Making Sense of it All & Finding the Answers We Seek

If I dig deep enough – all the way to the very core of my inquiry, a big part of my quest is about making sense of it all.

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Searching for the answers I seek, I have a difficult time understanding that not everything in life is logical.  Most of it is a mystery and yes, it is with a great sense of gratitude that I respect that there are miracles happening every single moment of my life.  However, I am also hardwired to remain cynical about the magic and skeptical about letting go and giving into the mystery of life unfolding as it should be. Letting go of not being able to control more of my life.

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Most of life actually is quite chaotic and a huge mystery.  Our desire to apply logic only fools us and typically it is for self-preservation. Read: Five Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think

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and most of what I try to control, including people I love, only holds me back from opening my heart to something bigger, stronger and more fearless that I can ever be.

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Deep Self Awareness & The Numbness We Call Normal

It’s pretty damn simple really. It all boils down to how we experience our lives. How alive we are in the moment. How we show up.

How we experience life depends on how conscious we truly are.  

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The question is, how deeply awake we are as we experience our life. If we were radically honest with ourselves and woke up enough to notice, we’d admit that the majority of us are just sleepwalking children.

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Everything we do is so habitual. Well, at least for me.

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The God You Would Like to Believe In

Into the sixth week of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I am actually realizing that what we really want to do is what we are really meant to do and that the notion of striving, sweating, clinging, falling and staying small is just a terrible idea.

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The notion that there really isn’t enough time in our days to do the things we want to do is ridiculous. In the “Recovering A Sense of Abundance” practice, Julia has us writing and thinking about the God consciousness that has remained unexamined since our early childhood. A God that will hold back anything from us is absurd. This includes the freedom for us to let go and live the creative lives we were meant to live.

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She inspires us to awaken to our creative and generous genius God who wants us to have fulfilling, enjoyable and creative work. We are the ones who deny ourselves the luxury of designing a new life for ourselves. We do that. Not God. Now let’s get out of our way, shall we?

Embracing Great Souls & Wacky Assholes

I give my husband the credit for turning me on to this video from philosopher Tim Freke this morning. I am so glad I remained open (yet stubbornly so) to get back in bed to watch Tim explain how to become more deeply awake to our breautifully complex humanness and to our lives.

It’s remarkable how with a simple new thought, we can create a tremendously different new world for ourselves. It’s about waking up from this numbness we call normal. Waking up to our oneness and celebrating our individuality. 

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How to Have A REALLY Good Day

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Keep it simple. If you want to have a good day, do some good.  Take a good nap. Read a good book. Make a good meal. Have a good call. Watch a good movie. Workout Good. Have good sex. Have a good cry.  You see all that good adds up.

More stoic wisdom from Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.

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Adding More Meaning -Moment-by-Moment

There is only one thing I know for sure. I’m not getting this moment back. Nope.  I am talking about this very single moment RIGHT NOW, this ONE. Yeah, it’s YOUR moment too.  Nope it’s gone. . . forever, unless by chance I read it again or you read it again – and if we do, it’s just a memory.

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All this angst about leaving a legacy. Creating a more purposeful life. Finding your so-called passion. Those are such big, big thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, it starts with adding more meaning to your little moments.

keithand becoming a little more self-aware with each one of these significant moments.

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Not every moment is a happy moment or a thoughtful one. Some are fucking ex·cru·ci·at·ing, others kind of blah and many are just wasted waiting for something big to happen. Like a trip or a vacation.
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Oh and once in a while we get those zone moments, where we are so lost in the moment we are one with it. Those are fun, but I am not sure we learn much from them. Maybe. I don’t know.
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I do know that I am very wary of the pleasant moments. These pleasurable moments are truly fleeting and kind of like a rest stop for pursuing a life that is substantial. It’s those struggling and suffering moments where the juice is – it’s how we grow. More often than not, creating something substantial feels like a bit of a pain-in-the-ass struggle. 

Luctor et Emergo (I struggle and emerge)

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I do believe we should get fined for wasting moments. Seriously, like a real penalty for sleep walking through life. That should be a thing. Maybe it already is – for when you sleep walk – wasting moments – you have nothing to show for your life.

Ridiculously Messy Moments

Slacky, hacky efforts, half ass attempts, ideas that flare and fade. My notebooks, computer and life – filled with so much of it. 
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False starts. Sucky first drafts. Thoughts that at first seem tremendous, turn into lost pages on my hard drive and coffee-stained scribble in dusty note books piled in the corner of my bedroom. 
 
Creating something more meaningful ignites when I continue to carve out time and care enough to consider all of the possibilities without giving that crazy critic in my head too much power, if any at all. I promise you, I am going to slaughter that nasty bitch who tells me I am destined to be boring, average and inconsequential. In the same moment, I will feed and comfort the darling who knows there’s something in here that wants to be born. 
 
In pursuit of making a life that is more meaningful, impactful, significant and substantial I must go back and revise old ideas, notions and believes, question everything I have ever learned or accepted as the truth. Time spent discarding memories, malware and malicious thoughts that chain me to that critic. It’s a process of freeing up my hard drive and only backing up what may be useful later or bolsters the foundation of my beliefs. A lot of house cleaning to be done here. 
 
Delete, delete, delete useless information while spending the time to entertain and play with creative notions and ideas that may, just, may turn into work that is really remarkable. 
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Making the time, space and room in my head and my life to do something I am proud of takes some deep ass consideration. Some real thought. 
 
It’s so much easier to drone on. 
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But it’s so dangerous and scary.
Time to wake up
What am I staying with that no longer serves me? What person, place, situation is holding me back from becoming a better version of who I was? What self-imposed slavery to something, someone, some notion is keeping me from breaking through these so called boundaries? 
 
To be continued. . . .

You are the Eyes of the World

From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on Behavior and the wonderful expressiveness of the human body.

Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is based on expression.

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The face and eyes reveal what the spirit is doing, how old it is, what aim it has. The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul. . .

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An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun, or can insult like hissing or kicking.  . .

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Pavel Guzenko

or in it’s altered mood by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance with joy.

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The eye obeys exactly the action of the mind.

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Our eyes are projections of the self-absorbed movies we produce inside our minds. When we are lost in our self-delusional narrative, the imaginary stories we tell ourselves, we risk projecting our true soul.

 

Featured & posted drawings

Overdrawn Face Illustrations by Stefan Zsaitsits

Inspiration

Turning Your Passion into Progress

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To be passionate about your dreams is one thing. To realize your dreams and create with purpose is completely another. Oh the danger of being drunk with passion and intoxicated with ideas.

When all we have is passion, we fall prey to being impatient while assuming we will succeed while overcoming our limitations. Limitations are real and something we need to see clearly or we will never make progress. Self-denial about our limitations let us miss where we need to grow and go. We risk the chance of becoming blinded by naive enthusiasm. We promise ourselves more than we can muster. It’s a delusional place to be.

But oh how much fun it can be.

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We all know the loop. Take an idea, what seems like a very good idea and become really excited about that idea. Pumped. Stoked. On fire. We are filled with unbridled enthusiasm, perhaps what many people call passion.

That passion you feel, that deep desire to fulfill that dream, it’s the fire that fuels. Passion may very well be what kicks your ass out of bed in the morning and charges you to move forward, to go forth, to get on with it.

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The Alchemy of Passion

Read: The Surprising Alchemy of Passion & Science from the MIT Leadership Center.

But, passion without execution and the ability to fail and endure is a trap.

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Turning Passion into Progress

Turning your passion into reality requires something more. It requires progress. Sometimes painful progress. Progression – making  headway towards your goals – can and should be measured and tracked with a daily dose of reality. What your passion requires is honesty and clarity.

It might also need a plan.   A deliberate disciplined action strategy and of course the discipline to honor that purposeful plan every day. A blueprint of sorts. A guide. A map.

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But how do you know if you’re really making progress? Harness the data. Measure the feedback. Track how far you’ve come and how far you need to go before your dream(s) are reality.

Planning the process and producing a bit each day, making progress. This is what transforms passion into progress. What makes those dreams come true.

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Passionate activity without purpose is just noise. It might even mean just being busy.

Busy without being productive will keep you spinning your wheels while never making any real progress.

 

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We can ward off that danger of being drunk with passion by being realistic about what we are doing. Staying in the moment, measuring our progress and making corrections to our course each day.

A Critical Look at Our Faults & Failures

The ability to evaluate one’s own ability and progress is an important skill to turning passion into progress. It requires a critical look at what needs to be improved. Including your skills.  How good are you right now, really? How much more do you need to improve? to practice? to plan? to execute. 

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How are you sure that what you are doing is moving you forward?

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Inspired by

Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy should be required reading for everyone, especially those with a dream, a vision and or a passion. I am finding his book to be one of the most grounding pieces of writing I have read in a very long time. Thank you Ryan.

Illustrator Ruben Ireland

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On Self-Renovation & Expanded Versions of Ourselves

According to one of my favorite thinkers, change must happen individually, before it can happen on a grander collective scale. Oh to be the change we want to see in the world.

. . .society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him.Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on New England Reformers

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Our ability to really influence our reality around us first calls for purposeful self-transformation. Renovating the way we think.

. . .for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost. . .

It starts by being brutally honest with ourselves and realizing there is no need for any of this thinking, if we don’t have each other.  Sure we could live like hermits. . . or

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understand that we need and belong to one another, love says – we are not our own.

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To be a greater, more expanded version of ourselves.

Note to self, read this bookDiamond Minds

I think the hardest part, the most difficult, is letting go of our ego. First we must know what should be changed, the thoughts that lead to unwanted emotions of anger and pain. Things that can get in the way of real progress. We might study ourselves and thought by thought, we must address the behavior we want to change.

It’s difficult to acknowledge the pain.  To take responsibility for the problems we cause in our lives. The hurtful things we say, the anger and lashing rage, the shut down of communication. The selfishness and greed.

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Self-awareness can be very difficult for this reason. Our ego does not want us to acknowledge our own faults.

Here are some signs that your ego is in control (inspired from Simple Life Strategies)

1. You get a cheap thrill from gossiping about other people’s problems.

2. You have a power surge to the brain after winning an argument. You just knew you were so right about that.

3. You compare yourself to others who you feel are better or worse off than you. This takes the focus off of you. An easy way out.

4. How dare he, she, they treat you that way? Haters are just going to hate. No, not really. Sometimes it’s just not you.

5. You feel a tinge of jealousy when you see other people having a real good time. Especially on Instagram and Facebook.

6. You go on and on about yourself before addressing anyone else in the room.

7. You’d rather look great than try harder next time.

8. You’re often upset when your not recognized at work. We’re not in pre-school anymore people.

9. You create impossible goals and then beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. This is where I live.

10. You blame others when things fall apart in your life.

Self-awareness starts by admitting our mistakes, looking at our behavior, taking responsibility for our actions.

So I begin by acknowledging my part in all of this.

For not knowing or understanding ourselves is like grabbing the tail to direct the head of a dragon. First we most know.

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Next on my reading list

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The Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday

 

 

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.

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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.

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

Paying Attention to What Matters Most

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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

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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

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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.

A New Definition of a Billionaire (No.6)

True transformation, real personal change, can come from a spark of inspiration or devastating disruption. When you have been so turned on that your Hell Yes becomes your mantra for mind-blowing transformation or when you have dug yourself into such a deep hole that there is no way out but a mandatory intervention of

something has to f😎king change.

That moment that transforms your mind and ignites your soul can be fueled when you follow through with relentless daily discipline and commitment.

Are you ready?

On Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

In order to evolve we must have a deep, deep, deep desire to make the transformation true and we must be committed to doing things differently than we have done before. The danger lies in falling into daily ruts and remaining stifled by how we feel.

We can get comfortably uncomfortable with the false security of rituals and habits that do not serve us well in the long game of life. We trade out comfort for the moment, doing what feels natural and safe, for what might makes us healthier and stronger in the future. It’s the sacrifices and compromises that we don’t want to do now for a stronger and more fulfilled tomorrow.

Boxing Ourselves In

This in turn limits our lives. Boxes us in. We become strangely satisfied with what the day brings and when we stop seeking and searching for improvement we fall into a sleep walking state. A trance that keeps us from improving any further.

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Unraveling our Lives

If you can challenge yourself to become stronger, to feel uncomfortable, to stretch your mind and body, just a little bit every day you can unravel the state you are in.

It begins by waking up, by becoming more aware of the excuses you make for yourself and others, the annoying and recurring problems you have each day. The pain points you drown in another glass of wine or another tasty toke.

Do like those in the program. Clean up your errors. Admit your mistakes. Don’t kid yourself. Apologize and move on.

Facing Frustration

There is something absolutely energizing and almost fun when we begin to agonize over decisions and face our frustrations. Too little money, too much weight, not enough true friends, exhausting tasks at work. There is something empowering that happens to us when we face the frustration and work on each problem one at a time.

Questions

Are you doing the things that are putting you in a position to soar?

Are you preparing yourself for how you will respond when

life destroys your sense of meaning?

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I am currently obsessed with developing a way to bring on an exhilarating neurostorm of enlightenment to the truth and limitless possibilities of this moment and the next.

It is what it isn’t. 

I have zero respect for the status quo, for what is and for what we perceive to be the “truth”, this so-called reality. I  also have distain for the phrase “it is what it is” – so much so, that I banish those that use the phrase from my mind kingdom.

anxiety-and-depression-gemma-correllNo, no, no your reality right now, whatever it may be, is precisely what you have chosen it to be right now. Your reality is what you perceive it to be. Your reality is connected to your attitude and the attitude you have can completely transform whatever situation you are in right now.

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Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Read: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Focusing Intently on What You are Becoming

Doing What Feels Natural isn’t Always What’s Best

Sure your habits might feel natural. You might explain your actions as something you just do, but that doesn’t make them good. Trade up your habits in favor of getting rid of what’s “natural” for  you. Eat less sugar, walk a little further, smile a lot more. Raise the stage for something that’s better. Experiment with new ways of naturalness. Upgrade your life.

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Undervaluing & Over Working Yourself to Death

If your frustrated and tired of not making enough money or stressed about how much you give in return for what you get, perhaps it’s time to stop undervaluing and over exerting yourself.

If you were to truly value all the gifts you give to the world, how would your world change? It is one thing to be modest and humble; it is another to have poor , low self-esteem. Do you know the difference?

Sometimes our esteem can be lifted by learning, by becoming more valuable through knowledge to have us become more confident at what we do. Remember, we don’t necessarily get paid for our time, we get paid for the value we bring to the hour.

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Seek, discover and focus on yourself. A winner is someone who recognizes his talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses both to accomplish goals.

Regardless of anything else, always do more than what you get paid for, and do it well. This is not undervaluing. This is doing the right thing and the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Living in Fear

I have a four year degree, but I never paid attention in history class.  It was an online Coursera course with Professor Jeremy Adelman ( Director of the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University) co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of Humankind from Beginnings to the Present that led to a big realization.

We’ve Always Been at War

At first I as astonished at how violent our world history really was – from Genghis Khan to Adolph Hitler. I have come to accept that we have lived in perilous and troublesome times for thousands and thousands of years. Nothing has changed. There will always be disruption, pain, corruption and manipulation. It is how we deal with the pain of living, how we face our fears and obstacles that makes us who we are.

Read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

Worried about your job? The stock market? Your 401K? Your worth is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy. What is your philosophy towards life? How can you improve it?

1. Focus on What You Are Becoming

Some of us can survive (for how long?) as an elemental force of chaos with supernatural charisma, sloppy planning and dumb luck. We make decisions driven by emotional reactions, petulance and paranoia and in turn we make a mess of our lives.

If you are stuck, remember your life is very malleable. The best way out of a problem you have right now is to do your best right now.

Make a decision to set goals – what people do you want to meet, books you want to read, places you want to go, experiences you want to have. . .

If you dare to change, everything will change for you. Adopt a new vision as your truth. When mankind decided we would fly, we flew.

Distort your reality field. Imagine you, only different.

Sure we can all use more money, good friends and less worry. For one day, forget about what you need and focus on what you are becoming.

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2. Ask Better Questions

In the age of smartphones, Google and Quora, answers are a dime a dozen and very easy to find.  Forget about the answers. If you want to solve the bigger problems, ask better questions. Start with “What if . . .”

What if I took that online course? What if I said I was sorry? What if I joined the gym?

3. From Emotional Pain to Physical Embodiment

Don’t be so focused on your work that your ignore signals of your body. Especially stomach issues.

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4. Getting into The Flow State

Supercharging your thoughts is a healthier way to stage yourself for altered states of being.

Get out of the every day. Take on new experiences, new places, new spaces, transcend the ordinary. Rest, relax, seek novel experiences and environments. Disconnect and reconnect with your child-like mind. Rediscover the place of wonderment. Get into a state of unbelievable lucidity. Chase experiences that put you in the zone.

Try it. For one day, give everything you’ve got into everything you do.

5. Plus, Minus, Equal

Find three important people in your life. A mentor, a partner and someone to inspire.

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6. New Definition of Billionaire

Become a billionaire. Someone who positively effects the lives of a billion people.

7. Your Mental Diet

Stand guard at the doorway of your mind. Feed your brain delicious food. A few inspiring books, blogs and people I have been consuming this past week.

Jason Silva’s Seeker a dose of knowledge to help you make sense of what is happening in the world around us.

Steve Job’s 10 Rules for Success.

Why it’s important to always stay a student, Ryan Holiday author of The Ego is the Enemy.

Life advice from the mentor to the masters, Jim Rohn

Wait but why? one of my favorite new blogs. Check out this post on building a mental swiss army knife.

The sky is not the limit, but your mind absolutely is.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a new frontier.

 

 

Living Life to the Fullest

A special meeting scheduled today with Caren Martineau, Founder of Bevival.com, a place that invites people to share their thoughts about the end of life, about death as we know it.

I found this video on her website and felt compelled to share it. And as one great discovery leads to yet another, I know I will enjoy watching Jason Silva’s YouTube channel Shots of Awe.

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Love Everything That Happens

This lesson is a hard one. A difficult thing to do. Not impossible, but definitely challenging.

Learn to love everything that happens to you. Everything. Loss, love, pain, joy, anger, disappointment. Everything.

To do great things we must be able to endure tragedy and setbacks. Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is The Way.

Obstacles prevent us from being inflicted with ennui. Believe it or not, we can turn a bad moment into fuel to  restart, reset and ignite – new careers, new partners, new friends – a new life.

  • Remove expectations and the thinking that there is a way things are “suppose” to be.
  • Accept things as they currently are.
  • Love everything that happens. Everything.
  • Turn what you must do into what you get to do.
  • Face the truth with unending calm and cheerfulness.
  • When faced with obstacles, love (and seize) the opportunity to prove yourself.

Roar back at the world.

We don’t get to choose what happens to us all of the time, but we get to choose how we feel and react to it. 

Amor Fati – a love and appreciation of fate.