Posts categorized "Food and Drink"

Top 10 reasons why marriage ruins love and is completely unnecessary

If you are thinking about getting married someday, I hope this message inspires you to think twice. If you are already married, I hope these words help you and your partner overcome the damage that marriage may have done to you and that, together, you may heal in love. I’m not against marriage, but I am in favor of perfect love that never fades, inner peace, family stability and joyfulness—all of which marriage fails to deliver.

We’ve all heard the opinions against marriage, but sometimes it feels like deciding against marriage is deciding against life-long companionship, children, stability and all those wonderful things which marriage supposedly brings. Nothing is further from the truth! My position against marriage is a position in favor of everything marriage supposedly offers but fails to do so.

Here are my top 10 reasons that marriage fails to deliver what it promises:

1) Marriage places too much focus on the superficial.

When you are in love with someone and decide to be together forever, you should spend your time celebrating that love in private while at the same time looking at the reality of what it means to bring your lives together. There are the living arrangements, the finances, the household chores, the interests and hobbies you both need space for, the family and friendship relationships in both your lives, and so much more.

What do engaged couples do instead? During the wedding planning phase, they spend far too much time and money on the superficial: engagement rings, wedding dresses, cakes, flowers, venues, guest lists, on and on. So much wasted on things that nobody really cares about—things that have nothing to do with your long-term happiness or success as an individual or a couple.

Wedding planning is a huge distraction from everything a couple should enjoy focusing on and making real steps toward. If you want to spend your life together with someone, why not just get started with life instead of this huge, kind of silly spectacle called a wedding?

2) Marriage often prevents couples from real communication and from finding their true path.

Despite what the movies tell us and everyone believes, there is more than one way to do a committed relationship. When two souls unite and your lives merge, why not start with a blank canvass?

What are your needs and those of your partner? Do you believe in unconditional love? Do you practice total openness? Or are there boundaries that you wish to clearly establish? How do you feel about meaningful communication with exes or even new friendships or flirtations?

Marriage is a rigid idea that limits your ability to decide your own reality as a couple. If you're mature enough to commit to each other, you don’t need marriage. Just be open about how you feel, what you need, what excites you, what scares you—and then allow your partner space to do the same.

This is a journey and it takes some time, but if you can get to total understanding through true communication along with trial and error, you will end up with a committed relationship that meets everyone’s needs—and you don’t need any institution to agree with your choices.

3) Marriage is about roles, not about authenticity, honesty and acceptance.

That blissful feeling of being in love is what happens when two people are open and accepting of one another. If you can continue to do this, that feeling of perfect love with no resentment continues—even for life.

To get married is to ruin this feeling of love by agreeing to accept a bunch of default rules and by playing a role. If, one day, you or your partner find yourselves with thoughts, feelings or needs which fall outside the rules and conventions of marriage, now you feel like the relationship has failed. No, in this case the idea of marriage has failed; not necessarily your relationship.

It is enough that you love one another, always be open, and always do your best to accept truth and to work through your feelings together in love. Marriage is this huge, scary, restrictive thing that makes true communication and openness more difficult. 

4) Marriage takes away your freedom to love and to follow your own life path.

Why should the church or the state have anything to say about the way you love or what you choose to do with another consenting adult? Too often, marriage is something people jump into without even understanding it and then, when it fails, they are at the mercy of the courts to decide things that the couple should have worked out on their own.

Why not talk about everything upfront? Will we have kids? How many? What happens if we decide to break up? What if I cheat? What if either of us wants an open relationship? What is your position on debt? Do we want to combine our money or do we want to keep it separate? How would we separate the money if one day we ever split up?

To sign a contract limiting your freedom to love is a tragically foolish decision. Talk about it. Work it out. Regardless of whether you are married, don’t have kids or combine your finances until you are in full agreement and trust each other completely. The stakes are far too high and marriage doesn’t make it any safer!

5) Marriage punishes failure.

Nobody wants a relationship to fail. That’s never the plan. It isn’t as though you need to setup a huge punishment or put forth this ridiculous contract to prevent your partner from leaving you. They aren’t going to leave. That’s why you’re deciding to live together, to have kids and everything, right?

If the whole thing ends up falling apart, that’s tragic enough. On top of this, you don’t need to go through the painful and expensive legal process called divorce. Work things out day-by-day and never agree to anything you might regret later.

Oh, and when it comes to kids: respect each other. You are both parents, you both do your best, and even if your relationship ends it doesn’t mean you have a right to remove the other parent from the child’s life. You are both adults and want to do your best. Show some respect to the person you love or once loved. Work it out as the decent people you are.

If this fails and you must get the courts involved for custody issues or child support, you can do that even if you’ve never been married. Marriage adds nothing of value here.

6) Marriage brings a set of rules that most people cannot adhere to.

Let’s get real, these days it is extremely unlikely for two people to fall in love and never have any needs or desires outside the relationship. I’m not saying that every relationship needs to be an open relationship, but whatever you do agree to should be between you—and it should be specifically talked about, understood, and agreed to by both parties without any reservations. Otherwise, marriage or no marriage, you aren’t ready to start a life together.

Oftentimes, marriage helps people avoid these kinds of honest conversations and difficult decisions. Then, you end up quite shocked later to find out who you married. Open-up, have some real conversations, be honest. You may be surprised to find out how exciting and enjoyable this is—even if it can be scary at first. But there’s no other way for two people to make a life-long relationship work and to establish real trust.

7) Marriage is so scary that people end up alone.

These days, so many people stay single because they are terrified about the idea of marriage. They want to spend their lives with that special person, they want children, but the idea of marriage is so huge and scary that they sabotage relationships before it gets to this stage. This is tragic.

You don’t need to be married in order to live together and to have children. If marriage scares you, then don’t do it. Enjoy your relationship. Be yourself. Live your life.

8) Marriage adds nothing.

Are we talking about hospital visitation rights? Inheritance? This can be dealt with directly with separate contracts and agreements (as can everything else in life).

I would have a very difficult time coming up with reasons that marriage makes sense. What is the purpose? To spend your savings for a big day? To post pictures that aren’t entirely honest? To trap someone for life? What exactly does marriage add?

9) Marriage is way too expensive.

The diamond ring, wedding dress, the food and drinks, the travel, the venue, the flowers, the invitations—what if you kept that money in your savings account or used it to actually start your life together?

Would you not sleep better just skipping that year-long engagement where you are pressured by salespeople (and your partner) to spend all your money on things you don’t want?

10) An untethered love relationship and life together is far more romantic!

Do you want the most important decision of your life to be something so unoriginal that you have nothing to say about it? Or do you want to blaze your own trail as an individual, couple, and family?

We were not born just to adhere to a set of rules that have already been figured out. Follow the path of normalcy, guided by fear, and your life will not have much impact. You will not be remembered for anything in particular and you will not have much of a story to tell.

Everything you want is found in your freedom to do it. You don’t have to sacrifice your freedom for perfect love, a committed, loving relationship and family. Nothing is found in sacrifice, while instead everything is…well…sacrificed. Be brave enough to have it all and give the same to the person you love.

A committed relationship is a creative endeavor which also happens to be the most enjoyable and meaningful thing we do in life. Allow yourself to grow, to be you, and to let your love flow freely. Whether or not you are married, do not give marriage any importance.

What matters is only the love you share and the most romantic thing you can do is own it, celebrate it, and live it on your terms. Marriage doesn’t matter, what's between you and that special person does.

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Posted by Abscondo

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Let the noise push you into consciousness.

As the rate of change in this world constantly accelerates, the only way to cope is to allow everything happening to pass through you. This requires presence.

We are living in a time when the rate of technological and social change is increasing. Each day, we might communicate with hundreds of people using advancing technologies and tools. Our tastes are also evolving because media information and advertising is getting better at reaching us through multiple touchpoints.

In his book “Waking Up in Time”, Peter Russell suggests that, as this rate of change accelerates, there will come a time when humans can no longer continue to cling to the external. The material world will become even more obviously impermanent and unstable. If we are to survive and find any peace and happiness, we will need to become conscious—centered in the present moment. Change in the material world will bring us to a tipping-point when the majority of humans awaken. This is what is called the Consciousness Revolution.

In an increasingly chaotic state, the only way to find inner calm, joy, bliss and inspiration (i.e. happiness) is to become so present that everything is let go as soon as it passes through your field of awareness. In your work, your relationships, and in everything you do—become so present that you no longer imagine the future or hold onto the past. You then begin to interact with the world, as it is, in real-time—where your capabilities are optimized and your soul soars.

Let the world go its own way as you open your heart, open your mind, and stay present. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.

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Posted by Abscondo

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Energy

Attitude, action, and perception are all greatly influenced by your physical state...your health. For your life to be great, your health and energy have to be optimized. Here's some advice that will change everything about your life.

Eliminate all simple carbs (sugar, flour, wheat, bread, pasta, potatoes, etc) except for one day a week. No fruit either. Every Saturday, go absolutely nuts with junk food! Then that's it for the rest of the week. This is easy. Without simple carbs, you feel better and don't get hungry as often. I've been low-carb for over a decade, but I never did it consistently until I added the cheat day. This is the diet I have been on for three years now.  Eat enough so you aren't really ever hungry. Follow this diet and it is a matter of time until you get to your ideal weight and stay there.

It is ok to have up to two glasses of dry red wine every night. This doesn't hurt anything. But no more (this is where I'm most likely to break the diet). :-)

Drink huge amounts of water. 3 liters per day.

Eat 3-5 cloves of raw garlic every day. Crush it, put it in your mouth, immediately wash it down with a huge glass of water without chewing it. You won't taste it and this will keep you healthy, pain-free, and free from illnesses cause by bacteria or viruses. If you do start to get a cold, eat even more garlic and drink 1-3 cartons of orange juice each day until it is gone. My last three colds, I cured in one day as the other members of my family two weeks.

Take 1,500 mg of L-Carnitine with flax seed oil and cold water as soon as you wake up each morning. Go to the supplement store and make this investment right away. read about the benefits (they are all true and very noticeable). This will completely change your life. You will feel excited about life, positive, never depressed. Take another dose in the afternoon.

Work out hard 3x per week. Take 5-10 grams of BCAA supplements 30 minutes before going to the gym. Have a black coffee with it. Choose 6-8 weightlifting exercises and perform the each, one set of 10 - 18 reps, to the point of failure...to where you can't move the weight. Your first set should be kettlebell swings. Look it up and learn it. Do 70-100 kettlebell reps until it kills you. Then do abs and the rest of your weights, waiting 3 minutes between sets to recover. When you are finished with weights, run for 25 minutes. The whole workout should take less than 1 hour 3x per week. In a month you will be a new person (if you also follow the diet). This Fall, I completely changed my body with this workout after just 3-4 weeks (12 - 15 workouts).

Eat 2-3 eggs each morning within 30 minutes of waking up. I also eat black beans and spinach with them to fill up.

Eat as much meat as you can. Avoid all dairy if possible because it spikes blood sugar just like carbs. No fruit. No sugar. No simple carbs. Veggies, meat, nuts, black coffee, water, 2 glasses wine at night. That's your life. First, break the carb addiction. Next, Learn how to cook and good food becomes delicious. Have Thai, Indian, Sashimi, whatever you want...just no rice, bread, potatoes.

Try this for a month...all of it....100% of what I'm saying....and let me know how much better your life is. :-). You will have much more energy, look better and younger, and you will THINK differently. Research all of this first if you don't believe me. But you have to do all of it or you will undermine the other parts.

Posted by Abscondo

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The Abscondo Podcast

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The Abscondo Podcast is available for free on  iTunes.  It is also accessible via this direct feed or wherever you normally get podcasts.  You can also receive an email alert whenever a new   episode is available by submitting your email address here:

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The Abscondo Podcast includes conversations between people who are exploring new ideas and seeking truth.  The show is hosted by Mark Manney, an American writer, recording artist, and social comentator who lives in Eastern Europe with his wife Sofia (the show's co-host).  The podcast features interviews with inspiring people, intense conversation, and original music.

Take part in the conversation by leaving us a message at (206) 905-1386.  Write to us at abscondomusic@gmail.com.  We'll respond to your message on the next episode or even invite you onto the show as a guest.

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Absconding from commercial-cool

I've been reading Naomi Klein's "No Logo" these days, which has me thinking about branding and the idea of "cool".  For the past several decades, it seems as though notions of coolness have become almost inseparable from corporate branding.  I remember, in middle school and high school, when I felt pretty cool wearing my Nike sneakers and Levi's jeans.  In the 80's and 90's, successful corporations, in their constant quest for growth, learned to extend themselves beyond simply advertising.  The idea is to create a brand experience.  The names and logos of the most successful brands have almost come to symbolize something and mean something.  When we attach ourselves to these brands, we are told, we too become cool.

But what is coolness?  Cool is new.  Cool is rebellious.  Cool is anti-establishment.  Cool is bold, daring, smart, self-confident, dangerous...and for these reasons it is so very sexy.  Cool is what humans do, not institutions or corporations.  But in order for corporations to sell more product, they've actually attempted to become cool.  In order to become cool, they relentlessly try to move into that "human space" where coolness exists -- the clubs, the concerts, the city streets, the urban basketball courts...they had to metaphorically and literally get their logos on the behinds of the coolest women in order to become sexy.  And so they did.  Wherever cool was, corporations infiltrated that space, branded it, and exploited it.  This wasn't very difficult, as the icons of cool (the celebrities) have been quite willing to sell out for the right price.

With the success of companies like Nike and Apple, more and more corporations have pushed further and further into what was authentic cultural space to establish themselves as cool and culturally relevant.  Interestingly, as the beer companies sponsored and bought out concert festivals, artists such as Madonna, P. Diddy, Britney Spears, and dozens of others essentially were willing to essentially become brands, themselves (with sponsorships, cross-marketed product lines, etc.).  In other words, as corporations learned to act more like cool people, celebrities learned to act more like corporations.  And right up to the present moment, this approach would seem to be working.

But the problem is...nothing feels cool anymore.  While, on the surface, the symbols of cool are pervasive...the essence of cool evaporates the moment it becomes that which it is not.  When cool is sold out for a profit, it is no longer cool.  The symbols of cool are masks hiding something else.  Corporate-cool is lipstick on a pig.

Corporations are never truly anti-establishment, smart, rebellious, or independent.  Corporations are, and always will be, the opposite of cool; mainstream.  In fact, branding is only good at ruining cool in order to sell product.  Branding is a lie.  Rather than having to understand cool, having to live cool and embody cool, we are told that all we need to do is buy it.  As a result, we have a society of posers.  We have a society of thoughtless dorks masquerading as hipsters...and not even doing it well enough to fool each other.

All of this is obvious to me, on an intuitive level, as a musician.  I feel that my sounds and my ideas only have value to the extent that they are kept completely seperate from the commercial world.  Regardless of what happens in my future, my music will always be completely seperate from business.  I will never attempt to profit from my music and will never allow others to ride on the back of my inspiration in order to do so.  That's because what flows through my music cannot be understood within the context of the commercial world.  The extent to which my music is good is the extent to which it is authentic at a deep, human level.   I would never consider playing a corporate-sponsored event because such events are deflated of their meaning at the moment they are conceived.  I would never allow my music to be used to sell products, even if it meant massive exposure.  What good is exposure when all meaning and understanding is lost?

My inspiration comes from the spaces I have created between me and other people.  My ideas come to me in moments of silence...when I am looking inside myself and not at the world outside.  My music works when it finds...when it frees this same place inside the listener. 

I know I'm not alone in this.  I know that what is really cool has never changed.  Cool is not caring what people think.  Cool is uniqueness, not fitting-in.  Cool is perceiving others deeply and not being afraid to express it.  Cool is being too busy perceiving beauty to go out shopping for it.  Cool is a cup of coffee in the liveliest part of town.  Cool is a body free of corporate logos.  Cool is who you are, not what you have. Cool is that connection between two people so powerful that it creates an entirely new universe.  Cool is the idea that what is doesn't have to be that way.  Cool is being completely misunderstood by normal people.  Cool is being perceived by those very few, very special people.  Cool is an original idea.  Cool is acting on an original idea.   Cool is reading.  Cool is listening to music that nobody else knows.  Cool is truth-seeking.  Cool is creating.  Cool is doing all of this while staying strong enough to live a healthy, reasonably successful life.

In some ways cool has become harder to find, and in other ways it is easier than ever.  Abscond from commercial-cool.

Posted by Abscondo

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Diet tip: eat great food all you want, lose weight and live longer

How can one even write about dieting or weight loss without sounding like a salesman or a schmuck?  You can't.  So for at least this one post I'm going to sound like a schmuck.

Here's diet advice you've never heard from the mass-media or from diet promotions...but I've found it to be common knowledge among the well educated and well-off: People who enjoy food the most aren't fat

The best way to achieve your ideal weight without dieting is to go on a quest to find better and better food.  Get snobby about it.  Constantly try new things.  Good food certainly isn't going to be found in chain restaurants, so try some local ethnic food: Thai, Greek, French, Italian...try sushi!   No excellent restaurants in your town?  Go on-line for recipes from the well-known chefs.  Search every corner of your grocery store shelves and find things you've never tried.  Don't buy what is cheap, buy what is high-quality and best-tasting.  Indulge in rich foods, sophisticated flavors, good wine, cheese, dark chocolate...include those ingredients in recipes that you've never bothered to search for and try to taste the difference. For god's sake, buy a bunch of spices and use them...no, overuse them until your friends complain about how spicy your food is!  Go on a never-ending food quest and evolve into a food snob.

That's how I spent the past several years, and I know this works for a few reasons.  Now I'm a hopeless snob who turns my nose at anything that doesn't meet a certain standard.  That means I'm unable and unwilling to throw garbage down the hatch.  If great food can't be found, I don't really eat...or eat just enough so that I'm not starving.  When people are willing to eat just to get full...when they aren't in touch with flavors, textures...the beauty of dining...the only reason for eating is to get full.  Eating to get full isn't satisfying, so you eat more and more on a quest to become satisfied.

Aside from looking good and feeling healthy, of course food snobs live longer.  That's because our bodies were designed to crave and enjoy food that is good for us.  Corporations spend millions in R&D to fool our taste buds into liking cheep and low-quality ingredients...best to avoid name-brand junk food altogether and just buy the most natural, freshest food you can find and can afford.  Good food can always be found and always be made if you try hard enough.  And once you know better, you can't go back.

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Living in harmony with the biosphere

Life...everything it is and everything it does...is governed by a loose, but inescapable force.  It always has and always will.  This force exists whether or not the life forms that are its creations have become conscious of it.   Life...everything it is and everything it does...is governed by the force of evolution.

Evolution only became aware of itself nearly 150 years ago when it’s most perceptive and sensitive creation, the human being, became advanced enough to sense what was there all along.  And even today, relatively few are sensitive to it.  It seems to me that scientists, with their overly specialized and fractionalized focuses, have done nearly as much to confuse our thinking on evolution as the simple-minded preachers have.  But to understand evolution is to understand life and the meaning of life.  With a conceptual understanding of evolution, no made-up belief system is needed to live a full and rich life.  And it isn't that complicated.

The biosphere is a finite space upon which the conditions for life exist.  Life must confront the existence of both constant change and unavoidable scarcity.  When life forms are unable to adapt to change, they do not survive.  When life forms are no longer able to compete effectively to get what they need for survival, they no longer exist. 

Every life form wants to thrive so that it has the best possible chance at survival.  Life forms thrive when their characteristics enable them to meet their needs in a particular landscape (landscapes are microcosms within the biosphere).  The characteristics of some organisms are more specialized (a mushroom which grows on dead wood in a damp forest), and some are more diversified (birds, which can move from place to place and consume a variety of food). 

Viewing nature as a whole, all appears to fit so nicely.  Nature appears to operate as though it were created by some master planner.  But, of course, what we observe is nothing more than billions of years of trial and error.  A walk through a forest gives us a snapshot of what has resulted from a history of life's beautiful successes and devastating failures.  Constant flux comes from changing conditions in the biosphere (temperature fluctuations, water table changes, etc.) and mutations (new traits and new ideas which life introduces into the biosphere).  When the right mutations are suitable for the right conditions, they are carried forward.  When mutations do not help a life form thrive, they are discarded along with that life form.

Humans are no exception.  We, too, depend upon the conditions of the biosphere and the life forms within that biosphere for survival.  Of all the known life forms which have existed, we have taken the art of "thrival" to new levels.  We dominate life on earth because our characteristics, our skills and abilities, have taken us far beyond simple survival.

Many humans incorrectly see themselves as abstracted from nature.  Yet everything we do is still part of evolution itself.  Our man-made creations (governments, businesses, institutions, even cultures) are all microcosms of evolution.  They are sort of virtual "landscapes" in which we compete for scarce resources.  Businesses are organisms within the landscape of the market.  Think about the software industry, or the music industry.  You can see evolution unfolding on a daily basis.  New songs are new mutations.  Product features are mutations.  Ideas on weblogs are also mutations.  Some of those ideas are adopted by an audience, some aren’t.  Some of those ideas help that audience thrive, some don't.  To provide a thorough set of examples would be to describe everything that life is and life does.  I’ve provided these examples to demonstrate that a correct view of evolution is the lens through which reality makes sense.  How beautiful it is when reality makes sense.

Now let's look at morality.  Morality ought to be a consideration of consequences.  Morality devoid of the consideration of consequences is, more likely, manipulation.  So let's look at consequences.  That which undermines our thrival over the long term is wrong.  Driving an SUV is wrong because it pollutes the air and destroys the conditions in which life thrives.  Dumping toxic waste into our water supply is also wrong because it destroys life.  Anything that destroys life today or threatens life tomorrow is wrong.  Why?  When we tamper too much with the conditions that support life, we actually undermine our own chances for long-term survival.  We need life to survive.  We need the conditions which support life to survive.  Aggressive war is also wrong.  That's because, when we start a war, we are more likely to be attacked and killed in return.  Violence is wrong because it kills life.  Killing always undermines our own survival, and for that reason (if for no other) it is wrong.

When one believes he is abstracted from nature, he searches in vain for meaning.  But when we become sensitive to evolution...when we become reverent toward life...then we can live in grace and beauty.  Only then can we live wisely and in harmony with the biosphere.

Posted by Abscondo

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