Peace Starts With Me.

Violence on my TV.

Hatred in the YouTube comments.

Fear of the great unknown.

This is the suffering of humanity.

So how can I help alleviate this suffering?

By inquiring within.

Within my violence & hatred.

Within my fear.

By showing compassion to darkness in my soul.

Peace will only be known if we become it.

Vulnerability: Our Biggest Strength.

Aloha,

Today’s blog post is about being vulnerable. Vulnerability is humanities greatest strength. It takes courage to be completely open and honest about our struggles.

Instagram & Facebook show us highlight reels of other people’s lives, which makes us feel like we aren’t living our lives to the fullest. There is a reason that studies show that heavy social media use is linked to depression, anxiety, and loneliness. We only connect at a surface level in sharing our highlights. Full transparency allows us to connect at a much deeper level.

Everyone has hardships but we rarely (if ever) share them on social media. Why is that? Are we scared that others will pity or judge us? From my experience, others will support and open up to their struggles once we break the ice. Connecting with others in this way is special.

For the past 6 weeks I have been traveling New Zealand on a working holiday visa. I haven’t started the working part of that yet though! LOL. Its hasn’t been perfect though. I spent way more money than expected on my first month of traveling which has caused me anxiety. At times, I have felt lonely in my travels, even when many others were around. Lately I have been having a hard time dealing with boredom and lack of purpose with no job. Lots of self judgements and worrying about what others think of me. Slowly I’m excepting the fact that this is a sabbatical and I will find work in the new year. I need to show some faith in myself once more and enjoy my free time.

Our society could benefit from being more vulnerable with each other. It helps us feel more connected and compassionate to others. Vulnerability takes true courage and strength. We all share the human experience together, let’s help each other live the fullest life that we can.

What have you been struggling with lately?

Namaste,

Johnny Hoffman

Abandon Ship!

Unexpected storms.

Unbearable winds.

Unavoidable destruction.

 

Your ship is broken.

Years of neglect.

Storms breaking it piece by piece.

Abandon your ship.

Let go and go into the great unknown.

Dive deep into the darkness of the sea.

 

The water is coldest at the bottom.

Unbearable pressure.

Suffocating pain.

Keep going.

 

As the storm passes, you will see a light.

Follow it.

 

Do not get accustomed to the darkness.

Do not wish for your old ship to rise from the depths.

 

Through the pain, we can grow.

Through the suffering, we can heal.

 

As you reach the surface you smile.

New life has been given.

Gratitude shining from the sun.

 

 

As you wash ashore.

You’re full of joy.

Curious about this new island.

Excited about new adventures.

 

New beginnings have been given.

New experiences to enjoy.

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Innocent Living Beings.

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

But I strive to negate as much as I can.

 

I vow to look at all living beings with compassion.

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

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

 

Rape, torture, and death.

I see a tear go down a mother cows cheek.

I hear the last squeal of a suffering pig.

How we call ourselves peaceful while supporting such violence?

 

Blinded by industry lies.

Cold with apathy.

Myths.

Outdated traditions.

 

Wake up to compassion.

Wake up to peace.

Wake up to 2018.

A time of abundance.

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

 

 

There is another way.

A way of peace.

A way of compassion.

A way of love.

 

Will you join me?

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The Broken Dam.

 

Pain.

Anger.

Confusion.

Suffering.

 

The pain of loneliness.

Isolation.

Fear.

 

Building up like water flowing into a mighty dam.

Cracks form.

The wall deteriorates.

Until one day the walls scream in pain.

 

The dam is broken.

Suffering overflows into the world.

 

The river mourns.

The birds cry.

Innocent beings swept away by the waves of suffering.

 

 

I have no answers.

Only questions.

 

How can we prevent suffering from spilling over?

How can we live in peace?

How can we heal our nation?

 

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Welcome To Heartbreak.

I cried.

I begged.

I promised I would change.

I poured my heart out.

I suffered alone.

 

How could you not want me back?

Why can’t you forgive me?

How could you be so cold?

How could you be so heartless?

 

Welcome to heartbreak.

The heartbreak of rejection.

The sadness of regret.

The pain of looking in the mirror.

Self-hatred.

Anxious days.

Depressed nights.

 

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

For the lotus flower grows in muddy waters.

 

Through suffering comes joy.

Through suffering comes peace.

Through suffering comes transformation.

No mud, no lotus.

 

My heart is now filled with gratitude.

Thank you for letting me suffer and grow.

Thank you for letting me go three years ago.

Thank you, Alicia.

Hope all is well.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

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

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

 

 

Resistance: The Root of Pain, Suffering, and Insanity.

We are either resisting life or accepting it.

Whether that be sitting in traffic, aging, sickness, or our own mortality. Many ignore the truth and live in an imaginary world of what life is supposed to be or should be. Anytime you say should or suppose to be, you are resisting the truth. Resistance to the truth of life causes suffering. So why do people choose resistance? Accepting the truth is scary while resisting gives us a false sense of security and control. It’s easier in the short-term to avoid or resist aging, disease, and death than accept it. In the long-term, it can cause a tremendous amount of suffering within you and the world.

Suffering = Pain x Resistance 

  • The world should be at peace, but it isn’t.
  • My parents should be supportive, but they’re not.
  • I shouldn’t be stuck in traffic, but I am.
  • Relationships aren’t supposed to be this difficult, but it is. 

Here is an example that will show you exactly what I’m talking about.

Jack and Jill are both studying for a Biology final at Harvard. Both don’t enjoy studying, it causes them both mental and physical pain to sit down for 5 hours in a room. They would rather be outside on a hike or hanging out with friends. Jill accepts that this necessary to pass the class while Jack resists and complains the whole time. Jill is at peace and actually enjoying studying, taking breaks to watch Netflix or call a friend. Jack sulks and stares at the book. They are both in the same exact situation, only Jill accepts the pain of studying and makes the best of it.

The most impressive study of acceptance vs. resistance is Victor Frankl’s story in his 1959 book Man Searching for Meaning. Victor Frankl was an Austrian Jewish neurologist, psychiatrist, and holocaust survivor. While at Auschwitz concentration camp he kept himself sane by studying fellow inmates behavior and noticed an astonishing correlation. Those prisoners who accepted their truth and found meaning were both healthier and happier than those who resisted their new life. Their suffering was caused by their resistance to life and not mere outside influences. If someone can find peace, purpose, and meaning in Auschwitz concentration camp there is hope for all of us.

But Johnny, shouldn’t we resist harmful situations?? Isn’t acceptance just giving up? I don’t want to lay down and give up!

I understand this perspective because I once believe that acceptance was giving up but nothing is further from the truth. We must accept our situation before we can make it better. The people who accepted their captivity in Auschwitz were not merely giving up but awakening to that they have no control over being prisoners in a concentration camp. What these prisoners did have control over was how they spent their time, how they perceived their circumstance, and to make the best out of it. They saw resistance as a waste of energy on what they could not control. Accepting the truth is both practical and logical for peace within.

Paradoxically, we must accept suffering before we can transcend it. We have to accept our suffering before we can be at peace with ourselves and the world. Accept that you have no control over other people’s actions and beliefs. Accept that everything is impermanent and that we can only control a small amount of our life.

Try to avoid all should or suppose to be statements. Ease your grip on life and how it’s “suppose” or “should” be. More acceptance and less resistance is key to a peaceful life with less suffering and more joy.

My mission is to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“What we resist, will persist.” – Carl Jung

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman