe through it and just think to myself, ok.  So what? There is pretty much nothing I can’t come back from.  If people come back from cocaine overdoses and go on to find god and start the next big thing since sliced bread, how the hell will I NOT be ok? Yeah I’ll probably mess up.  Maybe a lot (and by maybe I mean definitely). Maybe with systems that shouldn’t be messed with and I’ll burn my fingers and then not do that again.  Maybe nothing will happen and I’ll be like..cool. So this is the new boundary.  But you have to push the boundary. And the only way to do that is to realize that the voices in your head are not very nice.  They lack compassion. The real you is actually quite compassionate and forgiving.  The real you is the one that is noticing all these conversations going on in your head.  Some people call it “awareness” some people call it “soul”. I just call it the “real me”.

The real me actually says, well. I was made a certain way, and if things or circumstances needed to be changed then they would.  I must be enough the way I am.  Perfection is not the point. Ever.  In fact, perfection is the delusion we all live with.  You know the reason it’s not the truth? Because it’s different for everyone.  How can a universal truth be different for everyone? It can’t.  So there.  (Take that perfection).

And then once I am more advanced in meditative practices, the “real me” will probably be able to realize.. dude.  Why am I talking to a psycho? Why am I feeding psychotic tendencies? Why is that a thing I am doing in the first place?

Definitely not there yet, but at least that’s where I know I need to go.  Just…letting go of the psycho that somehow lives in my brain and has set up permanent shop.

 

 

When Did I Become So Whiney?

One day you get up and you’re like…WTF.  Why do I complain about everything and never seem satisfied with anything?  And you kind of see yourself looking at yourself from above and you think damn.  This is a recipe for disaster.  One thing happens and then another thing happens and then when the world doesn’t act according to your plan (spoiler alert: It NEVER DOES) you get pissy and horrible and obnoxious.  WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN.  WHAT IS THE POINT OF BEING PISSY AND HORRIBLE AND OBNOXIOUS?!

I mean lets just play through this scenario.  I’m being a pain in the butt, and really, life isn’t going to change just because I’m throwing a hissy fit.  It doesn’t work that way (believe me, I’ve tried).  And then to top it off, the people who are trying to help you out and help you feel less terrible are being treated like crap, because, lets face it, you think the world owes you something and you’re being victimized by God and it’s just not fair, nobody will understand and everyone has it better.  Obviously.  (Hence the temper tantrum).  So then you alienate everyone and everything and then you’re sitting at home watching Netflix reruns of God knows what eating lots and lots of Ben and Jerry.  Besides helping out the sales targets for Netflix and Ben and Jerry’s, this really doesn’t benefit anyone else.  (Unless you pirate shit and grow your own food and make your own food, then you are literally not helping anyone, and you are literally useless.  You should really be ashamed of yourself).

Anyway.  I guess today I got up and I was like…WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?! I mean, I don’t know the answer to that question, but the more basic question is…WHY AM I JUST NOT DECIDING TO BE HAPPY?! I mean really.  WHY NOT?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! (Yes, the answer is lots of things, but for the purposes of discussion lets limit it to the fact I am not choosing to be happy otherwise you will turn into my therapist).

Life is life man.  It’s going on no matter how you choose to feel. So why the HELL would we not choose to enjoy it?

I really have no idea.

I’m going to start asking myself this every morning.

 

My Spirituality Drives Me

When I was smaller, I just thought it meant helping people.  And that drove me for a long time.  As I’ve gotten older, I still don’t exactly know how to define this energy that lives inside, and I’m still trying to understand it, but that’s a huge part of what defines me.

I’ve been stealing pieces from things that I hear, discarding parts that I don’t agree with, and creating my own new thing.  I still don’t know what it will look like in the end, and I don’t even know if it will ever even be done, but this thing that I’m constructing is my code for life.  My code and my decoder.

The books that have influenced me the most are:

YouTube has a lot of great content as well.  The meditations I like are:

Meditation apps that I like (I haven’t paid for it yet but I still enjoy doing the free stuff): Headspace

If I had to distill it down, this is what I have so far:

  • Listen well, to yourself and everyone and everything around you.  We all need to find our purpose on this planet and the universe speaks to us in millions of ways.
  • We have to engage with life, not just think about it.  We also can’t just engage with life and not think about it at all either.  It’s about balancing both.
  • We can’t avoid pain.  Pain is how we grow, and is almost a necessity given the existence of it’s opposite: joy.  We need both in life to be whole.
  • Meditate to clear away all the crap, so you can make room for the good stuff to come in
  • Judgements are useless, especially judging yourself and other people
  • Your mind weaves stories that are also quite useless.  Entertaining and emotionally draining, but ultimately useless.
  • Feelings are important and you shouldn’t ignore them.  You should also not let them control you because they aren’t really you.  Feel them and let them pass through.
  • Altered states of consciousness aren’t helpful (unless you reached them on your own)
  • Compassion and empathy are key.  And if you aren’t compassionate to yourself, it’s really hard to be truly compassionate to everyone around you.

I think it’s a continually evolving process, but it’s what keeps me sane most of the time and what gets me through most days.  I’m just at the initial phases of attempting to put these into practice, but I’m hopeful that it will lead…somewhere good.

To be Continued.

The Truth

I wish I knew the absolute truth.  The truth of who I am, the truth of who I’m supposed to be, the truth of what I’m supposed to do.  Sometimes I think I know this truth, and then it turns out it’s this insane little voice that’s really just trying to derail me.  It’s my ego.  It pretends to be the truth, and then I follow it, and then I end up with a huge mess.  My ego is a liar face.  

How do you learn to tell the difference between ego and intuition? I don’t really know and it still gets me into trouble. I usually just have to apologize to the people I owe apologies to for running a muck.  I am a good apologizer.  It’s a good skill to have I think.  

I don’t think intuition can project into the future.  I think your intuition can only live in the moment.  And all it does is help you understand how you are feeling right now.  And maybe what decisions to make today.  Maybe.  I don’t even know if it can tell you that.  

One thing intuition can’t do is protect you from pain. Or preventing you from making choices that cause you pain.  Because pain is how we learn and grow and it isn’t a bad thing.  I think we have given our ego the task of preventing us from pain and it makes no sense.  This is why it makes us do crazy things.  Because we have given it a crazy job to do.  Terrible bosses.  We are terrible bosses.  Poor ego.  It can only do one thing: Fail.  Which is probably why it says well to hell with it, lets go down with a blaze of glory. 

And then we are those weird people who follow the crazy voice (and not the good crazy voice, the bad crazy voice).  

Nobody talks about the bad crazy voice.  I listen to the bad crazy voice a lot. I’m going to try and stop doing that. 

When You Are Re-Assembling Your Life

Creation, destruction, creation.  It’s the circle of life- all religions and philosophies essentially say the same thing.  Meaning that it’s possible to live multiple lives and lifetimes in the contents of your own timespan here on this planet.

It’s usually a scary thing when you see all the pieces of your life that you have to pick up.  Except here’s the catch.  This time around, when you’re re-creating your life, reforming and reassembling it, you don’t need to keep all the old pieces.  You can use this time to figure out the bits you didn’t want, the bits you absolutely adore, and the bits you’re not sure about. It’s a time of reflection.  Who do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to lead?

The other scary part is thinking of it in absolute terms.  If you think you’re making decisions that shape the rest of your life, yes.  But also no.  There’s always course correction. It’s always 2 steps forward and 1 step back, 5 paces to the right.  So I like to think of it in terms of a 3 year experiments.  Because if you think of it in 3 year experiments, then it’s really not so bad.  That’s tiny.  That’s small.  That’s negligible in the grand scheme of things.  But it’s still enough time to really try on a new life (pun intended).

So if you could hit the reset button (which you can, by the way, at any point), what would you keep? What would you make different? What would you absolutely adore?

Life Is A Cosmic Joke Miracle

Hanging out with old roommates and friends from San Francisco throw it back for me to a time when I feel like I had a better grasp of how to handle life.  Which was to take nothing seriously at all.  Let me rephrase that.  Not to take anything too seriously.  Especially my own life as it relates to me.  Things people said/did, events that did or did not happen to me- whatever.  It’s gravy baby.  

I added the miracle part recently though.  I’ve realized that wow.  The things that happen every day, that we take for granted, are actually incredibly miraculous.  It’s insane that we all get up in the morning, alive and well, and that we have the power of choice to create the life we want.  Don’t even get me started on how insane nature is.  Blows my mind.

Hence the cosmic joke miracle.  I think the events that happen to us, the things that people say/do that we tend to react to and get under our skin, make us feel shitty (or whatever), that stuff- less serious.  The miracle bits- those things we should take way more seriously that are the small daily things that we’re like wow maybe I should stop and smell the roses (both literally and figuratively) more, appreciate what I’ve got, how much we’ve done, who we have in our lives, take stock of today.  Damn.  That’s a lot.  And that is way more serious than anything else, I think.  

Anyway.

Have a great cosmic joke miracle day.  

#BookLists : Bill Gates

I thought it would be neat to now start tracking what other people are reading. I saw this in the LA Times (Bill Gates Summer Reading List) and thought I would repost:

If anyone has read any of these I would love to hear how they were! For now I’m adding them to the reading list.  I haven’t made much progress on my reading list for a while unfortunately.  I’m hoping to get back on track with that soon.

Do The Right Thing #Startup

The Do The Right Thing test is pretty straightforward: do the right thing so you can sleep at night.  If you can’t sleep at night, you’re failing the test.

If you’re doing anything right, you’ll come to a few crucial moments when you know this is the time you can choose to do the right thing, or the thing that makes life (and maybe business) easier now.  It is incredibly tempting to do the easy thing.  Or do the thing that makes business today better.  And a lot of important people may say that this is how business is done.  This is the way you have to run your business because everyone before you ran business that way.

But I refuse to believe that. I refuse to believe that you can’t do the right thing and make a successful business.

And I think it takes a few people who decide to do the right thing to set the precedent and show that you really can do the right thing, and do good business.

 

 

Great Leaders #Startup

For every 99 shitty things you have to do as an entrepreneur you get 1 really sexy, glamorous one.  Today I was lucky enough to be in London judging the Unilever Sustainable Young Entrepreneur Awards and in the process I got to be a part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.  The best of the best were there and I was lucky enough to speak to them.  I got a shout out from Paul Polman in his speech, which was pretty great.  I got to speak to the CEO of Safaricom about our business and his too.  All in all, it was incredibly stellar.

But most importantly, I realized something about the leaders that I admire most.  They listen amazingly well.  It doesn’t matter who they are talking to, they are present, ask great questions, and make you feel heard.  They have this uncanny ability to do so.

And that’s added to the list of new things I want to be: A great listener.

On The Road Again

So starts the month of travel.  It’s a strange thing, going between countries and continents and cultures and worlds, all tied together by the one quest to move business forward.  I suppose you can say in some abstract sense that’s the way of the world.   

History has a funny way of coming full circle, like my life was a magic realism novel written by Isabel Allende, with a forward by Tina Fey.  I’m judging the competition that I participated in with Unilever in London 2 years ago- read: I get to sit on the other side this time.  Dinner at Buckingham Palace, second time around.  London is such a beautiful city and yet I probably won’t know what to do with myself.  

Los Angeles, San Francisco, California, United States of America.  It’s funny when you’re mostly reading international media about the place you used to live in.  Maybe in some way I still live in.  But not physically, only somewhat mentally, spiritually, culturally.  

People like to ask the question -who are you.  Whose or what side are you on? What box can you tick?  Not directly of course, but in ways to avoid the deep conversation, trying to be polite.  I don’t mind impolite because lets face it, we are all itching to be real. The proxy question to answer all the questions: where do you see yourself living long term?  

I have decided that life isn’t black and white and trying to live in the black or the white would mean you’re missing out on all the good stuff.  The grey is where life lives.  Of course you need some black, and some white to make grey, but only a little.  I think those are your principles and values.  And they are very personal, non replicable.  After that, everything else, I think, is grey.  Also dynamic.  Because how could we be static beings with static thoughts in a world where we are presented information every second of every minute of every day? How are we the same person we were even 5 minutes ago?  

So the answer is: I don’t plan on choosing.  Both. All of the above.  And why limit ourselves at all? Why can’t we be a combination of every place we have visited, every person we have met, every book we have read, and every movie we have watched?  And say that unique summation is, well, me.  

I think that’s the real question people are asking.  Less about my geographic inclination and more about who I am and who I plan to be.

And the answer is: I have no idea. But whatever it is, it’s going to be pretty damn good.