Fear

Minimalism Kills Fear

By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

We’re all afraid of something.

Some of our fears are obvious: spiders, heights, exes.

Other fears are less pronounced, less obvious—like the fear of loss: Loss of things. Loss of acceptance. Loss of friends. Loss of love.

Sometimes we’re afraid to give up what we think we have.

Fear traps us: It prevents us from growing. It prevents us from contributing to other people. It prevents us from living happy, satisfied, fulfilled, free lives.

Fear is the antithesis of freedom: it is, by definition, constricting.

We often hold on to things because we are afraid to get rid of them: we fear losing those things we think we might need. We don’t just fear the loss of these things, though—we fear the loss of what these things might mean to us in some distant, hypothetical future.

When you say that out loud, it sounds ridiculous. Try it: say I’m afraid to get rid of this [insert object name here, e.g., “T-shirt”] because it could have a serious impact on my life in the future. Ridiculous, right?

So there is an obvious question we must ask ourselves when we’re holding on to something: Why am I afraid to get rid of this?

Julien Smith—in an amazing and potentially offensive essay—tells you to ask yourself a crucial, basic question: What am I afraid of? While it might seem banal on the surface, it’s actually a great question to ask when you’re faced with difficult decisions.

Give it a try.

I don’t want to say “no” to that person. What am I afraid of?

I can’t write the novel I’ve always dreamed of writing. What am I afraid of?

I can’t learn to play that instrument I’ve always wanted to play. What am I afraid of?

I can’t exercise and eat healthy foods. What am I afraid of?

I can’t quit the job I hate to pursue my passion. What am I afraid of?

I can’t [fill in the blank]. What am I afraid of?

The answer to this question is almost always ridiculous: I’m afraid people won’t like me anymore. I’m afraid people won’t love me anymore. I’m afraid people won’t respect me anymore.

Chances are you have manufactured these false fears, and it is these manufactured fears that keep you from doing what you want to do (or, in the case of our physical items, fears that are keeping you from getting rid of certain things that have no real value—things that have no real meaning in your life).

We have good news, though: fear is a choice. You choose to be afraid—and you can choose to live without fear. All you must do is make a conscious decision: a decision to not be afraid. When something stands in your way, you must ask yourself: What am I afraid of?

So many people have chosen to get rid of their fears and move on with a meaningful life. But don’t take our word for it—try it out yourself:

Throw away your favorite T-shirt.
Get rid of your TV.
Write that novel.
Take yoga classes.
Do something you wouldn’t normally do.
Live your life.
Live a better life.
What are you afraid of?

It’s time to stop being afraid of whatever is preventing you from being happy, whatever is preventing you from being free—starting with the excess stuff in your life. Because in the end, you’re holding on to the fear because you’re afraid to give any of it up.

Digital Detox

 

When was the last time you went a full day without picking up your phone or going on the internet? Can you remember? The first day without is weird, the second day is better, and by the third day you feel free. One of the things I love most about being surrounded by nature is that the intoxicating pull of technology doesn't have it's allure as much when surrounded by redwoods, sea air, organic vegetables, and a sky full of stars. I have experienced this sensation every time I have gone to Oz Farm Retreat with Rebecca Hersh. There is no doubt we can all use a digital detox from time to time. Join us June 14th - 17th
http://ozfarmretreat.com/

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Giving Up What No Longer Works - Mark Nepo

Burning your way to center
is the loneliest fire of all.
You’ll know you have arrived
when nothing else will burn.

At first this sounds rather somber but, from Moses to Buddha to Jesus, the deepest among us have all shown that living is a process of constantly paring down until we carry only what is essential.

It is the same in the human journey as in the natural world. As the center grows stronger, what once was protective turns into a covering, like tree bark or snake skin, that is now in the way and, sooner or later, we, as spirits growing in bodies, are faced with burning old skins, like rags on sticks, to light our way as we move deeper and deeper into the inner world, where the forces of God make us one.

When faced with the need to keep going inward, we are confronted with a very difficult kind of life choice: like carving up your grandmother’s table for firewood to keep your loved ones warm, or leaving a job that has been safe and fulfilling in order to feel vital again, or burning an old familiar sense of self because it’s gotten so thick you can’t feel the rain.

In truth, always needing to stay immediate by removing what is no longer real is the working, inner definition of sacrifice — giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.

Moving Emotions like Water

"Emotions are inherently tied in with movement.  We repress feelings by restricting movement, and conversely, movement can free the emotional holding that causes chronic tension… [Emotions] begin in the unconscious and, through movement, are allowed to come into consciousness.  To block an emotion, we restrict movement.  Then the emotion may remain in the unconscious – meaning we are unaware of it – yet still wreak havoc on our lives… It takes energy to repress emotions, so releasing emotions releases tension (if done appropriately).  Absence of tension creates a harmonic flow within the body/mind." - Anodea Judith from Wheels of Life

Single pointed concentration

"We should not keep changing our object of concentration. When you decide on one thing, stick to it whatever happens. There's no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep.... Even if it's a long route, your perseverance will make it short. Our aim is to make the mind steady, so it is immaterial what object we take. Anything can take you to the goal, because you are not concentrating on the object for the sake of the object but for the sake of your goal." - Sutra 1:32 Patanjali 

Peace

Peace is dynamic. It is the fiber that weaves the pieces back together of what has been cracked open, making it stronger & more durable than it once was. Like a beautiful scar that reminds us of the stories that lie beneath the surface.

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Difficulties

"Difficulties are always there. They are part of life· And it is good that they are there, otherwise there would be no growth. Difficulties are challenges. They provoke you to work, to think, to find ways to overcome them. The very effort is essential. So always take difficulties as blessings. Without difficulties, we would be nowhere. Bigger difficulties come--that means that existence is looking after you, it is giving you more challenges. And the more you solve them, the greater challenges will be waiting for you. Only at the last moment, difficulties disappear, but that last moment comes only because of difficulties. So never take any difficulty negatively. Find something positive in it. The same rock blocking the path can function as a stepping stone. If there were no rock on the path, you would never rise up. And the very process of going above it, making it a stepping stone, gives you a new altitude of being. So once you think about life creatively, then everything is useful and everything has something to give you. Nothing is meaningless"

Stems and Roots

Stems and Roots by Mark Nepo

Even though I believe in living in the open, parts of me hide. I can't help it. But what I can help is which parts of me - the open or the hidden - run my life. What I can rely on is this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open, life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden.

Just as green stems in spring stay connected to their darker roots, just as the roots grow when the stems do, my compassion soothes my fear where I can't see. Unknown to me, my love feeds the underside of my confusion. The light I take in keeps the roots of my soul alive.

We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us.

Unglove thyself!

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.” 
― Mark NepoThe Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

Mark Nepo

There is a Buddhist precept that asks us to be mindful of how rare it is to find ourselves in human form on earth. It is really a beautiful view of life that offers us the chance to feel enormous appreciation for the fact that we are here as individual spirits filled with consciousness, drinking water and chopping wood.

It asks us to look about at the ant and antelope, at the worm and the butterfly, at the dog and the castrated bull, at the hawk and the wild lonely tiger, at the hundred year old oak and the thousand year old patch of ocean. It asks us to understand that no other life form has the consciousness of being that we are privilege to. It asks us to recognize that, of all the endless species of plant and animal and mineral that make up the earth, a very small portion of life has the wakefulness of spirit that we call being human.

That I can rise from some depth of awareness to express this to you and that you can receive me in this instant is part of our precious human birth. You could have been an ant. I could have been an ant-eater. You could have been rain. I could have been a lick of salt. But we were blessed—in this time, in this place—to be human beings, alive in rare ways we often take for granted.

All of this to say, this precious human birth is unrepeatable. So what will you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of life to ever walk the earth? How will you carry yourself? What will you do with your hands? What will you ask and of whom?

Returning to OZ!

This morning I woke up extra excited, I think it could have been the beautiful sun peaking out of the sky reminding me of the fact that Rebecca and I are heading back to Oz Farm for a summer retreat! Last year we had a magical time and can't wait to return on June 22nd-25th. We are offering a special New Years discount, message me to get in on it!

Cycles of Creativity

The story of creation(s) in Hindu Mythology starts as so many other stories of creation do, and because these stories have mostly been carried through word of mouth, there are many interpretations. This story, in particular, starts in the complete dark and mysterious nothingness. No space, no earth, no heaven, no hell, no place in between only darkness….darkness beyond darkness.

 In this darkness, a wave washed up onto the shore of nothingness carrying a large snake. The snake was coiled up with Lord Vishnu sleeping and dreaming so soundly. Out of the depths of darkness a vibration started to take shape and got louder and louder, rumbling into what eventually formed the sound of OM. As Vishnu awoke from dreaming, he noticed a lotus flower springing from his navel. The flower started to blossom open, and Lord Brahma emerged out of the petals of the lotus. Brahma then began to create the world….Only to have Shiva destroy it. These three gods, known as the Trimurti (meaning having three forms), are essential for the process of creation. This cycle happens over and over again. Creation – Balance – Destruction.

 

This cycle is generally how the creative process starts for most of us…in darkness. When we close our eyes, something begins to stir, a wave of inspiration might wash up into our minds, we bring whatever that is inside of us outside (if we are lucky and determined), and then it gets washed away making space for the next idea or inspiration.

 

I find that my most creative time of day is early. Before the sun rises in darkness, before everyone else in my household is awake. There is a soft vibration and fresh mystery to the day and what it will hold. The first thing I do when I wake up is turn on the teakettle and go to my mat, every single day. This is my space and time to create; teaching is my biggest form of creativity right now. There is something so palpable about moving and breathing in darkness; there are no distractions for the mind to get wrapped up in, and so I am moving with absolute clarity of mind. My body is in a state that knows where it needs to move. The tensions that are built up are very present and speaking to me…. this is where I want to go. Sometimes in my dreams I will be teaching or practicing a class. If that happens, I bring my dream onto the mat because somewhere in my deep subconscious this movement needs to be had and experienced from out of the dream world and into the material world. I find many parallels to my process of creation and the Hindu myth of creation.

 

I have been drawing up a lot of inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert in her newest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She has a keen way of describing how ideas have the ability to find us if we are willing and open to them. If not, they go back into the ether to land into the minds of someone else that is open. 

 

“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.” 


So I ask, what do you want to bring forth from inside and out into the world? What is holding you back or what do you need to release in order to move forward? And how can you sustain it? 

Spaciousness

Something that I have been really trying to get more of in life is space. Space between my thoughts, personal space, physical space, space in the form of time.... when life starts to get crowded it can be very easy to focus on the areas that we feel we are lacking in. Space is a big one for many of us. 

The thing is... Space is always there. we just have to access it. When we are practicing on our mats in a room that is very crowded it is pretty incredible how much we are able to move through with the limited amount of space we have on our mats. That's the thing! We don't need much space to create space. Breath and movement are one of the quickest and most sustainable ways of feeling spaciousness not only in our bodies but also in our minds. 

I have been doing a meditation that includes inhaling and imagining the breath going down, sliding down my spine all the way to the lower ribs. As the exhale begins to emerge the breath turns and starts going up past my belly, over my heart and eventually out of my nose as a way of clearing out any area that feels crowded, covered in cobwebs, or stuck.

When we can bring that awareness internally of the vast universe inside it can begin to trickle out, giving a sense of spaciousness in other parts of life. For instance, instead using the 5 - 30 minutes of me time i get when my son goes down for a nap to breathe and mediate or practice asana rather then doing a long list things in a rush has been rewarding beyond measure. I feel more clarity for what needs to be done, more present, and more capable of completing my tasks at hand. 

We measure space by the closeness we are to another object so ultimately we have a choice, to focus on the things around us that are stuffing us in, or focus on the pockets of air around them. It's a practice, just like everything else. 

Raw Vegan GF SF Carrot Cake

In my household we eat as Inflammatory free as possible. Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Sugar Free are what are meals consist of, so it is a rare and special occasion when we have dessert. I am trying out recipes for the upcoming birthday of Everett who will be 1 in two months. This recipe was pretty simple and I like that about it.  I also like the fact that when you cut into the cake you can see what it is made of! This is definitely a recipe that we will be repeating, next time with the addition of turmeric and ginger! Enjoy <3 

  FOR THE CAKE   1. 2 carrots grated   2. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut   3. 1 cup walnuts crushed 4. 1 cup soaked and pitted dates  5. 1/4 cup coconut oil 6. 2 tsp. cinnamon INSTRUCTIONS In a large mixing bowl add the carrots, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, mix well. Blend the drained dates and coconut oil until smooth. Add this to the mixing bowl. Mix really well until combined (it's easiest to use your hands). Put the mixture in a loaf pan (I like to use glass) Place into the fridge for around 10-15 minutes.  FOR THE FROSTING 1. 1/2 cup raw and soaked cashews  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 3. 1/4 cup coconut oil 4. 1 lemon juiced 5. ½ cup soaked dates (save the water) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Blend cashews, coconut, coconut oil, lemon juice and dates. It will take around 5 minutes. Add in the soaked date water a little at a time until desired consistency 2. Take the cake out of the refrigerator and smooth on the frosting. Sprinkle with cinnamon or other garnish on top

FOR THE CAKE
1. 2 carrots grated
2. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3. 1 cup walnuts crushed
4. 1 cup soaked and pitted dates
5. 1/4 cup coconut oil
6. 2 tsp. cinnamon
INSTRUCTIONS
In a large mixing bowl add the carrots, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, mix well. Blend the drained dates and coconut oil until smooth. Add this to the mixing bowl. Mix really well until combined (it's easiest to use your hands). Put the mixture in a loaf pan (I like to use glass) Place into the fridge for around 10-15 minutes.

FOR THE FROSTING
1. 1/2 cup raw and soaked cashews
2. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3. 1/4 cup coconut oil
4. 1 lemon juiced
5. ½ cup soaked dates (save the water)
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Blend cashews, coconut, coconut oil, lemon juice and dates. It will take around 5 minutes. Add in the soaked date water a little at a time until desired consistency
2. Take the cake out of the refrigerator and smooth on the frosting. Sprinkle with cinnamon or other garnish on top