One day I woke up and I was sick of being sick. And that one moment changed everything.
Some of what I am going to tell you here will be like telling the ancient people that the world was actually round and not flat. Just come along for a little while and listen. See if it doesn’t sound like something you already know deep inside. But I’ve getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. Sometimes you just wake up and know that changes you are about to make are real and permanent. That happened to me recently.
I was suicidal, eating too much, drinking and drugging too much, barely exercising or exercising wrong, hating waking up in the morning, barely keeping it together, avoiding things I hated and the things I loved too, all while full of rage over even the smallest things. And yet I was successful externally, delivering results on time and people liked me. Most people who know me are probably surprised to hear that, because outwardly I’ve always been ahead of the game. They’ve seen flashes of all my inner turmoil, but never the full picture. They thought perhaps this is just what artists are like or really smart people, because I’ve always been smart and clever. It’s just that smart and clever aren’t enough. The answers are not in the mind. The answers are in discovering what actually needs to be done and doing it. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s also the simplest thing in the world. As long as you are avoiding what needs to be done, you will never know any true peace.
As a kid I got good grades. I’m good at the various jobs I’ve done. People trust my mind and knowledge. They know I can help them. And I’ve always been magnificent at seeing my faults and shoring them up. Yet, I had mastered ignoring my real faults. I deliberately avoided the spiritual direction I needed to take. While outwardly successful and always getting things done, internally I was a mess, dieing slowly and then quickly. I was like Robert Donwney Jr, a notorious drug addict who always showed up on the set on time and delivered a great performance. And in the back of my mind I knew one day I wouldn’t show up on time or get something done. I realized if I kept going down this path I was going to die early and unhappy.
This may seem strange but your mind is part of the problem. It’s like a detective and the murderer at that same time. Your mind is good for one thing. It solves logical problems. But not all problems are logical. Your spirtual problems are not logical. Your spiritual solutions may require you to do the opposite of things you’ve done your whole life, like change your career, or not have children when everyone in society is programmed to want them. So you see it’s not logical at all. Why would the solution to your life’s problems be to stop making so much money and just do something simple for less? It makes no “sense” and it never will. Your senses are a filter. And thinking is a sense, the sixth sense really. Your mind is nothing but a logical problem solving engine. Unfortunately, when it runs out of problems to solve, it creates more for you. It likes problem solving so much that it literally creates problems for you in your life. This may seem crazy. You are probably under the impression that you are your mind. After all, it’s been talking to you your whole life. But it is not you. It’s just a part of you. And here’s the secret: it hates tranquility. Tranquility is like death to the mind. This aspect of your life must be overcome with dedication to silence. Meditation is the key. Just a small amount is all you need. All the multitasking we are doing is making us sick. We were not designed for it. We were designed to focus on one thing completely. Indulge in silence. Come back to yourself.
I’ve talked about the Presence Process before. That book sent me down a path of meditation that slowly unwound the knots and opened me up, so I could see my true self. It’s amazing what 15 minutes of mediation in the morning and at night can do. In fact there is probably no other way to get at the root cause of your problems. And if you can’t get at the root causes of your problems, then it doesn’t matter how many times you quit smoking and drinking or changed your diet or started on an exercise plan. Your problems will just morph and show up somewhere else. I’ve been through the presence process three times. The last few times were wars. I just could not face what I needed to do. In fact, it appeared as if my meditation process had given my life more turmoil. In fact, it had just revealed to me what I needed to do and I wasn’t doing it because I was afraid. I don’t want to spoil the story ending for you, but what is waiting for you at the end of the process is the one thing you can’t face. But the good thing is, you can and will face it, if you are forgiving and yet relentless. I wanted to be an author and I was doing the work to get there, but it was slow going. And I like money. I am deathly afraid to give it up or make less of it. This passed down from my parents. I don’t blame them though. I love them. They were always doing the best they possibly could. But I got the disease. I love money, as much as possible. But the realization that I might have to give it up and go all out to be an author scared me to death. And then one day it didn’t.
That wasn’t the only thing. There were others. I wasn’t sure I wanted children. I like them. I thought I should have one. But as I got closer and closer to the real possibility that my girl and I were going to make a go at it, I was a wreck. All of my bad habits multiplied. I was terrified. I didn’t want to disappoint people. But the truth real truth was, children do not seem like a beginning to me, they feel like the end, the end of my dreams at ever finally doing what I was put on this Earth to do. I just don’t really want them and that is not something society and people understand. But it is true for me and that is what matters. Perhaps at some point later that will change. So be it. I will embrace that then, if I am still able. It might be too late then. That’s fine. Part of life is figuring out that some doors will just close forever and that’s all right. What I need as an artist is time. And I didn’t want something that would bind me to a straight an narrow job for the rest of my life and eat up what little time I already have for writing.
One day, I woke up and I’d had enough. I am an author. I am not afraid of that. I am more afraid of not being what I am supposed to be. My first book is coming out in the next few months. And there are more to come, some of them already in the works. And if later in life, the universe tells me I am something else, then I will drop this too and be that thing.
When you finally figure out what you need to do, everything else will fall into place. The problem is you just think you know what you need to do. And you’ve been burned before, so you’re frozen. So I will tell you the most important phrase in the world: The way out is through.
There is no avoiding your life.
If you are not doing what you were meant to be doing, then there is no possible way to kill that pain. It is an inexhaustible supply of suffering. It will never end, no matter how hard you try to sedate and control it with religion, family, sex, other people, drugs, TV, radio, games, exercise, fighting, friends, parties, travel, buying things, business success. None of it will matter.
The way out of everything is to go through it, to feel it completely, to turn and face the pressure and the true suffering. Do the work that really needs to be done.
Once you do this, the other symptoms of your problems will start to disappear. Solutions will appear. I’ll take my eating habits for example. One of the last hold out problems for me was my health and eating habits. I just did not see the link with what I consumed and what I felt and looked like. Sure I knew it mentally, but I just did not understand how to eat right. When I’d tried to find the proper way to eat, it just looked bland and time consuming. And then my body stepped in to help me. It made me sick. I got hives, an eczema breakout. I was feeling lethargic all the time. I paid attention. I knew something was wrong, so I started looking. I’ll save you the trouble of having to.
For me it started with the South Beach diet. My father turned me on to it last year. I ignored him, but sometimes information comes back to you just when you need it most. I somehow just knew what I needed to do. The diet is simple and practical. I don’t even like to call it a diet, because it’s nothing like the other diets I’ve seen. It’s easy to stick to. It’s actually not a diet, it’s simply a change of your eating habits. You are relearning the right way to eat and your tastes will change rapidly. You only think that you like what you are eating now. It’s an illusion. You are just addicted and you don’t know it. With South Beach, meals are easy to prepare and fast, or if you like cooking they can take longer. You can eat in restaurants easily. It doesn’t have a lot of nonsense like calorie counting and dictatorial menus. All of these things are bullshit and eventually will lead you to failure, even if it is failure years later. You don’t feel hungry on this diet and you eat normal portions. This is a very recent change for me, but I can already see results. In many ways it’s not really a diet at all. It’s an education. You may not even think you need an education in food but you’re most likely wrong. The good news is that you can change it pretty simply. Your body is an amazing machine and it can rebuild itself swiftly, if you treat it right. If any of the following things are true, then your diet needs to change and fast:
- You get tired after meals
- You get mood swing daily
- You are carry a lot or a little extra weight, especially around the midsection for men and the midsection and thighs for women
You may think that the little bit of extra weight in the gut is no big deal, but that’s just not the case. The simple fact is that 75% of what is on sale at grocery stores, even healthy ones, is poison. Even things you’ve been taught are healthy are probably not. It’s no surprise that corporations lie to you, is it? You probably thought that smoothie you drank was healthy. But it was stuffed with a ton of crap that is keeping you right were are you, addicted to the wrong foods. Also almost everything you’ve learned about eating right since a young age has generally been incorrect. For the longest time the American Heart Association recommended low fat, high carb meals. We know now this is wrong. Balance is best in all things and the South Beach diet will get you back to that balance. We are only now as a species beginning to figure this stuff out. Just think, 100 years ago we didn’t know what vitamins were! But once you accept this and realize that the world is not flat, it’s not that hard to change.
Seriously. It’s not hard. You can change easily. But you have to make the choice and make it now.
The change starts with a few weeks of detoxification. You get the shit out of your system. Basically for the first two weeks you cut out bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and sweets. This resets your system. After the first few weeks, you start introducing these things back in, so you won’t be losing your favorite foods.
Now I said that the diet wasn’t hard. Actually, I lied a little, the first three days are hard. When you break any addiction and quiet frankly you’re an addict and you just don’t know it, it takes three days of withdrawal. Right now you’re most likely a sugar addict. When you break this addiction to processed sugars, your body rebels. You are hungry all day. Luckily, the diet lets you snack constantly and in-fact snacking is required and encouraged. So you will eat and eat and in the first few weeks your weight will drop 10-20 pounds. Nothing is better than standing on the scale, knowing you ate a ton and yet the weight still melted away. After that the weight changes go slower, but the good news is, you’ve made the change. The first few days are the only hard part here but they are worth it.
To understand why this is happening, you have to realize that you are not you alone. You’re an ecosystem. You have trillions of tiny bacterial inside you. They are both good and bad. And you’ve been feeding the bad ones. When you stop feeding them, they get hungry and they let you know in no uncertain terms that they are dieing. That’s good. Kill them off. You probably heard the word bacteria and ran for the hand sanitizer, but we are just now learning that the delicate ecosystem of the body is just that, an ecosystem. You could not live without most of your bacteria. They help you digest, prevent and protect against disease, even repair and restore your DNA, all while generally working to better your overall well being. We didn’t know this even thirty years ago. And now we are even discovering that possibly that even the majority of viruses are necessary and useful. In fact, the viruses that kill us, like AIDs and the flu, are anomalies, accounting for possibly only 4% of viruses out there.
Telling people not to eat wheat seems insane. It’s in almost everything you eat, even if you don’t know it. In may ways, wheat was the single most important factor that allowed civilization to expand. For every calorie spent harvesting it, it yielded 50 calories. We rapidly spread across the planet after figuring out how to grow wheat. So how can something that let us thrive collectively not be good for us? That’s just it. It’s great for collective expansion, but you’re probably concerned with your own little part in the grand design not the collective. Collectively means individuals are expendable. We grow, eat, reproduce, we die and the planet does not give a shit. If there are more of us, then we survive as a species, even if the individual suffers. But wheat has served its purpose. It has very little place in advanced societies now. We know much more about this ubiquitous substance through research over the last 50 years. Here are a few facts: it’s tiny particles are seen by the body as disease and it attacks them. These little particles get in your stomach lining and prevent the proper digestion of good food. You may be eating kale but only getting 50% of its life healing power because of the blocking wheat particles. It causes inflammation. You bloat up, retain water. And while your body is fighting these fake toxins, it’s wasting half of its army on a never ending conflict, which leaves it less resources to fight real disease. It basically ruins your body. It was good for rapid expansion of humans, but now we need to leave it behind as fast as possible. It didn’t matter when we only lived 40-50 years, but it matters now.
Breaking your addition to wheat or basically what is rapidly prepared fast dissolving sugars in the first few days is the hardest part. After that you will not miss it. I am not kidding. You will not even want it again, once you wake up and feel great and ready to do what you were meant to do. You probably don’t believe me, but you don’t have to, you just have to try it.
A strange thing happened. In a matter of days I went from hating many healthy foods to loving them. I told my girl that I wanted to get some mineral water. She said, the stuff I have been telling you for years to drink and that you hated? Yup that stuff. What changed? I just like it now. And I do. I am not just just making myself try it. I like it. And it didn’t like it a week ago. It’s a true internal change. I’ve gotten good at recognizing them and you can to.
Look, I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I don’t need to be. I will backslide and fuck up again. But I’m no longer worried about losing myself. You can’t lose what can’t be lost. You are always there waiting for yourself. And when it comes to diet, if you fall off the wagon, you can always reset again and run through the first two weeks of the diet. Just don’t wait too long. Your body will start by telling you something is wrong with a few minor ailments but if you don’t listen it will let you know with a stroke, heart attack or cancer.
The other part that is hard in the beginning of South Beach is learning how to shop. On one of the first days, I had an hour and half for lunch, since I was on break from a class I was taking. I was sure I could get there and still have time for lunch. With 15 minutes to go I was still running around the store. Once you read labels you will be shocked. For instance I knew I could eat Dijon Mustard. I started reading the labels on the ones in the store. 90% of them had fucking sugar added. I could not believe it. In general, the bigger the company making the product, the less they give a fucking shit about quality and helping you. They exist for profit and nothing else. Do not be fooled. Corporations are nothing but a mechanism for us to work more efficiently together. In the end though, they care about the bottom line. Always understand what someones true agenda is and you can’t go wrong in life. For companies if that means throwing in some cheap high fructose corn syrup to feed your sugar addition and reduce costs then they will do it in a heart beat. It’s up to you to change, to understand, to educate yourself and take responsibility for your actions. The thing is once you read the labels once you know what to buy. Yon don’t need to keep doing it.
All this adds up to one thing. We are born into a lie. We just can’t see it. And seeing the truth is so fucking hard at times. Just when we think we got it, we realize we were wrong again. That’s all right. Keep at it. If you stay present long enough, you will see the illusions and what’s really real. It’s just a surprise when you get there, because it won’t be what you are expecting at all.
Keep at it. Eventually you’ll get there.