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The year of the Dragon



Happy New Year everyone!

Welcome to 2024!

Sadly the Tsubaki shrine that we normally go to in Granite Falls is no longer open due to retirement. So, we went somewhere different this year, Jingoji Buddhist temple.

It seems that many things are changing for me.


This place is smaller and not quite as fancy but the ceremony was quite interesting.

You are allowed to make a wish on small pieces of wood. Then those pieces of wood are burned. The interesting part is the large bowl it's burned in has a paper canopy above the fire. If the fire gets a little big, there is a good chance the paper will burn.

However, that paper canopy is apparently blessed by the priest so it won't burn...unless the wish is too big. LOL. That's what he said, not me.


I know what you are thinking- "well, its probably a pretty small fire."

No. It's not.

Luckily, I was allowed to take some photos.

Check this out...



Yup. those flames are right below the paper and embers are flying up all over it.

This fire lasted about 30 minutes and he kept adding more and more wood to it.

Crazy.

The paper never burned even when the fire was literally licking at the bottom of it.

I guess it is blessed. ;-P


 

Year of the Turtle Dragon??


So, what was the message for this year?

This year of the dragon is denoted by two Kanji characters-

甲.

The first Kanji is Kinoe- representing a turtle like shell. We are to grow within the protection of this shell.

The second kanji is Tatsu- representing the dragon. There is chaos energy associated with this dragon; cracking through the earth, breaking out.

I'll let you sit with that a little.


 

Feeling blessed


I know the last couple years were tough.

But I am feeling blessed.

First of all I have meaningful people in my life.

People I love and people who love me.

I get to work with amazing people practically every day, doing a job that brings me so much joy.


And...I get to continue to learn more and more about myself and invest in my personal spiritual growth. I get to invest more time and money into learning and implementing the lessons I THOUGHT I learned over two decades ago. But NOOOOO... the universe has totally different plans for me.

I get to learn more!! (place super sarcastic look here).


All joking aside, it is a challenge but I really do feel blessed.

Just to be on the safe side though, I decided to get blessed by the priest while I was there.



Couldn't hurt, right?

















 

A year of breaking out


Last year was about tilling the soil and planting seeds.

The big picture question is ultimately, what did you want your garden to look like?

That garden image determined the seeds you planted.

And by seeds I mean practices; practices that become habits.

Those habits become the new you.

And that new you is your perfect garden.

Easy. LOL.


Now nurturing those seeds and helping them become more solid habits in your life is not easy. Life has a way of constantly trying to draw you back into your old habits and trying to sabotage your new habits.


The science of new habits is like this- do NOT try to stop doing something. You must do something different and keep doing it until that new habit negates the neural connections of the old habit.

That is how new habits are formed.


Based on the energy of the new year, you will not only have to keep up your new habits, you will have to PUSH.

DRIVE.

BREAK THROUGH.


I like the image of a tree root.

Roots don't stop because something gets in their way. Roots will even break through concrete.

Stay focused.

Keep the image of your garden.

And keep it up.


 

Join me in a year long commitment to growth.


Last year I committed to a year without alcohol and sugar.

It was good.

People ask me what benefits did I notice?

I didn't really notice anything major but I think the problem is that we think anything we do needs to have some significant benefits for it to be worth it.

For me, it was worth it to notice that I drank alcohol and ate sugar much too often for no reason whatsoever. I didn't like the idea that I was eating and drinking something mindlessly. So, choosing not to have them was a great exercise in planting the seed of power to control my behavior.


So, what are we committing to this year?

Well, that is unique for each of you.

However, I would like to help support your journey. Here is what my plan is-

  1. Have a monthly content upload- either blog or video or podcast (not sure which or all).

  2. Each upload will have a specific theme to try to make it fun and keep people on track.

  3. Each theme, I will try to provide some information regarding health practices, personal growth, nutritional supplements, exercise, or something along those lines to help support our commitment and progress.


 

Let's Go!!

January 2024


Theme- Creating your personal life garden. Plant the seeds.


STEP ONE


The first step is to take a few moments to imagine who you would like to be.

What traits do you possess?

What are you eating?

How do you look?

How are you moving and exercising?

What activities are you able to do?

How are you interacting with the people in your life?

What type of work are you putting out?

What kind of (partner, sibling, parent, friend, etc...) are you?

How do you respond to people and challenges?


In essence, what does your ideal self look like?

That is your personal life garden.



STEP TWO


You can write down the answer to the questions above or just hold that ideal in your head as you write down the answers to the following questions:


  1. What one personal trait do you want to build?

  2. What practice can you start today to help you build that trait?

  3. How will you hold yourself accountable for this practice?


Now that you have your ONE trait, repeat this exercise for a couple or few traits you would like to build this year in your life garden.


My Example


Trait #1- Give

I want to better understand my personal concept of giving. I feel like giving has two components- not enough giving and too much giving.

Historically I have had a problem with over-giving.

I have had trouble setting proper boundaries and being able to say no.

I thought I had fixed that?


My practice is- to shift interactions and reframe it to a giving perspective.

For example, if I am in disagreement with my wife about something, the shift would be to ask myself, "How or what can I give to my wife in this situation?"

And perhaps the answer is the gift of understanding.

Then, I will stop talking and listen so that I can better understand.

This will allow me to provide a gift as well as receive one.

Now, this will not work in all situations but I don't think it's supposed to work that way. There is no absolute answer for ALL situations, this is just for my betterment at the end of the day, right?


As for my health practice?


I will be focusing on aging.

I am not a fan of the terms anti-aging or longevity but those are the popular buzz words. For me it's about living a better, higher quality of life.

In our program we refer to it as cellular replication- making better copies of our cells.


Trait #2- Be a Rainbow Eater!

Practice- I will actively choose colors for my meals as much as possible.

The colors in vegetables and fruits maximize micro- and phytonutrients that help move sugar into the mitochondria for better energy production, cell regeneration and antioxidant health.


Trait #3- Be a mitochondria/telomere warrior


Practice- exercise program with focus on Zone 2 training; lower intensity endurance with heart rate around 125bpm.

The current exercise science shows that lower intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes helps maintain telomere length and enhance mitochondrial numbers and function,. I have done HIIT exercises for many years but I guess I have to work slower and longer. Ugh. This will be a challenge.


Trait #4- Be a spiritual mentor


Whenever someone uses the word "spiritual" I think it puts people off. Either because it's too religious or too "woo-woo" for people. But I think most of us would agree that there is a "non-physical or mental" element in our lives that connects us to each other and the world around us; some of us call it energy or the "spirit" of a place or person. And many of us need support or mentoring to help us navigate some of the demands of this thing called life. Now my personal way of helping mentor people is to have them look inward and identify the lens or programing through which they go through life. And I refer to this model as spiritual personal growth.

Practice- walk the walk. I will journal my personal revelations to my introspection. This will be connected to my daily meditation practice. Then I will adjust my behaviors based on what I learn. I will mentor the young doctors I already train and my nephew. (And anyone else who shows up). I will check in with them at least weekly.


 

For Beginners


For those of you who are new to this and it all seems too much,

I would break it dow into simple parts.

Let's focus on general health practices:


  1. Choose one food you will add to your regular nutrition. Choose a vegetable or a healthy fat like sardines, chia seeds, walnuts.

  2. Choose one exercise you will add. Choose squats or pushups; something that you can do easily at home and requires no equipment.

  3. Choose one mindfulness practice. Choose mindful eating, meditation, journaling. Again, something you can easily do every day, anytime, without any extra stuff.


 

Foundational Supplements


Start out the year with healthy soil.

I am a big fan of supplements as you know.

I don't necessarily feel like we need to take everything all the time, but there are some we need as a foundation. It's like providing healthy soil for our life garden.


The most common supplement question I get is, "What basic supplements should I be taking?"

There are the three basics that I think are essential for everyone: I am including the names and links to the Standard Process brand items because I truly believe they are the best you can get.

  1. a quality multivitamin (Catalyn)

  2. omega 3 fish oil (Tuna Omega 3)

  3. vitamin D (Cataplex D)




 

Our journey continues...


If you commit to doing this with me for the year, I can promise you that it will not be easy. However, I can also promise you that your life will change for the better, you will be healthier and hopefully, you will continue to commit to this sort of practice.

It has transformed my life.


So, please share this with as many people as possible to get some extra support and let's work hard to break through this year!

Join me in turning the chaotic energy of 2024 into energy that helps us expand; energy that allows the garden of ourselves to blossom and thrive.







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