WE vs. I?

Herd of elk

WE vs. I.  What does that really mean?

We come into this world as an “I.”  If conditions are met, we slowly realize that we are also a we.  WE are part of a larger whole.  We are part of the rest of the people who are also I’s and We’s.  The more deep healing work we have done, the more we realize this to be true.  From a biological standpoint; this makes perfect sense.  A baby needs its mother.  It will not survive on its own so it needs to think about itself first.  We can’t help the world if we don’t survive =)  If the baby has a mother, situations are non-traumatic, and all is well; the child starts the slow but steady climb into personhood.  It learns as it grows that it is not as dependent on everybody else around it.  It has autonomy and a “self.”  Therefore, it does not need to be focused on “I” so much.  What if the child doesn’t think it got the love it needed?  Another block in the road.  We all have issues growing up.  We all have stuff that could use a little work.  If I drew a picture of how most of us live, would we be connected?  Or would we be SEPARATED PEOPLE LIVING TOGETHER?  What is the problem with all of this?  WE ARE WE’S!  We live together.  We are all part of this thing going on here.  The irony of it all?  The best way to help the world is to help yourself first.  I am not talking about material goods like helping yourself to bigger tv’s, nicer clothes, and more women.  I mean helping yourself spiritually.  Loving yourself enough to go through the hard work and grow.  What starts happening?  The more we resolve the “I” issues that we saw as unmet growing up; the more present we can be in the world today.  We become more INDEPENDENT.  We don’t live in FEAR as much.  If we don’t live in fear as much, we live in LOVE more!  What does love naturally want to do?  HELP others.  GIVE.  SHARE.  BE WE’S.  In fact, noticing how often you think about and do things for others seems to be a pretty reliable gauge (unless you are doing it for yourself).  Ultimately, we are human beings.  How does the system work?  In my view, God has created it pretty wonderfully.  We are designed to love ourselves enough to grow.  To go through the hard stuff.  As we grow, we can then in turn help others to grow as well.  We become “part” of the collective whole.  As we realize this, we want to help others as well.  If we haven’t found or acknowledged the pain and suffering in ourselves; how are we supposed to see it in others?  There is nothing that says we can’t work on ourselves WITH others.  Many people in the world are afraid to show others their true feelings.  Does this sound like WE behavior to you?  Love is said to be the only thing you can give away and have more of.  Let’s see if this is true.  Let’s start working together on becoming WE’S

-JOE
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Is VULNERABILITY The Secret?

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

 

Is VULNERABILITY the secret?

The secret to what you ask?  The secret to health?  The secret to life?  Which is it?

I am coming to believe that the ability to allow vulnerability in ourselves and others is one of THE keys to living a great life.  Why is it so important?  Not allowing vulnerability in ourselves greatly limits our ability to learn and grow.  We pump ourselves up and pretend that we are invulnerable.  We don’t take advice from people.  We don’t take advice from God.  We have a hard time seeing things from outside of ourselves.  Where does this all come from?  Ultimately, it comes from FEAR.  Fear of what you say?  Pick your poison.  This is going to differ from person to person.  It could be fears that you developed as a very young child that tell you not to cry.  It could be fears that showing your true emotions to people could lead to heartache or hurt.  Maybe we are afraid that being true to ourselves and vulnerable will bring big changes in our lives.  Maybe those changes mean growing up, changing groups of friends, or changing family dynamics.  Is vulnerability the key?  We are human beings.  We are people.  Many of us have been trained into what Joe Robinson calls the “Performance Identity.” We are taught in schools and social media that there is always a BETTER job you could be doing.  Better clothes.  A better car.  A better looking body.  The problem?  THERE IS NO END!  It creates an identity that is afraid to be what it is.  Simply human.  Simply a person.  By allowing room for vulnerability, we start dropping the illusion of all of this.  We start seeing ourselves, family, and friends as great people.  We realize that it is ok to be vulnerable.  It also makes it ok for others to be vulnerable around us.  The ironic thing?  By allowing vulnerability, we actually accomplish more.  Our relationships usually improve.  Our self-respect grows.  Our integrity improves.  We start HONESTLY looking at who we are and what we are and are not capable of.  So, you tell me.  Is vulnerability the secret to it all?

-Joe

Emotional Release Series: Intro

Art

Morning guys and gals.  

Over the next week or so I am going to be doing a short series on emotions and how to work with and release them.  These are mainly techniques on dislodging energetic issues from your system, working on yourself, and growing as a person.  Some of them are purely for expression of energy.  Some lead to more insights about yourself and your life.  Some of them are fun.  Some of them are not so much fun.  I believe that emotions and mental thought patterns are a huge factor in a lot of health challenges.  There will forever be arguments on what people eat.  I think it is great to delve into eating habits and have it be a goal to continuously improve, but where does the line stop?  When do you relax about it?  When do you work on something else?  Emotions can be just as big of a factor.  For a lot of people they can be THE BIGGEST FACTOR!  There are a lot of fancy techniques out there and things that work great as well.  Most of the ones I am going to be focusing on are things that you can do in the comfort of your own home, usually for little or no money.  What is required?  What is required is a willingness to feel vulnerable, to face the truth, the desire to grow, to face who you REALLY are, and often to change your viewpoint on who GOD is.  Sometimes it means learning to forgive others who hurt us.  Sometimes it means reframing things in a new light or with a different attitude.  Whatever it is, it usually requires TRUE introspection.  A lot of us are taught to PROJECT a certain persona or attitude about ourselves.  We learn so well to project this that we forget who we really are.  We forget that it is ok to be a human being.  We forget that it is ok to have fears, dreams, grief, and pain.  A lot of health comes down to one simple thing.  We are humans.  We tend to be healthy when we live like humans.  We tend to be unhealthy or get sick when we try to be something we are not.  This means eating things not designed for us, not sleeping as we need, not getting exercise or fresh air or sunlight.  It also means pretending that we are not deeply emotional and spiritual beings.  So what are the topics to be covered?  Topics may include JOURNALING, DRAWING/ART, MUSIC, EFT, INNER CHILD WORK, DANCING, EXERCISE/SPORTS, DREAMWORK, SPIRITUALITY, and more.  Each one of these is a giant topic in itself but I will do my best to stick to the basics =)  Let’s get back to using simple tools to reclaim our mental and emotional health.  It doesn’t have to be an extremely tough and drawn out process.  Like other factors in diet and lifestyle, the key is to add them into your “process.”  A little here and there goes a long way towards your own personal evolution.

-Joe

HAPPINESS Health Series: Relationships

friends

 

It seems like somewhere our priorities got switched around doesn’t it?  When did family and friend relationships take a back seat to work and accumulation of “stuff.”  It seems like there are so many of us in this country who are living in bad relationships.  The divorce rate is what, 50%?  Children get abused, people are not being honest or upfront, problems happen.  And nobody seems happy.  What’s the deal?

We are humans.  We are not designed to be by ourselves here.  We are part of a bigger whole.  This includes being interdependent on many things around us.  These could include the air you breathe, the sun, the water, the food you eat, as well as plants, animals, and OTHER HUMANS.  Somewhere along the line we started favoring not addressing certain problems in these areas in favor of distracting ourselves with other forms of “media.”  Of course it is good to be nice and what not but what about being real?

If I have a problem with a friend or family member I am not going to “BRUSH” it under the rug or shrug it off.  Conflict may not always be fun but at least things are always cleared out.  When we deal with things in an upfront manner we refuse to set the stage for blow-ups and repressed stuff to come out later.  This prevents little things from turning into big problems.  Sometimes conflicts are simply misunderstandings.  Other times they are just different human beings in the same space at the same time.  We need to let go of this “I’m right your wrong” or “My way is better” attitude and just let people live how they want as well.

When your close relationships are working great it is a lot easier to relax and be at peace with whatever is going on in your life currently.  Here are a few simple tips to start getting those relationships on the right track.  These are not always easy but seem to be worth the effort.

HUMILITY:  This is probably the one that stops most of us.  We don’t like being WRONG!  We don’t like saying SORRY!  Well guess what?  Sometimes we are ALL wrong and mistaken.  Sometimes we say crappy things to people that hurt their feelings.  Sometimes we DO things we shouldn’t have done.  Whatever it is it doesn’t matter.  It is amazing what a heartfelt apology can do for a relationship.  It takes a lot of courage and “high-road thinking” to admit you were wrong and apologize to people.  Often this step alone can fix the majority of problems when both parties are willing.

UNDERSTANDING:  Understand that I am not you.  You are not me.  We need different diets.  We need different exercise programs.  We meditate and pray differently.  How cool right?  Would it really be very much fun here if everyone were exactly the same?  I think the main reason we try to fit everyone into “our mold” is just another way to try to control our own lives.  If everyone behaved in a predictable manner then maybe we could better predict our lives.  Understanding on a deep level that we are all unique is very important in understanding people.  What is important to you may not be important to someone else and that’s OK!

COMPROMISE:  After thinking about understanding people; there will come times in ANY relationship in which you don’t want to do the same thing.  Maybe it is something as simple as what movie to watch.  Maybe it is as drastic as your view on God and the world.  Does this mean we fight about things?  Not at all.  It is our job as humans to decide to compromise on things.  Of course we need to realize that sometimes compromise is not the right choice as well.  But compromising on the little things is usually best.  Will your life be ruined if you don’t eat exactly what you want for dinner every night?  Well sitting through a show or movie to please a friend or family member be that bad?  When we compromise with others they are also more likely to return the favor (hopefully) =)

HONESTY/DIRECTNESS:  You need to be honest plain and simple.  Honesty DOES NOT just mean telling the truth with regard to factual information such as “where you were” or “what happened at school.”  It means being upfront with your EMOTIONS as well.  Your pissed off at somebody?  Tell them!  You got upset by something a friend said?  Tell them!  This step is about learning to be upfront instead of holding things inside all the time.  If two people can do this then they will avoid a lot of problems down the road.  Again, it may not always be pleasant but it works.

So these are the basics guys.  Ultimately it comes down to a choice.  Do you really want your relationships to work out?  Do you want them to be smooth and loving?  If so, we can’t keep running from the issues.  Life has problems.  We have just created so many in our modern world that we have trained ourselves to ignore certain ones =)  So let’s reclaim a bit of our happiness back by healing our relationships with both our families, our friends, and ourselves.

-Joe

Humility and Health

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

 

We live in a pretty egotistical country.  Most of it is programmed into us.  It is all fear based.  Nonetheless, it affects us.  We are AFRAID to look at what is really going on in our lives.  Maybe if we looked we would be viewed as weak or God forbid; out of control.  So what is the correct response?  Sweep it under the rug.  Ignore it.  Run from it.  Lie to ourselves and others.  Maybe this way we won’t be forced to face the truth.  So what are the effects of all of this?  Bad health, bad relationships, being out of touch with who we are at a deep level, an inability to see the truth, among many other things.  

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest obstacles between people and their goals of living healthy, happy lives.  We simply cannot fix a problem that we refuse to look at.  And we can’t look at it if we are afraid to be humble humans.  It’s almost as if we have forgotten what it really means to be HUMAN.  We are NOT robots.  We are NOT perfect.  We have frailties.  We make mistakes.  We have faults.  We are all flawed.  Speak those words to yourself and see how they sit.  They are not comfortable to say at first.  When you can truly acknowledge these things, believe them, and know in your heart that they are true; your world will begin to open up to you.  Suppressed emotions will come up to be dealt with.  It is fear that keeps them trapped in our systems.  Obviously, these require a lot of work but this is the first step.  You may realize you cannot keep eating the junk you eat if you want to live a long, meaningful life.  Maybe your relationships will change.  Our relationships often run into trouble because of our inability to compromise, communicate, be honest, etc.  In essence; WE don’t admit when we are wrong, what is troubling us, what are true passions and fears are.  You will be able to see things from a perspective of truth rather than a perspective of the ego.  This allows rapid change on all levels.  Rapid change on the spiritual level.  Rapid change on the mental/emotional levels.  Rapid change on the physical level.

So humility and accepting our humanity is extremely important for health and healing.  You will often find that we often waste an insane amount of energy just trying to keep the ego happy.  We work too hard.  We buy fancy things we don’t often need.  We harbor judgements against other people.  Remember, if you accept your OWN humanity; you accept everyone else’s as well.  This automatically makes it easier to forgive and move on.  

This is not something that happens over night.  It is something to strive towards.  It is something to work on.  But at each level that you allow yourself room to be a flawed human (ALL of us), the more you will tend to see improvements in your life.  Growing up, a lot of us are raised to believe that being flawed or wrong or non-perfect is the best way.  To be human, to admit our mistakes, to live our TRUTH is to be weak.  In truth, the exact opposite is true.  Of course it is good to strive for excellence in your life.  Excellence, not perfection.  To be truly strong is to ADMIT your weaknesses.  First to yourself and then to others.  We spend so much effort and energy just trying to project an image that we have it ALL together.  Let’s take down that projection.  Let’s instead choose to have the courage to project an image of a strong person that has fears, weaknesses, and everything else.  In essence; let’s start being HUMBLE HUMANS.

-Joe

 

Why MEAT Gets a Bad Name

Meat

Why does meat get a bad name?  It is mucous forming.  It is too heavy.  It is “bad” to eat animals.  Our bodies weren’t designed to eat meat.  You will hear countless arguments why meat and other animal products are bad for us.  They tell us to focus on “grains” for the bulk of our diet.  Well this is just a terrible idea considering the type of “Grains” most people eat in America.  It would be a little bit better to eat the real thing; the rice, quinoa, oatmeal’s, etc.  But this instant crap?  No thanks.  So what are we to do?  Meat is bad, grains are bad, MAN.  I’m going to give you a little list why meat may not be as bad as you think.

ALL known historical cultures have included some forms of animal products.  Most ate meat in some form, but at least they ate eggs or dairy.  We have been eating it for thousands of years.  It has been a part of the reason we exist today.  So let’s get down to what the problem is.

Most MODERN meat is sick.  It is pumped full of hormones.  It is sick animals.  It is created by animals who were fed the same sick food that a lot of modern humans eat (namely soy, grains, GMO corn, etc).  So most of it doesn’t have the good quality nutrition that meat used to have.  This causes people to overeat a lot.  It is not so much the QUANTITY of animal products that we always need, but the QUALITY.  Secondly, BECAUSE our animal products are sick, we are supposed to pasteurize, overcook, fry, and high heat these things to make them “safe” for human consumption.  This again goes against thousands of years of traditional wisdom.  Take milk for example.  Was RAW for thousands of years.  Pasteurized for 100.  Lot’s of wise people are already beginning to switch back.  Eggs are factory farmed by sick chickens.  REAL free-range eggs fed grass and insects is a lot better.  Of course frying your eggs in vegetable oils to high heaven is going to destroy much of the nutrition.  Get some good quality eggs and either have them raw or lightly sauté them if you prefer it that way.  Many cultures eat “sashimi” salmon, tuna, and other fish raw.  When cooking, we have never favored high-heat processes.  We all instinctively know that slow-cooked food tastes better.  Things like crock-pots, slow barbecue, baked chicken, etc.  This is not all that unusual.  Slow cooking has been used for a long time with meat.  But most of us don’t want to wait for our food.  Traditionally, people have also eaten fermented foods like Sauerkraut with their meats to add friendly bacteria and help break down the food.

So again, if we are getting poor quality animal products and overcooking them; we will probably keep overeating and our bodies will not get what they really want.  Of course keep in mind that we live in a different environment than people in the past.  We are not as active.  We pretty much regulate our temperature in AC/HEATING.  So things are different.  One thing I have noticed in the past is that when I focus on QUALITY, the QUANTITY I want usually goes down drastically.  For instance, eating a little beef liver here and there satisfies my craving for red meat because it is so loaded with nutrition.  Likewise, from a nutritional standpoint; I am getting loads more quality from a few raw or runny yolked eggs from my local farmer than I would from a whole plate of fried, scrambled eggs from DENNY’s or IHOP.  Not that these don’t taste great =)

As a caveat, when dealing with a serious illness; one needs to be careful with energy reserves.  This means usually focusing on the foods that are the easiest to digest.  Fried, heavily cooked meats are not on that list =)  So what are good options here?  The following is a list of high-quality proteins/fats from animals that will give you the nutrition without slowing you down.  Always choose clean sources (especially for the liver).

-Sardines.  These are very lightly smoked, easy to digest, and contain amazing quantities of Omega-3’s, B12, and a slew of other beneficial properties.

-Beef liver (not overcooked).  This one takes some time getting used to.  This has been a sacred food for thousands of years.  Probably more B12/B vitamins in an ounce of this than a whole steak.  A little bit goes a long way.

-Farm Eggs.  Get the best quality you can find.  Egg yolk has very good fat that is useful for helping with hormonal issues, adrenal problems, etc.  Just don’t overcook.

CROCKPOT.  Slow-cooked chicken falling off of the bones is pretty amazing.  Throw a whole chicken in with some vegetables.  Or a beef/lamb roast.  Maybe some turkey.  The options here are limitless.  The goal is to create soft, easily digestible proteins.

-Salmon.  Omega-3’s, easy to digest, great tasting.  Wild caught are best.  Opt for sashimi, baked, or slow smoked.

-RAW butter.  Some people don’t do well with dairy, but butter is fine for most.  Like egg yolks, butter is a good fat that can help soothe nerves, heal hormones, adrenals and thyroid issues, etc.  Don’t COOK it.  Cook your vegetables and then spread a dollop on after they are done.  Other RAW dairy fits for some people.  You just need to see how it works for your own system.  Kefir is another good option.

-Fire-Smoked. This is tricky in the modern world but I am talking about the old-school method.  Roasting something slowly over an open flame.  I would love to learn more about this myself.  

So in the end, I personally don’t think meat and other animal products are the problem.  It is overeating poor quality products, overcooking them, and not focusing on the nutritious versions instead.  Focus on juicy, succulent varieties.  Others may argue this.  We all need to find our own path.  Hopefully this helps you find yours.

-Joe

Your Not Perfect (No, not you either).

 

On This Perfect Day

 

Do you ever mess up?  The way people treat ourselves you would think that nobody ever did.  We over analyze, pick apart our work, make sure we get that last 5 percent of 100, and get mad when we fall short.  Who’s fault is it?

I’m not sure whose fault it is but perfectionism is one of the things that comes with living in our society.  We live in a place that doesn’t like mistakes.  We don’t like 2nd best.  We don’t like “good enough.”  If you are trying to get in shape or lose weight, maybe you don’t QUITE make it.  There is always doing something better or faster than you.  Maybe in your job you pressure yourself to perform perfectly.  I am a business marketing and management major and I see how things work in that world.  Everyone is competing and analyzing their own process making sure that it is top-notch and that things are continuously improving.  Is your car clean?  Is it REALLY clean?   Because I think you missed a spot over there.

What about mistakes?  This is different but related to perfectionism.  We act like it’s not ok to make a mistake every now and then.  A lot of people get down on themselves when they make a mistake.  It’s all this performance minded brain at work.

In short, we are human beings here.  I mean honestly.  We are human beings here.  People know that on a conscious level but I think many of us forget that in the core of who we are.  We treat ourselves more like robots than people sometimes.  Monotonously working the same dull jobs, doing the same workout routines, eating the same food.  Take a look at extremely wealthy people.  It would seem that they have this just as bad.  All the money in the world can’t fix the problem here.  What is the problem?

We are not robots.  We are flawed.  We are imperfect.  We make mistakes.  We fail.  We have impure thoughts.  We give in.

AND THATS OK.

Whatever power made us, we came this way.  A lot of problems in this country are created because people don’t really accept themselves on a deep level.  But do you see how it’s impossible to accept yourself when you demand things from yourself that are impossible to get achieve?  You hear horror stories of gorgeous models with eating disorders and bad self-esteem.  Extremely intelligent people wondering why they got an A on that test instead of an A+.  I have heard of housewives that vacuum their homes 3 times a day.  3 times a day.  Are we really helping things by doing this?

I believe we came from a powerful, free-thinking group of people who made hard work a very important part of this country.  I have nothing against hard work and I work hard every day of my life right now.  What I am talking about is a switch out of fairy tale land.  I am not perfect.  You are not perfect.  We are not perfect.  So what do we do about all of this?  Here are some tips that can help you stop attempting (and failing) at being perfect in whatever you do in life.

1. Accept your humanity.  This is probably the hardest one.  Accept that you DO make mistakes, have flaws, faults, imperfections, etc.  When you start facing up to yourself as you are instead of what someone wants you to be then you regain a lot of power.

2.  Stop searching for approval from outside of yourself.  Do you see how this is counterproductive?  Here, I have a job for you.  Get approval from everybody.  It won’t happen.  So spend time being yourself and doing what you like doing.  Maybe you realize you don’t need that brand new car to impress the neighbors.  Maybe that gives you more time at home with your kid.

3.  Find out WHO you really are.  Are you the guy chasing material wealth to impress everybody?  Are you the girl looking for attention by dressing provocatively?  Do you really like what you put yourself out to the world as?  Or is that just what you were raised to be?  Find some new hobbies.  Get HEALTHY.  I promise you that you won’t know who you truly are until you get healthy.  People do not spend their lives in terrible relationships, become overweight, and work jobs they hate when they are healthy.  Figure out where your life is off-balance and start creating a plan to fix it (yes, it’s ok to make mistakes here too).

4.  Adopt the 90/10 rule.  Aim for that A.  Not the A+.  In mathematics there is a term called an asymptote.  It basically means that you will get closer and closer to a goal without ever actually achieving it.  Do you have a perfect diet?  If your “perfect” diet creates a lot of mental/emotional stress it’s not really a perfect diet is it?  Allow yourself cheat days, leave a spot on your clean car.  Don’t mind vacuuming that hard to reach spot in the corner.  If you feel weak today, don’t push yourself at the gym.

5. Be HONEST with yourself.  Deep down, most of us know what we really want.  We just can’t always accept that.  For instance, I want a basically simple life full of good relationships, good family life, good food, and the outdoors.  Fishing, biking, kayaking, hunting, gardening, working out, career I feel passionate about, and outdoor space are some things that top my list.  But it took me awhile to get there.  If you feel really down about your weight or about your financial situation, don’t hide that from yourself.  It’s a part of you.  We get into trouble when we are not honest with who we are or what we are capable of.  Don’t try to lose 50 pounds in a week.  Don’t try to fix a wrecked relationship in a weekend.  Look at where you are at now honestly and go from there

6.  Now for the kicker.  While trying to break your imperfection, refer to #1.  It’s easy to get mad or frustrated when you let this habit get the best of you.  It’s a hard one to kick as it is so ingrained in our psyche from birth.  But it is possible.  So in your quest to become imperfect, don’t try to be perfect in your goal.

Ok.  So the ironic thing here is that when we strive for “good enough” we usually actually achieve MORE.  Kind of an oxymoron i know, but it’s the way it works.  By allowing ourselves breathing room in our everyday lives, we are motivated to keep moving.  We look at the progress we are making and not the 5% we didn’t do.  I mean really, there are so many people striving out there.  Let’s take the bar down a little bit and come back to planet earth for a little while.  What is something you would like to try to not be so “perfect” in?

-Joe