Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Let's Get Vertical

Have you heard of life described as having vertical and horizontal dimensions?
In our Western culture, we are overwhelmingly horizontal. So let's get vertical.

The Horizontal Aspect

The horizontal aspect of life is all the stuff we do in our lives. Work, laundry, play, social life, and everything on your to-do list. We're really good at the horizontal dimension.

The Vertical

The vertical dimension is our connection to self, to Spirit, your inner knowing. Problem is, in our society, we tend to focus on the horizontal and forget the vertical.

Rocks, Pebbles and Sand

There is a well-known analogy from Steven Covey about rocks, pebbles and sand. Imagine that you have some of each and you put the sand in a jar, then the pebbles, and last the rocks, The rocks will not all fit. But if you start with the rocks, then add the pebbles, they will fill the spaces between the rocks, then the sand, you can even fit water in.


And I don't know about you, but between the avalanche of email in my In Box, Facebook, and my recent addiction to old TV shows on Netflix, I seem to have less free time than ever. There is an endless amount of distraction in our lives. These things are the sand in our lives. Here’s an article on taming your email In Box.

Adjust the Horizontal and Vertical - Rock On

So the idea is to know what the rocks are in your life and put those important things in your day first.
Then let the pebbles and sand will fit. For me, a daily fitness routine and meditation are really important. If I tell myself that I will do it later in the day, it rarely happens. I find that it works best to do these first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

Get Vertical

So I invite you to consider spending more time on the vertical dimension of life, and to do these things first thing in the morning. Put those rocks in your day’s jar first, and then the pebbles and sand will not fill it up.

How About You?

How do you manage your day and find the time to get vertical?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Chinese Finger Cuffs as a Spiritual Practice

Not long ago, someone gave me some Chinese Finger Cuffs. So how are these a spiritual practice?

I laugh when I saw them, because I had not seen them in years. I remember having one as a child. No doubt it was one of my older brothers who gave it to me, and instructed me to put an index finger in each end.

Resistance is Futile

If you ever played with these, you know that trying to remove your fingers is not easy or intuitive.

You cannot remove your fingers by pulling on them. the harder you pull on your fingers, the tighter the cuffs become.

I suppose it is meant as a practical joke played on unsuspecting children too young to think of alternatives. I probably went running to my mother, who would have told me to push in instead of pulling away.

Non-Resistance in Life

I love this metaphor. That when I encounter a tight or difficult or frustrating situation, the best and

So now I keep one near my computer, where I tend to get frustrated most often, and one in my car. They remind me to pause and breathe, to stop resisting, and to allow, relax, and go with the flow a little bit more every day.

When faced with a frustrating or challenging situation where I feel tight or upset, the most effective action is to relax my resistance and move in toward the thing I instinctively want to resist.

Only by relaxing instead of panicking can I feel that the appropriate way to free myself from the situation is to go with it, to stop resisting, and to move into what seems like discomfort. When the struggle is released, the tightness dissipates, and I can free myself from the predicament or frustration.

How About You?

What reminds you to go with the flow instead of resisting?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Falling Off the Resolution Wagon

So it's 5 days into the new year. Did you make a new years resolution to eat right? I did.

Did you already fall off the wagon?

Do You Want to get back on?

There is quite a bit of information online about how to lose weight, and even how to stick with it. So I won't go into details here. Besides, even though I have read about nutrition since I stopped eating red meat as a teenager about 40 years ago, I am not a nutritionist. If you need information on how to eat healthy, you can find programs online such as my friend JoAnn Newton's Nutritional e-cleanse and many many more.

I am lucky, because I have been eating healthy meals for decades. But I have this little problem with a huge sweet tooth. So I frequently resolve to quit sweets. Not just at New Year's. And I keep falling off that wagon. So I decided to look for ways to stay on it.

Staying on the Resolution Wagon

For me, staying with my nutritional resolutions includes knowing where my "weaknesses" are. I know that I need to ignore the call of the delicious chocolate chip cookies at Oliver's Market. They are the only store-bought cookies I have ever encountered that taste as good as my own. Real butter, plenty of brown sugar and dark chocolate chips. Heaven in a cookie.

So even though they remind me of childhood treats, and they taste fabulous, I know that I have a choice every time I crave one, every time I shop there, every time I walk past them.

If you ever tried to diet or to clean up your eating act, you probably know all too well the internal argument that goes on. Like a parent telling e a child no, I immediately rebel.

For me, it's something like this:
8:00 AM "Today I will eat healthy."
By 8:15 AM, the dialogue begins:
"I want one of those cookies. They are SO good!"
"Are you sure?"
"You know it might interrupt your sleep."
"I don't care. I'll eat healthy starting tomorrow."
And I watch myself walk over to the cookie counter (sometimes drive to the store first!) and get a cookie."
I usually enjoy it thoroughly while eating it. Then regret it the next time I step on the scale or see my reflection in the mirror. Or sometimes, 10 minutes later.

Sound familiar?

Choosing - What Is a Treat, Really?

But why do I argue with myself? Am I going to let this happen every day for the rest of my life? Or will choose to be in control of my mind rather than let it run rampant like a 3 year old with no discipline?

I can succumb to my deeply-ingrained habit of reaching for one of those amazing cookies. I can even savor it as slowly as possible. And then, as often as not, several minutes later my sensitive stomach will remind me that it wasn't such a good idea. And maybe I get a little hyper from the sugar. So is it really a treat then? Is the series of reactions to that confection really worth it? Are the extra pounds really worth it? Am I really giving myself a treat when I think about it? Am I really depriving myself if I choose to not eat that cookie today?

The Key to Staying with the Resoultion

For me, the key is finding a place of peace between these 2 warring sides. I learned a long time ago not to let the argument gain steam. Instead, like Chance in the movie Being There, I watch. Either I
watch myself buy the cookie, or I watch myself walk past them.

I remember that I used to reach for candy bars more often than those cookies, and that I trained myself to walk past them after I discovered that I am pre-diabetic. It helped that I found something I like better: Cacao powder in my morning protein drink. So I am not deprived of chocolate. I actually like the cacao better than chocolate. So if I can walk away from my favorite candy bar, I can certainly practice walking away from the cookies too. The candy now seems smaller, less bright, less appealing. And I don't even like the taste any more. So this year I am practicing doing the same with the cookies: making them smaller, duller, less interesting than before.

How About You?

What is your favorite mental trick to avoid your trigger foods?