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How Hitting A Hay Bale With A Big Stick Changed My Life.

In 1999, I began a two-year apprenticeship with author Stuart Wilde. If you are not familiar with the work of Stuart Wilde, you can find his twenty books on Amazon. I first read Whispering Winds of Change and was hooked. I have noticed how some authors seem to literally grab me by the throat with their words, as if to say “This is true!” Hemingway, Thoreau, Whitman, Jed McKenna, Bukowski and Castaneda all had the same impact on me. Stuart passed just a few years back driving the winding bucolic country roads of Ireland, an apt departure for a remarkable being.   Back in 1999, Stuart was very alive and fully embodied his mystical, magical, powerful, take no prisoners self. This is when my journey with Stuart Wilde began.

After reading several of his books, I felt I had found a kindred spirit. Therefore, I searched for live Stuart Wilde events and found him at a presentation in Sipapu, New Mexico in the fall of 1999. Following that experience, and feeling Stuart’s immense energy and charisma, I knew I had found my teacher. Consequently, my wife and I flew from San Francisco to Sidney, Australia a few months later to attend a more intimate intensive weeklong gathering of 20 spiritual seekers at his large castle like home in Milton. On the fifth day of the event, after spending most of our time training on the subtleties of meditation and energy, Stuart asked me to go out into the local woods and find a big stick. He gave me very specific instructions: Five feet long. Two to three inches thick. Smooth surface. Stuart handed me a saw, and off I went. Two hours later, I returned with the perfect stick. I had no idea for what purpose I had found the stick, but I was proud of my stick. Stuart carefully examined the stick, accepted the stick, and that seemed to be the end of that.

The next day, mid morning, Stuart asked all the blokes to meet him outside at the driveway in the front of the house. There we found a big hay bale. “Hmmm. What is that for?” I thought to myself. There on the hay bale rested my stick. Stuart had wrapped a white cloth around one end of the stick to create a protective handle. He proceeded to give us instructions for what was going to happen next. One by one, we were going to approach the hay bale, grab the stick, and take massive whacks at the hay bale. It was important, Stuart said, to use all of our body and strike with everything would could for as many times as we could until we felt complete, or totally exhausted. Equally important, Stuart instructed us to yell out loud the target of your anger and rage. This would make the experience more real and more cathartic. Immediately, upon hearing these words, fear started to settle in amongst my newfound band of brothers.

Allow me to step back from the story and address the fear. Having now experienced and led men in several hundred of these hay bale rituals, I have observed that the primary fear is “how will I compare to the other men?” “Can I do this?” “Can I truly let go and allow rage to consume me?” I am often surprised by how difficult it is for men, even when given full permission and group agreement, to let go and fully express their rage. I have no doubt that every man does the best he can. However this ritual demonstrates the self imposed barriers we place on ourselves. The great majority of men walk away from the hay bale experience feeling they did not give it everything they could. All men experience a breakthrough, however the little voice in our head whispers we could have given more. Fear stops us. In the end, this was a huge lesson for each and every man who did the hay bale ritual. It opened up each man’s inquiry into his own relationship with fear and self-expression.

One reason Stuart became my mentor for two years, the thing that always impressed me, was that he showed no fear. He never asked anyone to do anything he would not do, and he did everything full out. So when we started the ritual, Stuart was the first to go. He grabbed the stick and swung it over his head and hit the hay bale hard. He yelled out “Stuart, you fucking wimp!” and then again “Stuart, you fucking piece of shit!” and on and on, taking it out on himself, and all the lies he told about himself. Stuart had kicked the door wide open, and now we were to follow.

I was inspired.   I went next. I apprehensively walked up to the stick, grabbed it and felt the weight of it in my hand. Then I took my first swing. Oh, it felt good. After a few tentative whacks, I forgot that anybody else was watching. My whacks at the hay bale became more intense. My target was god. I cussed at god. I yelled about how he had lied to me. I yelled about what an asshole he was for creating a planet with so much death and pain and misery. I called god a fucking hypocrite. I continued to whack the hay bale until I was ready to collapse. I gave it my all and felt complete as I walked away. When I returned to my place in the circle around the hay bale, I felt changed. I had never expressed my full masculine presence in that way. Never had I been given permission to fully self express, and speak aloud my deepest anger and rage. My body continued to tremble for several minutes, the effects of the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I felt like my balls grew in size. My inner warrior had been released. But I was not done, not by a long shot.

Then I watched as each man, one by one, took the long walk toward the hay bale. I observed how each man had his own way of striking the hay bale. Some whacked it as if with a baseball bat. Others, like me, raised the stick way over my head and brought it down with all the force I could muster. As it turned out, I was not the only one who had an issue with god. He was definitely the number one target. On and on it went. One by one, I saw men transformed from my friendly workshop mates to rage filled creatures who had quite a bit of rage to express. Over time, I relaxed, feeling complete, and ready to resume our more subdued and subtle mystical activities.

Next, Stuart said, “Now that you are all warmed up, we are going to do it again!” “For fuck’s sake,” I thought to myself, “what’s left?” This time, Stuart did not need to go first. I wanted to lead, and see what I had left inside me. I walked up to the hay bale with absolutely no idea who or what was to be the target of my rage. I picked up the stick, my stick, and started to hit the hay bale. Whack. Whack. Whack. And then, the name of an ex girlfriend that had broken my heart started to erupt out of my throat. “Carol!” Whack. “Carol!” Whack. “You fucking bitch!” Whack. On and on it went. The second round allowed me to go to a much deeper place of hurt and despair. With each whack, I was releasing the pain and freeing myself up of that gut wrenching memory. The second round was longer, more rage filled, and far more self-expressive. I found a new energy that sustained me, even when I thought I had given everything during the first round. Finally I was complete. My body trembled once again. I threw the stick at the hay bale and walked away. As I returned to the circle and I saw Stuart smiling. My buddy said to me, “I don’t know Carol is, but I hope I never meet her.”

Many men had a similar experience. The second round was much deeper, and more profound than the first. Once I had gotten the fear and self-consciousness out of my system, a whole new level of self-expression opened up. The superficial Jay had to take a back seat to a more authentic and real Jay. No longer was I a sensitive new age guy who discounted his masculinity. Now I was feeling like a real man. Jay meet Jay.

Over the years, I have led the hay bale process in my own weekend workshops. The hay bale ritual is powerful in its simplicity. Men are given permission to rage and fully self-express. I have seen men take whacks at god, their wives, their mothers, their fathers, their girl friends, that childhood bully, and at themselves. I have seen men in the depths of fear, take that long walk to the stick, and let it all go. It is liberating to see such courage. It is inspiring to see men take full responsibility for their fear and rage. It is enlightening to see and begin to understand the dynamics of our own fear and rage.

Two incidents stand out amongst the many hay bale rituals I have seen. The first took place in Santa Rosa, California. During our morning circle, in which we introduce a topic and each man is required to speak as open heartedly as possible, one man shared a gut-wrenching story about how his father has sexually abused him. Tears rolled down his eyes as he told his story for the first time to another human being. This often happens. Men, in a safe and confidential environment, inspired by the vulnerable sharing of others, often release painful experiences for the first time. No one who heard his story remained unscathed.

As this man approached the hay bale, we all knew that the target of his rage had to be his abusive father. He grabbed the stick, and placed the end of it on the hay bale. I had never seen this before. Crying profusely, he was literally unable to lift the stick up and take a whack. I cannot begin to imagine how conflicted he must have felt. As boys, our dad was our hero. However in his case, his dad was also the devil. After a few minutes, as the leader, I instinctively took action. I asked him if I could take a few whacks to get him started. I was definitely feeling the rage towards his dad, especially seeing the devastating impact on his now paralyzed son, so this all happened very naturally. I began whacking the hay bale, swearing up and down about how horrible he (the dad) was to betray such a sacred covenant as father and son. I was so enraged that I began gouging the stick into the hay bale, as if I was stabbing the abusive father with a lance. Suddenly, the stick bounced back and hit me in the face, putting a nasty gash above my right eye. Blood flowed. Everyone looked in terror, concerned I may have lost an eye. I told everyone I was ok and headed off to the bathroom. But before I did, I said to the man, “Kill that fucker. Do it and free yourself!” I understand he was able to begin whacking the hay bale and the healing had begun. He was a man finally becoming free from the grip of horrible events from his past.

The second incident took place in Sebastopol, California. We had one participant who was very reserved and quiet. He was the last of the group to go. Everyone else had taken their whacks in the first round. We all looked at him. He expressed that he felt he did not have the same kind of rage living in him. He shared that in his family, he was never allowed to fully express himself. Then one of the participants spoke directly to him: “What if this is your last chance on earth to get this shit out of yourself?” That seemed to light a fuse, and he proceeded to take his whacks. Afterwards, he too was a man transformed. You could see it in his face, and in the way he confidently walked around and interacted with us all.

Do I hate god? Do I hate my ex girlfriend? Do men hate their wives? Do men really want to inflict physical harm to any of these people? No, of course not. However, we do often have conflicted feelings. The hay bale process is a powerful technique to release painful memories, and allow more energy for love and appreciation. I know when I carry around pain and hurt feelings; it is hard for me to be present with another person. These experiences I have shared are a safe and very effective way to purge those feelings. I would liken it to taking your car in for a tune up. Over time gunk builds up, and it is good to get a regular cleaning. Otherwise, these feelings may be expressed in far more harmful and often violent ways.

My two-year stint with Stuart Wilde, in Australia, in America, in England, and in Ireland was a time of profound learning and personal transformation. You could not hang out with Stuart and not be changed. Stuart was a tough teacher. Many of the lessons he shared with me had a very hard edge. He exposed many levels of what he called my dark side, those qualities like competitiveness, female objectification, and dishonesty that I had never had to the courage to look at and claim as my own. It was a hell of a ride. And it all began in earnest the moment I picked up that big stick and started whacking away at my own painful memories that early December morning in Milton, Australia.

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10 Tips To Make That Weekend Getaway Unforgettable.

This article is featured on the Good Men Project.  Click here to visit the site.

There is no doubt that a weekend getaway can provide excitement and adventure and intimacy for a relationship. I noticed, especially with children in the house, when my partner and I took a short trip together, we returned home feeling reconnected, reinvigorated, and happy. As the dude in the relationship, I have always felt it was my job to look down the road, anticipate when my relationship could use a little excitement and then plan a trip that my partner and I would deem unforgettable. Planning a trip is not enough. There are certain things you can do when on the road to add that oomph that transforms a mere weekend away to something very special and wonderful and memorable.

 

Recently I spent a weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it was unforgettable. My partner and I had a glorious time. Here are some things I learned, which you can incorporate into your next weekend. These items are not listed in any particular order, and are presented cafeteria style. If you can work all of them into your next adventure, fantastic. If only a few apply, they will still add to the scintillating nature of a sensual get away.

 

  1. Make it a four-day weekend.

 

In my experience, two days is great, but four days is even better. By leaving on a Thursday night, and returning on a Tuesday morning, you are giving you and your partner four full days to wake up and go to sleep in a new area. There is also something wonderful about waking up on Monday and seeing many other travelers heading home, and knowing you still have one more full day to enjoy your trip. I realize it may be difficult to get the time off from work, but believe me, it is so worth it. The positive benefits on your relationship will be profound and life lasting.

 

  1. Go someplace you have never been before.

 

It is easy and convenient to have your favorite “go to” place. It is comfortable. When you go someplace unknown, both you and your partner are in a constant state of not knowing, and everything is new. There is nothing like the first time of anything. It is exciting. In men’s work, we talk about the paradigm of living at our edge, in that place of not knowing but still willing to go for it. It adds a very attractive energy to everyday life. Visiting a new location, not knowing where to go nor where to eat, nor where to explore, it puts you both at your edge. This adds to the excitement. It also adds to a sense of partnership and togetherness as you and your travel companion figure things out as a couple.

 

  1. Go someplace where the locals speak a different language.

 

Having just returned from Kuala Lumpur, I experienced this first hand. Most people there do not speak English. This forced me and my partner to communicate with our bodies, our facial expressions, and by doing quite a bit of pointing. Being in a place where English is not the native language is another way to gently coax you out of your comfort zone just a bit, all of which adds to the excitement level and the unique and one of a kind feeling of being a foreigner in a foreign land.

 

  1. Have sex in the morning.

 

Do it. Many couples get into a rhythm of sex at night before going to sleep. Try to mix things up. Take showers, brush your teeth, and have a wonderful romp in your hotel room.  Most hotels have very soft sheets and comforter and pillows. They are a perfect launch pad for erotic play. Sex in the morning gets the day off to a glorious start. It makes the day special. It is something you will always remember as a delightful part of your weekend getaway.

 

  1. Eat great food.

 

Eating delicious food is a very reasonably priced way to experience the delicacies of your destination. In Kuala Lumpur, we at hot pot, a variety of local fruits, exquisite sushi, delectable steamed fish, and local beef soup. Each meal was an adventure in itself. If you are not sure where to go, check out the Internet. All cities have food critics who post their favorite restaurants, the best restaurants on a budget, the best food carts, as well as a top of the line, don’t miss this place, list of eateries. There are also several apps for that. Even on a budget, you can eat well, and have stories to share.

 

  1. Get massages.

 

Life is too short not to get massages. We all work hard. Perhaps you are a man who does physical labor. I know that sitting for eight hours per day focused and typing on my Macbook Pro makes my neck sore. I recommend you make it a priority to get a massage. You can get a simple foot massage, a full body oil massage, a neck and back massage, a Thai massage (a body massage without oil) or a reflexology massage (focus on your feet).   If you do not normally get a massage at home, this will make your weekend getaway even more memorable. And even if you do get a regular massage at home, it is still ever so decadent to take an hour or two and allow yourself to be pampered. Your body will thank you for it. And so will your partner.

 

  1. Walk everywhere and utilize public transportation.

 

It is easy to jump into a taxi and get driven around. Is sitting in traffic really what you want to be doing? Walk. Get lost. Experience your destination the way the locals experience their home. While in Kuala Lumpur, I made a half-mile trek each day to the local health club. On my way to the club, I passed local vendors and best of all, I was able to look eye to eye at the other temporary visitors passing my way. I also saw some of the poverty that exists which was both humbling and left me filled with gratitude. I would not have experienced any of this had I had not walked. If you are bored, take a walk, get lost, and keep going until something interesting happens. And something interesting always happens! Also, especially as you get outside of the United States, the public transportation services are phenomenal. I took a train to and from the airport in Kuala Lumpur. What a joy! I could sit, look out the window, play on my cell phone (the train has free wifi), and people watch to my heart’s content. One extra benefit to public transportation is you can feel good that you are contributing to a cleaner environment.

 

  1. Get a room with a view.

 

I have found that when I have a room with a view, my days start off with a certain sense of wonder. I enjoy my morning coffee. Perhaps you drink tea, or water. Waking up, opening the blinds, and drinking your favorite beverage with your partner looking out at your new destination, it is a wonderful way to start your daily adventures.

 

  1. Take pictures and videos of your journey.

 

I don’t recommend you use your smart phones for much else. Watching your partner checking out her Facebook page is not too enlivening. However, the action of taking pictures and videos does do a few things. First. It is fun. You smile. You ham it up for the camera. You talk and express yourself. Your partner will appreciate your open hearted sharing. Second, you are creating a digital memory of your amazing journey. There will be a point when you will look back, and watch a video, and remember little details you may have forgotten, and it will make you smile. I just looked back at a video taken during my visit to hot pot restaurant. My partner took a video of me adding meats and vegetables to the bubbling hot soup. She added some music to the video with an app and now I have a perfect memory of my joy sitting at the table creating a sumptuous feast in a very unique way.

 

  1. Do something unusual.

 

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, at two in the afternoon, I walked to a local outdoor restaurant. Next to the eatery was a tiny older woman who took dough, dropped it in boiling oil, and served up fresh doughnuts. The texture was like an American doughnut, but the taste was not as sweet. It was absolutely delightful, especially with a cold iced coffee. Another thing we did was to go out late at night. Normally I am in bed by 11 PM. In Kuala Lumpur in the Changkat area, the place doesn’t get going on a Friday night until 12 midnight. We sat at our street side table at two in the morning, drinking mojitos, and watching all the people come and go. We laughed, we shared stories, and we had a blast. Do the unexpected and you will be surprised at how much you will enjoy doing something different.

 

There you have it. Get out of the house. Get out of the country. Travel the world. Make your life the exciting adventure it is. Use some of these tips and before you know it, while you are on the airplane heading home, you will already be planning your next adventure. Life is short. Live it with no regrets. We men are often looked to for the direction in our relationships. Do it the right way. She will love you for it. Surprise her and surprise yourself. Create it big and bold. Going out and making a weekend getaway unforgettable is a great way to spice up your relationship and keep you and your partner smiling from ear to ear.

 

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In Praise of Tim Ferriss

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Tim Ferriss, Author, Podcaster, Change Agent

Many years ago, my good friend David, a very successful business owner, suggested I read a book with the crazy proposition that I could work four hours a week (rather than the forty I was expending) and be just as productive. The book was aptly titled “The 4 Hour Workweek.” I ordered the book on Amazon, read the book, and was intrigued by many of the concepts and ideas and “hacks” presented in the book. I immediately obtained a virtual assistant from India to handle many of my daily tasks. I began to think about how often I started and stopped a specific task, while being interrupted by emails and phone calls. My efficiency increased overnight. I learned to turn off my phone during the day to avoid interruption, and allocated 30 minutes at the end of the day to return important calls. The 80/20 rule took on a whole new meaning. If you have not read the book, do yourself a favor and buy the book now and read the book (Click on the image).

4 Hour Work Week

While I learned a great deal about my own efficiencies, I noticed something else, something even more profound. Tim’s book placed the seed of world travel in my mind and heart. For the first time, I saw world travel as a viable goal, affordable, and doable. I still remember my utter giddy joy as I read about how inexpensive it could be to travel to a city in South America. Although I had lived in England for one year, this book opened my eyes once again to the magic that lives on the road, and specifically on roads outside of the United States. What one man can do, another can do. Why not travel and see the world? Why not? The Four Hour Workweek was like a beacon in the night. It was a siren song. It was an invitation to live an amazing life. I am not being grandiose when I say that I was reborn during my initial reading of Tim’s epic first book.

Next, Tim Ferriss wrote and published “The Four Hour Body.” This substantial work of experimentation and research sparked my interest in foods, macros, weight loss, and muscle gain. I credit much of my 45 pound weight loss, and subsequent and ongoing self-testing I have undertaken to the fabulous material presented in “The Four Hour Body.” My life will last a bit longer, and my daily experience is much simpler, healthier, and life affirming, all a result of what I read in the second book. Tim wrote a third book, “The Four Hour Chef,” which I have not read. My interest in cooking is not that profound, although I understand the book is more about advanced learning techniques than how to cook a quick omelet. I will get to it.

Best of all for me now are Tim’s podcasts. Tim Ferriss’ well-deserved notoriety has given him access to some of the best and brightest amongst us. The podcasts are long form conversations, each one filled with powerful realizations, guidance, and seeds of greatness. I listened to Arnold Schwarzenegger and was filled with the power of possibility of what one man can do with a life. I listened to Pavel Tsatsouline (Olympic strength trainer) and transformed my time at the health club from workouts to practice. I stopped pushing myself to failure, and implemented four sets of five. Now I enjoy my time at the gym, rather than gutting it out every day.

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Through the Tim Ferris Show (Click on the image), I have listened to some amazing lights in the world, people I had not heard of such as Maria Popova, Sam Harris, and Peter Diamandis. Maria writes a simply gorgeous blog called Brain Pickings that she shares with the world on a weekly basis. Sam Harris speaks and writes and debates about reality and consciousness and meditation. The greatest praise I can heap on Sam Harris is that he is Christopher Hitchens 2.0. Peter Diamandis, author of a fantastic book entitled Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, shared the question during his podcast “Why not take your 10 year plan, and do it in the next 6 months?” That is a powerful way to see the world, and Peter has demonstrated the validity of this paradigm with his remarkable life. Each podcast of Tim Ferris is like an unopened Christmas gift. I don’t know what I am going to get, but I am sure I am going to learn and grow and be filled with challenging and potent ideas.

What is possible? So often during and after many of Tim’s podcasts, I have to check my ego at the door, and take a hard look at my life. My sense of accomplishment takes a beating. But in that humbling experience in which I say something like “Wow, _______________ (fill in the blank with virtually any of Tim’s guests), he/she has done so much and continues to do so much. What have I done? What have I been doing? How can I do more? How can I make a similar impact on the world?” I often feel small, and in that feeling lays a desire, a passion, a deep search for who I really am, and what I really will do in the world during this lifetime. I often don’t know what is possible until I see someone else doing it. Tim’s podcast are like a cold bucket of water poured over my head. It’s a wakeup call, a yelling in my ear of “Hey Jay, wake the fuck up!” I like it.

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I seem to use the word powerful quite a bit as I write about Tim Ferriss and his body of work. Much of my bromantic feelings do come from a shared love of power. When I think of power, of course I can envision the hulking physique of an Arnold Schwarzenegger or the wealth of a billionaire investor like Peter Thiel. But in Tim’s world, we can also see the power of a Sam Harris, who has cut through the bullshit of religious dogma and duality like a surgeon. Power comes in a variety of forms, and while many of Tim’s guests are physical performance enthusiasts, there are a fair number of consciousness enthusiasts as well. This balanced ebb and flow of creativity and ideas keeps me engaged and insures my loyalty to all things Tim Ferriss.

“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost

Let’s talk about meditation. Tim often asks his guests, “What do the first 90 minutes of your day look like?” As we have discovered, nearly three quarters of Tim’s guest include meditation as a vital part of their daily routine. As an avid meditator for the past 20 years, I found this knowledge of other’s meditation habits to be an open invitation to join Tim’s Tribe. I am amongst my own. Success shows up in balance. Light and dark, Yin and Yang. Tim’s work is shattering the myth or illusion that success is exclusively about power and money. Success may just show up in a smile on your child’s face. Success may be found in a profound moment of stillness when you feel connected to every thing. Success may actually be about walking away from public adoration and taking a Thoreau like walk into solitude and family life.

Jay Vision Board 4-12

I have heard some people say that vision boards are shit. When used as purely a visioning tool, I would agree. But a vision board used as an anchor for sustained action is a powerful tool. Above you can see my vision board from 2012. On the left side, you can see (it’s a bit dark) an image near the word Travel. This is a picture of Tim and a friend from somewhere in Vietnam. I can remember feeling, deep in my heart at the time I first viewed this image, “Why Not?” “Why can’t I travel the world, see exotic destinations, meet people from different cultures, and share it all for the growth and education of myself and anyone else who cares to read or watch what I put out into the world?”

Tim Ferriss in Vietnam

In May of this year, I traveled to Vietnam, was guided by a beautiful woman through Saigon, and met many wonderful people. The practical application of bringing a vision to reality, of prioritizing our activities, the focus on the one thing, all emerge triumphantly in Tim’s work.

Drinking Beers in Saigon.
Drinking Beers in Saigon.

My greatest praise for Tim Ferriss comes in the form of my emulation of his life. I love Tim’s life (at least what I see of it). Now, over 5 years into my own Tim Ferriss style life experiment, I am experiencing a path similar in many ways, while still being quite a distance from where I am going. I have used my body as an experiment, now walking the earth at 190 pounds, rather than the 235 pounds I use to carry around. Now I work online, and am not bound to any one location. I live in Thailand for the time being, and who knows where I will go next. I have recorded 3 episodes of my own podcast, called The Men’s Room, and am excited to one day have Tim Ferriss himself as a guest. I created Indigo Yak, a course that will show anybody how to meditate. And I wrote my own book, Radical Freedom, which shares a variety of steps one may take on the road to spiritual freedom.

My life, now at 56, is filled with a hope for the future. I see the unprecedented exponential growth of knowledge, and feel the energy of an immense energetic movement like an 80-foot wave rumbling under my feet. I am finding my way. Aren’t we all? I read books and listen to podcasts and know others are feeling the same way. Gratitude fills my heart. I have seen much of the world and know we are all the same. There is coming a time when us versus them will seem silly and obsolete. One by one, we are waking up to myths that bind us and hold us down. Tim Ferriss’ work allows us to embrace powerful ideas that emancipate us.

I will conclude this homage to Tim Ferriss by sharing how much I appreciate the courage he continues to demonstrate by putting his words, images, sounds, and heart out into the world for all to experience in their own way. It is inspiring.  Tim Ferriss is, in my life, a rock star. He shares my love of performance with my dedication to spiritual growth. He is a writer, a creator, and one who brings together amazing people for the benefit of all, truly a catalyst for change. Tim Ferriss’ gift to the culture cannot be over emphasized. Certainly, my life has been altered, and I trust the titanic shifts will resplendently continue. Long may Tim create! Long may he share his vision! I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.”

Life In Paradise - Bangtao Beach

Retire in Thailand (Lessons from Peter)

Traveling through Southeast Asia has completely shifted my thinking about retirement. My plan has always been to be in a position to retire at the age of 65. I have a plan to have so much money tucked away at that time so that if I wanted to stop working, I could. I don’t think I will ever want to stop doing what I am doing, but at 65, I will have the choice.

One thing I have noticed here in Thailand is a growing number of retired men hailing from other countries (Japan, China, Europe, Australia, not many Americans), who have chosen Thailand as the place where they want to spend their final days. During my last week in Phuket, while I was eating lunch, a man named Peter approached me and sat down at my table. Peter asked me if I played Backgammon. I told him No.

Well, Peter is 55 and had the good fortune to retire at the age of 38. Peter has traveled the world unlike anyone I have ever met. He was born in Germany, and has lived in France, Argentina, America, China, and about a dozen other places across the globe. And after all that traveling, he had determined that Phuket, Thailand was the place for him to settle down. Now 17 years later, he has a Thai wife, a 13-year-old son, and a relaxed lifestyle revolving around his family, backgammon, meals and napping.

After Peter was through asking me about my life, where had I traveled, how many kids, number of wives, Internet Marketing ( “you really make money doing that?”), and my diet, I had a few questions for him. First I asked, Why Phuket? He said there were many factors: weather, beaches, personal freedoms, beauty of the women, friendliness of the people, and the cost of living. I told him I agreed with him on all counts.

Peter went on to observe how many freedoms have been taken away in other cultures, and in particular, in America. As he lit a cigarette from his $2 USD pack, he exclaimed “You can’t even smoke there any more!” I told him that when I told people I was heading out for a long-term trip to Southeast Asia, most people thought it sounded pretty crazy. Who would leave America to live in Thailand? Well as it turns out, quite a few people from all over the globe do exactly that for the exact reasons expressed by Peter.

There are options. I suppose that is the lesson from my chat with Peter. In my role as an Internet marketing coach, I speak to many men and women who are reaching their retirement years and are not able to retire. Statistics show that only 4% of Americans can retire and maintain their current lifestyle. Those are alarming figures. So what do you do? You can find some line of work to pursue to make some extra money. Many people are investing in Internet marketing for this reason. You can also reduce your financial demands aka live on less. And we have all seen the elderly greeters at Walmart who serve as an example of retirement gone wrong. Then there is the Thailand option. If you do have some money coming in through an IRA and/or social security, why not live in another country where the cost of living is low and you can live like a king in the best year around climate on the globe?

I have done a little bit of research to get the lay of the land here in Thailand. The average person earns 13237.76 THB per month, which translates to $427 USD per month. I prepared a video showing how I have been able to live very comfortably on $1,500 per month. You don’t need much. Again, it is always good to have options.

I have only been here in Thailand for a few months. I will be venturing to Vietnam and Cambodia and then coming back to Thailand before returning to California in the spring. I need some time to let the newness wear off. My time here to date has been glorious. Running across guys like Peter, who have seen even more of the world than me, always opens my eyes a little bit further, and expands my horizons. Hopefully sharing these experiences on the blog opens your eyes a bit more too. Options. Not being stuck. The freedom to chose. It feels good, doesn’t it?

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.

Be a Loner R

Connection

Connection. I have seen this word bandied about here there and everywhere. Connection. It would appear Connection is the new holy grail of daily living. Connecting is now helpful or soothing or necessary for life contentment. Now I won’t begrudge anyone who has found a coping mechanism that is necessary and works. But my experience leads me to call bullshit on the concept of connection.

Connection implies a duality, or a separateness that exists only in the mind. There must be a you, and something outside of you, to which you want to connect. If you feel disconnected, whatever that feels like for you, you are living in the illusion of duality as a reality.  When I feel sad, or fearful, or angry, or melancholy, I feel it. I don’t feel disconnected. Disconnected, I suggest, is more psycho babble created to divert us from the real feelings of life, like being sad, fearful, angry or melancholy. I am suggesting there is nothing to fix and no connection to achieve. The surest way to the other side of these feelings is through them. Jumping on a cushion to meditate, or having a drink, or a quick romp, or an Orange Is The New Black binge watching session may alleviate the feelings, but you really haven’t moved your spirit any closer to the realization of your true nature, for which connection has no place.

This is all a symptom of our huge obsession with intoxication on life. Our normal state is deemed not enough, so we create all of these things to do and see and buy and penetrate to keep the truth at bay. Life isn’t all bliss. Life is hard. Life is tension. Sometimes we are too smart for our own good. Instead of feeling our lives, we work ever so hard to change our state, running from fear and pain and suffering, and chasing love and pleasure and bliss. The only problem with this is our lives are now dependent on external circumstances over which we ultimately have no control. Perhaps it is time to go inward

Clearly, this is a first world problem. How wonderful that we don’t really have to worry about having clean water to drink, or having enough food to sustain our bodies, nor a virus like Ebola to contend with. Instead, we can set our sights on realizing god within us and there is no connection necessary. Instead of connecting, what is called for is transcending. So the challenge then becomes, what can we do to achieve this abiding awareness.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

                                                              Henry David Thoreau 

I am suggesting the solution is not getting intoxicated on bliss, or adrenalin, or love, or connection, or any substance. Play it straight. Stop chasing and stop running. Can I just be with whatever is put in my life? There is this pernicious belief that life is always supposed to be blissful. This lie is damaging to your spirit. It creates unrealistic expectations that then leads to addictive behavior. Instead, I suggest establishing a routine. Figure out what is important in your life, schedule out each day of the week, and then do your best to stick to it. You will learn pretty quickly when you get off track, when you find yourself chasing something, or running from something.

My routine right now while I am living in Thailand is this. I awake at 2:30 am. I shower, shave, make the bed, brew the coffee, drink my protein shake, and begin work at 3. I work until 9, then walk down to eat breakfast of iced coffee and fried chicken. At 11:00 I workout by walking 4 miles and then swimming for half an hour. Out in the Andaman Sea, I float for about 10 minutes and meditate. I grab a simple lunch of barbeque chicken and a fruit smoothie. Back home to shower, and then to my favorite coffee shop to write and create on my computer for 2 hours. The rest of my day is rest and dinner and then to bed between 7 and 8. That is my Monday – Friday schedule. My weekend are very open, very fluid, and very rejuvenating. When I find myself veering off this path, I know I am chasing something, or running from something. When I am doing nothing but living my life, magic happens. Worlds open up.

My truth is this. There is nothing and nobody to connect with. God is everywhere, and I am part of everywhere, so I must one with, not one separate from. It is impossible to connect to myself because I am already myself. Again, it is a belief that I am separate from everybody and everything that leads to a desire to connect. It is not real. It is not supportive of you or your awakening to your real life. Instead, you are choosing to live in some sort of fantasyland.

Have you never walked the streets and felt yourself in everybody and everything that you saw. That is true. If you want to feel fear, then feel separate. Instead, play with the concept that you are one and the world is the same one. I understand you may not feel it, but that is how it truly is. The masters have confirmed this. Fake it for a while, and then you will have a moment, a crystalline clear realization that duality is an illusion. It will all make sense. You will most likely weep.

So, connect if you like. Chase after rainbows and unicorns. I am suggesting there is a more disciplined approach to life that will get you where you are going faster. If you like chasing and running, keep on doing it. As a very skilled change state artist myself, I found it all very addictive. The thrill of it, the feelings of accomplishment, the bliss of ignorance, and the adulation of those around me seemed to feed me for quite a significant portion of my life. This path, the path, is none of that. It is quiet, inward, intuitive, reflective, conscious, patient, enduring and real. Is it your path?

Live life. Love life. This is an invitation to try it on for size. Those that came before us, the wisest of men and women, have said that duality is an illusion. We do live in a state of oneness. So why not try it?  When you’re with somebody and they say something that that upsets you, realize it is you that is saying something that upset you.  You are the one upset. When you are angry with a situation, realize that you’re being angry with yourself.  You are the one who is angry. When you see genius in another, look for that same genius within you. These are the kinds of thoughts to run over in your mind. These thoughts, as Thoreau points out, are the kind you might want to dominate you life and create a deep mental path. They say the truth will set you free. Why not go for it all?

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.

Energy

Where Do I Begin?

This weekend, I spent 2 days with some close friends at Dillon Beach in Northern California.  We shared a simple two-story house close to the beach.  The food was outstanding, the conversation was inquisitive, and the hot tub was soothing.  We took a few walks down to the Pacific Ocean, which always opens up big questions for me as I look out and observe the infinite nature of our world.  I began to ask myself this question:  Where do I begin?

As I march through this life, and learn bit by fiery bit, to tame my ego, it seems clear that I am not the chattering voice that wants to control everything.  I am not the one that demands “Look at me!”  Rather I am that inner voice, the observer, the listener, the one that responds rather than reacts.  I am the one that I discover each and every day that I meditate.  I am the one that can share a moment with another, and not talk, not demand, not need, and feel in-tune and connected.

So I thought.  I began to question this belief.

Is that me?  Is any of it, me?

Maybe I am giving myself too much credit (something for which my ego is very proficient).  Perhaps I am nothing more than a spark of consciousness, as I do have an awareness of this one called Jay.  Maybe all that inner voice and observer labeling is nothing more than a different aspect of ego.  Perhaps I am nothing but a composite amalgam resulting from the forces that have weighed upon me from the beginning of my earthly existence.  Where I live, who I spend my time with, what I spend my time doing, what country I am in, these seem to be the things that have forged me into me.   It has been, for the great majority, a choice-less existence.   Perhaps I am nothing more than a spirit inside a body suit that has been shaped and tempered by innumerable forces, both gross and subtle.

I believe so.

What I am now seeing clearly is that life has been far more mechanical, and predictable than I had ever imagined.   I had a vision of all of us as machines, plodding through life, all doing the same things.   This shift in awareness is infinitely freeing.   It feels like I am a goldfish that has been pulled out of the water so I can look back and see that I have been in a fish tank all this time, and there is a whole new world to be explored.  This new world shows up as an invitation to freely think outside of the box and uninhibitedly create.  I can do what I want, and create the type of life I have envisioned, for by understanding this dynamic, I am freed of it.

I began at birth, and from that point, I stopped, and life happened.  Now freed of that construct, I can choose to co create a reality based on spirit and flow.  This is exciting.  This feels fundamental.  This shatters the perception of free will.  Who among us is really free?  This is a complete shift in context that will take some getting used to.

Where do I begin?  Perhaps I don’t, or didn’t begin.   Something began, but it wasn’t me.   Perhaps I am but a channel through which energy flows.  Perhaps my roles are to be sensitive to the energy, and flow with it, and not resist it, and breathe.  What will a life look like without the fear and struggle?  I don’t know, but I am willing to find out.

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.

Phuket Thailand for FB

The Thailand Project

On August 15th I will be heading toward Asia, and landing in Phuket, Thailand, jumping into the great unknown.   I plan to be there during our winter months and returning to Northern California in spring 2015.  It is a great adventure, with much to be revealed.  While my soul has come to accept and embrace this uprooting, my ego is resisting.  I can feel its confusion, its desire for security, and its ever-present and well-known fear of the unknown.

Some days I imagine myself scuba diving in crystal clear water, warm water teeming with gorgeous sea life.  I envision a long lazy Saturday sitting on a beach, tanning myself, eating ripe fruit and grilled, just caught, fish, and rejuvenating like never before.  I foresee hanging out with my new local friends, learning how to cook Thai food for myself and for others.  Yes, I see these pictures in my head, and know that they will mostly materialize in due time.

Other days, I imagine myself in my bungalow, with my children and family and friends some 8,000 miles away.  I know there will be moments of longing for carnitas from the taco truck, and the laughter of loved ones sitting across the table from me.  There will be days in which I will not want to write, and won’t have anything planned, and will be tired of working, and stretching and meditating and cooking and diving, and even in Thailand, I will be bored.

In the end, life is life, here and there, in Sebastopol, CA and Phuket, Thailand.  This trip is not an escape for me, but rather it is a dive into the unknown.  Thailand is an arrow straight through my heart, a powerful choice to leave here, and find more of me there.  The life of a monk, as I imagine it, is simple yet challenging, with moments of bliss few will ever experience, followed by hellish walks through the desert of lost souls. It is those journeys, which inform the bliss.  Soon it will be time for me, once again, to put on my walking shoes.

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.

Monks Lighting Candles

She Calls. She Waits.

There is a profound beauty inherent in every moment. It is an aching awareness, an excruciatingly profound knowing that this life, this experience, right now, is precious. The more you slow things down and find that still center in the heart of your being, the more you will come to experience life on life’s terms. Therein lies the gorgeous beauty of our existence. When you get beyond the celebrations, the self-congratulations, and the extravagances, there you may find the mountainous presence of this exact moment. It is so subtle, and yet not. When you feel it, you will be forever changed.

Life is not an experience to be dominated. Rather, it is a dance, a romantic give and take, a love affair with the unknown. Life, which I’ll refer to as She, She has so much to offer. We are called upon to be receptive and open to attract her precious gifts: love, bliss, grace, connection, and the incredible self-knowledge that no matter what happens, life has your back. There is a freedom to letting it all go, and allowing the white rapids of life to take you and show you exactly who and what you are in a way that will wash away all fears and concerns.

Life is patiently waiting. Life has always been waiting. One day you will jump. It is inevitable for that is the way the river flows. When you are ready, you will show up. It starts by getting honest about the role you play in your life. It starts by eating some humble pie, and acknowledging the precarious nature of our existence. It starts by surrendering to life, and thereby getting into greater alignment with life. She will forge a partnership that has an unbreakable bond. In this partnership, you get out of the way and allow life, in all her power and glory, to work through you. It’s a tacit agreement that you will serve as a conduit, fully aware that your gifts and accomplishments truly are not your own.

She calls upon us to be vulnerable, soft, willing, and purposefully aware. Then the dance will begin in earnest, the dance of life which starts with one conscious breath. These are life’s terms. This is life’s promise to you. The invitation remains at your doorstep.

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.

Buddha Joy

The Path of Joy

 

I was asked recently to write about the path of joy.  I said to myself (with a duplicitous smile on my face)…. “The What?”

Oh, yes, of course, joy.  Having a good time.  Enjoying myself.  Bringing a smile to the face of others.  Feeling a lightness of being.  While this is not my normal operating system, I do know joy.  I have experienced its elusive and always glorious nature.  Still, joy feels like a foreigner in a foreign land.

Take a deep breath here Mr. Jay.   You may actually enjoy this.

If I remember the best sex I ever had, there it is.  Joy.  Actually, if I remember just about any sex I have had, there it is!  If I remember the birth of any of my children, there it is.  If I remember how I feel after an initiation ritual, there it is.  If I remember how I feel after making a big sale, there it is.   If I remember sitting around a campfire with my close friends, there it is.  If I remember how I felt when I looked at the scale, and I had achieved my 3-month weight loss goal, there it is again.

Now it is the time for joy in all it’s glory: ongoing, ever lasting, and full on.

I notice that all my joy comes as a result of an experience, or the memory of those experiences.   Seems I have never been much of a “smell the roses” kind of guy.  Growing up as a male in America, I was taught to have goals, work hard, achieve great things, and then take on the next project.  There was never much emphasis (actually none) on joy.  And I know I am not alone.  Having spent 15 years of my life in transformational weekend events, I can tell you there is not much joy amongst the brothers.

I call in joy.  I call in my joy.  I am too old to do things I do not want to do. If I want to do something, then I will do it with joy in my heart.  I call in joy that is not dependent on a situation, an accomplishment, nor another.  I call in joy as my way of being.  Today I say to myself:  “I am joy!”   While this will no doubt make some of my buddies want to vomit, I am too old and too tired to keep pushing a boulder up a hill.  Rather, I will follow the boulder down the other side of the hill, and smile all the way to the end.

Taking a stand for joy requires some courage.  Dare to be happy.  This affirmation will require discipline.  This way of being is not for the dramatic, the emotional, nor the weak.  It takes some balls to say I choose joy.  Try it out and really mean it.   Just for today, greet every experience with joy.  When your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend does that thing they do that you hate so much, greet it with joy.  Transform your experience.  When you lose that sale that you were counting on, bring joy rather than disappointment.  When the waiter brings you a cold hamburger, can you experience joy rather than anger?  When you realize this life, this one glorious life that you have, when you realize it is all going to come to an end, can you still greet each day with joy?  Through heartache and betrayal, through hurt and failure, will you chose joy?

There was a time when I thought talk of joy was utter bullshit.  I would say to my brothers, life is about challenge, life is about burning, and unearthing those searing bits of my unconscious, and reliving past painful events, so as to become the hollow bone through which spirit may freely flow.   I have done all that.  It was hard, and at times, brutally painful, and it required a powerful vision to stay the path.  Occasional exuberance was a welcome by product of the work.  However, as one who has walked the path for three decades, I can now say there could have been more joy.  Hell, there could have been a whole bunch more joy.  I am not one to lament the past, but there is a truth to be gleaned from my own experiences.  I never chose joy in the past.  Today I choose joy.

I tell you, I hear you snickering on the sidelines.  I know well of your feelings of derision.  “Has he lost his mind?”

Yes I have.

It is about time!

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.