The Risk of Living

July 12, 2013

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I’ve said this before but I feel it’s time to say it again –

Living your dreams is terrifying. When you begin to follow your soul’s truth, your ego will freak the f#@k out.

Your ego is your small self, everything you were taught, purposefully or inadvertantly, about this physical material world. You were taught to be afraid. You were taught you would die. You were taught that you were weak and at risk. You were taught to avoid pain, avoid being different, avoid standing out. You were taught to avoid being YOU. You were taught that to survive you had to protect and defend, to hide, to change.

But that’s all backwards. There is no safety, no security, no protection. The only risk you run in this life is never really LIVING it. You have a deep and unconscious belief that your fears and worries will protect you, but really all they do is keep what you truly want out – the experience of being alive, the experience of giving and receiving love, the experience of joy and connection and intimacy. These experiences are not found but created via your conscious choice, by giving that which you seek, by opening, by being authentically, truly you.

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I want to be Oliver Sacks.

January 26, 2013

“He reached into the pocket of his sports jacket and produced a Japanese fan – the first of several startling objects to emerge from there, so that I came to think of the coat as having magic pockets.”

It wasn’t that line from a Wired article that made me want to be Oliver Sacks. Well, like Oliver Sacks, really.

It’s that today I had the sudden impulse to begin simplifying and planing all of my food consumption. Like, scheduling exactly what I will eat and at what time. And as I was typing this schedule up, I remembered the quirky neurologist who eats the same thing. Every day. And has, for many years. 1/2 a gallon of soy milk, prune juice, sardines, tabbouleh, 7 apples, 7 oranges – “I am very greedy and impulsive, so I have to have a rule.” Strangely, though I listened to this story a few years ago, I actually had 7 apples, 7 pears on my newly organized weekly shopping list. (Just to clarify, I will not be eating sardines and prune juice).

Oliver says he never gets bored with his daily food – he claims he “enjoys it with equal relish every time.” Additionally, each day he goes to a nearby chocolate store and gets exactly one dollar’s worth of broken 72% chocolate. 

He has been doing this for years. Once he accidentally got 22 pounds of kidneys rather than 2 pounds; too shy to point it out, he took the 22 pounds of “palpitating kidneys” home, and ended up eating kidneys for 10 days straight, before vomiting uncontrollably and never eating kidneys again.

To listen to the fascinating Oliver Sacks clip on Radiolab – one of my favorite podcasts of all time – click here. (It’s a clip from episode about Choice, when a lot is too much).

Have you ever heard that Einstein would wear the same clothes so as not to use up precious mental energy on the mundane and unimportant decision of what to wear? Well, Oliver has similar motivations. 

Making choices is draining, and scientist have found that too many choices actually make us MORE unhappy than too few choices.

I notice that I’ve generally heard about men doing this kind of thing – perhaps it’s a form of mild Autism… the founder of Facebook wears the same clothing every day too. And Steve Jobs did, before he exited the planet.

So, here’s what I’m going to try eating for this week:

6am: Hot water + lemon

8am: 1 apple + 3 dates + 10 almonds + 1 spoon chwanprash

10:30am: Matè

1pm: Kitcharee (½ cup mung, ½ cup basmati) with squash & carrots

3:30: 1 apple or pear + 3 dates or figs

6:30pm: Leftover kitcharee + asparagus

I haven’t done a challenge (or a cleanse) in a long time. We’ll see how it goes!

 

To read the Wired interview from whence the opening sentence about the fan and magical coat was taken, click here

I have the digital edition of the Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, and I love it. (Thanks Lowell!).

I think I found the quote below under the Meditation entry. I need to do a W’NB on Meditation (I’m a convert!), but since it’s past my bedtime, I’ll be brief:

“What we call ‘normal’ in psychology is really a psychopathology of the average, so undramatic and so widely spread that we don’t even notice it ordinarily.” Meditation disciplines have been suggesting this for over 2,500 years, teaching that individual “normal” minds are untrained and often unconscious, which inhibits them from reaching their fullest potential. The intention behind meditation is to “wake up” from a suboptimal state of consciousness: Wake up to a person’s true nature.”

The quote is from Abraham Maslow, the guy who came up with the heirarchy of basic human needs, and one of the first psychologists to begin to explore the positive side of things. It totally resonates with me, and also lines up with the teachings of some of my favorite guys, Eckhart Tolle and Don Miguel Ruiz.

It also reminded me of another favorite quote: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” That’s Jiddu Krishnamurti. I wonder if he and Abe were friends; they lived around the same time.

I’ve always felt like I needed to wake up. I’d have moments of clarity and knowing and realization, and then those moments would be covered up by the fog and distractions and bad ideas and skewed beliefs of society and I’d revert to reactionary, habitual ways of being.

Meditation gets you back in touch with The Truth, in the only place you can find it – in the stillness within you. It puts you back in touch with your pure awareness; it wakes you up. Tolle says, “You are awareness, disguised as a person.”

Another quote I came across today: “We say to others only what we need to hear.” Byron Katie.

I hope I don’t ever come across as preachy in these blogs. I only write about any of this stuff because *I* need to be reminded of it. I share things because they resonate with me – not because I think that it’s something that I need to teach to other people. I just hope that by sharing what makes sense to me, I can help others connect with that feeling of resonance too.