Do a backward flip with your eyes wide open.
Play in nature as much as possible;
Love who you are, where you are in life.
It's not that hard.
Do a backward flip with your eyes wide open.
Play in nature as much as possible;
Love who you are, where you are in life.
It's not that hard.
I wake up in the morning, say 6:30 or 7. I meditate, remember to feel grateful for the people I love and the blessings in my life. I remember myself, and remember where I'm going at this moment, how I want to feel and how I want to express myself today. What is my purpose, my direction? I particularly like this moment of remembering, of coming back to my center.
I do a morning short yoga session which I vary depending on what my body feels like doing: some downward dog always, a good long squat, a headstand as long as I can hold it, usually trying to close my eyes and feeling my spine relax, some push up variations for both shoulder blades and chest.
When the weather is too dry, I put sesame oil all over my body and my face before a hot shower, so that my pores soak it all in. And I’ll finish with an icy 30 sec shower, which makes me feel electrified.
Then I have the most sensual, buttery, delicious "guilty pleasure" breakfast. It's mostly fat, coffee and the food of the gods: cacao
I make sure I have it outside, getting the morning sunlight on my face (if it's not too cold on my torso as well) as I sip on this heavenly deliciousness:
Coffee* (whole French Press) with cacao powder, 2 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of coconut oil/butter, 1 tbsp of cacao butter, 1 tbsp maca, a hint of vanilla and definitely 2 tbsp of MCT or Brain Octane oil from the Bulletproof Exec. I add some xylitol for sweetness, not too much, 2-3 tbsp.
Chocolate, butter, oil, all those things we've associated for so long with guilt, with "Oh no, I shouldn't have too much of this / I can't, it's too much, etc."
It turns out if you know the quality of your food, you have done the research and you've experimented, you'll come to this realization:
You feel amazing, the caffeine, the theobromine, the butyrates, all the other goodness in your morning mocha make your brain, your heart, your body fall in love with food again, every morning.
They are all hyper excited at the unctuous goodness, and the health benefits, add to that the mental clarity and the fat-burning processes it triggers :)
I am in love with my morning ritual. And I love loving it. Give it a shot. It's not that hard.
The stable energy levels I have all day, not only until lunch around 1:30 or 2pm but until the evening tops it all off with yet another happy grin.
* Toxin (mold, mycotoxin)-free coffee. This is very important, regular coffee with mold will sap your energy and take you on a very uncool roller coaster of energy levels). Look for single origin, wash-processed coffee, I particularly love the Bulletproof Coffee grains (upgradedself.com) for my morning mocha.
You have chocolate. Or coffee. Whichever. How many variables are there to an amazing chocolate? Here are some lessons I’ve learned from the master biohacker, The Bulletproof Executive.
Single origin or blend?
Mold or no mold?
How is it fermented?
How do you deal with micotoxyns (mold) from fermentation?
There's good microbes and not so cool microbes.
What kind of soil, altitude, weather?
Pesticides or no spray at all?
Chemicals or organic/biodynamic?
How is the bean processed?
What flavor do all of the above finally create?
How is the bean, cacao powder finally combined with other ingredients?
Is it combined with anything else at all?
What do you put your laser-focus on?
Do you optimize for flavor?
Do you optimize for health & performance (how the cacao will impact your body, your heart and your brain?)
Along the same lines, what direction do you send your daily intention and focus in?
Do you focus on the ultimate intention and bigger picture of having a blissful, purposeful and playful life, and then all of the other details subsequently fall into place?
Namely, better choices, delicious thoughts filled with love and play, experimentation and discovery, better food, better movement, more dynamic choice?
What do you infuse your thoughts with? What’s their quality?
Tibetans and Ayurvedic medicine definitely know something we had forgotten: delicious butter, or ghee.
Add some cacao powder, some cacao butter and a hint of vanilla to your fatty coffee, you'll love it! It's like drinking pure love. Anoint yourself with food. It's not that hard.
Oh and it all comes from Dave Asprey's experience with Yak butter tea at high altitude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_tea
Chocolate Properties and Cacao as Sacred Plant Medicine
Cacao means the Food of the Gods
Very sacred plant in Central America.
Used as currency
Used in sacred ceremony.
Cacao brings people together, celebrating, euphoric, it’s an aphrodisiac (which means it brings us back into bodies, heightens our senses, turns on pleasure and sensuality - as in the realm of the senses, not only sexually.)
Cacao has antidepressant qualities, it is calming to the emotions.
Cacao is rich in antioxidants and minerals, and is one of the best sources of magnesium, which very many people are deficient in these days.
Heart Tonic. Great medicine for the heart & cardiovascular system
Digestive tonic, has bitter properties that are cleansing.
Ally for women during menses, emotions & hormones.
Light stimulating effect, without being taxing on the nervous system.
Cacao is a very strong plant spirit with long history of deep relationship with humans in ceremony, as very sacred and revered plant.
Holds us, reaches to our depths, opens up our senses, calms the gut & root, wakes up the mind and lifts the spirits.
3 things I live by (and I love)
Live every day like it's your first and last. When you do so, you are present and you allow yourself to discover and marvel at daily experiences. You also appreciate those discoveries and grow grateful.
Displace judgment with curiosity. You allow for events to unfold and since you're in no rush to define and judge everything, you allow yourself to explore and discover new possibilities.
Do everything with love and playfulness. Practice heart-centered breathing.
Powerful combo.. dynamic bliss, purpose and play. It's not that hard.
I was fortunate enough to visit my Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Ward, in her San Diego office this week! Going to visit her office is an event that ranks on my top-ten-favorite-things-to-do list. It's like Dr.'s office meets spa. You feel better just being in there.
She ran micronutrient tests for the B3 team back in November so I went down to review my results. As many of you know, I've been following a (somewhat) vegan diet for the greater part of the last few months. (Or at least I was until the holidays happened. What can I say, I'm only human?) I was super excited to get my results.
Here's what I learned...
I'm deficient in the following micronutrients:
And I'm borderline deficient in these guys:
• I have stellar levels of antioxidants, which is always a good thing, right?!?
• I had above average levels of a host of other markers: Vitamin K2, CoQ10, E, ALA, C, B1, B2, Folate, Glutamine, Calcium, the list goes on.
Note: I have a beautiful report of my exact levels of many other incredibly interesting vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrate metabolism factors, immune response, etc. However, in the interest of time and your attention span, I'll just focus on the deficiencies listed above.
::: B12 is the most common deficiency in vegans/vegetarians because you can't get B12 from plant foods. B12 is also required to form blood and immune cells and support a healthy nervous system. Sounds important to me! Last year, I was taking a liquid B vitamin in the morning -- those B vitamins are great for energy levels -- but I've fallen off the band wagon. Need to get back on that train.
::: Biotin is required for proper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. I don't know about you, but I would certainly like to optimize my fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Some symptoms of deficiency include thinning hair, fatigue, irritability and mild depression. Yuck. I will bump up my consumption of nutritional yeast, royal jelly and egg yolks, plus I'm going to consider supplementing for this one. No adverse effects have been noted in people ingesting up to 2000 mcg daily for extended periods of time.
::: Choline is an essential nutrient that is part of cell membranes and is essential for human cell growth. Deficiency symptoms are mostly related to liver dysfunction. Egg yolks are high in choline as well as biotin. Two birds (wink-wink), one stone.
::: I, like everyone else I know, am borderline deficient in D3. Big shock. I spend the better part of my days in an office and my skin is normally covered in a wetsuit when I'm in the sun. So, I'll be researching which D to take. If anyone has a liquid/pill source they like please share!!
::: B6 is an interesting one. It plays a large role in maintaining health hormones levels. You guessed it, and Dr. Ward confirmed it -- this one can be responsible for bit$%iness. Not that I'm EVER a bit$%, hah, but I'll definitely be supplementing, just for good measure. Note to all the men out there: you might want to stock up on the B vitamins for those amazing women in your life who might also be suffering from a B6 deficiency. You can thank me later.
::: Chromium is another one of my favorites to pay attention to. This magical mineral regulates insulin and has a reputation for decreasing sugar cravings. SIGN ME UP! Dr. Ward uses chromium in one of her injectable therapeutic shots called the "Suga Shot." Check our her revolutionary Blend Bar HERE. It's like a cold-pressed juice shop for vitamins! AWESOME!
Such incredible information, such little investment! I would recommend everyone get their micronutrients tested -- why not?! It's super affordable and very informative. You can contact Dr. Ward at (760) 230-4982 for more information. She sees local patients in her office in Encinitas or via phone all over the country.
That's all for now, off to shop for some vitamins on Amazon :)
Goodnight and good health,
Voice in my head: “Can’t you see what I want to share with you here is your company? Why do I have to eat what you eat? Why can’t I celebrate listening to my body and what I want to eat, what I know my body feels good on? Ok, the awesome veggies and tropical fruits are there... What?! How do I turn down the bread, the potatoes, the processed ham and sausages with nitrates and MSG, the rice and the empanadas when they come my way without coming across as the big family jerk? The clean-eating, family-ritual-disrupting jerk. $#*t… what am I gonna do they’re coming!”
Stepmom: “Have some, they’re divine. Have some more, when else are you gonna have these!”
Me: “Yummm, they smell delicious.”
Voice in my head: “Control your inner monster it’s ok, you don’t need to eat a ton of this, just try a little. And don’t be a jerk alright?”
Aunt: “Save some appetite for dessert, I made the cake you love so much. The one with syrup and cream on top.”
Voice in my head: “Yeah, laced with sugar, margarine, wheat, gluten, evil chocolate laden with mycotoxins, surely not single origin, surely not heritage cacao. I want to accept it all and receive my family love with genuine gratitude but just the idea of eating all that repeatedly for about 2 weeks makes me sick. I’m swelling, I’m swelling!”
Me: “Thanks auntie, love you, you’re always so sweet.”
Dad: “You know, I eat everything. I just eat little of it, and I take at least 30 minutes to go through my meal. I also play tennis 3 times a week and go for long walks up and down hill.”
Voice in my head: “I know dad! You can eat everything. Even evil candy laced with corn syrup and artificial flavors such as beaver butt strawberry gland and other delicacies.. Hahaha. How do you do it and stay so strong and balanced?! ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castoreum Ok I’m going insane, I’m just going to relax, try to control myself, be mindful, loving and share the food and not only the company.
30 min later, post-lunch conversation packed with jokes and good stories.
Me: “Wow. Everything was delicious, thanks guys! Gonna go take a quick nap in the hammock, be right back.”
Voice in my head: “I feel 2 lbs heavier already. Gut swollen. Hello family love, hello inflammation.”
One week later, eye-bags show up, eyes are puffier, gut bloated but loving the family time. Always call in sport to balance it all out. I’ve been playing tennis, swimming in the ocean and trying to keep the fire burning as strong as possible.
Am I the family jerk by honoring my body?
Am I the family jerk by not wanting to accept chronic inflammation via the easiest way possible: food??
Am I stressing or am I just asking myself important questions?
Is my family the actual family jerk by offering me all this inflammatory food?
Is my family the family jerk by not seeing that it hurts our bodies to get all this gluten, all this feed-lot meat and farmed fish in our system?
Am I the family jerk by sharing stories of eating natural, whole foods and feeling amazing both physically and mentally?
Is what I imagine my family is expecting from me, the real family jerk?
HELP! I’m trying to avoid self-deception here! And trying to avoid being a jerk!
How can you be loving, receive and give love without hurting your body or hurting your relative’s feelings your own for that matter? Constant give and take, constant subtle exchange.
I put it out there as best as I could, with love, sharing my thoughts and impressions, receiving their feedback, judging not. Especially not judging them or judging myself.
Now I know what it feels to be a vegetarian, or a vegan. How many years without vegetarian/vegan options on menus worldwide? You become different, separated for a while, until others do the same, and then everyone's different. Kinda like a dinner party in LA or NY. Except this was at home.
By putting my thoughts out there and sharing them with the family we could all look at the apparent problem from the distance. The “problem” was no longer inside each one of us. Instead, we were detached from it, we were no longer the problem. And we did the best we could. We all have our opinions, and I still put on 2 or 3 x-mas pounds. It's good to share thoughts.
Consciousness is a dynamic flow. In relation to me, in relation to others. What happens when I put this thought out there? What is possible?
Displace judgment with curiosity. It's not that hard.
"I'm not testing you, Obi-Wan. Life tests you! Every day it brings you new chances for triumph or defeat. And if you pass the test, it doesn't make you a Jedi. It makes you human."
―Qui-Gon Jinn, to Obi-Wan Kenobi
I recall a story I read somewhere about a zen master who chain-smoked and had one mistress, two mistresses or three mistresses - not sure how many they were, or if they were married or not. Can't remember.
Anyway. An American that was making his life about Zen... followed him to Japan. I don't recall the reason exactly. Either he had practiced with him in California or the reputation of this zen master was so awesome that he just had to see it for himself.
So, the student flies to Japan, seeks out, and starts practice with the zen monk. The practice was working for him. He sat. He breathed in. He breathed out. He was accumulating experience in the cradle of Zen!
One day, having some free time the student followed the zen master (or heard the story about someone else who had followed said zen master) to some place he frequented, frequented often, outside the practice.
The houses of said Zen master's, one, two or three mistresses - none, one, or all of them who might be married - with whom he got drunk and had an affair.
The student upon hearing or seeing this (can't recall which one) had a sudden crisis of faith, and after much inner doubt, confronting the zen master and asked why?
I don't know if the zen master preceded his answer by some knowing silence, said casually, or used telepathy or an imperceptible wave of the hand, but basically he told the conflicted American student to just sit, which, I believe the guy quickly caught on to as an important lesson:
Let go of the preconceptions of what the practice is about beyond breathing. Let go of the preconception of what the zen master should be about. To practice Zen was to sit. To breath in. To breath out.
Now. I don't know if I have butchered some story with some of these plot points, told it as it was, or made it up , conceiving it as someone else's story, or if the whole thing is apocryphal.
I do know this story is about the effect that judgement has in our lives. The effect judgement has in our mind and soul; in our decisions and in our actions. I could be wrong. But I think that's what it's about.
This post is about what I have learned about the effects displacing judgement with curiosity may have in your life. The benefits I have found from doing this as much as possible. What's there if you are curious to try it out.
I have no judgement about judgement. It must serve a purpose, no? We spend so much time learning about it, doing it. Do this; not this. Good. Bad. True. False. "Use your judgement to make the right decision, Mary." "Use good judgement, Brian." "Judge what's right for you." It must serve some purpose. Maybe many. Social order? Cohesion? Solving the problem in the best way possible? Getting the results you want? Who knows, really. It's there and a lot of us "judge" a lot of what we do. We do. Most of us. It's there.
I remember I used to take the bus to work everyday in LA. I could afford a car but I took the bus instead. Why not? I remember I used to arrive to and from work with a headache! A headache from judging. People came into the bus... who is he, she? What do they do? Where are they going? Are they working or loafing? Employed, unemployed? Can I use a tick they have in some kind of story, conversation? Why am I spending my time looking and thinking about these people? Could I be listening to music? To a book on tape? To my inner self? You know the drill.
Result. Exhaustion. Like clockwork. Exhaustion going into work. Exhaustion coming back from work. I began and ended my day drained.
I've been curious about why this happened, why I allowed then, and often allow now (it slips in, can't help it) my mind to judge. I mean judge non-life threatening thing. Judge the trivial. Judge what makes no difference, really, to my life. Judge what I can't really judge, or know.
I guess I did and do it out of training. Maybe inertia. Boredom. Maybe not knowing what else to do with my mind when not fully engaged. Who knows? Who cares.
The thing is that it's exhausting and this year I learned a tool that makes living less exhausting, makes living, makes living more fun.
Dr. Justin Mager, who we interviewed for the documentary in Sausalito, in March and July, triggered the click. He said a simple phrase that changed my life. "Displace judgement with curiosity."
Maybe I was ready for the phrase? Maybe it's a powerful mind-changing Koan I should share to liberate all from suffering? Maybe it's nothing. But this way of thinking, this mind-set can make a huge difference in your life. If you let it. If you are curious about it. I think.
A few examples from last year.
The documentary I am co-producing and co-directing Blood, Berries and Butter interviewed over 33 wellness mavericks, with different approaches, theories, that are somehow working. They are working for them. They are working for the people who self-select to try them.
These guys are not afraid to experiment. To thinks for themselves. To dig down the rabbit hole. To have, in the case of Nicholas Perricone, whole labs constantly stress-testing new ideas. To have, in the case Steven Fowkes, revolutionary theories about the importance of fat metabolism in brain function dysfunction. To have, like Dave Asprey, a store that sells the products he has researched, used, gotten results from, are hard to get, and he wants to make available. Guys who may or may not publish books and run organizations - promoting what they believe in - for a financial profit or loss. Guys (and gals), of course, who say what they believe in, what has worked.
Except for three guys - who we chose not to include in the documentary (one of them a super best-selling author holding cult status among many today), who are just liars, the guys we included are legitimately worth listening to. Sure. You can google any of them and find the critics. Sure. You may immediately dismiss them because they espouse a belief system different than your own. Sure. Just knowing that they are in the documentary, just reading a criticism, or seeing their ugly face may turn you off.
If it does and you judge you can't change this or don't care to change it. No problem. No judgement.
Remember, though, that anybody. Anybody who has said anything. Jesus. Gandhi. The Dalai Lama. Jay-Z. Elvis. The doctors of the Harvard and Stanford medical school. Everyone, everything have their critics, one star-Amazon reviews, the angry non-fan. Does it make what these people say or sing about not valid for the group of people that flow with the vision? When you listen to them... won't you kind of know if it clicks or not for you better than just shutting out up front.I don't know? I wonder.
If you are curious about what they are saying - even if it's how much you judge rehashed, how much of it you judge to be complete bs, how much of it you judge to be dangerous - whatever. If you are curious about what they are saying. Have tried everything for what's troubling you and want to try out something else? If you are curious at why things are working for them big time. Why is it that people taking completely different approaches to diet, exercise, mindfulness, lifestyle are getting awesome results. How our new ability to communicate and technology may be changing the way, the possibilities, I invite you to listen to what they are saying - in their own blogs, seminars, interviews, books - in our documentary, in other documentaries. Take off your team's and brain t-shirt for a while and hang out.
Because I am truly curious if any of what they say may trigger a though/idea that may be helpful to you, because I am curious if this may be as life-changing to you as it has been to me and the many people I met this year. Dude. Many of them literally shine out health.... ( For real. I have the footage.)
I was fat as a child. Really fat. Obese. I have carried an average of 30 pounds over where I should have been at, most of my life. Not now (when I'm 5 pounds over ideal descending). But most of my life it has been my case.
Being fat. Being obese as a child/adult. Made me hate any type of sports, any type of movement. I was passed by much faster children in soccer, my gut and joints hurt when I ran, I got no positive validation from sports. So I hated sports and working out; gave up on it; who cares, reading and dreaming things up doesn't care if you are obese or not. The time these guys spent in the field I found a place to read.
I'm not gonna go into the whole withdrawl/bullying/isolation, lack of social skill and confidence building part I suffered as a result of being obese cause it's the standard stuff you know.
This year. Specially the second part of the year. My thinking on this changed. The interviews held with people engaged in an active lifestyle, what I observed at these places, was this sense of balance, this sense of giving, laughter, happiness, engagement, jokes. Except for 24 hours fitness and their bad fluorescent light and complete disregard for human-centered design - everyone else seemed to be at a good spot. Not only physically, but mentally, spiritual.
On the other hand, when I interviewed or had the chance to observe the seminar/workshop/class people doing the AA thing around the circle, I often saw the complete opposite. Even in the instructors, sometimes. These guys were looping around mental constructs that have no solution, trying to validate the limitations to themselves, how unique and/or difficult their experience was with others. The energy was heavy.
So. At gyms, working out their bodies, people were happy. At workshops, working out their minds, people were all over the place - looping. Why?
Easy answer. Because they didn't have the "all over the place" people issue, time constraints, etc, the people in the gym went to the gym, and followed through. Because of A, B. Not B has something A doesn't have.
What I think is the answer now. You work out your body. You move. Your blood flows. Your muscles are activated. You breath. You stretch. You hike. You are outside. Whatever. You see other people doing what you are doing, you connect. In essence, you take your mind off your mind by dealing with your body - you flow your attention away from your loops. Thus, lightness. (Maybe not for all cases, but for some cases.)
Conclusion. Maybe I should try the workout thing.
Living in Hermosa Beach. Seeing all those fit and shining Crossfit people. All the buzz. Having suffered pain never imagined in a the one and only Yoga attempt I had. And ultimately, being the victim of well executed location conscious targetted advertising (a Facebook ad), I gave Crossfit a chance. The place was Crossfit Southbay. The place was awesome. Super good vibe. Amazing culture. People and instructors were positive, supporting, no BS. I liked working out in groups - it motivated you differently. Even not completing the drills, was cool. I pushed myself. I felt exhausted and awesome post class. Pounds burned away. It worked.
Now. Here's where the Gold's Gym thing comes into my story. Filming the documentary had me traveling the following months, sleeping on floors, cars, moving, so no time/mindspace/domesticity for Southbay Crossfit. Then, post trip, I found a place in Venice Beach. 20 mins away in good traffic, 40 mins away in bad traffic from it. In short, now an inconvenient place to go.
Well. The thing was crossfit, right. It was now my thing. Cool and sexy enough to continue to follow. So much so, that doing our November 42-day challenge (more on this in a future post), I kinda grabbed being the guy who did crossfit. So, Venice has a couple of crossfit gyms. I researched them online. Walked to them to take a peek, etc. Problem was their crossfit ramp up classes (necessary for "the real thing") weren't starting soon... my budget was so strained at the moment I couldn't afford them. What to do....
One day while walking to the beach. Clearing out my mind from staring at a screen in editing. I stumbled upon Gold's Gym Venice. Curious (because of its history... Arnold, etc.) I walked in.
My first impression was negative. Machines. The buff. Anacronistic "meat heads" some of them even. Here's history - here's past. Here's the stuff the new is walking away from. Take a couple of pics. Exit.
Three days later, my finding a place to workout for the challenge was still there. Yoga was not an option. I couldn't bring myself to follow through on some online routine by myself. I had to be true to the challenge, what to do?
In despair, walking again past Gold's Gym, in route to the sea to ask the Ocean for guidance and chill from editing. Again, Gold's Gym.
F**ck it. Let's do this. I saw some crossfit type of class. They had some crossfit looking setup in the garden outside. It was close by to where I worked/lived. Let's just do the high intensity interval thing here... take the class. Follow through on the challenge.
My first two times there were about this. But then, it all changed. I saw what this place was. And it was not anacronism or easy preconception. It was choice and possibilities. It had something for everyone. Here, really cool and serious weight machines, here spinning, here yoga/dance/crossfit type classes, the cardio thing, some weird machines, stretching. All was there for the taking. The trial was there. I didn't have to wait for anything. It was close by. Expedient. And with new eyes it not only had the romantic thing of for each its own. I found that each day I didn't need to have a routine 'cause I had space and/or machines to dream it up. I as I felt like and wondered about each day.
It was so cool to walk into a space without a plan, a routine, preconception, just a curiosity as to what I was going to do today. What did I feel like to get my heart pumping, my endorphins going, my posture better, my outlook up.
It was more cool though the people. Just like Crossfit Southbay, you looked at them and they were happy. Happy. Each one doing there own thing. Each one in an environment with energy, fun. For the body builders, the pictures in the wall. Yes. But for all something to do.
In short, Gold's Gym was awesome. Gold's Gym is where I go to workout and try things out (when not outside.) Gold Gym's for me was a living proof of the power of replacing judgement with curiosity and just flowing. I'm fitter, more flexible than I have been in my life now. Happy.
Gold's Gym was awesome and before you took my last posts as a sign of a soul flowing towards the last reaches of Pluto.... wanted to get the post out.
What type of physical activity do you like? What are you curious about? I invite you to displace judgement about yourself and it for curiosity. Make time to try it out.
Co-producer/co-director, Blood Berries and Butter
Yesterday, at a Sacred Plant Medicine workshop in Santa Monica, we were introduced to 4 different powerful plants: Chaga, Damiana, Artemisia and Blue Lotus. They come from Siberia, Central America, All over the world, and Egypt, respectively.
Each had a clear, distinct presence and varying attributes: color, smell, taste, aftertaste, emotion, provenance and healing qualities.
We tried them and allowed for the plants to reveal their qualities and share our impressions.
The first expressed longevity, caramel, coffee, tobacco, grounding strength and resilience.
The second expressed sensuality, socializing, volatile emotions, playfulness.
The third one expressed a serious healing wisdom, an old depth.
The fourth one tasted like the sky and sweet honey. She was clear, and felt like connecting with a spirit lighter than air.
I heard several times the question: Can I drink it everyday? After about the 4th time, I asked: I’m curious, why would you want to drink it everyday? I just realized that we are so programmed to have certain foods everyday (cereal, eggs, milk, kale, etc), that even when we are discovering something new, our conscious programmed mind comes in and asks whether we can have it everyday.
A vase is a container which can hold anything. Just like our heart, our brain, our head, our body, our stomach, our mind. Thought, desire and consciousness inform our life as we fill our vase at each moment with whatever we choose to fill it.
We gradually become the thoughts we cultivate and the emotions related to them, their tone. Are they negative? Are they desperate? Are they positive? Are they packed with fear and doubt or are they packed with love, joy and curiosity? To what degree? How do they interact?
Like a reflecting mirror-vase where life recognizes herself, I see myself reflecting someone else’s gesture, thought, idea, laughter, habit, volume.
Are we like mirror-vases which reflect all around us while we also cast our thought, emotion back onto the world around us?
The consciousness of a constant flow of giving and receiving brings dynamic participation to how we relate to everything.
What do we fill that mirror-vase which is our mind, our body and each of our organs with?
How do we take care of it? Do we fill it to the top? Do we fill it quickly? Carefully or dramatically?
Opening up to your emotions and your own flow, wouldn’t you want to play with your food, your herbs, your drinks? I do.
In Blood, Berries or Butter, Steve Fowkes says - paraphrasing - “When your mom told you not to play with your food… bad advice.. Play with your food, experiment with it, that’ll only open both your eyes to how you relate to different flavors, nutrients, textures, colors, smells. That'll give you parallax and you will have a perspective you didn't have before.”
This mirror vase that we are is not separated from anything else but participating in a constant flow. What could we discover if we allowed the flow to fill it and empty it, freely, over and over again? What would we realize about ourselves?
Consciousness is intelligence in flow. Food is consciousness. Food is intelligence in flow.
Even rotting food, the worst, most poisonous, industrial, processed food you can think of has intelligence in flow. This intelligence in flow, however, is not the same as living foods. Living food has the intelligence of life, of nature, as Mike Gebhardt pointed out in our interview with him for our documentary Blood, Berries or Butter in San Francisco, living food is strong, has adapted to survive, to cycle life, to keep on being.
Processed, industrial food can't keep on being by itself, it can't come into being by itself. Its intention is profit, its intention is scale, its intention is convenience, its intention is not life.
Darin Olien, a health and superfood explorer, in one of our interviews, speaks about the different intelligence in plants. A superfood is not a vitamin/antioxidant/mineral, etc. supercharged organism. A superfood is an intelligence. There are different intelligences for different things. Different environments adapt different intelligences. That is why there is a difference between a goji berry in the wild, a goji berry harvested in a conscious, ancient way, and a goji berry harvested as part of a large scale hyperbred mono crop. They may look similar, they may taste similar, but they are not the same.
You see. The goji berry in the wild, harvested in a traditional, sustainable way is receiving, being, giving ... Is not the same as the monocrop goji berry. Even if it's organic! They are flowing different intelligences. Biodynamic farming recognizes this. It recognizes that if you use a reductionist approach to agriculture, the intelligence and properties of food changes.
What consciousness do you want in your body? What consciousness do you want in your body when?
Here's where framing food as consciousness and not as units of nutrients starts being pragmatic. You are consciousness, too. You can feel, see, touch, smell, connect with the consciousness of food. Literally. You don't need labels to tell you which foods have the most of or the "best" ratios of this or that.
You can look at it and kinda know. You can use your experience and kinda know. You can commune with it. You can try it out and see how it changes, how you feel, think, experience it.
Consciousness is intelligence in flow. You and food are consciousness. Trust yourself to flow with food.
“That last set, you played better than you’ve ever played before.”
Me: (I’ve played since I was 4. I’m a little older than that now.)
“Right? I thought only I’d felt it. I was so present and focused. At each moment, with each ball I was fully there, contained, committed to being present, continuous and flowing and ready to enjoy the game and keep the ball in the air.”
As I stood by the baseline to serve or receive, I observed my mindset, my breath, my intention, my presence and told myself:
Make it playful and make it challenging for the opponents, not by force but by placement (where I send the ball and how)
Get on the tip of your toes
Ready yourself to spring forward towards the ball
Be swift and focused
Contain your inner beast, be playful
Focus on the intention to hit the ball with complete faith, gentle playfulness and love
Remove all doubt
Remove all fear
Focus on where you want to send the ball
I would turn off my thoughts right before the ball hit the air, and it was up to my nervous system, my heart, my eyes, my concentration, my breath, my overall intuition and rapid, strategic reactions. At that point, I was not thinking, I was acting.
Interesting to discover that by focusing on each moment and containing the strength that I intended to apply, I ended up creating more winners or at least allowing for more opponent errors by keeping the ball in the air and keeping placement challenging.
I wondered how else and what other thoughts I could entertain and cultivate over the course of the match.
How do I remind myself of all the different variables that I want to be aware of? The answer is: constantly. Each ball is another opportunity to remember the nature of how I want to inform and express my game, my presence on the court.
Obviously once the ball hits the air, the point unfolds differently each time and that is where lies the beauty of it. As the point unfolds and transforms, and I make sure I keep the ball in the air, I allow room for expression and transformation, for lobs, dropshots, volleys, placement and movement in all directions. Like a constant process of discovery upon which you actually have very little or no control.
How would you know how it is going to unfold?
When I don’t allow myself enough time for the game to unfold and all the varying expressions of the game to present to the players, I miss out. And I want to participate in a fun, flowing game. I want the fun to last a little longer.
Life presents us with a subtle unfolding of events that is available when we open our thoughts, perception and heart coherence and do not judge what we are experiencing in each moment.
If thoughts inform our reality, how about love, curiosity, care and dynamic flow for thoughts and intention?
At the tennis club, the guys who play don’t usually stop during odd games. There’s a certain rush not to follow the rules of the game, surely out of sheer passion to play nonstop.
I personally prefer to stop at odd games, and also take a few seconds between the end of a point and my next serve. I do so to catch my breath, surely, and also to come back to center, to contain and commit to a certain intention and emotion to remind my body, mind and heart how it is I want to stand on the court.
I want to be:
Like water or wind, versatile and dynamic.
And then the ball hits the air and I trust I’ve reminded my body, heart and mind enough and there’s no more room for thought inside me. Pure action, intention and care.
Focusing on that direct, serene awareness while enjoying the game, looking after each ball, may lead to winning the game. But winning the game was not the focus of my intention in the first place.
Now, the slightest disturbance, either inside my mind or my attention, even just looking at a leaf in a tree on the side of the court can throw me off. As in a meditation, a thought arises that does not necessarily belongs there. Problem is, in tennis you can’t really observe the thought and let it go. There’s no time to observe the thought, the ball is coming right at you, or slipping away.
Refining that focused connection with each present moment is a great Art.
How does this translate to daily life?
Before I go there, I’ll say this:
In 2013 I didn’t train harder, I did a little less yoga than usual, I moved more yes, but not because I practiced crossfit or functional movement. I swam in the ocean, I walked, I played beach volley. I played a lot with my eating patterns, I tried different diets (paleo, Bulletproof, ketogenic, wild, vegan, juice cleanses and so on).
In 2013 what I did do was I decided to change how I did everything. I decided I wanted to be open, flexible and dynamic. I had a life changing year of discovery, I talked and listened to extraordinary people about health and holistic wellbeing, about nature, about food, about movement, about attitude, about sleep, about being present, about mindfulness, about habits, and I experimented a lot with myself.
I practiced HRV (Heart Rate Variability) High Coherence training with a small sensor and an app on my iPhone by Heartmath.
I trained my nervous system with an ARP (Advanced Neurological training device) designed by Jay Schroeder.
I meditated, I observed myself.
I mostly trained my mind, my nervous system, my heart-centered breathing (HRV), my watchfulness, my intentions, my emotions.
I practiced being more aware, non judgmental and curious. And I played tennis better than I ever did before.
What else is next I ask myself. How does observing every moment and event inform my days?
Keep the flow. Delicious thoughts.
Wishing you all a 2014 filled with bliss, purpose and playfulness.
Food is consciousness. The act of choosing food is consciousness, as is eating it or not, digesting it or not and excreting it or rotting it within. You may think about food, your body may feel how it feels to digest food, you may become what you eat today. Food is all things. Food is one thing. Food is consciousness.
With food you can think/feel your discernment in choosing it (what emotion, reason, conditioning, social/economic structure, goal) guides what you do. With food you can think or feel your digestion. Your excretion. The place that excretion goes. How that excretion comes back to you or into someone or something else.
Sometimes you don't think about food. Sometimes you are so engaged in something else - flowing in a different direction - you forget it exists. You are at at a dinner table, restaurant, counter, outside - but you are engaged in thinking your thought, expressing it, adapting your thought to the feedback you are getting, judging, listening, observing, scheming, loving, distracted by a noise. Not in food.
When I'm in one of these places. When I'm flowing with something someone else is saying, flowing an idea around my head, flowing an idea out of my body - I forget food is there. I don't eat. That's expedient. That comes naturally. That serves my flow.
Because I do this and because what I do requires me to meet new people, usually mid-way through the ritual of eating the conversation stops. A person I'm with looks at my plate and notes I haven't eaten. I, then, often start eating to be polite. If the flow is too strong - if the idea or feeling coming in or out is too strong - I burst back away from food. But I have noticed that the act of eating changes things. And different food changes things in a different way.
Some food- for me it's a steak, pasta or beans - starts to drain that flow I was going with. I can digest them. I'm not allergic to them. Give me some time to nap or rest and I'm Ok with them. Even if they are in the form of fast food. I can come back from them eventually. But right there. At the moment these foods are engaged, they drain my flow. I can't help but feel what they are doing to my body . I'm thinking/feeling the fork, my chewing, my manners. My stomach starts firing acids, my glands hormones, my heart beats differently, my tongue, throat, stomach, intestines awaken.
Some food. Some drink. Alcohol. At first explodes my flow forward and in all directions, then as I keep drinking it (to keep whatever flow I want to keep going), it pulls back and starts to drain me, it used to be to the point of a blackout, a blackout I would awaken from, feeling like shit, but strangely, often flowing with a new mellow focus. That's why I used to abuse alcohol. I liked the initial thrust to my flow, in all directions, fuel and inhibitions gone. Possibilities of thought and action open. I liked the extinction in unconsciousness that was my night. I liked and used to function in the best way I knew then, the mellow focus of the next day.
Sweet fruit, bread and bad coffee. Simple carbs a word, I learned from Dave Asprey, antinutrients/mycotoxins. Energy up, emotional and mental roller coaster, crash into burning hunger, mental fog, and depression. Like clockwork? No. Most of the time. Yes. Most of the time. It depends. But most of the time.
Given this and what I have learned to see and feel this year co-producing and co-directing the documentary Blood Berries or Butter, I now make choices as to what I eat based on rough estimates about my flow needs at the moment and my future flow needs. How I want to think and feel at the moment, how I want to think and feel tomorrow, how I want to think, feel and be for the rest of my life. I trust myself to make the right choice. You see, I have 37 years of accumulated experience, for the short term effect. I kind of know what can speed up/make more likely death or disease, I've listened to a lot of good information this year from people who have not only researched and digged into the rabbit hole of information, they have tried it on themselves, they have succeeded, they have taken arrows from skeptics, they have written books, built communities, come up with aides. They have inspired others with their insight and example.
I have a brain, a body, a soul, common sense. people I can talk to. The internet common sense. Mariel Hemingway put it best, in our July interview. Paraphrasing: I've realized that the answers are within me. That they are not that complicated. I'm okay with being wrong about the choices I make. It's now become automatic. I don't think about it much. I just kind of do what's necessary to keep flowing.
Now. Food is not only fuel or sedative. Food is not only health or disease. Food is not only business or construct. Food is consciousness. This is what this post is about.
You are thinking, feeling, receiving, giving, living so many things in your flow. They interconnect. They work, distort, change each other.
Laird Hamilton, in our interview in August, said one thing that i first I read at face value - and that I now think/feel different about. Paraphrasing: If you are kind of working out hard, if you are outdoors, if you have low stress, if you have balance in your life, etc. and you eat at McDonalds once in a while, you are probably better off that if you ate clean and are super stressed, miserable, judgmental about it. (Gabby Reece in her interview later that day. Echoed this thought, which is important.)
Then, I reasoned. Ok. If you work out like a beast and everything else is going fine and you eat that double cheeseburger, supersized fries and a coke, you are kind of burning out those calories. Even the bad effects of low quality stuff on hormones, I continued to reason, it's once in a while and this guy is built like an Ox, works out hard, is in nature. If you work out hard, in balance you'll be fine. 80-20 rule. Etc.
Now I see it differently. I see that. Yes. But I see something else. Laird is getting his nourishment out not only food, but everything. Again, what's fueling Laird (it's my thinking/feeling) is not only what he puts in his life but all things in his life. Literally. Calories in, do not equal calories out. Food is not the only thing fueling your organs, glands, muscles, brain. The guys who stare at the sun and don't eat, are getting nourishment not from food. The faquirs and yogis, very little food. Even Laird (who incidentally believes in eating the best quality food) eats consistently less calories than he burns. And that guy is not burning away in bones. He is a truck. Top-performing athlete. An author. An ox. (Incidentally, Laird eats the best food he can. For him, like most of the people we interviewed, it's about quality and not quantity.)
The flipside. SuperSize Me. The guy not only ate McDonalds for 30 days (I'm not taking away that food quality and fat affect how we feel and our body, they do). The guy dedicated 30 days to making his life about eating McDonalds. No surfing. No outdoors. No balance. Eat McDonalds. Film it. Eat as much McDonalds as possible. Be relatable. Make a very important, intelligent and entertaining film with a clear narrative and focus. But Supersize Me guy made an experiment with a single variable. Our life is not ruled by a single variable (we move, we feel, we think), our body is more than a single variable, our body is controlled by much more than a single variable.
The scientific method requires that we test hypothesis, hopefully, using single variables. It tests single variables. It draws conclusion by what the data is showing for that single variable. You add what the single variable experiments, constructed in a particular way, funded/or not funded for a particular reason, reported or not reported due to a political agenda, economic interests, inertia, laziness, complexity... show, and you vomit a way of life.
You vomit out a way of life, piecemeal. Each day, the news soundbite/ the article... new data shows, this or that. Fat is good. Then, fat is the devil. Now fat is good. We can now measure more obesity. The food pyramid is the standard. The food pyramid (built on ingenuity and bad science) is making us fat and ill.Carb load before an exhausting athletic event. Don't carb load. Organic? what is that? Organic is good. We need organic. It's just more expensive. Cholestrol. It's about keeping it down. It's about the ratio, some of it is good. Is it? This causes cancer. Not now. This causes cancer again. Confusion, dissonance, contradiction, revision, piecemeal information, discovery, resulting from a single variable experiment, scientific, mindset. The specific. What can be reasoned. What can be shown. Stories that are expedient to tell.
The guys in the white coat know some important stuff. Don't ignore them. But ask questions, know their limitation, you really know what's good for you or can find out, feel it out, really. Listen. Ok. But let your brain and body. Your logic, experience and common sense be guides, too.
The guys in the white coat, mostly - I think, are approaching food from the perspective of the nutritional value that can be shown. They are breaking up what food is into nutrients and numbers, building equations on what their data indicates about the quantities and ratios you need to consume of this nutrients to keep you away or cure disease. This is good food. This is bad food. Eat the good food. Don't eat the bad food.
If food is this. If food is the chemicals that compose it, the percentage of water, fat, protein, magnesium. Fine. We have the answer. But food is not this. Food is more. Food is consciousness and consciousness is connection and consciousness is changing. Food as consciousness is nuanced and relative, not static. It's many variables (quality in studies about grassfed beef and fat, how food affects not only your body but your thoughts, how one food can be awesome when you are flowing a certain way (flowing with pleasure and connection), but not at others when you want to or need to flow with health.
Lets get back to anecdote, not conjectures to express this thought to you. Mike Gehardt, 4-time Olympic participant, 2 medal winner, nutritional coach, who we interviewed in San Francisco.
We met him for a pre-interview on a Saturday morning in a yuppie health-eatery close to Pacific Heights. He wore a yellow shirt, board shorts and brought with him a grocery paper bag with breakfast. We were to eat in the somewhat overpriced yuppie hangout, but we were not to eat of the yuppie hangout.
Mike said casually, that the bag came from a community owned San Francisco market that was amazing (the name escapes me now; but it's close to Mission and the 101 and for this stories sake my thought to that at the moment was: maybe we can shoot and get some sexy b-roll of natural stuff, talk to a natural food supplier, etc..)
Anyway. Mike brought breakfast to our breakfast. We sat. He started taking things off the bag. A bag with with some weird dried berry type thing he said were called schizandra (sp?) berries, walnuts, small apples, uneven and mostly pale in color and shape, some grey-black-brown seed like thing that tasted like everything, exploding all types of flavors - tingie, bitter, salty, sweet, spicy, grounded tea leaves. He also took out paper plates and cups for all. He started pecking on the berries putting a bit of each thing in his plate and invited us to do likewise. A picnic, I thought. A bento box without a box. Cool. A little mound of each (if you care to look it up, it's in my October facebook album somewhere) . As we tried things out, Mike casually - organically - the complete opposite of a book/record/movie selling author/celebrity/ selling the latest thing in late night TV, Good Morning America or Larry King. Super organic stuff. This wasn't some calculated-stunt, they guy knew we were bootstrapping the project, and he brought breakfast and shared it (and the knowledge of its what and why) with us.
Mike first spoke about the apples. He said they were uneven, small, with seeds. He preferred them that way because they were the apple before the hyperbred apple of today - that is lush with even red, big, juicy, sweet, it lasts longer, without the nuisance of seeds - came. I tasted the apple and they were, as stated, not as sweet - their flavor was subtle. It reminded me of the difference between drinking cheap coffee to Single source, Arabica, light or medium roasted, coffee that is full of nuance. The different between the cheap wine at 9 dollars the gallon and the better ones.
Next came the schizandra (sp?) berries. Their flavor I forgot. I guess they tasted Ok but were not memorable. Mike explained that the schizandra berres were a superfood from China (or Tibet - correct me in comments) that it had all this micronutrients and cool properties. Cool. Schizandra berries = new superfood. I made a point to research further. Never did.
The black grey thing. These things - as I mentioned - above were as a friend says "the bomb". They were the bomb because they literally exploded in your mouth, they were all over the place, I have never tasted anything like them. They weren't any one pleasurable thing. But my tastebuds came alive. Mike said it's name (again, didn't write it down but will ask Mike for it or google it sometime for a repeat) and said that those were really cool because they were full of the usual suspects micronutrients but also they stimulated your taste buds. They were nutritional content, yes, but also an experience.
Mike spoke about alot of things. He spoke about food timing, a topic Dave Asprey and the guy who runs the Lean Gains blog introduced earlier to me. However, he spoke about a different aspect - apart from intermittent fasting and whether carbs are better at night or in the morning. He spoke about a chronobiotic approach to things - the right foods based on the angle the sun hits whatever you are eating. Leaves in the morning. Fish and yucca at night. He also said that he recently started drinking coffee with a bit of maple syrup in the morning following someone's advice and that he has been really cool. Mike spoke about almonds - we should look for the most wild one we can get - if soaked overnight in water with intention - drinking the water and softened almond in the morning - one for each pound - may help you get there. He spoke again about the apple - and how beyond it being organic (it was), the apple had seeds, it was fertile, able to carry and transmit life. Vital. Alive.
I suspended judgement for a while. I was flowing my attention to other things. I loved the experience of breakfast - not as cereal, just bulletproof coffee or eggs or toast - but as a picnic. The sampling of different things was cool. The black grey seed thing was awesome. .
My mind was not really into he was saying (we would capture it in the interview, I thought), it was in all other things surrounding the experience -- this guy showed up in a restaurant with his own picnic-type breakfast to share.
When judgement came in light inevitable waves throughout the day, it came in the form of a personal reflection. I thought about my education and past work experience. I had been trained to think, to discern, to question, doubt, reason, find evidence, corroborate, define. To not be duped. To double check. I knew about the power of charisma, of suggestion, of how ego needs distort things. What came to mind was the TV show Myth Busters or those experiments where twins - each tries one thing - and see which one comes ahead. Twins (the same genetically was assumed) were the constant, the thing to be tested or refuted the variable.
The choices in my head were: dismiss it, fact check later, take it with a grain of salt, go with it.
The first two were pretty simple to follow. The grain of salt could start a slippery slope, believing it at face value, I reasoned, was throwing away all that training - maybe being irresponsible as a filmmaker - unless I caveated the info, or presented it as a question. Those were the waves of thoughts that came and went that day, as...
I was feeling absolutely awesome - my focus and energy where through the roof - I was seeing all things and no thing. Listening. Between the waves of reasoned and dominating the flow were other things I worked out mentally, experiencing San Francisco as I never did before, living the day in a complete new way. This wasn't normal. Not since my second day of bulletproof coffee fasted had I felt like this. My mind was clear, I was present, I was happy. Was it the superfood's vitamins and minerals? The timing of it? That was really the only variable of the day - food. No? Food as not only fuel, nourishment or medicine, food as aphrodisiac.
I spoke with Tomás, co-producer/co-director, of the project about all this stuff. What was the conclusion I was to draw in the day: use reason, use experience. Doubt or believe. If I doubted, test/evaluate/use/dismiss. If I believed, I knew now food as a collection of chemicals, as fuel, as nourishment, as medicine and and aphrodisic was the thing. Eat superfoods easy to digest that stimulates your senses at the right time. But, you know, I don't think it was that. The most powerful influenced on my wellbeing and feeling of awesomeness that day had been - Mike. Mike flowed. He had been flowing all day. From the moment he came in to the yuppie eatery to the moment he said goodbye after cooking/feeding us dinner, he had been flowing love, his beliefs, his life towards us. Food flowed with Mike towards us that day.
You see. Food is not fuel. Food is not nourishment. Food is not medicine. Food is not its nutritional composition. Food is not business. Food is not policy. Food is not choice. Food is not diet. Food is not whether you are a vegetarian or paleo or fructarian or lover of junk food. Food is not a belief system. Food is not what sustains or enables the biological processes within our body: the calories, nutrients, validation we need to live. Guys who stare at the sun for nourishment live this. Yogis live this. Laird and so many other people I saw this year live this.There is no contradiction or riddle in this. Because food is not our fuel and nourishment.
Food is consciousness.
Thus, the documentary we are about to launch, Blood, Berries or Butter, is not about food. Not an attempt at a sticky way to tak about vegetarianism, paleo diets, wild/bulletproof diets in one place. It's not about extending this to different types of exercises and explaining how they work. It is not about what athletes, activists, celebrities you have heard of - and the ones you haven't - are telling us is there way they have found to be happy, to perform, to make money, to connect, serve.
Blood, Berries or Butter is a presentation of the journey I took in 2013 with my co producer and co director Tomás Reyes, co producer Morgan Buehler through ideas, people, stories, conjectures, nature that frame food as consciousness; movement as consciousness. In Darin Olien words, to see, feel, think, experience food, movement, spirit, your health and body "as something amazing, you should honor." Food and living as flow, process, light, sun, opinion, cycles, you, them. Food as consciousness, because I now believe food is that. And thinking/feeling of it this way had changed my life. The choices I make. For the much better.
For those who share this view, want to see this view... share whatever struck you with us in comments, with your friends, or help us have the tools to present this in the most compelling way possible by pre-purchasing the digital download, DVD, donating.
Thanks so MUCH!
(Note: English is my second language. I'm limited in time in post-production of project, if typos/grammar annoy you and you want to help, point out the errors for me and I'll fix them.)