A Little Free Advice

There are a lot of people in this world, usually for a lot of money, to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. To tell you that your effort isn’t good enough. To tell you that if only you’d do things their way all your dreams will come true.

Well guess what? I’m here, utterly for free, to tell you that if you’re doing anything, you’re doing it right.

You see, we live in a society that wants all the shortcuts to success. We don’t want to have to slug it out, enduring failure after failure, before we find our groove and start moving. We want hints and tips and tricks and everything else that will push us past the person on the other side of us doing the hard work and time to hone their craft. We love shortcuts, we’re addicted to them as a society. There is a whole class of people making a living on tips and tricks alone.

The horrible, insidious, and ironic thing is that tips and tricks alone rarely take away the complicated, hard work the truly successful endure. Because the horrible, insidious, and ironic thing about tips and tricks is that they may give you some pointers about what vector to use to attack a problem but rarely will a whole book of advice pave your personal yellow brick road. You’re the one that needs to do the work, put in the hours, and figure out what will work for you.

Now at this point, let me lift my hands and testify. I probably could have put a decent down payment on a car with the money I’ve spent on advice and self-help books over the years.

Fitness books.

Happiness books.

Success books.

I’m better advised than the President of the United States.

And the common thread in all of these books is that if I strictly adhere to set of rules then my total success as a  Human being is assured. You may even gain some amount of limited success over the short term. In the end though, all the rules get really hard to follow. Especially if you feel like you’re forcing yourself into a situation in the first place.

The truth is that long term success is paved with our, sometimes, constant failure. Through failure we learn how to attain success. For ourselves. It’s a hard truth to come to understand. Help is great but in the end we have to figure it all out by ourselves, no amount of rules or advice ultimately not meant for us is going to help.

So this morning, if you’re getting down on yourself because you don’t feel like you’re trying hard enough; just keep trying. Expertise is a muscle built by even a little bit of exercise every day. As that muscle grows you will feel like accomplishing more and you can level up from there. Don’t let anybody tell you that what you’re doing is wrong or not enough. Some days just getting out of bed can be an accomplishment in this messy and complicated life. I commend you for that.

Keep fighting.

The Rules of the Game

There’s one thing, do you see, that’s terrifying in this world, and this is that every man has his reasons.

Jean RenoirLa regle du jeu

Anyone who doesn’t believe there can be an emotional and psychological connection between a person and food hasn’t presided over a 3 week / 10 lbs. weight gain for little better reason than because bread and butter makes me feel good. Poetic justice? May be. Just desserts? Well desserts, just or not.

Lots of them.

And while I can’t precisely pinpoint the starting point of this downward spiral, at least I’m at the point where I’m trying to dig my feet in and stop. Sure, I’m still sliding a bit, but forward progress is slowing and hopefully this train can get turned around again sooner rather than later.

I’d be willing to bet there’s a lot of us out there tonight trying to do exactly the same thing. At least all of this has been instructive in that it’s taught me things are a lot more complicated than following a set of rules or behaviours and replicating success. Gluten is not your only enemy here. Sometimes your greatest enemy is yourself and that makes it all so very messy and crazy and out of control sometimes that you find yourself grasping for something, anything to make this crazy merry-go-round stop. Sometimes that grasping is for the aforementioned loaf of bread or the handful of chocolate chips I seem to be medicating regularly with or just sitting on the couch and savouring the sheer inactivity of it all. The grasping just gets so comfortable after a while that you kind of forget what it is you’re grasping for, let alone wonder why the hell you should even bother.

All of this to say that I get it now. I have so much more love and empathy and understanding for those people I may have passed in the street and scoffed at. Those people, I wondered to myself, just refused to try.

I’m sorry.

I get it.

This nightmare, this private long night from which you don’t think you’ll ever wake up, can just consume you and no amount of poking and prodding or downright passive aggressive “love” will ever seem to wake you up.

So my promise to you, my promise to me, is this. When I pass you on the street I will try to understand that I don’t have any idea what you had to go through this morning just to get out the door. I don’t know your reasons just like you don’t know mine. But if we both try to smile and appreciate each other for who we are in this very moment, the world will be improved just that much more.

Because you see, there are no rules to this game. There is no surefire road to success. There’s just a lot of struggling and striving and dirty work that isn’t pretty some days. We all just have to remember that some days the best tips and advice we can give isn’t that condescending, all-knowing look. It isn’t that pitying thought that’s crossing your mind. It isn’t that look of disbelief. It’s a smile and a nod and a genuine appreciation for how our day is. It may be just that one thing that makes us realize there is hope, there is a reason to keep fighting.

Because in the end that’s all we have.

I love you.

Keep fighting.

Open for Business

It’s been a while since I said Hi.  I’m sure you all understand.  Work, home, commitments all conspire against us to do all the other things in life we do when we aren’t paying bills and keeping our families fed.  It’s been a good time though because it’s given me the chance to look back and look forward and understand some things that I didn’t before.  Things I may have sensed but not really had the time to contemplate or appreciate.  It’s funny how things are revealed to us.  Sometimes we sit in a quiet room for days trying to fathom some mystery of the universe and the answer comes to us in the midst of the busiest day we can imagine.

It just goes to show that one of the greatest skills in life we should try to cultivate is simply being open to what life presents us.  You never know when that still, small voice is going to whisper the answer or a truth in your ear.  We can prepare ourselves as much as we can through prayer, meditation, and introspection but the word will come when it comes; not before and not after.  We simply need the patience, perseverance, and preparedness to wait for it to happen.

Take a moment before you start the day and stop.  Ask yourself, “Am I open to the possibilities the universe has to offer me today?”  If you are, you will be surprised what is out there, waiting to enlighten your day.

The Real Food Mama Recipe of the Week – Breakfast Hamburgers

I don’t know about your house, but when I’m really stuck for a supper idea my go-to meal is breakfast for supper.  I always have bacon and eggs and there isn’t a person in the house that doesn’t enjoy it.  It’s the perfect selection when I’m completely devoid of ideas.

Enter this week’s recipe from The Real Food Mama.  These Breakfast Hamburgers take all of the goodness and fun of breakfast for supper and combines it in a way that would be appropriate for any meal!  And this will be a special treat for Paleo and Primal folks who are trying to avoid white bread and gluten because it’s bunless.  Doesn’t it just look too yummy!?  And the best part is that prep is relatively simple and the results delicious!

I hope you enjoy this recipe suggestion. After you’ve read through the details on The Real Food Mama, check out Joanne’s Breakfast, Main Dish, Sides & Salads, and Dessert sections. You can also find Joanne on Facebook here.

Happy Eating!

New Paths

These last three weeks have been crazy personified.  The last month before a deadline is always that way.  Things to do that can no longer be delayed drag at your attention to the point that you no longer want to look at a computer after the end of your day.  Yet, in the midst of all of this, I learned an important lesson I can apply to my journey.

If you’re like me, you can find yourself heavily investing in something you believe is the right thing / the right way / what you think you should be doing to get to the outcome you think you want to achieve.  We not only fool ourselves that the path is correct but the end goal is as well.  It can be easy to believe that something will be your salvation and then work so intently towards it that you block out the real path and the real goal.

I learned all of this when I had to focus my time and attention on something I thought was the complete antithesis of what I wanted to achieve.  Being forced / forcing myself to be away from it for a while made me come to realize that not only was my approach wrong, so was my goal.  And as a bonus, I ended up making another discovery that pointed me down the road I now believe I should go.  Not bad for three weeks of flat out deadline work.

What am I trying to say?  I guess it’s this.  We need to be constantly open to the universe around us and what it has to offer.  It is our Human nature to get so fixated on something that we lose a whole world going on around us.  Be open to new paths and experiences even if they seem to run against the grain of what you want to do.

You might be surprised by the outcome.

The Real Food Mama Recipe of the Week – Hobo Burger Packets


This has been one of those weeks.

The ones where all you seem to do is sleep, eat, work, and try to tend to your children as best as you’re able.  It’s good to have a go-to meal to pull out of your back pocket when those weeks come around.  Something that’s easy, nutritious, and able to keep even the picky eaters satisfied.  It was to my surprise and pleasure that I found this week’s Real Food Mama Recipe of the Week.

These Hobo Burger Packets are easy to prep, easy to cook, and are perfect now that grilling season is upon us.  All the good stuff of a traditional hamburger combined with sweet potato, onion, and lots of flavour!  And no bun!  I can’t wait to make this for my family on the barbecue.  You should go over to The Real Food Mama now and check it out for yourself!

I hope you enjoy this recipe suggestion. After you’ve read through the details on The Real Food Mama, check out Joanne’s BreakfastMain DishSides & Salads, and Dessert sections.  You can also find Joanne on Facebook here.

Happy Eating!

The Real Food Mama Recipe of the Week – No Buns Philly Cheese Steaks

Last week we introduced a new feature here on The Paleo Campfire called The Real Food Mama Recipe of the Week.  Every week we’ll feature a new recipe from Joanne at The Real Food Mama.  If you already know Joanne’s site, you already know what a wonderful resource for Paleo and Primal living it is.  If this is your first encounter, you’re in for a weekly treat.

This week our Real Food Mama recipe is No Buns Philly Cheese Steaks.  My pre-Paleo life was often dominated by many different variations of sandwiches and the Philly Cheese Steak was certainly very close to the top.  Joanne’s version keeps all the steaky goodness and eliminates all the gluteny, white bread badness.  How could you go wrong?  And it’s a slow cooker recipe!  The slow cooker is my secret weapon!  I’m definitely looking forward to making this part of my supper time repertoire!

I hope you enjoy this recipe suggestion. After you’ve read through the details on The Real Food Mama, check out Joanne’s BreakfastMain DishSides & Salads, and Dessert sections.  You can also find Joanne on Facebook here.

Happy Eating!