Anger and Frustration: The “Right” Way

When you feel like you have been wronged, when you are insulted in some way, or when things just aren’t going your way, feelings of anger or frustration begin to raise their voices. Anger is a rising energy, it comes up, making your face flush and your eyes get red. In Eastern Medicine it is linked to the liver. Think about how too much alcohol hurts the liver. A person that drinks too much is usually angry with a reddish nose. We call an angry person a hot head. We want to be healthy, we want a cool head and warm feet.

 Many of us like to bury our feelings. We push them down instead of pushing them out. Energy begins to stagnate, and turns over and over inside you leading to things such as insomnia, depression, irritability, painful periods, digestive problems, stiffness in the muscles, headaches, TMJ, and more. You have to be able to express yourself so you can heal. You have to accept and face your emotions. People have different healthy ways of dealing with anger. Some people take martial arts classes, scream into towels, punch pillows, write angry letters that they never send, or pound the pavement. Sometimes I throw things. I threw a bunch of old potatoes in the woods just the other day. I just kept hurling them as hard as I could and I can’t tell you how much better I felt afterward. I’ve also thrown old eggs, rocks into a lake, sticks…Doesn’t matter as long as a person isn’t a target. Just don’t sit there and smile and deny! If you’re upset you may be able to hide it from others but if you let it to continue to upset you, you will never be able to hide it from yourself.

Anger helps people finally stand up for themselves and speak out about what they want or deserve. Every feeling exists for a purpose, to show you what you want out of life. It can empower you. It  allows you to determine what is and what is not acceptable for yourself. You can use anger as power, it can help you overcome fears and push yourself. Just make sure you put it to good use and don’t let it eat you or those around you up.

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Get What You Want

The first steps- Ask:

What do you want?

Why do you want that ? What will your life look like when you get what you want? What will it feel like?

Write it down.

If you really want something, it is very important to know your true reasons for wanting it. If you know the why, you will be more likely to move on to the how. When you understand the how you can take the steps to achieve it. However, if you don’t know the why, maybe it isn’t the thing you should be pursuing in the first place. Or maybe when you ask yourself the why you can’t come up with reasons that really resonate with you. However, if every why makes you feel joy, happiness and hope, then believe in yourself, believe you are going to get it, take the steps, and it is yours.

Spring To It!

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! ” Sitting Bull
Spring cleaning, spring detox, spring planting. We do all of these things this time of year intuitively. Spring is a time for renewal, for change, for birth, and transformation. We clean out the old to make room for the new. Many relationships end and begin at this time of year. We clean out our closets, we open the windows and the let fresh air circulate. We feel like being more active, we crave more raw, more green, and less starchy, heavy foods. We naturally slough off the weight of winter. As the world gives birth to new life in nature, there is something happening inside us too. Have you found yourself looking at your life in a new way recently? Striving for growth or change?Ready for new projects? This is the essence of spring. The process of life that will give birth to the imminent beauty of summer.  Spring can be challenging because it does bring with it a kind of chaos, possibility, and the unkown. However, with changes are chances and opportunity. The planning for a brighter, better you. Take advantage of this new energy in yourself!

Some Big Statements on Diet

How much does diet influence disease?

Studies have shown that diet can decrease your risk of heart disease, the number one leading cause of death in this country, by 70%. The best drugs on the market only reduce your risk by 30%.

Being overweight or obese is just as linked to cancer as smoking.

A research study found that being a non-smoker, with a BMI of 25 or less, with a good diet and 1/2 hour of brisk walking a day could prevent 82% of heart attacks, 92% of type two diabetes, and 70% of colon cancer.

So how long you may live, how well, and how healthy you are seems to be  greatly influenced by diet. Imagine a world of healthy, vibrant beings. We can have it if we just make better choices.

Career Choice

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” -Rumi

Growing up we were told “Go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a job.” Following the steps was a guarantee for the American Dream. However, somewhere along the way we discover that there are no guarantees and the idealized American Dream might not be our dream. I know many people that hate their jobs. They HATE their job. They cringe when they have to get up in the morning five days a week, but it pays the bills, so they stay. So, what is your 401K worth? Your health? Your happiness? Where do you draw the line? In our country we like to think that money equals happiness but no amount of money will bring a smile to your face if you hate where it came from.

Most of us will spend more time at our jobs than we will spend with our loved ones. Eight to ten hours a day, usually five days a week, it is what we do and where we are. We work and work and work. All the time looking forward to the five days off we might be allowed.You spend 360 days being miserable for five days of reward.  So if you hate your career, if you are one of those people that gets up every morning on the verge of tears, I highly encourage you to rethink that choice. What you do day in and day out shapes you. It is very difficult to compartmentalize away such a huge part of your life and not let it bleed into other areas. The frustration and stress will take its toll on those around you, on your health, and strip away your soul. You may even forget who you are, becoming detached because you are just following a routine, the hamster on the wheel.

Fear is a huge motivator, it is why most of us stay. The economy is down, you think you won’t find something else, you have to support yourself and others. Maybe you should be scared of other things too. Consider this: This is your one and only life, you are deciding in every moment what you are going to do with it. Are you scared that one day you might look back filled with regret for not pursuing your passions and dreams? For wasting your time on things that don’t matter to you? Are you scared of missing the magical moments at your kids baseball game because you were held up at a meeting? Are you scared that you will look back and realize you spent all your time working for someone who sees you as a number instead of the multifaceted, talented person that you are? Find work you love or find a way to love your work. You deserve better and so does the world.

Thank You For Not Being Realistic

Guest Blogger Brendan Fitzgibbons  talks about going for your dreams and standing up for what you want despite others telling you what is “realistic.”

As a comedian in New York City for the past five years, I meet a lot of people who say to me, “Do you have a backup plan? What are you going to do if this doesn’t work out?” The subtext of that question is, “When are you going to get a real job?” And my answer to them is two-part: 1) Never 2) They don’t exist.

 I remember being a kid and having no concept of reality and being so much better for it. When you made tents and built forts or told your parents you were going to be an astronaut, no one said, “But your resume sucks!” The so-called proper career channels of school, college, job, was not even a fleck in your imagination and that imagination was a good place to hang out.

 My favorite movie last year (sorry Transformers 3) was Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey. The film is a documentary about Kevin Clash, the voice and the creator of Sesame Street’s Elmo. Growing up, Clash was mocked, made fun of and diminished for being a handsome, tall African-American teenager who loved puppets. Fortunately, Clash did not listen to the naysayers and became the creator of the most popular Sesame Street character ever. The movie reminds us that the childlike innocence of a dream is the rocket fuel of every fantastic creation.

For a society that tells everyone to be realistic, we are obsessed with all things that are not. Millions of practical Americans will tell their kids that they can’t be movie stars or musicians and then turnout around and spend $760 million dollars on a 3D movie about blue people in space, and take their kids to see Taylor Swift, who earned $97.7 million dollars on her 2011 American tour alone. Sports fans show up hours early to a game just to get a glimpse of their favorite player or an autograph for their kid. If we can’t be dreamers, we’ll pay any amount of money and wait in any kind of line to be with those who are.

 In the 1960’s political leaders of every race told Martin Luther King Jr. that the time for integration was later rather than sooner, and because King wasn’t realistic, radical sweeping integration laws were passed during the Johnson administration.  Bruce Springsteen’s father famously rejected his son’s career choice until finally in 1994, sitting across from Bruce, with his son’s Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in hand, looked at Bruce and said, “Son, Ill never tell you what to do ever again.” Steve Martin’s father didn’t think much of his son’s career either even as he was selling out 17,000-seat theaters and performing some of the most innovative comedy in the last 80 years. These cultural icons followed no rules and by doing so, stretched the limits of our collective imagination.

The next time that you say things like “This isn’t realistic,” “This isn’t practical,” ask yourself this very important question, according to whom? And I bet the answer nine times out of ten is, according to the expectations of someone else. “Why should I go to college?” My parents told me I have to.  “Why can’t I be a musician?” Because everyone says its too hard to make a living out of it.  “Why should I work at an office?”  Because the media says the economy is really bad and it’s hard to find jobs, and I should just take what I can get.  “Why do I need to diet?” Because advertisers tell me I’m fat. “What do I need to take this pill?” Because a western medical doctor, one school of medicine, told me I should.

 Now some of these statements might be true but it’s important to note that these are all examples of someone else’s opinion.  And make NO mistake about it, these opinions and things we refer to as realities are nothing but fluid. Three hundred years ago we thought we could cure diseases with leeches, 70 years ago, we thought smoking was good for you, and ten years ago conventional wisdom said we would never have a black president. And what we call fact or realistic today can change by tomorrow.

It is realistic for Will Smith to make a movie that makes $500 million dollars. It’s realistic for Barack Obama to pick up the phone and call the President of China. It is realistic for Apple to invent a product that changes the way we communicate. It is realistic for the American Red Cross to allocate $314.7 million dollars to the hurricane relief effort in Haiti. One person’s reality is another’s fantasy and the only difference between the two is the belief of which side you belong.

So the next time you see a painting you enjoy, witness a dunk you can’t believe, an organization that saved lives, or an invention that made things easier, instead of saying to those artists, athletes, politicians or inventors, “Great work,” or “Good job,” try saying, “Thank you for not being realistic.”

 Tonight, when I’m at the stand-up show I co-produce, and I’m surrounded by some of the best comedians in New York City, who night in and night out make people laugh, a lot of times for free, I’m going to make sure to take in that amazing scene, and think to myself, “This is pretty realistic to me.”

Cravings

Cravings are interesting creatures. Why does our body reach out for certain things? Nutrient deficiency? Stress? Love deficiency?  Sugar addiction? Candida?

Cravings for chocolate can indicate a magnesium deficiency. Spicy cravings may mean you need more zinc. Lusting for meat may mean you lack iron or protein. In Chinese Medicine the tastes are linked to different elements. Salt is linked to the kidney and water element. Stress takes a toll on the kidney and so your salt craving may be the body trying to say slow down! I need a vacation! Sweet is linked to the Spleen and the earth. The earth element is linked to over thinking and worry. As a society we spend a lot of time in our heads going over and over a problem. We are so in our heads that we are disconnected to the earth. When was the last time you took the time to roll down a hill, play in the garden, or walk in the grass? The spleen helps with digestion which we need to be at optimal function so our bodies absorb and assimilate nutrients. So let go of the sugar packet and go get a hug instead. The spleen is a nurturer and a transformer. Transform, nurture, stop worrying and take care to reduce sugar cravings.  Be aware of candida overgrowth which will automatically increase sugar cravings because that is what feeds the fungus, it will tell you it wants more so it can grow and cause further damage. The bitter taste in your ritual morning cup of coffee? In Eastern Medicine we link it the heart. No wonder Starbucks is doing so well.

We try to fill up the things missing in our lives with a lot of things. If we are not getting the love we need, food is something we may use to fill up the void. If you felt your life was whole, that you were loved unconditionally, if loved ones told you how special you were everyday and you loved your career would you still overeat? Maybe once in a while but I imagine your health would improve in all areas of your life. If you felt fulfilled you wouldn’t need to fill. People fill with other things besides food too. Shopping, sex, other people, alcohol and drugs. We damage ourselves to try to fix ourselves. We aren’t fixing ourselves, we are just numbing.

Listen to your body. It is never wrong. If you are craving a taste or a certain food your body is trying to tell you something. The message might not be completely clear at first but it is your job to deconstruct the craving. Figure it out and give your body what it really needs. Most of the time it isn’t the chocolate frosted donut you are reaching for, but once in a while, that is exactly what is!

Always Pack A Bathing Suit

Wherever I go I always try to pack as little as possible. As long as I have a toothbrush, underwear and my wallet I figure I’ve got the basics covered.  The idea of baggage has little appeal to me on many levels. I like my freedom and don’t want to be weighed down.

However, over and over again I find myself in situations where I wish I had packed a bathing suit. I was staying in the city over the weekend when a close friend of mine had the idea to go to The Turkish Bathhouse. Once again, I was unprepared. I talked to her twice, called another friend to ask if I could borow, and became frustrated with my lack of options. I went and spent most of the time trying to pull a rough, scratchy robe with huge holes around myself while others  freely walked around in their one and two piece suits. They were comfortable without robes in the sauna and they jumped freely into the cold pool.  I wasn’t jumping in that pool anyway, but that isn’t the point. Neither is the fact that the whole situation had me thinking about germ quantity exposure…

Others were showering off easily over their suits in the coed room while I was trying to figure out how I was going to wash my sweat and the sweat of others off myself without causing a scene or getting into trouble with the management. It ended up involving a couple of friends, a lot of soap, and acrobatics.

 This isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve gone away for training and discovered upon arrival that there was a pool at the hotel. I’ve gone to a friend’s cabin to discover that everyone was going to go swimming in the lake. It’s a simple thing, really. A swimsuit doesn’t take up much space. I won’t be uncomfortably burdened by its addition. I just can’t seem to learn my lesson. Maybe this time is it, after this I will go everywhere with a swimsuit in my bag. Doing this one simple thing will avoid missed opportunities, inconveniences, hassles, and having to borrow or invest in something I already own.

Is there anything in your life that you continually leave out or off? Something you wish you had in your bag? Something that would make your life easier that you continually leave out? Something you leave undone? A hug you forget to give too often or a word you always wish you’d say?

For me, at the moment, it’s just a bikini. Not so profound but important nonetheless. In other moments it’s not saying I love you, bringing my lunch to work, making a phone call, or going to the grocery store. It’s these little things, but they matter.

Political Process, Media Influnce, and What You Eat

The latest health buzz will have you downing acai, blueberries, coffee, and wine. Better yet, have a glass of wine with hints of acai, coffee, and blueberries and you’re all set!  Same thing, right? The New YOU as a SuperFood Power House!

The way I feel about coffee being sold as health food is a whole other post but I will start here. As a country we need to wake up, we need to question what we are told, and we need to start demanding better information, better food, and more honesty. We need to pay attention to how we feel and look around. We are not a healthy nation even if we spend more than any other country in the world on healthcare.

Patients come to me telling me they started taking a new supplement because they saw something on a Talk Show telling them it would do amazing things. They start taking the new supplement without doing any research or questioning what they have been told. Many times the supplement they begin taking will actually be known to aggravate their condition. They mistake the doctor on TV as their own personal health counselor.

The things you read in most magazines or see on television are not necessarily based on the latest research. More likely it is based on someone’s latest campaign. Health in this country is a for profit business, remember this the next time someone is promising you something in the pages of the latest glossy pages, recommending a surgery, or teaching your kids nutrition in school. The food pyramid is a delicate balance between politics and the food industry. Question you doctor and anyone else in authority. Reflect back on yourself and your body and how you feel. You need to learn to be your own guide and figure out what makes you feel at you best. Experimenting along the way is part of the process just be careful who and what is influencing you along the way on your journey.

“But it says ALL NATURAL!” Do me a favor…go look up the requirements for this tag line on your bag of chips. You might be surprised what you find. It turns out that the phrase “all natural” can mean just about anything; it actually has no nutritional meaning whatsoever. Your “all natural foods” can even harbor MSG and high fructose corn-syrup.

Its confusing out there, believe me, I know. Do some research and ask for help. But mostly, Be Aware.

You Have No Idea

We go through life consumed with ourselves, our lives, our past and our futures. We try to do the right things, say the right things, be good at our jobs, live up to expectations, and all the other things we try to do to be good, happy, successful people. All the while we are interacting with others. We are influencing others, impacting others, and changing others.

A close friend of mine and mentor is a chiropractor. It is his job to help people find relief from various back and neck pain among other things. He has helped many people in his profession. He treats people with respect and compassion and he knows how to listen without his hand on the doorknob. One particular patient that came to see him was in such pain by the time she came to the office she was contemplating suicide. The pain had gotten so bad she couldn’t take it any longer. She didn’t voice this at the time of her appointment and thankfully he was able to provide her with relief. Today she is pain-free and living a happy, content life. He was just doing his job but she credits him with saving her life.

The person I am today has been shaped by the numerous people who have impacted my life. The people who had faith in me before I had faith in myself. The teachers that influenced me, the friends that gave me a laugh, the mentors that saw potential. The people who let me down taught me to be there for others. The people who showed me love taught me the kind of person I want to be. One person making a thoughtful phone call can make my day, week, or month. Another can provide a hug that lifted me out of a funk. Everyday I get to do a job I love because people trust me enough to let me put needles in them with the hope that I can take their pain away. They are doing as much for me as I am doing for them. They are letting me practice a medicine I have a deep respect and love for. Trying to express my gratitude to these people, all of them,  doesn’t begin to touch the level of thanks I feel for these amazing people. Many of them aren’t even aware of the impact they have had. Everyday I think about these people. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

They are not superheroes, most of them haven’t been awarded any significant prizes, but they are amazing in my eyes. You have no idea how wonderful someone may think you are or the impact you have had on the people you have encountered.

Life is about interactions, life is about people. We have no idea the impact we are having on someone in any one moment. Remember this when you are murmuring your parting words, when you are meeting someone for the first time, when you pick up the phone, or when you chose to offer a stranger a smile. You have no idea how one word, one smile, one hug, or one work day will influence someone. You might just save someone’s life.