Adding Whimsy To Our Date Nights: The Art of Buying Kale

Recently I read a medium article all about a woman who got annoyed with her boyfriend when they went grocery shopping. She blamed it on her own impatience, but to me it seemed like she was really annoyed because her partner got all soft and floaty in the grocery store. The problem they had was how to buy food while also being in the flow of romantic love.

While it isn’t always easy, here’s how my partner and I create art out of buying kale.

Whimsy Dinner 

Right after we started dating my partner said to me, “Every time I go to the grocery store there’s always stuff I want to buy, like cool vegetables, or random noodles. But I always stop myself because I can’t figure out what I would do with them”

We had been having one of those early relationship conversations where you talk about how you do ordinary things, grocery shopping, buying clothes online, or washing the dishes. 

“Well what if we went to the store and you just picked out what you wanted and I’d figure out how to make a meal out of it?”

She smiled at me. “You would do that?”

I smiled back. 

The feminine at the grocery store. 

My partner’s desire was 100% natural. Since she likes to live in the feminine she likes to follow the flow of her inspiration. She can totally plan and execute her own meals but this was something different, she wanted to be able to listen to her inner guidance and choose food based upon that. 

The masculine at the grocery store. 

When I’m in my masculine I love a challenge. Give me a complex set of things to organize or a difficult conversation to have and I light up. The idea of getting a set of random ingredients I needed to contain into an edible meal inspired me. I also loved that I would get to watch her choose random items and follow her joy. 

The first time we went shopping it was magical. She went from aisle to aisle picking out random food. I didn’t even know what fennel looked like before she put it in the cart and I really wasn’t sure how I was going to work pomegranate into the meal either, but I just let her wander as I followed her with my phone out looking for recipe ideas. 

That night we had arugula, fennel, pomegranate salad to start, garlic rosemary chicken, with roasted golden beets finished with beet greens and honey goat cheese for the main course and assorted mochi for dessert. 

And we’ve done this almost every week since then. 

The reason it works is that we aren’t attached to the outcome. When we do these whimsy dinners, we make an effort to go with the flow and be with each other. We work to embody the whimsy in our relationship. It’s not always easy in the day-to-day, but having specific nights and times set aside to do this works really well for us.


Love Is Heartbreak

George Carlin says “when you get a pet, you’re purchasing a small tragedy.” Because your beloved furry friend (if you’re lucky) will die before you do. And while that may seem like a dark or depressing thought, the truth of it teaches about love is vital

Love inevitably leads to heartbreak. No matter how hard you try or how careful you are with your heart, it will be broken. And not just because even lifelong loves are separated by death, or because we’ve been sold an impossible fairy tale about romance, but because heartbreak and love go hand in hand.

To love fully is to be broken open. To risk it all is to be inside of losing it all.

Yet most of us play defense when we play for love. We long for romance but fear getting dropped and crushed.

We look for red flags, we open up slowly, we try to make a list to get the right person and avoid the wrong person.

We defend our hearts and we seek to free our hearts and we end up tied in knots as a result.

How can we possibly hope to do something like love. Something that requires flexibility, creativity, courage, and faith. If we are unwilling to allow our hearts to be seen.

But we protect our hearts because we all know what it means to have our hearts broken.

We find this out when we’re young.

Our parents seem like gods at first. Perfect, even if they were awful.

And we bend and twist ourselves into the shape they need us to be to get love.

Then at some point we slowly realize these humans have no idea what they are doing. They are simply stumbling along like everyone else.

This realization. The de-heroization of our parents, no matter when or how it comes, is heartbreaking.

As we awaken to the fact that they aren’t god-like, we realize we love human beings who despite their best intentions love us with imperfect hearts.

Many of us remember this deeply in our bodies. Even if our parents were amazing and loving.

The heartbreak lives inside of us as a warning.

To be careful, to withhold trust, to go slow.

And so we do. We protect our hearts with conditions and lists or we step over our hearts and into wild impossible fantasies of another person they can’t possible fulfill.

No matter how we relate to love, the result is the same.

We don’t reveal the true tenderness of our hearts. Because we are afraid to have them broken.

But then . . . if we’re lucky. We meet someone who brings our defenses down. We let go of fantasies. We trust.

And as our hearts open to them, it breaks. It breaks in loving them. It breaks in all the human moments where we remember they are simply imperfect like we are. It breaks when we realize there is no one coming to save us or our relationships.

It breaks because that’s what loving hearts do.

And if we’re lucky we learn this lesson.

That to love is to be heartbroken. That defending your heart is pointless even counterproductive.

Because the way to love is through heartbreak. The way to break patterns is through heartbreak. The way to the kind of deep connection we long for is through heartbreak.

Whether we want it to be or not.


Some Unusual Qualities of Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently. How it bends and shifts. How weird it is, and how weird we get around it.

Here are a couple of things I noticed that may help you have a better relationship with time.

Displacement – Time is like a solid box and everything we put inside it is like a liquid substance. Since time can neither be created or destroyed tends to simply displace itself to other areas.

When you’ve added something to your calendar you don’t really add anything, you simply displace something else by adding it.

When you remove something you take nothing away you simply create more space for something else to fill it.

This is why it’s so easy to overschedule yourself, because most people don’t really consider what they are displacing when they say yes. It’s also why you feel busy even when you “clear some time on your calendar” because you don’t notice the other things that flow into the space.

Inhumanity – Time doesn’t really care about you being a human and that things go wrong. It is unyieldingly precise. Time doesn’t flex because there’s traffic, it doesn’t contract because the bus is late. It marches on regardless of what is occurring to you in your life.

This is why things fall apart so quickly when something in your well designed schedule doesn’t work out as planned. If you don’t add some humanity to your schedule and life, a little space for things not to work out, you’re screwed.

No judgement – Time doesn’t exercise any judgement. If you fill it, you will feel full. If you leave it empty, you will feel that space. Time doesn’t care what you fill it with. It could be something profound, mundane, dramatic, or even absurd. Time will simply tell you when it’s full.

This is why so many people are what I call Lazy-Busy. It’s a state where their time is filled. They feel busy because of this fullness but it’s full of things because the things have been poorly designed and mis packed. It’s like someone opened up the back of a hatchback and just threw things inside. And then when something was taken out, they found the next thing closest to them and threw that inside too.

A poorly packed car is maddening, a well packed car is impressive, a car packed with the items it needs, with space to find and maneuver those items in a useful way, is truly magical.


Extroverted? Here’s Some Tips From a Zen Monk on How To Be More Quiet and Reflective.

It seems like the world is obsessed with introverts. We want to understand them, laugh about them, and even try to change them. As an extrovert who has mostly dated introverted people I’ve laughed at the memes about introverts being relieved when people cancel plans, had my heart melt at comics about how loved introverts feel when people lovingly give them space, and even marveled at how my partners can feel totally depleted after a party when I feel fully energized.

In April 2019, Tom and Lorenzo responded to a tweet by Oprah that featured an article titled “Introverted? Here’s how to be more social”. He asked a simple question, “Where are the articles titled: Extroverted? Here’s some tips on How to be more Quiet and Reflective.”

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And he makes a good point. For the first twenty years of my life I was a passionate, outgoing, extrovert known for arguing any point that crossed my path and interrupting people to say “actually . . . “ and share my knowledge on a given subject.

But in my late twenties I moved into and lived at a Zen monastery for two years and what I learned there about being quiet and reflective changed my life. Sure introverts are interesting for their sometimes counterintuitive behavior, but what’s really unexamined is the strange thing that drives extroverts to talk and how changing it can help you in all sorts of ways.

Extroverts who learn self control around speaking and connecting . . .

  • Appear more confident and powerful
  • Have people listen to them more closely
  • Experience greater satisfaction and depth in life
  • Have stronger and more intimate relationships
  • Appreciate the small things in life more
  • And take fewer things personally

One thing most extroverts don’t understand is that . . .

Talking a lot isn’t always a sign of confidence, it might actually be camouflage for your insecurity.

When I lived at the monastery we spent a lot of time not talking. And at first this was really challenging. I noticed how often I wanted to make a comment, a joke, or offer an interesting fact about something that was happening.

But because silence was encouraged I learned how to bite my tongue and I discovered how deeply uncomfortable I was.

If I wasn’t talking, sharing my insights, making a joke then who was I?
Was I valuable as a person? Would people want me around?

I came to see that while I do love connecting with people my desire to talk and connect wasn’t coming from a deep commitment to connection, but an anxious yearning to have the people around me constantly reassuring me that I was funny, smart, and charming.

And when I let that go I had to face the reality that I wasn’t very confident at all, I was just addicted to the constant stream of feedback I got by being extroverted.

You see, many extroverts love to connect. They get energy from being around people, from loud noises, and exciting activities, but they sometimes struggle to be with themselves.

The silence can feel confronting, their own energy can be hard to contain, and so they go through life hooked on this social feedback. Slowly by being silent I learned to let go of this need and found that I could enjoy other people even more.

Because they were no longer a dealer for my social dopamine high, but rather actually really interesting people with whom I could connect and deepen relationships.

This leads me to the second thing I noticed:

The key to more connection isn’t more conversation, it’s more silence.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from friends about the dates they go on is that the person just talked about themselves the whole time.

It’s a mistake that can be understood by our current culture of producing content. Our job is to share, share, share and hope that someone will respond. This puts our attention on talking and sharing and not much on listening.

None of the platforms most of us spend much time on really encourage us to listen or engage. It’s why so many of my coaching clients are blown away by how much I simply listen to them.

When you’re quiet there’s more space for things to arise.

Practice talking less and notice what arises in you

If you want to actually connect with more people, be quiet and notice what arises.
When you’re listening are you really listening? or are you waiting for your turn to talk?
Can you slow down and pause before speaking?
Did you really hear what that person just said? Or do you already have something lined up?

What do you feel when you hold your comments?
What do you feel when you talk less?

By slowing down and talking less you can learn a lot about yourself and even find a way to be fully comfortable without having to talk all the time.


The 3 Kinds of People: Wise, Foolish, and Evil

“You have more influence to bring about change than you might think, but the key is knowing what to do with different kinds of people.” – Necessary Endings, page 122

Wise People

“When the truth presents itself, the wise person sees the light, takes it in, and makes adjustments” says Dr. Cloud.

Because they can handle feedback and will truly use it to make changes, the way to deal with people in this category is to keep talking. Discussing the issues and exploring ways to change is effective because no one is discounting behaviors or making excuses. The truth is laid out on the table so that real solutions can emerge and meaningful change can occur. A wise person gives you a real reason to have hope that things will be different.

Foolish People

“The fool tries to adjust the truth so he does not have to adjust to it.” Conversations with foolish people are the most frustrating because it feels like you are talking to a wall. They never seem to hear the feedback.

So, the way to deal with a foolish person is simple: stop talking. At least about the problem. There’s a word for continuing to remind someone of a behavior that they don’t see the need to change: it’s called nagging. And it doesn’t work until someone gets hopeless enough to change. Instead, have a different conversation about a new problem: the fact that talking doesn’t help.

In other words, you need to have a necessary ending of the pattern by no longer talking about the problem but by using a new strategy of setting limits and establishing consequences for the problem. Limits protect you from the fool’s collateral damage, and doing something that causes them to feel the consequences of their behavior may help them feel hopeless enough to turn around. In this way, you transfer the need for them to perform from your shoulders and onto theirs.

Evil People

“Do not hope for the evil persons to change. It could happen, and it does, but does not happen by giving in to them, reasoning with them, or giving them another chance to hurt you. It happens when they finally are subject to limits that force them to change. Jail does some people good.”

The best way Dr. Cloud could explain how to deal with evil people is to quote a Warren Zevon song, “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” When Dr. Cloud quotes the words from that song, he may do it for effect, but he’s absolutely serious. You can’t reason with evil people, so you need to protect yourself with lawyers, guns (police), and money. This may be the case for some women in abusive relationships where they need to get restraining orders, or in businesses where people try to sabotage your company or reputation.


You’re Wrong About Death: The Truth of Death

There are three ways to look at death and all of them are wrong.

1. Death as an inevitable tragedy.

We wonder at it, avoid thinking about it, honor it in predictable ways, and fetishize it all at once.

This is the death of black veils and funeral rites. It’s the death of people passing.

This death is written about in obituaries with the lines of people preceded by or survived by into death.

The death we watch in the movies but want to avoid dealing with in the news.

It’s the death happening to someone else.

2. Death as a gift.

It’s a reminder to “LIVE LIFE!” and go after your dreams. To invite you into mindfulness and gratitude.

This is the death of bucket lists and fighting cancer.

This is the death of final words and last times.

It’s the death that people wonder at, that inspires us to live, and that makes heroes out of those that enter its warm embrace with dignity and courage.

3. Death as a scientific reality.

This is the death we see in statistics. The death of doctors and public health officials. It’s the death of lab rats and experimental bunnies. It’s the death of our food, the chickens, cows, and pigs that fill our bellies.

This death is cold and clear.

It’s undramatic and unemotional.

It scoffs at reverence or meaning.

But none of these are the truth of death.

The truth of death is something much more personal.

It’s a relationship, though a reluctant one for many. It is the real specter of death that sits behind the woe and wonder. It’s more than a fact and less than a drama.

It’s the blare of a car horn before a crash. It’s the desire to know how someone died as if you’ll be able to escape that tragedy yourself.

It’s the desire to paint someone’s life with poetic meaning, in the hope of making death seem more approachable.

This is the death that aches when someone you love is separated from you. It’s the death that appears slowly with wrinkled eyes and greying hair. It’s the death that you bump against when you find a lump. Wait for a test result. Or look back at a stupid risk you barely slipped through.

This is the death made just for you. Crafted, monogrammed, and delivered specially.

It’s a death no one shares. No one can look inside. It is as opaque as it is deep.

And it is something we each must face in our own way.

So much of what we think of death is simply a script, a habit, a ritual. When its truth is so much more intimate and potent.

You can see this death whenever you want. By simply looking in a mirror. It’s the death you can’t escape. And it’s the death that you can use in whatever way you want.

This is the truth of death, only you can know. That you can never tell to someone else. And that you will carry for as long as blood flows in your veins. And a spark appears behind your eyes.

Oh, how lovely it truly is.


Environment vs. Declaration

We often wait for the right environment to declare. It’s sort of like we have a seed and we’re waiting for the right environment to plant it. Except we don’t really know what kind of plant we’re growing. All we have is this seed, a small hard object, with potential.

When we develop the courage to plant the seed, a plant will begin to grow, as it does we can tell if the environment we’ve placed it in is right for it, is it getting enough sun and water? Are there bugs around that hurt it?

Our declarations are not so fragile, but if we are unwilling to plant them we never learn.

Start first by planting, by declaring, and then as you live into that you’ll know almost instinctively if you’re in the right environment.


My 1st Project With altMBA (Seth Godin)

Have you ever wanted to do something for years but can’t seem to find the time? The event is compelling, the trip inspiring, but the timing just isn’t right?

For years I’ve wanted to attend Seth Godin’s altMBA.

I heard about the potent impact it has on people, but I could never find the time. But with the pandemic in full swing and my dating life on full pause I decided to take on this challenge not to get anything specific, but to have fun and get back into the mode of creation.

As I take on this challenge I want to share with you some of what I’m learning so you can consider what is possible when you step outside your comfort zone and do the thing you’ve wanted to do for so long.

How altMBA Works –

altMBA is a 30 day SPRINT And they aren’t kidding

You “ship” 12 projects in 30 days – that’s 3 projects a week.

Some of these projects you do alone, some of them you do working with a small group, but the idea is to learn by doing, by staying engaged, and getting feedback.

My commitment to altMBA My core commitment to altmba is to have fun, to learn, and to connect.


The first project for altMba was all about goals. How to set them and how to present them in a compelling way.

Because my commitment is to have fun I thought of goals like an investment.

I choose what I want to create and I have to convince myself that this thing I want is worth the investment of time and money.

For me, that meant creating a “PITCH” to convince myself that I should invest in this goal. The goal for me was to publish a book for new coaches. A book I have already written by the way, but haven’t gotten out into the world yet. *

So I treated myself like an investor and made the pitch which you can watch below

Any goal you make is an investment.

An investment of the most valuable resource you have. Your life. If you’re going to take on a goal, you need to make sure it’s a sound investment.

Why wouldn’t you treat this as the biggest pitch of your life?

I hope my pitch inspired you in the same way it inspired me. Your life is so valuable, invest wisely, but once you do, go ALL IN.

Then I got some AMAZING feedback on my post.

The main things people mentioned were about WHY I was the one to write this book? Why did I care about it? What is the book really about? And what might I create in publishing it?

What it helped me see was that even when I am enrolling myself in a commitment I HAVE to keep why I’m the right person or why I’m doing something at the center.

I also learned that doing all of this is FUN and can be fun. It’s so easy for us to make things super heavy and significant instead of simply just enjoying the act of creation itself.

*Since this was written, the book has been published. Learn more here.


What Would I Love, What Would I Limit

Mostly people create from limitation or from dreams. Both are powerful, but both ignore the possibility of the other side.

When we live in dreams we imagine more freedom means better, when we live from limitation we think more clear boundaries means better. But seeking safety in a world that’s never safe or absolute freedom in a world where we’re tied to physical bodies doesn’t honor the wholeness of life. Which is part freedom, part limitation.

Instead, we can create even more when we sit at the feet of each teacher. Figuring out what we dream about and then trying to bound up those dreams into a plan, as well as creating strict limits and then working to fill each little square with as much life as possible. Both can be places of beautiful art and brilliant innovation so long as we remember that it is both the endless possibility of life and the proud presence of our mortality that gives life its sweet seasoning.