I was listening to this great podcast with Lewis Howes and Sophia Amorusa and her theory is that 99% of the time, it’s just about showing up. The reason it spoke to me was because that’s how I’ve been feeling over the past few months. I don’t exactly know what I’m supposed to be doing, and I feel bad because I don’t think I’m putting in the hours that I feel like I should be putting in (although, that figure is actually quite arbitrary and I don’t really believe I waste time but still). The point is though, I wake up every day and I try to do something. And over the past few months the somethings have started adding up to things that feel like progress. Even though there’s still a long way to go, I can’t believe that just simply showing up makes this big of a difference in life.
I was listening to this podcast on the Tim Ferriss Show (interview with Seth Godin) and I realized something profound. He mentioned in the beginning that we keep track of the wrong things, why do we keep track of all the times we’ve been rejected? Why do we keep track of all the things that went wrong? Why do we do that to ourselves? Life is just a bunch of events and data points, and it’s all how our mind chooses to perceive it. The whole half empty or half full thing. So if we keep tracking the things that went wrong of course we’ll think life is shit. Why wouldn’t I think life is shit?
He has inspired me to start a “Things That Made Me Happy” Journal. Either things that went right, really cool things, things people did that made me happy, or things I did for myself. Whatever. But I’m choosing not to think life is shit. I’m choosing to see the best in it.
And now I have a whole journal to look back on and prove my point.
I was listening to a podcast with that title this weekend and it made me reconsider my life as I know it. I like the idea of poetry because it negates the need to be linear, or even logical to the eye of the beholder. Logic and beauty lies in the imagination of the creator, and the few who choose to deem the poem beautiful. It never is meaningful to the entirety of a population, and it was never intended to be so. The purpose of poetry which is the purpose of art which is the purpose of a creative is to create something that they find meaningful, beautiful, and representative of their own voice and ideas. Their own purpose, their own devices.
My poem begins with the end, and circles back to discover the ways to make that reality happen. Throughout that journey, other narratives and themes unfold, almost as a byproduct, but then happen to be potentially the center of the poem. Love and fear, right and wrong, responsibility and freedom.
It’s a work in progress, and may never be complete.
I think the most critical days are not the ones where you feel the best. The most game changing ones are the ones where you feel the worst. The ones where you feel like shit and you don’t even want to get out of bed (not because you are tired, you just don’t want to face the day). It’s not the ones you are most excited about, it’s about those days that you dread.
I was listening to this podcast interviewing John Wallace, and I liked the way he put it. The people at the top just outwork everyone else. It’s that plain and simple. There’s no hacks, no shortcuts, it’s good old fashioned work.
I feel like in this day and age people get contradictory messages about work. Don’t work so hard, work smarter. I call bullshit. You not only have to work hard, you have to make sure you’re working hard on the right things in a smart way.
And it’s those days where you really don’t want to be doing anything that separate the people at the top from everyone else. Are you the one who is going to push the bullshit to the side and focus on the endgame, even when you don’t want to?
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.
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.
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:
- The Seat of The Soul
- Dying to Be Me: My Journey From Cancer, To Near Death, To True Healing
- Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
- Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road To Self Love and Miracles
- Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power
- The Places That Scare You: A Guide To Fearlessness in Difficult Times
- Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits
- The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover The Mystery Within
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It
- A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
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.
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.
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?
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.
Have a great cosmic joke miracle day.