Positive emotion can’t exist if we’re too busy focusing on the negative. Neither can self-compassion,

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I have this layer of chub around my waist. A pot-bellied cummerbund. A sash of paunch. A fat belt.

And no matter how in shape I get, it hangs around like the drunk guy at the bar with nothing better to do.

Most of the time, I ignore it. I work insanely hard in the gym — and more importantly, at the dinner table — and if the worst thing that happens is blurry bottom abs, then so be it. Accepting something, however, doesn’t mean liking it.

My belly irks me the same way my dogs do when they bark…


Non-dualistic thinking changes the way policies are made, votes are gathered, and people are cared for.

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Pop quiz; Which cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is the coolest?

Ding, ding, ding. If you said Raphael, give yourself a big high-five. On the other hand, if you picked Leonardo or even Donatello, then you’re not a complete loss as a person. But if you said Michelangelo, we can’t be friends.

At least, not with my twelve-year-old self, that is.

It’s simple, really, Michelangelo made me feel insulted. There was just something about the “party dude” in orange that felt like a copout. Like he was more of a critique on how adults saw kids, then a real and…


Not all movement is progress.

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People, places, thoughts, and experiences are dirty. And the older you get, the more of them you collect. The more graveyards you fill.

It’s like a hike that starts fresh, clean even. Then you hit the brambles, and the blood comes. It cakes — a scar.

Good advice here — wisdom.

Lots of bad advice over here — folly.

Both are regarded along with no small amount of guidance ignored. Because what is right isn’t always right right now. And right now isn’t always about being right.

Dirt, grime, bloodsuckers, and blisters accumulate. Infect. The hike continues, the landscape changes…


Live like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

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“If you don’t go to Sunday school,” mom threatened, “you’re not getting into heaven.”

Those were mom’s big guns when I was growing up. Heaven, she described, was a million times better than the best birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, with unlimited tokens, bottomless pizza pies, and present — lots of presents.

So I went, and when the Sunday school teacher made it to the part about Heaven, I listened.

“You’ll worship all day and fellowship all night,” teacher explained. She was squatty, bird’s nest hair the color of rust, and always smiling. …


Imagine the problem. Now work backward and see how it’s all your fault.

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Have you considered that you’re the problem?

That the reason school sucks, work just isn’t going your way, you’re broke or fat or single or whatever is entirely your doing?

I do it all the time. In fact, “I’m the problem” is one of the four pillars painted on the whiteboard in my garage.

I didn’t always think like this. I love to blame. I’m naturally critical. Finding the fault in others was a game to me, and I was good at it.

But it wasn’t helping. Being a victim never does. Neither does blame, revenge, grudges, or resentment.

Try…


He expected one thing and got something else altogether, and it killed him ten years before I buried him.

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I wonder what it felt like living those last ten years alone.

Except for me, a few olds ladies in his semi-assisted living complex, a social worker, and the convenience store employees across the street, who else did he have? What did he think at night when he dozed off?

Could it be that dad concocted a story? One that let him slip away from the world, one day at a time, with nothing more than a motorized periwinkle chair and The History Channel.

And if so, what kind of story makes someone ok with giving up?

The stroke that…


I like wanting to quit and running anyway.

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Hills are torture at 4 am, and it’s so quiet you can hear your breath falter in the cold.

I run anyway.

Not because I’m tough or fit or, God forbid, a runner. Because routine, simple as that. Because effort equals energy.

But no matter how many times I take the hill, I still want to quit. It feels like Everest; my calves burn, my nose runs, and I just want to turn around and go home. Every. Single. Time.

And that’s another reason I run. Because I like wanting to quit and running anyway. …


You want your resolution to work? First, stop worrying about three months from now, and forget next week. Focus on now.

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You will make more than 35,000 decisions today.

You don’t know you’re making them, of course — if you did, you’d go insane. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to make more than 1,000 decisions in the next hour. Heads up! You’re making one — or a hundred — right now.

“Am I going to keep reading this?” you’re wondering. “Is this guy going somewhere with this?”

I assure you I am, and it’s important, so stick with me.

Let’s say you’re part of the group that decided to make a New Year’s resolution. Good for you…


Freedom starts with inspiration.

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There is only one recycled breath in this world.

It gives me light and purpose. I meditate on it.

Then I envision it moving on, and along with it, everything I’ve ever known. Whatever remains — empty.

Then I inhale again, and the breath returns, somehow different — a brand new guide with fresh power and opportunity and pain and suffering and bliss. And I let that breath go too.

Freedom starts with inspiration. It continues with expiration. The most beautiful circle imaginable, forever dying, perpetually reborn.


I’m up seven pounds and more than a percent body fat and that's not all.

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It’s a rainy Monday in 2005, and I’m starving.

I’ve been eating plain chicken breasts and broccoli for years — and telling everyone I train to do the same — but I hate it. I stay on the path, but I’m struggling.

It’s a frigid evening late in 2007, and I’m desperate.

I do a little research, open my mind, and stumble upon Dr. Loren Cordain’s book, “The Paleo Diet.”

It’s a brisk sunny Sunday morning in early 2008, and I’m not starving anymore.

Actually, I’m leaving a Bob Evans breakfast of blueberry pancakes and omelets. I call it a…

Josh Bunch

Bunch is one of those rare humans who only talks about what he knows; fitness, food, philosophy, and movies. And puppies.

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