And then tell me a sixty-six percent is a huge deal

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I’ve asked for advice from a lot of people over the years. Pretty much every time I have a conniving problem in my head, I ask. Random people. Friends.

When I was having problems with a girl, I asked Liam what I should do.

When I didn’t know what to think about my current girlfriend, I would ask random people at parties.

I’ve had a lot of girl problems.

And most of the time, although the answers would change and shape to the specific problem, there is advice that pops up way more often than anything else.

Relax. Just relax, dude.

That girl you’re thinking about? Not all that important.

That test you failed? Does it really matter? Who’s going to remember?

You’ve got some friends shit-talking behind your back? That’s not your problem. Get some new friends.

We have all these attachments. To a particular girl. To a certain grade. To friends that make you feel bad about yourself.

Chill out about it. Look at the moon one night. Look up at the night sky; have a real, physical representation of how big everything is.

And then tell me that a sixty-six percent on a test is a huge deal.

Try, and find what makes weather lovable

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Many people don’t like the rain. I like the rain.

I hear people go, I don’t like this kind of weather, I like that kind of weather.

On a rainy day it’s unanimous. Horrible weather out there, isn’t it? Terrible, nasty, ugly, why does it have to be so bad?

Does it matter? The weather is going to be that way whether – clever – you like it or not. And I work in a gym, and whenever someone would come in on a rainy day and say it’s nasty out, I used to go, I actually like the rain. And then I’d get a kind of, Oh, umm, I’m going to go work out now, look and life would go on.

Now I chuckle and go, Yeah. Long and drawn out. Forced, natural laughter in the word. Yeeaaheeeheaaaaa. People move on faster when you agree with them. Then I can keep looking at the raindrops tap cars oh so gently.

Ah, and where I am the rain’s just picked up again.

I like the drowsiness of it all. The feeling; it’s okay to be lazy today. It’s okay to just hold someone you love today because, hey, it’s a rainy day.

And I work in a gym, and when it’s crisp, and not too chilly out everyone comes in and comments on how it’s such a nice day.

I think it must be sad to only like one out of ten days.

There’s something to like in the weather of every day. Whether it’s rainy, or beautiful. But there are muggy days out there too.

It’s harder, but you find their beautiful thing. Muggy days. The days where you sweat as soon as you step outside.

Makes you appreciate the fact you have air-conditioning. And the moment you step inside from a muggy, choking day outside? Relief.

It’s funny, nobody goes, It’s such nice weather in here, when they step inside my gym. They always comment about how nasty and muggy it is outside.

I think it’s easy to find the shitty parts of everything.

You should try and find what makes something lovable.

And that’s what had me happy for the past week

And that’s what had me happy for the past week

I’m resting my back against the headboard of my bed. Usually, the sun shines directly on my headboard, and I have to take cover against the wall between my two windows. I get up later than five thirty on most days, so this is fun to notice.

But the sun is rising, and I’ll probably have to switch mid-way through this writing.

Today I want to talk about happiness, and sorrow. Because I’ve felt happy these past few days, and today my mind took a slight dip.

Also, I’m switching to the nook between my windows now.

There’s a funny thing about being happy, I’ve noticed. This is sometimes how it happens. I’ll read a book on spiritual work because I’m going through a difficult part of life. A book or something will eventually click with me, and I’ll think, Ah, I understand.

And usually it’ll be something about practicing non-attachment, or realizing the true reality of things. For me recently, it was reading The Upanishads, and having every principal teaching explain the concept of the Self being separate from the duality of the inner and outer self.

The external self is the senses. The feeling, seeing, touching, tasting of every day life.

The internal self is how you feel about these things, whether they make you happy or sad, or whether you’re loving life or feeling jealousy.

The true Self, explained far better in The Upanishads, goes beyond this duality of inner and outer to a place of a non-separateness. Joy, light, and unity. This is the truth of the universe and it’s only because we’re tricked by our mind and body that everything appears as separateness to us.

And that’s what’s had me happy for the past week.

And then I realized that a recent plan I had was never going to work.

I was going to buy a fake ID so I could party at my girlfriend’s university with her, and then I was brought to reality this morning. She has a roommate who I can’t expect to leave every weekend.

She has her own group of friends she wants to hang out with, and it’d probably be weird at best.

I have friends I want to see on weekends at other places.

And I lied to myself – I told myself, and her, I wanted a fake because not only could I party with her which was a bonus, but I’d be using it at other universities and in my hometown.

And that’s true – I would use it at other places than when I’m with her. But it’s also a lie. Because I don’t have any desire to party at my local bars. And all my friends up at other universities, I could use a fake, and probably would, but most of them don’t have, nor want fakes, and we all get by fine without them.

So it’s mostly to party with her.

And a page from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet keeps coming back to me.

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I’m not sad, or anything of the sort now that I think about it and write this. But I’m not in a joyous state. It’s accepting.

Everyone knows money, objects, and people won’t make you happy. Everyone knows this, has been told this. And it makes sense. Happiness can only come from within.

So, why do we constantly search outside of ourselves? I hear that phrase, happiness only comes from within and go, Yeah, of course man, that makes complete sense.

And it does make sense.

And then I keep buying things that make me happy for a moment.

And you hear about these spiritual teachers who renounce their possessions and desires, and meditate daily. And you think of these people. They’re the most peaceful, happy souls on the planet. And so few people choose that path.

I know why I don’t choose that path every day. I hear possessions won’t make me happy, fulfilling my desires won’t make me happy, but… I also like partying. I like different clothes, and I like buying things.

Everyone does. That’s why so few go that way.

But you have to know that when you choose happiness over joy, you also choose sorrow.

As Kahlil Gibran said, by choosing happiness it is the very space that happiness exists in that is then filled with sorrow.

By choosing joy, that idea of identification with your deepest Self and non-attachment to your inner or outer world, you achieve happiness irrespective of circumstance.

But you don’t have to get weighed down by these concepts if you don’t want. You can do something very actionable right now.

Heed the words of the Dalai Lama, and live them.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

Dalai Lama

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

I share what I’m thinking every day, but I’m not sure a lot of my readers’ have an idea of who I am. Let me shine a ray of sun through the window of my life.

My girlfriend and I sojourned to Washington DC to visit museums this past weekend. For me, it was an excuse to see her for an entire day. My girlfriend and I have gotten to the point where we get on each others’ nerves sometimes. If you’re at that point with your partner, that’s completely fine – it’s a sign of comfort. Familiarity. Not terrible.

What is harmful, is when your relationship stops being defined by love, and fun, and connection. That’s when problems begin.

And so we can get on each others’ nerves, but it’s okay.

Whenever I’m hanging out with someone, something can happen that makes me think, Love this person while I still can. And if this thing happens, you’re fortunate; it will take something strong to break your connection with that person.

It is this.

Something stupid will happen. And you start laughing. And then she starts laughing. And pretty soon you’re not really laughing at anything in particular, you’re just kind of laughing and she’s laughing at you laugh. And you can’t get words out.

That’s when you think, This is pretty great. And you know the other person thinks that too. Those moments only come from a place of love.

My girlfriend and I had that moment this past weekend, and so I’m happy.

Other things that are happening; I’ve started reading a tome called The Upanishads. It’s a collection of Indian teachings by ancient spiritual sages. An Upanishad is a story. Sometimes poetry, sometimes allegory, and other times just a writing, but they convey wisdom. Sometimes I love a particular verse in The Upanishads. Sometimes I’ll read a page and have no idea what the hell is going on. But there is wisdom in the words of these ancient sages who’ve studied the peaks and crags of consciousness through meditation. And so I read. You don’t have to understand everything to feel the power of their teachings, and it’s better that you don’t.

They write in words that take subtlety and nuance with repeated readings.

Life is constant learning, and effort to stay mindful of what’s happening right now.

I work every day. But that doesn’t mean that I get to fade out in the small moments of life. There is beauty and wisdom in the smallest moment. 

Whenever I’m finishing a post I always think, If there was one thing to leave those brave enough to finish this post with, what would it be?

For this post; your life is contained in the smallest moment. Look at one interaction, one minute, one flashing moment of happiness, your life is there.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that any moment, no matter how small, is even remotely insignificant.

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

I want to write for myself

I want to write for myself

I want to write for myself. My blog is getting more popular. My posts are getting enough attention for me to start subconsciously catering to who I’m writing for.

That’s bad. If I’m putting up politically correct, sterile post that are exactly what I think others want to hear, then I’m going to be writing some shitty posts.

It’s actually gotten to the point where I feel I’m writing for other people and not myself so much that in the past five days, I’ve only written two or three posts for my supposed ‘daily blog’.

You feel what I’m saying? So this post is my attempt to take back my writing for me. Just doing some shit that I think is fun.

Banana blueberry pancakes.

Like that shit. I like that shit. It makes me smile a little inside.

I’ve written before about what readers’ come to your blog for. You can have a lifestyle blog, a travel blog, whatever the bumblefuck. But ultimately, your readers come back for you. Who you are as a writer.

So, since my blog is a lifestyle blog, the emphasis is more on how I say things than what I’m saying. When you follow this blog, you follow it for who I am and what I’ve deemed helpful enough to share.

And at the very least, I’m just writing for what I think is fun and helpful – and sometimes it helps people through how they’re feeling or whatever.

I’ve read a lot on what growing your brand means, and ‘having a platform’ is all about. That topic gets traffic from beginner writers who fade away within a few months.

I’ve noticed in things I stick in long enough that after a while, I stop looking up things on how to spread my influence. I just focus on doing the thing, irrespective of how others’ see it.

I just write because I don’t know my take on it until it’s written down.

Maybe I don’t even want this blog to blow up. Maybe I just want to write because writing is fun and I feel I’m decently good at it. Maybe I don’t want to worry about how many readers I have, or how many likes I get, or when I can successfully monetize my website.

What if I just want to write a piece about the deliciousness of apples, because I had an apple yesterday that was fucking bomb.

Now, looking up at the post, I’m kind of like… There’s no way people will enjoy this post.

So maybe I’ll tie it all together with a little string, just to see the underlying theme I’ve been writing about.

Stop worrying about others; do you.

In writing, in life. The only fight is being better today than you were yesterday.

And love life. Try and do that too, no matter how difficult it seems.

Act with kindness.

Do those things and you should be alright.

How do you be happy?

How do you be happy?

This question has whispered in my mind since I was a kid. I’m sure it’s been on everyone’s mind since they were children. What makes you happy?

So let’s just list all the things I’ve done to try and make myself happy; I’ve tried LSD. Psilocybin. I’ve rolled on molly at an edm music festival. I’ve gone mountain biking, rock-climbing, backpacking, camping, surfing, and hiking. I’ve stayed up all night drinking with friends, and smoked at sunrise. I’ve meditated, and written, and read. I tried Christianity for close to four years, I’ve tried Buddhism, and philosophy. I have a beautiful, loving girlfriend.

Close friends. Played soccer. Decently popular in high school.

And yet, there is so often pain. And loss. Doubt, suffering, feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, jealousy, they coat my life.

I can be on cloud nine one second, and then the next I might be plunged into the shadows by a passing thought.

I understand: through what I’ve read, one thing is clear – life has suffering. That’s not in a depressing way, it’s a fact. If you’re alive, there is no separation from pain. It’s as inherent to being human as breathing.

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And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

Kahlil Gibran

Okay, so what is the difference from me and a person like Jesus or the Dalai Lama? People who lived without suffering?

That assumption is flawed. Who said Jesus didn’t suffer? Who said Jesus didn’t feel incredible depths of pain? He probably felt deeper pain than any human alive, because he was so compassionate to the suffering of every living thing. He saw pain in everyone, and that probably cut him deeper than anyone else ever felt.

The pain that hurts most in our lives is not for ourselves.

It’s the pain of losing someone else, it’s the pain of not being able to live someone else’s life for them. It’s the pain of watching a loved one suffer.

And when Jesus was crucified he felt doubt, suffering, and pain.

At three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Psalm 22

I’m not Christian. I’m not preaching. I’m trying to make a point. The most loving person felt the deepest pain a human could experience because he was so filled with light.

But if you look across all the religions, or just talk to some of the happiest people you know, they all have something in common.

Loving kindness for others.

In Buddhism, the state of loving kindness for others is called Bodhissatva, and it’s the level just beneath enlightenment.

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There are two other states in Buddhism that have lasting happiness: learning, and realization. Learning is where you gain knowledge about life, and realization is where you come to an awakening of some truth in the world.

An example of this is playing guitar – if you love playing, hours can fly past while learning a piece. And when you master a certain piece through discipline, you can feel like the world connects in a sub-conscious way that you’ve just gotten a glimpse of.

Why did I write this?

This question has been on my mind lately. And from what I’ve gleaned over the years, no one has it figured out. And if someone says they do, they’re trying to sell you something.

But it’s okay. If you take one thing from this post, be kind to people. 

All anyone wants is to be happy, and feel loved.

And I don’t really know how to finish this post, so I’m going to steal a line from a fantastic vlogger you should definitely check out, named Ben Brown.

Remember to work hard, be nice to people, and try not to get lost or killed. 

Yeah. That seems appropriate.

 

 

If you’re advancing your purpose, does it really matter what work you do?

If you’re advancing your purpose, does it really matter what work you do?

I work front desk at a gym during the day. Usually I get to write, read, and relax. Basically do whatever I want.

Today was slightly different. I did my normal things, and then about an hour ago the general manager comes up and asks me to help clean nasty work-out machines. Hair, dirt, dust, and sweat coated these disgusting things.

And that lasted for an hour or so. Hour and a half maybe.

But a half hour in, I started thinking, Dude, this freaking blows — I work front desk, why’re they having me clean these machines? But the personal trainers and my managers were out there cleaning too, so I couldn’t really complain.

And then a thought dawned on me; does it really matter what work I’m doing as long as it’s furthering my purpose in life?

If doing this kind of work is furthering my dream to travel, I should want to do it every day.

I’m not sure about other people, but entitled thoughts sometimes come to me.

I shouldn’t have to do manual labor, I shouldn’t have to do disgusting work, I shouldn’t have to bust my ass to earn money to travel.

Dude, if you have the privilege to even be able to further your dream, you should take whatever work comes with a smile on your face.

Enough of entitlement, complaints, and whining. They’re not going to help you in whatever you pursue in life. Especially complaints, whining, and a non-working attitude.

World-class soccer players are born in dirty, poor streets.

You’ve probably heard of Cristiano Ronaldo at some point. When he was younger, he was so poor he would ball dirty pieces of laundry together and play around with it like it was a soccer ball. He couldn’t afford a real one.

If you’re advancing your life purpose, does it really matter whether you’re flipping burgers or washing dishes? Cleaning disgusting work-out machines?

And if you hate your job, and you’re not advancing your life purpose, then you have a serious problem. You can make good money and still be poor.

It’s better to do shit work in the pursuit of something you love, than to not have any hope at all.