Ep. #0 My Story: How I arrived at this juncture in life – via the Express Train.

It was an early morning “hot” arrival after a late night out partying with local friends in Bali, Indonesia. There was no time to sleep, only to eat, shower and then off to the next social fete. Living in a third world country on a Western salary has its benefits. It surely allows for the life of an international socialite but a bit skint on spiritual growth. Though, ironically, while living on one of the most voted spiritual places on earth each year. Visiting a destination island as a tourist and living on one as a local who lives and works there is much different.  Although my time there was out of a movie, inside, far below, I was crying out for rescue, severely unaware.

An old friend from my days living in Tokyo, Alexi, a stunning Irish and Greek Manhattanite, had recently returned from studies in India, a newly anointed Vedic Astrologer, carrying with her some prudent warnings for me to heed while living in South Asia. We both had lived in Asia in the late 1990s. We met on an ANA plane ride from JFK, NYC to Narita, Japan. Prior to moving to Bali in 2000s she informed me my social and business lines intersected there; and while there, over the next two years, each reading proved true. Over the next few years Alexi would provide me multiple readings, some more prescient than others, but none more foretelling than one.

She gave abundant readings over the years, and the biggest themes always fructified. The time I was warned against partying while in Bali and almost ended up dead, the victim of inner-tribal warfare. Another period I was warned to avoid motorcycles and within days nearly lost my left leg when forced to dump my bike on the highway at 90kmh or face almost certain death by introduction to a dump truck. But one year came a reading that floored even the normally unflinching Upper East Side debutante. It said that I would be removed from my feet; the lesson so severe it could never be forgotten. This was a first for her – she was confused, as was I.

In the interim, amid receiving that fate-filled reading and my meeting the express train, I had begun a consumer finance company, a company that was very successful.  After numerous years of partial successes and failed entrepreneurship in the world of business, limitless toil and perseverance, finally it all came together, resulting in my first seven digit in sales company. All that success would come crashing down soon after – a deluge of pain and destruction lie in wait – all the while, I was ignorantly bliss of what was in store.  In the end, the company went to ruin through embezzlement, at the hands of a few friends. My investor then sued me for $1M USD.

Fast-forward three years and I am awakened to a priest at my side, while laying on a gurney in a dark, cold and sterile hallway.  I think, “Oh shit, this cannot be good.” And, “You have done it this time, Steven.” “But in my own backyard nonetheless,” I thought. “Father, am I dead, am I in heaven?” I will never forget his response: “No, my son, you have been in a tragic accident.” It was at that moment I realized I could not move any parts of my body, only my eyes, and even that was a struggle. It was also at that time I realized that no amount of phone calls or well-oiled connections could help me out of this.  A defining moment: It was up to one person only.   

Just a few hours prior to meeting Father Irish, I lay for dead under an inner-city train. It is obvious at this point I was not literally run over by a train, though the driver will swear to you he ran over a boy prostrated across the tracks. If I were him I would have thought the same.  Prior to making my way to train station I was beaten with a heavy metal object in a city alley.  Shortly before that I was out at a trendy bar with three girlfriends to celebrate Christmas week. My back was broken in three regions – neck, middle and lower. The blow to my neck, at a forty-five degree angle, meant to kill me, exploded six vertebrae like popcorn. A bad night in Philly! 

Not ten seconds of an itty-bitty pity party had passed and it was at that juncture, the moment when deciding whether to be a victim of circumstance or a survivor of life, when a small voice came to me – it came into my head, seemingly from nowhere, in an assuring voice – and said: “You have really done it this time, Steven. It is bad, very bad.  But you will get through this. It will take many years of pain and hardship but in the end you will walk again and go on to help others in tremendous ways.” Immediately my attitude turned positive, deciding this would not define who I am, rather choosing accepting the lesson(s), starting down a long road to healing.

The priest wanted to talk about things that he prejudicially thought had lead me to that night. Immediately my focus turned to the solution, quickly dismissing his set-in-stone, antiquated black-and-white clergymen’s course.  I was already a spiritual person and knew better to start looking for the silver lining, the hidden blessings.  I knew it would take a real hero’s journey, an introspective voyage extending within to the unchartered abscesses of a person’s core being, to their soul, to find real answers. The areas we try so hard in life to avoid, the emotions that we try desperately to suppress by any means to ‘busy’ our lives and keep us from our eternal truth.

The universe had warned me to alter my ways. The messages are always sent to us, yet we do not always recognize them. There are no mistakes in life – none. To me, the accident was not about my lifestyle so much as it was about where I was really intended to be in life. To me it was not a punishment, it was an awaiting lesson. What would I do with this challenge? Would I rise to the occasion, enduring the karmic balance of life, seeking out answers to questions that I had so clearly avoided (consciously and unconsciously), finding new meaning and direction?  Well, within me existed a great thirst, a fire in need of quenching – a journey would result.

Over the next eight years I embarked on an endless adventure in life – a journey to becoming a new man, one born anew with and through spiritual guidance and cosmic purpose where, after a long excruciating painful recovery, unbearable psychological torture, a total mental cleansing, financial devastation, loss of friends and family, and a emotional tsunami with ripples that seemed to undulate infinitely throughout my life – emerging entirely reborn. A being lost but now discovered who, after traveling profound into the scariest annals of the heart and soul, coming into view with resolute intent and meaning, found my purpose in life. But now what?

Discovering your purpose in life is only the first part of the equation – sharing it is part two.

Throughout my experience notwithstanding, I’ve drawn a clear distinction between recovering and healing: one is of the body and doctor, and the other, mind and soul, respectively. Along the road to recovery it cannot go without mention some of the spectacular people who assisted me to those ends: My surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Rihn, Jefferson Health, a world-class doctor who was open to any and all modalities of healing; my physical therapist, Elizabeth Watson DPT, Magee Rehab, who’s fervent spirit and unending belief in me fueled my drive to continue on; and Dr. Neil Liebman, DC for Philadelphia 76ers, an energy healer like no other, whose “magic hands” and boundless love for his patients and their healing helped carry me through the second half.

It was only through limitless fortitude and perseverance by confronting utterly seeming insurmountable odds that produced the greatest revelation in my life: The obstacle is the way. Without mud there can be no lotus. No pressure; no diamond. Without venturing into the most frightening parts of our-selves can one ever attempt to understand their true inner-self. Life is all about contrast; one cannot know happiness until one knows sadness. We have the choice in life in every situation how we react – determined by our attitude. Adjust your attitude and determine your outcome. Lessons never go away – what we resist will persist.  It’s up to you.

If not now, when?  – Zen proverb

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. – Japanese proverb

One amazing facet of that cavernous inward journey, the one that lulled me into the woods of Tennessee where I planned to pass onto the spiritual world (crazy story) by hanging myself on a camping site steel water pole, when I was homeless, living in a tent and out of my car for one year;  plumbing the darkest and most frightening depths of my being my inner-self, my soul, the Holy-Spirit, God; where there is no turning back; with no other choice but to “do your work,” to slay your dragons; choosing no longer to be a victim to your past; opting instead for the road less traveled; taking control of your energy, your life, your happiness – is the world it opened.

The outcome was an intense inner quest leading me down a path to healing, helping others with struggle in life. My ‘Doing The Dirty Dishes’ life philosophy provided ripe conditions for real learning, opening space for ample growth and change, leading to a place of teaching others, resulting in inspiring and motivating others through writing a book, Unbreakable Mind. Soon after, I started two blogs: one Spiritual and the other for those for whom Travel is a challenge. Both are read worldwide, resulting in invaluable feedback and immense satisfaction. While traveling in a wheelchair for two years for my travel blog, I took a hiatus from my spiritual blog.

After years of untold discussions and capricious agreements, I finally capitulated to my mentors and trusted advisors in life, deciding starting my own YouTube channel & Podcast. I determined that I would start writing my spiritual blog again, but this time I would then follow-up each blog entry with a podcast version. In each new episode an exciting topic is discussed within a spiritual context. A spiritual podcast that explores all topics under the sun, causing you to smile, think critically or ponder the soul and universe. This is my newest venture. Please consider listening and sharing my YouTube channel or Podcast with friends. Thank you for your support.

By now we all know what Alexi’s “knocked off your feet“reading truly meant. The accident was the greatest gift of my life. I am forever grateful to the universe and my lucky train. Choo-choo.

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.

Spiritual Blog, along with YouTube Channel and Podcast, coming end of March 2020.

Happy New Year 2020 ~ a new decade is upon us, how exciting – the possibilities are endless.  Aside from being a presidential election year, it is shaping up to be a doozy of a year for me also.  It has been quite the journey to get to this point. As life often surprises us, and after some time off from this blog while traveling the world (see injured travel blog), the time has come for my spiritual blog to start again.  In March, I will begin a YouTube channel: Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast. The spiritual blog will cover the same topic discussed on the channel, as well as published into podcast format.  I am looking forward to seeing what develops. Please consider taking this journey with me. Today, sign-up to receive new notices of spiritual blog posts via email (on right side of this blog).  Also, you can click here to sign-up for new YouTube channel.  Sending eternal healing love and light. Thank you for your love and support.

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.

Think online dating sites or applications will bring you happiness? Stop learning looking without; start practicing looking within – swipe upper left to trash-bin.

How desperate does one have to be to in order to enter into the unscrupulous world of online dating – or to download an application such as Tinder into one’s phone?  The answer: apparently, very. What has happened to modern society in 2019 that we no longer allow the universe to take its natural course, instead molding and shaping it at every street corner or local cafe, when out and about, when convenient for our ever-so excessively busy lives – determining if someone is worthy of our time or somewhat, romp in the sheets, with the swipe of a finger?  What real chance does that give you of finding true love that leads to marriage and a family? Instead, are you more apt finding a freak-in-the-sheets that passes on the gift that keeps on giving: a sexually transmitted disease; or even worse yet, unwanted pregnancy?  Hope you do not live in the Deep South.

How did our ancestors do it? No, not that! How did our grandparents meet – well, you are here aren’t you? Were their lives easier – and ours busier, more complicated? Is that by our own doing: the insatiable need to busy ourselves to the point of self-exhaustion or mental breakdown? Are you falling prey to social marketing designed by psychologists who know what your insecurities and instant gratification buttons are – exploiting them to the hilt, all the while smiling to the bank whilst driving to their weekend getaway beach home? Is it possible there exists another method or way to undertake this thought to be unbearable process?  Are you willing to take ten minutes from your exceedingly stressed life to explore such options, or too busy swiping right?  It appears you are unduly busy being happy.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Carl Jung

It is a Friday night, and as I sit here in my home pondering how I will spend my weekend, I cannot help thinking of all the people out-and-about at bars and other local hotspots having fun drinking, flirting, dancing and listening to music with friends whom, if asked if they were happy, would immediately reply an emphatic “yes.” But, is that really the case? How many of them are truly happy?  How many are deceiving themselves, and possibly overly tricking others along the way in the process? How many of them will fall into the trap of waking up next to their mate five years on, bewildered who this woman sleeping next to me is, wondering who did I marry? Better yet…who am I? Are they even aware of what is happening – how they are squandering away the one commodity that can never be recovered: time?  Perhaps the only ones they are fooling are in fact themselves.   

Psychology statistics and studies would tell us a different story. With over 70% of people reporting to a job they hate; divorce consistently well over 50%, and rates of marriage dissatisfaction with their partners standing at all-time highs, one might think otherwise. Depression and suicide are also at historically peak numbers presently in the United States. We are taking more medications for anxiety and depression that can be found on record, yet we are still less happy as a society, generally, and in life and our relationships, specifically.  If you think, as is the American way, the Silver-bullet theory will solve your woes – that going to see a man or woman in a white lab coat with an over-priced education that made them into a great diagnostician and poor healer, with an MD at the end of their name, will assist or help you to solve anything – I have a part of the Brooklyn bridge to sell you, at a reduced rate; which, today only, is at half price. 

Inordinately, joy is mixed up with happiness; people think them one-the-same.  Many things provide us daily joy, but that does not mean we are happy in life as a result.  The two are vastly different.  One is a temporary feeling of elation, while the other is a way of living one’s life – with deep inner fulfillment and satisfaction of our decisions. The tongue only weights on average 65 grams but so few can hold their words to their actions. Happiness is not about getting what you want in life, all the time, rather it is about appreciating what you have in life and having gratitude each day.  Each day the sun goes down, but every morning it gets back up.  There is a savvy slice of Japanese proverbial wisdom offered in my book, Unbreakable Mind: Fall down seven times, get back up eight. Well, mi amigo, time to get back on the metaphorical horse and start living life again.  Happiness is knocking at your door. 

When we are not ridiculously busy riding our story horse, we are absurdly quick to run away from our pain. But not all pain hurts you, most brings growth into your life as well.  We have become a society of delicate flowers who run for cover at the first sign of discontent or difficulty.  Only when we learn to leave our comfort zone and trust in the process do we open the doors to actual improvement. Change is not easy – it requires significant dedication in order to reprogram what was set into your mental construct, locked in by age seven.  Embrace the tempest storms of transformation into your life, for it is those that result in the greatest substantial internal change and growth. You spend considerable time in life with yourself, if you cannot be happy with yourself, how will you ever lead a life of happiness or allow others to love you for who you really are? Your divine purpose lies ahead. Giddy-up!

There are no mistakes in life, situations, people or events: Eventually you will end up where you are meant to be in life, with the person whom you are meant to be with – be patient.  Making yourself priority number one is not selfish, it is necessary, inextricably intertwined with your ability to find happiness.  Though many a smart advertisement or marketed application will convince you otherwise, happiness is not a destination or object you can go to a class to attain, find through a download on your phone or buy off the shelf, it is a state of being. Don’t settle – which is what these applications cause countless unsuspecting people to do.  Psychological reasons like fear of missing out or remaining alone aside, one day you will find someone who loves you for who you are, bumps and bruises included; after all, it is those trials and tribulations of life that made you who you are today. No pressure, no diamond.

Love does not have conditions; learn to love yourself unconditionally, first and foremost. Never wish to be better than anyone than the person you were yesterday. In life, having set expectations and attachment to outcome are two sure ways to continually lead you down a path to unhappiness. Take the road less traveled – inward, for that is where the greatest rewards prevail. And being that you spend the most time with yourself, you might consider making that your first port of call. Learn to look within, not without – for that is where you will find eternal bliss, contentment. Your heart knows what it wants, albeit the endless cacophony of ping-pong thoughts from your mind, so give it time – it will come when the juncture is right.

Without the bad days you would not learn to appreciate the good ones – we live in a dualistic world. You own the keys to your happiness; never allow someone else to hold the keys – or to be in control of your energy. At the end of the day, we are the only ones responsible for how we feel.  If you give that power away to someone else, you will be endlessly disappointed, probably blaming others, when the only person to blame is yourself. In life you will never encounter a bigger bully than your own thoughts. Learn to get out of your mind and into your heart – that is where the gold is. The most difficult roads lead us to the most beautiful destinations.  Growth does not come easy; it is ugly, raw and painful – but, know this: When through the deep inner journey you will be a new person, never looking in the rear-view mirror of the old you again. You will instead appreciate where you came from and what it took to get you there.

Recently I read a post on Stem Cells by Tony Robbins.  He should stick to marketing drive-through-happiness to the masses and selling his infinite number of books and seminars on how to change your life. And although he gives people some really great ideas and advice, he only explains to you half the story. He is like a doctor; he only knows what he knows.  He and the others in his like-minded fraternity are incapable of giving you those answers or instructions in life – they are unaware; and it would also kill their current opiate of the masses cash-cow they’ve created for themselves – they are all millionaires many times over. It reminds me of Chazz Palminteri’s comment in A Bronx Tale to Colagero, when he says to him: If your father cannot pay the rent, ask Babe Ruth if he cares.  He is not at the vibration or level of wisdom to take you there. He could try but it would fail. See people like Paul Brunton.  

The dullard with a crafty disingenuously constructed profile might make you swipe right, but that same skilled cunning makes him no more a prince than a man named Dick a Freudian slip.  Finding your prince is less a chance of modern dating psychologically guilt driven social marketing targeted to you in order to make you believe there is some utter essence of time slowly dissipating, and more an act of destiny than magic. Learn to trust in the process of the universe; it has worked since the beginning of time.  In other words, it is out of your control, give it a break,  hang up your dating hat, unsubscribe and delete all dating applications, take a rest – start living and enjoying life but, most importantly, start getting to know yourself, your heart, first and foremost  – practicing doing the dirty dishes of life.

Start learning to look within yourself for answers, for happiness. There is no need to download any application of temporary joy, paying Match, Okcupid, E-harmony or any of the other greedy bastards looking to free your wallet of your well-deserved money – it is free – it always has been. It was free 1000 years ago, which seemed to work out just fine for them. Subsequently, it can also help you do so in 2019. As you spend your time trying to fix what is broken, searching out any new compulsive trend or joie de vivre to provide you infinite happiness, the real person you are meant to become awaits in the eternal branches on the tree of life. Until you learn to differentiate joy from happiness, short lived pleasure from long term contentment, what you truly seek in life will continue eluding you.

Although, most likely, many reading this would like to make the process and journey of looking deep within the abscesses of their deepest being a trip to Disneyland, that it is not quite how it works, nor a prudent plan. There is no free ice-cream in the world, Mickey ears or not. Pain is your biggest teacher:  listen to it, process it, and learn from it! Media and the social-minded marketing machine are always telling us what we should look like, how we should act, what we should do, and now who we should date and why – get real, people – do you wish to continue being robotic pawns manipulated in this game any longer? Happiness aside, it is nice to simply have control of your own life, to sit in the driver’s seat of an already mostly prescribed and automated car – the chosen vehicle of social norms and society.  Learn to trust your gut, inner-self, higher-self.  Pure energy does not lie.

Stop listening to the endless cacophonous noise of the world and start listening to your deep own inner voice, your heart.  Your heart is pure, it only knows truth.  Let your soul shine, guide you. It already knows where to lead you, if you allow it. Unless you want to be labeled insane, it is time to find a new toolbox for happiness. Deus ex machina modern day dating applications and websites, contrived and controlled, will not bring you happiness. Nor will following every whim of your confused loins.  Stop searching everywhere, looking wherever to find the smile you desire in life and start learning to look within, the divine is in your heart. The light at the end of the tunnel is not the illusion, the tunnel is – and, as said best by Rumi: What you are seeking is seeking you. Open your eyes, turn the busyness volume down, honor your inner wisdom and see what your heart has to say – imagine the possibilities.

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.