With a Perspective


On a brisk morning, I jump into my car, reach first for the heat, and then for the radio. The KQED morning anchors are already droning on about the winter Fund drive interrupting my flow of news. Leaving from the Outer Sunset for Palo Alto with the ocean on my right, I decide to make the call.

“Thank you for calling KQED…”

Before the volunteer can go on, I launch into animated platitudes.

“I’m so grateful for KQED’s reporting, I listen every morning on my commute to stay informed, what you do is sooo important, now more than ever, especially in this era of post-fact journalism…” blah blah blah

The gruff voice on the other end quickly moves me along:
“Mam, how much would you like to pledge?”

Slightly annoyed, I give my information to become a Sustaining Member.

To my surprise, he asks…“Would you like to be transferred to a voicemail box to share how you feel about KQED?”

“Why yes! Yes, I would!” (As I think to myself – AHA! That’s how it works…)


I arrive at the studio at 7:45 AM on a Saturday morning, greeted by fellow volunteers and toasted bagels.

Ken runs us through the script, the how-to. As May gives out prizes and updates us on our fundraising totals, the what’s what.

We’re “On Air”, in a live studio, many anxious first-time volunteers, and a few old hands, of ALL ages, from ALL over the Bay area – Fairfax, Dublin, Campbell, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose. Our callers are even more diverse and wide-ranging – from Sonoma, Davis, Pleasanton, Monterey, even Idaho!

We’re 16123854_173574143127304_3919436237768753152_n1united by a love of public radio, a desire to give, AND these most uncertain of times.

At breaks, volunteers share fears and concerns. We share our stories and hopes. Our callers share them too! Encouraged, we eagerly await the next call, and the chance to connect.

Matching challenges and bonus gifts heat up the phone lines. With the roar of activity, it’s difficult to hear, but easy to tell, we’re on a roll!

We close the day as the 2nd highest in Ken’s Fund drive experience with more than $70,000 in contributions!

The record, however, is clearly tied to this year’s election results – a heavy price to pay for our self-satisfaction!

Like never before, Americans are joining in, rising up, and making a difference together – for KQED, the ACLU, our National Parks, Planned Parenthood, and most importantly, for one another.

By standing up for our values, I only hope that we can counter the pervasive fear that now exists in order to reclaim what’s already been lost and triumph over what is yet to come.

With a Perspective, I’m Kat Walsch.

You Are What You Eat

So, my mom recently informed me that she cut out all sugar and stopped taking the dozen or so medications she was on for digestive problems. Uh huh, that’s right, after almost 70 years on the planet, she’s finally realized the role that diet plays in overall wellbeing (love you mom)!

baby-crushAs a country girl from the Midwest, I was raised on Cheetos, chicken nuggets, and Orange Crush. Case in point: a photo of me raiding the Hostess Ding Dong snacks before being packed in my dad’s lunch.

I’ve struggled with an unhealthy attachment to food since I was a little girl. I remember filling each ache, pain, and frustration with food. The fullness in my stomach drew my attention away from the emptiness I was experiencing in that moment.

As an adult, I’ve allowed myself to feel entitled to a treat all too often – “deserved” of my misplaced indulgence. Gluttony only perpetuates suffering, not only in our individual lives, but in the world. So many are people are struggling to find their next meal, as we in the U.S. waste billions of dollars a year on food!

Food is fuel; it’s nourishment!
And you can’t do good, when you “does your body good BAD”!!!
(Remember that ridiculous Milk commercial from the 80’s?)

With the barrage of advertisements and reports, it’s hard to know exactly what’s healthy. Eggs are bad, now they’re good. Coffee was bad, now it extends lifespan! How to know?

One thing is for sure, too much sugar and processed food creates all sorts of problems. Refined sugar is quite literally a cancer in your veins. It increases inflammation and free radicals, causing oxidation and risk of cell mutation and disease. It’s dangerous! Every time you grab for that cookie think about exploding, cracking, mutating cells. IF that won’t stop you, maybe this image will…

You are what you eat! We have more genetic material in our bodies from BACTERIA, than in our own DNA! In fact, the average American adult has over 1,200 different species! vin rouge bouteilleThere is mounting evidence of the pervasive role of gut microbes in human health. Thanks to Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenberg, authors of The Good Gut, we now know that microbiota play a crucial role in regulating the immune system. Our microbiome may hold the key to unlocking new treatments for chronic autoimmune conditions and other diseases.

p.s. Fermented foods are great for the gut, which includes wine! So enjoy! (in moderation)

In my personal quest for health, and to overcome my own addiction to food, I’ve tried many things – Weight Watchers, Body by Blood Type, naturopathic medicine, Arise & Shine, juice fasts, and other cleansing regimens, a personal nutritionist, the Flat Belly Diet, Michael Thurmond’s 6-week Body Makeover, and you name it.

Good news friends! You don’t have to juice your food, drink lemon water, and take cayenne pills to detox. It turns out your body is pretty good at cleansing itself. What you do need to do, is cut out the junk. Cut it out! Incorporate whole foods, and consume less.

The best solution I’ve found is the 5:2 diet, a simple intermittent fasting routine using nutrient dense foods. Step #1: two days a week reduce your caloric intake to approximately 500 calories for women/700 for men. Step #2: eat as you would normally the other five days. Easy!

You’ll find that on “normal” days you’re less hungry and on fast days you have more energy and mental clarity to conquer the day. Kate Harrison’s online guide is a great resource to get started.

Not only will you feel better in the short-term, calorie restriction has consistently been shown to extend lifespan and ameliorate age-related diseases. So you can do more good all your days long, and feel good doing it! Salud!

Love in Leadership

We’ve lost love in leadership.

More than anything, this profound loss is why inauguration day felt so dark for so many.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So, where do we go from here?

We, the people, must embrace love as our ultimate goal and personal responsibility. We must strive for a selfless love, an agape love that voluntarily suffers for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. A love that is unafraid. A love that will stand in the face of persecution.

Leading with love compels others to follow. And using your highest strength for the greatest good creates a virtuous cycle. Megan McDonough, CEO of the Wholebeing Institute, writes that loving leadership has one intention: to elevate and fill yourself and others.

We love great leaders because they grab us on an emotional level, transcending the ordinary, giving us hope. These leaders help us think beyond the world as it is, to imagine the world as it should be.

We are now the leaders. So, let us be servant leaders. Love leadership is the only thing that can sustain our shared success, as in John Hope Bryant’s Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World.

A word of warning: the fear of loss leads to misguided love.

Many feel a loss of country, voting to make it “great again”. It seems that the love of country, a new fervent nationalism, has risen out of grief. But are we to love the country itself, or the ideals and freedoms for which it stands?

I fear the consequence of seeking American profit and prosperity first, country above all else.  What will be the cost? Can we fulfill our national interests and remain a servant leader seeking liberty and justice for all, in the world?

Now is a time to be vigilant, lest our love be misguided. If we retreat to our proud corners, we will surely become a threat to self and others.

I am not a nationalist, but I remain a faithful patriot, full of hope in our American ideals. I stand ready, in love, to serve my fellow citizens.

We are ALL in this together!

Caring on a Down Day

fd73f3e7d0f48dbe9dec361593df9e78Giving a shit ALL the time is exhausting! Let’s admit – it’s not humanly possible. And caring to the point of carrying guilt for “not doing enough” is worse than counterproductive. It’s cruel!

While some days feel like perfect 10s, others really are terrible 2s. And on down days we often feel like two-year-olds– selfish, pouty, and needy. I hate down days with a passion! But my strong disdain doesn’t make them go away. They pop up unexpectedly at the worst of times. And they cycle regularly, as all women can attest.

Down days are an unfortunate fact of life.

Doing well and doing right by others, means learning to take it all in stride. In order to be CHILL – we have to manage our energy levels, not just our time. Energy springs from physical and emotional wellbeing, including mind and spirit. Check out this great read from the HBR archives.

On down days, be vigilant to acknowledge and accept frailties, rather than attempting to power through. Here are ideas of ways to avoid being an asshole on your down days:

  • Observe the day, be inquisitive and open-minded before diving into action.
  • When you run into trouble, ask why first: “Is it really that bad?”
  • Address more routine tasks and try to tackle complex problems later, if you can.
  • Reschedule important meetings. Adjust your schedule to how you feel, as much as possible.
  • Stay active and get hands on: use your full body to engage in the work of the day, rather than just your mind.
  • Work out vigorously, even though you don’t feel like it. Go for a jog or try kickboxing (a fav for punching out frustrations!)
  • Remove “should” from your vocabulary altogether! There’s no such thing!
  • Don’t fall into the reward trap: seeking the comfort of food, shopping, or other vices is only temporary and can backfire.
  • Get organized! Write an active to-do list to focus your attention. One of my favorite online organization tools is www.todoist.com
  • Get a good night’s sleep!
  • Listen to your favorite tunes. Joni Mitchell’s Blue is at the same time sad and soulful as it is playful and bright – the perfect recipe for acknowledging and uplifting the spirit.
  • Take it in! Breathe deeply! Pray! Meditate! Count to 10!
  • Hydrate and eat healthy, body nourishing foods.
  • Find a safe space and try a primal scream. Sometimes it helps to shout it out.
  • Go ahead and cry if you need to, it’s cool.
  • If you can muster it, write a list of things you’re grateful for, OR if it feels disingenuous – just write!
  • Call a family member, a friend, or talk things out with a trusted confidant.
  • Don’t complain, especially at work, it only makes things worse.
  • Try to keep a sense of humor about the day’s events. Watch a quick comedy sketch: George Carlin’s sardonic wit is ideal for down days!
  • Take it easy, in all manner of the phrase!
  • Wear your best clothes to feel as comfortable and confident as possible.
  • Try simple acts of kindness, yield to others and the world around you: smile to a stranger, hold the door open, let a car merge ahead of you, etc.
  • Just slow down! And know that by doing so, you’re reserving energy for another day!

You, yes YOU, are the only one who can fill your punchbowl. Everyone else tends to suck out the punch!punchbowlSo, on down days exercise extreme self-compassion and a bit of caution. Please don’t try to do it all. Perfect is the enemy of very good!

Workplace Karma & Caramels

We spend a TON of time at work! On average: over 90,000 hours in a lifetime! With technology and the advent of the 24/7 workplace, we’re expected to devote even more energy. The mental gymnastics of trying to “keep up” is a serious source of stress in our lives!

Yikes! Umm, yeah, did you get that memo?

In our daily slog, we regularly expect co-workers to meet OUR demands. Yet in an increasingly unrelenting world, how often do we break from our requests to say thanks? What’s more, we’re taught in order to achieve, someone else must fail. As a result, we do all manner of things to get ahead at others expense. Let’s be honest, we are not very kind.

Well, what goes around comes around people! And it’s time for a change.

Motivational and behavioral psychologists like Professor Carol Dweck at Stanford University are calling for a shift in mindset. Do you have a growth mindset?

131baf1e3f1870cf082d51c5367d63c6I’ve long been drawn to the concept of abundance. IF we think there are plenty of opportunities for everyone and genuinely want others to succeed, we’re more likely to find a rising tide that floats all boats. The power of positivity is contagious.

We do have the power to create more positive work environments with each word and deed. In his book Give and Take, author Adam Grant says that givers really can get ahead in the workplace, by giving in a way that nurtures their soul. Assess your Give and Take dynamic! Giving doesn’t have to mean that you’re a push-over. It means you value mutually beneficial relationships and you’re mature enough to understand that personal growth doesn’t have to come at a cost.

We can have our cake and eat it too, so let’s stop with the “Sorry Milton”!

Let’s take the time to acknowledge and celebrate our teammates for helping us reach our goals. Let us ALL eat cake! Work is better when we do it together!

compassionate-caramelsOne of the ways I like to say thanks is through food. What better way to win over hearts, than through the stomach! And it just so happens that my talented sister-in-law makes the best caramels EVER – small batch, in delectable flavors, handmade with love! In addition, 10% of sales goes to her local food bank! The gift of Jennifer’s Compassionate Caramels is a double do-good! If you’ve gotten caramels from me (and you know who you are), you know that I truly value your partnership and friendship in the workplace, nom nom nom! Thank you!

Human creatures thrive on appreciation. We want to be valued for our contributions. Truly, a little kindness goes a VERY along way in relieving workplace stress! Check out these simple ideas for saying thanks from themuse, or share your own here.

Umm, yeah, we all hate TPS reports! So why don’t you just go ahead and be kind to your colleagues!!! Umm, yeah, thanks!