What do cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s all have in common? Besides being words that we hope never come out of our doctors’ mouths, there’s something else; inflammation. Our bodies environment is hot, fat and crowded. Makes you cringe a little, doesn’t it? The standard American diet has been cited by the six doctors that we quoted three weeks ago. They all point to inflammation as a common cause of these diseases of the second half of life. When I think about the effects of inflammation, I am drawn to Death Valley.
I began looking at my own body’s environment when I read the book “Wheat Belly“. Within this journey, I found that as I cut out my consumption of wheat, and then cheese, things dramatically got better. My thinking got clearer, my joint pain lessoned – in places like knees, and fingers, and the like. Believe it or not, you can survive without those greasy grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, you’ll thrive. As I completed my coursework for IIN, studied scores of diets, internalized all of the work on how our diet can improve our health and either prevent or reverse the diseases listed above, I started to become very smug. I started to believe that I was eating really well. Then, I contracted one of those pestering ear infections, and for the last three months have struggled to get back on track, from a health perspective at least.
In the afternoon (or late evening, as I sometimes think of it) of our lives, our toleration for mistakes is lessened over that of our earlier years. I read the “Honeymoon Effect” and listened to the person that started this journey for me – Bruce Lipton – talk about the effects of stress and cortisol on the environment in our bodies. I commented on this two weeks ago, and I thought, Fine, I just need to relax a bit, and simple awareness will make all of this angst go away. To a point it did. But not completely, and certainly not authentically.
I started to meditate more and slow down, but I was on deadline for a number of things. I did not really focus on it. I did not mediate as if my life depended on it. For those of you that prefer the term “prayer” to “meditation” – feel free to substitute. I remember when I used the “prayer” term – I would turn things over to God, but then take them back.
Here is the dirty little secret that I rediscovered over the last few months. Encore Entrepreneur – or Entrepreneur – same thing. One thing is in common to both. In 1994, I had the pleasure of listenting to Michael Gerber (the author of the E-Myth) speak about the midset of the typical small business owner. One day, you wake up and you realize you are working for a tyrant.
It does not matter if you are working fourteen hour days for “the man,” for your own thing, or for your cause. If you are working fourteen hours and you are not having fun with at least half of it, you are probably building up cortisol, which is making your body hot, and not in the glamorous way. It is inflaming it, and it does not matter what food you are eating – you are going to feel bad, maybe even awful. If you are working fourteen hours a day but living onCORE and in harmony with yourself, then spending the day in Death Valley might not be all bad.
I can choose – I could be in the “death valley” of business – wandering around, bitching. My mindset: “Damn, I am in death valley, and life sucks.”
Or, I can grab a camera, since I cannot paint, and get up in the early morning light to enjoy the day, even if that camera is metaphorical. If you have followed this blog, then you know that I identified this a few weeks ago, and here I am still writing about it. Well I did title that entry – Remedial. And I guess that I am still remedial. At the time that I wrote it I thought that I had the answer. Maybe I did, but I left out a real daily centering every day.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Wayne Dwyer, has told the story that he would get frenetic – as I have gotten recently with the challenges of launching a business – being “in the world”, so to speak. He would question another of my favorite teachers Deepak Chopra, and Deepak’s answer was simply one word – MEDITATE. Wayne would say some thing along the lines of, “But Deepak, don’t you think…” And he would simply say, “MEDITATE!” For me, the food is one thing, and it is very important, but the real answer is to center myself daily, – so I can be IN the world and not OF it, in the famous words of St. Paul.