From the monthly archives: "November 2012"


Let’s talk about judgment. Everybody has an idea of what they think this is. Some even feel that it is a virtue to try and remove judgment from our lives. “Judge not that ye be not judged,”* as if judgment is something we can function without. Hopefully, I will be able to convince you that not only can you forget about removing the vital process of judgment from your life, but that you would be wise to understand it, embrace it, and then see the whole picture masked by the illusion of a one-sided universe created in the mind. If you can do this, you will see an effective method for transcending your momentary judgments, and board a launching pad to jump into your next level of awareness.

Try as we might, we cannot escape judgment—not our own, and not that of others. Judgment, at its most basic, is a way to categorize the world around us. The sky is up and the ground is down: this is a judgment we make unconsciously every moment. If your feet are up and your head is down, you are either doing a handstand or free-falling, both of which require your brain to be in complete awareness. This type of judgment is based on neurology, physics and language—that is, what we have decided to call something that we all experience and agree upon.

We do it with people too, although it isn’t as clear-cut. He’s nice; she’s mean. He looks shady and dangerous; I think I’ll walk on the other side of the street. She’s only interested in money, or her looks, or whatever else our mind tells us about that person. This is a normal and necessary function; it allows us to walk through life, making decisions that could affect our very survival. These types of judgments are not based solely on absolutes, but instead on a number of factors including upbringing, past experiences and even book, newspaper or teacher learning.

Events and experiences are subject to our judgments, as well. This experience was bad, that one good—again, we base these judgments on a number of factors. If you think about it, though, you’ll see that these types of judgments are purely perceptual. Were the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers good or bad? Well that depends on which side you are viewing it from. As horrifying as they were for most people in the western world, many in the Middle East celebrated it. And this is true of every event. From lawsuits, to fistfights, to simple descriptions of common everyday occurrences, some people will see things one way, while others see it another way.

This brings up a deep philosophical question—are there absolutes when it comes to making judgments? Plenty of people will argue that there are; however, you will agree that no matter what transpires in the world, there is a group that sees it through their perspective, and another that sees it a different way. My point is this: We make judgments based on our values. They are necessary for us to navigate through life. You will never be without judgment because it is as vital to your survival as breathing is. Every conscious creature no matter where it stands on the evolutionary chain has to make judgments all the time. Is that food or is it death? Is it safe to come out of hiding? If I make this decision, how will it affect the rest of my life, or my family, or the world around me? Truth is we are judging all the time.

But even in its necessity, our minds’ propensity to judge is not presenting us with the full reality. In actuality, there is no absolute right or wrong, good or bad—it comes down to what serves us in the moment. And this is based on our values. Predator captures prey, has a meal and lives another day—good for the predator, bad for the prey. The boyfriend or girlfriend that breaks up with you, is he or she nice or mean? Perhaps you judge them as mean in your initial assessment, but as it allows you to move on with your life and meet your future spouse…well, ha ha…I guess that can go either way, too.

Better to understand that judgment is a process of the mind, and that no event is either good or bad until we judge it. And further, if you look hard enough, you will see that all events have both advantages and disadvantages to everyone involved. This is tricky, and no doubt that everyone reading this can come up with their “absolute” examples to try and disprove what I am saying. But if you look hard enough you will find that even in those things you come up with, as with everything that has ever happened in your life which you have consequently labeled as either good or bad, has a flip side to it that gives an advantage or opportunity, along with an associated disadvantage or closed door.

By seeking and finding how every event that you judge has the equal and opposite side to it, you will see the totality of the universe. Whether we are talking about people or experiences, by seeing the full spectrum, outside of your momentary and one-sided judgments, it allows you to make leaps in your consciousness. In fact, I am certain that we all do this all the time, and it is how we ultimately grow into our next level of awareness. Once we are able to get over the initial hurt of a breakup, and see how it is serving us to move on with our lives and into something more useful for the moment, we transcend the hurt. Who hasn’t done this? Okay, no doubt some people are slower to see than others, which, if nothing else, has helped make daytime talk shows popular; but in the big picture, we all eventually see some things in their completeness.

I believe that the wisest thing to do is seek the whole as quickly as possible. Not only does it allow you to shed the pains that may be keeping you from moving forward, but it also allows you to see a larger sphere of truth. Truth isn’t only present in the judgment itself—a half-truth at best—but in the full picture, including the parts our minds are concealing.

Seek to find the whole in your experiences and you will leap into a new level of awareness and consciousness. Don’t beat yourself up for judging, though, because we need to do so for survival, and as a way to guide us into the next stage of learning. But look for the other side, no matter how hard your mind tries to resist, because I assure you it’s there. When you find it, you will have an “a-ha moment,” and you will see the magnificence of the universe open up to you briefly…and then it’s on to the next judgment.

So maybe we can stop striving to “not judge” and instead accept judging as a part of the human condition, one rooted in evolution and a necessity for our very survival. But we also do not have to become slaves to our half-truth judgments. By seeking the hidden part, the one our mind is blocking, we see the whole truth, and this allows us to move into the next stage of our own evolution.

*I realize this is a misinterpretation of an oft-misinterpreted quote, but I am merely using it to make a point.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions;” ever hear that one? No? How ’bout: Don’t eat wild vegetation indiscriminately. And another oldie but goodie: If you are a caretaker of others, do not experiment with their health. Oh yeeeeeah, timeless wisdom all; and all appropriate to this story: A third person has now died in a California nursing home, apparently the victim of an accidental poisoning from wild mushrooms.

According to the California state Department of Social Services, a 90-year-old man died on Saturday at a senior care facility where a caretaker found the fungus in the backyard and used it to make soup. The Gold Age Villa in Loomis, California (near Sacramento) has reported three deaths (the others, women aged 86 and 73) from the homemade soup served on November 8, and it is being described as a terrible accident. The caretaker at the six-bed care facility did not know the mushrooms were poisonous, investigators said. The following day, those who ate the soup were ill.

The symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea–typical body responses in an attempt to expel toxic substances. Because symptoms related to mushroom toxicity can take up to 12 hours to surface, it can make it difficult to diagnose. Says Dr. Kent R. Olson, medical director of the San Francisco division of the California Poison Control System, ”People don’t necessarily make a connection right away,” unlike food poisoning, which comes on much more quickly.

Signs that a mushroom may be poisonous

The main problem with mushroom poisoning is that it attacks the liver, halting  normal protein production, and eventually shutting the organ down and causing death.

“Once that happens the liver can’t regenerate, so they go into a liver failure,” Olson said. “It’s quite dramatic.”

Treatment for mushroom poisoning is to give massive amounts of IV fluids to prevent kidney failure, and activated charcoal to absorb the poison. In the past, the mortality rate was as high as 90% worldwide. But with the supportive care, Olson said it has declined in recent years to about 15%. This depends on proper diagnosis, and, of course, time.

In Northern California, it’s the season for wild chanterelle mushrooms (a highly sought-after variety) and for the amanita species of mushrooms that include what are known as “death cap” and “death angel” varieties–probably something to know if one is going to prepare foraged food.* Young poisonous North American amanitas often look like an edible version of a wild mushroom popular in Asia. Olson said they grow in large numbers in the San Francisco Bay area around Sacramento and in the Sierra foothills.

Listen, this is a tragedy, and I am certain it is a common mistake. In fact, California recorded 1,700 cases of mushroom-related illnesses from 2009 to 2010, including two deaths. However, the state Department of Public Health periodically issues warnings about consumption of wild mushrooms, especially after someone eats a poisonous variety. But why not just keep things simple? Stick to foods you buy at the grocery store or farmers markets, or at the very least ones you grow yourself, but that you’ve, of course, researched and know well. Otherwise, stick to the domesticated variety.

Further, if you are going to experiment, then uh…you taste first…and then give it twenty-four hours. That way you won’t harm those entrusting you with their care. And finally, we all know that most of us want to do the right thing; but no need to reinvent the wheel. Just stick to the tried and true, and leave the wild mushrooms to foraging animals. Believe me, if they were edible, something would have probably gotten to it before you. Their presence alone should be warning enough.

*If you must forage, please educate yourself first: A simple Google search provided me with guide in 0.18 seconds http://www.wikihow.com/Pick-Wild-Chanterelle-Mushrooms


Surprise, surprise…Americans are getting just as many calories from booze as they are from soda. And being of the “empty” variety, calories from both booze and soda add to the girth without adding to energy stores. A government study released today has implicated alcoholic beverages for 5% of the average American’s daily caloric intake, while sodas make up 6%. But what’s the big deal? None really…except that overweight or obese Americans now make up over 60% of the population!

Think about that–being overweight or obese is the norm in the U.S. And while many heads are pounding trying to figure out one extravagant reason or another, it’s really no big mystery to me, as I’ve written extensively about it in this blog. In my 2008 book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I described the role booze plays in weight gain,

With alcohol providing about seven calories per gram, one might mistake it for a great energy source. However, alcohol is metabolized far too slowly for it to be an efficient fuel; and therefore, it is simply converted to fat and stored. Alcohol is also very high in calories compared to carbohydrates and proteins (four calories per gram apiece), which makes it nothing more than an excellent source of weight gain. Unfortunately alcohol has no nutritional value whatsoever–no vitamins, no minerals, nothing—so the pounds it provides come without the added benefits found in food…as a dietary staple, alcohol provides little by way of nutrition.

The study found:

  • On any given day, about one-third of men and one-fifth of women consumed calories from beer, wine or liquor.
  • Averaged out to all adults, the average guy drinks 150 calories from alcohol each day, or the equivalent of a can of Budweiser.
  • The average woman drinks about 50 calories, or roughly half a glass of wine.
  • Men drink mostly beer. For women, there was no clear favorite among alcoholic beverages.
  • There was no racial or ethnic difference in average calories consumed from alcoholic beverages. But there was an age difference, with younger adults putting more of it away.

For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Bud. A 5-ounce glass of wine is around 100 calories.

Now let me make something perfectly clear here, something I have also been very open about in this blog: I do not advocate the government placing restrictions on the sale or consumption of either alcohol or soft drinks, as New York has done. In fact, I find it ludicrous. When people need their government to step in and prevent them from becoming fat…well, that’s just pathetic. People need to wake the eff up! I’m telling you right now that booze puts on weight without any nutritional benefit. Sure, getting a buzz on is fun, but if you do it anything more than occasionally, expect to get fat, simple as that. The younger you are, the stronger the illusion of this not happening to you. I promise you with all certainty that if you drink more than occasionally, and you do it for long enough, you will wake up fat one day. G’head…prove me wrong. You’ll lose.

But, no, governments shouldn’t be stepping in and mandating smaller drinks any more than they should have done with sodas. But you might just see this become a new controversy, because as Americans continue to blow up, the powers that be will grasp for anything to try and slow it down. So drink sizes in New York may be next—you may be drinking draft beer out of shot glasses (for $20 a pop) before you know it. Just pointing out the absurdity of regulating what people do with their own bodies, that’s all.

In the end, it’s up to you. Starts with information, so now you know. Booze adds empty calories and anything more than an occasional buzz-up will lead to fatness. Your choice. But don’t cry later and demand the government abolish everyone’s’ rights to drink to fatness, because you knew. Okay that’s all, folks…

If you own a company but are not on social media, then you are hurting your business. If you are in health care but not on social media, or on social media but not very active, then you, too, are hurting your business. The world is changing and doing so rapidly. Social media, review sites and smartphones are all part of the new technology shaping the world today. And if you are not on that train, then…well, you are being left behind.

Mass marketing through advertising is the old way, and if you don’t have a few million bucks to spend, then you are just not reaching people with that medium. And even for big companies that have that kind of money—the Coca Colas, Fords, and Starbucks of the world—social media is a HUGE part of their marketing plan. Why? Because social media is where the people be hangin’.

As a result, today’s marketing requires person-to-person interaction. People want to engage with companies, professionals and artists—they want personal attention, as personal attention builds trust. Why would anybody today want to do business with you, or listen to what you have to say, if you don’t give them personal attention, but your competitor does? Listen, economics are tight all over and people want to spend their money most effectively. The way people, today, feel most confident in doing so is through personal attention and interaction.

Enter social media—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube—sources anybody can use to connect to companies, celebrities, journalists, athletes, teachers, professionals—you name it. And that includes you. Website magazine recently reported that people who engage with companies on social media spend 20-40% more money with those companies than do other customers. That’s huge!

But not just businesses—anybody with an inspired message can use social media to influence others. Be it a political campaign (just ask President Barack Obama, a Twitter master), a charitable cause, or a world changing idea (like Changing the Way the World Thinks About Health™), nothing has been more important in leveling the playing field for marketing and message-spreading.

Health care providers absolutely need to be on social media, specifically Twitter. There are currently 200 million active users on Twitter—two hundred million! And Twitter is now one of the top ten visited websites on the Internet. Duh! You want to reach people? You want to educate them? You’ve got to be on Twitter. And you’ve got to learn to use it right. There are ways to master Twitter, and then there is just inefficiency. That’s why it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “I don’t like Twitter.” Yeah, you haven’t learned to use it in the most fun and effective way yet. Believe me, learn that and your perceptions will change.

Watch the video below to hear how people are using Twitter to spread their message effectively (don’t let the first 55 seconds fool you…there’s lots of visuals to stimulate your mind). If you are in any health field whatsoever—chiropractic, medicine, psychology, personal training, physical therapy, nutrition, acupuncture, yoga, Reiki, or any other—you absolutely must watch this video. And then check out my book, How to Win Friends and Influence People (on Twitter), and you will learn the ins-and-outs of becoming a Twitter ★SuperStar★.

A common misconception people have about stretching is that it is a passive activity–that is, the muscles should be stretched by using of gravity to pull the muscles. Wrong! In fact, over time passive stretching is the best way to injure yourself.

Active stretching is really the proper way to stretch. An active stretch is contracting the muscles as you stretch, both the muscle being stretched and its antagonist–the muscle doing the opposite action. As an example let’s take the hamstrings: most people, when doing a hamstring stretch, will just bend forward at the waist, passively, letting everything–head, neck and arms included–just hang down.

An active version of the same stretch would be bending forward at the waist, but now maintaining an arch in the back to preserve the discs of the lumbar spine (a common source of severe low back injury). Then while pushing the heels down into the ground and the knees back (which contracts the quadriceps, the antagonists to the hamstrings), the butt is actively lifted upward toward the ceiling, literally pulling the hamstrings from one end (the knees) and oppositely from the other (buttocks). That, my friends, is an active stretch.

Watch the video below to see a demonstration of active stretching. Passive stretching is sometimes warranted, particularly if you have never stretched, or it’s been so long it may as well be considered never…in these cases, a passive stretch will be just fine. But over the long haul, if you want to prevent injury and get the best stretch you can, that comes from active stretching.


In my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I state:

What are the criteria you can use to evaluate your health? I believe that you can do it most effectively by simply observing three things: how you look, how you feel, and especially, how you function.

That was 2008. Today, in 2012, a Danish study has linked “looking old” to an increased risk for heart disease.

According to the study, 11,000 people were followed from as far back as 1976, and it was found that four physical appearance markers were associated with a greater risk of developing heart disease. They were receding hairline, baldness on top of the head, earlobe creases and yellow, fatty deposits around the eyelid. People with at least three of these markers for aging had a 57% increased risk for heart attack and a 39% increased risk for heart disease.

Although when considering gender specifically, women did not show an increased risk with hair loss. Men, however, had a 40% greater risk of developing heart disease when they had receding hairlines. The group for whom these results showed the greatest risk was men between ages 70 and 79. In this group, 45% of those with all four aging signs developed heart disease, compared to 31% of those with none of the four.

“Looking old for your age, by [having] these aging signs, marks poor cardiovascular health,” said study researcher Dr. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, a professor and chief physician in the department of clinical biochemistry at Copenhagen University Hospital. She also points out that these signs signify physical aging not biological aging.

So what does this mean for you? Well, taking poor care of your health will lead to increased physical aging, despite your true age. We all know people that look much younger than their years, and we also all know others that look a bit older than they actually are. Poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, increased consumption of alcohol and drugs (both prescription and recreational), lack of sleep, and those neglected body aches and pains, can all lead to quicker break down of the body. I’d also add chronic stress into the mix, of which much can be linked to unresolved mental misperceptions, in my opinion.

What can you do? First, start taking care of your health now. Eat well, exercise, get regular bodywork, rest and relaxation, and minimize toxins in the form of booze, cigarettes, and drugs. Second, if you are exhibiting those signs now–it’s not too late to make a change in your lifestyle. Being aware of these signs is crucial, and then doing something about it pronto might just end up saving your life. But I certainly would advise anybody exhibiting these signs to get in and see a doctor right away. Plaque build-up has likely already started, and so being aware of your risks might be wise before starting any rigorous exercise program.

Yes, to me it made complete sense last decade when I wrote The Six Keys that your physical appearance will mirror your overall health. Now we have scientific proof.

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