Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Peace with your body!


After living in the USA for more than 5 years, I finally started understanding some things that I couldn't at the beginning.

How we perceive our bodies is one of these things.

Back in Brazil, people would look down on you if you would go to the gym many times a day, or even everyday. In some parts of the country going to the gym excessively means that you are not happy with your body, or maybe want to get the body shapes you see on TV.

Things are changing a bit over there, but not as much as here.

I remember that first time I was exposed to the idea of going to the gym regularly was with my ex-wife. She was a personal trainer and needed to be in shape, but the underline reason was to be accepted - by others and herself.

On that moment I realized how much impact the media and culture have on the American people, specially on women.

Years later, after working as a Life Coach with many women, talking to friends, reading and absorbing the culture, I realized how contradictory the food and body industry is.

And here is the exact moment it happened: A few weeks ago I was invited by a friend to see a speaker. My friend only told me the speaker was one of the best certified performance coaches in town. As a certified coach myself, I always want to learn more, see what others are doing and creating. So I accepted the invitation.

Talking to people at the entrance of the hotel, I discovered the event was about a health product. Right. Here I am wasting time in a direct marketing selling workshop. As I was there anyway, I decided to give a try and listen to the speech - or speeches.

A short woman, with a non-convincing team leader energy, came first to introduce the first speaker. She spoke loud and clapped her hands a couple of times, trying to get the small crowd excited. Some people responded, some made noises, and I thought everything was fake - like the people who go to the TV shows dressed in costumes and over excited.

The first speaker came, and shared how she managed to earn enough money to buy a Mercedes-Benz. With a memorized speech and almost robotic, she threw her pitch on how amazing the product was and how it had changed her life.

As she was sharing the wonders of the products, I asked myself if she was happy with what she was doing. She seemed stressed but full of energy, like when you drink a RedBull or coffee after a long day of work. She then mentioned how her skin got much better after she started using the products.

"PEACE with your body", I thought. Instead of taking care of her body, eating mindfully and choosing carefully what she put on her mouth, trying to understand the roots of the problem, she simply found a magical product that covered the outside symptom.

The second speaker came through. He was that so call "famous speaker" that my friend told me. His theme was money. He showed the public how them could make so much money sharing the product with other people. He spoke fast and was also fully charged, like the first speaker. Through his speech he mentioned how expensive it was to have a business, how he had a few and lost it, because of his wife, which he lost too. He also made sure to show the easy possibility to anyone become a top seller and make a good fortune selling the amazing product.

With many examples, both speakers shared the benefits of what they were selling - how great is to make so much money, how amazing they felt, etc.

That's when the book "Start with Why" came to my mind. In a simple but effective way, Simon Sinek explains in his book the difference between companies that start with WHY versus the ones that start with WHAT and HOW. According to him, the majority of the companies are great in sharing what they do, and how they do what they do. Only a few understand the power of why and use it to their benefits. Companies that focus on the WHAT and HOW abuse the manipulation  to make people consume their products or services. It's when you see "buy one and get one free", or "Tax Debate for this product", or "Win something if you buy our product".

This was exactly what both speakers and the company were doing. Showing the benefits, the wonders and trying to sell hard the idea that the product was good. It might be good, but by doing it I could't trust it anymore.

I thought about companies like Apple, which never tried to push their products. The company have such a clear WHY, that people just feel it, consume and love it like a cult.

I knew that it wasn't the speakers fault. The culture bombard us everyday with manipulations and lack of why's in order to sell what they produce.

More than that, it's the realization of how distorted the body and food industry is in our time. The government doesn't support small farmers (who usually produce better quality food), then support and give incentives to larger farmers (which usually produce food using chemicals), these larger farms then can sell their products for a cheaper price, which people consume more, which scientists then tell them that the food they are eating has not much nutrition because of the chemicals, which people then need to consume artificially made vitamins, protein and shakes.

As the population is becoming more aware of this damaging cycle, companies start creating "natural" formulas, with super food ingredients and extra concentration of fruits and vegetables in powder, which supposed to fill the lack of vitamins and proteins that our body would get naturally if we had natural food on the first place.

In the mist of this cycle, we add the unsatisfied mental state people get when they don't have the body they see on TV, with less weight, less wrinkles, less gray hair, with eternal energy, and sexy. 

PEACE WITH OUR BODY comes, when we accept that getting older is part of life, that the outside body is just 50% of a health body, that laughter is better than any medicine to keep young, that is easier - and cheaper, to understand and learn ways to manage your stress, pay attention in what and how you eat, than simply pop a drug to look and feel good for a while. 

At the end of the day, even with all the medicine and "great natural drugs" that exist in the USA, Italians, French, Germans and other 27 nationalities in the world live longer than Americans
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy).

When the speaker finished his speech, he offered a free box for everyone present. Without hesitation I went back to him and gave the box back, saying that they could give to someone else who would be more interested. He then asked me "Porque no? - Why not?, and I had to be honest "because I don't want it, thank you"





Saturday, January 14, 2017

Respect! We all deserve it



As my fiancé and I sat to watch a documentary in Downtown Portland, we realized how small the room was.

We were talking about the movie in a very low voice when a man siting two chairs away from us with his young daughter did the famous "Shoooosh", placing his finger to his lips, as librarians usually do.

We were so quiet that he probably was waiting for us to be a lit louder to "shoosh" us.

My fiancé couldn't believe in what was happening and answered a bit louder than before "really?".

I couldn't help but look at him to try to understand his action. As I was looking at him with a peaceful facial expression, the man looked back at me and "shooshed" me using his finger again - despite the fact that I had remained quiet and I was just looking at him.

What a great opportunity I had!

It took me a second to figure out what was happening. Faster than he possibly think I sad "Happy New Year for you too".

Not knowing what to do, he simply looked back to the movie.

What was happening was that we were on the first day of the Year. Who would be impatient on the first day of the Year? Someone who wasn't happy with something in his or her life. 

Who knows what was going on in his man's life?

We often think about respect as a think that people should have toward us - specially when there is lack of respect from their side.

Less often we think about us respecting people's challenge, respecting their drama, their fears and sorrows.

Peace will come to the world when we all respect who disrespect, when we are compassionate enough to remember we all have bad days, good days, and days people go out looking for passing their anger forward. 

I respected that man for his challenges.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

You are Welcome here! and there! and over there!



Coming back from a trip in Florida, I had the best idea ever! 

Well, at least I thought so. I had an image of creating a poster saying that all genders, races, nationalities, sexual orientation, religious and all differences are welcome here. Then I was going to print in my office, and distribute around town.

What a great idea! I was designing the poster when I went to have a coffee and saw a poster on the window of a store with the exact same thing (!!!). My first response was "I am late! Someone had the same idea and did it faster".

I had a mix of disappointment and admiration for who did the poster. "Why do I feel disappointed?", I asked myself. It lasted for a few minutes, until I saw the big picture. 

We live in a such competitive world that even something for the good of others can be competitive. I quickly changed my mind, "THIS IS AWESOME!". It means many people were as disappointed as I was with the currently lack of respect for humans - ad they are doing something about it! 

At the same time, I was reading a book called "The Aquarium Conspiracy" by Marilyn Ferguson, where she states that there is a group of individuals who are doing the same good things at the same time, and without knowing about each other. The book was written in 1980 and it's still so relevant to our time.

With that in mind, I simply joined the group, printed a bunch of posters and I am ready to share with the businesses.

If you want to do the same, go to:
http://media.oregonlive.com/window-shop/other/welcome%20y.pdf

and print yours!





Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Powerful Invisible Community


Community - from the Latin commūnitās, equivalent to commūni (s), meaning "common, public, shared by all or many."

Common. We might accept some things in life. They might become normal, even common. We might live our lives as we think it is supposed to be. But how do we create a conscious and positive common ground, where we all can thrive?

Public. We might read news on TV, we might trust the news on facebook. We might believe in what the public believes. We might even transform what is public into something real. But how do we create a conscious and positive group of individuals - which is public, but does not belong to our everyday news?

Shared by all or many. We might share what we see on social media. We might share the bad news someone told us. We might even share things that we created. But how do we create a conscious and positive way of sharing empowering and good things?


The truth is that it is all here. There is a community of individuals with a positive COMMON belief that we are here to grow, and to help one another. There is a community of people who share their beliefs of Peace, Compassion and Kindness PUBLICLY. There is group of people who SHARE their inspiring news, how they overcome challenging times.

Better yet, this community is not only composed of individuals, but also of micro-communities. They might not know each other. Each community is doing what their high levels of awareness tell them. Each community is part of a larger community.

And, if you are reading this post, you probably belong to this broader community. You might think that what you do doesn't matter, but don't be fooled. Just because our community is quiet, it doesn't mean it is powerless. 

On the contrary, without any leader, media or physical connection, this community is the fastest and the most powerful growing group in the world. We don't hear about it because our connection is beyond physical. Without talking to each other, at any given moment there are people in Japan who are meeting to help each other, another group of women in Russia who are gathering together to heal those in need, a group of friends in Portland organizing an event to raise money for a cause.

In common? Just the fact that they all belong to the largest community of kind, compassionate, loving, peaceful and mindful people in the World - without knowing it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Peace in Post Election Times


No matter what happened in this election, it brought up some anxiety, worries and fears. 

More than anything else, it put people against people - one of the worse things for World Peace. Playing with people's fears is not something new. Hitler and so many other politicians used this tool to get, and stay in power.

What is new is to have this happening in the XXI Century, and in one of the most developed countries in the world. 

Hate crime rates have never been so high. A number of people seem to have permission to hate - a small number of people.

And here is where I would like to make a point.

As we are bombarded by bad news day in and day out, we might start to feel that everyone is hateful, which is not true. We have to remember that we just see bad news on the news. For every piece of bad news that we hear, there are thousands of positive stories that we are not told.

Good news does not sell like bad news. 

Peace in post election times will come when we realize that the majority of people are good. When we start to believe that our human nature is good. This will reduce our stress levels which will reduce the fear levels and improve our happiness levels.

A way to understand this is to look around you - your community at work, at home, with friends, family and people you have contact with. See how they are connecting with each other. Are they treating each other with anger and fear, or with kindness and compassion?

If you see more positive around you, it's because your world is different than the world we see on TV. If you see challenges around you, it's because people are getting affected by the TV life. It's up to you to influence people by being kind and compassionate.

Either way, we have to create peace from inside out. Only when we are peaceful will we be able to live in a peaceful World.





Monday, November 23, 2015

Mind Full, or Mindful?

Have you heard about mindfulness?, a girl asked once.
Mindfulness? Is it a kind of yoga?
No, no. It is a new thing, where you pay attention to what you do.

Isn't it funny how old things come back sometimes and we believe to be the first ones to explore the matter?

With mindfulness it is exactly like that. 

A little bit more than two thousand years ago, people in India and Nepal used teachings and techniques to calm their minds. They found out that if you do just one thing at the time, just one simple thing, you would be more peaceful, joyful and overall happier.

They didn't use any specific word, it was just an action - you simply do it. Many many years later, with the urge to control and try to understand life, we created labels for everything, including for what they were doing - mindfulness. It's almost if suddenly someone creates a word for "washing dishes".

And we weren't the first ones. In Japan, they use the word MAKOTO, which is translated as "putting 100% attention in what you do". Does it sounds like mindfulness? 

Labels apart, if certain word works better for you, go for it. The idea is to use it more and to explain or try to understand it less. Do things thinking about what you are doing, and that's it.

Whenever you want to call it, empty your mind and just be mindful.

Rbaena