My name is Matt Landsiedel and I am an Addiction Counsellor from Calgary, Alberta. This is my last year before I turn 30 and my 20’s have taught me so much that I want to pass on. My goal in life is to strive to achieve happiness and satisfaction in all areas of my life. The last few years have been extremely challenging and I endured my first heart break and the grief that comes with this. I had no clue it would be so painful and I now know why a lot of songs have to do with love and loss. Going through this darkness, I developed what I call the “ingredients to living free”. I went from living in a purely ego state and relying on my external world to make me feel good, rather than doing this for my self. When you go through darkness there is nothing in your external world that will help you heal; there are millions of distractions but nothing that heals the heart. This is something you need to do on your own and from within. Working with addiction for the last 8 years I have seen a lot of avoidance, numbing, repression, and fear. This has really opened my eyes to how I want to approach life. I want to share my 29 ingredients that got me through my darkness in hopes that it will help you through yours.
1) Stop multitasking – stress is such a huge problem in our culture. We are doing way too much, information overloads us, and we are constantly multitasking. Multi-tasking is productive, but is it disallowing us to fully experience life? When we are doing things two, three, or four –mindedly we are not allowing the fullness of one experience to penetrate us. Therefore in a day we have several fragmented experiences and may be left feeling empty and unsatisfied on a deeper level. If you want to decrease your stress levels try doing things one-mindfully (with 100% presence) until the task is done and then move onto the next task. You may find you get more done this way.
2) Give people permission to be themselves by being yourself – I work with youth with addictions and one phenomenon of working with people who haven’t fully developed their identity is that they rely on their environment more than their innate feelings to tell them how to act. It is part of domestication and development of self-concept. I realized that when I was wearing my ‘mask’ they would wear theirs. Once I took mine off they took theirs off. Be yourself and this will give permission to someone who maybe feeling insecure to take their mask off. This is how we truly connect as human beings. The question is will you take your mask off first?
3) “Unleash your energy” – I recently developed this mantra for myself because most of my life I have held back. I am loaded with potential and I have always allowed fear to take that a squash it. Not anymore! I have unleashed my inner beast and am sharing it with the world. There is no fear that feels bad enough to override the joy I feel just being me. Own your beautiful energy and share it with the world because there is space for you to do that and the world is waiting to receive it.
4) Let go to let in – what screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of what it is supposed to be. Living rigidly and trying to control your outcomes will typically lead to disappointment. The difference between guiding and controlling your outcomes is the acceptance of what the outcome will be. Someone who guides, views their outcome as what was meant to occur to align to source energy, whereas the controller will view it as the outcome that they are unhappy with and in turn, this pulls them further away from alignment.
5) Belief is key – without belief we don’t have much. I want you to ask yourself when you are faced with a situation where you may be skeptical “what do I have to gain by believing? or what do I have to gain by not believing?” What you perceive in your environment gets filtered through your belief system and then you form opinions. Therefore, belief plays a large role in determining the outcomes in our lives through how we choose to interact with our surroundings. Whether you believe in something or not plays a large role in how it will affect you. This is why placebos are effective. Don’t get hung up on skepticism because through skepticism you may be denying yourself positive feelings or experiences.
6) Tame your ego – ego is a self-preservation mechanism we use to interact with the world to cope with feelings of inadequacy and measure up to our surroundings. Although what it is really doing is keeping you in a place where you put more emphasis on others validating you and less on learning to validate yourself. Without learning how to validate yourself you are always relying on others by giving them control to tell you how you feel about yourself.
7) “I don’t care what people think” – this statement carries a lot of apathy and denial. It is part of the human experience to care what others think as we yearn to belong, be accepted, receive love, etc. The key is to place more emphasis on what you think about yourself and less on what others think of you. It starts with balance in the terminology we use to achieve a positive view of the world around us.
8) Start to allow yourself to feel and stop repressing – repression is one of the most common psychological defences I work with in my practice. Everyone is so scared to feel that they will do anything and everything to distract themselves from being with themselves. Being alone with your thoughts does not have to be a daunting task. It is only this way because you don’t fully know yourself. It is like being in an elevator with a stranger; if it breaks down you will slowly become more and more comfortable with this person the more time you spend with them. Take time each day to be with you and through this experience you may find you already possess what you have been looking for outside yourself all this time.
9) Slipping back into the old you - I know for me when I was moving from living in fear all the time to coming from a place of love, there was a part of me that was always wanting to gravitate back to the old me because it just seemed easier to stay with what is familiar. Or I feared going back to the old me, and I ended up living in fear again. It wasn’t until I began reframing what it meant to change. It doesn’t have to be a loss of something, which usually leads to fear, it can merely be an addition to what already exists, which comes from a place of love.
10) Speak your truth – I can’t emphasize this enough. We often hold back what we believe, think, or feel, in fear of people judging us. We conform to what we think others want us to believe and in turn compromise our own values. This incongruent way of living leads to not following your heart and remaining in ego where you will always be in your head. Our intuition exists in our hearts and this is what we need to follow to live free.
11) Being alone is part of life – Feeling alone is probably one of the scariest and most commonly avoided human emotions. To be alone means to not have and to not have means we are not whole. This can lead people to feel the need to fill themselves with people and things to avoid feeling like they are empty. The key is to accept that life is meant to feel empty sometimes and that feeling this way is only temporary as every emotion passes if you allow it to pass. Once you come out the other side and realize that being alone with yourself is merely an opportunity to get to know yourself better, it all melts away.
12) Life isn’t complicated, we complicate it – the polarity within life itself is what often complicates things. We are constantly pulled between what we want and what we need. This is the tug-o-war between head and heart, ego and authenticity. It is not until we begin to follow our hearts that life will become what we need it to be. This is how we align to our source energy.
13) Never lose faith – sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place. The universe has a weird way of helping guide you when you are not living your truth. At times we can ignore our hearts and listen to our heads. This can take us down paths where we find ourselves unhappy. As life begins to shift, life as we know it may feel like it is crumbling. Through this crumbling if we maintain faith, we get to build a better life through learning to avoid the mistakes we made when building our first life. The key is to break the karmic cycles that we get stuck in and not bring them into our next chapter.
14) Set weekly intentions – Every Sunday night I set my intentions for the following week. I set some time aside to ask the universe to align me to what it is I want and need in my life to make me happy. You always come from place of what I want, not what you don’t want.
15) Gratitude keeps you whole – my life has changed ever since I started doing daily gratitude exercises. They don’t have to be elaborate. All you do is praise the universe for giving you what you asked for when you set your intentions. When you start to appreciate the simple things in life and stop seeking more, true happiness can truly blossom.
16) Allow more grey into your life – use language that supports neutrality and avoid absolute statements. These are statements where you make a permanent decision about yourself and leave no room for balance. A good example of this in my life is me saying "I am terrible at remembering names". If I make this statement absolute I will create my own reality of being terrible at remembering names. Often times we limit ourselves based on past experiences where we were unsuccessful at something and it left us feeling bad. Human nature doesn't want it to happen again, so we brace for the worst to not feel stupid if we fail again. However, when you brace for the worst you get the worst in return and this just perpetuates a cycle of failure. Break free of this cycle by discontinuing to let your past into your present moment. Stop labelling yourself, it is only holding you back from achieving the absolute greatest version of you!
17) Be the same person you are in the shower in every other area of your life (but with clothes on) – I am a total geek in the shower; singing, dancing, and not worrying about looking cool. It is often this idea that we have to look a certain way to others that pulls us out of our own essence. Surrender to this idea that you have to be someone to everyone and just be you! People are attracted to authenticity and people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
18) Be your own BFF – the only thing constant in life is the relationship you have with yourself. I learned this lesson after breaking up with my partner of 7 years who was my best friend. All it took was one hour conversation and our whole dynamic changed. Life and the relationships we nurture are so precious and fragile at times. When you are your own best friend you develop a strength, security, and awareness that can carry you through any darkness.
19) Love is joy and pain – life is full of polarities. Love is probably one of the best examples of this. Love can bring you euphoria one day and heart break the next. When you let go in love you are committing to being vulnerable with another person. You are opening yourself up to having someone influence the way you feel on a deep level. You are surrendering control. Some people never experience the true bliss of love because they won’t allow the depth that is necessary because they fear the pain associated with taking that plunge.
20) The way you view yourself sets the tone for how others view you – the thoughts and feelings we have about our self is projected to the universe by energy that people pick up from us. If you think you are ugly, fat, not worthy, or not good enough, you will set the tone for others to view you this way and in some cases treat you this way. This may reaffirm what you think about yourself. Set some time aside each day and write in a self-love journal.
21) Innate happiness you must feel for, not think for – next time you have a joyful experience I want you to follow it. Entertain it, understand it, and deeply feel it in your body. This is the energy that always exists inside you and you can activate it at any time you want. It is a skill that you master from within and cannot be disturbed by anything that exists outside yourself. Start by noticing where you feel joy in your body. When you know, you can focus your attention and positive thoughts on this part of your body and raise that joyful energy within you at any time.
22) Don’t shelter yourself or others from pain – this is a slippery slope. People are meant to experience pain in their lives. If we are avoiding and disallowing others to feel pain, it doesn’t provide us the opportunity to practice living through pain. Painful times are part of life and the better you are at guiding yourself through this the better off you will be.
23) Change is a series of small choices not one big choice – Initiating change and sustaining change are two different things. What I have learned being an addiction counsellor is that the people who are the most successful at sustaining change are the ones who understand that it is not one large choice you are making, it is a series of small choices that you must keep making. The key is to not lose sight of the meaning and purpose of why you wanted to change in the first place.
24) Reduce the amount of time you spend looking in mirrors – this pulls you out of how you feel and places more emphasis on how you think you feel based on how you look. This teaches you to rely on something external to make you feel good and this is not the true essence of what it’s meant to feel positive.
25) Give people the benefit of the doubt – Everyone is carrying a heavy load and deserves to be treated with compassion. Using hate to deal with hate is only going to create more hate. It’s amazing how people respond when they are acting hateful and you show compassion. Love is a diffuser and tool used to inspire people to better themselves.
26) Feelings are temporary energy states – All feelings pass with time. We choose when a feeling is released. Distraction or avoidance of feelings encapsulates that energy within us and it manifests as addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, etc. Stop running and allow your feelings to flow through you by using acceptance.
27) You are good enough just the way you are – looking for ways to make yourself better is an aimless task if you don’t already have a foundation of innate “I am good enough”. Otherwise you are looking for superficial ways to create a depth rather than aligning with your true vibrational energy. It is this inner knowingness of self-worth that truly helps us connect with the world in a way that provides us with sustainable happiness.
28) “Comparison is the thief of joy” – we live in a day and age where people are sharing their lives with others on social platforms. This means people are usually putting their ‘best foot forward’ and when we see other people’s posts we may think “why is their life so amazing and mine is so blah”. Comparison will always take you to a dark place loaded with shame, jealously, and feelings of not good enough. Focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t and watch your life blossom before your eyes. This is how you create abundance.
29) Always focus on what is working, not what isn’t – spend more time following positive thoughts and less time with negative ones. Every day we will be faced with feel good and feel bad thoughts. If you follow your feel good thoughts you will feel good, and if you follow your feel bad thoughts you will feel bad. Pretty simple eh...The challenging part is finding the consistency to not let your external world determine the frequency of feel bad thoughts. You will have these thoughts because it is inevitable but the question is how much time will you spend entertaining them?
Nu Energy Laser & Addiction Services Inc.