The bad news: See all the trauma out there? Conflicts around the world, suffering, spineless politicians, nasty comments on the web, fake news, propaganda, greed in business or selfishness close to home. The bad news is that all that stuff is a reflection of you. All the trauma ‘out there’ is a reflection of what’s ‘inside you’. Everything. 😕
The good news? Change yourself and you change the world. Every time something out there pisses you off, makes you angry, guilty or sad – that’s the cue to look inward and start the work. It takes discipline to look inward. It’s easier to blame others, retreat or get angry. Practice every day. 😌
You can’t outrun your mouth. Eat less. Exercise more.
Pay your medical bills at the grocery store and buy healthy food.
Your metabolism slows down after 40. Eat less the older you get.
Exercise eats stress. Exercise first thing in the morning before the family wakes up.
Don’t check your phone in the morning until you’ve exercised. It’ll keep your cortisol levels down in the morning. Also try to avoid coffee right after you wake up. Drink a glass of water instead.
Eat more vegetarian meals – it’s better for your energy levels and digestion.
Stretch and take deep breaths. It calms the mind and lowers your heart rate.
Do back bends in the morning to energize and front bends in the evening before bed to help you sleep.
Meditate, even for 10 seconds. Do it at your desk, on the train…whenever you become aware of the moment. Take a break, relax your shoulders and jaw. Calm the mind.
Oak trees in the wild are messy things. Before I knew this I thought that oaks were these lone wolf sculpted trees with long clean trunks and a large canopy of round green foliage…kind of like the ones you see on a fancy wine bottle label. In reality a wild oak tree’s branches hang low and rest on the ground, sprawled out like a giant octopus. From a distance it looks like a big untidy bush and bramble. It’s all over the place. What I’ve since learned is that those tentacle like branches act as anchors for the tree and stabilize it in storms and heavy winds. That messy support structure is the reason it’s still standing and means it’s healthy. The human pruned, lone oak trees in the middle of a green field may look beautiful and statuesque, but they have a much high failure rate because they lack the stabilizing octopus support network.
It’s the same for humans. We are more resilient and stronger with a messy support network. Together we are stronger. Put down roots, build a community, lean on people, be vulnerable even if it’s messy. It’ll sustain you in the long run and it’s healthy.
The Getty Center is located in the Santa Monica mountains with breathtaking views over LA. My parents and I arrived one morning with zero expectations – and by the end of the day we were inspired and energized.
Just like churches have spires that reach up to the heavens and imply a closer connection to God, I felt like we were in a spire above LA. This museum on top of the mountain was our connection to creativity and ideas.
The Greek word “mouseion” means seat of the Muses. In Greek mythology, the Muses are a collection of sister deities who provide inspiration to patrons of the arts and sciences.
The art at the Getty was our muse…and it worked its magic.
It’s uncanny how many people imagine a green field when they meditate and still their mind. The field is there waiting for them.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
As I left the house this morning there was a gentle offshore wind blowing, the ground was wet from morning rain and there was still a bite in the air. A typical spring morning in Northern California. Weather patterns can evoke memories, just like smells and sounds. This particular combination of notes took me back to Mexico.
In the spring of 2003 I was on the west coast of Mexico with two buddies. We had slowly moved down the coast, camping in beach villages along the way and surfing every morning. If the surf was good and the people were friendly then we would stay a while. The ritual was the same. Wake up before sunrise, slowly crawl out of a too small tent, fuel the belly with some instant oats, try to warm up a bit and paddle out. Like clockwork, the wind was always a light offshore before switching to a pumper onshore at around 10ish in the morning. The key was to get out early with the offshore wind and catch the swell when it was glassy and smooth. Crowds were never a problem. The rest of the day was spent sleeping, reading and playing cards away from the wind and sun. Just before sundown as everything started to cool again, the wind would die down and switch back to offshore. It was time to suit up and paddle out for a cheeky sunset surf. Good times.
Pattern recognition is combination of things, like the time of year, sights, sounds, smell and state of mind, but when it clicks into place it’s great to revisit a moment and savor it. Be open to it and explore it when it happens.