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Our thoughts are constantly trying to express themselves in our lives.
What we think ,we attract. Or become attracted to. Simples. You know this. I know this. Oprah knows this. But sometimes we forget it. We forget to be crystal clear about our intentions. We get sloppy, or maybe scared. But probaby just sloppy.
Fact is: we can use mental imagery to direct our actions and our life towards getting more of what we want and less of what we don't want. No biggy.
So, do you have a visualization practise?
Jim Carrey does. In the early 1990’s as a struggling actor he wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered”, dated for 1994. Then Dumb and Dumber happened and Jim got paid exactly $10 million for playing Lloyed Christmas. Today he continually credits his success to constant visulaization -- using mental imagery to create clear visions of what you want in your life.
Jim's not the only not-so-dumb daydreamer. Everyone and their uncle are doing it. Say what you may about Oprah Whinfree, but while the rest of us were getting our preparation plans ready Oprah pulled herself up from poverty and became one of the wealthiest women in the world. She knows for sure that we should:
“ Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”
I mean. Amen, right? But who here is actually doing this on the regular?
We've heard it since forever. We know that our thoughts are powerful creative forces. We know that we gravitate towards the shit we think about the most. We get it. But do we use it?
We do train our cardio vascular system to be stronger and last longer. We work out and stretch so that our bodies will keep working for us. We have savings accounts and pensions and wills; we window shop for houses and procrastinate like PROS . Honestly, “One day” is going to be the longest, weirdest day ever.
How can we communicate even better with our minds? How can we lift the ceiling of what we subconsciously tell ourselves is possible? How do we get the most out of all this wishing and waiting white noise?
With images. Clear, vivid, visuals.
There's always a picture pulling your actions in a very specific direction. You may as well think ahead and make it an image you actively, deliberately designed. And colored and signed.
The power of visualisation is real. By imagining yourself already having achieved your goals, you allow your thoughts and actions to follow suit, effortlessly. It's like magic but not.
Mental imagery and affirmations are used by athletes, celebrities, leaders and everyday dudes like us to focus in and mentally rehearse. Thoughts stimulate the nervous system in the same way that actual events do. Makes sense. The coaches of Olympic Athletes can tell you why. In the meantime, ...
Here's some help with a lil 10 minute visualisation exercise:
Get a pen and paper or have someone que you on the following questions and write down what you come up with. Take your time. Get super comfy and shift your attention from the outside buzz to the chill within. (granted, now might not be the best time to do this, in which case check in again later. I'll be here. Peace)
- Rest your attention on nothing but your breathing for a few deep inhales and loooong exhales. Now, pull up an imaginary picture of yourself. Any image. JUST IMAGINE YOU. If you need to put some time to it, picture yourself in like 2 years time. Avoid any and all limits here --financial, physical, mental, historical, geographical. This is really a World and Oyster situation. Don't cramp your style. Take the time. Get a nice ideal, romantisized image of yourself, anywhere.
Then elaborate. Start describing it:
· what can you see all around you? List everything you see. What does it feel like to be you in that image? If you're content, how come? Why are you so chill?
· What kind of people are in your life? What do they look like? Confident, comfortable, peaceful? Or how? What are they doing? What do they value ? How do they make you feel? What do they do to support you? What do you do to support you?
· What are your hobbies? What gets you to jump out of bed with excitement? How do you care for others? How do you take care of yourself? By doing what?
· In this ideal vision of you, how do others see you? Your friends and family and the wider community - how are you viewed by others? What do people appreciate or admire about you? When people introduce you professionally what do they say? What’s your bio? Write it. Write out your DREAM BIO.
· What do you do for 'work'? What do your days look like? Draw out the plan of your IDEAL 'work' day. From dusk till dawn, draw it out. Pin it, see it, save it. Keep it. Like Jim Carrey's check. And check it regularly.
Clarifying your intentions. Be detailed and deliberate about where you're heading.
You will get what you wish for. Tony Robbins says it:
“Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.”
Namastè genies. Go create your highest vision.
And wear sunscreen for goodness sake.
In the first of a series that will answer all your Qs about the mad world of HEALTH + FOOD, here is our first answer to question one, asked by some sweet anonymous reader who we will call Ravin Junior, because that was one of Klara's lie names as a kid:
1. " Since when is healthy food such a big deal? If you're not obese why should you give a HOOT about what you put on your plate?? "
WERD! (insert applause emoji). Here are the 3 main surprising things that happened to make us REALLY start to care about what we ate :
insulin, the hormone that keeps our blood sugar nice and steady for optimal brain and body functioning is very closely linked to the food we eat at every single meal. SO WHAT? Here's what: HORMONES (e.g. thyroid hormones, sex hormones, sleep hormones, happy hormones, motivation hormones) ENERGY CONVERSION (metabolism and fat storage), FERTILITY (Polycystic ovaries, irregular ovulation, PMS symptoms) CONCENTRATION (brain fog, memory issues, attention deficit), INFLAMMATION (soooo many widespread inflammatory disorders these days unfortunately), CRAVINGS, MUSCLE MASS, EYE HEALTH, NERVE HEALTH, etcetera, etcetera!) Insulin affects a lot of stuff in the body. So we learned that, in this modern world of hyper-processed high GI everything, keeping insulin chilled-out and managing the glucose we eat can go a loooooong way in keeping our cells young and functional. Viva protein and complex carbs.
artificial chemicals in everything started taking its toll. We are animals after all. And such resilient beasts too. But something from nature will tolerate a foreign 'poison-like substance' only for so long before it reaches an exhausted, fed-up state and starts dysfunctioning in the most mysterious of ways. Examples? Remember when margarine was awesome and everyone jumped on it like it was the last fucking train to Disneyland, ever? We ate that crap and any version of it for years until some scientists wondered why heart disease is getting worse not better, then proceeded to figure out that an almost 14-step process of emulsifying, dyeing, hydrogenating and bleaching a food product can actually cause serious health issues in the body, beyond just our arteries. Wooopsies. So we started testing all kinds of chemicals on our food - pesticides on fruits and veg, chemicals in the plastic around all our food, colourants, preservatives, GMOs, syrups-, non-sugar sweeteners, all those big words on the ingredients list... we discovered that these foreign, factory creations are interfering big-time with our perfectly smart, self-correcting, self-healing bodies. More chemicals, more complications, more toxins, more cell confusion, more cancer?
- drugs and 'medicine' companies got very powerful and we stopped trusting them. Healthcare became all about pharmaceuticals -- killing symptoms with chemicals in the form of patentable, profitable pills. Medical care became dishonest as it priorotized superficial, quick-fix surface 'treating' and ignored fundamental, deeper healing and prevention. A few really smart and still-sick patients realsized that modern medicine is great for acute emergency care but sucks when it comes to the chronic, more mysterious long-term health issues like heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions, fatigue, age-related issues, etc. Taking health into their own hands, these brave individuals removed toxins like drugs and focused on just supporting their whole bodies with the good basic building blocks - clean unprocessed, non-sprayed whole foods; pure untreated water; fewer artificial chemicals, more natural nutrients, less psychological stress. And YES, slowly their bodies started to get stronger and healthier again. No way. Suddenly, we all got super curious and the medical research exploded! Now it's a widely accepted verity: The healthcare needs of the 21st century can only be met with a medical model that is personalized, looks at all the interconnected body systems together, and addresses the underlying causes of disease rather than just numbing the after, aftermath signs and symptoms.
Now holistic health very much is the new black. Quinoa is the go-to not-grain that even your pet prefers. Smoothies are the cool self-care accessory, and Avocados are the Oprah of Instagram.
It's a good day to be alive. Ish. I got you. Stay tuned for satiety and sanity and everything in between.
Next question, next week. Love you like peanutbutter pie (with a quinoa crust). xox
JUST got back from two delicious weeks of African therapy at home in Namibia where the clean air is thick and sweet and smells of damp earth...and the unspoilt nature wraps itself around you all ways, whether you'd like it to or not.
I'm back with ample inspiration to share with ya'll, starting with these here 4 wisdoms of the wild:
1. Slow gets more done
“Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu knew the bizniz.
Despite us all knowing by heart the story of the slow-poke Torotoise and the hyper-active Hare, somehow it’s still considered cool to be in a caffeinated multi-tasking frenzy all day. Nature shows us that everything has its inevitable place and time and there is nothing you can do about it. So calm down, go through all the ropes with undivided awareness and maybe you too will achieve something impressive like an anthill.
2. Animals are smarter than us
Birds have brains the size of a lentil. But they fly many miles towards the nearest water without google maps and build nests that Frank Lloyd Wright himself couldn't design. With their BEAKS! We're stupid man. What if we can achieve all kinds of cool shit if we let go of all this "intellect" and trust whatever it is that helps ants be so awesome.
3. All you need is less
In big cities like New York we’re constantly bombarded form all angles with messages that we don’t have or do enough. You NEED those f*cking trainers if you want that butt and the boyfriend with the white teeth to run with you. You need 6 different kinds of seasoned himalayan salts, 7 varieties of scented candles, and 8 colours of that PURRRFECT cotton tank top and YOU MUST try the new organic smoked walnut butter at Wholefoods if you care about your health and want to live.
Nature says, “That’s bullshit bambis”.
Things don’t ever get us all the way there. Ad agencies do a super job of scaring us into thinking we need to part with our hard-earned monies to get more and more stuff that will finally make us happy and healthy. Consumption is grossly overrated. On this visit home I took things back a gear: I sat outside on the lawn with the sun on my skin, laughed with friends and family, picked and prepared whatever veg was in the garden, and was surprised at how satisfied my mind and body was with so much “less”.
4. Your tribe matters
In the age of information overload and endless possibilities (merci internets), there is little excuse not to be awesome and achieve great things with great success in every area of our lives. ASAP.
But I bet my bum that my final reflections before kicking the bucket one day won’t be delight that I owned and sometimes wore that overpriced Miu Miu anything, or that I got my ass into a size 2 after having kids or that I took that selfie on the f*cking crowded Arc de Triomph that earned me all that approval on “social” media.
Apparently Love is everything. Anyone over 60 who's done some living says it : Time with your tribe is priceless.
I used to go on lots of diets. And anti-diets. This is how it went down:
At the dawn of my twenties life was a nice yawn. Cheerful but not exactly challenging, if you know what Im sayin. I found a cozy corner where I could get away with using about 1/16th of my brain, where croissants and "healthy frozen yoghurt smoothies" (fat free milk with 50 spoons of hiding sugar) were the closest I could get to the high that normal non-brats get from applying their talents in a meaningful way and getting shit done.
I preferred croissants. They're so buttery!
And you can't fail at eating croissants. So I went to TOWN!
Surprise numero 1: my butt got bigger.
Which pissed me off big time because we both know, (society and I) that
I'm only as good as the size the of my ass. Skinny bitch, happy life.
I leaped off the scale and into my aesics, subscribed to the gym and ran. Every day I ran my butt off. Which was stressful and made me very hungry but nothing tastes as good as skinny feels so I pushed myself harder and ran faster, intervals, uphills pulling the rubber band as far back as it could stretch, buzzed on adrenalin, 'self-control’ and denial.
Surprise numero 2: the rubber band snapped.
The only inevitable outcome of obsession and deprivation is a binge of the exact thing you deprive yourself of.
I ate everything in sight, including things I would usually find unappetizing - if it looked 'forbidden' and 'indulgent' then into my pie-hole! Also at the speed of light because, "tomorrow we'll eat nothing again, so cash in while you can fatty".
And sure enough the deprivation diet would commence the following day. It takes about two days of starvation and 2 long runs to forgive / punish yourself for a binge eat the previous day. On day three you're feeling real 'balanced'. And on day 4 you're just about stretched out and ready for another surprise binge release - usually after a few drinks when your logical brain is too tipsy and tired to partake in this exhausting game of resistance and deficiency. And down you slide into coo-coo candy land.
This literal and proverbial running from food, but ultimately from myself, went on for years. The hardest thing to ever do when you're a yo-yo is to stop yo-yoing. Up and down swinging is a tough momentum to intercept. But it's the only way.
I stopped and sat on my neutral sized gluteus maximus and breathed. Nothing else. When I sat in deafening stillness doing nothing I finally calmed down and started listening to my body (Yes, turns out that's an actual thing).
I vowed to not run again and committed instead to let go of obsession and allow myself to give a real shit about me. Not my waistline. I started feeling attracted to nutrition that feeds my brain and replenishes my cells.
I spontaneously started doing things that just so happened to be good for my physiology - this vessel that carries my ideas and allows me to serve others and make the world better.
You can't bullshit your biochemistry. Your body needs real fuel. If you commit to really feeding it - lovingly like you would a relative- then things start to fall into place. Diet-free, gym-free, control-free falling.
What is your "I-can't-stop-once-I-pop" food?
An idiot's survival guide for staying mostly whole in the concrete jungle.
Everyone want's a piece of the Big Apple but the (tamed) elephant in the room is that gotham city ain't exactly your latest pristine-aired blue zone.
If slow-paced living off the land in a secluded alpine forrest is your jam, then don't get off at this stop. Research suggests that urbanites are more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and mood- or sleep disorders than their rural counterparts. The neon-lit brighter side, however is that compared to the country kids, us city dwellers are at a lower risk of becoming obese, committing suicide, or dying of a car accident (wait what?!) and we're likely to have a better quality of life when we're old. Bingo!
Until then, we're happy to take our kale-juice-to-go with a side of smog.
If you, like me, are valcro-strapped to the beating pulse of world's best ever city but also give a shit about your health, then namastay-right here, I've got your back.
7 anti-urban health hacks to bullet-proof your knackered body and overstimulated mind:
1. Go ape-shit on antioxidants.
It's hardly a newsflash that the city air on our skin and lungs is densely polluted, and our food and water supply is laden with hidden toxins.
Your allies against these grossly harmful chemicals are free-radical busting antioxidants, found most abundantly in: fresh berries, green tea, black coffee, red wine, walnuts, pecans, dark chocolate, dried apples/plums/apricots, curly kale, chillies, prunes, herbs and spices especially dried ground clove, dried mint leaves, garlic and thyme. (I know what you're thinking and the answer is No, getting drunk on Petite Sirah and binge-eating Lindt 80% cacao is not the solution to your toxic environment)
2. Spring clean your sleep hygiene.
Let's be real, we SUCK at sleep. Between uninterrupted noise pollution, lack of black-out darkness and consequent insufficient melatonin, LED exposure from our smart devices, late nights out, over-consumption of coffee and booze, and the never-ending anxiety dialogue going on in our heads, proper sleep don't stand a chance! The latest research on the harmful effects of sleep shortage on our physical and mental health is alarming ;) It's time to wake-up and get disciplined about bedtime. For real.
3. Forage for your gut flora.
There are 10 times more bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in your entire body! And you can't live without them. But stress, sugar and drugs (Aspirin, Advil, Antibiotics) are crowding them out. These friendly germs you host do everything from food break-down, vitamin synthesis, toxin elimination to immune system regulation. So if you want fewer allergies and infections, clearer skin, better digestion, and apparently even a leaner bod then feed your flora already.
Their favourites are fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kefir, kombucha. Also increase soluble fibre (ever heard of inulin or butyrate?) in foods like Jerusalem artichoke, butter (opt for grass-fed or ghee), garlic, lentils. And consider speaking to your health practitioner about a good quality, high-strain probiotic supplement.
4. Drop it like it's hot.
Back in the day we used to dance around fires to the sick beat of a hyde-drum every night. Now we binge-watch Broad City alone on the couch. Go dancing. Often. Shake your tail feather like your health depends on it. Because it does.
5. Hunt stillness.
The flood of emerging research on the far-reaching benefits of mediation is astounding. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is finally going mainstream and if you could do with a little less depression, more creativity, concentration and compassion, a lower risk of heart disease and a better memory, then step on the brakes for just 5 minutes a day and train your mind to shut the f*ck up. Try an App like Headspace to get you stated. Or just shut your eyes and focus your attention on the movement of your stomach as you in- and exhale.
5. Eat leaves.
Just eat more green leaves. Don't make me tell you again why. They neutralise the acidity and toxicity in our bodies. Add seaweed to the mix - it's an even better detoxifier. Get creative with your greens. Try bok choy and wild egyptian curly kale (that's not a thing but you get my drift. Experiment.)
6. Get your park on
A 25-minute walk in a city park is all it takes to recover from urban attention fatigue. Scottish scientists found that when city rat- racers stroll into green leafy parks, their thoughts become attentive, expansive and meditative as their brain waves patterns relax
7. When life gives you lemons from the farmer's market, make lemonade and drink it on the subway and at work.
Get a big glass bottle and chuck 3 slices of lemons and water in it. Drink from it throughout the day. The urban liver is a hard-working, thirsty liver. Give it detoxifying lemon water (the potent stuff is in th peal so chuck it all in there). Your skin will thank you too.