I’ve been memeing to tell you…

Lately, I’ve been questioning the significance of my writing, both on and offline. Is it just a great deal of effort to produce something which eventually falls on blind eyes and deaf ears? People no longer possess the attention span to read a paragraph of text, let alone an entire article or a book. Does this make my original mission pointless? The uncertainty has definitely hampered it but has it halted it? Not by a long-shot. If I can break through to even the smallest audience, I’d feel as if I accomplished something. That said, if you’re already bored and would rather go watch a video of a cat dancing or some dude jumping off a roof into a pick-up truck, go ahead and do so. I’m actually surprised you made it this far. But make sure you first “like” this post anyway because you think the picture is funny. But if you’re going to try and stick it out, you’re a trooper; maybe even a warrior if you actually make it to the end of my rant.

Back to the point at hand, people simply don’t read anymore. Not only is the print medium basically dead, but online readership has greatly decreased as well, especially when a written piece requires scrolling, links out from it’s site of origin or is not written in a short, chunked and numbered format. We love catchy phrases and sexy images. If something isn’t funny, trendy or entertaining in some way it’s not worth looking at. We love to watch people get hurt doing stupid things; we love the dramas that unfold on the news. We do exactly what we’re told without even knowing it. We are driven to fear, anger, happiness and envy all in a short 10 minutes of watching. It’s no wonder we have no attention span…it’s constantly being hijacked by the most insignificant, lowest forms of marketing-driven media.
After enduring enough of this stream of pointlessness, our minds are exhausted and left with only the attention span for reading/sharing memes with one another. No real connection, no commitment. Just something to nod or laugh about. These anecdotes give zero enrichment to one’s intelligence.

In my own experience, I’ve found that my article posts go greatly ignored while a simple meme generates an onslaught of response; so much so, that I feel forced to create such shallow content simply as a tool to keep my existing followers. But seriously, what do we truly learn from these short phrases and dramatic images? Have they helped change or transform our lives? To me, they just seem like cheap, nutrient deficient, fast food for the brain; another quick fix because we don’t care enough to take the time to research, learn and apply those teachings to our way of life.

I recently read a statistic that 85% of online video is watched with the audio turned off! What? This clearly indicates, to me, that people have a severe lack of an attention span even when something may seem interesting to them. But why even bother at this point? If we aren’t absorbing the content in it’s entirety, how much are we missing? If we disconnect from the context, what do we get out of it?

Our increasing desire to have everything served to us quicker and easier is the very essence of our world problems in a nutshell. On some level, we really just don’t care about much. We just want to pass the time and let “those in control” take care of the real problems. And since we’re told that it’s the president’s job, we get caught up in the emptiness of that story as well. Control is an illusion which we are led to believe. But we ARE, in fact, the majority. We vote with our minds and wallets every single day; this is the real election. This is how we are putting that 1% on the throne (not through some fake election). We fail to realize the simple connection between our personal life choices and how they keep those in power reigning above us. Instead, we squabble about which “actor” would make a better leader for our country. We play into the distraction while the true rulers continue to laugh and make their deals and decisions behind closed doors. We buy into all of the bullshit we’re told about politics, health and other social issues because we’re simply too damned lazy to find out what is really going on.

If you’re sitting back and waiting for change to happen around you, you will waste the time away until the very day you cease to exist. It’s only when we block out the noise around us and change ourselves that the world around us begins to change as well. Imagine if the entire majority realized this? The corrupt system as we know it would collapse. Put all that on a meme.

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 6)

Day 6: Juicing, Stretching, Meditation

We’re now coming closer to the finish line of the 5 day juice fast portion of the detox. This Saturday, we’ll be back on raw food! Although I’m very comfortable where I’m at right now on juice, I’m getting excited just thinking about a salad with a nice creamy Avocado dressing…yum. Ok, well not yet! We’ve still got work to do. Today was all about stretching out the body and reaffirming my intentions to detoxify. Working out the kinks, getting the muscles stimulated just enough to help prepare for the intense massage work tomorrow.

Stretching

I don’t get too fancy with my stretching routine; I like to keep it simple. When I do my athletic stretching…thats another story entirely. For the purposes of our detox though, I only employ a small handful of my favorite basic yoga stretches. I focus on Downward Facing Dog,  Cobra Pose, Bow Pose, Hare Pose, Laying Rotation Pose and Vajrasana w/ Mountain Pose. If you’re unsure of the postures, check out Yoga.com. In your preferred sequence, perform each of these stretches by gently extending through your entire core. Deeply relax into each of these exercises; allow your weight to “fall through” the floor. Retain each pose for as long as you feel comfortable while focusing on your breath and clearing your mind of all distractions. Let go.

Meditation

If you are unfamiliar with meditation, there are many great books and websites on the subject. As defined; “Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself”. The typical idea that comes to most people’s minds is the image of a religious monk sitting cross-legged, humming a mantra while holding prayer beads. This is all perfectly legitimate and while I do give many “nods” to Buddhism; to meditate one does not require religious belief, special postures, beads, special pillows, incense or chanting of any kind. There is no need to associate the idea of clearing one’s mind through meditation with spirits, religion, magic or mysticism. It’s actually just a body hack. The brain is so clever and tied to it’s ego, we don’t realize that we live our lives in this non-existent place in our head where we ponder the past, visualize the future, discipline ourselves, try to control things that are out of our control, make judgements, make assumptions etc; all while ignoring our present reality.

The truth is, once you realize this fact, you can begin to practice meditation anywhere at anytime. Most of my own meditation is performed during stretching exercises, while on a run or bicycle ride…sometimes even while in the waiting room at an appointment. I shut off my mind as much as possible when it’s not needed for solving, calculating or creating. The idea is to silence the chatter within by focusing on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. This brings your mind immediately back to “now”. All that you are truly experiencing right now is you breathing…nothing else.

I’d say that this entire detox program is a constant form of meditation. Because it forces one to be present; to be with whatever is currently being felt; withdrawal symptoms, hunger, discomfort etc. To bring your brain elsewhere would be a mistake and would soon end your detox early because all you’d be thinking about is how you’d feel better if you just ate some food, had some coffee, smoked a cigarette, etc. Discomfort is not always a bad thing; especially when something wonderful comes out of it.

You can meditate with or without visualization (just don’t visualize while you’re riding a bike or running!). The easiest way I’ve found to truly exist within “nothing” is to visualize my body in any busy setting; where there are buildings, people, cars, etc. Then I just begin mentally removing things from that landscape until only myself is left floating in nothingness. As I continue to focus on my breathing, I visualize my own body decaying into nothingness. Gross, right? But without a brain, you can’t think anymore. Congratulations…you are nothing.

Another great way to bring meditation into your life is to simply become your own witness as much as possible throughout your day. Each time you catch your mind over-thinking, rambling on or daydreaming…you are ceasing it. This exercise is the first step toward mental freedom. The better you become at witnessing your thought patterns, the sooner you can destroy them and the smoother meditation will come. Keep it up!

Here are today’s highlights:

Tongue Scrape (Brush Teeth)

Fasted Stretching and Meditation (30 minutes)

IMG_3320

Psyllium Husks (w/ 8 oz Water)

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Curly Kale, Basil, Parsley, Kiwi, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon and Ginger)

IMG_332216 oz Water

1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar

IMG_33258 oz Kombucha (Synergy Multi-Green)

16 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Curly Kale, Basil, Parsley, Kiwi, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon and Ginger)

16 oz Coconut Water

12 oz Water

20 oz Red Juice (Beet, Beet Greens, Romaine, Valencia Orange, Pineapple, Celery, Carrot, Ginger and Turmeric)

IMG_332712 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Blueberry Hibiscus)

12 oz Water

12 oz Red Juice (Beet, Beet Greens, Romaine, Valencia Orange, Pineapple, Celery, Carrot, Ginger and Turmeric)

IMG_3328

12 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 3)

Day 3: Juicing

The Purpose

Fasting has been used throughout history for medical, health, religious and political applications. Our purpose of it will be for both physical and mental health. As understood by many, a fast is when someone restricts food, water or both. But with a juice fast, we will truly not be restricting either; we will actually be hydrating the body with an amazing amount of nutrition through the extraction of water-rich whole vegetables and fruit. This, in comparison to the lack of nourishment most people receive on their bloated daily diets, is a cleaner, more efficient dietary decision than what juicing naysayers would ever care to admit. Where we used to understand nourishment by measuring how full we felt; we will, instead, now measure by how great we look/feel. This newfound state of “emptiness” is not a reminder of what we think we need but an affirmation of all which we do not. Less is more. By refusing what poisons us and favoring that which allows us to thrive, we are on the cusp of mental and physical freedom.

When faced with any kind of “withdrawal”, we can become extremely emotional; it can be both good and bad. On one hand, we become angry or depressed from the absence of what we desire; but on the other, our higher self realizes it was harmful to begin with, hence, transforming that desire into whatever it’s being replaced with. The more tenacious we are, the sooner we will be able to replace a Beer with a Kombucha, a Donut with a Salad; or a cup of Coffee with a Health Tonic, etc. And as we emerge from the withdrawal symptoms and begin to experience vibrance and energy; we’ve already done the difficult work to remove the previous conditioning and replace it with a whole new set of ideals. This is called “change”. Since every physical action is a response to what our brain is communicating, a juice fast can help break the unconscious cycle and impart us with better habits moving forward.

The Method

There are many ways to do a juice fast. There are plans, recipes, tips etc. I like to keep my juice fasts fairly simple. I usually mix it up with a green, red and gold recipe and drink them throughout the fast. Five 12 oz juices per day is a good start; beginning the morning with Psyllium Husks Powder (in 8 oz Water) and an 8oz Warm Lemon Water. Space your juices out between 2 1/2 to 3 hours with plenty of water and herbal teas in-between. Check out some more of my tips here and here.

Other important considerations will be to reduce as much stress from your life as possible during this time period. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will lose focus, cheat or give up altogether. Take advantage of the time to not only detox your body but to detox your mind as well. Relax with Organic Herbal Teas, get massaged, do stretching or light Yoga, meditate; remove yourself from outside noise such as gossip, media, socializing, etc. Use this time to truly be with yourself and you WILL find answers. Being present, especially during potentially uncomfortable situations, will keep you focused on transformation; not falling into the same old habits.

My 3rd Day (Monday, April 4th)

Today began my juice only portion of the detox which will last for 5 full days. I woke up this morning and began my usual routine and created 2 really great juices for the day (about 60 oz). Here are the highlights:

Psyllium Husks w/ 8 oz Water

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

IMG_3071

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Turmeric Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

IMG_3073

16 oz Coconut Water

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Herbal Tea: Detox Lemon

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

IMG_3077

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

The 10 Excuses to Skip my Morning Run and How I Overcame Them

Over two years ago I would have gawked at the idea of going for even a short walk outside, let alone an exhausting run. Obese, tired and suffering from poor health; I was at the wheel but I wasn’t driving the car. My mind was my nemesis during some of the toughest points in my life and it really had it’s hold over me. But after many years of practicing grounding therapies such as meditation, aikido and yoga, I finally gained enough mental clarity to take control of my body. It only took about 6 months to overhaul my eating habits, shed 70+ pounds and realize that my addictions, depression and fatigue were a product of self-manufactured

The ego provides us with excuses as to why we should not change; even if our higher self knows it would be good thing. We have to become ninjas at fending excuses off as they approach. For instance, “I can’t find time” is one of the most common excuses. But instead of agreeing, we can ponder the excuse for just a short moment…and realize that by getting more rest at night and rising earlier, we can easily find this time. See how easy that was? Diffused. But that’s only one excuse! When you awake for your morning run, be prepared for a “song and dance” with your brain.

#1. “I’m too tired”!
No, you’re not! You’ve had plenty of rest because you planned ahead! According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18+ need 7-9 hours in order to function at their peak capability.

#2. It’s too cold/hot outside!
Dress appropriately. Always check the temperature before setting off on your journey and dress for the occasion. If you’re unsure, try out this nifty What to Wear Calculator.

#3. I’m too sore!
Hmmm…is it just because you slept in crazy positions all night? The body wants to stretch, move and expand; it keeps everything in tip top shape. Always make sure your post-workout recovery and rest is strong enough before getting back out there. If your excuse is always that you are too sore, you’ll eventually be worse off by living a stagnant life; I know, I’ve been there 😉

#4. The road/ground is wet!
It’s not rocket science. Wear an extra pair of socks and watch where you’re running. Avoid slippery situations; wet leaves, puddles, mud, etc.

#5. It’s too windy out!
It’s only wind, wear an extra layer if needed. Avoid exposure, especially if it is cold and windy. Use the direction of the wind to your advantage whenever possible. Breathe deeply and oxygenate your lungs. Invigorating!

#6. I don’t have time!
Here we go again; didn’t we figure this one out earlier? Plan for the time you’ll need the night before. Get enough sleep so you are able to rise earlier than usual.

#7. Oh boy…those steep hills! I don’t think I’ll make it.
Hills make us stronger and build our endurance. And nobody said you couldn’t ever take walk breaks on your run. In fact, according to ex-Olympian and running coach, Jeff Galloway, you can not only improve your time using the run-walk-run method but it will keep you more in control of your running and create less possibility for injury as well.

#8. What about food, won’t I run out of energy?
Nutrition is an integral component to any exercise plan. You should provide yourself with clean fuel to prepare, sustain and recover. This will ensure you are well hydrated, have the energy to burn and the nutrients to repair strained muscles. Loading up on complex carbohydrates will help you keep a nice reserve of glycogen to burn. In addition, Vega Sport has some great plant-based products specifically geared for the on-the-go athlete. Personally, I have used the Pre-Workout Energizer beforehand; the Electrolyte HydratorEndurance Gels and Energy Bars during; and the Performance Protein after. I gotta say, the workouts that I didn’t include these items were the hardest; both during and after.

#9: I just don’t care, I’m going back to sleep!
If you truly “don’t care”, have a wonderful time trying to navigate life by this terrible philosophy. Instead, try doing the opposite. Extend your caring to everything around you; doors will open up for you and paths will become cleared for you.

#10. Don’t go! Just go back to sleep, you can make it up tomorrow.
You are not your brain. The ego does not want you to change; it wants you to stay in that zone of comfort. The most clever of obstacles in life is the mind itself. Each day it lays more bricks upon a wall built from our stresses, anxieties and fears. It is this very wall which causes us to recoil from opportunity and closes us off from the openness of the world around us. If you can tap into your “witnessing you” and learn how to quiet your mind; you will begin to see the blank space as a window of opportunity.

Now throw off those blankets, get out there and run!

Control Your Mind, Control a Gun

As I write this, I can’t seem to shake the iconic image from my head of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 “Dawn of Man” Hominid, first discovering the idea of a weapon. Slowly he grasps a large bone of a decayed Tapir and begins dragging it back and forth on the ground until he eventually smashes the entire skeleton with it in a celebratory display. Whether this is how the discovery of the handheld weapon actually occurred is moot; in any case, this striking visual of cinematic history describes a true turning point for our own humanity as it exists today. It not only signifies our first means of defense and survival against other species…but shortly thereafter, as a device used against our own species as well.

Our primitive ancestors were mostly gatherers of herbs, plants, fruits and vegetation. But in some climates where sunlight, temperature or precipitation were not ideal, we needed to craft weapons to hunt animals for food and clothing. This was a requirement to exist. But just beyond that, something else clicked in our brains. We became aware of “competition”; the other groups, tribes and families whom also required these same resources. Instead of finding a way to communicate, work together and share; we turned our hunting tools upon them. We began killing out of a growing fear in our minds that “they” would take it all for themselves. Certainly, our intelligence was not developed enough to seek an alternate choice at the time; we were simply utilizing our newfound technology to solve an additional problem. Nonetheless, this kink in evolution led our species down a very dark path and to this very day we still suffer the consequences of this choice. This was the beginning of selfishness.

Most would attempt to justify this killing as a greater means to an end. But the ultimate decision to kill is based upon his own personal experience of hunger, frustration and rage; not that of the welfare of his family or tribe. To wield a weapon against another is a selfish action; we make that final choice on our own. Before attacking, one must reconcile a sea of outer influences and conflicting emotions with our own instinct to exist harmoniously. When we’ve accumulated too much of this outside “noise”, we cease to be in control our own mind. We intend to use the weapon because we’ve become convinced that situations exist which warrant it. The use of such a tool closes the creative mind off from reality and keeps us from solving problems rationally or with compassion. This has become part and parcel with the human condition, as our ever-growing technology only makes way for a more terrifying reality.

Today, the firearm is the weapon of choice. According to research pulled from ATF data, the U.S. is home to 40 million more firearms than it’s entire human population. The largest justification for these weapons continues to be “defense”, which can be easily argued based on some surprising statistics alone. From a private citizen standpoint, a study was conducted by the Violence Policy Center where they state that in 2012, there were 259 justifiable (defense) firearm homicides out of the 29,556 firearm deaths in the U.S. that year. So, basically that is only 1 killing in defense for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths. And from a military-industrial complex perspective, the U.S. has one of the largest armed forces in the world (second to only China); kicking ass to the tune of $598.5 billion or 54% of ALL federal discretionary spending. That’s a lot of bang for our buck but when is the last time we ever used these armies or weapons in an actual position of “defense”? Hmmm…I hear crickets.

After all is said and done, we (as a species) never once said, “this is enough, we’re smarter than this”. To the contrary, we are no further along than the ape swinging the bone and crushing everything around it. We are still so focused on validating our self-importance, that everything outside of our circle has become an opponent. One can only ponder how different this planet might be today, if the first humans worked together with one another. If they created communities where each individual had a real purpose in truly helping to enrich the lives of the many, as opposed to destroying them. With that mindset we could have been learning from our mistakes along the way and simply correcting them as we go. Instead, we chose to fight each other. We dragged the mental baggage of a lost age into a new one and built barriers between us all; separating each other by species, country, state, race, belief and class. We’ve huddled into teams and created strategies to defeat the other. We’ve accumulated half-truths, hearsay and propaganda spanning millions of years and continue to use it as fuel against “outsiders” both foreign and domestic. Our so-called “intelligence” is utilized only in an effort to reign atop an imaginary chain we’ve constructed from whole cloth. And those who believe they already sit upon it, laugh as they watch us kill each other.

So long as there is air to breathe, weapons will continue to saturate our very existence…there is no controlling that now. Nor is there control over those who wield such instruments. The brain is a weapon; poisoned and filled with fear. We need to diffuse the conflict in our own heads and just start there. Even if we may think we’re already on the right path; how can we expand further? Can we apply our compassion to the smallest of creatures or even the worst of people? We ALL have the power to un-do our own conditioning and guide others to do the same. If we can finally be free of the desire to be better and stronger, we will no longer find the need for a weapon.

Gun control is when an individual takes back control of their own mind. Evolve.