Stress, Patterns and Re-patterning Our Lives

In the past, I had posted regularly about my qigong practice and its’ impact in my life.

Lately, I thought I had been unable to perform these routines due to the incredibly slow internet connection at the hotel where I have been staying for the past ~3 weeks.  Normally, when I perform Qigong for Stress Relief, I log in to Gaiam TV and select the video from my playlist.  This service costs approximately $10/month but is well worth it for the wealth of material available on their website.  However, the slow internet connection left most of the videos I tried to stream with more time “buffering” than actually playing.

Qigong for Stress Relief Video

Over the past few weeks, I have altered my life routines pretty significantly.  While I thought I was unable to perform these exercises, I began performing other workouts as well as maintaining my running schedule.  Recently, I began making audio recordings using a small, Zoom H2 audio recorder that I purchased years ago for making field recordings of old-time music at festivals and jam sessions.  I brought this on the road with me during my travels as one of the goals I had was to begin making podcasts.

While using the recorder, I remembered that I had created audio recordings of all the Tai Chi and Qigong routines I was regularly performing.  I wanted to do this so that I could continue these routines when I went into the backcountry in Joshua Tree.  I was able to listen to the audio of these routines and perform my AM Chi routine during sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park, an experience I will likely remember for the rest of my life.  Today, I remembered that I had these audio recordings as I spent time creating my podcasts.  It is important to point out that I was able to make this happen due to the creation of goals and the taking of steps to achieve them.

These steps are part of living a deliberate lifestyle and trying to actively engage in healthy, positive and beneficial life changes.  In the past I had written about how I was performing these routines with more frequency in an effort to do the same thing, ultimately leading towards improved health and wellness.  As I reconnected with this routine after a month or so of going without it, I found myself feeling the same feelings of relief and connection as before.  As I performed this practice, I was very mindful of how “grounded” I felt.

The couple that leads this routine are Francesco Garripoli and Daisy Lee Garripoli.  In past blog posts I took the time to outline some of what they said throughout the routine.  Because this resonates so much with me, it bears repeating and I have taken the time to revisit some of these blog posts from the past and share them again…

 

“So much of stress in life comes from dealing with change.  The ancients knew that through these exercises, learning how to shift your weight and your body was an example and a symbol how to learn and shift your weight in circumstances in life.”

“So many times in life we have such stress that comes from moments where we feel like we’re a victim, or we feel like we are dis-empowered or that somebody is taking away our ability to express ourselves.  Let this exercise be a way to pull in the energy you need and express it as you need it.”

 “So much of stress comes from the mind wandering and worrying.  Exercises like this can keep your focus and train your focus to help use the mind to settle your energy, increase your immune system and bring yourself into balance.”

 “So much of stress in our life comes from patterns that are destructive patterns we repeat over and over again, creating stressful situations, putting us into situations that create more stress and the pattern repeats itself.  By creating exercises like this in your daily repertoire, we find that we can re-pattern our life with positive patterns and replace the destructive patterns with positive, calming, centering exercises.”

Throughout the routine, Francesco Garripoli talks about how stress comes from dealing with change and how our minds wander and worry.  I think that while this is correct, it is even more accurate to say that these stresses come as a result of our inability to deal with the change.  These exercises help us deal with some of life’s transitions in a more healthy, positive and beneficial way than most of us (including myself) are accustomed to.  We deal with stress the best way we know how…because the reality is, often times that is the only way we know how.

The ways that we deal with stress are ways that we have learned over the course of our lives.  We have been engaging in certain types of behaviors for years and it takes active and deliberate living to learn new skills in order to cope with and deal with life stresses in different ways.  Often times, our stress snowballs because we continue dealing with “life stuff” in the best way that we know how…except more often than not the ways that we deal with this “life stuff” is not the best way or the most healthy way…but it is the only way.

It remains the only way we know until we get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Often times we seek counseling, or read books or talk with friends and family to try and learn new ways to cope with this life stuff.  Often times we try and incorporate these new patterns into our lives and while sometimes successful…we often times have failures.  For me, my failures often came because the pain of the change was frequently more painful than the pain of the initial stress – so I just continued to deal with things as they were.  “It wasn’t that bad,” I would tell myself.

After a while, I realized that this was merely settling for a life of mediocrity and complacency.  The reality was that it wasn’t that bad…but something inside of me knew that it could be much better – but only if I allowed it to be.  I continued on with my attempts at re-patterning my life with healthy, positive and beneficial behaviors.  I continued seeking the company of people I respected, admired and looked up to.  I continued persevering and doing what I could to overcome the adversity of life.

Many times along the way, I fell and fell hard.  It didn’t matter.  I got back up again and continued putting one foot in front of the other.   I found support and strength in my friends and family.  When I was too proud to reach out to them, I tried to deal with it myself…only to learn that life seems to operate much smoother when we allow others into our lives.  Whether those “others” are people or a higher power, I found that it was much more difficult when I tried to go it alone.

Regardless, I continue striving to identify and recognize all these patterns in life and re-patterning when appropriate.

Stay tuned. 

 

An Example of a Primal Diet for a Modern Day Caveman Extremist

So frequently I write about crap that most people don’t care about and/or I’m trying to convey a message across.  Yes, I utilize this platform just like many others to express my point of view, even if others may find it offensive.  Before I digress into another rant about the transformative change that needs to take place in our society, I’d like to take a pomodoro to write about my diet!

Today is Sunday, and as has become typical for my routine, I find myself preparing some food for the week.  At this stage in my life, weekly food preparation is very easy with the local grocery stores and the easy availability of good, healthy food.  While cooking up some chicken breasts, I found myself making a quick shake for a nice and easy snack.  So, I snapped a quick picture and here we are.

20130210-141827.jpg

This shake is very easy, it has:

Blend it all up and drink.  DONE

I have a Braun handblender and a blender bottle (without the blender ball) and it works perfectly.

This shake, is part of my current diet.  For several months now, I have been eating this diet, or a slight variation of it for several months now.  What is outlined below is typically my diet for 5 of 7 days.  Currently, I am trying to stay on this diet even on the weekends for budgetary reasons as well as for training purposes with an upcoming marathon in April.  I want to ensure my body is in tip-top shape over the next few months.

My diet over the past two years has altered and changed significantly since my move out west to California.  I eased into my healthy ways initially with the help of my girlfriend at the time.  She did the grocery shopping and I simply ate what she bought.  She was such a good influence on me and modifying my diet in an easy and delicious, yet healthy and nutritious way.  Her amazing salads made the transition to healthy eating SUPER easy!  This set the tone and helped me change my eating patterns.

Fast forward a couple years and here we are!  The daily diet I speak of consists of something similar to this:

Breakfast

Snacks throughout the morning

  • 1 vitamin / greens drink (1 serving Vibrant Health Green Vibrance, 1 serving Nature’s Plus Source of Life Liquid, 1 tbsp Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar) occasionally and preferably, I will use the Youngevity line of vitamins and supplements.
  • I initially tried the 90 for Life Healthy Start Pak and was very pleased with the results.  I believe the Youngevity products are of the highest quality.  The saying “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here.  Due to their cost, I purchase a less expensive fish oil supplement and rotate out my multi-vitamin mineral drink.  I think with increased training over the next few months I will return to using the Youngevity higher quality vitamins and supplements.)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Apple
  • ~1.5 cup Hawaiian Mix (some awesome mix of dried coconut shavings, cranberries, banana chips, papaya, raisins, pineapple and macadamia nuts among other awesome things)

Lunch Salad

  • 4-5 cups of general 50/50 mix of lettuce blend and spinich
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • ~1/4 cup walnuts
  • ~1/8 gup goat cheese
  • ~1/8 cup dressing

Lunch and/or Afternoon Snacks

Dinner

  • 1 serving Raw Meal
  • 3-4 Eggs (sometimes raw, but only with fresh and local eggs) as a post-run add-in

Periodic snacks throughout the evening on a various trail mix.

With the additional training and mileage over the past few weeks, I have increased my caloric intake by eating additional chicken breasts and walnuts in my salad.  Also, I have just about doubled the amount of eggs I am eating because I found a great local source for fresh eggs.  Ironically enough she is also a good source for milk…for my dog, of course.  You know…there’s federal legislation against the sale of raw milk for human consumption.  While it was common to drink raw and unpasteurized milk until the 20th century, we now have federal legislation for “our protection.”  Thank goodness!

Moreover, all the fruit and vegetables I buy are organic as much as possible.  In an effort to reduce my traditional dairy intake, I am limiting my intake to raw cow milk or store bought goat milk.  Cheese intake limited to goat cheese only.  I limit my wheat gluten intake to the bread in the morning, but justify it because it is heady and free range Ezekial bread.  Oh yeah, it’s also worth mentioning so I get respect from all the hippies out there.  Yeah, yeah mother Gaia and all that shit, too.  At any rate moving forward…I fry all my eggs in coconut oil.  Currently I’m using Nature’s Way Coconut Oil for no other reason than it tastes good and is readily available at my local supermarket and via Amazon.

Many establishment “health professionals” frown on the use of coconut oil because it’s high in fat.  It’s safe to say that I am not really to keen on “the establishment” and we’ll leave it at that for now.  Also, there’s plenty of people out there (including myself) that might frown on my use of ham steaks for various reasons.  But I vary my diet up enough that this isn’t a big issue.  Everything in moderation.  Besides, with the amount of mileage I am logging these days (30+ miles / week) I could eat just about anything!  But with that said, I am trying to shave off a few pounds over the next few months with the marathon coming up.  This seems like the appropriate time to really get serious about my diet, so I’m doing it!

So that’s about a run down of how a modern day caveman extremist like me tries to eat for good health and well being.

Stay tuned.

AM & PM Chi for Beginners | GaiamTV

A.M. T’ai Chi with Master David-Dorian Ross takes you through the following three movement segments: Gathering Chi in Six Directions recharges your spirit with fresh energy, 
Eight Pieces of Brocade harmonizes your internal organs and releases toxins and Open Heart unlocks energy, focuses the mind and soothes your emotions.

Awaken and energize your morning practice with these simple movements, coordinated breath and visualization. A.M. Chi helps you find your own natural energy and focus to begin your day. You’ll get a great start with this essential practice, gently and expertly guided by renowned fitness expert David Dorian Ross.

via AM & PM Chi for Beginners | GaiamTV.

Qigong for Stress Relief | GaiamTV

I have been engaging in various chi practices 5-6 times a week for about 7-8 months.  As I listen to the introduction to the video, wondering what to write the accompanying statements above…I have nothing of any significance to add.

Based on my own personal experiences, the statements below are entirely accurate.  The statement I identify most with is this:  As you get in touch with Chi, or the energy aspect of who you are, you begin to see how your life can change, and change for the better.  

Try qigong practice for yourself and experience the results.

Qigong is an ancient health and wellness practice originating in China. This Qigong for stress relief video features different systems of Qigong that follow the basic tenants and principles of this great practice – including focused breathing, visualization techniques, posture, and specific body movements. The unique part of Qigong is that the exercises not only strengthen and heal the body; they also strengthen and heal the mind, balance the emotions, and boost your overall energy level.

The energy component of Qigong really gives it its effectiveness. As you get in touch with Chi, or the energy aspect of who you are, you begin to see how your life can change, and change for the better. These exercises were selected to help bring your energy level in balance, and as a result, reduce stress and increase your sense of well-being.

via Qigong for Stress Relief | GaiamTV.

 

“So much of stress in life comes from dealing with change.  The ancients knew that through these exercises, learning how to shift your weight and your body was an example and a symbol how to learn and shift your weight in circumstances in life.”

“So many times in life we have such stress that comes from moments where we feel like we’re a victim, or we feel like we are dis-empowered or that somebody is taking away our ability to express ourselves.  Let this exercise be a way to pull in the energy you need and express it as you need it.”

“So much of stress comes from the mind wandering and worrying.  Exercises like this can keep your focus and train your focus to help use the mind to settle your energy, increase your immune system and bring yourself into balance.”

“So much of stress in our life comes from patterns that are destructive patterns we repeat over and over again, creating stressful situations, putting us into situations that create more stress and the pattern repeats itself.  By creating exercises like this in your daily repertoire, we find that we can re-pattern our life with positive patterns and replace the destructive patterns with positive, calming, centering exercises.”

“So all these exercises are about moving chi, our vital life force energy.  When chi is blocked or stagnant, it creates stress.”

Francisco Garripoli, via Qigong for Stress Relief | GaiamTV.

Bragg Live Foods, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, Bragg Liquid Aminos,Systemic Enzymes, Bragg Live Organic Food Products, Patricia Bragg, Paul Bragg, Bragg Organic Olive Oil, Bragg Salad Dressings, Bragg Seasonings, Bragg Health Products

Following the old cliché, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” apples are one of the oldest, most nutritious foods on earth. They are rich in potassium, a mineral many of us are deficient in, and a deficiency that causes old age to creep upon us sooner. Calcium maintains our hard tissues such as bones, and potassium is the equivalent to the body’s soft tissues, keeping the body’s flesh and arteries soft and resilient. Fresh, organic apples are used to make Apple Cider Vinegar, which contains necessary ingredients, such as enzymes, and life-stimulating minerals, mainly potassium, in a natural state. Besides being a natural stimulant for vitality, Apple Cider Vinegar cleanses and restores nutrients to the body so that the body can heal itself. [BACK]

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Helps Remove Body Toxins * Helps Promote a Youthful Body *Helps support a healthy immune system * Helps Maintain Healthy Skin * Helps Control Weight * Improves Digestion and Assimilation * Soothes Tight and Aching Joints and Sore Muscles from exercise * Soothes irritated skin.

via Bragg Live Foods, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, Bragg Liquid Aminos,Systemic Enzymes, Bragg Live Organic Food Products, Patricia Bragg, Paul Bragg, Bragg Organic Olive Oil, Bragg Salad Dressings, Bragg Seasonings, Bragg Health Products.

Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Been adding this to my morning vitamin / mineral supplement shake!

Qigong for Stress Relief | GaiamTV

Qigong is an ancient health and wellness practice originating in China. This Qigong for stress relief video features different systems of Qigong that follow the basic tenants and principles of this great practice – including focused breathing, visualization techniques, posture, and specific body movements. The unique part of Qigong is that the exercises not only strengthen and heal the body; they also strengthen and heal the mind, balance the emotions, and boost your overall energy level.

via Qigong for Stress Relief | GaiamTV.

Qigong for Stress Relief Video

T’ai Chi For Beginners | GaiamTV

U.S. and world t’ai chi medalist David Dorian Ross provides clear, insightful instruction with a personal one-to-one feel in this introductory routine. The result is candid, thoughtful explanation that is perfect for beginner students. David teaches 8 essential t’ai chi poses, a total-body workout that resembles a martial arts dance, with breathing and mental imagery techniques that intensify the practice’s proven health and fitness benefits.

via T’ai Chi For Beginners | GaiamTV.

T'ai Chi For Beginners Video

Today, I am performing an additional routine in an effort to incorporate more qigong and tai chi practice into my life.  Consider trying it!

Stay tuned.