Sunday, November 23, 2014

Optimal Performance

We all seek or crave performing optimally. It looks good to onlookers and even if no one is around it certainly feels good to do something well. At work we want to do our jobs well, to make good decisions, to be creative, to be efficient. Playing sports or even board games we try to perform well. At home doing chores, efficiency is optimal. Being part of a family and raising children we want to get it right. Being social, we try to be contributors. It's almost as if trying to perform well is one of our basic instincts.

To achieve optimal performance we look to education, training, practice, and in often, good old fashioned hope. "I hope I do well!"

One of the most powerful tools but yet the most underused and under recognized conduits to optimal performance is nutrition. What, how and when we eat has a huge effect on how we perform. Eating and drinking effects our mind, our body and our resolve.

First order of business is eliminate foods that don't provide nutritional value(and there are many of them), and then find nutritional alternatives for food that is inflammatory. Then put down the fork between each bite. Then don't go and get seconds and certainly be aware of eating snacks. Our bodies are master geniuses and will balance themselves perfectly over time. Give them the right food, and even if we miss a meal here and there over overeat every now and again, and they will take care of the rest.

Within two weeks, without fail, we will start to notice we are stronger, faster, smarter. From Einstein to Djokovic, from an employee sitting in a cube to someone training for their first marathon, from parents to lovers...clarity, awareness, endurance, energy, excitement, fulfillment...will prevail.

"Don't live to eat....EAT to LIVE" as Gandhi would say. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Being willing to change the concept of myself

These words are advice from Wayne Dyer.  And advice that I embodied last night while trying a couple of yoga poses.  One month ago, after four years of a daily asana practice, I had developed an expectation of what poses I could do and how far into them I could go.  Take a forward fold as an example.  Four years ago, I was lucky to touch my shins.  A month ago, after a few sun salutations, I was able to tilt my hips enough so that my palms could touch the ground. One part of me marveled at the progress, while another part of me was frustrated that my hamstrings were still so tight that I was still far from sandwiching my belly to my straight legs.

Now, after surgery, I can only fold over enough to touch my knees.  Last night my concept of myself was a well progressed forward fold but not far enough.  Because of that concept, only being able to touch my knees, sets off a vortex of frustration and dissatisfaction.  And then I realized, this body that I have at this moment, is my body, is who I am and that I must do my best to experience today with this body.  My physical state now is no different than any other point in my life, meaning that today it can do what it can do, as much as one month ago, it could just do what it could do.  The difference in experiencing life does not depend on whether I can stick my head between my knees, it depends my attention to that moment.

Its time to try and be open to being someone I never imagined I would be...

Why Companies Are Turning To Meditation And Yoga To Boost The Bottom Line

Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna says, "profit is not the goal, profit is the output of a mission driven organization that delivers a consistent product to their customers".  Mr Bertolini fuels this mantra with a personal yoga practice, and a company wide yoga offering.  And per the attached article Promega and others are doing the same thing...successfully boosting their bottom line with yoga and meditation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Be careful what we practice because we will get good at it.

Anything that we do repeatedly is our practice.  Brushing our teeth, checking our emails/Facebook, our daily jobs, eating, driving, exercising, having fun and the many other things that are obvious to the senses.  Not so obvious practices might be procrastination, how we respond to emotions, or our intention behind our actions. Perhaps we wake up each day and think "Welcome to the best day of my life", or perhaps we wake up and think "My job sucks!".  Anything that we do repeatedly, whether its every hour, or every day or every week, is our practice and the more we do the better we get at it and the more it shapes our lives.

What do we want to be good at?  Michael Jordan wanted to win championships so everyday he practiced free throws, dribbling, passing, and running - over and over again.  His mastery of the basics made him great.

First we should look at what we practice, and make sure that we want to good at it.  The next step is thinking about how we practice.  I check my emails all the time, and in this day and age I want to be a good emailer.  However, now that I think about it, checking my email continuously throughout the day seems inefficient, overwhelming and takes me away from other work that is important.  I must start to develop a practice that reduces the amount of email I get and allocate certain times each day for emails.  This practice will be difficult, but the more I do it, the better at it I will become and the more more productive overall I will be.

Our intention rules the roost.  By paying attention to our intention, and by practicing intentions that represent our priorities and who we want to be, then our actions will follow suit.

Practice will make us good at what we want to do and who we want to be.  Start with the basics!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Corporations are our role models

Some believe that we choose our parents. If you don't believe that you must certainly agree that we choose the people that we look up to.  Be it a boss, a mentor, a teacher, a friend or perhaps someone famous.  We choose who influences the way we act and how we think.

Every day, in every way we choose to be influenced by the corporations of the world and in turn corporations help to shape the way we act and think.  Today's technology makes that quite obvious...think iPhone, or Facebook, or Google.  Go back 100 years and think Ford.  Now settle into all the less obvious companies that are part of our lives every day.  Perhaps its the company we work for, or the company with which we partner, and its certainly the companies who manufacture and distribute all the stuff we depend on, from food to fun, clothes to cars, travel to technology.

It seems that choosing the companies that shape our lives is as important as choosing a mentor.

Now lets flip the coin.  Do companies realize their position as role model in this world?  Executives must focus their attention on their impact.  Yes, environmental impact is important, as is social impact. But also the realization that they have a more subtle effect on peoples lives, and that through the matrix of commerce, consumption and corporate structure the general population emulates the behavior of those who run the worlds' corporations.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Accepting Impermanence

I stand naked in front of the mirror and see a colostomy bag hanging from the left side of my abdomen. 

Coming to terms with this new me I realize has many layers. It is a quick study in the importance and effectiveness of leaving the past behind. It is still not such a quick study in not getting sucked in by the future. 

I find myself thinking back to changing my mind about having this surgery, and thinking back to ease and grace of my daily elimination. This nostalgia subsides before becoming destructive when I remember that this change is irreversible. Then I ponder the future. The high maintenance level of a colostomy, being seen with a bag hanging out my clothing, public uncontrolled gastric gas, being intimate. These thoughts linger longer. My mind still does not have to commit to them yet, so they remain as fear. 

In the meantime these thoughts allow me to philosophize. This colostomy is like a balance allowing me to feel the weight of this experience vs what was and what I think might be. It allows me to feel the weight change of what I thought was important, when I look at my priorities through the magnifying glass of the permanent impermanence I see in the mirror.

I went into this surgery, knowing that having a colostomy will not change anything that I want to do with the rest of my life. I went in knowing that that removing the tumor is critical to my healing. I went in knowing that this remedy to this Cancer situation represents my place in time.  

Now I must heal. I must heal patiently, not quickly so that I can take pride in fast recovery. I must take time and let my wounds and my bladder find their way back to functionality, even if it takes longer then expected. I have plenty of time!!