Friday, December 1, 2017

I have an aching need. My mission statement.

Tom Bilyeu. Impact Theory. This guy, his wife, his team... They are amazing, and today while catching up on some vid viewing (it's Friday, and my favorite way to start  Friday is to sip rocket fuel lattes and get pumped with great inspiration)  he articulated what I have understood at a visceral level.

I have an aching need to succeed.

But at what?

It took me a loooooong time to figure it out. A few years ago, what I thought was the worst day of my life turned out to be the first step on the path to finding my absolute true raison d'être . I was forced to let go of sheltering protection, of the confines of security and be exposed, scared and without a fricking clue as to how I was gonna move forward. It was awful at first. I didn't allow myself to freeze up. I took action, I made plans, I just did something, anything, to propel myself in a forward motion. At first, it didn't even matter what it was that I was doing, just that I did SOMETHING. Move. March. Forward. And slowly, things became clearer. Slowly, with the help of friends and family, I figured things out. I allowed myself time to just sit with things. I allowed myself to try new super scary ideas, I reached for things I'd never allowed myself to do before, to study subjects I used to think were too difficult for me. I knew, KNEW I was a scientist, just cloaked in an artist's shell. A chimera, if you will!!! I trusted my own intelligence and I started asking the right questions. I refused to seek comfort or settle for things because they were easy. I refused to quit or give up when things were uncomfortable or stressed me out. When things chafed, I developed grit. But, I had the presence of mind to reject things that were not meant for me. I let go of things I'd invested in to move in different directions that felt instinctively more correct, something I wouldn't have had the courage to do before.  I have an aching need and it now consumes me. I will make an impact on this world. I will leave a legacy. It matters to me more than comfort, more than security, more than money, more than sleep. Well, as much as sleep... after all, sleep matters a lot! 

I made my own body my experiment, n=me. It's awakened some amazing ideas. It's made me expansive. I have cultivated someone completely new out of the wreckage of my old self. Kintsukuroi of the deepest order. I have discovered the awesome power of self-will. I have discovered that I am mighty. That EVERYONE is mighty. I will be part of the wave of people who will give something of value to this world and I will not settle for less. I believe, with all of my heart, that the strength and depth of human potential is nearly limitless and capable of producing amazing wonderful things. I will do this through health, nutrition and wellness. I WILL be part of the new wave of understanding of this, of the absolute objective and intention to make health care personal, PREVENTATIVE, not reactive, and a true improvement in the human condition overall. Yes. That is an insanely high goal, and I am absolutely serious. I have an aching need to be part of a reformation in how we view health and nutrition in this world. There is a wave of change coming, and I want to be part of how it moves, the direction it takes. So get ready, because I'm just getting started.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.

To dream of a plants represents a slowly progressing development in your life. Ideas, plans, or hard work that will take time to realize the full potential of. Something you are patiently waiting for. To dream of watering plants speaks of self-improvement or personal growth that will take time to manifest, to improve an area or areas of one's life. 

People who are experiencing slow or long term healing often dream of plants, planting, growing and or watering them.

Last night, I dreamt that I was in a room that kept shifting in it's nature. One moment it was the outdoors, then a large home, then a cafe', then some other kind of space. The space was filled with plants. They were in all kinds of containers, some of them hanging high out of reach, some of them lining the shelves over a bar in a restaurant exaggeratedly high up on a tall wall, some of them placed around the ground between chairs and tables. These were not delicate stemmed greenery either, some of them were Norfolk Pines, large, vibrant, hearty plants. Some had flowers, big, glorious blooms. Not riotous and chaotic, this was all organized and clean looking, but bold, big shiny leaves or thick trunks, and all the plants conveyed a feeling of strong, healthy organic "aliveness." It was like having a living presence inside the space, these plants were not gentle, were not unobtrusive, but were vividly IN the space.

And they needed to be watered, and I was compelled to do it. Many were well out of reach for me to easily water. I had to find a hose and some kind of device to reach up to the highest hanging plants, and as I was going about this work, people were interrupting me, some of them attempting to dissuade me from completing my task, asking me to stop and provide some action for them. I often had to sidestep people in order to get the job done, but get it done I did. I found a way to water every single one of those plants before my body allowed me to wake smoothly and naturally at 6:oo a.m. this morning.

A few years ago, something clicked in my brain and I knew...I just knew that it was time to start the next part of my life, and that if I reached deep, the method and the path was there. I've had to sidestep and do some serious shuffling, but I've watered my dreams, many that started out high out of reach. I now have a lot more plants on the ground and well within reach than I did before. But everyday, I stand under the highest plants with that turbo charged nozzle and I don't stop until I hear the sound of water on the leaves!
I know that eventually, that plant will sit on the ground at my feet, and I'll move to the next one and do that same thing for it. Water the highest plants, as well as the easiest ones, and never stop reaching for the goal that seems painfully, exhaustingly out of range. If someone is in the way of that that action, step around and then in front of them, and don't let obstacles or lazy thinking determine your margins. Take a breath, sack up and get to watering.

Don't stop when it's hard, don't stop when it hurts, don't stop until you're done.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Strength doesn't come from physical capacity, it comes from indomitable will

Another holiday season is approaching, Thanksgiving is on us already and that means a lot of different things to me. Last week was a "full of feelz" week, the one year anniversary of my father's passing, and I won't lie, there have been more than a few tears.  Most days I still can't believe he's gone. I was blessed with the gift of wonderful parents, both of whom loved us openly and generously, giving to us fully of their time and support. We knew, from our earliest days, that we were the center of their world. They were a unit in raising us, but at the same time, they empowered us to be strong and self-sufficient. My father did me the great service of raising me to be a person, not a girl. He had no concept of the princess mentality, and I changed tires, restored cars, poured concrete, built houses and cooked and cleaned along with my brothers. My father was an amazing cook and he loved family holidays, fussed over the stove and wanted it all perfect. It amused me to no end in my early teens to see this muscled he man following a recipe and carefully folding whipped egg whites into batter to make a pillowy perfect cake, topped with raspberry and velvety whipped cream. I will have a bittersweet season knowing that he won't be there with us.

I've gone from pleased with my health and fitness journey to feeling like it's not going well, up and down 10 times a day for the last week or so. My clothes fit looser and looser, exercise pants that were almost too snug now bag on my legs and at the hips, and my body is reshaping itself weekly. I'm down firmly in "one"derland, under 190 for the first time in forever, and losing at minimum 1.5 or so lbs per week. I workout well and am gaining muscle and am becoming rock hard under my skin, especially where there isn't fat padding it anymore. Under my breasts (which have shrunk to a manageable 38DD now) I have the pectoral muscles any guy would dream of! I can feel them jutting up in a perfect pectoral shaped band of muscle, angled up at the sides, the flattened top surface. Too bad they're covered by boobs!!! 
But, the change in seasons and the cold have triggered my rheumatoid arthritis, and my hands have become clumsy and painful on a consistent basis, I'm dropping things constantly and it's frustrating. My elbows, so damaged by Lyme and riddled with bone spurs, prevent me from doing much in the way of presses, and it hampers my ability to transform into the She Hulk. It's a bit of a bitter pill to have to admit defeat on the weight amount I'd like to use and be forced to grab the puny dumbbells just to complete an exercise. But, grab them I do, I check my form and sloooowly move through the motions, counting on time under tension and holding contraction to do the work that my joints refuse to allow. And, it works, and I grow slowly stronger. Slowly slimmer. Sadly, I'd like to grow, well, period. But for now, I settle for slimmer and stronger, even if that means legs that look like stems rather than trunks. I scroll through my Instagram account and sigh at the photos of all the uber muscular ladies who's physique I'd happily imitate. One part of my mind says it can never happen in my condition, and I quickly kick that bitch in the shins and lift my chin and declare that I'ma beast and all that needs to happen is time and effort and I too can get ooh's and aaah's when I wear tight sleeves in public. Then my bat wing tricep muscles taunt me and I scowl with fury. Not being able to straighten my elbows out makes hitting those things darned near impossible. But not ALL the way impossible, and that's my cue to just. Try. HARDER! Boom, baby.

So while I'm able to soothe myself on the eventual conquest of an imperfect body, I'm a bit stunned to see the changes in my face. I've been fat for 20 years, and with that fat came a round, smooth, almost freakishly youthful appearance that belied my age. I liked that I looked a full 12 years or so younger than my age. That is now history, and while the weight loss has enhanced everything below the shoulders, that has not been the case above the neck! Yikes. I now look my age. I find I'm not a fan of that. Sigh. There are sags and jowls and crepiness where fat no longer resides. I will have to find ways to deal with it, I suppose. It is a trade I am willing to live with, and hey, Juvaderm, right? I have NO problem with small cosmetic fixes. So, that may be in my future. Because for a singularly unremarkable looking woman, I am a completely vain peacock! I am plain in the extreme, but a legend in my own mind!! Ha ha ha. Well, I suppose most natural redheads are vain, and I was born with a head of fire and a soul to match it.

So, the years march on, and the changes keep coming. And like every human before me who has slowly aged yet survived, I will find my own way to navigate it and with some small grace will emerge into my golden years as a vicious willful little scrap of muscle and gristle with a spirit made of steel. Life is comprised of stages, and I believe the trick to moving from one to the next gracefully is to just sack up and keep going, gathering what you've learned and not letting any crap provide any sort of roadblock. Kick that shit out of the way and keep moving onward!! Don't ever stop moving forward, turkey neck and all.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I don't count calories= I've lost 35 lbs.

One of my favorite things is scraping the grease and yummy bits from a pan of slow oven roasted bacon rashers into the bacon grease container and thinking: hello BDNF!!

I don't count calories. I haven't for 5 months, yet I've lost over 3 clothing sizes. I eat a lot of fat from animal or whole food sources. Some days, it comprises a full 60% of my calories. I pay little attention to anything on food labels except carbs and sugars and fiber. I don't look at calories, or fat percentage. Not even sodium. I don't have to.  How on earth can this be?

Simple. 90% of what I eat is food I would still be eating if I suddenly popped back in time 500 years.
I eat a lot of vegetables. A large majority of my meals are at least 50% fiber filled veg, mainly green in color, or cruciferous. And I load 'em up with good healthy real fats and flavor filled herbs. I love fat, and it loves me!! But it doesn't stick around long, I burn it up daily, and it takes its friends with it when it goes. I've lost a LOT of body fat. I'm now told that my neck, arms, shoulders, legs are thin. Now, that's a word I NEVER thought would be used to describe anything but my hair!! I do not eat canola/soy/corn oils. Almost no sesame oil. I DO eat lots of olive and avocado oil, plenty of coconut oil. Macadamia nut oil also. I will frequently eat quality butter from grass fed cows, either Kerrygold or from local farms, I use the aforementioned bacon grease, high quality lard from animal fats although on a lesser basis than the vegetable oils... the more organic and higher quality, the better. I will pay for the privilege of good health, since it IS a privilege in this day and age, it would seem, and I will sacrifice things to obtain it, whether that be time from preparing my own food day after day or monetary activities to be able to purchase quality ingredients.  Because that's what fills my larder. Ingredients. In fact, a co-worker asked me with genuine curiosity this weekend after I carefully prepared a meal of whole food I brought from home and sat to enjoy it if I "got tired of cooking all my own meals myself." I answered "NO." There was no lie there. We are allowed to eat the food in the group home where I am employed and yet I choose to incur the expense of bringing my own because my food standards far exceed the level of free, processed, artificial, disease producing food available to me at work. The end result of my time investment is a value without price: my health and wellness. I cannot stress this enough-your body/health/wellness is made in the kitchen. Period. Done and dusted. Your physique is refined in the gym, and sleep and family/community connection/sense of purpose does the rest. It REALLY IS that simple. And all of it is under your control.  Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Because I eat whole foods, I naturally eat less, am full longer, am fueled by fat in a body adept at burning fat, adept at digging into it's own fat stores because dietary provided glucose is mostly a memory for it at this point. I can go long periods without food or hunger because my body knows it's not starving due to well over 10,000 calories of body fat just sitting there winking at my brain saying "come and get me, big boy!!" And my brain? Well, my ass is shrinking, but my brain is not! Take that Alzheimer's genes. I don't think so!

 If you're counting on "the establishment" to properly regulate the industries that feed and nourish our bodies, you're being rather naive. There is no money for the pharma or "fix it" industries in a healthy, thinking, pro-active population. It's every Adonis and Goddess for themselves, so TTFUBC and dig in and figure out how to take care of you in spite of how antithetical the actions are within the standard American lifestyle. I swim against the current every day and it's worth every stroke.

I follow a primarily ketogenic diet, with the occasional more primal paleo (no legumes and I hate sweet potatoes) or carb re-feed day, to keep hormones in check and promote metabolic flexibility, and it's been a magical reset of health for me. I treat it like a fun game. I've made my own body my biggest scientific experiment and it's been one of the most engaging times of my life, to be able to research, play and note cause and effect with regard to how I'm rebuilding myself.  I've discovered the bio-hacking community and love being part of a tribe of energetic, inquisitive minds who want to make an impact on the world in some truly amazing ways. 

Should you also eat like me? I don't know, should you? Try it and see. Play with it. Adjust. Try strict keto, or slow carb, or primal paleo for a few months and assess. Then switch it up, add some carbs and up the protein, did you lose weight, do you feel better? I did, so now I don't do hyper strict keto, but a more thyroid friendly version. Reach out and join one of the myriad communities that will happily help you reach for your optimal functioning self. Hell, reach out to me, we can kick ass together. I love having awesome people pushing me, challenging me to up my game on the reg. Bring it and I'll see your effort and raise you double!
Play with intermittent fasting. Or not. Just DO SOMETHING. Do better. Stop saying "I need to do something" and actually DO IT!!!! Sack up and start today. Start now. Stop making excuses and don't stop working to be better.  Every.  Single. Day.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It takes so little to be your best self.

I think about my body every day. I wake in the a.m. and I assess. How do I feel? Am I energized, buoyant? Do I feel rested and sharp? Or do I feel sluggish? I look at myself in the mirror. Have I noticeably lost more weight? Have I visibly slimmed down a few more lbs? Or do I look more bloated than the day before? I have a set of goals and with a little daily mindfulness, I am not only meeting those goals, I'm even exceeding them. 

All of this ties into my habits, my diet, my activity level, the supplements I take. Everything I do on a daily basis has a result, and those results must be assessed if I'm to maintain a mindful increase in general health and strength and a decrease in weight and illness. I think very carefully about EVERY food or substance I ingest. I eat with a purpose. I make it pleasurable, to be sure, because I'm a good cook, but it matters what I eat and what goes into my body. Food is information and it tells your body what to do to you, or for you. I choose the option of having it do something for me... Every single day. 

I work out and stay active in a myriad of ways, not just in the gym, but also in daily life. I can walk for hours now. I fuel myself based on what I have planned. If I'm going to the gym and know I'm going to lift really heavy, I don't eat at all before and wait hours after my workout to consume anything but a little protein drink. Then, in the afternoon, I feast on higher protein, lots of veg and fat. Two days later, I have more muscle, and am slimmer. This simple equation: Lift heavy-move often-rest-eat with purpose= the healthiest me of my life. I've conquered the Lyme, I've slowed (or perhaps even stopped) most of the RA, and I’ve slowed the clock in many ways. I'm almost 55 and am told I look barely 40.  My classmates in school were talking about how awful it was working with 50-year-old "old ladies" and I spoke up and said "Hey!!! I'm older than THAT!" They said "yeah, but you're like us, you aren't an old lady..."
I'm altering my cognition, hopefully lengthening my telomeres and am consistently happy as a little clam as I've also regulated my neurotransmitters with this routine and a few supplements. 

I get that food is about pleasure. I get that it can be the best part of a communal situation. But the fact that so many of us equate healthy whole food with deprivation, and it's only when eating food that is literally poison that we mentally feel we're not missing out or punishing ourselves, in a world filled with illnesses caused by exactly those foods... that is an astounding reality to me. That we would purposefully shove toxic, damaging poison into ourselves 3, 4, 6 times a day, and do it day after day knowing full well that it will shorten our lives and cause us to live a significant portion of said lives as medicated, miserable middle aged patients, just leaves me gobsmacked. I will never go back to the standard American diet. Ever. I feel amazing. I'd love to see everyone around me reach down and pull up his or her best self as well. If I can do it, anyone can!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Death takes a stroll

Death stood beneath the brilliant sun, his eyes squinting against the glare from the storefront window, an aura of scintillating colors, grabbing greedily at the spectrum around it and throwing off sparkles in violet, pink, blue and a few other colors not visible to the human eye. He rolled his head back and let the sun strike his skin like hot water under a shower. Most people think of night, dark, shadows and shades when they think of Death, but truth be told, he loved the sunlight. Basked in it like a reptile, a slow smile creeping across his ageless face. He looked much as you would assume Death to look, dry, bland, a will o the wisp dressed in dun. Yes, all of this was true. But, look closer and there was a shifting light in his eyes that belied humor and self-deprecation. Death was not joyless, merely weighted by the burden of shifting souls to and fro for millennia. And if you really dug deep, Death possessed a sensuality that few ever tasted. Held in reserve for a select few who might receive the real aspect of all that he was. Death was born of war, in blood and pain. War and cleansing fire consumed the flesh and death was born, sprung fully formed to cull forth the souls of the bodies that littered the field of the first race on earth during their first time of conflict. The trial run, he liked to call it. Giants with clubs and an inability to get along, much like the children occupying this global tenement now, as a matter of fact. On that first morning, Death stood up on shaking coltish legs and moved into the fray, reaching out his hand and pulling the wriggling life force out of body after body, until none were left alive to tell the tale afterward. He was young and overzealous. He’d learned to moderate, now. There was so much blood on that first morning that the ground had been stained with it ever since. Red clay they called it. God, sighing, reached his hand in and scooped out a lump and with deft fingers and a whisper of intent, created Adam and Lilith, and started again. Lilith. Now there’s a story best told over tequila and tears. Death had only told one other being about Lilith and he, Karma, his best friend and sometimes lover. She never judged him for that time with the first demon. But then, Lilith wasn’t born a demon, she simply took the free will that their father allowed them and ran with it. They’d had their best times when she was naughty, and Lilith knew how to be very naughty indeed.

Adam had wailed and wept over Lilith, her betrayals and the damage she did. She had grown tired of his childlike nature and had begun to daydream about him disappearing. Death hadn’t been visited on this new race yet and murder was not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye at the time. Lilith was wild and bored and didn’t have the tools to deal with her burgeoning emotions. God called Samhael to him and told him to go to Lilith and tempt her into the forbidden garden, the one with the tree of the fruit of knowledge, to allow her to grow in strength and faith, to mature into his good and faithful servant because trials seemed to work better than reward for this. Now, most people think of the apple when they think of this tree, but no; It was a bitter fruit, shaped like a human heart and it’s juice a foul brew that no one in their sane mind would willingly eat. And the garden? Not a paradise, no sir. It was cold and shadowed. Drizzle fell on a bleak landscape where no sun ever fully penetrated, and there were nasty creatures in there guarding those plants. These were the materials God had pulled into a fifty-acre space, raw materials for his projects. Some failed, never to come to fruition, some alive and kicking happily out in other parts of the world, like the platypus and the pterodactyl. There were a few dragons in a cave somewhere as well, but they were cranky and solitary in nature and even God left them alone. Lilith would find them eventually and when she climbed on the back of the big red one, she began a reign of hellfire that lasted for over one hundred years. But on that fateful day, Samhael swooped down and planted his saturnine self in front of our naughty not yet demon and cooed temptation into her delicate shell pink ear. Wasn’t she tired of living like a baby yet? Wouldn’t she like to sink those little white teeth into something that would make her heart race and her blood sing? Because just over the hillock past the edge of her land was the answer, hanging low off the branch of a tree that moaned when you pulled it’s bits off of it, and wouldn’t she like to just take a peek with him? Lilith felt something stir within her, something she’d never felt before, certainly not with Adam, that loathsome lump of hair and stupidity, with his big innocent blue eyes and his complacence. This being, glowing white with flowing black hair and sparkling red eyes, this was something else altogether and it made her stomach clench in ways that were both thoroughly unpleasant yet incredibly appealing. For those of you paying attention here: this was the moment sexual excitement was born.  Samhael is a naughty angel, you see, and all angels are capable of small forms of creation. He reached deep into her belly and pulled forth desire, turning it too and fro in his hand, watching it bubble and shift and burn. He liked it very much, it matched his eyes and when he tasted it, it was sweet and salty all at once and he wanted to taste it some more. So, he winked at Lilith, smiled with his pretty red lips, his forked tongue snaking out to flick at the corner of his mouth and told her he’d take her to paradise if she’d take him there first. He watched her wrestle with her fear, her doubt and her desire until his tongue tasted her pretty peaches and cream flesh and in the end he took her there in the dirt. He debased her in ways she couldn’t have dreamed of and pleased her with all of the filthy splendor the act of procreation has ever since been able to render. After, Lilith being newly enslaved to sexual passion and willing to ruin her life for a man, happily trotted off with Sam to the garden, wrapped her sinful lips around the pulsing fruit she didn’t even bother to pull from the tree and was struck down, writhing on the ground of that awful place as every bit of what she’d been unknowingly reaching for slammed into her cranium. She lay there in agony for days as her mind unfolded, her brain, having nowhere to grow to, folded back in on itself, downloading knowledge, painfully, while she retched and moaned. On the third day, she rose, dusted herself off, noted that she was naked and it seemed odd suddenly for the first time. She reached out and grasped the fruit she’d bitten into in a vicious grip, the juice steaming down her arm, and she wrenched it off the limb with a bitter twist. Angry at having been delivered into this situation by the angel, who by the way, was nowhere to be seen. Angry at God and determined to make sure his favorite toy, Adam, got a little taste of her fate, off she marched and as the story goes, she batted her eyes and fed the fruit to the first human man. She sat, chin in hand, and watched Adam writhe and learn as she had. God, who really IS all seeing, watched from his perch and with a sigh, swept open the gates of the paradise he’d created to view his experiments, and bid them to go out into the world and do as they would. Thus, free will was born. Adam refused to go. He burned with a new found capability for hatred, which he applied with liberal force to Lilith who had destroyed his internal paradise, and struck her with his fist. The first violence took place in this new society, and Lilith, familiar with pain by now, simply shrugged and set off on her own, pleased to be free of Adam and hoping to run into Samhael again. Thus, the cycle between men and women was born. Adam, as we all know, went on to have Eve, whom God created to quiet Adam’s distress at being alone. This time, he created a woman who would be more easily tamed by modifying the chemistry that surged within her. They too discovered sex, after all, it was already roaming free in the paradise, and soon God used it to outsource creation of new human beings.  Not his idea by the way, that was the suggestion of our girl Karma. The whole, you wanna play, you’re gonna have to pay scenario she’s so fond of. Adam and Eve settled into a boring nomadic lifestyle of trying to survive outside the paradise in the real world where most everything was trying to kill them, and Eve brought forth sons in sorrow. Not surprisingly, as Adam gave birth to violence, his sons were afflicted as well, and Cain and Abel played rough yet happily until that little mishap when Cain, roughhousing with Abel and beginning to argue, shoved him too hard and his head struck the rock and burst like an overripe melon. Humans vilify him to this day, calling him the “father of murder,” but that’s not fair, really. And it pisses death off every time someone says it, as he feels, rightly so, that the title belongs to him.