The Inherent Meditation Of Creativity

Being creative is as innate to being human as eating, talking, walking and thinking is. It has always been a process we naturally prioritize; our ancestors somehow found time to carve their images and stories on cave walls. But we’ve mistakenly grown to regard it as some form of luxury – you’re lucky if you have the means to express yourself.

In reality, it is a manner of education, communication, and ultimately, self-introspection, and we are in constant manifestation of it. The mediums have shifted from rock particles to pixels, but we can all still see that there is something inherently human about wanting to imprint, impress, craft, mold, form, paint, write and otherwise mold something abstract into that which is conceivable to someone else.

Unsurprisingly then, it seems that the most effective creative process is one that follows the art of meditation, mindfulness, intuition, non-resistance, non-judgement, etc.

I did not begin writing because it was something I liked. It was how I figured my way out of pain. It didn’t take too long to realize that I didn’t want to spend my life creating or exacerbating problems only to think and feel my way out for the sake of a job. I wanted to be able to write and create just because. Just because I’m alive and breathing and can.

I had to learn that my expression did not need to be justified – it is valid because I am a valid human being, the same as you, and everybody else.

But in the meantime, I tried all the classic writing routines of the greats, the promised formulas for consistent, rhythmic creation. I tried to be structured, did anything to induce “flow,” intentionally probed at the deep dark untouched corners of myself, was routine even when I didn’t want to be, and found every bit of it to be dead-ended.

I was trying to create structure where structured need not be placed. It did little more than make the process stagnate.

The reason being, mostly, that we do not ebb and flow in and out of creation. It is an unseen constant, from the clothes we choose to the sentences we say to the way we arrange our desks at work.

It comes down to imagining writing (or painting, or singing, or whatever it is you do) as coming as naturally as breathing does: it’s an effortless process, it draws upon what is outside you and transforms it as it goes through you, and it is tensed, stressed, ebbed and made more difficult when we consciously try to do it.

In fact, anything creative tends to be most hampered by end goals. It is almost imperative that you are completely mindful of the moment, creating from a place of simply allowing whatever is going through you to flow out.

Because when you have a pre-prescribed path in mind, it means you are trying to align with somebody else’s. It means that the inspiration you have found is you creating your own version of somebody’s something else that made you tick and flow.

You’ll seldom be inspired by work that is coming from a core truth, and that’s because it shows you something about yourself. Not just something, the truest truth – that’s what makes the process so god damn unbearable.

And that’s why we reach for structure, that’s what makes us stopper the process. That’s why we want inspiration and validation and external support.

In the true essence of real zen, the most creativity can be fostered when you learn to do so without passing judgment: similar to how observing your thoughts and feelings objectively are the path to peace as well.

Some of what you write down you’ll want to share, or make consumable. Some you won’t. That’s okay too. It’s imperative to realize that even the greatest artists weren’t consistently prolific, especially not publicly. But considering that “inactivity” a lack, loss or failure is just attaching another ego-meaning to it all.

You cannot quantify your creativity, and though it is an extension and impression and expression of yourself, it does not define you.

You are free to keep the sacredness of your most inner self only within your own existence. The more you can express that, and live that, without judgment, and in the moment, the more you’ll feel free to be honest, and open up to yourself. The more you feel comfortable with that core self, the more you’ll feel able to create from a peaceful place. Just because. Whenever you want.

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What If We Saw Souls Instead Of Bodies?

What If We Saw Souls Instead Of Body

If we could see souls instead of bodies, what would be beautiful?

What is the first thing people would know about you? What would you be most afraid of them seeing? Who would you impress? Who would you love?

What would you adjust as you walked past the mirror? What kind of work would you be in? What would your goals be, how would you strive to be better if what you collected in the bank or put on your body or attached next to your name on a business card no longer affected what people saw?

Would you spend your time in gyms and stores or in libraries and temples? Who would you let yourself fall in love with? What would your ‘type’ be? Tall, dark and handsome or creative, kind and self-aware?

Who would we idolize, and what? How much of our governing body would be fit to lead? Who would we make famous? Who would we celebrate?

Would we restructure our value system to prioritize the things that bring us true peace and desire, not just better than the norm? What would we do with all that money, if we weren’t spending it on decorating and changing and convincing everybody else that we are a way we really aren’t?

How would we define success? As who gathers the most shit around their souls or who is transformed the most and shines the brightest? What would it be like, if our priority was to just become lightness? What kindness and joy and healing and rawness would come of the journey there?

What would happen if we could see people not as “bad,” but as… blocked? If we could see the ways they’ve packed away their pain, or how they hold a belief that keeps them away from being kind to others? How they are unaware that those issues even exist?

What if we weren’t afraid of the ways people are different than us?

What would happen if we realized our bodies never wanted anything more than to feel connected, and acted out on nothing more than their false ideas of being separate, different, exiled, the odd one out, the almost-but-not-good-enough?

What would happen if we embraced our desire to play out and frame with our individualism, but eventually returned to the knowing that we are all just energy fields? And where would we be if we realized that we were all from the same one? What would happen if we realized we really weren’t that different at all?

Ways To Stop Worrying About How Your Life Looks And Start Focusing On How It Feels

Ways To Stop Worrying About How Your Life Looks And Start Focusing On How It Feels

1. Count how many times you’ve really been happy after you got something you thought you wanted. What happened after you got the relationship you were lusting after? What happened after you got that job? What happened when you made more money? Chances are, things were different, but proportionately good and bad.

2. Make a list of all the imperfect people you’ve known in your life who have had love. Who have had romantic partners and best friends and jobs you could only ever dream of. Make a list of all the people who are conventionally unattractive and spiritually adrift and imperfect and all the things each one of them had despite being that way. Make it your own personal proof that you do not need to be perfect to be good enough.

3. Ask yourself what you’d do if social media were no object, and nobody would know. What would you do this Saturday, what would you do tonight? What would your career goals be, how many photos would you really take? Who would you hang out with, where would you live, if you weren’t silently policing yourself through the lens of “what other people see.”

4. Ask yourself what you’d do if money were no object, and you could do anything. This is a classic exercise that many people dismiss because of how impractical it is. Unfortunately, those people aren’t thinking deeply enough to understand the real point. It’s not to discover what you’d actually do if you didn’t have to worry about money (that’s not our reality) it’s about the essence of what you’d do, and how you can incorporate that into your everyday life. Would you vacation, would you keep your current job? It just goes to show you whether you value relaxation or accomplishments or whatever else, and understanding what you value is crucial to understanding who you are.

5. Take photos to remember happy moments, not prove that you looked good or did something cool. Make a special album on your phone just for “happy moments.” When you feel good or are enjoying yourself or have some kind of revelation, just take a photo of whatever’s in front of you (however unworthy of Instagram it is.) When you look back at these seemingly random snapshots, you’ll experience those feelings all over again. You’ll see, by contrast, the emotional difference between capturing the moments that matter to you and creating moments to matter for other people.

6. Identify the “people” you always think are judging you. You know how people always say that? “People are judging me.” “I’m worried about what people will think.” Most of the time, those “people” are a faceless crowd that only exist in your mind. In other words, they’re you, projected outward. It’s what you’re judging yourself for. The first step is realizing that the “people” you worry about don’t really exist.

7. Think about what makes you feel the most jealous. The things that make us the most jealous and envious are usually the things that we feel we’re not living up to within ourselves. We’re jealous of the beautiful girl not because we want to be beautiful like her, but because we’re lacking something so much more important, which is love for ourselves. We’re jealous of the successful writer not because we also want to be lauded, but because we know we’re not doing the work to get there.

8. Don’t clean before someone comes over. Save for people who, you know, aren’t hygienic, don’t worry about setting up a stage when someone else visits. I’m not talking about straightening up or putting personal items away, but actually trying to construct an appearance that is the physical equivalent of bleach blonde hair dye. Let people into your life in a true way. Let them enter a moment in your life, just as it’s happening. It’s the only way you truly bond.

9. Re-think how you celebrate the most important days of the year. Most people do it with relatives they see only on holidays, who they don’t have genuine relationships with otherwise, and who they are vaguely unhappy to have to see. These days are meant to be spent treating the people who love you all year round to parties and meals and gifts. Not the people who you feel morally obligated (but emotionally repressed) into stomaching.

10. Get rid of things that aren’t purposeful or meaningful. The reason why this is so important is because things are defining, especially when we buy them with the intention of making us “different.” Our things construct our experiences. They create what we see and by extension how we feel. They are the means through which we put ourselves together each day. It’s not about having as little as possible, it’s about having only things that serve purpose or hold meaning. Do it. It will transform your life. (And that’s no small claim to make.)

11. Ask yourself: “If I knew nobody would judge me, what would I stand for?” What do you inherently agree with, once you’re past all the self-imposed social filters? People think being conscious of their hidden thoughts and feelings and prejudices = being unaware and ignorant, but the opposite is true. It’s being unaware that’s a problem.

12. Ask yourself: “If I could tell every single person in the world just one thing, one sentence, what would it be?” Would you say: “it’s going to be okay?” “Don’t worry so much?” “Seek the best in others?” “Follow me on Twitter?” What you think you’d want to say to everyone out there is actually a projection of what you most need to hear. That’s what you most want to tell you.

13. Decide that to be worthy of something is just to be grateful to have it. You choose what your self-esteem is measured by. You decide what your worth is based on. You decide whether or not you’re good enough for something, and because that is the case, decide that the people who are worthy of what they have are the ones who are grateful to have it. Nothing more, nothing less.

14. Realize that you are not only as accomplished as you are over your biggest hurdle. You’re not only as “good” as you are “perfect,” you’re not only as “good” as you are better than someone else, either. In the words of Oprah (who else?) you can have everything, just not at the same time. Be grateful for this: it means you have the opportunity to appreciate what’s in front of you, and you always have something else to work toward and look forward to.

15. Assume that all things are for the best. When people care most about how their lives look is when they’re most closed to how their lives feel. When they’re most closed to how their lives feel is when they don’t want to feel pain. Being truly at peace requires realizing that everything is for the best: everything in your life does one of three things: shows you to yourself, heals a part of yourself, or lets you enjoy a part of yourself. If you adopt that perspective, there’s nothing left to fear.

16. Ask yourself: “If the whole world were blind, how many people would I impress?” This Boonaa Mohammed quote has been making the rounds lately, but it’s always important. Truly imagine a life in which you could not see things. In which all that exists is how you feel, and how you make others feel. In this kind of world, what kind of person are you, and is it for those reasons that, perhaps, creating a life that looks good to earn other people’s love has supplemented having your own?

The Only Problem With Your Life Is The Way You Think About It

1. You generally spend more time thinking about your life than you do actually living it. You spend more time dissecting problems than you do coming to solutions, more time daydreaming than you do asking yourself what those thoughts indicate is lacking or missing in your waking life, or coming up with new solutions as opposed to actually committing to the ones that are already in front of you. You’ve replaced “reflection” with “experience,” and wonder why you feel unfulfilled.

2. You don’t find wonder in the simple pleasures, the way you once did. You think nature is boring and “play” is for children and there’s nothing awe-inspiring about a shaft of light through the window or a stranger’s smile or a spring day or your favorite book in bed. When you’ve lost sight of the magic of the little things, it’s not because the magic has gone elsewhere, only that you’ve chosen to disregard it in favor of something else.

3. You have something you wanted in the past, but you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would, or you’ve replaced your desire for it with a desire for something else. Bring yourself back to the feeling of wanting what you have more than anything, the way you once did. Try to embody that. You’re making yourself prouder than you realize.

4. If you were to tell your younger self what your life is like now, they’d be in disbelief. You seriously could not have imagined that your life would turn out as well as it did – that the worst things became turning points, not endless black holes of emotion.

5. You think of money in terms of “obligation” not “opportunity.” Your mindset is: “I have to pay my bills,” as opposed to “I get to pay my bills, which house me, clothe me, and feed me, and that I can pay for by myself.” If you don’t value money by appreciating what it does for you, you’ll never feel as though you have enough.

6. You think you don’t have enough friends. You’re measuring the connection in your life by a quantity, not a quality, assuming that the problem is not enough around you, when it’s really that there’s not enough inside you.

7. You’re either over-reliant or under-attached to the friends you do have. You either don’t keep in touch enough or you get easily frustrated because you think that friends should make you feel “better” and “happy” in an unrealistic way. So you think that the only way to achieve that is to over-bond yourself to them, or disregard them when they don’t fulfill the role you’ve imposed on them (hence your feeling as though you don’t have enough!)

8. You imagine your life as though someone else was seeing it. Before you make a decision, you recite a storyline in your head. It goes something like this: “she went to college, she got this job, she married this guy after a terrible breakup, and all was well.” This is what happens when your happiness starts to come from how other people feel about you, as opposed to how you feel about yourself.

9. Your goals are outcomes, not actions. Your goals are to “be successful” or “see a certain number in the bank” as opposed to “enjoy what you do each day, no matter what you’re doing” or “learn to love saving more than frivolously spending.” Outcomes are just ideas. Actions are results.

10. You assume you have time. When it comes to doing what really matters to you – reconnecting with family, writing that book, finding a new job – you say “I’m only [such and such an age] I have a long time.” If you assume you “have time” to do something, or that you’ll do it later, you probably don’t want it as much as you think you do. There isn’t more time. You don’t know. You could be dead tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you have to get everything done today, but that there’s rarely an excuse not to start.
11. A bad feeling becomes a bad day. You think that experiencing negative emotions is the result of something being wrong in your life, when in reality, it’s usually just a part of being human. Anxiety serves us, pain serves us, depression does too. These things are signals, communications, feedbacks, and precautions that literally keep us alive. Until you begin thinking this way, all you will perceive is that “good feelings mean keep going” and “bad feelings mean stop,” and wonder why you’re paralyzed.

12. You think that being uncomfortable and fearful means you shouldn’t do something. Being uncomfortable and fearful means you definitely should. Being angry or indifferent means you definitely shouldn’t.

13. You wait to feel motivated or inspired before you act. Losers wait to feel motivated. People who never get anything done wait to feel inspired. Motivation and inspiration are not sustaining forces. They crop up once in awhile, and they’re nice while they’re present, but you can’t expect to be able to summon them any given hour of the day. You must learn to work without them, to gather your strength from purpose, not passion.

14. You maladaptively daydream. Maladaptive daydreaming is when you imagine extensive fantasies of an alternative life that you don’t have to replace human interaction or general function. Most people experiencing it while listening to music and/or moving (walking, riding in a car, pacing, swinging, etc.) Rather than cope with issues in life, you just daydream to give yourself a “high” that eliminates the uncomfortable feeling.

15. You’re saving up your happiness for another day. You’re sitting on the train on the way to work, thinking how beautiful the sunrise looks, and how you’d like to read your favorite book, but you don’t in favor of checking your email again. You begin to feel a sense of awe at something simple and beautiful, and stop yourself, because your dissatisfaction fuels you. You’re creating problems in one area of your life to balance out thriving in another, because your happiness is in a mental container.

Things That Occur When You Love What You Do But You Don’t Live To Work

It was a long holiday this week celebrating Sallah for my Muslim brethren in my country and the world. When the federal government decides to give everyone a big break.

In the space of the break, I became lazy to write anything, even thinking of what to write became a problem. But I got motivated after learning from a friend’s life experience. How does it feel to love what you do but don’t live to work.

Check this out….

1. You love your job, but you don’t love it more than other parts of your life. You don’t love it more than your partner, or cooking, or getting a full night’s sleep. People tend to think as though you’re either a “career” person or you’re doing something else with your life to supplement doing work, but you know that there does not need to be just One Thing that consumes you. You can care about a lot. You can do a lot. Just not all at the same time.

2. You’ll often find yourself working at a coffee shop on a Saturday morning because you… want to. A lot of people will confuse your desire to work a lot with a demand to work a lot. When you love what you do, it’s like a hobby and a paycheck all in one. You’d keep doing it to some degree, even if you weren’t getting paid for it.

3. People to expect you to be consumed by “passion” when really you’re more motivated by love. There’s this image people have of what it means to love your job, and it’s usually a cold-hearted black-pantsuit wearing half-human who is in a relationship with their email account and work wife. This isn’t your reality, though. You’re not consumed by your job, but you have grown to love it through commitment, presence and practice.

4. It wasn’t your first choice, or it’s not what you thought you’d be doing, but you believe those facts serve you more than they don’t. It’s often said that the people who truly succeed are the ones who aren’t emotionally invested in the outcome. Because they’re not invested, they’re not fearful, and so they act more than they think. People who are “passionate” about what they do are lost in their emotions, people who grow to love what they do are driven by daily actions and gratitude for them.

5. You’ll be okay if you’re never the “best” in the industry. In our extreme, gluttonous culture, we think that if you don’t have big dreams, you don’t have dreams at all. You know that it’s just as noble to aspire to being an excellent employee who works hard and spends time with their friends, if that’s what you really want. If you never live to be the next Biggest and Greatest with a line on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, but you did get to do a lot of other things you wanted, that’s just fine by you.

6. You’re happy to take weekends off and use your vacation days, but are just as excited to get back in the office (or on the laptop) once you’re done. And you honestly consider this the best part of enjoying what you do.

7. You see the meaning in the mundane. You may not be the one changing the world, but you believe in what you do, even if it’s a menial task. You’re happy and proud to assist the boss who does the great work, you’re grateful to make people their coffee in the morning. When you’re able to find purpose in the moment, you cut the line in front of everyone that’s trying to find it in the extraordinary ideas they don’t actually have the desire or drive to see out.

8. You know that the work is never done. I saved this one for last because it is the most important. People who love what they do but don’t live to work are just the ones who know that the work is never done. There are always going to be more emails, more clients, more problems, more assignments. Most people live under the pretense that once their work is “complete” they’ll be free to relax and live, but they’re searching for a finish line that doesn’t exist (well, maybe not until retirement, or, you know, death.)

Repost: 15 Signs The Only Problem With Your Life Is The Way You Think About It

1. You generally spend more time thinking about your life than you do actually living it. You spend more time dissecting problems than you do coming to solutions, more time daydreaming than you do asking yourself what those thoughts indicate is lacking or missing in your waking life, or coming up with new solutions as opposed to actually committing to the ones that are already in front of you. You’ve replaced “reflection” with “experience,” and wonder why you feel unfulfilled.

2. You don’t find wonder in the simple pleasures, the way you once did. You think nature is boring and “play” is for children and there’s nothing awe-inspiring about a shaft of light through the window or a stranger’s smile or a spring day or your favorite book in bed. When you’ve lost sight of the magic of the little things, it’s not because the magic has gone elsewhere, only that you’ve chosen to disregard it in favor of something else.

3. You have something you wanted in the past, but you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would, or you’ve replaced your desire for it with a desire for something else. Bring yourself back to the feeling of wanting what you have more than anything, the way you once did. Try to embody that. You’re making yourself prouder than you realize.

4. If you were to tell your younger self what your life is like now, they’d be in disbelief. You seriously could not have imagined that your life would turn out as well as it did – that the worst things became turning points, not endless black holes of emotion.

5. You think of money in terms of “obligation” not “opportunity.” Your mindset is: “I have to pay my bills,” as opposed to “I get to pay my bills, which house me, clothe me, and feed me, and that I can pay for by myself.” If you don’t value money by appreciating what it does for you, you’ll never feel as though you have enough.

6. You think you don’t have enough friends. You’re measuring the connection in your life by a quantity, not a quality, assuming that the problem is not enough around you, when it’s really that there’s not enough inside you.

7. You’re either over-reliant or under-attached to the friends you do have. You either don’t keep in touch enough or you get easily frustrated because you think that friends should make you feel “better” and “happy” in an unrealistic way. So you think that the only way to achieve that is to over-bond yourself to them, or disregard them when they don’t fulfill the role you’ve imposed on them (hence your feeling as though you don’t have enough!)

8. You imagine your life as though someone else was seeing it. Before you make a decision, you recite a storyline in your head. It goes something like this: “she went to college, she got this job, she married this guy after a terrible breakup, and all was well.” This is what happens when your happiness starts to come from how other people feel about you, as opposed to how you feel about yourself.

9. Your goals are outcomes, not actions. Your goals are to “be successful” or “see a certain number in the bank” as opposed to “enjoy what you do each day, no matter what you’re doing” or “learn to love saving more than frivolously spending.” Outcomes are just ideas. Actions are results.

10. You assume you have time. When it comes to doing what really matters to you – reconnecting with family, writing that book, finding a new job – you say “I’m only [such and such an age] I have a long time.” If you assume you “have time” to do something, or that you’ll do it later, you probably don’t want it as much as you think you do. There isn’t more time. You don’t know. You could be dead tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you have to get everything done today, but that there’s rarely an excuse not to start.

11. A bad feeling becomes a bad day. You think that experiencing negative emotions is the result of something being wrong in your life, when in reality, it’s usually just a part of being human. Anxiety serves us, pain serves us, depression does too. These things are signals, communications, feedbacks, and precautions that literally keep us alive. Until you begin thinking this way, all you will perceive is that “good feelings mean keep going” and “bad feelings mean stop,” and wonder why you’re paralyzed.

12. You think that being uncomfortable and fearful means you shouldn’t do something. Being uncomfortable and fearful means you definitely should. Being angry or indifferent means you definitely shouldn’t.

13. You wait to feel motivated or inspired before you act. Losers wait to feel motivated. People who never get anything done wait to feel inspired. Motivation and inspiration are not sustaining forces. They crop up once in awhile, and they’re nice while they’re present, but you can’t expect to be able to summon them any given hour of the day. You must learn to work without them, to gather your strength from purpose, not passion.

14. You maladaptively daydream. Maladaptive daydreaming is when you imagine extensive fantasies of an alternative life that you don’t have to replace human interaction or general function. Most people experiencing it while listening to music and/or moving (walking, riding in a car, pacing, swinging, etc.) Rather than cope with issues in life, you just daydream to give yourself a “high” that eliminates the uncomfortable feeling.

15. You’re saving up your happiness for another day. You’re sitting on the train on the way to work, thinking how beautiful the sunrise looks, and how you’d like to read your favorite book, but you don’t in favor of checking your email again. You begin to feel a sense of awe at something simple and beautiful, and stop yourself, because your dissatisfaction fuels you. You’re creating problems in one area of your life to balance out thriving in another, because your happiness is in a mental container.

Originally posted by Brianna Weist

16 Ways To Stop Worrying About How Your Life Looks And Start Focusing On How It Feels

Originally from Brianna Weist

1. Count how many times you’ve really been happy after you got something you thought you wanted. What happened after you got the relationship you were lusting after? What happened after you got that job? What happened when you made more money? Chances are, things were different, but proportionately good and bad.

2. Make a list of all the imperfect people you’ve known in your life who have had love. Who have had romantic partners and best friends and jobs you could only ever dream of. Make a list of all the people who are conventionally unattractive and spiritually adrift and imperfect and all the things each one of them had despite being that way. Make it your own personal proof that you do not need to be perfect to be good enough.

3. Ask yourself what you’d do if social media were no object, and nobody would know. What would you do this Saturday, what would you do tonight? What would your career goals be, how many photos would you really take? Who would you hang out with, where would you live, if you weren’t silently policing yourself through the lens of “what other people see.”

4. Ask yourself what you’d do if money were no object, and you could do anything. This is a classic exercise that many people dismiss because of how impractical it is. Unfortunately, those people aren’t thinking deeply enough to understand the real point. It’s not to discover what you’d actually do if you didn’t have to worry about money (that’s not our reality) it’s about the essence of what you’d do, and how you can incorporate that into your everyday life. Would you vacation, would you keep your current job? It just goes to show you whether you value relaxation or accomplishments or whatever else, and understanding what you value is crucial to understanding who you are.

5. Take photos to remember happy moments, not prove that you looked good or did something cool. Make a special album on your phone just for “happy moments.” When you feel good or are enjoying yourself or have some kind of revelation, just take a photo of whatever’s in front of you (however unworthy of Instagram it is.) When you look back at these seemingly random snapshots, you’ll experience those feelings all over again. You’ll see, by contrast, the emotional difference between capturing the moments that matter to you and creating moments to matter for other people.

6. Identify the “people” you always think are judging you. You know how people always say that? “People are judging me.” “I’m worried about what people will think.” Most of the time, those “people” are a faceless crowd that only exist in your mind. In other words, they’re you, projected outward. It’s what you’re judging yourself for. The first step is realizing that the “people” you worry about don’t really exist.

7. Think about what makes you feel the most jealous. The things that make us the most jealous and envious are usually the things that we feel we’re not living up to within ourselves. We’re jealous of the beautiful girl not because we want to be beautiful like her, but because we’re lacking something so much more important, which is love for ourselves. We’re jealous of the successful writer not because we also want to be lauded, but because we know we’re not doing the work to get there.

8. Don’t clean before someone comes over. Save for people who, you know, aren’t hygienic, don’t worry about setting up a stage when someone else visits. I’m not talking about straightening up or putting personal items away, but actually trying to construct an appearance that is the physical equivalent of bleach blonde hair dye. Let people into your life in a true way. Let them enter a moment in your life, just as it’s happening. It’s the only way you truly bond.

9. Re-think how you celebrate the most important days of the year. Most people do it with relatives they see only on holidays, who they don’t have genuine relationships with otherwise, and who they are vaguely unhappy to have to see. These days are meant to be spent treating the people who love you all year round to parties and meals and gifts. Not the people who you feel morally obligated (but emotionally repressed) into stomaching.

10. Get rid of things that aren’t purposeful or meaningful. The reason why this is so important is because things are defining, especially when we buy them with the intention of making us “different.” Our things construct our experiences. They create what we see and by extension how we feel. They are the means through which we put ourselves together each day. It’s not about having as little as possible, it’s about having only things that serve purpose or hold meaning. Do it. It will transform your life. (And that’s no small claim to make.)

11. Ask yourself: “If I knew nobody would judge me, what would I stand for?” What do you inherently agree with, once you’re past all the self-imposed social filters? People think being conscious of their hidden thoughts and feelings and prejudices = being unaware and ignorant, but the opposite is true. It’s being unaware that’s a problem.

12. Ask yourself: “If I could tell every single person in the world just one thing, one sentence, what would it be?” Would you say: “it’s going to be okay?” “Don’t worry so much?” “Seek the best in others?” “Follow me on Twitter?” What you think you’d want to say to everyone out there is actually a projection of what you most need to hear. That’s what you most want to tell you.

13. Decide that to be worthy of something is just to be grateful to have it. You choose what your self-esteem is measured by. You decide what your worth is based on. You decide whether or not you’re good enough for something, and because that is the case, decide that the people who are worthy of what they have are the ones who are grateful to have it. Nothing more, nothing less.

14. Realize that you are not only as accomplished as you are over your biggest hurdle. You’re not only as “good” as you are “perfect,” you’re not only as “good” as you are better than someone else, either. In the words of Oprah (who else?) you can have everything, just not at the same time. Be grateful for this: it means you have the opportunity to appreciate what’s in front of you, and you always have something else to work toward and look forward to.

15. Assume that all things are for the best. When people care most about how their lives look is when they’re most closed to how their lives feel. When they’re most closed to how their lives feel is when they don’t want to feel pain. Being truly at peace requires realizing that everything is for the best: everything in your life does one of three things: shows you to yourself, heals a part of yourself, or lets you enjoy a part of yourself. If you adopt that perspective, there’s nothing left to fear.

16. Ask yourself: “If the whole world were blind, how many people would I impress?” This Boonaa Mohammed quote has been making the rounds lately, but it’s always important. Truly imagine a life in which you could not see things. In which all that exists is how you feel, and how you make others feel. In this kind of world, what kind of person are you, and is it for those reasons that, perhaps, creating a life that looks good to earn other people’s love has supplemented having your own?

Repost: 8 Reasons It’s So Hard To Be Genuine In A Society That’s Uncomfortable With Radical Honesty

After getting in touch with one of my great writers “Brianna Weist” I decided to repost one of her greatest write up.

1. If society had a mantra, it would be: “Be yourself… No, not like that!” We encourage people to be their authentic selves, and at the same time, we are even more adamant about people adhering to the appropriate social code of the moment. So, you can be yourself, as long as that person is aligned with our singular idea of what “authenticity” looks like.

2. People only like authenticity when it’s comforting, not when it makes them question their own choices and ideals. People are only supportive when someone’s life choices support or validate their own. When our main mode of gauging our acceptability is evaluating other people’s lives by upward or downward comparisons to our own, it’s hard to see their actions independent of what they “mean” to us.

3. “Following your own path” is terrifying – because it’s unknown. Following someone else’s road at least lets you know where you’re going. The reason most people take the road most travelled is because forging your way through the uncharted terrain is f*#king terrifying. (How ironic, that when you’re truly “on path” you usually feel most lost, or most uncertain.)

4. We think that being genuine is being radically happy, because you’re just “doing what you want.” A lot of the time, however, being genuine brings up more problems than it does solutions. (At least, in the beginning.) Do you stay in the closet, or stay close to your family? Do you pursue a new career, or remain more financially stable? How do we navigate our way through the center? What matters more, at the end of the day?

5. Most people can’t see anything as valid unless they agree with it. So you can really only be genuine with some people, unless you want to offend and lose others in your life.

6. We’re a world of overthinkers, and when we’re not overthinking our own lives, we’re making judgments about other people’s. When we’re anxious about other people judging our lives, it’s because we subconsciously know that they, uh, are. It’s a matter of realizing this is true for everyone, and that they’ll judge whether we’re doing what we want or not.

7. It seems impossible to be honest about not wanting to hang out, or be friend with someone, or tell them that you think they should reconsider a choice, without mortally offending them. “Just be real with me!” is the ultimate commitment in modern friendship, though the opposite is usually true. It’s not normal to be able to contact people 24/7 – wanting space is not a statement against someone as a person. Having to be honest about why someone is making a terrible choice ultimately culminates in them thinking you don’t “support” them.

8. We think that we can only be friends with people who we agree with on everything. So if we want to change our lives, or our ideas, or ourselves, we have to do so with the knowledge that we may be exchanging our friends and their love and companionship.

Ways To Be Successful Aside Being Great At Your Job

Right now, it seems the only noble or worthwhile thing to do is to become an entrepreneur, a leader, a creative professional, or at least the most valuable person in the room. The problem is that not everybody is suited to do these things, and even fewer actually want to. But when we use our jobs as means of emotional validation – something we can work on to prove our inherent worth – this is what emerges. There are so many ways to measure a good life, aside from your day job, so here are a few ways to begin gauging the depth of your character beyond the implication of your title and the sum of your paycheck….

1. Do good work. Not what you think other people think is good work, but work in which you put forth so much complete, genuine effort that you are at peace with yourself at the end of the day.

2. Be the kind of person who actively, consciously seeks out the loving, kind parts of even the most undeserving, unkind people.

3. Always be open to the idea that you could be wrong, or your perspective could be misinformed, especially if you want to demand the same from others.

4. Learn to enjoy your life while not having to forego your responsibilities. Learn to find that enjoyment in them, not in spite of them.

5. Become the kind of person you think the world needs more of. Do what you often feel compelled to advise other people to do. Make the change you think needs to happen on the planet within your personal life.

6. Learn to live within your means, and happily so. Pay all of your bills, and save what you can. Relish in the kind of independence that brings.

7. Be the kind of person that other people feel better just for having been around. Learn how to comfort without placating, and love without losing yourself.

8. Be an incredible friend, one who is able to sustain a friendship despite major life changes, moves, or time. One who reaches out, makes phone calls, sends thank you cards.

9. Decide that what you have is enough – this is the only way to stop wanting.

10. Enjoy the holidays the way you did as a kid. Create your own traditions. Treat the people you love well.

11. Value your own opinions just a little bit more than you do other people’s. Don’t live your life trying to make sure everyone loves you but you.

12. Speak out when you see injustice, but do so by offering a better solution, not another personal attack just coming from a different angle.

13. Be the kind of person that your child self would be proud of.

14. Practicing loving people unconditionally – no matter what.

15. Learn to love yourself that way first.

16. Validate the emotions of the people who are closest to you. Doing so is an art form, and the essence of real intimacy (platonic or not).

17. Make time to do things you love, even if that something will never lead to a job, and even if you will never be the best at it.

18. Whatever you want to spend the most time consumed by – the family you already have, the family you want to build, the joy you find in your morning coffee or working on your novel-to-be for an hour each night – be someone who sticks to their priorities. Define your life with something you’re proud of, not just whatever you’re afraid not to have.

Signs You’ve Evolved More Than You Give Yourself Credit For

It’s hard to see how far along the path you’ve come while you’re so focused on taking each step – so to say. You’ve probably had the experience of a third party commenting on how much you’ve changed but barely being able to realize only because you’re with yourself each day. This is normal, but is also the product of focusing on how what’s left to do rather than what you’ve already accomplished – which is why it’s often hard to give yourself the credit you really deserve.

1. You have something in your life that you would have previously considered impossible, or at least, a dream come true. Sobriety, a degree, a partner, a dream job…

2. You forget how much you’ve gone through, simply because it doesn’t cross your mind anymore. Your past seems like it happened “in a different life.”

3. Your criteria for a romantic “type” are personality traits, not physical characteristics. Your idea of “love” has expanded beyond just the feeling that sexual attraction gives you.

4. You have more than just your problems to tal
bout with friends. More interests you than just gossip – as you’ve learned that those conversations have very little to do with other people, and absolutely everything to do with you.

5. The worst happened, and then it passed. You lost the person you thought you couldn’t live without and then you kept living. You lost your job then found another one. You began to realize that “safety” isn’t in certainty – but in faith that you can simply keep going.

6. You’ve created your own belief system, if not entirely and thoroughly questioned your existing one. You no longer subscribe to anything that doesn’t resonate or make sense to you.

8. You’re more discerning of who you spend your time with. You value your closest friends more than you do the idea of a “group.”

9. You don’t change any part of yourself – your personality, your opinions, even your clothes – based on who you’re going to be around that day.

10. You don’t blame other people for your problems anymore. You don’t choose to suffer because you assume if you complain loudly enough, the Universe will have to fix it.

11. You don’t relate to a lot of your old friends anymore, but you can still keep in touch and appreciate the role they had in your life.

12. You’re not worried about fitting in anymore, you sincerely don’t want to be “normal,” and you sincerely do not care about being “cool,” as you now see that the “cool kids” usually don’t get very far past high school.

13. You can talk about the problems in your life that you thought you’d absolutely never get over and you can also talk about exactly how you got over them.

14. You stop and enjoy life more often, rather than just sprinting from goal to goal.

15. You’re highly skeptical of anything that’s fed to you as being “just the way things are.” You’re always open to the idea that there could be a different, better, kinder, more enlightened way to live, and you’re always willing to at least try for it.

16. If you were to tell your younger self about the life you have now, they sincerely wouldn’t believe you.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ruthlessly Edit Your Life

People are very judgmental of those who like to “edit” their lives. They accuse them of not being happy in the moment, never being satisfied, being flighty, and so on. While it’s not to say that any one of those things is untrue – it is to say that everybody should take it upon themselves to edit their lives, and while being mindful of the feelings of those involved, still not apologize for pursuing what you truly want.

1. Greatness is a product of practice and commitment – you’re not supposed to get it “right” the first time. Any relationship, project, achievement or endeavor – from how you decorate your house to publish your first book – is a linear process. It’s never a matter of whether or not you get it right the first time, but how willing you are to keep trying.

2. It takes courage to change by your own volition. It takes guts to say “this is not the life I wanted… so I’m going to start over again.” It’s likely that the people who are judgmental of this wish they could do it, or that they had the means to.

3. Settling is the easy way out disguised as the comfortable, “ideal” option. And often, we can confuse the peace and ease and lure of “settling” with what we actually desire.

4. People who edit their lives believe they deserve the lives they want. They believe they deserve loving friends, and happy relationships, and to actualize all of their dreams, even if they have to work really hard to get there. It’s their inherent feeling of being worthy that makes them push forward.

5. It takes intelligence and heart to admit that you weren’t right the first time. Many people avoid changing their lives simply because they don’t want to take the ego hit of feeling as though they were “wrong.”

6. Everything is about evolution, at the end of the day. You will become excellent at what you practice each day – regardless of whether that’s art or gossip or brooding or music. Your life will accumulate to the sum of the little moments – no matter what they’re filled with. You will grow regardless, edit your life so it’s in a direction you actually want.

Signs You’re Not Unhappy – You’ve Just Outgrown Your Current Life

People do not change until not changing is the least comfortable option. Yet, the space between “realizing something isn’t right” and “taking action to fix it” can be decades and lifetimes long. Luckily, we don’t have to suffer forever and wait for things to get so bad, our survival instincts give us the energy to plow through. Here, a few signs you’re not actually unhappy, you’re just waiting for the life you’ve outgrown to get uncomfortable enough before you change it.

1. When you hangout with friends, you always end up talking about gossip or something negative, only because that’s what you bond over. Your time spent with others breeds pettiness and negativity, only because you aren’t genuinely connected enough to share anything more than that.

2. You get lost in thought, and find yourself binge thinking to the point of creating problems just to have something to deal with. When this happens, it’s just a product of being bored with your life, or not having something to entertain your mind with. (When the brain isn’t positively stimulated, it reverts to what it knows: fear and survival).

3. You’re becoming increasingly jealous of other people’s successes, even if you have no desire to achieve what they do. When this happens, it’s not because we want what someone else has, it’s because we know we aren’t working hard.enough toward what we want for ourselves.

4. You know what needs to change, you just don’t want to do it yourself. When this happens, it’s because we aren’t yet to the point of being so uncomfortable that we have no choice but to change. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) when you recognize what needs to shift, you will get to that point eventually (so better to take action now).

5. You are self-sabotaging by neglecting your responsibilities. Despite believing that they are important, you just don’t do them, or don’t do them on time. This is what happens when we don’t have a real desire to sustain the life we’re living – it’s a form of subconscious self-sabotage that pushes us to rebuild something new. (Luckily, we can do that rebuilding without the sabotage…)

6. You anxiety-scroll. You are at the peak of your social media addiction. You check random people’s pages with fervor, you feel as though if you were to neglect doing so at any point in time, you’d actually end up missing something extremely important, and you don’t want to be “surprised” by it. You think that this keeps you “safe” in a strange, delusional way. You enjoy posting photos of something more than you enjoy doing it. Validation of your online persona is beginning to supplement the lack validation you feel for who you actually are.

7. Your fear-thoughts motivate you. Imagining the worst possible outcome scares you into performing better, or getting more work done. When this is the case, it is almost always because you are doing something you should not be doing – or something you don’t actually want to be doing in the first place.

8. Your daily routine consists of things that satisfy your immediate desires, not your long-term goals. When you live jumping from whim-to-whim, it’s because you don’t have any bigger-picture goals to aspire to. You’re essentially just circling around yourself each day by constantly giving into what you want in the moment as opposed to what would be best for you in the long-term. You aren’t moving forward.

Uncomfortable Feelings That Actually Indicate You’re On The Right Path

Discomfort is what happens when we are on the precipice of change. Unfortunately, we often confuse it for unhappiness, and cope with the latter while running from the former. It usually takes a bit of discomfort to break through to a new understanding, to release a limiting belief, to motivate ourselves to create real change. Discomfort is a signal, one that is often very helpful. Here are a few (less than desirable) feelings that may indicate you’re on the right path after all- Brianna Weist

1. Feeling as though you are reliving your childhood struggles. You find that you’re seeing issues you struggled with as a kid reappear in your adult life, and while on the surface this may seem like a matter of not having overcome them, it really means you are becoming conscious of why you think and feel, so you can change it.

2. Feeling “lost,” or directionless. Feeling lost is actually a sign you’re becoming more present in your life – you’re living less within the narratives and ideas that you premeditated, and more in the moment at hand. Until you’re used to this, it will feel as though you’re off track (you aren’t).

3. “Left brain” fogginess. When you’re utilizing the right hemisphere more often (you’re becoming more intuitive, you’re dealing with emotions, you’re creating) sometimes it can seem as though “left brain” functions leave you feeling fuzzy. Things like focusing, organizing, remembering small details suddenly become difficult.

4. Having random influxes of irrational anger or sadness that intensify until you can’t ignore them anymore. When emotions erupt it’s usually because they’re “coming up” to be recognized, and our job is to learn to stop grappling with them or resisting them, and to simply become fully conscious of them (after that, we control them, not the opposite way around).

5. Experiencing unpredictable and scattered sleeping patterns. You’ll need to sleep a lot more or a lot less, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night because you can’t stop thinking about something, you find yourself full of energy or completely exhausted, and with little in-between.

6. A life-changing event is taking place, or just has. You suddenly having to move, getting divorced, losing a job, having a car break down, etc.

7. Having an intense need to be alone.
You’re suddenly disenchanted with the idea of spending every weekend out socializing, and other people’s problems are draining you more than they are intriguing you. This means you’re re-calibrating.

8. Intense, vivid dreaming that you almost always remember in detail. If dreams are how your subconscious mind communicates with you (or projects an image of your experience) then yours is definitely trying to say something. You’re having dreams at an intensity that you’ve never experienced before.

9. Downsizing your friend group; feeling more and more uncomfortable around negative people. The thing about negative people is that they rarely realize they are negative, and because you feel uncomfortable saying anything (and you’re even more uncomfortable keeping that in your life) you’re ghosting a bit on old friends.

10. Feeling like the dreams you had for your life are collapsing. What you do not realize at this moment is that it is making way for a reality better than you could have thought of, one that’s more aligned with who you are, not who you thought you would be.

11. Feeling as though your worst enemy are your thoughts. You’re beginning to realize that your thoughts do create your experience, and it’s often not until we’re pushed to our wit’s end that we even try to take control of them – and that’s when we realize that we were in control all along.

12. Feeling unsure of who you really are.
Your past illusions about who you ‘should’ be are dissolving. You feel unsure because it is uncertain! You’re in the process of evolving, and we don’t become uncertain when we change for the worse (we become angry and closed off). In other words: if what you’re experiencing is insecurity or uncertainty, it’s usually going to lead to something better.

13. Recognizing how far you still have to go. When you realize this, it’s because you can also see where you’re headed, it means you finally know where and who you want to be.

14. “Knowing” things you don’t want to know. Such as what someone is really feeling, or that a relationship isn’t going to last, or that you won’t be at your job much longer. A lot of “irrational” anxiety comes from subconsciously sensing something, yet not taking it seriously because it isn’t logical.

15. Having a radically intense desire to speak up for yourself. Becoming angry with how much you’ve let yourself be walked on, or how much you’ve let other people’s voices get into your head is a sign that you’re finally ready to stop listening, and love yourself by respecting yourself first.

16. Realizing you are the only person responsible for your life, and your happiness. This kind of emotional autonomy is terrifying, because it means that if you mess up, it’s all on you. At the same time, realizing it is the only way to be truly free. The risk is worth the reward on this one, always.

17 Ideas You’re Protecting About Your Life That Are Only Swaying You Back

1. If you work hard enough, success is a guarantee. Most people are rarely “successful” in the way they first set out to be. Rather than work toward an end-goal, work toward liking the process of getting there. Whether success is a product of chance or fate, all you can control is how much work you put in (not exactly what comes out).

2. Wanting something badly enough qualifies you to have it. Nobody ever got anything from just wanting it badly enough. You have to want it badly enough to sacrifice, and to work hard, become qualified, keep your head up through tons of rejection and doubt, and then rinse/repeat for as long as it takes.

3. You’ll be the exception to everything, so you don’t have to wear sunscreen or save money, or worry about your retirement plan or treat people respectfully, because your circumstances are just different than everyone else’s.

4. You’re a celebrity in your own mind – everyone is watching you, and judging your choices. The “spotlight complex” is undoubtedly linked to social media, but regardless, nobody is thinking about you the way you are thinking about you, nor nearly as much. Nobody cares if you wear an unflattering shirt out to the pharmacy. Nobody really cares what you do with your life, so stop making choices as though they do.

5. If you’re doing something right, results will be instantaneous. If you’re doing something right, the results will take a very long time to build up and produce an outcome you’re happy with.

6. “Busyness” is a good thing. Being busy is what happens when people are ill-equipped to manage their stress. People who actually have a lot to do just focus on getting it done, simply because they don’t have another choice.

7. There’s a “right time” to create. Or get married, or have a child, or start pursuing the life you feel called to. If you’re looking for an excuse as to why it’s not the right time, you’ll always find one.

8. Adulthood is “hard.” There are lots of things that are challenging and heartbreaking and trying in a life, but learning how to perform basic functions is not one of them.

9. Your purpose is something existentially profound. Your purpose is just to be here, and to do whatever job you find yourself doing. You don’t have to be consciously changing the world to fulfill it.

10. Everybody can have a job they love if they work hard enough. Everybody can find a way to enjoy their job – regardless of the inevitable challenges that come with any job – but nobody is entitled to do work that happens to fit precisely within their realm of interest and comfort.

11. You’re not responsible for that which you do unintentionally. Accidentally hurting someone’s feelings doesn’t really hurt them; time you don’t realize wasting isn’t wasted; money spent on “necessities” isn’t money spent. Essentially, if you aren’t conscious of the repercussions of something, they don’t count.

12. Your life partner is responsible for making you feel one very specific way. And you use that singular feeling to determine whether or not your relationship is “good,” or worthwhile.

13. To accept something, you must be happy about it, or at least okay with it. You can accept your circumstances (acknowledge they are real) while still disliking them strongly. You don’t have to like everything, but if you want to preserve your sanity, you have to accept whatever comes into your life before you can change it.

14. People are ruminating on the embarrassing stuff you did five years ago. They’re busy ruminating on their own stuff, the same way you are. (Are you thinking about things other people did over the years to any significant degree? It’s unlikely.)

15. You must be “right” to be a valid, intelligent human being. Really the most intelligent people are more open to being wrong than anyone (that’s how they learn) but regardless, you do not need to be consistently right or exceedingly smart or stunningly beautiful or anything else to be worthwhile, and lovable.

16. You are your struggles. You say “I am an anxious person,” rather than “I sometimes feel anxiety.” You identify with your problems, which is likely a huge reason why you can’t overcome them.

17. You can only be as happy as your circumstances allow. You will only be as happy as you choose to focus on what’s positive, reconcile and problem-solve what’s negative, build the relationships that matter, validate yourself, and develop your mindset. You cannot choose a feeling, but you can always choose what you think about. Rejecting the idea that you can do so is to submit and doom yourself to a life in which you are never truly happy at all.

10 Signs Your Life Is Changing For The Better (Even If It Feels Difficult Right Now)

The best thing about the worst things we go through is that they are always pathways to something better. A breakdown = a breakthrough we haven’t seen the other side yet. Often when we think our lives are most in chaos, it’s because they’re re-setting to where we want them to be. Here, a few (sometimes difficult) signs that your life is actually changing for the better, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now- Brianna Weist

1. You’re recognizing what you don’t want. All of a sudden, you’re becoming acutely aware of how much you dislike your work habits and how much your “friends” drain you and how little you feel like yourself lately. It may seem like you’re dissecting the anatomy of a disaster, but really, you’re getting clear on what you don’t want so you can get clearer about what you do.

2. You’re opening up to people again; isolation is no longer the most appealing option. Even if you’re just thinking about the fact that you need to open your heart more to the people around you, you’re already on the right track.

3. You’re unpredictably emotional. It’s just another way of saying that you’re not suppressing everything anymore. You’re beginning to feel again, which brings you one step closer to being able to deal with those feelings in a real way.

4. A lot of annoying clichés are starting to make sense. You’re seeing why hard work is important, and being present matters and positivity is a choice. You’re seeing how love is something you create and your life is what you make it and everything else that seemed like vapid, useless fodder is now the answer to everything, if only you could master it.

5. You’re becoming hyper self-conscious. It’s just a side effect of becoming more self-aware. Alternatively, you’re finally reaching a healthy equilibrium of being able to recognize both the positive and negative aspects about who you are, without denying or inflating either/or.

6. The changes you desire in your life surround wanting to feel more like yourself, not less. In the past, you may have dreamt of a life where you were über successful or incredibly beautiful or completely loved, all in an effort to combat feeling proportionately shitty about yourself. When you’re more in your center, you want your life to reflect who you are, not who you wish you were.

7. You feel “lost,” which is just another way of saying you’re detaching from your old ideas about what your life should be, or what the future should hold, and so on. Living in the present feels an awful lot like being “lost” before we get used to it.

8. You’re seeing your hardships as portals to a better understanding of yourself. Rather than battle off your emotional trauma or low self-esteem – or worse, try to control something else in its place – you’re beginning to realize that on the other side of the things that most deeply plague you is a deeper truth about who you are.

9. You’re beginning to realize that if you have a problem in your life, the problem is you. Aside from the fact that people love to project their issues onto other people and deflect from their own faults, whether or not a situation was your fault, if it is affecting you, it is your responsibility to change. The blame game is an irrelevant one. It’s as simple as that.

10. You know you’re not getting enough out of life, but now you’re starting to that maybe you’re not giving enough, either. You complain that you don’t have love but you don’t actually go out and try to date. You hate your job, but you don’t look for a new one. You’re always stressed, but you don’t work on being better about regulating your emotions or being able to focus harder and work more efficiently. You both recognize that you want more from your life and understand that it’s time you start making that happen.