Feeling confused in life?  Stop believing the baseless claims of social media charlatans and start looking within – becoming lost in order to be found: in thru the outdoor.

My father and I did not see eye to eye since I can remember. We had a strained relationship throughout most of his life, especially toward the tail-end as he lay dying of cancer. As my father was a fan of the “cheap seats,” I grew up listening to Harry Chapin. As a close and trusted friend whom my father highly respected, who both knew and understood my father and I thoroughly over a long period of time, said of him: “Sadly, he was a man who never did his ‘work’ in life.” And as Cats in the Cradle so presciently warns us, we are going to end up just like our parents – unless we each do our “work” in life, breaking free from our familiar past, the ancestral chains of yesteryear, thus reshaping our present and future.

The aforementioned statement begets the question, what does it mean for you to do your “work” in life? It starts with owning your stuff, dealing with your childhood trauma(s), your shadow side – learning not to project your deeper inadequacies and desires upon the screen of others. It means being filled with inner contentedness, feeling cozy when you are with yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, removing your mask, no longer riding your story horse.  It is being aware of your purpose and meaning in life, and how you see yourself in relation to the world. It requires working through all the troubling and perplexing parts of your psyche, including the harm accrued, the result of past lives’ karmic balance.

There are no shortcuts or silver-bullet pills you can take to remedy this inherited dilemma. It is a part of being human, living out a delusion of grand virtual reality drama on a spinning hot rock through space, a spec in the cosmos; one of four billion possible identified (as of today) planets that can sustain life. Even the classic pessimist Schopenhauer could not find a philosophy to explain away this conundrum. As the altruistic maxim goes: Pay now or pay later, but you will pay someday. You cannot escape your fate, good and bad inclusive.  It is all designed to make you stronger – prepare you for your future; and, in fact, planned out by you preceding the transmogrification of your soul into an earth being. Struggle and adversity, joy and happiness, are all inextricably intertwined, innate parts to the dance of duality of life. 

Those who resist fate are dragged through this blink of a dreamlike existence we call life by the feet, screaming and kicking like a red-headed stepchild. Free-will is an illusion. All decisions we think of as freedom of the will are simply bifurcations of various possible branches of the tree of life.  Regardless if we do think our thoughts or not – for who could really say where they come from, for, as clouds, they just appear, and disappear – in the end, all roads lead to the same destination (even if takes lifetimes): you become what you were always meant to be: your Venus de Milo. No matter what you think you are attracting or manifesting in your life, it is all happenstance – pre-planned and programmed to play out as your life. In spirit form, before you were born, in some planetary boardroom, you orchestrated it all.

Life is simple – the path is clear, it is humans who make a mess of it. We are in an epoch of the western hemisphere of the brain: the age of reason. But the quest of the heart, the way of the silent peaceful warrior is under way. With only fourteen inches separating the heart and the brain, so few can bridge the gap. We make the foolish mistake in thinking our intellect can get us out of the inevitable collision course of self and ego. It cannot. It can only be reconciled through a profound journey deep within the recesses of suffering and despair, the darkest corners of our psyche, where we are forced to experience the opposite, our karmic balance, thus allowing for compassion, understanding and ultimately, healing.

On social media you will find no lack of fast food drive-through gurus who are all but willing to sell you their canned and packaged regurgitated certificate of the month from the soup du jour institute of modern day snake-oil.  Without really knowing anything significant or substantial about you, lacking all deep listening skills, having no idea of your past or present disposition, or the inherent qualities of your character, they quickly pitch you expeditious answers to all your problems in just three big breaths over a tropical cocktail at a local networking event. We only know what we know (or think we do), but these ass-clowns would try telling you the cut of beef, whilst they have their head up the cows ass – all the while living in an artificial perverted deluded Alice-in-LSD-Wonderland fantasy faux world. This self-promotion to “coach” is just their latest a la mode ‘quick money’ scheme. Stay tuned – more to come.  

It is a classic example of the blind leading the blind – sheep to slaughter. This newly discovered gaggle of ‘I’m bored and unsuccessful in life and in need of a trendy hot job’ – without anything of real substantial value to offer you – whom have done nothing in life as yet that has earned them the right to chaperone others, continue hawking their unfounded claims online. Unless you have walked the road yourself, it is hard to advise others on how to navigate a complex ever-changing process. It is no different than a neophyte studying medicine and then thinking he is ready to teach surgery. Most too do not possess a professional background in any field, let alone psychology. Coaches “in the know,” do not say – and they certainly do not say so on social media. The ones with full calendars are not out whoring their services.

They will have you believing that you can manifest anything in life, which is just untrue. They are filled with promises they cannot deliver on, leaving unsuspecting victims to find themselves back at square one in a matter of months, or even weeks if the music stops too soon, causing Pandora’s nasty music box of misery to pop open yet once again. In many cases, they do more harm than good, no matter how many fuzzy-bunny feelings you felt during the process. Other than their prodigious over-the-moon promises, how to align yourself in three easy steps and make $20K per month, how you can skip karma in mere minutes, ways to eliminate trauma(s) in hours, how to manifest anything you desire in life in only days, and even how to masturbate yourself to happiness, they are useless quasi-pseudo-healer-buffoons. The only one laughing to the bank is the one alighting your wallet of your hard earned cash.

As I always tell people I meet that make inquiry into life coaching in any form, there is no need to pay someone for the knowledge, it is free. However, paying a qualified professional with all the necessary fundamental qualifications to guide you through the process, reveal your best inner-self and potential,  can prove a prudent decision. All great innovators and leaders of industry understand the need for a coach to help them navigate such complicated processes, to assist in growth development. But paying the latest unemployed graduate of Trump University (with fees far north than their CV warrants), who flaunts being an international best-selling author, a result of intentionally pricing their book in electronic format at .99 cents on Amazon and running sales, is no different than flushing money down the toilet.

Hopefully you have escaped unscathed from the incessant onslaught of advances that this epic litter of heavenly indoctrinated Sloan Rangers, incredibly misguided berserk global titans of misinformation, self-appointed space-cadet captains of utmost misguidance, self-ordained celestial ministers of the halfwit circus, has deemed “hopium” of the masses. Though their cunning methods may be considered slick by the unsuspecting hoodwinked corner Susie Q, using reverse psychology in their posts to bait their prey into the booby trap – or only replying via private message, does not exactly scream professionalism or credibility to me. Ass-hat children’s eunuch ensemble aside, no matter how many times they try selling you a part of the Brooklyn Bridge, it might behoove you to first consider the conductor of the choir.

Until one otherwise discovers the “self” through intensely baffling and hellish self-enquiry, thus negating all other unanswered questions as wholly invalid, breaking through the veil of reality, the illusion of life, our lives are lived out through opposites, the result of viewing the world only in dualistic terms. At such point, no longer does good or bad, positive or negative matter, for they are one side of the same coin, the eternal infinite ying-yang balance of the universe continues its phantasmal dance on the stage of life. However, until wont time, if ever, such self-realization arrives, knowing only of the world and our shared lived experience through egoic means of consciousness, we exist between two extreme poles.

A person could not know happiness without first knowing sadness. We live in a world of comparisons: night and day, sun and moon, up and down, north and south, and so on, ad infinitum.  We cannot know of one feeling or emotion unless we have also experienced and understood its polar opposite. Otherwise we would have no point of comparison to describe how we feel or what an experience genuinely means to us. Without said comparison, there is no memory formed. So therefore, no matter what some card carrying coach-of-the-month club member sells you, there is no bypass valve to acquiring the desired results. One cannot know light until they have first walked through the darkness of the valley of death.

Without having first experienced the utter despair and wicked self-realizations buried deep within the annals of the soul, one ultimately cannot walk in light. It is just not possible, though many a modern rib-tickling social media ding-dong putz will try convincing you of other. If they themselves first have not walked through the halls of Dante’s Inferno, they are incapable of helping you guide the tangled and convoluted passage. The path can only be walked by you; the quest to slay your inner dragons has no substitutes. It all starts in the heart; get out of your mind. The mind is shackled to the heart and the heart is tethered to the soul – in which the soul leads you to your ethereal subconscious being, God.

To break free from the confining fetters of self-imposed spiritual exile, to understand that life is but a dream and not to be taken too seriously, to unsaddle the constructed sawhorse of false securities we all ride, to come to the understanding that we have no control over life, that patience and gratitude are paramount, that we only get to know ourselves through others, and by helping others we are helping ourselves, we must exhaustively look within. All the answers you seek are waiting cavernously within you to be discovered. You are the universe as known through the conscious-self. Descartes’ famous statement, cogito, ergo sum, Latin, I think, therefore I am, is only true inversely: I am, therefore I think.

For it is only by tirelessly searching the vast troubled chasm within, plumbing the ever inimitable unique depths of our darkness, that we eventually can find light. That light is our subconscious, God. It can only be gifted to you by the grace of divine intervention – only once you are on your knees begging for God’s mercy. Once we have done our “work,” walked the path of darkness in order to become a glowing blaze of love, understanding and compassion unto others, life becomes fun again – our inner smile returns, we feel an immense sense of meaning and purpose. We get to sit back and, like a river, go with the flow of life. Thinking of the past or future are of no practical use to you – an unfruitful cerebral mind rape – an exercise in futility. And regardless of when thinking on either, you cannot escape being in the present.   

There are no shortcuts, no Monopoly pass-go, or detours to the infliction of the ego – the conscious self. It is only through the inevitable path of darkness that the light of essence, God, deep within the soul, can be realized. It is an enduring painful process of self-discovery, a death of the self as we aptly imagine it, succumbing to the relenting bloody pulp of your knees, begging for the love (or relief) of God to free you from the ghastly and shocking throws of what seems like indeterminable ions of suffering, an epoch of sadness and desolation so low you didn’t know it existed, bringing out parts of you that are legend, scary and yet unspeakable, without sage mentors or wise elders with the obligatory requisite tools, education and structure needed to properly assess the best path moving forward, to achieve the desired outcome.

Until one has reached the level of an ascended master, the likes of Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna and Mohammed, attained self-enlightenment, actualization of the “self,” or Nirvana through Moksha, ceasing the endless cycles of Samsara, we sad souls are stuck hitchhiking a ride on this trivial, speeding through space, insignificant trifling, space-magma-jism-filled scorching hot miniscule pebble are left to our own means and faculties to make sense of the brain-twisting unknowable. Which, it should be duly noted, we as humans are utterly incapable of answering the monumental questions of life (such as existence) we all face as bemusing questions in our lives. Life is meant to be enjoyed; it is a simulation we project through our eyes on a screen as if it is our own reality – as witnessed through the “self,” who is the “I” behind the “I”, the one observing our ego – all along fully convinced it is actual existent matter.

We are born into pure angelic existence but lose sight of who we are as cosmic spiritual souls as we go through the [un]common experience of life. Our challenge is finding our way back to that omnipotent omnipresent light. The purpose of life is finding our purpose and then sharing it with others. This is only achieved a result of facing life’s challenges and obstacles head on, Doing The Dirty Dishes of life – one’s “work,” so as to incur growth, increasing our inner vibration of love and light. Love and happiness are processes to be lived, not inordinate things on a shelf one can purchase – so too is the quest inward. The esoteric path begins in your heart, taking you within the unfathomable reaches of your soul, into the cryptic abstruse abyss of your recondite essence, ending with you discovering you are the source of the universe. Best to ignore the Imbeciles Sans Frontieres – a blissful life patiently awaits your pre-scription.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

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Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Struggling with finding happiness in life? Tune out to social media, skip the epitome of incomprehensible psycho-couch-babble and go spend time with a child.

For the last nine months of my life I have been staying in an AirBnB rental in the Maya Riviera of Mexico. It is a worthy setup most preferred and conducive to constantly meeting new and interesting people and personalities. Having a steady supply of fresh people from all over the world ensures there is never a time without someone to serve as a new teacher in my life. Life is a mirror, what we see in others we are ourselves. Sometimes that can be a prickly thorn of annoyance, a lesson on what we need to work on in ourselves, and at others a wondrous gift in disguise. As with living, it is our perspective that counts most.   

There is no doubt you will get knocked down in life, of that you can be assured. The question rather is whether or not you decide to get back up. The rosy glasses through which we choose to view the world ultimately determines the outcome. At each crossroad we face this dilemma as ever present. Otherwise, life is outside of your control – don’t take the drama play too seriously. Like water in a river, learn to go with the flow. How we decide to react to our circumstances sets the path to either suffering or growth. Not many on my journey thus far have willingly chose agony, so there is still hope for those in want.

It is not common but every once and a while an adult is accompanied by a child here at our complex.  One couple, she, Mexican, he, American, stayed here for a short period; only for the female to return later for another stay, but this time she was accompanied by her eight year-old daughter, Ivanka. She settled in as my neighbor and in due time we all became friends. The daughter was extremely timid and guarded at first, taking only but a few requisite princess and tea chat sessions and gifts of sweets to win her over. As her mother was often busy, Ivanka would have no choice but to roam about the courtyard.

Other than your own rug-rats or children of immediate family, whom you are too close to and also a part of their development, it is hard to see every child with “fresh” eyes. There are so many practical lessons missed as a result. How often do you intentionally go out of your way to spend time with adolescents, watching how they maneuver their instantaneous fabricated reality, observing their selfless actions and surprising reactions, conversing with them at their level about things that interest them, or simply being in awe and wonder at their inherent guiltless disposition on seeing the world as one massive funhouse?

Much time outside while having a refreshing tropical fruit juice, meditation or soaking up some sunrays was spent observing Ivanka at play. Without any electronics or applications to steal away her focused attention and stupefy her to the world and nature all about her, I was in utter amazement the creative ways she found to pass time and enjoy her odyssey of perusal. Nothing is off limits! Kids can give rise to their own worlds of boundless radiance as quickly as an adult worries about impending bills or any other pointless trivialities. Kids are busy conquering their latest dream milieu – and its innumerable iterations.   

One evening, as her mom talked on the phone, she occupied herself at the public courtyard table where I was enjoying a cup of newly acquired chai tea shipped from India. She was carrying with her two small dye-cutout red castles, a tiny plastic princess figurine and a large stuffed pink hippo named Oscar. She was in her own little sphere; nothing could take her attention away as she transmogrified herself into the beautifully adorned princess and subsequent scenes played out for my viewing delight. The princess liked to hide inside the castles, when not lazily lounging atop the neck of her best friend for life, Oscar.  

What a wonderful way to experience life, with not a worry in the world –  gratitude for everything – as it is meant to be – as seen through the irreproachable guilt-free eyes of luminous God-like purity. As is with the perfect divine order of the universe, to kids all things in sight are enchantingly inter-connected, infinitely interchangeable: everything is faultlessly synchronistic, according to their juvenile eyes. As adults we lose the ability to perpetuate the allure and excitement, reverence for the wonderment of the omnipresent supernatural, the omnipotent attendance forever surrounding us on this spinning hot rock.

When the myriad priceless royal scenarios ran dry, off she went frolicking in the rain puddles from an earlier downpour. Nothing mattered to her at that time, succumbed by the instantaneous consciousness of excitement and untold astonishment that aimlessly splashing about in water can illicit – she was living unknowingly in the present. She was experiencing her life in the now, without a care for any distractive foreign stimuli. In sports psychology this is referred to as ‘being in the zone.’ Children do not need to practice mindfulness, it comes preternaturally. They can find untold joy in the tedious hum-drum of life.

Soon after my respite, it was time to head off to the corner market to get some sugary foodstuffs for the evening. I asked Ivanka if she wanted to join me. She finds immense happiness in helping assist others in need. I barely had finished my question and she was already bursting with fiery elation. She insisted on unlocking our front gate and opening the heavy metal door for me to exit safely in my wheelchair. Once at the store, she was unwavering about wanting something sweet. She wasted no time in finding the most decadent chocolate and nut ice cream bar in the store – while grinning an ear-to-ear smile to boot.

She was over the moon that her neighbor not only bought her small delights each day but that he also took her to the store and gave her full consideration of choice over which treat(s) she received. As she was always so well behaved, she was never in lack of favor. She was overflowing with gratitude the whole walk home; replete with absolute authentic gratefulness. We give to others in life to bring them a smile but also because it makes us happy, even releasing feel-good chemical hormones in our brain – a type of a ‘mental-gasm.’ The more you assist others in life, the better you feel. Give it a whirl sometime.

Some other days we would just chat about her day or homework or dreams of the future. It goes wholly without saying her biggest dream is to be a princess, living in an enchanting castle.  In the middle of our conversations, as soon as something caught her attention, without haste or hesitation, hurriedly she would run off with a sparkle in her eye – most often to something small an adult would overlook – such as the blossom of a new flower, an unknown bug or an impending rain storm. Nothing is off limits to the imagination of children; mysterious and otherworldly creation is always at the forefront of contingency.

As adults we have lost our effervescent God-innocence, our admiration and fascination at everything our eyes see, the thrill of new smells and adventure of new tastes, the spectacular feeling of living in a world that truly is our playground – we have lost our ability to find pleasure in living life, in appreciating the small things, in not yearning for tomorrow – in our ability to live in the now. We are too busy living in the past (depression) and the future (anxiety). We have been trained like Pavlov’s dog, responding to the bell, under the choking societal confines and rules meant to keep you a caged and obedient robot.

Tat Tvam Asi – “thou art that” in Sanscrit – the relationship between the Absolute and the individual in Hinduism. You are me, and I am you – we are the same, one shared conscious – undefined indescribable mysterious energy: God. We are all in the same boat; when the water rises, all boats rise. Children live their lives God-like, only for the present moment, able to metamorphose no end of marvel and suspend judgment enough to find the divine touch in all things. Buddhists speak on the beginners mind, being a child that knows nothing, seeing the glory of God’s existence and creation enveloping us at all times.

Children are naturally aligned by love; they are born knowing no different. Children are a by-product of what they learn and mimic from parents and peers. Over time this view becomes adulterated with the stresses and responsibilities of living in a vessel – an ethereal body covered in a meat-draped costume, on a hot boulder of magma flying through space; in a life where happiness is incessantly chased but often eluded; in an era with more wealth and access to information in all of history, yet we do all we can to avoid from plumbing the intense chasmic ineradicable depths of our heart and soul to find our “self.”

The mind itself is incapable of answering the bigger esoteric questions of humanity – the riddles of the universe are unanswerable. Dr. Seus considered adults as “outdated children.” Life does not come with an open guide book. If it did, life would be boring: one would never face challenges or obstacles that impel him to find out who he is, essentially what he is made of, or his eventual primary purpose. Neither fruitless exoteric inquiry nor intellect is sufficient; it is only through probing inspection of the heart that one can attain inner peace, contentedness, happiness. Children, with minds still unmolded, innately live thru heart-conscious, spending everyday living by way of perpetual stimuli and emotions, not intellect.

For it is through the profound innocence of solipsism, being the center of the world, that allows for the exploration of the child by dint of interaction with their environment and others, concluding that he is not the world but a part of it – his own little person. Children have no natural inborn prejudices or set ideations of things, people and places – they are pure of heart. This allows them to see others through a prism of love, ultimately teaching them that the world is smiles and laughter. Over time this innocence of sight loses focus to living life and how we perceive it; the mundane daily responsibilities of adulthood.

We are indescribably complex spiritual beings of light, living out this flash of a lifetime in spirit school on earth. We are created in God’s image of pure light, an imperceptible invisible vibration of flawless love, but the farther we suppress the self through the busyness and stresses of everyday life, the multitude of contemptible vices, whether psychological, mental, social, chemical or other, at all times losing sight of the “I” behind the “I,” we corrupt our child’s mind  – which is perfectly illustrated by Sri R. Maharshi’s instruction: “Just Be” –  therefore inflating the egoic conscious, moreover reducing our supernal sub-conscious valve, and to a great extent constricting the consummate symbiosis, the indelible connection to the Absolute source, our higher-self, our not-self, our cosmic-conscious, our super-conscious, God.

The older we get the further removed we are from the feeling of being a child awestruck by our intense surroundings. We no longer see life as simple – we treat it too seriously. We forget that we are all actors in a play of cosmogenic proportions. As you move forward, forging an onerous course on the road less traveled, the eternal quest of illumination of the heart, consider once more being a kid again, finding your inner-child, discovering your inner-Christ, your inner-God-conscious. Finding the child within will evermore reignite your soul and help you find bewilderment in everything you see and experience in life. So what if people think you are strange – the enchanting star-filled possibilities are without limit.

It all starts with being a child. What are you waiting for? Go be a child again. Your Happy Meal awaits!

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on IrelandSpainSweden,  BelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermanyNew HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

My move to the Yucatan, Mexico: Getting lost in Playa del Carmen – A life thrown into turmoil; Finding my heart in Nicte-Ha.

To travel the world is to experience and write you own book of history. Otherwise you are just reading history written at the hands of the victors. But to truly understand oneself and the world also one must depart the pseudo harbor of safety and explore the intrepid open seas. It is only through others that we truly learn about ourselves; it is only through travel that we sincerely learn of the untold people and cultures of other countries. Opening my mind to the possibilities of travel allowed me to find my heart.

This chapter of my life started in Amsterdam, Holland and ended up spitting me out in Yucatan, Mexico. In the interim, it brought me on a head spinning whistle-stop trek from New York City to Maine to Miami to Nicaragua, back to Miami again, then finally off to Colombia. After being unable to find a suitable apartment for my needs in two different cities in Colombia, with funds dwindling, on the verge of giving up, along with some close friends and business partners, it was determined I would relocate to Mexico.

All the while, my journey was eclipsed by the Covid-19 international pandemic and crisis. At every turn there was a new challenge or hurdle to overcome – they were incessant, always lurking in the shadows. Seventeen of the last twenty-four months have been spent living out of hotels. Whilst almost becoming broke and homeless in a wheelchair twice, having my whole life packed into three suitcases only added insult to injury, pre-pending undue stress and anxiety to an already precarious globetrotting expedition.

Do not be mistaken, this has been a wander of the heart since the start. The impetus behind the mad adventure, the magic of the trail, quest of the soul, always surrounded finding the proper foreign filming location for my TV pilot – an adventure travel show with a twist of spirituality, aptly named: Wheels Up! Once leaving Europe to move home temporarily to Philadelphia, whilst giving my car and all my home items away to the inner-city homeless, before being denied re-entry to Europe twice, it has been a slog.

Once I finally had made it to Cartagena, I thought that was my final destination. After attempting to move there twice before in life, my third attempt I planned to live there two to five years. But after six months of innumerable obstacles, breaking my wallet and almost leaving me no bed to sleep in, our team gave up on the possibility of filming in Colombia.  It was at this juncture that I went online in order to find a new city to relocate to in the Yucatan, Mexico. Through an ad on Craigslist I met Julio Cesar Chavez.

Cesar, as he liked to be addressed, was a very congenial person upon first introduction. Without wasting anyone’s time, immediately I informed him on my wheelchair and the necessary living requirements. Within a day he replied via text with a video, a video that showed a few areas of concern, that ended with him proposing where to build ramps for me. After umpteen apartment failures in Colombia, Cesar was an angel in disguise. And after losing all my money a week before my move, I knew it was a match.

At this point, it became evident that I was meant to be in Playa del Carmen – there are no mistakes in life. Since my time living in the Middle East I have always had a connection to the energy of the earth. It is much more fine-tuned in my current stage of life. Once I arrived in “Playa” the energy where I was living was immediately felt. As the same ethereally ‘at home’ comfortable feeling while living in Israel, Holland, Indonesia, Ireland and Colombia, Mexico was no different, genuinely l felt restfully at home.

Cesar owns an eight room apartment rental complex in an off-the-beaten-path quaint neighborhood, Nicte-Ha.  It is a working class neighborhood most representative of how average Mexicans live day-to-day. There is one thing for certain when living in such a regional locale, without the chaotic mess of the ‘el Centro’ zone, you do not see many “gringos” AKA foreigners in the streets. It certainly makes for an authentic experience, one most representational of the bona fide ways in which actual Mexicans live.

In my first week while staying in the warm and cozy barrio of Nicte-Ha, I could feel her warm embrace. The people here are incredibly polite and always willing to lend a hand. A local neighborhood replete with rooster crows all hours of the day, where residents often sit in front of their homes or in the street late into the night, where it is not uncommon to hear music played loud – no matter the hour – it is a district whose streets are alive with constant action all day and evening. The energy is alive, palpable.

Nicte-Ha is a neighborhood where the old-school trade traditions of yesteryear still exist. No matter if you need your shoe, electronic or car repaired, it is as safe a bet as finding a corner street food stand. The delectable choices of local recipes sold by individuals on foot or bicycle trying to support their families are boundless: tacos (14 + different types); tamales; pizza; cakes and pies; ice cream; ice treats; fresh coconut water and pulp; fruits and fresh squeezed juices, and a multitude of other delicious treats. 

On any given day you might see a pandemonium of tropical parrots or Chachalacas flying overhead, leaving yourself asking yourself Que Paso. There is a gorgeous beach, Esmeralda, within a ten minute walk. And, if you are up for the trek, ‘el Centro’ is a forty-five minute walk. When back home you can expect to be flooded with different shouts from the street by local sellers vending their wares, whether procured and resold, fresh mixed, prepared on cart, baked at home or random impulsive tasty foodstuff.

These hawkers depend on local sales to survive. Many live in homes nearby where the majority do not have doors, windows or flushing toilets. They each have their own distinct method to get your attention. The pizza-by-the-slice purveyor on a bike uses a car battery connected to a boom-box to blare out disco music, with voiceover as the menu. Another man goes through the streets, every other residence, in a very raspy hoarse voice, screaming of sweet bread for purchase. Each day over ten vendors would pass.

The complex was filled with affable guests from all over the world. Over time, I befriended one of my neighbors, Valentin, a burly hirsute Viking looking computer programmer from Montreal. He would later become the investor in my TV show. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail all eight units were booked. Many a night was spent outside sitting on the patio under the bright stars celebrating the wonder of life through profound conversation with new friends. One of the greatest benefits of travel is the people you meet.

Of the daily group there are always a few characters. George and Michele from Czech Republic were a daily source of meaningful conversation – as they travel the world trying to rid the oceans of endless plastic. Rocky, his preferred moniker, a seventy-two year old, extremely outgoing and energetic, filled with Midwest love and compassion, always at the ready for a witty remark or a good time, was a pisser. He was right out of a movie; as were many whose paths I crossed during my time in celebrated Nicte-Ha.

While living in close quarters with others over a long period of time it is without fail that some close relationships will result. Valentin was the first foreigner I met when I moved to Mexico. Eventually a friendship ensued. We would spend nights having local street-stand tacos and beers while talking about everything under the sun. At one point, my show became the topic of interest and, by the time the night had come to a close, Valentin decided he wanted to become the sole investor to produce my TV pilot.

As with any major life decision, I interjected that he should first take the proper amount of time in order find resolve with his decision. It was also recommended that he read a copy of my book, Unbreakable Mind, in order to better fully comprehend the totality of my story. Two weeks later he came to me one afternoon and told me he was 100% committed to the project. Unfortunately, without being forthright, he still had doubts deep in the back of his head. And though he tried to hide them, they were obvious.

Although his words said otherwise, and his questions were flashing red-flags of neon, he insisted he was ready to move forward. Within two weeks, in an infantile tantrum, he decided to pull the plug. The show was off. Not a few days passed before he realized his rash mistake and wanted back in on the deal. We reluctantly agreed to accept him a second time, with the fear that he would later find some other quack reason to kill the deal. We also worried that he might decide to have another shit fit once filming began.

Well, as anticipated, and as you might expect, in due time, Valentin withdrew from the project a second time. But by this time he had already made commitments to people for their time and service. Others ended up being affected, collateral damage so to speak, as a result of another unprocessed impulsive decision. After relentlessly chasing a dream all over the globe for almost two years, attempting to bring to fruition through all means, it was time to walk away. The universe’s message could not be clearer.

A wise elder friend and mentor once told me, “Steven, never tie a bow around it.” In life we have our agenda, but life has its own, as well. And guess whose wins? Never yours! We have no control over our lives; the power of fate conquers all. Life has a way of beating you down until you are on your raw knees begging for mercy from above. As part of your karmic balance, each has their own lessons to overcome in this life. If you do not yield and realize these lessons, the universe returns them with multiplied force.  

Obviously I had not learnt the intended lesson: giving up control – living in the now – learning to be patient, waiting for the ‘grand illusion’ to reveal itself. In the interim, we are to continue learning about love and forgiveness, increasing our vibration. Earth is a spiritual school where only the bravest of souls decide to live as a human. What is our purpose here? Why are we here? Every day we each have the opportunity to grow from our experience on earth – every day our reaction and attitude are our choice.  

Losing the deal was a gift in disguise. Truth be told, I have no real interest in being on TV, nor all that accompanies that lifestyle. Part of the lesson on giving up control was accepting that for one [unknown] reason or another, the universe had other plans for me than a TV show – at least at this period. What was the reason? That is part of the mystery of life: recognizing the infinite synchronicity and inextricable interconnectedness of the universe at play in every moment of our daily lives. It forever surrounds us.  

But I am fine with waiting for the universe to reveal its plan. If we continue on and do not acknowledge the lesson, continuing to carry on without being aware of our true purpose, in which the universe is trying to make us aware, life can be a real drag, not worth living. Life is about facing the unknown, head-on. Travel by its very nature has a never-ending plethora of unknowns. And no different than living, travel causes you to have to face and overcome your fears, befalling tremendous growth for future use.

Travel closely parallels life, as it is an experiential process: one that must be kicked off or fully lived, respectively. No different than trying to figure out how to get to a difficult location in a wheelchair, the universe does not provide a net until action is taken. It is only when venturing out into the void of the great mystery, questing through the fathomless far reaches of the heart, voyaging into the unrevealed dimensions of uncharted territory – the collective unconscious – that you find your conscious not-self.

This journey has revealed its purpose: to accept life as it comes by living ‘in the now’ – and to maintain immense gratitude for the limitless love and support surrounding us always, without fail neither of duty nor of time. Life is a big mirror, a mere self-reflection; what we see in others we are ourselves. Travel, forcing you to shed your superficial titles and security blankets, the story horse of vulnerability that we all  ride, opens the way to the road less traveled – the road to your heart, to your inner-being, to God.

Everything happens for a reason. I am where I am supposed to be at this moment of my life – Mexico.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on IrelandSpainSweden,  BelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermanyNew HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Losing his dreams in life in order to help others discover theirs; finding his heart and purpose in the process: The story of Chester Ruiz.

As kids we all have dreams of becoming something spectacular one day in the future. Some kids want to become a farmer, or policeman, while others want to be a fireman or astronaut. For Chester Ruiz it was clear: he wanted to become a professional boxer. As the windy road of life so happens, often we do not get what we want; rather we get what we need. This life lesson, our medicine, is not one that comes too easily. But for those who embrace their soul’s path, the inner quest of the heart, the result is happiness.

The journey of the heart is not one chosen easily by the majority. They are susceptible to finding their way down a path of boundless surprises when life does not go as expected. Once befallen, it is easier to stay down in the dirt than fight your way back to your feet, finding new meaning and purpose. It is not the successes that define us in life; it is the struggles and obstacles that we had to overcome in the process. To each person the process takes on its own relative meaning. Chester Ruiz is no exception.

At fifty-two years of age, Chester has every reason to be sour on life. Growing up in Loma de Mico, a poor barrio of Grenada, Nicaragua, with dirt floors and no running water, with little chance of success being handed to him, he had to fight his way to where he currently is in life. In a house with eight males and two females, impoverished by the conditions of the life of his family, every extra bread crumb or piece of rice was fought over. Little did he know what his upbringing would mean for his future.

As a child, Chester always had a love of boxing. Henry, his older brother, was a boxer as long as he could remember. Henry went on to become a professional boxer, achieving 8thin world ranking (accruing a Pro-Champ of Latin America along the way), but by the time Chester got serious about the sport at age thirteen, his brother had already retired. Henry, a teacher of children by profession, went on to create an amateur boxing program for poor kids in the neighborhood. Henry was a huge inspiration on Chester.

In his first fight at age thirteen he was knocked out cold. He went on to win his next four fights. It was clear in his mind: he wanted to be World Champion. But did Chester have what it takes to get there? He eventually went on to fight his way to six national tournaments. Five of the six he won, taking home four bronze and one silver medal. After one fight with Camilo Ortega in Managua in which he won a gold medal he was forced to join the Nicaraguan Army. But this was good news for his boxing future.

All the best boxers were in the Army. He fought with Rosendo Alvaraez who went on to become World Champion. By all means, Chester was well on his way to living out his dream. We have our agenda in life but life has its own; the latter plan always getting its way. All roads lead to the same destination, however. On a trip home to visit family Chester was involved in a bad accident. He fell from a moving truck onto his elbow, resulting in the end of his boxing dreams of a world title. He retired at age twenty.

Not much time passed before Chester was back in the ring, this time in the capacity of his elder brother Henry: teaching children in the barrio. He started his coaching at the La Iguana Verde School of Boxing, a well-known and respected program in Nicaragua. At this school he quickly found himself in the presence of hungry boxers who wanted to become the best. He trained Victor Mayorga, who went on to become World Champion. Sadly though, Victor never returned much to the community in the way of gratitude.

Chester was married at age twenty-two. His wife, Melania, was twenty-four years old. Soon they would start a family. Little did he know that is life was about to experience more twists and turns, taking away all that he loved, including his family. His brothers were all gifted musicians and they spent time together singing and playing music. They thought he was good, that he had what it takes to succeed in such a highly competitive field. One brother encouraged him to take up music, to become a singer.

His up-and-coming band, Combo 76, found almost immediate success with the public. They were often invited to national festivals, sometimes winning awards for popularity. They once sang at Centro Recreativo, with seating for 1000 persons. Eventually their fame and popularity catapulted them onto a national TV program in 1992. At this point Chester was playing the part of the successful singer during the day but was an abusive drinker in the night. It was starting to affect how he sang and lived.

It is only a matter of time before our shadow side rears its ugly head. Chester’s reality was getting worse by the day. It was common for him to have all day and night drinking binges. It was not uncommon for Chester to wake up in the street, fully clothed, bruised and battered, at sunrise, after a long night’s bender. After our truth is revealed we have a choice: we can either choose to stop or continue on. Chester continued down the path of heavy drinking, effectively killing his music career by age thirty-five.

Chester was now at rock bottom in life. He had relentlessly pursued two huge opportunities to get himself and his family out of the ghetto in order to create a normal life for them – both had failed. And, even more so, on a deep inmost level, Chester felt like a let-down to himself and his family, a real failure at life. To add salt to the wound, two years earlier when his daughter with Down syndrome was born, he made a promise to God that he would stop drinking. But he did not. And now his life was in shambles.

No more were his nights filled with fall-down drinking escapades, Chester, now determined to beat his demon and get his life back in order, was on a mission. One night his bigger brother took him to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting; since then his life has been changed for the better. On September 15th, 2009, he took his last drink, thus altering his ensuing path in life. He continued singing on weekends in order to keep his love and passion for music and people alive. He decided to start teaching boxing again.

Now a part of the Alexis Aguello boxing program, he was back in the streets teaching kids from his heart anew. Chester knew that this was what made him happy in life, that his true calling is helping children become a part of something bigger than them, to find a way out of the daily trouble on the streets and hopefully one day poverty. The kids find tremendous motivation and resolve by being involved in a sport of such agile skill and rugged determination, where training and hard work pay results – same as life.

The kids in his program come from severe poverty, and as with Chester, all growing up without running water and electricity.  They all arrive already with checkered backgrounds; were if not for the program they would end up roaming the streets inevitably getting into trouble or worse, most likely killed. They come from the neighborhoods called “Red Areas” – streets the average Nicaraguan would not dare walk down. These barrios are controlled by drug gangs; with drugs being supplied openly by the police.

In life one never knows where they will meet a Chester. We met because each morning a bike would arrive at my housing unit in Granada – it was Chester coming to work as a security guard. Over time we became friends, eventually leading me to know about his family, life and background. His is a story not unlike any other human who has a dream as a child, or as an adult. He went after his dreams twice in life and both ended in utter failure. But Chester is a boxer, one who would not be counted out of the fight.

Life does not always go as we wish; never tie a bow around it. You can never know if the gift will ever arrive – so lose your expectations. The universe always finds a way send us messages as to our true purpose in life. The further we push away from our sole objective here on earth the harder the universe pushes back. When they are not heeded the universe increases the frequency and severity of the message(s). Until the message is clearly understood, it will keep persisting in innumerable forms.

Like boxers, we all get knocked down in life from time to time. There is a guarantee at some time in your life you will face such a juncture. There is no shame in getting knocked down in life but there is shame in deciding not to get back up again. Chester was knocked more times than any boxer would care to openly admit, but each time it happened he quickly found the seed of positivity, sowing renewed hope for his family’s future – placing him on a new course in life, a path to profound inner contentedness, happiness.

It was in being stubbornly human, striving for his dreams of being a boxer and then a professional singer, having lost each because of excessive abuse of alcohol, and after endless barriers and battles, bringing him to his lowest point psychologically, that allowed Chester to find his true path in life: helping children. One can never know greatness if one never tries. But one also cannot ever taste or know inner happiness if one does not look deep within, choosing the intense quest of darkness in order to find light.

It was this dark and difficult path, the road less traveled, finally beating his fight with alcohol (his hardest opponent) – keeping his promise to his daughter and family, and finding his way back to coaching boxing to children afresh, whilst over a long period of time losing two dreams due to severe addiction, that led Chester to do the extreme grueling inner-work of self, his soul, life, that is required to make happiness an everyday part of one’s life. All the answers to your questions lie within the ring of life – ding, ding!

Chester is a volunteer and receives very little help with expenses for his boxing program. To make a donation, please contact him here.

Travel Blog: Click here.

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Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

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Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Living out a dream during the Covid-19 pandemic: Becoming poor and homeless in Colombia in a wheelchair.

In man’s search for meaning in life, a never-ending process of trials and tribulations, all without logical reason or rational explanation, whilst most live in the mind instead of in the heart, often it is a confusing mess, sometimes disastrous – where experience and growth trump all else, but one where happiness, a byproduct of the process, is the intended goal – with all of life’s lessons serving a greater purpose. The question of how to achieve this endmost goal through the phenomenal mystery of life begets humanity.

Society has replaced the hero’s journey, the person who faces his demons head-on, inevitably navigating through the labyrinth of darkness to find light, with stars in tabloid news, resulting in worship of the rich and famous. Modern society has never been as plentiful in wealth and choices as any time in history, yet we are more unhappy and unfulfilled as ever. Why? We have been taught that he with the biggest house, most impressive title and amount of toys wins. However, the answers lie within, not without.

Over twenty years ago, after leaving a successful career in corporate America, I decided to embark on an odyssey, the inner quest – replete with immense meaning and ambitious purpose – and so I looked into my heart and decided to follow where it directed me. It took me all over the world, from London to Tel Aviv to Hong Kong to Buenos Aires, all the while filling my soul with lessons that would in time mold me into who I was meant to be – the meaning of why I was on this magma filled rock hurling through space.

All that invaluable world experience gave me a unique perspective in which to give back to the world one day – but yet to no avail. At the age of thirty-seven I figured I had a few answers, the sum total of all those parts of my journey up till that point. It was not until a life changing event occurred, after waking up in a hospital trauma center with a priest by my side, that I knew I had no genuine answers, that a more imaginative approach had to be found – all so that I may heal and find light, love and happiness.

After a night out in Philadelphia celebrating the success of a new business venture, I awoke a full quadriplegic. Waking up paralyzed from your neck down is one way to gain new perspective in life, but not one I would recommend. Over the next ten years, with grueling physical therapy and countless insurmountable obstacles, by peering into my heart, making others the focus of my healing, writing a book and creating two blogs, mentoring and helping others in limitless ways, I found resolve, healing.

It was those years of never-ending hardship and healing that led me to my real purpose in life: to guide others on their journey, to help others in finding light through their darkness. Or, simply put: to assist others dismount their story horse, to look into their heart to discover their truth – which is exactly what eventually led to me to Colombia. It is a project that encompasses all the infinite lessons and experience of my life, fully preparing me for this new venture, specifically suited to someone with my detailed past.

Following a talk with an old college roommate, an idea being kicked around for two years, finally took form: a TV show to assist the masses. Steven Quigley Wheels Up was born. A spiritual travel show where I traverse the world conversing with others about their daily struggles, their desire to find new meaning and purpose in life, what led to their breakthrough, and the results – serving as a psychological mirror for the viewers at home. Soon after hearing my story a director and producer signed onto the project.

Life is a best learned through our peers – what we see in others we see in ourselves. It is only by hearing their stories and truth that we fully come to understand how to overcome our own battles. By learning that we all share the same life experiences, no matter the culture or country, we can relate to ourselves and one another in deeper ways. Through a travel show steeped in psychology we hope to utilize others’ examples in order to assist the viewers in their own personal journey for inner healing and happiness.

In May of 2020, expecting to move to Amsterdam to film the TV pilot, with the impetus of an international pandemic underway, thinking there was no reason to store my belongings, I decided to give them all away to the poor and homeless. Soon after in June, I left to NYC to see friends before flying to Europe. Little did I know what my future held and what my recent actions would mean to my life in due time. My profound journey into the heart to live out a dream project would be severely tested.

After being denied entry to board my plane at an empty Newark, NJ airport, resolute on making it to Europe, I moved into a hotel in Queens, NYC in order to await new entry rules into Europe. After three weeks at an expensive airport hotel, with funds dwindling while awaiting an update, I purchased a new ticket to Europe; once again I was unable to board the flight. That is when a good friend from Maine decided one morning to drive down to NYC to jettison me to Portland until the storm passed over.

Unable to find a suitable place to live, and after nine months living in a hotel in Maine – with nowhere in the world to move, as international travel was all but closed due to Covid-19 restrictions – eventually it appeared some countries would soon open. During this period I settled in to experience my first “Maine winter” while exploring moving to twelve different countries, but all were closed. The next part of my journey would bring me to Miami, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, back to Miami, and then finally to Colombia.

Tests completed, flight reserved, it was time to find a place to live in Cartagena. A good friend from Bogota, with local connections through family and friends, was determined to help me secure a new home in my adopted country. Prior to my arrival in Colombia, over six weeks many people helped me to find the right living match. With a stroke of luck, ten days before my departure, with thirty units already disqualified, she secured me a flat in the one of the hottest neighborhoods in Cartagena, Boca Grande.

Once landing in Cartagena and checking into a hotel for two weeks, while the lady we negotiated a deal with was away in Miami getting her vaccination, I relaxed and waited to sign the final contract. But soon that all changed as it became clear she was untrustworthy. From Bogota, of the newly minted nouveau riche class in Colombia, a result of recent expansive economic growth, she had zero commitment to a schedule or to her word. She paid almost no regard or respect to her renters, especially those in need.

Little did I realize how prescient a harbinger she would serve when attempting any successful real estate transactions in Colombia. Her behavior was egregious; her example did not set the bar too high. At this point, with no contract or apartment to rent on the horizon, I extended my stay at the hotel for another two weeks. With unexpected costs adding up (again), friends immediately went back to the drawing board, this time expanding their search to include other neighborhoods and possible living options.

One natural impediment to wheelchairs in South America kept repeating itself – small doorway widths. The main entrances are wide enough, as are many other doorways in homes, but bathroom doorways here are notoriously small, depriving access to the toilet and shower. Otherwise, when contractors are not cutting costs or because they are older buildings, limited consideration is paid to accessibility. Until recently many developing countries had no laws on the books requiring building codes for accessibility. 

Two days before my hotel reservation was to expire it looked like as if we had found the perfect location, building and apartment. It was in the neighborhood I wished to live, with restaurants, shops, cafes, supermarkets and a pharmacy all within close distance. It also had a steep ramp, albeit suicidal – requiring assistance, and two balconies, including one with a view of the ocean and the other with a nice vista of the bay. Once all measurements were verified, I scheduled an appointment to meet the realtor.

The next day the realtor came to the hotel to take receipt of my deposit. All was set, I would move there in 48 hours. A good friend from Venezuela volunteered to help me with the move. Friday arrived and early that morning we got into two taxis with luggage in tow and drove to the building. Two hours later all my belongings were on the ninth floor, awaiting the contract and final payment. As soon I got things settled I headed to the back balcony. That is when I realized the bathroom entrance looked a bit tight.

Immediately I tried entering the bathroom and was unable to enter. The manager soon arrived and attempted to increase the doorway width. Now just barely able to squeeze into the bathroom, I was unable to access the shower. The manager’s response was for me to use a plastic bucket to shower on the balcony. Unwilling in the face of evidence on text between the realtor and my friend, with agreed measurements, he refused to refund my money. He placed the key on the kitchen table and departed.

Wow – what a precarious situation: to either live in an apartment where I could barely access the toilet, and certainly not the shower, or face becoming a vagrant on the streets of Cartagena in a wheelchair.  To return to the hotel would have caused me to incur paying the highest daily rate. It was decided my friend and I would spend the night there and figure it out in the morning. Morning arrived and I was able to get a good daily price again at the hotel. Later I reported the transaction as fraud and was refunded.

Back at the hotel for a third extension the staff was beginning to think I may end up living there. Shortly after it was decided I would leave Colombia, returning to Europe. Holland recently opened their borders again to American travelers – and within two hours I had a reservation on KLM to Amsterdam. It was then that a good friend from another more relaxed city further up the Caribbean coast convinced me to give her country a second chance. Five days later I arrived at my new home: Barranquilla AKA Qiami.

Once there, after checking into another hotel, I immediately began looking for a new apartment. An exhaustive search resulted in no other possible options, until a friend at the hotel told me of a unit for rent in the private residences on the top floors of my building. That evening I met the owner, and after three hours of talking we came to a rental agreement. I was in heaven – a dream come true. Until the day before I was supposed to move in, a text arrived from the owner cancelling the deal at the 11th hour.

This meant I had to extend my stay in yet another hotel for an extended period of time, at full cost. It did not take long for the bill to add up to over two thousand USD, leaving me in a tough position continually paying such excessive living expenses. It was only a matter of ten days before I would be totally out of money. Until this point it was expected my monthly rent would only be a third of my hotel cost, but that was not my reality. My reality was I was about to be broke and on the streets in a second world country.

After careful consideration and conversing with close friends, it was decided I had to swallow my pride and ask others for assistance through public online donations. Otherwise, in the near future, I would have ended up living in the barrios in Colombia in a wheelchair. Since this had happened to me already twice in my life, first after my accident when I lost everything, and second when I could not enter Europe, I could not think of a less desirable place for such an event. A serious crisis was in the making.

A fundraiser was started and within a few weeks friends, through endless love and support, stepped up with legions of contributions. The support I received from the Hilton where I was staying was a Godsend. Christine, the manager, then Paola, the acting manager while Christine was on a leave of absence, along all with all the staff they supervise, were spectacular – both were essential in helping allow me to find a way to remain at my newfound home in Barranquilla. They allowed me to live on credit while I got it all figured out, whilst reducing my daily rate to a livable monthly fee – a true blessing from the heavens.

As life is one big mystical journey filled with otherwise impregnable hurdles, I am grateful for all the aforementioned – amalgamating me into who I am today. It is all a part of the magic of the spiritual trail. However difficult seeing a path forward, I had to remember it would all work out fine in the end. Iron sharpens iron. And although unknown at that time, as nothing worthy in life comes without sacrifice, I had to remind myself that it is all for a greater purpose to benefit myself and others in the near future.

When I set out on my quest to delve deep into the unplumbed frightening expanses of my heart, I had no idea where it would lead me. It has led me all over the world; and eventually to the vision of creating a TV show to help others find healing in life. There were inexhaustible barriers all along the way to derail me from my intention. Certainly I look forward to the day I can look back on all this with a smile. In the interim, I continue to follow the path of my heart, the hero’s journey, the fated work of life, my dream.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Beaten with a pipe, left for dead and found under an inner-city train; Waking up in a trauma bay with a priest at my side: The fate of becoming an author and writer.

Never did I imagine I would become a writer. If you had asked me two years previous I would have bet the house against you. At the time, educated and world traveled, CEO of a consumer finance firm with well over seven digits in sales our first year, I thought I had found some answers in life. That was the first mistake on a long road of many, starting with a journey that would bring me from the apex of business success in the business district of Philadelphia, to living out of a tent in a wheelchair, homeless for a year. Oh, how wrong I was: Life had some surprises in store for me, including becoming homeless again.

Having just returned from living two years in South Asia, with my export/import business waning due to my lack of knowledge in contemporaneous fashion trends, it was time to find a new venture. Just a short time thereafter is when I ran into an old Irish Catholic friend from childhood, Dan Sheehan. In time, another local mutual friend, who ran his own successful company at the Jersey Shore, while at a Philadelphia NFL game, warned me to stay far away. He stated, “Dan is poison, he will outwit you and cause you tremendous trouble if you do not back out. Steven, get out of the deal while you’re still able.” Little could I have known the prescience of his statement to me that fateful chilly fall evening!

At this same time, being a supposed “spiritual” person, a big supporter of one’s inward journey, on a profound quest to the soul, an old friend whom I met on a flight to Tokyo in the late 90s, currently a Vedic Astrologer, Alexia, decided to try out her newly minted chart reading skills on me. This reading was not unlike others in the past, common themes of which I was already aware. But this one concluded with her telling me, “Steven, unsure what to make of this, but you will be off your feet if you do not heed the universe; or else, it will be a lesson that you will never be able to avoid or ever forget.”

Well, nothing at that time could have convinced me different; in my mind, I was on top of the world. Having just turned thirty-seven, and having lived and traveled the world many times over, creating a nascent wildly successful finance company, it appeared to me I was about to come into my own – that this was I had prepared for my whole adult entrepreneurial life, success was soon to be mine. Unsure if I even knew how to define success at that time, no matter how crude or disillusioned my self-import. 

“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”

—  Michel de Montaigne

But first a little background needs be injected into the story for proper reference and context. Up to this juncture, thinking I was a “spiritual” person, I thought I understood my purpose and direction in life. As with all events in life the benefits of hindsight allow us later to see connections that were preceding unseen and unknown. Though without any real clarity or vision on life, I could not focus on the red neon warning signs flashing in front of me  – the lessons of life, the illusion of self-will – and all its confusing options and confounding choices, the branches of life that carry us on our journey can be misleading.

It seemed to me that everything was as it was supposed to be in my life. And it was, however, just not how I had imagined it in my self-constructed reality – and without my knowing. Our minds are masters or deceit and trickery, often keeping the ‘self’ in the dark. Little do we understand how the mind works, even after endless years of neurological toil, research and boundless longitude studies. Life, as well the universe, is merely a reflection – what we see in others we also see in ourselves. The cosmos is forever mirroring back to us lessons through the multiple obstacles and people we meet daily. After all, earth is a school, a place for spirits to ascend their vibration, thus allowing them entry into higher dimensions.

The ability for humans to [re]create their own reality through emotion and memory is utterly astounding. Our minds readily create totally new and previous non-existent events and memories to fit the narrative of our self-designed new reality – the one that fits the image of the projected life we are all living out on a screen virtually. Little did I know at the time I was where I was supposed to be – we always are – there are not mistakes in life. We need what we get and get what we need, as it is said – insipidly, it is true.

As it goes in life, we have our agenda but life has its own. And whose do you think wins? Not yours – life always comes out on top. Life as we expect it to go usually almost never plays itself out as we planned or originally anticipated. Alexia was in touch with the Vedic astrology charts, suns and moons and cycles of my birth chart, looking ahead at possible roadblocks to my self-imagined future. It was time for me to change, but was I ready? It was not long after when an old wise friend stated: “Steven, never tie a bow around it – a sure way to disappointment.” It was a lesson that would prove harder than any in the past.

Six months later Alexia received a phone call from my sister early on a Christmas week Saturday morning. She was calling from the trauma ward of Jefferson University Hospital in the city of Philadelphia. She jokingly said to me while on speaker phone: “Well, Steven, we now know what off your feet meant.” We both laughed. Finally, after four hours in the trauma bay they stabilized me. I had been beaten with a pipe and then found under an inner-city moving train. My first lucid memory after getting into the taxi the night before was waking up in a cold dark sterile hallway with a priest at my side. It was a bad night.

Later I would be transferred into the ICU unit, with five nurses caring for me, twenty-four hours a day, for eleven days. In the hospital a total of four months, including time farmed out to a shockingly horrid nursing home (to heal my bones) and a world-class rehabilitation hospital. Magee, as well as Numotion Mobility Company, were both key components in my recovery. I am forever grateful to my surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Rihn of Rothman Institute, my head therapist, Elizabeth Watson DPT of Magee Rehabilitation, and full-time cheerleader and recovery DC, with the 76ers 25 years, Dr. Neil Liebman of Advanced Chiropractic Center.  

“Let us meet with bravery whatever may befall us. Let us never feel a shudder at the thought of being wounded or of being made a prisoner, or of poverty or persecution.”


—  Seneca

Often, while living in Bali, Indonesia, a local holy man would tell me that all roads lead to the same place, no matter where we find ourselves in life that is where we are supposed to be. Do not fight it – accept what life serves you, with a big smile – that only we can control our perspective and reaction to life. The sooner we give up control, the sooner we are happier, he often quipped to me at the local temple. Even though I had awakened a quadriplegic, that was my cross to bear, and the earlier I accepted that branch of my life the sooner I could begin recovering my body and healing my mind. All healing comes from within.

If life is a plethora of different potential roads, each with their own infinite individual reality, all leading to the same destination, although under the illusion of self-will, then I was on the proper path.  I was fully engaged in my quest – a profound voyage into the soul for answers. Surely, I was on my way, but to where? Though it was the greatest gift in my life, I did not choose the method, it chose me. And it was the express train to boot. Thinking I had picked a prudent direction (as if that means anything – if only to the mind of disillusioned maniac) but life was quick to point out, after many missed signals, and finding myself on live tracks, that I had taken a detour, and though still on the right path, control was not mine.

Here I was under the impression I had chosen the road less traveled. It was less traveled – it was mine, all alone. Little did I know my true journey and purpose would soon make themselves known – they were hiding right in front of my eyes the whole time. But isn’t that often in life how it goes, the most obvious storyline is right in front of us but ethereal life is too complicated a puzzle for our newer, rational brains to crack. It is only through living, in facing our scariest struggles head-on, by Doing The Dirty Dishes of life, getting our proverbial hands incessantly dirty in our vaulted existence, do we produce any growth of integral maturity in life. The sweats of our labor yesteryear are the fruits that we will reap of tomorrow.

The bigger questions started to rumble below the surface, my sub-conscious was churning like an upset undulating sea. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Was this my fate? What would I do now? How would I move forward? How much free-will did I have in deciding my future, if any – or was I scheduled for another, even sterner life altering lesson to make it all clearer – or was the train enough? One of my initial healers, an intuit, friend and world renown nutritionist, Paul Pitchford, to whom I am eternally grateful for his sage wisdom and sensible guidance, told me, “Steven, I am not so sure even a train was enough to knock you down. Your biggest tests will be patience and control.” He was spot on.  

“Whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since the beginning of time. The twining strands of fate wove both of them together.”


—  Marcus Aurelius

Over the next few years I embarked on an adventure, an extensive quest into the heart, which lead me to my soul, the darkest annals of childhood trauma and all the damaging mental baggage we collect on our way to our own personally gifted crisis. After all, aren’t these crisis our own [internal] creation, didn’t we agree to them before we were born into bio-cosmic [human] form on earth as part of our pre-birth planning session – where we agreed to every detail and aspect of our life? Why else would we ever get a feeling deep inside our gut that all will be OK – that soft, reassuring loving voice that comes to us when we think we have reached our final limit – a cosmic message sent to you by a spirit or angel guide.

It was not long after my accident, while trying to keep my struggling finance company afloat, when my childhood friend alighted me of ninety-three thousand dollars in cash, causing me to close the company and declare a total loss. It was only a result of such a process, being broken on more fronts than aware, that got me to the point of considering becoming a writer. Writing was always a labor of love for me; I did not enjoy doing it – I loathed it. With time and practice, it soon became cathartic, allowing me to extrapolate further life lessons, illuminating and elevating positive in all situations, even those tragic and seemingly intolerable – and if telling the story of my internal psychological battles, after ten years of hell, to others so that they too may extract meaning and lessons from my utter tragedy, than I was all-in.

It was also through the help of extraordinary therapists such as Dr. Julie Roberts and Dr. Rodney Napier, among other friends and professionals that helped me begin down the long arduous road to healing. Humans are psychosomatic: the mind and body are directly related. The power of being heard, the power of speaking ones heartfelt inner truth, the power of human connection reserves with it tremendous possibilities of hope and promise. Human connection, starting from the time we exit the enveloped safety of the mother’s warm womb, is everything to our development, it is what results in agency.

Only after the continued harassment of some friends who were well established published authors, who eventually guided me to realizing and understanding what power my story and recovery and healing held for others, how my perspective having suffered a traumatic life-altering event and subsequent tremendous (doctors would call it miraculous – but, of course, they know not of healing) recovery could help others who are suffering in life with struggle, fighting a disease or affliction, if only I were willing to write about it, to share it with others. It was then that I decided I would attempt to write my first book.

“My hat is in the ring; the fight is on and I’m stripped to the buff.”

—  Theodore Roosevelt

After a Sunday afternoon of football with some friends at a local bar it was decided that the title of the book would be: Unbreakable Mind, Channeling your Survival Instincts after Catastrophic Injury. Knowing that the title could make some think it only had solely to do with catastrophic trauma it was kept as is, the most accurate portrayal of what happens when shit hits the fan, when all hell breaks loose in your life. Survival, once we get through the acute emergency phase, takes on a whole new and unfamiliar meaning to us. As we change and become a new being, a new self, so too do our surroundings and friends – those we associate with, and those who influence us – as does our story, our new virtual reality.

The book, written over a period of two years, with the last seventeen chapters being pounded out by divinely inspired key-strokes in six weeks, through the journey of my accident and recovery, serves as a story for anyone in life with struggle. It also serves as a tremendous story of inspiration and motivation – the triumph of man, the man who faces his biggest struggles in life, the man who faces his apocryphally agreed upon pre-destiny and foreboding fate. He is the true modern hero. The book has been a great success, sold in audible, electronic and print formats, helping countless others throughout the world.

Having shed the pseudo title of being spiritual, now matching my actions with my words, having forever journeyed into the darkness of the soul in order to discover my light, and meaning in life, understanding that in order to acquire anything of substantial integral value in life it requires hard work, inspired by a Buddhist altruism and analogy for life, I started a new company in order to help others: Doing The Dirty Dishes – one must till his hands in the soil of living, one must live life and all its experiences to the max, with all its trials and tribulations, ever remaining present and mindful, filling your garden with flowers.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

—  Confucius

Soon after, public speaking, consulting and coaching followed. Though at present, other than mentoring younger men and women, and providing therapy where and when needed, my essence remains focused on writing. Once again able to board a plane and sustain the treacherous trans-oceanic flights, and all that travel entails, I started flying around the world again, resulting in a Travel Blog – thereafter also starting a Spiritual Blog. One is directed to those for whom travel is a challenge in life and the other for those whom are insightful and introspective, respectively. Both are read in over eighty-four countries.

Never did I plan to be a writer but those were the cards life dealt me. And what was I to do? Sit and sulk, curl up into a ball and cry, dejected, lacking all interest and passion for life, becoming a depressed victim of life’s unwarranted [yet to be seen] paradoxical fortuitous circumstances?  Life is so hard, you might as well fold your hand and exit the game – or, also one has the choice of becoming an unceasing survivor – a relentless persevering warrior on the inner-self-quest to slay his dragons, with each new dawn’s rising sun a fresh choice of slate of wonder and chance anew, abound with endless unimaginable possibilities.

“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting? ” 

 — Marcus Aurelius

No one ever summated Mt. Everest from their couch. Anything in life that comes easily is not worth having; anything worth having does not come easily. No pressure; no diamond. It is far easier to see fault in others, to pass judgment, than to dig in and deal with “our stuff,” delving into the internal abbesses of our emotion filled psyches and what needs paying attention to most, healing. The biggest bully you will ever face you see in the mirror each day; we are our own biggest critics. But if we allow love and healing into our hearts our dynamic changes, in every facet. The only person who we ever shall judge is our-self – and pray that we are a better person than who we were the day prior.

Aside from currently working on a second book, Unbeatable Heart (part of a trilogy – third: Unstoppable Wheels), will explain what the heart is and what is its true function, how to enter into the chambers that lead to the soul, and what do to what with what you find there – how to turn that into a meaningful life, replete with purpose and happiness. Plans are in the process to restart Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast in the coming months. There are plans also for more travel blogs in the winter & spring, Covid-19 travel permitting.

In my single digit years I thought one day I would be a farmer (though the irony that we all till the soil of the earth is not lost on me), in my teen years I thought I would be an international photographer for Nat Geo, then in my twenties I was sure I would end up living abroad as a businessman, rounding out my thirties thinking I would become a CEO of a large company, so when my forties arrived, to my greatest initial dismay and utter surprise, after suffering a tragic mid-life trauma that turned every angle and aspect of my life upside down, it turns out I have become a writer. It was my fate – and I am grateful.

For, without the aberrant aberrations of life, the dreams that funnel to us through our inner-self, our conscious, the myth we spin in the web of the mystery of life, it is life itself, living, that truly gives us meaning in life, happiness. And only through living by extolling others, with life as our mirror and truest teacher, by tilling our garden of joy, understanding and acquiescing we have no control over life, but only our reaction and attitude, seeking out meaning through a dark and horrific inner journey of the soul, welcoming the quest into the heart, molding our present from the infinite cosmic clay of self-reality, of ultimately, as a result of aforementioned, finding what we love, our passion, our purpose. 

Funniest irony, the magik of the trail, as an old friend, Knud, would say, is that if asked my friends would tell you it was always my obvious path to become a writer and speaker. I still find it surprising. But hey, we all create our own reality – go create yours. All roads [eventually] lead to the same destination – where you are meant to be. In due time, with attentive introspection and indulgent curiosity, along with a little love and light, you too shall reach your intended journey’s end. Perhaps, upon close enough thorough inspection, you may discover [too] that you are already there – where you are supposed to be at this moment – embrace it, live in the now, get into the flow, the Chi of life. Teeth to the wind!

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

2021 – Forget your resolutions, affirmations and manifestations; You have your agenda in life and life has its own: Never tie a bow around it!

As we approach the New Year, it is a time of introspection, where we look back on the prior year with either regretful dismay or joyous glee, a period when the future, though uncertain, holds a refreshing breath of hope and promise, when we get a short respite to reassess where we are in life and where we’d like to be, beware jumping to any conclusions or having set attachments to any outcomes, as it is highly likely, all resolutions, daily affirmations and drive-through-Guru manifestations aside, that what events and actions you think will occur this year most likely will not result in the wishes you so desire.

At this point you are probably thinking that is a bold statement for one to make. It is. But there is truth behind it. For, we are not in control of our lives nor our minds in the ways we think [and have become accustomed] or feel we are. Alone, almost ninety percent of what we do on a daily basis is done without our knowing, our conscious willing, as we are on auto-pilot. Our mind and what we know is of a system that is in itself incapable of answering the biggest questions, for how can a system think outside of itself, it is self-contradictory and paradoxically absurd. Most modern ideas on decision theory, the what, why and how we reach them, have now been debunked by the likes of Gladwell, R Wright and Kahneman.

The cultural heuristics alone at play, if appropriately understood and applied to any said period, would make the average person rethink how their mind works. Many of the ways we come to decisions are out of our control; and they are made before we are even aware – as if pre-programmed in our subconscious. So, where then are decisions made? And how are they made? We know only one side of the equation. We know why we see the color red but we do not know why it is red. Other than outside environmental factors, affecting the person through epigenetics, imprinting memories from emotions and context links, the brain itself is only a machine good for calculations, logic and reasoning; otherwise, it is an unnecessary, stressful and anxiety loaded ping-pong machine filled with unfathomable confusion.

2020 has been a year for the history books, a year millions would rather have forgotten ever happened. But we cannot – we cannot change anything that happens in the universe or in our own lives even, we can only change our reaction, our attitude and perspective. We can only live in the present, the now – we have no choice, it is impossible to live in the past or future, there is only the present, and the present is now. As the ten-year anniversary of my horrific accident comes to pass, rendering me quadriplegic below the neck, waking up in a cold dark inner-city trauma ward with a priest at my side, it reminded me that we have our agenda in life, but life has its own – and guess whose wins, every time? Dare to guess?

“Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting.”

—  Marcus Aurelius

Once we are knocked down in life we have a choice, we can either choose to stand [or try] back up again, refusing to yield a victim, choosing instead to become a survivor by pushing forward and finding purpose and meaning in life, or lay down, crying “poor me,” allowing ourselves to wistfully blow abound in a blizzard of overly-emotional ‘snowflakes,’ offended by every little one of life’s idiosyncrasies, creating a world of delicate little ‘flowers,’ where no one can speak their mind or truth without causing harsh judgment or irreparable psychological damages to a ruling generation already in need of increased self-worth and inner-confidence. If there was ever a doubt, go read Jordan Peterson of the “true North.”

When I went out that Christmas week night with three girlfriends I had no idea I would wake up severely injured. Well, I was almost lost on the trauma table four times so I guess it was a bit worse than was originally thought. Most are not found under a moving train and live to talk about it, let alone become eighty-four percent recovered through a long torturous road of recovery and healing – resulting in a book. In due accorded time, I fully plan to walk and run again. It is through Doing The Dirty Dishes of life that one achieves something of any real integrated value or virtue – anything really worth having in life. 

But, did I have a choice? Do any of us have a choice what [personally] happens to us in life? Are we mere products of fate, pre-destined to be a certain someone or somebody? How much of it is in our control? Does free will exist, or is it the greatest invention of the mind since Siegfried thought he could befriend a wild white tiger – crude bold trickery of the mind? This is not the appropriate space or place to address such lengthy complex subjects or concerns, as they are worthy of their own book chapter each, however it is important that they have some mention. Had I not gone out that night to party and celebrate the success of my new business venture would I have still have ended up in a wheelchair? The answer is YES.

One could go so far as to the hard-determinism view on life, where Elon Musk, a huge proponent and supporter of simulation theory, where it is believed our whole lives are being lived out through a VR headset, sitting in a comfortable cosmo chair, somewhere in a universe conference room, believes we see and experience modern life and reality – virtually – the “ultimate reality.” It is no wonder he wants [and will] to take us to Mars one day in our future, our lifetime. Not that determinism, the doctrine that states that all actions are outside the will of humans, is flawed. Free will is a phantasm of the brain.

The existential and corporal illusion of free will once discovered is overtly disappointing, and at the same time covertly surprising; but once fully understood, an [third] eye-opening occurs, an enlightening and freeing of the mind and all its constraints. Along with believing we have control over our lives, they are the two most critical elements in contributing to the massive increase and ramped rise in stress and anxiety in modern society. There is no need to worry or stress, you have no control over any of your life, including your thoughts. We do not live in the universe; the universe lives within us.

“Fate leads him who follow it, and drags him who resists.”

—  Plutarch

Your life was pre-planned long ago at a meeting somewhere and sometime in the universe. It might have been near your home planet, or somewhere else of past assimilation or experience, but you were there in pure soul-spirit-form and agreed to every little facet of your life. In pre-birth soul planning you planned every part of your life, every last detail, from whom would be your parents, brother, who you will marry, kids or not, divorce, disease, accidents, graduations, travel, likes and dislikes – nothing is left out, or to chance. You spend all your lives surrounded by the same tribe of people, interchanging roles in each lifetime. So in this lifetime your mother could have been your brother in a past life, other-where.

Ever wonder sometimes when you wish to give up, when you ponder taking your own life through suicide, that there is this small flame deep inside that still burns on, a dim pilot that gives you a flicker of hope, a connection to something, a something familiar that makes you feel as if it will all be ok? When you intuit such feelings, even those you feel as you are committing wrongs, there are multiple reasons other than your inner body’s feeling of dis-agreement, they are also influenced through angel, spirit and ancestral guides, as well as your inner Holy Spirit, higher-self, inner-spirit-being, conscious existence – God, and the inexhaustible wheel of karmic debt self-balancing and inescapable cycle of reincarnation.

For those who question fate, and especially for those who believe in [what others blindly tell them] self-manifestation, for those who think you can (or sell other “sheep” into slaughter) do and become anything you wish, or order from the fast food universe, never having done the “actual” inner-work to achieve the desired results, who occupy their time being narcissistic, self-centered and egoistic, have not gone deep within their heart – into their soul – try temping it and see what results. Thus differently, without giving up control in life and what it brings us daily, it is impossible to garner the said outcome cleverly sold to you. That is for those who see success in the most verdant sense, not riches of the heart.

“Everything hangs on one’s thinking…A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is. “

—  Aristotle

For those who think that success, since in the modern world he with the biggest and most toys wins, the prevailing current ethos of our society where we elevate the superficial and reward the shallow, in constant need of daily emotional affirmation, is the result of untold selfless hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, Sisyphus grit and determination, are in for a shock. It is not due to their hard work, lack of personal conviction or endless resolve. The Bill Gates and Oppenheimers of the world owe their success to a complex sinew of universally inter-woven and inter-connected ensemble of synchronistic events.

Resolutions are also a waste – as if the habit, the base of the addiction or pattern, is not changed, so too will the results remain unchanged – rendering them worthless. Otherwise, beware, by definition, if you continue to do the same thing each day and yet wake up the next day expecting different results, one may be labeled insane. There can only be one Michael Jordan, no one else. Focus on yourself, figuring out who you are, why you are here and your passion and purpose, for everyone else is already taken.

Free will does not exist; it is a mental construct of the mind – same as linear time. They are two sides of the same coin – multiple choices in the tree of life, insofar all decisions lead to the same place, your fate.  You become what you are meant to become, even if you take a few detours on the way. You might even have an Unbreakable Mind and choose the road less traveled. It might take more lifetimes as Samsara plays itself out but, eventually once the lessons of earth are learned, you vibration increases manyfold. To begotten one must beget. Life will not come to you, you must go to it – what you put in, you get out.

All the ascended masters over time, whether Jesus, Buddha or Krishna, have increased their frequency and sprung forth their vibration not by logging onto “Rock-sta-app,” wishing they owned a large Mc-mud-hut atop a large desert rock outcrop – replete with haboob window-covers, through manifestation, by endless prayer (as if it is a list; as if God does not already know your wants and concerns), through daily affirmations (which have been proven to have little value outside the warm-fuzzies), or by the hand of any number of self-ordained – fill-in-the-blank on any social media type – life and success coaches.

These are the newly ordained graduating class of ass-hats, requiring  self-sacrificial thorns, a lamb of the self-crucified sub-group of those who have who have in life only successfully achieved mid-life crisis, a never-ending link in the infinite self-help movement societal noose, where a license found in a Cheerios box is no longer par excellence, however thoroughly ensured you are of impossible results via their Facebook PhD – the same group who they themselves have not walked the path by way of traumatic mistake, planned purpose or even happenstance, yet believe themselves worthy of guiding, or even worse, advising others on life – incessantly selling you inbox success and happiness. It is condescending and arrogant to think you know of another’s life better than he himself does; or that you affect change.

“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”

—  Epictetus

Whether I went out that frigid December night ten years ago in Philadelphia or not, I still would be injured, in a wheelchair at this time, unable to walk. If it were not the Friday night Express Train tragic accident, it would have been the Saturday morning bus smash incident – it was fate I would end up where I am now. There are no mistakes in life – or chance meetings of places or people of our collective memory. No mud; no lotus. Everything in our lives is inter-connected, with limitless imagination and possibility, as the trees in your backyard are inter-twined and co-dependent – one cannot escape the eternal condition and balance of our own personal karma – each lifetime and lesson must be lived out.

The meaning of life is just that: life – living. It is an experiential process that requires your participation. Sure, fate will bring us to where we are going, and we will get there, eventually, but only first by getting your hands dirty, Doing The Dirty Dishes of life, do you advance. Think of life as a garden, you can either till the soil, providing the proper earth loving nutrients and sunlight, so splendid flowers of love, support and friendship can take root and develop and grow into healthy and mature, bright and beautiful shining souls, or you can pay it no mind, denying it the necessary inner-self-love and natural needed nutrients to bring the plant, your life, to fruition. Life can and will, and is almost guaranteed, change in a just a flash of an eye – if only the Local Train! In life, by the way, your agenda ne’er wins: Never tie a bow around it.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

My Covid-19 forced adoption in Maine; Secure today due to the love of others: A cornucopia letter of colossal gratitude.

It is such in life that one cannot get through it successfully without others – their presence or help. We are sentient beings that learn through reflection, mimicry, experience, and intrapersonal and interpersonal communication. At every point of your day, no matter how far removed, solo or free you feel your emotions or thoughts or existence, you are wholly dependent on others for your survival. It is not only those in our inner circle that assist us on our journey in life, every day we receive boundless help in imperceptibly planned, synchronistic ways from strangers and other spirit-forms, playing to their own inter-connected orchestra, that most are totally unaware.

On the other side of the coin, life is meant to be lived. But it cannot be lived without facing trials and tribulations, of which, never cease throughout our lives. All that changes is your willingness to accept you have no control, and your attitude and reaction. As we face head-on the inevitable obstacles and countless struggles in life, we are unable to push through them without the help of others. It is impossible to function in life without coming into contact with others. Even having a PhD in advanced mathematics from Harvard will not help you escape. Just ask Ted Kaczynski.

In order to build character, integrity and understanding, to become more self-aware, the path leads throughout assisting others in life in need. There are lots of ways to assist others: money, time, support, love, forgiveness and gifts. Only by aiding others do we ultimately learn to place ourselves in their shoes, with vulnerability and authenticity, becoming closer to their actual situation, reality, providing the essential room needed for empathy, compassion and forgiveness to take root, resulting in profound inner-growth and an increased sense of self-enlightenment.

“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.”            

— Vietnamese Proverb

After becoming stranded at JFK in NYC, it became glowingly clear that I was in dire need of the help of others. What was meant to be a quick stopover to see friends in “The City,” on my way to moving to Europe, was turning into an emergency, a calamity within an existential international crisis. The obstacle is the way. True. As with Sisyphus, only with the help of others are we able to push the boulder up the hill. Nevertheless, it is in Doing The Dirty Dishes of life, getting both your hands dirty, that we truly can accomplish something of any substantive or substantial value.

Weeks later, now jettisoned in Portland, Maine, after ten days and finding no place to live – creating even more urgency – only exacerbating an already precarious situation. Things were starting to look more on the frightful side. Though I remained upbeat something would open up for me, nothing ever did; one rental after the other slowly voided into a black hole. Bouncing from hotel to hotel was exhausting, infeasible and unsustainable. The money in assistance I received when in trouble in NYC was quickly running out. The outlook was becoming dreadful.

Ending up at the Hilton, my future in disarray, after being denied General Assistance, trying desperately to find a place to stay long-term (anticipating Covid-19 wave two, I was planning ahead), it was looking like I would have to live in an extended-stay type hotel. But how? That was well beyond the stretch of my limited budget. Until one serendipitous afternoon I met the hotel manager, a Southie from Baston. Informed on my situation, he told me to give him a few days to see what he could do to help. He was my last hope – my Tom Brady “Hail Mary” pass.

A few days later, feeling depleted, while sunning outside on the patio, Vernon Briggs, the hotel’s new manager, came to talk with me. He said, “Steven, could you get by with an additional mini fridge and a hot-plate in your room?” “Sure can,” I answered. With all my past travel and hotel experience, every industry trick in the book inclusive, I could not lock-in a cheap enough daily rate to pay the hotel bill and still be able to afford food. “Well then, Steven, what do you think of this daily rate?” “It is definitely workable – thank you, Vernon!”  “Oh, and it is tax free, he said.”

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

— Voltaire

Over the next few months Vernon treated me more like an old friend than a guest at his hotel. On down days when feeling blue and depressed, he was consistently there with a positive word and smile. When money was tight and food was short, he always ensured I had a warm meal to eat. And most days it was hard to get past him without him offering me some type delectable sweet as well. In due time, several deep conversations abound, eventually a relationship developed. I now consider him a friend and look forward to meeting him and his family again in the future.

The rest of the staff at the hotel was just as helpful and supportive. Clive never let a shift go by when he did not place a goodies bag by my door for me to awake to – constantly going above and beyond. Shauna, evermore the momma-bear of the hotel, never missing a chance to bring me in a home-cooked meal or something much needed from the local food market – like the little sister I never had, a blessing. And Barbara, the humorous feisty Argentine tigress, incessantly greeting me with a vast smile and humorous remark – a pistol – continually nourished my soul.  

Mark, a person with infinite love and care in his heart for mankind, a man so willing to sacrifice his own contentment for the sake of others’ joy and happiness, someone who deeply understands the meaning of being altruistic, selfless. He is the type person one can only wish to have in their life as a friend or mentor– good stock to the core. Everyone else at the Hilton was super helpful, from staff, Sara and Alicia, to the engineers, Les and Al – everyone was spectacular. Forever will I be grateful to those who helped me transition from homelessness to finding a home in Portland.

As well, I met numerous other guests at the hotel that helped make my stay more enjoyable. Thank you to Anthony, Sheena, Brian and Alisa for the lovely meal in the main dining room. Some of recent acquaintance, Rita and Gwen, would later go on to become friends. Many a star-filled night was spent outside on the cozy patio conversing by the gaslit fire-pit. As a result of so much time spent by an airport hotel, I met a plethora of passersby, from all over the globe, from every profession imaginable, listening to their stories by blazing flames, and most often over a cold drink. Some nights with guests did not go as planned, concluding with memorable fodder.

Locally, others were also just as involved in making my extended stay in Maine comfortable. Laney, the friend who rescued me from NYC, and I spent much time road-tripping through New England, traveling the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in New Hampshire, eating seafood at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunkport, Maine, sharing laughs at Bentley’s Saloon (Bush Sr. would frequent when staying locally) with the owner and local celebrity, Bentley, or drinks or eats at any local Portland favorites, Wilson County BBQ, Duckfat or Omi’s Cafe, is an angel sent from above.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

In Unbreakable Mind, in order to get through a serious trauma and recovery, I write about how critical it is to form a team and superb plan – a community of unending support, because it is not only required [if you wish to succeed] but necessary – the same is true in life. It is by means of others that we best learn about ourselves. And why wouldn’t it? We are all one; a mere reflection of one another: the cosmos is your eye; and your eye is the cosmos. What you do to yourself, you do to your neighbor – and vice versa. We are all inter-fused through “one” shared sub-conscious.

The journey of life cannot be completed alone – we all require the love and support of others at various times of our lives. As humans we are animals and as animals we are social beings. It is via others how we ultimately graduate extreme ‘spirit school’ AKA earth – as it travels through the universe at 107,000 km/h. As masses of confused meat-drabbed stardust incarnate, we are on this hurling rock of magma through the cosmic shit-storm of unknown together. Community and society do not work unless everyone plays their part; all the cogs are interrelated. A life fulfilled, replete with purpose and mission, success and happiness, is best had by way of assisting others.

We all have the capability within us to bring out the greatest in others and, as a result, ourselves. If not today, when you do you become your best self? 2020 has been a year for the history books; it cannot end soon enough for a myriad. Now is a period of contemplative thinking and resolve – time to be alone with your thoughts and how you wish to improve yourself in the coming year – an opportunity to be together with your family and friends again, breathing life into yesteryear.  And at a time when the world is in such need of healing, why not start by helping others today?!  

#gratitude

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Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

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Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Using your Covid-19 time wisely; Hey everyone, look at me: The incessant need to be affirmed on social media.

In the Covid-19 world we currently find ourselves, there has never been a greater need for inter-personal communication. Today’s generation, born into the digital age, lack the ability to communicate with others person-to-person. The fact that social media plays such a big part in so many peoples’ lives only exacerbates the issue on a larger level. As a result of the current international health and economic crisis, social distancing and other counter measures, we find ourselves exceedingly separated from friends and loved ones, increasing isolation and anxiety.

With schedules in disarray, resulting in more time off, the amount of hours per day spent online has increased many-fold. Rather than take that spare time to read a book, take a walk in nature or spend time improving oneself through contemplation, it is wasted on frivolous empty activities, providing no value to our brains and souls. One of the gifts of this international crisis is solitude: time alone to explore within for direction; and to look without, through close friends and family, for answers. The need to fill our schedules with “busy” time pervades our thoughts, however.

Those who are whole and complete, who have done their work AKA “stuff” in life, fought their demons by embarking on a profound journey into the furthest annals of their being, only to find light, are handling this turning point with empathy and compassion. They understand the world is not fair, that they cannot control what happens in life, as that is out of their control, but they can be in control of their emotions – their reaction and attitude to life’s trials and tribulations. They understand the underpinning inter-connected essential elements of community, and the need to protect fellow mankind, regardless the level of their [professed and misguided] patriotism.

For those who are not complete, those who have not embarked on the intolerable voyage to better understand themselves, those still lacking inner content and resolve, they are pining for life to return to yesteryear. Aside from being separated from daily socialization with others, through measures implemented by governments worldwide, by banning people from social events and functions that would otherwise provide much obliged human communication, interaction and touch, whilst others suffer in silence, unable to access social services, there are no outlets for citizens to vent, they do not exist. It is left up to you to explore new ways to find well-being.

What issues and concerns existed prior to the catastrophe have only multiplied exponentially. Social media, normally an outlet for most to keep in touch with family and friends or post about their lives, has turned into the biggest self-psychology self-help platform in the world. Anytime anyone goes on social media they are bombarded with unreliable, poorly sourced information or fake news. Kind of like believing you are Frank Sinatra in your own shower – well, everyone on Facebook, newfound PhDs abound, are experts in everything from epidemiology to financial market fluctuations to political history to quantum physics. Geez, how did I ever go amiss?!

My favorites are the alleged ‘spiritual advisors’ of the Internet. They are in a stratosphere all their own, figuratively and literally. These ass-hats are as in need of therapy as much themselves as those they [attempt to] help, and certainly should not be doling out advice on life to anyone in want.  The Internet is replete with countless throngs of blind sheep searching for their shepherd. And there are no lack of shepherds to boot. Their specialty need of assurance is of an elite class, where few are chosen but many are self-ordained. In other words, the blind leading the blind!

There is nothing better than when one of these self-proclaimed ‘spiritual advisors’ openly advertises her sexuality to sell her message – the antithesis of being spiritual, by placing utter emphasis and excessive value on beauty, the shallow, vain and superficial. Somehow the “message” gets lost in the infinite inappropriate ogling of comments of pathetic men – probably the same group who randomly send gross dick-pics to unsuspecting [and shocked] women. If they were advertising VIP lounge champagne lap dances or comfort-bunny cuddle-services it would make sense. But they are not.

Good luck seeing your way through the labyrinth of personal hypocrisy and self-contradiction.

These same vapid types will also immediately and constantly reply to any comment you make on their narcissistic post, never missing an opportunity to “tag” someone, thus providing the ‘click-whirl,’ immediate gratification and confirmation modern society has come to reward. Whereas, if these ‘spiritual advisors’ had anything “spiritual” to offer, aforementioned notwithstanding, they would not be advertising their bodies and cheapening their message, a byproduct of the ‘hedonic treadmill,’ to solicit “likes” and comments – thus fueling the social media algorithms to the point of manipulating the news feed to keep their post reappearing – so long as they feed the machine.

And for those on the other side of the narcissism coin, those with an insatiable appetite, enough to fill a black hole, in a world where discipline and rigor are foreign, where the cheap and the shallow are de rigueur, whose use of social media as modern self-therapy, with an never-ending thirst for non-self-effacing daily attestation – everything from their new car, who by accident include the [luxury] make, to their kid’s every poop (we all defecate, by the way), to the ever-so-lovely forever updated profile photo, with every self-beautifying angle and trick straight from the photographer’s handbook – you are just as guilty in being abundantly devoid of self-awareness.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

— Aristotle

Let me suggest some other more constructive uses of your ever precious time: Perhaps you could better utilize this donation of newfound wonder, a gift in disguise, rather than spending your days filled with endless social media, by taking some time for silence – a moment to look deep within your inner-being, quiet the busyness of your day, eliminate the time thieves, and explore the cavernous vicissitudes of your soul – discovering who you are, why you are here, and what is your purpose in life. We are here on this earth to find meaning, and it is best found by listening to your heart. Satisfaction and happiness are two sure roads built on the backs of helping others.

Learn to take back control of your life; learn to appreciate the value of silence and introspection; learn the practicality and immense fathomless benefits of inward contemplative reflection.

There is good news: Your feelings of not being whole, not having walked your innermost journey – where your ‘stuff’ is identified and worked through – your emotional state of unease and unhappiness, and your quest to fill a vast bottomless depression has a solution: That time spent on social media, entreating to be affirmed and liked by others, is better spent by directing that same energy inward, by completing the pursuit in life slaying your dragon(s), commencing unraveling the onion called you, gaining a better understanding of the [inner] route to happiness.

We currently live in a culture of personality, where the superficial is elevated to emperor status, where we have replaced virtue with vice and integrity with sub-moral character, where we have elevated actors to hero status – no longer valuing the true heroes in our society: those who look deep within for answers, those who face insurmountable odds, those who play with the cards they are dealt (and do it well), and those who often fall down but get back up, even through affliction, struggle, suffering and disease. These are the heroes we need to reinstate in society.

The burning desire that others find interest in our lives, instead of discovering that same interest in and of ourselves on our own, creates a Jungian self-reflective mirror effect of our own self inadequacies unplumbed in the chasmic cleavage we call our self, perpetuating the inexhaustible cycle of unhappiness. No one can be sure what the results of this worldwide economic and health catastrophe ultimately will be, but rest assured we are experiencing drastic change never seen the likes of history. Change is uncomfortable; it does not come easily.  There is no way around Doing The Dirty Dishes of life; anything of value worth having takes hard work and sacrifice.

Buddhist proverb: No mud; no lotus. (Without dirt and fight there is no flower and beauty.)

You will not find such satisfaction on social media, nor will you find happiness through the need for incessant affirmation. Algorithmic social media feeds – specifically programmed, with psychology and addiction in mind, to show us more of what we want – guaranteeing we continually reinforce our ideas of the world, no matter how skewed or misinformed, always playing out to our own heartfelt capacious self-made and self-fulfilling narrative. Through their continuous psychological manipulation, you are drinking the cool-aid, questioning nothing, and allowing conspiracy theories to take root and gain credibility when false and unsubstantiated.

The irony of it is that these humbugs are going onto social media to tell others how to be whole and complete. Ladies and gentleman and clowns, it is like what is said of being a guru: If one calls oneself a guru, simply be definition they cannot be one. Same goes for those who purport to be self-assured on social media, and can show you how to do so too – they are incapable. A fruit tree that is not healthy cannot bear fruit. Therefore, how can a person who has not walked that path in life inform others how to proceed downward? They cannot. Only you can. And for free.

It is a dichotomous paradox so few can find their way out of yet. And this interminable self-contradiction is only worsened and compounded by those feeding their never contented egos under the guise of spiritual guidance. Time is the only commodity you can never recover, though often we find ourselves unceasingly wasting it, to our own detriment. Only once we face our traumas and make peace with our past can we begin to hope to find happiness and realize it is ours to gain or lose. It certainly will not come through social media affirmation. Look within – where you will find, abound with untold cosmic wanderlust –all that you seek is seeking you.

Quote of the day: “A man has as many social selves as there are distinctive groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups.” — William James

Travel Blog: Click here.

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Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

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Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Ep. #6 My Recovery: My gratitude: A mosaic homage to all those who helped me along the way.

When I first had my wits about myself, after waking up in the trauma unit of an inner-city hospital one very early Sunday morning, my first real recollection was of conversations with my team of five surgeons.  Ever since that moment, I have had what seems like a group of dedicated angels forever on my side and in my corner, ensuring that I would have all the necessary research, guidance and mentoring to help me become an enlightened being.

Help was received from many fronts: some was intentional, others, not. Some came upon my recovery by happenstance or fate; others helped out of guilt; yet others, by way an inadvertent connection. Numerous acts of kindness were intended, others unexpected. Altruism was on full display; as was anger and hatred.  Some even saved my life. The help bestowed upon me gave me the fuel to recover – to heal, to become a complete person, filled with light – now a guide.

To write out a list of personal interaction between giver and receiver seems a bit gratuitous, whereas the full meaning and impact is lost. A complete thank you will be included as a chapter in my second book on finding happiness in your heart.

Through this seemingly otherwise insurmountable journey, only possible on the shoulders of the greats who walked before me – and whom are only paying it forward in the circle of life – with their profound compassion, care, support and love for me and my being, my journey of recovery and healing – have allowed me now to light the way for others in need. Also through which I was able to find my inner-being, my higher-self, the Holy Spirit – my true intention.

By matching my heart with my life’s purpose, with everyone’s assistance, after choosing the road less traveled, journeying into the darkness of the soul, only to reemerge into light, I now intend to serve others.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

Book: Unbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTunein, Amazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on Ireland, Spain, SwedenBelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermany, New HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.