On the Go Movement, Growing Good Habits and Elon Musk

 The Emotion & Motion Connection 

I stay in youth-mode – powered with an ageless mind – armed with a liberated, open, playful, light-hearted and free-spirited attitude. In youth-mode, I am limitless.

Not exercising each day makes me feel lethargic and depressed. Over the past decade I have noticed that all forms of daily, disciplined movement – walking, biking, running, yoga, Pilates -helps to soften the rigid suit of armor I call my body. Tense from head to toe, my body takes in and holds all of my emotions – memorized in the tightening of each muscle. The connection between my emotions and motion is fascinating to me. Stretching releases the ache and tightness I feel in my neck as I release the “weight of the world” from my shoulders. Sit-ups strengthen my lower back so I feel strong and “supported” as I feel my “intuition” making better “gut reactions” from strengthening from my core. Squats help tone my legs and my knees and joints give me more balanced, confident  “legs to stand on”.

Habits are Everything

We are an accumulation of everything we do daily. To see change in our lives we must change the way we go about our day. I use to wake up worried, now I turn the channel in my mind  to gratitude – literally forcing my mind to think about what I truly appreciate in my life from the moment I open my eyes.

Eat More Salt to Curb Sugar Cravings and eating healthier on the go.

My next good habit will be switching my taste buds to healthier on-the-go eating  – especially for days like today – when I have been on a golf cart buggy to the dock, boat to the mainland, taxi to the airport, plane to the States, and finally train to my car. I will shop, plan and make snacks to bring along – fresh vegetables, salads and home made health to eat along the way.

Elon Musk -Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future  by Ashlee Vance

I just started reading the incredibly fascinating life of Elon Musk. creator of the Tesla and now working on a way to have us living in outer space.

Where Mark Zuckerberg wants us sharing baby photos, Musk wants to save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation. He’s wired like a scientist and suffers mental anguish at the sight of a factual error.

Love this thought from Musk – “It seems like one should make the world a better place, because the inverse makes no sense.”

Happiness is a Skill, The Dangers of Impoverished Thinking and Coconut Muscle Mylk

bikeCall it what you will, bliss, contentment, excitement, enthusiasm, well-being, enchantment — happiness is a skill, a skill that needs to be trained and practiced daily.  My mind and body training includes a daily ritual (beginning around 5:30 am) of gratitude prayer, stoic philosophy studies, meditation practice, workout training (running, hiking, biking, swimming and high intensity interval training) and learning something new every single day.

Self- experiment for the day – to pay very careful, non-judgmental attention to the contents of my consciousness in the present moment. To watch my mind – to bring my soul into harmony with itself, and not let my purpose be out of tune. Seneca wisdom Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) Why all this mind watching? Because it’s a over-crowded zoo in there.

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Through the Lens of Thought
What lens are you using? The way we see and think about things is the most powerful force that shapes our lives. Any impoverished thoughts that are brought into our perception are like poison for the brain. This would be thinking that is deprived of richness or strength; thoughts that are limited or depleted.  Yeah, these thoughts have to go.   Inspired by the wisdom of  Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

 

Lolas

Biking Plantation Run & Coconut Muscle Mylk from COMO Parrot Cay

Rode the sweet four-mile palm-covered path to the fresh coconut plantation on Parrot Cay. Yes they grow their own and serve it up for breakfast daily.

Coconut Muscle Milk

This delicious drink speeds muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and replenishing electrolytes and nutrients with 1 banana, 1/2 cup young coconut water, 3 slices of coconut meat, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of almond milk, handful of flax seeds, 3 dates and a few cocoa beans. Blend and replenish.

On Exploration, Sailing and Wandering

 
  We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. -Andre Gide

Just as a goldfish remains small in its bowl, but grows when placed in bigger bodies of water, so will we. Here’s to embracing change. To forgetting about feeling secure in the pond you are in. 

In the words of Joy Bell, “Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason you don’t have something better.”

A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander. Roman Payne, The Wanderess 

  

Dreaming Big, the Maldives and Shambala in Bali

bali-17-the-holy-water-15-728‘Man needs reckless courage to descend into the abyss of himself.” – Yeats

Somewhere along the line, over the course of a few decades – between paying the monthly mortgage, grinding through the 50 + hour work week, suffering through the daily three hour commute, sitting in front of a screen for eight to ten hours, my heart-felt dreams faded into the background and literally sailed off into the far-away sunset.  I’d forgotten how to dream. I became fearful of the “unknown”. I felt like I was leaning forward, tumbling into the fear of the future. 

No More Fear

Around this time last year, I reached a point. The point where my mind, body and spirit just said no to the manic attempts to run from my life and bury myself in work and possessions.

“A time comes when you know that you can no longer wallpaper your soul.”

This deep inner reflection takes rigorous daily practice, because if you are or were stuck like me, you need to unwind the tape and reverse back into your own true nature to discover the deepest natures of your fear. It’s a painful path and the self-delusion must cease to exist. Every excuse you make is nothing more than an attempt to justify why you are not doing what you truly dream.

Interesting side note: the phrase “do not be afraid” recurs 366 times in the Bible.  think about that.

What is truly important

After shining a flashlight in the face of fear I have discovered -what my heart really longs for is deep love, connections, peace-of-mind, serenity, calmness, security and freedom.

Now I know, one does not need to travel to find any of this, but re-igniting a sense of adventure  also helps set the course.

underwater-sculpure1So this is one of the reasons I yearn and plan to visit Bali and the Maldives. Yes they are on the dream bucket list and yes I am determined to visit, what I believe a place for a soul retrieval – a slice of nirvana – heaven on earth.

I’ve been inspired by others who have gone and have raved about the experience.

I’m just back from Como Shambhala Estate, and life has not been the same since. Spread out across the lip of the Ayung River Valley, about 10 kilometres from Ubud in Bali’s green hinterland, Como Shambhala is a silken, holistic health resort, one of the world’s finest, according to the arbiters of such places, a “Retreat for Change” by its own definition.

Bali and the Maldives. Mother nature provides the magic.

maldives-L-fzBFca

I would love to know, I am very curious, what does your heart long for?

Unleashing Your Best Workout Every Day

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Visiting Parrot Cay (paradise in Turks & Caicos) and staying on track with my exercise routine has been extremely challenging. Staying disciplined with so many options is not easy. Definitely a first world problem, but a dilemma just the same. I also look a bit intense (crazy) doing squats, sit-ups and push-ups on this beach while everyone else is strolling by occasionally bending down to collect a beautiful seashell.

I’m so determined at home, where I have a daily routine – Spinning class, hills to hike, weights to lift and dance classes at the Y. Here, I have to use my imagination while working out with the same intensity. Do I hit the beach? go for a swim? (knowing that this crystal clear water is not something I get to dive into every day), do I bike? How can I possibly go indoors to the gym? Absolutely no way. How do I know that I am exerting the same energy? It’s time to get creative and make this beach my workout playground.

Now, I know what I am committed to – sweating and measuring out 10,000 steps before 8:00 am (thanks FitBitFitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black) and at least 20,000 for the day,  coupled with a daily dose of High Intensity Interval Training, but the sun, the sand, the sea, is distracting the hell out of me.

Unleashing Your Best Workout Everyday

Inspired this morning by Todd Henry, an arms dealer for the creative revolution and author of  The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice and  Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day
These two books are definitely on my reading list.

During his interview on The Unmistakable Creative “Harnessing the Power of Your Authentic Voice“, Todd explains that in order to stay on track and successful you need to be decisive about how you are going to spend your time. Learn what to say no to is extremely important. If you are saying yes to everything you are saying yes to nothing.

When planning out a successful, results-driven, workout routine (and any creative project for that matter) you must set priorities using your finite resources (your focus, assets, time and energy).

Your focuswhat are you attempting to achieve? Your assetswhat tools do you have to work with? Your time  – how long do you have to workout/work/create today? and Your energyare you nourished? well-rested? ready to put in the time?

I’m very curious, what tips do you have for creating an intense workout routine while on vacation?

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The Busy Trap, Turks & Caicos and the Art of Slow Travel

Parrot Cay

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are.  It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing.

Busy, so busy, crazy busy.

It is is pretty obviously a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation. “well that’s a good problem to have!” “Better than the opposite.”

This frantic self-congratulatory business busyness is a distinctly upscale affliction. Notice it isn’t people pulling back to back shifts in the ICU or those taking care of their senescent parents or holding down three minimum wage jobs that have to commute to by bus, who need to tell you how busy they are. What those people are is not busy but tired, exhausted, dead on their feet.  

 It’s almost often said by people who’s lamented business is purely self-imposed- work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily. Classes and activities they’ve encouraged their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety because they are addicted to busyness and dread what they might face in its absence.  –  excerpt from Tim Kreider’s “The Busy Trap”

The Art of Slow Travel

I’m leaving this Sunday for an impromptu week on Turks & Caicos –  Parrot Cay to be precise.  My husband was called down on a design and build mission and I get to tag along. You see we don’t do vacations, we do “adventures”. Sailing excursions where we squeeze six humans on a 35 foot boat for 18 days. Camping trips with small babies up the Cape coast for three weeks. I don’t really understand the concept of doing nothing. It frightens me like nothing else.

So, unfortunately, I’m already worried about the wi-fi. Really? Well there goes 100 hours of meditation practice down the drain. Will I have a bike? 24/7 internet access? transportation to island hop? Access to anything I might, need, want, desire?  What if I get tired of the beach? Will I be “trapped” on this beautiful slice of heaven? And to think I’ve been dreaming of going on a silent meditation retreat. Who am I kidding? Laughing very hard at myself right now.

This neurotic anxiousness of being left out (a bit of FOMO I gather) reminds me of a brilliant essay that Tim Kreider wrote for The New York Times a few years ago. It’s called Lazy, a Manifesto.  For anyone who feels the same, it’s a quick must read- the full essay here The Busy Trap, Tim Kreider and one of my favorite book of short essays buy the same author –

We Learn Nothing: Essays

While I do feel incredibly blessed with this opportunity to go, I ask myself, how will I learn to slow down, savor and enjoy this gift of a “vacation”? Perhaps I will meditate on Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice and enjoy a moment of nothing.

If you can find a moment to sit, wherever you are, stay there and enjoy nothing. Just enjoy your in-breath and out-breath. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by your thinking, worries or projects. Just sit there and enjoy doing nothing; enjoy your breathing and the fact that you are alive . . .

Taken from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh: 365 days of practical, powerful teachings from the beloved Zen teacher

In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions about what to do or see in Turks & Caicos – I would love to hear suggestions.

Blue moon beach

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It is one thing to read and listen to inspiring thoughts, another to put in the effort to practice them. So if life is made of precious moments than I am inspired to create moments that spark joy. To write a better story every day. To live with more intent.

Everything we do brings joy.

Brushing our teeth, cooking our breakfast, walking in the meditation hall — everything we do, every step, every breath should bring joy and happiness to us. Life is already full of suffering; we don’t need to create more. Read Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh: 365 days of practical, powerful teachings from the beloved Zen teacher mise en scène A beautiful blue moon beach picnic in Bayville, Long Island, New York.  A toast to another  long work week endured. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset this photo turned out to looking more like a painting with the VSCO Cam filter. serving up Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Recipe for a crisp coconut & lime shrimp and mango salad. chop and toss the following ingredients with olive oil 20 jumbo lime-soaked shrimp 2 ripe avocados 20 cherry tomatoes (quartered) 1 red onion 1 mango 2 red peppers toss with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil 1/2 cup of shredded coconut 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts Serve with sliced pumpernickel toast points sweetness honey drizzled figs & cold ripe organic cherries The sounds Listen – Astronauts, etc; Glass Animals, Crystal Fighters, Chet Faker, etc . . .

spotify:user:madelinemariejohnson:playlist:3rXEYCjemsQsmGJr0UM6lZ

The late night flick Holy Rollers – free on SnagFilms. I discovered this free indie film site via Tiny Buddha

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Photos processed with Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Creating Headspace, Vagabonding and Living Well

Beatiful-Beaches-World-03

Every day is its own kind of hectic. Filled with lists, work, frustration, chores, bills, etc.  And as much as I’d like to take a leave of absence, a few days off or dare I say, go on a “vacation”, right now I’m satisfied with stealing daily moments of downtime, right where I am.

Near future plans for travel include far off adventures to the Isle of Skye in Scotland; Bahia, Brazil; Angkor Wat, Cambodia;Koh Rong in the Gulf of Thailand; Palau in the Pacific . . . . .wild and natural places, near and far.

The mindset of a traveler.

I’m currently listening to the audio version of Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. More like a guide book for freeing your life, it’s not just about tactical advice on own to make room for your own travel adventures, it’s about adapting a new way of thinking, living, working and exploring the world.

A sample quote –

“Vagabonding is an attitude—a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life—a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it.”

Read

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

A Meditation Vacation

Oh how I look forward to the adventures ahead, but in the meantime, I keep my mind in a calm, relaxed and summer vacation-like state with meditation. I began practicing Vipassana meditation about three months ago for about 10 minutes a day. It’s not easy letting go of all the racing thoughts and anxious emotions, so I looked for a guide.

I started with the Headspace App.  It’s an app created by Andy, a zen-like surfer who teaches you how to meditate. It really is genius. The first 10 minute meditation has you focus just on breathing and I found it to be incredibly soothing.  Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day

Becoming aware of the mind’s power to incorporate moments of calm and peace, the type of relaxed inner calm you might get on a vacation can serve to reduce stress in just a few seconds. It’s like a road trip for the mind.

For mere living is not good, but living well is another thing altogether. Reflect on the quality of your life, not the quantity. – Seneca
Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)

 

 

 

wanderlusting

jazz for the jetset

The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels. What pleasure is there in seeing new lands? Or in surveying cities and spots of interest? All your bustle is useless.

Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself. You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you.

You need a change of soul rather than climate.

Read Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)