Imagine for a second you are the Divine creator. You know the picture of an older man with gray hair looking at the earth as a globe? Picture that for me. As the creator, you are looking down on humanity and you can’t help but notice two things. The first is as the rank and file rise up every morning, most of us go to work IN our lives, hardly working ON our lives. For most, our pursuit of happiness is limited to financial growth, and the spirit often gets neglected, or saved for just one day a week. The second thing you notice as the creator is the limitations humans impose on themselves. You think, “ I have created so much and yet they use so little.”
In my opinion life is meant to be lived. I recently shut down a lucrative business because while it was sustaining my life very well, it wasn’t allowing me to truly live. After 18 years of 14-hour days I decided to experience more than just work (Reading the 4 Hour Work Week had a lot to do with that). I have since then woken up every day without a care in the world, and now pour everything I have into my new passion which is writing. People questioned my actions. Some became angry, others thought I went off the deep end, but in reality I have never felt more centered, more balanced in my entire life.
Change is never difficult; it is dealing with change that is difficult. Please remember this when reading the rest of the article. Our little monkey minds are geared for one thing – SURVIVAL, and when you upset the order of things, alarm bells start ringing. “But things are great the way they are!” Says the subconscious. Complacency is a killer my friends, and that is why I am sharing this information with you.
While this article can be characterized as self-help if you choose to experiment with what I talk about, it can better be characterized as self-disruption. Think of it as taking a new way home from work, or getting up on the other side of the bed. If you don’t like it, simply go back to your old routine. I will be presenting you with 3 taboos – one for the body, one for the mind, and one for the spirit. Why do I consider them taboos? Because I don’t feel they are widely accepted. With that said, let the disruption begin!
Taboo #1 – Stop Eating Carbohydrates For Breakfast
It’s been 12 years since first being published and the carbohydrate industry still controls the way we eat breakfast. John Kiefer, a physicist turned nutritionist discovered that when we eat carbohydrates in the morning many unfavorable chemical reactions take place and through these pathways, our body tells our brain to start making new fat cells. The goal of a new fat cell is solely focused on one thing – getting full, so it too starts to send signals to the brain that you need more sugar. This jump-starts hunger and even though we ate just an hour ago, we find ourselves reaching for that granola bar, apple, or yogurt we brought earlier than we would like. The result? We crash well before lunchtime with our brain in a haze, and all we can think about is taking a nap.
This used to be me. Cereal and orange juice for breakfast nearly every day. I’d need a nap before lunch, a nap after lunch and then a nap after I got home from work. I worked out like a maniac, yet still looked fluffy. I was 28 and felt like I was 78. This was my body’s way of telling me I was giving it the wrong type of fuel. Food after all is supposed to give you energy is it not?
Carbohydrates are an inferior source of energy for two reasons. First, sugar spikes insulin, which correlates with our energy levels. If insulin spikes, we have energy, but when insulin crashes, so do we. The second is the fact that carbohydrates contribute only 4 calories per gram compared to fat, which contributes 9. The digestion of fat also does not release insulin, which keeps our blood sugar more stable, and as long as we are eating fats cultivated through natural sources, fat, will not make us fat. Kiefer actually recommends skipping breakfast, and ops for loading your morning coffee with heavy whipping cream. The first time I did this, not only was my mind sharp as a pick ax, but I wasn’t even hungry when lunch came around as heavy whipping cream has a lot of good saturated fat in it, and the slowest digesting protein of all – casein.
If you don’t like coffee, eggs and bacon will do. So will sausage or steak. Google is your friend. Type in low carb breakfast and you’ll likely never run out of options. My breakfast coffee has evolved over the years. I now favor coconut milk over dairy for many reasons that can fill another article all together, but the fact remains the media and most health institutions favor things like bagels, oatmeal, or even fruits for a healthy breakfast. Science shows us this just isn’t so. If you’re experiencing lethargy in the morning no matter how much sleep you get and eat carbs for breakfast, this little trick may change your life. As a bonus, I’d like to share my recipe with you:
My Breakfast Coffee:
- 16oz of coffee
- 2 tbsp. of coconut milk from a can (I use Thai Organic)
- 2 tbsp. of Bulletproof Brain Octane
- 2 tbsp. of Great Lakes Collagen Protein
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender for 20 seconds and out pops an amazing tasting latte that will keep you alert and satiated for hours. Your waistline will shrink and your hormones will thank you!
But sugar makes me happy Chris, how is taking it away going to make me happier? Look, I like the taste of sugar as much as anyone, just not in the morning. Sugar is hyper rewarding to our brain and releases a hormone we call Dopamine. A lot of people call dopamine the reward hormone because it is released during sex, drugs, or gambling as well. The correct way to look at this hormone is that it is released in anticipation of a reward. Sugar gives us energy, sex preserves the species, and winning at gambling will bring us more money than we had before. The sugar we eat in the morning has the body anticipating we will need to use it soon. When we go sit at a desk after that the brain starts to wonder where its reward is (the subsequent energy expenditure coming in some form of exercise) so it starts asking for another one. There’s a silver lining here though as fat also releases dopamine when eaten as showing in this study.
The taboo here is that anyone eating bacon and eggs for breakfast is being “Unhealthy.” I see people look on with envy, or hear people make comments in restaurants as they finish their waffle swimming in syrup that they would eat that much fat for breakfast if they trained like I do. They feel I can only eat that way because I offset the damage with exercise. It simply isn’t so. Fat from natural food will never make us fat because our body knows how to process and use what it can, or eliminate what it can’t. All ketogenic diets operate on this point alone. Fat in the morning also does not release insulin, which some experts say the health of our body is tied to how much insulin the pancreas is called on to produce. Eating fat for breakfast kills the proverbial, “Two birds with one stone.” We get our dopamine rush without the fat storing side effects.
Taboo # 2 – Love Your Fear, Don’t Be Afraid of It!
Before you dive into the rest of this article, I want you to do an exercise. Go into your bathroom, or bedroom, or anyplace there is a mirror. It can be secluded, but you get bonus points if there are other people around. I want you to look into the mirror and look straight into your own eyes. Look deep into your eyes for 5 seconds and then with the utmost conviction yell –
I Can Do Anything I Want!
There. Now that we got that little prerequisite out of the way, lets get down to business. I’ve been paralyzed by fear before. It seemed as real as anything I could touch, but looking back on those times in hindsight, I honestly couldn’t tell you what sparked that fear or why I was so afraid. It’s as if some aspects of fear vanished with maturity. Recently, I spent 10 months enduring a most terrible situation because of one thing, and one thing only. Our good old friend, fear. I discovered my wife fell in love with another man and she wanted out after 2.5 years of marriage. We owned stuff together; we were 50/50 partners in a business I did 99% of the work in. Not only did I fear losing her, the position I had built in my life, and the business that was my livelihood, but also I feared being alone again. In the end when we divorced, nothing happened. It was just another day. Had I acted earlier at what I knew was inevitable I would have saved a lot of time, money, and wasted emotions.
Fear is the antithesis of life. It blocks the flow of anything moving through you. It’s an invisible wall. A subconscious iceberg. In certain situations fear can save your life. That’s what we call intuitive fear embedded in our genes through evolution and is not what we are talking about. The fear I am talking about is the ghost type of fear that blocks action, movement, or advancement in life that never shows its face. It’s always hypothetical, made up, what if type of nonsense we spew into our brain to remain comfortable – right where we are.
Growth in life takes courage. It requires the ability to become comfortable with uncomfortability. You need to be friends with change but most of us aren’t born hardwired like that anymore; with that Revenant – like drive for survival. Nowadays most of us find our comfy little niche. We go to familiar places, hang out with familiar faces, eat the same food, and have the same dreams.
I travel quite frequently now and get the same question every time I tell people I’m setting foot out of the good ol’ U S of A.
Aren’t you afraid you’ll get hurt in _____________ country?
My defense used to contain volumes of ways to state my position and put peoples minds at ease. Nowadays a simple “No” is all that comes out. Some things just need to be experienced in order to be communicated, travel is one of them.
In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code Of the Extraordinary Mind he describes what I consider to be a very unique situation. The Himba tribe in Namibia has many words for the color green, but does not have a word for the color blue. Several people of the tribe were shown a drawing with many different green dots and one blue dot. They were then asked to identify the outlier.
So the question Lakhiani poses is, “Does something exist if we do not have a word for it?” For instance, there are many new words in The Code Of the Extraordinary Mind Lakhiani uses to get his ideas across that didn’t exist in the English language prior to the publication of his book so he just made them up. Here are a few:
- Culturescape – humanity’s collective rules, beliefs, and practices about life.
- Brule – a bullshit rule.
- Blissipline – maintaining a state of happiness at all costs.
- Unfuckwithable – being fear proof.
Lately, in times when fear starts to try and creep into my life I ask myself, “What would I be afraid of if I didn’t have a word for it right now?” Magically, as if Gandalf himself waved his stick the fear starts to disappear. Now I realize it all can’t be that easy. Some fears are legitimate and need to be handled with a sense of sensitivity. On the other hand some fears are down right silly.
I live in South Florida and just recently we had a shooting at Ft. Lauderdale International airport. A veteran, having mental issues took a gun out of his checked luggage in the baggage claim area and just started shooting aimlessly into the crowd.
I was set to fly out of there 4 days later.
An acquaintance at the gym I go to asked me if I’m afraid to go to the airport. I replied no, that Ft Lauderdale is probably the safest airport to fly out of right now because of the odds of another shooting happening again so soon. She thought about it and said, “I guess you’re right.” Being right or wrong is not the point here. Her initial reaction when she heard I was flying out of Ft. Lauderdale was what I call “Knee jerk fear.” Something bad happened, I’m going to where the bad thing happened, what if something bad happens to me? This is the egos guide to self-preservation and like I said earlier it is flipping paralyzing.
The Navy SEALs have a technique they call box breathing and use it for what they call “Arousal control.” Everyone knows the difficult training SEALs are subjected to. When the bullets start flying is when they are the calmest. Sometimes when fear creeps up in your life, rather than buy into it and let your imagination run away describing in high detail every bad thing that’s going to happen ten years down the road, the best thing you can do is breathe between two thoughts. Four seconds on the inhale, four seconds on the exhale. Breathing allows us to realize that fear isn’t solid. It disrupts those thought patterns from festering into facts. Sometimes the best advice we can give ourselves is to not believe everything we think.
The taboo here is loving fear. Just like the Himba tribe not being able to see the color blue, what if we programmed ourselves to change our emotions when we encounter fear. What if we fell in love with uncertainty and instead of becoming afraid we became intrigued by it? Instead of distancing ourselves from a subject or life experience, we became compelled or drawn to experience it? After all, the main reason we fear doing something is because in all likelihood it’s something that we have yet to do. If this is ever the case in your life I’d like to leave you with the words of Julia Cameron, best-selling author of The Artist’s Way:
“Leap, and the net will appear.”
Taboo #3 – The Intellect is Not Everything
It was Bill Harris that said, “Thinking is the booby prize of life.” This can also correlate with, “Opinions are the lowest form of information.” I believe there is a fabric that ties all of us together with creation. Grass doesn’t “Think” about growing, it is it’s very nature to just grow. An eye doesn’t have to concentrate on seeing, it just sees. There’s a song St. Francis created in the year 1225 called Canticle of the Creatures. In it St. Francis speaks as if everything from the sun to the animals to even the weather as having a soul. In philosophy this is called panpsychism; the belief that the mind and soul is a universal and primordial feature of all things. All things? When was the last time you looked at your dining room table as having a mind, and/or soul?
It’s hard to look at your dining room table as something conscious, but just as we are composed of non-human elements, a piece of wood is composed of non-wood elements. On the most cosmic level, everything is an arrangement of atoms that when put together correctly functions as a tree, a blade of grass, a human being, or even a bowling ball. A new theory in neuroscience is suggesting that consciousness can be measured in all things and is as consistent as gravity. It’s called Integration Information Theory (IIT) and treats consciousness as an intrinsic, fundamental property of reality. Reality now, not just what we consider to be living. This makes more sense as to why the copier keeps breaking down in an office full of pissed off people. The copier has feelings we never think to acknowledge and thus probably adopts the only ones in close proximity.
Many people have experiences that they just can’t explain and end up dismissing them as folklore, or just don’t talk about them at all in fear of sounding crazy. We call something a miracle because we think it defies the laws of nature, but what if we don’t fully understand all the laws of nature? Everyone has had a gut feeling that turns out to be true. What were we on that one? Lucky? No, that was what we call our intuition and as smart phones start acting more human and our food starts looking less and less like what humans should consume, we start to lose touch with this intuitive aspect we are ALL born with. We then turn to the monkey mind for information.
I can’t tell you the number of times someone will come up to me, smile already on their face because they can’t wait to show me this great vine of a cat playing with a ball. Now, I’m all for good humor, but when you are scouring social media every spare second you have to look for a quick laugh, well, there’s no easy way to explain why you are not where you want to be in your life. Ramit Sethi poses the question, “How much time do you spend doing something that is not working toward your goals?” Wasting time causes subconscious pain that our mind and spirit do not know how to handle because time is one thing we can never get back. This pain ends up manifesting itself as anger or frustration usually directed at other people. The wise man knows he is at fault.
Our intuition is a direct signal from what we truly want to do in our lives but we dismiss it with reasoning, or the analytical “Thinking” mind. We talk ourselves out of doing what we want to do because we feel like we don’t deserve for life to be that good. The artist then stays working at Best Buy, or the screenwriter stays safely behind a desk as a secretary for an unappreciative law firm. We all lose something when this happens, not just that person.
Consider this fact, the enteric nervous system (ENS), is a system of about 500 million nerves found in the lining of the gut. The ENS is sometimes called the “second brain,” and it actually arises from the same tissues as our central nervous system during fetal development. Therefore, it has many structural and chemical components similar to the brain. It also has 5 times more neurons than the spinal cord, and it is where 90% of our serotonin lies, and 50% of the body’s dopamine – which are our pleasure chemicals. In between our brain and our ENS are two things, your heart, and your solar plexus. When your actions are not in alignment with your true wants and intentions, your brain, heart, solar plexus, and ENS will burn with a cosmic fire. This is our intuition and if not fulfilled manifests itself as guilt, which we then also blame others for, or worse yet, we blame ourselves.
Ram Dass said, “The game is just much more interesting than people are willing to play it.” What would you do if you could do anything you want? Scary right? When you’re not told what to do, made to feel inferior, and ultimately have to accept your fate. It’s scary when we have a chance to manifest our own destiny because what if we fail? Failure is life’s way of telling you not that way dude; try again. That’s when we have to cut out distractions and really tune in, really listen to what the Universe and our intuition is saying. When we can do that we are able to manifest almost anything we want in this life as long as the intention is right.
The taboo here is that intuition is regarded largely as a bunch of hooey. Oh you have a “Feeling.” Yeah right. Oh it’s your gut telling you not to do this? OK, you’re just a whimp. Lisa Dalton was Hollywood’s most sought after stuntwoman from 1976-1990. The last few years of her career she could feel something telling her to get out of acting and to start writing. Taking a leap of faith, she quit the acting business in 1989 and sold her condo in New Jersey since she no longer needed to be close to the city. The weekend she was moving everything out she got a call saying she was needed to do one last “easy” stunt, a couple miles from her apartment. She agreed and that decision altered her life forever. The stunt was repelling off a cliff and was considered to be relatively safe. That day there was a problem with the rope and as she repelled to do the stunt the rope slipped and she ended up free falling over 25ft. going into a swinging motion and slamming into the rocks damaging her head and spine.
I’m sure there are a million stories like this out there – all dismissed as witchcraft. Animals survive on their intuition, and we admire them for it. To see a deer pause instinctively and then run away when it can sense a hunter in the near vicinity is widely seen and excepted. But for a human to talk of intuition raises all sorts of questions the naysayers love to exploit. The cold hard fact is that we are just not as educated on the possibilities this life affords us as we think.
To fins success, we must first find happiness. I don’t know about you, but 2017 has been a year of smashing self-limiting beliefs for me. I’m starting over with a clean slate. What I think I know is no longer as concrete as I once thought it was. I’m starting to question everything and see if it holds up to the hype. I hope this article inspired you to do the same thing.