We discuss in this podcast:
- How discovering her chronic illness impacted Masumi’s mood
- Efforts to heal with a macrobiotic diet
- The importance of stress as a major factor in recovery
- How her doctor introduced her to the Paddison Program
- How the Program lead to great success from the very beginning
- The flexibility of the Paddison Program and its advantages
- The emotional roller coaster induced by a chronic illness
- Effective habits we can introduce to elevate our mood and find inspiration
Clint – Welcome back to the Rheumatoid Solutions podcast. All the information that we create on these episodes can be found over at www.rheumatoidsolutions.com. Today’s guest is Masumi Goldman and she’s the author of Rise and Thrive A Guide for Transforming Your Mood, Cultivating Inspiration and Living Vibrantly with Chronic Illness. And she was inspired to write this book after experiencing firsthand how exhausting and demoralizing it is to live with a painful chronic condition that attacked her joints, muscles and tendons in the eight and a half years since her autoimmune diagnosis. She successfully used diet and lifestyle choices to keep painful flare-ups at bay. But she lived with things anxiety of knowing that her illness had the potential of rearing its ugly head at any time. Today, she lives confidently, knowing that it’s possible to live a purposeful, inspired life despite having a chronic illness diagnosis. It is now her passion to share with others how to combat the negativity and the hopelessness that often accompany the long journey of living with a chronic medical condition. She truly believes that you do not have to wait to be cured in order to live an inspired, fulfilled life and boosters that she talks about in her book. And these are designed to boost mood. So we all hope that at the end of this, we have a great set of tools that we can go away and have more of a mood improvement strategy. So thank you so much for coming on this episode.
Masumi – Thank you so much for having me.
Clint – I know that was a big intro. That’s the biggest intro I think I’ve ever given.
Masumi – Well, it’s a big book. It’s not large in size, but has a lot of information packed full of inspiration for all of your listeners.
Clint – Well, thank you. Well, we look forward to hearing a little bit more about the details in just a moment. First of all, I want you to tell us a little bit about what symptoms showed up for you now eight and a half years ago. What did you do about it? And how things started to evolve way before you started thinking about writing a book about improving mood?
Masumi – Sure. Well, I would say my chronic illness journey began in the fall of 2011 at the time I was really active, I was going to the gym and lifting weights every single day. I even owned a treadmill and had a small home gym. And so I was running almost every day and almost out of the blue. One morning I woke up and I noticed that I had a lot of pain in my feet and I had a lot of pain in both hips. And I was thinking, man, maybe I just need to lay off the treadmill and just take it easy for a little while. Maybe I need to send orthotics. So I made an appointment with a podiatrist and I went to see the podiatrist. He gave me custom orthotics. I put them in. I cut back on the running. And I still remember lying in bed one night. And both hip, both hip joints were burning so badly. I knew that this was probably something more than just a sports injury. So I went back to the podiatrist, explained the situation, told him that the burning was terrible. Was there something else that we should be doing? And he said, you know what? I think that you need to go see another doctor. Someone could run some bloodwork for you. And so I went to another doctor who ran bloodwork. And I was stunned to find that my bloodwork did not come back normal. I had positive rheumatoid factor, which was sky-high. And then I had to go to a rheumatologist. I had multiple rheumatologist, multiple sports medicine doctors. And that was the start of my journey. The rheumatologist could not figure out what illness I actually had because nothing cleanly fit into any single bucket. Some things look like rheumatoid arthritis, but I didn’t have the redness or swelling that’s required to have an arthritic diagnosis. So a rheumatologist said to me, look, I think you have your very own autoimmune condition.
Masumi – And when you hear that you have your own illness. You sort of lose your mind because if you’re going to get an illness, you want something that the doctors understand they’ve seen before, they know exactly how to treat. And so I felt very, very much on my own. I was in horrific pain. No one knew what to do for me. And that’s when I decided to put myself on a strict macrobiotic diet. I got a macrobiotic counsellor, and I followed a very specific lifestyle to create balance in the body. It’s based on ancient Chinese medicine, balancing the concepts of yin and yang in the body, creating balance so that your own body can heal itself. And that is pretty much what I did for years. I was able to manage symptoms really effectively by sticking to this very strict diet of grains, greens, long cooked vegetable, short cooked vegetable, fermented vegetables. And it was it was an intense program. But I did it and it was healing me of my issues, which is why I stayed on it, and I stayed on it probably until about 2015. And in 2015, I was going through a very, very stressful period in my life, my eight year old daughter required a kidney transplant. Not only did she have a kidney transplant, which would be enough stress by itself, but she ended up rejecting the new transplanted kidney. We had to undergo a million different treatments and then as a result of the treatments, she developed some horrible virus in that transplanted kidney. So I went through a serious period of stress and I think I made the mistake of thinking that food can cure everything. I really macrobiotics. I mean, it really was my entire world. I thought as long as I stuck to a very, very strict diet, I would be all set. My symptoms would remain under control. But I found a period of time where no matter how much kale I was eating. No matter how much quinoah I was stuffing into my system, I could not get the symptoms to really get back under control. I was in horrible pain, I couldn’t open and close my hands, my knee was so swollen I could barely put pressure onto my right leg.
Masumi – And I realised that stress is a major, major factor. It’s not just about the food. There are other lifestyle factors that go into feeling good. And at that point, I decided that I needed a better diagnosis, I was not happy with you have your own autoimmune condition and we don’t know what it is. And I found a new doctor who was willing to test me for Lyme disease and a bunch of co-infection that come along with Lyme disease with the infected tick. And I had a lot of positive results. So I finally, after, you know, four or five years, had a proper diagnosis of Lyme disease. But of course, at that point, I was in pretty bad shape and I didn’t have the ability to do the macrobiotic diet, which requires a lot of cooking, a lot of soaking of dried beans and dried grains the night before, a ton of chopping of vegetables and steaming. I couldn’t lift my pressure cooker up out of the cabinet. I couldn’t grab my steamer, I couldn’t do what I needed to do to stay healthy. And that is when I discovered the Paddison Program. My doctor was the one that actually said, look, why don’t you give this a shot? I think it’ll be easier for you than the macrobiotics. And that’s when I began the Paddison Program and I had a tremendous amount of success and I was able to reclaim my life by finding basically an easier version of macrobiotics in this Paddison Program. So I’ve to thank you for that. Thank you so much.
Clint – Well, it’s a very interesting story so far, and I’m glad that you were able to feel that the Paddison Program was easier and it gave you the results that you’re looking for than the macrobiotic, because a lot of audience, you know, like myself and like everyone who’s done a restrictive diet, as restrictive as Paddison, find that it’s you know, it can be hard. And you’ve come at it from a diet that obviously required a lot of discipline, a lot of preparation, a lot of kitchen time and then a lot of careful planning. And so I guess when the Paddison Program is presented and it’s like a do a lot of the same thing a lot of the time that takes a lot of the pressure off the food prep. Am I right?
Masumi – Oh, absolutely. For me, I actually found it comforting to know that I only needed to do one thing because when you’re not feeling well and this is sort of the basis for my book, you don’t have the energy to take on everything that you would take on if you were already in a positive mindset. You don’t have the energy or even the ability to go out for a jog or run. You don’t have the ability to go to the supermarket yourself, pick out all the different vegetables, start soaking the grains and soaking the beans, and chopping and washing and peeling vegetables. You just don’t have the energy. So for me, it was very comforting to know that if I set up my rice cooker, my electric rice cooker the night before and I loaded it with my two grain mix or my three grain mix, I knew that my breakfast would be ready in the morning. And, you know, probably a lot of your listeners also have more pain in the morning. So it was very nice to be able to set the timer on my rice cooker and know that when I woke up in the morning, I didn’t have to do anything but grab a bowl, grab the raw bokchoy out of the refrigerator or the romaine lettuce, right? I use them as little spoons. I would break apart the bok choy and use them as little spoons to shovel the quinoa in my mouth. I was able to do that. And that was for me, very, very comforting to know that I could heal myself. And it was okay that my hands weren’t working, that my arms hurt like crazy.
Masumi – So I thought it was a fantastic program. And you continued to add preparation to the plan as you felt better and better. So by the time we were adding sweet potatoes and by the time we were doing lentils, I was already feeling well enough that I could peel the potato myself if I wanted to. I could pull the pot out, fill the pot with water and boil it myself. I didn’t need help. So I really liked that program of start with one thing, add another thing a few days later and keep adding one thing at a time. And it also allows you the chance to figure out what worked and what didn’t because everyone’s body’s different. Maybe your body doesn’t work if you have sweet potatoes. Who knows what can cause your flairs if a sweet potato causes your flare. You try something else, right? Or if a certain green doesn’t work for you, maybe you replace it. I happen to have tremendous success and I didn’t have to change anything, although I will mention that the second time I did the program, I developed an allergy to celery. But when I went back and read through all your notes, you said, look, if something doesn’t work for you, just do all cucumbers if you need to. Right? And that’s what I did. I love that it was flexible, but it was super easy.
Clint – Great. Okay. Well, I’m glad that it worked so well. And we will focus with probably the rest of our conversation on the emotional side of things and boosting mood. But before we leave off on the dietary stuff. Why are you still following along a plant based diet now? And have you been able to? Sounds like with the mention of lentils, expand your diet now into something that, you know, allows you to have more flexibility and freedom?
Masumi – I have a lot more freedom. I will say that when you do find something that works like macrobiotics or Paddison, you do it at least for me, because I have that kind of personality. You become a slave to it for a long period of time because it’s such a relief to feel good that you’re almost afraid to step outside of it. But I did step outside of it and I ended up sort of adopting a pescatarian diet, although I will say that I decided to go vegan this in July of 2019. So several months ago. And I’m finding that you are right, If I eliminate all animal products, I feel much better. So since July, I have completely eliminated eggs and fish, which were sort of the last two things that sort of remained when I went broad, like once I got back off of Paddison and started putting new foods back into my diet, I did include fish and I did include eggs. And I didn’t think they were causing a big problem. But apparently they were because I feel way better now that I’m off of it again. So I think for me, for my body, a vegan diet with no dairy, no animal products at all, no fish, no eggs, nothing, I think that’s the right way for me.
Clint – Great! Well, I think it’s the right way for maximum health according to the scientific literature. Not just my opinion, but. And, you know, we can only discover it when we go through the toughest, most challenging possible times. And that’s when we dig deep. And you came to it real quick with the macrobiotic and then and then straight across on to the Paddison Program. But a lot of people are naive to the way that we’re meant to eat because they don’t have to. Right. They don’t ever give rise to those depths of despair. So let’s go there. Let’s talk about the depths of despair. And, you know, the emotional rollercoaster that happens, the disruption to that sort of self certainty and your feeling of confidence in life when you get a chronic condition. Tell us about that sort of roller coaster that you had.
Masumi – It is quite a roller coaster. So when I was diagnosed in 2011, in the fall of 2011, with this so-called autoimmune condition that no one could figure out and no one could diagnose properly, I really thought that I had a sports injury. I really did, because chronic illness does not run in my family. I don’t know anyone with any kind of autoimmune condition. I don’t know anyone even with arthritis who is elderly. So I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the idea that I could have an illness that I’ve never seen run in my family. I don’t even at the time, I didn’t even have many friends who had autoimmune conditions. Although now it’s funny, once you have your own condition, you seem to notice that everyone around you seems to have their own chronic conditions, too. But I was really stunned. So I started out by being stunned that I was being diagnosed with something that was not a sports injury because I could relate to what a sports injury is. Right. Like you go out for a run and you hurt your knee. Now you know why your knee hurts. But when your knee hurts, just because you woke up and because it’s a Wednesday, that’s very difficult to wrap your mind around. So I would say in the beginning I started out by feeling a sense of denial like this can’t be happening to me. I’m healthy. I eat vegetables. I. I eat grains, all my meals are balanced. I exercise every day. How could this possibly happen to me? So I started with a sense of denial. But then, I sort of feel sad and angry when I realise that I really did have a condition and it was excruciating and nobody knew what it was. So you start to feel hopeless and angry and sad.
Masumi – And then you find a program like a macrobiotic diet or Paddison Program, and you get super inspired and you feel motivated and you say, you know what, I’m going to take control over my body and my life. And so you get super excited and motivated to go back, you know, up the hill on the rollercoaster and you’re on a high for a little bit. But then, because it’s not all about the food. Right. There are other lifestyle factors when you realise that even with the perfect diet, you can still have a flare-up. You fall back down into a depression again, back down into the sadness and the anger and all my goodness, what am I going to do? You know, I’m a yoga instructor. I can’t teach yoga. My identity really revolved around cooking healthy meals and making healthy meals for my children. I couldn’t even pick up a frying pan on some days. My pain was so bad. So you run into that horrible feeling of anger and sadness and then you get back on the diet again. And now because, you know that food is not always 100 percent the answer. You start to feel anxious. So now anxiety starts to kick in because you’re putting this pressure on yourself. Of this time I’m going to be so strict that there’s no way that I can have a flare up. So I feel like, you know, after many, many weeks and many, many months and, you know, possibly for many of your listeners, people like me, years of being on a journey like this, even if you started with a really positive mindset, it sort of gets just chipped away little by little, little by little. And you don’t even realise that your mindset, your outlook for your life is changing and you’re not in the same inspired mindset that you were at the beginning.
Masumi – So that’s why I felt a real need to write this book. I wanted to write a book which was basically a guide on how to live well, despite chronic illness. Right. And chronic illness obviously can be things like rheumatoid, lupus, chronic Lyme disease. But even if it’s not exactly autoimmune in nature and is something like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or even if it’s not an actual diagnosis, but maybe just a physical condition that’s preventing you from living the kind of life that you want to live like an injury that just won’t heal. Right. I feel like this book is for anyone who falls into that category because there are a lot of books out there that teach you how to cook and eat for, you know, for a first for reducing inflammation. But there’s not a whole lot out there on working on the inside. Getting yourself into that mindset so that you want to be on the Paddison Program so that you want to take on something bigger like macrobiotics when you do decide to go wider than Paddison. Right. You have to be in the right mindset in order to want to do things. You can’t force yourself to be in a positive mindset because it’s not like a switch that you can flip on. It’s not like being in the bathroom and turning on the light in the middle of the night and say, well, now, now I’m positive. Here’s the light. It’s not like that. You have to work really hard to develop a positive mindset. And for me, what I found was most effective in developing that positive mindset was engaging in a series of repetitive activities that didn’t require you to be in a positive mindset to start. But if you did them, you’d end up in a positive mindset.
Masumi – And what I’m talking about here are daily habits. And that’s what my entire book is based on, the concept of using daily habits to help you over a 40 day period get into that mindset so that you are inspired to take control of your life and do something bigger like Paddison to have the discipline and desire to want more for yourself.
Clint – I love it and I can relate to everything you’ve said. And I think you/ve got just about everyone nodding along. Absolutely. I particularly love the section where you talked about, you know, that the denial and then the sort of depression that comes with it. But then the inspiration with the program, but then realising that not only, you know, is it more than just a dietary change, but you can still have problems and flare up, so to speak, along the way, you know, and then getting back on again with determination, but being anxiety around that, because you know that there’s no way you can cheat. This is the life of people who are trying to heal. And that is exactly what’s going on. So you’ve got us all intrigued. So tell us, what are some of these daily habits that we should engage with?
Masumi – OK. So basically the program that I have here is a 40-day program, and it’s based on eight daily habits that I call boosters. And I call them boosters because they’re intended to boost your mood. And once you get to the end of this 40-day program, the idea is that you will be in a much better mindset and you will have the energy, and the desire and the inspiration to want to take on bigger things in life. So the next part of the book is a section called, Builders. And the idea is that these aren’t habits, but they are suggestions and sort of lifestyle solutions. Things that you might want to try, but you don’t have to. Things that you might want to try, once you have the energy and maybe some less pain to be able to move forward and build your life on these new lifestyle habits.
Masumi – So the most important part, of course, are these boosters, these eight daily boosters. And I will say because anyone was listening to this was not in a good place, you might be thinking, well, I don’t have the energy or the ability to take on daily habits because my whole body hurts. So I will tell you right now that I’ve written all eight boosters, all eight daily habits to be able to be done by anyone in any state of health. And I thought this was really important because this book was really like a passion project for me, so I didn’t write it all at one time. I started five years ago. And I’ll tell you when I first started writing, I wanted to create a survival guide for people with chronic illness. And I decided, you know what I don’t like the word survival. Survival sounds like you’re barely getting by. And I want people to feel like they are thriving, not just surviving, right. So I wanted people to feel good. And one of the things I did was I was like, well, I’m going to write down everything that I’m doing to make myself feel good. And at the time, because I had just gotten certified to teach yoga and yoga was everything to me. I rolled out my mat every single day. I thought, well, this is definitely on my list. If I had to recommend a habit for everyone, I would say, roll out your yoga mat and do a yoga practice. But let me tell you what happened. I added that to the list and then came a day where I couldn’t get out of my bed. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even place my right foot onto the ground to get myself to the bathroom. I had to ask my husband to go to the basement and find a walker that like hit one of his grandparents had used years before that we had stashed in the basement. And I was using a walker to get to the bathroom. And you know what? I had been doing yoga every day for many, many days. And I felt bad about myself that I had to break this daily habit because I had thought this was helping me stay really healthy. And if I had to recommend something for everybody to do every day, I would add yoga to the list. But then I thought, you know what, if it’s making me feel this bad, I don’t want to recommend to people any daily habit that they would be unable to do if they were in pain. Right? Because imagine you oh, you have chronic illness and you open up the chronic illness book to do the chronic illness habits. And then you say, oh, my goodness, I can’t even do the chronic illness plan. I must be a real loser.
Masumi – So I didn’t want anyone to feel that way. I want you to feel like you can still accomplish things. And so before you start talking about the boosters, I’ll say that the reason why this program, I think is effective, this 40-day program. It’s effective for two reasons. First, these boosters, these daily habits themselves, they are uplifting and healthy for you. Right. So that’s one reason why it works. The habits themselves are good for you. But the other reason that this program is effective and this is a key point. Is that each habit, each booster is like a mini-goal that you’re setting for yourself? Right? A mini-goal. And when you have this mental checklist of eight things that you’re doing every day and you’re able to actually check each item off, you are achieving goals. Right? Your mind doesn’t really care how big or how small your goals are when you are able to achieve goals of any size. It’s like an endorphin rush.
Clint – Completely agree, I love it. You know, I write my day centered around having little check boxes next to tasks that need to be done. And that’s not because I can’t remember them all. In some instances, it’s because it feels so good to put it tick in a box. Something’s done, you know?
Masumi – Yes, that’s actually one of the things that, I even recommend in my book, how do you keep track of doing these boosters? And I even have a booster tracker spreadsheet and everything that I provide through the book. But even if you want to go old school and just write it out with a pen and paper, there’s just a sense of accomplishment. Even if it’s something super simple when you can get it done, it makes you feel good. And one thing that I feel like chronic illness takes away from you is the ability to keep your promises. And that’s really hard, especially if you’re a disciplined person like me like I pride myself on my word. But when you can’t get out of bed, you can’t meet your friend for that movie that you promised her. Right. So what I feel like is when chronic illness steals that from you, you feel like you no longer your word means nothing. You feel like you don’t have the ability to keep promises. This program sort of gives that back to you. It reinstates your ability to keep promises to yourself. And when you build that kind of confidence, it puts you in a better mindset because you’re like, you know what? I can still achieve my goals. Maybe I’ve had to put some things on the backburner. But you start to become convinced that even if you’re not doing the things that you were doing prior to your diagnosis. You have the ability to get things done and you can create an inspired life despite the chronic illness. Right. So that’s sort of the basis I wanted to make sure that people felt like they were able to do all eight boosters. Never would you wake up and say, well, I can’t do that one today, what a loser I am, I can do only six out of the eight things in this chronic illness book. You want to feel inspired because you can literally do every single thing. Everything can be done even if you’re in bed.
Clint – Great. Okay. I love it.
Masumi – OK. So that’s sort of the intro to what the program is like. And if you like, I mean, we can talk about maybe a booster or two.
Clint – Please. Yeah. I think what would be as much as you’re happy to share. I mean, we’d love to know what all eight are. And maybe you could go into detail on just a couple or maybe you’d like to just list a couple and go into lots of detail, whatever you prefer. But you know, I’d like to give as much as possible to our audience. So if you could, go over as many as you can, even if it’s just a list. And then, as I said, break down some more detail in just a few. That might be a nice balance. It’s up to you.
Masumi – OK. But why don’t we talk about a couple of things in-depth? We’ll see how much time we have because, we can discuss all these things to death. I feel like each one of these eight suggestions can be a book by itself. Right. I mean. Well, I even think about the Paddison Program that you’re primarily focussing on diet and you can write volumes just on diet itself. So each one of these topics can you could pray talk about for a very, very long time. But I’ll give you a sense of the type of suggestions. Since we actually talked about that, that case where I was rolling out that yoga mat, and at one day I just wasn’t able to when I wasn’t feeling well and I was unable to do that. I decided that one of the eight boosters could not be, go get exercise every day. That is not something that can be done literally every single day of the week. If you have a chronic illness that tends to flare up unpredictably, you’re going. I don’t care if you go six months, one day you may have a flare-up and that will prevent you from getting through these boosters. If I put go out and exercise. So since I know that the people using this book will be at all different stages of their chronic illness journey, I wanted to word the boosters in a way that you can do as little as you want, or you can build upon it and do as much as you want.
Masumi – So one of the boosters is to simply get some fresh air every day, fresh air. Right. So if you feel great, like for example, today, I feel great and the sun is shining when we get off the phone here. I’m probably going to put on my sneakers and go for a hike up the hill where we have a nature preserve. I might lift some weights, I might even do some yoga before bed. All right, I can do all of this outside because it tends even though we’re still in winter, it’s actually a mild day here. I might go outside and do all of this. I can get outside and get that booster done. In a way that’s active and fits my lifestyle today. But I know that I’ve had days when I couldn’t get out of the bed, could barely open my eyes, can barely get myself to the bathroom. But guess what? Even if you can’t get out of the bed to open the window, you can ask someone to come and open all the windows in the room for just five minutes. Right. Five minutes. It doesn’t matter what time of year. It is just getting that fresh air. It’s like a breath of fresh air, as they say. It changes your entire mindset. Right. Maybe you feel a little better. Maybe you can have your breakfast outside on the terrace or on your patio. You can do this booster in any way that suits you. But get outside for five to ten minutes or get some fresh air for five to ten minutes. So the whole idea is to get the fresh air. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you’d like. So that’s an example of one of the boosters.
Clint – And that’s fabulous, I really, really like that because you’re setting the bar low in terms of the ability for someone required to actually make it happen. But the return is very high because of the mindset shift that we get by getting fresh air or getting outside or doing some of those things because I can feel it just thinking it through as I think about going outside right behind my laptop. I’m watching my wife and children out there just crossing the road to go and do something in the park. I’m not watching them taking all my attention away from you. But it caught my eye for a moment. And the feeling of going and joining them and being outside and doing something lovely just to be out of the house. You know, it immediately makes you feel better, doesn’t it? I mean, we’re designed as outdoor animals to be doing things outdoors in these habitats that we’ve created have become almost permanent, you know, enclosures. So we got to get out and get back to something that enlivens us.
Masumi – Absolutely and it doesn’t really matter where you live either. I mean, I’m not living in Florida. I live in New Jersey. We have a winter, it rains, and it snows. You can still get your five minutes of fresh air. You still can. You could put your hat on. You can put your coat on. You can go outside. Right. I’m not talking about going to the beach and laying in your bathing suit. You just gotta get the fresh air. It doesn’t matter what season you’re in. If you have to open a window to get the air, open the window, if you have the energy to get your clothes on and to bundle up, if it’s the middle of winter, get out there. You’ll feel a lot better.
Clint – Yeah, most definitely. Okay, great. Well, why don’t you do two more? Give us two more, please.
Masumi – This one is gonna be a tough one. This is going to be a tough one for many of your listeners, but what’s easy about it at the beginning of the 40 day period. It’s a daily commitment, but you only have to do it once it’s one of these set it and forget it type of boosters. It’s going to be difficult. Eliminate social media for the whole 40 day period, eliminate social media. That means no Twitter, no Snapchat, no Facebook, no Instagram. Shut it all down. And this is very, very important. This is very important because if you are not in a good mindset, you really need that 40 day period to not have so many external messages being fed into you, messages that you have absolutely no control over.
Masumi – I remember I was lying in bed feeling horrible, feeling horrible. And I thought, let me open my social media because you can find all these like cool sayings and inspirational quotes. I’m going to motivate myself and inspire myself because I’m not feeling so great right now. So I still remember opening up my phone and scrolling in my bed and running across this quote. It was something along the lines of, The only person you should be in competition with, is the person you were yesterday.” And I remember thinking, oh, I like that.You’re not comparing yourself to other people. It’s a quote that’s asking you to turn in word. And as a yoga instructor, you really want to turn inward. So, you know, this is totally resonating with me. But then as I sat there thinking about it. The only person I should be in the competition is the person that I was yesterday. I started thinking about everything that I was able to do yesterday that I couldn’t do today because of my stupid flare-up. Right. So my knee is killing me. My wrists are killing me. Well, last week I was able to do a handstand. Last week, I was able to go for a run. Today, I can’t do anything. So what do you mean? Compare myself to the person that I was yesterday. So this very innocuous saying that was supposed to inspire me. And perhaps if you have no chronic illness and nothing holding you back. It is inspiring for someone like me, for someone like you who could be struggling at the moment to be told. Compare yourself to who you were before and try to beat that person. I can’t beat who I was last week. I can’t even get out of bed.
Masumi – So this is just one small example of this sort of thing that you don’t even know what you’re going to run across when you’re scrolling mindlessly through social media. And let me tell you, when (inaudible). You notice people present their best selves right. They’re showing you how they’re up at 4:30 in the morning, exercising, doing all their exercises and stretches. And they’re showing you how they’re home cooking all their meals. And meanwhile, you’re like, I can’t even lift a pan. I can’t even boil water right now. Right. You cannot afford to be looking at other people’s messaging when you are in the battle for your inspired mindset, right. When you’re trying to reclaim your mindset, you cannot afford a moment of negativity or comparing yourself to your neighbor, your co-worker, who is busy moving up the ranks in the corporation. Your friends who are signing up for 5K runs and, you know, mud runs and this and that when you’re trying to walk to the bathroom with a limp. No, you can’t do it. Shut down social media for 40 days. I’m not playing with you.
Clint – Wow. Well, as you said, it’s a big one. It’s a big challenge like you said. But I can totally agree. You know, as you go through social media and you see what other people are up to. It’s like, you know, and if you’re having a difficult time, it’s just not what you want to hear right now. It does it. It creates that feeling of disparity in the most profound way. It’s the disparity that’s why it is so stark, confronting, and unsettling.
Masumi – That’s right. But I’m not going to leave hanging there because if I’m going to cut social media for 40 days, we’ll do this last booster.
Clint – Can I just jump in and say, does this include the news, and does this include things like support groups that are designed to be uplifting and empowering? Or is it just this mindless, it’s status updates from everyone around you?
Masumi – Right. Well, I’m not saying to eliminate technology. Right. This is not a war against technology. This is a war against filling your mind with messages that you have no control over. Right. So if you like to read books on your Kindle. Right. I’m just talking about like shut off your electronics and go into a state of darkness for 40 days. I’m talking about social media platforms where you’re interacting with followers of your so-called friends and contacts. That’s got to go right. If you still like to use your phone and your computer to do a reading, to absorb information about different types of content I’m all about that.
Masumi – And that’s actually what with this next booster is about. Because if I’m asking you to cut out social media for 40 days, what’s going to happen, first of all, is that you’re going to feel really restless. You don’t even know what to do with your hands. You know, because you’re so used to reaching for your phone and just seeing what is everyone doing. You know, I need to see pictures of people’s pets and their kids and and and their political views. I need to see it all. And if I ask you to just literally delete all those apps off your phone. Now what? Now your mind is a blank canvas, right? So one of the next boosters that I ask you to do is once you’ve eliminated social media. What I want you every day for a minimum of fifteen minutes, a 15-minute block. So don’t break it up into five-minute blocks over the course of a day of 15 minutes, solid block of filling your own mind with sources of inspiration that you deem inspirational. Right. So for me, for example, I love reading books about like home improvement, organizing, minimalism and decorating my house for some reason, even if I’m lying in bed and both my knees are shot and my wrists are killing me and I can’t actually clean out a junk drawer. There’s something about flipping through books, about folding clothing, and how to organize your living room. It just uplifts me. It gives me a sense of hope and purpose and things that I want to do one day in my home. So I find that really inspirational. I like reading certain books and blogs. I like listening to certain podcasts. Right. So podcasts are. They’re, one way you’re consuming. All right, but you’re not scrolling through what your friends are saying.
Misumi – There is no interaction. You’re not looking for social approval. Right. That’s sort of the problem with these Facebook and Instagram. There are social approval indicators on everything, right. When you hit that like button, you’re waiting. It’s like a slot machine. You’re waiting for that feedback. We’re eliminating that. But we’re not eliminating the fact that your mind is an open canvas ready to be filled with inspiration. So I want you to find sources of inspiration. It could be anything. It could be flipping through a cookbook. It could be listening to 15 minutes of a podcast that just uplifts you. Right. It can be if you don’t like reading cookbooks, but you like a bunch of bloggers reading their blogs. Right. The idea is staying off the social media, which has all these social approval indicators and seeing messages that you have no control over that are being fed to you. And instead, you become intentional every single day for a minimum of 15 minutes of what you’re going to fill your mind within the place of that social media. And fifteen minutes is the minimum. I mean, if you now find that you have tons of time because you’re not scrolling Facebook for two hours at night, go ahead and listen to a podcast and then read a book flipping through a bunch of magazines. Right. So that’s sort of the idea. The idea is to eliminate as much negativity that we have control over eliminating and instead using the free time to fill it with positive, inspiring messages.
Clint – Yeah, it’s a 180-degree turnaround, isn’t it? They will have a massive impact. What I like to do, I use that 15 minutes of my day to go over my sort of my vision board, if you like. I haven’t got literally the images posted into a book like I used to. Although I find that actually highly effective. I just have a list of things that I’m working towards, things that would make me happy, things that I visualize that I’d like to have happen in the future. And yeah, it does it’s inspiring. It’s putting your mind into a place of life is a good place to be. Life is a place that I want to be. This is an enjoyable life. And life can get better. And I’m going to have a happy future. And I think all of these things are so crucial and tie in exactly with the point that you’re making. When you were speaking, one of the magazines that I would go out and buy and flip through as part of this as a result of this discussion would be some kind of hiking magazine. I like hiking. I had a terrible knee for, you know, the good part of the last 13 years. But there’s been a long period of time where I have been able to have no problem with hiking. We’ve done waterfall hikes, been through Hawaii and all (inaudible) despite the knee problem because it became so damaged with osteoarthritis. And now I’m having trouble with it again because it’s so damaged. And I want to go and look at hiking books so that I’m going to be hiking again. I’m going to be visualizing being able to be walking without pain in that knee again. So that’s my little take away from that particular booster. So thank you. I’m looking forward to going out. And I like doing these little tasks, these things see where it’s uplifting. Oh, I feel good listening to it, then thinking about it and now taking action. So I hope our audience does that as well. Well, thank you. You’ve shared three out of your eight. We don’t mean to be sort of bad people by not sharing all eight, but it’s also respectful of all the work that you’ve put in creating this book. You’ve been very generous to share this information and your story and I’m sure your books available on Amazon.
Masumi – Yeah. Yes, Amazon. That’s correct.
Clint – So once again, the name of the book is called Rise and Thrive A Guide for Transforming Your Mood, Cultivating Inspiration in Living Vibrantly with Chronic Illness. And we’ve already learned so much. We’ve gained so much from just chatting with you about getting some fresh air. We have to shut down social media for 40 days. But then you said the only way to do that once. But what we want to keep up the habit is the 15 minutes a day. And excuse me, of going through things that inspire us, whether it be flicking through a magazine or listening to a podcast or some basically picturing in the mind. Things that make us feel good and have a positive impact on our day as opposed to creating that anxiety that social media does. So I know that you talked about social media as a sort of a funny conflict with that. You’ve got a huge social media following on Instagram. So before people go and shut down their Instagram for 40 days, definitely. And you get your Instagram handle. What is your Instagram handle so people can follow you?
Masumi – Yes. My Instagram handle is masumi_G. You can find me there. It’s mostly a wellness platform. Lots of yoga, food, and of course, the recent work that I’ve been doing with this book. And of course, you can also come to my Web site, which is www.riseandthrivebooks.com.
Clint – Well, congratulations on putting the time and effort in and getting that book complete, because as someone who has been wanting to publish a book for a very long time and has yet to do so. I know how much work’s involved because just in fact it seems to get longer. The closer you get to the end because as you get closer to the end. You find that you then start doing all of the double-checking and cross-referencing. And in my case, referencing all the scientific literature which changes and gets updated. And there’s new scientific published results come out that you need to add and then that impacts. So congratulations, it’s a lot of work to put a book out in. You’ve done that and you’ve also done tremendously well through all of your lifestyle choices. So thanks very much for coming on this episode. It’s been really nice to have this conversation.
Masumi – Thank you so much for having me. It’s been such a pleasure.
Clint – For all the information around this particular episode. Go over to www.rheumatoidsolutions.com where you’ll be able to find Masumi’s episode and get a link to her book and read the transcription if you like. Thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.