Live Well

Life can be beautiful, transcendent, and sweet, even in the midst of chaos. All about living well, no matter what the world is throwing at you.

Everything that you currently are, you once ate   

Friday, 8 June 2018

Everything your body has ever done comes from one source: food you’ve put in it. That Five Guys burger was broken down in your colon, became lung cells, which were then compressed to exhale the carbon dioxide currently leaving your body as you read this sentence.

Food is, quite literally, the stuff of life. How wonderful! Every molecule of your beautiful body was once food. Then you ate it. And it became, well, you.

That spicy noodle soup you’re slurping will become skin cells on your forearm. The protein bar you grabbed for breakfast will become brain processes and hormone secretions. Everything that you currently are, you once ate.

It sounds nuts. We don’t usually think of food this way.

But when we do, meals become moments of serene gratitude and joy. Food, the human body, life: these are miracles.

And that’s why at meals, we give thanks.

Uncomfortably Public Challenge Results: Week 1   

Monday, 22 January 2018

Tasks Report

1 = I did it!

0 = I didn’t 🙁

Goal Report

  • Lost 4 pounds.
  • 2 recitals booked.
  • Invested several hours in learning new budgeting software.

So. There was success (rejoice!). There was failure (sadness). But wow is it satisfying to build up some streaks!

For my daily to dos, I created a Google Sheet where whenever I input a 1, the cell turns green (hooray I did it!) or if I input a 0 it turns yellow (boo, I didn’t do it). I’m having fun each day tallying these up. And now that I can see a week of results…I am feeling far more motivated than I was last week. The goal here is to maintain the chain and over time, the cost of breaking the chain gets higher and higher.

By FAR, the hardest habit here is to stop dead in my tracks, with zero distractions, and meditate/pray for 10 minutes. Driving in the car or the phone on means it doesn’t count. I want to stop all the things in my life and focus on one thing: silence. For ten minutes. It goes against everything modern life demands of us. And it’s wonderful. But if the rest of 2018 is anything like Week 1, I’m in for an epic battle to make this a habit. But I really believe it will be worth it. I think this is one of those habits where the investment is small, but the pay off is asymmetrically huge.

Failure: So What?

I failed a few times. So what? Each time, I got started again the next day. The impulse to beat yourself up is as productive as milking a Jeep. It’s a great way to stay planted in the Garden of Mediocrity. (Yuck, that sounds terrible.) Pick up, learn, move on!

Here’s to some uncomfortably public results!

My Uncomfortably Public Challenges for the New Year   

Monday, 15 January 2018

Sing.Eat.Repeat. is all about living and eating well. And part of that is about getting uncomfortable. (We all know that if you’re not doing something uncomfortable, you’re not growing.)

I recently made a list of 2018 Goals. I spent a lot of time on them, trying to find the balance between challenging and sustainable over the course of the year. And oh my goodness, I don’t want to share these publicly! But I’m going to. I want to put them out there, and make myself uncomfortable and accountable.

So here it is. For 2018, I am hoping to grow in 3 Life Principles, achieve 3 Goals, and to do 7 Tasks every day in pursuit of all three.

2018 Life Principles

  1. Do less, focus more.
  2. Show up, every day.
  3. Relax and reflect like a champ.

1. Do less, focus more. Maybe I want to eat a salad every day of 2018. But that’s actually a bad goal. It will likely lead to failure. We humans can’t conceive of 365 days at once. But I can make a choice about today. I might even be able to plan for a whole week. Smaller goals, focused actions = bigger results. They lead to the repeated, small successes that result in the large goals actually being achieved. Do less. Make smaller decisions within smaller time frames. Focus relentlessly on those small things. Focus on the details, and they’ll snowball and accumulate into something much bigger than the sum of their parts down the line.

2. Show up, every day. For those few goals I do have for 2018, I will work them every single day of this year. I’m starting a streak, and come hell or high water, I will maintain that streak. I will work on each of my goals every day, seven days a week, 365 days this year. There are no off days. And that being said…

3. Relax and reflect like a champ. Netflix binging does not restore the mind. Nor does binge eating restore the body. And Lord, how easy it is at the end of a 12-hour day to grab some ice cream and sit on the couch and mindlessly sink into a show! Nope. Not gonna go there. Because that doesn’t feed or nourish my spirit (or body). And the next day, there is a price to pay both mentally and physically. That doesn’t sound like restoration to me! So for 2018, I have a “To Break List” to complement my “To Do List.” It’s a list of intentional, restoring activities that I already enjoy and can help me come down from a big day. I’ll be using that to replace bad “relaxation” habits from 2017. Relaxing and reflecting intentionally is what I’m worst at. In 2018, I’m turning that around.

Now it’s on to the brass tacks.

2018 Goals

  1. Lose 30 pounds of body fat, and add at least 10 pounds of muscle.
  2. Sing a minimum of 10 auditions and two recitals.
  3. Manage income very carefully to pay down the maximum amount possible on my student debt

2018 Daily Tasks

  • Meditate, pray for 10 minutes in complete silence with absolutely no distractions
  • Practice my audition package
  • Practice sight reading
  • Eat nourishing food
  • Exercise
  • No alcohol; no coffee
  • Avoid social media until 6pm

Once a month, I’ll write a super brief report on whether or not I’m achieving my goals in 2018. Please send your encouragement, and any extra hours of sleep my way!

Sharing good food is a strangely intimate act.   

Friday, 29 September 2017

Sharing good food is a strangely intimate act. As any living thing in this universe does, we must all partake. Frequently. Yet the human being elevates food beyond simple nutrition, and always has. There is something strange about the human spirit that wants more, that needs more, than just minerals and calories.

Food is art. It forms the first layer of bedrock in all cultures and traditions, religions and families. Food is the living tradition that express a people’s history. But unlike monuments or books, food is alive and food is now! It is perishable, and it is fragile, and it is being created today, by human hands, for you to eat. It is never the same twice.

I’ve always loved food. But it is in understanding that food is a language that I’ve learned to respect and honor it. Sure, food is a granola bar from the gas station or a sandwich in the car. It’s also a sit-down at the holidays, a romantic evening, or an olive branch after a spat. Food is spiritual and food is profound because it is, in the most literal sense, the stuff of life. It feeds not just our bodies but our spirits too. It brings us together, and it is common to all mankind, no matter their differences.

Food is a beautiful language. Its symbols and words are the sweat in the kitchen, the smiles on faces, the time spent lingering with friends, that deep sigh of contentment after a heavy pasta dish with fresh basil from the garden. Food is a sign that we will die one day, yet food is a sign that we will live and fight at least one more day. And if it’s good food, with joy in our hearts! To share in this universal need for food, alongside that strange, deep need for a life beyond mere survival, is the most human of acts.

Food shared is a sign that I care for your strength and health. It’s also a sign that I’m hungry, and you are too, so let’s be a couple of humans together in this moment. Food is what you give to an ailing friend. Food is how to say I love you, without ever saying a word.

Good food is Mozart, or Shakespeare, or Hemingway, depending on the chef. More days than not, though, in the bustle of life, it’s just a paperback or a pop song. But it’s still food. It’s still the stuff of life. It’s still that magic thing that makes it all work. It’s the thing I need, and you need, no matter our idiosyncrasies. In the mundane and elevated alike, there is always something beautiful to experience and share (and taste!) if only we look.

Sing.Eat.Repeat.   

Friday, 23 June 2017

My background is a little Jackson Pollock: I’m a former professional poker player, organist, advertising executive, construction worker, card dealer, strategic planning consultant, programmer and web developer, and art director. Now I’m working as a tenor and choral conductor (artist website).

Along my path I’ve continued to land in the same two creeks:

  • Food; its rituals, disciplines, experiments, delights, catastrophes, and its role as a language.
  • Music; how it unites us, how it nourishes us, and how it moves us more deeply than words.

Sing.Eat.Repeat. is about sharing with you the best of what I find along my way, through food and music. (Maybe some other stuff sneaks in along the way too. Please don’t sue.)

Thanks for reading.

– Edward Atkinson

© 2019 Edward Atkinson. All rights reserved.
“To sing is to thank God you are alive.” — Virginia Zeani