Month 3: October

I didn't want to start this by saying "October has been a shitty month for me".... so I'm starting this by saying October has been a shitty month for me.

I'll get into the details of what I accomplished (and didn’t accomplish) in a bit. First I want to talk about Gethsemane (pronounced: Gis-seminy).

**Joel Osteen: A Sermon on Gethsemane**

Transcript Excerpt

“MATTHEW 26.

 

Jesus was about to be betrayed and go to the cross. He went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He was so troubled and overwhelmed. He asked his disciples to stay there and pray for him.

 

He went away by himself, fell on the ground and said, “Father, if it’s possible, take this cup from me!”

 

In a little while, went back to check on his disciples hoping to gain some strength, some encouragement from them — but when he showed up he found they were asleep! — He couldn’t believe it — he woke them up and said, “Guys couldn’t you stay awake and pray for me?! This is the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced!”

 

He was kind of frustrated. He asked them again even more emphatically: “Stay Awake! The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak — pray!”

 

Jesus went away by himself again to pray. He thought for sure this time, they got the message. He came back a little while later, same thing. Still sleeping.

 

You can imagine how disappointed he was… He turned around to pray some more — then he thought, “I’ll go check on them one last time. This third time, I know they’ll be praying! After all I’ve done for them. I know they’ll be standing in faith with me!”

 

He went back a third time but they were still sleeping.

 

This time he didn’t try to wake them up, he didn’t try to get them to be FOR Him - he looked at them and said: “SLEEP ON.”

 

He came to the point where he didn’t let it bother him anymore. He could have kept waking them up, trying to make it happen, being frustrated. Instead, he accepted he wasn’t going to have their support. He accepted it wasn’t going to work out his way. He didn’t fight it. He didn’t let it frustrate him anymore. He said “sleep on” and moved forward.

 

There are times in life when things don’t work out the way we wanted. The people we had counted on aren’t there for us. The medical report wasn’t good. The Dream isn’t happening on our time table…

 

We could be frustrated. We did the right thing. We stayed in faith! But it’s not working out…

 

You have to do what Jesus did: tell the disappointment, tell the delay, tell the frustration: “SLEEP ON! You’re not going to bother me any more. I know God is still on the throne! I know God is fighting my battles! I know he will get me to where I’m supposed to be.”

 

Are there some things you need to tell: SLEEP ON?

 

That person who won’t change…

 

You can’t control people… you can’t make them do what’s right. You can pray for them. But don’t go the next 30 years letting them frustrate you. Two simple words can change your life — sleep on.

 

Jesus wanted his disciples’ support. He deserved it. He had been good for them. But sometimes God will pull back people’s support. He knows if they were there all the time you would become dependent on them. You would think they were your source. They were your savior.

 

You don’t need everyone you think you need.

 

God has already lined up the right people come into your life to help you reach your destiny.

 

The right people: you don’t have to play up to. You don’t need to manipulate, convince them to be for you, convince them to stay awake… they’ll be for you through thick and thin. They’ll show up when you didn’t ask. They’ll encourage you when no one else is around.

 

But sometimes we’re being frustrated by people who will never be for us — We’re spending so much energy to win them over — No matter how good we are to them, every time we need them: they’re asleep! They’re busy. They’re not interested.

 

I’ve heard it said: Quit swimming across the ocean to be good to someone who won’t walk across a puddle to be good to you.

 

And I’m all for overcoming evil with good… blessing our enemies… but the scripture says, “don’t cast your pearls before swine” — your pearl is your gift, your personality, your anointing. It’s who God made you to be.

 

Some people won’t value your pearl… They won’t respect your gift.. they won’t recognize what you have to offer... Your calling... The favor on your life.

 

Your time is too valuable to waste it with people who discount your pearl…. Don’t hang around people who lessen you or where you feel like you have to prove to them who you are -- Prove to them why they should be your friend.

 

You don’t need their approval! You have almighty God’s approval. He breathed his life into you. He crowned you with favor. You have royal blood flowing through your veins. Hang around people who celebrate your pearl, people who polish your pearl, people who respect your pearl.

 

Too often we have to drag people along — convince them to like us, convince them to stay awake — do yourself a favor: tell them to sleep on!

 

If you let go of the wrong people, God will bring in the right people. He will send you divine connections. People who will love you for who you are and not for what you can do for them. People who will inspire you to go further. People who will bring out the best in you. People that will cause your pearl to shine.

 

But jesus was wise enough to recognize that the disciples couldn’t stop the plan of God for his life. Their lack of support couldn’t keep him from doing what his father called him to do.

 

They were good people. They loved him. But sometime good people won’t be there for you. It’s a test. Are you going to get upset and frustrated keep trying to wake them up — or are you going to recognize it’s a new season and say SLEEP ON?

 

Here’s the key: If they didn’t wake up, you don’t need them for this season. If they’re not giving you what they used to give you, that means God is taking you to a higher level. He’s weaning you off the support. The encouragement.

 

It’s like a little baby. They love to have their bottle. Makes them comfortable, Makes them feel secure. That’s fine. As long as they’re a year or 2 years old… but if they’re 47 walking around with that bottle, that’s a problem!

 

But as parents. when we take the bottle away from our children, they don’t like it, they’re uncomfortable, but we do it so it won’t limit their growth.  

 

Sometimes God will make you uncomfortable. He’ll take something away that you were used to — a friend who always called and encouraged you — a coworker who always helped you with a report — a neighbor you could always count on to go somewhere together..

 

it’s because God is weaning you off that bottle, so to speak. As long as you’re dependent on people it will limit how high you can go.

 

When God removes the support. When he takes away someone you were used to, don’t get mad at them — don’t keep trying to wake them up! God has put them asleep. You can’t open a door that God has closed. That friend who is not there anymore, the disappointment: you may not like it, it may be painful but its ordained by God. You have to recognize that’s a sign, you’re coming up higher — that discomfort means you’re going to a new level!

 

[…..]

 

We spend too much time trying to get people’s approval. trying to get them to validate us — “then we will feel good about ourselves”!

 

The problem with getting our validation from people is that people can change their mind.

 

One moment, people were cheering for Jesus, shouting “Hosanna” waving palm branches — a few days later those same people shouting “crucify him!” — people can have a short memory. People can go to sleep. and if you’re getting your value based on what people give you and how much they complement you. Then if for some reason they stop doing that, you’ll forget who you are — your self worth is coming from them.

 

Quit relying on people and go to God. You don’t need their approval, you have God’s approval!

 

But in life, we all go through Gethsemane. We have disappointments and things we don’t understand.

 

But I’ve learned that God gives us Grace for every Gethsemane. Grace for every unfair situation. It’s very freeing when you can look at the people that have left — the disappointment — and say SLEEP ON.

 

Amazing things are up ahead if you don’t give up in Gethsemane….

 

Yes there will be crosses to bear. Betrayals. Setbacks. But can I encourage you?

 

If you keep moving forward there will be resurrections. There will be new beginnings! Times when God pays you back for what was unfair. Times when God catapults you years ahead!

 

Don’t get stuck in Gethsemane.

 

Don’t let the sickness cause you to become bitter. You don’t understand it. It’s not fair. You can say “God, WHY — this doesn’t make sense!”

 

Or you can look at the frustration, the discouragement, the fear and say “SLEEP ON” — “I’m not going to drag through this day defeated. I may be in Gethsemane, but I know a resurrection is coming!”

 

Gethsemane doesn’t have to stop you.

 

God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t somehow going to move you towards your purpose.

 

The next time that co-worker is rude to you, instead of being upset just smile and say “SLEEP ON.” When that car cuts you off in traffic — instead of saying what you normally say, try a new approach and say “SLEEP ON.”

 

You’re not approving their behavior. You’re not controlling them. You’re merely saying, “Your actions are not going to control my life! This traffic is not going to ruin my morning! This setback is not going to SOUR the rest of my future!”

 

Maybe you ought to tell your past: “SLEEP ON.”

 

You had a tough childhood. You went through a rough divorce. You lost a loved one.

Tell the hurts. Tell the questions. Tell the failures: “SLEEP ON!”

 

I’ve learned you’re either feeding your history or feeding your destiny. But you can’t feed both.

 

You’re either looking back. Living in regrets. Thinking about everything that went wrong.

 

Or you’re looking ahead —

 

Saying, “God, I know what was meant for harm you’re turning to my advantage. I know you have beauty for these ashes. I know weeping endures for the night but joy is coming in the morning!”

 

If you’re always feeding your history you’re going to be frustrated, angry, in self-pity…

 

Do yourself a favor, tell your history “SLEEP ON!”

 

You can’t go forward if you’re always looking backwards! You can’t see the new things on the horizon if you’re always looking behind. Start feeding your destiny.

 

Say, “Father thank you that your plans for me are for good. Thank you that the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter. Thank you that you hold Victory in store for the upright.”

 

If you’ll get your mind going in the right direction your life will go in the right direction.

 

[….]

 

If you feed your history long enough it will pull you into depression. The enemy would love to keep you so focused on your hurts, and what didn’t work out, that you’re too discouraged to move forward. Don’t fall into that trap. You wouldn’t be alive unless God had something AMAZING in front of you!

 

You may be in Gethsemane — a place of discouragement. Frustration. But if you say “SLEEP ON,” and start thinking some new thoughts, then you’re headed for a resurrection! You’re headed for A new beginning. A place of restoration!

 

A few years ago, I was flying to an event with some of my staff. We were on a small plane that held maybe a couple dozen people. After it took off I wanted to open up my tray table so I could write some notes. The table was in the side of the plane right underneath the window. And I pulled and pulled and couldn’t get it open.

 

My friend was sitting across the aisle. His looked exactly the same and he pulled his out no problem. I went back to mine and I pulled and I pulled... and I yanked I struggled. I thought, “I’m going to get this table open if it’s the last thing I do!”

 

It was stuck!

 

My friend came over .He was pulling and pulling. Another staff person came over. He was pulling and pulling. it wouldn’t budge! I sat across the aisle kind of frustrated. About that time I looked up and over the window where we were pulling there was a sign with big bold letter that said: “NOT TRAY TABLE — EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY!”

 

Sometimes what we’re frustrated about is God keeping us from REAL frustration! In my case — God keeping me alive!

 

If God answered all of our prayers — opened every door we asked him to open — brought every person we begged him to bring … we wouldn’t reach our destiny.

 

The longer I’ve lived, the easier it is for me to say, “sleep on. I may not understand it. It may not make sense. But I’ve learned God is smarter than I am. He can see things I cannot see. He knows what he’s doing.”

 

I wonder if what’s frustrating you has an “emergency exit only” sign on it — and you can’t see it!

 

You don’t understand why God won’t answer the prayer. Why the dream is taking so long… and why that guy at work who you like SO MUCH, hasn’t even noticed you. You’ve worn your best clothes! Your best perfumes! Given him your best moves! And he acts like he’s dead!

 

Maybe its because God can see something you can’t see — maybe under his shirt is an emergency exit only sign that’s hidden from view!

 

God has your best interest in mind. If he’s not giving you what you want, it means he has something better. He loves you too much to let you miss your destiny!

 

A couple of years after I took over after my father, the church started to grow and we needed a larger auditorium. We found a 100 acre tract of land right by the other location a few miles away by the freeway. It seemed perfect! The owner told us the property had been on the market for 20 years. We knew God had saved that property for us. He said we didn’t need to sign the contract right then. We could do some preliminary drawings — take some soil samples — while the paperwork was being taken care of.

 

Several months later we went to close on the property. We had an 8 o’clock in the morning appointment. We showed up at 7:45. The secretary walked out and said: “I’m sorry. The owner sold the property last night.”

 

I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t keep his word.

 

I went home so disappointed. I told Victoria what happened. How there was no more property and how we were stuck. She looked at me and said: “Joel, this means God has something better! He closed this door for a reason.”

 

She started preaching to me one of my own sermons! I didn’t want to hear that! She was saying “Sleep on!” I was saying “No - no - no! Wake up! This is bad!”

 

I had to do what I’m asking you to do. I said: “God, I don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem fair. But God, I trust you. I believe You know what’s best. “

 

Several months later we found another piece of property. It seemed even better than the first one! We went to close on it. The same thing happened! They sold it out from under us!

 

… If you don’t pass the test the first time, you get to take it again!

 

This time I said, “God! I’m glad they sold the property! I didn’t want it in the first place..”

 

God knew I was lying… but it felt good!

 

6 months later a friend called and said, “Joel, the Houston Rockets basketball team is moving out of the Compaq center - That would be the perfect place for Lakewood!”

 

When he said that something came alive on the inside — I knew that was why God had closed those doors — he had something bigger — better — I never dreamed we could have the Compact Center! Things fell in place — and here we are today.

 

What am I saying?

 

The things that you are frustrated about today, if you will stay in faith — one day you’ll look back and say like me: “God you outdid yourself! I never dreamed things would be this good. I never dreamed I would be this healthy.  I never dreamed you would take me this far.” God’s plan for your life is so much better than your own.

 

The real question is: what will you do in Gethsemane?

 

When its not working out your way. When your friends aren’t there for you. When the contract doesn’t go through. When the medical report doesn’t look good.

 

Too many people don’t see their resurrection because they get bitter in Gethsemane. “God! Why did they fall asleep! God why did they sell it from under us?!” Gethsemane is the real test. We like when everything are going great — but that’s not where we grow the most. — Gethsemane is where you can be promoted…

 

God is seeing what you’re made of. He’s seeing if you’re ready. If you can be at peace — If you can be still and know that he is God… that he’ll take you into your resurrection.

 

The way you know that you’re ready to be promoted is not that God has removed your difficulties but that you don’t let them frustrate you anymore.

 

You’ve learned this principle. Two words: SLEEP ON.

 

Maybe these two words could help you get your joy back. Two words can Help you sleep through the night… Two words can bring you peace: sleep on.  

 

I read about a lady who was complaining about everything that was going bad that day. She said, “God! Why did you let so many bad things happen? My alarm didn't go off. I was late to work. At lunch they made the wrong sandwich and I had to send it back. Driving home, my cellphone dropped the call in the middle of the conversation. To top it off, when I got home, I wanted to put my feet in the foot massager but it wouldn’t turn on!”

 

God said, “alright let me go down the list: Your alarm didn’t go off because there was a drunk driver on the road. I delayed you on purpose so you wouldn’t be harmed. You had to send your sandwich back because the first person who made it wasn’t feeling well — I didn’t want you to catch what they had, so I had somebody else make you a new one. The cellphone dropped the call because that person was about to fill you with gossip and I didn’t want you to be contaminated. And the foot massager? It had a short in it. If you would have turned it on, it would have knocked out the power, and I didn’t think you wanted to sit around in the dark all night.”

 

Could it be what’s frustrating you is really the hand of God?

 

Could it be that he’s doing things behind the scenes that you can’t see—  but it’s really for your good? Protecting you! Guiding you. Positioning you…

 

Nothing happens without God’s permission.

 

We’re not always going to understand it. This is when we have to trust him.

 

You may be in Gethsemane today — you have a good reason to be upset, frustrated — I’m asking you to do what Jesus did, tell the frustration, tell the past, tell the disappointment, “SLEEP ON.”

 

It may not be fair, but God sees what’s happening. He has you in the palm of his hand. He’s breathing in your direction right now.

 

Don’t give up in Gethsemane. You are close to your breakthrough. You are close to your new level.

 

If you pass this test, I believe and declare, you’re going to come out of Gethsemane into your resurrection. You’re going to see promotion… healing… restoration.. vindication. … God is going to turn the frustration into favor! You’re going to rise higher, accomplish dreams, and become  everything he created you to be!

 

If you receive it, let me hear you say, Amen!"

Firstly, I want to acknowledge how dazzlingly brilliant Joel Osteen is. I know 99.9% of the people who read this probably think Joel Osteen is too “religious” to be taken seriously... but I freaking LOVE him! So much!!!   

Screenshot 2017-11-07 21.02.04.png

He’s essentially a motivational speaker with the singular message of “hope” and “positivity” who transmits this message through biblical exegesis. Jesus and God are no more “spiritual” than Achilles and Zeus in Homer. If you simply exchange the word “God” for the word “Reality,” [“Reality is God, because it rules,” as Byron Katie says], then his sermons are not even magical anymore… they’re Level 8 Turquoise masterpieces (in the Grave’s model) from a cognitive position Martin Seligman would define as “learned optimism.”

 

If it’s also true that Joel writes his own sermons and delivers them without a teleprompter, then I must say that he is truly a genius… and deserves the same recognition given to any respected giant in the field of ecumenical spirituality (despite being an Evangelical Christian).  

 

Okay… I’ll stop sucking his dick… but as Joel Osteen puts it in his sermon: Don't give up when you're in Gethsemane.

 

I wish I could say I didn't this month… but I did.

 

The night before I listened to this sermon, I was completely fried. I broke Keto, ordered two double doubles (protein style), fries, and a chocolate milkshake at an In-and-Out drive-through while listening to Ken Wilber talk about lines and levels of spiritual development in Kosmic Consciousness for the second time. It was surreal. I felt my third eye and crown chakras opening and pulsing waiting in a 15 car long line as Ken talked about Non Duality and the integration of the ascending and descending orders... knowing that I was about to not only break Keto but also completely give into a lower addictive impulse.... without really any higher level "causal" type justification.

 

And I did it anyway.

 

I justified it by saying that it was a celebration -- earlier that day I had obliterated my mental athletics goal of memorizing 36 random numbers. I memorized 50 random numbers…. This is really… really… really… challenging…

 

 

 

That was on the 26th of October.

 

On the 27th, I decided I needed a little Joel Osteen while I worked out in the morning. I had slowly started losing steam on many other commitments in my life, but at least I was still working out!

 

Afterwards, I stepped into the bathroom to take a cold shower and I just froze. I could feel myself cracking everywhere. I couldn’t do it.

 

After the In and Out splurge, I took a bath and meditated on why I have been on a steady decline for the past few weeks: going to bed later, waking up later, not being as productive, avoiding responsibilities....

 

And I realized a new dimension of spiritual fitness. It's faith... or in a more approachable term: character (having the resolve to stick with a decision long past the mood in which you created it has left you).

 

In the story of Gethsemane, Jesus has character. He's spiritually fit enough to say: “okay.... the people have all turned on me.... my own disciples have turned on me -- they've fallen asleep! They don't even care enough about me to pray for me on the most important night of my life!!! -- and even God has turned on me... I'm about to be brutally tortured and crucified to death tomorrow by the people I healed and fed yesterday…”

 

And he could have cracked. He could have ran away. He could have simply resigned and broken his resolve.

 

But he didn't. He didn't back away. He committed even more strongly to his destiny. He had spiritual fitness.

 

This month I inched back.... step by step... until I was in a bath with an In and Out hangover at 3 am wondering how I let things get so far... and then finally backing away from taking my daily cold shower with some "oh it's too painful" excuse in my mind.

 

Luckily, I had just listened to this thing about Gethsemane.  So I fell onto my bed and I started crying. Not full on tears but just like kind of whining pathetically.

 

Then I pushed myself back up and got in the shower and turned the cold water on. It was fucking painful. It felt colder than ever. But I was glad to experience that pain.

 

When I was younger my Kundalini Yoga teacher Guru Prem would say "pain is the medicine" as he made me do 100's of frogs. It was. Enduring pain builds spiritual strength. The ability to commit to a resolve despite the setbacks challenges and discomfort is how most of us recognize spiritual champions. Gandhi nearly dying on a hunger strike to end the war between Muslims and Hindus. Martin Luther King Jr. marching on Selma. Louis Zamperini resisting defeat defeat at the hands of a sadistic prison guard in Unbroken. That’s spiritual fitness.  

 

 

Somehow I had grown slowly allergic to pain this month. I became spiritually obese.

 

But that was just my morning. The day gets much more interesting.

 

I'm on the phone with my friend Ross -- who is lovingly berating me for not "putting myself out there more". He says that I just need to go out into the world and let serendipity happen. So I say, fine. And we agree to meet after my chemistry lab that night.

 

We go to swingers. I arrive about 15 minutes early with a new book I'm reading. When he walks up, he says hi to someone at the table next to me. Turns out, it’s my friend Paul. We’ve known each other for years. He’s been a model leader and a mentor of mine -- we’ve probably been through at least 3 different full transformation weekends together.  

 

After getting to know this new group, Paul introduces me to Christina. She runs high end experiential conscious connection events for singles. Essentially: she’s cupid. Her group leaves and she joins Ross and me to talk about love, relationships, and consciousness experiences... until about 2 am.

 

On my way back to the car, I walk past a homeless kid. His hair is buzzed low. He's wearing a dirty brown shirt. No shoes. He's kind of stumbling as though he's Tipsy or confused. We make eye contact.

 

He asks me, "what's that book? Is that the Bible?"

 

I slow down and say, "yes... well it's a Bible of sorts. It's a self help book"

 

He stops and asks: "Well what is it about?"

 

There's something about his whimsical tone and curiosity. I'm hooked....

 

I tell him it's about Transactional Analysis. It's about understanding the games people play.

 

He uses this as an excuse to mention: “God is everywhere. We are God. I am God.” Emphasizing the pauses between each clause as he spun in circles.

 

I'm intrigued. On the outside I'm speaking to a crazy homeless person. But in my own funny narrative, I’m speaking to Socrates himself.

 

“Yes. That's right,” I say. “Is that what you believe?”

 

"Why not?" He says.

 

… Why not?… I laugh out loud. He’s right. Why not?

 

I say, “Makes sense to me! We are that which existed before we were born — and we’ll be that after.”

 

Then he says, “are you the devil?”

 

I laugh and ask him, “I don’t know — am I?”

 

He pulls out an orange lighter and starts playing with it, “Do you have any chewing tobacco?”

 

“No,” I shrug, “I don’t smoke.”

 

“We’re all the devil.” He gets back to the subject. “We all have God and the Devil in us. They’ve been at war within us forever. It’s so hard…” He pauses, “Am I evil?” he asks

 

“No,” I say. “you’re not evil. You’re a contribution to this world. You bring light and beauty. You engage strangers in conversations about life and purpose. Just by talking to me, you’re making the world a little more connected. Few people on this earth are as good as you.”

 

He’s listening.

 

“And you’re right…” I continue. “Jesus said “Love Thy Enemy” because only then do you realize just how difficult it is for the enemy to love you. Carl Jung put it this way: ‘The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it is experienced outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.’ You know the darkness so you can hold it out in front of you to create the good. You know your darkness, which makes you a light from within.”

 

“Who is Carl Jung?” He asks me.

 

“An early psychotherapist. A student of Freud’s. A very wise man.”

 

“Where was he from,” he asks.

 

“I don’t know… Austria or something.” [he’s actually from Switzerland].

 

“Devil,” he shoots back. I start laughing thinking, maybe he’s right, they kind of fucked up during WWII.

 

He sees some people hanging by a car in the parking lot by us and whistles at them. He calls out! “Kaylee! I know you're there. Come here! Come back to me baby!”

 

We look at each other.

 

I ask him, “If that were her, do you think she would want to be whistled at and called to like that?”

 

He pauses, and responds, “Sometimes I just think I’m going to find her. That she’ll be right there.”

 

“Did you love her?” I ask.

 

“Let’s take a walk,” he says. We walk a few paces. He’s shivering.  “It’s so cold and I’m so hungry.” He pulls out all the change in his pocket. “Can I buy your sweater?”

 

“Come,” I say, “I’ll get you something good.” He reminds me of Bryce from high school who used to be the drummer in my brother’s band. I feel so deeply connected to him, I want to give him everything I have. In my own little narrative, I’m in the presence of God. “Do you want to go to swingers?”

 

“What’s swingers? No. Denny’s is good.”

 

He tells me to call him, Andy. We walk to denny’s together.      

 

But on the way, the mood changes. Something is happening. I can’t articulate it. He seems afraid… suspicious of me… like I’m going to hurt him. He keeps his distance.

 

We pass by raspberries and a naked juice on the ground by some shopping carts underneath a broken streetlight between the parking lot and Denny’s. He picks them up and starts eating them. It looks like a familiar nook to him.

 

I’m excited to sit down with him -- and to learn about his life. I’m fiending with curiosity…. But he doesn't want to go in with me. I keep persisting. He keeps resisting. He refuses to come inside and eat with me -- and I let it go. I tell him to "wait right here" and go to buy him the food.

 

About 20 minutes pass. I buy him two Lumberjack meals, with biscuits and gravy, butter and jam and a whole pumpkin pie. Happy thanksgiving.

 

As I'm waiting for the food. I'm thinking to myself about all the heroic things I could say when I give him the food. Things like "here's the deal: I'll give you this food on one condition: that you go to the Dream Center." Variations of that… I want to get him to the Dream Center -- which is a large Christian homeless shelter that seems to do beautiful work.

 

I feel the intense desire to rescue him. In my head I’m thinking: “this is the sign I’ve been looking for! Reality sent me this boy so that we both could heal.”

 

It’s funny what the mind does.

 

In retrospect, a bag of food seems like a pretty weak bribe in exchange for someone reforming their entire way of life…   

 

I wonder, “will he even be there when I come out?”

 

He is. I have one bulging bag of food… and a large pumpkin pie.

 

He asks — in his childish way — “where are we going to eat this food?”

 

We’re right by the cement base of a streetlight and his little shopping cart nook.

 

He didn't want to come inside with me so I'm confused by his question. He had a chance to eat with me inside… but he didn’t want to take it. He didn’t risk it. I say “here or wherever you want. It's yours. I'm giving it to you.” It’s also 3 AM now. I’m tired… I want to rescue him but I don’t know how, so mainly I just want to go home.

 

As we walk, he says to himself, just loud enough for me to hear: “have I sold my soul for this food?”

 

I don’t laugh. I feel nervous -- like going for the kiss on a first date. And I tell him: “no. Just do something kind for someone else in exchange for it. That's it.”

 

But deep down, I know that’s not the deal… so I add... “you're a beautiful soul who can be such a contribution. Have you heard of the Dream Center?”

 

He says no…

 

I explain that he would like it there.

 

But he says that he can't go there... He shuts it down.

 

I tell him that makes me very sad. And I mean it.

 

He asks again: “where are we going to eat this food?”

 

It's darker here. And he's pacing in awkward circles.

 

I don't want to stick around any longer… it’s 3am... I'm tired... I just want to get home....

 

I also recognize something in that moment that I can't articulate until later... My impulse is to run away as fast as possible. I'm not afraid. He's harmless. I'm more ashamed and confused by something I don't understand. It feels like being heartbroken.

 

It reminds me of the tale that Ivan tells Alyosha in The Brother’s Karamazov. The grand inquisitor imprisons Jesus. He tells Jesus that, unfortunately, Jesus must be executed in the inquisition. Why? Because Jesus gives people too much freedom… and freedom causes all the unnecessary suffering in the world. Thus, the Inquisitor takes Jesus place as the holy martyr for the people… because he bears the heavy burden of concealing “the unbearable truth” for the purpose of keeping the people happy and ignorant.

 

Jesus listens to the inquisitor silently… then responds by kissing the Inquisitor on the lips.

 

The meaning is ambiguous… Dostoevsky knows its ambiguous. It’s ambiguous to Ivan, Alyosha, and to us (the readers).

 

I thank Andy for being such a beautiful interruption in my life... then I walk towards my car.

 

As I'm driving away I realize what that feeling is. Powerlessness. Hopelessness. A mix.  

 

Being human is a fragile office. We are delicate, featherless bipeds. One wrong turn of your head and suddenly, you’re accidentally blinded. Hence the ancient fascination with immortality… and our modern quest for perfection.

 

Here I am -- an expert in multiple modes of transformation technologies… and I can’t rescue myself -- and I can’t rescue this kid. We’re both in hell in search of salvation… as Bukowski would write two kids “sharing the stinking dark with my brothers.”

 

And I’m ashamed because it’s not enough for me. I can’t accept it. I can feel the values warring in my heart. There is no peace.

 

I think Naomi Shihab Nye sums this up so magnificently in one of my favorite poems:

 

KINDNESS
Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.


 

I know too well what she means.

 

For me, Andy goes from a peripatetic [a great word for those who don’t know it: traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods] sage… to the Indian in a white poncho who lies dead by the side of the road.

 

And I see how this could be me. He is the part of me who went on that hitchhiking Trip with Alex Bica my senior year of college... and wandered into the crack house next-door to the house of Narcissus pickers who had saved us from a gas station in Santa Barbara.... and left with the lost boys who hitch rides on trains across the country... and simply never came back... and simply never even woke Alex up to tell him I was leaving.

 

It would have been so easy. Just one small decision. Just one more moment with that girl playing spin the bottle with me on the hardwood floor by the broken piano before she got called into the other room. And boom: the rest of my life would have changed. I would be the one wandering barefoot through the streets of Los Angeles… calling to her like the damning ghost of my redemption.  

 

I want to rescue him because I want to rescue myself.

 

But then I understand our difference… and I understand the shame I couldn’t articulate towards the end of our encounter.

 

I am privileged in ways beyond my own comprehension… and yet at constant battle with my divinity and my demons. And if I could only recognize this privilege in the moment it appears to me, the universe would unlock infinite abundance. Forever and always.

 

But I can’t.

 

As much as I work to recognize my acres of diamonds… I miss them more often than I take them. They scintillate in the face -- and I refuse to see them.

 

October was a personal hell for me. After a significant period of nonduality and freedom in September… on October 8th, my ego contracted and my entire world flipped. Even as I write this now, I still cannot inhabit the same state I was in as early as October 7th….

 

Which is quite a humbling experience because a week or two before I was boasting about how I had freed myself from stress and suffering…. And for a few weeks I had. Then I got my fucking ass kicked -- hard.

 

The thing about existential suffering is that it seemingly has no cause. It’s purposeless suffering. It is simply the experience of going to hell. If you’ve been there, you know it. If you haven’t, I don’t suggest visiting.

 

Last month, in September, I experienced extraordinary amounts of pain (even bringing me to tears multiple times)… but not that much suffering. This month I experienced extraordinary amounts of suffering but very little pain…. (this contrast alone has been a breakthrough for me).

 

I suffered tremendously this month. I went to fucking hell. Anyone who suffers with depression can tell you what that’s like. It doesn’t make sense. Nobody can even tell. I still enjoy good moments, I still enjoy happy times… but inside, I’m in fucking hell.

 

So here I am at 3AM in Santa Monica… with a homeless kid…. In a drama about angels and demons, starving for salvation as we stumble through hell together.

 

When I get in my car and drive away, I start screaming. I find it unbearably unfair that I get to drive home in my fancy car, get in my warm bed, land softly in my safety net… and he has to sleep on the cold concrete.

 

Even when I wandered homeless for a week… there was always someone I could call. When Alex and I were shivering in the rain stranded in Half Moon Bay… our clothes soaking wet, our shoes soaking wet, the wind piercing our hearts… car after car passing by… he nearly gave up. He nearly called his mom. We had a “way out” at every point. I tell him to just give us another hour -- when it gets too dark to see. I’m shivering my ass off. But I can’t let this be the end of our story.

 

… And right then, a taxi pulls right up in front of us -- and the guy says “get in.” I tell him -- “thank you, but we don’t have any money.” He already knows. He tells us to get in and shut the door… then takes us all the way to SFO so we can take the BART to Berkeley to get eat some of Cafe Gratitude's free donation bowls. His name was Divino… and I call that an act of Grace.

 

I want to give Andy my bed. My clothes. Everything.  

 

I wasn’t better than him… I didn’t deserve more than him… Only simple acts of Grace separated us. I was born to the parents I was born to -- and he was born to his. The rest could have went either way.

 

And yet… we both equally had second chances.

 

I was going to go home and go to sleep in my warm bed -- and the world was going to begin again the next morning. I could reinvent myself. Any way I wanted.

 

And… although he chose not to go to the Dream Center with me that night… it wouldn’t be hard for him to get there. He too could go to sleep and reinvent himself in the morning.

 

Didn’t Jesus say it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? Who is to say which path is harder or easier? Is it not easier to make a change when you’re living on the streets than if you’re warm and comfortable in a home with a career, a wife, and kids? It’s difficult to transform your life if you’re insane -- but if you’re already living an average life or in an average relationship, don’t you have to be just a little bit insane to risk everything to gamble for something extraordinary?

 

[Obviously as someone on my way to becoming a doctor, I fully appreciate the severity of mental illness (e.g. if a head trauma jeopardizes your prefrontal cortex, then this whole discussion is a moot point)… but I think there are a few ways to interpret life experience: literally and figuratively. The figurative analysis -- like dream interpretation -- is always so much more interesting and fun… especially when the facts of the matter are distant from us.]  

 

I think my greatest strength as a trainer, a coach, and a facilitator is that I've been through hell. I know the devil quite well. As Andy says, “he's alive and well within each of us”. It doesn't matter if you consider this force to be an entity or a mechanism or a pathology --  either way it's a real experience: we all self destruct. We all suffer. We all get ineffective and lose our way.

 

Freud called this force “thanatos” -- the drive towards death and self-destruction. In Kabbalah it’s called the yetzer hara -- or the “evil inclination.” For those people who won the cortical lottery, you may be unfamiliar with it…. For others who suffer greatly with anxiety, depression, obesity, and all other afflictions despite a sincere desire to change your state: it’s quite real. It’s an internal tug-of-war where your ideal self loses.

 

And I suppose... if you're reading this and going through hell, here is the only thing that I can offer....

 

In my experience only two things have ever saved me from this hell: Grace and Faith....

 

A friend once randomly asked me “what is Grace?” and hit record… here’s what I said -- and I still agree with it!

 

 

The thing about Grace is that it’s like the rain over a parched landscape: it either comes or it doesn’t.

 

I didn’t somehow “manifest” Divino to arrive in his taxi right when we needed him at Half Moon Bay.

 

When Alex and I got to Berkeley, I didn’t manifest the kid sitting alone right next to us -- who paid for our Gratitude Bowls, took us to a poetry slam, and then let us sleep at his Japanese style mansion with huge plate glass windows high in the mists overlooking Berkeley. We all drank wine and danced in our socks to Frankie Valli’s “Oh What a Night” on repeat on vinyl while he washed our clothes. In the morning, we were still cold. Our skin still felt damp. But nothing could have been warmer… nothing could have felt more beautifully alive… Watching the sunrise through the Berkeley mists and those wall-to-wall sheet glass windows.

 

 

I can’t cultivate Grace -- no one can -- I can only accept it when it comes. I often say to myself, “I only cultivate the garden -- it’s God’s job to make it grow.” That’s Grace. Not every conception leads to birth. Not every seed we plant, tend to, and love comes to fruition. It’s hard to see that in the 21st century. It’s hard to appreciate Grace with the advent of modern technology. But I think a deep appreciation for Grace is alive and well in our DNA… tracing back to our ancestors raindancing around the fire in the Summer, our great great grandmothers praying that the baby is healthy in the Spring, our great great grandfathers hoping their tears could save the sick child in the Fall, and our families cuddling together to survive the freezing nights in Winter. Without Grace, our ancestors would never have survived. I wouldn’t be here writing this today.

 

But faith is under my dominion. I can control faith. I can have faith that if we just stay strong a little longer, something good will happen. I can cultivate the faith to wait just one more hour, shivering, soaking wet, and freezing in Half Moon Bay. I can cultivate the faith that if we just get to Berkeley, we’ll have food again and everything will be okay.

 

And for me, it was… It’s always been okay... But that was Grace…. And I’ve learned that if you can just stay in faith long enough, Grace usually intervenes.

 

Yet, no amount of reason in the world can convince you that life is worth living for when you're going through hell. Your physiology is too fucked up. You don't have the neurotransmitters to receive that message.... like someone telling you that you should be awake when you're falling asleep. Physiologically... you may be fucked -- regardless of how tough you are psychologically. You certainly feel that way.

 

But if physiology were destiny, no one would be able to will herself through sleepless nights... or grow muscles in a Gold’s gym... or approach beautiful strangers who make him want to run for his life... or simply lose weight.

 

These things all take a lot of faith.

 

I’m not talking about faith in a spaghetti monster in the sky… or anything specifically. I’m talking about faith in Grace. Faith in yourself. Faith that good things -- better things -- are coming if you just hold tight.

 

I’m talking about having the faith to hold onto the wheel when you’re skidding off the rails.

 

Tony Robbins tells a story about learning to drive a race car. The instructor tells him there’s only one rule: “if you’re heading towards the brick wall — you MUST look towards the road where you want to go. Every impulse in you is going to want to look at the wall. You’ll be heading towards it at over 100 mph… you’re going to want to look at it to avoid dying… but you will die if you look at the wall. The only way to live is you must look towards where you want to go.”

 

Sure enough, Tony hits a bend, slides out — and where do you think he looks? Towards the wall. In the last second, the instructor grabs the wheel and pulls the car away from the wall to avoid killing them both.

 

But that’s just how our brains are wired. We look towards the risk. We look towards the danger. We thinks that’s the best way to avoid it. We reason: “By avoiding and protecting myself from this pain now, I won’t feel MORE pain later.” Not always true.

 

Few of us ever have the courage — the faith — to keep our eyes on the road. To stay focused on where we want to go — instead of focusing on the brick wall of death we’re about to crash into. This doesn’t just go against our conditioning. This goes against our biology.

 

But that’s what so many of us do… we turn our dreams, our aspirations, our hopes, and our desires into impossibilities. We then must live with the pain of acting in vain or sacrificing what was born in our hearts. We suffer in untold ways… because our pain loses its purpose. We’re not working for or towards anything anymore. And we wake up one day like Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich and ask: “Has my entire life been wrong?” then die with our music still inside of us.

 

So I decided in that moment, if I have the privilege to be alive — to be here — to live a powerful life — I’m going to choose to have the faith to follow through the integrity that’s in my heart. The pain I feel, I will embrace. I will look forward to it… because the pain is the brick wall. When we look at it — like the medusa, it turns us into stone.

 

And as Randy Pausch said in his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon before dying of pancreatic cancer: the brick walls are not there to keep us out. There just there to keep those who don’t want it badly enough from getting in.

 

If we can feel the pain — know it’s there — but head towards the road we want to go, remain in Faith, everything is available to us.

 

As Tony Robbins says, “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.”

 

I’ve had a hard time with the word faith…. I had a hard time embracing it -- and even a hard time writing it in this blog post. It’s such a culturally charged word. It implies so much.

 

I'm not an atheist or deistic. I'm simply a pragmatist. Aristotelian in the purest sense. If hope and faith and vulnerability are powerful virtues to cultivate: cultivate them by any means necessary. If you must invent gods with supernatural powers: do it. If you must invent a magical future for yourself: do it. It may not be possible to cultivate faith without inventing something for yourself… but the alternative is becoming resigned and cynical. And that’s a problem…

 

Because I can promise you one thing: going through hell without faith is like driving on the freeway with a blindfold on. It's easy to hurt yourself and others.

 

And by hell... I don't just mean depression or existential suffering... I mean going through hell with your business or a relationship or a creative project. Without faith anchoring you to the future you want to create, then like the shades in Dante's inferno, you drink from Lethe's water until inch by inch your volitional soul slowly fades away. And by the time you come back to yourself: it may be too late.

 

Only faith keeps you committed to what you want to create in the world.

 

And here's the irony about faith -- it's not the opposite of doubt. Faith is the opposite of certainty. Therefore, vulnerability and faith are truly the same thing. You cannot be capable of enduring suffering -- "vulnerable" -- unless you have faith. Otherwise you're not truly vulnerable. You're just weak... when pain inevitably arises: you shrink. When hard times come, you run away. When you are called by your destiny to grow into higher levels, you go back to sleep. That's just weakness -- the other opposite dimension of vulnerability.

 

The Bible says “without a purpose people perish.” It's easy to see why. If Buddha is right -- and “life is suffering,” but you don't have a purpose for your pain: your fucked.

 

That's what going through hell feels like: being Prometheus in Hades getting your liver pecked out by a crow every day.

 

It's this insight which defined Camus exalted expression of existentialism in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. For those unfamiliar, the Gods condemn Sisyphus to hell. His punishment is this: an eternity of having to roll a boulder up a hill. The moment he gets it to the top, it rolls back to the bottom and he must roll it up the hill again… only to have to fall back down again. For eternity.

 

It may be more sexy to call Sisyphus an "existentialist hero” but it's more accurate (in my opinion) to defer to Kierkegaard and call him a Knight of Faith…. as Camus says, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy”… But how? It’s not enough to simply “believe” that the task is meaningful. Camus seems to imply it is -- but that’s not my experience. My experience is that for Sisyphus to be happy, he must not only believe that his absurd condition has purpose: he must cultivate indomitable faith in this...

 

Because -- and this is where the story ends -- in life you're either growing or you're dying. You're getting weaker or your getting stronger.

 

And what this month has taught me -- more than anything -- is that growth is always painful.

 

To subject ourselves to that pain can seem absolutely absurd… like pushing a rock up a hill only for it to roll down again… but, like Sisyphus, we can “revolt” against this bleak conclusion. We can choose to give it purpose -- if only in revolt to spite the Gods.

 

As Eric Thomas says, “don’t cry to give up -- cry to keep going! You’ve already suffered -- at least reap the reward!”

 

I used to say I am committed to growth. Now I feel much wiser about what that statement implies. Growth doesn't exist without pain -- To grow my muscles in the gym I must rip muscle fibers. Painful. To grow socially I must go beyond my comfort zone. Painful. To grow in business I must work harder, wake up earlier and go to bed later. Painful. To master brain states in different meditation styles I must sit silently for hours in uncomfortable positions and face unfathomable boredom. Painful.  

 

But, isn’t this written into the very laws of Physics? Newton’s second law states that an object’s acceleration is directly proportionate to the net Force acting on that object [F = ma]... Otherwise, as Newton discovered in his first law, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion -- unless of course the second law kicks into play and it’s interrupted by an unbalanced force. This is the law of inertia.

 

I’m not saying that good things don’t happen when you’re not growing (when you’re in inertia). That’s not true at all. Good things happen all the time -- regardless of what you do. So do bad things.

 

What I am saying is: personal growth is like existential acceleration -- it requires an unbalanced net force large enough to overcome inertia… and that takes energy -- which is defined as the capacity to do work -- but as the First Law of Thermodynamics states energy is neither created nor destroyed: it is only transformed or transferred. Therefore, it takes energy to get energy -- and the energy you put into a system is called work. Humanistically: the more energy you want to put into the system, the more work you have to put into the system… and however you want to reframe it, the internal currency of work is pain -- and based on this accounting, the more pain you invest, the faster you can accelerate.

 

That’s not exactly true -- but, it’s a good story I just came up with.

 

Yet, if you’re being very honest with yourself… can you find an instance of true growth (personal acceleration) that does not carry with it some form of pain?

 

Yes, you may have gotten the promotion: but that comes with more work, more responsibility, more pressure -- more pain. Yes you may have serendipitously met your soulmate -- but that comes with more work, more responsibility, more pressure -- more pain. Yes, you may have more things, a “fitter” body, a bigger house, higher quality friends, and higher quality states of being -- but this all creates more attachment, more pressure, more responsibility, more urgency to maintain: pain.

 

[With that said, I’m really trying to force this point. The more I think about it, the less absolutely true it seems -- but I seem to be really committed to proving this point!]

 

Pain is like a compass pointing towards the direction of growth. I often say, “Resistance is the Gateway to Growth” -- because overcoming inertia is the secret to acceleration. The physics of acceleration. Growth. 

 

[of course if you take that literally and indiscriminately, it’s certainly false… I’m definitely not suggesting all pains are equal… the pain of bending your finger back is not the same as the growing pain of doing bicep curls until you vomit like Arnold Schwarzenegger]

 

It doesn’t matter if you want to euphemise it with a sweeter sounding word like “tapas” or burning… if it’s not pleasure… then it’s pain. And you could say, “yes! But that pain was a pleasure!” And my response would be, I bet! Imagine if it wasn’t!

 

When I see the pain my friends who have children have to undergo to raise their kids while working full time jobs, I become infinitely more compassionate towards my own parents. It’s hard enough taking care of a plant or a goldfish.

 

.... which is why I didn't grow all that much this month. I became allergic to pain. I didn't want to stomach the pain of growth… the pain of responsibility… the pain of full integrity.... so instead I suffered the existential pain that comes from comfort: choosing to be weak & small.

 

It’s painful sometimes to eat foods that are healthy for us… and it’s really pleasurable sometimes to eat foods that are unhealthy for us… But if you don’t balance these two forces, you’re fucked! You start accelerating the opposite way!

 

I’ve become an expert at techniques for reframing and reconditioning my mind… for modulating the submodalities of desires to change the way they occur for me… just like I’ve become an expert at mnemotechnics -- able to memorize 50 random numbers at once! But sometimes even the best techniques don’t compare with brute force. At a certain point, when you’re standing on the diving board, you just have to jump -- in spite of all the emotional pain you feel… because it vanishes quickly on the way down.

 

I’m grateful for going to hell this month. It’s been an extraordinarily valuable learning opportunity.

 

Nietzsche once said that we should only pity what is weak. And since no human being is truly weak, no one should be pitied. We are not weak. I am not weak. You are not weak. Andy is not weak. We can only choose to be weak.

 

So I'm grateful to Andy... he's just like me. Grace intervened in both our lives at the same time. All he had to do was sit down at Denny’s with me for a warm meal… drive with me to The Dream Center…. To step through the doorway to his resurrection, in Osteen’s words. But he chose to shut that door.

 

And his choices allowed me to see how I choose to forsake Grace in my own life...  to not use my privilege… in whatever way I’m privileged.

 

The day I escaped the worst hell of my life two things happened. The first was that I happened to read these words by Rilke (Grace) -- which discounted all the negative illusions I was under perpetuated by the morose sentiments of the existentialists I was studying at the time:

 

Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

 

The second thing was that I saw my entire life as one large cyclone of appraisals. Like the weather, it goes up and down -- preceded by the smallest incident like a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the planet. Factors that have nothing to do with my precious ego. One moment it’s going up -- and it’s a positive cyclone of appraisals. The next moment it’s going down, and it’s a negative cyclone of appraisals. There’s nothing personal about it… It’s only my own confusion that I take myself too personally.

 

And something about Rilke’s words gave me the courage to simply choose what cyclone I wanted to be in (Faith)… In other words, it gave me faith in my intrinsic goodness. With that faith in place, I no longer needed to keep spiraling downward. I was anchored an unshakeable strength. Power. I started re-cultivating my spiritual fitness. Choosing to be Unbroken… if for no better reason than to spite whatever God had afflicted me in the first place with this condition.

 

And again, I’m no different than Andy. If I am powerful, he is powerful. If I am capable, he is capable… I’m just eternally grateful for the moments like these. Moments when I don’t have Faith -- but at least Grace intervenes. If it didn’t... I most certainly would be the barefoot beggar starting conversations about angels and demons… not the the closed-sole giver starting conversations about angels and demons instead.

 

Gazing at him, eye to eye, in the darkness, we were just two lost boys searching for faith held fast in the palm of Grace.

 

“I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside.”
 
― Jalaluddin Rumi


 

As I write this I have a renewed faith and a renewed vigor. I'm out of hell. I'm back in action, baby! November is going to be an epic fucking month!!!

 

Get Schwifty!!!!!!

 

72. schwifty.gif

 

PS… I keep this blog as an accounting of my own progress -- I do not suggest reading it, sharing it, or thinking about it like an “advice column.” For that, wait for my book -- these posts are just fun ramblings.

 

With all of that said, October was an incredibly productive month:

 

OCTOBER GOALS ACCOUNTING

  1. Get all A+'s in October for UCLA classes [complete… A+’s mixed with A’s]
     

Priority #1. Covered.

 

  1. Publish Bill Wich's Essential Healing Course & Indy Rishi's "Laughing into Success" Video Courses [complete… gearing up to launch now]

 

I’ve been working on these literally since September 2016. Wich’s course is seriously a magnum opus. It’s about 20 hours of edited content…. Over 400 pages of supplemental materials… it’s like 4 weekend workshops wrapped up into a video, audio, and text course. I’m SO excited to launch it!

 

Similarly, Rishi’s Laughing into Success course is another masterpiece on Laughter Science. Can’t wait to finally put this out in Novemeber!

 

  1. Memorize 36 random #’s on camera [complete]

 

I surprised even myself with this one! I set out to memorize 36 numbers… and I memorized 50.

 

Immediately aftewards though, I just kind of resigned. I thought to myself: well, that’s it! There’s no way I can do more than this… 50 is my limit, so I may as well quit here….

 

With that said, my new goal is to memorize 100 numbers. This is really… really… really(!!!!) hard!!! I want to say that I don’t know if I can do it… but then I wouldn’t try….

 

So 100 numbers, let’s get it baby!!!!!

 

  1. Remember every day of the month [complete]

 

Done… second month in a row… but I may not continue this for November. It feels too tedious.

 

As I write that, it’s clear: I want to keep this practice!

 

  1. Launch Monthly Unwind Event [complete]

 

We sold out with nearly 80 people there! Massive success :)

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 12.01.26 PM.png

 

 

  1. Produce & Launch CFD x 12 Friendsgiving [complete]

 

Slotted 12 playshops, 5 vendors, and build the webpage for our next 6 hour event.

 

  1. Synthesize, Translate, & share 20 research articles on wellness [incomplete]

 

Instead of doing this, I actually started writing my own Pilot research study. I’ve sent it out to a few researchers and MD’s for suggestions and advice. It’s basically a single-blind clinical trial around Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (ISBR -- or Byron Katie’s the Work). I’m really excited for to launch this!!!

 

I also read & re-read about 7 books -- Dragons of Eden (Carl Sagan), The Games People Play (Eric Berne), Born to Win (Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward), The Happiness Hypothesis (Jonathan Haidt), Loving What Is (Byron Katie), Principles (Ray Dalio), Kosmic Consciousness (Ken Wilber & Tami Simon).

 

With that said, I also read about 5 or 6 research articles… but not the 20 I set out to read -- and I certainly didn’t synthesize and share them. I recognize this is going to be a much longer task… where my #1 priority right now is finishing my book The First to Love Wins. So I’m pouring my research into that book instead of translating it for more easy dissemination.

 

  1. Exercise & Cold Showers [complete]

 

I’m keeping this habit up… luckily… It’s been my greatest anchor. I’ve also taken my exercises to the next level…. Depending on how that goes I’ll write about it for November.

 

With that said, I had a bit off time off Keto -- my Cholesterol shot up to over 300 (mostly LDL). So my doctor recommended I see a nutritionist. She was NOT a fan of keto… but after being off-keto, I find that eating carbs really zaps me of my energy. It’s weird. I feel too good on Keto to significantly stop…. As much as I love In-and-Out Milkshakes, Fries, and Popcorn!

 

  1. Helped GØldn release his first single.

 

This was a really proud moment. I helped me former artist with the launch of his first single. It debuted on a few international playlists -- and he made such an awesome teaser video!!!


 

  1. Finish my book "Happiness Secrets (and hacks)" [incomplete]

 

I went through my most recent version of The First to Love Wins…. Which I have cut down from about 1,600 pages to 250 pages over this year…. And I realized that it’s too early for me to synthesize this system into a smaller book like “Happiness Secrets (and hacks)”. First I want to complete The First to Love Wins, then I’ll create a little “cheat sheet” book for those who just want the sparknotes. As I completed this most recent edit, I realized there was a lot more research I wanted to add in….

 

So I’m anticipated (even if I read fast…) that I will need probably another 6 months to complete this. Then I’m very excited to share it as an experiential seminar. I think people’s minds will be fucking blown. Every time I dive into the pages of that work, I’m gripped by a magnificent awe for how powerful the technology is.

 

  1. Learn to play guitar (10 songs) [incomplete]

 

I totally ignored this goal, for the second month in a row. I simply chose not to do it. Period. In november…. I’m just going to get this done. Period. It’s a commitment.


 

NEW GOALS FOR NOVEMBER 2017

  1. Continue getting A’s & A+’s at school

  2. Continue exercising with cold showers

  3. Continue Mental Exercising: memorize 75 random numbers, re-memorize all of Brene Brown’s work, Tony Robbins, Werner Erhardt, and Byron Katie’s.

  4. Remember Every Day of the Month.

  5. Meditate 20 - 40 Minutes every day [I’ve reintroduced traditional meditation into my daily practice…. Its working]

  6. Finalize my ISBR Single Blind Pilot Study.

  7. Finish ½ the books / studies I need to read to finish The First to Love Wins book.

  8. Learn to play Guitar (10 songs)

 

 

ben rolnikComment