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August Update – A Change In Direction, Simplifying Life

 

I made a recent decision to change the strategy of Zenratstudios as a reflection of a change in focus, and an evolution of self. I hope to fix the website to reflect these changes.

The Big Picture Version

  1. The Model For Universal Income – An economy built on abundance, where labor is automated as much as possible (thanks to technology), where we live and work in more green, efficient, sustainable ways. Investing in robotics, artificial intelligence, and technological advancement and using that to help create Universal Income.
  2. The focus on Automated Economies – I believe technology will lead to a post-scarcity world, and enable us to take a step back from traditional wage slavery. The model for automated economies is not too different from passive income utilized by the wealthy. My goal is to build a self-sustaining circular economy starting with myself. And to gradually scale that up from my own life “I”, to the lives of others.
  3. New Business Models – Currently right now our business model depends on people purchasing goods from business owners who employ people for less to produce the goods we buy. But a new model similar to the sharing economy treats the purchaser as a type of Investor with hopefully a diversified portfolio. Blockchain economies are a great way to see how some of these models might work.
  4. The Model for Governance – I’m exploring responsible autonomy and the idea that if we equip people with the tools to treat people with respect and autonomy, if we can have a form of government with a core set of rules based on an open palm, that don’t dictate .
  5. Guardians who and what are they – Guardians are bodhisattvas, they are heroes turned inward, the Guardians I refer to walk an open palm path. They’re just people like you and I who feel compelled to make the world a better place, but know that they have to start with their own heart. Their lifestyle is an extension of their practice.
  6. Heroes – are people who want to make the world a better place but focus on changing the external world as opposed to their inner paradigm.
  7. Future Heroes – any person who benefits but has yet to contribute to growing the system. We call them future heroes because they have unlocked potential.

The Small Picture

All of this is all great; but me as one person, who struggles with socializing and bringing and keeping people together – really I’ve failed in many ways to achieve this. For what I feel like I am capable of doing, this was too big a leap for me. So I had to change my strategy to scale back.

At the end of the day I am just one person; and I want to show how just one person like me can make a difference in our world, independent of where I am in, within life. To show you can make an impact in small ways just by making changes in your lifestyle, this requires mental paradigm shifts.

The new model for my life works like this:

  1. Living a Minimalistic, Sustainable Life – My focus is ongoing small. Right now I’m in the process of preparing a lifestyle that enables me to “Vandwell” off-grid. My intent is to live a paradigm that focuses on the idea on less is more. Core essentials and sustainability. You can have a nomadic tribe of people that travel together in groups or meet up annual, who share a similar philosophy – or you could have a plot of land. Whether you can afford to purchase land and live with a community of people, or can only afford to vandwell, or even just glamping it – you can live a sustainable life. And so my goal is to focus on creating that stress-free life that respects earth and myself. Easy to support.
  2. Focusing on Generating Passive Income – For me the challenge is making actual income. I struggle with this because I feel really anxious, insecure and overwhelmed when dealing day to day with people. I struggle to trust people’s intentions, and often deal with a lot of lows. Finding a way to generate income that matches my energy levels at any given moment has been a challenge; but one that has been my primary goal.
  3. Focusing on aligning my lifestyle with mental health – My mental health and wellbeing is very important to me. I’m very sensitive to stress. So utilizing the MIND diet, picking up physical activities like martial arts that focus more on the spiritual (emotional/mental) applications, having work that brings in money but supports my disabilities, focusing on a mindset and mental paradigm that supports my heart and well-being, Meditating and finding a good legal alternative medication that works without ill side effects – all of this together to help reshape my brain that was changed through years of prolonged stress, and affecting hormones and neurotransmitters.
  4. Focusing on Investing that Income into resources that Automated that Income – From that point I want to invest in any technology or resource that utilizes renewable energy while also automating any process that is a repeatable algorithm. Whether this means investing time to learn how to code this, or investing resources into hiring somebody I don’t know. But automating my personal life is where I want to go. This will enable me to improve any passive income I am already generating in some areas, and even create new sources of revenue.
  5. Share my philosophy’s and ideas – I plan to share the models I have.
  6. Scale up and include other people – if my experiment works well, then I’ll be able to generate a source of automated, passive income. And include other people who are meant to be on this journey with me.
  7. Focusing on Converting that Income Into A Blockchain Model or Similar Alternative – essentially to create something that can exist everywhere independent of country of origin, that is fueled by the people who use it whether it’s just 3 people or many. Whether #7 comes before #6 I don’t know. But I do know I want to create a system of universal income that works for me and everyone else, with built-in captive insurance that works as a type of legal ‘shadow bank’.

Summary

  1. The Decision to Just Listen With Meditation
  2. The Decision to Flow With Wu Wei
  3. The Decision to Live Sustainable
  4. The Decision To Scale Down
  5. The Decision To Focus On Generating Income Holistic To My Health
  6. Nomadic Tribes

 

Ideally I would adjust my website to reflect these changes, but I wouldn’t know where to begin to be honest. I know that I’ve gone from trying to reach out to people, to mainly focusing on healing my heart, and gaining insight to the challenges and processes in overcome that. Converting those processes and journeys into a formula and sharing that with individuals.

I’m not sure blogging about that journey would be interesting to people, as I can’t keep up with posting regularly. But I know I have every intent to share this journey, and maybe people will enjoy that. I don’t know how far I will get in my journey, whether I ever get beyond #4. My concept supports Homeless, Nomads and Terrestials (people who have territory). And I’ll probably cover how to live sustainably and enjoyably whether you have a little money in the bank or have a lot of money.

So that’s the Update. Updates from this point will be less about the Big Picture company and more “Morgan” oriented. I’ll update as I feel is necessary to update. If I get around to finishing my “Trading Series” I’ll focus on doing that. For now it’s super late and so I’ll probably get some sleep.

90 Ways To Survive being an Indie Game Developer & Entrepreneur

This past few months has been an adventure for me. This October I officially felt confident enough to launch our fundraising campaign One Million Heroes, a way to become a champion, nominate and give back to the world, but also a way to contribute to building a program as part of our Pay It Forward program. Our biggest challenge is marketing right now, to bring in 20,000 champions willing to nominate and sponsor their Heroes, champions who believe in our cause, their Heroes cause and that we have something to give them.

One of the biggest challenges I have faced is not having the funds to hire a team to help drive us towards success. Most of our Guardians of Life work more than one job and struggle to make ends meet. For me Zenratstudios is my one job, it is my full-time job, and it’s success and how far we get is dependent on my sole ability to creatively turn a lack of resources into resourceful ways of pivoting us to success. Life is all a game to me, it’s one big puzzle. Just like in any video game I’ve started with nothing. Just a few sticks and some stones. There’s a river here, and somehow I have to get across it. I run around doing side quests to level up my skills, so that I can learn what I need to learn to get across the river. All of that takes time. 90% of this entire year has been spent learning skills and building upon my mental resilience and knowledge. Things that I couldn’t afford to outsource in the beginning. Spending time learning as much as we can so we can automate and outsource has been a short-term investment for long-term gain.

Everything takes up time. Hiring people takes time, building websites take time, products take time to build, services take time to launch. There is not one feature of running a start-up that does not take time. The biggest part that takes time is motivating to care about your cause as much as you do it, lest you start to feel crazier than you already are. Despite all that is going on we’re confident that wiith creative problem solving, martial arts and some mindfulness everything always seems to fall into place.

Here is a rough list of the must have things we’ve had to schedule into our daily regimen both to maintain our sense of peace & wellbeing, as well as to maintain our sanity.

LEARN

  1. Read, read, Read
  2. Everyday pick up a book or read a short article, learn something new! (I’ve learned about SEO, Marketing, graphic design, programming, spiritual health, resilience, it’s so great to see how all that knowledge overlaps and integrating them all together)
  3. FOCUS

     

  4. Develop laser vision esp. if you’re solo
  5. Focus on 1 thing at a time, each day, in each moment
  6. Chip away your to do list, (it took us 1 year to bring a 1,000 item to do list, down to 100 down to 10- 12 /day)
  7. Break each item into tasks with their sub to do lists (so at any given moment we know exactly where to pick up and start) focus the day on that.
  8. Keep a Goal and To do list tracker/ write a list of goals before bed and waking up
  9. Prioritize your most important tasks
  10. Level up to the next tasks and their sub-tasks when complete!
  11. Track to do list and progress every day, week, and month, use this to track progress to see how far you’ve gotten
  12.  

    SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL/MENTAL HEALTH

     

  13. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine
  14. Don’t neglect your spiritual, mental & emotional health
  15. Incorporate mindfulness into everything you do
  16. Incorporate Rest & Relaxation into your schedule
  17. Kill two birds with one stone by incorporating physical fitness into your spiritual regimens
  18. Make Mind-Body workouts part of your daily regimen
  19.  

    EXPLORE & EXPERIMENT

     

  20. Explore & Experiment (It took me 1 year to explore and experiment, finding my voice, my identity, and clarifying my message.)
  21. Don’t be afraid to step back and try something new
  22. Detours are part of the learning experience, we call them side quests. (Just like any side quest you return to the same road giving us more insight and skills. Learn new things that can make your calling stronger than ever, and even allow you to change gears if you need to).
  23. Always keep ‘scope’ in mind, something may seem simple, but when you’re doing everything yourself that simple task can become a nightmare.
  24. Reign in scope, for what you as an individual can do without getting burnt out
  25. Write Strategy plans for everything, research everything
  26. Experiment with your message on different platforms in ways that don’t affect your brand (safe spaces for exploration are great, I like to experiment with my message by talking to people among my family and friends who are not the right audience or fit, to learn what resistance feels like, cater my voice to that audience, while also working on narrowing my message and explaining it clearer and gauging what lack of feedback feels like from good feedback right down to biased feedback!)
  27.  

    AUTHENTICITY

     

  28. Be Authentic (but what does that mean), it means be YOU
  29. (But who are you?) Take time to explore, experiment & find you!
  30. Don’t be afraid to change and grow and share those changes
  31. Don’t just focus on selling yourself to customers ask yourself are these the type of people you want to serve?
  32. Don’t be afraid of rejection for every person that hates you, there is someone out there who will love you find those people
  33. Not every customer and person is right for you, make sure the people you serve are the kind of customers you want to have
  34. Be TRUE to you
  35. You are your first customer, if it doesn’t resonate with you, you’re not doing it right!
  36. Be genuine & heart felt
  37.  

    BE AN ALCHEMIST: TRANSMUTE CHALLENGES & CRITIQUES INTO OPPORTUNITIES

     

  38. Transmute criticism and failures into positive and opportunity to learn, expand, grow and build better
  39. Always get feedback
  40. Don’t focus on ‘lack of resources’ focus on resourcefulness and creativity. Take any problem, lack of money, lack of team, and brainstorm/mind map your way to a solution, examine it, question it, play with it, integrate. Be resourceful
  41. Adapt, and be flexible, bend if somethings not working don’t be afraid to try something new whether you’ve told people about it or not, be open and honest
  42. Express your needs clearly
  43.  

    “CREATIVITY” & PASSION

     

  44. Stop the Excuses
  45. Use determination and passion to find your breakthroughs, be committed. Find it.
  46.  

    HOPE

     

  47. What is does not determine what will be!
  48. Missing deadlines is not the end of the world, EXTEND THEM
  49. Procrastination is a sign of genius but don’t let it rule you! Break the habits, focus (break tasks into smaller problems, always have a clear to do list that tells you what needs to be done next, read inspiring articles that help bring back your passion and get you going again, work in bursts, and do one thing at a time to break through procrastination or at least chip away at it, just bite the bullet and do it now when you’re due date is today!)
  50.  

    TAKE TIME TO RECONNECT, TAKE BREAKS OFTEN

     

  51. If you’ve lost your passion and momentum stop! Take time to breathe, reconnect, find your center.
  52. Meditation and relaxation is great for this
  53. Take breaks frequently and often, do work in bursts! (somehow we’ve managed to get it done)
  54.  

    SCHEDULE

     

  55. Stay organized (utilize schedules, lists, rules, and get physical notebooks with lots of pens)
  56. Schedule time for you and your family
  57. Set a time every day for your family (we have lunch, breakfast, dinner hours, and weekends are a no work zone)
  58. Create Opening & Closing Hours (our hours for social engagement are officially 12AM/9PM – 3PM Monday – Friday. For our ‘public’ work, our behind the scenes work takes place on weekends, recouping, resting)
  59. Always plan 1 week or more in advance (we try to plan one month ahead for our tasks, and then weeks if not days ahead, even if we are close to the due date we always know what we’re supposed to be doing in any given moment)
  60. Hire 1-3 weeks before your deadlines! Most people take a few days to produce work and sometimes the work isn’t satisfying, we learned that lesson the hard way when we hired a Virtual Assistant who showed up late and never did the job!
  61.  

    DELEGATE & OUTSOURCE

     

  62. Your time is a resource, every hour you spend doing something you can outsource is time you aren’t doing something else
  63. Delegate any task that can be outsourced.
  64. Automate what can be automate (outsource to machines)
  65. Utilize automation tools like Buffer starting at $10/month
  66. If you’re opening a shop and can’t afford to hire a coder/and don’t have the time yourself: Bite the bullet and purchase Shopify + Sendowl to save time, even if it’s a temporary solution
  67. Use tools like Articy Draft SE to manage complexity
  68. Use Windows Word to utilize navigation bookmarks/headers (Google drive is great too for organizing documents and teams!)
  69. Before you outsource try to build it, this allows you to gain an intimate understanding of what’s really involved
  70.  

    AFFORDING YOUR TEAM

     

  71. Outsource to independent contractors not employees when you’re broke
  72. Negotiate, barter & bargain! The right person is willing to work with what you are able to give (if that person won’t, then rest assured there is someone out there capable of doing so)
  73. Use Fiverr with caution, lots of low quality and hidden fees, often times it comes with more headaches than not.
  74. See everyone you meet as special and unique with their own gifts and talents
  75. Realize that everyone has something to offer, if one person doesn’t work out, know that somewhere someone else will!
  76. Focus on creating win-wins for people, as they lift you up, lift them up too. We are a team. Let’s not leave the other behind so that we can move forward on our own.
  77. Invest the time to build a team
  78. For every person out there that won’t help you or barter within your budget, there is someone out there that will
  79. Cut off people who believe low pay isn’t worth quality (this is frequently a problem for places like fiverr and upwork, where people agree to work for low prices but then may say they’re not being paid enough to care)
  80.  

    REACHING OUT

     

  81. Seek help, Take Breaks, Step away
  82. The world doesn’t come to you, you have to step outside and go to it. Leaving my inner cave is the hardest, coming down from the mountain is the hardest. Engaging with people is the hardest, I focus on a place of love and do nevertheless.
  83. Be symbiotic. Don’t look to compete, be and emulate the plant that cooperates and gives to the world, in a symbiotic away
  84. Keep your eyes out for mentors (I’ve contacted several potential mentors but often receive no responses or they never get back to me, I use daily interactions and reading as my mentors and learning experiences, but I still have my eyes open)
  85.  

    DEVELOP RESILENCE & THICK SKIN

     

  86. Carefully select your team but don’t be afraid to say it’s not working out!
  87. Develop thick skin
  88. The hardest part is making people care; in this world everyone asks, “What is in it for me” no one genuinely helps just because they care or want to see you succeed. You always have to find ways to make people feel like their time listening to you is worthwhile.
  89.  

    BE COMPASSIONATE & KIND

     

  90. Remember! Don’t think of people as being ‘greedy’ think of people as trying to survive! It’s easier to approach people with compassion, to understand that they need to feed themselves and their families.
  91. Try not to let your anger and stress cause you to lash out, try to look at people with compassionately even as you decide not to engage with them!
  92. Be compassionate towards yourself, most depression results from setting high expectations. It’s a symptom telling you something is off and that you need something, set that time aside to make your mission getting it.
  93. Don’t be a dictator be a Team
  94. Be strong, firm, but KIND
  95. Forgive yourself when you have a bad day or fall off the horse (your best is always changing, some days are more stressful than others, somedays are better, extend a hand of compassion and forgiveness when the best you can do today is not the best you did yesterday)
  96. Take responsibility, admit mistakes, never blame, focus only on you but be objective about it!
  97. Be objective BUT KIND!
  98.  

    FACE THE ACT OF GIVING & RECEIVING REJECTION WITH GRACE

  99. Don’t attack or insult people as a person, always direct your frustrations onto the situation or action (more often than not it’s not PEOPLE who are bad, but the environment itself, what can you DO to bring out their best)
  100. Redirect and focus on what you do want to see, not what you don’t
  101. Let people go with kindness and compassion, just because they didn’t work for you or you didn’t work for them, doesn’t mean you won’t work better for someone else and vice versa
  102. Be Humble!
  103.  

    FUN

     

  104. Most Importantly MAKE Learning & Engaging FUN!
  105. Incorporate fun into everything you do!
  106. If you’re not having fun you’re doing it WRONG!
  107.  

In the beginning when I first started this balancing my life was hard. I had a newborn baby and lived on $700/month. Today I have a toddler and still live off of $700/month, and that’s before bills are paid. After bills are paid I’m scraping sometimes even getting behind on rent leaving people I.O.Us all for a dream, that we can save the world and have fun doing it too.

It was a scary prospect for me to pick up my lifelong dream, to answer the call and try to make a living and save the world while doing so. I was going through a lot of losses at the time, a deep spiritual journey, and juggling parenthood. At first I buried myself into work, learning as I went along, but realized I was missing out on my child’s growth. It seemed doing one thing at a time was futile. But slowly but surely over the course of a year my 1,000+ page to do list slowly became 500, became 100, became 10. This starting week my to do list is down to 5 focused lists, spaced out throughout the weeks.

The biggest change in my life was making the decision that my hours for social engagement and ‘active’ work are 9AM – 3PM. I might get in early at 3AM or 7AM, and I might work a little bit overtime, but I’m not required to. I set aside breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s time for me and my family, and I make my working hours really count. Sometimes if I see an opportunity to get work out of the way I do it.

When my child is sleeping I work on a single thing from my to do list. I don’t respond to emails until I get it done. Sometimes I take a break, walk around. If the hour I dedicate to it passes and I run out of time. I move onto the next thing and continue this project later.

My biggest thing these days is to relax, the way I see it is, whatever happens is going to happen anyway, if I’m going to die, I can be sad about it, happy about it or neutral about it. In that same way if I need to write an essay, I relax into it. I choose the perspective I want to have and then I go into that situation from that perspective. I can worry that we won’t make any sales, or nothing will happen, and we’ll fail. Or I can simply relax, keep calm and carry on, like a bird singing a song irregardless of who is listening or not. Trusting that I have it within myself to face challenges, solve problems, find solutions and create better ways. Looking at a problem from different angles and focusing on them like tasks to a do list, developing unique strategies for each one.

To learn more:

Read The Press Release for One Million Here: http://bit.ly/2e66M4A
Read About Our One Million Heroes & Pay It Forward Campaign here: http://bit.ly/2fAfr22

Visit and get your Nomination Badges now: http://onemillionheroes.zenratstudios.org

Check out our shop at: http://shop.zenratstudios.org

Read Zenratstudios Press Release for hints and clues to our puzzles: http://bit.ly/2dsAjTsh

Like & Follow us on Facebook To receive daily hints for our ARG: http://facebook.com/zenratstudios

Follow us On Twitter: http://twitter.com/zenratstudios

And if you have any questions email us at: savingtheworld@zenratstudios.org , send us a tweet or FB message.

The World Doesn’t Need Changing YOU Do

 

I woke up this morning after a weekend vacation. Feeling calm and relaxed, a sense that everything would be alright. While following my morning regimen of checking my goals from the previous night, meditating, checking mail and practicing manifestation I came across an article, about how you can’t change the world and it’s OK not to. It concluded with how you can only change yourself.

This was the determination we here at Zenratstudios had made a long time ago. I recall a person I once spoke to whose pastime was causing pain to others. I asked her question after question about her life, probing deeper before she snapped back, Why do you always ask so many questions! Because I said if I can understand you, if I can understand the world around me, I can learn how to save it. I can save you, I can save the world, I can save everybody.

Well first she said, you have to stop saying you want to save people. That will create resistance, it causes walls to come up. I shared with her my insights on the world, all the pain, and what it needed, more love I said. And she replied and SECOND what if people don’t want to change, what if they don’t want more love, what if they are happy with where they are, with how things are. That was the moment that a woman I once labeled as sociopath taught me a profound lesson. Focus on yourself she finished it off. Don’t worry about the rest of the world, don’t worry about me. Focus on you.

I retreated into my cave and I sat atop my mountain and I looked down at the world meditating. Looking for a solution to the worlds problems. I had spent forever trying to ‘fix’ me, trying to figure out what was broken in my mind, to save me. And then once I had found a solution I’d turn my attention onto others only for my insecurities, flawed thinking and zealous ideology to become no better than Religious dogma. I laid in bed listening to Alan Watts and reading books on Shamanism, I delved deep into Buddhism and wore that hat for some time, I joined martial arts, I meditated and practiced manifestation, trying to change my brain and the neurons will fully inspired by Wim HOFF and the torture king who had changed their responses to pain. I read book after book from spiritual guru, I read Anthony De Mello’s The Way To Love, but what about the way to changing the world?

And that’s when it dawned on me. The world is perfect, you are perfect, we are all perfect where we are, we are exactly where we need to be and we all contain within us a Hero that is waiting to break through, and it’s up to each of us individually to save ourselves to chip away at our exterior, to find our hearts to make that happen. And surprisingly there are a lot of people in our world who don’t want us to do that. It’s almost as if we need permission to love, permission to be free, permission to discover ourselves, to let our hair down, to have an adventure without facing rejection, backlash or assaults.

It wasn’t enough for me to be aware of this alone, because I was still sitting on top of a mountain, looking at the world, observing it, judging it. What did it need. Love. Who did it need it from, was it you? No. The answer was me. I needed to be more loving, more understanding, more compassionate. I needed to get off the mountain and step down, I needed to heal my heart of all the wounds and insecurities. I need to look deep within. In another bout of suffering I turned to the stars, finding comfort in the mythologies of astrology. Laugh if you will but it was from this place, from reading the astrology and natal charts of others, and of myself that I realized a pattern. We’re all in this together, we’re all on this floating rock trying to make sense of a messy and chaotic world together. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’re able, we’re all trying to cope with our lives.

It was that moment that I stopped seeing myself as separate from the world but rather one with it, and it is from that, that the words Saving The World became synonymous with ‘Saving myself’, a life-long battle and journey. I set out on a mission. Not everyone is meant to be a Leader, we are herd animals by nature, but everyone is meant and is fully capable of being a Hero. Hidden within each of us is a gem, just waiting to be uncovered and unleashed. I am on a mission to help uncover those Heroes, to bring them all out to the forefront, to build a better world, one person at a time. For every Hero that comes out from the shadows and touches the lives of another 4 more are born.

 

Can a pay-it-forward system really work in a world where people live with a ‘what’s in it for me’ Mentality?

 

October is the month where we begin marketing, campaigning, hiring teams on limited funds and putting ourselves out there. Our campaign, One Million Heroes, a showcase ad that will add gamification elements to help fundraise money to build what will be a book and game publishing company as well as home to a pay-it-forward ecosystem built on blockchain.

To give some background. I grew up volunteering, I’ve won awards for my volunteer work in the community and I’ve learned many important life skills and lessons. I once said that I wanted to be a professional volunteer and to take my volunteering to the next level I began to travel and WWOOF with the goal of working my way up to the Corps (or at the very least as an alternative). I read Jacque Frescoes vision and explored bartering systems and money-free lifestyles, traded my time to learn how to build yurts with wonderful people who were conscious of money and how many hours were worth how much. That was my first taste of how obsessed people were with money, and not for no reason, people needed money to live and to eat and their family was struggling work-exchange helped them get something back for their time.

I admired Daniel Suelo and tried to give up money myself, I went to WWOOF and met a family who were the perfect example of what it meant to live on a farm and to take in interns, and introduced me to the mindset that all farm animals and people had to pull their weight, if they weren’t producing they were eating money and had to be killed or sold if they were animals, or let go if they were people. I learned that they didn’t accept WWOOFer’s with children because children didn’t work, they ate food but weren’t able to pull their weight and this mindset was common across the board. To my horror I would later discovered the foster care system had its origins in this philosophy and mindset too, there is a reason why abuse occurs so frequently in these types of homes but that’s a story for another day. Prior to this experience I had volunteered with companies that were run predominately by volunteers who were passionate about helping people and giving back and I saw first-hand how non-profits struggled to raise money in a world that was becoming increasingly jaded, self-centered and slow to give.

I recall a year ago when I was homeless due to mental illness having no place to go. No one would take me in, nor would I have accepted it from anyone were they able. I was agoraphobic and terrified of homeless shelters and I remembered a story where a woman donated candy and junk food to the homeless shelters because they were too unhealthy for her kids. People believe homeless people should be grateful for what they are given and so they must accept anything, ‘beggars can’t be choosers’, and at the same time I recalled a woman who had started a community garden and began giving free food within her own community, and not just her but the people at Unsung. People with a mission to help make the world a better place.

For me the concept of working for free or for little pay solely to make the world a better place and to help someone was not new to me. I was well aware of people taking advantage of others, and had been a victim of this myself, but I thought about it differently than others did. I think about life differently. Only in running my business and seeking help has it become more clear to me that people won’t help you for free, there is always a catch. Codementors a great place where you can meet experts, whether you just need help with something very small and tiny for 15 minutes, or something big there’s a person available, but no one will help you the way they might on a forum out of the kindness of their heart, everyone had a fee attached even to write just 3 lines of code. Afterall everyone has a family to feed, no one would be there if the reward wasn’t worth it.

In my exhaustion from coding I went on fiverr, I’ll have to write about my review of that site later, but what I found was that almost nobody offered anything of value for $5 and people laughed at me when I asked them to assist me for $15 for 2 areas of code. Find someone else one person said, and on craigslist the reply: You will find no one experienced in Foundation Zurb to help you for just $15. I just wanted to know why my columns were collapsing in foundation zurb which was supposed to be responsive by default and to receive help. What had I done and what needed to be adjusted. It wouldn’t take me more than an hour to do maybe less myself but I was beginning to feel burnt out and funds were limited. I had hired three people already on the short-term and my budget was starting to run out. But the issue I faced brought attention to a larger one, a question in the back of my mind. Something that had been haunting me from the beginning. It’s then that I began to realize the biggest problem we face as a people in building a pay-it-forward platform is building a community and environment where people who want to help others genuinely help others out of the kindness of their heart. They pay-it-forward because they know that it may not come back to them directly from the person they are helping, but that it will eventually come back around to them in some way, shape or form. This was Karma in action and it was the very foundation of my entire life and how I had lived.

You see suffering and sorrow and pain has been the very foundation of my life. I have an intimate relationship with sorrow of observing it, understanding it, studying it, I feel sorrow and pain deeply in the eyes and hearts of others, and deeply within myself. I’ve struggled with abandonment and feelings of being unloveable, of unworthy. And like many I went on a mission to find myself, to accept myself, in freedom, to discover me, to fix what was broken in my heart. At times I felt I needed permission from those I loved to be free, to find me, to love, and there were times when I had to let go of their acceptance and walk alone so that I could drop all that I am not and be accepted for all that I am. That journey has led to what has now become been part of my mission, my motto in life, my work. No not saving the world one story at a time, though it’s certainly one of my mottos, a different mindset based on the law of you receive what you give.

If you want love, give love and be love itself, if you want understanding give and be understanding itself, and so on. You get what you give back. If your heart is full of selfishness and hatred that is what you will receive. Fundamentally I began to realize what the problem was. The problems we faced in this world were symptoms of our flaws at our very core. Our Human Nature. Ourselves. We as humans with all our ego, self-centeredness, me-first, survival-based mentality are part of the biggest issue we face in achieving happiness and peace, everything else is a byproduct of that mindset.

My company Zenratstudios was founded as a way to tackle these issues, through games and stories we uncover all that we are by discarding all that we are not, we focus on building compassion, empathy, and love and more. We try to make giving fun, and we work on developing a built in reward system. The biggest problem is philosophical can true altruism arise from this system? Can we make and build heroes or can we only call out the Heroes in our world, the rare leaders, the rare people who want to make a difference?

There are many challenges we face as a company, many human challenges we face as a people in building a system that is meant to help people, to be a solution to the problems in the world around us. But I truly believe that it is possible to build something that can benefit the world and reward people at the same time for being good people. Can we train people to give just for the joy of giving, teach them how the laws of abundance work. I believe we can, or at the very least I believe it’s worth it to test, experiment, and try.

This Month I am bringing together a team to help refine, test, market and launch One Million Heroes, which at its heart is both a fundraiser and a showcase that shows in action the roots for how our system and philosophies work. Raising awareness to the Heroes in our world, taking revenue we earn from the services and products we create and redistributing back into the people, back into the community we serve.

I’ve spent the past year building the roots and the foundations for this company, but now I’ve hit a wall. Working on my own I have quickly become burnt out and exhausted, signs that I am doing too much and need to call together my team. Alone we can only go so far, together we can go far.

For all those out there who need a hero. Please join us on our journey, and our mission to save the world, one story, one adventure, one person, one you at a time.

The Bane Of Building Responsive Sites

I sat proudly looking over the site I had built over at One Million Heroes, excited to begin asking for Beta Testers and gathering feedback, and writing articles explaining what it is about. Refining my message. I had resized the page during building on my PC only to look at my phone to see both my site Zenratstudios.org, and my site One Million Heroes built in Foundation Zurb had columns that were collapsing on small.

No problem Media Queries could fix this I said to myself, but then just the thought of having to leave content writing mode and marketing mode to go back into programming mode was starting to make me sick and nauseous. I needed a mobile responsive version of my site, and I needed something fast. I clumsily thought of my options and my budget for the month. I could go in and create a mobile version of my site, I could start hunting down people and setting aside finances for a mobile version — or I could just leave it alone and focus on outreach and raising funds.

I tried to log onto Foundation Zurb’s forums to ask for help but their sign-up sheet is missing and my email address says it doesn’t work while support is telling me my email is in the system. I take a deep breath feeling stress and I walk away. I ponder for a moment adding a disclaimer, or taking another weekend or what do I do to fix this. I recall Wayne Dyer’s theirs a spiritual solution to every problem, and I begin to meditate. Can I just focus on what I want to do, what excites me, focus on refining my message, and content, can I just walk away from programming for a while, please? If I put myself out there, marketing, and people access the site from their phone and see a terrible website won’t that affect my message badly?

I don’t know. Building websites and factoring in the different window-sizes (mobile, tablet, desktop, and larger), the different browsers, the frameworks, the CSS hacks, has never been my favourite thing to do. It’s always been something I have done out of necessity. It’s fun to learn about and to say “I can do that”, but it takes up valuable time that I would otherwise prefer to be spending on writing.

I sit down at my desk and lament that I can’t continue finishing up my Novel, Editing it and seeking reviews, or writing the content for my games because I’m so wrapped up in the programming itself, from the website, to the foundation, to the marketing. I take a day off Saturday, and on Sunday I move slowly. It’s starting to feel like an uphill climb and so I take a moment’s pause to walk, smell the flowers, and enjoy my life. I let it all go to regain my energy, I take a much needed break to keep myself from working myself sick.

This months task: Putting together my start-up team to help communicate our vision and make this project a success! Afterall a business is only as good as it’s team. I’ve made it this far, laid down the initial bricks, I can only go so far solo, outreach and planning phase to launch.

The Roadmap to victory: Paradigm Shifts & Service Emphasis

 

Introduction

This past few days I’ve been thinking about how far Zenratstudios has come, and how it’s strength has directly correlated to my levels of awareness, spiritual growth, and mental paradigms. I’m very excited about where we’re headed, what changes will be made, and what this company will look like in our end-game, perhaps even things I cannot foresee.

I’d like to share my journey since my company is directly a product of that journey and as such in these founding moments our fates are currently tied.

Major business advancements

  • The Decision to Break Zenratstudios down into subdivisions
  • The addition and acquisition of “Karmic Rivers” one of our spiritual subdivisions (as opposed to our Writing & Game Development divisions which target a different type of audience)
  • Shifting and Developing Services over Products as a way to raise funds to produce better more quality products
  • Developed better and more efficient fundraising plans and non-obtrusive advertisement goals
  • Narrowed our Market/Target Group
  • Found my identity, voice and authenticity
  • Reassessed whether blockchains will be good for us and -when- to implement them in our timeline
  • How to get the different subdivisions to work together as a whole
  • Found a way to offer services for all income groups on a sliding scale
  • Developed some clearer strategies based on experimentation with ideas, concepts and more
  • Exploring a pay what you can model/ hybrid and also a model for our hiring process (how to limit costs while in the initial low funds stage of our company but also benefit the people we bring in, got some nice strategies to share!)
  • I viewed myself as an asset and as such focused on skill-building: building wordpress themes, learning and using languages like PHP, React.js, typescript, SASS and more.
  • And more.

 

Major Spiritual advancements

  • I undid all that I am not, and uncovered all that I am
  • I integrated my knowledge into my heart as wisdom in a process of emptying the cup
  • I healed many of the old wounds within my heart and found my peace
  • I transmuted my relationships from something painful to something enjoyable
  • I fully embraced my values and message
  • I came down off my mountain, no longer seeing myself as separately aware of the world, but each of us as all on this earth in this chaos together, trying to do the best that we can with the tools that we have available to us; living out our own karmic debts and so forth.
  • And more

 

Part I

Business

The switch from Products to Services

It’s not really a switch but a strategic decision. One way to bootstrap our company in order to build better projects is to offer our services to the community, building community and helping people. We can then grow our finances that way and reinvest both in the community and in creating and hiring the people required to help get more of the products out there. Services are easier to offer because I have the knowledge here to share and can easier distribute information, whereas it takes a longer time and a team of people to get quality tested products out to people. And because we don’t have just one single product but many to offer.

Pay What you Can Hybrid Revenue Model

I’ve been researching revenue models, ways to raise money for this company while also giving back to the community. One method of maximizing profits to increase the revenue so we can give back is a pay what you can hybrid model. It’s hybrid because I’m not entirely sure if every product we produce will be available under this model; for example offering a Pay what you can hybrid model for our workshops is something I wanted to do for our sliding scale fee; but then I wasn’t entirely sure if that would be appropriate.

For Products like Games and Novels books and games will be available under a Pay What You can Hybrid Model, and if you can’t pay we’ll offer options to view advertisments and affiliate services that you might want to pay for at some point. These advertisements would be quality advertisements that consist of non-profits and helpful services or start-up companies and entrepreneurs, small indie developers who have paid anywhere from $5 – $10 to place their ads with us. We may even offer a donation option, whereby you can donate to the author and a portion to a cause you believe in. So maybe viewing an advertisement of your choice, looking at an affiliate link, or signing up to something (if you want) would be an option. A portion of that revenue will then go to the author. We would offer the book or download for anywhere from $1 – $15.00 with a custom option. $0.00 would not be an option; but the option to look through some books would be an option. The reason for this is to make sure the people who buy our advertisement slots know that we are encouraging people to look through their projects. You could also opt to pay it forward instead and we can reward you or give you some bonus or a gift that you can take or pass on. We want to emphasize the time and costs it took to create the work and to support our families while also understanding other people’s needs and positions in life. We also want to emphasize that what they give directly goes back into our work and allows us to give more back.

For Workshops there is a different model. I’ve considered offering the workshop on a sliding scale fee, or on a similar hybrid revenue model as the above. Workshops are tricky because they involve direct interaction with people and a time commitment. The price range for this would be $50 – $250 and may possibly have a minimum allowance of $26. Though in time I’d like to offer free workshops, in the beginning not yet.

Pay what you contribute Hiring Model

I was trying to think of a way to Outsource and gain quality service. There is more to write on this but essentially a model being worked on is ‘pay per post’, that is we’ll be hiring qualified individuals to log on and reply to people but it’s not economically to offer $5.00 per post with many students for a month. The current model that I will be testing is posts are 0.10 – 0.20 cents but the value goes up based on the quality and length of the post and based on whether the student found it to be valuable. Think of it as something similar to steemit, but for our forum. Only people who submit a resume and are accepted wil have the option to get paid to post in this capacity. This way people are brought in, encouraged to write, but instead of paying them upfront before they contribute they are guaranteed to get paid money that correlates directly to their input and time, while also giving them experience. We may even have an option for students to ‘tip’ employees if they found their input particularly helpful. More to come.

 

Workshops as service

I’ve decided that I have the knowledge, tools, and resources available to build a workshop in these initial 3 areas:

  1. Writing
  2. Web & Game Development
  3. Spiritual Growth, Problem-solving & More
  4. Bonus: Stocks & Trade, Cryptocurency & ways to make money online (but that’s a workshop for another day)

I am currently building a site based off of Moodle. I chose Moodle as opposed to building my own site from scratch because I don’t have the time or resources to create all of my products, and these are people who are focused on building this site. Maybe one day I will make a modified, improved and gamified version of Moodle or maybe that is my next project but for now just getting it set up.

This will require a learning curve so I’ll probably be focused on getting that set up in between my other stuff.

Community based Advertisements

I’m working on a new type of advertisement model inspired by the Million dollar homepage as a fundraising tool, the current dependency of using advertisements to fund a site without people have to pay, while at the same time giving users a choice about how they view their advertisements and when. I realize that we all actually enjoy looking for services and products that meet our needs, but there is a time and place. When we’re on Amazon and we’re looking at a book, it’s appropriate to see recommended books we might also like based on our view of that particular book. But when we watch a movie or go on Facebook we’re bombarded with advertisements while we’re in the middle of reading articles and the like. That’s not the appropriate time and is somewhat intrusive.

I had a project called Project Graveyard and Project Heart, one was geared towards non-profits and the other was geared towards people burying their pain on a site, but now I actually think that I may have a system for displaying ads and recommendations and I’m truly excited about getting started on that. One thing at a time however. Many things to cross off my todo list and this is one of them.

 

Building a React.JS Text-Based Game Engine

One of my current projects is building an open-source text-based game engine for Zenratstudios needs. This is a project, and the more money I can raise via services the more I can get started back on game projects and the like.

Astrology & Spiritual Counseling as Service

It’s not really a secret that Zenratstudios is a company that is open to all beliefs and religions. I identify as an omnist agnostic and more recently began coining the term: Omnididact. It’s a play on the term autodidact (self-taught learning). I have always loved to learn, always loved to ask questions and want to know.

Aspiring Not for-profit organization

Long-term goals right now are to get incorporated and to become an official non profit organization, to raise funds and to build a pay-it-forward community that attracts those who hear the calling to help make the world a better place but don’t know where to start. I want to build an online community and social network that requires no sign-up and yet is connected. Pokemon Go interests me, but we need to do something similar but different and without an app. I’m still working on some underlying models.

Blockchain as long-term future plan, but not starting off

I currently have to redesign the zenratstudios.org wordpress template as well as the initial website. Fix broken links, and to make clear that Blockchain is a long-term goal. It’s not something we can do overnight. Developing on the blockchain is something we would like to do, but after the hack of Ethereum and the DAO and noticing some of the challenges that come with this technology and looking into Second Life and various ways we’re decided that we do want to use Blockchain, but whether we will create an altcoin or personal asset through it, what blockchain or sidechain we’ll use for our community to reward groups or if we’ll use bitcoin remains to be seen. What we want is to develop something that has freedom of movement, is beneficial to our communities and people, while being unable to be obstructed or shut down easily by government censorship. We also want to be responsible, emphasizing compassion and community service to our fellow brothers and sisters and more. To truly be a global citizen and company is possible with the blockchain. In this way I truly see blockchain as a way to do that. But I also envision that there will be many legal challenges and obstructions on privacy and so on that we’re not yet ready to face without the right fundraising and tools. We want to grow into blockchain and build steadily. Growing slowly and working our way up and adding features can help us control growth and handle problems as they arise one at a time, as well as build a steady legal system to protect our “Guardians of Life” as I now dub them. So there’s work to do on the main site.

Overall Goals

As a company my goals for Zenratstudios are vast. I envision Zenratsudios as having a pay it forward system built into it, designed to directly contribute to the community and to offer low-cost and free education opportunities, obliterate homelessness, support other companines, non-profits and entrepreneurs, and to have fun doing it through games and storytelling. I see many companies doing things like this too and long-term I hope to team-up with and support their cause.

Zenratstudios is designed to pay minimum taxes legally, out of a core belief that the government has mismanaged the money and that we as a society can do better. We directly redistribute the funds of our company back directly into the community while promoting non-profits in what will be part of our Guardians of Life. We have two types of audiences: Our services are designed for Entrepreneurs, these are people who have a calling but feel spiritually or emotionally blocked in some way, need support and guidance. The types of Entrepreneur’s I have a lot of interest in are self-publishing Authors, Indie Game Developers and people who want to heal in someway, spiritual leaders, counselors, psychologists, mentors. My workshops are being designed for these 3 types of audiences.

The second audience I have are the people I create products for. These are just everyday joes who want to play games for the experience or fun of it, but don’t want to be leaders in their society.

There is one more audience to mention, a third audience I haven’t been able to touch and is part of a long-term plan that involves the blockchain. I’ve got this dream that using blockchain technology we could even create an ecosystem that encourages people to make a living doing what they love so that all people have the opportunity to live well. Imagine if companies that made all the wealth they made directly put that into society around them. Imagine if individuals tooking control of their life and their destiny, not waiting for presidents to save them. Imagine if we could help people who are mentally ill, who want to get better, if we could bring services to our communities and fund our neighborhoods. Imagine if people could get paid to do what they love….imagine if we could get to the root of our problems as a society and build a better world.

It’s a long journey a far stretch and one step at a time we are going to make it happen.

 

Other Things to Add

I spent some time this past month learning and getting comfortable building wordpress sites and themes from scratch using foundation Zurb and Materialize css and Sass. I installed wordpress locally using wamp and began building my site. My weakness is getting footers to stay down and custom navigation menus, but structuring a page isn’t too hard and there are plugins available from people who are great at footers and navigations to make up for my weakness. Still my strengths are putting together websites and elements that I like and building something custom fit to me. PHP programming is new to me but I found it easy to pick up. I am going to be working on a PHP based template that prints to pdf for some of my forms to use as tools in my workshops (to bring all my knowledge together).

I also have a few mindmaps using Xmind that may come in handy for visualizing data, so there’s that. I use node.js + httpserver when working with react.js and phaser and so I’m feeling pretty excited with the skillset I’m learning. I would call myself predominately a front-end developer who builds wordpress themes and creates web apps, who has some back-end knowledge though I am gaining those back-end skills increasingly as I go along and as the need requires. Working locally and building templates and plugins has required using some back-end languages and that has been enjoyable. I find programming is as complex or as simple as you need it to be.

But more on that to come.

I’m not yet ready to market and advertise because still getting everything cleaned up and narrowed down; but I’ve found my voice, my gifts and skills, and we’re getting to a good place.

Part II

Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is a lifelong process and my success in life and work is directly dependent on my spiritual growth and success as an individual. When I started Zenratstudios back at the end of November, and launched the website around December – January, I was in a lot of emotional pain and turmoil and going through a major spiritual shift. I’ve gone through at least 3 spiritual paradigm shifts since that time, and more recently was this past August by which the result was a sense of peace and understanding that I have only had glimpses of before.

Understandings about myself, the world around me, and my role in life, our role. It was as though I had spent my life asking questions and had finally reached a new chapter of my life by which I didn’t need to ask anymore questions; It was time to simply empty my cup, of all my beliefs, and judgments of people, to empty and just be with people, to be one with them, to view the world as my people, to accept myself too flaws and all – I reached a magnificent and down to earth place. Even my delusions fell away, and my pain became directly transmuted into fuel for bridges and my work. I’m no longer effected by my pain in the same way because I understand it now.

And that’s all I can really say right now about that journey, mostly it’s the result of that journey and how that will manifest into my work and how it manifests currently with the people around me and my family; it just feels better, and that’s a place that I like.

There is more to mention and to write with this business but every minute I spend writing here I spend away from developing and creating the services that we all need in our lives; that will pave the way to the growth of Zenratstudios.

Evolution

Things have changed in my life these past few months. I’ve felt my heart and soul evolving, expanding. I’ve felt this expansion for a while, this loving more being angry less. I manage my mind and heart better, and though I still go through the lows I just go with the flow of them. I’m reaching a place of equilibrium and balance, even in the sadness.

I feel my interpersonal relationships are doing great. My growing and adapting perspectives on life have made people who I once considered intolerable and hurtful in my life to actually be quite pleasant, enjoyable. I am now open to all that they have to teach me and no longer take so many things personal. For the most part it’s not personal.

Today I reflected on the pain of those suffering all over the world, refugees in Syria, violence in Mexico, Africa’s genocide and more. My heart is hurting and my depression I am learning is fueled in direct relation to the pain of the world.

One of my greatest reasons for sadness has always been less about my inner pain and more about the pain in the world. The world is at war with itself and I feel it in my heart, I’ve always felt it. For as long as I can remember. People used to say I keep getting down on myself because I can’t save them. If we’re walking on a beach and I’m throwing starfish back into the water, I’m depressed because I couldn’t save them all. But turns out, I don’t have to reach the moon. We just each have to be our own light and that light has an effect on people, one after the other, it’s contagious. The more light you have, the more light others absorb. Some light’s are ahead of their time, but I truly believe we’re in an era where more and more people are waking up. You see it in the 50/50 splits, where youth want to break down borders vs. other generations that might want to build them. You see people changing, and change makes people afraid, and it’s that fear and sadness that’d driving people to close their doors. But only a disaster that ended in the destruction of all humanity could stop us from connecting with each other .

I want to show people it’s possible. Working so hard every single day to show people there’s hope. To show myself and little fig that there’s hope. Even with my dying breath I’ll still be trying to build and implement a plan that will save the world or damn well come close.

On a spiritual level I have recently let go of all organized religions and have stepped down from Buddhism. I spent this past month trying to fulfill my dream of deepening my practice, joining a Sangha and going from self-ordained to fully ordained. It was in that search that I came upon the realization that I did not need to be ordained or even need to be recognized as part of any ‘religion’ to be whole and one, and to practice and continue my mission to expand my heart. I need no labels, no acknowledgment for my deeds and I will continue to learn from the greatest teachers around me, life, everyday people. Part of me has wanted a spiritual teacher or guide for some time to let me know if I am on the right path and not speaking dreams that would lead people astray. But I don’t need anyone to give me permission to beat the beat to my own drum, and maybe in trying to seek that permission I lost myself a little. The wrong paths have definitely brought me ‘home’ again, and now I feel more confident than ever.

But with that confidence I’ve made a decision. In the past I have described myself as a spiritual counselor or teacher. I no longer believe this to be true or accurate. I am no one and I have nothing to teach. I am just someone who loves, and pursues loves and wants to take part in the love by allowing it to flow through me. I have no other religion but love, and I continue to be a Guardian of Life.

Here’s to that life.

More to come on projects and developments soon.

Entrepreneurship, Depression & Loneliness The Bane of Start-Ups

It’s no secret that I struggle with mental illness. Frequent Highs accompanied by steep Lows, my mood is about as volatile as the Bitcoin Stock Market. Couple this with my strong views, opinions and crazy dreams about the world, talk like “we can save” it, we can use games to save the world, one game, one story one person, one YOU at a time!

Alongside my severe and awkward communication style. Sure some people say you communicate just fine, you are doing great. But the energy it takes to translate my thought, my tone of voice, and my facial expressions into their language, constantly hearing. Why are you talking to me like that?! And you need to socially get in line, adapt and gain some social tact or get out of the club, or putting those off who don’t know me personally (which is what business is all about transacting with people you DON’T KNOW personally)— as a result my life has been a lonely one, such that out of necessity I’ve had to learn to value solitude.

I see the world differently, I stand apart from the world. I feel different even though I know that I am no different than the rest of the world, I truly believe: We are all one. I feel like a dreamer most days. Looking at the map of problems in the world, and figuring out what solutions are out there, trying to bring them altogether. My thoughts and viewpoints are extreme, the very thing that allows me to sit with the world and understand it and love it for what it is, is the same thing that causes me to stand apart from the world sometimes even downright loathing it for its cruelty. It’s hard to love the world all of the time, and yet it is part of my practice, and something I work on bit by bit, every single day, even—especially when it comes to loving myself, flaws and all.

As the main founder of Zenratstudios, and as an Entrepreneur I tend to avoid speaking of the downs. Of the challenges, pitfalls, at least not without giving it a positive twist. But today I want to write about the challenges of having mental illness, particularly depression and the loneliness of being a leader, an entrepreneur, a visionary and a creative writer. Creativity and depression seem to go hand in hand and yet that seems to be a requirement for Entrepreneur’s, to see outside the box.

I am a hybrid Dreamer/Architect. My brain functions completely different in that my personality shifts from “Left” and “Right” brain thinking, according to are you a left brain or a right brain tests for fun it always says, “You are both, your brain is divided and shifts from one side to the other”. It’s funny because I always feel divided. I feel differently, I see differently, I identify in ways that people find hard to understand. I feel like pure energy trapped in a body that is always shifting into one mind from the next, the only thing constant is my evolving dreams.

These feelings aren’t unique to me, some of them are even pretty common. So here are some thoughts about why people who have Mental Illness also make great Entrepreneur’s but struggle.

The Thing That Makes Us Different, Sets Us Apart: This Makes Support Hard To Find And Teams with Compatible Personalities Challenging to Build

Visionaries and great leaders are rare. The ability to think outside of the box and be able to separate yourself from the crowd is not something that everyone can do, in fact we’re designed by default to herd, like sheep around a sheepherder. Visionaries are a special breed. They are the brilliant scientists, the engineers, the architects, the great writers, holding entire worlds, landscapes, and maps inside their head, just waiting to be made real, to transport what is dream into reality.

Imagine drawing a building at 4 or 8 years old and saying, one day I am going to build this. People who can’t do it, or believe it’s too hard will tell you to keep dreaming and do something sensible. And you alone will have to be the one to find a way to say, yes, yes I can, and pave a path so that others can see, all the while they tell you it’s not possible. By default Visionaries live in a dream world, a fantasy world, we’re constantly dreaming and our job is to be able to acquire the skills to make those dreams real, or to acquire the assets and finances to hire people who can.

Because of this mentality we have that sets us apart, it may be hard to find support. Imagine for instance being a Techie in a world where 98% of people who surround you are non-techies. No one knows what a blockchain is, or about the new and innovative features. Imagine being a Game Developer in a world where 98% of the people that surround you don’t care or even trust games, downplaying their value. Or Imagine being a Writer in a world where 98% of the people don’t write. Now imagine you find a niche, a group the 2% of people in society who think like you, who are trying and exploring this new technology…and now imagine that the type of people exploring the same thing you are exploring are a demographic different from yours, have a culture and mindset different from yours, making you stand out like a sore thumb among even your own ‘niche’.

Can you picture being an Evangelist Christian Female working in a field that is predominately Male and Atheist leaning?

As an Entrepreneur the ability to find like-minded people, who support your vision, and who would even want to join your team, where personalities mesh is possible, but hard. The challenges of that, building a team, and having support, and being set apart and different even among your own team is lonely. If building a team, and finding support for their ideas are hard imagine how lonely it must feel for these ‘visionaries’ finding close friends and even lovers. How common is it for truly genuine and authentic leaders to build both strong healthy families, and a team?

And yet their entire success rides on their ability to find common-ground and build connections and bridges with people who may or may not understand them. In a world, in a species where we’re taught to trust that which is like-us and to conform with the majority in order to survive, being a visionary can quickly turn into a witch hunt.

It is for this reason, that an important qualities a person has to have in this field are: Passion, Perseverance and Persistence. Steve jobs himself said “You have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing because it is so hard…that any rational person would give up.”

Another tip is to learn how to view the no’s as constructive criticism. For every challenge, or no, or I can’t, or You can’t, that is brought up, be willing and able to view it as simply a challenge, a puzzle to be solved. For every puzzle and challenge there is a solution, transform those You Can’t’s into Challenges and Puzzles to be solved, and then jump, climb, or fly over them.

We’re aware that: 9 Out of 10, or 3 out of 4 Start Ups Fail, And we Might Be One, Esp. If We Don’t Adapt (And A lot of us Won’t)

We know that there is a huge amount of risk that comes with being a start-up. The biggest risk is failure. We may have quit our jobs, be working on shoestring budgets, trying to bootstrap and reach out to people who only want profit, who need to feed their families. Everything is riding on the success of this business and yet, we know that we’re going to fail at it 9x’s out of 10. So it means that we have try 10+ times, tweaking the formula until we get it right. There are a lot of people who don’t tweak, or adapt, or try. If it fails they just give up.

But knowing that, knowing that your ability to plan and strategize and to be able seek and find help whether it is paid or community resources, and the long road ahead can be even more daunting. Everything is riding on your success.

To survive we have to rethink how we view failures, to see failures as a positive, bringing you one step closer to the solution, because now you know what WON’T work. We have to constantly be adapting, flexible, open to new things. This is a learned trait. We’re not taught to compromise, to adapt, to be flexible. We live in a world where new technologies crop up every day where we have to be innovative. For a long time we’ve been taught to value traditions, to stick with the old and distrust anything new.

Moreover we have to have the ability to keep moving forward, to keep trying, again and again, to gain increasingly more skill. Aside from that the biggest skill is to not think of it as daunting, think of it as fun. When you play a video game and the whole world is on your shoulders game designers have found a way to make it fun, in that same way you can design and develop your own life, gamify it in such a way where failing, is part of growth and growth is transformative, painful and yes just like in games can be made fun.

It’s Cutthroat World Out There

We’re surrounded day and night by people who are in this to make money, who need money, no one will help you for free. The same people who you hang around with may view you as a competitor, rather than someone to cooperate with, maybe you even view them as a competitor. They don’t have time to hear you or to read your 15 page business plan and give it feedback. Would you yourself have the same time if it were in reverse? The people by majority that you reach out to, don’t care about your dreams, they just care about their own thing, it is all about money, and making a living and how can interacting with you -help them-.

It’s for this reason to make it you have to detach and develop thick skin. You cannot take anything personally, and have to remember that everyone wants something from you, they want incentive. You have to create incentive, you have to create value. To give people a reason to work with you. What do you have that makes you so special? You have to prove yourself, earn people’s attention, figure out what it is that they want and then give that to them. Time is precious, tons of people are vying for their attention. And you’ve gotta figure out how to get it.

Thick skin is a huge must, not taking things personally, and really being able to make it fun, turn it into a game. When a game is fun and enjoyable, pleasurable, and when you don’t take anything personal you never have to attack people, get on the defensive and so forth. It’s all fun and being a good and friendly sport is part of it.

It’s hard, but the biggest thing I’ve learned in all this is that developing thick skin, while keeping a soft, open and friendly heart, and treating it as engaging and fun, an adventure is the best medicine to take the edge off of the stress.

In time your efforts may allow you to find people who share the vision, but there’s a lot of walking alone and paving the path that needs to be done before many people even agree to step onto the rollercoaster with you.

The World Isn’t Always Ready For The Gift

Sometimes we’re just ahead of our time. Sometimes 10-15 years ahead, sometimes 100 years ahead, sometimes we’re a whole evolutionary gap, or species, or even a world ahead of the rest of the world. Imagine what it was like to be Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson, to have so much to give to the world, and to have the world not be ready for it. Imagine being Leonardo Da Vinci flowing with ideas, but not having the technology to create them.

Mad genius. Sometimes that’s the case, but keep trying anyway.

The Financial & Social Challenges, Loneliness & Stress Exacerbate Mental Illness

It is all the more reason to be able to have support. Sometimes though, especially for those with mental illness, all you have is your resolve, and your commitment to keep moving forward even on days where you can’t take another step.

To bring this closer to home, it’s days like today, I just lay in bed and read. Nothing makes me smile, or laugh, not even the things that usually do. It’s as though each low I build a tolerance for the new tricks I use to circumvent my brain to be happy before. All I can do then is let myself cry. Sometimes I even slip up and verbally attack the only people in my corner, and withdraw which creates a cycle by which I make a point to try hard to withdraw and keep people away, to protect them from me and my lows when I need someone the most.

So where do we go to when we have no one to go to, when our tongues are sharp and our hearts are soft and bleeding? This day in particular, I just let myself be sad, I surrender into it. I acknowledge that I hurt, that this is going to be an uphill climb, that there are going to be bad days or weeks, and I do my best anyway, knowing that my best wasn’t the same as my best yesterday, but it is my best today.

Times like these, I think about people in countries like Syria, strong, beautiful people risking their lives on dwindling fees, rescuing girls in a world that doesn’t care about them, and I think to myself. If they can get up every day and find the will to move forward, then so can I. I can’t look at the world this beautiful world, and watch it destroy itself and hurt others without stepping in and doing my part. No matter how challenging it is. No matter how hard the climb is.

If there is a skill I need to learn, then I learn it, if I need to raise funds, then I will. And if I have to learn how to survive in solitude, alone, without emotional support, then that’s the agreement I made when I pursued the road less traveled. I’m not going to give up. And neither should anyone who else who has a dream, who truly has insight and something of value that they can learn to hone and harness and give back to others.

I remind myself why I’m doing this. If I have the energy I read about things in my field, that inspire me. I read about brave activists, I watch Ted Talks, I listen to It gets better stories, I keep an eye out for hope, and I keep. Moving. Forward. Even if I have to drag myself, even if I have to type one key at a time, one day at a time. Because sometimes, when you have a dream that so much bigger than you, when it is more than you, that’s all you can do.

So here’s to all those entrepreneur’s out there, struggling with mental illness. This post is for you. I understand your journey, I feel it. I stand in solidarity and my message is to keep moving forward, keep trying. Figure out your gift to the world, and you find a way to give it. We need you, we need more people like you in this world, people who have the strength to stand against adversity who climb the highest mountain and give us messages of hope, even when it feels like it’s the end of the world. You’ve got a gift for the world, whether they’re ready or not. This is a call to all heroes to stand up, to keep moving forward. It’s a call to me, it’s a call to you. One person, one story at a time.

10 Things To Do When You’re In A Low

1. Don’t React

The first thing to do is to take time to yourself and sit quietly, but after the quietness is the response. To respond rather than reacting gives us a chance to respond appropriately rather than irrationally, we could respond by disengaging, deescalating, not throwing fuel to the fire. Responding to your current low constructively by putting away anything that could do or cause harm to yourself or others. It helps to step back and to think things through.

2. Cry but Don’t Attach

Just let yourself feel what you feel, but don’t attach to them. Give yourself permission to be down. Let the thoughts come and fall away. Rise and drift. It will pass, happiness will come again. Yes you’re tired, yes it hurts, yes this feels bad in this moment. That’s where we are right now. So love ourselves and have enough compassion for ourselves to let ourselves cry. There is no rush to feel better. You are where you are now, you feel what you feel now, it’s OK not to be OK, just try not to attach to that feeling, it’s important not to let it define you but rather to use it as a moment to simply be down and recuperate. Crying is part of our bodies healing process.

3. Connect or Reconnect With Your Allies

If it’s possible (and this is not always the case). Find and seek out people to talk to. Maybe it’s a therapist or a counselor. Share with someone you trust and who listens. Or just hang out with someone who makes you feel good and who cares about you and your well-being genuinely. You don’t even have to tell them you’re feeling bad.

I love volunteering and giving back, but sometimes I am in such a low that it doesn’t help. When I’m down and don’t feel like I can talk about it sometimes I seek out someone to hang with because being in their presence makes me smile and laugh. For me that person is my grams. We don’t always have this as an option, and during a low I don’t always have the energy to seek out new experiences. Which is OK. We’re going to have to face the solitude and be alone with ourselves some time. Which is all the more reason to prepare a sanctuary a feel-good environment that acts as a temporary buffer between us and the rest of the world as we recover.

4. Disconnect With Toxic & Unsupportive People

“Toxic Person” in this scenario can mean anything from a person who mistreats you, who we might have baggage with. More than likely it is a person to whom we perceive as toxic during a low.

There are all types of toxic people in our life. From the extreme cases to the mild cases. There can be the ‘caring’ friend who gossips behind your back and spreads rumors. There can be the person who might be passive-aggressive, ask how you are doing, express they care, but always have ulterior motives and more often than not express it to other people who keep the gossip going and/or return it back to you.

For some people disconnecting means cutting people out of your life. But if you have made a genuine commitment to not turn away others from your heart but rather open wider to them as well as  not to depend on others for your external happiness then it is important to know ‘when’ to break away and recoup. Not only for the other person, but for yourself. During a bipolar low these type of toxic people can trigger feelings of despair, loneliness and suicide. Every little quip they do that hurts you when you’ve asked them not to or to stop becomes a siren of pain.

 

5. Do Not Confront, Retreat into a Sacred Feel Good Space

Now more than ever is important to hold to constructive and loving speech. If your desire is to never speak with harm or hurt people (and it is definitely my desire and what I advocate for) then know that this is NOT the time to confront someone who may or may not listen, care, or may even use how you feel against you OR themselves later.

People who suppress their feelings and are passive-aggressive can also manipulate and use what you feel or do against them. Lashing out at someone gives them ammo, gives them reasons to justify and even at times indebt you to them. To make matters worse People in general are constantly numbering your sins and looking for reasons where you are more ‘trouble’ than you are worth to them. Sometimes when we confront someone we are trying to make it better, but when we are in a low we go about it all the wrong ways and we view everything as a ‘slight’ against us when in reality nothing anyone does is personal, no matter how personal we make it feel. It’s always about them, just like our reactions to them is about us.

It’s important to not give them anyone YOUR power of self-control, but also to maintain the practice of speaking only constructive (not destructive) thoughts, and to build people up ALL people, to accept people into your heart. You have to know when to turn away and love them from afar and simply observe your heart.

The only way to do this is to retreat into a sacred feel good space. Your own personal sanctuary. This is the place where you give yourself TLC. You cut out anyone who isn’t feeling good for you at this moment, binge watch your favourite show, pamper yourself laugh, cry. Deep down you may cry because the world on the surface is like that and rewarded for that, but you can also smile at the lessons it teaches you and the challenge it gives you to expanding your heart like a muscle, to loving, to being a stronger force for love.

Really take the time to care for yourself and work on recovery.

6. Observe Yourself, Seek The “Middle-Way”, The Neutrality, “The Truth” & Reconnect to Source

The Truth we think we know are really just opinions and ever-changing facts and how we perceive them through our current emotions at the time.

Emotions however are just ‘signals’, bringing attention to inner conflicts or freedoms from conflicts within ourselves. Through meditation, reflection and observation of myself I have monitored my lens and the switches enough to know that the switch of happiness and sadness are just states of being, they are not actually me. They are simply a lens like Love or Hate. And we can cultivate that vision. In time we can turn the switch on and off and observe how radically the world changes, how radically we change. How what once was true is now is a lie. I used to be confused when this happened, but now I see it as a symbol of nonduality, as a great time to get to the heart of reality. That reality isn’t the labels we apply to it or people.

Seek this ‘neutrality’, seek to see people from that place of love. That place where they are pure, and radiant and beautiful, that place underneath that shadow that we’re all connected. See it them, see it in yourself, and connect to that source.

7. Look For the Lesson, The Silver Lining

In a high or positive emotional state I might list all of a persons positive traits. The things that make that person awesome to have on your side and to really look for similarities. How are we alike rather t han focusing on the differences and all the negatives.

Seeing things from a positive or negative lens comes with it’s drawbacks. But being able to perceive life through a more neutral lens, how things just are without colouring them is important. To see a person and even a situation just as it is, beneath all the layers, underneath the core. To even learn to find love in that situation, to connect with that energy and source in it’s most neutral form, without need or want.

In those moments where I am still I need nothing fromanyone, and I can see through the relationships and the underlying business transaction that lies within all relationships. That relationships are a business transaction by which we rely on external factors for happiness. But it’s in these moments, that I can really see the illusions, and my entrapment in them. And it’s in those moments that I can only smile at the pain, and the situations and thank the  situations that feel ‘bad’ for what it has taught me and how it has given me the opportunity to grow my heart larger. No one can really ‘make’ us feel anything that’s all within us. We create our own pain, it does not exist outside of our head. It feels very real because it is very real, but beyond our minds and bodies it doesn’t exist.

More importantly during a low I feel grateful because it allows me to see where I still need work, brings attention to things that still haunt me, and helps me utilize cumulative skills and mental priming to see those emotions for what they really are.

8. Feel Gratitude

Without the negative emotion an event or person or LOW challenging you, you would never realize your strength, and how big your heart can actually be. It may be hard to be grateful for it, but when I smile, I smile because I know even if I don’t ‘know’ it in this moment that my heart is bigger than this emotion, it’s expansive.

It’s in that sacred space that I can list all the things I am grateful for and happy towards in life, including the things that generate feelings of pain. Perhaps more so because of those feelings of pain that I can truly rise to the challenge of being Love and practicing compassion not just towards others but myself.

Even when I am tears I smile at my pain with compassion. I feel it in my hands, observe it, look over it. And I thank it for bringing attention to some things that I might not have known were there. But the biggest gift it brings attention to is letting me know where I need to appreciate life and people more, it’s helping me see my own Ego, where I’ve become too reliant or dependent on others, allows me to see places where I need to love more.

9. Let Yourself Be Scared

I always get a little scared sometimes in a Low that maybe my heart isn’t big enough. Maybe this is the moment I break, the moment I give in and die. Where I lose everyone and thing that matters to me and am left with this emptiness that I cherish when I feel neutral but fear when I come from a place of ego, emotion and self-preservation.

10. Visualize Love

I like to imagine meeting a higher version of myself and letting this being that radiates love take over my body so that I can check out. While I am checked out, I slip away into the garden within my mind a sanctuary. I meet the higher selves of others, like my friend. There I imagine our higher selves having a conversation, and I ask her and others what they came into my life to teach me, what lessons do they have to give and how can I best use this to help the world. I then turn to my higher self, or source, or love, or any entity I view as wiser than me or interconnected and connected with me. I let them fill me with their love, drink in the warmth of their love and let it soothe the burning pain in my heart and body like a cool balm that chills and warms my soul so that I feel cozy and snuggled up in a warm blanket. The womb of life. In this space I visualize all the places I feel lack are that I am unhappy with, and then I imagine little spheres or orbs of love vibrating and rising from my heart. I place these orbs of love into the places I feel lack. I fill those places with love and then I watch the orbs vibrate and frequency and rise and expand with me as we continue our expansion of love and becoming love.

Sometimes in this garden I ask for guidance. I look for solutions and opportunities. But when it’s all over and it comes time to leave the garden I step out and return to my body. I walk into a cottage within my mind take off my coat and scarf, sit on a sofa in front of a fireplace, drink hot tea and I bask in the feeling of warmth and love. I do all of this in my mind’s eye, and slowly but surely I feel myself start to feel better. This process becomes quicker with time and practice.

How To Reconnect With What You Love and to Who You Really Are

Sometimes you have to fall a little bit to remember who you are. This past week highs turned into creeping lows. The person I knew myself to be whithered away, and the person I was, was gone. For a moment I lost touch with the heart of my project. I was someone else, and that someone else couldn’t remember the point. When I finally reconnected with my project and my life I had been cultivating it was a breath of fresh air. Perhaps I’m more of an extreme than most people. I shift personalities the way some people shift suits. The extreme jump from being Person A to being Person C. Watching Person A get allocated to Person’s Z’s mind. Feeling as though one day everything I loved is gone and I can’t relate to what I loved anymore, what I valued, or believed. In those moments it goes beyond not caring, but to feeling differently, to not even understanding why I even want to help or share with people who do not want to help themselves. It’s that part of the mind that clocks out, who doesn’t care to share with a people who might not understand how good it feels to be connected in this place. And it’s in those moments that I lose my connection.

There are insight to be gained from these moments.

I’ve always known that hidden beneath the changing minds, the changing realities, the changing perceptions there was one core reality. One true self, that could be integrated with the whole. I know how good it feels to be connected to this whole, this source, without the fear. And all the work, all the years I’ve spent cultivating tools to help me integrate my whole, to help myself feel connected to the source, to see. To see what is, what’s real, and not what isn’t. To see who we truly are underneath all the personality and the masks, and to build ourselves up and create a better world, a better reality for ourselves and others.

Our goal here should be to connect with our core self, to shed away all the things we are not, to connect with this entity and to remember who we really are. From this place we can expand and cultivate a self that is transformed and connected with love and source, and retreat as refuge to this place daily until we have merged completely into this place of love. It is a practice, and we all have a habit of falling away from this source. But imagine this core self like a plug, and when you fall off the horse, all you have to do is replug, reconnect. No need to feel sorry or sad about yesterday, about giving into our sadnesses, our jealousy’s, losing ourselves. All of that’s gone, all there is, is just this moment. And from this moment you can plant anything.

So here’s some tips on how to reconnect with yourself and who you are, to reconnect with this place of Love and Source.

Set Aside Minutes

Even if you’re distracted and your mind is completely preoccupied and absorbed in something else, set aside a few minutes. Maybe start off with a few seconds, then try again, maybe throughout the day maybe even the next day. Stilling your mind is a super power. It’s like stopping to see if you can levitate an object, but in this case you’re stopping to see if you can still your mind in order to reconnect with yourself. Without quieting the noise. The feelings you won’t be able to hear yourself.

Ask Basic Questions Throughout the Day

The first question asks, if you want to reconnect with your project. And why not? What resistance are you facing? Why don’t you want to work on your project? Make this an exercise. You might find that even when you can’t still your mind everyday you’re able to elicit questions from yourself every day. This is essential. Try to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you loved what you loved? Do you still love it? Has it changed? What about you has changed? Do you feel differently? What do you feel? Why? Ask yourself questions, and then ask your questions questions, keep answering them.

This self-elicitation, or self-inquiry is an exercise and the purpose it serves is to uproot barriers and get to the source, the heart of the matter.

Uproot the Barrier

All of these questions are meant to do two things. One they’re meant to uproot the barrier, to get to the conflict. That inner conflict, that little voice that conflicts with what you believe or want. Maybe you’re sad because you want to be working, but maybe you’re not working because you don’t feel like you’re any good, you’re an imposter, not smart enough. Or maybe you’re not working because you can’t get yourself to care about it but you want to care, and if you ask yourself why you care, you might say it’s important to me, and if you say it’s important to me, you have to ask why and then figure that out. The barrier is the belief or thought that stops you. The reason your mind gives you from not pursuing something or to pursue something else. It may be accompanied with sadness, or happiness, or even just awareness that you’re not doing something else and don’t care. Even if you don’t care in one moment, you may care in the next, and having these questions ready is the purpose.

The second reason is, aside from the barrier, uprooting the barriers and challenges help you to discover what you want, or the why, the ‘what’. Understanding the roots helps you understand the ‘what’. When you’ve determined what you want to do, you can remove the barrier and realize what and why it is what it is. You can go a step further and ask more questions, sometimes the questions lead themselves into a loop. But if you can ask the right question and uproot the barrier. Then you’ve discovered your core “What” , your “Why”, and it’s that why. Remembering why you’re doing any of this, that can help reignite that passion. That’s the goal.

Note. The goal isn’t to look for reason to reconnect. You don’t need a reason, it’s already there. The goal is to listen to your heart, and to remind yourself. To uproot any barriers or conflicts within your limited beliefs and systems that keep you from it. The more you create a habit of doing it the quicker and easier this process is.

Throughout the Day Breathe in Pain, Send out Love

It feels weird to say breathe in pain, send out love. That’s a practice called Tonglen and Loving-Kindness meditation. When you breathe in pain of the world you hold it within yourself and transmute it with a cool balm of love, and then you send that love back out. You transform the world around you with love. Take in pain, transmute it into love and send it out. One way to transmute the pain is to visualize yourself connecting to a source and well of infinite love. Then visualize that source of love transmuting your own pain with love. Explore that pain, examine it, question it. Don’t attach to the thoughts, just inquire from them. Breathe in the pain deeper into love, let it turn into that love, and then breathe it out until nothing but love surrounds you.

Meditate

We come full-circle. Eventually we’ll arrive at the stillness within us. All will be silent, and in that silence we are home. And in that place if we listen we will find our passion again, it could be just a spark. Something that reminds us. But do this a little bit every day, set a little bit of time each day to allow your project, yourself, your love, anything you want. We can’t always be connected with this source, this place within ourselves 24/7, especially not in the beginning. This is OK. Do these steps, practice these 5 steps everyday that you struggle with writer’s block, or disconnection from your love, your project, from anything. Relax into it, give yourself space and room. Don’t push it, and it will come. Just like that. Treat it like a daily exercise, where some days are easier than others, others not so much. It’s from this place of clarity that you can determine what your next actions if at all will be, take the right steps, make the right moves, and do whatever it is you wanted to do with your life.