Don’t let it fool you — Ego is the Enemy

Don’t let it fool you — Ego is the Enemy

I have two stories to tell.

The first is over a year ago, and the second is recent.

We will begin with the first. I’ve always been interested in psychedelics. Gateway drugs to the soul and what-not. We all have opinions on such matters and mine, is that experimenting with conscious states can only be a good thing. So I’ve read a few books on the topic: Tryptamine Palace, LSD: Doorway to the Numinous, and DMT: The Spirit Molecule. If you’re looking for a recommendation, read Tryptamine Palace then DMT: The Spirit Molecule. LSD: Doorway to the Numinous reads like an academic paper.

My eyes were on the lookout for a hook-up. Eventually, I got one. And my first trip was  alone at my house. Not recommended for a first trip, but I had a narrow window. Unfortunately, my mother decided to come home that night from the beach and I freaked out. A phone call with a friend commenced for six hours.

That sounds disastrous. But I wouldn’t change anything about that experience. Everything happens for purpose. When my friend and I ended the phone call around one, sleep wasn’t coming. So I thought and meditated. And I wouldn’t change a single thing about that experience.

I fell asleep at two-thirty am and woke up at five-thirty am for the sunrise. I sat on my porch for three hours awakening with the day. Reflection blanketed my mind. Towards the end of the three hours, a fly landed on my ankle. Looking down with a grin I thought to myself, What can I learn from this fellow?

Perhaps patience. And so, rather than going inside, I proceeded to sit outside for forty-five minutes while this fucking fly just sat on my ankle. Yelling at him louder and louder in my head to get the fuck off my ankle so I could go inside, the fly rested.

Until eventually, my mind was thinking how ridiculous it was I was getting outlasted by a fly. And then; Maybe the lesson wasn’t patience? What if the lesson was Ego — what if the lesson was, it’s your Ego that is putting you through mental anguish right now. Simply because you didn’t want to be bested by a fly, you sat on your porch for forty-five minutes while mentally screaming.

And I understood. I thanked the fly, and stood up. He buzzed off.

That lesson stuck with me for months.

The second story took place over the past couple days. My girlfriend and I have been having a – cough, cough – gentlemanly and womanly challenge of perseverance. And because of that challenge, I’ve been becoming a tad — what’s the word? Bullish? Irritated? No, those words don’t fit. I’ll have to utter the words, sexually frustrated. Ouch. That hurt to write.

And last night, that culminated into me becoming an asshole. Not my girlfriend’s fault. I’d suggested the challenge. But I couldn’t buck the angry thoughts in my mind no matter how hard I tried. Meditating with my girl provided slight relief but it didn’t stay.

By the end of the night, driving home I texted my girlfriend I was home, I loved her, and I was going to bed.

I drove past the turn to my house blasting music. Eventually, I got lost in some neighborhood and headed back.

She texted me this morning a long text. One of those texts you just kind of need when you’re not in the right frame of mind. And writing my three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing this morning I realized — our desire to be with and love on the people we care about is the most important desire. Anything that taints that desire needs to be eradicated.

And the only thing keeping me in that gentlemanly competition was Ego. So often, Ego will fuck us. It says it is us. It says it has your best interests at heart, whispering into your mind that you’re great and deserve whatever you want.

That voice will kill relationships. Relationships with your family, friends, and especially your significant others.

Don’t let it fool you — Ego is the Enemy.

 

Help send me to Southeast Asia! Here’s the link to my gofundme page, any help is appreciated. And if you send me your email, I’ll write you a personal note thanking you for your contribution:)

Why I don’t have social media

Why I don’t have social media

If you look for me on Instagram you won’t find me. Ditto for Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Really, any social media platform beside VSCO because that’s where my pictures are hosted.

Why is this? I’m eighteen, young and, in my personal opinion, you can keeps yours to yourself, reasonably athletic. So why wouldn’t I want to follow say, soccer players? Or lifestyle design specialists? Or creatives and writers and inspiration Instagram accounts?

There’s two reasons that immediately jump to the fore of my mind: for one, someone once told me that if you’re taking a picture of an event, that means you’re not enjoying it. Think about it; why would someone who was truly having a good time take a picture to show other people they’re having a good time? If I’m having a good time I’m in the moment, I’m there — no distractions and definitely not thinking about when it’s socially acceptable to whip out my phone to post about how much fun I’m having.

This concept made sense right away — literally, my Snapchat story from the day before was of me having fun in the car with one of my buddies singing a Taylor Swift song. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it also looked like we were having a great time. The thing was, I vividly remember even today, years on, that my day was going torridly.

Yet it’s so easy to give the impression you’re having the time of your life.

And that kind of leads into part two: compare-schlager. Credit Marie Forleo. To know what compare-schlager is, look at this picture.

That’s Goldschlager. And according to Marie Forleo, it’ll fuck you up. And make your poo have little flecks of gold in it.

Do you want to know what else will fuck you up and also make you feel like shit for up to three days? Comparing yourself to other people. Compare-schlager. It’s clever, okay?

Marie Forleo talks about it in an interview she did with Chase Jarvis and her description was hilarious and apt. I know, because this exact sequence of events has happened to me. I’d go on the explore section of Instagram or to some popular person’s Instagram page. Just for a quick peek, right? No. I would scroll through pages of these people’s Instagram’s and conclude that my life was shit.

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Steve Furtick

And then you go through the associated people’s links and you’re caught in this tidepool of insecurity and doubt. Honestly I would finish and be like, what’s the point? Might as well just go jerk off and watch Netflix and eat Cheeto’s. That’s what looking at people’s social media is like. Nobodies going to post something bad about themselves and so everyone develops this inflated perception of other’s lives.

It’s a pernicious cycle that feeds into low self-confidence and one day I decided you know what? My ego, self-worth, and inner self can not absorb this level of comparison each day and function.

Maybe you people are different but it’s impossible for me. So I deleted Instagram. Then eventually my brain realized, Hey, Snapchat actually makes me feel like shit also. I really don’t need it.

And then one day, all my social media was gone — no more compare-schlager and with work, I’m sorry but it does take work, I have the motivation to blog every day. And go work out. And sketch, and take pictures, and just live fucking life, man. Because there’s no way I’m going to do something awesome if my mind is fixed on that damn screen.

And really — I’m just so much better off. Some say you need social media to promote blogs and connect with friends.

My question is, is it worth your sanity?

Help send me to Southeast Asia! Here’s the link to my gofundme page, any help is appreciated. And if you send me your email, I’ll write you a personal note thanking you for your contribution:)

That’s all we can ask

That’s all we can ask

It’s a nice day out, and I just want to relax.

Sometimes, daily disciplines are nice to have because they ground you. But sometimes you just need to relax in the day — even if it’s a shitty day.

This is a connection to the rest of you who’s days haven’t been exceptional as of late — neither has mine. But I’m doing my best.

That’s all we can ask.

 

 

Help send me to Southeast Asia! Here’s the link to my gofundme page, any help is appreciated. And if you send me your email, I’ll write you a personal note thanking you for your contribution 🙂

 

A slight reminder

A slight reminder

Stop — whatever you’re doing, stop right now.

I just did the same, if you just happen to be self-conscious about holding a mug of coffee halfway between the desk and your mouth.

But seriously, stop whatever you’re doing right now. This is imperative for the rest of you life — I’m not saying what you’re about to read is guaranteed to make you happy for the rest of your life. I am saying it’s a damn good start.

I’m going to talk in the context of drinking coffee. Stop, and just look at the coffee. Have you even really tasted it yet today? I doubt it. Why? Because unless I make a conscious effort, the coffee in my mug mostly just enters straight into my body without the full conscious power of my mind’s notice.

And I doubt you’re much different from me.

Look around yourself — where are you? Have you even noticed, really noticed, what is going on around you? In this moment? Often the minutes fly past like seconds, like the bird that flies through the trees. This is worrying to me.

What are you doing? How does your body feel right now? Are you in a shitty mood? It’s funny how often we’re in a shitty mood and we’re kind of aware of it but not really — and we allow the shitty mood to influence the decisions we make. And then when someone asks you, Hey, you having a rough day? We kind of just go, Oh, yeah, I guess I sort of am.

It’s worrying there’s this lack of awareness in our lives on the second to second basis because that second to second basis is what our lives consist of.

Our lives don’t consist of future projection: thinking about what we’re doing that weekend. Our lives are here.

This moment is your life. It’s important you notice it because you can find the expansive in the infinitesimal — what your life consists of in this one second, right here, that you’re currently living? That’s going to be the rest of your life.

Live right here and now, for the fear that you don’t miss it.

My three quotes: July 22

My last installment of the three quotes a day challenge. Just when I thought I had a collection of fantastic quotes upon fantastic quotes, I realize that some of them are just not. Humbled in three days.

So, here’s the first. Seneca the Younger on death:

Why do you voluntarily deceive yourself and require to be told now for the first time what fate it is that you have long been laboring under?

Take my word for it: since the day you were born you are being led thither. We must ponder this thought, and thoughts of the like nature, if we desire to be calm as we await that last hour, the fear of which makes all previous hours uneasy.

The second is from the Dalai Lama. I used to have attachment problems with girls until my girlfriend and I started dating, and this was a quote used to keep myself in check.

Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.

The last, another Dalai Lama saying.

My religion is kindness.

Hopefully you all enjoyed. These are quotes used in my daily life, whenever things get hard or I need a reminder. My hope is they serve the same purpose for you.

‘Why did you leave?’

I’ve often thought about leaving.

Just, leaving — not telling anyone. Informing no one and going.

To do what you ask? Good question. Why should we have to do anything in particular? Why can’t we live carefree? There is a taboo against going somewhere purely because you want to go there. A taboo to travel for travel.

The information that you’re taking time (funny way to think of it if you look at the words, taking time, like theft) to travel is met with, What do you hope to accomplish, Why did you decide to travel, and, Is there something you’re hoping to achieve?

No, I’m traveling to Southeast Asia because I want to take a year off from traditional living and explore what life offers. Southeast Asia, mostly because it’s cheap, but also because it’s a place you can get lost in. I don’t really know what I’m looking for and the best way to find something when you don’t know where it is? Get good and lost. I’m pretty sure that’s from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Image by Alessandro Trapasso via VSCO.

And sometimes, when everyone around you hustling and bustling, I just want to take a step-back and say, How can I enjoy my life? Because this traditional way isn’t working and it won’t work for me.

Some say it’s irresponsible, some say there’s no point to travel, just go get a degree first and then do what you want.

Fair opinion — but once I cop out once, I know I’ll cop out again. This traveling is me drawing a line in the sand from the start.

Being carefree is just a benefit to losing yourself in the world. Having no responsibilities isn’t the purpose — finding yourself is. And I feel many have lost that, the goal to understand oneself. With understanding comes love. We look for happiness in our career, and money, and toys, when happiness is buried within our own hearts. Many waste valuable time digging in a career when we should be gently un-layering the onion in our chests.

 

Fear is the path

Fear is the path

Fear tells you you’re on the right track.

When you feel dragonflies in your stomache, and doubts haunt your mind, that’s not a bad thing — that’s a physiological response telling you, There is potential here to do something cool.

And if that concept is not enough to get me to do something, I think ahead to the future. What if I didn’t do this thing? What would happen if, because I was afraid, my fear persuaded me to, no, don’t sneak into that high school construction site, we could get in trouble. Let’s go home, watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and pass out with flaming hot cheeto’s strewn across the couch.

What would’ve happened then is that I would’ve regretted not sneaking into the construction site with my four other friends, and I would be plagued with, What if? for the next week. Then I would promptly forget the event had occurred. Instead, we spent three hours there, throwing cinder blocks off the four story roof, and exploding fire extinguishers. And now I have a story.

But let’s take a slightly different tack — that story was the small scale. What if we become involved with the big-scale? What if we apply this concept to the meaningful issues in life, like whether to travel for a year before university or go straight to college?

My girlfriend just had her college orientation for the past two days. And I started freaking out slightly. Because it’s becoming real. She’s going to be going to college, and I will be working for another four months before I leave to travel Southeast Asia. In fact, everyone is leaving for college while I’m the only one — that’s a lie, I convinced a good friend of mine to travel to Southeast too, but I think he’s taking a semester in Munich first — who isn’t going to school first.

And I started to question whether I’d made the right choice.

Whether I’d made a mistake.

But then I thought back to what I’ve just written; the presence of fear tells you there is potential for greatness. No man ever did something great without feeling fear first. It wouldn’t be great without it.

The next time you feel fear, don’t say, Oh fuck, my hands are beginning to shake, I’m nervous, how do I stop this?

Give a wry grin instead, and think, Ah, I have a lead.