Quality of Life
The Antidote to Overwhelm
21May 2018
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“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless.
But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment.”
-Maya Angelou

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
The secret to getting started is to break complex, overwhelming tasks
into small, manageable tasks, and then start on the first one.”
-Mark Twain

As a human being in the 21st century, chances are you have a career to build, a family to care for, a household to manage, bills & taxes to pay, and a burning desire to improve every area of your life.

Sometimes you have so much going on, you feel like your head might explode.

And you’re not alone. The feeling of overwhelm is spreading like a disease throughout modern culture… and rightfully so.

Our limited human attention spans are in a constant tug-of-war with countless demands, distractions, and desires… and they’re increasing exponentially with each passing year.

The modern world’s incessant need for “more, better, faster” creates a sense of urgency and inadequacy, and leaves us feeling that our happiness, contentment and desired state of being are perpetually “just around the corner” — always the next goal away, just out of reach.

Even as the highly conscious, ultra-intentional Lifebook Members we are…

We all face challenges in life that threaten to sweep us off our feet.

Enter emotional overwhelm… that paralyzing cocktail of stress, worry, helplessness and disempowerment that tries to convince you of your inability to cope with the circumstances and challenges of life.

Overwhelm overrides our ability to see things clearly and take conscious action, by making our problems appear bigger and closer than they actually are.

But here’s a truly life-changing secret…

Overwhelm is less about what’s going on outside of you, and more about what’s going on inside of you.

More…

14 Morning Rituals to Set the Tone for an Incredible Day
09Jan 2018
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You forgot to set your alarm.

As you slowly wake up on your own, you see that the sun is already shining brightly and it’s much later than you anticipated.

Panic sets in as you realize you’re late for everything. You throw on your cleanest outfit, brush your teeth and rush out the door un-showered, hungry and stressed.

While this may be a downright miserable way for anyone to start their day, it’s all too familiar to many of us.

We’ve all experienced the difference between an unintentional morning of stress and chaos, and an intentional morning of tranquility and efficiency.

Your morning routine has the power to set the mood for your entire day.

Studies show that people who start their mornings calm and happy finish the day in the same upbeat, energized state… whereas people who begin their day in a bad mood end their day feeling the same, or worse.

Furthermore, those who have elevated moods demonstrate high productivity, while those who experience low moods demonstrate low productivity.

The bottom line?

If you want to feel happier, more energized, more successful, and more fulfilled, you absolutely must create a morning ritual that nourishes you. More…

Wine 101: It’s Not That Complicated!
19Dec 2017
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Written by Lifebook Member Brian Johnson

Quality of Life is probably my favorite of all the Lifebook categories. And for me, fine wine is an important part my quality of life!

I love everything about fine wine; the hunt to find those special gems, sharing a great bottle with friends, discussing wine for hours on end…

But I’ve discovered that when I talk to most people about wines, the reaction is usually the same…

“UHGGG! I just don’t know where to start! It’s just all too confusing! I don’t know enough! I‘m afraid I will waste my money!”

(Then, the other one that really gets me is, “Oh… I just stick with my box of red wine from the local grocery store!” OMG, right?)

Seriously, the world of wine does not have to be complicated…

Yes, there are a plethora of choices, and they are always changing. For instance, a big winner one year for a Napa Valley cabernet could be a total flop the next – or one year, a mediocre Spanish wine could win the “wine of the year” the next. How does that happen?

Well, there are many reasons, but unless you are immersed in this world and you take it as serious as I do, it simply does not matter!

What DOES matter is what YOU like, not what anyone else likes!

Having one of the top wine review sites in the world, I am frequently asked a few of the same questions over and over and I wanted to share them with you. For this issue, I am going to just keep it to the top few questions and we can get into more of them later.

Big Question Number One: “What is the best wine I can buy?”

OK, I love this one and I usually have fun with it. I start with something like Screaming Eagle for about $4,000.00 per bottle and run up to a Chateau Petrus for $17,000.00 per bottle.

Then, after they look at me like I have two heads, I say, “I am just making a point, because there is no BEST WINE!” What kind of ice cream do you like? What kind of car do you drive? Where would you like to live?

It is really all about YOU! That’s all that matters when it comes to the best wine. It could be a local bottle from the grocery store, or a $200.00 bottle of Napa Cabernet.

If you are a collector the story might be a little different, but most people are not collectors (and we can get into collecting wine down the road, which is where things get really fun).

Question Number Two (and a better question to ask): “What wines do YOU like?”

I usually get this question after my answer to the first one.

Why is this a better question to ask? Because, if you are just starting out with wines or if you are looking to step-up your experience with wines, then this is one of the best ways to do it…

Talk with other wine lovers and share your experiences.

Not only is this really fun, but it’s a very good way to enhance those great relationships with the people you want to be around.

Most people love to tell you about their favorite wine or some great experience in a nice restaurant with a wine they’ve never heard of. Or how they remember the specific wine they were drinking when they got engaged, or attended a birthday party, or a graduation.

You can also find some wine blogs or review sites out there that DO NOT review wines to make money. I say that because most of the magazines and blogs will give their sponsors and advertisers better reviews then they deserve. And, most likely, you won’t find the “hidden jewels” in any of the mainstream wine resources.

Here is an example; I roam the Napa Valley and go to small wineries that produce less than 1000 cases of wine. Places like Staglin Family, Chateau Boswell, Palmaz, Bryant, etc. Most likely you won’t hear about these in any mainstream magazines, but I feel they are better wines for less than 100 dollars than most 1000 dollar bottles out there.

There is a very key point to this process. Once you find the right blogs or people who drink wines frequently, try the wines they suggest. If you like what they’ve suggested, then you have found a good person to follow and they will likely steer you in the right direction.

Just because some ad says, “this is the top wine of the year” does not mean you will like it. I am not saying don’t try it, because trying new wines is the only way to expand your palate. What I am saying is don’t just rely on what you read.

Experience the wine world for yourself. Just try different wines more often and PAY ATTENTION to what you like!

After a while you will narrow your palate into the areas you love and then you can expand it from there.

Question Three: “What do you like best about wine?”

This may shock you but what I like about wines MOST, is not the wine itself. It’s not the taste, it’s not the pairings, and it’s not that great feeling of gratification from a great wine… No, it’s much bigger and more profound than that…

To me, it’s all about the experiences, the relationships wine can build, the love that it expands.

Those single moments in life that you look back on and will remember forever. Like sipping an 86 Mouton while overlooking a sunset with my wife while in Key West on our anniversary, or the 2000 Gaja overlooking the fountains at Pacasso with family, or the 2004 Staglin we enjoyed with Jon and Missy, or the many, many times we’ve gotten together with our good friends to share timeless stories while sharing each other’s wines.

Heather and I relate special times in our lives with certain wines. Wines are so much more to me than just a beverage. Good wines are special, and the more you look at the history of a wine and how it was first created, the more you can appreciate it and the more you cherish the experience when you open a great wine.

I collect really great wines and I’m always looking for the right time and place to open a special bottle. Or, I’ll buy a wine when a baby is born to open at their graduation or wedding. Wine can help to bring people together, create outstanding experiences, create new friends, and just so much more.

Do you remember the last time you had a great wine? When was it? What was the time like? Is it something you will remember forever?

Now THAT to me is worth every penny I have spent on wine. Whether it was over priced or under priced, deep red or purple, 2009 or 1940, good or bad…

Think about that the next time you open a great bottle of wine and turn your wine drinking into a wonderful experience.

Cheers!

Brian Johnson

For a quick glance, here are some of Brian’s top-rated wines in each dollar bracket. For a deeper dive and more extensive list, visit his blog at TheWineBloggers.com.

Brian’s Top 3 $0-30 Wines

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2003, 90 points

2003 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso

(Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri)

Deep dark fruit, plumbs and leather on the nose with strong ceder.  Lots of character in this wine. Deep purple color hinting toward brownish.  The palate is powerful at the start with chocolate, blackberries, cloves and dark leather.  It’s a dark feeling wine with earthy dirt tastes and black tobacco.  Lots of spices and tannins. The finish has burnt caramel and strong tannins on the sides of the tong and the lingering aftertaste is a touch bitter with cigar tobacco.  This is a deep dark super Tuscan and if yo like that this wine is really good for 25 bucks.  This is a 2003 and this wine is going to age beautifully.  This is a definite try if you like the bold Italian reds.

Orin Swift The Prisoner 2006, 90 points

2006 Orin Swift The Prisoner

(USA, California, Napa Valley)

Loads of personality in this wine. Very big and jammy. The nose was not as surprising and the palate. Had black olives, caramel and an overall soft earthy smell. The color was a deep dark purple and had some nice body to it. The palate was a BANG! This wine has loads of body and a very big initial taste with burnt caramel, sour cherries, black olives and a hint of pepper. A little hot and needs to be open for a while. Not as earthy as the nose but more jammy. Definitely worth 30 bones because this is an experience.

The 2006 blends the lush berry flavors of Zinfandel(51%), the power and concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), the dark black fruit of Syrah (12%), the intensity and structure of Petit Sirah (6%), the flesh of Charbono (6%) and a hint of Grenache (2%) – all combined for a decadent wine with great complexity.

Orin Swift Website

Tintara Shiraz 2005, 90 points

2005 Tintara Shiraz

(Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale)

In Redondo Beach LA for meetings and ate at Baleen in the Portofino hotel.  Great meal and had the Tinara Shiraz in a flight of 4.  This one was clearly the best with the Kobe steak.  Love the chocolate nose with loads of espresso and burnt log.  Great nose on this wine and very intriguing. The palate starts with lots of chocolate and spices, very nice. I like this wine a lot because it has some nice characteristics. Very soft wine for a shiraz and the tannins are on the softer side as well as allowing the flavors to come through.   I highly suggest this wine.  Great for the money at about 20 bucks a bottle.  Give it a try.

Brian’s Top 3 $30-60 Wines

Paradigm cabernet 2005, 93 points

Do you like Screaming Eagle?  Then you will love this wine at the price.  Wine maker Heidi Barrett brings this wine to you as one of the better Napa cult wines.  I call this the little brother of Screaming Eagle.  The color was very dark and inky.  The nose had the old world feel to it that I like with chocolate, cherries and an earthy edge to it.  Lots of fruit and some layers of toased oak.  This wine was silky on to a velvety finish.  Very mouth coating BANG to the palate.  This wine will cellar for many years.  After about 45 minutes in the decanter it really rounded out nice and got softer.

At around 60 bucks a bottle it is a definite try.

Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera 2005, 91 points

2005 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera

(Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico)

Nice wine.  Balanced and quality.  The nose has vanilla and dark cherry. The palate has plum, dark red cherries with nice oak and black licorice.  Good solid transition and a finish of tar and tobacco with some raspberry. I like this wine because it is solid and has good quality all the way through and worth the money.  About 40 bucks a bottle.

From their site: http://www.masi.it/agricola/COSTASERA_PAGE.pag

The Colonial Estate Emigre 2004, 91 points

2004 The Colonial Estate Emigre
(Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley)

Different than what I expected from Australia.  In a good way. Overall and explosion, loads of spice, molasses and sugar and cinnamon toast. Interesting wine and good quality.  The nose was earthy with green pepper and dirt. This wine had lots of sediment in it.  The color was a dark inky look. Lots of black fruit on the palate with molasses and some vanilla.  Good solid mid palate and a long finish that was smooth.  This wine will be stellar in a few years and it is worth a try.

ROBERT PARKER “Outstanding 94+” Rating: “The 2004 Emigre, a Rhone-based blend of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre as well as Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon, exhibits a sweet perfume of graphite, black fruits, sweet cherries, licorice, smoke, and background vanilla. Full-bodied, rich, textured, and impressively long, it should drink well for 10-15 years … minimum. 94+ points”

Brian’s Top 3 $60-100 Wines

Chateau Boswell releases the 2007 Napa Cabernet, 93+ points

The new release 2007 Chateau Boswell Napa Cabernet. This Cabernet has been rated “Classic 96″ points. I visited and did a tasting at this producers and I can say I totally agree with that rating. This wine is on my favorites list. Check out my video. We were tasting from the barrels this wine came from and I swore I was drinking Harlan Estate. Not a surprise because its on the same hill. The winemaker is from Peter Michael (Les Pavot Cabernet $209/bottle) and the vineyard source is next to the ‘Cultish’ Hundred Acre “Ark” Cabernet ($299/bottle) which has also been rated “…a candidate for Perfection; 96 – 100″ by Robert Parker. Chateau Boswell is a surprisingly good bargain at $95/bottle or a whopping $200/bottle savings compared to their world famous neighboring Cabernet. The owners are not only great people but their facility was just as good. They were very inviting and accommodating. Chateau Boswell is a hidden jewel and their wine will not be this price for long as people catch on. I have been stocking up on them and you can see my other reviews from their other wines. Check them out here

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard 2004, 92 points

2004 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard

(USA, California, Sonoma County)

Home run.  Very nice wine with character, complexity and boldness.  Deep violet color.  Huge fruit on the nose with black currant and  licorice.  Nice blackberry, bark and vanilla on the palate with violet and other hints of floral.  Had a little old world to this wine.  The transition was a little quick but the finish lingered nice with some chocolate, oak, and a nice balance of tannins.  This wine is velvety and soft but still having some strong characteristics.  Definite try at 65 bucks.

Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2004, 91 points

2004 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

(USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain)

Soft and velvety with an explosion on the palate. Solid wine and is worth a try at 60 bucks a bottle.  Solid deep purple inky color. A few more years on this 04 and it will be a superstar. The wine is jammy and reminds me of a good bottle of the Prisoner. Solid fruits, solid oak, solid tannins.  The wine is balanced and well rounded.  Lush dark berries and dark cherry. The mid palate stayed strong and the finish was medium with a smokey and earthy feel. The palate was much better than the nose.  The nose was good but not eventful with some cedar. This does not mean the overall wine is not good because this is a definite try in my opinion. Give it a little time in the decanter.

From Ladera’s site:

Our 2004 Lone Canyon Cabernet’s were cold soaked for upwards of 5 days before the commencement of fermentation. A combination of multiple strains of commercial and native wine yeasts were used. The average fermentations lasted 12 days. The free run wine was then separated from the skins which were pressed at several intervals of pressure; determined by taste and tannin intensity. The wine was then barrel aged for 22 months in French oak barrels (73% new). The wine was bottled August 23, 2006.

The 2004 Lone Canyon Cabernet is a perfect example of how rich and lush the wines from this property can be. This wine is exuberant in color and the aromas are alive with spicy and herbal fruit. The nose provides earthy, brambly undertones with brilliant dark fruit. A full bodied entry hits the palate with flavors of dark cherry and licorice. The wine is layered with textures that are bold and masculine yet maintain tannins of a velvety character. The dark fruit flavors blend with the complex tannins to produce on extremely long fruit finish.

Brian’s Top 3 $100-150 Wines

Feudi di San Gregorio Pàtrimo Campania IGT 2005, 92 points

2005 Feudi di San Gregorio Pàtrimo Campania IGT

(Italy, Campania, Campania IGT)

Great surprise. Beautiful full bodied old world wine. This wine was a treat with a nose of blackberries, spices and nice balance of oak. The palate was balanced and the tannins were just right. The best part of this wine for me was the real old world feel to the wine. Nice oak with vanilla, chocolate, and a little pipe tobacco and leather. Spices and minerals come through. This wine is mostly Merlot and has a soft but powerful jammy palate. I can tell this wine will age great and a few more years will do this wine good. Definite try.

Producers site: http://www.feudi.it/en/wines/patrimo-2/

From their site

“The 2006 Patrimo (Merlot) is a compelling wine. Super-ripe blackberries, blueberry jam, spices, minerals, graphite and French oak emerge from this opulent, full-throttle red. Despite the richness, there is a surprising level of clarity and detail in the glass. The tannins are impeccably soft and round all the way through to the finish. Today the oak is quite prominent, but another few years in bottle should help the wine come together nicely. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.”

Chateau Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon & Dr. Crane 2005, 92 points

2005 Château Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon & Dr. Crane

(USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)

Nice old world feel. Rich with mouth coating flavor and the tannins were perfect. Complex with black berry and coffee espresso and a bit earthy. AWESOME nose that is inviting with balanced oak and herbal. Great character in the palate with a finish lasting. This wine reminds me of Harland estate for much less money. Right about 90 bucks and if you like wines for an experience try this out. Not an everyday wine and a really nice old world tasting and feeling. Quality all the way.

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate 1996, 92 points

Solid “old world” red wine. Tons of Berries and very aged smelling oak. Very together nose that is plentifully and balanced. The palate had nice balanced oak, blackberry’s, and black current and still have a nice “old world” taste to it. Nice long finish and the mid palate was still screaming. Overall a very good experience. Higher priced wine but if you like old world you will like this.

Brian’s Top 3 $100+ Wines

Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella 1998, 97 points

1998 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella

(Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella)

Flawless outstanding producer. I opened this wine up by accident and then went to my list to find it was about 450 bucks a bottle. Well… the good thing is before I knew the cost I was absolutely savoring every minute of this amarone. Lush and velvety. We decanted for about 30 minutes and this wine flourished throughout an hour. The color was on the brownish side. Typical old world feel. The nose was HUGE and towering of anisette, raisin and plums with a good dose of roses and cedar. The palate was an explosion on the start. This is a heavy wine and coats the mouth with chocolate, plumb,floral, black licorice and soft tobacco. The mid palate stayed consistent and the tannins were just right.  After an hour the tannins really rounded out and this wine got very soft while maintaining the flavors.  The finish was long and balanced. Floral and cedar still lingered.  I can’t say enough about this wine.  If you ever get a chance this is a definite try because you will always remember the experience.

“Valpolicella’s magician.” “The master of the Veneto.” “The patriarch of Amarone.” “The traditionalist.” Not bad for a winemaker who simply follows the winemaking customs of his forefathers. Giuseppe Quintarelli’s hand-written labels are easy to recognize and his wines fit the idiosyncratic style. Since 1924, his family has made wine from grapes grown on steep slopes on the outskirts of Negrar. For his highly-regarded Amarone, he still dries the grapes in an attic room, ages the wine for years in large Slavenian casks, and holds the wines from release until he is sure of their readiness. His magic has worked, as he has turned some of Veneto’s most traditional wines into luxury icons.

WOW! Staglin Family Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2004, 94 points…

2004 Staglin Family Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

(USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford)

At the Ritz Carlton in Las Vegas with my friend Spike.  We are sipping this Staglin overlooking the beautiful Lake Las Vegas which adds to the great experience. This 2004 Staglin is out of sight good. Much better than the 1998 we had last month. Deep purple color. Nose is ripe rich dark berry with sweet tobacco and bark. Old world feel all the way. The palate is blackberries, dark chocolate, sour cherries, and cacise. Extremely complex yet so together It is massively structured showing more liqueur-like blackberry,soft minerals, burnt wood and rich concentrated roasted oak and cedar. Nice and balanced, the finish is long and well layered with deliciously sweet tannins,the acidity is just right. This wine will age effortless for a decade or more. The mouth feels simply HUGE and velvety and glides over every inch of your tongue and mouth. I love this wine and it is one of my favorites. I am never disappointed and it is one of those wines that you just always look forward to opening.

2009 Mollydooker Shiraz Velvet Glove, 94 points

2009 Mollydooker Shiraz Velvet Glove

(Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale)

I scored this wine 94 points because it was young but I can see this wine hitting 96ish easy.  After tasting the 2009 it told me I definitely want to cellar much more of this wine. Very dark purple and inky in color.  Almost like an aged port. Very Jammy wine wine with Bing cherries, deep vanilla and strong blackberry.  The transition was smooth and balanced with a long hang time that stayed fruity. This wine is a fruit bomb and of good quality.  i cant say enough about this wine.  In a few years it will be stellar.  It’s a little pricey at 160 bucks but it can hold its own.  give this one a try but cellar it for a while.

From their site: http://www.mollydookerwines.com/mollydooker_wine_store?maxrows=200

5 Ways to Simplify Life (and work) Today
28Nov 2017
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Written by Leo Babauta of ZenHabits

Living a life of simplicity can be a beautiful thing. But simplifying itself can seem like an overwhelming process.

So I recommend simplicity in your simplifying.

Instead of trying to simplify your whole life, tossing out all your clutter and paring your schedule to just meditation and writing your novel … how about just simplifying one thing?

Simplifying one thing is doable. You don’t have to simplify everything today — you’ve got ages to do all of that.

Simplicity is the path.

You can pick one of the ideas below and implement it today. If it works well, continue it tomorrow. Or try one of the other ideas. And do it with a smile!

  1. Single-task. The next thing you choose to do … do only that. Close everything else, put your phone away, and just focus on that one task. If you’re reading this article, stay with it and do nothing else until you’re done reading. When you decide to check social media, check one at a time and do it fully and with mindfulness. When you go for a walk, have nothing to listen to or look at, other than the nature all around you. One thing at a time: wash one dish, just write, just eat. This is such a simple idea, and it’s doable right now.
  2. Use in-between spaces as mini-meditations. When you’re done with one thing, instead of rushing to the next, pause. Enjoy this in-between space. Notice how you’re feeling, what’s around you, what you just did, what your intention is for what you’re about to do. When you’re going somewhere else, whether it’s just another part of the office or another part of your city … just enjoy this time fully, as if it’s just as important as anything else you do, and don’t rush past it.
  3. Let go of one commitment. Our lives are so full because we say yes to so much, and our commitments pile up over time. You can greatly simplify your life by letting go of one commitment. What isn’t fulfilling you? What can you get out of today by telling them you just don’t have space for it? Practice saying no with confidence and love.
  4. Be fully present with someone. Pick someone today to be with fully. Put away your phone, let go of anything else you’re thinking about, and just be with them. Listen to them. Try to fully see them. Open your heart to them. Send them your love. If you do this with one person a day, which is such a simple thing to do, your life will become better through better relationships and connection.
  5. Clear one space. Find one little area in your work space or home, and declutter it. Just the amount of space that you can hug. For example, just a little space on your desk or kitchen counter. Let this be the blissful oasis of peace and simplicity that will ripple outward to the rest of your life!

These are five little things you can do no matter what you have going on today — don’t do all five things, but just pick one.

And enjoy the simplicity that comes with the doing.

Amy’s Big, Magical Home Transformation
27Jan 2017
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After talking with Jon and Missy about our top three goals at our Lifebook Ultimate weekend, we determined one of them was Home Environment.

Jon recently encouraged us to start thinking about our Family Room and to start designing it based on how we want to spend our time as a family.

We have done a lot of thinking and planning in these areas, which has been awesome, but it has also spurred on some additional transformation in the last week or two – in our game cupboard, music closet and home office (which also is a chiropractic room), craft closet, linen closet and toss-all room. I wanted to record my experience this morning because it was so powerful.

I have been getting up early and working on getting rid of anything in these rooms that does not move me toward my life vision.

I ask myself, “Does this bring joy to my life? Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I use it?” More…

How to Have a Good Bad Day
06Dec 2016
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Written by Jessi Kohlhagen

We’ve all had terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

An overwhelming workload, a missed deadline, a traffic jam, some bad news, a fight with your partner, a broken goal… crappy days come in many shapes and sizes.

But (as with most things in life) you can bet your bottom dollar that even your stormiest days have their silver linings.

Here are 8 ideas for how to have a GOOD bad day:

1. Resist the urge to “treat” yourself

There’s nothing quite like a “treat” at the end of a particularly crappy day… yet oftentimes our ideas of treating ourselves are actually unhealthy, and leave us feeling even more miserable after the initial surge of enjoyment has subsided. Whether our go-to vice is alcohol, sweets, cigarettes or shopping, indulging it usually leaves us with feelings of guilt and loss of control. So next time you find yourself seeking to fill that void, ask yourself, “will this really make me feel better?”

2. Connect with your body

The most beneficial way to “treat” yourself is to really connect with your being, and nourish every cell in your body. Exercise is one of the most obvious and effective mood boosters, so try a gentle yet nourishing form of movement that will take you out of your head and into your body (dance and yoga are fantastic choices!). Once you’ve nurtured yourself from the inside out, work from the outside in. Draw yourself a relaxing bath of Epson salts, essential oils, candles and relaxing music. You’re guaranteed to feel like a whole new person!

3. Write it down

Writing/Journaling is one of the most powerful forms of healing therapy imaginable. It’s not so much about the process of documenting what is happening in our lives… it’s the process of being fully aware of what is happening in our lives, and in ourselves. When you take the time to candidly and uninhibitedly communicate what and how you’re feeling, you will find gems of wisdom that you didn’t realize existed (and oftentimes the solution you need to the problems you’re facing). Thank you, inner voice!

4. Do a 180

If you spent the day trying to dig yourself out from an overwhelming pit of paperwork, spend your evening completely disconnected from your career and engage in something that feels like a contrast. Play, read a book, move your body, relax. On the flip side, if you spent your day lazing around, making poor choices and are feeling crappy about yourself, get up and get something done… which leads us to #5…

5. Accomplish something

Oftentimes, the overwhelm, guilt and defeat that we feel at the end of a terrible day is caused by a sense of imbalance. These are the days we spend way too much time and energy focused on one thing (or one theme) and are left feeling too exhausted and frustrated to even begin thinking about all the other things that need to be done. Sometimes the antidote to overwhelm is simply to take conscious action. So when you’re feeling overpowered by one category of your life, accomplish something meaningful in a category you feel is lacking. Deep clean your kitchen, cook a beautifully vibrant meal, connect with your children, make love to your partner, create something for someone. Find a sense of accomplishment elsewhere, and let that satisfaction heal you.

6. Say “well, at least I…”

Surely there are meaningful moments that occur, even on our darkest days. Learning to focus our minds on the full spectrum of our experience, and not indulge in one overpowering aspect of it, is one of the great keys to balance and fulfillment in life. So instead of stewing over everything that went wrong, try and make a mental list of the things that went well.

7. Keep perspective

Ask yourself if this will matter in a week, a month, a year… or even tomorrow! Think back to similar times when you’ve felt defeated, and remember how it all worked out… recognize how distant and removed from that experience you feel today, and remember that this too shall pass.

8. Remember the ebb and flow

The brilliant Rumi spoke these poetic words of wisdom:

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence
is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birds’ wings.”
― Rumi

Remember that the nature of the human experience is this very contracting and expanding. The more you can accept this as a simple (and in fact beautiful) part of life, the more inner peace you will find in every millimeter of your experience – both the good, and the bad.

Even a bad day can have something good in it.

What can you find in yours?

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17 Films That Will Make You A Better Global Citizen
23Aug 2016
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“We all have an obligation as citizens of this earth to leave the world a healthier, cleaner, and better place for our children and future generations.”
-Blythe Danner

“When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection; love is born.
-Nhat Hanh

Knowing that we’re doing our best to become better people on a daily basis is one of the truest definitions of success, and one of the most important things we can do to create happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

But what about the bigger picture? Part of our calling to become better human beings entails devoting ourselves to causes that are bigger than us… to committing greater acts of love, care and devotion for our beautiful planet, and all of its inhabitants.

Here are 17 documentary films that will turn your focus toward the impact you have on the world, and help you become an even better global citizen. More…

36 Things Lifebook Members Can’t Live Without
12Apr 2016
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Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live without the countless luxuries we enjoy everyday?

What are some of the items or products that truly make your life better, and contribute to your happiness and wellbeing?

We asked Lifebook VIPS to share some of their most treasured possessions, and here’s what they came up with…

Things-1

My Vitamix!

Before my Vitamix I had no idea just how smooth a smoothie could be. Now I can’t imagine how I’d get all of my nutrients and raw foods everyday without it.

Jessi Kohlhagen

Things-2

My Bose In-Ear Head Phones.

The quality of music they provide is wonderful. Music makes my heart happy and to have them makes it sound like I am listening to the music being played right in front of me.

Jessica Dziurkowski More…

Harmonize Your Home Energy: A Beginner’s Guide to Feng Shui
05Apr 2016
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Feng shui (say “fung shway”) is the art of creating a home environment that supports the life you wish to live.

A key element of feng shui is creating a smooth flow of chi (positive energy) through your space. Chi likes to move through your home as though it were a gentle breeze or a meandering stream.

Where it’s blocked, the energy becomes stagnant – like a pond choked with algae and fallen leaves. You’re likely to feel blocked in life, and your energy and enthusiasm for matters of the heart will be low.

Balancing and correcting the chi of your home helps encourage and invigorate energy, positivity, and flow.

Before we dive into some powerful ways you can improve the energy of your home, let’s take a look at what feng shui is really all about.

What is feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It’s a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for the people inhabiting it.

Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy.

It embodies a belief that we as humans are energetically connected to the spaces we inhabit. Feng shui sees sacred purposes behind design – not just artistically appealing or superficially pretty surroundings. It views the world in terms of cosmic energy.

Feng means wind and Shui means water – both of which embody flow, movement, and passage.

Feng shui encourages us to transform our physical environments into energized, harmonious spaces that flow freely, like the wind and the water.

It’s important to understand that there are several different schools of feng shui, and just like traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui knowledge is deep and complex. The more you know about feng shui, the more there is to explore!

To keep things simple, we’ll only cover the basics here. But if it resonates, feel free to deepen your own knowledge and practice of Feng Shui.

After implementing only a few simple feng shui tips you are sure to start seeing some powerful results in your home and your life.

Ready to dig in?

Here are 10 Feng Shui tips to harmonize your home:

1. Remove The Clutter

This may sound obvious, but it’s a non-negotiable first step without which all other steps become irrelevant. Clutter causes stress on both conscious and subconscious levels, it perpetuates our insatiable desire for more (because we have an unfulfilling experience with what we have), and it blocks positive energy flow in our bodies, our homes, and our relationships. “Wherever the eye goes, the chi goes.”

Imagine this: You step into your home after a long day and everywhere you look fills you with a sense of peace, joy and gratitude. No matter where your eyes land, you are met with order, simplicity, and purity. Pure bliss!

If you have clutter anywhere in your home, it’s time to clean, organize and/or purge it. Here are some fun tips for decluttering once and for all:

  • Stop the flow of stuff coming in. For real. Your kids really don’t need that brand new toy, and long-term gratification is a good practice for everyone.
  • Declutter daily. If you see something that you know you’ll eventually get rid of, don’t put it off. Seize the moment. Be ruthless. Make a “giveaway pile” so you can continuously add to it and keep everything organized.
  • Don’t keep things out of guilt, obligation, or scarcity. Period.
  • Don’t be afraid to let go. Just because something is technically useful doesn’t make it practical to your own unique self, home or wellbeing.
  • Don’t over-equip your home. You don’t need enough linen, cutlery, or pantry supplies to serve as a hotel. Be realistic about your true needs, and remember that you can always borrow from others for large, unexpected events.
  • Remember that gifts don’t have to be material. For spouses, children, and others that we live with, get creative with your gifts… try new experiences, homemade crafts, and other powerful ways to express your love without inviting an avalanche of new “stuff” into your home.

2. Make Your Entryway Inviting and Beautiful

One of feng shui’s most important lessons is in the power of your front door. Feng shui identifies the main entryway to a building as the source of all chi (or energy) into the home. It’s the gateway to positivity, wealth and abundance. And the two best ways to invite powerful new energy into your life are:

  • To USE your front door. Make it a habit to utilize this power center. Don’t enter through your garage everyday and step directly into your kitchen or laundry room. Step into beauty when you arrive home as often as possible.
  • Make it a beautiful experience. Your entryway should be inviting – to people and to positive energy. Make it beautiful and design it so that it comes alive. Infuse it with color and fragrance. Use plants, lights, wind chimes, flags, fountains, crystals – whatever energizes you and makes you smile.

3. Maintain A Visible Address

Make sure you have visible, clean house numbers and your name is clearly identified at your home’s entry. If people can’t locate you easily and effortlessly, universal abundance will have a hard time as well. Ensure that positive energy always knows exactly where to find you.

4. Ensure Everything Works Properly

All doors and drawers should open effortlessly without sticking or getting jammed. Remotes should have batteries, leaks should be fixed, light bulbs should be working, and everything should be functioning at its fullest capacity. Don’t put up with little aggravations, because they will bring down the energy of your home, and your self, every time you interact with them.

5. Use ALL Of Your Fixtures

Feng shui encourages us to use all of our fixtures to spread our energy and invite multiple avenues of prosperity into our lives. So take turns using each of your stove’s burners, and spread your usage out over all of your multiple fixtures (e.g. multiple fireplaces, sinks, toilets, etc.)

6. Don’t Exercise, Watch TV, Or Work In The Bedroom

If we want to experience wellbeing in our bodies and our relationships, our bedrooms should have two (and ONLY two) purposes… Sleep and Sex. Don’t invite the energies of hard work, exertion, or mindlessness into your relaxed sacred space.

7. Put Your Bed In The Commanding Position

If possible, place your bed so there is equal space on either side, so you and your partner can find equal enjoyment in the relationship. The ideal position of the bed will be on the opposite side of the room from the entry door, but not directly in line with it. If this isn’t possible, the next best option is along a side-wall, still facing the bedroom entry door. The least favorable position is on the same wall as the entry door.

8. Create Rivers Through Your Home

As it says in its name, feng shui embodies the elements of wind and water. This means that as you move through your home, you should be able to flow like water without any blatant obstacles or obstructions. Avoid placing furniture in the flow of traffic, do not enter your living room to the back of a couch, remove any objects from hallways and other narrow spaces, and create a fluidity in your home’s energy channels.

9. Clean All Your Windows

Windows symbolize your eyes to the world – and how the world views you. We want to be able to see and experience everything the world has to offer us, without being hindered by dirt, grime, and filth. Open your eyes and brighten your space with regular window cleaning.

10. Engage All 5 Senses

Sight. Sound. Touch. Taste. Smell. Every sense has the power to influence how we perceive the world. These are some of the most overtaught and yet underrated methods for improving the energy of our environment. Let’s take a closer look…

Sight

Sight can be manipulated by implementing color psychology. Brighter colors (such as reds, blues and greens) are conducive to higher focus and accuracy. Blue is associated with calm energy, promoting mental clarity, control and creative thinking. Citrus hues like yellow and orange (which are stimulating colors by nature) help people feel more alert, allow for clear decision making and encourage lively discussions. By using color strategically, and following the basic principles of color psychology, you can promote desired feelings and behaviors.

The second crucial element for engaging sight is access to natural light. There is an undeniable relationship between daylight exposure and the quality of our sleep, our activity, and our lives as a whole. And being able to see the outside world has natural restorative powers.

The final element for sight is incorporating beautiful artwork. Be careful which images you allow in certain spaces. Avoid family photographs in the bedroom, too many images of solitary or isolated individuals if you are seeking love, and be sure that each of your pieces of art are visually and energetically stimulating.

Sound

Sound in a space affects us profoundly. It changes our heart rate, breathing, hormone secretion, and brain waves, and it affects our emotions and our cognition. There is undoubtedly an invisible architecture of sound, and it’s ours to design and manipulate.

The single most important aspect of sound is to avoid noise pollution. Ensure that electronics (especially the TV) remain low or off, chaotic household noise is kept to a minimum, and as much as possible, open your windows to allow natural sounds into your environment.

And finally, our home harmonizing tips would be incomplete without the recommendation of music – one of the single most positively influencing factors in all of home energy work. Ultimately, it’s up to you to discover and seek the music that resonates, but most people typically look for relaxing, energizing sounds to carry them through they day. A whole new collection of relaxing music playlists have emerged on YouTube in the past year or so, many of them lasting 3-6 hours. Click here for an example, and see the right sidebar for related videos to further your exploration.

Touch

Our sense of touch is closely associated with the emotion of comfort and warmth (or lack thereof). We may be able to immediately pinpoint what makes a space look good, but identifying why it feels good is another story.

It’s a well-known fact that natural materials like wood and textiles (like the soft wool in a shag rug) are often associated with a “warm, cozy feeling.” On the other hand, materials like metal and plastic can convey sterility and coldness and are generally not very inviting.

Elements that can add texture to a space include textiles (rugs, carpets), furniture (tables, chairs, lamps), artwork (paintings, sculptures, wallpaper), flowers and plants. Aside from providing texture, color, and a pleasant scent, flowers and plants have also been shown to boost cognitive function and have restorative properties.

Be sure to choose warm, inviting, comfortable pieces for your room, and balance different textures out to avoid extremes (sharp vs rounded edges, rough vs smooth surfaces, dark vs bright objects, etc.).

Taste

You obviously can’t taste your home, but you can be extremely mindful and selective of the taste experiences you invite into your home. The food you eat has a direct and profound effect on your energy levels and wellbeing. Be sure to eat foods that nourish you at a deep cellular level. Be mindful of your capacity for food and only eat as much as you need. Try to avoid emotional eating by turning inward when you feel compulsive and identifying the root of your need for comfort. Mindfulness is key when it comes to inviting energizing taste into our lives.

Smell

Smell is arguably the most indirectly powerful of all the senses, as it’s directly connected to the limbic system – a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring). Smell is also famous for its strong and even subconscious ties to memory.

Pleasant, subtle scents open our awareness and lift our mood. Placing essential oil warmers, incense and candles throughout the areas of your home will have a powerfully transformative effect on your quality of life.

These 9 scents are known for working wonders on our wellbeing:

  1. Lavender calms the mind and body
  2. Cinnamon sharpens the mind and boosts brainpower
  3. Pine alleviates stress and anxiety
  4. Sandalwood induces calm and meditative states
  5. Citrus boosts your energy and alertness
  6. Vanilla elevates your sense of joy and relaxation
  7. Peppermint increases stamina, motivation and overall performance
  8. Rose calms nervous tensions and rebalances our psychic energy
  9. Jasmine is linked to easing depression and lifting mood

Play around with the transformative power of feng shui and see where it leads you. Bring your awareness to the energy of your home, and set an intention to harmonize its energy even more this month.

And as always, please share your transformations with us by commenting below!

The real magic happens in the discussions, where we share our own personal experience and exchange the wisdom we’ve acquired along the way.

Here’s to harmony!

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14 Untranslatable Words from Cultures Around the World
19May 2015
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No matter how many language classes you’ve taken, there’s one thing you can’t be taught unless you immerse yourself deep into the heart of another culture, and that is the true essence of a word or phrase in its native language.

Translation is technical, and can only take you so far.  Having a real understanding of the words you use, and the deep-rooted history of their meaning, is what makes the difference between speaking from the mind, and speaking from the heart.

And so we’ve highlighted 14 wonderful, untranslatable, and slightly elusive words from around the world below.  We hope you enjoy the trip!

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