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.”


Ghosts in the Genes: Cellular Memory

| by Cheryl Shainmark

We’re having good friends over for dinner in a few weeks and my husband and I are discussing what to serve: I’m thinking Italian and I tell him that I want to try my hand at making homemade pasta. A few minutes later, after proposing and rejecting various menu items, I close my eyes to organize my thoughts and it happens — I see my hands as clear as day making pasta in front of me. In reality, one hand is holding a cup of coffee and the other is resting on my lap — but in my minds-eye I can feel the smooth dough against my fingers as I roll little orrechiete “ears” over my thumb….

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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 Voice of Your Higher Self

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I learned over time that this is the sound of my higher self. Sometimes it’s barely there in the background, pointing me in the right direction with a nudge or a song lyric, or a bit of humor and love. Other times she comes through loud and clear with precise instructions or suggestions. No topic is too large or too small to engage my higher self, and the range of comments over the years have both startled and amused me.

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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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Feeding Body & Soul

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

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Have You Seen the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas in Montana?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

This video has lit up our imaginations! Can you say road trip? Dateline NBC has captured the peaceful and sacred feeling of this wonderful site, called The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. Located just north of Arlee, Montana, the multi-acre garden is nestled on a beautiful valley that is part of an Indian reservation for the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Created through the visionary guidance of Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the Garden aligns positive properties of the physical world…

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Helping Our Fellow Animals

| by Cheryl Shainmark

There is a growing movement to recognize what every pet owner and animal lover has known for years: that animals are capable of feeling most everything that humans feel. This, in turn, is part of what is driving the movement to a plant based diet, or more ethical treatment of animals raised for food consumption. In this model, the labels “organic,” “free range,” or “grass fed” are as much about the quality of life for these animals as it is about nutritional quality.

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When Your Body Speaks: Paying Attention to Food Cravings

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several weeks ago I caught a doozy of a cold, leaving me with a stuffed head, chronically runny nose, sore throat and a bit of a cough. Bad enough for the first few days, weeks later it seemed like it just wouldn’t go away. I didn’t have the flu or strep throat or bronchitis, but the symptoms lingered. Finally, after weeks of getting more rest and watching my diet, it passed. During that time I ate lightly, (when I wasn’t sleeping,) but found myself throwing handfuls of thyme and garlic into virtually everything – from scrambled eggs to soup. It was a little bizarre, actually.

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Asking the Big Questions

| by Cheryl Shainmark

A dear friend of mine, Nick Borrell, says that when you ask the BIG questions, you open a window into the Universe. As he puts it, “It creates the opportunity for fresh air to flow in and for a fresh answer to emerge.” It invites the enormous energy of creativity to pour in, and you must be very careful to leave the window open long enough to get the answers you seek — you must be patient. Now, in the beginning of the New Year, is the time that we traditionally ask the big questions: what do we want in our lives? What do we want in our world?

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