Why It’s Always Time to Learn Something New

I know why most people hate going to the gym, and it has nothing to do with exercise, exertion, or getting all sweaty and tired.

Want to know the reason? The way most people do it, it’s boring as hell.

Let me ask you this: are you strapping yourself onto the same machine as the day before, hitting the same buttons you did the day before, and doing the same workout you did the day before? And where did this workout come from?

I’ll bet you it came from one of these three sources:

  • an article in a magazine,
  • it’s what the person behind the desk showed you on your tour when you signed up, or
  • it’s what everyone else is doing.

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How To Do Amazing Things

Most days, I’d bet most of us feel like drones. Life’s commitments suck you dry, you race from one place to another only to complete seemingly inconsequential tasks half the time, and the phrase, “rat in a maze” comes shockingly close to summing up your daily activities.

Wouldn’t you rather do amazing things with your life? You can. And one of the ways to make sure you do is to preserve your sanity by not acting like a rat, and doing the things that will set you free. How? Genius Time.

Genius Time, in a nutshell, is about building time that’s for you and your most important things into your schedule.

Want to make stuff this cool? Genius time, baby. Genius time.

Want to make stuff this cool? Genius time, baby. Genius time.

Sounds simple, huh? Hardly.

I’ve seen this idea talked about most often by “Creatives” — folks who do creative work for other people, like designers, artists, etc. If Creatives aren’t careful, they can spend all their time and energy working on client projects, and not have any juice left over for their own business.

But it’s not just for Creatives. Everyone needs genius time.
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Vibram Five Fingers

I love these shoes. I love ‘em so much, I have to share them with you. And, in the same vein as recommending eye exercises to rid yourself of glasses and/or contacts, I totally recommend you get yourself a pair.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit they do look a bit odd at first…

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/7920232[/vimeo]

… but they feel amazing, and you get used to them really quick.

You may have heard of Vibram Five Fingers before; they’re definitely making the rounds among the kind of people who know a good thing when they see it (heck, there’s even a site completely devoted to them!). But if you haven’t, I highly encourage you to try them. Why?
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The Rise and Fall of Empires

I am thoroughly and utterly convinced that fear is the driving force behind every bad decision we ever make.

Now, don’t be afraid of fear—that’s a scary thought!—just learn to recognize it for what it is.

And now, on with our story.


Once upon a time, there was an idealistic youth (let’s call him John) who believed that perfection existed, and to seek it was the best use of one’s life. He was sure that the attainment of perfection would result in happiness. He quickly learned, of course, that perfection was an impossible ideal (not to mention a miserable one). So, instead of seeking perfection, he saught inner peace, believing it would bring him happiness.

The search for inner peace led John to a group of other like-minded people who also saught the same thing, all rallied around a teacher who demonstrated some very successful techniques to help his students find and experience that peace. As the group grew, the teacher realized that he must establish a “method”, so others could teach the work as well. After all, what good would it do unless a means could be identified? And so, this method became concretized, shared, and taught to many more seekers of peace.

John, who believed the methods and the community around it to be the best thing he’d ever seen, became a teacher of this system. He taught others the methods, used them himself, and his life got better.

But then, a shadow began to grow…

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Coconut Fauxtatoes

You know I’m a die-hard coconut fan, right? I mean, I named my webdesign company Bright Coconut, I’ve won recipe contests for coconut-laden recipes, we use coconut oil in our cooking, and I honestly eat something with coconut in it each and every day, no exceptions.

So, you can imagine that I’m always on the lookout for ways to sneak coconut into all kinds of recipes… and I found one recently. It was good to start with, but a little coconut took it over the edge.

Beautiful, aren't they? Photo (and another variation) © DinnerCakes.com

Beautiful, aren't they? Photo (and another variation) © DinnerCakes.com

“Fauxtatoes” are the name I came up with for these yummy puppies after we made them a few times, because the consistency is pretty much exactly like mashed potatoes. And, they’re the closest I’ll get to eating ‘taters, since I’m a Primal guy, through and through.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 head o’ cauliflower, chopped however
  • 32oz chicken stock
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled

… all in a big pot, adding water to just about cover the cauli, boil for about 15 minutes until it softens up a bit. Depending on how thick your pieces are, it may take 20-25 minutes. It’s all good, though.

Drain off the liquid, and mash it all up—if you have a hand blender, by all means use it—adding:

  • a splash of coconut milk
  • butter (no, you do not measure this. trust me… just add butter, and then add some more)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Yum!

Now, these are tasty, with or without the coconut milk. But what kind of coconut addict would I be if I didn’t add some?

I’d love to hear what you think if you try these, especially if you play around with the spices some… I’m more than happy with how these have come out, but I’d be open to experimentation (curry? herbs de provence? ginger?)

Bon appetit!

The Urgent Call

It lies within you, thirsting.

Like a baby bird chirping desperately for its mother’s return to the nest to bring the food that will keep it alive, there is a yearning that lives within you, and it calls incessantly. It can be satiated with the smallest of moments, and it has a camel’s resistance to thirst, but if you ignore it too long, it will shrivel and die.

And as it does, color will fade from your world. Meaning will ebb away, enjoyment will wither, and you’ll sit around trying to remember a time in your life when richness existed. You’ll get dry, stiff… and when you hardly recognize the crusty you that you’ve become, you’ll chalk it up to being busy. Or being a parent. Or being a professional. Or getting older.

But it has nothing to do with any of those things.

The Urgent Call is your spirit’s need for connection. Like the migrating herds of the plains of Africa, who travel thousands of miles every year in search of life-giving food and water, your spirit has an essential drive to feel its connection to all around it. It’s the reason we seek community. It’s the reason we search for purpose and meaning in life. It’s the reason we feel better when we’re on a spiritual path, and it’s the reason that it doesn’t really matter what path that ends up being.

urgent

What matters is that you connect.
What matters is the Urgent Call gets listened to.
It doesn’t matter how your Urgent Call gets fulfilled, only that it does.
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Reason #29,765,863 Why I Love Evernote

Evernote rocks. Let me just sum it all up, right here, right now.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I still have conversations with people all the time where I mention Evernote, and they say, “Huh?” And that just blows my mind.

And the latest reason why I love them? Because not only have they produced the most awesome, flexible, useful piece of organizational software around, they also have a great sense of humor. That’s rare, people.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNE0R3rEe5Q[/youtube]

What I use Evernote for, just to give you a heads-up:

  • managing all my client projects
  • storing any and all info I find while out searching the interwebs
  • recording all my recipes
  • brainstorm-rain collection
  • notes about places we’re thinking of moving to or visiting
  • read the second one again, and let it sink in. Seriously.
  • essentially everything I want to remember/record/store for the future, on subjects like WordPress, web design, CrossFit, nutrition, spirituality, personal development, family stuff, marketing, copywriting, and more.

Seriously, if you haven’t checked out Evernote, you’re bonkers. It’s awesome. It’s life-transforming. And—hello?—it’s free! Come on, now, people! Go get you some.

Got Some Cleaning Up To Do?

Ever notice how certain times of the year have a certain “energy” to them? I’m not just talking about the obvious seasonal changes, either; my auspicious rhythms tend to revolve around birthdays (I just had one), school vacation times, tax season, and New Year’s. Maybe it’s just the whole “collective consciousness” thing, even though that can sound like it’s on the fringes between common sense and froo-froo philosophy. Wherever the meaning comes from, I sure notice the effects in my life, and I’m guessing a lot of you do, too.

As Autumn approaches, so do my urges to clean house

As Autumn approaches, so do my urges to clean house

And as much as “cleaning” has been associated with the Spring, I tend to do a big cleanup and realignment of priorities in the Autumn. Maybe it’s the product of going to school every Fall from age 5 to 35 (K-college, then grad school and teaching seminars). Or maybe I’m getting ready for hibernation; who knows.

On my docket now are reviews of two products I’ve promised to do, but let slide in the face of busy-ness and upheaval. That’s not to diminish the value of the products, by any means; I thought they were great, each in their own way, and in their own intended use. (Okay, enough jabbering – on with the show!)
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Lessons from The Ramen Girl

I watched The Ramen Girl last night. I know, I know… not exactly the kind of movie you’d expect from a carnivorous, Olympic-lifting male, but I did. And you know what? I enjoyed it. Truth be told, I actually like romantic comedies as a genre—call me a sensitive, new-age guy, if you must—but what I enjoyed most from The Ramen Girl wasn’t the trials and tribulations of Brittany Murphy, or even the food (and I love food movies).

Mmm... steaming hot ramen.

Mmm... steaming hot ramen.

What I enjoyed most about the movie, without giving away too many details, was the main ingredient that Brittany Murphey’s character, Abby, learned to infuse into her ramen that made it special: spirit. Because in the end, this was not a movie about ramen, or romance. It was about finding one’s place in the world by focusing on the how more than the what.

“How” comes from within

The fact that Abby learned to make a great bowl of ramen is secondary to what it required of her to do it. She got the recipe right long before she was able to make a meal that was worthy of being served to her customers, because she was taught that making soup isn’t just about getting a bunch of ingredients and assembling them. It’s about heart. Unless your soup has spirit, it hasn’t got anything.
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What Is Primal? And, I Could Sure Use Your Vote!

You probably know I’m a CrossFit addict by now. It’s more fun than a cooler full of coconut milk, more effective than erosion, and anyone can do it just about anywhere. However, done on its own, with no regard to your nutrition, isn’t going to get you nearly as far or as fast as if you pay really good attention to what you’re eating and why.

Enter: Primal.

grass-fed beef is primalIt’s not that CrossFit doesn’t have a nutritional recommendation: it does. And it’s about as simple and clear as it can get: Meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar. And any CrossFitter worth his/her salt is going to be able to rattle that off like a well-grooved mantra. And, at the same time, knowing what to do and actually doing it are often not the same thing at all.

I’ve read all kinds of fantastic nutritional information before, and have for years, but never have I been able to make it a lifestyle like I have since adopting the “Primal Blueprint Eating Plan” like I have with Mark Sisson, at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Primal living is, in my own words, a prescription for eating the way we’ve evolved to. Our genome has honed itself for over 2 million years, adapting to a particular style of eating that didn’t really fluctuate until about 10,000 years ago. And, since that “recent” shift, we’ve done nothing but go downhill, health-wise, except for the hygienic changes that have increased our average lifespan. It’s pretty clear if you look at how we’ve evolved to eat that it makes a lot of sense to stick close to our own internal genetic recipe. After all, you wouldn’t pour rocket fuel in your car’s gas tank, right? It’s just not designed for it.
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