It's OK to let others help you. And it's way better than the alternative.
Your own knowledge is limited. By dealing with every issue alone you'll only ever be able see the things that exist within your limited personal prism. By yourself you ride the merry-go-round of your own experience, circling around the same options, the same objectives, the same obsessions.
But no matter where you're at in life, you're never alone. A million people have already gone through the same thing, or at least something somewhat similar. Use their lesson, learn from their experience, accept their help, take their advice. It may not be exactly what you need, but it can be a start. It can help you think differently, enough to send you down a new unexpected path, a path toward a better you.
Good vibes only, the time is now.
Digress from stress, disconnect, and allow.
No accommodating worry or entertaining regret.
No wasting time obsessively upset.
Stop the self-doubt, and no more complaints.
Enough with all the self-righteous debates.
No more consequences, only life lessons.
This is how you learn what the best is.
No listening to people who always say “no.”
Give up the grudges, it's time to let go.
No more no’s.
Period. You know.
Yes to joy, and smiles, and laughter.
Yes to bear hugs and happily ever after.
Yes to presence, mindfulness, and peace.
Yes to love, it's all you actually need.
Say yes even when you're down.
You'll be surprised how quickly it turns you around.
Yes to giving more than you take.
Yes to some selfishness, for your sanity’s sake.
Good vibes only, not because it's forced.
Good vibes only, and then pass the torch.
"It’s easy to get mindful when you’re in an actual jungle, but how do you get mindful in the urban jungle?"
Check out this new piece I wrote for Elephant Journal.
It's called "Mindfulness Anywhere" and it seeks to explore how we go from the relative ease of finding mindfulness in nature, to the real struggle of minding that same mindfulness in the chaos of the city. We can choose to wallow in the struggle, or we can lean on our friends to lift us out of the muck.
I choose friends. Enjoy!
Oh, the wretched relief of change.
It's a certain struggle (the wretched), but also one of most important facets of our existence (the relief).
Just when you start to get used to a different and exciting experience--a fresh new way of living--it inevitably and abruptly ends, and the winds of the change push you in a new direction.
This constant shift is a central element of life. We need both beauty and brawn. We need both the amazing and the awful.
But it goes far beyond those two basic and diametrically opposed emotions. Within both the amazing and the awful--even within the mundane that comes between--we require variety. You might take the same path to work, go to the same class at the gym, or wake up every morning at the same time... but still each day there are different people on that commute, there's a new exercise routine at the gym, and the song on your alarm clock is the new big hit. It's that balance of variety, no matter how subtle, that keeps life fresh, keeps us going, and keeps us growing.
There's been a lot of change in my life this past year. If you've ever read this blogl, that's no secret. But the shifting winds have been gale force of late.
Through it all there's one major thing I've learned: no matter what happens in life there's always a yin and a yang--a balance.
Over the course of one recent week I went from a very definitive yin to a whole other extreme yang. One day I was meticulously gussied up at the Academy Awards, and then just a few days later I was antithetically grubbied down in a dusty tent at Death Valley National Park.
This situation of contrasts was an accident of sorts.
First of all, I don't work in the entertainment industry, so it was of no effort on my part that I ended up attending the Oscars. My partner, Jonathan Herman, was deservedly nominated for writing Straight Outta Compton. I'm proud of my man and grateful I got to tag along for the ride. And what a crazy, magical, amazing ride it was--from hob-nobbing celebrities, to red carpets, to Chris Rock’s daughters' Girl Scout cookies, it was the apex of glitz and glamour. And even though I'm more of a down-to-earth-hippie-granola-kinda-guy, I loved every minute of it.
Second of all, it wasn't particularly my intention to visit Death Valley again. I had just traveled there a few months prior, but Mother Nature, El Niño, and the superbloom she kindled had other intentions. I wanted to see that naked and desolate landscape spring to life. I wanted to marvel in yet another beautifully twisted contradiction of nature.
So, while still hungover and starstruck from the decadent Vanity Fair Oscar party, I packed my tuxedo away on the closet, readied my camping gear, and dusted off my tattered national parks passport. I was ready to follow the prevailing winds that were yet again guiding my life. Eagerly adaptable and willing to shift from one apex of life to a completely opposite, yet still resoundingly amazing apex.
You see, balance in life isn't just about ups and downs. Sometimes balance is about both regular ups, and other, totally dissimilar, but still completely awesome ups. It’s also about both terrible downs, and other dissimilar, but equally debilitating downs. It's also about a variety of discernible dimensions in between.
I've been through periods in life when downs compounded upon downs, and I thought there would be nothing left for me in life but more of them, in perpetuity, ad nauseam. But alas, as usual, the ups eventually returned. They all repeat and cycle, each time in new, profound, and inexplicable ways.
That's life. Assorted ups, miscellaneous downs, and a whole slew of gray areas in the middle.
Routine feels safe, but rarely is it real. You can fight the prevailing winds all you'd like, but eventually they will knock you down, lift you up, and shove you from side to side. That bluster of variety is what makes us unique. It’s what life is all about. It's kind of magnificent.
We rest on crutches far too much in life.
And, why not? The modern world affords us a million conveniences that mankind developed over centuries to make life a little bit easier. But in our efforts to simplify our everyday tasks, haven't we lost something?
Our ancestors had to fight to survive and thrive. Every day was a gift because every day you had to overcome any number of natural obstacles in order to continue your existence. With the properly planning and knowledge, you might starve to death, or get eaten by a bear, or run out of water, or end up murdered in your sleep due to a particularly violent neighboring tribe.
Without those life and death complexities of survival to deal with, we end up resting on our laurels.
Without struggle and resistance, we fail to gain strength.
Without loss, we forget to appreciate our blessings.
Now of course, this is undoubtedly a first-world problem. There are lot of people on this earth that do have to struggle to survive, and that’s not a good thing. We should all do everything we can to bring comfort and kindness to everyone on this planet.
But for the rest of us, by not having to deal with the types of struggle that were once ubiquitous in our corner of society, we've missed out on some vitally important life lessons.
I was camping recently and it suddenly seemed so obvious--out in the semi-developed wilderness of Death Valley everyone takes liberal advantage headlamps, gas stoves, air mattresses, running water, smartphones, and the nearby market for supplies. All things that make life easy, all things that we want, but nothing that we particularly need.
I'm not saying you aren't allowed to hold on to some comforts in life, we fought long and hard to achieve them. I'm just saying there’s a lot to be gained from giving up a few of them, at least once in awhile. It's when you to give up a little, that you start to gain a lot.
Giving up the headlamp and depending on the moon teaches you just how much you can already see.
Packing away the stove and cooking over your fire teaches you the importance of the simplest things.
Storing and rationing water teaches you to use what you need--and only what you need--instead of living life as a free flow of excess.
Putting the phone in airplane mode strips away the digital distractions and let's you enjoy real life again.
The lessons from a campsite are no different in our modern life. Our everyday reliance on crutches is a choice we make with everything we do. Our over-reliance on comforts leads to ungratefulness and juvenile quibbles. Our over-reliance on comforts has led to water scarcity, oil dependence, and global warming. Our over-reliance on comforts and this finite amount of resources is slowly squeezing out our attempted dominion over this earth.
Get off the crutch and stand up.
Take a few steps forward.
Real life is the grit of the hard ground,
Not a delicately cushioned pillow.
See how real life can feel.