Why Giving Up Meat Is So Hard? Try “Reduce- atarian-ism”:
Now more than ever, people are attempting to reduce their meat consumption for ethical and environmental reasons. But in 2020, the U.S. ate more beef than the rest of the world, consuming a whopping 27 billion pounds.
Celebrating 40 Years of Teaching the Wisdom Traditions at UC San Diego
Where Did the Time Go? 40 Years of Teaching the Wisdom Traditions at UC San Diego:
If as a student at UC San Diego in the 80’s, you said that 40 years later I would still be teaching on campus, I would say you were nuckin’ futs!
Yet, this weekend, we find ourselves hosting a mini-camp, banquet and roast, celebrating 40 years of my teaching the wisdom traditions (martial arts, yoga and meditation) for the campus ecosystem and with the generations of students over the years, touching thousands of lives- now all over the world.
What started as a recreation club while a Muir college student in the dorms is the longest running contiguous program on campus, thanks to the help, support and loyalty of so many students, friends, and colleagues- many who are Sensei in their own right that have grown their own black belts and contributed to our community wellbeing.
Part of the prep work for camp includes some self-reflection, which is always in order as we tend to venerate action and vilify reflection in our human doing v. human being roles.
Here are a couple of examples I thought the Soul Food community would find beneficial so they are in this week’s missive for your wellbeing.
The first is the PERMAH Survey-
The PERMAH Survey is all about self-assessing your wellbeing, exploring the presence in our lives of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning Accomplishment and Health.
This free, confidential, and fast survey can help you to gauge your current baseline with respect to your wellbeing, your functioning effectively, and your ability to flourish even in challenging times, particularly with the enhanced focused on self-care and mental health we are all experiencing nowadays
Strength to Strength is a powerful presentation by Arthur C Brooks at Harvard, based on a book of the same name (that some of us read as part of a book club) and serves as a practical roadmap to finding success, happiness and deep purpose in the second half of life.
If you are seeking more love, happiness, peace and purpose it is worth a listen:
Finally, to end on a joyous sonic note enjoy the Sultans of Swing in the prime of their lives!
(Or go crank your favorite tunes)
Thanks this week go to Dr. Dan D and Awakening Conscious Leadership, Dr. Alan D professor extraordinaire at UC San Diego, Matt L and the men in the Conscious Leader Collective, and all the amazing members of our Aoinagi Karate community near and far that have stuck by me through thick and thin, especially my wife Barb!
Please pay it forward with purpose, bare it all, and stay in tune with your inner and outer nature!
Baring it all!
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Destigmatizing Homelessness and Doing Something About It:
Here is a short video I was able to help the San Diego Rescue Mission with on the topic of addressing homelessness, along with some local folks including Ken Blanchard, Mayor Sotelo-Solis of National City, Miles McPherson of The Rock Church, Steve Fisher former head basketball coach for SDSU, and others.
Thanks for caring about our most underestimated brothers and sisters…
8-year-old boy becomes youngest person to climb California’s El Capitan An 8-year-old boy became the youngest person to finish climbing El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park on Friday, according to his father, who has been by his side and cheering him on since the pair began their journey earlier this week.
Talking to strangers might make you happier, a study on ‘relational diversity’ finds A study finds that we are happier the more we talk with different categories of people — colleagues, family, strangers — and the more evenly our conversations are spread out among those groups.
Positive Self Talk: The Magic of Mindset by Devin C.
Affirmations are like magic words. The words you most often repeat in your mind affect your life and your future, for good or for bad.
You were probably taught as a child to not talk to yourself — well, throw all that out the window. Developing a strong inner dialogue that you can use to get in the groove is something I’d strongly recommend for anyone. When you stoke yourself up on positive self-talk, you’re able to foster stronger feelings of happiness and optimism.
Positive self-talk is a crucial, effective strategy they can use to combat any time of discomfort. This is why you will often see athletes mumbling to themselves before a game. They’ve been taught how to get in the right headspace for the challenges ahead of them. The beauty of self-talk is that it isn’t just great for sports. Parents, employees — anyone, really, can use self-talk to bring themselves into a more solid and positive frame of mind.
By definition, self-talk can be private thoughts or external speech, and whether it is positive or negative guides a person’s emotional and behavioral responses to discomfort.
If self-talk is negative, reflecting back the criticism you feel from others, you will automatically impose self-limitations that may take years to overcome. On the contrary, if the self-talk is positive, you can create a piece of armor to rely on for defense; whether it’s a work event or speaking in front of the room or seeking help from a co-worker, making new friends or defending oneself against a horrible person (sic), self-talk is extremely powerful.
When I was eight, I started to struggle with reading and writing. Before I was diagnosed with dyslexia, I was pulled into a group of five kids with serious learning disabilities.
A special aide came to work with us twice a day, calling us from our seats to the back of the room, where an accordion wall slid over to reveal a small side area. The walk felt like a slow death march. Everyone could read the scarlet letters tattooed across the slow learners’ foreheads.
“Devin’s with the short bus kids,” one of my classmates snickered. The laughter and comments made me feel exposed and hurt, because there was a part of me that almost believed them. After all, I was in the special education group, so the kids were peeling the scab off a very real vulnerability. That is why bullying is so damaging — it keys into deeply personal, truly embarrassing parts of a child’s psyche and seems to validate them. When a child utilizes self-talk as a response, he can shed the victim role and feel empowered instead.
In my case, rather than give in to the insecurity or tear my classmates down in return, I sat alone and breathed deeply. I could hear my father’s voice in my head: “People just don’t understand greatness,” he told me. “They don’t know what it looks like. You’ve just got to push through this.” I am, I can, I will, I thought fiercely. These people just don’t understand me. I will get through this. It was important to own that I was going through a difficult time, but believe I would get through it. Those positive affirmations helped deflect some of the bullets being fired at me.
Now, as an adult, I can see how they also demonstrate the power of a parent’s lessons in self-talk. In order for you to connect with others, you have to first be comfortable who you see in the mirror.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
● Develop “trigger words” — a positive mantra you connect with and can repeat anytime that you need to self-soothe. Trigger words will help you feel empowered and may come from a favorite song or movie, as well as what parents and teachers instill in them. My trigger words came from my father: “I am, I can, I will.” Even as an adult, I turn to this reassuring phrase anytime I feel self-doubt, fear, or insecurity.
● Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. In other words, learn coping strategies for discomfort by placing yourself in situations (on purpose) where you must develop a skill you currently do not have. As a child, I thought the arts were unmanly — so my father made me play the bassoon. My confidence increased once I mastered the instrument, and I could refer to that experience in other times of discomfort.
There’s a Mental Health Crisis Among American Children. Why?
Sleep doctor’s trick to fall asleep faster – and it can help if you wake up at 3am A sleep doctor has shared her go-to trick to help relax your body and potentially fall asleep faster – and it could even come in handy if you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night.
A horse ran away with wild mustangs. It just came home, 8 years later. Eight years ago, Shane Adams’s beloved horse, Mongo, became one of about 86,000 wild mustangs roaming the West. But last week, he finally came home.
“It doesn’t matter who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love, or how you love, it only matters THAT you love!”- John Lennon
‘My teenage hormones were raging!’: stars salute the Beatles’ Love Me Do at 60 It confused Gene Simmons, inspired Judy Collins and changed one pop star’s mum’s haircut. Here, musicians recall the impact of the Beatles’ debut single
— Lila Watson, Australian Aboriginal woman, in response to
An Indigenous tribe and a team of scientists help condors soar again Once pushed to the brink of extinction, condors are soaring in Northern California skies again with the help of an Indigenous tribe and a team of scientists.
Australia hands control of its newest national parks to Indigenous peoples The landmark move includes tourism efforts highlighting 60,000 years of Native culture and is part of a push to reckon with the country’s colonial legacy.
“Let us therefore decide both upon the Goal and upon the Way, and not fail to find some experienced Guide who has explored the region towards which we are advancing, for the conditions of this Journey are different from those of most travel.” — Seneca
Just 2 minutes of walking after eating can help blood sugar, study says Getting up and moving after you eat — even if it’s only for two minutes — can help control blood sugar levels, a new study says. If you can’t do that, try standing. It helps, too.
What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?
Are We Civilized?
Kindness 101: Friendship
Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year
Your “Before I Die List” with Robin Sharma
+ Taking You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music (I Can’t Help Myself- It Always Cracks My Heart Open!)
In the past week, I had the privilege of speaking at the CIF Symposium where the focus was proper sportsmanship, not just by the student athletes, but by coaches and spectators too!
Thought you might value this perspective…
What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?
If we look at what have become an all too common cultural norm, be it in politics, business or personal life, it seems that winning at all costs has replaced the more humane and wise notion of winning- but doing so following the rules of the game and a moral imperative.
When we look the other way, ignoring fouls and other ethical violations, are we tacitly endorsing these behaviors at best, or enabling at worst, behaviors that are antithetical to our own betterment and survival not just as individuals but as a species?
In the wisdom traditions, using traditional martial arts as a proxy, we are trained to strive for personal excellence and the contest whether in the ring of competition on in the ring of life provides a “proving ground” to test ourselves not just versus another player or contestant but against our own best potential.
Here there are 4 levels of winning and losing, not just the binary winning and losing we have become all too familiar with today.
The highest level of achievement is an honorable win. Your win is supported by right conduct and if you know you did not win cleanly you self-report the foul or incident rather than hide it under the rug or play to the chorus of if it wasn’t seen, or can’t be proved, then it didn’t happen.
One level down from this is an honorable loss. If you lost but did your best and were beaten fair and square you honor both your opponent and yourself, and learn from the experience by being a gracious “loser”. Here winning still occurs through character development, investing in loss, and remaining focused on long term growth not just short term outcomes. Honorable losses build resiliency and forge a character of perseverance and grit.
Next comes a dishonorable win and obviously in last place comes the dishonorable loss where in spite of trying every dirty trick in the book you still get your clock cleaned!
Whether it is in Olympic competition against the best in the world, or a personal competition to better oneself, it would be useful to foster a climate/culture that underscores the importance of honor and humility in the “success calculus” or we find the win meaningless, transitory and ultimately not supportive of our individual or collective growth.
This can also play out in our day to day choices; doing the right thing for the right reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I will leave it to you to discern the hierarchy and Faustian bargain this path takes us to when left to its ultimate conclusion.
Much is made of Alpha animals dominating their tribe and being willing to prevail over all contenders both inside and out.
Not as much is understood or appreciated about Alpha leaders, even in primates, modeling empathy and seeing their primary role as caring for and supporting their group not just terrorizing their peers and den members.
A real Alpha leader has the capacity to win at all costs but subordinates themselves.
I have heard altruism defined as “self-handicapping” for the greater good…
What kind of leader do you want to model, follow or create?
Let’s start now!
Are We Civilized?
Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts!
“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
Kindness 101: Friendship As part of the ongoing series “Kindness 101,” Steve Hartman and his kids are sharing stories built around themes of kindness and character and the people who’ve mastered both. His latest lesson is friendship.
Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year Throwing thousands of baby puffins off a cliff is a yearly tradition for the people of Iceland’s Westman Islands. It’s part of what’s known as “puffing season” and is a crucial life-saving endeavor.
Sorry to bring up death in the title yet you and I both come with an expiration date.
Like it or not, we’ll all end up as dust. Soon or late.
Makes me think of Ted Leonsis. The tech titan, visionary leader and business disruptor.
He was on a plane when the pilot said it looked like they would crash. Just imagine. Actually, please don’t.
Face to face with the end, he reflected on the things that truly mattered. No accessories. Only priorities.
He considered all the things he didn’t do and the places he didn’t visit and the people he failed to meet.
He confronted his truest values and highest visions, reflecting on the busyness of life and how it causes even the best amongst us to stray from the mission.
Fortunately the aircraft landed safely.
In the terminal, Ted wrote out a list that would transform his life: a list of 101 things that he vowed to do before he died.
Within a few years most were done.
Yet here’s the opportunity for you to take a few pristine hours—hidden away from the world—to generate your list. Of 50 or 75 or 100 things you absolutely must get done before you pass into that great field of daisies in the sky.
It’ll help you identify what truly counts. So you can strip out the trivialities. And lead your most majestic life. Beginning (hopefully) today. Because now is a gorgeous time to start a better way.
Take You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music:
From 8 to 80, the love of music makes your heart sing
I’m feeling overwhelmed! We all hear that a lot. I think we can see it too in our children, our peers, our friends when they get short with us or push us away.
So what can we do about it? Here are 5 tips I got from an article that you can share with them or use yourself.
Everyone at one time or another, or many times, will feel overwhelmed. It’s natural. It’s the way your mind tells you that you have too much going on and you need to slow down. So let’s not fight it next time – let’s do something about it!
List what is overwhelming you. Sometimes you realize after writing the things overwhelming you down – hey! I can do this. Sometimes that list is really long. But you know what you’ve just done. You put them down so now you can prioritize and start knocking those items off that list in an orderly, less chaotic manner. You may notice some things you can’t control on that list. Know what you get to do with those? Take them off the list! Cross those right off. And there may be things that others can help you with – let’s see what to do with those a little later in this list.
Realize it’s a breakdown of thoughts, not life. I love this sentence from Braden Thompson, “When you feel overwhelmed, your life isn’t falling apart – your thoughts are.” Remember being overwhelmed isn’t a stated of being – it’s a FEELING. We all have the ability to control our feelings.
Things can turn around quickly. Do you find yourself often feeling overwhelmed on Mondays and Tuesdays? That’s when the week begins. That feeling may dissipate as you work on things throughout the week. So track when you start to have those feelings – does it always seem to be on the same day of the week? Either way, don’t wallow in inaction, start doing and seeing the small progress chip away not only at that list you have to do, but also those feelings of being overwhelmed.
You’ve felt this way before. It ended before, and it will end again.Just remember that.
Your problems may not be as bad as you think. Remember when you were in school and finals were so overwhelming (maybe that was just me?)! Looking back now – what’s the worst that could have happened? You have that perspective now. It’s wasn’t the end of the world issue I made it to be. In fact – if only those were the problems I was facing now! Try to put things in perspective. Still doesn’t help? Help out at a food shelter, or reach out to others who wish that they had your problems. That really helps. Furthermore, acts of kindness make this world a better place, help others, and help you feel better too!
Everyone feels overwhelmed at one point or another. You are not alone. Remember – you control those feelings and what you do about them.
You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job to Find More Meaning in Life:
Before giving notice, and going on a vision quest, consider this. Fulfillment doesn’t require big change. In fact, you can find more meaning even in a joy you don’t love.
Daily ‘breath training’ can work as well as medicine to reduce high blood pressure Research finds five to 10 minutes daily of a type of strength training for muscles used in breathing can help anyone reduce or prevent high blood pressure. The training can also help elite athletes.
Mimi Choi is a professional illusion-makeup artist in Vancouver, Canada, who has gone viral for her optical-illusion looks on her face and body. Choi has collaborated with stars like Ezra Miller for their 2019 Met Gala makeup, Shay Mitchell, and Jeff Goldblum. Choi paints directly on her face and adjusts as she goes rather than sketching out an idea ahead of time. The process takes an average of four to five hours to complete, and some looks have taken over eight hours. The key to creating the most realistic illusion is lighting, background, and camera and face angles. Her goal is to create expressive art that shocks her audience.
One must transcend technical knowledge until the art becomes an artless art, flowing from the subconscious”
– D Suzuki (Zen Master)
Greetings Live Music Lovers & Kindred Spirits!
I have been extremely blessed and jazzed to play live music all over the world, from busking on the streets of Europe with a single musician, to jamming at the beach resorts of Florida, to jumping in at the paladares in Cuba, or bars and restaurants in Hawaii, to music halls and concert gigs and charity events right here in Southern California.
In my experience there are two types of artists (including musicians of course).
The first are all about cultivating their technical chops.
The pride themselves on their well-honed skills and excellence, but with that bias comes a sharp inner critic and voice of judgement.
They focus on the craft over the people.
Their debrief is all about what was missing, and what they could have done better in their pursuit of technical excellence.
They privilege virtuosity, and take pride in their accomplishment.
The second group are all about creating an experience and disappearing in the flow of the art.
They take pride when they surrender themselves to the moment, listen well to each other, and transport their audience to another dimension.
Their focus is on people over craft.
Their debrief is all about what resonated, where magic happened, and how to repeat that flow experience in service of their audience.
They privilege virtuousness in service of the art, and take pride in accompaniment.
Different experience and outcome…
Here are two live music experiences that focus on the latter (which as you have probably figured out, is my jam!) and if you have been out to any of the shows know exactly what I am talking about:
Saturday Sept 24thDrivin’ The Bus is at the Carlsbad Landings (outdoors) from 6 to 9pm
2192 McClellan, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Righteous Classic Jam band playing all the crowd favs
A Stanford Neuroscientist Says This Simple Breathing Exercise Is Like a Kill Switch for Stress A dead simple breathing exercise can help you short circuit stress, according to Stanford’s Andrew Huberman.
The Joan Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice is hosting acclaimed expert and peace builder Chris Blattman to discuss his new book, Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. Why We Fight shows that war is hard and peace is easier than most people think. The problem is that we only pay attention to the conflicts that happen. In these challenging times, both internationally and domestically, Blattman’s insights are of critical importance for all those who want to bridge divides and keep social and political peace.
The Event is Thursday, September 22 at 6:30pm in the Peace & Justice Theater at USD. Please Register for the event.
September is San Diego Hunger Awareness Month!
In support, Mission Fed is partnering with the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank for the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. This program provides food packages to chronically hungry elementary school students for the weekend when free school meals are unavailable.
Did you know that when children participate in programs that provide them with food for a weekend, children experience increased self-esteem, improved behavior at school, better academic performance, and increased interest in their classes and other school activities? Currently, 67 San Diego County elementary schools are enrolled in the Food 4 Kids program which feeds 3,300 students each week at schools throughout San Diego County.
The ask is for a donation of $7 which provides a food-filled backpack to a local child for the weekend.
Anyone can donate: we encourage everyone to contribute.
If you are interested there are several options to donate: