Week 13 Air Insight: Comprehensive Fitness

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Comprehensive Fitness

Critical Concept:  Being healthy = being fit = comprehensive
If you want to be truly healthy, you must be fit.  If you want to be truly fit, you must be comprehensive in your approach.

If you were getting a regular sufficient intake of most of the required essential nutrients in your diet, but were missing one or several required nutrients, you would not be well.  In fact, you would most likely not be alive for long.  You should think this way for your movement patterns as well.  Any deficiency in the essential elements of the Air Domain will create adaptive physiology and over time, sickness.  The manifestation or symptoms may be latent (dormant or hidden) when compared to a nutrition deficiency, but the consequences are just as devastating.

Your lifestyle is most likely movement-deficient.  You must supplement your movement patterns to fulfill your body’s requirements.  Adopt the following behaviors and enjoy the body, the energy, the health, and the life that comes with them.

Summary Checklist:

  • Add activity every day in every way
  • Calculate Energy Balance
  • Add Functional Training
  • Use variety in your workouts
  • Focus on the Intensity of your workouts
  • Gradually progress to a higher intensity
  • Adopt the Buddy System
  • Get your spine checked by a chiropractor
  • Do what moves you – have fun
  • Employ Goal Setting and Clear Standards
  • Increase your flexibility
  • Commit to consistency in your exercise

Week 13 Fuel Insight: Compounding Wellness

by admin

 

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Compounding Wellness

Critical Concept:  Cumulative Effect
Good habits add together, and we get healthier.  Bad habits add together, and we get sicker.  This is true inside of each lifestyle domain and, more importantly, across all three domains.  You should approach the following checklist as a lifestyle “To Do List” in the Fuel Domain.  Print it out and hang it on your refrigerator.  Make copies at work and hand them out.  Post this to your Facebook page.  The more of these healthy habits you successfully adopt, the greater the chance of you experiencing your health potential and reducing the odds of suffering from chronic disease.

Science is revealing your owner’s manual.  You should follow it.

Bonfire Fuel Summary Checklist

At this point in the program you should be….

  • Drinking adequate water
  • Eating plants first
  • Choosing lean cuts of high quality protein
  • Consuming high-fiber, whole food carbohydrates
  • Increasing your healthy fat intake
  • Taking your Bonfire Essential Supplements
  • Taking 3 Deep Breaths before you eat to reset your state
  • Maintaining a net zero or net negative calorie/energy balance
  • Being mindful of “why” you’re eating, not just “what” you’re eating
  • Choosing to consume an abundance of Nutrient Dense Foods
  • Choosing to avoid Toxic/Deficient Foods
  • Practice Intermittent Fasting to rest and rejuvenate your metabolism

Week 12 Spark Insight: Rest and Repair

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Rest and Repair

Critical Concept:  Your body requires and expects periods of rest, repair and rejuvenation.

The jury is back and the results are in:  the fastest way to promote heart disease and an early death is to combine a high-fat/high-sugar diet with a high-stress life and a low-activity lifestyle.  The greatest minds in science could not design a better mix of behavior patterns that would best promote sickness and disease if they tried.  Most people are living a life that predictably destroys their health and creates disease.  Increased social stress has been identified as the straw that breaks the physiological camel’s back.

A major contributor to this mess is the general lack of rest and repair.  As a society, we have bought into the idea that rest and rejuvenation is a luxury, not a requirement.  This is fundamentally untrue, physically damaging, emotionally crippling and psychologically devastating.  We must take back our rest.

Sleep is an incredibly important part of health and wellness.  In fact, experts say that sleep actually rivals nutrition and exercise for promoting health.

Sleep expert Mark Stibich, Ph.D. teaches that when your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress.  The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones (like Cortisol).  Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes.  The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep.

Sleep reduces inflammation.  The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in your body, also creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes.  Low grade, systemic inflammation is widely considered one key factor in the deterioration of your body as you age.  Sleeping can actually slow aging.

Dr. John Madina, author of Brain Rules, says that 90% of Americans are chronically overtired.  Although this has noticeable implications in our day-to-day lives, such as midday head bobbing and black circles under your eyes, the silent damage you’ll experience with sleep deprivation is a real killer – literally.

Our body uses sleep to rest and repair our tissues.  Our brain requires sleep to process the information from the day.  Critical sleep cycles involve hormone balancing that affects everything from your energy and moods to your metabolism and ability to regulate your body weight.  Sleep deprivation is actually a predictor of obesity.

Healthy sleep patterns promote complete sleep cycles.  Your brain goes through different sleep phases when you rest.  REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) involves dreaming; non-REM sleep is the deepest and most critical phase of sleep.  This is the time that your most vital repair and recharge takes place.  The more complete sleep cycles you experience, the better.  Tallying seven hours or more of quality sleep has been shown to increase longevity.  And, low and behold, the afternoon nap turns out to be one of the most effective and productive methods for increasing energy, improving cognitive skills and focus, while mitigating the adverse effects of chronic stress by lowering circulating stress hormones like Cortisol.

Rest comes in many forms - our daily sleep patterns, including nighttime sleep for most of us, as well as napping or “siestas” during the day. But more broadly, rest includes our morning rituals, meditation, breathing exercises, mealtimes and evening rituals.  Rejuvenation patterns include our “time-offs,” breaks and vacations.  Most people are severely “vacation deficient.”

Well People are deliberate in their rest and repair patterns.  Design your daily and weekly schedules, as well as your monthly and yearly calendar, to reflect your commitment to this critical essential element.  There are several Bonfire vital behaviors to adopt that will ensure greater rest.  Claim ownership of your time and schedule.  Set your bedtimes and waking times, and stick to them.  Make a standing “napping appointment” in your daily schedule if at all possible.  Even presidents of the United States have made this a priority – and they have a demanding schedule, too.

Design your yearly calendar to include a rejuvenation strategy.  Every month schedule a “Sanity Weekend” where the only plans made are for rest and repair.  Challenge yourself to do nothing – it’s free.  Once a quarter take a long weekend – a “Long-evity Weekend.”  At least twice a year, take a week off.  We recommend one adventure vacation where you break routine and go experience a new place or activity.  A compelling nudge to ensure this trip and prevent “life” from persuading you to procrastinate away another break is to pre-pay for the trip (be sure to take out travel insurance, just in case).  We also recommend a “stay-cation,” where you stay home and keep it simple.  This is a great way to cut down on complexity, stress and cost.  Fight the urge to “catch-up” on everything and simply “be.”

These may be the easiest recommendations to do, yet the hardest to implement.  Start today.

At this point in the program you should be….

  • Establishing your Peace of Mind Account (PMA) using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Getting to bed earlier: working toward sleep before 11 p.m.
  • Getting up earlier: working toward 30 minute morning rituals
  • Remaining focused on creating the life that you want
  • Choosing to develop more influence in your life
  • Recognizing challenges as opportunities to grow
  • Seeking Alignment between behaviors and Innate Values
  • Choosing an attitude of Thankfulness and Gratitude
  • Seeking opportunities to get connected with supportive people
  • Choosing to extend Unconditional Love and Acceptance to others
  • Finding balance by managing your Limited Resources (Time, Energy, Focus, & Money)
  • Scheduling your Rest and Repair Strategies

Week 12 Air Insight: Consistency

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Consistent Exercise Over Time

Critical Concept:  The Compounding Effect
Your health is your most valuable physical asset.  You get to manage this asset over your lifetime.  Think of your wellbeing as if it were a financial account – like a checking account or an investment portfolio.  You will make deposits and withdrawals regularly with the decisions that you make every day in your lifestyle.  Some lifestyle choices build wealth (health) and some choices build debt (sickness).

Healthy lifestyle patterns make deposits into your health and well-being account.

In the financial world, you either benefit from or suffer under a mathematical function known as “interest.”  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer over time, largely due to interest.  The same applies to health.  Healthy lifestyle choices add to our “wellness account” and our balance grows.  This “balance” is subject to the same multiplying effect of interest over time.  Healthy habits combine to increase their immediate impact and then multiply over time when done consistently.  In other words, it’s not just Eat + Move + Think…it’s Eat x Move x Think, over time = Compounding Wellness.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for our unhealthy choices.  Sickness and disease is as much a “holistic” issue as health and wellness.  If we consistently make toxic and deficient choices over time, we create deficit – our wellness account gets overdrawn – and we get sick.

Our consistent lifestyle behaviors will compound over time to determine our health experience.

This is true in each aspect of our lives, but nowhere is it more easily observable than in our movement patterns.  In the Air Domain of our lifestyle, we get to readily observe the effects of regular exercise – or lack thereof.  When we are active, activities become easier.  When we work out regularly, exercise becomes easier.  When we move regularly, life becomes easier.

Exercises add together – one workout adds to the last.  And when they are done consistently over time, their effects begin to multiply.  As you become fitter, your workouts become easier.  As your cardiovascular fitness improves, your train longer.  As your strength increases, you work harder.  As your core strengthens, you stay injury-free.  As you progress in your fitness, you look better, feel better, and function better.

Your fitness, like your overall health, is progressive.  The consistency with which you are able to exercise will determine the trajectory of your progression.  The more consistently active you remain, the faster and greater your improvement.

Recruiting a buddy, hiring a personal trainer or coach, joining a gym or following a program like Bonfire are all vital behaviors that promote consistency in your exercise regimen.  Setting goals with compelling rewards and penalties in place is a Bonfire best practice.  Another best practice is the habit of journaling or keeping a workout log.  The simple act of writing down your goals, timelines, performance and progress is an effective nudge to keep your head – and heart – in the game, and your body in motion.

Keep your goals simple:  a ‘Bonfire Approved Day’ in the Air Domain calls for you to “Move, Sweat and Pant” for 30 minutes or more.  Do this 5 – 6 days per week, and you’re on your way to enjoying the benefits of Compounding Wellness.  How you choose to move is up to you.  The mode is secondary – “do what moves you.”  And remember, it’s about progression not perfection.

The power of the Bonfire lifestyle is found in its truly holistic approach to health – and to living.  It is comprehensive and inclusive.  All elements of your lifestyle converge and create your health experience.  Each domain of your life contributes, or subtracts from the whole.  The complete picture of health and wellness must account for each and every lifestyle pattern.

Your choices are either deposits or withdrawals from your wellness account.  Make deposits with every choice, every day.

Summary Checklist:

  • Add activity every day in every way
  • Calculate Energy Balance
  • Add Functional Training
  • Use variety in your workouts
  • Focus on the Intensity of your workouts
  • Gradually progress to a higher intensity
  • Adopt the Buddy System
  • Get your spine checked by a chiropractor
  • Do what moves you – have fun
  • Employ goal setting and clear standards
  • Increase your flexibility
  • Commit to consistency in your exercise

Week 12 Fuel Insight: Intermittent Fasting

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Intermittent Fasting

Critical Concept:  It’s Good to Go Without
The fact that you are sitting here reading this document is proof positive that you have descended from a long line of great hunters.  But even the best hunters come up short some days.  Although game was usually readily available, there were times of drought or severe weather – and probably just some days with bad luck – when the hunters came home empty-handed.  Maybe the fish weren’t biting, the big one got away, or maybe there was a noisy guy in the bunch that scared away the game.  Regardless, food was always at a premium and some days our ancestors had to go without.  And so should you.

A powerful technique to reverse metabolic derangement and normalize insulin sensitivity, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood lipids and energy levels is to practice intermittent fasting.

Your body was not designed to have a constant food supply at arm’s reach.  The ready supply of calorie-dense foods and its resulting consequence (a generally sedentary lifestyle) has led to an over-fed and under-active, over-weight and under-muscled population that is riddled with sickness and disease.  One effective step towards righting this unnatural lifestyle is to skip a meal or two.

We are not promoting calorie deprivation or hunger pains, but the human body has been shaped over thousands of generation to expect periods without food.  In these times of fasting, the digestive track empties and gets a chance to rest and repair.  The liver and lymphatic system has the opportunity to catch up and cleanse the body of toxicity.  Your metabolism recalibrates and blood profiles begin to normalize.  You become a more efficient fat burner.  And when done properly, your body can reduce systemic inflammation.

Observation of this Paleolithic Rhythm of rest and rejuvenation can be done in many ways.  Each person will respond to fasting uniquely, based on a host of physical traits, conditions and lifestyle factors.  Considerations include age, weight, activity level, how often and hard you exercise, your diet-style, stress level and sleep patterns.

Intermittent Fasting implies that you choose to have predetermined periods of time that you go without food.

Conventional “wisdom” would suggest that going without food for any considerable period of time would simply slow your metabolism and promote fat storage and cannibalization of lean muscle tissue for energy.  This can happen with prolonged caloric restriction diets.  This will not happen if intermittent fasting is done properly.

Consider these Bonfire best practices for cycling your Digestive Rhythm:

1.  Choose 1 or 2 days per week to have a shorter window for food consumption.  For example: Mondays and Thursdays, only eat between Noon and 6 PM (an 18 hour fast).

2.  Or try 1 day per week to go food-free (24 hour fast).

3.  Or try to have a day with only vegetable juice or raw food.

You can get creative – as your ancestors did.  The big idea is to give your system a rest.  Some general vital behaviors to complement your fasting include only consuming healthy foods when you do eat.  Eating periods around fasting are not times to “cheat” and fill yourself with toxic and/or deficient foods.  Be sure to stay active, exercise and rest well.  You will find that your energy level is better when you are fasting because your body is burning fat for fuel and your blood sugar is normalizing.  Diabetics and people with heart disease or cancer should have their blood chemistry monitored during these periods because the effects can be profound – and very encouraging.

Week 11 Spark Insight: Balance

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Balance

Critical Concept:  The daily choices you make.
The key to finding balance in your life is tied to the choices that you make in the daily management of your limited resources. If you ask ten people to describe what would constitute a State of Wellness in regards to the Spark domain of their life, you’d probably get ten different answers. There is a high likelihood that a common theme in the responses would be experiencing a sense of balance.

There are a multitude of economies operating simultaneously in our lives.  We spend, save and invest our resources constantly as we navigate through our daily lives.

You have both Limited Resources and Unlimited Resources.  Your Limited Resources include your time, focus, energy and money.  There is a finite supply of each of these vital assets at any given moment.  The key to finding balance in your life is tied to the choices that you make in their daily management and investment.

We are all programmed with a set of Innate Values.  These values promote characteristics that conveyed some level of reproductive or survival advantage over the millennia.  They are hardwired into your genome.  Adherence to the behaviors that are congruent with these values produces emotions and feelings of happiness and fulfillment.  Behaviors that are at odds with these Innate Values produce stressful emotions like anxiety, apprehension and tension.  This internal GPS (Genetic Positioning System) is in place to act as an emotional compass to guide us through life’s decisions.

When you invest your Limited Resources of time, energy, focus and money in alignment with your Innate Values, you experience a sense of balance and peace of mind.  Conversely, if you spend or squander these resources in a way that defies your deepest values, you will inevitably experience uneasiness, worry and imbalance.  This disparity is often at the root of most emotional and psychological stress, which will undermine your health in countless ways.

This chronic state of stress in our lives creates hormonal changes in our bodies that affect every facet of our health.  The stress hormone cortisol will actually cause our body to store fat in our midsection (the dreaded belly fat).  This omentum fat can surround our organs and put compressive pressure on the kidneys, causing elevated high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a key agent in the plaqueing of the arteries leading to heart disease and heart attacks.

The world often places demands on our resources with seemingly no regard for our values.  This pull between worldly demands and our inner voice can create a tension that is overwhelming if we don’t recognize it.  Being mindful of this dynamic is the first step towards Mindset Mastery.

We must take control of the economy of our limited resources if we wish to experience a sense of balance in our lives.

A Bonfire best practice involves the identification of your Roles and Goals in each of your Life Time Value Accounts.  Being clear and specific for each of your lifestyle categories is critical.  Consider and identify exactly what is most important to you in each Life Time Value Account.  Now audit your spending.

How do you spend your time, energy, focus and money?
A Bonfire vital behavior is to align your schedule with your Innate Values.  Time is the ultimate equalizer.  Regardless of age, gender or income, we all have exactly the same amount of time to invest every day.  Create a schedule that accounts for the time that is regularly reserved for serving your roles and goals.  Do not over-commit or over-schedule yourself.  Do not over-spend and force yourself into a situation that requires you to work to earn a living at the expense of making a life.

In order to achieve the illusive state of balance in our lives, we must reconcile the discrepancy between what we value and how we spend our resources.

Keep an account of each of these four resources and check in habitually.  Imagine that you had a check registry for each of these categories and make it a habit to “balance your virtual checkbook” for each of them regularly.  Become deliberate in the allocation of each of these assets.  Do not leave it to chance or resort to living in response to the world’s beckon call.

Proactive management of these precious gifts is the surest way to enjoying a balanced life in an unbalanced world.

At this point in the program you should be….

  • Establishing your Peace of Mind Account (PMA) using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Getting to bed earlier: working toward sleep before 11 p.m.
  • Getting up earlier: working toward 30 minute morning rituals
  • Remaining focused on creating the life that you want
  • Choosing to develop more influence in your life
  • Recognizing challenges as opportunities to grow
  • Seeking Alignment between behaviors and Innate Values
  • Choosing an attitude of Thankfulness and Gratitude
  • Seeking opportunities to get connected with supportive people
  • Choosing to extend Unconditional Love and Acceptance to others
  • Finding Balance by managing your Limited Resources (Time, Energy,Focus,Money)

Week 11 Air Insight: Flexibility

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Flexibility

Critical Concept:  Our strength is in our flexibility
There are obvious parallels between physical and psychological flexibility.  These aspects of our lives are governed by the same laws.  Mastery over one will allow you to easily master the other.  Increasing your flexibility in either domain requires equal parts will, skill and trust.  As you reach the outer limits of either mental ease or tissue integrity, you experience a peculiar sensation of insecurity.  This position is uncomfortable.  But isn’t that the idea?

Flexibility is under-rated.  People spend too much time in the Comfort Zone.  The human animal thrives on stress, adaptation and repair cycles.  Our day is comprised of a complex system of challenges, communications and interactions.  For the most part, we get to choose the degree to which we engage life. Each day presents with a myriad of opportunities to get stretched.  Look for them.

If you pay attention, you can feel individual fibers exploring new ranges of motion.  This is true for the body and the mind.  When you choose to move from the Comfort Zone to the Stretch Zone mentally or physically, you form new synapses that help you cope more effectively in the future.  There isa plastic effect that will expand your capacities as long as you continue to draw on them.  What you feel is the expansion of your scope.

If the heat in the kitchen goes up, you’ll find yourself at the next level:  the Stress Zone.  It’s where big dogs play, things hit the fan and rubber meets the road.  There are two truths regarding this zone:

1.  It’s a nice place to visit, but you don’t want to live there.

2.  It’s where growth happens.

Beyond this point, at the center of these concentric rings, is the no-go zone:  the Break-Down Zone.  Our brains and spirits are a lot like our joints - under constant duress and strain, they break down, whereas if they are underutilized, they decay and become arthritic.  Everyone spends some time in the breakdown lane at some point in their life, but those who invest the time to learn how to change a tire get “back on their way” much faster.

If our strength is in our flexibility, how do you know when to say “when?”

I’ll offer this heuristic (rule of thumb):  when increased flexibility will strengthen the situation, stretch.  The fabric of our lives will behave much like the tissues of our bodies.  When we choose to warm up properly, practice and stretch out before the stress of the game or workout, our capacities expand, injuries are reduced, and our strength and performance improves.

Follow this order: warm-up, then workout, then stretch.

Often people will try to stretch before they warm up.  This is a bad idea.  Never try to stretch a cold tissue.  Always start your activities or workouts with a gentle, yet progressive warm up.  Increase blood flow to tissues first, this will increase their pliability and reduce the chance of injury.  It is acceptable to lightly stretch through your activity, but again - make sure that this is done progressively.  Stretching at the end of your routine is a vital behavior.  Never rush the end of the workout or skip this element.  A key to achieving your fitness goals is consistent training over time.  In other words, you must avoid injury.  Stretching regularly will not only increase your performance, range of motion and comfort, it will mitigate injury as well.

In order to have an extraordinary life, you have to make extraordinary choices.  Listen to your life, seek out the “rubs” - the insecurities and the limitations.  Lean into them, relax and exhale.  Change your interpretation of that burn and trust.  Just know that on the other side of it you’ll be stronger, even if you might be a little sore, a little uncomfortable.  But isn’t that the idea?

Summary Checklist

  • Add activity every day in every way
  • Calculate Energy Balance
  • Add Functional Training
  • Use variety in your workouts
  • Focus on the Intensity of your workouts
  • Gradually progress to a higher intensity
  • Adopt the Buddy System
  • Get your spine checked by a chiropractor
  • Do what moves you – have fun, employ Goal Setting and Clear Standards
  • Increase your flexibility

Week 11 Fuel Insight: Avoid Toxic Choices

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Avoid Toxic Choices

Critical Concept:  Toxicity and Deficiency
Life is an extreme sport.  Between the long hours, stressful jobs, barbecues, teenagers, traffic jams, ozone depletion, and 700 calorie sugar-laced Frappuchinos – it’s a wonder anybody lives to see fifty.  The fact that some people are still upright and walking under their own power is akin to Keith Richard’s ability to still be on tour with the Rolling Stones.  The toxic insult that we withstand over a lifetime from the external environment in the industrialized world is an absolute testament to the tenacity of the human body.  Compounding that burden is the lifestyle choices that people make today.

Toxic behaviors will compound and create stress and sickness as readily as healthy habits combine to create health and wellness.

As discussed in previous Insights, some foods are inherently toxic to the body.  Truth be told, most people can readily identify which foods they should choose to avoid.  These toxic food choices are especially harmful because they are consumed instead of the nutritious foods that our cells require.  This “double whammy” sets the stage for accelerated aging and promotes both acute and chronic disease.

The modern marketplace is filled with selections that exploit your weaknesses.  Advertisers know that you are instinctively driven to sugar-filled, fat-laden, salty foods.  They aggressively taunt you with images, flavors and economics to get you to pull into their drive-thru lanes or toss their products into your buggy at the grocery store.  Every time that you watch TV or walk into a store, there is an overt assault on your senses and sensibilities.

Push back.

Modern foods have been laced with substances that super-stimulate your taste buds.  These chemicals will actually change your future taste threshhold for flavors by altering your neurology.  This class of additives is known as exicitotoxins.  They are heavily addictive and act as accelerants in the trend towards over-eating.

We bio-accumulate toxins over time.

The choices that we make regarding our food intake every day are as important as the ideas and beliefs with which we choose to fill our hearts and minds.  Our bodies will collect many of the impurities that are found in industrialized foods and store them in our cells over time.  This bio-accumulation of toxins has been found to result in neurological disorders like autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers Disease, not to mention liver damage, arterial plaquing and cancer.  At a minimum, toxins are an added stress on the body and promote inflammation; at their worst, toxins cause cellular dysfunction, leading to disease.

Healthy people choose to maintain as pure of a diet as possible.  A Bonfire vital behavior is to make a commitment to consuming organic foods whenever feasible.  Establishing a reliable source for locally grown, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds makes life easier than trying to find it “on the run.”  Seek out a local source for organic, range-fed poultry, grass-fed beef and buffalo, as well as a way to get wild caught fish and/or game.

It’s critical to identify common de-railers to your efforts at a pure diet-styleRule #1:  Never leave your house hungry.  Rule #2:  Never shop hungry.  Rule #3:  Always bring your own healthy foods or snacks with you (or at least know where you’re going to get some).  A Bonfire best practice is to pack your own lunch.  It’s key to always make enough food so that you’ll have leftovers for at least one or two additional meals.  Having healthy foods readily available makes it easier to make healthy choices, while snuffing out the stress of food prep at every meal.

Fill your home with the foods that you wish to eat.  If you were building a house you would only buy the supplies with which you wished to create your home.  The same is true of your body.  The war against toxic, deficient choices is won or lost at the register.  If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it.  We have significant influence on our toxic burden by the way that we choose to eat, move and think.  You either build health, or build sickness with every choice, every day.

Summary Checklist: At this point you should be….

  • Drinking adequate water
  • Eating plants first
  • Consuming lean cuts of high quality protein
  • Consuming high-fiber, whole food carbohydrates
  • Increasing your healthy fat intake
  • Taking your Bonfire Essential Supplements
  • Taking 3 Deep Breaths before you eat to reset your state
  • Maintaining a net zero or net negative calorie / energy balance
  • Mindful of “why” you’re eating, not just “what” you’re eating
  • Choosing to consume an abundance of Nutrient Dense Foods
  • Choosing to avoid Toxic and Deficient Foods (see Dr. K’s “Ten Never Eat Foods”)

Week 10 Spark Insight: Love

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Unconditional Love

Critical Concept:  Defining love.
Do you feel loved?  Don’t be too quick to answer.  There is as much confusion, frustration and desperation around this concept as there is assurance, fulfillment and inspiration.  For most, this “crazy little thing called love” has kept us up all night – for one reason or another – at one point in our lives.  As much as it fuels the fires of passion, ties the knots of friendship, and binds a parent to their child, love itself remains largely misunderstood.

Love is a choice, not a feeling.

Love is not a sentiment.  Love should not be reduced to simply the way someone makes us feel.  Of course, love comes with tremendous emotion and real feelings.  But it is so much more.  Love is a decision.  It is something that we choose to give and receive, not something that we wait to experience.

Unconditional Love is the purest expression of genuine acceptance.  This choice is made independent of another’s behavior – and sometimes even in spite of their behavior.  It is choosing to extend love to someone, even when they seem unlovable.

It’s important to differentiate that Unconditional Love does not imply unconditional approval.  We should reserve the right to disapprove of another’s behavior, yet, without judgment, accept them and love them unconditionally.  This may prove to be the most challenging essential elementof the Bonfire Experience.  At the same time, mastery of unconditional love will trump all other elements when it comes to stress reduction and achieving peace of mind and heart.

Forgiveness – A Critical Emotional Action Step
Achieving unconditional acceptance in some relationships may have to start with forgiveness…sometimes forgiving someone that does not deserve to be forgiven.  This may not sound reasonable at first; in fact, forgiveness often requires a new economy – grace.

For thousands of generations, humans have sought one common emotional theme:  to be loved.  We thrive in loving environments and relationships, and we contract and atrophy in loveless circumstances.  The greatest way to foster love is to offer it freely.  Choose to extend love to those around you without attachment to their response.  Do not give to get.  Give to give.

We are social beings who crave and depend on emotional “strokes” to develop into whole and complete people.  These strokes come in many shapes, but can be easily identified when they come in the form of gestures, attention, physical contact, kind words or actions.  These are all as much part of our “required nutrients” for optimal health as Vitamin C, amino acids and oxygen.

At the center of these needs, you’ll find unconditional love.  We have an innate need to give and receive unconditional love.  A best practice is to model this love to those around you.  Show others how you wish to be treated by the way that you treat them.  You learned the “Golden Rule” in Kindergarten, and it is as much a truth today as it was then.  You can nudge yourself into extending this unconditional love in tougher situations by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.  How would you wish to be treated?

At the end of the day, the only way to really change the world is to start with yourself.  At the very least, you’ll have far less stress in your life – and who knows, maybe you’ll actually start a trend.

At this point in the program you should be….

  • Establish your Peace of Mind Account (PMA) using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Get to bed earlier – working toward sleep before 11 p.m.
  • Get up earlier – working toward 30 minute morning rituals
  • Remain focused on creating the life that you want
  • Choose to develop more influence in your life
  • Recognize challenges as opportunities to grow
  • Seek opportunities to get connected with supportive people
  • Choose to extend Unconditional Love and Acceptance to others