What I’ve Been Chewing

I know it’s been too long since I’ve written to you.

I’ve been traveling and figuring things out lately, and haven’t sat down to write in a while. There’s lots I want to share with you. Here are several things I’ve been pondering, developing, and talking about with people around me. Most of them you’ve seen from my blog before, but wellness is never a one-time deal for me. Being healthy is about practice, trying, developing, and building layers.

These items mostly came out of traveling and being “on the road”, meaning no gym, no permanent home, limited resources for training and cooking. I hope you find this useful, whether or not you’re traveling. After all, I started a lot of these things while working in a corporate office and living in Los Angeles. So it’s all transferable. Here they are.

Gentleness

There’s a book I love called The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, by Pema Chodron. It’s about the wisdom in accepting your circumstances, loving yourself, and not rebelling against who you are. The book is written by a Buddhist teacher, mostly for people seeking the philosophy and technique behind Zen meditation. I read this in college, and the book has carried over to all other aspects of my life. Including physical training.

One of the biggest downfalls of the fitness industry is that consumers are not encouraged to take things slow, to work on themselves gently, and to train for the long game. Trainers, coaches, supplement companies, and magazines are full of the notion that the body has to be broken to become better. It’s your body. You don’t have to break it, or suffer, to become stronger. That’s not how things work.

In the short run, you might get big muscles, snaky veins, and a six pack. I understand the need to have these things. It’s been pounded into our psyches by mass media, and it’s part of our primordial urge to be fit. But what about the long run? Will you be well, functional, pain free, and freely moving years, decades down the road? Do you care?

There is a way to be strong and to remain strong for the long game. And that way involves gentleness. It requires you to learn about your body in every possible way as you develop your wellness. Be gentle with your eating. Be gentle with your body, your moving, your training. Be gentle with your mind. This comes into play when you realize that you are not going to get some specific result immediately. Eating a salad today won’t make you skinny, lean, and virile tomorrow. And it doesn’t help to eliminate fats, proteins, and carbs from your diet. See how going rough leads you into a downward spiral?

Step back, make gentle pushes, observe results. Test yourself, but don’t break yourself. The object of the game is to grow, to learn, to be healthy, happy, and capable.

Barefoot training

Feet have a structure and function that work only when they are unhindered. You have the ability to redevelop your foot structure, the right stance, the right walk, and the right movement patterns. It starts with taking off your shoes. Go barefoot at home, around the hood, and wherever you can in the outdoors. It’s just one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. So start tiny.

We will see many products hit the “barefoot” market. Shoes, sandals, socks, sports equipment, and hopefully even transportation that lets us be close to barefoot all day long. I think this is progress. However, these products do not make you barefoot. Simply using your bare feet is different. Barefoot cannot be replicated. A “barefoot running shoe” is not barefoot. It is a shoe.

Train barefoot. Do strength training without shoes or socks. You can do them all if you start from zero, go gently, and progress responsibly. I have done deadlifts, squats, kettlebell, and body weight exercises barefoot. Orthopedic insoles did not help me. I had prescription plastic insoles for most of my adolescent years, into college. The pain of walking, running, and standing in shoes went away like magic. But guess what the price was? My feet got flatter and weaker, more prone to strains, and less and less able to hold me up the way they are supposed to.

Then I started following Kelly Starrett, and shed the insole supports. I wore flat shoes instead. Then I wore huaraches. But nothing beat walking barefoot outside, running barefoot on the grass and sand, and lifting barefoot at the gym. These activities, over three years, rebuilt the shape and mechanism of my feet. I now have arches.

So this is where I would link you to a product that I used, but I can’t because there is no product. You just simply need to take off your shoes and socks. However, there is technique that you need to use for proper development. Just like with all other parts of your body, such as your knees, your back, and your shoulders, for example, feet have a correct position and movement pattern. Place your weight on the parts that are meant to hold weight: the sole, the outer blade, the balls of your feet, and the toes. You’ll see that your arch, or insole if you don’t yet have an arch, doesn’t have to touch the ground. You’ll feel that springiness in your step. Walking, running, jumping. Try them all barefoot.

Figure it out and rebuild yourself from the ground up. If you need coaching, I can help.

NL 152 Barefoot Training Body Weight Squat The Brilliant Beast Blog.png

Fat first

From five years of self experimentation, drinking butter coffee almost every morning, traveling and eating for optimal energy, and talking with others experimenting with eating more fat, I continue to find that “fat first” works. This means eating fat for the first meal of the day, whether that be in the morning or afternoon or night. It means eating fat before eating other foods during any meal, or at least at the same time. Try grass fed butter melted into rice. And “fat first” means making sure to eat good fats, from good sources. Why?

Because fat is filling, fat is the building block of cell membranes and your nervous system and your brain, and fat gives you energy. Eating good fat from healthy animals ensures that you get the nutrition your body and brain needs before you fill up on other things like starch. Eating fat first means you get satisfaction and feel fuller from it. It helps guide me in my meals, because as long as I eat good fats I know how much of other stuff to eat. I feel more balanced in my urge to eat rice, veggies, and meat when I am eating good fats. Don’t think I don’t eat carbs. I eat lots of carbs, because I need it for my body composition, level of training, and daily activity. But my eating is moderated by the fat I’m eating. I guess I can say that fat is my primary source of satiety and energy, and my starting point for measuring hunger and portions.

Here’s an example of how fat is my nutrition measuring tool: if I feel the munchies, cravings, or urge to eat dessert at night, despite having eaten dinner, I’ll rewind through the day to see how much fat I’ve eaten. Most times, I’ll realize I forgot to mix butter into my rice, or didn’t have my usual butter coffee, or didn’t get the chance to eat any good quality fat that day. If I can, I slap a slab of grass fed cow butter onto some sweet potato and have at it. Fat first.

NL 152 Fat First Grass Fed Butter Coffee The Brilliant Beast Blog.jpg

Kids and perfect form

I am fascinated by kids who are allowed to develop physically without the restraints of bulky sneakers, cribs, seats, and overprotection. My friend lets his son walk, run, roam, climb, and play more than most parents I’ve seen. He also lets him do this barefoot, even outside. When shoes are necessary, they are soft, flat on the bottom, and flexible enough for the feet to do their natural job. The result is incredible.

My friend’s son is a dense-bodied mover, and he is able to hold his core rigid when he’s lifted off the ground, flipped overhead, and swung back down. He holds perfect spine alignment as he deadlifts a suitcase off the floor. This beloved mini-athlete sometimes gets into a yogic child pose, stretches out on his belly, and lifts his arms and legs off the floor in a reverse plank. It’s all play to him. And he’s barely a year and a half old.

I laugh and marvel at his feats of mobility and strength. At the same time, I feel excited about what this little kid represents. He shows me it’s possible to have a perfect squat as natural and easy as yawning. He proves to me that movements like the deadlift and positions like straight feet and straight spine in the squat are natural. It gives me an example to follow. Since the kid hasn’t been molded into cushy shoes, and since he hasn’t been confined to classroom chairs, his movements are intact. He pushes his limits all the time in the weight of the bins he lifts, the suitcases he pushes, and the stairs he climbs.

Doing these things is challenging in themselves, but doing them with minimal risk of injury and optimal strength is natural only because limitations are not yet put on our little friend. So what if you’re starting today, having already gone through the body-morphing gauntlet of “civilization”? You’re not alone. Modern life’s walls came up, boxed you into the appropriate shapes, and contracted your physical and spiritual expressions into the norms of the day.

It’s not about being a kid, or about glorifying childhood or youthfulness. No. Just look at the human form in its beginning stages, and you can find movement and position as it was meant to be. You can train your malleable body to obtain the strength, movement, and positions of human expression. The full squat, the unhindered overhead arms, the use of joint torque, and spine alignment are all obtainable with training and practice. Possessing natural physical expression and the strength to maintain it will free your mind and soul to build toward your greatest goals.

Live powerfully,

Steve

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Mobilizing Out of Inflammation

I was going to the gym today but almost canceled on myself.

I had made the wretched choice of eating a donut last night. When I do such things, I didn’t give enough credit to the consequences. Sure, I get some after effects, I told myself. Little achiness, brain fog. Funny how time befuddles memories.

It was an inflammation bomb. First came the wheat coma. I was reading and had to drag myself to bed, it was so bad. I fell into instant sleep for an hour, and woke feeling hungover and tender. My trap and shoulder blade area were tight in a knot, so I rolled it out on a lacrosse ball.

Did some deep breathing, drank my vitamin C and magnesium mix, and tried to sleep. No go.

My stomach was upset. I got up and had some kombucha. I thought of taking charcoal, but didn’t want to absorb the magnesium that I had already taken. Lesson learned next time.

It took me a few hours of reading to get to bed. When I woke this morning, I still felt hungover. Butter coffee and some eggs helped. I was determined to go to the gym today, and I gave myself a couple of hours to warm up.

Well, when I went outside to check my squat position, I was surprised to find myself so kinked up. Thus it was:

 

This was class one tightness, inflammation to the max. Everything felt rusty and I could barely get down into the squat and hold it.

Feet splayed, torso wrapped over my knees. And really, really tight in the hips. It was time for some major mobilization.

Hip Mobility

First the hips. I’m jamming down with my pelvis to get into the tight areas and loosen them up. I also extend my front leg to get in deeper on the tissue near the knees. Try and you’ll feel it:

Ankle Mobility

Ankles flex through the calves. So I work on the calf and achilles tendon. Keeping my leg rigid at the knee and hip, I lean hard and hold for a minute or two. Sliding over to either side helps to mobilize in more directions.

 

I did a squat retest at this point, meaning I got down in the squat to see if there was any difference. The first photo shows me holding my hands up overhead. I’m doing this to test my shoulders, to see if they are mobile enough for me to hold this position. Pretty tight here, as you can see I’m not holding them in line with my torso:

 

My hips were feeling smoother, and I was able to get down with feet straighter forward. My torso was more upright, but there was still a bit of tightness holding my midback in a curve.

Shoulder Mobility

I addressed my shoulder mobility to open up the chest and torso. This can help with keeping the upper body straight during the squat. I’m doing an exercise called shoulder dislocations here:

NL 123 Shoulder Dislocations The Brilliant Beast Blog.GIF

Geez was I tight. At this point I was about to push my training session back one day. With bad mobility, heavy lifting is not advantageous. Better to wait until I’m able to get into good positions. Squat retest after shoulder dislocations.

Functional squat depth for weight lifting, side and front:

 

And a full squat:

NL 123 Squat Retest 2 Full The Brilliant Beast Blog.JPG

I wanted to test my weightlifting position, in addition to the full squat. I don’t go all the way down when I’m loaded with weight.

You can see I’m able to get down with my feet pointed forward. My torso is not perfectly upright, but it’s much more mobile and no longer glued to my knees.

After much tweaking, I actually freed myself up enough to train.

Add me on Snapchat to hear about the training session. Yea, the picture’s silly.

Snapchat The Brilliant Beast Blog.jpg

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Long Term Knee Protection

I’m excited about tapping into my strength training again. I’m getting back into the gym this week. My priority is the squat.

It’s been over four months since I’ve trained at full capacity with the weighted squat. So I’m curious as to how I’m going to feel at this next session.

First thing I’m going to establish is whether or not I still have the mobility in my hips, knees, and ankles for proper squat position. This is my first step when returning to training after a long pause.

Feet forward, knees pulling out, and hips open enough for all of this is critical to healthy squatting. It protects the knee tendons and ligaments from opening into an exposed position and tearing.

I’m going to sit in a full squat and check out the angle of my feet. If they’re pointed too far out to the sides, I’m going to try a couple of different things to see where the tightness is. I should be able to sit in a squat with feet forward.

It could be the ankles, which can be fixed by ankle mobility. Or the hips, which can be remedied with hip mobility. After each mobility exercise, I’ll retest my squat and figure out how I’m going to get down in the squat with proper alignment.

With proper mechanics I’m going to be able to make a smoother transition into building strength. Recovery is going to be better without unnecessary twists and pulls from bad form. And the movement patterns that are established with good technique are going to carry through to higher levels of training in the near future.

Watch me go through squat testing and mobility on snapchat: brilliant_beast

Live powerfully,

Steve

Squat Test

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Basking For A Boost

Brilliant Friends,

It was necessary that I get outside. Yesterday morning I was tired. I haven’t been able to use my earthing mat during the night. Long story. So I ripped off my shirt and soaked in some sunlight.

It’s amazing what a few moments in the sun can do. I watered my head down with a hose, barefoot on the concrete, and squatted for a bit.

UVB rays hit the skin and spur it to make vitamin D and cholesterol sulfate. Basically, it makes me feel good and high on life to bask in the sun. If you’re feeling drab, flat, low, it might be time to get out under nature’s heat lamp of joy.

Just try not to overdo it. Too much time in the sun and I start to feel dizzy, tired, spent. And I get skin damage. But leave the sun block behind.

From the research I’ve read, our skin needs the sun to come through to get the boost. So I go bareskinned. Feel it out for yourself. Wait until you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Let yourself bask. And when you’ve had enough, remember that there’s another day to get more.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

What I’m Sitting On Right Now

Hey guys,

Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s something that’s been changing my life for the last five years.

I’m sitting on a mat that’s plugged into the grounding plug of a wall outlet. It’s transferring earth’s free electrons to my body. As long as my skin is in contact with it, I’m at a near earthing voltage.

Connecting to the ground is known as earthing.

Free electrons act as antioxidants without the metabolic side effects of food-derived or body-produced sources. Antioxidants are involved in diffusing oxidizing agents that cause damage, both intended and unintended, at the molecular level. Free electrons travel through to body and affect everything from muscle training recovery, infection response, and DNA transcription.

Most of us sleep on beds in rooms isolated from the earth. There’s no electron flow to our bodies during the night, a crucial recovery time. During sleep we go into healing mode and rebuild damaged tissues, fight infection, and process new experiences from the day. It’s important that we have free mobile electrons flowing to our tissues, cells, and DNA during this process.

I’ve been sleeping with this earthing mat at the foot of my bed for the past five years, consistently. When I’m not outside, this is my access to the earth. It’s comfortable, with the hard-to-find conductive cover included in the link below. When I’m at home reading or writing inside, I bring the mat with me.

The subjective results for me are clear. My sleep is deeper, I feel more relaxed, healed, and richer in mind when I wake. I feel less inflammation. For these benefits, I even traveled with it for the past four months. I earthed in my sleep through Indonesia, Thailand, and Korea!

Once in a while, I’m not able to use it at night. This is usually due to a faulty wall outlet. The kit comes with a tester plug to tell you if the outlet is grounded. An ungrounded outlet is devastating! When I don’t sleep with my mat, I’m more tired because sleep is more shallow. If I have a really tough day, physically or emotionally, and don’t have my earthing mat, I get symptoms like allergic coughing, achy joints, and fuzzy-headedness. I try to make up for the lost time earthing by getting barefoot outside for as long as possible.

The difference from earthing is huge. It’s strange that this simple mat can make such a change. It doesn’t heat up, create crazy vibrations, or do anything but transfer free electrons from the ground to your skin. Even if it’s just a placebo effect, I would still use it for the rest of my life. But I am convinced from my five years of using it that this is not a placebo.

No doubt, being outside barefoot is the absolute best, most direct way to ground yourself. But we haven’t found a comfortable way to sleep on the bare ground yet (just wait). So night time leaves a big earthing void. In my experience, the earthing mat is the next best thing.

Check it out, look through my posts here to learn more, and take the leap!

How earthing balances the immune response – collection of research on earthing

Earthing on the road – earthing in southeast Asia
Explore barefoot – earthing in Arizona and Utah
Earthing, rain or shine – on grounding, lightning, and earthing in Los Angeles

Take barefoot walks to relieve stress – how I dissolved residual work anxiety

Live powerfully,

Steve

Earthing Universal Mat with Cover Kit

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I link to tools that I have used, found meaningful, and that I believe could benefit my brilliant readers.

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

The Semi Conductive Body

It is the year 2016.

I stand barefoot on the ground and listen.

A four hundred thousand kilogram vessel of shining metal soars through the air above me. It’s so far up I barely make out the glint of light and whisper it makes as it passes. The jumbo jet glides ten kilometers above ground at 900 km/hr.

My mind travels further up, past the stratosphere, where another four hundred thousand kilogram structure swings past the plane. The International Space Station zooms 400 kilometers above ground at 27,000 km/hr. It’s been circling this planet since 1998.

My kind, Homo sapiens, have forged technologies that allow us to roam the skies and beyond like no other creature can. Michael Faraday made the electric motor in 1821. The term “electricus” was coined in 1600 by William Gilbert upon studying static electricity. The ancient Egyptians wrote of Thunderers of the Nile, electric fish that held the power to shock. Earliest record dates to 2750 BCE.

From the gargantuan, we humans have developed down to the miniscule. There is a microrobot in development to insert into and operate on a diseased human eye. Others can crawl through a blood vessel to visualize and treat exact deficiencies.

I turn my attention to ground level, to the oldest and most sophisticated technology available to us. Within the cells of my body, and even closer, to the proteins that form these cells. When wet, these proteins allow electrons to flow. The entire structure of my physicality consists of proteins that are interconnected and surrounded by water.

The earth’s electrons are pulled through the protein complex that makes up my skin, muscles, bone, and even cells and DNA at the tiniest level. Every bit is connected by semi-conductivity. The protein complexes allow electrons to flow because of the water that surrounds them.

There’s an electron reservoir within my body. My tissues can hold a “full charge” of electrons that are used when there is oxidation. If I don’t step outside, I’m depleted of my electron source. I must then draw on other sources. Antioxidants from my diet and body synthesis can only go so far to fight damage. When these are depleted, especially with a life of stress, my immune system weakens.

So I bring my body, this formulation of ancient technology, out to connect with the earth. I renew my supply daily. I have had to engineer a life that allows me to step outside, barefoot, every day. I’ve rediscovered the way to more fully harness this technology. There’s more, I’m sure of it. So much more to discover. Yet, I’m quite certain it’s already been known, by someone, somewhere, some time in the past.

I bring my attention back out to the world, and I take pride in the amazing accomplishments we humans have made, zipping by, humming deep below, and silently providing comfort in every way.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

How Earthing Balances Immune Response

I love earthing. It calms me down and helps me recover from exercise, infection, and anxiety. Here’s a scientific stance on earthing as it relates to inflammation. Read this great research paper for the nitty gritty.

Our bodies respond to exercise, infection, or injury damage by immune response. The immune response sends oxidative bursts that clear damaged tissue at the site of injury. This makes room for building healthy tissue. Think muscles getting bigger after training. Or you feeling amazing after all the coughing, sneezing, green yellow snot, and fevers from an infection. There’s a breakdown, then a buildup. Same response, different concentrations.

It’s called “oxidative burst” because agents are produced that have reactive oxygen molecules. The molecules have open-ended electrons that react with other molecules that make up the cells in our bodies. A common one made by our immune systems is superoxide. Contact with these molecules is called oxidation, and it leads to cell death. That’s why you don’t want to eat “oxidized fats”. They’re damaged by oxygen in the air, UV, and overcooking. The damaged fat’s free radicals will react with your body if you eat them.

The problem with the oxidative burst cell clearing process is that it affects surrounding healthy tissue. Oxidative bursts are not sniper shots. They are more like shotgun sprays in the general area. So what should have been protection for a tiny cut can become a whole swollen limb, if your immune system is not held in check. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

Now for the experiment from the research paper. A group of people were subjected to soreness from calf raises. They were divided into earthed and non-earthed groups for the recovery period. Half of the subjects were given earthing mats and patches on their calves, and the other half were given placebo treatment. According to this research, swelling and muscle pain lasted longer for those who were not grounded. The subjects who were grounded experienced quicker resolution of swelling and pain. They also saw quicker white blood cell clearing from the repair areas. The ungrounded subjects had white blood cells lingering much longer.

So what’s the connection? Grounded means Earthed. Earthed means connected by bare skin to the surface of the Earth. The studies conducted regarding tissue inflammation and Earthing used grounding mats (example). These are semi conductive mats or patches that are attached to a person’s skin and plugged into the ground. The electrical connection to the ground brings the person to about the same voltage as the Earth.

That’s because they are connected to the earth’s electron supply. And electrons are antioxidants. Antioxidants diffuse oxidation within tissue. Remember that an oxidized molecule has a free electron, or free radical that makes it harmful. So a free electron from the earth or a donated one from vitamin C can stabilize the oxidant and stop the killing process.

So when you’re hurt, your body sends the immune response. White blood cells go there, and start clearing out dead tissue or killing off pathogens with free radicals like superoxide. The oxidative products from this cause inflammation at and around the injury. If you’re earthed, the balance comes from free electrons from the earth. They quickly subdue the killing, swelling, and pain. It’s nature’s balance.

If you’re making contact with the ground, an unlimited supply of free electrons from the earth are passing into your body. They are stored throughout your tissue and can eventually be used at the site of an injury, to resolve an inflammatory immune response.

If you’re not grounded, you don’t get that influx of electrons. Sure, there are antioxidants from foods and chemicals like bilirubin and vitamin C. But these are limited supplies, especially if we are not feeding ourselves with antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are we not eating enough nutritious foods, we are also eating oxidized fats and keeping the balance tipped toward inflammation.

When earthing, think electrically. Anything that doesn’t conduct electricity between you and the ground blocks that flow of free electrons. Rubber, wood, plastic, floor finish, glass, you name it. Dirt, grass, water, wet sand, and even concrete, with water molecules throughout it’s structure, are conductors and semiconductors that will allow earth’s electrons to flow into you. You don’t need much. Our bodies are hyper sensitive to electricity. The minuscule flow of electrons from the ground is enough to help us.

Without free and mobile electrons from the earth, inflammation lasts longer than it needs to. Swelling gets bigger than necessary. And sometimes, even if the initial hurt subsides, the inflammation never really goes away. Not only are we experiencing inflammation from injury, exercise, and infection, we are also getting it from environmental toxins and the food we eat.

The key is to keep the balance tipped in favor of quick healing and minimal inflammation. Earthing will keep your supply of electrons full and push you toward thriving.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Jet Lag Recovery

I am tired.

We flew in from Taipei last night. It was a full day of plane rides, bus station exploration, hot spring bathing, and more plane riding. I’m fatigued, jet lagged, and sore throated.

I stayed up for most of the overnight flight. In Pacific time, it was morning when we took off. But since it was 11:30 p.m. in Taipei, I had to pull two full days of wakefulness. Even with the exhaustion, sleep didn’t last too long last night. I meditated and had magnesium before bed, which helped. But I woke up around 5:30 a.m.

Although I was tired, I didn’t want to struggle back to sleep to wake up late in the afternoon. So I stayed up and slowly awoke. I made butter coffee with a blender for the first time in weeks. I was also able to add cacao butter and vanilla powder, two ingredients I sorely missed during travel. The resulting concoction was heavenly.

My game plan is to take vitamin C throughout the day, stay up until bed time, exercise, and take a good dose of magnesium at night. The C is going to help with my throat and also with my general well being. After all that traveling, with sweets on the plane, and lack of sleep, my body really needs the extra antioxidant boost. Now that I’m home, I have my powder form of vitamin C. Just mix into a glass of water. It’s my favorite way to take it.

Earthing is also key to recovery from jet lag. I got outside as soon as I woke and spent some time with the dogs, barefoot on the concrete. Later in the afternoon, I had a barefoot squat session. Reconnecting with the Earth’s electromagnetic field is essential to healing. Getting good sun time also feels magnificent.

I can’t wait to get up refreshed tomorrow morning.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

What We’re Doing

Brilliant Friends,

I just wanted you to know, last Saturday I wrote my 100th newsletter to you. When I started these letters, I wanted it to be a way to teach powerlifting and strength training in a simple way. I wanted to share with you how I got strong and mobile. And I wanted to share secrets about nutrition that shouldn’t be hidden. But my newsletter turned into something else.

It became more, because to be honest with myself, I had to write about the other things I’ve been exploring. More than strength, I was looking into mind cultivation. I wanted to become more deeply in sync with myself. I wanted to control my negative emotions, and downward spiral thinking. I was stressed out at work, I worked harder, and I tried to make things better by fixing things.

But I realized I had to stop and dig down within myself. I needed to recover on a daily basis. I needed to heal my mind. This led to meditation and heart rate variability (HRV) practices. I learn from Pema Chodron and Tara Brach.

Much of my exploration into meditating happened at a park near my home. I loved being outside on the grass, with trees all around, and birds singing from those trees. The sun gave me a kind of energy I had forgotten about since childhood. I had already known about earthing, but spending time regularly outside, barefoot, etched the benefits in stone for me.

My goal is to make known some of the basic things about human well-being that, as a race, we’ve forgotten. I want to reconnect us to the earth and bring us into a real understanding of our relationship to this planet and the universe. In addition to spending time outside barefoot, I believe earthing mats are part of the answer.

We’ve let our bodies become twisted and gnarled in pain, immobility, and incapability through sitting. Sitting in classroom and office chairs, sitting in cars, sitting on couches. That’s not how our bodies are designed to exist. I see Kelly Starrett as one of the leaders of the physiological revolution.

Food was engineered and production amplified to feed the exponentially growing population of the world. And it worked. And now we need to get the quality of food back. We just are not getting nutrients that we need. We aren’t eating the right stuff. We need to look for the good stuff. We need tons more green leafy veggies and fat and meat from animals that are raised right. We need food that is free of herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. There are countless leaders bringing us solutions today. Look at Terry Wahls, William Davis, Mark Sisson, and Dr. Mercola.

Life is great, and keeps getting better in many ways. But these are some fundamental things that we’ve left behind in the search for higher answers.

The more we try and the more we explore, the more we’ll be what we were meant to be. I believe we’re inclined to be good when we’re well nourished, rested, and finely tuned in every way. We’ve restricted ourselves as a race to reach specific goals. Now that humans have reached those goals, it’s time to take care of ourselves again. There’s a lot to reverse. Just take a look at epigenetics to see that the lives of our ancestors are written into us.

What I find I share with you, and it gives me satisfaction to write to you. You’ve intentionally signed up for my newsletter. You search, dig, read, and act to make life good. If my letter resonates with someone else you know, please forward it. You never know how far they may go with it. There’s a lot to work on with ourselves, but you’ll find that the more you tell people about things, the better you understand them.

So connect with the ground, eat well, get strong and get mobile, and cultivate your mind. When you find what is good within you, let it thrive. Simply doing good is the easiest way to share it with the world.

Thanks for being with me.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Evolution of a Barefoot Walker

You walk out into the warm evening breeze. The urban air reaches your nose, scents of frying food, smog, and asphalt dancing with your senses. You examine the concrete savannah that is home, and take a few steps along the pale, neatly sectioned squares of sidewalk. Rubber sandal meets ground and you slowly stride forward. You’ve been wearing shoes your whole life. It’s just an extension of your postmodern body.

Suddenly, you have a desire to know what it’s like to shed the secondary skins of your feet. You slip your feet out of your sandals, bend to pick them up, and proceed to walk. The gritty texture of cement sparks millions of tingling sensations through your foot to your brain. Your ankles satisfyingly stretch. The back of your head tickles with the burst of sensation washing over your mind. And with the first few steps you realize that there are a few things to figure out.

First of all, what to do about your heels? Suddenly there’s so much stimulation and impact. The way you walk with shoes is to stomp on them, because that big cushion lets you. Bare, your heels don’t want that stomping. Neither does your ringing skull or jarred knees.

Okay, so you start to go lighter on the heels. Then you start to feel your insoles uncomfortably contacting the ground, which makes your feet turn inwards. That in turn causes your knees to buckle slightly, which just doesn’t seem right. Now you consciously put effort into keeping the contact outwards toward the blades of your feet. Oh, that’s a lot of foot mechanics right there.

And now that your steps are starting to roll on the outward edges of your feet, the ball and toes get the ground in a specific order. The side of your pinky toe gets a very small, but significant, head start on the ground ahead of your big toe side. How interesting. Who would’ve thought that toes touch the ground at different times?

Are your feet pointing forward now? If they aren’t, if they’re splayed out to the sides, it gets difficult to walk efficiently barefoot. Because your feet want to roll the ground out to the edges, and angled outward your insoles keep rolling down instead. Eventually, you figure it’s easier to point the toes forward.

And when your big toes touch down, the biggest surprise of all. There’s an irresistible reflex to grip down on the floor with that end of your foot, give a good push, and propel yourself forward. You get so into this natural feeling of springiness, locomotion, the ground, that you go further than you planned. And suddenly your feet start to get sore. You realize you now have to go back the same distance you came. And that’s going to hurt.

You’ve come to realize your current physical limit of walking. But you’re smart, and you brought your sandals along just in case. It’s gonna take a couple of days to recover from the soreness, but there’s no turning back. Barefoot, you are something else.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Things to read:

We stomp a lot harder in shoes than we would barefoot.

The forces on our joints is altered and magnified with shoes.

The heel and toe designs of dress shoes and heels completely disfigured our feet and posture.

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