Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jump started a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least) and, frankly, having written dozens of reviews many of these self-help genre books tend to blur together after awhile, but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

Think about it: it’s very easy to say love yourself, and we all know we’re supposed to do it, but in reality it’s very hard for most people. Dig just a little bit beneath the surface most of us present to the world and you’ll strike a vein of negative self-talk, doubts and insecurities to the point where we can’t even recollect what loving ourselves feels like anymore. How many successful, seemingly confident people are really driven by the thought, “I’m not good enough?” How many of us settle for second best in a job or relationship thinking, “I’m not worthy of love?” Or jump from one relationship to another because we’re afraid to be alone, thinking, “No one will love me.”

The answer is almost everybody, and the ways by which we undermine ourselves are numerous. And in case feeling anxious, insecure or driven isn’t bad enough, on top of that there is a growing body of research showing how these thoughts act as stressors that weaken or compromise the immune system and contribute to disease and poor health. The author, Kamal Ravikant, had driven himself to the point of exhaustion and illness when he first had the thought that something had to change, and then went about doing it. “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” is his account of coming back from that point, and what exactly he did to turn his life around.

I’ll confess that when I started this book I thought, “Well, ok, I pretty much like myself, at least — sure, I need to lose some weight and I’ve just about broken my bootstraps from pulling myself back up by them, but all in all….” Then as I read on, the voice in the back of my head changed to, “YOU HAD ONE JOB….” Meaning, I was supposed to have been loving myself all along and clearly, based on the whole “phoenix from the ashes” gestalt of the last year, hadn’t been doing a very good job of it for quite some time. So maybe, for some of us, it takes being faced with how truly horrible things can get when you don’t love yourself, to start doing it ” …Like Your Life Depends on It.”


If Plants Are Consciousness, What Happens When We Eat Them?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Not too long ago The New York Times ran an article, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? The new evidence that plants have a type of “conscious,” joins a host of other research indicating that plants are intelligent, understand where they are in space, respond to threats and obstacles, and communicate with each other. We’ve known for years that plants grow faster and lusher when you play the right music or speak nicely to them, but now there is evidence that plants form memories. Does that mean they remember that you were kind to them? And what does it mean now to eat them? What, if any, are the moral or ethical implications?

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The Buddhist Soul in Me

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I am many things, but I am not a Buddhist. Still, every so often the secret Buddhist in my soul demands to be fed: lighting a little incense, placing a flower in a bowl like an offering, sweeping a spider out the door (instead of squishing it), or taking a day trip to the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY.

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Are We There Yet?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Ok, I have to say it: I’ve about had it with this whole pandemic thing. This week will mark five months since we went into lock down, and, for me at least, this whole “hunkering down” zeitgeist is getting old. Lately, it seems the extended sleep-over, roughing it at camp, take one for the team mood has gotten depressing. I miss the early lock down days, when we could distract ourselves with laying in dried beans, hoarding toilet paper, or judging our colleague’s home work space on Zoom conferences. Even the threat of murder hornets provided a good laugh, in a what next? sort of way.

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Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age

| by Cheryl Shainmark

In his new book Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age Feiler notes that the idea that we’ll have one job, one relationship, one source of happiness for most of our lives is outdated, and that we now live in a non-linear world that forces us to make transitions. While this trend has been occurring for some time, what is new right now is that the whole world is going through these transitions at once. How we face these life altering changes, and what tools we can use to help the process these events is at the core of this book.

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For the Common Good

| by Cheryl Shainmark

What is the common good? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy say that the common good “refers to those facilities—whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common.” Put more simply, it is whatever is for the benefit or interests of all.

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Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over twenty years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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The Booming Market for Meat Alternatives

| by Cheryl Shainmark

White Castle and Fat Burger now feature Impossible Burgers, Del Taco has Beyond Meat on the menu, and Burger King is about to roll out a Beyond Meat Whopper. Hard Rock Cafes in Europe carry a veggie burger now, (though you’d have to skip the cheese to make it a vegan meal), and they expect to offer it in their US locations next year. As Phil Shainmark, our columnist for The Unlikely Vegan noted recently, “It’s quite possibly the best time to be a Vegan. There are so many amazing choices and places to go.” Even if you’re not a vegan or a fast food fan, the variety of meat alternatives is great news as many grocery stores and regular restaurants have also added plant based options to meet growing customer demand. According to Market Insider, the $14 billion dollar meat alternative industry is expected to grow to $140 billion over the next decade.

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A Different Kind of Earth Day by Cheryl Shainmark

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Stay at home, shelter in place, practice social distancing. Earth Day this year is Wednesday, April 22, and for the first time in 50 years, there will be no parades, no gatherings to plant trees, no groups picking up litter on the beach

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Shades of Love in the Time of Cholera

| by Cheryl Shainmark

These are strange times we are living in. In the last few weeks since Covid 19 has escalated from dominating the news cycle to directly impacting our lives, I keep hearing that phrase over and over. And while the news has focused on number of deaths, the lack of a cohesive Federal response, school closings, and potential loss of income, nobody seems to be focusing on the effect the Corona virus has had on love and dating.

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