My Blog is Migrating!


To all of my fellow bloggers and readers on…

The time has come for me to be a fond farewell to Reflections on Reality as a stand-alone blog. I’ve maintained two websites for a couple of years now, and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to continue publishing the same posts in two separate places. I continue to be an enthusiastic member of the WordPress community – but my focus has shifted to my self-hosted WordPress site and the work I’m doing there.

I invite all of to continue reading my Reflections at  Thank you for your comments, your feedback, and above all your love and support. These Reflections are for you.

Be well, my friends!

Perfection in Imperfection


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I used to be a perfectionist. I’m talking OCD-type perfectionist. I’m happy to say I’ve mostly overcome my obsession with perfection because I no longer throw myself into a manic frenzy or deep depression when something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. That doesn’t mean I’ve gotten rid of all of my quirks or peculiar ways of doing things. If anything, I’ve probably gotten more eccentric as I’ve aged. The difference is that I just don’t worry about perfection anymore.

I’ve found great joy in being able to step back after completing a project and asking myself, “What did I enjoy most about this experience? The result, or the journey?” I can honestly say that my answer is almost always, “The journey.” Oh, sure, I still revel in giving something my best effort and getting the best result I can, but if it’s not perfect, then that’s okay too.

My shift came when I accepted a very simple principle: By allowing myself to be imperfect, I am perfectly aligned with my inner joy. I know this sounds strange, but I found perfection in my imperfections. By letting go of my need for “perfect” results, I removed the barrier that had kept me from enjoying myself and what I was doing. I realized that the need for perfection didn’t just affect the result I wanted, but everything I did to get the result. If the slightest thing went wrong… oh, boy. I’d be in a bad mood, or worse – depressed for days.

Of course, I did my best not to let my bad mood or depression show, but I nevertheless was unable to enjoy myself or my life. I was caught up in a cycle of blaming circumstances, people, or anything else outside of me for my misery. The only thing I didn’t do was look at myself and ask the hard question, “How am I contributing to this mess?” I spent most of my time finding excuses for why things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. My need for perfection was turning my life into a perfect nightmare.

So what changed? What caused me to embrace my human imperfections when those imperfections used to cause so much distress? As crazy as it may seem, I just started going with the flow. I know, I know, that sounds like new age bullshit, but what’s exactly what happened. I had heard the expression, “Just go with the flow” most of my life, and to be frank, most of the time I rolled my eyes and shook my head when I heard it. But when I reached the point where I was tired of getting nothing but upset and depressed, I thought, “Why not go with the flow? Trying to change things outside of my control is exhausting.”

So, I started accepting my mistakes and the unexpected disruptions to my plans. I literally started saying, “You know what, that’s okay,” even if I was really upset. By telling myself that everything was okay (including the upset I felt), I gave myself permission to feel AND move on. I stopped feeling stuck and weighed down by a perceived failure, and I started feeling better about myself and my attempts at doing something I wanted to do. In fact, the simple statement of, “that’s okay” helped me to start looking at imperfect results differently. I stopped seeing an imperfect result as failed final attempt, but rather as a starting point for a creative process that I could enjoy for a long time as I made changes and adjustments.

Shiny Squirrel 01I also experienced another important shift. Distractions stopped being ways of procrastinating something I didn’t want to do and they instead became ways of centering me in my natural feelings of joy as I found more playful ways of creating what I wanted. Those who know me well (especially those who like to remind me of my nickname “Shiny Squirrel”) know that Shiny Squirrel Syndrome (or Attention Deficit Disorder in medical terms) is a very real part of my daily life. However, once I embraced the distractions and started treating them as willing, even enthusiastic, creative partners for getting me what I wanted, the burden of perfectionism fell away.

I started noticing that shiny objects and squirrels (the metaphorical type) were a natural part of going with the flow. I may have a goal and I may even be able to see my destination, but I’ve learned to accept that every time I turn away from it, it’s not me being an aimless, visionless bum with no ambition. It’s me staying centered in what makes me happiest and following the course of least resistance. The path I take to my destination doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is getting there. And once I make it to where I want to go, I’ll choose the next thing I want to do and start another adventure.

Oh, I’ll admit that I still experience times of harsh self-criticism and judgment, but overall I’ve come to accept that I am perfectly imperfect. The expression of my joy is centered not only in what I create, but also in the creative process, the adjustments, and the changes that come when I accept the imperfect results and I have fun turning something that isn’t quite right into something that is just right.

Today’s Reflection is therefore dedicated to everyone who finds perfection in their imperfections and to those who continue to struggle with perfectionism. Whether you find hope in my words or you completely disagree doesn’t matter. I simply know what has worked for me and what has worked for countless others who have found themselves in similar positions.

Embrace your imperfections, and when you do, you will find perfect alignment with your inner joy.

Just Be You


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I’ve been subconsciously aware of a certain pattern with my writing for a long time now, but I’ve only recently started paying deliberate attention to it. The pattern is that I only write when I’m in an “over-the-top” good mood. Truth be told, “Good Mood” is where I usually am, but when I’m in a really good mood I’m a lot more creative, which means that I’m also more likely to write.

When I started examining my writing pattern I noticed a pattern within the pattern. The times I didn’t write were the times when I subtly entertained a belief that I had nothing to say. I thought that the only time I could write a Reflection was when I had something profound to share. Then, when I looked back at some of my more popular posts, I saw that they were the ones where I was the most vulnerable. I didn’t see my thoughts or insights as being all that profound, but they somehow resonated with many, many people.

That’s when I started to see that when I’m Appio, not Appio The Emotion Emancipator, not Appio the coach, not Appio the public speaker, just plain ol’ Appio, I share more authentically and I write more prolifically. I’m happiest when I’m baring my soul, being human, and inviting people into my experiences. Those wish to join me will, and those who aren’t ready won’t. All I know is that everyone who crosses my path does so at the right time, and in a way that positively impacts both of us.

Ever since I stopped hiding and worrying about what others thought of me or the path I felt inspired to take, my life has blossomed in ways I never imagined. My relationships with immediate and extended family are stronger than before, and amazing people have supported me in ways that have left me humbled and awestruck. I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been. Best of all, I continue to step further into my personal joy.

My thought this week is consequently very simple: Just be you. When you allow the genuine, authentic you to step forward and simply BE, you find the very acceptance, understanding and joy you’ve been looking for. You’ll discover that they’ve been with you all along. The only thing keeping you from experiencing the full expression of your personal joy is your acceptance of yourself. Once you let go of the illusions that feed your fears and the judgment that others have thrown upon you, you can claim what has always been yours. Love. Acceptance. Understanding. And above all, Joy.

Will there be people who reject the authentic you? Perhaps. But if they do, know that their rejection is more about them than it is about you. Their rejection is their way of saying that in their minds, they can only be happy as long as you behave the way they want you to behave. They’re telling you that they see you as being responsible for their happiness. Their message is that they feel powerless and helpless and that it is somehow your responsibility to make things right.

Let me be clear. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness except your own. As you take responsibility for yourself you may end up sharing your joy with a few or with millions, but if all you do is experience your personal expression of joy, then that is enough. Your personal expression of joy is enough because if each of us expresses our joy in our own unique way, without worrying about what others think, we will collectively create the very world we want to live in.

If, as you choose to be you, the people you love the most walk out of your life, it is important to know two things: First, as difficult as the experience may appear to be, they are clearing your path and giving you the freedom to express and experience your personal joy. Second, the shock of separation is only temporary. Your life will quickly be filled with those who genuinely support you and your vision for yourself.

It is okay to experience the fear of rejection, and as you feel that fear, do your best to release it. Turn your attention instead to what you want to experience. When that happens, the universe itself will become your willing, enthusiastic collaborator and help you create everything you want. I absolutely guarantee it.

That’s all I have to say for now. Be well, my friends… and be you. You are, always will be, supported.

An Introduction to Samuel


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This introduction has been a long time coming, and to be honest, it’s overdue. At the same time, this is by far the scariest thing I’ve ever done—at least, for me.

I have been talking about me being an empath for quite some time now, often making references to my ability to not only sense an individual’s emotions, but to tap directly into the wider current of emotion that flows through all of us. Truth be told however, I’m much more than an empath, and it’s a subject around which I’ve been dancing for a while now. One would think that after last summer’s big reveal, I would be more comfortable talking about every part of me, but I’ve surprised myself by holding back. I guess the fear of being judged continues to have residual effects.

The truth is that I don’t just read and balance emotional energy. I also channel energy—all types of energy—which includes what could best be described as spiritual energy and focused, non-physical intelligence. I’ve dropped hints about being a channeler before, but I’ve never come right out and said it until now. Again, the fear of being judged (especially by those closest to me) influenced my dance on eggshells.

I’ve been consciously aware that I’ve been channeling messages from a collective source for over nine months now, but my connection actually goes back a little over a year, when I deliberately started paying closer attention to a person’s emotional essence as part of my work. I would get very strong impressions in response to questions I received, and I would then “translate” those impressions into answers.

With time I started to notice a collective awareness behind the impressions I got, and as I became more aware of that awareness, I also sensed a powerful, gentle, loving intelligence behind it that was all-encompassing. I initially called this focused energy “The Collective” or “The Committee,” adopting those terms from other friends who also shared a connection with that energy.

As I got used to my new awareness, I continued to channel the impressions I received without revealing the source. I never saw myself as a medium or a channeler, so it took some getting used to the idea, even though I knew that’s what I was doing. For a while I merely saw myself as a more intuitive empath, but I instinctively knew that my connection went far beyond mere empathic readings, even if I was reluctant to acknowledge it.

I finally reached the point where I simply embraced what was going on. Almost immediately after I accepted my new reality, “The Collective” starting giving me gentle, yet consistent impressions that they wanted me to go beyond channeling just for individuals. They wanted me to start communicating to groups, as in, they really wanted me to start communicating certain messages in group settings. Too many people were clamoring for the principles of joy, which were at the heart of the messages coming through. If I continued to channel for just individuals, it would take too long for the principles to get out.

A Night with Samuel 01And so, I started channeling for small groups and calling the sessions “An Evening with Samuel.” I started using Samuel to identify “The Collective” because I insisted on on having a name. The curious thing about them is that they don’t use names to identify themselves or each other. They identify individual ideas and expressions of Source Energy through energetic signatures rather than through names. We humans are different however. We still see ourselves as separate from Source Energy, and names help us identify our uniqueness. Names also help us create a connection and a bond with each other. So, in response to my asking, I got the name Samuel.

I immediately sensed a deliberate reason behind that choice, which prompted me to look up the meaning of Samuel, which is Hebrew in origin—“Shem-uel.” Translated, the name means, “God has heard,” or “God hears you.” That sent shivers down my spine, because the biggest desires I keep picking up from the emotional current are those for understanding, connection, acceptance, relief, peace, and joy. What is especially “loud” is a collective desire for relief from the emotional turmoil caused by institutional messages that conflict with our instinctive knowledge of the principles of joy. We have been clamoring and searching for messages and methods that free us to live the lives we want to live, rather than living lives that are prescribed for us.

Samuel is responding to our desires and our asking. Samuel wants us to know that we are heard and that the answers are being shared.

I’ve started a new blog, titled Samuel’s Notes, that is dedicated to aspects of the Principles of Joy as shared by Samuel. I will continue to share my own epiphanies and thoughts through Reflections on Reality, but it’s time for Samuel to have their own forum.

Speaking of forums, I will be channeling Samuel in group settings regularly—both online and locally. For now, local forums are held in the Salt Lake City area, where I currently live. Those interested in attending An Evening with Samuel (locally or online) can visit the Samuel page on my website to register.

As for me, I remain the same Happy Appio as always. Nothing has changed, except that I’ve shed one more layer of fear.

My Dad Emerson


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This post was originally published February 16, 2016 on my website,

Yesterday I laid my dad’s body to rest in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He transitioned back to his non-physical state on February 10, 2016, and the days since then have been an educational experience for me. I’ve had tearful moments as I remember him and I feel his absence, but for the most part I’ve felt relief, peace, and joy as I sense him reveling in his new freedom. As I said in a Facebook post when he first transitioned, he is no longer constrained by a body that refused to cooperate with him. He spent years trapped in a body that slowly deteriorated and restricted his movements to the point where he could barely care for himself. Now he is free to do everything his heart desires.

Before I continue, I want to express my deep gratitude for all of the people who cared for him during his last years of life. I was only able to speak to a handful of his caretakers, but every single one of them told me how much they loved my dad and how much they enjoyed working with him. That’s not to say he didn’t try their patience when he was having one of his cranky moments, but for the most part my dad was a sweet, humorous, and kindly old man. I have to admit that I’m impressed at how he always made an impression on every person he met.

Some of what I’m about to say are thoughts and impressions I shared during my dad’s memorial service, but now that I’ve had time to process my initial impressions, I understand that there is more to the man who was my father in this life. My Reflection today is how he wants to be remembered.

If I had to describe my dad in one sentence, I would say this: Emerson Hunter is a joyful, fun-loving, adventurous soul whose greatest desire is to laugh, play, and share his joy with everyone around him. Funny enough, that’s how many of my friends describe me. Although my dad wasn’t present for much of my life, I know beyond any doubt that I am very much my father’s son. His legacy is one of passion, joy, and fun. That is his gift to me and the gift I choose to share with everyone I meet.

As I feel my dad’s essence, I’m able to understand him better than I ever could when he was physically focused. He was born into a time and culture where everyone was expected to conform to “the way things have always been done.” For him, the expectation was to go to school, serve a mission for his church, get a job, get married, have a family, and make sure that his offspring repeated the same cycle. At times I wondered if my dad did things he didn’t really want to do because of the expectations placed on him, but I now know that everything he did, he did because he chose it. He did well at some things, but in others he wasn’t very successful.

I’m not going to sugar-coat my history and say that my dad was the best father and husband my family could have hoped for. As a family man, he failed miserably. He left me, my brother, and my mom when I was in my mid-teens. Even when he “lived” with us, he wasn’t really present. He spent as much time away from home as he could, avoiding the responsibilities that came with being a husband and father. Did I wish I could’ve seen more of him? Sure. But long before he transitioned, I came to understand that my dad did the best he could given the internal conflict he experienced.

My dad spent his entire life trying to live up to cultural expectations that conflicted with his true nature. Although I knew my dad was a bit of a hell-raiser when he was a kid, I had no idea just how mischievous he was until this past week, when my aunts, uncles, and cousins shared their memories of him with me. The theme that surfaced in every one of the stories I heard was that my dad just loved to have fun (in other words, he always found creative ways to cause trouble). He was – is – a playful, fun-loving spirit, and that was how he lived his life until he was in his mid-twenties.

After he got married, his slow decline began. The pressure to “be a real man” weighed on him, and the pressure grew when he had kids. I now know that my dad could have been the most awesome dad in the world had he been able to focus exclusively on what he did best; which was to laugh, play, joke around, get into mischief, and savor every moment of life. Instead, his free-flowing, boundless spirit was crushed under the weight of “having to be a responsible family man.”

If there is a tragedy in my dad’s life, it’s this; he never figured out how to balance the expectations of responsibility with his playful nature. He got stuck in the “either-or” cycle that traps so many of us. Because of his own pain, those of us closest to him also felt it, and we ended up as collateral damage in an internal war that only ended last week. My dad is saddened by the pain he caused, but he is also grateful that we forgave him before he made his transition. That is the most important thing he wants all of us who knew him to understand.

As to how he wants to be remembered, I will put it this way: I’m glad my dad is free now. He has returned to the state of blissful, playful joy that is his essence. I rejoice with him, I celebrate with him, and I shed happy tears with him. I’m so happy, so grateful that my dad gets to revel in his essence and experience everything he denied himself in this life.

On that note, I will say ciao for now to kindred soul. You continue to touch our lives and leave us smiling, chuckling, and even laughing out loud. Have fun, Emerson. Thank you for sharing the greatest part of you with us, and most especially with me. Thank you for teaching me through your own example how to achieve the balance that eluded you. Thank you for being my dad and for giving me so much. Go now. Have fun, cause mischief, and laugh until your sides ache. I will rejoin you when my adventure here is done.

I love you forever.

The Curse of Social Media


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I just realized that it’s been over a month since I last wrote a Reflection. The absence of regular Reflections was by no means intentional, but it was rather collateral damage from an internal war I’ve been fighting with social media.

Ever since I opened my first social media account back in 2009, I’ve gone through phases where I consciously avoid it, and that’s been the case the past several weeks. While I love the engagement with family and friends around the world, social media challenges a side of me that surprises many people when I tell them about it: I can be terribly shy and introverted. Sometimes I want to disengage from everything and everyone and live by myself in an isolated mountain retreat, or on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.

The desire to get away from everyone was a rare occurrence, but I find that ever since I joined Facebook (and then Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest), I find that want to “hide” more frequently. I go through periods when I’ve very “social,” and then I go silent for a while. When I do go silent, I start to panic when I think about how long I haven’t active online. I should be spending time every day liking and commenting on posts, right?

That panic I feel gets worse when I think of how many social media platforms are out there and how little I’m engaged on outside of Facebook. I’m a virtual ghost on Instagram and Pinterest, and the only reason why I’m more active on LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter is because I’ve linked my website to those accounts and any Reflection I publish automatically feeds into the other platforms. My point is that I can easily spend all of my waking hours on social media. If I did, I would forget to live my life.

And that’s where I feel the conflict. I love social media, but I miss the days before social media existed. Social media can be a force for good, but it can also be a source of stress. Here are some of the thoughts that go through my head when I see the Facebook app on my phone:

“OMG, I haven’t liked anyone’s posts today! What kind of a friend am I?”

“I forgot to wish [friend] a happy birthday yesterday!”

“So much is happening in all of the groups I’m a member of and I can’t keep up! How can I be part of those communities if I don’t engage with them? I’m such a slacker!”

I know I’m not the only one who has those thoughts, but I may be one of the few people who is willing to publically admit to having them. Am I a bad person because I have a love/hate relationship with social media? I don’t think so. If anything, I get a sense of relief when I admit that for me, social media is both a blessing and a curse.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can hire a team of people to post and like stuff for me, but until then, it’s just me. I’ll engage when I feel like it and I won’t stress out if I don’t. I prefer personal interaction anyway, and those who have met me in person know how much I care for them. I don’t need Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else for them to feel that. And when we see each other again, we’ll pick up right where we left off and continue to have an awesome time.

I feel much better now that I got my opinions about social media off my chest. I’m feeling better still now that I’m writing Reflections again, because this is how I love to stay engaged. Meanwhile, I encourage you to enjoy your lives, my friends. Savor the world that you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Don’t make that your sole focus, but definitely savor it and experience everything you can. That’s why we’re here anyway, and here is one helluva fun adventure.

Until next time. Love and peace.