What’s Your Dream?

This blog post is about the new American dream and my perspective on it. This post is not to demonize the traditional American dream or to tell you there is a “right” or “wrong” way to live your life. There are many different paths up the mountain.

 

Every decision leads to another. Even the smallest of steps can lead to a big decision in our life. Much of our lives are spent preparing, enduring, and recuperating from changes in our life. Suffering occurs when we resist the inevitable changes in our inner or outer environment. Our dreams change as well. Many achieve celebrity and find out they are even more miserable than before. We must adapt and change with our dreams.

Complacence and stagnation is the easiest route but in the long run, they often lead to disappointing results. Often the more difficult route leads to joy, contentment, and freedom. Freedom, in my opinion, is the most important concept for humanities overall happiness. Freedom is the American Dream. More importantly, freedom is the dream of all sentient beings.

I distinctly remember at 12 or 13 years old learning about the reality of the American dream. At this point in my childhood, I realized that the American dream sounded like a nightmare!! The American dream was not my dream. To work a job I disliked for 40 plus years and buy a house that would take 30 years to pay off sounded horrifying. I couldn’t believe that most people wanted this out of their one life. I wanted something different out of my life; to experience true freedom. But as the years went by, I slowly accepted my fate and forgot about my dreams of freedom. By the time I was 17, I wanted to be a millionaire with a wife and kids by the time I was 30 years old. In retrospect, I just wanted to fit in with societal norms. Societal norms are taught to us at an early age by family, teachers, commercials, tv shows, and movies. They shape our perspective at an early age. We end up accepting these norms to fit in so we don’t feel like an outcast. It’s ingrained in our DNA to want to be accepted so we are cast out of our tribe, which would end in our death. In our modern society, we have the freedom to question all societal norms and seek out like-minded individuals who share similar values.

In the past 3 years, I have questioned much of what I learned as a child/young adult about what success is. Is success having a career, wife, and two kids? Do I want a life blanketed with security or a life flourishing with freedom? Luckily my immediate family did not reinforce societal norms and thus allowed me to have an open mind. It was much easier for me to break out of the societal norms with a supportive and understanding family/friends. The biggest realization I have had was that my true dream is similar to what I enjoyed as a kid. I was mesmerized by maps, globes, and open space; now my dream is to travel and works remotely around the world. In many ways, my journey has allowed me to embrace my inner child. The child who was curious and open to new experiences. The inner child was just suffocated by fear, doubt, and worry.

I value freedom over security. I value love over fear; curiosity over indifference. With a shift of perspective comes a shift in our dreams. New possibilities can bring joy instead of fear. Your American dream is whatever you want it to be. Just remember each decision is ours to make and ours to take responsibility for.

Do you truly want freedom? Whats your dream? What must you let go of for you to live the life you want to live?

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

1c5d9dbcc694b1b729502bd38d7db31d

Advertisements

The Noble Truth.

Everything & everyone is impermanent.

All matter is in a constant state of flow.

Many resist this noble truth.

Hiding from its ever casting shadow.

Running to distraction.

Denying impermanence.

 

Resistance is futile.

Resistance is suffering.

Resistance steals joy.

 

The time is now.

To accept this noble truth.

All matter is in a constant state of movement.

 

Now is the time to live.

Now is the time to love that you are alive.

Not fear your impermanence.

2001046-Nhat-Hanh-Quote-It-is-not-impermanence-that-makes-us-suffer-What

 

 

 

 

Bon Voyage Young Pascal!

Bon Voyage Young Pascal!

Good luck on your journey!

 

The sea is calm.

But not your mind.

Anticipation gleaming from your eyes.

Butterflies fluttering in your stomach.

 

What wonders lie ahead?

What dangers will you have to overcome?

 

True strength comes from adversity.

True love from pain.

Keep going.

 

Even if you drown in the deep darkness of the sea.

You will have lived.

Lived with every breath.

Every beat of your heart.

 

With risk, comes reward.

With letting go, comes freedom.

 

Bon Voyage Young Pascal.

Into the great unknown.

Gratitude.

I breathe in.

I smile.

How wonderful it is to be alive!

 

Joy pulsates through my body.

A smile lights across my face.

My heart beats with compassion.

My lungs full of gratitude.

 

Grateful for pain.

Heartbreak.

My breath.

And Joy.

Grateful to be alive.

 

I will smile.

I will laugh.

I will dance.

For life is impermanent.

 

Thank you life.

Thank you impermanence.

Thank you.

 

 

Buddha Nature: Awakening the Inner Child.

In Buddhism, there is the concept of Buddha Nature. Buddha Nature is a state of true compassion, peace, joy, and love for all living beings. Buddha Nature is something we are born with but lose sight of as society covers it with misconceptions, beliefs, myths, and fear.

Who did you want to be when you were a child? Before your family, friends, and your culture told you what to be? The photo above is me playing with Andy circa 1993.

Over the last couple months, I have dealt with old emotional wounds that lay deep inside me from childhood. It wasn’t easy but was much needed for my emotional health and to be at peace. In this difficult & turbulent time period, I also awakened to my inner child inside of me. I started remembering who I was at that time period and who I wanted to be as an adult.

As a small child, I remember envisioning myself to be a kind, strong, healthy, and compassionate adult who helped others. I idolized police officers, firemen, sports athletes, and ninjas for their strength, humility, and bravery. They were peaceful warriors to me who showed strength and compassion. Superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman emphasized strength, compassion, and humility. They protected the most vulnerable.

As a small child, I remember loving animals so much. I loved all different types of animals with full-hearted compassion. I never would want to hurt another life form. I still remember the day my parents told me what beef was and I was horrified that a cow died and that the juice was cows blood. The day I found out about factory farming was a traumatic experience. I couldn’t believe such a barbaric, inhumane, and unethical institution was allowed. I didn’t realize I could become a vegan to protect the most vulnerable until I was an adult. I suppressed this traumatic experience and continued to eat meat for the next 15 years. This post isn’t all about veganism but veganism is what sparked my transformation into diving deep into my inner child. By showing the most vulnerable (animals) true compassion by my actions I started the process of showing true compassion to myself, others, and the environment. Our true nature as children is to love animals. Society tries to turn that compassion into apathy and we are forced to accept that we have no control over the horrible things happening in the world.

Somewhere in my teens, I lost most of this inner child and I suffered tremendously for it.

I used to smile constantly, dance, be silly, and loved helping others. Around 10 years old, kids started making fun of me for smiling too much (smiley was my nickname) and adults (sports coaches) would shame me for smiling in serious situations. Soon I was taught that smiling, helping others, and being silly was feminine and weak. I started portraying myself more as a serious Mafioso than a fun loving child. My idols turned into Al Capone, Scarface, Charlie Sheen, Tupac, Lil Wayne, and Eminem. I suddenly didn’t smile much anymore, only grind danced, and didn’t help others because no one is helping me. I started not to give a f$%# about anymore, including myself. Eventually, this attitude led me down the path of infidelity, substance abuse, gambling addiction, and anxiety/depression. My inner child was buried under years of fear, judgment, hatred, and myths of masculinity.

As I awaken my inner-child, I feel more inner strength and confidence than I have ever felt before. I have smiled more in the last two months than the past 5 years. I have laughed, joked, and shown love to others. I feel more at peace with myself than I have ever felt. I have finally started my journey as a Peaceful Warrior. My weapons are compassion, empathy, love, and forgiveness. I will never have the strength of Superman or the Ninja Turtles, but I can show compassion and humility to the most vulnerable as they did.

Get back to what you loved to do as a child. Figure out what motivated you and made you happy. Be silly, smile, dance, laugh, and enjoy the simple things in life again. Be curious about the world again. Let go of the stories that hold you back from achieving peace, freedom, and enjoyment in life.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

 

 

Happiness is an Inside Job.

Happiness is something to become, not to acquire.

I used to think happiness was something to achieve or acquire. I would think “once I get that promotion, lose weight or graduate from college I will achieve happiness”. I achieved all of these things and found out that I was still unhappy with my life. Happiness was always around the next corner. The next promotion, weight loss, or achievement. Sure, I was very happy the month after I graduated from college, lost weight, and got a promotion within my corporate job on the mainland. This happiness was very short-lived because I wasn’t content with who I was as a person. I was holding onto years of emotional baggage, insecurities, fears, and stories of the past. Stories that only spoke of half-truths, more focused on the negative than the positive. I have learned in the last year that happiness is not something to achieve but something to become through our actions in the world. Happiness is getting out of your comfort zone. Long lasting happiness for me is living in line with my core values instead of what feels good or is more comfortable at the moment. True contentment for me is spending more time on what I’m truly passionate about and less time focused on wealth and status. Through living in line with my values, I have felt more joy than I have ever thought was possible.

Happiness is always an inside job. Your job, relationships, money, and material goods are just “icing on the cake!”. You want to make your cake(life) as delicious(happy) just the way it is. No amount of material goods, fast food, drugs, alcohol, or sex will bring long-lasting peace. These are just fillers that mask true happiness and leave us craving more and more until we feel sick inside.

This lesson was truly learned when I moved to Maui last year. I thought going to beach, hiking, and living on Maui would make my life cherry (Local slang for good). I was still not happy and I couldn’t figure why! I had to look myself in the mirror and slowly start to live in line with my values. It hasn’t been easy, but nothing great comes out of being comfortable all the time. By inquiring within, I have shown compassion, forgiveness, and love to myself. By letting go of what was causing me mental stress, I have become more peaceful.

I suggest writing down your core values on a piece of paper or word document. Next, write down what you do all day and cross-reference your values with your actions. You choose your values and you choose to live in line with them. No one is forcing you to live more intentionally other than yourself! Here are my core values and what I let go of(or added) to live inline with my values

Peace- Coffee, Sales job, unlimited data on my phone.

Compassion-Meat, dairy, eggs, and plastic water bottles.

Love- Self-hatred, and judgments.

Contribution-Started a charity:water campaign(https://my.charitywater.org/jonathan-hoffman-1/clean-water-for-all)

Health-Cigarettes, alcohol, processed foods, oils.

I don’t feel deprived at all! I drink green tea, kombucha, and eat healthy anti-oxidant rich plant foods! These are just trade-offs for a more peaceful, healthy, and happy life for myself. Everyone’s journey is different, there are no right or wrong paths but only different ones!

What are you willing to let go of to be at peace? Choose love over fear and you will find that you will be living a life you love instead of a life you fear.

Inquire within.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman