Thinner This Year

Book cover image for Thinner This YearThinner This Year: A Diet and Exercise Program for Living Strong, Fit, and Sexy was more challenging for me than was Younger Next Year.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it, but I had to concentrate more to get the information.  Chris Crowley’s witty style is definitely present and Jennifer Sachek’s portions are interesting, but contain so much important information that it was less entertaining.  Together they are a complete package.

Younger Next Year was a game changer for me. I rarely miss a work out.  I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy it as much as Chris does, but I’m definitely a convert and have been since I first read it in 2014.  With regards to the diet component, that’s a little tougher because of my food allergies. I can’t just lift the advice from the pages and apply it quite as easily as I can the exercise part. The overarching message of don’t eat garbage is applicable though.

Remarkably, what I gained from Thinner This Year isn’t just knowledge.  Although a large portion is a how-to book, there is a significant amount of the book dedicated to why-to.  Even more important is that is sparked my excitement about making a few changes. I have a bit more belief in my ability to modify my lifestyle and I have a stronger belief in the necessity of doing it.

As you can tell, I highly recommend reading this book.

Younger Next Year

Book Cover of Younger Next YearThree letters sum up my reaction to the book Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. You choose either WOW or OMG.  For me, this book was a life-changer. In reality, a lot of the information, the what, was not new to me.  What was new was the why.  And in this book, the why is pretty compelling. I found myself actually wanting to get to the gym more. That is pretty amazing. My diet is really pretty good, but I found myself wanting to make it better. The comparison between aging and decaying rattled around in my head almost constantly for the first few months after reading the book. I was convinced pretty early in the beginning chapters that decaying is a very bad think and generally preventable.

book cover from Younger Next Year for WomenYounger Next Year is a book by men and about men. That was not a turn off to me but it might be for some women. I was readily able to see that the science is the same, no matter the gender. Don’t despair though, there is a version Younger Next Year for Women.  No matter which one you choose, the important thing is to read the book and follow Harry’s Rules.  I am absolutely confident that they can change lives.

Fear of Spiders

fear of spiders? spider in webMeridian tapping is an effective tool for alleviating the pain and suffering of specific fears. The video demonstrates tapping for fear of spiders but can be customized to address your own specific fears.  It’s a really simple technique.  To get the best result, either go look at what you are afraid of, or find a picture of it to look at before you begin the tapping.

 

Prior Programming

computer program codePrior programming is the collection of ideas, concepts, views, and beliefs that we use as our “operating system” in daily life. These programs come from our parents, religious institutions, schools, families, peer group, media, and society. Sometimes the programs are valid. Sometimes they are not. When the programs are not valid they definitely work against the positive changes we may be trying to make in our lives.

One aspect of prior programming may be the expectation that we should be content with what we have.  Do you remember an experience as a child when you wanted something but you were told it was wrong to want it? I do. I also remember being told to consider all of the poor unfortunate people who had even less than I had. There is a lot of programming that goes on to convince us to not want more or not want something different (except in TV commercials which do the opposite.)

Say this statement aloud, “I should be content with what I’ve got.”  Rate the truth of the statement on a 0-10 scale. Remember that 10 is very intense or very true for you.  Write down your rating.

illustration for karate chop pointRepeat the following statements while tapping on the karate chop point. “Even though I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept where I am right now.  Even though I’ve obviously been taught that I should just be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely accept myself and all of my feelings. Even though I know I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and my desire for more.”

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Side of Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Nose…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Chin…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Collarbone…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Arm…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Top of Head…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Take a deep breath and check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Write down your new rating.  If the rating is above a 3, continue tapping with the previous statement.  Once your rating is quite low, move on to the positive tapping rounds below.

Eyebrow…I appreciate what I have now

Side of Eye…It is ok to want more

Under the Eye…Wanting more doesn’t mean I am unhappy

Under the Nose…It just means that I see possibilities to make things better for myself

Chin…I feel gratitude for what I have right now

Collarbone…I will feel gratitude if I get the things I want too

Under the Arm…I choose to feel calm and relaxed about wanting other things

Top of Head…I choose to love and accept myself and all of my feelings

Take a dep breath and let it out.  Check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Record your new rating. If it has gone back up, consider starting back and the beginning and repeating the sequence.  Or, if you noticed some resistance to the positive tapping statements, it might be useful to just tap while repeating the ones that were most difficult for you.

This is only one example of how tapping can be used to address prior programming that keeps us from moving forward in meaningful ways. Try using it for all of your “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and you will begin to experience true emotional freedom.

Keeping My Word

In general, keeping my word isn’t a terribly hard thing for me, at least not the way I have interpreted that before.  Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Jonathan Star verse 8 includes, When speaking, be truthful.  In that sense keeping my word is about telling the truth.  The context surrounding the statement seems to be pointing to more than avoiding lies. It seems to be about being in harmony with truth, not just following a rule.

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Wayne DyerIn Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, the translation is Stand by your word.  This seems to call for even more personal integrity and elicits many more questions and poses more pitfalls. It would even be easy to get bogged down in this (and I did) with questions like, “can’t I ever change my mind?” or “does that leave any room for spontaneity?”, or even “everybody lies sometimes.”

After tapping and meditating on this for a while I have come to believe that this statement, like much of the Tao, isn’t about behavior as much as it is about who we are at the core. It doesn’t mean that I can’t ever tell somebody I’m going to do something and then decide that I can’t or don’t want to do it. It means that if I have committed to doing something I then need to speak the truth to the person about why I am no longer going to do it. I’m not going to blame someone or something else, make an excuse, avoid, or simply not follow through.

Not only can tapping be useful for gaining a deeper understanding of a text like this one, it can also be quite valuable in changing the way you feel after having gained the insight. I was flooded with memories of all of the times that I have made excuses, heaped blame, and therefore devalued my own word.  The emotion resulting from all of those memories have been responding well to tapping. In addition, tapping has helped when I’m tempted to lie, distort the truth, or make excuses.

There are many reasons why we choose not to be truthful or not stand by our word.  Are you afraid that you won’t make the sale, get what you want/need, or win the approval of others?  TAP!

Don’t Diet: Reprogram Your Weight With Meridian Tapping

Diets don’t typically work. Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows that traditional dieting works for only a short time then — BOOM — the weight comes back on.  In order to achieve safe, effective, and lasting weight loss it is necessary to restore the body’s balance and to address the reasons why the weight is there in the first place.

Meridian tapping is the perfect technique for getting to the root cause of weight gain.  It is also an effective technique for decreasing resistance to exercise, eliminating cravings, and restoring rational thought related to food and nutrition.

My book, Don’t Diet: Reprogram Your Weight With Meridian Tapping gives you a complete program to address many common issues associated with overeating, poor eating, avoidance of exercise, and irrational beliefs about food.  In addition, by working through the exercises in the book you will develop the tapping skills to fine-tune and tailor the tapping to your individual concerns.

It Will Be Difficult

Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer book coverIt will be difficult is one of the excuses identified in Excuses Be Gone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and published by Hay House in 2009. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have personally used this one.  It has also been a favorite for many of my patients over the years.  People (myself included) very often can cite all of the reasons why they want to do a particular thing or why they should make a particular change. If I’m in a good mood, feeling full of energy, and feel that the person is highly motivated (again, including myself), my initial response to the excuse will be “so what?” Why does something being difficult mean that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it? When I have actually asked that question people have looked at me like I’m crazy.

There seems to be an unspoken maxim that states that one should never try to do something if it will be difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but the opposite might also be true OR, it could actually be easy.  Without a crystal ball it is pretty hard to tell. I might know that something was difficult for me last time or that it was difficult for someone else, but I can never know for sure that something will be difficult this time. It may not be very helpful to jump to that assumption.

If we apply Dr. Dyer’s paradigm for managing the excuse it might include asking

Q – Is it true? Will it be difficult?

A – Probably not.

Q – Where did the excuse come from?

A – I allowed it

Q – What is the payoff?  How does this excuse help me?

A – I( get to avoid risks and stay the same.

Q – What would my life look like if I couldn’t use this excuse?

A – I’d be able to really be myself

Q – Can I create a rational reason to change?

A – Yes

My paradigm for addressing the excuse is similar but also includes tapping (not a surprise I’m sure.)

Q – Where did this excuse come from?

A – Start tapping (tap through the points, changing to the next one whenever it diagram of the tapping pointsfeels right) and let your thoughts flow freely while you try to answer this question. This might include becoming aware of what you are feeling, when you have used this excuse before, and how it feels when you use it.  Get as specific as you can about the excuse, the purpose of the excuse, and the desired outcome of the excuse.

Q – Was there a time that this excuse helped or protected me?

A – The answer is probably yes. Now keep tapping and get specific, remembering the instances in which the excuse was somehow beneficial to you. Try not to get caught up in self-judgment or blame. View the events as if they were a movie or as if you are seeing it happening in the distance and keep tapping.

Q – What am I afraid would happen if I drop this excuse?

A – You will get better results if you can suspend self-judgment about having used this excuse before.  As you found out with the previous step, you developed this excuse for a reason.  Now continue tapping and take a look at the fear or anxiety that entices you to keep using the excuse and perhaps re-evaluate its usefulness to you.

Q – What would be the benefit of eliminating this excuse?

A – Start Tapping.  All things have pros and cons. Now is the time to look at the positive side of eliminating the excuse.  Your results will be best if you can get very specific and get a clear vision of what things might be like on the other side of the fence if you eliminate the excuse.  Remember, the grass is supposed to be woman jumping over the fencegreener on the other side so focus your energy on all of the good things awaiting you if you jump over the fence without the excuse.

If you decide to keep the excuse, please do so without self-blame or regret. You now understand your own motivations and decisions. If you decide to let go of the excuse, congratulations. Now you know that what you are contemplating may actually be easy.  You have also gained awareness of your own ability to do things that are difficult.

Avoid the Pedestal. It’s a Tough Fall.

multiple busts on pedestal in museumHave you ever put someone up on a pedestal?  Did you think they could do no wrong?  How did that work out for you?  Turn that around.  Do you want to be the one up on the pedestal?  If we are really honest, sometimes we do seek that type of relationship with other people.  The following tapping exercise gives you a starting point if this is an issue that resonates with you from either side of the pedestal.

 

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): The Tao Te Ching tells me that I don’t want to be on a pedestal, but I seem to seek that position anyway. Even though I seem to want to be viewed as something special, or something “more”, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though my mind acknowledges that danger of being put on a pedestal, my behavior suggests that I feel otherwise. In spite of this conflict, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway. Even though I don’t want the pain of falling off of the pedestal, I would like the love and respect that I believe comes with being put on a pedestal.  I choose to remain open to new ways of thinking about this.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…My mind and emotions are not in agreement about this issue

Side of Eye…I choose to remain open to clarity

Under the Eye…I have a lot of emotional baggage that I don’t fully understand

Under the Nose…I have put others on a pedestal

Chin…And when they let me down and “fall” off of that high place

Collarbone…We generally both get hurt

Under the Arm…I don’t want to continue that pattern with other people

Top of Head…And I don’t want to experience that fall myself either

Eyebrow…I am open to learning new ways of getting my needs met

Side of Eye…Maybe I am confusing adoration with respect

Under the Eye…Maybe I am confusing respect with love

Under the Nose…Maybe I am just confused all the way around

Chin…Awareness is a good place to start with this issue

Collarbone…I choose to be gentle with myself as I learn a new way

Under the Arm…I am looking forward to changes in the way I relate to others

Top of Head…I am looking forward to changes in the way I view myself

As I said, this exercise is just a starting point.  I know I have more work to do on this issue.  Do you?

Tai Chi – Out of the Dojo

Man with intense focus during tai chiTai Chi is a serious martial art and martial arts are practiced in a dojo – right? Well, not exclusively. You may see photos or movies showing large groups in China practicing in the park.  At a school in Wiltshire, England you might find elementary school students doing Tai Chi in the classroom.  The teacher, Anne D’Souzza, reported that Tai Chi assists students in calming down and preparing for their work.  In her classroom students begin every school day with Tai Chi.

Another interesting Tai Chi program operates in prisons, rehab centers, and elementary schools in Utah. An organization called Tai Chi Youth was started by Master Zhen Shen-Lang.  He volunteered to teach 15 inmates at Decker Lake Maximum Security Youth Prison in 1992.  The inmates demonstrated significant improvement in their communication skills.

The basic goals of the Tai Chi Youth Program are:

  1. To balance the body – health, coordination, exercise
  2. To balance the mind – emotions, creativity, intellectual pursuits
  3. To balance the life – contentment, individuality, ambitions
  4. To expand abilities – increased physical potential, increased mental potential, increased expectations
  5. To expand awareness – new abilities create new abilities, better self understanding, and able to better understand others
  6. To benefit society – decide individual path within society, become self-sufficient, help others
  7. Lessen violence in the world – be at peace with self and personal history, spread contentment and confidence to others, discourage violence in others
  8. Live a good life – constantly strive to improve all aspects of self, enjoy and appreciate living and respect all living things, make the lives of others as good as possible

Many other schools, dojos, and community organizations are learning the value of Tai Chi practice.  Although the physical movements are the method, the real focus is on developing character, respect, and self-control.  These skills can then be transferred to many other situations including home, school, and social activities.