Mindfulness is living today.

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Mindfulness is absolutely vital to any sustainable and healthy change. More than ever, we are seeing the importance of the body and mind connection. Businesses, schools, churches and the diet and health industry are desperately trying to do the same thing that they have being doing for decades and fit mindfulness into a neat and marketable program. But mindfulness is not a program and there are no mindfulness formulas, because mindfulness is not a result and you can’t just do it.

So, what is mindfulness? According to the great Ellen Langer…

“Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things, relinquishing preconceived mindsets, and then acting on the new observations.”- Ellen Langer

Mindfulness is daily listening, asking, looking, moving, learning and living. Mindfulness happens when we exercise our senses to experience our daily life. Mindfulness happens when we are willing to be honest about the mindless choices we are making each day and when we are willing to look up up from our mindless and comfortably boring routines, and use our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, hands to see, smell, taste, hear and touch more.

I spent years with my head down, just doing it. Doing my job, taking care of my kids, going to the gym, going to church, eating to be lean and staying in my routines that required no thought, imagination, feelings or senses. I can distinctly remember when some of my routines were taken away and I went on a vacation and I noticed the sky. Years and years with my head down, just doing it and grinding it out, and I hadn’t noticed the sky. That’s insane. I finally noticed the sky and it was beautiful and I couldn’t quit looking at it. From this point on, something changed. Not everything immediately but little by little my spirit, heart, mind and body started to wake up and I begin to be set free from just doing it.

No offense but diets are boring. Exercise programs are boring. Online computer health and wellness programs are boring. Most information is boring. Texting is boring.  Most TV shows are boring. Living to make money is boring. Overeating happens out of boredom. Living life through a phone is boring and being weighed, measured, watched, tracked and evaluated all the time based on our performance is not only not normal, but it never allows us to look up to see a whole world that is actually dying around us because we are addicted to boring ourselves to death.

You are not designed to just do it and check your Spirit, Heart and Mind at the door. MindlessNESS happens when you stick yourself in a formula to get a result. Mindlessness is when we say “Just tell me what to (do)eat to lose weight, just tell me what to (do) watch to be happy, just tell me what to (do)believe to be loved,  just tell me what to (do) think to be smart, just tell me what to (do) consume to feel good, and just tell me what to (do) to be, feel and think to be accepted”.

As long as you keep just doing what you are told and surrendering your person to someone or something to be your spirit, heart, mind and body, you will continue to lead a very disconnected, empty, lonely and boring life. Where no amount of food, money, busyness, likes, TV, sex, physical experience, drugs, vacations, beauty, success, fame, power, attention and consuming will be enough to fill in the gaps made from the parts of you that are not living.

You are designed for more. You are designed to be nourished, feel nourished and use your whole-person including your mind to discover who, what, when and where you can receive and give the best nourishment. You have everything you need to be mindful today. Breathe, Listen, Ask, Look and Move to nourish yourself and open yourself to more. Look up from what you are doing, “What do you see?”.

Mindfulness is nothing more than being alive! See, touch, taste, smell and listen to yourself, others and your world. Living begins inside of you. Do you know who you are and how you are designed to live as a whole-person? Your life is where mindfulness begins. You are your most important gift to experience and enjoy. You are the most beautiful gift that you can give to others. You are more than your body and you are more than a mind. You are a spirit, heart, mind and body. You are a whole-person connected to be You. We need you and we need each other to grow in all ways, including mindfulness.

It’s ok if you can’t just do it.

There are several words that make my skin crawl but none quite so much as the word “motivation”. While motivation sounds like a word that would be a positive experience and sometimes it can be, it has also been used for decades to excuse and justify hate, shame, pain, guilt, hurt, pride, fear, abuse, neglect, bullying, dysfunction and the mistreatment of self and others. What is motivation? The dictionary defines motivation as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something”. Our culture is full of all types of “motivation” both positive and negative and there’s even a market for motivation specialists. If you are like me and you are alive, then I am sure your world and your life has been filled with all kinds of motivation.

Motivation by itself is not bad, when it is just basic encouragement. However, when motivation flows out of a misunderstanding of how we are designed and what it does and does not have the power to do, attacks our understanding of love, self and relationships or seeks to expose us to encourage guilt, shame and fear, then it has the capacity to do deep harm.

Growing up as an athlete and in a very religious world where performance was the only thing that mattered, motivation was thought to be a necessary tool for performance. Motivation quickly turned from something positive to something meant to expose you negatively at deep levels, when your performance wasn’t about your performance but was attached to some other person’s identity. Motivation became dark and fierce to control your performance to get the desired results and make someone else feel good about themselves. Anything goes, when your performance becomes a reflection of someone else’s identity. Threats, shame, guilt, fear and horrific things are said to kids in the care of adults who live through their performance and kids quickly learn to beat themselves up with same motivation that motivated them.

The worst of motivation comes when love and motivation mingles together to look, smell, taste, sound and feel the same. Love isn’t a gift that allows you to be known, accepted and rest. Instead, love is used to justify any type and degree of “motivation” to get you to perform better. Love is reduced to a motivator that uses “motivation” to get you to be better, do better and try harder. Love isn’t happy with who you are but who you could become and what you could do with sacrifice, hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Love doesn’t offer rest, it demands you to get busy. Pastors, coaches, parents and teachers take love out of relationships and they bring it into the classroom, on the court, into religion and into to work to demand performance/obedience in exchange for acceptance, approval and worth.

When love is reduced to a motivator, then it strips love of it’s unmeasurable power and it gives the one giving the motivation the power to determine what you need to do and who you need to be enough and do enough to be loved. Nothing is more harmful than when you are conditioned to believe love demands performance and to be loved can mean being torn to shreds when performance doesn’t measure up. When love is reduced to a motivator, it destroys truth, hope, joy trust, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in both the “motivation” giver and receiver. 

Love is not a motivator. Love doesn’t change us, it was designed to consume us from the inside out, and to transform our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies and relationships. Love doesn’t care about your performance, it cares about IT being kind, true, patient, long-suffering, gentle, humble, merciful, forgiving, self-less and creating space for people to be known and accepted. See love doesn’t need motivation and it doesn’t need performance. It just wants and needs people.

We are NOT really designed to be moved by motivation. We are designed to be loved. We are designed to be encouraged by the encouragement others have been encouraged by. This means we are designed to be encouraged by other people’s stories, truth, time and talents when they are freely given to us. We fragment ourselves and others when we are reduced to a performance and/or a motivator. We destroy the potential that we have to grow ourselves, our gifts, our talents and our relationships when we try to motivate, instead of love.

Is there a place for motivation? Sure. Positive motivation can work in a positive way when love is the foundation of a relationship with one’s self and others. However, motivation is powerless when it is given where there is no relationship and it WILL ALWAYS do more harm than good when motivation attempts to expose feelings of guilt, shame, fear or pride to get performance.

Are we trying to use motivation to get someone to do better and try harder, when we should just be loving them? Is that person us? We live in a culture filled with motivation and yet we are suffering the effects of not loving and being loved well. We have great power to help people when we love them. We have great power to help ourselves when we love ourselves.

Love used to hurt people is not love. Love used to manipulate is not love. Love is a gift that can only be freely given and received with no strings and expectations attached.

I think we have given motivation a chance to change things long enough. Let’s listen to wise words from old and just try to  “LOVE with all our heart, mind, spirit and strength”.

You CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet

img_1846You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Period.

You cannot out-run, out-lift, out-yoga, out-dance, out-bike, or out-swim a bad diet, unless you spend your day exercising and who has the time or money to do that. You are going to hear us say this a lot in our conversation and you can learn the science that backs this up in Vive.

“The United States topped the list as the biggest eaters, according to calorie intake data released by The Food and Agriculture Organization. Americans eat an average of over 3,600 calories a day…The long-time recommendation is for you to aim for 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day if you’re a sedentary adult male and 1,600 to 2,000 if you’re a sedentary adult female. These values go as high as 3,000 for men and 2,400 for women, if you’re a very active adult”.
Running a 10-minute mile, (which is about average pace) burns 600 calories in an hour according to http://www.competitor.com. That means you would have to run three hours a day just to burn a daily surplus of 600 calories. Do any of us have the time or energy to run three hours a day every day? To just burn one can of soda, which is about 100 calories, you would have to do 10 minutes of jumping rope or 20 minutes of walking at a three-mile-per-hour pace.
Exercise benefits everything from our cardiovascular to our emotional health, but it was never meant to be the means to control and manage your weight. Can we stop buying into this one lie and free ourselves to learn the truth about weight-loss and how exercise does and does not impact our health? I worked out nearly every day and I went through periods that I even worked out twice a day and I ALWAYS FOLLOWED A VERY STRICT DIET.

Do you want to live in the gym? Do you want to live as slave to exercise programs that do not work and then blames you for not working? Aren’t we tired of submitting ourselves to people trying to make a living off us failing and feeling like failures, because we can’t live in the gym like they do ?

You have the power to get off the exercise treadmill and actually walk your whole-person towards health.
VIVE Alchemy is a different approach to food and exercise that frees you from the gym and from wasting your time, money and energy trying to undo something you literally and physically cannot undo with exercise. Where there is truth, there is freedom to live how you are designed. Discover that design today at vivealchemy.com