How Honest Do We Really Want to Be with Ourselves?

I am 1,000 % absofuckinglutely certain that I should be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest idiot on the planet for repeating the same damn mistakes over and over again for most of my adult life. Life on repeat can be brutal.

every

mistake

 

Why am I so susceptible to making the same mistakes over and over again?  Whether it’s ruining a diet with three glasses of wine, running credit card debt on a bunch of useless stuff I never needed in the first place, trusting a friend who was way less than honest or sacking up with an ex.  What possesses me/us to continue to do things that get in the way of what we truly want? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of what life would be if we didn’t do the things we did on repeat? Maybe. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the holes. The holes we keep falling into. The mind-numbing, soothing and relaxing way our brain feels after a glass or two or three of wine. Or the familiar, comfortable and easy way it feels to slip right back into the arms of the one you once loved.  I need to look at the benefits of my biggest mistakes.

repeat

Read: How to be honest with yourself and get more done, for some decent advice on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Harmful Habits & Slipping into Default Mode

When we do something right, a pathway is created in our brain. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.

images

Achieving Ego Free States

Sometimes I feel like I need a complete rewiring of the brain.

Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.

It seems that individuals under “treatment” transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance. Read more in The New Yorker: The Trip Treatment

Natural Reactions

If you have ever been accused of “overreacting” and you think something is wrong with you because someone told you so, then this 10-minute watch is critical for your growth. Bottom line: Reactions are NATURAL. Overreacting is a warning sign that you have been hurt badly. You have to HEAL that, not shame it away.

 

When Our Minds Run in Circles

mind

Reading, learning and practicing how to meditate to calm my mind, I am focusing on what Buddhists call “maitri”

friendl

Maitri – practicing loving kindness and awareness to all your thoughts. Read: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The purpose of meditation is not to find your bliss, but to befriend and let go of all thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. To accept them all with loving-kindness, with maitri.

The Benefits of Being Socially Selective

socially selective

I just don’t have the bandwidth, headspace or patience for anyone right now. That is quite alright in my book. Sometimes we need a little solitude to sort things out. I just wish more people were fluid in silence.

generation

Comment  below if you agree and have a great Monday.

 

In Omnia Paratus – Ready for All Things – Self-Awareness & Other Life Advice My Mother Never Told Me

I strongly believe it is everyone’s responsibility to create a firm daily devotion to committing oneself to life long learning and the continual development of waking up with honest self-awareness.

without-self-awareness-we-are-as-babies-in-the-cradles-quote-1

This morning I was thinking about some of the teachings of spiritual catalyst, Teal Swan, specifically her guidance about the importance of having an emotional wake up call.

“Our emotional selves are children. And they never grow up. We just learn how to parent our emotional selves better.”

emotional intelligence

 

Yes my parents gave me good guidance, but they couldn’t possibly have told me everything. Here are a few lessons I am learning along the way . . .

  • This moment, right here, right now is the only one you have. Feel it, see it, taste it, hear it and take it all in. Be here now.  The book by Ram Dass

81FH9rfylgL

  • Hold sacred an unconditional, nonjudgmental relationship with reality as it is right now.
  • omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis All things change, and we change with them.  Adapt every day.
  • Trust your basic wisdom.
  • Everything takes time. It’s okay to live life on your time. You don’t have to run with the herd.
  • Watch how you talk to yourself. Realize when you are too self-critical. Stop the pattern. Break the loop.

first step

  • Do not worry about how others look at you, what they are thinking or whether you fit in.  Being “normal” will get you nowhere.
  • When all else fails, be kind.
  • Again, try to be gentle and soft with yourself and with others.
  • Stop pressuring yourself. Rushing anything simply ruins it. Slooooooowwwww down.

in-this-twentieth-century-to-stop-rushing-around-to-sit-quietly-on-the-grass-to-switch-off-the-quote-1

  • There is rarely ever anything to be nervous about.  Face what you think makes you weary.  Get curious about that.
  • Remember you are a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.
  • Time is precious. There is none to waste.

clock-animated-gif-9

  • You have what it takes to try anything you want. There are many options, choices and directions you can go.  Experiment with your life.
  • You are dying with every single breath. Appreciate every single moment. Even the most annoying ones.
  • At any given moment, everything is always as it should be. Acceptance brings serenity.

acceptance

  • You can not control everything.
  • You must control the way you respond to others.
  • Get to know what triggers your strongest emotions. There’s the work that needs to be done.

hurt

  • At any given moment, you will know the right thing to do.
  • Be thoughtful about everything, even if others are not.
  • You don’t have to be larger than life, famous or popular. You simply have to play your part in this wonderful life to the best of your ability, every day.
  • Do something ridiculously fun every single day.
  • Whatever action you take, whatever word you say, make sure it decreases pain in the world.
  • People may disappoint you if they aren’t working on themselves. Forgive yourself for being impatient with them. For they no not what they do.
  • Anger and resentment are poison and will manifest into physical ailments. Let go everyday. If you feel yourself getting overly heated and enraged, step away for awhile. Retreat, think, respond.

aristotle

  • Your emotions are important for they tell you what to do. Yes, some of them are signals, but they are here to guide you, not take over your day and life.
  • Some emotions are false, yes they are you, trying to protect you, but don’t fall prey to every single one, over reacting to situations is usually related to an over sensitivity to past trauma. The problem arises when you start to react in a bigger way than justified. Read: How to Stop Overreacting.
  • Stop making up doom and gloom stories about what might happen in the future. Not everything is going to be a disaster.
  • When in doubt about what to do, do something good. Good for you, good for others.
  • Open up your heart, be real, be vulnerable. Life is not meant to be lived in the safe zone.
  • The painful moments are the lessons. Move through your problems by facing them for they will tell you a lot about yourself.  What haunts you must be addressed. Release your tendency to run away, to seek pleasure before pain.

haunted

  • Have an unconditional, loving relationship with the world. There is no escape, no exit. There are lessons to be learned every day. Everyone you encounter is your teacher. Pay attention.  Pema Chodron.

I would love to know what lessons you learned on your own. Share below in the comments.

 

 

 

Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

critic

“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right.  Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better,  for resisting may only harm me. 

carl

 

If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.

before-the-truth-can-set-you-free

Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be

2 script

We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.

telling-the-truth-and-making-someone-cry-is-better

 

 

 

Whatever it Takes. Four New Ways to Grow Today

maxresdefault

Surrender and Slow Down

Expect some pain today. When faced with problems during the day, I like to think of them as growing pains.

You see, the counter-intuitive (and funny) thing about embarking on the path of personal growth is that it’s not going to be all cake and cookies. Read: 7 Harsh Truths About Personal Growth.

However, whatever you do, don’t add to your pain and problems. Slow down, see life as it is, not worse than it is. Please don’t make it worse with a second  arrow.

What’s a second arrow?

“If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself?” 

If we look at the way we move through the day, when something happens, when we have pain in our body, when somebody treats us in a way that feels disrespectful, when something goes wrong for someone we love, that’s the first arrow.

Our mind and body go into a reactivity that does not help to bring healing. We blame others, we blame ourselves. That’s the second arrow. – Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance.

second arrow

What I’ve come to learn and accept is that there is always a solution of the highest good, but it may not be aligned with what we think we need.  Our job is to surrender to the fact that the Universe has a plan far better than ours. I’ve found that the more I surrender to the Universe’s plan the easier it is to move through the discomfort of uncertainty.  @GabbyBernstein Read: The Universe Has Your Back

 Connect meaningfully

Heart to Heart

If you look at it this way, it becomes clear. If you don’t add value to another person’s existence, then you will not be missed when you are gone.  Read: 13 Simple Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations.

 

Teach

Understand the Payoff

of Putting Things Off

The payoff you get for procrastinating is that you don’t have to do the work. You don’t even have to try. It’s so much easier to stay the same, to stay small.  Hell, you’re use to it. It’s comfortable. You may not like it that much, but it kind of works. You know what to expect from your day. The work is easy. You are complacent, but you can deal with that. That’s the payoff.

people

Once you begin to realize that doing the same things you always do will give you the same results you don’t want, then you realize the hard part is starting.  You have to put in the effort and be okay with stumbling and bumbling around for a while. It’s like walking through a dank and dark tunnel without a torch. Starting something new is really hard and frightening sometimes.

 

life-is-hard-quotes-576x1024

The Temptation to Control and Repair Everything Around You

When life is uncertain – and when is it not really? – I feel the need to try to control the people around me. It gives me a false sense of security. If I can control what they do, then maybe I can control some of the results. The outcomes.

And we all know, no one really wants us to control them. So, this only has me feeling more frustrated. I am wasting all that control energy doing something that is absolutely frustrating. The only thing I can control is me and my attitude.   I must be like water.

Remote

Go with the Flow

Try this. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless. Be water My Friend.

In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature. This is the true meaning of ‘Be water’. It is the complete and unconditional acceptance of the self. Where the self itself melts and becomes formless, fluid and flexible. When you attain that state, you are water

Read: How to Stop Trying to Control Everything

The Rhythm of Life Unfolding

Trying to figure out why certain things happen in life is like attempting to piece together a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle while having only a few pieces of the puzzle in your possession.

jigsaw

You cannot fully understand the present situation using the logic of your finite mind. Just know that a bigger picture exists, even though it is not possible for you to see it at this time.

people_jigsaw

Trust, for all that is happening is an act of love; ultimately you will discover the blessing. Have patience! You will look back on this period of your life and be thankful for all this is occurring now.  The Matrix card from The Magadalene Oracle

your

Respecting the “timeliness” of an action. 

Welcome to “Indian Time.”’

It’s not easy to explain what Indian Time is. It’s more complicated than assuming everything will be late (though, that’s often a safe bet). I’ve heard Indian Time described as “the time it takes for moss to grow on a stone,” or as one elder put it “the time it takes to do things in a good way.”

courage

It’s an enigmatic idea based on a uniquely cultural relationship with time. Simply put, things happen when they happen. There are not 24 hours in a day. Time is unlimited, impossible to cut up into chunks. 

god

If something is to happen at 11 am, it might happen at 11:01 am or 12:26 or 1:11 pm. It will happen when it will happen. The universe has its own heartbeat, and who are we to speed it up or slow it down? To some, it’s an excuse to be late. To others, it’s a way to avoid ulcers.

do-one-believe-the-road-signs-there-is-no-one-way-if-its-your-truth-then-its-the-right-way-there-are-many-paths-beyond-the-rules-of-limited-thinking-trust-your-instincts

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
Dalai Lama

sophrosyne

Every single moment gives us an opportunity, a choice. Close the gap of what you are capable of doing and what your actually doing. Be the best you, right now. How do we live consistently as the best version of ourselves?  Read: The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly

Greatness-is-a-Matter-of-Conscious-Choice

Inspired by human potential thought leader Bryant McGill author of Simple Reminders

bryant-mcgill-bigger-mistake-opportunity

Minding What Really Matters

be what it is

Observing what happens around us without filters or prejudice. Now that’s something to soak up. A life skill worth practicing.  Try rewiring that into your brain. How often we get frustrated because life is not suppose to be this way or that way?  As if it was always our call.

success

It’s so easy to get mad when things don’t go our way. It’s even easier to sleep walk through our days. On autopilot, we just cruise through the hours without even taking notice of the small things that need real care.  The tiny pain points that pop up, that if we just focused on now, would never get out of hand.  The things that really matter. Perhaps this is how bigger events and problems suddenly catch us by “surprise”.  When we avoid the smaller, seemingly “meaningless” things in life. We shrug them off. “It is what it is.” “She’s just like that.” “I’ve been meaning to take care of that.”

energy

An important skill to learn is to know how to sniff out the unexpected before it scares the hell out of you. It starts with paying attention to your life.

cat

I am sure you realize that more often than not, there are usually many warning signals before something goes surprisingly wrong. It’s just that we were so distracted at the time.

To detect early warning signals, you need to build up your curiosity. Paying attention involves asking many questions and developing a wide network of friends and family willing to tell you the truth, even when it is spiked with anxiety and panic.

Collect all the rumors and paranoia that blow around you and your life and then separate the signal from the noise. Now, that’s paying attention.

say

Paying attention also asks that we ask the important question –

“What can you do today that will make a difference, not only in your life but in others?”

Becoming a More Attentive & Thoughtful Human

Encourage yourself to grow with quick and easy learning (YouTube), and create a personal mindset that allows you to make well-intentioned mistakes while paying attention. Taking notice, trying new ways of problem solving and staying awake at the wheel of life – it’s all a skill.

Don’t let your mind turn into a black hole where bright ideas go in but nothing useful ever comes out. Be an idea-driven human that values fresh thinking and doing.

idea killers

Understand your strengths and weakness which will show you where your vigilance is strong and where you are vulnerable. That’s paying attention to yourself.

Minding What Matters

what matters pg

‘What actions can I take that will benefit not just myself, not just my  family, not just my community, not just my work, but all it’ – that’s when you start to see possibilities for greater freedom.”  That’s when you start paying attention to what matters. Inspired by “Leading the Life You Want“.

Happy and successful people focus on what really matters and who really matters to them. And then they take actions that are consciously and deliberately designed to make things better for them and the people around them.

actions

Find meaning in mundane tasks while playing on your strengths. Apply skills you have in one area of your life to another.

Act with creativity and courage—and continually experiment with new ways of getting things done. An exercise for enhancing your skill in being innovative is called Scenarios. Identify a goal in any part of your life, and describe the results you want to achieve. Be as specific as you can. Then identify three alternative courses of action that would achieve the same results. For each potential path, list the resources you will need, the people whose help you’ll draw on, and how much of a stretch beyond your comfort zone this would be for you. By taking time to think through different options, you increase the flexibility of your thinking. Brainstorming about creative possibilities puts your focus on the goal, or results, rather than on one way to get there.

Inspired by Leading the Life You Want and 18 Questions that could change your life

 

 

 

Dismiss What Insults Your Soul

walt-whitman

“Life requires of man spiritual elasticity, so that he may temper his efforts to the chances that are offered.”

Viktor E. Frankl

tightrope

“Change is essential for survival. All life forms must adapt to their fluctuating circumstances. All form of life result from the process of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance. The universe is in a constant state of chaos. We each have chaos implanted into our bones. Nature wires all of us for change.”

Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

quote-ernest-hemingway-the-world-breaks-everyone-and-afterward-some-89195

“One of the most remarkable of man’s characteristics is his capacity for becoming used to conditions of almost any kind, whether good or bad, both in the self and in the environment, and once he has become used to such conditions they seem to him both right and natural. This capacity is a boon when it enables him to adapt himself to conditions which are desirable, but it may prove a great danger when the conditions are undesirable. When his sensory appreciation is untrustworthy, it is possible for him to become so familiar with seriously harmful conditions of misuse of himself that these malconditions will feel right and comfortable.”

F. Matthias Alexander, The Use of the Self

quote-craig-armstrong-its-all-about-being-flexible-and-avoiding-61438

“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

22

“There’s no such thing as a mistake, really. It’s just an opportunity to do something else.”

Ralph Steadman

 

A snake doesn’t mourn when it is time to shed it’s skin.

animal-reptile-snake-black-cobra-african

 

Featured Illustration – Walt Whitman

 

 

The Case for Being Cautiously Optimistic

Being cautiously optimistic keeps me informed and realistic while remaining hopeful about the outcomes I wish to manifest.

Being too realistic can dry up my soul, but being too optimistic can make me extremely delusional.

If I see only the worst, it destroys my capacity to do something and if I only see the best, I may become blindsided by the bullshit I’m telling myself as things go horribly wrong.

optimist-pessimist-realist-quote-aspx

A case for remaining causiously optimistic throughout the day.

1. I remain clear and focused

The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a cognitive bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.

optimism

Four factors exist that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.[1]

The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example: people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim,[2] smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers,[3] or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.[4]

2.  My decisions are realistic.

The are based in reality, not in some daydream of how I want reality to be but more focused on how I am designing and producing the outcomes.

success

3. I carefully weigh the pros and cons

I weigh the pros and cons and stay focused on the results I want – knowing I can achieve them, because I am optimistic that I will get results.

optimism-bias1-680x249

4. Turning worry into work

Cautious optimism has me turn my worry into work while remaining positive about the outcome because I do a combination of what is tried and true while experimenting with fresh new solutions.

caution-2

5.  Impulsive vs Intentional

I am less prone to make impusive and spontaneous decisions – I am more strategic when I am cautiously optimistic.

6. Time is on My Side

I don’t waste or maybe I should say, I  waste less  time. Grounded and focused in reality and humble and hopeful for the future, I am purposeful. I remain cautiously optimistic.

slide_49

7. Open to Opportunity & Outcomes

I move forward and do what needs to be done, but I am not holding onto a set outcome – I am open to different visions and versions of what winning looks like for me.

8. Celebrate the Moments

My careful optimism has me recognize the small wins throughout the day. Celebrating the bits of wins throughout the day – acknowledging my small moments and accomplishments.

9. A Reminder to Be Here Now

Caution + optimism has me locked in to being present to what needs to be done now for the future.

10. Correct and Certain

cautiousness-in-marriage

When I am cautious, I correct my mistakes. Having a sense of certainty and understanding and knowing what needs to be corrected in order to continue to make certain that I achieve everything I want to achieve.

11. Awake & Aware

I  remain on the look out for problems and I dare to make them opportunities. I ask myself, what’s great about this problem? Does it propose an opportunity to make something better?

optimistic-quotes

12. Hacking Away without Skipping the Essential

I recognize that there are no real short cuts – just smart strategies and in turn I am less delusional while focused on great outcomes.

No skimping – no scamming – just making sure I take each step carefully while remaining hopeful while proceeding with intelligence and faith.

charron-more-cunning-than-others-wist_info-quote

Having faith in the outcome while I am willing to learn, grow and make corrections.

quote-aung-san-suu-kyi-if-i-advocate-cautious-optimism-it-is-193462

 

As We Are, So It Is

5887-Ana-s-Nin-Quote-We-don-t-see-things-as-they-are-we-see-them-as-we

Our perception builds and constructs our reality; which in turn becomes our life. With the help of our good, bad and indifferent judgements, our choice of language, our cognitive biases, past experiences and memories, we  assemble how we choose to see the world. All of these inferences paint the way we experience our lives and effect the lives of those closest to us.

n

What we see is one thing, what we perceive is a completely different matter. Our reality is a co-production. Everything is a projection of what we hold inside our mind. So, I wonder, what if everything we see is really our very own optical illusion?  Everything in a way, our own private hell hall of hallucinations.

Like this beautiful parrot. . .

 

parrot

That’s really a woman painted to look like a parrot.

woman2

What if we could change the way we see everything, to see more clearly, to expand our mind and in turn our world?   What can we bring to this next moment, day, week, year so that we may live a life filled with more purpose and meaning?

skull-brain

Instead of allowing our brains to create a haphazard existence based on our misconceptions and judgements. . .

What if we played a more active role in the process of creating our lives?

Laura-Williams-photography-11

 

Perhaps we begin with examining some of our cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make.

Cognitive Biases can screw up our thinking and decision making.

cognitive bias

I am curious, which cognitive biases do you relate to?

 

Side note: a fascinating look at some of the most impressive optical illusions.

Featured photography by Laura Williams

On Thinking Clearly & Writing More Nobly

The Goal: A Completely Transparent & Unclouded Mind

I am not an online shopper. I don’t buy much stuff at all. But this week I’m anxiously checking my mailbox daily. I’ll try (almost) anything to tame my unsettled and restless monkey mind.

monkeymind

What did I order, you ask? A brain boosting mushroom (minus the visuals ) coffee with lion’s mane (supposedly good for memory and in a category of safe, smart drugs or nootropics) as well as chaga and Rhodiola which was used by the vikings to calm the nervous system while enhancing immunity from Four Sigmatic.

four-sigma-foods-mushroom-coffee-lions-mane-10-sachets-29997-p

I am also creating my own filters so I can focus on. . .

Paying Attention to What Matters Most

invevitable

As I listen to Jason Silva at The Sydney Opera House explore the exponential growth of technology and how it is shaping our personalities, I realize how much a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.  In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention. Recommended reading: from Kevin Kelly The Inevitable, Understanding the Twelve Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future.

How Time Totally Trumps Money

Sundial-ramirez-1754

 

With all there is to be distracted by. . .hell, time moves oh too quickly.

So as I focus on what to study, read, learn and create, I tell myself, I can always make more money, but I can’t create more time.

Listen to How to Waste Money to Improve the Quality of Your Life

 

On Writing More Clearly & Nobly

fu

Studying Lu Chi’s Wen Fu: The Art of Writing

From Catalogue of Genres

A body of writing may take any of a thousand forms,

and there is no one right way to measure.

One whose language remains muddled cannot do it;

only when held in a clear mind can the language become noble.