Wanna find happiness… Stop being who you aren’t

I remember walking on Fountain Avenue in Hollywood and my phone rang, as usual it was my mom who called every 20 minutes to report some event she’d seen on FOX News or to find out if I heard “so and so” died, got divorced, had cancer, was in rehab, was missing or God knows what 10 minutes before she called me. I always knew when she was going to take a conversation to the lowest common denominator because the call always went like this: “I’m gonna tell you something in complete confidence and you have to promise not to tell it”, then she would drop a bomb on me and hang up. The topics always involve someone being a slut, gay, drug addict or alcoholic. Those are the things that caused them to die, get cancer, go to rehab or wind up missing. I guess that’s how great stories begin with sex, drugs, and illness. For some reason, the phone call I received that March morning involved none of the tantalizing gossip I was expecting. Instead, she made a statement that has become the mission statement of my life. At that point, I’d been sober 6 months and was agonizing over the thought of returning to life in Jacksonville, Florida.

First let me say there is nothing wrong with Jacksonville, Florida. It’s a city with friendly people, great food, and southern culture. It is also where I should have received an award for greatest public display of self-destruction.  The only thing I hadn’t done in that town was have sex with Michael Jackson. For once in my life, I was in shock by my mom’s next statement. She said, “Rob you’re not an idiot. The only things you need to do is stop looking for happiness in a place you never found it and simply stop being who you aren’t!” Wow! At that moment I had an epiphany that changed my life. At that moment, I set myself free to find me exactly where I was and that was in Hollywood, California. My life has never been the same since that moment.

I’ve heard the statement “just be yourself” so much. It sounds like an amazing thing to do, and I have wished many times that I could just do that. What I’ve wondered, though, is what in the world does that mean? What if someone is a jerk to other people? Is it okay for them to just be themselves and go on being a jerk to everyone? How about people who are fearful of being around others and live a hermit-like life, avoiding people?

In my quest for answers, I’ve found that it is very much possible to just be yourself. The person who is a jerk to others and the person who is afraid of social situations are, in actuality, not being themselves. Their real self is just being covered up with conditioned, fear-based thinking. Our true self is who we really are when we let go of all of the stories, labels, and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks and pretentiousness. It is who we really are when we let fall to the floor the cloak of other people’s stuff that we have taken on. Everything else that we claim to be when we say, “This is who I am!” is only a story.

Below are some steps that have helped me in uncovering my real nature, which is that being outside of the accumulated thoughts and beliefs that I have collected over a lifetime.

1. Get in touch with your inner child.

If you ever watch small kids, you will notice just how free they are and how little they care about what other people think of them. They are happy and in the moment. They are their true natures. They have not yet been socialized to “fit in” to a society that squashes that. They don’t care if people think that they are silly while they dance in the front yard for all of the neighbors to see. Children are just pure love and light. If you really want to get in touch with your inner child, become freer. Play, have fun, enjoy the moment, do cartwheels in the front yard. We play roles to fit into society and we suppress our true nature out of fear of what others think. If you find yourself worried about being judged, remember that is merely just the socialized you, not the real you.

2. Become more aware of your thoughts.

You may be shocked by the number of negative thoughts that run through your mind on any given day. After so long, our reality begins to take shape based on all of these conditioned thinking patterns. Become more aware of the quality of your thinking. Allow yourself to sit quietly every morning before starting your day for just five to ten minutes. Yes, thoughts will come and go, but just allow them to do that without getting attached to them. Just observe them. When you are finished, continue observing the mind throughout your day.

We have so many unconscious beliefs that we have taken on over the years that were probably handed down to us from somebody else, and that we believed to be who we are. Becoming more aware of the quality of your thoughts, letting go of the old beliefs, and becoming more present can help in revealing your true nature. We are all so much more than those old negative thinking patterns would ever allow us to believe.

3. Follow your intuition.

This is probably one of the most important factors in being yourself. I ignored my intuition for the longest time because I felt so obligated to others. Their happiness was more important than my own. I will tell you this, from my own personal experience: When you start following the little nudges and urges that you get, you will have hopped on the magic carpet ride of awesomeness. It doesn’t mean that you will never have bumps in the road again, but when you are in alignment with your soul, you will always be steered in the best possible direction.

How do any of these things help you to just be yourself? Because they help you to be in alignment with your true nature. Your authentic self is the real you that is beyond all of those conditioned beliefs and thinking patterns that you have accumulated throughout your life.

While it is important to love and accept yourself for where we are at the moment, looking back now, I see that I suppressed my true nature in order to please others and to fit in. I began going within and doing spiritual study and practice in my late forties, and have since become more aware of how much I was identified with my victim story, how I would play roles depending on who I was with, and just how much I cared about other people’s perceptions of me. I had lost touch with my natural self and stuffed it away in a box. Whenever I would notice myself getting attached to the stories and labels in my head or would catch myself playing roles with others, I would just breathe and relax into the moment without any labels or judgments.

It was a challenge because I cared so much about being accepted by others. So I would ask myself, “How would I act right now if I had no cares of what others thought of me?” I realized that who I naturally am without anything else added is perfectly okay.

When you let go of the old ways of thinking, follow your bliss, and do what you love, you begin to align with happiness and peace. These are all indicators that you are connected with your true nature. You are then allowing your real self to shine forth in all its glory.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

Physically I am here. Mentally I am far, far away. Depression is a kind of tired sleep won’t fix.

Every time I turn on the TV I see an advertisement for depression and medications to cure it. You would think it would no longer exist considering there’s a pill to make it go away…. just see your doctor and be happy forever more. I wish it actually worked that way, but it doesn’t. I read an article by Dan Scotti recently that made me wonder are people depressed or just sad. 3ae9980e0575f7ebad3dc04448db5f30 It bothers me when some of my friends tell me they’re depressed. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to whatever they may be dealing with, and it may be true that they are truly depressed — and not just sad, but when I hear the word “depression,” I think of a debilitating disorder that takes too many lives. I think of my grandfather’s lifeless body on the dining room floor after losing his battle with depression at the hands of a self-inflicted gunshot. Hearing the word get thrown around so frequently makes me worry for people whose far-reaching symptoms could go unmedicated or unnoticed. They may hear that everyone around them is “depressed” and decline to get help, believing their feelings are widespread and routine. But they’re not.    I’ve known my friends for a long time. And while it’s true that some of them may very well be unsatisfied with different areas of their lives, I have a suspicion that none of them are depressed in a literal sense. Depression is more serious. Depression holds a great number of people back from just enjoying life. It’s more than just a bad day accompanied by a night spent tortured in a smoky bar somewhere. But that’s what’s difficult about depression: It’s a concept that’s far from easy to understand.  Many people who aren’t depressed use the word to justify feelings of sadness and anguish and many individuals who are depressed don’t realize they’re depressed until it’s too late and something drastic has happened. For many people, however, the line between sadness and depression can be blurred. Depression isn’t just a term to be used lightly; it’s a clinical disorder, and it is often fatal. Sure, sadness is a symptom of depression, but in reality, the two are not one and the same. And anyone who’s been affected by it – or knows someone who’s been affected by it – would surely attest to that.                                                                                            

Out of respect to those who deal with real depression on a daily basis, I’m writing this to set the two apart. Although many of us have bad days – and I mean awful days, days that make you want to crawl into a hole – few people are dealing with actual depression. For instance, whenever you hear people say that they’ve been feeling “kinda depressed lately,” chances are they’re falling victim to an unfortunate choice of words. According to Guy Winch, a psychologist, and author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts,  “Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways.”  In other words, depression — and the pervasive sadness that is involved with depression — doesn’t naturally come and go from day to day. People who are truly depressed don’t feel sad every few weeks when they find themselves in a slump. Depression is day-in and day-out. Additionally, Winch says that depression can often rear its ugly face for no reason. There’s no trigger. (On the other hand, “situational depression” is also a type of depression, and it often follows traumatic life events — a divorce, a death in the family, a physical illness.)  And often, depression can afflict someone as a result of trauma. Often, people who have a family history of major depression can become depressed themselves after a life change — an event that may be easier for others to over come.                                 

Winch writes of clinical depression, “People’s lives on paper might be totally fine — they would even admit this is true — and yet they still feel horrible”.  This is why depression becomes such a suffocating condition to deal with. People battling depression may not know why they’re depressed; they just know that they are. They may feel guilty for being depressed when their lives seem otherwise in order.  

 So if you think you may be dealing with something serious like depression, ask yourself what, in particular, is making you unhappy. If you can identify the different aspects of your life that are making you dissatisfied, try to improve these areas. If you change your situation and are still unhappy, you may be clinically depressed. Winch also explains that depression has lower “thresholds.” If you’re depressed, you’re “more impatient… quicker to anger and get frustrated, quicker to break down, and it takes you longer to bounce back from everything.”  It’s never simple for people with depression to “snap out of it,” as they’re often told — and, as Winch notes, this usually makes things worse. In a post for LiveScience after the suicide of actor Robin Williams, health editor Karen Rowan highlights additional symptoms of depression, via the Mayo Clinic: “loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, irritability, agitation or restlessness, lower sex drive, decreased concentration, insomnia or excessive sleeping and chronic fatigue and lethargy.”               

If you feel like you’re experiencing something more pervasive than general sadness, make sure to see a physician before letting it get any worse. Often, people battling depression may become apathetic about their emotional state and accept it as “the new normal.” This is a mistake. It’s important to remember that, while depression can strike at any time, it’s never too late to address. And if you hear your friends mention depression, even in casual conversation, make sure to ask them what they’re dealing with. But don’t ignore it. The more awareness that’s spread about what depression truly is, the less it will be misunderstood. If you are depressed and want to seek treatment, there are plenty of websites, hotlines and other forms of professional help you can go to. Please do not wait to get the help you need…

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell


Stay single… you’re less likely to catch herpes and you’ll save money…

a7f0936b781d2052c9ccd7f78d5c3db3I love the feeling of being in love or falling in love or thinking about love. I’m normally not happy when the “love buzz” ends and I’m stuck with yet another mistake or as Madonna calls it a “substitute for love.” My first Valentine’s Day in L.A. was spent with a friend at some swanky little bistro that held about 20 people. It was cramped and overpriced with candles and that stupid red glittery confetti people put on tables at parties. I hate that stuff… it’s like “oh, look! There’s festive shit slung everywhere… this is going to be a great night!”

What I remember about that night is paying too much for a “lovers meal” created by Chef Blah-Blah and looking at all of the Malibu Barbie & Ken looking couples wearing too much cologne and laughing too much and too loudly. No one in the room seemed at ease in the environment… and I was feeding off their anxiety. I’d given up on love so long before that meal that someone should have picked up my tap as an act of loser charity.

My friend is one of those guys who is lucky in life… he’s a wealthy doctor, drives a BMW, owns a loft in downtown LA with an amazing view and looks like an underwear model. We both have enjoyed pampered lives… he worked for his and I got lucky and fell out of the right woman at birth. It doesn’t matter how you get to a place as long as you get there …

My friend was freshly out of a relationship and about to dive back into it with the same person. That never works for me… I tend to throw a match on things and watch them burn. No one has ever asked me back for a repeat performance. What does that say about them? Hmm?

On the subway home that night I wondered what other “single” horny people could do on Valentine’s Day alone…. This is what I came up with….

Valentine’s Day is usually a day to spend an exorbitant amount of money on gifts that typically cost half the price the other 364 days of the year: flowers, candy, and even dinner prices get tripled because of all the suckers going all out on every Valentine’s Day purchase. Since you don’t have to worry about spending half your mortgage on gifts that don’t make it to the end of the week, take half of that money and spend it on yourself. Buy that guy gear you’ve been eyeing since before Christmas, splurge on a new wardrobe or just drop it all on a guilty pleasure like a massage. Be your own Valentine. Do whatever the hell you want. Declare it a “Me Day” and go out and have fun. No one will even notice. They are all too busy crying and whining because they are not in — or sometimes because they are in — a relationship.

Have A Party

You were invited to a couple of parties but respectfully declined because all the festivities would include couples. Why not go for a little while anyway? Drink and eat on another guy’s dime and still leave with time to go out and hit a couple of bars after the party hits the wall. You never know — a few single women could also be in attendance, upping your chances of getting a little box of chocolates of your own on V-Day (yes, that was supposed to sound perverted). You could also hit a bar, go to a show or anywhere else where other single people are hanging out.

Veg out

Do nothing at all. Being single on Valentine’s Day is the one time you’re allowed a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card to spending money on sports tickets or a headbanger band in a crappy part of town and extracurricular activities your imaginary girlfriend would probably disapprove of. Just stay home, veg out on the couch, fart, and be glad you’re not dropping a couple of bills on overcooked steak and watered-down drinks. You can go out next weekend and rub all the money you saved in your hitched friends’ faces.

Tear it up with your buds

Men always have at least one or two single friends. It’s just the law.  They’ll be spending Valentine’s Day alone as well. Spend the night with the other guys who don’t have a significant other. Don’t settle for the typical night; make it a colossal night. Go for dinner, drinks, to a bar or even for just a night of gambling at someone’s house. Blow off some steam and forget all about the love-and-hearts crap. You also don’t have to worry about any of the holiday talk creeping into the conversation unless it’s: “Man, am I glad I don’t have to waste time on that Valentine’s junk.”

Do the usual

It’s Valentine’s Day. Alone. Big. Farking. Deal. Just because it’s a day that everyone else is celebrating doesn’t mean you’ve got to observe and celebrate. Just pretend it’s an average day: go to work, go to lunch, go for after-work drinks, flip on a Netflix movie and do all the things you’d do on a normal, boring day. It only lasts 24 hours, and you spend the majority of that time in bed or at work. It will all be over soon.

There’re lots more you can do if you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day alone… 

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell


It’s over… so what’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

There must be 50 ways to leave your lover… some of the ones I’ve used landed me in deep legal trouble. I’ve learned a valuable lesson in becoming “free”.

These are the ones that you should avoid at all cost….

1. Do not create a website dedicated to your “ex” or expose every character flaw the person has on Facebook…

2. Do not post the phone number & address and photograph of your “ex” drunk at a club online

3. If your “ex” sues you … and they will… follow the judges orders

4. Do not attack the judge that heard your case involving your “ex” on Facebook or create a website dedicated to destroying his character

5. When you are served with a summons to appear in front of the judge that you have slandered and your “ex” … make it a point to show up

6. When the judge has you arrested for what you’ve posted about your “ex” and him on Facebook and websites.. and sentences you to picking up shit at a dog kennel for 200 hours….. go pick up the dog crap.

7. Prepare to pay $20,000 in fines and restitution for a relationship that started with sex on the third date…

I hope this information has been helpful …..

Historically, I suck at relationships because I don’t know how to listen… I just dive head first into one toxic fiasco after another… My formula is very simple… go on three dates and have sex…. no need to know anything about the person… just have sex and force a relationship to form with no instructions… This has been the recipe for all shattered marriages. Don’t try this at home… believe me! Because I have so much experience in miserable relationships … I wanted to share some insight. In my case, each marriage ended in disaster complicated by my use of drugs and alcohol. I always believed that had my divorces ended sooner… we would not have parted bitter enemies! That never happened.

Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can feel. It’s only about 2 feet above lust! That one has always gotten me in trouble ….  When relationships end, the person left behind will always wonder to themselves, “Was anything we had real?”  especially if their heart was shattered.

In reality, the only way to end an “it” is to be honest… to express your reasons… and then to simply just walk away. No person wants to be the bad guy …. emotionally rejecting a lover and causing heartache and pain. On the other hand who wants to prolong a situation where we, ourselves, are starting to feel trapped and miserable?

Ending a relationship takes courage when we are walking away from someone who is pulling us down… but ending a relationship can be cowardly if you don’t end it with a little class. 

So how do we say goodbye to someone we love, or have loved, without causing another person pain? The answer is simple. You cannot end a relationship without causing pain. But you can lessen the blow to your partner by respecting their emotional well-being, presenting yourself honestly … be clear that it’s time move on… and then walk away!

Walking away from someone who is abusive, has an addiction, or is holding you back from pursing your dreams takes courage on your part. It is also a wake up call to your partner that you respect yourself enough to not keep placing yourself in dangerous situations.
If you’re the one that has been dumped … it is also a wise decision to walk away. Don’t call, text your ex, and especially do not send emails begging this person for a second chance, or writing that you will change and be the person they expect you to be. You are only belittling yourself.
As hurt as you are, and as painful as the situation seems, you also must walk away to regroup. Get yourself a support system and step outside of yourself to see the situation for what it is. That person may have just done you the biggest favor.  Sometimes closing the door on the past and walking away from the present is the only way to get to the future.

The challenge in relationships is that each day and with each interaction there is the potential for our feelings to shift up or down. So, how do you decide when the relationship is in trouble or is simply experiencing a momentary blip of bliss or misery?
It’s important to pay attention to the pattern(s) in the relationship. If, over the course, of time the daily blips are repeated and repeated, and your negative feelings continue, then there’s a pattern you might want to be concerned with.

Our inner voice – your true, authentic self – will let you know what’s best in any situation. It’s your compass…your directional force. It will never lead you astray. It’s essential to pay attention to the whispers of your inner voice, those quiet nudges to make a change, go on a different path, and take a new tack in your life.

Healthy relationships, while occasionally causing the partners angst, overall bring joy, happiness and contentment to the individuals. There may be issues, conflicts, disagreements and/or problems, but once these get worked out, the partners are left with and experience satisfaction. They look forward to spending time with the other person. They’re aware of and accept their partner’s ‘quirks’, and deeply respect and like who they’re with. Each person has room to grow as an individual, and their partner understands this will enhance the relationship.

In healthy relationships partners feel good about themselves and the world. They feel deeply respected and cared for. They feel safe.

It takes courage…
It takes courage to take a no-holds barred, clear-eyed look at your relationship. To pay attention to your own feelings and authentic inner voice and give them credence. It takes courage to take charge of your own life and make your own decisions, not swayed by others’ opinions, about what’s important to you.

This is my journey… this is my life

Rob Cantrell