How to Unplug

August 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue

Kevin Kelly believes that the human race is building the planet into one giant brain with our technology.

He’s not sure what it’s called, but some call it The One, others call it The Cloud.

I’m not sure what to believe, but I do know one thing: we’re all plugged in. Some of us never unplug.

This is why I believe that it’s an absolute imperative to turn it all off once in awhile.

We have to take the time to get away from the cloud, head into the forest, and discover what it is to not be part of The Borg.

I love being plugged in, but there are stories on the fringes of my imagination of a day when people can’t turn it off. When to tweet is a necessity of human nature.

We are closer to this reality than you and I believe.

Recently one of my heroes, Gwen Bell took a month off of the net. No working, no tweeting, no checking email. She’s back now, but the experience taught her to listen to herself again.

This is why I’m leaving you for awhile.

I’ll be camping in the wilds of upper Wisconsin from August 10th-23rd.

I won’t tweet. I won’t check email. I’m going without a computer, I’m going where there is no 3G (for now.)

My blog and business will run on auto-pilot. I have a post scheduled for Tuesday, Monday, and Monday.

Comments will be off until further notice.

If you miss me, read my blog archives. A good place to start is at the beginning. Or, check out my books. Some say they’re quite good.

Some say that I will miss opportunities while I’m gone. I think going away is the opportunity.

August is a slow month on the Internet. Many people take this time to get reacquainted with themselves. Maybe this is a good time for you to do that as well.

We’ll all be back in September, and the work will continue.

For now, a break.

When You Take it All Away, What Are You?

March 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

One simple exercise that will make you think.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Here’s a simple meditation:

Imagine or actually do this.

Take everything that you owned away from you. You can do this by going to a park for a day and sitting under a tree, go to the beach and lie on a towel, or perhaps by hopping on a plane with a backpack for a month or two.

Now take a look at what’s left. Contemplate the remainder, without the stuff. The essence of what you really are without all of the junk.

Whatever is left when you get rid of the stuff is you.

When you take away all that you’ve bought, what have you accomplished?

Write this down.

Now write down what you want to accomplish.

Perhaps you still have a small creative empire working without you or within you. Good!

Or perhaps you’ve just been surrounding yourself with distractions in order to forget that nothing you’ve ever done means anything.

Perhaps you’re somewhere in-between those extremes.

Everyone reaches a point of no-return with their stuff.

We humans reach a tipping point, when we’ve accumulated so much meaninglessness in our lives that there’s no going back. The form that this meaninglessness comes in is different for anyone. For some it’s buying the entertainment center, for others it’s their first house, for some it’s drinking every night to make the pain go away.

From that moment forward, every dream is just a dream — they can never become reality.

The dreams become so hard to make reality when you have to pay someone to move the entertainment system.

So you sit around dreaming about visiting Bali for the rest of your life. But you never actually go — except maybe for an extended weekend.

How can you replace your junk with real, meaningful, challenges and experiences?

How to Live Before You Die

March 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

You’ll be dead sooner than you think. No kidding! Really! What are you doing with your life until then?

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

A few days ago I had a brief muscle spasm in my left arm. It stopped after a short while, but not before I remembered Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight. I’m having a stroke (I thought!)

Anyway I’ll spare you the imagined details, but I’d momentarily convinced myself that I was probably going to die mere days after my 25th birthday.

Well, I’m still here and have regained a normal feeling arm, but there is a way that thinking about your own death can stick with you for a few days.

You can die at any moment, and it could happen at any time.

Here are a couple of meditations on death, in regards to the topics that I write about here at Far Beyond The Stars.

1. You can’t take it with you.

It’s a well known cliche at this point, when you pass on most your stuff goes in the trash. No one cares anymore.  I know some people will disagree with me on this, and have stories to prove me otherwise. There will always be someone who will save a dead person’s stuff, but the majority of everyone won’t.

I’ve seen the stuff that people leave behind. Most of it only has meaning to the deceased.

2. Being safe won’t save you.

So many people live their lives in fear of dangerous things happening to them. In some cases this is justifiable fear, but in a lot of cases it’s not. Staying inside your house won’t save you from death, it will lead to you dying inside from not seeing the world.

Get out and live your life, every single day.

3. Do the best with the time you have.

You only have so much time, do your best with it. If you aren’t happy with your situation, you need to start making a change. Sitting around complaining about it won’t make a difference.

Try to spend every day working toward your ideal reality.

4. Buying stuff is not living your life.

I know, the advertisers tell you otherwise every single day. This is why you should destroy your TV, because the ads are making you feel inadequate, so you go out to the store and buy another pair of shoes. You only need one pair of shoes, make it a good pair and they’ll last you three years. In truth, your consumption is destroying the planet, so stop doing it.

Going to the store does not equal living your life. Instead, seek experiences over consumption, and you’ll be much happier with your life.

5. What would you do if you only had a week to live?

I love this exercise, even if it’s so morbid. Steve Jobs lives his life as if every day is the last, and look at what he’s managed to accomplish.

Take a moment and dreamline what you’d do, if you had only a week to live. Actually write this down. Chances are it won’t involve sitting at a desk waiting until 5pm. Can you make every day into your last week? Imagine how much happier you’d be.

6. Having less can encourage you to find peace and happiness inside yourself.

When you remove all the clutter, you have a huge opportunity to search for the depth of ordinary existence. Many people fill up their lives with junk, because we’ve been taught by advertising that buying stuff will make us happy. It doesn’t do anything but give you a momentary spark of adrenalin.

When you remove all the nonsense, you start to see the wisdom at the basis of reality. This is very hard work, but I believe that every has the ability to ask these questions of themselves. Trust me, the answers are worth seeking.

As for me, I’m going to do my best to create my ideal reality every day.

At the moment, I’m listening to a live string quartet at Tea Lounge in Brooklyn. It’s beautiful.

Today might be my last, I want it to be a good one. Don’t you?

Ash has thoughts on this as well.


Write a few sentences about your last week on earth and leave it in the comments, if you feel comfortable. I’d love to hear how you’ll spend it.

Retweet this story if it helped you. Thank you so much.

10 Simple Ways to Eliminate Anxiety in an Uncertain World

November 12th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Writing and Photography by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter

Let’s face it, the world can be terrifying. Do you know what you’re going to be doing next month, six months from now, or even a year? At the moment I certainly don’t.

I’m moving around, without a base of operations, freelancing out of coffee shops for clients that I’ve never met. Some days I get a little bit anxious. I wonder if I’ll ever see enough money to pay for my train ticket that I put on the Discover Card to Chicago. I wonder if I’ll ever eat again. I wonder if the sky will fall, and if I’ll be run over by a bus, or maybe I’ll never find happiness or success. Oh my god, panic!

And then I think of these 10 simple ways that I can calm myself and bring my confused mind back to reality. I remember that I am responsible for saving myself from this situation, and that I’m the one who that put me here anyway.

Anxiety is largely a construction in our minds. It’s a self-preservation instinct left over from when lions were lurking around the next bush and we didn’t want to be eaten. No one is going to eat you, in actuality, the world is pretty damn safe in most places.

The other horrifying truth is that anxiety can prevent us from achieving our goals. Have you ever stayed home, not returned a call, or even sent an email because you got scared? I know I have.

This supposed self-defense reflex is really costing us something: opportunities.

It’s time to get this anxiety under control, people!

Here are the ten techniques that I use to eliminate anxiety:

1, Take ten deep breaths.
This is one of the most important practices you can do for yourself. So often we rush around doing repetitive things endlessly, with no break for ourselves and our minds. A lot of anxiety stems from being simply overwhelmed. Start by taking one natural breath in, hold it for a second, and then blow it out. Repeat, this time a little bit longer on the inhale. Good! Now do that seven more times. You’ll notice your mind begin to clear and the world will start to seem a little bit lighter.

2, Go on a walking meditation.
One of the best ways to eliminate anxiety is just to drop everything you’re doing and go for a walk. Don’t aim for any one place, and don’t put a time limit on how long you’ll stay out. Leave your technology at home (but don’t forget your keys!) or at the office. Just walk, breathe, think. The world will start to calm and you’ll be able to see clear solutions overcoming difficult situations.

3, Turn off your cellphone.
Phones can make anyone overwhelmed. I like to turn mine off, or just ignore it. When the cellphone rings, 9 times out of 10 it’s just going to add one more thing for you to do. You’ll either have to dodge drinks with your old buddy, or another work problem will surface. Just let every incoming call go to voice-mail. Set aside a time later in the day, once you’ve calmed yourself, to catch up the calls that are actually important.

4, Stretch your body.
This can alleviate a lot of stress and help your body regain it’s natural balance. Start by doing a forward bend, just touch your toes, and stay there. Relax. If touching your toes is difficult, touching your knees is fine. Don’t judge the forward bend, just do it. This will relieve a lot of tension that’s built up in your back and hamstrings. Stay in the bend for two-five minutes, slowly roll back up to standing. Are you calmer? Yes!

5, Make every action deliberate.
Think about every action that you take, and move through it with precision and mindfulness. Do NOT multitask, instead single-task. Do NOT do anything faster than you need to, instead slow down. When you take the time to do every action with completeness, you’ll be so much more effective. You will start to see progress in your actions, which will relieve your anxiety.

6, Remember one time you overcame anxiety in the past.
Recall that one time that you called that beautiful girl you wanted to ask out, and she said yes? Wasn’t it scary? It worked out in the end didn’t it? Remember that job interview that you were so scared you wouldn’t get, and you prepared, and sweated, and walked four times around the block before you went in? You nailed it didn’t you? You can replicate that moment, you have to try first though.

7, Go to a public place.
I like being surrounded by tons of people as they go about their lives. Grand Central Station in New York is good for this, Powell’s bookstore cafe in Portland is good for this. Navy Pier in Chicago is good for this. I like to go to a crowded public place and then just stand still and watch the people swirl around me. I observe how stressed everyone is. How serious they are. And I realize that I’m just one small part of a bigger picture, and that everyone is freaking out too, this makes me feel better.

8, Stop doing so much.
We all do way more than we need to. We’ve got the Twitter window open, with our email, with our Facebook, with that spreadsheet we’re working on, with the copy of the book proposal that we’re writing. Stop doing so much. We expect way more of ourselves than we can ever expect to handle. Take a moment a eliminate a few tasks that you do every day that you’re doing out of obligation, not because these things you’re doing are actually important.

Here is what is important to me: cooking food, writing on this blog, working on projects that are remarkable, completing projects that end in paychecks, yoga, meditation, sleeping, reading. I have to ask myself hard questions before I engage in anything outside these activities.

9, Take a moment to contemplate what’s most important.
Do you have a larger goal in your life? If you don’t then don’t think about this, because it’ll just make you more anxious. If you do have a goal, think about that end result. Everything you’re doing should lead to that point, don’t deviate from your plan.

10, What’s the worst that can happen?

When all else fails, I ask myself the above question. Because seriously, in most cases it’s not that bad. I try to envision that worst possible situation, and I realize that there’s no way it’ll end up as bad as I think it will. In most cases the projections that our brains are making are overestimating the challenge or the danger, and the future will be so much brighter than you imagine.


If you know someone who’s having trouble overcoming anxiety, do them a favor and send them this post! Don’t be scared, they’ll appreciate it.

Minimalism is a Clear Mind

October 30th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s Friday! Which means that it’s almost the weekend, for most of the working world. I want to leave you, at the end of this week, with one observation that I had this morning.

I was calmly walked towards the train, I noticed that my mind was exceptionally clear. I hope you’ll share this observation that I had with a friend, if you know someone that would understand.

Minimalism and meditation go hand in and with forming a clear and healthy mind.

Think about it: meditation is about taking your thoughts, sitting with them, and simplifying them until they no longer trouble you. Until your mind can sit still, you can release all of that psychobabble that the inside of your brain is constantly engaged in and let it all go.

This is why Buddhist monks renounce their possessions, so the brothers can meditate without worrying if they need to dust their television set off, or if they need organize their closet.

If you begin to live simpler, your mind will become calmer.

With less worry, you’ll get more done.

You’ll accomplish more, and feel more fulfilled.

By aspiring to live an existence at minimum level, we open a path for ourselves to achieve greatness and also to be free.

Have a safe and peaceful weekend, everyone.


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