NEW: Plant Yourself merch designed by my daughter, Yael Zivan.

Feeling and Numbness

Money coach Dave Ramsey talks about the importance of “feeling money” as it passes through our hands. It’s easy to spend foolishly when we’re just waving credit cards through machines or authorizing direct withdrawals from digital accounts.

It’s much harder to make bad money decisions when we have to remove hard currency from our wallets and hand it over to someone.

So we have a choice: feel the pain in the moment or feel a lot more pain later, when the consequences come home to roost.
I’ve been thinking about how broadly this concept applies in our world. We spend so much time, money, and effort to avoid feeling immediate pain and future consequences of our actions that we end up numb. And the less we allow ourselves to feel, the more we become invested in staying numb.

Because we know intuitively that the pain behind that numbness will flood us like a broken dam if we crack for even an instance.

Numbing Out on Food

I’ve spent much of my life using food as a drug. It helps me avoid feeling bored or frustrated or sad.

And I’ve done my fair share of ignoring the negative impact of my food choices: on my immediate wellbeing, on my long-term health, on my family, on the animals who suffered for my choices, on the humans who weren’t fed so I could feed my addictions, and on the long-suffering planet herself.

My own journey has involved reclaiming the capacity to feel, and developing the courage to face the feelings I’ve spent so many years avoiding.

And it’s a humbling journey, believe me.

But it’s worth it.

Starting to feel again is like when you realize your arm or leg has gone numb. The pins and needles can be so intense, you might want to return to the numbness even though you know it’s not good for your circulation.

When you ride the wave of sensation and emotion, it eventually resolves.

And feels good. Pleasurable. Alive again.

Grief and Praise

As Martin Prechtel writes in The Smell of Rain on Dust, grief and praise are two sides of the same coin.

When we truly allow ourselves to feel and mourn our losses, we’re actually offering full-throated praise for what we’ve lost. And that allows us to feel and appreciate what we still have.

Money and food are my portals into this bracing acceptance of reality. They both challenge me to live with my eyes open, engaging fully in this dance of existence. Feeling the grief and feeling the praise.

Activism from the Inside Out

The way to individual and planetary transformation, I believe, goes through this same portal.

We can – and must – demand transparency in our food supply. And at the same time we have to encourage our community’s ability to handle that transparency by increasing our ability to feel.

We can –and must – agitate for reform of our system of agricultural subsidies. And at the same time we have to acknowledge the fears of those whose livelihoods currently depend on those unjust and counterproductive subsidies.

We can act – we must act – in communal and political ways if we want to have a future worth living.
But we must also work on ourselves, on our own capacity to replace numbness with feeling. That’s the shift in consciousness that, when it takes place, will change everything in an instant.

Transparency is the key to change. When there’s no opacity between action and consequence, we naturally do what is best.

But we have to be strong enough to handle transparency. Otherwise we will lash out and numb out when the harsh light of truth threatens us.

That’s why my current practice – personal, social, political, and spiritual – is to feel what I feel as much as I can, as often as I can.

May these words be a blessing.

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, my team and I are studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, with the goal of introducing it into our health coaching training.

If you're interested in experiencing the magic of memory reconsolidation coaching with me or a member of my team trained in the process, click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab. Someone will get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

Tip Jar

This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.


The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


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