Living With Intention & Purpose: Why I Create & Share

Living with intention, having a purpose, and clearly defining your "why" in just about any area of life is one of the most powerful things you can do.

For the last few years I have been thinking about why I create & share with the world. I've always felt innately called to do so for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until recently that I actually started to do it. And now that I am a few years into it I've really been seeking to understand my intention & purpose for investing energy into my creative practice & sharing it with others. Here is my answer:

1. Alchemize My Own Life: Ongoing healing, growth & transformation does not happen in a vacuum. We are on this journey together. Producing creative work in the form of writing, pictures, videos & sound forces me to metabolize my own life. It empowers me to mine the darkness for the gold, personally codify the lessons & stay deeply present in my own Life. True alchemization happens through “the seemingly magical process of combination, creation & transformation.” This means combining myself with other people, places & things in order to create anew & transform for the better.

2. What You Teach Is Teaching You: I find that the more I teach the faster I learn & the more I learn. This happens through dynamic exchange with other people. Just articulating your own learning in the hopes to teach another forces you to crystallize your own understanding. Then their feedback pushes you into even deeper understanding.

3. Mastery Requires Lifelong Practice: Once the master achieves the level of black-belt he does not stop practicing. I’m after Life-Mastery and that is a lifelong practice. This means I must continue to create & share indefinitely. I’ve learned the joy of striving for an ever-receding horizon by focusing on embracing the journey. The process is the prize.

4. Creating Is Always More Empowering Than Consuming: I’ve discovered that creating & sharing is incredibly energizing & empowering for me when it comes from an empowering place. It leaves a lasting sense of Joy. Conversely, mindless consuming & sharing often leaves me feeling bereft, promotes personal dissatisfaction & engenders internal unhappiness.

5. Inspire Others To Be Inspired: When I share my Energy & work to authentically empower & inspire others I seem to always receive even more energy. It’s like rejuvenation for my Spirit. When done right from the right place it literally lights me on fire!

6. Perpetual Leadership At Scale*: By creating work that I can share through the interwebs in the forms of writing, pictures, videos & sound I am able to lead at scale. I can reach more people than I ever could in-person. I aim to have a majority of my content be evergreen so that no matter when people discover my work it can act as a catalyst if they are ready for positive transformation. This is my contribution to the idea that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

7. My Act Of Service In Action: My mission in life is “To Empower People To Transform & Self-Actualize”. In order to live this mission I must take ACTION on it regularly. Sharing myself & my learnings in a powerful & vulnerable way empowers me to be a bridge for others & fulfill on my mission. We all must take our own action to Alchemize Life. You can’t do it for me & I can’t do it for you. But I can lead by example.

8. Connection & Impact:  In order to feel truly ALIVE we have to feel connected to others and like we are making a difference. Making the world a better place through one’s creation & contribution is necessary in order to truly live a life worth living for!

Why do you create and/or share?


*This article was originally inspired by James Clear's article: Leadership At Scale (Why I Write). I read it years ago & loved it so much that I wanted to steal it & make it my own. James was inspired by Justin Jackson's article: Words. This is an awesome chain reaction of creative alchemization.



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Optimizing Life: A Foolproof System For Continuous Improvement

At some level, everyone wants a better & more optimized life. Yet, it is so easy to get lost in the hustle & bustle. Many of us find ourselves just trying to survive the work-week (traditional or entrepreneurial). I know this has often been the case for me.

Instead of overly worrying about my life improvement process I focus on a simple system that consistently moves me in the direction of a life that is continuously improving. 

My life optimization system is composed of three related principles:

  1. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
  2. You are a product of your environment.
  3. You are what you consume.

 

1. You Are The Average Of The 5 People You Spend The Most Time With

This is a quote by Jim Rohn, a pioneer in the field of personal development. Tony Robbins got his start working under him as well.

They've done studies that show our fitness level & net worth is highly correlated to those we spend the most time with. If we take a deep look at our own life we will realize that this principle applies to just about every area of our life. Regular weekly activities are highly informed by those we spend the most time with. We tend to pick up all sorts of behaviors of those we spend time with. Ultimately, good & bad habits are built & reinforced by those we are around.

This is awesome & scary at the same time. 

How many of the life-enhancing activities & habits that you regularly participate in are related to those you hang out with often?

On the flip side, how many of the destructive things you do are accepted & encouraged by the people you spend the most time with?

Seriously, take a few minutes and deeply think about this.

 

2. You Are A Product Of Your Environment

Again, massive research has been done on this. Our environments are a huge influence on our product of being. 

Different environments attract & produce different types of people. The environments in which we spend the most time almost always include the people that we actually spend the most time with (work, home, community, extracurricular activities, etc).

Our environments also dictate our activity & behavior. People who spend time at the gym tend to exercise, those who attend church pray, those who go to the library read, those who go to the bar drink, so on & so forth.

Take a moment and think about what kind of behavior your regular environments encourage.

 

3. You Are What You Consume

This one is really powerful. And can be really disturbing when we look at it in a detailed manner. 

Our consumption includes food & information. This includes all types of media--books, blogs, news, television, movies, music, auditory programs, video games, etc. Furthermore, information is picked up through conversations, environments & all types of experiences.

At some level, everything we ingest into our body and mind is programming us for better or worse. This holds true no matter which of our physical senses it enters into our domain of existence. Taste, touch, sight, sound & smell are all viable access points for consumption programming.

Think about this. What are you consuming on a regular basis?

Now that we've taken a moment to analyze these three related fundamentals let's look at...

 

How To Implement These Life Optimization Principles

  1. Self-checking: Regularly ask yourself how you are doing in each area.
    • Are the people I am spending the most time with calling forth the highest best version of myself?
    • Do the places I spend the most time encourage continuous growth & improvement?
    • Does the food & information I consume naturally lead me to grow in positive ways or am I slowly poisoning my body & mind?
  2. Work: Optimize your income generating field of endeavor.
    • Typically we spend the most time with the people we work with. We spend the largest majority of our time in our work environment. And we consume a majority of our weekly intake of food & information at and around work. 
  3. People: Pick your life-partner & friends wisely.
    • Tons of ultra-successful people credit their good fortune to picking an amazing significant other.
    • Same goes for friends. Successful, smart, happy, inspired & growth-minded people choose to spend time with people who facilitate these qualities naturally.
  4. Communities, Environments, Personal Interests & Hobbies: Choose groups, people, places & activities that foster growth.
    • Humans are built for connection & community. A lot of what we think, say & do come from the communities, personal interests & hobbies we are involved in (both online & in real life).

 

How To Hack The System

What if you're reading this and you realize that the 5 people you spend the most time with are showing a strong indication of actually being detrimental to your personal growth, health & fitness, personal finances, etc? In other words, what if the people you spend the most time with are ensuring a shitty life?!

Or what if after pondering these related principles you realize that your work environment & other environments you regularly frequent are contributing to a path to nowhere? Or worse, are leading to a steady decline?!

And what if your consumption (food, information, & otherwise) is killing your life?!

Here are a few ways to quickly hack the system:

 

Lifehack #1

Focus on what you are consuming. The easiest hack for this system is to immediately up the quality of content you are ingesting on a regular basis. It is a crucial step you can take & the first key to transforming your life at any time.

When you are commuting to & from work what are you doing? Are you listening to the fear-inducing news? Or maybe radio & music that is telling you to spend money to achieve happiness, buy more shit, do more drugs, sleep around, etc?

Instead of poisoning your mind you can listen to life-empowering audiobooks, audio programs & podcasts during your work commute.

This same thought-thread can be applied to all types of commutes and mindless activities where you can add in auditory learning/programming without negatively affecting your performance. This includes things like chores (cleaning, laundry, yard work, going to the grocery store, etc) and certain types of repetitive activities & exercise where you don't require music for motivation or have to keep track of performance metrics (reps, sets, times, etc).

During your free time you should definitely be reading books & blogs that empower & transform your life. Additionally, it pays to think this through with your viewing habits. What you regularly view informs your programming just as much as what you read & listen to. TV, movies, internet videos, public performances, etc.

Wise-minds actively curate their social media feeds so the content actually enhances their life. [here are my socials in case you need some instant reprogramming: Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter]

Even the experiences we consume program us.

Seriously! Think hard about what you are putting into your consciousness at all times.

Life-enhancing curated reading, listening, viewing, & experiencing is one of the most powerful habits you can cultivate in your life!

In disguise, this is a radical hack to create a virtual powerhouse group of people you spend the most time with. Want better friends to hang out with? Find the people you admire (or envy) and consume their content. Get inside their head & hang out with them virtually every day. Go to their workshops in person & consume experiences that can literally transform your life.

You can consciously & proactively manufacture a virtual group of friends that truly empower you to live a life worth living on your own terms.

This hack can be done quickly & easily without suddenly cutting people out of your life, quitting your job, or doing any major re-hauling of your day-to-day life.

This habit will then lead you to naturally seek out and connect with other people in your physical environment that are on similar growth paths.

 

Lifehack #2

Proactively manage how, where & with whom you spend your free time. After you have consciously redirected what you are regularly consuming the next step is to take a deep look at what exactly you do in your free time.

Even at work we have free time. What do you during your lunch break or other downtime periods at work? Are you having life-enhancing conversations, starting a personal finance interest group, learning from a colleague who is further along in a particular area of life, sharing articles that act as catalysts for positive transformation?

Or are you staying comfortable?

Proactively seek out interactions & experiences with people at work who will encourage you to grow. Even the worst workplaces have diamonds to be mined. Career development programs, training programs, etc. In the least there are at leas few colleagues who are kick-ass in some endeavor if you dig. Explore the edges at work. 

Outside of work how do you spend your time? If you're not consuming empowering content you better be spending the time doing something that is actually improving your life. This means getting involved in activities and communities that are aligned with your goals & values (current or aspirational). Proactively seek out experiences that will force you to grow whether you are ready to or not.

Find people who are interested in or working on things that you know you're into. Having trouble finding those people? Join a local Meetup group that is aligned with a life-enhancing interest. Other ideas include a local yoga studio, Crossfit community, dance crew, book club or any group that fosters growth. This can include a place of worship or anything else that brings together people with common interests, goals & aspirations.

Want to really supercharge your transformation? Do something wild like a weeklong Vision Quest or attend a weekend workshop like the Landmark Forum. Both of those can be pretty intense, but there are loads of workshops out there covering all avenues of life. 1440 Multiversity has a ton of them throughout the year and it can be just the personal investment you need to make a major shift in your life.

When you consciously spend your free time doing life-enhancing activities & hanging with empowering groups your life will optimize itself. And when you program these into your daily/weekly/monthly/yearly life you will naturally develop friends that reinforce the habits & behavior you want to build, hypergrowth your learning & consistently be challenged to grow in positive ways.

 

Lifehack #3

Change your everyday environment. This can include where you live and/or where you work. This can seem dramatic and challenging but it works.

When I was stuck in life & lost working in Hollywood Nightlife I had no idea what to do next but I knew if I went back to Stanford University I would be in a place that would force me to figure it out.

Was the transition easy? Hell no! It was godawful scary! Not to mention I was addicted to the money, social power, & the lifestyle of a career in nightlife. However, when I got honest with myself I knew it was not leading me towards the life I wanted. It was fun while it lasted, but deep down I felt I had more to give to this world. So, I took action in the face of fear. This is the definition of courage. And wow! Did it pay-off!

This major leap of faith led to my current career in wellness/tech and a work environment that has countless benefits such as a strong emphasis on all aspects of wellness--healthy eating, regular meditation, exercise, learning & personal development, and more.

Again, most of us spend more of our life energy with the people at work than with anyone else in our life, including our family. We also consume a majority of our daily life's food, information & experiences at and around work. This is why I cannot emphasize enough just how paramount it is to consciously choose the best possible place to live & work. Then double-down and proactively lobby & take action to make your community & company culture as life-enhancing as possible.

 

Conclusion: Build The System & Then Let It Do Heavy Lifting

In the beginning, it can take a bit of effort to redesign your life to optimize your growth. You may need to change daily habits, discover new activities, find new friends, find another career/company or even move to a new home. Nonetheless, I guarantee you it will be worth it! I know from personal experience.

Once you've proactively designed your life to automatically create positive change, transformation & ongoing growth it becomes a simple matter of minor maintenance. It's like you have this mini magical optimization machine tucked into your pocket & it's constantly pulling forth your highest best most authentic Self. And all it needs is the occasional winding to stay on track.

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

P.S. This article encompasses one of the major systems of my personal life optimization program, but as a lifelong Seeker I am always looking for additional tools, systems, ideas, etc. Got anything to add? Please shoot me a message or leave me a comment below (at the very bottom)!

Related: Books That Have Radically Transformed My Life




Facing Financial Shame: How I Overcame Some Serious Money Darkness

I tried running for as long as I could. Away from the fear & darkness. But eventually the weight of it all got so heavy I could no longer move forward. And this is when I decided to turn around and finally face it. Once and for all.

I've been virtually MIA online since August 2017. This is in stark contrast to the fact that I was blogging regularly, posting on Instagram & Facebook religiously, as well as going Live (aka video blogging in real time). This was my daily/weekly habit previous to my abrupt disappearance.

So where the hell did I go...?

The short answer is that I went to clean up my personal finances. They were a fuckin' mess. Unpaid taxes. Unfiled taxes from a few years. School loans. And credit card debt.

Here is the long answer:

TAXES

I came back to finish my Stanford degree in 2013. Instead of paying money I owed for taxes for 2011 & 2012 I decided to defer and make small monthly payments with interest. This way I could keep the cash for living expenses as I wouldn't be working for at least a year. I had my own business so taxes weren't automatically taken out of my monthly income.

Though this strategy worked well initially, it ended up leading me to make things much worse. When it came time to do my taxes for 2013 I pushed them off, sort of feeling that I had gotten away with not paying them in 2011 & 2012. I realize this was untrue as I was still paying on them monthly, but squarely facing your finances can be woefully scary when you have no money coming in.

When I finished up Stanford in 2014 I joined a startup and wasn't making much money for the first year or more. So when it came time to do my taxes for 2014 & 2015 I put them off again & again. I stupidly told myself I would take care of them "later."

Well, later never came. Or rather it did, but I still didn't take care of them. I let it get even worse. Even at the end of 2016, despite making pretty good money, I shied away from getting caught up on my taxes. By this time the shear number of years of taxes I had to clean up scared the hell out of me and I continued to try to hide from them. The mess was too big to even begin.

Plus, it felt so good to finally have money accruing in the bank. In truth, I knew that a good portion of it would need to go towards paying taxes and other debts but I still wasn't ready to face it.

It would have to get worse for me to finally take action.

One day I was looking over my growing finances and noticed that over $20K had been taken out of my business account by the State of California. That sure was a wake-up call!

SCHOOL LOANS

I started Stanford when I was 20 and took out my first school loan. Fortunately, I qualified for a decent amount of financial aid & scholarship so I didn't have to take out too much money. Unfortunately, despite making some pretty amazing money during my 8-year stint working in Hollywood Nightlife I never paid them off. Although I did a decent job of making the minimum payments I was much more interested in "living the life." Or in other words, the more money I made the more I spent. This is also known as "lifestyle inflation."

15 years later these student loans were still eating away at me financially, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually.

CREDIT CARDS

About 6-months after coming back to Stanford I asked my girlfriend (now fiancé) to move up from LA and join me in Menlo Park, California. This meant leaving her current income and starting over here. I was still finishing school (no income) and to make matters worse, Menlo Park has one of the highest costs of living in the world.

Though we had some money saved we were soon using the credit card more & more to make ends meet. It got bad pretty quick. Soon we were unable to make the minimum payment and had to do what is called "pay over time" where you essentially pay only a part of your minimum payment and defer the rest for later.

The credit card company loves this because it means they get to charge you even more interest on an even higher balance. We took it so far they eventually disallowed us from using pay-over-time. We were sitting on about $24K worth of credit card debt when they cut us off.

SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL MESS AS OF MAY 2017:

  • Unpaid taxes from 2011 & 2012
  • Unfiled & unpaid taxes from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • School loans: ~$10K
  • Credit card debt: ~$24K

I won't go into details of just how much I owed for all the tax years as I am still new to sharing my personal finances in such a public way, but let's just say it was a lot. Plus I was six years behind!

At this point you may be thinking, "Good god! Who even admits to being so far behind publicly?!"

Answer: a life alchemist who is on a mission to empower people to transform & self-actualize. Who better to be a lantern-bearer in the financial darkness than someone who has spent years crawling around in the muck & the mire, intimately getting to know it, and ultimately discovering the light within.

I'm definitely not the only one who has gotten behind on their finances. And I won't be the last. I believe that by sharing my vulnerability & ultimately my recovery it will provide others an opening to do their own recovery work in this crucial life area.

THE TURNAROUND

Being in debt & behind on your finances sucks. It is soul-sucking and it gnaws away at your life. It stains anything good you have going. An ever looming shadow lurking over all that shines. Trust me, I know. I've been carrying around the shame and energetic weight of unfinished taxes since 2011 and I've had debt since 2002. It's only gotten heavier and scarier over the years as I've pushed it to the side to deal with "later."

Well, later finally did come. The shame and accompanying pain become too much to bear. It literally caused me to creatively shutdown. Hence my disappearance as a blogger/vlogger & online force of transformation. How could I encourage others to do their "work" if I was running from my own opportunity to heal, grow & transform?

Deep down I knew that in order to move into the next level of my life I would finally have to clean up my financial mess. It was one of the key messages that was delivered to me during my Vision Quest. Yet, even after the most transformative experience of my life to date I still put it off for a few more months. Instead I took the fire and used it to push myself forward creatively.

Nonetheless, the call to face the darkness eventually became too loud to ignore. So I shut down externally and focused internally. And that's where I've been. Putting in the work to heal & recover.

But even before this I was laying the groundwork. I needed both the internal focus and the pre-work to get through it. 

I would love to say that it all happened in a perfectly linear order, but real life isn't that simple. Instead, I had to reach a certain level of pain in addition to having specific awakenings, learnings & experiences occur before it all came together.

In no particular order...

Here are my steps I used to reclaim my financial power:

1. Define your why:

Before I could even begin to tackle this mountain of darkness I had to get clear on my why. Why did I want to get my finances cleaned up? 

For me it was pretty simple. I was tired of dragging around this weight. Feeling afraid. Feeling trapped. Feeling powerless.

I wanted to be free & secure. I wanted my power back.

At an even higher level, I wanted personal finance to be one of my strengths so I could inspire others to find their own freedom & power. This would allow me to further deliver upon my personal mission. Once I knew this the next part was to...

2. Share the darkness:

I started with my fiancé. Even though I was afraid she would judge me I knew that I needed to tell someone otherwise I would only continue to fall deeper. I had to admit that I had a problem. You see, shame loves secrets. This is how shame controls us. It keeps us separated, alone, disconnected & powerless. Yet, when we have the courage to share our darkness we realize that those who love us unconditionally don't judge us. Instead they embrace us. My fiancé listened compassionately, she consoled me, and then she opened the door to the next step (#3).

Sharing with one person allowed me to share with others. I shared my dark secret with other family members and close friends and quickly realized that they all still loved & accepted me. They did not turn their back on me. I think consciously we all know this, but subconsciously we fear that we will lose those we love most if we share too much of our darkness. Actively & openly sharing breaks us free from this subconscious self-imprisonment.

The more I shared my darkness the more its hold over me lessened. This in turn opened me up to the next step.

3. Get help:

When you get behind or you are buried underneath something you have no idea how to tackle find someone who knows how to get through it and leverage their expertise. My fiancé introduced me to her friend's tax accountant who turned out to be a total tax rockstar. I had no idea where to even start, but this accountant was a complete pro. Step-by-step she helped me get each tax year cleaned up.

4. Action cures fear:

I did my best to do something every day that would force me to directly face my financial fear & shame. I worked on my taxes. I called my accountant when I was confused or unsure what to do next. I read personal finance blogs. I listened to personal finance podcasts. Eventually, the fear fades when you embrace it often enough.

5. Set new goals & get inspired:

During the time I was getting my taxes cleaned up I decided that I no longer wanted to just be great at making money. I also wanted to be amazing at managing my money. With this new goal new sources of inspiration began to show up. I discovered the infamous Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) and read his article "The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement." This one article fundamentally changed my thinking about personal finance and got me hooked on the subject.

Fueled by my newfound personal finance addiction I stumbled upon another MMM article titled "News Flash: Your Debt is an Emergency." After reading it I was super inspired and I paid off all my school loans & credit card debt in one day. I literally face-punched my debt into the ground with one haymaker.

6. Find your financial tribe & continuously learn:

Thanks to Mr. Money Mustache's ridiculous & hilarious persona (and awesome story-telling) I finally fell in love with personal finance and the concept of Financial Independence (FI). The definition I like the best is having wealth to cover expenses indefinitely without having to work. I don't necessarily want to stop working anytime soon as I am having a ton of fun building Oh My Green as one of the founding team-members. Nonetheless, having a nest egg (or Stash) that covers all of my living expenses would bring a level of freedom & security never before realized. Becoming a multi-millionaire in the next 5-15 years would also satisfy a childhood dream.

Through MMM I discovered a powerful tribe of people pursuing financial independence & early retirement (much earlier than 65). The FI tribe knows how to get there faster with more consistency than any other I've come across. Plus their emphasis on freedom is right in line with my personal values. There is something magical and powerful about surrounding yourself with others on similar paths with similar values. And it radically increases the speed at which you learn & move along your journey.

I am now regularly geeking out on saving money, investing, retirement accounts, travel hacking, tax optimization & numerous other wealth-building strategies. All because I found a tribe that makes personal finance fun and exciting for me.

CONCLUSION

I still have a long way to go on my personal finance & wealth accumulation journey, but I can happily say that I am 100% debt free & completely caught up on all my taxes (filed & paid). I've also made fierce gains on growing the Stash, rapidly increasing my net worth & pumping up my financial muscles.

So, no matter how far behind you are financially know that it's never too late to get caught back up and begin getting ahead. Through my personal study of those in the FI community I've encountered numerous stories of real people coming back from 100s of thousands of dollars in debt. Even if you think you are too far behind know that you are not. And you are not alone.

Feel free to follow the steps I outlined above and add in your own. If you know of or discover any useful tools, resources, or steps please share them in the comments at the very bottom of the page. I'm always looking to improve my own process and share with others!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

 

Cover Photo by Glass Locket Film, Suit by Vesey Exclusive


Alchemical Resources:

  1. Mr. Money Mustache. A leading figure in the FI community. His writing is hilarious. If you are anything like me it will make you enjoy personal finance. Fair warning: he is pretty extreme. I've found that by studying the extreme and creating a workable version for myself leaves me in place much further along than where I was before. If he seems too extreme find another personal finance voice that works for you.
  2. Rockstar Finance. This site aggregates popular personal finance blog articles from across the web. It's a great place to find some personal finance personalities/stories/journeys that resonate & truly inspire you no matter where you're at in life.
  3. ChooseFI Podcast. Best podcast on Financial Independence I've discovered so far. Start from the episode one and run through them all. It will provide a deep & well-rounded education in personal finance. It regularly fills in the gaps in my personal finance education. Regular listening also keeps me personally motivated each week to take action on building my wealth.
  4. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed To Be & Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. This book is not necessarily about money or personal finance but it deals powerfully with shame and that is something that almost always accompanies money in some way or form.




Top Posts Of 2017

It's pretty wild how fast a year can whip on by. 2018 is here!

Many friends & audience members have been asking me where the hell I've been lately. I more or less disappeared from all online platforms since July.

Truth is I've been doing some deep inner work that I plan on sharing at some point, but not quite just yet...

Nonetheless, to close out the year I figured I'd do a highlight reel of some of my best pieces I've composed over the last year. I figure it's a good reminder to myself that I'm just getting started as a blogger/writer.

Plus, I am sure new and old readers alike will discover something new that they can benefit from as all of my creative work is done with the guiding principle of "empowering people to transform & self-actualize."

Some of these are personal favorites and some just got a lot of traction online (and some are both favorites & popular). I've broken them into categories to make it easier for readers to get to a topic they want to read about.

All of these are good articles to use in planning & executing upon your best year yet!

Alchemize Life Top Posts Of 2017:

FitnessHow To Be An Ultra Fit Entrepreneur

This is my overarching philosophy & daily/weekly strategies for being in incredible shape year round.

Meditation: The Four Universal Forms of Meditation

A guide that shows that there are more ways to meditate than just sitting.

Self Knowledge: Rebel With A Cause

I believe that self-knowledge is one of the premier aspects of living an awesome & empowered life. Here is a framework that empowers you to discover how you respond to inner & outer expectations. Super powerful.

Relationships: How To Find Your Twin Flame

We are all looking for love. Here is how I found mine.

Habits: Habit Stacking

We are defined by our habits. Here is how to get more out of the good ones (and the bad ones too).

Life Hack: Physical Alchemy

The body is powerful & wise. Use it to alchemize your life.

Books: Books That Radically Transformed My Life

These are books covering creativity, human potential, money, healing, spirituality & more that have had a huge impact on my life.


Wishing everyone an incredible New Year bursting with love, laughter, family, friends, success, abundance, health, healing, growth, transformation & magic!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

ALN4: How Do You Unblock Yourself?

Greetings my fellow Life Alchemists!

Here are 9 things I thought were worthy* to share:
*worthy defined as having the potential to alchemize/transform your life in some positive way if you take action on it.

1. Three Simple & Powerful Tools To Create Breakthroughs In Your Life

  • Morning Pages: This is 3-pages of unfiltered stream-of-consciousness hand-written (with pen or pencil) within 30-minutes of waking.
  • Artist's Date: This is a date by yourself (alone) for yourself (aka your inner child). Anything goes. The guiding rule is "fun!"
  • Walking or Moving Meditation: Take your problem, challenge, life-blocker on a walk (or bike-ride, swim, run, etc). Any repetitive movement will work.

For a more in-depth explanation of these powerful tools watch my video-blog:
 


2. YOUR ALCHEMICAL OPPORTUNITY ⚡️
Try out the tools above. I use them daily/weekly to move through blockers in my own life & to continuously improve upon my commitment to living a life worth living for!

Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form.
— Stephen Nachmanovitch

3. TOOLS & TECH ⚒
Apple Airpods. I would not quite call myself an audiophile but I am pretty adamant about listening to super high quality sound. I've been a longtime Bose user so I wasn't expecting the Apple Airpods to beat out both my wireless & wired Bose headphones on sound quality. In fact, I was kind of shocked.

Another amazing feature of the Airpods is they actually cancel out much of the wind-noise for the person you are talking to when you use them as a phone-headset. This is a game-changer for me because I have a rule that anytime I can take a phone call while walking I do. I was constantly apologizing for wind. No longer the case thanks to the genius of the Airpods!

4. WOD (Workout Of The Day) 💪🏼
A lot of people have been asking for my daily workouts so I decided to start sharing them on my Instagram Stories. This is version one of me attempting to share my workouts. Let me know what you think! And if you have ideas for ways that I can better share, shoot me a note via emailInstagram or twitter with suggestions!

5. BOOK 📕
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. This book unleashed me in so many ways. The tools that open this newsletter are from Julia. I dreamed of being a blogger for over 10-years even though I had never written for myself. In other words if it wasn't for class or work I had never actually written creatively on my own. I read this book and started a blog within a month or so. It's that powerful.

6. RUN FREE: The Paradox Of Cultivating True Freedom
A recent blog article about freedom & cultivating it in our daily life.

Run Free:

The Paradox of Cultivating True Freedom

7. HOMAGE 🙌🏼
If it isn't obvious by now this ALN's homage goes to Julia Cameron. She transformed my life. And she has transformed the lives of creators across all major life categories (not just artists) including business professionals, entrepreneurs, athletes, spiritual leaders & more.

She's published 40+ books in addition to her other creative work--plays, music, scripts, & more. Start with The Artist's Way. It's a powerful reminder that we are all Artists and it will create major movement in many areas of your life.

I recently had the privilege to learn from her in-person at her workshop at 1440 Multiversity. It truly was a transcendental experience. If you ever get a chance to take a workshop with her or visit 1440 do not miss it! Both are goldmines of life empowerment!

8. LEARNING 🤓
The only person or thing that is blocking us is our self. The ego wants us to blame some "other" person or thing for holding us back or holding us down, but really that is just an illusion designed to keep us stuck. The truth is that the only person that can un-block us is the one who looks back at us in the mirror.

9. READER REQUEST 🙏🏼
I am always looking for new ways to unblock myself. Got some good tools? Please send them my way! One of my greatest joys from my work with Alchemize Life is how much I personally learn & grow from interaction with my brilliant audience. 

Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and want to support it please forward it to a friend!

If you're seeing the newsletter for the first time, you can signup here.

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

--
SPECIAL NOTE: Readers often comment that ALN (Alchemize Life Newsletter) is "dense." To graciously clarify: it is designed that way so that you can come back to it again & again whenever you need some empowering energy for your life (until the next issue arrives). I do NOT recommend trying to read & do everything in one day. Take what grabs your attention first and bookmark the html version and pop it open whenever you need some more creative fuel!

Photos by


Run Free: The Paradox of Cultivating True Freedom

Run free.

I've been thinking about freedom & liberation a lot lately.

It's a dense & complex subject. In yogic philosophy it is referred to as Moksha, or freedom from ignorance.

Freedom is one of my highest personal values. In all its infinite forms. Freedom to choose the people we spend our time & energy with. Freedom to choose our work -- what we put our physical, mental, emotional & spiritual energy into. Freedom to express ourselves with power & authenticity.

Ultimately, what I want & choose daily is freedom to live a life that has heart & meaning.

But how can we have this freedom & liberation if we do not know ourselves?

Self-knowledge is the key to liberation. Without it we are lost to ourselves and lost to the world.

And in both cases we are left useless. Useless to ourselves because we are chained to a life that doesn't reflect our true inner desires & values. And in turn we are useless to others because if we cannot serve & lead our Self then how can we ever do that with lasting impact for others?

The answer is we cannot.

Nonetheless, self-knowledge is an ever unfolding lifelong process. It is not something you achieve and then you never have to work on it again. It is an integral part of our daily quest.

And here is the kicker:

If we truly want to cultivate self-knowledge & self-actualization. If we truly want to be free. Then we must create & hold ourselves to empowering boundaries & restraints. This is the paradox of true freedom.

 

It seems so paradoxical that we must have boundaries & restraints to achieve true freedom & liberation. But that is the lay of life. It is constantly brimming with paradox.

We must choose physical activity & emotional development over sloth & hatred. Laziness & unchecked darker emotions are easy. Choosing & cultivating physical & emotional fitness requires restraint from the easy path & boundaries that call forth our highest selves.

How easy is it to lash back in anger when someone says or does something that doesn't sit well with us?

How much easier is it so sit on the couch and watch some TV versus getting out of the house to take a hike, hit the gym or even take a walk around the neighborhood?

Furthermore, it takes powerful boundaries to choose health-affirming substances to put into our bodies & minds in a world that is constantly programming & encouraging us through all media channels to poison ourselves with information, food, alcohol & drugs.

Over-consuming is not freedom when you are left with a body that is too heavy & lacking energy, a mind that is screaming in anxiety, a fearful heart & a dwindling spirit.

We must actively pursue self-study, meditation & prayer. For these to occur we must create containers in which they can flourish. This takes vigilant effort in a world addicted to information & convenience.

It requires a powerful stand to turn within when we live in a world that is constantly pulling for our outward focus. Yet we must do it if we are to grow our mental & spiritual capacity.

Powerful boundaries & restraints that are consciously & proactively built into our life to foster ever deepening self-knowledge will set us free.

Self-dominion is the true path to freedom, liberation & self-actualization.

As we find our Self. We find our place in the world. As we serve our Self. We serve the world & its people.

And that is freedom running at full speed.


Some of my current constraints, restraints & boundaries that empower my true freedom:

  • Food Journaling: I log my food every day for everything I consume and have been doing so since September of 2013. How it empowers my freedom:

    • It encourages me to be mindful of what and how much I am eating while still allowing me to enjoy all foods (including ice cream, cookies, pizza, etc.)

    • This practice has lead me to be in the best shape of my life year-round. Being able to take my shirt off and feel good in body is one of the most liberating feelings.

    • This constraint frees me from using food like a drug (which I did for most of my life) and it keeps me from abusing my body with over-consumption.

    • Feel free to add me as a friend on MyFitnessPal if you want to see what I eat (my food diary is public).

  • Meditation: I have been meditating every day and have been since April of 2015 without missing single a day. How it empowers my freedom:

    • Meditation has been used throughout all time and all civilizations to cultivate self-knowledge. It is one of the tried & true paths to Self liberation. More on meditation here.

    • My meditation practice is the foundation & platform upon which I build my entire life. Each day of meditation makes the foundation a little wider and a little deeper.  You can't build a skyscraper that reaches the stars without an incredibly strong foundation. In truth, you can't even build a solid & reliable 1-story house without a foundation.

  • Sobriety: I have been sober from marijuana & other harder drugs since February of 2013 and sober from alcohol since September of 2014. How it empowers my freedom:

    • For over a decade I was a slave to alcohol. My entire life revolved around the consumption of it. This led to even deeper enslavement to marijuana, adderrall & worse for over 5-years. During my addiction I thought I was free, but in truth I was chained to a life that required substances for me to be even be remotely happy or excited about life.

    • It took me a few years to remember how to have fun without drugs & alcohol but I finally woke up! And I feel like a kid again! As a child everything was magical and I had so much fun living life with a sense of wonder and I didn't need any drugs to get into that blissful state. I've rediscovered that super-power and I'm literally constantly high on life! This is ultimate freedom to me!

    • Vibing with my sobriety & high on life existence...? Here's a live video I filmed recently about it!

  • Physical Training: I am predominantly a bodybuilder & yogi but I also walk, hike, bike, rollerblade & trampoline weekly along with other forms of movement (swimming, frisbee, fitness classes, massage, etc.). How this empowers my freedom:

    • This is self-knowledge at the primal level. Knowing your body is knowing your Self. This daily practice removes ignorance & encourages connection to Self.

    • Training my body trains my mind, emotions and even my spirit. Being fit in all major life areas is a high form of liberation.

  • Reading/Listening: Every day I read & listen to empowering knowledge. How this empowers my freedom:

    • You are what you consume. If you consume empowering material you become empowered. If you consume garbage your life becomes garbage.

    • This practice is one of my major keys that keeps me constantly healing, growing & transforming.

  • Creating/Sharing In Service: Everyday I try to create something that will empower another life. Whether it's a blog post, a video, Facebook update, Instagram or creating an experience in-person with someone I always try to live from the guiding question: "Is what I am doing empowering & of service to others?" How this empowers my freedom:

    • Being of service in a way that I am authentically & personally passionate about is easily one of the best ways to get high on life for me. Each time I do it I am filled with an incredible energy & sense of satisfaction that I cannot seem to get any other way.

Alchemical Opportunity For The Reader:

What are the constraints, restraints & boundaries that you can proactively create & cultivate in your life now to truly give you the life of freedom you desire & deserve?

Leave me a comment below, send me an email or tweet me with your answer!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒


END NOTES:

  1. Originally this was an Instagram post that ended up being too long so I only posted part of it. It was inspired by one of my amazing yoga teachers, Hana Raftery, after receiving her class/teaching focused on Moksha on Independence Day (July 4th).
  2. Photos by Noelle Johnson.

 

    ALN3: How Do You Scale Yourself?

    “If you want to go fast, go alone.
    If you want to go far, go together.”
    — African Proverb

     

    Greetings my fellow Life Alchemists!

     

    Here are 7 things I thought were worthy* to share:

    *worthy defined as having the potential to alchemize/transform your life in some positive way if you take action on it.

    1. SCALING YOURSELF 📈

    I've been thinking a ton about how to scale both myself & others in all areas of life and the biggest conclusion that I've come to on this aspiration is that the best way to do this is by building an awesome & dynamic team around oneself--one that includes business/creative partners, mentors, coaches, life-affirming family/friends & communities that empower the life we truly desire. In my mind it is the only way to truly become bigger in this world and really be of service.

    We often see these pinnacles of powerful people (Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, etc.) doing really big things in the world, but we often forget or don't even realize they have massive teams they consciously & proactively built around them that empower them to do what they do.

    So how can we do this in our own life . . . ?
     

    Here's my simple approach to scaling every important area of your life:

    Get a formal or informal coach for each life-area you want to empower.

    I have a creative coach, a fitness coach, an executive business/leadership coach, a tribal/wisdom coach, a family coach and I'm actively looking for a relationship coach & personal finance coach!

    **If you know a good relationship coach and/or personal finance coach please send them my way!

    2. YOUR ALCHEMICAL OPPORTUNITY ⚡️

    Find & formalize a coaching engagement for one area of your life you want to EMPOWER. This can be going out a getting a professional coach or creating an agreement with a friend/colleague who is really good at the area of life you want to transform.

    3. TOOLS & TECH ⚒

    What gets measured... gets managed, empowered & manifested! This holds true in all areas of life, but especially fitness. Probably the biggest reason I am in such awesome shape year-round for 4-years and running is that I track both my body-weight & body-fat daily.

    For almost 4 years I used a scale and fat-loss monitor by Omron. It was a good machine and reliable, but one huge caveat: I had to manually enter those data-points into MyFitnessPal, aka MFP (where I track my body-weight, body-fat & keep my food-log).

    Thanks to my awesome friend Ramji I discovered the Withings Body Cardio which not only measures weight, body-fat percentage, muscle-mass & more... it also seamlessly & wirelessly syncs with MyFitnessPal!

    This saves me 1-2 minutes per day. Not much but compound that over a year or a lifetime and that is a lot of time!

    More importantlh: I've learned that by making tracking/measuring as automatic as possible it saves a lot of mental/emotional energy that is hard to quantify. Tracking/monitoring is super powerful but you can only track so many metrics in your life so get super smart & efficient about what you track and how you track it!

    **Special note: Feel free to add me as a friend on MyFitnessPal if you would like to follow along and learn how I eat daily to empower my fitness year-round.

    3. INSTAGRAM 🎞

    My most popular Instagram post since the last ALN -- a micro-blog on how to find your twin flame!  And here is the full blog article on how to find your twin flame! 🔥🔥

    4. BOOK 📚

    I'm currently reading The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz. Super powerful. It's all about the importance of oscillation, intervals & intermittent everything! Potent premise & book. Highly recommend!

    5. LIVE VIDEO  🎥

    Ever since my VisionQuest I've been filming Live Videos on both Instagram & Facebook almost daily. Here is an awesome one I did during an epic road trip about the super powerful concept of "BE. DO. HAVE." 

    Please follow along on IG & FB and tune-in live! I love interacting with my audience in real-time! 

    6. HOMAGE 🙌🏼

    Every issue of ALN I like to acknowledge someone who has had a huge positive impact upon me, my life & the life of many others.

    This issue of ALN I would like to recognize Rich Roll (IG: @RichRoll & Twitter)-- ultra athlete, vegan evangelist, top podcaster, all around positive empowerer, and so much more!

    Rich went to Stanford 🌲 like I did so there is the alma mater love. However, what is most poignant to me is his life-story and healing journey with alcoholism and food abuse (I share radically similar life-challenges).

    His book Finding Ultra was life-changing for me and my sobriety.

    His podcast is seriously awesome and is a constant fuel for positive growth & transformation for me personally.

    I'm not a vegan (yet), but because of Rich I definitely eat way healthier and think much deeper about my food choices in all aspects (sourcing, world/environment impact, nutritional value, etc.).

    Definitely check out his podcast at the bare minimum!

    His wife (Julie Piatt) often co-hosting on his podcast, is also super awesome! She always speaks in communion with my inner #SpiritualHipster!

    And the two of them together are powerful relationship role-models for me and my fiancé! 

    7. LEARNING 💡

    My biggest recent learning... To scale yourself you must build a team around you.

    The ego wants to try to convince you to do it alone.  He/she is whispering that if you can't do it alone you are not strong enough, good enough, worthy enough, not enough...

    This is an illusion of the ego! Don't fall for it!  

    We are all of so much more service to each other when we consciously & proactively enroll the support of others in our lives! This is why we are born into families! If we didn't have a family (blood or adopted) we would die within days. This fact doesn't change as we get older.

    Build your family, build your team, build your tribe!

    Together we heal, grow, transform & alchemize so much faster!!!  

    Plus it's way more fun when you are alchemizing with people you love & enjoy spending time & energy with!


    Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and want to support it please forward it to a friend!

    If you're seeing the newsletter for first time, you can signup here (or below).

    In alchemy & service,

    Justin David Carl 🌒

    P.S. If there was one thing I could write, podcast, or make a video about what would it be? Leave a comment below (very bottom), email me or send me a tweet with your suggestions! Use hashtag #ALN (Alchemize Life Newsletter) for any tweets or Facebook posts!

    --
    Title Photo by Avni @ Glass Locket Film
    Suit by Vesey Exclusive

     

    How To Find Your Twin Flame 🔥 🔥

    Want to transform your life & find "the one"?

    You know which one. The one you think will make your life complete. The one you dream of spending the rest of your life with.

    Before you can truly find & deeply know "the one" you must . . .

    FIRST: learn to love, approve of & accept yourself.

    This is a practice you will have to build & invest in throughout your entire life.

    It is not something you get to do once & then it magically continues to work on its own.

    That would be like working out at the gym & eating healthfully for one day and expecting to be fit & healthy for the rest of the year.

    Anything worth having takes continuous energetic investment.

    Once you have a healthy level of self love, approval & acceptance open yourself to a partner that calls forth the highest vision that lives deep within your heart & Spirit.

    This is a secret to radically hypergrowth your own apotheosis.

    Alone we can be strong, grow, heal & transform.

    But together we get to do it at an even faster clip.

    And with another we get to be VULNERABLE.

    This is where true power to transform lies.

    It is the magical dark & scary cavern that holds the greatest of treasures.

    And if we have the courage to face & embrace our inner darkness...

    Truly profound & permanent healing, positive change & transformation becomes available.

    Rarely can this journey be done alone.

    We live, grow, heal & transform through the PEOPLE in our lives.

    It is through #vulnerability with others that we get to access our deepest capacity to self-heal.

    Plus, we get to learn how to powerfully be there for another even when it isn't easy & convenient.

    This alone builds incredible character and reinforces our own ability to love & accept ourself even when it is incredibly difficult.

    By being vulnerable you give others PERMISSION to do the same.

    And in that shared safe-space the fire of transformation is lovingly ablaze.

    This is who I share my Spirit-Fire with.

    I call her my Priestess & my Phoenix.

    She is both my heart-fire & the Goddess who beckons me powerfully forth along my HIGHEST PATH in life.

    I had to learn to love myself before I could truly SEE her.

    But when I did she blossomed in my life like lighting & I've been radically transformed for the better ever since.

    For HER. I am forever & deeply grateful.

    Have you learned to love, approve of & accept yourself?

    If not, do not expect to find lasting solace in another.


    Alchemical Resources:

    • "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise L. Hay. This is the book that I used as a guide to learn how to truly love myself. It changed my life. Get the gift edition with colorful pictures -- I swear they heal your inner child as you view them.
    • Here is a video-blog where I get vulnerable and go deep into how I discovered my Twin Flame by learning to love myself:

    Alchemical Opportunity for the Reader:

    1. Develop your own daily practice of self-love. Make it easy. And make it the first thing you do upon waking. Here is what I do:
      1. Stand in front of the mirror.
      2. Look myself in the eye.
      3. And say: "I love myself. I approve of myself. I accept myself. I am grateful for myself."
      4. Special note: This simple self-love practice seems easy enough, but don't be surprised if you find yourself feeling ashamed, stupid, foolish, crying & other darker emotions. I had to persistently say these affirmations daily for several months & work through a lot of self-hate & self-cruelty before I could powerfully make these statements and actually believe them without crying or wanting to ridicule myself. In short, be prepared for your "stuff" to come up as you do these standing in-the-mirror affirmations.
    2. Have some other awesome self-love practices, rituals, & habits? Share them in the comments below so others can benefit from the powerful work you have done in your life! 💓 Together we heal & alchemize so much faster! 🙌🏼

    We must love ourselves first before we can TRULY love another.

    Start with your own heart.

    Then the Universe will deliver another that beats in synchronicity with your own creating the most beautiful harmony that is so much greater than the sum of the two parts.

    This is how you DISCOVER your #TwinFlame.🔥🔥

    In alchemy & service,

    Justin David Carl 🌒

     

     Photo by  Noelle  | Socks & Briefs by  Related Garments

    Photo by Noelle | Socks & Briefs by Related Garments

    ALN2: What's Your Vision?

    When the communication & contact between self & the Creator become pure, then this we call Vision.
    — Stalking Wolf 🐺

    Greetings my dear Life Alchemists! 🙌🏼

    Here are 10 things I thought were worthy* to share:
    *worthy defined as having the potential to alchemize/transform your life in some positive way if you take action on it.

    SPECIAL NOTE: Several readers brought up the point that my last newsletter was very "dense." To graciously clarify: it is designed that way so that you can go back to it again & again throughout the month whenever you need some empowering energy for your life. I do NOT recommend trying to read & do everything in one day. Just bookmark the html version and pop it open whenever you need some creative fuel.


    1. For my 35th birthday last month I went on a Vision Quest. I wanted to kick-off a new phase in my life & this was the most powerful way I could think of. This experience included an entire week spent in the wilderness. For 4 of those days I was FASTING (water only) in complete solitude & silence. This is an ancient form of experiential transformation. And oh my God! It was the most powerful experience I've ever undergone! Curious? Send me a message with any questions. I am compiling my thoughts on Vision Quests and would love to cover any common questions/concerns. Also, I would be happy to refer you to where & with who I did my Quest if you feel the call. I highly recommend going on a Vision Quest if you feel lost or stuck in life.  They are designed to make you remember why you came here (to Earth). If you want to do your own research here is an awesome book on Vision Quests (opening quote is from the book).

    2. I finally started vlogging (video blogging) and I am loving doing it "Live" on Instagram & Facebook (please follow me to see my "Live Stories" -- always full of empowering content!). Here is one episode I saved & posted on embracing fearmistakesfailure & creating empowering meaning in your life:



    3. My most popular Instagram post in the last month. A short snippet about "choosing your possibility." 

    4. My current favorite tool/toy... a fat-loss monitor! I use this to track trends in my body-fat levels. They say "what gets measured gets managed" & I can attest to this! By tracking & logging my body-fat daily I've managed to stay well under 10% body-fat (visible 6-pack) for over 2 years.

    5. Why it is so empowering to have people that are HONEST with you (aka Why I Was Killing My Relationship & My Life). Especially when you are in a rut (yes, I am human and fall into slumps as well).

    6. Monthly homage: Shout-out to my dear friend & fellow blogger Kevin Gao (also serial entrepreneur). He was absolutely pivotal in my personal unfolding as a blogger. He is brilliant, funny, a very deep thinker & is always sharing life-enhancing material. Check out his creative work at kevinhabits.com!

    7. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins - book I'm re-reading for awesome personal growth & development. 🔥 Yup, still re-reading this! Old me used to rip through books as if speed was the only way to read. I still consume massive amounts of books but lately I have added slow & deliberate re-reading into my personal growth repertoire. I was inspired by Kevin (above) to do this. I will read 1-3 pages and deeply think, write & talk about what I read and learned. I personally discovered that this facilitates deep learning (meaning I actually use the ideas/concepts in my real life AND they stick with me).

    8. Speaking of books I finally put together my personal list of Books That Have Radically Transformed My Life! 📚 Do you have any life-changing books that are NOT on this list? If so, please share with me! I am looking for the next epically life-impacting book(s)!

    9. Here is an awesome & brilliant short read about The 6 Human Needs. Two of them are: (1) Certainty & (2) Uncertainty... LOL! No wonder we always feel so conflicted in life!

    10. My biggest recent learning: Experiment, test & play with everything that you think may even have a slight chance of empowering & enhancing your life. You never know what will really "work" for you until you try it. This has been a game-changer for me! It unlocked me from only writing & creating on my blog. My sense of creative freedom jumped ten fold. I have been testing (and playing) with every publishing platform I can get my hands on. I've completely fallen in love with Quora and still learning how to best use Medium LinkedIn. And yes, totally obsessing over Instagram & Facebook stories (Live & otherwise)

    Your alchemical opportunityDo something today or this month that SCARES you! Explore those edges! That is where all the awesome growth & transformation happens! 🤘🏼

    Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and want to support it please forward it to a friend! 🙏🏼

    If you're seeing the newsletter for first time, you can signup here.

    In alchemy & service,

    Justin David Carl 🌒

    P.S. If there was one thing I could write, podcast, or make a video about what would it be? Email me or send me a tweet with your suggestions! Use hashtag #ALN (Alchemize Life Newsletter) for any tweets or Facebook & LinkedIn posts!

    P.P.S. If you missed the April edition of my Newsletter please check it out here! Plenty more awesome material to EMPOWER YOUR LIFE! 🤘🏼

    Books That Radically Transformed My Life

    Reading is one of the things that brings me the most joy in life.

    Reading also happens to be one of the most transformational growth-inducing activities I do daily.

    I've been thinking about putting together a list of books that have radically transformed my life for the better for a long time.

    I finally realized that I may as well start because I will never be done. And I can always come back & update this as I see fit.

    Special note: This is a living-resource that I will continuously curate so don't feel the need to go through all of these as fast as possible. Just pick one book that catches your mind's-eye, take your time with it and come back here for the next one when you're ready!

    So, without further ado, here are...

    Books That Have Radically Alchemized (Transformed) My Life:

    Creativity

    The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

    Julia Cameron is one of my biggest mentors. This book was groundbreaking & truly life-changing. It unleashed me as an artist, creative & writer. It taught me to fall in love with journaling--one of the most empowering transformational tools I have in my repertoire. It also linked creativity as a pathway for spiritual communion. This paradigm radically alchemized my life in infinite ways.

    The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Goden

    Seth Goden is a brilliant writer & thinker. This book unbound me from own creative suppression. It gave me permission to create & share and naturally allow an audience to form around my creative work.

    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life by Anne Lamott

    Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. This book makes me laugh, cry, reel with delight, soar in intellectual & emotional brilliance & so much more. Her writing makes me desperately want to write. Inspiring and great life advice even if one has no interest in writing.

    Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

    Mason Currey showed me that art & creativity and the work that goes into producing it comes in all shapes, forms, sizes, colors, shades & walks-of-life. There is no one right way. There is a way that works for you. Our job is to find & harness our unique ways that empower our personal creative process.

    Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

    This book gave me permission to "steal" the work of others, combine it with other works in all fields & topics, and alchemize it all together to make it my own. Short. Fun. Powerful. Read this.

    Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

    Austin Kleon taught me that it is not only okay but actually an integral part of the creative process to show your work even as your are developing it (aka before it's "done"). He empowered me to stop hiding my vulnerability & instead use it as a strength & pathway forward.


    Human Potential, Personal Development & Money

    Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

    First read this as a teenager. Radically transformed my life for the better. Went from loaner & playground bully to powerful social force for achievement as well as leader in all areas of life (school, sports, family, etc). It truly unlocked my potential. Aided me getting to Stanford University & beyond. Re-reading again in my 30s and diligently studying & applying. Having same effect it did when I was teenager.

    Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

    Same case as above with Awaken The Giant Within.

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

    Foundational. We are our habits. Everyone should read. Also recommend the teenager version written by the author's son.

    Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney

    This book gave me an obsession with habits. Game-changer. Amazing parenting advice as well. 

    Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

    One of my favorite books on habits & optimal conscious habit-design for your unique temperament. 

    Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

    Probably one of the most timeless & popular success books ever written. There is a reason it's on so many incredibly successful people's must-read book-lists.

    The Master-Key To Riches by Napoleon Hill

    This is a lesser known gem by Napoleon Hill. Short & straightforward, yet you could study it daily for the rest of your life.

    The Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman

    Dan Millman and this book made me realize & finally "see" the woman of my dreams. For this I will be forever deeply grateful. It also happens to be a life-changing book in many other ways.

    The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere & Join The New Rich by Tim Ferriss

    I read this when it first came out in 2007. I instantly thought to myself "Finally! I understand who I want to become!" My vision was similar to Tim Ferriss with the human potential & positive transformation leadership, but with my own alchemical fashion-forward spiritual-hipster twist! Ten years later I am finally living that vision. Forever my deepest gratitude to you, Tim Ferriss for helping me understand, see & live my own personal vision.

    Psycho-Cybernetics Maxwell Waltz

    Read this at a super young age (thanks Dad!). Awesome book about harnessing your subconscious & building self-esteem.

    The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

    Incredibly dense book. I don't agree with everything in it (in the sense of actually using the power to my advantage), but I can see how some people operate from some of these more questionable power-paradigms. That said, I strongly believe that having knowledge & awareness around power-dynamics is paramount to creating & protecting the life you do want to live.

    Creating Money: Attracting Abundance by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer

    This book finally gave me the spiritual-connection to money that I had been seeking for so long.

    How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Classic. Another book that is on many super-performers must-read lists. No matter what field of business you are in this will be of the utmost service to your life-journey.

    Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success by Carol S. Dweck

    For a "recovering-perfectionist" like myself this book was life-transforming. I recommend this book to all students (those in formal schooling like high-school & college as well a life-students) and anyone who has kids or ever wants to have kids. This book teaches you how to learn & grow. It teaches you how to cultivate a learning/growth-mindset in your children. Powerful stuff.

    Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

    This book gifted me with one of my core-values: grit (defined as passion & perseverance). A great companion to Mindset (above).

    The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

    Ryan Holiday taught me to "follow the process, not the prize." This led me to fall in love with the journey of writing, blogging, business-building, etc. It is also an essential book to pick-up & re-read whenever one is feeling blocked by an obstacle.

    A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

    A practical guide to the life philosophy of Stoicism and how to apply it in our modern world. The amount of joy I've experienced on a regular basis after reading this book & incorporating the lessons within it has been nothing short of AMAZING!


    Healing, Intuition & Spiritual

    You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

    If I could only give others one book for the rest of my life this would probably be it. It taught me to truly love myself. Get the gift addition (I swear the artistic & colorful pictures empower the healing process).

    The Four-Fold Way: Walking The Paths Of The Warrior, Teacher, Healer & Visionary by Angeles Arrien

    Life-changing tools & easy-to-read guidebook on harnessing & building within these four aspects (warrior, teacher, healer & visionary). I grew up with this book thanks to my Mom. It holds a special place in my heart.

    The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele

    Incredibly applicable way to live the philosophy of Yoga in modern-life. Super easy & fun read too.

    Voyager Tarot: Way of The Great Oracle by James Wanless (plus Voyager Tarot Deck)

    I've been practicing Tarot for over 7-years to cultivate my own intuition & build deep self-knowledge. This is my favorite Tarot Deck & it's in-depth companion guide.

    The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols by Angeles Arrien (plus Thoth Tarot Deck)

    This is my favorite book on Tarot which is based on Aleister Crowley's Thoth Deck.

    Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-Use Handbook For Identifying & Understanding Your Power Animals & Animal Spirit Helpers by Steven D. Farmer Ph.D.

    Spiritual Hipster incarnate. Yes I am! I traverse this magical world with my pack of Power Animals by my side. Want to discover your own power animal and/or develop your own totem animal pack? Read this book.

    The Book Of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ashian

    A key part of being Spiritual Hipster is working with gemstones. I've studied this book in-depth for years and know I will constantly go back to it for the rest of my life. Check it out if you've ever felt the energetic call of the enigmatic crystal-allies.

    Women Food & God: An Unexpected Path To Almost Anything by Geneen Roth

    For much of my life I abused food like a drug. As a result I had an incredibly damaging relationship with both food & body. This book was an integral part of the healing process. It was written for women, but if you have any food-issues this book will hit-home.

    Awakening Spirits: A Native American Path To Inner Peace, Healing & Spiritual Growth by Tom Brown, Jr.

    This book inspired me to go on a Vision Quest -- one of the most powerful transformational experiences I've ever undergone. The experience of the quest still continues to unfold it's awesome power in my life every day. Book also includes the teaching of a very powerful & easy-to-do meditation.


    Fiction, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

    The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

    My favorite Fantasy series of all time. Bar none.

    The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

    My favorite Dragon-themed fantasy series. Dragon is my main power animal so this series holds a special place in my heart. There are also Elves. Another magical soft-spot of mine.

    The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

    Probably my second favorite fantasy series. It's not finished yet (only two books so far).

    Redwall by Brian Jacques

    This was the fantasy book that started my lifelong love-affair with fantasy (my favorite form of pleasure reading). I still vividly remember reading this during a childhood multi-day river-rafting/camping trip.

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    This book taught me to trust the journey and process even when what I am currently doing in life doesn't seem to be leading me where I am supposed to go. It is, it's just in disguise patiently waiting for me to understand, become aware & embrace the journey.

    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

    My favorite Sci-Fi book and the book that caused me to fall in love with Sci-Fi. Ender's Shadow is just as good. I like most whichever I've most recently read.

    Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

    I made fun of my mom & younger brother for about a year for reading "children's books" (how I ignorantly categorized the Harry Potter books). Then I finally began one and I was hooked. Read the first 3-4 books in about a week. That's how good it was. It also happens to be one of the few fiction series I've read in entirety more than once.


    And that's it!  For now... 🤓 📚 🙌🏼

    Do you have any books that radically changed your life that are not on this list? If so, please share! Leave me a comment (scroll all the way down), email me, or send me a tweet with your suggestion! 🙏🏼

    I am always on the look-out for life-alchemizing books and I would love to add your favorite to this list after falling in love with it myself!

    In alchemy & service,

    Justin David Carl 🌒