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Luck Still Doesn't Exist, and Acceleration

"Is Exponential Growth Possible?" got a few really good comments. Riley Harrison left a really good comment and questions -

Hello Sebastian,

A great blog. One of the realizations that helped me was comprehending that if an insight or epiphany wasn’t actionable (didn’t lead to action) it wasn’t of much value (other than recreational). I have thought way too many deep thoughts, read too many self-empowerment books searching for the non-existent silver bullet (insight) that would allow me to bypass hard work, accumulation of small victories and risk taking.

The traditional barriers/obstacles (time, money, energy, risk taking etc) are to me somewhat secondary to just plain old inertia. But being at the right place at the right time – is that serendipitous luck or something else. You do have to factor into the equation that you are shooting at a moving target (circumstances change and you change) – times stands still for no man… As to the list of things to make you grow I would add that being conversant in the latest findings in neuroscience and positive psychology wouldn’t hurt.

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

On Zen Wednesday

Spring is generally thought of as a time of renewal. In Ayurvedic practice it’s supposed to be the best time to detox and reset your body. That’s what they say at least. I am one who believes in putting things to the test….and really, when you think about it, isn’t that part of cultivating a mindfulness practice? An important aspect of mindfulness for me is trying new experiences while paying close attention to the thoughts and feelings that come up to better understand myself and test (or push) my boundaries and beliefs. To this end I have been experimenting with my own spring detox. Specifically, I stopped drinking alcohol for a few weeks (more on that enlightening experience in next week’s blog) and I committed to going vegetarian for two weeks. By vegetarian I mean I haven’t been eating meat or fish, but I have been eating some dairy and eggs. I’ve been focusing on fruit, vegetables and whole grains (mostly gluten-free) – and trying to go organic as much as possible.

I initially did this to reset my palate, get back to clean eating, and challenge myself in the kitchen (I love to cook). The results were both expected and unexpected. This little experiment brought up a lot of issues for me to consider regarding the act of eating. I now feel like I am close to a tipping point where I make a radical shift in the way I approach and consider food.

First the expected; overall I feel really good. I realize this is not just from the absence of meat, but from the absence of processed foods as well. I have a lot of energy. At first I was a little hungry, and I had to deal with cravings and thoughts about ‘needing meat’, but these things faded in a few days and it became clear that I don’t really need it like I thought I did. Removing something from your life that you think you need is an interesting way to test your belief system. When you find yourself feeling dependent on something, I suggest going without for a while to really examine the feeling of need from multiple angles and figure out how much is true, and how much is a story you tell yourself.

Now for the unexpected; I spent some time on the internet googling vegetarian recipes to come up with ideas for dinner. Researching this general topic led me to a whole host of information on factory farming and its impacts, food labels, and the concept of conscientious/sacred eating. It’s a lot to take in, and honestly I am still trying to educate myself and decide where I stand on things, particularly when it comes to meat. I really don’t want to be the girl that gets up on a soap box to give a clean eating speech. You’ve heard the joke….”How do you know if someone is a Vegan?” Answer - they tell you. Yeah, I don’t want to be pedantic hippie sprout girl. And I will admit, I like the occasional good steak or roast chicken as well as the next person, but having started down this path of considering the source of the food I consume, I feel like I can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

I recently read “The Yoga of Eating” by Charles Eisenstein, a book about mindful eating that is still blowing my mind. He quotes Wendell Berry who observed that eating is a political act, for it has consequences far transcending the individual. The way food is produced, processed, transported, and prepared has powerful effects on soil, plants, animals, and the health of the planet itself, as well as farmers, the rural economy, society and your own body. It’s interesting to me how Americans in general, myself included, spend so little time learning about and understanding where our food comes from and how it is processed. The act of eating should be a sacred one, particularly the eating of meat where one animal loses its life to sustain the life of another. Your health, energy, vitality, longevity, etc. are all influenced by how you eat and yet most people would rather just get their food in a convenient shrink-wrapped package from the grocery store than consider the quality of the life that they are about to consume.

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