Waves crashed over the boat threatening to throw us overboard. Our 90 horsepower engine was just enough to get our craft over the next wave right before we entered a 10 foot free fall into the next valley between monster surges.
My heart was going a mile a minute, and I was wondering why we were the only 16 foot boat in the jetties that day. My dad and I decided to take a last minute trip 5 miles out to an offshore oil rig to fish for sharks and red snapper.
Every time we went out I puked. Not out of fear, but from sea sickness that rolled in during the first 45 minutes of fishing.
“Why would I do that to myself?” I think to myself every time.
I don’t have a death wish, and I hate vomiting!
It was for the adventure. The connection to reality.
Sometimes a man has to put his whole being into an adventure. A holistic effort forged from every facet of his being pushed towards the same goal.
An adventure that pushes his skills to the very limit. Something, outside his control. Something…wild. Untamed. Real. Regenerative.
Those trips out to the oil rigs were completely reckless, and fraught with danger born out of ignorance and lack of proper equipment.
To this day it makes me smile at those early, foolish trips, but it also reminds me about how God wants us to live… a regenerative lifestyle played out in a holistic way
But for most of us, that is far from reality…
We buzz around numb to reality and the beauty it can offer. Instead we are pacified with the fake world, the fake pleasure, and fake news the world has to offer. We are stuck in ambivalent ignorance to the power we are truly capable of.
One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, puts it this way:
“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infitie joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
70 years later, the world seems so backwards and weird. We don’t know who to trust. The people leading us are either incompetent or insidious. The people who inform us don’t seem to be much better.
The trend of people living longer has officially now been reversed in the United States. This is largely from preventable lifestyle diseases.
Families have a hard time staying together and one income definitely isn’t suitable to raise said family anymore. Your supply chains, and your dollar both don’t seem to go as far.
It can feel like we are living in one crisis after another. The collective stress is growing, and dread creeps in that says “it will never get better.”
On top of that you are feeling tired and unmotivated. You work as hard as you can only to spin your wheels and hope that one day things will be better.
Sometimes you just wish we could go back to simpler times when everything was just…better.
Does any of this sound familiar? I know it does to me.
Have you ever been to a good chiropractor where they pop all your bones and your pain just melts away?
Their goal is to get you into proper alignment, and any chiropractor worth his salt will tell you it’s a process.
Won’t won’t get to a place of alignment with just one session. It takes many, regular sessions to get you there.
Then, you have to maintain it because life will try to pull your body back out of alignment.
I don’t know if you are a Christian or not, but for full transparency I am. That tends to color my worldview. That said, I believe the more we get back to living life the way God intended us to live, the healthier we will be. I call that type of living a regenerative lifestyle through holistic practices.
Note: This is not me saying we need to go back to the “good ol’ days” with all the brokenness of previous generations. Personally, I don’t think any culture has fully lived without their fair share mistakes.
What I am talking about is living like Jesus said:
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” - John 10:10
Now hear what I’m saying. Yes I am an avid believer in Christ. No, that doesn’t make me perfect, in fact it makes me realize the opposite.
I believe Christ gave us the permission to live life abundantly. Salvation aside, I have always felt that the Bible is kind of like God’s handbook on how to live life. Anyone can benefit from following the practices outlined in the handbook.
He made this system called Earth. Then he gave us a guide, the Bible, to tell us exactly how his system works and how we can expect to have the best possible life by following its guidelines.
Sometimes they are paradoxical. Sometimes plain counter initiative, but always effective in bringing us to a better place.
Whether you are a Christian or not, if you live your way the way God intended, you will be aligned with the world itself. This will yield you so many benefits that will affect your mind, your body, and your relationships.
This is what the regenerative lifestyle is all about. It is a process where we slowly become more and more in alignment with how we were created. Our bodies are able to do the proper self healing they were made to do. The neuroplasticity of our brains literally corrects aberrations and bad habits as we submit our brain to better thinking practices.
This is partly what Paul meant when he said “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Paul was obsessed with becoming like Christ and he urged us to be as well. For Christians, we know our relationship with Christ begins with salvation, but we have gotten a bad reputation for stopping right there.
Our lives do not often reflect the Christ we worship. Instead of love we are known by judgment and condemnation. The regenerative lifestyle is another way of saying that we need to continue molding our lives to be closer to Christ’s character.
Anyone who chooses this path will, over time, see their lives healed and will end up influencing everyone around them. We see this pattern over and over again in the bible.
If applied, the regenerative lifestyle will produce what the Bible calls “the fruits of the spirit:
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23
Christ’s ways of living are open to all of us and of course there is no such law against the things his ways bring!
Here’s the problem though: Our entire world system is arrayed against us. If you are passive and allow the world to just chart its own course with your life, then it will burden you with depression, anxiety, broken relationships, weight issues, medical issues, and anything else it can get to stick.
All because we allow it to!
The world around us is there only to kill, steal and destroy whatever you have built!
Just like the marathon runner trains, we need to consistently engage in a regenerative lifestyle if we want to have a life that regenerates itself. This is how we build a personality that isn’t fragile, but agile and beyond resilient.
You can see it in the recovered alcoholic, the ex-convict who faithfully runs an after school program, or the sex offender who later ministers to both victims and abusers alike.
This lifestyle has the ability to heal, change, and grow to the level we apply the practices laid out before us in the handbook of life.
The American Problem
We live in an age of hyper abundance. Living standards are the highest they have been then at any point in history.
But if it’s so great, why are we needing medication at record rates? Why are cases of depression and anxiety at 100 year highs?
According to a report by Statstica in March 2022, up to 23.2% of all adults in the United States admitted to having depressive symptoms.
The National Institute of Health reported this year that 31.1% of adults have suffered anxiety at a disorder level at some point in their lives.
This is the land of the free and the home of the brave…right?
Turns out, in our pursuit of freedom we enslaved ourselves instead. We were deceived by the easy and fast approach. As a society ,we were given all the choices in the world, and collectively, the American public has chosen poorly.
The creation of our American culture has bred cognitive dissonance in each one of us. The things we thought were so attractive are leading us down a road of destruction.
Do you want that nice new car? Don’t worry about the price! We had a 4 year loan, but don’t worry, those got replaced by a 5 year loan. Some dealers are even coming out with 6 or 7 year loans. You can always afford it if you can afford the payments.
Though social media “connects” us more than ever, but we constantly feel like we don’t measure up. Our vacation may have been amazing, but look at that sweet cliff Stephanie is jumping off of!
Loneliness and insecurity slowly creeps in as we scroll through our old pictures on Instagram. Is my job even worth it?
Your’e always busy, so Wataburger again tonight!
Sure, but you also stopped by Starbucks earlier today, but that’s because it was rough getting up this morning. Then you’re just too tired to get to the gym today. Plus, your wife really needs some time off from the kids.
Life presses in and can make things miserable if we don’t fight back.
How did we get this way? Part of the answer comes in the form of specialization and outsourcing. The thought is you can because can become extremely proficient at one thing and use that skill set in your job. Then if you add all these specialists together we can push the pounds of what’s possible.
This theory isn’t one that you need to throw away. I mean, it's the concept of money after all. You use your skill set to earn money so you can exchange that money for other goods and services. That said, our American culture has leaned too hard on this principle.
The inherent problem is this: It leads to an attitude of outsourcing as a 1st solution. As Americans we outsource everything!
Don’t wanna cook? Grab something from a restaurant.
Don’t wanna clean? Get a maid!
Don’t wanna work on your car? Go to the mechanic
Need a break from the kids? We have a daycare for that.
Can’t have the mother-in-law living with you? Get a home for her too!
Now, there are legitimate reasons for all of these things at different times. Our problem is that we love to outsource as our 1st response.
Then these people don’t care anywhere near as much about what they are taking care of.
A restaurant never cares about your health. They care about selling food that tastes amazing.
That daycare has tons of kids to watch. They will NEVER love your kids like you do.
No one loves mom like you do either!
This happens as a country as well. Why do we let China control all of our PPE equipment?
Why do they make all our pharmaceutical supplies?
Why would countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia drill all our oil?
Why do we let 3rd world countries raise and ship our beef to us?
Sure, some of that is out of our immediate control, but it shows how “outsourcing” has really taken hold and bit us in the collective butt.
Control & Escape
Most of us go one of two ways. We either try to control the entire world around us or we escape into a fake world where we don’t need to worry about those pesky responsibilities for awhile.
I’m going to venture into generalities here, so humor me. This may or may not be you exactly.
For a lot of men we tend to abdicate responsibility and duty. That means we step away and relinquish healthy expressions of ownership and influence in our world. Usually, we escape into our hobbies or our work in order to get away from taking said ownership head on.
This often leads men down a path of depression which can manifest itself through irritability and anger. If we keep going down that path then futility sets itself up in our lives. Finally, we start blaming those around us for how our lives have turned out. We turn ourselves into victims.
Women tend to have the opposite problem. They want to control everything around them. This is normally because they do not feel safe with others being in charge of their own well being. The answer is to be a #girlboss and handle everything in their worlds.
It feels like this attitude would bring security. They are puttin their fates in the hands of the only person they can fully trust, but in reality the controlling tendency tends to lead women on a path of anxiety and burnout.
That doesn’t mean women can’t or shouldn’t take on leadership roles in organizations and companies. Ladies, you are powerful, intelligent, and usually much more intuitive than us guys. What I mean is a woman who doesn’t have a place where she can feel safe to surrender control as someone she trusts takes care of her.
The American lifestyle doesn’t particularly care which way you go. It caters to both equally, and can wreck us equally.
Technology Sucking Us In
In fact, technology has come up with a way to do both at the same time! If you have heard of the metaverse this is culmination. Collectively, we will create this world, and you can completely control any part of it and escape into it anytime you want.
Even my 17 year old niece recognizes it will be extremely popular. She describes it as “a gamer’s wildest dreams come true!” Even though she is an avid gamer she agrees it will devolve into a world of addicts as it sucks in people and spits them out again.
That said, most of us aren’t plugged into the real life Matrix yet.
Our phones are probably the biggest manifestation of this concept right now.
Everything about your phone is customizable. If you are like most Americans you probably spend 4 to 8 hours a day looking at it. Which makes sense. Phones are our portal to the rest of the world. Our social media lives there, we can get anything we want from our favorite restaurant there. A big part of our relationships happen on our phones through video calls and tests.
It’s so easy for our phones to become our whole world.
This constant connection gears our brains towards a mindset that will be focused on what everyone else is doing. External markers become more important than internal progress. This is how we have lost touch with ourselves.
It has been proven that we have gotten far better at doing several smaller tasks quickly, but technology has disrupted our ability to do the type of thinking that leads to deep, reflected insights about ourselves and the world around us.
If you have done much reading from people say during the time of civil war or the revolutionary war you will see a sophistication in everyone’s writing. Those people had their faults, but they were able to think clearly about the world around them amidst the biggest distraction their worlds held.
Today, our own prosperity has brought on a generation who simply doesn’t know they are being robbed of deep thought that leads to personal growth.
You probably aren’t in internet marketing, so you may not know the average attention span of a human is now 3 seconds!
This is the world we have all helped to create!
Dopamine & Motivation
Why does technology affect us that way? It is because it gives us instant access to our dopamine levels. Every time you reach a new level in a video game or receive a notification from a social media app the dopamine in your brain fires.
As humans we all need gratification, but in our world to make everything better, faster, cheaper, we have invented something poisonous to our joy.
In today’s world, it has been molded into the very fiber of the American psyche to the point we believe it is an instinctual desire.
If you have never heard of dopamine or neurotransmitters before there are two things you need to know to understand this concept.
- Our brains process pleasure and pain in the same area. Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter responsible for this.
- Homeostasis is the preferred state of our brian. That means our brain will instinctively reach for a balance.
All this means that if you keep pushing the pleasure button of dopamine with instant gratification then the brian will try to lower how much dopamine we produce on a steady level.
It’s actually the same mental process that addicts go through! Once the process takes hold it takes more and more of that dopamine to even make sure we still feel good.
That’s why we can get so addicted to so many things! Our world is automated to cater directly to our desire for instant gratification.
Entire companies have sprung up to take advantage of this exact process. Let me know if you have heard of any of these: Facebook, Amazon, Google. Not naming any names though!
In the latest research dopamine has also been strongly related to motivation. This is huge because it explains a monsterous phenomenon in our cultural moment!
Discipline & Habits
Have you ever heard the term “adulting?”
Urban dictionary defines adulting as:
“To carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals. Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.”
Come on! Tell me I’m not the only one who calls BS on this!
That is the trap of our culture though! We have lost motivation to keep up basic discipline and habits. Our dopamine system is in overdrive and it has a real effect!
The truth is discipline is one secret to a regenerative life. Our bodies, minds, and relationships grow little by little. You lose 50 lbs one push up at a time. You gain the power of being optimistic one thought at a time. You rebuild relationships one experience at. A. Time.
Nothing worth having comes instantly. Except maybe Jesus, but he’s special.
Our instant gratification world disrupts the gradual process in every way possible. It primes us to want big results immediately. Think about this blog for instance. I have been steady in it for a few weeks now writing weekly articles.
Would I love to have 250K readers? Sure, that’d be amazing! Maybe one day I’ll get there, but it won’t be by the end of 2022! It is a gradual process. Chances are 37 people may read this the week it comes out.
I’m okay with that. The journey is what is going to grow me, not the destination. The same is true for any big endeavor you take on.
But I have found most people aren’t lazy! They are overwhelmed, overworked, and underpaid.
We have tried to fix this through making jobs more flexible. Due to the pandemic we have really grown in jobs you can work at home.
But this comes with problems! Many people have lost their boundaries between work and leisure. This means they are never really on, but they are never really off either.
It creates a world without boundaries. Sure, you can wash your clothes while you work, but often people don’t feel like they have freedom just to be “off.” There is always something due, always some task to get done or email to send out.
People without boundaries tend to have higher levels of anxiety. This effect only grows with more and more job flexibility.
Without active boundaries made by us, the increased job flexiblity leaves us in a fast paced environment without clear rest stops along the way. Talk about a path towards destruction!
You know this, I know this, obesity is at an all time high among Americans. According to the CDC, overweight and obese people make up 73.6% of our population.
I’m not about to shame anyone for this. Lord knows, I still have a few pounds to lose.
Our culture caters to this! It messes up our dopamine system which robs us of pleasure and motivation. Then it offers us fake food we put in our bodies to bring fake pleasure that lasts only a moment.
Finally, we are left bigger than we want to be, feeling horrible about ourselves, without the motivation to activate real change!
Again, we aren’t lazy as Americans, we have a culture that programs us to be out of alignment with natural, regenerative practices.
That same overwhelmed feeling makes us think we don’t have time to work out. My current workout only takes 20 minutes and even as I write I’m tempted to blow it off to move along with the rest of my day!
Which is fine, for a day, but if I keep doing it then my energy levels will just drop. If I take a break for over 2 months then I have lost much of what I gained in the last 6.
Instead, I have found a consistent workout to be regenerative in nature. John Jaquish, the creator of the X3 workout platform stated
“A workout is like brushing your teeth. It doesn’t matter if it’s boring, get it done so you can do the important things in your life.”
That has given me incentive more times than I would care to admit! Each one of us has to find a way to get moving we are happy with and can do on a consistent basis day in and day out!
Maybe You Just Got Bad Advice?
The USDA and its recommended diet has been around since the 1950’s, and believe it or not it plays a huge role in both your physical and mental health. If you follow the “food pyramid” you will end up fatter and more unhealthy. The numbers given on obesity over the decades prove that.
At some point we have to ask ourselves is 73% of the population is just stupid, or did they just not get lucky enough to have the skinny genes? Or, more likely, were we just given bad advice to begin with?
We were told fats make us fat. We were told all protein is the same. Nothing could be further than the truth.
As an example, here is an article showing why protein sourcing matters.
These standards came about from one man with a huge personality. Ancel Keys was a nutritional scientist from the 1950’s and 60’s. In a response to Dwight Eizenhour’s heart attack the whole nation became obsessed with cardiovascular health. Ancel’s thoughts won out when theorized that cholesterol from fats made us fat in his infamous 6 nation study.
Others in his day pushed back against this idea and labeled sugar as the main culprit, but his strong personality and political connections won him the support of the USDA and pushed all other ideas to the wayside.
This has left all of us with confusion on how our body works. It has taken me many years to figure out nutrition and apply it comfortably in my life. I had to step away from the force of commercialization, and a “one size fits all” mentality.
Instead this led me to a 5 year path onto my own independent fact finding.
The same rules apply here. Commercialization started with the industrial revolution and the birth of manufacturing. This led to assembly lines and the obsession to make things quicker, cheaper, and better all at the same time. In all honesty, this works for some things. Think about the progression of Iphones or the internet.
However, when it comes to our minds, body, and the earth, the commercialization idea falls flat on its face. I’m not against capitalism, at all, but in the name of greed, commercial agriculture tries to force nature into the formula of better, faster, cheaper. No matter what it did to the soil. Or The animal.The idea of finishing an animal out has gotten twisted. We no longer take the time to preserve the flavor or nutrtient density of beef. Just shove with chemicals and blood soaks grains in the feedlots to put those pounds on.
If you have never heard of finishing, check out this article.
In the end, this made for a huge mess where instead of healing the land, our agriculture is ruining it instead.
You see the same process in the doctors offices when they hear your symptoms and recommend the same pill everyone else is taking. You go to the gym and your personal trainer recommends the same exercise and sets as the last person they saw. Your therapist even has a pattern they simply guide you through.
Systems and patterns do have their place. We have learned a lot of general principles that can be applied through many people. This is research and science at its best.
I mean take dry aging for instance, it is a little known secret commercial ag won't do because it IS NOT faster or cheaper.
God’s creation is often paradoxical though. Sure, there are general rules, but humans are all unique. The rules will be applied differently. Guidelines can be made, but they need to be adapted to each individual. A great doctor, personal trainer, or therapist will do that for you on a 1 on 1 basis.
The world of agriculture actually works the same. The movement for regenerative farming was born out of the idea that the land can actually be utilized in a more effective way if we just look at what it was designed to do, then work with what we have to make the land as prosperous as it can be!
The “one size fits all” mentality has deeply infected our agricultural sector. This has led to a damaged earth, lower crop yields, and lower quality food for you and me. Not to mention, most farmers & ranchers on the verge of bankruptcy.
This is horrible for us as the American public!
As I stated earlier. There are some things you do not want to outsource as a country!
Agriculture is one of those.
I’m not suggesting we prop up a failing market artificially. What I am saying is we can support those who are doing it the right way. We can vote with our dollars, and gain higher quality, safer foods at the same time!
Where Mesquite Acres Fits In
Speaking of agriculture, this is where we want to be part of the solution instead of the problem. Our ranch is relatively small, 180 acres, and it came to us without any infrastructure to speak of. That said, what we are doing is simultaneously working on our ranch while we also partner with others who already have established cattle ranches.
Many of the ranchers we are around practice grass fed & finished 90% of the way without ever knowing it. Our partnerships are mutually educational in nature. We are working on solutions to make the business affordable, and bring in a steady income for everyone involved.
This way, our small ranch is given the time and space to grow while we leverage partnerships with other local ranchers in our area to bring the entire community up with us. This in turn brings hope back to hard working people who believe their way of life is destined for failure.
The funny thing I learned talking to other ranchers here is they don’t feel like anyone wants their beef! They are cattlemen, not salesmen. The auction is always willing to offer them bottom dollar, so that’s what they take.
They don’t know people like you exist!
You as the customer also benefit because you are getting beef that has not been touched by the feedlot system that puts in food coloring, huge amounts of growth hormones, and pumps the beef full of antibiotics that have the potential to inject super bugs into our national food supply.
This is a practice in what most people call eating whole foods. Keeping the processing and sugar to a minimum so our bodies can naturally heal themselves. There are many approaches and variations on the “whole food” approach, but my family has seen great benefits from incorporating them in our lives.
Even my youngest who is 19 months old, eats mostly whole foods. She loves all types of fruits, and if I can ever get her to eat brisket my life will be complete! We have combined her diet with solid naps and montessori toys and she has become this developmental wonder!
No matter which approach you take with whole foods it is clear you will need quality proteins in there.
The beef you serve your family has been raised in a humane manner in a place you could easily visit within a day’s drive from your home.
This means you are supporting domestic food supplies that are much harder to be disrupted by huge marco level crises like we have seen in the recent path.
There is a safety and stability that comes with buying local. We go into depth about harnessing this stability and family protection in this article.
Business with us also disrupts that world that you are trying to escape or control. We don’t make steak boxes because the whole animal doesn’t produce steaks. We only do bulk sales once a year because a cow can only have a calf once a year.
We want to invite you to a little bit of farm life and the grounding effects nature can have on you. The more you participate with us, get to know us, and put yourself back in tune with nature the more it will open up your natural curiosities. In turn, this will lead to a beautiful creativity you never knew you had.
The more you can apply the regenerative practices in a holistic manner the more it can lead to a sustaining source of joy and peace you desperately need.
Now, I’m not saying farm life is free of frustrations, pain, or suffering. Yours won’t be either! Those things are part of life. However, the farm and the regenerative lifestyle has given us a place to practice things.
Like stopping for a few minutes at the end of a work day to watch the sunset, or to witness the birth of a new puppy, goat, or calf in order to appreciate the fragility of life itself.
We have found that nature invites us back to the ways God really wants us to live by. That’s what we ultimately want to do for you. Invite you into our world so you can learn to apply the regenerative lifestyle.
So come on in, stick around for awhile. If you like what we are putting out there, and you feel like it will serve you and your family then order something from us and actually get to applying what you are learning.
Until Next Time,