Was it Netflix’s fault that I was not in alignment with things in my life? No, it was simply the action I took to get back on track.
But, I see the dependance so many of us have on Netflix, movies, and entertainment in general. I personally live life owning up to my shit, not being afraid to admit things to myself about myself. For that reason I move forward in life very quickly, and you can too. Not to mention I went 17 days without eating food during this period. So here it goes, I’m going to tell you what changed and how I did it, it’s quite simple really.
First, ask yourself, do you go home every night and watch movies? Shows? Do you spend 20+ hours a week watching TV or movies? Go ahead, count real quick before reading on…. If so, then this article is for you. It’s a challenge for you to take a few days and observe your patterns and habits, how you operate now, and ultimately ask yourself the question: Am I living the life I truly want to live deep down?
I’m not talking about being rich, or driving crazy expensive cars. I’m talking about living out a life that feeds your soul. Something you’re growing a lot from, living presently everyday. Working past your mind and ego’s desires regularly, doing things you love for your career, etc.
Before your mind goes off telling you how the last article you read on some mainstream millennial publication told you not to worry about any of these things and to just say YOLO – stop, breathe, and realize how much those publications challenge you to simply consume, follow trends, obsess over pop culture and be a cog in the machine. You’re a limitless soul having a human experience, you are much more than the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the cell phone you have, the gender you are, or what music you listen to. Stop selling yourself short to those things, you’re incredible. And Netflix is too! But we also have to observe something for a moment, getting there.
The Common Objections
There’s nothing more common I hear from people than “you shouldn’t force change in your own life, go easy, it’s a journey, don’t rush.” Never in my life have I rushed, never in my life have I panicked about changing too slowly and although at times I didn’t stay present to the journey, I always made my way back to that. So why do we say things like “don’t force it” when we’re not? Could it be because we are resistant to change? And by telling ourselves over and over again that it’s not a rush and to not force it we are just allowing our minds to convince us not to change? How do we recognize the difference between actually not rushing and getting stuck in a stagnant state? I think it’s pretty simple, if you let nothing change for longer than 1 or 2 months, you’re stuck. WHAT?! Yes! if you go 30 – 60 days without doing anything about the challenges you know you have in your life or change nothing about the fact you are not doing things you love, you are stagnant. This isn’t a negative thing, this isn’t a criticism, it’s simply an observation with the power to help us become aware and start rolling forward.
I’ve done it myself. I’ve gotten stuck in states for a couple months that have me repeating cycles over and over. That leave me feeling distracted and without peace. This is what brought me to cancel my Netflix to begin with. So there I was, it was February of 2017. I had left a relationship 5 months prior and I was living on my own with my cats, first time in a while. My business (Collective Evolution) was going through the beginnings of a transition phase and we had a ton of projects on the go yet kept hitting walls with them. I was working a lot but felt like I wasn’t really going anywhere. I wasn’t learning new things, I wasn’t making time for me, my meditation, my own evolution or working out. I was stuck.
For the last 8 years I had always moved through challenges as they came. This is precisely why I move forward quickly and don’t have my life upside down regularly. Because we are each in control of that and I recognize that. When I reflect on my life while I took responsibility and action on it I see that I created a company bang on to my vision and it’s very ‘successful.’ I am in a relationship I love. I have great friends. I grow every month as a person and I am aligned with my soul purpose. And the reality is, you can too, we all can. But what I noticed before I cancelled my Netflix was, all the things I had done in the last 8 years that brought me to where I was today I wasn’t doing. But why?
It’s pretty simple really, I allowed myself to move more into allowing my mind to run my experience instead of my present awareness. Thoughts become fickle, distractions become attractive. Movies, shows and meaningless things become commonplace in the days that go by.
Why I Cancelled Netflix
I absolutely wouldn’t give my power up to Netflix to say it was the platform itself that was distracting me. I was! I was doing it to myself and Netflix was my vehicle to get me there. That’s part number one; if you find yourself blaming others, you wont’ see your situation clearly. It’s never anyone’s fault. Back to Netflix, the endless string of shows, movies and documentaries, that in one sense can be used minimally for a moment of relaxation or mind expansion, and in another sense can become a huge distraction when we let it get out of control and choose to start doing it everyday.
1. I started listening to podcasts
So I had some extra time each day but not a ton cause to be honest I wasn’t going that hard on Netflix. But let’s say an extra 3 hours a day or so. What did I do? I kept the TV off and started downloading podcasts again. I was choosing a few simple ones to listen to in order to get myself back into them. 30 minute episodes about one topic or another related to personal growth or spirituality. I recall listening to one about Shane Smith and how his vision of VICE had changed once he went from 13 to 2500 employees and suddenly couldn’t control the brand, the content that was going out, and how ‘useless’ the content became. I started to relate in a big way and it got me reflecting.
As CE grew from 4 writers to 15, I suddenly couldn’t watch or read every piece that went out. Was the message the same? Did it hold strong to the brand? It was tough to tell and it pushed me to start putting in further methods of staying as on-brand as possible. This was good action that was coming out of making a simple change, learning more!
2. I consumed 4 books in the first month.
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Did I read them all? No, some were read and some were audiobooks. I drive a lot, so instead of music every time I listened to a lot of audiobooks. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t listen to top 40 music that often does more harm to your psyche and mental state than good, but regardless there can be more time made to listen and learn vs simply listening to music.
Again based on the previous one, I was learning again. Feeding my mind with things it was curious about and allowing me to expand who I am and what I know, which can help me find where I want to go with certain things more clearly. Gaining more experience through consuming content and hearing other people’s stories can sometimes be used as a way to consider new experiences for yourself should they resonate with you.
3. I started to experience peace regularly again
As I started to slow down with distractions, life slowed down. I became more present again and remembered what it felt like to live each day, each moment, from the heart and in the moment. It didn’t matter that I had pretty well lived that way for almost 6 years, what mattered was I let myself get off that train. I didn’t judge myself for it, kick myself in the ass and call myself stupid. I simply observed it and took action as hastily because I know that’s what it takes at times in modern life.
Also I knew again what it felt like to be out of peace and that certainly wasn’t as enjoyable. Hopping back into that state (of peace) was where my heart wanted to go anyway.
4. I was healthier, more active, and meditating again
These things all come one day after another. Don’t expect it to be a “OK, today’s the day! I turn it ALL around today!” It might take a couple weeks for it all to start firing. If it’s a first time through, it might take a couple months. The point is, let one thing lead to the next and keep exploring! I made more time to make food, be active, and meditate because I was choosing to structure my time in ways that would cut out distractions and bring me to where I wanted to go.
5. I aligned my life and welcomed in a new life partner
After a couple weeks of being back on track I started to get clear signs in my waking life and in my meditations about ‘someone’ who was going to show up in my life and how she was going to be important to my journey. It was clear that it would be a relationship, one that had aspects to it that I had longed for but had not yet been ready to experience due to various experiences I had to have first. Sure enough, as I continued to just take care of me, get into alignment with myself and continue to just be at peace with life, 5 weeks into this 60 day period, I met her. It was a very synchronistic meeting that took place in a different country and ultimately led us to where we are today which is having an incredible journey together of growth, expansion and joy.
6. I was clear on my soul’s goals and vision again
The more time I spent with ME, the more I explored things that were in alignment with what I wanted to create and do, and in turn the clearer my vision became for it all again. I started to put in place the means and methods to which I would shift many aspects of my life and my mission (which happens to be my business) to take them to a level I was being guided to take them to from within myself. It wasn’t based on monetary goals but on what I felt I needed to do based on how I’m inspired to contribute to the world at this time. By making enough time to go within myself in my life, I have always gotten clear on to truly find out what that is. Not someone else’s dreams, my dreams.
7. I fasted for 17 days, no food!
Within this whole journey, for 17 straight days I went on a fast to help reset many aspects of my body to take my health and wellness to another level as well. I drank 1L of organic concord grape juice each day for 17 days and did enemas along the way to help cleanse and flush things out. Even though I had been eating a vegetarian diet for almost 10 years and a vegan diet for most of those 10, I ate a standard Italian diet for the 20 years prior to that. The body can take time to fully reset, and fasting is one of the most effective ways to do it. This reset was incredible, and it took me to some incredible spiritual levels as well.
In the end, like I said before, cancelling Netflix was simply a means to help pull the biggest distraction in my life out completely. In all honesty, 90% of the people in my life have the exact same problem but may not see it. I could have totally used Netflix once a week and still did all these things, TOTALLY. But I chose not to. I grabbed the $14 bucks I was spending on Netflix and swapped it for Audible.
I wanted to tell this story because I know many people sometimes just need a push, a bit of encouragement to take things to the next level and commit to something. Hearing someone else’s story can be inspiring to start tapping into our own soul desires enough that we no longer need external motivation to keep on, but instead just dive into our passions and let that be the medicine that moves you forward.
We Can Get Lost in ‘Personal Development’ Sometimes
One final note. Personal development has almost become a neurotic obsession for many of us I notice. It’s a great way to focus on making well intentioned shifts in our lives, but we often are not willing to do the actual work involved to move beyond the things that challenge us: being honest with ourselves, truly letting go of old habits, and staying aligned with our true selves. Not only that, but we are so often replacing old patterns and habits with new belief systems or stories in our mind as if we’re trying to program ourselves for success or riches. Even if that works for a year or two, it won’t forever. And you likely won’t ever have sustainable peace in your life unless we truly shift within.
All that said, personal development, or personal evolution as I like to call it, is a natural part of being a soul having a human experience on this planet. We just often work so hard to avoid it. It’s actually A LOT of work to avoid our own growth. Think about it – constant distractions, suffering, pain, and doing things we don’t love. We do a lot to avoid it.
These days, there is so much talk of being a successful entrepreneur and going out and hustling constantly to make it happen. While I admire the action and the desire to break out of cycles, we have to be aware to not let it lead us astray and move us away from what our soul desires truly are. We often move forward taking actions on someone else’s dream that we think is our own, but isn’t. In essence, we have no idea what we truly want deep down, and we are simply going off what we think we want or what everyone else has told us we want. I.e. chasing the American Dream. A dream dreamt up by someone else that we believe is our own but isn’t. Your dream is simple to find, your desires are simple to find, we just have to cut the distractions down and listen.
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