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Category: Courage

Why I Chose Mysticism Over Religion

Why I Chose Mysticism over Religion

I’m sure you’ve had mystical experiences, whether it was through yoga, meditation, and fasting; or perhaps even through sex, drugs, or amazing music. You’ve at least accepted that these mystical experiences are valid – yet, perhaps, incredibly wondrous and maybe confusing part of the human experience. Maybe you’ve gained clarity about the experience, or maybe you’ve chalked it up to “just one of those things” and have moved on down the dusty road.

If you’ve never had a mystical experience, then this post won’t make much sense…this blog is mostly for people who are awakening spiritually or already self-identify as spiritually awakened, so there’s no worries here. By the way, I hate the term “spiritual”. It has such a hegemonic feel to it – like those who identify as spiritual are somehow better than those who do not. For the record: I believe everyone is spiritual because everyone and everything is of spirit. All religions point back to an origin or source from whence we emanated. Sure, the details are filtered through varying respective cultural lenses, but this origin is something most religions agree upon.

I chose mysticism over religion for a couple reasons. #1 is it fits my personality: I tend to thrive on my own, thinking for myself, as the sovereign ruler of my space. I love people! Don’t get me wrong. I just love the benefit of my own space more than sharing it unendingly. I’ve had to get to the point where i either plan something for 1-2 hours after a guest arrives, or flat out tell them (in the nicest way possible) that it’s time to go.  #2 is that i had a life-altering experience with religion in my early childhood, a story that merits some discourse:

My Religious Backstory

Growing up in an Orthodox Christian church and school (I was there 1-3 times per week from age 1-4, then 5-7 days a week for the next 6 years), I was inundated with certain beliefs about the world around me, passed down to me from the priests, parents, and teachers. This transfer of information was usually a one way street that lent little room for philosophical discourse or questioning. At age 7, when questioning whether or not my Catholic and Protestant friends could get into heaven, I was told that Orthodox Christianity was the “One True Religion”. I interpreted this to mean that Orthodox Christianity would not allow them into heaven. This sparked massive cognitive dissonance. I am very grateful that my questioning mind and the sovereignty of my mental space, accompanied by a quiet stubbornness, allowed me to formulate my own opinion based on both my emotional and logical beliefs. The main belief here was that any loving sovereign being could not possibly damn an innocent child to hell who had no choice in their religious affiliation.

When I left my parents stewardship at the age of 17, I began to explore different religions. Hinduism was interesting to me because I had recently found yoga, but I couldn’t get past the difference in cultural upbringing. I knew Christianity as I knew it wasn’t for me, and after some soul searching, neither was Hinduism. I was at U.T. Knoxville studying music, and I understood that is was not unusual for a musician – especially a jazz musician – to adopt another culture’s spiritual practices. Still, it felt strange adopting the religious aspects of Hinduism without it being culturally ingrained. I just knew that Orthodox Christianity was about as appealing to me as being force fed carrots and being told it was cookies.

I began practicing yoga for 1-3 hours per day, and got into a very interesting energetic space: I had mystical experiences where I was precient of events, and others where I could bless people with intense divine energy by directing my attention. It was not sustainable, however, because I was still a college student who played in bands, and I was partying too much and not getting enough sleep.

My mystical practices superseded my studies in a way that felt unbalanced. Also I was faced with an unexpected consequence of my yoga practice, this: the body stores energy and emotion, and when that energy and emotion is released through physical practice (yoga, in my case), it can bring this energy and emotion to the surface, sometimes violently. Unless dealt with carefully and gently, these emotions and energies can cause major disruptions in your day-to-day activities. Emotions and energies of unexpressed boundaries and unprecedented rage came to the surface unexpectedly in a way I was underprepared for. In Reiki this is often referred to as a “healing crisis”. About 10-15% of my Reiki clients experience this, so it’s to be expected. Rest, relaxation, water, and being gentle with oneself is the usual routine to navigate a healing crisis. I’m sure you can imagine how a college student would find this difficult!

The Pendulum Swings.

I believe that any extreme discipline is unsustainable unless tempered with a time of un-discipline. Over the last year I’ve learned the value of exercising the discipline to discipline discipline. (I can’t remember whose quote/term this is, but I love it! Google search came up blank, so If you know who first said this, let me know!).

Unless you have chosen the path of the saint, religious or spiritual discipline does you no good if you do not apply the lessons therein to everyday life. The practical. The Taoists call this grounding the “celestial” in the “mundane”. If you self-identify as a being of higher consciousness, your mission is to find out (or create) a way to ground this higher consciousness into the mundane plane of existence. Get over your spiritual bypassing as quickly as possible. I get it – I exercised spiritual bypassing for years because I could not deal with or handle the repercussions of my father’s immaturity or my mother’s covert emotional incest. Sometimes spiritual bypassing is necessary. Just notice if your spiritual practices are getting in the way of basic human kindness and compassion. Just notice, and balance it, please?

The Yogic Perspective.

In the traditional 7 Chakra system there are “Upper” chakras (Throat, Third Eye, Crown) and “Lower” Chakras (Solar Plexus, Sacral, Root). The Heart Chakra is the center. The trap is to value “Upper” Chakras over “Lower” Chakras. Initially, when experiencing the first spiritual awakening through yoga, temperance of the “Lower” chakras is beneficial to rise above and experience the unity and love of the upper chakras, yet do not lose focus of the idea that you are a whole being, worthy of loving all your chakras. In fact, some teachers would say that to truly balance the chakras is to make them disappear entirely.

The Christian Perspective.

If you were raised Christian, you may run into this trap of thinking: The challenge here is that many (not all) Christian sects – and the social constructs thereof – use fear, guilt, and shame to keep people docile and obedient. A.K.A. unquestioning. This has nothing to do with the message of Christ; it has more to do with the conquering rulers such as Emperor Constantine who used Christianity as a social control mechanism.

It’s one thing to have faith in a higher power. It’s one thing to surrender your will to someone whom you love and trust unconditionally. It’s another – very dangerous – thing to surrender your will to a political or dubious religious leader. I’ve always found this difficult due to the mind-numbing environment of that Orthodox Church in Allston, MA. I learned six years after my family relocated to Memphis, TN that the Metropolitan (patriarch) of the Orthodox Church that I grew up in was exposed as a pedophile. I was angry at my parents for blindly following a religion in which I found so many red flags (even in my young age), and expecting me to blindly follow them in kind. Sometimes in life one’s own will to make choices and decisions that go against the grain can be the one thing that keeps you from blindly following someone off of a cliff. I’ve never been a lemming, and the toxic culture of that church and my childhood home is why I learned to think for myself.

True Christians follow the teachings of Jesus, not of any one religious leader. If you’re Christian and questioning things #1 Great, I’ve done my job #2 I kindly invite you to ask yourself this: does your pastor teach the gospel of fear, or the gospel of love? Answer this question. Let them show you. If they spread fear, they are manipulating the congregation and undeserving of your faith and trust. Move on.

Delving Into Mysticism

Planned Mystical Experiences
Yes, one can plan their mystical experiences. By giving a mystical experience the proper time, we can honor it and maintain a degree of sacredness often reserved for such experiences. Don’t rush. If you can maintain a level of calmness then you can really divulge yourself into the non-ordinary reality of such an experience. The minute you rush what can happen is the adrenal glands will be activated, flooding the body with the energy of self-preservation. Mystical experiences often require the temporary suspension of self-preservation mechanisms in order to “rise above” the experience of separateness. Also, remember to give yourself time to “towel off” and integrate whatever experience you are blessed with. This is all with regards to a planned or self-generated mystical experience.


Unplanned Mystical Experiences
What if it’s unplanned? Then you are on your own my friend! Life has interesting ways of giving us what we need, even if it’s what we think we don’t want. Having a vision in the middle of the grocery store? Cool 🙂 The worst thing that can happen is that some people might think you look crazy.

If looking crazy is the worst thing that can happen, then all-in-all I’d say you have nothing to fear.

Just as no religion has a monopoly on spirit, so too does no spiritual path has a competitive advantage over the other. Mahatma Ghandi is often quoted to say that there are as many religions are there are people on this planet, which holds true if we honor everyone’s right to practice their own way of being. We are blessed in the United States of America to be given the right to practice whatever religion we choose, freely. In this capacity I exercise my sovereign right to practice experiential mysticism for no other reason than it is what i prefer, what I feel is right for me, and what I choose.

 






 

 

On the Road with GTBB…How’d I Get Here?

Hey! Yoooooooo what just happened….what is happening in my life?

In the month of May alone, I’ve signed hundreds of autographs, washed myself in both the waters of Lake Huron Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, and now we’re driving from Silver City New Mexico through the night to Las Vegas to hit a soundcheck at noon tomorrow. How did I get here?

It’s been a blur since I decided to come on board with The Ghost Town Blues Band, but it’s the best kind of blur – a busy, creative, hustle-now kind of blur. A traveling band – a mythical group of heyoka riding into your town to shake your blues away – it seems like a thing out of a dream. But this is exactly what we do! I get to shake people out of their tired routine by providing my best musical performance with a group of cool musicians.

Again, how did I get here?

To make a long story short, it’s come down to three things for me:

1) Be Patient

I ran into Matt Isbell, the lead singer and guitar player of Ghost Town Blues Band when I was at the post office, of all places. We had played together maybe once or twice before (A common experience in Memphis TN, as most everybody plays with everybody), but it had been a while since that day. He was shipping something for his Cigar Box Guitar business, and I was trying to arrange a PO box so I can get my Retirement Home gigs checks mailed to a business address. This was my third visit to the post office that day, and I was just hearing (from the same people) that I needed yet another sheet of paper. I’m usually very patient, but at this point I was absolutely appalled by their egregious incompetence (if it wasn’t downright dissidence for common decency!)

I was at the point where any normal human being would have been totally justified in yelling at these post office workers, I decided it wasn’t worth it and said something curteus, and stepped away.

I played with them after a while – I liked the group and they liked me too.

But it was only later that I found out that my display of patience at the post office was a top reason why I was called upon to play keys with this group. (Another reason is that my criminal record is spotless and Canada requires spotless records for entry, and for some reason it’s rare to find a keys player in Memphis whose record is as such. Ha – what does that say about keys players, i wonder?)

2) Taking an inventory of all my opportunities

My homie Jack Simon swears by magic boards. What are magic boards? It’s showerboard from Homedepot, cut or uncut. Add 2 or 3 dry erase markers, and a rich imagination. Viola!

I use magic boards to keep track of my ideas, and one night when I was feeling overwhelmed (by the pressure i often put on myself), I wrote out all of my opportunities.

This is recommended – often times we can take for granted the opportunities that life presents us. It is up to us, though, to tune out perception to see the opportunities available to us. Ask yourself:

How can i contribute? How can i better serve with my gifts? What service can i perform that brings me the most happiness?

and lastly… What opportunities are available to me right now?

I’ve learned that sometimes life doesn’t let you wait…sometimes life rewards the go-getters and the red-veined adventurers who live for risk and glory.

I wish I was this type of person. i really wish i was! But I’m not. I’m cautious, and I approach inter-personal relationships very gingerly.

But sometimes life will wait for you to decide what you want and who you are, and equip you with the confidence to take advantage of your best opportunities.

And how will you know what your opportunities are if you don’t write them down? Just do it – once you have 5 you’ll probably remember even more.

I wrote down 5 or 6 income opportunities on my magic board that cold day in April. I was working 10-14 hour days at the Juice Bar and on my own hustles…I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it was hard. I was hoping to start a Facebook Ads agency – I was so hooked on the implicit promises of wealth from expert internet marketers that Matt Isbell’s invitation to jam was the last thing on my mind. But i still wrote it out.

Over the next several days I would look up at these opportunities casually, thinking little of them.

But I was over at Jack’s again, and Preston (of Ghost Town Blues Band) called Jack to chat about something. I asked to speak with Preston, and the rest is history: we secured a time when i could sit it in on a gig in Memphis. Interestingly enough, this was the same place where i played a gig with them about 7 years ago!

3) Consistent playing and practice

Musicians! Just do it. I know I’m a terrible example…I’m super (perhaps overly) consistent for some time periods, while others I have to check out and NOT play and practice consistently. I’ve been in bands for more than half of my life, and it’s always been this way. Be consistent, but be flexible. The bottom lines are this: You have to practice and play to get better, and you need to balance that consistent playing and practice with period of rest. Why? Because this isn’t a goddamn cog-in-the-machine, mindless, worker-bee occupation. You are a human being that the music and the audience benefits when you take time to be and grow your soul. This isn’t a “hustle now and relax later” kind of job. This is life. Playing music is the kind of thing that retired millionaires spend all their time trying to learn, only to (sometimes) learn that it’s not as easy as it looks.  You have to be good, so practice!

My consistent playing and practice has made me a good musician. Maybe not great, but good. How to get to the next level? Woah, i’m not getting ahead of myself here…My good friend who is a martial artist and dances and performs with the Memphis Ballet Ensemble says this: Learn the form. Master the form. Forget the form.

Right now with The Ghost Town Blues Band I am learning the form. It’s humbling, but I know that it’ll be worth it.

Opportunities. The more you learn to look for them, the more you’ll receive. Or perhaps the very act of looking for them is what creates them! Either way, you won’t know unless you do it. Make a list of your opportunities, and be grateful. This is clutch! Do it, my friends – you won’t regret it.

Until next time,

Tim

P.S. I’m on the tourbus on the way to Las Vegas right now. Haha – cool.

Bigger Than The Bear

Staying Small

Why do we stay small? I’m not talking about physical stature. I’m talking about how we some people show up in the world. It’s easy to get locked into one pattern of behavior or the other, whether dominant or submissive. But outside this polarity, I believe there exists an intrinsic quality that is often overlooked: Willpower.
Domination and submission are very common qualities in all human relationships. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with this dynamic. It doesn’t have to be sexual either (Although it can be 😉 ). I think it’s a natural dynamic that has arisen out of years of humanity needing dominant leaders to survive.

But what about love? What about cooperation? To be sure, the principles of cooperation, understanding, and compassion are all incredibly important in any kind of relationship. Empathy, the ability to feel others’ feelings, helps you to understand the emotional consequences of your actions in the lives of others.

But what does this have to do with staying small?

Personal willpower is domination of your inner demons. Other people’s inner demons respond when confronted with your will power. By inner demons I’m referring to fear, jealousy, low self worth, toxic shame, negative thinking, etc. If you have mastered these valid aspects of yourself then other people will sense it in you.

But first they will likely challenge you, in which case, you must make yourself bigger than the bear.

Bigger Than The Bear

I have a friend who trains martial arts, and I recently had the rare opportunity to learn from him (he NEVER does this, so I need to emphasize how grateful I am that he shared with me some of his philosphy!)
Of the lessons that he taught me, one that has stuck with me came out of this situation:

We were playing around, not quite sparring, but playing around, and I fell into some familiar patterns of martial movement based on my Capoiera training. When he advanced on me in an attack, I immediately fell to the ground into my familiar floorwork. Because I hadn’t trained in a while, my floor game wasn’t sufficient to defend against my friends attacks. He just had this dominant energy that I didn’t know how to approach. If we were actually fighting, I would have been toast.

I became frustrated and finally asked for some help.

He compassionately instructed me to imagine I was in the woods, perhaps camping alone, and I happen upon a bear. An angry bear – a hungry bear.

“You have to make yourself bigger than the bear.” he said.

I placed my hands up in the air, imagined seeing a bear in the woods, and I felt incredibly awkward. I’m sure I looked like I was trying to flag down UFOs for a sparkle pony lazer party.

But he continued: “No, you have to make your ENERGY bigger than the bear”.

That’s when it clicked.

Anyone in my life who has ever pushed me around (and, admittedly, it’s been quite a few), has always been bigger than me. Not in physical stature, although that has sometimes been the case, but in ENERGY. I imagined my ENERGY as bigger than the bear.
In my codependent family, I had to make myself small to survive. I was bear food. But this energetic pattern of behavior is not helping me in situations now, where, as an adult, I am confronted with angry/hungry bearish behavior in others.

Putting it to the Test

Shortly after my impromptu martial arts class I was in a situation where someone was verbally abusing me – calling me names, trolling me. I was with a female friend. I remembered my training and instead of making myself smaller, instead of reacting with more verbal abuse, I just stared at this person and made my energy bigger than the bear. Everyone in the room felt the shift. My female friend grabbed me by the arm as if to say “he’s not worth it” – like she was restraining me or holding me back from a fight. I wasn’t looking for a fight but at the same time I wasn’t going to let this person abuse me anymore. I imagined this person as a bear and I made my energy bigger than him, bigger than any name calling he was throwing at me. With that energetic shift I was able to cause the bear to back down without a single word or fist. The abuser ended up apologizing afterwards.

After this experience I’ve been reflecting on how, without realising it, most of my life I’ve made myself smaller than the bear because I knew no other way of being.

What are some examples of bears in your life? Try to come up with a few examples and imagine making your energy bigger than the bear. It’s the only way to stop it from eating you! Your life is important, and valuable. Don’t let these bears devour you.

College was a bear for me. Some musical relationships were bears. My parents and siblings were, for the most part; bears. This isn’t to shame or blame them – most people don’t realize when they act out the basic human traits of domination. But what sucks is that a lot of the time this imposition of bearishness can squelch the redeeming qualities of love and compassion and dignity and respect.

But I believe, firmly, that by adopting the practice of making oneself bigger than the bear, that we can teach other human beings – on a cellular level, which is really an energetic level – that we are not to be dominated. (again, this isn’t in the sexual context, you kinky lovers).

If we become the dominant beings we have a choice, and, imho, a responsibility to be compassionately dominant. I choose to use my will to teach others, to trust others and earn their trust in me. I want to lead, if not for the sole reason that I’ve allowed myself – based on past “small Tim” conditioning – to fall victim to the inept leadership of incompetent people.

And you know, it’s almost as if, by asserting ourselves as being bigger than the bear, that whole Domination/Submission dynamic has the opportunity to eat itself by the the tail and totally dissolve itself – which, to some, is terrifying because it is their entire view of reality – but, I would put forth, confidently, that there exists a world outside of this dynamic in human relationships: one of mutual cooperation, negotiation, respect, and reason; and that when the bear is conquered there must exist something else, and we, as conscious beings, have the choice and the duty to perpetuate these principles in our own lives, and in the lives of others with whom we share influence.

Let’s become bigger than the bears, and let’s let the bears see our soft courage and our open hearts, and perhaps, too, these bears will become human again.

Peace and goodwill.

Tim

The Power of Choosing Seclusion

Are you the type of person to seclude themselves when things get hairy? Do you prefer to chill at home instead of socializing? I know I do. It’s easy to get into a pattern of seclusion as a default, but when it is chosen consciously with intention, it can really enhance ones quality of life.

Seclusion for seclusion’s sake sucks. Because I spent so many years in seclusion – isolation – emotional and sexual anorexia – it became a default modus operandi for me. But I’ve had the opportunity to do much inner work on myself (most notably with regards to the emotional and sexual anorexia), and so I have grown into a man who can now enjoy seclusion when it is chosen purposefully.

Sound familiar? Lots of empaths and introverts experience this (These two qualities are different things, but they often run hand in hand). I consider myself to be both. An empath feels deeply the feelings of others, which is a wonderful quality to posses. It becomes a burden, though, if that empath starts to look outside of themselves to figure out how to feel about something. This is very common in situations where that empath has dealt with or is dealing with great personal and emotional struggles and is unable to establish a sense of serenity within.
Balanced seclusion
I am an author, and a composer. To be alone and creative is absolutely wonderful. However, I have noticed recently that as a default empath, because I am human and still require social situations and basic human affection, I have to take charge of getting these needs met. For example, yesterday I chose to work on Igby (like my page!) for a few hours. It was great! I’m almost done with the first section and it is ridiculously exciting. But after a while I felt emotionally unfulfilled. Checking in with that emotion revealed that it had nothing to do with the book at all – I was just needing human love and affection – I was feeling lonely. There are times when I question the way that I am feeling in favor of accomplishing a certain task, but again, that had always been my modus operandi. It felt as if questioning the way I felt in favor of completing certain tasks was how I was trained to operate in school and college, so to question that paradigm is extremely empowering for me. So what I did is I hit up a friend from acro whom I look up to and asked if he wanted to grab a beer. Simple! Easy! All it took was me reaching out. As a deep thinker I often overthink things, and make social situations heavier than they actually need to be. I think this also has to do with a propensity towards intensity in relationships that I garnered by being raised by an emotionally intense mother. What this means is that I often look past normal, healthy human situations in favor of a more emotionally intense one, resulting often in a seeming unbalance in, for example, basic human affection versus intense romantic desire.

So to choose seclusion is super empowering for me right now. I went out, had a beer with friends, and got some normal human affection. I changed my approach to the whole situation, which ended up turning out beautifully. Instead of showing up and putting out a “I need affection” energy, I showed up genuinely interested in having a good time and adding value to the group. I used to do this until I’d feel drained, which was a problem. Knowing when to withdraw is an important skill. As an author and an introvert, it’s easier for me to seclude myself and build up energy that I can bring to social situations. This stuff is precious!!! Don’t squander it. Pour it over people that you genuinely care about, and who have demonstrated that they genuinely care about you. I showed up and gave away 4 quartz crystals that I had mined from the ground in Ida, Arkansas. It was a simple gesture, but I wanted to give something. Crystal gifting used to be a way for me to create covert contracts with other people (in a mafioso kind of way i.e. “I gave you this crystal now you owe me a favor, etc). But that’s not my intention anymore. I felt genuinely motivated to gift these crystals to people with whom I already had established relationship.
We all talked for a while, ate, drank, and laughed. It was a great time! You know what? I went home inspired, and full of energy, ready to write.

Active Seclusion.

Seclusion, for an introvert like me, should effectively recharge the individual. We power up our emotional batteries by taking care of ourselves. This is an active seclusion, where we are present and enjoying the process. If you need to be lazy, just enjoy it, mk?

For someone who grew up with low-self esteem, this part of the process can be terrifying! You mean i have to actually take care of myself? I thought that if I create enough covert contracts that someone will come along and be obligated to do it for me?

Wow, this one is huge. I struggled with this one for years and years. The truth of my experience reveals that, yes, there will be people in your life who genuinely want to meet your needs, and it is important to reach out and cultivate relationships where you are guided, empowered, and nurtured by parental figures in your life. But these people will provide this value to you becuase they want to, not because you obligated them through covert contracts.

It takes bravery to get your needs met if you’ve lived your life with the impression that you are unimportant – less than – unworthy. Mentorship can really help too, so find yourself someone who has been through a similar situation and model their behavior! Tip: make sure that your mentor is in a place of genuine giving so there is no room for obligation. They have to want to play that role for you.

Please use this post to spur new ideas about self care and the energy dynamics of active seclusion and social giving. Introverts, unite! separately, in the privacy of our own homes. Just kidding. Introversion is a fulltime position, but if we embrace it, we can bring a lot of unique value to the world, most notably, the value of being our happy selves.

In Love,

Tim

Open Relationships + Organic Courage

I haven’t kicked it with Dark Princess in a couple weeks, and other than a few casual conversations on the phone or by text, we haven’t talked. Maybe this is one relationship that will just fall away naturally. I’ve actually reached out a few times but she seems to be pretty busy. Recently I’ve become aware that one quality that I look for in people I’m interested in is time abundance and schedule orientation. Without these qualities, it is impossible for me to commit energetically to building something – even casually – with another human being. I bring this up because knowing that I need time abundance and schedule orientation is a wonderful lesson I’ve recieved in these last few months.

When I first started dating at the beginning of the 21 day Yoga Challenge after taking a year off I had to break through some shame-based fears about being “seen” before I was ready. Now I feel like I’ve been seen, and it wasn’t terrible. In fact, I’ve had many wonderful, real, and pleasureable moments in the process.

I am excited about a new woman in my life, whom I will refer to as The Doc. We are both schedule oriented, and, because there is a mutual attraction, we make time for eachother. Our connection started as friends, then we became intimate friends, then we kissed and eventually became lovers. It took courage to ask if I could kiss her, but other than that, the whole process was very organic and fluid. Maybe even the courage on my part was an organic courage, instead of courage tainted by a sense of needing to prove myself.

ORGANIC COURAGE!!!

Organic courage is courage that arises naturally. A willingness to go outside ones comfort zone is part of the process, but it really isn’t the entire thing. Organic courage means the courage to act, be, do as the person you feel like you are – the person you feel like you are becoming. Organic courage means that you posess within you the wherewithall to knock on the door of opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you knock gingerly, confidently, boisterously, but just knock anyways.

Show up to the opportunity. To run away from that opportunity will never get you through it. You can navigate life brilliantly with organic courage – knock gingerly if you will, but knock.
Eventually the quality of your courage may distill, mature, and turn into a skillset. Eventually you may begin to understand more about what you want, and develop the unique skill set required to get what you want (like I am currently developing in dating…slowly, but surely)

For example, I’m learning more about what I want. I recently had an encounter with a rediculously gorgeous woman. I mean, head turning accident causing good looks. I started a conversation with her (which took courage), and I told her she was beautiful (which also took courage). I didn’t use any cheesy pickup lines – which take courage too – but they’re pretty new to me. I may experiment with them eventually, if I think the time is right, but my organic courage approach seems like it fits better with who I am, at least for now.

Conscious pickup lines
I’ve never really been one for pickup lines. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, and I know some people for whom they really work, but I prefer my method of soft courage or organic courage.

Why? I don’t know – maybe it’s an introvert thing. Maybe I prefer to make connections with people with whom there is mutual respect, and I have a belief that pickup lines are disrespectful in some way. I’ve seen them used – boisterously, courageously, and unabashedly – and I’ve seen them work. But I lost respect for the men who used them, and for the women that they used them on. It felt disheartening, and I want to understand why. At one point I used to get my love through the use of covert contract – in other words, “If I am kind and a nice guy, and don’t objectify you or treat you like I am actually interested in you, then you should love me and validate me sexually.”

This nice guy covert contract is pretty common I think, and a cause of sexual frustration for a lot of people young and old – I know because I was once one of them! I’ve really lucked out though, because my organic courage is working for me. Slowly, but it’s still working ok.
But, as any healthy self-regulating system must do, I question this approach. I wonder – is there something to the pickup line thing? Perhaps I can tailor the ethos of the pickup line to fit my vibe. I’d venture a proposal that the reason that pickup lines can work is that they express interest from the get go, which let’s the object of your affections respond in kind, or at least understand your intentions.. My approach with Dark Princess, “the other woman”, The Doc, and more, has been to get to know them personally first, then express my interest in physical affection. I did this because the vibe felt right to do so, which is a result of just feeling out a situation intuitively (another reason why yoga and meditation are so great for self-efficacy – they sharpen intuition).

Positive marketing in Dating
I’d consider the vibe and the way that we interact with potential partners as a form of advertizing. Thus, if I advertise my self – in this case, the quality and value that I provide to a partner – as something that is flashier than the reality of what I can truly offer, then I feel way out of alignment with my integrity.

This is why, if I were to start using pickup lines, they would have to be reflective of the quality and value that I can truly provide – which is an open-hearted, encouraging, fun, fluid connection. Boom. I just learned something about myself.

Now…

I am in an incredible dating situation! The Doc is encouraging of my current preference for open relationship, as well as my desire to explore role play as a method of self discovery…essentially, she encourages me to be me.

Emotionally, this is incredibly rewarding. To be in an intimate partnership with someone who encourages me to be me is like, literally the best thing evar. (Usually I’d want to use a perhaps more literary description, but girly linguistics seems to do the trick here. Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it). Encouragement to be me was never something I had as a child. The fact that I found someone who provides that is wonderful. I’ve worked on becoming more of myself recently, and to meet someone who reflects my internal change back to me helps to reenforce the change.

The speed at which I manifested this relationship is pretty staggering. Remember the fourth step of the manifestation process? Yeah, I’m still adjusting. It’s changing me and bringin me new positive cognitive dissonance experiences!

Open Relationships – a lesson from a couple years back
A couple years back I dated multiple people at the same time, but I started things out wrong. I became physically intimate with someone before having an in-depth conversation and making a mutual decision to be open. I dated this person and we became physically intimate quickly. I did so with the understanding and explicit detailing that I didn’t want anything exclusive. But she became jealous of my other partners and let that jealousy get the best of her. She contacted one of my other partners and told her off very territorially. It fvcked the whole situation up and I ended up having to choose neither of them. I was learning at the time, and so I understand there were probably some other things that I could have done differently. Most notably, I would have spent longer choosing a primary partner. I would have chosen a primary partner who was open and understanding of my need for open relationships, not just accepting because she wanted to be with me.

I’ve never had a partner as encouraging as The Doc. It’s hard to say if she’ll be my primary – I think it’s too early to tell. For now I’ll just enjoy our connection, playfulness, conversation, and mutual respect and admiration.

It’s a good thing.

[Comment! I love hearing from you.]

[If you want to learn more about my creative projects, check out my musical project Timo or my psy-fi novel Igby]

Soft Courage: 4 Steps to Manifestion

I cried tears of joy yesterday. I was pulling up to get my hair cut, still on the phone with a dear friend of mine, telling him about a recent experience I had with a new lover.

I wasn’t telling him details – it wasn’t that kind of call. Instead I was regaling him about how incredible it feels to take a risk and to exercise courage in order to get the love and sex I want.

Why is this so important to me?

It wasn’t because I was raised in a shame-based paradigm where sex was a sin and never talked about, except under the most uncomfortable and un-fun circumstances. It wasn’t because every time I reached out to people I was attracted to I was met with ungodly guilt and shame as a result of growing up with so much fear and shame around my own sexuality.

I was flabbergasted because this person is exactly the type of lover who I’ve been wanting to attract into my life.

Warning: I’m going to get really new-agey here! This is the last stop to get off if you’re too square to sit with us on the magic bus.

You still here?

Ok, cool, it’s just us circles now. Check it out:

I imagined exactly the type of lover that I wanted. She would have very specific characteristics, be interested in very specific experiences, have a certain schedule, have certain communication skills, etc. I imagined this from a place of innocence and wonder, as if asking my inner child what it is that he really wants. No judgement, no guilt. I put myself in the place of connecting with this person and felt the feelings that I would feel naturally in different situations with this lover. Keep in mind that this was not a specific person in my mind at this point – it was a set of specific traits.

This is the most chilling manifestation I’ve had the distinct pleasure of co-creating (that time I manifested goat cheese was pretty cool, but c’mon – a sexy new lover is way cooler)

I used the word “flabbergasted” to describe the situation to my friend on the phone because it was about as close to describing the absolutely uncanny specificity with which this new lover arrived as I could get without living through the experience of finding her again. I don’t have a nickname for her yet. Maybe if she’s reading this post she’ll let me know 😉

Manifestation as a 4 part process

1st part: Program it
I would connect with my innocent self, imagine the traits of this lover, and really work on how I felt about it. I would refine and refine and get that emotion super loud, and connect with it as often as I wanted (the more often the better).

It’s not enough to just think about it. You have to charge it with emotion. And emotion is never something that you can fake. Ok, you can be a shakespearean actor about it, but your subconscious knows if you genuinely truly want something with your heart. Stop trying to manifest things that you think you need, and start spending time manifesting the people things and experiences that you know you’d love to enjoy. 

2nd part: Patience

You have to be so detached from the process of manifestation that you could easily forget about it in your day to day. It can be difficult especially if what you’re trying to manifest is something you really want! Don’t worry about it, don’t try to force it. If you feel like you need to do something about it, spend some time getting into the feeling that you’d exude when receiving it. But make sure that you’re not charging it with the emotion of not having it!

It can be kind of confusing at first, especially if you’re someone who may not have stellar emotional awareness. This is why yoga is so helpful – it helps to calm the body and mind while at the same time increasing the ease and quickness of processing emotions.

So be patient with the universe as it conspires to bring your exactly what you desire, and have fun! The next step is…

3rd part: Courage

You have to have the courage to try something new. Think about this: if in our current vibrational state we weren’t receiving that which we desire, it makes sense – using the law of attraction – that in order to attract that which we do desire, we must shift our vibrational state. What does this shift require?

Courage.

Courage is always required to shift into a new way of being.

How does that make you feel? Check your energy. What is your emotional response to reading this?

Maybe you consider yourself to be courageous, maybe not. If you don’t (like I did for a long time, until I shifted my definition of courage), you may find my experience interesting.

I already knew that courage was required to get what you want. With this lover, I didn’t use any creative pickup lines, seduction tricks, or manipulation. I did what felt right, which was getting to know her as a person and friend first, and then I shifted into asking if I could kiss her when the mood and time and place was right.

That’s it. It required courage but it was more of a soft courage than what I used to consider to be courage. I used to consider courage to ONLY be a loud, boisterous, dominant kind of thing. Now I realize courage can be both loud and soft. While these aspects come out of me from time to time, it’s not coming from a place of needing to prove anything. I’m glad to be over that one.

4th Part: Adjusting

I’m not going to over-glamorize this: getting what you want can hurt. You will be presented with myriad opportunities to fall back into your previous, more comfortable albeit undesirable vibrational state. Don’t do it! Adjustment entails letting your consciousness get used to feeling how you feel when you have what you desire.

For me it means feeling all the feelings involved with my new partner: glee, apprehension, joy, certain amounts of latent shame that come up: all of it. These feelings are a result of the new creation in your life. If you stuff the emotions or block them or medicate them away, you are simply telling the universe that you can’t handle what you want. Maybe you can’t, alone, so it’s helpful to reach out to your network of support in times like these. You have been building a network of support, haven’t you? This is a network of people that you support and encourage who also support and encourage you. Let’s live and love and grow together!!

Try it out!
Manifesting was kind of a casual hobby for me initially, and I would get frustrated easily because I hadn’t cleared a lot of emotional blocks that can get in the way. What I love about it is that it requires me to confront the parts of myself that are scared and hurt, and heal them. Because I value growth and development so much, manifestation is quickly turning from a casual interest into a deeper and more impactful process.

What are your questions about manifesting? What have you tried? What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t? Let me know! Comment!

Peace, and happy manifesting.

 

© Tim Stanek 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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