It’s Been A While

It’s been about 6 months since my last post. Such is life. So, what will I be writing about today? Change and Shifting perspectives. Ya see…..I’ve gone through some transformative experiences lately. Not all of them were totally new revelations… mostly they were reminders of things I’ve needed to shore up in my life and continue to fix (physically and mentally). Some were concepts that I already knew and figured out in years past but I just needed a kick in the ass to remember them and consistently apply them to my life. And some things just plain sucked. Reassess. Reassemble. Rebuild. Isn’t that how it goes? That’s life. Shit happens. And you move on.

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Here’s a question for ya…..Have you noticed with yourself, your family or with your friends and colleagues that people are going through big shifts? With work, relationships, personal transformations, etc…? Yes? No? I’ve noticed it over the last few months. Friends & colleagues are going through tough times. Stable people that seemed they’d never be shaken are being shook. Weak people are being hit with tests. Strong people are being hit with bigger tests. And ya know what? I don’t see the bad  in it….well then again…. sometimes I do because hey man, some things in life are just really, really, shitty… let’s be honest. And metaphysically speaking, these outside experiences that I’m noticing could simply be a reflection of my own inner experience. That’s a Solopsistic viewpoint, though an accepted one in this ‘new age’. Whatever the mental approach, No one will ever know for sure what version of reality is valid, unless YOU know. See what I’m saying? Maybe things are meant to be….and maybe we just give the randomness meaning…or both! But today’s blog isn’t about positing on the fabrics of reality. It’s about people making shifts. A multitude of people that I’ve recently encountered, whether they’re close to me or not, are going through issues and important turning points that, if handled properly, can lead to even more important discoveries and improvements. Is it because the Astrological signs are jacked up? Is it because Donald Trump is all over the news pissing people off? Is it because The Kings of Leon aren’t super popular anymore? Who knows?

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Why do I blog about this? It’s because I’ve learned and I greatly respect the value of using a negative experience and turning it into something positive and transformative and I hope you’ll learn that too and apply it to your life. Why? Because it’s helpful. Look man….some things hurt. Life aint all sunshine and rainbows. But ya know what…..No Pain. No Gain. And sometimes the best way to effect real, lasting change in yourself, your life, the lives of those around you, in society, in the world, in the universe and on and on and on….is to use a painful experience and come through it in a positive way. That’s just a part of life. That’s the truth. You can’t just pop pills, drink alcohol, do drugs everyday or do yoga & meditate once a year and say that ‘you’re all good’. It’s good to have vices here and there….we’re human after all… but you’ve gotta dive into the hurt. So use it. Use that pain. Use that experience. Feel it all. Get through the negative aspects. Keep pushing. And make yourself better. Because there are AMAZING things in this world. And YOU can be AMAZING.

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I’m no doctor. I’m no therapist. I’ve just been around the block and I’ve stepped in a few piles of dog shit along the way. I’m not gonna tell you the meaning of life because only YOU know what the meaning of your life is. No quote posting social media philosopher can tell you what’s best for YOU either (we’re all guilty of it). Not even Deepak Chopra or Oprah or The Pope can tell you what’s right for YOU. I’m not gonna tell you that your situation is easy. Dude….maybe it really sucks. And someone’s always got it better and someones always got it worse than you do. It’s not about comparisons though. It’s about getting through those problems in a healthy and beneficial way.

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At one time in my life (2007 to be exact), I went a little nuts because I wasn’t prepared to handle what life threw at me…and it was one of the best things for me. Why? Because I used that difficult series of events to transform and improve upon myself and I filmed it all as a therapy exercise. The experience made me stronger. It prepared me for tough times that came in the future. Was it easy? HELL NO. It was awful. It was torturous. It was embarrassing. I had to hit rock bottom and rebuild myself. I’m sure you know what I mean. And I just want to share my film on here in the off chance that it may help and/or entertain someone. There’s some wisdom. There’s some insanity. There’s some stupidity. Maybe you’ll find something useful. Maybe you’ll think it’s crap. Hey….who knows? It’s life. We’re all just people and we’re doing our best. Nobody’s Perfect. You’ve got an illness? Someone died? You were in a war? You’re a refugee? You’re an orphan? You’ve got a broken heart? You got divorced? You’re in rehab? You lost your perfect job? Whatever it is. You can push through and things are going to be much better on the other side.

Thanks for reading this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. I hope it’s added to your life in some way. As always. Do your best. Improve where you can. Be kind to plants, animals and humans alike. And always follow The Golden Rule. And if you are one of those going through a tough time….keep going. It’s gonna be ok. It’s just life.

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A Backpackers Mind

Life….a series of seemingly significant or insignificant moments that are strung together throughout time forming an individuals very essence, one who will interact with tens, hundreds, thousands, millions or billions of other humans that inhabit this vast and mysterious world that we constantly try to control and understand. Interactions that on the surface, one might think are inconsequential, but possibly lead to events that bring into being the treasures of a life well lived and/or the foundations for opportunity and growth. Life….can you tell me what it is? Can the worlds most renowned scientist, spiritual authority, politician, mystic or philosopher tell you or I the ‘reality’ of what is going on in the world? What does it all mean? Why are we here? What is my purpose? Can anyone answer for you the largest questions that have ever existed?  Absolutely not. They’re questions that only you can answer. And that brings us to the backpackers philosophy and the travelers mind, which I feel is important to cultivate, with whatever label you may give to it. Because it can help you answer those questions that everyone is bound to have and help to improve your life. What I’m saying isn’t entirely new…..it’s just coming from a different person.

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What is backpacking? What is travel? It’s just seeing new places, having fun and experiencing different cultures, right? Yes…..at first. What it really is, is a lesson in risk-taking. A constant lesson (depending upon how much you travel and/or if you can maintain that mystical energy field one can foster around oneself while you travel). Something happens to the adventurer that embraces the fact that he or she isn’t in control of anything. That they are at the whim of the world that they’re about to experience. You’ve got to let go of your plans and travel books and pre-conceptions of what a vacation ‘is’ to tap into that field. You take risks. Risk after risk. Large and small. Why? People who travel are escaping something. A stressful job. A life without flavor. A death in the family. A chance to recapture their youth with friends. A break-up. An overbearing spouse. A dead end job. On and on. People are escaping. What they can unlock when they start to take risks is…. their true essence. The absence of fear. Their human potential. Each moment they will transform into a better version of themselves. Travel is not just about sitting on the beach sipping margaritas. That is fine and it has it’s place…especially if you’ve been hiking for the past 2 weeks. But to find the travelers mind, one must move outside of their comfort zone, in small and in large leaps.

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What am I talking about? I’m talking about those moments where you can ‘follow the white rabbit’. Those moments when you can push yourself. An opportunity gets presented and you can walk through the door, or not. Do I cancel my trip to Austria because the cute girl who was drawing a sketch of me on the train is going to Poland? Do I follow her there? Do I go with the guy to an absynthe bar? Do I cancel my flight to see this once in a lifetime concert? Do I stay in a hostel, even though I’m terrified of sharing my space with complete strangers? Do I walk alone at night for 3 miles through this part of the city or do I take the tram? Seemingly insignificant moments that can have a huge bearing on what you are about to become. Me? I didn’t follow the girl. Maybe she and I would have fallen in love. I did follow the guy, drank absinthe, had wild hallucinations and spoke fluent French to strangers when I was lost, although I don’t speak French (I only studied it briefly in school). I did cancel my flight and had a spiritual experience at the concert, which stirred up emotions from memories past that I needed to re-asses and cleanse. I stayed in the hostel (and many, many others) and broke down my misconceptions that we all live ‘the exact same way’. I walked through the city, in the quiet hours of the night when no tourists are clouding the truth that lay there, and got to observe what it’s like to be a homeless drug addict.

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Are those few moments that I’ve shared from my life really what amounts to cultivating the travelers mind that I talk about? Yes. However unremarkable as they were, they led to hundreds of other instances, where I could have chosen the familiar road or the unfamiliar road. And as you grow and enjoy it….you begin to take more risks into unknown territories. You may even find peace…without meditation. Your meditation was your risk taking. The adventure was your drug. Because that’s what we’re all after too, right? Peace. A life without stress. A life without fear. Complete freedom. That’s why we read so many self-help books, are members of organized religions, take so many pharmaceuticals, go to therapy and exercise like maniacs…..because we want to quiet our mind. Our mind….that is the root of all our problems. Because it’s our mind that is or isn’t afraid, that is or isn’t sad, that is or isn’t accepting of situations. Our mind….is also our greatest ally and given the proper shift, is capable of transforming your perspective into a perfect, dream-like life, where next to nothing can rattle your cage.

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Then comes the hardest part for a backpacker… you realize that the journey has to come to an end. As do all things in life. That’s the second most important thing you learn. How to say goodbye. On a whim you went to a country that you knew next to nothing about…and you found a place that was like a childhood dream. It was a place without equal. And you only had two days to enjoy it. You knew in your present situation, it may be years, if ever, that you return to this place. So you do something that’s harder than a break-up, maybe even harder than putting your favorite pet to sleep…..you say goodbye to perfection. You let go. Constantly. You say goodbye to the great friends you made at the hostel in Prague. ….will it really ever be the same if you meet up with them again? You travel and you keep moving. You say goodbye hundreds of times, to people, to places, to things that you fell in love with. You cultivate a giant garden of fantastic moments. Moments that never would have happened unless you took those risks. And each place you go to….you find more things in this world that you fall in love with…..another town, another city, another person, another bar, another restaurant, another meal, another church, another farm, another mountain, another tree, another hostel, another beer, another wine……and you think to yourself, ‘How can there be so many beautiful things in this world? If I were to see it all, how could I even comprehend how vast and amazing this world is?’ (A blog is a poor excuse I know). You start to let go of all the horrible things you’ve seen and read in the news and start to realize that……for every bad thing…..there are 100 indescribable things that overcome it.

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And however many times you have to say goodbye, is how many times your heart breaks. You get filled up with joy and then torn apart so many times….that nothing can harm you anymore. Your ego explodes and reassembles continuously in the self analysis that inevitably happens as you step outside of your comfort zone…that you forget who you are. You forget where you are. You forget why you were so damned afraid or so damned shy. You burn up and then rise like a phoenix out of the ashes…over and over again. It’s as if you’d been asleep your whole life….and all of a sudden you’re filled with energy and alive. You can become so addicted to this energy, that you yearn for it constantly. It’s not a drug addiction. Or an adrenaline addiction or some other man made disorder. It’s an addiction to life. What life really is. And once you experience it….you want it again, and again, and again. Just like Bill Murray in Scrooged (1988). Because who wants to go back to being afraid and boxed in once they’ve been set free? It’s like a hell in it’s own way to return from a life changing experience. How can one come back to their former life….when their life, rather their perception of it, is no longer the same? How can you be stagnant…living in one place….when you’ve stayed in a different bed in a different city every night for months? It is something that I’ve struggled with each time I return from a journey….

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And ‘an’ answer, not ‘the’ answer, in keeping that favorable aura about yourself, is that there’s always another journey. Even if you’ve been gone backpacking for 2 years…..the coming year upon your return home is another great journey. What is home? There’s no need to be miserable, living in bitterness because you left a great expansive adventure behind you, but to be happy because you know deep inside that nothing is set in stone. Nothing can be controlled. Nothing can be answered but with the answer that you give to it. Nothing is irrational or unrealistic or impossible. Because there is no answer that you can contend with, that is any better than your own answers. You become so in touch with your emotions, your spirituality, your morals & ideals that you feel a step above the rest, but you know that you’re no better than any other human being….you can just see it clearly, is all. And there’s always a new adventure to be had. Sure, you’ll go back to a ‘normal’ life and a ‘normal’ set of ideals, laws and societal expectations. But when you’re there, in the travelers mind frame, you can just sit back and laugh at it all….because it’s all man-made. And the knowledge that you gained….is probably more valuable than all the power in the world. Your family & friends will think you’re the same old person and will treat you accordingly. The rules will pretty much be the same….but you won’t. It’s like The Wachowski’s described in The Matrix…you’ll start to see the code, in a sense. And songs like this will start to make sense to you.

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Gratitude. The third most important thing for a backpacker. Do you know how amazing it is that you were born? That you were formed into the person that you were? That you positioned your life to have the opportunity to travel? That you picked those certain places to travel to? That you met the people you did and experienced very strange synchronicity’s in those places you went to? Do you think a football player like Ryan Tannehill (Go Dolphins!) could just hit the road, backpack Europe, have fun and get crazy without being recognized and criticized the world over for it? Do you think a movie star like Tom Cruise or Jim Carrey could have that same experience? No way! I mean…maybe they could try…..but it’s highly unlikely that they’d go incognito for more than a few days. Do you know how lucky you are to backpack and how unimaginable that escapade is to most people? Be grateful for each second. For each good and bad experience. Each girl kissed and each ankle sprained. Backpacking makes you realize, however slowly for some, that life is REALLY F$*%ING PRECIOUS!! And AMAZING! Just look at it! And if you can transform yourself….each time that you return home you’ll become a better version of you, with a new lease on life. Of course you’ll tell your boss that he’s an @$$hole and get fired. Of course you’ll ask the girl out that you were always shy around. Of course you’ll call an estranged friend that you haven’t seen in 5 years. Of course you’ll tell someone that you love them. Because it’s such a laugh, isn’t it? All those shortcomings and imaginary fears. We all die. It’s inevitable. And we have this gift of a life……to live… and to be free. Truly free. Not the freedom that George W. talked about.

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No matter how perfect you feel after the journey ends. No matter how clear headed you’ve become. You’ll always get dragged back into human drama, pain and suffering (greatest movie ever, watch it). You’ll spin in the same circles that you’ve spun in before. You might make mistakes….but you’ll know why. You’ll take the risks….knowing that things may end poorly….and you’ll do it because you’ll know that there’s no point to life unless you take risks. Big ones. You’ll keep stepping outside of your comfort zone because you won’t want to become stale….so you’ll try to be a little unpredictable, just to hang on to that travelers mind. And you might pull stunts to keep that feeling. And it might leave you. For a long time. Who knows…you might turn into who you once were before the journey began. But if you’re looking for it….it’ll come back around. The winds always change.

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You might be saying, ‘Great. You feel awesome. I’m happy for you…weirdo. You’ve got a good lease on life. Why do I need to save my money and allocate all this time to travel just to find….a better outlook on life? What if I don’t find it? What if I don’t need it?’ Well, you might not find it. I’ve traveled at times and didn’t have the same explosive experience as others. It has a lot to do with your head space when the journey begins. But if you’re open to it….there’s a good chance that you’ll have a great experience. It’s entirely up to you. The meaning of life is your own meaning. Your purpose in life is the purpose that you give to yourself. I can’t tell you who you are. I can’t tell you what to do. Neither can your boss, or your lover, or the President, or the Pope. It’s your call. Always. I’m just a guy sharing my experiences. And I’m sure that you’ll do the right thing for yourself….but I hope that some of my words have rubbed off. And maybe you will go backpacking, however close to or far from your home. And maybe you’ll open your mind to see just how unbelievably amazing this world is, how unbelievably amazing you are and how important you are to this world that you live in. And here I am….trying to push you off the cliff.

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Thanks for reading this M.A.V.B.L.O.G and learning about the backpackers mind. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And follow The Golden Rule. Have a great day.

God: My 18 year old self

Here’s a bit of my own personal philosophy in a very fun way. It’s in the God section because well, finding God is a personal journey of self-discovery, whether you think it or not, in your limited or unlimited belief system.

I find that this is a pretty fun and simple exercise to help you step out of the box and be a bit objective about yourself. When I’m in a situation where I find myself acting strange or unlike my ‘normal’ self and set of behaviors or I’m just plain bored, I like to step back and say, ‘What would my 18 year old self say? What would my 18 year old self do? Would he be pissed at me or proud of me?’. Now when I was 18 I was relaxed and I wasn’t too worried. The most important thing to me was having fun, laughing and being level inside (peaceful- a state of bliss), playing guitar, hanging out with friends, making a short film, scoring some beer and drinking, smoking some pot, going for a run, practicing martial arts with friends, goofing off, having a chanting session with bongos with friends, going for a walk in the woods, playing soccer, hanging out with my girlfriend, going to a movie…those were my main concerns. I was a pretty happy go lucky, fun guy. Your typical high school teenager I guess you could say.

So I found myself, not too long ago, standing in the kitchen of a friends apartment, with my girlfriend at the time, sitting on a chair, my friend standing at the stove and his wife sitting at the table. There was a 30 pack of beer sitting in the corner. I don’t remember exactly but I think we were talking about tea, soup & politics and we couldn’t decide what to eat for dinner. I just started laughing. My friends said, ‘What?’. And I said to them, ‘Man would our 18 year old selves be pissed off at us.’ Again, the response was, ‘What!?!’. Then I said to my friend, ‘Look. We’re standing around here with two really hot girls that are attracted to us. There’s a 30 pack of beer sitting in the corner. There’s food in the house. There’s music on the stereo. We’re not drinking. We’re just standing around bickering about life and we can’t decide what to eat. Our 18 year old selves would be thrilled to have beer, so they’d be drinking. They’d be thrilled to have girlfriends, so they’d either be hooking up with them, trying to hook up with them or goofing off with them. Our 18 year old selves wouldn’t really care where or what we ate, so they’d just make some mac n cheese or pasta and be super excited about it!’. My friend looked at me, laughed, and agreed. Thus, I started to frequently look at situations with how my 18 year old self would react.

It’s a really simple exercise and I think it can possibly help you. Now I don’t know how you were or who you were at 18. Perhaps you’re a lot of fun to be around now at age 57 and you’re mellow and centered. Maybe you were a dick head at age 18 or mean piece of crap. I don’t know. So if 18 doesn’t work for you. Use an age that you’re happy with. At the very least it’ll take away some boredom and you’ll have a laugh. I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. and I hope it leads to improving your life in some way. Oh yeah, here’s a picture of actress Seregon O’Dassey who I worked with on my film ‘Kung Fu and Titties’. Why say that totally random thing? Why not? And it is my blog. Plus, it’s a really cool picture. Enjoy.

As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to your family & friends. Be respectful to all those you encounter- humans, animals and plants alike. And have fun!!

God: There’s more to life than BUTT IMPLANTS!!!

My last M.A.V.B.L.O.G. was about a more serious subject…..so let’s have something funny today. For my first post in the GOD category we will talk about the perplexing trend of…..butt implants.

Imagine that you’re the almighty God. Allah. Buddha. The Great Spirit. The Great Architect. Whatever….you’re it. You’re God. You created the Heavens and the Earth. You created the entire universe. You exist beyond time. You are all knowing and all powerful. You created humans……you probably created dozens of other races as well on different planets, in different galaxies and in different solar systems. So even though you’re all powerful…..maybe you got a little tired and took a vacation. Let’s say you went a million light years away to check on another star system and hang out with some old buddies. Then after about a thousand earth years you said to yourself, ‘Hey let me go see how things are progressing. I bestowed them with so many gifts. They’re bound to be doing something great’.

Ok…so you whisk back to earth to check things out on your creation, human beings. You haven’t been around for 1,000 years….you know there’s bound to be some mistakes….but you know there will be great things too. So you look around…..wow ok. Democratized nations. Clean water. Abundant food in some countries. The discovery of gravity and electricity and the atom. Great!!! The widespread knowledge that the world isn’t flat. Space travel! Education! Advances in science, technology, healthcare and medicine. Wonderful! Hey….there’s still corruption, greed, wars and poverty…..but humans are getting there. Good job, good job. And then you start to look a little closer.

Necrophilia? That still happens? Ugh. Pedophilia? Come on guys I thought we got past that. Politicians and lobbyists and the greedy super rich? Come on people. There’s enough wealth and food and prosperity to go around for everyone in the world. Everyone! Figure it out already. Change the system. I gave you infinite and unlimited brains. Start expanding your minds. Maybe it’ll take another 1,000 years….but I hope it’ll come sooner. Pollution? Really people!? Come on. Don’t you get it? One earth. One! Not two. Fix it……. Plastic surgery? That’s weird. I gave humans everything they needed. Individuality was a gift. I didn’t intend for such widespread insecurity. Wait…..what’s this….. BUTT IMPLANTS!!!!!!! Are you kidding me!!!!??? People put sacks of chemicals in their butts!!!?? Why!!!??? So they can look better?……..and attract sexual partners? Really? Come on……it’s not that hard to attract someone. I gave you pheromones. And brains!!! You can attract someone to have sex with on your own….WITHOUT BUTT IMPLANTS!!! That lady spent her life savings on a butt implant!!! What!!!??? And look….you get old. You get wrinkly. That’s a part of life. Deal with it. You’re only human after all.

…..well what should I do? I mean…..this is very confusing to me. Butt implants!!! Should I just blow them up and start over? I could make a giant tidal wave. But……I don’t want to hit the reset button just yet. And I can’t go killing people who have butt implants. Then it’ll probably get even more popular. And people will start to hate me or not believe in me. Well……I guess I’ll just disappear for another 1,000 years and see what happens. Maybe that will work…………So…….what would you do?

I hope you enjoyed this post. Go online and look up butt implants and watch some interviews of people who get them. It just boggles the mind. I’m all for people having nice butts. It’s great. But come on…..this is just silly. Have a great day and if you like American Football….. enjoy the superbowl!!

The first post of Joseph McConnell

Hi there. This is my first post on wordpress. I’ll try to keep it short and simple. I’ve started this web blog as a place for you to learn about me, my films and my books. So what shall I say in my first post so you can relate to me?

I’ve been high and I’ve been low, just like you. Just gotta do the best with the hand that life deals you…and no matter how bad things can be….make the best of it.

So, I always strive to just be a regular guy. I do stupid stuff. And I do really smart stuff. Always trying to keep a fine balance. For example, reading ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ during the day and then at night, crapping in a bag and lighting it on fire on someones doorstep. I’m experienced enough to know that it’s important to always be yourself. To be nice to people. To love as hard as you can. And to try harder even when people tell you to stop, whether it be in your job, your parenting, your relationships, your health….or that new annoying video game!! You never know when your lights are gonna go out for good, so make your life meaningful….to you of course.

Well….I hope you enjoy my future blogs about movies, art, video games, backpacking, love, outrageousness and god. And if you dig my style check out some of my books, look at some of my artwork and watch some of my movies. I love my life. I love movies. And I love the fact that if I want to I can get drunk, cook a bunch of pasta, put it in a plastic bag….and throw it at my neighbors door. Why not!?! There are so many options!!!

There’s a great quote from the movie ‘The Way’ (2010) that we can all learn from….”You don’t choose a life, dad. You live one.”