Enlightenment in Pieces

file-feb-13-9-44-21-amThe other day I had an interesting exchange with one of my Instagram followers.  His name is Guy Ferdman and he’s part of a life-coaching team called Satori Prime.  He posted something that was very thought provoking and spoke directly to a pretty massive issue I’m dealing with right now.  (I won’t get into the subject matter because that’s not directly relevant to this post, but if want to read what he wrote you can see it here: facebook.com/guyferdman)

The long and the short of it is that, as a solution to this issue, he was talking about seeing yourself as part of a greater whole. He was talking about an esoteric, existential view of the world and our current times which I believe requires a lot of patience and willingness to “let go” in order to attain. This was about a spiritual awakening in our society that will require an incredible seismic shift that can only begin with the same kind of shift in the individual.  The more individuals that “allow” these shifts to happen, the closer we will get to a massive shift of consciousness worldwide. We make these shifts by focusing on shedding light instead of focusing on the forces that are bringing darkness.

Needless to say, because I’m so entrenched in this issue, this felt impossible to me.  After reading his post I felt like I was standing at the foot of a mountain without climbing gear.  I felt compelled to express my anxiety over these ideas, and after bombarding him with a litany of things I was worried about he responded pretty quickly.

  • food_fight_site Of course not. But it’s not as simple as just deciding not to worry.
  • satoriprimeguy it’s as hard as you’ll choose to make it. What you focus on grows.

So, at this point I’m feeling even more frustration. Judging by the other comments, there seemed to be some kind of inside joke I was left out of. Did I miss the first day of class? I felt like Kevin Costner in “A Field of Dreams” when the voice says to him, “Build it and they will come.”

Build WHAT?

Who’s coming?

How many of them will there be, and will they be hungry when they get here?!!!

I was flabbergasted. I felt angry and dismissed.  I’ve heard this “it’s as hard as you make it” answer before in several different settings and seen different people respond to it the same way I did in this moment.  You’re taking a huge leap by admitting to someone, “I have a problem and I need help” and then instead of helping you it’s as if they are telling you it’s your own fault for feeling this way. Instead of retreating I felt I had to own what I was feeling because I know for a fact I’m not the only one going through this, so I continued with care.

  • satoriprimeguy absolutely not. Giving up the struggle is like giving up addiction. A heightened state is full acceptance and surrender of all. Recommend surrender experiment by Michal a. Singer for some fresh paradigm and perspective. His other book untethered soul is also very powerful. Also we have a free webinar around fear on Youwillhaveitall.com

Okay, this felt a little less dismissive and more acknowledging that what I was going through is valid and normal.

The thing is, none of this stuff he was saying was news to me.  I fully believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe in the Japanese concept of “Kaizen”, and I believe in focusing the mind on a single intent and allowing it to grow through action over time like a mustard seed into a humongous tree.  I believe that we create our own realities and that it’s possible to be in control of it even though, admittedly, most of the time I feel like a passenger. On a pretty deep level, I understood what he was getting at, so my confusion over it was just as confusing to me.  Instead of giving in to the knee-jerk reaction, which I’m SO good at, I decided to put it on the shelf and allow my subconscious to process for a while.

That night after dinner I had a random memory of watching Oprah Winfrey interview Madonna. It’s no secret that Oprah has struggled with food and weight issues over the years.  She’s very open about it.  So when one of the subjects that came up in the interview was diet, Madonna said, “If you stop worrying about being fat you will not be fat.”

If you stop worrying about being fat you will not be fat.

I clearly remember the look on Oprah’s face as she was trying desperately to understand what she had just heard. Of course, I knew exactly what Madonna was talking about.  She doesn’t have what’s known in Yoga as “attachment” or “aversion” when it comes to food. She is focused on other things so she eats what she needs to and moves on.  Oprah, on the other hand, was dumbfounded. She is incredibly enlightened in so many areas of her life, I mean, she’s OPRAH! She can do anything!  She has it all! This is a woman who built an empire out of nothing, but now I was seeing such a human moment from her that was different from anything I had seen before. I was witnessing real struggle in this woman who makes everything look so easy.  It was then I realized that “enlightenment” isn’t about being perfect and never struggling.  It’s not a stagnant state of being that we get to and then stay in, but a process that has to constantly be tended to, and it’s never really complete even for people as spiritually “hooked in” as Oprah Winfrey.

Then it hit me.  I was Oprah Winfrey.  Well, obviously I’m NOT Oprah.  Don’t get excited because nobody’s getting a fleet of cars or a free basket of “favorite things” from me anytime soon. But in this moment, I realized that this is exactly what had happened in my exchange with “Satoriprimeguy”.

In recent years issues with food and exercise and body image have been on my radar. It used to be debilitating, but now bad habits with food, alcohol, and body-image thoughts don’t control me the way they used to. Cooking feels easy and fun, and my dishes have gotten so much better! I don’t beat myself up for indulging on occasion, and when I find myself off the path for longer than intended I don’t see it as a failure, but rather a victory for my ability to recognize that I’ve strayed. I’m happy with the level of “enlightenment” I’ve been able attain in this area of my life, but it takes work and consistency to maintain it. It’s an area of my life where I have become “hooked in” much in the way Guy talked about but, in the beginning, it was the same kind of mountain I felt like I was staring at after reading his post.

So the question I ask now is how can I take what I have learned in one area of my life, in which I consider myself successful, and apply it to another area of my life where I stumble? I think the answer has to be first to trust that it’s possible, and second to just pick a place and start. I have to believe that if I can do it in one area of my life I can do it in others and eventually come closer to becoming that completed puzzle that humans never really become.

I remember when I first moved from NYC to Florida and didn’t even know how to boil water for pasta. All I knew how to do was find a couple of cookbooks that had easy recipes and follow them EXACTLY, so that’s where I started.  I had a lot of trial and error in the beginning but I just kept trying and moving forward. Eventually, my world in the kitchen expanded and my view of the food choices I was making was completely different. Exercise has become something I NEED on a regular basis to feel happy and energized.  My body changed.  The types of food I crave changed. My mind changed. I was applying the art of “Kaizen” to my life and making cooking a spiritual practice without even realizing it.

I focused on it, and it grew.  And you know what?  It really was only as hard as I chose to make it.

The View From the Bottom

Steve Fit to Fat2A while ago I wrote a “Food For Thought” entry entitled “Walk the Line“.  The idea was to talk about how to get started if you’re just beginning, or restarted if you have found yourself in a slump.  I wrote this at a time when I was living in the top 20% of my own personal “bell-curve”, and it’s easy to talk about solutions to a problem you aren’t currently experiencing.  That was back in September of last year.  Fast-forward through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, a few difficult personal growth moments, and a LOT of parties.  Things aren’t quite so on track at this point.  Now I’d like to get a little down and dirty and personal, and talk about what “walking the line” means when you’re looking at it from the BOTTOM 20% of your personal bell-curve.

Continue reading “The View From the Bottom”

PROTEIN: The Golden Child (Macronutrients Part 3)

protein

When it comes to the typical American diet strategies, carbohydrates and fats tend to get treated like the step-children while, on the opposite end of the spectrum, protein seems to get more than it’s fair share of the spotlight. Everything is “low-fat THIS” and “low-carb THAT” while we’re simultaneously bombarded with the idea that eating more protein is better. I absolutely do not want to downplay the importance of dietary protein, but I will say exactly what I said about carbohydrates and fat.  Protein should be enjoyed equally with it’s other macronutrient friends. They should be looked at as a team, and there should be balance between the three.

Continue reading “PROTEIN: The Golden Child (Macronutrients Part 3)”

Fat Chance!!! (Macronutrients Part 2)

fat chance

If you look around the aisles of your grocery store you’ll most likely see lots of brightly colored packaging with large letters yelling at you that what is contained inside is FAT-FREE!!!  Sounds good, right?  Not necessarily.

Just like carbohydrates, there are a lot of different sources of dietary fat.  There are also a lot of misconceptions about what are “good” vs. “bad” fats, and what should be included or avoided in our diets.  I said this in my entry about carbohydrates and I’ll say it here, too.  It would be very difficult to avoid dietary fat, and you wouldn’t want to, either.  Fat should be enjoyed equally with it’s Macronutrient friends, Carbohydrates and Protein.

Continue reading “Fat Chance!!! (Macronutrients Part 2)”

Walk The Line

healthy-calendar-image

No matter how ingrained a habit becomes there is always going to be temptation.  There are always going to be times when eating healthy and exercising aren’t convenient. Forget keeping things going, sometimes there is never even a good time to START. Trust me, I know all the excuses.  We can’t start this week because it’s so-and-so’s birthday and you know there will be cake and champagne.  We can’t start this week because we have house guests and we will want to eat out instead of cooking in. Then there are the holidays.  Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties, and then before you know it you’re making another set of empty New Year’s resolutions that everyone maybe keeps for the month of January.

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It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Right?

Who doesn’t like a good cocktail every once in a while?  Particularly on those special occasions like birthdays, holidays, Friday night, or heck…  how about just the fact that’s it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? I’m no teetotaler, one of my favorite places in the world is the 19th hole after a round of golf. However, in my quest to find balance and health I’ve had to take a serious look at the role alcohol plays in the equation.

Continue reading “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Right?”

To Carb or Not to Carb? (Macronutrients Part 1)

junkfood

This seems to be a common question when people are looking to make changes in the way they eat.  Let’s start out with clarifying exactly what carbohydrates really are.  When most people think of carbs in terms of their diets they think of bread, but this macronutrient group is much more encompassing.  It would be difficult to avoid it completely, and you wouldn’t want to either, as it should be enjoyed equally with its other macronutrient friends, protein and fat.

Continue reading “To Carb or Not to Carb? (Macronutrients Part 1)”

So Many Diets, So Little Time…

which-is-the-best-diet

Joe and I experimented with several different diets that we struggled to maintain.  Here is a list of what we tried, why we liked them, and why we didn’t.  Everyone is unique and all of us have different needs.  What I find easy or difficult may not be the case for someone else.  This is my experience with the main diet plans we tried.

Continue reading “So Many Diets, So Little Time…”