How to be a Yogi on Election Day 

Nov. 6th 2018 America has ED… Election Day :) It’s happening folks! Our time to shine has arrived. Today as citizens we can literally stand for our beliefs. 

IMG_5437 2.jpeg

Today is the day, have you voted?

I voted early because it’s simply the thing to do. I mean, who wants to risk standing in line for 4-6 hours desperately trying to avoid a political discussion. You know what I mean. We only tend to open up when we know the other person is “on our side” right? Or is that just me? Nah? Yeah, I didn’t think so..

So why are we EPICALLY divided? I have a few yogi insights to share with you that might help shift some perspectives on your fellow American and how we can come together rather than tear [each other] apart. 

It just so happened that I grew up in a southern conservative family. Conservative talk radio was a given on car rides and at home. With this influence, as well as influence from my family, I was told what to believe, what was right, what was wrong, and FU*K anyone who was wrong, they weren’t a true American! That is true to form context for the sentiment that ran through my family. 

It took me years to actually form my own ideas, thoughts, and opinions. I left home to attend school and my first roommate was black and gay (so of course I already “knew” what to think of him… ) Luckily I never developed the vitriol of my mother’s side of the family. I held their beliefs but I was also accepting of others. Now I say: “thank goodness for that roommate!” 

After leaving my home environment, through travel, education, spending time with cultures all around the world, and most importantly observing them, I began to measure what I was experiencing with the beliefs that had been baked into me since childhood. What I saw didn’t always align with what I “knew”. This long process of becoming my own person helped to loosen the conditioning from my childhood environment. Environment is a very important factor. Textbook coming of age, right? 

The door to my past beliefs fell off its hinges when the light of yoga entered my life. This journey has (and continues to) evolve my perspective in many ways and has ultimately lead to my current state of conscious awareness. An awareness of the matrix of human habits, patterns, and conditioning that make all the gears turn in our major societies. 

Consider the climate of the political environment today: What we see on the news and read in our newsfeeds. One of three things are happening to you… 

  1. You are hearing or reading exactly what you want. Confirming your own biases and prejudice (You know, those aren’t bad, they’re just words.) 

  2. You are reacting and getting triggered by anything that doesn’t align with what you “know”. Said differently, anything that challenges your current belief system. 

  3. You are like me: and you laugh, with a tinge of compassion, at all the anger, frustration, and THE DRAMA. This is the distraction… The “right or wrong”. 

Be like #3 and rise above the drama!

Let’s be better.

Let’s be better.

OK let’s do this… 

Let me give you a personal example. When my dad realized I did not vote the way he assumed I would, in alignment with his beliefs. To be fair to my father  (FYI: we love and respect each other dearly), he’s nothing like the ignorance and blindness that my mother’s side of the family exhibited (May they rest in peace!). But alas! he was very upset at how I cast my vote, and the resulting (one sided argument) ensued: 

Dad: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WHY?

Me: Because that person aligns more with what I believe in than the other. 

And then dad began to quote lines from a campaign commercial (I’d seen as well). I called him out… 

I asked questions, cool as a cucumber…

“Did your hear that in a commercial?” “and who do you think funded that?”

“Might that have been taken out of context?”

“Do you think they wanted you to think a certain way?” 

“Define what you mean by that, do you think that’s what the other person meant too?” 



Recap:

So what happened? Dad got triggered (a fancy word for emotionally invested) and for him it immediately became an issue of “what’s wrong and what’s right with the world” - through his limited perspective. I, on the other hand, was not triggered (yogi superpowers) and began asking him to defend his position of attacking me for my choice. Why? To understand. Did he actually formulate his own beliefs or had they been funded by campaign dollars? So to speak.  


Before long he had exhausted his offensive and opted not to “argue it any longer” even though I had only asked questions. 

[ Note: For most this would be a big deal, for us it is another chapter in our relationship. We accept each other. I am so grateful for what we share as father and son!]

I see so many people suffering over this “right vs wrong” mentality. IT IS ALL EGO. This is how imbalanced ego works: “I am right and if we disagree you must be wrong. I’m gonna let you know that you’re wrong; so I can feel right.” 

This out of control ego has us IMMEDIATELY trying to defend our “beliefs” and make the other person wrong. It is ABSURD, and hilarious at times.. it is on display everywhere! Media has become a disease. If we aren’t listening to the things we like to hear “what’s right” we are combating “what’s wrong”. 



Is there a solution? Hell yes there is! 

Deep Breath and listen

We as a country are so deprived of LISTENING. Everyone wants to defend their piece and so instead of listening, they immediately begin thinking of what they’ll say next. Sound familiar? Yes we all do that. Listening is a practice. It is the antidote to all this poison. People want to be heard and if you can listen and reflect back to them, then the truth will prevail. Every time. 

Example: Dad didn’t want to continue fighting me because he began to realize quickly how superficial his talking points were (pretty much the contents of one or two campaign ads) AND that can’t withstand LISTENING for very long, whereas me arguing with him would just add fuel to the fire. 

CURIOSITY IS THE ANTIDOTE TO JUDGEMENT 

That is my favorite saying, because it is so true. Think about how expansive and wondrous curiosity is! There can be no judgment. It’s light and dark. 

In conclusion (There could be much more said, ask me if you are curious and want to discuss further!)

  1. Disconnect from the noise… It’s time to let go of “Right vs. Wrong”

  2. Understand yourself first: Where are your beliefs rooted? Have you ever questioned them? Ever searched contrary evidence?

  3. LISTEN: to others rather than trying to prove yourself right. If you notice yourself “winding up for the pitch” take a nice smooth deep breath and acknowledge that only listening will yield meaningful progress in this situation. 

  4. Be humble to other perspectives. At the end of the day you and I are only one of about 7.5 billion people. We have limited perspectives. Understanding ourselves better will also yield more perspectives. 

LASTLY:

If you think your one vote counts, rethink how you make your impact! Your vote, and more importantly your volition to vote, certainly does count. Your actions however, they count far more. In our capitalist system, nothing counts more than how you VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR. So if you want to see the change you believe, better to put your money where your mouth is. 


I’ll leave it there. 


Love!

Jeff

On meditation: Vipassana

Heavily Meditated
🧘🏼‍♂️
I began a mediation practice 3 years ago and honestly it has been the most impactful practice I’ve experienced.

I originally found yoga as stretching and exercise. THEN with consistent practice YOGA became SO MUCH more! Meditation practice is yoga 🤯


I have spent years training my body... for weight loss, fitness, health, wellness. Early on it never occurred to me then that training my mind is equally as important! Maybe even more important.


With meditation I train awareness and ability to direct that awareness (focus). Simple. Life changing.


This has become my super power in the Information Age. When so many ideas, opinions, distractions come from different directions I feel confident that I can be true to myself, thanks to practicing meditation daily.

I couldn’t recommend it more. I would love to see more people benefiting from this practice. Peace of mind is a practice and the outcome is priceless. Empowering people to practice, NOW that's a worthy cause. Want to begin? I will help you!

You can have access to 30 days of guided meditation! I have it recorded here:

Click Image To go to my 30 day meditation podcast!

IT’S FREE!!!


Today (Oct. 3rd 2018) I begin a meditation course called vipassana for my 3rd time. We will be sitting and practicing meditation for about 10 hours a day during the next 10 days. It is an intense and amazing experience to be immersed in the inner workings of the mind.

While I am on this planet I want to learn, see, and experience as much as I can. And to see things AS THEY ARE is the essence of vipassana practice. Pure. Honest. Self Inspection.

The Happiness Planner

YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HAPPINESS PLANNER

 

This article is dedicated to one of my favorite and most effective tools for creating meaningful space in my life, The Happiness Planner! A really well developed and well thought out planner that will have you ticking your happiness boxes and pursuing your life oriented to what makes you HAPPY! Who wouldn’t want that? Seriously, I believe we are meant to pursue happiness for ourselves as the universal way to contribute to humanity. Oh and you’ll figure out what all those things are along the way. 

image_86260968-f95a-4753-b9b4-2c8622954a95_1024x1024.jpg

One of the best practices

you can give yourself

 

My first Happiness Planner was a gift to me by my amazing friends in London as a going away present. I had no clue that a simple planner would have such a positive impact in my life! At the time I had been long since journaling and ticking boxes on to do lists, and so the format of self inquiry and planning for the day ahead were not novel to me. However, as with most great contributions to our world, it was the combination of two powerful things that made all the in creating a standout difference.

KNOW THYSELF...

 

By uniting several powerful exercises in self-enquiry and vision work with a brilliantly effective page structure, the Happiness Planner guides you to figure out what exactly it is you need to do for the next 100 days to become happier. I don’t know if you are like me, but often I used to live for the day and rarely looked ahead to set intentions or orient myself toward what it was I wanted to create or develop in the future. And it really changed my life when I took on the personal challenge to commit to 100 days of using this planner. As with anything, I believe, consistency is the mark of growth and this handy planner got me excited to be consistent. I am now on my fourth copy. Thank you Happiness Planner! 

 

Oh by the way, this is totally not sponsored or anything. 

.

Waging War On Our Vices

Why are we sometimes not living the life we want for ourselves? Why are good habits so goddamn hard? What are good habits?! 

These are a few good questions for anyone looking to make some positive changes in their life. Positive changes being those that forge a path toward a happier healthier existence. Something we all want, literally, no one is excluded from wanting that. Sometimes (hell oftentimes) the answers don’t come as easily as we’d like them to and that’s actually a very good thing. Please read my thoughts on this, I hope they provide some hope and enthusiasm for you to embrace the difficulties of your noble path of self betterment.  :) That would be the best outcome. 

A few years ago marked a new trajectory for my life’s journey. I had moved to an incredible city (London, UK), met some lovely new friends, scored a cool job (at a craft beer shop haha, oh times have changed!) and enrolled in a post graduate course to keep me busy. So many great things going on and I can easily say that during this period I was riding front seat on the struggle bus every single day.

Every evening I would struggle to not binge eat whatever was in my sight and every morning was a fun little game of snooze until the last possible moment followed by a cortisol induced mad dash to whatever thing I had to do that morning, whether it be class or work. I call it living in a hamster wheel and I believe you know (to some degree) what I’m talking about. There was little I understood of my inability to be more consistent at getting up early for a morning run or yoga. I did manage those things, it was just hard as hell and I would be dashing out the door hoping I would not miss the £18 yoga class that would not be refunded if I showed up late to! 

AND this was nothing new to me, it was a well worn pattern. Because even though I had already invested a few years walking (running actually) a path seeking weight loss and and fitness, it was never really about mental health or wellness, or balance. Those were just words, empty, like so many we use today. 

[My weight loss journey: I’ll write about that sometime]

Even worse (or funnier depending on how you look at it) I was quite convinced that one could read one’s way out of any life difficulty; so convinced, in fact, that I had read many books on time management, habits, and human psychology. And reading these books was great, I sure felt smart and would happily advise anyone who was on that same struggle bus, like I had some special answers. I knew how all the “successful people” did it. It never dawned on me that I actually had no clue. I intellectually understood these principles well, however the path to creating lasting and meaningful change eluded me. Only from a place of knowing myself deeply did this quality begin to show up in my life.

Alright, so here I was, wanting to make a better way for myself, (LIKE WE ALL DO!) and it was not until I felt a degree powerlessness and a real sense of misery in my inability to change my circumstances that I began to understand and acknowledge that my current efforts were in vain. Things had to change and everything came down to my own self management. Therein lies is a very important discovery that I would like to highlight… My back was a against the wall. My situation had become intolerable to me. And until then I had considered my circumstances, i.e. the world around me, to be the cause of my suffering, when really, it was of my own making.  And I have come to believe rather firmly that this is a pretty universal and human condition. AND the very special, easy to overlook fact, is that this discovery coincided with a practice that brought about in me deeper self-inspection and self-awareness.

That was a few years ago and since then, things have fallen into place quite remarkably. Shockingly I give all the credit to practicing yoga and ESPECIALLY meditation. We really are a victim of our patterns until we actually are able to observe the process. From that space I was able to begin to make small incremental changes and also feel my way into a deeper understanding of the underpinning mechanisms of my behavior.  

Ah.. I’ve really gotten in the weeds on this one haha :) Well as you can see it is a very personal journey. We all know what good habits are. They come pretty naturally if we strive for balance. Meditation helps tremendously because with it I start to take notice of the things that are yanking me around (to put it one way haha) the cravings, the feeling of burnout creeping up on me. THE dreaded hamster wheel. Yeah I still hop on that sucker from time to time. The difference now is that I have confidence and ease with the highs and the lows of life, the peaks are still high and yet the lows are milder and more… educational than miserable. I know they won’t last forever and THAT insight only comes from wisdom, my own personal experience. 

What? You thought I was going to give you all the answers?? Hell no! You gotta find those for yourself. But trust me, you will find them and it will be well worth your time to invest your awareness and energy into figuring things out your own way. This is life, I would never think to rob you of your journey.

Big Love,

Jeff.