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Ben's Weekly Spark 5.24.18: A Buddhist Punk's Approach to Anxiety, Empowering The Modern Man

...A Weekly Digest of

Community-Generated Tools, Tips & Experiences for Accessing


Ben Caron Tribe Picture

(Click here to join our Facebook group where these tools are shared. THANK YOU to the BC Tribe members who contributed to this week's Spark!)


🔥JOY: This song does it for me every time!!! A little throwback with a little EDM...A great tune to get your morning going!

If you haven't been to a Silent Disco before, it's one of my favorite things to do. Period. If you don't know what it is, it's a party that broadcasts music from multiple DJs to headphones you wear on your head. It's a truly inspiring experience. The way that people dance when they're in headphones is totally different than when they're listen to music acoustically in space, and there's a sort of sacredness that gets created by the silence of not being able to speak over the music. I highly recommend this particular event, because it's a mashup of two of my favorite theme nights: Beatles & Bowie/ Prince & Michael Jackson. Plus, they added in a Latin channel! I will be out of town, but seriously, if you can get to this, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND going! AND, it's only $12!!!! Click here for tickets and info!

Just finished a really incredible book, called “Stealing Fire” (highly recommend, gifted to me by Rexx Thomas, THANK YOU!) that talks about strategies, technologies and research around replicating the experience the author calls “ecstasis,” or what some might call “flow,” or “being in the zone.”

What I wanted to share from the book is a strategy the author calls “Hedonic Calendaring,” or I might call “Ecstatic Planning.” Basically, it’s a process through which I can strategically schedule activities that help me access ecstasis in order to live a more consistently ecstatic life.

So, here’s how it works (my take on it.) I write down all of the things in my life that I get the most joy/flow/inspiration from and give them three ratings:

1) Rate 1 to 10 for how much *Investment* the activity takes to reach the peak flow experience (investment meaning time/energy—a high number being a lot of time/energy, low number being little time/energy. For example, I might rate running as a 3 because it takes a bit for me to get in the zone, but I might rate Burning Man a 7 because I invest a lot of time/energy to attend to access flow.)

2) Rate 1 to 10 the Reward of the activity (low meaning little reward, high is a lot of reward.) How much do I get out of the experience? For example, I rated hiking a 5 but I rated singing a 10 because hiking gets me about 50% ecstatic, but singing takes me all the way, 100% ecstatic.

3) Rate each one for Harm. How much do I lose by engaging with the activity (low is little harm, high is a lot of harm?) For example, alcohol might have a harm rating of 8 because of the hangover, slow recovery, etc, whereas dancing might have a 1 because I feel tired and sore the next day.

Then I take the Reward divided by (Investment + Risk) to get the Value Ranking of the activity.

(Example: Singing is 10 reward, 1 investment, 0 harm, so its Value is 10. Alcohol is 5 reward, 2 investment, 8 harm, so its Value is 0.5)

What this ranking system allows me to do is see how their preferred ecstatic experiences rank against one another, and so I can use this ranking to decide how frequently I schedule these activities. Some activities would happen daily, some weekly, some monthly, seasonally, yearly, etc. So, for an activity like singing, which has a 10 Value, with little investment and big reward, I might schedule that daily, whereas for alcohol, which has a very low ranking (high harm, lower reward), I might schedule or choose infrequently (once a month?)

I think this is something we all do inherently in a way, but it was cool to do this inventory and clarify for myself what I want to invest more time in and what I want to invest less time in in order to foster a more ecstatic life.


🔥HOPE: My friend Bradley Keys shared this photo he took of someone who inspired him. He wrote: "It’s so funny how much we stand in our own way. I was inspired to be schooled on the stairs just now by someone who lets no excuses stop him from doing what he wants. What a great reminder how lucky we are and how determination can raise the stakes."

In our last episode of "Love from B&T" for the season, a collective of artists and entrepreneurs I belong to (called COELEVATE) sat down to talk about the ways that they were each helping to benefit the world, and how you might support us as we organize a group photo and video shoot for the end of August! If you're interested in supporting, check out the video, and also learn about our fundraising series, Coelevate presents: The Summer of Ascension (Event Series)!

I believe that if we focus our creativity and ingenuity toward positive outcomes, we can absolutely heal our planet. This video shows 10 inventions that prove just that...


🔥PEACE: Here's a great article from the Chopra Center on ways to keep life simple. This is one of my aims at the moment: simplify, clarify, streamline.

Although I don’t admit it often publicly, I am definitely one who struggles with anxiety and fear often. This podcast from Dharmapunx offers some really great insights into the nature of fear and anxiety, and a meditative approach to managing them. I really love how he breaks down the types of anxiety and their sources.


🔥LOVE: My friend Blake Zealer wrote a really compelling article about his experiences of manhood in our modern era, and how self-love and humility are the path forward for men.

Love this video of one of my favorite teachers, Sharon Salzberg, on how choosing love is a choice of strength, not weakness.


This Summer a group of friends and I are banding together under the banner COELEVATE

to fundraise for a shared

photo and video shoot.

I'll be shooting my first music video for my song, "Love Is On the Rise."

We're calling our fundraising event series, "The Summer of Ascension."

If you'd like to come and support,


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