How to Create Energy

February 5, 2011

A friend asked me the other day what I do to get so much energy.

There are probably 100 factors but here are a few I feel I have control over right now:

1. Eating Clean

I’m 36 days into my Clean Eating Challenge. I’ve dropped intoxicants (alcohol, caffeine) and severely limited refined sugars, processed foods (including bread), dairy, and meat (when I do eat meat, it’s chicken). I really feel like my body needs less sleep now – I’m guessing less recovery time from the stress you create in your body by eating foods your body isn’t made to process. My skin is so much softer and clearer. My memory is better – I realized recently that I now remember people’s names after hearing them one time (that one’s pretty strange), and I find I can remember everything without having to write it down (I’ve started shopping without grocery lists). My sense of smell is sharper. I have fewer emotional lows. My psoriasis is fading. The pea-sized subcutaneous cyst that I’ve had on my neck for a few years is almost entirely gone (when I put the paste my Ayurvedic doctor gave me on it it shrinks, but I have to keep that up or it returns).

What I AM eating is foods from Farmer’s Markets. I no longer shop at Whole Foods due to their policies on Genetically Modified Organisms and Monsanto, and I’ve been to Trader Joe’s about 3 times this year. I’ve started to get to know my Farmer’s Market vendors in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills and Culver City, and they’ve started cutting me deals! Last weekend I made my Leek, Sweet Potato and Pear soup, with Ginger Asparagus Quinoa with a Carrot Ginger sauce on top of that.  I’m also eating a lot of Bolani (available at both the CC and BH markets). Bolani is my new favorite thing – it’s like a quesadilla made with super-thin naan-like tortillas, and instead of cheese it’s stuffed with lentils or pumpkin or spinach or potato (the first two are my favorites). When I need a sugar fix, I eat fresh melt-in-your-mouth dates. If you have a sweet tooth and you’ve never had fresh dates, you need to try them.

2. Meditating

Last year I meditated about 6 days a week; on the 1st of 2011 I made a 100% commitment to daily meditation, and intend to keep that for the rest of my life. Some days it’s 15 minutes, and some days it’s an hour. Some days it’s in my room, some days it’s on my porch, some days it’s on the beach. Like eating clean is clearing out my body, I feel like meditating is clearing out my mind.  Science is proving that meditating is exactly like working out. Your brain is a muscle, but instead of physical strength you’re building focus and clarity. Ideas flowing to me.

3. Exercising

I do yoga two days a week; I run a few days a week as training for a 1/2 marathon I intend to complete in May; I try to talk a walk every day either during lunch or after dinner, and I try to hike on the weekends. We all know that, paradoxically, exercise energizes you.

4. Saying No

In 2011 I’ve been practicing saying No to energy drains. Energy drains like intoxicants  and refined sugar and sub-optimal foods, but also energy drains like people, or like doing things I don’t REALLY want to do. I’m simply being honest with people – everyone – including my boss. If I don’t want to do something, I tell them. If I’m not available to talk to them on the phone about their problems, I tell them. I make it clear that it’s not personal and my saying no is not a reflection of how much I do or don’t value them as a person or as a friend; but I’m just getting more real. It’s so refreshing, and I’m finding out that it works better for everyone.

5. Doing what I love

I wake up crazy early because I’m EXCITED to get up!!! I want to meditate and write and create! I want to read empowering and inspirational quotes on Twitter! I want to come up with ideas and work on co-creative projects with people I love working with! That could be #6: co-creative projects. I am working on awesome, fun, inspiring projects, (outside of my day job) with about 6 different partners right now. These are projects I’m doing just because I WANT TO, but working with another person keeps me moving forward when, if I were trying to do it by myself, I might give up. I’m hoping that eventually I will be able to support myself I know that soon I will be able to support myself doing things I love with people I love. That’s my #1 goal. Create my perfect day, every day. And with these small steps, create my ideal life.

So,  this is where I think I’m getting all this energy. Join me?

 

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.”

– Tony Robbins

[quotes shared by the awesome Mastin Kipp at TheDailyLove.com ]

In the midst of all the other challenges I’m doing right now, I decided this morning to try another little one – go an entire day without logging into Facebook OR email. Quite an impressive feat for me, since I’m pretty sure that I am (was!) a dopamine addict. Check out this fascinating article in Slate about why humans are geared towards internet (and texting) addictions: http://www.slate.com/id/2224932

I check email compulsively; I used to check FB compulsively, but have gotten myself to slow down on that by instituting a no-FB-at-work policy. I used to think of myself as a very undisciplined person; but now that I’m acting like a disciplined person, by setting goals/challenges/limits on myself and committing to stick to them, I’m BECOMING a disciplined person. I’ve heard numerous teachers talk about “Act As If,” basically another form of “Fake It ‘Til You Make It.” Our actions shape who we are. Want to be someone different? Start doing what that someone different would do. And the ultimate cliché (thanks to Nike): JUST DO IT.

I had an extremely productive day. I’ve been feeling stressed between work and my side project and all of the other (wonderful) things going on in my life right now, and I decided that it’s time to stop wasting so much of my VERY PRECIOUS time on FB and email. Of course I love FB and email because they’re validation – that people care, that I’m loved, that others are thinking of me. But I need to learn to need that less. And I’ll learn to need that less by PRACTICING needing that less.

FB and email are also distractions that allow me to avoid and procrastinate on the things I’m afraid of doing – afraid that it’ll be wrong, afraid I won’t do well enough, afraid of failure. But I’ve noticed that lately, instead of putting things off, I’m just doing them. It’s becoming easier and easier.

I’ve decided that I want to use my energy purposefully. And that means getting extremely clear on what makes me happy, and what I want in life, and then channeling my energy – physical, mental, emotional, and money energy – towards those few, high priority things.

I’ve got a Paulo Coelho book of quotes that I just opened randomly, and here’s what that wise old man told me:

“A warrior of light makes decisions.
His soul is as free as the clouds in the sky,
but he is committed to his dream.”

Talk about synchronicity. Thanks, Paulo!