The Lighthouse.

On a dark & stormy night, a lost ship sees a lighthouse in the distance.
The sailors can barely see the light at first, for the light is blinded by dark clouds surrounding the ship. They slowly begin their journey to shore.

 

The lighthouse does not judge the sailors lost at sea.
The lighthouse does not force the lost ship to shore.
The lighthouse just keeps shedding its light in order for others to see out of the darkness.

Do not bend to strong winds.

Do not worry about powerful waves.

Do not sink into the ocean of darkness.

Focus your energy on making your light stronger and clearer.
The stronger the light, the better those lost will be able to see the shore.

Be confident. Be patient.
Allow them to make the long and challenging voyage to shore.

Become the lighthouse.
Become the light for others to see out of the darkness.
But first, you must acknowledge the lighthouse within your heart.

The light within your true nature.

Staying Present: Breaking Free of Stress and Rumination.

Stay present. I’m sure you have all heard this cliche phrase, but what does it mean and why is it important? Nothing could be more important to your life than staying present in the moment. Nothing more crucial to your happiness. The present moment is all that we are guaranteed. Life is short and we must make the best of what we are given. Every moment is a blessing.

Suffering occurs when we worry about the future or ruminate over the past. I have struggled with this my entire life. My mind has been trained to obsess about the past and future while I suffer in the present moment. I’m not saying that thinking about the past and future is all bad. Our past can guide us to make better decisions in the present moment. The future can excite us and motivate us to make better actions now. The key words are actions and now. The past and future mindset is much like a treadmill, lots of effort but you haven’t moved forward. Let’s start training our minds to stay in the present 90% of the time while letting our past guide us and our future excite us the other 10%!!!

Now take a breath, look around, and enjoy this moment. Start to get outside of the constant mental chatter of the mind and enjoy life. The peace and joy that comes in the moment feel amazing. Think of the joy of being in an amusement park or doing something new. It’s pure bliss.

You might be asking how I stay in the present moment? I go on long walks, meditate, and practice mindful breathing. I stop periodically and ask “what am I doing right now?”. In those moments of full presence, I feel truly alive and awake. Peace and joy are the by-products of the present moment. I want all of you to live a more meaningful life.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

Enlightenment: Consistency, Hardwork, and Falling Down Over & Over Again. 

I define enlightenment as having overall peace, clarity, and contentment in life. It is not separate from the world or only for spiritual gurus. It’s achievable for everyone.
In February of 2015 I awoke to the truth of what my life had become. At 24 years old I was overweight, unhappy, and anxious. For the previous two years I had been constantly numbing myself with gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, over-work, and fast food. I did this because I hated who I had become and wanted to avoid thinking about my actions. This all changed when I admitted to my ex-fiance that I cheated on her. I also had been hiding this secret life from my family and friends. Instead of running from the pain, I sat with it and was transformed. Sitting with the pain allowed me to see the truth of my past and present situation. There was no one else to blame but myself for how my life had unfolded, I was only victim to my own unskillful actions. Self-compassion​ and forgiveness were some of the hardest things to cultivate after the many years of negative self-talk. I was so miserable that I had to take action to improve my life. My old life wasn’t produces the results I wanted so I knew I had to change. I felt like an empty canvas. Ready to start new habits and have an open mind to new ideas.

In the following months I changed my life. I meditated an hour a day, eat healthy, worked out, volunteered, and started reading Buddhist philosophy. A book titled Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye changed my mindset from entitled to grateful. The book helped me forgive myself of my wrongdoings and show self-compassion. I lost 35 pounds and felt amazing spiritual, physically, and emotional. I felt peace I had never felt in my life. I felt enlightened.

Fast forward to November 2015 and I’m drinking right after work, smoking cigarettes, gambling, and partying every Friday and Saturday night. So what happened?? How can you go from feeling  enlightened to partying in a couple months. It was quite easy actually, it all started with thinking I was cured of my suffering. That I didn’t need meditation, exercise, and I could relax my diet. I also took a sales job which I knew deep down would cause me suffering. I was soon depressed, lonely, and miserable again.

A few more months pass and I hit another rock bottom around March 2016. This one wasn’t as harsh because I knew what I had to do. I had a template of how to decrease my suffering and be at peace again. I once again started meditation, long walks in nature, working out and eating right. I felt good again and was at peace. Old habits don’t die easy though because this peace did not last long.

I move to San Jose in August 2016. Sadly, I don’t even try to connect with the community or try to make new friends. I felt lonely once again and start drinking more often. This was a time of nothingness, of no growth and very little memories. Maybe it was meant to be this way, a time where I could make my next move. I decided I wanted to move to Maui in December of 2016.

From Jan-April 2017 all my focus was on saving money to move to Maui. I was blessed to be around my family and friends back in Sacramento,CA though which helped me feel connected. My diet was horrible though and once again was overweight. I moved to Maui in April 2017 with my eyes wide open! I felt a sense of exploration and joy.

I fall once again into old habits. Soon I’m smoking cigarettes, drinking tons of alcohol, and eating spam musibis. I feel anxious, stressed, and lonely once again. I knew something had to change and fast. My first step was my health. I decided after watching the documentary Forks Over Knifes that I would persue a more plant-based diet. I switched my diet to a pescetarian diet, meaning I only eat fish, dairy, fruits, vegatables and legumes. I lose 25lbs and feel amazing. Presently I’m working on becoming a vegan and becoming more active in my local community. I meditate, write, read and go on long walks every day. I’m working on getting stronger by going to the gym regularly. I still feel lonely at times and would love to meet other like-minded people on Maui. This is my next step to feeling a sense of community on Maui.

Big picture take away from this post is that peace, enlightenment, contentment or what ever you want to call it takes hardwork, consistency, and you will fall down alot. The key is to rise everytime you fall. Don’t judge your unskillful actions but learn from them. Find a template that works for you to thrive and try to follow it as best as you can. I’m just sharing my template in hope that you can take one piece of it and apply it to your life.

Growth is life. If we are not growing we are dying.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman

Less is More: My Journey to Minimalism. 

When I was a child, I always enjoyed my father’s house. He didn’t clutter his living space with tons of trinkets and photos, instead he had a few golf paintings and only the essential. I didn’t realize it then, but it was the first indicator that I was in fact a minimalist. My parents divorced when I was young so I spent every other weekend with my dad. He was a minimalist before it was cool, before it was labeled as a fringe group which is slowly turning into a more mainstream philosophy.

Before the 1970’s, almost everyone was a minimalist. It wasn’t until manufacturing went to China, India, etc that material goods became so cheap and available. This cheap manufacturing has led to today, where the average American household has 300,000 items. Advertisements tell us that we need to buy, buy, buy and that we NEED this new item even though we survived without it’s existence.

I didn’t fully embrace minimalism until my ex-fiance and I broke up. You see, she owned 95% of our stuff when we broke up. Everything in the house was either brought by her or gifts from her family. When she left, I was left alone in the studio we once shared. She was gracious enough to leave 1 fork, knife, spoon, pot, and pan. I didn’t have internet/TV and I slept on an air mattress. I lived like this for 6 months and suprisingly I thrived. Less distractions made it easier to focus on the essential. I enjoyed cleaning more because I had less to clean. I focused on my diet which led to me losing 30 lbs. With no internet, I spent more time outdoors or working out (best shape of my life). With no TV, I started reading books and learning knowledge that I now share on this blog. I even volunteered for the Special Olympics because I had more time to contribute outside myself. Since moving to Maui, I’m slowly relearning these lessons and cultivating some of the skills I learned in that 6 month minimalist boot camp.

Less is more. Less distraction, more passion. Less debt, more freedom. Less clutter, more focus.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman