I am a working father looking for balance in my life. I love reading, writing, hiking, biking, coaching, meditating and staying up past my bedtime. I'm living and loving set in the backdrop of Los Angeles. This is my best life yet!
Well I haven’t missed 1,000 calls, but I have been out of commission in contributing to this blog and there was a specific experience the other day that reminded me what I’ve been missing. So I recently was chatting with a friend who brought up the blog she has been writing and it soon became a great dialogue amongst our group of friends. I was excited to hear about this as I had no idea that she wrote a blog and it sounded personal and engaging. I chimed in, “Hey I have a blog too.” I went on to briefly describe ChangeThisWeek and what its purpose is. Later I went back to look at my blog and realized the hosting was expired, it was no longer published and anything I had added in 2015 was gone.
How ridiculous that I jumped in this conversation amongst friends about blogging when I had nothing published or live anymore. Ha, what a fraud! Well that’s one way to look at it, or there’s this way to look at it… I should start blogging again and reignite the purpose of why I wanted to do this in the first place. Needless to say, I have since chosen the latter.
So now its April of 2016 and a lot has changed since my last blog I wrote and WAY more has changed since the last blog post that is active on here. Some quick headlines include: I’ve moved my home and job. I’ve entered a new relationship. I’ve traveled, experienced new music, read a lot more and had so many new adventures. I’ve grown as a man and a father. That’s a quick glimpse of what I recognize that has changed in this moment and some of the first areas I will be exploring this year.
As the byline of the blog states, “You will be amazed at what you can change in one week” and that’s where the commitment comes in. What can I commit to in my life to make a change for at least one week and see what difference happens in my life. This is the crux of why I started this blog. What can I change? What can we change? What can any of us do to be better people, break a habit, make a new connection, be better parents, be better citizens of the world…? Or maybe its just that you need to make a change to add more fun in your life. Whatever it is, I hope you can make a commitment for a week to make some incremental change in your life too.
My commitment for this week is to restart this blog and reopen the portal I was so excited about two years ago. Starting over in this blog will remind me of reopening my network of friends and resources and people to connect with and be inspired by. I am hitting the reset button now.
But the heart of this blog isn’t just my journey, its to chronicle the journey of people as a collective, what can we all share together in our experiences and put forth in the spirit of making changes and growth? So that being said, I will again be looking for guest bloggers to share some words and put them out in the universe for consumption, contemplation and discussion.
It feels great to be back writing and sharing again because its fun, its inclusive and its therapeutic. But more than that, it feels great because it’s a fresh start. It’s a fresh start that brings a new opportunity for growth and change. It may come out as a blog, but truly in order to write this and process it, there is a whole thought pattern to look at for why I am in the place I am. Why did I start the blog? Why did I stop the blog? What is worth sharing? How much sharing is too much? What is worth changing?
So many questions and here I go on the road to examining it all.
Hi friends, nutrition continues to be our theme at Change This Week and today I’m excited to kickoff the weekend with a new guest blogger. Meet Alison Wilburn who has great insight on health and nutrition. I’ve had the pleasure of taking my first ever yoga class with Alison and am happy she is here to contribute today. It’s all yours, Alison.
When asked to write this piece, the first thing that came to mind is that nutrition is about more than food. Then I remembered a friend who spent a summer sun-gazing – a practice whereby you nourish your body with solar energy by staring at the sun rather than eating food. I had never heard of this until he shared it with me, but apparently it’s an ancient technique, originating in India, though observed by other cultures as well, and known in modern times as the HRM phenomenon based on a NASA study of a sun-gazer named Hira Ratan Manek.
Before I continue, let me say I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to eating, exercise, and nutrition, and I’m still traveling. Nothing I say is meant to be a definitive answer only what I can share from my experience so far.
I grew up observing a mom who was overweight and always on a diet. To my best recollection, I went on my first diet in the 7th grade, though I remember struggling with issues about my body and weight even earlier. In subsequent decades I continued to go from diet to diet and exercise regimin to exercise regimin trying to attain more of an ideal body weight with only spotty and temporary results. Though, my tendency was to carry excess, I spent almost two years underweight, probably anorexic if it had been diagnosed, so I really have a full spectrum experience with this in many ways. And after years of working from the outside-in, what I found is the lasting shift came from the inside and worked its way to the outside.
When I really committed myself to a spiritual path, I began to have a connection with a different sense of myself and developed an awareness of the origins of my impulses and appetites – a discernment that allowed me to feel from the inside whether I was being guided by my higher nature or unconsciously following the conditioning of my personality. This had an immediate and lasting impact on the kinds and amounts of food I choose to eat.
One thing I’ve realized in the last few years especially is that gluttony is a common cultural practice in America. It’s a fact that an overwhelming majority of us simply eat too much. The second thing I’ve come to see over the years is that no one diet is right for everyone. And if I try to eat according to someone else’s plan, regardless of how “expert” they are, then I get pulled away from my intuition, which is my most trusted ally when it comes to eating what is right for me and only me. And let’s face it, those experts are changing their minds on a pretty regular basis. From Atkins to South Beach Diet, from soy to wheat protein, almonds to coconuts, the ideas about what’s best for us will be changing until the end of time. If you really think about it, who could possibly know better what’s best for you than you?
I know this might sound strange in a society given to putting our health in other people’s hands, but in my experience I have found this to be the case. Health is more than a numbers game about matching an external standard designated by someone else such as a cholesterol, blood sugar, or calorie chart. The word “health”comes from an Old English word that means wholeness. More and more people in the healing arts (even western medicine) are realizing that real healing has to take the whole person into account. So if all my numbers match a chart, but I’m unhappy, unfulfilled, and resentful, is that really health (wholeness)?
I also tend to go by the idiom that the exception proves the rule. And there are so many exceptions to the common notions about health and nutrition. One that comes to mind right away is known as the Roseto Effect based on the documented study of an Italian-American community in Roseto, Pennsylvania. Turns out the common denominator in this group of people living longer, happier lives than the average American (despite the fact that they ate what would be considered unhealthy food, didn’t exercise, many were overweight, and some even smoked) was the sense of connection and belonging they cultivated among each other. No one was isolated and the study concluded basically that connection is not only good socially, but also physically and has a direct impact on the human body itself. Spiritual teacher and author, Ram Dass, tells how his guru, Maharajji took an inordinate amount of LSD and it had no effect whatsoever. I know LSD isn’t food, but I think it’s very relatable to the topic in that it is a substance that is supposed to have a certain effect when ingested and in this case that effect was neutralized. What I draw from these 2 instances is that nutrition is as much, if not more about belief than it is about the properties of the food itself.
What I’ve also realized in current times with food being big business, often produced by those who care more about money than well-being, is that what I eat is about more than personal preference. There’s a domino effect that goes into play when I take a bite of food, so I strive to be mindful and ask: “Will this choice alleviate or increase suffering on the planet?” This has led me to a predominately vegan diet and I see that what I choose to eat isn’t just about me and what it will make my body look like, it’s also about the effect it will have on the world and the other beings in it as a whole. Finding a balance between those two aspects is key.
What I would like to impress upon anyone who’s made it this far in reading what I have to say, is:
Nutrition is an inside game.
Find ways to connect with your intuition, whether in spiritual study and practice, spending time in nature, or whatever else calls to you.
Notice how you feel before, during, and after you eat. This is a telling guide. Do you feel energized or weighed down?
Don’t be overly influenced by current cultural models of what’s right to eat, knowing they will change on you before you know it.
Look at the big picture when it comes to nutrition. Consider your whole being and the effect your choices have on the planet as a whole.
What I’ve shared here continue to be my guiding principles. I am at the most ideal place I’ve ever been with feeling balanced and at peace with what I eat and the way I feel in my body. I have levels of freedom, energy, and strength that eluded me for many years. There’s nothing that would make me more happy than to see everyone walking around in a body that they felt truly good and alive in. If you’re not already, I hope you will be one of those individuals who finds that kind of freedom here and now. 17th Century philosopher, François, duc de La Rochefoucauld, wrote: “To eat is a necessity, [though things like sun-gazing bring even this into question] but to eat intelligently is an art.” Let what you eat be an artful expression of you, a beautiful, balanced depiction of who you are at the deepest level.
Alison helps others through the avenues that have been most profound in her own experience. In 2013, she created Lightwave Healing & Yoga as a channel to offer yoga, healing, and insights on eastern and western spirituality, quantum physics, and ancient wisdom.
Alison is very grateful to share her life with a mindful/yogi husband, 2 beautiful stepdaughters, and a couple of furry critters. When not engaged in service, Alison can be found practicing yoga, running or hiking the SoCal trails, or geeking out on an Einstein biography.
To recieve Alison’s Daily Lightwave (an inspirational soundbyte she publishes everyday), or to find out more about her yoga teaching schedule or special events, visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
So my Father’s Day was amazing, how was yours? Now that I ate like a king, I am truly ready to make a Change This Week about nutrition. I am really pleased with how far I’ve come over the years with improving my eating habits but it is time again to step it up a notch. So I will tell you about my plan soon, but starting off today is my friend Krystal who has been on an exercise and eating journey as well. That’s exactly why I asked her to be one of my guest bloggers this week. Welcome to the Change This Week, Krystal!
Eating healthy is boring! Right?
Luckily I’ve always tried to eat healthy coming from an athletic background but at the same time, I loved my chili cheese fries and ice cream. Not together. If I ate bad I would tell myself that I would just work it off later. I think everyone has done that. It wasn’t until early this year my whole idea of eating healthy changed.
A friendly challenge started at work where we were going to be Vegan for 22-days. Sounds intense! It was a little intense at first just not knowing anything about being a vegan. And my first thought, “NO CHEESE?!?!?!”. I love cheese! I knew that would be the hardest thing for me. No quesadilla? Chili cheese fries? Nachos? All of my favorite dishes!
I started searching online about vegan diets and good vegan recipes as well as restaurants to get ideas for recipes and got excited seeing that this might not be as tough as I thought.
Going to a vegan restaurant and seeing “cheese burger” on the menu or “chicken tenders” was so refreshing but my next thought, will it taste like chicken? The answer, heck yes it does!! Does the cheese taste like cheese? YUP! I was so excited at this point to know that there were healthy vegan alternatives to my normal eating habits.
Now to try and make my own vegan meals because I can’t be eating out everyday. Going to the grocery store being Vegan I spend majority of my time in the produce section. I also spend a little time getting a lot of beans. All kinds of beans. Black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans etc. My favorite fast vegan dish is a “beef bowl”. It’s chopped tomato, black beans, cooked zucchini, corn, roasted tomato’s and seitan. What the heck is seitan?? Seitan is your “meat” and is super high in protein and delicious(you can pick it up at whole foods and trader joes). If you don’t want to try seitan you can always throw tofu in there(you can pick up at mostly all super markets). OR you can be super lean with it and make a yummy veggie bowl.
As the 22-day challenge was coming to an end I was questioning whether I wanted to continue this challenge.
Being vegan I have noticed a great difference in the way my body works. I’m a runner so I noticed that now that I am a Vegan I can run much faster because I feel much lighter. I don’t feel lethargic from the chicken sandwich at lunch. I feel my stamina has greatly improved as well as being able to stay lean.
I have been on this vegan diet for 5 months and I don’t see myself going back. Any food you enjoy can be made vegan. Organic. All plant based and all good for you.
What about drinking? That was a big deal for me. Surprisingly, vegans are normal people and like to drink also. Before I agreed to the challenge I looked into if and what vegans can drink. I’m a vodka drinker so seeing Absolut first on the list, I was sold! (http://www.barnivore.com/liquor)
Now I appreciate much more what I am putting into my body. Now I see that it really does make a change and a huge difference. Your body is a machine and it needs to be taken care of. I’m not one to tell you you should become vegan but it doesn’t hurt to try a vegan meal and see how you like it. Change is good. This could be your change this week. If you have any more questions related to going vegan, restaurants, recipes, please feel free to send me an email. email@example.com.
Krystal Bee is single and living the life in L.A. You can hear her every morning in Big Boys Neighborhood on Power106 from 5-10am and see her as a contributor on RevoltTV. For leisure activities Krystal runs with two running crews in Los Angeles that meet twice a week. If you have any more questions related to going vegan, restaurants, recipes, please feel free to send her an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hmmm, I feel like I just painted myself into a corner. This week I’ve fallen behind schedule on the next theme and blog. How can I write a website called Change This Week and not keep it on a weekly schedule? #Epic fail! #Off with his head! Lol
So no I didn’t really get that dramatic about it, but the importance of keeping the site on schedule definitely crossed my mind. Everything runs on a schedule, planes, trains, and schools for example will not stop because you are behind schedule. So yes as my business and schooling has taught me for many years, stay on schedule, be a good boy, and I will be rewarded!
But guess what? Life happens. And guess what else? I don’t live like that anymore. I don’t follow the old rules because that’s the way things should be. I’m far from an anarchist, but my life is not based on coloring inside the lines anymore and man it feels so much better.
This week I had my daughter’s fifth grade graduation so I fell behind schedule and that’s exactly how it should have been. I was exactly where I needed to be, loving and supporting my daughter, even though it threw off my other schedules. This is what the website is about; Making changes, even bite size changes to improve my life and the lives of others.
So in this experience, there’s a lesson learned for myself in flexibility, humility that I can’t do everything and be everywhere at once, and finally I always start with love. Always starting with love assures I am approaching whatever is going on in my life with integrity and the right energy.
And that’s why this week’s blog about Nutrition is late… And guess what? Things on this website may be late but will always attempt to be valuable for you to read and help us all make a change this week. Thanks and see you back here very soon!
On a scale of 1 to 5, how was your relationship this past week? And why do you give it this rating? Did you do your best? Was it an off week? Is your partner crazy?
Personally, I give mine a 4. Pretty damn great! I really enjoyed this last week of making changes in love and relationships. I hope you enjoyed the content and had a great week with a little more care, romance, hand holding, love making, whatever your goal may have been. Thanks again to my contributors this past week. If you want to ever contribute and be a guest blogger, please reach out at email@example.com
I really see that relationships are going to be a big recurring theme for posts on this site. I know even as I am writing this blog, one of my dear friends is texting me about his on again off again girlfriend that he cannot trust. And earlier today I had a coworker asking me about what to do with his intentions on someone he longed for quite some time. Now I sound like the relationship guru, far from it I assure you, but I do have some pretty solid feedback when requested… And I am very often requesting feedback in return too!
What’s my point in mentioning how these two relationship discussions came up today? To completely bust out my friends. Just kidding, absolutely not. My point is that we all have some commonalities that include wanting to be loved and at different points in our lives we go looking for it or perhaps it hits us by surprise when we least expect it. Who doesn’t love the idea of love? This universal truth keeps our hearts beating, our minds racing, our pulse quickening, and florists raking in the cash. Most of us think about and participate in love a lot.
So therefore yes we will be talking about this a lot more. It’s fun, it’s sexy, it’s relatable and the topic will never get old. I’d love your feedback on other upcoming lifestyle topics you’d like to hear more about. Have a fantastic day and peace and blessings to you always. New blog and topic coming soon!
Relationships are a pain in the ass. Well, they usually start out wonderfully. Then they become a pain in the ass.
The question is, do you know why you’re in it? If you don’t, then the pain can be severe and pointless. But if you know why you’re in it, the pain may be a signal for you to examine how you can improve your participation so the two of you can actually have the relationship you’d like.
The pain in the ass I’m referring to is the work required to cohabitate for the long haul. If you’re just looking for fun, then have your short-term recreational relationships and get out at the first hint of “relationship issues.”
But if you want a long-term partner, if you want to nurture an intimate and loving relationship, where you both are listening to each other and supporting each other to grow, to heal, and to find joy, now that’s gonna take work.
It’s work because as the honeymoon fades and the full-dimensional truth of who you both are becomes more and more apparent, you’re each confronted with childhood issues that are begging to be examined and healed. And until they are, they’ll continue to wreak havoc in your relationship.
If one of you is afraid of conflict, and the other addicted to chaos, the chasing and the running will lead to endless arguing and possibly more violent forms of confrontation. If one of you is a bully, and the other never had a voice as a child, the frustration levels could rise to unbearable levels.
And while these old issues are played out in your relationship, your kids are witness to the blow-by-blow of their parent’s contentious marriage. As they’re watching, storing each and every memory, they’re developing their definitions of what a marriage is, what a man and woman are, and what they’ll likely create for themselves as they enter the dating and marriage world.
That’s why it’s so important for you to know who you are, what you want and why you’re in your relationship. Without that clear information, you’ll struggle to make sense of it all while your partner’s lack of clear information muddies the already muddied waters.
But there is an upside.
When you do this important work, you have the potential of sharing a spiritual journey with someone you adore, are sexually mad about, trust and respect. That, is worth all the work. With a strong foundation, the two of you can build a family and support one another through the challenging stages of your kids’ growth and your own maturation as parents, empty nesters and then grandparents.
So, read, go to counseling individually and as a couple, listen to podcasts, eat well, exercise, be spontaneous, listen to each other, go out of your way to love each other, and never forget that becoming complacent is the first step toward losing what could be the most wonderful part of your life.
Wayne M. Levine, MA, is a men’s life coach and director of BetterMen Coaching in Agoura Hills. He teaches men to be the best men, fathers, husbands and leaders they can be through individual, couples and group coaching, both in office and via the phone. Wayne is author of the best-selling book, Hold On to Your N.U.T.s—The Relationship Manual for Men. To find out more, get a copy of Wayne’s book and register for the BetterMen Weekend Retreat at www.bettermencoaching.com.
Hey friends, I’ve got a great guest blogger contributing today. That’s not his picture, he’s not that old, lol. Meet my friend and business associate Neil Palache, not only a dependable man doing business and living life with integrity, but a man in love. And all this week since I’m focusing on love relationships at Change This Week, I knew who to reach out to. Here’s Neil…
As I was sitting watching America’s Got Talent last week, a comedian had his moment in the spotlight. He started talking about marriage and how marriage essentially scares him to death because of the way people talk about it. He said that when asking his friends about how their marriage was doing, they would say things like ‘it’s good so far’ or ‘it’s hard work every day’ or there’s some good days and some bad’. He said “Would you buy a car if those were the answers to the question, how’s that car? I don’t think so”.
Then again, marriage is nothing like buying a car is it now!? So, here’s my story. At the ripe old age of 21, in the fall of 1983, I was over at a friend’s house. He was on the phone with a ‘girlfriend’. “Let me talk to her” I said. “Is she cute”? “Yes” he says, handing me the phone. For the next hour, after verifying with my friend that I could ask her out on a date, we talked and a date was scheduled. She subsequently cancelled. Great! One day, to my surprise, she called me and another date was scheduled for Friday January 13, 1984.
That Friday evening, I drove for what seemed to be an eternity from Encino to Westlake Village. Today, that drive is no big deal but back then it seemed like I was driving half way across the country! To top it off, once I found her house and survived the father greeting me with their rather large black German shepherd, we trekked back to Encino for dinner. Little did I know at the time that this would be the beginning of what is now a thirty-year relationship? We got engaged two and a half years later and were married just under a year after that in April 1987. Our oldest daughter came along in 2001, followed by our son and daughter in 2003. A few years ago we added two fish and recently adopted a tomato plant. Welcome, the Palache Family.
The comedian and his friends were almost right. It is hard work and there are good days and bad. There are also some amazing days especially when you add kids into the equation. Then again, what, that is worth having or doing, is not hard work? A marriage, a friendship, a business, charity work, kids. It is hard work. Bloody hard work! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, I like to take a good nap, read a good book and watch a great movie just like the next guy but not be married, not have kids, not run a business? No way!
When you run a business, one of things that you learn quickly is that you must be able to communicate to your prospective client what the benefits will be. Why should that person do business with you? What is the product or service that you’re offer going to do for them? How will it improve their lives? So, my advice to you, the reader, is to ask the same questions this week. Rather than find all of those things about which your spouse drives you crazy, find all of those things that are beneficial as a result of having a spouse. Here are some of my favorites:
– I always have a friend who will listen.
– I will get honest advice even when it’s hard to hear.
– I can get or give a hug most any time.
– Our kids are being raised by an amazing Mom.
– We trust each other implicitly.
– We chose each other.
No relationship is perfect. The more you nurture each other, the better it will be. Be caring, be careful. Be loving, be lovable. Be passionate, be compassionate. Be yourself, be selfless. Be honorable, be honest. Take a breath. Never allow your anger to dictate your decisions. Be IN the marriage.
Neil Palache is the Founder and Owner of the Wealth Creator Company for Women located in Westlake Village, California. You can reach Neil at (818) 606-7327 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit his website at www.thewealthcreatorcompany.com to for further information including signing up for his free weekly tips and goal setting exercises, a free one-hour coaching session or to register for one of his free or low-cost events.
Hi family, Last week I made a commitment to be more out of the box in my thoughts and my actions each day and report back on how I was doing. The results of last week personally are not great at all. I did create some new spaces for myself and got out of my comfort zone somewhat, but not as often as I wanted. I’m not going to beat myself over it though, that’s not the point of this website. So better luck to me on this week’s commitment.
For those of you new to this www.changethisweek.org site, I challenge myself every week to make a new commitment to make a change in my life over the week. I then post this commitment in the blog and encourage others to join in my commitment or make some of their own. I want you to celebrate with personal successes so choose a commitment that is attainable, something significant that will improve your life and hopefully in turn improve the lives of others.
This week I really felt inspired to talk about making changes in the aspect of love and being in a relationship. I have a lot of thoughts that went through my head about what to write and right now as I am laid back on my old green super comfortable couch in my office, it is all rolling out through my fingers.
First, let me tell you a little more about myself. I am a total romantic. I am definitely the man that will tell you and show you that I love you. I am the man who will commit to a romantic relationship. I am affectionate with my words and actions. I am thoughtful and generous with my heart. Those are important parts in a relationship that I am usually getting right. What I’m not getting right sometimes is effectively communicating with my partner in the relationship.
This is not easy territory for me. I feel like I am usually a great communicator and then sometimes in the relationship just when I think I am getting it so right, I get it so wrong. Some of it is part of the nature of two people being in a romantic relationship but most of it is my issue of being unaware or unclear in the moment. A misplaced word, a delayed response, an uncertain look, a shift in the wind, lol… Any factor may come into play that makes for a misperceived communication. In love, these can be costly mistakes. Sure in time, the moment will pass and when I am with the right partner all will be explained and forgiven, but in that moment there has definitely been the feeling of, “Oh crap, what on earth did I just do?”
No guy wants to get in this situation with the woman of his affections, but it still will happen from time to time. So, what to do? What commitment can I make to improve this situation when it occurs? I’m going to offer this. Stay clear and steer clear. That is my commitment, to do my best this week to stay clear and steer clear. So what does stay clear and steer clear mean to me?
Well think of the last time you really stepped into the proverbial dog doo with the person you love. How did you feel? What did you do to fix it in the moment? How did that work for you? As a man, I have an innate tendency to immediately want to solve and fix the problem occurring live in the moment of the relationship. This more often than not is a total mistake. Hence I suggest through experience and countless trial and error stay clear.
If you have stepped into the pile of unpleasantness and there’s an argument or thick tension, stay clear. Be loving and attentive but if there’s no movement that will happen at that moment, let it be and stay clear. Take a breath, walk away, give some space. Forcing dialogue and/or a resolution in that time of tension is more often that not going to further amplify the tension. When you’re in a loving relationship, a little time, space, patience and the lack of forcing a solution or a “fix” in that moment can go a long way.
And the second part of this statement is steer clear. When you are with a partner and you have tense moments or disagreements, learn from them after the emotion has subsided. Learn how to steer clear of the next one. Try setting yourself up for success in your relationship by staying away from the land mines that you have walked into before. Steer clear of some common bad habits such as the need to be right or win the argument. As an example, If you are both not speaking, in separate rooms or driving away alone in your car, what on earth did you really “win” by insisting on pressing your point? No matter how “right” you may feel when you are in a relationship, the insistence on making your partner wrong never sits well (even when they ARE completely wrong lol.)
So even though it really is not simple and takes loads of practice, that is my commitment. Stay clear and steer clear. It has great potential to make a change in my relationship and possibly yours too.
I hope you enjoyed the read. You can always join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @changethisweek. I’d love to hear if you try this out, how it works, and what else you may be committing to this week. I have some great guest bloggers coming this week as well so stay plugged in. Have a great week. Make a change this week. You’ll be surprised how much change you can make no matter how small it starts.
Jay Ry is raising his two daughters and living and loving life in Los Angeles. You can reach him on Instagram @jayryla and @changethisweek
Hello friends, I want to introduce you to a new guest blogger this week. Meet Bentley Richards, a father, businessman, adventurer and friend that distinctly came to mind when this week became about thinking and living outside of the box. Take it away Bentley….
I don’t like boxes very much unless they are being shipped to my house from my amazon prime account. When I was 7 years old I would imagine myself traveling through earth’s atmosphere past our solar system beyond our galaxy and universe until I reached the end. The end of what? Problem is I couldn’t imagine a place beyond so I would wrap my travels into a shoe box and call it a day. The outer limits of my imagination was a shoe box which contained everything. The only limits I could envision were self imposed. This seemed an appropriate analogy for this discussion on thinking outside the box.
I have a degree in art which has helped contribute to my creative energy and attitude in the work place. I rarely think “NO” when approaching a new opportunity or situation. My creative mind says “HOW” instead. Once I’m in this state of mind the answers start to flow in and opportunities present themselves. Its not magical new-age hocus pocus. Thinking differently then opens my eyes to all the alternative solutions that lie just outside the box.
Boxes serve purposes in business, government and life. They help to maintain order and allow people to function efficiently and effectively. Corporations build procedures and manuals to reproduce proven results. The good news is these forces make our lives much easier in ways that have become invisible. The fact that most of us obey they yellow lines separating us when travelling at high speeds is to me a suggestion that we appreciate and rely heavily upon these guidelines. A box is a way of thinking that is so highly specialized and efficient that we forget about it. It becomes invisible to us and before we know it we are trapped inside.
Opening the box must be done in front of a mirror. Look at your life. Is there an area where you find yourself settling for mediocrity? Have you accepted a situation, relationship or career path where you are uninspired, lack motivation or harbor resentment? If so you are probably stuck in some box/idea of how life is and you’ve stopped questioning if there is a better alternative out there. I opened my box up and threw the contents against the wall when I turned 40 years old. I had trapped myself in conventional ways of thinking that were so diametrically opposed to my Soul’s life purpose that only a drastic redecorating of my life could cure me of my limited self image through the process of a reimagined lifestyle.
I started listening to music again and engaging in the creative arts. I went to the burning man festival and spent a week in the desert living more unconventionally than I could ever have imagined. During that week I slept during the day, danced all night and camped with 50,000 other burners. I rode on a boat through the desert and wrote my fears, worries and prayers on a two story wooden temple that would be burnt at the end of my stay. I wore a skirt during the day and a fur vest at night. We exchanged no currency, bought nothing and shared in it all. It took about a week after my trip to transition back to all the standardized conventions we encounter on a daily basis. Just walking into a Starbucks was a shocking surreal experience. Since then I have spent a lot of time in places where the general rules and attitudes in life have been flipped on their head. Through this process I have re-connected with my inner passions and interests, found a new love for my children and opened myself to friendships with interesting people where I delight in our different viewpoints on the world. I’m not sure what the future holds for me but I guarantee it’s going to be interesting and different. My fear of death is diminishing and my zest for life is just beginning. My box now has windows! See you all at Outside Lands in August. 🙂
Bentley Richards is the proprietor of the Lab Brewing Company in Agoura Hills, California. You can often find Bentley live at the Brewery or on Instagram @thelabbrewingco or www.labbrewingco.com
Last week I talked about gratitude and about better expressing that gratitude for life and love to those in my life. This was a great week and I know a big part of this week’s greatness was due to this commitment I made.
Now it’s a new week and I am on a plane writing this blog feeling quite confined, like I’m in a giant metallic and cylindrical box, lol here comes the segue. The thoughts of being on this plane, and after being in a tight hotel room begged the question, What box can I break out of this week? Of course I’m not talking about a plane or a hotel room, I’m referring to the mental boxes we find ourselves in. In order to break out of a box, I first have to step back and realize what is the box that I am in and how did I get there?
I’m asking this question of myself to start and wonder how much you can relate to this issue as well. I have lived in the box for many years. The biggest box I have lived in was self created in my ill fated quest to please others. I was more often that not trying to strive for what I thought was “right” at the time or in the eyes and standards of others. My internal thought was that If I just did what was “right” then I would succeed and be accepted and rewarded by others, especially those with the keys to power. Sometimes this worked because I did achieve successes in this box. That was great except that it only encouraged me to further entrench myself in the box. A bit of a conundrum was formed and I just kept rolling along unaware and blissfully unhappy.
Through major transitions in my life, I have been made aware of this success in the box fallacy and have been working hard to get out of the box the past few years. It has taken a lot of time, making new moves but always keeping focused on making personal changes and forward momentum. There have also been a lot of mistakes in the past few years on my new mission, but the biggest outcome I have achieved includes a lot more clarity on what I want in my life, who I want in my life and what my priorities are. This has been such a fun and rewarding experience to be living and loving in this new space.
It’s fascinating to look back at when I was so unclear but also so unaware of what limitations I was putting on myself. Now I am so much more open to new ideas and experiences that my life is really new again. When there is a new opportunity or adventure, I really try my best to just say Yes! If I am capable, I try it, I go with it. I don’t need to default to my old ways and overthink it, over control it, or talk myself out of it. I love this new space that I have created and I am committed to staying in this space. The work I am doing for myself is by no means complete but just to be aware, clearer and committed to making this change for myself is soooo powerful.
So this is my commitment for my change this week. Creating more opportunities to live out of the box. All this week I am going to challenge myself to implement ways to live out of the box in my thoughts, my actions and in my love for others. Follow along in the blogs and on my social media for what this actually looks like. For someone like myself that lived in the box for so long, this commitment originally would have been scary to undertake. Now though it is a thrill to be here. Being rid of this fear of change creates a new peace and happiness that I cannot always pinpoint when describing to friends and family, but they see it in my smile and how much lighter I am in my presence. I am so much happier and smiling much more often that this change strikes the others around me.
Well my friends, there is my commitment to change this week, if you have another change to make his week you’ve been thinking of, go for it! Let me know how I can love and support you in this move. If you want to join me in the same commitment of getting out of the box, let’s do it! The blogs and content on www.changethisweek.org are going to be aimed in this direction so feel free to read along and participate. That’s it for now, thanks for reading and I’ll see you here again soon. Please follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @changethisweek
Jay Ry is the founder of ChangeThisWeek and lives and loves life with his two daughters in Los Angeles.
You'll be amazed at what you can change in one week!