Bliss or Bust

Lots to Appreciate

What follows is an excerpt from my book Bliss Or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts.

The smile from a loved one, the hello from a stranger, the butterfly in the flowers, sharing a giggle with a friend, the peace that comes as you open your heart to light and love: these are beautiful moments in life.

The power and precision of the vehicle you ride in, the architecture around you, the ease of getting the supplies you need, the magic in perfect timing: these are things to appreciate.

The beauty of service, the ease with which your body works, the stars floating in the sky: these are miracles.

There is much to appreciate all around you. Look for more.

Overwhelm Cure

What follows is an excerpt from my book Bliss Or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts.

Feeling overwhelmed is often due to thinking too far ahead and thinking about things you can’t do too much about at the moment.

The cure for overwhelm is to reign in your focus. Switch to a general knowing that it will all work out. Allow yourself to feel comfortable and confident about where you are now in the process. Review the progress you’ve achieved through persistent small steps in the right direction at the right time.

It can all be done so easily. Imagine the flow. Feel the momentum and the perfect timing. It’s all coming your way.

Key Distinctions

What follows is an excerpt from my book Bliss Or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts.

Personal development is an ever-evolving process of making more and better distinctions about who you are and what you want. Life is about choices and those choices accumulate to define the path of your life’s journey. You choose again and again as a normal part of daily life.

You may not realize it, but you can even make choices each day about how you want to feel. Clarity about how you want to feel will assist you tremendously in making satisfying choices with near-perfect consistency on a day-to-day basis.

If you decide to do something, then find yourself there unhappy, it’s good to redirect your thoughts. Find something to appreciate. Maybe the only thing to enjoy about it is that you are doing what you decided to do. You are being true to your word and previous intentions for yourself. That feels good. Focus there while you decide what you want next.

What Intuition Is

What follows is an excerpt from my book Bliss Or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts.

Think of intuition as a bridge or gateway between the physical self and the spiritual self. It delivers sudden and complete ideas in the form of intuitive flashes. Intuition can also bring subtle ideas gently presented, often through symbols and metaphors or sights and sounds noticed repeatedly. With intuition connections are made.

Being able to tune into intuition gives a competitive advantage and makes life more enjoyable. Learning to trust intuition gives clarity and helps you recognize inspired action and perfect timing. Trusting your own intuition can help you sort through feelings and thoughts leading to an overall gain in clarity that will serve you well.

Helen Fisher

I guess you could say that learning about different personality assessments has been a hobby of mine. I thought about listing them all out for you, but it gets ridiculous. Let’s just say my current favorites are my longest-studied one, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), then another couple that I think about regularly are the Holland Code Test and the Fascinate Test.

This weekend I ran into a new assessment by a person I haven’t heard in a while, Helen Fisher. She was on The Megyn Kelly Show, and it was great to listen to her speak again. I heard her in person during sex week when I was a student at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) back in 2000. She is an anthropologist who focuses on the evolution of sex, love, and marriage. I can recommend any of her lectures or books.

Now she has a new personality test. It’s free online, and you don’t even need to hand over your email address. The cool thing about it is that the personality theory is based on what she calls brain systems, and they are linked to dopamine, testosterone, serotonin, and estrogen pathways.

What an idea! Very cool. I can tell this is my next deep dive, and I wanted to share the info since I found it fascinating.

Indirect Method

What follows is an excerpt from my book Bliss Or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts.

Can you do anything about what others think of you? Should you even try? No, don’t even try, not directly anyway. Taking direct action meant to control what others think of you is a losing strategy. It puts them in the driver’s seat and you jumping through hoops.

Instead, use the indirect method by working on your own vibration. Once you realize the power of vibing on the love side of the scale, it is easy to see the importance of managing your focus. In relationships, the one most clear of their intentions and most stable in their vibration will dominate.

One vibing on the love side of the scale is much stronger than many vibing on the fear side of the scale. The one on the love side of the scale can be brought down by focusing too much on uplifting the others. Others can uplift themselves just the same. In fact, they are the only ones that can do it. Stand your ground and set the high vibing example.

Make it a priority to feel your own vibration soaring for a few minutes each day. Allow the high vibe, make a space for it. Do so and you will find day-to-day interactions flowing like never before.

Our Unschool Story

We switched to homeschooling for the second time in 2015 and have been going strong since then.

We made the first pass at homeschooling with a public charter school in Las Vegas called Odyssey Charter School in 2012 when our son was in second grade. They had what I believed to be an innovative program for the time. The students worked through tasks on the computer each week, then on a particular time and day each week, the teacher came to the student’s house and spent an hour seeing the portfolio of work for the week and having a conversation. There was lots of flexibility in how to get the topics covered. There were choices. The kids received high-quality one-on-one time with a teacher, and there wasn’t any grading or testing pressure, at least not for a second-grader. Probably in higher grade levels, that was a different story, now that I think about it, but I don’t know for sure.

Soon after, we moved to Virginia for my husband’s career. We enrolled both kids in public school when we settled there as our daughter was kindergarten age by that point. They both went to public school for several years, but I didn’t like what I saw much at all. There was hardly any free play for the kids, but there was lots of rule-following required for hours on end. I knew I wouldn’t want to do it anyway, and I was a great student as a young one, super cooperative and hard-working, but I lived for sports, phys ed, and games.

One day in the fall of his sixth-grade year, our son was in before school with a couple of other kids to get caught up on a math test that they didn’t finish in class. That morning the math teacher/football coach slammed his flat hand on a desk loudly to shock my son into more alertness and responsiveness. Later, my son told me about it, saying he didn’t understand why the teacher “freaked out.” He felt surprised but not scared necessarily. Mostly he said he was confused. I told him the teacher was probably trying to motivate him. I had a feeling I understood why the teacher did it. Our son never looked like he was listening, but he was always right when asked to answer, so you couldn’t embarrass him or otherwise prove he wasn’t listening. He wouldn’t volunteer answers or compete to answer or try to show off, and he didn’t care to cooperate to please a teacher (which was always my primary strategy). It was frustrating, no doubt, but that didn’t excuse the teacher’s behavior to me. He and his dad weren’t too concerned about it. They didn’t like it but figured it was just how things go sometimes.

Because the incident with the math teacher was the last straw for me, and because I had been researching other options for a while, I asked them if they’d like to try homeschooling again. I told my son we would try a different way of homeschooling this time because he was concerned since he didn’t like it much last time. I told him and his dad what I researched about interest-based learning, aka unschooling, and how I thought it was cutting-edge because we could customize the kid’s education by following his interests. He would learn deeply, not just to pass a test, and every topic would be connected and make more sense on a practical level. My son was hesitant because he had some friends he didn’t want to miss, but after sleeping on it, he decided to finish the last two days of that school week then not come back on Monday. That would give him time to be sure and to get his friends’ phone numbers so he could keep in touch. We all decided to give homeschooling another shot but with a different approach than last time.

Our daughter was in second grade at that time. She WOULD compete to give the correct answers, and she VOLUNTEERED to help. Still, she cried after school sometimes. Often it was because the teacher didn’t call on her. She was crying and mad the last time it happened since she was the ONLY ONE who raised her hand to help. The teacher still picked someone who didn’t even want to do the job, then proceeded to nag until the kid finished the job. Our daughter was perplexed. She said she was being left out on purpose. I explained the teacher probably wanted to make sure all the jobs get spread around, so everyone got a chance to do something to help, but she couldn’t appreciate that. She said the teacher should call out directly who was to do it instead of asking for volunteers. Our daughter had a great point. I couldn’t agree more.

During the two days our son was using to finish the week, we realized that we wanted to make the same offer of homeschooling to our daughter. She was doing very well in school, just flowing through it most days: gifted and talented, lots of friends, and she enjoyed all the schooly things. We figured she wouldn’t even consider it. As hubs and I talked, I realized I would have one in school and one doing homeschool to manage daily, and that would be a pain. I also knew, though, that if that was what was best for each kid, I would gladly do it because I knew, being the oldest of three girls, that it made sense that each kid might need something different to thrive.

The funny thing is, even with our daughter’s sometimes frustration with the classroom setting and not getting to do as much as she wanted to, I was shocked at how quickly she enthusiastically said yes to homeschooling. No doubts, no hesitation, she was on board. I began to wonder if maybe we shouldn’t have offered it to her when she answered so quickly in the affirmative, but then I felt a punch in the gut at that thought because the intuitive response hit me…just because she managed to do well in school didn’t mean it was the best thing for her.

I realized then that it seemed pretty likely the setting was doing more damage to her than our son. I knew that because she responded as I did to school (only she is much more intelligent, I was just someone with delusions of grandeur who was willing to work), and it took me approximately twenty years after finishing school to learn who I was instead of who I thought someone else wanted me to be. My desire for her was at that very moment (and still is today) that she knows precisely who she is ASAFP.

So from there, it was November 2015, we set off in a different direction for our kids’ education. We were excited about it, and all these years later, I can tell you, the journey has been priceless and enlightening. We are still in the midst of it, but we are starting to see the light.

Shawn Baker

I wrote yesterday about Kelly Hogan and Zero Carb Life. Today, I want to mention the very first modern person I ever heard of who made an intentional and ongoing nutritional plan to eat only meat. That person is Dr. Shawn Baker.

It was fall 2019, and I was exploring the low-carb rabbit hole on Reddit, and someone mentioned Dr. Shawn Baker and some of the points he makes about what he called a carnivore diet.

The funny thing is I didn’t recognize the name right away, but when I saw his picture, I recognized him because my husband was in school with him 25 years ago or so! This group of guys and their significant others would eat out together for all-you-can-eat crab legs or tacos or whatever the special of the day was on Tuesday nights after work. I met Shawn Baker at a few of those meals. He was the tallest and most muscle-bound man I’d ever seen IRL, and I remember he played Rugby.

When the group got together to eat out, he would keep eating and eating and eating at the restaurant that advertised all-you-can-eat deals until the restaurant manager would come out and say they had to cut him off. Then he would argue with them a bit about whether this was an all-you-can-eat place or not. Although it felt outlandish to me at the time, it’s nothing compared to his current talking points. Suffice it to say, he’s been prepared and preparing for battle for years and years. God bless him. It’s amazing to catch up with him again in life and see him still saying the thing that’s unpopular to say and at the same time helping so many people in his unique way.

So this new way of eating called carnivore that I was learning about in late 2019 intrigued me. I was pretty worried about trying it, though, because I had electrolyte issues when I would go very low carb. A couple of years earlier, I learned through trying keto that the leg cramps and sleeplessness could be cured by adding more fat. Yes, fat. I had tried supplementing potassium and broth and adding salt to everything, but adding fat solved the issue.

Dr. Baker is also an inspiration to me. Thanks to him, I made my first run at switching to a carnivore way of eating in January 2020. I lost 25 pounds in one month that month, and it was easy. The pounds just flew off. I have never had results like that before in my life.

In the past, the most I had ever lost after 18 months of trying was 30 pounds, and it took me only six months to put it back on once I folded and let carbs back in at a rate of more than 40 grams a day. It was just not maintainable for me.

The carnivore way of eating is maintainable, though. It strikes all the right chords for me yet to others it may look and sound like quite a weird idea of how to eat for good health. I can see now as I prepare to begin again that I’ll just have to have the courage to be a little weird and a lot determined to stick to the carnivore way of eating plan.

Zero Carb

Kelly Hogan of My Zero Carb Life is an inspiration to me. This week, I ran across this post, which reminded me of her story. Meat cookies are what she calls the little hamburger patties that she has eaten many a meal. She is so funny.

I’m pretty sure I will need to do what she did to lose the extra weight I’m carrying. I’ve made a few passes at it before, but so far, I give in to sweet tastes, then I meander around off-target for a while before trying again. No sweet tastes, ever, that’s the bit I must remember.

I try to make room for honey or fruit a la info from Dr. Paul Saladino, but probably I need to avoid it altogether. All I get from letting some in is wanting more. I’ve already learned from following Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades for a couple of decades that if I don’t get under 40 carbs a day, I will not lose weight anyway.

I’m pretty sure it will take a Kelly Hogan approach for me to get ‘er done and it’s about time to stop messing around. Luckily, I’ve already locked in a change over the past few months that will be very helpful for moving in the right direction.

Ride Along

It looks like you have caught the wind and are soaring so effortlessly. Sure, there are bad things that could happen, but I don’t think so. It seems you are doing that thing you said you would do, and you are ready and willing. It’s cool to see.

I could never do what you do. It is easy to support you, though. I’m happy to be along for the ride.

Dialect Practice

Listen to Daws Butler Teaches You Dialects by Mr. Daws Butler on Audible. https://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B004YLSCSS&source_code=ASSORAP0511160006&share_location=pdp

This book was the first that I studied for dialects when I started narrating fiction six years ago. I still review it regularly as I am essentially a mimic and listening to Daws Butler for this hour provides good practice for me.

He is funny and I love the explanations he gives like the ideas of tasty words and feeling the words in your mouth.

Vocational Astrology

Periodically, I plunge into a vocational astrology review. I don’t know why. It’s just something that fascinates me. I’ve studied several approaches to vocational astrology over the years, including ideas from Noel Tyl, Judith Hill, and Charles Luntz. I want to tell you that one way, in particular, is best for getting a solid answer, but I have not found that to be the case.

What does happen and can be depended upon is that going through someone’s chart with them and having a dialog about what I see and reflecting that back to them for their consideration and input leads to inspiring conversations. There is often a renewed sense of enthusiasm and confidence when they leave as ideas come up that are life-affirming. It’s an exciting process.

Nutritive Mismatch

Today I keep thinking about Mark Scatzker’s book “The End of Craving.” I read it at the end of last year, and it was one of my favorite books of the year. There were many interesting case studies and ideas in the book, and I highly recommend it.

In particular, my thoughts return to Dana Small’s research and ideas about what she calls nutritive mismatch. When the tongue senses the sweetness of food and drink, the stomach expects to find the corresponding amount of energy in the stomach. When the two calibrations don’t match up, the work of metabolism is left undone. Undigested sugars are left to float around in the bloodstream!

After learning this, I immediately changed my diet to eliminate artificial sweeteners. I’ve heard arguments before regarding reasons to stop using them, but this one tipped the scales to avoid for me. It’s a fine line because I want to eat in a low-carb way and believe that artificial sweeteners allow me to have my cake and eat it too, hahaha, but now I see that they may throw a wrench in the works of the body’s calculations.

It is shocking to have an understanding that gets blown out of the water. It has happened several times in my lifetime regarding nutritional information alone. I hope that by continuing to learn and to be willing to try the new ideas in my own life that one day I will truly have an optimum way of eating that serves me well.

Why I Love Audiobooks

Why audiobooks? I love listening and learning. I’ve been an enthusiastic audiobook listener for years because…well…what is better for a busy person than listening and learning while doing something else like chores or driving or working out? NOTHING! To me, it’s the best.

I’ve also learned that audiobooks are a great way to package knowledge and stories. Audiobooks are something that people are willing to pay for and for good reason. The experience of listening to a well-done audiobook is enjoyable, and it’s done at the time and place of the listener’s choosing. You are not tied to a screen while listening, and you can stop and start as you wish. From both an entertainment and educational perspective, audiobooks are a great value.

The actual production process is enjoyable for me. It’s a nice mix of art and technique. I like being in my studio interpreting information and stories for listeners. The technical and precise process of proofing and mastering the recording is fun for me too.

The ACX Royalty Share Program has been a game maker for me. I like royalty share projects the best because they fit my lifestyle very well. It’s a good trade for me and the authors I work with because I don’t need to worry too much about deadlines and they don’t need to worry about paying a big chunk of money upfront to get their audiobook produced. In the end, if all goes well, we all benefit from audiobook sales once the project goes live. It’s a win-win-win!

I hope you will enjoy an audiobook that I have narrated and produced soon, and if you know a talented author ready to get their book in audio format, send them my way.

How to Pick Clothes

I enjoy looking put together, but it has been a challenge for me. It’s expensive, and it involves visiting a store which I tend to find overwhelming. My lack of interest in fashion has held me back too. Recently, online shopping has made this chore easier for me, and so has learning from others more interested in fashion. 

Last year, after trying many other resources, I found a teacher with a worthwhile online course about creating a wardrobe. Currently, I’m in her advanced class, and because her training was helpful for me, I am now an advertising affiliate and will earn a referral fee when someone joins her class after learning about it from me.

The teacher’s name is Kelly, and “The Signature Course” is where to begin. Enrollment opens for the class a couple of times a year, and the next one starts April 21, 2021. That is in a few days, so you have perfect timing.

The classes are online, and you complete the weekly units at your convenience. There is also a private Facebook group for students going through the course at the same time.

Because I’m not a Facebook member anymore, I don’t access the group discussion part of the class. Although annoying, it also has advantages like not getting caught in other people’s struggles when trying to learn something for yourself. It’s also nice that I’m not being distracted by Facebook black holes. So the course is still worth it to me and worthy of a referral.

Also, Kelly added a bonus for this enrollment period. She is including the seasonal buying guides from last year. So when you enroll now to begin next week, you also get those buying guides as a free perk worth $75. They are great for a year’s worth of outfit ideas, and you may find pieces from last season on sale now or better yet pieces already in your closet that work in the outfit ideas. Win-win!

So sign up here and now if you think you would enjoy learning about a good strategy for building a flattering wardrobe that suits you well. Pun intended.

Andi Arndt’s Audiobook Agenda

Every little bit I can learn from Andi is a win! She is not kidding about consistency. Narrating an audiobook is a marathon and takes a special kind of person with exquisite stamina and attention to detail in addition to the obvious assets of advanced reading and comprehension ability and a pleasant-sounding voice. It’s a long road to learning the art and technical aspects and so rewarding to see improvement from project to project.