Don't Wait For Tragedy. Connect Now.

The last week I've been blown away by all of the love and support I've received after my good friend journeyed to the other side.

It's unfortunate that it took an event like this to spark such connections. And I want to change that.

I was chatting with my friend Daniel about this the other day. Both of us are committing to being more proactive in reaching out to our friends, offering help, and creating space for people to come together and share their love and gifts.

Because why should we wait for tragedy to bring us together? Why not use this moment as an opportunity to change the way I relate to my friends and communities so that I don't need another wake up call like this?

I'm working with some friends who were closest with Max to launch a more formalized movement to do just that, under his father's blessing and leadership. More on that to come.

For now, what's one way you can commit to strengthening your relationship with your friends or community?

I'd love to hear your answer in the comments below.

A Life To The Max

I haven't written a blog post in a while.

Something major felt like it was shifting, transforming, and I needed to retreat back into my cocoon for a while. I felt disconnected from my writing, like I couldn't write anything personally meaningful.

Now I'm back with an intention to write straight from my heart, just for me. And if others find these posts and benefit from them, that's great.

On Friday, one of my closest friends passed away suddenly. This was the first time something like this had ever happened to me.

When I first heard the news, I was in total shock and disbelief. It wasn't real to me. It couldn't be.

My dear friend and soul brother Max Mendoza was someone who lived his life with his heart wide open. He loved like there was no tomorrow. He didn't sit around and wait for everything to be perfect before sharing his whole, authentic self. He just went for it and left it all out there, every day.

In short, he lived his life to the max.

He was traveling in Brazil, which had been a big dream of his for quite some time. Just 2 years ago he said he's be there for the World Cup. And that's exactly what he did - he somehow made it into the stadium without having purchased a ticket to celebrate with some German friends he quickly made. That's just what Max did, who he was. He created magic wherever he went, and lifted up every person he met along the way.

A few days later, Max suffered a severe fall injury while hiking in the jungle at night with some friends he had met. He was only 25 years old when he passed.

Max was a self-proclaimed modern explorer. He traveled the world and created loving, inspired communities and friends wherever he set foot. He could have a 5 minute conversation with you and your perspective on life would be radically and positively altered.

Max was a dreamer, and a true believer in magic. He had a glimmer in his eyes, and a heart as big as I've ever seen. And not only that, but he shared his love freely with anyone he came in contact with, whether they asked for it or not. He wanted everyone to feel that they belong, that they were important, and that they were deeply loved. And he did.

I cycled through immense sobbing and utter disbelief the rest of the day on Friday. And I felt numb for most of Saturday. But that night I went to a drum circle dedicated to Max with several friends.

By the end of the evening, we all felt Max's presence with us. And for me personally, I tapped into the peace that Max was now feeling. I felt how any pain, sadness, loneliness, or stress he'd been experiencing while alive was all washed away, leaving his spirit feeling free and blissful.

This was immensely reassuring. I felt much more at peace with what had happened, since I knew he was in a really good place now. I was happy for him.

Throughout the entire ordeal, even now, I've been noticing this unshakeable feeling that he's not gone. It's not disbelief, but rather a feeling in my heart that he's right here, that he'll never truly be gone. And that he'll be continuing the good work he was doing while he was here on this earth. He's just in another dimension now, that's all, which will be a powerful way to expand the ripples he was already making in the universe.

In this moment, I feel fine. I don't know if it's right or wrong, good or bad to feel that way just 3 days after a close friend passes. But that's honestly how I feel.

I can be strong for those who may still feel weak. I can help family and friends to cope with the loss and figure out how to best move forward from here. I am able to do the only thing Max would have asked me to do honor his passing: live my own life as best I can, and in service to all humanity.

I'm still allowing myself to feel what I'm feeling. I've already cried at least twice that I can remember today. And I continue to journal and speak what's in my heart when it arises.

But to stay stuck in a state of debilitating grief and suffering would not be honoring Max's life.

As far as I know, this was the best thing that could have happened to Max and the world. A friend and I were joking that Max's love was too immense to be held inside his body any longer, so he got a promotion to do work in a higher plane. That shifted both our perspectives and put a smile on our faces.

Because why not look at this from the most empowering perspective I can dream? Why not celebrate Max's life and continue his legacy by living the good messages he brought to the world? Why not continue to feel Max's presence by seeking experiences of freedom, bliss, and love, which were some of his most favorite feelings to share with others?

Why not smile and laugh and dance all the time, like a kid, and like nobody is watching? Why not take deep breathes and sigh real loud? Why not dress like a pirate or Leonardo Da Vinci, just because you're inspired to?

Why not live life to the max?

That's exactly what I'm going to do, with my brother Max right by my side and in my heart.

How will you live? Will you be ready and satisfied when your time comes around?

So I now impart on you these words: Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.

What I Didn't Realize About Integrity

In my circles I hear a lot of talk about integrity.

It's essentially equated to the elixir of life, the secret to happiness, and a sure-fire-way to success by several people I know.

And I believe them.

Except, I encountered a problem: I'd been working hard to "get into integrity" with every fibre of my being...but I couldn't seem to get there. It seemed like all of my efforts and progress were unceremoniously thwarted as soon as I took my attention off the practice for one second.

Any lasting results were beginning to seem hopeless, or they were coming so incredibly slow that I thought I'd die before I reached this holy grail of living. I was feeling exhausted.

Finally a few days ago, in a heap of despair, I finally just said "fuck it."

That's right. I said "Screw integrity. I'm done with it...instead, I'm just going to do whatever the heck I wanna do." And that's when my whole energy changed.

Suddenly, I was free.

I started getting excited about my life again. I redesigned my diet and exercise regimes. I started watching YouTube videos on topics that interested me. I went running just for the pure joy of it, not because I needed to stay in shape or keep my energy levels up to work on projects for other people.

These past few days, everything has been flowing so beautifully. I had one of the best and most authentic conversations with one of my good friends last night. I spoke with such joy and conviction that at one point he was moved to tears, literally. It felt so good to inspire my friend like that.

I even launched a YouTube channel this morning, based on our conversation last night. That's something I've been wanting to do for over a year now, and I finally gave myself permission to do it. You can watch my first video here.

And the thing is, it's all been effortless. Totally. Freakin'. Effortless. Not to mention, hella fun.

So what about integrity?

I realized that I was out of integrity with myself. I was trying to keep my word and commitments to other people, but I was ignoring my own truth, my own agreements I'd made with my soul, such as:

  • Have a hella good time while you're living this life. You'll only live it once.
  • Only do things that totally inspire you. Eliminate the good for the great.
  • Don't care about what other people think. If you desire it, act on it.
  • Forget what the experts, and even friends and family recommend. Do things YOUR way.

It's deep-rooted agreements like these that make life worth living. It's our inner child making sure we don't become so damn boring that our life becomes lame and meaningless.

I had to put myself first, and others second. That's how it works. Put your own oxygen mask on before you try to help others, right?

 

So...are you living for you, first? Or do others dreams and desires come before your own?

Time to step it up.

What Happens When The Monkey Mind is Gone

No thoughts in my mind. The noise is gone. That monkey's left the tree, moved out.

This is what they're all working towards. This is what they told me was the ultimate goal. The holy grail of mindfulness.

They meditate. They do yoga. They philosophize. They consume spiritual books, articles, videos, and programs like it's their daily caloric intake.

They obsess over getting all those pesky thoughts out of mind, out of sight. Thoughts seemed likened to a disease, an infestation that must be eliminated.

I know. I did the same things. For years and years.

And now that I've "succeeded" at clearing my mind, all I want to do is tell them that it's not "it". It's not "the answer". It's not even a worthy goal in itself.

It doesn't bring happiness. It doesn't necessitate bliss and enlightenment and success. It doesn't mean you suddenly achieve all of your dreams and desires.

What really happens when you stop that monkey mind for good? What is the grand finale on this arduous path? What did I find?

Nothingness.

And it feels exactly like it sounds....empty.

It reminds me of when I've heard rich people talk about how they wish that everyone could become rich....just to see that it doesn't make you happy.

Well, the same applies with mindfulness and the supposed ultimate goal of a clear, empty mind.

I'm here. I made it. I'm living proof that it's possible.

And it feels as empty as it's ever been. I feel as empty as I've ever felt.

It's not all bad though. A blank canvas means you can create anything. It's infinite possibilities.

But possibility is not reality. It's not something real. It doesn't mean anything.

I'm sure it's a great starting place to create an amazing life. But there's more that's needed. That empty glass needs to be filled with something sweet and delicious if you want to enjoy drinking from it.

Just like with money, it's about how you use it. Money itself is meaningless. It's only what we create with that money that truly matters.

Likewise, we can create things that matter with our minds. Our thoughts, our words, our ideas must be used in a creative manner and infused with love (or something other quality) for it to take on any meaning. A pile of bricks isn't as meaningful or useful as a brick wall.

I've adopted the philosophy of "If it's not a "Hell Yes!", it's a NO." And I've said NO so many times lately that I've rid my life of all that is less than what I truly want.

The problem is, I've not lately come across much that's a "Hell Yes!" for me. Those dreams and desires were buried so deep, so long ago that I've been struggling to unbury them. I've had trouble tapping into that wellspring of genuine inspiration that moves mountains and creates masterpieces. That feeling of freedom you get when you're moving, living, and creating just for the sake of the activity itself. Pure joy. Pure inspiration. Pure being.

So here I sit, in an empty room clenching a clean paint brush, with no colorful paints and no fresh ideas flowing through me.

And thus I discover yet another new level of patience to develop, because I recognize that I myself am not the originator of inspired ideas. I can't force them. They must be given to me as a gift.

So it seems that all I can do is do my best to stay open and be willing to create with what I am given. To be ever watchful, aware, present.

Yes, that's exactly what I'll do.

And if divine inspiration graces my consciousness, I'll be ready to create something beautiful and share those gifts with whom could benefit from them.

It's funny how I've helped so many people tap into their own creative genius and find clarity on what they desire, yet it seems I oftentimes struggle to do the same for myself. It seems my greatest gift comes from my own greatest struggle.

God, universe, divine intelligence - I'm ready for some more "Hell Yes!" kind of thoughts to flow through me.

Until then, I'll keep taking things one day at a time, walking that quickly narrowing edge until my courage is great enough to overcome my fear of flying.

 

What's your favorite way to invite divine inspiration to grace your own consciousness?

Manifesting, Magic, and Declaring Your Desires

So I manifested something crazy today, and I'd like to share the story of how it happened.

A couple evenings ago went to a free yoga event my friend invited me to that same morning. It just happened to fit between two other planned activities, so I thought I'd stop by and check it out. I didn't see that friend when I arrived in the room, but I found a couple other friends and enjoyed the class with them.

After class, I walked out into the lobby and found my friend who'd invited me - he'd been in the second room they'd opened up for the class. We chatted for a little bit, and as I was about to leave he asked me if I had entered the raffle.

"What raffle?" I asked. "Everyone gets one free entry into the raffle they're holding this weekend." So I filled out a slip, dropped it in the basket, and forgot about it as soon as I left. I didn't even look to see what I could win.

This evening I got an email from the yoga event listing the names of all the raffle prize winners, listed by each of the 3 days it was held. I checked under "Saturday" and didn't see my name there. "Oh well," I thought.

As I was about to close the email, I noticed a section at the bottom labeled "Grand Prize" I saw they were giving away a "200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training" with my name right next to it....WITH MY NAME RIGHT NEXT TO IT!?!?!

I couldn't believe it. I'd never won anything close to this big before. The Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is valued at around $3,000. This is nuts.

I'd never even considered doing YTT before, although I have enjoyed trying out a few different styles over the past few years. But I realized that just earlier today I had felt this immense anger and deep dissatisfaction with how weak and inflexible my body was in certain areas.

I feel like both my inner and outer bodies have grown so strong over the past year, but my efforts have felt somewhat thwarted by the few weak spots I have been unable to address. It's been 10 steps forward and 9 steps back for quite some time now, which has been exhausting to say the least.

I declared on my run today something to the tune of "Enough is enough. I'm DONE with my unbalanced body. I'm DONE making excuses about why I'm not performing at the level my body, mind, and spirit are capable of. I'm DONE accepting that this struggle will last forever. I'm ready and willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to strengthen my weaknesses and imbalances in order to achieve a well-round, strong, and resilient body that is in alignment with the strength of my spirit."

And then a YTT certificate drops in my lap. Wow.

Thanks Universe. You just blew me away. Again.

Key Takeaways:

1) FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION - I wasn't planning on attending that yoga event. The invite seemed kind of random actually. But it felt right, so I went.

2) SET HIGHER STANDARDS - I finally had the courage to tell the universe that I was no longer okay with a weak, unreliable, unbalanced body. I set a new level of acceptance for how I want to physically show up in the world, and I committed to doing what it will take to get there.

3) DECLARE YOUR DESIRES & BE OPEN TO MAGIC - I actually didn't have the money to attend The Conference for Men last month. But I really wanted to go. One day I declared "I'm going." And that very same day someone emailed me out of the blue inquiring to purchase a domain name I owned...long story short, that money bought my ticket to the conference.