Today, and every day from here forward, I want you to make peace and love your mantra. Live naturally and as close to Mother Earth as possible. Stand up for what is right, even if it goes against the grain and you are ostracized for being different. See all the people on this planet as your brothers and sisters, no matter what their race, creed, color, or sexual preference, and love them unconditionally. Spend your life serving others, asking nothing in return. Look at the material goods that surround you as gifts, instead of material possessions. In reality, you really own nothing, nada, zippo.
I want you to be a hippie at heart, which means you will lighten up. Those two words can change your life forever. When you lighten up your thinking, you will lighten up your life. When you take life too seriously, you can easily get caught up in the illusions of life and begin hoarding. Life is a fun game if you know how to play. Life is not fun if you get caught up in the material traps that life offers.
My wife, Beth, is the love of my life. I learn something new from her every day. Beth is the perfect example for me to learn how to share with others. My wife will always think of others before herself. If Beth has anything, even if it is not in excess, she shares it with anyone and everyone. Our home is a revolving door for friends, family, and neighbors. Beth is a natural-born hippie. I had to learn what she already knew, inherently. She is also my best friend and supporter. Beth does not judge me. She sees me for who I am (a child of God) and nothing more or less. Beth is truly the epitome of what every human should be like. My love for Beth grows deeper every day, and I am eternally grateful that she is in my life. Beth is a hippie at heart, naturally. That’s why I call her the Treehouse Hippie!
LEARN TO SHARE
You don’t take anything with you when you die. Nothing. There is no need to pack a suitcase for your funeral. So why collect so much stuff? Instead of collecting stuff, utilize things that are useful for helping yourself be your best and helping others do the same. If you have a nice home, share it with others via parties or a place to stay for visitors or those in need. If you have a nice car, offer rides to those in need. If you have a nice backyard, share it with others. Host parties. Invite the neighbors over. Wine and dine, friends, family, and those who could use a friend or need comforting. Plant a garden and fruit trees, then share your harvest with friends and neighbors.
We are good friends with our next-door neighbors Rob and Kim. This family is the most generous family I have ever known. They constantly open their home to family and friends (and they have a nice home on the water, with a pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, 42-foot boat, and a large beverage fridge that is always stocked with beer). They let people drive any and all of their high-end cars. They take 20-30 people out to dinner frequently and pick up the tab. They host catered parties and pay for it all without batting an eye. I have learned a lot from watching my neighbors share, treat, and host.
I also have a very good friend who is one of my best friends. His name is John (I call him Big Bad John) and he is one of the kindest most giving dudes I have ever known! He is always there for me. He is always there for countless other people, too. In 2019, when Palm Beach county was threatened by a massive hurricane, Big Bad John jumped in and he and I prepped homes for family and friends. It was hard hot work from sunup to sundown for three straight days, but he worked selflessly. If anyone needs help, anywhere, anytime, Big Bad John is always there. Always. I have learned a lot about giving selflessly from watching my good friend, Big Bad John.
If you have more clothes than you need, donate them. If you have extra anything, share it all with others or donate it to a family in need. You can use only so much stuff in your lifetime. Use what you truly need and give the rest away.
Got extra money? Donate it to others in need. Don’t just hand out money to the homeless and people on the street because you have no way of knowing how that person will spend that money. They may take your money with a smile and go buy cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. Instead of randomly handing out money, donate to reputable shelters, churches, and organizations that can put that money to good use helping others find food, shelter, and work.
Your name may be on your automobile’s pink slip, on your bank accounts, or the sign in front of your business, but in reality, you own absolutely nothing. Everything is a gift from God. Everything is on loan, including your body. Care for everything God has loaned you, and treat it with the utmost respect, including this planet and everything on it.
Sharing was a challenge for me when I was a young kid. Before my hippie days, I used to think, “I worked hard for this [fill in the blank], so why should I share it with others who did not earn it?” This thinking got me nowhere, except isolated and unhappy. I had some cool “stuff” but no peace of mind or true happiness. Hippie thinking got me out of this rut. Hippie thinking in the ’60s and ’70s set me free from this hoarding style of bondage.
DIMINISH YOUR FLUFF
When you make peace and love your mantra, the real magic happens. And when you are peaceful, your desire for excess of anything, including food, will be no more. You will embrace food and material goods, but not worship anything. You will really have NO possessions, because from here forward you will see everything in your life as a gift to enjoy, not latch onto and call it yours.
I still recall the time I moved from KC to Venice Beach, Florida back in the early ‘80s. I just sold my fitness club and my wife (first wife at the time) and I headed to The Sunshine State. We gave away all our material possession (which was very little stuff), except a few clothes and personal items, then we loaded up my 1970 VW Bus and set sail for new land. I had owned and operated Jay’s Gym for the past four years, which was a huge responsibility and obligation for someone in their 20s. Now it was time to pull up our tent stakes, relax, and motor down the road with no alarm clock, no actual destination, very little “things,” and not a care in the world. I slipped in the cassette tape, On the Road Again, by Canned Heat, fired up the motor, and headed south.
When we arrived in Venice Beach, we found a place to live, took a month off to enjoy the beach, then started looking for work. To make a long story short, after living there for only a few months, my wife came to me and said she wanted out of our marriage. No real shock here because I felt it too. Plus she was nine years younger than me, so I assumed she wanted to go out into the world and kick up her heels. I would have! There was no resistance from my end. We quickly divided up our assets.
For our home, she got the inside, I got the outside! l felt used because I had helped turn her life around and get in fantastic shape, and now she no longer needed me. I was expendable. But the hippie in me let it all go and at the moment I did, I was overcome by this wonderful feeling of freedom. I knew on that day I woke up from delusion back in 1981 that she was not the woman of my dreams. And now it was time to move on in peace. When “peace and love” is your mantra, there are no attachments. You will never be happy, and you will never be free if you are not being honest with yourself or if you are clinging tight to anything.
With my fitness club sold, most of my stuff given away—including my wife—my load was lighter than ever, and it felt wonderful. Now I could freely move about the cabin. Now I could fulfill my destiny. It wasn’t long until San Diego began calling my name. So I packed up my six boxes of belongings, fired up the VW Bus, slipped in the cassette tape California Sun by the 1964 one-hit-wonder group The Rivieras, and “headed out west where I belonged—where the days are short and the nights are long.” I felt like the Blues Brothers. I was 3000 miles from San Diego, I had a full tank of gas, six boxes of belongings, it was dark out, and I was wearing sunglasses. A few weeks later, “I was out there havin’ fun, in that warm California sun!”
Knowing you own nothing, combined with your love for everyone and everything, will give you a sense of peace never before realized. Meditating, eating real foods, following my 21-Day Life Reset, forgiving, and spending plenty of time outdoors will shrink your appetite for decadent foods, a decadent lifestyle, and “stuff.” You will be riding on the Peace Train and Love will be the conductor.
Make a list of everything that you feel is excess baggage in your life.
Add a time frame to when you will let go or remove each item on your excess baggage list.
Make peace and love your mantra. Love everyone and everything on this planet unconditionally. Give without expecting anything in return.
To kick this off, tell three people you love them. Do something kind for three other people.
From here forward, when you greet people, give them a big hug instead of a handshake or fist bump.