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Monday, December 23, 2013

Moving Forward


It is funny… in a blog that I have titled "Moving Forward," I have found myself stuck the last few days on what to say here.  Even as my fingers move around on the keyboard, I am still not sure what is going to come out.

I have had moments of insight the last few weeks, profound, (or at least what I believe are profound,) thoughts that I want to share with you all.  I have taken notes as they come up so I do not forget them, but then there is the whole "how do I introduce this," dialogue that I have with myself.

Do I just lay it out in bullet points?
  • profound thought A
  • profound thought B
  • etc…
Eh, that doesn't really have the effect does it or seem that profound?

Death is an interesting process.  I use the word interesting because I find it interesting how one event, someone's passing, can create a different experience for so many people.

Death brings up more of a variety of thoughts and feelings then probably any other event in our life.  With death comes the full spectrum of our emotional experience.  We have anger and fear at one end and on the other we have joy and love.  In between there are emotions such as sadness, frustration, happiness, guilt, and so on.

Most fields of psychology will say that the grieving/mourning process follows "x" number of steps.  I am not sure I completely agree with it being as clear cut as that.  From a teaching experience there is a need to compartmentalize our thoughts and emotions into steps.  It gives teachers something tangible to pass onto their students.  It also gives those of us going through the process something tangible that we can work with and towards.

However, from an experiential standpoint, as someone who is going through the mourning/grieving process now and has gone through it in the past; I tend to view it more as a vast open field that is filled with hidden "emotion bombs."

These bombs, whenever you step on one of them, cause their respective emotion to explode inside of you.  

Imagine if you will… You have just lost someone you love and you find yourself walking through a vast open field.  You are not really thinking or feeling anything, you are just kind of "numb," and feel an "emptiness."  As you are walking along you step on one of these hidden emotion bombs.  This one happens to be anger, and when you step it, suddenly this angry feeling explodes inside of you and fills up that "emptiness," and takes away the "numbness," you were experiencing just a few minutes before.

As you travel through the field the anger stays with you.  It may have caused you to run now instead of walk.  It may have removed the caution with which you were moving forward because you are now blinded by the anger inside of you.  This continues until you step on the next emotion bomb.  This one happens to be sadness.  When you step on sadness it explodes inside of you.  This new explosion is so powerful that it is able to push the previous explosion (anger) out of you and now you are able to fully experience sadness.

The process repeats itself over and over again.  You keep traveling through the field and you keep stepping on different emotion bombs.  Anger, sadness, happiness, joy, fear, frustration, excitement, etc… they all show up at some point.

This is the best way I can describe how I have felt the last few weeks.  Like I am going through the field, stepping on different bombs from time to time.  What sets off one bomb may be clear, what sets off another one may be a mystery, but none the less, the bombs go off and the feelings are there.

I understand that it is important to allow myself to acknowledge and feel those feelings.  Some of which I may not necessarily want to, but I need to because it is all part of my process.

The field has no end to it because the field is ones' journey through life.  What can end is the presence of the "emotion bombs." They will gradually dissipate and eventually disappear completely as you go through the mourning/grieving process and as you allow yourself to heal.

Allowing yourself to heal… 

I believe that one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall humans is the tragedy that we choose to hold onto so much of the hurt, the loss, the let down, the failures, that we prevent ourselves from ever fully healing.  Thus robbing ourselves of being able to experience those feelings of happiness, joy, pleasure, elation, etc… at a higher level and more consistently.

We experience tragedy in life, we get hurt, we experience pain, and then we never move past it, instead we choose to hold onto it.  The hurt and loss becomes our new reality and we humans have sadly become experts at forming an identity around hurt and loss.

Why do we do this, why?  

I have a theory, but that is for another time and place; another blog.

As previously mentioned, I do have some thoughts/insights that have come to mind the last few weeks, as I have tip toed my way through the "emotion bomb" field, that I would like to share with you all:

I am going to go for the bullet point approach here :)

  • What will it take to get people to a place that they celebrate life with the same intensity that they mourn death?
  • It is so important to say and do what's most important while you have the breath to do so.
  • I have felt sad a lot the last few weeks.  A lot of times people think of sad as a negative feeling, but in situations such as this, I disagree.  I believe sadness is an important emotion to allow yourself to feel in times of loss.  I believe sadness is the yin to the yang of love.  Thus sadness is a way of reminding you the depth of love you felt for the person you lost.
  • Sadness continued:  Just because you feel sadness does not mean you have to become sadness or let it control your life.
  • How you choose to live your life after you have lost someone is ultimately how you choose to honor that person.
  • Whenever you experience loss you have a choice: choose to let the loss define you or choose to define the loss.
As I continue to move forward I have thought a lot about how challenging life can be at times.  It has been my experience that every challenge I have faced, every tragedy I have endured, has ultimately made me stronger and more capable of fulfilling my purpose on this Earth.  I believe the present one will prove the same.

For now, I will leave you with a phrase I have been thinking about quite a bit over the last few weeks.  These words of wisdom come from one of the great thinkers and philosophers of modern time… Rocky Balboa (aka Sylvester Stallone). 

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward."

I guess what he is saying, is that we have a choice… :)

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,










Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Death and the Gift that Lies Within


This last week has been a challenge to put it lightly.  I am not quite sure what will flow as I type, but I know where I want to end up going with this blog.  Ultimately I hope this blog entry leaves you with, well, You will just have to keep reading to see that. :)

On Saturday, November 30th, 2013 I returned home from a workout a little after 5pm.  On an average day I keep my cell phone on silent and only check it a few times a day.  About 6pm I checked it and saw I had several bizarre texts from different people asking if I was ok and saying they had heard that Paul was in a crash.  I also saw I had a missed call from a mutual friend of both Paul and I.  I immediately called him and he confirmed what I discovered when I turned on the computer.

I am thankful I was able to get ahold of him right away because the online world was providing a host a mixed info.  Some sites were saying Paul had died, others were saying it was a hoax.  When I switched over to Twitter to try to get more current info the #RIPPaulWalker and #PaulWalkerHoax were both trending simultaneously.  I cannot tell you what that felt like - the unknowing the watching the world try to decipher fact from fiction, hoping it was fiction, but hearing your buddies voice confirm that it was indeed fact.

Time stood still for me.  I must have visited a 100 different web pages trying to find one that said it was all a hoax, it was just internet bull shit and Paul was alive and well.  All the while my phone kept ringing, text messages and emails kept coming in, I knew from the volume that no matter how hard I tried I would not be able to find a reality where my friend still lived, I knew he was gone.

I sat there in disbelief and then the tears started.  Along with the tears came the questions: Why Paul?  How can this be real?  This has to be a dream right?  Why did this have to happen to him?  Why did this have to happen to me?  Why do I have to live my life without my friend who I was absolutely certain would be a lifelong friend?

The tears continued…

About 9:30 or 10pm I started responding to text messages.  The only reason was was because I was getting pissed off that people were asking me if I was hurt, if I was ok.  What kind of question is that?  Of course I am fucking hurt!  In fact I am no where near being ok!

I could not figure out why people would ask me that. It wasn't until a few hours later that a friend of mine told me that there was a rumor going around in the cyber world that I may have been in the car.  In the hours immediately after I didn't even think about that… that people may think it was me there, I only thought of Paul.

Sunday was spent crying, reflecting, and trying to connect with people who I knew he would want me to connect with.  At the same time I also tried to connect with a few people who understood his and mine relationship.  Paul and I were friends, brothers, kindred spirits, and all the above.  Our friendship was filled with the full spectrum - never wanting to grow up and acting like 10 year olds on one end to having deeply loving, thoughtful and insightful conversations that come with wisdom and experience on the other end. I kept the closeness we shared private for the most part.  Years ago when we first started hanging out I had several people who heard from friends of friends that I was Paul Walkers friend and they were "just wondering if I could _____ (fill in the blank)."  The point is people started coming at me right away to try and gain access to Paul.  I didn't like it so I didn't talk about him or our friendship to most because I wanted to protect him and his privacy.

Monday morning was my lowest point.  I woke up at about 2am feeling nauseous by 3:30 I was throwing up with food poisoning.  At one point around 4:30 am, I was hugging the toilet and dry heaving in-between the tears of loss AND if that wasn't enough, you know how with food poisoning you sometimes get it coming out of both ends???  Well lets just say that I was crying, I was dry heaving, and simultaneously I was squeezing my butt cheeks trying not to let good ole #2 get the jump on me.  At one point I started laughing and thought: "man I would sure love to tell this story to Paul.  He of all people would appreciate the bathroom humor and allow me to use graphic detail when describing my time with the porcelain God."

The puking stopped by 9am and a new week began.  A week that was filled with tears, with thoughts, with more tears and more thoughts and feelings.

As many of you know this is not my first rodeo when it comes to losing a loved one.  Paul was much different than Gabe and my Dad though.

With Gabe the loss of him also came with a loss of an innocence.  Me finding him and the experiences that followed.  (If you are not familiar with this story you can click on the link here to learn more about me and ultimately why I did the 1000 Challenge).

With my Dad it was the shock of losing someone again, the forced acknowledgement of the mortality of ones parents, and the guilt and regrets that came with the realization that there were opportunities for a deeper relationship between the two of us that would go unrealized.

It has been my experience with death, both personal, as a friend supporting others in loss, and through working with clients, that when death happens some of the most common feelings people feel are guilt and regret.  These feelings are articulated in the form of these common questions: "I wish would have____"  "If only I would have ____."  The blanks are typically filled in with words like love, sorry, effort i.e. "I wish I would have told her I loved her more, or I wish I would have made more of an effort to spend time with him."

With Paul I didn't have those feelings and without those I did not have the questions that go with them. With both Gabe and my Dad I felt a ton of guilt and regret.  With Paul there was/is just a deep void a void that comes from the loss of a very special person.  You see we both made it a priority to say I love you.  We both would call one another at random times just to say how proud we were and what we meant to each other.  The bond we shared and the love we felt was very clear and I'll be forever grateful for that.  And within that clarity there is no space for guilt or regret. :)

This has also reminded me just how important it is to make it a regular practice to communicate these feelings to the people who matter most in your life.  Tell someone you love them, tell them how much you appreciate them, let them know how proud you are of them.  Don't leave things unsaid, you never know when your time or their time will end.  Say what is most important to say while you have the breath to say it.

Watching the world mourn your friend is indescribable to say the least.  It comes with a very mixed emotional bag.  On one hand there is such a great sense of love and pride, pride that this person, my friend, could make such a positive impact on so many others.  On the other hand there is also anger and frustration.  Anger that there are people out there trying to exploit him, people trying to hurt him and his daughter, people talking about him and who he was, who have no idea who he really is - it is hard to watch and see all that.  There is a part of me that wants to defend him, that wants to shut up the people that need to be shut up, that wants to, well to put it politely, smack the shit out of people who are trying to exploit him and his daughter amongst others.

I know those would not be the most productive nor positive courses of actions.  I only share them with you because I want to be real with you right now.  And those are real thoughts and real feelings that I have had.  Another real thought and real feeling I have had, one that I have put my energy and attention towards is: honoring Paul.  How can I live my life moving forward so that I honor him best.

How can we all live our lives moving forward so that we can all honor him and what he meant to us?

I have smiled seeing the outpouring of love and support from fans around the world.  What I am so impressed by is a point I made last week.  It does not take money to make a positive impact, it only takes desire and a will to take the actions to make it a reality.  After all, look at all that has been done this last week to honor him.

1000's of people from all over the world have gathered to honor Paul, to bring attention to him, and to ROWW.  Many of you have helped raise 100's if not 1000's of dollars this last week to help support ROWW.  Many of you have donated time, money, and energy towards ROWW.  Watching this and see this beautiful gesture from so many has given me nothing less than goosebumps at times.

It also makes me wonder, what could the world be like if we focused our energy on honoring someone in life the same way we do as in death?

Think about that…

How much better could all your relationships be if you celebrated their lives with the same intensity and passion as you would morn their death?

How much deeper could you connect with those who matter most if you loved them with the intensity while they are alive as you would morn them in death?

How much more could you accomplish, how much more can you do, if you put the same passion and energy into accomplishing and doing things in life as you would when honoring someones death.

Death has a very clever way of removing boundaries and obstacles.  I guarantee many of you had obstacles to overcome to go to one of the car rallies this past weekend, BUT you were going to be dammed if you let those stand in the way and keep you from going!

What will it take to make that attitude, that passion, that intensity a part of our daily lives?

As I wrap things up, I am curious, how has this blog made you feel?  What are your thoughts?

Remember pain is a part of life.  Pain is also one of the greatest gifts we will ever have in life for without pain how could we ever learn to appreciate and enjoy at the level we are capable of?  Without pain how could we ever discover just how strong we truly are?

On the other side of pain is pleasure and it is always much much closer than you think.  I have been in a tremendous amount of pain this last week, but I keep reminding myself that there are lessons within the pain and those lessons will ultimately lead to the pleasure of life.

Anyone in life can do pleasure.  Pleasure is easy.  Pain is the challenge.  Pain is what tests us, pain is what will break us if we allow it to.  Pain is the barrier that can keep us from our dreams… Pain, and how we handle it when we are face to face with it, will ultimately define us.

And so my friends I hope this blog has given you a bit more insight and understanding to me.  I hope this blog has inspired you... inspired you to look at life a different way, inspired you to make doing and saying all you are a capable of a priority while you can.  I hope this blog has left you with the courage to face any pain you may be facing right now.

The pictures below are from this mornings sunrise.  May they serve as a reminder that beauty is everywhere and that from the darkest of places a great light can spring fourth, one that can illuminate the world.

Find Your Light!

Carpe Diem,

Jesse








Friday, November 8, 2013

Delicious Egg Muffins

Katie has cooked up quite a treat for us all.  Read below to see her recipe for some delicious egg muffins.  Please share how you like them.  Also if you have any healthy recipes you would like to pass along please do so.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse


Egg Muffins

I see this recipe all over Pinterest, but recently my friend, who is a wonderful cook, made these egg “muffins” and raved about how easy and tasty they were. Easy and tasty are my two main criteria for recipes, especially when cooking for one. Not only is the recipe simple, but infinitely adaptable and provided me with lunch for a whole week. I used spinach, herbed goat cheese, and onion, but these muffins would be perfect with any combination of cheese, veggies, and meat. When you’re short on time in the morning this is the perfect grab and go breakfast or time saver when packing a lunch. Here goes:

You will need:

A dozen eggs (I used large, cage-free, organic brown eggs. I’m not a food snob, they taste better.)

Fresh spinach, chopped

White onion, chopped

Cheese - I used herbed goat cheese, Mediterranean style feta would also be great here

Salt and Pepper

Olive oil spray or any non-stick spray

To Prepare:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, crack one egg. Throw in a tablespoon of chopped onion, as much chopped spinach as you’d like, a few small dollops of goat cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently mix the ingredients together until everything is coated with egg.

*Note: Keep the yolk intact if you prefer a hardboiled egg consistency, or scramble the yolk if you prefer a more airy consistency.

Spray the bottom and sides of each round in a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Pour the ingredients of the bowl in one round. Repeat until each spot is filled, or when all your eggs are used up.
Place muffin tin in heated oven for 25-30 min. Make sure the egg whites are completely set before pulling the muffins out.

When finished, run a toothpick around the edges of each muffin to prevent sticking. They should pop right out! Enjoy right from the tin, or let cool on a plate or baking rack. These can be stored in an airtight container or a plastic baggie in the fridge. I placed a paper towel in the baggie because the muffins tend to release moisture. Enjoy 1-3 for a protein and veggie packed snack or meal!

Best,

Katie

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breaking through Plateau's

We are changing things up and doing something a little different today.  I recently received the below email and I thought there were some great questions in it worth discussing and sharing with all of you.  Please read the email and then read my responses below.

"Dear Jesse,
 
I recently returned to the gym after a long layoff (about 8 years).  I must say I am absolutely loving it and can't believe that I let 8 years without the gym slip by me.  A friend of mine from school has also recently returned to the gym and I was asking him how it was going.  He said that he had hit a plateu and struggling to find motivation to keep going.  The next day when I was at the gym I was thinking about this as I was exercising.  The thoughts led me to memories of the principal at my old high school.  When I was a freshman and sophmore I would go to the gym every day after school.  Every day the principal would be working out.  I remember watching him as he would do forward latteral raises for shoulders.  Every time he did those exercises he always used a 35 pound dumbbell.  For two years I watched him do those exercises and always he had a 35 pound dumbbell.  I remember being young and thinking, I hope my body doesn't max out like that.  This leads me to the reason that I am writting you.  The last few weeks I have been wondering, why do our bodies plateau?  Why does a young man like my friend hit a point where his body and muscles stop growing.  Why did the principal always have those same weights? He was a strong guy and put out a lot of effort but the amount of reps and the weight he used never changed.  This also makes me think of you.   You have been working out and encouraging others to do the same for over a decade.  Have you reached the limits of what your body can do? Why or why not? Is there a limit? I remember reading about Ronnie Coleman adding five pounds of muscle every year while he was Mr. Olympia. Could he have continued this for the rest of his life? At what point would his body have said no more? In closing, why do our bodies plateau, can we avoid the plateau, and is there a maximum plateau?
 
Thank you very much,
 
Jason"



Hey Jason,

These are some great observations and questions you have here.  While we are talking about muscles and exercising, my answers can be applied to any aspect of life - Relationships, financial, personal growth and development, etc...

Why do our bodies plateau?  

When we hit a plateau, it is because we have arrived at a temporary roadblock, meaning that we need to change something if we want to improve because we have hit the maximum benefit of doing things the way we have been doing.  In the example you mentioned your principal kept doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.  What would have happened if he would have changed the exercises, change the order, changed the weights, the reps, the tempo, or any of the other 100+ variables.  What would have happened then?  

When we hit plateau's in life, unfortunately to many people give up and quit doing what they have been doing, or accept that they have hit their maximum potential.  Those are the two worst things you can do.  If you want to break through the plateau you MUST mix things up, You MUST challenge yourself to learn, to grow, to evolve in a way you have not done before.

Who hasn't taken up a new hobby, a new activity, and been overjoyed with learning it and how rapidly they have picked it up.  Then a few months down the road they get frustrated and quit because they stopped improving at the rapid rate when they began.  They gave up rather than challenging themselves to approach the problem from a different angle.

Remember the quote: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result."  

If you or anyone else want different results then you/they must be willing to change things up and do things differently.

No, I do not believe I have reached the limits of what my body can do, nor do I ever think I will.  

As I have gotten older I have evolved with the pursuit of my passion (weight lifting) when I was in my early 20's it was all about being as big as possible.  Then it was about being stronger than certain people.  Now it is about using better technique and mastering more challenging exercises while I grow stronger on more traditional exercises.  In another 5 or 10 years my focus will no doubt change again.  The cool thing is that every time I change I learn more about myself and my body.

We all have an un-ending opportunity to learn and grow (metaphorically and physically).  I enjoy reading, so to maximize it I am learning how to speed read.  If I did not challenge my brain and my eyes this way I would be left to read a page every 2 minutes which cuts down dramatically the number of books I can enjoy and the amount I can learn each year.  Now I can read a page in about 45 seconds.  Meaning that I have more than doubled my reading speed, which means I have also doubled the amount I can read and have the potential to learn in a year.

If I had never challenged myself to change things up when I hit a plateau, I would still be stuck reading and learning at the pace I was before.

Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman (for those who do not know who this is click the link here to watch a quick video that sums him up)  who knows how much mass he could have continued to pack on.  Remember for his sport he wanted to be big, but also maintain symmetry and aesthetic appeal.  I think he would have been limited by those two things for the sake of his sport before size.  

So why do we plateau and can we avoid them?

I encourage you to look at a "plateau" like this:  A plateau is your body's or life's way of telling you that you have done really well and now you have reached a fork in the road AND if you want to continue to improve it is time to change things up and start on a new path.  

Embrace plateau's they are the ultimate compass on the path to success.  Each one arises to tell you that you are headed in the right direction!!

Thanks for writing.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Simple Idea

I really hope you all take a few minutes to read the following blog that Katie put together for us.  It talks about a simple yet VERY powerful strategy that each and everyone of us can use to make a positive impact in our lives.  Read on.

Carpe Diem!



I’m a big advocate of working out first thing in the morning, but lately my morning activity consists of walking downstairs to the coffee maker and straight to the couch catch up on news. I know getting myself to the gym after work will be tough, but I look forward to it, and use any breaks I have to come up with a creative workout that will make the time pass quickly. Then, right around 2:30, the plug is pulled and all my energy swirls down the drain. I can barely keep my eyes open and I start coming up with excuses to not hit the gym. I try to think how good I’ll feel afterward, check in with other friends about workouts they’ve already completed, read over my workout again, and visualize myself there. I usually end up going and am always glad I did, because to me, simply being tired is a pretty lame excuse not to stick to my health goals.


I can’t remember exactly how I came across this article, but it’s very possible that I was googling (if that’s not a real word yet, it should be) how to motivate for the gym around 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s called “A scientific guide to saying no: how to avoid temptation and distraction,” and you can read it here. It talks about a scientific study, the outcome of which varied greatly depending on HOW people said no to things like desserts and skipping exercise. Differences were recorded when people said “I can’t” versus “I don’t.” Think about the connotations of those words. The article describes “can’t” as limiting and restrictive, whereas “don’t” is empowering, a choice we are making. It got me thinking about the way I avoid things I know aren’t good for me, and I’m definitely going to try this out. Try it for a week and report your findings. It’s too simple not to!


Best,


Katie

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Greatest Changes Happen in an Instant

On Tuesday I had a 6am flight out to Arizona.  I wanted to get a workout in which meant I would have to be at the gym by 3:30am.  This meant I needed to get up by 2:45am to get ready.  When my alarm went off I laid there for a moment and thought: "I could so easily go back to sleep right now.  No one is forcing me to wake up.  I can always workout tomorrow."

Suddenly a thought popped into my head:  "the difference between those that succeed at anything in life and those who do not is the actions they take during the moments they do not have to."  Successful people, whether they are successful at business, or relationships, or their fitness; consistently make those moments moments of decision and then they take action that supports that decision and moves them forward towards their goals.  Unsuccessful people, when they experience those same moments, choose not to act and make those moments moments of indecision thus keeping them right where they are - always just out of reach of their goals and dreams.

The workout I had was not a life changing one, but the behavior I practiced, the honoring of the commitment I made to my health and fitness - that is where the true life changing behavior comes into play.

If I would have turned the alarm off instead would that really have been such a bad thing?  No not at all.  After all me skipping one workout is not going to kill me.

The challenge comes from the behavior of skipping the workouts of letting myself off the hook from a commitment I had made earlier to myself - that is where the real challenge arises.

If I let myself off with the excuse of: "I am really tired so it is ok to skip today." How much easier does it make it for me to use that same excuse again the next day?  Or the day after that or the day after that? Pretty soon that one, little, seemingly innocent excuse, picks up so much momentum that it becomes the proverbial snow ball rolling down the hill - getting bigger and bigger and bigger with each rotation.

Think about it... think about all the times in Your life that You have declared that You are going to make a change, "that it is time to change a few things."

Perhaps once upon a time you decided that you were going to wake up an hour early every day to work on your goals.  You did it with regularity for a week and then the day come where you felt "to tired," and you hit the snooze button.  The next day you may have gotten up early again, but something was missing - the momentum and enthusiasm that came from the previous week's consistency.  So you have an uninspired early morning session and resolve that things will be back to normal tomorrow.  Well tomorrow comes and it is time to get up and THE Voice pops into your head and says, "it is ok you did good yesterday, you can sleep for a few more minutes.  After all you have already skipped a day before and nothing bad happened."

That "You already skipped a day before," becomes the new fuel for the fire of justifying why you should be able to get a little extra sleep.  This process repeats itself over the next couple weeks until eventually you throw your hands up and say, "I tried, I am just not a morning person."  And with that you put your ambition and the goals that came with them to bed so that you can get that extra hour sleep in the morning.

Sound familiar?

Anyone ever followed the above formula for an exercise program?  How about a similar program where you have resolved to improve your relationship with your spouse?  What about a healthy eating program?

I can go on and on with examples, but I think you get my point.

Here is the reality that we all share: change happens in an instant for better or worse it is going to happen.  How it happens is decided by you.  You choose in those moments of decision or those moments of indecision how you want your life to play out.  Do you want it to be a life of change or a life of the same?

When you come to those moments, ask yourself "Why am I doing this, what is the real reason?"

Example:  If the reason you are getting up at 5am is to accomplish your goals and pursue your dreams, tell yourself exactly that!  When the alarm goes off, say: "the reason I am getting up now is because I am committed to changing my life and during this hour I am going to accomplish: x,y, and z!"

(Below is a picture of how I have my alarms set up on my phone.  It helps me remember my purpose and the reason why I am waking up in the early morning hours.  Having a purpose beyond myself gives me added accountability to getting up and doing what I need and want to do.)



That is a much more powerful purpose for waking up than saying something like: "Uggh I cannot believe I have to get up at this un-Godly hour to work on these stupid goals."

Which statement is going to be the one to get you out of bed and get you going?

Remember change happens in an instant.  The moments that can and will shape Your life are all around You.  How You choose to act in these moments will largely be determined by the purpose with which You approach these moments.

Going forward, what are You going to do?  Are You going to approach these moments of decision with a purpose, or are you going to hit the snooze and let another precious day of Your life slip by?

I believe You can accomplish and achieve extraordinary things in Your life when You make the decision to do so.

What are You going to do?

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why do We Cause Pain?

Hellllloooo Everyone!

A few quick updates/reminders before I get to the blog

1 - Remember, next Tuesday, October 1st, is the start of the "Life is Beautiful" Challenge.  I am really excited to see the photos you all share.  Please click here for more information.  Remember this is a global event so you can participate wherever you are in the world.

2 - Thank you everyone who has taken the time to "like," "subscribe," provide me with feedback, and forward on my Youtube videos.  It means a lot to me when you all do that.  Thank You! :)

Ok Blog time...

This morning at about 5:25am I was in the kitchen doing a little cooking when I heard a horrible shriek.    I went outside to try to figure out what was going on and then I heard it again followed by the unmistakeable barking noises of coyotes.

Since the noise sounded like it was coming from a residential area below me, I can only assume that someone's cat or dog was turned into breakfast for a group of hungry coyotes.

I felt so bad for the poor animal that was killed.  I thought to myself its' last moments must have been so frightening and so painful.  I thought about the owners and how they will feel when they wake up in the morning and realize that the family cat or dog cannot be found.

I kept thinking about the pain the animal must have felt and the pain the family will no doubt feel when they figure out what happened.

I wanted to be mad at the coyotes.  Even though I can understand why they made the kill, to eat, to survive, I kept thinking: "What if I had a cat or a dog and they had killed mine, how would I feel?"

I kept thinking about pain and then I started thinking about us, people, humans... I started thinking about why we cause pain, specifically to each other.  Why do we hurt each other with our words?  Why do we harm one another with our actions?  Why is there war?  Why is there anger?  Why do we say we will do one thing and then do another?  Why????

Here we are, human beings, supposedly the most highly evolved species on the planet, yet we do more to cause pain, in many more ways than the coyotes do, why?

Then it hit me - we are just like the coyotes, we cause pain to survive.

Think about it; there is no other logical explanation for why we do what we do other than our survival.

When we gossip, or talk badly about someone behind their back what do we get out of it?  We get the satisfaction of knowing in that moment that we:

  1. Belong to a group
  2. Are Right and if we are right that means we are ok and if we are ok that means we do not need to change.
  3. Share a common opinion/thought/feeling with others
  4. As gossipers aka members of a group we have superiority over the one we are gossiping about
  5. Are protected from ever having to examine the inadequacy/insecurity we feel inside of ourself that leads us to gossip about the other person.
  6. Gossip about that person to protect these inadequacies/insecurities because that person threatens them in some way shape or form.
  7. If 1 - 5 are true then we can safely say that we gossip to survive.
  8. Will inevitably need to gossip again as we will only feel good as long as the buzz of the most recent gossip session lasts.
Think about war and the reasons people fight:
  1. To ensure the protection and survival of their people
  2. To ensure the protection and survival of their way of life
  3. To ensure the protection and survival of their views/beliefs
  4. To ensure the protection and survival of their economic interests
  5. To ensure the protection and survival of their power
  6. To ensure the protection and survival of their status
Are you seeing a pattern yet?

It all comes down to survival.  Whether we are trying to ensure the survival of our thoughts, our ideas, our insecurities or our shortcomings, we cause pain to others because we want these parts of ourself to survive.  We are to afraid to deal with our own "stuff" so we would rather deal with someone else's so that our way of life can continue on.

Make sense?

Here's the thing, are we really truly happy living this way, living to survive?  Could there be another way?

This past weekend I had a client in town for a Zero Limits Boot Camp.  We, ironically enough, spent quite a bit of time on this very subject: Survival vs the Alternative.  What is the alternative to surviving?

THRIVING!!!!  

Yes the alternative to surviving is thriving.  What is thriving you might ask?  My answer: look at a little kid - that is thriving.

We were all born to thrive.  One could argue that we need basic necessities to ensure our survival: food, water, shelter, love, etc...   I wound counter that argument by saying these basic necessities are really meant to be the source of our fuel that enables us to thrive.

What does a thriving life look like?  Gossip does not exist in a thriving life.  We have no need to talk badly or make fun of others because we are so happy with ourselves that we no longer need to compare ourselves with others.

In a thriving life we honor our word.  We do what we say we are going to do when we are going to do it.  

In a thriving life we "Secure our oxygen mask first before we secure another's."  

In a thriving life, when we do help someone, we help them for the simple joy of helping, and not because we need to do it to feel better about ourselves.

In a thriving life we do not need to hurt one another: physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  In a thriving life we fully accept, embrace, and love ourselves as well as others.

In a thriving life we do not cause each other pain.

Do you see the difference?  Which life are you currently living?  Which way do you want to live?  How much more amazing can Your life become if You choose to make the shift from surviving to thriving?  

I would love to hear your thoughts, please take a moment to share them below.  

Lastly, if You are ready to make some changes and shift from a surviving life to a thriving life, I would love to have the opportunity to help You on Your journey.  If this is You and You are ready to start thriving, please click here to contact me.

I wish You a thriving life. :)

Carpe Diem,

Jesse



Monday, September 2, 2013

Shit Happens... for a Reason

Hello Everyone!

I hope this blog finds you doing well and living life the best you can.

I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Even the toughest... the shittiest parts of life, I believe there is a reason to those as well.

The challenge that we all face is to look for the reason, the more empowering perspective, so that when the "shit" does happen, which it will - to all of us, we can deal with it and move forward vs. let it consume us and dictate our lives.

I recorded a short video for You where I talk more in depth about this.  I hope you find this video to be of value.

Enjoy.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse




Sunday, September 1, 2013

Be Like a Plant and get Your Chlorophyll


Katie has a great science lesson for us all.  Take a few moments to read it.  I am sure you will find a lot of value from it.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

If you're like me, the only thing you know (or knew) chlorophyll as, is a substance that is essential for photosynthesis and is responsible for the green color of plant life. However, chlorophyll in its liquid form, or in tablets like Spirulina which contain it, are quickly becoming the new "it" for natural supplements. It's no secret that dark green veggies are wonderful for our health, but hundreds of articles and blogs are touting the blood-boosting, cleansing properties of chlorophyll in its pure, liquid form. Now, I'm not sure if people endorsing the product can actually feel their red blood cells multiplying, and there is a lack of scientific evidence proving chlorophyll’s benefits, but let's explore what some people are saying about this new magic in a bottle :)


Science does know that Chlorophyll has a similar molecular structure as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that exists in our red blood cells and helps transport oxygen throughout our bodies. Chlorophyll supposedly can help with this process by strengthening and replenishing our red blood cells, thereby increasing the vitality of all our bodies’ functional systems.


Chlorophyll’s ability to alkalize the body is another mentioned benefit. At the core of chlorophyll molecules is magnesium, a highly alkaline mineral. This means it would help lower our body’s acidity level and keep a balanced pH. Symptoms of too much acid include inflammation, gastrointestinal discomfort, and a weaker immune system.


Lastly, many say chlorophyll deodorizes and detoxifies the body, and even cures bad breath. It binds to and expels heavy metal toxins e.g., mercury, and kills bad odors in our throats and mouths that originate in our intestines.


If imbibing this green liquid weirds you out, skip it. Just make sure you’re getting plenty of greens in your diet, especially dark leafy ones (they’re green because of chlorophyll!). Raw, cooked, or juice form are all perfectly acceptable.



Best,

Katie

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fuel Up

Hi all,

Katie has come across a pretty inspiring story and wanted to share it with you all.  Read on and enjoy. :)


Fuel up!
In sticking with my food for fuel theme, I wanted to share this article with you all. Learning what other athletes eat, what music they listen to while working out, and even what athletic gear they prefer is always so interesting to me.
Obviously, all of our bodies are different and will react differently to the same diets, exercises, and motivations, but it's fun to know how extreme athletes keep it up.
The girl featured in this article is the first to attempt RUNNING the entire route of the Tour de France. I can't even imagine biking it. To complete this task in her goal time frame, she has to run at least a marathon everyday! Pretty nuts right? Along the way she stayed with host families, so had to make do with what they were preparing for dinner that night in order to properly fuel her body.
Learn what she eats along the way to sustain herself and what inspires her to keep going, and if she completed her goal here: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/day-my-diet-endurance-athlete-zo%C3%AB-romano
Best,
Katie

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marathon Pasta



Katie has cooked up a delicious recipe for us all!  I am going to be trying this asap.  If you have any healthy recipe's you would like to share, I would love to see them.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Recipe for a (long) Run.

I'm not a big fan of pasta. I mean, it’s good stuff, but I've somehow convinced myself that my body can't handle these carbohydrates.  Big bowls of white pasta smothered in creamy sauces scare me, and so I tend to stick with fish, salads, and the occasional pizza when it comes to Italian dining. 

But no food should be the enemy, so last year when I had my "last supper" before running a half marathon, I figured some carbs would do me good.  I went with gluten-free brown rice pasta because the slower processing carbs would give me longer lasting energy and not spike my blood sugar like processed white pastas can.  Here’s what I made:

What you'll need…..

1 cup uncooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta (whatever one serving is, more if you plan to share)

Any fresh veggies you have on hand:  broccoli, cauliflower, Kale, zucchini, onion, squash, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, brussel sprouts etc…  Feel free to add in some chopped apple for sweetness or yam for more heartiness.

Salt
Pepper
Rosemary or Oregano
Soy sauce
Balsamic vinegar
Parmesan, Goat, or Ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop all veggies to desired size and put in the same bowl.  Pour in soy sauce, balsamic, and olive oil.  I'd say about 3 tablespoons of each. Add spices to taste, but be careful with the salt as soy sauce is salty on its own. Toss to coat. Spread onto a baking sheet and place in oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.  Move veggies around sheet occasionally for more even cooking and to prevent burning.

When you've got 5-10 minutes left on the veggies, cook your pasta according to package instructions.

Put pasta into your bowl and add as many of the roasted veggies as you'd like.  Top with cheese (optional, but it's good) and enjoy!

Best,
Katie

Monday, July 29, 2013

Build Your Job Around Your Life vs Building Your LIfe Around Your Job

Wazzz Up Everyone!

I hope this blog finds you all smiling and doing your best to make this day a great one!

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine a few days back and I wanted to share it with you all.  My friend is 27 years old he is a true Entrepreneur.  After college he took out a huge loan, moved away from his friends and started his own business.  He has now started several other small businesses over the years.  The guy has an amazing work ethic, a good business sense, and the drive to succeed.

As we were chatting the other day he told me he was struggling trying to figure out what he wanted his career to be.  He has a ton of ideas, knows that he could be good at many jobs, but he is unsure about what is right for him.

I told him this, "Instead of focussing on what your career is going to be, focus on what you want your life to be like, then figure out a career that will support that."

The change in the language is a tiny one, the change it produces in ones' though process is HUGE!

So often we human beings live our lives according to what our job's allow.  If our job says we can only have 1 week of vacation a year we wait to take that one week of vacation.  If our job says we can only ever make "this much" then we focus in on that number and shut down the potential we all have to make more.  If our job says we are supposed to work at it for 30+ years until we retire, THEN we can finally start living life, we listen, we settle into the routine, and we look ahead to 30 years from now when we can start doing all the things we really want to do.

I am not saying the above is a bad thing because it is not.  And, it works really well for a lot of people.  The problem I do have with the above is it puts limits on our thinking.  It forces you to narrow your focus to the future and limits you from exploring the possibilities that exist around you at this very minute.  To give you an example:  Put your hands up to the side of your eyes, notice how your field of vision is reduced because your hands obstruct your peripheral vision.  You are left with the ability to see only what is right in front of you.  Now, if you take your hands down, you will notice that you can see all that is around you as well.  It is as if a whole new perspective just opened up for you.

When you get into the mindset of building your life around your job/career, your job becomes the focus, it becomes the driving force for what you do.  When your job is the focus, guess what, the hands go up to the side of your face, and your field of vision is reduced.

When you instead get into the mindset of building your job/career around your life, your life now becomes the driving force for what you do because it is now front and center, it is your focus.  Your hands come down from the side of your face and now you are able to see the world that is around you.

The world that is around you is where all the possibility lies.

I promise you, there are jobs out there that will support you living how you want to live.  I promise you that there are inventions out there that need to be invented that will give you the freedom you desire.  I promise you that there are opportunities out there that will let you live the lifestyle of your dreams, if you will just start challenging yourself by dreaming what you want your life to be like.

Most of us wish we could live life in a certain way, but we never challenge ourselves to start thinking about HOW we can live it in that way.

Focus on your life and what you want it to be like.  As you learn to do that, you will figure out a way to make it happen.

I would love to hear your thoughts, please share them below.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Airports... Why they should be the World's Most Positive Places

Wazzz Up Everyone!

I was in an airport a couple of weeks ago.  I love airports because if I am there that means I am going somewhere, and I LOVE going places.

I also love being in airports because I think they provide the ultimate people watching experience.

One thing I have noticed is that airports seem to have a lot of negative vibes in them, why?

Is it because we are bombarded with more news reports about the evil acts the TSA has plotted for us vs. hearing more stories about the family reunion between the solider returning home from war and his loved ones?

Is it because people dread going to the airport because they just know the airline is going to lose their luggage?

Or, is it because people hate going to airports because they are 100% certain that the weather God's and airlines are conspiring together to make sure every single one of their flights are delayed?

Is it one of these in particular, or is it a combination of all the above?

Call me crazy, but I have this theory about airports and it goes something like this:

I believe that 99.9999% of the time that you are at an airport should be a positive.  The 0001% of the time is only if there was some sort of horrible catastrophe, like a plane crash (which sadly as of this writing, there was just a plane crash earlier today at SFO).

What do I mean by that?

Well think about it, if you are at an airport to go on vacation, that is positive right?  If you are at an airport because your work is sending you on a business trip, that means you have a job, and that is positive, right?  If you are traveling to visit family members, friends, old college pals, etc... that means you have people out there who, at the very least, like you, and that is positive right?  Even if you were traveling because someone was sick, dying, or had died, at least you have the means to go and travel to see that person/pay your respects (after all many people do not), and that is positive, right?

I travel a decent amount and, while I do not know everything there is to know about traveling, I can summarize this little secret I am going to let all you in on:

There is not an evil head of TSA out there dreaming up ways to piss you off.  The ticket agent does not wake up fantasizing about how they are going to ruin your day.  The airlines do not build their daily agenda around losing your luggage.  AND, this is the big one, the weather Gods and airlines do not cook up a storm especially for you, just to delay you for another couple hours.

At the end of the day, airports are just like anything else and any place else in life, they are a place, an opportunity, where you can choose to seek out, find, and focus on the positive, or you can look for, create, and focus on the negative.

The choice is yours.

Whatever you choose, there is really only one choice that is going to truly leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled.

I humbly borrow a line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when I say this and encourage you to, "Choose, but choose wisely."

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fiber

Hi all,

Katie has been kind enough to gives us some info on one of the most important nutrients we can put into our body.  Read on and learn about how important fiber is for you.

I promise I'll post some pictures from my road trip in the next few days. :)

Fiber

Continuing with my summer theme, we’re all going to want to look our best when we hit the beach. Some extra fiber can go a long, healthy way. No one wants to walk around bloated and uncomfortable all day. Besides maybe making us a tad self-conscious about that new little suit, it can make us sluggish and cause stomach discomfort. Fiber doesn’t only help out with keeping things moving through our systems, it helps with weight management, can lower bad cholesterol, prevent heart disease, gallstones and kidney stones, and regulate blood sugar absorption. Now, this is all when you eat enough fiber. According to the FDA, most of us don’t even get half the amount we should to fully benefit from fiber, or 20 to 30 grams per day depending on age and gender. Another guideline out there is to eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories ingested.

There are two types of dietary fiber with different characteristics and functions. The first is insoluble fiber. This means what it sounds like, that it does not dissolve in water. Because it does not dissolve, it passes through our intestines quicker and more intact. This is the fiber that’s good for constipation. The best sources for insoluble fiber are vegetables and whole grains, especially fruits and veggies with tougher, edible skins.

Type two is soluble fiber, the fiber that does dissolve in water. When absorbed, this fiber attracts water and forms a sort of gel that moves slowly through intestines. It keeps us full for longer, and gives nutrients more time to absorb properly. Good sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, apples, lentils, and beans. In my personal opinion, in addition to fruits and veggies, you should go for products that are naturally whole wheat and whole grain, as opposed to foods that claim to be “fortified” with fiber. Make sure that whole wheat or whole grain is one of the first, if not the first ingredient listed.


Best,

Katie