6 Ways to Channel Your Inspiration

I consider myself an “inspirationalist.”

Basically what this means is that I easily get swept away by the rush of energy and good feelings that accompany any random new idea or thing that strikes my fancy. It also means that my fancy gets struck pretty damn often, which is both super amazing and super annoying. On the one hand, I get extraordinary pleasure from small things, and on the other hand I struggle to get anything done.

Getting swept away is a trait handed down to me by my dad, who I’ve seen dive with complete abandon throughout my life into such seemingly random hobbies as Bonsai trees, magic, pottery, and violin. Some people could call it obsessive, but I call it passionate.

Passion runs in my blood, and it’s one of the things that most defines me.

Before I learned to consciously harness my wild inspiration, I couldn’t seem to resist the rush of good feelings that accompanied every random new idea, and I struggled with consistency and follow-through, which made me feel like a super loser a lot of the time. I also had a really hard time knowing what I “wanted to do with my life,” since I couldn’t choose between the thirty eight million things that I loved to think about doing.

Every time I saw something shiny (think: I tried a new hobby, sport, skill, or lifestyle choice) I felt sure that this shiny new thing was important, and I pursued it full-on with everything I had. Inevitably within a few days or weeks however, the rush of inspiration waned, and the shiny new thing got left in the dust. Following each shiny-to-dust cycle, I always experienced a period of absolute desolation, grieving the loss of the new thing’s importance in my life, and cursing my stupid inspiration-addicted self for not knowing better.

featured-image-11_8-blogpost-1

Note: you could probably call my behavior a bit ADHD-ish, but since I don’t find that label helpful (and because I prefer magical-sounding terms), I’m going with “inspirationalism.” You do you, though.

If you relate to being an inspirationalist, you’ll most likely recognize the negative self-talk and self-concept that accompanies it. Despite experiencing an enormous amount of joy and happiness during each cycle, being easily inspired often leads to a pretty negative view of yourself.

For example: You might run into an old friend who runs marathons and looks amazing, and commit to running more often. You run three days in a row, feel super proud of yourself, and daydream about your future life being filled with race days and running buddies and vibrant health and energy. Then while watching tv you see this baking show, and the host is so cool and funny and happy and you think “maybe I’m actually more of a homebody than an athlete.” You can’t stop imagining yourself wearing well-fitted dresses and baking beautiful treats for your friends and family while Christmas music plays, so you skip your run and go buy all the ingredients to make a pineapple-upside-down cake, but it’s not very good so you criticize yourself for being neither athletic nor domestic, and then wonder if you’ll ever find “your thing.” Then you get sidetracked by an article about how so many dogs are abandoned and treated badly and need homes, and you spend hours and hours on the internet looking at shelter dogs, thinking you might get one, and daydreaming about how you and your new dog will do everything together. Then when you realize you’re not up for the responsibility of a needy dog, you experience a combination of grief over the lost daydream, anger at yourself for getting your hopes up again, and shame that you’re not the kind of person who ever follows through on anything. Whomp, whomp.

Guys, I get it. My “passionate and enthusiastic” nature used to make me completely miserable. I’ve always highly valued the idea of following my heart, and I wanted to live a life that honored my impulses and whims, but my rush-then-crash inspiration hurricanes made me feel both like a crazy person and a total failure.

The problem is that we live a world where linear, rational, stoicism is highly valued and praised. 

Passionate, enthusiastic people are the minority in this world, and the masses of reasonable, even-keeled people honestly don’t know what to do with us. Inspirationalism, when properly harnessed and channeled, is an absolutely incredible gift. You have a big, juicy imagination, a giant heart, tons of empathy, a creative edge, and most likely an eye for the beautiful. If, like I did, you feel like you’re constantly disappointed, constantly riding an emotional roller-coaster, and never living up to your potential, you’re probably  just an inspirationalist who needs to learn how to harness her powers.

The good news is that you don’t need to ignore or repress your whims in order to “get things done,” you just need to work on the following powerful skills.

1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar for 60 Days Can Eliminate these Common Health Problems

 

You may have heard by now about the buzz surrounding apple cider vinegar. If you have it in your kitchen, you are probably used to using it as a cooking ingredient. But do you know about the amazing health benefits that come along with it? Apple cider vinegar has been credited with everything from curing hiccups and alleviating cold symptoms to aiding in weight loss and helping to prevent heart disease. Here are just a few in a long list of benefits of adding just one tablespoon a day of apple cider vinegar to your diet:

1. Helps Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Acid reflux usually results from having too little acid in the stomach. Apple cider vinegar is full of antibiotic properties. To improve the acid content of your stomach, drink one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water.

2. Promotes Healthy Cholesterol

Not only does apple cider vinegar support healthy cholesterol, studies have shown that it can protect from arterial damage or oxidation,  which is the main risk of high cholesterol.

3. Can Aid in Healthy Weight Loss

Yep, apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. The acetic acid it contains helps to suppress your appetite, increase your metabolism and reduce water retention — a great combo if you’re looking to lose a few pounds.

4. Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar has strong anti-glycemic properties that support a healthy blood sugar level. The vinegar actually blocks some of the digestion of starch, preventing it from raising your blood sugar.

5. Has Antioxidant Properties

Apple cider vinegar contains many antioxidants to help keep your body healthy and running smoothly, including catechin, gallic acid, caffeic and chlorogenic acids.

6. Improves Nutrient Absorption

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can increase your body’s absorption of important minerals from the food you eat. Adding vinegar to your salad dressing may also help you absorb more nutrients from your leafy greens!

To check out ways you can use it around the house, or as a beauty product (you can use it to whiten your teeth!), check out this article.

What Makes Thin People Prone To Diabetes?

It’s just as possible for a thin person to have diabetes as it is for many obese people to be surprisingly healthy.

Among patients receiving gastric bypass surgery in Singapore, ceramide levels – waxy lipid molecules found in cell membranes – predicted who had diabetes better than obesity did. Although all of the patients were obese, those who did not have type 2 diabetes showed less ceramide in their adipose tissue than those who were diagnosed with the condition.

That led to a new study[1] by scientists at the University of Utah College of Health, which concludes that accumulation of these ceramides, a toxic class of fat metabolites, may make people more prone to type 2 diabetes.

Up until now, scientists didn’t know how ceramides were damaging the body; however, the researchers found that a buildup of ceramides prevents the normal function of fat (adipose) tissue in mice.

“Ceramides impact the way the body handles nutrients,” says the study’s senior author Scott Summers, Ph.D. “They impair the way the body responds to insulin, and also how it burns calories.”

Overeating can result in excessive production of fatty acids. The fatty acids can be stored in the body as triglycerides or burned for energy. However in some people, they can turn into ceramides. “It’s like a tipping point,” Summers said.

At that point, when ceramides accrue, the adipose tissue stops working appropriately, and fat spills out into the vasculature or heart and does damage to other peripheral tissues.

The three-year project found that adding excess ceramides to human fat cells, or mice, caused them to become unresponsive to insulin and develop impairments in their ability to burn calories. The mice were also more susceptible to diabetes as well as fatty liver disease.

Conversely, they also found that mice with fewer ceramides in their adipose tissue were protected from insulin resistance, a first sign of diabetes. Using genetic engineering, researchers had deleted the gene that converts saturated fats into ceramides.

The findings indicate that high ceramides levels may increase diabetes risk, but low levels could protect against the disease.

“That suggests some skinny people will get diabetes or fatty liver disease if something such as genetics triggers ceramide accumulation,” said Bhagirath Chaurasia, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Utah and the lead author of the study.

As a result of the new research, the scientists are now searching for genetic mutations that lead to people’s predisposition to accumulating ceramides, developing obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Summers notes that some Asian countries have a higher diabetes rate than the United States even though the obesity rate is relatively low. “Some people are just not made to deal with dietary fat,” says Summers. “It’s not just how much you eat, because some people can eat a lot and they just store all the fat effectively and remain healthy.”

Adipose tissue exists as three types and white adipose tissue is considered the “bad” kind, because it predominately stores fat. Brown adipose tissue burns fat to generate heat, and beige adipose tissue is a variety of white fat that can change to brown when the body needs to produce heat or create energy.

Based on their research, the scientists propose that as ceramides build up, the tissue loses the characteristics of brown fat, effectively becoming more white. This sets off a sequence of events that can lead to disease.

Summers previously published research in 2007 proving that the inhibition of ceramide synthesis in rodents prevented the development of fatty liver disease and diabetes. He is now working to develop drugs to target that issue.

“By blocking ceramide production, we might be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes or other metabolic conditions, at least in some people,” Chaurasia said.

Knowing how problematic ceramide accumulation is inside adipose tissue will help researchers focus on that specific problem.

You Aren’t As Fragile As You Think

There’s an epidemic of articles out there crowing about the “5 Exercises You Should Never Do,” or warning you about the “10 Most Dangerous Exercises.” The nonsensical assumption at the heart of each is that your body is fragile and static, unable to adapt to new stressors.

If you’re reading this, your body is capable of tremendous adaptation. There are no inherently dangerous exercises. There are only exercises, movements, and positions that your body is or isn’t equipped to handle.

Your body is made to move. It’s built to solve problems in complex environments, often requiring you to move your spine out of neutral, take your knees past your toes, or lift with your back rather than your legs. None of these actions is necessarily bad, unless your body can’t handle that given demand.

We have to remember that injuries are simple math equations. Injury = Demand > Capacity.

If your body doesn’t work like a body should, then doing natural movements like squatting and crawling will set you up for injury. Rather than unilaterally label these movements dangerous, the emphasis should be on building a more capable ape.

So how do you know if a movement is safe for your body? There’s a simple checklist.

Joints Come Firs

When it comes to identifying safe movements, it helps to start with the joints. A good rule of thumb is, can you actively move your joint into the position needed to make this movement possible? If we look at the squat, you can check that your ankles, knees, and hips can actively pull into the necessary angles. If you can’t control this range of motion unloaded, then you don’t own that range.

Loading your body into that range with weight is asking your body to do more than it’s currently capable of. You’re forcing it to work overtime in a job it doesn’t know how to do in the first place.

Hold the Line

The next demand to check off your list is the ability to maintain position in an isometric contraction. If you can pull into position for a split second and then collapse into muscle cramps, do you really own that angle? In Functional Range Conditioning, we use isometric loads to increase neural drive and force tissue adaptation within the target range of motion.

The ability to ramp up an isometric contraction is critical to your ability to load the movement down the road. For example: can you pull your knee to your chest and hold it there?  Can you increase your voluntary contraction even more? Not as easy as it sounds.

Own the Descent

The next checkmark on your list is the ability to slowly control the eccentric portion of the movement. Can you slowly lower into a squat? Can you control yourself down into the bottom of a push up?

We often bounce our way through movements and overemphasize getting the barbell off the ground, or hurling our chins over the bar. Own the movement on the eccentric portion, and you’re in better shape to control the concentric portion of the movement.

If you can check each of these boxes, then this exercise is likely one that your body can handle. Load it intelligently, and let your body recover. That’s safe progress in a nutshell.

When “Being a Follower” is a GOOD thing.

I once drove my scooter with a group of people to a place outside Chiang Mai called the Grand Canyon. It’s a beautiful natural canyon with tons of high cliffs, and everyone kept asking each other if they were going to jump.

Nobody told me that jumping was the whole point of going there, so while I had no real interest in jumping off cliffs that day, I did it. Not because I was following my heart, but because I just wanted to be a part of the group.

It was the literal embodiment of the old saying “just because everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?”

canyon

(Yes, apparently. Sometimes I would.)

So much of the work I do with women is to get them to think for themselves, stand up for themselves, put their desires and needs first, and stop letting other people make decisions for them. I’m a firm believer that being the proactive “leader” of your own life is the only way to freedom, self-trust, and being truly happy.

The problem with the old saying is that it implies a person might jump off a cliff blindly, without consideration of the circumstances. Following someone blindly is the exact opposite of thinking for yourself and putting your needs and desires first. Being a blind follower is dangerous and passive, because it means you disregard your own desires and intuition. Being a blind follower says: “I trust you more than I trust myself.”

That isn’t the case for me. I trust myself above all else. I trust myself so much in fact, that when I feel an occasional pang of desire to “be a part of the group,” I honor that shit full-out.

Because here’s the secret nobody will ever tell you about being an independent, highly conscious, CEO-of-your-own-destiny: It can get fucking lonely.

You do all this work to declare yourself independent from the mass of expectations and assumptions that society has for you. You question and challenge your thoughts and beliefs, learn to tap into your desires, and create the exact kind of life that suits you. You take relentless responsibility for yours thoughts and actions, pursue endless growth, seeking ever-deeper healing, and practicing feeling worthy as you are, right now.

You do the work to set yourself free, and it’s painful but exhilarating sometimes! You’re marching to the beat of your own drum! You’re dancing like nobody is watching! But you’re also feeling isolated, and a bit drained.

Once this journey is in motion, you start to notice some things. First of all, you’ll notice how much of your life is filled with people, places, ideas, and things that no longer serve you.

It’s astonishing how much clutter we acquire when we’re not living consciously and proactively. The process of getting rid of unnecessary people/places/ideas/things can range from uncomfortable to intoxicating to downright devastating, but doing so is an integral step for creating the life that you really want and deserve.

The second thing you’ll notice is that most people aren’t doing what you’re doing. Most people won’t understand the journey you’re on, and it can make you feel like kind of a black sheep. Most people are content doing normal things the normal way, never challenging the old programming. Those people are sometimes unsupported or uninterested in all your new growth and changes. They liked things the way they were, and they wonder why that was suddenly not good enough for you anymore.

This is a totally normal part of the process when you’ve been taking strides to separate yourself from the “pack mentality.” There are growing pains, and sometimes there’s separation anxiety. That’s ok. It can be a confusing impulse (even making you question your commitment to being an independent woman!) but sometimes what you want most is to just want to blend in again and feel… normal.