Harvesting Love

by Jayson Gaddis on September 28, 2011 · 29 comments

My wedding anniversary was last week.

10 years ago I said I’d never get married.

I also said I’d never have kids.

Now I’m married with kids and it’s the most brilliant ride I’ve been on thus far.

And, anyone with a spouse and two kids under 2.5 knows, it’s a lot. I mean, a lot. Life has turned up the heat and I’m ripening in the most helpful of ways.

The more I resist the heat, the more painful my life is. The more I surrender to the heat and what is occurring, the more I enjoy the ride.

The Fall Equinox just happened and this past weekend was my wedding anniversary.

The Autumnal equinox is a time of transition where light and dark are balanced. Darkness is now slowly overtaking the light as we move toward winter.

The equinox always asks me to pay close attention to my life. It is a wonderful time to focus on balance and to reap what I’ve sewn from the summer.

What am I harvesting right now?

And since I’m all about love these days, what am I harvesting relationally. How are my intimate relationships?

My relationships help me see how much joy or pain I am experiencing in life. By using other people, mainly my wife and kids, I can begin to see where I am opening and closing down to love.

If I want to experience more love, I evaluate my relationships.

Four years ago my wife and I married ourselves in the Utah desert. This past Sunday we had our baby sitter watch our kids while we walked to the park hand in hand (This kind of date is a rare moment for us sleep-deprived new parents).

Our intention was to review and update our wedding vows.  To “check in” with where we are as a partnership.

So, under the shade of a giant maple tree we pulled out our journals from that time and took turns reading our vows and commitments.

We gazed at each other as we read each one and reflected upon it. As our eyes met, they welled with tears of love and gratitude. The depth of our connection was right there, pulsing and vibrant.

We noticed how true each vow still was and how “on” we were with each back then. Each vow was a bold, yet vulnerable statement about connection to self and other.  We didn’t add any new ones as our original vows are still hitting the mark.

My heart kept opening wide as I gazed into her eyes. I felt so awake and clear. I felt my deep love for her and we smiled and cried.  We laughed at the insanity of raising two amazing kids and the relentlessness of our lives.

A simple yet profound connection in a short window of time.

We walked back home to baths and bedtime stories with our children.

So ask yourself, how can I harvest more love using my close relationships?

Here are a few ideas…

  1. Take inventory of your closest relationships. Reflect on “what is so” about each one. Notice which are nourishing and which are depleting.
  2. Make a list of people who you want to move closer to (friends, family, co-workers etc)
  3. Now pick only one.
  4. Ask yourself if you want more closeness and connection to this person. If yes, move on to step 5.
  5. Do a relationship review with these friends. This can help you determine what’s been in the way and if the other person also wants to move closer. Are they a person that is worth the potential investment? Practice honest truth telling and trust they can take care of themselves. You don’t need to protect them from their feelings. If it’s your spouse, perhaps it can be a time to review your wedding vows or commitment to each other.
  6. Notice if you are making your desire to move closer dependent on the other person changing and instead, consider working with the practice of acceptance. Check in with your real motives. Am I trying to change them so that I can feel less agitated? Or am I willing to stay on my side and work with whatever my agitation is about in me?
  7. How was this process? Share your experience with each other. Let them know what it was like and what you learned about yourself.
  8. Pick a new person and share this process with them as an example of how you want to move closer to them too.

In a way, my wife and I are starting this autumn anew, freshly connected, and actively engaged in our partnership. We are harvesting the love big time.

I’m using my family to practice accepting more and opening to more and more love. When I treat my relationships as “practice” in this way, it takes me out of a victim stance relationally and into a place of awareness, choice, and strength.

Decide what you want to harvest and with whom. Then, dive in and practice.

by Jayson Gaddis

Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley
Creative Commons License photo credit: dj @ oxherder arts

How is your health today? Be honest. Take a few moments to think about your overall health. Do you have endless energy during the day? Do you wake up refreshed without an alarm clock? Could you go one week without coffee? How often do you play? How often do you have a meaningful conversation with your spouse, child, mother, father, sibling or close friend? Are you constantly stressed? Do you live in the moment or do you constantly think about the past and worry about the future? How often do you move throughout the day? How often do you sit?

I could spend all day asking you questions that are related to your health. When people begin to take control of their health they first focus on food. That's fine. When we strengthen our relationship with food our health generally improves in all other areas. Most cultures center around food so this makes sense. Some people will feel much more healthy with a little more play and a little less work in their life. Some people need 5 minutes to themselves to start the day. We are all different and we all need to find the "it" factor.

Either way, it's time to go back to the beginning. Take a few moments to imagine what life would be like in a hunter gatherer society compared to the industrialized society. More specifically, think about food, work and play. What do you see? Do you see a bunch of boxes on shelves or do you see colorful vegetables and fruits? Do you see a large variety of animals grazing on grass and hunting other animals or factory farms with animals being treated poorly? Do you feel the urge to hunt down an antelope or bear so you can provide nourishing food for your family? Do you stumble across a body of water and do your best to catch dinner?

Do you see yourself sitting in an office chair all day or walking through the wilderness? What about play? I can imagine myself playing tag, wrestling, climbing trees and more. I feel myself living in the moment. I don't have any worries about what to write about next on my blog or what someone might think of my opinion on this or that. I can imagine myself searching for food when hungry. I may stumble across a berry patch or successfully hunt a deer.

The modern world is completely different then the hunter gatherer world. Where has our vibrant health gone? We continue to head in the wrong direction at an alarming rate. The last 30 years have been devastating. We were told to eat low fat this and fat free that. What has happened since this recommendation? All sorts of diseases and cancers.

What do you think would happen if we only ate food that we could hunt and gather? What if we think about how we may have lived in the past and combined that with the modern conveniences of today. I will never be ready to give up my MacBook Pro. Its a useful tool that enables me to inspire millions of people around the world. I am not ready to give up my clothes or friends I met online either.

I was ready to give up grains, dairy and legumes. In fact, I did so on April 5 and have never felt better in my entire life. So much so, that I decided to start a blog. It has been a complete blessing since February of this year and I am forever grateful. I have changed hundreds of lives and I will continue to do so until my time on Earth is over. I don't have a magic diet for anyone. I have general recommendations that are based on The Primal Blueprint. I continue to experiment myself and encourage everyone to do the same.

My life is much more simpler today. My idea of fitness is to simply move. Play. Do a quick 10 minute burpee workout if you want. Go sprint for a few minutes. Take a hike. Swim. Do 20 push-ups if you are up for it. Do what YOU want to do but make sure you are having fun. That is what we ultimately want, right? To have fun? To feel as awesome as possible as often as possible?

It's time to go back to the beginning. Are you ready? Let's take our minds back in time and imagine. Let your mind be free and then move back to the now. Live in the moment understanding that "average" used to mean healthy, fun and vibrant. Do you want this? I'll help you get there.

Ask a question in the comment box below. What are your thoughts? Are YOU ready to start over? To go back to the beginning? What do you think about conventional wisdom today? I'd love to here from ya!  All comments (received by October 2nd, 2011) that add to the discussion will be eligible to win a copy of Toadally Primal Smoothies.

by Todd Dosenberry

Though already nine months into the year, September always feels like a new beginning to me. A joyful one of shifting temperatures, vivid colours, crispness and texture. Oh how I adore this time of year.
We awaken from the stupour of the heat and shake off the sluggishness of lazy (albeit) blissful days on the patio or at the splash pad. Our wits sharpen with the temperatures, and we GET. BACK. TO. IT…be it work, routine, or school, with a goal in mind.
For a moment’s breath, the slates are clean and the canvasses are blank. And it’s lovely to behold.
With said goal in mind and with the knowledge that this new beginning is the first leg in the journey to that endpoint, we take a deep collective inhale, and then: ATTACK! Fill that canvas! Plug those holes in the calendar! Write those words (no…you can do better…COME ON, write another 500), by GOD, do NOT leave any room! More is MORE, PEOPLE!
And hunkered down, like the navigator whose nose is buried in the map, we miss it. The wonder around us.  And within us.

Let’s Try This

While it is true that to begin something we must envision what we are creating in its completed state, I invite you to consider what it might be like, TRULY be like, to celebrate the journey from “here”…to “there”. To slowly taste our way through the creation of the soup using fewer ingredients, rather than racing to produce the recipe-perfect end-product. More unami? More spice? Is it tarragon that’s wanting to show up? Taste. Pause. Then repeat. And leave some room.

Approach the canvas with your vision in mind, and relish every stroke. Have it be fun and dare to have it be incomplete. Then marvel in the riot of colour on that canvas AND what remains possible in the white space you’ve left. It may be more complete than you ever imagined.

Leave yourself room to tinker with your recipe. Leave white space on your canvas.

Write fewer words. Speak fewer words.

What’s available now that it’s not all been said? {Hint: Your answers lie in your ability to engage your intuition, your capacity to listen deeply and your openness to your curiosity.}

“Live in a space of letting go.” ~ Oprah

Holding space can also mean making space:

Ending the relationship that has been toxic for so long to make room for the one that yearns to begin.
Letting go of the story and bask in the glorious liberty of the truth.
Releasing the patterns that bind and celebrating the movement now available.

And as I begin my fall projects (of which there are many), I will keep time in my calendar to flitter and flutter. Overplanning kills creativity. So does clamping down and crowding.  Always.

This fall, I choose to view the blank canvas with an eye towards completion, yes, and a commitment to white space. Leaving some and making some.

I will allow my creativity to blaze in this place of expansiveness. And to savour what’s newly possible.

Will you join me?

by Tanya Geisler

Once upon a time… Ever notice that all the good stories seem to start that way? (With the notable exception of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”)

Have you ever thought of your life as a story? And more importantly, is it a good one? Is your story an adventure, a romance, a comedy (perhaps a little bit of all three)? It's not one of those long three-hour snoozefests where nothing exciting ever happens, is it? If they made a movie about your life, would it be titled, It’s a Wonderful Life? Or would Speed, You’ve Got Mail, or Nightmare on Elm Street be more fitting? Unfortunately, too many people are living lives like those movies that come out every summer. You know, the overhyped ones with big budgets, lots of action — and tired stories with thin plots. Just because a movie costs a lot of money and has a lot of things going on doesn’t mean it’s a very good story. The same is true of your life.

In my speaking programs, I spend a lot of time talking about looking at our lives as stories. Some people are not at all happy with the story they are living. Most people admit that even if their story is pretty good, it could be better. At the end of my talk, I usually close with this open-ended statement: “If I really want to live a better story, it might make sense for me to…” Most of the time I let the audience fill in the blank silently in their minds, as it’s likely a bit different for everyone. But recently, someone shouted out, “Hire new writers!”

I couldn’t help but laugh, as did the rest of the crowd. But you know what? It’s actually a pretty good point. If you’re less than thrilled with the direction of your story, it is time to hire a new writer: YOU.

Refuse to coast through life accepting the premise and plot other people have set out for you. Turn unfortunate circumstances into the setup for an amazing underdog story. Create amazing scenes that you’ll look back on with wonder and joy.

The trick is to begin acting “as if.”

If you want your story to be more adventurous, start acting as if you were the main character in an adventure story. As you make your way through the day, search for opportunities to be adventurous — and then take advantage of them. Keep it up, and eventually you’ll be making Indiana Jones look like a couch potato.

If you want your story to be more romantic, quit waiting for someone else to take the lead. Start acting as if you are someone who is extremely romantic. Eventually, you will become so, and you’ll attract even more of it into your own story.

If you want a bit more comedy in your life, scatter banana peels all over your home. Ok, a more effective idea might be to start hanging out with a funnier group of people.

And don’t forget the power of looking at the bad things that have happened to you over the years and recasting them in a new light. As Carol Burnett said, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.”

You deserve a great story.

If it’s time to hire new a writer, I guarantee you that you’re the perfect person for the job. Be bold, act as if, and start right now. Because today is the beginning of your once upon a time.

by Jason Kotecki

How to Find More Time for Yourself and Your Dreams

by Stacey Curnow

While we mark the transitions of early life with rituals—everything from baptisms, communions, and bar and bat mitzvahs to graduations—we usually ignore the more subtle, yet profound, “new beginnings” available to us in midlife. Elizabeth Lesser talks about it in her book Broken Open as The Phoenix Process.  The process refers to a mythological bird […]

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I Think It’s Time You Got Fired!

by John Spence

There is a famous story about when Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, then the two directors of Intel, realized that they were not effectively leading the organization where it needed to go and so they “fired” themselves one afternoon with the commitment to come back the next morning as if they were completely new people […]

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Endings… and New Beginnings

by Jen Slayden

It is a funny thing, to talk about new beginnings as the world around me shows otherwise. For in a matter of one week, I have watched the deciduous trees in my state start to slowly relinquish themselves back to Mother Earth. Some cling, many hover, and some finally let go, resigned to the fact […]

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A Time For New Beginnings

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: namestartswithj89 “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~ Seneca Today marks the beginning of new directions at the Jungle of Life.  After much reflection, I have come to the decision (a heart-based decision) to make some changes on content and delivery that happens here.  a journey toward your true peak […]

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