My Fall/Winter Morning Homebrew Power Tonic

In the past I’ve had my fair share of anxiety and depression, especially during the darker months of the year.

I’ve also had lots of concerns over my physical fitness & mental health in general.

Over the last several years I feel like I’ve figured out a ton & come up with a systematic approach of proactivity & prevention.

Here is one cup from my Life Happiness Kit:


I’ve been gathering rosemary & lavender from my local neighborhood & adding it to my morning tea which is also infused with ceylon cinnamon & mushroom powder. Talk about a power tonic that lights my mind & body on fire!! 🤓🔥🌱🧬☕️✨💪🏼

There is something super magical about foraging in your own neighborhood. I believe we are deeply connected to Earth & that she is always providing natural medicine in our environment to heal, protect & invigorate us! The more local the more powerful! 

There has been research done that shows that local & self-grown food actually provides the exact micronutrients our bodies are deficient in—simply amazing how connected we are to Gaia! 

When I think about this Earth Connection that is available to us all I always think about the scene in the movie Avatar where they all plug into the Mother Tree & give new life to the main character. Seriously awesome! 🌳🧬

Also, as many are already aware, I’m an energy obsessed mind & body #LifeAlchemist so I like to alchemize my tonic even further by brewing it in a cup of Earl Grey tea along with adding a natural #fatburner & #nootropic stack into the mix! 😅

See notes below for ingredients & benefits:

Rosemary: 

-antioxidants and anti-inflammatory

-improves digestion

-enhances memory & concentration

-neurological protection. ...

-prevent brain aging

-cancer protection

-protection against macular degeneration

Lavender:

-treats anxiety, stress & depression

-anti-inflammatory

-anti-microbial

-promotes hair growth

-keeps acne at bay

NeuroShroom Mushroom Powder by Primal Herb:

-This super blend of nootropic mushrooms & other powerful herbs has Lions Mane Mushroom, Reishi Spores & more! Further notes on the plethora of benefits in the link below.

-get it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KWGX9j

Ceylon Cinnamon:

-supports healthy blood sugar levels

-promotes heart/circulatory health

-helps support fat metabolism

-get it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Rw3Kst 

Earl Grey Tea by Stash:

-I grew up w/ my mom brewing earl grey everyone morning. The smell of a cup of earl grey just brings me childhood joy & magic.

-black to has a good shot of caffeine with is energy & mood booster as well as an appetite suppressant.

-bergamot oil enhances mood, reduces stress, stimulates circulation, improves digestion, & alleviates pain

-get it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Eds8fz

Gather UP & Garden The Magic In Your life

I highly encourage everyone to get out in your local neighborhood & forage! This can be done in cities too! Just google “city foraging” & “urban foraging” & learn this magical skill for yourself!

Walking your neighborhood will bring you massive joy & appreciation for your life. I do my best to walk regularly no matter the weather. There is no such thing as inappropriate weather. There is just inappropriate clothing & gear.

On a similar note, growing your own life empowering garden is another super powerful Life Skill—thanks for the awesome upbringing and positive influence Mom & Dad! And major shoutout to my partner Carly for bringing this skill back into my everyday life!

Happy Alchemizing everyone! 


End Notes:

-The act of foraging was inspired by the awesome book “The Finnish Way” by Katja Pantzar. It’s also where I solidified the concept about getting outside no matter the weather (just wear appropriate clothing/gear). It’s something I was sometimes good about, but not always. Now I have clear understanding & process to follow.

-My walking habit forever fueled by the truly magical book “The Wander Society” by Keri Smith. This book fundamentally changed my life.




Lots more life empowering content on my Instagram:







You Must Do The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: A Ride Along Guide To Doing Challenging Things That Will Change Your Life

“I can’t do that. I’m not ready. That’s not who I am.”

Those were the first thoughts that entered my mind. Filled with fear of the unknown my mind tried to convince me to pass on the opportunity.

Without even giving it a chance, my mind said "No." Avoiding adversity & discomfort was its priority.

Fortunately, something in my heart was stirred. A sleeping giant began to awaken from the request.

The Back Story:

The Four Seasons Silicon Valley in Palo Alto reached out to me on Instagram. They were looking to partner with a local online influencer in the fitness/wellness space to spread awareness about the inaugural RBC Gran Fondo Silicon Valley event they were hosting.

A "Gran Fondo" means "Big Ride" in italian and this event would be composed of 1000+ cyclists covering approximately 75-miles & 7000 feet of elevation gain through the lush land of Northern California. The ride would start at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto and then go up & over the Santa Cruz mountains to the Ocean and back.

I was honored by the invitation, but my mind was screaming "You're not a cyclist! You don't even have a proper bike! And you've never done more than 10-15 miles on a bike and you have no training climbing a massive hill! Don't do this! You will look like a fool! You will fail! And what will people think when you do?!"

During my meeting with the hotel staff in charge of the event I wanted to say "No thanks, I'm not a cyclist" but fortunately I kept my mouth shut and told them I would think about it. I left the meeting doubting myself.

That evening I shared the opportunity with my partner. She quietly listened to me rant about how I wasn't a cyclist and how I should turn this opportunity down because it wasn't who I was and it would be too much effort for not enough reward. My limited mind was winning the battle…

Fortunately, my fiancé is a visionary and pretty much always sees infinite possibility when I'm self-sequestering myself in a dark corner. After I had finished explaining to her how I couldn't do it she pointed out a few things I missed.

  1. It's the Four Seasons--one of the most powerful brands worldwide with immaculate & stunning properties in many of the most amazing places across the globe. I'd be foolish not to work with them.

  2. This was an amazing opportunity to grow my positive influence & create a positive impact upon a greater audience by partnering with an awesome company.

  3. My whole message is about empowering people to transform & self-actualize. Here was an opportunity for me to transform & openly share the process with others.

I wasn't fully convinced, but I did decide to sleep on it.

Something awoke while my mind slept that night. The next morning, first thing upon waking, I emailed the Four Seasons and committed to doing the cycling event.

It wasn’t until after officially committing to the Opportunity that the real magic began to happen.

With only 5-days until the event, I didn't even have a bike. At least not one with actual gears that allow you to climb a mountain. I didn't have a helmet or shoes. I definitely didn't have the ever so crucial riding bib--this is the thing you wear to protect your crotch & tailbone from being injured from excessive riding on a hard ass bicycle seat for several hours.

I didn't know how to clip into pedals, change gears, or climb insane hills on a bike.

Yet, the mind is an amazing machine. When you give it clear direction, purpose, a goal & officially make a decision its gears begin to whir and figure it all out.

I started sharing with my work colleagues that I was going to do the event and soon enough I found out that one of my best friends at my company, Henry Edelson, was super interested in doing the event with me as a an avid cyclist. I reached out to the Four Seasons and asked if he could participate with me and they were more than happy to have him join me. Now I had a partner for the journey!

I kept talking about the event with the people in my life and soon discovered that our Head of Culinary at Oh My Green, Deryck, was also a longtime cyclist and one of his favorite things to do was get people into cycling. He also just happened to get back his loaner bike he lends out like a gateway-drug to get people hooked on the sport. He happily let me know I could borrow it and find out if I enjoyed the sport and that if I ended up liking it I could borrow it until I was ready to get my own. He also had extra shoes & a helmet.

On Tuesday, 4 days from the event, Derrick & I linked up and miraculously the bike, shoes & helmet fit perfectly. For those who are unfamiliar with cycling like myself, having the bike fit your body size is absolutely integral to going long distances without ruining your body.

And for the record, the bike wasn't some beater. Nope! It was a few years old Bianchi, the oldest bike company in the world. It wasn't the absolute latest & greatest, but it was the top of the line when it was released. More than good enough for me.

Next up was figuring out my riding uniform. I reached out to the rest of Oh My Green executive team and asked if they would like to sponsor the uniform for me & my colleague so we could represent our company in the event. Our company mission is to "empower people to live healthy & blissful lives" and supporting a local mission-aligned event & two company team members living the mission in real life was right on par with the company's endeavors. Suddenly we were sponsored riders.

I found us super sleek Pedal Mafia riding uniforms at Cognition Cyclery in San Mateo, California through a recommendation of another colleague at another company who was a triathlete. 

While I was working on the gear I would need for the cycling event I also reached out to Braden Torras of Alpine Northwest, a super talented videographer (among many other things) and Avni of Glass Locket Film, a delightfully gifted photographer, to see if they would be willing to cover the event with high fidelity photo & video. They were both thrilled at the opportunity to work with the Four Seasons in Silicon Valley. I'm still amazed they were both available on such short notice in addition to all of the gear lining up so magically, but like Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.

With only a few days left until the 75-mile ride I had everything I would need to fully participate. I even got in two short 6-8 miles rides on my new-to-me bike to learn how to clip in and change gears before the event.

On Friday night I checked my team into the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto, registered for the ride, signed a liability waiver, got my race number and had an epic team dinner around a fireplace on the patio of The Quattro Restaurant--the extremely elegant italian restaurant nestled in the corner of the hotel. Nothing like fueling up on a divine dinner with friends & family over the fireplace before a big journey. There was something tribal & mystical about the fireside dinner. A throwback to a time when we would gather next to the heat of the fire under the stars, shares stories & fuel up together for an upcoming journey.

The Ride of a Lifetime:

The morning of the event was magic in its own right. During the spring & summer months I tend to naturally wake up very early, usually 3-5am. I also tend to have incredibly high energy in the beginning of the day. So I was up early as usual, around 4am. My energy was flowing at an all-time high. I wasn't bouncing off walls. No, this energy was like a strong pulsating bass-line pumping throughout my being. Not frenetic, but instead a powerful rumble like thunder in the distance.

I had chosen to sleep in my own bed at home and meet my team at the hotel in the morning so that I could get the best sleep possible. I methodically gathered my gear and greeted the day with my fiance’.

  Yoga at the rooftop pool of the Four Seasons Palo Alto. [yoga mat by    Apeiron   ]

Yoga at the rooftop pool of the Four Seasons Palo Alto. [yoga mat by Apeiron]

First on the days agenda was a video/photo shoot at the gorgeous rooftop pool of the Four Seasons. The idea was to capture me preparing for this event as I would normally. And that we did!

My typical daily warm-up includes yoga & intentional movement. Avni captured pictures of me in various poses, while Braden caught me rising with the sun on a drone. It was superbly epic and a very powerful way to start the day.

Next up was changing into my actual riding uniform and lining up for the start of ride with my colleague Henry and capturing all of that on film & video. This is when things started to get real wild.

  Henry & I lining up for start of the Gran Fondo.

Henry & I lining up for start of the Gran Fondo.

There were 1000+ riders getting ready to go out for this Big Ride. We were being grouped together in waves and there were numerous countdowns as each group got released.

It was loud, crazy & I loved every minute of it! I could literally feel the anticipation of all the other riders washing over me adding to my own.

While waiting for our wave of riders to get released onto the course, Avni snapped shots & Braden filmed while I double checked I had everything for the ride and scarfed down some of Henry's food. Normally, I fast until noon or later but I figured I better have something in my stomach for the long journey ahead.

The starting gun went off and our group started the course. Henry & I rolled out with some celebratory hoots, hollers & goodbyes to our crew (and of course some expressions of love to the ever supportive fiancé).

As we started out I checked in with myself. I felt good on the bike and mentally told myself "I can do this!" During the first 10 minutes of the ride Henry proceeded to share stories about David Goggins--a navy seal & ultra endurance athlete who has an insane story of how he got into endurance sports. I was both inspired & intimidated by these stories. Henry said Goggin’s story reminded me of him in how he didn't train for his first foray into endurance sports.

The first part of the cycling event went fairly well until we hit our first major intersection with cars and a stop light. We were on a hill in a group of about 60 riders and when the light turned green I panicked getting clipped in, my foot slipped, and I slammed my knee into the pedal. Mild bleeding & pain ensued. We were only 20 minutes into the hours long course. Not the best start, but at least I was still able to continue on.

One thing that really hit me right within those first 10-20 minutes of the ride was how friendly and awesome the community of riders were. RBC Gran Fondo definitely built a special culture with their cycling events. We all chatted as we road together getting to know one another. Funny enough, people could hardly believe this was my first cycling event saying that I "looked like professional cyclist." Nothing like a sweet bike & cycling outfit to help me fake it. Being in fairly good shape from my numerous weekly fitness activities didn't hurt either.

Next up was my first major hill climb--something which I had no practice or training with. Fortunately, I spent some of those first 30 minutes chatting through hill climbing strategy with Henry so at least conceptually I had an understanding of how to use the gears and my body together to climb hardcore inclines. It wasn't long until I had to put theory into practice on the infamous Kings Mountain.

Other riders had shared Henry's climbing philosophy saying things like "don't try to be a hero and blast up the mountain, just get into your lowest gear and put in steady & constant work."

Kings Mountain was a total beast. Miles of climbing through lush Redwood forests. It was epically beautiful with ever increasing stunning views as we continued the ascent. 

Honestly, just looking up at the radical grades gave me shivers, but when I focused on just putting in the work for a few grueling miles I realized, "Holy fuck! I can do this! I can climb massive hills on a bike!"

My strategy to get up this beautiful mountain quickly evolved into just picking a rider or two in front of me and keeping pace with them. I didn't try to pass them up. I just followed along as best I could. I really had no idea how to pace myself so I figured it was better to model other riders who were surely more experienced than me.

When things got really hard, and they did, I would chant to myself, "I am strong. I am worthy." Over and over again I would say these empowering words and magically it seemed to draw forth inner strength I didn't know I had. Up the hill I climbed. And climbed.

Ultimately, I conquered Kings Mountain and made it to the first rest stop. And this is where I made my first major mistake.

Normally, I am a super healthy eater. Massive amounts of vegetables and lean proteins make up the majority of my food consumption. Very little processed junky food. However, at the first rest stop there were some not so healthy options (along with some good healthy options) that included M&M's, cookies, and other sweets chalk full of refined sugar and other manmade ingredients I can't even pronounce, much less have any understanding of what they are or where they came from. Most of the time I avoid stuff like this, but after spending a couple hours climbing a ridiculous hill I figured my body could use all the fuel it could get. "Heck, I still got a few more hours in the saddle and I'll be burning massive calories all day long. I can afford to eat some junk," I thought to myself. I proceeded to gobble down a few handfuls of M&M's and other sugary treats. Within minutes I was sky-high on one of the most addictive drugs ever known to mankind--refined sugar.

This first rest stop was also the beginning of my 2nd major mistake. They were handing out gel packs, the ones endurance athletes use to quickly get sodium and calories into their bodies during long grueling races. These ones also happened to contain a 20mg hit of caffeine. I grabbed about 5 of them and put them into my pocket to help me get through the rest of the ride.

During the climb of Kings Mountain Henry had went ahead at his own pace. As a regular cyclist my beginner pace was a bit slow for him, plus he wanted to see what he had so he pushed on ahead. He waited for me at first rest stop so we could start the next leg of the journey together.

After fueling up our bodies, using the restrooms and doing a little bit of stretching we hit the road again. This is where my 3rd major mistake began. 

At least half of the next leg was downhill. Similar to climbing massive hills on bikes, I haven't ever gone down miles long stretches of downhill road on a bike.

Irregardless of my inexperience, I bombed down the hills on my bike with Henry. We took turns leading. It was goddamn exhilarating! And despite it being fairly scary as a beginner, my adrenaline was pumping so high that it wasn't too hard to overcome the fear and just hyper-focus on scanning the road ahead for upcoming turns and objects on the road that could end my ride (or my life).

There is something about having to be so focused on the task at hand that pushes you into a state of flow. One where time ceases to exist, your Spirit comes alive, and life just feels so grand. Flying down a road on a human-powered mechanical machine at speeds up to 50+ mph definitely did that for me.

I ended up surviving & thriving through my first major downhill traverse on the bike, but when it was time to climb the next hill I hit my first massive roadblock. Within 10-15 seconds of beginning the next hill climb both my quads completely cramped up and my knees locked out. In other words, both my legs were stuck completely straight and I couldn't even bend my knees.

Somehow I managed to get myself to the side of the road without crashing and I laid down. Without having to worry about not crashing my bike I put all my mental energy into attempting to bed my knees. I couldn't do it. My legs were stuck straight. Henry hadn’t even noticed I had fallen behind and was already out of sight.

Amazingly, I didn't panic. Instead I told myself I would be patient and think this through & evaluate my options.

Within moments of analysis I realized why my legs had cramped up so bad. The entire 20-30 minute downhill ride I had ridden in a crouched position with my pedals parallel to one another and both my legs holding up my entire body weight. Essentially, I had held a staggered squat for close to half an hour. Pumped full of adrenaline & overly focused on making it down the hill safely I had managed to do this, but now that the adrenaline had left me and it was time to get back to the slow & steady work of climbing a hill my legs were completely toast.

I later learned that when you are bombing down hills you have to keep your legs moving and take time sitting down on the seat to allow your legs to recover. Otherwise if you hold a sustained staggered squat you will ruin yourself for the next climb.

As I laid there on the side of the road weighing my options I crushed all the water I had on me. I figured at least part of the cramping was due to dehydration. 

Other cyclists who passed me asked if I was okay and if I needed water. This concern & looking out for other cyclists is something that I soon learned is very common among the cycling community.

I explained to them that I had cramped up and was just taking a break waiting for my legs to un-cramp. They half-jokingly said that at least I looked really good lying down on the side of the road--thank you again Oh My Green for the Pedal Mafia uniform! We all laughed as they proceeded on.

As I laid there on the side of the road I thought through things. I definitely wanted to continue the journey so the only thing I could do was to see if my legs would actually un-cramp so that I could actually physically continue on. I told myself I would be patient and focus my mind on encouraging my quads to release. Shortly after making this decision one of the first responders who roam around the cycling course was driving by and saw me. He stopped to see if I was okay. Pat was his name and he was part of the RBC Gran Fondo crew. I told him what had happened and he offered me a ride home or some water. I chose the water and told him I really wanted to continue on.

As we were chatting my legs finally let go. My ability to bend my knees returned! I wasn't done yet! I told Pat I was good to go and asked for an additional bottle of water to refill my own.

Then I got back on the saddle and started climbing again.

Gratefully, my legs stayed unstuck. I got back to putting in the diligent work of grinding the mountain out. My will against the hill. Eventually, I caught up to another rider and just used him to set my pace against until I reached the next rest stop. By this time I was just trying survive the journey, all thoughts of being a hero were gone.

At the next rest stop I continued to double down on my previous mistakes--junk food & caffeinated gels. Nonetheless, I was extremely happy with my progress. I had made it over the Santa Cruz Mountains’ punishing 7,000 feet of elevation gain and road down the other side at breakneck speeds and lived to tell the story. Again, this was done with almost no training so the fact that I made it the Ocean from Palo Alto on a bike was a massive personal win already. I truly was surprised that I actually made it this far, especially after almost having to tap out with my legs locking up.

Henry had waited at this rest stop for me. It was at this halfway point that we decided it was best for him to continue on at his own pace and for me to continue on at my own. I was okay with this and definitely wanted to Henry to finish.

After a brief respite which included scarfing down delicious cookies and using the restroom I was back on the horse and headed back to Kings Mountain for another test of my body & willpower.

The next leg of the journey took me through rolling hills out near the Ocean. It was magical cycling through the fields, a tunnel of trees & other serenely beautiful open landscapes. It was a long way to the next rest stop but the number of intense hills was minimal and it was more about cruising along at a good clip. After probably the most peaceful portion of my ride I made it to the next rest stop.

I crushed more food, healthy & junk, refilled my water bottles, grabbed some more caffeinated gel packs, used the restroom and got back on the road yet again.

It was shortly after the third rest stop while I was diligently working my way up yet another hill that I hit a new level in the Quest. As I was methodically pedaling away in the never-ending circular motion of cycling I felt decades long held emotions deep in the wells of my body break open & release. It was raw unprocessed emotions that I had failed to work through and instead stored in my body. As I cycled through these long-forgotten & mysterious emotions I felt waves of energy cascading out from my lower chakras to the edges of all points of my body--head, hands & feet. Tears burst from my eyes while I was wracked by deep sighs & sobs, yet at the same time I was experiencing massive euphoria.


  In order to move to each next level of life we must face & embrace the darkness…

In order to move to each next level of life we must face & embrace the darkness…

It was transcendental. One of those rare peak life experiences that remain so vividly burned into your psyche forevermore.

I couldn't tell you how long it lasted, but whatever came up I cycled through it until it was done releasing. One of the deepest emotional, psychological & spiritual cleanses I’ve been through.

Without stopping, I continued to cycle onto & up Kings Mountain. Again.

Going up the other side of Kings Mountain seemed infinitely harder than the first trek up the Mountain. This is likely because I'd already been on my bike for 5+ hours and already climbed so much hill it was hard to even mentally conceptualize adding more the journey. I'd already come so far.

Nonetheless, I told myself I would continue for as long as possible while listening to my body. At the last rest stop the RBC Gran Fondo team had offered me a ride up the infamous Kings Mountain, but wanting to truly test my limits I passed.

I pedaled & pushed my way back up the mountain. Slowly. Methodically. Soaking in the magical Redwoods. Asking them for help. Digging deep into myself. Exploring new terrain internally & externally.

A little bit more. A little further. It was slow going. I was well past any physical exertion threshold I'd approached in this lifetime. Yet, I was still curious where the limit & boundary was. I felt I was finally nearing it. Nearing the place in which I would need to take on help, stop or injure myself.

I probably spent close to two hours trying to tackle the backside of Kings Mountain before I finally gave in. When I reached that point I could tell my knees were at risk of being seriously injured if I kept pushing. I had already been on my bike & pedaling for over 7 hours.

Instead of pushing myself to literal breakdown I decided it was time to take the help offered. I would indeed take a ride up the rest of the Kings Mountain to the last & final rest stop and then cruise down the other side of the mountain back to the Four Seasons in Palo Alto. Heck, I still wanted to finish the Big Ride even if that meant doing it with some assistance.

By this point my videographer, Braden, had become a first-responder. Interestingly enough, he had just taken a course a few weeks prior to do exactly that. Pure coincidence. Or maybe just more magic. I shot him a message and let him know I needed a ride up the mountain.

When he picked me up he informed me that there was another rider somewhere up the road that he had to get to so off we went. Quickly.

Racing up winding roads in a car turned out to be the piece of straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Before we even got to the next rider I had to ask to pull over so I could throw up.

The previous mistakes of inhaling junk food & caffeinated gels combined with pushing my body far beyond any previous physical thresholds all mixed together into a very unstable vessel. My whole self was primed to ignite. A rollercoaster-like car ride pushed me over the edge.

Out it all came. Over the next 3-hours or so. I was throwing up so much & feeling so nauseous that there was no way that I could even ride down the other side of Kings Mountain and cruise on back to the Four Seasons. Instead I had to head back to the hotel in the car with several stops along the way.

My ego died. I would not finish this Big Ride.

On a spiritual side note, one of the stops included me throwing up right next to a Coyote carcass. Coyote is known as the trickster God and he's known for tricking people into healing, growth & transformation. He definitely played me like a puppet. Despite normally abhorring the process of purging by way of vomiting there was something cleansing about this time.

It was like I was releasing all that deeply buried emotional junk that was crystalized into my body that I had just recently broken up through seemingly endless cycling. Now that it was no longer lodged like an icecap deep within my body it was time to fully get rid of the waste. It had been processed and it was time to cleanse the system.

When I got back to the Four Seasons I was so grateful for a super plush bed. Riding for 7+ hours had taken its toll and laying down on a giant cushy mattress with my fiancé was pure heaven. 

After a couple more visits to the bathroom & a couple hours of rest I was ready to eat. The hotel room service was to die for! It was also from the Quattro kitchen. So good in fact that I ordered it twice that night! After all the purging and wild amount of calories I burnt it was time for a serious refuel and the Four Seasons did me right! 

I spent the evening refueling, resting & integrating the powerful journey with my fiancé. It was by far the most epic adventure I’d had in years. And definitely one of the most life-changing. Second only to my Vision Quest I did for my birthday in 2017.

Surprisingly, the next day I felt amazing! To the point of getting on a stationary bike on the rooftop pool of the hotel, doing yoga, then later doing a CrossFit style workout with Henry and even playing 1-2 hours of Spikeball. I felt strong & incredibly alive!

And even though I didn’t finish the Gran Fondo it ended up being even better. It was the start of my life as a Cyclist. Since the Big Ride I’ve ridden all over Bay Area, Tahoe, Monterey, Pebble Beach, Joshua Tree and the territory I cover & explore on bike continues to expand.

I would say still to this day as I am writing this memoir of the experience I am still processing & integrating the lessons and undergoing the unfoldment that was catalyzed by it. Such a powerful quest! One thing is for certain, Eleanor Roosevelt was really onto something when she said:

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.




In addition to that enlightening quote that I finally really understand at a fundamental level, here are some key take-aways galvanized by my Big Ride:

How To Approach Hard Things That Will Change Your Life:

  1. Look for the hidden jewels that can be mined from the challenge (hard thing). In just about any challenge (opportunity) there are numerous prizes to be won if you take the time to look and make the conscious effort to uncover them.

  2. Ask empowering questions. Ask yourself the question "What is one thing I could do at this time in my life that would change my life for the better forever (whether I feel ready or not)?" Answering a powerful question like that will always move you forward in life.

  3. Leverage the empowering people in your life. Share the challenge (opportunity) with a trusted other who will empower you to say "Yes!" even when your mind wants to say, "No." Then keep sharing with others who respond with excitement. They may just have exactly what you need to make it all come together.

  4. Just say, "YES!" and figure out the details along the way. This means officially committing. Accept the invitation. Pay the admittance fee. Purchase the ticket. Apply for the job, sign up for the class, competition, workshop, etc.

Things That Really Move The Needle Of Your Life Forward Tend To Be Hard & Challenging:

  1. If they were easy everyone would do them all the time and we would all be humming along at a good clip all the time. It is the Quests we accept & take on, the ones filled with adversity & adventure, that challenge our entire being & remake us anew.

  2. They will often come in disguise. Something you've never done before. Something you think you could never do. Something that scares the shit out of you.

  3. They will push you outside of your comfort zone. Often times, way outside your comfort zone.

  4. They will induce fear. This is a good thing. It means it will change your life whether you are ready or not.

  5. You will likely fail the first time. Maybe the first several times. Again, if it were easy it probably wouldn’t catalyze much healing, growth & transformation.

  6. Release yourself from the outcome. Choose the adventure. Go all in. Play full out. And allow the experience (whatever it is) to transform you.

  7. Trust the unfolding of the journey AND take massive action at the same.

  8. It's not always about finishing. Often times it's much more about beginning a new chapter in one's life.

My New Chapter:

It’s taken me nearly 3 months, an entire season, to process this Epic Journey and get it down on virtual paper (this blog). However, I definitely haven’t been idle.

Not too long after the Gran Fondo I realized that my next chapter of life included more outdoor physical quests. Never had I felt so alive, so focused, so excited and so god damn happy & grateful! Both leading up to the Gran Fondo, during it, and a lasting effervescent glow has stuck with me ever since. I wanted more of this!

So, I went searching for my next Quest. And I found it—The Super Bowl of obstacle course racing. 13-15 miles with 30-35 obstacles & 4000+ elevation gain in Squaw Valley, California where they held the 1960 Winter Olympics.

I signed up, spent 2.5 months preparing & training for it. And just last weekend I completed my very first Obstacle Course Race. It was yet another life-changing event. So much so that a day after the Race I signed up for my next one at the end of the month.

There is so much gold to mine from these epic outdoor quests and I may have to write a few more blog posts about it, but for now…

I just want to send out a massive shoutout filled with love & immense gratitude to The Four Seasons Palo Alto & RBC Gran Fondo for this grand opportunity in disguise!

Ya’ll literally changed the trajectory of my entire life and acted as a major catalyst & demarkation for A WHOLE NEW ME!

I look forward to seeing you next year and actually finishing the Big Ride you got me started on. And who knows, maybe I’ll even train for it! ;)

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl

P.S. For the READER — What’s your next Quest?

  Where it all started… The entrance to the Four Seasons Palo Alto & the start of the RBC Gran Fondo Silicon Valley 75-mile ride.

Where it all started… The entrance to the Four Seasons Palo Alto & the start of the RBC Gran Fondo Silicon Valley 75-mile ride.


Related Micro-Blogs on Instagram: 

An Interview covering the experience on Paula Pant's Afford Anything Podcast:



Birthday Planning Guide: Strategies For Having The Best Celebration Ever

I’m getting wiser with the years (I think).

I put this Birthday Planning Guide together for everyone who has ever had a sucky Birthday...

I know I’ve had my share of bad birthdays, but I’m determined to stop that dumb shit and proactively design “a life worth living for!”

And I’m taking everyone with me! 🤘🏼

In the 4 weeks leading up to the ripe age of 36 years young I had the best birthday celebration month I've ever had in my life. It was packed with adventure, fun, friends, abundant magic & memories I will never forget!

In the past I'll admit that on numerous years I struggled with my birthday. Several years I just wanted to get it over already. I didn't know what I wanted and I didn't take the time to figure it out. Secretly I just wanted someone else to plan & execute the whole thing for me. And I selfishly & immaturely wanted someone else to know exactly what I wanted and what would make me happy. That was always a recipe for disaster. Sound familiar?

I’ve witnessed plenty of people run this number on themselves for their birthday and then they end up having a real shitty birthday. And then they blame circumstances & "other people" for the reasons it didn't go the way they wanted.

Let me be clear, I am not pointing any fingers as I've done this to myself many times. This year I didn't.

Instead of being lazy and leaving it up to to chance that next year I may or may not have a good birthday celebration I am proactively capturing all of the actions, steps & strategies that led to a truly AWESOME celebration of my life. This way I can review it next year a month or two before my next birthday and make it even better!

Ya'll know by now that I'm all about continuous & never-ending improvement! I figure by putting this Birthday Planning Guide together some of my uber intelligent & wise readers will share their strategies with me, thus making future improvements even easier & more fun! Plus I get to be of service to others so they can avoid short-circuiting their own celebration like I did in the past. It's a win-win for all of us!

So, without further ado here is my...

Birthday Planning Guide: Strategies For Having The Best Birthday Celebration EVER

1. Plan your own birthday. Do not leave it up to someone else. To think that other people can read your mind and know exactly what you want for your birthday is ludicrous and yet so many of us fall prey to it. I know I have. Each year our heart's desires & our mind's wants may be in a different place than the prior year and the best person to determine what those are is ourselves. One year we may want a quiet celebration with a few friends. The next year we may want a massive and wild celebration. Listen to yourself & plan accordingly.

2. Plan something. Anything. Make the plan at least 4 weeks in advance. Seriously, even if your plan is no plan consciously choose that. There is power & freedom gained in making an actual choice. And if you are planning an event that involves other people giving them a month's notice allows them to fit you into their life easily. Adulthood includes full lives, responsibilities & conflicting calendars. Also, once you have a plan set you get to savor it all month leading up to the actual day. It's just like when you have a vacation planned for the next month. The anticipation alone is a wonderful gift. If you are reading this & your birthday is only a week or two away or even just few days away do not fret. Just make a plan today! Pick some form of celebration. Honestly, any plan will do. Indecision will kill your life. Decision will create new possibilities.

3. Give yourself some birthday goals & create a social challenge to support it. My birthday falls in Spring which is always a good time to start getting extra fit for the coming warm weather months. This year I started a step challenge at work and recruited 30+ people to keep myself accountable & motivated. I tied this to a goal of getting down to 7% body-fat. I only got to 8.8% by the time of my actual birthday, but I was in infinitely better aesthetic shape by the time my birthday rolled around compared to the 3-4 months prior. That momentum has carried forward and I'm well on my way to my vain pursuit.

4. Keep a calendar of awesome things you do for your entire birthday month. Tracking & logging experiences is an incredible way to suck the marrow out of life. I keep a calendar on my office wall and each day I did something awesome during my birthday month I would write it down. It both challenged me to keep striving for more awesome birthday month experiences and brought me huge satisfaction each time I gazed at the calendar. This is a habit I am definitely continuing even after my birthday month.

 28 out of 30 days have something awesome & memorable! Now that's a birthday month to treasure for life!  Painting of  Kokopelli  by one of my favorite artists,  Susan Seddon Boulet .

28 out of 30 days have something awesome & memorable! Now that's a birthday month to treasure for life!

Painting of Kokopelli by one of my favorite artists, Susan Seddon Boulet.

 

5. Document your Birthday month & life on Facebook or in some sort of journal. I use Facebook as a life journal. I want to be able to look back on my life when I'm a 120 years old and see all the fun stuff I did when I was younger. Facebook makes it super easy to capture moments in words, pictures & videos. For each birthday gift I received I made a short video of me opening it and posted it on Facebook so the giver could experience my receiving. Now we both have this memory captured in HD forever! This will be paying dividends for the rest of our lives! If Facebook isn't your thing find some other medium that does work for you--journal, photo album, etc. I guarantee you will thank me for this when you are rocking in your rocking chair reflecting on the life you have lived.

6. Choose experiences, causes & people over spending money. This is a personal preference, but I've found it works exceedingly well in designing a life worth living for. Spending money to celebrate your birthday is lazy. Figuring out how to celebrate your birthday in ways that are inexpensive or free & in ways that support something greater than yourself forces you to get creative and really dig into what you want and who you want to become. I believe all of us cherish experiences and people more than any "thing." This year I did a Running Music Festival that only cost $25 after a discount code I found on the web. It was a 5K with multiple sound stages and it supported Stand Up To Cancer which was super meaningful to me as both my parents are cancer survivors. It was wild, fun, & full of black-lights & glow-paint. I got fitter through the experience, created memories I will never forget, and gave my money & energy to a cause so much greater than myself. I feel amazing just writing about it here.

 Part of the Birthday Crew straight GLOWING!

Part of the Birthday Crew straight GLOWING!

 

7. Do the things that brought you joy growing up. As a kid I rollerbladed my face off. I also spent tons of time in nature and played lots of games. All birthday month long this year I went rollerblading, hiking, played Spikeball & Exploding Kittens, went treasure hunting, and got up to all sorts of childish adventure. My inner child was in full expression & loving life! This is amazing life advice in general. Want to be super happy with life? Do the things you did as kid.

8. Put together your own Gift Guide (and read The 5 Love Languages or at least take quiz). For years I've been frustrated with getting gifts that just didn't fit me. The gift would sit in my house cluttering my space and each time I thought about donating it, re-gifting it or just throwing it away I felt guilty so it would just sit there until I got so fed up with it that I disposed of it in one way or another. A few months ago I took The 5 Love Languages Quiz and learned that I experience the most love through "Quality Time". Super obvious after I took the quiz & reflected on my life. You may experience love better in other ways so definitely take the quiz and tailor your birthday celebration to that. Nonetheless, with that clarified self-knowledge I put together a Gift Guide that included this information. The majority of the Gift Guide is telling people to NOT BUY ME THINGS and instead come spend quality time with me, but I still outlined items that I really wanted/needed. Gift-giving of things is a part of some people's DNA and there is nothing wrong with it. I created the guide in a shareable Google Doc and my Fiance and I sent it to anyone who was considering getting me birthday gifts. For those who couldn't physically be around to give me a shared experience (i.e. a hike, blade, or game of Spikeball) there was an easy list to choose from. This makes it easier on the gifter too. How many times have you been totally unsure of what to give someone for their birthday? Wouldn't a guide make your life easier? For me this resulted in the absolutely fucking best year of birthday gifts ever!! No joke! All month long I was getting packages in the mail of gifts that were perfect for me! And now I will be updating the guide each year for my birthday & Christmas making life easier and better for all of us. I implore you to make your own personal Gift Guide. It will change your life!

9. Don’t compare yourself to others. Seriously, take The 5 Love Languages Quiz. It only takes a few minutes and it will give you deep self-knowledge you can use to enhance your life. Now back to how we experience love. Everyone experiences love differently and in different times throughout life how we want to be loved & celebrated on our birthday will likely change from year to year. What looks awesome for another might not really be what you want this particular year. If you start trolling social media and see everyone else's birthday celebrations you are going to confuse yourself. Plus, the dark side of social media is that it encourages comparing your life to the "highlights" of someone's life. They definitely aren't posting about the sucky things that happened during their celebration. To really drive this home I'll point to a wise quote by one of our Presidents. As Theodore Roosevelt said:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

 

You may really want a quiet family dinner for your birthday and yet you see someone's wild birthday celebration at a nightclub and suddenly your heartful celebration seems lame. Plain & blunt, just don't fall into the trap of comparison unless you want to lessen your own experience & kill your joy. Know that whatever you choose for your birthday this year is right for you at this point in your life. Tune out the blaring social media & instead listen to that quiet voice inside and follow it's advice. Now that's a recipe for fulfillment.

10. Release yourself from expectation & attachment to outcome. Not everyone you invite will be able to attend your celebration. People will cancel on your birthday celebration last minute. Plans will change. Things will come up that you or they didn't expect. If your happiness is tied to things going according to plan you will suffer. Have a general plan and then just let go. Allow life to give you an experience and be grateful for what shows up.

 

Other ideas:

Pick a big scary thing that you will never forget that will transform your life for the better. I did this last year. For about 15-20 years I had wanted to go on a Vision Quest, but was too scared to do it. I won't go into detail about what a Vision Quest is as I plan to write a stand alone article on it someday but just know that it is an ancient form of personal transformation that includes a week or more in the woods as well as solitude, silence & fasting for a full 96 hours. When I was approaching the age of 35 I asked myself, "What is the one thing I can do to start a whole new phase in my life?" The answer was immediate & clear. It was time for me to remember why I came here to Earth. And that is exactly what a Vision Quest is designed to do. It helps us remember.

There are plenty of other big scary things that will transform a life for the better so try picking one that fits you and make that your life celebration one year. I promise it will be worth it!

In closing, I would like to remind us all that Life Is A Gift. It truly is. So be happy to be alive no matter your current circumstances and take the time & energy to celebrate it at least once a year. Feel free to use my Birthday Celebration Guide and add your own magic to it!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl

P.S. This guide secretly applies to celebrations of all types--Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, Weddings, Graduations, etc. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are responsible for only one type of celebration. We are personally responsible for EVERY CELEBRATION in our life.

P.P.S. Please feel free to message me on one of my socials or leave me a comment below with any additional ideas, tips, tricks & strategies for celebrating one's birthday!

P.P.P.S. Please share this with any family & friends who have upcoming birthdays or celebrations of any type. I'm on a mission to empower people to transform & self-actualize and celebrating our lives is a key part of that!


Footnotes:

  1. Title photo of me acting like a manchild in my birthday suit shot by Noelle Johnson.
  2. Matching underwear & socks by Related Garments.
  3. Want to go on a Vision Quest? Message me directly or visit Tribal Edge.



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.



My Instagram:

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 🌒

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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!

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