Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Month: January 2017

4 bullets to dodge

On my mind lately is this quote from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans by Dr. Peter Attia:

If you’re over 40 and don’t smoke, there’s about a 70 to 80% chance you’ll die from one of four diseases: heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, or neurodegenerative disease.

The good doctor has done research at the National Cancer Institute on the role of regulatory T cells in cancer regression and other immune-based therapies for cancer. Oh, and he is a former ultra-endurance athlete, and got his MD from Stanford University, and his BSc in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. All of which to say is, he knows his stuff.

So to increase the chances of not dying from those four diseases, he suggests:

  • Eat healthy, exercise (high-intensity, heavy strength training) (for Heart Disease)
  • Eat healthy, exercise (high-intensity, heavy strength training), meditate (for Cerebrovascular Disease, aka stroke)
  • Avoid highly refined carbohydrates and sugars, fast once a week (one primary meal between a two hour window) (for Cancer)
  • Take low-dose lithium (below 150 mg) and meditate (for Neurodegenerative Disease, with Alzheimer’s dementia being one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.)

The doctor argues that if you’ve made it to 40 years old, you’ve managed to not get hit by a car or do something really stupid to kill yourself. Now, it’s a matter of doing the work to be able to live long(er) and healthy.

Which apparently means eating less junk food, exercising more, fasting, meditating, and considering low-dose lithium.

Some things to think about.

I hate it when I know better

So that previous post—you know, the one about “Stay the Course” and not getting distracted? Yeah, I should read that. Every. Single. Day.


Like all New Year’s resolutiony things, I had somewhat grand plans (quite modest, in my opinion, but still, in the grand scheme of things and in hindsight, perhaps a bit on the large side), and those plans got derailed as I ran into doubts and questions and “oh, I just need to research this ONE thing . . . ” And then the train literally, metaphorically, and absolutely ended up and over the rails, just as it was crossing the Great Ravine*.

Stay the Course. Right.

I am managing to keep up with The Daily Stoic readings, which has been good. More on that in upcoming posts.

So, this is the post of Deep Atonement. And a reminder to myself that I really should listen to, er, myself.**



*I’m seeing that scene from Captain America: The First Avenger where the train is on the raised railroad, crossing the huge ravine somewhere in WWII-ravaged Europe, and Bucky is hanging on for dear life as Cap tries to save him . . .  Yeah, feeling like Bucky. And not the “Winter Soldier” kicking ass Bucky. Oh, no. The “oh my god I’m going to die because I’m dangling over an abyss” Bucky. Which is not good, because actually I want to be Captain America. No, nix that. I want to be Peggy Carter. That woman rocks.

And no, the train in Captain America doesn’t get derailed. For some reason, that’s what I remembered.

*And a bit of an Austin Powers moment there. Yeesh.

Stay the course

One of the things I decided to do with the new year was to work my way through The Daily Stoic, a daybook of Stoic concepts and practices. The headline for January 15 is “Peace is in staying the course”:

In Seneca’s essay on tranquility, he uses the Greek word euthymia, which he defines as “believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.” It is this state of mind, he says, that produces tranquility.

Which seems lovely and philosophical, but a little dense. A follow-up sentence hammered the meaning home:

Rather, it’s that we can rest assured we’re heading generally in the right direction—that we don’t need to constantly compare ourselves with other people or change our mind every three seconds based on new information*.

It’s that last part that is my Achilles’ heel. I stumble across a website or a blog or see a comment that leads me down a rabbit hole, and the next thing I know, I’m questioning my writing plan. The same plan that I spent so long working on and thinking through after researching it to the nth degree.

So of course even after reading that entry, I stumbled the next day and did just that. Down the rabbit hole, doubting myself and chasing after shiny butterflies. Until I hit a stopping point and realized how much time I had spent wandering, and not focused on my Work. Then I got back to Work and had a great writing run (two hours and 2700 words!)**.

Note to self: Stay the course. Have faith in yourself and Do the Work***.

What is your Work? What helps you stay the course?



*Bold text emphasis is mine.

**This was after struggling to get my Butt in Chair and facing the fear of writing. My solution seems to be “write for 15 minutes”. You would think I’d have this licked by now, but no. It’s the eternal battle.

***I think this needs to be my new mantra.


Did I mention there was snow?

Footprints in snow

And more snow

At least it’s pretty. And quiet.


I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ latest book Tools of Titans,* in which he distills key insights from the nearly two hundred people he has interviewed over the past two years for his podcast (if you haven’t listened, I highly recommend it).

An interview with retired Navy SEAL Commander Jocko Willink has changed the way I look at obstacles or frustrations: “Good.”

How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations. There is one word to deal with all those situations, and that is “good” . . . when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.

  • Oh, mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on another one.
  • Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple.
  • Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.
  • Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company.
  • Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
  • Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training.
  • Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training than to tap out on the street.
  • Got beat? Good. We learned.
  • Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

That’s it. When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”**

So many things lately have been frustrating to the point of maddening. Another snow storm? Freezing temperatures? More snow? Are you freaking kidding me?*** The proof I ordered for my flash fiction collection should have been delivered a week ago, but due to the icy roads and “winter weather events,” it still hasn’t arrived. Given the weather outlook, I’m guessing it may be sometime in February before I see the proof. Argh.

While my instant reaction is to get angry or depressed or want to hit something, when I can reframe it as “Good,” the situation immediately improves.****

  • More snow? Good. It is beautiful and our mountains could use more snow.
  • More ice? Good. It will help with the bugs for next summer.
  • Didn’t get the proof yet? Good. I can stay focused on creating the digital versions of the flash fiction collection.

Now, if I could just get “Good” to be my automatic reaction to frustrations . . .

What frustrating situations are you facing that could be “good” for you?



*This book is amazing. Seriously. I’ll be writing more about it.

**Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Pages 640-641. The bold text is my emphasis.

***Living in the Pacific Northwest (heavy on the Pacific), winter is generally rain, showers, mist, and more rain. Occasionally there will be a snow fall maybe once a winter, and it may shut things down for a few days, but that’s it. So far we’re looking at four snow storms since December, including the massive ice storm over the weekend that had the Oregon State Police dealing with over 750 traffic accidents.

****Seems rather Stoic to me. Hmmm.

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a peaceful and playful New Year.

Snowy tiki torch

Snow on a tiki torch

Peace, love, and sparkling apple cider,

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