Exercise Challenge: Week 1-2022

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible (maintaining good form) for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.

1. Start in a push-up position. 2. Lower your torso toward the ground. 3. Push back up and drive one knee toward your chest. Then drive the other knee toward your chest. 4. Repeat #2-#3 for as many repetitions as possible. Be sure to: Keep your body in a straight line and push your chest as far away from your hands as possible. You should feel it: Working your chest, arms, and torso.

We Need More Betty’s!

Betty Marion White Ludden, died peacfully in her sleep on December 31, 2021. She would have been 100 years old on January 17, 2022. Honestly, I am in shock…I thought she would live forever. And I know I am not alone in this sentiment. But what better way to keep Betty alive and close to us than to emmulate her beautiful life and soul force. Shortyly before she passed, People Magazine interviewed Betty about her life on and off the Hollywood scene. I’ve included some of Betty’s own thoughts about her successful longevity. I think she has left us a very clear road map for navigating our own lives through the days we have yet to live. Perhaps we can continue her legacy…of long lived grace and cheerful optimism? I’m all in for that…How about you?

According to Betty:

being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the key to her upbeat nature. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.”

Her secret to long life:

“Having a sense of humor” is the key to a long and happy life: “Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. [It] takes up too much energy being negative.” and also, “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”

Her great passion in life: was always animal welfare; the dues for her fan club, Bet’s Pets, went to animal rescue charities, and she received many accolades for her work for animals.

Her motto for life: make the most of every day.

“You better realize how good life is while it’s happening,” she said. “Because before you know it, it will all be gone.”

Betty White

Before we know it, our lives will become like the vapors…so let us be alert to the gifts wrapped up in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months of this new year 2022. Let’s remember to ask ourselves, whenever we think of Betty Marion White Ludden: What would Love do? What would Betty do?

Being the Light in 2022

Like a moth attracted to the fire’s flame, so too am I attracted to life’s brilliant lights whenever or wherever they appear out of my darkness. Have you not noticed how your soul is profoundly nourished in response to an encounter with beauty…whatever its form or fashion? The light of our soul seems to send out S.O.S. messages to the corners and crevices of our private habitations in the universe…in an effort to connect our life’s love-light…with that of the others. All of us together and still alone…living as though lost in darkness, we search for the beauty of soul-light where ever we go. To exist in humanity, is to hunger and thirst for the rightness of beauty’s light.

There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it. But what if you are the light? What if you are the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?

Elizabeth Gilbert

It seems to me, that as we inhabit our lives we find ourselves naturally attracted to and desireous of all things beautiful. Is it not the mother tongue of our inmost being? Beauty, when encountered in its many realms, produces a visceral, immediate reflexive inhale of AWE. And wonder of wonders, beauty is as beauty does. It exists without regard for preference or desire. It is the soul’s defining north star. It is the purest embodiment of truth that is not easily fathomed or defined. It is unadulterated, unmanifest perfection. When I consider how to become the best me I might be, I look to the beauty of nature, the beauty of true love, and the beauty of light shining itself strong into the darkness, and then I know; beauty’s truth draws me forward into the next right thing.

The main thing to know is that there are forces within us that want to enslave us to patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking

and behaving that lead us just about anywhere other than lives of goodness. Sometimes a person has to suffer, sometimes terribly, to choose not to let their inner Pharaoh ruin their lives any further. Some people, sadly, never learn.

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

So here I sit, on January 1, 2022, contemplating and wondering what this year holds for myself and all those in my little world. It is tempting to look and perceive a future full of more uncertainty and gloom. It is tempting to believe that our collective soul-lights are smoldering themselves into deeper night. And yet, when I think or feel these dark thoughts, I am reminded, rebuffed, and revived by the light of my own soul’s shining light. The answer to our darkness dwells in our very own presence. Our each and every source to beauty’s life force burns brightest when we decide to let it shine through our brokenness; our own broken thinking and ways of being. A soul’s light shines because it is designed to do so. And a soul’s beauty is shrouded only when it chooses to dis-believe in its own beauty. The soul, mine and yours, is beautiful simply because it IS!

So where is the light at the end of our collective tunnel? Is it possible for all of our dimming lights to shine bright, as one for all? May we then, each one decide, to choose, to remember and to act today, and every day hereafter, as though we are THE LIGHTS in the tunnels of dark! Let’s try, shall we…as we may not even have every one of the 365 opportunities ahead of us to perfect this work. May we agree to endeavor to become what we already are and let our soul’s beauty shine like never before? Shall we muster forward and shine like beautiful light-cutting sabers, slicing through the depths of despair, from our insides out? If each one of us could muster our courage, what a beautiful world we might create.

You are not here to waste your time deciding whether my life is true and beautiful enough for you. You are here to decide if your life, relationships, and world are true and beautiful enough for you. And if they are not and you dare to admit they are not, you must decide if you have the guts, the right–perhaps even the duty–to burn to the ground that which is not true and beautiful enough and get started building what is.

Glennon Doyle

The Death of You

by Ozan Varol

To become a butterfly, the caterpillar must accept its own death.
The process begins when an impulse deep within the caterpillar signals that it’s time for a radical
change. When that signal arrives, the caterpillar hangs itself upside down from a twig or a leaf and
forms a chrysalis.
Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar begins to literally eat itself, emitting enzymes to dissolve and digest
all its tissues. The only survivors are a group of cells called imaginal discs—whose name comes from
the word imagination.
Fed by the nutritious soup inside the chrysalis, these discs allow the caterpillar to develop eyes,
wings, legs, and everything else it will need to become a butterfly. Out of that disgusting mess, a
marvelous butterfly emerges.
My time for metamorphosis arrived back in 2016. Shortly after I got tenure as a professor, I realized
that this life was no longer for me. I didn’t want to write academic articles that only a handful of
professors would read. What’s more, I had been teaching the same classes, answering the same
questions, and attending the same committee meetings for years.
My life as a caterpillar had become comfortable—too comfortable. I had stopped learning and
So I decided to spin myself into a chrysalis and digest my past as fuel for my future. My former career
in rocket science provided me wings for critical thinking—and formed the subject matter for a book.
Academia provided the legs for teaching and captivating audiences. A decade of writing gave me the
antennae for storytelling. These imaginal discs helped me to create the new me.
There’s birth in death. As Joseph Campbell writes, “The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the
seed does not die there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat. Life lives on lives.”
Yes, life lives on lives. Our old selves become compost for our new selves. Our old truths become
seeds for new revelations. Our old destinations become lighthouses for new paths.
Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. Quite the opposite: Letting go requires remembering the gifts of
the past and the clues the caterpillar left you to navigate life as a butterfly.
Steps forward require steps down. “Our next life,” Glennon Doyle writes, “will always cost us this one.
If we are truly alive, we are constantly losing who we just were, what we just built, what we just
believed, what we just knew to be true.” Any real change requires you to die before you die—and
know that dying can be the beginning, not the end.
You may not know it yet, but you’re walking around with imaginal discs within you ready to sprout a
As you emerge out of your chrysalis, the possibilities will appear endless. You’ve got wings, and you
can fly in a million different directions.
You can look at that infinite abyss and feel paralyzed. Or you can choose to loosen the grip on your
past and see where the universe leads you—step by curious step.
As Rumi writes, as you start to walk out on the path, the path will appear.
And remember: The Greek word for butterfly is psyche. And psyche means soul.
When you undergo a metamorphosis, you won’t lose yourself.
You’ll discover the depths of your soul.

13 Rules For Life

From the Growth Equation Newsletter by Brad Stulberg

The secret is there is no secret. What follows are 13 rules—supported by ancient wisdom and modern science—to help you feel better and be better.

Move your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes every day. More is better. Walk. Run. Lift weights. Dance. Garden. If possible, do some of this outdoors. Whatever you do, don’t try to be a hero, lest you’ll wind up injured. Start small. Consistent effort compounds over time; inertia is real and it works in both directions.

Eat whole foods. Avoid stuff that comes wrapped in plastic. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Pick one to three habitual eating patterns that aren’t great and upgrade them.

Build community. The people with whom you surround yourself shape you. Being super productive is fine, but not if it crowds out time for cultivating relationships. Most people feel best in a tribe. It’s our nature.

Care deeply. The things you care about will break your heart. That’s fine. Keep caring. Stay in the arena. The depth of your life is directly proportional to the depth of your caring.

Hold pain tenderly. When it hurts, be kind to yourself. If you can’t, call upon your community and let them be your life boat.

Give help. We’re all in this together. What comes around goes around.

Get help. We’re all in this together. What comes around goes around. (Also: good therapy helps everyone.)

Stay on the path. Know your core values. These are the tenets you want to embody, the ways in which you wish to live your life. Let them serve as your guideposts.

Fall off the path. Mess up. Because you are a human.

Get back on the path. Do not judge yourself too harshly, but learn from your mistakes. Go to the place you fell off and start walking again.

Be patient. It’s a nine-inning game. We often think we’re in the bottom of the seventh when we’re really only in the top of the third.

Accept what is—and keep going anyways. Somewhere between burying your head in the sand and pollyanna delusion is wise hope. That’s the place to be.

Sleep when you’re tired. Machines are hard. Humans are soft. These are facts.

— Brad