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The Cycles, Rhythm and Harmony of the Universe

It’s been a while folks, I dedicate this post to one of my customers I met the other day and he described my blog as ‘off the wall’. I’ve always thought my blog was rather tame, but to be honest it was still really great to get some positive feedback since most of the comments I get on the blog are spam posts about either Viagra or porn websites – I’ll share some one day, they’re so dumb.
The last few months have been a bit of a challenge- the cycle seems to be coming back to a gloomy introspective phase as we officially kick off into the beauty of spring. As far as I’m concerned – this is my New Year. This is the time a new cycle of work and opportunity takes form as I leave behind the stillness of winter. This is the time to begin enacting plans and preparing the soil for this year’s crop – new beginnings and the like –it’s a time to be excited.

Being honest, tonight I don’t find myself excited but that’s alright –it’s all swings and roundabouts –meaning everything has a rhythm. The gloomy introspection lends itself to writing earnestly about stuff instead of excitedly making funny videos – so let’s take advantage of it. That dear reader is the crux of this essay today – learn the cycles of the universe and take advantage of them. This includes day and night, the phases of the moon as well as the seasons.

Disclaimer, this post is a bit on the crazy hippie end of the spectrum, open your mind, line up your chakras and give a guy a bit of artistic lenience. What I’m about to share with you – like most of my posts is a combination of research in the scientific and spiritual fields as well as my own personal experiences: I read, I apply, I observe, I share.

So everything in the universe has a rhythm. Time itself maybe a human construct but we definitely experience a world made of peaks and troughs.

So the first obvious cycle we see in our world is the day and night cycle. At night everything but the owls are asleep.  Everything else is at rest.

Personally I have found the days I wake up early are the days I get the most done – usually after a solid night’s sleep. What I’m getting at, when I as a creature of the universe (the Taoists –refer to the internal human as ‘the small universe’ ) am in harmony with the cycles around me, I tend to get more done –things just flow better. I find a carpark in front of where I need to go and things just line perfectly in an almost scary way. When I sleep in and start the day on the back foot things tend to get in my way almost intentionally – as if to punish me for being slack and lazy – I have nothing to back this other than simply this is just how things seem to throw down.

Next I’m going to talk to you about the moon – still wearing that hippie hat? Cool, because some of you might think I’m right mad (if you didn’t think so already) –here goes…
Personally, I think the cycles of the moon affect us – oh shit, I said it.

To what degree I don’t know –studies on the subject seem to generally be inconclusive; though there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence around the topic. The way I look at it the moon’s gravitational pull is strong enough to create the tides– we’re made up of mostly water –ergo to suggest maybe the moon affects us isn’t a preposterous proposition – just something to think about. Medicine men from the present to antiquity from all over the world harvest medicinal plants in phase with the moon and some gardeners recommend planting at certain phases. Superstition or spiritual secret I don’t know – really your personal experience and experimentation is the only way to find out. Personally I have found undertaking a personal endeavour on a new moon it seems to flow easier and a lot of the spiritualists recommend cutting habits when the moon is waning (getting smaller).

Next, I’m going to discuss a concept inspired by Jim Rohn-a motivational speaker and a self improvement mastermind – I have mixed feelings about this guy but his talk on this matter is beautiful. It crystallized something an older mate of mine had once said to me –my mate isn’t exactly a pagan and definitely not a hippie– I’d call him a pragmatic spiritualist.

“Ayman, in spring we go white baiting, in summer we go fishing, in autumn we go duck shooting and in winter we rest, reflect and rebuild.”
-A Ford

You can’t go white baiting in winter, you can’t go duck shooting in summer etc. There’s a time and a place for everything.

“Life and business is like the season’s- You cannot change the season’s”
“You can however, change yourself”

– Jim Rohn

Learn how to sow in the spring time, how to protect your crop in the summer, to harvest without apology in autumn and how to live through the winter.

The important thing about winter is that it doesn’t last forever and it is inevitably followed by spring. Use winter to rest, to plan and to prepare for the sowing you’re going to do in spring.
Your life time also has seasons – sayings like ‘the autumn years’ etc. A day could be interpreted as a mini season – dawn, midday, evening and night. Everything small is a reflection of the bigger picture and vice versa.

There are also different types of winters- emotional winters – mine happened in late summer – through to the end of autumn but I certainly survived and came out stronger and the thing that got me through it was knowing what was going on and that it was going to get better – all while occasionally listening to “Spring to Come” by the John Butler Trio.

Lastly, every major religion or spiritual movement –love them or hate them- preach one thing in one way or another and that is the concept of Harmony.

Harmony is what this universe is built on: The harmonic vibration of atoms to make a coffee table, the harmonic rhythm of the moon to keep the tides flowing, the harmonic intervals that make music what it is -you get the idea. If you can truly understand and internalise the importance of harmony you will live a considerably happier life. If humanity could work in harmony with each other and the planet –the whole state of our existence could be rapidly improved.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”
Mahatamamamama Gandhi

I’ll take that one step further – when you steer yourself towards living in harmony with everything around you, your life will change dramatically – your life will flow more effortlessly than Mac Lethal, Aesop Rock and Eminem combined. This includes your sleep/wake cycle, your diet and your relationships with other people. When two sound or light waves are out of sync with each other i.e they are disharmonious –they create DESTRUCTIVE interference- i.e they weaken or outright destroy each other – what do you think disharmony creates in your life?

Hopefully this has given you some interesting thoughts to mull over. Perhaps we’ll visit the concept of harmony again in future with slightly more pragmatic / practical elements.

Until next time my dear friends.

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You’re capable or more than you think.


You are capable of doing more than you think.

Probably.

Your body certainly is.

Your mind is just a pussy.

I’ve got your attention, lets go.

So, I’m currently 55 hours into a water only fast. Why?

Because I can.
Because my mind is stronger than my basal desires.
Because my dependence on food is mostly out of habit and comfort. The longest I’ve gone is 70 hours – and that’s not a lot compared to some.

I’ve been doing daily intermittent fasting (IF)on and off for about two years and frankly I think it’s something everyone should try – and extended fasts are something people should at least try once they’re comfortable with IF. I understand the science well and have done it enough to say we as humans eat entirely too much and one to two meals a day is more than your body needs.  I am sharper when I fast and I just operate better – to a point – currently all I can think of is food and that’s ok because my current experiment is to push myself. This post isn’t about the benefits of fasting – I may do it later but there’s a lot of material about it including this very well put together video.

This post is actually here to tell you that you could be doing more with yourself and your time. Just like my current fast, although I am famished I can still put my attention into this writing and the more I write the more I want to write. I’m excited about it, like I’m hunting for a sandwich, the drive for food is almost overwhelming yet I am able to steer it towards more important ventures because my mind rules my body not the other way round. Would this effect continue three days in? A week in? A month in? I’m not sure, a lot of the writing suggests that after the first four days it stops being an issue. I am not going that extreme this time round but I will report my findings one day. Today I have managed to work a full day, go for a 5k bike ride, walk about 3 ks and do my usual squat, bench and row routine. Here I am four hours after doing all of that and calling it a day and I’m still functioning without brain fog – albeit with the occasional rumble in my belly and thought of food – I watched quite a few people eat in front of me, I walked past several restaurants and I’m fine and I’m still here writing this post.

A lot of people tell me ‘man I wish I could do what you were doing’ or ‘I wish I had time to _________, but I’m always working’. To be honest, I’ve only met a few people whom I feel can actually use that excuse. A lot of you spend your time poorly, don’t look after yourselves or are just too soft–I’m not judging I get like that too sometimes. You’re miserable at work, you come home to eat, watch Netflix, game and go to sleep. I’m not here to judge you but to get you to consider if perhaps the reason you haven’t written that book or started that project is because you’re lazy or too comfortable in your current bubble – ask yourself “what do I actually do when I come home from work? Is it serving me towards what I want out of life?”

I hate hearing the Bullshit excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ when someone is talking about fulfilling a dream or desire.

Bro, it’s your fucking dream – if it isn’t important then what is important? If you can’t live your dream then why the fuck are you alive? The service of basal desires and instant gratification with porn, TV and toys is not a life- it is an empty listless existence spent in a sedated haze.

It pisses me off when I hear it because I see in a lot of these people with a genuine desire to create and be more. I see how unhappy they are and how much they suffer for neglecting to satisfy their souls. Then I also hear it from people who are simply employing a bit of lip service crying that they “can’t do it” just so I feel bad for them – I do not know which upsets me more. I also know several people who have that fire and that desire but are genuinely stuck in a position and I can’t give them the answer ‘manage your time better’ because it’s simply not the answer.

This post isn’t here to tell you how to manage your time better, nor is it here to tell you what you should be doing. It is literally here to give you some examples of people who do push themselves and how it’s working for them. I am not going to use myself as an example because I am nothing compared to some of these people. These are friends of mine or people I work with. These are people who I love, admire and respect because they genuinely work their arses off in service of what they love and believe in. Mediocrity is not in their dictionary and it shouldn’t be in yours. I’m using nicknames because I haven’t asked permission to talk about them nor do I want to embarrass them or inflate their egos.

Case one: The Iron Bull Mr. S
Mr S. used to be a delinquent. I’ve known him since I was about 15 and he was a hard partying nut case who did nothing by half measure. He left school early and had his life put in order by seeing some competent men do their thing, show him the way and work him into submission. Mr S. had a pretty average start but is now a driven, hard work machine who terrifies everyone around him. He studied like a dog for two years, gained a qualification and is now working for one of the biggest companies in the country – he recently got asked to move down south for 4 months away from his friends, family and partner because he knew he needed to because he loves his job and he saw it as an opportunity. He also manages when asked to help me with Mad Arab, to learn to play bass, work out and watch a shit load of anime and play kazoo – he works hard, he plays hard and does nothing by half measure.

Case two: The Very Smashing Miss W.
Miss W. Studied for several years all while working, she spent some time studying abroad, came back and is now running an art gallery full time as well as painting her own stuff. She also manages to work nights at a local bar and then drags herself home at 3am to start work on Saturday morning at ANOTHER gallery in another town that she manages over the weekend. It’s what she loves and she does it with a vigour and passion – possibly with too many cigarettes but she does it and does it well.

Case three: The Queen of Colours, Miss J.
Miss J studies full time, works part time, has a huge family, a boyfriend and still manages to do it all. I’ve only see her once not covered in paint. She lives, breathes and is covered in art. She’s only in her late teens and I’ve never seen anyone so dedicated to something in my life. She has a flow, a grace and a fire when she’s holding a brush that I cannot begin to describe. Her work speaks volumes regarding the amount of time and dedication she puts into her craft. I have seen her stay up for days on end working, I have seen her collapse due to forgetting to eat or due to exhaustion – I’m not saying it is a way to live but she has a spirit and life force about her that always makes me smile. It is so rare to see anyone work so hard in dedication to the muse.

Case four: The Perfect Host, Mr M.
Mr M loves and believes in what he does. He works his arse off to keep his dream alive and has helped a lot of people in his community to realise theirs. Mr M runs an entertainment venue. He supports performers, musicians and his city by giving them all a place to perform and experience some culture. He has made great sacrifices to make it happen and last I checked has spent many a night sleeping in his car because his dream is more important than creature comforts. I love this man and love everything he does. He stays up late into the wee hours at work and still manages to drive his daughter to school every morning.

Case Five: The Black Bear – the other Mr S.
They both have sir names starting with S and they share the same first name so we’ll just refer to him as ‘the Bear’. I actually don’t know everything The Bear does -this list is just the things I’m aware of. The Bear studies full time, he also manages to run two businesses in two separate towns, the Bear still manages to go to the gym and ontop of all of that – the Bear is out working night clubs on nightclub nights until four in the morning. So he’s basically working well over four full time jobs. The Bear understands ‘when the sun shines, make hay’ and he’s using his youth to make as much as he can. He’s pushing himself very hard but he knows it’s worth it.

These five demonstrate a few things to me. Firstly, we’re capable of a lot more than we think. Working our arses off in service of what we love is more energising than it is tiring. When we focus on what we really want our bodies can certainly step up to it provided we take care of ourselves. Finally and this is what I want to impart on you the most: sacrifices MUST be made in order for us to achieve what we really want. Stupid things need to be sacrificed and vices need to be tamed with discipline in order to get the most out of life. Do you think when you’re 70 you’ll think back to the video games you played or the Netflix series you used to watch? Will you look back on a life well lived or will you ask ‘where the hell did my life go?’

When your ‘why’ is strong enough the ‘how’ gets a lot easier. I’m not saying push yourself to exhaustion or starvation but at least make a little bit of time for what you care about, sacrifice the occasional gaming session or TV series. You’ll thank yourself for it. You’ll be so much happier at work when you develop yourself, you’ll have more energy, I promise.

All five of these people have access to the same 24 hour as you do. They still have seven days in their week but they manage to get more out of their days than some people do in entire years. I hope this inspires you to challenge yourself to get more out of your life.

Life doesn’t give us what we want, nor does it give us what we need. It gives us what we deserve.

It’s been two hours since I last thought of food. Funny that.

Audio of this post: https://youtu.be/uxs3Q43IbyQ

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“Dealing with it”

Hey guys –this post has no answers. Only questions and it’s also a touch gloomy – you’ve been warned.

Regular readers will know that I’ve been going through some shit and every time I write I basically say:
“I’ve got it sorted, I’m on the up and up”

“life is great”

“something about positive vibes”

Which is true.

For the most part.

I still get pangs of being unsure, being depressed and generally struggling to get anything done. Albeit these have been getting less and less frequent every few weeks as opposed to EVERY FUCKING DAY. As soon as I apply myself to something worthwhile or to the service of others I’m usually ‘all good’ for a period of time. Perhaps I am over analysing when I think to myself “perhaps all of these positive changes are simply distractions; perhaps you’re in denial.”
I do ask myself sometimes “perhaps you still haven’t dealt with what you’ve gone through, hence it keeps coming back.”

Honestly, I am not sure.

What does matter is I’ve been working my arse off to attain better body and mind and I refuse to give up. I refuse to stagnate and wallow. I refuse to allow the creeping tendrils of bad habits to consume me. I am here to grow and develop, not fester and wither due to some emotional baggage.

I look at this issue as something that only time can heal. Until that healing has been done, all I can do is keep working on myself and my dreams. Some might say “you should meditate on the experience and grow to accept it” – they are possibly right, but the line between meditation and dwelling is a fine one and frankly I don’t want to go down a hole again – it ends with Woods of Ypres, Katatonia, La Dispute and a shit load of ice cream.
So the question this raises: How is one actually supposed to ‘Deal’ with something emotional? Do you put it past you and do all you can to distract yourself from it? Or is it best to stare it down until it withers away?

Obviously if there is something forthright that you can do to fix an issue you should do that but what do you do when there isn’t something you can do?

Do you just sit in it until you’re comfortable or do you stay distracted?

I would say, stay distracted with worthwhile ventures but honestly, I don’t know.

Let me know what you think.

If you’re suffering from the depression or feeling down, consider reading my previous posts on the issue. Here and here.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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A mountain of shit to do, you’re the only one that can do it.

This post is long overdue, admittedly I had already written a couple of different things but they were a bit out there and I didn’t know if they’d fit within ‘the sharpening stone’. Another one was just rough and I didn’t feel up to completing it- guess I should have re-read my own article of aiming for completion not perfection.

Such is life.

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.
Chris Parker

Every day there’s stuff that needs to be done and almost every day you’ll be given new stuff to do -a phone call to be made, an email to be replied to or something – it can be something small or something huge.

So what do you think happens if you put off your daily tasks?

Simple. They pile up. Until you’ve got this unmanageable mountain before you and you’re paralyzed under its sheer size.

The more you put off your work, the more it piles up and the less inclined you are to do anything about it. This ties well to the notion that you get better at what you do –this includes procrastination and being a useless piece of shit.

Ever had a task that you really didn’t want to do?

That’s probably what you need to do the most. It might not even be a big task -maybe it’s a decision… It might just be something you’re scared of doing or scared of an outcome or it’s just unpleasant – usually it’s what you have to do the most. If that’s the case –try breaking it up or carrying out related tasks that can help shift the snow in the direction you want it to fall because when you put major shit off it can bite you in the ass.

Welcome to my life the past few months. I have a lot of stuff to do; however, due to a huge backlog and crippling depression making progress has been rather difficult.  I’m making excuses for myself here  but I am chipping away at the back log after stagnation and I already feel worlds better –even if it’s stop and start it’s better than not starting at all.

Some progress is better than no progress. A shift in gear towards actually getting things moving again will sometimes be enough to inspire you to turn that mountain back into a manageable mole hill. It’s amazing what it will do for your peace of mind –plus if you can build momentum you’ll be surprised with how much you get done.

So how to get started if life you feel your mountain is huge.

Personally I like to write lists – when I list a  bunch of stuff that needs doing I can then at least pick little tasks that I can just do. So for you, write a list and just do one thing. It can be little – it can be almost nothing but just do one thing that moves you forward. Then if you’re up to it, do another. Instead of thinking about doing it, just do it. Make that call, send that email, whatever – just do it – because even if you do a shit job, it’s still better than not doing it at all. Remember: indecision is still a decision. 
Jeez that was a short one. At least I showed up and I did it –one less thing to worry about for a couple of weeks. Hopefully this has spurred you into action. I’ll get something juicier out next time.

Tell me how you got on.

Much Love

Mad Man

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The sea changes everyday but your destination shouldn’t

Hello everyone, it’s been a while. To everyone who’s given me feedback, shared or otherwise shown their support I thank you from the bottom of my heart and beard.

So, what am I talking about today? Honestly, I have no idea. Inspiration has been a little hard to come by lately. When you’re in a bad space it’s very hard to be charged with positive vibes and write positive material to fire up and inspire your readers. That being said, it’s important to just do it. The muse might see your steadfast dedication to the cause and reveal her beautiful face.

A few minutes in and here she is.

The importance of staying the cause; the destination is fixed but the route will vary.

An important lesson I’ve learned over the years is as follows: there will always be setbacks, road blocks and challenges – it’s your job to navigate around them and stay to the course.

Challenges are going to be presented – this is not because the universe doesn’t want you to succeed – it’s testing you to see how much you want something – if it was easy would it be worth having?

Energy in = Energy out

You dig?

Sometimes you will have to go over a hurdle, go around a mountain or even dig through it.
The important thing is to keep a level head, grit your teeth and find your way around the hurdle. That is, if your dream is worth it.

You’d better have just said to yourself ‘yeah it is worth it’ – it’s your fucking dream man! Why aren’t you using every drop of your energy working towards it? Even if it’s a small step every day, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone who’s ‘waiting for that perfect moment’ or ‘will start on it tomorrow’.

There’s an old adage I quite like:

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”
Source unknown – Spanish in origin.

So you know that you’ve got to keep persevering, but the most important part is to hold fast to where you’re going. Just like your dedication to the muse, you should be dedicated to your cause. The more dedication and devotion you show it, the more it will give you in return.

Here’s another nautical analogy because you’re all captains of your own ships: The sea changes every day, but your destination shouldn’t.  A lot of us lose sight or give up a lot earlier than we should-or changing our course to something that’s more fun or easier because what we were working on got too hard – Sirens or lagoons full of wenches and alcohol or whatever.
Things seem to get hard and we falter and give up or give in to temptation – this usually happens just as we’re on the edge of victory.  Napoleon Hill discusses this in one of his books – the story of the man who bought a disused gold mine to find whoever had given up on it previously was only 3 feet away from striking gold. This comes back to the old saying ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn’.

Anyway, I think I’ll leave this article short and sweet.

Remember that your life is a journey and it’s up to you to decide where it’s going. There’s no beauty or nobility toiling in a job you hate just to pay the bills, there’s no glory or fulfillment in being a drift in an endless sea with nothing but Netflix, video games and a nice house to pass the time. You’re here to experience life and make the most of your time here – don’t waste it.

“Life without endeavour is like entering a jewel mine and coming out with empty hands”
-Some Japanese guy.

I hope that some of you reading this have begun to find your destination and your ‘why’ so just remember to stay the course. I believe in you and I’d love to hear how you’re going. If you’re interested check the rest of my posts out here.

If you want a good book on ‘the journey’ that will certainly inspire you to your own I recommend ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho.

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The Human body: The perfect machine. Piloted by the stupidest crew and you.

Humans are self programming, self replicating, self healing machines that get better at whatever it is they spend their time doing.
There are however two detrimental downsides to this perfect creature:

1) Humans have to carry around their primal baggage in the form of the ego and the reptilian brain – the idiots who are only interested in instant gratification – I’ve always referred to this as my inner Labrador because it all it wants to do is play, fight, sleep, eat and fuck.

2) Humans have free will and with free will comes the freedom to chose what you do with your time and life.

Your soul is at the helm of a most perfect machine- it is capable of anything you set it to. Regrettably you have to share the helm with an ‘ego’tistical maniac and an ‘id’iot.

It is your job as your higher self (your ideal, your soul, your best self, your inner badass) to control your other two cabin mates in order to get the best out of your life for yourself and those around you –otherwise, you’re being ruled by either an idiot or a maniac.

Free will is your ultimate gift, it’s a blessing; it means you can do whatever the fuck you want to do –but with this blessing comes the shadow- the seed of its own destruction. The freedom to make good choices comes with the freedom to make bad choices and either way, YOU have to bear the consequences.

“You see, I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be completely without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”
Havelock Vetenari , Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

So things would be a lot easier if we weren’t stuck with our primal roommates –however without them we wouldn’t be here – they are the driving forces that kept us alive for millennia and keep us breathing, eating, shitting and fucking when we need to. However, the ego over thinks and usually destroys himself and the Labrador doesn’t give a shit what actually needs to be done and only cares about the sleeping, eating, fucking etc.  This means unless we learn to keep them in line they’ll rule our lives and we’ll end up nowhere.

Back to the topic at hand: the more you do something the easier it gets or looked at from another angle – the more you practice something the better you are at doing it – fun fact – this includes making good choices instead of bad -shall I do something for long term gain? or shall I do something for instant gratification?
Play guitar enough and your brain will start to think rhythmically and your fingers will actually be able to stretch further and you’ll also build calluses to stop the pain of pushing on strings.
Go for a run every day and your body will slowly get lighter and you’ll be able to run further and faster with every step.

Lift weights at the gym and your muscles will get stronger –enabling you to lift more.

Read more books and you’ll be able to read and comprehend faster –you’ll also likely increase your vocabulary if you read widely.

Write regularly and you’ll find the words come to you easier every time, writer’s block hinders you less and it gets easier to edit and create with every piece you write.

So those are just a few examples of the things your body and mind are capable of doing provided you actually start TRYING to do them.

You come home from work, sit in front of [Facebook / TV / Netflix/ preferred wank material / video game of choosing] and don’t get up until it’s time to [cook / eat / sleep]
-you get good at feeling tired and lethargic after work and not doing much of anything

You play any video game for extended periods of time and are very good at playing dark souls or league of legends or whatever.
-you get good at sitting on your arse and moving your fingers around very fast

You set a bunch of snooze alarms and wake up over the course of about 40 minutes instead of just getting up when your alarm goes off (snooze surfing as I like to call it)
– you get very good at not getting out of bed when you need to

You usually see the negative in things and expect the worst from people and situations, silver linings are things other people have to point out to you.
-you will likely end up having depression.

You see an ad for something delicious or smell something and immediately go and buy/ eat it without actually being hungry regardless of the shitty quality of the calories therein.
– you get good at failing to control your impulses and eating even if you’re not hungry

Your phone goes off while you’re [driving / working / reading/ doing anything important] and you have to stop whatever you were doing right away to look at your phone.
-you get really good at getting distracted by the magic box that lives in your pocket

These are just a few examples of things you train yourself to do every day without even thinking about it.

But Ayman I am tired after work and I like playing video games and delicious food is delicious.

I know, but are these things actually serving you? Or are they holding you back?  Are you happy with your life at the moment? Or do you use these things to keep you distracted and complacent because you’re unhappy about your job and your waistline?

The Buddha, Tony Robbins, Alan Watts and a bunch of other people have stated something along the following:

Anything we do, we do it to experience pleasure or to avoid pain.

This can include food, drugs, video games, porn, procrastination – the sky is the limit and funnily enough the things that usually give us instant pleasure or temporary escapism are what in the long run cause us the most pain.
So when you find yourself doing something that isn’t leading towards a better you or you’re unhappy with where your life is take a step back and ask yourself ‘why am I doing what I’m currently doing?’

If the answer isn’t good, then consider reprogramming yourself because it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks –it just takes willpower and effort – proportional to the amount of reprogramming you have to do. Your own worst enemy is yourself and the Labrador isn’t something to be hated or neglected –he’s just stupid and needs to be trained properly – with the correct attitude and action he can be a useful ally – but that is a post for another day.

Always remember, you only have the freedom to choose what to do RIGHT NOW. You have no way to control or change what you’ve done or what you’re going to do – so make sure you’re doing something beneficial.

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More Sleep = More Fucks

Now that I have your attention let’s do this!

Sleep is important: Fucking important. You almost certainly don’t get enough of it. It’s usually the first thing we neglect when we need to get more time out of our day. Be it video games, Netflix, going to the gym or staying up late with a special someone playing hide the sausage. Sleep is usually shelved in favour of getting more out of your day.

Every living thing in the universe goes through cycles of activity and rest. Not getting an adequate rest period upsets the natural harmony of your body and subsequently your natural harmony with the universe. Needless to say, this can have some seriously detrimental effects on your life and overall health. Whether you like it or not, you are not a single entity – you are part of a whole
network / ecosystem of poles –the whole system has a rhythm and you are part of that rhythm – you need to have a trough in order to have a peak – the weaker your trough the shittier your peak.

Here’s a totally bullshit, ultimately meaningless graph to demonstrate my point:

 

 

 

On a less metaphysical level getting a good amount of sleep is crucial for:

Weight loss
Metabolic waste disposal
Improved physical and cognitive performance
Muscle building
Proper hormone balance
Mood
And a bunch of other good shit.

While the above is definitely a good time and well worth getting a good sleep, to me the most important thing about sleep is its effect on your Will Power. Not enough sleep results in a shoddy prefrontal cortex. This means you have diminished will power and aren’t as self aware as you’re normally capable of being; resulting in poor performance, shitty decision making and awful impulse control.

Hence the title: More sleep = more fucks because you give more of a fuck about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it instead of just coasting on auto pilot.

You’ll be in better control of the shit you do, you’ll be more creative and you’ll be more efficient. Your interactions with other people will be better and you’ll generally have a better day. So get to it and get some rest.  It’s not directly going to get you more fucks – but it’ll help you give a fuck as well as perhaps increase your social skills well enough to get you fucked.

Also try and make sure you try to get as much sleep between 10pm and 2am because that’s allegedly where a lot of your hormone regulation happens – really good for weight loss, will power and overall health.

So to quote a popular kid’s book:

GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

This article was dedicated to the lovely young lady who came up with the article’s title spinning my own words back against me in a perfect moment of karmic retribution – you had to be there.

Here are some sweet, easy to digest links on the subject:
http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/10/14/sleep-science/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTlJnyF3REs
The Sleep Revolution – Arianna Huffington

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Universal Equilibrium: Captain your Own Ship

Every situation is potentially positive or potentially negative and everything contains the seed of its own destruction.
Today, we’re going abstract. I hope by the end of this I’ve broadened your horizons and you’re not freaking out that your favourite Arab is madder than you had previously thought.

The following essay is based on my interpretations of Hermeticism, mysticism, Tao and other natural philosophies. If you have questions or want to know more be in touch. If this is a subject you’d be interested in discussing with like minded fellows let me know and I’ll add you to the guest list for my next gentlemen’s philosophy evening.

The world we live in is made of opposites- light and dark, hot and cold, push and pull, soft and hard. This is referred to as ‘the law of polarity’ in Hermetics. The yin-yang is a perfect example of this: Darkness has a ‘seed’ of light and light a ‘seed’ of darkness and they’re both moving towards each other in perfect equilibrium– darkness forever into light, light forever into darkness.

“Hang on a second there Merlin what does this have to do with anything?”

“I’m glad you ask young grass hopper”

“Grasshopper? What kind of fucking wizard are you?”

“One with a hat, so shut up and eat your wisdom”

What I’m getting at is: EVERYTHING CAN BEAR GLORIOUS AND PERFECT CREATION OR CATACLYSMIC WHOLESALE DESTRUCTION. This depends on how you handle the situation and more importantly how you handle yourself. If you don’t understand what I’m saying I’ll throw down some real world examples that might shed some light on the subject:

Social media is a great way to connect to people, reach more customers and let loved ones who are far away see snippets of your life. Social media can also be an unfulfilling, highly addictive waste of time.

Cannabis is a great way to unwind, an all round pain killer and a potential cancer cure. It is also a potentially habit forming, expensive demotivator that can keep you from reaching your full ‘Pot’ential.

Losing a loved one can completely cripple you emotionally and mentally for an extended period of time. You can mope and be depressed or you can channel that pain into something constructive and come out a better, stronger person. The loss can also teach you a lot about people and about yourself.

Sex is a beautiful expression of passion, love and intimacy. It can strengthen the bonds of a relationship and make for an unbreakable union between a couple. Sex and lust can also break relationships, cause participating parties to simply pursue pleasure above anything else and result in emotionally immature people bouncing between beds, chasing meaningless empty hook ups in the hope of finding wholeness(not realising wholeness is something to be found within the self – not with someone else first). 

Water is the life blood of our planet, it facilitates life as we know it. Water can also whether mountains, level entire countries, drown people and germinate seeds.

This person I’m seeing is very sweet, fun and sexy. They motivate me to succeed and occasionally help me but when we’re together we eat junk food, stay up late and waste a lot of time.

Fire is a useful energy source that enables us to cook our food, power engines and  get things done. Fire can also burn, destroy and pollute.

Every one of the examples above has both a positive and a negative aspect for the same thing. What is the governing factor?

You are the governing factor. You control your own success and your own destruction. You are the master of your own destiny and if you know yourself and know your weaknesses and are aware when you’re slipping into decline you will be able to enjoy most things without being consumed by them. This is where discipline, self control and sticking to your goals come in, these are your map and compass on the path to becoming the best you imaginable. It is important to be honest with yourself and ask the question: Why am I doing what I’m currently doing? If answered honestly, you will know what your motivating factor is and whether or not it is the best course of action. If you lie to yourself just to get some carnal / basal thing you just want right now, then eventually karma will bite you in the arse and you will pay for it. You must stay the course – detours are ok but you must always be mindful of where you’re going and what you’re doing– otherwise you will eventually hit rocks.

Funny thing about rocks at sea – there are usually Sirens and you don’t realize they’re Sirens until you hit the rocks and those beautiful sea babes are feasting upon your flesh.

Stay vigilant, stay honest and stay the course.

Good luck fellow space travelers.

I hope this has given you something to think about.

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Depression is F***ing S*** Part Two: Good thoughts, Good action Good head

Depression.
IS FUCKING SHIT.
Let’s fix it.

(This is Part two Part one can be found here)

How to fix depression

There is no ‘instafix’ or magic bullet. Unfortunately you can do everything in your power to fix your life and in will fly some sort of trigger that puts you into a spiral. The key to dealing with the spirals is being mindful of the triggers, your reactions and yourself as well as having good behaviours waiting to combat depressive episodes when they strike (this takes practice and discipline- but the good news is, it gets easier the more you do it).

If you can’t find the immediate cause of your depression and do something about it then the best thing you can do is perform good action. Good action gives you agency and a sense of control over things in your life.

Things to avoid

I think we’ll first start with a brief list of what not to do. You won’t like this list, but it’s for your own good.

In no particular order:

Sweet / delicious food – it’ll give temporary relief, it’ll fill the void. Then you’ll crash, you’ll get fat and you’ll feel even worse.

Porn / sex you’ll be temporarily distracted by the bouncing boobies and all the trimmings, but then afterwards you’ll be swept with lethargy, emptiness. The French refer to orgasm as La petite mort (the little death)  In some this can be accompanied by shame, anxiety and a bunch of other not particularly useful feelings.

Drugs / alcohol / cigarettes –sedatives and escapism – fill your body with temporary good feelings, then a crash. These are typically addictive and are bad for you. They also hinder your progress at actually finding a solution for your problems. Pretty obvious but I’m saying it anyway.
Video games– I have wasted many a night depressed and playing video games. Be it playing WoW or LoL –at the time I’m absorbed in the experience – great. Afterwards I log off and all my problems come back – I also usually feel worse because I look at the clock and realize how much of my life I just wasted not actually doing anything.
Video games are designed to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you haven’t. So as soon as you unplug, that reality sets in. Maybe you stay in denial for a few months/ years but one day that house of cards will come crumbling down and you’ll feel worse – that armour you spent 3 months grinding for is just a bunch of ones and zeros.

I’m not saying don’t play any video games but don’t let success in a game be the meaning in your life.

Basically avoid anything that gives you a false sense of accomplishment or temporary distraction from your issues unless it’s constructive or has long term, real world pay off.

What the hell is good action?

Any thought, action or behaviour that leads to good.

Some quick fire things that qualify as good actions:
Exercise
Creative expression
Enjoying beauty
Cleaning your room
Pet a cat or dog
Having conscious experiences
Helping an old lady across the street
Warmly greeting a passerby
Giving to someone worse off than yourself
Weeding your garden
Building a thing
Getting more sunlight (this was my dad’s go to)
Cooking yourself a healthy meal
Getting more sleep
Getting out of bed

For me personally: I like walking, playing guitar, giving a homeless guy on the side of the road a tenner. Alternatively I do something constructive that I needed to get done already – like fix the fence, mow the lawn or clean my room.

Basically you need to push yourself to accomplish something and accomplish it.

The satisfaction will lift you beyond the very stars and give you a sense of empowerment and control of your destiny.

Exercise is particularly good for this because biochemically it gives you a shot of endorphins to ease the pain – breaking a sweat every day also forces you to have a shower every day (something people with depression like to ‘forget’ to do)

Yes the pain will come back sometimes, yes it will hurt -but it’s about fighting through – because the more often you overcome, the easier it gets to overcome.

The other thing that I find helps me when I’m depressed is to do something for someone else – help someone else out, lift someone else’s spirits.
This can be as simple as checking in with a mate who’s having a rough time, calling your mum or grandparent and asking about them, giving blood or giving some money to a homeless person or a charity.

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
Eckhart Tolle

IF YOU FEEL HELPLESS, HELP SOMEONE ELSE it will empower the fuck out of you.

A special shout out to cleaning your room
By sorting the excess baggage in your life, you sort out the excess baggage in your head.
To quote my father “an untidy living space is not conducive to mental well being”
Your living space is a reflection of your mental state so fix that and see what happens.

Count your blessings
Don’t lie to me! You know you’ve got them. Be thankful for what you have! Take some time to take a deep breath and list a few things you’re thankful for.

If you’re stuck here are a couple of examples:
I am thankful that my eyes work and I can read this
I am thankful I am above ground and breathing
I am thankful I have leisure time that enables me to read blog posts on the internet
I am thankful for the internet
I am thankful I don’t live in a third world country

See how fucking easy that was? See how unshit your life actually is? This practice is really about giving you a sense of perspective and gives you a chance to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Depression could be interpreted as the habit of thinking negatively – so by doing this, we’re trying to counteract this with some positivity – with practice this can be enough.

Another interesting thing you can try is ‘Wim Hof breathing’ I can go into this one later or you can look it up. Basically you take a few minutes in your day and by taking deliberate, deep breathes  your mind-body connection improves and shit sucks less. I’ll put a link below.

I find that being depressed can also be a symptom of not being conscious enough – too busy stuck in your head worrying about your problems instead of existing in the outside world and experiencing shit. What do I mean by this?
I was walking in the rain today and intentionally shook a tree to create a downpour of icy cold water on my noggin –this experience was cold but invigorating and it really broke the numbness I had been experiencing today. I laughed and carried on.

While walking I generally like to touch (not break or rip) the plants I walk past, smell the smells around me and listen to the world (or the heavy as fuck music pumping through my headphones as my every step stomps on all my problems)
I hope you understand what I’m trying to explain here:
Experience things, be aware of your surroundings and focus less on the storm clouds in your head. By focusing on them and feeling helpless you give them more power.

Summary

Depression is shit and will affect almost everyone at some point in their lives.
Medication/ escapism and sedation shouldn’t be your first resort to fixing it.
Depression is an accumulation of negativity, dis-ease and disempowerment.
Good thoughts, good habits and good behaviours will trump the negativity if you steadfastly work on training your mind.
Being negative pulls more negative shit towards you. It puts you into that state of mind- that wavelength.
You need to consciously train yourself to think positively so you can overcome the negativity when it strikes.
Empower yourself in other areas to break free from the sense of hopelessness.
Reach out, find someone to help you deal with this stuff and realize it’s a temporary setback not how your life is meant to be.
Lastly and most importantly, one of my favourite maxim’s:
THE MORE OFTEN YOU DO SOMETHING THE BETTER YOU GET AT IT.
^this works for good things as well as bad.

Writing this article has been particularly beneficial for me. The sense of accomplishment is rather gratifying, I hope reading it provides you with some light in the dark – there is light inside you, you just have to reclaim it and foster it.
Thank you for reading, this was a long one. I hope it has helped. If you have any questions or comments, post them below or get in touch.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

More reading

I personally found this well crafted article useful on the subject http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/12/21/call-new-strenuous-age/

Wim Hof with Joe Rogan

Therapy vs Medication
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201507/psychotherapy-vs-medications-the-verdict-is-in
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748674/

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Depression is F***ing S*** Part One: SSRIs, Shamans and a taste for the Negative.

Depression.

IS FUCKING SHIT.

Let’s talk about it.

So we’re going to talk about a subject close to my state of being at the moment and that’s depression –this is a long article so I’ve split it in two. You can find the other half here.

Now before I begin I’d like to add that I’ve had depression on and off since I was in highschool. Bullying, my parent’s divorce and my old man’s death all highlight the happy experience that was my adolescence. It’s a problem that affects most of us at some point or another- sometimes for a few days, a few weeks; sometimes for years and unfortunately for some- entire lifetimes.

To give you context, I’m currently depressed because a couple of weeks back I split up with my partner, designer and lover of over two years. It wasn’t mutual and frankly, it feels like I‘ve had a limb ripped off (to be honest, since I’ve written this and done a bunch of this stuff myself, I feel pretty good).

Such is life, we carry on: we either learn from these experiences and move on or we let them consume us.

So being depressed is fucking shit. Everything may as well be grey. Nothing tastes good, nothing feels good and you wander around like a zombie; numb to everything and the only thing you can experience is hurt. You can’t sleep, it’s hard to get out of bed and it’s almost fucking impossible to get anything done without dragging your heels and feeling like shit while you do it. Everything seems to go wrong and the universe feels like it’s against you.

A few ideas on the cause / source of depression

Cut and dry I’d say depression is a symptom of three possible things: Disharmony, Disempowerment and a habit of thinking negatively.

Disharmony
Something inside you isn’t right and it’s manifesting into an internal uneasiness or a dis-ease if you will. Disease –see what I did there?
Internally you are not at ease. It could be anything from a repressed traumatic event, a shitty relationship, cognitive dissonance or something at work or at home that you haven’t dealt with.

Disempowerment
Another component of depression is a feeling of disempowerment. There is something that upsets you that you seemingly have no control over so you feel disempowered and unable to do anything about it-this feeling of disempowerment typically bleeds into the rest of your life making you feel like you’re absolutely worthless and that you can’t do anything to fix your situation.

A taste for negativity
This last component is mostly targeted at chronic depression. People occasionally fall into the habit of constantly thinking negatively and this inevitably fucks with their heads – they get so used to thinking negatively so that’s all they know. This is the trap those who’ve had something go wrong in their lives fall into and they sometimes get stuck there – and the negative shit just builds up until they don’t know what’s wrong but something is definitely wrong. They can lift themselves out but inevitably something happens that starts the cycle again. This is the hardest to combat but it’s beatable.

Lets first discuss the medical solution

SSRIs ( Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors -the most common class of antidepressant) SSRIs loosely work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to your neurons, serotonin is linked to feeling happy so having more of that around should fix the problem (my biology degree is crying in shame at how basic and generalized this description is).

Before I rip into SSRIs let me make it clear that I understand they can help some people, especially those who suffer from ‘chemical imbalances’. This is not the be all and end all on the subject. I’ve heard good stories about people going on them for a few months to get through the rough patch and they got off them no problem – but I’ve seen the other side of the coin more often and I have a few issues with them.

My issues with SSRIs.
1) They don’t actually fix the problem which depression is a sympton of
2) They effectively lobotomize your emotional side so you’re basically constantly numb and feel nothing
3) Their side effects are hugely fucked up -usually requiring you to take more meds to fix the side effects
4) They’re quite hard to get off of and getting off them can be rather dangerous
5) In my humble opinion big phrama isn’t about solving your problems it’s about generating revenue (yes my tinfoil hat is very comfortable)
6) We live in a culture where there’s a pill for everything – this isn’t always the best solution and in my opinion when it comes to depression it’s the worst solution.

How I would colourfully explain treating depression with SSRIs
“hey doc, I’ve got this nail in my head, could you pull it out?”

“don’t be absurd patient! Take these pills that you have to take every day that you’ll likely get hooked on. They’ll sort you out. They are hard to wean off, they could possibly make you suicidal, they can cause weight gain and other side effects including: spasms, impotence, reduced sex drive and a bunch of other shit written in tinee tiny fine print”

“ok, but what do they do about the nail?”

“oh that’s the brilliant part, eventually after months of being on this medication you grow indifferent to the nail, your head and the rest of your body and eventually your head may simply fall off”

“sounds good, where are my drugs?”

Last words on SSRIs
I think SSRI’s and other medication are bullshit because you’re effectively putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound without actually taking the bullet out. You can’t take things from the external world to sort out internal strife – you have to go on a personal journey inside yourself and figure it out – this is where a trusted friend, a psychiatrist, meditation or maybe even a shaman can help. Anything you take orally is for the most part either a temporary escape or some sort of sedative (weed, alcohol, SSRIs) the only thing that might help you internally via ingestion are possibly ayahuasca (DMT) or LSD but that’s not exactly something I can recommend but there’s some cool research on the subject you can look into yourself. These would need to be taken not for recreation or escapism but to help you travel inside yourself and tussle with your demons head on (this is where the shaman would come in to guide you along and shamans can help you travel inside yourself without the use of psychoactives).

DISCLAIMER: I am sure you’re all smart enough not to take my OPINIONS as medical advice. If however you are that stupid and consider what I’m saying to be medical advice then I prescribe 5 blue jelly beans a day and your depression should clear up in about a week. If you’ve tried everything I’ve mentioned and nothing has helped I suggest you speak to a professional

Shaman disclaimer: I’ve never used the services of a shaman or anyone of the nature but I see it and hallucinogens as a potential treatment of finding out about one’s self. The issue is it’s very hard to find an actual shaman in a world full of quacks and stoners who watch VICE that like to call themselves shamans.

That’s the end of part one. Part two is about fixing depression without meds. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you for Part Two.

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