The time is NOW!

Timing

There is no time like the present, and that is what I told myself this morning when I awoke at 2 am after 4 hours of sleep.  This no longer bothers me; I have learned to trust time, and I went back to sleep listening to Esther Hicks giving an inspirational talk which seemed like forever, but I fell back to sleep until 8 am.  And then it was up to me.  

I came to the conclusion watching a public television special on aging while I read a 400-page James Patterson novel yesterday that the world is of the belief that most of us will not live to see 90!  That hit hard because I have declared to The Universe that I am living to age 104 or better!  That thought stayed with me throughout my sleep…

Having moved to Oberlin 14 months ago, I kept telling myself that I needed to explore the Oberlin College Mudd Library, but I never could quite come upon it in my walks.  So this morning, getting the campus map out, I set out walking before working to get to Mudd Library.  

My disciplined upbringing always had me finishing my work before setting out on personal ventures such as walking, and yesterday that became a fallacy for me.  Isn’t self care most important?  Will not everything else flow if I am in a state of flow?  

Ok, out the door to walk before even turning the computer on.  I headed to the Oberlin Public Library to return books and find f they had a copy of Esther Hicks’ THE VORTEX.  They did not!  In fact, they only had one Esther Hicks book! OMG!  This really goes to prove that Oberlin is not as liberal in any of its behaviors as most people think…not in food, not in politics, and not in the metaphysical world.  But upon my request, they have requested a copy of the book to be sent to me.  Ok!

However, they did have a copy of Michael Symon’s newest book PLAYING WITH FIRE, the April copy of Oprah Magazine, and a book on diet to avoid alzheimer’s and dementia!  The Universe was with me.  

While I was tempted to make my next stop Lorenzo’s for a slice of their daily special of a huge pizza slice–yummy–for $3 as a carryout.  I walked on by and headed to Mudd Library.  Easy to find when you know where it is!  

My first visit to Mudd showed that they had no Esther Hicks books.  But all was not lost as I found they have a coffee shop in the library, and I am now a registered guest of the Library.  But the books that jumped out at me included:  WOMEN & POWER by Mary Beard, EARTH AT RISK by Henry and Tubiana, the latest Robin Cook novel CHARLATANS, the Spring Issue of BUSINESS TODAY, America’s largest student run publication published at Princeton, the latest Oberlin Review, and the Oberlin Alumni magazine of December 2017 featuring President Ambar, the first woman African American President of Oberlin College.  I am happy as a pig in mud.  Books and reading do that to me, and I have always been a fan of great libraries.  But the catch from today touches on oh so many areas that are begging at me for attention:  women, local food, Oprah, Esther Hicks, Princeton and their move to educate along with Bill Gates impoverished diverse youth, the environment, the medical profession, and local news.  

Leaving the Mudd Library, it was my intention to head home, but there was another nagging idea in my head…but I was waiting until it was no longer long sleeved shirt and jeans weather.  It was to go to the Mercy Hospital Clinic on Lorain Street to get weighed–my doctor, Dr. Carrochio had suggested that I could feel free tow drop in at any time and get weighed.  My last appointment with him was December 22, and I was down 14 pounds since moving to Oberlin in March of 2017.  I was not looking forward to this since there were the holidays, the darkness stopping my walking, the extra snacks for the winter, and more.   But my feel carried me down Lorain Street, into the clinic, and on to the scales.  WOW!  I was down 12 more points since December making it 26 pounds in 14 months.  I was ecstatic after checking with the staff that the scale was properly functioning.  

All in all, a beautiful sunshine soaked day, so I even got Vitamin D for 90 minutes!  Walking towards home, The Universe gave me one last gift.  I have actively removed many people from my life because of their toxic drain on my energy/  I really wanted to share my good news, but alas that was not a good idea because the bffs I would have shared with in the past were no longer an active part of my life for reasons that are not important as I move forward.  The phone rang, my friend and massage therapist called, and sharing with her was wonderful!  Thank you to The Universe.  

I truly believe as we begin a transformative journey as I have these past weeks that The Universe received the message, and, once knowing that we are seriously moving ahead, The Universe helps with such positive messages like the ones I experienced this morning.  They are indicators that we are flowing, that we are caring for ourselves in moving towards our mission.  I will never be finished, but positive flow indicators really move me forward…. 

Not to Reinvent the Wheel…

First of all, I offer gratitude in this Thanksgiving week to all who are experts in fields aligned with my Personal Sustainability work.  In particular, I give credit to a professional who came to my attention because of her work with food, Roseane Oliveira, and with gratitude, I include a blog from 2016 that has everything to do with Emotions, and Emotions have everything to do with Personal Sustainability.  This is great!

Emotions and Eating

How to Tap Into the Magic of Emotional Mastery

It is the third and final week for our Food Day Challenge.

For all of you who joined us for the challenge this year, we want to send you a big congratulation!

Many of you are delighted with your whole food plant-based journey. In just a couple of weeks, Collection of vector smilies with different emotionsyou have dropped some weight and you feel both refreshed and energized.

But others may be disappointed because you have not experienced similar changes or have failed to lose as much weight as you hoped. Worse, you may feel angry for not succeeding and helpless because ‘nothing you do ever seems to work’.

This is an ideal time to discuss the role emotions play in our lives and how they can affect our approach to eating.

Emotional mastery is key to a full, rich life in all domains including our eating habits.

Let’s explore this incredibly important topic together.Gratitude Illusion of Lack

Let’s First Talk About Emotions

We can all agree that emotions are an inescapable and inevitable part of living.

The real question is how can we harness the power of our emotions in order to live a fulfilling life, attain a deeper sense of well-being and access the most robust physical and mental health possible.

Let’s face it.

Sometimes life can get overwhelming.

There are so many issues that can unleash disempowering emotions.

You might have problems at work (or even lose your job altogether!)nov-16_emotional-eating_body6

Maybe your relationship hit some ‘speed bumps’ or even ends.

Or a big external event (like an election?) occurs that upsets or frightens you.

Fear. Anxiety. Insecurity. Anger. Helplessness.

We are all touched by the ups and downs of life and the emotions they trigger.

And many (millions!) of us seek solace in eating or –should I say– overeating.

For so many, food comforts and even for a few moments, alleviates the emotional pain.

Why ‘Emotional Eating’ Can Be Deceiving

Having said that, I am not the biggest fan of the term emotional eating.

That is because…

Every act and decision that we make is based on our emotions.

nov-16_emotional-eating_body5From taking a walk this morning to choosing to eat oatmeal for breakfast, every single thing we do all day long is emotion-led.

So, if we are going to call eating ‘emotional’, why not name everything else we do ‘emotional’? Emotional walking, emotional exercising, emotional watching TV. (You get the picture).

No matter how much we pride ourselves on being ‘rational’, the reality is that our actions (behaviors) and decisions are always based on emotion and rarely on fact.

A classic example is weight loss.

We know what we need to do to reach our ideal weight. Yet, we struggle. And we struggle because there is an emotional gap. It may be because we feel helpless or overwhelmed. It may be fear of failure. But whatever the specific emotion, it is those feelings that impede (or ensure) our success–not what we know rationally.  

The label ‘emotional eater’ may also imply that you are powerless to change the situation. It may lead you to believe, “This is who I am” and “There is nothing I can do about it” “I just have to accept the fact”.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

When you recognize that all human beings behave and decide based on emotions, you realize that we are all in the same boat. Eating as a response to an emotion is therefore not some kind of ‘special’ flaw you have. Eating is just the ‘vehicle’ you may have chosen to meet your needs (which we will cover in a bit.)

Why Do We Overeat (or Binge-Eat)?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to grasp how we adopt new behaviors.

Tony Robbins explains there are three steps to successful behavioral change:

  1. Intellectual Mastery: The first step to successfully adopting a new behavior is to nov-16_emotional-eating_body4understand the concept intellectually. For example, when transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, you need to understand what a plant-based lifestyle is and why it makes infinite sense for your health. But as we will see, ‘knowing’ is never enough.
  1. Emotional Mastery: The second step is to understand and master your emotions. For example, when switching your eating habits, you need to learn to associate empowering (positive) feelings with that type of diet (and keep negative feelings such as fear at bay).
  1. Physical Mastery: The third and final step is physical mastery. After you understand and embrace a habit through your mind and emotions, you begin to ‘live’ it. Your body assumes and accepts this new habit physically. You ‘own’ the new behavior, and it becomes second nature to you. It is part of who you are. It is your identity.

Another very important factor to bring into this mix is the environment.

Your surroundings play a huge role in ensuring that you adopt a new behavior. Your environment must be conducive to success.

Nowhere is this truer than with eating.

If you find yourself in a negative, stressful situation with no healthful food options, you dramatically reduce your chance of success when it comes to adherence to a plant-based diet.

And even though emotional strength can surpass temptations in your surroundings, if you are just starting out, you must stack the environment in your favor, keeping it as clean as possible and avoiding ‘bad’ foods where you are.

Why Do We Have Those Emotions in the First Place?

So we have now seen how emotions fit in when it comes to learning a new behavior.

nov-16_emotional-eating_body12We also know that binge eating (a learned behavior) is ‘triggered’ by negative emotions (notably, anger, fear, helplessness, and/or guilt).

So how do we better control our feelings so that we consistently engage in positive, good behavior (e.g. eating a whole plant-based diet) rather than in unwanted behaviors like overeating or binge eating?

The answer this question, let’s tap into the ideas of two great mean–Abraham Maslow and Tony Robbins.

Maslow is best known for his Maslow hierarchy of needs, a theory which suggests psychological health is built on certain human needs, culminating in self-actualization.

Putting his own spin on the subject, Robbins ‘rewrote’ Maslow’s original hierarchy arguing that 6 needs need to be fulfilled every day in order for us to feel good:

  1. Certainty: Certainty is based on the idea that all of us want to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Every decision we make and every behavior we engage in is an attempt to fulfill this need.  It goes from securing basic physical needs such as housing, clothing, and food to believing that our efforts will pay off.  The key is learning how to endure what is perceived painful in the short term to achieve pleasure in the long run.  Unfortunately, most people trade that for pleasure in the short term, which will likely lead to pain in the long run.
  1. Uncertainty/ Variety: While ‘uncertainty’ might seem contradictory to ‘certainty’, we humans actually also need change and stimuli because it keeps us interested, engaged and balanced. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
  1. Significance: As Oprah Winfrey has famously (and rightfully) pointed out, everyone wants to be recognized. We need to feel special and know our existence matters.
  1. Love/Connection: To feel love and to love others within our families or romantic relationships is the fourth essential need. As humans, our urge to connect is inescapable.

The next two are what Robbins describe as ‘needs of the soul’ and can only be met once 1-4 are satisfied.

  1. Growth: Growth is all about expanding our understanding and capabilities.
  1. Contribution: Contribution focuses on service, the importance of giving and helping others. It is the idea that the world will be a little bit better for us having been in it.

It is important to note that there is always a way (vehicle) by which we can fulfill these fundamental needs. Those vehicles can be positive, negative or neutral.

A couple of examples…

We can fulfill our need for certainty (i.e. avoid pain and gain pleasure) with bad vehicles like eating too nov-16_emotional-eating_body14much, drinking or using drugs, or we can choose instead to fulfill this need with a positive vehicle like exercise.

We can feel ‘significant’ using a negative vehicle like violence (e.g. physical or verbal abuse) or through a positive one like volunteering.

The need is the same. They are just fulfilled very differently according to the vehicle chosen.

One last (but important) aside.

Any behavior which allows us to meet at least 3 of our 6 needs will become a VICE.

Let’s look at the example of eating junk food. This negative behavior will fulfill at least 3 of our needs: Certainty (Eating junk food will momentarily give us pleasure and help us avoid pain), Variety (When we eat junk food, we add variety and new stimuli to our day), and Connection (Junk food makes us ‘connect’ to ourselves – “Only we understand what we need right now”).  It may also fulfill our need for Significance (Having an eating disorder makes us feel special; it makes others pay attention to us).

This explains why so many bad behaviors are so difficult to give up! Even though these are negative vehicles, they are helping fulfill 3-4 of our fundamental needs simultaneously.

The bottom line?

The best way to nurture positive behavior in our lives is to choose positive or neutral ways (vehicles) to fulfill our fundamental needs.

Giving the Right Meaning to Our Emotions

All of this is interesting.

But we still have not answered our question on how can we reconfigure our emotions to always encourage positive behavior?

The problem is we humans often focus on things we cannot control, and to squander our energy, thoughts, and emotions about those things is a waste of time.

You cannot control the past.nov-16_emotional-eating_body16

You cannot control other people’s opinion.

You cannot control external events.

In the end, emotional mastery is about focusing on what you can control.

And what you can control is your emotional responses to whatever life throws your way.

Controlling what things MEAN to you is your ultimate power.

If you believe something is BAD, then you will associate that ‘something’ with disempowering emotions. If you believe something is either GOOD or might be an OPPORTUNITY for growth, the feelings you associate with that ‘something’ will be empowering.

In other words, it is never about what actually happens.

It is always about the MEANING you give to what happens.

It is what you choose to believe about what happens that ultimately determines your destiny.

Therefore, the key to success is to always find and embrace empowering meaning to whatever event happens in your life.

One great way to do that is to practice the art of gratitude.

There is zero room for negative emotions when you are grateful for who you are and what you already do and have.

When we master our emotions, we are always in a superior place.

A place where we can easily choose the best and most positive vehicle to meet ANY and ALL of our basic human needs.

It is from that place that we will succeed in anything in life, eating healthfully included

Meeting You Where You Are…in Life

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Great thoughts come to me during meditation…remarkable thoughts, in fact.  As I prepare for a business expo next week which will cover The Empower Excellence Experience I was thinking way too hard when the Universe delivered to me, as it usually does, an exact thought that I needed to explore, and I did.  That thought was meeting people where they are in life; and it hit like a ton of bricks that each piece of The Empower Excellence Experience does exactly that.  I will share those pieces and parts in the coming days, but here is a brief bulleted summation to ponder where you might be in life:

  • The Mind:  Transitioning in Thoughts or Actions with a Money Relationship due to life, loss of a job, loss of a spouse, career dissatisfaction, insufficient income, excessive spending are just a few examples.
  • The Body:  Transitioning with a Food Relationship, weight and wealth connection, fueling your body inappropriately or insufficiency, eliminating chemicals in your life.
  • The Spirit:  Transitioning into more Spirituality in your life.

The key thing to realize is that they all affect or are affected by money.   And money affects all of the areas of your life….