Time to Train Your Brain

*NOTE:  The hardest kept secrets are the heaviest to bear.


What are your secrets?

Hi,

Most secrets, the heaviest secrets, the most limiting secrets, are the ones born of fear.

Your Fear Becomes Your Limitations

Fear is our biggest stumbling block.  It keeps us from

  • happiness
  • success
  • love
  • fulfillment
  • peace

It robs us of what life/living is all about.

No matter what your belief, life is about more than the fear you have allowed to entrap you.

The key to freedom from fear lies in education.

No, not formal, university type education.

Time to stop worrying about tomorrow and work on today.

Time to Learn!

Who are you and where are you going in life?  What do you need to do to get there?  What do you have to learn to make that happen?

Start there…you’ll be surprised where it takes you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCv-ZBy6_yU
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. You can train your mind to do what you want it to. Collaboration with your mind is crucial, the pictures you make in your head and the words that you say to yourself influence how you feel. So tell yourself better things, stretch your mind – make the unfamiliar, familiar.

Refuse to lose and you win.

Love,

Christy

From Christy with Love

Actionable Steps Produce Results

*NOTE:  This was the last email I sent out to my list and the first one here on my blog.

Decision time!

For me, not you.

Hi!

We make decisions every day. Most of them are inconsequential. The ones we take time on, they are the ones that impact our lives the most.

I have been thinking for a couple of months now; about killing old lists and starting new lists, fine tuning my email strategy. I’ve been trying to get you to understand that if you don’t take some action with me our ties will be broken.

The time is now, and your options are limited.

To those of you who have opened almost every email…I thank you. You are the reason I have remained here as long as I have. But sooner or later the time comes to move on. I have outgrown you.

So, no new lists. No Aweber at all.
As of September 20th all of my lists will become inactive.

THERE ARE 3 WAYS YOU WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO.

  1. Reply to this email before the 20th and let me know you want to keep in touch. I will add you to my contact list in my GMAIL account.
  2. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. I will begin making videos again very soon.
  3. Connect on Facebook. Go to my official page and like my page. I will be creating a FB group to share the results I’m getting using special, member only tools that are making a huge difference. Plus a FB strategy that builds your “list” of action takers practically hands free. Heavy emphasis on “action takers.” Because it doesn’t matter how many people on your list if they don’t take action.

This hasn’t been an easy decision.

I feel a sense of loyalty to each of you that have continued to open each email and the many who have responded. But these ties bind me. I can no longer afford the luxury of these little chats. Perhaps I will open a category on my blog to continue the dialog, that way many more can listen in on my musings. Yet another way you could stay connected I suppose. I have some serious work to do over there, but there’s the link anyway.

I’m not sure what will happen with these links once my account goes inactive, so you may want to save them somewhere if you think there may be a possibility you will want to stay in touch.

I truly hope you find what you’re looking for in your life. It is my heartfelt wish that you find YOUR way and that it brings you all the success and fulfillment you deserve.

Refuse to lose and you win.

Love,

Christy

From Christy with Love

5 Changes I Saw In My Body After Eating Plant-Based Meals For Just One Week

I’ve thought about switching to a plant-based diet for quite a while now.

The overall benefits of eating these whole foods are nearly impossible to deny, and plus, the plated pics I see all over my Insta feed have an undeniable aesthetic appeal to them.

I first learned aboutSakara Life’s plant-based food programwhen beauty director Carly Cardellino challenged herself to live like Victoria’s Secret Model Lily Aldridge for a week.

Shedescribed the food as flavorful, explainingit made her feel really good to know she was eating healthy during each and everymeal.

Fast-forward two yearslater, and I came across the organic service once again on Instagram, my thumb rolling back to the photoalmost instantaneously.

I had a feeling my time had come to try out the program myself and see what I’d been missing out on.

 

 

Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise, co-founders of Sakara Life, tell Elite Daily their program is all about creating meals that empower you to be your best, most authentic self.

Food is the foundation for success, abundance, and happiness in all areas of yourlife from your career to yourrelationships to your ability to create!

The program is committed to thenine pillars of nutrition, designing each meal as 100 percent plant-based so your body can enjoy the many benefits fresh produce can provide, such as lowering disease-causing inflammation, balancing hormones, boosting your sex drive, improvement in auto-immune symptoms and fertility problems, better sleep, more energy, and clearer skin.

Though I’ve recently dabbled in a vegan or plant-based diet, I have yet to make the wholehearted switch.

But, for one work week, I put Sakara Life’s meal program to the test to see how both my body and my mind might change in the process.

Day 1 So Full, So Fast

Julia Guerra

My first breakfast of the experiment was a raw almond cacao tart with Manuka honey and cashew creme.

I can honestly say I’ve never experienced a foodgasm quite like this one before the sweetness felt almost sinful in its nature.

Tingle and Duboise explain the magic to Elite Daily,

Our breakfasts may seem like treats, but they’re made with nutrient-dense ingredients like flax, quinoa, coconut oil, buckwheat, steel-cut oats,fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds, so they’re packed with protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients to keep you satisfied without weighing you down.

Mission accomplished, ladies.

Julia Guerra

Lunch included a seven-layer bowl with Jamaican jerk sauce a combination of flavors I wasn’t all too crazy about, TBH.

In the spirit of the experiment, however, I did eat the entire bowl bottomless, and it kept mefull until dinnertime.

Julia Guerra

I’m rarely full by the end of the day, and I almost always resort to grazing.

I’ve heard that plant-based diets are pretty voluminous to ensure optimal nutrition and, judging by my first go-around, I can attest to that.

Dinner was a simple, maple sweet potato bowl with spicy chickpeas.

I the white sweet potatoes (my favorite starch), and I honestly wished there had been more in the dish.

The spicy chickpea mixture definitely had a kick, butI got so full so fast, and only ended up eating about half of the meal.

Day 2 All The Energy

Julia Guerra

Living with IBS, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up with a stomach ache from whatever I’d eaten the day before, but Tuesday was pain-free, and I felt energized to do a yoga sequence in addition to some weight training.

Breakfastwas a winner: a naturally sweet, sun-kissed berry crumble with oats and a combination of summer fruits. It didn’t fill me as much as the almond tart, but as far as my taste buds were concerned, it was absolutely satisfying.

Julia Guerra

Tuesday’s lunch was a step up from the day before, with a Middle Eastern bowl full of goodies and a preserved lemon hummus that was dense, but didn’t sit uncomfortably in my stomach.

I actually ended up eating an hour earlier than usual because I wasn’t completely full from breakfast, so the rest of the day was a bit offset.

Julia Guerra

Dinner was simply fantastic.

I ate the entire plate full of green goddess lasagna and spinach salad, andeven found myself wishing there had been a second helping to pick on.

I went to bed feeling slightly hungrier than I had the day before.

Day 3 Clearing Out My Mind

Julia Guerra

While family members and friends reached out with questions about the mysterious blue liquid I was pouring into my muesli on Wednesday, I had zero hesitations to consume every last bit of the Majik Mylk.

Paired with a superseed mixture, I was surprised at just how full it kept me until lunchtime (normally a bowl of cereal barely passes as a snack in my book).

Julia Guerra

Lunch served up a golden berry couscous with fresh herbs.

All elements separately were light, but put together, the leafy salad was quite filling.

Julia Guerra

Wednesday’s dinner, which happened to be full of probiotics, was my absolute favorite.

The earth’s harvest bowl featured a slew of sauerkraut which, combined with the brand’s signature detox water I sipped until bedtime, got my bowels up and moving in the best way possible.

Hitting the midway point of the experiment, I also noticed my performance at work was improving drastically. I was handing in assignments before their deadlines, and I was grasping the concept of complex articles much more quickly than usual.

Overall, my brain felt remarkably less foggy, and a lot more functional.

Day 4 Quick To Recover

Julia Guerra

As a direct result of chronic IBS, Ihave an extremely sensitive stomach. So, while yours might be fit to chug a chlorophyll-packed detox water with little repercussions, this green-tinted agua did a serious number on me.

Needless to say, I waited a little later to have breakfast that morning, but what a delicious indulgence it turned out to be when I got around to it.

The small piece of banana protein bread coated with macerated berrieswas basically like a piece of really healthy, but still really delicious cake.

Julia Guerra

I’m all for avocado everything, so I was really excited to see a half hanging out in the corner of my earth bowl for lunch.

Yay for healthy fats!

Julia Guerra

Thursday’s dinner was my least favorite of the trial. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of coconut-flavored foods, so this was definitely a matter of preference.

However, I did notice a difference in just how fast my body was able to recover after that morning’s episode. Normally, an hour or so in the bathroom will have me down for the count for the remainder of the day, but by lunchtime, my body was happy and.

It all has to do with a healthy gut aka a well-nourished microbiome, otherwise known as the trillions of bacteria inside your body:

Since ahealthy gut microbiome is the key to total-body wellness, the Sakara Life nutrition program is specifically designed to encourage gut health byproviding your microbes with the nourishment they need to thrive, while starving the pathogenic bacteria (like candida) that feed on processed junk andsugar.

Day 5 Clear Skin

Julia Guerra

I’m off from work on Fridays, so this is usually my day to be out of the apartment to get sh*t done.

Translation: I need fuel if I’m going to be out and about for hours at a time.

Breakfast was a plate of peach pancakes with blackberries, and I swear the combination tasted like cookies.

No syrup necessary; each bite was sweeter than the last.

Julia Guerra

By the time I got home, I had my monthly visitor from good ol’ mother nature. This wasn’t a surprise, but the fact that my skin had remained clear a shock to me.

Normally, I break out like an angsty tween in pubertythe week before, all the way through my period, and while I definitely had a few red splotches prior to this experiment, my skin was crystal clear by Friday afternoon.

I’ll take that.

Lunch gavePanera’s half-and-half special a run for its money, with a bowl full of sweet pea soup, and this dainty carrot tea sandwich had me craving acozy fall afternoon in this summer heat.

Julia Guerra

Dinner was the complete opposite. This rainbow wrap was all summer, featuringcarrots, lentils, avocado, and more (the first recipe, I think, that would actually be easy to replicate sansinstructions).

Some Final Thoughts

 

Personally, I love fruits and vegetables, so I found each Sakara Life meal to be an adventure for my taste buds.

However, I probably wouldn’t recommend this program tothe pickiest of eaters.

There are a lot of quirky combinations that require an open mind, but aside from all of the internal and external health benefits the program provides, it definitely goes to show plant-based diets are hardly limited.

There are so many benefits to a plant-based diet, and some maybe you won’t believe until you experience them yourself.

As a result of my five-day program, in addition to my own research, I’ve decided tomove forward with a plant-based lifestyle to optimize my health.

Believe me, I’m not saying you need to go home today and swear off all meat products what you eat is your prerogative.

But when you eat better, you feel better, and you owe it to your body to at least give these options a try.

 

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/5-changes-saw-body-eating-plant-based-meals-just-one-week/2018707/

6 Cute Gym Bags That Will Motivate You To Workout When Literally Nothing Else Will

Tired of stuffing your workout clothes in a Trader Joe’s reusable tote?

Same.

For someone who has more yoga pants than pairs of underwear, you’d think I’d pay more attention to what I’m actually carrying my Lulu’s in.

But the other week, when I just couldn’t motivate myself to get my body moving, I finally realized that a new workout bag was long overdue.

I guess I always associated gym bags with my brother’s smelly lacrosse duffle, but in reality, the right bag can be stylish and versatile AF meaning you can take it straight from a HIIT sesh to happy hour, no problem.

Here are six adorable workout bags that will keep your gear organized and motivate you to move your booty.

Seriously, though. Pack these babies up the night before.

Then you really have #NoExcuses.

1. When You Want Three Bags In One

Zappos

Adidas by Stella McCartney,$113, Zappos

This burgundy beaut has a removable cross-body strap totally ideal for those hectic subway commutes when it feels like you’re carrying ten million things through the crowds.

Oh, and it’s basically three bags in one. More bang for your buck, baby.

2. When You Don’t Want To Look Like You’re Going To The Gym

Zappos

Frye Naomi Pickstitch Tote,$210, Zappos

If you’re going from the StairMaster to a sushi date, this bad boy was made for you.

The minimalistic leather look is super versatile, and it holds everything from your wallet, toyour favorite book, and even to your sweaty sports bra.

Your date won’t even know you just made gains before you two meet up.

3. When You Want Your Bag To Double As A Pillow

Nordstrom

Quilted Oxford Nylon Tote, $215, Nordstrom

OK, I’m kidding. Kind of.

But on the real, doesn’t this tote look comfy AF? Like, I’d put my head down on that thing after a cardio circuit.

The royal blue color is super stylish, and it’s roomy enough for your sneakers a pair of heels for later.

#Winning.

4. When Hitting The Showers Is A Must

Zappos

Under Armour UA Motivator Tote, $44.99, Zappos

Personally, I try to avoid showering in a studio or gym locker room at all costs.

But honestly, sometimes the sweat is just too real.

Under Armour has you covered with this waterproof gym bag. #BlessUp.

Plus, the plethora of inner zippers will hold your makeup, jewelry, deodorant, you name it.

5. When You’re Running From Work To Workout

Lululemon

City Adventurer Backpack,$128, Lululemon

Lulu, it’s like you understand me on a spiritual level.

Most backpacks remind me of third-grade recess, but this baby is chic AF, and it’ll make you literally dream of your workout while at your desk.

Too far?

Maybe, but stranger things have happened.

6. When You’re Feeling Simple And Sporty

Under Armour

UA Storm Undeniable II,$29.99,Under Armour

Stay simple and keep your wallet happy with this stylish steal.

It comes in five different colors, and even has a large vented pocket foryour smelly sneaks.

 

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/6-cute-gym-bags-will-motivate-workout-literally-nothing-else-will/2011078/

Living while dying: ‘Little Buddha’ wisdom from a terminally ill ‘goofball’

Venice Beach, California (CNN)As a small child, she played hide-and-seek with nurses, ripped out IVs to race around the hospital floor naked and left an explosion of glitter in her wake.

And as an adult, Claire Wineland has continued living out loud, even as her body fails her.
Claire, 20, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic and terminal progressive disease that’s landed her in the hospital for a quarter of her life. Ask what’s on her bucket list, and she’ll say she doesn’t have one.
Fixating on a checklist of goals before she goes “sounds exhausting,” she says, especially “when you’ve been dying your whole life.” Instead, she’d rather focus on doing all she can in each moment.
 
It’s a sort of wisdom that makes some describe this California free spirit as “an old soul” or “a little Buddha.”
I meet Claire in a Venice Beach caf; everyone who works there seems to know her. She’s on a mission to normalize sickness, push back at those who pity her and have a meaningful life for however long it lasts. Although she certainly has her down days — “Who doesn’t?” she notes — this self-described “goofball” tackles life with humor and the sort of charisma that draws people to her.
Still, she says, she must train people to feel comfortable around her.
“I can’t just expect people to know what to say,” she says, “I have to make them see me as more than my illness.”
She’s been working at it on a number of fronts: In high school, she created a series of videos that went viral and penned pieces for national audiences, including one for CNN. She’s appeared in magazines, on television shows and at teen award ceremonies. She’s heading up a foundation, writing a book — she promises it’s not “another happy sick person book” — and packing in as much as her 5-foot-2, 95-pound frame can handle.
Through it all, she gives public talks. On this day, that’s at a TEDx event in Encinitas, a beachside community 100 miles south of her apartment in LA’s Venice Beach.
We’d arranged to take the train down for the event. But she’d been fighting a fever as high as 103 the day before, the result of one of many infections her body continuously fights. When I offer to drive instead, she seems relieved. I am, too.
 
 
 
She’s chatty and bubbly for most of the two-plus-hour trip, until she feels the fever coming back and curls up in the passenger seat for a nap. The only sound from her now is an occasional cough and the pumping of a portable oxygen concentrator, which gives her the air she needs without the burden of a tank. When I glance over, I spot a tattoo on her left ankle: the “thumbs up” logo from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” with the phrase “DON’T PANIC.”
But I start to do so when she wakes up and says her lungs feel “funny.” At the venue, she makes her way to the “green room,” where she sits, eyes closed, willing stomach pains to subside, trying to pull it together. She’s set to go on in 20 minutes, and I’m afraid she won’t make it.

More than a sick kid

She’s been riveting audiences since she was 14, when she first stepped on a stage in a new ruffled dress. When I picked her up at her apartment, she wore faded black jeans and a black T-shirt that read “Sexual Intellectual.”
“Life is too short to not be yourself,” she said.
Ever since she was little, she found it strange how people treated her. They’d peer down with sad eyes and say, “I’m so sorry.” It was a statement she heard so often, it was hard not to internalize. And in a society consumed with being healthy, she grew confused.
“What happens when you have an illness where you’re never going to be healthy?” she asked. “Does that mean I’m never going to have a life? Am I never going to do anything or be anything other than a sick kid?”
Claire is one of 70,000 people worldwide, 30,000 in the United States alone, who live with cystic fibrosis, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation estimates. To have the disease, both parents must be carriers of the CF gene. If they are, there’s a one in four chance their children will be born with the disease.
Cystic fibrosis leads to an overabundance of mucus, which blocks airways and traps infections in the lungs, complicates digestion, affects the pancreas and other organs and, with time, causes respiratory failure.
At last count, Claire says, she’s had more than 30 surgeries. On a daily basis, she takes about four dozen medications, including self-administered shots for her CF-related diabetes, and might spend up to six hours on breathing treatments.
She dons a vest to shake her lungs and loosen mucus, and uses a nebulizer to blow in steam and inhale medicines. She can cough up enough mucus each day to measure in cups. She gets admitted to the hospital for regular tuneups and intensive treatments.
All the while, with her lung capacity diminished, her body works harder to breathe.
“It’s like I’m jogging 24/7,” she said. She must consume as many as 5,000 calories a day to maintain her weight — forget about gaining any.
That explains the two large pastries she ordered for lunch when we met, and the French fries she got to go. And it’s why her younger sister, Elanore Nordquist, 13, used to get miffed whenever she wasn’t allowed a second piece of cake but Claire could always have as much as she wanted.
Even with this carte blanche for consumption, Claire takes in 2,000 calories through a feeding tube as she sleeps, while a machine helps her breathe so her body can rest.
 
 
 

Pineapples and mushrooms

Claire can laugh at the absurdities in her life. She tells stories of strangers who’ve approached her with unsolicited prescriptions for cures. The produce section of Whole Foods is ripe for material, she says. One shopper told her she simply needed to eat more pineapple. Another said all she required was a mushroom cleanse.
And then there was the homeless guy outside a gas station who insisted that the mind can change reality and that she didn’t need to be sick. She remembered thinking, with a laugh, “If that’s true, why are you homeless?”
But it was a friend who, when Claire was 11, changed her outlook by handing her a book he insisted she see.
It was Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time.” The cosmology book blew her young and curious mind, and she rushed to the library to learn more about its author. Only then did she find out that Hawking had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was terminally ill, too.
Until that moment, Claire — an avid reader — had yet to find any role models, examples of sick people doing remarkable things.
“His body was completely failing, but he was contributing something incredible to society,” she said. Hawking’s diagnosis did not define him. “He transcended it.”
In him, she found inspiration, though it would take a steep downturn for her to see her way up.

Flatlining

The sicker a person with cystic fibrosis gets, the more work they need to do to stay relatively well — and the harder it is to do that work. It’s enough to make some “CFers,” as Claire calls them, stop trying.
She gets it because she was once there.
“It’s not that I wanted to die,” she said. “But I didn’t know how to live.”
At 12, she feared that she was surviving just to survive.
During a hospital stay, she had become close friends with Vanessa, another girl with cystic fibrosis. CFers aren’t supposed to be together, as they carry bacteria that can be deadly if shared. But these two girls connected at a safe distance, doing art projects across the room while wearing protective masks. They made disco balls for the nursing station out of crushed CDs and glue, shared an understanding and a sense of humor and, over the course of a year and a half, a deep friendship. And then, Vanessa died.
Bereft and facing a lifetime of treatments, Claire asked herself, “Why am I doing this?”
So she began to lie, saying she took her medications and treatments when she didn’t. For a year, her health slipped, and she said no one could figure out why. Claire, who’d always peppered her doctors and nurses with questions, knew the language and how to trick everyone.
 
 
 
The day after her 13th birthday, a straightforward surgery to deal with acid reflux spiraled into chaos. She contracted a blood infection that attacked her lungs. She could feel them failing.
As her oxygen levels plummeted, she began hallucinating. In a moment of clarity, she thought, “I don’t want to actually die. I want to see what happens in life. I want to see where it goes.”
She was placed in a medically induced coma, intubated and hooked up to an oscillator, a machine that gently puffed air into her fragile lungs. No child with CF had successfully come off an oscillator, doctors told her parents. Claire says she was given a 1% chance of survival. She flatlined twice.
Her little sister was 6 at the time. Elanore remembers a social worker talking to her before she went in — “all sanitized and in a gown” — to see Claire.
“They told me to say goodbye,” Elanore said. “They told me ‘she’s probably not going to wake up.’ “

A winter wonderland

There was no white light. Instead, Claire transported herself to a place she’d never been: Alaska.
Her subconscious journey began beneath ice water, she says. When she surfaced, she peered up at a mountain of snow. She sat amid ice-crystal-covered pine trees, floated on ice sheets while looking up at stars and hung out in a woodland house where animals streamed in to visit her.
Claire remained in a coma for more than two weeks. When she woke up, she learned that her dream world had unfolded while she had been submerged in an ice bath to bring down her fever.
Though conscious again, she couldn’t walk, sit up or hold silverware. She had to wear diapers. Her mom called her “Grandpa,” a memory that still makes her laugh.
“My body had no reserves left,” she said. “It was kaput.”
In the many months she worked to get stronger, she found renewed purpose.
“I feel like she had a spiritual experience,” said her mom, Melissa Nordquist Yeager. “She came out inspired to help others.”

Finding meaning by giving back

Claire entered the world the way she lives: boldly.
Yeager was overdue to give birth to her firstborn when a routine ultrasound morphed into a scene of terror.
She watched the doctor’s face as he studied the screen. He ducked out and returned with another doctor. They told her that something was wrong with the baby and that Yeager had to be induced immediately.
Claire was born with meconium ileus, a bowel obstruction that is a telltale sign of CF. Her bowel had ruptured, leaving her belly protruded, and she was whisked off for the first of many surgeries.
“The prognosis was five years,” Yeager said, “and that was a maybe.”
Claire spent the next seven weeks in neonatal intensive care. Her father, John Wineland, recalls peering down at his daughter as she screamed amid the medical equipment and tubes. Their eyes locked.
“It’s going to be OK,” he remembers telling her. “We’re in this together.”
 
 
 
Just like that, Claire’s parents, who then lived in Austin, Texas, were jolted from naivet.
Raising a daughter with CF “has consumed most of my attention, most of my life,” said Yeager, who now lives in Seal Beach, California. She and Wineland, of Santa Monica, never married and decided to split when Claire was 3, but they remained close friends and have continued to tackle Claire’s care together.
With Claire in the hospital two or three months a year, Yeager never felt that she could build a career. She lost a handful of jobs and quit others as hospital stays dictated. She’d take the day shifts with Claire while Wineland took nights. He’d hunker down next to Claire in the hospital, watch movies with her at 3 a.m. when she couldn’t sleep, and head to work in the morning.
All the while, Claire’s parents — and, by extension, Claire — were surrounded by friends. They’d come to the hospital with meals, stick around when her parents couldn’t, help rally the family and manage their lives. They also helped make Claire more outgoing and sociable, her dad says.
Claire grew up knowing that she and her parents were fortunate, that too many families lacked the support they had. After waking from her 16-day coma, Claire proposed starting an organization to offer financial and emotional help to others navigating life with CF.
Whether it’s covering rents, mortgages, insurance premiums or car payments, Claire’s Place Foundation aims to relieve pressure when CFers are hospitalized so families can focus on what matters most. Not long ago, it even helped find an apartment for a homeless CFer who was floating between shelters.
What started as “a side project to celebrate (Claire’s) life and survival became a passion of all of ours,” said Yeager, who serves as the executive director.
And for Claire, the foundation changed everything.
“All throughout my teenage years, I was able to hold on to the foundation as a means to remind me that I had value,” she said. “It’s important for people who are sick to feel empowered. It gives them reason to take care of themselves.”

Don’t touch her sushi

In high school, Claire launched The Clairity Project, a website offering insight into her life, including videos that became popular on YouTube.
She offered honest talk with a smile about dying, life expectancy, even the perks of being sick. She gave tips on how to interact with sick people, answered questions she’s often asked and introduced her family. She and her father, on guitar, performed together, singing Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
She stepped away from making videos after no longer seeing eye-to-eye with a production company that got involved. Instead, she decided to focus on what she could control and feel good about: the foundation and her speaking engagements.
She also embarked on a new phase: Since graduating high school, she’s lived on her own with a roommate in Venice Beach.
It can be hard for any parent when a child leaves the nest, but for Claire’s mom, the transition has been even more fraught.
Yeager knows how much work goes into Claire’s care and worries that her daughter won’t ask for help.
“I’m happy for her, and I know she’s capable,” her mother said. “But I just see how sick she’s getting.”
A year ago, Claire was at 50% lung capacity, Yeager says. Today, she’s at 30%. She must take antibiotics to beat back recurring infections, which have become resistant to most of the drugs.
And when she turned 18 and could decide for herself, Claire announced that she wasn’t interested in being on the list for a double lung transplant.
“I had to be honest,” she said. “It’s not for me and never has been.”
Though transplants can extend a life, they’re no cure. She’d have to live on steroids, which she hates taking. She’d run the risk of developing new issues when she’s used to the ones she has. Plus, her body could reject the new lungs.
“And you can’t eat sushi afterwards. That’s a no,” quipped Claire, who says she’d spend hundreds of dollars a month on sushi alone, if she could.
She insists that she’s not giving up, though. Instead of opting for a transplant, she’s holding out hope for a cure. If she got new lungs, she says, she wouldn’t qualify for drugs in development.Therapies developed in trials are now helping many CFers, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and eventually, with other clinical trials now underway, as many as 95% of CFers could benefit.
Her decision was a blow to her parents. They’ve had to accept that she won’t pursue an option that could give her another 10 years.
“Just think of it as insurance, even if you don’t want to do it,” her mom pleaded at first. “Get on the list so you can change your mind.”
But Yeager, no matter how uncomfortable it makes her, knows to trust her daughter’s intuition.
“She has a relationship with her body that is sacred,” explains her dad, who, like Claire, is a practicing Buddhist. Claire’s thinking, he said: “This is the body I came in with. This is the body I’m going out with.”
And as her father, “I have to live with it.”

Claire, unplugged

Claire is Wineland’s only child. He says she’s helped him become a better person.
He’s learned “to not be afraid of what hasn’t happened yet” and believes that Claire is exactly how she’s supposed to be. He’s learned to “love what is.”
At 51, he finds comfort in meditation and yoga, which Claire practiced for years, before her coma.
Wineland is a life and relationship coach. Together, he and Claire have explored ways to grow spiritually. When Claire was 10, he says, she walked on fire at a retreat run by motivational speaker Tony Robbins. He’s had to figure out healthy ways to deal with pain, even to see the beauty in it.
“When you don’t know what’s going to happen to your only child,” he says, “it can be pretty debilitating.”
Humor has also helped him cope. When there’s a long line at a restaurant, he says, he’ll sometimes send her to the front of the line coughing to play “the sick-kid card.”
Yeager too marvels at what Claire’s done for her. She says her daughter’s aura and energy lift those around her, making Claire “a force of nature.”
During a recent hospital stay, mother and daughter were talking about death, a subject they don’t shy away from.
“After you die, you’re closer to everyone you love, because you’re part of everything,” Yeager remembers Claire saying. The words were a gift, a reminder that her daughter’s essence will remain always, even after she’s gone.
“If and when it does happen,” Yeager said, “I’m never going to forget her saying that.”
Elanore, Claire’s only sibling, is more no-nonsense. She never treated Claire differently, a fact Claire has always treasured.
“She couldn’t care less that I was sick, which I loved,” Claire says. “It was refreshing.”
When she was younger, Elanore cared so little that sometimes she’d even unplug Claire’s oxygen without telling anyone.
“We wrestled a lot,” Claire remembers with a laugh. “She’d unplug it to make me tired so she could win.”
She gets how sick Claire is today. Still, she doesn’t see Claire as a sick person.
“She’s just a person,” Elanore says. “She’s not all-knowing. She’s still figuring it out, like a lot of people. … She needs the freedom to be a 20-year-old.”

‘It’s OK to feel pain’

Though Claire had been attending Santa Monica College, part of her freedom meant putting school on hold.
“Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t make it to graduation,” she said. “I feel my body changing, and I had to make an executive decision.”
Instead, she’s focusing on what she can accomplish now — including a new partnership with Zappos for Good to make hospitals more, well, hospitable. She’s designing the renovation and decoration of a playroom and intensive care rooms at the Children’s Hospital of Nevada at UMC in Las Vegas, which Zappos will pay for. The partnership began after Claire addressed about 2,000 people at the company in November.
Calling her “super inspiring,” Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh said, “I’m pretty sure she brought tears to most of the people in the room.”
What her Zappos audience didn’t know that day was how awful Claire felt.
Over the past couple years, she’s had more bad days than good. And in Claire’s world, that can’t stop her. If she bowed out whenever she felt under the weather, she says, she’d never accomplish a thing.
It’s like that again today as she sits in the green room in Encinitas, the TEDx audience awaiting her talk.
The venue is a large meeting space behind a vegan restaurant. Attendees sip kombucha on tap and exchange hugs that last extra beats. When someone asks whether there’s a yoga instructor in the room, they raise their hands en masse. Outside in the hallway are pieces of self-help literature, an announcement for a festival “dedicated to the Divine Goddess” and business cards for a spiritual medium.
When I peek in on Claire, I grow worried. The room is dark, and her eyes are closed, her arms folded across her belly. I fight every protective instinct to whisk her off and take her home.
Instead, she rallies.
As the emcee introduces her, Claire stands tall, showing no sign of pain or discomfort. She strides toward the stage amid applause, her smile wide. If not for the pumping oxygen concentrator slung over her shoulder, strangers might not suspect that anything’s wrong.
She jumps in and talks about the fear she had when she first spoke publicly, the guilt she felt whenever she landed in the hospital, the isolation CFers often feel. She also speaks of what inspires her and her understanding that illness shouldn’t stop anyone from living proudly.
“It’s OK to feel pain and experience it,” she says. “I’m not trying to fix myself. My suffering has given me so much.”
For about 18 minutes, she sets out to change how people think.
When she’s done, the crowd stands and applauds. Some audience members hoot and holler. As she weaves through the crowd toward the exit, I chase after her, overhearing whispers like, “What a gem.”
It’s clear people would like to talk to her, hug her, corner her for conversation. She shoots me a glance, though, that says, “Let’s get out of here.”
Claire has given all she can, and she knows she’ll pay a price.

The price

In the weeks that follow, Claire can’t shake that infection. Then, in mid-June, an ambulance rushes her to the ER: Her fever is back at 103, her heart rate is at 185, and her white blood cell count is 30,000. Claire’s oxygen saturation levels are falling, a sign of lung failure.
Not since the scare that landed her in a coma six years earlier has the situation felt so dire, her mother says.
For a few days, Claire only gets worse. She’s transported to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where the staff feels like family. She has sepsis and a severe case of pneumonia and spends a week in intensive care. Doctors come close to putting her on a ventilator when one of the only two antibiotics that still work for her kick in.
“I thought this was it,” Yeager says. “It was an eye-opener for all of us.”
It’s too early to know how much of a toll this setback will take on Claire, who is expected to head home from the hospital Wednesday.
“We think of Claire as invincible,” her mother says, “and this was a reminder.”
A reminder of how important it is to live each moment fully. A reminder of the lessons Claire still hopes to teach before it’s too late.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/05/health/claire-wineland-cystic-fibrosis-eprise/index.html

Police can use this facial recognition technology to fight sex-trafficking

Migrants ride a bus along the border of Hungary and Serbia.

Image: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock

Emily Kennedy spent her undergrad years reading child sex-trafficking ads.

She wanted to understand their ticks: Why was this ad formatted that way? Why did the same ads often have different phone numbers? Kennedy knew that this kind of analysis could unravel at least a portion of sex-trafficking business. And after she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University, she built a system to do just that.

Traffic Jam, which was developed by Kennedy’s company, Marinus Analytics, has for years detected patterns in sex-trafficking ads and used them to help police find trafficked children and arrest traffickers. The system took a big step up on Tuesday, though.

That’s when the company announced FaceSearch, which allows the police to match a photo of a child’s face to sex-trafficking ads on the internet. The initial photo can come from Facebook or other social media, from a “missing child” ad, or anywhere else. FaceSearch can then scan online photos and “quickly determine whether this potential victim has been advertised online for commercial sex,” according to a company release online.

“Anything they can upload from their computer can be searched,” Kennedy said.

The technology is now available to any law enforcement agency that wants it. Marinus uploaded FaceSearch into the Traffic Jam, so their law enforcement clients who use Traffic Jam which includes agencies in California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and more already have access.

Facial recognition technology and law enforcement are becoming increasingly linked with each passing week. Around 25% of police departments in the United States have access to facial recognition technology. Customs and Border Patrol is using it at select U.S. airports to determine whether your face might one day serve as your boarding pass. And police in Berlin are using it at train stations to “recognize and report detected users or persons from whom a danger could arise or emerge.” This increase in the use of facial recognition has led to a growing body of privacy concerns, but even researchers who have raised those worries see FaceSearch as something different.

“We definitely can’t control the way every single user uses our software, but I’m not too worried about misuse, because it’s so focused,” Kennedy said.

Other companies, she said, provide law enforcement agencies with much broader access to facial recognition technology, and those companies will have to confront the ethical questions therein.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/28/facial-recognition-child-sex-trafficking/

Our smartphones might drain our brain power even when just in reach, but maybe that’s not bad

We’re constantly on our phones.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Let’s face it some of us are living deep in the trenches of smartphone addiction. Whether it’s by constantly checking social media networks, reading push alerts, or responding to texts, we spend more time than ever on our phone.

So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that, according to a new study from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, our brain power is significantly reduced when we are near our smartphones.

The study is titled “Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity” and the study suggests that as the title states our proximity to our smartphone reduces our brain power.

Dude, where’s my phone?

The study was composed of two experiments. In the first, researchers gathered 548 smartphone users, asked them to turn their phone on silent, and randomly instructed each user to place their phone in one of three places: face down on the desk next to them, in their pocket or bag, or in a separate room.

Even when users didn’t realize they were thinking about their phones, the presence of a phone was still enough of a distraction to diminish cognitive capabilities.

Then participants were asked to complete two computer tests to measure how well each person could hold and process data thrown at them. After the tests, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about the lab and their smartphones, which was designed to figure out how often users thought about their smartphones during the test.

And it turns out, those who put their phones in another room were able to retain the most data thrown at them. Meanwhile, people who kept their phones in their pocket or bag came in slightly behind those who kept their phone in a separate room. But test takers with their phones next to them on the desk scored the lowest in being able to retain data out of all three groups.

Interestingly, the most frequent answer to the question of how often each participant thought about their smartphone was “not at all.”

Put together, this suggests that even when users didn’t realize they were thinking about their phones, the presence of a phone was still enough of a distraction to diminish cognitive capabilities.

“This contrast between perceived influence and actual performance suggests that participants failed to anticipate or acknowledge the cognitive consequences associated with the mere presence of their phones,” researchers wrote in the study.

Power on or off

Researchers also ran a second experiment for the study, this one designed to see how people’s self-reported dependence on their smartphone affected their cognitive ability throughout the day.

For this second experiment, researchers gathered 296 smartphone users and once again randomly assigned them one of three locations to place their phone, but this time the locations were slightly different. Test takers were asked to put their phone face up on the desk next to them (rather than face down), in their pocket or bag, or in another room. Researchers also added a second variable to the experiment: Some of the participants were told to turn their phones off while others were told to keep their phone turned on, completely silent, like in the first experiment.

Then, participants were asked to complete the same test from the first experiment as well a second test asking participants to respond to “go” and “no go” targets.

And finally, researchers asked participants to answer questions about their connection to their smartphone.

For the second experiment, once again, people who had their phones next to them performed the worst at retaining information compared to those who had their phones in a separate room.

“The results of experiment 2 suggest that the mere presence of consumers own smartphones may adversely affect cognitive functioning even when consumers are not consciously attending to them,” researchers wrote.

“Ironically, the more consumers depend on their smartphones, the more they seem to suffer from their presence”

Even more striking was that the most phone-dependent people were most likely to be affected by their phone location during the study.

“Ironically, the more consumers depend on their smartphones, the more they seem to suffer from their presence,” the study outlines.

Overall, between both experiments, the study suggests that even if you think you’re giving all of your focus to the task at hand, the mere ability presence of smartphone is enough to distract you, even when you don’t realize it.

“Because the same finite pool of attentional resources supports both attentional control and other cognitive processes, resources recruited to inhibit automatic attention to ones phone are made unavailable for other tasks, and performance on these tasks will suffer,” the researchers acknowledged in the study.

But hold the phone!

But Dietram Scheufele, a life sciences communication professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advises that the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

One gray area in the study is what is actually meant by “presence of the users’ phones.”

“Presence in this study means the phone being there, not some LED going off, some on-screen alert coming in, or the phone vibrating,” Scheufele said. “In order to isolate effects of presence, the researchers instructed the participants to turn off their ringer, but its unclear if participants really followed these instructions, or if on-screen alerts (that are pretty standard on Android and iOS now) or phones on vibrate in participants pockets distracted people.”

Basically, even if your phone is on silent, you can still see when it lights up if it’s in your vicinity. And we can’t be sure the researchers confirmed all of the phones were actually silenced.

“Long story short, these findings could be interpreted in different ways and are far from conclusive, in my opinion.”

“The working memory finding would be consistent with people leaving their phones on vibrate, given that there is no significant difference between desk and pocket, and the only significant difference was found when the phone was out of the room,” Scheufele said. “The fluid intelligence findings would be consistent with users having visual alerts on, given that only the desk condition was significantly different from the others.”

Scheufele explained that the tricky part of the study’s results is that the tests were “black box experiments.” In other words, researchers have an idea about what’s happening with the way people think, but it’s not so easy to test. Since we can’t actually see inside people heads, researchers create scenarios they think will accurately test their theories. But there can be a lot of ways to interpret those results.

A phone addiction’s not that bad, is it?

But overall, the question remains: even if our phones do distract us, is that necessarily a bad thing?

“Some work on the deliberation-without-attention effect suggests that for complicated tasks, not using careful System II processing (the brain’s slower, analytical mode) may lead to better choices that were also happier with,” Scheufele said.”Only for simple decisions does System II processing produce better choices that we end up being happy with afterwards.”

So it turns out, yes, your phone being nearby could be distracting you, but maybe that’s not the worst thing after all. For now, just be sure to track your own usage and try to spend some time interacting with real people instead of your phone.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/28/smartphones-in-sight-brain-drain-study/

Square’s customizable debit cards are inspiring some slick art

 

When Square first unveiled its cash card earlier this year, the move had many people scratching their heads. What could a forward-thinking mobile payments app possibly want with an old-school plastic debit card?

Well, if nothing else, the cards are giving the San Francisco company some free social media advertising.

Their sleek, minimalist design and customizable face seem to have sparked something of an artistic trend on social media.

In designing the plastic rectangles, Square forwent all the usual identifying markers of a credit card card number, expiration date, printed name for stark black coloring interrupted only by a Visa logo, an RDIF chip, and a laser printed signature in the corner.

But, as Square’s more creatively inclined users are demonstrating, that space doesn’t necessarily have to contain a signature the company will print pretty much any drawing you submit within the bounds of decency.

Cardholders are posting custom designs adorned with everything from cartoon cats to shruggies to outdoor scenes. In fact, the corner canvas has become one of the biggest draws of the cards.

“The option to put my own custom drawing [or] signature was a huge selling point,” Kelly Robotoson, a freelance artist in Seattle, said in a Twitter direct message. He decided to tag his card with an anthropomorphic mountain.

To be clear, Square’s offering isn’t actually a debit card in a traditional sense. The cards don’t connect to a bank account but rather allow their holders to unload any balance accrued within the Square’s money-transfer app.

They seem to have inspired some of Square’s competitors. In the weeks since the card officially launched, Apple and Venmo have each announced their own plastic cards as accessories to their transfer payment services.

Check out some of the most original wallet-borne art pieces below:

 

Got the cool new #cashcard by @square

A post shared by Bradley Hurley (@bmarriner) on

 

LOL, got my #cashcard

A post shared by Victoria Pater (@victoriap8er) on

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/28/square-debit-card-art-round-up/