Resistance: The Root of Pain, Suffering, and Insanity.

We are either resisting life or accepting it.

Whether that be sitting in traffic, aging, sickness, or our own mortality. Many ignore the truth and live in an imaginary world of what life is supposed to be or should be. Anytime you say should or suppose to be, you are resisting the truth. Resistance to the truth of life causes suffering. So why do people choose resistance? Accepting the truth is scary while resisting gives us a false sense of security and control. It’s easier in the short-term to avoid or resist aging, disease, and death than accept it. In the long-term, it can cause a tremendous amount of suffering within you and the world.

Suffering = Pain x Resistance 

  • The world should be at peace, but it isn’t.
  • My parents should be supportive, but they’re not.
  • I shouldn’t be stuck in traffic, but I am.
  • Relationships aren’t supposed to be this difficult, but it is. 

Here is an example that will show you exactly what I’m talking about.

Jack and Jill are both studying for a Biology final at Harvard. Both don’t enjoy studying, it causes them both mental and physical pain to sit down for 5 hours in a room. They would rather be outside on a hike or hanging out with friends. Jill accepts that this necessary to pass the class while Jack resists and complains the whole time. Jill is at peace and actually enjoying studying, taking breaks to watch Netflix or call a friend. Jack sulks and stares at the book. They are both in the same exact situation, only Jill accepts the pain of studying and makes the best of it.

The most impressive study of acceptance vs. resistance is Victor Frankl’s story in his 1959 book Man Searching for Meaning. Victor Frankl was an Austrian Jewish neurologist, psychiatrist, and holocaust survivor. While at Auschwitz concentration camp he kept himself sane by studying fellow inmates behavior and noticed an astonishing correlation. Those prisoners who accepted their truth and found meaning were both healthier and happier than those who resisted their new life. Their suffering was caused by their resistance to life and not mere outside influences. If someone can find peace, purpose, and meaning in Auschwitz concentration camp there is hope for all of us.

But Johnny, shouldn’t we resist harmful situations?? Isn’t acceptance just giving up? I don’t want to lay down and give up!

I understand this perspective because I once believe that acceptance was giving up but nothing is further from the truth. We must accept our situation before we can make it better. The people who accepted their captivity in Auschwitz were not merely giving up but awakening to that they have no control over being prisoners in a concentration camp. What these prisoners did have control over was how they spent their time, how they perceived their circumstance, and to make the best out of it. They saw resistance as a waste of energy on what they could not control. Accepting the truth is both practical and logical for peace within.

Paradoxically, we must accept suffering before we can transcend it. We have to accept our suffering before we can be at peace with ourselves and the world. Accept that you have no control over other people’s actions and beliefs. Accept that everything is impermanent and that we can only control a small amount of our life.

Try to avoid all should or suppose to be statements. Ease your grip on life and how it’s “suppose” or “should” be. More acceptance and less resistance is key to a peaceful life with less suffering and more joy.

My mission is to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“What we resist, will persist.” – Carl Jung

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

Plant-Based Diet: The First Path to Alleviating Suffering.

My name is Johnny Hoffman and my mission is to alleviate suffering in all living beings. I used to be 40lbs overweight and eat fast food/bacon every day. I don’t judge those who consume meat and dairy nor do I wish to force my lifestyle on anyone. I only want to give you information that could alleviate suffering in yourself and the world.

I want to be part of the solution, not the pollution.

How did I become a vegan you might ask? It’s simple, the suffering of millions of cows, pigs, chickens etc are not inline with my values of peace, compassion, and love. The environmental damage is astonishing with the amount of greenhouse gas, animal fecal waste, and water consumed in animal agriculture. Our current agriculture system is highly unsustainable for the future. Humans survived because of our adaptability so there might be hope after all. Adopting a more whole food plant-based diet lowers your risk of cancer and heart disease.

My intention is to show compassion to all living beings.

Factory farms don’t just harm the animals though, with factory farm workers having high turnover rates (95-100%) and risk of disease/injury (50%). 38% of factory farm workers are undocumented immigrants and most work 10 hour days for very low wages. Imagine having to torture and watch thousands of animal die every day? The psychological damage seems unbearable.

( https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lucas-spangher/plight-of-factory-farm-workers_b_5662261.html) (https://www.texasobserver.org/ptsd-in-the-slaughterhouse/)

Millions of people suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer due to eating a processed meat/dairy diet. Suffering doesn’t decompose with the tortured animals, it spreads to the man who ate bacon every day having a heart attack at 50, leaving his family in pain and suffering. I notice some animal rights activists forget that humans are suffering tremendously from factory farming. I want to show love and compassion to my meat eating brothers and sisters. Here are some facts.

-90% of meat consumed in America is from factory farms.

-20% of global Co2 emissions come from animal agriculture.

-440 million tons of animal feces in the United States alone. Most go into the ocean, causing “dead zones” where millions of fish die. Local towns near factory farms suffer tremendously from air and water pollution. Mostly effects poor African American communities.( https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/01/meat-industry-dead-zone-gulf-of-mexico-environment-pollution)

-Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction. 91% of Amazon deforestation due to animal agriculture. (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/08/meat-eaters-may-speed-worldwide-species-extinction-study-warns)

-Processed meat listened as a Carcinogen in the IARC report for the World Health Organization. The IARC is the International Agency for Research on Cancer. (https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-health-organization-says-processed-meat-causes-cancer.html)

-In a study of 131,342 participants, High animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.

(https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2540540)

-Animal Products linked to higher inflammation. Inflammation is the leading cause of Cancer and premature aging.

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540319/)

-15,000 scientists from 184 countries sign a petition urging citizens to adopt a Plant-Based diet. UN report urges a global move to a plant-based diet.

(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet)

-The former President of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Kim Williams stated that “There are only two types of Cardiologists, vegans and those who haven’t read the data”.

(http://www.richroll.com/podcast/kim-williams/)

Once we have the information, we can make an informed decision about the choices we make in our life. This blog post is my way of sharing that information that I have learned over the past 7 months. What you put in your body is your personal choice and not mine to judge or criticize. If you are interested in giving up or just consuming less meat and dairy I recommend watching Cowspiracy, Food Inc., or What the Health on Netflix. I also listen to the Rich Roll podcast, a vegan marathon runner.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

Mahalo: With Gratitude

Mahalo is the Hawaiian word for gratitude or a simple thank you.

Thank you all for reading my blog. Every view inspires the next post and keeps me going on my spiritual journey. You all help me grow and become a better human being. I only hope that my blog posts does the same for you.

We can be thankful for our friends, family, and life everyday. This will allow us to feel more content and less bitter about life’s inconveniences. Every breath is a gift and every moment alive is a blessing.

Gratitude is the antidote for anger and resentment. You can’t feel angry and grateful at the same time, try it out and you’ll see for yourself!

Mahalo,

Johnny Hoffman

Staying Present: Breaking Free of Stress and Rumination.

Stay present. I’m sure you have all heard this cliche phrase, but what does it mean and why is it important? Nothing could be more important to your life than staying present in the moment. Nothing more crucial to your happiness. The present moment is all that we are guaranteed. Life is short and we must make the best of what we are given. Every moment is a blessing.

Suffering occurs when we worry about the future or ruminate over the past. I have struggled with this my entire life. My mind has been trained to obsess about the past and future while I suffer in the present moment. I’m not saying that thinking about the past and future is all bad. Our past can guide us to make better decisions in the present moment. The future can excite us and motivate us to make better actions now. The key words are actions and now. The past and future mindset is much like a treadmill, lots of effort but you haven’t moved forward. Let’s start training our minds to stay in the present 90% of the time while letting our past guide us and our future excite us the other 10%!!!

Now take a breath, look around, and enjoy this moment. Start to get outside of the constant mental chatter of the mind and enjoy life. The peace and joy that comes in the moment feel amazing. Think of the joy of being in an amusement park or doing something new. It’s pure bliss.

You might be asking how I stay in the present moment? I go on long walks, meditate, and practice mindful breathing. I stop periodically and ask “what am I doing right now?”. In those moments of full presence, I feel truly alive and awake. Peace and joy are the by-products of the present moment. I want all of you to live a more meaningful life.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Gambling: Just One More Hit.

As a child, I would bet on anything. I once bet my friend $10 that it wouldn’t rain that day. I played Poker with my friends every week and would illegally play online Poker through PokerStars when I was 13 years old. I was so happy to turn 18 years old so I could go to the Indian Casino. I went to Vegas every 6 months from age 21-23.

I want to be vulnerable with my readers. I believe vulnerability is our biggest strength. Here is my open and honest story of my addiction to gambling.

I struggled with being addicted to gambling all throughout my early adulthood. From 18-24 years old I probably lost more than 10 thousand dollars on Blackjack, Poker, and online sports gambling.  My family and friends knew I liked to gamble but didn’t realize how far gone I was. I hid my gambling addiction very well from my family because how ashamed I was of it. I knew I was out of control but didn’t know how to be open and honest about my problems. I was a man, and men don’t talk about their pain and struggles. I felt angry, alone, and depressed with no one to turn to. I couldn’t play the victim card because this was all self-induced suffering. This made me feel worthless and even more ashamed of the man I had become.

At my worst, I was gambling 7 days a week. I would do anything to get my high and to escape my life. I would max out my debit card limit and get $500 more from a high-interest cash advance. I remember leaving the casino depressed, stressed, and on the verge of a mental breakdown. I would yell “FUCK” as loud as I could in my car until my voice would crack and tears would roll down my cheek. This would be the average self-dialog after a loss while driving home.

You’re pathetic. How could you lose again? You piece of shit! What the hell are you thinking?!? Fuck life and everything. You don’t deserve Alicia (fiance). You don’t deserve anything! You’re worthless! You can’t tell anyone about this. Think of a lie…….. (one hour later)……I get paid Friday, I’ll win it back!!! Yeah, Ill win it all back and stop playing. I’ll win 1K and not play for a while. 

I would repeat this cycle of anger, shame, and denial. Gambling wasn’t the deep issue though, it was the symptom of a larger problem. I only gambled because I felt alone and depressed about my own life. Gambling was a coping mechanism for depression and anxiety. I felt so alive at the blackjack table and all my worries would momentarily go away. I was always looking forward to going to Las Vegas every 6 months. Like any addiction, I was chasing that high of dopamine. Soon I was betting $200 a hand on blackjack. There was one night that is stuck in my memory and shows how far my addiction had come.

In early 2012 I was planning on buying my girlfriend an engagement ring. This was at the peak of my addiction. I thought it would be a good idea to go gambling with the $3,000 cash I had taken out to buy the ring. I go to my usual Casino and put $500 dollars on blackjack. I figure I could win some more money and buy a bigger ring, a delusional justification. I was gambling because I love my girlfriend… Our minds can justify any bad decision. Anyways, I lose the $500 quickly and start putting more and more money on the table. Suddenly I’m down from $3000 to a total of $100. It’s 1am already and I’m in a deep fog, I say fuck it and go all in and win. I kept doubling my bet and kept winning. After 3 more hours of gambling, I get all my $3000 and leave the casino at 4am. I drive to the Bay Area immediately and buy the engagement ring. Sounds like a scene in a casino movie right?

Two years go by and I graduate from college. I was so busy with work, college, and my fiance that I didn’t have time to gamble. I thought I was cured of my addiction and that I could start playing Draft Kings and Fan Duel. Both sites are legal online sports gambling that plays well for young men who like to play fantasy football. I graduated from Cal Poly and received $500 in graduation money from friends and family. I had so much free time now that I was done with college. I spent that time gambling on Draft Kings and becoming absolutely obsessed with trying to win money on NBA games. I was checking my phone at least 100 times a day, looking for those small dopamine rushes when my teams were playing well. After two months of online sports gambling, I had lost all my graduation money. I was deeply ashamed of myself and was contemplating suicide. I had been lying to my fiance already about my infidelity and my gambling addiction. I felt so alone and depressed that I couldn’t hold onto this pain anymore. I finally open up about my secret life to my fiance, family, and friends. I finally could heal myself of the deep emotional wounds that were festering inside my soul. Honesty and vulnerability are so powerful. Being vulnerable can help us connect with each other in a deep and profound human level instead of the vapid surface.

Being vulnerable is seen as being weak, but it’s actually our greatest strength.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Distraction: How do we Stay Focused on What Really Matters?

Welcome to the 21 Century! A time period defined by its distractions, whether that be social media, Netflix, YouTube, 24 hour News, virtual reality, or video games.

Humans have been distracting themselves since the beginning of recorded human history, whether that be Roman gladiators or Netflix. Distractions can benefit society, allow for people to relax and decompress from the daily stress of life. Distractions themselves are not the problem, it’s the amount of time consumed distracting oneself. We live in a time period where there is an unlimited amount of distraction and entertainment, which becomes addictive. The high from binge-watching Breaking Bad can feel so good at first, but after spending all day on the couch, we feel horrible. This concept is known as diminishing returns. Diminishing returns is when adding more of an activity actually decreasing the amount of return. For example, 1 alcoholic beverage might bring joy but 20 drinks could lead to alcohol poisoning, at some point consuming more alcohol led to an adverse effect. The phrase “Less Is More” seems fitting.

With freedom, comes responsibility. 

We have the freedom to spend most of our waking time on Netflix while only eating Butterfingers, Taco Bell, and Coors Light. I truly believe that we are blessed and cursed with this freedom. It is a blessing to live in a country where you can choose your own path, express yourself, and consume what you want without Government control. I’m very grateful for this freedom but with this freedom comes responsibility for us to regulate our habits and behaviors. I don’t think most of us have been taught self-control because our culture of consumerism frowns upon self-restraint and responsible living. The rise of Minimalism is a direct response to this culture of unsustainable consumption. We have to regulate our two most valuable commodities, time and attention. We only have a finite amount of time and attention so we must choose wisely how we spend it. It saddens me how much time I have spent on social, media, Netflix, and watching sports when I could have been contributing, growing, and spending time with people that I love.

It’s not about cutting out all these distractions, but regulated and deciding what brings value to your life. Write down what your activities are throughout the week and you will how much time you spend distraction yourself. Here is an example.

Activities Per Week

Current                              Vision

Netflix  10 hours              Netflix 2 hours

Youtube 5 hours               YouTube 1 hour

Facebook 4 hours         Facebook 2 hours

Football 6 hours           Football  4 hours

Family 3 hours             Family 12hours

Passions 1 hour           Passions  10 hours

It’s not about cutting everything our life but regulating the distractions so they don’t make up a majority of our free time. What we are passionate about will thrive if we cut out the excess of distractions. Without the endless distractions, we can spend more time connecting with our family, friends, and significant others. Our life will have more meaning and less emptiness.

We all have the same 24 hours, let’s make the best use of it.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

Impermanence: The Beauty of Decay, Death, and Transformation.

I know death is a hard topic to discuss. We tend to avoid it out of fear even though we logically know that everything is impermanent. I’m grateful for life and death. There can’t be one without the other. 

You and I will die. The Earth will die. Our Sun will die. Our Solar System will die. The Universe will die.

Well at least in our conventional sense of death….

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed then we are infinite. The matter that makes up our body has been around since the dawn of the Universe and it will live on for infinity after we die. On a cellular level, we are constantly transforming, with old cells dying and new cells being born every second.

The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and many other Buddhist teachers talk about the laws of Physics in their discussions about death, life, and impermanence. Impermanence is one of the key principles of Buddhism and many Buddhist’s meditate over their own death. Why not prepare for the inevitable? It’s one of the few things we are guaranteed.

Be grateful for death, without it we wouldn’t be alive. Just think of the approximately 108 Billion people who have lived and died on Earth. The Billions of Dinosaurs that had to die for us to eventually evolve into conscious species. A supernova (death of a star) creating the matter for our Sun, Earth, and Solar system to be created. Without the death of our ancestors, we would not be alive and our death will allow other humans to get a chance at life.

Without death, there is no life.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching’s discussed that there is no birth or death, just transformation. You and I are a transformation of our parent’s DNA, and our bodies are a mixture of elements that have been transformed into a conscious human being. We are not full of human but full of elements like oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.

Many of us walk around as if we live forever. We all logically know our own death but choose to ignore it. We assume that we will get old and deal with it then even though we could die any minute. This is all a delusion that is motivated by fear. If we fully embrace impermanence today we can live our life full of gratitude, love, and freedom. Without the fear of death, we can fully enjoy life. Freedom from the fear of death is a great feeling, one that I try to cultivate in my meditations.

I know this topic is hard to discuss and I thank you for reading this blog post. My intention is not to be sad or dark, but to bring light to the darkness. To change our perspective on death from one of fear to love and from anger to gratitude. 

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

The One You Feed Podcast: Bringing Depression, Anxiety, and Human Suffering out of the Shadows.

Aloha!

Today’s blog post is dedicated to Eric Zimmer & Chris Forbes of the The One You Feed podcast.You can find them on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as well as their website http://www.oneyoufeed.net. The podcast is based on an old Cherokee parable listed below.

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. 

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?   

The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed

I still remember getting goosebumps when I heard this parable for the first time. It normalized the human condition and made me feel more compassion for myself and others. It’s not about starving the bad wolf but taming it with love, compassion, and forgiveness.  Hating the part of you that feels hatred is unskillful and can lead to a very discontented and torn human life.

I stumbled upon the podcast about 18 months ago on Spotify and have been hooked ever since. I was searching for more content from my favorite author Timber Hawkeye when I found his interview on the The One You Feed on Spotify. I must have listened to that interview at least 25 times before I had the courage to check out any of the other episodes. I’m grateful that I took that step because I have learned and grown by having an open mind to new concepts from a wide range of perspectives. I feel as if part of each guest’s wisdom has been planted into my mind. The podcasts guest range from prolific authors, Zen Masters, Rabbis, Christian theologists, neuroscientists, and spiritual gurus. Here are my favorite episodes.

Timber Hawkeye: Episode 39

Adyashanti: Episode 166

Richard Rohr: Episode 168/169

Tara Brach: Episode 143

Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute): Episode 112

The creator and host Eric Zimmer does a fantastic job of mediating the conversation so we get the most high-quality interviews. Eric has also transformed into a spiritual teacher himself and has dedicated a huge part of his life to finding the truth of the human condition. I commend Eric for bringing depression, anxiety, and the basic human condition out of the shadows. Recognizing our problems is the first step to alleviating suffering and of living a more meaningful life. By listening to this podcast I have fed my good wolf of self-growth and compassion. It’s hard in a world full of distraction, numbing agents, and noise to take the first steps to a better life. It’s worth it though. I hope this blog post has helped you and maybe sparked an interest in listening to The One You Feed podcast. You can find it on Spotify and apple podcasts.

 

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Enlightenment: Consistency, Hardwork, and Falling Down Over & Over Again. 

I define enlightenment as having overall peace, clarity, and contentment in life. It is not separate from the world or only for spiritual gurus. It’s achievable for everyone.
In February of 2015 I awoke to the truth of what my life had become. At 24 years old I was overweight, unhappy, and anxious. For the previous two years I had been constantly numbing myself with gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, over-work, and fast food. I did this because I hated who I had become and wanted to avoid thinking about my actions. This all changed when I admitted to my ex-fiance that I cheated on her. I also had been hiding this secret life from my family and friends. Instead of running from the pain, I sat with it and was transformed. Sitting with the pain allowed me to see the truth of my past and present situation. There was no one else to blame but myself for how my life had unfolded, I was only victim to my own unskillful actions. Self-compassion​ and forgiveness were some of the hardest things to cultivate after the many years of negative self-talk. I was so miserable that I had to take action to improve my life. My old life wasn’t produces the results I wanted so I knew I had to change. I felt like an empty canvas. Ready to start new habits and have an open mind to new ideas.

In the following months I changed my life. I meditated an hour a day, eat healthy, worked out, volunteered, and started reading Buddhist philosophy. A book titled Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye changed my mindset from entitled to grateful. The book helped me forgive myself of my wrongdoings and show self-compassion. I lost 35 pounds and felt amazing spiritual, physically, and emotional. I felt peace I had never felt in my life. I felt enlightened.

Fast forward to November 2015 and I’m drinking right after work, smoking cigarettes, gambling, and partying every Friday and Saturday night. So what happened?? How can you go from feeling  enlightened to partying in a couple months. It was quite easy actually, it all started with thinking I was cured of my suffering. That I didn’t need meditation, exercise, and I could relax my diet. I also took a sales job which I knew deep down would cause me suffering. I was soon depressed, lonely, and miserable again.

A few more months pass and I hit another rock bottom around March 2016. This one wasn’t as harsh because I knew what I had to do. I had a template of how to decrease my suffering and be at peace again. I once again started meditation, long walks in nature, working out and eating right. I felt good again and was at peace. Old habits don’t die easy though because this peace did not last long.

I move to San Jose in August 2016. Sadly, I don’t even try to connect with the community or try to make new friends. I felt lonely once again and start drinking more often. This was a time of nothingness, of no growth and very little memories. Maybe it was meant to be this way, a time where I could make my next move. I decided I wanted to move to Maui in December of 2016.

From Jan-April 2017 all my focus was on saving money to move to Maui. I was blessed to be around my family and friends back in Sacramento,CA though which helped me feel connected. My diet was horrible though and once again was overweight. I moved to Maui in April 2017 with my eyes wide open! I felt a sense of exploration and joy.

I fall once again into old habits. Soon I’m smoking cigarettes, drinking tons of alcohol, and eating spam musibis. I feel anxious, stressed, and lonely once again. I knew something had to change and fast. My first step was my health. I decided after watching the documentary Forks Over Knifes that I would persue a more plant-based diet. I switched my diet to a pescetarian diet, meaning I only eat fish, dairy, fruits, vegatables and legumes. I lose 25lbs and feel amazing. Presently I’m working on becoming a vegan and becoming more active in my local community. I meditate, write, read and go on long walks every day. I’m working on getting stronger by going to the gym regularly. I still feel lonely at times and would love to meet other like-minded people on Maui. This is my next step to feeling a sense of community on Maui.

Big picture take away from this post is that peace, enlightenment, contentment or what ever you want to call it takes hardwork, consistency, and you will fall down alot. The key is to rise everytime you fall. Don’t judge your unskillful actions but learn from them. Find a template that works for you to thrive and try to follow it as best as you can. I’m just sharing my template in hope that you can take one piece of it and apply it to your life.

Growth is life. If we are not growing we are dying.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman

Authentic Living: Are your Actions Inline with your Values?

Aloha!

In this week’s blog post I want to discuss values, authenticity, and how it can benefit you and the world around us. Authentic living is trending in the mindfulness community because many of us are awakening to the unauthentic world around us. A world where corporations, politicians, and celebrities say one thing but their actions show their true intentions. Let’s not blame them though, we are the problem but also the solution. I’m 27 years old and most of my adult life I have lived an unauthentic life. I portrayed myself as a man with good values but my actions showed otherwise. An unauthentic life caused great anxiety, stress, and fed my gambling addiction as well as many unhealthy habits. Here are some of the unskillful actions that I have done in life.

  • Cheated, lied, and misled my ex-fiance.
  • Lied to my mom, dad, brother, best friend, and to myself.
  • Littered and mistreated the environment.
  • Treated women like sex-objects.
  • Lost thousands of dollars gambling.
  • Abused my body with fast food, processed meat, and an absurd amount of alcohol.

There are no excuses for my unauthentic and unskillful actions. I am sorry. I will do better.

I know now that my actions matter. Living authentically is living in line with your values. The first step is to find out what your values are and write them down. In my early 20’s I didn’t even know my values which led to many unskillful actions. I might have told you that I valued my health but then go drink 10 Coors lights and eat a whole meat lovers pizza. With the help of Author Timber Hawkeye and “The Minimalists”, I have established what my values are. The next step is to cross-reference my actions with my values and see if they are in line. Here are my foundational values, the ones that define who I am.

  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Growth
  • Contribution
  • Relationships
  • Health

Authentic living isn’t about living a perfect life in which all your actions are perfectly in line with your values. That’s a sure way to live a very discontented life. Authentic living is about mindfully looking at your life and intentionally changing it to who you want to become. You would be surprised how small steps in the right direction can lead to astonishing results. Leading to a less stressed and more content you.

I wanted to end this post with an example of how I live a more authentic life. Over the last six months, I have slowly transitioned to a plant-based diet with a small amount of fish and dairy. I cut out meat because it’s not in-line with my values of compassion and health. Factory farms are disturbing and cause great suffering to animals, workers, and the environment. I have compassion for these animals as living beings who don’t deserve to suffer. I know that the dairy industry and fishing can cause suffering as well, hence why I’m slowly cutting down my consumption to soon become a vegan. I cross-reference every action with my values and try my best to act accordingly. From the clothes I wear, the bed I sleep on, my toothpaste, and the food I put in my body. I feel less anxious and more at peace when my actions are in-line with my values. By changing your actions you are in fact changing the world.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman