Tag Archives: health

We’ve Got Rhythm

At the Near Future Summit 2017, I organized and moderated a capsule on Cycles and Rhythms.  After years of studying the psychophysiology of our relationship to technology (how our attention, emotions, and physiology (breathing, etc.) are impacted by the way we use technology today), I realized that, at a deeper level, this all relates to the rhythms of the body.  And the body is all about rhythm!

For starters: our gait, pulse, respiration, heart rate variability, organs, cranial rhythms, and our circadian rhythms, play a significant role in our health.  Just as our bodies are all about rhythm, our planet, too, is all about cycles and rhythms.

Here’s my blog post from Medium.com on the session.

A few more words (and links!) on the Near Future Summit…

The World Positive area on Medium covered a number of the capsules at the Near Future Summit 

For me, attending this event, was one of the most uplifting and optimistic experiences ever.  Presenter after presenter shared break through technologies  from CleanTech  and urban farming to medicine, and from the treatment of PTSD to anti-recidivism.

If you have a moment to look up any of the following speakers, you’re likely to discover some extraordinary projects and startups:

Medicine:  Dean Kamen, Osman Kibar, Nina Tandon

Food/Urban Farming:  Tobias Peggs

CleanTech:  Ben Bronfman, Etosha Cave, Ilan Gur, Molly Morse

Social Responsibility and Community Building:  Cameron Sinclair, Yosef Ayele, Lindsay Holden

Cycles and Rhythms:  Satchin Panda, Marko Ahtisaari, Dave Gallo, Li-Huei Tsai

PSTD:  Rick Doblin

Criminal Justice Reform:  Valerie Jarrett, Scott Budnick, Catherine Hoke, Lynn Overmann

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

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What Part of You is Free?

This post was written several years ago.  I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments…

From January 2010

I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen.  I’m right-handed.  I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there.  I remember something my doctor said, “When you wake up, pay attention to what is working.  Put all your attention on that.” 

I scan my body.   My left arm is great.   Okay, left arm, show me what you can do.  I reach to grab one of the headboard spindles, and use my left arm to roll over and hoist myself up.  My left leg is working pretty well, too.  I lean against the wall and drag myself into the bathroom.  Home run.  I may be right-handed, but my left arm rules.

A few years ago, my friend, Mary Jane, was telling me about someone she had coached.   The woman kept diving into the same story, the same limitations, and the same struggles.  Mary Jane would listen and ask questions.  At one point, in a face-to-face meeting, Mary Jane took the woman’s arm and told her to try to get away.  The woman pulled and pulled with the arm Mary Jane was holding, then, gave up.  “I’m stuck,” she said, committed to stuck-ness.

“What part of you is caught?”   Mary Jane asked.  

“Easy,” the woman responded, “my arm.”

“What part of you is free,” Mary Jane coached.

“Wow.  The rest of my body!”

“How can you use the rest of your body to free yourself?”

The woman was quickly free. 

As I fell back into bed, I wondered why mind always found limitations quickly and was blind to freedom.

One of my favorite mentors and teachers, Byron Katie, offers:

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”

 

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The Essential Self: Health Beyond the Numbers

“What are you tracking?” This is the conversation at Quantified Self (QS) meetups. The Quantified Self movement celebrates “self-knowledge through numbers.” In our current love affair with QS, we tend to focus on data and the mind. Technology helps manage and mediate that relationship. The body is in there somewhere, too, as a sort of “slave” to the mind and the technology.

In our relationship with technology, we easily fall out of touch with our bodies. We know how many screen hours we’ve logged, but we are less likely to be able to answer the question: “How do you feel?”

The full post is here, and suggests a new movement, alongside the Quantified Self movement.  This new movement is called:  The Essential Self.

What might the tools and technologies of this new movement look and feel like?

Passive, ambient, non-invasive technologies are emerging as tools to help support our Essential Self. Some of these technologies work with light, music, or vibration to support “flow-like” states.  We can use these technologies as “prosthetics for feeling” — using them is about experiencing versus tracking. Some technologies support more optimal breathing practices. Essential Self technologies might connect us more directly to our limbic system, bypassing the “thinking mind,” to support our Essential Self.

When data and tracking take center stage, as is the case with most Quantified Self technologies, the thinking mind is in charge. And, as a friend of mine says, “I used to think my mind was the best part of me. Then I realized what was telling me that.”


Here are a few examples of outstanding Essential Self technologies; please share your examples and experiences in the comments:

  • JustGetFlux.com
    More than eight million people have downloaded f.lux. Once downloaded, f.lux matches the light from the computer display to the time of day: warm at night and like sunlight during the day. The body’s circadian system is sensitive to blue light, and f.lux removes most of this stimulating light just before you go to bed. These light shifts are more in keeping with your circadian rhythms and might contribute to better sleep and greater ease in working in front of the screen. This is easy to download, and once installed, requires no further action from you — it manages the display light passively, ambiently, and non-invasively.
  • Focusatwill.com
    When neuroscience, music, and technology come together brilliantly, focusatwill.com is the result. Many of us enjoy listening to music while we work. The folks at focusatwill.com understand which music best supports sustained, engaged attention, and have curated a music library that can increase attention span up to 400% according to their website.  The selections draw from core neuroscience insights to subtly and periodically change the music so your brain remains in a “zone” of focused attention without being distracted. “Attention amplifying” music soothes and supports sustained periods of relaxed focus. I’m addicted.
  • Just for fun, use a Heartmath EmWave2 to track the state of your Autonomic Nervous System while you’re listening to one of the focusatwill.com music channels.

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