When I try to let it be and let it go, but I can’t.

Simple questions bug me. I’m constantly nitpicking, and I have little patience with what I consider stupidity all around me. Words annoy me – like “smooch.” Right now, my stomach is heaving as I write the word.

I wasn’t always this way … there was a time when I was much more accepting, not on edge, and friendly. Needless to say, I’m irritable and bothered by some very petty things.

Like this email I just received…

Few people and few things can talk me down from the ledge. Blogging is one of the few, so sit tight.

Six or seven months’ish+ ago, I started following a few new accounts on Instagram. I was looking to spice up my workouts.

As a renowned creature of habit, I tend to head for the exact weights, log the same workouts each week, and even walk the same route every time I lace up. Now there’s a lot to be said for regular, consistent exercise, and if I ever dial in my nutrition I could prove it. But there are benefits to trying new activities. While I tend to gravitate toward traditional exercises, over time I do get bored. And when I’m bored, I look for new ways to work my body. 

I’ve been working out a long time, and I’m pretty knowledgeable about exercise. Few things separate me from personal trainers: 

They have a certificate saying they passed a weekend course.

I studied anatomy and kinesiology.

I don’t pretend to know more about someone’s body than the person knows about their own body.

With. That. Said.

IF… I started following you on Instagram, and IF… we made our way into each other’s DMs, I KNOW… I gave you my history. My history, meaning a rundown of all of the forms of exercise I partake, and the many (many) years I’ve partaken. You’ve seen my pictures (we’re on Instagram, after all), and although I don’t post a ton of workouts, I do post some. Hopefully I look like I do OK in the gym, no? I’m not a bodybuilder – I’m a grandmother – but I’m also no beginner, rookie, greenhorn, amateur, or gremlin.

And with that said.

I received an email from a “trainer.” I want to reply to her, but I know my response will be less than kind. In fact, I’ll be mean.

I don’t want to be mean.

In her email, she tells me what type of lifting schedule is suitable for me. She also tells me what (in life) I should deem important. 

First, only I know what type of lifting schedule is suitable for me. And second, “guiding” me through life when you’re half my age is infuriating. 

Maybe it’s my ego. But the unsolicited email and unsolicited advice madden me. It’s making my already dark features grow blacker with anger. Like I’m fighting to contain a terrible fury. And how ridiculous, right! I mean, I can delete the email and get on with things, but noooo. So here it is:

Do not coach me on something I have not requested your coaching services on.

Do not coach me on setting goals.

Do not coach me on how my body feels.

Do not coach me on mental health.

Do not coach me on your definition of a balanced life.

I imagine as a coach she feels compelled to give advice, but this tells me she is ruled by compulsion more than self-awareness. And there’s no golden opportunity here. I am not in search of wisdom, and I have no problem I need her to solve. My crusade is simple: beat workout boredom. That is all.

Are you wondering whether I’ll address this with her? No, of course not. Besides struggling to find an inoffensive way to say what I feel, I am also terrified that if I speak my disdain into existence, then the entire glorious facade of our burgeoning digital relationship will come crumbling down, and I happen to enjoy the spicy moves I’ve stolen from her.

But really, people need to take note of the fine line between being supportive and being a kibitzer. Caring is what you want in a friendship; kibitzing, not so much. But if you truly feel you need to pour one out for this homie, then send pears, or cabernet, bad chick flicks, or text messages full of emoticons. You can even dedicate a prayer, mindfully. But please, PLEASE do not coach me on how to workout … or live. I’ve been doing both, by myself, and successfully, for several years.

The power of small

It is 12:03pm. I recognize my behavior as the Sort-of, Kind-of-Worried Phase. The hands of the clock are inching their way into the future, and I know I have to stay rational. What’re five more hours? I tell myself.


Today, I’ve decided to steer my boat 2° to the left.

If two boats are on the same path and one veers off just 2° … over time, that two degrees equals a massive difference in the distance of your destination. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because I stole it from Anthony Robbins.)

There are a million reasons why everyone should have a sense of their own wellness. Did you know our genes control 20% of our health and old age, but 80% is controlled by our own hands?

Eighty percent!

A Harvard study proves that if we do the five basic things our doctors always tell us, we can extend our life span by 14 years on average. And the five things are the easy stuff—eat healthily, get regular exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke or use tobacco, reduce your stress.

(Well, not *easy* per se. A client once directed me to break an AP-style rule for the article we were publishing on a major media platform because they felt “using all caps showed emphasis,” and well, that near killed me.)

OMAD. This is my  .

One meal a day. 

No snacks. No mini-meals. No protein shakes or smoothies, or energy bars. No bread and butter pickle chips. No spoonful of chunky peanut butter. Not a single chocolate chip. And I’m OMADing for a week. 

For the biology geeks: Going back 6 million years, our bodies were designed (or evolved) to respond to adversity. But we’ve removed that from our lives – we’ve removed adversity because it feels good. 

But we need adversity (we. need. adversity.) to be resilient and fight disease. When we face adversity, the body turns on these ‘adversity hormeses’ response’ genes (aka, longevity genes). And when they turn on, what they’re basically doing is making the body fight aging and disease. But by eating through the day, we’re doing the opposite of living adversity. We’re living “contently.” For the record, eating with the traditional mindset of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus two snacks in order to think clearly and have mental acuity, etc., is a myth. I’m not talking about children or malnutrition or starvation. I’m talking about the typical “healthy” adult. And I am only talking about lengthening the window between meals. Think about it for a minute. If we’re always satiated or fed, our bodies will say, “Heyy, I just killed a mammoth, no problem. I don’t need to worry about survival. I’m just going to go forth and multiply and screw my long-term survival.” But by making the body freak out a bit by thinking it’s facing tough times, like being hungry, well, I’ll tell ya’, the data backs up the claim that this is the way to be healthy in our 80s and 90s. 

I know that’s just a tiny snippet of information (and I understand not everyone wants to live to be 80 or 90), but it’s compelling data. And there is a ton of information published on intermittent fasting (IF) that covers everything from why it’s excellent to why it’s stupid. From what it does to what it does not do, how you do it, to how you do not do it. There are studies, trials, research, testimonials, philosophies, rules, podcasts, blogs… I promise if you seek it out, it will show up in your feed.

(Unless someone really wants to know), I am not really wanting to talk about why I’m doing it; but I do want to tell you how it’s going.

Day One. (Technically, Day One started last night at 5pm.)

From 5pm to a little before midnight, I made it without thinking about food. In fact, it is eye-opening how easy it is to not snack before bed. Who knew!

When I woke up, though… 

7:59am: My first thought, “coffee doesn’t break a fast, does it? DOES IT??? Shit.”

9:12am: I tried the first trick of the day to distract myself: Hellooooo, INSTAGRAM!  

9:27am: I tried the second trick of the day: I shall drink water, feel full and be merry for the remaining 7+ hours. Well, I drank water and then I cursed at the plants, fluffed the pillows, and paced the floor. I was starting to feel a little snippy.

10:05am: “So what if my best feature touches my lap when I sit down, so what?” 

11:49pm: It’s practically Noon. If I go to the gym, that’ll kill an hour, and, well, then it will practically be five o’clock!

12:17pm: The gym, the gym, the gym. Just go to the gym. Food is not everything. 

3:16pm: Either an old-fashioned train is approaching my house, or Arizona is experiencing an earthquake. It’s hard to tell where the rumbling sound is coming from.

3:40pm: I’ve accomplished nothing today. Nor in my entire life.

4:32pm: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

4:41pm: I am NEVER. AGAIN. doing this.

4:52pm: OH MY FUCKING JESUS.

4:59pm: …

5:31pm:  Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together, Brighter than a lucky penny … *sing it with me, everyone!


I’ll do this again tomorrow, for sure. But, weirdly, when five o’clock rolled around, I almost didn’t want to eat. I did eat. But I sort of didn’t want to. Suddenly I was more aware of what I was putting in my body—and it needed to be worthy of my 24-hour fast. I think I’ll start making incremental changes in other areas of my life and see what happens.

The moral of the story: Steering your ship 2° to the left now and then may not be an aggressive or huge move, or it might be massive.

Swallowing the sun.

Every time I complain about the summer heat in Arizona, 72 friends from Rhode Island tell me, “But you don’t have to shovel sunshine.”

I have three words for you: “dangerously hot conditions.”

(And the danger is as real as rocks.)

A few days ago, the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported a state trooper stopped to investigate a pile of “debris” on Interstate 17 near Camp Verde. It turns out it was a delirious golden eagle. The bird — about the size of a beagle — was unable to fly.

Birds are dropping out of the sky from heatstroke!

Let that sink in…

It’s 117 degrees today.

A bubble of sweat just rolled down my forehead, past the arch of my eyebrow, over the bridge of my nose, and parachuted into the inner corner of my left eye. And I have ice in my bra. My AC unit is mounted on my roof—and under direct sunlight all day. All week long, the temperature inside my home has been an even 82. With no sanctuary, every night, I stand directly under the fan and wonder aloud how people who lived ‘pre-air conditioning’ managed to stay alive during the summer.

I’m trying not to complain, but I have ice in my bra, and I feel another droplet of sweat speeding toward my other eye.

Besides perspiring, I’m restless. I’m overwhelmed. I’m underwhelmed. I’m feeling unfulfilled. I have serious feelings of nostalgia, chronic reminiscence about the past, emotions of boredom, and intense feelings of regret. And I am doing my best to not drag everyone I know into my liminal void.

I blame mid-life and fluctuating levels of estrogen.

I’m half kidding.

I’ve taken on many projects the last couple of weeks – and some of these projects come with substantial responsibility. Perhaps a smidge too much commitment to put on one fragile human psyche. It’s like asking someone to swallow the sun. It’s too much.

Instead of eagerly working on my projects, I’m distracted by the thought of not having cold water. That’s right, we get hot water out of the cold tap all summer long. Who lives like this? And why am I acting like this is something new?

I admit I am camouflaging my self-imposed stress with talk of the weather. But indeed, it runs deeper. It always does with me.

You see, I inherited my father’s stoicism. While I thrive on others’ perceptions of my competence, I am just fooling everyone. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. At different points in my life, in various forms, I have, at one time or another, been consumed by a subconscious insistence on symmetry, order, and above all, perfection. Toxic perfectionism. These dark sentiments usually only make an appearance in moments of intense anxiety. And right now, fear is running amuck. I’ve saddled myself with a project and a goal, and I am not delivering. And it’s eating me up. 

At this point, swallowing the sun would be easier. 

All I want to do today is sit on my laurels with a cold glass of water.

Well done, Joe.

There’s a saying – and I can’t remember exactly how it goes. It’s something like this: Balance is important in the natural order of life. Anything we do, we can overdo or underdo. If the pendulum swings too far to one side, it will inevitably swing to the other.

A lesson that is lost on the left.

Extremes of any kind – even taking rigid sides on an issue – ultimately results in the pendulum swinging fast and far in the opposite direction.

How many shoppers at your local grocery store still wear their masks? How many joggers do you see on the street still wearing their masks? How many of your neighbors still wear masks in their own front yard? Do you still wear yours …just in case? Have you been vaccinated, but you’re still wearing it …just in case?

The left has been so obsessed, consumed, possessed, plagued, fixated on ruling the country that they didn’t even realize they rammed agoraphobia down 150 million people’s throats. Welcome to the world of panic where going out to your garden terrifies you.

I personally know people who weren’t agoraphobic before, but they are now. Petrified to go outside. Scared to be around people. They’re literally rattled when they see people – when they see me – without a mask. The new normal.

There’s another universal law that the left has overlooked: cause and effect.

Law of action.

Biden has signed 46 executive orders, 18 presidential memoranda, 77 proclamations, and 13 notices.

The result? Just in New York, more than 200,000 people have dumped the democratic party and joined the republicans.

Just. In. New. York.

Karmic ripples.

Well done, Joe.

The absurd, the unbelievable, the unthinkable, and the fishy

My deep need to express my point of view on current events comes in spurts. Sometimes I only go a few days, beating down my personal judgments; sometimes, I can last a whole week or two, absent but paying attention. I reckon people don’t always want my opinion. I imagine it can divide a room — which might be a good thing because I hear diversity is the new black.

(There is absurd irony in that last sentence that is unintentional)

But things are going on (some new things, some old things) that I just can’t figure out. They are mind-boggling-keep-me-up-at-night things that I can only not talk about for so long. So here we go – a list of 10 (in no particular order, although I did purposely save one for last … don’t rush ahead …):

1. Bill Gates is dimming the sun. The man is off his rocker. Where do I begin? Shouldn’t the globe get to vote on this? And when I get to the poll (because of mail-in ballots), you can bet your butt I’ll oppose geoengineering. He’s crossing a line. A really, really, dangerous line. A show of hands of approval for Gates to turn down the sun better only show Gates’ hands. If yours goes up, I’m coming for you. I want you to look me in the eye when you tell me why we should let this man spray a bunch of particles into the stratosphere. Our world is not a science experiment.

2When did we move past Cuomo? What happened to the coverage of the nursing home deaths’ investigation? I want to know the results of said investigation, or is the goodfella too hot for being taken down? I’ve not heard a peep. And, while we’re discussing Mr. Cuomo, where are all the feminists? The #MeToo’ers? What, they pick and choose which victims to back and which predators to crucify? Hashtag bleepbleepbleep. You all are letting these poor women down. You’re letting me down.

3. Let’s not move past Cuomo. I heard Cuomo wants to give more than $15,000 to undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic, ultimately benefitting around 300,000 people in the state of New York that lost their jobs during the pandemic. WHAT? First, they’re undocumented. They are breaking the law. They are not law-abiding. They are criminals. Maybe hard-working criminals, but criminals nonetheless, and $15,000 is not pocket change. Second, there are more than 19 million people in the state. While I don’t imagine all 19 million have lost work, I did find this article that says 1 million jobs were lost due to Covid. And until they ban math, this means an additional 700,000 law-abiding New Yorkers lost their jobs. Where is their money?

4. Did you know the Dalai Lama’s family lives in Bloomington, IN? I am flabbergasted. I have a client that said he sold them a house. This makes me smile for absolutely no reason.

5. Where is the outrage? Oh wait, look at his mug shot. Got it. Thanks. For the record, five of the six people killed were children. All five of the children were under the age of 10. Don’t know the whole story – what the grown-ups were into (or not into), but it doesn’t change the fact that five children were murdered. Who decided this wasn’t a story worthy of the media?

6. Pronouns. I’m seriously confused about this. I know it is a substitute for a noun or a noun phrase, but how is it … how do we say … how exactly is it used as a person? Serious question. If I’m writing a letter to Robert, and Robert identifies as he/him/his, how do I start my letter? Dear, He. And how does he sign his letters? Sincerely, Him. And then there is “his.” Can you imagine being in a meeting and announcing, “His’ report is late.” “Whose?” “His.” This is Abbott & Costello, ya’ll.

7. Marketing tactics because they think we’re dumb? Literally, this is the oldest trick in the book – cutting the price by five dollars or five cents because marketers believe “it’s more appealing” to the consumer. For instance, this camera. Bringing it under the $7,000 mark by five bucks isn’t an incentive. Try selling it straight up at $7,000 on the product merits – not to mention the brilliant co-collaborators that designed the camera. If I can afford $6,995 for a camera, I can afford $7,000. Just a crap marketing ploy that annoys me.

—These last three are big ones for me. I gotta take a break before I write them up. You should take a break before you read them. I get hot and heavy, and you might want to prepare…

8. A defining difference between the right and the left. The right is all talk, no action. The left is no talk, all action.

One reason our country is in a state of mess is not that the left talked for years, “Oh, hey, we need to take over the country and remake it. How should we do this? Let’s put this on the agenda for the next session.” No. They acted. None of what is happening should be thought of as “outlandish and impossible.” They acted. They got into our schools. They got into our tech companies. They got into the media. They didn’t discuss their ideas about how to infiltrate. They infiltrated. The right, on the other hand, talks.

For Instance, voter IDs.

We all know (we do all know, right??) that showing ID to cast your vote is the ONLY way to vote. While the left wants to say half of the country is suppressed because they don’t have ID, obviously the thing to do is get people IDs, not do away with ID requirements.

Here’s an example showing how the left is acting. HR 1. This is a bill that every citizen needs to read right now. And then read more. And more. And more. See what they’re doing.

Here’s an example showing how the right is talking. I’ve listened to several podcasts (conservatives) that discuss the fabulous idea “let’s get these people IDs.”

It’s. a. podcast.

It’s someone sitting in a studio with a microphone talking about the solution to the problem-of-the-day (because tomorrow they’ll talk about Woke Culture. And on Friday, it’ll be about the MLB. Then it’s on to the border crisis. Then Hunter.).

Where is legislation? Where is funding?

Did you know nonprofits have been working on getting the homeless population IDs for years? Phoenix Rescue Mission drives around the streets and talks to these people. What do you need? An ID is keeping you from getting a job? Getting a place to stay? A bank account? A car? All you need is an ID and you can make fundamental changes? Phoenix Rescue Mission has contacted Records Departments all across the country, tracking down birth certificates; they’ve stood in line at the DMV for hours; they’ve paid the fees. Small, struggling nonprofits have been trying to do this on their own for years.

Conservatives talk in news cycles. They don’t do a whole lot of anything else to enact change. If these podcasters/senators/representatives would pick the issue they’re passionate about and stop podcasting (although their platform is the starting point) and start organizing, maybe we might have a chance of survival. Instead, they spout off “solutions.” Solutions that are hard for an average everyday Joe to organize into an impactful movement – especially if they live in New York legally and lost their job a year ago. OK, I’m facetious. But If these conservatives would drop their microphones and start organizing groups instead of directing their listeners, “help people get IDs,” well, that’s the real come-up. I could go on, but rather, I’ll move on.

9. No amendment to the Constitution is absolute. Is this true? I honestly don’t know. I think I’ll be crushed if I find out it is. Really diving into this statement, though, and it seems to me that nearly all of the Bill of Rights come with restrictions and limitations. Here’s where I’d rather have the truth than some grand-standing conservative bash the statement purely because Biden said it. This is important. It’s not life-changing, but it sure is mind-blowing.

Aaaand… we come to the hottest topic for me. Before I get into #10, I want to say I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not. I don’t think. Maybe. Probably not. But, oh, maybe. A few weeks ago, I had a client send me content that included a link to their “website.” Turns out the link took me to a Russian landing page. For a hot minute, I thought I opened a portal between Russian Intelligence and USA Today. Once I came out of the dark corner in my closet and removed the foil from my windows, I contacted the legal department. That’s as far as my “conspiracy” theories have ever gone… until Esther.

10. Are there two Biden’s walking among us? Esther conspires there are. She sends me images of who she thinks are two different Biden’s. She insists the one that was sworn in is different than the one we see on the screen today. Here’s the latest picture she sent me. It was taken 3 days apart. If you take a serious look at it, there are a few marked differences. His nose. His ears. Hairline. Eyes. Even the double chin is off. Bags under the eyes don’t match. I’ve watched Biden on TV, and at times his skin is thin and ghostly-white. Other times, it looks like he’s gotten a total dose of natural vitamin D. And his eyes – sometimes they’re blue… regular. Sometimes they’re black (and beady). I don’t know; this makes both my head and my stomach hurt.

Can you imagine? I don’t want to. To think dimming the sun shocked me!

Jumping off tables

The woman with bushy hair was staring at me.

We were sitting on opposite sides of the room, and while she was sizing up my bloody lip, I was scrutinizing the general state of her hair. It was severely overgrown, wooly, and I’m positive she had shards of an age-old butterfly clip entangled in the dark heap. If it wasn’t a butterfly clip, then it was most definitely a tree branch or stick.

In my mind, she wasn’t young enough to have this level of unkempt hair. She also wasn’t young enough to wear such achingly bright shorts. But here she was, a woman of about forty sitting in front of me, an unrecognizable curl pattern to her mane and glaring red shorts that were screaming, “Look at me!”

             “So I suppose you want to ask me what happened to my lip.”

             “Yes, dear. Were you punched?”

(Oh, she has a British accent! I was not expecting this. British people are usually a bit more … tidier … no?)

I was about to say ‘yes and give her a grand story about a bloody and ruthless fistfight. Maybe a vengeance mission that includes swollen faces and the taste of blood. Or a grudge match that ends with spectators shouting, “SHE’S ALIVE!” (Floating a tall tale comes easy to me.)

Instead, I gave her the truth.

             “I jumped off a table.”  


At age 53, a change is clearly taking place.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t envision 53-year old women jumping off picnic tables or vaulting over common obstacles in the park. They don’t picture these ‘aged’ women hurdling structures by running, vaulting, jumping, climbing, and rolling. Or moving along ledges, scaling buildings without ladders, or leaping between rooftops. Getting down on all fours to pass over, under, through, and around the environment — urban or natural — for sport or otherwise? Probably not. 

Young men on YouTube, however, with incredible acrobatic athleticism, yes. Safely and efficiently, I might add. But I think the general perception is that 53-year old women count daily steps and apply ice packs to flaring tendonitis. Maybe they hold Downward Dog or Tree Pose for 10 breaths. And they might suit up for weekly aqua aerobics (to nail that breaststroke).

But 53-year old me is wholly embracing “park play” and jumping off picnic tables, hanging from monkey bars, practicing cartwheels in the grass – bloodying my own lip in the process – and bragging about it to the first urgent care technician that looks my way.

             “I got this at the park. Yeah, you see, I was jumping off this table… It’s part of my parkour training. Do you know what parkour is? Helloooo? Cindy? That’s what your name tag says, right, Cindy? So I bloodied my lip doing parkour…”

             “Cindy?”


My parkour training is less impressive and less splashy than those splendidly dangerous, flying seventeen-year-olds on YouTube.

cat hang that tears open the calluses on my hands; a quadrupedal walk (also known as a beast crawl) performed forward and backward that scares the beans out of me when done on a ledge, and a walking climb-up that bruises my shins, over and over and over again is as intense as it gets. I also hop rocks and bushes. And don’t forget picnic tables. I leap off picnic tables.

It’s all primer. My goal? This, minus most of the tricking because.

By parkour’s very nature, it encourages adaptability, exploration, self-reliance, health, creativity, and mental fortitude. All attributes any 53-year old woman strives for, no? Taking your body through full ranges of motion, matching strength + flexibility + stability, and connecting your breath + rhythm. Talk about feeling free to be as strong, joyful, peaceful, warrior-like, secure, sexy, silly, playful as you desire. Achieving strength at every angle. (Bloody lip, optional.)


I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that my journey, as accidental as it is, is just starting to pick up steam.

More and more, I believe the Buddha had it right: pretty much all of our struggles, from frustrations to anxiety, from anger to sadness, from grief to worry, all stem from the same thing — being too tightly attached to something.

When we’re worried or upset, it’s because we are tightly attached to how we want things to be. When we’re frustrated with someone, it’s because we’re attached to how we want them to be. And when we hesitate or delay, we are attached to things being easy. And so on.

OK, if you agree being too attached, clinging too tightly, is the cause of our struggles … then the answer is simple, right? Drop the attachments. Reconcile attachment. Let that B—go.

Easier said than done.

Fact: I was attached to a specific gym routine. Every Monday, I lifted shoulders. Tuesday was back. Wednesday was chest. Thursday was legs. This four-day split ran on repeat for several years. Eventually, I realized I was only expressing one of my physical abilities, or bio-motor abilities if you will.

(Before I get too deep into this story, I need to tell you that I’m really terrible at parkour. But instead of being discouraged, I’m like, wow, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life working on my body. Yet, I have very little ability to use my body. So even though I’m sucking at parkour, I’m enjoying it. The skill acquisition really inspires me. I love the concept of training-to-last. I also love that I’m experiencing all these different kinds of sensations (and even bruises)).

Weight training is quite linear. It’s “these are my very almost completely sagittal plane movements or isometrics, and I’m not moving at a lot of joint-variation angles.” On the other hand, parkour is really about flow and the transference of energy and creating direction – or momentum.

I’ve been attached to static, linear, push/pull, feet hip-width apart and planted on the floor.

Parkour is a scary 180.

So what makes me think I can do parkour – or any sort of freerunning – without killing myself (or breaking bones or shedding more blood)?

The concept of Dharma – Buddhist doctrine – teaches us that everything is a manifestation of our own mind. We think there is an objective world outside, and there is a subjective world inside. And we believe the so-called objective reality of the world is something distinct from our consciousness. Still, it is only the object of our consciousness. It is our consciousness. That’s the hardest thing to understand and a primary obstacle for us and for science. So if I’m “attached” to weight training being what “exercise” looks like, if this is the perception I’ve created, why can’t I create a new perception? One that involves me sprinting over pony walls and sailing through crawl spaces?

Buddhism offers the example of a river. We see a river and call it one name, but the water is not the same water; it’s constantly changing. You cannot swim twice in the same river, and it is not the same person who goes into the river. Tomorrow it will not be “you” who goes into that river. You will have changed, just like the river constantly changes. How mind-blowing is this?

If things are things because I perceive them to be, then I will perceive jumping off tables as something 53-year old women do.

And also… bushy-haired Brits can wear red shorts.

P.S. Once you realize perception underpins everything you think, do, believe, know, or love, then you just found a new way of seeing. Congratulations!

The peaceful illegal

Are illegal immigrants peaceful? Maybe some, but you decide.

According to the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, and the FY2019 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report:  

In FY 2019, ICE agents arrested approximately 143,000 illegal immigrants. Of these individuals, the convictions—or charges—pending at the time of their arrest included:

  • 74,000 for driving under the influence (DUI)
  • 67,000 for drug offenses
  • 1,900 were convicted of homicide
  • 1,800 were convicted of homicide-related crimes
  • 1,600 kidnappings
  • 37,000 assaults
  • 10,000 sex crimes
  • 4,276 were known or suspected gang members
  • 675 were suspected to be members of the MS13 gang
  • 31 were known or suspected terrorists

Of those arrested by ICE in FY 2020, 90% had criminal convictions or charges pending at the time of arrest.

These individuals came into our country when our borders were secure. Now our borders are open.

On the future of America

What the heck is happening in our country? I’m not saying civilization is collapsing, but the department of “We Have it Totally Under Control” has:

  • built a wall around their house and then knocked down ours
  • passed an equality act that handed down a death sentence to women’s rights
  • and they’ve grown the national debt while thoroughly destroying the size of the dollar

I don’t know where we’re headed, but we might implode. With that in mind—

What I think the U.S. will look like in a post-imploded world 

There will be many priorities right after the implosion, and essential workers will be needed back on the frontline. In case you’re wondering how useful you’ll be in rebuilding our country, I’ve gone ahead and listed what I think will be the top eight careers on the rise.

Starting with number eight and working my way to the number one job that will be needed post-implosion:

8. The Massage Therapist. There are going to be a lot of stressed-out people.

7. The Barista. We’re still going to want our coffee.

6. The Uber Piggy-Back Driver. Gas-powered cars will be outlawed and electric cars will have dead batteries – but people will still want their Amazon deliveries.

5. The Librarian. Hard-bound books are going to be sexy again.

4. The Food Taster. As tribes begin to form, the leader of each tribe is going to need a food taster if they want to stay alive.

3. The Complainer. Because there’s always one.

2. The Algebra Teacher. We all know how important algebra is to succeed in life.

And the number one job that will be in demand after the implosion is The Storyteller. We all need storytellers to tell us a good story before we go to bed—you know, by the fire. But mostly, we’ll need speech (used freely) to creep back in. Debating and disputing. Sharing and educating. Entertaining and engaging. Connecting and influencing. 

Whatever you’re currently doing, I say start training for your future. You never know when disaster is right around the corner. Whether it’s a zombie apocalypse, a power grid failure, a meteor smashing into the earth, or an implosion by executive order, you need to go into the collapse knowing what job you are meant to do. Fostering a brand new society will take more than just that fighting spirit that is harboring inside you. It will need essential workers.

Every March 1

This is not us. [Source: Getty Images]

Today is my daughter’s birthday, and as much as I want to celebrate this day, I am not prepared. I never am. You see, today also marks 22 years since my dad’s death. When I look at the calendar, the first thing I see is my father dying all over again. Every March 1, while I know I am moving further away from his time with me, I am incredibly taken by surprise at how emotional I get. I can remember every brutal detail about the hospital room, but I can’t remember his voice. I swear, keeping his memory alive is getting harder and harder as time passes. More than two decades later, and I’m not prepared for this day.

Truth be told, our relationship was nothing less than an uphill battle. Yet, the process of living without him still is challenging. There are moments that I miss. Moments of him just being there, being a dad. I think while I was growing up, he was in this profound struggle; I picture him fighting this epic battle inside – and not winning. I don’t ever remember not wanting to be his daughter, but I also don’t remember loving being his daughter. And it’s not because of the things he did, but it’s the things he didn’t do. He didn’t tuck me in or kiss me good night. He didn’t help me with homework. He didn’t pull me onto his lap, tell me stories or spend any time with me at all. No daughter needs grand gestures; it’s all about the little things… and physical affection. But still, he was my dad.

Time marches on. There’s nothing I can do to stop it. But it certainly feels like from here on out, staying connected to my father will be more challenging. He’s more gone now than he was yesterday or ten years ago, and each new day, new year, new decade, he’ll be further away. Someday I’ll have lived longer without him than with him. Accepting this seems like adding a new layer to my grief.

And I’m not prepared for that day.

In a few hours, I’ll see my daughter. We’ll hug and I’ll hold on to her a few seconds longer than she’ll probably want—but I’ll be too busy flashing back to the time she turned five in that brutal hospital room.

Happy birthday, Haley. I miss you, dad.

Trauma is a tour-de-force. And that’s a toxic state for the body.

Disclaimer: The lede in this story is boring. It’s about food and carbs. Barely a topic worth titling. But if you read past the boring lede, it gets interesting. I also stop talking about food. But there’s this sliver of analogy so I have to go there, and sadly you do, too. Rally on, team.

You cannot beat food cravings until you address the reason why they are actually happening. I’m not talking about, “I’m eating ice cream. Why am I eating ice cream? Because I’m sad. Why am I sad? Well, the WiFi is out again.”

Whenever you eat, the end-user of that food isn’t your stomach; it’s your cells. If you’ve ever eaten starches and sugars and felt even more hungry afterward, you probably have a more serious underlying issue that needs prompt attention. 

When you eat refined carbohydrates (cookies, candy, the things that make up my delicious breakfast on most days), your blood sugar experiences a rapid spike due to all the glucose you just consumed. This is a toxic state for the body, so the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is the messenger-hormone that lowers your blood sugar by shuttling the glucose into your cells. When insulin is not able to shuttle glucose into your cells, however, this is called insulin resistance. This means that although you just ate, you are actually starving on a cellular level. When you are in a state of insulin resistance, your brain receives the signal that you are still hungry – after all, you received zero useable energy. 

So those times that you feel like you are out-of-your-mind hungry and just can’t stop, it is because this dangerous cycle has been initiated in your body due to overconsumption of processed sugars. Hold on to that hat: you are not getting fat because you are eating more; you are eating more because you are getting fat. The more you continue to eat processed, refined sugars in excess, the more inefficient your cells become. To change this situation, you need to change the chemistry of the foods you consume by adding more protein, more fiber, more veggies, more quality healthy fats, and shifting to complex carbs instead of simple, refined sugars. 

THE POINT: Most people assume sheer willpower will get them to kick their sugar habit. But willpower does not address the biochemical imbalances that result from eating certain foods. In other words, you cannot ‘will’ yourself off sugar. To truly eliminate cravings, you must fix the root of the problem—the food’s chemistry. I said the chemistry of the food, not the purpose of the food. (And now you’ve reached the end of the boring lede. Congrats.)

The real story … 

Just as you can’t kick a sugar addiction with willpower, you can’t leave a traumatic event behind by merely putting it out of your mind.

I am not speaking for everyone when I say this, just myself, but 2020 was an avalanche of stress and trauma – one horrific ordeal after another. Lockdowns. Stay-at-home orders. Shuttered businesses. The virus. Not knowing anything about the virus. Being afraid to go to the store. Being afraid to stand beside a stranger. To breathe air. To touch things. I’m not exaggerating. At the start of the pandemic, I literally bought whatever I touched at the grocery store—and I only touched what I was willing to buy.

The paranoia was exhausting. The press briefings were confusing. The isolation was dreadful. Aye.

While 2020 was very traumatic, it’s also very over. The year is behind me, an opportunity is before me, and all that cringe-worthy stress-related COVID-talk is out of me. So I’m fine.

But I’m thinking…

I’ve said things like this before.

“I’m fine; (fill in the blank) is over.” 

But am I really fine? Let’s play a game.

Scenario 1: I am a teenager, and I talk back to my father (at the wrong time, of course), so he, being the non-communicative person that he is, does what he does best. He stops talking to me. His silence lasts for almost a full year. But then I grow up and I have lots of people in my life to talk to. I barely remember the year my dad wouldn’t talk to me.

Scenario 2: I find out my sister is having an affair with my husband. Well, you can’t pick your family, but you can select your divorce attorney. Becoming a single parent, although not ideal, does teach me a strength and independence that totally saves my life further down the road. But that period of my life is nothing more than a distant memory.

Scenario 3: I am in a romantic relationship with a man that I’m head over heels for – until I learn from my cyberstalker that he is married. After trashing his prized possessions (because), and moving to another state, he, too, becomes nothing more than a distant memory.

Or … maybe I refuse to speak in school, gain 100 pounds, tell people I am an only child, and make a deal with Cupid – keep your arrow away and I will not expose Valentine’s Day for what it is.

So am I really fine? 

It’s true that while our minds desperately try to leave trauma behind, our bodies keep us trapped in the past with emotions and feelings. And the inner turmoil cascades and ruptures most social relationships, leaving disastrous effects on marriages, families, and friendships. This is a toxic state for the body.

One does not need to be a combat soldier to encounter trauma. Trauma happens in all shapes and sizes, and it does not discriminate. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child, and one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body. One in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one in eight witnessed our mother being beaten or hit. Whether you fall into one of these statistics or your trauma resembles something more to the tune of the above scenario’s, trauma is trauma. And while humans are resilient creatures, traumatic experiences leave traces – whether on a large scale (our history and our culture) or close to home (on our families with dark secrets being kept for generations). They also leave traces on our minds and emotions, our capacity for joy and intimacy, and even our biology and immune system.

The scope of the trauma that billions of Americans endured during 2020 is immeasurable. While some effects of the trauma might be seen right away for some of us, others might not be so lucky and the trauma will manifest long into the future – affecting us in a myriad of ways. Khaled Hosseini in The Kite Runner writes:

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975 … That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past … Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”

Imagine the scars of 2020 for some of us: a loved one dies and we were not able to be there to hold their hand, say goodbye – or bury them; the neighborhood store that’s been a part of the community, or maybe it’s your family’s, and it’s been in business for 75 years is forced to close its doors forever; you lose your child to suicide because he or she couldn’t navigate what adults couldn’t deal with either; what if you couldn’t buy food for your family – or bake your child a birthday cake; what if you were forced out of your home – maybe you have three kids, or pets, or you live alone; what if you weren’t able to visit your aging parents; or maybe you are the aging parent and you’re not allowed to see your children or grandchildren. These are emotional traumas. What about physical traumas? You’re shut in with your abusive mate; you’re not able to fill your medical prescriptions on time; you’re not able to have that surgery or see that dentist, or take your dog to the Vet after he is hit by a car and his leg breaks.

These traumatic experiences didn’t disappear because the ball dropped in Times Square and we flipped our calendars.

Imagine how these life experiences will play out in our bodies’ function and malfunction years from now. It will take going beyond symptom relief to connecting with our vital energy so that one day we might once again be able to steer our own ship.

Years ago, I decided I wanted to be immovable. I wanted to be hard to knockdown. I didn’t know enough of myself to be those things in life, but I figured if my body was solid, maybe I would follow her. So I lifted heavy weights and I built muscle – and I became hard to knock over. Immovable.

Lately, though, I’ve wanted to be more fluid. I’ve wanted to bend and twist and sway. Flow. I no longer want to be rock-like. Maybe it’s because I’m not so scared anymore. Or perhaps it’s because I’m not sure I truly want to be immovable. I think I want to be more alive than that. I’ve spent long stretches of my life determined that one way of moving is the right way. Really, all that meant was I was terrified to move in the wrong way. And if I clung to one thing that was sort of working, at least then I wasn’t wrong.

I don’t know what the billions of people will do – today or tomorrow – or how they’ll discover their pathway to recovery (or if they’ll realize they need one). I only hope they do. My heart aches for what they’ve experienced. But if I know anything at all it’s that you can’t will away a craving, and you can’t turn the calendar on hurt or heal. Trauma is a tour-de-force. And that’s a toxic state for the body.