Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cooking up a story

I recently met Rebecca Gerendasy--producer of Cooking up a story. This site offers lots of short, professionally produced video clips on all sorts of food topics. I found it fun and fascinating and want to share it with you.

Food is such a cornerstone of Life Puzzle-making! As many of you know, I was a junk food junkie with the resulting health problems on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Changing my diet improved my health on all three levels--but also was an impetus for the other 15 pieces of Life Puzzle-making. Since I realized if I wasn't taught good nutrition for a lifetime--it was likely that other important areas were ignored as well.

One of the latest posts at Cooking up a story is on the new movie, King Corn. She interviews Curt Ellis, one of the documentary film makers. If you liked the movie "Supersize Me", I think you'll find this film equally intriguing. But first, listen to Rebecca's interview!

And then mark Cooking up a story as one of your 'favorite' sites and pop in on a regular basis for an inspirational reminder around the nutrition area of your Life Puzzle too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Food Not LAWNS

Everyone's talking about 'eating local'. From Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to Michael Pollan's Ominivore's Dilemma, everywhere you turn, the idea of eating more locally is popping up. Add to that global warming and $100 dollar a barrel for oil--and shipping our food an average of 1500 miles from farm to plate makes less and less sense!

So, what are you going to do as a Life Puzzle-maker taking responsibility for not only your nutrition area--but also the community and environment? Grow local! Here's a great way to do it. Transform your lawn into a garden of food! Checkout this site: Food Not Lawns.

Heather Flores has written a great book to show you how to transform your lawn into an edible haven and on the way turn your neighborhood into a community! Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, is the premier guide for ecological living in the city through paradise gardening and shared resources by a co-founder of the original Food Not Lawns grassroots gardening project in Eugene, OR. With a foreword by Toby Hemenway and over 400 pages of text, enhanced by almost a hundred drawings by Northwest artist Jackie Holmstrom, Food Not Lawns offers a theoretical and practical handbook for ecological community transformation.

Creating our own solutions--not waiting for anyone else to do it for us--is really what Life Puzzle making is all about. Food Not Lawns is one of those pieces we can put into our lives and end up with a healthier SELF, community and the world. Happy growing and eating

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mindless eating...Mindless living?

Are you a mindless eater?
Are you a mindless eater?

This November 16th, 2007 video clip from NBC's Today show is quite interesting as it shows how unconscious we are when it comes to eating. As I watched it, I thought--it isn't just mindless eating--its mindless living! I could relate though--because that's how I got into Life Puzzle making--I too was a mindless eater (though I got away with it because I have small bones and high metabolism). But once I started eating more consciously, I realized--it wasn't just food that I was unaware of on a daily basis--it was my entire life!

We're heading into the holiday season. Watch this clip and use some of the interesting comments to help you be awake when it comes to food choices--and then as you become more aware in this area--look at the other 15 pieces of your Life Puzzle and think about what one other piece you could also make more conscious choices in. Pick one area and add more mindful living!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This didn't just start....

I'm working with an online group each week and we start our sessions with a poetry reading. One of the goals of the group is how we bring back nature/the environment into our daily lives and from a counseling standpoint--how we use it as a therapeutic tool. One of the questions this group has asked is whether or not the current disconnect that so many people have with nature and the environment in part leads to many mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

I stumbled upon the following poem, "As it was written" by Anne Sexton. What struck me when I read the first stanza......and she talks about the Earth becoming a latrine--was the fact that this poem was written prior to 1974. I didn't have the exact date of this poem, but since she died in 1974--obviously it was written before this.

So for all our angst about global warming--this made me aware that this problem did not just creep up out of nowhere in the last 10 years--it was obvious to Anne Sexton more than 30 years ago!

The other line that made me stand up (guiltily) was

All in all I’d say,

the world is strangling

And I, in my bed each night,

listen to my twenty shoes

converse about it.

The visual of my closet and all my shoes and all my stuff talking amongst themselves--while never recognizing that it is the constant consumption while ignoring the environmental impact that has set up the situation where we're turning Earth into a latrine. I am as guilty as anyone and yet, ready to clean up the mess.

See the Poem below (reprinted without official permission).

As it was written,

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

Earth, Earth
riding your merry-go-round
toward extinction.
right to the roots,
thickening the oceans like gravy
festering in your caves
you are becoming a latrine.

Your trees are twisted chairs.
Your flowers moan at their mirrors
and cry for a sun that doesn’t wear a mask
Your clouds wear white,
trying to become nuns
and say novenas to the sky.
The sky is yellow with it’s jaundice
And its veins spill into the rivers
where the fish kneel down
to swallow hair and goat’s eyes.

All in all I’d say,
the world is strangling
And I, in my bed each night,
listen to my twenty shoes
converse about it.
And the moon,
under it’s dark hood
falls out of the sky each night
with it’s hungry red mouth
to suck at my scars.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Raising "Mini-me's.?

I was reading an article from my Smartmarriages email notes and came across one discussing how father's are portrayed on television. It's not pretty--right down to the dad on the's aren't getting much respect--they come across as buffoons or worse, completely dispensable items in a family. To be sure, not all of them--but the majority.

One sentence though jumped out at me
". . . And that's a problem, according to a new book by Washington Post columnist Diana West. In her work, titled "The Death of the Grown-Up," she writes that American fathers don't have sons anymore. They have "mini-me's." Dads and sons dress alike, play alike, eat alike -- even Cartoon Network viewing habits."

It made me really stop and think about it. Because it comes on the heels of a discussion I had last week with folks who work in the social services--folks from mental health counseling, adult probation, juvenile detention etc. They were complaining that one of the biggest problems they have is the 'lack of boundaries' of most of the adults that they work with--and that this trickles down onto their children (many of which these service providers end up working with).

So, when I merge the comment of "American fathers don't have sons any more. They have "mini-me's" with those in the helping professions acknowledging a lack of boundaries in most adults--I can see how/why we are raising "Mini-me's". Yikes...that's lots of folks stuck in the 0-5 reactive, unconscious story.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The download option? What do you think?

The newspaper announced that the band Radiohead has decided to circumvent the traditional music sales of CD's for a direct download of their latest artistic creation--and with the option of the buyer deciding how much they want to pay for it. Its sent shivers through the music industry which has until recently been the "driver" of the music business and been able to manage profits by controlling both the artist and the consumer's options. But that system began to break apart with the arrival of Napster and others that enabled free downloading of music. While free downloading has been frown upon, Radiohead's decision is bold for sure because the artists maintain ownership of their creativity instead of selling it to the music industry. Some say this is only possible because Radiohead is already a hugely popular and well known band. If they were an unknown, no one would care.

But I'm not sure that's true. For an unknown band to offer their music on the Web, through a direct download vs. the CD which requires production, distribution and other costs, it would seem to me that it would enable many of these bands to get heard, be purchased--even if its for as little as say two dollars--still make money while enabling the consumer to purchase their creativity at reasonable prices. The difference between a two dollar download and a $16.00 CD is significant. But best of all--it allows the artist to continue to own his/her creation and deal directly with their customers.

And it got me to thinking about books--which are very similar to the music business. Most people don't realize that the average book--despite high costs to the consumer--provide very little money to the writer. The way most book deals are structured (unless you're a huge name like Colin Powell or Paris Hilton) results in most authors receiving about one dollar for every book sold. Yes, that's dollar. The rest goes to the publisher/printer and the writer is powerless to do anything about this if they want their book printed. Even when self-published, the production costs for a book and then the subsequent distribution means that most of the money ends up in the hands of others.

And for me, the environmental costs of book production and distribution have always been a difficult challenge. On the one hand, I like people reading my book, Life Puzzle...putting the pieces together. On the other hand, getting it to you means printing it, then packing it and shipping it around the country. Between the gas needed for trucks and planes to move it around, huge amounts of paper production and cover costs, as well as the packing materials of padded envelopes and/or boxes, its a huge drain the environment. And so for quite sometime I've thought of circumventing this altogether and making my book available through a eBook/pdf file download, dropping the price from $20.00 per copy to $5.00 per copy and then letting you decide if you want to print it yourself or just read it on your computer screen (or a combination of both--read some on the computer, print for instance the recipes so you could put them in a 'recipe' collection you keep in the kitchen).

So what do you think? Should I continue to print/sell it in the traditional format, or offer it through an eBook option at a modest price. Please let me know by adding a comment here at the blog!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's not just you that doesn't understand the financial responsibility piece!

Last week I presented to a group of about 40 people on the ideas around Life Puzzle making. When I got to the Financial responsibility piece--I asked, "How many here, by the time you graduated high school or college understood how to manage money?" And the heads all shook no, and everyone started laughing--this happens just about every time I ever ask this question.

Yes, the financial responsibility piece is a gaping hole in most every one's Life Puzzle--yet there's absolutely no way to live on this planet without dealing with it. It's amazing isn't it?

On Friday, September 28th, I was watching Bill Moyer's Journal. He was interviewing John Bogle who created the Vanguard Group which is one of the most successful mutual fund management groups. Now 77, Bogle was sharing his views on the current state of the economy and specifically--the stockmarket/investor world. It's not a pretty picture and he's quite upset about it. Essentially, the 'value' of money has become a value unto itself. And those who work in the field have lost the fundamentals of not only money management but the value of what role money should play in our lives.

As I listened it occurred to me how the people he's describing--those who put money first over everything else, have something missing in their own Life Puzzles! Financial has become disconnected from "responsibility". As Bogle described what the Habana Health Corporation had done in Tampa (essentially putting the making of money as more primary than caring for their clients/doing the work of the corporation--thus reducing staff to dangerous levels, risking clients lives all for the sake of a better bottom-line), I thought--this is a result of the choices these people are making. How could a man or woman choose to run a corporation this way? And to me, the only answer is that on a personal Life Puzzle-making level--these people have poorly formed edges and thus a SELF that can make choices that are 0-5, reactive and unconscious. While these few will pocket millions, they do it at the expense of people who, in their last stages of life can not protest or protect themselves.

While I'm sad, as is Bogle, for this debacle--in many ways, I'm saddest for the human beings who could treat others with such disregard simply to line their pockets with money. Clearly they do not understand the role the money plays in one's Life Puzzle. As I've always said, if you don't understand how to manage money, money will manage you. And for these folks, this lack of understanding, matched with poorly formed edges/SELF, results in a lose/lose for all.

Where did the summer go?

Oh wait...the summer went in 18 Farmers' markets, long walks through the neighborhood, visits from friends and gardening on a daily basis. It flew along with lots of wonderful sessions with clients and a group designed around building one's Life Puzzle!

Yet, here I sit, the garden is giving up its last few tomatoes (as I keep my fingers crossed that a frost is a month away!), I've retired my sandals for socks and shoes (boo hoo) and contemplate switching my gym shorts to gym leggings! Yes, its fall again and as much as I love the summer, I have to admit that the intense pace of summer begs for a break and fall is just what I needed!

And so a friend's book suggestion "In Praise of Slowness" was the perfect transition of leaving the rush of summer and welcoming the downshift of fall. What I've liked about this book is that it truly is a treatise that supports everything I'm trying to do in Life Puzzle-making--for myself and for all my readers, clients and group members! Life Puzzle making is about honoring the whole SELF-. "In Praise of Slowness" discusses many of the different areas of one's Life Puzzle from the standpoint of first recognizing it (how many of us forget the 16 core areas while we're consumed with working, working, working!) and then, once recognized--discovering the fast to slow transition that he discusses.

For example, one key area of Life Puzzle-making is the nutrition area. First, it is an area most of us simply ignore--but I've tried in Life Puzzle-making to bring it front and center. Well, "In Praise of Slowness" takes it to another dimension through the discussion of slow food and the slow food movement that turns eating into a joyous, play-filled part of our lives. This is definitely a great addition to your Life Puzzle-making nutrition area. Check it out.

By the end of the book, I felt wonderfully re-centered on my own Life Puzzle-making and ready to enjoy fall at a slower pace than summer's fare!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Silent Spring for the economy?

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote the groundbreaking book, Silent Spring. It explored the issue of synethetic pesticides and fertilizers which were being spread in massive quantities and how this was creating the unintended consequences of environmental destruction. Most specifically, the impact of DDT on the eggs of bald eagle resulted in shells so thin they cracked and thus bald eagle populations were being decimated. When the national bird is facing extinction--it is time for action. Thus, Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' awoke a nation, the environmental movement was born and the awareness of how interconnected we are through our actions and policies led to real changes. Today, the bald eagle populations have returned and are growing and the changes instituted as a result of her work have benefited us all.

In 2007, Riane Eisler wrote a book--"The Real Wealth of Nations" (RWN) . And I think this book will prove to be the 'Silent Spring' for the economy. In RWN, we are able to see the 'unintended consequences' of economic policies that are now threatening our extinction as a nation--and possibly even as a species.

When we're facing extinction--it is time for action. Thus, Riane Eisler's Real Wealth of Nations is here to awake not only a nation--but the world.

This book is a solid exploration of the current economic model which has its foundation in a belief system of Dominator/Dominated while also providing a template for change. Eisler shows the historical context of how this dominator/dominated system emerged over hundreds of years so that today, we are all born into this value system and never question its validity. Eisler's unique ability helps you see what we so take for granted or as "normal" and view it from a new perspective. It leaves you realizing that the way we're currently running our economic systems is less than optimum--for people and the earth--and that there is another option that will be far more successful economically, socially and environmentally.

The new option is based in a new belief system--which brings back into play a 'value' which has been ignored for too long "caring". Caring as a value has been relegated as a soft/non-monetized action--therefore in a dominator/dominated economy, it has no measurable value. The future economy will shift from win/lose (dominator/dominated) to win/win (caring) and in this change, discover not only can we have a vibrant economy, we can have a world that works. For example, currently we see a 'stay at home mom' has having no impact on the GNP...but in a caring economy, her value can actually be monetized at around $134,471!

As Rachel Carson's Silent Spring showed--we can examine a policy, change it and end up in a better place than before. Riane Eisler's Real Wealth of Nations shows that in examining the dominator/dominated value, changing to a caring value, we'll end up in a better place than we are now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SICKO 2...will we change?

SICKO, Michael Moore's new film clearly shows that our health care system is a costly debacle that is leaving us unhealthy and financially strained. But for me, the scariest comment came as a result of his asking whether or not we could change our system. I think he was talking to a man from France and this gentleman said to Moore, "Here in France, the gov't is afraid of the people and responds to our protests...but in America, the people are afraid of the gov't and are afraid to rebel'.

I sat there and thought--boy is he right. And that's it in a nutshell....we're afraid. Even worse, we're afraid of our government--and we're afraid to come together to insist on changes that would benefit 90% of us because we've been conditioned by the massive media/corporate story that says "Universal health care is a lose-lose proposition". We've become so complacent in the 0-5 reactive/unconscious/victim story that even when we're staring insanity in the face, we shrug and walk away.

Because the real 'lose-lose proposition is the current system. The Corporately controlled, money-driven health care system is a lose-lose proposition for all but a few people--those who either own the stock of an insurance company and have benefited directly by increasing stock value OR those who work at the top levels of the insurance corporations. All the rest of us are in lose-lose. We know it, and Moore's film shows it to us in black, white and color.

I'll make a bet though--we will not protest. We will not come together in droves and insist that this terrible system be changed. By the end of the summer, SICKO will be a blip on the screen. And by next year, 50 million will be uninsured.....and we'll all just keep crossing our fingers that nothing bad happens to us and we don't have to deal with this archaic, unhealthy system--because if we do, it won't be pretty.

HOWEVER....just in case you would like to consider doing something--here's a link to Michael Moore's website's recommendations to get you started. We all need to get involved--we need to get Congress to work for us--that's their job.

Moore asks at the end of the films "Is this what we've become?". The America he grew up in, the one I grew up in--was an America that cared for each other. Now, its every man for himself. We have to ask how that transition happened--and whether we'll stay trapped in it. We don't have to but if we remain stuck in the 0-5, unconscious, victim, passive role, we stay trapped. Every day--any of us can switch to the 6-10, conscious, active role and when we do, change happens. First in little ways--and then in big.


Saw SICKO last night. It is a classic Michael Moore film as we watch him traipse around the world exploring health systems in a number of different countries and comparing them to ours. We get to meet dozens of people and their horror stories as their lives have been turned upside down as a result of dealing with the American health care system. Ironically, the gentleman he profiles at the start of the film--the one who lost two fingers and then, because the cost to reattach his fingers ranged from a low of $12,000 for one and $60,000 for the other--ended up only reattaching the less expensive one because he didn't have insurance and that's all he could afford--lives in my area. I actually met him last week! Seems like a charming guy.

SICKO is a good film and no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on--it is impossible to watch this film and believe that we've got a system that has to be maintained. Our system is not based in health care--it is based in money--designed to enrich a few in the insurance companies and their stock investors--and nothing else. We've actually enslaved ourselves into this system--we made it up, we can make it something else! And we'll need to because with 45 million uninsured, and a good majority of those who are insured being routinely denied care--it is a system that is crashing in on itself, bankrupting America's businesses and leaving us #37 on the list of 'quality of our health system'. Yes, #37 despite the fact that we spend more money on health care than any other developed country.

True story--about 10 years ago, I worked with a fitness center and we approached an HMO in Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA. Based on the perception that HMO's desire to keep subscribers healthy as a way to have strong profits ( in that, if they're healthy, they won't need expensive services--thus prevention makes fiscal sense) , we approached Sentara Health System's, Optima Health insurance plan and did a 'prevention' presentation. We would offer the fitness center at reduced rates for their subscribers and we would offer Life Puzzle programs at their office sites to teach prevention lifestyle behaviors. All with the goal of keeping them healthy and thus the HMO would be more successful.

At the end of the presentation, as most of the group left, one gentleman remained. He happened to be a friend of the fitness center owner--so we asked--what did you think? Do you think Optima Health plan would pick up such a contract? He looked at us, thanked us for a wonderful presentation and then shook his head and said, "No, I don't think it will be picked up." We asked why--and I will never forget his answer--he said, "We're not in the health care business--we're in the money making business. It doesn't really matter to us whether people use services or stay healthy. If they use a lot of services--we'll just raise our rates--our profits are ensured no matter what!". We left shocked...but sure enough, in the early 2000's... HMO rates skyrocketed. Double and triple inflation--justified by the 'cost' of services for all these people. As I watched the news, all I could see was this group laughing its way to the bank!

And so now what? Will be decide to examine a system that benefits few and leaves us with an inferior health care system or will we just shrug and say "well, that's the way it is". Well, you know where I stand--its time to go 6-10 proactive and change this into a system that works!
It is doable--but only if we get involved.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Be Your Own Role Model.....

In session with a woman the other day--a woman who is by all rights successful in her professional life--but floundering mightily in her personal life--especially when it comes to relationships.

But the gist of our session really revolved around getting her to see the 'copy cat' style of life she was living. She grew up in a dysfunctional home that left her feeling as if she'll never be "good enough" but damn if she isn't running her SELF ragged trying! She also grew up in a dysfunctional culture--that has shown her violence, jealousy, emotional dramas with extreme highs and lows as the norm between couples. Television, newspapers, movies all seem to concur that it is normal to be jealous, insecure and emotionally rollercoastering when in a relationship.

So, I challenged her to really examine this! I know that humans are notorious copy cats--that's how we make puzzles right? We open up the box, we spread out all the pieces and then we prop the box--and begin copying the picture on the outside of the box! Only that doesn't work in Life Puzzle-making--there's no picture on the outside of your box--you have to have the courage to design your own!

When I said this to her, her response was "Well, what do I use as a role model?"--and she was so totally serious that it hit me like a lightening bolt. I responded back with "You--you are your own role model--make it up, do what do you want vs. what you've been seeing (which obviously isn't working!!). She just sat there stunned. Then she pointed at herself and said "Me, how do I know what to do?"

I laughed and pointed out the Choosing Continuum I have hanging on the wall in my office. I said, "See the 6-10? At the top it says "The new paradigm: Whole Life Making. Currently requires person to discover and create for themselves a life based in a balanced lifestyle."

I went on and said, "The model you were shown clearly doesn't work--you're in your mid-40's, you've copied it as well as anyone could possibly do--but you're very unhappy--so it obviously isn't the right model. So, almost anything else you try is going to be better than where you are now! You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by having the courage to become a full Life Puzzle maker. Use the basic framework and ask--what do I want--and then work towards it"

She sat there for a few moments and then started laughing! "Me," she said. It totally wowed her that she could work towards creating her own role model--she, like most folks, was standing by, waiting for someone else to say "You're good enough now--you can own your own life."

I shook my head up and down and said, "Yes...just you--go for it".

She left my office with a puzzled look and a smile on her face. There's a lot of work ahead as she explores the 16 action areas of her life and asks "what do I want", but she now knows that she's the only one who needs to make these choices any more~
Enough is Enough

I was chatting with folks about the 7/07/07 Live Concerts around the world sponsored by Al Gore and focused on global warming. A big topic that keeps coming up is the economy--well, the consumer economy. That unless we confront this elephant in the living room, we really can't make much of a dent in the global warming issue. Oh, yes, great to change the lightbulbs but its got to be much bigger than this.

So, the story goes something like this: Yes, global warming is a problem but in order to correct it, we've got to stop consuming at the massive levels we're used to consuming at. But if we stop consuming then the economy will tank, this will result is global crisis with millions of people out of work and no way to pay bills, etc. So, we shut our eyes and keep consuming because what else can we do??? And even if global warming is an issue, even if we are running out of resource materials to make all this stuff and thus, decimating the earth--right now I've got a mortgage to pay!

Thus, we stick our heads in the sand and no one--not even Al Gore for god's sake--is willing to address the consumer economy. But I marvel how no one can envision a solution that is right in front of our faces! The word is sufficiency--enough. We need to build an 'enough economy'--and in the process, yes, we'll create greener businesses, we'll massively slow down our consumption but done with consciousness--we could plan for a 10 year transition to 'enough'.

What does an 'enough economy' look like? Well, first there will be plenty of work--but each of us will work 'enough' and no more. What will we be doing if we're not working the crazy rat-race pace we currently do in the consumer economy? Why, living of course! Building all the other pieces of our Life Puzzle! Taking time for exercise; eating healthier food; (much of which we'll have time to grow ourselves), being there for our children; (who we've certainly abandoned in the consumer economy because we're always working!) being there for our communities; (you can spend a whole lot less on taxes when you have time to do so many of the services we now pay others to do); living fiscally responsible lives; (instead of the debt-burdened mess that comes with a consumer economy) and having time to reconnect to friends, family and the earth!

It's so totally doable if we start talking and planning for it now. And we may as well--because here's the double whammy we're confronted with:
Right now we keep consuming at record pace because we're afraid if the economy shuts down all hell will break loose. But doing this increases the impact of global warming and sets us up for massive system failures--or all hell will break loose!. The end point of this game is that eventually everything shuts down anyway (and worse case scenario--humans are off the planet!)

Now, an 'enough economy' that essentially brings Life to the front instead of money/stuff will result in lots of changes right now--that's for sure. But these are changes we can prepare for and manage--there are lots of folks working on new green businesses, reassessing our 'success indicators' so we factor in true cost accounting--thus businesses will change to meet these new indicators. Yes, in transition it is going to be a bumpy ride--but look at the endpoint! We have healthier lives, happier families, more secure communities and a global world working on the premise that 'enough is just that--enough' and joyous to boot.

So...take a moment and start thinking--what would your life look like if your focus was on just on 'enough'. That you really looked at how that can be defined for you and then start heading towards enough. What would change in your lifestyle? Would you work less? Would you sell off tons of stuff you don't need, use or every really wanted? Would you have time for your spouse, your kids, your community?

It is time to say "Enough is enough--we've consumed too much! It is time for a switch and that switch is Enough".
YOYO or WITT....which story works?

Cultural story---I talk about this a lot in Life Puzzle making because everything Life Puzzle does is to help people see the current cultural story--which by and large is the 0-5 reactive, unconscious, maintain status quo at all costs story--and begin to question that story with the new 6-10 proactive, conscious, self-responsibility towards designing a life that works.

America has been defined by the 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps, every man for himself, go West young man and find a fortune" story for the last 100 years. Well, at least it has been in the literature and it certainly is something we've become accustomed to believing is the way to live. And right now we seem to be at the extreme of this story. As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the divide between the two of them as been growing steadily over the last 20 years.

But is YOYO (You're on your own) really the American cultural story? Oh yes, its definitely out there--businesses flourish on it...but do humans? Because at the same time as we talk the every man for himself success story, underneath it is a broader story that we're there for each other. Look at Hurricane Katrina--while the government was a failure, everyday Americans took over and helped.

Is the more true American cultural story WITT (We're in this together)? Whether Hurricane Katrina, 911, the Asian tsunami, flooding in Texas, a tornado in Arkansas--people come out to help each other in droves!

In the media--it would appear that YOYO is the story we hear all the time. Reports of Goldman Sachs employees receiving huge bonuses are praised as we reward individuals taking charge, making money in the extremes. Yet at the same time, 45 million people are uninsured and we know we have to find solutions because America is not a country that is comfortable watching this type of disparity become a norm in the land of plenty for all.

So which is it YOYO or WITT? Here's what I can tell you. While YOYO seems to have the upper hand right now, history will bare out that it is not a system likely to be the long term winner. Humans are social creatures and we need each other. I predict that as we continue to push the extremes of YOYO...where a few have a lot but most do not, the dissatisfaction of this system will result in a crumbling and WITT will takeover.

YOYO appears to work for the few on the top--but I can tell you--that is a false illusion! All the work I've done for the last 10 years with Life Puzzle is primarily a result of YOYO's showing up at my door! They would arrive saying "I've got everything I'm supposed to have--house, cars, kids, stuff' so I should be happy now...but I'm not! What's wrong with me????

And I would say...the picture of what you think will make you happy (essentially a YOYO story) doesn't work. It is missing too many of the pieces necessary to make you whole. Life Puzzle teaches a WITT story--and it does because if you look at humans over the last 150,000 years--what you'll find is that for all but the last 10,000 years, we've lived a WITT story. Our shift over the last 10,000 years to a YOYO story has brought us to this crisis--because YOYO is deeply unsatisfying in the long run while WITT works forever!

So, take some time today and ask your SELF...YOYO or WITT? What works for you?

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Money Fix

The jig is up! If you've ever wanted to understand the world money system--then check out the new documentary, The Money Fix . A film by Alan Rosenblith, he interviews experts like Hazel Henderson, Riane Eisler, Lynne Twist and a host of others who show you how the banking system works and within that, the production of money. If you've ever wondered why it seems on one level we just keep making more and more money but on another level there never seems to be enough to go around, The Money Fix will take what appears to be an oxymoron and show you what's really going on. When you see this--you'll understand what a 'fix we're in' :)

That's the first part of the movie. The second part focuses in on possible solutions and most specifically it chronicles a group in Hood River, OR that created a local currency called RiverHOURS. Yes, local money is legal (Ithaca, NY was one of the first areas to do this--it was as a result of a huge recession in their area--local money allowed their local economy to keep functioning). RiverHOURS are accepted by local merchants for a wide variety of services and products. The Gorge Grown Farmers' Market accepts RiverHOURS for food purchases.

Local currency is a wonderful way to really connect to your community, buy local products and services and then also know that the money stays in your area. This is a huge contrast to how most 'federal dollars' work. For instance when you go to Wal-Mart and purchase clothing--most all of that money leaves the area--it heads back to Wal-Mart's corporate offices, it is used to pay invoices to places like China or India and then the leftover is used however Wal-Mart decides. Compare this with purchasing local. Imagine your neighbor making you a new shirt--you pay her with RiverHOURS and then she takes that money and pays for food at the Farmers' Market. The farmer takes the RiverHOURS and pays his employee and his employee takes his RiverHOURS and buys music lessons for his daughter from a local musician. This money keeps circulating to benefit local community members as compared to when we buy from big box stores. Once that money leaves the area--it won't be seen by any local person again! Local currency is one way to solve "the money fix"!

As you know Life Puzzle is all about confronting the fact that our culture does not teach us much of what we need to truly know if we are going to be able to make proactive, conscious choices about the way we live our lives. It is fairly simple to say that 99% of people simply do not understand their financial responsibility area and as a result, they are at the mercy of a system designed to benefit only a few. Watching The Money Fix might just end that confusion forever!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dairy the new oil? Every piece impacts the whole

A headline in the local paper's business section shouts "Is Dairy the new oil?" Essentially the article discussed the fact that as corn now shifts into being utilized for ethanol fuel production--mostly for use in our cars, it is being diverted from feed for cows that produce milk and other dairy products like cheese. The result? Prices on dairy and cheese are predicted to go up 30% in the next few months as the cost of their production now skyrockets.

As I read this I wondered how many people really made the connection of how our addiction to oil is now overflowing into other vital areas of our lives? Rising gas prices have put large crimps into many people's budgets--and now it would appear that this will impact at the grocery store too as dairy and most likely other food prices go up in response to production costs increasing as 'corn' goes into the gas tank instead of our stomachs! What worries me is that it is our children who generally consume milk and cheese in greater quantities than adults--and as milk prices head towards $4.00 a gallon, will families have to cut back and thus, nutritionally our children will lose?

As with the individual Life Puzzle--every piece impacts the whole--the same is true in the much larger "Community Life Puzzle". Change one piece and everything else changes. Individually--the foods we eat power our bodies and mind--eat better quality, we end up with healthier bodies, able to manage our feelings and thinking which leads to being more proactive etc.

That may be quite easy to see, but often we don't make the same connections within the larger Community Life Puzzle. Especially when it comes to an issue like oil. We all want lower oil prices but we see this as a stand alone issue. But its not! It impacts so many other pieces of the community--now it is impacting feed prices which impact costs for meat and dairy--and likely all foods as costs for shipping go up too. This impacts our children's nutrition as families have to cut back on milk when it hits $4.00 a gallon. This could have long term impact on their health--strong bone formation is needed in the calcium and Vitamin D found in milk and it has to happen in these crucial developmental years. This will impact the medical system 30 years forward as knees and hips need to be replaced earlier than one would've expected. Cheap oil also means we continue to drive too much which impacts air quality, increases road production to address all the cars on the road! Thus the environment suffers as the community of plants and animals lose habitat to pavement. Well, you get my drift--every piece impacts the whole!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just say 'neither'

I was at a luncheon meeting the other day. The Melinda Henneberger, author of the book, "If They Only Listened to Us: What Women Voters Want Politicians to Hear." She had interviewed women across the country. She highlighted some of the surprises she found--the number one being that the so-called 'security moms'--those who voted for George Bush because of their fears about terrorists attacking our country did not turn out to be a big factor that women expressed anywhere in the country. But the gist of her book is looking at how the woman vote is largely discounted because politicians really don't care or think it is necessary since a large majority of women do not vote!

A lively discussion ensued until time ran out and it was time to pack up and head back to work. As I was gathering my things, I turned around to speak to a woman I know and she introduced me to her friend. Both of them are in their early 30's, building careers and contemplating their role as women in our society. I was amazed to hear them share how frustrated they are! As one of them said, "Our grandmothers were stuck in the kitchen and had no options, our mothers abandoned the kitchen, opened all options as they trotted off to work to break the glass ceiling! We were told we could have it all but find ourselves confused because while our moms are great women and have done tremendous things--the truth is, we were latchkey kids who didn't have our mothers around when we wanted them--and we don't want to do this to our children! So, we're trying to figure out how to do both--be a stay at home mom that ends up a CEO!"

We didn't have much time to chat beyond this--though one of the women is well versed in Life Puzzle and the best I could share in that short time-line was to remind her that the either/or linear world we're used to (the 0-5 reactive/unconscious/maintain status quo) is what she's talking about. It is the courage to jump to 6-10, proactive, conscious, create your own way that holds the future. In short....just say neither!

It isn't about superwoman or diaperwoman....Its about redefining for your SELF what works for you and having the guts to listen to your own inner voice. Yes, this will come in conflict with the current either/or picture that is constantly painted for us by the media, schools, etc. But it i s the only option--the courage to say 'neither' and create your own life the way you want.

Life Puzzle provides a framework to use as you ask your SELF--what do I want my life to be? Since we graduate from high school or college with very little knowledge of how to fill in most of the 16 core areas--it is what makes it so easy then to slip into the 'do what everyone else is doing pattern'....the very pattern my friend above is currently stuck in! We all get stuck in it--unless somewhere along the way we have the wherewithal to 'just say neither' and make our own.

There's no rule on this planet that says you have to follow the masses. If you too waiver between the either/or (superwoman vs. stay at home mom), take a moment to explore what your life would look like if you truly made your own choices--and created a lifestyle that met your needs, your families needs and then ask your I have the courage to just say neither and do this instead?!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bariatric surgery.....still requires lifestyle change.

Since starting the BodyMine! Life Puzzle program for those wanting to use the Life Puzzle model as a part of their weight management efforts, I've had many conversations with folks dealing with weight issues. And it is a big issue on so many levels.

I've also been watching the rise of bariatric surgery as a primary option for the seriously obese and been wondering how that's working out. One article I read showed that despite losing large quantities of weight, many of these people continue have problems in other areas of their lives and are quite frustrated that having this surgery did not turn out to be as satisfying as they'd hoped.

I also know a registered dietitian, Barb Mahlmeister, who works with this clientel. I've always been impressed with Barb's nutrition knowledge. She has gone far beyond the traditional dietitian's knowledge base and I know she has the depth of knowledge to truly be able to help people. So, I called her one day to discuss bariatric surgery and some of the concerns I had. As a result of this, she and I decided to record an interview that I could make available to people about this subject.

In this interview we discussed the various forms of bariatric surgery, misconceptions and expections that people should know before they go through this life-changing surgery. We also discussed the lifestyle changes that she insists people engage in BEFORE their surgery. I was happy to hear how insistent she was that people make these changes or else she won't allow them to go through the surgery. As she said, "If they won't or can't make these changes before surgery, then post-surgery they are going to have an even more difficult time. I'm doing them a favor in the long run--even though they don't always appreciate this ahead of time!".

If you would like to listen to this interview, it is available, as a free, online recording. If you'll go back to the website, click on BodyMine! Life Puzzle and click on

Friday, April 06, 2007

My favorite piece...

People often ask me...."What's the most important piece of the Life Puzzle?". I smile and say, "That just depends on where you at any particular time in your life." For example, parenting would hardly be the most important piece if you're 7 or 77--but it might be if you're 28.

That said however....I know for me, my favorite piece...the one I'll always highlight whenever I'm giving a talk on Life Puzzle-making is the Community/Environment piece. It is the one area that seems to be missing in so many of us--yet, once you become a Life Puzzle-maker, it becomes the piece that helps you make sense of the whole. As a Life Puzzle-maker you come to realize that we're all in this together--we are an inter-connected and interdependent whole of genders, cultures, races, species, planet and we all need each other.

You also come to realize that if 90% of the population lives a 0-5 reactive/unconscious lifestyle--we all pay the price. Thus, you realize that teaching others to understand and appreciate the 6-10 proactive/conscious becomes imperative for survival of us all--humans, air, water, land, animals--all of us.

That became quite obvious today when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made its report today. With but a small voice of dissent--today we learn how truly interdependent we all are. Our behaviors in first world countries have put us all at risk. The predictions are serious with 1/4 of all species on this planet threatened with extinction, droughts, water shortages, population decimation. This is the outcome of 0-5 reactive/unconscious people who do not understand how vital the Community/Environment piece is in their lives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The real secret.....

Well, unless you're dead--you've heard about The Secret. It's on the best-seller's list, Oprah's done two shows on it and you can hardly open a magazine without stumbling on it.

While it is all the rage, The Secret is really nothing new at all. It is a repackaged and stunningly well marketed reminder that where we place the focus of our minds (thinking area of your Life Puzzle) is what we'll produce in our lives. Essentially--it is the Law of Attraction. It was shared in Norman Vincent Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking and the Prayer of Jabaz has had its run with this story too. All have made millions for their authors as they spread an age old wisdom that all of us know but too often forget!

That said, it is important for us all to remember that the "Law of Attraction" is but one of many of the "laws of the universe". It isn't the magic bullet, quick fix that will instantly transform your life and make it all come out great. It's good, its important but its not the end all be all.

And that's my concern as I watch this spread. Since we know that 90% of the population is operating from the 0-5 side of the Choosing Continuum--we can only attract to ourselves relative to the 'vision' or understanding about what it means to create a life. My experience is that most of us have the limited, 0-5 view that our culture provides--grow up, get a job, spouse, house, cars, kids, stuff. Thus when it comes to using the Law of Attraction that The Secret talks about--the end result is we're busy attracting primarily material/money and not 'whole and dynamic lives'.

Years of sharing the Life Puzzle model--I hear over and over again people saying "Wow, I never realized I had to take responsibility for all these areas of my life. It never occured to me to see my life as a 'whole I am becoming" vs. the "grow up, turn into an adult and wait for happily ever after!". And as one man said to me, I'd love to live 6-10 on the Choosing Continuum but I don't know how to do that! If he reads The Secret will he be able to just "attract" what he doesn't know how to do? Hmmmm.....

My concern with The Secret is that too many people are doing it from the 'grow up, turn into an adult--get the job, spouse, house, cars, kids and oh, okay, I can't 'wait' for happily ever after--I have to 'attract' it. But the "it" is stuck at 5....And 5 is only half the story. And sadly, as so many of my clients have proved--it isn't what makes people happy!

Where is the message in The Secret for a vision of the 6-10 whole? I don't see it. People are buying this up in droves and thinking they've found the quick fix, get me through this life answer. This isn't The Secret's "fault" per say--it isn't necessarily their responsibility to paint the picture of the whole. But after 10 years of working with Life Puzzle--I know that our culture needs to have this picture presented otherwise The Secret is going to be just one more passing phenomenom that leaves people lighter in their wallet but still wondering what happened as they rush off to the next "something" that's going to be the magical answer.

Life Puzzle makers know there's no quick's a piece at a time with the whole in mind. So, I would say the real secret is Life Puzzle-making--piece by piece and you discover you create and attract the peace you desire!

Monday, March 26, 2007

I don't know how to do money!!!

There are 16 core areas in our Life Puzzle that we’re each responsible for if we’re going to create a whole and dynamic life. One of them is Financial responsibility and sadly for many it is a gaping hole in their Life Puzzle! When this piece is missing—no, I guess more adequately I should say, when this piece is “jammed” into your Life Puzzle it greatly impacts the life you can (or can’t) create.

Money is clearly not a piece anyone can ‘miss’ because every one of us touches money in some form all the time. So it is more rightly expressed that we “jam” this piece into our Life Puzzle instead of proactively, consciously learning how to manage money. Most of us walk out high school or college completely clueless! We rush off to start making money and maybe saving a little but because we are so ignorant of how to use money it ends up a jumbled mess. Before long we don’t want to deal with this part at all—it’s just too confusing.

As a result, we are sleepwalking through life. Too many of us are desperately hoping we don’t wake up because when we do and examine the financial situation, we’ll collapse! We hear of the ‘one paycheck’ away from losing it all, but for many people, it started long ago through a lack of awareness and knowledge of how to manage money.

And please don’t think this “one paycheck” away phenomenon is for people with low incomes—there are scores of wealthy people who are stretched out beyond belief. I remember sitting in a banker’s office one day while waiting for some paperwork to be corrected. The real estate boom in this up-scale area of Florida was going crazy and we were chatting about the fast pace of sales and the amazing prices people were getting for their homes. Then the banker looked at me and said, “You would think with all the BMW’s and Mercedes flying by my window and the million dollar houses, that this is a wealthy area—but you might be quite surprised if you looked under the splashy sports cars and real estate sticker shock. If we ever have a downturn in the economy, many of those cars are going back to the dealer and they’ll be empty homes on every corner. This place looks rich, but half of it’s an illusion. He said, “I know it’s true—I see the income statement when they come in for loans and so many of the people in this area are leveraged to their last nickel!”

Which brings me to what a friend said to me at lunch one day, “I don’t know how to do money.” And I said, “I don’t think many people know how to do money!” I see it in my private practice and you can watch the nightly news and see it too. We are 0-5, unconscious, reactive and as bankruptcy rates sky-rocket (only slowed recently because Congress made it so much more difficult), we end up playing victim to a green piece of paper!

If you’re reading this blog and thinking “Yup, that describes me!”, I hope you will give your SELF permission to say, “I’m going 6-10 from here on out.” I’m going to spend the next year intensively learning how money works, how to make it work for me and how to manage it towards creating the life I want.” To do this means you’ll be one of the rare honest people who is willing to say, “I don’t know how to do money, but I’m going to find out!”

Here are 3 books which will be a good start for knowledge. Read them just to gather data, do the exercises in them—again, just to gather data. By the time you finish all 3, you’ll have a new perspective on how you want to manage money for the rest of your life. The 3 books are:

Your Money or your Life by Joe Dominguez
Smart Women Finish Rich (or Smart Couples Finish Rich) by David Bach
Make Money, not excuses: wake up, take charge and overcome your financial fears forever by Jean Chatzky

Another option is to take an on-line course that will teach you, step by step to get control of your finances. Here’s one I could recommend—I like it because it is so detailed and yet, still a fun way to explore/learn and take charge. It is

If money is one of your biggest fears—make a 6-10 choice today and do something about it! Read one of these books, take an online course and build your Life Puzzle!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A discussion with John Mackey of Whole Foods Markets

As you all know, I'm a huge proponent of healthy eating. In my early 20's I left my junk food diet behind and discovered healthy, whole foods. It truly transformed my life. I've also worked in the health food industry and am so pleased to see this industry come fully into its own as a viable addition in the marketplace. You know, when Wal-Mart's talking about organic....the times they are a changing....

John Mackey is the CEO of Whole Foods Markets(WFM). Whole Foods Markets are a success story and I'm quite happy about that. Having worked in the health food industry in the early days, I can tell you that this success is the result of the many risk-taking efforts made by people in the 70's and 80's to bring health foods to the marketplace at a time when whole foods, vitamins and herbs etc. were seen as items that the counterculture bought but certainly not mainstream mom and pop. John was one of those early pioneers who rode through the lean times. Committed to their mission, they hung in there and we have all benefited! Today if you walk in to WFM you'll definitely see mom and pop shopping too!

I think its terrific that Whole Foods Markets are successful. For Life Puzzle makers, having WFM available supports your ability to go 6-10 on the Choosing Continuum--building a life that honors the whole you are becoming. Since food is such a necessity for this, WFM provides lots of options and choices to create a healthy nutrition lifestyle!

Recently I stumbled upon John's blog where he had posted an article about 'Conscious Capitalism'. It is an essay about a new business paradigm--a new model that he feels would be beneficial. On March 7th, (you'll need to scroll down through the blog), I sent him a response and then on March 14th--he responded to mine. It is a lively dialogue. I am proposing that while Conscious Capitalism is better than the current version of capitalism--it still falls short of where we need to go.

I'm suggesting a Whole Life Economic system--where instead of products/services/money being the foundation of the economic system, we replace that with "life"--human, animal, earth, water, air. In is the most important factor in decision Whole Life Economics--life is the most important factor in decision making. So, we replace "anything that makes money is good" with a "anything that enhances the entire community of life is good"....And thus, business decisions reflect this.

With this transformation, I also recognize that the key to this change is Consciousness! This is the challenge because most people live on the 0-5 reactive, unconscious side of the Choosing Continuum. I say this because it has been validated over and over again through my experiences while teaching Life Puzzle to groups. When I ask an audience where they are on the Choosing Continuum--over and over again they say 0-5. And then we discuss why this is so. It's because all the systems we grow up in our culture are essentially 0-5 reactive, unconscious. For example--our medical system is a wait til its broken then fix it--reactive, not proactive. Reactive systems create reactive people which further reinforces reactive systems. Only about 10% of the population has become aware of and is now moving towards the 6-10 proactive, conscious.

And that's the gist of what I'm trying to say to John. Conscious Capitalism is perhaps a 6 on the Choosing Continuum....It begins the shift towards conscious choice--but tying it to capitalism (which makes "capital or money" the primary value) is to get stuck again in old model. It is better than the current 0-5 model, but doesn't go far enough to get us where we need to go! I believe that if we had 60% of the population on the 6-10 side of the Choosing Continuum--it would provide the tipping point to move beyond Conscious Capitalism and onto Conscious "Whole Lifeism" (we probably need a better term!)

But it is a start--and I hope our dialogue helps us all start looking at this issue. Please check out his blog and add your two cents too!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Atkin's best for weight loss...but not weight management

Reported in JAMA....Atkin's weight loss diet proves best as compared to the Zone, Dean Ornish's lifestyle diet and ..... As I read this I thought, ugh, here we go again. Everyone now rushing off to stuff themselves with a high protein diet, little carbohydrates etc.

What's missing in all this? Weight management.....
Anyone can lose weight--heck half of America is on a diet right now and people are definitely losing weight....The issue we need to look at is Weight management--keeping off the pounds you lost!

And since we know only 10% of dieters maintain their weight loss for more than a year--why do we care what diet they lost it on? It's just part of the rollercoaster that so many people live on when it comes to weight management.

Weight management has become a much larger topic within Life Puzzle since we've added the BodyMine!Life Puzzle as an online program offering. I created it because so many people struggle with weight management--but the typical path is through dieting and then hoping that you'll maintain it. The "hoping you'll maintain it" is where most folks get lost--and fail miserably since we know 90% put it all back on.

While the BodyMine!Life Puzzle program does help you design a "7th Heaven Nutrition Lifestyle"--it goes much deeper into teaching you how to build your whole Life Puzzle so you can have the strength of SELF to maintain weight loss. Every one who has participated in these programs has acknowledged their frustration with the rollercoaster of weight loss and come to the conclusion that if they're going to maintain weight loss--it has to become part of a lifestyle that they're consciously creating. The framework of the Life Puzzle can help do this.

So the next time you see a media report about 'the latest diet'...I hope you will turn it off or skip reading it! Dieting doesn't work--if it did--we wouldn't still be hearing about 'the best/next diet'!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And its just another piece in the whole...

Recently I began working with a young woman (age 20) who had experienced a significant trauma. Her mother had called me because her daughter had written a poem expressing intense angst and pain over the betrayal by a trusted family member--and within the poem she thought she detected thoughts around suicide. While she didn't really consider her daughter suicidal, she wanted to err on the side of caution and have her come for some counseling.

I was happy to have this opportunity because I know that traumatic events like this--or special challenges as they are known in Life Puzzle-making, can often become overwhelming to a person this young--and usurp the rest of the Life Puzzle making process. Not to minimize at all what she had experienced--but I hoped to help her put it in context to her whole life and not let it limit her view of SELF as a victim to this trauma--in truth, she was a survivor.

We all experiences 'special challenges'....and while hers was particularly unpleasant--the temptation to get caught up in the trauma/experience and allow it to become central to our lives needs to be examined relative to the whole life journey. I have other clients who can let someone else's' comment--or behavior, trap them in a demolition derby feeling/thinking pattern for such a long time that the rest of their life sits on the sidelines as they run this event over and over and over again in their minds.

In perspective--I try to get clients to really ask themselves--how much power do you want to give this one event--in context to a life of say, 80 years. When viewed from the 'whole', this one piece is but a minor part--it only becomes major when you decide to make it the 'whole' and ignore the rest of your Life Puzzle. As I said to my client above--how often are you likely to be thinking about this experience on a daily basis when you are 37? Or 63? As she said, "well, I would hope not that much". And I continued with this thought "If you know that this trauma will become but a piece of the whole--how much power/focus/attention do you want to give it, relative to also building the rest of your Life Puzzle in the here and now?"

I could tell she was mulling this over--and I ask you to do the same. If there is some current experience/trauma that you're constantly focusing on at the expense of living life fully--ask yourself if you really want to give it this much power/focus/attention when you know full well, within a year, it will have settled back into your Life Puzzle as a piece...not the whole. If you know that's going to happen--why not just choose now to accept it, learn from it and move on and not spend hours upon hours consumed with it today?

What you'll discover is that we all have the ability to manage our suffering/angst. Not by ignoring traumas/special challenges--but by acknowledging that they are one piece amongst the whole. Experience, learn and live--and refuse to let them 'limit' you. The outcome? You spend more of your life attracting the life you want instead of what you don't!

Obesity, surgery, our children

A recent report shows a tripling of the number of bariatric surgeries for obese children. Think of how life altering this is for a child! To be 12 years old and feel as if the only way to get control of your weight is to go through the step of surgically reducing your stomach in order to prevent you from eating!

What so concerns me with this process is that a child that young has barely formed a vision of SELF. Yet, this very young person is being asked to make decisions that are life altering in ways that he or she can have little perspective on nor understand many of the long term ramifications.

I'm writing about this for two reasons. One is that I have an acquaintance who works in the nutrition industry and deals with bariatric surgery clients (adults). In our discussions, she concurs that for many of these people, the food/weight issues are more about the addiction patterns of eating they developed as coping mechanisms for their blocked feelings/thinking flow. That ensured the lack of SELF and kept them on the food/dieting merry go round. She notes that so many of these people go through surgery but do not go through the growth work of changing SELF and end up losing weight, but ultimately become very disappointed because the root issue--SELF--has yet to be addressed.

The second reason I'm concerned for these kids also comes from running the BodyMine!Life Puzzle groups online. This is the 3 month online weight management groups that I run. There, feedback by group members tells me over and over again that food/weight is a symptom of the bigger issue--the ability to know SELF in a peaceful way so that they can be focused on creating a 6-10 life. BodyMine!Life Puzzle is an intensive around building SELF and then designing a nutrition lifestyle to support this.

When I put all this together, I worry for these children--who haven't even had sufficient time on this planet to build a healthy, self-loving SELF before they've been overwhelmed by weight issues and had their attention directed to this symptom at the very time their attention needs to be on building strong edges of SELF.

Monday, January 29, 2007

What works?

Leonard Pitts, the Miami Herald columnist recently wrote an interesting column where he acknowledged that most of his writings expose the entrenched problems in our society such as violence, poverty, fatherlessness, miseducation and racism. And while all of these are very important issues and definitely problems that are rampant in our society today, in this writing he highlighted his desire to use more of his columns talking about solutions and "What Works".

As I read it, a huge smile came to my face! There are solutions out there and that's where we need to be putting our attention! It's so easy to focus on problems--and it is necessary to recognize them but if 90% of the time is talking about problems and only 10% on solutions--its not hard to figure out why nothing much changes! I laud his shift in direction--it is a move away from the 0-5 reactive/victim and towards the 6-10 proactive/self-responsible/choices we can make.

Life Puzzle is all about staying focused on solutions! Long ago--when what would become the Life Puzzle model was but a twinkle in my eye, I remember asking one of my college professors--"How come we spend so much time learning how to fix broken people but we spend almost no time learning how to help people not get broken in the first place?" And she laughed at me and said, "Well, it sounds nice to help prevent these problems, but the truth is, these problems are so overwhelming--all we have time to do is catch them as they fall!" And I remember thinking--but if you never give people a new model (prevention, wellness, whole life making), then they can never change the old patterns! Sadly, we have stayed fixated on problems.

And so Mr. Pitts' call for "What works" is to look for solutions or new models that people can put their focus and attention to in creating a world that works. For me, it is a big, "Yes, finally!" because that's what Life Puzzle is--a solution that can work for everyone. It is a universal model for creating whole and dynamic lives and helps people focus their time and energy on this planet towards positive outcomes. We only have so much time each day--let's spend it on building our lives!

As Buckminster Fuller says, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete."
I've said all along--if we had a world of people focused on the 6-10, building whole and dynamic Life Puzzles--most of the problems that we are so stuck in and constantly fighting--racism, social injustice, drug and alcohol issues, income disparity etc., would shift because 6-10 proactive people create a world where these issues are addressed and worked through to ensure healthy, whole and dynamic people and communities!

So, Mr. Pitts has called for us to contact him to share "What Works". And I'd like to ask those of you who have used the Life Puzzle model to help you build your life to write Mr. Pitts and share Life Puzzle with him! You can reach him at or go to his website, and click on What Works. This is a proactive step you can take and together we can find solutions for building a great world.