Be the Change.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”

Mohandas Gandhi

The world seems to be on the brink of destruction. News station reporting new mass shootings every week. ISIS beheading videos posted each month. Global climate change killing our ocean’s coral reefs and causing severe hurricanes. How do we keep sain? How do we live our lives with love in a world full of hate? That last question is a tricky one. We are actually living in the most peaceful time in human history! The difference is that our ancestors lived in small communities with little knowledge of events happening outside of their village let alone other countries. In a world of 24/7 news, we have become addicted to outrage, fear, and worry. We are not only what we eat. We become what we watch, listen, and pay attention too. So if we only watch the news, then it’s understandable why we have become fearful of the world. The internet is a medium of total human consciousness. Lots of random thoughts and ideas scattered throughout YouTube, blogs, and Facebook. Within the internet, there is a lot of fear, hatred, and worry. The internet is full of white noise. This white noise can distract us from living a meaningful life full of purpose, altruism, and growth.

Back to the purpose of this blog post, how can we change the world when we are just one small part of it? As Gandhi said, we must become the change we want to see in the world. This will keep our spirits high and keep us motivated on our path. You would be surprised at how much you can change the world with your diet, consumer choices, and by simply living your life in line with your values.

To begin our journey to living an intentional life we must be radically honest with our self. Radical honesty is saying what you truly mean without being mean. Many of us walk around being dishonest with our self. This leads to pain, suffering, and steals joy from our lives. We are fearful of the truth because it will make us uncomfortable. What we don’t realize is that our happiness is often found going through that discomfort. If we don’t face it, we often suffer in stagnation for the rest of life.

I now eat a whole food plant-based diet. Most of my life I was eating a standard meat & dairy diet all while claiming to love animals, environment, and my personal health. BUT my actions were not in line with what I was saying. I was being radically dishonest with myself. I knew the horrors of factory farming but still contributed to it. I was fearful of the discomfort of switching my diet and having to let go of a tradition. Through cognitive dissonance, I rationalized violence and unneeded suffering for my taste buds. I recommend watching “Cowspiracy”, “What the Health”, or “Forks over Knives” on Netflix.

Saying we are compassionate does not make the world more compassionate. To change the world into a more compassionate place we must take compassionate actions every day. Be the change.

We also can take action in the clothes we choose to buy. Many sweatshops make their employee’s work 16 hour days in unsanitary and deadly work conditions. They pay their employee’s extremely low wages so we as consumers can get cheap clothing and goods. “The True Cost” is a great documentary on Netflix about the problems of fast fashion in developing worlds. We can change the world by being more intentional with our dollar by choosing to buy used clothing or from companies that provide better working conditions and wages for their employees.

Do we want to be part of the solution or the pollution?

My intention is to never judge another for causing unneeded suffering in the world. I have caused plenty of pain and suffering in my life. My true intention is to empower myself and others to make healthier choices that cause less suffering in the world. Shaming rarely get’s other people to make long-lasting changes while empowering others energizes the spirit and keeps us strong for the long haul.

Here are some of the ways we can take action today to make the world a more peaceful place for all living beings.

-Transitioning to a 100% plant-based diet.

-Choosing fair trade.

-Organic produce.

-Buying ethical clothing.

-Not buying wool or leather.

-Reusable water bottles and containers.

-Less driving. More biking & walking.

-Buying locally.

-Cutting back on consumer goods.

-Buying used.

-Transitioning to solar energy.

We can take action right now to make the world a better place today, tomorrow, and for the coming generations. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. In this way, we can preserve compassion, peace, and love in our hearts and minds. We will be living intentionally and authentically with our true self. We will be living our message with is much stronger than just speaking it.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

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Innocent Living Beings.

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By just being alive I will cause suffering in the world.

But I strive to negate as much as I can.

 

I vow to look at all living beings with compassion.

I vow to look at the suffering I cause in the world.

I vow to take action to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

 

Rape, torture, and death.

I see a tear go down a mother cows cheek.

I hear the last squeal of a suffering pig.

How we call ourselves peaceful while supporting such violence?

 

Blinded by industry lies.

Cold with apathy.

Myths.

Outdated traditions.

 

Wake up to compassion.

Wake up to peace.

Wake up to 2018.

A time of abundance.

A time where we don’t need animal products to survive.

 

 

There is another way.

A way of peace.

A way of compassion.

A way of love.

 

Will you join me?

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The Path of the Peaceful Warrior.

The path of the peaceful warrior is one of infinite strength. The human heart has an infinite amount of compassion. The Art of Peace is a direct response to the Art of War. If we believe war is always inevitable then there will always be war. The Art of Peace allows the opportunity for another path. The path of peace.

Sadly, we mistake physical strength for emotional strength.

Many believe strength comes from rage, anger, and hatred. True strength comes from mercy, compassion, and love. When someone is hateful, they are in a weak state. They are tense, frightened, and fearful. When we are compassionate, we are loose and free flowing like a strong rivers current. We must show others another way. Not judge or hurt our opponent but to show pure compassion towards them as well.

The peaceful warrior trains his mind, body, and spirit. Eating a whole food plant-based diet trains all three of these. A peaceful warrior does not create more suffering into the world that is unnecessary. By being alive, we will cause suffering but we can do our best to not add more on top of this. There is true strength in showing mercy to innocent animals. We build our body strong through eating this way. It will give us the energy to strengthen our body, mind, and spirit right now and into old age. It will strengthen our muscle of compassion. It will strengthen our message of peace. How can we believe in peace and contribute to animal cruelty, torture, and suffering? This is not the way of the peaceful warrior. Our actions must be inline with peace. Peace is the way.

When my opponent shows apathy, I vow to show compassion.

When my opponent shows hatred, I vow to show love.

When my opponent shows war, I vow to show peace.

When

With Peace,

Johnny Hoffman

 

My Mission: To Alleviate Suffering in All Living Beings.

Aloha my brothers and sisters,

My mission is to alleviate as much suffering as I can in all living beings. It’s a lofty mission, but I’m excited to take it on as my life’s purpose. But first of all, I have to alleviate the suffering in my own life. How can I  fully help others suffer less if I can’t help myself?

It has been quite a month for me. For quite some time now I have had this lingering tension on the left side of my abdominal area which reached all the way to the left side of my jaw. I couldn’t figure out why I had this tension. At first, I was numbing it with alcohol every night which was getting out of control. The alcohol worked to alleviate the tension momentarily but the following day it would reappear. I was resisting this tension, which was causing me to suffer. A couple weeks ago, I was driving to work and the tension was almost unbearable, like a thousand tightly wound knots in my abdomen. I finally surrendered to the tension and accepted it. I did more than accept it, I showed compassion and love to it. My tension went away for 15 minutes of pure bliss and joy. I felt like I was floating in the sky or on an LSD trip. I enjoyed looking at the West Maui mountains as tears of joy went down my face. Soon though, I was back to the reality of my tension in my abdomen. Something awakened in me in that moment, I had to stop resisting pain and start accepting it for me to live a more peaceful life with less suffering. I had awoken to my mission to alleviate suffering in the world.

Fast forward two weeks. My meditation practice has been stronger than ever and I’m focusing on reducing my suffering. I eliminate alcohol and porn from my life because they both contribute to my own suffering. I also switched to a plant-based diet to help reduce suffering in myself, animals, and the planet. By changing my habits and intentionally reducing suffering in the world, I invoked suffering that was deep in my subconscious.

In my deep 30 minute meditations, I suddenly find myself reliving old memories from my childhood. All of these memories are either pure rage or rumination over unskillful actions I have done in my past (stealing, cheating, lying). Instead of judging or running from these memories, I choose to accept, love, and show compassion to myself. I imagine myself as a child, filled with rage, confusion, and fear.

Pain doesn’t decompose. Pain lives in us until we confront it with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Suppressing this pain never works.

“What you resist, will persist.” -Carl Yung

What could be more logical than showing compassion, love, and forgiveness to yourself? What could be more insane than hating, judging, and running away from yourself? Clearly, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our wrongdoings but after that is done with, we must forgive and love ourselves. As a child, I would throw temper tantrums when things didn’t go my way. I would have mental breakdowns when playing golf, basketball, or even when my favorite teams lost in the playoffs. This pain still lives on within me because I suppressed and ran away from it. I judged myself and labeled my former self as a sensitive, weak, and inferior version of myself. In my teen years, I was calm and collective for the most part because I vowed to never be that inferior self again.

Yesterday afternoon I fell apart and broke down. So many emotions running through my body. So much pain, suffering, joy, and pure bliss all mixed into one moment.  The tension was truly alleviated once I showed true compassion, love, and forgiveness to my darker side. Radical acceptance was key to ending my suffering and I believe it is key to alleviating the suffering of mankind. So many of us are hurt by old wounds that never properly healed. The people who hurt the most, hurt others. Almost all horrendous acts done by humankind are rooted in hurt individuals who look to cause suffering to others because they themselves are in so much pain.

I’m excited to share my journey to a more meaningful and peaceful life. I thank you all for reading this blog post. By reading this post, you help me live out my purpose to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“When we learn how to suffer, we suffer much less.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

With the Aloha Spirit,

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

 

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