- a catalogue of recent findings -
since how we operate in the world is so powerfully impacted by the state of how we feel, some of the most important things in our lives are those aspects of our everyday environment that consistently support our highest feelings: feelings such as love, appreciation, inspiration, fun, and joy.
choosing to organize our everyday environment in such a way that our most beneficial states are perpetually supported + even amplified is a very advanced (though deceptively simple) technique for accelerating the twin processes of self-transformation + self-discovery.
by infusing the objects + routines of our everyday experiences with meaning, we effectively elevate the ordinary to a new level of opportunity. we illuminate new areas of possibility simply by making conscious use of what is familiar + close-at-hand.
you may be surprised to learn that one of the easiest, most accessible, and most impactful areas of opportunity for deliberate cultivation of heartfelt appreciation + authentic self-expression is your wardrobe. this is because clothing, like our bodies, travels with us everywhere we go.
getting dressed presents a unique opportunity because it is a habitualized activity that is already embedded into our everyday experience. this means that it does not need to be re-trained - it only needs to be made meaningful.
clothing itself is intimately connected to our very sense-of-self + defines how we present ourselves to the world. it is connected to comfort, to security, and to confidence.
some time ago, i realized that if i could craft a wardrobe that inspired appreciation… that connected me authentically to who i most wanted to be… that simply felt good to wear…
… then i could effectively self-generate those very states i valued most every time i pulled on a sock or pair of pants or shirt or shoe.
i recognized clothing as a doorway: a doorway to advantage, to the very sort of feelings that sustained the sort of person i’d become + wished to be.
and so began a new process of discovery, an all-new adventure: i set out to build a wardrobe that suited me.
that was over a year ago. and the process proved invaluable. in fact, it has led me to some of the greatest + most unexpected discoveries of my life.
it has also led me to some incredible new clothes! i am very excited to introduce you to one example now.
MEET THE WOOBIE
please meet the woobie, by first-spear - perhaps the most important article of clothing that i have ever worn.
sewn in the USA using american merino wool, the woobie has been designed to exceed the rigorous expectations of a military application. it is a marvel of minimalist precision.
but don’t let its unassuming appearance fool you:
the woobie is extremely lightweight, breathable, naturally anti-microbial, water repellent, flame resistant, and whisper-quiet; it continues to insulate + warm while wet, features wrist-overs with built-in thumb holes, a stand-up collar, and even an extended tail for added warmth.
it is the warmest, softest, most comfortable + dependable piece of clothing i have ever encountered. it is also some of the best money i have ever spent.
i have owned my woobie for over a year now + still breathe an audible sigh of appreciation every time i pull it on (which is every single day under 80 deg. F, without fail).
and THERE’S the trick. (don’t miss it.) THIS is where the true value of this simple piece of equipment becomes apparent:
every time i pull it on, i experience a visceral swell of satisfaction, wonder, and thankfulness.
you see, the woobie isn’t “just a wool shirt” to me anymore: it’s a doorway, it’s an asset, it’s a gift - it’s a companion.
the woobie is actual magic: it explicitly affects me when i look at it, when i touch it, when i wear it - even when i think about it. this is a power that i have granted it on purpose:
the power to affect me, the power to affect the way i feel. this is the power of sincere appreciation:
every time i choose to wear my woobie, i’m improved.
sun potion has been with me now for years.
specializing in tonic herbs + superfoods, the brand has become synonymous with transformational foods.
as we’ve discussed previously, the world of “superfoods” has been positively overrun with crooks + cheats + swindlers, but this brand is a notable exception:
it is one of only two that i have come to deeply trust. it is one i still choose daily.
recently, i placed a new order with sun potion + have found myself emphatically reminded of its value.
i have always been fascinated by quality foods + by the benefits they propose, and i have always enjoyed cultivating a comprehensive awareness of those benefits.
i have also always enjoyed the process of experimentation that is typically required for discovering palatable methods of intake: the mad scientist process of mixology.
working with tonic herbs + superfood powders has helped me to cultivate a far greater respect for my food, and it’s helped me to become more creative, too.
it’s also another doorway to appreciation, wonder, intrigue, health, and fun. like the clothing discussed in the previous section, food is familiar, immediate, and necessary.
it is a perfect candidate for ritual application.
as an example of this, many people guzzle coffee in the morning-time. they do this with very little awareness. thus, the value of that experience is lost on them.
thanks in part to a brand like sun potion, however, i have learned to ritualize my morning beverage by creating instead a conscious elixir of tea + various beneficial herbs.
this choice has allowed me to enter far more fully into the (quite ordinary) experience of my every-morning tea. it has immeasurably enhanced its value to me.
now when i prepare the tea, i am aware of + appreciative for each of its many benefits to my body + my mind. my senses are heightened + i am conscious of every step.
now when i drink the tea, i take in so much more information: i am sensitive to subtleties of aroma, texture, temperature, and taste. most notably: i enjoy the drink so much.
as you can see, inviting a brand like sun potion to accompany my daily regimen is kind of a big deal. there were dozens of other brands that didn’t make the cut.
here’s a short list of their products that i’d highly recommend based on my own experience:
if you’re inspired by this section + wish to learn more about how to prepare some of the recommended options, please don’t hesitate to email me with questions.
work + pleasure
i recently enjoyed a rather in-depth conversation on facebook that was instigated by a single quote. the quote was from thomas merton:
it’s ridiculous to demand that work always be pleasurable, because work is not necessarily pleasing; sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
the question that attended this quote came from my friend, andy. it said simply: do you agree? why?
i felt compelled to articulate a response to this + feel excited to share that response with you now, because it contains so much of the essence of my work.
IMPORTANT: this is another of those power-packed pieces that deserves a very close inspection + thoughtful application. don’t miss out!
i like this question. i think it’s worthwhile to take one small step back from the idea of WORK to consider its CONTEXT. there is an important distinction to be made between the idea of “work” (or action of any kind) + the STATE from which that action is taken.
it’s helpful to consider “work” as NEUTRAL: the activity does not have any INHERENT value of “pleasurable” or “not pleasurable”. VALUE is a function of PERSPECTIVE. in other words, i am the one who determines by my state of being/mind whether an activity is enjoyable or unpleasant.
there is also a notable difference in QUALITY that arises when we are considering the possible STATES from which any given action can be taken. for instance (and i am putting this in very simple terms on purpose):
when i feel good (excited, inspired, enthusiastic, intrigued, appreciative), my output is of a TOTALLY different quality from when i feel badly (stuck, annoyed, discouraged, anxious, disinterested, rushed, fatigued).
when i feel good, i am able to accomplish MORE than when i feel badly:
i am able to overcome obstacles with ease + even find the process of doing so rather exhilarating;
i am capable of achieving MORE output in LESS overall time;
action requires less energy output or effort; and
there is a generative force to my decisions.
(this is a good place to consider the difference between CHALLENGE + STRUGGLE. the idea of “struggle” can be understood as a state from which CHALLENGE is accessed; whereas CHALLENGE itself can be of significant value when it is accessed from an improved state. in other words: “struggle” need not be ASSUMED as a prerequisite to GROWTH.)
so the question of “work” is really a question of STATE (or PERSPECTIVE) + of QUALITY.
based on this, to “demand that work always be pleasurable” is to misunderstand the mechanisms of PLEASURE. pleasure is a function of STATE, not of ACTION. pleasure is a value or meaning that adheres to an experience as a result of my PERSPECTIVE on that experience.
this requires an important FUNCTIONAL shift: rather than focusing on ACTIVITY, we consider the value of focusing on the FEELING STATE from which that activity arises.
rather than focusing my EFFORT on completing a given task, i can choose to apply my EFFORT toward cultivating an IMPROVED STATE to which the task itself becomes secondary + FROM which the task itself becomes EFFORTLESS + ENJOYABLE.
so is it NORMAL for work “always” to be pleasurable? definitely not. but is it POSSIBLE for work to “always” be pleasurable? it is at LEAST possible.
if i am capable of training an improved perspective + if i am willing to subordinate ACTION to the POSITION from which action is taken; if i am willing to attend FIRST to my FEELING STATE on the understanding that quality-of-action is EXPONENTIALLY IMPROVED by having done so; then i am able to gain a whole new control over the VALUE that is placed on my work as well as over the QUALITY of work that is achieved.
the experience of something as “pleasurable” or “not pleasurable” is entirely a matter of personal prerogative + is determined by the quality of one’s POSITION or FEELING-STATE in accessing that experience.
in even more concise terms: how i FEEL about any given activity determines how i EXPERIENCE that activity.
today’s playlist is called EXPANSION. it features a growing collection of heart-swelling compositions that consistently evoke a sense of spaciousness in my chest.
expansion represents a deep + inescapably visceral experience that often leaves me feeling absolutely breathless with a sense of inadvertent awe.
this is the sort of music that steals your attention away from whatever it is that you may be focusing on + transports you to some other realm entirely.
this is the music of daydreams.
i enjoy this music most when i am already experiencing swells of love or appreciation (or wonder or inspiration), but i also often use it in order to access those sensations.
the compositions of this playlist are dynamic: they crescendo + decline in ebbs + flows. they tell a story.
i invite you to USE this playlist.
don’t let it become another heap of random songs. this is not a mix radio. it has been curated to lead you into an experience. i encourage you to USE it as such…
… and let yourself dissolve into the swell.
this playlist is organized through spotify + is FREE to follow via the button just above or by clicking on this link. i hope that you’ll enjoy it as it grows.
two days ago, on 10/5/18, i set aside time for what i knew would be a very important experience. but despite my general understanding of what was to be expected, i still found myself completely unprepared for + (frankly) stunned by the actual magnitude of its effect.
perhaps the most celebrated exercise in medicine cards, a renowned collaborative effort between jamie sans + david carson, is a process known as the nine totem animals.
this process is understood to have originated in native american culture + promises to reveal the powers (strengths + abilities) that uniquely accompany each individual.
simply stated, every individual is complemented by a unique set of nine animals, each of which represents a specific medicine or set of abilities / talents / challenges.
each unique animal attends to a special position on the individual’s earth walk; these positions are:
UNVEILING THE TOTEMS
a deck of 52 animal cards accompanies the medicine cards book + a single card/animal is drawn (blindly) to fill in each of the first seven positions.
the remaining two animals (right side + left side) are identified through individual intuition; these protect the feminine + masculine aspects of the personality.
it is important to note that this ritual is only undertaken once in a lifetime per person.
the agreement is that the seven cards pulled during this ritual will always be appropriate to the individual, even if they don’t seem to make sense at first.
though excited by the prospect of this exercise, i also found myself quite intimidated by the finality of it: what if i screwed it up somehow, or ended up with animals i didn’t like?
because of this, i sat on the cards for months. i wanted to wait until just the right time, and trusted that i would know (somehow, on some level) when that right-time was.
finally, two days ago, it became apparent: the time was now.
so i packed the book + the cards + some water, then i found a quiet spot on a mound of large rocks in a nearby forest. and these are the cards that arose:
blue heron (east)
each of these directions related to a specific area of my personality or experience, and each of the animals held a special message related to its individual position.
i spent the remainder of the day exploring these messages.
looking back now, just a couple of days later, i can still see myself pouring over those cards + descriptions. there was a breathless quality to the whole experience.
i remember how it felt to recognize for myself that: beyond this point, everything is somehow different.
it wasn’t a dramatic realization, it was an HONEST one.
and it was an accurate one, too. seeing what i saw in those cards… really allowing myself to hear what they had to say… irrevocably changed me: i could feel it + still do.
the messages were not ambiguous. they were direct + they were relevant + they were CLEAR. the messages were meant for me + no one else + it was obvious.
they reached back into my past + they absolved it. they extended to the future-me as well. (i can still sense the enormity of their impact in my chest.)
i have felt myself expand by leaps + bounds. because of this process, i have stepped into myself more fully, more confidently, more authentically, more joyfully.
i now consider it among the most transformative events of my entire life + i can’t possibly recommend it highly enough.
if you found yourself wondering whether or not i’ve identified my masculine + feminine animal companions, the answer to that is: yes, i have - and so can you.
feel free to email me if you’d like to learn which animals they are or if you’d like some help with identifying your own.
it’s interesting to me how often we avoid the things we really want due to temporary discomfort, and end up choosing permanent pain.
i believe achieving truth and happiness by means of this initiation is less about earning the right to that truth [and] more about showing you that the things you believed limited you actually weren’t as big of a deal as you imagined.
it’s more about showing you your true strength than anything else.
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