The Story of Our Lives

A friend of mine, Ryan, gave me this amazing book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. I encourage everyone to read it.

Million Miles is about what it’s like to edit down your life to the interesting parts. Donald wrote his memoir and in the process he had to cut out a lot of his life. If you write a memoir, hopefully you want people to read it. So it needs to be compelling. It needs to be a good STORY. That means all the boring stuff needs to come out. Editing your life. Yikes. What a strange experience deleting big parts of your life that people wouldn’t think is interesting.

What it led Don to realize was that we can write The Story of Our Life in the present and make our lives truly remarkable right now, not so people will want to read about it, but so we will live amazing lives.

There is a chapter early on in this book about Don listening to a friend (Jason), as his friend is telling him about the trouble he’s having with his teenage daughter. Jason and his wife found pot in her room. She was hanging out with the wrong crowd and the wrong guy. The whole thing was devastating to Jason and his wife.

So Don starts telling his friend about the concept of Story. Telling Jason about his experience editing his life story and realizing we can all create wonderful stories in our lives in the present moment. Then he said, “Your daughter is living a terrible story. She’s writing a story where there is risk and adventure with pot and crazy boyfriends” which made Jason realize he hadn’t mapped out a great story for his family so his daughter had chosen one for herself. The best story available to her.

Don’s friend kind of went a little crazy after that as most of us would define crazy. He did what I think is amazing. He took a $25,000 second mortgage out on their house (he definitely should have talked to his wife first!) and paid for an orphanage to be built in Mexico that they were also going to help build. It transformed the family. Jason had had the realization that not only was he not taking risks, but they weren’t helping anybody. His daughter was totally into it, wanted desperately to go to Mexico to take pictures of the orphanage and children to post on her website and inspire people back home to help. She dumped her boyfriend. Their lives changed dramatically for the better.

I am so inspired by how this dad changed the story of his family’s life and by how he saved his daughter. The chapter is called, “How Jason Saved His Family.”

This whole concept of story has made me think how Nan and I can change our story. Nan is thinking too. What can we do to give back? All of us can change the Story of Our Lives at any moment.  Why haven’t we built an orphanage? If we do something crazy soon at least you wont be surprised.

Love,
Lance

I LOVE Madonna

Last week, I didn’t watch the Superbowl, but I did watch the halftime show on YouTube. I was pretty impressed with this 53-year-old woman who looked amazing up there dancing, but I was more impressed with her pre-game press conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta9gbgRqalI

She was nervous, honest, mentioned her mid-western roots (she grew up 20 miles away from me in Michigan), talked about prayer, talked about God and did a little salsa dance. She looked even better in the press conference than on stage, I thought.

The first time I really took notice of Madonna was in New York City in 1999, when I moved back to the states from Sweden and Nancy took me to her yoga studio. We were laying out our mats in this tiny studio downtown, and this 5 ft tall girl on the mat next to Nan says, “Nancy do you have an extra scrunchie?” Nan gave Madonna a hair band like it was nothing. I spent 5 years in Hollywood and was never very interested in seeing stars. I was totally star struck doing yoga next to Madonna for 2 hours. She was so unassuming, normal, and a really good yogi. Plus she’d just recorded our guru’s opening prayer as a song on Ray of Light. I thought that was risky to say the least.

It’s so easy to be critical of someone like Madonna. I’m reading this really great little book my mom gave me called “The Quiet Mind.” It says among other awesome things, “Enlightened ones do not get angry nor do they judge anyone. The young in soul are quick to pass judgment on others. Always find the goodness and light in everything. You can purify your own atoms by right thinking, right speech, right action and judging no one.” Needless to say, I’m way into purifying my atoms and if loving someone like Madonna helps me get there, I’m all for it.

Anybody in your life or in the world you might have a hard time loving? Can you find the goodness and light in them? It will heal your soul, I promise and so does The Quiet Mind, “If you train yourself to think in terms of love and forgiveness every moment of your life, a most beautiful healing will take place in you.”

Love,
Lance

My two big ahh haas

Over the last year my life has basically completely changed. Among a host of things, I’m trying every day to approach my life from a place of love, laughter (not taking things too seriously), and something I didn’t used to have, discipline. Especially around what I put in my body. I have to approach my eating with the utmost discipline or my next stop could be Good Times Burgers.

Two of my most disciplined practices with what I put in my body, that I believe have added the most to my healing  may sound weird but:

1. Alkalinity: When I started on this adventure my saliva and pee were extremely acidic. How do I know? I bought a roll of this pH tape and I encourage all of you to buy one.

When I licked this tape it was bright yellow 4.5 (bad) now it’s dark green to purple 6.5-7 (good!).

There are many books on alkalinity and my favorite is “Alkalize or Die.” It’s pretty extreme but what it does have is a 30-day diet on how to get alkaline.

There is a reason why almost every single cancer diet is vegetarian. Meat is extremely acidic. The amount of alkaline food you have to eat (kale!) to offset the pH imbalance of a steak is overwhelming. In order to offset a can of Coke you have to drink something like 23 glasses of 9.5 alkalized water or a few shots of wheat grass.

Why are all the diets meat/acid free? The theory is that disease of any kind cannot live in an alkaline environment (pH over 6 or 7). Only acid systems (pH under 6) nurture the right conditions for disease to flourish.

Another book from a completely different discipline that highlights this is The China Study. It’s a huge study done in China of cancer victims and what differentiates them. Basically the study showed that cancer only occurs in regions of China where people eat meat. Scary.

When Nan and I started all of this I would crave meat. I almost never do now (unless its steak tartar). Recently I’ve been craving meat and my nutritionist, Jim, says it’s because I’m too alkaline. I never thought that would happen.

Go get some Enzymedica Tape at Whole Foods (it’s expensive). Start slow. Here is a list of things to avoid and a list of things to load up on. Coffee is a real killer. Please let me know if you try and if you start feeling differently. It’s pretty amazing.

Link to complete alkaline food list

2. Hydration: I was probably one of the most dehydrated people around. I would go a whole day without a single glass of water. At night after dinner I would suddenly get thirsty and down a huge glass of water right before bed. The only water I had that day. It was very strange to Nan that I could do this and not get up at night. How could I? My cells were being starved they wouldn’t let go of a single drop.

The worst was I’d go on long runs (10-12 miles was long for me) and didn’t like carrying a bottle or camel back, so I’d just create massive cell death in my body out of convenience. Nice.

Sorry to talk about pee again, but if your pee is anything but clear or close to clear than you are dehydrated.

Most Americans are in a constant state of dehydration. Dehydration is linked to a number of diseases:  Muscular Dystrophy, Colitis, Diabetes, Depression, Arthritis, Cancer and more.

It contributes to a host of others. Picture a neglected potted plant. That could be you. The only thing I ask you to do is try and drink a glass of water every hour. I can’t do it and I try every day. If you’re lucky you’ll get 8 glasses in you and that’s the minimum you need. In the summer, with exercise, in dry climate, it’s more.

Every morning I wake up and drink a huge glass of water. I don’t like doing it sometimes but it gets my pump primed. Of course Nancy has always been a big water drinker so I just try to take after her on this as I do on most things.

Again I’d love to hear your experiences with dehydration and any attempts to rehydrate. It’s changed my life.

Big Love, Lance

Sugar!!

I confess. I am and always have been severely addicted to sugar. I can’t stop thinking about it. When I was in elementary school, I used to take my lunch money across the street (leaving school grounds in the 3rd grade was not allowed) to Dan’s Bait Shop which also sold a lot of goodies like Now ‘n Laters and Bubble Yum. I would stock up for the day and chow at lunch and recess. My packed lunches from home already had red vines and hostess cherry pies (every single day!). Yep, I was the kid everyone wanted to be friends with during lunch.

It went on and on into my adulthood. For Halloween, I loved that my kids didn’t like sweets, cause they would happily give me all their candy which I would eat up. (I know, bizarre, kids not liking sweets…has nothing to do with me or Nan). I loved picking up the kids from birthday parties cause I would eat all the left over cake. If I had a coffee it had to be a mocha latte (I don’t even like coffee). Cocktails…The Big Lebowski’s “Caucasian” – Kahlúa and milk (sweet and sugary). So you get the picture.

This has been one of my biggest changes in the past year. I’ve still battled the cravings and denied them almost completely. Then last week our controller at work, Pam, made everyone cookies. Justin and I sat in our office and ate them all in 30 seconds (I had two and they were small, Nan). Justin and I looked at each other like guilty kids with the proverbial hand in the cookie jar. I told Justin, “I’m addicted to sugar.” The first time I ever admitted it. Justin said the same and I quietly, at that moment, swore to eradicate sugar from my life. Now I’m making snacks like this.

Gluten-Free Avo Bruscetta
Sami’s Bakery Millet and Flax Bread
Teaspoon of Nutiva Coconut Oil
1/2 an Organic Avocado
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 a Organic tomato diced
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs White Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil

Toast bread. Shmear with Coconut Oil. Shmear with Avo. Pinch of salt. Mix diced tomato, olive oil, balsamic and basil in bowl. Pour over Avo. Eat. Yum!

My other favorite is not a plug for Justin’s but hey:

Seduction Almond Coco Toast
Slice of Seduction Bread from WFM
1 Tsp of Nutiva Coconut Oil
3 tsp of Justin’s Classic Almond (or with a little sugar Maple Almond) Butter
Cinnamon on top

So here are my two recipes that I have created all on my own. It may not be gourmet but it’s a lot better than my handful of M&M’s or cookies in the past.

I’d love to hear any snack ideas you might have ’cause Nancy and I are always looking for new ideas.

Lots of Love in 2012,
Lance

 

 

Happiness is not having a cell phone

I’ve had a number of “enlightening” moments over the past year and a big one was how incredibly addicted I was to my cell phone. This sounds so shallow writing it, but I had been connected constantly since 1998 when I moved to Sweden and got my first Ericsson Worldphone. It was blue and beautiful and it could “SMS” which was really cool. It defined me. It made me feel important. It kept me connected to everyone and everything.

Since 1998, I’ve been constantly connected, not realizing how “disconnected” it actually made my life. For instance, in March, I found myself hiding my cellphone in the cushion of our couch while reading a book to my 6-year-old daughter. Checking it every five minutes. Not in any way present for Amelie. Fully disconnected. I felt like a drunk hiding bottles around the house.

In May, I was at an acupuncture appointment, laying there jumpy because my phone was over on the desk and I couldn’t check it. I thought, “What is wrong with me?” And that began a day-long look at me and my cellphone. By the end of the day, I’d put down my cell phone for good.  I changed the message to “Don’t call this number any more,” and apologized to everyone at work and friends who didn’t know how else to get ahold of me.

The hardest part in the beginning was sitting at stoplights with nothing to do. I’m a big KGNU fan now. Co-workers said, “How will I reach you?” I said, “I’ll be in my office or at home, you have my land line don’t you? If I’m not at one of those places, I’m not available.” That was initially an unacceptable statement. But as the summer progressed, we got into a groove.

The impact this has had on my day-to-day life is immeasurable. It’s like I have my life back. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. I am not reachable at every second of the day. I can rake the leaves or be with my family and not stop when I feel a vibration in my pocket. My kids are ecstatic. My wife was totally supportive and loves me not having a cell.

Recently, it crept up again! My wonderful friends bought me an iPad when I was at my worst (physically and emotionally) in my entire life. Nancy didn’t want me to get one, but when I was in such bad shape they pounced on her, “Can we get him one now?” She caved. It was such a generous gift and the best grown up toy ever–like a big iPhone. Skyping, Sonos, Rhapsody, Exchange for my email, contacts, calendar. Lot of good fun, right?

Cut to three months later. It is with me at every moment. I bring it to every meeting, open it and look at my emails in no way present for whomever. It is back in the cushions of the couch and then the breaking point. I’m at a stoplight and there’s a Starbucks on the corner. I’m looking at my iPad and I connect to the Starbucks Wi-Fi and I’m so excited. Every time I stop at this light, I’ll be able to send an email or check my email. What a bonus!

So now my iPad stays at home. I’m wondering what this is all about? Why are we all so wrapped up in our phones? Some of us more than others. Is it a validation thing? An expectation thing for others to get back to me quickly? What does it fill on a deep level inside of me?

Here I am, probably one of the only people in my town of 80,000 without a phone. I know some older folks, 70+ that don’t have one but that’s all. Do you know any? Are they weirdos? Off the grid? Paranoid? I’m grateful for this change in my life and cannot see myself going back. Can you imagine your life without one?

Lance
This post was originally posted as a “guest blogger” on fearlessrevolution.com  http://fearlessrevolution.com/blog/happiness-is-not-having-a-cell-phone.html