Too much information doesn’t help

There is so much contradictory information about food that we are as confused as ever about what we should and should not eat. Our approach to food seems to have no rhyme or reason. We grab information, like the “10 Best Superfoods” or “The Seven Greatest Fat- Burning Foods,” to create what looks like a Pinterest board eating plan.

We are confused and even paralyzed by information overload, and our past experiences with diets have put such a bad taste in our mouth that just the word “diet” makes us cringe. Diets are not sustainable. Do you know of anyone who has stayed on the same diet for years? Have you ever stayed on the same diet for a year? Ok, so if you are that rare person, and I mean rare person who has stayed on a diet for years, then how much time and energy went into thinking, planning, counting and measuring what you ate? Was it fun? Was it liberating or did it feel like a food prison? Did it feel more like a denial than an invitation to food and nourishment?
We can’t avoid food talk because we can’t avoid food. We need food to live. For most of us, though, food has become central to our connection with family, friends and social activities. Managing food is how we achieve training or weight loss goals. We also use food to change our moods. Food has become a means to an end and we have developed a bad relationship with food. It’s pretty obvious when you think about the amount of time, energy and money we spend thinking and talking about food.
VIVE Alchemy invites you into a new conversation about food. We need to rediscover or remember how we are designed and how food nourishes that design. Food is food. Food is not your best friend or your worst enemy. Eating should be easy and enjoyable, giving your body everything it needs to do its job. Eat the way you are designed and you won’t deprive yourself of nutrients that regulate weight, fight disease, slow aging, and keep you looking, feeling and moving your best.
Food was never meant to be a weight-loss tool. You are not designed to be in a relationship with food or to use food as a means to change your body. Doing so has serious consequences. Eating the right foods will naturally, easily and drastically change not just your body but free you to live a life that doesn’t focus on food. You will see AMAZING results when you focus on nourishing your whole-person instead of fixating on food.

VIVE Alchemy can help you change the way you think and feel about food. Instead of food being a variable in a program or being your best friend, you will come see food as a gift that nourishes the body, mind, heart, spirit and community.

The legalism of minimalism

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I just finished watching the documentary, “The Minimalist”. Since the trajectory of my life seems to be aligning more with a minimalist approach, I thought I would enjoy this documentary. Instead, my boyfriend and I ending up getting into a pretty complex argument over what should be a simple idea.

Why?
Because, The Minimalist goes beyond people sharing stories and describing a minimalist life, to sharing a path of sanctification and salvation. It ends up turning into just another “to do” program with tons of rules that one must follow to “be a minimalist”. No doubt, it seems like ridding our lives of our busy schedules or our massive amounts of crap would give us more control over our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies, relationships and lives. But the questions that must be asked are:

Does less stuff give us more control?

Does more stuff give us more control?

Does control give us more freedom?

Isn’t that the point? Isn’t freedom the one thing we are all desperate to get? We have lived in a culture that has taught us that freedom is found in “doing”. We believe that just the right program and just the right amount of stuff can free us to live happy and enjoyable lives.

Initially, we thought daily living and basic tasks controlled our lives and the development of convenience foods, convenience stores, convenience services and convenience machines would free us to have more control over where we spent our time and energy. Yet, the freedom that these conveniences created came at a cost.

To afford our new stuff, we needed to spend more time and energy in other places to earn money. The very things we had bought to free us, actually controlled us. Instead of facing our new reality with truth, we justified our new prisons by equating stuff and busyness with identity. Having all this stuff and the ability to manage these crazy lives stuffed with stuff told us who we were (smart, strong, capable, important and valuable people).

Today, we are suffering the results of having sacrificed our bodies, hearts, minds, relationships, spirits and lives to have stuff. We are not free, even though we are controlling way more things than ever. Instead of all this stuff and control giving us rest, we are completely exhausted. We are stuffed but empty and we are so busy but void of purpose.

Our lives reflect us. What happens when we finally have it all but we realize we have nothing? What happens when find out that stuff and busyness was nothing more than stuff and busyness. What do we do next?
Do we become a minimalist?

Because if consuming massive amounts of shit and activities didn’t make us happy, then not consuming massive amounts of shit and activities can. If doing life as a savvy consumer doesn’t give us peace, love and happiness, then doing life as a savvier consumer will. Right?
I had no idea, that being a minimalist required so much instruction. It seemed with the minimalist life came a lot of rules about minimalism. Tiny houses, 5 shirts, one suitcase and lots of sacrifice to find freedom, joy, peace and happiness. I often wondered why the one guy so easily gave up his relationship with his girlfriend to promote minimalism. Doesn’t minimalism mean giving up things like money, fame and working an angle to have time for the important things in life like yourself and others?

As much as we don’t want to believe it, control doesn’t result in real freedom and lifestyles cannot give us the freedom we need to experience and enjoy life. Because freedom isn’t birthed out of control and it can’t be found in a ton of stuff or a minimal amount of stuff. The stuff isn’t the real problem and it isn’t keeping us from freedom. We are the problem.

We are keeping ourselves from experiencing our freedom by the way we respond to our own emptiness, angst, guilt, shame, pain and fears. Our response has been an attempt to control what ails us through our lifestyles, relationships, programs, eating, not eating, religion, culture, drugs, shopping, sex, schools, education, politics, social agendas, entertainment, hobbies, sports, work, music, vacations, homes, cars, fame, money and a million other things. We believe if we create just the right circumstances and consume in just the right ways, we can sanctify and ultimately save ourselves.

There’s no doubt we have a part to play in our becoming and the choices that we make. We need to create space and time to breathe, listen, think, look and move. Yet, there is no way that we will find that space in a tiny house or a McMansion, if we haven’t found it in ourselves and if we are not experiencing and enjoying our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies, relationships and lives regardless of our circumstances or our stuff (or lack there of).

Perhaps, minimalism helps to create the time and space to stop and smell the roses. There’s no doubt that you can’t stop to smell the roses, if you don’t have time to smell the roses or if you or someone else didn’t have the time or energy to plant them. But can we really stop and smell the roses when we are intentionally trying to smell the roses?

To stop and smell the roses is more than an intentional act, it’s being in a place and a posture that has a rhythm and flow that’s begins with who we are and moves us to what we do. The same truth applies to freedom, joy, peace, patience, joy, hope and love. We don’t find these things in 20 boxes of shoes or just 1 box of shoes. We don’t find these in moments, cross country journeys or even lifestyles of intentionality. We discover who we are in love and we experience love setting us free to be who we are in every moment of every day.

It is only in being loved that we can find rest from our doing and experience the fruit that only love can grow. Hope, joy, wonder, mystery, passion, purpose, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, mercy, truth and self-control aren’t things we can get or control. It is who we are and what comes out of us when we taste, touch, smell and hear love in all of life’s gifts. Especially, in the most amazing of life’s gifts, ourselves and other people.

So, instead of placing faith in stuff or the lack of stuff to make us kinder, happier and gentler people, perhaps we put our faith in love and we spend our time, money and energy loving ourselves and others well. I think the minimalist of all minimalist, The Grinch, taught us that love doesn’t come from a store where you buy 1 t-shirt or 40 t-shirts. We can’t find love in a tiny house or a big house if those houses don’t have people who are willing to give their time, talents and truth.

When we all look back on the greatest moments of our lives, we look back on the people we love and who love us. We remember the love that was shared and the love that filled up the spaces in our homes and our hearts.
Maybe, we do need to declutter and spend a lot less time, energy and resources on whatever lifestyle we choose and more time creating a space for love to be given and received. The best part of all this is love is free and it will fill us and our lives up to overflowing to transform who we are, how we feel and what we think and do.

I hope, if anything, we don’t want to be minimalists when it comes to love. Lifestyles can’t love us back but love does and when love loves, it is big, bold, obnoxiously ginormous, ridiculously magnificent, grossly undoing and the most beautiful thing we will ever experience.

Consumerism at its maximum or minimum doesn’t change us because real change doesn’t happen from the outside in but from the inside out and real change doesn’t come from our doing but from us being undone- by love.

Ignoring your body leads to failure

When you approach exercise and food as a means to an end (that is to lose weight or build muscle), you will disconnect and fragment yourself in order to get a result.

If the result you want is weight-loss, you will do what needs to be done to get that result. If part of you gets in the way of you losing weight, you will ignore and disconnect from that part: your heart, mind, body or relationships in order to continue to fit that part of yourself into a “formula for weight loss to success.”
Most weight-loss formulas demand that you not think or feel but just obey and do. Why are we so quick to do what we are told? Maybe because we are so confused with the overload of conflicting information. Or maybe we are overwhelmed with our own lives and exhausted by all of the failed attempts at the latest and greatest weight-loss programs that we just want to be told what to do.
When you use your body as a means to an end, like losing weight, you will ignore parts of your own body (physically, mentally and emotionally) that do not fit into the weight loss formula. Formula living is not living at all, and a disconnected approach to weight loss sets you up to fail. You might get away with ignoring parts of yourself temporarily but this will lead to a breakdown at some point. Guaranteed.
Ignoring any part of yourself will always fail to sustain results. You may ignore your incorrect alignment in your weight-loss bootcamp but it’s only a matter of time before misalignment leads to injury. You may ignore the hunger that you constantly feel on your diet but it’s only a matter of time before your body rebels and makes up for being deprived. You can not outsmart your body and you can not ignore your body for any long period of time.
In VIVE Alchemy, we teach you to listen to your body and give it what it needs to do it’s job to regulate weight and be whole-person healthy. If you want to ignore something, then ignore the diet and fitness industry and come VIVE with us.