Values are the DNA that run our lives. Whatever it is that drives you, there’s a value there. Whatever you wish you had more of, there’s a value there. What you admire in others…a value.
But what if certain values were more valuable than others? What if there was a value that created leverage for us to achieve all the other values?
To me that value is willingness…
Willingness to try new things.
Willingness to listen.
Willingness to follow your heart.
Willingness to be wrong, or even do what’s “wrong.”
Willingness to act irrationally.
Willingness to do it, despite the fear.
Willingness to fail.
It’s had a huge impact on my life over the past several months…
I spent half my life trying to be vegetarian, now I’m experimenting with the Paleo diet, and learning from all the vegans who have debunked the China Study. I grew up Jewish and studied it intensely, now I’m learning immensely from the channeled readings of Christ in A Course in Miracles. I’m even dating the kind of women I thought I would never be with, and I’m having a blast.
Willingness disarms a very dangerous belief. It’s the belief that we know what’s best for ourselves and for others. Now keep in mind, the keyword here is “belief.” How many times in your life have you wanted something (or somebody), and then it wasn’t all that great? Now instead imagine you are willing to let go of your desires. Imagine that maybe you don’t know what’s best for you. But you’re willing to experience, to listen, to fully engage in the moment. Then rather than imagining what’s good for you (a belief), you will know it for certain.
That’s the process of knowing. I call it real-time fulfillment.
I just put together this love potion amulet. But it’s no ordinary potion, and no ordinary love.
First off, most potions you drink. But that’s just sketchy. This is a combination of ancient oils to massage on your temples. Secondly, most love potions make someone fall in love with you. But where’s the fun in that? It’s like playing soccer with no opposing team. No, this is a different kind of love potion.
This potion makes you fall in love… with yourself.
But let’s take a step back to explain how I got here.
You may know of a ritual in which you write down exactly what you want in a lover. Half the couples I know in the spiritual / self-development world made lists of exactly what they want in a partner, and a vision of their life together. As a fan of Tony Robbins, NLP, and every other discipline that believes thoughts shape our world, I have done this several times.
Sometimes it works with shocking success (and I learn about things I should have included on the list). Other times it’s felt as though God took the list from my hands and said, “Hmmm, yeah. You don’t really want this. I know you think you do. But I got something in better in mind. Oh, and in the meantime I’m going to put you through a few trials and tribulations to get you ready.”
So at this point I’ve become rather tired of the shopping list approach to “manifesting” the perfect partner. I’m much more interested in what’s simple and of absolute most importance. As Mr. Rogers said before his death, “Life is simple and deep. But we make it complex and shallow.”
Now I know that one simple thing.
When I met dating expert David Shade at Burning Man, he told me about a product he created called “Selecting Women Wisely.” He spent 5 years happily married to a beautiful woman, and they had children together. Then she left him for a “bad boy” and he was devastated. Looking back he realized he had chosen very poorly. He chose a person who was never happy enough to fully be there with him. The reason? She had very little self-esteem. She didn’t value herself highly, so she had to always look for validation on the outside.
In other words, she didn’t love herself.
It felt like a revelation to hear this. I looked back on my lists and saw this one quality throughout, like quarks running the energy within every atom and molecule. If we love ourselves, in other words, if we fully accept ourselves, admire ourselves, and trust ourselves to learn from our experiences, then we can be happy in any situation.
Could I fall in love with anyone who loves themselves? Of course not. But I see how crucial it is, and how every other desirable quality can disappear in the face of its lack.
So why the potion? I have a strong desire to see people strip away all the self-criticism, drama and stress so that they can fully shine, smile and light up the room. That’s when we make friends for life, help each other grow, or just go on some wild crazy adventures.
Here’s to the eye-opening, scary, wondrous, brilliant, torrid love affair with ourself.
So you’re pitching a (business, idea, product)…but what makes it sexy?
I’m thinking about this word because I just flipped through the channels to see the special 200th episode of Dancing with the Stars and team Kristi is kicking team Apollo’s arse, and it’s clear why…. Team Kristi’s moves are sexy, sexy, and sexy.
So what does that word mean? The interesting thing is that it doesn’t mean “sex” at all. In fact, if something is blatantly about sex (like pornography) then it’s really not sexy, it’s just tacky. The word sexy means “arousing sexual desire” – which is both our most base, animalistic pursuit, and simultaneously our most spiritual means of connection.
Think about that… our most animal desire, AND our most spiritual craving to merge with another person and create life.
Can you imagine if that was the emotion your product evoked?
Imagine a brand new black BMW pulls up next to you. Does it make the driver gorgeous, smooth, elegant, fast and in control? No! Not at all. But wow does it evoke those emotions.
People don’t actually buy the thing they’re buying. They are really buying the emotion that they believe the product will give them. They are buying the “future state” they will be in, once they have it in their possession.
The mistake I see marketers making is that they’re just too blatant (much like pornography). Simply giving benefits, reasons, and features is a losing game. It’s like walking up to someone and trying to explain that you’re a very cool person. It just feels wrong, even if you make a good case.
So “How do we get them to buy?” is never a good question. The better question is what emotion are you selling? And how can you show that without even saying a word.
Enlightenment is characterized as the “the extinction of desire and suffering and individual consciousness.” Note that the definition does not say what it actually is, it just says what it’s not.
From my own studies I’ve seen two schools of thought on Enlightenment:
The first shows that it’s state of pure bliss… In the preface of Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle is in the throes of a deep depression when he says, “I cannot live with myself.” Suddenly that sentence makes him think, “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself there must be two of me… maybe only one of them is real.”
At that realization he is drawn into a vortex of energy, and gripped by intense fear as he falls into it. When he comes out of it, he’s in such a state of bliss for months that he can barely do anything except take in all the joy and wonder of simply being.
This is a state I’ve hit on rare occasion, and I constantly study Tolle’s work to bring me back to it.
Now, there’s another school of thought that says true enlightenment actually exists beyond this state of bliss. This school believes that a deep nothingness is where everything comes from, and that nothingness is the ultimate truth. One of those people is Steven Norquist, the author of Haunted Universe.
The first half of the book is a long argument for why you should put down the book and stop reading it. The author actually begs you to stop, because once you know that nothingness you can’t go back. He talks about all the things that he used to love, and how he doesn’t even do them anymore because all he knows is the nothingness. But for anyone else who wants to know the truth, they should read on.
I read the book, late at night (a must for any good horror story).
It was gripping. I could not put it down. And to my amazement, I got there. 3/4 of the way through I knew the nothingness so intensely that it felt like not only was there nothing to do, but I even had nothing to say.
I felt terror because I had just started dating someone and I couldn’t imagine her reaction when all of my feelings for her were just gone. I realized how much I liked my life and how I wanted to return to it. Soon after I was somehow able to shake off the nothingness and return to my ignorant bliss.
So here’s the interesting part…
I miss the nothingness.
It felt like such a pure state. Thoughts reduced to nothing. No need to change anything, acquire anything, become anything. I desire not to desire.
So here’s the question…would you trade passion for total peace?
It’s a trick question, actually.
Is that your final answer?
The biblical story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac always disturbed me…until now.
Rabbi Mordechai Finley of Ohr HaTorah in Venice Beach, CA gave an incredible sermon on the story of sacrificing Isaac. Here’s my attempt to summarize:
First, God does not actually ask Abraham to kill Issac. The exact translation is God tells him to make “an offering.” While one can assume that means sacrifice, it’s not the word God uses. God only wants an “offer.” And when Abraham finally starts to go through with it, it’s not God who stops him. It’s an angel. I always read this story literally but Finley argues that this a pivotal point in the bible where God changes. God actually evolves (in our eyes) at this very moment.
First think about existence this way…
In the first dimension, two points make a line. The way that we get to the second dimension is we take a third point by placing it at a 90 degree angle to the line, which makes a plane. Then to get to the third dimension, we put a plane at a 90 degree angle to the flat plane and that creates 3 dimensional space. With me so far?
So now you and I are in 3D space together. So tell me…how do we get to the 4th dimension? Where do you put the next 90 degree angle?
There’s only one way to go… within ourselves.
And that’s where God goes in this story….The reason the voice is an angel rather than “the voice of God.” is because the angel is actually a metaphor for the voice within where we can now connect with God. The bible actually makes the point to question who is your true God? Look deeper and be careful, because the act of obedience itself could be a sin.
In other words, “Never let your morals get in the way of doing the right thing.” – Isaac Asimov
I once jumped into a marathon to run 6 miles with a friend till the end.
I never run, so 6 miles was a big deal. It felt great, but for a week my knees felt so shot they would buckle as I walked.
I didn’t take up running again until now.
There’s a theory that modern shoes are actually the cause of many injuries such as knee pain. The idea is very simple… our feet were engineered to run. They are well-designed machine that takes care of everything, including shock absorption. Before the days of shoes (a couple million years worth of time in the history of the homo sapien) the bottoms of our feet were used to rugged terrain, and our toes were wide creating a stable base, so we could run on anything. Now our feet have the same design, but the skin is soft, so we just need a good cover for it and a way to spread out our toes.
Enter the vibram five fingers.
I bought the Bikilia model, named after Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who ran a world-record 2:15:17 marathon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome – barefoot. And I just went on my first run tonight. And all I have to say is holy shit. I usually have to take a break every lap and this time I kept going and going like I was flying. At times it felt like my feet barely hit the ground. I had to stop myself because I knew the muscles and feet have to get used to it (you run on the middle of your foot, instead of striking at the heel).
Beyond just running, it feels amazing for the real shape of my foot to touch the earth. It’s very grounding. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t want to run in them. (If you do buy them for running, read Tim Ferriss’ blog post first.)
I love simple solutions.