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The Third Spiritual Key: Awareness (aka the Divine Instructions)


It’s time to expand the conversation, folks.  So let’s get back to business, shall we?

Willingness is a great place to begin the spiritual journey.  And Presence is a fine place to expand it.  But it’s utterly futile to be willing and present and fail to acknowledge the insight and guidance knocking on your door.

This is when Spiritual Key #3 – Awareness – poses for its close-up.  Here, we take things one step further.

Awareness is the paying attention part to the whole kit and caboodle, and a must-do to receive the Divine Instructions from the Youniverse.

The Divine Instructions?  English please!

Right, right, my whoops.

When you get clear about your vision (which I know you will), the Divine Instructions will arrive on your front porch. Timing, of course, fluctuates from student to student, but the Instructions can, at times, outpace Amazon Prime.  So, be sure to keep the door open.

Door open?!  Nowadays?!  In this political climate?!  You’re off your hinges!

It’s figurative, bro.  Jack my flow one more time and you’re outta here.  Now, where was I?

The Divine Instructions will arrive in the form of creativity, teachings, inspiration, assignments, new activities, books, fresh ideas, clues, alternate routes, etc, etc –  (they too fluctuate from student to student.)  Make sense?

Ohhh.  So it’s kinda sorta like a treasure map…?

Precisely!  You’re catching on.

(FYI: Because you’re willing and present, you are (by default) a magnet for opportunities.  Do humanity a service and accept them.)


The planet is one big classroom – Globe School let’s call it – and we’re all enrolled.  It’s in perpetual communication with us every day of the week, every moment of our lives (even when we sleep.)  It speaks in a variety of dialects and comes in a multitude of guises.

From the demotion to the promotion…
The nightmare to the dream…
The “Help Wanted” sign to the “For Sale” sign…
The speeding ticket to the lottery ticket…
There’s always a link that connects to its existence.  Your job is to listen and notice.

Put even simpler, play a little detective. (But don’t overanalyze. More on this in a future bonus post.)  Just pay attention.

Uhh… to what exactly?

Glad you asked.

Pay attention to the moments when you feel most connected.
Pay attention to the flashes when time flies by.
Pay attention to the times you’re thrilled to share with others.
Pay attention to the days you can’t wait to start and dread ever ending.
Pay attention to the stuff that aligns with your Code.
Pay attention to when you respond (not react)/ACT without hesitation.
Pay attention to the moments when you’re LIT UP.

In vanilla terms, all paying attention means is “attending to your Presence.”  And no, it doesn’t mandate laser-focus to every single detail of every single day.  The more its adhered to (a little bit here, a little bit there), the more it becomes your natural expression to be aware.  Reminder not needed because you’ll merge with it.


Now, the flip side of paying attention is having the awareness to recognize when we’re not feeling enthused and guided to continue.

Whoa! You mean focus on the bad stuff?

I prefer to think of it as the delayed good, uh thank you very much.  As you very well know by now, I like to keep things light in this here neck of the woods.  And the delayed good is just as important as the inspired guidance.  Why?

Cause if you’re wholly unsure of which path to take, what your purpose is, where to go/what to do, the stuff that doesn’t fire you up can also bring you that much closer to that which does.

It’s a trial and error, been-there-done-that, process-of-elimination sort of mentality. It’s not always the most efficient course, but it certainly is effective.  And I hate to break it to you, but most people take this path, consciously or not.

Think about it.

How many times have you adamantly known what you don’t want in life, but still aren’t sure what you truly do desire?  Or, how many times has the wrong bumpy road led you to the right aligned road?  For me, it’s happened an innumerous amount of times.

Take the journey of your typical college student.  On average, they change majors three times before graduation.  Even then, many graduates take jobs not in their given field, or decide, once again,  to pursue a different field post-college.  What does this tell you?

That the job market is shit?

No.  Well… that’s one way to look at it I suppose. Certainly not the light route, but hey, to each his/her own.

This speaks to me of evolution – to the basic human necessity for AND BEAUTY OF growth and change. That we ALL evolve in our own time. That the delayed good allows us to home in on what fills our cup the highest that we might not’ve figured via any other route than our current one.  Think: the art history major turned successful hedge fund manager or the financial advisor turned professional fisherman or the kindergarten teacher turned media maven.

Case in point, yours truly.

I went to college because, well, that’s what you do after high school, right? Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful and thrilled by my school of choice.  Would I do it again?  Yes and no.

Yes, with the caveat of a honed academic focus. I’d study French and literature and film and photography this time around. I’d write a lot and shotgun beer less (but just a couple less, you still gotta live, right?)

Son of a Bitcoin!  I could have even paired the two.  Should-Have-Been-College-Blog Name (wait for it…):

Keepin’ It (Busch) Light

On the other hand, no I wouldn’t rewrite my college days because, well, I wouldn’t have gone period. (And the crowd goes silent!).  And I wouldn’t have gone because I’d learn by traveling the world.  And for the price tag of a private education, trust me, I could have gone far and stayed long.  (I wish I never ran those numbers.)

That said, none of what I say or feel or know or am passionate about today would be possible without MY college experience. Had I not tied one on every Tuesday night (yes, I said Tuesday) at the local watering hole for four straight years #5dollarpitchers, I wouldn’t have had the awakening I had at the end of college #fact. (I likely wouldn’t have become aware of my love for travel either NOR developed a gluten intolerance, but let’s not open that can, shall we?)


Do I regret not making the most of that time?

I could, but I don’t. Hindsight is a fool’s game. And the person I am today wouldn’t exist otherwise.  That I know with every fiber of my heart.

But you could have paid attention…

Well said, grasshopper. Unfortunately, I wasn’t willing or present. My path took me where I needed to go.  Fortunately though, guess what?

I’m willing and present?

Nailed it!

Which concludes our current get-together…

If you ignore the opportunities presented, you void the willingness you surrendered to and the Presence you’re currently building.  Why be open to limitless-ness if all you do is turn your cheek when the Instructions arrive?

The Spiritual Keys are a staircase.  Willingness… to Presence… to Awareness.

So, pay attention.
Grab your compass.
Follow the Map.
And ride that wave.

Details are drops.

And drops fill the sea.





How to Be Present: Spiritual Key #2 (aka the Keynote Address)


Six savvy steps to expand your Presence:

(Take one and home in on it.  Then, the next.  Low and slow is a tender act.)

1.  Practice mindfulness.

Starting today, truly experience everything you do. The purpose here is twofold:

1.  To embrace the present moment (the hub of presence.)
2.  To quiet the automatic thoughts and feelings that arise ad nauseum.

Are you telling us not to think and feel?

No. I’m inviting you to simply observe your thoughts and feelings as the detached silent witness. In a mindful state, you see, instead of interpreting them as good or bad, right or wrong, you make Space – allowing your mental play-by-play to do its thing.  No labels attached.

And this helps to…?

Be in the experience, but not of the experience.

Now we get to enjoy the fullness of every situation without getting lost in the projections and associations of the world and what may be playing out.  It requires patience, compassion, a judgment-free ethos, and a helluva lot of redirection.

The benefit?

That Space between thoughts:  it’s where our Light lives.

2.  Meditate and radiate.

Don’t let the concept of meditation make you uncomfortable. It’s not as intimidating and demanding as it sounds.

You don’t need to sit in a special position, recite a specific mantra, inflict pain on yourself, shave your head, touch your thumb to your index finger while chanting OM, or renounce the world. You can meditate anytime, anywhere, and on your own terms. Truthfully, I encourage you to create an authentic practice.

That said, it is exactly that: a practice. If stillness is your kryptonite, you’ll have to meditate past the initial turbulence. If you (honestly) never get comfortable, consider a moving meditation. (If that’s your go-to, I still recommend a few silent minutes of breathing each day.)

The 411 on meditation…

It’s an exercise in getting still and connecting to your Source. It’s conscious breathing, ’tis all.

The best way to start is by making it a ritual.  I like first thing in the morning upon waking, and last thing at night before retiring.  A silent start and a silent sleep bookend most of my days. This way I enter and exit each day in quietude.  To begin, try the following:

1.  Place your hand on your heart and connect with its beat.  Lup-dup, lup-dup, lup-dup.
2.  Acknowledge it as your reason for being.
3.  Thank it.
4.  Follow your breath.

Thoughts will come and go, and well, it doesn’t matter.  The mind will do its thing.  Someday you’ll breathe beyond that. For now, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth (or all nose as I prefer – this way you’re consciously breathing.) Feel the stillness and repeat as necessary.  Continue as long as you deem fit (I recommend at least 5 minutes.)

And tada! You’ve just meditated. Congratulations. Real rocket science, I’m aware.  And you didn’t have to give blood or join a cult – although I could recommend a few good ones… (that’s a joke.)

Just one more thing…

Take that radiance (and presence) into the world.

3.  Charge it with LOVE.

Just like your iPhone needs a jolt through an electrical outlet, so too does our Presence. Make it habitual to plug in and charge intensely with the most powerful source in the world – L-O-V-E.

Wow, could you BE any more abstract?!

The more we charge our Presence (e.g. an afternoon walk, a good book, an extra meditation, a clean diet, a long massage, some verbal TLC, an epic guitar solo) with undivided and unconditional attention, the more we ARE it.  In doing so, nothing can disrupt your state of being.  Presence will be the gift that keeps on giving.

4.  Create sincere affirmations.

Speaking of verbal TLC and redirection, a quick way to bring all your faculties into the RIGHT NOW is by affirming and declaring your Vision.

In search of a calm day at the office?  Command it on the drive to work.
Looking for property for a new home?  State your desire of some Youniversal support.
Want a speech or blind date to go smoothly?  Recall a time of your utmost confidence.

What separates this from a traditional, read-it-off-the-sheet, pre-programmed decree is the upfront and honest nature backing it.  You’re not declaring artificial proclamations that unconsciously you don’t believe.  If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.  And most definitely don’t COMMAND it. It’s counteractive to do so.

If you’re scared shitless, worried sick, or stressed beyond belief, let it be known first, and THEN ask for assistance by affirming what you do want.  Like so:

Hey Youniverse, this presentation has me all sorts of nervous. Let me merge with it so that I may deliver the heart of my message: clearly and calmly.

What up Youniverse, the void I face through my social media cleanse has me crazy anxious. May the Space I create in its absence inspire and fulfill me in unimaginable ways.

Pretty simple stuff, really.  Checklist:

1. Keep it real,


2. Keep it Light.

5.  Pick some up at will call.

Like a ticket?


They sell Presence? Saweeeeeeeet! Do they take Venmo?

Holy millennial, but no and no.

What’s the catch?

They don’t sell Presence because it’s complimentary via the greatest gift of all – Free Will.  And through the simple act of choice (saying YES to ourselves), we can access it anytime.

At the Free Will counter, there’s a permanent ticket with your name on it.  Whether you pick it up is up to you.

6.  Give presence/presents, get presence/presents.

I’ll make this real simple.

You want love?  Give it.
You want abundance?  Dish it.
You want truth?  Live it.
You want joy?  Feel it.
You want peace?  Bring it.
You want presence?  Give presence.

The more you give, the more you get.  In my 32 years of living, I have yet to find a more sure-fire approach to spiritual health and happiness.

And that’s a wrap on Spiritual Key #2.

(As always, add your ingredients to the recipe.)
hi there



The Second Spiritual Key: Presence (aka the Keynote Address)

caley-dimmock-442468Now that you’ve had time to play with the willingness factor, let’s dive into fresh water and identify key numéro dos… PRESENCE.

So, what exactly is presence?  As K.LITE vocab ascertains:

Presence – the act of surrendering to the Now; attendance to Being;  God in Action.

Alternate jargon:  the Master Within, He/She That Governs, the Keynote Address.

Hold up! God?! Where?!

Right in front of me, bro.  (“Literal” student slowly gazes to his left, then his right – scared, but excited with what he might see.)

Is this some kind of joke to you?

If you’re looking for phenomena, your search will continue.  That, God is not.  In all honesty, I should have said:

In front of me, behind me, beside me, and all around me.  In front of you, behind you, beside you, and all around you.

I get it, we’re all God.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Yep.  And if you shift a speck of a speck of that sarcasm and the wall of fear it hides behind into your Presence, man, you’ll be a force to reckon with.

But yes, God, Love, Light, Greatness, Presence, we ALL have it. It’s in the front row, the back row, the janitor’s closet, you name it.

FINE PRINT:  We’re only God in action if we exercise that gift (refer to: free will.)


Imagine the opening credits to a Hollywood film.

Before things begin, the production company announces Such n’ Such Pictures presents Such n’ Such Movie.  Typically, it’s a hint of what’s to come.

I analogize this to presence. Try the following exercise:

(Insert your name HERE) Pictures/Productions


(Insert your gift to the world/Soul purpose/Radiance HERE)

E.g.  T.J.O. Productions presents Keepin’ It Light

Well done. Welcome to presence!

Presence is our second-by-second production to the world. Like a walking, talking movie poster of sorts. Better yet, a movie trailer. Its soul purpose – yes soul, not sole (that’s fishy business) – is to pump our spiritual gas tank as a means to fund our earthly experience.

The only difference, however, is we can rewrite and/or redirect our presence (aka our production) at any time. On demand. Free of charge. No hidden fees.  Or monthly inflation (ahem… Netflix… excuse me.)

Disclosure:  Be careful not to practice presence to be seen by others in a particular way. Unlike the movies, this isn’t for show. That’s not true presence. It’s a facade and an outer motive. Presence operates from the inside-out.  (As an alternate analogy, consider a radio.  Here, presence is your signal:  felt, but not seen.)

Now, why do we call this state presence?  Two reasons:

1.  It’s born and bred in the present (the only moment that exists)


2.  Like a present, it’s our gift to the world.

Your presence is all good things rolled into one – like a spiritual doobie of sorts (liberal toking permitted) – love, patience, gratitude, kindness, compassionate command, truth, self-care, (fill in the blank).  It’s vibrato hits the high note.  Your high note. Your KEYnote.

You know the whole “the truth shall set you free” bit?

Uh yeah, it’s in the Bible – where God lives.

Can’t let it go, huh buddy?

Anyhow, truth, in this case, equals freedom. It’s your presence in action. The adage should read “Your presence shall set you free.”  Cause it will.

You see, presence is the sun and it only knows light. It thrives on intention and grows from attention.

And when we harness our internal worlds with dogged devotion and service to our Presence (to the LIGHT within), nothing can block our flow. Nothing. It goes as we go, and conjointly, brightens the whole of existence.

If all we ever did was fund our presence with unmitigated, loving fidelity, it would be enough.  Wars would end and separation would cease. Presence is our guitar string.  It’s tune is in our hands.


I find the most effective way to paint presence is through a set of self-reflective and opportunity-laced questions. h(Warning: lots of encouragement to follow.)

Ready? GO!

Do you know how grand you are?

The magic of your current inhale?  The miracle of your next exhale?

Do you have the faintest freckle of an idea of the level of mastery and peace at your command by simply choosing to be right here, right now?

No really, do you?

Are you willing to accept that?  Are you willing to go to that place?

To love all you can love?  To give all you can give?  To breathe all you can be?

To just be still?

And then…

Can you deliver that God energy – that Presence to everyone and everything you touch?

To friends, family, colleagues, and strangers?

To the doubters, the negative Nancy’s, and your piece of shit boss?

What about the ass in traffic and the bitch behind the counter?

Can you?

Can you be so adamantly committed to LOVE and LIGHT and HARMONY that it penetrates limitation and manipulation in the darkest of corners?

Could you move one step closer to the Light when everyone in the room is in a trance of limitation?

Can you leave your phone in the other room during suppertime – maybe even turn it off? And be oh-so present to the conversation and food and people before you that the notion of time and space are but distractions from the majesty of this moment, the only thing that matters and exists?

Can you be grateful for what you have regardless of how small life can feel?

Can you give one more ounce of unconditional love when all you want and all you think you need and deserve is to receive it in return for once in your damn life?

Can you pause and take a long, deep breath when speeding up is the easiest thing to do?  I mean, everyone else is doing it.

So, can you?

Presence can.
Start with 20 minutes.
Castles begin with a single stone.

Tune that String,






{Photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash}

How To Be Willing: Spiritual Key #1 (aka the Open Door Policy)

Five ways to let willingness kickstart your world today:

(Comfort-zone stretching… prepare for takeoff.)

1.  Say YES (in alignment with your light.)

If you want to see and feel your brightest, boldest, most bad-ASS colors, start by saying YES to life.

When reflecting on how I’ve grown over the years, my immediate response is that I’ve said YES more frequently – from a new yoga class to reading a different kind of book to embracing a stranger to starting a blog to traveling to India solo to going gluten-free, I’ve embraced an ad-nauseum-YES attitude.

YES has become my personal assistant for two specific reasons:

First and foremost, it serves as a spark and change-agent on days my psyche and soul need a bit of a shakeup. In saying the magic word, I’m always given clarity, inspiration, and a new sense of confidence just by stepping outside the box (courtesy of some good ole adventure.)

Secondly, when fear and doubt attempt to loiter around said psyche, YES is my security blanket – dispelling and protecting against the whirlwind of egoic thoughts which can lead to paralysis.  Ipso facto, I stay heart-centered.

Beneath the surface though, what are we saying YES to (above and beyond the mere activity)?

Ourselves.  It’s about momentum, really. (Remember this mini sermon about momentum?)

Of all the Spiritual Keys, willingness demands some YES. It’s how you open doors and move energy. Try a little today.

* * * If you’re wondering about the “in alignment with your light” part above, refer to #5 for the answer.

* * * * Despite our comfort-zone launch, this stuff is hardly rocket science.

2.  Delete stubbornness.

Want a foolproof way of accessing the Art of Feeling Good via willingness? Loosen and/or annihilate its evil twin – stubbornness.

Stubborn:  obstinately unmoving; fixed or set in purpose or opinion.

K.LITE lexicon:

Stubbornness:  thoughts, reactions, and beliefs that trip us up, or “stub” our progress/light

Side effects include but are not limited to inactivity, numbness, defensiveness, and heartache. Throw those qualities on your next job application…

When I was a pup, stubbornness was my Achilles heel. Rather than let willingness work for me (clearing many a path), I let stubbornness block me in (closing many a door.)

And not only did it close the door, but it sealed it, deadbolted it, and made me utterly immune to a lot of life MAGIC.

Fast forward to the present and that grip has loosened dramatically. As a result, I have a smile on my face and I’m more open than ever. But how did it loosen?

Like most good things, it took a bit of determination and practice. I decided that whiting-out stubbornness would require a conscious effort on my part to conquer any and all thoughts and things that didn’t support me. It was a mission.

Long story short, I chose to be willing by committing 144% to my individual growth.  Ahhh, choosing… a free-of-charge endeavor.

K.LITE Rhetorical Pop Quiz…

Which group of words do you most associate with growth?

A.) Inflexibility, unyielding, fixed, unreasonable, myopic, and negativistic.
B.) Ready, responsible, energetic, deliberate, forward, prompt, zealous, and in-motion.

What do they call that experience when you cut the living room corner and walk your big toe right into the couch? That’d be a toe “stub.” Hardly dangerous, highly painful.  (My eyes water just thinking about my last one.)

Choose wisely folks.

 3.  Keep things sunny-side up.

 “I am an optimist.  It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
                                                                                                  – Winston Churchill

Attitude is everything.  And optimism is mandatory for willingness to do its thing. How mandatory?  Mandatory as in there’s a NO NEGATIVITY TRESPASSING sign posted to its property.

Optimism — the choice to “opt in” to life

Science now too is proving the benefits of an optimistic outlook. Remember, the good drastically outweighs the not-so-good on this planet. If you ever need proof of this, just imagine that you’re living on a rock that spins in space at a speed of 1,000 mph.  Far out, right?

Oh wait… you already are. (This, my friends, is what you call a Miracle.) Your SnapChat page not loading while waiting in line at the DMV is NOT a crisis. Now where was I?  Oh, right…

More often than not, life is simply a matter of how you choose to look at things. Does shit happen in the world? Sure does. So no, you don’t have to talk like a fortune cookie. But you should definitely INquire.

Do I prefer soft, productive thoughts that flow? Or rigid, stressful thoughts that constrict?

Your call.

4.  Eliminate resistance.

Simply put, resistance is fear of the unknown. And a close relative of stubbornness.  (Phewww… talk about a family reunion.)

The underlying premise of resistance is actually the fear of victory – victory being, of course, your God-given right to thrive.  When you resist, you withstand against yourself.  (Wow, even typing that hurt.)

So here’s my challenge…

What if, rather than ignoring the ambiguity willingness may bring, you saw it as a gift basket full of surprises?  No matter how outlandish and different a situation may seem, make it a point to welcome change with an open mind and heart.

None of us know where the road may lead. But only those who throw it in drive will ever get to know.

(Want to really understand resistance?  Read this book.  Sheer genius.) 

5.  Say NO (in alignment with your light).


Let me guess.  This completely contradicts the say YES propaganda?

How can’t it?

Like so…

Say you enjoy the company of catching up with your old high school buddies/sorority sisters/what have you.  However, the environment in which they participate (barhopping and partying and gossiping and the never-ending reminiscence of the “good ole days”) – yes, my famous “self” keg stand I remember quite well, uh thank you – isn’t conducive to your growth.  Does that support you to keep showing up?

No, but it makes me a good friend.

No, it makes you an imposter because a good friend is an honest friend.  And you can’t be an honest friend if you’re not honest with yourself.

But what will they think?!

By the look on your face, I’m gonna speculate that “who cares?” isn’t a sufficient retort?


How about this?  Have you ever seen the movie YES MAN?

Yep. He said YES to everything and landed Zooey Deschanel!!!

Good point, but…

… at the end of the film, Terrence (the head of the YES seminar) tells Carl (played by Jim Carrey) that there was no YES covenant to begin with. It was merely an avenue to stimulate action and open Carl’s mind to infinite possibilities. Carl needed a shakin.’  And YES shook him out of his stubbornness.

Yeah, so…

Well just like Carl, you too can (and should) say “no” if need be.  For most, it will be the ultimate willingness challenge.  It too is the “in alignment with your light” part.


That willingness is futile if it goes against your personal code. It’d be five steps forward and six steps back.  It’s “facing it” versus “pushing it.”

Yes opens doors.  No keeps ’em open.

In this scenario, “no” is a roundabout way of saying YES – to our truth that is. It’s a high form of self-love (ahem… boundaries.)  Which means people won’t get it.  You’ll be dubbed selfish, inconsiderate even.

Yeah Jane, she’s not coming… something about a bath and a good book tonight.
Oh John, no 50th party for him. Going fly fishing with his dog (scoff.)
Nope, Nancy’s out on Secret Santa this year. Such a Scrooge!
Steve, yeah, he’s really “changed.” 
(My personal favorite.)

Squawkers will squawk.  Their guilty YES’s are a big disservice to mankind. Your NO?  It’s an invitation AND permission for all to choose honorably. Maybe even for themselves for the first time. If YES’s are brave, NO’s are heroic.

“Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
-Steve Jobs

Thanks Steve.

But how do I differentiate between stretching myself (yes) and honoring myself (no)?

You’ll know.  (Get it? You’ll “no.”)

Oh c’mon!

Trust me, you’ll know.

Stay willing my friends,

hi there





The First Spiritual Key: Willingness (aka The Open Door Policy)

philipp-berndt-173197Get your notebooks out ladies and gents, this one’s important.  (And by important I mean imperative to everything happy and fulfilling and victorious in your world.)

Willingness is the mother of all keys to a spiritually-fueled life.

Yes siree, Robert. Sans willingness, the subsequent four keys could and would not be possible.  In fact, they wouldn’t even exist because they couldn’t be experienced. (Note to your Self:  if you’re reading this, you’re willing.)

Put simply, willingness is choosing. It is a prereq to all spiritual paths, a springboard to adventure, and a gateway to freedom. It is the law. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Hold up… what about the whole “Love is what makes the world go round” spiel?  Shouldn’t that be first?

Bait taken.  Here’s why it’s not:

Could you love fully and completely, or at all for that matter, without an open heart?  (That’s a rhetorical question.)

It is only when you are willing that you truly love. Show me an unwilling lover and I’ll show you a talented Kardashian. Willingness comes first, always and forever. The same goes for gratitude, change, acceptance, stillness, and taking action.

To be grateful, you must be willing to appreciate.
To experience a new life story, you must be willing to let go of the old one.
To accept others, you must be open to non-judgment.
To be still, you must be willing to enter the silence.
To take action, you must be willing to show up.
To (your preferred ideal), you must be willing to (fill in the blank.)

Attempt any of these without willingness and you’ll never leave the driveway. N-E-V-E-R.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

Now, before I define willingness, let’s talk about its source. Where does willingness begin? (A man in the crowd raises one hand with the other pointing down towards his head.)


Willingness starts with you. Just look at its root: will. Or the first five letters… will I? Your free will is the catalyst. Through our choices we have front-row seats to a field of possibility.

The K.LITE Dictionary reads:

Willingnessthe state of being open to moving forward; adherence to flow; readiness; resistance remedy, serendipity spark, the Open Door policy.

The Open Door policy?  Say what!?!?

Si, abre la puerta. If there’s one thing to be taken from this post, make it this mantra:

I AM the Open Door.

(That’s a referral to you, not me.  Well, all of us actually.  First person works best.)

Write it big and loud and colorful. Put stars around it. Highlight it. Underline it once, twice, three times. Make it your screensaver, iPhone wallpaper, car bumper sticker, your next tattoo. Tweet it, snap it, pin it, bop it, whatever the kids do.

“I AM the open door” is willingness as a means to fruition – that for doors to open, we must first open ourselves. By doing so, what you need to start your car will be shown to you.

Opportunities arise (that job shows up.)
Synchronicities multiply (a new class or idea pops up in more than one place.)
Books fall off shelves (or in my case, I find them in the abyss of the woods where no book could ever possibly be.)
Conduits stand next to you in the grocery line ( … one thing leads to another.)
Magical 3rd, 4th, and 5th options appear.

But you must be willing to be yourself and be it fully. You must be willing to explore alternate paths. You must be willing to be vulnerable (like this road story.) You must be willing to receive the guidance the You-Niverse (your intuition, what have you) is delivering. You must be willing, you must be willing, you must be willing.

Does this mean we have to say YES to everything new and different?

Absolutely not. What good is willingness if it goes against the code of who you are?  It does mean, however, recognizing our need to continually grow by shedding old habits, accepting new truths, occasionally stepping out of the box and/or pushing the envelope.  For this, a leap will be required.  Know what I’m sayin?’

In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra writes, “When we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.”

I liken this to willingness.

When we’re unwaveringly willing to both give and receive willingness to the utmost degree, our Heart’s Desires (our Inside) merge with those of the Youniverse, awakening a force so alive and so magnetic that the “how” shows up and alignment is all that can and will endure.

Greek playwright Aeschylus mirrors this by saying, “When one is willing and eager, the gods join in.” Hear, hear!  (Feel free, however, to swap “gods” for your own personal precept – Love, Light, God, Divinity, Moana, Jesus, Magic, Norman at the deli, that tree in your frontyard, who or whatever revs you up.)

By allowing fresh light to stream in, we wield our willpower. Through the humility to begin and the courage to evolve, there is no person or thing that is not the Open Door.

On the bright side (if you need one)…

Willingness is the ultimate answer to life’s roadblocks – spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional. Willingness has the superpower of turning the impossible in to the possible, confusion in to clarity, and walls in to ways. It makes an outstanding companion, and an even better doorstop. And sometimes, it’s just a simple thought away.

So, how strong will you allow your willingness to be?  Where will you allow it to expand today, tomorrow, this week? Can you open up just a teeny tidbit more?

Play with the key.  Love the key.  Live the key.  Be the key.

Its potential is up to you.





* Tune in next week for the How To’s of Willingness. These will be fun.


((Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash))

The 5 Keys to a Spirit-Fueled Life (aka The Art of Feeling Good).


“How do I become spiritual?”

In a certain regard, this question triggers an upchuck.

Not to dis seekers of any kind. I would never. Whether your cup is full or you’re drowning in backwash at the moment, I’m a firm believer that (for the most part)… we’re all doing the best we can with the resources we have. Evolution is part of the dance, and all who participate should be applauded.

The Taoist in me’s response to this question is to simply “be.”  After all, we are human beings not human doings.  But given I live on planet Earth, where my Zen replies aren’t exactly “street legal,” well, here we are.

Before getting started though, I’d like to demystify any and all woo-woo connotations that shadow the term “spirituality.”

Literally speaking, spirituality is the “state of being spirit.”  One step further:  it’s your spirit in action.  That’s it.  Nothing chichi about it.

You know how people say, “He/she has such a great spirit.”  Well, there you go.

Whether you pray incessantly, sing eloquently, dance freely, crunch numbers rigorously, surf crazily, om loudly, golf weekly, paint sloppily, deliver packages regularly, vegan-out devotedly, drink coffee religiously, or lay cement smoothly, it doesn’t matter.  Spirituality is a do-it-yourself project that cannot be limited to a singular set of how-to’s.  It’s defined per soul applicant.

Enlightened Decree #27:  Spirituality is what you say it is.  There’s no right or wrong way to partake.

Truthfully, the headline to this blog series is the ultimate catchall. Many a title apply:

The 5 Keys to a Fulfilling Life
The 5 Keys to Manifesting your Dreams
The 5 Keys to Stress-Free Living
The 5 Keys to a Six-Figure Income
The 5 Keys to Increase Serendipity
The 5 Keys to a Seven-Figure Income

The 5 Keys to Dealing with Car Salesmen
The 5 Keys to Dealing with Your Landlord
The 5 Keys to Freedom!
The 5 Keys to Feeling Good

The latter being the crux of it all when posed with this question – I want to feel good.  I want to feel connected.  I want to feel alive.  I want to feel WHOLE.  And why shouldn’t you?  It’s your birthright to do so.  All day.  Every day.

Call to Action:  scrap the titles and stay open (teaser to Key Uno).


Over the next couple of months, I’m going to unveil the keys as part of a ten-post-or-so rollout. With each key, a subsequent how-to will follow. The reason for the breakup is to make space to assimilate and apply. Like anything in life, presence and action are required.  And the keys are only as powerful as what you do with them.

The wording “how to” is used in a very loose manner. On the one hand, the Internet totes loves lists, like straight-up cray cray status (is that what the kids say?) Translation: humans enjoy a protocol. They want to know who, what, when, where, why, and how to do something.

On the other hand, some souls are more independent ((two thumbs pointing at this guy)). Some are downright stubborn ((these people just suck)). Being told how to do pretty much anything reeks of pontification. For these folks, just think of the content as Tips for the Evolution of You. For all involved, let what resonates guide your sail.

Last but not least, have fun.

The cool thing about the ‘5 Keys’ is they’re already in you. Not the book aisles or seminars or the “real word” nonchalance, but IN.SIDE. you. The only ingredient in this pudding is possibility.  Copious consumption approved.

That said, the first key arrives next week. I look forward to sharing with you.

Here I am


What To Know When You’re In Pain. And The Silver Lining To It All.

Suffering can be very real. The sky can go that low.  And it can hang.  So you turn left, then right:  walls.  Inescapable.  There’s no…  way…  out.

When it’s physical pain, it hurts and it sucks, but it’s cake in the end. The moaning and discomfort is communicable. The body heals or it ascends.  But the inner “stuff,” the hello-can-anyone-hear-me kind of pain… that shit stings. Heartache.  PTSD.  Loss of a loved one.  Nervous breakdown. Forgiveness. When that effing person’s phone rings in the movie theater.  Perdition runs the gamut (you now know mine.)

But the dagger of it all isn’t the agony within, it’s the thought you’re fighting not to think (and have zero chance to not actually think it): that the pain won’t end.  That it can’t end.  How could it when it… hurts…  this… bad?  Fear catalyzes.  It’s the icing that makes you want out.  (And the reason we shan’t judge.   Anyone.  Like ever.)

If you haven’t been there, someone close to you has:  family, a friend, the guy next to you at the coffee shop. Pain doesn’t typecast. It can broadcast with theatrics or vices, but more than often, it’s disguised. A racing mind can monopolize and protect itself at the same time, ya know.  It’s that darn good.

So what should you know when you’re in pain?   This too shall pass.

For real bro?  I’m dyin’ over here and you drop Scripture on me?

Yeah… that’s definitely not from the Bible, but I get it.  When your sadness exudes no mercy, clichés can be a real twist of the knife.  Morgan Freeman could narrate it and it would still seem shallow and glib.

There’s more fish in the sea.  (Don’t ever say this.)
Fake it ‘til you make it.  (Has its merits so long as it doesn’t mask.)
I know what you’re going through.  (Yeah… do you?)

(How ‘bout? You’re miserable AF.  A piece of this may stay with you forever, who knows?  And that’s OK.  Cause I see you.  And I’m here.  Nothing more.  Giving a human being permission to totally feel can totally liberate.)

This. Too. Shall. Pass.

An ode to the light at the end of the tunnel. The bait might not take at first. You’ll hear it and possibly purge. And that’s allowed. Healing without catharsis isn’t healing at all.

So hang in there.  Take big ass Pranic breaths.  And know…

This too shall pass.

It will.

There’s a heap of light waiting.

And it’s beautiful.

That I can confirm.
and so it is


Why Self-Help Can Make You Nauseous or (A Short Sermon in Self-Sustainability).

It’s time to debunk a significantly defective archetype swirling through spiritual circles and many a societal sector.  An all-too prevalent illusion infiltrating students, seekers, and the simplest of souls, from the yoga mats to the church groups to the 12-step audio tape on repeat in your car’s dash.

But first, I must plead my guilt.

At one time, I, too, succumbed (albeit to a minor degree) to the hidden propaganda that many (not all) self-improvement theories are built upon.  And despite my morsel of naivety, it was just enough to put my head on a swivel.

The theory?

That, as humans, we’re an innately broken breed.  Abundantly flawed, marinated in guilt.  Catholic school flashbacks of my kindergarten teacher redirecting her hand-me-down guilt at a classroom of 5-year old angels by informing us we’re the newest generation of original sinners.  Thanks, should I tithe by mail or walk it straight to the rectory?

Likewise, the self-help model is of similar origin.

Self-help starts from the premise that you’re inadequate as is.  From the get-go, it’s a game of catch-up:  weed eating edges, whiting out flaws, striving and struggling to better a design with built-in precision and power.

C’mon bro!  You can’t tell me this site isn’t self-help.

I prefer to think of it as sermons in self-sustainability, uh thank you very much.  A loving nudge towards that which brims your cup.  The starting block here is opulence, not ineptitude.

Turns out, this aha! moment had been fermenting on a subconscious level for close to two years, and finally hatched this past week during a visit to the local bookstore.  As I prepared to purchase a handful of “self-development” literature, angst and fatigue enveloped me.  Suddenly, I felt like a leaky roof auditioning for HGTV: Restoration T.J., my latest project in personal patchwork.

That’s right, patchwork, as in “repair,” “fix,” “correct,” and “mend.”

In that moment, I realized I’d been highlighting, om-ing, downward dogging, binge breathing, and affirmation reciting with bogus motives for quite some time.  My intent had shifted from genuine self-discovery to obligatory self-maintenance.

I dropped the books and drove home.


There’s a distinct difference between the helpers and discoverers of the world.  D-I-S-T-I-N-C-T.   Distinct.

Self-helpers control.
Self-discoverers explore.  (It’s a job versus a game).

Self-helpers crave instruction.
Self-discoverers listen, but only apply what resonates.

Self-helpers see what’s missing.
Self-discoverers dance with what’s there.

Self-help can be a sentence.
Self-discovery is an Authentic Adventure.

Self-helpers auction their power.
Self-discoverers expand their authority.

Self-help renovates and renovates and renovates.
Self-discovery is turnkey.

Self-helpers have forgotten.
Self-discoverers have remembered.

A math major I am not, but the equation writes itself:

Too much self-help = too much headiness

More thoughts, more analysis, more comparison, more problems, more confusion, more work. Resulting in less heart, less ONEness, less acceptance, resolutions, lucidity, flow, fun, and TRUTH.

The key to the whole shebang is based on your approach.  Are you a broken cup in search of glue?  Or do you seek to fill your chalice because it’s your birthright to feel Alive and Free?  In golf, we’d call this the point of address. In general, it’s plain ole intent.

So before you add to the book shelf, call the astrologer, go vegan, sign up for the seminar, reread the Book of Jimmy, or simply beat yourself up, consider the following…

You don’t need fixing, healing, counseling, or saving.  Your soul need not to be righted, improved, upgraded, or photoshopped.  Everything you need you already have. And self-love… discovery for the sake of discovery… is ’bout as liberating as it gets.

And no, this doesn’t mean we should cease to learn and grow.  “If you’re not growing, you’re dying” most definitely applies.

But before the reflex to sprint the treadmill of self-help kicks in, take a few breaths and filter your inklings through your heart center…  (Expanded or contracted? Expanded or contracted?). This little Q+A returned my reading, writing, yoga-ing, and creativity into avenues of genuine expression once again.

You can’t be more when you’re already enough.


The Deservability Contract (Sign and Date Your Infinite Worth).

As a stamp of approval to last week’s deservability post, your divine footprint has some light paperwork (Get it?  Light!) to make things officially official.

Below you will find your very own copy of The Deservability Contract.  It’s purpose is to recognize, acknowledge, and claim the God-given worth inscribed within you.

That said, I find it beneficial to print, read, sign, and date the contract. In doing so, you’re communing with and making space for bundles of tall energy to back you and flow through you.

Once complete, I encourage you to keep it somewhere nearby (wallet, bulletin board, etc.) or a sacred spot at home and reread, re-sign, and remind yourself of it and how deserving you are whenever need be.

I personally have a worn copy that I sign frequently.  It’s covered in black ink, blue ink, pencil, crayon, and marker. There’s coffee on both the front and back too.

So without further ado, I give you The Deservability Contract.

I hope you enjoy.






The Deservability Contract


I, _______________________ {name}, hereby agree to enter into The Deservability Contract with the Youniverse on ________________ {today’s date}.

This agreement is based on the following KLITE truths:

1.  In being born, I have innate, boundless worth.

2.  I AM free and absolute.

3.  The fruit of life blooms to be eaten.

4.  Approval is an inside job – that which I own, I AM.

This contract binds all parties involved as an entity of Oneness and Love.  To be blessed in the fullness of its opulence, one knowingly submits to a life of self-acceptance and an eternity of inherent value.

If at any time one forgets, falls flat on their ass, and/or fails to adhere to the above provisions, no sweat.  As a child of God, you’re still worthy, and always will be.

Upon signing, this agreement is subject to the laws of the Youniverse and effective starting immediately.  Stillness, sunshine, and compassion expedite its activation.


__________________________                               ___________________________

 {Printed Name}                                                               {Signature}






© Keepin’ It Light, 2017.

On Deservability…. a Myth, a Duty, a Gift.

I am deserving.  I deserve all good.  Not some, not a little bit, but all good.  I now move past all negative, restricting thoughts.  I release and let go of the limitations of my parents.  I love them, and I go beyond them.  I am not their negative opinions, nor their limiting beliefs.  I am not bound by any of the fears or prejudices of the current society I live in.  I no longer identify with limitation of any kind.  In my mind, I have total freedom.
— Louise L. Hay, Love Yourself, Heal Your Life Workbook

Deservability.  A concept that, often coated in a layer of unease, provokes a murky response.  Why?

Cause we’re born, bred, and conditioned to praise the value of rigidity.  Work hard.  Sweat.  Pay your dues.  Fight through it.  Put in the hours.  Show up sick. Ignore it.  Prove, earn, validate, repeat.  Work harder.  Complain less.  Push a little more.  Validate that validation.

Together, let’s call this the Illusion of Rigor; which is, of course, a blatant pile of malarkey.  Not to mention a sermon in inefficiency and inauthenticity.  BUYER BEWARE.

Side NoteDon’t let this undermine the importance of making things happen.  There’s a fine line between taking action and resigning to another’s idea of what is “right.”

The problem with the Illusion of Rigor is that somewhere, at some point in time, it became the hallmark of deservability, making it wrong to participate in life’s harvest for the simple reason of just being you.  So we scrap, claw, and get stuck in a trance of “earn,” or ignorance, lambasting our inner thirst. One that colludes our evolution with conflicting intentions of desire and guilt.  We spread clichéd-butter on stale bread…

Spouse is absent?  Well, that’s marriage for ya.
Finances are thin?  Nothin good comes easy!
Asshole of a boss?  Aren’t they all?
Yearning for a raise?  Don’t be greedy.

Cause we’re tough, right?  There’s virtue in toughness… in sweeping it under the rug… in hardening ourselves, our soul, our skin. You know what you call tough skin?  A callous. You know what you call healthy skin? A glow. The irony is hardly ironic.

The gift of life is exactly that – a gift.  In being born, you accepted said gift. It was blessed unto you. No clocking in, résumé check, or overtime required.  Just a present courtesy of the Youniverse.  Effortless.

What’s your point Jedi?

Call off the ordination. You’re pre-packaged with worth. An infinity of it too. The fact that you’re Here – alive (and reading this) – kind of confirms it. You deserve, as Louise Hay puts it, “not some, not a little bit, but all good.”  Breakfast in bed, smiles “just because,” flowers on Monday, paid vacation, and attentive conversation… with eye contact… perpetual eye contact.

Yeah, but I still don’t understa…

Look, you want to thrive, right?

Of course I do.

If you truly aspire a rich, meaningful, love-loaded experience – the ‘life well lived’ so to speak – you gotta know, know, that you, yes you, are inherently worthy of all the goodies the planet has to offer – long weekends, foot rubs, affordable organics, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and commissions… fat commissions… from a job that THRILLS you.  Without said belief, your heart’s desires, and bona fide fulfillment for that matter, don’t stand for diddlysquat.  They’re but a wet match on a windy day.  You gotta own it, period.

Ah, I get it… (scribbling on a notepad) … “The goal:  entitlement.”

If you need to trick yourself, that could work in the short-term. But no, entitlement is the ego’s theme song. Consciousness headlines the deservability soundtrack. It’s about opening up. Acknowledgment. Listening. It’s a self-love thing, really.

Merit comes from within. And responsibility means exactly that…. responding.

You deserve the best of the best of the best of the best… just for being you.

Let that be enough.




P to the S.  The opening quote can be read in its entirety by googling “The Deservability Treatment.”  For anyone struggling to accept their infinity, it’s a supportive resource to keep in mind.

P to the Double S.  Sit with your magnificence for a bit. Come back next week to sign “The Deservability Contract” – a sacred clause of self-love and luminosity.



Mindfulness 101 or (How to Change the World at the Grocery Store).


There’s a true story, I’m told, of a general in the U.S. army who’s ordered to take an anger management course. Until doing so, his service is suspended.

At the end of the day (and a long program) – a challenge for anyone, let alone a commanding officer in a macho profession – he goes to the grocery store to refill on supplies.

Ready to check out, he steps behind a woman with just a few items, a sight that triggers him instantly. (There’s an empty express line one register over). The woman is holding a baby and even lets the cashier hold her too. Together, they gush over the little girl: curls, ribbons and eyes that match her dads. The general, meanwhile, receives no acknowledgment, not even a nod, as the line stalls.

Everything inside the general insists he reacts. What a rude woman! I have somewhere to go. How clueless can (both of) you be?! Yadi yada the small self yanks. Instead, he remembers mindfulness and flips his knee-jerk mentality with a simple but profound act… he pauses.

The scenario has triggered a sense of anger in the general. But why? Anger certainly isn’t the root. Is it anxiety… for fear of being late? Maybe. Is it egotism… to satisfy our incessant need to be right and in control? Who knows. Regardless, below the reactive jibber-jabber (and within his pause) he finds some space, a bit of a God gap, and an openness to the moment.

After a few more minutes in line, the woman and little girl leave.

“That girl was adorable,” the general decides to say.

The cashier lights up.

“Thank you!” she responds. “Actually that’s my little girl. My husband was killed in Afghanistan last year and my mom brings her by twice a day so we can have some time together. It’s not much, but it gets me through the day.”

If we fail to deepen our awareness, react and not respond, we’ll never know our fullest Being. Tiny judgments are acts of a separate self.  Separation is the culprit to all front page news. With or without our dissection of the scene, the world will keep on spinning. You never know what’s on the other side of the counter.

Take a breath.
Respond with Presence.

Policies and presidents won’t change the world.  Mindfulness will.  It starts at the grocery store.


Small Stuff as the Big Stuff. And This is Why You Matter.

I was talking to the barista at the local coffee joint.  It’d been some time since I caffeinated there.  We caught up, discussed the shop, his music career, pizza and beards.  You know, the essentials.  (If you want a weather-or-Donald Trump’s-latest convo, I’m not your guy).   “I’d love to chat all morning, but it’s inventory day,” he apologized.  I gave him the green light.

As he walked away he turned and said with the utmost sincerity, “It really is great to see you T.J.  Always have a smile on your face.”  I accepted and grinned in my chair.

Minutes later I reached for my journal, but something obstructed the page. It was a card, handwritten and bursting with color.  Three lines layered in love. My name in this person’s print was enough to warm my insides.  Can you say “you had me at hello?”

The same afternoon I did my daily hike with Gus.  A sunny stroll through the autumn woods. We walked past a gimpy man ascending a rocky incline. I greeted him as Gus inspected his cane. “Just enjoying my therapy,” he said. “Gorgeous day, a great park and positive people like you.”  I wished him health and left with a jolt.

Now, before I proceed, allow me to lay some context.

Hi, I’m T.J. and I’m an… (interrupted by group joviality).

Hiiiii T.J.!!!

Uh yeah… um… well… like I was saying (big pause) … there’s no easy way to put this… but… UH… well… I’m an… (pause again) I’m… I’m an introvert.

This is the meeting that occasionally plays in my head.  To those of you who know me, this is a real shocker I’m sure. To those who don’t, the context is crucial to these words.

But yes, an introvert I am. What does that mean exactly? Well for the most part, I live Within.

Groups aren’t my thing and Facebook overwhelms me.  I’ll never speak to fill space.  If voices rise and agendas flair, the stage is yours.  I’ll be on the other end listening, breathing;  we can reconvene when you surface for air.  Cause ya know… quiet contribution is often the best contribution.  If the stillness makes you uncomfortable (and most people it does), you’ll probably form a quick opinion of me (just don’t call me “shy” – I’m anything but).

That said, I love to say thank you and always give credit where it is due. I laugh when many don’t and ask great, meaningful questions.  If I’m jacked up about a particular topic, you’ll know.  If I’m not, you’ll know that too (I’d never make it in Hollywood).

So, back to the story (stories, actually). Three small gestures, big, BIG imprint.  And honestly, it’s all it takes.

Had I not been acknowledged that day, would I have felt shorted or low on life? Not at all.  My form of introversion (Presence, really) may not rely on the exterior, but that’s not the point.  The point is those reflections felt really damn good and hijacked my day to a loftier dimension.

And guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re a rock star, a bodhisattva or a refrigerator repair man, being human, we need to be told. (E.g. Last month I let the FedEx worker, a frumpy woman in her mid-fifties, know how beautiful her eyes were. She turned a red so deep I thought a stretcher might be needed). This isn’t a matter of validity, but one of recognition.  Validation is for parking.

You and I’s part in all of this?

Dish love… relentlessly.
Salute someone’s shine… constantly.
Acknowledge, recognize and BE the small stuff… it matters.

And you do too.


The Divinity of Disappointment — A Letter to Those Who Think They’ve Failed.


Disappointment can be wearing.  Frustrating too.  There’s no way around it.  When you’re an artist and a creator (and we all are), you get knocked down…. a lot.  It’s just part of the gig.  Abe Lincoln.  Rejected.  Martin Luther King Jr.  MockedAmelia Earhart.  Ridiculed.  Early on, these folks were billboards for disappointment.  Or were they?

If we put on our God glasses and observe with a bit gentler eye, what we frequently label as disappointment and failure is often false advertising for clarity, redirection, and a heightening of Presence.

One of the many side effects of an overactive Western world is our rush of judgment in associating failure with self-worth.  You know, cause we gotta have everything right here, right now.  Or…  that it means something about us.

Cut from the team…  Not good enough.
Can’t sell your house…  The world is against me.
Bomb the audition…  Don’t have the talent. 
Lose the job or kill the relationship.  (And this is my favorite)…  What will people say?
Or even more worrisome, how will social media respond?  The tragedy…

Truthfully though, what’s seen by many as a case of ineptitude or a sign to work harder and longer or a perpetual curse of “bad luck” or an attachment to popular opinion may just be a benevolent Youniverse finalizing the details – the divine ones that is.  Thus presenting all parties involved with yet another opportunity to trust and stay rooted in their Glow.

Disappointment is simply the disguise that alignment occasionally wears.  That’s it.

Nothing but a divine reroute masquerading as a temporary road bump.  Or as my mom puts it, disappointment – “an appointment not met.”  You see?  Just a timing thing.  Nothing but the Divine rescheduling.

(And no, this doesn’t mean the cosmos has a day planner.  It doesn’t wear a cape either.  Saving is for the piggy bank.  Being the “you” in Youniverse means participation.  It’s active.  (End this paragraph with a reminder about “letting go” being anything but a passive deed).)

So before you get your dauber down and drop your latest experience in the defeat file, I’m going to ask you to reflect on this, because maybe, just maybe, your current disappointment is but a nudge in a soul-suited direction.

Stay open.
Embrace the Mystery.
Keep it light.



Zen and the Art of Farming.


A farmer had only one horse.  One day, his horse ran away.  All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry.  This is such bad news.  You must be so upset.”

The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

Several days later, the horse returned with twenty wild horses. The farmer and his only son corralled all of them. All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations!  This is such good news.  You must be so happy!”

The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

The following day, one of the wild horses kicked the farmer’s son, breaking both of his legs.  All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry.  This is such bad news.  You must be so upset.”

The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight.  The war was long and gruesome and killed every man from the village, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from the battlefield.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations!  This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

Skip the assessment.
Can the conclusions.
And just wonder.
Life is moving.

Neutrality can be a divine act.

You’ll see.

How to Drink Free Coffee.


The Coffee Challenge.  Heard of it?  Here’s how it works:

Go to a coffee shop and order a coffee — a water, a pastry, a venti mocha frappa thingy — it doesn’t matter.  Then, ask for 10% off.

That’s it.

Simple enough, right?

I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast recently when this so-called “comfort exercise” was brought to my attention.  A terrific idea, I thought.

The point being that many of the limitations (I’d say the majority) we experience in life are completely self-inflicted.  Get a degree, don’t turn right on red, save now, spend later. What I like to call “thinking under the influence.”  (Some day they’ll issue tickets).

On the one hand, the Coffee Challenge is a direct shot at “the system.” In actuality, however, it’s less about rebellion than it is yoga for your comfort zone.  The idea is to stretch it by doing one of the most basic, yet daunting of human activities…

Asking for what you want.


Full disclosure: The coffee establishment in this experiment, I have frequented more than once. I’m familiar with the people. That said, I’ve never received a discount on anything… EVER.  It’s not one of those places.  In light of my familiarity, I decided to raise the bar and ask for a free coffee instead of a discounted one.  Here’s how it went down.

Me:  Hi.  I’ll have a double macchiato, please.
Worker: Sounds good. Would you like the single origin? (That’s the fancier stuff).
Me:  Yeah, let’s do that.

With an aim to be calm and present in my request, I wait patiently for the tallied total before dropping the bomb…

Me:  Can I have it for free?
Worker:  Uhhh… yeah, sure.

Wow, that was easy. Almost too easy. I was kind of expecting a little bit of a struggle, but hey, I believe in a benevolent Youniverse.  Free coffee here I come.

Worker:  That’ll be $2.93.

Hmm… we must have different definitions of “free.”  Ah, I get it.  We’re playing it cool because there are other customers around.  Gonna pull the old “fake credit card” swipe.  I dig.  Wink wink.

And then, as I reach for my wallet, I realize that this isn’t the case at all, but a simple lapse in communication.  He didn’t charge me for the fancy espresso — that’s what he thinks I want for free, which perfectly arrives at, of course, 10% off – the original task.

For a split second, I consider accepting the discount and calling it a day.  You know, one of those can’t-say-I-didn’t-give-it-a-try copouts.  But let’s face it, I wouldn’t be able to walk away fulfilled with my attempt. Why?  Because that’s NOT what I asked for.  Whether I get the free coffee or not, I don’t care.  But clearly delivering my desire, that’s a must.  Carry on now, T.J.

Me:  Oh no, sorry.  I’d like the whole thing for free.
Worker:  The whole thing?!?  (Said with a cryptic laugh).
Me:  Yes, can I have a free coffee?

He’s not so much laughing at me as he is impressed by my request (of course he is).  Steadily, I smile right back at him, a gesture confirming my sincerity. Now, he seeks to understand.

Worker:  Are you strapped for cash or something?
Me:  No.
Worker:  Waiting on a check?
Me:  Nope. (I could lie and play the pity card, but that would sully the intent of the Challenge).

Now he’s really thinking.  It’s written all over his face.  So this guy doesn’t want the drink upgrade and he’s not down on his luck. And then, like a child grasping its first word, I watch it all register.

Holy shit! I think this guy might just be asking for what he wants. That’s it.

 Alright, just tell the barista what you’d like.
Me:  Thank you.

As I walk away, he’s grinning from ear to ear. No ire or even a hint of discourtesy. Just a big ole I-have-no-idea-what-just-happened-but-I-respect-the-hell-out-of-you type of smile.


And that’s how you drink free coffee.


1. Clarity is king.
You can never be too specific. That’s right, even the word “free” can get misinterpreted.

2. Ask as if.
Imagine, visualize, and bless the intent with Victory. This is your request. Everything is better when it’s qualified with Love.

3. If it’s a No…
Be gracious and appreciative. Humility goes a long way. Plus, you’re a badass just for asking.  And that’s the whole point.

4. If you’re uncomfortable asking…
…that’s because it’s important to your soul’s purpose. Nerves get a bad rap. Work with them by following through.

5. Brevity is your ally.
Short and sweet always does the trick.

6. Buy this book.
Read this book.

7. Stay detached.
Showing up is your only job.

8. People want to help.
They always have and they always will.

9. Sometimes you have to ask twice.
And that’s OK.

10. You don’t ask, you don’t get.
Gandhi said this.

Bonus commandment:

Keep things in perspective.
Whether it’s a napkin or a coffee or a raise in salary, remember:

You’re only asking a question.


Try your own Coffee Challenge.

In the comments below, feel free to share your experience.

Happy asking!


Victory Stories: 15 Reasons to Continue your Pursuit Today.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  He’s the greatest to ever play the game.

Warren Buffet failed to get into Harvard Business School.  He has 44 billion dollars.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had 12 publishing rejections.  It’s the best-selling book series of all-time.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he lacked “imagination and had no good ideas.”  Mickey Mouse, anyone?

Steven Spielberg was rejected multiple times by USC film school. Résumé check: Jaws. E.T. Indiana Jones. Jurassic Park. Hook. Schindler’s List. Saving Private Ryan.  Catch Me If You Can.  Lincoln.  Need I say more?

Some woman named Oprah was fired as a television reporter due to being “unfit for TV.”  I think she had a talk show…

Marilyn Monroe was kicked to the curb by 20th Century-Fox due to being “unattractive.”  She’s an icon and a sex symbol to this day.

The positive reinforcement of Thomas Edison’s teacher’s?  “You’re too stupid to learn anything.”  He invented the light bulb.

Harrison Ford was told that he didn’t have what it takes to be a movie star. He makes 20 million per film.

Elvis was fired after one performance at the Grand Ole Opry. His parting words?  “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. Ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Aren’t we glad he didn’t?

Julia Roberts failed to land a role on the daytime soap opera “All My Children.”  In 2000, she won an Oscar for Best Actress.

During his first standup performance, Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage. His sitcom “Seinfeld” was voted the #1 TV series of all-time.

Abe Lincoln had no more than one year of formal education. He ended slavery, lives on the penny, and is considered one of the greatest American presidents.

Soichiro Honda applied for and was turned down for an engineering position at Toyota. Instead, he founded Honda.

A recording company told four boys from Liverpool “we don’t like your sound” and “guitar music is on the way out.”  They were The Beatles.

Whatever you LOVE.  Whatever you’re here to do…

Continue the Pursuit.
Continue the Pursuit.
Continue the Pursuit.

Keep pointing forward.

And I’ll keep reminding you.

A Mantra for Result Junkies (and Anyone Withholding their Shine): Rise. Radiate. Release.

I’ve stared at my laptop for hours on end.  Many a day. Even greater a night. I’ve swip-swapped words (thesaurus, please!), picked apart sentences (uh yeah…delete), scrapped paragraphs (CUT!), and completely canned ideas – really good ones – within a length, sometimes a nose, of the finish line (don’t Save…like NEVER ever… do Macs have an Avada Kedavra button?).

And in these moments of self-piteous/self-deprecating/self-loathing/(insert the unflattering adjective of your choice here) paralysis, no pep talk or pat on the back or couch session with Jesus Christ himself could convince a fiber of my being that I have a gift or just may have created, and subsequently trashed, something of value.  Let alone to share it with the world.

For awhile you stick with the basics… I’m a perfectionist. It could be better. Oh, but they won’t understand. Ya know, the self-soap opera no one really believes.

Last summer for example. I created a manifesto for this site. Three week process. Poster-style. Self-editing, hired-editing. Arranging and rearranging. A total labor of love. This was, in my mind, a viral credo waiting to happen. An I’m-gonna-walk-down-the-street-and-see-it-tattooed-on-a-stranger’s-back sort of hit. Straight up California dreamin’. Or just plain visualizing. However you want to look at it.

After several days of writing and rewriting, I decided to give it some breathing room. A day. Maybe two. A week tops. To reset and reframe. (Side note for creators of any kind (if you’re human, this is for you): Fresh eyes and a fresh psyche are crucial to any passion project. And just good ole meat-and-potatoes life advice.)

Which brings me to last week when I’m thumbing through my files in search of a blog lead. And there she is… the manifesto… buried in a miscellaneous folder. I give it a read. And then another. And then one more just to be sure. Turns out it’s quite good, might I say.  Stirring.  Direct.  Ripe as can fucking be. That’s right, ripe.  As in ready, fit, overdue.

Don’t let ripe turn to rot.  Spirit Calls can be very time sensitive.

Did I forget about the manifesto? To a degree, yes. Was that why it lived in a computer closet?  Not a chance. My failure to launch probably had ties to creative anality, of that I’m sure. Its thickest root though was an unconscious attachment to the outcome. Never beneficial and a total dream killer. The divine takeaway:


The number of eyes that read the manifesto (coming this summer, by the way), that’s far beyond my capacities (and antithetical to why I create in the first place). The attachment to the result, and whether I let it squash my Expression, well, that’s just a choice. Cause guess what?

I did my duty.

I sat in the seat.

I laid it on the page. Every last letter of my Shine.

I showed, I glowed, and now, with a focused but flexible intent, I’m gonna let it go.

All of it.


Because I know the Youniverse has my best intentions. And if you want to physically let go, you gotta spiritually let go… of the job interview, the relationship, the six-month plan, the five-year plan, the audition, the manifesto.

Release your masterpiece.

The seed is in the soil.

The elements…

They’ll take care of the rest.





5 Tips to Spiritual Hygiene or (An Impromptu Guide to Internal Upkeep).

1.  Live by something.

I call this our Code. Call it what you please. Or nothing at all. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is having something to stand on. Not for, but on. These aren’t beliefs. They’re truths. Your truth. An oh-so-sacred set of Self-science. There’s nothing to figure out. It’s already written. Listen and it will find you. As will your freedom.

2.  Give thanks for something.

Write it. Sing it. Paint it. Say it out loud. Like a fine wine, gratitude is most effective when you let it breathe. Keep the circuitry flowing by physically announcing your appreciation. The Youniverse has ears, ya know? Plus, it just feels good.

3.  Explore something.

The more I play this game called Life, the more I’m reminded of the importance of fresh activity. Daily disciplines are great and dandy and grounding and everything, but should only be used for foundational purposes. Your Code now, that’s your anchor – its role is to buttress, never immobilize your curiosities.

Don’t forget to explore new docks.

4.  Connect with something (aka Feel Big).

Your favorite essay. A hilarious movie clip or guitar riff. That heartfelt story on the back of the cereal box. Hell, look into the eyes of a young child or the joyful gaze of your dog for a few seconds. It’s all God, just different shades.

I find it healthy to get spiritually jacked up at least once a day.  (I watched this video for a month straight at one point). Fired-up feelings catapult consciousness and creation.  Feed the beat.

5.  Breathe.

I’m a sharer, not a preacher. If I were to ever gospelize a single dictum to the planet though, breath would be my go-to. “The body follows the mind, but the mind follows the breath,” said a really old yogi, a really long time ago. Cliff notes?

Breath drives the vehicle.

Stay with it,
stay in the moment.
Stay in the moment,
mastery made manifest.

Call me a gravedigger, cause I’m gonna bury this into the ground.





Why the Fear of Judgment is a Bogus Excuse (and How to Permanently Put It to Bed).

In the months leading up to the launch of K.LITE, my emotional world kicked into overdrive.

Some of the feelings I was overtly aware of – anxiety, lethargy, and an eagerness for outside reflection – while other thoughts took some time and lens-wiping to gain a clearer focus.

Here I was, 28 years old, and about to share a very sacred side of myself to a very large digital world.  A side of myself that for many reasons I’ve always played close to the chest. I can honestly say that my fears felt well-earned and completely justified.

But I didn’t scold nor fight this sentimental existence… nope. Instead, I chose to view it as an omen of something worthwhile I was doing.  So I gave it space and simply allowed it to be.

Cause here’s the thing – I wasn’t scared to put myself out there.

Sure you weren’t.

I can wholeheartedly say that I wasn’t.

You see, the chalice of my creative expression had reached the brim such a long while past that any and all fears seemed minute in comparison to the excitement and possibility of letting my soul off leash. I was an overtrained stallion bucking inside the starting gate.

Now, this isn’t to say that I wasn’t at some point absolutely scared shitless of what it might mean to ‘really’ put myself out there. The comments. The feedback. The box I’d be thrown into. Of that, I most definitely had my reservations…  for about 10 minutes.

What!?!? That’s it?

Yep, and here’s why…

When I decided a few years back to pursue my Authentic Adventure, I was sure of two things:

1). It was the only doorway to lasting fulfillment and freedom. (Yeah, the only doorway, like for reals).

2). There’ll be judgment either way.

What do you mean?

No matter who you are and what your story happens to be, judgment is a permanent and inevitable part of the game. The happiest, most successful people in the world are the most magnified and evaluated people on the planet.  Agreed?


If you pursue your Authentic Adventure (e.g. this blog, that dream business, that totally-against-the-grain way of living), they’ll judge you. If you don’t, they’ll still judge you, and worst of all, you’ll forever judge yourself.

The sole difference between the inward screamers and those radiating and rocking their truth to the planet is that the screamers tiptoe around their Expression whereas the rockers don’t hold anything back. There’s zero divide between ‘who they are’ and ‘who they think they should be.’ The rockers are on full display, vulnerable but empowered.

That’s very inspiring and all, but uhhh… the whole “put judgment to bed part”… not seeing it.

Embrace judgment for the beauty that it is.

Beauty in judgment? You’re off your hinges.

Enlightened Decree #24:  If you look close enough, there’s beauty in everything.

Back to my Authentic Adventure. I didn’t see much of a decision there.

I (You) could (can) either play small ball the rest of my (your) life under the illusion I’d (you’ll) elude ridicule, or I (you) could (can) have complete acceptance of the fear and judgment and bologna to come, and let the power of my (your) Presence be the only endorsement my (your) soul will ever need.

In the end, we’re all susceptible to judgment. That’s what putting yourself “out there” means. But if you break out of the starting gate and do what your soul was designed to do, you’re at least being your truth, and letting the Youniverse know that your Heart’s Desires won’t ever be for sale.

Rock on,



The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Creating Momentum that Will Blow your Life Wide Open.

Momentum doesn’t appear out of thin air.  Nor is it a magic doorway post-eureka! flare.  Momentum is a magnetic force born from persistent and consistent harmony.  Vibrant by nature, its existence can feel all-too-real.

The root of momentum is “moment.”  Singular.  Its foundation and prowess dwell in “the here and the now.”  Those with momentum on their side are those who’ve mastered the moment.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel wasn’t complete in one titanic splash. Michelangelo painted one stroke at a time.

Gandhi didn’t win a weaponless war with ravishing speeches throughout India only to call in sick the next morning. He wrote, taught, meditated, and loved deeply every step of the way.

Abe Lincoln didn’t hatch the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ at breakfast and free the slaves by suppertime.  No siree Bob… he chiseled away at it day-by-day, moment-by-moment, year after year. Each built momentum through repetitive present-moment activity.

In physics terms, momentum is defined as “mass in motion.” Like Newton’s First Law – an object at rest stays at rest, an object in motion stays in motion. In sports, a team with momentum is said to be “on the move.”  The key to getting on a roll then is to keep moving.

Momentum is forward energy – a tailwind of creating space for that which matters most.  When momentum manifests, you’re consistently choosing. The Youniverse loves choosers.  When you choose, a fire of fluidity ignites everything in the direction of dreams.

The second we stop choosing, we lose momentum and our ideas shrink. We make excuses and grow susceptible to criticism, resistance, fear, and fatigue. And eventually, if we don’t snap out of it, our heart-generated guidance can clot, sucking the zest and inspiration right out of our center.

When it comes to our creative visions, perhaps the “mass” part of the equation is the passion we travel with accompanied by some kind of divine speed.  Maybe momentum is simply our heart in transit — a rhythmic, spirit-filled ocean of steadiness.


Establish what’s important.
One of the easiest ways to deter from our path is the attempt to execute too many things at once. You have a splash of brilliance, you give it a little thought, a different idea shows up or you hit a roadblock, so you drop the original plan and change directions.

Flip-flopping and junkdrawering desires do nothing but deflate our self- confidence. Take the one that lights you up the most and attack it with vigor. When it’s time to move to the next, you’ll know. One wholehearted idea blows twenty half-assed ones out of the water.

Operate early and often.
Like a Budweiser, heart inklings have born-on dates. They’re best to consume fresh off the assembly line. Wait too long and the passion behind them wanes, resulting in a stale flavor. That or someone beats you to the punch… with your idea.  Talk about a morale-thumper.

Aim small, miss small.
In the film “The Patriot,” Mel Gibson gives this advice to his sons when teaching them to use a rifle.  Meaning if you aim at the entirety of the target and miss, you miss completely. If you aim at something smaller, such as a bull’s-eye, and miss, you still hit the target.  Give yourself the best chance at flourishing with your project.  (Guns excluded hopefully).

It’s fun to dream big, and we all do, but worrying about your peanut butter company’s IPO before writing a mission statement probably isn’t the most logical route.

By all means, keep dreaming and holding the vision, but don’t underestimate the power of baby steps, so that one day you do reach the stock exchange.

Stamina and grit.
The Youniverse recognizes action steps of all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes a willingness to simply run with an idea, as dull, difficult or farfetched as it may seem, and stick with it, may be all you need.

An idea without action is just a thought.

Rise to this moment.
Rise to tomorrow’s.
Place the track on repeat.

Momentum gained.


(As always, add your ingredients to the recipe).

The 90-Second Seminar: Decide to Thrive (because there’s Light inside you).

WARNING: The following composition has the potential to rock your socks off. But only if applied.  It’s not an opinion, propaganda, or smoke-up-the-ass jibbidy-jab.  It’s plain and simple Youniversal Truth that anyone can utilize starting now. Either you accept its backing or you don’t.  If one so chooses to acknowledge the Truth herein contained (and I highly encourage this route), as a result, Godspeed shall be your way.

For starters, engrave these words into your psyche:

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Thank you Marianne Williamson for this spiritually-caffeinated, never-clichéd, not-said-enough, mother-of-all-quotes super quote.  The world is blessed because of it and I’m grateful from beginning to end.

Your pre-seminar homework is to memorize this.  Write it down.  Print it. Blow it up.  Frame it.  Hang it over your bed.  Tweet it.  Tattoo it to your face like Mike Tyson.  Do what you have to do.  Because it’s that damn powerful and that damn true.

Next, flip the switch.

What, you’re wondering.

That’s right, flip the switch (usually in the “up” direction) because the Light is present.  There you go, perfect.  Now, pull up your pants, gimme your best model posture, and emanate that radiance.

Good.  Keep your attention on that inner smile.  Connect with it.  Spoil it. Nourish it.  Give it love and feed it truth.  The more you fund it, the more it funds you.

Decide to thrive.

Brighten the planet with conviction of YOU.  Exercise your God-given ability to glow, then take it one step further and Own That Glow.  Engage with people from the Height of who you are and the bliss of your –ness.  Life’s on your side, be on its too.

Decide to thrive.

Rise.  Jump.  Reach.  Soar.  Let your prana ignite the way.  The struggle and yuck and fear will fade. There will be no black and white.  Right will be wrong and wrong will be right.

Decide to thrive.

Why, you ask.  Easy:  you’re hardwired to prosper and seasoned with possibility.  Not good enough, you declare.

Wow, tough customer!  OK, how about this?

If you ignore your Light, it will eventually quit speaking.  If it quits speaking, your spirit will slowly deteriorate.  When your spirit eventually deteriorates, your world will come crashing down:  mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  When your world comes crashing down, you’ll lose your job, your apartment, your mind, your significant other, your dog, and (brace yourself people)…. your Facebook account.

What?!?!  Did you say Facebook, you retort.

Hey, now I’ve got your attention.  I’m not the type to play the exaggerative card, but you kind of forced the issue.

Please, I’ll do anything, ANYTHING!  Whoa, take it easy.

Here you go.

Why decide to thrive?  Gee…I don’t know, because you’re here just once, because it feels good, because you woke up this morning, because it’s contagious, because “Decide to Wither Away and Die” isn’t exactly a “light” topic, because you fucking can.

Sink in yet?

Ya, I got it.  I promise (student frivolously taking notes now).

Any other trivial nonsense?  No?  Cool.  Now be a lamp and go sit in the corner.

Decide to thrive.

Here’s the kicker to it all:

Your natural resources are waiting. The light is charged and ready to explore.  It can and will never burn out.  So play HUGE and serve the world! Just give that switch the ole’ fliparooo.

Decide to thrive.

It’s a matter of choice.

Decide to thrive.

Because you can.

Decide to thrive.

Because there’s Light inside you.



The Beggar and the Box (A Reminder of What’s Within).

There once was a beggar who sat on a box by the side of the road for many, many years.

Day in and day out, swarms of strangers would pass him on their way and the beggar did what all beggars do:  ask for money.

One day a traveler was passing through town and the beggar shouted “Please give me some money!”

The traveler said “Sorry, I don’t have any money to spare, but I am curious about your box.”

“What about my box?” the beggar replied.

“Well, what’s in it?”

The beggar responded, “I don’t know, it’s just an old box I found here that I’ve been sitting on for years.”

Persistent in his inquiry, the traveler once again asked what was in the box. The beggar replied, “I’ve never looked.”  The traveler said “Why not?”

“Because there is nothing there!” the beggar howled back.  The traveler said “Well let’s take a look, shall we?”

Finally, to appease the traveler’s insistence, the beggar split the box open and amazingly, a treasure of gold burst onto the ground.  He’d be sitting on it for years and never even knew it.

And off the traveler went.

What treasure are you sitting on?
And what’s it going to take to open it?

I invite you to look inside.



How to Ascend Worry and Truly Serve the World.

Here’s what I’ve learned about rising above worry:

Be sure to let yourself feel first.
Don’t confuse the elimination of worry with a vow to the stoic life. It’s OK to be sad or anxious or ticked off or confused or concerned even (not the same as worry, by the way).  These are all beautiful, natural responses, and part of the human experience.

And the best thing you can do is to allow them to move through you. Emotion is energy in motion after all.

If your heart aches… let it rain and sob away.
If anger is built… constructively find an outlet (pillows are still the best).
If you just don’t understand “why” (the most honest and real feeling of ‘em all)… let it be known by talking it out, writing it out, screaming it out, whatever one must do.  Just don’t let it stagnate.

You can’t release worry without complete self-integrity.  It’s a locksmith and prereq to your Highest point of view — and that’s what we’re after.

Skip the script.
Think about your current worry:  how much of it is actually real?  In other words, is it truly your fear or a projection of how you think you “should” be feeling? Our conditioned intelligence assumes that we must embed ourselves into some kind of story as to feel a part of something.

F.Y.I… attaching yourself to the front page, the crisis, the headline, the cause, the past, the diagnosis, the bleak future, the “drama”, it doesn’t make you any more associated, considerate, involved with, constructive, in control of, or caring of a world citizen.  It just means worry has made you a victim too.

Instead, Hold the Light by skipping the script completely.  Write your own with hugs and encouraging deeds and divine redirection.  Want to be a noble soul?  Pen your own narrative.

Choose compassion.
Cliché?  Maybe. Underutilized?  Definitely.

This isn’t empathy either.  Compassion has an active element of blessing and desiring the efficient and fluent Victory for any and all parties involved.  It doesn’t fester, it responds and never “feels bad for.”  Difference:

I feel bad for the impoverished.
I’m blessing their inborn wealth.

I feel bad for the sick.
I’m loving on their perfect health.

I feel bad for the Middle East.
I’m visualizing their peaceful future.

(And yes, praying, intending, wishing, loving on, singing to, Rosary reciting, meditating, believing in, drum circling, mala bead counting, and doing yoga for is in fact ACTIVE.  You don’t have to organize a 5k or donate blood or adopt a Lebanese child or start a Facebook group to raise the vibration of the planet).

Love is proactive.  Move with it.

Steer clear of negativity.
Pessimists are pessimists because underneath the surface they feel helpless. Their M.O. then is to suck you into a vacuum of worry and expand their army of gloom.  As they say, only two things happen when you wrestle with a pig: you get dirty, and the pig likes it.  Whatever you do, avoid the Debbie Downer nearest you.

Relinquish the need to draw conclusions.
You know the line, “Everyone has an opinion.”  Sure, but do we really need to analyze…. like everything?  If shit has hit the fan, worst-case scenario’s are probably pretty evident.  And regardless of external judgment, things will play out the way things will play out. Take a still pill.  Relax.  Let neutrality be your calling card.  Observing is conscious contribution and can be the grandest of services.

Keep breathing.
In case you’ve forgotten.

A Recipe for Worrywart’s Anonymous. A One Step Program.

There’s a lot of chaos in the world as we speak.  War, natural disaster, guns, political upheaval, racial tension, yadi yadi yada.  Network news loves it. Social media feeds on it.  Everyday people heighten it.  How?

They worry.

Of course we do.

May I ask why?

Because we care.

Interesting.  So worry then is synonymous with compassion?  Is that what I’m hearing?

Yeah… I suppose it is.

Oh boy, where to begin?


Worry:  to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts;  to move with effort;  fret.

I didn’t make that up.  That’s the dictionary definition.  Ask yourself: helpful or harmful?  Uplifting or sinking?  Supportive or destructive?

Hey, I never said I slept well.

Forgive me, but I sort of pieced that together.  I mean, you might as well call it self-torture, right?  That and the fact that ‘worry,’ literally speaking, derives from the Old English word wyrgan meaning “to strangle.”  Or maybe you prefer the German root würgen, also meaning “to strangle.”  Pick your poison.

Might I suggest something?

Sure, why not.


I know it makes you feel heroic, courageous, and an admirable, altruistic part-of-the-world.  But seriously, it’s not flattering.  What else it’s not:  the job of a good parent, in the Bible, the formula for a flourishing non-profit, and/or a TED talk gone viral.

You’re telling me that you don’t worry?

Sure don’t.  Never have.  Never will.

Whoa, a macho man you are…

I didn’t say that I don’t support others or get scared about or feel deeply for or occasionally get ticked off at the silliness of humanity and the unfortunate fate that happens to great souls.  Like anyone else, I absolutely do.  It’s natural.  But I don’t pump worry gasoline onto the fire.  Not my job, not yours.  And I’ll tell you why.

Worry is a FEAR-fueled, energy-sucking, manipulative endeavor that tricks you into believing you’re doing the “right” thing.

But if you read the fine print, you’ll see:  reactor, mental/spiritual/emotional tick, and what the French call saboteur.  It will eat you alive.  The more you worry about your friend with cancer, the state of the economy, the election, tax and healthcare reform, the job offer, or your kid driving with a cell phone, the more power you give to the issue at hand.

Do you think Buddhist monks and Vatican priests, who are blessing all of us as we speak, sit in prayer and meditation for hours on end enfolding the planet in a ring of Love only to 10 minutes later exacerbate their prayer and good vibes by flipping on the nightly news?  I don’t think so.

Which brings me to the one step.


“You either pray or you worry.  Not both.”   -50 Cent

Thanks Fiddy.

Wonder:  to think or speculate curiously;  to be filled with awe.

Worry stresses.  Wonder blesses.
Worry is a mental circus.  Wonder is no mind.
Worry goes outward.  Wonder stays inward.
Worry is a road block.  Wonder is a bridge.
Worry attaches.  Wonder liberates.
Worry bathes in fear.  Wonder swims in possibility.
Worry is a dementor.  Wonder is a Patronus (in Harry Potter lingo that is).

Worry takes you southbound in the speedy direction polar your Heart’s Desires.  It bolts from intent, scattered and slippery. Wonder, on the other hand, flows from a well of stillness and surrender.  Like so:

I worry my friends won’t be there for me.
I wonder when my self-approval will be enough.

I worry about climate change.
I wonder how I can support Mother Earth.

I worry that he’ll never awake from his funk.
I wonder when he’ll remember his heart’s purpose.

I worry she’ll get laid off.
I wonder the blessing it might bestow.

I worry about his travels to a foreign country.
I wonder the trust it will mold.

The wonder approach is affirmative, but detached action.  Which means, of course, feathers will be ruffled.  The worrywarts of the world, lost amidst their drama (one they’re unconsciously feeding), will mislabel you as selfish and lazy.  Others will say, “Oh, he’s smug and arrogant. He doesn’t even care.”

Your response?  So be it.

What they don’t know (because they’re drowning in worry), is that your laissez-faire attitude is a consciously-driven choice to step outside the soap opera.  Not because you don’t care, not because you’re an inconsiderate person, because you’re holding the Light.  In everything, for everyone. Blessing the situation with wisdom and paradigm shifts.  Clearing space for miracles to unfurl.

So hold the Light.  Send Light.  Be the Light.  Stay anchored in wonder.  It’s the purest form of compassion there is.  Some will understand, some won’t.

It’s a demanding job, but someone’s gotta do it.



How to Ask, Make Space For, and Open Yourself Up to Divine Magic.

To complement last week’s post, here are some ideas and add-ons for stepping through magical doorways:

Show up, but let the picture paint itself.
Two things magic doesn’t own:  a day planner, and a watch. That’s because it can’t be scheduled and it knows no speed.

What it does love, love, love is continuous inspired activity.  Do so by sticking to the moment at hand.  Your now-NESS is a portal to loads of behind-the-scenes magic the Youniverse is currently orchestrating.  TIP:  Breathe.  Three times a day — morning, lunch, evening — make it a point to return to the present through some conscious breathing.  Throw a couple thankfuls or a love mantra on top of that…. and boom, back to the NOW.

Qualify always.
No matter what your spiritual supremacy looks like – the Big Guy, the ocean, your authentic self, Jerry Garcia, your dog, archangel Michael, the magical girl from the 90’s movie Matilda – be sure to lay your intentions on the table first. You wouldn’t you go to a restaurant and expect the waiter to guess your order, would you?

Those experiencing their Victory are those in charge of their intent.  

Be adamant in your requests.  Give ‘em a little moxie if need be.  And relentlessly affirm and reaffirm that the details are being arranged.  TIP #2: Qualify with specificity.  The Youniverse only knows creation.  Be sure to label it with clean energy and a graceful unfolding for all.

Keep feeding the beat.
We’re raised and reared on a keep-your-hands-full paradigm.  Uh… gag me.  Full of what exactly?  Just full?  “Good” busy as we robotically say.  As if a hectic schedule is the Heaven’s recipe for everlasting joy in the world. My suggestion… gut this old-school thought pattern today.

Instead, switch to a keep-yourself-fulfilled paradigm.  Big, big difference.  Heart versus head; quality versus quantity.  Here, you’re active with a purpose, not merely to stay out of trouble or report back to your parents or to do what everyone else is doing.  When I nurture my spirit inklings, I’m far more open to the signals life is throwing at me, and subsequently, a lot more in tune with the next turn to take.

Stay in the play.
Play is a responsibility, not a luxury.  That’s because responsibility is our “ability to respond.”  If your soul is craving a day at the park or a round of golf with your friends, and you’re not responding, you’re not being responsible.  It’s no different than drinking water when your mouth is dry.

Have you ever heard of a child hanging out with a friend over a cup of coffee? Probably not.  That’s because children play.  They’re pulled by it and respond. Life is a subjective adventure.  Deem it a game, it will be.  Deem it a sentence, it too will be.  Never stop playing.  More fun = more magic.

Life must be lived as play — Plato.

Let the simple be the profound.
Sometimes I’ll be hiking deep in the forest and think “What if a great big owl flew and landed on my shoulder?  Talk about cosmic confirmation!”  Yet, as ethereal as this would be (and I’m still open to it, by the way), it’s a major spiritual ego trip, and not the faintest echo of how I interpret the Divine.

If you’re conditional with how your road is paved, and always needing something bigger, better, and super-duper paranormal or out-of-this-world – Mother Mary appearing on the hammock in the back yard or the mailman delivering the winning lottery numbers in a golden envelope addressed to your name – you’ll always be waiting.

Thoreau beautifully wrote, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”  Magic has very little to do with phenomena.  It has everything, though, to do with our perception.  Let your world be blown by the day-to-day.

SIDE STORY FROM THE ROAD:  I’ve really detached to the pace of my current trip and continue to follow anything that intrigues me.  Yesterday, I walked around a small college in rural Vermont.  Quaint town.  Glowingly green campus.  And what do I find out?  They are the two-time national champions in Quidditch (yeah, like the Harry Potter-fly-on-brooms sport).  I couldn’t script this stuff.


Release it all.
You gotta make space for magic to bear its fruit.  And trust is the ultimate form of letting go.  Surrender to life’s riddle….

And I have a funny feeling that the magic might just find you.




I Knew Robin Williams — Plus 5 Heart-Openers from His Movies.

I don’t often write on current events, nor do I ever plan to.  But the sudden passing of actor Robin Williams has impelled me to the page.

Not too long ago, I reflected on some of my favorite films and noticed a running theme – more than half of them featured Robin Williams.  From Dead Poet’s Society to Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting to Hook, there he was.

What was it about him?

For me, above and beyond his arsenal of comedic gifts and the brilliance and diversity of his roles, was the way he made me feel.  So much so that I dedicated a paragraph of my I AM Blueprint (my version of a resume) to the imprint his genuineness had on me:

“I’ve never watched and felt an artist as emotionally bold and deep as Robin Williams.  His vulnerability and gentle spirit connects and expands my heart in a way that I can’t seem to explain.  As though a glimpse into his soft and harmless eyes is a window to the purest, most kind qualities a soul could possibly offer.”

Robin Williams was special to me because of his indelible ability to combine the hilarity of the mundane with the tender of the humane.  The beat of his valve appeared to be plugged into some sort of divine outlet of both humor and heart that even he could not define… or defy.

And yet despite his palpable sentimentality of pulling us into his characters, his internal topography proved too wide a doorway.  As though his DNA was incapable of feeling a lie.  That the exclusive force in charge of sustaining his existence was subject to the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

Would it be politically incorrect of me, then, to link the departure of such a vibrant light to the incessant ignorance of our world?

That we’re far too committed to our Facebook status and pumping a soul-zapping amount of fear and immaturity into the masses, from the front page to the Middle East, instead of persistently reminding our planet’s inhabitants that We Are One, and each one of us, overt or not, is a delicate, beautiful, and irreplaceable piece of the human pie.

Would it be a bit too cliché and preachy to repeat that life is fragile?  That hugs and daily acknowledgment and “I love you’s” never go stale?  Or the fact that you matter…. A LOT…. to someone, somewhere… for no particular reason… just because.

I say these things not to imply that a man was not loved or could’ve been saved.  He clearly was and did his best for as long as he could.  I’m also not naïve to the severity of depression or unfamiliar with the basement of sadness.

I say these things to prompt a shift in consciousness.  That where we place our energy is where our world will be.  That it’s never time to pass judgment (“Oh yeah, well he was a druggie,” says the restaurant worker about Robin Williams’s death), and never not the time to live mindfully, gratefully, and on behalf of our Light.

Just this past year, my brother had a unique moment with Robin Williams in L.A.

On his way to a baseball game, the car he was in pulled up to a stoplight.  As he looked over, Trevor noticed that Robin Williams was the passenger in the car next to theirs.  Robin looked at Trevor, smiled, and winked with a subtle sincerity.  In Trevor’s words…

“There was an incredible recognition between the two of us in that very short moment, almost hard to describe.  In seeing him, I felt like my heart could have exploded into tears.  I’ve had a lot of magical experiences in my life, but this was of a different world, as was his heart.”

Did my brother or I know him personally?  Nope, we need not to.  Recognition requires no such formalities for you cannot measure its reach.  It’s a surfacing of the glow we all entail that can’t be limited to a hello or handshake.

Recognition knows… because it’s always been.

God Bless your place in eternity Mr. Williams.

And may God bless the Fullness of you.

Dead Poet’s Society (1989)

What will your verse be?

Patch Adams (1998)

If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all — indifference.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

It’s not your fault, Will.  It’s not your fault.

Aladdin (1992)

Genie, you’re free!

Hook (1991)

Oh there you are, Peter!

11 More Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking a Creative Leap.

By contemplating the expansion/contraction criteria, hopefully you have a better idea of the action you’d like to take.

To keep self-inquiring, add these questions to the mix:

1.  How important is this to my soul’s creative evolution?
2.  If I don’t give it a go, will I truly be able to let it go?
3.  Does it feel opportunistic or obligatory?
4.  In other words, does life feel heavier or lighter upon committing?
5.  Am I a little bit scared, but in a totally radical way?
6. Will my light bless others in their light?  I.e. Will the world be better if I shrink and play small ball, or thrive and play TALL ball?
7. Have I qualified, prayed on, set an intention for, journaled about, and/or blessed my leap with the utmost clarity and Grace?
8.  Have I listened deeply?
9.  Am I willing and flexible of how this manifests in the world?  Am I open to an alternate direction?
10.  In saying YES, does the Truth of who I AM feel closer or further away?
11.  And most importantly, do I feel authentically free?   (This is what it’s all about).

Play around with these questions this week.  They’ll help you get even more specific.  And if you’re still not sure, ask yourself:


Simple.  Honest.  Direct.

It’ll never steer you wrong.

The Two-Question Guide on What to Pursue Next.

Last month I began working on a new project.  Ahhhh!!!

Starting from scratch can freak the bejeezus out of me.  Ask anyone who writes, the blank page can be terrifying.  But I’ve become OK with that.  (No seriously, I have).

Because as I know (yet constantly have to remind myself), all great things in the history of the world began as nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

The Sistine Chapel.  The Declaration of Independence.  The iPhone app that turns your phone into a flashlight.  Nothing.

So repeat this with me – Kumbaya-style if you must:

All great things in the history of the world began as nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Awesome job.

Now, let that be your Force.

The other reason I’m comfortable when diving into the creative unknown is that no matter how scary a new project may be, I’m willing to go through uncertainty, confusion, and frustration (you should too) to arrive in a Land of Certainty, Clarity, and Fulfillment.  It’s a magical place (like Neverland for adults) and totally worth the journey.

That is to say that I LOVE what I do and the gratification that comes from a full page and completed activity vastly outweighs the fear of a blank one and never having started.  That passion is the fuel to my creative gas tank.

Which brings me to the guide…

When you’re thinking about doing that thing that you’re thinking about doing, consistently and repeatedly, like a teenage girl updating her Facebook status, ask yourself the following questions before anything else:

Do I feel contracted?


Do I feel expanded?

This thing, that thing, that other thing, that other, other thing.  Contracted? Or expanded?

With who, where, why, how.  Contracted?  Or expanded?

Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Contracted?  Or expanded?

The difference goes like this…

A contracted feeling pulls you in, making you feel smaller.  It’s a shrinking energy that you never look forward to.  You know those painful cramps women have right before giving birth?  Ya, they’re called contractions for a reason.  Ask how much fun they are.

Although my contracted state may not be physically painful, it’s emotionally, spiritually, and mentally both unsettling and draining.  And it’s easy to pinpoint.

When I contract , fun and enthusiasm disappear and the dread kicks in.  I become impatient and turn into a realist (my greatest fear) rather than an idealist (the Real Me).

On the flip side, an Expanded feeling makes you feel BIGGER.  It’s an all-encompassing influx of inspiration that shoots out from your core as if you could lift right off the ground.  It enthralls you with that Knowing where you may not be able to sleep at night until you at least give it a try.

And regardless of the cynics and naysayers, in an Expanded state, nothing affects your commitment to the vision because you’re lit from Within.  There isn’t time for the peanut-gallery nonsense because you’re Fired Up, Jacked up, and ready to Giddy the Fuck Up.

In my experience, if expansion is the source and at the forefront of what I’m doing, it’s all I need to know to get movin’ and a groovin.’  And identifying these feelings is the most efficient way to making those big (and small) life/career/anything and everything decisions.

The hard way?  Well, there isn’t one.  It’s only hard if you make it hard.  So choose wisely.

Make a list of your current activities and the ones you’d LOVE to do sometime this week.  After, apply the expansion/contraction criteria. It’s that simple, really.

A month into my project, I continue to ask myself these questions.  For me, it’s part of the creative process.  Sort of like a weekly well-being physical (minus the pant-dropping and endless paperwork you sign but never read).

Are you expanded here T.J.?   No.

OK, what about here?  Yep!

Great.  Let’s begin.




How to Respond to Guidance (and Why I Went to India).

View from Lakshman Jhula Bridge in Rishikesh, India.

In March of this year, I went on a two-week adventure to India.

Up until the day I booked it, I hadn’t a single premonition of traversing the globe any time soon.  Zero.  I was open to it, sure.  But aside from the States, nothing stood imminent on my travel radar.  India especially.

And then one fall day amidst my daily routine at the coffeehouse, I stumbled upon a Tweet.  Mistake airfare prices.  Limited destinations.  24-hour window.  So I started to click around.

The routing was primarily to Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.  Europe was a no-go, since I recently returned from Italy.  Dubai wasn’t high enough on my bucket list quite yet.  And Australia, well, the tiny discount didn’t coax a commitment.

What about India, I casually-but-not-seriously thought, a place I some day would like to explore.

After a few more clicks, it turns out India is an option (I secretly hoped it wasn’t) – Mumbai and Delhi only – and from my location, tickets are one-third the price.  Wowza!  Interest piqued, but totally detached, I continue to follow the inkling.

As the day goes on, the idea sticks with me.  Now at home, I’m flipping through the calendar with my atlas out and Wiki India open.  A surge of both curiosity and thoughtlessness had completely taken over.

And ultimately, it won.

No advanced planning or room for rationalization.  I went to get some coffee and ended up with a ticket to India.  Unarguably the most liberating YES I’ve said to date.  Pre-trip insight:

Let thrill be thy will.  Seriously, let it.  Good shit will happen.

The following day, I reflected on the enormous energy that pulled me to buy the plane ticket.  And through a little introspection, well, I realized that India had been incubating in my subconscious for quite some time.

small hints from that week alone:

:  shopped for a new mala.
:  sat next to an Indian family at lunch.
:  watched an Anne Lamott interview about her life-affirming trip to India.
:  started doing Kundalini yoga.
:  was curious about a PBS documentary called India.

(Didn’t connect any of this at the time).

the LOUD whispers:

:  two weeks prior while on the road, I checked into a motel in rural Arkansas.  The hotel manager was an Indian man.  While waiting for my room, I noticed a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in the breakfast area.  “Can I borrow this for the night, sir?” I asked politely.

“The Vad Gita?” he responded.

“Yes.”  (And wow, he said that way cooler than me).

“You can have it.”

Totally sublime moment.  P.S.  If you’re looking for Krishna, his latest incarnation landed him a night-gig at the America’s Best Value Inn in Morrilton, Arkansas.  Just sayin’…

: speaking of Krishna, the day before I purchase my India ticket, I spontaneously decide to sell my old computer on Craigslist.  Hours after listing it, I receive an e-mail offer from one individual.  His name?

Krishna.  (True story).

Did all of these things validate my decision?  Not really, but they’re nice reflections of the magic at-bat even when we’re not trying to “think things up.”

In the end, it came down to resonance and grace.  I’m super duper committed to the road of my code and India was a major green light.  Which, in retrospect, made the choice quite easy, actually.


1.  Move with the resonance.

Something was working through me that Saturday afternoon.  So much so that I had virtually no fear around my 8,000-mile decision. I figure if you can’t shake the pull, maybe it’s because you’re not supposed to?  Just a thought.  Keep swimming with the current.

2.  Choose with a brisk pace.

There was about a three-hour gap between the idea of India and the clicking of the “confirm” button.  During that time I allowed a lot of egoic silliness to creep in.  You’re going to India…really T.J.?  Quick, point to Delhi on a map.  I knew the longer I withheld, the more I’d delude the spark.  The 24-hour shot clock was my opportunity to practice on-the-spot choosing.  If you think about it, deadlines can be magical starting lines, really.

3.  Realize there’s more at work than what meets the eye.

On the surface, I bought a plane ticket to India, an exotic and faraway land. Temples, the Taj, rickshaws, and chai.  But on a cellular level, there was so much more aligning.  There were stories and synchronicities and miracles being placed on my path that I could never have dreamt of, planned for, or placed in a better spot at a better time.  That goes for your path too.  Get comfortable with that truth.

4.  Give yourself permission to be completely swept off your feet.  It’s OK.

Transportation and hotel bookings and dogsitters are small details, not excuses to cede the Call.  Get jacked up.  Be illogical.  Free your fire. Sometimes you just gotta go with it.  Life’s greatest accomplishments were built by souls without a clue of how they’d pull it off.  And they did…. somehow…. in some way.  You will too.

5.  Don’t try to explain “why.”

When I told people about India, I received one of two responses:  “What, why would you go to India?” (filled with judgment and prudence), and “Wow, what an experience that will be!  I can’t wait to hear about it” (filled with awe and inspiration).  There wasn’t much middle of a ground here, people either “got it” or didn’t at all.  And to those who didn’t, I found myself defaming my Call, “Well, ya know, I got a really good price on a flight.”  Bullshit!  That was just the final piece. Lesson?

Never ever ever try to justify a Spirit Call.  Ever.  That’s a sacred agreement between you and your Source.

6.  Remember what makes you feel ALIVE.

Feeling alive is your greatest service to mankind.  It’s like a big Thank You card to the Divine.  Dare to see the beauty and brilliance through the simple act of participating in your play.

Keep responding to life and she’ll keep on talking.





Act and You Shall Receive (What To Do When You’re Stuck in a Rut).

Contemplate the following questions:

Do you have an idea of what you Love in life?

Do you have an idea of something you’d like to create?

Do you have a speck of an idea of what you were put here to pursue?

If your answers are YES, great!  Now, go and DO IT.

If you’re not completely sure (and you will be, because we’re all YES’s), then continue the pursuit until the answer becomes a YES, and then go and DO IT.

Sure, it all may be much, much harder than outlined above, but who’s to say that it can’t be much, much easier than you ever knew possible?

This is why I ask whether you have an “idea,” not if you have 100% certainty of what you Love, wish to create, and were put here to do.  The difference?

Most of us constantly talk ourselves out of our Heart’s Desires because we don’t have a definite pull in one direction or the other, which leads to hesitation, which in turn leads to a paralysis of both Power and Purpose.  Hey, I’ve done it too.

But in this immobile state also lies the point…

In order to obtain that knowing of “Ah, this is what I’m to do next,” sometimes starts by placing one foot in front of the other and taking small action steps towards that idea, no matter how BIG or small it may be.  Guidance is extraordinary and the ultimate source of divine direction, but you’re not always going to have the time or “know” in every moment where to Act, when to Act, and what road to take next.

Sometimes you have to act first, and sooner or later, the Light will break through.

And when you do, that “trance of stuck” and self-created stress you put yourself through for such a long time suddenly disappears, and as it turns out, was never real to begin with.

Sure, it’d be nice to channel the MapQuest-specific route to our soul’s Higher Purpose at beck and call, but it’s not the only means to living and being one’s Truth in the world.  The key is to stay in motion.

By showing up, action can inspire guidance just as easily as guidance can inspire action.  Some days our Inner Voice will bless us forward, while others our will to thrive drives us towards progression.  They go hand in hand and feed off one another.  This blog post is a testament to that notion.

So what does all this mean? (Thinking:  Hmmm…what does all this mean?).  Oh yes, right.

Erase this from your vocab ASAP – I don’t know what I Love.  I don’t know what to do next.  I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  Ahhh, stop it!  What did I just say?

Guidance is always there.  It’s just that every now and again we have to go Get It.

Ask yourself, What is something simple that I can act on today?  (And yes, renewing your license plates and paying your Visa counts too — it’s all energy).

Continue these small things for the rest of the week and notice the positive life force called Momentum that begins to pour forth and out into your world.  I’m telling you, it WILL happen.

Whether you believe you’re here for a reason or you simply create your own reason as you go, it doesn’t really matter.  Each case is the same: if you act, guidance can manifest, and that speck of an idea within you might just transform into a Higher Purpose.  The rest is up to you.

So, what’s it going to be?




The Indian Boy with the Spices… An Omen to Follow the Omens.

I’m standing in the heart of Old Delhi and people are everywhere.  No really, like everywhere.

The street corner I’m currently occupying has to be the most densely populated street corner on the face of the earth.  It’s complete chaos. Vendors are selling.  Prayers are blaring.  Vehicles are zipping.  Everybody is yelling.

But it’s completely chaotic in a totally harmonious way.  Just Mother India doing Her thing.  I dig it.

And here I am, a white-skinned, blue-eyed dot with his map out, camera around his neck, and tennis shoes on.  In this scenario, let’s just call me “bait with a backpack.”  Or as we’d say in college, I’m that guy.  And that guy has 25 tuk-tuk drivers following every tennis-shoed move of his.  Seriously, I’d be stalking me too.

But the thing is, I like to walk and don’t think I need a ride.  The spots I’m hitting up I’ve been told are right across the street.  A street that I take two steps into and quickly realize that 1) I value my life, and 2) I definitely need a guide to part the Indian seas.  Tuk-tuk!

My driver’s name is Raksha.  Raksha is 21 years young, smooth, and interested.  You are from USA?  “Yep,” I respond.  Let me guess, California?  I chuckle, because we’re clearly all from California, right?  “Nope, Missouri is home.”  Raksha doesn’t understand.  “Middle of country,”  I add.  Raksha nods.

As we cruise through the chaos, I GoPro the ride.  Raksha is a master on three wheels, avoiding one wreck after another all while maintaining our speed. He’s like Dale Earnhardt on a rickshaw.  He knows his stuff too, building or temple, Raksha has the scoop.

After a 5-minute ride, we reach the destination – the Old Delhi spice market, the biggest wholesale spice market in all of Asia. Raksha parks to let me explore.  The spices are so pure and strong that they move me to sneezing… literally.

“Now I show you best view in city, this way!”

(I kind of wanted to enjoy the spicy goodness a bit longer, but what the hell, On with the view!).

So I trail Raksha close behind.  As he passes the last vendor, a boy no more than 11, they exchange sly smiles.  A moment later, when I pass the boy, he shakes his head and gives me a very direct cut-throat gesture.  Boy do I not get Indian humor.  I smile back as if I get his joke and he resumes his business.

Within a minute or so, the crowds have all but disappeared, as Raksha and I turn left down a sunless alley, and then right towards a stone stairwell.  Best view in city, this way!  Again, I continue to follow.

One flight of steps… Raksha points at something rather insignificant.

Two flights of steps…. Raksha is running low on words.

Two-and-a-half flights of steps…. the good energy has drastically simmered and Raksha can no longer look me in the eye.

Three flights of ste…. THE BOY!

“I’m ready to go now, Raksha,” I command.

“You can trust.  View at very top, the best!”

“Nope, I’m good.  I’ll see you in the market,” and I quickly descend the vicinity.

(Word to the wise:  when a guy’s first response mentions trust and you haven’t accused him of anything, he just told on himself.  And if it also happens to be in an abandoned building without a soul in sight in one of the most populated cities in the world, get the hell out of there.)

A little bit of logic can be a whole lot of divine.

What lied atop those stairs, I’ll never know for sure, but it certainly wasn’t a view.  What I do know is if we keep listening and watch the energy, omens, signs, clues, Youniversal guidance, guardian angels, divine U-turns, they exist to assist.

Some have wings and a halo, or show up as a license plate or flat tire, sometimes they’re children… selling turmeric and cinnamon on an Old Delhi street corner.





To see some of my photos from India, head over to my Instagram page.

Inspiration vs. Motivation: Distinguishing the Sustainable You.

For most, there is little to no distinction between inspiration and motivation – they are one and the same.  Yet, these concepts aren’t only opposite sides of the coin, they’re completely different currencies.

Check it out…

Motivation is external.
Inspiration is internal.

I write to get famous vs. I write to free my soul.
Yoga for the 6-pack vs. yoga for the oneness.

Motivation needs results.
Inspiration yearns to feel alive.

To-do lists vs. vision boards.
Spreadsheets vs. spread the love.

Motivation relies on reason.
Inspiration simply knows.

Intellect vs. intuition.
The smart thing to do vs. the heart thing to do.

Motivation pushes.
Inspiration pulls.

Hard work vs. heart work.
More, more, more vs. the Law of Resonance.

Motivation attaches.
Inspiration lets go.

White knuckling it vs. open arming it.
What you ought to be vs. who you already are.

Motivation is manufactured discipline.
Inspiration is natural expression.

Blood, sweat, and tears vs. flow, rhythm, and grace.
Stressing vs. blessing.

Now, a bit of motivation is necessary to sustain life.  This we know.  Pay the bills, be on time, get the grade, grab the degree.  Sensible actions across the board.

And despite my pull to a life lit from Within, I cherish my motivated self as well.  6am wakeup calls.  Long drives to the doctor and kundalini.  Late night jogs because I know it’ll feel good.  Some grime and grind can certainly get the job done.

The liability with motivation, though, is its drift towards ulterior motives – those comparative, obligatory, always chasing, never-good-enough sort of tendencies.  It can be a fleeting satisfaction that clouds our lens.  Desires turned to bubbles that just might explode.

When I get more “heady” than heart-centered, it’s evident in everything I do. Life becomes a burden instead of an adventure.  I write from the top of my head rather than the bottom of my Heart.  I live with zero conviction and stall an omniscient guidance system.

Enter inspiration – an energy made to expand.

The word inspiration literally means “breathed upon” or to be “in Spirit.”  It’s the oxygen of our creative center that connects us to a much larger life service.  There’s nothing to go get or reach for because the car is already built.  All we have to do is turn the key.

Pay attention to where you’re creating from.

Are you motivated?
Are you inspired?

Does it feel forced?
Do you feel free?

There’s no right or wrong,
but there is a Sustainable you.

own the glow
Live your Light,




9 Surefire Signs You’re Living Your Authentic Adventure.

You’re wondering, right?

I know because I’ve been there.

Opinions from every which direction, so many soul-promptings, so little time. The questions and commentary never seem to end.

So you wonder…

Am I really following my light or simply playing my societal role?

How does one truly know when traveling the illumined road?

From my experience, the only true knower of such uncertainties is the seeker themself.  With that in mind, there are some certain essentials to consider along the way.

Let’s take a look…

1.  When it arrives, you don’t feel ready.

I have to speak as well as Oprah.
I have to write like Thoreau.
I need a website designed by Michelangelo.
I need 1,000+ Twitter followers.
I need a library of blogs to stay ahead of the game.
I need said amount of dollars in the bank.

You know where all that got me? A little town called Nowheresville.  Population: me.  Rather than launch and learn from day one, I let preparation turn into an overanalytical concept called perfection.

You think Thomas Edison would have invented the light bulb without thousands of failed experiments?  Nope, but he started anyways.

Every single one of us is learning life on the go.  So if the inspiration is there, you’re ready.  All you have to do is show up and shine.

2.  Life is speeding up.

Ideas, acquaintances, expected and unexpected opportunities – everything is happening at once.  Why is this?

Because you’re open.

Through the simple acknowledgment and ownership of who you are (saying YES to your journey), and thus following through on its guidance, be prepared for a benevolent Youniverse to bow at your feet.

Just remember to qualify your road – i.e. give your intentions the qualities you’d like it to convey.  I enfold all of my activity in love, freedom, and an efficient grace for all parties involved.

There’s no such thing as being too clear.

3.  You’re not comparing your adventure to other’s.

And do you know why you’re not?

Because you’re lit from Within.


It’s none of yo’ damn business.

Comparison is assault on the soul.  Every Authentic Adventure manifests in it’s own time.  Maintain your course.

4.  Creation, not competition is the goal.

This goes hand in hand with comparison.

If bettering your friend, neighbor, colleague or family member is your agenda from the get-go, it’s like building your house on quicksand.  It simply will not sustain.

My advice:  Abolish any and all mental debris associated with competition.

We are simply here to create and to help others in their pursuit. Competition is separation, and separation closes the door on Youniversal flow.  Ergo, your only rival is you.

That business selling the same product as you that’s kicking major ass?  Their success is actually blessing your Authentic Adventure forward, not hindering it.

Shift the paradigm.

5.  You recognize that the Youniverse might have better plans.

Case in point, Christopher Columbus.

He was looking for a western route to India and instead found a nice piece of property called America.  Can you imagine if he said, “Nope, this isn’t it. Back to the ship boys.”

Our cerebral self can’t even begin to process the limitless streams of possibility on this planet.  There’s no right or wrong step on an Authentic Adventure.  Just opportunity and a few divine reroutes.  Don’t get bent out of shape.

Stay open.  I can’t emphasize that enough.

6.  You’re but a shade of your former self.

The biggest decision is the decision to begin.  Once made, not only is an avalanche of momentum at your disposal, but a fresh set of decisions are presented.

“You begin to realize that buried deep in your unconscious mind there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and more open to the world and to new experiences.”  -The Alchemist

If you’re on your Authentic Adventure, this is you in a nutshell.

7.  You haven’t a clue of what will happen next.

There’s no such thing as a so-called “safe” life.  Life can’t be planned.  It’s mysterious by nature.  But isn’t that the intoxication of it all?

The unknown – now that’s a beautiful space to be.  One filled with our deepest fears and our deepest fulfillment.  Which will you let triumph?

A soul that ignores its Authentic Adventure is never fully alive.

8.  You’re not wondering if it’s begun…

…because you simply are it.

The adventure and the adventurer are one entity.  There is no past or future, only the present and the opportunity it bestows — that indescribable and intuitive knowing that supersedes any and all conventionality.

Your soul was custom-carved by the hand of the Youniverse.  Allow the journey to merge.

9.  That thing called L-O-V-E is your flag-bearer.

As the ancients said, “A soul is only realized in love.”

Enough said.



The Prerequisite to Extraordinary Living — A Welcome Note to the Light.

photo (1) copy 4

One of the biggest misconceptions lingering through the consciousness of humankind pertains to that of greatness. I like to think of it as Extraordinary Living.

The thought reads:  Greatness is an elusive, impenetrable quality that only the “rare” and “lucky” amongst us get to experience.

It continues:  Certain people were born with V.I.P. access to a level of magic and mastery that others just weren’t fortunate enough to have been made with.

The verdict:  I’m better off staying in my shell, accepting life as is, and strolling through the motions of a fixed existence.

This deflating societal mindset all but smacked me in the soul a month ago in a farmer’s market parking lot.  After waiting five minutes with my blinker on for a parking spot, a rather naive driver swooped in and took it at the very last second.  I’m not one for confrontation, but something uprooted my voice from its soil.

Excuse me, we were waiting quite awhile for that spot, as a family of four exited the vehicle.  Without hesitation, the husband countered, Yeah, life sucks a bit for everyone, doesn’t it?  


I wasn’t sure which pierced me worse — the secure nature in which he declared these hollow words or the cluelessness of doing so while holding his child’s hand.  I wanted him cuffed.  Vince Vaughn at least says “earmuffs.”

Said story is an example of the aforementioned misconceptions.  Weighty beliefs filled with two inherent flaws:

1.  It implies greatness as separate from us.  It’s not.   Greatness exists in the inward retreat.

2.  It implies an ability to control outside factors.  Influence, maybe.  Control, never.  Our only control is self-control.

The sole reason some are living so-called “better” lives than others has nothing to do with talent or potential.  We’re all engrained with a unique set of gifts that are waiting to bless the planet.  It has nothing to do with good fortune, luck, or opportunity.  Through both thought and action, we create our daily paths.  And it most certainly has zilch to do with social conditioning or the way in which we were brought up.  There’s a rebellious success story on every street corner.  No one’s forcing us to do a damn thing.

The truth is great people have chosen, whereas others have not.

Great people choose their muse, pursue their Heart’s Desires, and chase what stirs them inside.  They act instead of react.  They’re the sculptor not the sculptee.  They inhale and exhale:

“This is who I AM.  This is what I stand for.  This is what I desire to create.”

To them, it’s non-negotiable and not overthought.  Moving forward is the only option.  There’s no hesitation, regret, or doubt of any kind.  To them, there’s nothing more powerful than a made up mind.

Now, there’s a strong chance you’re thinking, “It can’t be that easy.  There must be more to it.”

Yet, there isn’t.

Making it more complex would be another way to outsource responsibility all while maintaining our ability to blame the exterior.  It’s a distraction game that unconsciously “lets us off the hook.”  It’s also what humans do best: complicate things.

The other side of you is most likely praying.  Why?

Because you’re scared shitless.

You mean to tell me we actually have a say in this thing called LIFE?

Scary, right?

It’s scary because choice gives us power.  It’s scary because the ball is permanently in our court.

But I pose this:  Would you rather be comfortable and limited or scared shitless with the free will to ignite a fire?

I know where I stand.

In harmony with the purpose of this site, it’s my desire for each post to be seen as an opportunity.  Not only to read and visit, but to apply any guidance that speaks directly to your Truth.  The aim is that upon leaving an expanded feeling takes shape.  There’s no victim here, only power.

With that, each day I encourage the utilization of your gift of Free Will.  Don’t wait for greatness to knock on your door.  That which fuels your spirit, begin its pursuit today.

Who you are and what you do is a choice, period.

Titles aside, we all originated from the same Source inherent with possibility. No amount of science and study can define our capacities. We’re immeasurable beings pre-programmed to be victorious.  Activate it and own it today!


Be the Light,

own the glow


own the glow
Photo Credit:  Jonathan Combe.
Some changes made by me.
Original photo found here.


The Beginner’s Guide to an Authentically Adventurous Life.

photo (1) copy 3Whether you know it or not, there’s a story in you designed to be told – a purpose that craves expression, a Legend to be loved and lived.

Now’s where you tell me how unique of a soul I AM, your mind scatters.  One equipped with authentic gifts that no one but me contains, right?

Damn, you’re good.  I mean, really good.  Did you steal my morning notes?  That’s some serious telepathy going on there.

One small caveat though…

I’m wholly uninterested in inflating an individual’s skeptical self-worth.  Critics and complainers can reserve a couch at their local shrink.

Me?  These words?  This space?

That’s absorbed by one thing and one thing only:  Freedom – how I can both feel more of it and share it with other devoted pioneers.

Now, let’s try this again.

Whether you accept it or not, there’s a story in you eager to be told – a tale of Truth ingrained in your DNA that serves as a key to all things joyful, prosperous, and liberating.

You mean a career?

Eh, not exactly.

I mean, yeah, sure, some define their lives through labels like career, occupation, job, or a 401k.  And that’s fine.  For many, steady employment is what it is and more than enough, as basic and routine as the experience may be.

But seriously, let’s cut the crap.

You’re a whole helluva lot more magical than a 9-to-5er, so I suggest you embrace the spirit ASAP.  And that’s no positivity-propaganda.  You can take that to the damn bank.

My guess though is if you’re reading these words, there’s a good chance you already agree with the above statement.  And discovering “that” spark is the next step (and bridge) to combine or complement your current path with some sort of a Higher Purpose.

In that case, the following words are likely more up your alley:  Calling.  Vocation.  Journey.  Dreams.  Way.  Purpose.  Raison d’etre.  Path.  Mission.

If you’re suspicious of religious, esoteric-sounding jargon, don’t fret over the details.  The point is there’s something in this lifetime you were put here to pursue to its conclusion.  Period.

In the words of Whitman, it’s time to contribute your “verse.”


As you’ll soon come to know, I often write on the importance of creating our own inviting language.  Flipping the paradigm from the eye of the masses to the big “I” – who we are and what we Love.

In my experience, I’ve noticed how quickly a fresh, conducive word or phrase can lighten the most abstract and overwhelming of ideas.

That said, the vernacular I’ve chosen to express the idea of feeding one’s life purpose is what I like to call our Authentic Adventure.

(Hold the applause, it’s fun, freeing, and badass, I’m aware).

So, what exactly is an Authentic Adventure?

An Authentic Adventure is the path that makes you come alive.

That’s it?

Well, there’s a bit more to it, but yeah, that’s the crux.

Born of vision, but fulfilled by action, an Authentic Adventure is an internal expedition attained through external means – an unknown journey you’re willing to put it all on the line for.

Even simpler, it’s how you express yourself in the world.

Taoists would call it “the Way.”  Wizard-of-Oz-ists, a yellow brick road.  Joseph Campbell, the “hero’s journey.”  And The Alchemist, a Personal Legend, aka “what you have always wanted to accomplish.”

And that’s the cool thing about it:  you get to define it.


Just for a second, let’s say we lived in a judgment-free world.

Here, things like movie reviews, peanut galleries, scorecards and report cards, and the all-too frequent pressure of friends and family are obsolete.  Whatever road illumines your soul, you take it without the slightest bit of hesitance because you’re completely safe.

How does that feel?

Amazing, right?

Instead of the weight of the world stacked on your shoulders, you’re bench-pressing it like Superman on Lance Armstrong’s steroids.

Well, what if I told you that this safety net already exists?  And the only way to utilize said net is to embark on your Authentic Adventure.

Here’s how it works…

Authentic Adventure’s, your soul’s original odyssey, operate on the “what blesses one, blesses all” business model.  In other words, your plan is God’s plan.  Your Heart’s Desires are the Youniverse’s desires.

Sacrilege, I know.  (I’ll hit up 6 o’clock penance in the A.M.)

These words go against every single archetype society has raised us on.  Go to schoolGet a jobPay your mortgage.  Get married. Have kids.  Save now, live later.  Do the right thing.  Heaven forbid we use the soul God gave us.

This too is the moment many freeze in fear because they feel undeserving of dreaming big.  I swear, we could turn this into a primetime event.  Cindy Johnson, c’mon down!  You’re the next contestant on ‘The Victim is Right.’  

Joking aside (family, professors, and gurus too), how can this business model be?

Because thrill is the handiwork of the Infinite.  And when inspiration, love, and oneness are the bedrock of that which moves through you, it simply cannot be.  “What honors one, honors all.”  #Fact

Steve Jobs’ Authentic Adventure entailed pixels and PC’s.
His relentless passion spurred creativity across the globe.

Adele’s Authentic Adventure arrives via her voice.
Her high notes send chills throughout the world.

Michael Jordan’s Authentic Adventure involved buzzer-beaters and NBA titles.  His grit and determination dared all to dig a little deeper.

Gandhi’s Authentic Adventure included salt marches and fasting.
His commitment to peace and love showed us all a different way.

And no, don’t assume for a second that Authentic Adventure’s are limited to high-profile folk.  They aren’t.  Ships sail a variety of seas.

….Some people are guided to be good farmers.  Their knowledge and labor nourishes the human race.

….Some souls are called to collect garbage.  Their role keeps the planet clean.

….My mom, for example, lives a 110% heart-led life.  My dad:  one of honor and integrity.  Their commitment, unconditional love, and presence are more contagious than pinkeye.

Teachers, doctors, truck drivers, fisherman, salesman, nurses, parents, actors, and loyal friends.  Authentic Adventure’s come in all shapes and sizes.

The key, though, is recognizing when you’re on one.


adventure:  an exciting or very unusual experience; a bold, usually risky undertaking.

Two things here.

First, resonance.

Is what you’re doing (or going to do) hydrating your heart? Are you continually being filled and pulled by a title wave of excitement and joie de vivre?

And secondly, risk.

What about it?

Risk is a great referral of the illumined road.  Vulnerability, doubt, and uncertainty included.  Feeling a bit anxious?  Good.  A true reflection of a meaningful journey.

It took me two full years to commit to the idea of Fetch in 50.  Same with this site.  Eventually, I let go, realizing the real risk would be a lifetime spent in denial.  Ignoring my heart’s story would be to ignore the brilliance of creation itself.

There’s an Authentic Adventure in you chomping at the bit.  Are you willing to chart its course?

After all, paths are made by feet.

Blessing your Boldness,

own the glow




*** Stay tuned for Monday, July 14th’s post:  “9 Surefire Signs You’re Living an Authentic Adventure.”

Photo Credit:  Jonathan Combe.
Some changes made by me.
Original photo found here.