I don’t know about you, but I’m not really one to just sit around and wait for things.
If I’m contained in our house, I learn to bake bread and switch to a plant-based diet, I study Buddhist meditation and become a yogi, I manage our investments to ensure ongoing passive income.
But these things have been mostly for myself and my family.
So one day I asked myself, how can I expand this to help the people and lives around the planet who are suffering and need some love?
Tim, Megan and I just finished a 4-day Tony Robbins virtual event for unleashing our beautiful inner selves, and this is what I came up with.
I was inspired by the story of Nelson Mandela describing his time in prison: “I didn’t survive, I PREPARED.” And so…
My PREPARE Curriculum. I created a self-study program that might take me a few years to fully immerse myself in and emerge from wiser and stronger.
Why? To learn as much as I can to be ready for our bright future, and to find like minds as we discover the incredible gifts of this unusual time.
I decided to share it here with you, both for my own accountability and in case you want to borrow any of it for yourself… Go ahead!
(Also, I don’t get any money or rewards at all for sharing these resources with you – I just want to contribute to our collective comeback after months of quarantine.)
Without further ado, the 7 intensive units of my PREPARE curriculum are…
1. Mindfulness and psychology
The main thing I seem to need right now is a way to balance emotions, stay grateful, and understand what’s happening in my mind. These are my top wishlist resources that I’m diving into first:
- Plum Village virtual retreats and the Plum Village meditation app (so far I’m almost finished the retreat “Understanding Our Mind: Buddhist Psychology and Neuroscience” and I’ve done about 10% of the Plum Village app meditations)
- Live virtual walking and sitting meditations with Deer Park Monastery (looking forward to these!)
- Books and dharma talks by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (I’m starting with “The Miracle of Mindfulness”)
- Mind & Life Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (I don’t even know what I don’t know with this one)
- Spirit Rock dharma resources available free online (audio and video: so far I’ve seen a few clips of Jack Kornfield on Instagram but I haven’t done any of his longer things)
- TED talks on mindfulness and psychology as well as the top 100 most viewed just for mind-expanding kicks (I’ve seen 3 of the top 10 so far)
- Creativity, Inc book by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull (I have the book but haven’t read it yet)
- As A Man Thinketh and Man’s Search for Meaning (I read both these amazing books about 20 years ago but it’s time for a refresh)
- The Principles of Psychology by William James (classic text that I haven’t started reading yet)
- Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky (I’ve read about 10% of this and it’s super insightful)
2. Compassionate relationships
The next thing I need is a sustainable way to maintain peaceful, loving relationships. Connections that are stress-proof where people love each other no matter what. I will be learning from these masters:
- Legendary Gottman Institute online workshop The Art and Science of Love (we’ve read part of their Eight Dates book but haven’t signed up for this workshop yet)
- Tony Robbins programs Crazy Making to Love Making, Time of Your Life, and Date with Destiny Virtual (we signed up for all of these programs – the first two are audio programs we’re going to listen to together and the second is a live, 6-day virtual event coming up in December that is mostly about relationships)
- Buddhist nun Pema Chodron’s course Freedom to Love (I’ve read and gotten tremendous value from some of her books and videos, but haven’t taken this course yet)
- No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples (the table of contents looks super relevant, including sections on blended families and how to repair when things go wrong)
- Esalen Massage DVD (if you’ve ever been to the Esalen retreat center in California and had one of their iconic massages by the ocean, you know how magical their style of bodywork is – I’d love for us to learn it!)
- The Book of Massage: Complete Guide to Eastern and Western Techniques by Lucinda Lidell (you’re probably noticing a theme here of how much I enjoy touch)
- The Massage Bible: Definitive Guide to Soothing Aches and Pains by Susan Mumford (one more for good measure)
3. Homesteading in Hawai’i
Our plan is to create a sustainable farm in Hawai’i that provides for our food needs and strengthens our community. This is still a little ways off, but I can learn and prepare from these fine folks:
- The New Self-Sufficient Gardener: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Planning, Growing, Storing and Preserving Your Own Garden Produce by John Seymour (I’ve read about 1/4 of this so far and it’s a fantastic, practical inspiration)
- Self-Sufficient Backyard by Ron and Johanna Melchiore based on their 40 years of experience (I haven’t read this yet)
- Hawai’i Department of Agriculture’s Resources page with lots of helpful documentation to read and learn (I just briefly explored it so far)
- GoFarm Hawai’i’s Resources page and Beginning Farmer Training Program (the program will probably need to wait until we actually live there, but they have a guidebook for new farmers that looks very helpful)
- Hawai’i Farm Bureau (we can join this when we get there for membership benefits and access to farmer’s markets)
- USDA resources for new farmers, including business plan templates (AWESOME! Ideas I’m thinking about already… CSA box? Bakery box?)
- Home Gardening in Hawai’i: a 137-page PDF about growing your own food in the climate of Hawai’i (I have the PDF but haven’t plunged into it yet)
- Hawaii relocation: documents needed for bringing pets in and transferring our business from CA to HI (just for reference when we need this)
- Complete Trees Shrubs and Hedges by Jacqueline Heriteau (we have this book but I haven’t read it yet)
- Housebuilding: A DIY Guide by RJ and Mary DeCristoforo (we have this book but I haven’t read it yet)
- The Homesteading Handbook by Abigal Gehring (I haven’t read this yet but it looks comprehensive)
- Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham (can’t wait to read this! Maybe we don’t need as much land as we think…)
- The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour (a complete guide to everything you need to know, I’ve skimmed it but haven’t jumped in yet)
4. Sustainable income
With the uncertain future ahead, it’s making more and more sense to be self-sufficient when it comes to money as well as food. I believe it’s a wise investment to learn from these pioneers:
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (I read this many years ago but it’s time for a refresher)
- If you have your own business like we do, Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery tools and events can save you a lot of time and pain (we’re attending the virtual live Business Mastery event from Aug 19-23). There’s also his new book coming out called The Path: Accelerating Your Journey to Financial Freedom.
- Masterclass has 13 business classes as part of their platform, which I’m curious to check out (I haven’t signed up yet)
- The 1-page marketing plan canvas and book looks helpful! (I downloaded the canvas but haven’t explored yet)
- Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course (he’s a successful blogger I’m curious to learn from)
- Fake by Robert Kiyosaki (new book by the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad)
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time)
- $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (I’ve done many startups before but it’s always good to update my skills as the landscape changes)
- How to Make a Living with your Writing by Joanna Penn (intriguing title, maybe I can learn some updated tips and tricks for using my writing skills)
- Food Photography Basics by Sally’s Baking Addiction (to next-level the recipes I create!)
5. Cooking and movement
One thing we all need for a bright future is a healthy body. The ways we can help it are putting nutritious food in, moving ourselves, and getting enough rest. Here are my inspirations for optimizing health:
- Isa Chandra Moskowitz. That’s all I have to say here. She dominates the plant-based cookbook space, and every single recipe I’ve made of hers is AMAZING. I will be studying her brilliant methods in depth. Some of her books include…
- Sasha Martin’s Global Table Adventure for inspiration to cook recipes from the remaining 158 countries we have yet to taste
- Paul Hollywood’s Bread – the Great British Baking Show judge shares his tips for artisan bread (I’ve already made variations on his cottage loaf and chelsea buns, which were delicious)
- How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger (I’ve skimmed it so far, looks like useful, evidence-based tips on which foods to eat and avoid for different disease tendencies)
- The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen (I read it once but will need to read it again now that I’m almost in my mid-forties, since there’s Alzheimer’s in my family)
- 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale (I have chronic shoulder pain and need to learn better ergonomics and posture)
- Yoga with Adriene free yoga videos (we follow her YouTube channel and monthly calendar of yoga classes, which we do every evening at 7 pm as a family)
- Kinrgy virtual movement classes – a lively and loving combination of dance, yoga, tai chi, meditation, and positivity (we have a pass until the end of September)
- Egoscue is a method of posture-based exercises to remove pain (I’ve tried some of them and they do help, just need to try the rest and implement a regular schedule)
- Qi Gong exercises with Plum Village (can’t wait to try these out in my daily routine!)
6. Building community
Life isn’t much fun if you don’t have people to share it with. I don’t personally need a LOT of people around me, just a few like-minded folks in person and a wider global community that I can wake up each day to serve. I’ll be re-learning how to do this post-quarantine from these lovely people:
- TED talks on community (let’s hear what some of the accomplished voices in the world have to say about it!)
- Creating Community by Andy Stanley (I’ve enjoyed some of his other resources, and while I don’t identify as Christian, he has some ideas that apply widely)
- How to Build a Strong Online Community by Gina Bianchini, and other Founder Institute videos (I know these folks but haven’t heard their talks yet)
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness (I seem to have developed some social anxiety being isolated from people for such a long while, so it will take some work and energy to break out of it)
7. Helping the planet
Living happily and healthfully is all well and good, but we still need a planet to live on. These are some things I’ll be reading and working on to do my part:
- Top 10 things you can do about climate change from the David Suzuki Foundation (it seems practical to implement all of these)
- 10 things you can do to help save our planet from the World Wildlife Fund (ditto)
- Bill Gates has a new book coming out in 2021 called How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and The Breakthroughs We Need (must read when it comes out!)
- All the Gates Foundation subtopics and papers they’ve written (to give me an excellent perspective on some of the areas where the world needs the most help)
OK, that seems like a good start! Megan is starting high school this year, so I guess I’m starting my own 4-year learning program too. 🙂
Now it’s time to put it all in a spreadsheet and track my progress.
I’ll occasionally share what I’m learning here on the blog as I go along, in between the recipes, so stay tuned for that.
Thanks for being here, lots of love, and I hope you keep learning and growing too, in whatever direction strikes your fancy!
Alexandra 😀 ❤