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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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