Awareness, or "withitness" as I like to say, is what I think people should be searching for when it comes to being able to take that first step toward unimaginable personal growth and change. At some point along the path of my own personal primal quest I suppose other people began to see the changes in me. Whether they were physical, emotional, mental, or just the fact that I never shut up about nutrition and diet, these changes led many of my friends to ask me about what I've been doing. For the most part I would jump right in and begin to expound the virtues of insulin regulation and nutrient dense vs. energy dense foods. I would talk someone to death about pushing your limits during short duration workouts and barefoot running....... And for the most part people looked at me like I was good old Charlie Manson pleading his case at another parole hearing; plum crazy!
I knew, and know, that people in general are never going to change unless they are ready for the change. So it didn't really matter whether or not I unloaded a mountain of primal knowledge onto their pasta covered plates unless they connected with what I was saying to them. I had been pondering how to engage the average person interested in making the same changes I did and then it hit me while reading Mark Sissons newest book "Primal Connection", Awareness. In general I think that everyone believes that they are living in a state of awareness, but what I have come to find is that we live a huge portion of our lives in constructed awareness, not personal awareness. We are aware of the world around us because of the constant bombardment of media, we rely on paid personalities to tell them how to feel, what to eat, what pills to take after we eat the food they told us to eat, and then what side effects to look for after we take the pill. We let the front of a package tell us something is natural, and we just blindly accept. This is exactly the type constructed awareness that is, in my opinion, suppressing us all.
My position has taken a dramatic turn and I am stepping off of the soap box that only made me look like a little taller crazy person. I'm no longer going to tell people that bread, pasta and sugar are killing them. Instead, I'm going to tell them they need to become aware of what these things are doing to us and more importantly how their body feels after ingesting these types of food. If you are willing to spend 6 hours playing World of Warcraft, but can't fathom reading a book like Primal Blueprint (maybe an 8 hour read ) then where will your knowledge come from? I'm no longer going to try and convince someone of the importance of functional movements. Instead I am going to tell them to just be more aware of how their body feels on a daily basis. If people can be honest with themselves and come to the conclusion that they feel great (not good or ok... We were designed to feel really great doing all types of activities) in their day to day lives then by all means, good for you. If you decide you could probably feel little better during daily activities then your awareness test paid off. I'm not going to win a war between McDonalds and my buddy's gut if that's what he likes to eat, so instead I ask him to become more aware of where all of his food comes from and how it is made. If he still wants to eat it, I wasn't going to win that battle anyway. I'm no longer going to rant and rave about offices and workstations and getting outside in the sun and dirt. I'm going to ask people to really pay attention to the way they feel physical and emotionally when in these two settings. Be aware of what calms you and what stresses you. By shifting my focus to this awareness model I am hoping to really help change people's perspectives about what they are doing. Preaching and yelling from atop my soap box was just as bad as the magic screen in the living room telling us what to do. I am no longer going to tell people what they need to do. I want people to tell themselves what to do and to discover what makes them happy and healthy on their own terms through personal, not constructed awareness. Now don't confuse this stance with me disconnecting form people with desire to change. I love to talk to people about food intake, lifestyle choices, primal living, and a ton of other topics; I have just realized that if I am going to make a truly lifelong impact on someone, I have to help them realize why it's important. That can only be found from within.
1. Track your food intake for a specific time period (at least a week) and reflect on how you felt. Does it embarrass you? Are you surprised about anything? How will you rate yourself?
2. Think about why you want or desire a particular something before doing, buying, or eating it.
3. Think about where your food comes from. You are what you eat so don't be cheap, easy, or fake (I stole that from somewhere???)
4. Turn off your phone and sit in nature as often as possible... Awareness will follow grasshopper.
5. Try new things and read stuff you do not know a thing about.
6. Write down what you would never change about yourself, and what you would like to improve on. Read it often.
7. Say yes to activities more and no to food more. You will be surprised how many times we are all offered food or activity in a given week.
8. Listen better - seek first to understand, then to be understood.
9. Stay in tune with your body. Take the time to really think about how your entire physical self feels. Evaluate the feedback don’t just ignore signals.
10. Start each day with an expectation of improvement and end each day with a moment of gratitude. Focus on accomplishing the expectation no matter how small, and never go to bed without being grateful for something.
So there it is, the plan to stoke a fire of change if you so desire. The great thing about this plan is that I'm really not asking that anyone make any drastic or significant changes to what they are already doing. I just want people to think for a while, from there a personal and true connection can be made to the desire for change. If someone implements the ten tips above and then tells me that they are very satisfied with themselves and their place in the world, then a congrats is in order. If someone comes to me and had that look on their face like they just woke up in that goo filled battery pod that fuels the Matrix..... I'll gladly grab my trusty soap box and get all Charlie Manson for them.