On The Road With My Ego

by Landon Hartstein

It's funny how in life, you get what you ask for, but it doesn't always look the way you think.

I'm getting ready to embark on an incredible journey. Generally speaking when this opportunity arises I try and take advantage of both the free time and the freedom to do what I want; to really check back in with myself. To find out how I'm doing, growing myself. 

This trip, I've decided that mind body and spirit will be a central theme. I'm hoping to work on sustainable farms and at yoga retreats to build both my physical and mental strength along with my "off the grid" knowledge and skills.

Internally, I really want to work on the parts of my personality I dislike. Namely, my anger/upset. For me both my anger and upset are tied directly to my ego. My ego is massive. Up until recently I thought I was always at war with my ego. Trying to keep it in check. Now I've come to realize that my ego is a tool to help me and that I need to embrace it, not fight it.

So I've decided to work on how it looks when I get upset. I've seen people in my life who don't get upset. They are so rooted in themselves that when someone else's ego or pain body tries to engage theirs they can recognize it for what it is and therefore pay it no mind.

I on the other hand stay patient and keep my cool...until I don't. And then I absolutely loose my shit. I become mean and nasty. I say unkind things and if I'm real angry I get personal. I don't like this part of myself. I wish I had a better control of it, in fact I wish it didn't exist at all. 

So my recent goal for myself is to not get upset when people piss me off or treat me poorly or are unkind to me. To recognize that is their hurt and their pain and to instead respond with love.

Since, I've made that my goal, I sure have gotten the opportunity to practice. Now in my mind, in practice, I would like meditating and doing yoga to really get centered in myself and studying philosophy and ideology that supports my thoughts. So that then I could face the opportunity to use these skills. That is still the plan but I figured I could start "training" now. Practicing.

Well, the second I made that thought, the universe went into speed mode to give me what I wanted. Suddenly my relatively easy going life was filled with all kinds of douche bags. That real special brand of asshole, the kind that engages my ego even quicker than normal.

So I've gotten a lot of practice of being upset and then seeing how I react. And it's an interesting experience. First of all. I am not centered. I'm burnt out and checked out and nowhere near an emotional space to take other peoples’ shit. However, I find it extremely interesting to observe how I react and why. 

Generally, my reactions are favorable. I tend to say nothing instead of something mean, which usually means I take other peoples’ shit. If I'm not quiet, I'm not mean, I'm condescending. Not rude but close, which checks peoples’ attitude a lot of the time and often yields a desirable result of them not being such an asshole, though sometimes engages their ego and then a battle of the wits begins, where I usually get the last word.

The thing is that I don't like "who I am" when my ego is running the show. I'm either saying nothing, biting my tongue in an attempt to be "loving" which really only serves the other person as I then get shit all over. Or, I'm mean and I say hurtful unkind things which is usually a defensive response, sometimes it's attacking, but either way, when I've finally calmed down and am "back to normal" I usually feel poorly about my chosen response and recognize that it was not my "highest self" and that "I can do better”.

I find it particularly amusing that I wanted to work on this part of myself and had a specific vision of how that looked, which was me doing yoga in a hut on a beach in Panama, “om”-ing, my way to a better me. 

The universe was like fuck that! You wanna work on that part of yourself…here ya go! Asshole after asshole after asshole. To the point where as a person who doesn’t get upset often I found myself upset, really upset, three separate times, THIS WEEK. At which point all you can do is laugh at the beauty and perfection of the Universe. How we’re all tested, perfectly, never given more than you can handle, but always given just as much as you can handle. The truth is in order to “test” how I’ll respond when I get upset, I have to get upset. And that “gift” has been given to me a lot since I decided that’s what I wanted for myself. It just didn’t look how I wanted it to. I wanted to be given that test when I was “ready” for it, instead I was given it when I needed it. Which in turn will allow me to really work on myself as I do yoga on a beach in Panama so that maybe I can eliminate it, so that when I am “ready” I will, “pass the test”…

I suppose the final observation/share here is what I think it may look like when I've found my way to where I want to be. 

I'd like to be so centered and rooted in love that I don't get triggered by other peoples hurt and pain. Now that's idealistic, of course I'm going to be triggered so I'd also like to be able to express myself lovingly so that my boundaries are made to be clear and that I don't have to be abused to be loving either.

Not exactly sure how that will look but I think verbiage may include words like "somebody must have hurt you real bad, I’m sorry that happened to you." as well as "I'm a human". 

I think a lot of the time people forget that they are dealing with other people. They are so self centered and ego based, other people really aren't people. And if you can kindly remind these people that we're all part of one human family. To demonstrate love in the face of unkindness can shatter their egotistical world and bring them back to the realm of love and oneness, even if only for a brief moment, even if only whilst standing in front of you. That momentary fleeting glimpse of the triumph of your love over their unkindness makes the world a better place. 

And that is my goal. To make the world a better place by spreading love and positive energy as much as I possibly can, everywhere I go. 

Improving on the part of me that doesn’t serve that purpose is at the forefront of my goals for this next adventure. I look forward to it.


Landon loves travel and adventure. He enjoys his pursuit of happiness and spirituality, which usually includes some form of adrenaline. As he gets older and wiser he learns to give back to the world he’s taken so much from. His ambition is to leave a legacy of love and happiness. Spreading both love and positive energy as often as he can, wherever he may find himself. Landon loves to tell stories, some of them have lessons, others are simply a tale. He hopes you enjoy his sharing.

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