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Three Words for 2016

December 29, 2015 1 Comment

Suzette in her kitchen

Suzette in her kitchen

Chris Brogan was my first teacher of social media by way of his books. He is very smart in my opinion, and constantly evolves. One of his practices for which he is now very well known is finding three words to inspire at the first of every year. To replace resolutions, the words are meant to inspire and represent goals.  On January 1 Chris will drop his words, as is his custom, for the eleventh year in a row.  Well done, Brother Brogan.  I know I am not the only one who appreciates your leadership in this exercise.  Three is plenty if they are kept alive daily for an entire year.  That is the idea of having only a few….. no excuse not to work on them.   I am looking forward to a happy and fun 2016.  My words are:

  1. Independence
  2. Simplicity
  3. Adventure

I plan to combine forces with a wonderful woman I met in Phoenix by chance.  She makes the best artisanal sauerkraut I have ever tasted.  The Garden Goddess was planning to expand her distribution to Pima County, where I live, when we met.  There are some logistical issues to work out, but we are looking at an arrangement that is extremely simplistic and independent.  I am very interested in the teaching part of the concept because I have become a fermented foods crusader and believer.  I am reading books and experimenting like a mad scientist  in my own kitchen as well as eating Suzette’s kraut daily.  This is a very exciting adventure for me.  I know most people might not be so turned on about teaching others to make their own sauerkraut, but I feel a complete sense of mission to teach the world to ferment raw food and feel so much better.  Fermented foods themselves are a simple, independent adventure you can enjoy at home.  It is an explosive and exciting new hobby/passion I look forward to cultivating in 2016.

fermenting artisanal kraut

fermenting artisanal kraut

Three Word Exercise

January 1, 2015 6 Comments

fruit salad

fruit salad

Chris Brogan has announced his 3 words for 2015.   This annual challenge is an alternative to the classic resolution style.  I have done it with success, and also done it when I forgot my words entirely.  Like anything else, persistence is needed for results too occur.  I am pleased with my own choices this year, patience, persistence, and poetry.  They have meaning across the board to upgrades I aspire to make.  I plan to use them liberally throughout the year.  I also plan to use Brother Brogan’s words to apply to a specific change I am making in my household.  There is no rule that says you can’t admire and swipe other people’s words if they suit you.  His words work for my new world of menu planning.  I have become convinced that improvisation is not the best way forward with nutrition.  It has served me well, and I am healthy.  I want to develop the skills and the results of managing our home kitchen like a chef with a restaurant. I know that planning and balance will bring lower costs and higher quality nutrition to our diet.   We will waste less produce and use the freezer to make the most of what we buy.  This new discipline fits perfectly with the words I am appropriating from Brother Brogan for this project.

His words are:

  • Plan –I don’t know why I resist planning menus or food prepping.  I believe it is a silly idea about authority and total creativity.  I will not be less creative when I add the layer of planing, prepping, and shopping specifically for a menu.  It is exactly like planning a travel itinerary carefully and precisely so that serendipity and improvisation can take place.  I am devoting a calendar to the menu project, as I used to do with my travel agenda for the year.  The trip to better nutrition has been launched.
  • Leverage–My guru of this whole idea, Dr. Loretta Standley, publishes a very helpful and concise guide for healthy habits in her Activities of Daily Living segment.  One of the six categories she covers daily is food prepping.  I am pretty good with all the other 5 categories, and I see exactly why this is a great practice.  The idea of cooking once and making many dishes to use/freeze leverages time, ingredients, and energy.   On Dr. Loretta’s advice I am systematically clearing out the freezer and arming myself with labels to track the contents in the future.  It is so simple, yet I have never done it.  My favorite piece of advice on this subject she has given lately is All or Nothing—meaning either make the amount you will eat right now, leaving nothing to store, or have a plan (see word number one) to use and freeze the excess.  Brilliant!!!! Why have I not done this???
  • Fabric–This is where the effort and attention to balance create a strong, nutritious, gourmet experience.  I enjoy trying new recipes and ethnic ingredients imported from elsewhere.  By planning and leveraging my ingredients and my time I will make a structure that supports our health and well being.  Chris talks about weaving strength into his business by staying healthy and fit.  The menu planning and food prepping not only provide superior dining options at home, but free up time for other activities.  It is an infrastructure that supports our health and fitness, as well as our time management.  Planning and prepping are the warp.  Creativity, availability, and improvisation are the weft of our 2015 diet.

Thanks, as always, for your guidance, Chris.  I am happily applying your words to my advantage this year.  I have loved your teaching since Trust Agents.  I hope your words will be fabulous for you as well.  All the best in 2015.

Counting and Comparison

June 20, 2014 1 Comment

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth

There are different ways to approach finances, but there is only one way to count. You can count by 5’s or by 10’s but when you come up with a sum, that is reality. People today are often confused about what constitutes wealth, security, or satisfaction. One of the problems I notice is the addition of interest rates and complicated denial schemes to hide from financial reality.  When people became accustomed to using credit cards many also abandoned balancing the budget.  Some might believe ignorance is bliss, but when the interest rates catch up with your finances there will be no bliss for you.  The popularity of Suze Orman shows how very well educated and powerful people can be financially illiterate to the point of causing agony in their lives.  When I was a child there were no credit cards.  The parents had metal plates that belonged to specific stores, but I don’t think there was credit advanced.  The bill at the store was paid each month in full.  We did not consider borrowing money to buy everything.  Time was more bountiful too, so people were not strapped to decide which meeting/sporting event/social episode to choose.  We had time for everything, including hopping in the car to drive across the country.  I do not think we need to return to the days of yesteryear to conquer or mathematical shortcomings.  I think we need a simple way to teach those who have always lived in a world with credit cards how to understand compounded interest.

Chris Brogan, one of my favorite authors, has written a book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, that offers a wonderful solution to our dilemma of rampant financial delusion.  He calls it “Mortgage Math”.  It is a brilliant way to compare and bring into focus money that one is contemplating spending.  Instead of trudging onward randomly spending, paying, and wondering how to get out of debt he suggests that each expenditure be compared to something you buy all the time.  A mortgage payment is a very common overhead expense to which people can relate.  If you have to decide if what you will pay (both now and in interest) for something is worth it, just ask how it compares to your mortgage payment.  This adds perspective to an otherwise never-ending spending problem that has buried many Americans in hopeless debt.  I have no mortgage, but I use this system to compare anything to a trip.  I want a first class ticket to Europe, plus time and money to spend months tracking down my dead ancestors in style.  This adventure will be pretty pricey, and I want it more than most day to day things I might purchase.  I am not really saving up for it, but rather am using it as a guideline for comparison.  I am not an interest payer.  I like to be an interest collector, but I still find this idea very useful for attuning with financial reality.  He uses a similar formula to determine how valuable time is.  By limiting meetings to 20 minutes, saying no often, and staying aware that tempus fugit, memento mori, he gives good advice to create frameworks for more abundant free time.  By valuing what you already have, time and freedom of choice, you can make your own financial future more comfortable and successful.  There are many good ideas in this book, but this way of looking at finances and time has great potential to help many get on track and fulfill dreams.

 

The Three Book Diet

September 13, 2013 7 Comments

library girl

library girl

I went along with a fad diet started by one of my social media teachers, Chris Brogan. Last November he proposed that  limiting the number of books one read would change the way one learns and absorbs the art and information in the books.  As a proud and profuse library addict I looked at my own reading habits and wondered if I might benefit from reading less and studying more.  The Three Book Diet commenced with a bang and ended with a whimper very shortly after it was begun.  I, however, had chosen three very deep books that deserve a lifetime of reflection and contemplation, as well as physical homework, so I stayed in.

The Sacred Contracts book is the text used in an on line course I have enrolled in to do deeper study in archetypal psychiatry.  I have an extensive and comprehensive set of video lectures and appropriate homework assignments in the course.  The student is required to look very deeply into the past and identify archetypal patterns and write about them in detail.  The self analysis is heavy, and the written work required to make progress is lengthy and serious.  I have started the work, but see that it could require a lifetime.

The Leonardo book has been on my shelf for years, as has the workbook with active homework assignments to help the reader become more like Leo.  It ranks as one of my favorites, so I knew I could stay busy in these books easily for a year without scratching the surface.  I was right about that; 10 months into this diet and I do not seem to be the least bit more brilliant or innovative.  It is for the same reason it always is….because I do not do my homework to rebel.  At least the Sacred Contract study has taught me that this rebel is a teacher and my teacher is a rebel, so maybe I will soon break out of my will to avoid my own assigned homework.  That would be such a fabulous breakthrough!!

Impact Equation is a great book that I read once and looked at a couple of times during the diet.  Chris is the new kind of guru.  Perhaps I think this because he is my guru of social media and disruptive positive change.  I subscribe to his newsletter and correspond with him all the time, so his voice and his attitude are very well known to me.  I am actually happy he gave up the diet; I told him he was too young for it.  Now he has launched a new magazine/biz school, Owner, which is very exciting, so obviously this was not his year to diet.  I have learned from Sacred Contracts that Chris is my teacher and visionary.  He doesn’t need a contract with me, but I am signed up to learn and emulate.  It will end when I have done my homework.  This brings me to the brilliance of the diet for me.  I needed to blog and develop my own skills, but while consuming hundreds of books a year I had no time dedicated to my own writing.  Now I have a small but growing group of Gentle Readers that I love very much.  I would never have found them, or my discipline to write, had I not gone on the book diet.

When I break the fast I will decide what is prudent. I have a pile of books I bought and had signed by my favorite author of all time, Thomas Moore.  I have preordered his new book, which will be released into my Kindle in January.  I will read A Religion of One’s Own with great gusto.  Chris Brogan is my guru of worldly wisdom, but Thomas Moore is my idol.  He is teaching the world to be monastic….in a good way…in a meditative way….in a kind way. Contemplative reading is one way to meditate.  The book diet has taught me the great value of learning more by consuming less. I may go on a One Book Diet next year..it could be fabulous.

Superhero, Satyameister, Slayer of Mendacity

November 27, 2012 5 Comments

The world is full of mythical beings. Some of them are art rendered by comic book or animation experts. Some are created simply by stereotyping everyone and everything.  That guy is both mythical and all too real.  I notice that some are not attracted to the concept of personal branding, while others embrace the  on line chance to portray themselves as much better than they actually are.  There are many who use our new digital instant PR machine to broadcast how miserable they are.  It all boils down to attracting the kind of attention that you want to attract.  The digital world of communication mimics the physical world by the giving and receiving of attention.  Attention takes time and shows the quality of the identification that has been made.  When an artist creates a new superhero it is imperative to know what kind of attention the character will solicit.  For some reason this kind of scrutiny is not given to the image people project of themselves.

Through the clutter and the noise of endless status updates and offers, very few personal brands ring true.  I like the joke that says Facebook is where you lie to your friends, and twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers but nobody cares in either case.  The imperative to build an image requires that one question be asked.  That question is, “What kind of attention do I want?’  The most common attempts are to solicit envy and or pity in an alternating way.  These both work very well if one wants to find like-minded personal brands.  If you want to stand out and be noticed for a positive attribute, you need to know what that is and honestly live in the reality you claim to be yours.  The job requires self examination as well as craft, editing, and artistry.

I entered the wold of social media by listening to the book Trust Agents, a clear mandate to listen more than you propose.  I am now reading the sequel, Impact Equation, which amplifies and expands on the original message.  The overview and function of the entire communications system is what enlightens us in this latest book.  Brother Brogan is my own bodhisattva of digital darshan. Maybe I bonded with him so much as my first teacher who instructed me on how to enter this strange new world.  Maybe he is my superhero because I have never played a video game or felt the need to understand why and how people game.  He loves tech and gaming in ways will never interest me, but he does not hang his hero hat on the gaming hook.  He finds common ground by keeping a very tight relationship with the truth.  He models Satya for the cosmic and decidedly digital age in which we live and express ourselves.  His avi wears an outfit not unlike Superman’s own, but the S in his case stands for  Satya.  I know as a teacher myself that all students do not match all instruction.  Style is a strong link that can hold attention for a short time.  The teaching must contain truth, however, to hold the student’s deep attention.  I am completely into the idea of Chris flying through my dreams in his truth suit, fighting sketchy versions of reality.  Satyameister has my attention.  There is much to learn.

Library in the Sky and the 3BD

November 10, 2012 3 Comments

Library St Gallen

When I recently visited a friend in New York who uses the internet, but not social media, I explained to her why I am a fan of both. I told her that I always liked physically hanging out in libraries, and now there is no need to go anywhere to do so. During the 3 years that I have done research on my family tree ancestry.com has constantly improved, providing a never-ending adventure into history with more data than anyone can handle. I am in tribes with many fun food bloggers who replace my cookbook habit with exciting new ideas. It is easier to find a zillion recipes by Google than it is to hunt in a physical library. The first of November I began a library fast that will last for a year. At first I freaked out and felt very attached to the liberal use of my public library as a primary need in my life. After a while I heard my own words come back to me as I encouraged my friend to experiment …”Now the library is all around us.”

The three book diet is the most ingenious of diets proposed by Chris Brogan to all within the sound of his voice ( digital power sphere).  Such a clever little minx, he released a book and at the same time started a group dedicated to reading no more that three books all year.  The idea is to saturate oneself and reflect on the content of the books rather than speed read and move to the next conquest.  I already own all the books I have chosen, Chris’ Impact Equation having been zapped into the Kindle on the iPad the day it was released.  I also have How to think Like Leonardo da Vinci on the ibooks in the iPad.  The Sacred Contracts book came in the form of an audio CD, but I have since bought the hardback because it is useful for reference all the time.  On my long drive next week I will listen to the Sacred Contract book again, just to be immersed.  I think I shall also buy the Impact and Leonardo books on audio.  I believe that hearing things is a different form of learning than reading, and hits the mind in a different way each time.  I used to listen to the same Deepak Chopra book every time I worked out on the Pilates reformer.  I have portions memorized to the point that they will never leave my brain. The audio version of Impact Equation will be out in a few weeks, and I will buy it to back up the written one.

I have met a few other participants on the twitter feed #3bd, the most interesting of whom is actually a librarian.  I picture her in the middle of it all, and sticking to her diet.  I may plan to go to the library in St Gallen, or some other fabulous old library at the end of my restriction year. I once went to see the one in St Gall, but found it closed for restoration when I visited.  Who knows what kind of rebound this may cause.  It looks like I am collecting my own little library by owning every format of my three books to start.  This will be an interesting voyage. I can see the merits.

Tapas

November 2, 2012 2 Comments

 

The discipline to finish, to study and to sweat out the details is the path of tapas. Yoga’s mandates for a balanced life, yamas and niyamas regulate the ease with which we find enlightenment.  Tapas is right effort, or dedication. All our efforts are subject to the energy we exert and the commitment we create within our minds.  Belief alone will not bring the rewards that confidence combined with focused work can yield. Self discipline often involves forsaking some addictive or wasteful pursuit for another more admirable one.

As a library freak one can proudly wave the flag of how many books one reads.  I have been enchanted with libraries all my life, and consume content (as it is now known) like there is no tomorrow.  Although I say health is my real wealth, the truth is that the Pima County Library is the only thing that ever actually makes me feel super rich.  I free range browse,  check out certain books many times for recipes and pictures, and mindlessly and greedily reserve every single book on my current  obsession.  I have exhausted the cookbook section in several of the local branches.  I am attached like crazy fire to the idea of never ending books.  The price is right, so what could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Suddenly, a pop quiz about books from my author/ally:

Chris Brogan, who is a favorite author as well as a sometime correspondent/ally issued a challenge to join him in a year of restricting oneself to reading only three books.  It is called the Three Book Diet or #3BD for those who speak hashtag. When the idea was mentioned I quickly found ways to cheat and not really do it, but do it as an experiment.  I was planning to make my third book a revolving cookbook from the library.  After all, I could never be away from the library for an entire year.  This mental rebellion itself was a strong clue to the real motives active here.  When confronted with the idea that we may flit through book after book while never digesting or using any of the valuable methods or ideas acquired I did not need to ask for whom this challenge tolls.  It tolls for me.  My picture is in the cosmic dictionary under dilettante who has read almost every book in the world……not to mention all the various training ad infinitum….(please, not to mention).  I have done my best to choose the three books with integrity, and as little cheating as possible.

The first one already has a notebook with it so I get a two for one..How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb is a great book I have read once and then some.  Sacred Contracts is a book I am studying thoroughly with the tutelage of the author, Caroline Myss.  The ever brilliant Mr Brogan has taken the third with his new book, The Impact Equation.   The challenge involves journaling and making use of the books chosen in an interactive way.  Since Leonardo and Carolyn are already in the workbook homework format, and Brother Brogan is tweeting about it, it seems like a cohesive package.  Yesterday I drove a route that ALWAYS includes a visit to the library.  I thought very carefully about what a year would do to my feelings of abundance.  It is not an easy decision, but I believe that  tapas will become my new source of abundance.

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