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If you could take this pill and become more compassionate, would you? If I tell the truth for myself, my answer would be, “Sometimes I would, and sometimes I wouldn’t.”

To Compassion or Not to Compassion

Compassion is not a simple, single thing in my experience. Nor is it an easy action to consistently get right. For example, as a parent who knows it’s important for children to have a wide cross-section of life-experience in order for their brains and bodies to develop and grow, my job is not to shield them from all the pain and suffering in the world. It’s more to be with them as honestly and authentically as I can as they encounter and experience pain and suffering. Be KindWe often practice “Idiot Compassion” when we try to take away or encourage others to turn away from experiences necessary for growth and development. It reminds me of this wisdom teaching: “Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do for another person is leave them alone.” Another thing you can do is … ask someone in the midst of a struggle, what they most need.

Turning a Blind Brain

But what I’m especially interested in is when opportunities present themselves to practice compassion and I turn away from them myself.

Take last week for example: I was in our local Goose Grocery Store and I saw a woman I know at the checkout counter (since we live on a small island, it’s hard to go more than a day or two without running into people I know). The woman – let’s call her Sarah – was trying to buy a bottle of expensive wine and she apparently didn’t have enough money. But Sarah was arguing with the cashier that the price was too high and she should be allowed to buy it for the amount of money she had. The people behind her waiting in line to pay were clearly unhappy.

What would be a compassionate response in this circumstance. Walk over and greet Sarah and offer to lend the money? Simply gift her the missing balance? Side with Sarah against the store and the cashier and agree that the wine price was too high?

This situation is complicated by the fact that Sarah and I have had similar disagreements between us that revolved around money that we never managed to amicably resolve. It’s further complicated by the fact that Sarah too readily reminds me of my mother; and even further by the fact that my mother was an alcoholic. Judging Mind has a lot of ideas about wine-buying and people who remind me of mom.

adrenal-gland-cross-section-stocktrek-images

My Adrenals Up Close and Personal (Click to Enlarge)

And so do my adrenal glands! I could feel them flooding brain and body with rampant stress hormones as I witnessed this exchange between Sarah and the Goose cashier. And in that moment I could only do one thing: turn around and do some more grocery shopping. None of my business. Except, of course, that is PRECISELY what my business is – what I want it to be – the ability to turn towards rather than away from suffering, and grow my ability to be present, accounted for and compassionate in these kinds of conflict situations. In that instance, the non-choice between flight, fight or freeze saw flight win out. Maybe next time I can take those three options totally off the table and make the conscious choice to engage by simply asking, “Can I help?”

Drug Assist

What’s interesting about the usage of this pill in the Berkeley study above though is not the discovery that dopamine action in the brain can be affected by a pill – tolcapone – but rather that changing the brain’s dopamine levels leads to more compassionate action. More important to me is the realization that whatever can be achieved by a pill’s neurochemical action in the brain, can often be organically achieved by repeatedly practicing the effect the pill produces, in this case, compassionate action. To increase the dopamine-inducing activity in your brain … practice kindness, practice compassionate social engagement. The brain operates such that whatever actions we perform in the world, whatever we pay ever-increasing attention to, tends to increase. We get better with practice; in the above instance, me finding a way to turn towards Sarah, rather than away would have moved me in a direction of growth that I want to head toward.

That’s a critically important neurological truism to realize, and not just solely for compassion: whatever we direct our brain to pay attention to, tends to increase.

… or, How My Brain Came to Deeply Appreciate the Dunning-Kruger Effect

“All things, animate and inanimate, have within them a spirit dimension. They communicate in that dimension to those who can listen.” ~ Jerome Bernstein

Shortly after I graduated with my doctorate in psychology, I decided I wanted to give something back to my small, private school. I’d been working for a dozen years as a grief counselor and trainer to fulfill part of my clinical graduate requirements and I knew firsthand from co-facilitating dozens of volunteer trainings that simply listening with little else added is a very challenging endeavor. While listening depends on our ears working well, just because we can hear doesn’t mean we listen. We all know people whose ears work perfectly, but who don’t listen skillfully at all. There are also people who don’t hear well and listen fiercely. In part, there are structural, brain-based reasons for that. And some of the difficulty results from differing rates at which the brain processes speech, hearing and thought. Those rates can often end up in conflict with one another. They can also be radically sculpted and modulated with training.

protege

I also knew that if I really wanted to increase my own sculpted capacity for skillful listening, one way to accomplish that was to teach the skills to others – to benefit from The Protégé Effect. So I did. I designed a course and brought it to the school’s curriculum committee. After considerable wavering, they agreed to give the class a trial run. It was 10 three-hour sessions filled with all kinds of activities, practices and experiential presentations. I had a great time. And apparently the students did as well: When the class was over and the ratings were in, the class rated 4.9 out of a possible 5.0. I think they gave me that high rating not just for the exercises and activities and modeling I presented, but mostly because they discovered what a creative act it could be to reclaim what communications professor Mike Nichols calls, “The Lost Art of Listening.” There’s far more to listening than meets the ear.

So, of course the school decided that such a class would never be offered again! When I inquired into the reasoning, the responses I got were, “Well, listening’s not important enough to devote 30 hours of training to!” “and besides, we cover the essentials in a number of our other clinical classes,” and “most people accepted into the program are already above-average listeners.”

Which brings us to The Dunning-Kruger Effect…

In 1999 David Dunning and Justin Kruger, two Cornell research psychologists, published a paper entitled: Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Leads to Inflated Self-Assessments. That paper detailed a series of four studies showing that, in certain cases, people who are very bad at something think they are actually above average. In other words, many people are nescient when it comes to self-assessment. That is, they don’t know what they don’t know.

dunning_kruger

This effect has been replicated among undergraduates completing a classroom exam (Dunning, Johnson, Ehrlinger, & Kruger, 2003), medical students assessing their interviewing skills (Hodges, Regehr, & Martin, 2001) clerks evaluating their work performance (Edwards, Kellner, Sistrom, & Magyari, 2003), and medical lab technicians evaluating their on-the-job expertise (Haun, Zeringue, Leach, & Foley, 2000). I’m guessing psychotherapists, parents, priests and other paid listening professionals would not be especially immune to this effect.

The good news is that not knowing that you don’t know something is not a crime. And, as David Dunning himself has said, the take-away is that “one should pause to worry about one’s own level of certainty, not the certainty of others.” And then go and do the work of bringing knowledge and skill to your own ignorance.

So, how to know if your therapist is an above-average listener? A. Don’t ask them! And B. Become one yourself and then you’ll have a solid benchmark to accurately measure against.

And then of course, there’s C.: Be one of the handful of people I’m able to work with this Spring in this upcoming 4-session Noble Listening webinar. Click HERE for details: NOBLE LISTENING TRAINING.

“To listen is to be vulnerable. You allow something outside your body to come inside. To be open and impressionable, to hear everything, is dangerous. You can be damaged all too easily.” ~ W. A. Mathieu

From my very first post on this blog back in 2007, most everything I research and write here has one primary central aim: to increase the awareness of, and to reduce the amount and degree of suffering in people’s lives. Recently I received an email from a friend informing me and a number of other close friends about the death of her mother after a three-year, extremely painful struggle with pancreatic cancer. Not surprisingly, many who received the note responded back to my friend and also to everyone else on the list. Empathy--300x300What was surprising is that many of those responses barely acknowledged my friend’s loss. Instead, they immediately began waxing emotionally about the difficult death of a relative of their own, or their own struggles with painful illness. It was like they’d been looking for the perfect invitation to let the world know of their own suffering, and this was it.

Non-Contingent Mis-Communication

Only it wasn’t. Not being heard, emotionally felt and understood, dismissed and superceded by someone else’s needs is the exact opposite of the “contingent communication” which research has shown to be supremely instrumental and essential for lifelong learning and neural plasticity; and for cultivating the empathy circuitry absolutely necessary for forming close connections.

When I discussed this incident with my wife, she clarified that if we haven’t been on the receiving end of authentic empathy, then it’s going to be very challenging for us to consistently be on the transmitting end. In other words, other people have to model, reflect and express authentic empathy to us during our emotionally trying times – ideally, in childhood – in order for us to grow sufficient neural circuitry to be able to genuinely express it to others later on down the road.

But what if this experience hasn’t happened much in our early or later lives? I think the response to my friend’s reaching out for compassion, consoling and condolences (from the Latin condoleo ,“I feel another’s pain”) perfectly illustrates what happens – people’s own story, the need to express their own pain and grief takes over. The result, most often, is an emotional miss or disconnect. In other words, there’s unfortunately, no believable sign of an open heart.

The Theory of Feeling Felt

Attachment researchers and social and cognitive neuroscientists have long recognized the critical role that having others respond to us in ways that let us know they “grok” us plays in unfolding human development. When it happens, we “feel felt.” Specifically, children grow critical brain network circuitry that allows them to develop a robust Theory of Mind. Theory of Mind FractalTheory of Mind is the research field that investigates how children grow up and develop authentic empathy. They can genuinely feel another’s emotional reality. Empathy operates on a continuum, of course. Too much and people become emotionally enmeshed. Parents are especially susceptible to enmeshment. Too little empathy and you’re more likely to become the CEO of a corporation or be remanded to a locked facility.

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Heart-felt Adulthood

I’m in the process of organizing an offering designed specifically to address this developmental need in our culture, not for children, but for adults. Have you experienced a great need to be understood, only to have it get pre-empted by other people telling you their story? I’m researching skillful remedies and replies to this kind of communication and I’d really love to know if this experience of mis-communication happens out in the real world as much as I think it does. Feel free to comment below.

(I love headlines like this. They so blatantly pander to my brain’s anxious, conditioned desire to get rich quick. Research, though, shows that most people get rich by first learning about, and then mindfully and methodically attending to money much as they might attend to a healthy diet or lifelong violin-practice).

“There’s a certain Buddhist calm that comes from having money in the bank.” ~ Tom Robbins

Shortly after I turned 40 years old, I found myself teaching an evening class in Deep Listening at UC Santa Cruz Extension. To my surprise and confusion, most of the 25 people who showed up for it were professionals who were already being paid big money for their listening skills: psychologists, lawyers, social workers and business managers. Not unsurprisingly, I initially felt a little intimidated. What could I possibly teach these people? listen-symbolWhen I got their feedback at the end of the class I learned that what made these people especially good at their jobs was that they knew it was important to continually hone their skills and to keep learning and improving – they weren’t too cool for school. They apparently also knew that … where skills and the brain are concerned, if you don’t use them, you lose them. It also worked to help me keep my own skills sharp. That’s how The Protégé Effect often works.

Taking My Ears to the Streets

Around this same time in my day job, I was looking for a new in-fill building project to take on in order to keep my own cash-flow flowing. To my surprise I found one in the next town over. Buying it stretched and stressed me to the hilt, since I had to max out my credit cards to buy it; and there was no guarantee it would turn out well (There was absolutely no way I could have ever predicted how well it would eventually turn out).

The property was a bank-owned foreclosure located in Atherton, California. Atherton (population: 7159) is a small town in the heart of Silicon Valley populated by many of the valley’s corporate stars and sports legends. The property I was looking to make my next project was 1.8 acres and the bank had been unable to unload it for over two years. Needless to say, I wondered why.

Listening Homework

atherton-hvac

Click to see some typical Atherton McMansions

I signed a purchase contract and put down a small deposit (courtesy of Mastercard and Visa) to secure the property while I went and tried to find out. First on my list was a meeting with Atherton’s Town Manager. In addition to learning what he might know about this property – and he knew a lot! – I was genuinely curious about what it was like to try to manage a small town (and a town council) filled with so many super-sized egos. This proved a great opportunity to meet and ask him. And I listened to what he had to say (it turned out to be the hardest part of his job). And I kept listening. And I kept asking questions about him and his job, mostly because I was sincerely interested and glad his job wasn’t mine. After 45 minutes or so, I finally got around to asking my question, “Could I subdivide this property into two building lots?”

The Town Manager could have saved himself a lot of time and hassle and just said, “No. The town has a strict 1-acre zoning ordinance and they won’t set dangerous precedent by making exceptions.” But he didn’t. Instead he said, “Well, you might be able to. There’s a little known ordinance on the books that your property might qualify under.”

And what I later learned is that by listening to this manager with sincere interest and genuine curiosity, I’d apparently made a friend: behind the scenes with members of the Town Council and the City Planning Commission, the town manager built a powerful case for why my property DID qualify under that little known Town Ordinance. I was able to subdivide that single building lot into two and essentially obtain a million-dollar building lot for free!

Transfer of Training

I’m pretty convinced that my years working as a volunteer grief counselor – years of listening to people’s heart-felt pain and anguish over the loss of loved ones – had changed the nature of the “resonance circuitry” in my body and brain. When I was listening to the Atherton Town Manager talk of the struggles and challenges of working with the children of entitlement, I could authentically empathize. I could feel his discomfort in my own body as he spoke. And this mind-blowing research in emotional micro-photography makes me pretty sure he saw that I felt it; and felt that I felt it – all unconsciously. And he trusted it because there was nothing inauthentic or insincere in my responses. My guess is that Town Manager found himself being seen, heard and felt in much the same way that he would if he’d been having a conversation with a good friend. Later, he simply decided that he would do what he could to help a friend.

I’ve been a staunch advocate for skillful listening ever since. Along the way I have come to intimately know the many benefits of increasing skill.

What about you? Have you had positive experiences of listening to someone or of being deeply listened to yourself that profoundly impacted your life? Do tell in the comments section below.

Waking up one day and finding myself weighing nearly 250 pounds was bad enough. Worse was feeling like I’m told many alcoholics feel – that I was powerless over weight gain. How could this be? I’m a smart guy. I have three graduate degrees. I’ve eventually been successful in virtually every venture I’ve ever been involved in. I’m a good person, a good friend and father. And I’m old enough to know better.

The kicker came one day while on a restocking trip with my wife to Costco. That was the day I hit rock bottom. We had the usual carts filled with roughly $700 worth of Costchkes. While we were waiting in line, my wife remembered that Archie and Gracie needed kitty litter. She asked me to go and get it while she held our place. After wandering about a bit I finally found the Kitty Pride. I picked up a sack and began walking back to the checkout line.

kitty_litter_hazardous_wasteSuddenly, I had an epiphany: “Holy cow. This sack of kitty litter weighs 42 pounds. IT’S REALLY HEAVY! And I’m carrying this amount of extra weight and more around with me on my body … every living moment of every day!”

Get Thee to a Library

Whenever I’m confronted with a hard problem I have one basic way of dealing – off to the research literature I go. If I’m struggling with this issue, other people are as well. Current estimates place the number at only 200 million other Americans. For the first time in history, overweight people currently outnumber the underfed.

Thus I began researching everything about the brain and eating behavior. I looked at the brain and bulimia, the brain and binge eating, the brain and addiction, the brain and compulsive eating disorder…. Whatever I thought might provide clarity and direction in my quest to get out in front of this learned behavior, I was interested in learning. And I also didn’t forget the Golden Rule of Social Neuroscience lesson about how critically important Jill Bolte Taylor’s mother was in her recovery.

Complification Makes It Not Happen

Over the next 9 months I learned a lot. I was already more than familiar with all the adverse health conditions that are associated with extra poundage – things like diabetes, heart ailments, strokes, kidney failure and the physical shrinking of my brain. But what I mostly discovered is that there are very good reasons that more than 200 million Americans and 42 million kids under age 5 are overweight or obese: if your brain isn’t already wired for it, managing weight is an ENORMOUSLY COMPLICATED enterprise. Quick, shallow or easy solutions simply don’t work. Sorry. Here are just a few of the things I discovered in my research that can work against us: obesogens, heritable genetics, environmentally-impacted epigenetics, metabolic ghettos, reduced sensory awareness, non-rechargeable mitochondria, impaired neuro-differentiation, learned helplessness leading to despair …

In hindsight I realized it was precisely at what I call my “Kitty Litter Moment” that I finally and truly hit bottom, dropped to the depths of helplessness and despair. And it was also at that moment when I became resolved that I was no longer going to feel helpless and hopeless about my weight. HOFI was going do whatever it took to be the free agent of my own personal, successful weight management program. I’m currently 18 months and 35 pounds down into what I have little doubt is going to be an ongoing, lifelong adventure. A brain-based experiment in a flexible, joyful, curious exploration rather than a painful, deprived, rigid, burdensome “weight loss program.” My brain wiring has changed such that managing weight has finally become an auto-telic activity – a self-motivated experiment that is pleasurable for its own sake because it carries its own intrinsic rewards. Managing my weight has become a fun game that I win at way more often than I lose. Rumor has it that I only need to mindfully eat 50.1 percent of my meals to make it into the Weight Manager’s Hall of Fame. Where weight management is concerned, it truly is how we play the game that matters most.

If you’d like to know more about how I organize and continue to successfully manage my weight using what I know about how the brain works, click HERE.

Most of you reading this blog have probably seen the TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor describing in detail what a left hemisphere stroke looked and felt like as it happened to her. Her knowledge of brain anatomy and brain function both helped and hindered her during the stroke – she spent a little too much time enraptured in the thrall of her own failing brain’s decline.

Jill B-T and her Mom

Jill B-T and her Mom

Probably fewer of you have managed to read Jill’s book, My Stroke of Insight. In that book she makes one thing abundantly clear: her mother, GG (Gladys Gillman Taylor), played a tremendous role in Jill’s recovery. It was her mother who took Jill home, realizing as she did that it was no longer her 37-year-old daughter she would be caring for. In terms of left-brain function, GG suddenly had a 2-year-old on her hands. And she would have to coach and teach Jill things like language skills and the names of objects and many other functions critical to left hemisphere operations all over again. Essentially, she had to raise her daughter twice, the second time on Jill’s brain’s healing timetable and in accord with her slowly re-growing capacities.

Making the Golden Rule of Social Neuroscience Obesity-Operational

The fact that Jill Bolte Taylor is able to give a TED Talk and appear on Oprah and tour the country giving talks and presentations is a testament to both compassionate, committed parenting and to the extraordinary fact of brain plasticity. It is this parenting and plasticity that contributed to my brainstorm about how I might begin to creatively food-rehab my own burgeoning weight – my brain would have to be remodeled, specifically in the areas involved with food, nourishment and eating behaviors – even if it ended up with me having to handcuff my hands behind my back for a week every month (with velvet handcuffs, of course)! But I would also need skillful, patient help to actually get the brain remodeling job done, much as I needed when I worked as a home remodeler.

And as with any good remodeling project, I needed to begin with a good blueprint. The way that certain foods often feel to me is similar to how I imagine crack feels to a crack addict: I’ve got to have some, and I’ve got to have some right now. With that realization in mind, I began to draw my blueprint based on findings from the addiction research literature. And what better place to start than with a former drug addict turn neuroscientist’s first-hand, researched account – Marc Lewis’s, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain! Before we actually explore what Lewis has to say, let’s take a quick look at just how complex the issue of skillfully managing weight actually is.

The Crushing Complexity of Obesity Management

Several weeks ago David Berreby, writing in the online magazine, Aeon, described in depth just how overwhelmingly complex the management of weight and nourishment actually turns out to be. I’m not going to list all the complexities here, but take some time to read his article. From the global food supply chains, to food content and quality, to metabolic ghettos, you’ll see just how many forces – including the way your own brain has developed and operates – are aligned against you.

The Biology of Desire

Marc Lewis’s experience with learning to kick cocaine and meth and prescription drugs, and how he managed to find his way through this enormously complex issue, primarily succeeds as a result of his knowledge and understanding of how the brain works, similar to Jill Bolte Taylor examining her stroke from the perspective of a scientist,

Professor Marc Lewis
Professor Marc Lewis

Lewis too, takes a close up, personal examination of his addiction through the lens of neuroscience. Along the way, he lays it out clearly: drugs, alcohol, sex, nicotine or food – all addictions are the result of brain-based learning. And essentially addiction is learning that involves two different circuits in the brain: the “Wanting” circuitry and the “Getting” circuitry. For most of us struggling with weight management, these circuits began firing together as a system in our early learning adventures with food. But one of the great findings in recent years is that the Wanting and the Getting circuitry can become decoupled with practice and with knowledgeable, competent help – people who understand how the brain works and what needs to happen for the decoupling process to actually occur and to be sustained.

In this vein, I predict two recent brain research findings will truly turn out to be game-changers. I’ll write about them and more next week.

Meanwhile, if you email: weightscholar@gmail.com, I’ll send you a free copy of The Weight Weight Chronicles – 100 recent scientific studies that underscore just how complex this problem actually is and why it’s so easy to fall for shallow and cinchy solutions.

We pause this blog to bring you a brief message from our sponsor …

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And now back to our regularly scheduled blog programming …

“The odds of going to a grocery store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are about three billion to one.” ~ Irma Bombeck

Taking my brain to our locally-owned Goose Grocery Store is an adventure of epic proportions. The moment I pull my truck into the parking lot, the battle begins. Before I ever set out, in the calm comfort of my home office, I write out a grocery list. It looks a lot like this: lettuce, tomatoes, peppers (red, green & yellow), onions, potatoes, celery, carrots, cucumbers, salad dressing … you get the picture.

chunky-monkey-detail When I get home and look at the grocery receipt, it is filled with items like this that I had absolutely no conscious intention to buy: cinnamon apple turnovers; Entenmann’s chocolate donuts; deli macaroni and cheese; bulk Jelly Bellies; Mother’s taffy cookies; Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream … I’m sure you get that picture as well. A grocery store is a dangerous place for my brain to wander around in unsupervised.

So what happened between the time I wrote out the shopping list and the time I walked through the door of the store? A lot. And little of it is very good.

But first, here’s an indictment that neuro-psychiatrist Daniel Amen handed down to me in last May/June’s Psychotherapy Networker (pg. 60):

“There are 140 studies indicating that as your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down. Given that 2/3s of us are overweight, it’s the biggest brain drain in the history of our country.”

So my Zombie grocery-shopping brain is not only adversely affecting my own health and lifestyle in an increasingly unhealthy way, but I’m contributing to the general decline of the whole country (and by extension, the whole world). That’s a lot of weight to bear! And just recently comedian Larry Wilmore cited stats that overweight Americans are overwhelmingly discriminated against in the job market, just as obesity reached another milestone peak. It’s not funny, Larry.

Faulty Functioning

“But it’s not my fault,” I frequently hear myself pleading. “It’s my brain’s. Plus, other people are planting bad food ideas in my head. Look at this research: Mind Control.” All of which Daniel Amen and Larry Wilmore would probably agree with. To a point. To the point where I become aware that my brain may have a little problem with something called: Executive Function. Once I become aware that I have this problem, then it is up to me to begin doing something about it. But what?

Executive Functions are carried out primarily by a centrally located part of the brain sometimes considered to be the place where the Third Eye resides. In Asian lore, the Third Eye – the ajna – is reputed to be the “command center of concealed wisdom.” When I go grocery shopping, for some reason my Third Eye turns blind. If this part of my brain right behind my ajna – the orbito-prefrontal cortex – was sufficiently robust and working properly, I would easily be able to stick to my grocery shopping list and do many things other people have little trouble with: make effective plans, keep the space around me neat and organized, or easily over-ride impulses to buy and eat foods advertisers brainwash me with that are unhealthy for me.

Staking My Future on Zombie Brain?

Early last year I realized that unless I started to take ongoing deliberate steps to address my Zombie Brain, my weight – 242 pounds at the time – was only going to continue to increase. But what to do? zombie-brainI have long known that diets don’t work – the weight comes off, but as it does it sends an under-the-radar signal to my Serengeti Brain that we are now in a period of significant famine (the brain we’re all walking around with today is pretty much the same brain that early human hunter-gatherer people had). Consequently, if I don’t overeat the next time food shows up, I run the risk of being seriously underweight when the next famine shows up. To Serengeti Brain diets equal food scarcity and it mostly drives reactive behavior outside our conscious awareness.

Fortunately, apart from diets that don’t work, I come up with a lot of other creative ideas for addressing my Zombie Brain challenge. Here’s one: conscript my friends to yell at me every time I’m out with them and order and eat something unhealthy. Punishment and abuse – that’s the ticket (I didn’t say they were all good ideas). But wait, don’t I do enough of that to myself already? Okay. Scrap that idea.

How about this: take out a gym membership and promise to keep my promise to actually go? Sounds great, except for the fact that over the years the dozen or so gym memberships I’ve had have been money truly wasted. Last week we gave away the $350 treadmill that’s been gathering dust in the basement for 3 years. It was only then that I realized: I hate exercising for exercise’s sake. What’s the point? Oh – to help manage my weight. Right. Okay. Nevertheless, when I tell the truth about it, working out in a gym or on a “dreadmill” doesn’t do it for me.

And then I hit on it: a brainstorm! I’m a brain guy!! Can I actually use the knowledge of how my brain works to effectively address this conundrum? Why, yes I can. Stay tuned …

Meanwhile, I’m curious as to what your grocery-shopping adventures might be like? Care to share?

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