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living your purpose

Step Into Your Power, Create Your Dreams + 5 Simple Steps to Begin

Step Into Your Power, Create Your Dreams + 5 Simple Steps to Begin

Every day you have a choice.

 

A choice to either :

Honor your potential and strive toward your dreams, or

Desperately hold on to your current situation - even if your life is not as great as you wish it was.

 

In other words - you can be satisfied or not, joyful or not, fulfilled or not.

 

But do you even know what you truly want out of life? If you do, have you made a plan that will allow you to get it?

 

Some days the vision we have is crystal clear - and our belief that we can ATTAIN that beautiful dream is unshakable.

 

But many days - like when the kids are sick, and the washing machine breaks, and we trip and drop the groceries when we come in the front door - our vision is cloudy, and our self-confidence is less than zero.

 

We know how you feel.

 

For many years we allowed our lives to be limited by fear.

 

We let ourselves be ruled by other people’s opinions and values.

 

We focused on things we didn’t want to have, people we didn’t want to know, and goals we didn’t want to reach.

 

Why?

 

In julie’s case, she thought that if she focused on all the things she was “supposed” to focus on (all the “right” things) she could control them. And then she could control her life, and her life’s journey. But this only left her powerless to control even herself.

 

For Andy, there was a need to find something to “hold onto” - an idea or belief that would always stay the same and could be used as a source of self-identity. This fear of change and of the future led him down a road of depression and anxiety.

 

Eventually we realized that our power comes from WITHIN OURSELVES.

 

The illusion of control over outside forces - or the need for these forces to define us - only serves to disempower us. The power within us can move mountains...or, as in our case, it can be harnessed to move us and our family over mountains and across the country from Pennsylvania to Oregon.

 

We moved so we could transform an “OK” existence into an extraordinary life - a life that we built around our goals and desires (not somebody else’s) - a life that was exciting, fulfilling, and joyful.

 

We did this despite being scared out of our wits!

 

Every day we strive to find that inner power that allows us to stay present in the “here and now”

It helps us appreciate how far we have already come and inspires optimism about the future.

 

This is what works for us.

 

We could sit here and tell you that you will get through any difficulty with time.

 

We could tell you to find the power that you contain within yourself.

 

But we know what it’s like to be in a place of overwhelming struggle and uncertainty.

 

We know how hard it can be to run a business, raise a family, stay attentive to your romantic partner, AND maintain a healthy practice of self-care.

 

We know how difficult it can be to even get started.

 

But we can help.

 

Do you want to create a life that is emotionally, spiritually, and financially stable AND fulfilling?

 

A life that has everything you want - freedom, peace, happiness.

 

We can help guide you.

(Read the 5 Steps below then click here to go even further!) 

We can help YOU guide YOURSELF, because only you know exactly what your desired life looks like.

 

We can help you get past all the doubt that has been instilled in you throughout your life - doubt that says other people know best how to live your life.

 

We can share with you the tools and strategies that will move you forward into a life you truly desire.

 

The key is - You!

 

Are you ready to step into your power by releasing beliefs that are holding you back?

 

Are you ready to step up and reach for the life of your dreams?

 

Here are five actionable steps that serve us on our journey - steps that we want to share with you.

 

1.) Be your truth. Develop a system for recognizing when a thought is not serving you. You have undoubtedly heard that “attitude is everything.” This is absolutely true. A positive outlook is far more conducive to finding solutions to problems. Keep your mind clear of negativity in relation to your goals for the future. A physical reference - a colorful wristband or a crystal or pretty stone in your pocket - can be used as an ever-present reminder to make choices that are in line with what YOU want and what YOU need to create your best day, your best week, and your best life. Pause to touch or look at this item when you are confronted with doubt or fears or uncertainty in a situation. This allows you to step back and honestly assess the circumstances. Then you will be more clear-headed in determining the best action(s) to take - the one(s) that will lead you in the direction YOU want to go. DO THIS ASAP: Grab that reminder put it on you or in your pocket in the next week and connect it to a mantra that empowers you.
 

2.) Be action-oriented. Every action brings about a reaction. What action can you take today - right now - to bring about the results you want to create? It can be small and subtle or large and obvious. Remember that a series of small steps will bring about big changes. Thirty minutes of self-care, or reaching out to a close friend, or confiding your dilemma to your partner, or making that first post on Facebook Live are all ways to steer your life in the direction that you want to go. The key is to keep moving. Don’t let life go on around you without putting your own personal mark on it. Be your life’s most positive and active influence. DO THIS ASAP: Pick something that freaks you out a little (or a lot!) and put it on your calendar to do in the next week.
 

3.) Visualize. Wake up and - before you get out of bed - focus on what your dream life looks like. Be as specific as possible. Do you want to live somewhere else? Imagine how it feels to be there. Do you want more financial freedom? Feel that sense of security and joy. Do you want more time for just you and your partner - time without the kids or other family? Let yourself believe it exists already. Visualizing what you want will not bring it into reality without work on your part. But we want you to search your mind and heart for what exactly it is that you want and to concentrate on how it will feel to achieve it. This will motivate you into action, and it will help you discover what you need to do in order to bring about the desired results. DO THIS ASAP: Practice visualizing for 5 minutes as soon as you wake up. Do it for a minimum of three days. Then try for five. Eventually you can make this a habit that you do every morning. 
 

4.) Recognize the proof. Take the time to appreciate how often you have gotten through difficult times and situations. You have gotten yourself through 100% of the problems you have been confronted with - you know that, because you’re still here! Make a list of challenges you have met, and refer to it often - especially when you are struggling. Remember that transformations are spurred on by these difficult times, and they played a big part in shaping you into the person you are now. Times of growth and change are rarely pretty, but they are vital. You can get through any rough patch you are experiencing now - or in the future. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. DO THIS ASAP: Write down your proof and post it on your wall somewhere that you will see it everyday!
 

5.) Find Your Resolve...and Reassert it. If you want to change your life, you need to confirm your commitment to do so today. And you need to reconfirm it tomorrow. And again the day after that. It is the daily reassertion that you have made the resolution to change that will allow you to do so. Believing in yourself today is just the start. Finding that belief - and recognizing it and FOCUSING on it - every day is the base on which you begin to build the new life you’re searching for. DO THIS ASAP: Make yourself a recommitment mantra that is short and sweet but reminds you to focus on today so you can step into your POWER!
 

(Want more? Join us for the FREE training here)

Apply these strategies to your life, and notice how they strengthen your spirit.

 

By changing your perspective on your life, they allow you to begin to step into your power and own those dreams that set your heart and soul on fire.

 

While honoring the past, you are ready to step forward into your future.

 

Julie asks you to read the following inspirational words from her dearly departed brother - words he wrote to a friend just prior to embarking on a journey to India for a year.

 

She hopes you will let them empower you through your journey to the beautiful life you wish to create :

 

“We all do not like sudden changes, but we have to conquer our fears, for they are nothing but our mental interior walls that need to be knocked down - not built up. Do not build up your wall, but leave behind the comforts and safety of your confines. I know it is a big step - and a sudden one - but trust your instincts.

You learn so much about yourself and the world. Reflection, observation, and a simpler, slower lifestyle…

Embark on your journey, and only look forward. Not too fast, but not too slow. It is the ones who remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We, as human beings, need to dream again once more…” ~ Christopher Belfoure

 

3 Signs That You're Letting Fear Take Over Your Life

    3 Signs You’re Letting Fear Take Over

 

    Fear is a natural emotion that pervades every aspect of our lives. It has been vital to the evolution that mankind has made, and continue to make, as a species. Without it, people all would have been eaten, poisoned, or crushed to the point of extinction long ago - very likely before we had the chance to walk upright. Fear gets a bad wrap sometimes, but that’s because too often it takes over; the same guy who feared the tigers still needed to get out of his cave to hunt, or he would have starved to death.

 

    We find that our lives are a delicate balance between real fears that present valid consequences, and unfounded fears based purely on the ego’s attempts to limit our potential. Weighing whether any particular fear presents actual or imagined repercussions is a task we address on a daily - and hourly - basis.

 

    Here are three signs that you’re letting fear start to run things, instead of using it as the valuable tool that it can be :

 

  1. You can’t sit still - When you find yourself unable to sit quietly and peacefully - provided it’s not because you are swamped at work or home alone with three young kids - ask yourself what is driving your restless behavior. Your body moves in response to your mind. If your mind is obsessing over a few  - or many - problems, ask yourself - can you solve any of these problems right here and right now? If not, can you put the problem(s) aside until the opportunity arises for you to address it/them? Like unwanted baggage, put down the worries that you have no control over until such time that you do.

  2. You can’t be alone - When your mind is racing, you feel like you are your own worst enemy and your own worst company. Craving the company of others to distract you from yourself is a sure sign that fear is chasing you. It has you going around and around in your own head, a domain that is your sovereign territory. But through the company of others, you can pretend the turmoil in your mind does not exist, at least for awhile. Additionally, if a calm exterior can fool others into believing that you have it all together, you can sometimes convince yourself of the same thing.

  3. You actively seek distractions - Distractions from yourself can also come in the form of activities. When these activities begin to take over, they can become even more important than the avoidance of self that originally enticed you. At this point, you likely have developed an addictive behavior. Regardless of this possibility, the active avoidance of self causes you to miss out on the really wonderful things that life has to offer.

 

    At Love and Addicts, we have seen fear drive people to addictive behaviors. And we have seen people who are in recovery from one addiction be driven by fear into another kind of addiction. It is a process to step back enough to have an awareness about the fear that is running your life. As we come to realize how much it is holding us back we begin to search for other ways to live, knowing that how we are living now is exhausting. This transitional process can be so liberating when we begin to find relief, peace and more deep breaths in our everyday lives.

 

     We know that learning to live with fear while still stepping through it is a challenge. If this is something you face and want see if we can help you can reach us by email at hello@loveandaddicts.com to set up a free 30 minute couples in recovery consult. The challenges with fear rearing its ugly head can seem insurmountable, but when you use love and the strength within, nothing is impossible.

 

Swim Solo

I’ve said it before : I love 12-step recovery. I’ve learned many lessons and acquired many tools that have helped me live my life, free from drugs and alcohol. The meetings, the fellowship, and the readings have all been wonderful aids in my recovery. Through numerous attempts and failures to stay sober, the program of 12-step recovery was always there to help me clean myself up in order to start again. 

    But here’s the thing : AA didn’t provide me with the one tool that I really took hold of, the one lesson that I needed to learn in order to change my life forever. It didn’t teach me how to love myself and, hence, it didn’t teach me how to cherish the life that I had been privileged to live. AA started me down the path of recovery by showing me basic tools of gratitude and acceptance and the benefits of hard work. It helped me make the early transition from drinking daily to total abstinence. But it didn’t provide real answers on how to find inner peace and happiness so that I would never WANT to go back to using again. 

    I know a lot of people have sought a solution to their substance abuse issues through the rooms of AA and NA. Many of these people have achieved long term sobriety, and many have not. Of those that have, some are the most miserable old pricks you will ever meet. Why? Because addicts, by nature, are loathe to follow directions, and 12-step is all about following rules or “suggestions” in order to make it through the day. A person who is subjected to non-stop monitoring - even if he does so of his own free will - is still under the thumb of an authoritative regime. This provides little room for creative expression or personal growth, and it assumes the person has neither the ability nor the desire to make healthy decisions in his life.

     Of course, most addicts in early recovery don’t trust themselves, as is warranted by their history of bad ideas and lousy behavior. But when does trust begin to be reestablished? Isn’t the desire to believe in oneself a huge reason that a person seeks recovery in the first place? How long do you need to be guided through every moment in order NOT to fuck up again? And when are you capable of learning from these poor decisions on your own? Do you need to be micromanaged every day of your life?

    Let’s pretend you’re drowning. You don’t know how to swim, and you just got leveled by a huge wave, which now is dragging you out to sea. Fortunately, you’re not far from the beach, and a lifeguard swims out and rescues you. He hauls you back to dry land and begins giving you CPR (if you want to pretend he/she is the man/woman of your fantasies, go for it, but let’s stay focused on the lesson here) You start to breathe on your own, you’re starting to come around. Open your eyes, slowly get up, catch your balance, get your bearings. Now you walk back to your towel and the friends you came with. A couple weeks later, you start taking swimming lessons. You learn a few different strokes and a bunch of safety tips. You do a little research on your own about tidal pull, waves, undertow, dangerous aquatic sea life, etc. 

    Are you now prepared to go to the beach by yourself? Or do you need your swim instructor to go with you? If you disagree with him as to which stroke you want to swim or what beach you want to visit, does that mean you’re going to drown again? Will you bring a manual on water safety and read it every morning? Do you need the lifeguard to remind you to put on sunscreen and to not swim too close to motorboats? At night, will you meet with other folks who have had scary experiences in the water? Will you ask them to tell their stories about almost drowning, and will you tell your story again and again? While none of these are necessarily a bad idea, they do limit your choices as to how you will enjoy future experiences in the water.

    It’s up to you to learn from your mistakes and get on with your life. A lifeguard will teach you the strokes but he won’t teach you how to love the sport. Many people who almost drown avoid large bodies of water for the rest of their lives, but that solution is extremely limiting, and it’s not foolproof (there are bathtubs and hot tubs, just to name two ever-present threats). My suggestion is to learn how to swim, don’t eat before you jump into the water, and, if the water looks too rough, stay on the beach until the conditions change.  But for God’s sake, GO SWIMMING AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE !!

    12-step recovery continues to be something I reach for on occasion. Its structure, its lessons, and the uniformity of the meetings I attend, all coalesce to provide consistent, solid, reliable support. I am eternally grateful for its inception and continued existence, and I continue to benefit from it while I live my life under the decision-making ability and leadership of my own free will. 

    Yes, I said free will. I don’t care who you are or how tight you are with your higher power, YOU are the one who keeps you sober. When you were tempted, who called your sponsor or another alcoholic? You did. When you needed strength, who prayed to your higher power? You did. When the opportunity presented itself to relapse, who stayed sober? You did. Who was at the last meeting you attended? You were. You, you, you, you, you. Holy shit! Maybe it IS all about you, after all (or at least mostly about you, as it appears from your perspective) And maybe that’s exactly how it is meant to be. 

     You are way more powerful than you give yourself credit for, but be careful how you wield that power. Tell yourself that you can’t be trusted often enough, and you will have no choice but to believe the authoritative voice in your head. Conversely, tell yourself that you are capable of changing for the better, of growing, of loving yourself, and of loving the present opportunity to live a joyous existence, and you will create a world that you don’t WANT to escape, and a life that you don’t WANT to avoid, and a YOU that you don’t WANT to get away from. 

    But always keep an eye open for sharks and jellyfish.

The Strength of an Addict

   In 12-step recovery, the addict is encouraged to dig deep into his past, and into himself, and honestly look at all the wrongs he is guilty of - in action and in thought. Not surprisingly, the process is painful, and it is frequently met with a considerable amount of resistance. But it is urgently suggested as a crucial part of any real recovery. To lay claim to the misdeeds of one’s past and the unhealthy thoughts that exist in the present is to begin to build the base from which a healthy future may evolve. By contrast, to ignore one’s indiscretions is to ignore responsibility for one’s life in its entirety, as opposed to just taking credit for the good stuff.        

    Not that you will find many addicts bragging about - or even mentioning - many of the good things they’ve done or are capable of doing. Go to a 12-step recovery meeting, and you will hear tales of manipulation, crimes committed, and degradation. Honest and open monologues will contain confessions and self-reproval. Once a person gets comfortable in the rooms, he discovers the huge relief that comes with divulging the truth. He finds he can talk about things that he dare not discuss anywhere else, and it is incredibly liberating to get the garbage off his chest. He begins to be free from the suffocating weight of the lies and deceit of which he is guilty.

    Unfortunately, the relief found in confession too often leads to pleasure taken from personal derision. What begins as a tool for self-improvement becomes an exercise in self-pity. An addict loves any action that provides immediate pleasure, and the diatribe that derives from internal conflict provides instantaneous and powerful release. It becomes easy to spew the rhetoric of resentment, because there is little work involved. All you need is a person to face while you complain. 

    Frequently an addict will be stuck for years in this part of his recovery. The spiritual flagellation he subjects himself to becomes as much a bad habit as his drug/behavior of choice. Eventually, he builds himself up to be the martyr who deserves to never be free from the ever-present guilt that he welcomes into his soul. He is grateful for the feelings of self-deprecation and defines himself with them. He may laugh and joke while among his brethren in recovery. He will smile while being quick to volunteer service to other addicts in and out of recovery. But away from the rooms, he is miserable. His truth is that of an irredeemable and undeserving soul.

    But what part of the truth remains undisclosed? 

    What too many addicts fail to concede is their own brilliance. There are astounding qualities that exist amid the sea of crap that they envision as their life. The problem is that digging deep to discover, nurture, and share these qualities takes work. And most addicts in recovery are sick of digging, because digging a hole to hide from life is what they did for so many years.  

    I challenge you to go to a 12-step recovery meeting and tell 5 of the attendees that they are beautiful souls who deserve peace, love, and happiness in their lives, regardless of what they may have done while in active addiction (or recovery!). At least four will look back at you with doubt in their eyes and say nothing. Or they may deflect the statement with a comment about how they are grateful that their lives are not worse, although past actions could have easily made them so. Or they will flatly deny that they deserve anything but repercussions for their sins and a life sentence of active atonement.

    I have found very little encouragement for recovering addicts to celebrate the good aspects of themselves. There is a lot of talk about gratitude, but it is always in reference to things outside of themselves, or the good fortune that their addiction did not create more mayhem than it did. It is extremely rare to hear anyone express joy simply for the fact that they are a powerful, living spirit. Nobody says they are awesome or that they have much to contribute to society. Each and every addict has something inside that the world sorely needs, but this fact is actively ignored. Instead addicts are told to list all of their shortcomings, to share with one another their misdirected thoughts, and to remain alert for unhealthy desires. They were in the throes of addiction, and they are still susceptible to addictive thinking and actions. To combat their dark side, they are told to focus on all the wrongs, the bad, the ugly. 

    I assert that all this self-disparagement is a waste of time. Yes, you did some crappy things, and, yes, you are a less-than-perfect person with the propensity to make mistakes or even to do unto yourself at the expense of others. Undoubtedly, there is room for improvement. But you’re not going to change anything by sitting around, exclaiming what a waste of human tissue you are. Beating yourself up is non-productive, self-serving, and easy. Nobody can cry a wider river of tears for you than you can. It is very possible that most of those people who you harmed don’t think about you nearly as much, nor with as much intensity, as you think of them. You probably are just not that important to them. 

    On the other hand, when is the last time you thought about any of these people without regret, remorse, or guilt? Do you remember, did you ever know, what made any of these people wonderful human beings, and how did they touch your life in a positive way? Certainly, if any of these people have absolutely no redeeming factors in the way their lives intertwined with yours, they are far in the minority. And if there are no good thoughts that go out toward these people, have you at least saved any for yourself? What did you tell yourself today that was an affirmation about how incredible you are? What interesting and unique gift do you possess that you took a moment to appreciate? Where do you place yourself on your gratitude list? Are you even on it?

    If you take only one thought away from these words you are reading, let it be this : 
    You are a child of the Universe.

    I’m not going to get into a discussion of who or what you believe in, because has no bearing on the above statement. The two indisputable facts that have relevance are : you were born, and you exist in this Universe. You want proof? Just look into the mirror - there you are. Now look out the window - there it is. 

    You were born to shine. One way or another, emitting one type of ray or another. It’s up to you to find out how to shine and what colors to transmit. This is the part that takes work. It’s what will cause pain and confusion and frustration. But it will also bring about the fullest sense of happiness and purpose you can imagine. And it can only be achieved by letting go of debilitating guilt about the past, while retaining the responsibility of ownership of the past. Addicts are most hard-pressed to find the beauty that lies within. But it’s been there since birth, and it cannot be destroyed. Poke around inside your mind and you’ll find it. Keep looking, and you’ll figure out how make it an active part of your life. Once you do that, you won’t have time to drag your feet and talk about what a terrible person you are. 

    Everyone who walks the earth has a responsibility to lift us all just a little higher than when he arrived here. You can’t lift anything when you live in negativity. And when you focus on every lousy thing you ever did and every lousy thought that passes through your head, you are doomed to live in negativity. Try being nice to yourself, loving yourself, admiring yourself, trusting yourself. Own the awesome power that lies within. Be as open and honest with your good points as you are with the bad. You will be able to help lift the human race by sharing yourself with the Universe in ways that you may never have imagined. 

    The important thing to realize is this -  You still can shine. Today, tomorrow, next week. No matter how much time you spent in the darkness, and no matter how deep you dug. The opportunity to live again is in front of you right now. Begin by loving yourself for all the wonders that are you. They don’t have to be unusual or unique to be amazing. The tiny and seemingly inconsequential ingredients all play a part in the mix of mind, body, soul, and stardust that is walking around this earth and answers to your name. 
   
     But you can't heal if you focus only on the poison. 

How to Really Know Your Comfort Zone

You hear it, you read it, you see it posted. Everyone, everywhere is saying that your comfort zone is a place of non-productivity and developmental gridlock. They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone or that change only occurs when you are on your feet, fully engaged, and off of the couch. They tell you to get comfortable with discomfort and that, to truly live, you need to thrive on uncertainty. Turn off the TV, get away from the computer, put away the cookies, take a shower, and prepare to enter the world outside your front door. Participate in something new and with people with whom you are unfamiliar. 

    As an advocate for positive change, I agree with all of the above. I know how hard it is to truly change, even for a person who really wants to do so. Therefore, I agree with the idea that most people benefit greatly from constant reminders that change takes a lot of work. And a lot of desire and dedication. Sometimes the people who most want to change are those who most greatly resist it, so it is natural to rely on the repetition of mantras and affirmations, almost to the point of harassment, as a means to get these people moving.

    However, if you look around enough, if you listen to what’s happening outside your own mind, if you seek answers from those who are (presumably) wiser, more enlightened, and closer to the “answers,” you begin to realize that a lot of people are just saying the same thing over and over. They keep rehashing the same old trite sayings. They show you a pretty picture of themselves doing yoga or eating a healthy meal or sitting on a beautiful beach. They tell you that all you have to do is listen to them and you will have
whatever it is you desire, usually in the form of a soul mate, a bunch of money, or a smoking hot body. 


    Far be it from me to belittle the very reasonable desire to have these goals in your life; when I was single, I looked for a mate, I have struggled with body image issues, and self-induced stress over money concerns has led me down some dark roads in my life. And certainly, I understand what it is like to be so incredibly stubborn and stuck in your ways that you would prefer to be on the easy and familiar ground of misery rather than on the difficult and uncertain road to happiness. So I understand why seeing and hearing these messages of hope over and over can spur a person on to make incredible changes in his life. It’s the constant tap on the shoulder, the smiling wave from the beach, the gentle whisper in the ear “Do you want to keep living your life this way? Is mediocrity all that you want, or are you willing to reach for extraordinary? Will you continue to stifle your heartfelt desires with the daily cocktail hour, or will you spread your wings and truly live?” A big wave will move from sand around, but the repetition of the tide will reshape the entire beach. 

    The problem arises when a person looks to another person to provide him with ALL the answers to his questions, to the ONLY solution to his problems. I see so much similarity among those who would bestow upon you THE way to happiness, because easy answers are conveniently passed around. The basic blueprint is to hit a few pain points then offer a simple solution with the promise of a shiny new life. Just sign up, and your future bliss is assured. 

    Certainly, some of these people will help you change your life. And many will tell you up front that they will help guide you, but they won’t do the work for you. But too many of them will take your money then throw a lot of recycled cliches at you, unconcerned about who you are as a unique individual, with nuances of personality, unexplained phobias, and flashes of brilliance. 

    This life is what you make of it. You can shine like the sun or stay in the shade. You can unleash your spirit and let it cruise throughout the solar system, or keep it close to home. You can mingle with and wade among all the people of the earth, or you can be stoically introverted. Who is to say which of these paths is right? Who is to say which of the infinite choices that lay in front of you, in this life, is the best? At any given time, in any given place, circumstances are uniquely yours, as are the questions that you have to answer. Or you may choose to ignore them all.

    You are the ultimate authority to decide what is best for you. When seeking advice, be sure to ponder it thoroughly before heeding it. A guide will help you find the answers that already lie within but which elude you. A charlatan will fill your head with pretty colors that quickly fade and leave you more confused and lost than before. And just because you hear something from many sources, that doesn’t mean it is advice that is wisely followed. Propagation through repetition of an idea does not denote personal accuracy or relevancy. 

    That being said, is all this comfort-zone-bashing beneficial to your particular life? Man has struggled and fought with other men, as well as with himself, since the day he emerged from the primordial ooze, to establish a place of safety, ease, and well-being : a comfort zone. We work hard to make a living, to ascertain our self-identity, to carve a space into our reality where we feel we belong. When we achieve these things, should we not enjoy them? Why struggle if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor? You built the zone, so take comfort in it! There is no reason not to revel in it, to lounge in it, to get naked and roll around in it.

    Until...

    Your comfort zone is the only place you dare to tread. The only reason that your comfort zone is comfortable is that everywhere and everything else terrifies you. You vaguely remember life before your comfort zone, but it has been so long since you ventured from the bubble, you no longer have any idea how you would get around “out there.” 

    The choice is, and always will be, entirely yours as to whether or not (or when, or how often) you leave your comfort zone. Should you decide to let someone else run your life, you still have made the decision to relinquish control. And you can always take it back. Just make the decision based on what drives you toward joy, as opposed to that which leads you from fear. Let your happiness steer your spirit through the times and places that you experience, whether anyone else agrees with your decisions or not (I don’t care how many weeks his book was on the NY Times best-seller list).

    Ain’t nothing wrong with chilling on the couch...

Living for the End Game, Enjoying the Ride

 I've been thinking a lot lately about my "life's work". A brief history : I've had a few different "careers". Each time I ended one, it was in (frequently mutual) disgust, and each time I entered a new one, it was with excitement that THIS would bring me the life of my dreams. My current career - that of being life coach and personal growth guy - began with the promise of showing me the answers to all my questions about existence. I wrote about life experience, I wrote about seeking a deeper meaning in life and all of its components, I bore my heart and soul, I shared about recovery, and I shared about truths that were revealed through these processes. 

    It was gratifying and cathartic. I was relieved of many burdens as I helped others navigate life's challenges. It felt good to be honest (at times, painfully so) , and it felt good to serve my fellow man. 

    Then the work began. 

    When I say this is my life's work, I am implying that there is an income that results from my efforts. And when I intend to earn a living at something, it implies I have something of value to provide those who would pay me. This means I need to research and model myself after those who have walked this path before me, dig endlessly within to find my connection and truth through these people, learn how to lead meditation, perform reiki, hold retreats, speak at crowded seminars, write books, inspire thousands to heed the wisdom of my words....

    Holy shit! I want to go back to what I did before!

    I aspire to positively affect others, the way some of my heroes - Toni Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Mastin Kipp, etc - have (I won't even mention the Big Boys - Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Jesus Christ). I try to be inspired by all they have done, and yet I find myself envious of all that they have achieved and doubt that I will ever attain that level of service. 

    Part of the reason I got into this line of work was to do something that actually means something to me. And because I felt I needed to start giving back to the universe that has provided me with so many gifts and gotten me through so many messes. But I listen to a guy like Brendon Burchard (another hero of mine) say "Live. Love. Matter" and I feel this intense urgency to do great things RIGHT NOW!!!

    Of course, the greatest thing a person can do is : on a daily basis, find forgiveness for yesterday's mistakes, aspire to be the greatest self today, and prepare for the unknown challenges that will come tomorrow. If you do this every day of your life, people will be talking about you and the fantastic accomplishments you achieved in your lifetime long after you're gone. 

    But when I have a few hours alone - the kids and wife are gone for the afternoon, and I have no specific deadlines to meet, do I make the best use of every minute that I have? Do I read the book by Dr Daniel Amen that I've been meaning to read? Do I watch an online inspirational video by Gabrielle Bernstein or Marie Forleo? Do I look at the latest post by Tim Ferriss? Do I take the time to let some or all of this new, highly valued information soak into my bones and affect my life? Or do I watch Sons of Anarchy while thinking that there is NO WAY Eckert Tolle would waste his time this way?

    The answer is : yes. 

    I do all of these things, and sometimes I do one thing to an extent that I can't get to the other things. And sometimes it feels incredibly overwhelming to have so many high aspirations and so few hours in the day. And sometimes I ask - "Why do I waste time on the trivial, mundane, uninspiring clutter that does nothing to lift me up spiritually?"

    It's because that inane garbage is vacuous content that gives my brain a rest from the hard work I put it through. If I aspire to one day be on par with some of the awesome people I mentioned earlier, I have to do it my way, following the path the universe lays out for me. And if a day goes by where the only tangible thing I do is write a blog post, then that's ok. 

    The effort life requires is enough without the added burden of the guilt I lay on myself because I think I should have done more. The self-deprecation that follows will make me wallow in self-created failure.  

    And there is no failure! Only giving up. 

    I choose to do neither. 

    Nor should you. So, the next time you find yourself "wasting" a few minutes, hours, or days by not pursuing your ultimate goals, remember : it's all a process, life takes as much time as it takes, and pushing too hard can cause it to push back. If you focus too hard on the endgame, you may miss the ride. And, really, that's what life is all about - the ride, mistakes and all.