Is mountain biking like life?

A friend of mine came out for a visit last week.  We both enjoyed the “guy time” that two long time friends have together. We have a lot of history together, which started all the way back in nursery school! He has remained one of my closest friends over the years despite 1,000 miles in between us. We work in the same industry so we talk a lot, however we also just make the effort to spend face-to-face time together and be there for each other during the “ups” and “downs” of life.  With busy lives it can be hard to create time together, but so worth the “effort”. We spent a lot of time mountain biking while he was here and the video below is a fast snapshot of our biking time together.

I sometimes think about Mountain biking and it’s similarities to the ups and downs of life. Okay, I know, it maybe a stretch. But give me a little leeway. Biking has the challenge of the climbs, lot’s of effort, sweat and exertion, the time when we literally break down old muscles to build new, stronger ones.  Then the trail inevitably must turn downhill and the often effortless coasting, joy (or relief, after the challenge) and exhilaration. Like in life, our challenges make us stronger and certainly it’s easy to appreciate those times when we take a break from “growing” and life is like a sunny day.

On one ride we took, the uphill was steep enough that we got off and pushed our bikes up. We probably could have pedaled through some of what we walked, but we felt the extra exertion would have drained to much energy for the trail ahead. We dropped our egos and walked and talked.  A good life lesson……….when we might be expending too much energy and draining ourselves too much for the moment to “get off” and catch our breaths, slow things down a bit or build our energy up.  And know that everything that is meant to get done will and the “trail” or life will still be there.

Ross Bishop, one of my favorite authors, talking about “Holding center”

Okay, this is a bit heavy, but there is some good, core stuff to think about in his article.

 

HOLDING CENTER
by Ross Bishop

So you have trouble staying centered. In touchy situations you loose your calm. You get scared, feel anxious and become defensive. You sometimes do and say things you later regret.

Welcome to the world of your wounded inner child. You may think you control your life, but when it comes to emotionally charged situations, that’s her territory, and she rules it completely! The fear you feel is her trying to separate herself from a situation she deems to be threatening.

Your view of the situation really does not matter. She has gone back to a time in childhood when she felt helpless and powerless. At that time she created beliefs, especially about herself,  “we can be hurt,” “angry people are dangerous,” etc., that she carries into the present.  And, as long as she holds those beliefs, she is going to act on them.

The thing to remember is that she has all your power! In one moment she can cause you to react violently, lash out and fly into a rage, or, she can become passive, be dishonest, even con or manipulate in order to “manage” the situation. She’s had a great deal of practice, so she’s probably very good at it! She is not “bad” for doing this, she is simply a scared child trying to survive in a dangerous world.

Something else that she strongly dislikes is that adults rarely put the real issues on the table, so she is constantly forced to deal with shadows. This adds to her anxiety and replays the painfully manipulative adult behavior she had to deal with as a child. One thing about kids, until they become conditioned by us, they say what’s on their minds.

It is also important to remember that you do not come into these situations neutral. Your cup is likely already very full. Whether it is tension in your relationship, work related stress, problems with the kids, issues with your parents, making ends meet, or all the above, you come to the table with a hefty emotional burden. You may feel unsure of yourself, abused, like you don’t fit in or you may be angry at the world, so when a stressful situation arises, your options are already limited.

OK, so a situation happens. What can you do? I am going to give you two solutions, one  short term to deal with the immediate situation, the second, longer term to help resolve your issue. (Note: if the confrontation has become physical, these suggestions will not always apply).

IN THE MOMENT

Dealing with the moment has three basic requirements: Staying Present, Being Grounded and Getting The Focus Off Yourself.

STAYING PRESENT
The greatest barrier to remaining centered is that you are not in the present. Your wounded inner one is reacting to situations that went badly in the past, therefore she is likely to be defensive and feel victimized.

Although you are not powerless, she probably does not know that. She may also fear that you will not use your power to protect her. Saying to yourself:

“This is not the past, and I am not a victim,”

can help a great deal. The other person may be trying to victimize you, and although that did happen when you were a child and powerless, it cannot happen today unless you allow it.

STAYING GROUNDED
Breathe into your feet. This helps ground you and opens up your breathing, which is essential in dealing with stressful situations. This may seem inconsequential, but it is vital!

FOCUS ON THEM
The situation is charged and you are probably anxious, but try to get a sense of what is going on for them. People are often just reacting from fear and they rarely want to address it. No resolution can occur without including them, and anything you can learn about what is really going on will help you.

The operating premise here is that except for a few crackpots, few people seek out conflict. They do want to talk, and they would love a constructive way out, so long as it is safe. Generally we are just too afraid to be that vulnerable. We all have a need to feel understood. Recognizing this can help you constructively respond. Remember also, that apart from the specifics, what every situation needs is more love, because at the core of every “situation” is a lack of love.

THE LONG TERM SOLUTION

The reason you got hooked by the situation is that you feel vulnerable. Actually it is your wounded inner one who is afraid. Otherwise, you would simply engage in a problem solving conversation. But she is afraid and also not convinced that you will be there for her. Recognize that her reaction comes out of her history. You probably don’t like what is happening, but that is only a trigger to bring up old unhealed wounds that are ready to be addressed.

So, when you are away from the situation, at a time of quiet, go inside and find her. You may have to do some fence mending, by the way, because she may not be happy that you have not been there for her in the past.

When you have a good connection with her, get her to show you or tell you about the painful childhood events that the present situation is irritating. Those old painful events formed the beliefs that are driving your present reaction. It doesn’t matter that you may already know where it all came from, hear it from her anyway.

I can guarantee you something about her beliefs: She did nothing to create or be responsible for what happened. She was just a child! These were your parents issues, not hers. They created the difficulty, she did not. But she will have taken at least partial responsibility for what happened. The situation was toxic, she was not, but she will have come to see herself as defective, unlovable, etc., and that is why you are having trouble today.

Show her the truth. Take her back into the original situation and show her what was really going on. Use what you have learned about your parents and the family situation to show her the truth. This may be difficult for her, so be there for her and give her a great deal of love and support.

Once you have a firm grasp of what is troubling her and she accepts that it wasn’t her fault, then show her the differences between then and now. One of the biggest differences is that if things get too difficult, you can leave, call a time out or use any number of other resources to protect yourself. She could not. She was trapped! It will help her to know about the resources you bring and that you are willing to use them.

There can be other factors at work here, and they are simply too numerous to address here – past life influences, entities and sometimes even ancient curses. I do not mean to oversimplify what can be a complex situation. I have written about some of these issues in my books and I also discuss the process in some detail on the Shamanic Journey CD (see below). If you get lost, have a hard time getting through it on your own, or the situation is overwhelming, find a good shaman.

Copyright © Blue Lotus Press 2011

How to get your oxygen levels up

john woods - transformational breath facilitator

I teach a breathing technique called Transformational Breath (TB). See my website under the “tools” tab or the TB website for more details. The primary goal of the technique is to get more oxygen in the body, for which there are many benefits, that I won’t go into now. However, I had a great reminder of the power of the technique today. I had a call from a friend that had just had his gall bladder taken out. He was laying in a hospital bed a few days ago, with his oxygen level at 80 and the doctors were saying “you aren’t getting out of here until your oxygen levels go up”!  I had facilitated him in the Transformational breathing technique a few times about 4/5 years ago. When he heard this from the doctors, he instantly knew what he had to do. He said to them “I know what to do!” Forty minutes of TB breathing later, his levels were at 100 and they let him out of the hospital shortly there after! It brought a tear to my eye to have shared a tool that helped him in that moment when he was scared and not feeling very well. He said after that experience he has been using the technique daily to help him stay calm and oxygenated.

For me this breathing technique and mediation have been the two most powerful, trans formative tools in my life. If you want a tool that easy to learn for managing stress, giving you more energy, more joy or just overall better health please consider investigating the Transformational Breath technique.

Lake paddle boarding video

the abundance guy video

My friend Marcus introduced me to paddle boarding in the ocean a year and half ago and I have loved it ever since. When I”m next to the ocean, I rarely surf any more, as stand up paddle (SUP) board surfing is just so much fun. When there are no waves its still fun

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to paddle around and check out the amazing marine life at your feet. It truly feels like walking on water. Both are fun workouts and keeps me outdoors! I bought a casino francais lake SUP board last summer and now enjoy paddling around the mountain lakes around where I live. I took my friend Elizabeth on a paddle the other day and she shot some video I thought I”d share. If you get the chance to try it, its really fun and easy to learn on a calm day!

 

Working hard versus working smart

I grew up conditioned from my family and my investment profession that made me believe and choose that working hard work was the way to get ahead.  Other messages I heard or experienced was that hard work was honorable and necessary to keep my job.  Advancement and more money only came from hard work. I have to work harder than the person sitting next to me, ect.  I didn’t know any better at the time and fell into some of these patterns.

As I mentioned in the “who am I?” tab in the website, I did have an event that triggered me to wonder where the balance was in working long hours. I then thought working smarter made more sense. I focused on what I really wanted to do and where my skills were best utilized, I then noticed what things that didn’t fit into my plan and eliminated them which lead to me being much more productive. I had a lot of improvement in my balance in life with working “smarter”. With the extra time I had, I added daily practices like mediation and exercise and interestingly, my business actually grew instead of shrinking.

I noticed when I truly looked at what I wanted and not the beliefs or opinions of others I could stay more focused and centered. Conversely, when I forced something to happen I usually was left drained in some way, emotionally, physically or mentally. While I might of had more money in bank account after that forcing, I certainly had less balance in my life. So, keeping myself aligned and centered helped me be more aware of opportunities that in the past would have been obscured by the frantic pace of life at that time. Now, I move with the opportunities and put my attention, focus and energy into the ones I resonate with. Some call it going with the flow, a term that can sometimes bug me, but I do agree it is easier to paddle downstream than up! We all have experienced when things are going smoothly, there is an effortlessness to them.   Things seem to just fall into place or flow easier. Working “easier” seems better to me than working hard.  It was through reprogramming beliefs that no longer served me that allowed this shift to take place..

.work-life sign

 

 

 

Raw fudge recipe

My body works best when I have two meals a day where my food is mostly uncooked or raw. Typically, I have a smoothie in the morning with fresh ingredients and a salad for lunch or dinner. I mix that in with a cooked meal and it works pretty well for me. I love chocolate and have been playing with different ways of being able to have my chocolate raw to get the most nutritional benefits without sacrificing the taste of chocolate my sweet tooth likes. This a raw fudge recipe that my friend Drea (thanks so much!) passed onto me years ago that I continue to love for its ease and taste.

Here is the recipe for Raw Fudge: 1/2 Jar of coconut oil (about a cup) 1/3 -1/2 cup Honey (Agave works as well) 1/3 – 1/2 cup raw Cacao powder (cocoa powder works fine, if raw is not your thing) 2 tsp vanilla 1/8 tsp salt Mix all in blender or food processor and pour into a pan and put in refrigerator or freezer . When it is hard, attack it with a knife or spoon. I usually and nuts to my batch. Also, I just

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started making my own version of “peanut butter cups” by putting a layer of fudge down in a pan first, freezing for 10-15 minutes, then spreading a nut butter of choice down, then pouring another layer of fudge on top and cooling until hard. The “bad” news with this recipe is that you need to eat the fudge pretty soon out of the fridge as it will melt after a while. I say “bad” as it can be hard to stop eating!!! Enjoy!

 

Home air quality – Plants that help and other ideas

I’m always looking for ideas to keep my home healthy. I was just reading an article from Dr. Mercola, who I feel is a good resource for all kinds of alternative health advice (I’m signed up for his daily email), about air quality in the home. I have a part of that article below. Though I have good ventilation in my home, I really like the ideas of 10 kinds of plants that can help with air quality in my home and home office. See what you think.

What’s the First Thing You Can Do to Improve Air Quality in
Your Home or Office?

enhance-your-indoor-air-quality
Household plants like this African violet can help to
enhance your indoor air quality.

Bringing a bit of nature indoors with houseplants is an excellent idea and can help make you feel a bit more cheery

Living closer to nature may actually even help increase your quality of life.

“Household plants like this African violet can help to enhance your indoor air quality”

It was NASA, along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), that conducted a classic study on the benefits of plants on indoor air.

NASA reported that houseplants were able to reduce up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. They recommended using 15 to 18 ‘good-sized’ houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers for an 1800 square-foot house.

And not just any house plants will do… here’s a list of the top 10 anti-pollutant plants rated best by The New Ecologist.com…

  1. The Feston Rose plant
  2. Devil’s Ivy
  3. Phalaenopsis
  4. English Ivy
  5. Parlor Ivy
  6. African Violets
  7. Christmas Cactus
  8. Yellow Goddess
  9. Garlic Vine
  10. Peace Lily

NASA, at the Stennis Space Center, also constructed what they called a BioHome, which incorporated bioregenerative technology with the ultimate goal of providing a life support system for permanent human habitation in space.

And inside the BioHome structure are common houseplants, which NASA says act as living air purifiers to absorb as much chemical pollutants as possible from synthetic materials in the living area.

If houseplants are capable of cleansing the air in the BioHome, imagine what they could do in your home!

Mold Is a Common Issue in Many Homes

One of the major motivating factors for me to seek to identify the highest quality home filter is that my home had a leak in the basement due to a crack in the foundation and the end result was mold.

Unfortunately this is all too common. Many homes are contaminated with mold as a result of flooding, water leaks from indoor plumbing, leaky roofs or leaky basement foundations.

You can use the search engine on this site to find recent detailed articles I have written that comprehensively addresses this, but I want to share a key principle that I learned that will save you loads of grief and potentially many thousands or tens of thousands of repair bills.

Please understand that no air filter in the world will eliminate mold problems. You must find the source of the water leakage and stop water intrusion into your home and make sure you control the humidity. The other key is to jump on this problem the moment you find it, do not delay as the longer you wait the more expensive the repairs will likely be.

Once you have been able to get the mold under control then you can introduce an air purification system based on the discussion below.

9 More Actions to Take Now to Enhance the Indoor Air You Breathe

Here’s more of my extensive list on some of the important and straight-forward things I recommend you do to help improve your indoor air quality…

Indoor Air Enhancement Action: Justification and Improvement Details:
1. Put a plan in place to keep your home clean naturally Using only natural plant-based types of cleaners will help eliminate potential air pollutants. Even your laundry detergent can be a source of air fumes. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to source my own brand of natural plant-based enzyme laundry detergent.
2. Redo a portion of your home with a natural material You may not be able to build a new natural home or office like I did, but you can make small changes using natural, healthy materials… like bamboo flooring for example.
3. Keep carpets vacuumed and cleaned using natural ingredients Your carpet can be a breeding ground and saturation point for dust and pests that can eventually spew pollutants into your indoor air. Keeping your carpet clean with vacuuming and natural shampoos can help keep your air cleaner. Central vacuum cleaners are best
4. Avoid potential toxi fumes from unfiltered water Unknown by many people, unfiltered chlorinated tap water is a potential source of toxic fumes. And it’s not just drinking water you need to be concerned about. Your shower can be up to 20 times worse than drinking unfiltered tap water. The solution here is quite simple… obtain a high-quality water filtration system for your home. If you’re interested in more info here, you can check it out on my site where I show several well-researched options from single faucet… to shower systems… to whole-house filtration units.
5. Utilize nontoxic cookware when preparing your food In addition to leaching potential chemicals into your food, non-stick cookware made of synthetic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) can release toxins into your air. When heated to only 446° F, the coating begins to break down and releases fumes. My recommendation is for you to use cookware made from ceramic. You can also check out my site for more info on the types of cookware to avoid.
6. Don’t allow smoking inside your home This seems pretty straight-forward. But many folks worry too much about possibly offending smokers and allow them to smoke inside their homes. Don’t do it. Exposure to second-hand smoke can build up inside your home .
7. Ensure pets are kept well-groomed and clean Pets can be a breeding ground for pests and parasites that can become airborne in your home. Keeping your pet well-groomed is key to avoiding adding potential pollutants into your indoor air. You can go to my healthy pet site, hosted by an integrative, proactive, wellness veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, to get simple tips on how to keep your pets in healthy shape.
8. Get expert help if you have a mold problem due to a leak or water intrusion This is a serious issue and requires a remediation expert to solve. As I have had to deal with this type of major issue before myself, I speak from experience, and strongly recommend you seek a local remediation expert to resolve ASAP.
9. Avoid poor indoor ventilation issues Poor ventilation and filtration worsen your indoor air by trapping air pollutants All you have to do is open windows on open sides of your home for ten minutes every day and the cross ventilation will radically improve your indoor air quality

There is another step I recommend you seriously consider taking to help improve your indoor air quality… and that’s to install an air purification system.

 

The 5 love languages – what is your love language?

Want a a relatively easy thing to do relationship wise? Find out what your favorite “love language” is AND what your partners, friends or family members is/are.

I read Gary Chapman’s book called “The five love languages” about 10 years ago and I used it in my relationship at the time. It was really interesting to see that I was a “quality time” guy (see the 5 languages and definitions below) and my partner then, was “acts of service”. So, I liked to show and receive love by talking, fully present, with her and having her listen attentively. She was different in that she would clean the house or do things for me to show her love (acts of service). Interestingly we would get into fights because of this. I wanted her to stop cleaning, for example, and just “be present” with me and being present didn’t do anything for her, just like the cleaning didn’t make me feel like I was loved by her. After reading the book, we had a pretty big aha! We then talked about our love languages and asked each what we would like in daily “love gesture”. For me, I wanted a “two minute time out”, so we would take at least two minutes a day to visit, without doing anything else. For her, I made the bed daily. This may sound small but it was powerful for us.

Is one reason we attract relationships in our lives is to learn about expanding the way we love? I can say for me, that going through this I learned about a different way of loving that wasn’t my natural way of loving and in my growth my relationship grew. I find the 5 love language process simple, but powerful.

 

The 5 love languages below are from Gary Chapman’s website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/. It has a lot of information and a free, short quiz if you want to test out what kind of love language is most important to you.

  • Words of Affirmation

    Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

  • Quality Time

    In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

  • Receiving Gifts

    Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

  • Acts of Service

    Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

  • Physical Touch

    This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Music

Every now and then I really like going through my iTunes music library and listening and creating a new playlist or just listening to some songs I haven’t heard in a while. To me, its really fun and creative thing to do. I have collected a lot of music from family and friends over the years and sometimes I play music from my library that I never knew I had or totally forgot about.  Last time I did this, I found some classic rock oldies like; “Joy to the world” by 3 Dog Night and “Magic carpet ride” by Steppenwolf. Hearing these, I was immediately transported back to my friend Kurt’s basement where our gang would hang out as teenagers and play ping pong and pool and crank tunes for hours. Fond memories.

I like having playlists to fit my moods and what I’m doing, whether it is for a breath session or music to relax to. I created a playlist of a band called O.A.R. a year or so ago after my friend, Elizabeth, recommended them to me. So, over the last year its been an easy way to remind myself to listen to them and they have become one of my favorites these days. In fact, I’m heading to their concert on Friday in Denver to celebrate my birthday week! If you never heard of O.A.R., they are a rock/jam band. My favorite song of there’s is “That was a crazy game of poker” live version. for me, its fun and happy with a catchy beat and a perfect long summer song. I have pasted the album cover next to this blog entry. Enjoy!