Prison Break.

Humanity builds their cellblock from within.

Years of fear, doubt, & worry.

Obsessed with control & power.

False sense of security.

 

Let’s plan a prison break.

Rip the shackles off tonight.

Let go of fear, worry, & doubt.

Embrace the path unknown.

 

Oh, how beautiful true freedom is!

One day worth more than a thousand in my cell.

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Darkness.

The darkness surrounds me.

Fear consuming every thought.

Anger pulsating through every cell.

Hatred burning into my soul.

Greed filling up my mind.

 

Do I resist the darkness?

Do I suppress these dark emotions?

 

No.

I will accept the darkness.

I will honor the greed, anger, hatred, and fear inside me as part of who I am.

But I vow to shine light into the darkness of my soul.

 

The light of love.

The light of kindness.

The light of compassion.

The light of forgiveness.

 

I will show the darkness another way.

 

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Shore.

A wave flows in & out.

A seagull floats above me.

A crab clings to a rock.

A sand castle withers away.

 

Nature’s many lessons all around me.

 

Consistency.

Patience.

Resilience.

Impermanence.

 

Nature can only guide us so far.

Be still.

Bring yourself to the now.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Observe.

Smile.

 

Zen Calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh at the Bangkok Art and Cultur

 

Anchor.

A wave hits.

The wind howls.

A shark lurks in the darkness.

The storm surrounds me.

 

Will I sink into the darkness?

I throw my anchor into the depths of the sea.

 

No wave can break me.

No wind can push me.

No shark can hurt me.

No storm will out last my anchor.

 

Whenever times are tough, I can bring my focus back to my anchor.

My anchor of mindful breathing.

This anchor will be with me until my last moment.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

 

 

 

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Welcome To Heartbreak.

I cried.

I begged.

I promised I would change.

I poured my heart out.

I suffered alone.

 

How could you not want me back?

Why can’t you forgive me?

How could you be so cold?

How could you be so heartless?

 

Welcome to heartbreak.

The heartbreak of rejection.

The sadness of regret.

The pain of looking in the mirror.

Self-hatred.

Anxious days.

Depressed nights.

 

Through the pain, I learned how to be the lotus flower.

For the lotus flower grows in muddy waters.

 

Through suffering comes joy.

Through suffering comes peace.

Through suffering comes transformation.

No mud, no lotus.

 

My heart is now filled with gratitude.

Thank you for letting me suffer and grow.

Thank you for letting me go three years ago.

Thank you, Alicia.

Hope all is well.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Backstory: 3 years ago in Feb 2015 my life changed forever. I finally told my fiance that I cheated on her. She left me that day. I felt heartbroken, fearful, and anxious. I had to sit with myself. Sit with the anxiety, pain, and loneliness. Sit with the self-hatred. Through that suffering I found a new way of life. A one of meditation, mindfulness, and joy. 

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(Main photo: Kanye West, 808’s & Heartbreaks)

 

 

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

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