The Morning Connection

The Morning Connection

So we know this technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and why should it, there are unquestionable powers behind this instant accessibility to the internet and all that it contains. With only a few touches of our finger tips on a screen we can access what seems like endless amounts of information and stimulus. The question is….. Is this instant gratification helping us enter a more proactive state or keeping us more reactive?

The early morning (ninety minutes or so before sunrise) is referred to as the Brahma Muhurta or “the creators hour” , the time of the day when our minds are at ease, our bodies are rested and our conscious awareness is most expanded. This time is considered to be most potent for inviting a proactive vision for what we want to create, which ultimately sets the flow for the day. Recent studies are showing the affect of jumping into the virtual world and social media first thing in the morning to be just the opposite of that flow, by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and promoting a reactive state.

Now just imagine how much deeper our connections could be if we turned to face our partner first thing in the morning rather than plugging right in to the web of disconnection. Or if we chose to reflect on our dreams and / or journal, we could get a sense of our fortunes and receive insights on the things we need to change or begin to invite into our lives. If we can utilize the power of “the creators hour” and choose to engage in things which enrich our lives, we can create balance between our internal and technological realities.

So what is it that makes us need to be constantly connected to this virtual community and what are the long term affects on our physical connectivity to our family, friends and other people in our lives? If we are truly living boring lives then why not make a choice to create interesting situations or engage with creative and interesting people?

At the end of the day, how does it influence us? Are we using it to our benefit as the great tech tools that they are? Or are we allowing these devices to control us by tearing down our personal boundaries and creating a hyper-connected virtual reality without the true one on one conversation all while challenging our ability to find our peace and stillness.

Habits for Living part 2

Habits for Living part 2

How often do we change our routines? How often are we aware of our routines? The mundane tasks, thoughts and even complex movements we do without conscious awareness are scattered throughout the day. We may know on some level that everyday is a new day to create something new, but with old outdated habits and routines we become robotic and our personality becomes stagnant.

Think of brushing your teeth for example. Typically we mindlessly go through the routine we are so comfortable doing which can be very similar to our situational reactions and ways of describing our daily experiences. Someone politely asks, How are you doing? We may respond, I’m good, I’m tired or I’m stressed. But do these answers truly represent our current state of being? Maybe so, but many of these routine answers we use as a subconscious way of keeping us in a state of familiarity which can continue to shape our personal reality.

Now just imagine brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or with your dominant hand but moving slowly in the opposite way you routinely move the brush around your mouth. By reviewing the simplest things we automatically say, think or do  without question, we get a sense of the subconscious operating system we have built over our lives. This operating system is represented in the brain and can be seen with the neurons creating distinct pathways. From this place we can identify whats holding us back and where we can put more of our energy.

Just as learning new languages, musical instruments or new styles of movement and dance are all great for rewiring the brain, choosing new ways of speaking and thinking  begin to reshape our personal reality and how we see and experience things. They have very beneficial outcomes and consequently the more we do something new, the more familiar it becomes and the stronger the connections become in the brain.

So I invite you to challenge your routines by consciously choosing the awkward way of doing things. We are so conditioned to take action in a specific way that we may even have withdrawal symptoms when we begin new ways of action, so take a deep breath and lean into the new. Trust yourself even if the new way does not seem right and remind yourself that the more you do it the more familiar it becomes redefining the new and potentially upgraded states of normal.

Habits for living part 1

Creamy berry jello recipe

Creamy berry jello recipe

Spring is in full swing and so are the tasty berries in Southern California.

With these fresh and local berries being high in flavor and lower in sugar than other popular fruits they have been a go to for my recent kitchen exploration.

Possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve been playing around with which is a treat and a health food at the same time. I recommend using either Great Lakes brand gelatin or Bulletproof Collagelatin for this and any other recipe requiring a gelling component.

This is a variation of the Blueberry Un-Cheesecake recipe from the newly released book Head Strong by Dave Asprey which explores the newest science on the effects the environment on our mitochondria. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

Procedure

  • Place everything Except gelatin, water and sweetener( if using) into a blender
  • Heat the water over low heat until warm,  stir in the gelatin and sweetener if using until its dissolved
  • When the gelatin is dissolved add the water to the blender
  • Blend until smooth and pour into your favorite molds, or any container.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set
  • For faster settling put in the freezer for 1.5 hours and defrost for 20 minutes before serving
  • Serve with fresh berries and chopped nuts or whatever you like
  • Freeze any excess for tasty snacks later on.

The sweet truth

erol-ahmed-80094Unless you have been living in a cave or deliberately avoiding the topic of health in modern society, I am sure you have heard about the destructive qualities sugar, foods containing added sugar and how they affect our physiology. But this journey down the hole of sweet deceit is possibly one of the most challenging to navigate. There are so many claims today about which alternative is the best and even some companies are claiming health benefits from their revolutionary sweet products and this where misinformation and insufficient testing are hidden behind the power of marketing.

Natural, Low glycemic, Zero Calorie and Sugar Free are just a few of the endless label markers found on many of these products, so to stay somewhat focused through this smoke filled topic I am highlighting just one of the many “healthy” sweeteners, Agave Taquilana. This is the succulent traditionally used to make tequila and mezcal which yields a very sweet sap and juice.

The less than ideal fructose content of these agave products, some of which can be highly processed in very degrading ways, is what makes it something to avoid. Agave syrup can range from %55- %95 fructose where as the demonized High Fructose Corn Syrup averages at %55. Agave may not spike blood sugar like other sweeteners do but thats due to the way the liver processes the fructose, which is very similar to the metabolic process of alcohol and where its destructive qualities come to light such as creating and storing excess fat around the liver and the belly along with raising unhealthy cholesterol.

Yes fruit does contain fructose and is recommended as part of a healthy diet, however certain fruits contain far less than others and unlike the high fructose containing syrups, these fruits are found with other healthy micronutrients and antioxidants. Of course this does come down to the quantity of sugar and sugar containing food we eat but basically the less we consume, the better.

Personal Time Off

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You may notice an underlying theme among all the ideas I share here. This theme is something I have slowly integrated into my life and explore daily, it’s the theme of simplicity and connecting with my current ecosystem. I have always found peace through surfing, outside play and being in the ocean so it was intuitive for me to begin to focus on this. Just as the tide comes in and goes out, playing on a seesaw also relates to the ebb and flow of nature, showing how it takes an understanding of both sides to create balance and ease in our lives.

This daily unplugging, as in quiet time away from distraction or interruption each day is a necessity. Sounds simple right? By unplugging and entering this state of inquiry we can connect to ourselves more deeply feeling an internal sense of who we are. With the practice of personal inquiry we can explore our values and desires we may not have previously been aware of. Is there a sleeping desire within me? What do I desire? Where are the desires resting dormant? What do I value the most? What can I let go of? Am I taking life too seriously?

Even if we understand the answers on a certain level and can’t put them into words, the power of facilitating this inquiry practice with the time spent unplugged is often enough to feel more at ease though life. Its a very common question to ask what we think our purpose may be in life and understanding the different layers of what we value may help us gain a sense of this.

It seems paradoxical that when we quiet the mind we begin to hear a deeper conversation, but tuning into what we feel and asking the questions invites a greater sensitivity to the deeper internal dialogue. What happens when we allow ourselves to let go of our own expectations of who we think we should or should not be and acknowledge who we desire to be or who we are becoming.

I know when I don’t facilitate this time of personal inquiry for myself, I feel more and more distant from the path of purpose, a deeper sense of discontentment and so comes the patterns of destructive thoughts and behaviors. So create a quiet time to reflect and ask the questions. Take time off and explore, even if its walking in the park, on the beach, traveling somewhere new or somewhere you enjoy and remember to have fun!

 

All I need is..

michael-podger-32058What does it feel like to thrive? Watching the flowers bloom this time of year they make it seem so effortless. As if they are tapped into the source of unseen nourishment. The flow. So is it the effort they put into it or the participation of the bigger picture. After all, how much effort does a flower really put out?

Unlike a flower, we to a degree have choices which have the potential to influence our opportunity to enter this unseen flow. It’s becoming a participant of life rather than a spectator. Engaging and interacting with the environment around us through nourishment and play.

Since the turn of this new year I started a program called Body Thrive. Cate Stillman who is a longtime Ayurveda practitioner wrote the book Body Thrive, founded YogaHealer.com, Yoga Healer Podcast and Yoga Health Coaching among many other great programs designed to bring people into a state of thrive. The basis of this program is very simple yet because of the modern disconnect to our daily rhythms, adopting these habits show nothing less than dramatic results.

Eventually I will go into greater detail about the shifts which have occurred since starting each of these habits, but my keystone habit has been eating earlier and lighter dinners. This is the first step in the program as its sets the stage for the others to fall into place. The first habit has changed slightly for me as the days become longer and activity levels ebb and flow however the fundamental idea of eating my heaviest meals during the peak hours of the day stays strong. A few years ago this would seem like crazy talk to me but with empirical learning it’s now a way of life.

For myself its the simplicity of daily rhythms and being in tune with the physical nature of being alive. When I’m in flow with these pulsations, a sense of ease begins to take the wheel steering me towards thrive. From the application of simple daily habits and my personal experience of living these time-tested routines, I see that ease is usually within reach. Its a life-long journey and I wouldn’t ask for it any other way.

Transending the transactional shit!

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What is personal value or even self worth? I know that money doesn’t represent who we are, but on some level I believe it reflects the flow of a specific energy and frequency. Im not saying that each of us has a dollar amount which signifies our existence and living worth, but how much do we value our time and energy, and in exchange how does what we share that energy with reflect our values and interests.

If you think of how limitless the universe is in which our planet is circling our sun, or how we perceive those limits, then the same goes for all the pennies, dollars, nickels and digital numbers we create as a collective within the monetary and banking systems tying together the global civilization. I believe tapping into this seemingly limitless energy is possible when we are in tune with its specific frequency. This starts with the understanding and belief that we are enough and deserving of this collective energetic sharing of monetary value for service and goods.

This is where the road splits and where greed and corruption have an open door to come right in. In todays modern society we need at a minimum a basic flow of money to pay for the basic needs of living. So how worthy are we to be in this flow of abundant exchange? Can we be in this flow without giving it the control of our happiness? Without the attachment to the physical characteristics or material possessions we acquire. If we can be in the flow with the mindset of understanding how can I help rather than what can I get, will be the difference. It’s the shift from the vibration of scarcity to that of love and selfless action.

And in this abundant nature flowing through us we are given a stronger foundation to help those who need it. A stronger foundation to deepen the impact we have on these people. Sharing what we have to offer without holding back, and ultimately facilitating growth for ourselves and our community.