Food is tangled with life

Premise: food is always related to what is happening in the rest of our life because the source of our energy is so central to where that energy flows.

Discipline in our life will lead to having discipline in our food.

Fear, stress or anxiety will lead to weight gain or loss.

We associate having or not having food with all the other things in life: whether we are worthy, whether we can have what we want, scarcity and abundance. Sometimes we are starving for some fun or happiness and try to fill the void with food.

If we eat well we have a lot of energy and can run joyfully after our goals and aspirations. If we eat badly we always feel tired and struggle just to maintain our current stuckness and homoeostasis. Eating toxic, non-nutritive food disturbs our sleep and fogs our mind. We lose our emotional sensitivity and as a result, we allow our lives to fill with noxious relationships.

If ate better we would be unable to ignore our emotions when they tell us that “this is not right”. On some level, we know this so we avoid detoxing altogether.

Inflow and outflow of energy are intimately connected. Food is a drug, and different foods have wildly differing effects on our digestion and overall life flavour. Chemically and biologically different foods change us to an enormous extent. The bacteria found on fruit, potatoes and steak are not the same yet some people insist on calling food, food. Without taking into account what type it is.

If eating badly is self-sabotage then it is a lot more common then  suddenly there is a whole new perspective on life. Then the obesity epidemic (along with a more silent depression epidemic) is not really about food, but about the other things in life. About the type of society that they are in.  If bad eating habits are a form of self-sabotage then there is a massive and growing proportion of the population that is resisting life.

Eating with people is a big thing. When people eat together they synchronize, even more than just speaking to each other. We consume roughly the amount of food that the other person consumes. Almost every social occasion has snacks. They give people something to do with their hands, prevent people from ravenous hunger and most importantly help people bond.

In primitive times, people sharing their food with you could be the difference between thriving, thriving or starving. It was a big deal.

We influence each other a lot with our food choices. Somebody that you do not even know may become obese and it will affect your weight if they are a friend of your friend.

Different motivations for personal development.

People who do personal development do so for different reasons, but I think that without losing too much information we can discern a few basic categories: Self-esteem, next level and struggle.

Low self-esteem.

People who do not feel good enough. They feel unworthy of their life and blame their own inadequacy every time something does not go their way. They grasp at personal development as a cure-all panacea that will solve all their problems and make them finally worthy. This never happens. No amount of external achievement will make someone believe that they are worthy when they do not think they are. There is always something bigger, better, faster that if they could just achieve they would be worthy. They believe that life will be happy and without strain or struggle.

Achievement lies on a spectrum. There is an absolute minimum. There is a limit on how bad your life can get. On the upside, the limit has not ever been found. Human history is the story of growing, plateauing, decaying. These last two hundred years has been a story of up, into the clouds and higher. So there is always somebody doing something better than you or doing more.

These people come to personal development because they are not okay. Many keep chasing the next fad and never realise that being okay comes from inside. Some realise that they are okay and then keep going from a place of already good enough.

Success, now what?

People who achieve conventional success by getting a high-status job, making a lot of money or reaching the top in their respective field. Sportstars, pop singers, karate masters and CEOs. They feel lost or like they hit a plateau from which they can’t seem to break through.

They seek to go to the next level or do something that brings them more fulfilment. Their old passions no longer excite them or they feel stuck in a rut. They crave the novelty of being a beginner once more but don’t know where to start.

Nothing works. Make it work!

People who have a big problem that resists their every effort to solve. They can’t keep the weight off, their relationships are hell, they hate their job, they have anger management issues, they keep fighting with their children.

The only way these people solve their problem is if they face the truth and drastically change. When they stop resisting the problem they can start solving it. It still takes time as they have to train the necessary skills but they usually solve them if they persist.

Some people refuse the truth and nobody can help them until they become willing to change. Those who do look back after a few years and are astounded at how far they have come.

I have been all three of these at different times. Low-self esteem because I blamed myself for feeling isolated and lonely. Success because getting good marks had been easy and the schoolwork was frequently boring. Nothing works because I overlooked the many things that were working perfectly. Because life has inherent trade-offs and there will always be more over the horizon that you can chase after and delay your happiness indefinitely.

I am sure as time goes by I will refine and update these categories, but for now they are useful.

To happiness, and beyond!


Life as dance

I am excited!

I found a new way to talk about life. It’s a lot less obscure than a Brownian motion. It allows way better expression of nuances. It’s embodied. It’s dance.

Life is a dance. A dance doesn’t aim to get somewhere but is about movement. You can dance fast or slow. You can dance wildly or precisely. You can dance on the spot or sweep a whole dance floor.

You can dance alone or with a partner. In a cliche, group or mob. You can set the pace or sway with the crowd. You can mix and match styles or be a purist.

You can dance with your whole body or have a segment dominate.

Your dance filled with rapid transitions or a slow evolution into a different form.

There is no dance without people. Without moves there is just a jumble of discord. – Without action there is no life without rest life is empty

Without connection there is no warmth. Without solitude there is no silence.

You can dance by creating your own moves, by imitating others or anywhere on the spectrum between them.

You can dance to your own drum,  merge was with the flow, rush to catch up or set the pace.

If you dance in harmony it flows wonderfully. If you are out of tune you need to use great effort to little effect.

To happiness, and beyond!

Finding the wrong routes.

I played a logic puzzle games called Grow Tower. It is not a very complicated game. You have to place blocks in different sequences, trying to grow your tower as high as you can. The blocks interact with each other and can set off cascades. You could solve it by just brute force trying all the different combinations, but it’s faster to see the patterns and construct a solution.

After finding most of the correct moves it still took a surprising amount of failed attempts to finally crack the pattern and beat it. It was very satisfying to do so. The animations were unique and I enjoyed watching them.

There are more such puzzles. A specific one that is a lot more complicated and has a completely different setup that one I have not cracked. I suspected for a while that I would not crack it by trying to keep it all in my head. Yet I still delayed in starting to write down the wrong solutions. This puzzle will take me at least a few hours, maybe more.

I have started to write down the wrong solutions so that I make sure not to retrace them. If I want to solve the puzzle I have to keep going.

We(I have) done the same in life. Not taking the effortful road even though we can see that the easy one is not going to work. Persisting with ineffective solutions. I don’t know whether it is just the sunk cost fallacy or whether people are just unwilling to accept that it will take a lot more work than they would have liked. A lot more than they thought initially. Huh. I’m just talking to myself again.

Persistence. To keep trying is something that could lead to more success in solving puzzles and in life generally. I wonder why I seem to quit near the end. When the going gets hard. Maybe school taught me that it is always easy. Yet I know some things cannot be bought. Discipline. Self-control. Self-confidence. Enthusiasm.

I think. Probably too much. But I think that we could all probably do with a measure of reflection. We could all stop doing the thing we know is not going to work. We don’t need to be afraid of trying and failing. The great journeys have many dead ends. Roads that end up at being only to a place with a great view are also worth walking. Life is a Brownian motion.  The game of life is truly worth playing.

To happiness, and beyond!


Living as a new re-incarnation

While I walk to the University of Witwatersrand for gymnastics practise I listen to podcasts. They include The Primal Happiness, The Charge, The One you Feed. In a recent episode of primal happiness, Chris Morris said something that blew my mind. Paraphrasing it: When you were 8 years old you had a different body, your appearance and dress was different, you spoke differently, thought differently and socialised with different people. So when did that person become you? Would you agree that to all intents and purposes you re-incarnated?

This blew my mind. That reincarnation is not after death and then being reborn, but as a continuous process that happens as we grow and change. This lens can explain so much, and is to me more powerful than the standard interpretation of reincarnation. Where you draw the line between the previous you and the current you, your previous life and your current life I do not know. It could be a year, a few months, a day, differing scales depending on the amount of change or an infinitesimally small amount a la calculus.

So in each moment we act, decide and change by being reborn into a new life. And we hold the reins of change. We can decide where we are going.

This lens totally demystifies past-life regression or experiences. We just call them memories. different body parts change at different speeds. We reincarnate a stomach lining within a few weeks, 10 % of our fat cells each month, and our nerve tissue changes the slowest. So your nervous system which underpins all that you are changes the slowest and the way you eat starts changing you within days.

Each story is the story of a reincarnation. A rebirth from experience. Every time that we as individuals go through a major life event that changes us, we are reborn as a new person. So as what person will you reincarnate if you keep doing what you are doing now?

To happiness, and beyond!



Start with what you know works

I am a big fan of experimenting. I think that it is the only way to reach the highest levels in all we do. However, before you experiment, start with what you know works.

With most things there are simple solutions that we know will work.  With finances, it is spending less than you save. With health, it is sleep, healthy food and exercise. With relationships, it is listening and being there for the other person. With building muscle, it is lifting heavy weights. Life is showing up.

For everything imagineable, there are a few simple solutions that will get you where you want to go. There might be faster solutions, cheaper solutions or more effective solutions but you don’t know which solutions work and which are useless. If you already have the basics then not only can you experiment in those areas, I think you should. Once you have the basics.

There might be 100 different methods and thousands of techniques, but most people know  at least one. And if you do not know even one technique, action or step to take, then my friend, there is Google…

If most things have such simple solutions and we know the solutions, why don’t we do them?

The reasons are many and diverse. But usually they boil down to the essentials of negative feelings in life: Fear of the unknown, looking for a quick fix, bad environment.

Fear of the unknown:

This one is easy to fix. The answer is: IT’S NOT EASY

Ultimately we have no guarantees in life and that is something that will never  change. How you deal with this is up to you, but there are no easy answers. If you don’t find an answer that works for you then you will never really be alive. Some people use religion to bridge this gap, others use courage or hope or they hide in relationships. It doesn’t really matter if what you believe is true as long as it is useful. Does it allow you to wake up happy and live fully? Yes? Then it’s a pretty good answer.

Looking for a quick fix:

This will never disappear, for the simple reasons of genetics and statistics. Our ancestors were gamblers. Those (the minority) who won, had offspring. Those who lost, lost. It is occasionally true that you can get something for nothing, get a quick fix that works or discover a powerful secret first. Sometimes you can beat the odds – but the odds are against it. For a more in-depth explanation read the book Tempo.
The only way to consistently and sustainably get results is if you put in the work. Don’t be sadistic and take a longer route than necessary. Experiment with different angles to sift your truth from the useless bulk of common wisdom. But start by putting in the work.

Bad environment:

We are highly influenceable and some environments set us up to fail. Ultimately it is your responsibility to choose your environment and change it if it does not support you. This includes your physical, social and mental environments.My post on your environment.

Known strategies:

This is what culture is: a collection of what works. Culture and training allow us to skip the dead ends explored by previous generations and go further than those before us. But environments change and what was once impossible becomes possible. That is why culture is always changing and sometimes collapses. Trust that our ancestors knew something of value, verify for yourself that it is still a correct and optimal choice. By experimenting and taking advantage of new opportunities you can significantly improve your own and other’s life.

To happiness, and beyond!