Category Archives: how to

How To Build Awesome Habits



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Getting Honest & Being Authentic

unprotected presence honest authentic

This week (with the support of an awesome friend) I tried a 100% honest day. Which meant, if someone said, “Hey, can we talk later tonight? I’ll call you at 7PM, Okay?” My reply would be, “No, sorry. Weekends are actually better for me, I have unlimited mobile minutes. Can we talk then?” Another example is, “Would you like to come to dinner? A group of us are going out.” My reply would be, “I’m more of a one-on-one person. I tend to enjoy intimate get-togethers much more. But have fun — and thanks for the invitation!”

After the 100% honest day was over. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! It was really no big deal. I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I think people prefer honesty. And they wouldn’t (especially friends) want me to do anything that I really wasn’t keen on.

I’m excited to keep the honest & authentic train rolling. :) It will be a nice experiment for me at first, and a lasting habit in the long run. I will be so much better for it, the world will be too.

Here are a few videos (below) to inspire you, and me, to be more honest.

Oh! And one more thing. This is the best definition of what it means to be authentic. By far, the best definition I’ve ever heard/read: Being authentic means showing up as unprotected presence. (Quote by Roxanne Hai)


Filed under authentic, how to

The 3 Ds: Three Ways to Release Unwanted Energy and Stay Clear

let go negative energy

Yesterday was my brother’s birthday. (Happy Birthday, Bro! :)) He and I usually have really great conversations. During our conversation yesterday, I was telling him that the cleaner one gets (eating raw vegan or gluten-free vegan foods, living with clean air, exercising/sweating regularly, living completely sober: alcohol-free & drug-free, cleansing/fasting for health, staying away from negative news/media/movies/books, etc..), the more sensitive someone becomes. All of their senses brighten & heighten, and as a result, they become very sensitive. On one hand this is really great! It’s a beautiful thing! But on the other hand, just the slightest bit of toxicity (or negativity) really affects them. They also experience their emotions more fully and more often. This can be challenging for most people, and it can seem like a curse instead of a blessing.

In my opinion, when someone drastically changes their lifestyle and adopts a cleaner way of living, it’s wise to put a plan in place to deal with the feelings/energy that may come up. When unwanted energy is present and is creating an imbalance, it needs to be released. The same plan would be equally helpful for someone that is naturally an empath, someone who easily absorbs other people’s energy (I wrote a blog post about empaths recently, titled Are You a Stress Sponge?), or anyone that is dehydrated or over-spent — which is pretty much most of the industrialized world.

So whether you are cleansing periodically, or have a very clean lifestyle, or someone who is sensitive to their environment, or someone that is over-doing it in life — give my suggestions below a try. They might come in handy.

The 3 Ds: Three Ways to Release Unwanted Energy and Stay Clear

Release Unwanted Energy Stay ClearWhen we are dried-out (dehydrated) and over-spent (over-worked, under-carbed, under-slept), static clinging of energies can be inevitable. Think of these energies as static cling on clothing when it’s pulled out of the dryer. It’s been overheated and tossed around excessively, and a static electricity starts to happen. The same can happen to someone that is highly sensitive; like empaths, or people that have very clean lifestyles. They can pick-up on things very easily, and this includes unwanted energy or a stagnant/static energy. When it happens, try one of the following techniques to let go and reboot. I call these techniques the three Ds. The three Ds are Discharge, Dissipate and Drop. Choose one of these techniques to get clear again. And if the feeling/energy is more challenging to release, try all three.

Discharge – Think of it like an outflow, release or out-pouring of negative energy. In moving and forcing this energy to flow, it creates clear open space for new energy to move in. This new energy is a cleaner energy that creates a more positive energy and sense of well-being.

One way to discharge energy/feelings is to exercise. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming — are all great ways to get energy flowing and to bring clarity and a feeling of spaciousness to mind & body.

Dissipate – Think of it like think gray smoke, gradually wafting until it’s gone and the room is clear. Another example is of a pile of autumn leaves, slowly being scattered by the wind until it’s gone and blown away.

One way to dissipate energy/feelings is to meditate. Simply sit/be with what you are experiencing. Stay with it and be present to it completely, until it gradually leaves you. Noticing your breath is a good way to see if you are still holing on to negative energy/feelings. Your breathing will feel shallow and rapid, and your chest will feel contracted when stressed. When relaxed, breathing is effortless, deep and very slow.

Drop – Think of it like holding on to something tightly in your fists. Then, suddenly open your hands completely, allowing what was being held to drop to the ground. Feel that you could shake out your hands, and be completely free, with no memory of what you were once holding.

One way to drop energy/feelings to shake it off mentally. Think of a dog, after it gets out of water — just shaking itself off vigorously. Just flick everything that is weighing on you (mentally & energetically) off. Happily let it go and set it free. You could also imagine your experience/energy/feelings at the moment on a chalkboard. Imagine it taking up the whole board, in an elaborate design. Slowly erase all that is visualized with your chalkboard eraser. Keep erasing it in your mind until the chalkboard is clear and returns to black, until it returns to its original state.

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Are You a Stress Sponge?

empath emotional stress sponge

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a close friend. Somehow, in a train of thought, it just slipped out. I said that I feel most balanced & content when I am alone. And that it had been this way since I was a very young child. I felt bad after I said it. I felt a sense of guilt. Hoping that what I said didn’t come across as if my friends, family, partners and community weren’t great, like they were the cause of my troubles. Which isn’t true at all. What I said was something deeply personal, that came out in a very blunt & authentic way.

I thought about what I said long after my conversation with my friend. And I am still processing what I said. I have more clarity now (which I’m sure will evolve).

I thought about when I first got my dog. She is a rescue, and came with a lot of trepidation. And in the first few weeks of living with me, she was learning me and my environment, and was processing all of the new sounds, smells and people in her new life. I noticed that when I held her, I could feel her emotions. I would feel fine, I would feel balanced, then I would pick her up and I could feel her uneasiness regarding another person in the room, or a loud noise, etc. When I say I ‘felt’ her emotions, I mean I really took it on. Like I instantly felt shaky, stressed & uneasy, like if I had trouble with the other person in the room, or the loud sound outside. Which I didn’t. So I know I was taking on her energy as if it were my own.

After I thought about what I noticed with my dog. I started to think about family & friends, intimate relationships, and jobs. And so many other aspects in my life, that left me a bit confused about myself. Like maybe there was something different or wrong with me. Some reason why I didn’t particularly like being around people all the time, spending time in bustling restaurants, or having a packed social calendar.

I don’t do well in large crowds. Concerts, big parties, congested streets and packed trains — they all drain me. I also remember being a child, and spending lots of time alone in my room. And if we had a party or family get-together, I would be sure to find something to do outside the home. Like keeping busy outdoors, visiting a best friend, etc.. I would always chalk it up to being shy, or not resonating with my extended family, or say that I’m better in small groups, or best one-on-one. I always had some reason or excuse for it. But I think the truth is, that it simply didn’t feel good. And still doesn’t.

I think it’s so important for me to get simple. To just say, forget the idea that you might be an empath, or some other label. Just know what feels good and what doesn’t. But after that, take full responsibility for it. Completely own it! And be accountable for it. Surround yourself with what does feel good. But also, when you are with someone (this includes a crowd or location) that has energy that you are taking on, notice it. Be aware. Notice it as it moves from a level 1 to level 2, and quickly make changes right there & then. Not when gets to a level 6 or 7, because by then, it’s gone way too far. And if it’s at level 9 or 10, no one’s thinking or decision making will be clear at that point. Emotions & confusion will be paramount, and will override any clarity.

I have much more control over my environment than I think. For example, I can move myself, move the topic of conversation, move my attention. Where you place your attention is huge! Because it’s what you give your energy to. So if you are paying attention to the negative, or to your resistance regarding a situation, or to feeling vulnerable & trapped — no wonder you are zapped! There goes all your energy, it’s going to where you are sending it, what you are ‘pay-ing’ attention to. You’ve payed the price! You’ve invested your energy unwisely.

Removing oneself from situation or location might be a quick fix, but the trouble is really within. I think we have to get to know ourselves better. And sometimes, the best way to do that, is through other people. If I didn’t have that conversation with my friend, and say that I felt most balanced & content alone, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post about this topic. And I wouldn’t have been able to sit with the thought, to gain more clarity over time. Being with someone was key to me getting a better picture of myself.

Like I have mentioned before on Sunday Is For Lovers; with all concerns or problems, the first step is awareness. Become more aware. Notice. Just notice what is transpiring. See it. Then take responsibility for it. Know that you are responsible for how you feel, and what you invest your energy/attention in. Everything always comes back to you. And that’s the good news! Because that means there is only one person you have to deal with, only one person you have to correct. :) You.

Below are 7 keys to take charge of your life, and to stop being a stress sponge! If you are highly sensitive to energy, could be called an empath, feel that you need to be alone to re-charge your battery, like to leave parties and events early (or avoid them all together) — you might be a stress sponge like me. :) Below are a few tips that you might find helpful.

7 Keys To Not Absorbing Negative Energy:

Step 1 – Be Aware
Be aware and still enough mentally, to be able to see what is happening while it’s happening. Even better if you can do this before it happens. Like a glass on the edge of a table, it’s good to have the awareness and foresight to see that it isn’t a good idea. See what is going on around you, prevent yourself (and others) from causing self-harm with negative energy.

Step 2 – Speak Up
Speak up, change the topic of conversation. Suggest a new way or place to be. Say what isn’t working for you, present another option that might be better & more enjoyable for everyone. Often, people are stuck in mindless routines, and the best way out of them is to try something new.

Step 3 – Take Action
Take action, help to quickly sooth the aggravation of someone, by redirecting their focus/energy. Everyone knows this works great for babies. Everyone is still a baby! We all love entertaining distractions. Find something positive for you & others to focus on. Know that there is so much you can do to actively change your thoughts and environment.

Step 4 – Move On
Move on, mentally & physically. If changing the conversation, or redirecting energy/focus isn’t enough, find somewhere else to be. You don’t have to go home, but find a place that suits you better for the moment. But don’t just leave the situation physically, and then mentally take it with you! That’s worse than staying there! Drop the whole thing. Drop the the past, and get present. Move on completely and reset yourself.

Step 5 – Stay Clear
Stay clear, in mind and in body. Breathe deeply, with long slow exhalations. Use your belly as you breath. See it expand. Feel your body as you breathe. Fully enjoy it! Feel yourself becoming more aware & more relaxed with each breath. Exercise regularly. Get feelings and energy flowing! Move them through you, and out of you! Let go. Spend time in nature. Ground yourself. Spend time sunning yourself, or sprawling out on the grass. Meditate in the early morning hours. All of this is great for staying clear.

Step 6 – Invest Wisely
Invest wisely. Know that your energy is like money. Don’t spend it mindlessly. See it as sacred. So many of us wonder why we are tired, and don’t have enough energy. (We can also say the same about money!) See that you are spent, because you have spent yourself mindlessly & unwisely! Care about where your energy goes. Ask yourself before hand, “Will this activity replenish my energy, or deplete my energy? Even better, will it give me more energy than what I came there with?” If your answer is no, or that it might leave you with less energy, it’s not a good investment or choice for you. Isn’t it interesting that donating to good causes, giving hugs, sharing smiles, and exercising in nature, always gives us heaps of energy? They are great investments!

Step 7 – Give Thanks
Give thanks for the opportunity you have to be with and learn from your environment. Be grateful for all those that love you, want to contribute to you, and invite you to places. Really take the love & gifts in. See how fortunate you are. And give back that energy & good fortune. Find a way that resonates with you. Find your best way to be with, and to contribute to, a vast number of people. Give thanks & give back in every way you can.

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What is Being Yourself?

being yourself be you

[Today’s blog post is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote in February 2012.]

Being you is beautiful. It’s when you don’t need to do anything, or be anything. It’s when you just know without question. It’s when you follow your feet, and your feet follow your heart (and your mind just tags along for the ride). It’s when you trust that you are supported. It’s when you feel so much love, that you can’t believe that much love is possible! It’s when you wake up in the morning free & empowered & relaxed. It’s when you are free to be! To put it simply; your beingness (not your doingness) is you being you. The way you love unconditionally is you being you. When you are silent and at peace, this is you being you. Those moments of freedom, simplicity and bliss are all you.

You might ask: “But what about when I’m enraged or angry, this is also me! Isn’t the me that isn’t at peace, or isn’t being love, or isn’t oneness or awareness me as well? What about when I am depressed & I am suddenly able to create great works of art, this is also me! What about when I have lost a loved one & I am in tears, this is also me! What about after I’ve been taken advantage of and I’m full of anger & resentment & fear, this is also me!” — No, that is you under the influence. I don’t argue that those are also beautiful states of humanness filled with emotion. I don’t argue that the contrast of those feelings or experiences bring a richness and a texture to life. I don’t argue that the contrast between painful experiences and enjoyable experiences lead us to a greater appreciation. I don’t argue that the terrible experiences in our lives make us stronger and (hopefully) wiser. I don’t argue this one bit. I’m in full agreement with you. But where I draw the line is by seeing that and telling you that, these are not pure states.

When I say they are not pure, I mean they are forced by outside influences. They were not created out of thin air, something brought them on, and that something was outside of you. The states that I talked about previously, when I described what it’s like to be you truly being yourself, those examples are of you in all of your pureness & wholeness, without anything extra. Without the influence of anything or anyone. — Example: When was the last time you were completely enraged for no reason? When was the last time you felt cheated by nothing? Yet I can come up with numerous examples of when I smiled or even laughed for no reason at all. — Do you understand the difference? Truly being yourself is unconditioned, while not being yourself is.

Everyday I get some sort of impression of someone who is suffering. It can either be from the media, or on the street, or from a friend or family member. The one thing they all have in common is that they are suffering over things that aren’t within them. They are suffering over things that have nothing to do with who they truly are. And they continue to carry these pangs or these burdens as if they have to — & they don’t! Just as simply as they picked them up, they can let them go. But, only if they can see that they are holding on to something that isn’t real.


Filed under how to, oneness & beingness, unlearning

Good Morning Okra!

red okra close up

I’m not sure if you remember this blog post I wrote sometime back titled, Meditation Sessions, Singing Bowls, & Indoor Gardens — Can You Dig It! I wrote it back in June, at the beginning of the summer. I was trying to grow an indoor garden, in my New York City apartment. I met so many obstacles along the way! It was tough. So many beautiful plants died because there wasn’t a balance of ‘good’ bugs and ‘bad’ bugs. There really is no such thing as either. Each has its perfect purpose. But I was experiencing too many bugs that are composters, who’s job is to break things down. Which is great when you want things to compost and become soil, but not great when you want things to grow!

okra leafI didn’t have enough (or any?) predator bugs, like Ladybugs, to keep these composting bugs in check, in balance. Nature has its way, and when we drastically alter it, we interfere with a perfect process. I got frustrated, and I gave up on my indoor garden project because of the ‘bad luck’ I was having with plants growing strong and happy for months, then being eaten alive by tiny bugs within a few days. Because of this, I disassembled much of what I had set up, but I put a few large planters in my guest room. I sat them next to a radiator, and in front of a sunny window. I also opened the window for them, so they could get fresh air everyday. I pretty much let them be, and only went in that room every week or so to water them.

To my surprise, one morning I walk in the guest room, and there is Okra red okra leafgrowing! :) Red and Green Okra! There is also Basil growing nicely, Tomato plants growing tall, and Hot Peppers trying their best to grow leaves & shoots. I took pictures of the little Okras growing so you can see them. They still have a ways to go, they are still in a child-like stage. Still finding their way to adulthood. I’m so proud of these little guys. They have come a long way, and withstood many obstacles. I’m going to continue to water them, and watch them, and stay out of their way! :) Hopefully the open window will allow them to feel a little like they are in the great outdoors, as I know they should be. But, I bet they wouldn’t want to be outside right now. Today it’s 26 degrees. Very cold! They might be happier inside with me. We have to do our best to find our own balance — with nature, and with each situation — as it is. Life is always a process, never a destination, never something fixed, always moving and changing, always full of surprises.

okra green


Filed under how to, nature photography

Getting Wild: Wild Edibles & Medicinal Plants Tour with Wildman Steve Brill

wild man steve brill

Last weekend I was on a mushroom foraging tour in Connecticut. This weekend I was on a similar wild edibles walk in Manhattan. Yes, Manhattan. It was held in Central Park. And believe it or not, there are all sorts of things you can eat in Central Park. Some of the things are more known, and you might be able to find them in stores or open markets. Other things are more rare, but only because they fell out of use in our modernized monoculture that corporations have established for us. This is why I am learning about wild foods, foraging and medicinal plants. I want to unplug and remove myself from the corporate monopoly. I’m not going to totally or abruptly unplug from society, but to slowly transition physically & mentally into a more independent, but ironically more ‘connected’ way of being. Instead of being connected & tethered to big business, I’ll be connected with people, animals & plants — nature.

lambs quarter black walnutsThis weekend’s wild edibles & medicinal plants tour was lead by ‘Wildman’ Steve Brill. He is famous in New York for his foraging tours, and for his vast knowledge of this subject (he has been teaching and leading in the northeast for 31 years). I have to say, the suggested donation for the tour was 20 dollars and it was the best 20 bucks I ever spent! I walked, I laughed, I had a great time. But in addition to that, I learned a lot of valuable information and I even got to take wild edibles home with me. Some of the goodies I got to take home were: Black Birch, Sassafras, Black Walnuts, Lamb’s Quarter, Kentucky Coffee Tree Seeds, Dandelion Greens, Poor Man’s Pepper, Wood Sorrel, Common Evening Primrose, Spice Bush Leaves, Ginko Berries, and Asiatic Dayflower. Some of the things I collected can be used to make tea, others can be eaten as is.

black birch leaves teaWhen I got home after the tour. I felt so good. I felt more connected to the earth and to people, and more importantly, more connected to myself on a deeper level. I also felt inspired to continue learning and felt like I was on the right track. And, I got to make myself a wild salad! I used my Lamb’s Quarter (tastes like spinach, but better), Asiatic Dayflower (tastes like string beans), Dandelion Greens (tastes bitter & yummy in moderation), and my Poor Man’s Pepper (tastes like lettuce with pepper). Along with other plant veggies (Romaine Lettuce, Cilantro, Green Lentils, etc.) and sea veggies (Wakame Seaweed) I already had in the fridge. It tasted great! I really enjoyed it. Tomorrow I plan on having Black Birch tea for breakfast from the leaves I collected. I’m excited to try it.

I’ve you want to meet me on one of Steve’s tours, I plan on going to the following tours: October 5 & 19th, November 3rd & 30th. You can also check his calender for other dates that might suit you better. These tours only happen as weather permits from March to December.

And if you know of any walking wild edible tours I should check out, just email me or leave a comment below.

[Wildman Steve Brill photo snagged from Kid Champ.]

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Filed under awareness, foraging, how to, transformation, wild foods