Who did you want to be when you were a child?

Besides a dinosaur? My first dream was to be a basketball player. But after realizing that I did not have superhuman athletic capabilities, I took the Kobe Bryant poster off my wall and replaced it with a Jack Kerouac poster. I decided to be a writer.

“After realizing that I did not have superhuman athletic capabilities, I took the Kobe Bryant poster off my wall and replaced it with a Jack Kerouac poster”

What are some of the choices you’ve made that made you who you are?

The best choices always involve going beyond my comfort zone. Moving to New York City without a plan, simply because I felt a calling to be here, was important. So was choosing to write a book even though everybody told me I needed to build a following first. Intuition never steers us in the wrong direction.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Wake up early and write while drinking Yerba mate, then meditation, then yoga. Eat a big meal, do more writing. Visit with a friend. Watch a movie. (Bonus points if there is an ocean involved.)

What role does social media play in your life?

Ah, social media, a blessing and a curse. I spend a lot of time on Instagram (@shityouregosays) because it’s such a great platform for connection. I like to write and draw, so it’s an excellent channel to share my work and meet new people. But social media can be problematic when we don’t give ourselves limits. I try to avoid it when people are around, and it should never take the place of real relationships.

“Social media can be problematic when we don’t give ourselves limits”

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Since this is a yoga website, I’m going to say the ability to do a handstand. I’m fairly new to inversions, and they still seem like a mutant superpower to me.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

I could say having my first book, Sh#t Your Ego Says, published by Hay House last year. It took three years to write and distills my perspective on life. But I’ll say my biggest accomplishment is remaining somewhat childlike and silly when this modern world pushes us to be so serious and competitive.

Tell us about Sh#t Your Ego Says: Strategies to Overthrow Your Ego and Become the Hero of Your Story? Who is this book for?

It’s a story about change, transformation, and the mind. The story begins after I moved to New York City and experienced homelessness in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. With nowhere to go, I took refuge on the Caribbean island of Culebra, where I faced my fears and insecurities, which I came to recognize as the voice of my ego.

The book shares several relatable stories through the lens of two voices – the ego and the higher self. These voices are always in the background, influencing our decisions. The choice is ours who we listen to.

The book is for anybody who wants to make a change in their life and access higher levels of creativity, courage, and consciousness.

What’s your definition of mindfulness? What is the first step to becoming mindful in your day-to-day life?

Ironically, being mindful is the opposite of having the mind full. It’s easy to allow clutter to fill our heads. This clouds our judgment and distracts us from who we truly are. Being mindful means living in a state of awareness beyond the reactive mind. We either can identify with our thoughts, or we can identify as the observer of our thoughts. Being mindful means remaining in the present moment and not being carried away by the endless current of overactive thoughts.

Meditation helps, even five or ten minutes a day will help strengthen the energy of awareness. Practice makes perfect.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

Visit the pyramids. I have been too busy going inward to do much exploring outward. Maybe a world tour is coming up next.

What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?

I have to say yoga. Creativity requires an open channel. Inspiration is always available, but we must have an empty mind in order to create a channel for the inspiration to flow. Yoga and meditation are the best methods to clear clutter from my mind.

In moments of self-doubt of adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

Stop relying on myself and start trusting a higher power. I’m a big believer in surrender. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, but having trust in something greater than yourself is essential. When I rely on solely myself to carry me through adversity, the burden becomes too heavy. When I rely on the universe to help me, I find solutions I could not have discovered alone.

“When I rely on solely myself to carry me through adversity, the burden becomes too heavy”

If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be?

Bob Dylan. He would probably be quiet. But I wouldn’t care. I would geek out sitting next to the godfather of modern American music.

A book or a film that transformed your life?

The book Be Here Now by Ram Dass was a game changer. I definitely recommend it to everyone. Also the works of Joan Didion. I feel like Ram Dass taught me how to write from a spiritual point of view, and Joan Didion taught me how to write from a writer’s point of view.

James McCrae is a Hay House author and creator of Sh#t Your Ego Says: Simple Strategies to Overthrow Your Ego and Become the Hero of Your Story.  Learn more about James on his website

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