This was Justin and I’s holiday party in December 2011. Wahoo!
Blog Stuff that makes me tick
The Artist’s Way
Today, a client asked me if I had any suggestions on how to cure writer’s block. Truth is, I actually just learned this and it worked for me. Here’s what I told her: The best advice I’ve ever received about how to break a creative block (that actually works!) I learned from this book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.
Here’s the trick: Make time every morning (about 30 min) and force yourself to write 3 pages of whatever comes to your mind – no limits, no themes, just stream of consciousness. It can be about anything and is not meant to show anyone – ever. The goal is to just write, even if it’s crap. In fact, aim for crap. Just put the pen to the paper. Then, after you’ve written 3 pages, you can tear it up and throw it away if you want. Also, use pen and paper (no computer). It will slow you down in important ways.
The author of the book calls these Morning Pages. I still do my morning pages as often as I can and it truly has changed my life and opened me up creatively.
The only way through writer’s block is to write. Remember: Aim for crap with the morning pages and don’t judge your writing here. The quality doesn’t matter, just do 3 pages every morning. Within a few days or a week, I bet the block will dissipate. Even then, continue with Morning Pages, you may find you really, really like it.
Sleep No More
I just received my latest communication from The McKittrick Hotel announcing their newest delight, Carnival des Corbeaux. Everything this theatre troupe does will inspire. If you like scary (and you’re near NYC), do not miss the most innovative, experiential theatre happening in the world right now, Sleep No More.
Business Model Generation
After reading this enlightening book called Business Model Generation (given to me by none other than the incredible Paul Wolman of Feats, Inc), I wasted no time downloading the Business Model Canvas, an excellent free PDF download for entrepreneurs launching or rethinking their business strategies. The creators describe the Canvas like this: “The Business Model Canvas, is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.”
The book is worth the read: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
This Might Not Work
There is only one blog that has managed to earn my loyalty for years and years. I read Seth Godin‘s blog every morning, and I love it. I’ve read almost all of his books, backed his Kickstarter campaign, watched him as he reimagined the book publishing industry with The Domino Project and his Kickstarter project, applied to educational experiments he’s offered (rejected, but not discouraged), and otherwise have followed him religiously. He’s my mentor, he just doesn’t know it. Any way, he released this amazing book, seen in the video above. It makes me tick.
Every Single Night
Fiona Apple has been one of my all-time favorite artists since way back in ’90′s when she released her first album Tidal. She’s seriously evolving. I heart her newest single.
A Whole New Mind
If you’re looking for a great read to remind you why things are never going to “return to normal,” read this book by Daniel Pink.
Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate
7 Reasons To Stop Hating
1. People appreciate solutions and action. It’s far more impressive to provide a creative fix for the issue and actually execute than sit to around debating it. Anyone can tell you what’s wrong with the world, few actually do something about it.
2. When you amplify and promote what you love, you attract more of it. Seth Godin points out ”The most efficient way to get the behavior you’re looking for is to find positive deviants and give them a platform, a microphone and public praise. The tribe is hyper-aware of what’s being celebrated, and when you celebrate those that are moving in the right direction, you create a powerful push in that direction. It’s tempting to spend your time extinguishing bad behaviors, but in fact, spreading the word about the superstars is far more likely to change the culture.” (Fun fact: We’ve intentionally been doing exactly this for years with What Weekly.)
3. Expressing negativity not only breeds more misery – it can actually damage your brain. The more you think and speak about what you don’t like, the more you interfere with your ability to make rational decisions. In their book ”Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy,” authors and researchers Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Waldman reveal (on p 17): “The moment a person expresses the slightest degree of negativity, it increases negativity in both the speaker’s and the listener’s brains. Instead of getting rid of anger, we increase it, and this can, over time, cause irreparable damage, not only to relationships, but to the brain as well. It can interfere with memory storage and cognitive accuracy, and it can disrupt your ability to properly evaluate and respond to social situations. It interferes with making rational decisions, and you’re more likely to feel prejudice towards others. What makes anger particularly dangerous is that it blinds you even to the fact that you’re angry, thus it gives you a false sense of certainty, confidence, and optimism.”
4. When you’re bashing, we often find good reasons to discredit and dismiss you. That’s because when you’re bashing, you’re often speaking with the irrational lizard brain and we find it hard to trust you or your motives. Notice people who are constantly bashing don’t seem very happy. We wonder, “If you are bashing her right now, will you bash me later behind my back?” and will often times decide to keep you at arm’s length.
5. Bashing is born from insecurity and lack of self-worth. Researchers Newberg and Waldman discovered (pg. 35), ”A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will incline you towards suspicion and doubt.”
6. When you spread the good vibes and promote what you love, you attract positive people into your life. Research has found that negative words stimulate anxiety, and positive words can lower it. Pretty simple: Positive people are drawn to positive words. In my experience, having a (mostly) positive circle of friends and family is the most critical element for leading The Good Life. They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps – I wholeheartedly believe this. If you bash, you’ll attract haters. If you love, you’ll attract the good stuff and the good people.
7. And last but not least, bashers are not leaders, they are not the people who make a difference in the world. If you sound like a whiny b*tch, a cynic, a skeptic or a trouble-maker, you will have little luck rallying the right people needed to make real change or do anything truly innovative. Did you ever notice that the most progressive and intelligent folks don’t complain much? Take a cue from some of the most charismatic leaders and keep it positive.
Thanks for reading.
Book Recommendation: “Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy,” by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Waldman
Foods that are making you sick
Some people can eat whatever they want. They don’t get sick and you’ll never find them rushing to the bathroom right after a meal. Perhaps you, like me, are not so lucky. I’ve been on a mission for over ten years to discover the mysterious relationship between our food and our health. Turns out, it’s really quite simple.
Eat Low-Glycemic Foods
After years of suffering with chronic pain, Crohn’s Disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I discover a little piece of knowledge that has literally reversed the disease. My lifesaver is what they call a Low Glycemic Load Diet. But it’s not a diet at all- it’s just making better choices about what you eat… forever. Believe me, if you suffer from any disease or pain caused by inflammation (ahem… diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, heart disease, etc, etc), try this. I doubt you’ll ever turn back.
* Hint: If you avoid High Glycemic Load foods for a period of time, you will probably see the weight loss benefits. Doctor Rob Thompson claims “The increased consumption of starchy carbohydrates, particularly wheat, is held to blame for the obesity problem. Also, the claim is made that insulin resistance (said to be present in 22% of the population) would be less evident if starchy carbs like rice, potatoes and bread were reduced.“
Inflammation is a killer
I’d been searching for the cause of my inflammation for over ten years. Chronic inflammation effects everyone differently. Some get arthritis, heart disease or diabetes. For me, it was Crohn’s Disease, an auto-immune disorder that affects the digestive tract. I nearly died because of Crohn’s disease in my early twenties, so I took my nutrition studies and medical research pretty seriously. I ended up having major surgery to remove 10 inches of my intestine, which left me with nasty IBS symptoms — all the time, after every meal.
Still, I couldn’t find the culprit. Maybe it was red meat, wine, coffee? Maybe it was all that spicey Thai food I was eating? Maybe lactose? Maybe wheat gluton. I tried everything. Cutting this thing out for two week, then avoiding something else for weeks. Nothing seemed to make a difference.
Until (after 10 year of this bullshit), I learned about high-glycemic foods from Ray Kurzweil and did a little experiment. I cut out all white starches — bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. And guess what – within 24 hours I was absolutely certain I had found the culprit of my inflammation (and hence all my other health problems). It still seems so odd to me… I always thought of bread, pasta, rice and potatoes as very benign – how could they possibly be the source of all my pain? Well, I’m here to tell you, the proof is in the pudding.
Here’s what you need to know about inflammation and its connection to high glycemic load (GL) foods.
According to Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, MD in their book “Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever”:
- Many serious diseases have been found to be associated with silent, chronic inflammation. (That’s heart disease, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, cancer, etc.)
- Chronic inflammation can be silent and symptomless for many years.
- An easy way to control inflammation in your body is through your diet.
- When you consume sugar and high glycemic load carbohydrates, you ultimately cause a chain of events that increases pro-inflammatory hormones as well as insulin spikes/plunges.
- The solution: Eat a high-fiber, low-glycemic load diet for optimum health.
Avoid too many High-Glycemic Load foods
It’s pretty simple: White starchy foods are the worst. Super high glycemic food include bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, along with your standard junkfood, other processed food and soda. The less you eat of that stuff, the better.
Eat as many vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean meats as you can (as long as you’re not allergic or vegetarian, obviously).
If you’re wondering how to determine whether a food is high or low glycemic, there are a ton of apps that can tell you. I use Low GI Diet Tracker.
As you do your research, keep in mind there’s a difference between Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL). I focus on GL, because it measures the effect on your body based on how much of a certain food you eat.
In general, foods with a lower glycemic index are better for you than those with a higher glycemic index, but not always. So, a food’s glycemic load is a much more useful indicator.
“Not all carbohydrate foods are unhealthy. In fact, many are highly desirable… To help you determine whether a particular food falls into the ‘good carbs’ group, you need to know its glycemic load, and that is determined, in part, by its glycemic index… The speed at which a particular food is converted into glucose in the blood, thus how fast it boosts your insulin level, is called its glycemic index. Because glucose is the primary blood sugar and needs no processing to enter the bloodstream, scientists gave assigned glucose a glycemic index of 100. The glycemic index for any particular food is determined as a function of how fast it turns to sugar in the bloodstream as compared to glucose itself…
“Any time you eat high-glycemic food, there is a sudden rush of sugar or glucose into your bloodstream. The body has minimal ability to store glucose, so the only options are: (a) burn it as fuel immediately or (b) turn it into triglycerides and store it as fat… If you consume a high-glycemic food such as a candy bar or sugary soft drink and have a sample of your blood drawn 60 minutes later — unless you’re doing something physically very strenuous and burning all the sugar as soon as you eat it — you’ll find your blood sample filled with triglycerides or fat particles. There will be so much fat floating in the your bloodstream, in fact, that it will look like pink cream. Same thing happens when you eat any high-glycemic food… a bowl of white spaghetti, a sandwich on white bread, white potatoes– your blood changes from red to pink because it has so much fat in it.” – From the book “Transcend” by Ray Kurzweil pg. 213-214
A whole new world
Since I switched to a mostly low-glycemic load diet (which is delicious, btw), my digestive functions have done a complete 180. I have truly never felt better. No sign of IBS at all. I finally feel healthy again. No meds, no supplements. Just good food.
Don’t get me wrong, I do treat myself a couple of times a week. A cookie, a sandwich on rye, sweet potato fries, but I eat a ton of raw and lightly cooked veggies, fruits and nuts everyday. And I try like hell to avoid anything white and/or starchy- including whole wheat pasta, wraps, crackers and the like. It takes a little adjustment, but once you’re there it’s so worth it.
Disclaimer: I am not doctor. So I can’t say this will work for everyone who suffers from disease or discomfort caused by chronic inflammation, but it worked for me. I hope my experience can help others find the root cause of their pain and discover a simple solution.
I would be interested to hear your experience with this stuff. Feel free to leave a comment.
Photos by me.