Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Archetypes by Caroline Myss

I received a free review copy of this book from Hay House, wasn't paid or influenced in any way. My honest opinion of this book is that it is a 5 star read. One of the things I really like about Caroline Myss is that she pulls no punches. If you're looking for spiritual truth and universal laws, you won't get them with a candy coating and side dish of "woo woo" from her. Archetypes is a fantastic book, and a subject she has put years of thought and study into. If you've ever had that feeling that you weren't living up to your full potential, or life is passing you by; learning about your archetypes could be of great benefit to you. For instance, I learned something I'd never considered. I've based many of my major decisions on the fear of humiliation. Up until now, it has never occurred to me to view failure as a "badge of courage", but it's certainly a more productive and empowering perspective. Caroline Myss explains the ten most common archetypes, and how most of us are some combination of 2 or 3. The website offers a test to learn where your particular leanings lie. I was pretty surprised at the results I got. Archetypes is a thought provoking, life enhancing book. This is much deeper than most self-help books are willing to go.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I wouldn't say I'm a compulsive eater or a food addict, but when I was at my heaviest it had a lot to do with binge eating in front of the TV. The best tip I ever learned in dealing with it was from Dr. Phil's book The Ultimate Weightloss Solution.

"Incompatible Behaviors"
The idea is when a food craving hits, you instantly change your focus by doing something that makes it impossible to satisfy that craving. You can't eat chocolate cake while driving, or taking a hot shower. (Well, at least you probably shouldn't.) The trick is to find something productive. Instead of fighting a craving, channel the energy into something else. For me, I use weight-lifting, but that can be taken too far. Then I end up over-training and injured. So instead of over-eating, I recommend over-reading. It's productive, takes your mind off the craving, and you can't really do too much of it. Speaking of which, I should have a new book review written up very soon.

Scared Straight!

If you never saw it, Scared Straight was a documentary film, and program in the 70's where they took a bunch of troubled teens and dropped them off in a maximum security prison for a day. It was an interesting idea. The special edition dvd release a few years back caught up with many of the teens, now middle aged adults. Most had turned their lives around and owed it all to the Scared Straight program.

Fear can be debilitating or enlightening. Somebody asked Bill Phillips when is the best time to completely transform your health and fitness, and his answer was something like 'after your first heart attack.' Fear can motivate, and put things in perspective. Over the weekend I had another old friend die unexpectedly. Heart attack from what I've heard. That's the second friend in six months, close to my age that died without warning, and heart related.

As a personal trainer, I understand the motivational fear around the humiliation of getting in shape for swimsuit season. However, the health and fitness levels you can't see are much more important.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Body Ecology Guide to Growing Younger by Donna Gates

I understand how health and nutrition books can strike a nerve with people, but I don't know how anyone could give this book less than 5 stars. Well researched, well written, insightful, and thorough. This isn't a diet or recipe book. It is a comprehensive guide on, as the title says, growing younger. Two principles separate this book from the morass of nutritional science: the principle of uniqueness, and the principle of balance. There is no one size fits all, magic formula for health, fitness, or longevity. Nor is there one magic, nutritional or fitness trick that fixes everything. Donna Gates has written a fantastic book showing a much wiser path to wellness. Throughout this indispensable guide she manages to cover all the bases of creating your own personal fountains of youth, all the while, going much deeper than most health authors. For instance, many talk about the ancient Chinese theory of Chi energy, but she goes a step further with a complete explanation of what Taoists call The 3 Treasures; Chi, Jing, and Shen. She even manages to do a better job of explaining them than most Tai Chi/Qigong instructors. This book bowled me over. If you have the slightest interest in reversing the aging process, you need to read The Body Ecology Guide to Growing Younger, and keep it on your shelf as a reference tool. I received this book free, for review purposes from the good folks at Hay House. I was not paid for my assessment, and it is my honest opinion that this book rocks and you need to read it.

Intention Experiment from Pam Grout's book E-Squared

Experiment #6 The Superhero Principle:
Your Thoughts and Consciousness Impact Matter

On Sunday March 3, I began the experiment by planting 2 green bean seeds in each section of this egg carton. My wife labeled the sides with an L and R, respectively. Each day I sprinkled water with my fingers over each container while focusing my mind on the intention of the left side growing taller than the right. Afterwards I'd return the egg carton to the window sill, turning it so each day a different side received the majority of sunlight. The picture was taken Thursday, March 14.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

IS by Faith Freed

This book has been described as a jumping off place for spiritual mavericks to develop their own vision or philosophy. More than that, it's kind of like having life, the universe, and everything explained through the mind of a sexy, interesting, self-described party girl. I'm rating it 5 stars, because I see so many reviewers on amazon giving it 4, and I am a true maverick. There are certainly concepts here that have been discussed countless times before, but they're approached in a fresh way. If this were the first book on consciousness I'd ever read, I'd be completely blown away. Having read plenty already, I'm still quite blown away. The author views IS (Infinite Source) through the visual cue of a disco ball broken down into 4 quadrants. It's goofy, but it's a fun way of looking at deep concepts. When spirituality and holistic notions are presented in a more down to earth manner, they're much more digestable, and seem more reasonable. The idea of living an enlightened life is more accessible when all the b.s. is stripped away, and it's looked at from a different perspective. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book that dealt with taking personal responsibility for your physical health. That's a key item that's missing from most spiritual teachings, and it shouldn't be considering its importance. The divine disco ball might not appeal to you, but it's still a great book to get a ball of your own rolling. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Hay House, and was not financially compensated. This review represents my honest assessment.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

E-Squared by Pam Grout

I really enjoyed E-Squared by Pam Grout. If you've ever wanted to put the teachings of Esther Hicks/Abraham or "The Secret" to the test, well this is the book for you. The hands on approach with the 9 experiments were a lot of fun, and I learned quite a bit that I really wasn't expecting. Since each exercise takes a day or two to complete, it was nice to slow down and really absorb each of the messages the author was teaching, rather than speed read. I was planning on doing a write up on my personal experiences, but I found a lot of it, a little too personal and profound to share. Besides, I wouldn't want to give anything away, or ruin anyone else's experiments. Suffice to say, this book will get you thinking. It's well written, well researched, enlightening, and entertaining. It's full of great, inspiring stories and quotes as well. I recommend giving it a chance. The idea of woo-woo new age mysticism and scientifically measurable data meeting at a comfortable middle is too much fun to pass up. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Hay House, I was not paid for my review or opinion. My honest opinion of this book is that it is a fantastic 5-Star read.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Running Free

I've heard lots of folks badmouth running, saying it'll destroy your ankles and knees. I've also read lots of studies that show it's one of the most productive activities you can do for your health, and it doesn't cost anything. I believe, if you're overweight you'd benefit best by walking off the weight, or using cardio machines. A weight training regime to sculpt fat-burning, lean muscle mass will also be invaluable, and the third part of the equation is a balanced nutrition plan. Even after you've gotten your bodyfat percentage into the 20-25% range, it's a good idea to stick to the Cardio, Weight-training, and Balanced Nutrition Plan.

When you begin a new running program, start slow, and listen to your body. Light stretching before and after can be helpful. Proper form is very important. Pay attention to your posture while running, and let your foot strike beneath you rather than in front. That will save your joints and shins some wear and tear. Visualizing and mindset can also be helpful. The way I like to look at it, is I try to concentrate on those seconds where neither of my feet are touching the ground. Those moments where I'm literally airborne are a lot of fun. It's my favorite part of running.