Laugh A Little

Actually… laugh a lot!

As they say, “Laughter is the best medicine” and I couldn’t agree more. You can’t go wrong with a great sense of humor. Even when you feel like shit, find a way to make yourself laugh, even if you have to fake the funk for a while. As a good friend of mine once said, “If you can make yourself laugh, you don’t need anybody.” Ha! And as cliche’ as it is, “Fake it, ’til you make it!”

The one thing I had completely forgotten about during the last 2 years of my life was my own sense of humor. I was so serious all the time with just about everything that I forgot what sarcasm was. It’s like I didn’t know how to rebuttal sarcasm with sarcasm and didn’t know how to crack jokes or even recite quotes from my favorite comedies and be clever about it. I took everything so seriously and personally that my personality went from Jen’s fucking hilarious to Jen’s boring and um…awkward. Super lame!

So guess what? I started watching all of my old favorite comedies, even if I didn’t “feel” like it. The more I watched them, the more I began to cure myself of being so comically deranged! I started to laugh more and be less serious.

I know there’s always a right time to be serious, but there’s always time, anytime, to have a sense of humor! So if you feel like shit, find a way to make yourself laugh until it becomes a habit. You won’t regret it, I promise! Cheers!

 

 

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Being Chill Without A Reason

Our subconscious mind is gnarly….and runs about 90% of our life.

The way you consciously perceive life through your senses is really based on all the fun stuff going on in the subconscious. And what goes on in your subconscious is really derived from how the neurons in your brain are wired. So ask yourself,  “How are they wired?”

If the neurons in your brain are mostly wired and firing towards love based emotions, you’ll be chill and relaxed without a reason. Basically you’ll feel unfuckwithable.  If they’re not, you’ll probably experience more fear based emotions, such as despair and anxiety, without a reason. Basically you’ll feel like shit.

I’ve spent the last couple of months rewiring my brain through consistent meditation and I’m pretty stoked on how far I’ve come and what I was able to conclude over the last crazy 2 years of my life!

Most, if not all, of 2017 and 2018 was spent in fear. Yep, I was living life on a hamster wheel and I can see why I was struggling a lot. I did have some random bubbles of awesome moments but my subconscious was mostly wired towards fear and that’s what I manifested most of the time. There were so many opportunities for me but I just couldn’t see them until now. I can laugh about it now because it’s in the past and I learned a lot! But would I want to repeat another 2 years? Hell to the no!

Because I started meditating consistently, my memory started to lift out of the fog along with my sense of contentment. I was no longer having the dark night of the soul episodes because I was able to train my brain into walking around that dark pit instead of falling in anytime that shitty existential crisis feeling would creep up. And because I was able to walk around it instead of falling in, things that I used to enjoy and appreciate all started to come back to me in full force. I was actually feeling chill without a reason instead of feeling despair without a reason. I actually rewired my brain! Heyo!

I don’t disregard the existential crisis/dark night of the soul phase. I feel it really did happen to me. It took about 2 years to come out of it fully because when I think about it, I really felt brainwashed in a way by fears embedded in my own subconscious mind and I didn’t know how to really come out of it because I had no idea I was living in a state of fear and I absolutely had no control over my own mind. I really was out of touch with reality, but damn I got to travel a shit ton and I can now appreciate that more than ever!

So if you are feeling a strong sense of fear based emotion without a reason, that’s a sign there is something that needs to be addressed in the subconscious with consistent meditation. If you are feeling chill without a reason, that’s a sign your subconscious is zen AF! And that’s where you want to be! Cheers!

 

Boxing Yourself in the Present Moment

Make it a habit!

I never fully understood what the “present moment” was until recently, after several hours of meditation sessions. I knew what the term “present moment” meant but it was so difficult to truly understand because I couldn’t distinguish the difference between what was the past, present and future. My thoughts were scattered with memories of the past and anxieties of the future.

Anytime you think of a past memory or future thought, you are not in the present moment. There should only be one single thought in the present moment and that’s one single thing you are focusing on right now – which is you reading this now. Not what my title said when you saw it earlier and not what the next paragraph says in 5 seconds but right now. If you looked at the title or the next paragraph, you stepped out of the present moment because you were distracted.

After meditating for a while, I made it a game. I would focus on my breathing for a while, then allow my mind to start meandering off. But then I would bring my attention right back to my breathing and box myself into focusing on my breathing only. This was very difficult at first but the more I focused on it, the more I was able to “forget” what memory or anxiety my mind was trying to feed me along with the emotions that came with them. The moment that I boxed myself in with my breathing, my thoughts piped down right away.

If you can keep boxing yourself into the present moment when some past or future thought arises with some negative emotion, you naturally get into a mental state of equilibrium. Of course it’s not easy at first, but if you can learn to tie your own shoes, you can learn to rewire your brain into staying in the present moment.

Why You Should Care About What People Think of You

To not care is based on an act of fear.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You can accept it as truth or not. But regardless, you should always accept their opinion but stay neutral.

Anyone who has an opinion of you, whether positive or negative, is actually offering you their time and you should be so honored because time is very valuable. Think about it. If they really didn’t care to have an opinion of you, you would not waste any of their time. But the fact that anyone has any opinion of you is giving you something very valuable. And it goes the other way, any time you respond, you give them a piece of your time. Staying neutral is far more less time given than anger, wouldn’t you agree?

So just accept opinions as truth or not, stay neutral towards them, thank them for the time they have given you and then move along. When you do this, you are actually standing up to an act of fear being brought upon you, not running away from it. Cheers!

The True Benefit of Meditation

There are many different kinds of legitimate articles and such that explain all the benefits of meditation. I’ve read so many and they all sound great and have been proven by science. However, the one thing I feel many of them lack is the ability to express the benefits in a way to where the reader can truly understand.

People will only pay close attention and be motivated by something they resonate and connect with. You can throw out a lot of information about the benefits of whatever along with some statistics, but no one will actually pay attention or be motivated unless you explain something to where they can truly connect and understand in a “aha” kind of way.

So with meditation, I feel that the one benefit everyone can relate with is the ability to take a step back as an observer.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you receive a phone call from a really good friend of yours. The moment you answer the phone, they are sobbing and going hysterical because they were just dumped. You aren’t sobbing and freaking out over them getting dumped, you just want to know what happened, find ways to console them and try to give some advice. This means you are actually in the position of being the observer of their situation. You are more clear headed than them, which allows you to see the solutions they may not be able to see because they are currently spending all of their energy wallowing in their own confusion of emotions.

Now instead of your friend, it is you that got dumped.

Instead of calling up a friend, you seek help from yourself. When you meditate consistently, you naturally have the ability to take a step back in the same way you did with your friend. You don’t have to try to take a step back, it becomes a natural habit in the same way you blink the moment something tries to invade your eyeball. You don’t start sobbing and freak out, you immediately become your own observer before you can acknowledge it. And when you become your own observer, you become aware of the solutions that are available to you so you don’t react like an asshole, and regret what you did later.

I have been meditating consistently for the last 11 days ranging from 2 minutes at a time to an hour. Surprisingly, I have noticed the difference in my response to my recent experience last night.

I was trying to look for an Air BnB room for the night but couldn’t find any available in the area I’m in. So I looked up hotels and though they weren’t cheap at all I really wanted to shower and sleep in a bed because I drove a lot and needed the rest. So instead of getting all worked up over not finding an Air BnB room or decent priced hotel, I just paid for a hotel room and that was that.

So I get my room and once I opened the door, I saw that the room did not have sheets and a blanket on the bed, as if housekeeping forgot to clean it. I go back to the lobby and get another room. It’s smaller but it is clean. However, I find out later that the shower doesn’t work and I can only take a bath. Then I get an email indicating that my credit card declined an automatic payment from my gym because I had forgotten to put more money on my credit card after reactivating my Hulu account. Doh!

Of course, at this point I would’ve been livid because I just drove all day, and was super tired and hungry but instead my brain function in a calm way and I just went with it. I didn’t go back to the lobby to complain, I just took a bath, paid my credit card, ate some food, chilled out and meditated before I went to sleep. This was awesome because I didn’t waste a lot of my energy getting livid and complaining about things that are out of my control. I was able to control the one thing I do have control of, which is the way I respond. And damn my response was on par and it felt really fucking good!

Even though I had only spent 11 days consistently meditating, the habit came back easily because I had started picking up the habit before. It’s almost like swimming, once you learn, you can’t unlearn or have to relearn all over again. You just pick the habit back up where you left off. The habit may be a little rusty at first but will smooth out pretty easily.

Once the habit is ingrained and you keep the momentum going, your response to just about anything will naturally be efficient without you trying. Therefore, you will only see everything from an observation point of view instead of getting lost in the ocean of emotions like your friend who just got dumped.

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Photo: A view of the Pacific Ocean from a vista point located in San Simeon, California

 

 

 

Why Is Life Hard?

Life is only hard if we make it that way.

Everything we experience derives from perspective. Nothing in life should ever be hard, but rather challenging. Challenges are there to wake us up to what we need to do to overcome the inevitable obstacles in life and improve ourselves. It’s up to you whether you want to face the challenges head on or look away. But if you look away, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And when nothing is gained, life is hard.

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Photo: Solo hiking adventures at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas.

 

 

Why You Should Force Yourself to Meditate Consistently

Meditation is like going to the gym consistently for the first month – it’s very difficult to do when you first start and very easy to quit.

I quit a lot in 2018 when it came to meditating but was way more consistent with going to the gym. I only know this because of my physical strength in comparison to my mental strength. I’m pretty damn strong physically, more than ever now, but my mind is still struggling to catch up.

I know all the benefits of meditating and how imperative it is to develop it as a habit because I blogged a lot about it. Some of my best written blogs came when I was meditating daily back in January and February. However, because this year has thrown me so many challenging curve balls during the development of this habit, I fell out of meditating before it became a habit, several times. This only caused me to get lost in the sauce all year long by continuously forgetting everything I personally feel that contributes towards mental strength – the philosophy of Stoicism and the philosophy of Buddhism. These two philosophies compliment each other very well and actually almost run parallel with one another.

When I look back to everything I experienced this year, the only thing I would’ve changed was my meditating habit by FORCING myself to be consistent with it.

Would it change anything that happened to me this year? No because everything is based on perspective. You cannot change what happens to you, you can only change your perspective.  If I had forced myself to meditate, regardless of what was going on around me, I either would’ve handled everything more effectively or not noticed any challenges whatsoever because I wouldn’t be triggered by much, not even the dark night of the soul. When you are triggered by something, that’s an indication that there’s something in your mind that needs attention.

This year was definitely a year I needed to force the meditation habit because there was a lot that happened to where it would’ve saved me a lot of energy. Out of the 37 years of my life, this was by far the most difficult and challenging year I’ve EVER experienced. I cannot tell you how confused and misunderstood I felt all year long and how annoyed I was from feeling confused and misunderstood. Basically, I was just lost all year long, but that’s ok, shit happens right? Time to move forward, not get lost in the past.

And so as the year comes to an end, I made a promise to myself that I would force myself to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes, regardless of where I’m at. I’ve already seen major results in the efforts I’ve put in towards going to the gym on a daily basis but I want my mind to outperform the progress of my body because the mind is more powerful than the body.

The mind is our consciousness which is responsible for generating all the matter that our physical body and organs are made from and keeps them functioning. So, if you think about it, you can be in the best shape of your life physically, but if your mind is trash, you’re limited. However, if you’re mind is in the best shape it’s ever been, but your body is trash, it won’t matter because your mind has the unlimited potential to adapt and change. Besides, the human body is only a temporary housing spot for our consciousness in order to experience life as a human. Get what I’m saying?

So with that said, I need to make some major gains with this mind of mine by forcing meditation consistently now that I’ve seen major results with the way I’ve forced myself to go to the gym consistently. And plus, the mind is a forever energy, so as a human, now is the time to tap into that while I can.

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Photo: A panoramic photo I took yesterday of Lake Travis from the patio of the Oasis Texas Brewing Company in Austin, Texas.